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|Dewey Lake, Jenny Wiley State Park,
Jenney Wiley State Resort Park is located in the heart of the coal fields,nestled in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky on Dewey Lake near Prestonburg, The park is operated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Department of Parks. May Lodge was
dedicated in 1962 by former Prestonburg resident Bert T. Combs, the 46th Governor of Kentucky.
The Lodge was named for Andrew Jackson "Jack" May, a local politician who served as 7th-District Congressman
from 1930 to 1946.
Dewey Lake, was named after a local post office which was named for Navy Admiral George Dewey Completed in 1951, the dam was built on Johns Creek, a tributary of the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River. The lake, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has 1100-acres of surface area, is 18.5-miles long, and has 52-miles of shoreline. Although the lake was built for flood control, it offers boating,fishing,skiing, camping and picnicking to thousands of people each year.
The Jenny Wiley Story Jenny Wiley State Restort Park was named in honor of a young pioneer woman, Virginia (Sellards) Wiley- Jenny Wiley. The legend of this women is varied, but the following is believed to be a fairly accurate account.
In reality, the capture of Jenny and the destruction of the Wiley family was in error. Before Jenny's abduction, a member of the Harmon family, neighbors of the Wileys, shot and killed two Indians in a confrontation. It was a dark and rainy October 1, 1789 in Ab's Vally, Virginia when a group of Indians return to seek vengeance. In ignorance of the exact location of the Harmon cabin, they came upon the Wileys instead. Jenny, her brother and her four children were alone in the cabin while her husband was in a nearby settlement. There had been word of indian activity in the area and Jenny was preparing to go to a relative's home until Tom's return when a group of Shawnee and Cherokee raided the cabin. In the suprise attack, Jenny saw her brother and all of her children, except an infant, brutally tomahawked and scalped. Jenny and the child were taken captive, beginning months of incredible hardships.
Upon Tom Wiley's return, a search was begun. Tom was not an experienced woodsman and his search was fruitless. Tice Harmon, led another party which did find Jenny and her captors; however, a raging and impassable river seperated them, and Jenny was lost to rescue.
The march West with the Indians was a hard and continuous strain on Jenny, who was laden with child and her infant son. When it was apperent that she was lagging behind, her son was slain so that she might keep a faster pace. As the months passed and camp after camp was made,Jenny became accustomed to the hard Indian life. Several months into her captivity, she gave birth to a son. At the age of three months, he was given a Indain test of courage, whereby he was tied to a flat piece of wood and slipped into a stream to see if he would cry. He screamed furiously and he met the same fate as his brother.
Jenny was sentenced to die at the stake but was bought at the last moment by an old Cherokee chief impressed by her stoic calm in the face of death. She was reduced to slavery and made to do menial chores but also taught the chief's squaws to make cloth.
This band of Indians moved to an area near Little Mud Lick Creek in Jonson County, Kentucky and set up permanent camp. As the weeks passed, the Indians relaxed their vigilance towards Jenny. One dark and rainy night, much like it was when she was captured, Jenny found her chance to escape. Alrhough she was not exactly sure where she was or which direction she wanted to go, armed only with the knowledge of the woods she had gained from the indians and her renewed will to survive, Jenny began her trip home eluding the indians that pursued her. Veriations of the legend have Jenny guided home by dreams,psychic phenomena,fantasies, and Divine Providence intervening on her behalf. She made it to a newly settled area and with some difficulty and the aid of one Henry Skaggs, crossed the Big Sandy River to safety just as the Indians caught up with her. Finally in the fall of 1790, she was reunited with her husband, Tom,and the Wileys began to rebuild their shattered family by eventually having five more children. The Wileys emigtated to the big Sandy Valley in 1800. Thomas died in 1810, but Jenny lived until 1831, dying of paralysis at the age of 71. Both are buried in the Big Sandy area, Jenny's Grave being located at River, Kentucky.