General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Thomas Gambill


Thomas Gambill was born in 1742 in England. In 1759, Gambill sailed to Sc and had moved to the Georgia frontier.  Upon moving to Georgia, Gambill joined the Georgia rangers.  The Georgia Rangers were already famous for their actions at the battle of Bloody Marsh fought on July 7, 1742.  The Georgia Rangers defeated a large Spanish Invasion force at St. Simons Island who wanted to take over the state of Georgia. During the French and Indian war they help keep the peace between the Indians and Settlers.

In 1766, in Savannah, the Georgia Rangers kept the Liberty boys from seizing the stamped paper that was to be used during the Stamp Act passed in 1765. Georgia was the only colony able to put down a riot by the Liberty Boys and supported the Stamp Act.

In 1772, Gambill moved to Allendale Sc. Here Gambill met Susannah Nash and were soon married. From this union they had 14 children.

In 1776, Gambill moved to the Watauga region of Tennessee. During the Revolutionary war Gambill first fought the Cherokee at Fort Watauga. On July 20, 1776, Dragging Canoe, leader of the Cherokee attacked the settlements in the Watauga, Holston, and Carter valley in a three pronged attack simultaneously. Dragging Canoe was later defeated that day in the battle of Long Island Flats.

 In September 1776, Gambill was transferred to Fort Patrick Henry where he and 2400 other men from Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina got together to fight the Cherokee under the command of General Griffith Rutherford. Rutherford and his men defeated the Cherokee. The conflict ended with the signing of the Avery Treaty. The Cherokee ceded all of their land in East TN to the white settlers. In 1806, in the Dearborn Treaty signed at Fort Dearborn Michigan, the Cherokee ceded their most sacred Ground, the Island of Long Island to the White settlers.  The treaties of Watonga (1774) and Treaty of Sycamore shoals (1775) had been signed on Long Island almost 30 years earlier.

 In 1783, Gambill moved to Hawkins County before moving to Davidson County.  Gambill was one of the first settlers to move to Davidson County. By 1805, Gambill had moved to Stewart creek in Rutherford County TN. Here on June 19, 1806, Gambill was killed by Creek Indians, and was buried near his home.

 During the Civil war, a Joseph Gambill, a descendent of Thomas Gambill joined the TN14th Confederate Infantry. This unit was most famous at Gettysburg, where it captured the stone wall in front of the Federal Troops on Cemetery Ridge. During Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863, the TN 14th advanced farther than any other Confederate troops and almost caused a breach in the Federal line. During the Civil War, they were reported to have had fewer desertions than any other confederate Unit in the Confederacy.


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