Scott County Historical
Scott County, Virginia
Mildred McConnell's Scrapbook Articles
Scott: Early Settlers
In 1769, the Upper Yadkin Valley in North Carolina was inhabited by bold, enterprising people who had been attracted hither by the freshness of the soil, the unbounded range for stock, and above all, by the abundance and variety of the game. At this time, in this region, were several persons who afterwards became famous, and their daring deeds of endurance and heroism blazed the way and lighted up the fires of the civilization in the very heart of the Dark and Bloody ground, (Kentucky).
Among the hearty settlers in this region were Colonel John Snoddy, Patrick Porter, William Cowan and John Cowan. They had all emigrated from Ireland some years prior to the date mentioned in the beginning of this narrative. They were brothers-in-laws, having married sisters before leaving the land of their nativity for the New World. They were men of great firmness, perseverance and endurance, and their intuitive love of adventure induced them in the Fall of this year to explore the then unknown country to the Northwest. They left their families in North Carolina and with their trusty rifles and a couple of axes, they boldly struck out into the wilderness.
Without giving the details of their wanderings, it is sufficient to say that they found their way to Castle's Woods in what is now Russell County, and there built some cabins and remained there and trapped all winter, and in the Spring they returned to North Carolina and brought their families out. They built a fort which they called Snoddy's Fort, in honor of John Snoddy who was the Commandant.
At some other time I may tell more of this fort, but my present purpose is to speak of the first settlements in Scott County, and to this I shall now address myself. In the course of three or four years the settlement around Snoddy's Fort had rapidly increased by the arrival of immigrants from the East, and this in time became the parent of new settlements.
In the Spring of '77, Patrick Porter moved to Clinch River and settled in what is now Scott County, on the place where Reuben Banner now lives. He with his comrades built a fort there which they called Porter's Fort. There was with him in this settlement his son-in-law, Captain John Montgomery, who afterwards commanded a company of drafted men at Norfolk in 1814, Raleigh Stallard, --- Hutchinson and Porter's oldest son, named Samuel. Patrick Porter built a mill on Fall Creek, which was the first mill built west of the Clinch mountain. It was frequented by the settlers from miles around and was visited by Daniel Boone upon several occasions.
In a short time after the erection of Porter's Fort, the Indians besieged Boone's Fort on the Southwest side of the Kentucky River and the besieged were so hard pressed that they sent a runner to Porter's fort imploring aid.
The messenger arrived at Porter's fort late in the evening and as soon as his message was made known 23 young men volunteered to go to the aid of the besieged under Sam Porter who had previously been in Kentucky with Boone. The volunteers began to rub their guns and make preparations for the campaign, while some of the women in the fort were put to molding bullets, and others to cooking rations.
Early next morning the brave band of volunteers marched out under the command of young Porter and after five days of hard and incessant marching they reached Booneborough without accident.
When they arrived the Indians had crossed to the north side of the river but were yet in sight. Among Porter's men was a young man named Stuffly Cooper, who had a long steel barreled gun, called a yager - pronounced yawger.
After resting up for a few hours and partaking of dinner Porter's men walked out into the yard to take a look at the Indians.
A big Indian had climbed into a crab apple tree to watch the operation of the whites about 600 yards distant and was in plain view. Cooper declared he could kill that Indian, and to enable him to make a fair trail they brought out a chair and Cooper rested his gun on it and steadied his back against a stump. The Indian, observing these operations, came down out of the apple tree, and believing himself to be at a perfectly safe distance straightened himself up in a defiant manner and then contemptuously patted the posterior portion of his body.
Cooper took deliberate aim, and at the crack of his gun, the Indian jumped into the air, gave a yell, and fell over the cliff and lodged into the top of a tree lifeless. This ended the siege of Boonesborough.
Porter's men all came back to Scott County, except Porter himself, Cooper and John Arter.
They had some thrilling adventures, of which I will speak in a future number.