June 3, 1787—Most of Doublehead’s raids against white settlements were made in the Cumberland River Valley. Many Chickamauga attacks were made by Doublehead’s Chickamauga warriors from 1780 through 1795. This is one of the first of several raids made against Bledsoe’s Station just north of the Cumberland River on a small tributary known as Bledsoe’s Creek. In the soon to be published text-Doublehead: Last Chickamauga Cherokee Chief, many raids will be discussed by date and place in chronological order. This is just one of the many raids made by the Chickamauga that will be include in the book.
Bledsoe’s Lick was named after Isaac Bledsoe a long hunter who in 1769 rode east from Station Camp Creek on a buffalo trace in what is now Sumner County, Tennessee. When Bledsoe came within two miles of the broad salt lick later named for him, his horse dashed into a galloping buffalo herd. He told Casper Mansker that the lick was covered with a moving mass of buffaloes, which he could not estimate by hundreds, but by thousands (Belue, 1996). Isaac and his brother Anthony came back in a few years and established a settlement near the lick.
The great buffalo and deer herds that used the huge mineral licks along the Cumberland River Valley was the reason Dragging Canoe, Doublehead, and other Chickamaugans strongly opposed giving up their sacred hunting grounds in the area and the reason they fought so hard to keep white settlers from moving into the Cumberland River Valley. At the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals in 1775, the first Chickamauga Chief Dragging Canoe pointed toward Kentucky and said, “the buffalo are our cattle.” Dragging Canoe told Henderson, “ You have bought a fair land, but there is a black cloud hanging over it. You will find its settlement dark and bloody”.
The huge Bledsoe’s mineral lick, caused by sulpher water springs that left deposits of salt and minerals, was used by great buffalo herds and numerous whitetail deer. The lick was located some 30 miles east of Nashville between present-day Gallatin, Tennessee and Hartsville, Tennessee near highway 25 which connects the two cities in Sumner County, Tennessee. The north side Sumner County borders the south boundary of the State of Kentucky. Bledsoe’s Lick is in Bledsoe Creek Valley not far north of the Cumberland River which flows west toward Nashville, Tennessee.
On June 3, 1787, while Major William Hall was attending a Chickamauga conference in Nashville as requested by Colonel James Robertson, a party of fifteen Chickamauga Indians formed an ambush between his house and his neighbor Gibson. Major Hall’s two sons, James and William, were going to the pasture to get their horses when they were attacked by the party. James was killed and scalped and William barely made his escape by out running his pursuers.
Major James Lynn from Bledsoe’s Station and five other men started in pursuit and intersected the Indians at Goose Creek wounding two. Goose Creek runs into Shoals Creek in present-day Lauderdale County, Alabama, and Shoals Creek runs into the Tennessee River between Little Muscle Shoals and Big Muscle Shoals, the stronghold of Doublehead.
Eventually, both the Bledsoe brothers who built Bledsoe Station and established a settlement on the Avery Trace were killed by Doublehead’s Chickamauga warriors. Colonel Anthony Bledsoe was killed on July 20, 1788, near Bledsoe’s Lick. Colonel Isaac Bledsoe was killed on April 9, 1793, at Bledsoe’s Fort by the Chickamaugans. Many other people were killed in attacks led by Doublehead in the area and are discussed in detail in the Doublehead book.