Jean "Jenny" Sellards was born in Pennsylvania
in about 1760, the daughter of Hezekiah Sellards and (Ukn) Brevard.
The family migrated to Walkers Creek, Tazwell County, Virginia (now
Bland County, Virginia) where Jenny met and married Irish immigrant Thomas
Wiley, in 1778.
couple erected a log cabin, where their first four children were born.
(It is considered by most reputable researches that
names given to the Wiley children killed at Walkers Creek, and in captivity,
are given by tradition only, and not by documented fact.)
one fall afternoon, probably in 1789, a group of renegade Indians stormed
the Wiley cabin while Thomas was on a hunting expedition. Jenny,
expecting their fifth child, watched as her young brother and all but her
youngest child were brutally murdered. Jenny and the surviving child
were taken captive by the Indians. Shortly after the capture, that
child was also murdered, as was the child Jenny was expecting, shortly
after its birth.
many months in captivity, Jenny managed to escape and make her way to safety
at Harmons Blockhouse in Floyd (now Johnson) County, Kentucky.
She returned to Walkers Creek where she was reunited with Thomas, and began
a new family. Eventually, the Wiley family crossed the Big Sandy
once more, and settled permanently in current Johnson County, Kentucky,
near Paintsville and the blockhouse that had been her salvation after her
children were born to Jenny and Thomas after her escape. Over the
years, thousands of their descendants have been enumerated.
story is one of sheer faith, courage, determination, stamina, and tenacity
that has captured the hearts and minds of everyone who has heard her story.
join The Jenny Wiley Association in it's endeavor to unravel the details
of Jenny's period of captivity, and to identify as many descendants as
possible. It is hoped that the information we provide will at least
give our members and cousins a start in the correct direction when researching
their respective families.
you have information we can provide to others, please consider
it to us, and we will make every effort to get it out by way of the
Association newsletter, and this web site. It will be appreciated
share a heritage to be proud of; let's let the world know about it!