SOME IMPORTANT DATES IN SCOTT COUNTY HISTORY
1749-50—Dr. Thomas Walker and companions visit Cumberland Gap and adjacent regions.
1763—Treaty in which France gave up to England all claim to the mainland east of the Mississippi River.
1769—Daniel Boone passes through Big Moccasin Gap on his way to Kentucky.
1769—Uriah Stone, Casper Mansker, John Rains, and Abraham and Isaac Bledsoe pass through Big Moccasin Gap to Kentucky.
1769—Thomas McCulloch made the first settlement within the territory of Scott County near Fort Houston, on Big Moccasin Creek.
1770—The Long Hunters pass through Big Moccasin Gap on hunting expeditions.
1770—Peter Livingston settled on the North Fork of the Holston at the mouth of Livingston’s Creek.
1771—Silas Enyart settled on Little Moccasin Creek.
1772—James Green settled near the mouth of Stony Creek.
1772—Patrick Porter settled on the west side of Fall Creek, near Osborne’s Ford.
1773—James Boone, Henry Russell, and party were massacred by Indians in Powell’s Valley.
1773—Daniel Boone takes his family to Castle’s Woods and becomes a resident in the Valley of the Clinch.
1773—John Blackmore, Joseph Blackmore, John Blackmore, Jr., John Carter, and Andrew Davis settled at Fort Blackmore.
1773—William Nash settled in Rye Cove.
1773—Charles Kilgore settled on the east side of Fall Creek, near Osborne’s Ford.
1773—Jonathan Wood settled on Big Moccasin Creek, near Fort Houston.
1774—Logan, the Mingo chieftain, captured two of Captain Blackmore’s slaves at Fort Blackmore.
1774—Dale Carter was killed by Indians at Fort Blackmore.
1774—Daniel Boone and Michael Stoner were sent from Castle’s Woods to warn surveying parties in Kentucky of the danger of Indian attack.
1774—Daniel Boone was placed in command of Fort Blackmore and other forts on the Clinch while the militiamen were absent on the Point Pleasant campaign in Dunmore’s War.
1774—Patrick Porter was given permission to erect a mill on Fall Creek by the County Court of Fincastle.
1774—John Livingston settled at the mouth of Little Moccasin Creek, north side of Clinch Mountain.
1774—Samuel Livingston and Stephen Walling settled at the head of Little Moccasin Creek.
1775—Samuel Richey settled on south side of Clinch River (William Gray farm).
1775—Daniel Boone and companions cut a road through Big Moccasin Gap.
1776—A son of Jonathan Jennings and one of his slaves were killed at Fort Blackmore by Indians.
1776—Isaac Crisman and family were slain by Indians in the Rye Cove.
1776—The inhabitants of Martin’s Station flee to Fort Blackmore for protection.
1776—Jacob Lewis and family were slain by Indians near the head of Stock Creek.
1776—The Rye Cove Fort evacuated by order of Colonel Bledsoe, the inmates going to Fort Blackmore.
1776—Samuel Stedham settled at the "Mint Spring" on Little Moccasin Creek.
1777—Benge and band of Indians visit Fort Blackmore. They Capture Polly Alley, and Jane Whitaker.
1777—Fannie Napper (nee Alley) and her five children were captured by Indians at Fort Blackmore.
1777—Col. Joseph Martin stationed in the Rye Cove to guard the frontier.
1779—Capt. John Blackmore and family, and Jonathan Jennings and family, leave Fort Blackmore in boats for Nashboro, Tennessee.
1781—Fort Blackmore attacked by Indians, four men captured, and a large number of horses taken away.
1782—Thomas Wallin settled at the mouth of Stock Creek.
1787—John Carter’s wife and six children killed by Indians near Fort Blackmore.
1788—Indians capture two Carter boys in the Rye Cove.
1789—Joseph Johnson’s house on "Flat," or "Mill" Creek was burned, his wife and one child killed, and his other children carried into captivity by Indians.
1790—Bishop Asberry, the great Methodist organizer, visited Fort Blackmore.
1790—Mrs. Henry Hamlin killed, and Champ Hamlin captured by Indians at Fort Blackmore.
1791—Benge attacks the house of Elisha Ferris, within the present limits of Gate City, and cruelly murders all but Nancy Ferris.
1793—Benge murdered Harper Ratcliff and his entire family, six in number, near Big Moccasin Gap.
1793—Benge attacked Ensign Moses Cockrell and his pack-horse train on top of Powell’s Mountain (Kane’s Gap).
1794—Benge captured the Livingston family, and was killed by Vincent Hobbs and his company.
1814—An act forming Scott County from parts of Washington, Russell, and Lee counties, passed by the General Assembly of Virginia.
1815—The first court held in the dwelling of Benjamin T. Hollins at Big Moccasin Gap.
1815—The first county election was held, with just two voting places.
1815—The first Superior Court was held in May of this year.
1816—The first Court of Enquiry (Military) was held.
1817—A wooden courthouse was erected on the public square.
1829—Brick courthouse (the front part of present building) was received by the Court.
1870—The county was laid off into seven magisterial districts.
1870—In November of this year the first public free schools were opened in the county.
1887—The first passenger train reached Bratton’s Switch, Gate City.
Two traditional stories concerning the early settlements in Scott County have come down to us, the one transmitted through the Cox family, very early settlers here, and the other transmitted through the Porter and related families, who settled on Fall Creek, near Osborn’s Ford.
The Cox tradition is substantially as follows: A young man by the name of David Cox is represented as having accompanied Daniel Boone on one of his hunting expeditions as far as the locality now known as Elizabethton, Tennessee. Here young Cox separated from Boone’s party, and turning his course northward, passed through Big Moccasin Gap into what is now Scott County. In the course of his wanderings he came to the Clinch at the mouth of Stony Creek. Here on the south bank of the river were evidences of an early Indian village. The Indians selected this location, no doubt, because it possessed so many advantages. It was surrounded by dense forests that abounded in all the wild game ever known in this section. The Clinch River, a considerable stream at this point, was full of edible varieties of fish. The great fertility of the soil, the richness and variety of the furs, the superabundance of deer, bears, turkeys, and other wild game influenced young Cox to stay and hunt and trap for a while. He was not permitted, however, to enjoy this sport very long. The Indians came upon him, captured, and carried him away. He was held in captivity for a period of from two to four years. Upon his escape and return to his home in North Carolina he brought such glowing accounts of the Valley of the Clinch that a few families were induced to accompany him to that valley for the purpose of making a settlement at the mouth of Stony Creek. So in 1774, the Blackmores and two other families left the Yadkin River, on which they had lived, and settled on the Clinch at the mouth of Stony Creek. (Judge M. B. Wood in Draper Manuscripts, 4 C 27.)
The story of the Porter family is substantially as follows:
The first settlement in the county was made by Patrick Porter, Capt. John Montgomery, Porter’s son-in-law, Raleigh Stallard, ________ Hutchenson, and Samuel, Patrick Porter’s oldest son. They settled on Clinch River "in the fall after Colonel Lewis fought the five tribes on the Ohio River." They came from Snoddy’s Fort in Castlewood. Patrick Porter built a fort on what is now the Reuben Banner farm. The Porter tradition further states that the Blackmores came to this section from Fauquier County, Virginia. (Thomas W. Carter’s Letters in the Draper Manuscripts.)
James Green settled in the neighborhood of Fort Blackmore in the year 1772. Capt. John Blackmore, Joseph Blackmore, John Blackmore, Jr., John Carter, and Andrew Davis settled at Fort Blackmore in the year 1773. These settlements were proven in court, and certified according to an Act of the General Assembly of Virginia, passed in 1779. The following is a copy of the certificate which the commissioners made to Capt. John Blackmore. Similar certificates were issued to the others mentioned above.
"We, the Commissioners for the District of Washington and Montgomery counties, do certify that John Blackmore is entitled to four hundred acres of land lying in Washington County at the mouth of Stony Creek on the north side of Clinch, being part of 518 acres of land surveyed for the said John the 25th of March, 1774, by virtue of an order of Council, dated the 16th of December, 1773, he having proved to the Court he was entitled to the same by actual settlement made in the year 1773. As witness our hands this 20th day of August, 1781.
Test: JAMES REID, C. C. C."
Capt. William Russell, of Castle’s Woods, in a letter to Col. William Preston, bearing date of July 13, 1774, states that only four families had collected in Fort Blackmore at that time. Three of these families, no doubt, were those of John Blackmore, Senior and Junior, and Joseph Blackmore. The name of the fourth family has not been ascertained, but there is a probability that it was that of James Green.
The Blackmores owned most of the land adjacent to the fort. Captain John’s farm, comprising 518 acres, was situated at the mouth of Stony Creek. It extended some distance up the creek in such way as to include the most desirable, level land. The lines widened as they approached the river and thus were made to include the delta at the mouth of the creek. They extended down the river to a point almost opposite the mouth of the Rocky Branch. The boundaries as shown in the records of the County Clerk’s office of Montgomery County, Virginia, Plat Book "A," page 75, are as follows:
"Surveyed for John Blackmore 510 acres of land lying in Fincastle County on the North side of Clinch River on both sides of Stony Creek (agreeable to an order of Council of the 16 December, 1773) and part of the Loyal Company Grant and bounded as follows: Beginning at a lynn on the North side of the River, thence N. 40 W. 19 poles to a dogwood and white oak on the hillside N. 39 E. 77 to a hickory N. 47 E. 72 to a hickory N. 69 E. 75 to two hickories N. 32 E. 85 to a beech N. 61 W. 76 to a white oak N. 42 W. 115 to a sorrel tree on a flat N. 44 E. 50 to a hickory N. 5 W. 59 to a beech N. 39 W. 119 to a small maple N. 11 W. at 114 crossing Stony Creek in all 145 to a beech N. 57 W. 103 to a white oak N. 17 W. 54 to a dogwood N. 57 W. 113 to a white oak N. 53 E. at 59 a branch in all 71 to a white oak S. 57 E. 76 to a forked white oak S. 35 E. 130 to a white walnut by a branch S. 22 E. 62 to a white oak S. 43 E. 81 to two dogwoods S. 14 E. 151, crossing Stony Creek to a sweet gum on the bank thereof down the creek according to its meanders E. 24 poles in a direct line to a beech on "ye" East bank thereof, N. 72 E. 32 to a white oak 5. 56 E. 10 poles to sorrel saplins on the river bank down the same according to its meanders to the beginning.
"25 March, 1774
DANIEL SMITH, Ast.
WM. PRESTON, S. F. C."
Young John Blackmore’s land, a tract of 200 acres, was located south of the river, "between the river hills and Copper Creek Ridge." It later became a part of the Brickey farm and is now owned by Preston Brickey. "The old Indian Town Field" is a part of this land. Some very interesting Indian relics have been found on this land. The most beautiful and interesting of these relics are two Indian pipes now owned by Dr. John P. McConnell. Joseph Blackmore’s farm was situated on the north bank of the river, in the bend thereof, below the fort. It probably joined Captain John’s estate on the east. In giving its boundaries, mention is made of the fact that one of its corners was a "cluster of lynns on the north bank of the river, a little below the mouth of the Gut." Almost opposite to the old fort the river at low water is divided into two channels. The southern channel is called the "Gut" to this day. Reference to the "Gut" enables the land of Joseph Blackmore to be definitely located. Thus, the fort took its name from Capt. John Blackmore, its most prominent citizen, and upon whose land it was located. In fact, there is reason for thinking that it was his residence until he emigrated to Nashboro, Tennessee, in 1779.
Fort Blackmore was located on an ancient flood plain on the north bank of Clinch River, just opposite the mouth of Rocky Branch, a southern tributary of the river. The exact location is a rather more elevated portion of this plain, about seventy-five paces from the river’s edge at low water. From the highest point the slope is by gentle undulation both toward the river and toward the low range of hills north of the fort. South of the fort, in the bank of the river and almost buried in its sands, is the spring, much changed, no doubt, by the erosion of the floods of one hundred and forty-four years. The door of the fort opened toward the spring, thus affording a pleasant southern exposure. On the south bank, across the river from the fort, two limestone cliffs arise to great height almost from the water’s edge. They are separated by the narrow channel of Rocky Branch. They were used more than once by the Indians in their efforts to spy upon the movements of the settlers. It was from the top of one of them that Matthew Gray’s unerring rifle sent the gobbling Indian crashing down through the tree tops into the river below.
On the north a series of hummocky river hills sloped down to the rear of the fort. An extension of one of these hills cuts the narrow flood plain almost to the bank of the river, a short distance to the east of the fort. On the point of this extension, the burial ground of the old fort is located. Here the final resting places of the pioneers—some of whom were murdered by the Indians—are marked by a few rough, uncarved stones. Instead of a marble monument, suitably inscribed to these brave pioneers, there is now growing a giant elm, whose roots hold a large part of the burial ground within their embrace, and whose wide-spreading branches seem to be trying to bring their sacred dust within its friendly shade.
Unfortunately, no one has left us a complete description of the old fort itself. Although diligent search has been made for data on the subject, only brief, incidental references to it have been found here and there. All these references put together lead to the conclusion that in size, shape, and structure, Fort Blackmore conformed in all essential points very closely to the usual type of frontier fort. Capt. William Russell, in a letter to Colonel Preston, speaks of it as "the small fortification they have erected." It was built rectangular in shape, and consisted of cabins, stockades, and bastions. One or more sides of the fort were formed by rows of cabins, each separated from the other by log partitions. The cabin walls on the outside were ten or twelve feet high, the slope of the roofs being turned wholly to the inside. The clapboards of the roof were held in place by weights of wood or rock. The cabins sometimes had puncheon, but more often, dirt floors. Fort Blackmore had bastions built into its corners, instead of blockhouses, as was more often the case.
The fort was closed by a large folding gate, made of thick slabs and hung on the side nearest the spring. The gate was securely fastened at night or in time of danger by a strong bar or an ingeniously contrived wooden lock. Where there were no cabin walls, the space was filled with palisades of logs, deeply set into the ground and sharpened at the top. The palisades were held in place by strong horizontal stringers, fastened with wooden pegs near the top. The stockade, bastions, and cabin walls were furnished with portholes at proper heights and distances. The whole of the outside was made completely bullet-proof. The entire fort was built, no doubt, without the aid of a single nail or spike of iron. Even the roofs were held in place by weights.
A small stock pen, a kind of lean-to, of which the walls of the fort formed one side, was located on the north. Horses and cattle were kept within this enclosure at night, and from it horses were often stolen by the Indians, as many as six being taken in one night.
Captain Blackmore, in the selection of a site for the fort, was influenced, no doubt, by the proximity to water and the protection against the Indians which the river afforded.
The fort seems to have been located on the lands of Capt. John Blackmore. A part of it, however, may have been located on the farm now owned by Mr. James M. Cox.
No vestige of the old fort now remains, unless, perhaps, it be a few loose stones scattered about on the ground here and there—parts of the old chimneys and foundation stones. Mr. James M. Cox, who has lived many years within a very short distance, tells the author that ashes and bits of charcoal were often turned into view by the plowman as he cultivated the site.
For many years after the first settlement, the population of the fort was very transient in character. Hunters, explorers, adventurers, and homeseekers came and went, stopping at the fort only long enough to rest and refresh themselves. And when they had accomplished this purpose, they were then ready to pass on to other sections.
Life in the little fort was subject to much privation and suffering. Being for many years on the extreme frontier of Virginia, it was so exposed to Indian attack that often the few settlers within its walls dared not to venture forth to cultivate their small crops in the "clearings," unless accompanied by a strong guard. When a guard could not be had, they were compelled to remain much of the time within the stockade. In this way they were often reduced to narrow straits for food, for during the times of threatened famine most of the food, especially the much-needed flour, had to be transported on pack horses, under military escort, through Moccasin Gap from the older and less exposed settlements on the Holston. Maj. Arthur Campbell, in a letter to Colonel Preston, writes, "I have sent Michael Dougherty, with his party of seven men, to Reedy Creek to assist as guards in carrying out flour to Clinch." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, p. 251.) In another letter of the same date he says, "I have directed seven men from Capt. Crocket’s company as low as King’s Mill (near Kingsport), where Lieutenant Christian is stationed; which place I am obliged to make use of as a store house, from whence the flour is packed to Blackmore’s, by way of Mockison Gap." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, pp. 251—252.)
It was the habit of the early settlers on the Clinch to live on their farms and make improvements in the winter, and then on the approach of warm weather, when the Indians could go on the warpath, repair to the forts for safety during the summer. The old settlers dreaded the approach of warm weather, for it increased the danger of Indian foray. Sometimes, in the late autumn, several days of warm weather would occur, during which the Indians could take up again their tomahawks and go upon a short campaign for booty and scalps. These warm, smoky periods, being associated with the fear of Indian attack, led to their being called "Indian summer."
Early in the year 1774, the northwestern Indians began to show signs of hostility toward the whites. The tribesmen were alarmed at the attempts of the whites to settle the West, especially Kentucky, and thus encroach upon their hunting grounds. The territory within the present limits of Scott County seems never to have been the home of any considerable number of Indians. Like that of Kentucky, it was a kind of No Man’s Land, possessed by no tribe of Indians, but hunted over and fought over by all. All these tribes were disposed to look upon the whites as intruders, a common enemy, whose extermination should be brought about by all the tribesmen. "The chief offense of the whites was that they trespassed upon uninhabited lands, which they forthwith proceeded to cultivate, instead of merely hunting over them." (Roosevelt’s Winning of the West, II, p. 251.) The Indians sometimes had just cause of provocation against the whites, for the whites, incited by the many wrongs they had suffered, often killed their red enemies and occasionally even their red friends. An instance of the latter kind seems to have occurred at Yellow Creek on the Ohio, April 20, 1774. The consequences of this event were destined greatly to affect the lives and fortunes of the people then living on the frontier of Virginia, and more especially of those living at Fort Blackmore.
Upon the date last mentioned above, a party of Indians, consisting in part, at least, of very near relatives of an Indian chief commonly called Capt. John Logan, left Logan’s camp and crossed the Ohio River to visit one Simon Greathouse, who made a business of selling rum to the savages. The whole party drank liquor until they became helplessly drunk, in which condition Greathouse and companions killed the intoxicated Indians, nine persons in all. Upon hearing of the murder of his sister and other relatives, Chief Logan, who declared he had two souls, the one good, the other bad, now, in his desire to avenge the death of his kinsman, came under the dominion of his bad soul. Gathering a small band of warriors about him, he fell with terrible rage upon the unsuspecting settlers along the Clinch and Holston, killing and scalping as many as thirteen persons, six of whom were children. Of this levy of death, which Logan’s vengeance laid upon the thin line of frontier settlements in Southwest Virginia at this time, old Fort Blackmore contributed its part, as we shall see later. Thus, by his conduct, the whole frontier of Western Virginia was thrown into a panic of fear. Capt. William Russell, of Castlewood, in a letter to Col. William Preston, dated May 7, 1774, states, "Upon my return from Williamsburg, finding the upper settlers on Clinch River had totally evacuated their plantations, I thought it my duty, agreeable to your instructions, to employ four men as runners in the service of the country, in hopes thereby to prevail on the remainder of the inhabitants to desist from so ruinous an undertaking. Accordingly, dispatched them, giving them such instructions as I thought would most likely direct them to intercept the march of any parties of Indians that might be coming to annoy the inhabitants of either Holston or Clinch Rivers." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, p. 20.) Furthermore, to the danger of attack upon Fort Blackmore and other forts on the Clinch and Holston by the Shawnees and Mingoes from the North was to be added the danger of Cherokee invasion from the South. Soon after the murder of James Boone and Henry Russell in Powell’s Valley by a Shawnee war party, Isaac Crabtree, who had been a member of young Boone’s and Russell’s party, and who was the only white survivor of it, attended a horse race on the Watauga River. (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, p. 38.) Three Indians, two men and a squaw, were in attendance upon the race. Crabtree, without any provocation, attacked the Indians, killing one of the men, called Cherokee Billy, a relative of Chief Oconostota, and was with difficulty restrained from murdering the other two. The behavior of the squaw and the Indian fellow was such that a reprisal upon the whites was expected at once, provided steps were not taken to prevent it.
Crabtree’s ruthless act, however, sent at least a part of the Cherokee nation on the warpath to avenge the death of their tribesman. With savage foes on almost every side, Fort Blackmore seemed in imminent danger of being crushed. During these days of apprehension and peril, Captain Campbell was sent to range down Clinch River a distance of twenty miles, thus affording some protection to Fort Blackmore. Although situated on Virginia’s extreme western frontier, remote from strong forts and thickly settled communities, this little band of stout-hearted settlers resolved to stand their ground and defend their fort against all savage foes whatsoever. Capt. William Russell, in a letter dated July 13, 1774, thus expresses his solicitude for the safety of this devoted little band: "There are four families at John Blackmore’s, near the mouth of Stony Creek, who will never be able to stand it, without a command of men; therefore request you, if you think it can be done, to order them a supply sufficient to enable them to continue the small fortification they have erected." On July 12, just the day before the above letter was written, Col. William Christian suggested that a garrison of thirty men be ordered for the defense of "Blackmore’s, back of Moccison Gap." Apprehensions for the safety of the fort were still further increased by the scarcity of flour and ammunition. At one time, Captain Russell wrote that "one half the people could not raise five charges of powder"; and at another, Col. Arthur Campbell wrote, "Flour is badly wanted at Blackmore’s." In fact, during the summer and fall of the year 1774 the Indians were so frequently seen about the fort and danger of attack seemed so imminent that the little garrison may be regarded as having been almost in a state of siege during this time. The men were kept so closely "forted in" that even the usual supply of wild meats, obtained by hunting, was very nearly cut off.
It appears that the small garrison at Fort Blackmore was first placed under command of Capt. James Thompson. Captain Thompson, with his command, left the Clinch for the Point Pleasant Campaign, on September 21. Capt. James Looney was then left in immediate command of the fort, it seems, during the remaining days of September. However, Colonel Campbell, in a letter bearing date of October 6, gives a list of the forts on the Clinch, in which he names Fort Blackmore as then having a garrison of sixteen men, with Sergeant Moore commanding. Daniel Boone was placed in general command of the three lower forts on the Clinch, of which number Fort Blackmore was one, during the absence of the Fincastle men on the Point Pleasant Campaign.
In July, 1774, Capt. John Logan, the well-known Mingo chieftain, captured a man named William Robinson on the West Fork of the Monongahela River. He was taken to the Indian towns and there he was condemned to die by torture at the stake. Logan eloquently pleaded that the life of his captive might be spared, but his savage associates were deaf to his pleading. Logan, then, with his tomahawk, boldly cut the cords which bound the captive and, in this way, rescued him from death. Three days later Logan, furnishing Robinson with a piece of paper, and some gunpowder ink, ordered him to write the following message to be left at some settler’s house upon whom his vengeance might fall:
"To Captain Cresap—What did you kill my people on Yellow Creek for? The white people killed my kin at Coneestoga a great while ago, & I thought nothing of that But you killed my kin again on Yellow Creek and took my cousin prisoner then I thought I must kill too; and I have been three times to war since but the Indians is not Angry only myself.
July 21st day (1774)
Capt. John Logan"
Robinson had difficulty in making the statements of this letter strong enough to suit Logan’s burning desire for revenge. It was written three times before its phraseology was emphatic enough to be accepted by the angry chieftain. Taking this letter along, he and a band of Mingoes and Shawnees departed from New-Comer’s-Town, on the Muskingum River, for the frontier settlements on the Clinch and Holston. On his way hither, however, he seems to have turned aside in order to visit the Cherokees, and, if possible, to induce them to go on the warpath with him. But Oconostota and the Little Carpenter, two influential chiefs of the Cherokee tribe, strongly opposed a war with the whites at that time. They tried to restrain their blood-thirsty young warriors from becoming members of Logan’s band. It is probable, however, that a few of the more hot-headed young Cherokee braves may have secretly joined the expedition, despite the advice of their chiefs. Disappointed, no doubt, at the refusal of the Cherokee chiefs to assist him in wreaking his revenge upon his white foes, Logan and his forest bloodhounds turned their footsteps toward the Clinch, and arrived at Fort Blackmore, on Friday, September 23. Stealthily approaching the fort, they found some of Capt. John Blackmore’s negroes on the outside, two of whom they managed to capture, and Logan himself was in close pursuit of a third one when the timely aid of John Blackmore prevented the negro’s capture. The Indians then forced one of their negro captives to march back and forth, in full view of the fort, "near a quarter of an hour." No doubt, relying upon a superior number, they hoped to provoke the defenders of the fort until they would sally forth to rescue the slaves, and thus expose themselves to an ambuscade. But Captain Looney, who was then in command of the fort, had only eleven men, "and some of them indifferent." Rescue of the negroes and pursuit of the taunting savages, therefore, was fraught with too much danger to be attempted by such a small force. Before taking their departure from the neighborhood, however, Logan and his dusky warriors wantonly shot down a large number of horses and cattle, thus inflicting a very heavy property loss upon Captain Blackmore and his neighbors. An Indian war club was left behind, as a threat and a challenge. With baffled rage, Logan and his blood-thirsty band, it would seem, hastened away from Fort Blackmore, through Moccasin Gap, to the neighborhood of King’s Mill, on Reedy Creek, near the present site of Kingsport. Here they attacked the home of John Roberts. Roberts, his wife, and children were all brutally killed and scalped, except the eldest child, James, a boy of ten years of age, who was carried into captivity. This bloody event occurred Saturday, September 24, the day following the attack upon Fort Blackmore. Desiring that the whites should know that he had murdered the Roberts family in revenge for the murder of his own kinsmen, Logan left at the Roberts home the letter written in gunpowder ink, which he had dictated to Robinson. This letter, no doubt, and not the war club, would have been left at Fort Blackmore had Logan been able to satiate his thirst for blood there by shooting down its people instead of horses and cattle.
Logan’s connection with the events just described is shown by Col. William Christian’s letter to Col. William Preston, bearing date of Nov. 8, 1774. In it he says: "Last Friday was two weeks (Oct. 2d Logan a famous chief went home with a little boy, a son of Roberts on Holston & two of Blackmores negroes. He said he had taken them on the Frontiers next the Cherokee Country & had killed I think either 5 or 7 people. The boy and negroes will be soon in. (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, p. 305.)
Captain Russell, writing on the same subject from Point Pleasant, to Colonel Preston, says, "When I took water at Hochocking to come down, two white men and a captive negro of Blackmores, with a horse for each man, set out to come down by land. They might have been here two Days past; but at present there is not the least Acct. of them, I much fear the Indians have killed them, or as the Governor has a parcel of prisoner taken at Hill Town, of the Mingoes; I fear they will try to get as many of our people, to redeem theirs rather than give Hostages, especially if they intend to be troublesome hereafter." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s, Dunmore’s War, p. 309.)
On September 29, five days after the murder of the Roberts family, Logan, who had not yet "fully glutted his vengeance," completed his bloody triangle by secretly lying in wait for whomsoever might venture outside the walls of Moore’s Fort which Boone commanded. Between sunset and dark, three men, who went to visit a pigeon trap about three hundred yards distant from the fort, were fired upon by Logan’s warriors. John Duncan was shot dead, but the other two men reached the fort unhurt. On hearing the report of the gun, Daniel Boone and a party of men ran at once to the place where Duncan lay. But before they could reach the spot the Indians had scalped Duncan, and leaving a war club beside his mangled body, had run off into the woods. Night prevented Boone and his men from following the enemy then. Early the next morning, however, Boone prepared to go immediately in search of them but was unable to find them.
T. W. Carter’s mother, who was Patrick Porter’s youngest daughter, Catherine, may have been an inmate of Moore’s Fort at the time Duncan was murdered. She often told her children the story of finding Indian war clubs at the spring near the fort. The story is substantially as follows: Catherine, upon going to the spring for water, found a number of Indian war clubs all beautifully painted and with a letter lying on top of them. Setting down her water vessel, she gathered the war clubs into her apron, and with the letter in her hand, she ran for the fort at the same time calling as loud as she could. Frightened by her noise, the men ran from the fort to meet her, her father and brother, Samuel, leading the way. On examining the contents of her apron her father remarked: "Well, Kate, you have had a powerful fight with the Indians and took their war clubs from them." One of the war clubs, supposed to be the property of the Mingo Chieftain Logan, was kept many years by Mrs. Carter. T. W. Carter, her son, says he has seen both the letter and the club. (T. W. Carter’s Letters in Draper Manuscripts.)
News of the attacks upon Fort Blackmore, the Roberts family, and Moore’s Fort, spread rapidly and widely. The settlers were alarmed. Many of the more exposed fled from their homes to less exposed settlements for safety. Col. Arthur Campbell, in writing of the attack on Blackmore’s to Colonel Preston, says, "It was very unfortunate that Capt. Thompson had left Blackmores only two days before the damage was done as he had his full complement of men: When the enemy came there was only 12, and some of them indifferent." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War.) Four days later, Colonel Campbell again writes, "It is certain We want Men badly as it is now impossible to get a man to leave this River (Holston) to go to Clinch as they look upon themselves in equal danger. Blackmores and the Head of Clinch is extremely thin, so that it is out of Capt. Looneys or Capt. Smiths power to pursue the Enemy if there was but a dozen of them. The Middle Stations on Clinch (Castle’s Woods) is pretty strong of the Inhabitants and of late they are so close Garrisoned that they are afraid to mind their crops; And now employ themselves in small ranging parties. Mr. Boone is very diligent at Castles Woods and keeps up in good Orders. I have reason to believe they have lately been remiss at Blackmores, and the Spys there did not do their duty." In a postscript to this letter he adds, "I luckily procured one pound & half of Powder before the militia went out, which I divided to such as had none, 8 loads apiece, which they went very cheerfully out on. If you could possibly spare me one or two pounds I would divide it in the same sparing manner, in case of another alarm. Please hurry ye Flour out as there is great need of it." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, pp. 217-219.) In a letter to Colonel Preston, dated October 1, Colonel Campbell says, "Mr. Boone informs me that the Indians has been frequently about Blackmores, since the negroes was taken; and Capt. Looney has so few men that he can not venture to go on pursuit of them, having only eleven Men. Mr. Boone has sent me the War Club that was left (at Moore’s Fort) it is different from that left at Blackmores; Mr. Boone thinks it is the Cherokees that is now annoying us." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, p. 220.)
On Oct. 5, 1774, Lieut. John Cox, with twenty-four men, was sent to range down Reedy Creek, and about Moccasin Gap, until the wagons loaded with flour for Fort Blackmore should arrive there. He was ordered then to escort the packhorse trains which were to carry the flour across to Fort Blackmore.
About the same time, Samuel Shannon came up "with 21 head of cattle several of them very indifferent." These cattle were being taken to the forts on the Clinch. Shannon refused to go through Moccasin Gap without a guard; so Lieutenant Cox furnished safe conduct, it seems, for both flour and cattle to their destination on the Clinch.
After the murder of John Duncan in Castlewood, Logan’s movements during the next five or six days can not be definitely traced. He must have remained on the border during these days, searching for further opportunities to satiate his thirst for revenge. During this interval of time his party may have been increased by the accession of some Cherokee warriors to it. At any rate, he seems to have made a division of his forces; one part, he led against Capt. Evan Shelby’s settlement on the present site of Bristol, Tenn.; the other, he sent to strike yet another blow against Fort Blackmore, on the Clinch. These two places, although forty miles apart, were both attacked on the same day. Both the former attack upon Fort Blackmore, and also the attack upon the Roberts family were led by Logan in person. But, in this incursion, Logan himself led the attack against Captain Shelby’s settlement, and entrusted the leadership of the attack against Fort Blackmore to one of his followers. In a letter of October 9, Maj. Arthur Campbell thus reports the raid upon Shelby’s Fort: "On last Thursday evening, ye 6th instant, the Indians took a negro wench prisoner, belonging to Capt. Shelby, within three hundred yards of his house. After they took her some distance, they examined her, asking how many guns were in the fort, and other questions relative to the strength of the place. They asked her if the store was kept there now. After they had carried her off about a mile, they saw or heard a boy coming from mill; they immediately tied the wench, and went off to catch the boy; while they were gone the wench luckily got loose and made her escape. She says they knocked her down twice when she refused to tell in what situation the fort was; and she says one was a large man much whiter than the rest, and talked good English; it was the same kind of a person Mr. Blackmore saw in pursuit of the negro he relieved."
In the foray against Shelby’s Fort, Logan failed in securing the substantial result which usually attended his bloody enterprises; nor was the other part of his plan executed with much more success. Secretly approaching Fort Blackmore, the Indians came within about seventy-five yards of the gate before they were discovered. Most of the men at the time were sitting upon some logs which lay a short distance from the gate. Evidently seeing this, the Indians decided to make a bold push to enter the fort before the men could recover from their surprise. So, creeping along under the bank of the river, completely hidden from view by the bank and a fringe of trees and underbrush, they were just ready to rush into the fort when Dale Carter, who happened to be about fifty-five steps from the fort, saw them and began to halloo, "Murder, murder!" Upon hearing Carter’s cry of alarm, the men ran toward the fort with all possible speed. They succeeded in reaching the gate before the Indians. Thus frustrated in their designs of cutting the men off from the fort, the Indians next turned their attention to Carter. One Indian shot at him but missed him; another shot him through the thigh, inflicting a wound, which though not mortal, rendered him too lame to escape into the fort. One Indian, more bold than the rest, soon ran up to Carter, and killing him with his tomahawk, scalped him. In the meantime, a Mr. Anderson and John Carter, who, with their guns, were either outside the fort, or, on hearing the firing, quickly ran to the outside, endeavored to prevent Carter’s being scalped. Anderson shot at the Indian who was in the act of scalping Carter, while John Carter shot at another Indian who was near by. It is not known whether either of these shots took effect; they caused the Indians, however, to scamper off about one hundred yards, from which point they began firing at Anderson and his companion. Fortunately both men were unhurt by this fusillade, although some of the shots hit the stockade only a few inches from Anderson’s head. By this time some of the men who had been on the logs hastily climbed into the bastion of the fort nearest the enemy, and opened a well-directed fire upon them. This drove the enemy into the woods where the little garrison dared not follow them. For a few moments the excitement was great in the little fort. Although Dale Carter’s halloo of murder, sadly prophetic of his own fate, had cost him his own life, yet, no doubt, his timely warning averted the destruction of the fort.
News of Carter’s murder spread rapidly throughout the frontier settlements. By the twelfth of October, it had reached Arthur Campbell, of Royal Oak, near Marion. Runners were sent to various forts to give warning and ask aid. No one knew against what settlements the next attack would be made. At the time of this attack, there were only sixteen men in the fort, and Captain Looney, who had been stationed there for its defense, happened to be absent on a visit to his family. His family were rather close neighbors, it seems, to the Roberts family, so recently murdered, which fact made him solicitous for their safety. Lieut. John Cox, and his company from the upper Holston, though on the way, as a guard for the flour, had not yet arrived. The nearest fort, then, from which aid could be had, was Moore’s in Castlewood, seventeen miles distant. This fort was under the direct command of Daniel Boone. As soon, therefore, as the news of Carter’s murder reached Castlewood, Boone and Capt. Daniel Smith, with a party of thirty men, started for Blackmore’s. The night after their arrival there the Indians stole six out of seven of their horses, from a small lean-to, of which the stockading of the fort formed a part. The Indians had generously left them one horse, on which to carry their army baggage. The next morning early, Boone and Smith, with twenty-six choice men, all greatly anxious to proceed, went in search of the enemy. They found many Indian and horse tracks close in about the fort, but they were unable to follow them far enough into the wilderness to come up with the wily enemy. Captain Smith, writing from Castlewood, thus reported the results of their fruitless search to his superior officer, Colonel Preston: "I am this far on my return from the lower settlements (Fort Blackmore) to the head of the river (Clinch). Mr. Boon can inform you of the bad success we’ve had after the inhuman savages, the murders they’ve committed, and the mortification we’ve suffered of putting horses into a pen adjoining the fort for the Indians to take away and whose trace we could by no means discover. I shall be as expeditious as possible in getting to the head of the River (Clinch) lest they should invade those parts that are particularly under my care.
"Whilst I was in the lower settlement (Fort Blackmore) I was shown a paper signed by many of the inhabitants representing their situation to be dangerous because they’ve been so irregularly supply’d with the number of men allotted to the district; and also requesting you to appoint Mr. Boone to be a Captain, and take charge of these lower forts, that he may be at liberty to act without orders from Holston captains who by their frequent absence leave the inhabitants sometimes in disorder. Instead of signing this paper I chose to speak my sentiments to you concerning Mr. Boon and the paper which I suppose he will show you. As to the paper I believe it contains the sense of the majority of the inhabitants in this settlement. Mr. Boon is an excellent woodsman. If that only would qualify him for the Office no man would be more proper. I do not know of any objection that could be made to his character which would make you think him an improper person for that office. There may be possibly some impropriety in it because of Captain Russell when he returns, but of this you are much the best judge." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, pp. 248-249.) Maj. Arthur Campbell, in writing to Colonel Preston concerning the people’s petition that Boone be made a captain, says, "I wish Mr. Boones application or rather ye people for him may not have a similar tendency. I think it is men, and not particular Officers, they are most in need of. This much I am informed that it was not proposed by Mr. Boon for to petition you as they do; but it arose from a notion that a distant Officer would not be so particularly interested for their safety as he who lives among them. And some disgust at Capt. Looney for being away at home the time of the late alarm which he pleads in excuse that he wanted to see to the safety of his own Family, when Roberts was Killed in his Neighborhood." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, p. 250.) Thus according to Captain Smith’s and Major Campbell’s letters, the petition to have Daniel Boone appointed captain, and placed in command of the three lower forts on the Clinch, seems to have originated at Fort Blackmore during the Indian alarms there. Fort Blackmore was "the lower settlement" from which Captain Smith was just returning, and, in which he had been shown "a paper signed by many of the inhabitants representing their situation to be dangerous, etc." Daniel Boone was well known in the little fort. He often stopped there in passing up and down the Clinch Valley. He had hurried to the aid of the fort, both when Captain Blackmore ‘s negroes were captured, and also when Dale Carter was killed. The services which he rendered in these times of peril inspired great confidence in him, not only at Fort Blackmore, but also throughout the valley of the Clinch. In fact, one of his biographers has very fittingly styled him, "The hero of Clinch Valley." (Reuben G. Thwaites’ Life of Daniel Boone.) Furthermore, there were perhaps some grounds for complaint as to the fort’s small allotment of men. As early as July 12, Col. William Christian had stated in a letter to Colonel Preston that a garrison of thirty men was to be ordered "At Blackmores Back of Moccison Gap." As a matter of fact, the garrison, up to the time of Carter’s death, had never numbered more than sixteen men. Since their exposed position made theirs a buffer settlement, in times of danger it was an easy matter, no doubt, for them to think they were being neglected by the less exposed settlements farther east. It may be added, too, in this connection, that the "disgust at Capt. Looney for being away at home the time of the late alarm," would naturally be much stronger at Fort Blackmore than anywhere else, since he was stationed there.
After what has now been said, it is not at all improbable that the movement to have a well-merited honor bestowed upon the great hunter and Indian fighter, should have had its origin at Fort Blackmore. Prior to this time, Boone had never, it seems, ranked higher than lieutenant. It need scarcely be added that Colonel Preston, who had been furnished with blank commissions for the purpose by Governor Dunmore, at once responded to the people’s petition by commissioning him captain. He was immediately assigned to the command of Blackmore’s, Moore’s and Cowan’s forts.
On Sunday, October 9, three days after Dale Carter’s murder, Mr. Anderson reported that he saw an Indian behind a blacksmith’s shop just outside the fort, "at break of day."
The distressed condition of the frontier at the time of which we write, can be best shown by the following letters, written by men who were in position to realize fully the gravity of the situation.
(Maj. Arthur Campbell to Col. William Preston.) (Draper Manuscripts 3 QQ 112.)
"Royal Oak, Oct. 4th, 1774.
"Dear Sir—Since I closed my Letter Yesterday, Capt. Thompson came here; and give me a particular account of the situation of the People in the lower Settlement; he was much put to it to get Men to go out of the inhabitants, however with 9 Men he ventured thro’ Mockison Gap, and somewhere between the Northfork and Clinch Mountain he came upon fresh tracks but could not make them out any distance.
"Upon the late alarm I ordered out Sergt. Commands to range along the back side the Settlement on Holston so that there is now a second Chain of rangers from the Great Island tip. I also Ordered 4 men to Mr. Bledsoe 4 to Mr. Shelby and 4 to Mr. Cummins for particular protection.
"Upon consulting with Capt. Thompson it was agreed that I should make application to you for his having the Command of these upon Duty in this side Clinch mountain, and that he would endavour to have a party of 20 always with himself to range, besides it was necessary that some officer on Duty should be among the lower inhabitants at this time to encourage them and regulate matters.
"Since I wrote the above I received yours by Mr. Montgomery and am glad to receive Orders anticipating my application for a third Capt. on duty, and I make no doubt you will approve my appointment of Capt. Thompson, especially as I find it is the best way he can do anything at his other business which it rendered very difficult for him to perform on account of confusion among the Inhabitants. I make no doubt but your last supply of Ammunition will encourage the Inhabitants, much as, I think every man have 2 doz shoots apiece having directed the Powder to be divided by Gun-Measures.
I am Sir your Obedient Servt.
(George Adams to Col. William Preston.) (Draper Manuscripts 3 QQ 113.)
"Holston River October ye 4th, 1774.
"Sir—I need not relate ye Distressed Circumstances of those Parts to you I imagine you have Such acount too Frequent Ye Mockinson people is Left home some time ago and some of them is Now at my hous where there is a few of us Gathered and hopes to tary here untill we heare how Circumstances promis with our Army at ye same time if it is in your Power and you Will be so Kind as to alow them a few men the time they are gathering theire Crops they then can Suport there familys and if not they canot suport theire famileys here they must unavoidably Remove theire Famileys from Those Parts they have Large Crops it is a Pity so much Grain Should be Lost I would beg ye favour of you to Write if you Can aford them aney asistance as ye vermin is now Distroying theire Grain very fast I Could Equally Beg for Maney other places But I dout yt Every Place Canot be Suplyed with men.
"Amunition is very scarce with us Which is ye ocasion of abundanc of Feare from Sir your Humble Servt. With Esteeme
To Colon. Wm. Preston, this."
(Capt. Daniel Smith to Col. William Preston.) (Draper Manuscripts 3 QQ 114.)
"Dr. Sir—The late Invasions of Indians hath so much alarm’d the Inhabitants of this River (Clinch) that without more men come to their Assistance from other parts some of the more timorous among us will remove to a place of Safety, and when once the example is set I fear it will be followed by many. By what I can learn the terror is as great on Holston, so that we’ve no room to hope for Assistance from that quarter. Kingkeid is an intelligent man and can give you an account of the Situation of the Clinch inhabitants; To him I refer you for the same. I am just going to the Assistance of the Castles Woods men with what force could be spared from this upper district. I am Dr. Sir Yours most respectfully
Elk Garden 4th Oct. 1774."
(Maj. Arthur Campbell to Col. William Preston.) (Draper Manuscripts 3 QQ 114.)
"Dear Sir—John Cox is just arrived here with 24 men I shall send him down the River, to range about Reedy Creek and Mockison Gap until the flour you mentioned arrives and then he may serve as an Escort to the provisions over to Blackmores; Mr. Cummins will wait upon you, and he can inform you his Sentiments of the situation. I wish you could do something for him I have done all I can.
I am Dear Sir your most Obedient Servt.
Oct. 5, 1774"
(Maj. Arthur Campbell to Col. William Preston.) (Draper Manuscripts .3 QQ 115.)
"Royal Oak Oct. 6, 1774
"Sir—The Evening after Mr. Cummins left this, I received your letter of ye 1st. Inst. sent out by Paddy Brown; who tho’t proper to carry the letter past, and it was returned me this day open. I wish it was in my power to humour every Inhabitant, consistant with Justice to the Service; but there is many of them so unreasonably selfish I despair of succeeding in every case.
"Paddy Brown is an old Weaver Body, that lives with one of the Doughertys he came here one day and applied for to get in for a spy, I very flatly refused him; he then went off in dudgeon.
"Upon the alarm of Lammey being taken, Vances & Fowlers Wives with several other Families convened at Mr. Harrison’s which lyes upon the Main path to Clinch, in Rich Valley, opposit to the Town-House, upon the request of several inhabitants in both side. I ordered Six Men to be Stationed there for ten Days; two of which was always to be out ranging. Heny. & Joso Dougherty moved their Families to this side the mountain, disagreeing with ye. Majority of ye. Inhabitants, as to the place to build a fort. Mr. John Campbells Wife has been in this side the mountain this two months past, and himself has acted as Ensign to Capt. Smith, on Clynch ever since that Gent. was ordered on Duty, Archibald & John Buchanans Families, and Adnw. Lamineys came here who has continued in this side yet; Capt. Wilson went immediately with 15 men, and ranged near a Week in the Neighborhood where Lammey was taken, and he left four of his best Woodsmen with the Neighbours for several days longer. I also ordered two of the most trusty persons I could get, for to act as Spys along Clynch Mountain for 10 days which they performed I am satisfyed faithfully; besides the Six Men, at Harrisons, I ordered Mrs. Vance & Fowlers Wife 3 Men a Week particularly, to assist about saving their fodder, which they got removed with safety.
"All the men stationed in this side Clynch, I give particular directions that they should if possible, be Young Men; and be ready to march to other places if called upon; Indeed when I first ordered these men I had a scheme in it, to send such good hands as could be best Spared out of them over to fill up Capt. Looneys and Smiths Companys on Clynch when the fears of the people in this side was a little abated. It has fell out extremely unlucky that both them Gentlemens ranging Stations was very thin when ye. Indians came. Capt. Smith having to wait until he was reinforced from this side before he could pursue. And at Blackmores the other Day the Indians coursed one of the Negroes they took near a quarter of an hour, several times in view of the Fort.
"In short the most of the People in this Country seem to have a private plan of their own, for their own particular defense.
"The people in the Wolf-Hill Settlement, will have the Indians to come up the Valley & North fork, opposite to them, and then make a Right-Angle to their habitations, they people on ye. South Fork will have the Enemy, to steal slyly up the Iron Mountain, and make one Grand attack on the Head of Holston and Sweep the River down before them; the Head of New River will have it, that the Cherokees will fetch a Compass, round Wattago Settlement, and come down New River, on a particular Search for their scalps. The Rich-Valley and North fork people will have Sandy the dangerous pass. for proof of which they quote former and recent instances; Stalnaker & Henry’s Family being carried out the same road. You may thus see what a task one would have to remove every ones fears; I wish I could be instrumental in defending from real ones, imaginary dangers would give me less anxiety.
"I am Sir your Most Obedient
(Maj. Arthur Campbell to Col. William Preston.) (Draper Manuscripts 3 QQ 116.)
"Thursday Evening Octr. 6, 1774.
"Sir—Samuel Shannon came here today with 21 head of cattle several of them indifferent. I have detained him until the Beginning of next week as he says he wont go further without a guard; by which time I expect the flour Waggons will be up, and I can send both together to Mockison Gap, you will see by Capt. Smiths Letter that there is near cattle enough for his Fort. One of Snodgrasses says he seen an Indian a little below Capt. Thompsons the day before Yesterday. I rather think if he seen anything it was some of Donelsons and Masons party in disguise as I hear they have threatened the Sheriff. The Boy that was scalped is dead, he was an extraordinary example of patience and resolution to his last, frequently lamenting ‘he was not able to fight enough for to save his mammy.’ (This was the Roberts boy mentioned above.) I divided the last of the 8 lb. powder that came by Vance to Lieut. Cox Men yesterday. They had shoots apiece and with perswasions I got them to go down the River, they said they would turn home if they did not get more next Week. I hope Branders powder will be up by that time.
"I am sir your Most Hbl. Servt.
On the back of this letter the following list of forts was written:
Blackmores 16 Sergt Moor
Moores 20 20 — Boone
Russells 20 4 Poage Sergt
Glade Hollow 15 12 John Dunken Sergt.
Elk Garden 18 14 John Kinkead Sergt.
Maiden Springs 5 23 Joseph Craven Do.
Whittons, Big Crab Orchd. 3 12 Ensign Campbell
"To Col. William Preston pr. fvr. of Mr. Hen. Thompson."
"It is remarkable," writes Major Campbell to Colonel Preston in a letter dated October 12, "that Capt. Shelby’s wench was taken the same day, and about the same time of the day, that this affair happened on Clinch. So many attacks in so short a time, give the inhabitants very alarming apprehensions. Want of ammunition and scarcity of provisions are again become the general cry. Since I began this, I am mortified with the sight of a family flying by. If ammunition does not come soon, I will have no argument that will have any force to detain them; and if our army is not able to keep a garrison at the Falls (Louisville, Ky.) the ensuing winter, I expect we shall be troubled with similar visits the greater part of the coming season."
Since the name of Daniel Boone has been brought into connection with Scott County history in the foregoing recital of events, it seems appropriate at this point in our story, to relate how it came about that he lived, for more than a year, in Castlewood and was thus enabled to help shape the history of one of our first settlements, almost at its very beginning.
On September 25, 1773, Daniel Boone and his family, in company with a number of other families left his home on the Yadkin River, for Kentucky. On his way to Powell’s Valley, where he was to await the coming of a rear party, he sent his eldest son, James, a boy seventeen years of age, in company with some men leading pack horses, to Captain Russell’s in Castlewood, for flour and farming tools. Sometime prior in the year 1773, Boone, it seems, had met Captain Russell on the Clinch, at which time a very warm friendship had sprung up between the two men. Dr. Thwaites in his Life of Boone says, "They were returning laden, in company with Russell’s son, Henry, a year older than James, two of Russell’s negro slaves, and two or three white work-people, when, missing their path, they went into camp for the night only three miles from Boone’s quarters. At daybreak they were attacked by a Shawnee war party, and all killed except a white laborer named Isaac Crabtree and a negro. This pathetic tragedy created such consternation among the movers that, despite Boone’s entreaties to go forward, all of them returned to Virginia and Carolina." Boone, having sold his farm on the Yadkin, had no home to which to return. He, therefore, accepted the invitation of Capt. David Gass, a member of the party, to accompany him home to Castlewood, and there reside in a vacant cabin on his farm. Boone was probably further induced to take this step by the hope of later being joined by Captains Gass and Russell, in another attempt to settle Kentucky.
Boone reached Castlewood in the early autumn, too late, however, to grow any crop. Winter was approaching, and preparations had to be made to meet it. His chief supply of food during this period must have been furnished by his stock of cattle and his trusty rifle. Dr. Lyman C. Draper in his manuscript life of Boone, has this to say of Boone’s first winter in Castlewood: "How the winter of 1773-74 passed away with Boone, we must leave the reader to judge. Hunting, however, must have been his chief occupation for the supply of his family with meat, and the procurement of other necessaries by the sale or barter of pelts and furs. He used to relate this hunting adventure, which occurred at that period and in the Clinch region, with the parties to which he was well acquainted. One Green and a brother-in-law, who resided near Blackmore’s, on Clinch about fifteen miles below Capt. Gass’ place, where Boone was sojourning, went out some considerable distance among the mountains to hunt. They selected a good hunting range, erected a cabin, and laid up in store some jerked bear meat. One day when Green was alone, his companion being absent on the chase, a large bear made his appearance near camp, upon which Green shot and wounded the animal, which at the moment chanced to be in a sort of sink-hole at the base of a hill. Taking a circuit to get above and ahead of the bear, there being a slight snow upon the ground covered with sleet, Green’s feet slipped from under him, and in spite of all his efforts to stop himself he partly slid and partly rolled down the declivity till he found himself in the sink-hole, when the wounded bear, enraged by his pain, flew at poor Green, tore and mangled his body in a shocking manner, totally destroying one of his eyes. When the bear had sufficiently gratified his revenge by gnawing his unresisting victim as long as he wished, he sullenly departed, leaving the unfortunate hunter in a helpless and deplorable condition, all exposed, with his clothing torn in tatters to the severities of the season.
"His comrade, at length returning, found and took him to camp. After a while, thinking it impossible for Green to recover, his companion went out on a pretense of hunting for fresh meat, and unfeelingly abandoned poor Green to his fate, reporting in the settlements that he had been killed by a bear. His little fire soon died away from his inability to provide fuel. Digging, with his knife, a hole or nest beside him in the ground-floor of his cabin, he managed to reach some wild turkey feathers which had been saved, and with them lined the excavation and made himself quite a comfortable bed; and with the knife fastened to the end of a stick, he cut down, from time to time, bits of dried bear meat hanging over head, and upon this he sparingly subsisted. Recovering slowly, he could at length manage to get about. When spring opened, a party of whom Boone is believed to have been one, went from Blackmore’s Settlement to bury Green’s remains with the brute of a brother-in-law for a guide; and, to their utter astonishment, they met Green plodding his way towards home, and learned from him the sad story of his sufferings and desertion. The party were so indignant that they could scarcely refrain from laying violent hands on a wretch guilty of so much inhumanity to a helpless companion. Green, though disfigured, lived many years." (Draper Manuscripts.)
The cabin in which Boone lived was situated within two miles of Moore’s Fort (sometimes called Fort Byrd), and a "little off South of Clinch River." It was to Moore’s Fort that Boone and his family repaired when there was danger of Indian attack.
Many surveying parties spent the summer of 1774, surveying lands in Kentucky. Soon after the departure of these parties for Kentucky, the Indians began to show so many signs of hostility, that their friends, back in the settlements, felt a deep solicitude for their safety. Measures were at once taken to warn them of impending danger. Colonel Preston directed Captain Russell to send two reliable woodmen to proceed at once to Kentucky and apprise the surveyors "of the eminent Danger they are Daily in." In a letter to Colonel Preston, Captain Russell thus announces his selection of the men to go upon this important and dangerous mission. "I am Sensible, good Sir, of your Uncommon concern for the Security of Capt. Floyd and the Gentlemen with him, and I sincerely Sympathize with You, lest they should fall a Prey to such Inhuman, blood-thirsty devils, as I have so lately suffered by; but may God of his Infinite Mercy, Shield him and Company, from the present impending Danger, and could we (thro’ Providence) be a means of preserving such Valuable Members by sending out Scouts, such a procedure wood Undoubtedly be of the most lasting, and secret Satisfaction to us; and the Country in general. I have Engaged to start Immediately, on the occasion, two of the best Hands I could think of Danl. Boone and Michl. Stoner; who have Engaged to search the country, as low as the falls, and to return by way of Gasper’s Lick, on the Cumberland, and thro’ Cumberland Gap; so that by the assiduity of these Men, if it is not too late, I hope the Gentlemen will be apprised of the eminent Danger they are Daily in. The Report prevailing among You, of the Family being kill’d on Copper Creek is altogether groundless, as is that of three Cherokees on the Head of Clinch." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, pp. 50-51.)
Boone received instruction for this journey at a muster held in Castlewood, on Saturday, June 25, 1774. The next day being Sunday, he observed it; and, on Monday morning, the 27th, he and Stoner started on their long and perilous journey through the wilderness. Having accomplished their mission, Boone and Stoner returned to the Clinch on August 26, 1774, after an absence of sixty-one days, during which time they had traveled eight hundred miles. Captain Russell had already started upon the Point Pleasant campaign when Boone returned to Castlewood. Boone wanted to go, too, so he hurriedly sent a messenger to overtake Captain Russell with the news of his return, and, at the same time, expressing the hope that he might be permitted to join the expedition. Capt. William Russell thus speaks of Boone’s return: "Mr. Jno. Green and three others of Mr. Taylor’s company have arrived on Clinch, but did not see them, as they only came to Blackmores the night before we started; and this day an express from Mr. Boone overtook me to inform me of his return and desire to go on the expedition." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunmore’s War, p. 172.)
Two days after Boone’s return from Kentucky Maj. Arthur Campbell writes, "Capt. Floyd seems very uneasy at the way Drake has used him, as he now plainly discovers that he was expecting to be appointed to a separate command. For this reason, and to relieve Floyd’s anxiety, I wrote pressingly to Mr. Boone to raise men with all expedition to join Capt. Floyd; and I did not doubt but you would do everything in your power to encourage him. And what induced me particularly to apply to Mr. Boone was seeing his Journal last night, and a letter to Capt. Russell, wherein he professes a great desire to go on the expedition, and I am well informed he is a very popular officer where he is known. So I hope Capt. Floyd will still succeed, as I have good reason to believe Mr. Boone will get all in Capt. Looney’s company that intended to go with Bledsoe, and perhaps you can assist a little out of Waggoner’s recruits, as I have heard to-day he is likely to get some men. I have been informed that Mr. Boone tracked a small party of Indians from Cumberland Gap to near the settlements (Fort Blackmore). Upon this intelligence, I wrote pressingly to Capt. Thompson to have a constant lookout and to urge the spies strictly to do their duty."
Captain Floyd himself writes of Boone as follows: "You will hear of Mr. Boone’s return, and desire of going out. If Mr. Drake gets a berth down there, and does not immediately return to me and assist according to your instructions, pray let Boone join me and try. Capt. Bledsoe says Boone has more interest (influence) than any other man now disengaged; and you know what Boone has done for me by your kind directions, for which reason I love the man. But yet do as you think proper in everything respecting me." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Dunsmore’s War, p. 168.)
Boone had started to the Great Levels of Greenbriar, the place of rendezvous for the troops on their way to the mouth of the Kanawha, when he was met with orders to return to the Clinch Valley and defend it against the Indians during the absence of the Fincastle militia, on the Ohio. Disappointed, no doubt, in not being permitted to join his friends in the campaign on the Ohio, he turned back to the Clinch, where he so valiantly and efficiently performed the duties thus enjoined upon him as to win the praise of the settlers all along the frontier. How they showed their appreciation of his services has been spoken of in another place.
The discharge of Boone’s military duties required that he go from fort to fort, wherever there was need for his services. His is said to have been a most familiar figure along the Clinch, as, "dressed in deerskin colored black, and his hair plaited and clubbed up," he visited, in an official capacity, the various forts under his command.
During the month of October, following the murder of Dale Carter, at Fort Blackmore, Boone and his well-trained riflemen were often called upon to track and run down the lurking foe. Sometimes they came up with the enemy, fighting brief but desperate skirmishes. Sometimes the wily enemy, on reaching the forest, seemed to vanish without leaving a track. But Boone, although now forty years of age, seems to have been the most active commander at this time in the valley of the Clinch.
The victory of the southwest Virginia men over the Indians at Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774, practically closed the war on the frontier, so far as the Shawnee and Mingo tribes were concerned. The Cherokees, also, showed a disposition to live on terms of peace with the whites by putting to death those of their nation who had been implicated in the murder of James Boone, Henry Russell, and their companions.
The Shawnees were so humbled by their defeat at Point Pleasant that they threw themselves upon the mercy of Governor Dunmore, asking him to name the terms of peace, and, at the same time, signifying that whatever terms he might propose would be complied with. They promised to return all prisoners, together with stolen horses, and such other plunder as they had taken from the whites. They, furthermore, agreed to give up all lands, and hunt no more south of the Ohio; to permit travelers to pass on that river unmolested, even rendering them such assistance and protection as they could; to trade according to regulations dictated to them by the whites; and, to bury the tomahawk forever so far as the Virginians were concerned.
As a guaranty that the terms of this peace agreement would be faithfully kept, the Indians were required to give six of their number as hostages, two of whom were to be chiefs and the remaining four to be either chiefs or the sons of chiefs. Chief Logan was not present at this peace conference. When Governor Dunmore noticed his absence, he at once directed his interpreter, Col. John Gibson, to invite Logan to the council chamber. He refused to come by saying that he was a warrior, and not a peace-maker, and, at the same time, he delivered the following speech: "I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked and he clothed him not? During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his camp, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed as I passed and said, ‘Logan is the friend of the white man.’ I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan not even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it. I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace; but do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one." (Taylor’s Historic Sullivan, p. 45.)
Twelve Mingoes refused to accede to these peace terms; they were taken, therefore, to Fort Pitt and put into prison. The Shawnee hostages were taken to Williamsburg, Va. This treaty was ratified by the Ohio Indians, at Pittsburg, the following year.
In the meantime, as a protection to the Virginia frontier, especially along the Clinch, the following forts were built and garrisoned along the upper Ohio: Fort Blair, at the mouth of the Great Kanawha, one hundred men; Fort Fincastle, at Wheeling, twenty-five men; and, Fort Dunmore, at Pittsburg, seventy-five men. Except the forces required to garrison the forts mentioned next above, the troops under Dunmore and Lewis were discharged and permitted to return to their respective homes. During the winter, the Indians complied with the terms of the peace agreement by bringing in, and delivering up their prisoners and plunder. By their ready compliance, the Indians showed such a disposition for peace that Governor Dunmore at once ordered these forts evacuated and the men discharged. Major Campbell, under date of November 21, writes thus to Colonel Preston, "Upon the first intelligence of peace being concluded, I wrote to the officers on duty to discharge the whole of the militia except fifteen at Blackmores and the like number at Mockinson Gap. Upon receiving your letter of the 13th and Col. Christian’s of the
11th inst. I directed them to be discharged also."
Dr. Draper, in his manuscript, Life of Boone, summarizes the results of Dunmore’s War in these words: "Thus ended the war, which cost the people of Virginia about one hundred thousand pounds, many valuable lives, and an incalculable amount of individual suffering and privation along the exposed frontiers. Boone was most actively engaged during the whole contest, and had, in all situations, and under all circumstances, proved himself equal to the trust reposed in him. With this consciousness of having done his duty, he rejoiced, like Logan, "at the beams of peace"; when the hardy settler could once again retire from the pent-up fort, and in safety re-occupy his isolated cabin-home, and the fearless hunter could once more roam the bewitching forests with the wild freedom he loved so well. And among Boone’s manuscript papers, we find evidence that he soon plunged deep into the wilderness, for in January ensuing he was encamped on Kentucky river, probably silently enjoying one of his highly prized hunts." (Draper Manuscripts 3 B 151-56.)
Boone, upon returning from this hunt in Kentucky, next left Castlewood, it seems, to attend a great council, which was held at Sycamore Shoals, between the Transylvania Company, and more than a thousand Cherokee Indians whom Boone had caused to assemble for this purpose. During this council, Richard Henderson, the chief promoter of the company, purchased from the Cherokees whatever title they may have had to all the lands lying between the Kentucky and Cumberland rivers, including a path to these lands from the east, through Moccasin Gap and Powell’s Valley. When it was seen that the issue of this treaty would be favorable to the Transylvania Company, Boone, in company with about thirty men, was sent on ahead to mark a trace through the wilderness to these lands on the Kentucky River. Over this trace, Henderson and his colony were to pass later. Boone seems to have spent most of the summer of 1775 in Kentucky; and sometime within the first week of September, his wife and family arrived there, having, no doubt, passed down the Clinch, by Fort Blackmore, through Rye Cove, to the Kentucky Trace at some point in Stock Creek Valley. Thus, with the immigration of his family to Kentucky, Boone passed out of the history of Fort Blackmore and the valley of the Clinch, only to become a leading figure in laying the foundation of a great commonwealth. Many stories of him are yet repeated at the firesides of the great-great-grandchildren of those who knew him. I have been unable to find any record of events which occurred at Fort Blackmore within the year 1775. This dearth of records, however, may be taken to indicate that it was a year of comparative peace and quietude to the inmates of the little fort. No doubt they ventured forth to work upon their clearings and grow a crop of grain, a thing which they had dared not do during the turmoil and danger of the previous year. Although the happenings in the neighborhood of the fort during 1775 do not seem to have been preserved for us, yet at this time events, destined greatly to affect the fortunes of the settlers at the mouth of Stony Creek, were shaping themselves elsewhere in the country. The Revolution was impending. Loud mutterings of discontent with George III’s government were beginning to be heard, even among his subjects along the valley of the Clinch. The Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill had been heard from, and the spirit of the militia who opposed the King’s troops was understood and approved by the people in the valley of the Clinch. Capt. William Russell, of Castlewood, in a letter to Col. William Fleming, written from Fort Blair, June 12, 1775, thus comments upon current events:
"I had some days before the receipt of yours been favored with the shocking account of three battles being fought near the city of Boston, between the British Troops, and American though I must acknowledge my great joy, in our victories obtained over the enemies’ tyrannic pride.
"The unheard of acts of barbarity, committed by the British Troops, will doubtless stir up every lover of his country to be zealous and forward in its defense, to support our liberty; though, I doubt not, but many sycophants to Britain’s interest, will now appear patriots; as long as our arms prove victorious; but, should ever our present success change, and in so small a manner be sullied, you’ll find traitors enough prick up their ears, and in a prophetic language, display their pre-suggested knowledge of events.
"The Corn Stalk left me, last Thursday; and in the space of four days conversation, I discovered that it is the intention of the Pick tribe of Indians to be troublesome to our new settlements whenever they can; and he further assured me. that the Mingoes behave in a very unbecoming manner, frequently upbraiding the Shawnees, in cowardly making the peace; and called them Big Knife People; that the Corn Stalk can’t well account for their intentions. If this be true, and a rupture between England and America has really commenced, we shall certainly receive trouble at the hands of those people in a short time, as they got news of the battles in the Shawnee towns, eight, or ten days before the Corn Stalk came here." (Thwaites and Kellogg’s Rev. Upper Ohio, pp. 13, 14, 15.)
Captain Russell’s prophecy as to trouble with the Indians was not long in being fulfilled; for very early in the Revolutionary struggle, the British Ministry adopted the policy of enlisting the Indians in the service of the British government. British agents infested every Indian tribe on the western frontier. These agents were so successful in bribing and stirring up the tribesmen against the settlers in the valleys of the Holston and the Clinch that, by the early spring of 1776, the Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, and Chickasaws were ready to go on the warpath in behalf of their British allies. Of these tribes, the Cherokees were the nearest, most numerous, and therefore, the most dangerous enemies of the settlers within the present limits of Scott County at that time. The following affidavit, made by Jarret Williams, an Indian trader, before Anthony Bledsoe, a magistrate of Washington County, in July, 1776, very clearly shows the causes for apprehension which the settlers of this section had.
Williams "deposeth and saith; that he left the Cherokee nation on Monday night, the 8th inst. (July.)
"That the part of the nation called the Over-Hills were then preparing to go to war against the frontiers of Virginia, having purchased to the amount of 1,000 skins or thereabouts, for mocksons. They were also bearing flour for a march, and making other warlike preparations. Their number, from calculation made by the Raven Warrior, amounts to about six hundred warriors, and, according to the deponent’s idea, he thinks we may expect a general attack any hour. They propose to take away negroes and horses, and to kill all kinds of sheep, cattle &c.; also to destroy all corn, burn houses, &c. And he also heard that the Valley towns were, a part of them, set off; but that they had sent a runner to stop them till all were ready to start. He further relates that Alexander Cameron informed them that he had concluded to send Captain Nathaniel Guest, William Faulin, Isaac Williams and the deponent with the Indians, till they came near to Nolichucky, then the Indians were to stop and Guest and the other whites above mentioned were to go to see if there were any King’s men among the inhabitants and if they found any they were to take them off to the Indians or have a white signal in their hands or otherwise to distinguish them. When this was done they were to fall on the inhabitants and kill and drive all they possibly could.
"That on Saturday, the 6th inst. in the night, he heard two prisoners were brought in about midnight, but the deponent saw only one. That the within Williams saw only one scalp brought by a party of Indians, with a prisoner; but, from accounts, they had five scalps. He also sayd he heard the prisoner examined by Cameron, thought he gave a very imperfect account, being very much cast down. He further sayd that the Cherokees had received the war-belt from the Shawnees, Mingo, Taawah, and Deleware nations, to strike the white people. That fifteen of the said nations were in the Cherokee towns, and that few of the Cherokees went in company with the Shawnese &c. That they all intended to strike the settlers in Kentucky; and that the Cherokees gave the Shawnese four scalps of white men, which they carried with them. The said Shawnese and Mingoes informed the Cherokees that they were at peace with every other nation; that the French were to supply them with ammunition, and that they wanted the Cherokees to join them to strike the white people on the frontiers, which the Cherokees have agreed to.
"And the deponent further saith that, before he left the nation, a number of the Cherokees of the Lower Towns were gone to fall on the frontiers of South Carolina and Georgia; and further saith not.
The foregoing deposition reveals the conditions which made it necessary for the frontiersmen on the Clinch to fight the savage allies of Great Britain here on the border in defense of their own homes and loved ones, instead of joining Washington’s army in the struggle with the enemy along the Atlantic Coast. It may be said in this connection that the pioneers who fought against the Indian allies of Britain, here in Southwest Virginia, during the period of the Revolution, as truly fought for liberty as did their compatriots at Saratoga and Yorktown.
The settlers along the Holston and the Clinch, realizing that a long and bloody war was threatening, proceeded at once to put their frontier settlements into an attitude of defense.
Isaac Crisman built a fort in the Rye Cove, a few miles west of Fort Blackmore. Old Fort Patrick Henry at Long Island was repaired and strengthened. A fort was erected at Amos Eaton’s, seven miles east of Long Island. Such supplies of food and ammunition as could be had were obtained and stored away against the day of need. But preparations and precautions could not avert the impending stroke. Isaac Crisman, the builder of the Rye Cove Fort, and two members of his family were attacked and killed by the Indians. Sometime in June, 1776, two men were killed at Fort Blackmore; and in September of the same year, a son of Jonathan Jennings, and one of his negro slaves, were murdered at Fort Blackmore. But in this connection, Capt. John Redd, who was living in Powell’s Valley, in 1776, and who in that year fled to Fort Blackmore for safety, has related the conditions that prevailed in this section at that time.
He said that "Capt. Penn’s Company was discharged, and Gen. Martinreturned home about the first of December. On arriving at home, Gen. Martin gave notice that he wished to raise a company to go out and settle Powell’s Valley. The company was soon raised, and on the 25th of December we set out. The company was composed of 16 or 18 men, with all necessary implements to settle. Early in January, 1775, we arrived in the Valley, and halted in a large old Indian field where a few years before, Gen. Martin attempted to make a settlement.
"Of Gen. Martin’s first trip to Powell’s Valley, I know nothing except such facts as I obtained from the Gen. and his brother, Brice. In his first trip to Powell’s Valley, he was accompanied by only 5 or 6 men. The day after he arrived in the valley, a large company of Indians, who were on a hunting expedition, came to his camp. The Indians appeared to be very friendly and delighted at seeing their white brethren. Most of them had very inferior guns, and seemed to be pleased with the appearance of the guns of Martin’s men. The Indians seemed to be very talkative but unfortunately none of the whites could speak the Indian language nor the Indians, the language of the whites. Gen. Martin, perceiving that the Indians took a great fancy to his guns, gave his men orders not to let the Indians take any of them out of their hands. The Indians soon gave signs to Martin and his men that they wished to exchange their guns with the whites. Their offers, in every instance, were sternly rejected. Martin set his gun down, and the moment he turned his eye from it, a very large Indian picked it up, and put his gun in the place of it, and walked off a few yards to his companions. As soon as Martin discovered that his gun was gone, he picked up the old one laying in the place of his, and walked to where the Indians were. Seeing the Indian with it in his hand, he threw the old gun at the feet of the Indian, laid hold of his own. The Indian refused to give it up, and a scuffle ensued. Martin threw the Indian down, and wrenched the gun from his reluctant grasp. The Indians who were standing by and witnessed the scuffle between their companion and Martin, raised a great laugh and yell at the scuffle. The Indian from whom the gun had been taken, was very much enraged, and soon went off with his companions. On leaving, the Indian said a great deal in a very excitable tone. Martin, not understanding his language, took all he said to be threats of revenge. After the affair of the gun, Martin and his men held a counsel and concluded that they had better return home for they knew not to what extent the Indians might carry their revenge. Accordingly next morning they set out for home.
"We immediately set to work and built several strong cabins and stockaded them, which made it a good fort for defense. We then fenced in with brush and rails a large portion of the old field in which we made a large crop of corn. The valley abounded in almost every species of games, and the time we had to spare from cultivating our corn was employed in killing game. We soon had a large supply of meat.
"About the first of April Col. Richard Henderson, with something like forty men who were on their way to Kentucky to make the first permanent settlement, stopped at the fort 6 or 8 days to supply themselves with meat; as for bread we had none for ourselves. As soon as they were supplied themselves, they set out on their journey.
"During the year (1775) we were not uninterrupted by Indians. During the fall, William Priest, with 8 or 10 men came out and built a fort a few miles above Martin’s. About the same time William Mumps, with a small party of men, built a fort at the Sinking Spring, 20 miles from Martin’s where Lee Courthouse now is; at the forts the settlers cut down, and killed the timber on a good deal of land, and, in the spring they were surrounded by fences, made of brush and rails, and planted in corn. During the past fall, several small parties past on their way to Kentucky, many of whom were murdered by the Indians. This produced a very great excitement with the settlers in the valley. In May, 1776, Gen. Martin returned home, promising to return in four weeks. The four weeks expired, and we had heard nothing from Gen. Martin. The settlers at Priest and Mump’s fort had all left, and some of our men. Days rolled on, and we could hear nothing from Martin nor the settlement. We became alarmed at our situation. We knew that something of great moment had taken place or Martin would either have returned or sent a messenger out to let us know why he did not come at the appointed time. As our number had decreased to about ten, and we could not hear from Martin, we held a counsel, determined to remain 3 days longer, and, if we could hear nothing from the settlement, in that time, to start for home. The day we held our counsel, William Parks, one of our number, insisted upon our going some 8 miles below the fort, and put up a few poles in the shape of a house, kill some trees, dig some holes in the ground, and plant his corn, so as to secure a corn right, and return the third morning time enough to start with us, if we should (leave) for the settlement. We very reluctantly gave our consent. On the same evening, Parks, his nephew, Thomas, and his negro man set out to secure his corn right. The 3d morning after Parks left, the day he promised to return, to our great surprise young Parks came, and informed us that his uncle had left the evening before to kill some meat. Shortly after his leaving he heard him shout, and had heard nothing from him since. I and 2 others set out with young Parks, and, on arriving at his cabin, he showed us the way his uncle went. We found his track, and followed it with great care. After going about one mile, we came to where some Indians had been lying among some lime stone rocks, on the Kentucky Trace about fifty yards from where the Indians had been, we saw old Parks lying dead on his face. On examining him, we found he was shot through the heart. From his tracks, he must have run some thirty yards from where he was shot. He was scalped, and a war club left sunk in his brain. We skinned some tough bark, with it lashed the body of old Parks to a pole, and two of us, with an end of the pole on our shoulders, carried him to his cabin, and buried him. The same evening returned to the fort. On arriving there, we found an express sent out by Gen. Martin, informing us that the Indians had declared war, and were doing a great deal of mischief. The morning after the arrival of the express, we broke up, and came to Blackmore’s Fort on Clinch River. At this fort, we found the greater part of the men who had left Mump’s and Priest’s forts. We soon raised a company of some 20 men returned, and thinned our corn; after this I came home.
"Capt. Martin was ordered to the Rye Cove Fort about 50 miles off, on the North Fork of Clinch; the balance of the army were discharged. Capt. Martin set out immediately for the fort. At this place a man by the name of Isaac Crisman had built a fort some time before and while we were gone to the Indian towns, Crisman and 2 of his family were murdered by the Indians. I did not accompany Capt. Martin on this expedition for I was appointed Sergeant Major by Col. Campbell, and remained at Long Island while Capt. Martin was on his way to the Rye Cove. He had to pass through a very dangerous gap called Little Mockison Gap. At this place the trail went through a very narrow, deep gorge in the mountain; at the place the Indians had killed a great many whites. As Capt. Martin passed through the gap, he had his men in very fine order, and drawn out in single file. Just as the head of the column emerged from this narrow place, the whole company was fired upon by the Indians from the top of the ridge. They were in a column as long as Capt. Martins. As soon as the Indians fired, they ran off. They did not kill any of Martin’s men, but wounded one by the name of Bunch; he had five balls shot through the flesh. Capt. Martin, finding that the Indians had all fled, marched on his way to Rye Cove unmolested. Capt. Martin remained here until the first of May, at which time his company was ordered back to Long Island, and he remained here until July, 1777, when the treaty was finally concluded as soon as peace was concluded, the army was disbanded." (John Redd’s Narrative.)
In June, 1776, George Rogers Clark was a guest at Mump’s Fort, in Powell’s Valley. Fear of Indian attack had caused him to travel the entire distance from Kentucky, avoiding the usual trail. He had only one companion on this journey, a man by the name of Rice. On the morning following Clark’s arrival at Mump’s Fort he set out for the settlement, accompanied by Rice and Captain Redd. It is very probable that they stopped at Fort Blackmore on their way east.
Captain Redd, in his Narrative, gives an account of the murder of Jacob Lewis and his family near the head of Stock Creek, and of the murder of Ambrose Fletcher’s wife and children at Fort Blackmore. I here quote his account of these murders in full.
"You requested me to give you all the particulars of white killing Indians, or Indians killing whites between the peace of ‘64 & the spring of ‘74. I know nothing so as to give an account accurately. I will relate one or two murders, committed by Indians in ‘76. In the spring of ‘75, a man by the name of Jacob Lewis came out to Martin’s Station in Powell’s Valley with a wife and 7 children. Some of the men knew him to be a man of bad character, and he was ordered not to settle near the Station. Lewis took his family & came in the direction of the settlement, about 35 miles, and built him a small cabin, near the head of Stock Creek, and there lived entirely on the game he killed. In June, ‘76, when on my way to the settlement, I passed by his house, and advised him to move to the settlement that the Indians had declared war. He said he was in no danger; that Indians would never find him. In July following, as I returned to the Holston, I learned that Lewis & wife, and 7 children were killed, and scalped by the Indians.
"In ‘76, when the Cherokee Indians declared war, most of the extreme settlers broke up, and most of them came to the settlement. A man by the name of Ambrose Fletcher, who settled in Martin’s Station, took refuge in Blackmore Fort. He had a wife & 2 children. After he remained in fort 3 or 4 days, it became so crowded that he built a cabin some 30 or 40 yards back of the fort, (and) shortly after moved in his cabin. He went out one morning, at a short distance, to get his horse, and on his return, found his wife and children murdered & scalped by the Indians." (John Redd’s Narrative.)
It is to be seen from the foregoing quotation that Fort Blackmore was a place of refuge for the more exposed and weaker settlements between it and Cumberland Gap, during the Cherokee uprising in 1776.
In 1777, Fort Blackmore was approached by a party of Indians under the leadership of Benge, a Cherokee by birth, who had resided so long among the Northern Indians as to be regarded one of them. (Haywood, 275.) Benge, it seems, was accompanied on this expedition by a renegade white man, named Ilargus, who, having once lived in the neighborhood of Fort Blackmore, no doubt, acted as a guide for Benge and his red warriors. In fact, being a fugitive from justice, the expedition may have been inspired by Hargus himself. This story of Benge and his gang, with more or less variation as to details, but with little change as to a small group of essential facts, has been repeated at the firesides of the people of Scott County for a period of nearly one hundred and fifty years. It is our most popular and best known traditional story. As commonly told, its unvarying parts are: (1) an Indian in a tree, gobbling in imitation of a turkey; (2) he is approached from behind, and shot through the head by Matthew Gray; (3) Gray has a thrilling race for his life back to the fort. The story is based entirely upon tradition; there are no references to the things of which it relates to be found in written or printed documents, contemporary with it. It was first published in the Life of Wilburn Waters by Charles B. Coale, of Abingdon, Va. I quote the story in full from Coale’s Life of Wilburn Waters.
"During the spring of 1777, a party of Indians, under the lead of the half-breed Benge and a savage white man by the name of Hargus, crossed the range of hills north of Clinch at High Knob, and made their way to Bluegrass Fort (Fort Blackmore) on Stony Creek, which was not far from what is now known as Osborn’s Ford, in Scott County. [Formerly the name Blue Grass was applied to a section just above the fort site where the young men of the neighborhood met for horse racing, etc. The name is no longer used and few remember it. (Milo Taylor.)] The white man, Hargus, had been living in the neighborhood, but had absconded to the Indians to evade punishment for crime, and became an inhuman persecutor of his race.
"The Indians, having cautiously and stealthily approached the river down Stoney Creek, and fearing they might be discovered, crossed some distance below and came up in the rear of a high cliff south of, and opposite the fort, concealing their main body in the bushes at the base. In order to command a view of the fort, they sent one of their number to the summit of the cliff to spy out the condition of the fort and to act as a decoy. He ascended in the night, and climbed a tall cedar with thick foliage at the top, on the very verge of the precipice, and just at the break of day he began to gobble like a wild turkey. This imitation was so well executed it would have been successful but for the warnings of an old Indian fighter present by the name of Matthew Gray. Hearing what they supposed to be a turkey, and desiring him for breakfast, some of the younger members of the company proposed to go up the cliff and shoot him, but Gray told them if they wanted to keep their scalps on their heads they had better let that turkey alone, and if they would follow his directions he would give them an Indian for breakfast.
"Having promised to obey his instructions, he took several of them with him to a branch which he knew to be in full view of the Indians, and told them to wash and dabble in the stream to divert the attention of the enemy for half an hour, while he went to look for the turkey, which still continued to gobble at short intervals. Gray, having borrowed an extra rifle from David Cox, crouched below the bank of the stream and in this manner followed its course to where it emptied into the river half a mile below at a place known as Shallow Shoals. Here he took to the timber, eluding the vigilance of the Indians by getting in their rear. He then crept cautiously up the ridge, guided by the gobbling of the Indian in the top of the cedar on the cliff. Getting within about seventy-five yards of the tree, and waiting until his turkeyship had finished an extra big gobble, he drew a bead upon him and put a ball in his head. With a yell and spring the Indian went crashing through the tree-tops and over the precipice, a mangled mass of flesh and bones. Then commenced a race for life. Gray had played a desperate game, and nothing but his fleetness and his knowledge of savage craft could save him. He knew that the Indians in ambush would go to their companion on hearing the report of the rifle, and that they were not more than two hundred yards away. He did his best running and dodging, but they were so close upon him that he would have been captured or killed, had not the men of the fort rushed out to his rescue.
"The Indians, finding that they had been discovered, and that they were not strong enough to attack or besiege the fort, started in the direction of Castlewood. The persons at Bluegrass (Fort Blackmore) knowing that the settlement at Castle’s Wood was not aware that the Indians were in the vicinity, determined to warn them, but the difficulty was how this was to be done, and who would be bold enough to undertake it, as the Indians were between the two forts. When a volunteer for the perilous expedition was called for Matthew Gray, who but an hour before had made such a narrow escape, boldly offered his services, and, getting the fastest horse and two rifles, started out through the almost unbroken forest. Moving cautiously along the trail, he came near Ivy Spring about two miles from the fort, when he saw signs which satisfied him that the Indians had halted at the spring. There was no way to flank them, and he must make a perilous dash or fail in his mission of mercy. Being an old Indian fighter, he knew that they seldom put out pickets. The trail making a short curve near the spring, he at once formed the plan of riding quietly up to the curve and then, with a shot and a yell, to dash through them. This he did, and before they had sufficiently recovered from their surprise to give him a parting volley, he was out of reach. He arrived at the settlement in safety, and thus in all probability saved the lives of all the settlers. The Indians, however, captured two women on the way—Polly Alley at Osborn’s Ford, as they went up the river, and Jane Whitaker near Castlewood.
"Finding the fort at Castle’s Woods fully prepared for their reception the band had to abandon their murderous purpose and pass on with their captives, without permitting themselves to be seen. Reaching Guess’ Station, they remained part of the night; finding it well prepared for defense, they continued their journey to the "Breaks," where the Russell and Pound forks of Big Sandy pass through the Cumberland Mountain.
"After this they traveled every day, resting at night, until they reached the Ohio at the mouth of Sandy. Crossing the river on a raft of logs with their prisoners, who suffered more than can be described or conceived on the long march, they reached their destination at Sandusky. The two young women were closely confined for some time after their arrival though they were eventually stripped and painted and allowed the liberty of the village, closely watched for a month or more, but seeing they made no attempt at escape the Indians abated their vigilance. Observing this the girls determined to make an effort at escape. Having been permitted to wander about at pleasure from time to time and punctually returning at night, the Indians were thrown off their guard. Having wandered one day farther from the village than usual, and being in a dense forest, they started out on the long journey toward their home. After traveling all night, they found themselves only about eight miles from the village, and finding a hollow log, they crept into it, with the determination of remaining concealed during the day. They had been in it but a few minutes before Hargus and two or three Indians came along in pursuit and sat down upon it, and the girls heard them form their plans for the next day’s search. Returning late in the afternoon, having lost the trail, the Indians sat down upon the same log to rest, and again the occupants beneath them heard their plans for pursuit. These were, that a party should pass down each of two rivers which had their sources near their village and emptied into the Ohio. They became very much enraged at having been baffled by two inexperienced girls, and threatened their victims with all sorts of tortures should they be recaptured. Hargus, more furious than the Indians themselves, striking his tomahawk into the log to emphasize his threats, and finding it return a hollow sound, declared the girls might be in it, as they had been traced thus far, where the trail was lost and sent one of the savages to the end of the log to see. The savage went and looked, but seeing that a spider had stretched its web across the aperture, he made no further examination. This web, which probably had not been there an hour, saved them from recapture, and it may be from a cruel death.
"After the Indians left, the girls, having heard their plans, left the log and resumed their weary journey, taking a leading ridge, which ran at right angles with the Ohio and led them to it not far from opposite the mouth of Sandy. They could hear the yells of the Indians in pursuit each day and night until they reached the river, when, from a high promontory, they had the satisfaction of seeing their pursuers give up the chase and turn back towards their village. They had nothing to eat for three long days and nights but a partially devoured squirrel from which they had frightened a hawk and on the night of the third day after the Indians had relinquished the pursuit, they ventured to the river, where they were fortunate enough the next day to see a flat-boat with white men in it descending the stream, who, on being hailed, took them aboard, set them across at the mouth of Sandy, and furnished them with a sufficiency of bread and dried venison to last them two weeks and blanket each, in which time they expected to make their way back to one of the settlements on Clinch. They took their course up Sandy on the same trail they had gone down some months before, but in one of the rapid and dangerous crossings of that stream, they lost all of their provisions as well as blankets. This, though a great calamity, did not discourage them, but pushing on, with blessing of kindred, friends and home in view, they found their way through Pound Gap and reached Guess’ Station about the middle of September, having been on the journey about a month, after encountering hardships and dangers under which many of the sterner sex of the present day would give way." (Life of Wilburn Waters, pp. 171-76.)
In August, 1776, the Virginia Council ordered Col. William Christian with his army to invade the country of the Cherokees "for the purpose of severely chastising that cruel and perfidious nation." Jonathan Jennings, a resident of Fort Blackmore at the time, served as private in this expedition. It is very probable that other residents of the fort took part in this expedition, yet their names cannot certainly be recognized in the list of those who participated in it.
At the close of his campaign against the Cherokees, Colonel Christian ordered Capt. Joseph Martin to proceed to the Rye Cove with eighty men. Captain Martin remained in the Rye Cove until the first of May, 1777, when he was ordered back to the Long Island, where he remained until the treaty of peace was concluded between the Indians and the whites on July 1.
The first election under the new State Constitution was held in the summer of 1776. In this election Arthur Campbell and William Russell were chosen as members of the House of Delegates for Fincastle County, and Col. William Christian was chosen as Senator for Fincastle and Botetourt counties. The citizens of Fort Blackmore, no doubt, were ardent supporters of these candidates, all of whom they knew, and one of whom, Russell, was a neighbor.
In the year 1779, Capt. John Blackmore, the man for whom Fort Blackmore was named, with his family emigrated to Nashboro (now Nashville), Tennessee. He was accompanied by his son, John Blackmore, Jr., and his family, together with Jonathan Jennings and his family. Their voyage was a very remarkable one, the entire journey, from Fort Blackmore by way of Muscle Shoals to the mouth of the Tennessee River and thence up the Ohio and Cumberland to Nashboro, having been made in flat-bottomed boats. Sailing unknown rivers, dropping over dangerous shoals and falls, and passing through villages of savage and hostile Indians, these stout-hearted emigrants accomplished a journey that now seems almost impossible. Added to the difficulty and dangers of their long and perilous journey was the bitter cold of the winter of 1779-80.
The exact date of Captain Blackmore’s departure from the settlement at the mouth of Stony Creek is not known, but Col. John Donaldson, who with a fleet of about thirty flat-bottomed boats made the voyage from Kingsport to Nashboro at the same time, made the following entry in the journal of the voyage. "Sunday, 5th. (March, 1780.) Cast off and got under way before sunrise; 12 o’clock passed the mouth of Clinch; at 12 o’clock M. came up with the Clinch River Company, whom we joined, and camped, the evening proving rainy."
Further on in the journal he states: "And here we must regret the unfortunate death of young Mr. Payne, on board Captain Blackmore’s boat, who was mortally wounded by reason of the boat running too near the northern shore opposite the town, where some of the enemy lay concealed."
He makes the following entries concerning Jonathan Jennings and his family
"Jennings’ boat is missing. We have now passed through the Whirl. The river widens, with a placid and gentle current, and all the company appear to be in safety except the family of Jonathan Jennings, whose boat ran on a large rock projecting out from the northern shore and partly immersed in water immediately at the Whirl, where we were compelled to leave them, perhaps to be slaughtered by their merciless enemies. Continued to sail on that day and floated throughout the following night.
"Friday, 10th. This morning about 4 o’clock we were surprised by the cries of ‘Help poor Jennings’ at some distance in the rear. He had discovered us by our fires and came up in the most wretched condition. He states that as soon as the Indians discovered his situation they turned their whole attention to him and kept up a most galling fire at his boat. He ordered his wife, a son nearly grown, a young man who accompanied them, and his negro man and woman to throw all his goods into the river in order to lighten his boat for the purpose of getting her off, himself returning the Indians’ fire as well as he could, being a good soldier and an excellent marksman. But before they had accomplished their object, his son, the young man, and the negro jumped out of the boat and left them. He thinks the young man and the negro were wounded before they left the boat. Mrs. Jennings, however, and the negro woman succeeded in unloading the boat, but chiefly by the exertions of Mrs. Jennings, who got out of the boat and shoved her off, but was near falling a victim to her own intrepidity on account of the boat starting so suddenly as soon as loosened from the rock. Upon, examination, he appears to have made a wonderful escape, for his boat is pierced in numberless places with bullets. Their clothes were very much cut with bullets, especially Mrs. Jennings’." (Donaldson’s Journal, quoted in Taylor’s Historic Sullivan, p. 75 et seq.)
Jonathan Jennings had not resided at the Nashboro settlement very long before he was attacked and killed by a party of Delaware Indians at the point of the first island in the Cumberland River, above Nashville, Tennessee. Both Jonathan Jennings and Capt. John Blackmore are mentioned as having been given land for distinguished services against the Indians. (Haywood, p. 219.) Their descendants still reside in Middle Tennessee. The Fincastle County Court on July 6, 1773, fined Jonathan Jennings forty shillings for speaking of the court with contempt and saying that they were selfish and partial. (Summers, p. 135.)
In the early days salt was a scarce and highly prized article. Prior to the discovery of salt at Saltville, the chief supply on the border was brought in wagons from Eastern Virginia. It was usually brought to Black’s Fort (now Abingdon), Washington County, and from that point distributed to the various settlements. The coming of the salt wagon was an important event on the frontier. In 1781, the salt wagon came to Washington County and from the supply which it brought Fort Blackmore no doubt received its quota.
During the spring of 1781, "the Northward Indians," sitting in small parties up Sandy River, gave the settlers on the Clinch much trouble and alarm. These small parties were often able to enter the settlements unawares, capturing or wounding or killing whomsoever they might meet. The settlements on the Clinch were guarded by a company of rangers in Powell’s Valley at this time, but the militia, not having received their pay for former services, were complaining. This condition made it difficult to get men to patrol the long line of frontier from the Sandy River to Cumberland Gap. The southern frontier was also threatened with invasion by the Creek and Cherokee Indians and Tories under the leadership of the British Indian Agent. It needed to be also patrolled. "The sudden condemnation of the Continental money, and the neglect or refusal of the government to pay the militia for their various services last year, together with the time and attention necessarily spent to have our landed claims adjusted," were assigned as reasons for military unpreparedness on the border. (Virginia State Papers.)
Bishop Asbury, in his journal, makes the following entries concerning his visit to Fort Blackmore:
"1790. Wednesday, April 28. We have had cold weather and severe frosts for two nights past. We had a dreary ride down to the ford of Clinch, through a solitary plain; many attended at L_____s. We rode down to Blackmore’s Station, here the people have been forted on the north side of Clinch. Poor Blackmore had had a son and daughter killed by the Indians. They are of opinion here that the Cherokees were the authors of this mischief; I also received an account of two families having been killed, and of one female that was taken prisoner, and afterwards retaken by the neighbors and brought back.
"Friday, 30. Crossed Clinch about two miles below the fort. In passing along I saw the precipice from which Blackmore’s unhappy son leaped into the river after receiving the stroke of the tomahawk in his head; I suppose, by the measure of my eye, it must be between fifty and sixty feet descent; his companion was shot dead upon the spot; this happened on the 6th of April, 1789. We came on a dreary road over rocks, ridges, hills, stones, and streams, along a blind, tortuous path, to Mockeson Gap, and Creek; thence to Smith’s Ferry across the north branch of Holstein. Here I found some lies had been told on me; feeling myself innocent, I was not moved."
November 9, 1792, Senator John Preston, in making recommendations to the Governor and Privy Council concerning the defense of the Southwest Territory, suggests that a sergeant, corporal, and twelve privates be placed at Fort Blackmore.
Andrew Lewis, speaking of the capture of the Livingstons, in a letter to the Governor, bearing date of April 17, 1794, states that Blackmore Station, by which the enemy must have passed, was left unguarded for the following reasons: The inhabitants there lived in stations so near as to be in a situation, in some measure, to defend themselves. The troops that had been garrisoned at that place had been ordered to protect Lee County, with instructions to return to Fort Blackmore on the arrival of Captain Hawkins’ company in Lee. Benge and his party, finding the inhabitants of Blackmore’s Station on their guard, passed on until he found people living, as they thought, in perfect security.
A PEACEABLE INDIAN INVASION
An authentic tradition relates the following story concerning the last appearance of Indians in the vicinity of the Stony Creek Settlement.
About the year 1817 the people in the neighborhood of Fort Blackmore were startled by the appearance of a band of Indians under the leadership of a chief whose name was never learned. These Indians, crossing Stone Mountain at the High Knob, had entered the settlement, it seems, by coming down Stony Creek. The excitement of such a visit can well be imagined. Many people were then living who remembered the forays of Benge and his gang. The route, too, by which these late arrivals had come was the one over which many hostile bands before them had traveled in their efforts to surprise the settlers at the fort. Why had they come now? Was their mission one of peace or war? Every man who saw them instinctively thought of his loved ones and his rifle. But while the people were thus perplexed as to whether the motives of their redskin visitors were friendly or hostile, the Indians, without delay, marched Indian file, the chief in the lead, to the mound located on the farm of the late Emory Cox.
On reaching the mound, a rather elaborate ceremony of a memorial character, it is supposed, was begun. This ceremony consisted mainly of gestures, the chief leading. Approaching the mound, the chief circled about it, making gestures in the direction of the four cardinal points of the compass. He then ascended the mound to its summit, still continuing to gesticulate, slowly and solemnly, toward the four cardinal points. His followers imitated the movements of their chief. When the ceremony was finished, the Indians again formed themselves into Indian file and marched toward the west. They were never heard of afterward. (W. S. Cox.)
Henry Hamlin was living in the Rye Cove, May 15, 1788. In a letter to Governor Randolph, bearing this date, Alexander Barnett, County Lieutenant of Russell, complains that Henry Hamlin induced the Rangers, who had been sent out under the command of Ensign Blackmore to protect the settlers in the Cove, to return from their expedition, by telling them that the people wanted men stationed at the forts for their protection instead of Rangers. The records and the traditions preserved by the descendants of Henry Hamlin state that he was born March 25, 1740; that on coming to Southwest Virginia he married a Miss Dickenson; that four sons, Francis, Charles, Champ, and John, were born to this marriage; that Mrs. Henry Hamlin was killed at Fort Blackmore by the Indians, August 17, 1790; that at the same time Champ, then a boy ten years of age, was captured and carried west, but eventually was transported into Canada, where he was ransomed by a French trader and taken to Quebec, from which place he was sent by boat to Norfolk, and that from Norfolk he made his way back to his home near Fort Blackmore; that two of the boys, Charles and John, were saved from the Indians by a negro slave, a giant in stature and weighing three hundred and fifty pounds; that for this act the slave was given his freedom and a small farm some six miles south of Jonesville; that Henry Hamlin died at Fort Blackmore, August, 1815. (J. S. Hamlin’s Letter. May 19, 1918.)
Mrs. Fannie Napper, whose maiden name was Alley, and her five children were killed and scalped near Fort Blackmore in 1777. (Sam Alley in Draper Manuscripts.)
In 1789 one of the Blackmores’ homes was attacked by Indians. (Draper Manuscripts.)
In January, 1781, a body of Indians, supposed to be Cherokees, attacked Fort Blackmore, capturing four men and taking away a large number of horses. In consequence of this depredation it was strongly urged upon Governor Jefferson that strong garrisons be stationed in Powell’s Valley and on the banks of the Tennessee River. This or similar action was represented to the Governor as being "absolutely necessary for the preservation of the southwestern frontier and keeping up the communication with Kentucky." (Virginia State Papers, Vol. I.)
There are a number of variant spellings of the name Blackmore. Captain John, Sr., and John, Jr., in signing the Nashboro Compact, May 13, 1780, spelled the name Blackemore. John, Jr., in making an assignment of his land to Samuel Haddox, spelled his surname Blackeymore. In the court records of the time the name is found spelled Blackmore, Blackemore, Blackamore, and Blackeymore.
History of Scott County, Virginia by Robert M. Addington, pp. 1-3 & 43-93, copyright 1932
A website regarding the early history of this area is The First Militia Roster Of The Clinch River Area Of Russell County, by Emory L. Hamilton - 1978
Another article by Emory L. Hamilton is The First Massacre On Powell's River
Here is my Genealogy Page for Capt. John Blackmore
Return toJoe Payne's Genealogy Homepage
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