1. Sources state that the location of
Tom Wiley’s grave is (1) unknown, (2) above Tom's Creek, or (3) in the
same location as Jennie’s - Why such a great disparity between the location?
It is known from
information handed down through the family that Thomas and Jenny Wiley
were not buried at the same location. The reason for this is unknown,
and we are left to speculate. Perhaps the land around Thomas' grave
had been cleared for farm use by the time of Jennys death some 20 years
later, and she did not wish to be placed there. Reliable information
indicates that Thomas' grave is within about one half mile of the grave
of his wife. Mr. Edward Hazelett, well known area historian and educator,
has been able to locate the general area, but not the exact spot of Thomas'
grave, by using verbal directions from elderly people living in that area,
including noted eastern Kentucky genealogist, Mr. Walter D. Osborne.
This is the same way the original headstone for Jennys grave was located.
This marker was found exactly where Mr. Hazelett was told it would be found,
and is now on display alongside the new state erected marker. It
is now impossible to locate the exact spot of Thomas' grave since the field
was plowed up, used as a corn field many years ago. Tradition also
indicates that there is a child buried at the same spot as Thomas' grave.
It is thought that this child was an infant son of the Wileys, born to
them after their settlement in Kentucky. Another grave, that of Solomon
Ward who died some time after Thomas Wiley, is also located there.
Mr. Hazelett has mentioned the use of high tech equipment and methods
to locate the graves, but it is currently unknown if this will be done.
The location of Thomas Wileys grave is given by Mr. Hazelett as follows:
died and was buried on a small flat upon the hill, about 150 feet above
the present highway, Kentucky 581. The site is almost directly above
and west of the mouth of Tom's Creek." - The Founding of Harmans Station,
The reason for
the disparity is that some sources have not done their homework as they
should have! The above information describes exactly where Thomas
Wiley is buried, and should put this question to rest.
2. Where is William (son of Tom and
unknown at this time.
3. In some of the notes allegedly written
by Tom Wiley, he spells his name WYLIE, yet everything written about him
has it spelled WILEY - Which is correct?
4. Jennie’s grave is marked, and a monument
is erected in her honor, yet no one does any (or little) maintenance on
the grave site. (1) If moving her to the park named in her honor would
remedy this situation, why not move her? (2) If moving her is out of the
question, is anything being done to provide perpetual care for the existing
site, and if not why not?
of the name, "Wiley" and "Wylie", are correct. We also find the Wiley
name spelled "Wyley" by J. D. Smith, County Lieut., in a communication
to Governor Beverly Randolph of Virginia on 4 July 1790. Different
families use different spellings, and too, words and names were often times
spelled differently in the older versions of English. In example,
the word "would" was often spelled "wold." The same is true of many
family names in this area, such as Fitzpatrick which is often spelled "Fitchpatrick."
This probably has to do with the fact that many, if not most, folks in
this area were illiterate or nearly so in the early years, and words were
spelled simply as they sounded. Even William Elsey Connelley, a very
well educated gentleman, spelled his surname several different ways.
This is simply a trait of mountain people, and I find it to be an interesting
one! Just part of our mountain heritage. The most common version
of the name today is "Wiley." Since most of the things written about
Thomas Wiley were written in modern times, it seems natural that the names
modern version be used. Incidentally, when in the initial stages
of organizing the Jenny Wiley Association, it was necessary for us to choose
the spelling we wanted to utilize for Jenny's name. It is spelled
both "Jenny" and "Jennie," and both are considered to be correct.
The question was placed before the membership present, and "Jenny" was
5. How much of the (Jennie) Wiley and
(Mary) Ingles stories are interrelated? -- And which takes from what?
is totally in error on this item! I'm not sure where he obtained
his information. The grave site of Jenny Wiley is well cared for,
and the Jenny Wiley Association regularly provides money for its upkeep,
and hires the work done by local people! Association President Jim
Daniels has spent many hours at the grave site performing maintenance and
caring for the area. In addition, the grave is decorated with fresh
flowers twice yearly, on Mothers Day, and during the Association annual
Homecoming held in October. We also have updated signs leading to
the grave site by providing mileage information which the state did not
do. Jennys descendants do not wish her body to be disturbed in moving
her to the Jenny Wiley park. First, our grandmother chose her final
resting place, under a hugh sheltering tree on a low hill, and we wish
to honor her wishes by seeing to it that her earthly remains are left in
t he spot she chose. Secondly, there is no record that Jenny ever
lived anywhere near the location of Jenny Wiley Park in Floyd County. Kentucky.
True, the area where Jenny is now buried was once part of Floyd County,
but Jennys residence was always in what is now Johnson County.
6. Why is it that the Wiley captivity
apparently overshadows the Ingles captivity, yet more Americans know of
Ingles and not Jenny?
It is probably
unavoidable that some elements of the Mary Engles and Jenny Wiley stores
would become commingled over the years. There are numerous versions
of both these stories, some are similar, and some are not, depending upon
the teller. Both women were pregnant when captured, and both took
at least one child with them. Both groups of captors tried to reach
the Shawnee encampment in Ohio (near Scioto Ville), and in Jennys casey
they were unable to do so. It should be noted that Mrs. Engles was
captured ca 1755, while Jenny Wiley was taken captive many years later
in ca 1789. Many men, women and children were captured by Indians
in the early years of settlement of this area, and we don't even know about
most of them! The best answer I know to this dilemma is to refer
the questioner to The Founding of Harmans Station and the Wiley Captivity
by William Elsey Connelley. Since Adam Brevard Wiley, Jennys son,
provided Mr. Connelley with the information, I feel it is, with buy one
or two notable exceptions, correct.
7. Arville Wheeler, in his book White
Squaw makes the comment that the information contained within was used
because it could (and had been) authenticated - How is it that he has been
the only source that I have found (so far) that names the murdered children,
and no one else has done so?
I have known
the Jenny Wiley story since a tiny child, related to me by my own grandmother
who was born in 1890. I had never heard of Mary Engles until about
6 or 7 years ago! Perhaps this is because Mrs. Engles did not settle
in the Big Sandy valley and rear a large family as Jenny Wiley did.
The descendants f Jenny Wiley in the Big Sandy valley and surrounding area
number in the thousands, and I personally know of no descendants of Mrs.
Engles. At last accounting (1974) there were almost 28,000 descendants
of Jenny Wiley spread world wide. Naturally, we are more interested
in our own grandmothers story than in that of others. I'm not sure
more Americans know of the Engles story than of the Wiley story, but that
is a possibility, and the Jenny Wiley Association is working every day
to change it! One of the major goals of our groups is to make more
widely known the story of Jenny Wiley. We currently have members
scattered from the West to the East coast, and from the Canadian border
to the Gulf of Mexico, and we are always looking for new members.
I have before
me a copy of White Squaw by Arville Wheeler, and I quote from the
words of the author:
"This book is
not a product of the imagination. It is a story based on fact.
All incidents in it have been authenticated."
Having made this
statement, the burden is upon Mr. Wheeler to provide his authenticating
sources. I believe it is noteworthy to consider that Mr. Wheeler
specifically states that the incidents have been authenticated,
and does not state that the names of the children were authenticated.
I know of no official record containing the names of the children of Thomas
and Jenny Wiley who were murdered by Indian raiders! Adam Brevard,
Jennys son, does not even name the children in his account to William Elsey
Connelley, and it is certain Jenny would have told him the names of his
dead siblings. In fact, it is thought by some researchers that Adam
was named for one of the dead children as this was a custom during that
time period, although this has not been proven. It is considered
by most reputable researches that names given to the Wiley children killed
at Walkers creek are given by tradition only, and not by documented fact,
and this is no doubt the case concerning Robert Bruce, the name given the
child born and killed in captivity! Mr. Wheeler also gives Jennys
brother the name Batt Sellards, and I know of no other source supplying
the name. Since Mr. Wheeler does not provide the sources of authentication
in his book, we are left to wonder what they in fact were. The reason,
I believe, that other writers do not provide the names of the Wiley children
is simply that they do not now exist in a verifiable black and white form.
For those who
might wish to have the traditional names of the While children killed at
Walkers Creek, those most common in this area are Hezekiah, said to be
named for Hezekiah Sellards, Jennys father, Naomi and Ruth, named from
the Bible, and Thomas named for his father Thomas Wiley. I have heard
no source for the name of Robert Bruce.
Mr. Wheeler is
said to have stated in later years that White Squaw was written
for school children on about a seventh grade level. I believe a cursory
reading of this book will bear out that point. I believe White Squaw
to be a highly romanticized version of the Jenny Wiley story, in which
the author took much literary license when dealing with the established
8. Arvilie Wheeler, in White Squaw
uses Thomas, Jr. as the name of the child not killed outright during the
initial slaughter; Harry M. Caudill uses the name Adam in the same
circumstances. From where did they derive this information, and which is
correct, particularly in, view of their reputations as historians and scholars?
9. Are there any markers denoting the
location of the death of the children killed after she was taken captive?
I have no idea
where either Mr. Wheeler or Mr. Caudill obtained their information, since
neither chose to provide their sources. Since so few records were
kept in the early years, it is almost always necessary for writers and
researchers to rely to some extent upon oral tradition. As stated
above in the previous answer, some do believe one of the children was named
Adams, and Adam Brevard was named for his uncle, Jennys brother.
10. Are there any markers denoting the
location of the “rockhouse” in which she was held?
To my knowledge,
there are no markers at the spots where the children were killed following
11. Is anything being done to preserve
these locations (previous two questions), as they play such great part
in her story?
There is no marker
situated near the rock house where Jenny was held captive.
I doubt that
any one today knows the exact spot where either of the children
were killed in captivity, although the tree where the older child was killed
is said to have stood until the early part of the 20th century. Both
these locations were and still are in the wilderness, and little could
be done to preserve them if known. The caves where Jenny was held
captive are another story. They, and the surrounding area where recently
(late 1998) cleaned by a group of workers in Johnson county. The
caves are easily accessible from a paved road and the Jenny Wiley Association
conducted a tour to them in 1998. The tour which was planned for
the 1999 annual Homecoming has to be canceled due to heavy rains.
We hope to visit the cave complex again next year. This is a trip
that all Jenny Wiley descendants should endeavor to make at least once.
Believe me, it is a moving experience, and one I believe you will always
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