Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Henry Harman, Sr.: Old Skygusty

Heinrich Adam Harman’s second son, Henry, is the next one in the line of descent of the Clint and Mary Troutman family from “the elder Herrman." For a quick review, here’s that line of descent again:
Heinrich Adam Hermann
(Adam Harman)
Henry Harman, Sr.
Mathias Harman
Henry Harman
Anna F. Harman
(married Jacob Waggoner)
Eli Waggoner
Mary Waggoner
(married Clint Troutman)
Verne Troutman
Zola Troutman
(married Myron Noble)

To distinguish this particular Henry Harman from many others of the same name, he is often called Henry, Sr., in records. Those Germans had a naming tradition that fosters frustration for genealogy researchers. Every generation was named for selected people in previous generations until, I suppose, if they had enough children, they ran out of names. Then maybe a child got an original name. The first child was to be named for the father’s father. Since Heinrich Adam Harman named his firstborn son Adam, that was likely his father’s name. The second son was named Heinrich, the English version of which is Henry, so if Adam followed tradition, that was likely his wife’s father’s name. Or did he break tradition and name his first two sons after himself?
Following tradition, the third son was to be named for the father, but Adam’s third son was named George, so it appears that Adam didn’t follow tradition very closely. The next generation didn’t follow tradition, specifically, either, it seems. They appear to have named their sons after their father and brothers. Adam’s other sons were named Daniel, Mathias, Valentine, and Jacob, and for the next two or three generations, at least, the Harmans gave their sons those same names. When you search for any of those names, you will have to sort through a myriad of men with the same name to find the one you seek.
Tradition holds that our Henry was born on the Isle of Man in 1726 while the family was en route from Germany to the Colonies.[1] Henry’s life was surely filled with the adventurous spirit of his father, and though we know little about his mother Louisa Katrina, she must have supported the adventure, as well. Henry certainly learned the ways of the long hunter, men who spent months in the wilderness, hunting and trapping, to bring back a stash of furs to sell and trade. Although the elder Adam’s two sons were not named with him in stories about his rescue of Mary Draper Ingles, family tradition holds that Adam and Henry were the two sons accompanying their father when he found Mary near his hunting cabin in 1755 ( see Adam Harman: Pioneer on the New River, 1745 )[2]

During the time termed “Indian depredations” along the New River, at the start of the French and Indian War, many of the settlers fled to safer places in North Carolina. Some of the Harmans moved to the area around Old Salem where the Moravians lived. In that area in 1758, Henry married Anna Nancy Wilburn.[3] Their first child, Daniel Conrad, was born there in 1760.[4] The second son, Henry, Jr., was reportedly born on the New River in 1763,[5] yet the Moravians recorded this child’s baptism in North Carolina at age one, on 22 April 1764.[6]
Henry, Sr., made return forays into Virginia, which apparently sometimes included his young family, but his primary home seems to have been in Rowan County North Carolina until about 1776.[7] Records referring to him can be found there from 1758 until about 1775.[8] In Virginia, records show he owned land in Tazewell and surrounding counties from 1754, until he moved to Bland County in about 1755 where he had a large estate near High Rock.[9] In about 1790, he moved to Hollybrook in the same county,[10]  and that’s where he is buried.

Near this location, Henry Harman, Sr. built a home at Hollybrook, Bland County, Virginia. His grave marker lies at the base of tree in the center of the photo. Photographed in May 2002 by Z. T. Noble.

During pre-Revolutionary War days, Henry served as leader of a “company of ‘Regulators’ of North Carolina in 1770-1771, who arose against the unjust laws of England in armed resistance. He was a member of the Committee of Safety of Rowan County, North Carolina in 1774-1775. Having become a resident of Montgomery County, Virginia in 1776, he served throughout the Revolution as a frontier Indian fighter in southwest Virginia.”[11] On his tombstone are the words, “Pvt Capt A Osborne’s Regt. Revolutionary War.”[12]

Henry Harman's grave marker, Harman Cemetery, Hollybrook, Bland County, Virginia.  Photographed May 2002 by Z. T. Noble.

Henry Harman’s Indian fighting prowess became legendary on 12 November 1788, near the Tug River in what is now McDowell County, West Virginia. On that day, he and his sons Mathias and George and their friend George Draper loaded their equipment on pack horses and set out with their bear dog into disputed territory hunting bear. Being late in the year, they didn’t expect to encounter Indians. As they prepared their camp, each attending to his specific chores, the two sons loaded their guns and set out to explore the area around their camp. Before long, George returned to report a smoldering campfire not far away. Henry quizzed his son about what he had seen, and from the report, he determined that at least five to seven Indians could be within a short distance.[13]

To avoid a confrontation, they decided the best thing to do was to pack up and head for home as quickly and quietly as possible, so they alerted Mathias. As the men packed their gear, Henry noticed that Draper was trembling and tried to calm him. The two older men took the lead, followed by the pack horses, and then Henry’s two sons. On the way, Draper spotted Indians behind a log. When the bear dog ran up to the log, he quickly turned tail and retreated to his master. Henry realized that meant danger, so he joined his sons.  Suddenly, gun shots exploded from behind the log and smoke engulfed it. Draper fled. Seven Shawnee, four armed with guns and the others with bows, arrows and clubs, surrounded Henry, George, and Mathias, who formed a triangle with their backs to each other to fight them off. George and Henry fired first wounding two of their foes.[14]
George struggled with another attacker, and with Mathias’ help, stabbed him. Henry was shot twice with arrows, one in the elbow, which pierced an artery, and one in his side, which lodged against a rib, but he was able to raise his gun as if to fire. When he did, the Indians fell back a short distance. Mathias then shot and killed the one who appeared to be their leader. With two of their number dead and two wounded, the Shawnee fled, passing Draper hiding behind a log. Draper then slipped off to the settlement to report the others killed. George and Mathias stopped the bleeding of their father’s wound, and offered him his pipe for a smoke while they assessed the damages. The villagers found them alive and well. Through the following years, George re-told this story, blow by blow, to his descendants.[15]
A marker commemorating this battle stands in Gary Lions Park on highway 103, near the intersection of highway 116,  close to Welch, West Virginia. A distant Harman cousin helped me find it in 2008.
Battle of Tug River Monument, McDowell County, WV. Photo June 2008, by Z. T. Noble.
Photographed by Z. T. Noble, June 2008.

Henry’s stamina in this battle earned him the respect of his opponents, who dubbed his “Skygusta,” which translates roughly into brave warrior. Through the years, this nickname stuck among his white friends as well. People called him “Old Skygusty.” A small unincorporated town in West Virginia near the battle site is named Skygusty, and at least one of his descendants, Jim Connell (see Adam Harman: Pioneer on the New River, 1745), uses the name on his license plate.

[1] John Newton Harman,  Sr., Harman Genealogy (Southern Branch) with Biographical Sketches and Historical Notes, 1700-1924 (Radford, Va.: Commonwealth Press, Inc., 1925), p. 50, 69, 71.
[2] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 71.
[3] U. S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900, database ( : accessed 14 April 2014), citing Henry Harman and Anna Nancy Wilburn, 1758.
[4]  Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 69.
[5] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 69.
[6] Adelaide L. Fries, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Vol. I, 1752-1771 (Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards and Broughton Printing, Co., 1922), p. 286; Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 320-1; Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventures on the Western Waters, Vol. 1 (Orange, Va.: Green Publishers, Inc., 1980), p. 223.
[7] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 69-70.
[8] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 70.
[9] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 70.
[10] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 73.
[11] U.S. Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970, about Henry Harman, Sr., database ( : accessed 15 April 2014); SAR membership number 73600, National Society Sons of the American Revolution, Microfilm, 508 rolls.
[12] Harman Cemetery (Hollybrook, Bland County, Virginia); Henry Harman marker;  photographed May 2002 by the researcher.
[13] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 76-77.
[14] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 78.
[x15] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 78-80.

(c) 2014, Z. T. Noble

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adam Harman, Pioneer on the New River, Part 7

This is the final part of the article on Adam Harman, my 6 x great-grandfather, originally published in The Smithfield Review, Vol. 13, 2009. The Harmans came to America from a Moravian tradition in Germany, so they must have felt a kinship with Moravians in North Carolina:

Further records involving Adam Harman can be found at the Moravian settlement in North Carolina. Many Moravian journal entries record the unrest caused by Indian attacks, such as the following involving Adam Harman, referred to here as “the elder Herrman”:

1763, Aug. 22. A man from New River came to the doctor for treatment of a wound received from an Indian. He brought a letter from our friend the elder Herrman, which said that since the last alarm, they had seen no more of the Wild men. They, the Herrmans, had built a fort where they and several other families were living together. They were expecting a guard of 100 men from Virginia.1

1764, Feb. 10. From New River comes our friend, the elder Herrman, and his son, Adam. The rest of their families will follow next week. Herrman says that by spring that there will be no families left on New River, for by the King’s Declaration the land must be returned to the Cherokees.

Feb. 29. The Herrman families, who have been staying at the mill, moved away today. They will settle near our east line.2

Other entries record happier events in the life of Adam Harman and his family:

1764, April 21. Yesterday the elder Herrman and part of his family arrived. Today the rest came, accompanied by many wedding guests, for Daniel Herrman wished to be married to Billy Bughsen’s daughter by Justice Loesch. About forty people had to be cared for in the Tavern tonight, but all went with reasonable quiet.

April 22. Easter Sunday. (The usual services were held). In a separate service the little sons of Adam and Henry Herrman were baptized. The children are the grandsons of our friend, the elder Herrman. Adam’s son, six weeks old, received the name of Valentine; the other a year old, was named Henry.3

The following entry records news of Adam Harman’s death and establishes that he had returned to the New River:

1767, Mar. 2. Captain English from New River, was here, on his way to Georgia. . . . He confirmed the report about the murder [by the Indians on the New River]. He also told us that our old friend Adam Herrman died there four weeks ago.4

These invaluable records left by the Moravians give a glimpse into the difficulties Adam Harman encountered in his efforts to locate his family in a safe place where the happy events such as marriage and baptism could continue unmolested, yet he also returned to the wilderness, which he must have loved, and spent his last days there.

After his father’s death, Adam Harman’s son Henry recorded in his father’s old German Bible, which is now housed at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, “My father, Adam Herman, died in the fall of the year 1767. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us of all our sins. My Lord Jesus, yours forever. Yours I am in life and in death eternally.”5 This date conflicts with the Moravian records by several months, yet the year is consistent.
The life of German immigrant, Heinrich Adam Hermann, better known in historical records as Adam Harman, was a lively and eventful one. Evidence reveals that he took great risks in transporting his family from Germany to the Colonies and then to the wilderness along the New River in Virginia; that he dreamed big and did not always have the ability or means to carry out his dreams; that he was not always a congenial neighbor; that he was a man who showed courage in dangerous times; and that “the brave, tender-hearted, sympathetic, noble Adam Harmon” of John P. Hale’s account could also be a man of violence, if necessary. He was firm in his resolve to help settle the new frontier of Virginia, firm in his resolve to establish a place for his family there. He lived during an age when immigrants, such as he, were hungry for land of their own, and they were willing to risk their lives to obtain it. Adam Harman’s legacy is perhaps best noted in the lives of his descendants, many of whom still live in the Appalachian region of Southwest Virginia, eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and North Carolina where their progenitor hunted and farmed and fought to secure a place for them. They have been farmers, preachers, soldiers, teachers, engineers, doctors, lawyers, miners, artists, writers, and more—all the solid citizenry that has made the region the backbone of the United States of America.

Acknowledgements: I owe a special thank you to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a grant I received to attend the Summer Institute for College and University Teachers, "Regional Study and the Liberal Arts: Appalachia Up-Close," at Ferrum College in June 2008. My project for the institute was to research the life of Adam Harman for this manuscript. Thank you, Brenda Wagner King, Wythe County Genealogical Society, for inadvertently helping me find my Harman roots; Vaughn Cassell for meticulously researching the descendants of Adam Harman; Barbara Vines Little for sending me a copy of the Patton and Buchanan survey report so I could see it for myself; Eddie Harman for helping me find Harman landmarks in McDowell County, West Virginia; and Jim Connell, a descendant of Adam Harman living in Giles County at Clovernook, the place where Harman and his two sons rescued Mary Ingles from the elements and from starvation. Jim very graciously gave my mother and me a tour of the area. He showed me the route he thinks Ingles took over the cliffs and the location of the cornfield and the hunting cabin. Thank you, James Alexander Thom for telling me about Jim Connell. Thank you, Herman Schrader and Charlotte Harman Puckett at the Tazewell County Historical Society, and thanks to the people who assisted me at the Virginia Historical Society, the Augusta County Court House, and the Orange County Historical Society. In addition, thank you, Dan Woods, Ferrum College, and Hugh Campbell, Smithfield Review, for suggesting additional sources. And to the other Smithfield Review editors, I humbly thank you for your generous comments, for your attention to details, and for helping shape the manuscript.

1 Adelaide L. Fries, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Vol. I, 1752-1771 (Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards and Broughton Printing, Co., 1922), p. 274; Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 320; Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 223.
2 Fries, Records of the Moravians, p. 285; Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 320; Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 223.
3 Fries, Records of the Moravians, p. 286; Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 320-1; Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 223.
4 Fries, Records of the Moravians, p. 258; Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 321; Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 223.
5 Harman Family Bible; Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 70.

© 2014, Z. T. Noble

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Adam Harman, Pioneer on the New River, Part 6

The setter's on the New River encountered perilous times when Shawnee warriors attacked their villages during the French and Indian War. Adam Harman's part in protecting his and the other settlers' place in the region was fraught with intrigue and confusion over who was the enemy. Some people didn't distinguish between friendly Cherokee and enemy Shawnee. Some Cherokee didn't always seem friendly, and not all actions of the militia were above board. This is more of Adam Harman's story as first published in The Smithfield Review, Vol. 13, 2009. (For partial citations in endnotes, you can find complete citations in parts of the story published in previous weeks.)

Adam’s wilderness experience and prior examples of risk taking certainly would suggest that he was not hiding from danger. Was he part of the ill-fated Sandy Creek expedition of 1756 led by Andrew Lewis? This expedition set out with objectives to punish the Shawnee for attacks on the settlements and to establish a military presence at the mouth of the Big Sandy. The path this group traveled from Fort Frederick crossed the New River below the Horseshoe[1] and went through Burke’s Garden and on toward the Big Sandy.[2] William Preston kept a journal of the events. He reported bad weather, lack of supplies and disgruntled men who nearly mutinied, and the expedition ended in failure to reach either goal.[3] Without a list of the more than 200 white men on this expedition, we cannot determine positively that Adam Harman was one of them.

If Adam left, stayed or was a part of the Sandy Creek campaign is in question, but he was certainly in the area by 1758 when he served as one of thirty-five men accompanying Captain Robert Wade from Fort Mayo to the New River.[4] Captain Wade’s trip resulted from a series of actions to quell the Shawnee terror strikes against the English settlements. First, the governors of Virginia and of North and South Carolina realized the importance of establishing good relations with their neighbors, the Cherokee and Catawba, long-time enemies of the Shawnee. The governors wanted cooperation from the Indians in building forts. Thus in December 1755, Governor Dinwiddie sent Robert Byrd and Peter Randolph to meet with the Cherokee and ask their cooperation in building a fort on the Holston and New Rivers. In return the Cherokee could recover the deserted lands and preserve grain left behind when the settlers fled.[5] Governor Dinwiddie also asked the Cherokee to send warriors to help protect the Virginia frontier, but the Cherokee did not want to leave their villages unprotected. They wanted assurance that the forts would protect their women and children as well as the white settlers. To assuage their fears, Governor Dinwiddie offered to build forts for the Cherokee. To accomplish this, he sent Andrew Lewis with a group of men to Chota to build a fort, which they completed by July 1756, but because the governors never sent soldiers to man the fort, the Indians tore it down fearing that their enemies would take control of it.[6]

When the Cherokee finally sent a contingent of warriors into Virginia in 1757 to help fight the French and Shawnee, the warriors became impatient with delays and inaction, and many of them left. Later, Governor Dinwiddie appealed for more help from the Cherokee, so more warriors were sent in early 1758. Then in May, a large group of Cherokee returning home led by Moytoy of Settico decided to “recover” horses they had lost doing battle with the French by taking them from setters along their route. Their action offended the settlers who pursued the Indians, and a battle ensued. To get revenge for their losses, the Cherokee attacked and killed nineteen whites in North Carolina. Both whites and Cherokee were confused about whom they could trust and tensions escalated.[7]

            At this point, Captain Wade’s group, which included Adam Harmon, was sent to hunt down enemy Indians, but the march served only to increase tension and add to the confusion on whom to trust. On August 12, 1758, Captain Wade left Fort Mayo and set out in search of Shawnee or renegade Cherokee. John Echols’ account of this incident describes it vividly, spelling quirks and all:

Next morning being Wednesday the 16th. Inst, we Sent our Spyes and hunters to Spy for Enemy Signs, & to hunt for provisions. But the body of the Company Tarryed there. . . . Next morning Thursday the 17th Inst, we sent out hunters as usual, & in the afternoon some of them came in & informed us that they had seen signs of Indians at Drapers' Meadow. . . but one of our men not coming in that night disappointed us—next morning Being Fryday the 18th. Inst. Some of the men were sent to Look for the man that was Lost—& the Rest remained there. . . . The Capt. and Wm. Hall and Adam Hermon, and two or three more went off & Left the men under my Command and ordered that we should be in Readyness for a march as soon as he returned—Soon after the Captain was Gone, the man that was Lost Came in. . . .  But when the Captain came to the place where the sign was Seen, he Tels us that he saw a Shoe track among them, which caused them to believe that it had been white men after their horses—So the Captain nor none of the men, that was with him returned that night, But went a hunting—Next morning being Saturday 19th Inst. the Captain not coming gave us a great deal of Uneasyness. . . . I ordered the men to keep a Verry Sharp Look out, and Likewise to be in order to march next morning, by SunRise,—I was Determined to stay that night & if the Capt: did not come, to march off after him—Soon after we had come to a conclusion about it Some of the men Spyed five Indians Very near to us. . . . I was a Lying down in the house when I heard the news—I Rased up and presented my Gun at one of the Indians, But I heard some of our Company that was in another house, Cry out, Don't Shoot—

     I Stopt at that and askt them what they were & I beleive they said Cheroke, but Stood in amaise, & Reason they had, for I suppose there was 20 Guns presented at them, we went up to them & Examined them—they said they were Cherokees, I made signs to them to show me their Pass, But they had none,—They had with them 5 head of horse Kind & Skelps, that appeared to be whitemens. . . . Some of the Company insisted to fall upon them and Kill them, for they said they believed they were Shawnees, & that they were Spyes. . . but I said I was determined to keep them till the Capt: came. . . . After Capt: heard the opinion of the people, he past sentence of Death upon them; but there was one Abraham Dunkleberry, hunter that we let off who said they were Cherokees, yet he agreed that they were Rogues. . . . next morning Being Sunday 20th Inst, upon what Dunkleberry had said the Capt: let them have their Guns & let them go off—which displeased some of the Carolina men—so much that they swore if they were not allowed to kill them, they would never go Ranging again, for they said it was to no purpose to Rang after the Enemy, & when they had found them, not to be allowed to kill them. . . .

     Upon consideration of their having no pass, nor white man, & by reason of their steal of horses, they did not appear any waise Like friends, so the Captain told them to be Easy, and after Dunkleberry was gone, we would go after them and Kill them. . . . . the Capts: orders was for 12 of the best men to follow them and Kill them and the remainder of the Company to go to the Dunker Fort which was about half a mile below us. . . . The men that followed them were Adam hermon, Daniel Hermon, Wm. Hall, Ric'd Hall, Jun'r, Tobias Clapp, Philip Clap, Joseph Clapp, Benj. Angel, David Currie, Ric'd Hines, James Lyon & my self—13 of us—We followed them and overtook them at a peach orchard—jest as they were leaving it, we watched our opportunity, and fired at them and followed them up till we Killed 4 of them, and wounded the other—we Skelpt them that we killed, & then followed the other—he bled verry much, he went into the river and to an Island—but we could not find where he went out. . . . Next morning being Monday 21st Inst. we packed up in order to march homeward, for signs of Indians was plenty & we had but little amunition but before we left the fort, we were Sworn—the words of the oath Do not remember exactly, but the Intent of the thing was not to tell that we ever heard them say that they were Cherokees without required to swere—so left the fort and marcht till dark & took up Camp at a Plantation upon a Branch of the Little River. . . . I Rem'n Yrs. &., John Echols.[8]

This incident left the remaining Cherokee warriors in Virginia fearful for a safe return to their homes, so they petitioned Governor Dinwiddie for “promises that their people would not be molested in Virginia.”[9] More misunderstandings on both sides resulted in increasing distrust and hatred between whites and Indians. After these incidents, no further evidence has been found of Adam Harman’s involvement in altercations with Indians.

1 CaptainWilliam Preston and the Journal of the Sandy Creek Expedition, 1756,” Draper Manuscripts, IQQ p. 123, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison.
2 Alexander Scott Withers, Chronicles of Border Warfare, edited and annotated by Reuben Gold Thwaites with notes by Lyman Copeland Draper (Cincinnati: Stewart & Kidd Company, 1912), p. 82. The entire text of this book is available on Google Books.
3 CaptainWilliam Preston,” Draper Manuscripts, IQQ p. 57. Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 57.
4 Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 53; Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 60.
5 Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 56.
6 Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 58.
7 Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 59-60.
8 Summers, History of Suthwest Virginia, pp. 63-6. The complete text of John Echol’s journal from Capt. Wade’s march is transcribed in Summer’s History on pages 62-6. A summary of this incident can also be found in Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 60.
9 Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 61.

© 2014, Z. T. Noble

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Adam Harman, Pioneer on the New River, 1745, Part 5

Originally published in The Smithfield Review, Vol. 13, 2009, Last week's story of Adam Harman focused mainly on his attempts to claim land along the New River. It ended with a reference to the unrest between Indians and settlers. This week's portion of the story describes those perilous times:

This unrest began with raids on property. In April 1749, Adam Harman earned the dubious distinction of being the first settler to have his cabin raided by Indians and his skins stolen:

A party of seven Indians robbed the house of Adam Harman, probably on New river, of nine deer skins and one elk skin; that the next day six Indians robbed the same house of fourteen deer skins and one elk skin; and that the day following a number of Indians came and took away seventy-three deer skins and six elk skins. This shows also that game was abundant and that Harman was a famous hunter. This was said to have been the first depredation by the Indians on the whites west of the Alleghany.[1]

This attack created or intensified friction between Adam Harman and Jacob Castle, another German immigrant who is listed in Augusta County Court Records Order Book 1 on November 19, 1746, as one of the road builders to the Adam Harman place with Adam Harman as overseer.[2] Harman suspected Castle of instigating the raid.[3] A note in the records seems to reverse the action, however. On April 22, 1749, Augusta County Court brought charges against “Valentine and Adam Herman for violent robbery of the goods of Jacob Castlean. . . .”[4] In addition, in Original Petitions and Papers Filed in the County Court, 1749, jailor John Cunningham is ordered “to keep the following . . . Adam and Valentine Herman.”[5] 

A few weeks later on May 17, 1749, Adam Harman brought charges against Castle “for threatening to aid the French” and Castle was “ordered to be arrested and brought before the court on next Monday.”[6] A few days later on May 22, Castle was “acquitted in charge of treason in going over to assist the French.”[7] Whether the raid was instigated by Castle or not, raids such as the one on Harman’s place signaled worse times to come for the settlers along the New River as rivalries between the British and the French increased in the Ohio Valley. When the French and Indian War erupted in 1755, bloodshed extended southward into the New River Valley.

At the time of this dispute, “Adam Harman was captain of foot and overseer of the main road through the community. . . . He had charge of the road to the river and over the bridge to the Roanoke.”[8] Apparently the dispute did not damage his trustworthy reputation, for between the raid on his furs in 1749 and his rescue of Mary Ingles in 1755, he served in significant ways to help defend the region from French-instigated Indian attacks by Shawnee warriors.

On August 19, 1752, Adam “qualified Captain of a Troop of Horse” and his brother Jacob “qualified Cornet.”[9] In October 1754 when the General Assembly enlisted the aid of local militias, Adam was designated a captain and Jacob an ensign of a “troop of horse” under Colonel James Patton. “For the residents of the New and Holston Rivers, 1755 was probably the worst year of the war. The murder of some of the citizens, the capture of others, and the loss of [General William] Braddock’s army [on July 9] caused much alarm.”[10] Despite the fact that Governor Robert Dinwiddie had taken measures to ensure the safety of the settlers, such as sending Captain Andrew Lewis and a group of forty or fifty men “to Augusta county to protect the frontier,” the vicious attacks persisted. The governor then sent “blank commissions . . . by Colonel Patton for officers for a company of fifty men for the further protection of the inhabitants. . . .”[11] Despite the governor’s efforts, the attacks continued unabated:

Most of the outrages . . . were committed on New River and Holston. From October 1754 to August 1755 twenty-one individuals were killed, seven wounded and nine taken prisoner. Among those killed were Lieutenant [William] Wright and Colonel Patton, both being caught without guards. Lieutenant Wright and two of his soldiers were killed on Reed Creek on July 12, and the Draper’s Meadow massacre in which Colonel Patton was killed took place on July 30 or 31. In this Massacre Casper Barger, Mrs. Eleanor Draper and a young Draper child were killed. James Cull was wounded, Mrs. Mary Draper Ingles and two children, Mrs. Betty Draper, and Henry Leonard, were taken prisoners.”[12]

These murders and kidnappings terrorized the settlers, and most of them fled from their homes to safer, more populous places, and “the Holson, New River, and Greenbrier settlements were practically abandoned. This left the Roanoke and James River country the southwestern frontier and thus it remained until the close of the war.”[13]

The mass exodus created problems keeping the local militia, of which Adam Harman was a member, together and active. When Colonel John Buchanan reported this to Governor Dinwiddie, the governor replied, indignantly, that those who would not stay to defend their homes should not expect help from him.[14] Despite the governor’s remonstrance, the “exodus from the lands on the Western Waters was dramatic. . . . There was difficulty on the roads and ridges, ‘for the crowds were flying as if every moment were death.’”[15] 

Whether Adam Harman continued to serve with the militia or whether he also fled is not known for certain. His family circumstances suggest that he may have stayed. By this time, his wife Louisa Katrina was deceased, having died March 18, 1749.[16] Furthermore, his sons were as yet unmarried, and men without family responsibilities sometimes take greater risks than those who have wives and children. Evidence indicates that some of the Harmans stayed, an ill-fated decision for them, for in 1756 Jacob Harman and a son were killed by Indians on Neck Creek.[17] The following year, Valentine Harman was killed by Indians on the New River.[18]

[1] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 52. Reference to this incident occurs also in Charles Kerr, William Elsey Connelley, and Ellis Merton Coulter, History of Kentucky, Vol. 1, (Chicago, American Historical Society, 1922), p. 78. The entire text of this book is available on Google Books.
[2] Patton and Buchanan Survey Report, Augusta County, Virginia, Order Book 1, 1745-1747, p. 130; Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement, p. 433; Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 49.
[3] Johnston, A History of the Middle New River Settlements,  p.10.
[4] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement, p. 433; Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 177.
[5] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement, p. 432.
[6] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement, p. 26; Johnson, James Patton and the Appalachian Colonists, p. 65.
[7] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement, p. 38.
[8] Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 177. Harman (Harman Genealogy, p. 52) also notes that Adam Harman was a constable and an overseer of the road on the New River, 52.
[9] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement, p. 53. A troop of horse was a British term for a company of cavalry; the cornet was the officer who carried the colors.
[10] Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 54.
[11] Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 54.
[12] Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 55. Other accounts of the Draper’s Meadows massacre can be found in Hale, Trans-Allegheny Pioneers, pp. 29-31; Johnson, James Patton and the Appalachian Colonists, p. 201-06;
Johnston, A History of the Middle New River Settlements, p. 19-20; Lewis Preston Summers, History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786, Washington County, 1777-1780 (Richmond, Va.: J. L. Hill Printing Co., 1903), pp. 56-7. The entire text of this book is available on Google Books. Also Ellen Epperson Brown examines various versions of the story in “What Really Happened at Drapers Meadows” The Evolution of a Frontier Legend,” Smithfield Review, vol. 7 (2003): pp. 5-21.
[13] Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 55.
[14] Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p.55.
[15] Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 56.
[16] Harman, Harman Genealogy, p. 50.
[17]Kegley and Kegley, Early Adventures, p. 222; J. A. Waddell, Waddell's Annals of Augusta County, Virginia from 1726 To 1871, Second ed., (Rockwood, Tenn.: EagleRidge Technologies, 2006), 155. (Original work second ed. published 1902),
[18] F. B. Kegley, Kegley’s Virginia Frontier (Roanoke, Va.: The Southwest Virginia Historical Society, 1938), p. 128. Waddell, Waddell’s Annals of Augusta County, p. 155, shows a different year; he quotes William Preston’s
journal, which lists the date of Valentine Harman’s death as March 1756. A limited text of this source is available on Google Books. 

(c) 2014, Z. T. Noble

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Adam Harman, Pioneer on the New River, 1745, Part 4

This is a continuation of an article about Adam Harman published in The Smithfield Review, Vol. 13, 2009. See posts on Feb. 27,  Mar. 5, and Mar. 12, for the previous parts of the story.

For all of the settlers coming into the New River region, claiming a piece of land for themselves and their families was their priority. To secure ownership of lands, they had to meet requirements stated in land grants offered by the British government, the first of which was the Woods River Grant. Some key terms of the grant were critical for them to follow:

Any person who would purchase any part or parcel of the land prior to the next May court should have it at the rate of four pounds and five shillings per hundred acres, to be paid on the first day of May 1748 and the remainder on the first of April 1749 with interest from that date. Persons buying land had to settle, cultivate, improve, and live on it before April 15, 1748, and pay twenty-five shillings on taking it up. No person could sell or dispose of his right until he had been in possession of his patent or deed for six months. Each person taking up land had to mark it and ‘put up some logs’ and mention the quantity of acres held. . . . Any person taking up land of any less quantity of one-thousand acres in one entire survey was to pay the surveyor’s fee for such land.”[1]

To obtain the grant of 100,000 acres, James Patton hired John Buchanan to survey the area.[2] Buchanan’s records reveal that the Harmans were, indeed, living in the area of Tom’s Creek on the New River.

Prior to his surveying trips, John Buchanan traveled throughout the region starting on October 4, 1745 and returning home October 29, 1745. During this trip, Buchanan kept a journal recording his stops and the people he met along the way. Among them, he names Adam Harman and his brothers Jacob and Valentine. In addition, in the Woods River Entry Book, Buchanan records the following on October 17, 1745: “Adam Harman one place called Tom’s place and one for Adam Harman Junior on Thorn Spring the land he is to Emprove on neither is he to sell or Dispose of it in anay shape, other wise his property is forfeited.”[3] On October 18, Buchanan notes in his journal that he “had ye esteate [sic] of William Marks [Mack] apprised by Adam and Jacob Harmon—no other person could be had.”[4] Buchanan asked Adam and Jacob Harman to appraise the estate of William Mack for whom the present day Max (corrupted from Mack’s) Meadows was named. Buchanan implies that the Harman men were asked to conduct the appraisal because no one else was willing or able to do it.[5]

That same day, Buchanan notes that Adam Harman traveled with him to the home of Charles Hart,[6] a “squatter on the Springfield tract who thought he bought a right from George Robinson,”[7] one of the men to whom the Woods River grant was issued.[8] Harman tried to help Buchanan settle the dispute. Buchanan notes, “This morning before day Adam Harman and Hart had a long conference in Dutch about ye land.”[9] Harman spoke both German and English.[10] On October 22, Buchanan records meeting with a group of people at the home of Jacob Harman, whose home was located on the big Horseshoe Bend of the New River.[11] On October 24 in the Wood’s River Book Buchanan records that he “sold to Valentin Harman 1,000 acres on ye head of Pine Run” which he must “emediatly . . . settle & Emprove thereon or forfite his property. . . .”[12] Buchanan’s notes provide a valuable record showing names of those who lived in the area in the fall of 1745.

Later land-grant records show that surveys for Adam and Jacob Harman were completed in 1750.[13] According to a November 7, 1750 entry in these records, Adam Harman claimed 500 acres “in Augusta county on the southwest side of New river known by the name of the ‘Horseshoe’” in addition to 500 acres in the same county on the east side of New River beginning at the mouth of Tom’s Creek.14 Augusta County Entry Book 1 lists as its first entry, “1750, Adam Harman, 400 acres at a large spring 6 miles above Wolf Creek, on New River.”[15] Additional records from 1750 list Adam Harman among several men who “were to have 100,000 acres on the New and Holston rivers and the waters of each.”[16]

Also in the same year, James Patton’s papers show that Adam Harman, Jacob Harman, Valentine Harman, and Valentine Sevier “obtained a grant for 7,000 acres lying on both sides of the Blue Stone Creek, beginning about three miles from where the said creek runs into Wood’s River, thence up the same and its several branches.”17 During this time, Harman’s ford “at the lower end of the bottom was an important crossing of the river, and was not abandoned until Samuel Pepper’s ferry was adopted as the main crossing.”18

Map of Harman Locations on the New River

Although Adam Harman received patent for his land at the mouth of Tom’s Creek on November 7, 1752, records show that he failed to pay quitrents and to cultivate and improve the tract; consequently, William Thompson, James Patton’s executor, “brought suit to the lieutenant governor to obtain a new patent,” which he accomplished on September 25, 1762.19 The suit apparently created enmity between the two men, which is implicit in the November 16, 1763 entry in the August County Court Records ordering “Adam Harmon to be bound to peace toward Wm. Thompson.”20

In fact, the Harman name appears on grants in numerous places in the area, so many places that M. B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley observe, “It is apparent that the Harmans were interested in tracts of land on Pine Run, Walker’s Creek, Bluestone, Sinking Creek, as well as the tracts on Tom’s Creek and the Horseshoe, but their large selections were more than they could ‘settle and improve’ and as a result most of their claims were forfeited.”[21] One might also infer, given the danger from attacks on the settlements perpetrated by Shawnee warriors, which intensified with the start of the French and Indian War, that the Harman families may have abandoned their tracts for that reason as well.22

1 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 9.
2 A reference to John Buchanan’s journey was made in The Smithfield Review, Vol. 6, 95.
3 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 10.
4 Goodridge Wilson, Smyth County History and Traditions, (Kinsport, Tenn.: Kinsport Press, Inc., 1932), 14. The entire text of Buchanan’s journal is in Wilson’s book. Also, Kegley, 10.
5 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 10.
6 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 10. Also, Goodridge Wilson, 14.
7 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 9. Also, Goodridge Wilson, 11.
8 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 8.
9 Goodridge Wilson, 14.
10 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 223. Because Adam Harman spoke bothGerman and English, he seems to have fit in with the English-speaking settlers better than some of the other Germans who spoke only German.
11 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 10. Also, Goodridge Wilson, 15.
12 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 11.
13 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 12, 218. Also John Newton Harman, 52.
14 John Newton Harman, 52, 329. Also, M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 218.
15 John Newton Harman, 52. Also, M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 182.
16 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 13.
17 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 13. Also, Patricia Givens Johnson, 90.
18 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 219.
19 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 177.
20 Lyman Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia: Extracted from the Original Court Records of August County, 1745-1800, (Roselyn, Va.: The Commonwealth Printing Co., 1912), 110.
21 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 219.
22 M. B. Kegley and  F. B. Kegley, 15.