|My "infamous" ancestor, Isaac
Crabtree, once lived in Pulaski County in the early
days (1799-1800). While still a teenager, Isaac,
almost caused an Indian war on the Virginia frontier. The
Governor of Virginia offered a reward of $50 for Isaac's
Isaac was born in 1757 on the banks of
Deer Creek in Baltimore County, Maryland to William
and Hannah (Whitaker) Crabtree III. In approximately
1758, William Crabtree III moved his large family
down the Valley of Virginia into Bedford County where
they lived on Cub Run and Maggotty Creek. By 1772, they
had moved to the vicinity of what was known as Wolf Hills
(now Abingdon). The family lived on the "Big Salt
Lick" or "Big Lick" which was later to
become Saltville and presently lies in the County of
Smythe. In those days, it was in Washington County. Isaac
became a Longhunter and was seen in the company of the
famous pioneer Daniel Boone on hunting
expeditions. In September of 1773, Daniel Boone,
with his family, his brother Squire Boone, and a
number of other families and hunting companions, set out
for Kentucky from Castle's Woods in Washington Co.,
Virginia. Running low on supplies, Daniel sent his son, James
Boone, and two other young men back to Castle's Woods
to obtain more supplies. There, they obtained the
supplies and picked up several more traveling companions,
two of whom were Isaac Crabtree and his brother John
Crabtree. They camped for the night on the banks of
Wallen Creek, only about two miles, from Boone's main
encampment, not realizing that they were so close to the
others. As dawn came on October 10, 1773, a party of
Indians swooped down upon the unsuspecting young men.
They tortured and killed all but one slave who hid in a
wood pile, and Isaac who managed to escape. Isaac
was hit in the back with an arrow as he awoke and fled
into the woods. His brother also was wounded as he fled. John
Crabtree was never seen again. Isaac wandered
for three days until he finally made his way back to
Castle's Woods. This incident haunted Isaac for months
and his grief and hatred for the Indians increased. The
next spring, during a festival held at Sycamore Shoals in
what is now Jonesboro, Tennessee in which the whites
intended to sign a treaty with the Cherokee, Isaac
shot and killed Cherokee Billy, the nephew of one
of the Chiefs. Isaac later stated that he recognized
Cherokee Billy as one of his assailants at the massacre.
This "infamous" act almost caused a war on the
Virginia frontier with the Indians. In the Draper
Manuscripts, there are quite a few references to this
shooting, although in most instances, Isaac is shown in a
bad light. Isaac continued solitary hunting expeditions
against the Indians. In July of 1774 he stood trial for
this killing, but was never convicted. During Dunmore's
War, he served under Capt. James Thompson against
In 1775, he scouted in Kentucky and was at Boonesborough
for a time. He returned to Virginia, where he enlisted in
the army during the Revolutionary War. He served under Captain
Aaron Lewis and Capt. James Thompson. Isaac
"guarded the frontiers against the Indians" who
were allied with the British. He and several of his
brothers were in the Cherokee Expedition in September of
1776, known as Christian's Campaign. The miltia marched
to the Cherokee towns in Tennessee, destroyed them and
burned crops, and scattered the Cherokee warriors. He and
his company of militia under Colonel Daniel Smith
were attacked at Glade Hollow Fort in 1778. Isaac gives
an account of this attack in his Revolutionary War
Pension application. It is also believed that Isaac may
have been at the Siege of Boonesborough after he was
discharged from the army. There are evidences that he was
there, although some believe that the Crabtree who was
there may have been Isaac's brother, William.
"Crabtree" is said to have been one of the men
who met with the Indians outside of the fort and who
"shook them off like little children" when they
were betrayed and attacked.
In the 1780's, Isaac moved to western Tennessee, exact
location presently unknown, although I believe he may
have gone with his brother James Crabtree (there
is controversy over whether the James in
Davidson/Robertson Co., TN was his brother or whether it
was the James Crabtree in Jackson County, TN).
From there, Isaac moved to the "old settlement of
Kentucky" where he lived on Upper Howards Creek in
Clark County and served as Captain of the 17th Regiment
of Militia. Isaac was there from 1794 through 1799
according to Clark County, Kentucky tax lists. In 1799,
he moved to the area now part of Wayne County, Kentucky.
He owned land in what was then Cumberland County,
Kentucky and PULASKI County, Kentucky. Isaac is found on
the 1799 Cumberland County tax lists with his brother Abraham
Crabtree who owned land on Bear Creek and Sulphur
Creek (Abraham moved back to Virginia where he died in
1838). Isaac owned land adjoining Joshua Jones in
Elk Spring Valley (now Wayne County, then Pulaski
County). Pulaski County Court Orders dated 24 Sept 1799
"On motion of Joshua Jones for leave to erect
a dam in the Elk Spring Valley, he owning the land on one
side there of the stream and Isaac Crabtree and Robert
Beaty the proprietors of the land on the opposite
side against which the said Joshua Jones wishes to
abut his dam..."
Joshua Jones built a mill there. He also built an
iron furnace or "bloomery" at a site called
"Furnace Mountain". Isaac Crabtrees
owned land adjoining Joshua Jones Furnace. A
number of references are found in Wayne County records
which mention the "furnace by Isaac Crabtree".
Furnace Mountain still bears that name. It is only about
a mile from Monticello, Kentucky to the west.
Early land surveys in Pulaski County for Isaac Crabtree
were taken from an old book in the Somerset, Kentucky
Court House entitled "Pulaski County Land Surveyors
p. 40 NO. 153, dated 2 Aug 1800.
Surveyed for Isaac Crabtree assignee of Aron
Lawson who was assignee of David McKelson?
McKilwin? two hundred acres of second rate land by
virtue of an entry made August the 2nd 1800 on a
certificate No. 277 removed from a prior claim according
to law the land lying and being in the County of Pulaski
on the waters of Beaver Creek and bounded as follows:
Beginning on a two post oaks Rodgers corner thence
with the foot of the mountain south.....passing Dulands
corner and with his line 140 poles to his
corner....with said Doolins line west 60
poles....to a sweet gum in William Adams line
thence with his line....to said Adams corner....to
two sugartrees Rodgers corner....to said Rodgers
southwest corner thence with his line N 25 E 179
poles to beginning.
Saml McKee, S. P.C.
Squire Crabtree, C.C.
Rhees Crabtree, C.C.
Pulaski Co. Surveyors Book 1, pgs 39-40, No. 152, dated 4
Surveyed for Isaac Crabtree, assignee of Henry
Woddle, 150 acres, County of Pulaski, south side of
the Cumberland River, adjoining Gabril Lacy's corner,
James Moors line, Robert Williams' corner... Saml
Squire Crabtree, C.C.
Rees Crabtree, C.C.
(Note: the Index to the Green County Land
Entries South of the Green River, Grant Book 3 p 474-6,
indicates that Isaac Crabtree sold this land to John
Pulaski County, Kentucky Land Surveyor's Book 1 p 39 No.
151, 4 Aug 1800
Surveyed for Isaac Crabtree, assignee of Aron
Lawson, land in Pulaski County, south side of the
Cumberland River, bounded by Robert Williams' line,
corner to the survey on which Isaac Crabtree now
lives, Samuel Forbises line, Forbises corner, Gabril
Lacy's line, Lacy's corner, line of said Crabtree's
survey of 150 acres, Robert Williams' line....
Samuel McKee, S.P.C.
Squire Crabtree, C.C.
Rhees Crabtree, C.C.
Isaac became one of the first Trustees 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. In approximately 1816,
Isaac moved south to Tennessee where he owned land in
Roane County (now Morgan County) on Clear Fork of the
Emery River (1817 survey). From there he moved to Overton
County, Tennessee where he lived until about 1839. In
Overton County, he received a number of Tennessee land
grants. In 1839, Isaac, having become "old and
feeble" returned to Wayne County, Kentucky where he
lived with his son, John Crabtree, on Hancock's
Fork of the Cumberland River. They were actually living
in Clinton County, Kentucky on the Wayne County line near
Isaac died in 1849 in Clinton County, Kentucky. His
wife's name is believed to have been "Sally Pike",
although I have never seen any evidence of this. Isaac
was the father of: Squire Crabtree, Humberston
Crabtree (possibly William Humberston Crabtree
whose name was mistranscribed as "Wheelon"), Reece
Crabtree, Mark Crabtree, John Crabtree, Job Crabtree and
Elizabeth (who married W.D. Hurt).
If anyone wants more information, I have a lot more
on Isaac. This is only a brief synopsis of his life.
LaVelda Faull, 1 Jan 2000 - email@example.com