Tag: evan shelby

Did my children’s ancestors fight on both sides of the War of 1812?

Did my children’s ancestors fight on both sides of the War of 1812?

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Of all the wars our ancestors have fought, the War of 1812 is the one that most interests me because I’m Canadian, and the result of this war is recognized as the birth of our nation. After researching ancestors on both sides, I’ve discovered several on Mark’s side who fought in the War of 1812, but I’m left with one unanswered question. Did my children’s ancestors fight on both sides of the War of 1812?

 

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet researched enough of my own ancestors to find any who may have fought in the War of 1812. My sister has been researching my family for years and I’ve steered clear in fear of duplicating our efforts. What a waste that would be!

I do know, however, that we are of strong Acadian ancestry, and the Acadians held very strong feelings on both sides. The Acadians who remained on the east coast, for the most part, fought for the Americans, while the Acadians who had travelled to what is now Quebec and Ontario, fought for the British.

The following are my children’s ancestors on my husband’s side who fought on the American side in the conflict.

In each of the entries below, I have noted the relationship of the individual to my children in brackets following the name. In two instances, the relationship is by adoption, but to us it’s no less important.

Judge Rezin Shelby (5th great grandfather)

Rezin Shelby served as Captain in the 1st Regiment (Denny’s) Ohio Militia during the War of 1812.

War of 1812 Minor's Claim of William B. Coon for his son.
War of 1812 Minor’s Claim of William B. Coon’s son.

Coon, William B. (5th great grandfather by adoption)

In 1813, William B. Coon was enlisted as a Private into the 36th Regiment of the New York militia regiment under Capt. S. Philmore and Major John Roberts. This regiment was commanded by Colonel Thomas Miller.

He also served from Plattsburg to Sacketts Harbour under Colonel Pike in the 15th US Infantry.

William received military bounty land of 40 acres at the SE quarter of NW quarter, Section 12 in recompense for his service in the War of 1812.

William died before he could receive his land bounty in Wisconsin, and his son David subsequently took it over and relocated there.

Adams, Alanson (5th great grandfather, by adoption)

Alanson Adams was enlisted in the 11th Infantry Regiment, under Second Lieutenant John Varnum Barron’s Company. He was shot in the leg, and as a result received a military pension.

The following is an excerpt from his obituary in the Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth of Tuesday, April 26, 1881.

“Mr. Adams is identified with the history of our country in one of the most endearing relations.  Every country venerates the memory of its soldiers.  Especially is this true of a republic, which must depend very largely on the valor and patriotism of its volunteer soldiers for defense. The deceased belongs to that noble band whom our nation delights to honor.  In early manhood, at the call of his country, he entered her service in the war of 1812.  He was in several engagements during this war, among which were the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane.  At the latter place he was wounded.  Thus another one of the few surviving heroes of this war has been laid away to that rest which no battle call, or shock —–will ever disturb.”

Captain David Shelby (sixth great grandfather)

Captain David Shelby was nephew to Governor Isaac Shelby of Kentucky, our most illustrious family member to serve in the War of 1812. David served in the First Regiment Mounted (Finley’s), Ohio Militia.

Sanford Porter, Sr. (6th great granduncle)

Sanford served in the War of 1812 with Captain Knott’s Company, Colonel Warren’s Regiment, whose headquarters were in Black Rock, four miles from Buffalo City.

This headquarters was most likely the main target when the British and Indians burned Buffalo City, resulting in Sanford’s family losing everything because they lived in Buffalo City.

Burket, Adam (1st cousin, 7 times removed)

I haven’t been able to find out much about Adam Burket beyond the fact that he served in the battle of Tippecanoe.

Biddle, Colonel Clement (4th cousin, 10 times removed)

Colonel Clement Biddle was the Captain of the State Fencibles and Colonel of the Pennsylvania First Regiment Volunteers, Light Infantry.

Governor (and General) Isaac Shelby (1st cousin, 8 times removed)

General Isaac Shelby
General Isaac Shelby

Governor Isaac Shelby of Kentucky may not be the closest ancestor who served in the War of 1812, but he is the most important and the one that interests me most.

He was renowned for and distinguished himself for his actions in battle against United Empire Loyalists in Canada in the War of 1812.

Ultimately, his forces defeated Loyalist forces at the Battle of the Thames in southern Ontario.

“In 1812, he was elected Governor of Kentucky.

Battle of the Thames of War of 1812 map.
Battle of the Thames Map

During the next year, he organized a body of four thousand volunteers, and marching with them to the support of Harrison, participated in the victory of the Thames.”

[Mililtary Heroes of the War of 1812 #2; Shelby, Isaac; Peterson, C.J.; 1848.]

As William Henry Harrison reported later of Isaac Shelby’s Kentucky troops’ actions to his right, “The American backwoodsmen ride better in the woods than any other people….”

“I heard a heavy firing of musketry and shortly after saw our dragoons retreating together with the limber of the six-pounder, placed on the left of the first line,’ wrote Lieutenant Richard Bullock, commander of the Grenadier Company. “About a minute afterward, I observed that line retreating in confusion, followed closely by the enemy’s cavalry, who were galloping down the road. That portion of the first line which had escaped the enemy’s cavalry retreated behind the second line which stood fast and fired an irregular volley to the right and left, which appeared to check the enemy.”

Militia Order of Isaac Shelby of July 31, 1813
Militia Order of July 31, 1813

Despite the determination of the British to hold fast, the charge by the Kentuckians was too strong. It was one of only two such cavalry charges in the War of 1812. Of the British troops who fought against Shelby’s company, 50 escaped and 477 surrendered.

The action on the American left, against the Indians, took longer and was more hazardous than the fight against the Redcoats, the Americans in this group riding into battle with each man carrying a rifle, a hatchet and a knife.

At one point, many of the troops to the left were on foot and were fighting the Indians hand to hand, knife to knife.

Isaac Shelby's Medal
Isaac Shelby’s Medal

Sixty-six year old Isaac Shelby saw what was happening and rushed forward with his sword raised, shouting, “Surrender! Surrender! It’s no use resisting.” They surrendered.

“The enthusiasm with which the volunteers of Kentucky rallied to the defense of their country in the summer of 1813, is to be attributed in a great measure to the influence of Isaac Shelby, the venerable Governor of that state. He joined the army of Harrison with four thousand Kentuckians, and fought in person, at the age of sixty-three, in the battle of the Thames. For his valuable services in this campaign, Congress, on the 4th of April, 1818, voted him a gold medal.”

[Military Heroes of the War of 1812; Shelby, Evan; Peterson, C.J.; 1848.]

Evan Shelby (2nd cousin, 7 times removed)

Evan Shelby served as Aide-de-Camp to Governor Isaac Shelby in the Upper Canada campaign.

Marquis Shelby (2nd cousin, 7 times removed)

War of 1812 Service Record of Marquis D. Shelby
Did my children’s ancestors fight on both sides of the War of 1812?

Marquis de Lafayette Shelby was Sergeant in Nixon’s Regiment, Captain Washington Darden’s Detachment of the Mississippi Territory Militia under Colonel George H. Nixon.

Cadwallader, General Thomas (3rd cousin, 10 times removed)

“During the war of 1812 he was a lieutenant-colonel of cavalry, and he was afterward appointed to command the advanced light-brigade. Under General Cadwalader’s training these troops became remarkable for their efficiency and discipline. In 1812 he was appointed major-general of the 1st division of Pennsylvania militia. private soldier in a cavalry troop, and was one of the ringleaders of the insurrection.”

[Famous American Biographies, online http://famousamericans.net/thomascadwalader/]

Adams, John Quincy, Future President of the United States (16th cousin, 6 times removed)

In 1809, John Quincy Adams was sent by the President to be the representative of the United States to Russia. His arrival coincided with the Tsar’s decision to break with Napoleon.

As a result, Adams was well received.

At the outset of the War of 1812, he was still at St Petersburg and in September of that year, the Tsar offered to act as mediator in the conflict. The President accepted his offer and sent James Bayard and Albert Gallatin to act as commissioners with Mr Adams, but England wanted none of it.

In August of 1814, however, these men, Henry Clay and Jonathan Russell, started to negotiate with English commissioners, resulting in the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on the 24th of December of that year, effectively ending the War of 1812.


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Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky

Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky

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Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky is the grandson of the original immigrant from Wales, Evan (Dhu) Shelby (Selby), who is eighth great grandfather to my children, Erin and Stuart; the son of Brigadier General Evan Shelby, who is the son of Evan (Dhu) and seventh great granduncle to my children; and is therefore first cousin eight times removed from my children.

Although not a direct ancestor of my husband, Marshall Mark (Mark) Blythe or our children, Isaac Shelby is of great interest to us for a couple of reasons. First, he was renowned for and distinguished himself for his actions in battle against United Empire Loyalists in Canada in the War of 1812, ultimately defeating Loyalist forces at the Battle of the Thames in southern Ontario. We are also related to and are descended from Loyalists who settled in this area. For a lengthy period of time, we lived in Trenton, Ontario which is located in the area of Loyalist activities and battles against American forces. This area is steeped in this history and it is still considered to be an honor to be from a Loyalist lineage.

Marshall Matthews Blythe
Marshall Matthews Blythe
Portrait of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky.
Portrait of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky.

Second, because Isaac Shelby is so revered in history, there are accurate portraits of him during the latter period of his life available. Upon comparing portraits of him with recent pictures of my father-in-law, Marshall Matthews Blythe (father to my husband Mark and grand-father to my children Erin and Stuart), the resemblance between them is quite remarkable. For clarification, Isaac is first cousin six times removed to my father-in-law.

Isaac Shelby (December 11, 1750 – July 18, 1826) was a revered and decorated soldier and the first Governor of Kentucky.

The son of Brigadier General Evan and Letitia (Cox) Shelby, Isaac was born December 11, 1750 near North Mountain, Frederick (now Washington) County, Maryland.

Having been raised with the use of arms, he became proficient at an early age and was very familiar with and accustomed to the hardships and stresses of frontier life. Isaac worked on his father’s plantation. However, having received an education, he was occasionally employed as a surveyor and also as Deputy Sheriff.

About 1773, the Shelby family moved to the Holston region of Southwest Virginia, now East Tennessee, where they established a new home. A timeline of Isaac Shelby’s military and political career thereafter is as follows:

1774

  • Isaac Shelby served at the Battle of Point Pleasant as a Lieutenant under his father, Brigadier General Evan Shelby, in the Fincastle Company on October 10.
  • Second in command of the garrison of Fort Blair (until July 1775), which was built on the site of the battle. An uprising of the Shawnee and Delaware Indians compelled Isaac to take up arms and he served as a Lieutenant under his father Brigadier Evan Shelby in the Battle of Point Pleasant in West Virginia.
  • He fought in the Battle of Kenhawa of 10 October. This was believed to be the most severely contested campaign ever fought with the north-western Indians.

1775

  • After July of 1775, he visited Kentucky and surveyed lands for the Transylvania Company.
  • After returning to Kentucky due to failing health, he became involved in the Battle of Long Island Flats.
  • At the first onset of the Indians, the American lines were broken and Shelby, who was there only as a volunteer Private, seized command, reformed the troops, and severely defeated the Indians.

1776

  • In July he was appointed by the Virginia Committee of Safety to the position of Captain of a company of minute men. However, he was not called into service.

1777

  • Governor Patrick Henry promoted Shelby to Captain and made him Commissary-General of the Virginia forces.
  • He attended the Long Island Treaty with the Cherokees, which was finalized at Fort Patrick Henry on July 20, 1777, at which his father was one of the Virginia commissioners.

1778

  • Helped to provide supplies for the Continental Army and for the expedition projected by General McIntosh against Detroit and the Ohio Indians.

1779

  • Provided boats for Clark’s Illinois campaign and collected and provided supplies upon his own personal credit for the successful campaign waged about the same time against the Chickamauga Indians.
  • In the spring he was elected as a member for Washington County of the Virginia legislature.
  • In the fall, Governor Thomas Jefferson made him a Major in the escort of guards for the commissioners appointed to run the western boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina. By the extension of that line, his residence was found to be within the limits of North Carolina.
  • He resigned his commission, but was at once appointed Colonel of Sullivan County by Governor Caswell.

1780

  • Upon receiving news of the fall of Charleston on May 12th, he returned home to an urgent summons for help from Colonel Charles McDowell.
  • He organized a force and about July 25, he joined McDowell at the Cherokee Ford, South Carolina.
  • On July 30, Shelby captured the major Loyalist stronghold, Thicketty Fort (Fort Anderson), at the head of the Pacolet River. On August 8, his command successfully repulsed a party sent by Major Ferguson at the second Battle of Cedar Springs.
  • Upon receipt of the report of General Gates’ defeat at Camden on August 16, operations under McDowell and Shelby were halted.
  • On August 18, he was largely responsible for the victory at Battle of Musgrove’s Mill on the north side of the Enoree River.
  • As a result of a threatening message dispatched by Ferguson, Shelby held even greater resentment and determination and in consequence, with the assistance of John Sevier and others, he organized and conducted the expedition against Ferguson.
  • On October 7, they overwhelmingly defeated Ferguson’s combined Provincial and Loyalist force in the Battle of King’s Mountain.

1781

  • Shelby has also been credited with the plan for the attack, which led to the Battle of the Cowpens on January 17.
  • In February, the legislature of North Carolina adopted resolutions of thanks to Shelby and his compatriots for their services at King’s Mountain.
  • Similar resolutions were adopted by the Continental Congress on November 13.
  • As a result of repeated uprisings by Cherokee Indians during the first half of the year, it was impractical to send forces from there to assist.
  • A treaty with the Cherokees was negotiated on July 20.
  • In October, upon receipt of a delayed message of appeal, Shelby raised 500 mounted riflemen and was accompanied by Colonel John Sevier in command of 200 more.
  • He marched to join Greene, by whose order they reported to General Marion on the Santee.
  • The joint command of Shelby and Colonel Hezekiah Maham, of the Carolina dragoons, contributed greatly to the capture of a strong British post at Fair Lawn, near Monck’s Corner, South Carolina on November 27.
  • Meanwhile, having been elected a member of the North Carolina legislature and having obtained a leave of absence, he attended the sessions in December.

1782

  • Reelected to the North Carolina Assembly, he attended the legislative sessions held at Hillsboro in April.
  • He was appointed one of three commissioners to superintend the laying off of the land south of the Cumberland River allotted by North Carolina for military service in the Revolution.

1783

  • Completed the laying off of the land south of the Cumberland River.
  • He relocated to Kentucky, where he was married to Susannah Hart, daughter of Captain Nathaniel Hart, at Boonesborough on April 19, by whom he had eleven children.
  • Appointed a Trustee of Transylvania Seminary (later Transylvania University).
  • Chairman of the convention of militia officers held at Danville on Nov. 7-8 (was also a member 1787-1789).

1787

  • In January 1791, he was appointed a member of the Board of War, which was created by Congress for the District of Kentucky, and was charged with providing for the defense of the frontier settlements mounting punitive expeditions against the Indians.
  • For several years he served as High Sheriff of Lincoln County.

1792

  • Member of the convention (April 2-19) which framed the first constitution of Kentucky.
  • In May he was elected Governor, taking office on June 4 and serving four years.
  • During his administration many events of importance to the infant commonwealth occurred, not the least being the part it took, under Shelby, in supporting Wayne’s campaigns against the Indians in the Northwest Territory.

1796

  • At the close of his term, he declined reelection.

1796-1812

  • Retired from service.

1812

  • Elected Governor of Kentucky a second time in August.
  • He actively participated in the planning and preparation for war.

1813

  • With a sword presented to him by Henry Clay as voted by the legislature of North Carolina for his gallantry at King’s Mountain 32 years before, Shelby assembled and personally led 4,000 Kentucky volunteers to join General Harrison in the Northwest for the invasion of Canada, resulting in the defeat of the Loyalists on October 5 at the Battle of the Thames.

1817

  • He was given the portfolio of War in March by President Monroe, but declined due to his age.

1818

  • Isaac Shelby was awarded a gold medal by Congress on April 4 in recognition of his patriotic and heroic services.
  • Shelby and General Andrew Jackson were commissioned to hold a treaty with the Chickasaw Indians for the purchase of their lands west of the Tennessee River.
  • He was President of the first Kentucky Agricultural Society, formed at Lexington in 1818.

1819

  • He was Chairman of the first Board of Trustees of Center College, founded in 1819 at Danville, Kentucky.
Governor Isaac Shelby - Traveler's Rest Burying Ground Plaque
Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky – Traveler’s Rest Burying Ground Plaque.

1826

  • After his death on July 18, he was buried at his historic home, “Traveller’s Rest,” and a monument was erected over his grave by the state of Kentucky. Counties in nine states have been named Shelby in his honor. __________ An account of Governor Isaac Shelby by Samuel M. Wilson is as follows:

 

Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky - Grave Marker.
Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky – Grave Marker.

“In person, Shelby was of a sturdy and well-proportioned frame, slightly above medium height, with strongly marked features and florid complexion. He had a hardy constitution capable of enduring protracted labor, great privations, and the utmost fatigue. Habitually dignified and impressive in bearing, he was, however, affable and winning. A soldier born to command, he nevertheless evidenced a high degree of political sagacity and executive ability. Numerous difficulties confronted him during his first administration, when the new government was passing through its formative stage, and much depended on the choice of officials then made by the executive. Shelby exhibited rare selective intelligence and an extraordinary mastery both of men and measures. Kentucky at this time experienced constant dread of the occlusion by Spain of the Mississippi River, and use was made of this situation by designing men to promote speculative ventures and political schemes hostile to the true interests of both Kentucky and the Union. Through it all, Shelby pursued a wise and moderate course which baffled the plots of all conspirators and held Kentucky firmly to her federal moorings. During his second administration, the pressure of the war with Great Britain fell with extraordinary and unremitting severity upon the state, and he showed himself not only a prudent and farseeing counselor, but an active, resourceful, and patriotic leader. His energy, determination, and perseverance knew no bounds, and his devotion to duty was unflagging.”

You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site are available for free access and download.

Sources:

  1. Shelby, John Todd: KERR, C. ed. History of Kentucky, v. 3-5, 1922 #4.
  2. History of Michigan; Moore, C.; v. 2-4; 1915; Shelby, William Read.
  3. Family Data Collection – Births; Shelby, Alfred, 1765.
  4. Family Data Collection – Individual Records; Shelby, Nancy, 1792.
  5. 1860 US Census; Shelby, John Warren, b. 1835; PO Lexington; Roll M653_365; Pg 0.
  6. Shelby, Isaac Flournoy: KERR, C. ed. History of Kentucky, v. 3-5, 1922.
  7. The Pioneer Mothers of America 1; Shelby, Susannah Hart; Green, H.C. and M.W.; 3 v., 1912.
  8. American Biographical and Historical Dictionary; Shelby, Isaac; Allen (W); 1832.
  9. Military Heroes of the War of 1812; Shelby, Evan; Peterson, C.J.; 1848.
  10. Eminent Americans; Shelby, Isaac; Lossing, B.J.; 1857.
  11. National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans; Shelby, Isaac; 4v.; 1865.
  12. Dictionary of American Biography; Shelby, Isaac; Drake, F.S.; 1870.
  13. Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the US…; Shelby, Isaac; Lanman, C.; 1876.
  14. Biographical Encyclopaedia of Kentucky; Shelby, Isaac; 1878.
  15. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography; Shelby, Isaac; v.1-13; 1898, 1893-1909.
  16. Harper’s Encyclopaedia of American History; Shelby, Isaac; 10v.; 1902.
  17. Century Cyclopedia of Names; Shelby, Isaac; 1904.
  18. Herringshaw’s National Library of American Biography; Shelby, Isaac; Herringshaw, T.W.; 5v.; 1909-14.
  19. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army…; Shelby, Isaac; 1775, to… 1783; new, rev. & enl. ed. 1914.
  20. History of Kentucky; Shelby, Isaac; Kerr, C. ed.; v.3-5; 1922.
  21. An American Biographical and Historical Dictionaryy; Shelby, Isaac; Allen, W.; 2nd ed.; 1832.
  22. US Army Historical Register; Shelby, Isaac; 1789-1903; Vol. 1.
  23. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography; Shelby, Evan; 6 vol.; 1888.
  24. 1820 US Census; Shelby, Isaac; 1750; Roll No. M33_25; Pg 59; Image No. 38.
  25. Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1500s-1900s; Shelby, Isaac.
  26. Settlers of Maryland 1679 – 1783; Consolidated Edition; Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.; 2002; Pg 597.
  27. Kentucky Land Grants, Shelby, Isaac; Jillson, Willard Rouse; The Kentucky Land Grants, Vol. I-II, Louisville, KY: Filson Club Publications, 1925.
  28. US and International Marriage Record; Shelby, Isaac b 1750; 1560-1900.
  29. Shelby, Isaac; KY Historical Society: http://kentucky.gov/kyhs/hmdb/MarkerSearch.aspx?mode=Subject&subject=185. KW-N-399-3.
  30. Dictionary of American Biography; Shelby, Isaac.
  31. DAR; Mrs. Maria Shelby Tevis Field; DAR ID Number 7785; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; Vol. 8; Pg 265.
  32. DAR; Anna Stein Shelby (Annie Shelby Darbishire); National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number; Vol. 11; Pg 182.
  33. DAR; Mrs. Alice McDowell Shelby Riddle; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 16130; Vol. 17, Pg 51.
  34. DAR; Mrs. Katherine Shelby Scott; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 18004; Vol. 19; Pg 3.
  35. DAR; Miss Katharine Shelby Todd; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 25234; Vol. 26; Pg 83.
  36. DAR; Mrs. Laura Shelby Fisher; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number; Vol. 42; Pg 154.
  37. DAR; Mrs. Mary P. Shelby Napton; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 62264; Vol. 63, Pg 87.
  38. DAR; Miss Christine Shelby; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 68811; Vol. 69; Pg 291.
  39. DAR; Miss Shelby Walker Patton; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 83679; Vol. 84; Pg 263.
  40. DAR; Miss Susan Shelby Taylor; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 85134; Vol. 86; Pg 51.
  41. DAR; Mrs. Ann Shelby Magoffin Austin; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number; Vol. 114; Pg 141.
  42. “Soldiers of the American Revolution from Franklin County,”  database, Ancestry.com http://search.ancestry.com; extracted from  (N.p.:n.p.n.d.).Revolutionary Soldiers in Kentucky p. 174.74.
  43. Shelby Historical Data (Chronology for Evan Shelby, Jr. and Letitia Cox), online http://images.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.trolinger.com, accessed.


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Brig. Gen. Evan Shelby Jr. of Tregaron, Wales

Brig. Gen. Evan Shelby Jr. of Tregaron, Wales

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Brig. Gen. Evan Shelby Jr. of Tregaron, Wales.

Brig. Gen. Evan Shelby Jr., born in 1725 in Tregaron, Ceredigion, Wales to Evan (Dhu) Shelby (Selby) and his wife Catherine Morgan and was baptised in St. Caron’s church. This Evan Shelby’s birth is frequently confused with that of his earlier brother Evan, who was born in 1720 and died as an infant in 1721.

Tregaron, CeredigionEvan and his family immigrated to America from Tregaron, Wales in approximately 1735, when he was about ten years of age, and settled in what was later called Antrim Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

In 1739, they moved into Prince George’s (later Frederick) County, Maryland where his father died in July 1751.

Evan Jr. continued to reside in Maryland, near the North Mountain, Frederick County (now a part of Washington County) where he obtained by either deed or patent nearly 24,000 acres of land. He became interested in the Indian fur trade and was concerned in trading posts at Michilimackinac and Green Bay.

On February 26, 1745, Evan Jr. purchased property from his father, called “Maiden’s Choice” in Prince George County, Maryland.

Evan married Letitia (Leddy) Cox (Coxe) on December 4, 1745 at Kings Meadow. They had seven children: Rachel, born 1745; Susannah, born 1746; John, born 1748; Governor Isaac Shelby, born 1750; James, born 1752; Catherine, born 1755; Major Evan Shelby III, born 1757; and Moses, born 1761.

In his publication “The Birthplace and Childhood Home of Isaac Shelby in Washington County, Maryland”, 1972, Gerald J Sword describes how  Evan and Letitia Shelby lost the fight for their land (part of “Maidens Choice”) to Dr Charles Carroll. It’s not clear who aptly renamed the land to “Shelby’s Misfortune”.

Mr. Sword states:

“…The reason for Letitia to appear in court was to answer charges that she instructed their ‘Dutch servant man’ to cut down and burn the tree marking the beginning point of this land.

In June 1754, Shelby gave a recognizance of 6,000 lbs of tobacco for the appearance of his wife to answer the charges against her in the Frederick Co. Court. The case was continued from time to time until the June court of 1758:

“A suit on behalf of the Lord Proprietary vs Letitia Shelby for destroying a bound tree for a tract of land belonging to Dr Carroll, when it was ‘maked struck off after 15 continuances…”

Evan’s great skill as a hunter and woodsman led to his appointment as Captain of a company of Rangers in the French and Indian War, during which year he made several successful expeditions into the Allegheny Mountains.

He fought many battles in what is called Braddock’s War and was noted for his performance in the battle fought at Loyal Hanning, now Bedford, Pennsylvania.

During the French and Indian War, Evan participated in General Edward Braddock’s campaign in 1755 and laid out part of the road from Fort Frederick to Fort Cumberland. He led the advance of the army under General Forbes, which took possession of Fort Du Quesne in 1758.

Having served as First Lieutenant in Captain Alexander Beall’s company 1757 to 1768, he was commissioned by Governor Sharpe of Maryland as Captain of a company of rangers, and also held a commission as Captain under the government of Pennsylvania. He was in the advance party of the force under General John Forbes, which took possession of Fort Duquesne in 1758, and crossed the Ohio River with more than half his company of scouts, making a daring reconnaissance of the fort.

On November 12, 1758, near Loyalhanna, he is said to have slain with his own hand one of the principal Indian chiefs.

In the same war, he served later as Major of a detachment of the Virginia regiment.

For several years after the conflict, Evan was a Justice of the Peace.

In May 1762, he was chosen one of the Managers for Maryland of the Potomac Company. He sustained heavy losses in the Indian trade from the ravages growing out of Pontiac’s Conspiracy of 1763, and most of his property in Maryland was subjected to sale for the satisfaction of his debts.

Hoping to better his fortune he moved, probably in 1773, to Fincastle County in southwest Virginia, where he engaged in farming, merchandising, and cattle ranching. He again became a prosperous landowner and influential frontier leader.

In 1774, he commanded the Fincastle Company in Dunmore’s War, and in the battle of Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774, he succeeded near the close of the action to the chief command as a result of the death or disability of his superior officers and he utterly routed the enemy.

His son, Isaac, served under his command as his Lieutenant in the Battle of Point Pleasant, which he was instrumental in winning. Isaac commanded the fort there until July, 1775, when his troops were disbanded by Lord Dunmore.

After returning to Kentucky due to failing health, he became involved in the Battle of Long Island Flats. At the first onset of the Indians, the American lines were broken, and then Shelby, present only as a volunteer Private, seized the command, reformed the troops, and defeated the Indians, with the loss of only two badly wounded men.

This battle, and John Sevier’s defence of Watauga, frustrated the rear attack by which the British hoped to envelop and crush the southern colonies.

In 1776, he was appointed by Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia a Major in the troops commanded by Colonel William Christian against the Cherokees, and on December 21, he became Colonel of the militia of the County of Washington, of which he was also a magistrate.

In 1777, he was entrusted with the command of sundry garrisons posted on the frontier of Virginia, and in association with Preston and Christian, negotiated a treaty with the Cherokees.

When Sevier, in 1779, projected the expedition that captured the British stores at Chickamauga, Shelby equipped and supplied the troops by the pledge of his individual credit. In this year he was commissioned a Major by Governor Thomas Jefferson, but, when the state line was run, his residence was found to be in North Carolina. He then resigned his commission, but was at once appointed Colonel of Sullivan County by Caswell.

He was in Kentucky, perfecting his title to lands he had selected on his previous visit, when he heard of the fall of Charleston and the desperate situation of affairs in the southern colonies. He at once returned to engage in active service and, crossing the mountains into South Carolina in July, 1780, he won victories over the British at Thicketty Fort, Cedar Springs, and Musgrove’s Mill. But, as the disastrous defeat at Camden occurred just before the last engagement, he was obliged to retreat across the Alleghanies. There he undertook with John Sevier the remarkable expedition which resulted in the Battle of King’s Mountain and turned the tide of the revolution. For this important service he and Sevier received the thanks of the North Carolina legislature, and the vote of a sword and a pair of pistols.

As a result of the new boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina, it was discovered that his residence was in North Carolina, and in 1781, he was elected a member of its Senate. Five years later, the Carolina Assembly made him Brigadier General of the militia of the Washington District of North Carolina, the first officer of that grade on the “Western Waters”.

In March 1787, as commissioner for North Carolina, he negotiated a temporary truce with Col. John Sevier, Governor of the insurgent and short-lived “State of Franklin”.

In August 1787, he was elected Governor of the “State of Franklin” to succeed Sevier but declined. Having resigned his post as Brigadier General on October 29,1787, he withdrew from public life.

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Transcription: Will of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky.

Transcription: Will of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky.

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The following is my transcription of the will of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky.

 

WILL OF ISAAC SHELBY, SR.

 

First GOVERNOR or KENTUCKY

 

Governor Isaac Shelby died July 18, 1826. His will is of record in the Lincoln County Court. The Filson Club has a photostatic copy of the will which consists of 15 pages, all handwritten, and was “Signed sealed and acknowledged before” John Hart and Isaac S. Hart. The date of the will has been obliterated by a blot, but on the back of the last page appears this notation:

 

Isaac Shelby Sr.

Will

 

1826 November 13th

Returned into Court &

proven by the oaths of

John Hart & Isaac S. Hart

& ordered to be recorded

& Evan Shelby Isaac

Shelby and Alfred Shelby

three of the Executors

therein named made

Oaths as the law directs

& executed bond in

the penalty of $10000

[with] James Shelby & John

securitys. leave

[granted] for Thomas

[H. Shelby] to qualify at

[a future] period sho

uld he think

proper

 

The will by pages, with punctuation, capitalization, and spelling unchanged, reads as follows:

In the name of God Amen. I Isaac Shelby of Lincoln County Kentucky being of sound mind and memory well advanced in life and calling to minde the unsertainty of this life and that it is appointed for all men to die—I do hereby make and ordain this to be my last will and testament

First. I commit my sole to God who gave it not doubting but at

793

 

the general resurrection it will unite again with my boddy, and stand before the awful bar of him who will Judge the world in righteousness.

Item; I owne several tracks of land on the waters of Hickman creak in Feyett Countyiadjoining together makeing in the whole about three thousand acres, which I conveyed in June last by deed of gift to my two Sons James Shelby and Thomas H. Shelby as by reference to said deed of gift will more fully appear but if any

thing

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

2

thing farther shall be deamed necessary to invest in them and their heirs, a title to the same lands I do hereby bequeath to my two said sons James Shelby and Thomas H. Shelby the land on which they live and to their heirs forever to be divided between them agreeable to said deed of gift the same being two settlements and preemptions, and a small Militerry Survey of about one hundred, and seventy acres.

Item I do hereby give and bequeath to my son James Shelby; the several slaves and their increas which I have heartofore put into his possession.

Item. Itdo hereby give and bequeath to my son Thomas H Shelby and his heirs, the several slaves and their increas which I have put into his possession

Item. I give to My son Evan Shelby all that part of the whole tract of land whereon I live, towit, Beginning on my line, at a point due South from the mouth of Harris’s Creek, thence North from

the

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

3

the said point to the mouth of Harris’s Creek, thence up the middle of the Noblick fork to the mouth of the folling branch: thence up the said folling branch to the upper fork thereof—thence a direct line to a Beech, Ash, and cherry trees, marked as a corner, at the fence between his plantation and the one on which I live; and on the South Side of the oald mill road; thence along the West side of the fence that now divides his plantation from my own to the great road leading from Stanford to the Noblick; thence the course of the same division fence continued, untill it intersects the Northwardly line of the land I live on; all the land which I claim East of the above discribed lines; I give to my said son Evan Shelby and his heirs forever

794

 

Item. I give and bequeath to my said son Evan Shelby two Hundred acres; of my Oake land next to the Nobs; Beginning at a double white Oak the southwest corner of the land I purchased from Abram

Bowman

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

4

Bowman, thence Northwardly along bowmans, line to a large White oak at the foot of the Nobs; thence eastwardly; along a nothen line of the land I purchased from said Bowman; so fare as that a line running paralely line to the first line will include the quantity of two Hundred Acres Item. I do give and bequeath to my son Evan Shelby and his Heirs forever the several Slaves and their increas which I have heretofore put into his possession.

Item. I give and bequeath to My son Isaac Shelby and his Heirs, forever a tract of land which I owne in Washington County; near the Heade of Plesant Run; Adjoining the land of Thos. Bland on the East, and Thos Harrison on the West; lying on both sides of the great road leding to the Town of Leabennon. Which after paying the One Hundred Acres that I gave to George Young for which he

has

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

5

has my Obbligation; the ressidue will amount to about Five hundred and fifty Acres; More or less—I also give to my son Isaac Shelby and his Heirs forever my tract of land on Harris’s Creak in Lincoln County; which I purchased from Robt Dobson; and William Sampson Containing both together by computation about three Hundred Acres be the same more or less

Item. I give to My said son Isaac Shelby and his Heirs; forever the plantation whereon he lives. Beginning on My Suthern boundrey at a pinte due south from the mouth of Harris’s Creek where it empties into the Noblick fork. thence North to the mouth of Harris’s Creek. thence up the middle of the Noblick fork to the mouth of Whiteoak Creek; thence up the White Oak Creek; to the East side of the Two Hundred acres herein before bequeathed to

my

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

6

my Son Evan Shelby and with his line Suthardly to my Suthern

795

 

boundery and with the same to the beginning. be the same more or less.

Item. Whereas the land bequeath to Isaac Shelby is not equal in value to the land bequeathed to my other Sons I do therefore now bequeath to my said son Isaac Shelby; two thousand Dollars of the Specia now in my possession including a bond which I have on John

Hart for Eight Hundred Dollars Assined to me by James Shelby; which the said James has promised to take up if said Hart does not pay the money on demand.

Item I give and bequeath to my son Alfred Shelby and his Heirs forever all the residue of my tract of land, including the plantation whereon I live, be the same more or less—-but if my said son

Alfred

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

7

Alfred Shelby dies without Heirs lawfully begotten of his Owne Boddy then and in that case it is my positive will and desire that the land so bequeathed to him as aforesaid; including the plantation whereon I live; shall at his death decend to and be the property of my Two grand sons Isaac Shelby and John Shelby the sons of Evan Shelby of Lincoln County.

Item. I give and bequeat to my Son Alfred Shelby and his Heirs forever all the Slaves now in my possession towit. Oald Rachel, Celia, Mary and her Child little Rachael, Beck, Moses, Aron, Jeffery; Sarah, George, Sharp, Alleck, Judy, Jessy, Ritter, John, Sam, Harrison, little Beck, Abram, and Bob, Oald Silvy and Jo, Isaac, and little George, Kitchen Silvy, Charlotte, Anna, Addom, Fed, Dolly,

Annica

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

8

Annica, and her childe Ambrose and their increase forever Eight or ten of whome are now past labour.

Item. I give and bequeath to my Daughter Sally McDowell and her Heirs forever a tract of land lying in Murcer County Caled Robards place Which I heartofore transfured to her and Epram McDowell her Husband by Deed of gift—I also hereby confurm to my said daughter Sally McDowell; and her Heirs, the title to the Nine Slaves which I heartofore gave her and put into her possession.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Susannah Shannon, My tract of land that I purchased from Thomas Hart on the waters

796

 

of Elckhorne being part of Lewis’s Milatary Survey Containing five Hundred Acres more or less

I and

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

9

and I hearby confirm to my Daughter Susannah the title to the several Slaves I have heartofore put into her possession

Item. I bequeath to my Son James Shelby five Hundred Acres of land; on the waters of Fox Run Shelby County,‘ in Trust for the sole use and benefit of my Daughter Lettitia Todd and it is my farther will and desire that at the death of my said Daughter Lettitia Todd the said five Hundred Acres of land shall desend to, and be equally devided between her children.

Item. I hearby exonorate and discharge Charles S. Tod from the payment of Six Thousand Nine Hundred and Nine Dollars and Ninety Eight cents and Interest from the 21st of Aprile 1820. That I loaned to him, as by his statement, of that date will appear which said sum Together with one thousand dollars in cash, and Furniture, which I gave to my said daughter Lettitia at her marriage; and the further sum of Five Thousand Dollars for which I gave my said

Daughter Lettitia a check upon

the

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

10

the bank of Kentucky, (when the bank was paying Specia for her notes) a fiew weaks after her marriage with said Todd. with the further sum of Six Hundred Dollars, which I paid her in lieu for one of the six Negrows I gave her at her marriage; and also of the Sum of [Four] thousand Dollars; which said Charles S. [Todd] received for Five Hundred acres of land in [M]a[di]son County which I gave to my said Daughter Lettitia at her marriage and also the further sum of Forty Shears of Bank Stock; in the Kentucky banck. which several sums and Five Valuable Slaves I gave my said daughter Lettitia worth Three Thousand dollars Amounts to Twenty Five Thousand Dollars Exclusive of stock farming utentials, &,&,&c and is more than I have bean able to give to any other one of my Daughters;

I owne one Hundred and Twenty three shears of Stock of the Banck of Kentucky which I devide among my Family as follows,

Item. I bequeath to my beloved wife Susannah

Shelby

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

797

 

11

Shelby Twenty Five shears of my said Stock of the Banck of Kentucky.

Item. I give and bequeathe to my Daughter Sally McDowell; twenty Five shears of my said banck stock.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Evan Shelby Twenty Five shears of my said banck stock.

Item. I give and bequeath to my [said daughter] Susan Shannon; Twenty Five shears of my sd banck stock

Item. I give and bequeath to my said Son Alfred Shelby; all the residue of my banck stock; amounting to Twenty Three shears

Item. I give and bequeath to my Grand Son Isaac Son of James Shelby my negrow Boy named Patrick.

Item. I give and bequeath to my Grand Son Isaac Son of Thomas H. Shelby my negrow Girle Martha

Item I [g]ive and bequeath to my Grand Son Isaac son of Evan Shelby my negrow,boy Dennis

Item I give and bequeath to my said Son Evan Shelby two Thousand Dollars in specia, to Educate his son

James

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

12

James Shelby for any one of the learned profeshions, for which he may be deamed most Capable. I owned a Bond on William Aken and others, for upwards of Twelve Hundred Dollars, with Three years Interest. Which I hearby give and bequeath to my Dauthers Sally

Mc[D0well] and Susan Shannon to be devided [between them] as follows towit. Sally McDowell [shall] receive Five Hundred Dollars of the said bond, and Susan Shannon shall receive the residue

Item. I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Mary McDowell My Lot of Ground, in the Town of Danville, which I purchased of James Birney

Item. I hearby confirme to my said Son Isaac Shelby, the title to Six Slaves which I heartofore put into his possession

Item. I give and bequeath to my Son James Shelby my Gold Hilted Sword presented to me by the State of North Carolina, for servises in the ware of the revolution

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved Wife Susannah Shelby My Gold Meddal presented

to

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

798

 

13

to me by the Congress of the United States for Servises in the late ware against Brittain to be given by Her to such of my descendants as she may think most Worthy of it.

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved Wife Susannah Shelby all my Hous hold furniture, and Plate of every discription

Item. I also give to my beloved wife all my Stock of Horses, mules, Cattle, Sheap [blot, and paper eaten away]

Item. I give and bequeath to my [said son Alfred] Shelby my library of Books

Item. Whatever money may remain in my possession at my dissease over and above what will discharge the Legacies herein before made, Shall be Equally divided between my Wife Susannah Shelby and Alfred Shelby.

Item. I bequeath to my Son Evan Shelby my Spy Glass

Item I lend to my beloved Wife the plantation whereon I now live together with all the Slaves now in my possession, and the Farming Utentials for and dureing her life. When they Shall desend to my son Alfred Shelby and his Heirs

Item

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

14

Item. I give and bequeath all the residue of My esstate both real, and persinal, to my Son Alfred Shelby It is my positive Will and desire; that there shall be no apprasment nor publick Sale of any part of my Esstate after my dissease

Item I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Susa [blot, and paper eaten away] A likely young rideing Ma[re] (blot) to her by my Executors when [she] comes of Age, or marries.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Evan Shelby my Silver Headed Cane, and Silver Spurs

Item. I give and bequeath to my Son Thomas H. Shelby, my long Silver headed Bamboo Cane

Item I give and bequeath to my Son Isaac Shelby My Short Silver Headed Cane

Item I give and bequeath to my Grand Son Isaac Shelby Todd my Gold Headed dark Colered Cane And lastly I do hearby appoint my said

five

[Signed] Isaac Shelby

799

 

15

five Sons to-wit, James Shelby, Evan Shelby, Thomas H. Shelby, Isaac Shelby and Alfred Shelby or either of them, Executors of this my last Will and Testament contained on the foregoing fifteen pages in testimony whereof I have [hearto] setmy hand [and] Seal this

[blot, and paper gone]

____________in the Year of o [blot, and paper gone]

[Signed] Isaac Shelby                      Seal

Signed Sealed and

acknowledged before us

Memo.

That the word “two”

between the 8th & 9th line

in the 6th page and the

word “two” in the last

line in [the 11th] page

being Interlined before

signed

 

John Hart [Signed]

 

Isaac S. Hart [Signed] __

800

___________________

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