Phillip Hamman (c.1753 - 1832) MP

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Phillip Hamman, "Savior of Greenbrier"'s Geni Profile

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Nicknames: "Savior of Greenbriar"
Birthplace: Germany
Death: Died in Fackler, Jackson, Alabama, United States
Occupation: Soldier, Indian Scout, Farmer, Pastor
Managed by: Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator
Last Updated:

About Phillip Hamman

Phillip Hamman arrived in America from Germany on 16 October 1772, debarking from the ship Crawford. He settled in the Greenbrier Valley of Virginia. Phillip served with Capt. John Lewis's company at the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774. In the spring of 1776 he joined the 12th VA Regiment and served for two and a half years. He became famous in history as an Indian Scout. Phillip and his wife, Christina, died in Jackson County, AL, and was later re-buried in DeKalb County, AL.

Phillip and Christina were the parents of thirteen children:

  • John (August 19, 1781 – December 1, 1854)
  • Infant son (October 10, 1782 – October 17, 1782)
  • Nancy (born November 19, 1783, date of death unknown)
  • Mary (August 4, 1785 – October 1872)
  • James (August 26, 1787–1857)
  • Elizabeth (November 23, 1790 – November 18, 1879)
  • Sarah (born December 23, 1792, date of death unknown)
  • Celia (April 13, 1794 – March 1823)
  • William Cook (June 26, 1796 – October 12, 1870)
  • Jesse Franklin (January 31, 1799 – September 7, 1871), twin of Elijah.
  • Elijah (January 31, 1799 – May 1860), twin of Jesse.
  • Phillip, Jr. (August 28, 1801 – June 21, 1871)
  • Valentine C. (August 15, 1802 – c. 1861)

Read his exploits in his own words at this site -


Phillip Hamman was born around 1750. [headstone] Very little is known about his family or early life (as one put it, "Tho' his history is but little known, his intrepidity and patriotism are not less worthy of our commendation.") ["History of Alabama and the dictionary of Alabama biography, Vol. 3"] It is likely that Hamman was of German heritage. [historical evidence]

In 1778 Hamman and a freed slave named John Pryor went to Fort Donnally in Greenbrier County, West Virginia to warn the people of an impending Shawnee attack by two-hundred warriors. One of Cornstalk's sisters, a friend of the white people, painted Pryor and Hamman's faces as American Indians. Even though the Indians had several days' head start, the two were able to get ahead of the Indians and warn the inhabitants of the fort. During the attack Hamman killed one man with his tomahawk as the Indian tried to force his way through the door. Dick Pointer, an African slave of Col. Andrew Donnally, loaded a musket and shot at the invading Indians until he and Hamman could shut the door, saving the inhabitants of the fort. [historical evidence]

On September 1, 1971, the Tidence Lance Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Scottsboro, Alabama dedicated a roadside marker to Phillip Hamman. It reads: "Phillip Hamman, 'The Savior of Greenbrier'– Born 1750 in the Palatinate Germany–Married March 3, 1780 in Greenbrier Co, Virginia to Christina Cook, born 1763, died January 28, 1842 and is buried in a double grave with her husband one mile north of this spot. Nine years an Indian Spy & Scout, Colonial Soldier, Revolutionary War Hero. He died August 3, 1832 in Jackson County. Here rest in peace: A Noble Man, A Gracious Lady."

-------------------- He was a scout during the Revolutionary War and during the Lewis and Clark expedition to the OH Valley,farmer

HAMMAN, PHIL. On Saturday, July 3, 1830, the fifty-fifth anniversary of American independence was celebrated at Bellefonte, Jackson County, Alabama, at which among other participants were several Revolutionary patriots. After the reading of the Declaration of Independence by Henry F. Scruggs and the delivery of an oration by Hon. Samuel Moore, the company sat down to a plentiful dinner. After this many patriotic toasts were drunk. Only one, and that because of the historic fact it evoked, is here reproduced:


"By L. James, Esq. 'Capt. Phil Hamman: The Savior of Greenbrier—tho' his history is but little known, his intrepidity and patriotism are not less worthy of our commendation.' "After the drinking of this toast, the old soldier rose and said: He thanked the gentlemen for introducing his name on an occasion where he had already been too much honored. Tho' his history was not much known, he could not object to have the transactions of his life divulged to the world. For nine years he had been in the wars of his country—during a greater part of which he had been engaged in the most dangerous parts of Indian service. He had suffered much; on one occasion he had been stripped by savage rapacity of every vestige of property he possessed, even the clothing of himself and family—one of his children fell a victim to their cruelty. But not to dwell on the dangers he had endured, he would merely speak of the occasion so kindly alluded to in the toast. When stationed at Fort Randolph, at the mouth of the Big Kanawha, nine hundred Indians set off in a body to make an unexpected attack on the inhabitants of Greenbrier, Virginia. Two men were dispatched to apprize the people in that quarter of their approaching danger. In three days they returned, wounded, and in despair; others were sought for who would carry the express; none were found willing to engage in so dangerous and hopeless an undertakin when he and one John Pryor (who was afterwards killed by the Indians) painted and dressed in Indian garb set off, and in forty-eight hours travelled one hundred and sixty miles through the willerness; they overtook the Indians within twelve miles of the white settlements, passed through their camps, and gave timely warning to the people of their impending danger.—Such preparations were made for security and defense as the occasion permitted. About daylight a violent attack was made on Fort Donley; the conflict was desperate—the door of the Fort was broken open—he stood in it, and resisted the enemy—'till it could be shut and fastened. The foe were repelled with great loss, and the country saved from savage barbarity. He said that although he was old and poor, and had not received the compensation promised him by his country, yet he thanked God he was in peace and safety, and could live 'without the aid of public or private charity.' He then offered the following sentiment: " 'OUR RULERS: May they be just men, fearing God, and hating covetousness.'"—Southern Advocate, Huntsville, July 10, 1830. -------------------- May have been a "Man of Valor" during the Revolutionary War. "Savior of Greenbrier" (VA) with Indian Massacre

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Phillip Hamman, "Savior of Greenbrier"'s Timeline


Next to nothing is known about the early life of Phillip Hamman. It was originally believed that he was identifiable with a man by the same name who arrived in America from the Palatinate in 1772 in the ship Crawford. Genetic testing has shown this not to be the case.

March 3, 1780
Age 27
Greenbriar, Virginia
August 19, 1781
Age 28
Greenbrier, Virginia
October 10, 1782
Age 29
en route to Kentucky
Age 29
Crab Orchard, Lincoln, KY, USA

In 1782, Hamman, his family, and the Baughman's began their move to Kentucky. Along the Wilderness Road at Dix River, near the town of Crab Orchard in Lincoln County, tradegy befell the party when Indians attacked their camp. Several accounts of this event are recorded in history.

Age 29
Crab Orchard, KY, USA

In 1782, Phillip Hamman's family began their move to Kentucky. Along the Wilderness Road at Dix River, near the town of Crab Orchard in Lincoln County, tradegy befell the party when American Indians attacked their camp from about eight miles above, killing Hamman's week-old son and several members of his wife's family. ["Kentucky, A History of the State" by Joel Baughman]

Hamman, his wife, and his infant child had just undressed and laid down when the attack began, after which Hamman "sprang, snatched up the child, and his hid gun" and his wife followed after. Hamman's wife was wounded in the head with an arrow. [Draper Collection, Kentucky Papers, Volume 12, page 149; "The Register", Kentucky Historical Society, Volume 36, July 1938, Whitley Papers, Volume 9]

November 19, 1783
Age 30
Fayette, Kentucky
Age 31
Greenbrier, VA, USA

In early 1784, Hamman and John Pryor petitioned the Virginia House of Delegates for a rewarding of a tract of land for heroic services rendered while saving the Greenbrier Settlements from Indian massacre. The petition was rejected.

August 4, 1785
Age 32
Fayette, Kentucky
August 26, 1787
Age 34
Madison, Kentucky, United States