Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Arthur Robinson Frogge: Pioneer of the Valley of the Three Forks o' the Wolf

My 5th great-grandfather, Arthur Robinson Frogge, was born to William and Mary Mitchell Frogg on April 13, 1776, almost three months before the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress.

Arthur was of Scottish descent and was named after his uncle Arthur Frogg (c1744 – 1771) who was reportedly killed in a duel in Virginia. His middle name was in homage of his brother-in-law and business partner, David Robinson. According to his widow’s pension, Arthur Frogg was 6 ft. tall, slender, fair-completed, blue eyes and had black hair. President James Madison was Arthur's second cousin. Madison’s mother and Arthur’s grandmother were sisters.

In August of 1795, at the age of 19, Arthur enlisted as a private in the 14th Regiment of the Virginia Infantry. He served three years, taking part in several expeditions against the Creek Indians, before he was honorably discharged at Ft. Williams in Georgia in August of 1798.

Arthur married Jane Thompson Richardson on Jan. 31, 1799 in Wytheville, VA. The next month, his brother, Strother, married Jane’s sister. In 1802, after witnessing a mass exodus by many of their family and friends to Kentucky and Tennessee, the Frogg brothers moved their families to an area on Wolf River near Stockton's Valley, which later became known as Albany, Kentucky. The area where Arthur and his family settled was originally thought to be in Kentucky but would later become Pall Mall, Tennessee. It was there that Arthur purchased 200 acres near the Horsehoe Bend of Wolf River.

Sgt Alvin C. York wrote in is diary, “Above the spring in the rock-facing of the cliff is a large cave. Here Coonrod Pile spread a bed of leaves and made his home. The campfire was kept burning and its smoke was seen by other hunters, and Pearson Miller, Arthur Frogg, John Riley and Moses Poor came to Coonrod in the valley, and they too made their homes there, and Pall Mall was founded and descendants of these men are today eighty percent of the residents in the "Valley of the Three Forks o' the Wolf.”

The United States declared War on England in June of 1812 and Arthur and his brothers, William and Strother, enlisted to protect the frontier settlements from Tecumseh. Due to his previous experience as a soldier, Arthur served as a Lieutenant in the KY Mounted Infantry, 3rd Company; 7th Regiment for the Thames Campaign. He was mustered in at Newport, KY, enroute to Urbana, Ohio, 120 miles north of Cincinnati.

On Nov. 4, 1813, while marching around Lake Erie, Arthur fractured his ankle. He had served 84 days as Lieutenant. His paymaster reimbursed him two rations per day totaling 168, less ten of which were provided. He was reimbursed $31.60 sustenance during his term.

After the injury, Arthur came back home, where it is said he presided over the first ever county court. He also became road commissioner of Overton County, TN in 1815.

Tennessee and Kentucky compromised on a boundary dispute and on Feb. 4, 1820, the land where Arthur lived was now referred to as Overton County, TN instead of Cumberland County, KY. Fentress County, TN was created three years later from parts of Overton and Morgan counties, but Arthur remained in Overton County as the area along Wolf River would not be annexed into Fentress County until later.

In 1832, Arthur became Fentress County Road Commissioner and in 1835, he was appointed commissioner of Tennessee’s first railroad.

After the opening of the Illinois Territory, Arthur and his sons purchased 5,000 acres of land in Union County, Illinois in 1839. According to his widow’s pension papers, Arthur moved his family to Tippecanoe, Indiana where Jane died on Aug. 17, 1839. Following her death, Arthur returned home to Pall Mall and on April 18, 1841 he married his second wife, Louvisa Smith.

He applied for his military pension in 1844 and after a two year review, began receiving $8.50 per month on Jan. 1, 1846.

Arthur Robinson Frogge died on May 13, 1855 at the age of 78. He is buried at Wolf River Cemetery in Fentress Co, Tennessee.

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