Jennie's Creek

Historical Marker #571 in Johnson County commemorates Jennie's Creek, which is named for the famed frontier heroine Virginia Wiley. The creek was named for Wiley after she crossed the water to escape from Native Americans who had held her captive.

Jennie's Creek also has a Civil War connection. In January 1862, a skirmish fought there preceded the Battle of Middle Creek.

In late 1861, Confederate troops under General Humphrey Marshall were on a recruiting mission near Paintsville. That December, Union Colonel James A. Garfield led troops into the region to push Marshall's command from eastern Kentucky. Garfield’s force arrived outside of Paintsville on January 6, 1862.

Colonel William Bolle's (West) Virginia cavalry joined Garfield near Paintsville. On January 7, Bolle's men deployed to strike a Confederate cavalry camp at the mouth of Jennie's Creek. A skirmish ensued, resulting in minor losses. When word reached the camp that Garfield's full command was approaching, Marshall withdrew after burning any supplies that they could not carry with them.

Marshall retreated south to Middle Creek in Floyd County, where a much larger battle was fought on January 10. As a result of the Union victory there, Colonel James A. Garfield—who eventually became U.S. President—was promoted to brigadier general.

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Confederate General Humphrey Marshall

Confederate General Humphrey Marshall

General Marshall commanded Confederate troops in Paintsville in 1862. They were removed from the Jennie's Creek area by Union forces in a skirmish on January 7. The two sides met again at the much larger Battle of Middle Creek on January 10th. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

General James A. Garfield

General James A. Garfield

Colonel Garfield commanded Union troops in the 1862 removal of the CSA from Paintsville. The colonel was promoted to brigadier general following the engagements in January 1862. Garfield's popularity following the Civil War contributed to his election as the twentieth President of the United States. Courtesy of the Library of Congress View File Details Page

View of the Union Charge Line at Middle Creek

View of the Union Charge Line at Middle Creek

A direct result of Confederate evacuation at Paintsville on January 7, 1862 was the Battle of Middle Creek in Floyd County on January 10, 1862. Courtesy of the National Park Service. View File Details Page

The Rescue of Jenny Wiley

The Rescue of Jenny Wiley

Jenny Wiley was a frontier woman who escaped from Native American captivity, using a route she saw in a dream. Wiley reached safety at Harman's Station in Johnson County, one of the earliest settlements in eastern Kentucky. Jennie's Creek is named in her honor. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

McKenzie Martin, “Jennie's Creek,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed July 27, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/355.

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