For some time I have contemplated writing a sketch of
Benge, Southwest Virginia’s most famous Indian Chief; but
for lack of definite material on his ancestors, his deeds, and
really his name, I have postponed the sketch for the past years.I am now unprepared to deal accurately and justly with his
life, but I shall start a discussion which I hope other citizens
who do know of Benge’sworks
and deeds will add to and correct my statements.
A generous mind readily appreciates and commends an
exhibition of true patriotism, even by an enemy.Those who regard the Indians as without the pale of
sympathies of civilization, are often compelled to yield reluctant
admiration of the qualities which make men heroes, sages, and
patriots, when even exhibited by the vanquished Indians.
No one appears more prominent as a claimant for
consideration on account of these qualities than old Chief Benge,
the last great chief of Southwest Virginia.He saw year after year the encroachment of the white people
upon his sacred hunting grounds, yet doubtless for years he kept
the peace of his tribe, whether Shawnee or Cherokee.He endured insults and even gross indignities; and when his
brother warriors advised war he at first wanted to maintain peace.At length forbearance seemed no longer a virtue, and the
tomahawk was lifted.
But the history of Benge has been clouded by legend.Dr. Lyman Draper in his splendid effort to collect at first
hand the history of the region from Charleston, South Carolina, to
Louisville, Kentucky, for New Your State to Georgia, found even at
that date, 1840 to 1880 much myth and legendary history
enshrouding Benge’s life.While
142 years after his death, it is difficult to differentiate fact
historians have been afraid of him, as if this champion of Indian
rights might even to this day injure their reputation.
Dr. Draper died in 1886 and was born years after the death
of Benge.We shall say
that the letters he obtained about Benge which are still on file
in the University of Wisconsin state that Benge was a Cherokee living among the Shawnees.Why he was living among the Shawnees we failed to learn.Dr. Draper’s information is second hand at its best and
was obtained a half century after Benge’s death.Was Benge a Cherokee or Shawnee is even to this day a mooted
As a consequence historians have neglected him, but in the
legendary minds of the inhabitants of this vast area he is in
process of evolving into an Indian hero; such a mass of mythical
stories have grown up around him that it will be at this date, I
believe, an impossibility to give an accurate account of the
number of stories in which Benge figures as a semi-mythical hero
are to be picked up throughout West Virginia, East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.They were told formerly by the mothers to place fear in the
hearts of their children.There
is doubtless a grain of truth in each legend but the troubadour
touch is upon each of them.You
will not find them in books, but they are legends kept alive in
the memory and passed on from mother to daughter.In fact the history of Benge is now a folklore.
James Green was killed in 1782 and the legend left in his
family was that Benge was a Shawnee and lived in the Ohio region.A similar statement is found in the traditional history
handed down by the Kilgore as well as the Porter families.In searching the old record of Kentucky and Nashboro, Tennessee, we find a Shawnee Indian chief
named Bench which corresponds very closely with the time and
characteristics of the Clinch River Benge.It is possible that Bench and Benge are the same person and
the BigBlackMountain has caused the same individual to
have two names.
History fails to state the nationality of the half-breed
Indian named Benge.We
find him befriending the Cherokees but living among the Shawnees, and waging a relentless war
against the whites.For
the last time about 1794 Benge and his warriors were out of their
stronghold from north of the BigBlackMountain.Throughout the Clinch and Holston regions, from Limestone, Tenn., to the Levisa Fork; from
Cumberland Gap to Wolfe Creek, Benge bands was restlessly harrying
the thinly settled region with a warfare of ambuscade on men, and
capturing of women and children.Thru canebrakes and forests the invisible savages slipped
with the noiseless swiftness of the lightening to points of
murderous vantage; as still as cougars and as patient, they lurked
near the springs or watched the cabin doors of the settlers.The sudden cough of the flint-lock through the evening air
gave often the first and only intimation of their ghostly
A pack horse train was ambushed in some pass in the hills
near Moccasin Gap; a settler in a lonely valley was murdered from
the nearby woods; emigrant with his wife and children was
massacred going into Kentucky.Back to the mountain fastnesses from their silent war,
Benge bore his spoils --- a Negro slave, some man’s wife,
several children, a baby’s toy, a little tobacco, and a jug of
fire water.Then after
crossing the BigBlackMountain, the paeans of exultation, the
wild impassioned dance of triumph.This was Benge’s way, no open battle, only killing and
settlers pressed hard up on their traces Benge would vanish as by
magic through secret mountain passes to safety down Big Sandy and
even into Ohio.
Benge was the Clinch Region’s most famous Indian and its
last great warrior.He
was killed in 1794.He
is credited with having killed more settlers than all other chiefs
in the Clinch Region.Few
careers in Indian annals have been more colorful; certain of his
exploits rank among the great adventures of the Indian Chiefs.Though his destructive and futile career served a
constructive purpose after Benge’s death came peace and order to
Possibly Benge would fare badly under the microscope of
modern warfare.But in
fairness to Benge he must be judged by the standards of his race,
place and time.The
Indian wars were embryonic beds of many kinds of marauding parties
and killing expeditions.
With his tragic record in mind, one might be pardoned for
visualizing Benge as an inhuman monster reviling in the blood o
this conception would do him injustice.He was a man of bright, alert mind; generous, not unkindly
and o quick sympathies.The
steadfast loyalty of his friendship to his fellow Indians is
proverbial to this day in the folklore of that region.
His courage was beyond question.It may have been a static courage that remained the same
under all circumstances.Nevertheless
we are told that certain Indian Chiefs did weaken when odds were
against them.But no
tale has come down that Benge even showed on any occasion a yellow
years, every hour in his desperate struggle against the Clinch
pioneers was a zero hour, and he was never afraid to wage war
against the settlers.Even
the whites who hated him and men who hunted him to his death
admitted his absolute fearlessness.
But courage alone would not have stamped his as an
outstanding Indian in the Clinch Region where courage in the
Indian is a tradition.He
had faith, vision, a keen determination of driving the pale faces
“back up the trace.”He
retained a cool, unruffled poise in all his raids into the Clinch
faith gave no hint as to direction of route of his quickened
moonlight raids on the settlers, or long flights over the BigBlackMountain.The secret of Benge’s greatness was his complete
co-ordination of mind and muscle.He had not only the will to lead the dusky warriors but the
skill to do so.Daring,
coolness, and quick thinking would not have served unless they
were combined with a magnetic personality of generalship over his
Benge was not pitted against other savages but against the
most warlike and daring settlers to be found on the American
Continent.In times of
danger, and times of danger came in which he waged the “Benge
against the settlers of the Clinch and Holston, his mind was not
only calm but singularly clear and nimble, watching like a hawk
for an advantage and seizing it with incredible celerity.
The old traditions handed down about Benge say that his
appearance was not unprepossing.He had a handsome figure, good health, hardy and daring and
a scintillating mind ready for any fate.His face was long and colorless except for the deep tan
with which it had been tinted by sun, rain, and weather.His hair was black, worn rather long and straight.His eyes were black, clear and steady.His hands and feet were remarkably large, and from all
accounts he stood something over six feet tall.He was unusually strong for his inches, having even for a
tall man quite active arms and feet.(This is the description given by Cloud Hobbs).
The popular mind of today associates murder and destruction
to the Indians, but let us be fair to the red men and remember
they were waging a war against usurpers and land grabbers.To their mind and way of thinking they were fighting a holy
war, and a hundred and forty years afterwards it looks rather holy
to us.We must no
condemn Benge too severely, but rather admire his skill, his faith
fore his people and his love for his homeland.
We have no way of telling the number of settlers Benge
killed along the Clinch and it tributaries but there must have
been many and even some of their names are unrecorded in the
annals of our history.We
never received his story of the war, or even the causes, or the
men who died, and where they died.It is left for the historian after more than one hundred
and forty years to tell the story.All the actors in this drama have been dead for more than a
hundred years, but it is safe to say the tragic conundrum of how
many white fell before the raids of Benge will ever be definitely
To realize the quality of Benge’s character try to fancy
yourself in his shoes.Suppose,
if you please, that under stress of circumstances your hunting
ground and your homeland had been possessed by a foreign race.Your home had been destroyed, your people had been driven
away from the old family alters into a desolate region?Which facts make us say Benge was not a criminal, a
murderer in the present day sense.He fought for his people; and made his own methods of
warfare.He lost the
fight, although he put up the most gallant fight of any Indians in
the Clinch region.Let
his conquerors honor his memory today by calling some highway of Southwest Virginia “The Benge Highway.”
Near the headwaters of Valley Creek in the Little Glade
Region there is a gap in the hill leading to Clinch River known to this day as Benge Gap,
and the creek which rises near the Gap and flows northwesterly
into Clinch River is known as Benge Creek.We found in Kentucky a creek called Benge Branch, and even peak and waterfalls are called
after the great Indian chief in the upland region of Kentucky.
Benge exhorted his followers to curse the white man and to
swear eternal hostility to the palefaces.We shall briefly narrate a few of the bloody deeds
following the trail of Benge from 1776 to 1794, and ask that
others be added:
Ambrose Fletcher’s family killed near Ft.Blackmore in 1776 by Benge.
James Green killed by Benge in the fall of 1782 near High
John Carter’s family killed on the old Hunter’s Trace
six miles west of Ft.Blackmore in 1784.
Mrs. McDowell and Frances Pendleton killed by Benge in
Benge killed Elisha Ferris at GateCity in 1791, also he killed Mrs.
Elisha Ferris and their daughter, Mrs. Livingston.
Benge killed two men near Kane Gap in March 1793.
Benge killed Harper Ratliff and his wife and six children
just west of GateCity in 1793.
Near Hazel Patch, Kentucky, he assisted in killing fourteen emigrants in 1791.
March 15, 1793 near Cumberland Gap, Benge helped to kill several
settlers going to Kentucky.
According to Claude Hobbs, vice president of the First
National Bank, Roswell, New Mexico, Benge was killed in a gap in CumberlandMountain near Dorchester, Virginia by his great, great Grandfather,
states that when Benge was shot he sprang into the air, gave a
mighty Indian yell and passed on to his happy hunting grounds.
GateCity Herald Thursday, March 26, 1936
In the coming of the settlers toward the Clinch it was
years of triumphantly struggling against the many forces of
nature, and the eternal ambuscades of the savages.
It was an atmosphere of fear and struggle from which no
one who ventured far out in the wilderness could wholly escape.There was no certainty west of Black Fort or FortVanus in 1776.The Indian who traded his fur and pelt for the white
man’s beads and trinkets one day might be after his scalp the
next.The white man
might shoot down friendly Indians in the belief that they were
hostile and receive in his log cabin hostile Indians in the
belief that they were friendly.
But there was something in the very whirling of the
earth, in the glow of the setting sun that drew men toward the
Scotch-Irish, Germans, Anglo-Saxons, and the French Huguenots
came to this region like moths to the flame, first a few, then
many.The trail had
to be, and was not made from the north or the south but from the
east up the Shenandoah, across the mountains, and thence down
the Clinch to Porter’s, Ft. Blackmore, and Rye Cove Forts.
If we had the documents which were destroyed by the
British in the burning of the national capitol in 1812, and the
wanton and reckless destruction of old court house records by
the Yankees in 1863 to 65, we would know many of the trials,
struggles and human sufferings of these early settlers.We must rest content with the belief that these heroes
wrought their footprints well.After the beginning of 1800 the way to the Clinch was
never a mystery.They
knew how easily those rivers, mountains, and chasms could be
crossed by eager and resolute settlers.
The French Huguenots, the German, Scotch-Irish and the
Anglo-Saxon could no more be held back than could the migration
of the Teutonic Tribes of Europe in the fourth and fifth
of these voyageurs were heard on the Clinch; even Moore’s,
Porter’s and Green’s forts did a brisk business with
trappers, fur traders, hunters and emigrants seeking homes
toward the west prior to 1790.
We find in 1773 Henderson buying a kingdom from the
evasive and light fingered Cherokees at Watauga for less than
ten thousand pounds, Harrods moving down thru the Greenbrier
region toward Kentucky, and Colonel Preston setting out
to chastise the marauding Indians on the headwaters of the
Clinch.Preston, permit us to state found more
trouble than for which he had contracted.Almost monthly the forts in this region were attacked by
savages well armed with modern flintlock and a super abundance
pioneers bit the dust which records fail to give.
The share which the Clinch region had in the defeat of
the Shawnees, Mingoes and Delawares at Point Pleasant did not endear the savages to
regular warfare was not in good taste, these savages continued
to drift across the Clinch Region stealing slaves, burning
property, and even knocking at the outlying cabins with guns and
These small isolated forts along the clinch, dreaming in
the sunlight, sitting among the giant maples and oaks, were
oftimes completely surrounded by warring savages, but
nevertheless they were the haven of rest for the weary trappers,
hunters, and emigrants. The
occupants of these forts were not down hearted on account of
Clinch during these days death was never far away---one faced it
as gaily as possible---if the fort should be destroyed and his
life spared he would go singing to some near-by fort to try his
Such was the condition of the Clinch when the trek of the
Brickeys was passing down the Clinch and Holston.For your information we
shall briefly the migration of the Brickeys which is rather
typical of many families of America.
Brickey is a French name.They were refugees, fleeing for their lives from France during the revoking of the Edict
of Nantes in about 1695.John
Brickey, his wife, and the following children: Jarard, John,
Jincy, Peter, and Mary reached Maryland in about 1790, we do not know
how many of the Brickeys were massacred in the St. Batholomew
the only Brickeys ever coming to the new world were John Brickey
and his family.Doubtless
the family traveled incognito out of France.Due to culture, polish, classical education, and
aristocratic manners he was immediately, after landing, given a
clerkship in Maryland.The genealogist of the Brickeys failed to tell us why
they came to Maryland --- Maryland was a Catholic country and they
All of John’s children married.Peter migrated to WestmorelandCounty in about 1730 and married
Winifred Lucas from which marriage all the Brickeys in America have their beginning.The other two boys had all girls, except one so who died
in his teens.We
find the Brickeys to this day a deeply religious people and
bearing the name of John, Jarad (Jarrett), Peter, William, Mary
and Gincy in almost every family.
We shall name the children of Peter and Winifred Lucas
Brickey: Garad, Jared, (Jarrett), John, Peter, William, Dorcos
married Garner, Winifred married Kirkland, Temperance married Morgan, and Elizabeth married Sanford.
In four generations or in one hundred and twenty years
they came by leaps from Maryland; first to Westmoreland County,
next to Botetourt, next to Blount County, Tenn. And then on to Randolph County, Illinois and Crawford County, Missouri.A few of the Brickeys in the trek of one hundred and
twenty years fell out of line.We find a few Brickeys in and around BotetourtCounty, a few Brickeys in ScottCounty, and a few Brickeys in Blount
County Tennessee, but the land of the Brickeys is south and west
of St. Louis, Missouri.
All Brickeys were ardent followers of George Washington
and as late as 1840, we find Jarrett, Peter, and William Brickey
pensioners for service during the Revolutionary War, ages
respectively 83, 81, and 80.We do not know the names of the other Brickeys who
participated in the struggle fro freedom but evidently there
were many older members of the families who championed the
So William Brickey was one of the Brickeys who left the
trek of Brickey at Ft. Blackmore, Virginia about 1798.Doubtless he migrated to this region with John, Jarrett
and other Brickeys and the fascination of Elizabeth Cox took
possession of him about 1800, and they were married.The Brickeys of Scott County are descendants of William
Brickey and Elizabeth Cox.The
children born to this union were Elijah, James, Peter, John, and
a daughter who married Washington Spencer.What influence, atmosphere, nature of soil, or the nature
and general appearance of the people caused the majority of all
the Brickeys to migrate to the territory around St. Louis?In about 1810 they came
from eastern Virginia, Botetourt, Bedford, and Montgomery Counties, Virginia, from Blount County, Tennessee and from Shelby County,
Tennessee to this region.
It seemed that these great people longed for a change.They had prospered in Maryland, they had accumulated wealth in Virginia as we find them listed prior to 1700 with slaves and servants and
wearing the finest of broad cloth, but a call for a different
environment must have been the urge for them to go west.
Thursday, March 5, 1936
S. Pate Hanged Nearly 86 Years Ago
following article appeared in the Gate City Herald in June, 1915
and was written by the late Hon. D. S. Hale.We are indebted to Prof. Sevier H. Meade, Coeburn, for
Sixty-five years ago, Friday, June 25, 1915, Baxter S. Pate was hanged at
Estillville (Gate City) on a Tuesday, June 25, 1850, up in a
vale on Clinch Mountain nearly opposite the home of the late
Major Holdway, for thee murder of John Luttrell, committed in an
upper room of the old Corner Hotel, where the Boatright Hotel
It was the second execution by judicial decree that the
people of ScottCounty ever witnessed and the first I
There was no delay in the court proceedings at the May
term.The late Col.
Henry A. Morison was then Commonwealth’s attorney and the
Trial Judge was Col. Samuel V. Fulkerson.The very mention of these two men meant in that day that
the law of our old State was supreme.Money and family influence cut no figure in those honest
times.Wish it could
be said the same in these days of so much disregard of the
sacred ties of human life.In
some sections of our county murder has become almost a pastime,
especially on the Sabbath at church---a thing unheard of unknown
in those happy years that gave ScottCounty a name we all became proud of.It is a sad reflection to one who has been spared as I
have, and who has lived through the blood letting period of our
Civil War, and who has lived in states where the law was above
I would not ask space in the Herald for this long
communication if it was not that you of the Herald deprecate the
same conditions of murder that all good citizens do.The Herald’s influence can hardly be over estimated.Ant through it I want to appeal to our people, especially
the young men, to try to estimate the value of human life.
Could they have witnessed the grim execution of that
promising young man and heard the solemn warning he gave the
young men in that vast assembly and the solemn funeral preached
by the venerable Samuel D. Steele, the impress would have gone
with them through life as it has with me.Ah! So indelibly did it impress my mind that I think I
can and will try to give from memory some details of that solemn
day so long ago.
The wagon bearing the doomed man from the old jail wended
its way slowly down and up to the gallows, Pate nicely dressed
and sitting on his coffin.As
soon as we crossed Little Mocassin Creek, the green woodland set
in.The air was
fragrant with the wild grapevine bloom, the white capped alders
on either side.The
sweet mountain wild birds were singing.It seemed to me that truly every prospect was pleasing
and only man was vile.That
poor fellow seemed to take in every object as he must have
realized it to be the last view he would ever have of nature’s
Soon the grim gallows was reached and beside it was an
prisoner, two divines and late venerable Dr. Herron ascended the
trapdoor.A guard of
a hundred men, under the charge of the late Captain James D.
Vermillion, stood in a circle around.The mountain sides were covered with humanity, even the
trees were loaded with boys (said to have been 5,000 people).Rev. Gaines preached the funeral and Rev. Ruben Steele
led in prayer and they sang:
on, sweet moments, roll on, And let the poor pilgrim go home, go
Then Pate arose and in a clear voice gave out an old hymn
and led the song, the first verse being as follows:
And am I born to die, To lay this body down?And must my trembling spirit fly Into a world unknown?And Must my trembling spirit fly Into a world unknown?A land of deepest share, Unpierced by human thought;The dreary regions of the dead Where all thing are
Then they handed him a Bible and he read the 121st
Psalm.As he read
the first lines he glanced at the steep slope of ClinchMountain.When he had readthe
chapter he gave a solemn warning to young men, and when the
death cap was drawn over his face, as the late Rufus Fugate
jumped off the trap door, Pate in a loud voice said:---“This
what the whiskey bottle has brought me to.”He had requested the sheriff to tap the trap with his
hatchet before he cut the rope.
Baxter S. Pate has gone to that great Tribunal, where we
all must appear.God
forbid that I shall ever stand before that great Tribunal with
the blood of any my on my hands.In the war I tried to do the duty required of me, and I
am glad to be able to say, in those over three years of horror,
to my knowledge I never killed a man.
Poor Pate, in his pleading to the young men said, “Oh,
I would give ten thousand worlds if I could only recall the deed
that brought me to this fate.”
In regard to the above article there is doubt in the
minds of a few people as to whether Baxter S. Pate was actually
there are some old times yet living in ScottCounty or elsewhere who may be able to
give some definite information about the hanging and to the
alleged rumor to the contrary.
My mother told me today and a few other times in the past
that she had been informed more than once by the late Thomas
Strong, one the guards at the hanging, that he did not believe
Pate was hanged because of some very strange actions and
maneuvers which took place that day.
Twenty years ago I spent the night with an old gentleman
in RussellCounty, Virginia, by the name of Kelly, who was
then eighty-three years of age.He stated that he had not been to Estillville (GateCity) since Pate was hanged.This Mr. Kelly who was a fluent talker advised me that
Pate was not hanged but lived in one of the Western States some
years after the supposed hanging.Mr. Kelly made these few remarks as a positive statement.
GateCity Herald Thursday, February 27, 1936
by C. V. Compton
In Southwest Virginia lies an extensive region whose
surface is a succession of hills and hollows, or, to be more
accurate, of mountains and valleys.It is among these hills that many of the great rivers of
the Eastern United States take their sources.
The hills and mountains are generally arable to the top,
although many of the hill sides are jutted with rocks which
assist in giving the region its romantic and picturesque
character which this section so eminently possesses.
Colleges and minor schools of learning meet the eye of
the stranger at every few miles, as he winds his way through
this rolling and mountainous country, and churches abound which
characterize a moral and refined people.The first pioneers who felled the trees and planted corn
in this region are succeeded by their descendents who still
cultivate much of the land, raise cattle, and wish a collegiate
education for all their sons and daughters.
A section of this region’s history has not been told by
find histories of the Holston, New, James, Shenandoah or the Valley of Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland river and so on for all rivers of America, only the Clinch Region is
the Clinch extending from the head waters of the three prongs of
the river to the canyon at Sperry Ferry, if given, would be as
thrilling as the history of any section of America.We do not here propose to give the history of this region
--- our purpose is only to call attention to the opportunity
which this region offers to the college or university foran outstanding contribution to the history of America.
Were your forefathers in the Clinch Region prior to the
across the wilderness tramped unceasingly the pack-horses of the
marched a few emigrants unsuited and unadapted for the perils of
along the route, across the wilderness, the Indians took their
toll of the pioneers.By
1775 the Indian hatred of the white man out ran his fear.Around great fires along the Clinch trail the savages
lurched constantly and danced the war dance of death.
The settlers at Blackmore faced a number of elemental
of hunger, the danger from floods, the perils of winter storms,
and ordinary risk of hunting.But the deadliest of the perils was that of Indian
attack, less in some years than others.Indeed the Indians grew more and more menacing until the
Battle of Falling Timbers 1793.In the days of the traders and trappers the white man was
their customer who bought their pelts, a store keeper who sold
them powder, whiskey and blankets, sometimes an associate who
hunted and trapped with them and married their women.It was the trader’s interest that the conditions should
remain status quo and the Redman to be protected in their
British Government, the traders, and hunters were willing enough
that everything of the head waters of t he James, Potomac, Shenandoah should forever remain --- an Indian country.
But as the Scotch-Irish came and the population began to
dam up at Philadelphia, two things happened.First the Indians began to realize that their hunting
ground on the Clinch was in danger of being over run by the
the Indians realized that their game was being away and much of
it was being ruthlessly slaughtered.At first the Indians could wreak their vengeance on the
few straggling groups, but after the settlements were definitely
established he white man ignored the Indian methods of warfare
and even the time of waging war.
Imagine, if you can, the long hours of suspense sustained
by Green, Blackmore, Short, Cox, John Carter, Andrew Davis, and
Mathew Gray waiting for lead, flint, gunpowder, flour, and even
a few militiamen to protect them from the marauding Shawnees and
the port of Philadelphia and the haven along the Clinch
thousands of emigrants fresh from the narrow confines of Ireland and Scotland were passing.The men who had made the settlement and those who
followed went hopefully on their way, jogging across mountains;
many afoot searching for suitable place to build their log
Scotch-Irish being so prone to seek liberty --- that neither the
colonial government nor the mountains formed a barrier to them.The pea vine grazing, and richness of soil of the coves
and hillsides penetrated far away Ulster and the county of Renfro, Scotland.
By 1767 the dawn of a new epoch was at hand in the
Chinese Wall that had surrounded this region was collapsing like
stage scenery at the end of an act.The people who came to ScottCounty prior to 1776 were not slow in
realizing the crumbling wall of the colonial governor’s
longer thought of the banks of the Clinch as a land of trappers
and traders but a land for settlement.The year 1772 was a momentous year in the history of the
Clinch Region, settlements sprang up from the source of the
three prongs of the Clinch to the Canyon Near Sperry Ferry, at
Abb’s Valley, Maiden Spring, ElkGarden, Castlewood, Ft.Blackmore, and Moore’s Fort.These early settlers were what we might call gluttons for
History has no record, of these deaths along the Clinch
from Indian hands.What
we find must have been gathered from old court records.For us to relate the starkness of the condition existing
along the Clinch in 1774 let us quote a letter Captain Daniel
Smith located at Elk Garden, Virginia wrote to Colonel William Preston
as preserved in the Draper Collection of Southwest Virginia
“Dear Sir: --- The late invasion of Indians hath so
much alarmed the inhabitants of the Clinch River that without more men . . . the
more timorous will move to a place of safety.By what I can learn the terror is great on the Holston, so that we have no room to look
for assistance from that quarter I am going to the assistance of
the Castlewood men with what force could be spared from this
ElkGarden, Oct. 4, 1774. Dan. Smith…
A few names of the many men who made the supreme
sacrifice have been passed on down to the present time.We shall give the following names who died for posterity
along the Clinch:James
Boone, Samuel Cowan, Dale Carter, Mrs. John Carter, Isaac
Chrisman, John Duncan, Humphrey Dickenson, John Davidson, ______
Dial, _____ Douglass, Mrs. Ambrose Fletcher, James Green, Joseph
Gilbert, Mrs. Henry Mamlin, Daniel Harman, John Henry, Mrs.
Joseph Johnson, Jacob Lewis, John Moore, Jane Moore, Mrs. James
Moore, James Moore, Mrs. Fannie Alley Napper, William Parks,
Joseph Ray, Mrs. Joseph Ray, James Roark, Mrs. James Roark,
Henry Russell, John Simpson, Archibald Scott, William Whitley.
This region from 1772 to 1773 became a tremendous,
tumultuous story which could be written in letters of death and
blood , an epic of tragedy, of moonlight savage attacks, of
roaring rifles --- a tale of men who died with their moccasins
Human life nowhere at any time in the settling of America has been cheaper than along the
unrelenting attacks of the savages which had been stirred up
first by the English were of its peak during the settlement of
the Clinch Region.
Many and picturesque were the dangers braved by these
of the swirl of the Clinch River Boom there emerged the great
land boom in Kentucky which cost thousands of lives.Since the English landed at Jamestown we have had a land boom about
ever ten years.From
1763 to 1772 it was the New River and Surry County North
Carolina, then in ten years succession followed the Clinch,
Kentucky, Cumberland, Ohio, Missouri, Louisiana, and so on until
we find the booms in the coal fields, wheat fields, gold fields,
silver fields, copper fields, oil fields, gas fields and so on
to the present day.The
Clinch land boom was a genuine boom, from 1772 with closing down
of the linen mills in Ulster to the closing period of the
Revolutionary War the American people were in their greatest
state of flux.Not
even following the Revolutionary War did a greater percent of
the population migrate than during the land boom of the Clinch
Region.We know the
growth to the Southwest Virginia must have been rapidly from the
constant habit of creating new counties in Southwest Virginia:Washington 1777, Montgomery 1777, Greenbriar 1777,
Russell 1776, Wythe 1790, Lee 1783, Tazewell 1799, and Scott
To the raw, soaring log cabin region of 1772 to 85 they
came literally by the thousands.The circumscribed industries of Ulster, Ireland and Renfro Scotland were soon transformed and a
great wave from these regions came to the Clinch.But it was necessary for them to undergo all the
privations experienced in any new found bona.They had traveled far to inherit this region.Along the route they had seen their companions massacred
by the savages, and daily themselves had dined and dwell with
death.These men of
Renfro Scotland; Ulster Ireland; and Northampton, England
carried their lives in their hands heavily but like bright
colored jewels of great worth, they came determined, even
swearing into this new found region, which was the richest
discovered down to 1772.Thus
the Clinch Region flourished.
Thursday, August 20, 1936
Compton Classifies Early Pioneers In
The Clinch Valley Region
in 1772 was the most western settlement of Anglo-Saxon
civilization in the New World.As the first area of the Cumberland Mountains to be occupied by the advancing
army of home-seekers that was destined to sweep across the
continent, the Clinch Region is of peculiar interest to the
student of frontier history.The characteristics of that economy in the region were in
the main a result of frontier conditions and consequently were
similar to those of other pioneer regions.They were intensified, however, by isolation, and they
differed from those of other frontiers in physical environment
and in the scientific and technological equipment available
during this period.
After a few preliminary advances and retreats, the actual
settlers began to take possession of the Clinch Region in about
in the main came from the Valley Section of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and even far-away Massachusetts, where they had been accustomed
to pioneering conditions.Their
antecedents were English, Scotch, Irish, and German with a few
Dutch, and French Huguenots scattered among the general
Topographically the region drained by the Clinch and its
tributaries was a dissected plateau --- many years before the
Clinch flowed through Cumberland Gap into the Kentucky or the Cumberland River.Possibly at one time it may have flown thru Pound Gap or
thru the mountain of Tazwell County into Tug Fork --- but
that was many years ago and for at least the past million years
the Clinch has cut its way through the mountain at Speer’s
Ferry and made its way south to the Tennessee.Due to this process of soil formation it made the soil
very fertile but left a considerable amount of the region too
steep and broken for successful cultivation.When even the first savages came to this region,
doubtless it was heavily timbered and abounded in wild animals,
both game and predatory.This
great fur bearing region had been visited by hunters and
trappers both Anglo-Saxon and French for more than a hundred
years prior to the coming of James Green, James Moore, Mathias
Harman, Carr, and about a half dozen other pioneer families.
The claim of the Indians to practically all of ScottCounty was genuine as the Treaty of Ft.
Stanwix and Cold Labor gave the whites the land east of a line
running from about where the cement plant is now located in
Kingsport, north to the mouth of Guest’s River and thence on
north to the mouth of the great Kanawha.James Green settled on Indian territory, against the orders of his
majesty, King George, and with only the protection of the
tribes of the Cherokee nation never did sanction the treaty
giving this section to the white man --- their incursions to
this region were a menace until Benge was killed in 1794.
Despite the difficulties involved in crossing the
mountains, and establishing homes among the dangers of the
Indians, the population increased rapidly from a dozen families
in the Clinch Region in 1772 to about 600 by the close of the
The motivation force back of this migration was always
were, especially among the first settlers, who were drawn by a
love of adventure, or of solitude, or by a desire to escape the
consequences of past conduct; but the majority sought the
opportunity to improve their economic condition. This
they expected to do by acquiring land and developing it into
improved farms which would provide old age security for
themselves and something to hand down to their children.It was not that they expected to make a better living the
first years than they could in the older region, but rather
hoped to be able to acquire and create capital stock in the way
of improved lands, farm buildings, live stock and other
the durable wealth created by the pioneer would result in
improved standards of living, at least for his children.The land in its wilderness state had comparatively little
value, not until it was transferred into farms by labor of the
pioneers did it become productive capital.
We quote from a letter of Herr J. A. Roebling written
from this MonongahelaRiver region in about 1800 which is
also applicable to the Clinch Region:
“There is no profit in hired help’ just as there is
no profit in bringing help from Europe.All farmers here do only as much as they with their
family can handle.You
will not find any gentlemen farmers here that keep hired help.These people live a very happy life indeed, enviable in
comparison with the German farmer; he raises all his
necessities, makes his own clothing, and has a surplus of the
necessities of life.Many
land owners here has no stables and the cattle stay out in the
open in the winter.The
horses are strong and vigorous and used for both riding and
raising can be conducted in different ways but it is not
advisable to have a large number for one farmer and so on.”
Letter addressed to Mr. Ferdinand Baehr, Mulhausen, Germany dated Jan. 5, 1801.
So the Clinch Region was the land of small farms until
the cattle barons invaded the territory in about 1860.Certainly some of the first settlers of the Clinch had
outlived their credit in the older parts of America.Their time of migration usually was about April.This fellow on reaching the region would build him a log
one-room cabin, possibly erect a rail-pen for a stable and would
kill the trees over about an acre of land then late in the
season would plant the clearing to Indian corn.His family, which usually is rather a large one is
sustained by fish and wild game in the region.For the first year this family endures a great deal from
hunger, cold and a great variety of accidental causes, but never
any complaints are muttered by them.As he lives away from the other settlers, Indians pay him
social visits and soon he is tinctured with their habits and
population increases about him, he soon becomes dissatisfied as
he can not surrender his natural rights for the cultural rights
of society.Soon he
abandons or sells out his holdings and moves on further west.
Despite his unsocial characteristics, the settler of the
“hunter pioneer” type was usually the first to make an
effort at settling the new region and in turn he is followed by
a second species who enlarges he cabin, clears some meadow land,
plant, maybe a few fruit trees and raise some corn, wheat and
rye.This species of
settler was the second type to appear on the frontier scene and
he only halfway did the job.As the hope of his crops is often blasted by cattle
breaking in to and destroying his corn patch, or wheat or rye
performs but half the labor that might be expected from him due
to little or no feed during the summer.His cattle often die in the spring of the year due to the
lack of food and shelter.This
type of settler delighted in spending two or three days each
week at the mil or general store discussing politics, arguing a
bout the tenets of faith of the Baptist or Methodist church and
contracting debts which in a short time compelled him to move
through the old records of Russell, Washington, Greenbriar, Montgomery and
Botetourt counties Virginia and Sullivan County , Tennessee this
statement can be easily by the court records.
Then come the last species of settlers.He is thrifty, hardworking with a small but increasing
converts every spot of level land to meadow.He next builds good log barns, a solid log spring house,
and erects permanent buildings for all needs of his farm.He not only raises corn, wheat, oats, rye, but he raises
in addition to the above items various kinds of garden products
and begins to plant orchards of apples, pears, plums, and
there never was in the Clinch Region two more outstanding
horticulturists than Rawleigh Stallard who gave to eastern
United States the Raleigh apple and John Broadwater who produced
from a seeding the early apple know as the “Sink hole” in
southwest Virginia and by the nurseryman the “Early Hale.”
The Clinch Region in its formation of settlement had
three distinct type of settlers.The hunter-pioneer type who mad a small beginning in the
process of creating a farm.But after a short time, he moved on.He was usually succeeded by a settler of the second type
who enlarged the cabin, cleared a little more land, and raised a
little wheat, and rye as well as Indian corn.He extracted by no means from the earth what she was
capable of giving, owing to the ground not being properly
third type arrived who became the actual pioneer ancestor of the
major part of the Clinch Region population.There were exceptions but this is the general rule which
may be verified by court records of this region.We know in some cases the land speculators like Patton,
Walker, and McClung Sent out settlers and they usually did well.
Of the third variety of settlers we find a variety of
activities being introduced and tried out by them.Some attempted silkworm cultivation in the Clinch Region,
others tried cotton farming, others attempted tobacco, and
through the economic law of existence based largely on open
markets the third type of farmers settled down after
experimenting to the raising of live stock, some wheat, oats,
corn and a little tobacco.Since
labor for hire was rare, and money to pay was not available, the
work of the early farmers was performed by the farmer and his
family.Only a few
items that the home had to have were not produced on the farm
___ viz; iron, glass, salt and spices, and these were brought
over the mountain on pack horses.
Once each year a caravan of pack horses from the Clinch
went east loaded with ginseng, pelt, whiskey, and snakeroot and
on the return from Philadelphia or Baltimore brought back nails,
salt, glass, and spices.It
was at first too far to drive the cattle through a pathless
country but by 1812 quite a drover’s business was built up in
the Clinch region and some of the best drovers of America came out of this section.We find about 1780 a few general stores were opened up
more to supply the needs of the emigrants going to Kentucky than
for the local farmers.We
failed to find any stores mentioned in “Addington’s History
of Scott Co. Virginia” but we find a list of articles sold by
the general store at Rogersville, Tenn. In 1790 which is close enough to
give us the kind of merchandise carried by stores of this
store was a part of the dwelling house and amount the articles
listed for sale:Nails,
calico, axes, Glauber Salts, asafetida, Bateman drops, best of
rum, wine, brandies, borax, alum, copperas, brimstone, Peruvian
bark, Bibles, Dilworth’s Arithmetic, Watt’s Hymn Book, and
is made of coffee, sugar or flour.These stores did not sell apparently what could be
produced by the farmers.
But within a generation after the settlement of Green, Moore, Harman, and Abb’s Valley
diversification set began to develop.Even during the early settlement of Patrick Porter we
find him building a mill and receiving from the British majesty
through the Virginia colony the permit in 1774 to
erect a mill on Falling Creek near the present town of Dungannon.Before long a fuller’s mill was started by the Moore family about three miles eastand south of Dungannon which remained in operation down
to the memory of he older citizens of Scott Co.Manufacture of wool into cloth and distilling came into
prominence to those with the ingenuity and skill to install and
operate the plants.From
1780 to 1860 distilling was one of the major industries of not
only the Clinch Region but a territory running from Buffalo, N.Y. to middle Georgia.Then it was considered honorable and respectable.An interesting sketch could be given on the distilling
industry of this region (which was legitimate) prior to 1860.The itinerant shoemakers”, harber-dashers” (German
salesman who said” Habe er das” made this word and tinkers
began to come into this region about 1800 and to relieve he
farmers of some of their difficult task.Most of these workers or salesman were paid on a custom
basis, that is the payment for the work was in the form of raw
products.Even as to
this day the mills were operated by paying a certain per cent of
the grain for the grinding, or the distilling.
By 1800 artisans began to set up their shops in community
centers and even then each community like Nickelsville could
boast of one or more carpenters, coopers, chair makers, tanners,
curries, cobbles, saddle makers, distillers, hatters and stone
The removal of the restriction on the New Orleans trade in 1795 by what is called
the Pickney Treaty gave the Clinch Region the first opportunity
of connecting a transportation system with the outside world.Flatboats began to ply their way down to Chattanooga, Natchez and even to New Orleans loaded with corn, wheat, honey,
pelts, ginseng, maple sugar, snakeroot and even bacon.
Thursday, January 2, 1936
Is Wounded In Rye Cove Fight
Sheriff Quillin Probes Basis For Shooting Just As He
Takes Over Office
Tom Estep, about 30, was in a critical condition in
the hospital today suffering abdominal gunshot wounds
allegedly inflicted by Emory Tipton, about 50, in an
altercation near Rye Cove late Wednesday afternoon and
still Under Investigation today by ScottCounty’s new Sheriff J. E.
Sheriff Quillin went to the scene of the shooting
late Wednesday, but Tipton had left or escaped, he said.Quillin’s investigation at the scene revealed
that Sylvester Starnes, father-in-law of the wounded an,
was struck over the head with some weapon during the same
Quillin was unable to assign any motive for the
shooting other than a free-for-all fight, as the result of
his investigation late Wednesday, but planned to continue
a probe until entirely settled.
The shooting occurred on the day that inducted
Quillin into office as ScottCounty’s new sheriff.
GateCity Herald Thursday, January 9, 1936
Is Victim Of Pistol, Tipton Held
Estep Died Tuesday In A BristolHospital;
Emory Tipton Is In Jail Here Charged With Murder
Tom Estep, 32, resident of the Hill Station
section died in the King Mountain Memorial hospital, Bristol at about one o’clock Tuesday morning, the
victim of abdominal gunshot wounds sustained last
Wednesday in the altercation which is said to have taken
place between him and Emory Tipton.
Tipton is now lodged in the jail here and was
yesterday formally charged with Estep’s murder.He has been in jail since last Saturday when he
was arrested by high sheriff J. Ezra Quillen.It is reported that no request has been made for
The accused man has made no statement except that
he stated that he and Estep had had trouble.
Estep was shot through the stomach, the bullet
perforating the intestines four times and piercing one
kidney before coming out near the spine.The kidney was removed in an effort to save the
wounded man his life.
Estep is survived by his wife, Maggie, and three
brothers and sisters: Frank and Abraham, of Clinchport
and John of Kingsport; Mrs. Daniel Lane, GateCity and Lula and May Estep
Funeral services were held at the home Wednesday
and interment took place in the near-by cemetery.
GateCity Herald Thursday, January 23,
Gets Twenty Years For Murder
Degree Murder Found Against Emory Tipton
Emory Tipton was found guilty of second degree
murder by a ScottCounty jury today and his
punishment set at twenty years in the state
verdict was returned at this morning.
Tipton was on trial for the murder of Tom Estep
in the Hill Station section of ScottCounty.Estep was shot on January 1, 1936 and died in a Bristol hospital five days later
from an abdominal pistol shot wound.
Tipton was represented by former judge S. H. Bond
and Hagan Bond of GateCity while Commonwealth
Attorney E. Hagan Richmond was assisted by George M.
Warren of Bristol, and Cecil D. Quillen of
All evidence and arguments were complete lade
Wednesday evening, leaving only jury deliberations for
The prosecution centered its case around the
testimony of Sylvester Starnes, farther in law of the
Starnes declared that Tipton started the
difficulty by attacking him with a knife.When the knife was lost in the ensuing scuffle,
Mr. Starnes said, he released Tipton who then returned
to his house, secured a pistol, and renewed his attacks,
this time striking the main state witness in the side
and on the head.
The slain man intervened in the second scuffle at
Starnes request, that he wrest Tipton’s pistol from
while he, Starnes, held the defendant on the ground.Estep was shot while he sought to carry out the
request, Starnes related.
When Estep was wounded, the witness said, the
second scuffle ended and he and Estep fled from the
scene of trouble while Tipton returned to his home a
second time, emerging with a shotgun and following them.He mad no further attacks, however, when he met
his son, Wrightly.
Defense counsel S. H. Bond and Hagan Bond
introduced Tipton’s son John and the latter’s wife,
Elizabeth in an effort to show that Estep was armed with
a pistol when the shooting occurred.
John Tipton and his wife were fined for alleged
efforts to avoid summons to testify in the case.
The defendant claimed Starnes started the
difficulty by striking him on the head with a stick he
was cross examined in detail by Attorney Warren as to
why he returned after a pistol when he lost his knife,
and later for a shotgun after losing the pistol.
GateCity Herald Thursday, July 30, 1936
Compton Relates Francisco History
Descendants of the Hero Of This Story Now Reside In Scott Co.
Surnames have always had a special appeal to me.Among the hundreds of surnames of ScottCounty I find none during the
nation’s formative period more intertwined in the making of
American History than that of Francisco.To find a good Spanish name in the heart of Anglo Saxon
America has for years aroused a speculative attitude in my mind
a to how the name came to ScottCounty.I have often thought did the progenitor of the Francisco
name come from Florida or Mexico.If not, when, where and how did the family arrive in Virginia?After a considerable amount of research we have found the
following story of the name Francisco.
In the year 1765 near the present town o Hopewell, Virginia a small ship from unknown
quarters cast anchor near the shore in the James River; lowered a small boat, placed a
small boy therein and three rough looking men hastily rowed the
boat to shore.They
set the youngster on land and the men returned to the ship and
immediately set sail, leaving the youngster in a foreign land
among strange people, even speaking a foreign language.What few planters observed the craft had never seen a
boat like this one in the waters of the James.At first the ship attracted attention but when the boy
was found he was a curious spectacle.
According to the story left by James Durell who lived
near where the boy was abandoned tells according to old records
the following story of Peter Francisco.The boy was about five or six years of age, wore a suit
of rich material with silver shoe buckles bearing the initials
“P. F.”The boy
had picked up a few words of English from the sailors and made
himself known to Mr. Durell as Peter Francisco.The boy was of noble bearing, and his poise and manners
caused even the most illiterate to take note of the royal
demeanor of this boy.It
was Durell’s opinion in 1765 that the boy had been kidnapped
and brought to this country to allow someone else to inherit his
Robert McKee of Tennessee a few years ago did a
considerable amount of investigating the boy’s ancestry.He learned of a royal house in Spain by the name of Francisco, and
that a child of this house was ordered beheaded to atone for the
treason of his father late in the eighteenth century.He had the American consul to investigate the report but
all the consul was able to obtain was that the records of that
particular province had been destroyed and thus no further light
was thrown on the name Francisco whose descendants now reside in
After the boy had mastered the English language fairly
well he gave this version.He
said his home must have been in either Spain or Portugal.The memory of his father was slight but he remembered
quite well his mother and his little sister.He recalled that his mother spokeon language and his father another.He remembered distinctly the great castle like home in
which he lived.On
the day he was kidnapped a great festival was going on inside
the castle walls and he and his sister were playing in the
came to the garden fence and offered some sweet bread to come
out into the street.When
he reached the street a blanket was thrown over him and he was
carried away to sea.From
what land the boy never definitely knew and even to this day his
descendants have not solved the mystery.
Due to the manly bearing of the boy Judge Anthony Winston
carried him to his home in Buckingham County, Virginia.No one else seemed to be anxious to take charge of the
little fellow.It is
stated that by the beginning of the Revolutionary War he was the
strongest man or boy in that whole region and was a favorite
with all classes and types of people.Judge Winston had the papers drawn up to adopt him as his
son and make him his lawful heir when the stirring times of the
Revolutionary War it was overlooked and thus we have the name of
The future record of the boy shows lineage and regal
Henry came to know and to love the boy.In 1776 Peter Francisco joined Captain Woodsen’s
regiment and saw service with Washington around New York, Long Island and received his baptism of fire
at Brandywine.Here on the same field at the same time another stranger
was wounded both were carried to the Quaker’s family
Gilbert’s home where Mrs. Gilbert nursed both Lafayette and
Francisco back to health.A
friendship sprang up between these two boys, , the other nineteen, that the years did not break.We find Lafayette visiting Peter Francisco in
We find Peter Francisco at Monmouth, at the storming of Stony Point and was the second man to scale
its walls, and he was with Washington’s Army at Valley Forge.His bravery on the field of battle won the friendship and
the enduring admiration of George Washington.Washington had a special sword made for
Peter Francisco and to this day it can be seen in the archives
of Virginia Historical Association, Richmond, Virginia.He was with Greene at Guilford Courthouse and in
“Foote’s Sketches of North Carolina” which was prepared
about 1830 can be found an account of Peter Francisco.It is stated that Peter Francisco performed a deed of
valor unparalleled in American History.In this battle he killed eleven red-coats with his own
sword.Also he was
left for dead on this field but a man by the name of Robinson
carried him to his home where he recuperated and soon again was
off to Virginia after the British.
Al Guilford Courthouse stands today a monument
commemorating in the following terms: “Peter Francisco, a
giant of incredible strength, killed eleven British soldiers
with his own sword at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.”
Peter Francisco was a close friend of Washington,
Jefferson, Madison, Lafayette, Henry Clay, Marshall and in the archives at Richmond many stories are buried that far
outrival in grandeur the name Israel Putnam, Paul Revere or any
other name from New England.
This is but a page of the past, a pageant of a little boy
kidnapped from his home, his country, and his parents; set a
drift in a new land where he made history and the historians of
the south have been neglectful of his contribution to American
buried in the ShockoeCemetery, Richmond, Virginia.We find his descendants in ScottCounty as well as any counties of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee as well as North Carolina.
Peter Francisco married Susanna Anderson, daughter of
James Anderson, Cumberland County, Va. and to this union were born two
James.Peter died in
young manhood and James married Judith Michaux and had the
following sons and daughters: James, Jesse, Peter, Obediah,
Susanna, Benjamin, John and Robert.
Peter’s wife Susanna died and then he married Catherine
Brooke and had the following children: Catherine, Susan, and
married Jane Lawrence the first time and then after his wife
died he married Annie Goodwin.By these two marriages he had the following children:
Peter, Elmo, Henry, Fanny, Benjamin, Catherine, William,
Elizabeth, Mattie and John.
From Peter Francisco the Franciscos of the Eastern United States have sprung.We find them in ScottCounty, In North Carolina and east Tennessee and Kentucky.Permit me to say that on more alluring chapter of the
Revolutionary War can be found than the unpublished chapter of
the daring deeds of Peter Francisco.
C. V. Compton
Thursday, August 27, 1936
In our issue of July 30 we
published a very interesting article on the Franciscos with a
brief history of Peter Francisco from Mr. V. B. Compton, of Woodville, Texas.It develops that a portion of the information in this
article is contained in a book by (Mrs. W. A.) Nannie Francisco
Porter, and that this book is copyrighted.We received a letter from Mrs. Porter, a copy of which we
forwarded to Mr. Compton.We
herewith publish Mr. Compton’s reply to Mrs. Porter.We as well as Mr. Compton are deeply grieved that any
infringement was made on Mrs. Porter’s rights.We should like to have information from anyone who knows
of the whereabouts of Mr. Francisco Jones.Mrs. Porter would like to get in communication with him.
W. A. Porter
2209 A Park Avenue Richmond, Va.
Dear Mrs. Porter:
A copy of your letter to the Gate City Herald was
forwarded to me this morning which was a shock to me.
First, permit me to say that I have never seen your book
and did not know that such a book was written.My source of information was from Francisco Jones, a
migratory oil field worker, who said he was born near Bluefield, W. Va. and had followed pipe line work
in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio and was looking for work here in
the east Texas oil fields.
He had, I should guess more than fifty pages written
about the Franciscos which he lead me to believe to be his work
of collecting and gathering the material.I accepted his material in good faith and thought I had
made a real find of genealogical interest.He stated all Franciscos came from him.
I am deeply grieved over the use of material that you say
you have worked up and even is in printed form.
The Gate City Herald a weekly newspaper is in
no financial way responsible for this material.They did not ask me for it and I sent it to them for
general interest to the readers.
Hope this word of explanation will be satisfactory to you
and your worker.
am, yours truly,
C. V. Compton
GateCity Herald Thursday, March 19, 1936
Pioneers Of Old Compton Farm
C. V. Compton)
All early pioneers of ScottCounty settled along the streams where
bountiful springs supplied water.Abraham Compton, born in New Jersey, lost his father in
the Revolutionary War, reared a “bound boy” by a man named
Smith in Burke Garden, married Lucy Barry 1789 and moved to the
Gig Glades which in after years came to be known as “The
Compton Farm,” changed the idea of the pioneer from the
necessity of settling by a flowing spring --- he dug his own
spring and thus started an era of settling in the upland region
of Scott County.
When he settled the Big Glades there were no settlements
in the county away from running springs.The grass here grew rank, herds of deer and flocks of
wild turkey were seen daily by Thomas McConnell (Dempsey) in
driving the cows up at night for milking.These two types of game were the only ones that Abraham
considered worth while to tempt him from his regular pursuits
for a short time.He
knew the haunts of the deer and turkey, where they fed and
watered and the turkeys roosted and when the sporting spirit
seized him or meat was desired for the household, he took his
old flintlock and went out and stalked his game or concealed
himself where the game would probably pass.When it was within range with unerring aim, fired
bringing down a fine buck or a turkey gobbler.
From the deer hide buckskin pants and coats, trimmed
along the seams with beads and fringes, were made which Abraham
wore on dress parade.He
clothed his slaves from the hide of cows which made very durable
clothing for rough wear.Dedford,
one of the slaves, and possibly the best mechanic in the Clinch
Region had a strong hankering for climbing trees to get
squirrels for his meat.Abraham
realizing the severe loss if Dedford should be crippled or
seriously injured in these climbing escapades advised him to
desist from climbing.But
one Sunday afternoon the temptation was too much when he espied
several squirrels in a large beech tree near the “gum
mounted the beech and when he was about twenty or more feet up a
limb gave way and Dedford came crashing down through brush and
limbs to the ground destroying almost completely his new leather
by a short time afterwards and helped to dress his wounds and
administered that night a severe whipping for willful
Dedford grew older he realized the righteousness of the
regulation and in the years to come he became the trusted and
the right hand slave of his master.
In the Big Glades every season of the year had its
particular kind of work for his household.There was no season for idleness, no season when there
was nothing to do.In
the long winter evenings when supper was over, watering,
feeding, and housing of the stock was attended to, Abraham was
busy with the repair of shoes, Lucy was at the spinning wheel,
Polly, Elizabeth, Sarah, Nancy, and Berry took care of the three
smaller children before the big blazing fire by cracking and
eating the meat of walnuts, hickory nuts, and hazel nuts which
had been gathered and stored for winter use.
The old fire place in the large two story hewn log house
was about 8 feet wide which consumed many cords of wood during
the long winter nights and days.Dedford always placed on the back-log which often was
more than fifteen inches in diameter by rolling it into the
house and placing it in the back of the fire place.The front log rested on sand stones; and later on
andirons were used.
During these cold nights it was not an unusual thing for
the wolf to break into the sheep pen and kill several of his
sheep, or to carry off one or more pigs from the bed of the sow
in the woods near the house.
The winter having passed and with it the spring season
opened with new duties and struggles; with clearings, planting
corn, keeping deer, live stocks and varmints from destroying the
garden was to be planted with beans, corn, potatoes, onions and
mustard for greens.Abraham
II said: How closely the children watched the growth of the
potato tops, the bean vines, the onions hoping from day to day
to get something in lieu of salt meat and bread.How delicious was the taste of the first young and tender
jubilee when the children were permitted to pull the young corn
for roasting ears.
Each house hold was a complete unit of food, clothing and
amusement within itself.Abraham
at first made and repaired the shoes, made the ox yokes and the
bows for them, made the hames and collars for the horses, tanned
the leather, made the wooden pegs for half-soling the shoes, and
kitchen and dairy vessels.
Lucy was an expert in weaving and spinning.Day after day, and night after night she would spin the
wool rolls into yarn thread, often humming a religious air which
blended beautifully with the whir of the spinning wheel.But after the thread was spun there was much work to be
done before the hanks were ready for the loom.The hanks had to be prepared for the big beam which must
have been about eight feet ling and six inches in diameter.The lose end in front had to be fastened to the sley.Other hanks had to spun for the shuttle.In weaving she threw the shuttle from one side to the
other between the thread and the warp which passed through the
sley or rather two sleys.There
were two treadles attached to the sley which caused the warp to
move up and down.
The yarn had to be colored which coloring was made from
the bark of the oak, maple, walnut, hickory, or sumac, depending
on the color desired.After
the weaving of the cloth and the coloring then Lucy was the
tailor for the household.It
was a task imposed upon her to look after and keep in repair the
clothing of the husband and children.She handled the material every step from the wool growing
on the sheep’s back on up to the loom and to the manufactured
Clothes could not be lightly cast aside after so much toil and
labor on account of being worn.The whole household in the pioneering days wore patched
of good cloth was cut out of the old garment and laid aside for
either patching or for piecing quilts.
Then there was the bed clothing for keeping the family
warm in winter which claimed much of her attention --- from the
weaving of woolen blankets and counter panes to the piecing and
quilting of quilts --- the raising of geese for feathers for
feather beds and pillows.
Corn was the principal crop raised and corn bread was
used at the meals, morning, , and night, for it required a
quicker and simpler process of getting it ready from the stalk
to bread than in wheat.Abraham
was a great hog raiser.He
would turn them out on the mast of acorn, chestnut, beechnut,
and chinquapin in the fall and about three weeks before
butchering time he would place twelve to fifteen or more in
large log pens and complete the fattening of them on corn.They were killed and salted down in brine in large tulip
troughs for about three months, then the meat was taken out and
hung on poles with thongs of leatherwood in the smoke house and
a slow fire of cobs and hickory built under the meat for three
of four days giving Abraham the consciousness of having a good
supply of meat for the Lynchburg market and home consumption.
No coffee or “bought” tea were ever used only
Spicewood and sassafras teas sweetened with maple sugar or honey
believed that sassafras tea use extensively in the month of
March would thin the blood so that many of the spring and summer
ills would be avoided.
Each of the seasons had their particular kind of fruits,
berries, and nuts.Spring
brought the strawberries, dew berries, and sarvis; summer
ushered in blackberries, huckleberries, grapes, early apples and
peaches; while fall was the time of persimmons, pawpaws,
walnuts, hickory nuts, chestnuts, and various kinds o apples and
peaches, all of which were shared with birds and animals.
The incessant industry of Lucy and Abraham Compton
naturally carried with it a tendency to take care of everything
useful, so that there was little wasted on the Compton Farm.When we recall the infinite patience and toil and
slowness with which all things were produced, it challenges our
admiration for the sturdy, industrious, forbearers of ours.
(These traditional sketches of the condition existing on
the Compton farm prior to 1825 were told me by my father and
they were told him by his grandfather, Abraham Compton III)
Thursday, February 27, 1936
A. J. Wolfe
John Wolf was born
according to the best tradition in the RhineValley about 1785 and died near Gate City, Virginia, in 1816.He married Katherine Bahre, who was born about 1780 and
died near 1835.
They were married about 1780.Their firs child, John, Jr. was born March 27, 1781, and the second child was
Katherine, who was born Oct. 3, 1782.the two first born they named after themselves.
About this time they became interested in trying their
fortune in the New World.Accordingly they set out on the voyage across the
Atlantic in the spring of 1783, in an old sail boat, in which
according to tradition, they were driven out of their way by the
stormy sea, the perilous voyage requiring some six or eight
at what is now Charleston, S. C., late in the year 1783 or
the early part of 1784.It
was during this voyage their second child, Katherine, learned to
walk and after landing had to learn again.
Not being pleased with the country around Charleston they began a trek northward
finally coming to the Holston and it doubtless reminded them of the Rhine so they settled down, living
near the rest of their lives.
John Wolf patented 25 acres of land in Washington County
by virtue of a Virginia Land Office Treasury Warrant No. 14,
269, lying on the south side of the North Fork of Holston River
and bounded as follows:Beginning
on the bank of the river at a sugar tree and hickory form thence
with the several courses of the river 212 poles to a lynn and
dogwood, thence leaving the river N 30, E 82 degrees---poles to
the first station.Area
24 acres, A. D. 1789.
The family were abut five years traveling from Charleston, S. C. to the Holston where they settled.They
had the following children:John, Katherine (Katie), Henry, George, Margaret (Peggy),
Adam, Nancy, Jonas, Hannah and Jacob.
The half breed Indian named Benge made trips to Moccasin
Gap.On August 26, 1791, the Indians under Benge killed
Elisha Ferris and all the rest of the family on the first day of
captivity except Nancy Ferris.Two years later Benge and his fellow savages came to
Moccasin Gap and murdered Harper Ratcliff and his entire family
of six persons.These
were the neighbors of John Wolf.
The dangers of the savage Indians, the hardships endured
in pioneer life, speaking a strange language, and rearing a
family of ten children was too much for John Wolf.His health gave way, his mind at times became clouded.Deed Book 3, page 573, Abingdon, Va., his sons Henry and John Wolf
enter into an agreement to take care of their mother.
It is as follows:We,
Henry Wolf and John Wolf, do promise, bind and oblige our and
each of ourselves, and our and each of hour heirs, executors and
administrators or assigns to furnish our mother, Katy Wolf, hot
house lots and dwelling of our father, John Wolf, as also a
garden, half an acre of flax land suitable for raising flax,
convenient to said house, as also to deliver to her annually
during her natural life, fifty bushels of sound Indian corn and
four hundred weight of corn fed fat pork and one bushel of salt,
and eight bushels of clean merchantable wheat, a suitable
quantity of hay or fodder for her cattle, and shoe leather for
three pairs of shoes for herself and two daughters that is with
her while they remain single, also a half acre of suitable
ground for cotton and as much fruit as she chooses to use for
eating and drying, also pasture for her calves and other stock,
and also we are bound to go or send to mill for her when ever
she requires it, as also get all her firewood that she may need
from time to time, as also an additional allowance for four
well understood and agreed on between the parties, those
supplies above mentioned is to be furnished our mother Katy
Wolf, from year to year and each and every year during her
natural life, as also all other things mentioned is to be
strictly complied with at such times and in such manner as she
may require, for the true performance of which we bind ourselves
and each of us, our heirs, executors and administrators and
assigns in penalty of $1000.00.In witness whereof we have set our and each of our hands
this Sept. 15, 1806.
Editor’s note: --- The reader will observe that Prof.
Wolfe throughout this interesting article on his early ancestor
has used the German spelling of the name “Wolf.”
Thursday, August 20, 1936
Reunion Is Largely Attended
Address Given By R. Lee Blackwell,
Great-Great-Grand-Son of John Wolf, First Of The Name In
The Wolfe families of the Appalachian section held
their third annual reunion in the courthouse in GateCity on last Sunday with many
of the descendants and their friends in attendance.
The meeting got under way about .Presided over by Prof. A. J. Wolfe, of Big Stone
Gap, the service was begun with song and a prayer by Rev.
J. B. Craft, followed by another song.Then Prof. Wolfe read the minutes of last year’s
The speaker for the morning session was Mr. R. Lee
Blackwell, of Louisville, Ky.He was introduced to the audience of his kinsmen by
Prof. Wolfe, whose student he was in high school.Mr. Blackwell is a graduate of DungannonHigh School, of Emory and HenryCollege and of the HarvardLawSchool.He is now a member of the law firm of Bruce and
Bullitt, in Louisville, Ky.His speech, tracing in bold outline the history of
the descendants of John Wolf, the pioneer, and landing the
achievements of the pioneers in general, has been the
subject of much favorable comment by all those who heard
it.A copy of
the speech in full will be published in an early edition
of the Herald.
All the officers and committee heads that were
elected or appointed last year were retained for the
GateCity Herald Thursday, September 3,
Heirs of yesterday’s Founders
R. Lee Blackwell)
At The 3rdReunion Of The Wolfe Family In Gate City, Va. On Aug. 16.
One hundred and seventy-eight years ago there was
born in the valley of the Rhine a man whose descendants
are not here today in their third reunion.His grave is two miles north of this Court House,
‘beneath the deeply anchored roots of an ancient oak
Wolfe (senior) was my great-great grandfather; and there
are in this audience members of his fifth generation in
I shall not undertake to outline to you the
history of John Wolfe’s family.Reverend A. J. Wolfe has spent many years in
gathering much information on that subject, and we look
forward eagerly to the time when he can compile and give
to us in permanent form the results of his labors.
Suffice to say that 26 years later, in the spring
of 1784, John Wolfe, after a long and turbulent voyage
in an ancient sail-boat, landed in America at Charleston with his wife and their
children were born to them, of whom the youngest, Jacob,
was my great-grandfather.
In 1789, 5 years after his arrival in America and the year of the
Cherokee attack upon FortBlackmore, John Wolfe settled in
this county, where he obtained a patent on lands
adjacent to Holston Springs.
This was still frontier country.Twenty-six years were to pass before this county
son, John, Jr., is the same John Wolfe who, on February 15, 1815 at the first County
Court held for this county, was recommended to the
Governor of Virginia as one of the Justices of the
The frontier character of this territory west of
the Alleghenies, thru which already ran the Kentucky
Trace, can best be recalled by remembering that John
Wolfe’s arrival in this county was only a few months
after General Washington’s inauguration as the first
President, and that roving Indian bands still invaded
the settlement along the Holston and Clinch.
Thus, the life of John Wolfe, on this western
fringe of American civilization, was contemporaneous
with the beginning of this Republic.
Few members of his family could be called
distinguished, perhaps none illustrious.But the soul of a nation is the soul of the whole
people who compose it and give to it vibrant, hearty
life or stagnant compliance.
While the early generations were farmers, many of
John Wolfe’s descendants (particularly in recent
generations) have turned to successful profession as
teaching, preaching, medicine, and the law.They have served in their communities in
positions of public trust, in war and in peace.
But regardless of whether they toiled with their
hands at the plow or in the shop, or directed the
intellectual and spiritual development of others from
the classic halls of the University of the sacred pulpit
of a church, they have contributed full measure of their
lives toward growth of a mighty people in a mighty
They, with the descendants of thousands of other
hearty points of their type, equally unknown in name or
specific deed, carved out of this wilderness a nation
whose institutions are the envy of the re*** of the
world, and spread its frontiers from river to river and
from ocean to ocean.
We are today’s heirs of yesterday’s founders.Our inheritance --- a nation full-grown, to do
with what we will, in honor or in dishonor, trust or in
misuse in exact p***tion to the positive purity or
positive indifference of our own purposes.Each of us is individually responsible for its
future course; and from that responsibility we can not
The decadence of a whole people is but the
decadence of individuals, in the aggregate; and with
profit we can recall Daniel Webster’s declaration that
“The most important thought I ever had was that
of my individual responsibility.”
Individual responsibility in our custodial care
of the inheritance which we gained by stout hearted
pioneers is not a subject for mere talk.Pericles declared in his oration in memory of the
Greek soldier dead that the deeds of great men could be
better memorialized by great deeds from those who seek
to honor them than by speeches in their praise.
Individual responsibility is not a mere academic
the consciousness of the individual of the end to which
he was born, --- of the purpose for which he came into
the world, --- and that consciousness must be measured
by the standard of his own efforts to accomplish that
It is not easy for us, to whom scientific
discoveries have made commonplace so much that was
unknown a few generations ago, to realize the hardships
which were overcome by the individual responsibility of
the people who made a wilderness into a powerful
Republic, resplendent in its might and bountiful in all
things which contribute to the joy of life.
Let us consider a single pioneer family: --- it
might be John Wolfe’s family, or Peter Livingston’s
family, or Patrick Porter’s family, or John
Blackmore’s family, or any family which crossed the
Alleghenies into the Western frontier and through Cumberland Gap spread civilization
across Kentucky into Missouri and clear through to the
That pioneer did not travel by automobile, or
over paved highways.He cut his way through a trackless wilderness and
across barren deserts.Imagine him on foot, accompanied by his wife,
traveling thru a wild country infested with hostile
Indians, equipped to meet and conquer an uninhabited
land with only an axe, a plow and perhaps a horse.
Yet he pushed on.The pioneer wife by his side took turns with him
in blazing a trail in day time and keeping watch at
some wilderness place, the two together made for
themselves a crude shelter and in that shelter were born
it they shared the accomplishments of their labor, the
agony of their hardships, the sorrow of their
disappointments ---but that which was a shelter became a home, and
the pioneer children born to them built well on that
foundation, until ultimately that shelter was a whole
community, and the thousands of such communities became
In it all, that pioneer stood free and fearless,
as sturdy as a great oak --- the aggressive foe of every
precept of courage.I am reminded by him of a passage in the
Scriptures which says “and he shall be like a rock in
a weary land, a covert in the time of story.”
It was of the son of such a pioneer about whom
Edwin Markham wrote:
. . . he held his place
Held the long purpose like a great tree ---
on through blame and faltered not at praise
And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down
when a kingly cedar, green with boughs
down with a great shout upon the hills
leaves a lonesome place against the sky.”
I said that we are today’s heirs of
yesterday’s founders.Our inheritance, so nearly complete when we
received it, is today threatened, just as surely as was
threatened every little settlement along the Holston and the Clinch.
But the danger today isnot from savage attach.It is more subtle.It is more --- “civilized.”
I speak, not of the preservation of this nation
as a political unit, --- that question I leave for
discussion by politicians and settlement by citizens in
the voting booths, --- but of the preservation of the
spiritual and intellectual purposes of our people.
No civilization can stand still and long endure.If it does not go forward, it must surely go
Babylon had mighty armies and
strong walls; but Babylon was content to stand
still --- and die.
The excellency of ancient Greece, with her sculpture and
philosophy, has been the despair of all who sought
excellency; but it could not withstand the inroads of
Rome spread her empire
throughout the Mediterranean world and sent her
victorious armies over all Western Europe.She gave to the world a system of laws upon which
little improvement has been made.But none of that could save her people, once ease
and luxurious contentment with those accomplishments had
fastened their deadly hands upon her.
Shall such complacency make palsied the hand of
it destroy the civilization which the Western world
there symptoms upon which the conclusion of peril can be
In the Old World, from whence we came, hatred and deep-seated greed have crowded out the
spiritual and intellectual purpose of the people, until
in more than half Christendom individual liberty of
thought and conscience is gone or substantially
In those countries, the family --- which is the
only permanent foundation stone of our Christian
civilization --- has been relegated to a position of
secondary significance; children have become wards of
in more than a dozen nations, dream only of the time
when babies shall have developed into soldiers, through
whom they can bring to accomplishment their selfish
Even in this country morality and the Church are
becoming --- in the minds of many --- merely
conventional places of refuge for weaklings and the
But let me say this:The rise or the fall of our civilization will be
in direct proportion to the presence of absence of high
moral and spiritual purposes of the whole people.
When Reverend Wolfe asked me to address you on
this occasion he told me that I might speak along any
line of a religious nature.
I am not a preacher; but the preservation of the
best of our civilization, and the elimination of its
worst, is not alone the task of preachers.It is the common battle, day by day, of every man
and woman who treasures the best and despises the worst.It is the common battle, day by day, of every man
and woman who treasures the best and despises the worst.I commend to you (as I have commended to myself)
what Paul wrote to Timothy:
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a
workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing
the word of truth.”
thus do I speak.I
have not chosen a religious theme; but the theme which I
have chosen involves man’s concept of a vital
That nation which seeks to build a civilization
in which religion has no place is pursuing the folly
which a ship builder pursues should he build a leviathan
and then equip it with the rudder of a pleasure yacht.
Make secondary in this country the life of the
Man of Galilee, and you destroy all of the hearty vigor
which brought it into being.Hold fast to that which He lived, and you make
certain our security.
His spirit has reigned longer and more
majestically, in the minds and hearts of more people,
than that of any other influence with which mankind has
become in contact.His
life makes clear the road.
He was not an architect; but for 2,000 years the
greatest architects have erected over Christendom, as
the most permanent memorials of their genius, mighty
cathedrals which lift their spires toward heaven and
proclaim His blessing upon mankind.
He was not a painter; but the greatest artists
have found in the incidences of His life the inspiration
for their most precious masterpieces.
He was not a musician; but out of the genius of
the greatest composers have come the finest tributes to
He was not an author.He never wrote a line; but about Him and His life
revolves all of the finest in literature.
He was not a physician; but His healing power is
the inspiration of the greatest men of medicine; and
there is in my own City a great surgeon, whose skillful
fingers have cured the aching bodies of thousands, who,
before taking in his hands in the operating room the
life of a sick one, goes and bows himself down to the
One to whom he pays homage as the greater physician.
How truthful have the intervening 2000 years
shown to be His great apostle’s teaching that “the
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,gentleness, goodness, faith.”All these He brings to all men everywhere who
would be strong and stout hearted, who would preserve
and keep in faithful care that which has been wrought by
all of the John Wolfes of the land.
Their lives may have been without distinction.Their deeds may not have brought them fame.But, famous deeds often are less effective in the
furtherance of the great purpose of a nation than the
unknown and unheralded plain, simple lives of honest and
industrious men and women.
I count as illustrious the life of every man who
holds to that which is good, and with such talent as he
possesses stoutly lives the good and resists the bad.
I count as illustrious the life of every woman
who brings into the world one of her own flesh and by
her teaching produces another generation as strong in
noble purpose as these hills about us.It makes no differences with me that she is not
an opera singer, or an accomplished musician, or the
writer of books which receive public acclaim.
I count as equal to any of these, the mothers
here in our own hill country who have grown old with
life that can not be reckoned by the calendar, whose
jewel less fingers bear on them the marks of hard toil,
and those once fair faces are wrinkled with the
innumerable cares which life has brought to them.
I know that those toil-marked hands have soothed
the fevered brows of babies.
I know that those furrowed brows are but the
price which has paid for unselfishness.
I know that those care-worn faces which have in
them ore pathos than a story-swept countryside, also
radiate more beauty than the gold and purple of a
know that because I see them before me; and I see their
mothers before them --- I see John Wolfe’s Katherine,
--- and the Katherines of the other pioneers of this
They taught “I am the master of my fate, the
captain of my soul”; and they lived in active
awareness of the end to which they were born.
Only through love of noble action, and hatred of
complacent idleness, can man “Be
steadfast as a tower that doth not bend it stately
summit to thetempest’s shock.”
To such a man, this country must ever turn.His sphere of influence may reach into every
corner of the land, or it may be limited to his own
Regardless of which, if he lives strenuously for
the best --- if he seeks with all to which he is heir to
bring to himself and to his fellow man a more abundant
life --- if he visions a complete unfolding of his soul
--- he will erect in the hearts of men a monument of
more resplendent majesty than can be expressed in shafts
of pure white marble.
Without such a man, --- without an idealistic
youth of the land from whom such men must come --- the
star of our national destiny will set; and our
institutions, cemented together as they are by the life
blood of our fathers, will shatter.
Shall we keep faith with the blessed mission of
this great people?That
question will be answered by the minds and hearts of the
youth of this generation of all the John Wolfes of
“Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments
that occupy the minds of your young men.”
declared the great Burke;
“and I will tell you what is to be the
character of the next generation.”
Leave unspoiled youth’s ideals; fester with
care their youthful dreams.No sturdy manhood has ever grown from a dreamless
great accomplishment has ever sprung from a mind which
had no capacity for noble idealism.Every mile post on the upward path from savagery
to enlightment is simply the reduction to the practical
accomplishment of man’s dream of the ideal.
Life can be to all men what it was to the Negro
boy who, withal his black face, saw it as an exciting
adventure, when in poetry he wrote, with youthful
have a rendezvous with life,
days I hope will come
youth has sped and strength of mind,
voices sweet grow dumb;
have a rendezvous with life
Spring’s first heralds hum
some would cry it better far
crown their days in sleep,
face the wind, the road and rain
heed the falling deep.
wet, nor blow, nor space, I fear,
fear I deeply too
Death should greet and claim me ere
keep life’s rendezvous.”
GateCity Herald Thursday, January 2, 1936
Compton Writes On Valley Creek Mills
The Valley Creek community
was once the center of a region of water powered grist mills.Here, at one time, within the radius of seven miles of
Morse McConnell’s grist mill could be counted more than 15
mills, but this was more than three quarters of a century ago.Of the mills then operating only a few remain on the
original mill site and not one in its pristine form, grinding
the grain as of old that the farmers brought to the mills.
Valley Creek seems to be the most ideal stream for mills
to be found in Virginia.This stream is fed by bold everlasting springs rushing
from the bluffs which separate the Valley Creek Region from ClinchValley.George McConnell settled in this region about 1805,
coming from Glade Hollow, RussellCounty.He was reared by German people or in a German community
as he said when he looked over the Glade Hollow Region near
where he made his settlement that he was moving to “a valley
on top of a hill.”Many
of his descendants have become the great millers of Southwest Virginia.
Two of his grandsons established mills on Valley Creek.Before the Civil War, many years, Morse McConnell
established his grist mill on Valley Creek which became the
center of a thriving community.During the Civil War the old mill lost some of its
prestige due to Captain Morse McConnell being called for a part
of the time from the mill to manufacture gunpowder for the Boys
before and after the Civil War the “Old McConnell Mill” was
some what a community of itself, here the neighbors far up and
down the creek would meet and swap jokes and narrate the
choicest of gossip of the country side.It was a place where elections were held, the meeting of
the minute men of the Confederacy, took place, and even where
marriages were performed.
Morse McConnell had built a mighty dam across the creek
at least twelve feet high out of Copper Creek marble, which was
one of the largest dams in the whole region.Morse felt proud of the power that the dam gave his mill.He would say “if my meal is better that’s because the
mill stones are heavy and we grind constantly but slowly.”His mill due to the large amount of storage water would
grind about a bushel of meal every thirty minutes, day in and
day out.Twice each
year he would “repack” or redress the large mill stones
which he said “made each grain of meal stand apart with a
Captain Morse McConnell passed away many years ago and
with his passing the mill soon passed away.Today the old mill is gone, even little trace is left of
the mighty mill dam which backed the water for almost half a
mile up the creek.A
more beautiful mill location could not be found in ScottCounty than Morse McConnell’s mill
site.It (a hole in
the paper leaves a few words missing) in a canyon with maples,
oaks, tulips, chestnuts and walnut trees growing up and down the
creek and on the hill side.Even the mill pond was filled with “hornyheads” and
the water was made white with geese swimming on the surface.In the summer and the fall of the year this mill dam
served somewhat as a baptistery for the Baptist and Methodist
sects for miles around---in this region all McConnells then were
Methodist and all Comptons were Baptist.Many great arguments prevailed around the mill on
immersion, predestination, and the tenants of faith of the two
George McConnell and Abraham Compton had big arguments here.
About one mile toward the source of the creek his cousin
William G. McConnell ran a grist mill and a sash mill.The present site of William G’s mill is occupied by the
up-to-date flour mill of the Dougherty Brothers.
For many years the chief dependence of the Valley Creek
community for lumber was the sash mill at William G. McConnell.This sash mill with its ponderous slow-moving water wheel
with a daily output not much greater than an active pair of
“pit-sawyers” could deliver.This mill served the needs for the Valley Creek community
for many years, and even the first competition was the steam
circular saw mill brought to this region by Hayes.Soon after Hayes arrival, other circular saw mill came
and the old sash mill of William G’s disappeared.
Rafting could be conducted on rivers like the Clinch and Holston which brought much money to the
fact was that logs were never hauled up grade for rafting, so
the Valley Creek region had no market for their timber until
William G. McConnell installed the old sash mill consisting of
old style water wheel which could possibly saw more than 500
feet in a day.The
sash mill always had to stop for the grinding of grain for the
farmers who brought their corn to be ground into meal.
The trees were felled by the farmers and chopped into
logs by axe men during the winter season; few saws were even in
existence in the county and found mostly along the rafting
time only the best log from a giant tulip was used and the
remainder of the tree was left in the woods to rot or be burned.These giant tulip trees averaged from 100 to 150 feet
high and three to six feet in diameter.It was necessary often to have four or five yoke of oxen
to one of the fine yellow popular logs.
Last summer Father and I went to the old William G’s
mill site where the Dougherty Brothers are operating a flour and
grist mill.A man
brought corn to the mill that day that had brought corn to the
same mill site seventy years ago.George McClellan is one of the elders of the Valley Creek
The Dougherty mill will grind 700 bushels of corn this
year if the season comes up to standard.It will also grind about the same amount of wheat into
“Nath” Dougherty is sure of grinding the corn and pretty
sure of the grinding of wheat---but not worrying much about
either---for his mill is the last of the mills on the old mill
site established almost a century ago.Most of these mills built seventy to one hundred and
twenty years ago have been abandoned along Amos Branch, Valley
and Obey Creeks.Fire
has destroyed some, high water some, old millers have passed on
closing others, the methods in living have closed others, and
the highways of civilization have changed which closed
others---the easiness to buy store meal have wrecked others
until now we have only the old mill sites left of once a
prosperous business of the Valley Creek region.
Fifty years ago there existed up and down Valley Creek
the following mills:Fraley’s,
William G’s, Morse McConnell’s, Hale’s, along a parallel
creek by the name of Obey there were John Gillenwater’s,
Billie Gillenwater’s, Peter’s and Mann mills and to the east
of Valley Creek was Amos Branch which had the following mills:Dickenson’s, Bush’s and the mill at the mouth of Amos
Branch.Out of all
these mills only two or three mill sites are occupied and old
mill stones are gone.In
each of these the old grindstones seems to creak and moan---as
though they beg for the grain of which they will grind no more.And within the next decade or so all the traces of the
old mills will be obliterated entirely.
My visit to the William G’s old mill place last summer
observed men and boys coming to mill afoot, on horseback, mule
back, in wagons, in buggies, in Fords, and in automobiles,
bringing their home grown wheat and corn to be ground into flour
and meal for home consumption.
As time has wrought havoc with many of the mills it has
scattered many of the original families of this community.The McConnells are still here and the name flashes back
to more than a century and a quarter ago when the gallant young
man brought his newly wed wife Susannah to a “Valley on top of
and his wife left one of the largest family of boys ever
produced in ScottCounty, all marrying and rearing large
Creek was the original home of the McConnell’s of Scott.Emmet McConnell, who was born at the old home place of
Albert Compton has entertained more potentates of foreign
nations and more people have passed through the Gates to see his
production than any other living man in the world.Nathan Hall, the son of Drayton Hale the owner of
Hale’s mill served for many years in congress of the United
Stated, his brother Joseph was the chairman of one of the major
parties of Tennessee for many years, were born and
reared on Valley Creek---Judge M. B. Compton who has pride of
county and country was born and reared on Valley Creek.Dr. John P. McConnell who has possibly directed morally
the lives of more people than any indi9vidual in the state of Virginia was educated and partially
reared on Valley Creek and the remainder of his childhood days
were spent on Obey Creek.
The community of mills in ScottCounty has been the makers of men and
women as well.The
names which were at first in this region are:Castle, Compton, Culbertson, Fraley, Moore, Meade, Cox, Hillman, Davidson,
Sturgeon, (maybe Sturgill), Ramey, Wampler, Elliott, and Keith.
GateCity Herald Thursday, September 10, 1936
ScottCounty In War Time
By Robert Milford Addington
ScottCounty is one of the extreme southwest
counties of Virginia.It is traversed by a number of narrow, trough-like
valleys extending northeast and southwest.These valleys are separated by Little Pine, Clinch, Stone
and Powell’s Mountains, and Copper and Moccasin Ridges.
The valleys are drained by the North Fork of Holston and ClinchRivers, and Moccasin and Copper Creeks
and their tributaries.The
county area of about 528 square miles is divided into thousands
of small farms upon which are located most of the homes of its
people, for the most part, earn their living in agricultural
pursuits, and were thus engaged when the war of 1917 came on to
disturb “the even tenor of their way” by upsetting many of
the old economic and social usages to which they had been long
The people of ScottCounty, who, in August, 1914, read the
news items from overseas, stating that Germany had declared war against France, and had violated the neutrality
of Belgium, little thought that the war
thus begun would ever assume such proportions as to have any
direct personal interest to them.The probability of the United States becoming involved in a war so
far away seem too remote to be considered.Some sympathy was felt for Belgium because her rights had been so
ruthlessly trampled upon, and some admiration was felt also for
the plucky little nation that so bravely fought to protect her
sovereignty and turn back her brutal despoilers.Aside from these feeling of sympathy and admiration, the
average Scott Countian had little or no interest in the war at
this time.By and
by, as the war dragged on year after year, and nation after
nation became involved in it, as Germany’s submarine policy, like a
giant octopus, reached out to destroy the commerce and lives of
neutral and enemy nations alike, the sense of justice and fair
play, characteristic of ScottCounty people, was powerfully appealed
interest in matters pertaining to the war, which had prevailed
in its earlier stages, at length began to quicken.This increased interest was to be measured in part by the
avidity with which all classes of he people now began to read
newspapers and periodicals.Those who were not already subscribers to some newspaper
subscribed for others.In
this way the county, to an extent never before known, was
transformed into a newspaper-reading public.This ever-in-creasing newspaper audience was daily
becoming more and more responsive to the teachings and
leadership of the press.Pathetic
incidents, such as the execution of Edith Cavell, the drowning
of Leon C. Thrasher, the first American to fall victim to Germany’s submarines, and especially
the sinking of the Lusitania with its precious cargo of more
than a thousand human lives, including one hundred Americans,
were placed upon the throbbing heart of the county.Yet in spite of these incidents and the sympathy which
their recital called fort, there was a deep-seated aversion on
the part of the majority of ScottCounty people to entering this war.However, it was not possible to behold such a struggle as
that daily being presented to them in the public press without
opinion was divided, but divided into very unequal parts.The majority sympathized with the Allies.A few --- a very few --- sympathized with Germany --- and this number was mostly
made up of those who were unable to forget he circumstances of
our Revolutionary War with England.
Such editorial utterances as the following appeared in
the Gate City Herald:
“Gentlemen, you may take sides with Germany if it gives you pleasure to do
so.As for us, we
are Americans and stand for America.Long live the Stars and Stripes.”
“Talk for Germany and abuse the French all you please,
then tell us, please, how it is that German spies are prowling
through this country and French spies have never done so.”
The recital of the cruel incidents of the war --- and the
newspapers were rather full of such things --- instead of
provoking belligerent thoughts in the minds of the people,
tended to increase the aversion to war already existing.Many thought, or at least hoped, that the necessity for
war could be removed by diplomatic agencies: that all
differences could be composed by some favorable agreement,
peaceably arrived at.
On account of our relations with Mexico, the newspapers in the early
days of the war, had much to say about preparedness, but the
people of the county manifested little interest in the subject.For the most part they regarded the agitation for
preparedness as propaganda disseminated by the manufacturers of
munitions of war and by military men.
On April 6, 1917, Congress voted to declare war
against Germany.This declaration was followed closely by the announcement
that the military forces of the United States would be composed of men chosen
by selective draft, and June 5, 1917, was named as the day on which
the drafting would begin.The
tome of the newspapers changed almost overnight.They now set for themselves the task of changing and
shaping public opinion in conformity with the course determined
upon by the President and Congress.Only momentarily was there pause and inertia, not to say
uncertainty, as to the unanimity with which public opinion would
sustain the action of the President and Congress.However, in the short space of sixty days ScottCounty public opinion was changed from
strong opposition to the war to active and hearty cooperation in
carrying it on.
The Christian people of
the county, without regard to denominational preferences,
sincerely believed that the United States had entered the war for just,
unselfish and humanitarian reasons.Hence the churches, without hesitation, assisted in the
various drives made in the interest of Belgian Relief, the Red
Cross, the Y. M. C. A. and the W. C. T. U. special services for
soldiers were held in the churches.In the newspapers accounts of church services during the
war period such texts as these are found: “The War at the End
of Three Years,” “Bolsheviki,” and “Our Daily Bread”
(a sermon on the Conservation of food).
The schools and churches of the county actively
participated in the various campaigns or drives launched in the
interest of war work.School
children gave to Belgian Relief and Junior Red Cross funds.All public exercises, even school commencements, were
decidedly patriotic in tone.“Duty and Patriotism” was the subject of the literary
address in one of the high schools.The subject, “Resolved, That selective conscription is
the most effective and the most satisfactory means of raising an
army to satisfy the demands of our country during the present
war,” was publicly debated at the commencement exercises of ShoemakerHigh School, 1917.
The Scott County Teachers’ association, at its annual
meeting in 1917, discussed military training, Red Cross work and
School children constituted no small part of the
audiences in the various war works campaigns.ShoemakerHigh School students often came in a body to
the court house on occasions of public speaking.
Law and Military Matters
The first draft day passed without an unfavorable
incident anywhere, and ScottCounty, together with the rest of the
country, was in the World War.
Under date of May 19, 1917, C. W. Dougherty, sheriff, was
notified by Governor Stuart that he had been appointed a member
of the Board of Registration for ScottCounty.He was directed to appoint registrars at each voting
precinct in the county, and to wire the names of the persons so
appointed on May 24th.
The registrars at the various voting precincts of the
county were as follows:France,
J. A. Ford; Rye Cove, J. H. Johnson; Duffield, S. S. Jennings;
Clinchport, W. A. Pierson; Pattonsville, Charlie H. Neely;
Rollers, T. M. Darnell; Jennings, H. H. Reynolds; Powers, T. J.
Freeman; Estillville, Robert Benton; Winingers, W. T. Shelton;
Big Cut, J. E. Metcalf; Smiths, G. G. Pannell; Stony Point, U.
S. McMurray; Hilton; Nickelsville, N. T. Moore; Addington, J. H.
Redwine; Stoney Creek, J. M. Harris; Peters, W. H. Nash;
Osborne’s Ford, Esau Huneycutt; Hodges Store, F. B. Horne.
At the same time the notice of registration was given, a
call was made for a meeting of all patriotic citizens of the
was to be held at the court house on June 2, 1917, just two days prior to the draft.The call was signed by J. F. Sergent, J. H. Johnson,
Sam’l Haynes, J. H. Peters and A. W. Stair, committee.
“Saturday (June 2) patriotism rode on the crest of the
wave in GateCity.The people came out from all sections of the county and
demonstrated that mountaineers are still lover of liberty and of
Patriotic address were delivered by Rev. C. R. Cruikshank
and Rev. G. A. Crowder, E. T. Carter, J. H. Peters and Prof. P.
airs were rendered by the Kingsport Band.This meeting was considered a success because it augered
well for the draft.
There were 1,756 white men in the county who registered
for the first draft and 41 colored men, making a total of 1,
797.The number of
white registrants by precincts were as follows: Stony Creek,
192; Peters, 79; Estillville, 221; Big Cut, 88; Winingers, 61;
Hoges Store, 42; Osbornes Ford, 109; Hiltons, 43; Smiths, 60;
Stony Point, 67; Addington, 68; Pattonsville, 77; Powers, 57;
Rollers, 73; Clinchport, 81; Duffield, 51; Frances, 59; Rye
Cove, 94; registered by the board, 17.Colored registrants by precincts were: Stony Creek, 9;
Estillville, 18; Big Cut, 4; Osborns Ford, 7; Pattonsville, 1;
Powers, 1; Rollers, 1.
The draft was the chief topic of interest to the people
of the county during the summer of 1917.Few, indeed, were the families that were not affected by
Destroying Angle that passed over Egypt, it came into the homes of the
county and set apart the strongest and most promising for the
god of war.Many
were the speculations as to the kind of offering fate or chance
would bring to the young man of military age.Both the draftees and their anxious friends tried to
remove the uncertainty and solve the mystery that hung over it
better than suspense.To
the untraveled drafted man a trip overseas was an adventure that
admitted of many dangers.Therefore,
service in the country was sought in preference to service in
of the volunteering was done in the hope that a choice might be
had as to the kind of service.
All persons drawn in the first draft were called by the
local board for physical examination on August 6, 7 and 8, 1917.The order numbers of those included in this call ran from
1 to 365, inclusive.Emmett
McClellan, of Wayland, Virginia held order number 1.
On August 21, 1917, the second contingent of
drafted men was called to appear before the local board for
order numbers of these men ran from 366 to 764 inclusive.
The local examining board was composed of Dr. C. R.
Fugate, physician; C. W. Dougherty, sheriff, and J. F. Richmond,
Of the 400 young men first called before the board 57
failed to pass and 343 were pronounced sufficiently robust to
endure the hardships and fatigues of army life.Of the number that passed, 268 claimed exemption, the
greater part of them doing so because of the fact that they had
families depending upon them.A few made the plea of dependent parents; 75 did not
apply for exemption.Those
claiming exemption were given ten days in which to file
certificates supporting their claims.
“Whatever some may think abut it, the Herald is
convinced that our Local Emption Board has striven to discharge
its duty with the utmost fairness to all.It has had a big task, one that would sorely test the
patience of any group of men.Besides the board had special instructions by which to be
guided, and little was left optional with it.Our country had to meet grave conditions and board was
appointed to meet these conditions here.If you had been disposed to criticize any act of the
board, pause and reflect, put yourself in the place of the men
who have gone so patiently through the stupendous task, then we
thin you will be less critical.The board deserves our gratitude for the manner in which
it has discharged its duty, and is discharging it.
The first contingent of soldiers sent from ScottCounty to CampLee were as follows:Daniel Rhoton, Clinchport; Hugh Summers, Bellamy;
Benjamin Rhoton, Clinchport; Amos Ervin, Clinchport; Preston Wm.
Elliot, Mack; Wm. Presley Elliott, Nickelsville; Ballard
Chandler, Fairview; Hubert Adolphus Quillin, Gate City; John
Henry Berry, Riggs; Lucian Horton Wininger, Yuma; Joe Wolfe
The local board placed Hubert A. Quillin in charge of
this group.The day
of entraining was made an occasion for a patriotic celebration.Stores, offices and business houses were closed, court
adjourned, and a great crowd assembled at the station to bid the
The ladies of the W. C. T. U. presented each of the young
men with a bouquet of flowers and a kaki bag or comfort kit,
each containing a New Testament, a pair of scissors and other
articles useful I camp life.
On Sunday, September 16, 1917, all the churches of GateCity united in services held for the
benefit of the young men who were to go to CampLee on the 19th of
sermon was preached by the Re. Samuel Wolfe, of Knoxville, Tenn., from the text, “Greater love
hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his
On Wednesday, September 19, 1917, the local board sent a second
contingent of 72 men to CampLee.Hundreds of friends and relatives of the men gathered at
local band rendered patriotic airs.The people, thought serious, restrained their emotions
that the young soldiers might take their departure in a cheerful
frame of mind.Charles
Clinton Pendleton was put in charge of the soldiers, with J. D.
Carter, Jr., and Robert McConnell as assistants.Two extra passenger coaches in which the young soldiers
were to be carried to Bristol were brought to GateCity on the day preceding.Little school girls from the Shoemaker High School
presented each young man with a beautiful bunch of flowers.The W. C. T. U. of Gate City and Nickelsville presented
each of the soldiers with comfort kits.
“Last Tuesday the following men went to CampLee, having by some means been
prevented from going with the others on Saturday before:Conley Arwood, Isaac Gilliam, Patton Peters, Conley Wise.Scott now has 157 men in CampLee.The remaining men who should have gone with the last
contingent were prevented from doing so by illness.They have all made satisfactory explanations to the
Exemption Board and expressed a willingness to go as soon as
they are able.This
makes a fine showing for ScottCounty.”
On Oct 29th the first contingent of colored
soldiers were sent to CampLee.On the Friday night preceding a banquet and rally for the
colored people was held at the Prospect colored school house.Patriotic addresses were made by E. T. Carter and others.On the day of entrainment the W. C. T. U. presented each
colored soldier with a comfort kit similar to those presented to
the white soldiers.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, 1917, nine more men were sent to the
training camp at Petersburg.This made a total of 178 men from the county and was only
two short of the county’s quota.A few days later two more men were sent to camp, thus
completing quota up to date.
On Dec. 15, 1917, the Local Exemption Board began
to make preparation for the second draft of soldiers from the
county.A number of
questionnaires were mailed out daily, and the registrants were
warned of the penalty attached to a failure to fill them out.Almost 1,250 questionnaires were sent out.The board was assisted in this work by E. L. Taylor, Roie
M. Dougherty, Richmond Bond and Edgar Counts.
All drafted men who were in need of dental work and
unable to pay for it, could get a certain class of work done by
applying in writing to any of the following dentist of GateCity:Drs. James Semones, W. H. Perry, E. A. Hoge.
The 1918 January term of court continued only one day.It was adjourned “till court in course” on account of
Under date of March 21, 1918, the Local Exemption Board
issued warning to those who had been given deferred
classification on account of dependents, that unless they
actually supported their dependants, recommendation to change
them to class one would be made to the District Board.
The second installment of colored soldiers was sent to CampLee on April 26, 1918.
On June 5, 1918, 174 white men and one colored
man registered as having become 21 years of age since the first
registration.On June 20, 1918, six white and two colored
registrants were added to the above number.Thirty-three young men were registered on Aug. 24, 1918.
This registration enrolled 2,532 men for military service
in the county.Nearly
one-third of this number were between the ages of 18 and 21.
According to the muster roll in the clerk’s office, ScottCounty had 693 men in the various
branches of the service.
In the reports of the local board, the words
“delinquent” and “deserter” were written after less than
a dozen names, and most of these persons later placed themselves
in charge of the board and were sent to camp without arrest.
The call for the county’s quota of men to entrain October 7, 1918, to Oct. 11, 1918, was cancelled until a later
date because an epidemic of influenza was raging in the camps.This call was renewed for November 15th, but
before that time arrived the Armistice had been signed, thus
canceling the call a second time.
Clayton Hammonds was the first ScottCounty soldier to be killed in the war
with Germany, it is an interesting fact that
his great-grandfather, John Wolfe, was a German, born and reared
to young manhood in the Valley of the Rhine.
The names of two ScottCounty soldiers appear on the
Distinguished Service list of Virginia.They are Isaac Estep, of Clinchport, and John Samuel
Hartsock, of Nickelsville.Isaac
Ester was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and John Samuel
Hartsock received the French Croix de Guerre.The citations accompanying these awards may be found in
“Virginians of Distinguished Service of World War,” source
volume 1 of the Virginia War History Commission’s
Liberty Loans and War Savings Stamps
On May 31, 1917, J. H. Peters, cashier of the
People’s National Bank, was appointedsub-chairman for ScottCounty “to perfect a plan of campaign
for the sale of Liberty Bonds.”Mr. Peters named N. M. Horton, of the First National
Bank, J. L. Q. Moore, of the Farmers and Merchants Bank; W. F.
C. Blackwell of the Bank of Dungannon; R. L. McConnell, of the
Farmers’ Exchange Bank, and J. H. Peters to receive
subscriptions for Liberty Bonds.D. C. Sloan made the largest subscription, $10,000, and
Mrs. J. B. Craft was the first lady of the county to buy a
The Liberty Loan campaigns did not meet with generous
response in ScottCounty.The total quota assigned was $953,200, and the amount
subscribed in all drives totaled only $323,750.Lack of interest is the reason assigned for this
A Victory Loan rally day was arranged for May 7, 1918.There was a parade including old Confederate soldiers and
veterans of the World War at 11 in the morning, followed by an
automobile parade, including a Red Cross float.Hon. Preston W. Campbell addressed the soldiers at the
court house, and after dinner an address was made by Chaplain
John L. Weber, of CampJackson, S. C., followed by a moving
picture, “The Price of Peace,” and music by a band.
The most intensive of all drives was made for the sale of
War Savings Stamps during the Fourth Liberty Loan campaign.Rev. J. B. Craft was director and Professor A. W. Stair
was his assistant.The
following men had charge in the various Magisterial districts:Dekalb district, W. S. Cox and H. C. L. Richmond;
Estillville district S. W. Coleman and Prof. A. W. Stair; Floyd
district, L. P. Fraley and J. F. Sergent; Fulkerson district, J.
P. Corns and W. H. Nickels; Powell district, J. H. Catron and J.
D. Carter; Taylor district, E. T. Carter and G. Claude Bond.
Hon. L. P. Summers and Judges W. E. Burns, of RussellCounty, and Preston W. Campbell, of Washington
County, made speeches in the county in this campaign.
The county’s quota was $500,000.
The committee in charge made a list of about two hundred
citizens who seemed to be able to invest as much as $1,000 in
War Savings Stamps.A
letter signed by the committee, was sent to each person on the
list.The letter, in
read as follows:
“To purchase War Savings Stamps is no sacrifice on your
part, but it shows your manhood, your patriotism and your
willingness to help.Do
the sake of all we hold dear, for the sake of our county, which
is yet far behind most of the counties in our section, respond
at once.Sign your
pledge card for the sum you have been assessed.Should you not have the money at the time your card is
due, borrow it.Thousands
are doing this everywhere.Let
us have your help and encouragement and we will remain in the
field with you until the last dollar has been raised.”
This letter was signed by W. D. Smith, chairman; W. J.
Rollins, M. B. Compton, W. F. C. Blackwell, E. T. Sproles, W. W.
Committee of One-Thousand-Dollar Subscriptions.”
At the first public meeting in this campaign held at the
court house, $40,000 was pledged.Twenty-six one-thousand-dollar men were in the meeting.Floyd district was the first to ‘go over the top’
with its quota of $40,000.The
total amount of subscriptions in this drive was about $550,000.
and Fuel Conservation
On May 3, 1917, a company of “voluntary and
disinterested citizens” issued a proclamation setting forth
the importance of “increasing and conserving the food
supplies” and calling upon the “people of this county to
meet us at the court house in GateCity next Saturday, May 5, at 1 o’clock p.m. to effect a county
proclamation urged all farmers and farmers’ wives, all school
teachers, school boards, and all county and other officers, also
all citizens interested in helping ScottCounty feed itself, to be present.The proclamation was signed by A. W. Hedrick, county
agent; J. H. McConnell, mayor; J. W. Carter, N. M. Horton, W. S.
Pendleton, J. H. Peters, John H. Johnson, C. M. Quillin, I. P.
Kane, W. D. Smith, B. M. Francisco, T. R. Wolfe.
In response to the above call the farmer of the county
met and effected an organization by electing Rev. T. R. Wolfe,
chairman, and J. W. Carter secretary.Meetings for the purpose of organizing local clubs were
arranged throughout the county.Pledge cards were distributed for the signatures of those
who handled food in the homes.
Mr. A. W. Johnson was appointed Food Administrator for
the county and enforced the regulations concerning flour
substitutes, conservation of sugar, etc.On and after March 11, 1918, merchants were required to sell
an equal amount of flour substitutes with each pound of flour.In September, 1918 the fifty-fifty rule as to flour was
abrogated and “Victory mixed flour,” a combination of
eighty-twenty, was used instead.The millers’ certificates were rescinded and the new
regulations permitted families to have sixty days’ rations
instead of thirty.
On September 12, 1918, the Food Administration
addressed and open letter to the merchants of the county asking
them to send in the twenty-five –pound certificates for sugar.He also stated in this letter that he often had letters
of four to six pages, adding, “ten words gets as much sugar as
A joint meeting of the threshermen and threshing
committee of ScottCounty, held at GateCity on Wednesday, July 3, 1918, adopted the following
resolved, that we, the owners and operators of threshing
machines in ScottCounty, realizing the great demand for
wheat at this time, will use the utmost care for its
That there be on threshing done in this county before the 15th
day of July, 1918, and then only when the wheat is thoroughly
That every owner and operator of threshing machines have his
machine in good repair before starting to thresh, and that if be
kept in good repair.
That in view of the fact that we agree to thresh only when the
wheat or other grain is thoroughly dry, we the threshing
committee, do insist that the farmers the farmers take every
precaution in stacking and saving their grain.
That the price for threshing shall be seven bushels.
That any violator of the above resolutions will not be
considered a member of the Scott County Threshing Committee.:
The resolutions were signed by A. W. Johnson, Food
Administrator; A. C. Starnes, R. A. Smith, William Spivey, J. A.
Hurt, J. F. Meade, Clint Robinson, C. L. Wade, R. Moscow
Addington, W. T. Larkin, W. L. Osborne, J. W. Horne, J. S.
Culbertson, S. C. Dougherty, J. W. Frazier, N. C. Davidson,
Judge Mullins, R. V. Trent, C. C. Carter, Will Taylor, W. H.
of five additional men who left before the meeting adjourned
should have appeared in the above list.
The Fuel Administrators for the county were John H.
Johnson, chairman; J. W. Carter, secretary, and R. R. Kane.
It is remarkable how uncomplainingly the people suffered
the restrictions to be thrown about them by the government as to
the use of flour, sugar, coal, wood, gas, and even day light.
Farm products brought very high prices and this fact
greatly increased the price of real estate during the war and
immediately following its close.There was often an increase of more than 100 percent over
the former prices of land.
The local council of Safety sought to enroll all citizens
who were capable and willing to work in the shipyards or other
places where the government might need them.The Council further sought to enroll all those who might
have oats, corn and potatoes to spare.The members of the council were A. J. Wolfe, W. J.
Rollins and J. F. Sutton.
The local paper on May 3, 1917, had the following to say:
“You do not see many farmers idling about town these
are discharging their duties like the truest and best of
realize that they have to feed themselves and their families and
the rest of the world and are bucking like horses to the tasks.Don’t waste your time urging farmers to produce big
crops; go out, everybody who can, and help them.By so doing you will be wielding the most effective
weapon against the high cost of living.”
Strangers whose behavior was in any way unusual were apt
to be looked upon as a German spy.This attitude of suspicion toward those whose business
was unknown almost rid the county of tramps and hobos during the
period of the war.
There was no organized labor in the county during the war
except perhaps the local workers on the railroads traversing the
Work And Relief Organizations
The M. E. Church, South, appointed the following
committee to solicit funds for the Armenian and Syrian suffers;
J. P. Corns, J. B. Quillin, Mrs. C. R. Cruikshanks, Mrs. H. S.
Kane and Mrs. C. W. Dougherty.This committee was approved by the other churches.Mr. Corns, Mr. Quillin and Mrs. Cruikshanks were chosen
to act as a permanent committee of relief “to the starving
multitudes in the Holy Land.”
The Gate City Herald solicited contributions for a fund
to be used in the relief of the suffering people abroad.Hundreds of school children contributed to the fund,
mostly in pennies and nickels.The amount contributed was $155.63.
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union
The W. C. T. U. was an organization already functioning
in the county at the time was declared against Germany.
It was thus an easy matter to direct the energies of the
organization to war work.September 22, 1917, the W. C. T. U. gave an
entertainment at Nickelsville, the proceeds of which were used
in furnishing the ScottCounty soldiers with comfort bags.It became the fixed purpose of the organization to
furnish each soldier with one of these bags, and on January 4, 1918, a meeting was called in order
to provide money for this purpose.It may be added in this connection that the schools of
the county assisted in collecting funds for the comfort kits.
The W. C. T. U. engaged in collecting old rubber, boots,
shoes, auto inner tubes, jar rubbers, in fact, any material
which could be salvaged and used in war work enterprises.Under the auspices of the W. C. T. U., April 24, 1918, was known as “rubber day.”It was further urged that the value of all “April
Sunday eggs” be contributed to the W. C. T. U. to be used in
its war work funds.
Men’s Christian Association
Late in the year 1917 a campaign was launched to arouse
interest in the Young Men’s Christian Association.Hon. W. C. McCarthy, on November 13, 1917, addressed an audience at the
court house in the interest of this organization.Mr. McCarthy had been in Europe and had seen actual conditions
there.Thus he was
enabled to give graphic first-hand pictures of the needs of the
boys in the trenches.E.
T. Carter was made chairman and Sam’l Haynes, editor of the
Gate City Herald, secretary, of the Y. M. C. A. in ScottCounty.At the close of Mr. McCarthy’s address more than $700
was contributed to the Y. M. C. A. fund.In the same campaign Nickelsville contributed $46.50, Rye
Cove, $107; Clinchport $136; Manville, $48; Dungannon, $160;
Prospect colored school, $10.30, making a total of $1,200.
“The Red Cross Society, the Young Men’s Christian
Association and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union are
organizations that are doing all in their power to comfort,
relieve and help the soldiers.They are helping them at every stage from the doors of
their homes to the trenches and prisons of Europe.Let’s help these organizations in every way in our
The first issue of the local paper after the Armistice
carried the following head lines:“Peace Terms Signed; Hostilities Cease Monday, November
11, at 6 a. m.; The Great World War Comes to a Close.”
In another column the following news items appeared:
“The first intimation we had here that peace had been
made came from the Kingsport whistles at daylight Monday.Soon our church bells were imitating old Liberty bell, guns were being fired,
children were marching the streets waving flags, and everybody
was wildly rejoicing.It
was a great day in America.”
The signing of the Armistice put an end to the drafting.In a short time the Local Exemption Board received the
following telegram from Adjutant General Stern:
“Do not entrain any more men or call any more for
entrainment on any call already issued.Men already on the way to camps will be returned to local
The soldiers of the county, on being discharged, returned
to their homes one by one or in small groups.Mention of their return was seldom made in the local