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First Name: Evan

Last Name: Shelby

Birthplace: Tregaron, GBR

Gender: Male

Branch: Militia - Revolutionary War

Date of Birth: 1720

Date of Death: 04 December 1794


Years Served:
Evan Shelby, Jr.

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Evan Shelby, Jr.
Brigadier General, Virginia Militia

Evan Shelby, Jr. was born in 1720 at Tregaron, Cardiganshire, Wales. Although his date of birth is unknown, he was baptized in 23 October 1720. He came to America with his parents, Evan and Catherine Morgan Shelby, about 1734, with the family first settling in what is now Antrim Township Franklin County, PA. In 1739, they moved into Prince George's (later Frederick) County, MD, where his father died in July 1751.

Evan Jr. continued to reside in Maryland, near the North Mountain, Frederick County, in which locality, now a part of Washington County, he acquired, by deed or patent, nearly 24,000 acres of land. He became interested in the Indian fur trade and conducted businesses in trading posts at Michilimackinac and Green Bay.

During the French and Indian War, he was in General Edward Braddock's Campaign in 1755, and laid out part of the road from Fort Frederick to Fort Cumberland. Having served as First Lieutenant in Captain Alexander Beall's Company in 1757-68, he was commissioned by Governor Sharpe of Maryland as Captain of a company of rangers, and also held a commission as Captain under the government of Pennsylvania. He was in the advance party of the force under General John Forbes, which took possession of Fort Duquesne in 1758, and crossed the Ohio River with more than half his company of scouts, making a daring reconnaissance of the fort.

On 12 November 1758 near Loyalhanna, in a personal encounter he is said to have slain with his own hand one of the principal Indian chiefs. In the same war, he served later as Major of a detachment of the Virginia Regiment. For several years after the conflict, he was a Justice of the Peace.

In May 1762, he was chosen one of the managers for Maryland of the Potomac Company. He sustained heavy losses in the Indian trade from the ravages growing out of Pontiac's Conspiracy of 1763, and most of his property in Maryland was subjected to sale for the satisfaction of his debts. Hoping to better his fortune he moved, probably in 1773, to Fincastle County, in Southwest Virginia, which he had previously visited where he engaged in farming, merchandising, and cattle-raising. He again became a prosperous land-owner and a conspicuous and influential frontier leader.

In 1774, he commanded the Fincastle Company in Dunmore's War, and in the Battle of Point Pleasant on 10 October 1774, he succeeded, near the close of the action, to the chief command in consequence of the death or disability of his superior officers. In 1776, he was appointed by Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia as a Major in the troops commanded by Colonel William Christian against the Cherokees. On 21 December, he became Colonel of the Militia of the newly-created county of Washington, of which he was also a magistrate. In 1777, he was entrusted with the command of sundry garrisons posted on the frontier of Virginia, and in association with Preston and Christian, negotiated a treaty with the Cherokees. By the extension of the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina, it was ascertained that his residence lay in the latter state, and in 1781, he was elected a member of its Senate.

Five years later, the Carolina Assembly made him Brigadier General of Militia of the Washington District of North Carolina, the first officer of that grade on the "Western Waters." In March 1787, as Commissioner for North Carolina, he negotiated a temporary truce with Col. John Sevier, governor of the insurgent and short-lived "State of Franklin." In August 1787, he was elected governor of the "State of Franklin," to succeed Sevier but declined the honor. Having resigned his post as Brigadier General on 29 October 1787, he withdrew from public life.

Evan Shelby was of a rugged, stocky build, somewhat low in stature and stern of countenance. He possessed great muscular strength and unbounded energy and powers of endurance. He was straightforward and at times, rather blunt in speech, absolutely fearless, and always prompt to take the aggressive in any action or enterprise, civil or military, in which he engaged. For a man of his day, he was well educated and noted for his probity and patriotism. He left many descendants, of whom the most celebrated was his son, Isaac Shelby, the first Governor of Kentucky.

Death and Burial

Brigadier General Evan Shelby, Jr. died on 4 December 1794 in Bristol, TN. He is buried at East Hill Cemetery in Bristol.

Honoree ID: 3072   Created by: MHOH




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