Served as a Private in Captain Long's Company from VA during Rev. War
Robert, Nancy and family along with Nancy's sister and her family (the McMahans) left VA in 1784 because of high taxes, and migrated to the wilderness of Tennessee near the present town of Sevierville. Robert purchased land at the Watoga Land Office. They built a fort at the foot of Shields' Mountain on Middle Creek, a tributary of the Little Pigeon River. In 1784, the most remote settlement in the region was at Big Bend in French Broad River about 20 miles NE of Robert's land. The fort was needed for protection from indians. Spain claimed everything west of the Alleghenies and bitterly opposed settlers from the former British Colonies. Spain payed the Cherokee Indians for white scalps resulting in the killing of many settlers. Many gave up and moved back to VA and the Carolinas.
The Shields and McMahans stayed. Their building was 16 x 100 feet with a low ceiling and an attic. It was constructed of heavy logs with a fireplace at each end. It had four doors to the outside with several small open windows and numerous firing ports both upstairs and down. The original building contained living quarters for six families. The building was on an oblong lot of about 1/4 acre, which was surrounded by a 12-foot high wall of upright, sharpened logs fastened together with wooden pins. It took four years to complete the fort, which was about 12 miles off the main indian trail. The fort was only bothered by small war parties.
The Robert Shields family lived at this fort for nearly 20 years. Seven of their sons brought brides to the fort. Nancy and Robert both died there, and were buried on a nearby hillside.
On 21 November 1976, the Spencer Clark Chapter of the DAR marked their graves. This cemetery is on a hill in back of a white country church. Other Shields and McMahans are buried there. In 1978, Oliver Shields from 22805 Willow Lane, Veneta, OR visited the area, and spoke with Glenn McMahan who lives on part of the original Shields property.
Information from G. Ronald Hurd of Vienna, VA, and letter to Walter Davidson from Ila and Oliver Shields of Veneta, OR (1 May 1983).
Donald C. Shields.FTW
Felton continues that "in 1784 the Shields and MCMahan families [along with the O'Nion and Veatch families] loaded their possessions in three wagons and embarked on the long trail down the Shenandoah Valley. At Big Lick (Roanoke, VA), the party divided. One wagon, in charge of Robert's son, James, age 13, wtih Nancy, and Janet, and the smaller Shields boys, went to Yadkin Settlement in North Carolina, where they remained with Robert's counsins a year before proceeding to Tennessee. [The question is, who is the cousin. Abel Shields, a ggggrandson of the progenitor, William Shields (born 1600 in Ireland) was in the Yadkin settlements at this time, and its also possible the cousin is John Shields--the son of James and John's nephew and guardian--to whom this statement is referring.]
The Goodspeed Publishing Co.'s HISTORY OF TENNESSEE (1887), pages B32-35, provides the following on the early history of Sevier Co., Tennessee: "In 1783 Thomas Stockton began the erection of the first gristmill in the county. It was located at Christian's Ford on the French Broad. During the following year, the pioneers built their cabins and cleared fields along Little Pigeon River and Boyd's Creek [so named because Indian's killed a Boyd in 1775 and threw his body in the creek]. . . . Among others of the early settlers were Shields, Calverts, Richardsons, Creswells, and Keelers.
Shields Mountain, Middle Creek River in Tennessee:
The Middle Creek River is a tributary of the Little Pigeon River in Tennessee. In the early to mid-1780s, Robert and his family began residence in what became Sevier County, Tennessee by moving from Augusta County, VA in 1784 to about 20 miles southeast of the then most remote settlement in Tennessee, known as 'Big Bend' on the French Broad River.
The Fulton Co., IL Heritage, published in 1988, says that in 1781, Robert Shields moved his family (including Janet his daughter and the 10 brothers) along with the Onion (O'Nion), Veatch, and McMahan families, all of whom married into the Shields family either before or since 1781, to Middle Creek (near the present village of Pigeon Forge) near Shields Mountain, in what is now Sevier Co., Tennessee.
The fort served as protection from the Indians. At this period in American history, Spain claimed all lands west of the Allegheny Mountains and bitterly opposed settlers from the former British Colonies. Spain discouraged settlement by paying the Cherokee Indians for white scalps. Many early settlers stayed; others gave up and returned to VA or the Carolinas. The Onions [O'Nions] and the Veatch's, along with the McMahons [Nancy Stockton's widowed sister and family] made the move from Augusta Co., VA to Tennessee with the Robert Shields Family through the period 1781 to 1784. Only the McMahons stayed at the site of the original fortress into the 20th Century.
The building for the Shields settlement was a large 16 foot by 100 foot log structure with a low ceiling and a loft or attic area. It was constructed of heavy logs with a fireplace in the rooms on each end. One end-room served as the kitchen and the other as a common living room. It had four doors to the outside with several small open windows and numerous firing ports both upstairs and down. The original building contained living quarters for six families. The building sat on an oblong lot of about 1/4 acre, with a 12 foot high, double-rowed wall of upright, sharpened logs, closely spaced and fastened with wooden pins. The wall surrounded the living quarters, a spring for water, and the stock stables and out buildings. The families at Shields settlement spent four years completing the fort, which sources say was about 12 miles off the main Indian Trail. The fort was only bothered by small war parties, one of which was to kill Robert's son, Thomas. Indians wounded another son, Joseph, in an attack that included Janet Shields's husband, Joshua Tipton, Robert's only son-in-law, whom they (the Indians) killed on April 18, 1793.
The Robert Shields family lived at the fort for more than 20 years. Initially, seven of Robert Shields's and Nancy Stockton's sons brought brides to the fort and Robert and Nancy both died there, and were buried on a nearby hillside.
On November 21, 1976, the Spencer Clark Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution marked Robert Shields's and Nancy Stockton's graves. [See the birth date controversy above.] The cemetery in the year 2001 is at the back of a white country church. Other Shields and McMahans are buried there. According to Bill Walker's "Richard J. Walker Family," the following occurred: "In 1978, Oliver Shields from 22805 Willow Lane, Veneta, OR visited the area and spoke with Glenn McMahon" who at the time still lived on part of the original Shields property.
In addition to the 10 sons and 1 daughter listed here, Bill Navey lists (1) Ezekiel Shields (b. 1778) and (2) Joshua Shields (b. March 10, 1782 at Harrisonburg, VA; d. September 16, 1848 in Indiana). The birth date given for Joshua by Bill Navey would have made him a twin of Jesse Shields. Also, Threina Allen's, "Ancestors of Mikayla Cregan," a RootsWeb WorldConnect Project lists the birthdates of Ezekiel Shields and Joshua Shields.
More About Robert Shields: Burial: Unknown, Middlecreek Methodist Church, Sevier County, Tennessee.1062
More About Robert Shields and Nancy Stockton: Marriage: 1761, VA Colony.1063
Children of Robert Shields and Nancy Stockton are:
+Jeanette Shields, b. March 07, 1762, Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia1064, d. February 17, 1827, Seymour, Indiana1064.
+Thomas Shields, b. 1763, Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia1064, d. 1793, Sevier County, Tennessee1064.
+Richard Shields, b. July 04, 1764, Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia Colony1065, d. 1815, Sevier County, Tennessee1066.