This place is fifty miles in advance of the frontier, and on the road to Kentucky. In 1776 the great Cherokee war broke out, the Cherokees were then a great and powerful people, and their strength unbroken, living not far from Powell’s Valley, they commenced a sudden, devastating war, on the whole frontier border… William Martin’s words describe the situation at Martin’s Station in the year of 1776.


At Martin's Station in Powell's Valley
Friday the 30th day of April 1776 ANNO

Old friend,

I am writing this letter in haste, for at this very instant a large party of Shawnees have been spied crossing the Cumberland River. Mr. Redd has assured me that they are intent upon war for they are painted, which is their custom. To worsen matters I have been inform'd that Dragging Canoe spoke against the treaty made by mr. Henderson, and has returned to the Upper Cherokee towns and is gathering his young warriors. It is my suspicion that both parties may twine together and fall upon us in a fortnight.

I have called in every scout with exception of three, which I have dispatched to the North, west, and south of this valley. I now have thirty six men at this place, all with rifles and lead, however powder is short, and I do not know how long it will hold. Capt. Boone is in Kintuckee with a party of thirty good men, and I pray he will return here in short manner for he will be greatly needed if a battle ensues.

The fort is now strong and will hold any attack that may come. our provisions are well, as we have plenty of buffalo meat, and the men have begun to move the cattle and horses near the fort. The women and children are making bullits and collecting bandages, which I pray will not be a necessity.

I have sent dispatch to Col. Preston and have asked him to send men from the Holston to ride to our aid, and pray that upon his request you grant him permission to do so. We must hold this valley at once, for to turn now would cause panic throughout the Clinch and Holston settlements, and I fear we would lose all we have suffered for.

I am sir your most humble servant,

Jos. Martin

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