Joseph and Ephraim Drake - Longhunters

     The Drake brothers, Ephraim and Joseph, were both long hunters, but Joseph more so than Ephraim. Both had good family connections. Joseph was married to Margaret, the daughter of Col. John Buchanan who lived at Anchor and Hope Plantation. Joseph was killed by Indians near Boonesboro, Kentucky in August 1778, leaving his widow and a known son, John Drake, who lived later in Nicholas County, Kentucky.
     Ephraim Drake married Anna Buchanan, a sister to the wife of Joseph. These Buchanan girls who married the Drake brothers were first cousins of General William Campbell (whose mother was a Buchanan), and of Captain James Thompson, whose mother and the wife of Col. John Buchanan were sisters and the daughter of Col. James Patton who was killed at Fort Vause in 1755. When Ephraim Drake went from the Holston is unknown to this writer. He was one of four Indian Spys serving on the Clinch frontier under Gen. Shelby in 1773.
     Joseph Drake went from his father's home on New River and near Anchor and Hope Plantation (present Max Meadows) to Southwest Virginia by at least 1772, and perhaps earlier, according to court records. He took up 336 acres of land on Carlock's Creek. This is the creek that flows into the Holston just east of Chilhowie, and along the road that leads from Chilhowie to Saltville today.
     Joseph got a tract of land from Col. John Buchanan's estate. The Hall's Bottom land (south of Bristol's Howard Johnson's Restaurant) and went to live there, but there was a German living there named Jacob Young, who had moved in on the land and squatted and he came to Drake's home and fired a pistol across the front porch and heckled Drake in general until he moved. James Dysart, who was the first sheriff of Washington County, wanted to help Drake run Young off, but Drake moved away nonetheless. Dysart wanted to help Drake because of
his attachment to him. He said he had been hunting on three long hunts with Drake, one in 1769 for 7 months, another in 1771 for 9 months, and the third in 1772 for 11 months.
     Drake had moved his family to the Hall's Bottom tract in 1775, and then with the outbreak of the Cherokee War in 1776, moved them back up new river near his father's home, and left the Hall's Bottom land for Kentucky in 1777.
     It will be recalled that a Drake boy was killed in Boone's party to Kentucky in 1773, and he was probably the son of this same Joseph Drake, who was either in the party of planning to join it later, as it is not likely that he would permit a teenage son to go to Kentucky alone. After Isaac Crabtree, who was in this party, witnessed the brutal slaying of his comrades from his hiding place in the driftwood along Wallen's Creek, he became so embittered he swore to kill every Indian he saw on sight. Joseph Drake must also have felt like Crabtree, for he, along with Crabtree and others created much dissension and danger on the frontier in their attempts on Indians. It will be recalled that Col. Christian thought of sending Drake to warn the surveyors but recalled that he had to be a witness at Crabtree's trial. Later in 1774 when Captain William Russell was raising troops for the Point Pleasant Campaign some eight or nine men refused to go unless Drake went as their Captain, and others refused to follow him, saying they wanted no part of the followers of Crabtree.
     In 1773, Joseph Drake was living on Carlock's Creek as stated, and it was probably here that his young son joined Boone's son, James, and others who had left the main party at Chilhowie to go across country to let Captains William Russell and David Gass, know they were on their way, as both Russell and Gass, as both Russell and Gass planned to go to Kentucky with Boone. Boone's main party moved on down the Wilderness Road and was to await the Castlewood party in Powell Valley.
     James Boone, son of Daniel, and two Mendenhall brothers from North Carolina are all that we definitely know to be in the party Boone sent to Castlewood, and it is very likely that these three were the party. Leaving the main party near present Chilhowie they must have journeyed up Carlock's Creek where they were joined by the Drake boy and as they proceeded on to Saltville where they were joined by Isaac Crabtree, traveling across Hayter's Gap and down through Elk Garden to Castlewood. All these young men, except Isaac Crabtree who escaped were killed near the head of Wallen's Creek in present Lee County by Indians on the morning of October 10, 1773, as well as young Henry Russell, son of Captain William, and a Negro slave of Russells'. The road from the Town House (now Chilhowie) across Hayter's Gap had been ordered to be opened earlier this year by the Court of Fincastle County.


 
 
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