Two Carter Boys Taken From Rye Cove

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, page 160-161.

Alexander Barnett, County Lieutenant of Russell Co., VA, wrote Governor Edmund Randolph, on May 15, 1788, (1) thusly:

On the 20th of April, a band of Indians came into the Rye Cove settlement and carried off three (3) boys, two of the name of Carter, and a Negro boy belonging to those of the same name, but did not kill anyone in the settlement. Immediately upon this he ordered out men from three companies, under the command of Ensign Blackmore. A man named Henry Hamlin, living in the Cove, and much attached to the crown of Brittain, during the contest, (Revolution) induced the Rangers to go back telling them the people wanted men to be stationed instead of them.

In a letter written by Barnett to the Governor on May 20, 1789, (2) he states that the Carter boys were returned to their father through the friendly offices of Governor Simcoe, of South Carolina, but makes no mention of the Negro boy being released. The Carter boys had evidently been taken by the Cherokees.

The two Carter boys who were taken were Morgan and Elijah, and are said to have been the sons of Thomas Carter, the builder of Carter’s Fort in Rye Cove. (I. C. Coley, Genealogy of the Carters of Scott County.)

Col. Joseph Martin, writing to Governor Edmund Randolph, on the 17th of April, 1788, states:

Enclosing copies of letters showing the alarmed state of the frontiers of Washington, Russell and Hawkins counties, and indeed throughout the whole of Western North Carolina and what had been known as (the state of) Franklin, on account of incursions of the savages. Along the Holston, and Clinch, in Powell’s Valley and other places, the inhabitants were ready to leave the country. He, himself had sold his Station in the latter, and although, through his influence with the Indians, they had not killed a man, woman, or child, within the Virginia line for several years past. Unless something is now done, they will make a strike upon the settlements. He is on his way to the Cherokee Nation, and will exert his powers with them to prevent their threatened attack.

(1) Virginia State Papers, Vol. IV, page 442.
(2) Ibid, Vol. V, page 4-5



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