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Events of 1784, Militia Reorganized

On January 6, 1784, the Court of Pleas and Common Sessions, all the Judges present, convened at Nashborough and proceeded to exercise the military arm of its power by reorganizing the militia. Officers were elected as follows:

Anthony Bledsoe, First Colonel
Isaac Bledsoe, First Major
Samuel Barton, Second Major
Kasper Mansker, First Captain
George Freeland, Second Captain
John Buchanan, Third Captain
James Ford, Fourth Captain
William Ramsey, Lieutenant
Jonathan Drake, Lieutenant
Ambrose Maulding, Lieutenant
Peter Sides, Lieutenant
William Collins, Ensign
Elmore Douglass, Ensign
Daniel Smith, Surveyor.

The court met for the April term some distance out of Nashborough in a vacant house owned by Jonathan Drake. Probably because of some question as to its right to sit so far from the designated place, an immediate adjournment was taken to the residence of Israel Herman, who lived near the Bluff fort. By an act of the Legislature of North Carolina in May of this year the name of the village which had grown up around the Bluff was changed from Nashborough to Nashville, and such it has since remained. Frequent excursions for purposes of murder and plunder continued to be made by the Indians. Cornelius Riddle was hunting between Buchanan's Station and Stones River. He killed two wild turkeys and hung them up in a tree while he went in pursuit of another. The Indians who were skulking in the neighborhood heard the report of his gun, and coming near lay in ambush awaiting his return. He was shot and mortally wounded. The enemy took his scalp, and then seizing the turkeys, fled hastily from a vengeance which they knew would otherwise be swift.

In the early spring Nicholas Trammel and Philip Mason were stalking game along the headwaters of White's Creek, a few miles northwest of Goodlettsville. While they were down on the ground skinning a deer which had been killed a large company of Indians crept up from behind and opened fire, slightly wounding Mason. They then stole the carcass of the deer and pursued their journey up the creek. After running some distance through the woods Mason stopped to dress his wound and also to await the return of Trammel, who went on to Eaton's for reinforcements. Later Trammel came back with four of the settlers, and being joined by Mason, the entire party started post-haste after the enemy. They soon found the trail and followed rapidly, but in their haste failed to notice that the large number of tracks they were following had grown less. The Indians, suspecting pursuit, has gradually slipped aside, one and two at a time, in order that the whites might be thus entrapped.

Finally a few who yet led on were overtaken and the settlers dismounting rushed upon them, killing two of their number. In the meantime the Indians in the rear came up, captured the horses and opened a deadly fire on the whites, during which Mason received a mortal wound. His companions ran into the woods and thus escaped. Trammel objected to this hasty retreat and desertion of Mason, but his comrades insisted that it was useless to continue the fight, as the contest was unequal. After traveling some distance they met Josiah Hoskins who was known in the settlement as a soldier braver than Julius Caesar, and also a better rifleman. Led now by Trammel and Hoskins, the party started again in pursuit of the Indians, and coming up with them the fight was renewed, this time from behind trees. After three of the Indians had been killed, Trammel and Hoskins boldly came out into the open determined to put the enemy to flight. No sooner had they done so than each received a shot and died instantly. The rest of the whites held their ground and kept up the fire until both parties were exhausted, and by common consent gave up the contest. Each company then went its way, leaving its dead on the field.

During the summer George Espie, Andrew Lucas, Thomas Sharp Spencer and a scout by the name of Johnson left the Bluff on horseback for a hunting expedition on Drake's Creek, in Sumner County. As they crossed the creek their horses stopped to drink. A band of Indians who were in ambush along the bank opened fire upon the party while they were yet in midstream. Lucas was shot through the neck and also wounded in the mouth. He rode to the bank, dismounted, and attempted to return the fire, but the blood gushed from his mouth and wet the priming in his gun. Seeing that the weapon was thus useless he crawled away and hid himself in a bunch of briers. Espie alighted from his horse and at the same moment received a shot which broke his thigh, but he continued to load and return the fire. Spencer and Johnson made a gallant stand in defense of their comrades and for a time held the enemy at bay. Finally, however, a bullet broke Spencer's right arm and they were obliged to leave the wounded men to their fate. Espie was killed and scalped, but the savages failed to find Lucas, who escaped and returned to the fort.

Early History of Middle Tennessee

Early History of Middle Tennessee, BY Edward Albright, Copyright, 1908, Brandon Printing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 1909

 

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