An American Family History




The Cherokee Expedition was also known as Christie's Campaign. In 1776 during the American Revolution, American forces went against Cherokee tribes who were allied with the British. The Virginia volunteers were under Colonel William Christian. The expedition met little resistance in what is now Tennessee. The show of force discouraged further Cherokee raids.


The Cherokeewere indigenous people who lived in the southern Appalachian mountains. European Americans called their towns in eastern Tennessee, the Overhill Towns. The towns included Chota, Tellico and Tanasi.

In 1776, the Cherokee planned to drive settlers out of the Washington District. The settlers were warned and stopped the first attack at Heaton's Station. The second attack was stopped at Fort Watauga. In response to these attacks, the militia burned Tuskegee and Citico.

In 1780, while the militia was away at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Cherokee raided the setttlements. When the militia returned, Colonel John Sevier's men defeated the Cherokee at Boyd's Creek and destroyed most of the remaining towns.

Christian William Colonel
Bledsoe Anthony Major
Shelby Evan, Sr. Major
Asher William Captain
Bledsoe Abraham Captain
Bledsoe Isaac Captain
Buchanan Robert Captain
Christian Gilbert Captain
Cobb Boyle Captain
Colville Andrew Captain
Edmondson William Captain
Hicks William Captain
Lewis Aaron Captain
Marlow   Captain
Martin Joseph Captain
Price Thomas Captain
Robertson James Captain
Robinson or Robertson Elijah Captain
Sevier John Captain
Shelby Isaac Captain
Shelby James Captain
Womack Jacob Captain
Campbell Robert  
Hobbs Thomas wounded
Berry Thomas wounded
Warren Christopher  
Allison Matthew  
Finley John  
Wallace Andrew  
Higgins Humphrey  
Sawyers James  
Crawford William  
Buford James  
Renfro Joshua  
Hogart William  
Dunlap Ephraim  
Ocheltree Michael  
Thomas Benjamin  
Wood John  
Finley Robert  
Wills William  
Gardner Jacob  
Ewing Samuel  
Caldwell George  
Early Jacob  
Berry James  
Moore Henley  
Anderson Jacob  
Adair John  
Robinson,Robertson James  
Hicks William  
Getgood David  
Gay Samuel  
Riddle Isaac  
Smith David  
Ross Edward  
Farris Gideon  
Womack J  
Furnham John  
Frogg William  
Milum William  
Woodward Lance  
Hughes Francis  
Henderson Daniel  
Eaton Amos  
Rouncessal David  
Douglas Samuel wounded
Duncan   killed
Berry George wounded
Reburn John  
Crabtree Abraham  
McKenzie David  
Irwin Christopher  
Cochran John  
Young James  
Meade William  
Wallace David  
Holston Stephen  
Murphy Patrick  
Talbert Isbea  
Campbell James  
Scott Matthew  
Logwood Thomas  
Preston Robert  
Campbell Robert  
Cogor Jacob  
Kidd Daniel  
Goff John  
Jones Cuthbert  
Campbell Samuel  
Markland William  
Russell Joseph  
Martin Jonathon  
Morris Gideon  
Ingram William  
Stewart Robert  
Berry James  
Smith Daniel  
Haynes William  
McClanahan John  
Arnold James  
Carlock Hanrist  
Little Andrew  
Berry Thomas  
Latham John  
Ramsey William  
Bradley James  
Lane Lambert  
Rice John  
Springer Joab  
Carney Onsby  
Crane John  
Drake Benjamin  
Rice Benjamin  
Irwin David  
Miller George  
Ramsey Thomas  
Fowler Thomas  
Smith Thomas  
Coon George  
Rice William  
Rounceval Isaac  
McFarland James  
Ross William  
Love Philip  
English David  
Tuttle James  
Rains Meredy  
Gleaves Michael  
Schultz Christian  
Ingram Samuel  
Newell James  
Bennett William  
Brooks Littleton  
Rowland Michael  
Mitchell William  
Rice William  
Williams Philip  
Harris James  
Onsbey Arthur  
Nettles William  
Harris John, Jr.  
Lane William  
Hunter David  
Ohair Michale  
Walker John  
Meads Ebenezer  
Campbell Samuel  
Hamilton Francis  
Daugherty James  
Frasly Frederick  
Edmondson William  
Carson David  
McCain James  
Steel James  
Gambell Robert  
McCormack Daniel  
Jennings Jonathon  
Parker George  
Peoples William  
Little Valentine  
Gair Samuel  
Butler Alexander  
Brown William  
Helm Leonard  
Greer James  
Ewin Samuel  
Thomas Richard  
Stephenson Robert  
McElheney Robert  
Thomas Isaac  
Craig John  
Bransteter Adam  
Dougherty Michael  
McCarthy James  
Henson William  
Rice Charles  
Henson Jesse  
Mulkey Jonathon  
Winters Moses  
Harris John, Sr.  
Beats James  
McFarland John  
Edwards Nicholas  
Kelley James  
Richardson James  
Hamilton James  
Newland George  
Williams James  
Whitner Henry  
Richardson Henry  
Muldrough John  
Francisco Michael  
Mason James  
Kendrick Solomon  
White William  
Cocke Charles  
Craig John  
McNutt Robert  
Stearns Jacob  
Simpson John  
Price Thomas  
Hoff Peter  
Rice Henry  
Lane William  
Mulkey Philip, Sr.  
Crane Lewis  
Lindsay Isaac  
Martin Samuel  
McClern James  
Smith James  
Whitner Lewis  
Calvert William  
Eason Samuel  
McDonald James  
Montgomery Samuel  
Carr William  
Gibson John  
Walker James  
Mulkey Philip, Jr.  
Cowan Andrew  
Adair John  
Cameron James  
Scott George  
Perrin Joseph  
Edwards Nicholas  
Houzshel John  
Bransteter Adam  
Deran James  
Caldwell George  
Rush Jeremiah  
Hardwicke Robert  
McReynolds Joseph  
Logan Benjamin  
Cowden Robert  
Irwin Andrew  
Gordon John  
Goldsby Thomas  
Turney Peter  
Bledsoe Anthony  
Walker John  
Williams Evan  
Piggett Edward  
Vance Jacob  

from Kingsport Times, September 3, 1940

The battle of Island Flats [on July 20, 1776 near Kingsport] was an epochal event in the frontier history of Tennessee. Stories relative to this famous Indian battle were rehearsed by the native country folk for many generations and items of minute importance were debated by the best authorities.

One important angle of the battle was the behavior of William Cocke later U. S. senator from Tennessee who had persuaded the frontiersmen to meet the Indians in open battle. Supposedly when confronted by the savage approach of Dragging Canoe’s warriors his valor weakened. Captain James Shelby, Captain William Edmondson and other brave fighters were holding the Indians at bay while their men formed a solid line of defense Meanwhile Captain Cocke and his company had retreated to the fort six miles across Eaton’s ridge.

After the battle was over and the victorious soldiers were returning to the fort they met Cocke and his men marching out to battle again. When accused of committing a cowardly act Cocke explained that he went back to the fort to defend the women and children should the pioneers have been defeated. The alibi did not remove the contempt expressed by his comrades. Charges of cowardice therefore were brought against him in the Washington county court. William Cocke was vindicated however and the case was dismissed.

In later years William Martin asked Colonel James Robertson what he thought about Cocke’s behavior Robertson replied

I never knew a man more desirous to be brave.

Perhaps Robertson was right for Cocke later proved himself to be a worthy soldier in military engagements.

Whereas Cocke bore the title of the craven in the battle of Island Flats "Elick" Moore was hailed as the hero. Tradition says that during the engagement Moore encountered a chieftain in a hand-to-hand combat. The stage for the contest was a big sink hole. Supposedly both sides momentarily stopped fighting to center their attention on the death struggle of these mighty warriors In the final moment of suspense Moore freed his right arm from the grip of his opponent seized a tomahawk and buried it in the Indian’s brain. All of the commentaries on the battle do not agree with this account depicting Moore’s valor. One writer states that while the Indians were fleeing from the onslaught of battle Moore ran upon the warrior crippled in the thigh lying in a big sink hole. Finding his prey in this helpless condition Moore finished killing him in an ostentatious manner. This writer continues by saying that he knew Moore personally and that on certain occasions he had a habit of getting drunk. While in this intoxicated condition he would entertain the inmates of the tavern by saying

I am Big Elick Moore that killed the big Indian in a big sink hole on Big Island Flats near the big island on the Holston.

While the deeds and exploits of the whites have been well preserved historians have failed to give due credit to great Indian fighters. Of all the uncompromising heroes of the Cherokee nation, Dragging Canoe deserves the greatest praise To the whites his type of vindictive warfare appeared to be cruel and savage. To the redmen it was keeping with a high code of honor. They were fighting in defense of their nation and were retaliating by taking scalps only in equal number for the warriors the whites had killed. Although the Indians killed and scalped some white women and children the white men were equally as cruel in their burning of homes and killing of Indian squaws.

In some virtues of warfare the Indians excelled the whites. They exercised greater chivalry in their treatment of women prisoners. On one occasion after Dragging Canoe and his band had been on a raiding party around Long Island they were returning to their towns with their loot and their prisoners. At one time the chief's attention was directed toward one of his company who had loitered behind with a woman captive. Dragging Canoe immediately investigated the case. When he found that the captor had abused the high honor of the Indian code he shot the transgressor dead in his tracks.

The defeat of Dragging Canoe at Island Flats did not crush the spirit of this brave Cherokee warrior. He possessed too much pride to return to his capital without something to compensate for his loss of thirteen men killed and several wounded. His warriors therefore broke up into scouting parties and began to ravage the homes of the isolated settlers on the Clinch and Holston Rivers. Thus when he did return to the Cherokee nation he brought home eighteen scalps and some much needed supplies.

One of the scalps taken however failed to add another dead man to the toll. While the Reverend Jonathan Mulkey and one of his neighbors were working In their fields in Carter’s Valley they were attacked by some of Dragging Canoe’s men. Mulkey swam the Holston River and escaped. His companion was knocked down scalped and left for dead. When Mulkey finally made his way to Eaton’s Station he learned that his scapless friend had already arrived at the fort.

Contrary to the opinion that a scalp taken always left a dead man lying on the ground source records reveal that many of these unfortunate victims were nursed back to normal health Fredrick Calvit is an outstanding example of one who suffered such treatment.

During the winter of 1776 James Rob ertson was stationed at Long Island commissioned to patrol the frontier and to protect the outlying homesteads from the ravages of Dragging Canoe’s stealthy soldiers. While Robertson was on duty at the fort the Indians came to his home and stole several of his horses. Robertson and his men immediately pursued the thieves and recovered the stolen property. In the skirmish one of his men, Calvit, fell into the hands of the marauders. He was scalped and left for dead. Found by his companions he was taken back to the fort for treatment. Dr. Patrick Vance surgeon at the fort proceeded to operate on Calvit. He also gave Robertson the following instructions for the same operation should there be no surgeon available another time:

Take a common blunt-pointed sewing awl and bore a hole into the skull until a red fluid appears on the point of the awl. Continue to bore these holes about an inch apart until the exposed surface is covered.

It took approximately two years for a patient undergoing this treatment to recover normal condition. Calvit according to authentic records did recover. How much hair grew back on his head no one knows. How much pain he suffered we can only surmise. There is one conclusion we can draw however Calvit was and is an unique example of the courage and endurance which exemplified the spirit of the rugged pioneers who built our nation.







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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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