Scott County Historical Society
Scott County, Virginia

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Block House Early Haven For Travelers

By Lisa Watson McCarty

The Block House, located on the Wilderness Road, provided a safe haven and stopping point for early travelers seeking the west. This structure was the only such blockhouse located within the county's boundaries.

John Anderson built the two-story, two-room log structure some time prior to 1782. The actual date of its existence has been suggested as early as 1777.

The building was located in Carter's Valley on the outer edge of the Holston Settlements, about four miles southeast of Moccasin Gap. The upper story walls had the standard portholes and openings like other such structures. The second floor of the house extended out over the lower floor.

Anderson played host to a number of settlers who were searching for the promise of abundant land in Kentucky and other parts of the west. After most of the Indian conflicts died down, Anderson built a larger two-story building with an attached log kitchen where he and his family moved.

The Block House was relegated for use as a loom house until 1876 when a fire totally destroyed both structures.

Dr. William A. Pusey of Chicago, author of "The Wilderness Road," had a monument erected in 1921 on the site where the Block House had stood. The inscription reads, "The starting point of the road through the wilderness to Kentucky, and the station where travelers used to wait until parties collected large enough to defend themselves against Indians on the journey. "Built about 1777, by Capt. John Anderson, who died here in 1817, it stood until burned in 1876."

William Brown is credited with the quotation on the marker that reads, "We waited hereabouts near two weeks for company, and then set out for the wilderness with 12 men and 10 guns. This being Thursday, 18th July (1782)."

O.M. and Geneva Smith deeded the property of 75 square feet in 1921 to Scott County where the monument stands.

The marker is built of Gate City marble, and was hewn out and placed by Warwick D. Morison Sr.

 

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