General Joseph Martin Chapter
Cumberland Gap, TN
Cumberland Gap Patriot
John Denton, one of the first pioneers to come to come to Kentucky, and
participant in the Battle of Blue licks, was born in 1742 in Hampshire
Denton's first battle was the battle of Pont Pleasant fought on October
The Battle of Point Pleasant occurred when Lord Dunmore sent Andrew
Lewis to force the Shawnee out of the Ohio Territory. The Shawnee had
been forced to give up their claim to the Ohio Territory because of the
Treaty Of Fort Stanwix signed in 1768. The Shawnee were not even present
at the signing of the treaty when the rest of the Iroquois nations gave
up their land. The Shawnee were not going to give up their land without
During Battle of Point Pleasant, Shawnee Chief Cornstalk attacked the
Virginia militia in order to stop their advance into the Ohio Territory.
Cornstalk was defeated and was later forced to sign the treaty of camp
Charlotte where the Shawnee were forced to also give up their land south
of the Ohio River which included the present day State of Kentucky.
Denton moved to Fort Harrod located in present day Harrodsburg KY in
1775. Fort Harrod was first settlement in Kentucky created on June 6,
1774. After the battle of point Pleasant the Original settlers returned
to find their settlement destroyed by Indians so another Fort was built.
Although the Shawnee had signed away their rights to Kentucky in the
Treaty of Camp Charlotte, the Shawnee again refused to give up their
land without a fight. The attacks on Fort Harrod were so severe that
half the settlers left the region. Denton refused to leave. In 1777,
there were so many Indian attacks upon Fort Harrod and the other
Kentucky settlements, the year was nicknamed" The bloody 77". During
this time Fort Rye Grove, a Virginia fort located on the clinch River in
Southwest VA, sent Virginia militia to help defend Fort Harrod and the
other Settlements in KY. Historians say that if it hadn't been for Fort
Rye grove, all the Kentucky settlements would have been destroyed, and
the westward movement through Cumberland Gap would have been stopped for
decades to come.
Indian attacks still occurred for the next several years. In 1782,
Denton participated in the battle of Blue licks fought on August 19,
The Battle of Blue licks was the last major Revolutionary war battle
fought in KY, and also the worst defeat for the KY militia. the Kentucky
militia were attacked by Shawnee and other Local Indian tribes. The
Kentucky militia fought valiantly , but were outnumbered 4 to 1. Daniel
Boone was reported to have shouted 'We are all Slaughtered men", when
the attack occurred.
The Indians soon outflanked the Kentucky militia when the center and
right wing of the Kentucky line gave away due to the devastating fire of
the Indians weapons. Over 72 KY militia were killed in this battle.
Denton stayed in KY until 1810 when he began moving to Tennessee and
Arkansas. By 1820, Denton moved to Miller county Arkansas where he died
Denton's grandson John Denton, a captain In the Texas militia was killed
in one of the Comanche Indian battles, Known as the the Village creek
Massacre fought during Texas on May 15, 1841. The Texas militia under
the command of Denton attacked a Kickapoo Indian village with 69 Texas
Militia. The Kickapoo who were allies with the Comanche surrounded
Denton with over 1000 warriors. Denton was killed in the battle along
with most of his men.
In September 1843, the Bird Fort treaty opened this part of Texas to
settlement which would later become the cities of Fort Worth and Dallas.
Denton County Texas is named after the Texas captain John Denton who
gave his life for the settlement of this region.
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