John and Titus Benton Killed in Rye Cove

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 40-41.

The brothers, John and Titus Benton were killed in the Rye Cove section of Scott Co., VA, in April, 1777. They were either relatives, or closely associated with the Wallen family who were also pioneer settlers of the area. Just who the Bentons were, whence they came and went is unknown today. None of the name seem to have remained in the area.

The killing of the Benton brothers came to light in studying an old land lawsuit in the Superior Court of Augusta Co., VA, (1) and all statements are taken from this case. No place elsewhere have I been able to find any confirming data.

On May 29, 1811, Charles Carter desposes in Lee Co., VA, "that John and Titus Benton were killed by the Indians in Rye Cove in the spring of 1777."

February 26, 1812, Doswell Rogers deposes in Lee Co., VA, that "he settled on the North Fork of Clinch the same year the Hoosiers (Hoovers, Van Housier) settled (1774-75). The settlement was broken up by the Indians for several years. The Wallens, Bentons, William Roberts and others named these streams as they went through hunting lands. The Bentons were killed 35 or 36 years ago, April next."

March 11, 1811, William Wallen (born 1761) deposes: "Knew the land in 1778, John and Titus Benton were killed about 32 years ago. Their mother gave him John's shot-bag."

March 11, 1811, Stephen Wallen (born 1757) deposed: "Knew the land in 1775. Then Flat Lick Branch was called Lick Branch. About 1775 the North Fork of Clinch was called Stims Creek. The Bentons were killed 31-33 years ago. John was on the Cherokee Expedition (1776) and helped to bring up the great guns from the nation to the Long Island after the expedition, said to be commanded by Colonel (William) Christian. Deponent hunted with his (John Benton) on the Clinch after his return, and it was two or three years after the expedition when he was killed." In the Washington Co., VA, Survey Book, page 147, a statement reads: "A survey for William Nash of 343 acres, lying in the Rye Cove on the waters of Clinch River, and beginning on a barren ridge above Tye Benton's Spring... dated 20 November, 1782. This entry proves that the Benton's had lived in the neighborhood long enough to have left their name attached to a landmark, although I find no land entry for them.

(1) Augusta Court Causes Ended, McKinney vs Preston, O. S. 308: N. S. 110.



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