Skip to main content

Wallens Creek Revenge: The Isaac Crabtree Story

In September of 1773, Daniel Boone led a party of hunters on their very first attempt to settle Kentucky. Running low on supplies, he sent his son, James, and others back home to Washington County, Virginia for more. James gathered all the supplies he needed. He also picked up a passenger, 16-year-old Isaac Crabtree, who hailed from a family of longhunters and who wanted to be a part of the expedition.

On his way back to his father, James decided to camp for the night at Wallens Creek. Little did he know he was only two miles from his father's camp. As dawn approached the following morning, the 10th of October, a party of indians attacked James and his party. Everyone was killed, except for a slave and Isaac, who had been hit in the back by an arrow, but managed to flee into the woods away from the massacre. Wounded, cold and hungry, Isaac wandered aimlessly for days before eventually finding his way back home in Washington County. The incident haunted him for months, and his hatred for indians increased. It also caused Daniel Boone and his party to abandon their first attempt to settle Kentucky.

The following spring, a festival was held in Jonesboro, Tennessee, where a peace treaty with the Cherokee's was to be signed. Isaac attended the event, but while there saw what he thought was one of the assailants from the massacre. Without hesitation, he drew his weapon and shot and killed the indian. As it turned out, the man he shot was the nephew of one of the chiefs. The shooting jeopardized the signing of the peace treaty for a while and almost caused a war with the peaceful indians. To say the least, everyone was upset at Isaac. As a matter of fact, the Governor of Virginia went as far as to offer a $50 reward for his arrest. In July of 1774, Isaac stood trial for the killing, but he was not convicted.

Isaac continued his life as a longhunter in the hills of Virginia and Tennessee. At the age of 41, Isaac Crabtree finally made it to Kentucky, when he migrated west to near the place I often write about...Stockton's Valley. He owned land on Bear Creek and Sulphur Creek in present day Cumberland County. He also owned land in Elk Spring community in present-day Wayne County. He also owned property on Furnace Mountain, located just outside of Monticello, where he lived. Isaac became one of the first Trustee's of Monticello and helped in laying out the town. In 1806, he was elected to the Kentucky State Legislature as a Representative from Wayne County. Later, Isaac moved to Overton County, but in 1839, at the age of 82, Isaac returned to Kentucky, where he lived out the rest of his days near Poplar Mountain near the Clinton-Wayne County line.

Isaac Crabtree is the 5th great-grandfather of my cousin on my daddy's side, Marie Bush.

Isaac Crabtree, by Don Sexton

Also read, The Long Hunter

and, The Beginning Crabtree Family History


  1. Isaac is my 6th Great Grandfather.

  2. Your stories are marvelous. To be a writer, I know you do a lot of research. I am also related to a Isaac. His son Squire was the father of Solomon Crabtree who married his cousin Chloe.
    Solomon was born in 1815. Many of us have been trying to prove that Squire was the father of Solomon. Do you have any information about this matter? Solomon was born in 1815. All three of the men were in Overton County, TN at one time.
    Thank you

  3. Thanks! I wish I could help you link Squire with Solomon. If I run across any info, I will let you know. NM

  4. Where is this highway sign located?

  5. Boone's death strongly contributed to the Indian uprising known as Lord Dunmore's War (May to October 1774). It affected an area from Virginia to Pittsburgh, PA.

  6. My grandfather, Frederick Crabtree, always told us we were related to this Crabtree who assisted Daniel Boone. My grandfather was born around 1914 in the Raleigh Durham area of North Carolina. Coincidentally, I named my son Isaac.

    1. Hi James!

      I think you and I are related. Issac was my 6th great uncle. Let me know if you would like to have my email.

      GREAT article! Thank you!!!

  7. Isaac Crabtree is my 4X great grandfather. My paternal great grandmother was a Crabtree - Isaac's great granddaughter.

  8. Isaac is my 5th Great Grandfather. Oh how I wish this information was so easily available 10 years ago while my father Ralph was alive. I'd love to listen and share with him.My Grandma Maggie Moore's Grandfather was Christopher Columbus Crabtree son of Mark and Susan New Crabtree. Mark Crabtree was the son of Job and Mary Fuller Crabtree. Job was the son of Isaac and Sally (Elizabeth) Pike Crabtree. I have an awesome cousin who will be sharing more information this summer and I am so excited to start visiting some of the cities.

    1. Hi Rachelle. Thanks for writing. We have to write these stories for our children and these children. People like Isaac Crabtree need to be remembered. This is one of my most-read stories.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…