Jacob Dobkins (1751-1835); Several Bullet Holes Through His Clothes – 52 Ancestors #344

Jacob Dobkins is one of those border ancestors. What do I mean by that? Some ancestors spanned certain events or timeframes. One of these critical junctions was the Revolutionary War and the westward movement from the colonies into the frontier.

What happened during this period was that many men, and some families, traveled westward. Often courthouses were burned during subsequent wars and any documents that did exist were destroyed. Sometimes those documents never existed in the first place.

Many times, we find those men in their new location with no ties backward in time. At least none that we can find.

Where did they come from? Who were they and who were their wives?

Several researchers spent decades trying to piece the life of Jacob together. Fortunately, Jacob served in the Revolutionary War and applied for a pension in Claiborne County, Tennessee, but that certainly was not where he began his life.

One of the challenges tracking Jacob is that the surname is spelled a variety of ways: Dobkins, Dobbins, Dobikins, and more.

Birth and Early Years

Jacob was born about 1751 in Augusta County, Virginia, the portion that became Dunmore, now Shenandoah County, to Captain John Dobkins, also spelled Dobikins, and his wife, Elizabeth whose surname is unknown but rumored to be Moore. (DAR Patriot Index and The People’s History of Claiborne County, Tennessee 1801-2005, Vol. II, page 164). In 1775 Jacob married Darcus or Dorcas Johnson in Dunmore County, Virginia (Marriage Bonds 1772-1850).

Bill Nevils, long time and now deceased Dobkins researcher showed that Jacob was born in Frederick Co., VA, and married in 1775 in Dunsmore Co., VA. Bill’s work was excellent, but I wish he had shared his sources as he wrote.

Jacob’s age is taken from his application for a Revolutionary War pension in 1832 where he states that he is 81 years old. Thank goodness for that declaration, because that’s the only semi-firm birth year we have from Jacob’s own lips.

We first find Jacob listed on the Fincastle, Virginia delinquent tax list in 1773 with one taxable person – himself. Of course, since Jacob was “not found,” he had moved on from wherever he was living by the time the tax collector arrived.

Where was that? Good question.

When Fincastle County was created from Botetourt County in 1772, it included everything to the Mississippi River including the present state of Kentucky, all of West Virginia south of the Kanawha and New Rivers, Virginia west of the crest of the Blue Ridge and essentially south of present Roanoke and Craig Counties.

Dunmore County, now extinct and renamed as Shenandoah County, was created in 1772 from Fincastle. At that time, Lord Dunmore was leading the military opposition to the “rebels” in Virginia and had already issued the infamous Emancipation Proclamation offering to free any slave who fled their Virginia masters and joined the Royal British forces.

Fincastle Co., VA 1773 Delinquent Tax List
Jacob Dobbins Not found – 1

Elsewhere the surname transcribed from this record is spelled Dobins.

In 1777 Fincastle was divided into Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky counties. Its records were retained by Montgomery County which explains why these delinquent accounts are found among the Montgomery County delinquent lists.

That first tax list is described as a list of inhabitants on the Clinch River which flows through the present Virginia counties of Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise. The second and third lists are not identified as to area and may be compiled lists. The destinations of the delinquents are primarily adjacent counties including Bedford and Pittsylvania east of the Blue Ridge and Augusta County to the north. Since the present state of Kentucky was a part of Fincastle County at this time, the Indian land referenced was probably in Tennessee or Ohio.

In May of 1774, Lord Dunmore’s War commenced when he, as Virginia’s Governor, essentially declared war between Virginia and the Native people. This conflict resulted from escalating violence between white settlers who believed that in accordance with the Treat of Fort Stanwix in 1768 that they had the right to settle the lands south of the Oho, present-day Kentucky, Ohio, and southwest Pennsylvania, and the Iroquois Confederacy who had the right to hunt there.

The Virginia militia, all-volunteer, was called into service. Access Genealogy has transcribed the rosters of the units and the men at the early forts – although some lists are incomplete.

Many units participated in the Battle of Point Pleasant in October of 1774, but some did not. A transcribed list of volunteers in Robert Doack’s Company of Militia who defended the frontier in 1774, but did not participate in the Battle of Point Pleasant include one Jacob Dobler. I strongly suspect this is Jacob Dobkins, his name misspelled. I would like to see the original document.

Jacob married Dorcas Johnson in 1775 in Dunmore County. His brother, Evan, married Margaret Johnson, possibly a sister of Dorcas on January 30, 1775.

Jacob, along with Evin (sometimes transcribed incorrectly as Kevin) and Reuben appear on a Dunmore County militia roster dated May 29, 1775, so we know that they were living in present-day Shenandoah County at that time.

Evin (Evan) and Reuben are both presumed to be Jacob’s brothers given that there are no other Dobkins families living anyplace close. Based on this record, they would all have been born around 1750, give or take a year or two.

Shenandoah County was created in 1776 to replace Dunmore who proved to be an extremely unpopular governor.

In 1776, Jacob’s son, John Dobkins was born. Daughter Elizabeth was probably born in 1777, followed by Jane, also known as Jenny, about 1778. Both Elizabeth and Jenny married Campbell brothers.

Jacob Dobkins enlisted in Captain Todd’s Company at Harrodsburg (eventually Kentucky) in May 1779 and served for two years during the Revolutionary War. In 1780 he joined Captain McGary’s Company of Colonel George Rodgers Clark’s army and participated in the Piqua campaign against the Shawnee Indians of Ohio in the summer of 1780.

Jacob was obviously a VERY long way away from home, but returned to Shenandoah County after the war. However, that itch to move to the frontier had already taken hold.

Jacob’s name, along with John and Reuben Dobkins, appears on the Shenandoah County heads of family census of 1783.  They do not appear on the 1785 Virginia tax list “census” so they must have migrated to the western lands in the spring of 1785.

We have the names of 4 brothers: Jacob, Evan, Reuben and John Dobkins.

What happened to Jacob in the war?

The War

In 1775 Jacob enlisted in the American Revolutionary War in Shenandoah County in local Militia # 6 in Jacob Holeman’s Company (Revolutionary War Records, Vol 1, VA).

In 1780, this unit was mustered out to repel the British Invasion, but Jacob was already serving in Kentucky, so only Reuben and Evin would have been serving with the Holeman unit.

This information was originally taken from Jacob Dobkins’ application for a military pension in 1832 from the Claiborne County Court notes and later augmented by both the original petition and other historical records. The spelling and some punctuation has been modernized to aid in readability. Note that the writer slips back and forth between third-person and first-person as the narrative unfurls as Jacob speaks. I can just see the court clerk writing with his quill pen as Jacob, then an old man, testified, describing events that took place half a century earlier.

Jacob Dobkins, aged 81, …being duly sworn…states that he has not attended any Court of Justice in fifteen years last past and that he is very infirm and decrepit and about fifteen years ago he met with the misfortune of having his shoulder and collar bone broke [sic] which has greatly disabled him from getting about. He also states that he is much afflicted with the phrumatic (sic) pains.

He also states that he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated. That in the year 1779 and in the month of May in said year he resided in Kentucky at Harrods Burgh when he enlisted in the service of his country under Capt. Todd, which said company was attached to the troop commanded by Colonel Bowman.

(Page 2 of the original document.) Colonel Bowman shortly afterward marched to the Chilicothe towns against the Indians and the company to which this applicant belonged to commanded by Capt. Todd was left to guard the fort at Harrodsburgh where he remained until the spring 1780 and this applicant states that he was then transferred to a company commanded by Capt. McGarry [?] and we marched to the Shawnee Springs where we built a fort and afterwards, the company which this applicant belonged to was ordered to march to the falls of the Ohio with the view of guarding the artillery up the river which we accordingly did and joined the troops commanded by General Clark. Sometime in the month of July in the year 1780 we were then ordered by General Clark to march up the river with a view to kill provisions for the army. We accordingly marched up the river to the mouth of the Kentucky River where we attempted to cross the river to join the main army who were camped on the other side of the river. The Indians made an attack upon us and in the engagement we lost ten of our men. We then marched up the river to Cincinnati where we joined the troops commanded by Colonel Logan. We then built a block house and stationed a guard and the whole of the balance of the army marched to the Chilicothe towns (page 3) and the Indians evacuated the towns and would not give us battle. We then pursued them to the Pickaway towns where we arrived in the month of August in said year. We then found the Indians collected together and we had a very severe battle which lasted about three hours and a half. We killed a considerable number of them, and I think our loss was about 28 men. This applicant states that he did not receive any wounds in the battle but that there was several bullet holes through his clothes and applicant states the whole of the army then marched back to Cincinnati and the company to which I belonged marched back to the Shawnee Springs where this applicant was stationed until the month of August 1781 and during which time we had no general engagements, that a great portion of our time was spent in skirmishing parties through the country. Said applicant states that he actually did serve in the army of the United States putting the whole together more than two years. Applicant states that he does not remember that he ever did receive a discharge and if he did he has lost or mislaid it so that he cannot produce it. He states that he has no documentary evidence of his services nor does he know of any living testimony by whom he can prove his service. He duly relinquishes every claim to a pension or an annuity except (page 4) the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency of any state whatsoever.

Signed by Jacob Dobkins

I love that we have Jacob’s actual signature, as shakey as it was. It’s the one personal thing left of him, except for his DNA carried by his descendants.

History Involving Jacob’s Units

What can history tell us about what Jacob was doing when combined with his pension application? Let’s take this apart, piece by piece.

Jacob Dobkins, aged 81, …being duly sworn…states that he has not attended any Court of Justice in fifteen years last past and that he is very infirm and decrepit and about fifteen years ago he met with the misfortune of having his shoulder and collar bone broke [sic] which has greatly disabled him from getting about.

This tells us that when Jacob was about 66 years old, he had some type of painful accident that broke his shoulder and collar bone and never healed correctly. Jacob was a farmer and used mules and horses to plow and for other farm related activities. Of course, horsepower was the only way to get to town, other than walking. I have to wonder if he fell, or something fell on him.

I can only imagine how painful this must have been – not to mention disabling. Thankfully, families took care of one another. We know he lived beside his son Solomon and very near his two sons-in-law, John and George Campbell.

He also states that he is much afflicted with the phrumatic (sic) pains.

I’m presuming here that he meant what is known as rheumatoid arthritis, today.

He also states that he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated. That in the year 1779 and in the month of May in said year he resided in Kentucky at Harrods Burgh when he enlisted in the service of his country under Capt. Todd, which said company was attached to the troop commanded by Colonel Bowman.

What was Jacob doing in Harrodsburg in 1779? He says he already was living there.

These records published in the Genealogy Trails that apply to Kentucky land entries filed in Fincastle County, Virginia include one John Dobbins who could well have been John Dobkins, Jacob’s father, or perhaps Jacob’s brother John.

Name Date Type Zone Assignee Location Page
Dobbin, John 80.01.11 PW 6 N Elkhorn 126

PW = a presumption of 1000 acres for improving prior to 1778. In 1780, one John Smith appeared and represented the claim of John Dobbin on January 11, 1780, meaning the claim had been sold.

According to Wikipedia, North Elkhorn Creek starts just east of Lexington and flows 75.4 miles (121.3 km) through Fayette and Scott counties, and into Franklin County, where it meets the South Elkhorn at the Forks of the Elkhorn east of Frankfort.

South Elkhorn Creek begins in Fayette County, and flows 52.8 miles (85.0 km) through Woodford, Scott, and Franklin counties to reach the Forks of the Elkhorn. South Elkhorn Creek defines the boundary between Scott and Woodford counties. Beyond the Forks of the Elkhorn, the confluent waters flow north and empty into the Kentucky River north of Frankfort.

Elkhorn isn’t anyplace close to Harrodsburg. The southernmost part of Elkhorn terminates in Elkhorn Lake, near Payne Gap on the northern side of the mountain range between Letcher County Kentucky, and Wise County, Virginia.

In 1779 when Jacob enlisted, Harrodsburg was a small village in the middle of the wilderness, only 5 years old. What is now Kentucky was part of Virginia, and the Shawnee people were very unhappy, caught in the middle, feeling betrayed by both white men and other Native people.

In 1775, the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals (now Elizabethton, TN) was signed between Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company and the Cherokee people. It opened for settlement the area from the Ohio River south to the Watauga settlement, including Harrodsburg.

The Shawnee people, who inhabited the lands, were not involved in the negotiations and, understandably, refused to accept the terms of the treaty. Hence, they felt betrayed by the Cherokee, that their lands were being invaded, and attempted to repel settlers whom they viewed as trespassers.

The first European settlers were either quite brave or foolhardy, I’m not sure which. Within a few years, attempts were being made to settle the land beyond the few longhunters that frequented the area.

The passage of a Land Act was an important event of the year 1779. Up to that time land had been acquired without money and practically without price, but in that year the public lands of Virginia assumed a new importance. That naturally was the outcome of the Act by virtue of which Commissioners were appointed to sit as a Court to examine and grant certificates of settlements and preemptions. A Court was held in Harrodsburg on the 13th day of October and all who had claims to land were obliged to attend and state them.

Of some of the happenings of this year E. Foley writes: “We started from Frederick County, Virginia, and settled Bowmans fall 1779 about the middle of December; my mother was the first white woman that was there for some time and our coming was the first settling of station. There was nothing but a camp there till some time in March because it was too cold to work. As soon as we had gotten a good camp Col. Bowman brought his family from Harrodsburg and by Spring we had 20 farms…”

The year 1775 saw an influx of settlers to this section, the new arrivals coming from Virginia and North Carolina, and Harrodsburg received its quota. A number, it is said, clustered around Harrod’s old cabin the rising settlement. This year, too, saw a commencement made in the work of erecting the Fort which increasing numbers and the ever present menace of the Indians rendered a necessity. It is said that on the arrival of the pioneers in the previous year a temporary fort or shelter was established, but I have found no mention of this anywhere, and it may be merely a matter of tradition.

The year 1776 saw the completion of the fort which doubtless was greatly accelerated by Clark’s encouragement and example. One of his schemes at this time was Virginia ownership for Kentucky, deciding to call upon for protection. On June 6 he called a meeting of the settlers at Harrodsburg and they decided to send delegates or deputies to the Assembly of Virginia and Williamsburg with a petition asking the Assembly to establish the County of Kentucky. Clark and John Gabriel Jones, a lawyer, were elected as the delegates.

Clark was in Harrodsburg in 1777 and there he wrote an interesting diary which he had begun in the previous December and which was concluded on March 30, 1778. In this diary he says: “March 6th, 1777, Thomas Shores and William Ray Killed at the Shawnee Spring.”

In the Spring the Court of Quarter Sessions held its first sitting at Harrodsburg attended by the Sheriff of the county and its Clerk, Levi Todd. The first Court of Kentucky was composed of John Todd, John Floyd, Benjamin Logan, John Bowman and Richard Calloway. Just after the Court had adjourned, the Fort was attacked by the Indians and it is said that all the hunters and surveyors were driven from the surrounding country and forced to take refuge in the fort.

This census of sorts, taken from the journal of one of Harrod’s men is enlightening.

Almost every man at or near Fort Harrod was in the service.

In 1779, Col. Bowman left Frederick County with multiple families to settle Harrodsburg.

Given that Jacob says he enlisted at Harrodsburg, he was either already there or was with this group of families. For all we know, his father, John, and brothers may have been among this party as well. Regardless, we know positively that Jacob was in Harrodsburg in May.

The situation with the Shawnee continued to escalate and deteriorate.

Colonel Bowman shortly afterward marched to the Chilicothe towns against the Indians and the company to which this applicant belonged to commanded by Capt. Todd was left to guard the fort at Harrodsburgh where he remained until the spring 1780…

In other words, Jacob spent the majority of a year guarding the fort. The march to Chillicothe took place in May of 1779, the same month Jacob enlisted.

Fort Harrod

We are fortunate that a reproduction of Fort Harrod exists today in the Old Fort Harrod State Park.

By FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore – self-made by Russell and Sydney Poore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2806881

The actual fort location is under the Fort parking lot today.

The entire park is only 15 acres.

You can view the inside of the fort, here, and here. Imagine Jacob and all of the families living in this small space along with all of their animals in the corral inside the fort.

The fort housed a militia blockhouse, a family blockhouse, several cabins, a school, minister’s cabin and the leader’s cabin. Furthermore, two freshwater springs were located within the fort.

Those springs served several purposes. Drinking water, of course, but they also removed the need to exit the fort to retrieve water if the Indians were attacking.

Furthermore, the Shawnee would set forts afire to burn the settlers and militia out, but because the water source was within the fort, that tactic never worked at Fort Harrod.

The walls were 14 feet tall, with the bottom 4 feet buried in the ground. The posts measured more than a foot in diameter, so I can imagine the men felling those large trees. Ten foot gates were located on the north and west walls.

Inside the walls, blockhouses sat at the southwest and southeast corners where the upper story extended 2 feet outside the walls to allow the soldiers to shoot along the perimeter of the walls. It was here that Jacob would have spent most of his time while on duty, guarding and watching.

Between the blockhouses were seven 20×20 foot story-and-a-half houses separated by 10 feet. A single-story cabin was built next to the east corner and used as a school and a blacksmith shop was located on the southern wall inside the fort.

You can watch several YouTube videos showing inside Old Fort Harrod with stories told by interpreters here, here, here and here. One of the original rifles at the fort still exists and is mounted on the wall. Jacob would have carried a rifle or long-gun like this, along with the powder horn.

Take a look. Even if your ancestor isn’t involved with Fort Harrod, this provides incredible perspective about the settlement of the frontiers.

Sometime in the month of July in the year 1780 we were then ordered by General Clark to march up the river with a view to kill provisions for the army. We accordingly marched up the river to the mouth of the Kentucky River where we attempted to cross the river to join the main army who were camped on the other side of the river. The Indians made an attack upon us and in the engagement we lost ten of our men. We then marched up the river to Cincinnati where we joined the troops commanded by Colonel Logan. We then built a block house and stationed a guard and the whole of the balance of the army marched to the Chilicothe towns (page 3) and the Indians evacuated the towns and would not give us battle. We then pursued them to the Pickaway towns where we arrived in the month of August in said year. We then found the Indians collected together and we had a very severe battle which lasted about three hours and a half. We killed a considerable number of them, and I think our loss was about 28 men. This applicant states that he did not receive any wounds in the battle but that there was several bullet holes through his clothes and applicant states the whole of the army then marched back to Cincinnati and the company to which I belonged marched back to the Shawnee Springs where this applicant was stationed until the month of August 1781 and during which time we had no general engagements, that a great portion of our time was spent in skirmishing parties through the country. Said applicant states that he actually did serve in the army of the United States putting the whole together more than two years. Applicant states that he does not remember that he ever did receive a discharge and if he did he has lost or mislaid it so that he cannot produce it. He states that he has no documentary evidence of his services nor does he know of any living testimony by whom he can prove his service. He duly relinquishes every claim to a pension or an annuity except (page 4) the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency of any state whatsoever.

…and this applicant states that he was then transferred to a company commanded by Capt. McGarry [?] and we marched to the Shawnee Springs where we built a fort and afterwards, the company which this applicant belonged to was ordered to march to the falls of the Ohio with the view of guarding the artillery up the river which we accordingly did and joined the troops commanded by General Clark.

The Captain’s name could have been James McGinty. He and his wife, Anne, established the first ordinary, reproduced within the fort today, and are both buried in the cemetery at Fort Harrod.

However, based on the mention of Shawnee Springs about 6 miles distant from Fort Harrod, land was claimed by Hugh McGary, I’d wager that the man being referenced is Hugh McGary. His required land improvement was probably the fort built by Jacob Dobkins and the other men. That doesn’t seem quite right.

A Backwoods Army on the Move

Jacob Dobkins clearly knew George Rodgers Clark, born in 1752, referenced as General Clark, whose headquarters were at the Falls of the Ohio, now Louisville, KY. Jacob and Clark were about the same age, 27 or 28 years of age. Hard to believe George Rodgers Clark was already a general.

What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall of that stockade as the two men talked.

George Rodgers Clark depicted here sometime before his stroke in 1809 and death in 1818.

Sometime in the month of July in the year 1780 we were then ordered by General Clark to march up the river with a view to kill provisions for the army.

 Jacob, along with other men were hunting to feed the soldiers.

In response to Clark’s orders, an army began congregating at the mouth of the Licking River with July 31 as the date by which all of the companies were to be mustered. Clark had dictated a massive mobilization of Kentucky militia. The Licking River’s mouth is across the River from Cincinnati.

We accordingly marched up the river to the mouth of the Kentucky River where we attempted to cross the river to join the main army who were camped on the other side of the river.

The Kentucky River’s mouth is at Carrollton, half-way between Louisville and Cincinnati.

Of course, by this time the Revolutionary War was well underway, and the Native Americans had sided with the British, hoping to drive the frontiersmen out of their lands.

In 1778 and into 1779, Clark led his men on a winter march to Vincennes in what would become Indiana. While Jacob was not present for this march, the depiction of the mountain men in their brown garb and muskets was probably similar.

In June of 1780, the Shawnee, Delaware (Lenape) and Wyandot Indians invaded Kentucky, capturing both Ruddle’s and Martin’s Forts, along with hundreds of prisoners.

The great panic occasioned throughout Kentucky by the taking of Ruddle’s and Martin’s Stations caused the people to look up to General Clark as their only hope. His counsel and advice was received as coming from an oracle. He advised that a levy of four-fifths should be made of all the men in the country capable of bearing arms, whether inhabitants or strangers, and to meet at the mouth of Licking on the 20th July. Those from Lincoln and Fayette, under the command of Colonel Logan, were to march down Licking. Those from Jefferson under General Clark were to march up the Ohio.

In August, General Clark decided to lead a retaliatory force that would lead to the Battle of Piqua near Springfield, Ohio.

As soon as it was decided that an expedition should be carried on against the Indians. General Clark gave orders to have a number of small skiffs built at Louisville capable of taking fifteen or twenty men, which together with batteaux, the provisions and military stores, were taken by water from Louisville to the mouth of the Licking. The vessels were under the direction of Colonel George Slaughter, who commanded about 150 troops raised by him in Virginia for Western Service.

Were those boats involved with Jacob’s unit? Was Jacob on those boats? He was clearly there.

The Indians made an attack upon us and in the engagement we lost ten of our men. We then marched up the river to Cincinnati where we joined the troops commanded by Colonel Logan. We then built a block house and stationed a guard…

If Jacob Dobkins was at the mouth of the Kentucky River, these boats would have passed by on their way to the mouth of Licking River, at Cincinnati – or picked the men up along the way. But Jacob says they marched.

In ascending the river, it was necessary to keep the vessels close to the shore, some of which were on one side and some on the other; it happened whilst one of these skiffs was near the north side of the river a party of Indians ran down to the water’s edge and fired into it and killed and wounded several before assistance could be obtained from the other boats.

The fact that the boat was attacked, and Jacob also mentions losing men makes me wonder if this is the same event, told from two different perspectives. Jacob says they marched to the Kentucky River, then on to Licking River, and were trying to cross the river when they were attached. The boat doesn’t say anything about marching men, so maybe this was two separate events.

That party of the army commanded by Colonel Logan assembled at Bryan’s Spring, about eight miles from Lexington, and on the following night a man by the name of Clarke stole a valuable horse and went off. It was generally believed that he intended to go to North Carolina. When the army arrived at the mouth of Licking, the horse was found there, when the conjecture was that he had been taken prisoner by the Indians; but it was afterwards discovered that he had gone to the Indians voluntarily in order to give them notice of the approach of an army from Kentucky.

The army rendezvoused and encamped on the ground where Cincinnati now stands, and the next day built two blockhouses, in which was deposited a quantity of corn, and where several men who were sick left with a small guard, until the return of the army.

The division of the army commanded by Colonel Logan took with them generally provisions, only sufficient to last them to the mouth of Licking, as it was understood a sufficient quantity for the campaign would be brought up from Louisville to that place; but when the army was about to march, the provisions were distributed among the men, and was only six quarts of Indian corn, measured in a quart pot for each man, most of whom were obliged to carry it on their backs, not having a sufficiency of pack horses to convey the whole, together with the military stores and the baggage of the army.

Jacob received few provisions before they were marching once again.

The Battle of Pickaway

and the whole of the balance of the army marched to the Chilicothe towns and the Indians evacuated the towns and would not give us battle. We then pursued them to the Pickaway towns where we arrived in the month of August in said year.

We then found the Indians collected together and we had a very severe battle which lasted about three hours and a half. We killed a considerable number of them, and I think our loss was about 28 men.

Battle of Pique map, courtesy of the National Park Service.

Jacob describes this as a very severe battle. The Native warriors were outnumbered, two to one, but they fought valiantly.

Clark, in the Shawnee Expedition of 1780, led a total of about 970 men who had crossed the Ohio River and then marched up the Little Miami and Mad Rivers. They arrived at the village of Piqua (not the current day city in Ohio), the head village of the Shawnee with approximately 3000 inhabitants on August 8th. The village surrounded a small stockade.

The Shawnee were driven off when General Clark used artillery to bombard the stockade from river cliffs above the village. Clark’s men then spent two days burning as much as 500 acres of corn surrounding the village.

Clark reported 27 casualties (14 killed and 13 wounded) which seemed like a victory, but historians have corrected that number to almost three times that based on eyewitness accounts of survivors. However, Jacob also reports the same number as Clark. Perhaps that’s what he was told, although an eye-witness report would seem to be quite credible.

Of course, that number of dead does not include the Shawnee casualties.

The battlefield location today is more than 200 miles north of Fort Harrod, a very long and treacherous march on foot through unknown and dangerous terrain, about 7 miles west of Springfield, Ohio on the Mad River, known as the George Rodger’s Clark Park.

It’s here that Jacob spent those three and a half hellacious hours.

It’s here, along the Mad River that the devastating clash of cultures occurred – and it’s here that Jacob came close to losing his life.

The Shawnee never rebuilt their capitol village that housed more than 3000 people and instead moved to the Great Miami River where they settled just north of what is today the modern town of Piqua, Ohio, naming their village Peckuwe (later anglicized to “Piqua”).

You can read more in the George Rodgers Clark Papers, here and see the Peckuwe battlefield site, here and reenactors, here.

Several Bullet Holes

This applicant states that he did not receive any wounds in the battle but that there was several bullet holes through his clothes…

I just had to stop and let that sink in. Jacob Dobkins came that close. Inches or closer.

“Several bullet holes through his clothes.”

Not one.

Not two.

Several.

Plural.

Jacob’s daughter, my ancestor Jenny was probably born sometime between 1778 and 1780. Based on this, I’m presuming 1778 before he left, or perhaps as he was in the thick of the fighting or even after his return. Regardless, had those bullets been just a hair closer, or he had been unlucky that day, she would either never have been born, or never have known her father.

I’m sure the men acted brave, but Jacob must have been terrified facing more than 450 braves on their own territory. Three and a half hours of intense battle. I’d wager that he never noticed those bullet holes until after everything was over and he had a chance to recover a bit.

He had to have known how close he came as the soldiers took stock of what had happened and buried their dead.

Of course, the soldiers would have been surveying the immediate damage when the fighting ended. Who was injured and needed attention? Who hadn’t been so lucky to only have bullet holes in their clothes? Who was dead? What did they do with injured soldiers and Shawnee? What did they do with the dead in mid August? Did they bury the dead Shawnee too? How would they secure themselves before nightfall to prevent an attack?

Back to Shawnee Springs

…and applicant states the whole of the army then marched back to Cincinnati and the company to which I belonged marched back to the Shawnee Springs where this applicant was stationed until the month of August 1781 and during which time we had no general engagements, that a great portion of our time was spent in skirmishing parties through the country.

Armies march about 15 miles a day, resting every fifth day to recover a bit, and it was roughly 200 miles, maybe slightly less to Shawnee Springs. That march would probably have been somewhat more than 2 weeks, so they would have arrived in September sometime.

Shawnee Springs is assuredly the land claimed by Hugh M’Gary in October 1779 about six miles from Harrodsburg on Shawnee Run. This land was contested, which means the M’Gary name was scattered throughout the records. In one suit, his property was mentioned as being a common stopping place between the fort and Harrodsburg.

Based on his comments about skirmishing parties, Jacob clearly was not always at either fort, the one at Shawnee Springs or Fort Harrod. We have no information about the fort Jacob built at Shawnee Springs, but I suspect it may have been little more than a block house. It certainly was not as large as Fort Harrod.

Said applicant states that he actually did serve in the army of the United States putting the whole together more than two years. Applicant states that he does not remember that he ever did receive a discharge and if he did he has lost or mislaid it so that he cannot produce it. He states that he has no documentary evidence of his services nor does he know of any living testimony by whom he can prove his service. He duly relinquishes every claim to a pension or an annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency of any state whatsoever.

Jacob Dobkins outlived many if not most or maybe even all of the men at Fort Harrod. George Rogers Clark died in 1818. It would have been very difficult to keep in touch with people at that time unless you were related or lived close.

What About King’s Mountain?

Jacob Dobkins is listed on the muster rolls of the men who participated in the Battle of King’s Mountain in Pat Alderson’s book, The Overmountain Men. I wrote about King’s Mountain, here. The Battle of King’s Mountain occurred on October 7, 1780. Based on Jacob’s own testimony, he marched from Ohio in August of 1780 to Shawnee Springs near Harrodsburg where he remained until May of 1781, “during which time we had no general engagements.”

Jacob Dobkins would surely have listed his service at King’s Mountain if he or his unit had participated. Furthermore, he would NOT have said they had “no general engagements.” King’s Mountain was unquestionably a major battle and a turning point in the war.

I think we can take this as evidence that Jacob Dobkins was NOT at King’s Mountain.

Participation at King’s Mountain is difficult to document because there are no muster rolls, so it’s often assumed that any man serving at this time, especially from Virginia, would have assuredly been involved in that battle. Generally, I’d agree, but in this case, I think we can rely on Jacob’s own voice in his pension application.

Jacob’s Path

During 1779 through the spring of 1781, Jacob traveled at least 450 miles – and that’s not counting his journey from and back to Shenandoah County, following the path along the valleys alongside the mountains, sheltering as he could in the forts known as stations along the way. The Wilderness Road.

Jacob would have stopped at Martin’s Station, marked with the red star below, before it was destroyed by the Shawnee.

Martin’s Station wasn’t far from where he would ultimately settle south of Cumberland Gap on the Powell River, some 20 years later, marked with the red pin on Campbell Lane.

By Cmadler – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10842234

Perhaps when Jacob sheltered at Martin’s Station, he made a foray over the mountain, crossing through the gap, hiked along the creeks, saw the lands along the winding Powell River and determined that one day, he wanted to live there.

Or, did Jacob stand at the pinnacle of the Cumberland Gap and survey his surroundings, mesmerized by the stunning majesty, and vow to return one day?

Jacob was part of the beginning trickle of pioneers, mostly men, down a dangerous trail. That trickle would turn into a stream and then a flood of pioneers by 1810 when more than 300,000 people had passed through Cumberland Gap on that Wilderness Road on their way to the new frontier and what they hoped would be a better life and more opportunity – specifically, land.

After the War

I wonder how long it had been since Jacob had seen his wife. Did he have a new baby that was by then a toddler? He enlisted in May of 1779 and wasn’t discharged until August of 1781. Some men went home and planted crops, but it’s an incredibly long, and dangerous path from Fort Harrod to Shenandoah County. Not to mention, we already know that Jacob was at Ford Harrod when he enlisted.

I sure wish we knew more of the circumstances surrounding Jacob’s enlistment and how the war changed him. Did his wife know him when he returned? Had it been more than two full years? Did she even know if he was still alive?

Cousin Carol shows a daughter, Dorcas Dobkins, born May 29, 1780 in Shenandoah Co., VA. married Sept. 16, 1796 to Malachi Murphy. She died Dec. 11, 1858. Carol believes that Dorcas is the daughter of Jacob Dobkins and Dorcas Johnson. Her first name would certainly suggest that’s a possibility.

Not that I’m counting on my fingers, but if she was born in May of 1780, that would be more than a year after Jacob had left for Fort Harrod. Of course, birth years were wrong back then, not to mention people often incorrectly stated their own ages. I’ve seen records of men being AWOL long enough to go home and plant crops too, but that’s an awfully long distance.

In 1783, Jacob’s son Reuben was born in Shenandoah County, Virginia and eventually married Mary whose surname is unknown.

In 1783 Jacob appears in the Shenandoah County, Virginia census as head-of-household. His father, John, and brother, Reuben, are also listed in the area.

Jacob’s daughter, Margaret, was probably born in Tennessee in 1785 since the family is no longer listed on tax lists in Virginia. Margaret eventually married Elijah Jones and lived in close proximity to Jacob in Claiborne County.

Jacob already had that itch and the family didn’t remain long in Shenandoah County. With the end of the war and land opening, the exodus had already begun and Jacob, then about 40 years old packed his family into a wagon and joined the stream of frontier families on the Great Wagon Road heading south and west, often together.

In 1785 there was a court document from the state of North Carolina requesting Jacob Dobkins of Shenandoah County, Virginia for a deposition in lawsuit of J. Sevier and A. Bird McCain. Had Jacob gone back to Shenandoah County again? Maybe to pack his family for the journey?

Jacob and Darcus’s daughter Margaret was reportedly born in 1785 in what would become Claiborne County, but based on these records, I don’t think that’s correct. Claiborne had not yet been formed and no settlers were yet living there. They were probably living in the eastern portion of what would one day become Tennessee.

The State of Franklin

The eastern portion of what would become Tennessee was both Virginia and North Carolina at various points in time, along with the proposed (unrecognized) State of Franklin that existed only from 1784-1788. Jonesboro was initially the capital of the State of Franklin, then Greeneville beginning in 1785.

By Brian Stansberry – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4160937

For perspective, here’s a replica of the capitol building in Greeneville based on the dimensions given in historical records.

Nothing was elegant. Everything was simply functional on the frontier.

Unfortunately, very few records exist from this timeframe, and none from the defacto “State of Franklin” itself.

As far as the rest of the colonies were concerned, “Franklin” was just a rogue part of far western North Carolina. The Franklinites thought about themselves very differently and ran the State of Franklin in conflicting parallel with North Carolina. Both entities thought they had sovereignty over those lands and residents.

By Iamvered – I, Iamvered, drew this map myself., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3868073

Two factions battled within the State of Franklin: the Tiptonites who were loyal to the state of North Carolina, and the Franklinites, led by Tennessee’s future governor, John Sevier, who desired an entirely separate state.

Washington, Greene, Sullivan and Hawkins County comprised the “Old State Party” who supported staying with North Carolina. The Franklinites did not.

By 1786, the residents of Franklin were negotiating with the state of North Carolina for readmission. Franklin was a mess, suffering from both internal and external conflict. In addition to the political battles, the residents were in conflict with a treaty with the Cherokee that escalated into conflict in 1788.

The book, The Lost State of Franklin provides details and a look into this fascinating time and place.

The residents were tired and frustrated. They wanted to own land and have the protections of a “normal” government of their time.

Two elections in 1786 and 1787 were disputed. In an attempt to resolve the conflict, the poll lists were sent to the North Carolina general assembly, which is the only reason we have that list today.

Jacob Dobkins was listed among the voters in August 1786 at the courthouse in Jonesboro for Washington County, North Carolina (now Tennessee) as was his brother, Reuben.

In 1787, only Reuben is found on the Washington County, NC poll list.

Jacob’s son, Solomon Dobkins was born in Tennessee in 1787 per the 1850 census. P. G. Fulkerson, early Claiborne County historian, says the family was in what would become Claiborne County by 1792. I don’t this is accurate given that Grainger wasn’t formed until 1796. We have a list of Grainger County “Insolvents Living Within the Indian Boundary for the Year 1797,” families illegally living on the Indian lands, which would have been Claiborne at that time, and Jacob isn’t included on that list.

We know that Jacob and his brothers were living in Washington County, in what would become Tennessee in 1787 and 1788. Based on the North Carolina court records, we also know that Jacob was somehow involved in the political intrigue.

The Sevier family was front and center in the State of Franklin, heading up one of the rival sides of the political disputes – the Franklinites.

Washington County, Tennessee Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions

Page 252 – Friday the 6th (think this is May 1785) – ordered the justices of Shenandoah Co. Virginia to take the depositions of Jacob Dobkins, Sylvia Foella and other witnesses in the suit between Valentine Sevier Sr. and Andrew Bird.

Valentine Sevier and Andrew Bird had been neighbors in Augusta County, serving in the same militia unit before moving to the frontier. In 1753, Sevier had sold Bird land in the portion now Rockingham County.

Page 294 – Nov. 5, 1787 – Will of Rudolph Cresslias – executor Elizabeth and John Cathart Cresslias – William Noodling Sr., John Dobbins and Abraham Riffe appraisers.

345 – Jacob Dobkins of John Wier for 100 acres dated February 21, 1788, by Abraham Riffe

358 – Evan Dobkins finds a stray horse on November 13, 1788

Reuben Dobkins (spelled Dobbins) takes part in Martin’s campaign of 1788 against the Cherokee near present-day Chattanooga, Tennessee, also known as Dragging Canoe’s War. Martin, the former Indian Agent, commanded the men from Sullivan County, although there’s no way of knowing whether Reuben served directly under Martin. We do know that the men, when finally paid in 1790, had been from Washington, Sullivan, Green and Hawkins, but some lived in other nearby counties.

The less than straightforward Treaty of Sycamore Shoals with the Cherokee was at the heart of the conflict in this region, and when combined with local emotional politics, the situation boiled over.

Where’s Jacob?

On November 24, 1789, Jacob’s name appeared on the south of the French Broad Petition to the North Carolina Legislature.

The land South of the French Broad River now falls into Jefferson and Sevier Counties. Back then, it was Washington District.

I transcribed the document in its entirety, here. You can hear the desperation and frustration, even from 232 years distance.

Other transcribers of the document provide this information:

This set of documents includes the names of many men who lived in Eastern Tennessee in 1789, names that might not be found in any other records. These men were living on Indian territory that had not been purchased by the United States. They were considered trespassers. Most of them had lived under the State of Franklin, but once that was disbanded, they belonged to no state, no nation. These petitions were written to the North Carolina Assembly, asking for help. Many of these people stayed around and eventually gained legal possession of their land almost 20 years later, but others gave up and left the area, not leaving any evidence behind in county and state records besides their names on these petitions.

Apparently, Jacob is one of those who gave up and moved back to Virginia, but not for long.

Jacob appears on the 1790 census for Shenandoah Co., Va. However, he was in newly formed Jefferson Co., Tennessee in 1792 when he sued Benjamin Wallace and John Sevier. Yes, the famous John Sevier, the man whose case he had been summoned to provide a deposition for in 1785. The families had lived as neighbors in Virginia.

1792 – Historian, Colonel P.G. Fulkerson states “Jacob Dobkins was living in the Claiborne County area in 1792”. In 1792 all but the northeast tip of present-day Claiborne County was designated as Indian Land and remained so until 1796. In Fulkerson’s defense, he was reporting events as they had been told to him from a century earlier, and we’re very fortunate that he committed that information to paper.

When Jacob did move to Claiborne County, he purchased the land north of Wallen’s Ridge above Cedar Fork, but first, Jacob, then in his 40s, settled in Jefferson County.

Jefferson County, Tennessee

Jacob fully intended to settle down and farm. He bought land on the White Horn branch of Bent Creek, near Bull’s Gap in present day southern Hawkins or Hamblen County.

Around 1795 two of Jacob’s daughters married Campbell men, believed to be brothers, probably the sons of Charles Campbell of Hawkins County who lived 8 miles directly down the road near the Holston River. It could be that before Jacob purchased land, he was living closer to the Holston and Charles Campbell.

In 1795 and 1796 we find Jacob Dobkins buying two tracts of land in Jefferson Co., Tn.  Deed book B-210 provides us with the location of Jacob’s land.

Cousin Carol sent photos of this area years ago.

I visited years later, found the location, and took photos after driving from the Campbell land near Dodson Creek in Hawkins County, where it intersects with the Holston River. Raleigh Dodson was the ferryman where the original ford used to be. The Dobkins, Dodson and Campbell families were intertwined.

The Campbell land near Dodson ford to White Horn.

Jacob Dobkins to Henry Cross of Greene Co., June 14, 1796, recorded October 13, 1796, 163 acres, 100 pounds, on the White Oak Fork of Bent Creek adj Col ? Roddy, Abraham Howard, Jacob Dobkins, wit John Goare, John Reed, signed

When I found Charles Campbell’s land, I had to find Jacob Dobkins land too. After all, their children are my ancestors. White Horn from the side road, above, and the main road, below.

Note this entry as well from 1810 – Henry Cross of Greene Co to Jacob Kirkpatrick March 15, 1810, 163 acres on White Horn fork of Bent Creek adj ? Roddy, Graham Howard, Jacob Dobbins, witnessed by Levi Day, Wilkins Kirkpatrick, William Howard proven at the March session 1810.

Lazarus Dodson who had lived by the Campbell family bought land in 1797 on White Horn too. His son by the same name would marry the daughter of John Campbell and Jane Dobkins a few years later after all of these families moved to Claiborne County.

Jefferson County, Tennessee, Court Notes 1792-1798

Page 11 – Jacob Dobkins vs Benjamin ? Wallace and John Sevier. Plaintiff prays for appeal to Superior court of the district of Washington County.

I sure would love to know what this was about. I wonder if this further affirms that Jacob was supportive of this part of Tennessee remaining part of North Carolina and not becoming the State of Franklin? Were hard feelings left from earlier days between the men?

69 – Deed from Jacob Dobkins to Henry Cross

Barnett Campbell was born to Jacob’s daughter, Elizabeth and George Campbell in 1797, according to the 1850 census.

We don’t know much about Jacob Dobkins’ religious leanings, but most people in that time and place attended church. If he was Scots-Irish, then he was probably Presbyterian, but most families attended the church of opportunity.

The Reverend Tidence Lane founded Bent Creek Church, supposedly preaching under the old tree in the Bent Creek Cemetery.

This is probably where Jacob attended church, under this tree.

Tidence Land moved up to Claiborne County too. Maybe they all talked about that under the tree as well.

Claiborne County

Grainger County was born in April of 1796 and Claiborne in October of 1801.

Jacob Dobkins did not stay in Jefferson very long as we find him in the newly formed county of Claiborne County in 1801 where he spent the rest of his life. Jacob was about 50 years old when he made this final move. Maybe he was getting tired of the exhausting work of felling trees and homesteading.

Claiborne County lies in the northern portion of East Tennessee and borders both the States of Kentucky and Virginia. The famous Cumberland Gap is situated near the middle of its northern line. The principal waterway in the county is the Powell River, with the Clinch River forming its southern boundary. The land has a variety of hills, mountains and valleys. For the most part, the soil in the valleys was good, although the hillsides were rocky. In many places, the mountains were unpassable. Jacob and his family, along with other settlers, had to deal with Indian troubles and several forts were built. The pioneers suffered much from savage depredations and conflict, especially in the early days, seemed everpresent.

The act to erect a new county from portions of Hawkins and Grainger was passed October 29, 1801. It was name Claiborne in honor of William Charles Cole Claiborne, one of the first judges of the superior court, and the first representative in Congress from Tennessee.

In 1801 Jacob Dobkins was appointed as a member of the Grand Jury for the First Court of Claiborne County, Tennessee after it was formed from Grainger, so he was already living here at this time.

The court of pleas and quarter sessions was organized at the house of John Owens December 7, 1801.

The next term of the court was held at the house of John Hunt, who lived on the site of Tazewell. The grand jury empaneled included Jacob Dobkins.

The third term of the court was held at the house of Elisha Walling, and it was not until 1804 that a small frame courthouse was erected. It stood near the site of the present courthouse. In 1804, the jail was built and remains today.

At the March court session in 1802, Jacob Dobkins “proved” a deed for 300 acres in court that was conveyed from Alexander Outlaw to John Campbell who was married to Jacob’s daughter, Jenny.

On June 07, 1802, Jacob purchased four hundred acres from Elisha Wallen, the famous longhunter, on the north side of Wallens Ridge. Jacob owned the land north of Wallens Ridge near Cedar Fork – Deed Book “A” June 07, 1802.

At the September Session of the Claiborne Court of 1803, Jacob Dobkins and his neighbor, Abel Lanham reported to the court as members of the “Jury on the road from Powels Mountain to Cumberland Gap”.

Jacob was also ordered to serve at the December term as a juror.

In 1803 and 1805, Jacob purchased additional land.

About 1808, Jacob’s son Solomon married Elizabeth, surname unknown.

Sadly, in 1809, Jacob Dobkins purchased four enslaved people. This hurt my heart, although it wasn’t uncommon.

“I Jesse Cheek hath bargained and sold unto Jacob Dobkins 4 negroes names Aneker or Anekey, Mitilty, Jiary, Amelyer for the consideration of $130 in hand paid.”  March 29 1809 Jesse signs, registered July 30, 1809.  John Campbell and Solomon Dobkins are witnesses.

Jacob’s son and son-in-law were witnesses.

Jacob buys and sells land in 1812, 1813, 1814, 1819 and 1821.

In 1812, Jacob was serving as a juror again, along with John Campbell and George Campbell, his sons-in-law, and laying out roads.

1814 brought war again to the Dobkins family. Jacob’s son, Solomon Dobkins served as a Captain in the War of 1812, also known at the Creek War. Solomon served for three months from January 17 to May 9, 1814 in the 2nd Regiment of East Tennessee militia under Colonel Bunch.

Andrew Jackson’s official report of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (27 March 1814) mentions that:

“A few companies” of Colonel Bunch were part of the right line of the American forces at this engagement. More than likely, some of those companies included Captains Francis Berry, Nicholas Gibbs (who was killed at the battle), Jones Griffin, and John McNair. In addition, muster rolls show some casualties from this battle in the companies led by Captains Moses Davis, Joseph Duncan, and John Houk. Other men from this regiment remained at Fort Williams prior to Horseshoe Bend to guard the post — provision returns indicate that there were 283 men from Bunch’s regiment at the fort at the time of the battle.

This regiment was in General George Doherty’s Brigade and many of the men stayed after the enlistment expiration of May 1814 to guard the posts at Fort Strother and Fort Williams until June/July. The line of march went through Camp Ross (near present-day Chattanooga), Fort Armstrong, and Fort Jackson.

Jacob must have been greatly relieved when Solomon returned home and walked up to his house, probably hungry, bedraggled and exahusted. Other men from Claiborne County weren’t as fortunate. Jacob was probably trying NOT to think about those bullet holes that ripped through his own clothes at the Battle of Piqua.

In 1814 Jacob sold seventy acres to his son-in-law, George Campbell and three hundred and twenty acres to son-in-law, Elijah Jones.

1817 – The accident that broke Jacob’s collarbone and shoulder occurred.

March 17, 1819 – Jacob Dobkins to John Whitacre, $400, 20 acres on the waters of Powels River beginning on the ridge near the head of a large spring known by the name of Hunt’s spring running west crossing a small branch and a few steps above the head of the said spring…crossing the branch below the mill…Jacob signs, Solomon Dobkins and George Campbell witness. February session 1820 Solomon and George swear to the conveyance and prove the deed.

Does this tell us that Jacob Dobkins owned a mill? A small tract of 20 acres would be a respectable-sized mill tract. Jacob may have given up on his shoulder healing by this point, and decided it was time to sell.

In 1823, Jacob’s son, Reuben died and his widow, Polly, served as his administrator. It must have been incredibly difficult for Jacob to lose an adult child.

The 1830 federal census in Claiborne County lists Jacob and Dorcas living next to their youngest son, Solomon. They are also living 3 doors from Abel Lanham who witnessed Jacob’s Revolutionary War pension application, and 5 doors from his son-in-law George Campbell. Jacob owned 4 slaves, 2 males ages 10-23, one female 10-23 and one female slave child under age 10.

In 1832 Jacob applied for and received a pension for his Revolutionary War service. His friend and neighbor, Abel Lanham, recommended him.

In 1833, Jacob, living beside his son Solomon is again shown on the Claiborne County tax list.

Jacob’s pension packet shows that his benefits stopped on March 4, 1833, which was his presumed date of death. But there’s more.

The next court session in Claiborne County occurred on March 18, 1833 where we find an entry referring to a Jacob Dobkins, Jr. If Jacob Sr. was still living, then there would be no need to address Jr. as such.

Ordered by the court that Jacob Dobkins Jr. be appointed overseer of the road from ? Henderson’s shop to the old Hawkins line in room and stead of William Laughan and have the same hands.

We find Jacob Jr. mentioned again in December of 1833 and March 1834.

Another record shows Jacob’s death in late 1835.

On this pension payment record, Jacob is shown as paid through 1835. He would not have been being paid if he were deceased.

And in this next one as well, so perhaps he did not die until in the fourth quarter of 1835. These records are not consistent, but they are close.

However, according to a deed index, in 1835, real estate transactions were taking place between individuals designated as Jacob’s heirs in deed book L, page 177. However, deed book L is missing, and according to FamilySearch, volume M resumes in 1836. Of course☹

In March of 1838, Jacob Dobkins in the court records is no longer referenced as Jr. suggesting that Jacob Sr. is gone, as is confirmed by the above records. However, the Claiborne County court notes reflect nothing about an estate or his death.

Without a court entry date or those deeds, it’s safe to say that Jacob died sometime between March 1833 and the end of 1835.

Based on when Jacob Jr. is no longer referred to as Jr., in March 1834, and the final payment vouchers, I would say that Jacob Dobkins died in the fourth quarter of 1835.

By 1850, two of Jacob’s slaves had been freed, one registered in the court records in 1850, apparently after filing suit.

October 5, 1850 – “I Solomon Dobkins do this day free my negrow boy Jefferson and doe agree to gave to said boy Jefferson a good hors and saddle and bridal on theas conditions that the said Jefferson doath dismiss his suit in chancery at Tazewell for his freedom and relinquish all claim on me for my laber sens my oald master Jacob Dobkins deceist, giveon under our hands and seals this the 5 day of October 1850”.  Solomon signs and Jefferson (+) Dobkins, wit Jacob Dobkins, Nathaniel Brooks and John C. Dodson filed Dec 3 1850, personally appeared before me Thomas Johnson Solomon Dobkins and Jefferson Dobkins with whom I am personally acquainted and who acknowledged the execution of the above deed for the purpose therein contained upon the 7th of October 1850.

I wonder if Jefferson continued to use the surname Dobkins. I didn’t find him in the 1860 census.

Jacob’s Path

Jacob’s path AFTER the Revolutionary War – from Shenandoah County, to Jonesville, back to Shenandoah, then on to Bull’s Gap and finally, to Claiborne County was not a short journey. Those years were filled with conflict, probably far more conflict than we can even begin to imagine.

Jacob was probably extremely grateful to actually purchase land, farm and stay in one place. From 1801 when he bought land and settled in Claiborne County on the Powell River, until his death in the 1830s, Jacob never moved again.

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18 thoughts on “Jacob Dobkins (1751-1835); Several Bullet Holes Through His Clothes – 52 Ancestors #344

  1. I saw your reference to Alexander Outlaw. Do you know if he may be related to Elizabeth Outlaw (1767-1821) wife of David Campbell son of “Whie” David Campbell?

      • I took a quick look and I see Alexander Outlaw sometimes refered to as Col Alexander Campbell. May have been involved with the State of Franklin movement. It also appears that he is the father of Elizabeth Outlaw wife of David Campbell.

          • Col Alexander Outlaw is famous enough to have his own Wikipedia page. I admit I had not heard of him, but figured he had to be kin to me. He is said to be my 5th Great Uncle, my ancestor was his little sister Elizabeth Outlaw, who it seems he named his daughter for. He and likely his daughter was born at Outlaw’s Bridge in Duplin County, NC. There is a big Grady-Outlaw reunion and society in Albertson NC – I confess to not owning their book on the families, but have gotten info from it. (Grady is pronounced Graddy).

  2. Reuben Dobkins was my daughter-in-law’s 5th great grandfather! His daughter, Margaret (Peggy) Dobkins was her 4th ggrandmother who married John Hill. From there it’s James then Margaret, then into the Rowe family. Interesting group of folks!
    Sylvia Harper Nelson

  3. It is always interesting to me how interwoven the histories of these early Southern families are. The preacher Tidence (Tidings) Lane is my own ancestor, and you and I share genealogy in other families, too, mainly in Pittsylvania County, VA. That western frontier was so large in space, and yet everyone seemed to know everyone else, fight alongside each other, and intermarry repeatedly. It’s amazing!

      • Close………Bent Creek Church. There were lots of preachers in that Lane family, and in the Sweetings (Sweetons, Sweetens) with whom they intermarried.

  4. Regarding Tidence Lane, you might be interested in an article at baptistpress.com entitled Tennessee Baptist pioneer reinterred.

  5. Thank you for sharing your extensive research on Jacob Dobkins and his family. I also appreciate the late Bill NeviI’s research. I, too, am a descendant of Jacob and Dorcus. I did not know that Jacob purchased his property from Elisha Wallen. That bit of information has me searching for the book “Elisha Wallen, the Longhunter”, which unfortunately is no longer published.

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