First Name:  Last Name: 
[Advanced Search]  [Surnames]


Male 1755 - 1836  (81 years)

Personal Information    |    PDF

  • Name Thomas ATCHLEY 
    Born 11 Oct 1755  Middlesex County, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 11 Oct 1836  Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Alder Branch Baptist Church Cemetery, Sevierville, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • (1) Atchley Family ProfileĀ© 1980 <>:

      THOMAS ATCHLEY: (Son of Joshua & Mary (Martin) Atchley):

      This writer's Great-Great-Great-Grandfather THOMAS ATCHLEY was born on 1st or 3rd. May 1755, near "New Brunswick," what is now known as Middlesex County, New Jersey; d. 11 Oct. 1836, at the age of 80 years, 5 months and 8 days, in Sevier Co. Tenn. He is buried in the Adler Branch Cemetery, Sevier County, Tennessee. (North of Sevierville off of Hyw 66). THOMAS ATCHLEY married the young 16 years of age Miss LYDIA RICHARDS, b. 18 Aug. 1762, d. 03 Aug. 1850, at the age of 87 years, 11 months and 15 days at Sevier Co., Tenn.; she is buried in the Adler Branch Cemetery, Sevier Co., Tenn.; she was the daughter of Unknown Parents . . . . They relocated to present-day Sevier Co., Tenn. prior to 1790. . . .
      (2) Atchley Family ProfileĀ© 1980 <>:

      THOMAS & LYDIA (RICHARDS) ATCHLEY had 12 children born to this union:

      [i] HANNAH, 1782- . . .

      [ii] MARY, 1783-1851 a68y, m. c1801 James HAGGARD . . .

      [iii] SARAH, 1785- . . .

      [iv] ISAAC, 1787-1854 a66y, m. (1) 1812 Emily SMITH . . .; m. (2) 1830 Mary BOWERS . . .

      [v] BENJAMIN, 1790-1872 a82y, m. (1) 1808 Miss MAPLES; m. (2) 1813 Patty CHAMBERS . . .

      [vi] JOSHUA, 1792-1872 a80y, m. 1811 Elizabeth HARDIN . . .

      [vii] LYDIA Jr., 1794-1865 a70y, m. Thomas MAPLES . . .

      [viii] THOMAS, 1796- , m. Miss Polly . . .

      [ix] JANE, 1798- . . .

      [x] ELIZABETH, 1800-1889 a89y, m. c1816 John LINDSEY . . .

      [xi] RHODA C., 1802-1857 a55y, m. 1819 Moses LONG . . .

      [xii] NOAH, 1807- , m. c1826 Elizabeth PHARIS . . .

      (3) Atchley, Paul L. and Thompson, Mary Ann Morris, Maud Horn's Atchley Family History, 2d Ed., Knoxville, TN: 1965, pp. 19-24, 26:

      Thomas Atchley I

      Thomas Atchley I was born May 3, 1755, in Middlesex County, New Jersey. He died Oct. 11, 1836, at his home located in Alder Branch community north of Sevierville, in Sevier County, Tenn. He was a son of the elder Joshua Atchley and wife. He was a farmer by occupation.

      During young manhood, Thomas Atchley I moved to Loudoun County, Va. In the latter place he married Lydia Richards in 1780. Soon thereafter they moved to Botetourt County, Va., where they resided until 1786, when they moved to what is now Sevier County, Tenn.

      Children of Thomas Atchley I and Lydia Richards Atchley: . . .

      [i] Hannah Atchley . . .

      [ii] Mary Atchley II . . .

      [iii] Sarah Atchley . . .

      [iv] Isaac Atchley I . . .

      [v] Benjamin Atchley I . . .

      [vi] Joshua Atchley II . . .

      [vii] Lydia Atchley . . .

      [viii] Thomas Atchley II . . .

      [ix] Jane Atchley . . .

      [x] Elizabeth Atchley . . .

      [xi] Rhoda Atchley . . .

      [xii] Noah Atchley . . .

      As the necessity demanded it, Thomas Atchley I responded to the defense of his country. When but 20 years of age, he enlisted during the Fall of 1775 in the Colonial Army and served for one month as a private in Major John Dunn's First Regiment, Middlesex County Militia. While a resident of Loudoun County, Va., he enlisted in the Fall of 1777 and served six months as a private in Captain Reddakin's Virginia Company. While a resident of Botetourt County, Va., he enlisted in 1781, served one month as a private in Captain John Lewis' Virginia Company of Botetourt County Regiment; then enlisted again in the same year and served two weeks (officers not named), making in all four enlistments during the Revolutionary War if we count the enlistment in New Jersey during 1775 (which, of course, was prior to the time of general rebellion).

      The General Assembly of North Carolina, at its session of 1783, had designated the boundaries of the Cherokee hunting grounds - making the Holston, the French Broad and Big Pigeon rivers a part of these boundaries. The next year, the people of Washington, Greene and Sullivan counties withdrew from their allegiance to North Carolina, renounced her jurisdiction over them, and formed themselves into a separate and distinct government. Under that organization, they proceeded to exercise all the functions of a sovereign state, and amongst others, that of negotiating with the Indian tribes adjoining, and of acquiring, by treaty with them, a large addition to their territory. The lands thus obtained by the treaty of Dumplin, and afterwards enlarged and confirmed by subsequent stipulations made at Coyatee, were soon taken into possession and settled under the authority of Franklin, which proceeded to organize the territory thus acquired into the new county of Sevier, with its courts, its military organization and a representation in the Legislature upon the same footing of the older counties of Franklin. The seat of government of this new county was at Newell's Station.

      Induced by the rich land grant offered by the State of Franklin, Thomas Atchley I and his brothers went to Franklin and obtained tracts of land situated in the new county of Sevier, which land had for ages until within the past year or two, been a part of the best hunting grounds of the Cherokees and of various other Indian tribes.

      After harvest time in 1786, Thomas Atchley I, his wife, and their three small daughters left Botetourt County, Va., bound for the fertile land located on Alder Branch, a tributary of French Broad River, in the new Sevier County, State of Franklin. . . . Striking the ancient Indian War Path near the headwaters of the Holston, they traveled that trail to a point a few miles beyond the present town of Dandridge, then took a trail leading southward, crossed the French Broad River at the shoals near Evans Island, thence followed the river trail to Alder Branch. Here Thomas Atchley I and family camped until their house could be erected and made ready for occupancy. The house was built of pine logs, the ends of which were so notched that when stacked into a rectangle there was little room for air to pass between the timbers, and such spaces were closed with clay. The roof was made by the splitting of straight-grained pine blocks into thin boards, by the use of a wooden mallet and a froe. Then grass was mixed with red clay and the cracks between the logs daubed until it was a very comfortable house, easily warmed by the great fireplace in the end of the room. About 10 years later, this home was enlarged by the addition of one room and a hallway, front and rear porch. It was in this home that Alder Branch Baptist Church was organized during the year 1830. The house was still standing in 1849. Here Thomas and Lydia Atchley spent the remainder of their happy and useful lives.

      I give here some details of various misunderstandings, particularly with relation to the Indians, and in settlement of which Thomas Atchley performed his last military service for his country. The treaties of North Carolina with the Indians provided that the boundary between that state and the hunting grounds of the Indians should be the Holston, French Broad and Big Pigeon rivers. When the citizens of Washington, Greene and Sullivan Counties withdrew from the jurisdiction of North Carolina and formed the independent domain of Franklin, they negotiated with the Indians and acquired and settled that region south of French Broad River and east of Little Pigeon Riven When Franklin passed into a state of dissolution, Sevier County found itself dissociated and left beyond the jurisdiction and protection of the laws of North Carolina. The land embraced in Sevier County had not been acquired by treaty or otherwise, under the laws of North Carolina; the inhabitants, according to her laws designating the Indian hunting grounds, were there contrary to her laws and to the provisions of her treaty stipulating the Cherokee boundaries. From a political point of view, Sevier County and its inhabitants were known only as a part of the State of Franklin, which no longer actually existed. In this dilemma, the people of Sevier County adopted Articles of Association for the government of the people of that community. Newell's Station was the seat of justice. In several of the provisions of these articles, there was a strong resemblance to those of the Watauga Association. This regime continued until after the country south of French Broad River became a part of the Territory of the U. States south of the River Ohio, and was then provided for as the County of Sevier, in 1794.

      As Great Britain incited the western tribes to seek to destroy the frontier of the colonies during the Revolutionary War, so did Spanish rule thereafter for many years. His Spanish Majesty controlled the Mississippi Valley and his agents had many stations on the Alabama, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, from which points arms, ammunition, blankets and other supplies were furnished to the Indians as an inducement to them to massacre the settlers on the frontier. Spain foresaw that if the fast westward progress of the American colonies was not checked, her own lands would soon be encroached upon. The Spaniards also reminded the Indians of how the latter had been recently ejected from their ancient hunting grounds, and promised to assist in regaining those regions.

      Under the conditions mentioned above, the Indian warriors frequently attacked the white settlements, from Kentucky to Georgia. There were hundreds of instances in which homes of white settlers were attacked, the occupants killed and scalped, all movable property stolen and the improvements burned.

      During 1788, Colonel James Brown, a Revolutionary soldier and officer in the North Carolina line, was emigrating to Cumberland, to enter into possession of the lands allotted to him for his military services. Taking with him to that distant wilderness his family, consisting of his wife, five sons, two of whom were grown, and three younger, four small daughters, together with several negroes, he was unwilling to expose them to the dangers of the route through the Cumberland Gap, or the more direct, but no less unsafe passage over the mountain; and, therefore, determined to descend the Tennessee River and reach Nashville by ascending the Ohio and Cumberland to that place. The boat was built on Holston, a short distance below Long Island. He took the precaution to fortify it by placing oak planks two inches thick all around above its gunwales. These were perforated with portholes at suitable distances. Besides his two grown sons, James and John, Colonel Brown had five other young men, namely J. Bays, John Flood, John Gentry, William Gentry and John Griffin, who were all good marksmen. The emigrants, adventurers rather, embarked on the fourth of May. On the ninth, the boat passed Chickamauga towns at about daybreak and the Tuskigagee Island Town a little after sunrise. The head man, Cutley Otoy, and three other warriors came on board and were kindly treated. They then returned to their town, from which they immediately dispatched runners across the mountain to Running Water Town and Nickajack, to raise all the warriors they could get, to ascend the river and meet the boat. The narrative of the capture of the boat, the massacre of most of the passengers, and the captivity of such as survived is given in the words of the youngest son, Colonel Joseph Brown, and quoted on pp. 509-15 of "The Annals of Tennessee," by J. G. M. Ramsey, and published during 1853. The Indians approached this houseboat under the pretense of peace, displaying a white flag from each of the first four canoes. Knowing they were within the Indian country and bound to settle near Indians, Colonel James Brown avoided all possible acts of hostility. The Indians came aboard and deliberately began taking the property and placing it in their canoes. Colonel Brown was almost decapitated by being struck with a sword and another Indian threw him overboard. The other adult males were quickly killed and likewise thrown overboard. Mrs. Brown and her daughters, also son Joseph, were removed from the boat to the shore and their boat burned in the river. The survivors were then scattered to various Indian towns and kept captive. An old woman in the Indian town tried to get the warriors to kill Joseph, saying that he would soon be grown and would guide an army there to destroy them. He was condemned but was saved by a kindly Indian who took charge of him, bored holes in his ears, cut off his hair leaving only a scalp-lock on top of his head, and taking off his pantaloons gave him a flap and short shirt, pulling open the collar and putting a small broach in his bosom. Thus, looking like an Indian he was turned out to hoe corn and do other servile duties. This was May 11, 1788. Joseph relates that during the whole summer there was war, with frequent alarms of white people coming. The Cherokees raised an army of 3,000 men and borrowed 1,000 Creeks to drive all the whites from the south side of French Broad River on the pretext that the Indians who sold land on the south side of that river were not authorized to do so by the nation. The Indians returned with much booty and white prisoners taken in Sevier County. Joseph was reunited with his eldest sister, then 10 years of age. There was an exchange of prisoners and they were released and returned to the white settlement on Holston about April 20, 1789. It would be but the natural sequence for Joseph Brown to do all within his power to revenge the loss of so many of his loved ones. He piloted several expeditions against the Indians to the south and west.

      Amongst other acts of Indian hostility was one which occurred April 22, 1794. William Casteel, who lived south of French Broad River, was killed and scalped, together with his wife and several children. The youngest child, two years old, had the entire cranium denuded of the scalp and was thrown into a chimney comer. Elizabeth, the oldest daughter, 10 years old, later Mrs. Dunlap, was found weltering in her blood, flowing from six wounds inflicted with a tomahawk. She too, was scalped. She showed signs of life the following morning, when the massacre was discovered by Anthony Reagan and Colonel Ramsey. She was taken to Mr. Shook's where Dr. Cosby dressed her wounds. She did not recover for two years. The rest of the family, six in number, were buried in one grave, under a black oak tree. Mr. Casteel was a soldier of the Revolution, from Greenbrier County, Va., and had never received anything for his services.

      Governor Blount found it almost impossible to restrain the inhabitants of French Broad River, where this massacre took place, from an immediate invasion of the Indian territory. Hanging Maw declared that his nation would no longer listen to Spanish emissaries and agents and that the Upper and Lower Towns were disposed for peace. His overtures had scarcely reached the Governor when a party of Indians, principally Creeks, nearly 1,000 strong, marched through the country towards the white settlement. Governor Blount ordered out Colonel White with a large military force to oppose them. At this time the Indians were advised of the victories of Wayne over the northwestern Indians, and, becoming apprehensive, sought a conference. There were various conferences and meetings, meantime massacres going on along all the frontiers. These renewed attacks from the banditti Indians, in the five Lower Towns on the Tennessee, upon both extremes of the Territory, very much angered the people against the Federal Government because it expressed little regard for the sufferings of the people. They complained to Governor Blount, who, although sympathizing in their sufferings, felt himself restricted by the orders of the Secretary of War. This order read: "With respect to destroying the Lower Towns, however vigorous such a measure might be, or whatever good consequences might result from it, I am instructed specifically by the President to say that he does not consider himself authorized to direct any such measure, more especially as the whole subject was before the last session of Congress, who did not think proper to authorize or direct offensive operations." This order, dated 29th of July, 1794, reached the Governor, and its contents were communicated to the people in the midst of the frequent attacks made upon their lives and property in August. The people determined to protect themselves and to adopt the only measures which would render their protection permanent and effectual. An appeal was made to the martial spirit of Kentucky and all the inhabitants of Tennessee. Major Ore was placed in command of this new army, a soldier in which was Thomas Atchley. Practically every able bodied man south of French Broad was thus enlisted. On September 6, 1794, Brigadier General James Robertson ordered Major Ore to proceed to the Lower Towns and destroy them. On Sunday, the 7th, the army marched from Nashville. Joseph Brown, now a full grown man, piloted this army through the canebrakes and over the mountains and ably fulfilled that old Indian woman's prophecy that "if he was not killed then, he would soon be grown and would get away and pilot an army there, and have them all cut off." Though disabled from a bullet wound in his shoulder, which was still discharging pieces of exfoliated bone, he, with one hand, swam across the river and was among the first to reach its southern bank.

      This army destroyed the Indian towns along the lower Tennessee, killed many warriors and took many prisoners. Joseph Brown was on deploy duty. When he met the main body of the troops, he inquired if they had taken any prisoners, and was immediately conducted to a house in which a number of them had been imprisoned. When he came to its door, he was at once recognized by the captives, who appeared to be horror stricken - remembering that they had murdered his people in the same town only five years before. At length, one of them ventured to speak to him, reminding Brown that his life had been spared by them and pleading for her life. Brown quieted her apprehension by remarking that these were white people who did not kill women and children. These Indians had supposed their towns were invulnerable from the attack of the white men. One prisoner asked Brown, "Where did you come from?" Many of the Indians who escaped to the river would dive under and swim but when they would rise again the unerring aim of the Deckhard rifles from the shore would reach their heads, necks, or shoulders, and thus they were destroyed. Andrew Jackson and Thomas Atchley were privates under Major Ore's command.

      Nickajack and Running Water Towns were the principal crossing places for the Creeks in their war excursions over the Tennessee, and in which they, with the warriors of Lookout Mountain and Wills Town, had heartily co-operated for years past; boasting of their perfect security, not less from their situation, protected as it was by mountains on three sides and the river on the north, than from the number and desperate character of their warriors. This battle was fought Sept. 13. The victorious troops re-crossed the Tennessee and were disbanded in Nashville four days later. As this excursion of white troops was in violation of the order of the War Department, Thomas Atchley and his comrades received no pay for this service.

      Thomas Atchley I and his wife were very religious. They were Baptists in their religious inclinations, and were charter members of Alder Branch Baptist Church, which was organized in their home.

      LYDIA RICHARDS ATCHLEY, wife of the elder Thomas Atchley, was born Aug. 18, 1762. She died Aug. 31, 1850, in Sevier County, Tenn. The federal census of 1840, Sevier County, shows "Lydia Atchley, age 75 years. Rev. pensioner." According to that record, her birth took place during 1765; the gravestone shows it as 1761; the Revolutionary War pension claim W. 267 shows it as Aug. 18, 1762. The latter we are certain to be correct, as it was furnished to the Commissioner of Pensions during the lifetime of both Thomas and Lydia Atchley.

      The tombs of Thomas Atchley I and Lydia Richards Atchley are side by side in Alder Branch Cemetery, located in Sevier County near the Baptist church of that name. A joint monumental stone marks their last resting place. . . .

      Search has been made for several years for trace of the following named children of Thomas Atchley I and Lydia Richards Atchley:

      Hannah Atchley . . .
      Sarah Atchley . . .
      Jane Atchley . . .

      Nothing further on these three was found. In a letter dated March 29, 1927, which the author received from the U. S. Government General Accounting Office, Washington, Records Division File No. R-PDF-338, it is stated in the last paragraph that the following children survived the death of Lydia Richards Atchley, whose death occurred Aug. 31, 1850: Hannah, Mary, Sarah, Isaac, Benjamin, Josiah, Lydia, Thomas, Jane, Elizabeth, Rhoda and Noah Atchley. Thus, we have proof that the three children mentioned above lived past middle age. Perhaps they had families and emigrated westward and someday we may meet them. There are variations in the spelling of the names Hannah (Hanah), Joshua (Josiah) and Jane (Jean), as given in various records.


      Thomas Atchley
      Birth: 1756
      Death: 1837

      Great Great Great Great Grandfather

      Thomas Atchley was the son of Joshua Atchley & wife. He was married to Lydia 'Richards' in 1780. The couple lived in Botetourt County, Virginia, until 1786 when they moved to Sevier Co., Tennessee. The couple were the parents of 12 children: Hannah, Mary, Sarah, Isaac, Benjamin, Joshua, Lydia, Thomas, Jane, Elizabeth, Rhoda and Noah Atchley. Thomas enlisted during the Fall of 1775 in the Colonial Army during the Revolutionary War in Virginia. Thomas and Lydia were Baptist by faith and charter members of the Alder Branch Baptist Church, Sevierville, Seveir Co., Tennessee. They raised their family here, and many of their descendants live there today.

      GGGG Grandfather, I have joined the DAR with you as my Patriot. I'm honored and so proud to be your GGGG Granddaughter. May God Bless You Always.

      Phyllis 'Long' Rhodes

      Family links: Children: Benjamin Atchley (1790 - 1872); Spouse: Lydia 'Richards' Atchley (1762 - 1850)

      Burial: Alder Branch Baptist Church Cemetery, Sevierville, Sevier County, Tennessee, USA

      Maintained by: Phyllis
      Originally Created by: Virgil & DeAnna C. Coole
      Record added: Nov 28, 2002
      Find A Grave Memorial# 6965036
    Person ID I22264  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 14 Aug 2022 

    Father Joshua ATCHLEY,   b. Middlesex County, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Loudoun County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Mary MARTIN,   d. Loudoun County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Abt 1746 
    Family ID F16807  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Lydia RICHARDS,   b. 18 Aug 1762, Loudoun County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Aug 1850, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years) 
    Married 1780  Loudoun County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Hannah ATCHLEY,   b. 23 Feb 1782
     2. Mary ATCHLEY, II,   b. 13 Nov 1783, Botetourt County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1851, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)
     3. Sarah ATCHLEY,   b. 28 Nov 1785
     4. Isaac ATCHLEY, I,   b. 9 Dec 1787, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1854, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years)
     5. Benjamin ATCHLEY,   b. 24 Jan 1790, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1872, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years)
     6. Joshua ATCHLEY, II,   b. 26 Feb 1792, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Feb 1872, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
     7. Lydia ATCHLEY,   b. 22 Apr 1794, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location
     8. Thomas ATCHLEY, II,   b. 19 Apr 1796, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location
     9. Jane ATCHLEY,   b. 1 Aug 1798
     10. Elizabeth ATCHLEY,   b. 14 Oct 1800,   d. 1889, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years)
     11. Rhoda ATCHLEY,   b. 25 Feb 1802, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Mar 1857, McMinn County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years)
     12. Noah ATCHLEY,   b. 19 Jan 1807, Sevier County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 14 Aug 2022 
    Family ID F9808  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart