Maryville Enterprise, (Blount Co. TN) Wednesday, November 25, 1925:
“Ish Fort---Recently we had an invitation to visit some friends near Friendsville, and on Sept. 21, 1925, we went to the home. There we were told that it was only one mile to the Ish burying grounds and we walked over, went into the woods, hunted around in the dense undergrowth and at last we saw an iron fence enclosing a space of near 20 feet square. And while at the time it was built it was intended to last forever, it is fast passing away. Falling limbs have broken the railings, undergrowth is pushing out the stones and covering up the monuments and coverings.
In the west corner was a marble marker, near 18 inches by 3 feet on which says “John Ish, killed by Cherokee Indians, July 24, 1794.” And under this is his wife, Elizabeth Ish, died July 22, 1824, aged 62 years. In the same enclosure is a marker to Dr. James B. Lackey, born Botetourt County, Virginia, June 15, 1828, died Withe County, Virginia, March 27, 1879. To his right or south is a marker for a child and says “son of J.B. and Josie Lackey.” Several other graves are in the enclosure but no markers.
The property is owned by Stephen McReynolds. The old Ish brick residence id down the hill across a creek or branch, near one fourth of a mile away. It is on a beautiful height and enables one to see the fertile valleys and hills for long ways looking east and south. Then north we see the majestic “Old Holston” flowing toward us, and along the foot of the hill as it slopes toward the river, in the midst of it is a small island called now the Early Island.
All around the iron enclosed burying ground is seen in the woods and underbrush, stones and sunken places, telling to you that here is a grave. Some are not so old but what you think at least, four were buried within the last two years. On one near 100 feet away was markers, said to be of an old slave who was very well to do, and on it is “William Henderson, born January 18, 1818, died May 12, 1883.” He is said to be a slave of old Uncle Billy Henderson, and he married a slave of one Alexander Ish. Her marker beside his says “Leanna Henderson died February 22, 1885, about 65.”
It is said that a daughter of this couple died recently in Knoxville and that the white people of that city came with her body and placed it somewhere in these woods, so that she might not be far from her loved ones. She had endeared herself to the white people so that they were anxious to show her this last rite of respect and appreciation of her and her life.
Haywood says this Ish massacre was 18 miles below Knoxville. It is 28 or more. He left a wife and 11 children, the youngest being not over 11 years of age. He says that it was while he was plowing and about 180 yards of the house. In records of Blount County, we find Vol. 1-121, Dec. 28, 1791, a grant to John Ish by North Carolina for 640 acres on the south side of the Holston River joining the river, and 200 acres close and adjoining the first tract “at the head of Black Creek” in Vol. 1-134.
It has been said that a child of this John Ish was Alexander Ish, who died in 1862. His wife filed petition for dower, and division of a farm of 668 acres on Feb. 20, 1863, naming children as A.J. Ish, Hester A. Walker, wife of B.F. Walker of Roane County (parents of the late William L. Welcker, attorney of Knoxville), William Ish, Benjamin A. Ish and John F. Ish, the last being a minor. On Nov. 3, 1862, A.J. Ish was made administrator of estate of Alex Ish under bond of $60,000 and guardian of John F. Ish. So the estate was of some value. The widow signed her name as Elizabeth S. Ish. If any other children of John than Alexander Ish, we have not been able to find them. James B. Lackey married Nancy E. Ish on May 19, 1853 by Rev. A.J. McGhee and she must have been a daughter of some other than Alex Ish.
After the close of the war in 1865, the Ish family left Blount County, some moved to Texas. So if we ever get anything as to the family and the intimate incidents as to the first John Ish, it looks as if it must come from the Walker descendants. If they will write for Blount County history preservation, it will be very gratefully appreciated by all, and if any want to say more than for print, address 219 Bryan Street, Maryville, Tenn., and we will be glad to get in touch with all. It is claimed that Dr. J.B. Lackey married a second time to Josie Johnson.” ---Tab [William E. Parham]
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