General Information Queries - (continued)

  • 12.  Has a lead mine ever been located in the area?

  • **ANSWER:
    No lead mine has ever been discovered in this area, to my knowledge, in recent years, although its existence was common knowledge to older residents living in the Big Sandy valley.  The home manufacture of lead musket balls became a lost art several generations ago, and this may account for  the mines loss to modern folks.  It was simply no longer of great importance to anyone.  It is said by some that the reason it has not been found is that most folks in this area today would not recognize lead ore if they stumbled upon a truck load scattered along the Interstate!  And that certainly includes me.  And too, there are still some very remote areas remaining in the Big Sandy valley, and it is known from legend and tradition that the Indian captors of Jenny Wiley had to travel to a distant location to obtain the lead ore which they gave her to smelt.  It is interesting to note that the legendary John Swift silver mind was said to have existed in this area, and lead and silver ore are often found together.  Explorers have searched for the Swift mine for years without any notable success.  It is also interesting to note that Jenny was purchased by one of the chiefs from the other for a bag of silver broaches.  The chief certainly knew where the lead mine was located;  did he also know the location of the Swift silver mine?  It would be interesting to know the answer to that one, wouldn't it?

  • 13.  Why was none of my family contacted regarding the honors accorded to my great-great-great~grcat~granndmother by the State of Kentucky when her grave was marked, or were they?

  • **ANSWER:
    I do not know if any of the questioners family were invited to the ceremony honoring Jenny Wiley.  It is very possible that no one knew where they were!  The Jenny Wiley Association was not in existence at that time, and of course we played no part.  The following is quoted from The Founding of Harmans Station and the Wiley Captivity by William Elsey Connelley, and is contained in the preface written by Mr. Edward R. Hazelett of Paintsville, on January 26, 1966:

    "February 18, 1960, House Resolution 63 was introduced in the Kentucky Legislature.  The Resolution directed the Department of Conservation to mark the grave of Jenny Wiley, and the Department of Highways to fence the cemetery in which the grave lies;  limited expenditure to $1000.00 for marking and $500.00 for fencing.  The resolution passed the House March 2, and the State Senate March 9.  It became law March 31 of the same year.  To date, a rather substantial marker has been erected, but many historians disagree with some of the data contained in the inscription.  Nearly six years have passed since this Resolution became law, but the enclosure fence has not been built.  (Note:  A fence was constructed after this writing.  RLW)

    "The marker at the grave of Jenny Wiley was dedicated Saturday, November 27, 1965.  The Hon. John Fred Williams, native Johnson Countaian, historian, educator, industrialist, delivered the dedicatory address to a crowd of about 450.  Dr. Arville Wheeler, native Johnson Countaian, educator, historian, author of "White Squaw," reviewed the research for his book about Jenny Wiley.  The River Development Club, assisted by the Johnson County Historical Society and the Kentucky Young Historians at Mead Memorial High School, Williamsport, and at Paintsville High School, Paintsville, sponsored the dedication program.  Appropriate music was provided by the Mead memorial High School Band.  A crisp wind ruffled flags on the sun-lit hill as a DAV color guard marked the gravesite, and later presented a 21-gun salute.  Robert L. Whitaker, Henry Stapleton, John Fred Williams, Dr. Arville Wheeler and Bob Kennedy unveiled the hugh marker as the Mead Memorial Band played "My Old Kentucky Home."  Mr. Merida Wiley, a direct descendant, delivered the invocation."

    This event was open to the entire public, and a turn out of 450 people indicates that a sizable group took part.  I'm sure the questioners family would have been more than welcome to attend.

  • 14.  Which is the correct spelling of the blockhouse:  Harman Station, or Harmon Station?

  • **ANSWER:
    The correct spelling of the blockhouse name is HARMAN'S STATION, although HARMON'S STATION is sometimes used.  The German branch of the Harman family may be traced to the valley of the Danube River, and Mr. Henrich Adam Herriman, who was later called Adam Harman.  The blockhouse was primarily constructed by a group lead by the son of Henrich Herrman, Matthias Harman, Sr.  Matthias Harman, Sr. was born near to Strasburg in the Shenandoah Valley in 1736, his mothers name was Louisa Katrina, and he may have been the youngest son.  Matthias became known far and wide as one of the greatest souts, exploers, Indian fighers and soldiers on the frontier.  Mr. Edward Hazelett speaks of Matthias Harman thustly:

    "Matthias Harman, Sr. has been the most neglected and most underrated of the Indian fighters along the Virginia-Kentucky frontier.  He was seldom equalled and not surpassed in deadly combat with the savage warriers.  He fought the Indians from the headstreams of the Big Sandy to the Ohio River.  He met the Indians on their own land and defeated them by their own methods of warfare."

    Matthias Harman, Sr. spent his final years on the Dry Fork of the Big Sandy River in Tazell County, Virginia.  He died 2 April 1832 at the age of 96 years.

  • 15.  What ever became of William Elsey Connelley’s collection of artifacts and memorabilia following his death?

  • **Answer unknown at this time.

  • 16.  “In 1831, almost forty years after her ordeal, a Baptist preacher sat down with Jenny Wiley and wrote out her account in longhand Caudill’s novel is based on this personal narrative.” Those words are written in the ‘Editor’s Preface” of the 1994 edition of Harry Caudill’s Dark Hills to Westward, The Saga of Jenny Wiley.  With that in mind —

  • - Who was the Baptist preacher and
    - What happened to his account?

    (A)  The Baptist preacher who recorded Jenny Wileys story was her son Adam Brevafd.  William Elsey Connelley says of Adam Brevard:

    "I knew him intimately and long, and I never heard his reputation for truth and veracity brought into question.  He was a minister of the Gospel." 
    -The Founding of Harmans Station pages 50 and 51

    "Adams is probably known best as a preacher and the child who told the story of his mother's captivity." 
    -Appalachia Crossroads page 60 -  by Clayton R. Cox

    Adam Brevard attempted early on to record the story of Jennys capture and escape but became unhappy with his efforts and destroyed them before they were published.  William Elsey Connelley addresses this question in The Founding of Harmans Station and the Wiley Captivity:

    "Mr. Wiley (Adam Brevard - RWL) was very anxious that the account of his mother's captivity and escape should be preserved.  Although deficient in the matter of education he did try more than once to write it out.  So unsatisfacotry were his efforts that he did not preserve them.  He exacted from me a promise that I would write the account of the trials and sufferings of his mothers.  This is the fulfilment of that promise."

    (B)  As stated above, Adams manuscript was destroyed by him prior to publication.

  • 17.  In view of the previous comment, in the Introduction to Caudill’s Dark Hills to Westward The Saga of Jenny Wiley, which he wrote, he states “the earliest accounts of her story were written down nearly eighty years after her death.” Is this a reference to Connelley’s work, and if it is, why the discrepancy between the conflicting statements? and if it isn't, to what reference was Caudill referring?

  • **ANSWER:
    I cannot comment on Harry Caudills thoughts and what he might have been making refernce to in the introduction to his book.  However, I can comment upon how the Jenny Wiley story came to be finally and accurately recorded.

    Adam Brevard Wiley attempted to write down hismothers story at an earlier date, but destroyed it.  Shall we hear Connelley on this point:

    "Although deficient in education, he (Adams Brevard - RLW) did try more than once to write it out.  So unsatisfactory were his efforts that he did not preserve them."

    The story of Jenny Wiley was not finally recorded for publication until 1910 when The Founding of Harmans Station adn the Wiley Captivity was first published by Connelley.  Since Jenny was known to have died in 1831, Mr. Conneley set down in print her story some 79 years following her death.  Hence the statement, "---the earliest accounts of her story were written down nearly eighty years after her death."  Adam Brevards unsucessful attempts were not taken into consideration since they were obviously not completed and did not appear in their original form in any of the written record.  No doubt, the information Adam had tried ot record was funishe dby word of mouth of William Elsey COnnelley, and that became the basis for Connelleys work.  I assume (not a very smart thing to do) that Harry Caudill turned to Connelleys book for much of this information.

  • 18.  In Jenny Wiley Country, Volume I by C. Mitchel Hall, shows that Thomas Wiley was granted 400 acres on Lexisa Fork in Floyd County (Cert. 114) with a survey date of 11- 6-1804, and that this information can be found in the County Court Orders, Floyd County, Archives Kentucky State Historical Society.  For what purpose might he have been awarded this land grant, and where might this information be found?

  • **ANSWER:
    Local tradition holds that Thomas Wiley was a Revolutionary War soldier and was awarded a land grant for his service.  I cannot supply any documentation for this statment, and it must be taken at face value.

  • 19.  In all of my research of the time and era in question. I have discovered that the Cherokee claimed the lands south of Kentucky, while the Shawnee were north -- yet in everything I've read relating to Jenny Wiley, just the opposite appears to be the case, and I can't quite reconcile this discrepancy.

  • **ANSWER:
    Henry Preston Scalf, in his book Kentuckys Last Frontier, speaks of the Wiley captivity.  At one point Mr. Scalf says:

    "Marching down the valley, them came out to the Ohio (River) and descended to opposite the present site of Portsmouth (Ohio.)" - Page 82

    In his book Jenny Wiley Pioneeer Mother and Borderland Heroine, Mr. Scalf states further:

    "Across the river, at the mouth of the Scioto River, was the Shawnee Lower town, so called to differentiate it from the Upper Town of the Shawnee above the mouth of the Kanawha River."  (Kanawha River is in West Virginia. - RLW)

    At a later point in Mr. Scalf's narrative he writes:

    "---Cap John came to the cave and pulled her outside to a tree.  ---They were going on a hunt, he explained, and would return some time that day and afterward, when it was convenient for him, they would journey to the Cherokee towns on the Little Tennessee River."

    The above quotes would seem to indicate that the Shawnees were indeed situated to the North of Kentucky, and the Cherokees to the South, as had always been my own understanding.  I cannot comment on what others may have said on this matter.

  • 20.  In my research (to date), I am finding striking similarities between the capture and captivity of Jenny Wiley and others throughout the area (Archibald Scott and Family, James Moore and Family, The Davidson Family, the capture and captivity of Mary Ingles - to name a few), and (so far) I am unable to find any mention of her outside of local (Kentucky) sources.  Could you explain this inconsistency?

  • **ANSWER:
    My only comment upon this question would have to be a repeat of the answer to question number 6.  The story of Jenny Wiley must be well known outside of Kentucky since the Jenny Wiley Association has members cattered thorugh out the entire United States.

  • I2.  In Arville Wheeler’s "White Squaw" states that Thomas Wiley had come from Scotland to settle in America 10 years ago” (p. 51) which would be roughly 1779 - yet there are indications that he was in Virginia as early as l774 and had served in the militia entitling him to a land grant.  If Wheeler’s statement can be authenticated, how can this disparity be resolved?

  • **ANSWER:
    Clayton R. Cox in Appalachia Crossroads indicates that Thomas Wiley and his brother Samuel migrated to America from Ireland.  Thhis does not mean Thomas was not of Scottish descent, for many Scots settled in Ireland.  Mr. Cox also indicates taht Thomas and Jean (Jenny) Sellards married ca 1779 in Walkers Creek, Virginia.  It would stand to reason taht Thomas had been to America for some time prior to his marriage to Jenny.  Much of the information concerning these events is traditionary and has no written verification.  My suggestion to the questioner is that he obtain Arville Wheelers documents of authentication, comapre them with all other information, and determine which sources are correct, and which are in error, thus any disparity would be resolved.  I have never seen the documents Mr. Wheeler used to authenticate his owrk,and would much appreciate receiving copies of them if they are available.

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    Answer formulated by Russell L. Whitlock.  It is important for readers to know that all quotes from The Founding of Harmans Station and the Wiley Captivity are taken from the 1966 edition as updated by Mr. Edward R. Hazelett.  Older editions will not contain Mr. Hazeletts work, and the use would result in some confusion, in particular where page numbers are listed.
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