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William Ferrill Killed in New Garden

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 68-69.

William Ferrill was killed at his home in New Garden on June 15, 1778. (1) William Ferrill came to the New Garden section of now Russell Co., VA, in 1772. It is interesting that this section near Thompson Creek, known even today as New Garden, from Honaker west, was a very early settlement. William Ferrill and his wife Martha, and their son Thomas, took up a tract of 142 acres on a branch of Thompsonís Creek. We know little of the life of William Ferrill other than the fact that he served frequently in the militia services in the period between 1774 and his death.

The account of his murder is given this way in a letter from Daniel Smith to Arthur Campbell, County Lieutenant of Washington Co., in which Russell Co. Of today then lay. The text of the letter dealing with Ferrill is:

On the 15th instant, in the evening, William Ferrill was killed and scalped by the Indians at his own house, his family had been luckily removed to the fort (New Garden Fort) sometime before. I received the information from Captain Kingkead (John Kincaid) early the 16th who had just then heard of Mr. Ferrillís massacre and seemed very apprehensive more mischief had been done as many in the settlement were living at their own homes. He further informed me that he should go directly to the spot with a party of men. I directly dispatched a man to the Rich Lands with orders to the Sergeant there (Captain Edmiston being absent) to range down and join Captain Kinkead with about half the men at that Station (2).

After the death of Ferrill his widow and son continued to live on in New Garden. (3)

It is interesting to note that William Ferrill was one of the appraisers of the estate of his neighbor Richard Lynam, who lived also on Thompsonís Creek, and was killed by the Indians in late 1777. (4)

William Ferrill served at the Glade Hollow Fort from August 29, to November 6, 1774. Of this group of twenty men who defended the fort between the given dates, four are known to have been killed by the Indians and two taken captive. (5)

(1) Draper Mss 8 DD 17
(2) There was a fort or garrisoned station at the present site of Richlands.
(3) Article by Gordon Aronhime, Bristol Herald Courier, October 2, 1964.
(4) Washington Co., VA court for May 19, 1778
(5) Draper Mss 6 XX 106

This file contributed by: Rhonda Robertson

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