Monday, December 8, 2008

A TNGenWeb Land History Project Co-authored by Carole Hammett and Fred Smoot (Second Draft - Jun 2001)
The authors' research into Shelby's Fort and the "mysterious" Squabble State began with several Revolutionary War pension affidavits:
Revolutionary War veteran Nicholas COMBS of Perry Co, KY, b 1761-4, stated in his 17 Aug 1853 affidavit in support of the Revolutionary War pension application of John FIELDS, also of Perry, COMBS declared that "The old Block house known as Selby's fort was in Wilkes County," and that "Squabble State embraces Wilkes and Surry [Cos, NC] and laid towards Salisbury(?) [Rowan Co, NC] when at Jonesbourgh [present-day Washington Co, TN]." (
1) On 10 Apr 1856, John HACKER [aka HARKLEROAD?] of Perry, b ca 1768, in an affidavit in support of COMBS' application, declared that "When I was a well grown boy, I was taken and placed in the old block house (afterwards called Shelby's Fort) between where Jonesborough now stands and Saulsbury. It was sometimes called Squabble State..." In a second affidavit made on 18 Jul 1856, HACKER stated that he wielded a gun as a young boy "... in defense of the old block house on the extreme head of the Holston River, not far from where Jonesborough now stands... our fort... afterwards called Selby or Shelby ... the old Block house, or Selby, was in the county of Wilkes or Surry [NC] ... This post, or block house, was in Squabble State. It was called Squabble State because there was a difficulty between Virginia and North Carolina about the division line or boundary. DIXSON was for N. C. and HENDERSON for Virginia [sic]. This territory laid towards Salisbury from Jonesborough..." (ibid.) The Revolutionary War pension file of John FIELDS includes FIELDS' 8 Feb 1852 declaration that he served in Capt. Thomas VINCENT'S Company with Lt. Samuel BRASHEARS in Col. John SEVIER'S Regiment, and that at the time of his enlistment, he "...was a resident of squabble state, State of North Carolina ... that part of the territory that laid between what was called Walkers Line and Henderson's Line and if there was any country covering it at that time, he does not recollect it..." FIELDS added that the operations of his company were "...mostly confined to the valley of the Holstin River as that was then the western frontier... that forces under the command of Col. SEVIER was dispatched to the settlements for the protection of the immigrants, that they moved from one place to another and in building block houses and forts. That they built (?) Shelby's Fort and Bledsoes (?) Fort..." and were engaged in "defending the different neighborhoods and families and the base of operation included from Shelby's fort to the Tennessee river, from 150 miles to 2 hundred miles backward and forward as the {?} demanded..." (2)

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