Scott County Historical
Scott County, Virginia
Indian Forays In Present Scott County
By Omer Addington
the English settled Jamestown in 1607 the Indians soon realized that
they had much to lose, their land. The Indians wanted to keep the land
to roam over freely, to hunt, trap, and fish. The Pioneers wanted to
clear the land to build on and plant crops.
Indians were determined to drive all the settlers from their land.
the Jamestown massacre of 1622 the Indians killed 357 persons.
massacre forced the settlers to recognize their common anger and draw
them closer together, fortify their homes and built forts. The massacre
so aroused the settlers they went out several times to find and kill
Indians. They burned villages, destroyed the Indian cornfields and
garden patches, took their land and drove them deeper and deeper into
the forest. This brought on more hatred between the Indians and the
settlers. The settlers moved west across the Blue Ridge mountains in a
frontier region where the Indians were a deadly threat.
Pioneer Home Photo Courtesy of P.H. Starnes
1743 Colonel James Patton discovered a river which was west of New
River, but did not flow into it. Three years later Stephen Holston built
his cabin at the source of this river. In 1748 he explored the lower
part of this river, and found that it flowed into the Tennessee River.
The valleys and the three forks river took the name Holston. On the
north side of Scott County another river was discovered by a hunter by
the name of Clinch. The river, valley and mountain took their name from
him. Also, another important valley was Moccasin Valley, so named
because of the Indian Moccasin tracks found along the creek banks.
was in these valleys that the Indians forays took place.
it remembered that the territory that is now Scott was part of Fincastle
County until 1777, Washington County 1776 to 1701, Washington and
Russell Counties to 1791.
Fort was built near the mouth of Stoney Creek on the lands of Captain
John Blackmore. It became one of the most important forts on the
Virginia frontier. It was attacked many times, and many people were
captured and killed.
the Mingo Chieftain came into Clinch Valley in search of scalps and
prisoners on Friday, September 23, 1774. Finding some of Captain
Blackmore's slaves outside the fort and captured two of them. 1
October 1774 Dale Carter was killed by Logan and his band of Indians at
Blackmore's Fort. 2
in June, 1776 two men were killed at Blackmore's Fort; and in September
of the same year, a son of Jonathan Jennings and one of his Negro slaves
were killed at Blackmore's Fort. 3
1775 Jacob Lewis built a cabin near the head of Stock Creek. He was
advised to move that the Indians were on the warpath. In 1776 Lewis, his
wife and seven children were killed and scalped by the Indians. Ambrose
Fletcher's wife and two children were killed and scalped in their cabin
about forty yards back of Blackmore's Fort in 1776.5
Fannie Napper and her five children were killed and scalped near
Blackmore's Fort. 6
Crissman and family were slain by Indians in the Rye Cove in 1776. He
had built the fort on his land sometime in 1774. This fort is sometimes
referred to as the Rye Cove Fort. 7
1781 Blackmore's Fort was attacked by Indians and four men captured. 8
1787 John Carter's wife and six children were killed by the Indians and
their home burned. 9
in the summer of 1777 or 78, Benge and a band of Shawnees visited
Blackmore's Fort. Finding the fort well guarded they did not attack or
besiege the fort, headed in the direction of Castlewood. The Indians,
however captured two girls on the way, Polly Alley at Osborne's Ford
(Now Dungannon) and Jane Whitaker near Castlewood. The story of their
capture and escape has been told for more than two centuries around the
fireside in Scott County. 10
captured two Carter boys in the Rye Cove in 1788. They were sons of
Thomas Carter. They were finally restored to their parents. II
In 1789 Joseph Johnson's wife and
three children were killed and five others taken by the Indians. 11
Hamlin's wife was killed near Blackmore's Fort by the Indians in 1790
and one of her children, a boy, age ten, was captured and taken west,
but later made his way back home. 13
doubt other people were killed in the Clinch River Valley that history
did not record.
Pioneer days it was always known as Blackmore's Fort, the village today,
two centuries later, still bears the name except in the reverse order of
the waters of Big Moccasin Creek was Houston's Fort. It was built by
William Houston in 1774. In the summer of 1776 Fort Houston was attacked
by a large force of Cherokee Indians. John Carr, who was in the fort
with his parents, and at that time, only three years of age said,
"That he could remember his father holding him up to a port hole to
see the Indians firing upon the fort."
Samuel Scott, whose family was returning in Houston's Fort tells the
following story. "Samuel Cowan brought the express (news) from
Moore's Fort at Castlewood to Houston's Fort that three hundred Indians
were coming to attack Houston's Fort. The next morning he would start to
go back and thought he could get through, but was shot and scalped. He
was brought into the fort and died a short time later. His
father, John McCorkel was at that time in the fort. There were three
hundred Indians to twenty-one families in the fort. I think the men did
not exceed thirty. The Indians stayed there about eight days killing
cattle. They were Cherokees. None of the people in the fort were killed.
Indians were driven off when two companies of militia under Captains
Daniel Smith and John Montgomery were sent to the relief of the fort
from Blackmore's Fort." 14
the half-breed Cherokee attacked the home of Elisha Ferris on August 26,
1791. He was killed outright. His wife, daughter, Nancy and a young
child were carried into captivity. All but Nancy Ferris were cruelly
murdered the first day of their captivity.
Ferris was the owner of the Ferris Station, which was a stopping place
on the Wilderness Road. It stood about where Daugherty Brothers
Chevrolet is now located. 15
April 1793 Benge, with a party of Indians, attacked and killed the
family of Harper Ratcliffe, six in number, about eight miles west of
Moccasin Gap. 16
killed the Phillips family the exact date where the tragedy took place
is not known.
Samuel Scott, who lived on the Clinch for eight years with her father,
John McCorkle, prior to her removal to Kentucky about 1784, related the
following story to the Rev. John Shane years later.
moved to Clinch at Moore's Fort, was wintering at our place eight miles
form the fort and about a half mile from the river. One Phillips family
was killed between us and the river. Mamma was gone up with a neighbor,
Mr. and Mrs. Kilgore (either Charles or Robert) to Castlewood, near
the fort to buy some sheep at a sale. Mr. Phillips was away in North
Carolina at the time. One boy escaped, I think by crawling under the
bed. All the rest of the family were killed. About two years after this
we moved over to the Holston to get rid of the Indians. We had lived on
the Clinch eight years."
Scott stated they moved over on the Holston. They actually moved to
Houston's Fort on Big Moccasin Creek Her father, John McCorkle died
there July 12, 1780.
Ritchie in his pension statement states that the Phillips family was
killed in March 1779. 16
The two half-breeds Indians Chieftains who killed so many were John Logan, a Mingo and Benge. Logan's mother was a Mingo and his father was a white man. He mostly killed for revenge. Logan captured a man by the name of William Robenson. He was taken to the Indian towns and there he was
condemned to die
by torture at the stake, but was rescued by Logan. He had Robenson write
the following letter.
Captain Cresap - What did you kill my people on Yellow Creek for?
The white people killed my kin at Conestoga a great while ago and I
thought nothing of that. But you killed my kin again on Yellow Creek and
took my cousin prisoner, then I thought I must kill too; I have been three
times to war since, but the Indians are not angry, only myself.
21st day - Captain John Logan.
Logan was killed by his own people near Detroit.
mother was a Cherokee Indian, his father was a red headed Irishman. It is
said by people who saw him that he had red sandy hair. He left the
Cherokees and took up with the Shawnee. Perhaps the Cherokees kicked him
out because he was so mean. Anyway, Benge was a criminal who killed and
robbed the settlers and prisoners of Negro slaves and young women to sell.
Benge was killed by Vincent Hobbs in 1794, Indian forays and depredations
ceased on Virginia's last frontier.
History of Virginia
R. M. Addington - History
of Scott County
Emory Hamilton - Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia Vol.
R. M. Addington - History
of Scott County
Life of Wilburn Waters - Cole
R. M. Addington
- History of Scott County
Emory Hamilton - Indian tragedies - Historical Sketches of
Virginia Vol. No.8, 1974.
R. M. Addington - History
of Scott County
Emory Hamilton - Indians kill the Phillips Family - Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia Vol. No. 19-1985.