^-? Sc 

History OF Southwest Virginia, 

1 746- 1 786, 

Washington County, 






Alumnus of the University of Virginia, and of Tulane University, 

Louisiana, and Member of the Virginia 

Historical Society. 

Richmond, va. : 

J. L. Hill Printing Company, 






Two Copies Keceived 

OCT 21 !903 

CopyrighJ Entry 

'LAS^J A. XXo. No, 

^ M- 1. I 

COPY A. ' 



This Book is dedicated to the memory 
of the first settlers of Southwest Virginia, 
whose enterprise conquered her domain 
and whose love of freedom and valor in 
defending their rights have given to, their 
posterity the blessings of civil and relig- 
ious liberty. 


On pau;cs 18 ivnd .'It) the inotto on the Golden Horseshoe presented hy (Jovernor 
Spotswood to his comrades in the expedition across the Blue Ridge Mountains is 
fiiven as, "Sic jurat transcendere montes." (Tlius he swears to cross the inonntains.) 
r am aware that some autliorities state the motto was, "Sic.juvat transcendere 
niontes." (Thus it deli^lits (us) to cross the mountains.) 

On page 18, last line, instead of "countries" read "two counties." 

On page 31, line 14, read "other" between words "the" and "Indians." 

On page o3, line 5, instead of " settling" read "setting." 

On page 57, line 11, instead of " Inglish " read " Inglis." 

On page 73, line 17, instead of ".Tudds' friend" read .Judds Friend." 

On page 70, line 2, the word " Fountainbleau " should lie " Fountainehleau." 

On page 93, lines 25 and 2i), instead of " Cloud's Fort " read " Cloud's Ford." 

On page 114, line 3, instead of " Walden " read " Wallen." 

On page 14:5, line 4, instead of " Glass " read " Gass." 

(Jn page 146, line 7, instead of "Bower" read "Bowyer." 

(^n page 148, line 18, instead of " Isaach " read " Isaac." 

On page 1()4, line 2, a period should appear after "Burgesses," CoHowcd l)y a new 

On page 184, line 7, instead of "county " read "country." 

On page 195, line 22, instead of " marehandise" read " merchandise." 

On page 257, line li, instead of "Washington Districts" read "Washington Dis- 

On page 291, instead of " 1,098.9" read "1.098." 

On page 292, line 26, instead of " rank " read " ranks." 

( )n page 360, line 2, instead of " was " read " were." 

On page 361, line 11, instead of "citizens" read "citizen." 

On page 364, line 5, instead of "commissioners" read "commissioner." 

On page 367, line 4, instead of "Tranalleghany " read "Transalleghany." 

On page 369, line 6, instead of " Walliam" read "William." 

On page 370, line 6, instead of "bans" read " banns." 

On page 435, line 11, instead of "agents" read "agent.'' 

On page 448, line 14, instead of "A. S. A." read " U. S. A." 

On page 461, line 20, Instead of "effecting" read "affecting." 

On page 463, line 15, instead of "effected " read "affected." 

On page 488, line U, instead of "Moline del Rey " read "Molino del Rcy." 

On page .502, line 1, instead of "receive" read "receives." 

On page 521, line 23, instead of "ordinance" read "ordnance." 

On page 522, line 1, instead of " Cecill " read " Cecil." 

On page 571, line 9, instead of "Dupree" read "Dupre." 

On page 590, line 12, instead of "Hindley Harris" read "Findley Harris." 


The writer is a native born son of Southwest Virginia, and has 
always felt a great pride in his country, and since reaching ma- 
tui-ity has been interested in the history of this section. 

Jn the schools bnt little has been tanght in regard to the his- 
tory of this portion of Virginia, as but a small part of its history 
has been preserved. Our historians have been citizens of Eastern 
\'n-giiiia or of other States; and while onr people have been mak- 
ing history from the earliest settlement, scarcely any effort has 
been made to preserve it, and as a result other parts of our country 
whose history has been preserved have in many instances received 
credit that properly belongs to the people of this section of Vir- 
ginia, and being impressed with this fact, and prompted by a de- 
sire to preserve the past history of our people, he determined, a 
few years since, to collect the history of Southwest Virginia, in 
so far as it was possible, and to rescue the same from oblivion, and 
in doing this work he has given such time only as he could spare 
from his professional duties. 

If an apology is .needed for his effort in thus attempting to pre- 
serve this history it will bo found in the remark oi Lord Macaulay, 
wherein he justly observed : "A people which takes no pride in the 
noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything 
worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants." 

There can be no question that this section of Virginia has been 
robbed of much of the honor due her for the early settlement of 
the vast extent of country to the west and south thereof, and 
that the noble deeds of her sons have been ascribed to others ; and 
a knowledge of this fact has rendered necessary the preservation of 
the deeds of the worthy citizens that this section has produced, 
not only to gratify the pride of our citizens, but to remind them 
of the obligations they are under, and to supply them with exam- 
ples of patriotism which they may seek to emulate. 

The writer feels his inability to properly perform this task, but 
hopes that the gleanings he has gathered may suffice in some more 
skillful hands to weave for the founders and builders of our country 

8 Jntroduciory. 

an enduring garland of glorv, and lie asks a kind iiidnlgoncc of the 
reader for sucli errors^ omissions, and imperfections as ma}' be 
found in this work. 

In the words of Judge Haywood: "Let no one censure his mo- 
tives, for they are pure. Thcire will indeed be much room to blame 
the defective perfar-mancc of the author, but this he will hear 
with the greatest pleasure if the person dissatisfied will, for the 
benefit of his eountr\'', either produce a more perfect work or con- 
tribute to tlio merits of this." 

Ill the pre])aration of this woi'k he has obtained information 
from various pei-sons and ])laees, hut in nearly every instance has 
]-e(|uireil documentary evidence for all statements made, and has. 
given I'eferences where the statement is liable to be (piestioned, 
and in quoting original pa])ers has clone so without changing the 
same in any particular. 

In the course of the preparation of this work he has received as- 
sistance from a number of persons, for which he feels deeply 
grateful. He desires to mention in this connection the following 
persons: Miss Lucy Land rum, his stenographer, who has faithfidly 
labored in preparing his manuscript for the printer; W. G. Stan- 
ard, secretary of the Virginia Historical Society; the secretary of 
the New York Historical So{;iety, Hon. J. L. Bristow; Fourth As- 
sistant Postmaster-General, C. A. Dmmington ; Congressional Li- 
brary, AVashington, D. C. ; Thomas E. N-imnK>, State Library, llich- 
mon, Va. ; Mrs. IVlargarct C. Pilcher, Nashville, Tenn. ; Prof. 
T. I). Davidson and maiiy others. L. P. Summers, 

June 13, 1903. Abingdon, Va.. 

History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786, 
Washington County, 1777-1870. 


1001-1716. The history of Virginia, from the earliest times 
until the date of the formation of Washington county by the 
General Assembly of Virginia, is interesting and instructive, and 
is necessary to a thorough comprehension of thai part of our history 
subsequent thereto. 

In the year 1001, the American Continent was discovered by Leif 
Erickson, a ISTorthman, who sailed west from Greenland, and landed 
on the coast of America in 411/4 north latitude. He named the 
land of his discovery Vineland. This discovery was made in the 
spring of the year, and the luxuriant growth of vegetation that 
adorned the land suggested the name^ — Vineland. 

This continent was visited by the ISTorthmen at intervals from 
the time of the discovery of Erickson until as late as 1347. The 
visits of the Northmen to America have often been questioned, and 
were generally doubted, until discoveries made in recent times. 

An examination of the records and documents to be found in the 
archives of the Antiquarian Society of Copenhagen put to rest 
this question. 

So eminent an authority as Humboldt, after an examination of 
the record, says : "The discovery of the northern part of America 
by the Northmen cannot be disputed." 

No practical benefit resulted from the adventures of the North- 
men, and in view of the fact that those people ceased to visit the 
newly discovered country after 1347, and actually forgot the ex- 
plorations of their people, they are to be given but little credit for 
their early discoveries. 

Erom the time of the last visit of the Northmen, in 1347, until 
the year 1492, the continent of America was unknown to the inhabi- 

10 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

tants of the rest of the world ; they had never before heard of such 
a land; the curtain of oblivion shut out from the vision of man- 
kind the garden spot of God^s creation. 

1492. In the year 1492, Christopher Columbus, a native of 
Grenoa, Italy, bearing the flag of Spain, after surmounting innumer- 
able difficulties, sailed west in search of a new land and discovered 
what afterwards proved to be San Salvador, one of the Bahama 
Islands. He took possession of the newly discovered land in the 
name of the King and Queen of Spain. 

Columbus did not visit the mainland of the American Continent 
until many years thereafter. Nothing could be more pleasant than 
to study the life and daring adventures of Columbus and other 
Spanish, Portuguese, and French explorers, but their efforts are in 
no way associated with the history of the country that we purpose 
to deal with in this book ; this pleasure, therefore, must be deferred 
to another time. 

Columbus ! His name should be ever revered, and his fame is 
as imperishable as the continent that he gave by discovery to the 

1497. John Cabot, in the year 1497, sailing the flag of England, 
commissioned so to do by Henry VII, discovered Newfoundland 
and Labrador, and declared that he had found a new world. 

1498. The following year John and Sebastian Cabot, under a 
new commission from the King of England, fitted out an expedi- 
tion under the charge of Sebastian Cabot, and, sailing in a north- 
wardly course, sought a rente to the East India Islands, but the 
inclemency of the weather and the insurpassable barrier of ice 
forced the abandonment of the original purpose of the expedition. 
The course of the voyage was consequently changed, and, as a result, 
Virginia was discovered in the year 1498. 

John and Sebastian Cabot were the first to discover the Eastern 
coast of America, and England laid claim to all the vast territory 
between the 34th and 68th parallels of north latitude from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, basing her claim on this discovery. 

1539. De Soto, by a commission from the King of Spain, in 
the years 1539 and 1540, extended his discoveries from the north 
of Florida inland to the head waters of the present Holston and 
Clinch rivers and thence to the Mississippi river. 

1584. Eighty-five years intervened -between the time of the 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 11 

discoveries of John and Sebastian Cabot and the first permanent set- 
tlement made in all the vast territory claimed by England by reason 
of their discoveries, and the honor attending this event justly be- 
longs to Sir Walter Ealeigh, a young nobleman, a participant in 
the French Protestant wars, who in 1493 applied to Queen Eliza- 
beth for assistance in fitting out an expedition for the purpose of 
planting a Colony in America. In answer to his application the 
Queen gave him a commission creating him Lord of all that por- 
tion of the American continent claimed by England. 

The first expedition sent out by Ealeigh was composed of two 
ships, and their object was to make discoveries. This expedition 
sailed in April, 1584, and', on the 13th day of July of the same 
year, entered Ocracoke inlet within the present limits of North 
Carolina. Here they remained until September, 1584, at which 
time they sailed for England, and upon their arrival Elizabeth gave 
the country the name of Virginia. Immediately upon their return 
seven ships carrying one hundred and eighty men set sail for the 
New World and landed at Eoanoke Island in the year 1585. 

This company, charmed with the prospects, decided to settle on 
the island. Many of the company, not being accustomed to labor 
and not being inclined to work, were greatly disappointed in their 
hopes, became disheartened and, at the first opportunity, returned 
to England. 

Sir Eichard Grenville left fifteen men on the island to guard the 
rights of England., 

Sir Ealph Lane, one of the returning colonists, introduced the 
use of tobacco into England, he and the other colonists having 
learned from the Indians to smoke it. 

1587. In 1587 Ealeigh sent out another expedition to settle 
Eoanoke Island. This expedition was composed of women and 
children as well as men. 

Upon reaching their destination in safety they found the tene- 
ments and fort in ruins and the beasts of the forest feeding on 
the vegetation where the former settlements had been located. 
They found, also, scattered about the former settlement, the bones 
of the fifteen men left by Sir Eichard Grenville. 

This Colony was in charge of John White. Soon after the land- 
ing, on August 18th, 1587, a child was bom to Annias and Vir- 
ginia Dare, to whom was given the name of '"Virginia Dare." This. 

13 Southwest Virginia, nJlt.6-1786. 

was the first white child born of Englisli parents in America. Soon 
after the birth of Virginia Dare, John White returned to England 
for supplies for the Colony, leaving behind him eighty-nine men, 
seventeen women and eleven children. He was delayed on his 
return voyage and when he arrived at Eoanoke Island after an 
absence of three years no trace of the Colony could be found except 
the word Croatan carved on a tree. 

It is said, but not verified, that some of this Colony found shelter 
among the Indians on the coast of North Carolina. 

This story of the first settlement in this part of America remains 
one of the saddest tragedies in our history. 

1606. One hundred and fourteen years had passed since the 
discovery of America by Columbus, when King James the First 
of England granted to a company* of wealthy merchants a patent 
of that part of America lying between the 34th and 45th degrees 
north latitude and all islands within one hundred miles of the 
coast. This grant was divided between the London and Plymouth 

The London Company sent out an expedition composed of one 
hundred and five colonists under the command of Captain Christo- 
pher Newport, an experienced seaman. Although this expedition 
sailed in 1606, it did not reach the mouth of Chesapeake bay until 
May 15, 1607. 

f James river and Capes Henry and Charles were discovered 
and named for the king of England and his sons. The colonists 
continued the voyage up the James river about fifty miles, when 
they landed and began the erection of houses and the making of 
all necessary arrangements for a permanent settlement. Thus was 
founded Jamestown, and thus occurred, according to a noted histo- 
rian, "The most important event in profane history," and thus 
the foundation stones of the greatest commonwealth and republic 
the world has ever known were laid by m^en whose posterity were 
destined to kindle a spirit of political and religious liberty such as 
can be extinguished only with the Anglo-Saxon race. 

This settlement at Jamestown may be regarded as the starting 
point of all Virginia histories. 

The first Colony in Virginia began under circumstances having 

*Stith— Henning's Statutes at Large, page 60. 
I Indian name "Powhatan River." 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 13 

a tendency to discourage the thoughtful, and reasonably so, because 
of the fact that of the one hundred and five colonists only twelve 
were laborers, the remaining ninety-seven being tliriftless and dis- 

All power was vested in a body of councillors composed of 
Bartholomew Gosnold, John Smith, Edward Winfield, Christopher 
Newport, Jolin Eatcliffe, John Martin and George Kendall. 
Edward Winfield was chosen the first Grovemor of the Colony of 
Virginia, and thus began civil government in America. 

Shortly after the settlement Captains Newport and Smith de- 
cided to explore the country, traveled up the James river as far as 
the falls and visited Powhatan, the king of the Indians, whose 
capital was near the present site of the city of Eichmond. 

After a short stay at the Indian village, Newport and Smith 
returned to Jamestown. Newport soon left for England, and 
immediately thereafter trouble arose among the colonists. Win- 
field was succeeded by Eatcliffe, and Eatcliffe by Captain Smith, 
who, by his excellent management of the Colony, won the title of the 
"Father of Virginia." 

Late in the autumn Captain Newport returned from England, 
bringing about seventy new colonists, two of the number being 
women (Mrs. Forrest and Annie Bergess), and a considerable 
quantity of supplies. 

Among the new colonists were several gold refiners, who, dis- 
covering earth near Jamestown having a resemblance to gold, pro- 
nounced the same gold of the best quality, and, thereupon, the 
entire Colony forsook all commendable enterprises and wasted their 
time and energies in loading one of Newport's vessels with this 
earth, which proved, upon its arrival in England, to be worthless. 

Another ship returning to England would have been loaded with 
a similar cargo, but Captain Smith objected, and it was loaded 
with cedar wood. This was the first valuable cargo exported from 
this part of America to England. 

The Colony, having thus wasted their energies and consumed 
their supplies, would, no doubt, have perished during the winter 
that followed, had not Captain John Smith exercised the energies 
of his resourceful mind in feeding and protecting them. The 
best friend Captain Smith found in this New World was Poca- 
hontas, the daughter of Powhatan, the chief of the Indians. The 

14 Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 

colonists charged that Smith intended to marry Pocahontas and 
make himself king of Virginia. 

1608. In the year 1G08 Captain Smith, in a small open barge, 
explored the Chesapeake bay and its tributaries. 

1609. In the month of May, 1609, a new and very beneficial 
charter was granted the London Company, and the Colony began 
to prosper. 

The new charter conferred on the company the powers of the 
king, the local authority of the Governor was greatly increased and 
Lord Delaware was made Governor for life. 

Captain Smith, in this year, divided the Colony and sent a part 
thereof to mai:e a settlement at the falls of the James river, near 
Eichmond, and another part thereof to Nansemond. In this year 
Captain Smith was forced to return to England in consequence of 
serious injuries received from the explosion of his powder flask. At 
the time of his departure the Colony numbered four hundred and 
fifty persons, all abundantly supplied. 

Thus terminated the career in America of the man who faithfully 
earned the title of the "Father of Virginia." 

The Colony thereafter, for a time, was without a competent ruler, 
and such was the profligacy and viciousness of the ruler they had, 
and the people, that in a short time the condition of the Colony was 
changed from prosperity to abject want, and by the spring of 1610 
there remained but sixty persons in the Colony, and these were on 
the verge of starvation. 

At this time Gates and Somers arrived from the West Indies, and 
all the Colony, crowding aboard their ships, had actually sailed for 
Newfoundland, but they were not out of the James river when 
they were met by Lord Delaware, with three ships, many new set- 
tlers and a large quantity of provisions, in fact everything requisite 
to relieve the situation. Lord Delaware prevailed upon the colo- 
nists to return to Jamestown, where under his splendid manage- 
ment the Colony prospered again. 

Unfortunately, in the year 1611 Lord Delaware was forced by bad 
health to return to England, and the government was placed in the 
hands of Sir George Percy, a man wanting in authority. In a 
short time the Colony was again reduced to abject want. Percy 
was succeeded by Sir Thomas Dale, a man of practical ideas, and 
again the Colony prospered. He was a soldier by profession, and 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 15 

his authority, exercised rightly, met the demands of the hour. 
During his administration the Colony was augmented by the arrival 
of three hundred emigrants from England, 

From the founding of the Colony at Jamestown in 1607 until the 
latter part of the administration of Sir Thomas Dale all property 
had been held in common, but he directed a division of property 
among the colonists, and from this time we may certainly trace 
an improvement in the conditions of the people. 

Every man thereafter was dependent upon his individual exer- 
tions for his livelihood. Laziness was punished by flogging and 
irons. Mutineers and deserters were punished with death. The 
lands of the colonists were divided and allotted to the members 
of the Colony, and then, for the first time, the right of property in 
lands was recognized in America. Several new settlements were 
made during this time on both sides of the James river. 

The administration of the affairs of the Colony was entrusted suc- 
cessively to Sir Thomas Gates, George Yeardly and Captain 
Argall, and to George Yeardly again in 1619. 

The administration of George Yeardly marks an epoch in the 
history of mankind. 

Beyond question his inspiration was human liberty and repre- 
sentative govenment. He believed the colonists should have a 
hand in the government of themselves. He called a legislative 
assembly to meet at Jamestown on July 30th, 1619, to be composed 
of two representatives from each of the eleven boroughs into 
which the Colony was divided, and this assembly was called the 
House of Burgesses. 

Thus was planted the germ from which sprang representative 
government in x\merica, and thus to Virginia may be credited the 
honor of being the first State in the world* ''composed of separate 
boroughs diffused over an extensive surface in which the govern- 
ment was organized on the principle of universal suffrage." 

All freemen, without exception, were entitled to vote. 

In the following year, 1620, a Dutch ship landed at Jamestown 
and sold to the planters about twenty Africans to be held as slaves, 
and thus began slavery in America. 

On the 24th day of July, 1621, the London Company gave to 
the Virginia colonists a written Constitution, granting all the rights 


16 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

and liberties theretofore granted l)y George Yeardly, and, about the 
same time, a shipload of English maidens, about one hundred in 
all, arrived at Jamestown. There was great rejoicing, and general 
prosperity prevailed; the colonists were no longer numbered by 
hundreds, but by thousands. 

1622. Sir Francis Wyatt became Governor in the year 1G23, 
and this year witnessed, on March 22d, the massacre of three hun- 
dred and forty-seven men, women and children by the Indians, but 
the Colony continued to grow and prosper. 

The London Company was dissolved by the King in the year 1625, 
and from this time the crowTi of England dictated the policy of the 

Events passed rapidly in Virginia for the next twenty years. One 
governor after another came and Avcnt, but none of them was of 
sufficient importance to be mentioned. 

1634. /.y-In the year 1634^the territory of Virginia was divided 
into eight shires or counties similar to those in England. For each 
shire lieutenants were appointed to look after the military affairs, 
and sheriffs and justices of the peace were commissioned to hold 
courts in each of the counties, or shires. Thus was constituted and 
thus began the county court system that continued with but little 
change until 1870. 

1646. The Virginia Colony in the struggle between Charles T 
of England and his Parliament S3'mpathized with the King and 
did not hesitate, upon the death of Charles I, to recognize his son, 
Charles II, as king. 

- Cromwell sent a force to subdue the Colony in 1650, but the 
attempt was futile and the Virginians submitted only upon condi- 
tion that they be permitted to retain their government and the 
rights and privileges previously bestowed by the kings of England ; 
which was readily agreed to. Eichard Bennett was elected Gover- 
nor, but was shortly thereafter succeeded by Edward Diggs. The 
next Governor of Virginia was Samuel Mathews, a Virginia planter 
of forty years' standing. 

1660. Upon the restoration of Charles II in 1660, Sir William 
Berkley again became the Governor of Virginia. 

1666. The next event of importance in the history of Virginia 
arose in the Colony from the dissatisfaction aroused by the acts of 
the British Parliament and the conduct of Sir William Berkley. A 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 17 

large portion of the people of Virginia, under the leadership of 
JSTathaniel Bacon, rebelled, and drove Sir William Berkley from 
Jamestown and forced the commissioning of Bacon as a general. 
These troubles ceased with the death of Bacon. This is known as 
Bacon's rebellion, and it partook of the spirit that prompted Patrick 
Henry and the people of Virginia, a hundred years later, to aspire 
to liberty and independence. 

For a period of nearly fifty years but little of interest occurred in 
the history of Virginia save the succession of governors. 

1698. The seat of government was removed from Jamestown to 
Williamsburg in 1698. The reason assigned for the removal was 
that Williamsburg was healthier, and the situation more convenient. 

1710. Alexander Spotswood became the Governor of Virginia 
in 1710, and with prudence governed the Colony for twelve years. 
He faithfully guarded the interests of the people of Virginia and, 
during his administration, inaugurated many new enterprises for 
their good.. 

He was the first Postmaster-General for the Colonies and estab- 
lished many postofiices. Under his administration the mails were 
regularly carried from Williamsburg to Philadelphia. The one 
undertaking of this accomplished gentleman and officer that is espe- 
cially interesting to the people of Western Virginia is the expedition 
undertaken by him, when, on the 1st day of August, 1716, he set out 
from Chelsea upon the famous expedition to the Blue Eidge 

The Virginia Colony of one hundred and five souls in 1607 had 
grown to nearly one hundred thousand. Twenty-four counties are 
to be found in the Colony, and the hardy pioneer was fast pushing 
his way to the base of the Blue Eidge mountains, but of the country 
beyond the Blue Eidge mountains notliing was known except the 
indefinite accounts of Indian traders. 

Governor Spotswood determined to explore this unknown region 
and, leaving the home of his son-in-law at Chelsea, in August, 1716, 
accompanied by a gay and gallant band, he began his journey 
through a dense wilderness inhabited by beasts of prey and the cruel 
savage, and after thirty-six days of incessant toil and fatigue, the 
Governor and his party, on September 5, 1716, reached the sum- 
mit of one of the highest peaks of the Blue Eidge mountains, at 
Swift Eun Gap, Augusta county, Virginia. 


Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

What a spot ! What an occasion ! What must have been the feel- 
ings experienced by these gallant knights, when for the first time 
the beautiful Shenandoah was presented to their vision! The 
inspiration of the occasion must have been full compensation for all 
the toil and perseverance expended in the effort. Governor Spots- 
wood, in commemoration of this expedition into the heart of the 
savage wilderness, presented each of the company with a small 
golden horse-shoe set with jewels, and this was the origin of the 
order, "Knights of the Golden Horse-Shoe." 

The inscription upon the golden horse-shoe was "Sic jurat trans- 
cendere montes.'^ (Thus he swears to cross the mountains), and it 
is stated that these mementoes were given to all who would accept 
them, promising to comply with the terms of the inscription. 

Spotswood Crossing the Blue Ridge. 

Governor Spotswood and his company descended the western side 
of the mountain into the valley, and, finding a ford, they crossed 
the Shenandoah river and "took possession of the country for King 
George the First of England." They crossed the Shenandoah river 
on September 6th and called it the Euphrates. 

Thus the first passage of the Blue Eidge into the Valley of 
Virginia was made by Governor Spotswood at this time, but, as 
early as 1710, a company of adventurers found and went to the 
top of the highest mountain with their horses, but did not pass over 
it into the valley, by reason of the lateness of the season. Abraham 
Wood had visited the New Eiver section in the year 1654. 

1738. In the year 1738 the House of Burgesses of Virginia 
passed a bill for the formation of two countries west of the Blue 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 19 

Eidge mountains, and accordingly Orange county was divided and 
that part of Orange county west of the Blue Eidge mountains was 
formed into two counties, called Frederick and Augusta counties. 
Thus was opened to settlement a magnificent country of which 
Washington county is a part, and as the history of Washington 
county is inseparably connected with the early history of Augusta 
county, I will here take leave of the general history of Virginia. 

20 . Southwest Virginia, 17JiG-17SG. 


Indians Living in Close Pkoximity to Southwest Virginia. 

The discovery of America by Columbus in 1492 can be attrib- 
uted to the pious zeal of the Queen of Spain to extend the bene- 
fits of the religion of Eome to all manldnd, and to the search for 
gold. It is a matter of history that the Queen of Spain, to enable 
Columbus to explore the western seas, sacrificed many of the jewels 
pertaining to her queenly estate. 

And the Queen of Spain was but one of many emissaries of the 
church, who, in their zeal, were ready, to brave tlie unknown seas 
and to make any sacrifices to serve their master. With Columbus 
came a number of priests, and with every ship that sailed from the 
co-ast of Spain, France, Portugal and Italy, the missionaries of the 
cross were to be numbered among the passengers, bound for Amer- 
ica, determined to explore the New World, hunt out the inhabitants 
thereof, and convert them' to their master. Thus, within a few years 
after the discovery of America, priests were to be found in almost 
every part of the New World, exploring the country and teaching 
the Indians their blessed religion. The priesthood of Rome in 
those early days were educated, energetic, observing men, as they 
have ever been, and it is to this source that we must look for the 
earliest histor}^ of our country and of the Indian inhabitants for 
many years previous to the coming of the Anglo-Saxon race. 

These early visitors to this portion of America preserved a history 
of their times, and it is to be found in the archives of the govern- 
ments of France, Spain and Portugal, and of the Church of 
Rome. This investigation will not permit any inquiry extending 
beyond the limits of that portion of Southwest Virginia included 
within the bounds of Washington county. 

In the year 1539 Hernando De Soto landed at Tampa, Florida, 
with orders from the Court of Spain to form a settlement on the 
seashore and to explore Florida to its westernmost limits. 

The Spanish government at that time contended that Florida 
included all that part of America extending from the Gulf of 
Mexico on the south to Virginia on the north, and from the 
Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. 

Southwest Virginia, llJ^G-nSG. 21 

Pursuant to his authority De Soto, at the head of a thousand 
nien, exploring the country, traveled in a northerly direction to the 
home of the Appalaches, a tribe of Indians living on the banks of 
a river in Georgia called by the Indians Witchlacooche ; thence, 
continuing in a northerly direction, they passed near the present site 
of Columbia, S. C, where they struck the Santee river, thenoe pass- 
ing up the Saluda branch of the Santee, they came, for the first 
time, to a country uninhabited, and found it difficult to obtain food 
sufficient to sustain themselves, but sending out companies of men 
to search for Indians, after some time a party of men returned 
to camp accompanied by a few Indians, who, being questioned, 
informed De Soto that to the north of them there lived a powerful 
tribe of Indians on the Hogoheegee river (Tennessee river), to 
which place they traveled. This tribe of Indians was called, at that 
time, Cafitachique and was governed by a queen. 

The historian of this expedition, Louis Hernandez De Biedma, 
says : "We remained ten or twelve days in the Queen's village, and 
then set off to continue our explorations of the country." 

De Soto marched thence ton days in a northerly direction through 
a mountainous country where but little food was to be found until 
he reached a province called Xuala, which was thinly settled. Ho 
then ascended to the source of the Great river,* which he supposed 
was the St. Esprit. This information was furnished by De Biedma 
to the King and council of the West Indies in 1544 and is now 
in existence and fully authenticated. 

To any one who will take the time and trouble to investigate this 
matter it will be evident that De Soto and his followers explored 
the country from Florida to the Queen's village, which must have 
been on the Tennessee river near the present site of Knoxville, 
Tennessee. Thence ascending the same to its sources they were, as 
early as 1540, beyond question, visitors to the territory now included 
within the boundaries of Washington county. 

The course pursued and the time required, it has been aptly said, 
confirm this opinion. 

But a small part of the account of this trip of exploration has 
been herein copied, but space will not permit much to be said. The 
reader must not conclude from what has been said that De Soto 
and his followers met with no resistance from the inhabitants of 

*The Indians always spoke of the Tennessee river as the Great river. 

23 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

the country through which they passed, for this same account de- 
tails the incidents connected with many desperate battles between 
the invaders and the invaded, and at no part of the journey did De 
Soto meet such magnificent specimens of mankind or find greater 
resistance than upon his arrival at the Queen's village on the Ten- 
nessee and in his progress thence to the sources of the Great river. 

De Biedma tells us that the inhabitants of Xuala were a hardy 
race, living in log houses daubed with clay and very comfortable in 
the winter season, but that during the summer months they usually 
reposed in the open air, spending much of their time in hunting. 

According to this same authority they used sharped-edged stones, 
slings, bows, arrows and clubs in war and peace. Many evidences 
of the instruments used by the Indians and the places of their 
manufacture are to be found in Southwest Virginia at this date. 

The inhabitants of Xuala lived, as did all the Indian inhabitants 
south of the Potomac and Ohio rivers, in towns, but the towns of 
the inhabitants of Xuala differed from those of most other tribes 
of Indians in this, that their towns generally were so built as to 
combine the requisites of a town and a fort. 

These forts were circular and varied in size from three hun- 
dred to six hundred and a thousand feet in diameter. 

They were sometimes built of stone, and in other instances of 
earth. The embankments were from six to ten feet high and in 
many cases surrounded by ditches of requisite width and depth. 

They were used as towns as well as forts. Many fragments of 
carved stone and earthenware are to be found near those old forts. 

The remnants of these forts or towns can be found in Southwest 
Virginia at this time. 

In Castle's Woods, Eussell county, as well as on the farm of T. P. 
Hendricks and at other places in this county, the evidences of 
former Indian towns are clearly perceptible. 

A stone fort of great size formerly stood in Abb's Valley, Taze- 
well county, and what is spoken of as a remarkable fort is to be 
found on the farm formerly owned by a Mr. Crockett near Tazewell 
C. H., having evident traces of trenches and something like a draw- 

An Indian town stood upon the Byars farm in the upper end of 
this county, and the Indian name thereof is preserved : "Kilmack- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 23 

These forts and other eyidences of Indian occupancy must be 
attributed to the men occupying Xuala at the time of the visit of De 
Soto in 1540, for they cannot be the product of the Cherokees. 
since an examination of the age of trees found growing on these 
forts is sufficient to show that they were there before the coming 
of the Cherokees, and, for this better reason, these forts were not 
built after the manner of the Cherokees. 

From a perusal of the preceding pages it is evident that the 
land of the Xualas of three hundred and sixty years ago was none 
other than Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee, and that it was 
peopled by a hardy, ingenious, war-like race. 

It is proper to state here that many historians repudiate the idea 
that De Soto visited Southwest Virginia in 1540, but it is the 
opinion of this writer that he did visit this section at that time, 
and this opinion is given after a careful perusal of all available 

We know nothing further of the people who inhabited Xuala, or 
Southwest Virginia in 1540. A tradition existed among the Chero- 
kees that these people were driven from Southwest Virginia by 
the Cherokees some time in the ages preceding the coming of the 
white man, but no authentic information exists by which their exit 
can be noted. 

Captain Henry Batte with a company of rangers, by direction of 
Governor Berkley, crossed the Blue Eidge mountains at "Wood's 
Gap now in Floyd county, in 1671 and came near to the habitations 
of a tribe of Indians living on a river flowing westward, said by the 
Indian guides to be the makers and venders of salt to Ihe other 
Indian tribes, and Trembling, in many particulars, the inhabitants 
of Xuala as described by De Biedma, and it is rn^re than prob- 
able that the early inhabitants of Southwest Virginia were not 
driven from their homes until after 1671. 

As far as I can ascertain, the Indian inhabitants of Southwest 
Virginia have been Xualans, Cherokees and Shawnese. 

Some time between the years 1671 and 1685 the Xualans were 
driven from Southwest Virginia by the Cherokee tribe of Indians, 
and this tribe is closely identified with the settlement of Southwest 

Adair, an early writer, says that this tribe of Indians derive their 
name from Chee-ra "fire," which is their reputed lower heaven. 

24 Southwest Virginia, 17 Ji 6-17 80. 

The origin of this tribe is not known, but a tradition existed 
among them that when they crossed the Alleghanies they found a 
part of the Creek Nation inhabitating this countr}^, and it may be 
that the Creek Indians were the inhabitants of ancient Xuala. 

The Cherokees were the mountaineers of ahoriginal America; 
they loved their homes, were brave to a fault, and were never happy 
except when engaged in war. 

This nation and many of their villages will be frequently men- 
tioned in connection with the early exploration and settlement of 
Southwest Virginia, for many times did our ancestors suffer from 
their vigor and enterprise. 

This tribe of Indians gave names to most of the rivers in South- 
west Virginia, and it may be proper to here detail the aboriginal 
names of the rivers of Southwest Virginia. 

The Holston river from its source to the junction of the French 
Broad, was called the Hogoheegee, and from thence to the mouth 
of the Little Tennessee river it was known as the Cootcla. 

The early maps of this section of America made by the French 
explorers gave to the Holston river the name of the Cherokee river ; 
to the Clinch they gave the name of Shawanon, and to the same 
river the English gave the name of Shawanoa, and the Indian 
name for the Clinch river was Pellissippi. 

The Cherokees were not long permitted to enjoy the fruits of 
their conquest, for as early as 1672 the confederacy of the Six 
Nations conquered the Illinois and Shawnese Indians, the latter 
tribe being a part of the Six Nations. 

In 1685 they added to their conquests the Miamis and carried 
their victorious arms to the Mississippi and south as far as Georgia, 
a vast territory twelve hundred miles in length and six hundred 
miles in breadth, and, in doing so, destroyed whole nations of In- 
dians of whom no record was found by the English. 

The Cherokees were driven south of the Tennessee, and settled 
upon the Savannah and in the territory south of the Tennessee, and 
there made their homes until moved by the Anglo-Saxon settlers 
about one hundred years thereafter. 

Thus the vast extent of territory lying south and east of the Ohio 
river and including Southwest Virginia was conquered, but not 
occupied, by the confederacy of the Six Nations, and its inhabitants 
were driven into other countries. It thus became a vast wilderness, 

Southwest Virgmia, 1746-1786. 25 

never thereafter to be occupied until the coming of the white man, 
except by roving bands of Indians while himting, or in passing from 
their habitations in the south to the Indian towns and villages in 

This vast park was filled ^vith the finest game in great quantities, 
and, for more than one hundred years previous to its settlement by 
the Anglo-Saxon, it was jointly used, as if by common consent, as 
a hunting ground by the Cherokees, Shawnese and Six Nations, but 
the Cherokees were compelled to admit the superior title of the Six 
Nations to the sovereignty of the soil, which they did by frequent 
gifts of game killed within the territory. 

Some writers, in explanation of the absence of the Indians from 
this section of America at the time of the early explorations of 
the white man, give the following as a tradition of the Cherokees 
and Shawnese: "tbat in so favored a land, where man's natural 
wants are so fully satisfied, there could be no community of peace 
and happiness^, that with such ease to the body and disquiet to the 
soul the councils of man must always overflow with the vanities 
of argument and the pride of innate egotism; so the tradition was, 
that once of old there was a delegated assemblage of the chiefs of 
the Indian tribes for a conference with the Great Spirit, at which 
conference the Great Spirit detailed certain great calamities that 
had befallen them in the paradise of Hogoheegee, which were trace- 
able to the causes named above, and thereupon the Great Spirit 
ordered all their nations to remeve beyond certain boundaries, out 
of this Eden, which the Great Spirit informed them was too easy 
of life for their content and happiness and their future security." 

Thereupon this vast empire was consigned to the peaceful domin- 
ion of nature, and all the lands upon the waters from the Holston to 
the headwaters of the Kentucky and Cumberland rivers were with- 
out permanent inhabitants. 

The first cause above assigned was the true cause of the uninhab- 
ited condition of Southwest Virginia, the enmity between the Chero- 
kees and Shawnese. This enmity was such as to deter both tribes 
from any considerable aggressions on this territor}^, the middle 
ground between the nations. Many battles were fought between 
these two nations, and, even so late as the summer of 1768, a des- 

26 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

perate battle was fought between the Cherokees and Shawnese near 
Eieh Mountain,* in Tazewell county, Virginia. 

Early in the summer of 1768 about two hundred Cherokee In- 
dians camped near a lick in that part of Southwest Virginia to 
spend the summer in hunting. 

They were soon disturbed by the appearance of several hundred 
Shawnese Indians, their deadly enemies. 

The Shawnese chief immediately sent orders to the Cherokees to 
leave the lick and the hunting grounds, but his messenger was sent 
back with a defiant answer by the Cherokees and both parties began 
to prepare for battle. The Cherokees retired to the top of Rich 
Montain and there threw up, before night, a breastwork consisting 
of an embankment running along the top of the mountain about 
eighty yards and then turning off down the mountain side, the em- 
bankment being three or four feet high and running east and west. 

The battle was opened the evening of the first day, but after 
some fighting the Shawnese withdrew and made preparations to 
begin the attack the following morning. It is said that long before 
day the fiendish yells of the warriors might be heard echoing 
over the rugged cliffs and deep valleys of the surrounding country. 
Day came, and for the space of half an hour, a deathlike stillness 
reigned on the mountain top and side. With the first rays of the 
rising sun a shout ascended the skies as if all the wild animals in 
the woods had broken forth in all their most terrifying notes. 

The sharp crack of rifles and the ringing of tomahawks against 
each other, the screams of women and children and the groans of 
the dying now filled the air around. 

Both parties were well armed and the contest was nearly equal, 
the Shawnese having most men, while the Cherokees had the advan- 
tage of their breastworks. Through the entire day the battle raged, 
and when night closed in, both parties built fires and camped on 
the ground. 

During the night the Cherokees sent to two white men then in the 
vicinity for powder and lead, which they furnished. 

When the sun rose the next morning the battle was renewed with 
the same spirit in which it had been fought on the previous day. In 
a few hours, however, the Shawnese were compelled to retire. The 
loss on both sides was great. A large pit was dug and a common 

*Bickley's History of Tazewell County. 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 27 

grave received those who had fallen in this the last battle fought 
between the red men in this section of America. The battle-ground, 
breastwork and great grave are still to be seen. 

At the time of the earlier explorations of Southwest Virginia the 
nearest permanent Indian settlements were to be found south of the 
Tennessee river. 

Many vestiges of an earlier and numerous population were found 
in Southwest Virginia and, in many instances, are still to be seen, 
indicating a state of civilization far in advance of that found among 
the Indians of that day. 

Tlie first hunters and explorers in their many exped^itions 
throughout all this vast territory never found a single wigwam cr 
Indian village., It was nothing more than the common hunting 
ground of the Cherokees and Shawnese. 

Along the valley of what is known as Southwest Virginia lay the 
usual route of travel between the Southern and Northern Indians, 
whether engaged in peaceful intercourse or warlike expeditions, and 
by this same path they traveled when on the chase or their migra- 

Several considerations prompted the Indians to adopt this course 
in their travelings, viz. : such as the ease with which the mountains 
could be crossed, the abundance of game, the absence of swamps and 
large streams of impassable water and the absence of hostile inhabi- 
tants, and these same considerations led to the early settlement of 
this section and the adoption of this route of travel by the early 
Scotchf^rish and English settlers of Kentucky and Tennessee. 

One of these routes or Indian trails was nearly on the present 
McAdam road passing Eoanoke, Va., thence to New Eiver near 
Inglis' Ferry, thence, following the same McAdam road, to Seven 
Mile Ford, thence to the left of the present main road and following 
near to the present location of the same by Abingdon until it strikes 
the North Fork of Holston river a few miles above the Long 
Island of Holston river, crossing the same at the old ford of the 
North Fork and on into Tennessee until it connected with the great 
warpath of the Creeks. Near Wolf Hills, now Abingdon, another 
route or trail came in from the northwest. This trail from the 
northwest pursued nearly the route traveled by the early settlers to 
Kentucky, crossing the mountains at Cumberland Gap. A more 

28 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

minute description of this trail will be given in another and more 
appropriate place in this book. 

This trail crossed the first above described Indian trail at a point 
on West Main street where the Eussell road leaves Main street. The 
statement has been often made that an Indian trail followed the 
northwest bank of the JSTorth Fork of Holston river through this 
count}', but I am not satisfied that such was a fact. 

Bickley, in his history of Tazewell county, says the principal 
Indian trails through Tazewell county led through the Clinch Val- 
ley, but after the whites began to settle, these Indian trails all led 
from the Ohio river. One of these trails led up the Indian Eidge 
(now on the boundary between Virginia and West Virginia) till 
opposite the Trace Fork of Tug river; it then crossed over to that 
braiich and, keeping into the lowest gap of the hills, led into Abb's 

Another trail, afterwards much used by the whites, left the 
Indian Eidge and struck Tug river at the mouth of Clear Fork 
creek, thence up that creek till it fell over on a branch emptying 
into tlie Dry Fork of Tug river. It then followed that stream to its 
head and passed through Eoark's Gap, near Maxwell's, in Taze- 
well county. 

Another trail cauie up the Louisa Fork of Sandy river, leading 
into the settlements on Clinch river, now in Eussell and Tazewell 
counties. It is worthy of notice tliat these trails always crossed 
the mountains and ridges at the lewdest gaps to be found, and 
frequently, built in these gaps, are to be found monuments of 
rock piled up oftentimes to considerable height. Several of these 
monuments may be seen in this coimty, in Little Moccasin Gap, on 
the Byars farm on Middle Fork, on the Mahaffey farm on South 
Fork, and another in Eoark's Gap, in Tazewell county. 

Eamsey, in his Annals of Tennessee, states that the first described 
Indian trail after leaving Seven Mile Ford bore to the left and fol- 
lowed the Middle and South Forks of Holston river until it crossed 
the North Fork of Holston river at the Old Ford above Long 
Island in Tennessee. 

In making this statement the historian may be correct, and some 
evidences yet remain that might be given to sustain this statement, 
notably a small Indian mound and the vestiges of an old Indian 
village (Kilmackronan), on the north and south sides of the Middle 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 29 

Fork of Holston river, where the same passes through the farm 
formerly owned by Captain James Byars near Glade Spring, and a 
small Indian mound on the farm formerly owned by J. Gr. Mahaffey 
about six miles southeast of Abingdon. 

But we cannot admit this statement to be coj-rect, because the 
route as described is inconsistent with the habits of the Indians, 
besides, it does not confonn to the course pursued by the early set- 
tlers of this section of Virginia. 

The Indian in traveling (almost without a single exception, as 
far as I can ascertain) followed that course of travel which would, 
as far as possible, avoid the crossing of water, and of course he 
followed the highlands near the headwaters of the creeks and rivers. 
It is evident to every man conversant with the topography of this 
county that he would have passed through this county near Glade 
Spring, Meadow View and Abingdon. 

It is generally accepted as true that the early hunters and explor- 
ers in this, as well as other sections of Virginia and the United 
States, followed, almost without a single deviation, the trails made 
and used by the Indians. And to this cause may be attributed the 
fact that many of the public roads of this section when first estab- 
lished were located over the steepest hills and ridges to be found in 
our country. 

In other words, the Indian made his trail over the hills to avoid 
the waters ; the white man adopted the Indian trail as his road 
becaiise it was already open, and possibly, to some extent, for the 
same reason as the Indian, to avoid crossing water. 

We know that the early hunters and settlers traveling through 
and settling in this section, after leaving Seven Mile Ford passed 
througli the Byars farm near Glade Spring, thence near Meadow 
View and through the location of Abingdon of the present day, and 
into Tennessee. 

Another statement made by Eamsey as to this same Indian trail 
is frequently challenged, and for very good reason. 

Ramsey states that this Indian trail crossed the North Fork of 
Holston river above Long Island as above stated, while from all 
present indications this trail crossed the South Fork of Holston 
river at Long Island. 

At least evidences of an Indian trail and ford are to be seen 
near Long Island at this time, and it is not reasonable to believe 

30 Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 

that the Indians would cross the Xorth Fork of the Holston river 
and then the Holston river proper to reach his towns and home, 
when he could cross the South Fork of Holston once and reach his 

While Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee were unoccupied 
by the Indians at the time of the early settlements, still it may not 
be amiss to give briefly a description of the Indian tribes that pre- 
ceded our forefathers and afterwards gave them so much trouble in 
their first undertakings. 

As to the remote Indian inhabitants of this section of the Ameri- 
can Continent, nothing authentic is known beyond the evidences of 
their occupancy to be gathered from tumuli scattered throughout 
the country and the remains found in close proximity thereto. 

These remains indicate the existence, at some distant time, of a 
dense population, civilized to a great extent, and it is not improb- 
able that at a time in the past all this section was the seat of a 
civilization that would have compared favorably with that of Greece 
and Eome. 

The Cherokee Indians Icnew nothing further of these vestiges 
than that their forefathers found them here, and they considered 
them the evidences of a numerous population far advanced in civili- 

The modern Indian held in great veneration these evidences of 
an extinct tribe, and never used them save for religious purposes. 

The piles of stones often found scattered throughout the country, 
generally to be found in the gaps of the mountains and ridges, are 
believed to be the work of modern Indians. The modern Indian 
was of an exceedingly superstitious turn, as all barbarians or 
heathen nations have been. 

It has been for all time not uncommon to find, in heathen coun- 
tries, similar heaps of stone erected by the inhabitants at some 
particular spot, as an offering to an evil spirit, who, according to 
their superstitions, would afflict or bless the passer-by. 

A pile of stone, such as indicated, may be seen near the main 
turnpike road as it passes through Little Moccasin Gap. 

The Indian tribes that molested the early settlers in this section 
were the Cherokees and the Shawnese. 

Adair, an early Indian trader, and later historian, in describing 
the Indian and his passion for revenge, says: 

'Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 31 

"I have known them to go a thousand miles for the purpose of 
revenge, in pathless woods, over hills and mountains, through large 
cane swamps full of grape-vines and briars, over broad lakes, rapid 
rivers and deep creeks and all the way endangered by poisonous 
snakes, if not by the rambling and lurking enemy, while, at the 
same time, they were exposed to the extremities of the heat and 
cold, the vicissitudes of the season, to hunger and thirst, both by 
chance and their religiously scanty method of living when at war, 
to fatigue and other difficulties. Such is their revengeful temper 
that all these things they contemn as imaginary trifles, if they are 
so happy as to get the scalp of their enemy." 

And this record is preserved by a man who spoke from his 
experience with the Cherokee Indians, the one tribe that gave the 
early settlers of this section more trouble than all the Indian tribes 


The Cherokee tribe of Indians, at the time of the. settlement of 
Southwest Virginia, inhabited one of the most attractive sections 
of the American Continent, occupying the banks of the Catawba, 
Savannah, Yadkin and Tennessee rivers on the east and south and 
several of the feeders of the Tennessee on the west. 

There were no fortresses to be found among them. Their settle- 
ments were rude huts scattered irregularly along some water way 
convenient to good pasture land and hunting and fishing grounds. 

They usually had small clearings which were cultivated by the 
women and children in Indian corn and beans. 

But little of the history of the Cherokees can be gathered from 
their traditions. The existence of this tribe of Indians was noted by 
the historian of the expedition of De Soto when traveling in the 
South, and it is said that they came originally from east of the 
Alleghany mountains. Their principal town or capital city was 
Choto, located about five miles from the ruins of Fort Loudon, in 

They were the mountain people of America and loved their homes 
and their liberties. 

They frequently aided the early settlers of this portion of America 
in their wars with the French and English, a company of Indians 
from this tribe having participated in the siege of Fort Du Quesne 

32 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

under Captain Pearls, but much oftener did they carry death into 
the homes of tlie early settlers of the Carolinas and Virginia. 

This tribe, previous to 1769, were numerous and exceedingly 
quarrelsome and arrogant. 

At this time they quarreled with the Chickasaw Indians and 
undertook an invasion of their country, but were overwhelmed by 
the Chickasaws after a great battle at the Chickasaw old fields. 

This overwhelming defeat occurred at the same time that Arthur 
Campl)ell, William Edmiston, and many other ' hardy pioneers 
fii-st pitched their tents on the waters of the Holston and Clinch, 
and there can be no doubt that this occurrence contributed much to 
the rapid settlement of this section of Virginia. 

For thirty years following the advent of the first settlers into this 
country the Cherokees killed and scalped the inhabitants at every 

The population of tliis tribe in 1735 was considerable. Adair 
says that they had sixty^four populous towns, and their fighting 
men numbered ahove six thousand.. 

In the year 1776 the number of warriors pertaining to this tribe 
was two thousand four hundred and ninety-one. 

This h-lhe of Indians now occupy a part of the Indian Territory. 
It will be remembered that the Cherokees used principally the val- 
leys of the Holston in their hunting expeditions and seldom visited 
the valleys of the Clinch. 


But little can be said of this Indian tribe save that it was known 
as a wandering nation. 

At times in their history they occupied territory in almost all 
sections of the country east of the Mississippi river and south of 
the Lakes, but at the time when this tribe gave trouble to our 
ancestors their homes were on the Wabash and Miami rivers, where 
they built many villages. Their principal town, called "Piquo,^' was 
the birthplace of the great Tecumseh. 

This tribe had a tradition respecting their origin. They believed 
their fathers crossed the ocean from the East under the guidance of 
a leader of the Turtle tribe, one of their original subdivisions, and 
that they walked into the sea, the waters of which parted, and thus 
passed over on the bottom to this -land. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 33 

This tribe of Indians were responsible for many of the murders 
and outrages suffered by the early settlers on the Clinch and many 
times on the Holston, the Indians coming by the trails through 
Cumberland Gap and the trails coming into Tazewell county pre- 
viously described. 

The population of this tribe in 1735 did not, according to Adair, 
exceed four hundred and fifty souls. 

This tribe of Indians assisted the British in the wars of 1776 
and 1812, and in the latter struggle did effective service for their 
British allies. 

In 1817 they ceded their lands in Ohio to the United States and 
were soon confined to a small reservation west of the Mississippi 

34 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 


Eaely Explorations of Southwest Virginia by the White 


From the time of the first settlement at Jamestown in 1607, the 
English Colony had grown rapidly and had expanded until their 
western borders were in view of the Blue Eidge. With the usual 
vigor and enterprise of the Anglo-Saxon, we find, in the year 1641, 
a number of the citizens of Virginia petitioning the House of Bur- 
gesses for permission to undertake the discovery of a new river of 
land west and southerly from the Appomattox, and, in March, 1642, 
we find the House of Burgesses passing an act granting such per- 
mission. The act is as follows : 

"Forasmuch as Walker Austin, Eice Hoe, Joseph Johnson and 
Walter Chiles, for themselves and such others as they shall think 
fitt to joyn with them, did petition in the Assembly in June 1641 
for leave and encouragement to undertake the discovery of a new 
river of unknowne land bearing west southerly from Appomattake 
river. Be it enacted and confirmed, that they and every one of them 
and whom they shall admit shall enjoy and possess to them, their 
heirs, executors, administrators or assigns all profit whatsoever they 
in their particular adventure can make unto themselves by such 
discovery aforesaid, for fourteen years after the date of the said 
month of January, 1641, provided there be reserved and paid into 
his Majesty's use by them' that shall be appointed to receive them, 
the fifth part of Eoyal Mines whatsoever ; provided also, that if they 
shall think fit to employ more than two or three men in the said 
discovery they shall then do it by commission from the Governor of 
the Councill."* 

It is well to preserve this the earliest known evidence of the desire 
of any man to hunt out the very country we now occupy. 

The names of a portion of these first daring spirits, Austin, John- 
son and Chiles, afterwards became familiar to our own country, 
and while no evidence is at hand to establish the fact, yet it is more 
than probable that these men by their efforts made possible the 
future success of Walker, Draper, Inglis, Wood, and others. 

^1 Hen. Stat., p. 262. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 35 

The record of the next effort to reach this portion of the wilder- 
ness by the enterprising citizens of Eastern Virginia is to be found 
in an act of the House of Burgesses of Virginia passed in July, 
1653j more than a hundred years before a permanent settlement 
was effected on the waters of the Clinch or Holston rivers. 

The Act is as follows. Passed July, 1653 : 

"Whereas, an act was made in the Assembly, 1642, for encour- 
agement of discoveries to the westward and southward of this 
country, granting them all profits arising thereby for fourteen 
years, which act is since discontinued and made void, it is by 
this Assembly ordered that Colonel William Clayborne, Esq., and 
Captain Henry Fleet, they and their associates vidth them, either 
jointly or severally, may discover, and shall enjoy such benefits, 
profits and trades for fourteen years as they shall find out in places 
where no English ever have been and discovered, nor have had par- 
ticular trade, and to take up such lands by patents proving their 
rights as they shall think good : nevertheless, not excluding others 
after their choice from taking up land and planting in these new 
discovered places, as in Virginia now versed. The like order is 
granted to Major Abram Wood and his associates." 

The three gentlemen, William Clayborne, Henry Fleet and Abra- 
ham Wood, mentioned in this act, each represented a shire in the 
Virginia House of Burgesses, and were intent, no doubt, upon the 
acquisition of wealth and the development of the country. 

We have no information that leads us to believe that any of the 
persons named in the preceding act, with the exception of Colo- 
nel Abraham Wood, at any time made an effort to accomplish the 
purpose of that act. 

Dr. Hale, in his book 'entitled "Trans- Alleghany Pioneers,'^ 
makes the following statement : 

"The New river was first discovered and named in 1654 by Colo- 
nel Abraham Wood, who dwelt at the falls of the Appomattox, now 
the site of Petersburg, Va.^' 

Being of an adventurous and speculative turn, he got from the 
Governor of Virginia a concession to explore the country and open 
up trade with the Indians to the west. There is no record as to 
the particular route he took, but as the line of adventure, explora- 
tion and discovery was then all east of the mountains, it is prob- 

36 Southwest Virginia, 171^0-1786. 

able that he first struck the river not far from the Blue Kidge and 
near the present Virginia and North Carolina lines.'' 

I do not know from what source Dr. Hale obtained this infor- 
mation, and I give it for what it is worth. 

It is reasonable to believe that Colonel Wood made this trip, 
and, to support this view, three circumstances may be mentioned. 
First. The House of Burgesses of Virginia had authorized Colo- 
nel Wood, along with others, in July of the preceding year, to 
discover a new river of unknown land where no English had ever 
been or discovered. Secondly. A gap in the Blue Ridge, lying 
between the headwaters of Smith river, a branch of the Dan, in 
Patrick county, and of Little river, a branch of New river, in Floyd 
county, is to this day called Wood's Gap. Thirdly. The present 
New river was known at first as Wood's river. It is known that 
at the time Thomas Batts and a company of men acting under the 
authority of Colonel Wood visited this section in the year 1671, 
Wood's Gap and New river had been previously visited and named 
by Colonel Wood. 

In the year 1671, Thomas Batts and several other persons 
traveled from the falls of the Appomattox, the present site of Pe- 
tersburg, Va., acting under a commission from Governor Berkley, 
to explore the country west of the Blue Ridge mountains and the 
South Sea. 

It is worthy of notice that at the time this expedition was under- 
taken it was believed that the waters flowing westward beyond the 
Appalachian mountains emptied into the South Sea. 

This was the first effort made to explore the country west of the 
Blue Ridge, of which any record has been preserved. 

A journal of this expedition was made by Thomas Batts, one of 
the company. The first entry in this journal is as follows : 

"A commission being granted the Hon. Maj. Gen. Wood for 
ye finding out of the ebbing and flowing of ye waters behind the 
mountains in order to the discovery of the South Sea: Thomas 
Batts, Thomas Wood, Robert Fallen, accompanied by Perachute, a 
great man of the Appomattox Indians, and Jack Nesan, formerly 
servant to Majr. Genl. Wood, with five horses, set forward from 
Appomattox town in Va., and about eight of the clock in the morn- 
ing being Fryday Septr. 1st. 1671, and traveling about forty miles, 
took up their quarters and found they had traveled from Okene- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 37 

chee path due west: They traveled for twenty-five days, a part of 
the time through that portion of Virginia, near the present line 
between this State and North Carolina, but when they reached the 
foot of the Alleghany Mountains where the same merges into the 
Blue Eidge, now in Floyd Co. Va., they turned to the north west 
at a low place in the said mountain known as Wood's G-ap; and 
after some time they came to a river which Genl. Wood had named 
Wood's Eiver.* This river for many years thereafter was known 
as Wood's Eiver, and many of the early patents in that section 
of the country describe the lands as located upon Wood's Eiver." 
The entry in this diary of date the 16th of Sept. says : "About 
ten of the clock we set forward and, after we had traveled about 
ten miles, one of the Indians killed a deer; presently after they 
had a sight of a curious river like the Thames agt. Chilcey (Chel- 
sea), which having a fall yt made a great noise, whose course was 
N. and so as they supposed, ran W. about certain pleasant mountains 
which they saw to the westward. At this point they took up their 
quarters, their course having been W. by N. At this point they 
found Indian fields with cornstalks in them. They marked the 
trees with the initials of the company, using branding irons, and 
made proclamation in these words: 'Long live King Charles ye 2nd. 
king of England, France, Scotland, Ireland and Virginia and all 
the terrytories thereunto belonging, defender of the faith.' 

"Wlien they came to ye river-side they found it better and 
broader than they expected, fully as broad as the Thames over agt, 
Maping, ye falls much like the falls of the James Eiver in Va., and 
imagined by the water marks it fiowed there about three feet. It 
was then ebbing water. They set up a stick by the water, but 
found it ebbed very slowly." 

At this point their Indian guides stopped, and refused to go any 
farther, saying that there dwelt near this place a numerous and 
powerful tribe of Indians that made salt and sold it to the other 
tribes, and that no one who entered into their towns had ever been 
able to escape. Thereupon the trip was abandoned and they 
started on their return to their homes without having accomplished 
the object of the exploration, to-wlt: the finding of the South Sea. 
But the journal adds that when they were on the top of the hill 
they took a prospect as far as they could see and saw westwardly 

*Now New River. 

38 Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 

over certain delightful hills a fog arise, and a glimmering light as 
from water, and supposed they might be from some great bog. 

Many writers suppose that this exploring party, after reaching 
the New river, descended the same to the falls of the Kanawha, 
but it is more than probable that after they reached the river they 
ascended the same, and the stopping point mentioned in the diary 
was in Southwest Virginia, and near where the New river first 
enters Virginia. 

Upon the return of this company to their homes Governor Berk- 
ley was very much interested in their report, but strange as it 
may seem to the reader, no further attempts were made by au- 
thority of the Government of Virginia for forty years to explore 
the country west of the mountains. 

It will be seen from' the journal of Thomas Batts that he and 
his associates, and, beyond a doubt. Colonel Abraham Wood an- 
ticipated, by more than half a century. Governor Spotswood and 
his Knights of the Golden Horse-Shoe, in the exploration and dis- 
covery of the country west of the Blue Ridge mountains. 

The next effort made to explore the region west of the moun- 
tains, of which we have any account, occurred in 1716, forty-five 
years after the journey made by Thomas Batts, above described, 
and sixty years subsequent to the visit of Colonel Abraham Wood. 

In the month of August, 1716, Governor Alexander Spotswood, 
with several members of his staff, left Williamsburg by coach and 
proceeded to G^rmania, where he left his coach and proceeded on 
horseback. At Germania this party was supplemented by a num- 
ber of gentlemen, their retainers, a company of rangers, and four 
Meherrin Indians — about fifty persons in all. 

They journeyed by way of the upper Eappahannock, and on the 
thirty-sixth day out, being September 5, 1716, they scaled the Blue 
Eidge at Swift Run Gap, now in Augusta county. 

John Fontaine, a member of this company, has left a journal of 
this expedition, and therein thus describes what occurred when 
they reached the summit of the Blue Ridge: "We drank King 
George's health and all the royal family's at the very top of the 
Appalachian mountains." 

The company then descended the western side of the mountain, 
and, reaching the Shenandoah river, they encamped upon its banks. 
Fontaine thus preserves an account of what occurred : 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 39 

"The Governor had graving irons, but could not grave anything, 
the stones were so hard. I graved my name on a tree by the river- 
side, and the Governor hurried a bottle with a paper enclosed on 
which he writ that he took possession of this place in the name 
and for King Geo. 1st. of England. We had a good dinner, and 
after it we got the men together, and loaded all their arms, and 
we drank the King's health in champaign and fired a volley, the 
Princess's health in Burgundy and fired a volley, and in claret 
and fired a volley. We drank the Governor's health and fired an- 
other volley. We had several sorts of liquers', viz. Virginia Eed 
Wine and White Wine, Esquebaugh, brandy, shrub, rum, cham- 
paign, cavory, punch water, cider, etc. 

"We called the highest mountain Mount George and the one we 
crossed over ]\Iount Spotswood." 

Governor Spotswood, from the fertility of the soil, gave the 
name of Euphrates to the river (now Shenandoah), and he be- 
lieved the same emptied into the great lakes and flowed northward. 

The Governor, upon his return to Williamsburg, instituted the 
Order of the Golden-Shoe, and presented to each of the gentlemen 
accompanying him a small horse-shoe made of gold inscribed with 
the motto : Sic jurat transcendere monies, "Thus he swears to cross 
the mountains." 

Governor Spotswood, in a letter written in 1716, says: "The 
chief aim of my expedition over the great mountains in 1716 was 
to satisfy myself whether it was practicable to come to the lakes." 

The country thus described was a part of Sussex county, the 
western boundary of which was undefined. Spotsylvania was 
formed from Sussex in 1720, Orange from Spotsylvania in 1734, 
all of said counties including the territory now within the bounds 
of this county. 

All this information is necessary to a history of Washington 
county, because Washington county was formed from the territory 
we are now dealing with, and, for the better reason, that the pro- 
moters of our early settlements and the founders of our early gov- 
ernment came from the Valley of Virginia. 

In the year 1726, two men named Mackey and Sailings explored 
the Valley of Virginia. 

John Peter Sailings, one of the two explorers of the valley 

40 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

above mentioned, was ca^jtured by the Indians and passed through 
this immediate section as early as 1726. 

Withers, in his history entitled "Border Warfare/' thus de- 
scribes the captivity of Sailings : 

"Sailings," he says, "was taken to the country now known as 
Tennessee, where he remained for some years. In company with 
a party of Cherokees, he went on a hunting expedition to the salt 
licks of Kentucky and was there captured by a band of Illinois 
Indians, with Mdiom the Cherokees were at war. He was taken to 
Kaskaskia, and adopted into the family of a squaw, whose son 
had been killed. While with these Indians he several times ac- 
companied them down the Mississippi river, below the mouth of 
the Arkansas, and once to the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Spaniards in Louisiana, desiring an interpreter, purchased 
him of his Indian mother, and some of them took him to Canada. 
He was there redeemed by the French Governor of that province, 
who sent him to the Dutch settlement in New York, whence he 
made his way home after an absence of six years. 

The earliest visit to this section of Virginia by an Anglo-Saxon 
of which we have any record or knowledge was made by Dority, a 
citizen of Eastern Virginia, who in the year 1690 visited the Chero- 
kee Indians in their home, south of the Little Tennessee, and 
traded wdth them. There can be no reasonable doubt that from 
a very early period, long preceding the making of a permanent 
settlement by the wdiite man in this section, many of the citizens 
of Virginia living east of the mountains carried on, in many in- 
stances, an active trade with the Indians living south of the Little 
Tennessee and in Kentucky, 

This section was uninhabitated by the Indians for many years 
previous to the explorations of the white man, and the wilderness 
was full of game of almost all kinds. Their flesh was valuable, 
and the skins and furs taken in one season by a single hunter would 
bring many hundreds of dollars, and thus many daring hunters 
were induced to visit this section long before any white man thought 
of settling the lands. 

In confirmation of this idea Mr. Vaughan, of Amelia county, 
Va., who died in the year 1801, was employed about the year 1740 
to go as a packman with a number of Indian traders to the Chero- 
kee nation. 

Southwest Virginia, 17 Jf 6-17 86. 41 

The last hunter's cabin he saw as he traveled from Amelia 
county, Va., to East Tennessee was on Otter river, a branch of 
Staunton river, now in Bedford county. The route he traveled 
was an old trading path following closely the location of the Buck- 
ingham road to a point where it strikes the Stage Eoad in Bote- 
tourt county; thence nearly upon the ground which the Stage 
Road occupies, crossing ISTew Eiver at Inglis' Ferry; thence to 
Seven Mile Ford on the Holston; thence to the left of the road 
which formed the old Stage Road; thence on to the North Fork 
of Holston, above Long Island in Tennessee, crossing it where 
the Stage Road formerly crossed it, and on into the heart of Ten- 

This hunter's trail, or Indian trace, was an old path when he 
first saw it, and he continued to travel the same until 1754, trad- 
ing with the Indians. 

In the year 1730, Jolm and Isaac Van Meter obtained from Gov- 
ernor Gooch, of Virginia, a patent for forty thousand acres of land 
to be located in the lower valley, and this warrant was sold in 1731 
to Joist Hite, of Pennsylvania, who, in 1732, brought his family 
and sixteen other families and located a few miles soiith of the 
present site of Winchester, Va., and this is generally believed to 
be the first settlement by a white man west of the Blue Ridge. 

Emigration to this new land was rapid, and soon reached beyond 
the confines of Hite's possessions. 

About the time of the Hite settlement John Lewis, Peter Sal- 
lings and Mackey made settlements in the valley. Lewis 

settled on Lewis' creek near the present site of Staunton, Sailings, 
at the forks of James river and Mackey, at Buffalo Gap. 

Within less than one year the population of the country near 
the settlement made by Lewis was considerable, so rapid was the 
migration to the new land. 

The early settlers in this portion of Virginia had to contend 
with titles obtained by individuals and companies for large tracts 
of land, and such grantees were usually favorites of the King or 
of the King's councillors. 

On the 6th of September, 1736, William Gooch, Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor of Virginia, issued a patent for the "Manor of Beverly," 
covering one hundred and eighteen thousand and ninety-one acres 
of land lying in the county of Orange between the great mountains 

42 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

and on the River Sherando, and on September 7, 1736, William 
Beverlj^^of Essex, became the owner of the entire grant.. 

This patent covered most of the fine lands in the Valley of Vir- 
ginia near Staunton and Waynesboro, and soon thereafter Gov- 
ernor Gooch granted Benjamin Borden -^tfe hundred thousand acres 
of land situated south of Beverly Manor and on the waters of the 
James and Shenandoah rivers. 

Each of the grants above described was to become absolute, pro- 
vided the patentees succeeded in settling a given number of families 
thereon in the time named in the grant, and as a result the paten- 
tees, Hite, Beverly and Borden, solicited and obtained settlers 
from America and Europe. 

Benjamin Borden, upon the receipt of his grant, immediately 
visited England, and in 1737 returned with a hundred families, 
among whom were the McDowells, Crawfords, MeClures, Alex- 
anders, Walkers, Moores, Matthews and many others, the found- 
ers of many of Virginia's distinguished families. 

In 1738, the counties of Frederick and Augusta were formed out 
of Orange. The territories embraced within these two counties in- 
cluded all of Virginia west of the Blue Ridge and was, almost with- 
out exception, a howling wilderness occupied by the Indians and 
wild beasts. It is evident from the statement contained in the act 
establishing Augusta county that there had been a rapid and con- 
siderable increase of the population in the valley. 

The act establishing the county of Augusta provided that the 
organization of the county should take place when the Governor 
and Council should think there was a sufficient number of inhabi- 
tants for appointing jiistices of the peace and other officers and 
creating courts therein. 

While the act establishing Augusta county was passed in 1738, 
the county was not organized until 1745. The first court assem- 
bled at Staunton on December 9, 1745, at which time the following 
magistrates were sworn in, having been previously commissioned y 
by the Governor of Virginia — viz. : James Patton^, John Buchanan, 
George Robinson, James Bell, Robert Campbell, John Lewis, John 
Brown, Peter Scholl, Robert Poa^^, John Findley, Richard Woods, 
John Christian, Robert Craven, John Pickens, Andrew Pickens,"" 
Thomas Lewis,. Hugh Thompson, John Anderson,'' Robert Cun- 
ningham, James Kerr and Adam Dickenson. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 43 

James Patton was commissioned high sheriff, John Madison, 
clerk, and Thomas Lewis, surveyor of the county. 

It is worthy of note that James Patton, the first sheriff of Au- 
gusta county, was the first man to survey and locate lands within 
the boundaries of Washington county as originally formed, and the 
land by him acquired composed a considerable part of the best lands 
within this county. 

The idea of offering the dissenters from the Church of England 
inducements to settle the lands west of the mountains had often 
1:)een suggested and earnestly advocated by many of the promi- 
nent men in the Virginia Colony, but no move in that direction 
was taken until about the time of the first settlement o.f the lower 
Valley, at and after which time the Governoa- and Council of Vir- 
ginia, with but little hesitancy, permitted the erection of dissenting 
churches in the Valley, and encouraged the immigration of settlers 
whenever possible. 

The result of this action was a flood of settlers, emigrants froan 
Scotland and Ireland, who came by way of Pennsylvania, mostly 
Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in belief. They passed into and settled 
in the Valley, and in a few years the Valley from Harper's Ferry 
to ISTew river was populated with a progressive, liberty-loving peo- 
ple second to none on earth. 

Colonel James Patton, who came from the north of Ireland in 
1736, was one of the first and most influ-cntial settlers of the Val- 
ley of Virginia. 

In the year 1745, he secured a grant from the Governor and 
Council of Virginia, for one hundred and twenty thousand acres 
of land west of the Blue Eidge, and he and his son-in-law, John 
Buchanan, who was also deputy surveyor of Augusta county, lo- 
cated lands on the James river, and founded and named Buchanan 
and Pattonsburg, villages that were built on the opposite sides of 
the James river, now in Botetourt county. 

In the year 1748, Dr. Thomas Walker, who afterwards, on the 
39th day of September, 1752, qualified as a deputy surveyor of 
Augusta county; Colonel James Patton, Colonel_Jqhn Buchanan, 
Colonel James Wood and Major Charles Campbell, accompanied 
by a number of hunters, John Findlay being of the number, ex- 
plored Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee, and located and 

44 Southwest Virgmia, 17Ji6-17SG. 

surveyed ;i miiiil)er of very v;iliial)l(! tracts of land by authority of 
the grant to Colonel James Patton. 

We give below a list of the first surveys made on the waters of 
the Holston and Clinch rivers. 

This information i« derived from the surveyor's recorcTs 
of Augusta county at Staunton, Va. Each of the above surveys 
is signed by Thomas Lewis, surveyor of Augusta county, and in 
the left-hand corner of the plot, recorded with each survey, are 
w^ritten the letters J. B., the initials of John Buchanan, deputy 
snryeyor of the county. 

Tt is evident from this rc>eord that John Buchanan surveyed the 
rseveral tnicts of land first located in Washington county, and that 
he was on the waters of the Indian or Holston river surveying as 
early as the 14th day of March, 174(5. 

It will be observed from an inspection of this list of surveys 
that on April 2, 1750, there was surveyed for Edmund Pendleton 
3,000 acres of land lying on AVest creek, a branch of the South 
Fork of Indian river, which tract of la,nd now lies in Sullivan 
county, 'I'ennessee. 

'^^riiis ti'act was patented to Edmund Pendleton in 1756 ujjon the 
idea that the Virginia line, Avhen run, Avould embrace these lands. 

]t is \\(n-thy of note (hat these early explorers and the many 
hunters and traders who had previously visited this section called 
the Holston river the Indian river, while the Indians gave it the 
name of Hogoheegee, and the French gave it the name of the 
Cherokee river. 

All of the lands surveyed in this county previously to 1,748 are 
described in the surveys as being on the waters of the Indian river. 
These explorers returned to their homes delighted, no doubt, with 
the excellent lands they had visited, but nothing resulted from their 
efforts save the acquisition of a knowledge of the country. 

At the time Dr. Walker and his associates made their trip of 
exploration above described they were followed as far as New river 
by Thomas Inglis and his three sons, Mrs. Draper and her son and 
daughter, Adam Harman, Henry Leonard and James Burke, pio- 
neers in search of a home in the wilderness. Lands were surveyed 
for each of them, which lands are described in the respective sur- 
veys as lying on Wood's river, or the waters of Wood's river. Here 

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they made a settlement, the first west of the Alleghany divide and 
the first on Wood's or New river. 

The name given to this new settlement was "Draper's Meadows." 

The surveys, with accompanying plats for these, the first set- 
tlers on any of the waters flowing into the Mississippi, are exceed- 
ingly interesting and instructive. 

These first settlers were immediately followed by a large num- 
ber of other persons. 

The Alleghany mountains having been crossed and the waters 
flowing into the Mississippi reached, the pioneer rapidly sought to 
bring the wilderness under his dominion. The first company of 
settlers at Draper's Meadows were at once increased by new ar- 
rivals, and numerous tracts of land west of ISTew river and near 
what were afterwards known as the Lead Mines occupied. Among 
the early settlers in that section of Southwest Virginia were the 
Crocketts, Sayers, Cioyds, McGavocks and McCalls. 

James Burke, with his family, settled in 1753 in what has since 
been known as Burk's Garden, and Charles Sinclair in Sinclair's 
Bottom. Stephen Holston built his cabin within thirty feet of the 
head spring of the Middle Fork of Indian, since called Holston 
river, some time previous to 174'8, and thus Burke, Sinclair and 
Holston gave names to the localities of their early settlements. 

A colony of people called "Dunkards" settled on the west side of 
New river near Inglis' Ferry, and in the year 1750 Samuel Stal- 
naker, with the assistance of Dr. Walker and his associates, erected 
his cabin on the Holston nine miles west of Stephen Holston's 

It is worthy of mention in this place that in this year, 1749, 
the commissioners appointed by the Legislatures of Virginia and 
North Carolina continued the boundary line between Virginia 
and North Carolina to a point on Steep Eock Creek,* in this county. 

Dr. Walker and his associates had met Samuel Stalnaker on the 
waters of the Holston in April, 1748, between the Eeedy Creek 
settlement and the Holston river, at which time it is evident, from 
a journal kept by Dr. Walker, that Stalnaker told Walker and his 
associates of the Cumberland Gap, and made an engagement with 
Dr. Walker to pilot him upon a trip to Kentucky at a subsequent 

*Now Laurel Fork of Holston river. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 47 

The French had established settlements on the waters of the 
Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and claimed, by right of discovery 
and occupancy, as territory belonging to the French crown, all 
the lands west of the Alleghany mountains, and were actively as- 
serting their right to all of this territory at all times and by every 
possible means. It is claimed that the French had established a 
fort near the Broad Ford of the Tennessee river, and had opened 
and operated mines in the territory now included in Eastern Ken- 
tucky; and it is well Icnown that the French traders were to be 
found in nearly all of the Indian villages east of the Mississippi 
river and west of the Alleghany mountains. 

The English Government and the American Colonies denied the 
pretensions of the French crown, and looked with jealousy upon 
every movement made by France in the direction of the accom- 
plishment of her claim. 

As a result, on the 12th day of July, 1749, the Governor and 
Council of Virginia granted to the "Ohio Company" 500,000 acres 
of land, to be surveyed and located south of the Ohio river, and 
to forty-six gentlemen, styling themselves the "Loyal Company," 
leave to take up and survey 800,000 acres of land in one or more 
surveys, beginning on the bounds between this State and North 
Carolina and running to the westward and to the north seas to 
include the said quantity, with four years' time to locate said land 
and make return of surveys. 

The "Ohio Company" employed Christopher Gist, one of the 
most noted surveyors of that time, to go, as soon as possible, to the 
westward of the Great Mountains, and to carry with him such a 
number of men as he thought necessary, in order to search out and 
discover the lands upon the river Ohio and other adjoining branches 
of the Mississippi, down as low as the Great Falls thereof, now 
Louisville, Kentucky. 

He was also directed to observe the passes through the mountains, 
to take an exact account of the soil and products of the lands, the 
width and depth of the rivers, the falls belonging to them, the 
course and bearings of the rivers and mountains, and to ascertain 
what Indians inhabitated them, with their strength and numbers. 

Pursuant to his instructions, he set out from the old town on 
the Potomac river, in Maryland, in October, 1750, and spent many 
days on the lands south of the Ohio river, in the present State 

48 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

of Kentucky; he finall_y came to the Cumberland mountains at 
Pound (lap, at which gap he crossed and passed down Gist's river 
to Powell's and Clinch valleys. On Tuesday, the 7tli day of May, 
1751, he came to"New river and crossed the same about eight miles 
above the mouth of Bluestone river. On Saturday, the 11th, he 
came to a very high mountain, upon the top of which was a lake 
or pond about three-fourths of a mile long northeast and south- 
west, and one-fourth of a mile wide, the water fresh and clear, 
its borders a clean gravelly shore about ten yards wide, and a fine 
meadow with six fine springs in it. 

From this description it is evident that Gist visited Salt Lake 
mountain, in Giles county, Va., as early as 1751, and found the 
lake as it now is. 

It is evident from this journal that the traditions that we 
so often hear repeated about this lake are nothing more than mythi- 
cal, and that this lake existed as it now is at the time of the earliest 
explorations of the white man. Colonel Gist then passed south 
about four miles to Sinking Creek and on to the settlements. 

In the meantime the "Loyal Companj'^' were not idle, but, hav- 
ing employed Dr. Thomas Walker for a certain consideration, 
sent him on the 12th day of December, 1749, in company with 
Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, Henry Lawless and John 
Hughes, to the westward in order to discover a proper place for a 
settlement. A journal of this trip will be found in the Appendix 
to this work, and the reader will find a perusal of this journal ex- 
ceedingly interesting, as Dr. Walker and his associates passed di- 
rectly through what might reasonably be termed the centre of 
Washington county. 

It will be necessary, in speaking of this journal of Dr. Walker's, 
to call the reader's attention to only a few incidents connected 
with the trip, which we will do as briefly as possible. 

On March 15, 1750, they came to the "Great Lick," now the 
present site of the city of Eoanoke, Va., at which place they 
bought corn of Michael Campbell for their horses, at which time 
Dr. Walker remarks: "This Lick has been one of the best places 
for game in these parts, and M^ould have been of much greater 
advantage to the inhabitants than it has been if the hunters had 
not killed the buffaloes for diversion and the elks and deer for 
their skins," 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 49 

It has been the prevailing opinion that there were no bniialoes 
east of the Blue Eidge, and while the Great Lick, or Eoanoke 
City, is west of the Blue Eidge, it is altogether probable that buf- 
faloes in their range did oftentimes travel beyond the mountains; 
at any rate it is known that Colonel Byrd killed buffaloes in 1739 
on the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina and 
south of Eoanoke. 

They thence went up the Staunton river, now -called the Little 
Eoanoke river, to William Inglis'. Dr. Walker, at this point, 
notes the fact that William Inglis had a mill which is the fur- 
thest back, except one lately built by the sect of people who called 
themselves of the Brotherhood of Euphrates, or "Duncards," who 
are the upper inhabitants of the New river and lived on the west 
side of the same. 

It is well to note at this point that the present village of Blacks- 
burg is near the locality occupied by William Inglis in 1750. The 
Dunkards spoken of by Dr. Walker lived on the west side of New 
river opposite Inglis' Ferry, several miles above the crossing of 
the Norfolk and Western railroad. Their next stopping point was 
on a small run between Peak Creek and Eeed Creek, or between 
Pulaski city and Max Meadows of the present day. They next 
camped near James McCall's on Eeed Creek, and on the 22d of 
March they reached a large spring about five miles below Davis' 
Bottom, on the Middle Fork of Holston river, where they camped; 
they moved thence down the Middle Fork of Holston, where they 
again camped, and Ambrose Powell and Dr. Walker went to look 
for Samuel Stalnaker and found his camp, he having just moved out 
to settle. They assisted Stalnaker in building his house, and spent 
the Sabbath about one-half a mile below him. On Monday, the 
36th, they left the frontiers of civilization, Stalnaker's settlement 
being the farthest west at that time. Their trip was not eventful 
until the 30th, on which day they caught two young buffaloes, and 
on the 31st they traveled down the Eeedy creek to the Holston 
river at the foot of Long Island, where they measured an elm 
tree twenty-five feet in circumference three feet from the ground. 
They crossed the North Fork of the Holston about one-half a 
mile above the junction of the North and South Fork rivers at 
a ford. At this point they discovered evidences of Indians. They 
found, in the fork between the North and South Forks of Holston 

50 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

river, five Indian houses built with logs and covered with bark, 
around which there were an abundance of bones and many pieces 
of mats and cloth. On the west side of the North Fork of Hol- 
ston river they foimd four Indian houses, and four miles south- 
west of the junction of the North and South Forks of Holston 
river they discovered an Indian fort on the south side of the main 
Holston river. 

On April 2d they left the Holston river and traveled in a north- 
west direction toward Cumberland Gap, passing over Clinch moun- 
tain at Loony's. Gap, it is thought. They reached the Clinch river 
above the present location of Sneedsville, in Hancock county, Ten- 
nessee, and on the 12th day of April they reached Powell's river, 
ten miles from Cumberland Gap. It is well to note at this point 
that Ambrose Powell, one of Dr. Walker's companions, cut his 
name upon a tree on the bank of this river, which name and tree 
were found in the year 1770 by a party of fifteen or twenty Vir- 
ginians on their way to Kentucky on a hunting expedition, from 
which circumstance the Virginia Long Hunters gave it the name 
of Powell's river, which name it still retains. On the 13th they 
reached Cumberland Gap, which gap Dr. Walker afterwards named 
Cumberland Gap in honor of the Duke of Cumberland, the son 
of George II, and the commander of the English forces, on the 
16th of April, 1746, at Culloden, where he defeated, with great 
slaughter, the Highland forces, refusing quarter to the wounded 

On the 17th of April he reached the Cumberland river and 
named it at that time. On the 23d a part of this company was 
left to build a house and plant some peach stones and corn. On 
the 28th Dr. Walker returned to his company and found that 
they had built a house 12x8 feet, cleared and broken up some 
ground and planted corn and peach stones. 

This was the first house built by an Anglo-Saxon in the State 
of Kentucky, and it was used and occupied as late as 1835. The 
location of this house is on the farm of George M. Faulkner, about 
four miles below Barboursville, Ky. They thence traveled in a 
northeast direction, crossing Kentucky river and New river and 
striking the waters of the Greenbrier, and on the 13th day of 
July Dr. Walker reached his home. On this journey they killed 
thirteen buffaloes, eight elks, fifty-three bears, twenty deer, four 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 51 

wild geese and about a hundred and fifty turkeys, and could have 
killed three times as much meat if they had wanted it. 

It is to be recollected that this trip and the building of the cabin 
in the wilderness of Kentucky was all in the interest of the "Loyal 

i\.bout this time the "Ohio Company" entered a caveat against 
the "Loyal Company," and the Lo3/al Company got into a dispute 
with Colonel James Patton, who had an unfinished grant below 
where this company were to begin, and no further progress was 
made by the company until June 14, 1753. 

In the year 1748, Mr. Gray, Mr. Ashford Hughes and others 
obtained a grant from the Governor and Council for 10,000 acres 
of land lying on the waters of the New river, which grant was 
soon afterwards assigned to , Peter Jeiferson (father of Thomas 
Jefferson), Dr. Thomas Walker, Thomas Merriweather and David 
Merriweather, which lands were surveyed and principally settled 
in the early days of the settlement of this section. 

About the same time the Governor and the Council of Virginia 
granted to John Lewis, of Augusta, and his associates 100,000 
acres of land to be located on the Greenbrier river, and thus the 
English Government sought to displace the French in their efforts 
to settle and hold the lands west of the Alleghany mountains. 

On the other hand, the movements of the English were closely 
watched by the French, who were equally determined to defeat 
them in their aspirations. A company of French soldiers in 1752 
were sent south as far as the Miami river to notify the English 
traders among the Indians to leave the country, which they re- 
fused to do, and thereupon a fight ensued between the French and 
Indians, in which fourteen Miami Indians were killed and four 
white prisoners were taken, and thus began the contest which re- 
sulted in the loss to France of all her possessions in Canada and 
east of the Mississippi river. 

In April of the year 1749, the house of Adam Harmon, one of 
the first settlers near Inglis' Ferry, on New river, was visited by 
the Indians, and his fuis and skins stolen. 

*This was the first Indian depredation committed on the white 
settlers west of the Alleghany mountains. 

In the month of November, 1753, the House of Burgesses of 

^Dr. Hale's "Trans-Alleghany Pioneers. 

52 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

Virginia passed an act for the further encouraging of persons to 
settle on the waters of the Mississippi, which act we here copy in 
full : 

1. Whereas, it will be the means of cultivating a better cor- 
respondence with the neighboring Indians if a farther encour- 
ageinent be given to persons who have settled on the waters of 
the Mississippi, in the county of Augusta; and, whereas, a con- 
siderable number of persons, as well his majesty's natural born sub- 
jects as foreign Protestants, are willing to come into this Colony 
with their families and effects and settle upon the lands near the 
said waters in case they can have encouragement for so doing; and, 
whereas, the settling of that part of the country will add to the 
security and strength of the Colony in general and be a means of 
augmenting his majesty's revenue of quit rents ; 

2. Be it therefore enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor, Council 
and Burgesses of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby 
enacted by the authority of the same. That all persons being Prot- 
estants who have already settled or shall hereafter settle and reside 
on any lands situated to the westward of the ridge of mountains 
that divide the rivers Eoanoke, James and Potowmack, from the 
Mississippi in the county of Augusta, shall be and are exempted 
and discharged from the payment of all public county and parish 
levies for the term of fifteen years next following, any law, usage, 
or custom to the contrary thereof, in any wise notwithstanding.* 

The English Government were exceedingly anxious to encourage 
the settlements on the waters of the Mississippi and thereby 
strengthen their frontiers and fortify their claim to the lands lying 
west of the Alleghany mountains, and, in keeping with this desire, 
the Governor and Council of Virginia, on June 14, 1753, renewed 
the grant to the "Loyal Company" and allowed them four years' 
farther time to complete the surveying and seating of said land, and 
on the 6th day of July following Dr. Thomas Walker, their agent, 
proceeded with all convenient speed to survey said land and to sell 
the same to purchasers at three pounds per hundred acres, exclu- 
sive of fees and rights. The basis of the operations of Dr. Walker 
was in Southwest Virginia, and by the end of the year 1754 he had 
surveyed and sold 224 separate tracts of land containing 45,249 
acres, which surveys were made in the name of the several pur- 

*Hen. S., p. 356. , 

Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 53 

chasers from him, and many of the said tracts of land were actually 
occupied by settlers. 

During this time James Patton was actively at work surveying 
and selling lands to settlers under his grant from the Governor and 
Council, and the tide of emigration was fast settling towards South- 
west Virginia, when the French-Indian war of 1754-1763 came on, 
which war began in all its fury about this time, and thereby Dr. 
Walker, agent for the "Loyal Company," and James Patton and 
others were prevented, for the time being, from further prosecuting 
their enterprises in surveying and settling this portion of Virginia. 

In the spring of 1754, numbers of families were obliged, by an 
Indian invasion, to remove from their settlements in Southwest 
Virginia, and these removals continued during the entire war. It 
will be well here to note the fact that the lands held by Stephen 
Holston, James ]\IcCall, Charles Sinclair and James Burke, the 
earlier settlers of this portion of Virginia, were held by them under 
what were known at that time as "corn rights — that is, under the 
law as it then stood, each settler acquired title to a hundred acres 
for every acre planted by him in corn, but subsequent settlers, as 
a general rule, held their lands under one of the above-mentioned 
grants. Stephen Holston, who settled at the head spring of the 
Middle Fork of Holston some time prior to 1748, did not remain 
long at this place, but sold his right to James Davis, who, on the 
19th of March, 1748, had John Buchanan, deputy surveyor of 
Augusta county, to survey for him at this point a tract of land con- 
taining 1,300 acres, to which he gave the name of "Davis' Fancy," 
and the descendants of James Davis occupy a portion of this land 
to this day. 

Stephen Holston, when he had disposed of his rights to Davis, 
constructed canoes, passed down the Holston, Tennessee and Mis- 
sissippi rivers to Natchez, Mississippi, and thence returned to Vir- 
ginia, and settled in Culpeper county, where he lived in 1754; af- 
terwards, in 1757, he was captured by the Indians, but, making 
his escape, he returned to the waters of the Holston, and served 
under Colonel Christian upon the expedition to Point Pleasant in 
1774, and in the expedition against the Cherokees in 1776. Many 
of his descendants are to be found in East Tennessee at this time. 

At the beginning of the year 1753 two families resided on Back 
creek; James Eeed, at Dublin, Va. (from whom Eeed creek de- 

54 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

rived its name); two families on Cripple creek; James Burk, in 
Burk's Garden; Joseph and Esther Crockett, at the head waters 
of the South Fork of Holston river; James Davis, at the head 
waters of the Middle Fork of Holston river, and a family of Dimk- 
ards, by the name of McCorkle, on the west bank of New river 
near Inglis' Ferry. Of these facts we have record evidence. 
Many other families resided west of New river, of whom we have 
no record. 

And thus closes the record of the first efforts made to explore 
and settle Southwest Virginia by the white man. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-17S6. 55 


Southwest Virginia. 

1754-1770. Thus matters stood at the beginning of the year 
1754. Governor Dinwiddie, in this year, dispatched George Wash- 
ington on a mission to the French commander on the Ohio. 
Washington, accompanied by Christopher Gist, arrived at the 
French headquarters, which were situated near the present city 
of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he delivered the dispatches 
from Governor Dinwiddie, informing the French commander that 
war was inevitable unless he immediately withdrew from the coun- 

The French commander denied the right of Governor Dinwiddie 
to give him orders in the premises, and declared his purpose to 
destroy every settlement made by the Virginians in the west. 

To form some idea of the spirit of the American colonies in re- 
gard to the French settlements on the Ohio and their apprehen- 
sions therefrom. Governor Dinwiddie wrote to Earl Granville, in 
1754, that the French intended to build forts, not only on the Ohio, 
but on Greenbrier, Holston and New rivers, and the French and 
Indians, he says, are now making incursions among our inhabi- 
tants in Augusta coimty, driving them from their homes. 

Washington returned to Williamsburg and reported the result 
of his trip, whereupon the Governor of Virginia proceeded to raise 
a regiment under Colonel Joshua Fry and Lieutenant- Colonel 
George Washington. This regiment immediately proceeded to the 
west, and at Eedstone, Western Pennsylvania, they encountered 
a force, composed of Indians and French, which they attacked, kill- 
ing ten and capturing the rest. 

They proceeded to the Great Meadows, halted, and built a fort, 
to which they gave the name of "Fort Necessity." On the 3d day 
of July, 1754, a force of French and Indians, numbering about a 
thousand, under the command of Count de Villiers, vigorously 
assaulted the fort and attempted to take it. The siege lasted for 
nine hours, at the end of which time the French leader sent in a 
flag of truce offering to receive the surrender of the fort upon hon- 

5G Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

orable terms, wliicli offer was accepted, and the Virginians marched 
out next morning. 

In the spring of 1755, the American colonies attacked the French 
at Nova Scotia, Crown Point, Niagara and on the Ohio river. 

The attack on the French and Indians on the Ohio was com- 
manded by General Braddock, who had arrived from England 
early in tliat year with two royal regiments — the Eighteenth and 
Forty-fourth. Virginia sent 800 men to join Braddock, and the 
Virginia troops were commanded by Captains Waggoner, Cock, 
Hogg, Stevens, Poulson, Perrony, Mercer and Stewart. Brad- 
dock marched from Alexandria, Virginia, on the 30th of April, 
1755, with 2,200 men, and on the 9th of July he reached the 
Monongahela river, where his troops fell into an ambuscade. 
Braddock was mortally wounded, and his army put to flight, with 
a loss of 777 men killed and wounded, and had it not been for the 
coolness and courage of Washington and his Virginia troops the 
entire army would have been destroyed. 

The army retreated a himdred and twenty miles into the set- 
tlement, and the whole frontier of Western Virginia was thus left 
open to the ravages of the French and Indians. The French and 
Indians crossed the Alleghany mountains into the valley and to 
New river, killing and scalping, in the most horrible manner, 
men, women, and children without distinction, and thus ended 
the first year of the war. 

On the 21st day of March, 1755, the County Court of Augusta 
county appointed George Stalnaker constable on the waters of the 
Holston and New rivers, and he built a stockade fort at Dunk- 
ards' Bottom, the name of which was, according to some writers. 
Fort Frederick, but there is some doubt about it. 

In the month of February, 1755, William Wright, an ensign, 
who was stationed at Fort Lewis, near Salem, Virginia, by Major 
Andrew Lewis, accompanied by twenty men, marched to the head 
waters of the Holston river for the purpose of protecting the set- 
tlers, but his movements were so slow that he failed to accomplish 
anything, and, upon his return, he was reprimanded by the Gov- 
ernor of Virginia. 

The New river settlers were not permitted to escape the ravages 
of the Indians and the French, for on the 8th day of July, 1755, 
the day before Braddock's defeat, a considerable party of Shaw- 

Southwest Virginia, 17JfG-1786. 57 

nese Indians fell upon this settlement and wiped it out of exist- 
ence. Colonel James Patton, Casper Barrier, Mrs. George Draper 
and a child of John Draper were killed. Mrs. William Inglis and 
her two children, Mrs. John Draper and Henry Leonard were taken 
prisoners. Mrs. Inglis was taken to Ohio, thence to Bone Lick, 
Kentucky, whence she and an old Dutch woman made their es- 
cape, and, after many days, returned to her home on New river. 

This invasion occurred on Sunday, the 8th day of July, 1755. 
Colonel Patton, accompanied by William Preston, was on a visit 
to the New river settlement, and was detained by sickness at the 
house of William Inglish. William Preston, William Inglis and 
John Draper were away from the house at the time. Mrs. John 
Draper, who first discovered the Indians, ran to the house, secured 
her infant child, and attempted to make her escape by the opposite 
side of the house, but she was detected by the Indians, and, having 
one of her arms broken, the child fell to the ground. She then 
took the child in the other arm and continued her flight, but was 
soon overtaken, the child taken from her, and its brains dashed 
out upon a log by the Indians. Colonel Patton, at the time of the 
attack, was seated at a table writing, with his broad sword beside 
him. He immediately arose, and killed two of the Indians be- 
fore he was shot by others beyond his reach. 

The Indians then plundered the premises and began a hasty re- 

On their retreat they passed the house of an old man by the 
name of Philip Barger, whom they killed by severing his head 
from his body, and carried it off in a bag. It was several days 
before efforts were made to overtake the enemy and rescue the 
prisoners, as Vause's Fort was the nearest point from which help 
could be obtained. 

Mrs. Inglis and the other prisoners were carried by the Indians 
to Ohio. Mrs. Inglis was al)sent from her home about five months, 
when, in the month of December, 1755, she reached the house of 
Adam Harmon on New river, whence she was taken to a small fort 
at Dunkards' Bottom, on the west side of New river, where she was 
found on the next day by her husband and her brother. The other 
captives, with but few exceptions, were either rescued or redeemed 
and returned to their homes after many years. 

The body of Colonel James Patton was buried at Draper's 

58 Southivcst Virginia, 1746-17S6. 

Meadows. Colonel John Buchanan sent a company of men to 
pursue the Indians, but they did not succeed in overtaking them, 
and thus occurred the first Indian massacre of the white inhabitants 
of Southwest Virginia. 

About ten miles west of where Christiansburg now stands, and 
near the former residence of Captain Jacob Kent, about two and 
a half miles east of Lafayette and on the head waters of the Eoa- 
noke river, there stood a small fort that in those days was known 
as Vause's Fort, and this was the nearest place of refuge for the 
settlers on New river. 

In the fall of the year 1755, about a hundred French and Indians 
came upon the ISTew river, and assaulted and captured this fort 
and killed or carried into capti\ity twenty-four persons, not a 
single person escaping. This was a private fort, constructed by 
the settlers for their own protection, and was built of logs and 
easily captured. 

As best I can ascertain, at the time of this invasion James 
Burk, who had settled in Burk's Garden in the year 1753, was 
captured with his entire family; they were all either killed or car- 
ried into captivity. 

A register of the persons who were killed, wounded, and taken 
prisoners in the 3'ears 1754, 1755, and 1756 on the New river, 
Eeed creek, and Holston rivers has been preserved, and is as fol- 

1754, Stephen Lyon, Holston Eiver, killed. 
October. John Godman, Holston Eiver, killed. 

Benjamin Harrison, Holston Eiver, killed. 

1755, Burk, Holston Eiver, prisoner; escaped. 

]\Iay 3. Mary Baker, Holston Eiver, wounded. 

June 18. Samuel Stalnaker, Holston, Eiver, prisoner; escaped. 

Samuel Hydon, Holston Eiver, prisoner. 

Adam Stalnaker, Holston Eiver, killed. 

Mrs. Stalnaker, Holston Eiver, killed. 

A servant man, Holston Eiver, killed. 

Mathias Connie, Holston Eiver, killed. 
June 19. Michael Houck, Holston Eiver, killed. 
July 3. James McFarland, New Elver, killed. 

John Bingeman, New Elver, killed. 

Mrs. Bingeman, New Eiver, killed. 

Southtvest Virginm, 17Jf6-17S6. 59 

Adam Bingeman, New River, killed. 

John Cook. New Eiver, killed. 

Henry Lin, New River, killed. 

A young child, New River, killed. 

Nathaniel Welshire, New River, wounded. 

Dutch Jacob, New River, wounded. 

His wife, New River, prisoner ; escaped. 

Frederick Stern, New River, wounded. 

Mrs. Bingeman, Jr., New River, wounded. 

Mrs. Davis, New River, wounded. 

Isaac Freeland, his wife and five children. New River ; 

Bridgeman's son and daughter and a stranger, New 

River; prisoners. 
July 12. ^Lieutenant Wright and two soldiers, Reed Creek, killed. 
30. \ Colonel James Patton, Now River, killed, t--— 
Caspar Barrier, New River, killed. 
Mrs. Draper and one child. New River, killed. 
James Cull, New River, woimded. 
Mrs. English (Inglis) and her two children. New River, 

prisoners; escaped. 
Mrs. Draper, Jr., New River, prisoner. 
Henry Leonard, New River, prisoner. 
Morris Griffith, Vause's Fort, prisoner ; escaped. 
Robert Looney and a Dutchman, Reed Creek, killed. 
John Lee, Reed Creek, killed. 
Michael Motes, Reed Creek, killed. 
Patrick Smith, Reed Creek, killed. 
Moses Mann, Reed Creek, prisoner. 
^Valentine Harman and one son, New River, killed. 
Andrew Moses, New River, killed. 
25. Captain John Smith, Fort Yause, prisoner ; escaped. 
Peter Looney, Fort Vause, prisoner ; escaped. 
William Bratton, Fort Vause, prisoner; escaped. 
Joseph Smith, Fort Vause, prisoner. 
William Pepper, Fort Vause, prisoner. 
Mrs. Vause and two daughters, a negro, and two young 

Indians and a servant man. Fort Vause, prisoners. 
Ivan Medley, and two daughters. Fort Vause, prisoners. 

60 Soutliicest Virginia, I7J16-I786. 

James Bell, Fort Vause, prisoner. 
Christoj^her Hicks, Fort Vause, prisoner. 

Cole, Fort Vanse, prisoner. 

Graham, Fort Vause, prisoner. 

Benj. Daries, Fort Vause, prisoner. 
Lieut. Jolin Smith, Fort Vause, killed. 
John Tracey, Fort Vause, killed. 

John English, killed. 

Mrs. Mary English, Fort Vause, prisoner. 

Wm. Eobinson, Fort Vause, wounded. 

Thomas Eobinson, Fort Vause, wounded. 

Samuel Eobinson, Fort Vause, wounded. 

Eobert Pepper, Fort Vause, wounded. 

John Eobinson, Fort Vause, killed. 
1757. John Walker, Fort Vause, prisoner."* 


In Jul}^ of this year, Eichard Pearls, who was located on the Hols- 
ton river carrying on a trade with the Cherokee Indians, addressed a 
letter to the Governor of Virginia requesting a grant for the lands 
on the Long Island in the South Fork of the Holston river. In 
reply the Governor encouraged Pearis to believe that he could olitain 
a grant, and wrote him as follows : "I am surprised the inhabitants 
on Llolston river should submit to be robbed by a few Indians. Let 
the Chickasaw know that I greatly approve of his conduct and have 
a real esteem for him." This last sentence in the Governor's letter 
had reference to a Chickasaw warrior who had resented the murder 
of one of the white settlers. 

At the time of which we write the Virginia colonists, and the 
Cherokee and the Chickasaw Indians were exceedingly friendly, and 
through the agency of Eichard Pearis, who was a great favorite with 
the Indians, the Govern(Nr of Virginia subsequently sought to en- 
list the Cherokee and the Chickasaw Indians in the war against the 
French and the Northern Indians. 


For the purpose of avenging the massacre of the settlers upon the 
ISTew river, the Governor of Virginia enlisted a hundred and thirty 
Cherokee Indians, to whom were joined four companies of the Eang- 

*Col. Wm. Preston diary in L. C. Draper Manuiseript. 

Southivest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 61 

ers of West Augusta, for the purpose of invading and destroying the 
Shawnese towns at the mouth of the Big Sandy and on the Ohio 
river. The command of this expedition was given to Major Andrew 

This force consisted of two hundred and sixty-three white meh, 
commanded by Captain Peter Hogg, with forty men; Captain 
William Preston, with thirty men; Captain John fSmith, with 
thirty men; Captain Samuel Overton, with forty men; Captain 
Obadiah Woodson, with forty men; Captains Robert Breckenridge, 

Archibald x\lexander, John Montgomery and Dunlap 

commanding eighty-three volunteers, and Captain Richard Pearls 
commanding a hundred and thirty Cherokee and Chickasaw In- 

This force was rendezvoused at Fort Lewis, near Salem, Va., 
whence they marched in Feb. 1756, for the Indian towns. They 
traveled from Fort Lewis, near Salem, to the New river, which they 
crossed at the Horseshoe Bend; they thence descended the New 
river to the mouth of Wolf creek, thence up Wolf creek to its 
source, thence to Bluestone river, thence to the head of North Fork 
of Sandy, which they reached on the 28th day of February, 1756 ; 
thence down the Sandy to the Great Burning Springs, at which point 
they saw the rawhides of several buffaloes hung upon bushes to dry. 
At this time provisions became very scarce and a famine was threat- 
ened, but this little army was saved by the bravery and firmness of 
Major Lewis. 

The army then proceeded from the Burning Springs to the banks 
of the Ohio, where they remained for two days. Seeing no evidences 
of Indians, they began to retrace their steps, and by the time they 
had reached the Burning Springs on their return, the hunger of the 
men had become so great that the hides of the buffaloes, which had 
been hung upon the bushes, were cut into tugs, and the men de- 
voured them as the only means of preserving life. It is said that 
from this circumstance the Tug Fork of Sandy river received its 
name. Thus this expedition ended disastrously for the settlers. 
The Indians were correspondingly elated and immediately ad- 
vanced upon the settlements east of the Alleghany mountains, com- 
mitting many murders and carrying off many prisoners. 

The Governor and Council of Virginia agreed to build a number 
of forts for the protection of the western settlements, and, among 

62 Southwest Virginm, 1746-1786. '- 

the number. Fort Vausc, wliicli ]\a(l been destroyed by the Indians 
a short time previous. The building of tlie fort was to be under the 
supervision of Captain Peter Hogg, and was to be at least one hun- 
dred feet square in the clear, with stockades at least sixteen feet long, 
and was to be garrisoned by seventy men. Immediately upon the 
erection of this new fort, many of the settlers returned to their 
homes at and near the fort. About this time companies of Rangers 
were organized for the purpose of running down and capturing . 
marauding Shawnese Indians wherever they should be found. A 
journal of one of these expeditions has been preserved, which we 
here publish as a relic of the past. 

An extract of a Journal "Concerning a march that Capt. Eobert 
Wade took to the New River" in search of Indians, Saturday, 12th 
of August, 1758 : 

Capt. Robert Wade marc't from Mayo fort, with 35 men, in 
order to take a Range to the New River in search of our Enemy In- 
dians. We marcht about three miles that Day to a Plantation, 
Where Peter Rentfro formerly Lived and took up Camp, where we 
continued safe that night — Next morning being Sunday, we con- 
tinued to march about three or four miles, and one Francis New 
returned back to the Fort, then we had 34 men besides the Capt — 
We marcht along to a place called Gobeling Town, where we Eat 
our Brakefast — & so continued our march till late in the after- 
noon, and took up Camp at the Foot of the Blew Ledge where we 
continued safe that night— Next morning being Monday, the 14th, 
Inst, we started early and crossed the Blew Ledge and Fell upon 
a branch of the Little River, called Pine Creek, 

We followed the sd : Creek down to Little River, and crost the 
Little River & went to Francis Easons' Plantation where we con- 
tinued that night. Our hunters brought a plentiful supply of Ven- 
ison — Next morning being tuesday the 15 Inst, we marct. down to 
Richard Rattlecliffs' plantation on the Meadow Creek, where we 
continued that night — Next morning being Wednesday the 16th. 
Inst, we Sent our Spyes and hunters to Spy for Enemy Signs, & to 
hunt for provisions. But the body of the Company Tarryed there — 
At Night they came in with a plenty of Venison, but could not dis- 
cover any fresh sign of the Enemy — Next morning Thursday the 
17th Inst, we sent out hunters as usual, & in the afternoon some 
of them came in & informed us that they had seen signs of Indians 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 63 

at Drapers' Meadow, that had been a catching of horses that Day, 
and that they had gone a straight course for Blackwater — upon 
that we began to get in Eeadyness to persue them next morning — 
but one of our men not coming in that night disappointed us — 
next morning Being Fryday the 18th. Inst. Some of the men were 
sent to Look for the man that was Lost — & the Eest remained there, 
for we counted it imprudent to Leave the Place before we knew 
what had become of the lost man — so we tarryed Till the Day was 
so far Spent that we could not make anything of a march that Day. 
So the Capt. said that he and some more men would go to view the 
sign, and See what they could Discover. The Capt. and Wm. Hall 
and Adam Hermon, and two or three more went off & Left the men 
under my Command and ordered that we should be in Eeadyness for 
a march as soon as he returned — Soon after the Captain was Gone, 
the man that was Lost Came in & Informed us that he had been lost 
in a Creek of the Little Eiver — But when the Captain came to the 
place where the sign was Seen, he Tels us that he saw a Shoe track 
among them, which caused them to believe that it had been white 
men after their horses — So the Captain nor none of the men, that 
was with him returned that night, But went a hunting — Next 
morning being Saturday 19th Inst, the Captain not coming gave 
us a great deal of Uneasyness — tho we Bore it with so much pa- 
tience as we could 'till about noon, for we lay under great appre- 
hensions of Danger — I ordered the men to keep a Verry Sharp Look 
out, and Likewise to be in order to march next morning, by Sun 
Rise, — I was Determined to stay that night & if the Capt: did not 
come, to march off after him — Soon after we had come to a con- 
clusion about it Some of the men Spyed five Indians Very near to 
us, for the place where we was, was grown up with weeds so that we 
could not Se them, nor they see us 'till thay came Verry near us — I 
was a Lying down in the house when I heard the news — I Eased up 
and presented my Gun at one of the Indians, But I heard some of 
our Company that was in another house, Cry out. Don't Shoot — 

I Stopt at that and askt them what they were & I beleive they said 
Cheroke, but Stood in amaise, & Eeason they had, for I suppose 
there was 20 Guns presented at them, we went up to them & 
Examined them— they said they were Cherokees, I made signs to 
them to show me their Pass, But they had none, — They had with 
them 5 head 6t horse Kind & Skelps, that appeared to be white 

64 Southwest Virginia, 17J,6-1786. 

mens — 4 of the horses appeared as tho' they had heen Lately taken 
lip, hilt the other was very poor — The Indians began to make ready 
to go off, hut I made Signs to them that they must not Go that 
uight. But they seemed very intent to go — but we would not agree to 
it — Some of the Company insisted to fall upon them and Kill them, 
for they said they believed they were Shawnees, & that they were 
Spyes- — and was doubtful that they had a superior number Some 
where nigh — But I said I was determined to keep them till the Capt : 
came, without they would go by forse, and if they would we would 
fire upon them — 2 of the men went off after the Capt : who soon met 
some of the Company, who told them that they had been hunting 
& that the Capt: would soon be in; who accordingly came soon after 
.^i we informed him how things had happened in his absence & in 
wdia^ manner the Indians appeared; that they had no pass and that 
they had white Skelps — After Capt : heard the opinion of the peo- 
ple, he past sentence of Death upon tliem ; but there was one Abra- 
ham Dunkleberry, hunter that we let off who said they were Chero- 
kees, yet he agreed that they were Eogues ; which seemed to put the 
Capt: to a stand, but we had their Guns taken from them & a guard 
kept over them that night — next morning Being Sunday 20th Inst, 
upon what Dunkleberry had said the Capt : let them have their Guns 
& let them go off — which displeased some of the Carolina men — so 
much that they swore if they were not allowed to kill them, they 
would never go Banging again, for they said it was to no purpose 
to Rang after the Enemy, & when they liad found them, not to be 
allowed to kill them — which you must think is very hard for us to 
be compel to Bang & then let the Enemy have Liberty to Kill some 
of us, before we Dare to Kill them — at that Bate we may all be 
Kill'd, and never Kill an Indian, for if there is enough of them to 
overcome us, then they are Eneni}^, But if we are too numerous for 
them they are friends. 

Upon consideration of their having no pass, nor white man, & by 
reason of their steal of horses, they did not appear any waise Like 
friends, so the Captain told them to be Easy, and after Dunkleberry 
was gone, wo would go after them and Kill them. So Dimkleberry 
packt up his skins to go off & we marcht after the Indians — we 
overtook them and past them, Because the Capt: said they were 
in such order that we could not kill them all, but would wate for a 
better opportunity — They were going toward the New River — so the 

Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1180. 65 

men that had been acquainted Knew of 2 fords & they Emagined 
they would cross at the upper ford — But we lade an Ambuslikaide 
at each ford, the Capt : & myself and a partie of men at the upper 
ford, and a partie of men at the Loer ford & the Capts : orders were 
to fire at them as they Crost the Eiver — But after we had placed our- 
selves and sat awhile 3 or 3 of the men came from the Loer Ford & 
informed us that two of the Indians had Crost at the Loer ford, and 
they did not fire at them because they were not altogether. So the 
Capt. and the men went towards the Loer Ford & as we went along 
we saw 4 of the Indians; we did not fire at them; the Capt: con- 
cluded to ly by awhile and let them all get together & then follow 
them and kill them — soon after the other Indians followed them, 
the (*apts : orders was for 13 of the best men to follow them and 
Kill them and the remainder of the Company to go to the Dunker 
Fort which was about half a mile below us & the Capt: took such 
men as he Lik'd and set clown to conclude how we should follow 
them — the way the Capt proposed was to Dog them till night and 
then ly By till the Brake of Day and then Fall upon them and Kill 
them — he said if we fired upon them in tha day, some would get 
away — but we did not approve of his skeems, and told him the 111 
Consequence that attended it, but he still insisted upon that way of 
proceeding — ^At length we desired him to go down to the fort with 
the rest of the. men, & let us go after the Indians, to which he con- 
sented, and went off to the fort and we after the Indians — 

The men that followed them Arere Adam hermon, Daniel Her- 
mon, Wm. Hall, Eic'd Hall, Jun'r, Tobias Clapp, Philip Clap, 
Joseph Clapp, Benj. Angel, David Currie, Eic'd Hines, James Lyon 
& my self — 13 of us — We followed them and overtook them at a 
peach orchard — jest as they were leaving it, we watched our oppor- 
tunity, and fired at them and followed them up till we Killed 4 of 
them, and wounded the other — we Skelpt them that we killed, & 
then followed the other — he bled verry much, he went into the 
river and to an Island — but we could not find where he went out — 
some of the men left looking for him, and some went after the 
Indian horse— but myself and 4 or 5 more, we Sercht the Island 
till late in the afternoon, & when we came to the Fort the Capt. and 
men were a handling the Indians' goods & after a while the Capt: 
told me we were all to be sworn — so we Tarried there that night- 
Next morning being Monday 21st Inst, we packed up in order to 

&6 South irest Virginia, 17J,G-1786. 

march liomeward, for signs of Indians was i:)lenty & we had bi;t lit- 
tle amimition bnt before we left the fort, we were Sworn — the words 
of the oath Do not remember exactly, but the Intent of the thing 
was not to tell that we ever heard them say that they were Chero- 
kees without required to swere — so left the fort and marcht till dark 
& took up Camp at a Plantation upon a Branch of the Little Elver. 
We continued there that night — next morning, being Tuesday the 
23nd inst. we marcht from that place to Blackwater — we eat din- 
ner with them marcht off again Rob Joneses Plantation on the head 
of Pig Eiver, and Tarryed tliere that night, next morning being 
Wednesday 23d. inst. they delayed time in the morning, and we had 
nothing to eat, the Company had some rum to drink, but myself 
and four more left the Company and went across to Goblingtown 
& came to Mayo Fort^that night — the Captain and the Rest of the 
men tells us that they came to Ilickey's fort and that night and 
next day to Mayo fort — I remember no more worth making a remark 
of so Courteous Reader I Rem'n 

Yrs. &., John Echols. 

Captain Wm. Preston and Captain Wm. Byrd each organized a 
company of Rangers. A number of the men that enlisted under 
them afterwards settled in Washington county and their names were 
as follows: 

Capt. Wm. Preston s Co. Capt. Wm. Byrd's Co. 

Wm. Johnston, Michal Morrison, Sergt., 

Benj. Estill, John Crank, 

George Martin, Thomas Brumley, 

John Johnston, John Donnelly, Fifer, 

Jas. Clendenen, Richard Staunton, Sergt., 

John Vance, John Lemons, 

Solomon Kendrick, Richard Chapman, 

Christopher Aekland, Francis Farmer, 

Robert Rutherford. Henry Dooley, 

Drury Puckett, Sergt., 
John Ross. 

On the 29th of July, 175G, a Council of War assembled at Staun- 
ton, by direction of the Governor of Virginia, to determine at what 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 67 

points forts should be built along the frontier for the protection of 
the settlers. 

The Council was composed of Col. John Buchanan, Samuel Stal- 
naker and others, of which Council Wm. Preston acted as clerk. 
There can be no doubt that Captain Samuel Stalnaker represented 
the Holston settlement and that it was at his request that the 
stockade fort was built at Dunkards' Bottom, on New river, and at 
Davis' Bottom, at the head waters of the Middle Fork of Holston 

In the year 1757, Dickenson's Fort, situated on the Cow Pasture 
river, in Augusta county, was raided by the Indians, and several chil- 
dren, playing under the walls outside the fort, and a number of men 
were captured. So careless were the commanding oflBcers that the 
Indians reached the very gates of the fort before they were discov- 
ered. At the time of this raid upon Dickenson's Fort, the Indians 
captured a boy who was destined in after years to play such a part 
in the history of Washington county as would justly entitle him to 
the appellation of "Father of Washington County," so intelligent 
and active were his efforts in the settling of our county and in the 
protection of its earlier inhabitants ; and this boy was Arthur Camp- 
bell, who had volunteered as a militiaman for the protection of the 
frontiers. On the day of the raid he, with others, had gone to a 
thicket near by in search of plums, when the party was fired upon 
from ambush by Indians, and Campbell was wounded and cap- 
tured. He was carried by the Indians to Ohio and thence to the 
Lakes, where he was detained for a number of years, when he suc- 
ceeded in making his escape to an English force and returned to his 
home. Upon his return he addressed a letter to the Governor of 
Virginia, detailing the circumstances of his capture and detention, 
and thereby made such an impression upon the Governor that he 
was afterwards granted a thousand acres of land in consideration of 
his services. 

Governor Dinwiddie was so much in earnest about enlisting the 
Cherokee and other Southern Indians in the war against the French 
and Northern Indians, that, in the year 1756, he dispatched the 
Hon. Peter Randolph and Wm. Byrd to their country as commis- 
sioners, to negotiate formal treaties with them. The commissioners 
returned to Williamsburg and, either before or at that time, a treaty 
was made with the Indians, by which it was stipulated that the 

C8 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1780. 

Indians were to send reinforcements to aid tlie Colonies, in consid- 
eration of the agreement of the Government to build a fort in their 
country. On the 24th day of April the Governor directed Major 
Andrew Lewis to enlist, sixty men who could use the saw and axe, 
and to proceed to the Cherokee country with all speed and erect a 
fort as agreed upon. ]\Iajor Lewis did not start for the Indian 
country until June of that year, and on the 20th day of August, 
wrote the Governor that he might expect a reinforcement of a hun- 
dred and fifty Cherokees and fifty Catawba Indians at an early date. 

Major Lewis, with his force, passed down the waters of the Hols- 
ton to the southern bank of the Tennessee river, at the head of navi- 
gation, about thirty miles from the present city of Knoxville. He 
there built a fort, which ]:e called Fort Loudon, in honor of the 
Governor of Virginia. In September of that year, Major Lewis 
addressed another letter to the Governor of Virginia, in which he 
stated that the Indians were very much pleased with their fort, and 
that the Governor might expect a reinforcement of four hundred 
Indians. This letter also contained a request from the Indians 
that the Governor would send a small garrison of white men to hold 
the fort during the absence of their warriors. By the 18th day of 
September, 1756, Captain Samuel Overton and his men, who had 
accompanied Major Lewis, had returned to their homes, leaving 
Major Lewis in the Indian country to bring in the reinforcements. 

In the fall of that year Major Lewis returned from the Chero- 
kee country, accompanied by seven warriors and three women, great- 
ly to the surprise of the Governor. The French in the meantime 
had bought off the Indians. 

Fort Loudon was then estimated to be more than a hundred miles 
from (lie nearest settlement, was at a place at all times difficult to 
rjach, even in times of peace, and beyond the reach of help from 
the settlements in the event of war with the Cherokee Indians. This 
fort was by order of the Earl of Loudon, then Governor of Virginia, 
garrisoned by two hundred troops from Britain. 

The Indians allured artisans into Fort Loudon by donations of 
land, which they caused to be signed by their own chief and^bv 
Governor Dobbs of North Carolina. There was a rapid increase of 
the number of settlers, as a result, at and in the vicinity of Fort 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 69 

In the year 1756 the New River Lead Mines were discovered by 
Col. John Chiswell, at which time operations were begun. 

Coh Chiswell had been engaged in mining operations near Fred- 
ericksburg, Va., for some time previous to this time, and was an 
intimate friend of Col. Wm Byrd. 

Abont this time the lead mines were discovered, and four hun- 
dred acres of land, including the mines, were surveyed on October 
1st, 3 781, and a patent was issued to Chas. Lynch, trustee for the 
lead mine company, by Beverly Randolph, Governor of Virginia, on 
the 7th day of May, 1791, in consideration of £3 10s. sterling, paid 
by Chas. Lynch, and of pre-emption Treasury warrants Nos. 2393 
and 2356. As far as I can ascertain this property was owned orig- 
inally by Col. Wm. Byrd, Col. John Chiswell and John Robinson, 
afterwards Treasurer of Virginia. Col. John Chiswell, some time 
pi-evious to 1775, killed a man in Cumberland county, Virginia, and 
while awaiting trial he committed suicide.* 

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the Legislature of 
Virginia directed the Committee of Safety for Fincastle county to 
lease these mines, at a reasonable rent, and if they could not lease 
them, to impress them for fthe use of the State. The committee, 
acting according to their authority, took possession of the lead mines, 
whether by lease or by impressment I cannot say, anc" the State of 
Virginia, through her agents, Chas. Lynch and Capt. Calloway, 
operated these mines during the Revolutionary War, and paid rent 
therefor to the representatives of John Robinson and Wm. Byrd, 
and to John Chiswell, the son of Col. John Chiswell. 

A considerable village had grown up around Fort Loudon by the 
year 1760. 

British arms were successful at every point in the contest with the 
French and Indians in 1758-1760. Canada was conquered and the 
French expelled from it in 1759, and Fort Du Quesne was cap- 
turned by General Forbes and the French expelled from the Ohio 


The result of the expulsion of the French from Canada and the 
Ohio Valley proved very disastrous to the western settlements of the 
Southern Colonies. "The scene of action was only changed from 

*Ninth Henning's Statutes, pages 73-237. 
t Vol. 14 Call's Rep., page 17. 
t 2 H. & M. Rep., page 22. 

70 Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 

one place to another, and the baneful influence of those active and 
enterprising enemies that had descended the Ohio soon manifested 
itself in a more concentrated form among the upper Cherokees, the 
interior position of whose country furnished facilities of immediate 
and frequent intercourse with the defeated and exasperated French- 
men, who now ascended the Tennessee river and penetrated to their 
mountain fastnesses. An unfortunate quarrel with the Virginians 
helped to forward their intrigues and opened an easier access into 
the towns of the savages. The Cherokees, as before remarked, had, 
agreeably to their treaties, sent a number of their warriors to assist 
in the reduction of Du Quesne. Eeturning home through the back 
parts of Virginia, some of them, who had lost their horses on this 
expedition, laid hold on such as they found running at large and 
appropriated them. The Virginians resented the injury by killing 
twelve or fourteen of the unsuspecting warriors and taking several 
more prisoners. This ungrateful conduct from allies, whose fron- 
tiers they had defended and recovered, aroused at once a spirit of 

deep resentment and deadly retaliation The 

flame soon spread through the upper towns. The garrison at Fort 
Loudon, consisting of about two hundred men under the command 
of Captains Demere and Stuart, was, from its remote position from 
the white settlements, the first to notice the disaffection and to suffer 
from it. The soldiers, as usual, making excursions into the woods 
to procure fresh provisions, were attacked by them and some of them 
killed. From this time such dangers threatened the garrison that 
every one was confined within the small boundary of the fort." . . 

"All communication with the settlements 

across the mountains from which they received supplies was cut off, 
and the soldiers, having no other sources from which provision could 
be procured, had no prospect left them but famine or death. Par- 
ties of the young warriors rushed down upon the frontier settle- 
ments, and the work of massacre became general along the borders 
of Virginia and North Carolina."* 

The Governor of North Carolina undertook to pacify the Indians, 
and negotiated a treaty with six of their head men, but this treaty 
did not express the sentiments of the Indians and they paid no 
attention to it. 

Numerous companies of Eangers were organized to patrol the 


Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 71 

frontiers and punish the Indians for any depredations they might 
commit, and every means was exhausted to bring about peace, but 
the Indians were nOt disposed to listen to any terms of accommo- 
dation and continued their depredations wherever and whenever 

The Crovernor of Virginia directed Col. William Byrd to proceed 
to Fort Loudon with a body of backwoodsmen froiu Virginia, num- 
bering al>out six hundred men, and to relieve the garrison. Col. 
Byrd organized his force and began the march, but was greatly 
liampered by lack of men and supplies. 

JSFotwithstanding the fact that Col. Byrd was an experienced cam- 
paigner, he occupied most of his time in building block-houses and 
roads, and accomplished nothing in the way of relieving Fort Lou- 

He crossed Kew river to the lead mines and immediately pro- 
ceeded to build a fort about two miles south of the present site of 
Max Meadows on the McAdam road near the home of James Mc- 
Gavock, to which he gave the name of Fort Chiswell, in honor of 
his friend. Col. John Chiswell, who was at that time working the 
lead mines which had been discovered some time previously. 

From Fort Chiswell Col. Byrd marched to the Long Island in the 
South Fork of Holston river, opening a road from Fort I'hiswell to 
Long Island. 

At this point. Col. Byrd and his men spent the winter of 1760. 
During the winter Col. Byrd erected a fort upon a beautiful level on 
the north bank of the South Fork of the Holston river, nearly oppo- 
site the upper end of Long Island, to which fort he gave the name 
of Fort Robinson, in honor of John Eobinson, the partner of him- 
self and Col. John Chiswell in the ownership of tlie lead mines. 
This fort was built upon an extensive plan. The walls were suffi- 
cient in thickness to^ withstand the force of a small cannon shot. 
There were proper bastions, and the gates were spiked with large 
nails so that the wood was entirely covered.* 

At the time this fort was built, it was supposed that the Long 
Island was in Virginia, the boundary line between Virginia and 
North Carolina not having been run farther west than Steep Rock. 

And thus to Virginians may be assigned the lionor of having 

*Fort Patrick Heury, 177(3. 

72 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-178G. 

erected Fort London and Fort Eobinson, the first Anglo-American 
forts witliin tlie present State of Tennessee. 

\\'!iile ciiiiaged in hiiildiiig Fort IJobinson Col. Byrd was joined 
by five Inuidi'cd men IVoiii Xoi'lh Carolina nnder the command of 
Col. Waddell. 

As a resnlt of the conrse pursued l)y Coh Byrd, great dissatisfac- 
tion arose among his men, and C^ol. Byrd resig-ned, and was suc- 
ceeded in the command of the force, now numliering al)out twelve 
hundred men, by Col. Stephens. 

In tlie meantime, the distant garrison at Fort Lomlon, consist- 
ing of two lumdred men, was reduced to the dreadful alternative of 
perishing by hunger or submitting to the mercy of the enraged 
Cherokees. The Governor of South Carolina, hearing that the Vir- 
ginians had undertaken to relieve it, for awdiile seemed satisfied and 
anxiously waited to hear the news of that happy event, but so remote 
was the fort from any settlement and so difficult was it to march 
an army through a barren wilderness, where every thicket con- 
cealed an enemy, and to- carry, at the same time, suffi.cient supplies 
along with them, that the Virginians had not succeeded in giving 
them assistance. Provisions being entirely exhausted at Fort Lou- 
don, the garrison Avas upon the point of starving. For a whole 
month they had no other subsistence than the flesh of lean hoTses 
and dogs and a small supply of Indian beans, procured stealthily for 
them by some friendly Cherokee w^omen. The officers had long en- 
deavored to encourage the men. with the hope oi succour ; but now, 
being blockaded night and day by the enemy and having no resource 
left, they threatened to leave the fort and die at once by the hands 
of the savages, rather than perish slowly by famine. In this extrem- 
ity the commander was obliged to call a council of war tO' consider 
what was proper to be done. The officers were all of the opinion 
that it was impossible to hold out longer. They therefore agreed to 
surrender the fort to the Cherokees on the best terms that could be 
obtained from them. For this purpose, Capt. Stuart, an officer of 
great sagacity and address and much beloved by those of the Indians 
who reuiained in the British interest, ])rocured leave to go to Chota, 
one of the principal towns in the neighborhood, where he obtained 
the following terms of capitulation, which were signed by the coni- 
iiiniiding officers and two of the Cherokee chiefs. 

"•That the uai-rison of Fort Ijoudon march out with their arms 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 73 

and drums, each soldier having as much powder and ball as his officer 
shall think necessary for the march, and all the baggage he may 
choose to carry; that the garrison be permitted to march, unmolested, 
to Virginia or Fort Prince George, as the commanding officer shall 
tliink proper, and that a number of Indians be appointed to escort 
them and hunt for provisions diiring the march; that such sol- 
diers as are lame, or by sickness disabled from marching, be received 
into the Indian towns and kindly used until they recover, and then 
be allowed to return to Fort Prince George; that the Indians do 
ju'ovide for the garrison as many horses as they conveniently can for 
the march, agreeing with the officers and soldiers for payment ; that 
tlie fort, gTeat guns, powder, ball and spare arms be delivered to the 
Indians without fraud or further delay, on the day appointed for 
the march of the troops.* 

"Agreeably to this stipulation, the garrison delivered up the fort 
and marched out with their arms, accompanied by Oconostota, 
Judds' friend, the Prince of Chota, and several other Indians, and 
that day went fifteen miles on their way to Fort Prince George. 

A-t night they encamped upon a plain about two miles from Tali- 
quo, an Indian town, when all their attendants, upon one pretext or 
another, left them ; which the officers considered as no good sign, and 
therefore placed a strict guard around their camp. During the 
night they remained unmolested, but next morning about break of 
day a soldier from an outpost came running in and informed them 
that he saw a number of Indians, armed and painted in the most 
dreadful manner, creeping among the bushes and advancing in order 
to surround them. Scarcely had the officer time to order his men 
to stand to their arms, when the savages poured in upon them a 
heavy fire from different quarters, accompanied by the most hideous 
yells, which struck a panic into the soldiers, who were so much en- 
feebled and dispirited that they were incapable of making any effect- 
ual resistance. Captain Demere, with three other officers and about 
twenty-six privates, fell at the first onset. Some fled into the woods 
and were afterwards taken prisoners and confined among the towns 
in the valley. Captain Stuart and those that remained were seized, 
pinioned and brought back to Fort Loudon. No sooner had Attakul- 
lakulla heard that his friend, Mr. Stuart, had escaped, than he has- 
tened to the fort and purchased him from the Indian that took him, 


74 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

giving him his rifle, clothes and all he could command hy way of 
ransom. He then took possession of Capt. Demere's house, where 
he kept his prisoner as one of his family and freely shared with 
him the little provisions his table afforded, until a fair oppor- 
tunity should offer for rescuing him from the hands of the savages, 
but the poor soldiers were kept in a miserable state of captivity for 
some time and then redeemed by the province at great expense. 

"While the prisoners were confined at Fort Loudon, Oconostota 
formed the design of attacking Fort Prince George. To this bold 
undertaking he was the more encouraged, as the cannon and am- 
munition surrendered by the garrison would, under direction of 
French officers who were near him, secure its success. Messengers 
were therefore dispatched to the valley towns requesting their war- 
riors to meet him at Stickoee. 

"By accident, discovery was made of ten bags of powder and a 
large quantity of ball, that had been secretly buried at the fort to pre- 
vent their falling into the enemy's hands. This discovery had nearly 
proved fatal to Captain Stuart ; but the interpreter had such presence 
of mind as to assure the incensed savages that these warlike stores 
were concealed without Stuart's knowledge or consent. The sup- 
ply of ammunition being sufficient for the siege, a council was held 
at Chota, to which the captive Stuart was taken. Here he was re- 
minded of the obligations he was under for having his life spared, 
and as they had determined to take six cannon and two cohorts 
against Fort Prince George, the Indians told him he must accom- 
pany the expedition, manage the artillery and write such letters to 
the commandant as they should dictate to him. They further in- 
formed him that if the officer should refuse to surrender, they had 
determined to burn the prisoners, one by one, before his face and 
try whether he could be so obstinate as to hold out while his friends 
were expiring in the flames. 

"Captain Stuart was much alarmed at his present situation and 
from that moment resolved to make his escape or perish in the 
attempt. He privately communicated his design to Attakullakulla 
and told him that the thought of bearing arms against his country- 
men harrowed his feelings, and he invoked his assistance to accom- 
plish his release. The old warrior took him by the hand, told him he 
was his friend and was fully apprised of the designs of his country- 
men, and pledged his efforts to deliver him from danger. Attakulla- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 75 

kulla claimed Captain Stuart as his prisoner and resorted to strata- 
gem to rescue him. He told the other Indians that he intended to 
go a hunting for a few days and to take his prisoner with him. 
Accordingly they departed, accompanied by the warrior's wife, his 
brother and two soldiers. The distance to the frontier settlements 
was great and the utmost expedition was necessary to prevent sur- 
prise from Indians pursuing them. Nine days and nights did they 
travel through a dreary wilderness, shaping their course by the sun 
and moon, for Virginia. On the tenth they arrived at the banks of 
the Holston river, where they fortunately fell in with a party of three 
hundred men, sent out under the command of Col. Byrd for the 
relief of Fort Loudon. On the fourteenth day the Captain reached 
Col. Byrd's camp on the frontiers of Virginia. His faithful friend 
Attakullakulla was here loaded with presents and provisions and 
sent back to protect the unhappy prisoners till they should be ran- 
somed and to exert his influence with the Cherokees for the restora- 
tion of peace."* 

It will be observed that Fort Loudon was defended by twelve great 
guns. It cannot be explained how the cannon had been transported 
to Fort Loudon as early as 1756. They could not have been brought 
down the Ohio and up the Tennessee, for the French were in pos- 
session of the mouth of the Tennessee. The only plausible ex- 
planation that can be given is that these cannon were carried across 
the mountains from Augusta county when reinforcements were sent 
to Fort Loudon, and then along Indian trails upon pack-horses. It 
is possible that these cannon were brought from Fort Lewis to the 
head waters of the Holston and carried down the same in boats or 
canoes to the mouth of the Holston, and thence up the Little Ten- 
nessee to Fort Loudon. 

It is sad to contemplate the fate of the occupants of this the first 
Anglo-American fort established in Tennessee. 

It does not appear that the fort at Long Island was permanently 
occupied at this time. About this time, large numbers of hunters 
from Eastern Virginia, allured by the report of the abundance of 
game and the prospect of gain in the western wilderness, organized 
themselves into companies, and hunted throughout Southwest Vir- 
ginia, East Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky. 

The first company of hunters who visited this section, as far as 


76 Southwest Virginia, 17JfG-1786. 

I can ascertain, was a company organized by Elislia Wallen (from 
whom Wallen's Creek and Wallen's Eidge received their names, as 
well as Wallen's Station in Lee county), accompanied by Scaggs, 
Blevins, Cox and others. They remained eighteen months, during 
which time they hunted in Clinch and Powell's Valleys in Virginia, 
and Carter's Valley in Tennessee, and went as far as Laurel moun- 
tain in Kentucky. 

About the same time Daniel Boone, accompanied by several hunt- 
ers, visited the Holston and camped the first night in what is now 
known as Taylor's Valley. On the succeeding day, they hunted down 
the South Fork of Holston river and traveled thence to what was 
thereafter known as Wolf Hills, where they encamped the second 
night, near where Black's Fort was afterwards built. It is interest- 
ing to note at this point that Daniel Boone and his companion, im- 
mediately after nightfall, were troubled by the appearance of great 
numbers of wolves, which assailed their dogs with such fury that it 
was with great difficulty that the hunters succeeded in repelling their 
attacks and saving the lives of their dogs, a number of which were 
killed or badly crippled by the wolves. The wolves had their home 
in the cive that underlies the town of Abingdon. The entrance to 
this cave is upon the lot now occupied by the residence of Capt. 
James L. White, and it was from this incident that Abingdon re- 
ceived its first name, Wolf Hills. Boone and his companion re- 
mained at Abingdon for a short while, during which time they dis- 
agreed and separated, Boone taking the Indian trail leading to Long 
Island, and ISTathaniel Gist, his companion, following the Indian 
trail to Cumberland Gap. They did not meet again upon this trip. 

On Boon's creek in East Tennessee was found a tree upon which 
was found the following inscription: "D. Boon cilled a bar on this 
tree in the year 1760"; and near Long Island in Tennessee a tree 
was found in recent years upon which was the following inscription : 
"D. Boon killa bar on this tree 1773." 

A block containing the last inscription was taken from this tree 
and is now in possession of Mrs. James W, Preston, of Abingdon, 
and establishes the fact that Daniel Boone was upon the waters of 
the Holston as early as 1760, and again in 1773. 

A treaty of peace was conclwded between the French and English 
at Fontainbleau, in 1762, by which the English acquired Canada 
and that portion of the Mississippi Valley east of that river, but 

Daniel Boone and Boone Trees. 

78 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

peace was not concluded with the Indians until the next year. The 
Indians had become accustomed to bloodshed and greatly detested 
the Anglo-American settlers. They were greatly exasperated by the 
cession of Canada to the English and at the French for deserting 

The Indians detested the Anglo- American settlers for the very evi- 
dent reason that they asserted title to all the lands lying upon the 
western waters, were building forts at various places upon the fron- 
tiers and manning them with British troops, and because their set- 
tlers were occupying the favorite hunting grounds of the Indians. 
The Indians, being deprived of the more moderate counsel of their 
French allies, therefore became more brutal and savage in their con- 
duct towards the settlers, and so active and intelligent were the 
Indians in conducting their campaigns against the settlements that 
all the land lying along the waters of the Mississippi was depopulated 
by July, 1763, except a small settlement at Draper's Meadows, on 
New river. The condition of the country at that time is best de- 
scribed by a letter of Col. Wm. Preston, which letter is here pub- 

The letter is dated Greenfield, 27th July, 1763. The writer 
says : "Our situation at present is very different from what it was 
when we had the pleasure of your company in this country. All the 
valleys of Eoanoke river and along the waters of the Mississippi are 
depopulated, except Captain English with a few families on the New 
river, who have built a fort, among whom are Mr. Thompson and his 
family, alone remaining. They intend to make a stand till some as- 
sistance be sent them. Seventy-fi,ve of the Bedford militia went out 
in order to pursue the enemy, but I hear the officers and part of the 
men are gone home, and the rest gone to Eeed creek to help in the 
family of James Davis and in two or three other families there that 
dare not venture to travel. 

"I have built a little fort in which are eighty-seven persons, twenty 
of whom bear arms. We are in a pretty good posture of defence, 
and with the aid of God are determined to make a stand. In five or 
six other plades in this part of the country they have fallen into the 
same method and with the same resolution. How long we may keep 
them is uncertain. No enemy have appeared here as yet. Their 
guns are frequently heard and their footing observed, which makes 
us believe they will pay us a visit. My two sisters and their families 

Southivest Virginia, 1746-1786. 79 

are here and all in good health. We bear our misfortunes so far with 
* * * and are in hopes of being relieved I have a thousand 
things * * * Captain Christian can't wait * * * i give 
you joy/' (The asterisks indicate parts of the letter torn out.) 

In the year 1760, a party of Indians, numbering eight or ten, 
crossed the Blue Eidge and murdered a number of people in Bedford 
county, took several women and children prisoners and returned by 
way of New river. 

A man in the New river settlement, while searching for stray 
horses, discovered the Indians eiicamped about six miles from the 
New river fort, of which information was given to William Inglis, 
who gathered sixteen or eighteen men and proceeded to attack the 
Indians, about daybreak the next morning. A considerable battle 
followed, in which one white man and seven Indians were killed, the 
rest of the Indians making their escape. Capt. Inglis and his men 
secured all the provisions and plunder of the Indians. 

The western settlements for ten years enjoyed comparative peace 
from the Indians. The only trouble they had to contend with was 
from parties of thieving Indians that occasionally visited the settle- 
ments. The British Government previously to 1763 claimed the 
lands lying west of the Alleghany mountains by right of the discov- 
ery of John Cabot made in 1497, and at no time recognized the 
claims of the Indian inhabitants to these lands. 

In the treaty concluded with France in 1762, while France ceded 
to England all her rights in this territory, otill no provision was 
made for extinguishing the Indian title thereto, and the Indians 
denied the right of France to cede England these lands. 

In March, 1764, a company of Indians visited the home of David 
Cloyd, about five miles west of the present Fincastle, Va., and 
tomahawked Mrs. Cloyd, killed John Cloyd, destroyed the entire 
household, and carried off a large sum of money that belonged to 
David Cloyd. Mrs. Cloyd lived until the next morning and told 
all the circumstances connected with the raid. Before dying she 
told how an Indian had taken up a cob and wiped the blood from 
her temples, exclaiming "Poor old woman !" 

This company of Indians were pursued by a company of militia 
under Capt. James Montgomery, and one of the Indians was killed 
(m John's creek about thirty miles from Cloyd's house, with £137 
18s. on his person. A dispute arose among the militia as to the 

80 Southwest Virginia, 17J,6-1786. 

ownership of the money and it was deposited in the hands of Capt. 
James Montgomery until the matter should be decided. 

We here insert a copy of the court records, which best explains 
the matter. 

In Augusta County Court, August Term, 1766. 

David Cloyd * Plaintiff, 

vs. Recover goods taken by Indians. 
James Montgomery, Defendant. 

We agree that a party of Indians made an Irruption into the 
Colony, attacked the Plaintiff's House, rifled it and bore off up- 
wards of £200 in gold and silver and several household goods and 

We agree that a party of the militia pursued the enemy and over- 
took them on John's creek, a branch of the James river, at the dis- 
tance of 30 or 35 miles from the Plaintiff's House, and attacked 
and killed one of the number. 

We agree that upon searching the Indian's Budgett a quantity of 
gold, some dollars and pieces of small silver were found, which 
upon being weighed amounted to the sum of £137 18s. 

We agree that the money found in the budgett of the Indians 
consisted of the same coins whicli the Plaintiff was known to have 
in his house when plundered by the Indians. 

We agree that after the money was recovered from the Indians a 
dispute arose among the militia to whom the money of right be- 
longed, whether it should be delivered to the Pltff. who was deeuied 
to have been the owner of it before it fell into the hands of the 
Indiana, or whether the militia were entitled to it as having recov- 
ered it from them, upon which dispute that sum of money was 
lodged in the hands of the Defendant to be by him kept till that 
point should be settled. 

We agree that the Plaintiff made an offer of 30 shillings to each 
of the men who had assisted in the pursuit of the Enemy. 

We agree that a part of the Company of Militia made an offer 
to the Plaintiff of delivering up his* negroes and household goods 
if he would allow them the money. 

We agree that the Defendant paid the sum of money out of his 
hands to the Militia and that several of them returned their divi- 
dends to the Plaintiff amounting to the sum of £106.17.2. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 8l 

We agree that the Plaintiff paid to several of the captors who 
returned him their dividends the sum of 30s. the premium by him 
before offered for their service. 

We agree that if the law be for the Plaintiff that Judgment be 
entered for him for the sum of £31.0.10, if the Law be for the 
Defendant we agree that Judgment be entered for him. 

Gabriel Jones^ Atty. for Pltff. 
Peter Hogg^ Atty. for Deft. 

We have no further account of Indians invading Southwest Vir- 
ginia, until the year 1764, at which time a party of Indians came 
up Sandy and on to New river, where they divided, one party go- 
ing towards the settlements at Roanoke and Catawba, the other to 
the settlement on Jackson river. The company of Indians that 
went towards the Eoanoke settlement were accidentally discovered 
by Captain Paul and a company of twenty men, at midnight, on the 
New river, near the mouth of Indian creek. Capt. Paul's men fired 
upon the Indians, killing three and wounding many others; the 
rest fled and escaped. It is hard to depict the effect of these terri- 
ble scenes upon the settlers of Western Virginia. iVmong the pri- 
soners rescued by Capt. Paul was a Mrs. Green, who knew Capt. 
Paul and recognized his voice. She was mistaken for an Indian 
squaw by one of Capt. Paul's men, who was in the act of tomahawk- 
ing her, when she called the name of Capt. Paul, which saved her 

She was asked why she made no resistance ; to which she replied, 
"I would as soon die as not; my husband is murdered, my children 
slain, my parents are dead ; I have not a relative in America, every- 
thing dear to me is gone. I have no wishes, no hopes, no fears. I 
would not rise to my feet to save my life." 

The English Government was exceedingly anxious to secure peace 
with the Indians, and this year Col. Boquet published a royal 
proclamation forbidding the whites to settle or hunt west of the 
Alleghany mountains; which read as follows: "And we do strictly 
enjoin and require all persons whatsoever, who have, either will- 
fully or inadvertently, seated themselves upon any lands within the 
Countries above described (West of the Alleghany mountains), or 
upon any other lands which not having been ceded to, or purchased 
by us, are still reserved to said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to 

83 Southwest Virginia, 111^6-1786. 

remove themselves from said settelments." This proclamation was 
issued in October, 17G4, but it failed to accomplish the object in 
view, and thereupon, in the year 1765, two armed movements were 
made into the Indian Territory, the one to Lake Erie and the other 
to the Muskingum. Two treaties were made Avith the Indians in 
the autumn of this year, one at Niagara and the other at the Mus- 
kingum. The treaty signed at the Muskingum was negotiated by 
Col. Boquet with the Delaware and Shawnese Indians. At the 
time of the signing of this treaty. Col. Boquet received from the 
Indians two hundred and six prisoners, ninety Virginians from 
West Augusta and one hundred and sixteen Pennsylvanians. 

And thus was concluded at the end of ten years of hard fighting 
the French-Indian war, which began in 1754. 

If the British Government was candid in the promulgation of 
the proclamation of 1763, she thereby admitted the claims of the 
Indians, and accomplished nothing as a result of the ten years' war 
with the French and Indians just closed. 

After the publication of this proclamation, the citizens of the 
Colonies became criminals when they, in any way, trespassed upon 
any of the lands on the waters of the Mississippi. Nevertheless, 
the frontier hunters and the western settlers proceeded with their 
explorations as if that proclamation had never been issued, and 
some historians go as far as to say that even the leading public 
men of that day did not consider this proclamation binding, but as 
only intended to appease the apprehensions of the Indians, but in 
this opinion we cannot join. 

Whatever may have been the intention of the proclamation, it is 
certain that its effect was to greatly retard the settlements of the 
lands west of the mountains. 

The "Loyal Land Company" on the 25th day of May, 1763, peti- 
tioned the Governor and Council for a renewal and confirmation 
of the grant made to them for 800,000 acres of land by the Gov- 
ernor and Council of Virginia in 1749, but their petition was de- 
nied, upon the ground that they were restricted by his Majesty's 
instructions from renewing or confirming the grant. From this 
action of the Governor and Council of Virginia, it may be well 
said, all the surveys made upon the waters of the Holston and 
Clinch rivers by James Patton, Dr. Thomas Walker and others, 
and all the patents issued therefor were void, for the reason that 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 83 

the King of England had no right to grant to any of his subjects 
lands belonging to the Indians. 

Nevertheless, Dr. Walker, agent for the "Loyal Land Company," 
and the devisees of Col. James Patton, immediately proceeded to 
survey and sell lands upon the waters of the Holston and Clinch 
rivers, under their grants, as if they had never been restrained 
from so doing by the proclamation of 1763 and by the action of the 
Governor and Council of Virginia, and by the 16th day of Decem- 
ber, 1773, Dr. Walker, as agent for the "Loyal Company," had 
actually surveyed and disposed of to purchasers 1,756 tracts of land 
containing 156,164 acres; and this, in addition to the lands sur- 
veyed in the years 1753-'54 — making a total of 201,554 acres out 
of the 800,000 acres granted. 

In the year 1766, Dr. Walker, as agent for the "Loyal Com- 
pany," caused advertisements to be distributed through several 
of the States, north and south, requesting all persons who had 
contracted for any of the company's land and were driven off their 
settlements in the former war, to return and claim the same or it 
would be sold to others. The Legislature of Virginia, in the fall 
of the year 1778, confirmed the acts of Dr. Walker in the premises 
to the extent stated, but declined to allow the company any fur- 
ther time or to survey any further lands under this grant. At 
the same session of the General Assembly of Virginia William Pres- 
ton and William Thompson, executors of James Patton, deceased, 
were authorized to complete the grant of 120,000 acres of land 
made by James Patton, under his grant, and to execute deeds to 
the purchasers therefor. 

Nathaniel Gist, a noted Indian trader, in the year 1761, pur- 
chased from the Cherokee Indians the Great Island lying in the 
Holston river, known as Long Island, and claimed the same, 
under his grant from the Indians, and in the year 1777 he peti- 
tioned the Legislature of Virginia to confirm the title thereto to 
him. What action the Legislature took upon this petition cannot 
be ascertained, but it may be presumed that the Legislature de- 
clined his request, as on the 24th day of June, 1776, the General 
Assembly of Virginia, with the approval of the Governor, "Eesolved, 
That no purchase of lands within the chartered limits of Virginia 
shall be made under any pretense whatever, from any Indian tribe 
or nation, without the approval of the Virginia Legislature." 

84 Souiliwest Virginia, 17Jf6-178G. 

This island was a favorite resort of the Indians, and seemed 
to have been anxiously sought after by Eichard Pearis and Na- 
thaniel Gist, probably two of the best Indian spies and hunters we 
read of in our early history. From the conclusion of the French- 
Indian war in December, 1764, until February 13, 1770, nothing 
of importance occurred beyond the visits of the Long Hunters and 
the surveyors for the land companies, a few settlements being 

In the year 1765, John Campbell, who afterwards became clerk 
of the County Court of Washington county, visited the waters of 
the Holston with Dr. Walker, and purchased for his father, David 
Campbell, and himself, from John Buchanan, a large tract of land 
near the head waters of the Holston river, containing 740 acres, 
called "Eoyal Oak,"* and, being the same tract of land surveyed 
V for John Buchanan on the 14th day of October, 1747. 

Among the settlers that came this year (1768) was Joseph Mar- 
tin, a daring and enterprising backwoodsman. He was accom- 
panied by a band of from twenty to thirty men, and led them to 
Powell's Valley, now in Lee county, Ya., where they erected a fort 
upon the north side of a creek, near two fine springs of water, 
which fort and creek were thereafter called Martin's Fort and 
Martin's Creek. The shape of the fort was a parallelogram which 
enclosed about one-half an acre of ground. There were some five 
or six cabins built about twenty feet apart, with strong stockades 
between them, and in these stockades there were port-holes. Here 
they cleared the land and planted corn and other vegetables. In 
the latter part of the summer of this year the Indians broke them 
up, and the settlers returned to the waters of the Holston. Mar- 
tin's Fort was not occupied after the Eevolutionary War. 

Several years thereafter John and Arthur Campbell, accom- 
panied by their sister, Margaret, came out and settled at Eoyal 
Oak, and in the year 1769 David Campbell, the father, with his 
wife and sons, James, David, Eobert and Patrick, and his daugh- 
ters, Mary, Martha, Sarah and Ann, came out and settled at the 
same place. 

In the year 1766, a party of hunters visited the Clinch Valley, 
and two of their number, Carr and Butler, decided to remain. 
They built a cabin at a place afterwards known as "Crab Or- 

*Near Marion, Va. 

Southivest Virginia, 17It-6-1786. 85 

chard," about three miles west of Tazewell Courthouse. In the 
year 1769, Carr separated from Butler and settled on a beautiful 
piece of land two miles east of Tazewell Courthouse. 

While many prospective settlers visited this section previously 
to 1769, but few permanent settlements were made because of the 
fact that the Indians claimed, and the English Government ad- 
mitted their right to all the lands lying west of the mountains, 
but the frontiers were lined with prospective settlers anxious for 
an opportunity to take possession of and settle the new land. Great 
numbers of emigrants were impatiently waiting along the fron- 
tiers for an opportunity to make a rush for new homes on the 
waters of the Mississippi. 

The British Government recognized the fact that it could not 
much longer restrain the people and protect the Indians in their 
rights, and early in the spring of 1768 Sir William Johnson was 
directed by the home government to negotiate a treaty with the 
Delaware and the Shawnese Indians. John Stuart, the superintend- 
ent of Indian affairs, about the same time was directed to negotiate 
a treaty with the Southern Indians, extinguishing their rights to 
the much-desired land. Sir William Johnson, pursuant to order, 
appointed a Congress for the meeting of the Six Rations with the 
commissioners of Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, at Port 
Stanwix, near Oswego, ISTew York, on October 24, 1768. The Con- 
gress met pursuant to order, and on Kovember 5, 1768, a treaty 
was negotiated with the Indians, by* which they conveyed unto the 
British Sovereign, Lord King George III, all of a certain tract of 
land situated in North Am.erica at the back of the British settle- 
ments, tlie deed being in the words and figures following, to-wit: 

To ALL to whom these presents may come, or may concern : We 
the Sachems & Chiefs of the Six United Nations and of the Shaw- 
nese, Delawares, Mingoes, of Ohio and other dependent Tribes, on 
behalf of ourselves and the rest of our several Nations, the Chiefs 
and Warriors who are now here convened by Sir William Johnson, 
Baronet, His Majesty's Superintendent of our Affairs, send greet- 
ing. Whereas His Majesty was graciously pleased to propose to us 
in the year 1765, that a Boundary line should be fixed between the 
English and us, to ascertain and establish our limits and prevent 
those encroachments of which we have so long and so loudly com- 
plained, and to put a stop to the many fraudulent advantages 

86 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

which had been so often taken of us in Land affairs, which Bound- 
ary appearing to us as a wise and good measure, we did then agree 
to a part of a line and promised to settle the whole finally whenso- 
ever Sir Wm. Johnson should be fully empowered to trade with us 
for that purpose. And whereas his said Majesty has at length given 
Sir William Jolinson orders, Sir William Johnson has convened 
the Chiefs and Warriors of our respective Nations, who are the true 
and absolute proprietors of the lands in question and who are here 
now to a very considerable number, and whereas many uneasinesses 
and doubts have arisen amongst us, which have given rise to appre- 
hension that the line may not be strictly observed on the part of 
the English, in which case matters might be worse than before, 
which apprehensions together with the dependent state of some of 
our Tribes, and other circumstances which retarded the settlement 
and became the subject of some debate. Sir Wm. Johnson has at 
length so far satisfied us as to induce us to come to an agreement 
concerning the line, which brought to a conclusion. The whole 
being explained to us in a large assembly of our people, and before 
Sir William Johnson, and in the presence of his Excellency the 
Governor of New Jersey, the Commissioners for the Provinces 
of Virginia and Pennsylvania, and sundry other gentlemen, by 
which line, so agreed upon, a considerable tract of country along 
several provinces is to be thus ceded to his Majesty which we are 
induced to and do ratify and confirm to his said Majesty, from the 
expectation and confidence we place in his royal goodness, and he 
will graciously comply with our humble request, as the same is 
expressed in the speech of the several Nations addressed to his Ma- 
jesty through Sir William Johnson, on Tuesday the first of the pres- 
ent month of November, wherein we have declared our expectations 
of the continuance of his Majesty's favor, and our desire that our 
ancient engagements be observed and our affairs attended to by 
the officer who has the management thereof, enabling him to dis- 
charge all these matters propefly for our interest. That the land_s 
occupied by the Mohocks around their villages, as well as by any 
other Nation affected by this our cession, may effectually remain 
to them and to their posterity, and that any engagements regard- 
ing property that they may now be under, may be prosecuted and 
our present grants deemed valid on our parts, with the several other 
humble requests contained in our speech. And whereas at the set- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 87 

tling of the said line, it appears that the line described by his 
Majesty's order, was not extended Northward of Oswego, or to 
the Southward of Great Kanawha Eiver, we have agreed to con- 
tinue the line to the Northward, on the supposition that it was omit- 
ted by reason of our not having come to any determination con- 
cerning its course at the Congress held in 1765, inasmuch as the 
"line to the Northward became the most necessary of any for pre- 
venting the encroachments at our very towns and residences, and 
we have given this line more favorable to Pennsylvania for the 
reasons and considerations mentioned in the treaty. We have like- 
wise continued it South to Cherokee River,"* because the same is 
and we do declare it to be our true bounds with the Southern In- 
dians, and that we have undoubted right to the country as far south 
as that River, which makes our cession to his Majesty much more 
advantageous than that proposed. 

Now THEREFOKE KNOW YE, that we, the Sachems and Chiefs 
beforementioned, native Indians and proprietors of the lands here- 
inafter described, for and in behalf of ourselves and the whole of 
our Confederacy, for the consideration hereinbefore mentioned 
and also for and in consideration of a valuable present of the sev- 
eral articles in use and among the Indians, which, together with a 
large sum of money, amounting in the whole to the sum of £10,460 
7s 3 pence, sterling, to us now delivered and paid by Sir William 
Johnson, Baronet, his Majesty's Sole Agent and Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs, for the Northern Department of America, in the 
name and on behalf of our Sovereign Lord, George Third, by the 
grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, De- 
fender of the Faith, the receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge, 
we the said Indians have for us, our heirs and successors, granted, 
bargained, sold, released and confirmed, and by these presents, do 
grant, bargain, sell, release and confirm, unto our said Sovereign 
Lord, King George Third, all that tract of land situated in North 
America at the back of the British settlements bounded by a line 
which we have now agreed upon, and do hereby establish as the 
boundary between us and the British Colonies in America, begin- 
ning at the mouth of the Cherokee or Hogohegee River, where it 
empties into the River Ohio, and running from thence along the 
Southern side of the said River to Kittanning, which is above Fort 

*Holston river. 

88 Southtvest Virginia,, 17JfG-17S0. 

Pitt, from thence by a direct line to the nearest fork of the West 
Branch of the Susquehanna, thence through the Alleghany Moun- 
tains along the Southern side of the said West Branch until it 
comes opposite to the mouth of a creek called Tiadgton, thence 
across the West Branch, and along the South Side of that 
creek and along the North side of the Burnett Hills to a creek 
called Awandae, thence down the same to the East side of that 
Eiver to Oswego, from thence East to the Delaware Kiver, and up 
that Eiver to opposite where Tianadhera flows into the Susquehanna, 
thence to Tianahedra and up the West side thereof, and the West 
side of its West Branch to the head thereof, and thence by a direct 
line to Canada Creek, where it empties into the Wood Creek at the 
West End of the carrying place, beyond Fort Stanwix, and extend- 
ing Eastward from every part of the said line as far as the lands 
formerly purchased so as to comprehend the whole of the lands or 
settlement, except what is within the Province of Pennsylvania, to- 
gether with the hereditaments, and appurtenances to the same be- 
longing or appertaining in tlie fullest and most ample manner, 
and all the Estate, Eight, Title, Interest, Property, possession, 
Benefit and claim and demand, either in law or equity, of each and 
every one of us, in and of the same, or any part thereof, to liave and 
to hold, the whole lands and premises hereby granted, bargained, 
sold, released and confirmed as aforesaid with the hereditaments 
and appurtenances thereunto belonging, under the reservations 
made in the Treaty, unto our Sovereign Lord, King George Third, 
his heirs and successors to and for his and their behoof forever. 

In witness whereof, we the Chiefs of the Confederacy, have 
hereunto set our marks and seals at Fort Stanwix, the 5th day of 
November, 1768, in the 9th year of his Majesty's reign. 

Signed, Sealed and delivered. 

In presence of 

Sir William Franklin, Gov. N. J. 

Fred Smith, Chief Justice, 

Thos. Walker, Commiss'r from Va. 

Eichard Peters, ) of the Council, 
James Tilghman, j 

Texanasore, or Abraham, [L. S.] 









Blunt or Chenngliita, 









[L. S.] 

[L. S.] 

[L. S.] 

[L. S.] 

[L. S.] 

This Congress was attended by 3,200 Indians of the different 
tribes composing the Six Nations, and thns the title of the North- 
ern Indians to all the territory included within Washington coun- 
ty was extinguished. 

The Confederacy of the Six Nations claimed, by right of con- 
quest, title to the lands thus ceded. About the year 1685 this Con- 
federacy of Indians overran and conquered all the country south- 
wards from the Ohio as far south as Georgia and as far west as the 
Mississippi. An immense territory, 1,300 miles long and 600 miles 

It will be observed from an inspection of this deed that Dr. 
Thomas Walker was the Virginia Commissioner at this Congress, 
and he was beyond question interested in the successful negotiation 
of this treaty, not only in behalf of Virginia, but to a greater 
extent in behalf of the "Loyal Land Company," of which he was a 
part owner and the agent. Nothing was of greater importance to the 
"Loyal Land Company" than the extinguishment of the title of the 
Indians to the lands on the western waters, out of which they had 
a grant for 800,000 acres of land, and from the prosecution of their 
work in surveying, settling and selling the same, they had been re- 

90 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

strained and prohibited by the King's proclamation in 17G3, and 
by the action of the Governor and the Council of Virginia. 

About the same time John Stuart, Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs in the South, concluded a treaty with the Cherokee Indians 
in the absence of Dr. Walker, by which the British Crown acquired 
the right to all the land lying east of a straight line passing by 
Chiswell's mine, on the eastern bank of the Great Kanawha* Eiver, 
and from Chiswell's mine on the eastern bank of the river in a 
straight line to the confluence of the Great Conhoway in Ohio. 
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs communicated the result of 
the treaty to the Governor of Virginia by letter, which letter is 
as follows: 

Hard Labor, Oct. 17, 1768. 

I have the honor to acquaint you in obedience to his Majesty's 
commands, on the 13th curr't, I met at this place all the principal 
Chiefs of the upper and lower Cherokee Nations, and on the 14th 
by his Majesty's royal authority concluded the Treaty with said 
Indians, ratifying the cession of land lying within the Provinces of 
South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia by them to his Ma- 
jesty and His heirs forever, and confirming the Boundary line 
marked by the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, ac- 
cording to the several agreements entered into with said Indians. 
The line now ultimately confirmed and ratified by said Treaty was 
as follows: 

Prom the place called Towahilie, on the Northern Branch of the 
Savannah Eiver, a North 50 degrees East course in a straight line, 
to a place called Dewisses corner, or yellow water, from Dewisses, 
or yellow water, a North 50 degrees East course in a straight line to 
the south bank of Eeedy Elver, at a place called Wanghoe, or Elm 
Tree, where the line behind Carolina terminates. From a place 
called Wanghoe, or Elm Tree, to the South Bank of Eeedy Eiver, a 
course in a straight line to a mountain called Tagon Mountain where 
the great ridge of the mountains becomes impervious. In a straight 
line to Chiswell's mine on the Eastern Bank of the Great Conhoway 
Eiver, to a N. B. E. course, and from Chiswell's mine on the East- 
ern Bank of the Great Conhoway in a straight line to a North course 

*New River. 

Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 91 

to the confluence of the Great Conhoway with the Ohio. As soon 
as possible after my return to Charlestown I shall send you extracts 
of my conference and an authentic copy of the above mentioned 
Treaty concluded with said Chiefs. I acquainted the Chiefs that I 
expected their Deputies to set out immediately from this place 
with my Deputy to meet your Commissioners at Colonel Chis- 
well's Mine in order to finish marking the Boundary line, as agreed 
upon, but they objected, and desired that that service might be de- 
ferred till the spring of next year. The reasons they urged for 
this delay are as follows : That when they set the 10th of Novem- 
ber for the time of meeting your Commissioners to proceed upon 
that important service, they understood that they had no more to 
mark than from the mountains where the line behind North Caro- 
lina was, to Chiswell's Mine on the Conhoway, as they considered 
the river from there to its confluence with the Ohio as a natural 
Boundary. But as the line is to run in a straight line, almost due 
North from the Mine, to the mouth of the river, the advanced 
season of the year will render that service impracticable until the 
Spring, as the line now ultimately agreed upon runs through a 
large extent of mountainous country, uninhabited, where in the 
winter the cold will be extremely intense, and there will be no shel- 
ter for men, nor food for horses at that season. The reasons ap- 
peared to me so just and good, that I was obliged to acquiesce in 
them, and I send this letter by Express to prevent, as much as pos- 
sible, any disappointment that may result from this alteration. I 
hope you will receive it in time to prevent your Commissioners 
from setting out. The Chiefs have appointed the 10th of May next 
for meeting your Commissioners at Chiswell's Mine, which I hope 
will prove agreeable and their reasons for altering the time satis- 
factory to you. I reproached the Cherokees severely for the mur- 
der of flve emigrants from your provinces, who were going to the 
Mississippi, which was committed in the summer last. They con- 
fessed it and said the perpetrators were a party, of Chilhowie peo- 
ple who urged in their own defence, that their relations had been 
killed in Augusta County, in the province, in 1765, for which they 
had never received any satisfaction although repeated promises 
had been made either of putting the guilty persons to death, or 
making a compensation in goods from your province, which they 
believed, because I had confirmed them. That they nevertheless 

92 Southivest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

were disappointed, and being tired with waiting, took that satis- 
faction which they could not obtain from our justice. All the 
warriors declared that they disapproved of the action, but that the 
Chilhowie people were authorized by the custom of their country to 
act as they did, and their idea of never having received any satisfac- 
tion was undeniable ; that in any other instance nothing should pre- 
vent their executing strict justice according to Treaties. It is 
not only extremely disagreeable to myself, but very detrimental to 
his Majesty's service, to be obliged to fail in any promise I make 
to Indians. The compensation of 500 Indian dressed Deer skins 
value in goods for every person murdered, which on the faith of 
Gov. Fauquier's repeated letters, I engaged them to receive, early in 
the Spring, was extremely moderate, and this you will acknowledge 
if you will compare it with the sum expended by the Province of 
Pennsylvania, on a late similar occasion. And I must confess that 
this disappointment will render me extremely cautious in making 
promises on any future occasion. 

I am to meet the Chiefs of the Upper and Lower Creek Nations 
at Silver Bluff on Savannah Eiver, the first of November, to ratify 
the cessions to his Majesty in the two Floridas and Georgia, and 
expect to be at Charlestown by the time the bearer can return there. 

I have the honor of being, very respected Sir, 
Your most obedient and very humble servant, 

John Stuart. 

It will be observed from a perusal of the above letter that the 
superintendent contemplated the running of the line, as fixed by 
the treaty, immediately, but the Indians insisted upon postponing 
the time for running this line till the 10th day of May, 1769. 

This treaty gave great dissatisfaction to the Colony of Virginia 
and to Dr. Walker, the agent for the "Loyal Land Company," for, 
at the time the treaty was negotiated, hundreds of settlers had fixed 
their homes on the lands west of the line as fixed, and not only had 
many settlers occupied portions of these lands, but Dr. Walker as 
agent for the "Loyal Land Company," and Col. James Patton's 
representatives, had actually surveyed and sold large and numer- 
ous tracts of land lying in the present counties of Pulaski, Wythe, 
Smyth f^nd Washington, and west of the line fixed by this treaty. 
The result of this treaty gave the Indians an excuse for depredating 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 93 

on the settlers, and the settlers were forced to the necessity of 
denying the rights of the Cherokee Indians to the lands thus set- 

The settlers on Holston denied the right of the Cherokees to the 
lands included within this county, and under the claim that the 
lands belonged to the Confederacy of the Six Nations, they held 
possession of their lands and continued their settlements. Dr. 
Thomas Walker acted as the Virginia representative in the mak- 
ing of the treaty at Fort Stanwix in the fall of the year 1768 and, 
by December of that year, had communicated the result to the 
emigrants along the borders, and no longer could the settlement of 
this country be postponed. In the winter of 1768 and the early 
part of the year 1769, a great flood of settlers overran Southwestern 
Virginia and advanced as far south as Boone's Creek in East Ten- 

The one settler who ventured farthest into the wilderness was 
Captain William Bean, who, with his family, settled on Boone's 
Creek, early in the year 1769. His son, Russell Bean, was the first 
white child 1)orn in Tennessee. 

When Col. William Byrd visited the Long Island in 1760, two 
men, by name Gilbert Christian and William Anderson, accompa- 
nied his regiment. In this year, 1769, Christian and Anderson de- 
termined to explore this western wilderness, and, in company with 
Col. John Sawyers and four others, they crossed the North Fork 
of the Holston river at Cloud's Fort in Tennessee and explored the 
wilderness as far as Big Creek, now a part of Hawkins county, 
where they met a large body of Indians, at which point they deter- 
mined to return to their homes. 

About twenty miles above Cloud's Fort, on the North Fork, 
they found a cabin on every spot where the range was good, where 
only six weeks before nothing was to be seen but a howling wilder- 
ness. When they passed by before, on their outward destination, 
they found no settlers on Holston, save three families on the head 
springs of that river. 

Just preceding this inrush of settlers, a young Englishman by 
the name of Smith visited this section of Virginia and describes 
the country, as he found it, in such an excellent manner that I 
here copy in full his remarks upon the appearance of the country, 
as well as the daily journal which he kept. When he had reached 

94 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

the summit of the mountains above New river, he thus speaks of 
the view presented : 

"Language fails in attempting to describe this most astounding 
and almost unbounded prospective. The mind was filled with a 
reverential awe, but at the same time the ideas, and I had almost 
said soul, were sensibly enlarged. The reflection on our own little- 
ness did not diminish our intellectual faculties nor consequences, 
and the mind would boldly soar over the vast extent of the earth 
and water around, and even above the globe itself, to contemplate 
and admire the amazing works of the great Creator of all. 

In short, the strong, mighty, pointed and extended sensations of 
the mind at this astonishing period are far beyond the power of 
human language to describe or convey any idea of. 

On the northwest you will observe with great astonishment and 
pleasure the tremendous and abrupt break in the Alleghany moun- 
tains, through which pass the mighty waters of New river and the 
Great Kanawha. 

On the west you can very plainly discover the three forks or 
branches of the Holston, where they break through the great Al- 
leghany mountains, forming striking and awful chasms. 

And still beyond them you may observe Clinch river, or Pelli- 
sippi; that it is almost equal to all three branches of the Holston. 
Throughout the whole of this amazing and most extensive per- 
spective there is not the least feature or trace of art or improve- 
ments to be discovered. 

All are the genuine effects of nature alone, and laid down on her 
most extended and grandest scale. 

Contemplating them fills the eye, engrosses the mind and en- 
larges the soul. It totally absorbs the senses, overwhelms all the 
faculties, expands even the grandest ideas beyond all conception 
and causes you almost to forget that 5'^ou are a human creature." 

He then proceeds to give the details of his journey through this 
section of Virginia : 

"We descended the moimtain, and halted for the night on the 
side of a large rivulet, which we conjectured to be either Little 
river itself, or some of the waters of it, having crossed the Blue 
ridge at a most disagreeable and dangerous gap in the afternoon. 

Next morning we set out early and traveled down the north side 

Soufhwest Virginia, 17ji.6-1786. 95 

of the rivulet, which we found to be Little river, until we arrived 
at New river and at last came to the ford. 

The New river is broad, deep and rapid, frequently impassable 
and always dangerous. 

However, we crossed it in safety, though with great difficulty and 
hazard of being carried down with the stream, and we looked out 
for a convenient spot on the west side, where we now are, to re- 
main for the night. The low ground on New river is narrow, but 
exceedingly rich and fertile ; the high land is also very fine in many 
places, but excessively broken, rocky and mountainous. 

The timber on the high land is very large and lofty, and that on 
the low ground is almost equal to the prodigious heavy trees on the 
Eoanoke river. 

The extreme roughness of this country and the diflSculty of ac- 
cess to it, the roads, or rather paths, being not only almost impas- 
sable, but totally impossible ever to be rendered even tolerable by 
any human efl^orts, will not only greatly retard the settlement of 
this country, but will always reduce the price and value of the land, 
be it ever so rich and fertile. 

In the morning our horses and ourselves being very much re- 
freshed, we set out again on our journey, and, after traveling ten 
or twelve miles, crossed a pretty large water course named Peaks' 
creek, and soon afterwards a large branch of Eeed creek. 

In the afternoon we crossed another great ridge of the Alleghany 
mountains at a gap, and in the evening came to the waters of 
the Middle Fork of the Holston, where we halted for the night, 
having traveled this day nearly fifty miles and over a vast quan- 
tity of excellent land. 

Next morning we pursued our journey and traveled down the 
side of the Middle Fork of the Holston, which we crossed no less 
than three times this day, and at night came to Stalnaker's, where 
a few people, indeed all the inhabitants, had also erected a kind of 
wretched stockade fort for protection against the Indians ; but they 
had all left it a few days before our arrival and returned to their 
respective homes. 

Here we remained for two days at the old Dutchman's house 
for rest and refreshment for ourselves and horses, which we had 
really very much need of, and also to make inquiry concerning 
our future route. 

96 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

The land on the Holston is certainly excellent and fertile in the 
highest degree; the climate also is delightful. 

But the value of the estates here cannot be considerable for many 
years — perhaps centuries to come; for the same roughness that has 
been mentioned to affect those on New river. 

Here we gained intelligence of a nearer way to Kentucky than 
that commonly made use of, which had very lately been discovered, 
viz. : by crossing Clinch river about sixty miles from Stalnaker's, 
going over the great ridge of the Alleghany, or Appalachian moun- 
tains, at a gap which had been used only by a few of the best hunters, 
and falling down on the waters of the Warrior's branch, a river 
that runs into Kentucky. With this route pretty exactly laid down, 
we set out from the Dutchman's house on the third morning after 
our arrival, and, after traveling over a vast quantity of exceedingly 
strong, rich land covered with lofty timber, we reached the banks 
of the Nortli Branch of the Holston, crossed the river, and put up 
for the night, having traveled that day more than thirty miles. 

The ford of this branch of the Holston is, if possible, worse than 
any we have hitherto met with, and is indeed extremely dangerous, 
but we were so familiarized to danger and fatigue as to regard any- 
thing of that nature but little. 

On the next morning we set out on our journey by the route 
which we had been directed to pursue, and at noon arrived at the 
summit of a vast chain of mountains which separates the north 
branch of the Holston from the Clinch river. 

Here we had the pleasure of enjoying an extensive, wild and 
romantic view, particularly that stupendous ridge of the Alleghany, 
or Appalachian mountains, which is the chief and most lofty of 
the whole. 

It was rendered more interesting to me by reflecting that I must 
cross it on my journey, our route being directly over it. We made 
no unnecessary delay, however, on this commanding spot, but de- 
scended the mountain and pursued with all the expedition we 
could ; and we arrived on the banks of Clinch river late that even- 
ing, so that we could not venture to cross the ford that night. 

In the morning we undertook the hazardous task of fording 
Clinch river, and accomplished it after several plunges, as usual, 
over our heads: neither did we halt to dry our clothes until noon, 
when we rested at the side of a savannah (meadow) ; here we re- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 97 

mained for two hours, and then arose exceeding!}^ refreshed, and 
jnirsned our journey. 

On the evening we had reached half way up the stupendous west- 
ernmost ridge of the Alleghany mountains, the last, greatest and 
loftiest of the whole. 

Here we remained all night, concluding to attempt the steepest 
and most difficult ascent in the morning. We always alighted, and 
led our horses up these jjrodigious and perilous ascents. 

We pursued our journey up the mountain next morning, hut the 
sun was several hours high before we could possibly reach the sum- 

This ridge of the Alleghany mountains is indeed of a most stu- 
pendous and astonishing height, and conunands a prospect propor- 
tionately extensive. 

I took a retrospective view, with satisfaction and pleasure, of the 
vast chain of mountains beyond Clinch river, which I had crossed, 
and I looked forward, with interested anxiety and eagerness, toward 
the great ridge of mountains which I had still to pass over. 

The summit of this ridge is the most lofty of all the Alleghany, 
is nearly a mile wide, and consists of excellent strong, rich land 
of a deep red or a dark reddish-brown color, with very large, tall 
timber; and there are springs of water almost on the very summit 
of the mountains. When we rested that night we were on the 
waters of Warrior's branch." 

We give no more of this diary, for our traveler has now passed 
beyond the limits of the original bounds of W^ashington county. 

The Governor of Virginia, upon the receipt of the letter from 
John Stuart, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, immediately set 
about to undo what had been done by the treaty at Hard Labor, 
S. C. He thereupon commissioned Colonel Andrew Lewis and Dr. 
Thomas Walker to visit the Indians and secure a new line from 
them. On the 5th day of January, 1769, they began their journey 
t(y&(f^^ Carolina for the purpose of seeing the Indians and nego- 
tiating with them. Dr. Walker and Colonel Lewis returned to their 
homes in the month of February and made a report to Lord Bote- 
tourt, which report we here copy in full, as it is very interesting, 
and explains fully what was done : 

My Lord, — On receiving your Excellency's instructions, we be- 

98 Southwest Virginia, 1H6-1786. 

gan our journey to Charlestown, South Carolina; on the fifth day 
of January, we waited on his Excellency, William Tryon, Esq., at 
Brunswick, by whom we were kindly received and promised all the 
assistance in his power ; on the next day we went to Fort Johnson, 
near the mouth of Cape Fear Eiver. 

On the 8th, Gov. Tryon wrote us that some Cherokee Indians 
were at Brunswick, that Judds Friend and Salue, or the Young 
warrior of Estitoe, were two of them, and that they would wait up 
at Fort Jolmston. His Excellency was again invited to go with 
them. On their arrival we informed them we were going to their 
father, John Stuart, Esq., on business relative to the Nation, and 
should be glad to have their company, and they readily agreed to 
come with us. On the 9th the ofiicer we had engaged was ready to 
sail, and we embarked with the two Cherokee Chiefs, two Squaws 
and an Interpreter. On the 11th, we waited on Mr. Stuart, de- 
livered your Lordship's letter and full information of our business. 

In answer Mr. Stuart told us that the Boundary between the 
Cherokees and Virginia was fully settled and ratified in Great 
Britain, and that any proposal of that kind would be very alarming 
to them, but after some time agreed that we might mention it to 
them, which we did on the 13th of Jan'y. The Indian Chiefs ap- 
peared much pleased, and agreed to wait on Mr. Stuart with us, and 
in his presence, Judds Friend spoke as follows : 

Father, — On an invitation from Governor Tryon, we left our 
country some time since; Our two elder Brothers, Col. Lewis and 
Doctor Walker, from Virginia, who had matters of importance to 
mention to us, that equally concerned our people as well as theirs. 
His news gave us great joy, and we lost no time in waiting on them, 
and with great pleasure took passage with them in order to wait 
on you on the business which was much concerning us, as well as 
their people, and to convince you that we like their talk, we now take 
them by the hand giving them a welcome, and present them with 
this string of Wampum. 

Father, — They tell us that by running the line lately mentioned, 
as a boundary between our people and Virginia, a great number of 
their people will fall within the bounds of our country, which 
would greatly distress these our poor Brothers; which is far from 
our intention. And to evidence to you, that we are on all occasions, 
willing to testify our brotherly affection towards them, we are 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 99 

heartily willing to join in any such negotiations as may be thought 
necessary and most expedient for fixing a new Boundary, that may 
include all those people settled in our lands in the bounds of Vir- 
ginia, and we now give them in the presence of you our Father, this 
string of Wampum as an assurance that those people shall remain 
in peaceable possession of those lands, until a treaty is held for fix- 
ing a new Boundary, between them and our people. 

Gives a string of Wampum. 

We then delivered the following Talk to the Warriors, to be by 
them communicated to their Nation. 

To the Chiefs of the CheroTcees: 

Brothers, — On the 20th day of December last, being in Williams- 
burg, we received instructions from Lord Botetourt, a great and 
good man, whom the great King George has sent to preside over his 
Colony of Virginia, directing us to wait on your father, John Stu- 
art, Esq., Supt. Indian Affairs, in order to have a plan agreed 
upon for fixing a new Boundary between your people and his 
Majesty's subjects in the Colony of Virginia. On our way to the 
place, to our great joy, we met with our good brothers, Judds 
Friend and the Warrior of Estitoe, who with great readiness took 
a passage with us from Governor Tryon, to this place where we had 
the happiness to wait upon your father, Mr. Stuart, and with joint 
application, represented to him the necessity of taking such meas- 
ures as may effectually prevent any misunderstanding that might 
arise between his Majesty's subjects of the Colony of Virginia and 
our brothers the Cherokees, until a full treaty be appointed and 
held for the fixing a new Boundary that may give equal justice and 
satisfaction to the parties concerned, and that his Majesty's sub- 
jects, now settled on the lands between Chiswell's Mines, and the 
Great Island of Holston River, remain in peaceable possession of 
said lands, until a line is run between them and our good brothers 
the Cherokees, who will receive full satisfaction for such lands as 
you, our brothers, shall convey to our Great King for the use of his 
subjects. I 

Your Father, Mr. Stuart's, message to you on this head, makes it 
needless for us to say any more on this subject. He will let you, 
at a proper time, know both the time and place where this great 
work shall be brought into execution. We have the pleasure to 

100 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

inform j'oii that 3'our two great Warriors now present, have heartily 
concurred with us in every measure and make no doubt of such 
measures giving great satisfaction to the whole Nation. 
Gave a string of Wampum. 

Jan. 16th. In answer to which, Judds Friend and the Warrior 
of Estitoe spoke as follows : 

Father: and our Brothers from Virginia, — We have heard your 
Talks, which we think very good, and shall with all convenient 
speed return to our Nation, and when our Chiefs are assembled 
shall lay these Talks before them. 

Brothers, — We are sorry to have it to say, that for some time bad 
blood and evil actions prevailed amongst us, which occasioned a 
stroke from our Elder Brothers; but now we have the satisfaction 
of telling you that our hands are good and straight, and you may de- 
pend on their continuing so, and, that you may depend the more on 
what we say, we take off these black beads from the end of 
this string, that nothing may remain but what is pure and white, 
and now put the black beads in your hands, which we call the re- 
mains of our evil thoughts, and desire you may now cast them 
away, that they may never be had in remembrance more. 

Brothers, — We shall with great pleasure comply with the request 
that yon have made with regard to the lands you have mentioned, 
and shall wait with impatience for a general meeting, that we may 
have opportunity for convincing our Elder Brothers of our friendly 
disposition towards them, as we may be of real use to them, for to 
us it is of little or none, as we never hunt there; the deer do not 
live in the mountains, and you, in the meantime, may depend that 
your people shall enjoy peaceable possession until we make a 
Treaty with the Great King. 

Brothers, — We hope the measures now taken will be productive of 
many advantages to our people, as well as those who by living so 
much nearer to us, will have it in their power to supply us with 
goods, for we are often imposed upon greatly, as we have no trade 
at present but with this Province, and we hope you, our Brothers, 
will signify to your Governor, whom we believe to be that great 
and good man you mention, our great desire to have a trade with 
Virginia, that after this business is happily finished, which we 
make no doubt of on the part of our Nation, we may enjoy a 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 101 

friendly intercourse and have an advantageous trade with our 
Brothers, the Inhabitants of Virginia. 

Brothers, — We have often joined you in war against your ene- 
mies and you may always depend on our assistance on any future 

Gives a string of Wampum. 

After we had given Mr. Stuart the reasons for thinking it ab- 
solutely necessary that the new Boundary should be agreed upon, 
he desired us to commit these reasons in writing and sign them: 
which we did in the following words : 

Sir, — His Excellency, the Eight Honorable ISTorborne, the Lord 
Botetourt, Governor in Chief of the Colony of Virginia, and the 
King's Coimcil of that Dominion, having ordered us to wait on you 
and assist in settling the Boundary line between that Colony and 
the Cherokee Indians, we beg leave to inform you that the line pro- 
posed to be marked from Chiswell's Mines to the confluence of the 
Great Kanawha and the Ohio, would be a great disadvantage to 
the Crown of Great Britain, and would injure many subjects of 
Britain that now inhabit that part of the frontier, and have in mak- 
ing that settlement complied with every known rule of government 
and the laws of that Colony. 

Lands were first granted on the waters of the Mississippi by Sir 
William Gooch of Virginia, and the Council about the year 1746, 
in consequence of instructions from England, and many families 
settled on the lands so granted. In the year 1752, the Legislature 
of Virginia passed an act to encourage settlers on the waters of the 
Mississippi. By that act they were exempted from the payment of 
taxes for ten years. To this act his late Majesty, of glorious mem- 
ory, gives assent. The next year another act was passed, by which 
five years' indulgence was added, and in that or the succeeding 
year Eobert Dinwiddle, Esq., Governor of Virginia at that time, 
received instructions from King George 2nd. to grant lands on 
these waters, exempted from the payment of the usual right money 
and free from Quit-rents for ten years. 

Under these encouragements was that part of the Colony settled. 
Whilst the inhabitants were settling on these lands, the Cherokee 
Indians were frequently at their habitations, and never that we, 
either of us, ever heard made the slightest complaint of our settling, 

102 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

or laid any claim to the lands we settled, until ISTovember, 1763, 
after the King's proclamation issued in that year. 

The Six Nations both claimed the lands that were settled on the 
branches of the rivers Kanawha and Monongahely and were paid 
a proper consideration for them at Lancaster, in 1744, when they 
executed a deed of cession to his late Majesty. 

We flatter ourselves that the above is sufiScient to convince you 
of the justice and legality of making those settlements. The 
Boundary line that has been proposed would include many of the 
inhabitants above mentioned within the limits of the Cherokee 
Hunting Grounds. For all such lands and improvements, the jus- 
tice of the crown would be an inducement to make some satisfac- 
tion to the owners which would be expense to the crown and injure 
the inhabitants much and totally ruin many of them, and the 
evil would be increased by the loss of the Quit-rents paid for 
these lands, and would also give the Cherokees a large tract of coun- 
try that was never claimed by them and now is the property of the 
crown, as Sir William Johnson actually purchased it of the Six 
United Nations of Indians at a very considerable expense, and 
took a deed of cession from them at Fort Stanwix, near the head 
of Mohock's Eiver, on the 5th day of November last. 

The interest of the crown and the inhabitants of Virginia will 
be most served by fixing the Boundary with the Cherokees in 36° 
30m. North Latitude, that Boundary being already marked by proper 
authority as far as Steep Eock Creek, a branch of the Cherokee 
Eiver, and is the proper division between Lord Granville's Pro- 
prietary and the Dominion of Virginia, and includes but a small 
part of the lands now claimed by the Cherokees, they having often 
disclaimed the lands lying between the Ohio and a ridge of moun- 
tains called Sheep Eidge, that divides the waters of the Cumber- 
land Eiver from those of the Cherokee Eiver. This boundary will 
give room to extend our settlements for ten or twelve years, will 
raise a considerable sum by the Eights, much increase* the Quit- 
rents, and enable the Inhabitants of Virginia to live thus manu- 
facturing such material as they raise. 


Thomas Walker. 
Feb. 2nd. 1769. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. * 103 

Thus it will appear that Colonel Lewis and Dr. Walker suc- 
ceeded in securing from the Indian chiefs the assurance that the 
settlers on the land in Southwest Virginia should remain in 
peaceable possession of their homes until a treaty could be held fix- 
ing new bounds between them. Acting upon this assurance, emigra- 
tion to the land continued, and during this year James Bryan 
settled near the present residence of Captain Kendrick, Moab, Va., 
and erected Bryan's Fort, William Cocke settled upon Spring creek, 
then called Eenfro's creek, and erected Cocke's fort, near the present 
residence of C. L. Clyce. Anthony Bledsoe settled in the lower end 
of this county about thirty miles east of Long Island, on the Fort 
Chiswell road, and afterwards built Bledsoe's Fort. Amos Eaton 
settled seven miles east of Long Island, where Eaton's Fort was 
afterwards built, and by the beginning of the year 1770 there were 
many settlers upon Holston. 

The first settlers of the Liberty Hall neighborhood were the 
Edmistons, Moores and Buchanans. The first name was written ?' 
Edmiston until sixty or seventy years ago. All the land from ( 
Liberty Hall to some distance east of Friendship was held by j 
William Edmiston under a grant from Charles II, King of Eng- 
land, and under the King's proclamation of 1763, Edmiston being 
an officer in the French-Indian war of 1754-1763. 

Fort Edmiston was built by the settlers as a protection against 
the Indians, who made frequent inroads on the settlements. As 
nearly as can be learned, it was built about 1765. 

The site was about three hundred yards east of Liberty Academy. 
The old Keys' dwelling, now owned by William Snodgrass, stands 
on the site of the old fort. A soldier by the name of Edmiston 
died at the fort and was the first person buried in the old Moore 

The Indians made frequent attacks on the fort and, in one, cap- 
tured and carried off a Miss Steele. The Indians were followed by 
parties from the fort, and she was recaptured on Walker's moun- 
tain. She was traced by means of twigs, which she had presence 
of mind enough to break off along the road. 

Several persons from the fort were in the battle at King's Moun- 
tain, among whom were the eight Edmistons and William Moore. 
Several of the former were killed. They were the ancestors of 
<he Edmondsons of this day. 

104 • Southwest Virginia, 17J^6-1786. 

Fort Edmiston was one of the first forts erected in this section. 
Fort Thompson, six miles northeast of Liberty Hall, on the Huff, 
formerly the Byars place, was erected about the same time. It was 
named for Captain James Thompson, who owned the property at 
that time, and it remained many years after the revolution. 

Tradition says Fort Edmiston ceased to exist about the year 

The first settlers in Widener's Valley were John Widener, Paul- 
ser Eouse and John Jones. They came from Germany, a few years 
prior to the Eevolutionary War, or about 1767. They first settled 
in Pennsylvania, but afterwards came to this country and settled 
temporarily near Fort Thompson. x\fter remaining there a short 
time, they removed to the valley. John Widener located near W. 
M. Widener's mill, and Jones and Eouse in the lower end of the 

In order to raise money to get away from Germany, John 
Widener pawned or bartered his son Mike, a boy twelve or four- 
teen years old. John Widener found employment in Pennsylvania, 
and earned money enough to redeem Mike. Mike tlien followed 
his father to the New World. He arrived just about the commence- 
ment of the revolution, joined Washington's army, was a brave sol- 
dier, acted as interpreter when the Hessians were captured, and 
appears to have been a favorite of Washington's, who called him 

After the revolution Mike followed his father and settled in the 
valley on what is now known as the Lilburn Widener farm. Mike 
died at the age of eighty-four. Joel Widener, now living, is a 
grandson. The present generation are all descendants of John 
and Mike. Several families of Eouses, descendants of Paulser, still 
live in the valley. 

At the time of these early settlements there were a good many 
Indians hunting and fishing in and near the valley. They were 
very peaceable, however. Two large Indian camps were established 
— one on the Middle Fork at a point east of the New Bridge; the 
other in the lower end of the valley. Of the latter many evidences 
still remain. 

John and Michael Fleenor settled in Poor Valley; Casper Flee- 
nor in Eich Valley, on the head waters of what is now called Gas- 
per's creek, and Nicholas Fleenor settled at the Lilburn Fleenor 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 105 

place in Eich Valley, below Benhams. The four persons named 
were of German descent and brothers, and are the ancestors of 
many of our best citizens. 

At this point it may be appropriate to give a description of the 
early forts erected by the settlers in the West. 

My readers will understand by this term, not only a place of de- 
fence, but the residence of a small number of families belonging 
to the neighborhood. 

As the Indian's mode of warfare was an indiscriminate slaugh- 
ter of all ages and both sexes, it was as requisite to provide for the 
safety of the women and children as for that of the men. The fort 
consisted of cabins, block-houses and stockades. A range of cabins 
commonly formed one side, at least, of the fort. Divisions or par- 
titions of logs separated the cabins one from another. The walls 
on the outside were ten or twelve feet high, the slope of the roof 
being turned wholly inward. Very few of these cabins had plank 
floors ; the greater part were earthen. 

The block-houses were built at the angles of the fort. They pro- 
jected about two feet beyond the outer walls of the cabins and 
stockades. Their upper stories were about eighteen inches, every 
way, larger in dimension than the under one, leaving an opening 
at the commencement of the second story to prevent the enemy 
from making a lodgement under their walls. 

In some forts, instead of block-houses, the angles of the fort 
were finished with bastions. A large folding gate, made of thick 
slabs nearest the spring, closed the fort. 

The stockades, bastions, cabins and block-house walls were fur- 
nished with port-holes at proper heights and distances. The whole 
of the outside was made bullet-proof. It may be truly said that 
"necessity is the mother of invention," for the whole of this 
work was made without the aid of a shingle, nail, or spike of iron, 
because such things were not to be had. In some places less exposed 
a single block-house, with a cabin or two, constituted the whole 

In this same year Daniel Boone, John Finley, John Stuart and 
a few others, as well as numerous other companies of hunters who 
are of no importance in the history of this country, explored Ken- 


106 Southwest Virginia, 17Jk6-n86. 

tucky and hunted throughout Southwest Virginia, East Tennes- 
see and Eastern Kentucky. 

In the year 1769 there occurred a circumstance that greatly aided 
the early settlers of Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee in 
settling this country and in conquering their Indian neighbors, the 

The Cherokee Indians were exceedingly overbearing in their dis- 
position and they sought a quarrel with the Chickasaw Indians and 
invaded their country. 

When they had reached the Chickasaw Old Fields, they were met 
by the Chickasaw warriors. After a terrible battle the Cherokees 
were defeated with great loss and retreated to their own villages. 
The very flower of the Cherokee Nation were destroyed in this bat- 
tle, and, the number of their warriors being greatly reduced, for 
seven years the early settlers were permitted to pursue their course 
in peace. 

All of the incidents above related occurred while the lands, now 
included in Washington county, were a part of Augusta county, but 
in the year 1769, the House of Burgesses of Virginia passed an act 
for the division of Augusta county, and all that part of Augusta 
county lying south and west of the North river, near Lexington, 
Va., was given the name of Botetourt county, and thus a new county 
was formed, which included all that part of Virginia in which we 
live and about which I write. 

The act establishing Botetourt county provided that from and 
after the 31st day of January next ensuing, 1770, the said county 
and parish of Augusta be divided into two counties and parishes by 
a line beginning at the Blue Eidge, running north 55 degrees west 
to the confluence of Mary's creek, or the South river, with the north 
branch of James river, thence up the same to the mouth of Carr's 
creek, thence up said creek to the mountain, thence north 55 degrees 
west as far as the courts of the two counties had it extended, and 
further. Whereas the people situated on the waters of the Mis- 
sisippi in the said county of Botetourt will be very remote from 
their courthouse and must necessarily become a separate county as 
soon as their numbers are sufficient, which probably will happen in 
a short time, be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that 
the inhabitants of that part of said county of Botetourt which lies 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 107 

on the said waters shall be exempted from the payment of any 
levies to be laid by the said county court for the purpose of building 
a courthouse and prison for said county. 

It will thus be seen that the organization of the county of Bote- 
tourt was intended to be temporary only. 

108 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 




The first Coimty Court of Botetourt county met at the house of 
Eobert Breckenridge^ near the location of Fincastle, Va., on Tues- 
day, the 13th of February, 1770. The justices composing the court 
were : 

^William Preston, David Eobinson, 

George Skillem, James Trimble 

Eichard Woods, John Maxwell 

Benjamin Hawkins, William Fleming, 

Benjamin Estill, Israel Christian, 

John Bowyer, Jlobert Breckenridge. 

A number of the members of this court were not present on the 
first day of the court, but were subsequently qualified. The follow- 
ing officers qualified on that day: 

County Court Clerk, John May. 
Sheriff Botetourt county, Eichard Woods. 

Deputy Sheriffs Botetourt county, Jas. McDowell and Jas. Mc- 

County Surveyor, William Preston. 
Escheator, William Preston. 
Coroner, Andrew Lewis. 
Colonel of Militia, William Preston. 

The attorneys qualifying to practice in the court were: 

Edmund Winston, John Aylett, 

Luke Bowyer, Thomas Madison. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 109 

On the 14tli day of February, 1770, the following magistrates 
qualified and took their seats : 

John Bowman, Anthony Bledsoe, 

AVilliam Christian, Walter Crockett, 

Robert Doach, John Howard, 

William Herbert, William Inglis, 

Phili]) Love, Andrew Lewis, 

John Montgomery, James McGavock, 

William Matthews, William McKee, 

James Eobertson, Francis Smith, 

Stephen Trigg, Andrew Woods. 

And on the 11th day of June, 1771, the following members of the 
court qualified: 

John Van Bebber, James Thompson, of Holstou, 

John Stewart, Matthew Arbuckle. 

Botetourt county was named for Lord Botetourt, Governor of 
Virginia, in 1768, and the county seat was fixed at the present loca- 
tion of Finscastle, Va., upon forty acres of land presented to the 
county for a town seat by Israel Christian. Fincastle was named 
for the county seat of Lord Botetourt in England, and was estab- 
lished as a town by law in 1772. 

Of the members of the County Court of Botetourt county, James 
Eobertson, Anthony Bledsoe and James Thompson had their resi- 
dence upon the waters of the Holston and the Watauga. On the 
second day of the court, being February 14, 1770, Frederick Stern 
and Eobert Davis were appointed constables upon the Holston river ; 
on the 12th of June, 1770, William Pruitt was appointed a con- 
stable upon the waters of the Clinch, and Arthur Campbell was 
appointed surveyor of the roads from the State line to the Eoyal 
Oak, and James Davis from the Eoyal Oak to his house. 

On the 13th of March, 1770, Arthur Campbell obtained permis- 
sion from the County Court of Botetourt county to erect a mill at 
Eoyal Oak, on the Holston, and there can be no question that this 
was the first mill erected upon any of the waters of the Holston or 
Clinch river. 

On the same day Francis Kincannon was appointed surveyor of 
the roads from Stalnaker's to Eighteen Mile creek; Thomas Eam- 

110 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

say from said creek to Beaver, or Shallow, creek, and David Looney 
from said creek to Fall creek. 

On the 10th of May, 1770, xVnthony Bledsoe was appointed to 
take the tithables from Stalnaker's to the lowest inhabitants. 

The next order of the County Court of Botetourt county, of any 
importance in the history of this county, was made on the 14th of 
August, 1771, when the County Court ordered that Andrew Colvill, 
George Adams, George Tiller, George Baker, David Ward and 
Alexander Wilie, or any three of them, being first sworn to view 
the way from the head of Holston river to the Wolf Hill creek, both 
the old and the new way, make report to the next court of the con- 
veniences and inconveniences thereof. The records of Botetourt 
county fail to show that this report was ever made or that the road 
was established, but there can be but little doubt that the road was 
established and used, and, if so, this was the first public road estab- 
lished upon the waters of the Holston or Clinch river. The fore- 
going is all the information that the records of Botetourt county 
give of any of the people living upon the waters of the Holston and 
Clinch rivers. 

The one matter of supreme importance to the inhabitants of this 
section of Virginia at that time was the extinguishment of the 
claims of the Cherokee Indians to the lands which they were set- 
tling and occupying, and, pursuant to instructions, John Stuart, 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs, assembled the Indian chiefs at 
Lochaber, S. C, October 18, 1770, and on Monday, October 22, 
1770, he succeeded in concluding a treaty with the chiefs and war- 
riors of the Cherokee Nation, by which George III, King of Eng- 
land, became the owner of all the lands lying east of a line 
beginning at a point where the North Carolina (now Tennessee) 
line terminates at a run, thence in a west course to Holston river, 
where it is intersected by a continuation of the line dividing the 
Province of North Carolina (now Tennessee) and Virginia, and 
thence in a straight course to the confluence of the Great Canaway 
river, the treaty being here given in full : 


At a meeting of the principal Chiefs and Warriors of the Cherokee 
Nation with John Stuart, Esq., Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 
etc., Lochaber, South Carolina, Oct. 18th, 1770. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. Ill 

Present Colo. Donelson by appointment of his Excellency, the 
Eight Honorable Lord Botetourt, in behalf of the Province of Vir- 

Alex'r Cameron, Deputy Superintendent ; James Simpson, Clk of 
his Majesty's Council of South Carolina; Major Lacy, from Vir- 
ginia ; Major Williamson, Capt. Cohoon, John Caldwell, Esq., Cap- 
tain Winter, Christopher Peters, Esq., besides a great number of the 
back inhabitants of the province of South Carolina, and the fol- 
lowing chiefs of the Cherokee Nation: Oconistoto, Killagusta, At- 
tacallaculla, Keyatory, Tiftoy, Terreaino, Encyod Tugalo, Scali- 
loskie Chinista, Chinista of Watangali, Octaciti of Hey Wassie, and 
about a thousand other Indians of the same Nation. 

John Watts, 'j ' 

David McDonald, I Interpreters. 

John Vans, j 

Treaty, Monday, 22nd Oct. 

At a Congress of the principal chiefs of the Cherokee Nation, held 
at Lochaber, in the province of South Carolina^ on the 18th day 
of October in the year of our Lord 1770, by John Stuart, Esq., his 
Majesty's agent for and Superintendent of the Affairs of the In- 
dian Nation in the Southern district of North America. 

A Treaty for a cession ! His most sacred Majesty, George the 
Third, by the grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, 
King, Defender of the Faith, etc., by the said Nation of Cherokee 
Indians, of certain lands lying within the limits of the Dominion of 

Whereas by a Treaty entered into and concluded at Hard Labor, 
the 14th day of Oct. in the year 1768, by John Stuart, Esq. his 
Majesty's Agent for and Superintendent of the affairs of the In- 
dian Nations, inhabiting the southern district of North America, 
with the principal and ruling Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation, all of 
the lands formerly claimed by, and belonging to the said Nation of 
Indians, lying within the province of North Carolina and Virginia, 
running in a N. B. E. course, to Colo. Chiswell's mine on the East- 
ern bank of the Great Canaway, and from thence in a straight line 
to the mouth of the said Great Canaway river, where it discharges 
itself into the Ohio river, were ceded to his most sacred Majesty, his 

113 Southwest Virginia, 17J,6-1786. 

heirs and sucessors. And whereas by the above recited Treaty, all 
the lands lying between Holston's Eiver, and the line above specified 
were determined to belong to the Cherokee Nation to the great loss 
and inconvenience of many of his Majesty's subjects inhabiting the 
said lands; and representation of the same having been made to 
his Majesty by his Excellency, the Et Hon'ble ISTorborne, Baron de 
Botetourt, his Majesty's Lieutenant and Governor General of the 
dominion of Virginia. In Consequence whereof, his Majesty has 
been generously pleased to signify his Eoyal pleasure to John Stu- 
art, Esq., his Agent for and Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the 
Southern District of North America, by an instruction contained 
in a letter from the Et. Hon'ble the Earl of Hillsborough, one of 
his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, dated the 13th of May, 
1769, to enter into a negotiation with the Cherokees for establishing 
a new boundary line beg'g at the point where the No. Carolina line 
terminates, and to run thence in a west course to Holston's Eiver, 
where it is intersected by a continuance of the line dividing the 
province of North Carolina & Virginia, and thence a straight course 
to the confluence of the Great Canaway and Ohio Elvers. 
Dec. 12, 1770. 

Article 1st. 

Pursuant therefore to his Majesty's orders to & power and autho- 
rity vested in John Stuart, Esqr. Agent for and Superintendent of 
the Affairs of the Indian Tribes in the Southern District: It is 
agreed upon by the said John Stuart, Esqr. on behalf of his most 
sacred Majesty, George Third, by the grace of God, of Great 
Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc., and 
by the subscribing Cherokee Chiefs and Warriors on behalf of their 
said Nation in consideration of his Majesty's paternal goodness, so 
often demonstrated to them, the said Cherokee Indians, and from 
their affection and friendship for their Brethren, the Inhabi- 
tants of Virginia as well as their earnest desire of removing as far 
as possible all cause of dispute between them and the said inhabi- 
tants on account of encroachments on lands reserved by the said In- 
dians for themselves, and also for a valuable consideration in 
various sorts of goods paid to them by the said John Stuart, on 
behalf of the Dominion of Virginia that the hereafter recited line be 
ratified and confirmed, and it is hereby ratified and confirmed ac- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 113 

cordingly : and it is by these presents firmly stipulated and agreed 
iipon by the parties aforesaid that a line beginning where the boun- 
dary line between the province of No. Carolina and the Cherokee 
hunting grounds terminates and running thence in a west course 
to a point six miles east of Long Island in Holston's river and thence 

to said river six miles above the said Long Island, thence in a 

course to the confluence of the Great Canaway and Ohio rivers, 
shall remain and be deemed by all his Majesty's white subjects 
as well as all the Indians of the Cherokee Nation, the true and 
just boundaries of the lands reserved by the said Nation of Indians 
for their own proper use, and dividing the same from the lands 
ceded by them to his Majesty's within the limits of the province of 
Virginia, and that his Majesty's white subjects, inhabiting the pro- 
vince of Virginia, shall not, upon any pretense whatsoever, settle 
beyond the said line, nor shall the said Indians make any settlements 
or encroachments on the lands which by this treaty they cede and 
confirm to his Majesty; and it is further agreed that as soon as his 
Majesty's royal approbation of this treaty shall have been signified 
to the Governor of Virginia or Superintendent, this treaty shall be 
carried into execution. 

Article 2nd. 

And it is further agreed upon and stipulated by the contracting 
parties, that no alteration whatsoever shall henceforward be made in 
the boundary line above recited, and now solemnly agreed upon, ex- 
cept such as may hereafter be found expedient and necessary for 
the mutual interest of both parties, and which alteration shall be 
made with the consent of the Superintendent or such other person 
or persons as shall be authorized by his Majesty, as well as with the 
consent and approbation of the Cherokee Nation of Indians, at a 
Congress or general meeting of said Indians, to be held for said 
purpose, and not in any other manner. 

In testimony whereof, the said Superintendent, on behalf of his 
Majesty, and the underwritten Cherokee Chiefs on behalf of their 
Nation have signed and sealed this present treaty at the time and 
place aforesaid. 

John Stuart, (L. S.) 

Oconistoto, YC, (L. C.) 

Kittagusta, 0., (L. C.) 

114 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

Attacallaculla, X., (L. C.) 

Keyatoy's mark ISTG., (L. C.) 

Unkayonla, C, (L. C.) 

Chuckamuntas, C, (L. C) 

Kinalilaps, NG., (L. C.) 

Skyagusta Tucelicis, S., (L. C.) 

Wolf of Keewees, G., (L. C.) 

Skyagusta Tiftoy, (L. C.) 

Terrapino, (L. C.) 

Ency of Tugalo, (L. C.) 

Scalil^^skey of Sugar Town, (L. C.) 
Thus all claim asserted by both the northern and southern In- 
dians to any of the lands located within the present bounds of 
Washington county was extinguished, and the settlement of these 
lands was greatly expedited thereby. This portion of Virginia now 
opened to settlement was one vast forest overspreading a limestone 
soil of great fertility and excellently watered, and this, accompa- 
nied by the comparative security and quiet succeeding the French- 
Indian war of 1763, contributed greatly to the rapid settlement of 
Southwestern Virginia. 

In the year 1770, Col. James Knox,* accompanied by about 
forty hunters from the settlements on New river, Holston and 
Clinch, passed oved the Cumberland mountains for the purpose of 
hunting and trapping, and penetrated to the lower Cumberland. 
They were equipped with their rifles, traps and dogs, and the 
usual outfit of backwoods hunters, and thus originated the name 
Long Hunters. The usual mode of hunting followed by what were 
known as the Long Hunters, in those days, was for not more than 
two or three men to go in one company, each man having two 
horses, traps, a large surplus of powder and lead, a small hand vise 
and bellows and files and screw plates for the purpose of fixing 
guns, if any should get out of fix. They usually set out from their 
homes about the first of October and returned the latter part of 
March or first of April. The most noted Long Hunters were 
Elisha Walden, William Carr, William Crabtree, James Aldridge, 
William Pitman and Henry Scaggs. 

During the season above mentioned, large numbers of hunters 

*Afterwards Gen. Knox. The last named erected a fort near the present 
site of Kiioxville, Tenn., to which was given the name of Fort Knox. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 115 

visited the valleys of the Holston, Clinch and Powell's rivers, and 
oftentimes penetrated into the very heart of Kentucky. 

In the year 1771, Absalom Looney settled in Abb's Valley, Taze- 
well county, Virginia, and from him the valley received its name. 
Thomas Witten and John Greenup settled at Crab Orchard, a few 
miles west of Tazewell C. H. ; Mathias, Jacob and Henry Harmon 
settled a few miles east of Tazewell C. H., and John Craven, 
Joseph Martin, John Henry, James King and John Bradshaw set- 
tled in Tazewell county, on the headwaters of the Clinch. 

In the year 1771, a company of about twenty men from near 
the Natural Bridge in Virginia and from the New river settle- 
ments met about eight miles below Fort Chiswell on New river, 
whence they traveled to the head of the Holston, and thence down 
the Holston Valley, and on into Kentucky, where they continued 
to hunt for about nine months. 

The Holston settlements received during this year a large num- 
ber of emigrants from North Carolina. The government of North 
Carolina was in the hands of a class of people who were very 
haughty and oppressive in their manner towards the poorer classes 
of citizens, which caused great numbers of the people of North 
Carolina to organize themselves into bands called Regulators. 
They petitioned Governor Tryon for relief, which was denied; tu- 
mult and violence succeeded, the courts were prevented from sit- 
ting and the laws were disobeyed. The principal ground of com- 
plaint was that the people were taxed without the right to vote and 
send representatives to the House of Commons of North Carolina. 
About three thousand Eegulators banded themselves together, and 
on the 16th of May, 1771, a battle was fought at the Alamance, 
between the Regulators and the forces commanded by Governor 
Tryon. The Regulators, being undisciplined and poorly armed, 
were defeated with the loss of nine killed and many wounded, the 
Governor's forces having lost twenty-seven killed and many 
wounded. And thus it is said was fought the first battle of the 
Revolution, and thus was shed the first blood for the enjoyment 
of liberty. The Eegulators being thus defeated and dispersed, 
many of their number found homes on the waters of the Holston 
and Clinch rivers. At this time the settlements extended down the 
north side of the Holston river as far as Carter's Valley, about 
fourteen or fifteen miles above Rogersville, Tenn., and that por- 

116 Southivest Virginia, 17J,6-17S6. 

tion of the country being supposed to be a part of Virginia, it was 
soon settled by people from the Wolf Hills in Virginia. 

A settlement was made on the Watauga as early as the year 1770, 
upon the idea that the lands were in Virginia, and that the set- 
tlers would be entitled to take up the lands given to settlers under 
the laws of Virginia, to-wit: To each actual settler who should 
erect a log cabin and cultivate one acre in corn, four hundred acres, 
located so as to include all improvements, with the right to buy 
a thousand acres adjoining at a nominal price. Most of the early 
settlers on the Watauga came from near the Wolf Hills and, being 
loyal Virginians, they did not contemplate establishing a residence 
in the State of North Carolina, but thought they were near the 
boundary between the two States. 

In the fall of the year 1771, Anthony Bledsoe ran the boundary 
line between the Colonies of Virginia and North Carolina, far 
enough west to ascertain that the Watauga settlement was in North 
Carolina, and Alexander Cameron, the British agent, immediately 
ordered the settlers on the Watauga to move off of the Indian lands. 
James Eobertson and John Sevier, two of the leading members 
of the Watauga settlement, immediately set about to devise ways 
and means by which they could avoid the order of the British 
agent. They could not buy the lands from the Indians, because 
the purchase was prohibited, but there was no law prohibiting a 
lease of the land, and in the year 1774, the Indians leased to the 
settlers on the Watauga the lands in the Watauga Valley and all 
was peace once again. 

The stream of emigration that poured over the mountains ex- 
tended along the Holston as far as Carter's Valley and on the lands 
belonging to the Indians. They were all from Virginia and of 
Scotch-Irish descent, their wealth consisting of strong arms and 
stout hearts. 

In the year 1772, James Moore and James Poage settled in 
Abb's Valley, William Wynn at Locust Hill, John Taylor and 
Jesse Evans on the north fork of Clinch ; Thomas Maxwell, Benja- 
min Joslin, James Ogleton, Peter and Jacob Harmon, Samuel 
Ferguson and William Webb, near Tazewell C. H.; Eees Bowen, 
at Maiden Spring, David Ward in the Cove, and William Garri- 
son at the foot of Morris' Knob. William Wynn erected a fort on 

Soufhwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 117 

Wynn's Branch, Thomas Witten at Crab Orchard, and Bees 
Bowen at Maiden Spring. 

The earlj/Settlers of Southwest Virginia came principally from 
the Valley^of Virginia, western Pennsylvania and Maryland, some 
of them coming directly from Ireland. They were of a mixed 
race, and a large majority were Scotch-Irish. In studying the 
nationality of the early settlers of Southwest Virginia, it must 
be kept in mind that there was a great difference between the 
people inhabiting the eastern shores of Virginia and the early set- 
tlers in the mountains of western Virginia. They differed both in 
their ancestry and in their religion. 

The early settlers of Eastern Virginia were English by birth and / 
Episcopalians in religion; while the early settlers of Southwest 
Virginia were Scotch-Irish by birth and Presbyterians in religious j 
belief. ' 

The government of the Colony of Virginia, early in the eigh- 
teenth century, adopted the policy of offering inducements to the 
dissenters from the established church to settle and make their 
homes in the Valley of Virginia and in the Southwest, and thereby 
sought to establish a barrier between the Indian tribes and the set- 
tlers east of the mountains. 

In the adoption of this policy the government of the Colony of 
Virginia was actuated by selfish motives; they little dreamed that 
they were thus giving a foothold to a vigorous people, who were 
destined tp play a strong part in the future history of their 

The people thus invited to settle the garden spot of Virginia 
were the sons of the men who followed Cromwell. They were men 
who regarded themselves, according to Macaulay, as "kings by the 
right of an earlier creation and priests by the interposition of an 
Almighty hand." King James I, when speaking of a Scotch Pres- 
bytery, said, "Presbytery agreeth as well with monarchy as God and 
the devil." They were Protestants and detested the Catholics, the 
enemies of their forefathers, and they despised the Episcopalians, 
their oppressors. They constituted the outposts of our earlier civiliza- 
tion, their homes being in the moimtains. A distinguished writer, 
in speaking of these people, says : "That these Irish Presbyte- 
rians M^ere a bold and hardy race is proved by their at once pushing 
past tlic settled regions and plunging into the wilderness as the 

118 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

leaders of the white advance. They were the first and last set of 
emigrants to do this; all others have merely followed in the wake 
of their predecessors. But indeed they were fitted to be Americans 
from the very start; they were the kinsfolk of the Covenanters: 
they deemed it a religious duty to interpret their own Bible, and 
held for a divine right the election of their own clergy. The creed 
of the backwoodsmen who had a creed at all was Presbyterianism, 
for the Episcopacy of the tidewater lands obtained no foothold in 
the mountains, and the Methodists and Baptists had but just be- 
gun to appear in the west,* before the Revolution broke out." 

Governor David Campbell, who lived and died at Abingdon, in 
speaking of these people, says : "The first settlers on Holston river 
were a remarkable race of people, for their intelligence, enterprise 
and hardy adventure." The greater portion of them had emi- 
grated from the counties of Botetourt, Augusta and Frederick, and 
others from along the same valley and from the upper counties 
of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and generally, where they had any 
religious opinions, were Presbyterians. 

A very large proportion were religious, and many were mem- 
bers of' the church. It is generally supposed that the motive 
actuating the early explorers and settlers of this country was the 
acquisition of wealth, and while • such motive may have had its 
influence on some, we cannot believe that such was the real motive 
of the great body of our early settlers. The early settlers and 
forefathers had been persecuted in their homes across the Atlantic 
because of their independent . spirit and their undying fealty to 
the doctrines taught by Calvin and Knox ; and when they crossed 
the waters they were driven, by the intolerant spirit of the estab- 
lished church, beyond the lowlands to the very mountains, where 
they sought a place and opportunity to exercise their religion ac- 
cording to the dictates of their consciences. The important part 
played by this people in the early history of our country cannot be 

Our forefathers were inspired and governed by the same senti- 
ments that actuated the founders of our nation. The theology of 
Calvin, the founder of the republic of Geneva, combined with the 
sturdy independence of the Scotch-Irish settlers of the American 
colonies, gave birth to our republic. "The first voice raised in 

*The Winning of the West, Vol. I., page 138. 

Soutliwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 119 

America to destroy all connection with Great Britain came from 
the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.*" 

The Hon. Wm. C. Preston, of South Carolina, a native of Wash- 
ington county, in speaking of the resemblance between the consti- 
tution of the Presbyterian Church and the constitution of our 
country, said : "Certainly it was the most remarkable and singular 
coincidence that the constitution of the Presbyteilian Chuj-ch 
should bear such a close and striking resemblance to the political con- 
stitution of our country." f 

Not only were they the first to demand the separation of the 
colonies from the mother country, but they were the first to de- 
mand religious liberty and the separation of Church and State. 

Hanover Presbytery, of which the Eev. Chas. Cummings was an 
honored member, prepared a petition with this object in view and 
presented it to the General Assembly of Virginia on the 24th of 
October, 1776, the petition being as follows: 

"A memorial of the Presbytery of Hanover was presented to the 
House, and read : setting forth that they are governed by the same 
sentiments which have inspired the United States of America, 
and are determined that nothing in their power and influence shall 
be wanting to give success to the common cause : that Dissenters 
from the Church of England in this country have ever been desir- 
ous to conduct themselves as peaceable members of the civil gov- 
ernment, for which reason they have hitherto submitted to several 
ecclesiastick burthens and restrictions, that are inconsistent with 
equal liberty, but that now when the many and grievous oppres- 
sions of our mother country have laid this continent under the 
necessity of casting off the yoke of tyranny, and of forming inde- 
pendent governments, upon equitable and liberal foundations, they 
flatter themselves they shall be freed from all the encumbrances 
which a spirit of domination, prejudice or bigotry hath interwoven 
with most other political systems : that they are more strongly en- 
couraged to expect this, by the declaration of rights, so universally 
applauded for the dignity, firmness and precision with which it 
delineates and asserts the privileges of society and the prerogatives 
of human nature, and which they embrace as the Magna Charta of 
the Commonwealth, which can never be violated without endanger- 

*Bancroft's His. U. S., Vol. X., page 77. 
t Scotch-Irish Seeds, page 346. 

120 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1780. 

ing the grand superstructure it was destined to support: There- 
fore they rely upon this declaration, as well as the justice of the 
Legislature, to secure to them the free exercise of their religion, 
according to the dictates of their consciences : and that they should 
fall short in their duty to themselves and to the many and nu- 
merous congregations under their care, were they upon this occasion 
to neglect laying before the House a statement of the religious griev- 
ances under which they have hitherto labored, that they may no 
longer be continued in the present form of government: that it 
is well known that in the frontier counties which are justly sup- 
posed to contain a fifth part of the inliabitants of Virginia, the 
dissenters have borne the heavy burthens of purchasing glebes and 
supporting the established clergy, where there are very few Episco- 
palians either to assist in bearing the expense or to reap the ad- 
vantage: and that throughout the other parts of the country there 
are also many thousands of zealous friends and defenders of the 
State who, besides the invidious disadvantageous restrictions to 
which they have been subjected annually, pay large taxes to sup- 
port an establishment from which their consciences and principles 
oblige them to dissent, all which are so many violations of their 
natural rights, and in their consequences a restraint upon freedom 
of inquiry and private judgment. In this enlightened age, and in 
a land where all are united in the most strenuous efforts to be free, 
they hope and expect that their representatives will cheerfully 
concur in removing every species of religious as well as civil bond- 
age. That every argument for civil liberty gains additional 
strength when applied to liberty in the concerns of religion, and 
that there is no argument in favor of establishing the Christian 
religion but what may be pleaded for establishing the tenets of Ma- 
homet by those who believe in the Alcoran : or, if this be not true, 
it is at least impossible for the magistrate to adjudge the right 
of preference among the various sects which profess the Christian 
faith, without erecting a chair of infallibility which would lead us 
back to the Church of Eome. That they beg leave farther to repre- 
sent that religious establishments are highly injurious to the tem- 
poral interests of any community, without insisting upon the ambi- 
tion and the arbitrary practices of those who aro favored by govern- 
ment, or the intriguing seditious spirit which is commonly excited 
by this, as well as every other kind of oppression. Such establish- 

Southwest Virginia, nJf6-1786. 131 

ments greatly retard population and consequently the progress of 
arts, sciences and manufactures: witness the rapid growth and 
improvement of the northern provinces compared with this. That 
no one can deny the more early settlement, and the many supe- 
rior advantages of our country, would have invited multitudes 
of artificers, mechanics and other useful members of society, to fix 
their habitation among us, who have either remained in the place 
ef their nativity, or preferred worse civil government, and a more 
barren soil, where they might enjoy the rights of conscience more 
fully than they had a prospect of doing in this : from which they 
infer that Virginia might now have been the capital of America, 
and a match for the British arms, without depending upon others 
for the necessaries of war, had it not been prevented by her reli- 
gious establishment. jSTeither can it be made appear that the gos- 
pel needs any such civil aid : they rather conceive that when our 
Blessed Savior declares his kingdom is not of this world, he 
renounces dependence upon State power, and as his weapons are 
spiritual and were only designed to have influence upon the judg- 
ment and heart of man, they are persuaded that if mankind were 
left in the quiet possession of their unalienable privileges, Chris- 
tianity, as in the days of the Apostles, would continue to prevail 
and flourish in the greatest purity by its own native excellence, 
and under the all-disposing providence of God. That they would 
also humbly represent, that the only proper objects of civil gov- 
ernment are the happiness and protection of men in the present 
state of existence, the security of the life, liberty and property of 
the citizens, and to restrain the vicious and encourage the virtuous 
by wholesome laws, equally extending to every individual : but that 
the duty they owe their Creator, and the manner of discharging it, 
can only be directed by reason and conviction, and is nowhere 
cognizable but at the tribunal of the universal judge, and that 
therefore they ask no ecclesiastical establishments for themselves, 
neither can they approve of them when granted to others, and earn- 
estly entreating that all laws now in force in this Commonwealth 
which countenance religious denominations may be speedily re- 
pealed, that all and every religious sect may be protected in the 
full exercise of their several modes of worship, and exempted from 
the payment of all taxes for the support of any church whatever. 


Southivest Virginia, 171,6-1786. 

farther than wliat may be agreeable to their own private choice, or 
voluntary obligations."* 

But few of the inhabitants of this beautiful country at the 
present time have even a slight idea of the dangers and priva- 
tions endured by the early settlers, the dim shadows of which are 
vanishing like the tints in a dissolving scene. The men who 
worked their way from tlie settlements in the valley to their future 

The First Temjiles. 

home, groping through the forest without a road and with nothing 
to guide them in their course, except the trail of the Indian and 
the buffalo ; at night resting on the ground with no roof over them 
save the branches of the mighty oak or the broad expanse of 
heaven; exploring an unknown wilderness, surrounded by insur- 
mountable obstacles and momentarily threatened with assault from 
their deadly enemies, the rattlesnake, the Indian and the wild beast 
of the forest, but always accompanied by a trust in their God, 
came, "with the Bible in one hand and a cross in the other, tread- 
ing the sombre shades of these dark old woods and often with a 
boulder of granite for a footstool, and the eternal cataracts thundcr- 

*Journal Va. House of Delegates, 1776. 
resolution by many years. 

This petition preceded Jefferson 

Southwest Virginia, 17J^6-1786. 123 

ing amid the everlasting solitudes for an organ, these devout men 
Avorshipped their God according to the dictates of their consciences." 
Each emigrant brought with him some clothes, a little bedding, 
guns and ammunition, cooking utensils, seed corn, an axe, a saw 
and the Bible. Such were the men and the manner of their com- 
ing, who cleared the forests and opened the beautiful and rich 
farms that are now spread out upon our. hills and mountain sides 
and grassy plains. 

The early settlers in their intercourse with others were kind, 
beneficent and disinterested: extending to all the most generous 
hospitality that their circumstances could afford. That selfish- 
ness which prompts to liberality for the sake of remuneration and 
professes the civilities of life with an eye to individual interest 
was unknown to them. They were kind for kindness' sake and 
sought no other recompense than the never failing concomitant 
of good deeds, the reward of an approving conscience. 

There existed in each settlement a -perfect unison of feeling. 
Similitude of situation and community of danger operated as a 
magic charm and stifled in their birth those little bickerings which 
are so apt to disturb the quiet of society.* 

Ambition of preferment, the pride of place, too often hin- 
drances to social intercourse, were unknown among them. Equal- 
ity of condition rendered them strangers alike to the baneful dis- 
tinctions of wealth and other adventitious circumstances, a sense 
of mutual dependence for their common security, linked them in 
amity and they conducted their several purposes in harmonious con- 
cert; together they toiled and together they suffered. Such were 
the pioneers of the Southwest; and the greater part of mankind 
might now derive advantage from the contemplation of their "hum- 
ble virtues, their hospitable homes, their spirits potential, noble, 
proud and free, their self-respect grafted on innocent thoughts, 
their days of health and nights of sleep, their toils, by dangers 
dignified, yet guiltless, their hopes of cheerful old age and a quiet 
grave with cross and garland over its green turf and their grand- 
children's love for an epitaph."* 

The early settlers of this section of Virginia were a strong, 
stern people, simple in their habits, God-fearing in their practices, 
imbibing the spirit of freedom, such as is usually found among the 


124 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

inhabitants of a mountainous country, kind in their disposition 
towards the well-disposed and unmerciful in their dealings with 
their enemies. They were upright in all their dealings, fearless 
advocates of the right and undying lovers of their country. 

Dr. Dodridge, an author who wrote from his personal knowl- 
edge, says that "linsey coats and bed-gowns, were the universal dress 
of the women in the early times." The weed, now known among 
us as the "wild nettle," then furnished the material which served 
to clothe the persons of our sires and dames." It was cut down 
while yet green and treated much in the same manner in which 
flax is now treated. 

The fibrous bark, with the exception of the shortness of the 
fibres, seemed to be adapted to the same uses. When this "flax," 
if I may so term it, was prepared, it was mixed with buffalo hair, 
and woven into a substantial cloth in which the men and women 
were clothed. It is a true maxim, "Necessity is the mother of 

"The furniture of the table, for several years after the settle- 
ment of this country, consisted of a few pewter dishes, plates and 
spoons; but mostly of wooden bowls, trenchers and noggins. If 
these last were scarce, gourds and hard-shelled squashes made up 
the deficiency. Iron pots, knives and forks were brought from the 
East, with the salt and iron on horseback." 

"In our whole display of furniture, the delft, china and silver 
were unknown. It did not then, as now, require contributions 
from the four quarters of the globe to furnish the breakfast table, 
viz., the silver from Mexico, the coffee from the West Indies, the 
tea from China and the delft or porcelain from Europe or Asia. 
Yet, a homely fare, unsightly cabins and furniture produced a 
hardy race, who planted the first footsteps of civilization in the 
immense regions of the West. Inured to hardship, bravery and 
labor from their early youth, they sustained with manly fortitude 
the fatigue of the chase, the campaign and scout, and with 'strong 
arms turned the wilderness into fruitful fields,' and have left to 
their descendants the rich inheritance of an immense empire 
blessed with peace, wealth and prosperity."* 

"For a long time after the settlement of this country, the in- 


Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 125 

habitants in general married young. There was no distinction of 
rank and very little of fortune. On these accounts the first impres- 
sion of love resulted in marriage, and a family establishment cost 
but little labor and nothing else. 

"A description of a wedding from beginning to end will serve 
to show the manners of our forefathers and mark the grade of civi- 
lization which has succeeded to their rude state of society, in the 
course of a few years. 

"In the first years of the settlement of a country, a wedding en- 
gaged the attention of the whole neighborhood, and the frolic was 
anticipated by young and old with eager expectation. This is not 
to be wondered at when it is told that a wedding was almost the 
only gathering which was not accompanied with the labor of reap- 
ing, log-rolling, building a cabin, or planning some scout or cam- 
paign. On the morning of the wedding day the groom and his at- 
tendants assembled at the house of his father for the purpose of 
reaching the home of his bride by noon, which was the usual time 
for celebrating the nuptials and which, for certain reasons, must 
take place before dinner. 

"Let the reader imagine an assemblage of people without a 
store, tailor or mantua-maker within a hundred miles, and an as- 
semblage of horses without a blacksmith or saddle within an equal 
distance. The gentlemen dressed in shoepacks, moccasins, leather 
breeches, leggings, linsey hunting shirts, and all home-made. The 
ladies dressed in linsey petticoats and linsey or linen bed-gowns, 
coarse shoes, stockings and handkerchiefs and buckskin gloves, if 
any. If there were any rings, buckles, buttons or ruffles, they were 
the relics of olden times; family pieces from parents or grand- 
parents. The horses were caparisoned with old saddles, old bridles 
or halters, and pack-saddles with a bag or blanket thrown over 
them; a rope or string as often constituted the girth as a piece of 

"The march, in double file, was often interrupted by the narrow- 
ness of our mountain paths, as they were called, for we had no 
roads, and these difficulties were often increased by the good and 
sometimes the ill-will of neighbors by felling trees and tying grape- 
vines across the way. Sometimes an ambuscade was formed by 
the wayside, and an unexpected discharge of several guns took 

126 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

place, so as to cover the wedding party with smoke. Let the reader 
imagine the scene which followed this discharge ; the sudden spring 
of the horses, the shrieks of the girls and the chivalrous bustle of 
their partners to save them from falling. Sometimes, in spite of 
all that could be done to prevent it, some were thrown to the 
ground. If a wrist, elbow or ankle happened to be sprained, it was 
tied up with a handkerchief, and little more said or thought 
about it. 

"The ceremony of the marriage preceded the dinner, which was 
a substantial backwoods feast of beef, pork, fowls, and sometimes 
venison and bear meat roasted and boiled with plenty of potatoes, 
cabbage and other vegetables. During the dinner the greatest 
hilarity prevailed. The table might be a large slab of timber, 
hewed out with a broad-axe, supported by four sticks, set in auger 
holes; and the furniture, some old pewter dishes and plates; the 
rest, wooden bowls and trenchers: a few pewter spoons much bat- 
tered about the edges were to be seen at some tables. The rest were 
made of horn. If knives were scarce the deficiency was made up 
with scalping knives which were carried in sheaths suspended to 
the belt of the hunting shirt. Every man carried one. 

"After dinner the dancing commenced and generally lasted until 
the next morning. The figures of the dancers were three and four 
handed reels, or square sets and jigs. The commencement was 
always a square form, which was followed by what was called jig- 
ging it off; that is, two of the four would single out for a jig, and 
were followed by the remaining couple. The jigs were often ac- 
companied with what was called cutting out, that is, when either 
of the parties became tired of the dance, on intimation, the place 
was 'supplied by some one of the company, without any interrup- 
tion to the dance. In this way the dance was often continued till 
the musician was heartily tired of his situation. Toward the lat- 
ter part of the night, if any of the company through weariness at- 
tempted to conceal themselves for the purpose of sleeping, they 
were hunted up, paraded on the floor, and the fiddler ordered to 
play, 'Hang out till to-morrow morning.' 

"About nine or ten o'clock a deputation of young ladies stole 
off the bride and put her to bed. In doing this it frequently hap- 
pened that they had to ascend a ladder, instead of a pair of stairs, 

Southwest Virginia, 1740-1786. 137 

leading from the dining and ball room to a loft, the floor of 
which was made of clapboards lying loose. 

"This ascent, one might think, would put the bride and her 
attendants to the blush; but the foot of the ladder was commonly 
behind the door, which was purposely opened for the occasion, 
and its rounds at the inner ends were well hung with hunting- 
shirts, dresses and other articles of clothing. The candles being 
on the opposite side of the house, the exit of the bride was noticed 
but by few. 

"This done, a deputation of young men, in like manner, stole 
off the groom and placed him snugly by the side of his bride. The 
dance still continued; and if seats happened to be scarce, as was 
often the case, every young man when not engaged in the dance, 
was obliged to offer his lap as a seat for one of the girls; and the 
offer was sure to be accepted. In the midst of this hilarity the 
bride and groom were not forgotten. Pretty late in the night 
some one would remind the company that the new couple must 
stand in need of some refreshments. Black Betty, which was the 
name of the bottle, was called for and sent up the ladder; but 
sometimes Black Betty did not go alone. I have sometimes seen 
as much bread, beef, pork and cabbage sent along as would afford 
a good meal for half a dozen hungry men. The young couple 
were compelled to eat and drink more or less of whatever was 

"But to return: it often happened that some neighbors or rela- 
tions, not being asked to the wedding, took offence, and the 
mode of revenge adopted by them on such occasions was that 
of cutting off the manes, foretops, and tails of the horses of the 
wedding company. 

"On returning to the infare, the order of procession and the 
race for Black Betty was the same as before. The feasting and 
dancing often lasted several days, at the end of which the whole 
company were so exhausted with loss of sleep that many days' 
rest were requisite to fit them to return to their ordinary labors." 


"This constituted one of the greatest amusements, and, in many 
instances, one of the chief employments of the early settlers. The 
various intrigues of a skillful hunter, such as mimicking a turkey. 

128 Southtvest Virginia, 1740-1786. 

owl, wolf, deer, etc., were soon learned, and the eye was taught 
to catch, at a glance, the faintest impressions left upon the earth 
by any animal. IMarks which would be by any but a hunter 
overlooked were easily detected. The times and grounds on 
which elk, deer, etc., fed were soon learned, and then the important 
lesson of preventing spells or enchantments by enemies was 
studied, for it is a singular fact that all hunters are more or less 
superstitious. Frequently, on leaving home, the wife would throw 
the axe at her husband to give him good luck. If he chanced to 
fail to kill game, his gun was enchanted or spelled, and some old 
woman was shot in effigy, then a silver bullet would be run with a 
needle through it and shot at her picture. To remove these spells, 
they would sometimes unbreech their rifles, and lay them in a 
clear running stream for a certain number of days. If this failed, 
they would borrow patching from some other hunter, which 
transferred all the bad luck to the lender, etc. 

"Game was plenty at the time this country was first settled by 
the whites, and, acordingly, the woods furnished most of ihe 
meat. The elks and buffaloes were generally killed at the licks 
whither they repaired to salt themselves. Animals were hunted 
there not merely for their meat, but for their skins and furs. 
These served to pay for powder, lead, or anything else, being nomi- 
nally the currency of the country. 

"Neither was hunting a mere pastime, devoid of skill, as it now 
is. The hunter might be considered somewhat of a meteorologist; 
he paid particular attention to the winds, rains, snows, and frosts, 
for almost every change altered the location of the game. He 
knew the cardinal points of the compass by the thick bark and 
moss on the north side of a tree, so that during the darkest and 
most gloomy night he knew which was the north, and so the 
direction of his home or camp. 

"The natural habits of the deer were well studied; and hence he 
knew at what times they fed, etc. If, in hunting, he found a deer 
at feed, he stopped, and though he might be open to it, did not seek 
to obscure himself, but waited till it raised its head and looked 
at him. He rem.ained motionless till the deer, satisfied that 
nothing was in sight, again commenced feeding. He then began 
to advance, if he had the wind of it, and if not, he retreated and 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 139 

came up another way, so as to place the deer between himself and 
the wind. As long as the deer's head was down, he continued to 
advance till he saw it shake the tail. In a moment he was the same 
motionless object, till again it put down its head. In this way he 
Avould soon approach to within sixty yards, when his unerring rifle 
did the work of death. It is a curious fact that deer never put 
their heads to the ground, or raise it, without shaking the tail be- 
fore doing so."* 


130 Soutluvest Virginia, 17 46-17 S6. 




The House of Burgesses of Virginia in tlie fall of the year 
1772, in answer to the petition of the inhabitants and settlers on 
the waters of the Holston and New rivers, representing their in- 
conveniences by reason of the extent of Botetourt county and their 
remote situation from the courthouse, with the consent of the 
Governor and Council enacted a law providing that from and 
after the first day of December, 1772, the said county of Bote- 
tourt should be divided into two distinct counties; that is to say, 
all that part of said county within a line to run up the east side 
of New river to the mouth of Culberson creek, thence a direct line 
to the Catawba road where it crosses the dividing ridge between 
tlie north fork of Roanoke and the waters of New river, thence 
with the top of the ridge to the bend where it turns eastwardl.y, 
thence a south course, crossing Little river to the top of the Blue 
Eidge mountain, shall be established as one distinct county, to be 
called and known by the name of Fincastle ; and all that other part 
thereof which lies to the east and northeast of said line shall be 
one other distinct county and retain the name of Botetourt. The 
act establishing Fincastle did not designate the place of holding 
the court of the county, but, by order of the Governor of the 
Colony, the Lead Mines, now in Wythe county, Virginia, was desig- 
nated as the county seat of the new county.* 

Pursuant to a commission from the Governor of the Colony 
bearing date December 1, 1772, directed to 

William Preston, William Inglis, 

William Christian, John Montgomery, 

Stephen Trigg, Eobert Doach, 

Walter Crockett, James McGavock, 

Anthony Bledsoe, James Thompson, 

Arthur Campbell, William Eussell, 

Benjamin Estill, Samuel Crockett, 

Alexander McKee, 

*8 Hen. Stat., page 600. 

Southwest Virginia, 17JiG-J786. 131 

the first County Court for Fincastle county assembled at the 
Lead Mines, on New river, in the present county of Wythe, on 
the 5th day of January, 1773. The following m^^anbers of the 
court being present: 

Arthur Campbell, James Thompson, 

-William Preston, William Inglis, 

William Christian, Stephen Trigg, 

Walter Crockett, James McGavock. 

Arthur Campbell and James Thompson administered the oath 
to William Preston and William Inglis, and they to : 

William Christian, Stephen Trigg, 

Robert Doach, Walter Crockett, 

James McGavock, James Thompson, 

Arthur Campbell. 

Subsequently in the year 1773, William Campbell, James Mc- 
Corkle and William Herbert were commissioned and qualified as 
members of the court. The following officers of the new county 
qualified on that day: 

Sheriff Fincastle count}', 
^William Preston. 

Deputy Sheriffs : 
Daniel Trigg, John Floyd, 

James Thompson, Henry Moore. 

Surveyor Fincastle County, 
William Preston. 

Deputy Surveyors : 
John Floyd, Robert Preston, 

Daniel Smith, Robert Doach, 

William Russell, James Douglas. 

Clerk Fincastle county, 
John Byrd. 

Deputy Clerks : 
William Christian, 
Stephen Trigg, ? 
Richard Madison. 

132 Southwest Virginia, 174-6-1786. 

King-'s Counsel or Dept. Attorney : 
John Aylett, Jan. 5th, 1773. 
Thomas Madison, May 3rd, 1774. 

The following attorneys qualified in this court during the exist- 
ence of the county: 

Ephraim Dun! op, Luke Bowyer, 

John May, Jolin Todd, 

Harry Innes, Charles Simm, 

John Aylett, Gabriel Jones, 

Benjamin Lawson, Thomas Madison. 

On the first day of the court many interesting orders were en- 
tered, several of the number being here copied as entered : 

"The Court doth appoint the house adjoining the Court House, 
where the court is now held, for a prison, which house William 
Preston, Sheriff, doth protest against as insufficient. 

"Ordered that Stephen Trigg send for weights and measures 
for the use of the said county, as soon as possible and on as low 
terms as he sells goods to his best customers on.^' 

"Ordered that John Byrd do provide all necessary law books for 
this county, and that he bring in his charge." 

A number of orders were entered by the court on the first day 
of its existence, in regard to that section of Fincastle county lying 
iipon the waters of the Holston and Clinch rivers. 

Leave was given Francis Whitney and William Kennedy to 
erect mills on the properties on which they lived, on the Holston 
river and the waters of Holston river. 

In this connection it is worthy of notice, tliat at the time per- 
mission was given to Kennedy and Whitney to erect their mills, 
there was but one mill on the waters of the Holston, so far as the 
records show, to-wit: the mill of Arthur Campbell at Royal Oak. 

"It is further ordered by the court that Williiim Edmiston, 
George Adams, John Beaty, Joseph Drake, David Snodgrass and 
James Kincannon, or any three of them, being first sworn, do view 
the nighest and best way from the Town House (now in Smyth 
County, Va.,) to the Eighteen Mile creek (now Abingdon), and 

It seems that there was some contention among the settlers on 
Holston as to the location of this road; for, on the 3nd day of 

South IV est Virginia, 17^6-1786. 133 

^iarcli, 1773, the above order was set aside by the court, and on 
that day it was ordered that John Hays, Benjamin Logan, William 
Campbell, Arthur Bowen and Thomas Eamsey, or any three of 
them, being first sworn, do view the several ways proposed for said 
road and make a report of the conveniences and inconveniences 
attending the same. The viewers thus appointed made their re- 
port to the County Court on July 6, 1773, recommending that the 
lower road be established, which report was confirmed and the road 
established, and William Campbell, William Edmiston and James 
Bryan were appointed overseers of the said road. 

The above is all the information that the records contain of the 
controversy in regard to the establishment of this road, but I ap- 
prehend that the action of the court in establishing the road as 
they did had considerable bearing in settling the future location 
of the county seat of Washington county at Abingdon. 

Upon the second day of the court it was recommended to his 
Excellency the Governor that he wnll be pleased to establish the 
courthouse for this county at a piece of land commonly called 
]\rc(^airs place, now the property of Eoss & Co., and the lands 
of Samuel Crockett, in lieu of the Lead Mines, for the several 
reasons following: 

That tlie said McCall's place and Crockett's lies on the Great 
Eoad that passes through the county, and that it is well watered, 
timbered and level. 

That it is more central than the mines, and that it is in the 
neigbborhood of a great deal of good lands and meadows. 

That the Lead ]\Iines are near the south line of the county, that 
there is no s})ring convenient, the place is very bare of timber and 
in a neighborhood where there is very little pasture, and it is 
certainly off the leading road. 

From which order Arthur Campbell dissented. 

While the records are to some extent indefinite as to the action 
of the Governor upon this petition, it is clear that the county seat 
was not removed from the Lead Mines during the existence of 
the county of Fincastle, as is evident from other records that 
have a bearing upon this subject. 

The County Court on March 2, 1774, entered the following 
order : 

^'Ordered that the surveyor lay off the prison bounds, and that 

134 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

he include all the houses and some part of the waters." This 
clearly applied to the Lead Mines. 

The act of the Legislature of Virginia establishing Montgomery 
county directed that the county scat should be Fort Chiswell, and 
one of the first orders of that court was to appoint commissioners to 
contract for and superintend the erection of a courthouse. 

The above facts, when taken in connection with the circumstance 
that Fort Chiswell was at no time mentioned in the records of the 
County Court of Fincastle county, except in the petition above set 
out, are conclusive in regard to this matter. 

On May 2, 1773, the court ordered that Robert Davis, Alexan- 
der Wylie, Eobert Buchanan, and Hugh Gallion, any three of 
whom being duly sworn, do view the nighest way from James Davis' 
(at the head spring of the Middle Fork of the Holston) to James 
Catherine's (near the head spring of the South Fork of the Hol- 
ston), but the records of Fincastle fail to show that this road was 

The next order of importance entered by the court was on May 
5, 1773, when the court ordered that Isaac Riddle, Wesley White, 
James Young and James Montgomery do view the nighest and best 
way from Eleven Mile creek, on Holston, by Jones' place at the 
crossing place, going to Watauga, and report. 

The commissioners made their report on July 6, 1773, and the 
road was established, and James Montgomery, James Young and 
Isaac Riddle were appointed overseers. 

On March 3, 1773, James McCarthy, Matthew Mounts, John 
Smith, Thomas Byrd, Nathan Richerson and Peter Lee, or any 
three of them, being first sworn, were ordered to view the nighest 
and best way from the Town House on Holston to Castle's Woods 
on Clinch river, and make report. 

The commissioners made their report on July 6, 1773. and the 
road was partially established, beginning at John Dunkin's in Elk 
Garden, thence over the mountains to Poor Valley, about five miles 
to the westward of the old path, and from thence by the Big Lick, 
through Lyon's Gap to the Town House. 

On March 2, 1773, the court directed John Maxwell, Robert Al- 
lison and Robert Campbell, or any three of them, to view the 
nighest and best way from Catherine's Mill to Charles Allison's, 
and so on to Sinclair's Bottom, and report. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 135 

On July 6, 1773, the commissioners reported, and the court di- 
rected a road to l)e established from Catherine's Mill to Charles 
Allison's house on the condition that the people on the South Fork, 
or any others on same road who think it useful, do cut the same 

On the same day the court ordered that William Edmiston, 
Kobert Edmiston, Alexander McNutt, Robert Buchanan, and John 
Edmiston, any three of whom may act, do view a road from Charles 
Allison's house down the South Fork to Robert Edmiston's house 
and report. 

On May 5, 1773, the County Court directed Arthur Camp- 
bell to take a list of the tithables on the Clinch river and on all its 
forks, as low as the Elk Garden, and on the Wolf Hill creek. 

And William Eussell to take a list of the tithables from the 
Elk Garden, on the Clinch, down to the county line. 

And Anthony Bledsoe to take a list of the tithables from Cap- 
tain Campbell's down to the county line, on the North, South, and 
Middle Forks of Holston river. 

And that Captain James Thompson do take a list of the tith- 
ables in Captain William Campbell's company. 

On May 4, 1773, the court directed James Hays, John Hays, 
"^ Archibald Buchanan, and Robert Davis to view the nighest and 
best way by Robert Davis' into the leading road from Holston. 

At" the meeting of the County Court on July 6, 1773, Jonathan 
Jenning was fined forty shillings for speaking of the court with 
contempt and saying that they were self-interested and partial. 

And on the same day Stephen Trigg, James McCorkle, Walter 
Crockett and James McGavock were directed to agree with work- 
men to repair the second house from the courthouse for a prison 
in such manner as is necesssary. 

And on the 9th day of July, 1773, Joseph Black, Andrew Col- 
vill, Samuel Ewen, William Blackburn, George Blackburn, Samuel 
Briggs, Davis Galloway, John Berry, Christopher Acklin, John 
Keswick, John Vance and Benjamin Logan were directed to clear 
the nearest and best way from Samuel Brigg's^ on Eighteen Mile 
creek, to James Bryan's, on Eleven Mile creek. 

On November 2, 1773, on the petition of a number of the in- 
habitants, it was ordered that William Priest, Henry Willis, Jo- 
seph Martin, William Bowen and Joseph Craven, any three of 

136 Southwest VirgiJiia, 1746-1786. 

whom may act, after being duly sworn, do view the best way from 
Maiden Springs settlement (now in Tazewell county) into the 
Great Road. 

No further orders pertaining to Washington county were en- 
tered by the court until March 2, 1774, on which day Patrick Por- 
ter was given leave to build a mill on Falling creek, the waters 
of Clinch river, this being the fii-st mill erected on Clinch river, 
so far as the records disclose. 

On the same day, on the motion of Charles Allison, leave was 
given him to build a mill on his land, on the South Fork of Hol- 
ston, near the head spring. 

On the same day the court appointed Andrew Miller and Thomas 
Ramsay commissioners to view the nighest and best way from 
Thomas Ramsay's, by Kennedy's mill, to the Great Road. 

At a meeting of the court on May 3, 1774, tlie court, on the 
petition of the inhabitants of Beaver creek, m;dei"ed Benjamin Lo- 
gan to open a road from James Fulkerson's to the wagon road at 
Joseph Black's (now Abingdon), the best and most convenient way. 

On the same day the court directed Anthony Bledsoe to take a 
list of the tithables in Captains Looney's, Shelby's, and Cocke's com- 
panies, William Campbell in his own and Captain Arthur Camp- 
bell's companies, and William Russell in his own and Captain 
Smith's companies. 

The County Court of Fincastle county was composed of men of 
dignity and respectability, and they purposed to deal with the at- 
torneys practicing at tlieir bar in such a manner as to command 
the respect of the bar and the citizens of the county, and, as an 
evidence of the manner in which they dealt with the members of 
the legal profession, we here copy an order made 1)y this court on 
May 3, 1774: 

"John Gabriel Jones, having misbehaved himself in the court, it 
is ordered that for his contempt he make his fine with our Ijord, 
the King, by the ])ayniont of twenty shillings, and that he be 
taken," etc. 

On the same day a peculiar order was entered, which read as 
follows : 

"John Dougherty came into court, and, it being fully proved 
that his left ear had been bitten off by a person in an affray, it is 
ordered that the same be recorded." It is hard to perceive his ob- 

Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 137 

ject in making this proof and having it recorded unless there ex- 
isted at that time, or at an earlier date, some law or custom by 
which criminals lost their ears. 

At the August term of this court it was directed that a road be 
built from Arthur Camjjbell's mill to Blue Spring, at the head 
of Cripple creek, by way of Eye Bottom, and on August 3d, being 
the same day as the above order, the court directed a road to be 
built from Arthur CampbelFs mill to Archibald Buchanan's, on ^ 
the North Fork of Holston river. 

In the preceding pages we have given a great deal of the records 
of the County Court of Fincastle county directing the opening of 
the first roads and granting permission to erect the first mills on 
the waters of the Holston and Clinch rivers, and it cannot be other- 
wise than interesting, for, previously to the opening of these roads, 
the early settlers of this country, as a general rule, were compelled 
to follow the Indian and buffalo trails made before their advent. 

The main trail down the Holston and through Washington 
county was, from the very earliest time of which we have any 
record, called the Great Eoad. Before the erection of the first mills 
on the waters of the Holston, if the early settlers wished to have 
meal, it could be obtained in one way only, and that by cracking 
the grains of corn with a hammer or by some other similar method. 

The first deed executed to any of the settlers on the Holston was 
dated January 5, 1773, and was made by Edmund Pendleton. It 
conveyed to Benjamin Logan and John Sharp 676 acres of land 
situated on Beaver creek, alias Shallow creek, and was the same 
land surveyed by John Buchanan for Edmund Pendleton on April 
?2, 1750. 

On the same day Edmund Pendleton conveyed to William 
Cocke and Eobert Craig 950 acres of land situated on Spring 
creek, alias Eenfro's creek, being the same land surveyed by John 
Buchanan, deputy surveyor of Augusta county, for Edmund 
Pendleton on April 3, 1750, and described in the survey as lying 
on Eenfro's creek. This survey covered a considerable part of the 
farms now owned and occupied by C. L. Clyce, Jerry Whitaker, 
Allen Lester and H. B. Eoberts on Spring creek. 

The four conveyances above described are older by more than 
one year and three months than any others to be found in the pres-- 

138 Southwest Virginia, 17J^6-1786. 

ent bounds of Washington county, the next oldest conveyance 
bearing' date April 14, 1774. 

It may be interesting at this point to know the oath required of 
the members of the first County Court administering justice among 
the settlers upon the Holston. We here copy the oath : 

"You shall swear that as a justice of the peace in the county 
of Fincastlo in all articles in the commission to you directed, you 
shall do equal right to the ])oor and to the rich, after your cunning, 
wit and power according to law; and 3^ou shall not be of any 
counsel of any quarrel hanging before you, and the issues, fines and 
amercements that shall happen to be made, and all the forfeitures 
which shall fall before you, you shall cause to be entered, without 
any concealment or embezzling; you shall not let for gift or other 
causes, but well and truly you shall do your office of justice of the 
peace, as well within your county court as without; and you shall 
not take any gift, fee or gratuity, for anything to be done by vir- 
tue of your office, and you shall not direct or cause to be directed, 
any warrant by you to be made to the parties, but you shall direct 
them to the Sheriff, or bailiffs of said county, or other the King's 
officers or ministers, or other indifferent persons, to do execution 
thereof, so help you God." 

The oath of a justice of the County Court in Chancery was as 
follows : 

"You shall swear that well and truly you will serve our sovereign 
lord, the King, and his people, in the office of a justice of the county 
court of Fincastle in ( 'hancery, and that you will do equal right to 
all manner of people, great and small, high and low, rich and poor, 
according to equity and good conscience and the laws and usages 
of this colony and dominion of Virginia, without favor, affection 
or partiality. So help you God."* 

A considerable number of people had settled in the immediate 
vicinity of Abingdon, and eastward to the head waters of the Hol- 
ston, and in the beginning of this year two congregations of Pres- 
byterians had organized in the county — one at Sinking Spring 
(now Abingdon) and another at Ebbing Spring, on the Middle 
Fork of the Holston river, near the James Byars farm ; and in the 
month of April, 1773, Samuel Edmiston was commissioned by the 
two congregations above mentioned to present a call to the Rev. 

*5 Hen. Stat., pages 489-490. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 139 

Charles Cummings at the Eeverend Presbytery of Hanover when 
sitting at the Tinkling Springs, in Angusta county. This call was 
reduced to writing and signed by the members of the Sinking 
Spring and Ebbing Spring congregations. It was presented to 
the Presbytery by Samuel Edmiston for the services of Mr. Cum- 
mings at Brown's meeting-house, in Augusta county, on June 3, 
1773. The call with the signatures thereto is as follows: 

"A call from the united congregations of Ebbing, and Sinking 
springs, on Holston's river, Fincastle county, to be presented to the 
Rev, Charles Cummings, minister of the gospel, at the Eeverend 
Presbytery of Hanover when sitting at the Tinkling Spring: 

Worthy and Dear Sir, — We, being in very destitute circum- 
stances for want of the ordinances of Christ's house statedly ad- 
ministered amongst us ; many of us under very distressing spiritual 
languishments ; and multitudes perishing in our sins for want of 
the bread of life broken among us; our Sabbaths too much pro- 
faned, or at least wasted in melancholy silence at home, our hearts 
and hands discouraged, and our spirits broken with our mournful 
condition, so that human language cannot sufficiently paint. Hav- 
ing had the happiness, by the good providence of God, of enjoying 
part of your labors to our abundant satisfaction, and being uni- 
versally well satisfied by our experience of your ministerial abili- 
ties, piety, literature, prudence and peculiar agreeableness of your 
qualifications to us in particular as a gospel minister — we do, 
worthy and dear sir, from our very hearts, and with the most cor- 
dial affection and unanimity agree to call, invite and entreat you to 
undertake the office of a pastor among us, and the care and charge 
of our precious souls, and upon your accepting of this our call, we 
do promise that we will receive the word of God from your mouth, 
attend on your ministry, instruction and reproofs, in public and 
private, and submit to the discipline which Christ has appointed 
in his church, administered by you while regulated by the word of 
God and agreeable to our confession of faith and directory. And 
that you may give yourself wholly up to the important work of the 
ministry, we hereby promise to pay you annually the sum of ninety 
poimds from the time of your accepting this our call ; and that we 
shall behave ourselves towards you with all that dutiful respect 
and affection that becomes a people towards their minister, using 
all means within our power to render your life comfortable and 


SovtJL'west Virginia, 17Ji6-17S6. 

liapp}''. We entreat 3'ou, worthy and dear sir, to have compassion 
u])on us in this remote part of the world, and accept this our call 
and invitation to the pastoral charge of our precious and immor- 
tal souls, and we shall hold ourselves bound to pray. 

(I^orge Blackburn, 
Win. Blackburn, 
John Vance, 
John Casey, 
Benjamin Logan, 
l»(bert Edmiston, 
Tliomas Berry, 
IJobert Trimble, 
AVm. McGaughey, 
David Dry den, 
V.'m. McNabb, 
\ . •)hn Davis, 
] [albert McClure, 
Arthur Blackburn, 
"^ Tiathl. Davis, 
Saml. Evans, 
\Vm. Kennedy, "^ 

Andrew McFerran, 
Saml. Hendry, 
John Patterson, 
-Tames Gilmore, 
John Lowry, 
Wm. Christian, 
Andrew Colville, 
Eobert Craig, 
Joseph Black, 
Jonathan Douglass?, 
John Cusick, 
Eobert Gamble, 
, Andrew Martin, 
Augustus Webb, 
Samuel Briggs, 
Wesley White, 
James Dorchester, 
James Fulkerson, 

John Long, 
Eobert Topp, v 

John Hunt, 
Thomas Bailey, 
David Getgood, 
Alex. Breckenridge, 
George Clark, 
James Molden, 
William Blanton, 
James Craig, "^ 

Thomas Sharp, 
John Berry, 
James Montgomery, 
Samuel Houston, 
Henry Creswell, 
George Adams, 
George Buchanan, 
James Dysart, 
William Miller, 
Andrew Deeper, 
David Snodgrass, 
Danl. McCormick, 
Francis Kincannon, 
Jos. Snodgrass, 
James Thompson, 
Eobert Denniston, 
William Edmiston, 
Saml. Edmiston, 
Andrew Kincannon, 
John Kelley, 
John Eobinson, 
James Kincannon, 
Margaret Edmiston, 
John Edmiston, 
John Boyd, 

David Carson, 
Samuel Buchanan, 
William Bates, 
William McMillin, 
John Kennedy, 
Eobert Lamb, 
Thos. Eafferty, 
Tliomas Baker, 
John Groce, 
Eobert Buchanan, 
Chrisr. Acklin, 
Joseph Gamble, 
John McNabb, 
Chris. Funkhouser, 
John Funkhouser, Sr., 
John Funkhouser, Jr., 
Thomas Evans, 
William Marlor, 
Wm. Edmiston, 
Thos Edmiston, 
John Beaty, 
David Beaty, 
George Teator, 
Michl. Halfacre, 
Stephen Cawood, 
James Garvell, 
Eob. Buchanan, Jr., 
Edward Jamison, 
ISTicholas Brobston, 
Alexander McNutt, 
William Pruitt, 
John McCutchen, 
James Berry, 
James Trimble, 
Eichard Heggons, 

Southwest 'Virginia, 17JfG-17SG. 


Stephen Jordan, 
Alex. Laughlin, 
James Inglish, 
Richard Moore, 
Thomas Ramsey, 
Samuel Wilson, 
Joseph Vance, 
William Young, 
William Davidson, 
James Young, 
John Sharp, 

Robert Kirkham, 
Martin Pruitt, 
Andrew Miller, 
William Berry, 
James Piper, 
James Harrold, 
Saral. Newell, 
David Wilson, 
David Craig, 
William Berry, 
V Moses Buchanan, 

John Lester^ 

Hugh Johnson, 
Edward Pharis, 
Joseph Lester, 
Saml. White, 
William Lester, 
William Poage, 
Saml. Buchanan, 
Thos. Montgomery, 
Samuel Bell, 
John Campbell. 

Tliis call was accepted by Mr. Cummings, but no record is pre- 
served of any installation being appointed or performed. It was 
intended that this call should have been presented at a session of 
the Presbytery in the preceding April, but, for some cause, it was 
delayed until the following June. Having accepted this call, he 
removed his family to the Holston, and settled upon three hundred 
acres of land on the head waters of Wolf Hill creek, which he pur- 
chased from Dr. Thomas Walker for the consideration of thirty- 
three pounds, and which land was conveyed to him by Dr. Walker 
by a deed dated April 14, 1774. 

We hope our readers will indulge us if we pause at this place 
to remark that every acre of this three-hundred-acre tract of land 
is to-day, 129 years thereafter, in the possession of the direct lineal 
descendants of the Rev. Charles Cummings. A remarkable fact. 

As soon as he had settled his family on the Holston, he set about 
the performance of the duties pertaining to his station with all the 
energy and intelligence of which he was capable. He purchased 
from Dr. Thomas Walker, for five shillings, by estimation, fifty- 
five acres of land, which land was deeded ])y Dr. Walker "to the 
minister and congregation of the Sinking Spring Church and 
their successors for the time being on April 14, 1774. This tract 
of laud was bounded as follows: Beginning at a red oak corner to 
Andrew Colvill, running thence E. 10 poles to a white oak, N. 
20', E. 126 poles to a hickory; thence N. 31', W. 48 poles to a 
chestnut on a high ridge, S. 53', W. 96 poles to a chestnut and a 
white oak on the side of said ridge, S. 35', E. 46 poles to a large 
white oak, S. 40', W. 28 poles to a black oak near Sinking Spring, 

142 SouUiwest Virginia, 17J^6-1786. 

S. 30', E. 48 poles to a white oak; thence E. 12 poles to the be- 

A considerable part of noi-thwest Abingdon is built upon this 
same tract of land. 

The first meeting house of the Sinking Spring congregation was 
erected on the first rise in the present cemetery in the rear of the 
Martin vault, and was a very large cabin of unhewn logs.' It was 
from 80 to 100 feet long and about 40 feet wide, and had a very 
remarkable appearance. 

Governor David Campbell, in speaking of the men who signed 
this call, says: "In early life I knew personally many of those 
whose names are signed to it, and I knew nearly all of them from 

They were a most respectable body of men, were all Whigs in the 
revolution, and nearly all, probably every one of them, performed 
military service against the Indians, and a large portion of them 
against the British in the battles of King's Mountain, Guilford 
Courthouse, and other actions in North and South Carolina. 

Such was the character of the first men who inhabited our 
county and worshipped in this, the first place of worship, on all the 
waters of the Holston and Clinch. 

Daniel Boone again visited the waters of the Holston in the 
fall of this year. The Boones and five other families set out from 
their homes on the Yadkin river, N". C, on September 25, 1773. 
They passed through Washington county and on into Powell's 
Valley (on their way to Kentucky), where they were joined by 
William Bryan, with forty other people. While this body of emi- 
grants were leisurely traveling through Powell's Valley a small 
company, under James Boone, Daniel Boone's eldest son, left the 
main body and went to the home of William Eussell to secure pro- 
visions, and on the 9th of October James Boone and his company, 
among the number being Eussell's son Henry and two slaves, en- 
camped a few miles in the rear of the main body. At this point 
they Avere, the next day, waylaid by a small company of Shawnese 
and Cherokee Indians, who were supposed to be at peace with the 
white settlers. On the morning of the 10th James Boone and his 
entire company were captured, and, after cruel torture, were slaught- 
ered. After this occurrence Daniel Boone's company of emigrants 

*Deed Book "A," page — , Fincastle county. 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 143 

broke up and returned to the settlements, and Daniel Boone and his 
family returned to the home of William Kussell, near Castle's 
Woods, on Clinch river, about forty miles distant, and took up their 
residence in an empty cabin on the farm of Captain David Glass, 
seven or eight miles from William Eussell's, where they spent the 
M'inter of 1773-1774. Daniel Boone had twice, previously to this 
time, visited the Kentucky wilderness, and had decided to settle in 
the beautiful country which he had visited. And thus rudely were 
his first efforts frustrated. 

The motive actuating the Indians in making this assault must 
have been jealousy of these, the first emigrants to Kentucky. They 
could not have had for their object the securing of plunder alone, 
for the Indians had long lived in peace with the white settlers 
without any effort to murder or burn. In this assault six men, 
including Boone's son, were slain, and their cattle and plunder 
secured and carried oft'. 

We have now reached the time when the eyes of all frontiersmen 
were fixed upon the fertile lands lying beyond the Cumberland 
mountains. The Kentucky wilderness was no longer visited by 
the hunter alone, but the explorer and the settler were seeking an 
opportunity to acquire a future home in the new country. 

A distinguished author, in speaking of the condition of the 
Indians at that time, says : "Recently they had been seriously 
alarmed by the tendency of the whites to encroach on the great 
hunting grounds south of the Ohio, for here and there hunters and 
settlers were already beginning to build cabins along the course of 
that stream," and in another place the same author speaks as fol- 
lows : "The savages grew continually more hostile, and in the fall 
of 1773 their attacks became so frequent that it was evident a 
general outbreak was at hand. Eleven people were murdered in 
the county of Fincastle alone. The Shawnese were the leaders in 
all these outrages. Thus the spring of 1774 opened with every- 
thing ripe for an explosion. The Virginia borderers were fear- 
fully exasperated, and were ready to take vengeance upon any In- 
dian, whether peaceful or hostile, while the Shawnese and Mingoes, 
on their side, were arrogant and overbearing, and yet alarmed at 
the -continual advance of the whites."* 

The Virginia Colony was at peace with the Cherokees, and 

*The Winning of the West, Vol. I., pages 250-252. 

144 SouUiivest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

most of the Indians' depredations during the year 1774-1775 
were comniitted by the northwest Indians. 

A Mr. Russell and five of his companions were murdered by the 
Indians in the fall of the year 1773 in Fincastle county, and about 
the same time two men, l)y the name of Cochran and Foley, and 
a man by the name of Hayes, with his three companions, were 
murdered by the Indians, but as to the locality of these murders 
or the circumstances attending them we have no information.! 

In the course of the summer of 1774, a number of the citizens 
of Fincastle county were captured and killed by the northern In- 
dians, among the number being Thomas Hogg and two men near 
the mouth of the Great Kanawha, and Walter Kelly, with three or 
four other persons, below the falls of the Great Kanawha. William 
Kelly and a young woman were captured on Muddy creek, a branch 
of Green river. Kelly was killed and the young woman carried 
into captivity. During this same summer a man by the name of 
Shockley, a scout employed by the County Court of Fincastle 
county, was shot and killed, and on the 7th day of August, 1774, 
the house of one John Lybrook, situated on Sinking creek in the_ 
present county of Craig, was attacked by the Indians. Lybrook 
was wounded in the arm, and only saved his life by hiding in a 
cave. Three of his children (one of them a sucking infant), a 
young woman, a daughter of one Scott, and a child of widow 
Snidow were killed. All the children were scalped but one, and 
were mangled in a most crxiel manner. At the same time and in 
the same community, John and Jacob Snidow and a younger 
brother, whose name is not known, were captured and made pris- 
oners. Two of the brothers escaped from the Indians on the fol- 
lowing Wednesday, but tlic other was carried into captivity and 
remained with the Indians until he acquired their habits and be- 
came so fond of their manner of life that he ever afterwards lived 
among them. At the same time a Miss Margaret McKiusie was 
captured and carried into captivity, where she remained for eighteen 
years, at the end of which time she returned to New river and 
married a Mr. Benjamin Hall. 

The white settlers near Pittsburg were on very bad terms with 
the northwest Indians. On the last day of April, 1774, a small 
•company of Indians left the camp of the Indian Chief Logan, at 

tWm. Preston Mss. 

Southwest Virginia, 17-^6-1786. 145 

Yellow creek, and crossed the river to visit a man by the name of 
Greathouse, a place which they had been accustomed to visit for 
tlie purpose of buying rum from the whites. The Indians were 
made drunk with liquor, and while in this condition were cruelly 
murdered by Greathouse and his associates. Nine Indians in all 
were murdered at this time, among the number being the entire 
family of the Indian Chief Logan. Logan had always been the 
friend of the white man, and had always been exceedingly kind and 
gentle to women and children, notwithstanding the fact that some 
of his relatives had been killed by the whites some years before. 
Logan was a skilled marksman and a mighty hunter of com- 
manding dignity, who treated all men with a grave courtesy and 
exacted the same treatment in return. He was greatly liked and 
respected by all the white hunters and frontiersmen whose friend- 
ship and respect were worth having. They admired him for his 
dexterity and prowess, and they loved him for his straightforward 
honesty and his nol)le loyalty to his friends.* 

This last stroke was more than Logan could stand. He at- 
tributed his misfortune to Captain Cresap, and he began at once 
to raid the settlements with small bands of Indians. This raid 
was upon the settlers of the Holston and the Clinch. On his first 
expedition he took thirteen scalps, six of the number being chil- 
dren. He was pursued and overtaken by a party of men com- 
manded by a man by the name of McClure, but he ambushed and 
defeated them on McClure's creek, now in Dickenson county, and 
it was from this occurrence that the creek obtained its name. 
Again, during the same year, he visited the waters of Holston, 
within twelve miles of the present location of Bristol, and cap- 
tured and murdered many families. At the house of one Eoberts, 
whose family was cut off, Logan left a war-club, to which was tied 
a note, which read as follows : 

"Captain Cresap, — ^What did you kill my people on Yellow 
creek for? The white people killed my kin at Conestoga a great 
while ago, and 1 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 are not angry, only myself. 

elulv 21, 1774. "Captain John Logan." 

^Winning of the West, Vol. I., page 256. 


Southwest Virginia, 174G-1786. 

While the settlers at Pittsburg provoked this diificulty, it seems 
that the settlers on the Holston and Clinch were the principal 
sufferers thereby. 

Numerous surveyors, with their instruments, visited Kentucky 
during this year. Among the number were James Douglas, Han- 
cock Taylor, Isaac Bledsoe, and John Floyd. The last named left 
the home of Colonel William Preston at Smithfield on April 9, 
1774, accompanied by eight men. They passed down the Kanawha 
river to the Ohio, where they were informed by a company they 
met that an Indian war was probable; notwithstanding which in- 
formation they continued their explorations, surveying many tracts 
of land on the Ohio and in the present State of Kentucky. We here 
give a list of a few surveys made by the men who visited Kentucky in 
this year. We copy this list from the fact that it is exceedingly 
interesting, and for the further reason that it contains the first sur- 
veys made by the white man in the present State of Kentucky : 

Notable Tmcit^ of Land, Surveyed hy John Floyd, Hancock Taylor and James Doug- 
las, in 1774-i77S, lying mostly in Kentucky 


April 25 














April 15, 

























Mitchell Clay. 
Wni. Inglis. 
Wm. Inglis. 
Col. Wm. Cliristian. 
Jas. McCorkle. 
Col. Geo. Washington 
John Floyd. 
Patrick Henry. 
Patrick Henry. 
Wui. Christian. 
Wm. Russell. •>* 
Wm. Preston. ^ 
Audley Paul. 
Wm. Christian. 
Wm. Byrd. 

May 24, 1774 Wm. Fleming. 

" 27, 1774 John Corlin. 
June 2, 1774 Henry Harrison. 
Mar. 23, 1774 Samuel Scott. 
N- Aug. 8, 1774]Andrew Lewis. 

" 16, 1774 Evan Shelby. 
May 31, 1774 Zachary Taylor. 
June 17, 1774 Zachary Taylor. 

" 29, 1774 Adam Stephens. 

1, 1774 Jolin Connallv. 

1, 1774 Wm. Byrd. 

2, 1774 Thomas Bower. 
14, 1775 James McDowell. 
11, 1775 Samuel McDowell. 


June 12, 1774 Wm. Christian. 

" 24, 1775 Jethro Sumner. 
" 3, 1774 Arthur Campbell. 
May 12, 1774 Wm. Christian 













Botii sides Bluestone Cr., Clover Bottom. 
H'd Spring Wolf Cr., Burks Garden. 
Abbs' Valley. 
Bear Grass Creek, Br. of Ohio. 

Bank of Cole River. 

W. Bear Grass Creek. 

Elk Horn Creek, Br. of Kentucky. 

N. Br. Ky. River, 95 miles from the Ohio. 

S. Br. Kentucky River. 

N. Br. of Kentucky. 

S. Side Ohio, 3 miles above mouth of Ky. 

About 11 miles below mouth of Ky., called 

" Mt. Byrd." 
On Ohio River. 
On Ohio, 19 miles above falls. 
On Ohio, 23^ miles from h'd of fall. 
The Narrows. Giles County. 
Sinking Cr., 8 miles from Ky. River, N, 

course from Harwood Landing. 
Elk Horn Cr., Branch of Kentucky. 
On Ohio, Mouth Bear Grass Creek. 
Br. Kv. that empties at Gireat Crossing. 
N. si<lV K y. River and N.W. side Klk Horn 

Creek al)i)ut8 miles I'min a remarkable 

l)arialo feeding place, tlie Ky. River. 
S. side Ohio River opposite the falls. 
S. side ( ihio, nearly opposite flrst island 

above the falls. 
Near falls of Ohio. 
S. Fork Licking Cr., Br. of Ohio. 
Elk Horn Cr., Br. of Kentucky. 
Salt River, 20 miles from Great Falls Inc'd 

Spring and Buffalo Lick. 
Elk Horn Creek (Sumner's Forest). 
Br. Bear Grass Cr., S. Br. Ohio. 
Big Bone Lick and Butt'alo Lick. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 147 

This is a partial list only of the many surveys made in west 
Fincastle county, now in the State of Kentucky, by Hancock Tay- 
lor, James Douglas, and John Floyd. 

These men were sent to Kentucky by direction of the Governor 
of the Colony of Virginia, and all the lands thus located were for 
men or the assignees of men who took part in the French-Indian 
war of 1754-1763, and who acquired their rights under the King's 
proclamation of 1763. When the war with the Indians broke out 
Lord Dunmore was exceedingly anxious to give information of that 
fact to the surveyors, and he directed Colonel William Preston, 
who had charge of the defenses of Fincastle county, to communi- 
cate the fact to the surveyors. Colonel Preston authorized Colo- 
nel William Russell, who then lived on the Clinch river, to employ 
two faithful woodmen to go to Kentucky and convey the infor- 
mation to the several companies of surveyors and their assistants, 
and on the 26th of June, 1774, Captain Russell wrote Colonel 
William Preston as follows : "I have engaged to start immediately 
upon the occasion two of the best hands I could think of, Daniel 
Boone and Michael Stoner, who have engaged to reach the coun- 
try as low as the falls, and to return by way of Gasper's Lick, on 
Cumberland, and through Cumberland Gap, so that by the as- 
siduity of these men, if it be not too late, I hope the gentlemen 
will be apprized of the imminent danger they are daily in." 
Boone and Stoner set out immediately upon their trip, and warned 
Colonel James Harrod and thirty men at Harrodsburg, now Ken- 
tucky. They found another company of surveyors at Fontainebleau 
and on the Kentucky i-iver they found Captalin John Floyd 
and his men, and thence they passed to the falls of the Ohio, where 
they warned the surveyors at Mann's Lick, and, after an absence 
of sixty-one days, they reached J^ussell's Fort on Clinch river, 
having traveled 800 miles on foot. Captain John Floyd imme- 
diately set out for the settlements, and on the 13th day of August, 
1774, he reached the home of Colonel Preston at Smithfield, and 
reported : "That on the 8th of July he and three others parted with 
fourteen men, who were also engaged in the surveying business, 
and went about twenty miles from them to finish his part of the 
work, and that they were to meet on the first day of August at a 
place on the Kentucky, known by the name of the Cabin, in order 
to proceed on their homeward journey. That on the 24th of July 

148 Southivest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

he, with his three men, repaired to tlie place appointed, where he 
found that a part, or all of the conipan}^, had assembled according 
to agreement, but had gone off in the greatest precipitation, leav- 
ing him only this notice written on a tree: 'Alarmed by finding 
some people killed, we arc gone down,' upon which he, with his 
small party, iminodiatoly set out, steering for our settlements; and 
after an extremely painful and fatiguing journey of sixteen days 
through mountains almost inaccessible and ways unknown, he at 
last arrived on Clinch river. He did not well understand the 
notice left him on the tree, whether part of the company had as- 
sembled at the Cabin, and that they had gone down to the camp in 
order to warn those who were at work in that neighborhood of 
danger, or whether the whole company had met and were departed 
down the Mississippi, as several in the company had before pro- 
posed returning home that Avay, with a view both to see the coun- 
try and avoid the fatigue of returning by land. The names of 
some of the party not then returned are here inserted, viz. : James 
Douglas, Hancock Ta5dor and Isaach Bledsoe ; Surveyors John Wil- 
lis, Willis Lee, Captain John Ashby, Abraham Hempenstall, Wil- ' 
liam Ballard, John Green, Lawrence Darnell, Mordecai Batson, 
John Sodusky, James Strother and John Ball." 

The northwestern Indians were greatly alarmed at the encroach- 
ments of the white settlers, who were daily surveying and settling 
the lands on the banks of the Ohio and in the wilderness of Ken- 
tucky. The white settlers insisted that they had a right to survey 
and settle these lands under the>])]'ovisinus of tlie treaty made with 
the confederacy of the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix in 17G8, and 
they were greatly exasperated by the conduct of the northwestern 
Indians in denying their right to said lands and in murdering 
their people and plundering their settlements. The white settlers 
had long been restrained by the British Government from aveng- 
ing their wrongs on the Indians, and now they clamored for war. 
When the news of the disposition of the Indians reached Williams- 
burg the Governor of the Colony and the House of Burgesses of 
Virginia immediately took steps to protect the western settlers. 

By the direction of Lord Dunmore, Lieutenant-Colonel William 
Christian, in the month of May, 1774, left Williamsburg for Fin- 
castle county with instructions to use every means possible to pre- 

Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1780. 149 

vent the inhabitants from leaving tlie settlements on the approach 
of the Indian war. 

As soon as he reached his home a council of the militia officers 
was held on June 35, 1774, at the Lead Mines, at which council it 
was resolved that Lieutenant-Colonel Christian should march with 
a body of militia to the Clinch settlements. The militia Avas at ! 
once mustered in and equipped at the personal expense of Colonel j 
Christian, JVilliam Preston and Major Arthur Campbell, and pro- 
ceeded to the Clinch settlements, where every preparation was ' 
made for war. A considerable part of this force accompanied 
Colonel Christian to Point Pleasant in the following August. Gen- 
eral Andrew Lewis was directed by Governor Dunmore to organize 
a sufficient force to carry war into the enemy's country. The organi- 
zation of this body of troops was intrusted to General Andrew 
Lewis and Colonel Charles Lewis, of Augusta county. As it would 
require some time to organize this body of troops, it was thought 
proper to send an advance guard into the enemy's country to re- 
strain the Indians wjiile the whites were preparing, and early in 
June about 400 men, under the command of Colonel Angus Mc- 
Donald, assembled at Wheeling and immediately marched to the 
Indian grounds, on the Muskingum, with the loss of two men killed 
and eight or ten wounded. The Indians fled, and in a few days 
returned and sued for peace, but their pretensions were not sin- 
cere; and they were only delaying McDonald while they removed 
their property and their women and children beyond the reach of 
the Virginia troops. Thereupon Colonel McDonald burned the In- 
dian towns and crops and retraced his steps to Wheeling. As soon 
as the troops had retired from the Indian country small bands of 
Indians invaded the western settlements at many points. 

Many of the people of Fincastle county were murdered, and by 
the first of August all the people in Pincastle county, except a few 
of the settlers on Holston, were gatliered into small forts-; and 
such was the unhappy situation of the people that they could not 
attend to their plantations, nor were the scouts employed by the 
county able to investigate the inroads of the enemy, as they came 
in small parties and traveled along the mountains with great cau- 
tion. About the last of June one Knox, who went to Ohio with the 
surveyors in the spring, reached the settlements and reported : 
"That on the 13th of June one Jacob Lewis departed from the 

150 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

camp on Salt river in the morning to hunt, and had never been 
heard of since; that on the 8th of July, being at said camp, about 
one hundred miles from the Ohio and nearly opposite to the falls, 
he, with nine otliei-s, was surprised and fired upon by a party of 
about twenty Indians; that two men were killed on the spot, viz.: 
James Hamilton, from Fredericksburg, and James Cowan, from 
Pennsylvania, and as the enemy rushed upon them before it was 
possible to put themselves in any posture of defence, they were 
obliged to abandon their camp and make their escape to a party of 
thirty-five men who were in that neighborhood. Next day, the 
whole company, being forty-three in number, after burying the 
dead, set out for the settlement on Clinch river, wliere they arrived 
on the 29th, after making several discoveries of the enemy on the 

General Andrew Lewis had orders to raise four companies of 
militia from Fincastle and Botetourt counties, to rendezvous at 
Camp Union, and to march thence down the Kanawha to Fort Pitt, 
at the junction of the Kanawha and Ohio. Three companies of 
men were raised in Fincastle county and were commanded by: 
Captain Evan Shelby, the forces from the waters of the Holston, 
Captain Wm. Eussell, the forces from the waters of the Clinch, 
Captain Wm. Herbert, the forces from the waters of New river. 

Captain Eussell left EusselFs Fort on Clinch river previously 
to August 13th, 1774, and Captain Evan Shelby began the march 
with his forces on the 17th of August, 1774, both companies join- 
ing the regiment of Colonel Cliristian on New river; from which 
place Colonel Christian, with his regiment, proceeded to Camp 
Union. On the 11th day of September, 1774, the army of Gen. 
Lewis began the march down the Kanawha, and, after the expira- 
tion of twenty-five days, they arrived at Point Pleasant and camped 
upon the banks of the Ohio. When the army of General Lewis left 
Camp Union, Colonel Wm. Christian, with four hundred inen, was 
directed to remain and guard the provisions until the return of a 
company of horse that had been sent to the mouth of Elk, when he 
was to hurry things forward. But the companies of Captains 
Eussell and Shelby accompanied the army of General Lewis upon 
its march from Camp Union to Point Pleasant and w^ere attached 
to the command of Colonel Charles Lewis, of Augusta county. 

At the same time, Lord Dunmore raised a considerable force in 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 151 

the lower Valley and was to march to Fort Pitt, and thence to 
Point Pleasant, where he was to meet General Lewis. Instead of 
doing so, he marched into Ohio. General Lewis, upon his arrival at 
Point Pleasant, waited several days, expecting the arrival of Lord 
Dunmore, and, not hearing from him, he dispatched messengers, 
but whether he received a reply before the battle is a matter of dis- 
pute. On Sunday, the 9th day of October, the sturdy Scotch-Irish 
Presbyterians from Pincastle county spent the day in religious 
exercises, little dreaming that on the coming day they would be sur- 
prised by the Indians and win the most hotly contested battle with 
the Indians recorded in the annals of our history. 


Early Monday morning, October 10th, James Mooney and James 
Hughey, of Captain Eussell's company, left the camp in quest of 
deer. When about three miles distant from their camp, they unex- 
pectedly came in sight of a large body of Indians, in their en- 
campment. The Indians, when they discovered the two men, fired 
upon them, and Hughey was killed by a white renegade by the name 
of Travenor Eoss. Mooney made his escape, and, returning to the 
camp, reported that he had seen a body of the enemy covering four 
acres of ground, as closely as they could stand by the side of each 

About the same time, two members of Captain Shelby's company, 
James Eobertson and Valentine Sevier, who had been out hunting, 
returned to camp and reported that they had met a body of hostile 
Indians advancing upon the camp, and that they had fired upon 
them at the distance of ten steps. It being dark, the Indians were 
thereby halted. As no official report of this battle has been pre- 
served, I will here give the report as obtained by Dr. Hale from a 
letter published in the Belfast (Ireland) News Letter, a paper 
published at that time. 


Yesterday arrived a mail from New York brought to Falmouth 
by the Harriot packet boat, Captain Lee. 

Williamsburg, Va., November 10th. 

The following letter is just received from the camp on Point 
Pleasant, at the mouth of the Great Kenhawa (as then spelled), 
dated October 17, 1774: 

"The following is a true statement of a battle fought at this 

152 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

place on the 10th instant: On Monday morning about half an 
hour before sunrise, two of Captain Eussell's company discovered a 
large party of Indians about a mile from the camp, one of which 
men was shot by the Indians; the other made his escape and 
brought in the intelligence. In two or three minutes after, two of 
Captain Shelby's men came in and confirmed the account. 

"Colonel Andrew Lewis, being informed thereof, immediately 
ordered out Colonel Charles Lewis, to take command of one hun- 
dred and fifty of the Augusta troops, and with him went Captain 
Dickinson, Captain Harrison, Captain Wilson, Captain John 
Lewis, of Augusta, and Captain Lockridge, which made the first 
division. Colonel Fleming was then ordered to take comn^and of 
one hundred and fifty men of the Botetourt, Bedford, and Fin- 
castle troops, viz., Captain Thomas Buford, from Bedford; Captain 
Love, of Botetourt; Captain Shelby and Captain Eussell, of Fin- 
castle, which made the second division. 

"Colonel Charles Lewis's division marched to the right some 
distance from the Ohio, and Colonel Fleming with his division, on 
the bank of the Ohio to the left. 

"Colonel Charles Lewis's division had not marched quite half 
a mile from the camp when, about sunrise, an attack wac made on 
the front of his division, in a most vigorous manner, by the united 
tribes of Indians, Shawnese, Delawares, Mingoes, Tawas, and of 
several other nations — in number not less than eight himdrcd, and 
by many thought to be one thousand. 

"In this heavy attack. Colonel Charles Lewis received a wound, 
which, in a few hours caused his death, and several of his men fell 
on the spot; in fact, the Augusta division was obliged to give way 
to the heavy fire of the enemy. In about a second of a minute after 
the attack on Colonel Lewis's division, the enemy engaged the front 
of Colonel Fleming's division on the Ohio, and in a short time the 
Colonel received two balls through his left arm and one through liis 
breast, and, after animating the officers and soldiers, in a most f fdm 
manner, to the pursuit of victory, retired to the camp. 

"The loss in the field was sensibly felt by the officer- in par- 
ticular; but the Augusta troops being shortly after reinforced from 
the camp by Colonel Field, with his company, together with Cap- 
tain McDowell, Captain Matthews, and Captain Stewart, from 
Augusta ; Captain Paulin, Captain Arbuckle and Captain McClana- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 153 

h.m, from Botetourt, the enemy no longer able to maintain ihbiv 
girimd, were forced to give way till they were in a line Avith the 
troops. Colonel Fleming being left in the action on the Ohio. 

"In this precipitate retreat Colonel Fleming was killed. During 
this time, which was till after twelve, the action in a siT'.all degree 
elated, but continued, except at short intervals, sharp enoacji till 
after one o'clock. Their long retreat gave them a most ad\'anta- 
geous spot of ground, from which it appeared to the otticer^ so diffi- 
cult to dislodge them that it was thought most advisahlo to stand 
as the line was then formed, which was about a mile and ^ <|ii.arter 
in length, and had sustained till then a constant and equal v.-eight of 
the action, from wing to wing. 

"It was till alwiit half an hour of sunset they continued firing on 
us scattered shots, which we returned to their disadvan'cago. At 
length the night coming on they found a safe retreat. 

•''Phey had not the satisfaction of carrying off any of our men's 
scalps, save those of one or two stragglers they killed before the 
engagement. Many of their dead they scalped, rather than we 
should have them, but our troops scalped upwards of twenty of 
their men that were first killed. 

"It is beyond doubt their loss, in number, far excecided ours, 
'.vhich is considerable. 

"The return of the killed and wounded in the above battle, same 
as our last, is as follows: 

"Killed — Colonels Charles Lewis and John Fields, Captains 
John Murray, E. McClanahan, Samuel Wilson, James Ward, Lieu- 
tenant Hugh Allen, Ensigns Cantiff and Bracken, and forty-four 
privates. Total killed, fifty-three. 

"Wounded — Colonel William Fleming, Captains John Dickinson, 
Thomas Buford, and I. Skidman, Lieutenants Goldman, Eobinson, 
Lard and Vance, and seventy-nine privates. Total wounded, eighty- 
seven; killed and wounded, one hundred and forty." 

When Colonel Charles Lewis fell, Captain Evan Shelby succeed- 
ed to the command of the regiment, and ^saac Shelby, his son, 
succeeded to the command of his father's company, and late in the 
evening General Lewis directed Captains Isaac Shelby, Matthews, 
and Stewart to assail the Indians in the rear, by advancing up the 
Kanawha river, protected by the bank and undergrowi:h. In the 
execution of this order considerable difficulty was experienced, and 

154 Southwest Virginia, 174-6-1786. 

possibly, failure would have been the result had it not been for 
the request of John Sawyers an Orderly Sergeant in Captain 
Shelby's company, for permission to take a few men of the com- 
pany and drive the Indians from the position which afforded them 
protection. Permission was granted and the Indians were dislodged. 
The companies above mentioned having gained their rear, the In- 
dians precipitately took their flight across the Ohio. 

It is generally admitted that this was one of the most hotly (on- 
tested battles between the white men and the Indians that took 
place in the history of the early settlement of our country. The 
terrible conflict that took place between the white men and the 
Indians in this battle is hard to depict in ordinary language. De 
Hass thus describes the conflict : 

"The battle scene was terribly grand. There stood the com- 
batants, terror, rage, disappointment, and despair riveted upon the 
faces of one, while calm resolution and the unbending will to do or 
die were marked upon the other. Neither party would retreat, 
neither could advance. The noise of the firing was tremendous. ISTo 
single gun could be distinguished, it was one continuous roar. 

"The rifle and the tomahawk now did their work with dreadful 
certainty. The confusion and perturbation of the camp had now 
arrived at its greatest height. The confused sounds and wild up- 
roar of the battle added greatly to the terror of the scene. The 
shouting of the whites, the continued roar of fire-arms, the war- 
whoop and dismal yelling of the Indians, were discordant and ter- 

Colonel Christian, whom General Ivewis had left at Camp Union, 
as soon as he had complied with the. orders of General Lewis, set 
out for Point Pleasant, with all the troops under his command 
except one company of Fincastle men, whom he left under the 
command of Anthony Bledsoe at Camp Union to guard the sup- 
plies and take care of the sick. He marched his troops with all 
possible expedition, and arrived at Point Pleasant on the evening 
of October 10th, after the battle had been fought. Soon thereafter. 
Lord Dunmore negotiated a treaty of peace with the Indians at one 
of their towns in Ohio, by which the northwest Indians ceded all 
their claims to the lands lying south of the Ohio river, to the King 
of England. 

General Lewis marched his army back to Camp Union where it 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 155 

was disbanded. The body of militia that went from Fincastle upon 
this expedition were armed with rifle guns, and, being good woods- 
men, were looked upon to be at least equal to any troops for the 
number that had been raised, in America. It is sufficient to know 
that the credit of having been the first to discover the approach 
of the Indians, and thereby, possibly, to secure the preservation of 
General Lewis's army, was due to the vigilance of the backwoods- 
men from Fincastle. And in addition to that, it should be a mat- 
ter of pride to every citizen of this section of Virginia to know that 
the troops from the waters of the Clinch and the Holston were 
among the number to receive the first assault of the enemy, and to 
their skill and bravery may be accredited, the successful flanking, 
and consequently the precipitate rout, of the Indian army. The 
killed and wounded among the Fincastle troops were considerable. 
The names of a few of the killed and wounded are given below : 

Eobert Campbell, private, afterwards granted a pension of 10 
pounds per year. 

James Hughey, killed. 
James Eobinson, wounded. 
Mark Williams, private, killed. 
John Carmack, private, wounded. 
John Steward, wounded. 
John McKenney, wounded, three times. 
Lieutenant Vance, wounded. 

The following is a partial list of the men who accompanied Cap- 
tain Evan Shelby on this expedition : 

Isaac Shelby, Captain. Eobert Handley, 

James Eobertson, 0. S. William Casey, 

James Shelby, John Stewart, wounded; 

Henry Span, Eichard Burke, 

Frederick Mongle, Elijah Eobertson, 

John Carmack, Eichard Holliway, 

George Brooks, Julius Eobison, 

Abram Newland, Benjamin Graham, 

Emanuel Shoatt, Hugh O'Gullion, 

Peter Forney, James Hughey, 

John Fain, . Basileel Maxwell, 

Samuel Fain, Valentine Sevier, 0. S., 

Samuel Samples, John Sawyers, 0. S., 


Southwest Virginia, 171,6-1786. 

Jolm Find ley, 
Daniel Mongle, 
John Williams, 
Andrew Torrenee, 
Isaac Newland, 
George Eiddle, 
Abram Boga^-d, 
William Tucker, 
Samuel Vance, 
^ Samuel Hand ley, 
Arthur Blackburn, 

George Armstrong, 
Mack Williams, 
Conrad Nave, 
John Riley, 
Rees Price, 
Jarrett Williams, 
Charles Fielder, 
Andrew Goff, 
Patrick St. Lawrence, 
John Bradley, 
Barnett O'Guillion. 

Captain Wm. Russell's company: 
James Mooney, Joseph Hughey. 



Daniel Smith, 
Rohert Campbell, 
Andrew Waggoner, 
Jolm Gilmore, 
John Lyle, 
Francis Berry, 
James Robinson, 


AVilliam Tate, 
George Findley, 
Rees Bowen. 

Walter Steward, Adjt. 

Fincastle troops. 
William- Campbell, Captain. 
William McFarland, 
John McKenney, 
John Moore, 
Conrad Smith, 
John Floyd, 
John Steward, 
John Campbell, Lieutenant; 
"Moses Bowen, died with 
small-pox on expedition ; 

Daniel Boone, upon his return fi'om Kentucky to Russell's Fort, 
on the 13th day of August, found Captain William Russell absent 
on the Point Pleasant expedition, and he immediately set out with 
a body of troops to reinforce him, but was ordered back to protect 
the settlers on the Clinch, where he remained for some time. 

The forts on Clinch river, at this time, with the number of men 
in each and the officers in command, were as follows : 

Fort Blackmore, sixteen men, "Sergeant Moore commanding. 
Fort Moore, (twenty miles east), twenty men, Lieutenant Daniel 
Boone commanding. Fort Russell (four miles east), twenty men, 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 157 

Sergeant W. Poa^ eonimancling. Fort Glade Hollow, (twelve miles 
east), fifteen vaeA, Sergeant John Duncan commanding. Elk Gar- 
den* (fourteen miles east), fifteen men, Sergeant John Kinkead 
commanding. Maiden Spring, (twenty-three miles east), five men, 
Sergeant John Crow commanding. Whitlow's Crab Orchard, three 
men. Ensign John Campbell commanding. 

Boone was very diligent in protecting the settlements and was 
commissioned Captain for his valued services. 

As soon as the Indians ascertained that so many of the citizens 
from the waters of the Clinch were absent on the expedition to 
Point Pleasant, they began a series of very alarming raids. On the 
8th of September, 1774, they visited the home of John Henry, on 
the Clinch river, now in Tazewell county, Virginia, in Thompson's 
Yalley, he, having on the 15th day of May of the same year, settled 
upon a tract of land that Daniel Smith, Deputy Surveyor of Fin- 
castle county, had surveyed for him. Henry received a dangerous 
wound from which he died, his wife and three children were taken 
prisoners, and on the same day a man was taken prisoner by an- 
other party of Indians on the Hplston river. On the 13th day of 
September, 1774, a soldier was fired upon by three Indians on the 
Clinch river, but was not hurt. He returned the fire and, it is be- 
lieved, killed an Indian. This company of Indians were pursued 
for several days, by Captain Daniel Smith and a company of militia, 
but they could not be overtaken. On tlie 23d, two negroes were 
taken prisoners at Blackmore's Fort, on waters of Clinch river, and 
a great many horses and cattle were shot down. On the 24th day 
of the same month, an entire family were taken and killed, at Reedy 
Creek, a branch of the Holston river, near the Cherokee line. On 
Sunday morning, the 25tli, hallooing and the report of many guns 
were heard. These last murders were believed to be the work of the 
Cherokees, who appeared at that time in very bad humor. 

The victory gained at Point Pleasant on the 10th of October put 
a stop to all organized raids upon the frontier settlements, for the 
time being. Upon the return of the Fincastle troops from the expe- 
dition to Point Pleasant, the free-holders of Fincastle county as- 
sembled at the Lead Mines and drafted an address to the Hon. 
John, Earl of Dunmore, thanking him heartily for his exertions in 

*Aboiit six miles east of Lebanou on North Fork of Cedar Creek, on land of 
the Stuart Land & Cattle Company. 


158 Southwest Virgima, 1746-1786. 

their behalf in the late war, and expressed the wish that the late 
disturbances might be amicably settled. 

On the 14th day of April, 1774, Dr. Thomas Walker conveyed to 
James Piper 365 acres of land on a branch of the Holston river 
.called Wolf Hill Creek ; on tJie same day, he conveyed to Alexander 
Breckenridge 360 acres on Wolf Hill Creek, to Samuel Briggs 313 
acres on Wolf Hill Creek, alias Castle's Creek, to Joseph Black, 305 
acres on Eighteen Mile Creek (this being the name of the small 
=*-.cre.ek that flows through Abingdon) and to Andrew Colvill, 334 
acres on Wolf Hill Creek. The persons above named were the first 
v settlers in the vicinity of Abingdon. 

In the spring of the year 1774, the free-holders of Fincastle 
county met at the Lead Mines, their courthouse, and elected two 
members of the Virginia House of Burgesses to represent Fincastle 
county, viz. : 

William Christian, Stephen Trigg. 

It may not be amiss at this point to state briefly the laws gO'V- 
erning the qualifications required of the citizens of Fincastle coun- 
ty to vote and hold office, in this, the last year that the Colony 
of Virginia adhered to the crown of England. The freeholders of 
every county possessed the liberty of electing two of the most able 
and fit men, being freeholders and qualified to vote, to represent 
their county in all the General Assemblies. The electors or voters 
were required to own an estate of freehold for his own life or the 
life of another, or other greater estate in at least fifty acres of land, 
if no settlement be made upon it, or twenty-five acres with a planta- 
tion and house thereon at least twelve feet square, said property be- 
ing in the county in which the electors offered to vote. The sheriff 
was required to deliver to the minister and reader of every parish in 
his county a copy of the writ of election, and, upon the back of 
every such writ, he was required to endorse the fact that said elec- 
tion would be held at the courthouse in his county upon a day 
appointed by him. And the minister or reader was required to 
publish the same immediately after divine services, every Sunday 
between the receipt of said writ and the day of election, under 
heavy penalty for failure to do so. It was further provided 
that every freeholder actually residing in the county should per- 
sonally appear at the courthouse on the day fixed and give his vote, 
upon the penalty of forfeiting two hundred pounds of tobacco, if he 

Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 159 

failed to vote. The sheriff was required to appoint fit persons, and 
these persons after being duly sworn, were required to enter the 
names of every candidate in a distinct column, and the name of 
every freeholder giving his vote, under the name of the person 
voted for, all of which was required to be done in the presence of 
the candidates or their agents, and upon the close of the polls the 
sheriff was ordered to proclaim the names of the successful candi- 
dates. And it was further provided, that any person who should 
directly or indirectly, except in Ms usual and ordinary course of 
hospitality, in his own house, give, present, or allow to any person 
or persons, having voice or vote in such elections, any money, meat, 
drink, entertainment or provisions, or make any present, gift, re- 
ward, or entertainment, or any promise, agreement, obligation, or 
engagement, to any person, etc., shall be declared guilty of bribery 
and corruption,* and rendered incapable to sit, or vote, or to hold 

Thus it will be seen that the laws were very strict in regard to the 
manner of holding elections, and it cannot be doubted, that an elec- 
tion held under such laws would be honest and would express the 
will of the people. Our present law-makers might well learn a 
lesson from the example set them by the law-makers of the Colony 
of Virginia, under the rule of King George III. 

Early in the history of Fincastle county, the House of Burgesses 
enacted a law which provided, "that from and after the first day 
of December next, the inhabitants of the said county of Fincastle 
shall discharge all fees due from them to the secretary and other 
officers in said county at the rate of 8s and 4 pence, for every hun- 
dredweight of gross tobacco. 

The principle asserted by the regulators at the Alamance had 
spread among the American colonies, until, at the time mentioned, 
it seemed to permeate the whole American body politic, and, on the 
other hand', the British Parliament had repealed all the port dnties 
imposed at their session in 1767, except the duty of three pence a 
pound on tea, which was continued for the purpose of maintaining 
the principle contended for by the British Parliament, to- wit: that 
they had the right to tax the American Colonists without giving 
them representation, and not for the purpose of revenue only. 

*8 Hen. S., page 526. 

160 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

The American Colonists were opposed' to the principle of taxation 
without representation, and they opposed a small tax as bitterly 
as they opposed the port duties of 1767. The collection of the tax 
was resisted at every point, and, at Boston, the cargoes of tea were 
thrown into the sea. Whereupon the British Parliament passed 
a bill closing Boston Harbor, upon which information great indig- 
nation pervaded the entire colonies. The House of Burgesses of 
Virginia observed the first day of the operation of the bill closing 
Boston Harbor, as a fast day, and declared : "That any attack made 
on one of our sister colonies to compel submission to arbitrary taxes 
is an attack ma^e on all British America, and threatened ruin to the 
rights of all, unless the united wisdom of the whole be applied." 
And they proposed a general Congress to take such action as the 
united interests of the American Colonies might require. This 
suggestion, made by the House of Burgesses, was accepted by all 
the colonies and the first Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, 
on the 5th day of September, 1774, just one month and five 
clays preceding the battle of Point Pleasant. 

The officers and men under command of Lord Dunmore, hearing 
of the action of the first Continental Congress, met and adopted 
a resolution, which was as follows : 

"Eesolved, That as the love of liberty and attachment to the 
real Interests and just rights of America outweigh every other 
consideration, they would exert every power within them for 
the defence of American Liberty and for the support of her just 
rights and privileges; not in any precipitate, riotous, or tumultu- 
ous manner, but when regularly called forth by the unanimous 
voice of our countrymen." 


The period with which we now purpose to deal will be ever 
remembered, by reason of the production of one of those master- 
pieces of political evolution which moidd the world and fix the 
destiny of mankind, an event unsurpassed in the history of the 
world; the founding of the American Pepublic. In dealing witli 
this subject, we deem it necessary to an intelligent understanding 
of the motives and actions of the men of that day, to give, with some 
particularity, the story complete, from its inception to its culmina- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 161 

tion, recognizing that a story partly told is misleading, and the 
true merits of a controversy are oftentimes obscured by a mutilated 
statement, or a half-told tale. For ten years preceding the resort 
of the American Colonies to extreme measures, a bitterly contested 
controversy constantly engaged the attention of the British Gov- 
ernment and the American Colonies, and it has been well said by 
one of the fathers of our country, that the "Revolution was fin- 
ished before the war was commenced." Indeed, it seems to the stu- 
dent of our early history at this distance from the time of the 
occurrences of which we are now Avriting, that our early fathers in 
leaving their homes, the highlands of Scotland', the bogs of Ireland, 
the fertile lands of old England, were imbued with exceedingly un- 
favorable feelings toward the land of their nativity. They were 
devoid of that affection which usually accompanies the wanderer 
from his native home, and it is certain that they lost no opportunity 
to instil their prejudices and dislikes into the minds of their chil- 
dren and neighbors, and to resist the operation and execution of 
the laws enacted by the British Parliament and the rules attempted 
to be enforced by the Governors of the Colonies. This spirit was 
evidenced in old Virginia as early as 16C6, at the time of Bacon's 
Rebellion. This spirit, so prevalent among the English colonies in 
America, can be attributed to the fact that a large majority of the 
early emigrants were driven from their homes by the tyranny of 
the English Government, and, after establishing themselves in 
this country, their hatred was accentuated by the arbitrary conduct 
of the English ministry, in pursuing a contracted policy, the natural 
result of which was to abridge the liberties and property rights of 
the colonies. A large majority of the early emigrants to the Amer- 
ican colonies were inspired by that spirit of liberty that has been 
so much cherished in the history of our country. They were be- 
lievers in the principles which prevailed at the time of the execu- 
tion of Charles the First. Many of them were the followers of 
Oliver Cromwell, and detested the arbitrary conduct of the King 
and the rulers of England, and it was from this cause that they left 
their native country to seek a home in the wilderness, vnth the deter- 
mination never to submit to the oppressions of their native land. 

Many of the early emigrants found their homes among the high 
mountains and the pathless deserts of the new continent, the 
nursery of the spirit of freedom. Among the early emigrants to 

162 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

this new country were numerous "Dissenters," a class of people 
who worsEipped God according to their own reason and conscience, 
men who acknowledged no authority but that which had been estab- 
lished by their own sanction and consent, and this applied to their 
religious principles as well as to their ideas of government. They 
did not admit the right of the British government to compel them 
either to attend or to support the established church. 

They were principally from the middle classes, and neither ad- 
mitted nor countenanced any claims to honor or distinction, save 
such as arose from the exercise of industry, talent, or virtue. In 
their native country they had been tenants, and did not regard 
themselves superior to the lowest of their fellow citizens; in their 
new homes they were freeholders, and believed themselves equal to 
the best, and, naturally, they soon detested that idea which prevailed 
in the English government, in accordance with which individuals 
pretended to be their natural rulers and superiors. 

During the French-Indian war, the British Ministry proposed a 
union of the Colonies for the purpose of repelling the French en- 
croachments on the western waters; and, pureuant to this proposi- 
tion, the Governor and leading members of the provincial assem- 
blies convened at Albany, N. Y., in the year 1754. This Assembly 
was unanimously of the opinion, that the Colonies were able to 
defend themselves from the encroachments of the French without 
assistance from the English Government. They proposed "that a 
Grand Council should be formed of members to be chosen by the 
provincial Assemblies, which Council, together with a governor to 
be appointed by the Crown, should be authorized to make general 
laws, and, also, to raise money from all the Colonies for their com- 
mon defence." This proposition was received by the British Min- 
istry with displeasure, and, in answer thereto, the ministry submit- 
ted a counter-proposition, which was as follows : "That the Gov- 
ernors of all the Colonies, attended by one or two members of their 
respective Councils, should, from time to time, concert measures for 
the whole of the Colonies, erect posts and raise troops, with a power 
to draw upon the British treasury, in the first instance, for the 
expense, which expense was to be reimbursed by a tax to be laid on 
the Colonies by an act of Parliament." 

It will be well to observe that thus early began the contentions 
between the British Parliament and the English Colonies ; the Brit- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 163 

ish Ministry seeking to lodge the taxing power in the hands of the 
British Parliament, a body in which the American Colonies were 
not permitted to have representation, whereas, the Colonies insisted 
that the taxing power should be vested in their local institutions. 

This proposition upon the part of the British Ministry gave great 
dissatisfaction to the people of the Colonies, as they objected to 
being taxed by a body in which they had no representation, but no 
further action was taken in regard to the matter, until the conclu- 
sion of the war, in 1763. 

Previously to the year 1764, when the British Parliament desired 
a contribution from the American Colonies, the object was accom- 
plished by a simple requisition upon the legislatures of the several 
Colonies for the sum needed and, in every instance, the requisition 
had been honored and the money furnished with a willing hand. 
But, in tliis year, the British Parliament sought to obtain from 
tlie American Colonies by a speedier method the taxes desired. 

A measure was proposed in the British Parliament by the Pre- 
mier, George Grenville, in the year 1764, having for its object, "the 
raising of a revenue in America," the entire proceeds of which were 
to go into the exchequer of Great Britain. 

We have before mentioned the dissatisfaction produced by the 
proposition to have the British Parliament levy a tax upon the 
American Colonies, when the entire proceeds of the tax were to be 
used for the development and the protection of the Colonies, and 
the reader can well imagine the alarm and indignation that pre- 
vailed in the American Colonies at the suggestion of the British 
Premier, that the British Parliament should lay a tax upon the 
American Colonies, the entire proceeds of which were to go into the 
exchequer of Great Britain. 

Pursuant to the foregoing proposition, Mr. Grenville, on the 
lOtli of March, ,1764, reported a resolution imposing certain 
""stamp duties" on the colonies, with the request that it shoidd not 
be acted upon till the next session of the Parliament. This gave 
the agents of the colonies in England an opportunity to transmit 
copies of this resolution to the assemblies of the several colonies. 

At the time of the receipt of this information the Virginia 
House of Burgesses was in session, and immediately appointed a 
committee to prepare an address to the King of Great Britain and 
to the two houses of the British Parliament. We hare give the 

164 Southwest Virginia, 17J,0-17S6. 

several addresses in full as prepared by this committee and re- 
ported to the Mouse of Burgesses "To the King's most excellent 

"Most gracious Sovereign, 

"We, your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the Council and 
Burgesses of your ancient C'olony and dominion of Virginia, 
now met in General Assembly, beg leave to assure your Majesty of 
our fii'm and inviolable attachment to your sacred person and gov- 
ernment; and, as your faithful subjects here, have at all times 
been zealous to demonstrate this truth by a ready coaupliance 
with the royal requisitions during the late war, by which a heavy 
oppressive debt of near half a million hath been incurred, so at 
this time they implore permission to approach the throne with 
humble confidence, and to entreat that your Majesty will be gra- 
ciously pleased to protect your people of this Colony in the en- 
joyment of their ancient and inestimable right of being gov- 
erned by such laws, respecting their internal polity and taxation, 
as are derived from their own consent, with the approbation of 
their Sovereign or his substitute; a right which, as men, and 
descendants of BEITONS, they have ever quietly possessed, since 
first, by royal permission and encouragement, they left the mother 
kingdom to extend its commerce and dominion. 

"Your Majesty's dutiful subjects of Virginia most humbly and 
unanimously hope that this invaluable birthright, descended to 
them from their ancestors, and in which they have been protected 
by your royal predecessors, will not be suffered to receive an injury, 
under the reign of your sacred Majesty, already so illustriously 
distinguished by your gTacious attention to the liberties of the 

"That your Majesty may long live to make nations happy, is 
the ardent prayer of your faithful subjects, the Council and Bur- 
gesses of Virginia." 

The memorial to the House of Lords was as follows : 

"To the right honorable the Lord's Spiritual and Temporal, in 
Parliament assembled; the Memorial of the Council and Bur- 
gresses of Virginia, now met in General Assembly humbly rep- 

"That your memorialists hope an application to your lordships, 
the fixed and hereditary guardians of British liberty, will not be 

Southivest Virginia, 1746-1786. 165 

thought improper at this time, when measures are proposed suh- 
versive, as they conceive, of that freedom which all men, especiall}' 
those who derive their constitution from Britain, have a right to 
enjoy; and they flatter themselves that 3'our lordships will not 
look upon them as objects so unworthy your attention as to regard 
any impropriety in the form or manner of their application for 
your lordship's protection of their just and undoubted right as 

"It cannot be presumption in your memorialists to call them- 
selves by this distinguished name, since they are descended from 
Britons who left their native country to extend its territory and 
dominion and who, happily for Briton, and as your memorialists 
once thought, for themselves too, effected this purpose. As our 
ancestors brought with them every right and privilege they could 
with justice claim in their mother kingdom, their descendants may 
conclude they cannot be deprived of those rights without injustice. 

"Your memorialists conceive it to be a fundamental principle 
of the British constitution, without which freedom can no where 
exist, that the people are not sul^jcct to any taxes but such as are 
laid on them by their own consent, or by those who are legally 
appointed to represent them ; property must become too precarious 
for the genius of a free people, whicli can be taken from them at 
the will of others who cannot know M^hat taxes such people can 
bear, or the easiest mode of raising them ; and who are not under 
that restraint which is the greatest security against a burthensome 
taxation, when the representatives themselves must be affected by 
every tax imposed on the people. 

"Your memorialists are therefore led into an humble confidence 
that your lordships will not think any reason sufficient to support 
such a power in the British Parliament, where the Colonies can- 
not be represented : a power never before constitutionally assumed, 
and which, if they have a right to exercise it on any occasion, must 
necessarily establish this melancholy truth, that the inhabitants of 
the Colonies are the slaves of Britons, from whom they are 
descended, and from whom they might expect every indulgence that 
the obligations of interest and affection can entitle them to. 

"Your memorialists have been invested with the right of taxing 
their own people from the first establishment of a regular govern- 
ment in the Colony, and requisitions have been constantly made 

166 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

to them by their sovereigns on all occasions when the assist- 
ance of the Colony was thought necessary to preserve the British 
interest in America; from whence they must conclude, they can- 
not now be deprived of a ri,uiit they have so long enjoyed and 
which they have never forfeited. 

"The expenses incurred during the last war, in compliance with 
the demands on this C^olony by our late and present most gracious 
Sovereigns, have involved us in a debt of near half a million, a 
debt not likely to decrease under the continued expense we are at in 
providing for the security of the people against the incursions of 
our savage neighbors, at a time when the low state of our staple 
commodit}', the total want of specie and the late restrictions upon 
the trade of the Colonies, render the circumstances of the people 
extremely distressful; and wliich, if taxes are accumulated upon 
them by the British Parliament, will make them truly deplorable. 

"Your memorialisty cannot suggest to themselves any reason 
why they should not still be trusted with the property ol their peo- 
ple, with whose abilities and the least burthensome mode of taxing 
(with great deference to the superior wisdom of Parliament) they 
must be best acquainted. 

Your memorialists hope they shall not be suspected of being 
actuated on this occasion by any principles but those of the purest 
loyalty and affection, as they have always endeavored by their con- 
duct to demonstrate that they considered their connexion with 
Great Britain, the seat of liberty, as their greatest happiness. 

"The duty they owe to themselves, and their posterity lays your 
memorialists under the necessity of endeavoring to estalilish their 
Constitution upon its proper foundation ; and they do most hum- 
bly pray your lordships to take this subject into your consideration, 
with the attention that is due to^ the well being of the Colonies, on 
which the prosperity of Great Britain does, in a great measure, 

• And the remonstrance to the House of Commons was this : 
"To the honorable Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of Great Brit- 
ain in Parliament assembled : 

"The remonstrance of the Council and Burgesses of Virginia. 

"It appearing by the printed votes of the House of Commons 
of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled, that in a committee 
of the whole House, the 17th day of March last, it was resolved, that 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 167 

towards defending, protecting and securing the British Colonies 
and Plantations in America, it may be proper to charge certain 
stamp duties in the said Colonies and Plantations; and it being 
apprehended that the same subject, which was then declined, may 
be resumed and further pursued in a succeeding session, the Coim- 
cil and Burgesses of Virginia, met in the General Assembly, judge 
it their indispensable duty, in a respectful manner, but with decent 
firmness, to remonstrate against such a measure, that at least a 
cession of those rights, which in their opinion must be infringed 
by that procedure, may not be inferred from their silence at so 
important a crisis. 

"They conceive it is essential to British liberty, that laws, impos- 
ing taxes on the people, ought not to. be made without the consent of 
representatives chosen by themselves; who at the same timje that 
they are acquainted with the circumstances of their constituents, 
sustain a portion of the burthen laid on them. The privileges 
inlierent in the persons who discovered and settled these regions, 
could not be renounced nor forfeited by their remO'Val hither, not 
as vagabonds or fugitives, but licensed and encouraged by their 
Prince and animated with a laudable desire of enlarging the 
British dominion and extending its commerce; on the contrary, it 
was secured to them and their descendants, with all other rights 
and immunities of British subjects, by a Eoyal Charter which 
liath been invariably recognized and confirmed by his Majesty and 
liis predecessors, in their commissions to the several Governors, 
granting a power and prescribing a form of legislation, according to 
which, laws for the administration of justice and the welfare and 
good government of the Colony have been hitherto enacted by the 
Governor, Council and General Assembly, and to them, requisitions 
and applications for supplies have been directed by the Crown. 
As an instance of the opinion which former Sovereigns entertained 
of these rights and privileges, we beg leave to refer to the three 
Acts of the General Assembly passed in the thirty-second year of 
the reign of King Charles II, one of which is entitled 'An Act for 
raising a public revenue for the better support of the government 
of his Majesty's Colony of Virginia,' imposing several duties for 
that purpose, which, being thought absolutely necessary, were pre- 
pared in England and sent over by their then governor, the Lord 
Culpeper, to be passed by the General Assembly, with a full power 

ICxS Southwest Virginia, 17JfG-17SG. 

to give tlie royal assent thereto, and which were accordingly passed, 
after several amendments were made to them here; thus tender 
was his Majesty of tlu^ rights of his American subjects; and the 
remonstrants do not discern by what distinction they can be 
deprived of that sacred birthright and most valuable inheritance 
by their fellow subjects, nor with what propriety they can be taxed 
or affected in their estates, by the Parliament, wherein they are not, 
and indeed cannot, constitutionally be represented. 

"And if it wore proposed for the Parliament to impose taxes on 
the Colonics at all, which the remonstrants take leave to think 
would be inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the Con- 
stitution, the exercise of that power, at this time, would be ruinous 
to Virginia, who exerted herself in the late war, it is feared, 
beyond her strength, insomuch that to redeem the money granted 
for that exigency, her people are taxed for several years to come : 
this, with the larger expenses incurred for defending the frontiers 
against the restless Indians who have infested her as much since 
the peace as before, is so grievous, that an increase of the burthen 
would be intolerable; especially as the people are very greatly dis- 
tressed already from the scarcity of circulating cash among them 
and from the little value of their staple at the British markets. 

"And it is presumed that adding to that load which the Colony 
now labors under will not be more oppressive to her people than 
destructive of the interest of Great Britain ; for the Plantation 
trade, confined as it is to the mother country, hath been a principal 
means of multiplying and enriching her inhabitants; and, if not too 
much discouraged, may prove an inexhaustible source of treasure 
to the nation. For satisfaction on this jwint, let the present state 
of the British fleets and trade be compared with what they were 
before the settlement of the Colonies ; and let it be considered, that, 
whilst property in land may be acquired on very easy terms in the 
vast imcultivated territory of North Amei'iea, the Colonists svill 
be mostly, if not wholly, employed in agriculture, whereby the 
exportation of their comiiindities to Great Britain and ihe con- 
sumption of manufactnrers supplied from thence will be daily 
increasing. But this most desirable connexion between Great 
Britain and her Colonies, supported by such a happy intercourse 
of reciprocal benefits as is continually advancing the prosperity 
of both, must be interrupted, if the people of the latter, reduced 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 169 

to extreme poverty, should be compelled to maniifactiire those arti- 
cles they have been hitherto furnished with from the former. 

"From these considerations, it is hoped that the Honorable House 
of Commons will not prosecute a measure which those who may 
suffer under it cannot but look upon as fitter for exiles driven from 
their native country, after ignominiously forfeiting her favors and 
protection, than for the posterity of Britons, who have at all times 
been forward to demonstrate all due reverence to the mother 
Kingdom and are so instrumental in promoting her glory and 
felicity ; and that British patriots will never consent to the exercise 
of any anti-constitutional power, which, even in this remote cor- 
ner, may be dangerous in its example to the interior parts of the 
British empire, and will certainly be detrimental to its commerce." 

The several papers above given breathe a spirit of humility and 
dependence that did not correctly voice the sentiments of the Vir- 
ginia Colonists, and possibly thereby the British Parliament was 
deceived and led to believe that the American Colonies would not 
assert their opposition to the tax measures proposed, otherwise 
than by protest through their Assemblies. 

Most of the Colonies adopted resolutions protesting against the 
enactment of such a law ; some offering a specific sum of money in 
lieu of the proposed tax, provided it was received as a voluntary 
donation. But no one of the Colonies was willing to admit that 
the British Parliament had any right to tax them, while they were 
denied representation therein. 

Mr. Grenville and his friends argued that the Colonies were 
already represented in the same manner as a large proportion of the 
inhabitants of England who had no vote in the election of mem- 
bers of Parliament, and this same argument is often indulged in 
by the advocates of a restricted suffrage at the present time. In 
answer to this ridiculous argument, the Colonies contended that 
"the very essence of representation consists in this; that the 
representative is himself placed in a situation analogous to those 
whom he represents, so that he shall be himself bound by laws which 
he is entrusted to enact and shall be liable to the taxes which he 
is authorized to impose." 

But the soamd reasoning and the humble petitioning of the 
American Colonies did not influence the British Parliament, the 
memorials and petitions were not permitted to be read in the House 

170 Southwest Virginia-, 1746-1786. 

of Coninioiis, and iu the month of March, 17G5, the hill for laying 
a stamp duty in .America was called up in the House of Commons, 
but little o|)})osition was shown to the measure, and few indeed were 
the members who denied the right of Parliament to tax the Colo- 

It may be worthy to note the circumstances attending the 
debate upon this measure in the House of Commons. Mr. Charles 
Townsend, an advocate of this measure, concluded his speech in 
advocacy of the measure in the following words; "And now, will 
these Americans, children planted hy our care, nourished, hi/ our 
indulgence, till they are grown to a degree of strength and opulence 
and protected hy our arms, will they grudge to contribute their 
mite to' relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we 
lie under?" Colonel Barre, one of the most respectable mem- 
bers of the House of Commons, with strong feelings of indignation 
visible in his countenance and manner, thus eloquently replied ; 
"They planted hy your care! No, your oppression planted them 
in America. They fled from tyranny to a then uncultivated and 
inhospitable country, where they exposed themselves to almost all 
the hardships to which human nature is liable, and among others 
to the cruelty of a savage foe, the most subtle, and I will take upon 
me to say, the most formidable of any people upon the face of 
the earth ; and yet, actuated by principles of true English liberty, 
they met all hardships with pleasure compared with those they 
suffered in their own country from the hands of those that should 
have been their friends. They nourished hy your indulgence! 
They grew up by your neglect of them. As soon as you began to 
care about them, that care was exercised in sending persons to rule 
them in one department and another, who were perhaps the deputies 
of deputies to some members of this House, sent to spy out their 
liberties, to misrepresent their actions and to prey upon them. 
Men whose behaviour, on many occasions, has caused the blood of 
these sons of liberty to recoil within them, men, who were pro- 
moted to the highest seats of justice, some who, to my knowledge, 
were glad, by going to a foreign coimtry to escape being brought to 
the bar of a court of justice in their own. They protected hy your 
arms! They have nobly taken up arms in your defence, have 
exerted a valour, amidst their constant and laborious industry, for 
the defence of a country whose frontier was drenched in blood. 

Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 171 

while its interior parts yielded all its little savings to yoim* 
emolument. And, believe me, remember I this day told you so, 
that same spirit of freedom which actuated that people at first 
will accompany them still; but prudence forbids me to explain 
myself further. God knows I do not at this time speak from any 
motives of party heat. What I deliver are the genuine sentiments 
of my heart. However superior to me in general knowledge and 
experience the respectable body of this House may be, yet, I claim 
to know more of America than most of you, having seen and been 
conversant in that country. The people, I believe, are as truly 
loyal as any subjects the King has, but a people jealous of their 
liberties, and who will vindicate them if ever they should be vio- 
lated. But the subject is too delicate. I will say no more." 

Notwithstanding the opposition made to the passage of this bill, 
it passed the House of Commons, and on the 22d day of March, 
1765, having met with the unanimous approval of the House of 
Lords, it received the royal assent. By the provisions of this bill, 
this law was not to go into effect until the first day of November, 

When the intelligence of the passage of this measure reached 
Virginia, the indignation and rage of the people knew no bounds. 
While no violence was offered, the Virginia House of Burgesses, by 
a series of resolutions proposed by Patrick Henry, expressed the 
sentiments of the people in a dignified and explicit manner, the 
resolutions being as follows; 

"Eesolved, That the first adventurers and settlers of this, his 
Majesty's Colony and dominion, brought with them and trans- 
mitted to their posterity and all others his Majesty's subjects 
since inhabiting in this, his Majesty's said Colony, all the privileges, 
franchises and immunities that have been at any time held, enjoyed 
and possessed by the people of Great Britain. 

"Eesolved, That by two Eoyal Charters granted by King James 
the First, the Colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all the 
privileges, liberties and immunities of denizens and natural born 
subjects, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding 
and born within the realm of England. 

"Eesolved, That the taxation of the people by themselves, or 
by persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only 
know what taxes the people are able to bear and the easist mode 

173 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

of raising tliem and arc equally affected by sucli taxes themselves, 
is the distinguishing characteristic of British freedom, and with- 
out which the ancient constitution cannot subsist. 

"Resolved, That his Majesty's liege people of this most ancient 
Colony have uninterruptedly enjoyed the right of being thus gov- 
erned by their own assembly in the article of their taxes and inter- 
nal police, and the same hath never been forfeited, or in any other 
way given up, but hath been constantly recognized by the King and 
people of Great Britain. 

"Resolved, therefore, That the General Assembly of this Colony 
have the sole right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon 
the inhabitants of this Colony; and that every attempt to vest 
such power in any person or persons whatsoever, other than tho 
General Assembly aforesaid, has a manifest tendency to destroy 
British as well as American freedom." 

The foregoing resolutions passed the House of Burgesses in May, 
1765, and formed the first opposition to the. Stamp Act and the 
scheme of taxing America by the British Parliament. Heretofore, 
it had been humble petitions, now, we have reached the point 
where the Colonies were defiantly asserting their rights. Patrick 
Henry, at this time, was quite a young man, this being the first 
time that he had served his country in the House of Burgesses, and, 
while he was inexperienced, he was inspired by that spirit of liberty 
which was the common heritage of the early settlers of the Amer- 
ican wilderness. "When these resolutions were offered in the House 
of Burgesses, many violent debates took place, and, after a great 
deal of oppasition, the resolutions were adopted by a majority of, 
possibly, one or two votes. During the progress of the debate upon 
these resolutions, Patrick Henry gave utterance to the following 
words ; 

"Caesar," exclaimed the orator, "had his Brutus ; Charles the 
First, his Cromwell, nnd George the Third may profit by his ex- 

The passage of these resolutions gave impetus to tlie cause of 
American liberty and produced an alarming state of affairs among 
the uiore timid and loyal inhal)itants. In Massachusetts the opj)osi- 
tion took a different form, and, in the city of Boston, the populace 
indulged in every act of violence that could be imagined, in the 
exhibition of their dislike of the law and the law officers. The 

Southwest Virginia, l7Jf6-1786. 1'<'3 

ships in the harhor placed their flags at half mast, the bells 
tlironghoiit the town were tolling, the ship masters who bought the 
stamps were mistreated and insulted and required to deliver the 
stamps to the people, who made a bonfire of them and of the law. 
Meetings were held througliout the colonies, protesting against 
this act of the British Parliament and asserting the inalienable 
right of the American people. 

On the second Tuesday in October, 1765, pursuant to a resolu- 
tion adopted by the Assembly of Massachusetts, the first Couti- 
nental Congress assembled at New York, "to consult as to the 
circumstances of the Colonies and to consider the most proper 
means of averting the diflficulties under which they labored." 
Twenty-eight deputies, representing the States of Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, 
Maryland and South Carolina, composed this, the first Continental 
Congress held on American soil ; Virginia, New York, North Caro- 
lina and Georgia were prevented from sending delegates to this 
Congress by the action of their royal Governors, by dissolving their 
respective assemblies before action could be taken in the premises. 

This Congress adopted a series of resolutions stating the griev- 
ances of the Colonies and, in positive terms, asserting the exemp- 
tion of the Colonies fro'm all taxes not imposed by their own Legis- 
latures. They also addressed a petition to the House of Lords and 
to the King and Commons, and on the 25th of October adjourned. 

The first day of November, 1765, the date fixed for the Stamp 
Act to take efi'ect, arrived, and the day in the city of Boston was 
ushered in by the closing of business houses and the tolling of church 
bells, and Governor Bernard and Justice Hutchinson, the advocates 
of the British Parliament in Massachusetts, were hung in effigy 
on Boston Neck, where the effigies were permitted tO' remain awhile, 
when they were cut down and torn to pieces, to the great delight 
of the people. In many places public notice was given to the 
friends of TAberty to attend her funeral, and a large coffin was 
prepared, upon which was written the word LIBERTY. This 
coffin was attended to tlie grave by an immense concourse of people, 
where, after the firing o,f minute-guns, an oration was pro- 
nounced, and the word REVIVED added to the former inscription, 
amidst the shouts and acclamations of the people. Throughout the 
Colonies the stamp papers were forcibly taken from the stamp 

174 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

officials and destroyed, and the business of the country proceeded 
as if the Stamp law had never been enacted. 

Upon the assembling of Parliament on the 14th day of January, 
17()(), upon a motion for an address to the King, William Pitt, one 
of the greatest of English statesmen, offered the following remarks 
upon the state of the country; 

"It is a long time, Mr. Speaker," said he, "since I have attended 
in Parliament. When the resolutions were taken in this House to 
tax America, I was ill in bed. If I could have endured to have 
been carried in my bed, so great was the agitation of my mind for 
the consequences, I would have solicited some kind hand to have 
laid me down on this floor to have borne my testimony against it. 
It is my opinion that this Kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon 
the Colonies. At the same time, I assert the authority of this 
Kingdom to be sovereign and supreme in every circumstance of 
government and legislature whatever. Taxation is no part of the 
governing or legislative power; the taxes are a voluntary gift and 
grant of the Commons alone. The concurrence of the Peers and of 
the Crown is necessary only as a form of law. This House repre- 
sents the Commons of Great Britain. When in this House we 
give and grant, therefore, we give and grant what is our own, btit 
can we give and grant the property of the Commons of America'? 
It is an absurdity in terms. There is an idea in some, that the 
Colonies are virtually represented in this House. I would fain 
know hy whomf . The idea of virtual representation is the most 
contemptible that ever entered into the head of man; it does not 
deserve a serious refutation. The Commons in America, repre- 
sented in their several assembles, have invariably exercised this 
constitutional right of giving and granting their own money; they 
would have been slaves if they had not enjoyed it. At the same 
time this Kingdom has ever professed the power of legislative and 
commercial control. The Colonies acknowledge your authority in 
all things, with the sole exception that you shall not take their 
money out of their pockets without their consent. Here would I 
draw the line; quam ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum." 

This address was replied to by Mr. Grenville in a speech that 
voiced the sentiments of that part of the people of England that 
wished to tax the Colonies, and, in reply, William Pitt submitted 
the following remarks: 

Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 175 

"Sir, a charge is brought aginst gentlemen sitting in this House, 
for giving birth to sedition in America. The freedom with which 
the}^ have spoken their sentiments against this unhappy act is 
imputed to them as a crime, but the imputation shall not dis- 
courage me. It is a liberty which I hope no gentleman will be 
afraid to exercise ; it is a liberty by which the gentleman who 
calumniates it might have profited. . He ought to have desisted from 
his project. We are told America is obstinate, America is almost 
in open rebellion. Sir, / rejoice that America has resisted; three 
millions of people so dead to' all the feelings of liberty as volun- 
tarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit instruments to 
make slaves of all the rest ". 

I maintain that Parliment has a right to bind, to restrain Amierica. 
Oiir legislative power over the Colonies is sovereign and supreme. 
The honorable gentlemen tells us he i;nderstands not the difference 
between internal and external taxation.; but surely there is a plain 
distinction between taxation levied for the purpose of raising a 
revenue and duties imposed for the regulation of commierce. 
'When,' said the honorable gentleman, 'were the Colonies emanci- 
pated f At what time, say T, in answer, 'were they made slaves?' 
I speak from accurate knowledge when I say, that the profits to 
Great Britain from the trade of the Colonies, through all its 
branches, is two millions per annum. This is the fund which car- 
ried 5"0u triumphantly through the war; this is the price 
America pays you for her protection ; and shall a miserable financier 
come with a boast that he can fetch a pepper-com into the 
Exchequer at the loss of millions to the nation ? I Imow the valour 
of your troops, I know the skill of your officers, I know the force 
of this country ; but in such a cause your success would be hazard- 
ous. America, if she fell, would fall like the strong man ; she would 
embrace the pillars of the state and pull down the Constitution with 
her. Is this yoiir boasted peace? not to sheathe the sword in the 
scabbard, but to sheathe it in the bowels of your coimtrymen? 
The Americans have been wronged, they have been driven to mad- 
ness by injustice. Will you punish them for the madness you have 
occasioned? No; let this country be the first to resume its 
prudence and temper. I will pledge myself for the Colonies, that, 
on their part, animosity and resentment will cease. The system 

176 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

of policy I would earnestly exhort Great Britain tO' adopt in rela- 
tion to America is happily expressed in the words of a favorite 
poet : 

'Be to her faults a little blind, 

Be to her virtues very kind ; 

Let all her ways be unconfin'd, 

And clap your padlock on her mind.' 

Upon the whole, I will beg leave to tell the House in a few 
words what is really my opinion. It is. That the Stamp Act he 

On the 23d day of February, 176G, a bill was introduced in the 
House of Commons having for its purpose the repeal of the Stamp 
Act, which bill was carried by a vote of 275 for, to 177 against, its 
repeal. The joy of the peo])le at the result of this action of the 
House of Comanons was great. The opposition to the repeal of 
the Stamp Act in the House of Peers was much stronger than in 
the House of Commons, and it was not till the 18th day of March, 
1766, that the repeal was carried, and then by a majority of only 
34. On the 19th day of March, 1766, the King appeared in the 
House of Commons and gave his assent, and thereby the war 
between the English Colonies and the British Government was 
averted for the time being. 

' In Virginia, this information was received with great joy by 
all classes of people, and the Virginia House of Burgesses 
voted a statue to the King. The joy that followed the repeal of 
the Stamp Act was of bnt short duration. The Colonies began to 
realize that, by the repeal of the Stamp Act, England had virtually 
surrendered nothing, as Parliament still maintained the right to 
tax the Colonists, and, by the fall of the year 1766, discontent again 
pervaded the Colonies. The Virginia House oi Burgesses post- 
poned the consideration of the Act providing for a statue for the 
King until some succeeding session. When the new Parliament 
assembled in the year 1767, they received information that the 
Assembly of New York had refused to pass a bill providing for 
the support of his Majesty's troops which had been stationed among 
the people of that Colony. Whereupon Mr. Grenville, the leader 
of the Parliamentary forces favoring the taxation of the American 
colonies, introduced a bill the object of which was to restrain the 
Assembly and Council of New York from passing any act, until 
they had complied with the requisition of the act thus mentioned, 

Southwest Virginia, 171,6-1786. 177 

which bill was almost immediately passed and became a law. About 
the same time a body of British troops arrived in Boston, and 
Governor Bernard immediately began to provide for their support 
out of the public treasury. Both of the above acts produced a great 
deal of discontent in the Colonies, and in the month of June, 1767, 
a bill was introduced l^y Charles Townsend in the British Parlia- 
ment, imposing duties on glass, painters' colours, tea and paper, 
imported into the Colonies. Also, another bill authorizing the 
King to appoint a Board of Trade to reside in the Colonies. Also, 
a bill establishing a Board of Admiralty in the Colonies to be paid 
from the colonial revenue, but to be independent of all colonial 
regulations, and another bill fixing the salaries of the Governors 
and other officials of the American Colonies. These several bills 
passed the House of Commons with but two dissenting votes, and 
received the royal assent on the 2d day of July, 1767. 

It will be observed that the system of taxation proposed by Mr. 
Townsend and adopted by the British Parliament was, beyond 
question, a legal exercise of the right of Parliament to regulate the 
commerce of the Colonies, and this right had oftentimes, thereto- 
fore, been admitted by the American Colonists, but the people of 
New York and of Massachusetts were greatly irritated by the 
presence of the British soldiery in their respective Colonies, and 
acting upon the presumption that this action of the British Parlia- 
ment was nothing more than a forerunner of other oppressive meas- 
ures against the Colonies, numerous petitions and remonstrances 
were addressed to the King and Parliament, but failed to accom- 
plish any good result. The merchants and citizens of nearly all 
the Colonies assembled in their different towns and bound them- 
selves not to purchase goods of any character from the British 
manufacturers, while these obnoxious laws continued in force. 

The Assembly of Massachusetts Colony addressed a circular letter 
to the Legislatures of the other Colonies requesting their assistance 
and co-operation, which letter was responded to by all the Colonies, 
expressing their willingness to stand with Massachusetts by what 
had been done and expressing their readiness to co-operate in what 
might further be proposed for the common securitj' and welfare of 
the Colonies. 

Bernard, the Eoyal Governor of Massachusetts, communicated to 
Lord Hillsborough, the Secretary for the Colonies, the action of ihe 

178 Southwest Virginia, 174G-178G. 

Massachusetts Assembly; whereupon, his lordship directed Gover- 
nor Bernard to^ require the Massachusetts Legislature, (in Ms 
Majest3''s name, to rescind their action, upon the penalty O'f being 
dissolved, which message the Governor immediately communicated 
to the Assembly, whereupon, the Assembly voted not to rescind 
their action, tlie vote being 17 yeas to 19 nays, and they declared, 
"if the votes of the House are to be controlled by the direction of 
a minister, we have left us but a vain semblance of liberty." The 
Governor, thereupon, dissolved the House according to his threat, 
and the Governors of the other Colonies dissolved their respective 
Assemblies upon their refusing to rescind their action endorsing 
the Massachusetts resolves. 

Lord Hillsborough, upon the receipt of this information, wrote 
to General Gage, the British Commander at Boston, that at least 
one regiment of troop would be sent to Boston to assist in preserving 
peace. Upon receipt of this information, a meeting was held by 
the people of Boston, and a committee appointed to wait upon 
the Governor and request him to call the Assembly together. 
This committee waited upon the Governor and presented their 
request, which was denied. Thereupon, it was determined to hold 
a general convention in the city of Boston, on the 22d of September, 
and all the towns in the province of Massachusetts were requested 
to send and did send delegates to this Convention. 

The Convention met at Faneuil Hall, Boston, and adopted sev- 
eral resolutions and adjourned. Soon thereafter, two reginients 
of troops landed in Boston and, by direction of the Governor, were 
quartered in the two public houses of the city, wliich gave great 
umbrage to the people and produced constant difficulties between 
the citizens and the soldiers. 

The Colony of Massachusetts was in open rebellion against the 
British Governor and the Parliament. At a meeting of the British 
Parliament in the year 1769, a measure was adopted which was 
intended to be a death blow to the liberties of the Colonies. This 
measure directed the Governor of Massachusetts to ascertain the 
nanues of all persons guilty of treason or misprisions committed 
since the 30th day of December, 1767, and transmit this informa- 
tion to one of the Secretaries of State, in order that his Majesty 
might issue a special commission for inquiring of, hearing and 
determining the said offences within the realm of Great Britain. 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 179 

Heretofore, the offending Americans had been tried by a jury of 
their own countrymen, upon all the charges that were preferred 
by the royal government, and, as a general rule, acquitted, but 
now the British Parliament proposed to have them arrested and 
transported across the seas for trial in England. The Virginia 
House of Burgesses assembled a few days after the receipt of this 
information and adopted a series of resolutions, "declaring their 
exclusive right to tax their constituents and to petition the Sover- 
eign, either separately or conjointly with the other Colonies, and 
affirming that the seizing of any person residing in the said Colony, 
suspected of any crime whatsoever committed therein, and sending 
such persons beyond the seas to be tried was highly derogatory 
to the rights of British subjects." These resolutions were pre- 
sented l)e]iind dosed doors for the purpose^of preventing the royal 
Governor fi'om dissolving the Assembly before their adoption. The 
example of Virginia was followed by the Assemblies of the several 

In the fall of the year 1769, Lord Hillsborough, the British 
Secretary for the Colonies, addressed a circular letter to the Gov- 
ernors of all the Colonies, informing them that, at the next session 
of Parliament, the duty upon glass, paper and painters' colors 
would be removed. 

The next session of the British Parliament convened on the 9th 
day of January, 1770, and, on the 22d 'day of February, the 
Marquis of Rockingham introduced the subject of the repeal of 
tliese onerous duties, in the following manner. He said, "That 
the present unhappy condition of affairs and the universal discon- 
tent of the people did not arise from any immediate temporary 
cause, biit had grown upon the nation by degrees from t]^e moment 
of his Majesty's accession to the throne; that a total change had 
then taken place in the old system of English, government and a 
new maxim adopted fatal to the liberties of the coimtry, viz., that 
the royal prerogative alone was sufficient to support government, 
to whatever hands the administration should be committed." "The 
operation of this principle," said his lordship, "can be ti-aced 
through every act of government during the present reign, in 
which his Majesty's secret advisers could be supposed to have any 
influence. He recommended, therefore, strongly to their lordships 
to fix an early day for taking into consideration the state of the 

180 Southwest Virginia, 17 46-17 S6. 

country hi all its relations and dependencies, foreign, provincial 
and doniestick, for we had been injured in them all. That 
consideration, he trusted, would lead their Lordships to advise the 
Crown, not only how to correct past errors, but how to establish 
a system of government more wise, more permanent, better suited 
to the genius of the people and consistent with the spirit of the 

Before a vote was reached upon this motion, the Duke of Grafton 
resigned the office of first Lord Commissioner of the Treasury and 
was succeeded l)y Lord North, who remained at the head of the 
administration until the close of the American Revolution. 

Among the first acts of Lord North's administration was one 
for the repeal of the port duties fixed by the act of 1767, with one 
exception, that being the duty on tea, "which the British Ministry 
desired to remain in force, as an evidence of the supremacy of the 
Parliament." It was argued by tlie friends of the repeal of the 
port duties, that to retain the duty on tea would simply continue 
the agitation and increase the disturbance in the Colonies without 
accomplishing any good results. To such arguments, Jjord North 
answered, "Has the repeal of the Stamp Act taught the Americans 
obedience? Has our lenity inspired them with moderation? 
Can it be proper, while they deny our legal power to 
tax them, to acquiesce in tlie argument of illegality and, by the 
repeal of the whole law, to give up that power ? No ! the proper 
time to exert oiir right to taxation is when the right is refused. 
To temporize is to yield, and the autlwrity of the mother country, 
if it is now unsupported, will in reality be relinquished for ever. 

"A total repeal/' he continued, "cannot he thovght of till America 

It seems peculiar that the English ministry should have been so 
short sighted as to thus insult the American Colonies, at the same 
time that they were making to them great concessions with the 
avowed purpose of restoring the Colonies to peace and quietude. 
While the British Government lost the benefit of the import duties 
by the repeal of the act of 1767, still, by the retention of the duty 
on tea, the cause of the discontent in the Colonies remained. The 
insult offered to the Colonists by Lord North in his speech, and the 
presence of the King's troops in the province of Massachusetts and 
New Yo7-k, kept up the agitation in the Colonies, producing mob- 

Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 181 

violence at many places. In the city of Boston a difficulty occurred 
between one of the King's soldiers and a citizen of the town, which 
resulted in the defeat of the soldier. He obtaining the assistance 
of a few of his comrades, the contest between the citizens and the 
soldiers became general, and the citizens, assembling in great 
numbers, compelled Governor Hutchinson to remove the soldiers 
immediately from the town. Similar difficulties occurred in New 
York and in Ehode Island. Thus matters continued until the 
12th of March, 1773, when Dabney Carr, a member of the House 
of Burgesses of Virginia, introduced the following resolutions in 
the House of Burgesses; which resolutions were adopted without a 
dissenting voice. 

"Whereas the minds of his Majesty's faithful subjects in this 
Colony have been much disturbed by various rumours and reports 
of proceedings, tending to deprive them of their ancient legal and 
constitutional rights ; 

^And whereas the affairs of this Colony are frequently con- 
nected with those of Great Britain, as well as the neighboring 
Colonies, which renders a communication of sentiment necessary. 
In order, therefore, to remove the uneasiness and to quiet tho 
minds of the people, as well as for the other good purposes above 

"Be it resolved, that a standing committee of correspondence 
and inquiry be appointed, to consist of eleven persons, to-wit: 
the honorable Peyton Eandolph, esquire, Eobept C. Nicholas, 
Eichard Bland, Eichard H. Lee, Benjamin Harrison, Edmund 
Pendleton, Patrick Henry, Dudley Digges, Dabney Carr, Archibald 
Cary and Thomas Jefferson, esquires, any six of whom to be a 
committee, whose business it shall be to obtain the most early and 
authentic intelligence of all such acts and resolutions of the British 
Parliament or proceedings of administration as may relate to, or 
affect the British Colonies in America; and to keep up and main- 
tain a correspondence and communication with our sister Colonies, 
respecting these important considerations ; and the result of such 
their proceedings, from time to time to lay before this House. 

'Resolved, That it be an instruction to the said committee that 
they do, without delay, inform themselves particularly of the 
principles and authority on which was constituted a court of 
enquiry, said to have been lately held in Ehode Island, with 

183 Southwest Virgima, 111^6-1786. 

powers to transport persons accused of offences committed in 
iVmerica to places beyond the seas to be tried. 

"Resolved, That the Speaker of this House do transmit to the 
Speakers of the different Assemblies of the British Colonies on the 
Continent, copies of the said resolutions, and desire that they will 
lay them before their respective Assemblies, and request them to 
appoint some person or persons of their respective bodies tO' com- 
municate, from time to time, with the said committee." 

The retention of the duty on tea and the action of the different 
Colonies in entering into an agreement neither to buy nor to sell, 
nor pay any duty upon teas imported into the Colonies, had been 
so rigidly observed that the East India Company suffered great 
inconvenience from the accumulation of their stock and the refusal 
of the American Colonists to purchase; and, to remedy this state 
of affairs, this company proposed to the British Parliament to pay 
double the amount of tlie import duties on tea if the Parliament 
would repeal the duties, but the object of the Parliament not being 
the collection of a revenue, but the subjection of the American 
Colonies, the offer of the East India Company remained unac- 
cepted, and the oppression of the American Colonies continued 
until it was evident that the American people had determined to be 
free. After some time an act was passed by the British Parliament 
allovidng the East India Company to export their teas to America 
free of duty, after which, large quantities of tea were shipped by 
the company to Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston. 

As soon as the Americans heard of the repeal of the duty on tea 
and the shipments made by the East Indian Company, they deter- 
mined that the tea should never be disposed of in America. When 
the ships bearing this tea arrived at the American ports, they were 
compelled to return immediately without unloading their cargo. 

In the city of Boston a scene of great disorder prevailed. The 
captain of the vessel carrying the tea made an application to the 
Governor for the papers necessary to enable him to return to 
England without unloading, which request the Governor positively 
refused to comply with. Of this action the people were informed, 
and, thereupon, a number, disguising themselves as Mohawk 
Indians, boarded the ship, took out three hundred and forty-two 
chests of tea and emptied their contents into the water. It was 
thought that this occurrence would precipitate the war between the 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 183 

Colonies and England, but such was not the case. Upon the receipt 
of the news of the destruction of the tea, Lord North introduced 
a bill for the closing of the port of Boston. The Constitution and 
('barter of the province of Massachusetts were taken out of the 
hands of the people and placed in the hands of the king, and all 
the officers of the Colony were made dependent upon the king. 
A bill was also passed levying a fine upon the city of Boston to 
compensate the East India Company for the tea destroyed, and 
another law was enacted providing that any of the king-'s officers, 
charged with the commission of murder in the execution of their 
duties in the Colonies, should be brought to England for trial. All 
of the foregoing bills had been passed and received the royal assent 
by the 20th day of May, 1774. 

The consideration of these measures by the House of Commons 
produced a long and heated debate, during which Colonel Barre, 
who had on a previous occasion ably defended the Colonies, con- 
cluded an able and patriotic speech in opposition to these measures 
in these words : "Yon have changed your ground. You are becom- 
ing the aggressors, and offering the last of human outrages to the 
jjpople of America, by subjecting them, in effect, to military execu- 
tion. Instead of sending them the olive branch, you have sent them 
the naked sword. By the olive branch I mean a repeal of all the 
late laivs, fruitless to you and oppressive to them. Ask their aid 
in a constitutional manner, and they will give it to the utmost of 
their ability. They never yet- refused it, when properly required. 
Your journals bear the recorded acknowledgments of the zeal with 
which they have contributed to the general necessities of the State. 
What madness is it that prompts you to attempt obtaining that hy 
force, which you may more certainly procure by requisition. They 
may he flattered into anything, but they are too much like your- 
selves to he driven. Have some indulgence for your own likeness, 
respect their sturdy English virtue, retract your odious exertions 
of authority, and remember that the first step towards making them 
contribute to your wants is to reconcile them to your government." 

At the same time William Pitt, now Lord Chatham, gave the 
House of Lords his views upon the bills proposed and the condition 
of American affairs, in the following words: 

"If, my Lords, we take a transient view of those motives which 
induced the ancestors of our fellow subjects in America to leave 

184 Southwest Virginia, 17JiG-178G. 

tlioir native country, to encounter the innumerable diflSculties of the 
unexplored regions of the western world, our astonishment at the 
present conduct of their descendants will naturally subside. There 
was no corner of the globe to which they would not have fled, rather 
than submit to the slavish and tyrannical spirit which prevailed 
at that period in their native country ; and viewing them in their 
original forlorn and now flourishing state, they may be cited as 
illustrious instances to instruct the world what great exertions man- 
kind will naturally make, when left to the free exercise ol their 
own powers. Notwithstanding my intention to give my hearty 
negative to the question now before you, I condemn, my Lords, in 
the severest manner, the turbulent and unwarrantable conduct of 
of the Americans, in some instances, particularly in the late riots 
at Boston, but, my Lords, the mode which has been pursued to 
bring them back to a sense ol their duty is so diametrically oppo- 
site to every principle of sound policy, as to excite my utmost 
astonishment. You have involved the guilty and the innocent in 
one common punisliment, and avenge the crime of a few lawless 
depredators upon the whole body of the inhabitants. My Lords, 
the different provinces of America, in the excess of their gratitude 
for the repeal of the Stamp Act. seemed to vie with each otlier in 
the expressions of loyalty and duty; but the moment they per- 
ceived that your intention to tax them was renewed, under a pre- 
tense of serving the East India Company, their resentment got tlie 
ascendant of their moderation and hurried them into actions which 
their cool reason would abhor. But, my Lords, from the whole 
complexion of the late proceedings, I cannot but incline to think, 
that the administration has purposely irritated them into these 
violent acts, in order to gratify their own malice and revenge. 
What else could induce them to dress Taxation, the Father of 
American Sedition, in the robes of an East India Director, but to 
break in upon that mutual peace and harmony which then so hap- 
pily subsisted between the Colonies and the mother county. My 
Lords, it has always been my fixed and unalterable opinion, and I 
will carry it with me to the grave, that this country had no right 
under heaven to tax America. It is contrary tO' all the principles 
of justice and civil policy; it is contrary to that essential, unalter- 
able right in nature, ingrafted into the British Constitution as a 
fundamental law, that what a man has honestly acquired is abso- 

Southwest Virginia, 1740-1786. 185 

lutely his own, which he may freely give, but which cannot be 
taken away from him without his consent. Pass then, my Lords, 
instead of these harsh and severe edicts, an amnesty over their 
errours; by mea.sures of lenity and affection allure them to their 
duty; act the pavt of a generous, forgiving parent. A period may 
arrive, when this parent may stand in need of every assistance she 
can receive from a grateful and affectionate offspring. The welfare 
of this country, my Lords, has ever been my greatest joy, and, 
under all the vicissitudes of my life, ha,s afforded me the most 
pleasing consolation. Should the all-disposing hand of Providence 
prevent me from contributing my poor and feeble aid in the day 
of her distress, my prayers shall be ever for her prosperity ; "Length 
of days be in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honor ! 
May her ways be ways of pleasantness, and all her paths be peace !" 

The Legislature of Virginia was in session when the Boston 
Port Bill arrived, and their sense of it was imauediately expressed 
by the following order : "This House, being deeply impressed with 
apprehension of the great dangers to be derived to British America 
from the hostile invasion of the city of Boston, in our sister Colony 
of Massachusetts Bay, whose commerce and harbour are, on the 
1st day of June next, to be stopped by an armed force, deem it 
highly necessary that the said 1st day of June next be set apart l)y 
the members of this House as a day of fasting, humiliation and 
prayer, devoutly to implore the divine interposition for averting the 
heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights and 
the evils of civil war; to give us one heart and one mind, firmly to 
oppose, by all just and proper means, every injury to American 
rights; and that the minds of his Majesty and Parliament may be 
inspired from above with wisdom, moderation and justice, to 
remove from the loyal people of America all cause of danger, from 
a continued pursuit of measures pregnant with their ruin. 

^^Ordered, therefore. That the members of this House do attend 
at their places at the hour of ten in the forenoon, on the said 1st day 
of June next, in order to proceed with the Speaker and the Mace, to 
the church in this city, for the purposes aforesaid ; and that the 
reverend Mr. Price be appointed to read prayers and to preach a 
sermon suitable to the occasion." 

Lord Dunmore, the Governor of the Virginia Colony at that 
time, immediately upon the receipt of the information as to the 

186 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

action taken by the Virginia House of Burgesses, dissolved tlie 
House. But the patriotic Virginians were not to be thus deprived 
ol their right to speak their sentiments; for on the following day, 
eighty-nine members formed an association and adopted the fol- 
lowing resolutions : 

"We, his Majesty's most duiifid and loyal suhjects, the late repre- 
sentatives of the good people of this Colony, having been deprived, 
by the sudden interposition of the executive part of this government, 
from giving our countrymen the advice we wished to convey to 
them in a legislative capacity, find ourselves under the hard neces- 
sity of adopting this, tlie only method we have left, of pointing out 
to our countrymen, such measures as, in our opinion, are best 
fitted to secure our dear rights and liberty from destruction by the 
heavy hand of power now lifted against JSTorth America. With 
much grief we find that our dutiful applications to Great Britain 
for the security of our just, ancient and constitutional rights, have 
not only been disregarded, but that a determined system is formed 
and pursued for reducing the inhabitants of British America to 
slavery, by subjecting them to the payment of taxes imposed with- 
out the consent of the people or their representatives; and that, 
in pursuit of this system, we find an Act of the British Parliament, 
lately passed, for stopping the harbour and the commerce of the 
town of Boston, in our sister Colony of Massachusetts Bay, until 
the people there submit to the payment of such unconstitutional 
taxes; and which Act most violently and arbitrarily deprives them 
of their property, in Avharves "erected by private persons, at their 
own great and proper expense, which Act is, in our opinion, a most 
dangerous attempt to destroy the constitutional liberty and rights 
of all North America. It is further our opinion, that as tea, on its 
importation to America, is charged with a duty imposed by Par- 
liament for the purpose of raising a revenue without the consent 
oi the people, it ought not to be used by any person who wishes well 
to the constitutional rights and liberties of British America. And 
whereas, the India Company have ungenerously attempted to ruin 
America, by sending many ships loaded with tea into the Colonies, 
thereby intending to fix a pi-ecedent in favour of arbitrary taxation, 
we deem it highly proper, and do accordingly recommend it strongly 
to our countrymen, not to purchase or use any kind of East India 
commodity whatsoever, except salt-petre and spices, until the griev- 

Southwest Virginia, 17J,6-1786. 187 

ances of America are redressed. We are further clearly of opinion, 
that an attack made upon one of onr sister Colonies, tO' compel 
submission to arbitrary taxes, is an attack mad© on all British 
America, and threatents ruin to the rights of all, unless the united 
wisdom of the whole he applied. And for this purpose it is recom- 
mended to the coanmittee of correspondence, that they communi- 
cate with their several corresponding committees, on the expedi- 
ency of appointing deputies from the several Colonies of British 
America, to meet in General Congress, at such a place annually as 
shall be thought most convenient; there to deliberate on those gen- 
eral measures which the united interest of America may, from time 
to timCy- require. 

"A tender regard for the interest of our fellow-subjects, the 
merchants and manufacturers of Great Britain, prevents us from 
going further at this time ; most earnestly hoping that the un- 
constitutional principle of taxing the Colonies without their con- 
sent will not be persisted in, thereby to compel us against our will, 
to avoid all commercial intercourse with Great Britain. Wishing 
them and our people free and happy, we are their affectionate 
friends, the late representatives of Virginia." 

This association was formed on the 27th day of May, 1774, and 
Stephen Trigg and William Christian, the representatives O'f Fin- 
castle county, in the Virginia House of Burgesses, were members 
of this association. 

Virginia had not suffered from the acts of the British. Parlia- 
ment as had the colonies of New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode 
Island, but her statesmen of those days were actuated by princi- 
ples that they loved and cherished, and, with a political wisdom 
which should be the admiration of all the citizens of Virginia, 
they were always ready and willing to resist any encroachment 
upon those principles, whether the encroachments were made in 
their own home or in the sister colonies. 

The 1st day of June, 1774, was observed in most of the colo- 
nies as a day of fasting and prayer, and in Virginia all business 
was suspended, and the citizens bore a dejected aspect, but were 
contemplating a brighter day, when their sorrow would be turned 
to joy. 

On the 17th day of June, 1774, the Legislature of the Massa- 
chusetts Colony adopted a resolution calling a Congress of the rep- 

188 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

resentatives of the colonies at Philadelphia on the 5th day of 
September, 1774. The royal Governor of Massachusetts imme- 
diately dissolved the Legislature as a punishment. 

In Virginia the representatives of the several counties met at 
Williamsburg on August 1, 1774, and adopted the following reso- 
lutions, which fitly expressed the sentiments of the people of Vir- 
ginia : 

"The unhappy disputes between Great Britain and her Ameri- 
can colonies, which began about the third year of the reign of his 
present Majesty and since continually increasing, have proceeded 
to lengths so dangerous and alarming as to excite just apprehen- 
sions in the minds of his Majesty's faithful subjects of the Colony 
that they are in danger of being deprived of their natural, an- 
cient constitutional and chartered rights, and have cjompelled 
them to take the same into their most serious consideration; and 
being deprived of their usual and accustomed mode of making 
known their grievances, have appointed us, their represen- 
tatives, to consider what is proper to be done in this dangerous 
crisis of American affairs. It being our opinion, that the united 
wisdom of North America should be collected in a general Con- 
gress of all the Colonies, we have appointed the following gen- 
tlemen as deputies to represent this Colony in the said Congress, 
to be held at Philadelphia, on the first Monday in September 
next, viz., Peyton Eandolph, Eichard Henry Lee, George Wash- 
ington, Patrick Henry, Eichard Bland, Benjamin Harrison and 
Edmund Pendleton. — and that they may be the better informed 
of our sentiments touching the conduct we wish them to observe 
on this important occasion, we desire that they Avill express, in the 
first place, our faith and our allegiance to his Majesty King George 
the third, our lawful and rightful sovereign; and that we are de- 
termined, with our lives and fortunes, to support him in the le- 
gal exercise of all his just rights and prerogatives. And, however, 
misrepresented, we sincerely approve of a constitutional connexion 
with Great Britain, and wish most ardently a return of that inter- 
course O'f affection and commercial connexion that formerly united 
both countries; which can only be effected by a removal of those 
causes of discontent which have of late unhappily divided us. 

"It cannot admit of a doubt that British subjects in America 
are entitled to the same rights and privileges as their fellow sub- 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 189 

jects possess in Britain, and therefore tliat the power as- 
sumed by the British Parliament to bind America by their statutes, 
in all cases whatsoever, is unconstitutional and the source of these 
unhappy differences. 

"The end of government would be defeated by the British Par- 
liament exercising a power over the lives, the property and the 
liberty of American subjects, who are not and, from their local 
circumstances, cannot be, there represented. Of this nature we 
consider the several Acts of Parliament for raising a revenue in 
America, for extending the jurisdiction of the courts of Admiralty, 
for seizing American subjects and transporting them to Britain 
to be tried for crimes committed in America, and the several late 
oppressive Acts respecting the town of Boston and Province of 
Massachusetts Bay. 

"The original constitution of the American Colonies possessing 
their assemblies with the sole right of directing their internal 
policy, it is absolutely destructive to the end of their institution 
that their legislatures should be suspended, or prevented by hasty 
dissolutions, from exercising their legislative powers. 

"Wanting the protection of Britain, we have long acquiesced in 
their Acts of navigation, restrictive of our commerce, which we 
consider as an ample recompense for such protection, but as those 
Acts derive their efficacy from that foundation alone, we have 
reason to expect they will be restrained, so as to produce the rea- 
sonable purposes of Britain and not be injurious to us. 

"To obtain redress of these grievances, without which the peo- 
ple of America can neither be safe, free, nor happy, they are will- 
ing to undergo the great inconvenience that will be derived to them 
from stopping all imports whatsoever from Great Britain after 
the first day of November next, and also to cease exporting 
any commodity whatsoever to the same place, after the 10th day 
of August, 1775. The earnest desire we have to make as quick and 
full payment as possible of our debts to Great Britain, and to avoid 
the heavy injury that would arise tO' this country from an earlier 
adoption of the non-importation plan, after the people have al- 
ready applied so much of their labor to the perfecting of the pres- 
ent crop, by which means they have been prevented from pursuing 
other methods of clothing and supporting their families, has ren- 
dered it necessary to restrain you in this article of non-exporta- 

190 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

tion ; but it is our desire that you cordially co-operate with our 
sister Colonies in general Congress, in such other just and proper 
methods, as they, or the majority, shall deem necessary for the 
accomplishment of these valuable ends. *? 

"The proclamation issued by General Gage, in tlie government of 
the Province of Massachusetts Bay, declaring it treason for the 
inhabitants of that Province to assemble themselves to consider O'f 
their grievances and to form associations for their common conduct 
on the occasion, and requiring the civil magistrates and officers to 
apprehend all such persons to be tried for their supposed offences, 
is the most alarming process that ever appeared in a British Gov- 
ernment; the said General Gage has thereby assumed and taken 
upon himself powers denied by the constitution to our legal Sover- 
eign. He not having condescended to disclose by what authority 
he exercises such extensive and unlieard of powers, we are at a 
loss to determine whether he intends to justify himself as the rep- 
representative of the King, or as the Commander in Chief of his 
Majesty's forces in America. If he considers himself as acting 
in the character of his Majesty's representative, we would remind 
him that the statute 20th, Edward III., has expressed and defined 
all treasonable O'ffences, and that the Legislature of Great Britain 
hath declared that no offence shall be construed to be treason but 
such as is pointed out by that statute; and that this was done to 
taike out of the hands of tyrannical Kings, and of weak and wicked 
Ministers, that deadly weapon which constructive treason had 
furnished them with, and which had drawn the blood of the best 
and honestest men in the kingdom, and that the King of Great 
Britain hath no right by his proclamation to subject his people to 
imprisonment, pains, and penalties. 

"Tliat if the said General Gage conceives he is empowered to 
act in this manner, as the Commander in Chief of his Majesty's 
forces in America, this odioais and illegal proclamation must be 
considered as a plain and full declaration that this despotick Vice- 
roy will be bound by no law, nor regard the constitutional rights 
of his Majesty's subjects, wherever they interfere with the plans 
he has formed for oppressing the good people of the Massachusetts 
Bay; and therefore that the executing, or attempting to execute 
such proclamation, will justify resistance and reprisal." 

All of the American colonies, with the exception of Georgia, 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 191 

joined iu the common cause and sent delegates to the Philadel- 
phia Congress. 

The second Continental Congress of the American colonies as- 
sembled in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, fifty-two dele- 
gates from twelve colonies present. This Congress was organized 
by the election of the following officers : 

President, Peyton Eandolph, of Virginia. 

Secretary, Charles Thompson, of Pennsylvania. 

Patrick Henry, of Virginia, was the first member of this Con- 
gress to address the chair upon the issues which had brought them 
together. This Congress of able men and noble patriots occupied 
more than a month's time in serious deliberation before anything 
of importance was done. On the 8th of October, 1774 (two days 
before the battle at Point Pleasant) they adopted the following 
resolutions : 

"Resolved, That this Congress do approve of the opposition 
MADE BY THE inhabitants of the Massachusetts Bay to the exe- 
cution of the late Acts of Parliament; and if the same shall be at- 
tempted to be carried into execution by force, in such case all 
America ought to support them in their opposition. 

"Resolved, That it is the opinion of this body, that the removal 
of the people of Boston into the country would be not only ex- 
tremely difficult in the execution, but so important in its conse- 
quences as to require the utmost deliberation before it is adopted. 
But in case the provincial meeting of that Colony shall judge it 
absolutely necessary, it is the opinion of this Congress, that all 
America ought to contribute towards recompensing them for the 
injury they may thereby sustain, and it will be recommended ac- 

"Resolved, That this Congress do recommend to the inhabitants 
of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay to submit to a suspension of 
the administration of justice, when it cannot be procured in a le- 
gal and peaceable manner, under the rules of the Charter and the 
laws founded thereon, until the effects of onr application for a re- 
peal of the Acts, by which their Charter rights are infringed, are 

"Resolved, unanimously. That every person or persons whoso- 
ever, who shall take, accept, or act under any commission or au- 
thority in any wise derived from the Act passed in the late ses- 

192 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

sion of Parliament, changing the form of Government and vio- 
lating the charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, ought to 
be held in detestation and abhorrence by all good men and con- 
sidered as the wicked tools of that despotism which is preparing to 
destroy tliose rights which God, nature and compact have given 
to America." 

On the 14th, Congress agreed upon the following preamble and 
resolutions : 

"Whereas, since the close . of the last war, the British Parlia- 
ment, claiming a power of right to bind the people of America by 
statute, in all cases whatsoever, hath in some Acts expressly im- 
posed taxes on them, and on other various pretences, but in fact for 
the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties 
payable in these Colonies, established a board of commissioners 
with unconstitutional powers and extended the jurisdiction of 
Courts of Admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but 
for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county. 
And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before 
held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependent 
on the CroAvn alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in 
time of peace. And it has lately been resolved in Parliament, that 
by force of a statute made in the 35th Henry VIII, colonists may 
be transported to England and tried there upon accusations for 
treasons and misprisions, or concealment of treasons, committed in 
the Colonies; and, by a late statute, such trials have been directed 
in cases therein mentioned. 

"And whereas, in the late session of Parliament, three statutes 
were made, one entitled 'an Act to discontinue in siich manner 
and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and dis- 
charging, lading or shipping of goods, wares and merchandise, at 
the town and within the harbour of Boston, in the Province of 
Massachusetts Bay, in North America,' another entitled 'an Act 
for the better regulating the government of the Province of Massa- 
chiisetts Bay, in New England,' and another entitled 'an Act for 
the impartial administration of justice, in the cases of persons 
questioned for any act done by them in the execution of the law, 
or for the suppression of riots and tumults, in the Province of 
Massachusetts Bay, in New England,' and another statute was 
then made 'for making more effectual provision for the govern- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 193 

ment of the Province of Quebec, &c./ all of which statutes are 
impolitick, unjust and cruel as well as unconstitutional, and miost 
dangerous and destructive of American rights. 

"And whereas, Assemblies have been frequently dissolved, con- 
trary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate 
on grievances, and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable pe- 
titions to tlie cro'wn for redress have been repeatedly treated with 
contempt by his Majesty's Ministers of State. 

"The good people of the several colonies of New Hampshire, 
Massachusetts Bay, Ehode Island and Providence Plantations, 
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Castle, 
Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, North 
Carolina and South Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary 
proceedings of Parliament and the Administration, have severally 
elected, constituted and ajjpointed deputies, to meet and sit in 
general Congress in the City of Philadelphia, in order to obtain 
such establishment as tliat their religion, laws and liberties may 
not be subverted : Whereupon, the deputies so appointed being now 
assembled in a full and free representation of these Colonies, tak- 
ing into their most serious consideration the best means of attain- 
ing the ends aforesaid, do in the first place, as Englishmen, their 
ancestors, in like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindi- 
cating their rights and liberties, DECLARE ; 

"That the inhabitants of the English Colonies in North America, 
by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English 
Constitution and the several charters of compacts, have the follow- 
ing RIGHTS. 

"Resolved, nemine contradicenie, 1st. That they are entitled to 
life, liberty and property; and they have never ceded to any 
foreign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their 

"Resolved, 71. c. 3nd. That our ancestors, who first settled these 
Colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother 
country, entitled to all the rights, liberties and immunities of free 
and natural born subjects within the realms of England. 

"Resolved, n. c. 3rd. That by such emigration they by no means 

forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they 

.were, and their descendants now are, entitled to tlie exercise and 

194 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

enjoyment of all sncli of them, as their local and other circum- 
stances enable them to exercise and enjoy. 

"Resolved, n. c. 4. That the foundation of English liberty and 
all free government is a right in the people to participate in their 
legislative coimcil ; and as the ' English Colonists are not repre- 
sented, and from their local and other circumstances cannot pro- 
]ierly be represented in the British Parliament, they are entitled 
to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several Pro- 
vincial Ijegislatures, where their right of representation alone can 
be pr(>served, in all cases of taxation and internal policy, subject 
only to the negative of their Sovereign, in such manner as has 
heretofore been accustomed ; but from the necessity of the case 
and a regard to the mutual interests of both countries, we cheer- 
fully consent to the operation of such acts of the British Parlia- 
ment as are bona fide, restrained to the regulation of our external 
commerce, for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages 
of the whole empire to the mother country, and the commercial 
])enefits of its respective members, excluding every idea of taxation, 
internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects in 
America, without their consent. 

"Eesolved, n. c. 5. That the respective Colonies are entitled to 
the common law of England, and more especially to the great and 
inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage 
according to the course ol that law. 

"Resolved, n. c. 6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such 
of the English statutes as existed at the time of their colonization, 
and which they have, by experience, respectively found to be appli- 
cable to their several local and other circumstances. 

"Resolved, n. r. 7. That these, his Majesty's Colonies, are like- 
wise entitled to all tlie immunities and privileges granted and con- 
firmed to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes 
of Provincial laws. 

"Resolved, 7i. c. 8. That they have a right peacably to assemble, 
consider of their grievances, and petition the King; and that all 
prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the 
same are illegal. 

"Resolved, n. c. 9. That the keeping a standing army in any 
of these Colonies in times of peace, without the consent of the 

Southwest Virginia, 17JfG-17S0. 195 

Tjegislaturo of that Colony in which snch army is kept, is against 
tlie law. 

"Eesolved, n. c. 10. It is indispensahly necessary to good gov- 
ernment, and rendered essential l)y the English constitution, that 
the constituent branches of the Tjegislature be independent of each 
other; that, therefore, the exercise of legislative power in several 
Colonies by a Council a})pointed, during pleasure, by the Crown 
is unconstitutional, dangerous and destructive of the freedom of 
American legislation. 

All and each of which the aforesaid deputies in behalf of them- 
selves and their constituents do claim, demand, and insist upon, 
as their indubitable rights and liberties; which cannot be legally 
taken from them, altered or abridged by any power whatsoever, 
without their own consent, by their representatives in their several 
Provincial Legislatures." 

And upon the 30th day of October, ITT-i, they agreed upon the fol- 
lowing articles of association, to which each member present sub- 
scribed his name. 

"First, That from and after the first day of December next, 
we will not import into British America from Great Britain and 
Ireland, any goods, wares, or merchandize whatsoever, or from any 
other place, any such goods, wares or marchandise, as shall have 
been exported from Great Britain or Ireland, nor will we, after that 
day import any East India tea from any part of the world; nor any 
molasses, syrups, paneles, coffee or pimento, from the British 
plantations, or from Dominica ; nor wines from Madeira, or the 
Western Islands ; nor foreign indigo. 

"Second, That we will neither import, nor purchase any slave 
imported after the first day of Deceml)er next; after which time 
we will wholly discontinue the slave trade, and will neither be con- 
cerned in it ourselves nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our com- 
modities or manufactures to those who are concerned in it. 

"Third, As a non-consum])tion agreement strictly adhered to 
will 1)0 an effectual security for the observation of non-importa- 
tion, we, as above, solemnly agree and associate, that, from this 
day, we will not purchase or use any tea imported on account of 
the East India Company, or any on which a duty hath been or 
sliall he paid, and from and after the first day of March next, we 
will not purchase or use any East India tea whatever, nor will we. 

19G Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

nor shall any person for or imdor us, purchase or use, any of those 
goods, wares or merchandize we have agreed not to import, which 
we shall know or have cause to suspect, were imported after the 
first day of December, except such as come under the rules and 
directions of the tenth article hereinafter mentioned. 

"Fourth, The earnest desire we have not to injure our fellow- 
subjects in Great Britain, Ireland or the West Indies, induces us 
to suspend non-exportation, until the tenth day of September 
1775, at which time, if the said Acts and parts of Acts of the 
British Parliament, hereinafter mentioned, are not repealed, we 
will not, directly or indirectly, export any merchandize or com- 
modity whatsoever, to Great Britain, Ireland or the West Indies, 
except via Europe. 

"Fifth, Such as are merchants and use the British and Irish 
trade, will give orders, as soon as possible, to their factors, agents 
and correspondents in Great Britain and Ireland, not to ship any 
goods to them, on any pretence whatever, as they cannot be received 
in America; and if any merchant residing in Great Britain or 
Ireland shall, directly or indirectly, ship any goods, wares or mer- 
chandize, for America, in order to break the said non-importation 
agreement, or in any manner contravene the same, on such 
unworthy conduct being well attested, it ought to be made publick ; 
a7id on the same being so done, we will not from thenceforth have 
any commercial connexion with such merchant. 

"Sixth, That such as are owners of vessels will give positive 
orders to their captains, or masters, not to receive on board their 
vessels any goods prohibited by the said non-importation agree- 
ment, on pain of immediate dismission from their service. 

"Seventh, We will use our utmost endeavors to improve the 
breed of sheep and increase their number to the greatest extent; 
and to that end we will kill them as sparingly as may be, especially 
those of the most profitable kind; nor will we export any to the 
West Indies or elsewhere ; and those of us who are or may become 
overstocked with, or can conveniently spare any sheep, will dispose 
of them to our neighbors, especially to the poorer sort, on moderate 

"Eighth, That we will in our several stations encourage fru- 
gality, economy and industry, and promote agriculture, arts and 
the manufactures of this country, especially that of wool, and will 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 197 

discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and 
dissipation, especially all horse-racing, and all kinds of gaming, 
cock-fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diver- 
sions and entertainments. iVnd on the death of any relation oi 
friend, none of us, or any of our families, will go into any 
further mourning dress than a black crape or ribbon on the arm 
or hat for the gentleman, and a black ribbon or necklace for the 
ladies, and we will discontinue the giving of gloves and scarfs at 

"Ninth, That such as are vendors of goods or merchandize will 
not take advantage of the scarcity of goods that may be occasioned 
by this association, but will sell the same at the rates we have 
been respectively accustomed to do, for twelve months last past. 
And if any vendor of goods or merchandize shall sell such goods 
on higher terms, or shall in any manner, or by any device what- 
soever, violate or depart from this agreement, no person ought, nor 
will any of us deal with any such person, or his, or her factor or 
agent at any time thereafter for any commodity whatever. 

"Tenth, In case any merchant, trader, or other persons shall 
import any goods or merchandize, after the first day of December, 
and before the first day of February next, the same ought, forth- 
with, at the election of the owner, to be either reshipped or deliv- 
ered up to the committee of the county or town wherein they shall 
be imported, to be stored at the risk of the importer, until the non- 
importation agreement shall cease, or be sold under direction of 
the committee aforesaid ; and in the last mentioned case, the owner 
or owners of such goods shall be reimbursed out of the sales the 
first cost and charges, the profit, if any, to be applied towards the 
relieving and employing such poor inhabitants of the town of 
Boston as are immediately sufferers by the Boston Port Bill; and 
a particular account of all goods so returned, stored, or sold, to be 
inserted in the publick papers; and if any goods or merchandizes 
shall be imported after the said fi.rst day of February, the same ought 
forthwith, to be sent back again, without breaking any of the 
packages thereof. 

"Eleventh, That a committee be chosen in every county, city, 
and town, by those who are qualified to vote for representatives in 
Legislature, whose business it shall be, attentively to observe the 
conduct of all persons touching the association; and when it shall 

198 Southtvest Virginia. 17J,(]-17S(i. 

1)1* made to aj)})C'ai" to the satisfaction of a majority of such com- 
mittee, that any person within the limits of their appointment 
has violated this association, tliat such majority do fortlnvitli cause 
tl)e truth of the case to he ])uhlishe(! in the (iazette, to the end that 
all such t'ocs to the rights of British Auiei'ica may he ])ul)licklv 
known and universally contemned as the enemies of Amei-ican 
liherty; and thenceforth we will res])ectively hreak olf all dealings 
with him or her. 

"Twelfth, That the Committee of Correspondenci' in the i'esj)ec- 
tive Colonies do frequently inspect the entries of their custom 
houses, and inform each other from time to time, of the true state 
thereof, and of every other material circumstance that may occur 
relative to this association. 

"Thirteenth, That all manufactures of this country he sold at 
reasonable prices, so that no undue advantages W taken of a future 
scarcity of goods. 

"Fourteenth, And we do' further agree and resolve, that we will 
have no trade, commerce, dealings or intercourse whateM'i- with 
any Colony or Province in North America, which shall not accede 
to, or which shall hereafter violate this association, hut will hold 
them as unworthy of the rights of freemen and as inimical to the 
liberties of their country. 

"And we do solemnly bind ourselves and our constituents, under 
the ties aforesaid, to adhere to this association until such parts 
of the several Acts of Parliament passed since the close of the last 
war as imposed or continue diities on tea, wine, molasses, syrups, 
paneles, coffee, sugar, pimento, indigo, foreign ]")aper. glass and 
painters' colors imported into America, and extend the powers 
of the Admiraltv courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the 
American subjects of trial by jury, authorize the judge's C(>rtificate 
to indemnify the prosecutor fi-om damages, that he might other- 
wise be liable to, from a trial by his peers, require oppressive secu- 
rity from a claimant of ships or goods seized before he shall be 
allowed to defend his property, are repealed. And until that part 
of the Act of the 13 Geo. 3, ch. 24. entitled 'an Act for the better 
securing his Majesty's dock-yards, magazines, ships, ammunition 
and stores,' by which any persons charged with committing any 
of tlie offences therein described, in America, may be tried in any 
shire or county within the realm, is repealed — and until the four 

Southwest Virginia, 171,6-1786. 199 

Acts 2:)assed in the last, session of Parliament, viz., that for stopping 
tlie i)ort and blocking np the harbonr of Boston — that for alter- 
ing the Charter and Government of the Massachnsetts Bay — and 
that which is entitled, ''An Act for the better administration of 
justice, &c." — and that for "extending the limits of Quebec, &c.," 
ai'e rejx^aled. And we recommend it to the Provincial Conven- 
tions, and to the committee in tlie respective Colonies, to establish 
such furtlier regulations as they may think proper, for carrying into 
execution this association." 

After the adoption of the foregoing resolutions and articles of 
association, the Congress drew up a petition to the king, a memo- 
rial tO' tlie people of England and an address to the people of the 
C^olonies, and another to the French Colonists of Quebec, Georgia 
and Nova Scotia. Tliis Congress adjourned on the 26th day of 
October, 1774, after having decided to hold another Congress at the 
same place on the lOth day of May, 1775, if their present grievances 
continued. The proceedings of this Congress have enlisted the 
admiration of the world for more than one hundred and twenty- 
five years, and the work of the fifty-two men composing this Con- 
gress will live while a Eepul)lican form of Government and free 
institutions exist. 

After the adjournment of this Congress, the Colonies were in 
that condition which precedes the coming of a storm,. The people 
were willing to foi-give and forget, provided their petitions were 
listened to and their wrongs corrected ; otherwise they were ready 
to give their lives and property in defence of their liberty. 

It was now time for the English statesmen to recognize, in the 
resistance of the Colonies, that spirit of freedom which has ever 
marked the actions of the Anglo-Saxon race. 

At a meeting of the British Parliament on the 30th day of 
January, 1775, Lord Dartmouth, Secretary of State for the Colo- 
nies, laid before the House of Peers all the papers relative to the 
American Colonies. As soon as all papers were read, William Pitt, 
the undying friend ot the American Colonies, arose and moved that 
an address be presented to the King, requesting him to direct Gen- 
eral Gage to move his Majesty's forces from the town of Boston. 
He said : "America could not be reconciled, she ought not to be 
reconciled to this country, till the troops of Britain are removed 
from the Continent. Besistance to your acts was necessary, and 

200 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

therefore ju^t; and your vain declarations of the omnipotence of 
Parliament, and your imperious doctrines of the necessity of sub- 
mission, will be equally impotent to convince or enslave America. 
You may, no doubt, destroy their cities, you may cut them off 
from the superfluities, perhaps the conveniences, of life; but 
my Lords, they will still despise your power, for they have yet 
I'emaining their woods and their liberty. He said that the spirit 
which now animates America was the same that led to the revolu- 
tion in England, and that the friends of liberty on both sides of 
the Atlantic had but one common cause. "In this great cause," 
he continued, "they are immovably allied; it is the alliance of 
God and Nature, immutable, eternal, fixed as the firmament of 
heaven." His Lordship admitted the right of Parliament to con- 
trol the complicated machinery of commerce and navigation, but 
denied its authority over the property of the people of the Colonies ; 
"property is private, individual, absolute, the touch of another 
annihilates it." He besought the House to rest upon that distinc- 
tion, to allow the Americans to maintain their principles of taxa- 
tion, and to confine the exercise of parliamentary authority to the 
regulation of commerce. Of the Continental Congress the noble 
Earl spoke in a strain of the highest eulogy. "History, my Lords," 
said he, "has been my favorite study, and in the celebrated writings 
of antiquity have I often admired the patriotism of Greece and 
Eome ; but, my Lords, I must declare and avow, that in the master- 
states of the world, I know not the people or the Senate, who in 
such a complication of difficult circumstances can stand in prefer- 
ence to the Delegates of America, assembled in General Congress 
at Philadelphia. I trust it is obvious to your Lordships, that all 
attempts to impose servitude upon such men, to establish despotism 
over such a mighty continental nation, must he vain, must he futile." 
The speaker went on to say, that ministerial manoeuvres 
would never be able to resist such a union as that of America, that 
the hour of danger was not to be averted by the tricks of office, that 
matters bad now gone so far that even re])ealing the obnoxious 
Acts would not restore the lost confidence of America, unless 
his Majesty's armed force was withdrawn from the Continent. 
The jSToble Lord pledged himself, that they would one day find 
themselves compelled to undo alL their oppressive acts. He advised 
them, therefore, to enter at once into that course, of their own 

Southwest Virginia, nJt6-1786. ' 201 

accord, which they must be ultimately forced to adopt. "To con- 
clude, my Ivords," said lie, "if the Ministers thus persevere in mis- 
advising and misleading the King, I will not say that they can 
alienate the affections of his subjects from the Crown; but, 1 
affiriv, they will make the Crown not worth his wearing, I will 
not say that the King is betrayed, but I will prononnce that the 
Kingdom is undone." 

The motion of Lord Chatham was rejected by a large majority, 
and the British Ministry declared their purpose never to abandon 
a single right until the American Colonies were whipped into 
obedience. The same day that William Pitt delivered the pre- 
ceding address in the House of Lords, the backwoodsmen of Fin- 
castle county met, pursuant to the resolves of the Continental Con- 
gress, at the Lead Mines, their county seat, and took action in the 
premises ; of which the following is a correct account : 

"In obedience to the resolves of the Continental Congress, a 
meeting of the Freeholders of Fincastlc County, in Virginia, was 
held on the 20th day of January, 1775, who, after approving of the 
Association framed by that august liody in behalf of all the Colo- 
nies, and subscribing thereto, proceeded to the election of a Com- 
mittee, to see the same carried punctually into execution, when the 
following gentlemen were nominated : the Eeverend Charles Curn- 
mings. Colonel William Preston, Colonel William Christian, Cap- 
tain Stephen Trigg, Major Arthur Campbell, Major William Inglis, 
Captain Walter Crockett, Captain John Montgomery, Captain 
James McGavocl-, Captain William Campbell, Captain Thomas 
Madison, Captain Daniel Sviith, Captain William Russell, Captain 
Evan Shelby and Lieutenant William Edmondson.. After the elec- 
tion the committee made choice of Colonel William Christian 
for their chairman, and appointed Mr. David Campbell to be clerk." 

The following address was then unanimously agreed to by the 
people of the county, and is as follows : 

To the Honorable PEYTO^t RANDOLPH, Esquire, RICH- 
SON, and EDMUND PENDLETON, Esquires, the Delegates 
from this Colony, who attended the Continental Congress held at 

Gentlemen,— Had it not been for our remote situation and 

202 ^^oufhircsi Virginia, 17J,()-17S6. 

the ludian M'nr wliieli we were bitoly engaged in to chastise those 
cruel and savage people for the many nuirders and depredations 
they have committed amongst us, now happily terminated under 
the auspices of our present worthy Governor, His Excellency the 
Right Honorable the Earl of Durwiore, we should before this time 
have made know^n to you our thankfulness for the very important 
services you have rendered to yowx country, in conjunction with 
(he worthy Delegates from tlie other Provinces. Your noble efforts 
for reconciling the motlier country and the Colonies, on rational 
and constitutional principles and yonr pacifick, steady and uniform 
conduct in that arduous work entitle you to the esteem of all 
British America, and will immortalize you in the annals of your 
country. We heartily concur in your resolutions, and shall, in 
every instance, strictly and invariably adhere tliereto. 

We assure you, gentlemen, and all our countrymen, that we are 
a people whose hearts overflow witli love and duty to our lawful 
Sovereign, George the Third, whose illustrious House for several 
successive reigns have been the guardians of the civil and religious 
rights and liberties of British subjects, as settled at the glorious 
Eevolution; that we are willing to risk our lives in the service of his 
Majesty for the support of the Protestant religion and the rights and 
liberties of his subjects, as they have been estal:)lished by compact, 
law and ancient chartei's. We are heartily grieved at the dif- 
ferences which now subsist between the parent state and the Colo- 
nies, and most ardently wish to see harmony restored on an equi- 
table basis and by the most lenient measures that can be devised 
by the heart of man. Many of us and our forefathers left our 
native land, considering it as a kingdom subjected to inordinate 
power and greatly abridged of its liberties; we crossed the Atlantic, 
and ex])lored this then uncultivated wilderness Iwrdering on many 
nations of savages and surrounded by mountains almost inacces- 
sible to any but those very savages, who have incessantly been com- 
mitting l)arbarities and depredations on us since our first seating 
the country. These fatigues and dangers we patiently encoun- 
tered, supported by the pleasing hope of enjoying those rights and 
liberties which had been granted to Virginians, and were denied 
us in our native country, and of transmitting them inviolate to 
our posterity; but even to these remote regions the hand of unlim- 
ited and unconstitutional power hath pursued us, to strip us of 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-17S6. 203 

that liberty and property with which God, nature and the rights 
of himianity liave vested lis. We are ready and willing to coutri- 
biite all in our power for the support of his Majesty's government, 
if applied to constitutionally, and when the grants are made by our 
own Eepresentatives, but cannot think of submitting our liljerty 
or property to the power of a venal British Parliament, or to the 
will of a corrupt jVIinisti'y. We by no means desire to^ shake off our 
duty or allegiance to our lawful sovereign, but, on the contrary, 
shall ever glory in being the loyal subjects of a Protestant prince, 
descended from such illustrious progenitors, so- long as we can 
enjoy the free exercise of our religion as Protestants, and our 
liberties and properties as British Subjects. 

But if no pacifick measures shall be proposed or ado])ted Ijy Great 
Britain, and our enemies will attempt tO' dragoon us out of those 
inestimable privileges, which we are entitled to as subjects, and 
to redTice us to a state of slavery, we declare that we are deliberately 
and resolutely determined never to surrender them to any power 
upon earth but at the expense of our lives. 

These are our real, though unpolished, sentiments of lil)erty and 
loyalty, and in them we are resolved to live and die. 

We are, gentlemen, with the most perfect esteem and regard, 
your most obedient servants. 

The meeting of the freehjDlders of Fincastle county, on the 20th 
of Janiiary, 1775, in answer to the resolves of the Continental Con- 
gress was not the first meeting held for this purpose in the Colony, 
Init it was, as far as we have any record, the first meeting in which 
the freeholders declared that they were deliberately and resolutely 
determined never to surrender their inestimable privileges to any 
power upon earth but at the expense of their lives. The senti- 
ments of this meeting were definitely stated by the Committee of 
Safety when they declared that the freeholders of Fincastle county 
did not desire to shake off their allegiance to their lawful sovereign 
as long as they could enjoy the free exercise of their religion as 
Protestants and their liberties and properties as British subjects. 
The Committee of Safety, appointed by the freeholders of Fin- 
castle county, was composed of fifteen men, any one of whom, by 
reason of his intelligence and patriotism, was competent to draft 
the address be'fore given, 
'.^he meml)ers of that committee living at that time on lands 

204 Southwest Virginia,, 1746-1786. 

afterwards Avithin tlie limit? of the county of Washington, were 
;-even in niiinber, as follows: 

IJeverend Charles Ciimmings, Major Arthur Campbell, 

Captain William Campbell, Captain Daniel Smith, 

Captain William I'ussell, Captain Evan Shelby, 

Lieutenant William Edmiston. i 

Early in the year 1775, the British Parliament passed a bill 
restraining the trade of Virginia and that of a number of the other 

Several efforts were made by members of this Parliament to 
have measures adopted that would have a tendency to bring the 
Colonies and Great Britain together, but all to no purpose. In 
the Virginia House of Burgesses, Patrick Henry introduced a num- 
ber of resohitions for arming and disciplining the militia of the 
(*olonies, and the delegates to the former Congress held in Phil- 
adelphia were re-elected, along witli Thomas Jefferson, to^ serve 
in the next Congress which met at Philadelphia in May, 1775. 

In the month of April, hostilities began between General Gage, 
commanding the British forces at Boston, and the troops of the 
Massachusetts Colony, and the first blood of the Eevolution was 
shed at Lexington, Massachusetts, on the 17th day of April, 1775. 
In a few days this news spread, and the entire Colony was in arms. 
The first blow had been struck by the King's troops, and now the 
Colonies took up their arms in self-defence. 

In Virginia, Governor Dunmore, upon a plea that an insurrec- 
tion existed in a neighboring count)% removed the powder stored in 
the public magazine at Williamsburg, and placed it on board of a 
ship by a small body of marines, on the 9th of April, 1775. This 
action of the Governor provoked a great deal of discontent, and, 
in answer to a request from the officials of the city of Williamsburg, 
he promised to restore the powder whenever wanted, but declined 
to do so at that time, for the reason that he had heard that the 
people were armed, and that he did not think it prudent to put. 
powder in their hands. 

This promise of the Governor did not satisfy the people, and, 
arming themselves, they began to assemble and march through, the 
streets of Williamsburg, whereupon, Governor Dunmore sent them 
a message in which he stated that if they interfered with any of 
the King's officers he would declare freedom to their slaves and 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 205 

lav Williamsburg in ashes. This information being communicated 
to the sm-i-oimding country and the news from Massachusetts hav- 
ing reached Virginia, the people flew to arms in all directions. 
Patrick Henry placed no confidence in the promise of the Governor 
and resolved upon making an effort to recover the powder. 

He organized a company in his own county, and, with this com- 
pany, began his march to Williamsburg. Patrick Henry was very 
popular with the people of the Colony and upon their hearing of his 
determination, fully five thousand men tendered him their services. 
The Governor was greatly alarmed by this occurrence and fled from 
the capitol and boarded a man-of-war. Apprehending the conse- 
(luences of this act of Patrick Henrv's, he directed the Eeceiver- 
General of the Colony to meet Mr. Henry and pay him in full for 
the powdei" that had been carried off, which he did. Thereupon, 
Henry and his followers dispersed to their homes. Two days after 
this occurrence, the Governor proclaimed Patrick Henry an out- 
law. Upon the ir)th day of July, 1775, the Committee of Safety 
for Fincastle county assembled at the Lead Mines, ^d adopted the 
following resolutions in approbation of the course pursued by Pat- 
lick Henry. S i ' I 

At a committee held for Fincastle County, July 15th, 1775, 
William Christian, chairman. The committee, taking into their 
consideratioB the clandestine removal of the gunpowder from the 
magazine o^this Colony by order of our Governor, are clearly and 
unanimously of opinion that his Lordship's conduct reflects much 
dishonor on himself, and he very justly deserves the censure so 
universally bestowed upon him. 

Eesolved, That the spirited and meritorious conduct O'f Pat- 
rick Henry, Esq., and the rest of the gentlemen volunteers at- 
tending him on the occasion of the removal of the gunpowder 
out of the magazine in Williamsburg, very justly merits the very 
hearty approbation of this committee, for which we return them 
our thanks, with an assurance that we will, at the risk of our own 
lives and fortunes, support and justify them with regard to the 
reprisal they made.* 

Eesolved, That the council of this Colony in advising and 
co-operating with Lord Dunmore in issuing the proclamation of 
the 3d of May last, charging the people of this Colony with an 

*Amer. Arch., Vol. II., pp. 16-20, 16-21. 

20() Soiilhircst Virginia, l'7Jt6-1786. 

ungovernahlc spirit and licentious 2:)ractices, is contrary to many 
known inattcM's of fact, and l)nt too jnstly shows to us that those 
who oiialit to be mediators and guardians of our liberties are 
become the abject tools of a detested administration. 

Eesolved, That it is the ojiinion of this committee that the 
late sanguinary attempt and pre])arations of the King's troops, in 
the C'olony of Narragansett Bay, are truly alarming and irritating, 
and loudly call upon all, even the most distant and interiour parts 
of the Colonies, to prepare and be ready for the extreme event, by 
a fixed resolution and a firm and manly resolve to avert ministerial 
cruelty, in defence of our reasonable rights and liberties. 

A perusal of these resolutions clearly show the spirit that ani- 
mated the people of Fincastle county. The third Continental Con- 
gress asseudjled at Philadeli)hia on the loth day of May, 1775, and 
elected the following oificers : 

l*residcnt, Peyton Randolph, Virginia; 

Secretary, -Charles Thompson, of Pennsylvania. 

Among the first measures proposed and adopted by this Con- 
gress was one looking to the placing of the Colonies in a defensive 
position and, on the 7th day of June, 1775, the Congress passed 
a resolution fixing the 30th day of July, 1775, as a day to be 
observed by the twelve Colonies in humiliation, fasting and prayer. 
About this time. General Gage, commander of the British forces 
at Boston, issued a proclamation in the King's name^ offering a 
jiardon to all of the people who would lay down their arms, except 
John Hancock and Samii^l Adams. 

At this time, Peyton Randolph, President of the Continental 
Congress, resigned his position as President of the Congress, and 
thereii]K)n John Hancock was elected president — this election 
being in answer to General Gage's proclamation. On the 15th of 
June, 1775, tlie Continental Congress, by a unanimous vote, elected 
as Commander-in-Chief of all the continental forces George 
Washington, of Virginia, and elected the following Major-Gen- 
erals: Artemus Ward. Philip Schuyler and Charles Lee, and Ho- 
ratio Gates, as Adjutant-General. 

On the 17th of June, 1775, the battle of Breed's Hill was 
fought, in which l)attle the British suffered a loss of eleven hundred 
men, of whdin two hundred and twenty-six were killed, eighty-nine 
of the niiiiiher ollicers. '^I'lie American loss was four hundred and 

Southwest Virginia, 17J,0-17S0. ^07 

fifty-three killed, wounded and missing. The Continental Con- 
gress, in this month, ordered twelve rifle companies to l)e raised 
in Virginia, ^laryland and Pennsylvania, and directed the issuing 
of two million dollars in continental currency, for the redemption 
of \\liich they pledged the ])roperty of the twelve Colonies. Gen- 
eral Washington, immediately upon the receipt of his commission, 
proceeded to Massachusetts, where he took charge of the continental 
troops, and, l)y the middle of August, the rifle companies ordered 
to he raised in Virginia, reached Camhridge, Massachusetts, in ' 
time to take part in the capture of Boston. 

While we have no documentary evidence of the fact, there can 
be no douht that a nuniher of the riflemen from Fincastle county 
accompanied the troops from Virginia. In the meantime, on the 
()th day of July, 1775, the Congress of the United Colonies adojited 
a memorial setting forth the causes that led to, and the necessity 
of, their taking up arms. 

On the 24th day of Jul}', 1775, the ("olonial Convention of Vir- 
ginia met at ^^'illiamsbu^g and appointed a Committee of Safety, 
and passed an act for the raising of two regiments to be placed 
under the command of Patrick Henry, who was made commander 
of all tlie forces raised and to l)e raised in defence of the Colony. 
The two regiments were speedily raised, and assembled at Wil- 

The Committee of Safety for Fincastle county, in answer to the 
resolutions of the Virginia Convention, immediately dispatched a 
company of choice riflemen from Fincastle county, under the com- 
mand of Captain William Campbell, this company being among the 
first to arrive at Williamsburg. 

On the 3d day of Septemljer of this year, a Britisli ship-of-war 
was driven ashore near Hampton, Virginia, during a storm, and, 
on the morning of the 4th, the people set fire to and destroyed it. 
The captain of the ship threatened to burn the town and actually 
tried to do so, but the Virginia Committee of Safety dispatched 
Colonel Woodford, with three companies of riflemen, to the assist- 
ance of the people of Hampton. Of the three companies thus dis- 
patched, one was the company of Fincastle troops under Captain 
William Campbell.* 

When the British captain began his attack upon the town he 

*Amer. Arch., Vol. — , p. 296. 

208 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

was so warmly received by Colonel Woodford and his men, that he 
took to flight after the loss of a number of men. Thus it will 
be seen that troops from Fincastle county took part in the first 
engagement of the Eevolutionai-y war, on Virginia soil, in which 
blood was slied. Upon the receipt of this information. Lord Dun- 
more issued a proclamation, proclaiming freedom to all the slaves 
who would join his standard. He thus gathered a considerable 
number of volunteers, of whom four hundred were slaves. Colonel 
Woodford and his company returned to Williamsburg. Lord Dun- 
more with his forces began a series of depredations upon the people 
living along the sea-coast, and the Virginia Committee of Safety 
again dispatched Colonel Woodford at the head of eight hundred 
men to drive him from his position at the Great Bridge. Colonel 
Woodford had not been long in the vicinity of the Great Bridge, 
when Lord Dunmore dispatched Captain Leslie, with the regular 
troops and slaves, to attack the troops under Colonel Woodford, 
and, as the result of this attempt, every man of the British 
troops was killed, wounded or captured ; whereupon. Governor Dun- 
more and his troops went aboard their ships, leaving Colonel Wood- 
ford and the Colonial troops in complete control of the position 
formerly occupied by the Governor. 

The Colonial troops that assembled at Williamsburg formed 
two battalions, and the first battalion, to which the troops from 
Fincastle were attached , was officered as followed : 

Colonel, Patrick Henry. 

Lieutenant-Colonel, William Christian, of Fincastle county. 

Major, Frank Eppes. 

Lord Dunmore, after his defeat at the Great Bridge, placed all 
his white followers on board the ships and left his negro allies 
to shift for themselves. After some time his provisions began to 
grow scarce, when he sent a request to the citizens of Norfolk for 
supplies, which request was denied, and on the 1st day of January, 
1776, he began to bombard the town of Norfolk, with four ships, 
and, under cover of the fire from these ships, a company of sailors 
landed and set fire to the town, which soon was a heap of ashes; 
an uncalled for act upon the part of the British forces. 

The British Parliament at its session in 1776, passed an act pro- 
hibiting all trade and intercourse with the thirteen American 
Colo'nies, and, about the same time, the King of England nego- 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 209 

tiated treaties witli some of tJie petty princes of Germany for the 
use of a number of Hessian troops in the campaign against the 
American Colonies. When information of this act of the British 
Parliament reached General Washington, he decided to drive 
the British from Boston and proceeded to do so on the 2d of March, 
and, on the 4th day of ]\Iarch, General Thomas, with a detachment 
of the American troops, took charge of Dorchester Heights over- 
looking Boston harlwr. In a few days thereafter. General Howe, 
with nine thousand British troops, evacuated Boston without a 
fight, and General Washington, at the head of the continental army, 
took possession on the 17th day of March, 177C. 

On the 6th day of May, 177C, the first constitutional conven- 
tion assembled in Virginia, at Williamsburg, pursuant to the direc- 
tions of the Committee of Safety, under an ordinance of the con- 
vention of 1775, which directed that, in view of the fact tliat the 
usual meeting of the General Assembly in a constitutional way had 
been altogether obstructed, it had become indispensably necessary 
for the oppressed people of this country, at a crisis so alarming, 
to adopt such other mode of consulting and providing for the gen- 
eral safety as may seem most conducive to that great end. The 
members of this convention were elected in the same manner in 
which the members of the House of Burgesses had been previously 
elected, and the representatives in this convention from Fincastle 
county, were : 

Arthur Campbell, 
W^illiam Russell, ^ 

both citizens of that part of Fincastle county afterwards included 
in the subseqiiently formed county of Washington. 

It is hard to understand, except upon the idea that the people 
living upon the waters of the Holston and Clinch exceeded in 
number the people living on the waters of the New river in Fin- 
castle county, how both members of this Convention should have 
been residents of the western part of Fincastle county. 

Some may say that this was done by consent, but such was not 
the fact, for the elections in those days were as hotly contested 
as any held in more recent times. It is worthy to be remembered, 
that in these early days every freeholder was required to vote under 
the penalty of two hundred pounds of tobacco for a failure, and 
every freeholder was required to attend and vote on the day 

210 South iccsrVinjinla, 17J,G-17S0. 

a])p()inted, at the Lead Mines, the county seat of Fincastle county. 

Tlie Virginia convention of 1776 was one of the most important 
comentions ever lield in tlie State, whether we consider the char- 
acter of the memhers, or the work done by them. The Virginia 
Colony at tliis time was in open revolt, and Lord Dunmore, the 
Governor, was an exile from the State. 

Tlic King by liis proclamation had declared the citizens of the 
(_!olony rebels and enemies, and now the })eo2jle by their representa- 
tives proceeded in an orderly manner to establish a government 
for themselves. 

The constitution and bill of rights adopted by this convention 
clearly defined the fundamental principles of all free government, 
and the Declaration of Independence, enunciated at this time, was, 
beyond (piestion, the forerunner of the Great Declaration of Inde- 
pendence adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1770. 
The Bill of Eights adopted by this convention, is as follows: 

"1st. Whereas, George the Tliird, King of Great Britain 
and Ireland and Elector of Hanover, heretofore intrusted with the 
exercise of the kingly office in this government, hath endeavored 
to pei-vert the same into a detestable and insupportable tyranny, 
by putting his negative on laws the most wholesome and necessary 
for the publick good ; 

By denying his governoui's permission to pass laws of imme- 
diate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation 
for his assent, and, when so suspended, neglecting to attend to 
them for many years; 

By refusing to pass certain other laws, unless the persons to be 
benefitted by them would relinf[uish the inestimable right of repre- 
sentation in the legislatures; 

By dissolving legislative assem.blies repeatedly and continually, 
for 0])))osing with manly firmness his invasions of the rights of 
the people; 

When dissolved, by refusing to call others for a long space of 
time, thereljy leaving the political system without any legislative 
head ; 

By endeavoring to prevent the population of our country, and, 
for that ])nT]-)ose, obstructing the laws for the naturalization of 
foreigners ; 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 211 

By keeping among us in times of peace, standing armies and 
ships of war; 

By affecting to render tlie military independent of, and superior 
to the civil power; 

By coml)ining with others to subject us to a foreign jurisdiction, 
giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation ; 

For quartei-ing large bodies of armed troops among us ; 

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world ; 

For imposing taxes on us without our consent; 

For depriving us of the benefits of trial by jury; 

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended of- 
fences ; 

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves 
invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever ; 

By plundering our seas, ravaging our coasts, burning our towm:., 
and destroying the lives of our people ; 

By inciting insurrections of our fellow-subjects, with the al- 
lurements of forfeiture and confiscation; 

By prompting our negroes to rise in arms among us, those very 
negroes, whom, by an inhuman use of his negative, he hath refused 
us permission to exclude by law ; 

By endeavoring to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers " the 
merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an un- 
distinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions of exist- 

By transporting, at this time, a large army of foreign mer- 
cenaries, to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny al- 
ready begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy unworthy 
the head of a civilized nation; 

By answering our repeated petitions for redress with a repeti- 
tion of injuries ; 

And, finally, by abandoning the helm of government, and de- 
claring us out of his allegiance and protection. 

By which several acts of misrule, the government of this coun- 
try, as formerly exercised under the Crown of Great Britain, is 

The result of this action by the Convention was the formation 

*9 Hen. Stat., page 112. 

212 Southwest Virginia, 17J,6-1786. 

of a stable and efficient government for the State, and the organi- 
zation of the militia of the commonwealth. 

This Constitution was proclaimed on the 29th day of June, 1776, 
on which day the Committee of Safety, designated by the con- 
vention of 1775, relinquished their authority, and Patrick Henry 
was -elected the first Governor of the Commonwealth. At the same 
time the Privy Council, Treasurer, Attorney General, and the 
other state officers were elected by the convention. This conven- 
tion, by a resolution, adopted a design for a seal for the new com- 
monwealth. The design adopted was as follows : 

"To be engraved on the Great Seal, Virtus, the genius of the 
Commonwealth, dressed like an Amazon, resting on a spear with 
one hand and holding a sword with the other hand and treading 
on Tyranny, represented by a man prostrate, a crown fallen from 
his head, a broken chain in his left hand and a scourge in his 
right. In the exergon the word "Virginia" over the head of Vir- 
tus, and underneath the words, ^'^Sic semper tyrannis." On the 
reverse a groupe, Libertas, with her wand and pileus. On the other 
side of her Ceres, with the cornucopia in one hand and an ear of 
wheat in the other. On the other side Eternitas, with globe and 
phoenix. In the exergon tliese words : Deus IsTobis Hasc Otia Fecit." 

This declaration of the Virginia convention is said to have been 
the first declaration of independence recorded in the world's his- 
tory. The American people, until this time, had not seriously con- 
templated a complete separation from England, but now that the 
British Parliament had refused to listen to their petition and was 
waging an active war against them, Eichard Henry Lee, a repre- 
sentative from Virginia in the Continental Congress at Phila- 
delphia, in the month of May, gave notice that on a day named 
he would move the Congress to adopt a Declaration of Independ- 

Early in this same month the Continental Congress had adopted 
a resolution for the purpose of ascertaining the sentiment of the 
American colonies on the subject of the independence of America. 
The motion of Mr. Lee was postponed from day to day, until the 
first day of July, two days after the adoption of the Virginia Con- 
stitution and Bill of Eights, when the Continental Congress re- 
solved itself into a committee of the whole, and began the con- 
sideration of the report of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benja- 

Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 213 

inin Franklin, Eoger Sherman, and E. E. Livingston, the com- 
mittee who had been appointed on the 11th of Jime to prepare 
a Declaration of Independence. 

It is worthy of note that this committee, when appointed, 
agreed that each member should draw up a Declaration of Inde- 
pendence according to his own ideas, with the understanding that 
the one that best conformed to the wishes of the committee as a 
whole should be adopted as the report of the committee. It is 
stated that Mr. Jefferson's Declaration, being the first read, was 
imanimously adopted by the committee without debate, the other 
members refusing to submit their papers for consideration. 

The Continental Congress, after three days of heated discussion, 
adopted the report of the committee, which report has since been 
known as the Declaration of Independence, and is as follows : 

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for 
one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected 
them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth 
the separate and ecpial station to which the laws of nature and 
nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of man- 
kind requires that they should declare the causes which impel 
them to such separation. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident ; that all men are created 
equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain un- 
alienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pur- 
suit of happiness ; that to secure these rights, governments are 
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from tlic consent 
of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes 
destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or 
abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its founda- 
tion on such principles and organizing its power in such form as 
to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. 
Prudence, indeed, would dictate that governments long established 
should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accord- 
ingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed 
to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by 
abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed; but when a 
long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same 
object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism. 

214 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government, and 
to provide now guards for their future security. 

Such has been tlie patient sufferance of these colonies, and such 
is now the necessity wliich constrains tliem to alter their former 
systems of government. The history of the present King of Great 
Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all hav- 
ing in direct object the establishment cf an absolute tyranny over 
these States. To prove this let facts be submitted to a candid 

He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and neces- 
sary for the public good. 

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and 
pressing importance, unless suspended in their operations till his 
assent should be obtained ; and when so suspended he has utterly 
neglected to attend to them. 

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of 
large districts of people, imless those people would relinquish the 
rights of representation in the legislature — a right inestimable to 
them and formidable to tyrants only. 

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, un- 
comfortable and distant from the depository of their public 
records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance 
with his measures. 

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly for opposing, 
with manly firmness, his invasion of the rights of the people. 

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to - 
cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapa- 
ble of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their 
exercise, the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the 
dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within. 

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; 
for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foTcign- 
ers, refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, 
and raising the conditions of new aj^propriations of lands. 

He has obstructed the administration of justice by refusing his 
assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. 

He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure 
of their offices and the amount and payment of their salaries. 

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither 

Southwest Virginia, 17J^6-1786. 215 

swarms of officers, to harrass our people and eat out their sub- 

He has kept among ns in times of peace standing armies with- 
out the consent of our legislatures. 

He has affected to render the military independent of and su- 
perior to the civil power. 

He has combined with otliers to subject us to a jurisdiction 
foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, 
giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation. 

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us, 

For protecting them by a mock trial, from punishment, for any 
murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these 

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world. 

For imposing taxes on us without our consent, 

For depriving us in many cases of the benefit of trial by jury, 

FoT transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended 

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring 
Province, establisliing therein an arbitrary government and enlarg- 
ing its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit 
instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these 

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws 
and altering fundamentally the powers of our gO'Vernments. 

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves 
invested with power to legislature for us in all cases whatsoever. 

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his 
protection and waging war against us. 

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, 
and destroyed the lives of our people. 

He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mer- 
cenaries, to complete the work of death, desolation and tyranny, 
already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely 
paralleled in the most barbarous ages and totally unworthy the 
head of a civilized nation. 

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the 
high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the execu- 

216 Southwest Virginia, 17J,6-1786. 

tioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their 

He has excited domestick insurrections amongst us, and has 
endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merci- 
less Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistin- 
guished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. 

In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress 
in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been 
answered only by repeated injur3^ A Prince whose character is 
thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be 
the ruler of a free people. 

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. 
We have warned them from time to time, of attempts, made by their 
Legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us; we 
have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and 
settlement here; we have appealed to their native justice and mag- 
nanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common 
kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably 
interrupt our connections and correspondence. They, too, have 
been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must there- 
fore acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, 
and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, 
in peace friends. 

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of 
America in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme 
Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the 
name and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, 
solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and 
of right ought to be, free and independent States; that they 
are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown.; and that 
all political connections between them and the State of Great 
Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved ; and that, as free and 
independent States, they have full power to le\7 war, conclude 
peace, contract alliances, establish commerce and to do all other acts 
and things which independent States may of right do. And for 
the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protec- 
tion of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our 
lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. 

It has been said that this Declaration of Independence was the 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 217 

most sublime exhibition that man has ever made to man. The 
members composing the Congress were, in their intelligence and 
patriotism, the giants of our race, and the object of that Congress 
was the protection of our race. 

This Declaration of Independence was proclaimed at Philadel- 
phia on the 8th day of July, 1776, and on the 9th it was read 
to each brigade of the Continental army. This declaration was 
received by the people at all points with the greatest enthusiasm. 

A part of the policy adopted by the British Ministry for the 
reduction of the American Colonies was the enlisting of the 
Indians in the service of the British Government. We have now 
reached that point where the history of Southwest Virginia is 
closely connected with the operations of the Indians in behalf of 
the British Government. Numerous agents of the Eoyal Govern- 
ment were sent to the different Indian tribes living along the 
waters of the western frontiers, and they were so fai successful in 
their efforts to incite the Indian tribes to war, that, by the spring 
of 1776, the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws were 
induced to take up arms in behalf of their British allies. The 
Cherokee Indians, who were the nearest and most accessible tribe 
to the white settlers, were more numerous than most of the other 
Indian tribes, and they were the first to take up arms at the instance 
of the British agents. 

If the British government had any friends among the back- 
woodsmen of Fincastle county, this action was of such a character 
as to alienate the affection and respect of every respectable man. 
In speaking of the success of the British agents in this matter, 
a distinguished author has said : "Their success and the constant 
ravages of the Indians maddened the American frontiersmen upon 
whom the blow fell, and changed their resentment against the 
British king into a deadly and lasting hatred, which their sons and 
grandsons inherited. 

Indian warfare was of such peculiar atrocity that the employ- 
ment of Indians as allies forbade any further hope of reconciliation. 
They saw their homes destroyed, their wives outraged, their chil- 
dren captured, their friends butchered and tortured wholesale by 
Indians armed with British weapons, bribed by British gold and 
obeying the orders of British agents and commanders."* 

?Winning of the West, Part II., p. 76. 

318 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

About this time Colonel Arthur Campbell, of Fincastle county, 
in writing of this action of the British Government, in arming the 
Indian tribes, expressed himself as follows : "This infernal malig- 
nity of a professed Christian prince was reserved to be exhibited to 
the world in the reign of George III." 

Alexander Cameron, the British agent among the Cherokee 
Indians, lost dlo time in calling together the chiefs and warriors of 
this tribe of Indians, to inform them of the wishes of his govern- 
ment. When Cameron disclosed to the Indians his plans, they 
were greatly astonished, and would not, for some time, believe the 
statement of Cameron, that one part of the white people wished to 
wage war against their brothers, for a civil war was unknown 
between Indians speaking the same language, but he finally suc- 
ceeded in enlisting the Indians by promising them presents in 
clothing and by telling them that they could plunder and rob the 
settlers, and by inducing them to believe that all the lands on the 
western waters would be reserved to them by the British govern- 
ment as their hunting grounds. This tribe of Indians had been 
acting for some time in a manner that clearly indicated that they 
were determined upon hostilities. 

In the spring of 1775, Andrew Greer, had gone to the Cherokee 
towns to purchase furs. While there, he had observed the conduct 
of two white traders, and was convinced that they intended to do 
him some injury, If possible. When he started from the Indian 
towns for his home, he left the main trading path and came up the 
Nolichucky trace and escaped injury, but, at the same time,. two 
men by the name of Boyd and Doggett, who had been sent to the 
Indian towns by the Virginia authorities, were met on the trace 
that Greer had left, at Boyd's creek, by Indians, and were killed 
by them and their bodies hidden. The Virginia settlement had 
long been at peace with the Indians, but they were sufficiently 
acquainted with their character to know, that, having once tasted 
blood, their disposition was to indulge to excess, and now they knew 
they must prepare for a long and bloody war with a tribe of Indians 
that exceeded them in numbers. T"hey at once proceeded to put 
their frontier settlements in a defensive attitude. A fort was built 
at Watauga, to which Avas given the name of Fort Lee, the old fort* 
at Long Island was repaired and called Fort Patrick Henry. 

*Fort Robinson. 

Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 219 

Another fort was erected about seven miles east from Long Island, 
at Amos Eaton's, on the trace leading to Fort Chiswell. A fort was 
erected shortly before this time at Eye Cove, about fifty miles from 
the North Fork of Clinch, by a man by the name of Isaac Crismen, 
who was, afterwards, with two members of his family, murdered by 
the Indians. 

Information of the invasion intended by the Indians was for- 
warded to the Committee of Safety of Fincastle county by Isaac 
Thomas, an Indian trader, at the instance of Nancy Ward, a noted 
Indian woman and a relative of several of the principal chiefs. 
The frontier settlement, at this day, was in Carter's Valley, the 
settlers obtaining their supplies from the settlement at Wolf Hill 
..-.^^(now Abingdon). 

The action of the Virginia Committee of Safety, requiring a 
test oath of all the citizens of the Commonwealth, had driven many 
sympathizers of the British Government to this settlement in Car- 
ter's Valley, where they hoped to escape the consequences of their 
refusal to subscribe to the oath, but information of their presence 
was obtained by John Carter, a Virginian, who communicated the 
information he had obtained to the settlers near Wolf Hill. These 
settlers were great Whigs, and, upon receiving this information, a 
number of them assembled and went to Brown's settlement in Car- 
ter's Valley, and after having assembled the people, John Coulter, 
a member of the county court of this county, administered to them 
an oath to be faithful to the common cause. Early in May, the 
settlers in Carter's Valley and all the families below the North 
Fork of the Holston, in view of the threatened Indian invasion, 
left their homes and returned to the settlements. To add to the 
alarm of the frontier settlers, a letter was delivered at the house 
of Charles Eobertson, on the 18th day of May, 1776, under circum- 
stances that were exceedingly suspicious; which letter accompanied 

by the affidavit of Nathan Eeed, was as f oIIom^s : "Wattaga 

This day, Nathan Eeed came before me, one of the justices of Wat- 
taga, and made oath on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, 
that a stranger came up to Charles Eobertson's gate yesterday even- 
ing — who he was he did not know — and delivered a letter of which 
this is a true copy. Sworn before me the 19th of May, 1776. 
Attest, James Smith. John Carter." 

"Gentlemen: — Some time ago, Mr. Cameron and myself wrote 

220 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

you a letter by Mr. Thomas, and enclosed a talk we had with the 
Indians resjwcting the purchase which is reported you lately m-J.dc- 
of them on the rivers Wattaga, Nolichucky. We are since informed 
that you are under great apprenhension of the Indians doing mis- 
cirief immediately. But it is not the desire of his Majesty to =iet 
bis friends and allies, the Indians, on his liege subjects: therefore 
whoever you are, that are willing to join his Majesty's forces as 
soon as they arrive at the Cherokee nation, by repairing to the 
King's standard, shall find protection for themselves and their 
families and be free from all danger whatever; yet, that his 
Majesty's oflficers may be certain which of you are willing to take 
up arms in his Majesty's just right, I have thought fit to recom- 
mend it to you and every one that is desirous of preventing in- 
evitable ruin to themselves and families, immediately to subscribe 
a written paper acknowledging their allegiance to his Majesty 
King George, and that they are ready and willing, whenever called 
on, to appear in arms in defence of the British right in America ; 
which paper, as soon as it is signed and sent to me safe by hand, 
should any of the inhabitants be desirous of knowing how they are 
to be free from every kind of insult and danger, inform them that 
his Majesty will immediately land an army in West Florida, march 
them through the Creek to the Chickasaw nation, where five hun- 
dred warriors from each nation are to join them, and then come 
by Chota, who have promised their assistance, and then to take pos- 
session of the frontiers of North Carolina and Virginia, at the 
same time that his Majesty's forces make a diversion on the sea 
coast of those Provinces. If any of the inhabitants have any beef, 
cattle, flour, pork or horses to spare, they shall have a good price 
for them by applying to us, as soon as his Majesty's troops are em- 
bodied. I am yours, &c., 

"Henry Stuart.'" 

Henry Stuart was the Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs 
for the British Government, and in this capacity he wrote this let- 
ter. This letter did not accomplish its purpose, and only had the 
effect of exciting the settlers to more vigorous efforts to resist the 
plans of the agents of the British crown. On the 8th of June Jar- 
rett Williams, an Indian trader, returned to the Virginia settle- 
ment from the Cherokee towns and gave further information as to 
the intention of the Indians, which information was embodied in 

Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 221 


an affidavit given before Anthony Bledsoe, a justice of the peace of 
Fincastle county. The affidavit was as follows : 

"Fincastle, ss. — The deposition of Jarret Williams taken before 
me, Anthony Bledsoe, a justice of the peace for the county afore- 
said, being first sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, 
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 mocka- 
sons. They were also beating flour for a march, and making other 
warlike preparations. Their number, from' calculation made by 
the Eaven Warrior, amoimts to about six hundred warriors; and, 
according to the deponent's idea, he thinks we may expect a gen- 
eral attack any hour. They propose to take away negroes and 
horses, and to kill all kinds of sheep, cattle, &c. ; also to de- 
stroy 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 Guist, William Paulin, 
Isaac Williams and the deponent with the Indians, till they 
came near to jSTolichucky, 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 sig- 
nal 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 6tli 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 says he heard the prisoner examined by 
Cameron, thought he gave a very imperfect account, being very 
much cast down. He further says that the Cherokees had received 
the war-belt from the Shawnese, Mingo, Taawah and Delaware 
nations, to strike the white people. That fifteen of the said na- 
tions were in the Cherokee towns, and that few of the Cherokees 

222 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

? • 
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 had carried 
away with them. The said Shawnese and Mingoes informed the 
Cherokees that they were then 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 peo- 
ple 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. Jarrett Williams/'' 

Signed before Anthony Bledsoe. 

The settlers on the waters of tlie Holston and Clinch were greatly 
aroused by the information received, and the militia was or- 
ganized and armed for the purpose of resisting the contemplated 
expedition planned by Cameron, the British agent. The reader 
must remember that all the settlements as low down as Carter's 
Valley, and including the settlement at Watauga, were governed 
by Virginia laws at this time, and expected and received protec- 
tion from the authorities of Fincastle county in Virginia. 

Upon the receipt of this information the Watauga committee 
sent an express to Colonel William Preston, the county lieutenant 
of Fincastle county, detailing to him their situation and requesting 
the assistance of the authorities and supplies of lead and powder. 
Colonel Preston replied to this letter on June 3d as follows : 

"Gentlemen, — Your letter of the 30th ult. with the deposition of 
Mr. Bryan, came to hand this evening by your messenger. The 
news is really alarming, with regard to the disposition of the In- 
dians, who are doubtless advised to break with the white people, 
by the enemies to American liberty who reside among them. But 
T cannot conceive that you have anything to fear from the pre- 
tended invasion by British troops, by the route they mention. 
This must, in my opinion, be a scheme purposely calculated to in- 
timidate the inhabitants, either to abandon their plantations or 
turn enemies to their country, neither of which I hope it will be 
able to effect. 

"Our Convention, on the 14th of May, ordered 500 poimds of gun- 
powder to each of the counties of Fincastle, Botetourt, Augusta, and 

Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 223 

West Augusta, , and double that quantity of 

lead They likewise ordered 100 men to be forthwith 

raised in Fincastle, to be stationed where our committee directs for 

the protection of the frontier I sent the several letters 

and depositions you furnished me, from which it is reasonable to 
belie\e that when all these shall have been examined vigorous meas- 
ures will be adopted for our protection. 

"I have already advertised our committee to meet at Fort Chis- 
well on Tuesday the 11th instant, and have directed the candidates 
for commissions in the new companies to exert themselves in engag- 
ing the number of men required until then. I much expect we shall 
have further news from Williamsburg by the time the committee 
meets. I have written toi Colonel Calloway the second time for 200 
pounds of lead, which I hope he will deliver the bearer. This re- 
ply will, I hope, be some relief to j'our distressed settlement, and, as 
I said before, should more be wantecf I am convinced you may be 
supplied. I am fully convinced that the expense will be repaid 
you by the Convention of Virginia or North Carolina on a fair rep- 
resentation of the case being laid before them, whichsoever of them 
takes your settlement under protection, as there is not the least 
reason that any one part of the colony should be at any extraor- 
dinary expense in the defence of the whole, and you may be as- 
sured you cannot be overstocked with that necessary article, for 
should it please Providence that the impending storm should blow 
over, and there would be no occasion to use the ammunition in the 
general defense, then it might be sold out to individuals, and the 
expense of the whole be reimbursed to those who so generously con- 
tributed towards the purchase. 

"I am, with the most sincere wishes for the safety of your settle- 
ment, your most obedient and very humble servant, 

"Wm. Pkeston." 

The information brought by Thomas to the settlement was to the 
effect that seven hundred warriors were to attack the white settle- 
ments in two divisions of three hundred and fifty each, led by 
Dragging Canoe and Oconostota. The one commanded by Ocono- 
stota was to attack the Watauga settlements, while the other, com- 
manded by Dragging Canoe, was to attack and break up the settle- 
ments between the North and South fork of the Holston river. 

224 Southivest Virginia, 17Jt6-1786. 

Battle of Long Island Flats. 

Upon the receipt of this news a few of the militia hastily as- 
sembled and proceeded to Amos Eaton's, the frontier hoiise, about 
fifteen miles in advance of tlie settlement, and began to build a 
kind of stockade fort with fence-rails, and after some time a 
breast-work was completed suflicient to repel a considerable number. 
Thereupon expresses were sent to 'J'hompson's Fort, now on the 
Ihiff farm, in the upper end of this county; to Edmiston's Fort, 
now near Lodi, Virginia; to Cocke's Fort, on Spring Creek; to 
Shelby's Fort, on Holston river, and to the settlements"**near Wolf 
Hills, and on the following morning about one hundred and seventy 
men reported at Eaton's Fort under the command of : 

James Thompson, James Shelby, 

\ William Buchanan, John Campbell, 

William Cocke, Thomas Madison. 

On the 19th day of July, 17 76, the scouts returned to Eaton's 
Fort and reported that a great number of Indians were making 
into the settlements. 

Upon the receipt of tliis information it was debated as to the 
prudent course to pursue, to await the coming of the Indians in 
the fort or to march out and meet them in the woods and fight them 
wherever they could be found. Capt. William Cocke argued that 
the Indians would not attack them in the fort, but would pass 
by and assail the settlements, killing and butchering and carrying 
off the property, and proposed to march out and meet the enemy. 
The proposition made by Captain Cocke prevailed, and the entire 
company, consisting of one hundred and seventy men, marched 
from the fort in tlie direction of Long Island, which was about 
seven miles distant. This company marched in two divisions, with 
flankers on each side and scouts before, and had proceeded not more 
than five miles when they discovered about twenty Indians meet- 
ing them, upon whom they fired. The Indians returned the fire, 
whcT-eupon the white men rushed upon them and put them to flight. 
Ten bundles and a good deal of plunder were captured by the white 
men, and it was thought that some of the Indians were wounded. 
The ground where this skirmish took place was not very advantage- 
ous for a pursuit, and the men -were with great difficulty restrained 
from pursuing the Indians. A council was held, and it was decided 

Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 225 

to return, as the officers had good reason to believe that a large 
part}^ of Indians were not a great way off. They accordingly re- 
turned, and had not marched more than a mile when they heard a 
noise like distant thunder, and looking around they saw the whole 
Indian force running upon them at full speed, whereupon they 
made a hasty retreat to an eminence, where they rallied, and Cap- 
tain Thompson, the officer in command, ordered that the right line 
form for battle to the right and the left line to the left, and to face 
. the enemy. 

In attempting to obey the orders of Captain Thompson, the head 
of the right line bore too much along the road leading in the direc- 
tion of the station, and Lieutenant Eobert Davis, perceiving that 
the Indians were trying to outflank them, took a part of the line 
and formed them as quickly as possible on the right, across the flat 
to the ridge, preventing the Indians from accomplishing their pur- 
]jose. The officers and many of the men exhibited in this battle a 
heroism almost unexampled, ^^'hen the Indians began their attack, 
it was with great fury, those in front halloing, "The Unacas are run- 
ning. Come on and scalp them." The Indian attack was made 
upon the centre and the left flank of the whites at the same time, 
and as a result the troops were thrown into great confusion, and it 
was found almost impossible to form the troops in the face of the 
Indian attacks. Whereupon Capt. James Shelby, stepping to the 
front, ordered the several companies to go to the rear and reform 
their ranks, while he, accompanied by Lieut. Wm. Moore, Robert 
Edmiston, John Morrison and John Findlay, kept the Indians at 

Gilmore, in his ''.Rear Guard of the Revolution," makes the state-, 
ment that Edmiston, in a hand-to-hand fight, slew three or four 
Indians, Morrison as many more, and that Moore became engaged 
in a desperate struggle with a herculean Indian chieftain, and, as 
if by general consent, the Indians paused to await its issue. This 
delay, no doubt, saved much loss of life among the one hundred and 
seventy. It lasted for some minutes, but ended by Moore sinking 
his tomahawk into the brain of the Indian. The whites, in the 
meantime, had formed their line of battle about a quarter of a mile 
long and began to pour a destructive fire into the Cherokees from 
cover whenever possible. The Indians, having witnessed the end 
of the conflict between Moore and their chieftain, made a rapid 

22G Southwest Virginia, 17J^6-1786. 

advance upon Shelby and his companions, who, about this time, 
began to fall back to their line. Whereupon the Indians made a 
furious asssault upon Robert Edmiston, wlio held a position in the 
centre of the line, during which assault it was afterwards charged 
that Edmiston used profane language, upon which charge he was 
tried by the Ebbing Spring Presb3i;erian congregation. The en- 
gagement lasted from one-half to three-quarters of an hour, when 
the Indians disappeared as if by magic, leaving the wliite men 
masters of the situation. Thirteen dead Indians were found on the 
ground, and many more might have been found if search had been 
made for them, for many trails of blood were seen where the dead 
had been carried off or the wounded escaped. It is wonderful to 
record the fact that no white man was killed in this battle and only 
four slightly wounded. The names of the white men wounded in 
this battle are, so far as I can ascertain, Joshua Jones and John 

We here give a report of this engagement made by the captains in 
command to Col. William Preston, the county lieutenant of Fin- 
castle county: 

"On the 19th our scouts returned and informed us that they had 
discovered where a great number of Indians were making into the 
settlements, upon which alarm the few men stationed at Eaton's 
completed a breast-work sufficiently strong, with the assistance of 
what men were there, to have repelled a considerable number ; sent 
expresses to the different stations and collected all the forces in 
one body, and the moTning after about one hundred aaid seventy 
turned out in search of the enemy. We marched in two divisions, 
with flankers on each side and scouts before. Our scouts discov- 
ered upwards of twenty meeting us, and fired on them. They re- 
turned the fire, but our men rushed on them with such violence that 
they were obliged to make a precipitate retreat. We took ten bundles 
and a good deal of plunder, and had great reason to think some of 
them were wounded. This small skirmish happened on ground 
very disadvantageous for our men to pursue, though it was with 
the greatest difficulty our officers could restrain their men. A coun- 
cil was held, and it was thought advisable to return, as we imagined 
there was a large party not far off. We accordingly returned, and 
had not marched more than a mile when a number, not inferior to 
ours, attacked us in the rear. Our men sustained the attack with 

Southwest Virginia, 17 46-17 S6. 337 

great bravery and intrepidity, immediately forming a line. The 
Indians endeavored to surround us, but were prevented by the un- 
common fortitude and vigilance of Capt. James Shelby, who took 
possession of an eminence that prevented their design. Our line of 
battle extended about a quarter of a mile. We killed about thir- 
teen on the spot, whom we found, and we have the greatest reason 
to believe that we could have found a great many more had we had 
time to search for them. There were streams of blood every way, 
and it was generally thought tJiere was never so much execution 
done in so short a time on the frontiers. Never did troops fight with 
greater calmness than ours did. The Indians attacked us with the 
greatest fury imaginable, and made the most vigorous efforts to sur- 
round us. Our spies really deserve the greatest applause. We took 
a great deal of plunder and many guns, and had only four men 
greatly wounded. The rest of the troops are in high spirits and 
eager for another engagement. We have the greatest reason to be- 
lieve they are pouring in great numbers on us, and beg the assistance 
of our friends. 

. "James Thompson, "John Campbell, 

"James Shelby, "William Cocke, 

"William Buchanan, "Thomas Madison." 

Several incidents are related as having taken place before and 
during this battle that we here give as they have l)een preserved, 
without vouching for the truth thereof. Benjamin Sharp, in a 
letter published in the American Pioneer, gives an incident as oc- 
curring during the battle. He says : "An Alexander Moore, a strong, 
athletic, active man, by some means, got into close contact with an 
Indian of nearly his own size and strength. My brother-in-law, Wil- 
liam King, seeing Moore's situation, ran up to his relief, but the 
Indian adroitly kept Moore in such a position that King could not 
shoot him without hurting Moore. The Indian had a large knife 
suspended at his belt, for the possession of which they both struggled, 
Ijut at length Moore succeeded and plunged it into the Indian's 
l)owels. He then broke his hold and sprang off of Moore, and King 
shot him through the head." 

Several historians make the statement that William Cocke, one 
of the captains upon this expedition, was charged with cowardice 
by a number of the militia immediately after a coimcil of the 

238 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

officers, had decided to return to Fort Eaton instead of pursuing the 
twenty Indians first discovered, and that Captain Cocke, soon after 
the return march had begun for Eaton's Fort, halted the line and 
delivered a speech in defence of his reputation. We cannot imagine 
the reason why the charge should have been made, but from an ex- 
amination of the records of the Virginia Privy Council it appears 
that on December 9, 1776, the following order was entered: 

"It appearing from the deposition of Thomas Madison, Esq., 
tliat there are grounds to suspect Capt. William Cocke of cowardice 
in a late action with the Indians, it is therefore ordered that the 
said Captain Cocke be forthwith suspended; that the Governor be 
requested to write to the county lieutenant of Fincastle directing 
]iim to hold a court of inquiry touching the conduct of said Captain 
Cocke, and to transmit to this board a copy of the same." 

I cannot ascertain what disposition was made of this charge 
against Captain Cocke, but I am compelled to believe that he was 
acquitted, for he was afterwards elected to the General Assembly of 

-^A'irginia from Washington county, and in a few years thereafter 
became one of the first United States senators from the State of 

The result of this victory was not only the destruction of a num- 
ber of the Indian warriors and the wounding of tlieir savage chief, 
Dragging Canoe, but it inspired the settlers with confidence in them- 
selves and a contempt of danger from the Indians. It is said that 
ever afterwards the inquiry among the white settlers when in search 
of the Indians was not "how many of them are there," but "where 
are they to be found ?" On the same day that the battle was fought 
at the Long Island Flats another body of Indians attacked Fort 
Lee at Watauga, in which fort were Capt. James Eobertson and 
forty others. But the Indians were repulsed with some loss by the 
fire from the fort, but for three weeks skulked around the fort, 
during which time a man and a boy, who had ventured to leave the 
fort, were assailed by the Indians and captured, and the man scalped 
on the spot. The boy, who was a brother of Lieut. Wm. Moore, 
was reserved for a worse fate, he being afterwards burned at the 
stake by the Indians. Mrs. Wm. Bean, who lived on Boone's creek, 
was captured by the Indians, but was subsequently released through 
the influence of Nancy Ward. 

^ Colonel Eussell, who was located at Fort Patrick Henry, was 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 229 

ordered to go, with five companies of militia, to the relief of Fort 
Lee, but he was so slow that Col. Evan Shelby raised a company of 
about one hundred men in the vicinity of Wolf Hills and proceeded 
to Watauga, where he found the inhabitants in their fort and the 
Indians gone. 

After the battle at Long Island Flats the Virginia militia re- 
turned to the fort and the men dispersed to their several homes to 
take care of their families and property. In the meantime all the 
frontier settlements were breaking up and the settlers fleeing from 
every quarter. The main road or trace was crowded with people 
moving with the greatest haste to escape the invading Indians. At 
the farm of Capt. Joseph Black, where Abingdon now stands, be- 
tween four and five hundred people collected together to build a 

The erection of Black^s Fort was begun on the 30th day of July, 
1776, the same day that the battle of Long Island Flats was fought, 
and the news of the victory of the settlers in that battle was received 
the next day.. Upon the receipt of this news all business was sus- 
pended, while the Eev. Charles Cummings offered up a prayer 
of thanksgiving, in which all the people heartily joined. The defeat 
of the Indians, at the Long Island did not end the trouble of the 
settlers on the Holston. About the time that the battle was fought 
a party of Indians came up the Clinch river burning all the prop- 
erty and killing and scalping all the settlers that they could find. 
Dividing themselves into small bodies, they invaded the settlements 
from the lower end of what is now the present county of Sullivan, 
in Tennessee, to the Seven Mile Ford, in Virginia. About the 24th 
of July, 1776, Capt. James Montgomery, who had settled on the 
south fork of Holston river, about eight miles from Black's Fort, 
came to the fort, he and two other families having decided to defend 
their own homes. He came in quest of intelligence, and was 
earnestly besought by the people of the fort to bring in the families, 
to which he agreed, and men and horses were sent to assist him. 
This company soon returned toi the fort with the families and some 
of their property, and went back to bring in the rest of the prop- 
erty when, to their surprise, they found the houses plundered and in 
flames. The company thereupon hastily retreated to the fort, and 
spies were sent out to locate the Indians if possible, but no dis- 
coveries were made for some days, when at length the spies came in 

330 Southiuest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

one night and reported that they had discovered a fire on the bank 
of the river above Montgomery's which they supposed to be the 
Indian camp.* 

Upon receipt of this informaiion an express was sent to Bryan's 
Fort requesting their men to meet the men from Black's Fort at a 
certain place that night. The two companies met according to 
agreement, and the spies conducted them to the spot where they 
had seen the fire, when the Indians were surrounded from the river 
below to the river above them, with strict injunctions to ,the men to 
preserve a profound silence till the report of the captain's gun 
should give the signal for a general discharge; and in this position 
they waited for daylight. At the dawn of day, when tlie Indians 
arose and began to stir about the camp, the crack of the captain's 
rifle was followed by a well-directed fire from every quarter. The 
Indians fled across the river, exposed all the way to the fire of the 
whites. Eleven Indians lay dead at and around the camp, and the 
number that fell and sank in the river is not known. The men 
crossed the river and found numerous trails of blood, one of which 
they followed to where an Indian had crept into a hollow log, wliom 
they drew out by his feet, and, according to his request, shot him in 
the head. As a result of this slaughter of Indians the settlers at 
Black's Fort were greatly rejoiced, and the eleven Indian scalps 
were attached to a long pole and fixed as a trophy over the fort 
gates, f Several days thereafter tliree companies prepared to go out 
from the fort to visit their plantations and on other missions. The 
first company to leave the fort was composed of John Sharp, his t\vr, 
sons, and two sons-in-law. They went early and were tmmolested. 
The second company to leave the fort on that day was composed oP 
Arthur Blackburn, William Casey and his sister Nancy, who was 
about sixteen years of age, Eobert Harold and several others, and 
about the same time a third company left the fort to' visit the hoii.-e 
of Rev. Charles Cummings to bring his books and some of his prop- 
erty into the fort. Both of these parties were attacked by the 
Indians at the same time within hearing of the fort, where an inde- 
scribable scene of disorder took place, the women and children 
screaming, wives clinging to their husbands, mothers to their sons 

*This oamp was on the Mahaffey farm. 

fBenj. Sharp letter, published in American Pioneer. He was an occupant 
of the fort at the time. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 231 

and sisters to their brothers, to prevent them from going ont of the 

However, a number of them left the fort and ran to the rescue 
of the companies as fast as possible, but before they arrived upon 
the scene the Indians had done their work and gone. Of the second 
company to leave the fort Arthur Blackburn was shot, tomahawked, 
and scalped, but was found alive, broaight in, and recovered from 
his wounds. Along with this same company was William Casey 
and his sister Nancy, a beautiful little girl about sixteen years of 
age. As Casey was running for his life to the fort he discovered 
the Indians in hot pursuit of his sister, and seeing Eobert Harold, 
another young man, close by, he called to him to come and help him 
save Nancy. Harold obeyed, and, although there were from four 
to seven Indians in pursuit, these young men rushed between them 
and the girl, and by dexterously managing to fire alternately, still 
keeping one gun loaded when tlie other was discharged, they kept 
the Indians at bay till they gave up the pursuit and the girl was 
brought in safe. The author of this account says, "Such acts of gen- 
erous bravery ought at all times be held as examples to our youth." 

The third company was composed of the Rev. Charles Cum- 
mings, his servant Job, William Creswell, the driver, James Piper 
and one other; and when they had reached a point called Piper's 
Hill, they were attacked by a band of Indians, and at the first fire 
William Creswell, who had taken part in the battle of Long Island 
Flats, was killed and two of the other men were wounded, James 
Piper having his finger shot off, but the Rev. Charles Cummings, 
with the remaining man, and his servant Job, held the Indians 
at bay until he obtained help from Black's Fort, when he brought 
off the wounded men in safety. William Creswell was buried near 
the Presbyterian church, now Sinking Spring Cemetery, where his 
grave may be seen at this day marked by a rude tombstone. An 
exact reproduction of the inscription thereon is here given : 

William Creswell 

entered this place 

July, 1776. 

It has been stated that this is the oldest known grave in this sec- 
tion, but such is not the fact. Poston's graveyard is situated on a 
high knob in close proximity to the falls of the north fork of Holston 

232 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

river, in this county, and in the graveyard is found a grave marked 
by a iimestone rock upon which is inscribed, "Mary Boyd, died Feby. 
17, 1773, aged 3 years. Alexander Boyd's child." Tradition says 
that this death occurred by the capsizing of Boyd's boat in passing 
over the falls, Boyd at the time emigrating to the extreme frontiers. 

From the period that Mr. Cummings commenced preaching in 
the Holston settlements up to the time of this attack the men never 
went to church without being armed and taking their families with 
them. On Sabbath morning during most of this period it was the 
custom of Mr. Cummings to dress himself neatly, put on his shot 
pouch, shoulder his rifle, mount his horse and ride off to church, 
where he met his gallant and intelligent congregation, each man 
with his rifle in his hand. The minister would then enter the 
church, walk gravely through the crowd, ascend the pulpit, deposit 
his rifle in a corner of it, lay off his shot pouch, and commence the 
solemn services of the day.* 

The Eev. Charles Cummings was what would be termed in 
our day " a fighting parson." Immediately after the occurrence* 
above stated Mr. Cummings and about one hundred of his parishion- 
ers, under the command of Evan Shelby, hurried to the relief of 
the Watauga settlers who were besieged by the Indians in Fort Lee, 
and he accompanied Col. William Christian on his expedition against 
the Cherokee Indians in the fall of this year, preaching at different 
points in East Tennessee to settlers and soldiers whenever the oppor- 
tunity offered itself, he being the first minister of the gospel to de- 
liver the message of peace in the boundaries of the present State 
of Tennessee. In the year 1776 the ground now occupied by Martha 
Washington College and Stonewall Jackson Institute was a dense 
chinquapin thicket, and the lands between the thicket and Black's 
Fort were cultivated in flax. During the summer of the year 
1776 two men and three women were pulling flax near the fort 
with Frederick Mongle stationed as sentinel to give the alarm 
should the Indians make their appearance. The Indians, who had 
hidden themselves in the bushes above referred to, quietly ap- 
proached and wounded and scalped Mr. Mongle, but the other 
persons reached the fort in safety by dodging from tree to tree. 
The men from the fort came at once to the rescue, and, attacking 

Governor David Campbell's MSS. 

Southwest Virginia, 174-6-1786. 333 

the Indians, drove . them off. Mr. Mongle soon died from his 
wounds, and his relatives claim that his grave, and not William 
Creswell's, was the first made in Sinking Spring Cemetery. But 
this contention cannot be correct, for Mongle was not killed until 
several weeks after the death of William Creswell. 

During the summer several murders were committed by the 
Indians. Two men, who had gone out to bring up their horses, 
were killed almost in sight of a neighboring fort, and of the two men 
who went with an express from Fort Black one was killed and the 
other made his escape. 

As a result of the trouble with the Indians Col. Wm. Chris- 
tian, Capt. Wm. Campbell, and Capt. Wm. Eussell returned to 
their homes from the regular continental army to assist in the 
defence of their homes from the combined attacks of the British 
and Indians. The Governor of Virginia at this time directed Col. 
AVm. Fleming, of Botetourt county, to dispatch a body of the 
militia of that county to the frontiers of Fincastle county for the 
protection of the inhabitants, and pursuant to this order Capt. 
Thomas Eowland was dispatched with his^company to the fron- 
tiers. The following is a complete list of Captain Eowland's com- 

Capt. Thomas Eowland, William Kyles, 

Henry Cartmill, Martin McFattin, 

Martin Baker, James Esprey, 

John Wood, Samuel McFarrin, 

Thomas Bowyer, George Eutledge, 

James Leatherdale, William Calbert, 

John Crawford, Edward Carbin, 

David WaUace, Samuel M'Eoberts, 

James Bryant, Thomas Peage, 

William Bryant, Stephen Holston, 

Eobert Feely, William Henry, 

Elijah Vinsant, George Givens, 

John Moor, James Cloyd, 

Thomas Eagnew, Isaac Lawrence, 

Isaac Eichardson, William Wills, 

James Nicholas, James McQuown, 

William Crawford, James Eobinson, 

234 Sbuthtvest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

James Alcorn, William Kichey, 

George Tlutchinson Joseph Kyles, 

(B-otetourt parish), Samuel McChire, 

Rev. Adam Smyth, pastor, Patrick Lockliait, 

William Astin, John Mills, 

W^illiam Leatherdale, Henry Smith, 

Eobert Woods, James Gaunt, 

Edward Guilford, Joseph Carrol, 

Joseph Bryant, John Jones, 

William McFarrin, Henry Walker, 

Jacob Kimberland, John Burks, 

Robert Birdswell, Thomas Arbuekle, 

Thomas Howell, David Lawrence, 

\ Samuel Blair, Patrick Lawrence, 

David Harbinson, John Frager, 

Jonathan Wood, William Ross. 
Joseph Titus, 

This expedition accomplished nothing of value. This muster 
roll is given as a matter of information to the many descendants 
of these men who are now living in this county. 

In the year 1776, at the time of the battle of Long Island Flats, 
a man by the name of Lewis, with his wife and seven children, 
lived in the bounds of the present county of Scott. He was 
informed by Captain John Redd, that the Indians had declared war 
and were on the warpath, and was advised to move into the settle- 
ments, but he swore that he was in no danger, the Indians would 
never find him, but, soon thereafter, the Indians visited his home 
and killed and scalped Lewis, his wife and seven children. Among 
the extreme settlers who left their homes and returned to the set- 
tlements, was a man by the name of Ambrose Fletcher, whose fam- 
ily consisted of himself, his wife and two children. Fletcher had 
settled at Martin's Fort in Powell's Valley, and fled from that 
point to Blackmore's Foxt, on Cove creek, now in Scott county, ? 
Virginia. He and his family remained in Blackmore's Fort for 
a few days, wben, the fort becoming very much crowded, Fletcher 
built a small cabin, about thirty or forty yards back of the fort, 
and moved into it. Sliortly afterwards, Fletcher left his home to 
go to a canebrake to get his horse, and, on returning, he found his 
wife and two children tomahawked and scalped. 

Southwest Virginia, 17Ji6-1786. 235 

At this time the following forts were to be found on the waters 
of the Holston and Clinch, so far as I can ascertain : 

Thompson's Fort, located on the farm now owned by Huff Bros. 

Edmiston's Fort, located on Snodgrass's farm at Lodi, Va. 

Bryan's Fort, located at Kendrick's Mill. 

Black's Fort, located at Abingdon, Virginia. 

Cocke's Fort, located on Clyce Farm on Spring creek. 

Bledsoe's Fort, located . 

Shelby's Fort, located Bristol. 

Eaton's Fort, located seven miles east of Long Island. 

Fort Patrick Henry, located at Long Island. 

Fort Lee, located, at Watauga. 

Gillespie's Fort, located . 

Womack's Fort, located, near Bluff City, Tennessee. 

Martin's Fort, located in Powell's Valley. 

Priest's Fort, located in Powell's Valley. 

Mumps' Fort, located in Powell's Valley. 

Rye Cove Fort, located . 

Blackmore's Fort, located Cove creek. 

Glade Hollow Fort, located in Russell county. 

Hamlin's Fort, located near Castle's Woods. 

Elk Garden Fort, located Russell county. 

Fort Bowen, located at Maiden Spring. 

Wynne's Fort, located Tazewell county, Wynne's branch. 

Crab Orchard Fort, located Tazewell county. 

At the same time that the Virginia settlements were suffering 
from the invasion of the Indians, North Carolina, South Carolina 
and Georgia, were experiencing like invasions. These four fron- 
tier colonies decided to invade the Indian country and bring 
them to their senses, by destroying their towns and chastising their 
warriors. The Cherokee Indians occupied that vast country north 
of the upper settlements in Georgia and west of the settlements in 
North and South Carolina and Southwest Virginia. Their coun- 
try was divided into three sections, and the number -of the warriors 
in each was as follows: 

Middle Settlements and Valleys 878 

In Lower Towns 356 

In Over-Hill Towns 757 

Total 1,991 

236 Southwest Virginia, nJf6-n86. 

The Georgia militia, under tlie command of Colonel McBury and 
Major Jack, invaded the Indian settlements on the Tugalo river, 
routed the Indians and destroj^ed all their towns. The militia: of 
South Carolina, being about 1150 men, under the command of 
General Williamson, in the early days of August, marched into 
the Indian settlements and met and defeated, at Oconoree, Alex- 
ander Cameron, who was in command of a large body of Indians 
and white men. They burned a number of Indian towns and 
returned to their homes. The militia of the State of North Caro- 
lina, numbering about 2,000 men, under the command of General 
Eutherford, marched into the middle settlements and valleys, 
about the same time. Upon the approach of this army, the Indians 
fled. Their towns were burned, to the number of thirty or forty, 
and these troops returned to North Carolina. While the troops of 
the States of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina were 
invading the middle settlements and lower towns of the Cherokees, 
the Virginia authorities were making every preparation to invade 
the over-hill towns. 

On the 22d of July, 1776, the Virginia Council received a letter 
from President Eutledge, of South Carolina, informing them that 
hostilities had been commenced by the Cherokee Indians, and that 
Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina had agreed to set 
on foot an expedition against the lower towns and middle settle- 
ments at once, and requesting the cooperation of Virginia, asking 
that she carry war into the upper or over-hill t/owns. Thereupon, 
the council directed Colonel Charles Lewis to march immediately, 
with his battalion of minute men, to the frontiers. Upon the 
receipt of this order Colonel Lewis immediately marched his bat- 
talion of troops to the vicinity of New river in Fincastle county, 
where it was ascertained that a number of his men were unfit for 
an Indian expedition ; whereupon, he was directed to discharge all 
such and to recruit others in their stead. 

On the first day of August, 1776, the Virginia Council ordered 
that a commission issue appointing William Christian, Esq., colonel 
of the first battalion and commander-in-chief of all the forces 
raised for nse in the expedition against the Cherokee Indians. It 
was decided to send two battalions of troops upon this expedition, 
which were officered as follows: 

Commander-in-chief, William Christian. 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 


Colonel, first battalion, William Christian. 
Major, first battalion, Evan Shelby. 
Surgeon, first battalion, Joseph Starke. 
Colonel, second l^attalion, Charles Lewis. 
Surgeon, second battalion, George Hart. 

Captain James Thompson and his company formed the life 
guard of Colonel Christian, the commander-in-chief, upon this 

The folloAving captains, with their companies, accampanied thia 
expedition against tlie (Jheiokee Indians, so far as 1 can ascertain: 

Captain John Campbell, 
Captain William Russell, 
Captain Eobert Boggs, 
Captain John Sevier, 
Captain James Thompson, 
Captain Isaac Bledsoe, 
Captain John Momtgomery, 

Captain Daniel Smith, 
Captain Aaron Lewis, 
Captain Jacob Womack, 
Captain William Cocke, 
Captain Benjamin Gray, 
Captain William Preston, 
Captain Thomas Madison. 

Captain Thomas Madison was appointed commissary and pay- 
master upon this expedition. 

But little is known of the participants in this expedition. I have, 
therefore, gathered the names of the privates who took part in. this 
expedition, as far as I can obtain them. Their names are as 
follows : 

llobert, Campbell, 
Thomas Hobbs, wounded. 
Thomas Berry, wounded. 
Christopher Watson, 
Matthew Allison, 
John Finley, 
Andrew Wallace, 
Humphrey Higgins, 
James Sawyers, 
William Crawford, 
James Buford, 
Joshua Eenfro, 
William Hogart, 
Ephraim Dunlap, 

Michael Ocheltree, 
Benjamin Thomas, 
John Wood, 
Eobert Finley, 
William WiUs, 
Jacob Gardner, 
Samuel Ewing, 
George Caldwell, 
Jacob Early, 
James Berry, 
Henley Moore, 
Jacob Anderson, 
John Adair, 
James Robinson, 


Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

William Hicks, 

David Getgood, 

Samuel Gay, 

Isaac Eiddle, 

David Smith, 

Edward Eoss, 

Gideon Farris, 

Jesse Womack, 

John Furnham, 

William Frogg, 

William Milnm, 

Lance Woodward, 

Francis Katherine, 

Daniel Henderson, 

Amos Eaton, 

David Ro'unceval, 

Samuel Douglas, wounded 

Duncan, killed; 

George Berry, wounded; 
John Reburn, 
Abraham Crabtree, 
David McKenzie, 
Christopher Irwin, 
John Cochran, 
James Young, 
William Meade, 
David Wallace, 
Stephen Holston, 
Patrick Murphy, 
Isbon Talbert, 
James Campbell, 
: Matthew Scott, 
Thomas Logwood, 
Robert Preston, 
Robert Campbell, 
Jacob Cogor, 
Daniel Kidd, 
John Goff, 
Cuthbert Jones, 

Samuel Campbell, 
William Markland, 
Joseph McCormick, 
James McCockle, 
Joseph Russell, 
Jonathan Martin, - 
Gideon Morris, 
William Ingram, 
Robert Stewart, 
James Berry, 
Daniel Smith, 
William Haynes, 
John McClanahan, 
John Phelps, 
Abraham McClanahan, 
James Arnold, 
Hanrist Carlock, 
Andrew Little, 
Thomas Berry, 
John Latham, 
William Ramsay, 
James Bradley, 
Lambert Lame, 
John Rice, 
Joab Springer, 
Onsbey Carney, 
John Crane, 
Benjamin Drake, 
Benjamin Rice, 
David Irwin, 
George Miller, 
Thomas Ramsay, 
Thomas Fowler, 
Thomas Smith, 
George Coon, 
William Rice, 
Isaac Rounceval, 
James M'Farland, 
William Ross, 

Southwest Virginia^ 1746-1786. 


Philip Love, 
David English, 
James Tuttle, 
Meredy Eeins, 
Michael Gleaves, 
Christian Shiiltz, 
Samuel Ingram, 
James Newell, 
William Bennett, 
Tittleton Brooks, 
Michael Eowland, 
William Mitchell, 
William Eice, 
Philip Williams, 
James Harris, 
Arthur Onsbey, 
William Nettles, 
John Harris, Jr., 
William Lane, 
David Hunter, 
Michael Ohair, 
John Walker, 
Ebenezer Meads, 
Samuel Campbell, 
Francis Hamilton, 
^ James Daugherty, 
Frederick Fraily, 
William Edmiston, 
David Carson, 
James M'Cain, 
James Steel, 
Eobert Gambell, 
Daniel M'Cormack, 
Jonathan Jennings, 
George Parker, 
William Peoples, 
Valentine Little, 
Samuel Fair, 
Alexander Butler, 

William Brown, 
Tjeonard Helm, 
James Greer, 
Samuel Ewin, 
Eichard Thomas, 
Eobert Stephenson, 
Eobert M'Elheney, 
Isaac Thomas, 
John Craig, 
Adam Brausteter, 
Michael Dougherty, 
James M'Carthy, 
William Henson, 
Charles Eice, 
Jesse Henson, 
Jonathan Mulhey, 
Moses Winters, 
John Harris, Sr., 
James Beets, 
John M'Farland, 
Nicholas Edwards, 
James Kelley, 
James Eichardson, 
James Hamilton, 
George Newland, 
James Williams, 
Henry Whitner, 
Henry Eichardson, 
John Muldrough, 
Michael Francisco, 
James Mason, 
Solomon Kendrick, 
William White, 
Charles Cocke, 
John Craig, 
Eobert McNutt, 
Jacob Steams, 
John Simpson, 
Thomas Price, 


Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

Peter Haff, 
Henry Rice, 
William Lane, 
Philip Mulhey, Sr., 
I^ewis Crane, 
Isaac Lindsay,- 
Samuel Martin, 
James M'Clern, 
James Smith, 
Lewis Whitner, 
William Calvert, 
Samuel Eason, 
James M'Donald, 
Samuel Montgomery, 
William Carr, 
John Gibson, 
James Walker, 
Philip Mulhey, Jr., > 
Andrew Cowan, 
John Adair, 
James Cameron, 

George Scott, • 
Joseph Perrin 
Nicholas Edwards, 
John Hounshel, 
Adam Brausteter, 
James Doran, 
George Caldwell, 
Jeremiah Rush, 
Robert Hardwicke, 
Joseph M'Reynolds, 
Benjamin Logan, 
Robert Cowden, 
Andrew Irwin, 
John Gordon, 
Thomas Goldsby, 
Peter Tnrney, 
Anthony Bledsoe, 
John Walker, 
Evan Williams, 
Edward Piggett, 
Jacob Vance. 

On the 26th day of July, 1776, the Honorable Cornelius Har- 
nett, president of the Council of Safety of North Carolina, informed 
the Virginia Council that the Cherokees entertained the design of 
cutting off the persons employed at the Lead Mines, whereupon, the 
Council ordered William Preston, the county lieutenant of Fincastlo 
county, to raise, at once, a stockade fort for the defence of said 
mines and to garrison the same with a force of twenty-five men. 

On the first day of August, 1776, the Virginia Council gave the 
following instructions to William Christian, commander-in-chief, 
and Colonel Charles Lewis, in command of the second battalion, 
of the forces in the expedition against the Cherokees. 

"When your battalion and the battalion under Colonel Charles 
Lewis are completed, you are to march with them and the forces 
under the command of Colonel Russell, and such others as may join 
you from Carolina, into the Cherokee country, if these forces shall 
be judged sufficient for the purpose of severely chastising that cruel 
and perfidious nation, which you are to do in a manner most likely 
to put a stop to' future insults and ravages and that may redound 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 241 

most to the honor of American arms. If the Indians should be 
reduced to the necessity of suing for peace, you must take care to 
demand of them a sufficient number of their chiefs and warriors as 
hostages, for the performance of the conditions you may require of 
them. You must insist on their delivering up all prisoners who 
may choose to leave them and on their giving up to justice all per- 
sons amongst them who have been concerned in bringing on the 
present war, particularly Stuart, Cameron and Gist, and all others 
whO' have committed murder or robberies on our frontiers. You 
may require any other terms which the situation of affairs may 
point out and you may judge necessary for the safety and honor of 
the Commonwealth. You must endeavor to communicate with the 
commanding officer of the Carolina forces and cooperate with him, 
making the attack as near the time of his as may be. 

You are from time to time to write His Excellency the Governor, 
giving him a full account of your operations, and requiring his 
further instructions. Instructions to Colonel Charles Lewis of the 
second battalion of minute men: You are to order the captains 
under your command to march their companies to their respective 
counties, then to discharge such of their men as are not properly 
qualified to serve on an expedition against the Indians, and to raise 
with all possible dispatch in their stead the best recruits that can 
be found for the service, and, having so completed their companies, 
to repair to the Big Island on Holston river in Fincastle county, the 
place of general rendezvous." 

And, on the 6th day of August, 1776, the Virginia Council 
directed tlie keeper of the magazine to forward to Colonel William 
Christian 1,000 poimds of powder, two flints to be used on this 

It required some time to organize and equip the forces intended 
to proceed against the Cherokee Indians, which work was carried 
on with the greatest possible expedition, until the first week in Sep- 


The first county court of Fincastle county, under the Constitution 
of the Commonwealth of Virginia, assembled at the Lead Mines, 
(now in Wythe county), on September 3, 1776, at which time the 

242 Southwest Virginia, 174G-1786. 

following members of the county court and officers of Fincastle 
county qualified by taking the oatli prescribed by an ordinance of 
the Virginia Convention, which oath was administered by James 
McGavock and Arthur Campbell. 


William Preston, Arthur Campbell, 

James McGavock, John Montgomery, 

James McCorkle. 

Sheriff, William Preston, appointed by the court. 

Deputy Sheriff, William Sayers, 

Deputy Clerk, Stephen Trigg, 

County-Lieutenant, William Preston. 

Attorney-at-Law, Harry Innes. 

But little business of importance was transacted at this term of 
the court, so far as the records that have been preserved show. 

Thus began the first organized government under the Constitu- 
tion of Virginia, in Fincastle county. 

In the month of September, 1776, that portion of the troops under 
the command of Colonel William Eussell began their march to the 
Great Island of the Holston, at which time Anthony Bledsoe entered 
two wagons in the public service, to convey the baggage and pro- 
vision of the troops. This circumstance is mentioned, for the rea- 
son that this was the first time, as far as can be ascertained, that 
a wagon was taken by tlie white man, as low down as the Long 
Island in Holston. 

When Colonel Eussell reached the Long Island, he thought it 
necessary to erect a fort in a field on the land of John Latham, on 
Long Island, which fort was speedily erected and every preparation 
made for the coming of the troops under command of Colonel Chris- 
tian. A company of militia was enrolled at Black's Fort (now 
Abingdon), and taken into the pay of the government, to guard 
the new fort, called Fort Patrick Henry, at Long Island, and to 
guard the provision and baggage wagons going to and returning 
from that fort. By the first day of October, Colonel Christian, with 
his entire army of 2,000 men, including about 400 men from North 
Carolina under command of Colonel Joseph Williams, Colonel Love 
and Major Winston, arrived at Long Island. When the army had 
proceeded about six miles beyond Long Island, Colonel Christian 

Southwest Virginia, 174G-1780. 243 

halted his unny and offered a reward of one hundred pounds to 
an}' pei'son or persons who woukl proceed to the Cherokee towns and 
bring liini a prisoner, in order to obtain intelligence of the motions 
of the enemy; whereupon, 8amnel Ewing, John Blankenship and 
James jMcCall undertook the business, and in a few days entered 
the town of To(pio, after crossing the Tennessee river, where they 
met an Indian man on horseback, whom they permitted to escape, 
lest it might occasion a discovery. They next visited the house of a 
Iving's man by the name of LowTy, where they were refused admit- 
tance. They then proceeded to the house of one Davis^ from whom 
tliey ol)tained intelligence of the designs of the enemy, when they 
I'eturned to the army and gave a true account of the situation of 
affairs in the Indian country, according to their information, and 
they were paid by the General Assembly of Virginia the one hun- 
dred pounds, pursuant to the agreement of Colonel Christian. 

Upon the receipt of this information. Colonel Christian and his 
army proceeded, in a very cautious manner, on their march to the 
Tennessee, always encamping, at night, behind brea.stworks, to pre- 
vent a surprise. 

Colonel John Sevier commanded, upon this expedition, a com- 
])any of horse, the rest of tlie army being infantry. Sixteen spies 
were sent in advance of the army to the crossing of the French 
Broad ri^er, a point where the Indians said the white men should 
never cro^ss. After being several days out, Alexander Harlin came 
into camp and told Colonel Christian that 3,000 Indian warriors 
were awaiting his arrival at the crossing of the French Broad. Col- 
onel Christian permitted him to go through the camp and to observe 
the strengtli of his army, when he was dismissed by Colonel Chris- 
tian, with direction tO' inform the Indians of his determination to 
cross, not only the French Broad, but the Tennessee river, before he 
returned. The army continued its march through the wilderness, 
under direction of Isaac Thomas, the noted Indian trader and friend 
of Nancy Ward, as pilot. When they approached the crossing of 
the French Broad river, a king's man by the name of Fallin 
approached the camp with a flag of truce, to which Colonel Christian 
paid no attention, permitting Fallin to pass through the camp unmo- 
lested, that he might observe the strength of Christian's army. It is 
said that the Indians had gathered on the opposite side of this cross- 
ing determined to defend its passage to the last extremity, when a 

244 Southiuest Virginia, 17J,6-178G. 

white man by the name of Starr, in the absence of Fallin, persuaded 
the Indians that it was folly to resist the invasion of the whites. 
In an earnest harangue, he told them it was folly to contend with 
the white man. That the Great Spirit intended he should over- 
run and occupy all the low lands which should be cultivated. To 
the red man he had given the hills and forests, where he might sub- 
sist on game without tilling the soil, which was work fit only for 
woiuen. To struggle with the white man was, therefore, to fight 
with destiny. The only safety for the Indians lay in a speedy retreat 
to their mountain fastnesses."* 

From some cause the Indians disbanded and dispersed without 
offering any resistance to the white men. Colonel Christian and 
his army crossed tJie river and pressed rapidly forward to the Chero- 
kee towns along the Little Tennessee and Telico, every one of whicli 
was destroyed, except Chota, the home of Nancy Ward, the beloved 
woman of the Indian tribe and the friend of the white man; and 
Colonel Christian destroyed all grain, cattle and other provisions 
found in the nation. When Colonel Christian had destroyed the 
towns and property of the Indians and had chastised them as far 
as it was possible to do so, he sent out a number of men with flags 
of truce, and requested a talk with the Chiefs. A number of them 
came in immediately and proposed peace. Colonel Christian told 
them he was willing to grant them peace, but not until the tribe was 
fully represented, and, thereupon. Colonel Christian fixed a day for 
the concluding of peace in' the following May, at Long Island in 
Holston river, and, in the meantime, hostilities were to cease except 
as to two to\\Tis on the Tennessee river, where young Moore, who 
had been captured at Watauga, had been burned at the stake ; which 
proposition was accepted. Colonel John Sevier, thereupon, visited 
the towns in question and left the same in ashes. 

Colonel Christian finding nothing further to engage his attention, 
returned with his army to the liOng Island in Holston river. This 
campaign lasted three months, and but a single white man was 
killed. This w^as a man whose name was Duncan, a soldier under 
Captain Jacob Womack. He was killed in an engagement with the 
Indians. This man left a wife (she was a cripple), and five small 
children, to whom the General Assembly of Virginia, on June Ifi, 
1777, allowed the sum of twenty pounds for their present relief and 

*Rear Guard of the Revolution, p. 126. 

Southivest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 245 

the further sum of five pounds per annum, for the period of five 
years, with directions to Anthony Bledsoe and William Cocke, to lay 
out and expend the same for the support and maintenance of Eliza- 
beth Duncan and her children. Several white men were slightly 
wounded by the Indians and by accident, upon this expedition, 
among the number being Samuel Douglas, Thomas Berry and 
George Berry, Jr. 

Upon the return of the army to the Long Island of the Holston, 
Colonel Christian reorganized the same, and, for the protection of 
the frontiers, left six hundred men at the island under the command 
of Colonel Evan Shelby and Major Anthony Bledsoe. 

The General Assembly of Virginia directed the Governor and 
Council to take such measures for the preservation and disposition 
of the horses and provision belonging to the government and in use 
upon this expedition as should appear to be most proper and con- 
ducive to the interest of the country. And, by the same act, the 
Governor and Council were directed to give instructions to the com- 
manding officer of the army destined against the Cherokees, to 
take such steps, at the end of the campaign, as were thonght neces- 
sary for the future safety and protection of the southwestern fron- 
tier of this State. Whereupon the Governor and Council of Virginia 
directed Captain Thomas Madison tO' take the necessary steps to col- 
lect all the cattle and horses on hand upon the return of the army 
from this expedition, and to take care of them, whereupon Captain 
Madison employed: 

William Carmack, John Delaney, 

Stephen Eichards, TMatthew Dean, 

John Fulkerson, Cornelius Carmack, 

Andrew Greer, Joseph Greer, 

John Nash, Samuel Looney, 

Peter Looney, William McBroom, 

John Cox, John Carmack, 

Jonathan Drake, Ezekiel Smith, 

Henry Hickey, Isaac Drake, 

Hugh Blair, Benjamin Drake, 

to herd and take care of the country cattle, from the 13th day of 
November, 1776, to the 11th day of June, 1777. And Colonel 
Christian, pursuant to the directions of the Governor and Council, 
stationed the six hundred men as above detailed at Long Island, 

246 Southwest Virginia, 1740-1786. 

and directed Captaioi Joseph Martin tO' proceed to the Eye Gove 
Fort, about fifty miles from North Fork of the Clinch river, with 
eighty men. The rest of the army were mnstered out of service. 
Captain Martin immiHliately l)egan the march to the Rye Cove. 
Upon this march he had to pass through a very dangerous gap, 
called Little IMocca^in, where the trail went through a very nar- 
row and deep gorge of the mountain and where the Indians had 
killed a great many white people. When Captain Martin began 
the march through the gap, he had his men in fine order and 
strung out in smgle file. Just as the head of the column 
emerged from the narrow defile, the whole column was fired upon 
by Indians from the top of the ridge, where they were strung out 
in a line as long as Captain Martin's. As soon as the Indians 
fired, they ran off, having failed to kill any of Martin's men 
But one man, James Bunch, a member of Martin's company, 
had five balls shot through his flesh, whereby he was rendered 
incapable of getting a livelihood hy labor, and was allowed by 
the General Assembly of Virginia thirty pounds for his pres- 
ent relief and half pay as a soldier for three years. 

The Indians liaving all fled, Captain Martin proceeded to Eye 
Cove, where he remained 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 the first. 

In December of the year 1776, the commanding officer at 
Fort Patrick Henry dispatched Samuel Newell and another per- 
son tO' the Cherokee town for the Indian chief, the Eaven of 
Chote. Upon their return trip they were accompanied by the 
Indian chief. 

A short time thereafter, in the month pf January, 1777, 
Samuel Newell was again ordered to tlie Indian town, Chote, 
Avith letters in regard to a family that liad been murdered near 
Fort Patrick Henry. AVhile on, his way to the town of Toquo, 
he was tomahawked l)y the Indians and scalped, and soon there- 
after died in the town of Chote. His horse, gun, saddle and 
bridle, saddle-bags and clotlies were carried off by the Indians, 
who murdered him. 

A number of the citizens of Fincastle county potitioned the 
General Assembly of Virginia for compensation for pasturage 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-178G. 347 

taken and the provisions nsed by Colonel Oliristian upon this 
expedition, among the number so petitioning being 

Amos Eaton, John Latham, 

James Kincannon Evan Shelby, 

David Getgood, ±\hel Eichardson, 

John Beatie, James McGavock, 

AVilliam Sayers, James Aylett, 

Ephraim Dunlop, Robert Barnett, 
William Cocke, 

The General Assembly of Virginia at its fall sassion in 1776, 
allowed Isaac Thomas, the faithful friend of the white settlers, 
one hundred pounds as a reward for the services he had rendered 
the settlers by giving them information of the intended incur- 
sions of the Indians, and paid him for the stock and property 
lost at the time of the outbreak ol the Indian war. 

The Governor and Council of Virginia directed that for the 
purpose of concluding a treaty of peace between the Indians and 
the Commonwealth of Virginia a convention should be held at 
tlie Long Island of Holston, in the month of May, 1777, and 
appointed Colonel William Christian, Colonel William' Preston 
and Major Evan Shelby to act as the Virginia commissioners at 
said convention. The Governor and Council of ISTorth Carolina 
appointed Waightstill x\very, Joseph Winston and Eobert 
Lanier, commissioners upon the part of North Carolina at said 
convention. The commissioners of the two States met the Indian 
chiefs, who had been assembled through the efforts of Nathaniel 
Gist, at the Long Island in May, 1777, and drafted a treaty, 
which treaty was submitted to the Goivernor and Oouncil of 
Virginia on May 28, 1777, at which time the Council entered 
the following orders : 

"Having referred to the Governor of this board to direct a 
treaty l>egun with the Cherokee Indians in such manner as they 
think best, 

"Eesolved, That the Governor be desired to confer with the 
C*herokee chiefs and warriors, from time to time during their 
said meeting, on the subject of all disputes now subsisting 
between them and this State, and in regard to the treaty of peace 
now under consideration, and if he receive any proposals to 

248 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

make a good and proper answer to them, preparatory to com- 
pletion, the conference to be held at the Great Island on twO' 
days next month, and this board will attend at such conference 
as may be appointed, and that Dr. Walker and Colonel Christian 
1)0 desired to provide from the public store, or, in their place, 
proper presents to be made to the Indians now here and consider 
what is necessary to provide for the Indians at the next meeting 
at the Great Island. 

"Adjourned at 10 o'clock. 

- ''Jolm Page, Tho. Walker, 

"Dudley Diggs, Nathaniel Harrison, 

"John Blair, David Jamison, 

"Bartho Dandridge. 

"Colonel William Christian, one of the commissioners ap- 
pointed on behalf of this State to form a treaty of peace with 
the Cherokee Indians, having attended this board with the pro- 
ceedings of himself and the other commissioners at a treaty held 
at the Great Island, in consequence of their former instructions, 
upon considering the same the board entirely appro^ved thereof, 
and think it necessary that the same should be laid before the 
General Assembly, which the Governor is desired to do, and Col- 
onel William Christian having also iniormed the board that 
several of the chiefs and warrioTS of said nation of Indians will 
accompany him to Williamsburg, resolved that they be received 
and treated in the most friendly manner and furnished with all 
necessaries until the General Assembly shall give further direc- 
tions in the matter." 

This treaty was not concluded until the first day of July, 1777. 
By this treaty a new boundary line was established between the 
settlers and the Indians. The boundaries as fixed by this treaty 
extended as far down as the mouth of Cloud's creek. This treaty 
was signed by all the Indian chiefs except Dragging Canoe, who 
was woimded at the battle of Long Island Flats. He said "that he 
would hold fast to the talks of Cameron the British agent and 
continue the war as before." While the treaty was being nego- 
tiated two men were murdered on the Clinch river by Dragging 
Canoe and some of his men, and conduct of this character was 
continued for many years on the part of Dragging Canoe and the 
Chickamauga Indians. 

Southwest Virginia, 17JfG-1786. 249 

While this treaty was being negotiated a great many Indians, 
with their squaws and children, had collected and were quartered 
in the island, surrounded by a guard to prevent improper inter- 
course with the whites, but, notwithstanding this precaut^ion, 
some abandoned fellow shot across the river and killed an Indian. 
This produced great confusion; the Indians thought they were 
betrayed and prepared to fly, and it was with much exertion that 
the officers and commissioners pacified and convinced them that 
such was not the fact. Afterwards, when the Council met, the 
Raven opened the conference on the part of his people by a speech 
in which he reverted to the case of the murdered Indian. He 
said, "lest that unhappy affair should disturb the harmony and 
sincerity that ought to exist at that time between the white and 
red brethren, each party ought to view it as having happened so 
long ago, that if, when the Indian was buried, an acorn had been 
thrown into his grave, it would have sprouted and grown and 
become a lofty spreading oak, sufficiently large for them to sit 
under its shade and hold their talk. 

This speech was thought by many to be equal to anything in 
the celebrated speech of Logan. 

From the fall of 1775 to the close of the Eevolutionary war, 
the settlers in this part of Virginia were compelled to occupy 
their forts from early spring until late in the fall, as their settle- 
ments were constantly visited by bands of Cherokee and Shaw- 
nese Indians sent upon them by the British agents, but the settle- 
ments enjoyed perfect freedom from the Indians from the first 
appearance of winter until the return of spring. During this 
interval of time the Indians were deterred from making raids 
into the settlements, by the great danger of detection in conse- 
quence of the nakedness of the trees, by the danger of being 
traced by their tracks in the snow, and by the suffering pro- 
duced by exposure to cold while traveling and lying in wait. The 
settlers took advantage of this immunity from attacks by the 
Indians, cleared their lands, built their houses and made everv 
possible preparation for their crops during the coming season. 

During the summer of 1776, elections were held throughout 
the Commonwealth for members of the House of Delegates and 
the Senate under the new Constitution. At this election the fol- 
lowing persons were elected members of the House of Delegates 

850 So'ulliwcfit Virginia, ] 746-] 786. 

From Fincat^tle county : Arthur Campbell and William Eussell. 
And the member of the Senate from Botetourt and Fincastle, 
I hat being the Tenth Senatorial District, was Colonel William 

By an ordinance of the convention of 1775, adopted July 15, 
1775, the Western District ^9.f Virginia, of which Fincastle county 
'vas a part, was required^ to furnish sixty-eight expert .riflemen 
for the regidar service. 

And by an Act of the Asseml^ly of Virginia adopted in Octo- 
l)er, 1776, a requisitioii of seventy-four men was made upon tlie 
:uithorities of Fincastle county to be officered by a captain a})- 
[)ointed by the Governor. 

A First Lieutenant, 

A Second Lieutenant, 

and an Ensign. 

The officers of the company organized in Fincastle county for 
the continental service in the year 177{) cannot be ascertained, 
save in one instance. « 

John Buchanan was lieutenant of this company at its organ- 
ization, and was a lieutenant in the Seventh Eegiment in the fall 
of the same year, and remained in the service until killed in the 
year 1777. 

At a meeting of the General Asseml)ly of Virginia, in the fall 
of the year 1770, a petition from the inhal)itants of the western 
parts of Fincastle county was presented to the House and read ; 
setting forth that they 1)ecame adventurers in that ])art of the 
county in the year 1774, and were obliged by the incursions of 
the Indians to abandon their settlements, after having discovered 
and explored the coiintry ; that others afterwards became adven- 
turers and claimed the lands liy warrants from Lord Dunmore, 
under the royal proclamation of 17(53, and a company of men 
from ISToTth Carolina purchased, or pretended to purchase, from 
tlie Cherokee Indians, all the lands from the soaithernmost waters 
of Cum'berland river to the banks of the Louisa river, including 
the lands in Powell's Valley, by virtue of which purchase they 
styled themselves the absolute proprietoi-s of the new independent 
Trans3dvania ; that officers, both civil and military, are appointed, 
writs of election issued, assemblies convened, a land office opened, 
and lands sold at an exorl)itant price, and a system of policy 

Southtvest Virginia, 17J^6-17S6. 251 

introduced, not agreeing with that lately adopted b}' the late 
United Colonies, and that they have the greatest reason tO' ques- 
tion the validity of the purchase aforesaid; that they consider 
themselves and the said lands to be in the State of Virginia, 
whose legislature they acknowledge, and to which State they con- 
ceive they justly belong; that having assembled together after 
due notice, they elected two members to represent them in this 
House, and hope they may be received as their delegates; that 
they are ready and willing, to the utmost of their abilities, to 
assist in the support of the present laudable cause, by contri])ut- 
ing their quota of men and moneys, and that in order to pre- 
serve goO'd order, tliey had, as was done in West Augusta, elected 
a committee consisting of twenty-one members, and cheerfully 
submitted the case to the House. This petition of the inhabi- 
tants of that part of Fincastle county, now included within the 
State of Kentucky, was accompanied by petitions from nearly 
all the settlers on the Holston and Clinch rivers, and was pre- 
sented to the General Assembly on the eighth day of October, 
1776, and the General Assembly on Friday, October 11, 1776, 
adopted the folloMdng resolutions : 

"Eesolved, That the inhabitants of the western part of Fincas- 
tle county not being allowed by the law a distinct representation 
in the General Assembly, the delegates chosen to represent them 
in this House cannot be admitted. At the same time the com- 
mittee are of opinion, that the said inha])itants ought to be 
formed into a distinct county, in order to entitle them to sucli 
representation and other l)enefits ot government." 

The petition for the division of Fincastle county was referred / 
to a committee of which Carter Braxton was chairman, whicli ' 
committee, through its chairman, on Tuesday, October 15, 1776, 
presented a bill foT the division of the county of Fincastle into 
two distinct counties, which bill was read the first time and 
ordered to be read the second time. On Wednesday, October 16, 
1776, this bill was read a second time and was committed to 
Thomas Jefferson and the members from Augusta and Botetourt 
counties, and on October 17, 1776, Mr. Jefferson, from the com- 
mittee to whom the bill for dividing the county of Fincastle into 
two distinct counties was committed, reported that the com- 
mittee had gone through the bill and made several amendments 

252 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

thereto, which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in 
at the clerk's table, where the same was again twice read and 
agreed to and ordered to be engrossed and read a third time. 
And, on Wednesday, October 30, 177G, this bill was ordered to be 
committed to Mr. Jefferson, Mr. SimnLS, Mr. Bullitt and the 
members from Fincastle, Augusta and Botetourt counties, and on 
November 19, 177G, Mr. Mason and the members from Frederick, 
Hampshire and Bedford counties were added to the committee, 
to whom the bill for dividing the county of Fincastle into two 
distinct counties was committed. And on Monday, November 
26, 1776, the bill for dividing the county of Fincastle into three 
distinct counties was read a third time, and it was: 

"Eesolved, That the said bill do pass, and that the title be, an 
Act for dividing the county of Fincastle into two distinct coun- 
ties, and the parish of Botetourt intO' four distinct parishes, and 
Mr. Arthur Campbell was appointed to carry the same to the 
Senate for their concurrence. 

In the Senate, several amendments were proposed to the bill 
passed by the House, which amendments, being communicated 
to the House, were disagreed to', whereupon, the Senate com- 
municated with the House, through Mr. Ellzey, as follows : 
"Mr. Speaker : 

"The Senate do insist on the amendments by them proposed 
to the bill entitled. An Act for Dividing the County of Fincastle 
into three distinct coamties, and the parish of Botetourt into four 
distinct parishes. And upon the amendments being again read, 
it was, by the House of Delegates, 

"Resolved, That this House do recede from their disagree- 
ment to the said amendments proposed by the Senate, which 
action of the House having been communicated to the Senate, the 
Senate insisted on the amendments proposed to the bill by them, 
whereupon, the Virginia House of Delegates, on December 6, 

"Resolved, That this House do insist on the disagreement to 
said amendments, and that Mr. Campbell do acquaint the Sen- 
ate therewith." 

Which resolution being communicated to the Senate, the Act 

i for the dividing of the county of Fincastle into three distinct 

counties, and the parish of Botetourt into four distinct parishes, 

Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 353 

was adopted, the Senate having receded from the amendments 
proposed by them. 

This act provided that from and after the 31st day of Decem- 
ber, 1776, the connty of Pincastle shall be divided into three 
distinct counties, to be known by the names of Montgomery, 
Washington and Kentucky. 

Thus ends tJie history of Fincastle county, in so far as the 
history of that county forms a part of the history of Washing- 
ton county. 

254 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 



The Act of the General Assembl}^ of A^irginia dividing the 
county of Fincastle into three distinct counties, to-wit: Mont- 
gomer}', Washington, and Kentucky, was adopted by the General 
Assembly of Virginia on the 6th day of December, 1770, and pro- 
vided that from and after the last day of December, 177G, the 
said county of Fincastle should be divided into three counties. 
And this Act defines the bounds of Washington county as follows, 
viz. : "That all that part of said county of Fincastle included in 
the lines beginning at the Cumberland mountains where the line 
of Kentucky county intersects the North Carolina (now Tennes- 
see) line; thence east along the said Carolina line to the top of 
Iron mountain; tJience along the same easterly to the source or 
the South Fork of the Holston river; thence northwardly alone 
the highest part of the highlands, ridges and mountains that di- 
vide the waters of the Tennessee from those of the Great Ka- 
nawha to the most easterly source of Clinch river; thence west- 
wardly along the top of the mountain that divides the waters of the 
Clinch river from those of the Great Kanawha and Sandy Creek 
to the line of Kentucky county, and thence along the same 
to the beginning, shall be one other distinct county and called and 
known by the name of Washington.* 

"The eastern boundary of Washington county as thus defined was 
altered by Act of the General Assembly of Virginia at its session 
in the month of IMay, 1777, as follows: Beginning at a ford on 
Holston river, next above Captain John Campbell's, at the Eoyal 
Oak, and rimning from thence a due south course to the dividing 
line between the States of Virginia and North Carolina ; and 
from the ford aforesaid to the westerly end of Morris' Knob, about 
three miles above Maiden Spring on Clinch, and from thence, by 
a line to be drawn due north, until it shall intersect the waters of 
the Great Sandy river." 

The Act estal)lishing the county of Washington directed tlmt the 

*Hening statutes, 1776. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 255 

justices named in the commissions of the peace for the said 
county shouki meet at Black's Fort, in said county, on the last 
Tuesday in January, 1777, which day in each month was desig- 
nated l)v said Act as County Court day, and a majority of the 
justices .-_;o commissioned were authorized to designate tJie place 
for holding said court and to elect a clerk for said court. 

The power to appoint the first sheriff of the county was vested 
in the (loA'ernor. 

The territory included within the county of Washington as 
thus established is now embraced in the following counties : 

Washington, Tazewell, 

Russell, Lee, 

Scott, Buchanan, 

Smyth, Dickenson, 


a territory sufficient in extent and wealth to constitute a great 

Governor Patrick Henry, on the 21st day of December, 1776, is- 
sued a commission of the peace and dedimus for Washington 
county appointing the following persons as justices of the peace 
for said county : 

Arthur Campbell, William Edmiston, 

Evan Shelby, Joseph Martin, 

James Dysart, John Campbell, 

John Anderson, Alexander Buchanan, 

John Coulter, John Kinkead, 

William Campbell, James Montgomery, 

Daniel Smith, John Snoddy, 

George Blackburn and Thomas Mastin, 

and on the same day he issued his commission appointing the fol- 
lowing officers f-or the said county : 

Sheriff — James Dysart, 
County Lieutenant — Arthur Campbell, 
Colonel — Evan Shelby, 
Lieutenant-Colonel — William Campbell, 
IMajor — Daniel Smith. 

The first court of said county assembled at Black's Fort (now 
Abingdon) on the last Tuesday in January, 1777, being the 28th 

256 Southwest Yirgima, 1746-1786. 

(lay of that month, pursuant to the Act of the Assembly establish- 
ing the county, on which day William Campbell and Joseph Mar- 
tin, two of the justices commissioned by the Governor, adminis- 
tered the oath of a justice of the peace and of a justice of tlie 
County Court in Chancery to Arthur Campbell, the first justice 
named in said commission, and he afterwards administered the 
aforesaid oaths to : 

William Campbell, William Edmiston, 

John Campbell, Joseph Martin, 

John Kinkead, John Anderson,^ 

James Montgomery, John Snoddy, 

and George Blackburn. 

The court thus assembled, constituting a majority of the jus- 
tices commissioned by the Governor, proceeded to the election o' 
a clerk, when David Campbell was elected clerk. 

At the time Washington county was established by law Colo- 
nel Arthur Campbell and Colonel William Eussell represented 
Fincastle county in the House of Delegates, and Colonel William 
Christian represented the district in the Senate of Virgiinia. 
Colonel Campbell andj Colonel Eussell resided in that portion of 
Fincastle county afterwards included in the bounds of W^ashington 
county. Colonel Russell and Colonel Christian had served with 
General Washington in the Continental Armyf while Colonel 
Arthur Campbell had been a member of the Convention that 
adopted the Constitution establishing the Co^mmonwealth of A^ir- 
ginia, which Convention elected General George Washington a 
member of the Continental Congress which assembled in Philadcl- 
\)hm in 1776. It is not definitely known who suggested the name 
of Washington for the new county; and while the question is 'n 
doubt, still it is reasonable to suppose that Colonel Arthur Camp- 
bell was the author of the idea, as it appears from the proceedings* 
of the House of Delegates that he was designated by the House to 
convey the information to the Senate of Virginia that the House 
had passed the Act establishing the county. 

But without regard to who suggested the name for the new 
county it is a fact that this is the first locality in the United States 
that was honored with the name of the "Father of Our Country." 
The Act establishing the new county was agreed to by the general 

Washington County, 1777-1S70. 257 

Assembly of Virginia on December 6, 1776, and the county gov- . 
ernment was organized on January 28, 1777. 

Tennessee and N^orth Carolina historians insist that Washington 
county, Tennessee, was the first locality in the Union to receive 
the name of Washington, but, by an examination of the North 
Carolina records, it will be ascertained that Wasliington district?, 
North Carolina (now Tennessee), was not mentioned until April, 
1777, and the county of Washington, North. Carolina (now Ten- 
nessee), was not established by the G-eneral Assembly of Nortli 
Carolina until November, 1777. 

Black's Fort, the locality of the meeting of the first court of 
Washington county, was erected in the year 1776 on the lands of 
Captain Joseph Black, on the west bank or near the west banl: 
of what was then known as Eighteen Miles Creek, alias Castle's 
Creek, by the settlers living in the vicinity, and about five hun- 
dred other settlers who hg,d fled from their homes west of Abing- 
don iipon the outbreak of the Indian War in 1776. It was one 
of those rude structures which the pioneers were accustomed 
to make for defence against the Indians, consisting of a few 
log cabins surrounded by a stockade. The locality of this fort was 
about twenty-five yards south of the Norfolk and Western rail- 
road, in the Knob road, and near the brick cottage, the property 
of Charles F. Palmer. 

In the fall of the year 1879, Captain Frank S. Findlay, while 
excavating for a place for a turbine wheel near this place, discov- 
ered a portion of an old wall constructed of rock and logs some five 
or six feet below the surface, and in the wall was found an arrow 
made from the heart of a white oak, with a sharp iron spike af- 
fixed. This wall was a part, of the old fort, and it is not improb- 
able that this arrow was sped there by an Indian. In the year 1796 
a mill dam was erected about fifty yards south of this old wall.* 

The first court of Washington county was in session two days, 
January 28th-29th. The first day of the term was occupied in 
qualifying the members of the court, the election of a clerk, the 
qualifications of militia officers, as above given, and the granting 
of letters of administration in several cases. Upon the second day 
of the term the first matter of importance that received the atten- 
tion of the court was the appointment of William Campbell, Wil- 

*Black's Mill Dam. 

258 Southwest Vinjinia, 17Jff>-17SG. 

liain Edmiston, John Anderson and George Blaekhnrn as com- 
missioners to hire wagons to luring up the county salt allowed 
by the Governor and Council, and to receive and distribute the 
same agreeably to said order of Council. 

Some ]x^o])k', in speaking of this order of the County Court, 
have expressed surprise that such an order should have been en- 
tered by the court of a county in which was located great beds of 
salt, and, further, tliat the Governor and Council thus allotted 
salt to this county. 

At the time this order was entered salt was a rare article and 
exceedingly valualile, and was not known to exist in this country. 
So difficult was it to supply the demands for salt that in the year 
177G the General Assembly of A^irginia enacted the following law : 

"Resolved that the Governor, with the advice of the Privy Coun- 
cil, be empowered tO' purchase, on account of the public and at a 
generous price, all the salt that may be imported into this coun- 
try in the course of the next six months, and that he be authorized 
to issue his warrant on the treasurer to pay for the same: that 
such salt when purchased be immediately stored in some convenient 
and secure parts of the country, and distributed by order of the 
Governor, with the advice of the Council, amongst the inhabi- 
tants of the different counties, im such proportion as their exi- 
gencies and the quantity procured may admit, regard being prin- 
cipally had to such counties as are farthest removed from salt 
water; and that the receivers of the salt do pay into the hands 
of such persons as may be appointed for that purpose, at the time 
of the delivery, so much per Inishel, as the Governor, with the advice 
of the Council, may judge reasonable ; the money when received ^o 
be paid with all convenient dispatch into the treasur}^ for reim- 
bursing the publick." 

It was pursuant to the order of the Governor and Council, acting 
upon the authority of this act, that the commissioners were 
appointed. On the second day the court proceeded to appoint a 
number of officers to take a list of tithables and of the quantity of 
taxable lands in the county. 

The following commissioners were appointed by tlie court to 
do this work in the localities mentioned, to-wit: 

Joseph Martin, on north side Clinch mountain, high as Glade 
Hollow. John Kinkead, Glade Hollow to head of Clinch. John 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 25D 

Campbell, head of Holston to Stalnaker's direct across. William 
Edmiston, Stalnaker's to Black's Fort, direct across. James Mont- 
gomery, Black's Fort to Major Bledsoe's. John Anderson, from 
Major Bledsoe's as low as there are settlers. At the same time 
the court appointed the following constables : Rawley Duncan, 
from Castle's Woods to lowest settlement. James Wharton, Castle's 
Woods to Glade Hollow. James Laughlin, Glade Hollow, to upper 
settlement Elk Garden. William Lean, head of Holston to Seven- 
Mile Ford. Robert Brown, Seven-Mile Ford to Eleven-Mile Creek. 
Christopher Acklin, Eleven-Mile Creek to Ford of Beaver Creek. 
John Fain, Eleven-Mile Creek to Sinking Creek. James Steel, 
Ford Beaver Creek to Amos Eaton's. At the same time the fol- 
lowing surveyors of roads were appointed : Alexander Wylie, from 
county line to Charles Hayes. John Hays, from Charles Hays' to 
Mill Creek. Jacob Anderson,^ from Mill Creek to Seven-Mile Ford. 
Aaron Lewis, Seven-Mile Ford to Big Spring. Andrew Kincan- 
non from Big Spring to James Kincannon's. James Bryan, from 
James Kincannon's to Joseph Black's. Andrew Colvill, from 
Joseph Black's to Ford Beaver Creek. Benjamin Gray, Ford Bea- 
ver Creek to Steel's Creek. David Steel, from Steel's Creek to 
the meeting house. Amos Eaton, from meeting house to Fort 
Patrick Henry. Thomas Berry, Watauga Road, James Bryan's to 
James Montgomery's. William Young, Captain Montgomery's to 
Isaac Riddle's. John Cox, Isaac Riddle's to Ford of Holston. 

The names as above given and the localities assigned to each are 
important in this, that they definitely indicate the established 
roads in the county at the beginning of our local government, and 
define, with reasonable certainty, the extent of the settlements at 
that time. Many readers will be surprised to know that the Vir- 
ginia authorities appointed officials and exercised jurisdiction over 
the country (now Tennessee), as low down as Fort Patrick Henry, 
thirty miles below Bristol. The explanation is that our people 
supposed the Holston river to be the dividing line between the two 
States, Virginia and North Carolina. At this time and for several 
years thereafter, Virginia exercised jurisdiction, collected taxes 
and gave protection to the settlers as low down as Carter's Valley 
in Tennessee. 

On the second day of the court, Isaac Shelby, Robert Craig, John 
Dunkin and John Adair, were recommended to the Governor as 

260 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

proper persons to be added to the Commission of the Peace for the 
connty, and they were commissioned accordingly. On the same 
day the court recommended to Edmnnd Eandolph, Attorney for 
the Commonwealth, Ephraim Dunlop, as a proper person to act 
as Deputy Attorney for the Commonwealth in this connty, and he 
was commissioned accordingly, and became the first practising 
attorney for the Commonwealth in this connty. 

On the same day the conrt ordered that the house adjoining that 
whicli tlie court is held in, be a prison, and that the sheriff be 
empowered to employ some person to put it in the best repair he 

The statement has been made by a very worthy citizen of Wash- 
ington county of former days,* "that the first court of this connty 
assembled in a grove on the hillside south of Greenway's store, but 
in view of the above order of the court, this statement is inaccu- 
rate, as the court was held within the stockade of Black's Fort, and 
the house designated as a prison was within the same stockade. 

At the time in question, the courts of the country undertook to 
regulate the private affairs of the citizens to a much greater extent 
than at the present time, which can be accoimted for by the fact 
that our people had just shaken off the heavy hand of monarchy 
and established, for the first time, constitutional government. 

As an example of the extent to which the private concerns of the 
people were then regulated by government, the court of this county, 
on the second day of its term, fixed the price of liquors as follows : 
Eum, 16s. per gallon ; Eye whiskey, 8s. ; corn whiskey, 4s. ; a bowl of 
rum toddy, with loaf sugar, 2s., with brown sugar Is. 

And at the March term, 1779, it fixed the price of a warm din- 
ner at 15s.; cold dinner, 9s.; for a good breakfast, 12s.; oats or 
corn at 4s. per gallon; good lodging with clean sheets, 2s. Stab- 
blidge, with hay or fodder, 2s., and good pasturage the same. 

After the transaction of considerable business, on the afternoon 
of the 29th day of January, 1777, the first court of the county 
adjourned, to court in course, which was the last Tuesday in Feb- 
ruary, being the 25th day of that month, on which day the court 
assembled at Black's Fort, with several members present. The first 
business of importance transacted was the qualification of Luke 
Bowyer to practice as an attorney in this court, and, thereupon. 

*Charle3 B.. Coale. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 261 

the court proceeded to the examination of Edward Bond, on suspi- 
cion of his having murdered Thomas Jones. The court heard the 
evidence and acquitted the prisoner. On the following day the 
court proceeded to the examination of the same Edward Bond, 
upon suspicion of his having stolen a small bay mare of the value 
of fifteen pounds, and upon a hearing of the evidence against him, 
he was held for trial at the General Court, at the capitol in the 
city of Williamsburg." 

The student of our early history must be impressed with thi^5 
fact, that our forefathers would give to the prisoner charged with 
murder the benefit of every reasonable doubt, while, on the other 
band, they would give the prisoner charged with horse-stealing, the 
maximum punishment prescribed by law, if there existed against 
him a strong suspicion. 

On the 26th day of February, 1777, the court proceeded to recom- 
mend to the Governor of Virginia the militia officers for Wash- 
ington county, which officers were duly commissioned and were 
as follows: 

Captains : 

William Edmiston, John Campbell, Royal Oak; 

Joseph Martin, John Shelby, Sr. ; 

James Montgomery, Eobert Buchanan, Sr,, 

Aaron Lewis, John Duncan, 

Gilbert Christian, James Shelby, 

James Dysart, Thomas Mastin, 

John Campbell, John Kinkead, 

V John Anderson, William Bowen, 

George Adams, Eobert Craig, 

Andrew Colvill, James Eobertson, Watauga. 

Ijieutenants of Militia : 

David Beattie, James Maxwell, 

Samuel Hays, John Snoddy, 

David Ward, John Coulter, 

Thomas Price, Eoger Topp, 

George Freeland, John Anderson, 

James Fulkerson, George Maxwell, 

John Berry, William Blackburn, 

Charles Campbell, Andrew Kincannon, 

262 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

Lieutenants of Militia — Con. 
John Frazier, C!harles Allison, 

Alexander Wylie, Joseph Black. 

Ensigns of Militia: 

Thomas Whitten, Eees Bowen, 

Solomon Litton, Henry Dickenson, 

Abraham McClelland, William Eosebrough, 

John Loony, Josiah Eamsey, 

James Elliott, William Young, 

John Davis, William Casey, 

John Wilson, John Lowry, 

James Shaw, William ISTeal, 

James Crabtree, Arthur Bowen, 

Eobert Davis, Alexander Barnett. 

Colonel Arthur Campbell, immediately upon his qualification as 
county lieutenant of Washington coointy, proceeded to organize the 
militia of the county, and place the same upon such footing as they 
would be able to repel any attack that might be made upon the set- 
tlers on the frontiers, the most exposed part of which was in Car- 
ter's Valley and the Watauga settlement in the vicinity of Eliza- 
bethton, Tennessee. 

On the 31st day of March, 1777, he requested James Eobertson, 
a captain in the militia of this county, residing at Watauga to fur- 
nish him with a list of the settlers at Watauga, that he might loiow 
their strength and give such orders as were necessary for their pro- 
tection. Captain Eobertson furnished the list, whereupon Colonel 
Campbell, in view of the danger in which the settlements stood, 
directed Eobertson to assemble the settlers in one or two places, 
and he recommended Eice's and Patterson's Mills as the most pro- 
per ones. "Let yoair company be at Eice's," said he, "and Captain 
Gilbert Christian may come to Patterson's Mill." 

There was to have been a complete suspension of hostilities 
between the Cherokee Indians and the white settlers, from the 
return of Colonel Christian, in the fall of 1776, until the month 
of May, 1777, the time set for the negotiation of a treaty at Long 
Island. Notwithstanding the fact that the Indians had agreed to 
a suspension of hostilities, and that there were four hundred 
soldiers stationed at Long Island, under the command of Colonel 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 263 

Evan Shelby and Major Anthony Bledsoe, numerous hostilities 
were committed by the Indians. Several murders were committed 
on the frontiers, and on the 10th of April, 1777, James Calvatt was 
shot and scali3ed. The Indians who killed Calvatt were pursued 
by Captain James Eobertson and nine men, who killed one Indian 
and retook ten horses, but, upon his return from the pursuit of the 
Indians, he and his men were attacked by a party of Creeks and 
Cherokees, who wounded two of his men and forced him to retreat. 
At the same time two men were killed on Clinch river, and it 
developed that the Indians had numerous parties out murdering 
and plundering whenever possible. The Indians put the blame of 
this trouble upon Dragging Canoe, the Indian chief, who, upon 
receiving a wound at the battle of Long Island Flats, on July 20, 
1776, had retired to the Chickamauga country and refused to 
talk of peace. 

In the spring of the year 1777, pursuant to the provisions of the 
Constitution of the Commonwealtli of Virginia, an election was held 
for members of the G-eneral Assembly from Washington county, 
at which election Arthur Campbell and William Edmiston were 
opposed by Anthony Bledsoe and William Cocke. 

The qualification of electors voting at said election was as fol- 
lows: "Every free white man, who, at the time of the election, 
shall have been for one year preceding, in possession of twenty- 
five acres of land with a house and plantation thereon, or one hun- 
dred acres of land without a house and plantation thereon, and 
having right for an estate for life, at least, in the said land, in 
his O'Wn right or in the right of his wife, was entitled to a vote." 

This election was hotly contested and resulted in favor of 
Anthony Bledsoe and William Cocke, two gentlemen who after- 
wards became distinguished in the history of Tennessee, William 
Cocke being one of the two United States Senatoi-s elected to repre- 
sent the State of Tennessee, at the date of its formation, in the 
Senate of the United States. 

Colonel Arthur Campbell and Captain William Edmiston, on the 
20th day of May, 1777, filed a petition with the House of Dele- 
gates of Virginia, setting forth that the petitioners, with Anthony 
Bledsoe and William Cocke, were candidates at the last election of 
delegates for the county of Washington; that on the close of the 
poll it appeared that the greatest number of votes taken were in 

264 Southwest Virginia, 174G-17SG. 

favor of Anthony Bledsoe and William Cocke, owing, as they con- 
ceive, to many votes being given in by persons who reside in North 
Carolina and by others not entitled to vote ; that they apprehend the 
said Bledsoe is incapable of sitting as a member of the legislature, 
he having a military command which excluded him by the consti- 
tution; tliat the said Cocke is not possessed of such landed prop- 
erty in the county as is required by law, not to mention some 
instances of bribery and corruption practised contrary to the spirit 
of the present government; that these matters give dissatisfaction 
to what they believe to be a majority of the legal electors in the 
said county; and submitting themselves to such determination as 
shall be thought reasonable and just. Thus our county was hon- 
ored by a contested election in the dawn of its history, which must 
have excited a good deal of feeling among the pioneers of the Hols- 
ton and the Clinch. 

During the same session of the General Assembly, Mr. Banister, 
chairman of the Committee on Privileges and Elections, reported 
toi the legislature that the committee had agreed upon a report and 
had comie to several resolutions thereupon, which they had directed 
him to report to the House. Having read the report in his 
place, he afterwards delivered it in at the clerk's table, where 
the same was read and was as foHoweth — viz. : 

"As to the first charge contained in the said petition against the 
sitting members, as not having a greater number of legal votes than 
the petitioners, it appears to your committee, from a certificate of 
tlie sheriff of the county of Washington, that upon the close of the 
poll, the number of the voters stood as follows — to-wit: 

For Mr. Anthony Bledsoe 297 

For Mr. William Cocke ?: 294 

For Mr. Arthur Campbell 211 

For Mr. William Edmiston 144 

It also appears to your committee by a line run by Colonel John 
Donaldson between this State and North Carolina, as far as the 
Holston river, that should it be continued in the same latitude to 
where it would intersect the north fork of Holston river, a consider- 
able number of those who voted for the sitting members would be 
left in North Carolina, and if allowed the right of suffrage in 
the said county of Washington, would give them the greatest num- 
ber of legal votes. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 265 

It farther appears to your committee, from the information of 
Thomas Walker, Esq., that from the most accurate observations he 
has been able to make, the Great Island on the Holston river lies 
in this State, and that, shonld a direct line rnn from where the 
said Donaldson's terminated to the said island, the greater number 
of voters living in the bend of Holston river would be taken into 
the county of Washington, and that such' line would in many places 
intersect the river. 

It appears to your committee from the information of Colonel 
William Christian that he brought a writ of ejectment in the 
County Court of Fincastle for a tract of land lying near the Hol- 
ston river, between the Great Island and the termination of Don- 
aldson's line ; that the person who was in possession of the land and 
defended the suit, pleaded to the jurisdiction of the court, which 
was overruled and he obtained a judgment. 

It farther appears to your committee, from the testimony of 
James Thompson, that he acted as sheriff in the county formerly 
Fincastle in the years 1774 and 1775, during which time he col- 
lected levies and taxes from those people who reside on the north 
side of the Holston river as low down as within about six miles of 
the great island, which was esteemed the reputed bounds of Vir- 
ginia. As to the second article of charge contained in the petition 
touching Mr. Bledsoe's holding a military command, it appears 
to 3'-our committee that Mr. Bledsoe holds no other commission 
than that of a major in the militia. 

As to the article of charge against Mr. Cocke, as not being a land- 
holder and resident in the said county of Washington, it appears 
to your committee, from the testimony of James Thompson and 
John Montgomer3^ that Mr. Cocke was possessed, under a survey, 
of more than one hundred acres of land for one year preceding 
the election, hath resided in the county formerly Fincastle, with 
a family, several years, until some time in February last, when 
Mr. Cocke moved part of his family out of the country for fear 
of an Indian war, but continues there himself the greater part of 
his time. 

That the said John Montgomery was present when the poll was 
closed and heard the sheriff proclaim the sitting members duly 

As to the last article of charge respecting the bribery and cor- 

266 Southwest Virginia, 171,6-1786. 

ruption, it appears to your committee to be groundless. Whereupon 
your committee came to the following resolutions : 

Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, That the said 
Anthony Bledsoe and William Cocke were duly elected to serve as 
delegates in this present General Assembly for the county of Wash- 

The said resolutions being severally read a second time, were, 
upon the question severally put thereupon, agreed tO' by the House."* 

While the people of Washington county, Virginia, may feel some 
pride in knowing that our people explored East Tennessee and 
furnished the rule of action by which her early settlers were gov- 
erned, on the other hand East Tennesseeans will find pride in the 
fact that they furnished Washington county, Virginia, her first 
representatives in the Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

This election was held at Black's Port, the county seat of Wash- 
ington county, and every elector in the county was required to 
attend and cast his vote in person, under a penalty, and we may 
well imagine what a busy appearance the neighborhood of Black's 
Fort presented that day, 946 men from Powell's Valley, Clinch 
Valley, Holston, Carter's Valley and Watauga, Tennessee. 

On the 29th day of April, 1777, the ancestor of a great many 
people whose names have been honorably associated with the his- 
tory of Washington county ^appeared in court. He was not a 
stranger to this section, nor was he a stranger to the members of 
that court. He had long been a deputy surveyor, under William 
Preston, surveyor of Fincastle county, and had previously thereto 
surveyed for the citizens of Holston large and numerous tracts 
of land. His name was Eobert Preston, and on that day he pre- 
sented to the court a commission from the masters of William and 
Mary College, appointing him surveyor of Washington county. 
The position of county surveyor was at that time, the most lucra- 
tive position to be found in any of the counties and was much 
sought after. William Preston, of Smithfield, as well as Robert 
Preston, had long been actively engaged by Colonel James Patton 
and the Tjoyal Tiand Company, in surveying and locating their 
grants of one hundred and twenty thousand and eight hundred 
thousand acres of land in Southwest Virginia. For this reason 
they had incurred the displeasure of many of the people of South- 

*Joxirnal House of Delegates, 1777. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 267 

western Virginia, and particulaiiy that of Colonel Arthur Camp- 
bell and his family, men who were ambitious and who felt it their 
right to rule. Whether this was the reason for the action of the 
court, or whether the reason is correctly stated in the order of 
the court cannot be stated. The court entered the following order: 

"Eobert Preston, Gent., produced a commission from the Mas- 
ters of William and Mary College appointing him a surveyor of 
Washington, and it is the opinion of the court that the same should 
not be received, as it is issued by virtue of a prerogative from 
the Crown of England." 

If the order of this coiirt correctly stated the motive of the 
court, there can be no question that the court detested the Crown 
of England and everything emanating therefrom. 

Eobert Preston appealed from this order of the County Court 
of Washington county, to the General Court at Williamsburg, 
which appeal was pending for some time, during which time, Eobert 
Preston produced a surveyor's commission from the Masters of 
William and Mary College, dated January 23, 1777, to the County 
Court, ol this county, and desired to be qualified by the said court, 
but his application was refused by the court, as there was an appeal 
pending in the General Court for a refusal of the same character. 

AVhile the appeal of Eobert Preston was pending in the General 
Court, numerously signed petitions were presented to the General 
Assembly of Virginia, praying that lx)dy to confer the power ol 
selecting coamty surveyors upon the Coimty Courts of the several 
counties, but Eobert Preston seemed to have the ear of government, 
and all petitions were rejected. 

I cannot say what disposition was made of the appeal of Eobert 
Preston, but from an inspection of the records of the County Court 
of this county, the following information is gathered : "Eobert 
Preston, Gent., produced a commission from Thos. Jefferson, Gov. 
of the Commonwealth of Virginia, being dated the 22nd day of 
December, 1779, appointing him Surveyor of the County of Wash- 
ington, and gave bond with James Dysart and Aaron Lewis, his 
securities, in the sum of 20,000 pounds for the faithful discharge 
of his oflfico and took the oath of office." 

This office he filled until the year 1831, a little more than fifty- 
one years. The bad feeling between thePreston and Campbell fam- 
ilies continued for many years, during which time there was a 

268 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

resort to arms. A duel was fought and a member of the Campbell 
family wounded, but I am happy to say this feeling has long since 
died out, and the two families for many years have been intimately 
connected, socially and otherwise. 

The settlers on the Plolston and Clinch, during the years 1776- 
1777, had been greatly harassed by the invasion of the Indians, 
and thereby prevented from making anything like a crop from their 
lands. They had also been required to furnish supplies to Colonel 
Christian and his army of two thousand men, upon their invasion 
of the Cherokee country, and the country was thereby greatly 
impoverished before the crops in the year 1777 were harvested. 
The good citizens, the relatives and friends of the settlers, living 
in Augusta county, contributed through Mr. Alexander St. Clair 
considerable sums of money, and provisions, for the relief of the 
settlers on the frontiers, and the County Court of this county, 
besides entering the following order, directed Captain William 
Campbell to have Mr. St. Clair to lay out the money in his hands 
for wheat. 

"Ordered that Joseph Martin, John Kinkead, John Coulter, Gil- 
bert Christian, William Campbell and Thomas Mastin, who are 
hereby appointed as commissioners to distribute the flour con- 
tributed in Augusta county or elsewhere for the distressed inhabi- 
tants of this county, and to hire wagons to bring the same to this 

This is the only instance save one, in the history of this county, 
that outsiders have been called upon to contribute to the support 
of the people of Washington county. 

On the same day, the court entered an order appointing Eobert 
Young, constable, from Amos Eaton's to Patterson's Mill, Castle- 
ton Brooks, from Patterson's Mill to lowest settlements down the 
river. These appointments were made to keep in touch with the 
advancing settlements. 

At a meeting of the court on the 30th day of April, 1777, it 
was ''ordered that the court be held as soon as the courthouse can be 
built, at the place formerly laid off for a town, upon the land given 
to the county by the honorable Thomas Walker, Joseph Black and 
Samuel Briggs.^' / 

At the time of the organization of the'^ county. Dr. Thomas 
Walker, Joseph Black and Samuel Briggs agreed to give one hun- 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 269 

dred and twenty acres of land in the coimty of Washington agree- 
ably to a survey thereof made by Robert Doach for the purpose 
of establishing a town thereon, and for raising a sum of money 
towards defraying the expenses of building a courthouse and prison. 
This offer was made by the gentlemen mentioned to the County 
Court as an inducement to have them establish the coimty seat near 
Black's Fort and adjoining their other lands. 

Tradition says that the co^urt hesitated for sojn« time m making 
a selection between Wolf Hills, (now Abiiigdon), and Shugarts- 
ville, (now Green Spring). 

From a perusal of the orders of the County Court, it appears 
that a number of logs and other timber had been gathered at Mr. 
Black's for the purpose of building a magazine when, on the 27th 
day of August, 1777, the County Court ordered the sheriff to 
employ some person or persons, upon the best terms he could, to 
remove the logs and other timber at Mr. Black's for the purpose of 
building a magazine, to some convenient place where the town 
is to stand and there to be built for a courthouse." 

"And likewise to build a prison fourteen feet square, with square 
timber, twelve inches each way, and a good shingle roof," with 
directions to line the side wall and under floor with two-inch plank, 
and put nine iron spikes in each plank, six inches long in lieu of a 
stone wall." 

Pursuant to this order, the sheriff of the county let the contract 
for the building of the county courthouse to Samuel Evans; to 
Abraham Goodpasture, the building of a prison; to G. Martin, the 
contract for making irons for criminals, and to Hugh Berry the 
contract for making the nails to be used in the building of the 

The courthouse was built of logs and stood upon the lot occupied 
by the present residence of Mrs. James W. Preston. The jail oi 
prison (a fair description of which has been previously given), stood 
on the lower end of the present courthouse lot, a short distance from 
the street and north of the present courthouse. 

On the 30th day of April, 1777, the County Court "ordered that 
Arthur Campbell, William Campbell, Daniel Smith, Joseph Mar- 
tin, William Edmiston, John Coulter and Eobert Craig, gents, 
be appointed trustees to dispose of the land given to the county 
by the Honorable Thomas Walker, Samuel Briggs^ and Joseph 

270 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

Black, and formerly laid off by Captain Robert Doach, and that 
they or any four of them shall sell the same and apply the money 
arising therefrom toward defraying the expenses of the publick 
buildings in tJiis county." 

Pursuant to this order of the court, the trustees therein named 
employed John Coulter to lay off a part of the streets and alleys 
of the proposed town, which service he performed and reported to 
the court and received his pay therefor. 

The time when the new courthouse was first occupied cannot 
be definitely fixed, but must have been in the year 1778, and the 
new prison was not used or occupied until the year 1779. 

On the same day the court directed David Campbell, clerk, to 
furnish blank books for keeping the public records, and ordered the 
sheriff to summons twenty-four of the most capable freeholders to 
serve as a grand jury, which grand jury met on the 27th day of 
May, 1777, at Black's Fort, and made the following indictments — 
to- wit : 

Margaret Drummon for having a bastard child, and James 
Bryan for not having the road in good repair he was surveyor of. 
On the same day the court entered the following order : 

"Ordered that it be certified that it is the opinion of the court, 
that the field officers for Washington county be recommended to 
His Excellency the Governor, to be continued and be in the office 
they have been commissioned to by his Excellency, which appoint- 
ments are approved of by the court of this county. 

Major Anthony Bledsoe, upon his election as a member of the 
Legislature of Virginia, resigned his position as major of the forces 
stationed at Long Island and left for Richmond, and was suc- 
ceeded by Captain William Russell. 

Major Bledsoe and Captain Cocke expected, upon the assembling 
of the legislature at Richmond, to have the pleasure of displacing 
the militia officers of Washington county and filling their positions 
with their friends and partizans, and Colonel Campbell, as a means 
to disappoint Cocke and Bledsoe in the accomplishment of their 
purpose, had the preceding order entered by the court of this 
county, which action had the desired effect, and as a result of it 
Cocke and Bledsoe preferred charges against Colonel Campbell, 
which charges were heard and dismissed by the Governor and Coun- 
cil, in the same year. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 371 

The County Court during this year, upon motion of James 
Dysart, sheriff of the county, permitted Joseph Black, James Eob- 
erts and John King, to qualify as deputy sheriffs for this county, 
and during the same year, permitted Eobert Campbell and John 
Campbell to qualify as deputy clerks for said county. 

During the early part of the year 1777, the court ordered the fol- 
lowing roads opened and established : "A road from James Kin- 
cannon's to William Kennedy's Mill. A road from Samuel Henry's 
up the South Pork of Holston, the way viewed by Eobert Buchanan, 
Alexander McISTutt and Eobert Edmiston, pursuant to the order 
of the Fincastle court." 

And, "on motion, John Anderson, Gilbert Christian, James 
Elliott, James Fulkerson and William Eoberts, were appointed com- 
missioners to view a road from George Blackburn's by James Ful- 
kerson's to the forks of the path leading to Kentucky and the mouth 
of Eeedy creek." 

In the fall of this year, the following orders relating to the roads 
of the county, were entered : 

"Benjamin Gray and William Blackburn were appointed commis- 
sioners to view and locate a road from the courthouse to Shoate's 
Ford on Holston river on the 27th day of August, 1777, and the 
report of the viewers establishing this road was confirmed by the 
court on the 30th day of September, 1777. 

Josiah Gamble, Thomas Berry and Adam Keer were appointed 
commissioners to locate a road from the courthouse to Philip's Mill, 
on the Watauga road, on the 27th of August, 1777 ; their report was 
confirmed and the road established on the 30th day of September, 

William Bowen, David Ward, Eees Bowen and James Fowler 
were appointed commissioners to locate a road from the Eichlands 
by Maiden's Spring to the gap of the Laurel Fork of the north 
branch of Holston on the 30th day of September, 1777, and on 
the same day, John Finley, John Fowler and Abraham Crabtree 
were appointed commissioners to locate a road from said gap down 
the valley to the head of Fifteen-Mile creek and on to the court- 

On the same day, Albert McClure, Thomas McCulloch and 
Joseph Martin were appointed commissioners to view a road from 
the foot of Clinch mountain where James Logan lived to the gap 

273 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

O'f the moimtain opposite the head of Fifteen-Mile creek. Their 
report was received and confirmed on the 18th day of March, 177S. 

John Kinkead, Daniel Smith, Thomas Price and William Gil- 
mer were appointed commissioners to locate a road from the 
north side of Clinch mountain, over Clinch mountain, to Eobert 
and James Logan's and Halbert McClure. Thomas McCulloch and 
Joseph Martin were appointed commissioners to locate a road from 
the foot of Clinch moimtain at James Logan's to the courthouse. 

William Casey, Eobert Harrold and Samuel Staples were 
appointed commissioners on the 36th day of November, 1777, to 
locate a road from the mouth of Harrold's creek to the courthouse, 
and on the same day, Francis Cooper, John Dunkin and James 
Davis were appointed commissioners to locate a road from the 
ISTorth Fork of Holston to the Castle's Woods road through Little 
Moccasin Gap ; this last road was established by order of the court on 
the 18th day of March, 1778. 

We give this information in regard to the roads established in the 
year 1777, as it is always of interest to the citizens to laiow the 
time and circumstances attending the opening of our public roads. 

The State authorities in the month of October, 1777, made a 
requisition upon the authorities of Washington county for thirty- 
three men for the continental service, which requisition was 
promptly complied with. 

During the summer of this year, all the western settlements were 
visited, by numbers of Tories from the eastern portion of the State 
and from the disaffected portions of North Carolina, and were 
greatly troubled by their presence in this, that they usually joined 
themselves in bands and traveled about through the settlements, 
stealing horses and robbing the Whig sympathizers ; and O'ftentimes, 
in accomplishing their purposes, committed the (>ffence_of murder, 
and, from all appearances, in the fall of this ^ear it looked as if they 
would be able to give the settlers a great deal of trouble, unless in 
some manner restrained. 

The people living on Holston undertook to restrain these Tory 
sympathizers by a resort to the courts and by inflicting the punish- 
ment prescribed by law, and, in so doing, Isaac Lebo, Jeremiah 
Slaughter and William Houston were indicted, tried and convicted 
for conduct and conversation evidencing a disposition inimical to 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 273 

the cause of America. Their goods were confis^ted_and they were 
fined and imprisoned. 

The British government had spies scattered throughout the 
country, carrying messages between its officials ^nd the Indians 
living to the south and west of the Holston settlements, and the 
situation was fast becoming exceedingly precarious. One of these 
spies was captured and punished by ColonerWilliam Campbell and 
some of his friends, in this yeiir, when Colonel Campbell was return- 
ing to his liome from preaching, in company with his wife and two 
or three gentlemen. The circumstances were as follows: "When 
Colonel Campbell had gotten within a few miles of home, he dis- 
covered a man walking, with a little bundle on a stick thrown over 
his shoulder. Wlien the man got within some hundred and fifty 
yards of Campbell, he turned obliquely off from the road. As soon 
as Campbell discovered this, he turned from the road in a direction 
to intercept him. When the man discovered that he was about to 
be intercepted by Campliell and his companions, he broke and ran 
with all his might towards the river. The pursuers galloped after 
liim and as there was no ford there they jumped off of their 
horses and ran across the river and overtook their game in an ivy 
cleft. Tliey carried him back to the road. When they got back 
several other men fell in company with them. The spy, as I will 
now call the, was dressed very shabbily. Colonel Campbell 
asked him why he turned from the road. The spy appeared very 
silly and offered some flimsy excuse. Campbell propounded a great 
many other questions to him. The fellow pretended to have very 
little sense and said that he was a very poor man and was going 
tO' the back settlements where there was plenty of land. From 
the many questions Campbell proposed^ to the spy he became per- 
fectly satisfied that he was a man of fine sense and under the dis- 
guise of a fool. Campbell informed him that he believed him to 
be a man engaged in some vile service and he must be searched, 
to which the spy had no objection. His bundle was searched, in 
which was found nothing but some old clothes. Campbell informed 
him he must pull off all the clothes he had on and put on the suit 
he had in his bundle. In his pocket they found a pass and some 
other old papers, all badly written. Every part of his clothing was 
examined very minutely, but nothing could be found. Campbell 
remarked to the spy that he had a very good pair of shoes on and 

374 SouihwesL Virginia, 17J^6-178G. 

he believed he would examine them. He took out his pocket knife 
and ripped off the bottom soles of the shoes, and under each of them 
he found a letter written by the British commander, addressed to 
V ' the King of the Cherokee Indians. The letters were written on 
very fine paper and were enveloped in bladder so as to render them 
water-proof. The Indians were informed that the whites had 
rebelled against their king, that a large army had been sent against 
them, which would in a short time subdue them. The Indians 
were exhorted to send their warriors in every direction and harass 
the whites as much as possible. They were reminded of the injuries 
they had received from the whites and were told that as soon as the 
rebels were subdued, they would be amply remunerated for all the 
land that had been taken from them and for whatever other losses 
they had sustained from them. The letter wound up by recom- 
mending the bearer to the king as a man of sense and honesty and 
as one in whose counsels they should place implicit confidence. After 
the letters were read, a council was held and it was unanimously 
agreed that the spy should be hanged. Colonel Campbell informed 
the spy that he had but a short time to live and he had as well make 
a full and candid confession of everything connected with his trip. 
The spy said that he had been promised by the British commander 
a large sum of money to carry these letters to the Indians and to 
incite them to do all the mischief they could possibly accomplish. 
Soon after this confession the spy was taken by Campbell and his 
companions and swung to a limb."* 

At the August term of the County Court of 1777, th^ situation 
had become so alarming that the court thought proper to require all 
the citizens of the county to take the oath of allegiance to the Com- 
monwealth and directed tliat George Blackb urn tender the oath 
of allegiance to all free male inliabitants living in the bounds of 
Captain James Shelby's, Eobert Craig's and Andrew Colvill's com- 

James Montgomery to tender the oath to those living in liis own 
and Captain John Shelby's companies. 

Arthur Campbell to tender the oath of allegiance to all in Cap- 
tain Edmiston's and Captain Dysart's companies. 

William Campbell to tender the oath of allegiance to those living 
in Captain Aaron Lewis's company. 

. *Capt. John Redd's MSS. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 275 

John Snoddy, to those in his own and Captain Adam's compan3^ 

John Camphell, to those in his own and Captain John Camp- 
bell's companies at Eoyal Oak. 

John Kinkead in his own and Captain Dunkin's company. 

Daniel Smith, to those living from the npper part of Captain 
Dunkin's company to the county line, and to John Coulter was 
assigiied the duty of tendering the oath of allegiance to all free male 
inhabitants in the bounds of Captain Gilbert Christian's company 
and Captain James Eobertson's company at Watauga. 

The members of the County Court of Washington county were 
zealous Whigs and were so aggressive in the enforcement of their 
views, that it was with difficulty that a Tory could make his home 
anywhere within the bounds of this county without being prosecuted 
to the full extent of the law. A majority of these men did not 
recognize any distinction between an Indian who would scalp his 
wife and children and a man with a white skin who would lend 
his influence to a government that would offer every inducement 
to the Indian to murder and plunder the wliite settlers. 

Colonel William Campbell was particularly aggressive in his pro- 
secution of the Tories tO' be found within the county, and, by reason 
thereof, was the object of special hatred on their part. 

At this time there lived in Washington county two men by the 
names of Frands Hopkins and William Hopkins. Francis Hop- 
kins was a counterfeiter and, at the May term of the County Conrt 
in the year 1778, he was tried by the court on suspicion of his hav- 
ing counterfeited, erased and altered sundry treasury notes ; the 
currency of this Commonwealth, knowing the same to be bad. He 
was foimd guilty, fined fifty dollars lawful money of Virginia, sen- 
tenced to six months in prison, and was ordered to be confined 
within the walls of the Fort at William Cocke's (now C. L. Clyce's), 
on Eenfro's creek, alias Spring creek, until the county gaol was 
completed. He was conveyed to Cocke's Fort, but, within a short 
time thereafter, made his escape and began a series of very bold 
and daring depredations upon the Whig settlers of the county. He 
organized a band of Tories, whose occupation was to steal the horses 
of the settlers and intimidate the citizens whenever possible. He 
went so far as to. post notices at and near the home of Colonel Wil- 
liam Campbell, warning him that if he did not desist from his pro- 

276 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

secution of the loyal adherents of George III, a terrible calamity 
would befall him, either in the loss of his property or his life. 

"On a quiet and beautiful Sabbath in the spring time of the 
year 1780, General Campbell accompanied by Ms wife (who was 
^ a sister of Patrick Henry), and several of their neighbors, attended 
a religious service at a Presbyterian house of worship known as 
Ebbing Spring Church in the upper end of this county. As they 
were returning to their homes they happened to be conversing about 
the audacity of the Tory who had been so bold and defiant in his 
declarations and was suspected of having posted these notices above 
referred to. Just as they arrived at the top of a hill, a short dis- 
tance west of the present residence of Colonel Hiram A. Greever, 
they observed a man on horseback on the opposite hill, coming 
towards them. General Campbell was riding beside his wife, with 
an infant on before him. One of them remarked that the individual 
meeting them was the Tory of whom they had been speaking, prob- 
ably now on a horse-stealing expedition, as he was observed to be 
carrying a rope halter in his hand. Hearing this, Colonel Campbell, 
without halting, handed the infant over to its mother and dashed 
O'ut in front. Seeing the movement and recognizing the man whom 
he so much feared and hated, the Tory wheeled his horse and started 
back at quite a rapid gait, pursued at full speed by Colonel Camp- 
bell and one of the gentlemen of the compan}'-, whose name was 
Thompson. Never, it may be presumed, either before or since, has 
such a dashing and exciting race been witnessed upon that long 
level between the residences of Colonels Greever and Beattie. As 
they reached the branch at the base of the hill a little west of Colonel 
Beattie's, Colonel Campbell dashed up alongside the fleeing Tory, 
who, seeing that he would be caught, turned short to the right down 
the bank and plunged into the river. As he struck the water. 
Colonel Campbell, who had left his companion in the rear, leaped in 
beside him, grasped the Tory's holsters and threw them into the 
stream, and then dragged him from his horse into the water. 

At this moment Mr. Thompson rode up. They took their prisoner 
out on the bank and held what may be termed a drum-head court. 
The Tory, who, bad as he was, had the virtue of being a brave, can- 
did man, at once acknowledged the truth of the charge preferred 
against him and boldly declared his defiance and determination to 
take horses wherever he could find them. But he was mistaken in 
his man, for in less tlian ten minutes he was dangling from the 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 277 

limb of a large sycamore that stood upon the bank of the river, the 
stump of which was to be seen a few years ago, and may be there 
yet for aught the writer knows.* 

After the sudden taking off of Fran^i^ Hopkins, as above detailed, 
William Hopkins continued his depredations upon the Whig settlers 
and resorted to arms, for which offence he also was arrested in the 
year 1779 and committed to the gaol of this county for trial, but 
escaped therefrom, whereupon, the court entered the following order 
on the 16th day of June, 1779 : 

"Washington county ss. On motion of Ephraim Dunlop, Deputy 
Attorney for the Commonwealth, that the estate of William Hop- 
kins, who had been taken and committed to the gaol of this county 
for treasonable practices against the United States of America, in 
taking up arms under the British Standard and who had broken the 
gaol and escaped, be sold and the money deposited in the treasury, it 
appearing to the court that the said Hopkins has no family, and 
that he has no stated place of abode, 

^'Ordered that the sheriff seize and sell all the estate of the said 
Hopkins which shall be found in his bailiwick and that he keep 
the money accruing from such sale in his hands until the General 
Assembly shall determine how the said money is to be expended." 

Ordered that the clerk of the court transmit this order to the 
Speaker of the House of Delegates at the next session of the 

The good citizens of the county organized themselves into bands 
called "Eegulators," and patroled the county and meted out pun- 
ishment to the offenders according to the enormity of their conduct. 
The citizens, following the example of their leaders, adopted, in 
dealing with Tory sympathizers, measures of such a character that 
this county was comparatively free from Tory influences during the 
entire war, and numbered among her citizens only such persons as 
were willing and ready to offer their lives and property as a sacri- 
fice on the altar of their country. And so strong and healthy was 
the Whig settlement in this county, in the 5^ears 1778-1779, that 
numbers of our citizens were called upon to assist in suppressing 
an uprising of the Tory sympathizers in the county of Montgomery. 

The mode of procedure adopted by our Eevolutionary fathers, in 
dealing with tliis matter, may not meet with the approval of some 

?Charles B. Coale.^ 

278 Southwest Virginia, 17J,6-1786. 

at this day, but it is evident to the student of our history, that the 
methods used were the most effective in dealing with the unprin- 
cipled men who had chosen, with the assistance of the Indians, tO' 
commit all manner of depredations and outrages upon the frontier 

In the county of Montgomery, persuasion and good treatment 
were used on this character of citizens and resulted in what might 
be termed an insurrection, a deplorable state of affairs that could 
not be remedied without the assistance of the patriots of Washing- 
ton county and the application of their methods in the premises. 

In Washington county stern justice was meted out speedily and 
effectively, to all violators of the law, Avhich policy was approved by 
the body politic and had the desired effect. 

In the month of July, 1777, the Government of Virginia decided 
to appoint a superintendent or Indian Agent for the Cherokee 
Indians, which position was conferred upon Captain Joseph Mar- 
tin, and the agency was located at the Long Island in Holston 
river. Captain Martin, upon his appointment as Indian Agent, 
proceeded to build a large store house on the island, for the purpose 
of depositing such goods as the government might send out for the 
Indians and for the accommodation of the Indians when at Long 
Island on business with the Indian Agent. 

Daniel Boone, in March, 1775, undertook to mark out for a num- 
ber of North Carolina gentlemen a road from Watauga, Tennessee, 
through the wilderness to Kentucky, which he did. The road 
marked out by Boone, at this time, was from the Watauga settle- 
ment near Elizabethton (Tennessee), to the Cumberland Gap, and, 
from the Gap, it followed the Indian trace known as "the War- 
rior's Path," about fifty miles, where it left the "Warrior's Path," 
bearing to the west to the "Hazel Patch" and to Pock Castle river. 
From Eock Castle river the road passed through the present county 
of Madison (Kentucky) and on to the Kentucky river, at the moutli 
of Otter creek. About one mile below the moutli of this creek, 
Boone established headquarters and erected a fort, and called it 
Boonesborough. Boone was followed by a large company in charge 
of Eichard Henderson, who claimed to own all the lands between 
the Ohio and the Cumberland rivers, l)y purchase from the Chero- 
kee Indians, to which country he had given the name of Transyl- 
vania. Benjamin Logan with a company of men from the Wolf Hills, 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 279 

(now Abingdon), joined Colonel Henderson in Powell's Valley, and 
the two companies traveled together as far as Eockcastle river in 
Kentucky, where Logan, not approving of Colonel Henderson's pre- 
tensions or plans, left Henderson and traveled westwardly in the 
direction of the Crab Orchard, and when he had reached the level 
land he halted and built a fort which he called "Logan's Port." 

In this year, a large number of emigrants began to travel into 
Kentucky, seeking homes, and, by the month of July, a considerable 
body of people had gathered at Boone's Port and Logan's Port. 

On the 4th day of July, 1777, one hundred Indians appeared 
before Logan's Port and laid siege to it, which siege continued 
until the month of September. When the siege had lasted foT 
some time. Captain Benjamin Logan, with a number of friends, 
slipped out of the fort by night and began an exceedingly hard and 
dangerous trip to the settlements on Holston, to procure supplies for 
the foTt and reinforcements against the Indians. They traveled by 
night and lay by during the day ; but, finally reaching the Holston 
at Wolf Hills, they secured powder and the assistance of forty rifle- 
men, and returned to the fort within ten days. 

The riflemen from the Holston settlenuents were under the 
command of Colonel John Bowman. Many of the men who went 
to the rescue of their relatives and fellow-citizens in Kentucky at 
this time subsequently made their homes in Kentucky, and Ben- 
jamin Logan became a great man in the new State. 

The road thus marked by Daniel Boone and Benjamin Logan 
continued to be the passageway of many hundreds of settlers and 
emigrants on their way to Kentucky until the year 1781, although 
it was nothing more than a mere path or trace. 

By the 3^ear 1779 great numbers of people were emigrating to 
and settling to the westward of the Cumberland mountains. In 
this year the General Assembly of Virginia passed an act for mark- 
ing and opening a road over the Cumberland mountains into the 
county of Kentucky. The act in question appointed Evan Shelby 
and Eichard Calloway commissioners to explore the country adja- 
cent to and on both sides of the Cumberland mountains, and to 
trace and mark the most convenient road from the settlements on 
the east side of the mountains over the same into the open coun- 
try into the county of Kentucky, and to cause such road, with all 
convenient dispatch to be opened and cleared in such manner as 

380 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

to give par^sage to travelers with pack-horses for the present;, and to 
report to the next session of the Assembly the distance, the prac- 
ticability and the cost of completing and making the same a good 
wagon road. The act further j^rovided that should the said Evan 
Shelby or Eichard Calloway refuse or be unable to act, then the 
County Court of their residence should appoint his or their succes- 
sor. It provided also that a guard of not more than fifty men from 
the county most convenient should attend said commissioners while 
locating this road. 

Colonel Evan Shelby declined to act as commissioner, pursuant 
to the act of the Assembly above mentioned, and the County Court 
of Washington county, in which he lived, on June 20, 1780, en- 
tered the following order : 

"Ordered that Captain John Kinkead be appointed in the room 
of Colonel Evan Shelby, who has refused to act agreeably to the 
Act of Assembly for marking and opening a road over the Cum- 
berland mountains into the county of Kentucke." 

This appointment Captain Kinlcead accepted, and, along with 
Captain Calloway, effected the opening of a road through the 
Cumberland mountains to Kentucky, and on the first day of De- 
cember, 1781, a petition of John Kinkead was presented to the 
General Assembly of Virginia "setting forth that agreeably to ap- 
pointment of the County Court of Washington he, in conjunction 
with the other commissioner, proceeded to and effected the open- 
ing of a road through the Cumberland mountains to Kentucky, 
and praying to be paid for the service." 

The road thus located by Captains Kinkead and Calloway, be- 
came what was known as the "Wilderness Eoad," and for twenty 
years subsequent thereto was the principal highway traveled by 
an immense train of emigrants to the West. This road passed 
through Abingdon, and that the present generation may be able 
to locate this road, I give the stopping points, with the distances 
between, along the road from Inglis' Ferry at New river to Cum- 
berland Gap : 

Washington County, 1777-1870. ^ 281 

Miles. Miles. 

*From Hand's Meadow to To Moccasin Gap 5 

Inglis' Ferry at New Eiver 12 To Clinch Eiver 11 

To Fort Chiswell 30 To Ford Stock Creek 2 

To Atkins' Ordinary 19 To Little Flat Lick 5 

To Mid. Fork Holston. . . — To North Fork Clinch 1 

To Cross White's, Mont- To Powell's Mountain 1 

gomery 3 To Wallen's Eidge 5 

To Col. Arthur Campbell's 3 To Valley Station 5 

To 7-mile Ford of Holston 6 To Powell's Eiver 2 

To Major Dysart's Mill.. 12 To Glade Spring 4 

To Washington Courthouse 10 To Martin's Station 19 

To Head Eeedy Creek, Sul- To Big Spring 12 

livan county, N. C 20 To Cumberland Mountain 

To Block House 13 Gap 8 

To North Fork of Holston 2 

Thomas Speed traveled this same route in the year 1790, and 
gives the names of the stopping points with the distances between : 


IngHs' Ferry 20 

To Carter's 13 

To Fort Chiswell 12 

To the Stone Mill 11 

To Adkins' 16 

To Eussell Place 16 

To Greenway's 14 

To Washington Co. House 6 
To the Block House 35 


To Farriss's 5 

To Clinch Eiver 12 

To Scott's Station 12 

To Cox's at Powell's Eiver 10 

To Martin's Station 2 


To Cumberland Mountain 3 
To Cumberland Eiver. ... 15 

At this time five ferries were maintained across New river in 
Southwest Virginia by land owners, toi-wit: William Inglis, 
Samuel Pepper, Cornelius Brown, Thomas Herbert and Austin & 
Co., for the accommodation of travelers and emigrants, and the 
General Assembly fixed the toll at four cents for each man and 
four cents for each horse ferried. 

Cliief-Justice Eobertson, of Kentucky, in speaking of the land 
law enacted for Kentucky by the General Assembly of Virginia 

*Win. Brovra's MSS. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 283 

in the year 1779, and of the emigration which took place in that 
year, used the following language : 

"This heneficent enactment hrought to the country during the 
fall and winter of that year an unexampled tide of emigrants, who, 
exchanging all the comforts of their native society and homes for 
settlements for themselves and children liere, came, like pilgrims, 
to a wilderness to be made secure by their arms and habitable by 
the toil of their lives. Through privations incredible and ^perils 
thick, thousands of men, women and children came in successive 
caravans, forming continuous streams of human beings, horses, 
cattle and other domestic animals, all moving onward along a 
lonely and houseless path to a wild and cheerless land. Cast your 
eyes back on that long procession of missionaries in the cause of 
civilization ; behold the men on foot with their trusty guns on their 
shol^lde^s, driving stock and leading pack-horses; and the women, 
some walking with pails on their heads, others riding with chil- 
dren in their laps, and other children hung in baskets on horses, 
fastened to the tails of others going before; see them encamped 
at night expecting to be massacred by Indians ; behold them in 
tlie month of December, in that ever memorable season of unpre- 
cedented cold called the "hard winter," traveling two or three 
miles a day, frequently in danger of being frozen or killed by the 
falling of horses on the icy and almost impassable trace, and sub- 
sisting on stinted allowances of stale bread and meat ; but now, 
lastly, look at them at the destined fort, perhaps on the eve of 
Merry Christmas, when met by the hearty welcome of friends who 
had come before, and, cheered by the fresh Iniffalo meat and 
parched corn, they rejoice at their deliverance and resolve to be 
contented with their lot." 

It was by this route and in this manner that many of our citi- 
zens traveled to their new homes in Kentucky and throughout the 
West, and it was for the protection of travelers on this route that 
the county officials of Washington county, Virginia, expended a 
great deal of effort and money, the Indians, for many years sub- 
sequent to 1775, waylaying this route, murdering the emigrants 
and stealing their horses and plunder. 

The ministers of the Gospel, being Presbyterian in belief, kept 
step with the advance of the settlers upon the frontiers. The set- 
tlements had scarcely reached the vicinity of Jonesboro, Tennes- 

284 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

see, when Rev. Samuel Doak, a Presbyterian minister, who had 
been educated at Princeton, with great energy and with a deter- 
mination to make his home on the frontiers, appeared upon the 
scene, after having walked through Maryland and Virginia, driv- 
ing before him a horse loaded with books. He was greatly appre- 
ciated by the people among whom he had cast his lot, and he, in 
turn, exercised a "wonderful influence upon tlie early settlers of 
East Tennessee. 

In this year, 1777, through the influence of this preacher, a 
Presbyterian log church was erected near Jonesboro, Tennessee, 
to which was given the name of "Salem Church." Near this 
church soon thereafter he erected a school-house which afterwards 
became Washington College, this church and school being the 
first erected in the State of Tennessee. 

On the 26th day of November, 1777, the county court of this 
county proceeded to make a statement of the county levy for the 
year 1777, which statement was as follows: 

"To Abraham Goodpasture, for building the 

prison, £450 

To Samuel Evans, for building a house to hold 

court in. 
To John Coulter for laying off the lots of the 


To Clerk for ex officio services, Tobacco, 1,000 lbs. 

To Clerk, for public services, Tobacco, 1,300 lbs. 

To a blank record book and alphabet, £5 

To carriage for do. from Williamsburg, 7s. 6d. 

To Wm. Young, for old Wolf Head, 

To the Sheriff, for ex officio services. 

To Sheriff, for whole of his public services,. . . .Tobacco, 12,000 lbs. 

To building of pillory and stocks. 

By 890 tithables, at 8s., £356 

To Hugh Berry, for making 1,760 nails for 

cO'Urthouse roof, £5 

To G. Martin, for making irons for criminals. 

From an inspection of this county levy, it will be seen that our 
first county government was very frugal and economical. Many 
readers will not understand how it was that a part of the county 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 285 

expenses was paid in tobacco. The explanation is that^ in those 
early days, money was exceedingly scarce, and the House of Bur- 
gesses of Virginia, as early as the year 1772, enacted a law per- 
mitting the inhabitants of this section of Virginia to discharge 
all secretaries', clerks' and other officers' fees in tobacco at the rate 
of eight shillings and four pence for every hundredweight of gross 
tobacco. And this law remained in force for a decade thereafter. 

The Governor of Virginia, on the 23d day of July, 1777, issued 
a new commission of the peace and dedimus for this county, 
directed to 


Arthur Campbell, Evan Shelby, 

^ William Campbell, Daniel Smith, 

\7illiam Edmiston, John Campbell, 

Joseph Martin, Alexander BuchaDan, 

James Dysart, Jolm Kinkead, 

John Anderson, James Montgomery, 

John Coulter, John Snoddy, 

George Blackburn, Thomas Mastin, 

Isaac Shelby, Robert Craig, 

John Dunkin, John Adair, 

Gilbert Christian, Thomas Caldwell, 

and, on the 25th day of November, 1777, this commission was 
"produced and read, and, thereupon, pursuant to the said dedimus, 
the said Arthur Campbell took the oath of a justice of the peace 
and a justice of the County Court in chancery, all of which oaths 
were administered to him by John Kinkead. Thereupon, the said 
Arthur Campbell administered the same oaths to: 

John Kinkead, James Montgomery, 

John Coidter, Robert Craig, 

John Dunkin, 

and thus was constituted the second County Court for Washington 

In the fall of this year. General George Rogers Clark traveled 
from Kentucky over the "Wilderness Road," on his way to Rich- 
mond, in company with a young lawyer by the name of John 
Gabriel Jones, and reached Mump's Fort in Powell's Valley about 
ten days subsequent to the killing, by the Indians, of a settler by the 

286 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

name of Parks. In traveling through tJiis portion of Virginia, 
he usually stopped at the nearest house when dark overtook him, 
for which he usually paid, at the small cabins, a shilling and six- 
pence for breakfast, bed and feed for horse. On his way he became 
acquainted with Captain William Campbell, whom he found a very 
agreeable companion. 

The object of this journey to Richmond on the part of General 
Clark was to secure the approval of the Governor of a plan that he 
then conceived to be feasible and that would be of gi-eat value to 
the American Colonies. He sought the consent and assistance of 
the Governor in equipping and carrying on an expedition against 
the British posts at Vincennes and Kaskaskia in the Illinois county ; 
and there can be but little doubt that he discussed this question 
with Captain Campbell, at the time of his visit to Holston. 

He succeeded in obtaining the consent and authority of the 
Governor to enlist three hundred and fifty men from the counties 
west of the Alleghany mountains, to be used upon this expedition, 
of which number four companies were to be raised in the Holston 
and Clinch settlements, and Major W. B. Smith was dispatched, 
in the year 1778, to recruit men for that service in this section. 

There seems to be a conflict among historians as to the number 
of men raised in this section by Major Smith for this service, one 
giving the number as amounting to four companies; another, as^ 
one company. 

The men recruited for this service were not informed of the pur- 
pose for wliich they were intended, until they had reached the falls 
of the Ohio (now Louisville). 

The company of recruits from the Holston settlements did not 
suppose, when they entered the service, that they were to be taken 
upon such a long and dangerous expedition, and when they were 
informed of the purpose for which they were to be used, they 
objected to proceeding any further and left the camp of General 
Clark and returned to their homes. This is the one disagreeable 
circumstance connected with the history of our people. These men 
were recruited from a country where the people were brave and 
adventurous, and it is hard to account for their conduct upon this 
occasion. We are sorry to state that, by their conduct, they deprived 
this portion of Virginia of the honor of sharing in the wonderful 
expedition and conquests of General Clark. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 387 

While the company, as a whole, refused to go upon this expedi- 
tion, a few of the men joined other companies and took part in the 
expedition; and their names, so far as I have been able to gather 
them, are as follows : 

Low Brown, John Lasly, 

Solomon Stratton, Xealy McGuire, 

William Peery. 

Supplies for this expedition were purchased upon the Holston, 
as is evidenced by an order of the court entered on the 17th day of 
Maj'ch, 1779, which order is as follows: 

?'Whereas twenty-six forty dollar bills were found in the pos- 
session of Captain Thomas Quirk, and, on the examination of the 
court of Washington county, were supposed to be counterfeit, the 
said Captain Quirk delivered the said bills to the sheriff in the 
presence of the court, and it appears by the oath of the said 
Thomas Quirk and Andrew Colvill that the said Thomas Quirk 
receiver] these bills of James Buchanan, commissary for the Illi- 
nois service, tO' purchase bacon. Whereupon', it is ordered that the 
sheriff take or send the said bills to the Board of Auditors for 
further proceedings, according to law. A list of the bills is given, 
which bills are signed by D. Summers and G. Brown and dated 
April 11, 1778." 

At the election held for Washington county in the spring of 
the 3'ear 1778, Arthur Campbell and Anthony Bledsoe were 
elected members of the House of Delegates, and William Fleming, 
of Botetourt, a member of the Senate, in the General Assembly 
of Virginia. 

In the spring of this year. Captain James Dysart and Lieutenant 
Samuel Newell were placed in command of two companies of mili- 
tia to range, during the summer, along the frontiers in Powell's 
and Clinch A^alleys, as a protection against the Indians. Early in 
the month of May, before the departure of these ranging parties, 
a man by the name of Whitesides, a large, active man, left his 
home near Elk Garden Fort for Glade Hollow Fort, where he had 
a horse running on the range. While hunting for his horse about 
two miles from Glade Hollow Fort, he was captured by nine 
Indians, who pinioned his arms back, loaded him with their extra 
phmder and some meat cut from the carcass of a dead horse, and 

288 Southwest Virginia, nJ^6-1786. 

in this marmer skulked about for several days, watching for an 
opportunity to attack Glade Hollow Fort, which was in a wretched 
state of defence, seven men only being in the fort.* 

These men were engaged daily in bringing salt-petre dust from 
a cave at some distance from the fort, to make salt-petre, upon the 
discovery of which, the Indians resolved to take the fort the next 
time the men went out. 

They tied Whitesides' feet and left an Indian to guard him, 
while the others sought a more convenient place to attack the fort 
when occasion offered. 

In the meantime the Indian who had charge of Whitesides, 
thinking they were too much exposed to view, untied his feet and 
made him creep further into the brush and, laying down his gun, 
sat down before Whitesides to tie his feet again. At that moment, 
Whitesides seized the gun, and, although his arms were pinioned, 
gave the Indian such a blow over the head as broke the gun to 
pieces and felled the Indian to the ground and, perhaps, killed him. 
Whitesides then sprang to his feet and gave the alarm to the men 
near the fort, who ran back to the fort with all speed, but 
Whitesides ran past the fort towards the Elk Garden fort, 
carrying all the Indian's plunder on his back. The eight 
Indians who were waylaying the fort, hearing the alarm, 
ran back, and finding their companion, perhaps lifeless, pur- 
sued Whitesides; and while doing so, met about forty men in 
plain view of the fort, on their way to act as rangers; on 
whom the Indians fired and killed two. The rest fled ingloriously, 
each one in his way, spreading the alarm that the fort was taken. 
Upon receipt of this news at Black's Fort, Captain Samuel Newell, 
with eighteen men set off for Glade Hollow Fort. They ran 
about twelve miles that evening and waded the North Fork of 
Holston just before night, but were forced to stop when night set 
in, as they had no trace they could follow in the night, and, in 
many places the weeds and grass were waist high. They arrived in 
view of the fort next morning between eight and nine o'clock, and 
upon reconnoitering, found the fort had not been taken. When the 
occupants of the fort saw them, they ran out to meet them. The 
next day, Captain James Dysart, with eighteen men, arrived at the 

*Beiijainin Sharp Letter, American Pioneer. 

Workington County, 1777-1870. 389 

During the same year, in the lower end of this county, a young 
man by the name of Fulkerson was killed when driving up his horses 
from the range, and Thomas Sharp was fired at and badly wounded, 
but, being on horseback, he made his escape and recovered from 
his wounds. Jacob Fulkerson and a young man by the name of 
Callahan were both killed this year, while hunting their cattle in 
the range. 

On the 23d day of April, 1778, the court entered the following 
order : 

"Ordered that Colonel William Campbell be appointed to dis- 
tribute the county salt to the most necessitous of the frontier 
inhabitants of Clinch and the lower settlements of Washington 
county below the mouth of the ISTorth Fork, such a quantity 
reserving as he shall judge sufScient for the militia on duty, also 
selling at such rate as will be suflficient to discharge the first cost 
and expenses." 

"Ordered that Isaac Lebo be permitted to go towards the Mora- 
vian Town for salt, and that he return within the term of three 

Isaac Lebo is one of the same men that had, previously to tliis 
time, been arrested, tried and convicted of treasonable practices 
against the Commonwealth, and this, no doubt, was an excuse 
offered by him for an opportunity to communicate with his Tory 
friends in the South. 

On the 21st day of May, 1778, Samuel Newell qualified as Deputy 
Sheriff for the county and gave and filed a bond for the due col- 
lection and accounting for the taxes of the county of Washington, 
and entered upon his duties as first tax collector for the county, 
under the law of Virginia. It was the duty of the County Court 
to recommend to the Governor the names of the three magistrates 
named first in the Commission of Peace, from which list the Gov- 
ernor commissioned a sheriff for the county, and on the 20th day 
of April, 1778, the court recommended Arthur Campbell, William 
Campbell and Daniel Smith as fit and proper persons to execute 
the office of sheriff for the county of Washington. From this list 
the Governor commissioned Arthur Campbell as sheriff of the 
county, and he qualified as such on the 16th day of February, 1779, 
with Evan Shelby, Andrew Willoughby and Andrew Kincannon 
as his securities. During this and the succeeding year, the follow- 

290 Southivest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

ing gentlemen qualified as deputy sheriffs of the count}'; Samuel 
Newell, Christopher Acklin and Alexander Donaldson. 

At the March court 1779, Harry Innes and Eowland Madison 
qualified to practice law in the courts of the county. Harry Innes 
afterwards moved to the county of Kentucky, where he became 
distinguished in the annals of that State. At the same term of 
the court, Daniel Smith, Robert Craig and John Campbell were 
appointed commissioners of the tax, the land owners having failed 
to attend and elect commissioners. At this term of the court, David 
Campbell resigned his position as Clerk of the Court, and John 
Campbell was appointed to succeed him, which position he occupied 
until the year 1824, during which time he faithfully discharged 
his duties and retained the respect and confidence of the people of 
this county. David Campbell, who resigned his position as Clerk 
of the Court on the 15th day of August, 1780, obtained a commis- 
sion from His Excellency, Thomas Jefferson, appointing him attor- 
ney-at-law, and qualified as such in the court of this county, but, 
soon thereafter, he removed to Campbell's Station, Tennessee, in 
Avhich State he won distinction in his profession and became the 
first Chief Justice of that State. 

From the orders of the court at this term, it appears that Samuel 
Evans had not completed the courthouse, pursuant to contract, and 
Joseph Black was directed to agree with Evans as to the amount 
he should receive for the work that he had done upon the court- 
house; and the sheriff was directed to agree with some person to 
finish the courthouse. 

At the April term ol this court, a statement of the county levy 
was made for the year 1779, which is as follows: 

"Ephraim Dunlop, for services as State's Attorney for the 

year 1777 and for the year 1778, £200.00 

Abraham Goodpasture, for building prison, 500.00 

Samuel Evans, for building courthouse, 100.00 

Abraham Goodpasture, finishing courthouse, 100.00 

Arthur Campbell, for three blank books for the Clerk,. . 15.00 

To do. for the body of the law for use of the Court, 5. ' 

To do. for cash paid Hugh Berry, nails courthouse, 5. 

To do. for 60 lbs. iron furnished for nails courthouse, .... 5. 

To window glass for courthouse, 12 lights @ 9s., . 5.8 

To do. for ex officio services for 1777-1778, 15.0 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 


Allowed for pillory and stocks, 75.0 

By 1464 tithables @ 15s. per titliable, 1,098.9 

At this same court the following order was entered : 
"Ordered that the main road be cut according to report of 
Joseph Black, Andrew Colvill and James Piper, viewers from 
the courthouse to the Twenty-llile creek, and that Andrew Colvill 
be surveyor from the courthouse to the west side of Spring creek, 
and that the tithables formerly ordered work upon the same." 

The Pillory — Used in this Section in the Earl_y Days. 

The road was opened pursuant to this order, the location of 
which was about the same as tliat of the present road from Abing- 
don to Papersville, Tennessee. 

At the May term of court, 1779, tlu^ Attorney for the Common- 
wealth filed an information against John Yancy, a citizen and hotel 
keeper, living ia the town of Abingdon, charging him with the 
offence of enclosing his sheep in the courthouse, upon which inform- 
ation divers witnesses were sworn and examined, and the defendant 
heard in his defence, whereu})on, the court fined the defendant 
twenty shillings and the costs. 

At the same court, the prison erected by Abraham Goodpasture 
was, by order of the court, used, but not received. On the same 
day the court entered the following order : 

"Ordered that David Carson and Joseph. Black lay off the prison 

293 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

bounds, exceeding five acres and not more than ten, and take in the 
water, and David Carson was paid six pounds for his services." 

On the 19th day of August the court entered the following order : 

"Ordered that Arthur Campbell, Anthony Bledsoe, Daniel Smith, 
Joseph Black and John Blackamore be appointed examiners of the 
bills of credit of this State and the other United States, agreeably 
to the act of the Assembly entitled "An Act for more effectually 
guarding against counterfeiting of the Bills of Credit, Treasury 
Notes and Loan OflSce certificates." 

In the early summer of this year, the Tories living near the head 
of the Yadkin river, North Carolina, and on New river and Walk- 
er's creek in Montgomery county, Virginia, began to form into a 
body, with the intention of destroying the Lead Mines on New 
river, robbing the well affected citizens of that county, and then 
forcing their way to the headquarters of Lord Cornwallis, who was 
at that time in the Carolinas. There was every prospect that an 
insurrection would take place, and, notwithstanding the untiring 
efforts of Colonel William Preston, the county-lieutenant of that 
county, he was unable to quiet the disaffected, or to protect the well- 
disposed citizens. As a last resort Colonel Preston called upon the 
officials of Washington county for assistance, when Captain William 
Campbell, with about one hundred and fifty militia from this 
county, all well mounted, turned out and proceeded to suppress this, 
a new kind of enemy to the people of Washington county. The 
name of Captain Campbell was such as to strike consternation into 
the ranlc of the Tories, who dispersed upon his approach and 
offered no open resistance. The militia from this county were then 
dispatched in small detachments and had active business for several 
weeks pursuing, taking and imprisoning Tories. The militia sub- 
sisted themselves and their horses upon the grain and stock of the 
Tories, and compelled all Tory sympathizers who were old and unfit 
for service to give security for their good behavior, or to go to 
jail. The young, effective men were pardoned on condition of their 
serving as faithful soldiers in the armies of the United States 
during the war, as an atonement for their crime. Colonel Camp- 
bell and his men saw hard and active duty during this time, but 
lost no lives nor had any of their men wounded. 

Captain Campbell and his militia from this county were ably 
seconded in their efforts to suppress the Tory sentiment then exist- 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 393 

ing in Montgomery, by Colonel Walter Crockett, Captain Charles 
Lynch, Captain Robert Sayers and Captain Isaac Campbell. Cap- 
tains Sayers and Campbell each commanded a company of men 
numbering twenty-eight and thirty-five respectively, at this time, 
and were not satisfied with a suppression of the Tories in Mont- 
gomery county, but thereafter proceeded to perform the same 
service in parts of Surrey and Wilkes counties. North Carolina. 

Captain Campbell and his men, in dealing with the Tories of 
Montgomery county, applied the same methods used so effectively 
in Washington county, of which we give one instance, that the 
reader may understand the methods used. 

"There is a beautiful little valley known by the name of "Black 
Lick," nestling among the mountains of Wythe county, which, 
being remote from highways and environed by uninhabited forests, 
afforded shelter for a number of Tories, who made frequent forays 
upon the neighboring settlements and then concealed themselves in 
this remote and quiet retreat. Their hiding place becoming dis- 
covered, General Campbell's men surrounded it, captured about a 
dozen and hung them upon two white oaks which; spared by the 
woodman's ax for the righteous oflfice they had performed, were 
still standing a few years ago, and were long loiown by the name 
of the "Tory Trees."* 

At the time in question. Captain Charles Lynch, of Bedford 
county, was manager for the Commonwealth at the Lead Mines on 
New river, and, as a result of the visit of Captain Campbell to 
Montgomery county in this year, he thereafter adopted Campbell's 
method of dealing with Tories and wrong-doers; and, ever after, 
during the war, when any of the inhabitants were suspected of 
wrong doing or treasonable conduct, they were dealt with accord- 
ing to what was termed "Captain Lynch's Law," and from this man 
and this occasion originated the term "Lynch Law," as it is prac- 
tised throughout the nation, under peculiar circumstances, at this 

Upon the return of Captain Campbell and his men from Mont- 
gomery county, considerable complaint was made by the Tory inhab- 
itants of that section of Virginia, and efforts were made to prose- 
cute Cam.pbell and his associates, but the Legislature of Virginia, 
recognizing the valuable services of these patriots, in October of 

*Chas. B. Coale. 

294 Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 

that year passed an Act exempting them from all pains and pen- 
alties by reason of their acts, which Act of the Assembly is as 
follows : 

"Whereas divers evil-disposed persons on the frontiers of this 
Commonwealth had broken out into an open insurrection and con- 
spiracy and actually levied war against the Commonwealth, and it is 
represented to the present General Assembly that William Camp- 
bell, Walter Crockett and other liege subjects of the Common- 
wealth, aided by detachments of the militia and volunteers from the 
county of Washington and other parties of the frontiers did by their 
timely -and effectual exertion suppress and defeat such conspiracy ; 
and whereas the necessary measures taken for that purpose may not 
be strictly warranted by law, although justifiable from the imme- 
diate urgency and imminences of the danger; be it therefore 
declared and enacted, That the said William Campbell, Walter 
Crockett and all other persons whatsoever concerned in suppressing 
the said conspiracy and insurrection, or in advising, issuing or 
executing any orders or measures taken for that purpose stand 
indemnified and clearly exonerated of and from all pains, penalties, 
prosecutions, actions, suits and damages on account thereof; and 
that if any indictment, prosecution, action or suit shall be laid or 
brought against them, or any of them, for any act or thing 
done therein, the defendant or defendants may plead in bar, or the 
general issue, and give this act in evidence."* 

In the summer of this year, at the instigation of British agents. 
Dragging Canoe and his band of Indians, living at Chickamauga, 
were induced to undertake a campaign against the Virginia and 
Carolina frontiers. While making preparations for the campaign, 
James Eobertson, ^\\\o was then at Chote, received information of 
their intended invasion and immediately informed the leaders on 
the Ilolston. Upon the receipt of this information it was decided 
that the militia of the twO' governments should unite, and carry 
on an active expedition against tlicse Indians. Colonel Evan 
Shelby, of Sapling Grove (now Bristol), was selected to command 
the expedition. The forces from the two States assembled at the 
mouth of Big Creek on the Clinch river (near Rogersville, Ten- 
nessee), on April 10, 1779, Captain Isaac Shelby being in command 
of the forces from Washington county, Virginia. At this point the 

*10 Hening Statutes, page 195. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 295 

entire army, consisting of several liundred men, volunteers from the 
settlements, and a regiment of twelve-months' men, under the com- 
mand of Captain John Montgomery, intended as a reinforcement 
to General Clark in tlie Illinois, temporarily diverted from that 
object for use in this campaign, embarked in canoes and boats, and 
descended the Tennessee river to the home of the Chickamoggas. 
The Indians were completely taken by surprise and fled in all 
directions to the hills and mountains, not offering any resistance. 
Forty Indians, at least, were killed, and their towns were destroyed, 
their horses and cattle driven away, and their corn and provisions, 
as well as twenty thousand pounds in value of stores and goods, 
carried off. Thereupon, the troops destroyed their boats and canoes 
and returned to their homes on foot. Thus it was that one of the 
cherished hopes of the British ministry was foiled and the prospects 
of the Colonies exceedingly enhanced. 

Colonel Shelby, while making preparations to conduct this expe- 
dition against the Indians at Chickamogga, dispatched Jolui Do'Ug- 
lass to the settlements on Clinch river, pursuant to the orders of 
Colonel Russell, but Douglas was waylaid and killed by the Indians 
and his horse ridden off. 

When the expedition against the Chickamogga Indians was 
decided upon, Colonel Evan Shelby dispatched John Hutson to the 
Indian town with letters to Colonel Joseph Martin, advising him 
to remove from the Indian country to the Great Island, agreeably 
to the Governor's instructions, but, unfortimately, Hutson was 
drowned in the execution of that business, and his widow, Eleanor 
Hutson was allowed by the General Assembly at its fall session in 
the year 1779, the sum of twenty-four pounds for the present relief 
of herself and cliildren, and twelve pounds per annum during her 

"In the summer of 1779, the Indians visited the home of Jesse 
Evans, who lived near the head waters of the Clinch river, and 
destroyed his family. On the morning of the day in question, Jesse 
Evans left his honse, with five or six hired men, for the purpose of 
executing some work at a distance from home. As they carried with 
them various farming implements, their guns were left at the 
house, where Mrs. Evans was engaged in weaving a piece of cloth. 
Her oldest daughter was filling quills for her wliile the four remain- 

296 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

ing children were either at play in the garden or gathering vege- 

The garden was about sixty yards from, the house, and, as no saw- 
mills were in existence at that day in this country, slab-boards were 
put up in a manner called "wattling" for palings. These were some 
six feet long and made what is called a close fence. Eight or ten 
Indians, who lay concealed in a thicket near the garden, silently left 
their hiding places and made their way, unobserved, to the back of 
the garden. There, removing a few boards, they bounded through 
and commenced the horrid work of killing and scalping the chil- 
dren. The first warning Mrs. Evans had was their screams and 
cries. She ran to the door and beheld the sickening scene, with 
such feelings as only a mother can experience. 

Mrs. Evans was a stout, athletic woman, and, being inured to the 
hardships of the times, with her to will was to do. She saw plainly 
that on her exertions alone could one spark of hope be entertained 
for the life of her "first born." An unnatural strength seemed to 
nerve her arm and she resolved to defend her surviving child to 
the last extremity. Eushing into the house she closed the door, 
which being too small, left a crevice, through which in a few 
moments an Indian extended his gun, aiming to pry open the door 
and finish the bloody work which had been so fearfully begun. Mrs. 
Evans had thrown herself against the door to prevent the entrance 
of the savages, but no sooner did she see the gun barrel than she 
seized it and drew it in so far as to make it an available lever in 
prying to the door. The Indians threw themselves against the door 
to force it open, but their efi'orts were unavailing. The heroic 
woman stood to her post, well knowing that her life depended upon 
her own exertions. The Indians now endeavored to wrest the gun 
from her; in this they likewise failed. Hitherto she had worked in 
silence, but as she saw no prospect of the Indians relinquishing their 
object, she began to call loudly for her husband, as if he were really 
near. It had the desired effect; they let go the gun and hastily 
left the house, while Mrs. Evans sat quietly down to await a second 
attack, but the Indians, who had perhaps seen Mr. Evans and his 
workmen leave the house, feared he might be near, and made off 
with all speed. 

While Mrs. Evans was thus sitting and brooding over the melan- 
choly death of her children, anxious to go to those in the garden, but 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 297 

fearing to leave her surviving one in the house, exposed to a second 
attack, a man named Goldsby stepped up to the door. Never did 
manna fall to the hungered Jew more opportunely, yet no sooner did 
he hear her woful tale than he turned his back upon her and fled 
as if every tree and bush had been an Indian taking deadly aim at 
him. Such were his exertions to get to a place of greater safety that 
he brought on hemorrhage of the lungs, from which he with much 
difficulty recovered. 

Seeing herself thus left to the mercy of the savages, Mrs. Evans 
took up the gun she had taken from them and started with her 
remaining daughter to Major John Taylor^s, about two miles dis- 
tant, where, tired and frenzied with grief, she arrived in safety. 
She had not been gone a great while, when Mr. Evans returned and, 
not suspecting anything wrong, took down a book, and was engaged 
in its perusal for some time, till finally he became impatient and 
started to the garden, where he supposed Mrs. Evans was gathering 
vegetables. What must have been his feelings when he reached the 
garden to see four of his children murdered and scalped. Seeing 
nothing of his wife and eldest daughter, he supposed they had been 
taken prisoners; he therefore returned quickly to the house, seized 
his gun and started for Major Taylor's to get assistance and a com- 
pany to follow on and try, if possible, to overtake them. Frantic 
with grief he rushed into the house to tell his tale of woe, when he 
was caught in the arms of his brave wife. His joy at finding them 
was so great that he could scarcely contain himself; he wept, then 
laughed, then thanked God it was no worse. As is common in 
such cases in a new country, the neighbors flocked in to know the 
worst, and to offer such aid as lay in their power. They S5mipathized 
as only frontiersmen can sympathize, with the bereaved parents ; 
but the thought of having to bury four children the next morning 
was so shocking and so dreadful to reflect on, that but little peace 
was to be expected for them. Slowly the reluctant hours of night 
passed away, and a faint gleam of light became visible in the east- 
ern sky. The joyous warblers were gayly flitting from branch to 
branch and carrolling their sweetest lays, while the sun rose above 
the mountain summit, shooting his bright beams on the sparkling 
dewdrops which hung like so many diamonds from the green boughs 
of the mountain shrubbery, giving, altogether, an air of gorgeous 
beauty which seemed to deny the truth ol the evening's tale. The 

298 Southwest Virginia, 17J,6-17S6. 

light clouds swimming in the eastern atmosphere, brilliantly tinted 
with the rising sun, 

And the gentle murmur of the morning breeze, 
Singing nature's anthem to the forest trees, 

seemed to say sneh horrid work could not be done by beings wear- 
ing human form. But alas! while nature teaches naught but love, 
men teach themselves lessons which call forth her sternest frowns. 

A hasty breakfast was prepared and the men set otf to IMr. Evans's 
house tO' bury the murdered children. With a heart too full for 
?utterance, the father led the way, as if afraid to look at those little 
forms for whose happiness he had toiled, and braved the dangers 
of a frontier life. But a day ago he had dandled them on his knees, 
and listened to their innocent prattle ; they were now monuments of 
Indian barbarity. 

Turning a hill the fatal garden was instantly ]iainted on the 
retina of the fond parent's eye, to be quickly (M-ased l)y the silent 
tears wdiich overflowed their fountain and came trickling down 
his weather beaten face. 

The party came up to the l)ack of th(> house at the front of which 
stood the milk-house, over a spring of clear water, when, lo ! they 
beheld coming up, as it were from the very depth of the grave, Mary, 
a little child only four years old, who had recovered from the stun- 
ning blow of the tomahawk and had been in (|uest of water at the 
familiar old spring around which, but a day before, she had sported 
in childish glee. The scalp that had been torn from the skull was 
hanging hideously over her ])ale face,which was much besmeared 
with blood. Rhe stretclied out her little arms to meet her father, 
who rushed to her with all the wild joy of one whose heart beats 
warm with parental emotions ! She had wandered about in the 
dark from the time she had recovered and, it may be, had more than 
once tried to wake her little sisters on whose heads the tomahawks 
had fallen with greater force. This poor, half-nnirdered little child 
lived, married and raised a largo family."* 

In the spring of the year 1779, at the election held for members 
of the General Assembly of Virginia, Isaac Shelby and David 
Campbell were elected and served the people of Washington county 
for this year. During this year General E. Clarke, of Georgia, was 
compelled to take refuge in the settlements on Watauga and Hol^ 

*Bickley's History of Tazewell. 

Washington County, 1777-1S70. 299 

ton, and, while in the settlements, repeated to the hardy frontiers- 
men many of the dastardly deeds committed by the British forces in 
their invasion and subjugation of South Carolina and Georgia. 
As a result, many of the citizens of these settlements returned with 
him to his home in Georgia to assist in avenging the wrongs of 
their fellow countrymen and, in addition thereto, creating through- 
out Southwestern Virginia and the Holston settlements a lively 
interest in the affairs to the south of the settlements. 

The officials of Washington county, Virginia, from the first organ- 
ization of the county until this time, had, without question, exer- 
cised their authority as low down as Carter's Valley, upon the sup- 
position that all that portion of the country was in Virginia, but, 
on the 30th day of September in this year, an occurrence took 
place in Carter's Valley, lietween William Cocke, lately a represen- 
tative from Washington county in the I^egislature of Virginia, and 
Alexander Donaldson, a deputy for Arthur Campbell, that resulted 
in greatly curtailing the territory included within this county. The 
circumstances connected with this transaction are best stated by 
the order of the County Court of Washington county, Virginia, 
entered on the 20th of October, 1779, which is as follows: 

"The complaint of the sheriff against William Cocke for insulting 
and obstructing Alexander Donaldson, deputy sheriff, when col- 
lecting the public tax about the thirteenth day of September last, 
and being examined saith ; that, being at a point on the north side 
of Holston river in Carter's Valley, collecting the public tax, the 
said William Cocke, as he came to the door of the house in which 
said sheriff was doing business, said that there was the sheriff of 
Virginia collecting the tax, and asked him what right he had to 
collect taxes there, as it was in Carolina and never was in Virginia ; 
that he said the people were fools if they did pay him public dues, 
and that he dared him to serve any process whatever ; that he, said 
Cocke, undertook for the people, upon which sundry people refused 
to pay their tax and some, that had paid, wanted their money back 

"Ordered that the conduct of William Cocke respecting the 
obstructing, insulting and threatening the sheriff in the execution 
of his office be represented to the Executive of Virginia. 

"Ordered that if William Cocke be found in this county that he 
be taken into custody and caused to appear before the justices at the 

300 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

next court to answer for his conduct for obstructing the sheriff in 
execution of his oflBce." 

As a result of this difficulty, the General Assembly of Virginia 
and North Carolina at their sessions, in the year 1779, appointed Dr. 
Thomas Walker and Daniel Smith, on the part of Virginia, and 
Richard Henderson and William B. Smith, on the part of North 
Carolina, commissioners, to run the line between the two States, 
beginning where Fry and Jefferson and Weldon and Churton ended 
their work, near Steep Eock creek, if found to be truly in latitude 
36 degrees 30 minutes North, and to run thence due west to the 
Tennessee or the Ohio river. The commissioners ran the line with- 
out trouble for about forty miles, when they disagreed, the North 
Carolina commissioners claiming the true line to be about two miles 
north of the place at which the commissioners were then stationed. 
The Virginia commissioners proceeded to run the line to the Mis- 
sissippi river and made their report. Nothing further will be said 
upon this subject at this point, but it will be separately treated in 
another part of this book. Suffice it to say that the line, as ascer- 
tained by the Virginia commissioners, deprived Washington county 
of from one-third to one-half of the territory supposed to lie within 
Washington county; and the North Carolina Legislature, at their 
fall session in this year, established Sullivan county, North Caro- 
lina, afterwards Tennessee, and the government of that county was 
organized at the house of Moses Loony in the month of February, 

Isaac Shelby, one of Washington county's representatives in the 
Legislature of Virginia, qualified as county lieutenant and Ephraim 
Dunlop, Washington county's deputy attorney, was appointed State's 
attorney for the new county. 

The act of the General Assembly of North Carolina erecting the 
county of Sullivan recites that the then late extension of the north- 
ern boundary line of the State from Holston river, that lies directly 
west from a place well known by the name of Steep Eock, makes it 
evident that all the lands west of said place, lying on the west and 
northwest side of said river Holston have, by mistake of the settlers, 
been held and deemed to be in the State of Virginia; owing to which 
mistake they have not entered said lands in the proper offices. It 
recites also, that by a line lately run, it appears that a number of 
such settlers have fallen into the State of North Carolina, and it 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 301 

makes provision for the security of their lands and improvements. 
These were the first lands taken from the county as originally 

In the fall of this year Andrew Colvill^ a citizen of Wolf Hills, 
was commissioned as escheator for Washington county, and Evan 
Baker was appointed deputy commissary on the western side of the 
Blue Eidge, agreeably to the order of the Governor and Council. 

On the 22d day of March, 1780, the County Court of this county 
entered several important orders, among the number being one 
fixing the county levy for the year 1779, at twenty dollars for each 
tithable, and appointing John Campbell, David Carson and Alex- 
ander Montgomery commissioners of the tax for that year, and 
James Dysart, Eobert Craig and John Kinkead commissioners to 
collect that portion of the tax that was payable in commutable 

Eobert Craig and Aaron Lewis were recommended to the Gov- 
ernor as fit and proper persons for coroners of Washington county 
and were commissioned as such, and 

Benjamin Estill, David Watson, 

Alexander Montgomery, Aaron Lewis, 

Thomas Montgomery, James Fulkerson, 

John Latham, David Ward, 

Joseph Black, Eobert Campbell, and 

Alexander Barnett, 

were recommended to the Governor as fit and proper persons to be 
added to tlie commission of the peace for Washington county, and 
were commissioned as such. 

These recommendations were made in view of the fact that quite 
a number of the members of the court of this county had been 
lost to the county when the State line was run and Sullivan county, 
North Carolina, was formed. 

By far the most important order entered by the court on this day 
was the following : 

"Ordered that it be recommended to the county lieutenant of 
this county not to call a general muster the ensuing month, on 
account of the apparent danger from the enemy and other dis- 
tressing circumstances of the county." 

The army of Cornwallis was fast approaching the southern bor- 

302 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

(ler of North Carolina, and every friend of the British government 
was stimulated into life and became a source of uneasiness and 
trouble to the back settlements. At this time General Rutherford, 
of North Carolina, made a reqviisition ujjon Sullivan and Washing- 
ton counties in North Carolina for tJie aid of their militia in the 
defence of the State. Cornwallis was meeting with but little 
obstruction in his march and contemplated nothing less than the 
overrunning of North Carolina and the invasion of Virginia. It 
was this state of affairs that produced the alarm among the set- 
tlers in Washington county. 

At the April court, 1780, William Campbell was recommended by 
the court and commissioned by the Goivernor, as colonel of the 
county militia, in the place of Evan Shelby, who had become a 
citizen of the State of North Carolina. Daniel Smith was com- 
missioned lieutenant-colonel, and William Edmiston major. At the 
same time the following militia officers were recommended and 
commissioned : 

Captains of Militia: 
James Crabtree, William Edmiston, Jr., 

William Edmiston, Alexander Barnett, 

David Beatie, Jr., David Beatie, 

Charles Cocke, 
and previously to this time and during the years 1778 and 1779, 
the following captains of militia were commissioned : 
George Maxwell, William Neil, 

Thomas Caldwell, James Fulkerson, 

Lieutenants of Militia: 
Robert Edmiston, Jr., Humberson Lyon, 

William Bartlett, William Davison,' 

William Edmiston, Joshua Buckner, 

Joseph Scott, <i - 

and in the year 1778-1779, the following: 

William Blackburn, John Davis, 

Levi Bishop, Moses Loony, 

Hugh Crawford, James Leeper, 

Solomon Litton, Roger Topp, 

William Rosebrough, Samuel Newell, 

William Pitman, John Lowry, 

George Finley. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 303 

Ensigns of Militia: 
Kobert Campbell, John McFerrin, 

James Houston, Nathaniel Dryden, 

Andrew Goff, Daniel Davison, 

Hugh Campbell, William Blackmore, 

and in 1778-1779: 

John Sawyers, Thomas Sharp, 

Eees Bowen, George Teeter, 

Patrick Campbell, Samuel Vanhook, 

John Steele, William Crockett. 

I give the names of the officers of the county militia from the 
formation of the county to this time with considerable particularity, 
as we know that every officer at the Battle of King's Mountain, 
from Washington count}^, was made up from this list. And it is 
more than probable that all the officers whose names (with very few 
exceptions) have been given were present on that occasion. 

At the county court held on the last Tuesday in April of this year 
John Yancy and Christopher Acklin were licensed by the court to 
keep ordinaries in the town of Abingdon, being among the first 
ordinary keepers in the town of Abingdon. 

At the June term of this court there seemed to have been a little 
trouljle among the gentry, which is evidenced by the following orders 
entered by the court on that day : 

"Ordered that James Kerr be fined two hundred pounds for in- 
sulting Joseph Scott in open court. 

"Ordered that William Robinson be fined two hundred pounds for 
insulting Joseph Scott. 

"Ordered that Joseph Scott be fined two hundred pounds for 
flashing a pistol at James Kerr in the court yard. 

"Ordered that James Kerr be fined twenty pounds for insulting 
James Montgomery." 

At the same term of the court Rol^ert Irvin qualified as deputy 
for Arthur Campbell, sheriff of Washington county. 

The following order entered by the court on August 17th is given, 
because it designates the first settler at the head of Little Moccasin 

"Ordered that John Snoddy, gent, give Alexander Barnett a list 
of tithables to work on the road from the mouth of Harrold's creek 

304 Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 

to Alexander Montgomery's old cabin, at the head of Little Mocca- 

During the summer of this year the militia of this county was 
kept on the move in consequence of the threatened invasion of the 
British forces from the South. In the months of August and Sep- 
tember one hundred and fifty men from Washington county saw- 
active service on New river, about the Lead Mines, and over the 
jnountains in North Carolina, under Colonel William Campbell, to 
prevent and suppress any attempted insurrection among the Tories 
in those quarters. 

The Cherokee Indians, in September of this year, began to give 
evidence of an unfriendly disposition, and every indication pointed 
to an Indian war, when the Governor of Virginia directed Colonel 
AYilliam Campbell to take command of an expedition against the 
Cherokee Indians, and it was left to his choice whether to take the 
troops do-wii the Tennessee by water or on horseback. If the men 
went on horseback they were to be paid for such pack horses 
as might be lost without fault of the owner. 


While preparations were being made for this expedition and men 
were being mustered into service Colonel William Campbell was 
directed by the Governor to take command of the militia ordered to 
suppress the Tories who were at that time rising in arms, and to 
apply to that purpose the same means and powers that he was in- 
vested with for carrying on the Cherokee expedition, and, while mak- 
ing every preparation to^ execute the orders of the Governor, let- 
ters were received by him from Colonels Isaac Shelby and John 
Sevier requesting his assistance in a contemplated expedition 
against Colonel Ferguson, the British officer who was then stationed 
at Gilberttown, North Carolina. Acting under the orders of the 
Go'vernor previously given, Colonel William Campbell joined in 
this expedition, and marched a number of mounted militia from 
this county to King's mountain, South Carolina. 

Many writers, in speaking of the campaign against Ferguson and 
of the battle at King's mountain, make the statement that tliis 
expedition was without authority of government, but Colonel Wil- 
liam Campbell seemed to think differently, as is evidenced by a cer- 
tificate made by him in his own handwriting in the year 1781 and 
recently discovered among some old papers in the auditor's office 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 305 

at Eichmond. This certificate, with endorsements thereon, is here 
given in full : 

"I hereby certify that when I was ordered by the Executive last 
summer to take command of an expedition against the Cherokee 
Indians, it was left to my own choice whether to take the troops down 
the Tennessee by water, or on horseback, they were to be paid for 
such pack horses as might be lost without default of the owners. 
That expedition not being carried on, I was directed by His Ex- 
cellency the Governor to take command of the militia ordered to 
suppress the Tories who were at that time rising in arms, and to 
apply to that purpose the same means and powers which I was in- 
vested with for carrying on the Cherokee expedition, under which 
direction I marched a number of mounted militia to King's moun- 
tain, S. C. Wm. Campbell (Col.)" 
June 16, 1781. 
Endorsed on back. 

1780 certificate of Colonel William Campbell respecting King's 
mountain expedition. 

The situation to the south of Virginia at this time was truly 
alarming. The British had captured Charleston, with General 
Lincoln and his entire army, early in this year, and the war was 
transferred to the Carolinas and Georgia. General Gates, who 
had captured the British army at Saratoga and was in command 
of the Southern army during this year, was disastrously defeated 
at Camden, and Colonel Sumpter and his body of patriots had 
been cut to pieces by Colonel Tarleton at Pishing creek. Detach- 
ments from the British army were scattered throughout South 
Carolina and Georgia. Colonel Buford and his Virginia forces 
had been defeated and cut to pieces by Tarleton's cavalry at the 
Waxhaw's, and every preparation was being made by Lord Corn- 
wallis to overrun with his victorious army the States of North 
Carolina and Virginia in the order named. Lord Cornwallis had 
placed the command of the western borders of North Carolina and 
South Carolina under Colonel Patrick Ferguson, one of the ablest 
British commanders at that time in the field, and he had overrun 
and destroyed the Whig forces in his territory to such an extent 
that the officers and men of the Whig forces were driven across 
the mountains to the Holston settlements. A portion of the mili- 
I tia of Sullivan and Washington comities. North Carolina, under 

306 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

the comanand of Colonel Isaac Shelby, had been in the service of 
the State and had exhibited a great deal of ability and prowess at 
the battles of Miisgi-ove's Mill and Cane Creek, after which they 
retired to their homes without suffering any inconvenience from 
Ferguson or his forces. Colonel Ferguson was greatly embittered 
toward the forces from the Holston or back waters (as it was then 
termed), and when he arrived at Gilberttown, he paroled a Whig 
prisoner by the name of Samuel Phillips, a relative of Colonel 
Isaac Shelby, and sent him to deliver a message to the officers of 
militia on the waters of the Holston, Watauga and Nolichucky, 
which message was as follows : 

"If they did not desist from their opposition to the British arms 
he would march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders, 
and lay their country waste with fire and sword." There can be no 
question that Colonel FergusO'n was well informed of the situa- 
tion of the western settlers and the route by which he could reach 
their country, for at that time there were in his army a number of 
Tories from Ihe back waters. 

A crisis had been reached in the struggle for liberty, and now 
at the darkest hour in the struggle of tlie patriots, the opportunity 
and the men have met, when a band of western frontiersmen were 
to strike a telling blow for the cause of liberty and all America. 
Phillips immediately crossed the mountains and delivered the mes- 
sage to Colonel Shelby as directed, and gave him such infornuition, 
in addition thereto', as he had in regard to the strengtli and posi- 
tion of Ferguson and his men. Colonel Shelby immediately ad- 
dressed a letter to Colonel Williaui Campbell, of Washington 
county, Virginia, and sent it by express by liis brother, Moses 
Shelby, while Colonel Shelby went to the home of Colonel Jolm 
Sevier and informed him of Ferguson's threats, and suggested 
means by which they might embody a force sufficient to surprise 
and attack Ferguson in his camp and prevent the imjx^nding stroke. 
To the propositions of Colonel Slielby, Colonel Sevier readily 
agreed. On tlie 18th day of September, 1780, Cplonel Charles Mc- 
Dowell, of "Quaker Meadows," North Carolina, and Colonel An- 
drew Hampton, of South Carolina, patriot leaders, with about one 
hundred and sixty men, arrived at Colonel John Carter's in Carter's 
Valley, fleeing from Ferguson and his forces. These men were 
consulted by Colonel Shelby, and a time and place appointed for 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 307 

the assembling of all the forces that could be enlisted for this expe- 
dition, at the Sj^cainore shoals or flats, on the Watauga river, 
about three miles below the present town of Elizabethton, Tennes- 
see. It is stated by many writers on the subject that Colonel Wil- 
liam Campbell refused to join Shelby in this expedition when first 
approached upon the subject, and that he consented only upon the 
receipt of a second and more urgent request, but I do not know 
upon what authority this statement is made, for on the 6th day 
of September of this year Colonel Campbell was at Bethabara, 
Surry county, jSTorth Carolina, with the Washington county mili- 
tia, suppressing and preventing insurrection among the Tories in 
that section, and it is evident to any one acquainted with the coun- 
try that he must have marched his men immediately from that 
point to Washington courthouse, and from there to the Sycamore 
Shoals, to have reached that point on the 35th of September. I do 
not think there can be any doubt that Colonel Campbell joined 
in this expedition very heartily, upon the receipt of information 
from Shelby, and that he, with the Washington county forces, en- 
tered u])on this expedition with the greatest of enthusiasm, as is 
evidenced by the large numbers of volunteers collected and the 
rapidity of their movements. 

It is reasonable to suppose that Colonel Arthur Campbell was 
busy enlisting the militia of this county and equipping them for 
this expedition while Colonel William Campbell and his men were 
returning from TsTorth Carolina. Colonel Arthur Campbell, in 
speaking of the situation of the Southern Colonies, said : "The tale 
of McDowell's men was a doleful one, and tended to excite the 
resentment of the people, who, of late, had become inured to danger 
by fighting the Indian, and who had an utter detestation of the 
tyranny of the British Government. 

Upon the arrival of Colonel William Campbell, in Abingdon, 
on the 22d day of September, 1780, it was decided that two hundred 
of the militia of this county should accompany him upon this expe- 
dition. The men seemed animated with a spirit of patriotism and 
asseml)led at Wolf creek, near the Bradley farm west of Abingdon, 
from which point they marched immediately for the Sycamore 
Shoals, arriving at that point on the 25th day of September, accord- 
ing to appointment. Colonel William Campbell did not accompany 
the men to Sycamore shoals, he going by Colonel Shelby's at Sap- 

308 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

ling grove (n()^y Bristol), while his men followed tJie Watauga 
road. Colonel Artlmr Campbell, who had been left at Abingdon 
with a portion of the militia to defend the inhabitants of the county 
against any Indian invasion, at the earnest solicitation of tlic 
militia under his command, and wisliing to give all possible strength 
to the expedition against Colonel Ferguson, on the 24th day of 
September left Abingdon with an additional two hundred men 
for the Sycamore shoals, and arrived on the 2Gth, just as the little 
army of mountaineers were preparing to march for the Carolinas. 
The approach of Colonel Arthur Campbell with the reinforcements 
and the effect that it had upon the army are best described in the 
words of a North Carolina historian: 

"When nearly ready to begin the marcli, the sound of approach- 
ing voices was heard once more. The camp was astir; unexpected 
visitors were discovered in the distance ; nearer they came, and recog- 
nition was announced by a wild shout of joy, and Colonel Arthur 
Campbell led two hundred men into the camp. One thousand and 
fifty voices now made the welkin ring with their glad acclaim. Col- 
onel Campbell, fearing that there might not be men enough to 
secure certain victory, determined, after Colonel William Campbell 
had left, to reinforce his strength. This being now done, he bade 
Ills men 'Godspeed' and a hearty 'goodbye,' and returned to his 
liome again."* 

Thus it will be seen that the militia of Washington county were 
not only willing to go when required to do so, but were anxious to 
strike a blow for their altars and their homes, and it is reasonable 
to suppose that, if the country had been free from the fear of an 
Indian war, twice four hundred men would have voluntarily accom- 
panied Colonel Campbell upon this expedition. 

Let us take a look at the little army of patriots assembled at the 
Sycamore shoals. This army was made up and commanded as 
follows : 

Colonel William Campbell, 400 men 

Colonel Isaac Shelby, 240 men 

Colonel John Sevier, 240 men 

Colonel Charles McDowell and Andrew Hampton, .... 160 men 

The money to equip the North Carolina militia was obtained by 


Schenk, N. C, 1780-1781. 

Workington County, 1777-1870. ' 309 

Colonels Sevier and Shelby from John Adair, the North Carolina 
entrytaker, in Washington county, N'orth Carolina; but the Vir- 
ginia militia under Campbell were equipped by the Washington 
county authorities and paid by the State of Virginia. Every mem- 
ber of this little army, with but few exceptions, was dressed in the 
woolen clothes manufactured by his wife and daughters, and wore 
a fur-skin cap. 

A distinguished historian describes in such an interesting way 
the appearance of these mountaineers as they began their march, 
that I give his statements in regard thereto : 

"Their fringed and tasseled hunting-shirts were girded in by 
bead-worked belts, and the trappings of their horses were stained 
red and yellow. On their heads they wore caps of coon-skin or 
minJc-skin, with the tails hanging down, or else felt hats, in each 
of which was thrust a buck's tail or a sprig of evergreen. Every 
man carried a small bore rifle, a tomahawk and a scalping knife. 
A very few of the officers had swords, and there was not a bayonet 
nor a tent in the army."* 

It would seem from the descriptions given by historians in speak- 
ing of this expedition, that the men were very poorly equipped, but, 
from an inspection of the records of this county, it will be found 
that the estates of the men killed at the battle of King's Mountain 
were valued very high, and that no part of their property was more 
valuable than their equipments at the time they were killed, a sam- 
ple of which is as follows; appraised value :f 

"One blue broadcloth and linen jacket, £150 

"One pair of leather breeches, 75 

"One great coat, 150 

"One horse, 600 

"Every member of this little army was equipped with a Deckard 
rifle, and they were not only splendid horsemen but excellent 
marksmen ; and by the warfare that they had been carrying on with 
the Indians they were accustomed to every kind of danger and 
hardship. They had oftentimes heard of the wrongs of their Whig 
kinsmen to the South; not only from Colonels McDowell and 
Hampton and their men, but from General Clarke, of Georgia, and 
his men, and they were determined, if possible, to prevent the 

*Winniiig of the West. 
fCaptain Wm. Edmiston estate. 

310 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

advance of Colonel Ferguson to this side of the mountain, and to ' 
rescue their brethren to the South from their sad plight. 

"On the 26th day of the month when they were ready to march, 
the men assembled in a grove, and there the Eev. Samuel Doak, a 
Presbyterian preacher, the pioneer clergyman of the frontiers, 
made a few remarks befitting the occasion, closing the same with the 
Bible quotation: 'The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.' And 
while these stern hardy men bowed their heads in reverence, this 
good man invoked on the expedition the blessings of the Lord. He 
recounted the dangers that surrounded his congregation from the 
savages in their rear and the British in their front; and reciting 
the promises of mercy contained in the word of their Grod, he 
earnestly prayed for protection to their families and success to 
those who were marching to defend their homes and liberty; and 
so effective were his prayers that tears, stole down the cheeks of 
many of the rough and hardy mountaineers. After this the army 
mounted their horses and commenced their march for South Caro- 
lina. The route pursued by these men upon this march is a matter 
of considerable interest to their descendants, and I give the route as 
described by Draper in his history of the 'Battle of King's Moun- 

"Leaving the S3'camore shoals, they probably ate their dinner at 
Clark's mill on Gap creek, three miles from the shoals ; they thence 
passed up Gap creek to its head, where they bore to the left, cross- 
ing Little Doe river, passing on to the 'resting place' at the Shelv- 
ing Eock, about a mile beyond Crab Orchard and about twenty 
miles from the shoals, where they encam])ed for the night. At 
this place a number of their horses were shod by a man by the nauje 
of Miller. 

"The next morning they were delayed for some time in butchering 
several of their cattle, after which they passed on about four miles. 
Beaching the base of the Yellow and Boan ]\rountains, they 
ascended the mountain, following Bright's trace, through a gap 
between Yellow mountain on the north and Boan niiountain on the 
soutli. When they had reached the table-land on top of the moim- 
tain, they found it covered with snow shoe-mouth deep, on the sum- 
mit of which there were about one hundred acres of beautiful table- 
land and a fine spring that ran over into the Watauga. In tliis field 
the soldiers were paraded under their respective! officers and were 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 3li 

ordered to discharge their rifles, and such was the rareness of the 
atniospliere that there was little or no report. This body of table- 
land is known as the 'Bald Place/ or 'the Bald of the Yellow.' 

"At this point two men from Colonel John Sevier's company 
deserted. Their names were James Crawford and Samuel Cham- 
bers. It was suspected that they would make their way to Colonel 
Ferguson and inform him of the coming of the backwoodsmen, and 
this suspicion was correct. Upon the discovery of this fact, it was 
decided by the commanders that they would not pursue the route 
previously proposed, but would pass by a more northerly route, so as 
to confuse Ferguson, should he send spies to make discoveries. 
After they had refreshments they passed on down the mountain a 
few miles into Elk Hollow, a low place between the Yellow and 
Eoan mountains, where, at a fine spring, they encamped for the 
night. On the 28th they descended Eoaring creek to the North 
Toe river, and thence down the Toe to a noted spring on the Daven- 
port place, since Tate's, and now known as Child's Place, where 
they probably rested, and thence down to the mouth of Grassy creek, 
where they encamped and rested for the night. On the 29th they 
passed up Grassy creek to its head, and over Blue Eidge at Gilles- 
pie's gap to Cathey's mill, where they camped. The country that 
they had passed through to this point cannot be excelled in roman- 
tic grandeur anywhere on earth. It was excellently watered, broken 
by high moamtains and interspersed with beautiful valleys. A 
ISTorth Carolina historian, in speaking of this country, says: "If 
we were to meet an army with music and banners we would hardly 
notice it. Man and all his works and all his devices are sinking 
into insignificance. We feel that we are approaching nearer and 
nearer to the Almighty Architect. We feel in all things about us 
the presence of the great Creator. A sense of awe and reverence 
comes over us, and we expect to find in this stupendous temple we 
are approaching none but men of pure hearts and benignant minds. 
But, by degrees, as we clamber up the winding hill, the sensation 
of awe gives way, new scenes of beauty and grandeur open upon our 
ravished visions, and a multitude of emotions swell within our 
hearts. We are dazzled, bewildered and excited, we know not how 
nor why ; our souls expand and swim through the immensity before 
and around us, and our beings seem merged into the infinite and 
glorious works of God. This is the country of the fairies; and here 

312 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

they liave their shaded dells^ their mock mountains and their green 
valleys, thrown into ten thousand shapes of beauty. But higher 
up are the Titian hills ; and when w© get among them we will find 
the difference between abodes of the giants and their elfin neigh- 

At Cathey's mill the troops were divided, Campbell, with his 
men, following a trail six miles south to Wofi'ord Fort, the others 
going to Honey Cut creek, at which point Colonel Charles McDow- 
ell, who had left the Sycamore shoals in advance of the troops to 
notify the Carolina Whigs of the coming of the mountain men, 
rejoined the army. And, on Saturday morning, the 30th day of 
September, the mountain men passed over Silver and Linville 
mountains in an easterly course, and down Paddle's creek to 
"Quaker Meadows," where the fatted calf was killed and the moun- 
tain men regaled themselves in the beautiful valley. Soon thereafter. 
Colonel Benjamin Cleveland and Major Winston joined the moun- 
tain men with three hundred and fifty North Carolinians from the 
counties of Surry and Wilkes. 

It may be interesting to our readers to know that Surry county. 
North Carolina, joined Virginia on the south, and embraced that 
portion of North Carolina now included in the present counties of 
Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga and Mitchell, our nearest neighbors to 
the south. 

On Sunday morning, October 1st, the Wliigs left "Quaker 
Meadows" with light hearts and eager footsteps, believing that they 
would soon be upon Ferguson and his corps. They rapidly advanced, 
passing Pilot moimtain, and in the evening encamped in a gap 
of the South mountain, near where the heads of Cane and Silver 
creeks interlock each other, and on Monday they remained in camp 
for the day because of the rain that was constantly falling. On this 
day it was decided that it was necessary to have a military head to 
their organization, and Colonel McDowell was dispatched to General 
Gates, requesting him to send forward a general officer to take 
the command. The letter addressed by the officers to General Gates 
and forwarded by Colonel McDowell was as follows : 

Rutherford County, Camp near Gilberttown, 

October 1st, 1780. 
Sir : — We have now collected at this place about 1,500 good men, 
diawn from the counties of Surry, Wilkes, Burke, Washington and 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 313 

Sallivan comities in this State, and Washington county in Virginia, 
and expect to be joined in a few days by Colonel Clarke, of Georgia, 
and Colonel Williams, of South Carolina, with about 1.000 Tuore. 
As w« have at this time called out our inintia withoiit any orders 
from the Executives of our different States, and with tbo view of 
expelling the enemy out of this part of the country, we think such a 
body 0^ men worthy of your attention, and would request you to 
send a general officer immediately to take the command of such 
troops as may embody in this quarter. Our troops being all militia 
and but little acquainted with discipline, we would wish him to be 
a gentleman of address and able to keep up a proper discipline \^'ith- 
out disgiTsting the soldiery. Every assistance in our power shall 
be given the officer you may thinlc proper to take the command of us. 

It is the wish of such of us as are acquainted with G-eneral David- 
son and Colonel Morgan (if in service) that one of these gentlemen 
may be appointed to the command. 

We are in great want of ammunition, and hope you will endeavor 
to have us properly furnished with that article. 

Colonel McDowell will wait upon you with this, who can inform 
you of the present situation of the enemy, and such other particulars 
respecting our troops as you may think necessary. 

*We are, sir, your most obedient and very humble ser'ts. 



Isaac Shelby, in his old age, made the statement that Colonel 
McDowell was dispatched upon this mission for the purpose ol dis- 
posing of his services, as he, by reason of his age, was too slow and 
too inactive for the command of such an enterprise as they were 
then engaged in, and this statement has been repeated by most his- 
torians. While it may be true, there can be no good reason for 
believing the statement, for, at this time. Colonel McDowell was 
only thirty-seven years of age, was an active and very intelligent 

*( From original of "Gates papers" in'possession of the New York Historical 
society. ) 

314 Southwest Virginia, 17Ji6-1786. 

man and had seen a great deal of service, before that time, in his 
campaigns against the invaders. 

It is much more reasonable to believe that Colonel McDowell, 
being the commanding officer in the coimty where the army was 
tlien stationed and knowing the country well, of his own accord 
jiroposed to deliver tliis message to General Gates. IT^^on the depart- 
ure of Colonel JMcDowell the other colonels assemliled and elected 
Colonel AVilliam Campbell, of Washington coimty, to command the 
whole, upon the suggestion of Isaac Shelby, who had, previously 
to this timie, always from his earliest manhood taken orders from 
Colonel Canipl^ell, who had served as an officer in the Continental 

On the morning of the 5th of October, the mountain nien made 
preparations to march from their camp to the gap at South moun- 
tain, expecting to find Colonel Ferguson at Gilberttown and attack 
liini. Before beginning the march, Colonel Cleveland requested the 
troops to form a circle, promising to tell them the news. After 
which, he came within the circle, accompanied by the other officei*s, 
and taking off his hat, addressed the troops as follows : 

"Now, my brave fellows, I have come to toll you the news. The 
enemy is at hand and we must up and at them. Now is the time 
for every man of you to do his country a priceless service, such as 
shall lead your children to exult in the fact that their fathers were 
the conquerors of Ferguson. When the pincli comes I sliall l)e with 
you. But if any of you shrink from sliaring in the battle and the 
glory, you can now have the opportunity of l)acking out and leaving; 
and you shall have a few minutes for considering the uiatter." 

After which Major McDowell and Colonel Shelby uiade a few 
remarks and requested all those who liesitated about going further 
to step back three paces to the rear when the word was given. When 
the word was given not one member of that army accepted the priv- 
ilege, but a shout went up from the assemlbled hosts when it was 
ascertained that there was not a coward or a slink in that little 
army. After this the army marched down Cane creek a few mile'^ 
and encamped for the night. On the following day they reached a 
point near Gilberttomi and ascertained that Ferguson, hearing 
of their coming, had retreated. 

Colonel Ferguson, upon hearing of the approach of the mountain 
men, dispatched two messengers to Comwallis, requesting assist- 

Washington County, 1777-1S70. 315 

anee at once, and issued the following proclamation to the country : 
"Gentlemen: — Unless yon wish to be eat up by an inundation of 
barbarians, who have begun by murdering an unarmed son before 
an aged father, and afterwards lopped off his arms, and who, by 
thoir shocking cruelties and irregularities, give the best proof of 
their cowardice and want of discipline; I say, that if you wish to 
be pinioned, robbed and murdered, and vSee your wives and daugh- 
ters in four days abused by the dregs of mankind; in short, if you 
wish to deserve to live and bear the name of men, grasp your arms 
in a moment and run to camp. The 'Back Water' men have 
crossed the mountains; McDowell, Hampton, Shelby and Cleve- 
land are at their head, so that you know what you have to depend 
ii})on. If you choose to be degraded forever and ever by a. set of 
mongrels, say sO' at once, and let your women turn their backs upon 
yoii and look out for real men to protect them. 

Major 71st Eegiment." 
He then retreated to Green river, where he gave out that he was 
retreating to Fort Ninety-six, South Carolina. He then proceeded 
to Dennard's Fort, on Broad river, from which point he marched 
about four miles on the 2d day of October and lay on his arms all 
that night expecting an attack, and on the 3d day of October he 
marched to Tate's place, where he sent the following message to 
Cornwallis : 

"My Lord : — I am on my march to' you by a road leading from 
C*herokee Ford, nortli of King's mountain. Three or four hundred 
good soldiers could finish this business. Something must be done 
soon. This is their last push in this quarter. 


The position occupied by Ferguson at this time was sixteen miles 
northeast of King's mountain and thirty-five miles west of Char- 
lotte, the headquarters of Cornwallis. 

It seems that it was the intention of Ferguson, when he began 
his retreat from Gilberttown to join Cornwallis at Charlotte, with 
all possible speed, but, for some strange reason, he was impelled to 
march to the southwest, where he was to meet his destiny and lose 
his life. He reached King's mountain on the evening of the 6th 
of October, where he pitched his camp and made all necessary pre- 
parations to defend his position, and gave utterance to the follow- 

316 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

ing sacrilegious boast: "That he was on King's mountain, that 
he was king of that mountain, and God Almighty could not drive 
him from it." 

The position occupied by Comwallis and where the battle was 
fought, is in York county. South Carolina, about one and a half 
miles south of the State line. That portion of the mountain upon 
which the battle was fought was nothing more than an oblong hill 
or stony ridge, some six hundred yards long and about two hun- 
dred and fifty yards across from one base to the other, and from 
sixty to one hundred and twenty yards on the top, tapering to the 
south. "So narrow," says Mill's Statistics, "that a man, standing 
on it, may be shot from either side." The top of the ridge is about 
sixty feet above the level of the surrounding country. 

Many of the participants in the battle of King's mountain 
thought that they could see a resemblance to^ that battleground in 
the ridge south of and near to Abingdon, and to this they gave th^^ 
name of King's mountain, which name it bears at the present time. 

The principal elevation on this range of mountains in South 
Carolina was about six miles from the battleground. 

We left the mountain men near Gilberttown, where they were 
informed that Ferguson had retreated some fifty or sixty miles in 
the direction of Fort ISTinety-Six ; which information greatly 
depressed them, but they determined to pursue, which they did 
immediately, as far as Dennard's Ford, where they lost the trail for 
awhile, but they proceeded to Alexander's Ford of Green river, 
where the officers determined to select their best men, best hoi'scs 
and best rifles, and to pursue Ferguson unremittingly and overtake 
him before he could receive reinforcements or reach any fort that 
would give him protection. The mountain men were for some time 
perplexed by the movements of Ferguson, and were unable to tell by 
what route he had fled, but soon ascertained from a Whig sympa- 
thizer, that Ferguson, on the evening of the 5th, had written a loi- 
ter to Lord Cornwallis and had taken a position on the following 
day at King's moimtain. 

The number of men selected on the night of the 5th of October, 
to make the forced march to overtake Ferguson, was about seven 
hundred, thus leaving behind abo'ut six hundred and ninety men. 
The Carolina troops thus left behind, were in charge of Major 
Joseph Herndon, of Cleveland's regiment, and that portion of 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 317 

CampbeU's regiment left behind were in charge of Captain William 
Neil. The men selected were all well mounted, while those left 
behind were not. But Colonel Campbell placed the Washington 
county troops in charge of an officer of much energy of character, 
to whom he gave directions to do ever3d;hing in his power to expe- 
dite the march of the troops placed in his charge, by pushing them 
forward as fast as possible. 

Campbell, with the mounted men, started in pursuit of Ferguson 
on the morning of the 6th of October, passing in a southerly direc- 
tion to the Sandy Plains, thence southeasterly to the Cowpens, 
about twenty-one miles, which point they reached shortly after sun- 
set, where they found Colonels Hill, Lacy, Williamis and Graham, 
with their forces. On this day, they passed in the immediate vicin- 
ity of several large bodies of Tories, one of which numbered six 
hundred. "The riflemen from the mountains had turned out to 
catch Ferguson, and this was their rallying cry from the day they 
left the Sycamore shoals on the Watauga.^'* 4 

They did not intend to be diverted from their object, and there- 
fore did not waste any time on the small parties along their way. 

Ensign Kobert Campbell, of the Virginia troops, in his diary says : 
"That he was dispatched with a party of eighty men to break up the 
party of six hundred Tories stationed near the Cowpens, but that 
they had moved before the mountaineers reached the Cowpens and 
could not be overtaken that night." 

Captain Colvill undertook to surprise this same company the 
following night, but met with no better success. 

While the troops were stationed at the Cowpens, a Whig spy, who 
was a crippled man, reported to the Whig chiefs, that he had visited 
the camp of Ferguson, and ascertained his plans, and that his forces 
did not exceed 1,500 men, which information encouraged the moun- 
tain men very much, but, as a matter of precaution, Enoch Gil- 
more, another spy, was sent out to gain tlie latest intelligence in 
regard to the movements of the enemy, which he did, and returned 
to the camp of the mountain men on the evening of the 6th, When 
the march was begun from the Cowpens on the evening of the 6th, 
the whole number of mounted men was 900, besides a squad of 
footmen numbering about fifty. 

The march from the Cowpens to King's mountain was made by 

*Draper's King's Mountain. 

318 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

night and there was a drizzle of rain failing during most of the 
time. Campbell's men lost their way, and, on the morning of the 
7th, it was ascertained that they were not more than five miles 
from the Cowpens, but they soon joined the main force and pushed 
rapidly forward in an easterly direction, passing the Cherokee Ford 
and on to Beason's where they halted for a short while and learned 
that Ferguson was only nine miles off and in camp. 

As Colonel Campbell rode off froui this point, a girl followed, 
and, calling to him, asked: "How many of you are there?" 
"Enough to wliip Ferguson if we can find him," was the reply, 
whereupon the girl, pointing her finger in a direct line to King's 
mountain, said : "He is on that mountain." 

Several persons were captured between this point and Ferguson's 
camp, one of the number being a man by the name of John Pon- 
der, upon whose person was found a message from Ferguson to 
Comwallis imploring assistance. Another was Henry Watkins, a 
Whig, whom Ferguson had just released, and who gave the moun- 
tain men accurate information of Ferguson and his situation. 

At this point the mountain men were drawn up in two lines, two 
men deep. Colonel Campbell leading the right and Colonel Cleve- 
land the left, and proceeded on their march. When they came near 
to the mountain, they moved up a branch between two rocky knobs, 
beyond which the enemy's camp was in full view, 550 yards in 
front of them. This was at about 3 o'clock in the evening. Orders 
were given for the men to dismount and tie their horses, and to tie 
their blankets and coats to the saddles, and a few men were detailed 
to guard them. This was on the east side of King's creek, after 
which the order was given to the men, "Fresh prime your guns, and 
every man go into battle firmly resolved to fight till he dies." 

The army of Ferguson numbered about 1,100 men, the two 
armies being about equal in number, but there was a considerable 
difference in the motives which prompted them to fight. The Tories 
were fighting for the honor of their king. That was one and various 
other motives might be mentioned; while, on the other hand, the 
Whigs fought for the liberty and independence of the American 
Colonies, for the right to exercise their religious views without 
restraint and to protect their homes and families from unprincipled 
Tories and savage Indians. 

Washington County^ 1777-1870. 319 

Dr. Draper, in speaking of tlie Virginia troops who participated 
in tliis battle, says: 

"Those men from the Holston under Campbell were a pecidiar 
people, somewhat of the character of Cromwell's people. They were, 
almost to a man, Presb}i;erians. In their homes in the Holston 
Valley they were settled in pretty compact congregations, quite tena- 
cious of their religious and civil liberties, as handed down from 
father to son from their Scotch-Irish ancestors. Their preacher, 
Eev. Charles Cummings, was well fitted for the times; a man of 
piety and sterling patriotism, who constantly exerted himself to 
encourage his people to make every needed sacrifice, and put forth 
every possible exertion in defence of the liberties of their country. 
They were a remarkable body of men, botli physically and mentally. 
Inured to frontier life, raised mostly in Augusta and Eockbridge 
counties, Virginia, a frontier region in the French and Indian war, 
they early settled on the Holston, and were accustomed from their 
childhood to border life and hardships ; ever ready at the tap of the 
drum to turn out on military service; in the busiest crop season, 
their wives, sisters and daughters could, in tlieir absence, plant and 
sow and harvest. 

They were better educated than most of the frontier settlers and 
had a moTc thorough understanding of the questions at issue 
between the Colonies and their mother country. These men went 
forth to strike their country's foes, as did the patriarchs of old, feel- 
ing assured that the God of battles was with them and that he would 
surely crown their efforts with success. They had no doubts noT 
fears. They trusted in God and kept their powder dry. Such a 
thing as a coward was not known among them. How fitting it was 
that to such a band of men should have been assigned, by Camp- 
bell's own good judgment, the attack on Ferguson's choicest troops, 
his Provincial Eangers. It was a happy omen of success, literally 
the forlorn hope, the right men in the right place." 

The two armies now confronted each other, the decisive moment 
was at hand, and the mountain men were eager to pounce upon their 

Colonel Campbell arranged his forces in two divisions, making 
each division as nearly equal as possible, the two divisions to sur- 
roi-nd the mountain. Campbell was to lead the Virginians across 
the southern end of the ridge and southeast side, then Sevier's regi- 

320 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

ment and McDowell's and Winston's battalions were to form a 
column on the right wing, northeast of Campl)ell and in the order 
named, under the command of Colonel John Sevier. Shelby's regi- 
ment was to take a position on the left of the mountain, opposite 
to Campbell, and form the left center, Camphell's left and Shelby's 
right coming together, beyond Shelby was placed Williams's com- 
mand, including Brandon, Hammond and Candler, then the South 
Carolinians under Lacy, Hathorn and Steen, with the remainder 
of the Wilkes and Surry men under Cleveland, together with the 
Lincoln troops under Chronicle and Hambright. The regiments or 
companies in the order named surrounded the mountain; Campbell 
on the southeast, then Sevier, McDowell, Winston, Hambright, 
Cleveland, Lacy, Williams and Shelby. Campbell was tx3 swing 
to the north the left of his column and Shelby to the 
south with his right wing, so that the two columns should 
cross the mountain at its southwestern extremity ; and when all the 
companies were in position to form a complete cordon around the 
mountain, which was to be drawn closer to the center as the battle 
progressed. Colonel Campbell, when everything was in readiness, 
visited in person every command in the little army, and said to 
the men : "That if any of them, men or officers, were afraid, to quit 
the ranks and go home; that he wished no man to engage in the 
action who could not fight. That as for himself he was determined 
to fight the enemy a week, if need be, to gain the victory."* 

He gave the necessary orders to his subordinate officers and placed 
himself at the head of his own regiment. 

Many of the men threw aside their hats, tying handkerchiefs 
around their heads so as to be less likely toi be retarded by limbs and 
bushes when dashing up the mountain. 

The march began for the battleground, and when the mountain 
men were discovered by Colonel Ferguson, the shrill whistle used 
by him was distinctly heard, summoning his followers to arms ; the 
battle drums were beaten and every preparation was made in the 
British camp for battle. 

A party of Colonel Shelby's men captured some of the enemy's 
pickets without firing a gun. 

In ordering the battle Colonel Campbell had directed each com- 
pany of his army to listen for the Indian "war whoop" from the 

*Draper's King's Moiantains. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 321 

center colmnn when everything was ready for the attack. When 
heard, the army was to rush forward upon the enemy, doing all pos- 
sible damage and repeating the same "war-whoop." 

The first firing occurred in the vicinity of Shelby's men, and 
before they had taken their position for the battle, but, they were 
not permitted to return the fire, until they had gained their desig- 
nated position. Colonel Shelby directed his men to press on to their 
places and then their fire would not be lost. Colonel Campbell, 
about the timie this firing began, taking his position in front of his 
men, tlirew off his coat and shouted at the top of his voice. "Here 
they are, my brave boys ; shout like h — 1 and fight like devils !" The 
woods immediately resounded with shouts of the line, in which they 
were heartily joined, first by Shelby's corps, and then the shouting 
was instantly caught up by the others along the two wings."* 

At the same time, Captain Andrew Colvill, of the Virginia troops, 
and Major Micajah Lewis and Captain Joel Lewis, with their troops 
were directed by Colonel Campbell to charge the British main guard, 
about one half way up the spur of the mountain, which they did, 
and at this point, the first heavy fighting between the two armies 
t'.ok place. The charge was made by the mountaineers with such 
A\']for that the British guard was forced to retreat, leaving some of 
their men killed and wounded, and the Virginia troops lost Lieu- 
tenant Eobert Edmiston and John Beattie of Colvill's company, 
killed, and Lieutenant Samuel Newell of this same company was 
wounded, but Newell secured a horse, which he mounted and 
returned to the conflict. At this time an incident occurred which 
is preserved, and is here given. 

One of the mountaineers came within rifle shot of a British sen- 
tinel before the latter perceived him. On discovering the Ameri- 
can, he discharged his musket and ran with all speed toward the 
camp on the hill. This 'adventurous Whig, who had pressed for- 
ward considerably in advance of his fellows, quickly dismounted, 
leveled his rifle, firing at the retreating Briton, the ball striking 
him in the back of the head, when he fell and expired."* 

The position assigned to Colonel Campbell's men was the most 
difficult of ascent of any part on the ridge, being very rocky and 
steep, but they were not to be deterred by such obstacles, pressing 
up the mountain little by little until they had reached near the 

^Draper's King's Mountains. 

322 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

top O'f tlie hill, firing all the time. When they had reached this 
point Colonel Ferguson ordered his Eangers tO' charge the Virginia 
troops with fixed bayonets, which they did. The Virginia troops 
stood their ground for some time, but were forced to retreat down 
the mountain. Colonel Campbell and Major Edmiston, with the 
assistance of Lieutenant Newell, rallied the Virginia troops. Colo- 
nel Campbell led his men again to the conflict, and by constant 
and well-directed fire the Virginians drove the enemy back and 
reached the summit of the mountain, when the m^imitain was cov- 
ered Avith flame and smoke and seemed to thunder."* 

Colonel Shelby, in speaking of tlie conduct of the Virginians at 
this time, says : 

"Campbell, with his division, ascended the hill, killing all that 
came in his way, till, coming near enough to the main l>ody of the 
enemy who were posted upon the summit, he poured in upon them 
a most deadly flre. The enemy, with flxed bayonets, advanced upon 
his troops, who gave way and went down the hill, where they rallied 
and formed again and advanced."! 

During this last attack Lieutenant Robert Edmiston, Jr., was 
wO'Unded in the arm and sought shelter behind a tree, where John 
Craig bandaged his arm, when Edmiston exclaimed : "Let us at it 
again," and returned to the front as if he had not been wounded. 
A noted historian, in speaking of this incident, has said : "Of such 
grit was Campbell's Holston soldiers coui]>osed ; and as long as 
there was any fighting to be done for their country and they could 
stand upon their feet, they never failed to share largely in it." 
While Campbell's men were engaged with the British Rangers, Colo- 
nel Shelby was pressing the «iemy from the southwestern end of 
the mountain to such an extent that Ferguson was forced to with- 
draw his Rangers from that quarter and to charge Shelby's column, 
which, in turn, were forced to retreat before tlie Britishi Rangers, 
but they were rallied at the foot of the hill, wlien Shelby addressed 
his men as follows: "Now, boys, quickly reload your rifles, and 
let's advance upon them and give them another h — 1 of fire !"* 

Campbell's and Shelby's men were engaged for fully ten minutes 
before the other forces reached their position, after which time 
Ferguson and his forces were assailed from all quarters by the rifle- 

*Draper's King's Mountains. 

tCol. Shelby's letter to Col. Arthur Campbell, October, 1780. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 333 

men, who, pressing np the ridge, protected themselves behind the 
trees, constantly firing on the British forces. 

Sliortly after the opening of the battle it was discovered that a 
portion of Ferguson's forces had concealed themselves behind a 
chain of rocks at a very dangerous point, from which they success- 
fully assailed the mountain men. 

Colonel Shelby directed Ensign Eobert Campbell, with a com- 
pany of Virginia troops, to move to the right and to dislodge the 
men from their position, wliich Campbell did, and led his men 
within forty steps of them, when he discovered that the Virginia 
troops had been driven down the hill. Then he gave orders to his 
men to post themselves opposite to the rocks and near to the enemy, 
\\'hile he assisted in rallying Colonel Campbell's men, which orders 
were oljeyed, Ensign Campbell's men keeping up such a deadly 
fire on the British, that Colonel Ferguson was compelled to order 
a strong force to assist the men placed among the rocks, but they 
were compelled to retire to another position on the mountain be- 
fore the close of the action. The batttle was now raging all around 
tlie mountain: the report of hundreds of rifles and muskets, the 
loud commands of the officers, the Indian "war-whoops" constantjy 
given by the mountaineers, and the shrill noise made by Fergu- 
son's whistle, conspired to make a tumult never to be forgotten 
and seldom experienced by men. 

Colonel Lacy, with the South Carolinians ; ]\f ajor Chronicle, 
with his North Carolina forces; Colonels Shelby and Sevier, with 
the Holston forces; Colonel Cleveland, with his boys from Surry, 
and the other officers in this little army, magnificently vindicated 
in this conflict their claim to the title of patriots. When the 
British forces would attack any one command they would in turn 
be assailed by the mountain men in their rear and be forced to 
turn upon their pursuers, but every charge and counter-charge 
saw Ferguson's ranks grow thinner and thinner, and the coil was 
drawn closer and closer around the top of the mountain. Ferguson 
and his forces were surrounded by the mountain men, whose 
fire was so constant and deadly that it Avas with difficulty that the 
British officers could rally their men. The British troops began 
to give way on the southeastern side of the mountain, where they 
Avere hard pressed by Campbell and Shelby, and assailed in the rear 
by Cleveland, and on their flanks by McDowell and Winston. At 

324 SoiifJnrr.^f Viir/inin. 17 1,0-1 ISG. 

tllis lime two white \\;\\S> W^'V I'Jiiscd on the lii'ilisli line, but 
Ferii'iisoii iiimicilijitcly cut tliciii down, swearing;- tliat lie would 
novor sin-Tcii(l('i" to such hiimJil li. Sccini;-. however, tliat lie was 
Avhi])]X'cl. with a tew ri'ieiids he made an attempt to break through 
the lines of the mountain men on the southeastern side of the 
mountain and make his escape. l)ut in making the effort he was 
shot through with six or eight bullets. When Ferguson attempted 
to make his escape a mountaineei' hy the name of Gilliland, who 
had been several times -wounded, seeing his advance, attempted to 
fire his gun at him, l)ut it snapped, when he called upon Eol)ert 
Young, a member of his company, saying to "There is Fer- 
guson; shoot him," to which Young rei)lied: "111 try and see 
wdiat Sweet Li])S can do." wdiereupon he discharged his rifle and 
Ferguson fell from his horse dead, and his friends were driven 
back within the lines. Among the wounds received by Colonel 
Ferguson w-as one through the head. He received the fatal shot 
near Colonel John Sevier's company, and not far from the position 
occupied by Ensign Eohert Cam])bell, who had been directed by 
Colonel Shelby to dislodge the British stationed behind a ledge of 
rocks as before detailed. 

The last conflict between Colonel Cam])beirs men. assisted by 
Colonel Shell)y"s men. and the British, lasted fully tAventy minutes, 
the contestants being not more than forty yards apart. This is 
said to have been the most hotly-contested part of the action. 

Colonel Cam])l)ell at this time was some distance in front of 
his company urging them on to victory, and while in this position 
he called to his men: "T3oys, remember your lil)erty! Come on, 
come on! niy brave fellows; another gun, another gun will do it! 
D — n them ; we must have them out of this."* 

While the British made a noble stand, they were driven to the top 
of the mountain to their wagons, from which ])osition they were 
driven immediately into a low place in the mountain, where they 
surrendered. Colonels Camjibell and Shelby were ably assisted by 
the bravery of the men under Cleveland, Lacy and Williams, who 
kept up a vigorous attack from their position. Ca])tain DePeyster, 
the next in command, upon the death of Colonel Ferguson, imme- 
diately hois=;ted the white flag and called for quarter, wddch flag was 
soon taken from his hand bv one of his officers on horseback and held 

*Draper's King's Mountains. 

Washiiujton Countij, 1777-1S70. 325 

so high that it could be seen all along the American line. This white 
flag was not the only one hoisted in the British army. At another 
point a Piritisli soldier was mounted on a horse and directed to 
hold up a wJiite handkerchief, wliicli ho did, and was immediately 
shot down by C'hnrles Bow en, a second soldier suffering the same 
fate; l)ut ujion a tliird atteinj)t Major Evan Shell)y received the 
flag and prochiimed the surrender, Imt tlie mountain men who 
had l)een scattered in the battle were ccmtinually coming u]) 
and continued to lire witliout comprehending in the heat of the 
moment what had happeiu'd,'"* and many others were ignorant of 
the meaning of a white riag under sucli circumstances, while others 
were angered at tlie loss of rehitivcs iind friends at and before thi^ 

In the summer of this year Colonel 1)11 ford, in command of a 
body of Virginia troops, had been siir]u-ised and his command cut 
to pieces by Colonel Tarleton at the ^Vaxhaws in Xorth Carolina ; 
Buford's men, Avhen surrounded by Tarleton's forces, begged for 
quarter, which Tarleton declined to give, and they were cut to 
pieces without mercy. The circumstances attending this slaughter 
were well known to all the mountain men engaged in the battle 
of King's Mountain, and the word "lUiford"' had been adopted as 
the pass-word by the mountain men before engaging in this action, 
and when the British were driven into the low ground hereto- 
fore described, and were offering to surrender, numbers of the 
mountain men were heard to cry out: "Give them Buford's play!" 
and after the surrender the Americans continued to slaughter the 
British for some time, notwithstanding the efforts of the Whig offi- 
cers to prevent the slaughter. 

About this time Colonel Campbell came running up, and, see- 
ing Andrew Evans, a mendjer of his command, about to fire on the 
British, knocked his gun up, exclaiming: "Evans, for God's sake, 
don't shoot! It is nuirder to kill them now, for they have raised 
the flag." Cani])bell, as he rushed along, repeated the order: 
"Cease firing! Eor God's sake, cease firing!" Campbell there- 
upon ordered Captain DePeyster, the British officer, to dismount, 
calling out to the British forces: "Officers, rank by yourselves. Pri- 
soners, take off vour hats and sit down." The mountaineers were. 

^Drapf'r's King's Mountains. 

32G Southwest Virginia, 1746-17S6. 

directed to surround the prisoners in one eontinuoiis circle four 

Colonel Campbell then proposed to his troops "three huzzas 
for liherty." At this time a small squad of Tories, who had been 
sent by Colonel Ferguson on a foraging expedition, returned to 
the mountain, and, not knowing of the surrender, fired upon the 
mountain men, killing Colonel Williams, of South Carolina. 
Colonel Campbell, acting upon his belief that Colonel Tarleton 
had arrived with his detachment, ordered the men of Colonels 
Williams' and Brandon's commands to fire upon the enemy, which 
they did, killing about one hundred of them, when the mistake 
was discovered, and the firing ceased. 

Colonel DePeyster delivered his sword to Colonel Campbell, 
while Captain Eyerson delivered his sword to Lieutenant Andrew 
Kincannnn, of the A'irginia forces. Colonel Campbell at this 
time was in his shirt sleeves, Avith his collar open, and when some 
of the Americans pointed him out as their commander the British 
officers at first, from his unmilitary plight, seemed to doubt it, but 
a number of officers now surrendered their swords to him, and he had 
several in his hands and under his arms. 

The battle Avas now ended after fifty minutes of hard fighting. 
Colonel Ferguson, the British commander, was killed, and the 
losses in his army were as follows : 

British Rangers. 

Killed, 30 

Wounded, 28 

Prisoners, 57 


Killed, 127 

Wounded, 125 

Prisoners, 649 

The killed and wounded in the army of the mountain men were 
thirty killed and sixty wounded. Colonel Campbell's regiment of 
Virginians from Washington county met with greater losses than 
anj other regiment engaged in this battle, the killed being : 

William Edmiston, captain. 

Rees Bowen, lieutenant. 

William Blackburn, lieutenant. 

Eobert Edmiston, Sr., lieutenant. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 3)^7 

Andrew Edmiston, ensign, 
llumberson Lyon, ensign. 
James Laird, ensign. 
William Flower, private. 
John Beattie, ensign. 
James Corry, ensign. 
Nathaniel Dryden, ensign. 
Nathaniel Gist, ensign. 
James Phillips, ensign. 
Thomas McCulloch, ensign. 
Elisha Pepper, private. 
Henry Henniger, private. 

And the woimded were as follows : 

James Dysart, captain. 
Samnel Newell, lieutenant. 
Pobert Edmiston, Jr., lientenant. 
Frederick Fisher, private. 
John Scaggs, private. 
Benoni Btoning, private. 
Charles Kilgore, private. 
William Bnllen, private. 
Leonard Hyce, private. 
Israel Hayter, private, 
and W^illiam Moore, private.* 

It is a fact worth remembering that in this contest thirteen offi- 
cers and three privates of the Virginia forces were killed, being 
more than one-half of all the killed in this battle, and that three 
officers and eighteen privates were wounded, a little more than one- 
third of the men wounded in this battle ; they were members of the 
Virginia companies. Another remarkable fact connected with this 
battle is that of the eight members of Colonel Campbell's regiment 
by the name of Edmiston three were killed and one wounded. 

Among the rocks where the Tories had posted themselves dur- 
ing this battle the bodies of eighteen Tories were found, all of 
whom had been shot directly through the head. 

All the prisoners were placed under strong guard. The Whigs 
encamped for the night on the battleground with the dead and 

*The names of ten privates wounded in this battle cannot be ascertained. 

328 Soiitlnrcsf Vinilvia. JlJid-TTSC). . 

woundvil. and |)ass('(l i]\o iiii;hl aiiiid tlic ui-oaii^ ami laiiicntatinii-; 
of tlio wounded Tories. 

A great quantity of powdt'i'. lead, sl-.ot and ])i-ovisions were 
eapiiircd and aiipropioiated as a result of this battle, and Fer- 
guson's effects were divided among the oflfieers, his sword being 
given to Colonel Se\ior. Captain Joseph ^leDowell secured six 
of his china diniu'i- ])lates and a small coffee cup and saucer; Colo- 
nel Shelby secured his lai'ge sih'cr whistle, whWv a smaller whistle 
was obtained Ijy Elias Powell, one of his soldici's; Colonel Sevier, 
his silken sash and lieutenant-coloners commission and DePey- 
ster's sword; Colonel C'leveland, his riding horse; Colonel Camp- 
bell, a ]>ortion of his correspondence; Samuel Talbot, of this 
countv. removed his dead body from the place where it lay, and 
secured his pistol, which had dro])ped from his pocket. 

Dr. Draper has preserved several incidents relating to the sol- 
diers from this county and their conduct in this battle, which 
are here copied in full : 

"During the battle Captain William Edmiston, of Campbell's 
regiment, remarked to John McCrosky, one of his men, that he was 
not satisfied with his ])osition, and dashed forward into the hot- 
test part of the battle, and there received the charge of DePeys- 
ter's Eangers, discharged his gun, then clubbed it, and knocked 
the rifle out of the grasp of one of the P)ritons. Seizing him by 
the neck, he made him his prisoner and brought him to the foot 
of the hill. Peturning again up the mountain, he bravely fell 
fighting in front of his company near his beloved colonel. His 
faithful soldier, ]\IcCroskey, when the contest was ended, went in 
search of his cai)tain, found him and related the great victorv 
gained, wlien the dying man nodded his satisfaction at the result. 
The stern (V)lonel Campbell was seen to l)r\ish away a tear, when 
he saw his good friend and heroic captain stretched u])on the 
ground under a ti'ee with one hand clutching his side as if to re- 
sfi'ain his life-blood from ebl)ing away until the battle was over. 
He heard the shout of victory as his commander and friend grasped 
his other hand. Me was past speaking; but he kissed his colonel's 
hand, smiled, loosed his feeble hold on life, and the Christian pa- 
triot went to his reward. 

"Lieutenarit Pees Bowen, A\ho commanded out' of the com|).:inies 
of the Virginia reainuMit. was ol)served while marching forwai'd 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 339 

to attack the enemy, to make a hazardous and unnecessary expos- 
ure of his person. Some friend kindly remonstrated with him : 
'Wh}'^, Bowen, do you not take a tree? why rashly present your- 
self to the deliberate aim of the Provincial and Tory riflemen 
concealed behind every rock and busli before you? Death will in- 
evitably result if you persist. Take to a tree.' He indignantly 
replied : 'A''o ! Xever shall it be said that I sought safety by hiding 
my person or dodging from a Briton or a Tor}' who opposed me in 
the field.' Well had it been for liim and his country had he been 
more prudent, and, as his superiors had advised, taken shelter 
whenever it could be fovmd, for he had scarcely concluded his 
brave utterance when a rifle ball struck him in the breast. He fell 
and expired. 

"An incident of an exciting character occurred near the close 
of the contest which very nearly cost the heroic Colonel Cleve- 
Umd his life. Charles Bowen, of Captain William. Edmiston's 
company, of Campbell's regiment, vaguely heard that his brother 
Eees Bowen had been killed, and was much distressed and exas- 
perated in consequence*. On the spur of tlie moment and without 
due consideration of the danger he incurred he commenced a wild 
and hurried search for his brother, hoping he might yet find him 
in a wounded condition only. He soon came across his own fallen 
Captain p]dmiston shot in the head and dying, and, hurrying from 
one jioint to another, he at length found liimself within fifteen or 
twenty paces of the enemy and near to Colonel Cleveland, when he 
slipped behind a tree. 

"At this time the enemy began to waver and show signs of sur- 
rendering. Bowen promptly shot down the first man among them 
who hoisted a flag, and immediately, as the custom was, turned his 
back to the tree to reload, when Cleveland advanced on foot, sus- 
pecting from the wildness of his actions that he was a Tory, and 
demanded the countersign, which Bowen, in his half-bewildered 
state of mind had, for the time being, forgotten. Cleveland, now 
confirmed in his conjectures, immediately leveled his rifle at Bow- 
en's breast and attempted to shoot. l)ut, fortunately, it missed fire. 
Bowen, enraged and perhajis hardly aware of his own act, jumped 
at and seized Cleveland by the collar, snatched his tomahawk from 
his belt, and would in another moment have Iniried it in tlie colo- 
nel's l)i-ains had not his ai-ui been arrested bv a soldier named 

330 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

Buchanan, who knew both parties. Bowen, now coming to himself, 
recollected the countersign and gave it "Buford," when Cleveland 
dropped his gun and clasped Bowen in his arms for joy that each 
had so narrowly and unwittingly been restrained from sacrificing 
the other. This same author, in speaking of Campbell's regiment, 

"No regiment had their .endurance and courage more severely 
tested than Campbell's. They were the first in the onset, the first 
to be charged down the declivity by Ferguson's Eangers, the first 
to rally and return to the contest. Everything depended upon suc- 
cessively rallying the men when first driven down the mountain. 
Had they become demoralized, as did the troops at Gates' defeat 
near Camden, and as did some of Greene's militia at Guilford, they 
would have brought disgrace and disaster upon the Whig cause. 
When repulsed at the point of the bayonet the well-known voice of 
tlieir heroic commander bade them ^'halt !" Eeturn, my brave fel- 
lows, and you will drive the enemy immediately !" He was 
promptly obeyed, for Campbell and his officers had the full con- 
fidence and control of their mountaineers: They bravely faced 
about and drove the enemy in turn up the mountain. In these 
desperate attacks many a hand-to-hand fight and many an act of 
heroism occurred, the wonder and admiration of all beholders; 
but there were so many heroic incidents where all were heroes, 
that only the particulars of here and there one have been handed 
down to us. Ensign Eobert Campbell, at the head of a charging 
party, -with singular boldness and address, killed Lieutenant Mc- 
Ginnis, a brave officer of Ferguson's Eangers."* 

There is a tradition in the Bowen family that Lieutenant Eees 
Bowen, when he received orders to march to King's mountain, took 
with him John Bowen, his son, a mere boy, who participated in 
the battle and brought home to his mother his father's bloody shoes. 

A similar tradition in the Breckenridge family is to the effect 
that Alexander Breckenridge, a prosperous farmer living in the 
vicinity of Abingdon, was accompanied to this battle by his son, 
George Breckenridge, who was under fifteen years of age, and that 
he (George Breckenridge) took an active part in the battle. 

On the morning of October 8th, being Sunday, Colonel Camp- 
bell's army drew the British baggage wagons, numbering seventeen. 

*Draper's King's Mountain. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 331 

across their camiD-fires, where they were burned, and, with all the 
provision that they could possibly carry, they began their return 
march for the mountains with all expedition possible, fearing the 
arrival of Colonel Tarleton, encumbered as they were with so many 
prisoners and such a quantity of captured stores. The prisoners 
Avere required to carry their own arms, as the Whigs had no other 
means of conveyance. 

The report was current in the camp, upon the morning the 
army started on its return, that Colonel Tarleton would attempt 
a rescue of the prisoners, numbering more than six hundred, and 
it is stated by a distinguished Englishman, who was at that time 
a prisoner, that before the troops moved Colonel Campbell gave 
orders to his men that should they be attacked on the march they 
should fire on and destroy the prisoners; but it is exceedingly 
doubtful whether such orders were ever given. 

Colonel Campbell, with a party of men, remained behind to 
bury their dead countrymen, and he directed the British prison- 
ers to bury their dead. The British dead were interred in two 
pits — one a very large one, in which the Tories Avere laid side by 
side; the other a smaller one, in which doubtless the men of Fer- 
guson's corps were buried."* 

The army marched that day twelve miles and encamped on the 
eastern bank of Broad river. The next day they marched up Broad 
river and encamped on the northern bank of Boran's river, and 
on the succeeding Friday Colonel Campbell issued an order di- 
recting that all the wounded soldiers who were not able to march 
should be placed by the companies to Avhich they belonged at the 
most suitable place they could find, Avhich was done. The army 
thereafter moved much more rapidly, encamping the evening of 
that day at Bickerstaff's Old Fields, where on the 14th Colonel 
Campbell issued a general order deploring the many desertions 
from the army and the felonies committed, by those who had 
deserted, on the poverty-stricken people of the country, and appealed 
to the officers under his command to suppress the bad practice. 

While in camp at this point the officers from jSTorth and South 
Carolina made complaints to Colonel Campbell that there were 
among the prisoners a number of men who were robbers and 
assassins; whereupon. Colonel Campbell ordered the convening of 

*Draper's King's Mountains. 

333 SouiJitrcst Virginia, 17J/0-17SG. 

a court-martial to examine into the conq^laints. A copy of the 
law of Xorth Carolina was obtained, which authorized a trial of 
persons charged with such offences by a jury summoned by two 
jiia^iistrates, and directed their execution if found onilty. The 
c(uirt-iuai'tial composed of the field officers and captains, assembled 
and conducted their meeting in an orderly manner. Witnesses 
were examined in every case, and, during the day, thirty-six men 
Mere tried and found guilty of murder, rohbery and other offences, 
and sentenced to be hanged, and on the evening of the same day, 
an oak tree which stood near the camp l)y the road side was 
selected as a proper })lace to execute the orders of the court. The 
prisoners were brought out, surrounded by the Whig troops four 
deep, after which, the lianging l)egan. Three were hanged at a 
time, until nine of the condemned men had been executed. Then 
a young man by the name of Baldwin, a brother of one of the 
criminals, approached, and, placing his arms aroamd his brother, 
who was about to be hanged, wept as if his heart would l)reak, and, 
while doing so, cut the cords tliat bound his brother, who darted 
through the body of men and escaped, every man being so much 
affected In' the actions of young Baldwin that not one man 
attempted to' recapture or take his brother. At this point Colonel 
Shelby interposed and proposed that the executions should cease, 
and the rest of the thirty-six condemned criminals escaped hang- 
ing, being pardoned by Campbell, the commanding officer. 

The Toi-y leaders who were lianged at Bickerstaff were left 
SAvinging to the oak tree on which they were executed, l)ut, on tli';' 
following day, after the departure of Campl)eirs forces, an elderly 
lady living in the community, with the assistance of one man, cut 
tlie bodies down and had them l)uried. 

The march of the mountaineers began on the 15th of OctolxM-, 
and, after a hard day's march, through a constant down]iour of 
rain, they reached "Quaker IMeadows," the borne of IVIajor IMcDow- 
ell, having traveled thirty-two miles: where the troops Avere tol- 
erably Avell provided for. At this point on the following day, it 
Avas agreed that Colonel Lacy Avith his men should ret\irn to South 
C^arolina, Avhile tlie regiments of Colonels Sevier and Shelley, Avitli 
that ])ortion of Colonel Campbell's regiment that Avere on foot, were 
directed to take the mountain trail and return to their homes. The 
greater ijortiou of Cami)beirs regiment, with Clevehiiid, Winston 

Washing Ion Counfi/, 1777-1S70. 333 

iind McDowell and tlioir Xnrth Carolina troops, decided to remain 
in the service and act as a guard to the prisoners. From "Quaker 
Meadows," Canipheirs troo])s with their ])risoners. marched several 
days in the direction of Hillshorough, arriving at Haygood's plan- 
tation on Briar creek, where Colonel C^amphell discharged a portion 
of his nwn; from wliich point, on the 20th, lie addressed a letter 
to his hrother-in-law. Colonel Arthur Camphell, giving him an 
account of the l)att]e. which letter is as follows: 

Wilkes county. Cam]) on Briar Creek, October 20, 1780. 
Deal- Sir: — Ferguson and his party are no more in circumstances 
to injure the citizens of America. 

We came uj) with him in Craven connty. South Carolina, posted 
on a height called King's mountain, about twelve miles north of the 
CheroktH^ ford of Broad riAcr, al)out two o'clock in the evening of 
the 7th instant, we having marched the whole night before. 

Colonel Shelby's regiment and mine began the attack, and sus- 
tained the whole fire of the enemy for about ten minutes while the 
other troops were forming around the height upon which the enemy 
were posted. The firing then became general and as hea\y as yon 
can conceive for the number of men. The advantageous sitnation 
of the enemy — being on top of a steep ridge — oldiged us to expose 
ourselves exceedingly, and the dislodging of them was equal to 
driving them from strong breast-works; though, in the end, we 
gained the point of the ridge, where my regiment fought, and drove 
tliem along the summit, nearly to the other end, Avhere Colonel 
Cleveland with his country men were. There they were drove into 
a huddle, and the greatest confusion. The flag for a surrender 
was immediately hoisted ; and as soon as the troops could be noticed 
of it, the firing ceased, and the survivors surrendered themselves 
])risoners at discretion. 

The victory was complete to a wish. ^ly regiment has suffered 
moi-e than any other in the action. I must proceed with the pri- 
soners until 1 can some way dispose of them. Probably I may 
go to Richmond in Virginia. I am, &c., 

WU. CV\MPBELL, Col. Com. 

From Briar creek the army proceeded by slow marches, by Salem 
to Bethabara, a Moravian village, a large majority of the inhab- 
itants of which were Tories. While stationed at this point. Col- 

334 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

onels Campbell, Cleveland and Shelby made their official report of 
the battle of King's mountain, which report is as follows : 

"A statement of the proceedings of the western army, from the 
25th day of September, 1780, to the reduction of Major Ferguson 
and the army under his command. On receiving intelligence that 
Major Ferguson had advanced up as high as Gilberttown, in Ruth- 
erford county, and threatened tO' cross the mountains to the west- 
ern waters, Colonel . Campbell, with 400 men from Washington 
county, Virginia, Colonel Isaac Shelby with 340 men from Sul- 
liran county, jSTorth Carolina, and • Lieutenant-Colonel John 
Sevier with 240 men from Washington county. North Caro- 
lina, assembled at Watauga on the 25th day of September, 
where they were joined by Colonel Charles McDowell, with 
160 men from the counties of Burke and Rutherford, who 
had fled before the enemy to the western waters. We be- 
gan our march on the 26th, and on the 30th we were joined by 
Colonel Cleveland on the Catawba river, with 350 men from the 
counties of Wilkes and Surry. Ko one officer having properly a 
right to command in chief, on the first day of October we dispatched 
an express to ]\Iajor General Gates, informing him of our situation, 
and requested him to send a general officer to take command of the 
whole. In the meantime Colonel Campbell was chosen to act as 
commandant till such general officer should arrive. We marched to 
the Cowpens, on Broad river in South Carolina, where we were 
joined by Colonel James Williams, with 400 men, on the evening of 
the 6th of October, who informed us that the enemy lay encamped 
somewhere near the Cherokee ford of Broad river, about thirty 
miles distant from us. By a council ol the principal officers, it 
was then thought advisable to pursue the enemy that night with 
900 of the best horsemen, and leave the weak horse and footmen 
to follow as fast as possible. We 43egan our march with 900 of the 
best horsemen about eight o'clock the same evening, and marching 
all night came up with the enemy about three o'clock, P. M., of the 
7th, who lay encamped on the top of King's mountain, twelve 
miles north of the Cherokee ford, in the confidence tliat they would 
not be forced from so advantageous a post. Previous to the attack, 
on the march, the following disposition was made : Colonel Shelby's 
regiment formed a column in the center on the left; Colonel Camp- 
bell's regiment another on the right; part of Colonel Cleveland's 

Washington County, 1111-1810. 335 

regiment, headed in front by Major Winston, and Colonel Sevier's 
regiment formed a large column on the right wing; the other part 
of Colonel Cleveland's regiment, headed by Colonel Cleveland him- 
self, and Colonel Williams' regiment, composed the left wing. In 
this order wo advanced, and got within a quarter of a mile of the 
enemy before we were discovered. Colonel Shelby's and Colonel 
Campbell's r(}giments began the attack, and kept up a fire while the 
right and left wings were advancing to surround them, which was 
done in about five minutes; the greatest part of which time a heavy 
and incessant fire was kept up on both sides ; our men in some parts, 
where the regulars fought, were obliged to give way a small dis- 
tance, two or three times, but rallied and returned with additional 
ardor to the attack. The troops upon the right having gained the 
summit of the eminence, obliged the enemy to retreat along the 
top of the ridge to where Colonel Cleveland commanded, and were 
tliere stopped by his brave men. A flag was immediately hoisted by 
(Japtain DePeyster, their commanding officer (Major Ferguson 
liaving been killed a little before), for a surrender, our fire imme- 
diately ceased, and the enemy laid down their arms, the greatest 
part of them charged, and surrendered themselves to us prisoners 
at discretion. 

It appeared from their own provision returns for that day, found 
in their camp, that their whole force consisted of 1,125 men, out 
(tf which they sustained the following loss: Of the regulars, one 
major, one captain, two sergeants, and fifteen privates killed; 
thirty-five privates wounded, left on the ground not able to march. 
I'wo captains, four lieutenants, three ensigns, one surgeon, five 
sergeants, three corporals, one drummer, and forty-nine privates 
tjiken prisoners. Loss of the Tories : two colonels, three captains 
and 201 privates killed; one major and 127 privates wounded, and 
left on th(; ground, not able to march; one colonel, twelve cap- 
tains, eleven lieutenants, two ensigns, one quartermaster, one adju- 
tant, two commissaries, eighteen sergeants and 600 privates taken 
prisoners. Total loss of the enemy, 1,105 men, at King's mountain. 
Given under our hands at camp. 

(Signed) WM. CAMPBELL, 



o n r' 

Soulhirest Vinjinia, 17J/0-17S'J. 

*The nunibor of men c()iu|)()sin(i- tlic ai-niy of tlic mountain ukmi 
on this expedition was as follows: 

From \\'asliinL':toii county. \'a., under Colonel Win. C'amplicll. 400 

From Sulli\aii county. X . ('.. undci' ( 'olone] Isaat; Shelby "J 10 

From Washiniitoii county, \. ('., undei- (Vilonel John Seviei-,. . 2-iO 
Frojn Ihirke and IJuthcrford. X. ('.. under Colonel Charles 

McDowell 1 CO 

From Wilkt'S ajid Surry. X". C.. under Colonc^I Cleveland and 

Majol' John Winston ooO 


The official rejxjrt of the killed and wounded in the ai'iny of 
the raountain men. as ])uldishe(l at the time and now on lilc w ith tlie 
Gates' papers in the X^ew X'ork Tlistoi'ical Society, gives the killed 
and wonnded as follows : 

liETUKN OF Killed and Wounded. 
































Campbell's . . ' 

12 4 ... 










McDowell's . 

Thomas' . . . 




Cleveland's .... 













Brannon's. ..'... 



..J.. 1. 


Tol. Williams' 1 

' 1 









Total 1 1 






Tt will he seen that this report is imperfect in this, that it does 
not i-e])ort the killed and wonnded in Colonel Shelby's reo-iment, 
and, in addition thereto, it is known to imperfectly state the killed 
and wounded in Colonel Campbell's reoiment. 

On the "itith day of October, Colonel Cam])hi'll issned an order 
apjK)intin,a- Cdlonel Cleveland to the command of the troops then 
encamped at Uethabara. aftei- which. Colonels Cam])bell and Sldby 

*Foote's Bketches, N. C, page. 206 

Washington County, 1777-1S70. 337 

j-i'|)ai]\'(l to (iciK'i-al Gati's's caiii]) at Hillsljorough, Colonel Shelby 
to offer the services of a iiuiiil)er of mountain men under Major 
McDowell, to serve under General ^lorgan. The ohject of Colonel 
Campbell's visit is hest stated in a letter written l)y him to Gov- 
ernor Jefferson from Hillsborough, which letter is as follows: 

"Hillsborough. Octo])er 31, 1780. 

"Sir, — I came to this place last night tO' receive General Gates' 
directions liow to dispose of the prisoners taken at King's moun- 
tain, in the State of South Cai'olina, upon the 7tli instant. He has 
ordered them to l)e talcen over to Montgomery county, where they 
are to be secured under proper guards. General Gates transmits 
to your Excellency a state of the proceedings of our little party to 
the westward. I flatter myself we have much relieved that part of 
the country from its late distress. 

"I am, your Excellency's most ohedient and very humble servant, 


General Gates directed Colonel William Preston to prepare a 
proper place for the reception and care of the prisoners, but Colonel 
Preston immediately answered General Gates, informing him that 
the Lead Mines would be an unsafe place for the prisoners, as a 
large portion of the inhabitants of Montgomery county were dis- 
affected, and advised General Gates to send the prisoners to Bote- 
tourt county. General Gates, ujwn receipt of Colonel Preston's 
letter, was in doubt as to the proper disposition of the prisoners, 
and Colonel Campbell advised him to send the prisoners north to 
Washington's army, which idea General Gates partially approved, 
and directed Colonel Campbell to proceed to Eichmond with dis- 
patches to Governor Jefferson on the subject, which matter was re- 
ferred to the Congress of the United States by Governor Jefferson, 
and that body, on the 20th of !N"oveniber, expressed it as their 
opinion that the governors of the several States wdiose citizens were 
numbered among the prisoners should make such orders respecting 
the prisoners as the public security and the laws of the respective 
States may require. Acting under this recommendation of Con- 
gress, that portion of the prisoners that had not previously thereto 
escaped were either paroled or enlisted in the militia of the States 
of North and South Carolina. 

Governor Jefferson, upon receipt of General Gates' report of the 

338 Southwest Virgitiia, 17J,6-17S6. 

battle of King's mountain, transmitted the same to the Congress 
of the United Colonies, which body, on the 15th of November, 
adopted the following resolution: 

"Nov. 13, 1780. 

"A letter of the Tth from Governor Jeflerson was read, inclosing 
a letter of the first from Major-General Gates with a particular 
account of the victory ol)tained by the militia over the enemy at 
King's mountain, on the 7th of October, last, whereupon Eesolved : — 

"That Congress entertain a high sense of the spirited and mili- 
tary conduct of Colonel Campbell and the officers and privates of 
the militia under his command, displayed in the action of October, 
7tli, in which a complete victory was obtained over superior num- 
bers of the enemy advantageously posted on King's mountain, in 
the State of S. Carolina, and that this resolution be published by 
the commanding officer of the southern army, in general orders." 

On tlie 15th of tlie same month the Senate of Virginia passed 
the following resolutions : 

"Eesolved, neminc contradicente, that the thanks of this House 
ai-e justl}' due to Colonel William Campbell, of Wasliington count_v, 
and the brave officers and soldiers under his command, who, with 
an ardor truly patriotic in the month of September last, without 
waiting for the call of Go\'ernment, voluntarily marched out to 
oppose the common enemy, at the time making depredations on the 
frontiers of North Carolina, and on the seventh day of October, by 
a Avell-timed, judicious and spirited attack, with a force inferior 
to that of ]\rajor Ferguson's, then advantageously posted on King's 
mountain, with upwards of eleven hundred men, and by a perse- 
verance and gallantry rarely to be met with, even among veteran 
troops, totally defeated the whole party, whereby, a formidable and 
dangerous scheme of the enemy was effectually frustrated." 

On the lOtli day of November the Legislature of Virginia 
adopted the folloMang resolutions: 

"Eesolved that the thanks of this House be given to Colonel 
William Campbell, of the county of Washington, and the officers 
and soldiers under his command, who spontaneously equipped 
tliemselves, and went forth to the aid of a sister State; suffering 
distress under the invasion and ravage of the common enemy, and 
wlio, combined with some detachments from the neighboring 
Slates, judiciously concerted and bravely executed an attack on 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 339 

a party of the enemy commanded by Major Ferguson, consisting 
of about 1,105 men, British and Tories, strongly posted on King's 
mountain, whereby, after a severe and bloody conflict of upwards 
of an hour, the survivors of the enemy were compelled to surren- 
der themselves prisoners of war; and that Colonel Campbell be re- 
quested to communicate the contents of this resolution to the gal- 
lant officers and soUliers who composed his party." 

Joseph Jones, Iiichard Henry Lee and Colonel William Fleming 
wo]-e appointed a couimittee to communicate the foregoing vote 
of thanlcs to Colonel Campbell, which they did, to which Colonel 
Cauipljell was pleased to return the following answer : 

''Gentlemen, — I am infinitely happy in receiving this public tes- 
timony of the approbation of uiy country for my late services in 
South Carolina. It is a reward far above my expectations, and I 
esteem it the noblest a soldier can receive from a virtuous people. 
Through you, gentlemen, I wish to communicate the high sense 
I have of it to the House of Delegates. I owe, under Providence, 
much to the brave officers and soldiers who' served with me; and I 
shall take the earliest opportunity of transmitting the resolve of 
your House to them, who, I am persuaded will experience all the 
honest, heartfelt satisfaction, I feel myself on this occasion." 

Upon the receipt of Colonel Campbell's answer, the General As- 
sembly of Virginia adopted the following resolution : 

"Ordered that a good horse, with elegant furniture, and a 
sword, be purchased at the public expense and presented to Gen- 
eral Campbell, as a fartber testimony of the high sense the Gen- 
eral Assembly entertain of his late important services to his coim- 

This resolution was not carried into execution in the lifetime 
of Colonel Campbell, but the horse and sword were afterwards pre- 
sented to William C. Preston, a grandson of Colonel Campbell's, 
and United States Senator for many years from South Carolina. 
The gratitude of the people of Virginia to Colonel Campbell and 
his brave men for the great service they had rendered their country 
was unbounded, and the General Assembly of Virginia exhausted 
every resource in their power to make evident the gratification of 
the people. 

On the 14th of Jime, 1781, the General Assembly of Virginia 
adopted the following resolution : 

340 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

".Resolved, that AY in. Campbell, Esq., be appointed a Brigadier- 
General in the militia of this Commonwealth, and the Governor 
elect do commission him accordingly." 

And on the 22d of November, 1783, after the death of General 
Campbell, the General Assembly adopted the following resolution: 

"Eesolved, That after the lands given by law as bounties to the 
officers and soldiers shall be surveyed and laid off, five thousand 
acres of the surplus be granted to Charles Campbell, in considera- 
tion of the meritorious services of his late father, General Camp- 

And on the 9th day of December, 1780, the General Assembly 
adopted the following resolution : 

"Eesolved, That the Governor be directed to forward to Wash- 
ington county, thirty bushels of salt and six hundred pounds cash, 
toi be by the court of that county distributed among the widows and 
orphans of the slain and wounded officers and soldiers of the corps 
that fought at King's mountain, in such proportion as by the said 
court may be judged proper." 

It is doubtful whether there is another county in this Union, 
whose citizens, either voluntarily or by command of the govern- 
ment, rendered such valuable services to their country in a time of 
imminent danger, as did the citizens of Washington county upon 
this occasion, and you may search history in vain for another 
instance in which the government of this Union or of any State 
has shown such gratitude to the actors. 

Thomas Jefferson, in speaking of this expedition in after years, 
said: "I well remember the deep and grateful impression made on 
the mind of every one by that memorable victory. It was the joy- 
ful annunciation of that turn in the tide of success which term- 
inated the Eevolutionary war with the seal of our independence." 

And America's greatest historian, in speaking of this expedition 
and its effect upon the public mind, said : 

"The victory at King's mountain, which, in the spirit of the 
American soldiers was like the rising at Concord, in its effect like 
the success at Bennington, changed the aspects of the war. The 
loyalist no longer dared to rise. It fired the patriots of the two 
Carolinas with fresh zeal. It encouraged the fragments of the 
defeated and scattered American army to seek each other and 
organize themselves anew. It quickened the Legislature of North 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 341 

Carolina to earnest efforts. It encouraged Virginia to devote her 
resources to the country south of her border." 

The appearance on the frontiers of a numerous enemy from 
settlements hej^ond the mountains, whose very names had been 
unkno-wTi to the British, took CoTnwallis by surprise, and their suc- 
cess was fatal to his intended expedition. He had hoped to step 
with ease from one Carolina to the other and from those to the con- 
quest of Virginia, and he had now no other choice but to retreat."* 

Before closing this account, it is but proper that there should be 
given an incident connected with one of Washington county's brave 
soldiers, who lost a leg and who was badly wounded in his arm in 
this battle. 

"Among the wounded left by General Campbell at Bicker- 
staff was William Moore. Fpon the rotTirn of the Virginia troops 
to their homes, information was imparted to Moore's wife of the 
wounding of her hiisband, the brave part he had taken in the action 
and the disposition made of him at Bickerstaff, whereupon, she 
immediately mounted her hoi*se and, alone, traveled in the month 
of N"ovember the long and dangerous road from her home in the 
upper end of this county to Bickerstaff in North Carolina, where 
she found her husband, nursed him l)ack to health and strength, 
and brought him back to his homo, where he lived an honored life 
until the year 182G. 

Tradition says that he was an elder in the Ebbing Spring Pres- 
byterian church, and that for many years before his death he con- 
stantly attended his cliurch; and, at every meeting, immediately 
upon the conclusion of the services, he would take his position, upon 
his crutch, at the entrance to the church, and receive the contribii- 
tions of the people. Many of the descendants of William Moore 
and his wife, who was equally as brave as he, at the present time 
live in the upper end of this county and are numbered among our 
best citizens. 

At the time Colonel Campbell decided to join the expedition 
against Colonel Ferguson, he was making the necessary prepara- 
tions for an expedition against the Cherokee Indians, under orders 
from Governor Jefferson, which orders were as follows : 

^^ *Bancroft. 

342 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

In Council, June 22, 1780. 

Sir: — Orders have been sent to the county lieutenants of Mont- 
gomery and AVashington, to furnish 250 of their militia to proceed 
in conjunction with the Carolinians against the Chickamoggas. 
You are hereby autliorized to take command of said men. Should 
the Carolinians not have at present such an expedition in contem- 
plation, if you can engage them to concur as volimteers, either at 
their own expense or that of their State, it is recommended to you 
to do it. Take great care to distinguish the friendly from the hos- 
tile part of the Cherokee nation, and to protect the former while you 
severely punish the latter. The commissary and quartermaster in 
the Southern department is hereby required to furnish you all the 
aid of his department. Should the men, for the purpose of dis- 
patch, furnish horses for themselves to ride, let them be previously 
.'ippraised, as in cases of impress, and for such as shall be killed, die 
or be lost in the service without any default of the owner, payment 
shall be made by tlie public. An order was lodged with Colonel 
Preston for 1,000 poimds of powder from the lead mines for this 
expedition; and you receive herewith an order for 500 pounds of 
j)owder from Colonel Fleming for the same purpose, of the expendi- 
ture of which you will render account. 

I am, sir, your very humble servant, 


Colonel Campbell, in his certificate heretofore given, states this 
to have been his authority for taking his men upon the expedition 
against Ferguson. 

Upon the return of Colonel William Campbell and his forces 
from King's mountain, Colonel Arthur Campbell, the county lieu- 
tenant of Washington county, immediately proceeded to organize 
and carry on the expedition against the Cherokees, as directed by 
Governor Jefferson. Upon his return from this expedition, on the 
15th of January, 1781, he made a report to the Governor of Vir- 
ginia, which is so full and complete, that I here give it in the words 
of Colonel Arthur Campbell: 

"Sir: — The militia of this and the two western North Carolina 
counties have been fortunate enough to frustrate the designs of the 
Cherokees. On my reaching the frontiers I found the Indians 

*Gibb's Doc. His. of the American Revolution, Vol. 2. 

Washington County, 1777-1S70. 343 

meant to annoy us by small parties, and carry off horses. To resist 
them effectually, the apparently best measure was to transfer the 
war, without delay, to their own borders. To raise a force suffi- 
cient and provide them with provisions and other necessaries seemed 
to be a work of time that would be accompanied with uncommon 
difficulties, especially in the winter season; our situation was cri- 
tical, and nothing but an extraordinary effort could save us and 
disappoint the views of the enemy; all the miseries of 1776 came 
fresh into remembrance, and, to avoid a like scene, men flew to their 
arms and went to the field. The Wattago men, under Lieutenant 
Sevier, first marched to the amount of about three hundred. The 
militia of this with that of Sullivan county made 400 more. The 
place of rendezvous was to be on this side of the French river. 
Colonel Sevier, with his men, got on the path before the others, 
and by means of some discoveries made by his scouts he was in- 
duced to cross the river in pursuit of a party of Indians tliat had 
been coming towards our settlements. On the IGtli of December 
he fell in with a party, since found to consist of seventy Indians, 
mostly from the town of Ohote, of which were killed thirteen, and 
he took all their baggage, etc., in which were some of Clinton's 
Proclamations and other documents expressive of their hostile de- 
signs against us. 

"After this action the Wattago corps tho't it proper to retreat 
into an island of the river. The 22d I crossed the French river, 
and found the Wattago men in great want of provisions. We gave 
them a supply from our small stock: and the next day made a 
forced march towards the Tenasee. The success of the enterprise 
seemed to rest on our safely reaching the further bank of that 
river: as we had information the Indians had obstructed the com- 
mon fording places, and had a force ready there to oppose our 
crossing. The meaning of the 24th I made a feint towards the 
Island Town, and, with the main body, passed the river without re- 
sistance at Timotlee. 

"We were now discO'vered, such of the Indians as we saw seemed 
to be flying in consternation. Here I divided my force, sending a 
part to attack the town below, and with the other I proceeded 
towards their principal town Chote. Just as I passed a defile above 
Toque, I observed the Indians in force, stretching along the hills 
below Chote, with an apparent design to attack our van there with- 

344 Southivest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

out our view; but the main bcHly too soon came iu sight for me 
to decoy them from ofO the hills. So they quietly let us pass in 
order, without firing a gun, except a few scattering shot at our 
rear; at a great distance from the Cleft, we soon were in possession 
of their beloved Town, in Avhieh we found a welcome supply of pro- 

^'The 35th, Major Martin went with a detachment to discover 
the route the enemy were flying oif by. He surprised a party of 
Indians, took one scalp and seventeen horses loaded with clothing, 
skins and house furniture. He discovered that most of the fugi- 
tives were making towards Telico and the TTi^\'asee. The same 
day, Captain Crabtree, of the Virginia Eeg't was detached with 
sixty men to burn the town of Chilhowee. He succeeded in setting 
fire to that part of it situated on the south side of the river, altho" 
in the time, he was attacked by a superior force. He made his re- 
treat good. 

"The 36th, IMajor Tipton, of the Carolina Corps, was detached 
with 150 mounted infantry, with orders to cross the river, dislodge 
the enemy on that side and destroy the town of Tilassee. At the 
same time Major Gilbert Christian, with 150 foot, was to patrol 
the hills on the south side of Chilhowee and burn the remaining 
part of that town. This party did their duty, killed three Indians 
and took nine prisoners. The officer of the Horse, by unmilitary 
behavior, failed in crossing the river. This trip took two days. 

"In this time, the famous Indian woman, Nancy Ward, came 
to camp; she gave us various intelligence and made an overture in 
behalf of some of the Chiefs for peace, to which I avoided giving 
an explicit answer, as I wished first to visit the vindictive part of 
the nation, mostly settled at Hiwassee and Chistowee, and to dis- 
tress the whole as much as possible, by destroying their habitations 
and provisions. 

"The 2<Sth, we set fire to Chote, Scitigo and Little Tuskeego, 
and moved oiir whole force to a town on Telico Eiver, Kai-a-tee, 
where I intended a post, for to secure a retreat and tO' lay up pro- 
visions in. This evening, Major Martin, on returning from a pa- 
trol, attacked a party of Indians, killed two, and drove several into 
the river. The same evening in a skirmish w^e lost Captain James 
I]lliott, a gallant young officer, being the first and only man the 

Washington Countij, 1777-1S70. 345 

enemy had power to hurt, on the Expedition. The Indians lost 
three men on the occasion. 

"Tlie ?9th, I set out for Hiwassec, distant about forty miles, leav- 
ing at Kai-a- tee, under Major Christian, a garrison of one hundred 
and fifty men. 

"The 80ih, we arrived at Hiwassee and found the towi\ of the same 
name abandoned. In patrolling the environs we took a sensible 
young warrior, who informed us that a body of Indians, with 
McDonald, the British agent and some Tories, were at Chistowee, 
twelve miies distant, waiting to receive us. I had reason tO' believe 
the cnou.y had viewed us from the hills above Hiwassee; for which 
reason I ordered our camp to be laid off, fires kindled, and other 
shews made, as if we intended to stay all night. At dark we set out 
with about three hundred men (the Wattage men refusing to go 
further), crossing tlie river at an unexpected ford, and that night 
got near the town. Early in the morning of the 31st, we found that 
the had lied in haste the evening before, leaving behind them 
as they had done at the other towns, almost all their corn and other 
provision3, togetlier v,ith many of their utensils for agriculture and 
all their lieavy household furniture, with part of their stock of 
horses, cattle and hogs. Tliese towns, I expected, would have been 
contended for v/ith obstinacy, as most of the Chickamogga people 
had remov(!d hence after their visitation in 1779. Our troops impatient and no other object of importance being in 
view, it 'Aa^ resolved to retiu-n homeward. Major Martin, with a 
detachment, was ordered to Sattago, and the other towns on the 
Telico river. In his route he took four prisoners, from whom he 
learnt that .-evL'rnl of the chiefs had met a few days before in order 
to consult on means to propose a treaty for peace. As I found the 
enemy n-erc limnblod and to gain time, I took the liberty to send 
the chiefs a message, which was as follows : 

"( 'liiefs and Warriors : — We came into your country to fight your 
young men. We have killed not a few of them and destroyed your 
to^^'•ns. You know }ou began the war, by listening to the bad coun- 
cils of iiie Iving of England and the falsehoods told you by his 
agents. We are now satisfied with what is done, as it may convince 
your nation that we can distress them much at any time they are 
so foolish as to engage in a war against us. If you desire peace, 
as we understand you do, we, out of pity to your women and chil- 

346 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

dren, are disposed to treat Avith you on that subject and take you 
into our friend.^hip once more. We therefore send this by one of 
your young men, who is our prisoner, to tell you if you are also 
disposed to make j^eace, for six of your head men to come to our 
agent, ]\h;jor ]\Ia]-tin, at the Great Island within two moons. They 
will have a safe ]^as«port, if they will notify us of their approach 
by a runner witli a flag, so as to give him time to meet them with a 
guard on. IT ol stein river, at the boundary line. The wives and chil- 
dren of these men of your nation that protested against the war, if 
they are willing to lake refuge at the Great Island until peace is 
restored, we will give them a supply of provisions to keep them 

'?'Warriors lislen ettentively. 

"If we receive no answer to this message until the time alreiidy 
mentioned expires, we shall conclude you intend to continue to be 
our enemies, v.hich will compel us to send another strong force into 
yoi^r country who will come prepared to stay a long time, and take 
posppi^sion thereof, as conquered by us, without making any restitu- 
tion to you for yonr lands. 

"Signed at Kai-a-tee the 4th day of January, one thousand seven 
hiindied and eig'lity-one, by 

"JOHN SEVIEE, Lieutenant-Col. 
"JOSEPH MAETIN, Agent & Major of Militia." 

"The fulfillment of this message will require your Excellency's 
further instructions, and in which I expect North Carolina will 
assist, or that Congress will take upon themselves the whole. I 
believe advantageous promises of peace may be easily obtained with 
a siiri'pnder of snch an extent of country, that will defray the 
expenses of war. But such terms will be best insured b}' placing a 
garrison of two hundred men under an active officer on the banks 
of the Tenasee. 

"'('5iir v.hole loss on this expedition was one man killed by the 
Indians and two wounded by accident. It would have been very 
pleasing to the troops to have met the whole force of the nation at 
once on equal ground, but so great was the panic that seized them, 
after seeing us in order over tlie Tenasee, that they never ven- 
turned themselves in sight of the army, luit on rocky clefts and 
other ground inaccessible to our mounted infantry. By the returns 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 347 

of the officers of the different detachments, we killed twenty-nine 
]nen and took seventeen prisoners, mostly women and children. The 
number of wounded is uncertain. Besides these, we brought in the 
family cf ISTancy Ward, whom for their good offices, we considered 
in anotliei light. 

'^'The wliole are in Major Martin's care at the Great Island until 
the sense of government is kno-wn as to how they are to be dis- 
posed of. 

''Jlie towns of Chote, Scitigo, , Chilhowee, Toque 

]\[ie]iqua, Kai-a-tee, Sattooga, Telico, Hiwassee and Chistowee, all 
principal towns, besides some small ones and several scattering set- 
tlements, in which were upwards of a thousand houses and not less 
than fifty thousand bushels of corn and large quantities of other 
kinds of provisions, were committed to the flames or otherwise 
destroyed, after taking sufficient subsistence for the army whilst in 
the country and on its return. No place in the over-hill country 
]"enialned unvisited, except the small town of Telasee, a scattering 
sottlejnent in the neighborhood of Chickamogga, and the town of 
Caloogac, sitnated on the sources of the Mobile. We found in 
Oconostato's baggage, which he left behind in his fright, various 
manuscripts, copies of treaties, commissions, letters and other 
archives of the nation, some of which shew the double game tJiat 
people have been carrying on during the present war. There 
seemed to be not a man of honor among the chiefs, except him of 
Kai-a-tee, whom I would willingly have excepted had it been in 
my power. Never did a people so happily situated act more fool- 
i?]dy in losing their livings and their country, at a time an advan- 
tageous neiitrality was held out to them, but such is the consequence 
of British seductions. 

''The enemy in my absence did some mischief in Powell's Valley 
ard on the Kentucky path, near Cumberland Gap, besides three 
small children that they scalped on Holstein, one of the perpetrators 
of which, we knocked up on our return, and retook a number of 
horses. The Botetourt and Montgomery militia were too slow in 
their movements to do any service. The Virginia militia that served 
with me on the expedition, expect to be paid in the same manner 
with those that served last year in Carolina. 

"What provisions were needed on our setting out were purchased 
on short credit, which will, I trust, be punctually paid on the first 

348 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

apj)lication. Yo;ir Excellency will please to excuse the length of 
this narration. T thought it my duty to give a circumstantial detail 
of the facts, as tlie undei-taking had something singular in it and 
may lead to important consequences. 

"I am, sir, your most Ob't and very humble Serv't &c., 


On the 1st day of January, 1781, the army of Campbell, Sevier 
and Martin divided into small detachments and returned to their 
homes by different I'outes, after having laid waste all the country 
occupied by the over-hill Cherokees. 

In answer to the talk sent to the Indians, a number of chiefs 
met Colonel Martin at Chote, but nothing was accomplished at 
this time. 

Upon the return of Colonel Arthur Campbell to his home, he 
immediately communicated with G-eneral Greene, the Commander 
of the Southern Department, when General Greene appointed 
Arihur Campl)cll, William Preston, William Christian, Joseph Mar- 
tin, on behalf of Virginia, and Robert Lanier, Evan Shelby, Joseph 
Williams and John Sevier, on the part of North Carolina, commis- 
sioners, to negotiate a treaty with the Cherokee Indians, at the 
Long Island of Ilolston river, on the 24th of IMarch, 1781 : on 
which day. Colonels Campbell, Martin, Shelby and Sevier met at the 
Long Island and sent off one of the Indian prisoners to the Indian 
nation proposing peace and fixing the 10th day of June as the time; 
which time of meeting was afterwards postponed until the 20th day 
of July, 1781, on which day the negotiations were completed. But 
at the instigation of British agents, the Indians continued their 
depiedations u|)on the white settlers. On the 13th of January, 1781, 
a settler in PoAvell's Valley was killed and fourteen horses that 
belonged to a party -of men coming from Kentucky were carried off. 
In the latter part of January, a considerable number of Indians 
attacked Fort Blackmore* in this county, and, about tlie middle of 
February, three men were killed in PowelFs Valley and a consid- 
ei'able number of horses carried off. 

A company of militia was organized by Colonel Campbell and 
ordered to patrol Powell's Valley, under the command of Colonel 
J()seph Martin and Major Aaron Lewis. As this company of troops 

*Now Scott county. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 349 

proceeded on their outward trip, they discovered a large body of 
Jiidians in Powell's Valley. The Indians discovering the presence 
of Major Lewis, made their escape, but several traces of smaller 
parties, all making towards the mouth of Powell's river, were dis- 
covered, and the one that appeared the freshest was followed by 
Colonel Martin and his men, for about thirty miles below Cum- 
berland Gap, where the Indians were surprised and surrounded, 
but the cane was so thick they could not easily be detected or pur- 
si;ed on liorseback. Thirty guns at least were fired upon them, and, 
while it was thought that some of them were Avounded, there 
were none killed or left upon the ground. Martin's militia captured 
a number of shot pouches and blankets, upon one of which was 
found the name, John Brown, written in full, the said John Brown 
having been previously killed in Cumberland Gap. Colonel Mar- 
tin and his men pursued the Indians for about seventy miles. In 
tiie latter part of March, a party of northward Indians came up 
on the Sandy river and penetrated as far as tlie settlement on Hols- 
tou, where they carried off a son of Captain Bledsoe's, and the 
f]-oj]tiers were invaded at numerous other points by the Indians. 
Tlie settlements were threatened by an invasion from the united 
forces of the Cherokee and Creek Indians, assisted by the British 
agents and Tories. 

Colonel Arthur Campbell recommended to the Governor of Vir- 
ginia the building of a fort at the junction of the Tennessee and 
Ilf'lston rivers, and was actively engaged in building the fort at 
Cumberland Cap as previously ordered by the Governor. 

The Continental Congress and the officers of the Continental army 
having ascertained the value of the mountain militia, a pressing 
application from General Greene for men was received by Colonel 
Arthur Campbell, the county lieutenant of this county. Colonel 
Campbell immediately ordered out the militia of this county, not- 
withstanding their circumstances were ill-suited to such an expedi- 
tion, as matters with the Cherokees were still unsettled and the 
Indians from the northward were constantly invading the settle- 
ments. On the 25th day of February, 1781, one hundred men under 
Colc.nel William Campbell set out to join the militia of Botetourt 
and Montgomery coiinties, on their march to General Greene's army. 
Colonel Arthur Campl)ell, in a letter to the Governor on the 28th 
day of this month, said : "A large number would have gone, were 

350 Southwest Virginia, 17JfG-17S6. 

it not for the daily appro! lonsion of attacks from the northward 
and southern Indians." 

Colonel William Campbell and his men marched to a point at or 
near the Lead i\Iines, where they were joined by the Montgomery 

In the month of March, 1781, Colonel Arthur Campbell, county- 
lieutenant of Washington county, made a return of the militia of 
this county, from Mdiich it appears that there were, at this time, in 
this county, 2 battalions, 6 field officers, 55 commissioned officers, 
4^ non-commissioned officers, 953 rank and file. In addition, there 
were about one hundred men residing between Walker's and Plender- 
scn's lines, who did duty at times as their inclination led them." 

Colonel Canipl)ell, with his com.pany of one hundred men pro- 
ceeded from Abingdon by the Lead Mines and on into North 
Carolina, where, on March 2d, he joined General Greene with four 
hundred volunteers. Colonel Campbell was now to oppose Lord 
Cornwallis, who had imbibed a personal resentment towards him 
as the commander at King's mountain, and wlw had threatened that, 
should Colonel Campbell fall into his hands, he would have him 
instantly put tO' death, for his rigor against the Tories, evidently 
d(\:igning to hold him personally responsible for the execution of the 
Toi} leaders at BickerstafP. This, instead of intimidating Colonel 
Cnmpbell, had the contrary effect, and Campbell, in turn, resolved 
tliat. if the fortunes of war should place CornAvallis in his power, he 
should meet the fate of Ferguson. It was not long until Campbell 
and his men were called into action. 

The Virginia militia, other than Colonels Preston's and Camp- 
bell's commands, w^hile on the march to join General Greene, were 
threatened with an attack from Colonel Tarleton's cavalry, with 
foui hundred infantry and two pieces of artillery sent out by Cotu- 
wallis to intercept them. General Greene had dispatched Colonel 
Otho Williams to protect the advancing reinforcements from his 
camp at Speedwell's Iron Works, on the upper waters of Trouble- 
some creek. The Virginia militia were marching on a highway, 
rimning west from a point below Hillsborough, to General Greene's 
headquarters. Cornwallis was in camp on the Alamance creek, about 
thirty miles west from Hillsborough. The command of Colonel Wil- 
liams was between the camp of Cornwallis and the advancing mili- 
tia. The roads leading from Cornwallis's camp and Williams's camp 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 351 

to the position occupied by the militia, intersected each other at 
Whitsill's Mill, which was the nearest point at which Cornwallis 
could attack the advancing militia. 

It was the design of Cornwallis to attack and scatter this militia 
force and to destroy the three thousand arms they were bringing 
to General Greene's camp. 

General Greene moved his camp to Boyd's Mill, within fifteen 
miles of Cornwallis, and Colonels Williams and Pickens were on the 
fiank of the enemy. General Greene anxiously awaited results at 
his camp, seven miles above Whitsill's Mill. Thus matters stood on 
the fith of March, when Cornwallis made a sudden dash north, 
expecting to reach Whitsill's Mill in advance of Williams, and, 
passing north ten miles further, to intercept the militia reinforce- 
ments at High Eock Ford on Haw river, but Cornwallis had hardly 
left his camp before Colonel Williams received the news, and the 
]'ace for Whitsill's Mill began. They were traveling on parallel 
roads, Williams with his light troops flying to the rescue oi his 
friends, Cornwallis with his heavy wagon train, dashing through 
ever} olistruction with reckless speed, hoping to intercept and 
desti'oy General Greene's reinforcements. "As the patrols and 
scouts passed from one column to the other, apprising each of the 
advance of his competitor, the race grew more animated, the com- 
petitors more earnest and resolute. The goal was now getting nearer 
and the excitement greater, when Williams, putting forth his whole 
energy, urged his men to a triumphant speed and dashed down the 
hill and across the Eeedy Fork, as the enemy appeared upon the 
crest in their rear, entering from the other road."* 

Colonel Williams drew up his forces on the north bank of the 
stream, where he attacked the British and checked them in their 
onward march. 

Colonel Williams' command was composed of some ISTorth Caro- 
lina troops and the Virginia militia under the command of Colonels 
Campbell and 7h"eston, who, as previously stated, had joined General 
Greene on March 2d, and the cavalry corps of Washington and Lee. 
The position occupied by Colonel Williams' forces was in front of 
the ford and some two hundred yavds below the mill. 

As the British forces approached, their riflemen formed the front 
rank' and fired at a distance, continuing to advance toward the creek 

*Schenck's North Carolina, 1780-1781. 

352 Sovihwest Virginia, 17.k6-n86. 

uiiiil tlicv wrie within eighty yards of the American line, wlicn 
('niii|ilM'll"s and Preston's riflemen tired upon them with deadly 
efiecl. One of the British officers, when shot, bounding up several 
feet fell dead. The enemy continued to advance, and when within 
forty-five yards of the American line, they were again fired upon 
jiy the riflemen. The enemy used their small arms and field pieces, 
l)ut, in every instance, tlieir firing was too high, and took effect only 
among the limbs of the trees. 

The enemy's forces were on flic hill, and their view was greatly 
?obstructed by the smoke from the discharge of the guns of the 
Americans, who were below them. One of the principal objects 
^^'hicb Colonel Williams had in view was the protection of Whit- 
siH's l\[i]l for a time sufficient to enable the provision wagons 
belonging to General Greene's army to load with provisioii, which 
Mas effected, and to prevent Cornwallis from surprising the rein- 
forcements on their way to General Greene. The Americans, ^^n\- 
ing accomplished their object, retired over the ford, which was about 
fjircc feet deep, with a rapid current, a slippery, rocky bottom and 
a precipitous brushy bank on the northern side. 

While crossing the ford. Major Joseph Cloyd observed G!)l'>ncl 
William Preston, his commaiider, on foot, Preston having lost his 
horse in the skirmish, whereupon Cloyd dismounted and assisted 
Colonel Preston into his saddle, when both escaped. 

The principal part of the fighting in this skirmish was done by 
Campbell's and Preston's riflemen and Lee's Legion. 

Colonel Campbell, in speaking of this engagement, said : "John 
Craig, one of his riflemen, acted witli his usual courage," and Gen- 
eral Greene, in speaking of the battle, said : "The enemy wer.e hand- 
somely opposed and suffered considerably." 

Cornwallis immediately withdrew his forces from the Alamance 
to p position on Leep river, not far from JamestOiwn, iSTorth Caro- 
lina, and the militia reinforcements proceeded on their way and 
reached General Greene's camp at High Eock Ford, on Sunday, 
March 11, 1781, four days before the battle of Guilford Courthouse. 
All preparations were made by General Greene to give Cornwallis 
])attle at the first opportunity, and while Colonel Campbell took 
fewer men upon this expedition than any other commander, he was 
assigned one of the conspicuous parts in the subsequent campaign. 

Washington County, 1111-1810. 353 

and all of the forces under his command have been since spoken of 
as "Campbell's Corps." 

The aggregate number of the Virginia militia, outside of the 
regular army, that participated in the battle of Guilford Court- 
house, was as follows : 

Colonel William Preston's command, 300 

Colonel William Campbell's command, 60 

Colonel Charles I^ynch's command, 150 

Watkins's dragoons, 50 

Virginia militia, 1,693 

Total 2,353 

It is ef.timated that the number of forces commanded by General 
Greene at the battle of Guilford Courthouse was not less than 4,500 

General Greene, having collected an army of not less than 4,500 
men at the High Eock Ford of Haw river, began his march from 
that place, on Monday, the 13th day of March, determined, to give 
battle to the e>nemy upon the first opportunity, and reached Guilford 
Courthouse on the evening of the 14th. He encamped about a mile 
above the town that night, while Corwallis was stationed about eight 
miles above the Courthouse. 

Guilford Courthouse, at the time in question, was the capital of 
Guilford county, North Carolina, and contained a population of 
about two hundred people. Its principal buildings were the court- 
house, jail and a large coppersmith shop. In recent years, it is noth- 
ing more than an open field, the county seat having been moved to 

General Greene had inspected the battlefield at Guilford court- 
house on the 10th of February, and pronounced it very desirable for 
his army. "It afforded a forest where the militia could fight from 
tree to tree, for shelter, and be protected from the charge of cavalry, 
and for the same reason, a solid column of bayonets could not be 
kept together, among the undergrowth of the trees. The roads that 
concentrated from the north, northeast and east, all afforded safe 
lines of retreat for his army to his supplies and reinforcements."* 

General Greene, in forming his line of battle, placed Campbell's 

*Scheiick's North Carolina, 1780-1781. 

354 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

cor])s, eonsisting of about five liimdred and forty men, under the 
command of Colonel William Campbell, of Virginia, on the left of 
Butler's lino and ol.diqnel^y to it in the woods, and in the rear of the 
angle formed 1)y those two lines was placed Ijee's Legion, and in 
the rear of this line, on the gentle slope of the hill and about three 
hundred 3'ards distant to the east, were posted the Virginia militia. 

On tbe evening of the 14th of March, Colonels Campbell and 
Lynch, each in command of a corps of riflemen, and Lieutenant- 
Colonels Lee and Washington, in command of the Light Dragoons, 
Mcre advanced about a mile in front of the army and within seven 
ndles of Cornwallis's camp. The next morning early, it was ascer- 
tained that the enemy was in motion and advancing toward Guilford 
Courthouse, whereupon Colonel Lee, with his Legion and about 
thirty of Campbell's riflemen from Washington county under com- 
mand of Captain William Tate, of Augusta county, advanced to 
mxcet the enemy, while the rest of the riflemen, with Colonel Wash- 
ington's Horse, formed at their place of encampment on the pre- 
ceding night, to support Lee and Tate upon their retreat. Lee and 
Tate with their men met the enemy within two miles of their 
encampment and began to skirmish with them, and continued fight- 
ing and retreating for about half an hour, which disconcerted and 
delayed the enemy very much. In the skirmish between the forces 
of Lee and Tate and the forces of Colonel Tarleton, a loss of about 
fifty men was inflicted upon the British forces, while the light 
infantry of the guard, after losing abont one hundred of their num- 
ber at the hands of the riflemen, were relieved by a portion of Tarle- 
ton's cavalry, wdiich were ordered to their assistance. 

While this skirmish was in progress, the main body of Greene's 
army was formed about three-quarters of a mile in the rear of the 
position occupied by Campbell and Washington; and, upon the 
arrival of Lee and Tate, the advance guard was ordered back and 
directed to take the position assigned them in the line of battle by 
General Greene. Lee's Legion and Campbell's riflemen formed the 
corps of observation on the left flank, while the riflemen occupied 
a woodland position. About this time the enemy began a cannon- 
ade in the center, which lasted about twenty minutes, during whicli 
time they formed their line of battle by filing off to the right and 
loft, and then immediately advanced upon the American troops. 
The battle lasted abont two and one half hours. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 355 

While the militia on the left of the American line had been driven 
frO'm their position. Colonel Campbell, with his riflemen, made 
such a spirited attack on the British regiment on the right wing, 
that it was driven back, and the fire became so deadly tliat Colonel 
JSTorton, in command of the first battalion of British guards, was 
directed to join the British line on the right and oppose the advance 
of Campbell's Corps; and at this point the struggle became des- 

"As the Hessian regiment passed the line of militia, it wheeled to 
tiic right, and, in line with Norton, faced Campbell. Campbell 
was reinforced by many of Butler's brigade, who retreated in that 
direction, and Ijy all of Forbes' men, who formed on Campbell's 
right. Lee's Legion was on that flanlv. The Seventy-first Eegiment 
of Highlanders continued on its course up the road and soon engaged 
Stevens' brigade of Virginians. 

"It had been the intention of Campbell to fall back and put his 
corps in line on the left of Stevens, but the Hessians passed so 
rapidly in the front as to cut him off. He was also delayed by his 
conflict with Norton on the left. The riflemen, retiring deeper 
into the forest, took to the trees, and made it so hot for the guards 
tliat they were compelled to retreat in great disorder. Cornwallis 
came in person tO' their rescue, and by riding in their front and 
e:--posing himself to imminent danger, succeeded in rallying them. 
The Hessians, being now joined again by the guards, made a com- 
bined charge and drove Campbell to the south, and entirely sep- 
arated his command from the American army, so that, in fact, two 
distinct battles were raging at the same time. 

"About one-qnarter of a mile on the southeast of Campbell's first 
position Cornwallis, who was following up Norton and the Hes- 
sians, had a large iron gray horse shot under him. The spot is now 
marked by a persimmon tree, a century old, whose identity is well 
authenticated by tradition. 

"Ca^npbell would retreat and fire, then the British would fall 
back, and, using the bayonet, push the riflemen back again; so it 
raged and alternated between them until Campbell was driven to 
a high range of hills, or a little moimtain range as it is sometimes 
called, about one mile from Campbell's first position. Here the 
riflemen began to gain a decided advantage and to drive the Hes- 

356 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

sian.-^ I)('foi-o tluMii, wlieii, iinexpeetod]}', left CampbeH's flank 
and Tarlcton appeared on the scene."* 

Lee suddenly left Canipbell without warnins:, and was now an 
idle spectator of this scene from the courthouse hill, across Hunting 
creek, without notifying Greene of his presence or offering to cover 
the flanks. 

Colonel Tai'loton had l)oen sent by Cornwallis to rescue Colo- 
nel Norton- wlio was engaged by Campl^ell. and Tarleton. finding 
Canipbeirs rear unprotected, ordered the Hessians to fire, and 
rushed his cavalry on the riflemen under cover of smoke and cut 
them to pieces. 

"Colonel Camp-bell, with his Virginia and North Carolina rifle- 
men, was the last to fire a gun on this bloo^dy field, and was still 
firing when Greene sounded the retreat. They became scattered 
after Tarleton's charge upon them, and made theii- way as best 
they could to the camp of Greene next day."* 

Colonel Campbell was very much, angered at Colonel Lee, and 
freely expressed his opinion of his conduct, charging that Colonel 
Lee, witb his cavalry, rode off just as Tarleton began his charge 
upon the flanks of the riflenx-en. It is the opinion of many that, 
had Colonel Tjee acted Avell his part in this battle, Cornwallis 
would have been defeated and possibly captured, instead of the 
-Vmerican arm.y being forced to retreat. 

General Greene, with his army, retreated in good order to Speed- 
well's Furnace, about ten miles below the battlefield, not being 
pursued by the enemy further than the heights above Guilford 

Cornwallis, with his army, remained on the battleground from 
Thursday until Sunday, and on the evening of that day began a re- 
treat to the south. 

The loss of General Greene in this battle was 320 men killed and 
wounded, while the British killed and wounded exceeded 600. 

General Greene, on tlie 19th day of March, addressed the fol- 
lowing letter to Colonel Camp})ell : 

"Headquarters, March 19, 1781. 
"Sir, — Your faithful services and the exertions which you made 
to second the efforts of the Southern army, on the 15th inst., 

*Schenck's North Carolina, 1780-1781 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 357 

cJaim m}^ warmest thanlis. It would be ungenerous not to ac- 
knowledge my entire approbation of your conduct, and the spirited 
and manly behavior of the officers and soldiers under you. Sensi- 
ble of your merit, I feel a pleasure in doing justice to it. Most 
of the riflemen having gone home, and not having it in my power 
to make up another command, you have my permission to return 
home to your friends, and should the emergency of the southern 
operations require your further exertions, I Avill advertise you. 

"I am, sir, with great esteem, your most humble servant, 


"CoToyrEL Campbell." 

And Colonel Henry Lee, the oi^cer who had so ingloriously de- 
serted Colonel Campbell during the battle, had the audacity to ad- 
dress tlie following letter to Colonel Campbell: 

"March 17, 1781. 

"T am very happy in informing you that the bravery of your bat- 
talion, displayed in the action of the loth, is particularly noticed 
by the General. It is much to be lamented that a failure took 
place in the line which lost the day, separated us from the main 
body and exposed our retreat. I hope your men are safe and that 
the scattered will collect again. Be pleased to favor me Avith a 
return of your loss, and prepare your men for a second battle. 

'^T am, most respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"HE^RY LEE, Jun. 

"Colonel Campbell.'"'' 

But, notwithstanding the kind words spoken and many urgent 
requests made. General Campbell, on the 20th of the month, re- 
.-^i^emcd bis commission and returned to his home, declaring he 
coidd not longer serve his counti'y in the army with honor; and ho 
would not serve in the army longer where Colonel Lee held a com- 

Cornwallis, while he succeeded in forcing General Greene to re- 
treat, was realh^ the loser in this battle, and on the Sunday fol- 
lowing, for the preservation of himself and army, he began an in- 
glorious retreat that terminated at Yorktown, where he was com- 
pelled, on the 19th day of October, 1781, to surrender his sword 
and army to the American forces. 

Colonel William Campbell, immediately upon his return to his 

358 SonfJiwcst Virginia, 1746-1786. 

liniiio. announced liimsolf a candidate for the House of Delegates, 
to whieli position he was elected in the spring of the year 1781. 
The General Assembly met in Eichmond in May of that year, but 
were forced to adjourn tlieir proceedings first to Charlottesville and 
afterwards to Staunton to prevent capture by Colonel Tarleton. 
On the 1-lth day of June the House of Delegates appointed Colo- 
U(^l (*nn)p1)(>ll a l)rigadior-goncrnl of militia, to serve under Mi\r- 
quis de Lafayette, \\lio was tlien in command of the C*ontinental 
forces in Virginia. 

General Campbell immediately ol)tained a leave o-f absence and 
repaii-ed to the army, where General Lafayette assigned him to 
the conimand of the Light Infantry and Riflemen. 

General Campbell became a great favorite with Lafayette, who 
l^loced a great deal of confidence in his judgment and ability. Gen- 
eral Cauipbell was in command of a bi'igade marching in the di- 
rection of Yorktown through Cumberland county, Virginia. 

*One night he encam])ed liis men near the residence of an old 
English parson by the name of McEea, who had been drawing his 
10,000 pounds of tobacco for many years, and was quite wealthy. 
When the regiment ])itched their tents General Campbell went a 
few miles to spend the night Avith a friend. The next morning 
M'hen he returned, his officers informed him that old McEae had been 
down, and said all he could to discourage the soldiers. He had 
told them that they had not the most distant idea of the dangers 
they were al)out to encounter ; that Cornwallis had a very large army, 
composed of the finest troops that had ever left England, and it 
was pei'fect folly to think of encountering them. He wound up by 
saying that they were going to a slaughter-pen, and his Lord Corn- 
wallis would slaughter them like a parcel of beeves. As soon as 
Campbell heard this ho sent three of his soldiers up to the house of 
McEea, with directions to tell him that he wished to see him, and 
if he refused to come they m-ust bring him by force. McEea soon 
arrived at the camp. Campbell informed him that he had during 
his absence said all that could have been said to discourage his 
men, that lie deserved coriioral punishmf^nt, but on account of his 
old age he would not inflict that on him, but when his men started 
he would show him how his men and the rest of the patriots would 
serve his Lord Cornwallis. When the regiment was ready to start 

*Col. John Redd MSS. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 359 

Campbell commanded McEea to lie down and stretch himself out 
full length across the road. As soon as the jiarson was stretched out 
full length every man stepped over him. Campbell informed him 
tliat was tbe way be intended to serve his Lord Cornwallis. Tbu 
parson left our gallant general in such an ill humor that I am afraid 
his prayers did not accompany the gallant commander of the regi- 

^^'hi]e Lord Cornwallis was encamped at Williamsburg and La- 
fayette was six miles distant towards Eichmond, Greneral Camp- 
1)'>11, who was in command of a brigade of light troops connected 
A\ith Lafayette's army, posted a picket guard at the Three Burnt 
ClrinmeyS' about midway between the hostile camps. Upon several 
occasions the enemy sent out a superior body of horsemen and drove 
in the American pickets. Colonel Campbell saw in this an oppor- 
tunity to strike the enemy a severe blow, and on the following 
morning he posted a large body of mounted riflemen with himself 
at their head in a grove by the roadside, a short distance in the 
rear of the Burnt Chimneys, and, as usual, the pickets were posted 
at the Chimneys, with instructions to retire on the approach of the 
Jh'itish cavalry. As usual, a large force of British cavalry was sent 
to dri\c in the pickets, and in doing so they pursued them under 
v,]iip and spur, but when they reached the grove they met with an 
unexpected reception. Campbell's riflemen welcomed them with a 
volley of rifle balls, which killed more than twenty of their cavalry 
and forty of their horses. It is useless to say that the American 
pickets were not again disturbed. 

Soon thereafter General Campbell was aftlicted with a pain in his 
breast, which disabled him, when he was conveyed to the residence 
of Colonel John Syme at Eocky Mills, Hanover county, where, 
after a few days' illness, he expired on August 22, 1781, in his 
thirty-sixth year. When General Lafayette received the intelligence 
of the death of General Campbell he issued the following order : 

"The general has no douljt that the army will unite with him in 
regretting General Campbell's death, an officer whose services must 
have endeared him to every citizen, and in particular to every 
American soldier. The glory whicTi General Campbell acquired in 
the affairs of King's mountain and Guilford Courthouse does his 

*John Redd MSS. 

3G0 Southwest Virginia, 17JfG-1786. 

memory everlasting honor and insures him a high rank among the 
defenders of liberty in the American cause. 

"The general wishes it had been possible for himself and the 
officers of the army to ])ay I'iin those lioiiors to whicli his rank, bnt 
particularly his merit, so highly entitled him, but his great distance 
from the army and our jiresent situation render it impossible. 

"The lieutenant of tlie county will assemble a corps to pay mili- 
tary honors to the deceased general. General Stephens is re- 
(juested to name a deputation of four field officers, and will im- 
mediately repair to Eocky Mills, aud. in the name of the army, pay 
(rcneral ('ampl)ell their last I'espects." 

General Campbell was buried in Hanover county, but his body 
was afterwards removed to Aspinvale, his home, near Seven-Mile 

The settlements on the Holston were now being constantly as- 
sailed by the Indians. Captain Moses Loony was captured and car- 
ried into captivity, where he remained with the Indians until Au- 
gust of this year, when he was sent by them to inform the autlioi-i- 
ties that they had collected all the prisoners tliey had taken, about 
fifty in number, at Chote, and were ready to deliver them to Colo- 
nel Martin; also that the Indian chiefs were ready to attend any- 
where, and the whole nation was ready to make peace. 

In March of this year Colonels John Sevier and Isaac Shelby 
undertook an expedition against ttie Chickamogga Indians, and in 
assist in this undertaking 200 of the militia of Washingion county 
joined Colonel Isaac Shelby and marched to the Big Island in the 
Frencli Broad river, where the troo|)s wei-e rendezvoused, from 
which ]>oint they marched for the sources of the Mobile river, and 
after the third day they crossed the Tennessee river at Scitico, at 
which point they held a council with the friendly Indians. On the 
(>th day they encamped on the Hiwassee river, and on the 7th day 
tlii'y crossed the river and passed into the territory of the hostile 
Indians, ("olouel Sevier, with his forces, marched immediately 
against V'ann's Towns, which he reduced tO' ashes, and thence to 
Bull Town, at the head of Chickamogga creek. After the destruc- 
tion of this town they marched to the Coosa river, where they 
killed a white man by the name of Clements, upon whose person 
was found papers fi'om which it was ascertained that he was a ser- 
geant in the British army, and it was believed that he instigated. 

WasJiington Comity, 1777-1S70. 361 

the Indians in their depreciations against the frontiers. The army 
then proceeded to Spring Frog Town, thence up the Coosa river to 
Estanola, an Indian town, which they destroyed. After thus de- 
stroying the Indian towns and killing all the Indian warriors they 
could find, the troops returned to Chote, where a council was held 
with the friendly Indians, at the conclusion of which the troops 
were disbanded and returned to their homes. 

This may be said to be the last expedition against the Indians 
in which the militia of Washington county in any numbers parti- 
cipated. Washington county was not much longer to be considered 
a portion of the frontiers, and her citizens soldier}^ was soon to 
be deprived of an occupation which they always followed with 
avidity — that of waging war against the Indians and Tories. 

In April of this year a party of Xorthward Indians came into the 
settlement on Clinch and killed and scalped two daughters of Cap- 
tain John Maxwell's and took nine prisoners. On the same occa- 
sion they visited the home of Captain Eobert Moffett near the 
Clinch river. Two sons of Captain Moffett's being at a sugar camp 
near their home, were killed and scalped by the Indians. 

Thomas Inglis, who was reared at Draper's Meadows, had, with 
his family, some time previous to this time, settled in Burk's Gar- 
den on a piece of land that had been patented by his father, William 
Inglis, about thirty years previously. His nearest and only neigh- 
bor at this time was Joseph Hix, who lived about two miles from 
his home. A large party of Indians under the command of "Black 
Wolf," a noted Indian warrior, in April of this year visited Burk's 
Garden, and while Inglis was out on his farm surrounded his house 
and took his wife and three children and a negro man and woman 
prisoners, and, after loading the negroes with as much property 
as they could carry, they burned the house. Inglis, observing the 
size of the party, decided to make his way to the nearest settle- 
ment and obtain help. He, with a colored man, crossed the moun- 
tains to the settlement in the Eich Valley (now Smyth county), 
and arrived at that point at a very opportune time, the day being 
the muster day for the inilitia of the community. As soon as 
Inglis gave information of Avhat had occurred, about twenty men 
volunteered to go. in pursuit of the Indians, and immediately be- 
gan the march for Inglis' home, which they reached tlie next morn- 
ins about daybreak, to find nothing but a heap of ashes where In- 

363 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

g]is' house had formerly stood. Joseph Hix, Inglis' neighbor, dis- 
covering the presence of tJie Indians in the coranmnity, immedi- 
ately made his way to a small settlement, about six miles away, 
where he obtained about six volunteers and returned to Burk's 
Garden and joined tlie forces from Eich Valley. Tl\p company thus 
composed immediately began the pursuit of the Indians. Captain 
James Maxwell, who had during the same month lost two of his 
daughters at the hands of the Indians, was placed in command of 
the pursuers, and, after five days' cautious marching, the Indians 
were discovered in camp in a gap of Tug mountain. The pursuers 
were at once divided into two companies. Captain Maxwell, with 
about one-half the number, undertook to get in front of the In- 
dians, while Thomas Inglis, with anotlier party, was to attack them 
in the rear. Captain Maxwell failed to get in a position to attack 
the Indians by daylight, and Inglis and his party attacked them 
alono. As soon as a shot was fired the Indians began to tomahawk 
the prisoners. Thomas Inglis rushed into the Indian camp and 
reached the side of his wife. At that moment she received a terri- 
ble blow on the head with a tomahawk from an Indian, and in fall- 
ing she protected the infant she held in her arms by covering it. 
In addition to Mrs. Inglis' injuries, Mary Inglis and William Inglis, 
children of Thomas Inglis, were scalped. The Indians, in making 
their escape, passed near Captain IMaxwell and his men, upon whom 
they fired, one ball striking Captain Maxwell and killing him in- 
stantly. He wore a white hunting shirt, and was a good target for 
the Indian fire. The pursuers encamped upon the ground for the 
night, and proceeded to bury Captain Maxwell and William Inglis, 
the 3'^oung boy who died from his wounds. The number of Indians 
killed at this time is not known. 

Maxwell's Gap, in the Tug Eidge, is the locality of this occur- 
rence. Mary Inglis, the little girl, died a few days after the skir- 
inisl), but Mrs. Inglis entirely recovered from her injuries. 

In the same month the Indians killed a man on Bluestone and a 
woman at Culberson's Bottom, on 'New river. It is a remarkable 
fact that of the five houses visited by the Indians in this month 
four l)elonged to militia officers, and some of them were a con- 
siderable distance within the frontier settlements; from which fact 
it is reasonable to suppose that the Indians were prompted and led 
by Tory sympathizers in their assaults upon the frontiers. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 363 

Major John Taylor, who was in command of the militia on the 
upper waters of the Clinch, pursued the different parties of invading 
Indians, but did not succeed in overtaking them, and Colonel Pres- 
ton was compelled, for the protection of the settlements, to direct 
Colonel Joseph Cloyd to call out the militia and to station them at 
"David Doak's Mill" to protect the settlements. The consternation 
produced along the frontiers from Powell's Valley to the head of 
the Clinch was so great that the Governor directed Colonel William 
Preston to assemble the field oflBcers of Montgomery and Wash- 
ington counties at the Lead Mines at once to devise ways and means 
to protect the frontiers. This meeting of the field officers took 
place on July 6, 1782, on which day the following proceedings were 

At a meeting of the field officers of the militia of Montgomery 
and Washington counties, in conformity to instructions received 
from Ilis Excellency, the Governor, etc., to concert and settle some 
proper plan for the defence of both counties. Present : 

Field Officers for Montgomery County. 
William Preston, Daniel Trigg, 

Walter Crockett, John Taylor> 

Joseph Cloyd, Abraham Trigg. 

Field Officers for Washington County. 
Arthur Campbell, Aaron Lewis, 

William Edmiston, James Dysart, and 

Major Patrick Lockhart, District Commissioner. 

It is the unanimous opinion of the Board of Officers that the 
200 men permitted to be drawn out by His Excellency, the Governor, 
for the defence of the frontiers be disposed of into the following 
districts, namely, on New river, in the neighborhood of Captain 
Pearis, 30 men; Sugar Eun, 20; Captain Moore's, head of Blue- 
stone, 25 ; head of Clinch, 25 men. 

In Washington, at Eichland, 20 ; Castle's Woods, 30 ; Eye Cove, 
20; Powell's Valley, 30 men. The extent of the difi;erent districts, 
from Captain Pearis's to Sugar Eun, 10 miles ; to Captain Moore's 
head of Bluestone, 30; to Captain Maxwell's, head of Clinch, 16 
miles, which is nearest the Washington line; to Eichland's, 24; to 
Castle's Woods, 30 ; to Eye Cove, 28 ; to Powell's Valley Fort. 56 
miles, in all 164 miles. 

364 Southwest Virginia, 171,6-1186. 

AVe find the greatest difficulty in making any provision for the 
support of these men while on duty, as there is no specific tax 
brought into the place appointed for that purpose in either of the 
counties ; the olTicers have therefore recommended Major Lockhart, 
tlie District Commissioners, to purchase 200 bushels of corn in ]\Iont- 
goinery county, at the most convenient places where the militia are 
to do duty, at three shillings a bushel, being the current price, and 
an equal quantity in the county of Washington, for the use of the 
troops, etc., which we are convinced will be a great saving to the 
State, as the transporting from Botetourt, where there is some 
belonging to the public on hand, to the several districts where the 
militia are to do duty, will be attended with very great expense, the 
distance being from GO to 100 miles, &c. 

As objections have been made to that part of the Governor's 
instructions ordering the direction of the militia of both counties 
while on duty, under that of the county-lieutenant of Montgomery, 
who lives upward of one hundred and eighty miles from Powell's 
Valley and not less than ninety miles from Eichland District, in 
Washington, which renders it impossible and useless for him to havn 
these men under his directions, for which reason he declined that 
part of tlie coinmand : Let it therefore be humbly recommended to 
His Excellency the Governor, to alter that part of his orders, by 
giving the superintendence of the troops in each county to the com- 
manding off.cer of the same, as it will save the expense of a field 
officer being on duty, which otherwise would be necessary, and the 
defense of the frontier will in all probability be better conducted. 

The Board of Officers are unanimously of opinion that the coun- 
ties of IMontgomery and Washington will provide the number of men 
ordered for tlieir defense, without calling on any of the neig1iI)oring 
counties for assistance, unless there is a real reason for doing so in 
some emergency or on the approach of a large body of the enemy. 

They also beg leave to suggest that the usual manner the Indians 
conduct their attacks on our settlements makes it necessary that a 
proper number of scouts be employed in each district to discover 
their approaches, for which reason it had induced the officers to 
direct that two be employed in each district for the iuimediate 
safety of the inhabitants. 

Pursuant to the recommendation thus made by tlie field officers 
of the two counties, the number of militia recommended were sta- 

Washinglon County, ]777-1870. 365 

tioned at the places designated, and all placed under the command 
of Colonel Arthur Campbell, of Washington count}'. 

About this time the frontier settlement in Powell's Valley was 
much harassed b}' small parties of Cherokee Indians from the 
Chickamogga towns, who, in the spring of this year, killed two 
men, and had almost ruined the inhabitants by destroying or car- 
rying off their stock. Captain Samuel Newell, who was in com- 
mand of the militia in that locality, pursued the Indians on several 
occasions, and at one time had the good luck to overtake two of 
their parties, one about forty-five miles above the Cuttawa or Cum- 
berland Gap, and firing upon them in camp, wounded some and 
retook everything. The other party was overtaken when asleep; 
when one was killed and another wounded, and the rest of the party 
were forced to make their way home naked. 

About this time, as two friendly Indians were coming up tlie Hols- 
ton river, with a canoe loaded with skins for Colonel Joseph Mar- 
tin at Long Island, they were killed by two of the settlers, who, 
in attempting to dispose of their skins, were detected, but the 
inhabitants in the community of Long Island would not permit tlio 
criminals to be brought to justice, alleging against the Indians in 
general the late depreciations on the frontiers. 

In the year 1781, a company of eleven Indians visited the home 
of a Mr. Hamblin, on Clinch river, near Castle's Woods. Mrs. Ham- 
blin, who was at home, barred the doors to her house and defended 
it against the attack of the Indians with an old musket-gun that 
would not fire. But in the spring of the year 1782, the Indians 
returned to her home, at which time they succeeded in killing and 
scalping Mrs. Hamblin and all her children except one, a little 
boy, whom they carried a prisoner into Canada. 

In July of this year, Oconostato, who was the principal chief of 
the Cherokee Indians, resigned his authority to his son, an Indian 
chief by the name of Tuckasee, and the frontier settlements had 
great hope of peace. On the 26th day of July, Ellis Harland, a 
noted Indian trader, returned from the Chickamogga Indians with 
the information that they desired peace, and that they were to set out 
for Chote with all their prisoners, the day he left them ; and, in a 
few days thereafter, Springstone, an Indian trader, brought to the 
settlements two prisoners, one a woman taken from Green river 
in Kentucky, her name being Stanley, the other a boy about ten 

3G6 Southwest Virginia, 17JfG-1786. 

years old, a son of Thomas Steward, wlio was killed going down the 
river with Colonel Donaldson, when on his way to Cumberland. 

But, notwithstanding these professions of peace, a party of north- 
ward Indians penetrated this county in the month of August and 
killed two men: and on the 11th day of September, 1782, a party of 
northward Indians came as far as the settlement on the head of the 
Moccasin creek, within twelve miles of Abingdon, and attacked a 
family of fourteen persons, killing the husband on the spot, cap- 
turing the wife and six little children, three of whom were shortly 
afterward inhumanly murdered. One of the three, a young woman, 
survived the blows received from the Indians long enough to tell 
the tragic tale. Two, the wife and one child, made their escape 
the first day and night. 

A considerable booty in horses was carried off by the Indians. 
When news of this invasion reached the settlement, the militia on 
duty, wath perseverance in pursuing through a most rugged and 
difficult way, overtook the Indians and wounded several of them, on 
McClure, in Buchanan county, Virginia, and recovered unhurt the 
wife and child, with the Indian baggage and all the plunder they 
had taken. 

In September of this year, the Chickamogga Indians met Colonel 
Joseph Martin, at che Indian town, Chote, and delivered to him all 
tlie white prisoners in their possession? except three, whom they 
coidd not possibly get to the Indian town by the time appointed ; and 
Colonel ]\lartin, in addressing Colonel Campbell in regard to this 
subject, said: "1 believe that never people were more desirous of 
peace than the Cherokees." 

Notwithstanding the disposition of the Cherokees, and their efforts 
to bring about peace, their warriors were being constantly persuaded 
by the Tories, residing in their nations, to commit depredations 
upon the frontier settlements, and, during this year, in Kentucky 
county alone, eighty-five people were killed and scalped by the 
Indians. Colonel Campbell in the fall of this year, in a letter 
addressed to a Virginia official, said: "What if it should be the 
policy of the British ministry to drive from the other side of the 
Appalachian mountains all the settlers, before the signing of the pre- 
liminaries of peace?" and, in the same letter, he advised a strong 
expedition against the northward Indians, and declared that the 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 367 

state of our western affairs calls for the united wisdom and most 
serious attention of the Executive.' 

While the Continental army, with the assistance of the regular 
quota of troops from the Tranalleghany settlements, were repelling 
the attacks of the British and winning the liberty of our country, 
the frontiersmen of Western Viriginia and North Carolina were 
winning the great West and were repelling the assaults of the Brit- 
ish and their Indian allies. 

On Christmas day, 1782, a party of Indians attacked the house of 
John Inglis, on Clinch river> and scalped and otherwise grievously 
wounded a young man by the name of Cox, whom they overtook in 
a field, and two days thereafter, near the head of Sandy river, this 
same company of Indians overtook three himters, two of whom they 

Early in the year 1783, about twelve years after the first settle- 
ment at Castle's Woods, a party of northward Indians invaded the 
settlement and attacked the fort at Hamblin's IMill. 

This fort was erected by Henry Hamblin, one of the first set- 
tlers in that section, in the year 1776, with the assistance of Henry 
Dickinson, Charles Bickley, William Robertson, William Russell, 
Patrick Porter, Henry Neece, William Wharton, Humphrey Dick- 
inson, Frederick Fryley, James Bush, Archelas Dickinson, Samuel 
Ritchie, Jerry Harrold, Richard and William Long and William 
Bowlin, the first settlers in that section. 

The home of Henry Hamblin had, previously to this time, been 
twice invaded by the Indians, and in the spring of the year 1782, 
liis entire family, with the exception of a little boy, who was carried 
into captivity, were killed and scalped, and now this fort was 
again assailed by a company of Indians numbering seventeen. 

The Indians first ajipoared in the community at the house of 
...-Joseph Ray, whom they killed and scalped along with several of his 
family and a neighlwr by the name of Samuel Hughes, who hap- 
pened to be at Ray's house at the time; besides killing these per- 
sons they made several others ]irisoners before they reached the fort. 
As they approached the fort they met a young woman by the name 
of Ann Neeee, whom they tomahawked and scalped and left for 
dead. "They then approached the fort and were discovered by 
Simon Oscher, Henry Dickenson and Charles Bickley, whO' hap- 
pened to be working at a mill near by. The Indians observing them 

368 Southwest Virginia, 171^6-1786. 

about the same time and the white men being unarmed, their sit- 
uation was a fearful one. It was now to be a struggle which party 
should get to the fort first. Charles Bickley remarked, "Boys, follow 
me," and they all started for the fort at full speed, the Indians halt- 
ing to fire upon them. They got safely into the fort through a 
shower of balls, without receiving a scratch, thus literally running 
the gauntlet. There were but two gims in the fort, and with these 
Ocsher and Dickenson, each, killed an Indian. The balance of the 
savages knowing nothing of the strength of the fort, and their guns 
being empty, hastily picked up their fallen companions and fled 
into the woods. Meeting with a colored man who was hunting sheep, 
and who belonged to Henry Dickenson, they captured him and he 
was never heard of afterwards. 

Some hours after their departure, and while there were still appre- 
hensions of their return by the few persons in the fort, Ann Neeeo 
was seen slowly approaching, as bloody as if she had been dipped in 
a pool of gore, with streams jetting from her head apparently as 
numerous as had been the hairs of her head before she was scalped, 
each jet about the size of a hair. She recovered, married and raised 
a family, and some of her descendants are still living in Eussell 

Colonel Daniel Smith, upon hearing of this invasion, gathered 
a number of men and marched to Hamblin's Mill, expecting to pur- 
sue the Indians, but when he arrived upon the scene, he ascertained 
that a party of fifteen men had some time prior to that time pursued 
the enemy. 

On the 21st day of March of the same year, notwithstanding every 
precaution had been taken by the militia officers to protect the peo- 
ple, a party of Indians had gotten in, undiscovered by the inhab- 
itants of Clinch and Blue Lick, to Walker's creek, where they killed 
one man and took his wife and two children and two children of a 
widow prisoners. Two days thereafter a man was killed on Blue- 
stone by the Indians. The Indians who made this raid were imme- 
diately pursued by experienced woodsmen, but were not overtaken. 

The locality of this Indian raid on Walker's creek is in Bland 
county, and the family whose head was killed and whose wife and 
children were carried into captivity, was named White. The fol- 
lowing incident connected with the subsequent history of one of the 

*Charles B. Coale. 

WasUngion County, 1777-1870. 369 

children captured by the Indians that day and carried into cap- 
tivity, is preserved : 

"A number of years after, during one of the expeditions by Gren- 
eral Clarke to quell the Indians in Kentuckj^, he had encamped on 
the banks of tlie Ohio, awaiting the return of the scouts who had 
been sent out to reconnoitre. One of his men by the name of White, 
from Wahvoi'^s creek, and l)r()t]ier of the boy that had been stolen, was 
out a short distance from camp in search of game, when he saw 
a solitary Indian sitting on a log mending his moccasins. His first 
impulse was to shoot him, as all tlie Indians in that region were 
hostile, but fearing the report of his gun might start up a score of 
red skins in the vicinity, and as the back of the savage was towards 
liim. he concluded to approach stealthily, and capture him alive. He 
did so and took him into camp. From his hair and other indica- 
tions, they su])])osed him to be a white man, and after com- 
pelling hinf to scrub the paint off, their suspicions were confirmed. 
They subsequently learned through an interpreter, as the capti-ve 
had forgotten his native language, that his name was White, and 
that he had been stolen by the Indians from his home in Virginia, 
when a child. He eventually proved to be the brother of the man 
who captured him and came so near taking his life. 

"The brothers lived many years, settled in Kentucky, and he wlio 
had been so many years among the Indians was a delegate in the 
Legislature in the early organization of the State"* 

During the summer of 1780, Colonel William Campbell was 
recommended by the county court and commissioned by the Gover- 
nor as Sheriff of Washington county, which office he declined, where- 
upon Daniel Smith was recommended and commissioned as Sheriff, 
which office he accepted, and named John Yancey and Matthew 
Willoughby, as deputy sheriffs of the county. 

In the spring of the year 1781, the militia of Washington county 
was reorganized and divided into two battalions, which battalions 
were officered as follows : First battalion. Colonel, Walliam Camp- 
bell; Lieutenant- Colon el, William Edmiston; Major, Aaron Lewis. 
Second battalion. Colonel, Daniel Smith ; Lieutenant-Colonel, 
Joseph Martin; Major, Thomas Mastin. 

The first battalion was composed of the militia south of the 
Clinch mountain, and the second battalion of officers and men north 

*Charles B. Coale. 

370 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

of Clinch mountain; which arrangements continued without inter- 
ference until the spring of 1782, some time after the death of Gen- 
eral William Campbell, when the officers of the first battalion were 
us follows: Colonel, William Edmiston; Lieutenant-Colonel, Aaron 
Lewis; Major, James Dysart, and this arrangement continued until 
the end of the Revolutionary war. 

In the spring of the year 1781, a number of gentlemen qualified 
as deputies to Robert Preston, surveyor of Washington county, tlieir 
names being: David Carson, Walter Preston, Andrew Lewis, Charles 
Campbell and Benjamin Sharp. 

Previously to the year 1781, it seems that the ministers of the dis- 
senting churches were not authorized by law to perform the rite of 
matrimony between any of the citizens of the Commonwealth, and, 
if they did so, considerable doubt was expressed as to the legality of 
the marriage. It was necessary that the marriage ceremony, to be 
legal, should be performed by a minister of the Church of England, 
and that minister, in this portion of Virginia, was the Rev. Adam 
Smyth, who lived in Botetourt county, Virginia. 

I cannot -ascertain whether our early settlers were united in mar- 
riage according to the prescribed method, or whether they were 
united by the dissenting ministers, but it is certain that the situ- 
ation was such that the General Assembly of Virginia, at its Octo- 
ber session, 1780, enacted a law declaring what should be consid- 
ered a lawful marriage. The preamble to this act declares its object 
to be to encourage marriages and for removing doubts concerning 
the validity of marriages celebrated by ministers, other than those 
of the Church of England. By the act in question it was declared 
that it should be lawful for any minister of any congregation to 
celebrate the rite of matrimony according to the usage of the con- 
gregation to which the parties to be married respectively belonged, 
and declared such marriage, as well as those theretofore celebrated, 
to be good and valid in law. But the act provided that no person 
should be married without lawful license first had or thrice pub- 
lication of bans in the respective congregations in which the parties 
to be married severally resided, and the fee of the minister was 
fixed at twenty-five pounds of tobacco, and no more. The minister 
was required to make a certificate of the fact of marriage and return 
it to the court, there to be recorded by the clerk. 

This same act provided that the courts of the different coun- 

WasUtigton County, 1777-1870. 371 

ties shall, and are hereby authorized, on recommendation of the eld- 
ers of the several religious sects, to grant license to dissenting min- 
isters of the gospel, not exceeding the number of four of each sect 
in an}^ one county, to join together in holy matrimony, any persons 
within their counties only, which license shall be signed by the 
judge, or elder magistrate imder his hand and seal. 

Pursuant to this act, the following ministers of dissenting con- 
gregations were granted license in tliis county: 

Eev, Charles Cummings, Presbyterian, 

Eev. Thomas Woolsey' Baptist, 

Eev. Simon Cockrell, Baptist, 

Eev. Joseph Ehea, Presbyterian, 

Eev. Ebenezer Brooks, 

Eev. Timothy Burgess, Baptist, 

Eev. Thomas Brown Craighead, Presbyterian, 

Eev. John Frost, Baptist, 

Eev. Jacob Snyder, Eeg. Eeformed. 

At the June term of the county court of this county, the follow- 
ing orders were entered : 

"Ordered that Francis Beattie and Jonas Smith view the way for 
a road from near the junction of a path that now goes by the 
Ebbing Spring Meeting-House, and mark the said road, with blazes, 
and that Francis Beattie be the overseer of said road." 

"On motion of Ann Meek, leave is granted her to keep an ordi- 
nary at her own house- she giving bond and security according to 

"Ordered that Adam Hope have leave to build a mill on his own 

And at the August term, 1781, tJie folowing order was entered: 

"Ordered that John Yancy have a bar, clerk's seat, sheriff's box, 
the upper floor laid, one pair of stairs, three windows and shutters, 
for the courthouse, and prepare the prison and finish the stocks." 

And at the March term, 1782, the following orders were entered: 

"Ordered that two sixpence be levied on each tithable for the 
purpose of purchasing a wagon for the use of the United States." 

At this time there existed a controversy between the citizens of 
Washington and Montgomery counties, as to the true location of the 
dividing line between the counties, and at the May term, 1783, the 
county court of this county, agreed with the court of Montgomery 

373 Suuthiccst Virginia, 1746-1786. 

eouiitv to the ii])|)oi]iliiu'iit of Iliigli Fulton to run the line divid- 
ino- the two counties, Avhieli he did and made his report on the Gth 
day of May- ITSo. The following is a copy of the courses, dis- 
tances and houndaries betAveen the counties of Washington and 
Montgomery, as fixed by this report: 

"Beginning at a white walnut and buckeye at the ford of Hol- 
ston next above the Royal Oak, and runneth thence — N. 31 W. over 
Brushy mountain, one creek. Walker's mountain north fork of Hol- 
ston, Locust cove, Little mountain, Poor Valley creek. Clinch moun- 
tain, and the south fork of Clinch to a double and. single sugar trees 
and two buckeye saplings on Bare grass hill, the west end of Mor- 
ris' knob,, fifteen miles and three quarters. Thence from said Imob 
north crossing the spurs of the vsame, and Paint Lick mountain the 
north fork of Clinch by John Hines' plantation, and over the river 
ridge by James Poark's in the Baptist Valley, to a sugar tree and 
two white oaks on the head of Sandy five miles, one quarter — twenty 

"The beginning at said walnut and buckeye above the Royal Oak, 
and running south, crossing the middle fork of Holston, Campbell's 
mill creek, three mountains, the south fork of Holston above Jones* 
mill, his mill creek, four mountains, Fox creek to six white pines on 
the top of Iron mountain by a laurel thicket, eleven miles, three 
quarters and sixty poles. 

"The distance of said line from the head of Sandy to the top of the 
Iron mountain is thirty-three miles. 

"Executed and returned. May th.e 6th, 1783. 


In the spring of the year 1783 there was a requisition upon the 
county lieutenant of Washington county for a troop of horse, which 
troop Avas raised, and by order of the county court entered at the 
March term, 1783. Robert Campbell, William Dryden and Robert 
Kennedy were appointed officers of said company. 

In the early days of our history, when any one of our citizens was 
sued for debt, he was arrested by the sheriff and required to give 
good security or go to jail, and it must be very interesting to the 
reader of the present day to understand the obligation that a secu- 
rity assumed at that day, and we give the following order for the 
information of the reader. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 373 

In the suit of William Houston vs. Thomas Smith, for a debt the 
following order was entered on the 19th day of September, 1782: 

"Abraham Fulkerson of this county came into court, and under- 
takes for the defendant, that in case he shall be cast in this suit, 
he shall satisfy and pay the condemnation of the court or render 
his body to prison in execution for the same, or that he, the said 
Abraham Fulkerson, will do it for him." 

The General Assembly of Virginia, by an Act passed in the year 
17S1, permitted certain citizens of the Commonwealth to pay their 
taxes in such stock and provisions as could be used by the Conti- 
nental army, and in April of the year 1783 John Campbell was 
appointed a commissioner to receive these commutable articles at 
the to-\vn of Abingdon. At the same term of the court a gentle- 
man qualified to practice law, who afterwards became distinguished 
in the history of Kentucky, the Honorable John Brown. 

Tn the early days of the history of this county, it was customary 
for the overseers of the poor to apprentice the poor orphan children 
of the county, aud the order of the court authorizing such, is clearly 
shown by an order entered at the May term, 1783, in the county 
court of this county, which is as follows : 

"Ordered that James Stuart, an orphan child of Elizabeth Baker, 
be boiuid to John Creenway for the term of seven years to learn the 
art and mystery of blacksmith and cutler, during which time he is 
to learn him, the said Stuart, to read and write and the five com- 
mon rules of arithmetic, and at the expiration of his apprenticeship 
he is to give him a good suit of clothes, and to get part of his learn- 
ing in the three last years of his time." 

The members of our county court in those early days detested 
the law-breaker and never failed to impose upon the guilty the 
punishment prescribed by law, and their orders indicate that they 
insisted upon a speedy execution of their judgments. 

The following order was entered by the court on the 15th day of 
July, 1783, upon the trial of a citizen of the coimty: 

"This day came as M'ell the attorney for the Commonwealth as the 
ra^'d defemdantl, whereupon, Mary Henderson wavs sworn and 
examined, and the defendant heard in his own defence, on consid- 
eration whereof, it is ordered that the said defendant pay ten pounds 
in half an hour, or receive twenty lashes on his bare back well laid 
on, at the common whipping post, &c." 

The Continental Congress of the United Colonies received from 


Southwest Virginia, 17J/0-17S6. 

the British govoi-nnicnt, early in the fall of 1783, a proposal for 
peace, and provisional articles were signed at Paris on the 13th day 
of November, 1783. A proclamation declaring a cessation of hos- 
tilities ^A'as published by the Continental Congress at Philadelphia 
on the 7th day of April, 1783, and by the Governor of Virginia 
on the 31st day of April, 1783; and a permanent treaty of peace 

AVhipping Post. 

was conchided on the 19th of April thereafter, by which treaty the 
independence of the colonies was recognized. 

Onr people had demonstrated to the world that they were patriots 
and worthy of their independence. They were now to demonstrate 
to the world that they were capable of forming a national character 
and that they were worthy of the lilessings of liberty. 

The Continental Congress of the United Colonies, by a proclama- 
tion at a meeting on the 18th day of October, 1783, recommended 
to all the people of the colonies the celebration of the 3d day of 

Washington County, 1711-1810. 375 

December, 1783, as a clay of public tbanksgiving, in token of their 
gratitude to Almighty God for their deliverance and independence, 
and pursuant thereto, the people of the colonies celebrated the day 
in an appropriate manner. 

For some cause that I cannot now explain, William Edmiston, 
who was commissioned sheriff of Washington county, in the year 
1782, refused to give security for the collection of the tax as directed 
by law, but he seemed to have been permitted to execute the duties 
of the office during the year and until the 16tli of March, 1781, on 
which day, James Dysart produced the Governor's commission bear- 
ing date the 8th day of December, 1783, :ap])ointing him sheriff of 
Washington county, and took the oath of office, naming Alexander 
Donaldson, James Craig, Christopher Acklin and Joseph Snodgrass, 
deputy sheriffs, all of whom took the oath of office. At the same 
time the court required the sheriff to give security for the collection 
of the public tax for the year 1783, which security he refused to 
give, whereupon the court directed that the clerk certify this fact 
to the Governor, along with the names of the two next oldest magis- 
trates in the commission of peace and who had not yet been com- 
missioned sheriff', whereupon, the clerk, complying with the order of 
the court, certified to the Governor, the names of John Kinkead and 
James Montgomery, whereupon James Dysart excepted to the action 
of the court, by his counsel, John BroAra, and gave the following 
reasons for his non-compliance, to-wit : 

"That he did not receive his' commission until some time in Feb- 
ruary, and no court being held imtil the present date it was utterly 
out of his power to comply with the law in making the collection 
for the yea? 1783; that he is ready and will exert himself, if con- 
tinued in office, to make the collection for the present year in which 
he received his commission, and would willingly undertake to col- 
lect arrears, if sufficient time would be given by amendment of the 
revenue law at the next meeting of the Assembly; that he humbly 
conceives that neither the letter nor the spirit of the law can operate 
so against him as to deprive him of his right secured by the constitu- 
tion, the authority of which he trusts will always be deemed para- 
mount to any particular act." 

The order of the court recommending John Kinkead and James 
Montgomery for the position of sheriff for the county is as follows : 

"Ordered that John Kinkead and James Montgomery be recom- 

:i76 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

mended to His Excellency the Governor as fit and cajiable persons 
for sheriff of Washington county, also, that Joseph Martin stands 
first in the commission of the peace, but he being a senator for Sul- 
livan county in the State of North Carolina, we leave it to the 
Executive to judge right." 

Notwithstanding the protest of Captain Uysart, he lost his posi- 
tion, and the Governor, on the 5th day of June, 1784, commis- 
sioned John Kinkead, but he, in turn, failed and refused to give 
tlie liond required by law, whereupon, the county court of this county 
recommended James Montgomery and Thouias Mastin, as fit and 
capable persons for sheriffof the county, and James Montgomery 
was commissioned as such, and gave the bond required by law, on 
the 18th day of January, 1785. 

When Montgomery assumed the duties of this position, the peo- 
ple of Washington county had not paid their taxes for three years. 
While the reason is not known, it is fair to suppose from other facts 
that are known, that Colonel Arthur Campbell induced Edmiston, 
Dysart and Kinkead to refuse to give the security for the collec- 
tion of the taxes, and that he prompted the people in their refusal to 
pay their taxes. 

Archibald Scott was one of the pioneers of that quiet and beau- 
tiful little valley that nestles between Powell's mountain and 
Wallen's ridge in Lee county, along which Wallen's creek winds 
its noisy and meandering way, and which is now the home of so 
many happpy and prosperous families. This little valley was 
sejected by the first settlers for its fertility, its water facilities, its 
superior range, romantic surroimdings and remoteness from the 
usual route of predatory bands of Indians, who, at that day, occa- 
sionally left their toAvns beyond the Ohio to prey upon the scattered 
settlers on the Holston. Mr. Scott had married Miss Fannie Dicken- 
son, of Eussell county, many of whose relatives are still living there. 
Being the daughter of one of the brave and hardy pioneers of Castle's 
Woods, she had been reared among the dangers and excitements of 
frontier life, and hence was a companion upon whose coolness and 
fortitude her fearless and enterprising husband coidd depend in their 
new home on the verge of civilization. They removed to it in 1783 
just five years after Daniel Boone had passed along the same trace 
with his family on their way to the wilderness beyond the Cumber- 
land, and twelve years before the Indian raid on the Livingston 

WasJiington County, 1777-1870. 377 

family on Holston. He located a corn right to all that valuable 
tract of one thousand acres subsequently owned by Mr. Eobert Duff, 
and still in the possession of Mr. Duff's descendants. Mr. Scott 
erected his cabin on the head waters of Wallen's creek, near the spot 
now occupied by the residence of ]\[r. Thomas D. Duff. 

Here, with his wife and little ones, he was living on the rewards of 
honest toil, and doubtless looking forward with prophetic vision to 
the day, not far in the future, when that rich and romantic valley- 
reposing so quietly among the mountains, would teem with wealth 
and a happy population. He bared his brawny arm and cleared the 
forest, and for three years his cabin was the home of contentment, 
plenty and domestic joys. On June 20, 1785, the family, after a day 
of toil and after partaking of their frugal meal, had retired to rest, 
without a thought perhaps of impending danger, and dreaming per- 
cliance of the luxuriant harvest so soon to be reaped and garnered. 
That pleasant summer day, as Mr. Scott was toiling amid the grow- 
ing corn, he was seen and watched by a band of about twenty Shaw- 
nese Indians, who, by some means, had been diverted from their 
usual route, and, having observed the smoke rising from the cabin, 
were attracted towards it, and lay in ambush on the mountain side 
till night spread her curtain over the valley. When all was quiet 
they approached and entered, and the first notice that the hus- 
band and father had of their presence was the gleam of the toma- 
hawk that killed him in his bed. The leader of the band was the 
notorious and cruel half-breed Benge, who was killed six years there- 
after, not many miles from the same place, as he was making his 
way to Big Stone Gap, with the Livingston captives. After scalping 
Mr. Scott they murdered and scalped his five children, plundered 
and burned the cabin, took Mrs. Scott prisoner, and started back on 
their long journey to their towns beyond the Ohio. Her suffering 
during this journey over steep mountains and through deep and 
rapid streams was indescribable. When faint and weary and foot- 
sore, she failed to travel as rapidly as her captors desired, they would 
slap her in the face with the bloody scalps of her husband and 
children. Being a woman of great strength, activity and nerve, she 
bore up wonderfully, and even surprised the savages by her endu- 

After traveling about two hundred miles and reaching one of their 
fa^'orite hunting grounds in Kentucky, not far from the Ohio, they 

378 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

stopped a few days to rest and Inmt. It was decided among them, 
that one of the Indians, when they reached their town on the Miami, 
should have their captive for a wife, and hence he was designated 
to guard her while the rest were engaged in the hunt. Some hours 
after they left, the Indian on guard fell into a profound sleep. See- 
ing which and making a noise that did not seem to disturb his slum- 
bers, she determined to kill him with his own tomahawk which lay 
by his side, and then try to escape. She took the weapon and raised 
it above his head' but, being weak and nervous from fatigue and 
distress of mind, she feared she might not be able to strike a fatal 
blow and concluded to make an effort to escape. She made her way 
to a spring a short distance from the camp, waded along the branch 
to conceal her trail, and was soon safe from the pursuit of her 
guard in a thick cane-brake. Hearing those who were hunting not 
a great way off, she wait'^d until their whooping died in the dis- 
tance, when she started out on the long and perilous journey towards 
the Cumberland mountain, the dim outlines of which she had seen 
as she crossed an elevation. For weeks she wandered through the 
unbroken forest without food and almost destitute of raiment, sub- 
sisting on berries, barks and roots, and many days wandering so 
much out of her way as to make but a mile ot two. Finally coming 
to a river (supposed to be the Kentucky), she foimd a path on the 
bank which she followed. One morning while following the path 
up the stream, she heard a hunting party meeting her, and seeing 
a large sycamore near the path, she stepped behind it and fortu- 
nately found it hollow where she concealed herself, imtil the Indians 
had passed. A day or two after this and before she had reached the 
head waters of the stream, she heard the Indians on her trail with 
dogs. She crawled into a hollow log that lay across the path, over 
which some of them jumped their ponies, and others passed around 
the end without discovering her. 

After the Indians had disappeared, she followed on very cautiously 
till she came to where the path forked. This perplexed her some- 
what, not knowing which to take. She finally took the left, which 
seemed to be the plainest, when a bird flew past, touched her shoulder 
and lighted in the other path. She kept on, however, but had pro- 
ceeded but a few steps when the bird repeated its singular action. 
This led her to stop and reflect, and, coming to the conclusion that 
the bird was the spirit of one of her murdered children come to 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 379 

guide her throuo-h tlie wilderness, she took the other path, which 
proved to be the right one, and led her through what is now known 
as Pound Gap. She eventually made her wa}^ intO' Castle's Woods, 
where many of her relatives resided and still reside. 
^ After some years, Mrs. Scott married Mr. Thomas Johnson, for 
whom the county of Johnson in Tennessee was called. She raised a 
family of children, all of Avhom married and became useful and 
respectable members of society. She lived to an advanced age, and 
her ashes now repose on a little hillock near the old blacksmith shop, 
not far from the l)ase of Clinch mountain at Hayter's Gap, in Eus- 
sell county, Virginia."* 

In addition to the facts contained in this account as preserved by 
]\Ir. Coale, we are able to give from reliable documentary authority, 
the following : 

"Another house stood by the residence of Archibald Scott, in 
which was a little girl eleven or twelve years old, with her brother 
some years j^oimger than herself. 

"Into this house the Indians did not enter for some reason, but 
shot through the door and killed the boy, whereupon the girl 
sprang out at a window and hid in a nursery of young peach trees 
til] the Indians were gone. She then re-entered the house, laid out 
her dead brother, and sat by him all night, and till late the next day, 
when a pa-rty of men arrived to bury the dead." 

The history of Washington county from this time henceforth, will 
be uninteresting as compared with that portion of our history with 
which we have been dealing. 

In April of the year 1784, a number of depredations were com- 
mitted by the Indians in Powell's Valley and on the Kentucky road. 
A boy was killed and a girl taken prisoner in Powell's Valley, and 
a man and a woman and two children were killed in the winter of 
] 784, on the Kentucky road by a party of Cherokees under a young 
Indian chief by the name of Rattlesnake, and within the same year 
three men were killed near Cimiberland Gap, by the Creeks, and a 
boy killed and scalped and an arrow left in his breast on Powell's 

In the year 1783, the Governor and Council of Virginia authorized 
the building of a fort at Cumberland Gap, on the Virginia side of 
the line, which fort was erected under the supervision of Colonel 

*Charles B. Coale. 

380 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

Joseph Martin in the fall of 1783. This fort was intended to be 
the residence of Colonel Joseph Martin, the Virginia Commissioner 
to the Indians, who of necessity had to remove from Long Island, 
then ascertained to be in the State of jSTorth Carolina. Into this 
fort there gathered about one hundred persons, and upon the out- 
break of hostilities, it was with difficnlty that they could be prevented 
from breaking up. Captain James Shelby had been killed near this 
station on his way to Washingion county, and a man had been killed 
on the north fork of Holston river on the 5th of A])ril, and ten days 
afterward a man was wounded with arrows on the head waters of 

In Septeml^er of the year 1784, a party of Shawnese Indians 
ascended the Sandy river and, passing over to the head of Clinch, 
divided into small parties to steal horses and annoy the settlers. One 
of these parties came to the present location of Tazewell courthouse, 
where they visited the home of Andrew Davidson. Davidson's fam- 
ily consisted of a wife and three children, two small girls and a boy 
and two orphan children by the name of Broomfield. Mr. Davidson 
was absent from his home at the time of which we are speaking. 
When the Indians appeared at the house they informed Mrs. David- 
son that she must go with them to their home in the West, and there 
being nothing else that she could do, she took up her youngest child, 
the Indians carrying the others, and began the journey. Mrs. 
Davidson received kinder treatment at the hands of the Indians than 
she expected, and proceeded on tbe way to their homes beyond the 
Ohio. But, when, the India,ns arrived at their homes they took Mrs. 
Davidson's two little girls, tied them to trees and shot them before 
her eyes. The boy was given to an old Indian squaw and was soon 
afterwards accidentally droAvned, Mrs. Davidson was sold to a 
Frenchman living in Canada, where she was found by her husband 
after several jeaTS and returned to her home. Another company 
of Indians at the same time killed William Whitley, who lived in 
Baptist Valley. They mutilated his body in a terrible manner ; his 
bowels were torn out and stretched upon the bushes ; his heart was in 
one place and his liver in another. Another company of this same 
band of Indians discovered Henry Ilarman and his two sons, George 
and Ma,thias, and George Draper hunting in a section of country 
through which the Indian trail led. Ilarman and his associates 
were not expecting Indians so late in the season, and early in the 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 381 

morning the}' Iniilt their camp.. Harraan's two sons had gone out 
to see whether tliey could find game, when, to their surprise, tliey 
discovered an Indian camp but a short distance from their own, 
with ever} indication of the very recent presence of the Indians. 
They returned to camp and reported what they had found; where- 
upon tlie himters immediately proceeded to return to the settlements. 
They had not proceeded far before they were fired upon l^y the 
Indians from behind a log, whereu23on, the Indians immediately 
advanced on Henry Harman, Avho fell back to where his sons stood 
I'eady to meet the Indians. A right brisk figlit took place, a 
description of which is as follows : 

"The Indians immediately surrounded the Avhite men, who had 
formed a triangle, each man looking out, of what would have been 
Mith men enough, a hollow square. The old gentleman bade ]\Iathias 
to reserve his fire, while himself and George fired, wounding, as it 
would seem, two of the Indians. George was a lame man from hav- 
ing had white swelling in his childhood, and after firing a few rounds 
the Indians noticed his limjiing, and one who had fired at him, 
rushed upon him thinking hiui w^ounded. George saw the fatal 
tomahawk raised, and drawing back his gun prepared to meet it. 
When the Indian had got within striking distance, George let down 
upon his head with the gun, which brought him to the ground; he 
soon recovered and made at him again, half bent and head fore- 
most, intending, no doubt, to trip him up, but as he got near enough, 
George sprang up and jumped across him, which brought the Indian 
to his knees. Feeling for his own knife and not getting hold of it, 
he seized the Indian's and plunged it deep into his side. Mathias 
struck him on the head with a tomahawk, and finished the work 
with him. 

"TwOi Indians had attacked the old man with bows, and were 
manoeuvering around him, to get a clear fire at his left breast. The 
Harmans. to a man, wore their bullet pouches on the left side, and 
with this and his arm he sO' completely shielded his breast, that tlie 
Indians did not fire until they saw the old gentleman's gun nearly 
loaded again, when one fired on him and struck his elbow near the 
joint, cutting one of the principal arteries. In a second more the 
fearful string was heard to vibrate, and an arrow" entered Mr. Har- 
man's breast and lodged against a rib. He had by this time loaded 
a gun, and was raising it to his face to shoot one of the Indians, 

382 Southwest Virginia, 17J^6-17S0. 

wlion tlic stream of blood from the wounded artery flew into the 
pan, and so soiled his gun that it was impossilile to make it fire. 
Eaising the gun, however, liad the effect to drive baok tlio Indians, 
who retreated to where the otliers stood with their guns ein])ty. 

"jMathias who had remained an almost inactive spectator, now 
asked permission to fire, which the old man granted. The Indian 
at whom he fired appeared to he the chief and was standing under 
a large beach tree. At the report of the rifle, the Indian fell, throw- 
ing his tomahawk high among the limbs of the tree under wliich he 

"Seeing two of their number lying dead upon the ground, and two 
more badly wounded, they immediately made off, passing by Draper, 
who had left his horse, and concealed himself behind a log."* 

Draper, as soon as the Indians had passed him, fled to the set- 
tlements and reported that Harman and his sons were killed. A 
number of people set out the next morning to bury the dead, when to 
their surprise they met Harman and his sons returning to their 

This same l>ody of Indians sent three of tlieir number into Abb's 
Valley, where resided Captain James Moore and John Poage. Near 
the home of Captain James Moore, they captured his son, James 
^loore, Jr., a boy, fourteen years old. They took the young man to 
a field where his father's horses were running at large, and tried to 
capture the horses, failing in which they proceeded on their jour- 
ney to the Ohio. When they came near their towns in Ohio, the 
Indians painted themselves black, but did not paint the boy. The 
cliief sold young ]\Ioore to his half-sister, who afterwards sold him 
to a French trader at Detroit, where young ]\loore met a trader 
from Kentucky, who knew his father and whom he requested to 
write to his father and inform him of his situation. He remained 
in captivity until Octo1)er, 1789, and returned to his homo in Taze- 
well county three years after the murder and captivity of his father 
and family. 

Early in the year of 1786, another party of Indians visited the 
home of Captain James Moore in Abb's Valley, an account of which 
visit has been preserved, which I give in full : 

"In July, 1786, a party of forty-seven Indians, of the Shawnese 
tribe, again entered Abb's Valley. Captain James Moore usually 

Bickley's History of Tazewell. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 383 

kept five or six loaded guns in liis house, which was a strong log 
building, and hoped, b}' the assistance of his wife, who was very 
active in loading a gun, together with Simpson, a man who lived 
with them, to be able to repel the attacks of any small party of 
Indians. IJelying on his prowess, he had not sought refuge in a 
fort, as many of the settlers had ; a fact of which the Indians seemed 
to be aware, from their cutting out the tongues of his horses and 
cattle, and partially skinning them. It seems they were afraid to 
attack him openly, and sought rather to drive him to the fort, that 
they might sack his house. 

"On the morning of the attack. Captain Moore, who had pre- 
viously distinguished himself at Alamance, was at a lick bog a short 
distance from his house, salting his horses, of which he had many. 
William Clark and an Irishman were reaping wheat in front of the 
house. ]\Irs. j\toore and the family were engaged in the ordinary 
business of housework. A man named Simpson was sick upstairs. 

"The two men Avho were in the field at work saw the Indians 
coming at full speed down the hill toward Captain Moore, who had, 
ere this, discovered them and started in a run for the house. He 
was, however, shot through his body and died immediately. Tavo 
of his children, William and Eebecca, who were returning from the 
spring, were killed about the same time. The Indians had now 
approached near the house and were met by two fierce dogs, which 
fought manfully to protect the family of their master. After a 
severe contest the fiercest one was killed and the other subdued. 

"The two men wbo Avere reaping, hearing the alarm and seeing the 
house surrounded, fled and alarmed the settlement. At that time 
the nearest family was distant about six miles. As soon as the 
alarm was given Mrs. Moore and Martha Ivens (who was living in 
the family), barred the door, but this was of no avail. There was' 
no man in the house at this time except Jolm Simpson, the old 
Englishman already alluded to, and he was in the loft sick and' 
in bed. There were five or six guns in the house, but, having been 
shot off the evening before, they were then empty. They intended 
to load them after breakfast. Martha Ivens took two of the guns 
and went upstairs where Simpson was. and, handing them tc 
him, told him to shoot. He looked up, but had been shot in the 
head through a crack and was then near his end. The Indians then 
proceeded to cut down the door, which they soon effected. During 

384 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

this time Martha Ivens went to the far end of the house, lifted up a 
loose plank, and went under the floor and requested Polly Moore 
(then eight years old), who had the youngest child, called Margaret, 
in her arms (which was crying), to^ set the child down and come 
under. Polly looked at the child, and clasped it to her breast, and 
determined to share its fate. The Indians, having broken into the 
house, took Mrs. Moore and her children — viz. ; John, Jane, Polly 
and Peggy, prisoners, and having taken everything that suited them, 
they set it and the other buildings on fire, and went away. Martha 
Ivens remained under the floor a short time and then came out 
and hid herself under a log that lay across a branch not far from 
the house. The Indians having tarried a short time with a view of 
catching horses, one walked across on this log, sat down on one end 
of it and began to fix his gunlock. Miss Ivens supposing that she 
was discovered and that he was preparing to shoot her, came out 
and gave herself up. At this he seemed much pleased. They then 
set out for their towns. Perceiving that John Moore was a boy, 
weak in body and mind and unable to travel, they killed him the 
first day. The babe they took two or three days, but, it being fret- 
ful on account of a wound it had received, they dashed its brains 
out against a tree. They then moved on with haste to their towns. 
FoT some time it was usual to tie very securely each of the prisoners 
at night, and for a warrior to lie beside each of them, with toma- 
hawk in hand, so that in case of pursuit, the jirisoner might be 
speedily dispatched. 

"Shortly after they reached the towns, IMrs. Moore and her daugli- 
ter Jane were put to death, being burned and tortured at the stake. 
This lasted some time, during which she manifested the utmost 
Christian fortitude and bore it without a murmur, at intervals con- 
versing with her daughter Polly and Martha Ivens, and exprassing 
great anxiety for the moment to arrive when her soul should wing 
its way to the bosom of its Saviour. At length an old squaw, more 
humane than the rest, dispatched her with a tomahawk. 

"Polly Moore and Martha Ivens eventually reached home, as 
described in the narrative of James ]\foore. 

"Several incidents in this narrative liave been left out. When the 
Indians set fire to the house and started, they took from the stable 
the fine black horse Yorick. He was a horse of such a vicious nature 
iliat no one but Simpson could manage him. The Indians had not 

Washingio7i County,- 11 71 -1870. 385 

proceeded far when one- mounted liim^ but soon the horse had him 
on the ground and was pawing him to death with his feet; for this 
purpose a Iqw strokes were sufficient. Another mounted him and 
was served in like manner. Perfectly wild with rage, a vei'y large 
Indian mounted him, swearing to ride him or kill him. A few 
])lungcs and the Indian was under the feet of the desperate horse- 
his teeth buried in his flesh, and uttering a scream as if he intended 
to avenge the death of his master, he had just dispatched the Indian 
when another, running up, stabl)ed him, and thus put an end to 
the conflict. 'Alas ! poor Yorick.' 

"It is said that ]\Irs. INIoore had her body stuck full of lightwood 
splinters which were fired, and she Avas thus tortured three days 
before she died. 

"When Martlia Ivens and Polly ]Moore Avere among the French 

they fared much worse than when among the Indians. The French 

had plenty, but were miserly, and seemed to care little for their 

wants. The Indians had little, but would divide that little to the 


lii April. 178n. ]\I;ithias Ilarman and Benjamin Thomas, tAvo 
scouts employed ])y the authorities of Eussell county, visited the 
house of a man by the name of Dials, now in Tazewell county. 
Dials kept liquor for sale, and Thomas and Harman were soon intox- 
icated. Mrs. Dials was making preparations for dinner, Avhen Dials 
and Thomas left tlie house to olitain wood. When they reached the 
mouth of a lane about two hundred yards from the house, they Avere 
ilred upon by a party ol six or seven Indians; seA^eral of the shot 
struck Dials, and one of the Avarriors j^ursued him, in the direction 
of his house. When they approached the house the Indian gave 
up the pursuit, as he Avas aware of Harman's presence at the house, 
and Dials reached the corner of the house, where he fell dead against 
the chimncA^ Thomas was fired at, but was not shot ; he was, how- 
ever, during the pursuit, knocked doAvn by the Indian, scalped and 
left for dead. Thomas died seven days thereafter. 

Harman, who was very much intoxicated at that time, ran out 
of the house, mounted his horse and pursued the Indians, challeng- 
ing them to stop and fight, which they declined. About this time 
some Cherokee Indians killed two men near the the end of Clinch 
mountain. The militia from the surrounding country combined 

*Bickley's History of Tazewell. 

386 Southwest Virginia, 1746-17S6. 

and luan-lit'd within iii'tcon miles of their town, when they sent for 
Old Tassel, The Hanging Man and other Indian chiefs, to 
come to them, which they did, and informed the white people that 
this murder was done by two or three Indian fellows who lived in 
a town called Caw-a-tie, abont twenty miles below Chote, and that 
they had been hired to do so by an old fellow from Chickamogga, 
who had two sons killed by the white people last spring. The 
Indian chiefs informed the white people that their desire was for 
peace, but the white people answered that they would have their 
lands, to which the Indians replied that they had no right to give 
them their land, whereupon the whites immediately marched into 
their towns, which they destroyed, along with a part of their corn, 
and killed and shot several Indians. About this same time, 
William ]\Iartin, a son of Colonel Joseph Martin, was killed by the 
Creek Indians while on his way to Georgia, and a whole company 
of settlers, except a woman, were killed near Chickamogga; and a 
son of Tom Wallen was shot near his father's home, but made his 

The settlers on the Blue Stone (now in Tazewell county, Va.), 
being the principal sufferers by the Indian invasions, in August of 
this year forwarded a petition to the Executive of Virginia, stating 
their position on the frontiers and asking for protection against the 
Indians, "from whose cruelties they had lately been great sutferers. 
The settlement had become much weaker on account of these attacks 
and was not able to protect itself longer without prompt aid from 
the government. Upon the approach of danger, the inhabitants are 
required to betake themselves and families to the forts, thus expos- 
ing their effects and property to the marauders, and, being few in 
number and scattered, they are unable to pursue and punish their 
enemies. Unless some suitable and regular method for the defence 
of the county be adopted at once, they should be obliged to abandon 
their homes, and thus expose to the savages the more interior parts 
of the country." 

In answer tO' this petition, the Governor of Virginia directed the 
county-lieutenant of Eussell county to call out forty men for the 
protection of the frontiers of the county and three sets of spies, one 
for the upper part of the county, one for the lower part of the county, 
and another at Castle's Woods. The frontiers of Eussell county, at 

Washmgto7i County, 1777-1870. 387 

this time^, were 140 miles in length, extending from the Montgom- 
ery county line to Martin's Station in Powell's Valley. 

On the 17th day of J\Iarch, 1785, the Indians visited the house 
ot John Wallen, about fifteen miles from Martin's Station, and 
killed and scalped his wife, and a Mrs. Cox was shot at by three 
Indians. On the 24th day of March two families were captured by 
three Indians in New Garden, about twenty miles from Abingdon, 
the two families consisting of fifteen persons. 

In the fall of this year the smallpox broke out in the Indian 
nation, spreading rapidly and causing so much distress that the 
"Eaven of Chickamogga," the chief of the Chickamogga Indians, 
addressed a peace talk to the Virginia Commissioner, which was as 
follows : 

"Brother, — I am now going to speak to you about powder. I have 
in my towns six hundred good hunters, and we have very little pow- 
der. I hope you will speak to my elder brother of Virginia, to take 
pity on us, and send us as much as will make our fall's hunt. He 
will hear you. We are very poor, but don't love to beg, which our 
brother knows, as I have never asked him for anything else before. 
I thank him however for all his past favors to the old towns. I 
hope he will not refuse this favor I ask of him, I have taken Virginia 
by the hand, and I do not want to turn my face another way, to 
a strange people. The Spaniards have sent to me to come and speak 
to them. I am not going, but some of my people have gone to hear 
what they have to say. I am sitting still at home with my face 
towards my elder brother of Virginia, hoping to hear from him soon. 
I will not take of any strange people till I hear from him. Tell him 
that when I took hold of your hand, I looked on it as if he had 
been there. The hold is strong and lasting. I have with this talk 
sent you a long string of white beads as a confirmation of what I 
say. My friendship shall be as long as the beads remain white. 


Colonel Martin was disposed to listen to the professions of the 
Indians and was making preparations to furnish them with the pow- 
der which they requested, when a party of Indians appeared upon 
the Clinch and chased a son of Frederick Fryly and ran him until 
within sight of his father's house. Numerous signs ol Indians were 
discovered down Sandy river, and the whole of the frontiers was 

388 Southwest Virginia, 11^6-1786. 

thrown into great disorder. In July of the year 1785, several mer- 
chants from Baltimore opened a very large store at North Fork, 
two miles below the Long Island of Holston, this being the first store 
opened in that section of the country. At the election held in the 
year 1785, for Washington county, Colonel William Kussell and 
Andrew Kincannon, were elected to represent Washington county, in 
the House of Delegates. One of the first measures proposed by Col- 
onel Eussell, upon the assembling of the General Assembly in the 
fall of that year, was a bill having for its purpose the division of 
Washington county, which bill was favorably reported and after- 
wards, on January 2, 1786, passed by the General Assembly of Vir- 
ginia and approved by the Governor. By this bill it was provided 
that, from and after the first day of May, 1786, the county of Wash- 
ington shall be divided into two distinct counties, that is to say : all 
that part of said county lying within a line to be run along Clinch 
mountain to the Carolina line, thence with that line to the Cumber- 
land mountain, and the extent of the country between the Cum- 
berland mountain, Clinch mountain and the line of Montgomery 
county, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the 
name of Russell, and the residue shall retain the name of Washing- 
ton. The same bill directed the first court of said county to be held 
at the house of William Roberson in Castle's Woods, on the second 
Tuesday in May, 1786. 

Pursuant to this Act of the Assembly, the first court of Russell 
county assembled at the house of William Roberson, in Castle's 
Woods, on May 9th, which court was composed of the following 
gentlemen : 

Alexander Barnett, Henry Smith, 

David Ward, Andrew Cowan, 

Samuel Ritchie, Thomas Carter, 

Henry Dickenson, John Thompson, 

and, subsequently within the same year, the following gentlemen 

were commissioned and added to the court: 

Charles Bickley, James Wharton, 

Richard Price, John Frazer, 

William Martin, Charles Cocke, 

/Thristopher Cooper, John Tate, 

John Bowen. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 389 

At the same time the following officers qualified : 
Sherifi^^ David Ward. 

Deputy Sherifl:s, Eobert Craig, Charles Carter and John Carter. 
Clerk County Court, Henry Dickenson. 

Commissioners of the Revenue, Samuel Eitchie and Patrick Por- 

County Surveyor, Henry Smith. 
County Lieutenant, Alexander Barnett. 
Colonel of Militia' Henry Smith. 
Lieutenant- Colonel of Militia, Andrew Cowan. 
Major, Charles Cocke. 

Captains of Militia. 
David Ward, William Thompson, 

William Dorton, Charles Bickley, 

Francis Browning, James Davidson. 

Samuel Eitchie, Josiah Fugate, 

William Martin. 
Lieutenants of -Militia. 
John Bowen, Charles Haj^s, 

John Tate, James Osbourne, 

Samuel Eoherson, l^lisha Farris, 

Thomias Carter, Moses Skeggs, 

John Van Bebber. 
Ensigns of Militia. 
Samuel Young, John Thompson, 

Eobert Tate, Henry Hamblin, 

Solomon Litton, William Byrd, 

Benjamin Nichalson, Joseph Johnston, 

William Ewing. 
Coroner, Francis Browning. 

The following lawyers qualified to practice in the court of Eussell 
in the year .1786 : 

Andrew Moore, Francis Preston, 

Ephraim Dunlop, James Blair, 

David Dunnan. 

The coimty court proceeded to select a permanent location for the 
courthouse, when Henry Dickenson, the clerk of the court, offered 
to give to the county a tract of land at what has since been known 
as Dickensonville, which offer the court accepted, and proceeded to 

390 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

erect the necessary buildings thereon, and the court of Eussell 
county asvsembled at Dickensonville or Russell's old courthouse on 
the 20th day of September, 1787. 

By the organization of this new county a great extent of coun- 
try and many valuable citizens were lost to Washington county. 

Information in regard to the history of Washington county sub- 
sequent to the year 1786 is exceedingly hard to obtain, as the minute 
books of the county court from the year 1786 to the year 1819 and 
from the year 1821 until 1832 were destroyed along with the court- 
house by the Federal troops in December, 1864. 

Such history as I have been able to obtain for the period men- 
tioned has been derived fro^m the records at Richmond and from an 
examination of the files of the Holston Intelligencer and the Politi- 
cal Prospect, newspapers published in Abingdon and covering the 
period from 1810 to 1815. 

Washingto7i County, 1777-1870. 391 



Tn tlie month of Jamian% 1781, the General Assembly of Vir- 
ginia passed a resolution expressing her willingness to cede her 
northwest territor}'' to the Congress of the colonies, for the benellt 
of the United Colonies, npon the follo-\ving condition, to-wit: that 
the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into States con- 
taining a suitable extent of territory, and shall not be less than 
one hundred nor more than one hundred and fifty miles square or 
as near thereto as circumstances will admit.' That the States so 
formed shall be distinct republican States and be admitted mem- 
bers of the Federal Union, having the same right of sovereignty, 
freedom and independence as the other States. 

Colonel Arthur Campbell, immediately upon his acquisition of 
this information, with a vision that was almost prophetic, set about 
to organize a new State and to include Washington county in the 
same. He immediately proposed a scheme for obtaining the sense 
of the inhabitants of tiie western country on the subject of the Vir- 
ginia resolution and the resolves of the Congress upon the same sub- 
ject, his scheme being as follows : 

"First. That Selectmen or Deputies be chosen for the five south- 
western counties of Virginia and the coimties of Washington and 
Sullivan in ISTorth Carolina, to meet at Abingdon the third Wed- 
nesday in April, 1782. 

"Second. That in ordei" that the representation be adequate, let 
the Deputies be in number in proportion to the number of farm- 
ers above eighteen years of age, allowing one Deputy for every hun- 
dred such farmers. 

"Third. That the election be held at the respective Court Houses, 
the third Tuesday in the month of March next, 1782, by the same 
officers and under the same regulations as elections for delegates 
are held. 

"Fourth. That the business and power of the deputies when con- 
vened be confined to the consideration of the late resolves of Con- 
gress respecting the Western Country, and that they adopt such 
measures as may be adjudged proper by a majority, for the interest 
and safety of their constituents as members of the American Union. 

392 Southwest Virginia, 17Ji6-17S6. 

"Fifth. That the representation continue one year, in which time 
the Deputies may adjourn from time to time, and to such places 
witliin the ^^'estern Countries as may be found most convenient. 

"The day appointed for the election is the second Tuesday in 
March, 1783." 

I am unable to state that the election was held at the time pro- 
posed by Colonel Campbell, on the third Tuesday in March, 1782, 
or that the iVssembly proposed by him met at Abingdon on the 
third Wednesday in April, 1783, as therein proposed, but I can say 
that an election was held and that an Assembly met at Abingdon 
in this or tlie following year in the manner proposed by Colonel 
Campbell. I am of the opinion that this election was held in 1782, 
as proposed by Colonel Campbell, as four members of the Assembly 
that met at Abingdon were citizens of Sullivan county, North Caro- 
lina, and it is reasonable to suppose that liad the State of Frankland 
been proposed or organized at the time of this election the Sullivan 
county citizens would have united with that State. 

The Assembly that met at Abingdon in the year 1783 
adopted a memorial, which they addressed to the Congress of the 
United States of America, and which was as follows : 


To the Honorable the Congress of the United States of America: 

The memorial of the Freemen inhabitating the Country Westward 
of the Alleghany or Appalachian mountain, and Southward of the 
Ouasioto* Humbly sheweth : 

That having been made acquainted with the several resolves and 
other Acts of Congress, respecting Western Territory, and having 
considered maturely the contents of the same, we are highly pleased 
with that equal respect for the Liberties of the people, which seems 
to influence the Councils of Congress. That nothing but a firm ad- 
herence to the principles of the Confederation, and a sacred regard 
to the rights of Mankind could produce the late Resolves for laying 
off new, Independent States, thereby pointing out such effectual 
measures, to prevent the encroachments of arbitrary power on the 
Asylums of Freedom. 

That we are happy to find so large a part of Territory already 
ceded to the United States for National purposes, and trust that 

*Tndian name for Cumberland mountain. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 393 

every obstacle will speedily be removed for the completion of that 
business by the individual States affected thereby. That we are too 
much elated at the prospect before us not to wish that we may 
speedily enjoy the advantages of such a Government as will be ex- 
ercised over a convenient territory, not too small for the support of 
authority, nor too large for the security of Freedom. 

That our situation is such, inhabiting valleys intermixed with 
and environed by vast wilds of barren and inaccessible mountains, 
that the same compensation of latitude allotted to the new States 
JTorthwest of the Ohio, might prevent us from ever being on an 
equal footing with our neighbors, blessed with so many natural ad- 
vantages, navigable waters, and a level, fertile country. 

That the state boimded by a meridian line that will touch the 
confluence of Little river, near Inglis' Ferry, thence down the Ka- 
nawha to the Eonceverte or Green Briar river, thence Southwest to 
latitude 37 Xorth, thence along the same to the meridian of the 
rapids of the Ohio, South along the Meridian until it reaches the 
Tenasee or Cherokee river, down the same, and eastwardly on that 
parallel to the top of the Appalachian mountains, and along the 
highest parts of the same, and the heights that divide the sources of 
the waters that fall into the Mississippi from those that empty into 
the Atlantic to the beginning. This, though not equal in quantity 
of habitable lands with the adjoining States, yet may be sufficient 
territory for a society that wishes to encourage industry and tem- 
perance as cardinal virtues. 

That in our present settlements we have maintained our ground 
during the late perilous war, and frequently gave effectual aid to 
our Brethren to the South and Westward; that we are first occu- 
pants and aborigines of this country. Freemen, claiming natural 
rights and the privileges of American citizens. 

Our prayer therefore is, that your Honorable Body, with a gen- 
erous regard to the Eights of ]\Iankind, would speedily erect the 
aforesaid described Territory into a free and independent State, 
subject to the Federal Bond, and likewise confirm and guarantee to 
its inhabitants all their equitable rights and privileges acquired 
under the laws of the States lately claiming this Territory; that 
the disposition of the vacant lands be under the power of the Leg- 
islature of the new State, in as full a manner as that exercised by 
such of the Eastern States having unappropriated lands, with this 

39i Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

Eeservation, that the monies arising from the sale of vacant lands 
shall be faithfully paid to the order of Congress, towards the pay- 
ment of the National debt. 

And yonr Memorialists shall ever pray, &c. 

Approved and subscribed by us in behalf of ourselves and the 
Freemen of our Eespective Districts, whoni we represent. 
Charles Cummings, Chairman. • 

John Jameson, John Campbell, 

Alex'r "Wiley, Eobert Buchanan, 

George Finley, William Tate, 

Arthur Campbell, John Kinkead, 

John Campbell, S'n'r, E. 0. Tliomas Woolsey, 
John Davis, Eichard Brownlow, 

Gilbert Christian, ]\Tatthew Willoughby, 

David Looney, John Anderson, 

John Adair. 

At a subsequent meeting this Assembly addressed the Freemen of 
Washington county on the subject of their public affairs, which ad- 
dress is as follows : 
"To the Freemen of Washington County: 

"Your Deputies, after mature consideration, have agreed to ad- 
dress you on the subject of your Public Affairs, well knowing that 
there is only wanting an exact and candid examination into the 
facts to know Avhether you have I)een well served or abused by your 
Eepresentatives, whether Government has been wisely administered 
and whether your rights and Lil)erties are secure. As members of 
the Civil Society, you will acknowledge that there are duties of im- 
portance and lasting obligation which must take place before indi- 
vidual conveniences or private interest, but it must be granted that 
in free Communities the laws are only obligatory when made con- 
sonant witli the constitution or Original Compact; for it is the only 
means of the surrender then made, the power therein given and the 
right ariseth to^ Legislate at all. Hence it is evident that the power 
of Legislators is in the nature of trusts to form Eegulations for the 
good of the whole, agreeable to the powers delegated, and the de- 
posite put into the General stock, and the end proposed is to' obtain 
the greatest degree of happiness and safety, not for the few but 
for the many. To attain these ends and these only, men are in- 
duced to give up a portion of their natural Liberty and Property 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 395 

when they enter into society. From, this it is plain that Eulers may 
exceed their trust, may invade the remaining portion of natural 
libert}^ and property, which would be a usurpation, a breach of 
solemn obligation and ultimately a conspiracy against the majesty 
of the people, the only trea.^on that can be committed in a common- 
wealth. A much admired writer on the side of Liberty begins 
his work with the following remarkable sentence, which we tran- 
scribe for your information, and entreat you to read and ponder 
well : 

"In every human Society there is an effort continually pending 
to confer on one part the height of power and happiness, and re- 
duce the other to extremes of weakness and misery. The intent of 
good laws is to oppose these Efforts, and to diffuse their influence 
universally and equally. But men generally abandon the care of 
tlieir most important concerns to the uncertain prudence and discre- 
tion of those whose interest it is to reject the best and wisest in- 
structions, and it is not until they have been led into a thousand 
mistakes in matters the most essential to their lives and Liberties, 
and are weary of suffering, that they can be induced to apply a 
remedy to the evils with which they are oppressed. It is then they 
begin to conceive and acknowledge the most palpable truths, which 
from their very simplicity commonly escape vulgar minds, in- 
capable of analyzing objects, accustomed to receive impressions with- 
out discretion, and to be determined rather by opinions of others, 
than by the result of their own examination." 

A few plain Questions 3'ou may honestly put to yourselves when 
in retirement, or ^dien your heads are reclined on 3'our pillows ; For 
what end hath the Almighty wrought out such a wonderful revo- 
lution in the affairs of men as that of the Independence of America ? 
What part ought I to act through the remaining part of my life, so 
as to be most pleasing to my Creator and the most useful to So- 
ciety? Whether are my head and heart so enlightened and in such a 
frame as to attend to and receive the truth, whether it comes from 
a person I dislike or not? Is not the duty we owe the succeeding 
generation equal to that we owe the present; Several Mediums of 
knowledge are open to all diligent inquirers. The productions of 
the Printing Press, Literary Schools, and the meetings of: the peo- 
ple to debate on public measures. The inhabitants of this county 
have, as hitherto, been peculiarly circumstanced. They became 

396 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

possessors of a Wilderness at a perilous Era: The greatest part of 
their time since has been necessarily employed merely to provide 
subsistence, coarse clothing and cheap dwellings, to defend their 
families from the inclemency of the weather, no time or money to 
spare to build elegant or convenient houses, to erect suitable places 
for public worship, to found Seminaries for classical learning, to 
promote the education of youth, that most indispensable of all obli- 
gations to children. It is also a prior duty to any you owe the state 
to provide food and raiment for your families. Plain fare and 
coarse clothing you might be content with, if it was necessary to 
part with all the superfluities to answer the real exigencies of the 
State, and did you see your fellows in more favorable situation pur- 
suing the same course and also could you be persuaded that a judi- 
cious economy pervades all the disbursements of all the public 
money, then, and not till then, ought you to part with the produce 
of your Industry at the call of Eulers. It may be alleged by your 
enemies that you do not mean to contribute anything to alleviate 
the burthens of the Nation and support Government. This charge 
will vanish on a fair enquiry into the various schemes of finance 
and the present state of the Public Funds. 

The following estimate of Taxes, and what has operated as taxes 
in the Western Country, will prove that you have contributed some- 
thing, probably your full share. 

Treasury and pre-emption warrants, 16,000,000 pounds 

Taxes collected in the years 1778, '79, '80, '81, . 180,000 pounds 
Bills lost, sunk or funded, 5,000,000 pounds 

Paper money, 21,130,000 pounds 

Cash paid commissioners in hard money reduced, $10,000 

Composition money sent in with the plots, 70,000 

One-sixth of the surveyor's fees, 5,000 

Eegisters' fees prior to 1784, 30,000 

Eegisters' fees prior to 1784, 3,000 

Eegisters' fees prior to 1785, 10,000 

Additional tax of 5s. per hundred on land, 25,000 

Duty on salt will cost the western consumption 6s. per 

bushel, 1.500 

Duties on imports on foreign goods and enumerated articles 2,500 

Loyal Company's claim on W. & M. counties, 8,000 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 397 

Taxes on &c., may produce annually, 2,000 

Assessment subsequent to 1781, an enormous simi that it 

is impracticable, if not unjust, to collect, 172,000 

Should the Legislature abolish assessment, and the above not be 
suiEcient, you miglit endure taxing a few luxurious articles and 
some vices, that woidd increase the sum, and make it equal to your 
just proportion of ex[)enditures. 

If your eastern nciglibois were generous, they would make some 
allowance for the great losses sustained by the depredations of the 
Indians, and for the many valuable lives lost to keep them safe. 
The appropriations of your public money ought also to be a subject 
of serious enquiry, for if at any tiine it should be applied to the 
purposes of venality and corruption, you would then be feeding your 
destroyers, and enable them to make further invasions on your 
remaining rights and liberties, until you would have left nothing 
worth contending for, and yon and your posterity would be obliged 
to stoop to an abject vassalage. 

"All is not lost yet, therefore beware in the future of the objec- 
tion of either weak or interested men who would persuade you to 
a passive conduct under all the Measures of Government. Your 
Eulers, as well as those of other nations, are only fallible men. 
When they act well, honor and applaud, when wickedly, impeach 
and punish them. Disregard their impotent threats and ridicu- 
lous fallacies, and let them know that th^ little selfish cry of an 
individual is not to be heard when the loud sounds of the peo- 
ples' are publishing their wrongs. 

'•'Signed by order, 


A copy. 

This document is thus endorsed by the Governor: 
"Memo. James Montgomery put this paper into my hands, and 
can prove its authenticity, and that Arthur Campbell personally 
explained, enforced and inculcated its contents on the people, par- 
ticularly the State of Taxes p'd by that conntry." 

Colonel Arthur Campbell and a large majority of the citizens of 
Washington county, from this time forward, made every possible 
effort to secure the approval of th© Congress of the United States 
of their views in regard to the formation of a new State, and their 

398 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-1786. 

views seemed to permeate and meet with the approval of all the 
citizens, with but few exceptions, living on the western waters. 

In the month of June, 1784, the General Assembly of North 
Carolina passed an Act ceding to the Congress of the United States 
all her western lands, including the counties of Sullivan, Washing- 
ton, Greene and Davidson, now within the present limits of the 
State of Tennessee, and at the same session of the Xorth Carolina 
Assembly, the Western Land Office was closed. 

Immediately upon the adjournment of the jSTorth Carolina 
Assembly, the four delegates from the western counties returned 
to their homes and gave intelligence to the people of the proceed- 
ings of the General Assembly of North Carolina, whereupon, it was 
proposed that the people shoukl elect two representatives in each 
captain's company in the counties of Washington, Sullivan and 
Greene, as committeemen to deliberate upon tbe state of public 
affairs and to recommend a plan of action suited to the occasion. 
These committees met and recommended the election of delegates 
from the several counties, to meet in convention at Jonesboro, with 
j'Ower to adopt such measures as they thought necessary. 

The delegates were elected and assembled at Jonesboro on 
August 23, 1784, and elected the following officers: President, 
John Sevier; Secretary, Landon Carter. 

The convention immediately proceeded to appoint a committee 
to take into consideration the state of public affairs and the ces- 
sion to Congress b}^ North Carolina of her western territory. 

This committee, after a resolution had been offered by a member 
declaring the three western counties independent of North Caro- 
lina, unanimously adopted the following report, which was submit- 
ted to the convention: 


"Your committee are of opinion and judge it expedient, that the 
counties of Washington, Sullivan and Greene, which the Cession 
Bill particularly respects, form themselves into an association and 
combine themselves together, in order to support the present laws 
of North Carolina, which may not be incompatible with the modes 
and forms of laying off a new State. It is the opinion of your 
committee that we have a just and undeniable right to petition to 
Congress to a(;cept the cession made by North Carolina, and for 
that body to countenance us in forming O'Urselves into a separate 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 399 

government, and either to frame a permanent or temporary con- 
stitution, agreeably to a resolve of Congress in such case made and 
provided, as nearly as circumstances will permit. We have a right 
to keep and hold a convention from time to time, by meeting and 
convening at such place or places as the said convention shall 
adjovirn to. When any contiguous part of Virginia shall make 
application to join this association, after they are legally permitted, 
either by the State of Virginia or other power having cognizance 
thereof, it is our opinion that they be received and enjoy the same 
privilege that we do, or shall enjoy. This convention has a right 
to adopt and prescribe such regulations as the particular exigencies 
of the times and the public good may require; that one or more 
persons ought to be sent to represent our situation in the Congress 
of the United States and this convention has just right and autho- 
rity to prescribe a regular mode for his support." 

This report was received by the convention and adopted, and 
the convention, by a vote of 28 to 15, declared in favor of forming 
a separate and distinct State at this time, and appointed Messrs. 
Hardin and Cocke to draw up articles of association, which they 
did and which articles were approved by the convention. Pursuant 
to tlie Articles of Association, the first members of the General 
Assembly of the State of Franklin were chosen, and assembled at 
Jonesboro in the month of March, 1785, at which time officers were 
elected and laws adopted for the government of the State of Frank- 
land. The officers elected were as follows: 

Governor, John Sevier. 

Secretary of State, Landon Carter. 

Treasurer, William Cage. 

Surveyor-General, Stockly Donaldson. 

Brigadier-Generals, Daniel Kennedy and William Cocke. 

Council of State, William Cocke, Landon Carter, Francis A. 
Ramsay, David Campbell, Daniel Kennedy and Colonel Taylor. 

Member of Congress, General William Cocke. 

The government as thus organized, proceeded in an orderly way 
to administer the affairs of the people. 

There can be but little question, that Colonel Arthur Campbell, 
the author of the idea of a new State, played a leading part in the 
organization of the State of Frankland. During the years 1783- 
1784, he was constantly engaged in organizing this new govern- 

400 Suuthivest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

ment and enlisting the sympathies of the people ol Washington and 
Montgomery counties in behalf of the same. He drew i;p a Decla- 
ration of Eights and a Constitution for the new government, and 
while I am unable to obtain a copy of the Constitution that he 
proposed for the new State, still I am able to give the Declaration 
of Eights prepared by him, which is as follows : 


1st. That all political power is vested in and derived from the 
oeople only. 

2nd. That the people of this State ought to have the sole and 
>xclusive right of regulating the internal government and police 

3d. That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or 
separate emoluments or privileges from the community but in con- 
sideration of public services. 

4th. That the legislative, executive and supreme judicial powers 
of government ought to be forever separate and distinct from each 

5th. That all powers of suspending laws, or the execution of 
laws, by any authority, without the consent of the representatives 
of the people, are injurious to their right and ought not to be 

' 6th. That election of members to serve as representatives in 
General Assembly ought to be free. 

7th. That in all criminal prosecutions, every man has a right 
to be informed of the accusation against him and to confront the 
accusers and witnesses with other testimony, and shall not be com- 
pelled to give evidence against himself. 

8th. That no freeman shall be put to answer any criminal 
charge but by indictment or impeachment. 

9th. That no freeman shall be convicted of any crime but by 
the unanimous verdict of a jury of good and lawful men in open 
court, ns heretofore used. 

101 h. 'J'liat excessive bail should not be required, nor excessive 
fines imposed, nor cruel nor unusual punishments inflicted. 

11th. That general warrants, whereby an officer or a messenger 
may be commanded to search suspected places, without evidence 
of the fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 401 

whose offences are not particularly described and supported by evi- 
dence, are dangerous to liberty and ought not to be granted. 

12th. That no freeman ought to be taken, imprisoned or dis- 
seized of his freehold, liberties or privileges, or outlawed or exiled, 
or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty or prop- 
erty, but by the law of the land. 

13th. That every freeman restrained of his liberty, is entitled to 
a remedy, to enquire into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove 
the same, if unlawful ; and that such remedy ought not to be denied 
or delayed. 

14th. That in all controversies at law, respecting property, the 
ancient mode of trial by jury is one of the best securities of the 
rights of the people and ought to remain sacred and inviolable. 

15th. That the freedom of the press is one of the great bul- 
warks of liberty, and therefore ought never to be restrained. 

16th. That the people of this State ought not to be taxed, or 
made subject to payment of any impost or duty, without the con- 
sent of themselves or their representatives in General Assembly 
freely given. 

17th. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence 
of the State ; and as standing armies in time of peace are dangermis 
to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military 
should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the 
civil power. 

18th. That the people have a right to assembly together, to 
consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, 
and to apply to the Legislature for redress of grievances. 

19th. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to 
worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own con- 

20th. That for redress of grievances and for amending and 
strengthening the laws, elections ought to be often held. 

21st. That a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is 
absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty. 

22d. That no hereditary emoluments, privileges or honors 
ought to be granted or conferred in this State. 

23d. That perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the 
genius of a free State and ought not to be allowed. 

24th. That retrospective laws punishing acts committed before 

402 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

the existence of such laws, and by them only declared criminal, are 
oppressive, imjiist and incoinpatible with liberty; therefore no ex 
post facto law ought to be made," 

James Montgomery, when he accepted the commission of the 
Governor as sheriff of Washington county and gave security for the 
collection of the taxes due for the three preceding years, incurred 
the displeasure of Colonel Campbell and the majority of the citi- 
zens of the county, and, in turn, he became the bitter enemy of 
Colonel Campbell. 

The people had been advised and expected that they would be 
released from the payment of their taxes for the preceding years, 
upon the organization of the new State, which they confidently 
believed would take place. Early in the year 1785, James Mont- 
gomery, William Edmiston, Arthur Bowen, James Kincannon, 
Samuel Edmiston and James Thompson addressed the following 
communication to the Governor of Virginia, preferring charges 
of majpractices and misconduct, in his office, as justice of the 
peace, against Arthur Camjabell. 

"Sir: — Viewing with concern the present situation of affairs in 
this country, through attempts of ambitious men, thereby intend- 
ing to' incense the good people thereof against the laws of the State 
and proceedings of government requisite thereto, finally tO' effect a 
new State in this quarter of the country, we cannot any longer 
remain tacit beholders of the evils already generating among us, 
without tlie most alarmed sensations, which we think the ties of 
humanity and obligations to our country lead us to disclose. 

Most secret plans have been laid to delude the people, holding out 
to them the idea of oppressive acts imposed by the General Assem- 
bly, intended to burthen them unjustly with a weight of taxes. 
Small committees were contrived and convened by Colonel Arthur 
Campl>ell, the leader of this disorder, as early as February and 
March last, under pretext of seeking redress of grievances in behalf 
of the county the present year, and decrying the laws in general of 
the last Assembly. !N"otwithstanding every opposition made to his 
measures, he continued to convene his committees, and, not long 
after, in one of his committees at Major Dysart's disclosed his plan 
of representation to Congress, thereby aiming to fix a boundary to 
include a part of Virginia in the Frankland State. 

It is also notoriously known that Colonel Campbell did, in a con- 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 403 

vention of the North Carolina people, publicly propose to separate 
himself with the citizens of Washington and Montgomery in Vir- 
ginia, and joining them declare themselves immediately independ- 
ent of the States of Virginia and North Carolina, and moreover, 
stand in the front of the battle between these people and Virginia 
when necessary. His declaration to the people of this county at the 
March court, to elect no delegates to the Greneral x^ssembly this 
year, together with his late opposition, at the July court, to the 
proclamation issued by your Excellency in Council the 10th of 
June last, may be sufficient to satisfy your Excellency and Hon- 
orable Council that the mischievous spirit prevailing here in oppo- 
sition to the present collection and other proceedings of govern- 
ment, may have arisen from the licentious spirit of Colonel Camp- 
bell, conveyed to them through his artful insinuations daily since 
last court, exercised by public meetings in this county, intended to 
overset the designs of the Executive in the present arrangement of 
the militia; and there is reason to believe he is now aiming to 
effect associations to oppose the collection when attempted to be 
made. The charges herein contained can undoubtedly be supported 
by General Russell, Captain Andrew Kincannon, Captain Henry 
Smith and Captain William Cocke, of the Frankland settlement. 
We rest the charges herein contained for the discussion and ulti- 
mate decision of your Excellency and the Honorable Council, that 
if necessary he may be cited to answer the charges against him." 

When the attention of Governor Henry was called to the situation 
of affairs in this county, he removed the suspension of the opera- 
tion of the militia law adopted by the Assembly at its session in 
the year 1784, and removed from office Colonel Arthur Campbell, 
the county lieutenant of this county, and such of the field officers, 
in the militia of this county, as were active partizans of the new 
State. Colonel William Russell was commissioned a brigadier- 
general of militia with a full quota of officers who were opposed to 
the formation of the new State. By this act, the Governor remO'Ved 
from office many of the men who had served at King's mountain, 
and such was the dissatisfaction produced by this action, that a 
number of the leading citizens of the county who had not taken 
part in the previous disturbances, addressed the following petition 
to the Governor and Council of the State : 

404 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

To His Excellency, Patrick Henry, Esquire, Governor of the Com- 
monwealth of Virginia, and the Honorable Council of State: 
The petition of simdiy freemen whose names are thereunto sul)- 
scribed humbly sheweth, that being pleased with the name and 
wishing to glory in the reality of being citizens of a Commonwealth, 
it is with infinite concern that we are constrained to address your 
Excellency on a subject tliat we apprehend will eventually endanger 
our liberties — we mean the adoption of the new militia law. 
That we believe the Constitution is imperfect in some particulars; 
but whilst we retain it as an acknowledged plan, springing from a 
higher source than the ordinary Legislature, we ought to consider 
it, until altered by the same authorities, as the basis of the laws and 
all legitimate government, and besides our allegiance points out 
to us as a duty, to maintain it inviolate, that former examples both 
ancient and modern, our own experience and the reason of things 
tell us that if an infraction is once made, and that by a delegated 
powder, then there will be no right, however sacred, that is possessed 
by the citizens, but may be usurped, and our government ere long 
terminate in anarchy or despotism, those mournful calamities that 
too soon befall the human race. 

To avert such direful events, to recur to first principles and to 
reinstate our liberties in their pristine vigor, we are encouraged to 
approach, with freedom and truth, a patriotic Chief Magistrate, 
and an enlightened Council, humbly praying that the powers with 
which your Honorable Board are invested may be now exercised by 
refusing to execute the aforesaid Act as being unconstitutional and 
oppressive; or, if need be, assemble the Legislature, at an earlier 
period than it stands adjourned to, that we may have an opportu- 
nity to seek redress from a legal tribunal. And your petitioners 
shall pray: 

Andrew Willoughby, Jr., James Logan, 

James , Eobert Montgomery, 

James Craig, Joseph Acklin, 

Charles Cummings, George Finley, 

Era. Allison, Eobert Campbell, 

Thomas Cummings, Samuel x\cklin, 

John Trousdale, Samuel Houston, 

James Dunlop. John Preston, 

John Campbell, James Cummings, 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 405 

John Davis, David Kinkead, 

James Moore, Andrew Davison, 

Gilbert Watson, Thomas Osburn, 

John Christian, Eobert Johnston, 

Robert Craig, N"ath. Willoughby, 

Michael Higgins, David Watson, 

Samuel Davis, William Bradley, 

John Cummings, William Craig and others. 

The Governor being slow to act upon the charges preferred by 
James Montgomery and others against Colonel Arthur Campbell, 
in the sununer ol the year 1785, William Edmiston, James Kin- 
cannon, Samuel Edmiston, James Thompson and Arthur Bowen' 
addressed the following letter to the Governor of A^irginia, prefer- 
ring additional charges against Colonel Campbell: 
"Please Your Excellency and the Honorable Council : 

"Sir, — A complaint being exhibited during the course of last 
summer against Colonel Arthur Campbell for mal-conduct, con- 
trary to the most sacred ties of government, as Avell under his late 
county lieutenancy as judge of the court of Washington, in which 
he continues to act, we have consequently thereto, been honored by 
advice from our Ijieutenant-Governor, that the charges would be 
attended to by the Executive which we still hope will meet your 
patronage in due season and the offender in your wisdom cited 
before a proper trilmnal to answer the charges against him. Bely- 
ing that the Executive will not suffer such atrocious insidt to the 
Commonwealth of Virginia to pass unnoticed, we think it neces- 
sary to add fresh matter of complaint against Colonel Campbell 
that with the former now in your possession, his wicked and per- 
severing conduct may be more clearly explained to your Honorable 
Board. When the decision of the Executive made it necessary to 
arrange the militia of Washington county under the law of eighty- 
four, and the Governor's proclamation Avas issued for that purpose, 
which being accompanied witb the field officers' commissions were 
laid before Washington court, Colonel Campbell on the bench 
objected to the proclamation and power of the Executive, under 
the law, and quitting the bench addressed himself to the court, tell- 
ing them that the militia law was arbitrary, tyrannical and oppres- 
sive; and after condemning the last Assembly for enacting the law, 
said that the power of enforcing the law was in the court, not in 

406 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

the Executive, and that the court should by no means suffer the 
field officers to qualify ; he also hoped that the court and people oi 
the county would pay no obedience to the law or proclamation. 
Colonel Campbell finding some opposition to his measures by the 
court, alleged that the Executive having suspended the operations 
of the law till January, 1786, he had not a right to take off that 
suspension, by M'hich time, he made no doubt, the law would be 
repealed; and after finding some of the court opposed to his pro- 
positions, plead, (notwithstanding the danger of the frontiers) 
that the court should not suffer the field officers to qualify at that 
time. His constant endeavors to prejudice the citizens of this 
county ever since against the law, will appear from a petition to 
the Assembly which he promoted." 

And at the same time James Montgomery, who was a member 
of the Legislature from Washington county, preferred the follow- 
ing charges against Colonel Campbell: 

"1st. That he advised persons chargeable with pulilic taxes to 
refuse payment thereof. 

2d. That he advised freeholders against electing members to the 
General Assembly. 

3d. That he attempted by various means, openly and secretly, to 
induce the inhabitants of Washington county to separate from this 

4th. That he left the bench on a day when the court was sitting 
and attempted to persuade the court that no regard ought to be 
paid to the militia law, or the Governor's proclamation for enforc- 
ing it." 

The Governor and Council, upon consideration of said charges, 
directed that tbe first Monday in April, 1786, be set apart for 
enquiring into, the charges aforesaid, at the Council chamber in 
the city of l^ichmond, and that the said Arthur Campbell have 
notice of such intended inquiry and be furnished with a copy of the 
charges exhibited against him on or before the first day of February 
next, and that the parties be at liberty from that period to the 15th 
day of March next, to take depositions of witnesses, respecting the 
charges aforesaid, giving ten days' previous notice of the time and 
place of taking the same, and that when taken they be transmitted 
to His Excellency the Governor, under the hand and seal of the 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 407 

magistrate or magistrates who attended the taking of such deposi- 

In answer to Governor Henry's proclamation enfoi'cing the mili- 
tia law, Colonel Arthur Campbell, who had been particularly named 
therein, addressed the following letter to the Governor : 

"Sir, — After having been honored lately with the receipt of sev- 
eral of your Excellency's letters, particularly that of the 17tli of 
May last, and the several communications made in consequence of 
them, particularly my letter of the 13th of June, the principal offi- 
cers and the Whig interest in this county seemed to rest satisfied 
that an amicable and enlightened administration would pave the 
way to the Legislature and to Congress for the efficient and per- 
manent redress of the principal, and in some cases the almost 
intolerable grievances of the western inliabitants. Birt. v^'fluile 
secure in this confidence, we have to lament that the voice of 
calumny and faction has reached the seat of supreme rule, and 
that, without a constitutional enquiry, without a fair hearing, it 
has been in some degree listened to, and had effect. It is hard to 
defend when it is not known what we are charged with, and at 
all times who can disarm private pique, or be able to withstand 
malice and envy without feeling some smart. But political fury, 
engendered by Tory principles, knows no bounds and is without 
a parallel. Bernard and Hutchison have exhibited to Governors 
and the wotM, examples that ought to teach wisdom to this and 
succeeding generations. We are told (but it is only from report) 
that we have offended government on account of our sentiments 
being favorable to a new State, and our looking forward for a sep- 
aration. If such a disposition is criminal, I confess there are not 
a few in this county to whom guilt may be imputed, and to many 
respectable characters in other counties on the western waters. If 
we wish for a separation it is on account of grievances that daily 
become more and more intolerable, it is from a hope that another 
mode of governing will make us more useful than we are now to the 
general confederacy, or ever can be whilst so connected. But why 
can blame fall on us, when our aim is to conduct measures in an 
orderly manner, and strictly consistent with the Constitution. 
Surely men who have bound themselves by every holy tie to sup- 
port republican principles, cannot on a dispassionate consideration 
blame us. Our want of experience and knowledge may be a plea 

408 Southwest Virginia, 17J,6-1786. 

against ns. We deplore our situation and circumstances on that 
account,, but at the same tiiuo fii'inly believe that our advances to 
knowledge will still continue ^\o\\\ jicrhaps verge towards ignorance 
and barbarism, without the benefit of local independent institutions. 

But, sir, why may we not take courage and say we are right when 
adverting to onr omti constitution, to the ditTerent Acts of Con- 
gress, that of different legislatures, the opinion of the first states- 
men in America, among whom we can number an illustrious com- 
mander, a great lawyer and judge in this State, and a Governor of 
Virginia himself? 

All that I have to ask, and it is all that I may ever crave, is 
that your Excellency may not, from invidious information, form 
such rash measures, so urge matters, at an untimely day to extremi- 
ties, which only might gratify an angry individual, but would, by 
no means, promote the interest and peace of the Commonwealth, 
or its lionor and dignity. 

I am, sir, with res}>cct, your most obedient servant, 


The agitation continued until the meeting of the General Assem- 
bly of Virginia, on October, 1185, at which time, the Grovemor 
transmitted to the General Assembly a message in regard to the 
action taken l)y the people of this portion of Virginia, praying the 
establishment of an independent State. 

Accompanying the message was the memorial adopted by the 
Assembly that met at Abingdon, addressed to the Congress of the 
United States as heretofore given. The message of the Governor 
to the General Assembly was as follows : 

"I transmit herewith a letter from the Honorable Mr. Hardy, 
covering a memorial to Congress of sundry inhabitants of Washing- 
ton county, praying the establishment of an independent State, to 
be bounded as is therein expressed. The proposed limits include 
a vast extent of country, in whicli we have numerous and very 
I'espectable settlements, which in their growth will form an inval- 
uable barrier between this country and those, who, in the course 
of events, may oecujiy the vast places westward of the mountains, 
some of whom have views incompatible with our safety. Already 
the militia of that part of the State is the most respectable we have, 
and by their means it is that the neighboring Indians are awed 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 409 

into professions of friendship. But a circumstance has lately hap- 
pened, which renders the possession of the territory at the present 
time indispensable to the peace and safety of Virginia; I mean the 
assumption of sovereign power by the western inhabitants of North 
Carolina. If the people who, without consulting their own safety 
or any other authority known in the American Constitution, have 
assumed government, and Avhile unallied to us and under no 
engagements to pursue the objects of the Federal government, shall 
be strengthened by the accession of so great a part of our country, 
consequences fatal to our repose will probably follow. It is to be 
observed that the settlements of this new society stretch into a 
great extent in contact with ours in Washington county, and there- 
by expose our citizens to the contagion of the example which bids 
fair to destroy the peace of North Carolina. In this state of things 
it is that variety of information has come to me stating that several 
persons, but especially Colonel Arthur Campbell, have used their 
utmost endeavors, and with some success, to persuade the citizens 
in that quarter to break O'ff from this Commonwealth, and attach 
themselves to the newly-assumed government, or to erect one dis- 
tinct from it. And to effect this purpose the equality and authority 
of the laws have been arraigned, the collection of the taxes impeded, 
and our national character impeached. If this most important part 
of our territory be lopped off, we loose that barrier for which our 
people have long and often fought; that nursery of soldiers, from 
which future armies may be levied, and through which it will be 
almost impossible for our enemies to penetrate. We shall aggran- 
dize the new State, whose connections, views and designs, we know 
not : shall cease to be formidable to our savage neighbors, or respect- 
able to our western settlements, at present or in the future. 

Whilst these and many other matters were contemplated by the 
Executive, it is natural to suppose, the attempt at separation was 
discouraged by every lawful means, the chief of which was dis- 
placing such of the field officers of the militia in Washington 
county as were active partizans for separation, in order to prevent 
the weight of office being put in the scale against Virginia. To 
this end a proclamation was issued, declaring the militia laws of 
the last session in force in that county," and appointments were 
made agreeable to it. 

I hope to be excused for expressing a wish that the Assembly, in 

410 Southwest Virginia, 171,6-1186. 

deliberating on this affair, will prefer lenient measures in order 
to restrain our erring citizens. Their taxes have run into three 
years and thereby gro\m to an amount beyond the ability of many 
to discharge; while the system of our trade has been such, as to 
render their agriculture Tinproductive of money. And I cannot but 
suppose that if even the warmest supporters of separation had seen 
the mischievous consequences, they would have retraced and recon- 
sidered that intemperance in their OAvn proceedings, which oppo- 
sition in sentiment is too apt to produce. 

The limits proposed for the new government of Frankland, by 
Colonel Arthur Campbell and the people of Virginia who aimed at 
a separation from this State, were expressed in the form of a con- 
stitution which Colonel Campbell drew up for public examination, 
and were these : Beginning at a point on the top of the Alleghany 
or Appalachian mountains, so as that a line drawn due north from 
thence will touch the bank of .the New river, otherwise called 
Kenawha, at the confluence of Little river, which is about one 
mile above Inglis' ferry, doM^i the said river Kenawha to the 
mouth of the Eoncevcrt, or Greenbrier river, a direct line thence to 
the summit of Laurel mountain, and along the highest part of the 
' to the same point where it is intersected by the parallel of 
37° north latitude; Avest along that latitude to a point where it is 
met by a meridian line that passes through the lower part of the 
river Ohio ; south along the meridian to the Elk river, a branch of 
the Tennessee ; down said river to its mouth, and down the Ten- 
nessee to the most southwardly part or bend of said river; a direct 
line from thence to that branch of the Mobile, called Tombigbee; 
down said river Tombigbee to its junction with the Coosawattee 
river, to the mouth of that branch of it called the Hightower; 
thence south to the top of the x\ppalachian mountain, or the highest 
land that divided the sources of the eastern from the western wat- 
ers ; northwardly along the middle of said heights, and the top of 
the Appalachian mountain, to the beginning. It was stated 
that the inhabitants within these limits agree with each other 
to form themselves into a free, sovereign and independent 
body politic or State, by the name of the Commonwealth 
of Frankland. The laws of the Legislature were to be enacted by 
the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Frankland ; and all 
the laws and ordinances which had been before adopted, used and 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 411 

approved in the different parts of this State, whilst under the juris- 
diction of Virginia and North Carolina shall still remain the rule 
of decision in all cases for the respective limits for which they were 
formerly adopted,, and shall continue in full force until altered- 
or repealed by the Legislature; such parts only excepted, as are 
repugnant to the rights and liberties contained in this Constitution, 
or those of the said respective States." 

As heretofore stated, early in the year 1785 the Governor 
removed Colonel Arthur Campbell, county lieutenant of Washing- 
ton county and all the militia ofhcers who advocated a new State, 
and commissioned General Eussell as brigadier-general of militia 
and a number of other gentlemen who Avere opposed to the forma- 
tion of a new State, as militia officers in Washington county; but 
when Colonel Eussell and the other gentlemen holding commis- 
sions under the Governor appeared before the court and offered to 
qualify as required by law. Colonel Campbell, who was the pre- 
siding officer of the court, demanded of Colonel Eussell and his 
friends to know by what authority they sought toi qualify, when 
the commissions were produced, and Colonel Campbell, having 
read the commissions, left the bench and declared that he would 
not tamely submit to the orders of the Governor, and immediately 
proceeded to address the court, declaring the militia law to be in 
the highest degree oppressive and tyrannical, and that the Gover- 
nor, having suspended the law until January, 1786, had no right 
to enforce it at this time. He pronounced the Governor's proclama- 
tion illegal, declaring the Governor and Coimcil had exceeded their 
power, and that they had no right to enforce the militia law at 
tliat time, nnd he assured the court that the power to enforce law 
was in them and not in the Executive; and, notwithstanding the 
earnest protest of Colonel Eussell, the court declined to permit 
the Governor's appointees to qualify. 

The General Assembly convened on the 3d day of October. 1785, 
and the first act passed by the Assembly was to amend the mil it in 
law enacted at the session in 1784, and to provide that the officers 
of the militia, who were displaced and removed from office by vir- 
tue of said act, are hereby reinstated and shall take precedency of 
rank agreeably to dates of the commissions they severally held prior 
to the passage of said Act. 

And this same Assembly passed several Acts having for their 

412 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

object the removal of the grievances complained of by Colonel 
Campbell and his followers in Washington county. 

By the Act of the Assembly above given, Colonel Campbell, once 
again, prevailed against his enemies and continued to discharge 
the duties of county lieutenant of Washington county for many 

The measures adopted by the Legislature were exceedingly mod- 
erate and conciliatory, and, as a result, all active opposition to the 
authority of the Virginia government ceased. 

The idea of forming a new government out of the western terri- 
tory originated with Colonel Arthur Campbell and was adopted by 
the citizens of North Carolina at his suggestion. He was co^m- 
pelled to submit to the authority of the State of Virginia some 
time previous to the dissolution of the State of Frankland in 
North Carolina, because of the circumstances surrounding the two 
peoples. Colonel Campbell and his Virginia followei-s lived in 
that portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia which the State 
had never agreed to cede to the Continental Congress, and the sov- 
ereignty ol which the Commonwealth, at no time, was willing 
to surrender to any other power, while the situation in North 
Carolina was entirely different. The General Assembly of that 
State had ceded all that portion of her territory embraced in the 
State of Frankland to the Congress of the United States, and the 
citizens of North Carolina felt but little interest in the matter, and 
as a result of this condition the Virginia seceders were promptly 
suppressed, while those in North Carolina were for some time per- 
mitted to pursue the even tenor of their way. 

""JMie prosecution of Colonel Campbell continued with unabated 
vigor, and numerous depositions were taken to sustain the charges 
made against him. The deposition of Colonel William TJussell, 
the chief prosecutor in the case, was as follows : 

"General William Eussell, deposeth and saith : On the 12th 
day of January, 17S5, at the house of William Colly in Wash- 
ington county, your deponent attended a meeting of a number of 
inhabitants of said county. The people assembled. Colonel Camp- 
bell addressed them, saying he had called them together to explain 
to them the enormous sum of money paid by the people of this 
county to the State of Virginia, which he said repeatedly amounted 
to nearly two million more than was due from this county to' the 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 413 

government. He said he was exceedingly alarmed to find that taxes 
were to be demanded of the peoj^le of Washington that year, then 
reduced to absolute certainty, the sheriff having given security for 
the collection. Your deponent well remembers Colonel Campbell 
told the people that sum of money operated upon them as a tax, 
and that the people ought to pay no tax till that sum was accounted 
for by the government to the people here. Your deponent then told 
the people that Colonel Campbell's deductions were drawn from 
erroneous calculations by the lump, intended to mislead and incense 
them against government. Your deponent then urged the people 
to pay half the tax then called for, and furtlier told the people their 
compliance with that in future might perhaps favor them to pro- 
cure an abatement, if not a final remittance, of the arrears by our 
Af;sembly. Colonel Campbell immediately replied, truly the gen- 
tleman preaches up to you passive obedience and non-resistance. 
Yoiir deponent then informed the people the sheriff would take 
l3eof cattle for the collection, to make it easy for those who could 
not raise money to pay their tax. Colonel Campbell instantly 
replied, he liked such men who would take up arms rather than 
submit to so unjust a tax. Colonel Campbell then proposed that 
all for his measure should choose a committee, and with these 
retired aside. Your deponent attended a meeting at Major Dysart's 
on the 14th of the same instant, when Colonel Campbell addressed 
the people then present with the same explanation of statements he 
had offered on the 12th at William Colly's, urging that the people 
of this county had paid two millions money more than their just 
quota, and alleged it was unjust for us to pay tax till that was 
accounted for. Your deponent attended one other meeting at Sink- 
ing Spring Meeting House, on the 15th of the same instant, being 
Washington February court day, and yonr deponent supposetli 
nearly three hundred people were present at said meeting. Colonel 
Campbell addressed them as before in opposition to the collection of 
the taxes, and again alleged this county had paid nearly two mil- 
lions over and above what ought to be paid to government, and 
recommended the people ought to pay no tax until that was settled 
by the State. Colonel Campbell said he was surprised to find in 
what manner measures had been taken to precipitate the collection 
by the sheriff and his sureties. Colonel Campbell observed, we had 
but lately escaped from British tyranny and he feared it was likely 

414 Southwest Virginia^ 174G-1786. 

to take place in our own State. He exclaimed generally against the 
laAvs passed by the General Assembly in 1784, as tyrannical and 
oppressive. Your deponent once more observed to the people that 
Colonel Campbell's inferences led them to secede from government; 
that his insinuations and refusal to pay taxes led to rebellion, in 
which predicament, if led by him, we must either subjugate Vir- 
ginia, or Virginia would reduce us. 

At July Washington court, 1T85, the Grovernor's proclamation 
being read near the courthouse door, by the sheriff intended to 
enforce the militia law of 1784, your deponent and field officers, as 
by a late appointment by the Governor, went before the court, and 
applied to be qualified to their commissions. Colonel Campbell, 
then on the bench and judge of the court, he enquired to know what 
co'mmission, of which your deponent informed him, and handed 
him the Governor's proclamation ; lie having read it, or part of it, 
took his hat, and lca^'^ng the bench, declared he would not tamely 
submit to it so. 

Colonel Cariipbell then addressed the court, and said tha{ i'lo 
Governor and Council had exceeded their power. He told the court 
the Governor's proclamation was not laAv. Your deponent observed 
to the court it was a power sufficient to enforce a law. Colonel 
Campbell then observed the militia law was in the highest degree 
oppressive and tyrannical, and the Executive having suspended the 
law till Januar}', 1786, had no right to enforce it at that time, and 
he assured the court the ])owcr to infoice that law or not, was in 
them, and not in the Executive. 

It appeared to your deponent, that Colonel Arthur Campbell, 
supposing that he Avould be overruled by the court in his proposi- 
tion, then proposed to the court to postpone the qualification of the 
officers till the August court. Your deponent then observed to 
the court the risk of the frontier woidd not admit of that delay, 
as depredations had been committed not long before on our fron- 
tiers by the savages. 

Colonel Campbell then replied that avus not of inucli consequence, 
and further your deponent saith not. 

Depositions pro and con were taken in tbis ease, at the town 
house, on March G, 178G, at the house of Captain Tliomas Price on 
Clinch, on the 10th day of March, and at Henry Herkleroads, on 
the 14th of said month. The following witnesses were examined 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 415 

against Colonel Campbell : Joseph Cole, Andrew Kincannon, 
Thomas Berry, James Thompson, Charles Bowen, Arthur Bowen, 
William Crabtree, Andrew Cowan, George Clark, James Kincan- 
non and Eobert Preston. And the following witnesses were sworn 
in behalf of Colonel Campbell: John Latham, Benjamin Sharp, 
James Dysart, Elisha Dnngan, Greorge Finley, Alex. Breckinridge, 
James Snodgrass, John Kinkead, Joseph Black and Eobert Craig. 

These depositions were taken before David Ward, Andrew Cowan, 
John Latham, John Kinkead, John Lowry, James Fnlkerson and 
Joseph Black. 

The principal deposition given in behalf of Colonel Arthnr Camp- 
bell, and the one that l:)est illustrates his defence, was that of Cap- 
tain Eobert Craig, which is as follows : 

"And the deponent further saith; that at July court, 1785, he 
was sent for to come into court, and when he camo in saw Arthur 
Campbell standing on the floor, and after the said deponent, taking 
his seat on the bench. Colonel Eussell, produced to the bench a 
commission which he was desirous of swearing in. Colonel Camp- 
bell wished the bench to consider the matter niatiirely first. Col- 
onel Eussell told the court they could not get over swearing the 
officers into this commission, as there was the Governor's procla- 
mation enforcing the new militia law in this county. A member 
of the court was desirous of seeing the proclamation, upon which 
it was handed to the court, when Arthur Campbell raised some 
objections against it as it was an unusual manner in which it came ; 
but however. Colonel Eussell still insisted to swear into the commis- 
sions, urging that there was a necessity for swearing into them, 
as the frontier was in danger of being harassed by Indians. Arthur 
Campbell m.ade answer that every necessary measure had been 
taken for the defence of the frontier, and said that the officers 
which had acted would not neglect doing every duty for the fron- 
tiers in their power until the August court, which was the longest 
time he wanted. That the then officers which were to swear into 
their commissions should not be opposed, if nothing was done by 
the Executive favorable to the old officers, for he was certain, he 
said, that thei-e had been some misrepresentation sent to the 
Executive, or they never would have thrown out officers who had 
never been called to an account for any misconduct. He likewise 
further said that he would leave it to the choice of the people which 

41G Southwest Virginia, 174G-1786. 

could be known against tlie August court, and if the new militia 
law was the choice of a majority of the people, he would be heartily 
agreed, and could shoulder his musket as well as any of them; and 
then the said Arthur Campbell retired out of the house, and he does 
not remember of his returning into the house that day. He con- 
sidered Arthur Campbell as acting as a private citizen merely in 
his course, and had never known ol his having been guilty of mis- 
conduct as a justice of the peace, &c., &c. 

"The deponent being interrogated, what information James 
Montgomer}^ gave, one of the days of the last court, respecting liis 
reasons and motives for accusing Arthur Campbell for malprac- 
tices in. his office as Justice of the Peace; Answers, on Wednesday 
the Snd day of the court in conversation with Montgomery, 
said Montgomery often urged that he had been ill used by Ar- 
thur Campbell, and particularly for that judgment which was 
obtained against him for holding a false Election in 1785, and for 
not getting justice in recommendations. As a Militia Officer, the 
said Deponent observed, that no judgment was yet ol)tained against 
him in Court, but he still insisted there was, and he blamed no 
other man but Arthur (Campbell for it. And s'd Deponent asked 
said Montgomery Avhy he and Arthur (*am]il)ell had so many dis- 
putes, as they were once good friends, and why they might not 
cordially drop these disputes and commence good friends again ; 
said Montgomery answered that he had been willing to be good 
friends with him, Init it was too late now. and if it had not been 
purely out of ambition and revenge he would never have raised a 
charge against Colonel Campbell. 

"And lieing fiirtlier interrogated, if wliat he heard liim sny 
in his opinion, was in a dispute, depending before this Court or 
relative to tlie charges now pending before the Executive? The 
said Deponent answered that he understood it to be that which 
lay before the Fxeciitive. Ee'ing fuither 'initerrogaited, if he 
thought James Montgomery was in his ])roi>er senses, or if he 
thinks he was disguised with liipuu- nt the time tliey had this Con- 
versation ; the deponent answers that he drank a share of a quart 
bowl of whiskey grog, and seemed as if he had been drinking freely 
before, but tTie said deponent cannot say he was di-unk. nlthough 
he expressed himself very uoi^y. l)iit as scnsiltle as usual. 

"The first depositions taken in this case were suppressed by the 

Washington County, 1111-1810. 417 

Governor and Council. The order of the Council suppressing 
these depositions was as follows : 

"Arthur Campbell, appearing in person and being attended by 
James Innes and Archibald Stuart, Esquires, his counsel, the 
Board resumed the consideration oi the charges exhibited against 
him as a Justice of the Peace for the county of Washington, and, 
the charges being read, the said Arthur Campbell by his Coun- 
sel, objected to the jurisdiction of the Board to proceed to the en- 
quiry, under the Act entitled 'An Act to extend the powers of the 
Governor and Council,' as being repugnant to the eighth article 
of the declaration of rights, and the principles of the Constitu- 
tion, which objection being overruled by the Board, the Counsel 
for the said Campbell proceeded to object to the nature and pro- 
priety of the testimony by Depositions, alleging the witnesses 
should personally appear and be examined 'viva voce,' and that 
the depositions were taken in a partial manner, declaring at the 
same time that tbeir client meant not to shrink from the charges 
being enquired into, if impartial persons should be appointed to 
take depositions respecting the charges, and transmit them to the 

"Whereupon, the Board delivered their opinion, that as the 
certificate of the judges annexed to the depositions did not state 
the place as well as the time where the depositions were taken, in 
conformity to the notice given, they were not sufficient evidence. 
It was therefore ordered by the consent of the said Campbell and 
Alexander Montgomery, attending on the part of the accusers, that 
depositions respecting the charges aforesaid, as well on the part of 
the Commonwealth as the said Arthur Campbell be taken by either 
party at the Court House of said Washington County, between 
the first and last of next month, giving ten days' notice of the time 
and place of taking them, and that David Ward, Andrew Cowan, 
John Latham, John Kinkead, John Lowry, James Fulkerson and 
Joseph Black, Gentlemen, or any three of them being the commis- 
sioners chosen by the parties, attend the taking of the depositions 
of such witnesses as shall be produced, and that the commission- 
ers transmit the depositions so taken, lyider their hand and seal, 
to the Governor on or before the second Tuesday in June next, 
at which time the parties are to be heard in the Council Chamber 
touching the charges aforesaid." 

418 Southwest Virginia, 1746-17S6. 

These depositions wore retaken puvsnant to tlie above order of 
tlie Couneil and returned to the Governor of Virginia, whereupon 
Colonel Campbell addressed the following memorial to the Gov- 
ernor and Council : 

To His Exccllcncii, the Governor of Virginia, and the Honorahle 
the Council of Slate: 


"Sheweth : that conscious of the pnritv of his intentions and 
the inoffensiveness of liis transactions in 1785, he, last April, 
waived his undoubted privilege of viva voce testimony being pro- 
duced against him before your Honorable Board. That he should 
not have waived such a benefit had it not been for the apparent 
sense of the Board in April last, and in confidence that the same 
rule for admitting evidence would be adopted before the commis- 
sioners appointed to take depositions, as are always adliered to in 
the Courts of Law, that such rules liave l)een disregarded and such 
persons admitted to swear, who are parties in the dispute, and 
others interested and not credible witnesses — That as all your 
Memorialist's conversation complained of happened at public 
places, where were a large number of the inhabitants generally as- 
sembled, several of whom must have heard what words were spoken, 
as well as Colonel Eussell, or. any of the avowed complainants. 
That he has no objection, and it was really his desire to have a 
number of the most credible, disinterested persons in the county 
to say on their oath what they knew of the charges l)rought against 
your memorialist. However, he believes there are a sufficient num- 
ber of such persons already qualified to make the truth appear to 
your Honorable Board, without being obliged to resort to the tes- 
timony indirectly obtained, and coming from such persons imder 
the influence of such passions as always vitiate testimony in 
the Courts of Law. Your Memorialist therefore prays, that none 
of the depositions taken before the C^ommissioners, in Washington 
County, dated the third, fourth, and fifth days of this instant, may 
be admitted against him, because, however secure he may now con- 
clude himself from the attack of malice, yet the precedent would 
be a dangerous one, and might one day return on the heads of 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 419 

those w]iO' are now so passionately anxious for the destruction of 
one who has really done the public no wrong. 
"And your Memorialist will ever I'ray, &c., &c., 


As far as I can ascertain, the Governor and Council sustained 
the charges against Colonel Campbell and removed him from the 
office of justice of the connty court in August, 1786, but he was 
almost immediately reinstated upon the request of the court of 
this county. 

While Colonel Campbell's conduct in this matter may have been 
indiscreet and imprudent, there can be no question that he voiced 
the sentiments of a great majority of the citizens living in Wash- 
ington county. 

At the next election for members of the House of Delegates from 
Washington county, held in the spring of the year 1787, he, along 
with Eobert Craig, was overwhelmingly elected froin this county, 
and Colonel Campbell for many years thereafter, retained the con- 
fidence of the people of this county and the State officials at Rich- 

420 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 



On tlie 8th day of March, 1787, a small party of Indians came to 
the settlement in Castle's Woods, where they killed a woman and 
two children, and made their escape in snch a manner that they 
conld not be pursued. 

A short while previous to this time the Indians had visited Lin- 
coln couuty, Kentucky, and stolen a number of horses, and com- 
mitted other depredations on the people, whereupon a company of 
militia, being about 100 in num1)er, set out from Lincoln county, 
under the command of Colonel John Logan, to attack and destroy 
a small town inhabited by the Chcrokees, on the north side of the 
Tennessee and l)elow the Cuml>erland mountain, who were blamed 
for the depredations on the Kentucky Path and in the Kentucky 

This company, after a few days, came on a fresh trace of In- 
dians, which they followed across Cumberland Gap, and they fell 
in with a company of Indians and killed seven, a chief and six 
warriors, and wounded several others, one of the Kentucky militia 
being killed and another wounded. This company of Indians 
proved to be from the friendly town of Chote. 

On the 9th day of ,Iuly, 1787, a party of Indians came to the 
house of John Carter, on the Clinch, and killed his wife and six 
children, and, after phmdering the house, placed the dead bodies 
in the same and burned the whole. About the same time a family 
of thirteen or fourteen were murdered by the Indians on the 

During the spring of this year the Indians killed five persons on 
the head waters of the Clinch, two men and three women, and every 
indication pointed to war. 

The Spanish Government and the American people were, at 
this time, engaged in a controversy in regard to the navigation of 
the Mississippi river, and a gentleman writing from the Cherokee 
country to his friend in Virginia, on the 2d day of August, 1787, 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 421 

"Through a cliannel that may be credited, I am informed that 
Alexander McGillivray is using his utmost exertions to engage the 
Creek Indians in a War, not only with Georgia, but with the west- 
ern parts of Virginia and No. Carolina. He has said to some of 
his friends that his object is to make the war as hot as possible at 
first, which will induce overtures for peace, and make the United 
States glad to grant advantageous terms, such as to acknowledge 
the independence and sovereignty of the Creek Nation, and admit 
them as members of the Federal Union. 

"A great number of Tories and other white desperadoes have 
taken refuge in the Creek country. IMcGillivray was a noted one, 
but has lately ingratiated liimself into^ the good graces of the Span- 
ish commandant at Mobile; is now agent for his Catholic Majesty 
in the Creek Nation, and a Colonel in the Spanish pay, and of 
late has usurped the regal authority over the Indians. McGillivray 
seems to be possessed of abilities, has an insatiable ambition for 
honor, and being aggrandized, and may not be much inferior to 
Hyder Ali had he the same opportunity. 

"Upon the whole there is reason to believe that the whole is a 
plan of the Court of Spain to curtail the United States in a part 
of their territory. If that be the case there cannot be too great care 
taken to disconcert them. If the Creek Nation was well humbled, 
and the nest of Tories that is settled among them routed and 
drove out of the country, I think we might have lasting peace; 
otherwise we may expect that, the longer it is delayed, our enemies 
will become more numerous and formidable." 

A large body of Creeks united and crossed the Hiwassee river, 
declaring their purpose to march for the Holston settlements. 
Colonel Arthur Campbell, who was in command of the defences 
of this and Eussell county at the time, directed Captain Samuel 
Newell, with a detachment of men, to keep a vigilant outlook for 
the Creek Indians on the frontiers, and. for the purpose of retain- 
ing the friendship of the Cherokee Indians, he sent their chief the 
following talk : 

"Brother : — It is Math great concern that we hear that a number 
of your Towns' people have lately been killed by some white men 
between Clinch river and Cumberland mountain, and that you 
blame the Virginians for it. As to who done it, I cannot cer- 
tainly say, but have heard that one hundred men from Kentucky 

422 Southwest Virginia, 17Jf6-178G. 

had gone towards Chickaraogga Towns to take satisfaction for the 
murder that was done on the Kentucky path last October, and 
what made the people exceedingly angry, was that they heard their 
Captives, mostly women, were all burnt in the Chickamogga To\mis. 

''Yon know when the Americans go to Avar, they kill no prison- 
ers and try to save alive all the women and children. Wai-riors 
will only seek to fight with men; cowards may go to war with 

"Brother, listen attentively: ever since the year 1781, when yonr 
towns were all destroyed rnr joining the Phiglish, the Virginians 
buried the tomahawk deep, and ncAcr wish to raise it again against 
their brothers, the Cherokees, but are willing to live in friendship 
as long as the moon endures. It will l)e your fault if the friend- 
ship is broken. I venture to pi'omise further, that none of the Vir- 
ginians living on this side of the Cumberland mountains will mo- 
lest the Cherokees without first ol)taining orders from our Cover- 
nor, who is a good man, and will see that you liave justice done 
if you remain peaceable. He will also call the Kentuckians to ac- 
count, if they have been guilty of destroying any of the friendly 

"Brother, call a CVnineil of yoiir head men, give them this 
Talk, exhort them to live peaceable, and wait until the Governor 
of Virginia can hear all the truth, and if his people are to blame, 
he will give him satisfaction and put a stop to former wrongs ; but 
if you rashly go to war and kill innocent people, there may be a great 
deal of blood shed, for we can send a great army against you that 
may destroy you altogether. 

"Listen well. You must see that I have now given you good 
advice both for you and your nation. Send me in return an answer, 
a very long talk. Tell me all there is in your heart. If you are for 
keeping the chain of friendship bright, I will be your friend as here- 
tofore, and do you all the good I can. It will give me pleasure to 
use means to heal tlie wounds and dry up tb.e tears of those that 
have lost their friends, and be strong in endeavors to do justice to all 
the red peojile that kec]) the ])eace and love the Americans. 

"To ye Great Warrior of the Cherokees." 

In the month of December, 1787, the Indians killed and scalped 
Stephen English, near Laurel river, on the Kentucky path, and 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 433 

William English and a yoamg woman on Holston, and at tlie same 
time took a woman and four cliildren prisoners, and made an in- 
cursion into Powell's Valley. They killed also, several men, wo- 
men and cliildren, and, with a number of horses, fled in the direc- 
tion of the Cherokee country. During this year a large quantity 
of powder and lead was sent from the Holston to the Kentucky 
country, but it had to be guarded through the wilderness by fifty 

In the fall of this year, Colonel Joseph Martin was discontinued 
from office as Indian agent for the State of Virginia, and was suc- 
ceeded by Dr. White. 

With the opening of the spring of 1788, the Indians began again 
to disturb the settlements, and on the 20th of April, came into the 
Kye Cove settlement and carried off three boys and a negro man, 
two of the boys being the sons of Thomas Carter, who then repre- 
sented Russell county in the General Assembly. Early in the month 
of March, a party of Cherokees visited the settlements on the lower 
Holston, wounded one man and carried off about one hundred 
liorses, and in the month of June, 1788, four men were killed in 
Russell county, and three men were killed and scalped on the 
Black mountain. One of the Elmires, three of the Breedings and 
Neal Roberts, from the New Garden settlements in Russell county, 
were found on Black mountain, killed and scalped. 

In the spring of this year the Governor requested the representa- 
tives from Montgomerv, Washington and Russell counties to recom- 
mend tbe number of militia and scouts necessary for the protection 
of their several counties, when the following recommendations were 
submitted : 

"1st. That only one troop of horse are necessary to each regiment, 
and in some counties that might be dispensed with, and that the 
appointment of officers may be deferred until recommendations come 
from the respective counties. 

"2d. We believe six scouts will be sufficient for Washington and 
Russell, four for Montgomery, and the like number for Greenbrier. 

"3d. We hope that at least one full company of Rangers under 
an experienced officer will be allowed to do duty towards the Ohio, 
and, if attacks are apprehended from the Southern Indians, another 
company may be necessary in Powell's Valley on Clinch. Or the 
last-mentioned company might be raised by occasional drafts from 

424 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

the militia or detacliments from tJie light companies of Washington, 
Montgomery and Eussell. 

"We believe it would bo an improvement were the ranging com- 
panies of one-half musket men^ their guns and bayonets to be of a 
neat and light construction, something similar to those used by the 
British Highland regiments when in America. 

"The scouts ought to occasionally attend the ranging companies, 
and if Indians were to be pursued over the Ohio, horsemen, prop- 
erly armed, would be useful. These are cursory thoughts; perhaps 
a more perfect plan and more economical might be formed, should 
your Excellency judge it proper to leave the consideration of the 
subject to a council of the field oflBcers of the three Southwestern 
counties, to meet in February, except as to scouts, which we think 
ought to be ordered into service in February or early in March." 

In June of this year, a convention of delegates from the several 
counties of Virginia assembled in Richmond for the purpose of 
rejecting or ratifying the Constitution of tlie United States, as pro- 
posed by the Philadelphia Convention. 

The delegates from Washington county in this convention were 
Samuel Edmiston and James Montgomery. At this time such dis- 
tinguished Virginians as Patrick Henry opposed the ratification of 
the Constitution as submitted by the Philadelphia Convention, but 
the Virginia Convention ratified tlie Constitution by a vote of 89 
to 79, the delegates froui Washington county voting against the rati- 
fication of the Constitution. 

Colonel Arthur Campbell and his followers were heartily in favor 
of the adoption of the Federal Constitution, and no doubt opposed 
the election of Edmiston and Montgomery. 

In the fall of the year 1788, Eichard Pemlierton, with his family, 
lived in Baptist Valley about five miles Avest of Tazewell courthouse. 
"On a Sabbath morning late in August, he started to his field, 
accompanied by his wife and two childrou, to soe that liis fences 
were not down and to repair any breach that might have been made. 
According to the custom of the times Mr. Pembertou had taken with 
him his gun, which was his constant com])anion. After satisfying 
himself that his crops were safe, the little party started back. They 
had gone but a few hundred yards, liowever, when two Indians 
armed witli ])o\vs and arrows, knives and tomahawks, came yelling 
toward them at full speed. In an instant the pioneer's gun was 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 425 

leveled and the trigger pulled; it missed fire and in liis hurry to 
spring the lock again, he broke it and of course, could not fire. See- 
ing him raise his gun to shoot caused the Indians to halt and com- 
mence firing arrows at him. Keeping himself between his wife and 
children and the Indians he ordered them to get on as fast as pos- 
sible and try to reach a house at which a Mr. Johnson lived and 
where several men were living. This house was some half a mile 
distant, but4ie hoped to reach it and save those Avhom he held dear- 
est, his wife and children. The Indians made every possible attempt 
to separate him from his family, all of which proved vain. They 
would retreat to a respectful distance and then come bounding back 
like so many furies from the regions of indescribable woe. When 
they came too near, he would raise his gnn as if he were really 
reserving his fire, which would cause them to halt and try to sur- 
round him. But at every attack they shot their arrows into his 
breast, causing great pain. 

For nearly an hour this running fight was kept up ; still the blood- 
thirsty savages pressed on. At last he was sufficiently near John- 
son's house to be heard. He was heard, when he raised his powerful 
voice for succor. But no sooner did the men at the house hear the 
cry of "Indians," than, they took to their heels in an opposite direc- 
tion. At last he arrived at the house closely pursued by the Indians, 
and entering after his family, barred the door, and began to make 
preparation for acting more upon the defensive, when the Indians 
made a rapid retreat. Pemberton reached his own house the fol- 
lowing day, where he resided many years, an eye-sore to those who 
had so ingloriously fled from his assistance. Many ari'ow points 
which entered his breast were never removed and were carried to th« 
end of his life, as the best certificate of his bravery and devotion 
to his family."* 

Upon the ratification of the Constitution of the United States, 
the General Assembly of A^irginia divided the State into ten con- 
gressional districts, the third district being composed of the follow- 
ing counties: 

Botetourt, Rockbridge, 

Montgomery, Greenbrier, 

Washington, Augusta, 

Russell, Rockingham, 

*Bicklev's History of Tazewell. 

436 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

and directed that an election be held on the 2d day of Febriiary, 
1789, at the court-house in each county in the district, for the elec- 
tion of a congi-essman. This election was held pursuant to the 
directions of the General Assembly of Virginia, and Andrew Moore, 
of Eockbridge coimty, was eh^eted our first representative under 
the Constitution of the United States. 

On the 15th day of May, 1789, the Indians visited the home of 
Joseph Johnson, in the Eye Cove settlement, and destroyed nine 
members of his family, Johnson and his two sons making their 
escape. His wife and child were found about one-quarter of a mile 
from the house, killed and scaljied, and the bones of another child 
were found burned in the house, and the rest were killed or carried 
into captivity. Johnson lived on Clinch river, where the old path 
crossed between the block-house and Eye Cove. 

On the first day of October. 1789, a party of Indians captured 
the family of one Wiley, who lived on the head waters of the Clinch. 
They killed and scalped four of his children and took his wife and 
youngest child into captivity. Mrs. Wiley soon made her escape, 
and upon her return made oath that the Indians told her that they 
would bring foair hundred. Indians against Clinch and Bluestone 
in the summer of 1790. 

In the fall of this year, William Whitely, who lived in Baptist 
Valley, on the line dividing Eussell and Montgomery counties, liad 
occasion to leave his home for a short distance In search of his 
horses, when a party of Indians fell on him and cut him intO' small 
pieces, which they strung on the bushes ; they cut out his heart and 
flung it against the ground with so much violence that it covered 
itself in the soil. During this same year, a party of Shawnese 
Indians ascended the Dry fork of Tug river and fell upon the family 
of James Eoark, who lived at a gap in the dividing ridge between 
the Clinch and Sandy rivers. Eoark and two of his sons were not 
at home at the time. The Indians killed Mrs. Eoark and several 
children. Eoark's Gap, the scene of this massacre, is near Maxwell's 
station in Tazewell county, and the location of the house occupied 
by Eoark and his family is still pointed out by the citizens to every 
passer-by. The house stood near a beautiful spring, and what is 
termed an "Indian mound" is found near by. 

During this same year, John Davidson, who lived on the head 
waters of the Clinch, was waylaid and killed by a band of Indiaais 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 427 

while feeding his horse at a cabin. The Indians were accompanied 
on this expedition by a white man, who robbed Davidson's saddle- 
bags of their contents. 

In October of the year 1789, Colonel Campbell made a return of 
the militia of Washington connty, from which it was ascertained to 
consist of one county lieutenant, one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, 
one major, fifteen captains, thirteen lieutenants, eleven ensigns, 
thirty sergeants, three drummers, two fifers, G75 rank and file, add- 
ing in his remarks, "no return from three companies." 

"In June, 1790, a predatory party of Indians came from the 
Rockcastle hills in Kentucky and made their appearance at the cabin 
of Isaac ISTewland, on the North fork of Holston, the place subse- 
quently owned by Michael Fleenor and still in possession of his 
descendants, some eight miles north of Abingdon. Mr. ISTewland 
and his son were at work in a clearing near by, with no one at the 
cabin but his wife and her infant. The Indians captured the mother 
and infant, burnt the cabin and hurried away with their captives 
directly through the mountains toward Paissell. The alarm being 
given Jacob Mongle (father of Colonel Abram Mongle), being the 
nearest neighbor, gathered a company in as short a time as possible 
and took the trail, which had been plainly marked by Mrs. Newland, 
who had the presence of mind to break twigs by the way and leave 
other signs. After reaching the valley in which Lebanon is now 
situated, and fearing that the powder in their flint guns had become 
dampened in passing through the thick undergrowth of the moun- 
tain, they discharged their guns for the purpose of reloading, in 
order to make sure work should they overtake the savages, but it 
unfortunately so happened that the Indians had halted, and hearing 
the report of firearms took the alarm, murdered their victims and 
made their escape. A few minutes after, the pursuing party came to 
where the mother and child were lying, the latter not quite dead. 
They brought them back to the settlements, Jacob Mongle carrying 
the infant, which died in his arms on the way. 

The alarm having reached the little settlement at Abingdon it 
produced great consternation and serious apprehensions as to what 
might befall the little community at Castle's Woods, as the Indians 
would probably return in that direction, it being in a line wi^?h their 
towns beyond the Cumberland. A young man by the name of Doug- 
lass living at Abingdon, a fearless and determined Indian fighter. 

428 Southwest Virginia, 17J^6-1786. 

proposed to cross the mountains to Castle's Woods, for the purpose 
of warning the settlers of the impending danger, and a young friend 
by the name of Benham, volunteered, against the expostulations of 
his relatives and friends, to accompany him on this perilous 

"Everybody in this country acquainted with the old road through 
Little Moccasin Gap, will remember the large, square, flat, table-like 
rock, some five or six feet high, which stood on the lower side of the 
old trace along the creek not far from opposite the little mill now 
on the new road in the gap, the noisy machinery of which send;^ 
strange echoes along the surrounding peaks in these days of piping 
peace and corn dodgers. Douglass and Benham had reached that 
rock, and as was the custom of most wayfarers as long as that old 
road was the highway through the gap, had probably halted to eat 
a snack. At this moment the report of a rifle was heard, when 
Douglass fell mortally wounded. 

He at once told Benham tliat the shot was fatal and urged him to 
dodge into, the laurel bordering the stream, make his escape to Cas- 
tle's Woods and warn the settlers. Douglass saw the smoke of a 
rifle rise from a log between the stream and where the road now 
passes, and knowing that it was the habit of the Indian to lie still 
under such circumstances till the smoke cleared away, when he 
would cautiously raise his head to see the effect of his flre, he drew 
a bead upon the spot as he lay propped upon his elbow, and Benham 
afterwards stated that he had not gone fifteen yards when he heard 
the report of Douglass's rifle. Benham hurried on through the gap, 
reached Castle's Woods in safety, and gave the alarm. A company 
returning a day or two after found the body of Douglass lying where 
Benham left him, with his scalp gone, and on examining the place 
where the smoke of the Indian's rifle was seen, blood and brains 
were foimd upon the log, showing that Douglass at the instant he 
entered upon that journey from which no traveler returns, took an 
Indian with him on the solemn march. A grave was excavated 
among the rocks on the roadside where he fell, in which his body 
was deposited and still sleeps, amid the wildest and most romantic 
scenery of all our mountain gorges. It was the custom for each 
passer-by who laiew the spot to drop a pebble upon the rude mound, 
to perpetuate the memory of the resting place of the brave pioneer 
who sacrificed his life for the safety of others perhaps unknown to 

Washington County, 1777 -187 a. 439 

him, but the vandalism of modern change, instead of rearing a mon- 
ument to his memory on the spot, wantonl}^ changed the location of 
the road to avoid a slight elevation, and thus obliterated forever 
the little hillock that marked the receptacle of the ashes of tlie hero 
and martyr.* 

Captain Isaac Newland was an active, thriving man, ambitious 
for preferment by his country, but the sad occurrence abO'Ve given 
had such a bad effect upon him, that "grief for a time seemed to 
absorb all powers of his mind and body, and he settled down into a 
deep melancholy, regardless of every object or occurrence. He finally 
sought comfort in religion, and became a Baptist preacher." f 

In the spring of the year 1790, a little boy, the son of John Fra- 
zer, of Eussell county, was taken prisoner, and in the fall of this 
same year, the entire family of John Frazer was murdered on tlie 
Kentucky road. About the middle of August, 1790, six persons 
were killed by the Indians on Clinch river in Russell county. 

In the year 1791, Ensign Simon Cockrell recommended to tlie 
Governor the placing of ten men at Baptist's Valley, ten men at 
Eichlands, ten men at New Garden, ten men at Glade Hollow, 
twenty men at Castle's Woods, ten men at crossing of Clinch and 
Kentucky road, ten men at Moccasin Gap, ten men at Eye Cove, as 
a protection against the invasion of the Indians, and as far as I 
can ascertain, the people of this section were exempt from Indian 
attacks until the fall of 1792. 

In the fall of 1791, the Governor instructed Captains Andrew 
Lewis and John Preston to recruit two companies of volunteer mili- 
tia for the defence of the frontiers of Montgomery, Wythe and Rus- 
sell counties, and by the 7th of February, 1792, their companies con- 
sisted of four musicians, two ensigns, eight sergeants, eight (x<\- 
porals, six scouts and one hundred and thirty-two privates, beside? 
the captains and lieutenants, and with this force Captains Lewis 
and Preston very effectively defended the frontiers during the suin- 
mer of 1792. 

In the year 1793, in the election for a representative in the Con- 
gress of the United States, the candidates before the people of the 
Fourth District of Virginia, which district was composed of the 
counties of Wythe, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Lee, Eussell, Montgomei-y, 

*Wilburn Waters and Chas. B. Coale. 
tChas. B. Coale. 

430 Southwest Virginia, 1746-17S6. 

Grayson and Washington, were Abraham Trigg, of Montgomery 
county and Francis Preston, of Washington county. 

Abraham Trigg was a Jeilersonian Eepublican, while Preston was 
a Washingtonian Federalist, and the contest between the candidates 
representing these diverse principles was bitter. 
? The result was the election of Colonel Preston by a majority of 
ten votes. 

Colonel Trigg was not satisfied witli tlic result and contested the 
election of Preston, and assigned the following grounds to sustain 
his contest. 

First. That the shcriif of Lee county closed the poll at 2 P. M. 
on the day of the election and refused to reopen the same. 

Second. That the sheriff of Washington county adjourned the 
poll two days instead of one as required by the laAv, and that non- 
residents of the State voted for Colonel Preston in said election. 

Third. That Captain William Preston, a brother of Francis Pres- 
ton, was stationed near J\fontgomery courthouse with sixty or sev- 
enty Federal troops, and that on the day of the election. Captain 
Preston's troops were marched three times around the court-house 
and were paraded in front of and close to the door thereof. 

Foujth. That said troops were polled in favor of Preston. 

That a part of the troops stood at the door of the court- 
house and refused to let the electors favoring Trigg enter the house, 
and in one instance knocked down a magistrate who sought admis- 
sion, being an advocate of Colonel Trigg. 

Tills contest was as hotly fought before Congress as the election 
had been before the people. 

The Elections Committee of the House of Eepresentatives on the 
17th day of April, 1794, reported in favor of rmseating Francis 

This report was debated for many days, after which a vote was 
taken, which vote resulted in the report of the committee being 
rejected and Francis Preston was thereupon declared duly seated. 

Colonel Preston was returned a member of Congress from thirf 
district by successive elections till the year 1797. 

Thus our district early in its history witnessed a contest before 
the Congress of the United Statos. 

At the election held for a presidential elector, on the first Monday 
in jSTovember, 1792, for the district composed of the counties of 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 431 

Wythe, Washington, Eussell and Montgomeiy, Chiiborne Watkins 
was selected an elector from this district to vote for President and 
Vice-President of the United States. 

In the month of December, 1792, Captain Tate and forty men 
were passing througli the wilderness on their way to Kentucky, 
when they were attacked by a company of Creek and Cherokee 
Indians, and, about tbe same time, several lesser encoimters oc- 
curred, but I cannot ascertain the casualties on either side. 

In the fall of 1793, the citizens of North Carolina provoked a 
war with the Indians, and, in the month of October, John Watts, 
at the head of a thousand hostile Indians, threatened an invasion of 
the Holston settlements and the settlements in Powell's Valley. 
Watts, with liis forces, began his march for the settlements and 
reached Buchanan's fort witliin five miles of Knoxville, where ho repulsed with a loss of fifteen men killed, AVatts himself receiv- 
ing a bad wound. After this repulse, Watts's army dispersed in 
small parties, declaring their purpose to invade the settlements and 
to attack the settlers out of their forts. It was the declared pur- 
pose of W^atts and his followers, to drive off and destroy the whole 
of the inhabitants in Powell's Valley. 

The situation was truly alarming for the Virginia settlements in 
Powell's Valley, and the Governor of Virginia requested Colonel 
Arthur Campbell and Captain John Preston to submit to him their 
vieM^s as to the proper manner to proceed to place the western fron- 
tiers in a defensive position. Colonel Arthur Campbell submitted 
the following proposal : 

"That a company of fifty men as rangers, be engaged for three 
months from the first day of December next, to do duty at or near 
Cumberland Gap. 

As it is in the contemplation of the Executive of the State of 
Kentucky to have a fort built about half way in the wilderness, and 
place a garrison of fifty men in it, our troops, after they fortify their 
camp, may meet those rangers occasionally, and to the southward 
meet those under the direction of Governor Blount, which would 
form a chain of connection that might preclude the necessity of 
troops being stationed on Clinch river. As to attempts of the South- 
ern enemy, the regulars on the Ohio may cover that frontier from 
the inroads of the Northern Indians. But it will be useless respect- 
ins the Southern war. 

432 Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786. 

The post at Cumberland Gap, besides covering a detached fro'.itior 
settlement in Virginia, will divide the distance between Danville 
and Hawkins Courthouse and of course will facilitate the trans- 
portation of the mail and secure our intercourse with the army on 
the Ohio by land. 

This is a plan of economy, on account of the idea of the Executive 
of the general government. A full company ought to be the number 
tor this service, as they may be assailed by large parties of Indimis 
and as they will be more than one hundred milps from the settle- 
jnent from which they can expect succour in case of extremity. 

It will be peculiarly mortifying, if the frontier of Virginia, 
exposed to the attacks of the Southern Indians, be ncg-ected, \rhen 
their neighbors in the Southwestern Territory, not so much in dan- 
ger, have an ample force ranging around the "ettl.^ments. Tlie 
Virginians, without murmuring, pay duties to the general govern- 
ment; the citizens of the Southwestern Territory not a shiHiug; 
Georgia and South Carolina are arranging to -opposa the f^ami' 
eremy, and will no doubt be paid for their services out of the Treas- 
nry of the United States." 

Captain John Preston proposed, that there should be stationed: 

"At the mouth of Greenbrier, an ensign, sergeant and sixteen 

"At the five-mile fork of East river, a lieutenant, one sergeant, a 
corporal and twenty-four privates. 

"At Lincolnshire, on Clinch, a captain, a sergeant, a corporal and 
twenty-four privates. 

"At Hawkins, in the Baptist Valley, a sergeant and eight privates. 

"At Brown's or Fugate's, in the Eichlands, a sergeant, corporal 
and twelve privates. 

"At Wilkinson's, in the New Garden, a lieutenant, sergeant and 
sixteen privates. 

"At the montli of Dump's creek, an ensign, two corporals and 
twelve privates. 

"At .Roberson's, in Castle's Woods, a captain, a sergeant, corporal 
and twenty-four privates. 

"At Blackmore's Station, a sergeant, corporal and twelve privates. 

"At Carter's, in Rye Cove, a captain, sergeant, corporal and 
twenty-four privates. 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 433 

"At Turkey Cove, a captain, sergeant, corporal and twenty-four 

"At Martin's old station, an ensign, sergeant and corporal. 

"At Cox's, an ensign, sergeant, corporal and sixteen privates. 

"At Martin's lower station, sometimes called the blockhouse, 
where Eobinson lives, which is the lower settlement of Virginia, 
and where the Kentucky road enters this State, a captain, two ser- 
geants, two corporals and thirty-one privates. 

"At Blackwater branch, a place exposed to the south in Lee 
county, a lieutenant, sergeant, corporal and twelve privates. 

"And tlie scouts to be dispersed along the frontier as shall be 
deemed necessary, and changed when required." 

I cannot say which proposition was acted upon, but it is certain 
that steps were taken to protect the frontiers. 

Captain, Matthew Willoughby and Ensign William Campbell 
were stationed in Powell's Valley. 

The trouble with the Indians began at the opening of spring in 
the year 1793. On Sunday about the first day of April, Ensign 
Moses Cockrell and two men were passing from Eye Cove to Powell's 
Valle}^, with several loaded horses. On the top of Powell's mountain 
they were fired on by twelve Indians. The two men who accompa- 
nied Cockrell were shot dead on the spot, and Cockrell himself was 
pursued to tlie foot of the mountain. Two of his horses were killed 
and all the loads lost. 

Captain Neal, with a party, pursued the Indians but did not suc- 
ceed in overtaking them. The Chief who led this company of 
Indians was a half-breed Shawnese by the name of Benge. A writer 
in speaking of this occurrence says : "He was remarkable for his 
strength, activity, endurance and great speed as a runner. He was 
a man of more than average intelligence also, as well as of great 
bravery and strategy, and had more than once approached the settle- 
ments so stealthily and by a route so secret that he fell upon the scat- 
tered settlers without an intimation of his approach and retired to 
his wigwams beyond the Cumberland without leaving a trace of the 
route he had traveled, though rangers were constantly on the lookout 
for his trail. One of these rangers of the Holston settlements was 
a man by the name of Cockrell, and the writer must make a digres- 
sion to record an incident in his history. He was famous for his 
size, activity and handsome person. Benge and himself were rivals 

434 Southwest Virginia, 17^6-1786. 

in manhood and woodcraft, each jealous of the other's prowess and 
courage, and both anxious for an occasion to moot in single combat. 
Xot many months before Benge's last incursion, they met on top of 
Powell's mountain, in what is now Lee county, each with a band 
of followers. The Indians were in ambush, having observed the 
approach of the whites, who were not aware of their proximity, and 
Benge instructed his companions not to kill Cockrell, so that he 
himself might run him down and capture him. At the crack of the 
Indian rifles two or three of Cockrell's companions fell; seeing 
which and at once comprehending the folly of a combat with a 
dozen savages, he sprang aAvay down the mountain side, like an ante- 
lope, with Benge in close pursuit. Two miles away in the valley on 
Wallen's creek was the cabin of a pioneer, in reaching which Cock- 
rell knew was his only chance of escape. Having two hundred 
dollars in specie in a belt around him, he found he was carrying two 
much weight for a closely contested race, and that Benge w^as gain- 
ing on him. Making a desperate effort, however, he increased his 
speed a little, and as he leaped the fence that surrounded the cabin, 
Benge's tomahawk was buried in the top rail before Cockrell reached 
the ground. Benge seeing that he had missed his aim, and not 
knowing how many men and rifles might be in the cabin, fled back 
to his companions, sadly disappointed. 

A few years after this Cockrell died on the north fork in this 
county, and during the "wake," while his body lay in the cabin, an 
old comrade who had been in many a hard pinch with him, thus 
gave utterance to his thoughts and feelings as he paced the punch- 
eon floor in great sorrow : "Poor Cockrell, he is gone ! He was a 
noble fellow after Injuns and varmints, and I hope he has gone to 
where, there is as much game and as desperate good range as he 
had on Holston !"* 

During the same week, fourteen persons were killed on the Ken- 
tucky road, near the Hazel Patch. The whites discovered the In- 
dians and attempted to secure the first fire, but failed, and only 
two of the whites made their escape. The Indians lost five dead, 
and one white man with them killed. Both parties broke and ran 
at the same time in opposite directions. 

About the 15th of March, 1793, several emigrants were killed on 

*Coale's "Wilbuni Waters." 

Washington County, 1777-1870. 435 

the Kentucky road. Captain Andrew Lewis, to appease tlie set- 
tlers who were about to break up, placed a sergeant and twelve men 
at Dump's creek. 

At Eye Cove, a sergeant and seven men. 

At St. Mary's, with the French, a sergeant and seven men, which 
left twenty men at Fort Lee. 

On the 20th day of March, 1793, a party of Indians numbering 
twenty-tliree appeared upon the frontiers of Wythe and Montgom- 
ery, frequently showing themselves, to the terror of the inhabitants. 
John Davidson was murdered by them and a number of horses were 
stolen from Wolf creek, Bluestone and Island creek. The Indians 
made their escape, except a small party entrusted with the care of 
about eighty horses, from Island creek. This company was pur- 
sued by a large party from Bluestone and another from the head of 
Clinch, and were overtaken the next day, at the mouth of Little 
Cole, at what is called the Island of Guyandotte, where they were 
attacked by the whites. Three of their number were killed and 
scalped, all tlie horses retaken, with the arms and blankets of a part 
of their warriors. The number of Indians concerned in the murder 
of John Davidson at the Laurel fork of Wolf creek was about twelve. 
This party of Indians carried off a number of horses from that 
neighborhood and passed with them in daylight through, the heart 
of the Bluestone settlement. 

Colonel Arthur Campbell, in the spring of the year 1793, was 
commissioned by the President of the United States as Indian 
agents, and in April of this year, communicated to the Presi- 
dent of the United States a request from the Chickasaw Indians 
for tlie building of a fort and the settling of a strong garrison, at 
the Muscle Shoals,* and, in commenting upon this request wrote: 
"I will observe on this invitation, that I am of opinion, from the 
best information, that the United States had never so great an offer