When We Were Wilcoxsons, Part IV

by Glenn N. Holliman

Below, a map from Robert Morgan's book on Daniel Boone, available through Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, NC. Notice the Cumberland Gap, Boonesborough and Bryan's Station, all important places in our family history. Click on the map and it will enlarge.

In 1779 Rachel Wilcoxson Bryan, my generation's fifth great aunt, settled with her relatives, Wilcoxsons and Bryan(t)s at Bryan's Station, Kentucky. (see map above for location) There were numerous Indian attacks, the most threatening in 1782 when the women of the Station prevented it firery destruction by carrying badly needed buckets of water from the spring to the Station while surrounded by Indians. A memorial exists for their efforts. A 5th great uncle, Daniel Wilcoxson, was a captain at the Station.

Above from the Kentucky Historical Society, this drawing of the women, several our family members, leaving the protection of Bryan's Station, to collect water from a spring. The awed Shawnee held their fire, and the women returned safely to the fort with the precious liquid. The settlement was saved.

By 1779, now 60 years of age, and evidently prosperous, John Wilcoxson and Sarah, returned to the Yadkin Valley leaving Kentucky to the younger children and kin. With the American Revolution underway and Lord Granville of England no longer owner of a huge portion of North Carolina, long time settlers such as John and Sarah could now register their land with the new government.

In January 1780, John began to do so for 640 acres on both sides of Bear Creek in Rowan County, NC. Bear Creek is so named because Sarah's younger brother, Daniel Boone, had killed over 90 bears in the area in one year. (Because Daniel and others had killed so much local game, hunters had to keep moving west.)

Seemingly no place seemed safe for the extended family. British General Cornwallis had invaded South Carolina and invaded North Carolina. The Revolutionary War was also a civil war, with neighbor against neighbor. John and Sarah may have left Kentucky to avoid hostile Indians. However, they returned to find a hostile British Army and Tories! Armies marched to and fro, the biggest North Carolina battles being at Guildford Court House and Kings Mountain. Our ancestors fought at both battles which we will feature in later posts.

Map from Robert Morgan's biography of Boone.

John died sometime after 1798, after selling the last of his North Carolina land to a son, William Wilcoxson, my generation's 5th great uncle. Of course, Wilcoxson land was adjacent to Squire Boone's settlement (see above map). Daniel Boone was married to Rebecca Bryan. John seemingly left no will that has been found. Nor do we know his grave site.

Sarah moved to live with a daughter, another pioneer woman, Elizabeth Wilcoxson Cutbirth ( my 5th great aunt). Sarah died there in Madison County, Kentucky in 1815. Another source has her living in southern Clark County, Kentucky, not far from Boonesboro and dying at the home of her grandson, Jesse Boone Wilcoxson, a son of Samuel Wilcoxson.

Next Nancy Wilcoxson marries Benjamin Greer....and more frontier turmoil!


  1. Wilcoxson's did not save Bryan Station; it was primarily the Craig family. Mary Hawkins Craig, age 78 led the women to the water.

  2. During the Battle of Bryan Station, just prior to the Battle of Blue Licks, the fort was under the command of the Craig family, not "Daniel Wilcoxson"; there is no record of Wlicoxon's defending this station during this battle.