About Jenny (Sellards) Wiley


       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.

       The 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.)

       Late 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.

       After 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 escape.

       Five children were born to Jenny and Thomas after her escape.  Over the years, thousands of their descendants have been enumerated.

       Jenny's 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.

       Please 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.

       If you have information we can provide to others, please consider sending 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 by all.

       We share a heritage to be proud of;  let's let the world know about it!

Return to Menu

Copyright 1999 The Jenny Wiley Association -
All Rights Reserved

Contact the Webmaster
for questions/problems about this page.