Novel sketch: ‘General Evan Shelby, Jr., Settler, Soldier & Trader’

On October 23, 1720, Evan Shelby, Jr., the son of Evan, Sr., was baptized at Tregaron, Cardiganshire, Wales. In 1734, Evan Shelby, Sr. and Catherine Morgan Shelby came to the colonies. In 1751, Evan Shelby Sr. died in Frederick County, Maryland. Evan Shelby, Jr., became a fur trader and then joined the British military. He was a First Lieutenant under Captain Alexander Beall in 1755 (see Beall in Maryland colonies, who was the first Presbyterian “industrialist” Elder supporting the Presbyterian Church in the colonies). In General Braddock’s 1755 Campaign of the “French and Indian War” he served valiantly.

Evan later held commissions in both Maryland and Pennsylvania. In 1773, he removed to “Sapling Grove” where he erected Shelby’s Fort in what then was Fincastle County, Virginia, (Fincastle County originally stretched all the way to the Mississippi River under land grants from Lord Fairfax, Lord Baltimore and others) and later Washington County, Virginia. Today this fort is in Bristol, Tennessee, which is in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

In 1774, he commanded the Fincastle Company in Lord Dunmore’s War, and was at the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774. This battle was fought against the Cherokee Indians. He fought alongside of Daniel Boone.

In 1776, Virginia Governor Patrick Henry appointed him Major of the troops commanded by Colonel William Christian. In 1776, on December 21, he was appointed Colonel of the militia of the newly created Washington County, Virginia. In 1779, he led an expedition against the Chickamauga Indian towns on the lower Tennessee River.

In October 1780, Shelby and his volunteer militia joined a thousand frontiersmen in the march on the British commander Colonel Patrick Ferguson. The one hour Battle of King’s Mountain, in South Carolina, resulted in the loss of British General Ferguson. The British were routed by “Tennessee squirrel hunters,” as General Evan Shelby fought from the small mountain top and encouraged his fighting Colonials. His son Issac and Evan, III, were among the Colonials who fought by his side to defeat the British. Historians have reported this monumental battle against the British was the turning point in the Southern region of the Revolutionary War. It ultimately led to the surrender of British General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.

In 1781, Shelby was elected a member of the North Carolina Senate. In 1786, the North Carolina Assembly appointed him Brigadier General of Militia of the Washington District of North Carolina. In March 1787, the North Carolina Commission sent General Evan Shelby to negotiate a temporary truce with Colonel John Sevier, Governor of the short lived state of Franklin, Tennessee. In August 1787, Shelby was elected Governor of the State of Franklin, Tennessee, to succeed Sevier. General Shelby declined. He resigned as Brigadier General on October 29, 1787, the last of his public service. He died in 1793 and his grave is in Bristol, Tennessee.

Genealogy: Shelby Family of Tregaron, Wales.


Tregaron, Wales, was given a Royal Charter as a town in 1292. It was a market town for scattered agricultural communities. It had a weekly market and annual fair called Ffair Gavon. The charter for the yearly fair was granted by Edward 1 in the 13th century. Sheep fairs took place in May and June and two hiring fairs in November, there were a large number of taverns and inns to accommodate travelers. The 13th century Talbot Hotel reputedly has an elephant buried in its grounds. The remote chapel Soar is close to Tregaron.

Genuki Records

  1. 1647 – Philip Selby/Shelby was baptised and in 1673 married Margaretta.
  2. Their son Evan was baptised in 1690. Evan married February 9th 1716 to Catherine Morgan. They emigrated to US c1731/2 (Judy Trolings)
  3. Evan and Catherine had the following children: Evan (1720); Rachel (1721); Rees (1721); John (1723); Moses (1728); Elinora (1730).
  4. Evan died 1751 in US.

Parish Records

1714 – Rowland Shelby married Cainora David * on the 29th May. Rowlands parish was Croes; the bride’s Llanbadarn and Banwyn.

1717 – Elizabeth Shelby married Edwardus Philip on the 28th January in. Tregaron

1717 – Evanus Shelby married Catherine Morgan on the 8th ?

1721 – Maria Shelby died on the 11th August, and was buried on September 1st. Her husband was Thomas Shelby.

1724 – Erasmus Rowlandi Shelby was buried on the 27th January.

1725 – Evanus Shelby died and was buried 27th January.

1726 – Evanus Rowlandi Shelby, baptised 5th April. **

1736 – Rowland Shelby was buried on the 23rd July. The cross next to his name indicated he was 10. **

1739 – Cainor Shelby – buried 5th January – no birth year given. *

1745 – Mary Shelby was buried on the 26th June.

1769 – Jane Shelby was buried 15th April, a widow of Croes y berwin.

1771 – John Shelby married Elizabeth Davies on the 22nd March. He was a labourer and both were illiterate and made their mark. Their witnesses were David Rees and Prius Williams.

1781 – Elizabeth Shelby buried 2nd March, a widow of Llanbadarn Odyn.

Shelbys in America:

Evan Shelby, Sr. arrived in 1734 in colonies from Wales, his son,

Evan Shelby, Jr. married Isabela Elliott (his second wife)

Their daughter was Letitia Shelby who married Joshua Vail (Burkes Garden, Tazewell, Co, Virginia)

Their son James Shelby Vail was married to Margaret B. Harrison

Their daughter Sarah (Sallie) Vail married Samuel McReynolds Thomas (of Burkes Garden, 8th Virginia Cavalry, CSA, joined at age 17 with 6 of his brothers)

Their son Vint Morgan Thomas married Minie Patton (see “Notable Southern Families”)

Their daughter Shelby Cornelius Thomas married Henry Percival Bridges of Hancock, Maryland in 1922 (Maryland Avenue Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland.

Their son Shelby Powell Bridges married Barbara Best Bridges, son David Powell Bridges.

Shelby Church in Tregaron, Wales


Baptismal Font Evan Shelby, Jr. was baptized from in 1720.

Research Bibliography:

  1. Weidensaul, Scott, The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery & Endurance in Early America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, New York. 2012.
  2. Rowlandson, Mary, The Soverainty & Goodness of God, together with the faithfulness of his promises displayed: Being a Narritave of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlson.
  3. Gyles, John, Memoirs of Old Adventurs, Strange Deliverances, &c. In Captivity of John Gtles, Esq; Commander of the Garrison on St. George’s River Written by himself. 1736.
  4. Mather, Cotton. Magnalia Christi; Americana by Cotton Mather. 1702.
  5. Moseley, Edward. A New Voyage to Carolina. 1708.
  6. A Treatise of Military Discipline.
  7. Cooper, James Fenimore, The Last of the Mohicans. Barnes & Noble Classics, New York, New York. 1826.
  8. Powell, Alan, Forgotten Heroes of the Maryland Frontier-Christopher Gist, Evan Shelby, Jr., Thomas Cresap. Gateway Press, In., Baltimore, Maryland. 2001.
  9. White, Stewart Edward, Daniel Boone Wilderness Scout. Garden City Publishing Co., Garden City, New York. 1922.
  10. Morgan, Robert, Boone, A Biography. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 2007.
  11. Morgan, Robert, Lions of the West, Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 2011.
  12. Thwaites, Reuben Gold, Documentary History of Dunmores War, 1774. Forgotten Books. 1905, 2012.
  13. Draper, Lyman C., Kings Mountain and its Heroes, History of the Battle of King’s Mountain, October 7, 1780 and the Events Which Led to It. Heritage Books, Westminister, Maryland. 1881, 2008.
  14. Bailey, J. D., Commanders at Kings Mountain. A Press, Inc., Greenville, South Carolina. 1980.
  15. Browning, Meshach, Forty-four Years of The Life of a Hunter; Being Reminiscences of Meshach Browning A Maryland Hunter. J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, PA. 1859.
  16. Davids, Richard C., The Man Who Moved A Mountain. Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA. 1970.
  17. Zeiss, Tony, Backcountry Fury, A Sixteen-Year-Old Patriot in the Revolutionary War. Parkway Publishers, Inc. Boone, North Carolina. 2010.
  18. Keller, Roger S., Isaac Shelby: A Driving Force in America’s Struggle for independence. Burd Street Press, Shippensburg, PA. 2000.
  19. Ferling, John, Jefferson and Hamilton. Boomsbury Press, New York, 2013.
  20. Ellis, Joseph J., Revolutionary Summer, The Birth of American Independence. Alfred Knopf, New York, 2013.
  21. Brown, Robert W., Jr., Kings Mountain and Cowpens. History Press, Charleston, South Carolina, 2009.
  22. Dunkerly, Robert M., The Battle of Kings Mountain, Eyewitness Accounts. History Press, Charleston, South Carolina, 2007.
  23. Neumann, George C. & Kravic, Frank J., Collector’s Illustrated Encyclopedia Of The American Revolution. Scurlock Publishing Co., Texarkana, Texas, 1975.
  24. Draper, Lyman Copeland, Action At The Galudoghson, December 14, 1742. Westminister, Maryland, Heritage Books, 2008.
  25. Book by S. Roger Keller on Evan Shelby, Jr., Ph. 301-842-2259


  1. McCrumb, Sharyn, King’s Mountain. St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2013.
  2. Carter, Jimmy, The Hornet’s Nest. Simmon Schuster, New York, 2003.

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