Elisha Wallen the Long Hunter

From: Pathfinders, Pioneers, & Patriots

originally posted at http://www.ancientfaces.com/research/story/383170

Born in 1732 in Prince George County, Maryland, Elisha Wallen was to become an important character in the history of the settlement of the West.

He stood about 5’10” tall and weighed about 180 lbs., was squarely built, and had a dark complexion with rough features. Although he had little education, he was quick witted, easy-going, and very honest and disciplined.  He lived entirely by hunting, and the knowledge he acquired on his expeditions did much to encourage settlers to follow.

In 1761, as soon as the Cherokee were pacified, Wallen gathered a group of relatives and friends for a big hunt far beyond the settlements in the valleys of the New River. With him were his father-in-law, brother-in-law, William and Jack Blevins, Henry Skaggs, Walter Newman, Charles Cox, and about a dozen other trained woodsmen (including Daniel Boone, who traveled with the party to Wolfe Hills, (Abingdon, Va.) ). They crossed the Blue Ridge Mtns., into the road leading beyond the New River and ranged into the hidden coves and valleys of the Holston, Clinch, and Powell Rivers. They followed buffalo paths to big licks, wandered up and down streams, and crossed rugged mountains. And they found a veritable hunter’s paradise. They feasted on the game and collected many skins and furs for the Eastern Market. In camp they built pole scaffolds several feet above the ground on which they piled their pelts. A pole on top kept the skins packed together. An elk or buffalo hide, or strips of bark protected them from the weather. When enough were collected, the men folded and packed the pelts in bales weighing 50 – 100 pounds. Two bales made a horseload.

Their trip lasted for 18 months and covered much of the wild region between Long Island and Cumberland Gap – the country later traversed by the Wilderness Road. They named many ridges and streams. Wallen himself is remembered by Wallen’s Ridge and at least two Wallins’ Creeks.

Newman’s Ridge was named for Walter Newman, a member of the party. Wallen’s men changed Walker’s Beargrass River to Powell River, because of the frequency with which they came upon “A.Powell” – carved by Thomas Walker’s companion on beech trees along the bank. It is also likely that they changed the name of “Cave Gap”, to “Cumberland Gap”.to conform with the name by which the mountains were now being called.

In 1762, he participated in a second Long Hunt, travelling through Flower Gap to the New River. From there he proceeded over Iron Mountain at Blue Springs, down the South Fork of the Holston River and on to Elk Garden. Between Jonesville and Rogersville, he made a “station camp” for his hunting party to use as a base for their hunting.

In 1763, he went on his 3rd hunt, with approximately the same group as before. They followed the old trail through Cumberland Gap and trapped on the headwaters of the Cumberland River, in South Eastern Kentucky – notably “Stinking Creek”, a tributary of the Cumberland, often mentioned in the annals of the Wilderness Road. They extended their hunt to Rock Castle Country, and Westward until they encountered flatter land. They came to a large crab orchard at some great springs. That spot, still known as Crab Orchard, became a significant point on the Wilderness Road. News of Wallen’s profitable long hunts, stimulated others on the border. The fur trade was attractive and became an important way for settlers to supplement their income when crops were in.

In 1767, he was elected Captain of the County Militia under Major Theophilas Lay.

Later in his life he built a cabin and resided near his Wallen’s Station between Kyles’ Ford and Jonesville, Va.


You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “Elisha Wallen the Long Hunter”

  1. It is believed his daughter Elizabeth married William Roberts Sr

  2. Charlotte Taylor says:

    He was my 7th Great Grandfather
    On my mother’s side.Thanks for the page!?

  3. Joshua Skaggs says:

    Henry Skaggs as well as his parents, and most of his siblings, later settled in the Green River country of modern day Green, and surrounding counties of Kentucky, where many descendents still live today.
    Henry Skaggs is my 6th great uncle through his brother James Jr.

  4. Gaila Antebi says:

    Elisha & Mary are my 8th Great grandparents through their son James W., his son James, his son Daniel, his son Daniel, his daughter Phoebe, her daughter Mary Emma Alexander, her son Walter Farris, his son Barney C Farris & his son (my dad) Barney E Farris. Thanks for all of your work

  5. David See says:

    Henry Skaggs’ brother Jacob is my 5th great grandfather. Could you please publish the names of the other people who accompanied Elisha Wallen on his 1761 trip?

  6. BEC KY says:

    Hi, I am a descendant of James B Blevins and Lydia Sizemore. Finding their families has been very confusing. I also have Pennington’s too. I have seen Elisha Wallen connected to the Blevins, Sizemore, and Pennington’s…..it has been very confusing , either i am looking at the wrong information or just confused. But anyway i enjoyed the story. I may or may not be related to him.

  7. Kim green says:

    Comment yes great great great great grandmother was Letitia Wallin Rogers – her mother was Rebecca duff walLin and her husband was Jesse Wallin

  8. Rube Blevins says:

    I am a descendant of William Blevins that was on this hunt if you have any information on him or his son William I would greatly appreciate it

Leave a Reply