The Harpe Brothers – America’s First Seriel Killers

We’re not related to them…thank the Great Spirit.  But we’re related to one of their victims.

My LeForce granny was a Cox & way back in the day Phineas Cox married Barbary Stump.  Barbary was the d/o Frederick Stump.  He was
just something else.  He killed a few Indians, was sent to jail, was broken out & fled.  At his new home he was involved in the Revolutionary War in some way.  After killing more people on the other team he was captured & sent to Florida.  He bribed his jailor & escaped again!  Whatever he built at his new home was destroyed so they moved again – this time to Davidson County, TN where he owned a Tavern/Inn.

Frederick Stump Jr was killed by the Harpe brothers, who were actually cousins.  Their dads were reportedly the brothers.  I can’t remember if they came from Ireland or Scotland but when the Rev. War broke out I believe they were Tories.  Like our Rene LaForce Jr I believe they were
ran off from wherever they originally settled.  I don’t believe our Rene joined the fight – he simply moved – or at least tried to.  But these guys joined the fight & even once the war was over continued it.

They were Micajah “Big” Harpe b. abt 1768 d. 8/1799 & Wiley “Little” Harpe b. abt 1770 d. 1/1804.  Another one of my relatives was Capt. Robert Benge who along with Dragging Canoe, another relative, was part of a run-away band of Cherokees out to kill whites.  They were known as the Chickamauga Cherokees.  After the Rev. War the Harpes joined them in killing whites.

Eventually they left the Cherokees & either hung out by themselves or with the pirates.  But not even the pirates could tolerate their murdering methods.  They would trick people into climbing a mountain with them then throw them off.  Or they’d kill you, gut you like a fish, fill you with rocks & throw you in a river.  And that’s what they did to our Frederick Stump Jr.

They killed men, women & children including their own infants.  Once while people were searching for them one of these 2 brained their own infant up against a tree because he feared it’s crying would get them caught.  Once he finally was caught he confessed that’s the only murder he regretted.  Then he died & was beheaded.  His head was put on a stake & the place it was placed was called Harpe’s Head for many moons.

I recently read another relative was involved in capturing & killing Big Harpe…just can’t remember which one right now.

Little Harpe got away only to be caught & hung later.  I believe Big Harpe was the one that had 2 wives & Little Harpe just had one.  All 3 were kidnapped & originally held against their will.  Later they would help their husbands but it’s believed they did that in fear of their or their families lives.  After both husbands were dead at least a couple moved away & remarried.

Any Harpe relatives changed their name…at least for many years.


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