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James died on 21 July 1776. James & a young boy, Samuel Moore, went outside the fort at Watagua searching for wood to cover a hut. They were near the mouth of Gap Creek and were attacked by Cherokee Indians. James tried to escape by jumping in the river, but was caught, killed & scalped.
Source: Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century (1853)[Ramsey's Annals Home] - Chapter II: Watauga--Its Settlement and Government - Page 158