Between Moccasin Ridge and the Copper Creek Knobs, this
takes its name from William H. Bellamy, the
first postmaster in 1901. VA-627
BIG MOSSACIN GAP: Big
Mossacin Gap must have looked like a godsend to
Daniel Boone when the trailblazer passed through in 1769.
Here, between Weber City
and Gate City, towering Clinch Mountain drops more than 1800
feet from its high
point above nearby Hiltons. The
gap allows room for Big Moccasin Creek, as well as
tracks and the four lanes of US-23/58/421.
This natural mountain pass is the
only way to get to Scott County courthouse from the county’s lower
At the gap, in 1815, the first court of Scott County
was held at the home o Benjamin
A small monument marks this spot at the crossroads of
A Scott County post office here in the 1810s was known as
“Mosqueson Gap” or “Mockinson
The spelling had evolved to “Moccasin Gap” by the
early 1900s. Traditionally,
is owed to early travelers who found the footprints of
moccasins along the creek near the gap.
1902 to 1907, Bruno supported its own post office where Roberts
Creek crosses US-58/421 at a hairpin curve, near a rustic
country store. About
miles east of Bruno, also US 58/421, a post office called
“Fido” was open from 1879
to 1907. Both Bruno
and Fido, according to local tradition, took their names from
somebody’s dogs. Southeastern : US 58/421 at VA-857.
BUSH MILL: Built
in about 1896, the water-powered Bush Mill, VA-6890, sits on
the banks of the Amos Branch of Copper Creek and sometimes called
for S. H. Bond, who owned it for a few year in
the early 1900s. The
“Bush” is for
Valentine Bush, who built the mill on a
limestone foundation with help from his sons,
William, and W. T. Frazier. Its
water wheel is 30 feet in diameter.
CAMP ROCK: Inside
the Jefferson National Forest, Camp Rock is a cliff shelter
used by hunting parties during early settlement in the late 1700s.
The rock’s elevation
is about 4,000 feet, the highest point in Scott County.
Northern: VA-619 at Wise
incorporated in 1894, Clinchport grew as a port for
loggers who dodged river rocks whole rolling timber downstream.
It also became a
thriving railroad and agricultural center at the Clinch
River’s confluence with Stock
Creek in Central Scott County.
The town is named for the river.
But several theories exist on how the Clinch River
Clinch Mountain took their names.
One story say “Clinch” comes from a large,
athletic hunter named Clinch (Clinche), who was thrown from his horse
into the river
while retreating from Indians circa 1749; Clinch managed to drown one
of his Indian
attackers, even after his fall. Yet
another story says the name is for an Irishman who
fell off a
raft and cried, “Clinch me! Clinch me!”
DANIEL BOONE: Local
tradition says explorer Daniel Boone once drank from a
spring at a small settlement named for him.
In the 1770s, Boone blazed a trail through
Virginia from Big Mocassin Gap to Cumberland Gap.
VA 870, near VA-643.
northwestern Scott County, Duffield’s main intersection lies
where US-58/421 splits from US-23 and heads west.
Incorporated in 1894,
Duffield’s name originated either
from Sam Henry Duff, an early settler who came
here in about
1818 from Mount Airy, North Carolina, or Robert Duff, a pioneer who
lived in a log cabin known as “Duffield.”
DUNCAN MILL: At the
eastern edge of Rye Cove, Duncan Mill was named for a
long-gone grist mill destroyed during a tornado on May 2, 1929.
John Duncan built
the original log mill on Cove Creek in
about 1835. George
W. Johnson, Duncan’s
son-in-law, later replaced it with a more modern structure. Central: VA-649 at Va-656.
as early as the 1770s along the Clinch River, Dungannon
was first called “Hunter’s Ford” and, later, :Osborne’s
Ford,” for Stephen Osborne
(Osborn), who obtained a land grant here in 1786.
The name “Dungannon” comes
from Patrick Hagan, who
came to Scott County in about 1844 to join his uncle,
Joseph Hagan. Patrick
became a prominent lawyer and eventually amassed
of timberlands, including Osborne’s Ford.
By the early 1900s,
Hagan had changed the name of this place to pay homage to his family’s
hometown in Ireland.
also designed the town plan.
Dungannon was incorporated in 1918.
FAIRVIEW: A view
of rolling hills likely inspired the community name
Southwestern: VA-600 at VA-622.
FORT BLACKMORE: Fort
Blackmore takes its name from Blackmore’s Fort, an
early pioneer settlement. Established
in 1771-1772, this fort was built on land owned
by Capt. John
Stony Creek meets the Clinch River here in Central
Scott County at the junction of VA-65 and VA-72, Fort Blackmore’s main
first Fort Blackmore post office opened in 1859.
Prior to that, a post office called
operated in this vicinity as early as 1847.
GATE CITY: At the
junction of US-23/58/421 and VA-71, Gate City is Scott
County’s courthouse town and was named for its proximity to
Big Moccasin Gap,
which lies at its south side.
This gap in Clinch Mountain once inspired the town’s
nickname, “Gateway to the West.”
Laid out in 1815, the town’s main east-west thoroughfare was
named “Jackson Street”
for Andrew Jackson, a U.S. president then known as a military
hero for his service in
the War of 1812. Gate
City was initially known as “Winfield” for Gen Winfield
another War of 1812 hero. Winfield later became “Estillville” to honor Benjamin
a judge who helped establish Scott County.
Estillville became “Gate City” in about
1886 and was incorporated in 1892.
Dating to 1829, the brick Scott County Courthouse at 104 E.
Jackson St. stands near
the Moccasin Avenue intersection.
man named Hill once operated a local tavern, or hotel, during
era and left his name on a central Scott County community near
the crossroads of
VA-609 and VA-645. Hill’s
post office was called either “Hill’s Station” or “Hill
Station” beginning in the 1890s, then just plain “Hill.”
the crossroads of VA-709 and US-58/421, Hiltons was once known
as “Fulkerson,” so named for Abraham Fulkerson, a
Revolutionary War veteran who
settled on 100 acres in the Hiltons area of southeastern Scott
incidentally is the name of the magisterial district in the
county’s seatheastern corner.
The current name dates to about 1889 and probably honors
early postmasters John H.
Hilton and Enos B. Hilton or their families.
HOLSTON SPRINGS: A
mile west of Weber City, a spring water resort opened at
Holston Springs in about 1809.
For recreation, hotel guest rowed boats on the nearby
North Fork of the Holston River.
In the mid-1880s, the 24 room Holston Springs
hotel was sold to Rufus Ayers (1849-1926), the industrialist
whose large home at
Big Stone Gap later became the Southwest Virginia Museum.
The Holston Springs
Hotel, once Ayer’s personal showplace, burned down in 1914.
Southern: VA-614 at VA-714.
JENNINGS MISSION: Abram
and Victoria Jennings donated land for the Jennings
Mission Church of Jesus Christ in the 1920s and gave their name
to the area.
South-Central: VA-788, Near VA-870.
KILGORE FORT HOUSE: Built sometime between 1782 and 1790, the Kilgore
is considered the oldest surviving structure in Scott County.
It was once
a link in a chain of early Southwest Virginia
fort houses built for protection from
attacks by Native
Americans. In the
early 1800s, it was the home of Robert Kilgore, a
Primitive Baptist preacher who often held religious services here.
Privately owned, the
house is listed on both state and
national historic registers.
South of Nicklesville on
VA-71, near a Copper Creek
MACES SPRING: A man
remembered only by his last name, Mace, lived in
Scott County during the 1800s and owned property containing
springs, each producing a different kind of water.
A post office in the area, near the
crossroads of VA-614
and VA-691, became known as “Mace’s Spring” (1888-1893),
then “Maces Spring” (1893-1954). At the base of Clinch Mountain, Maces Spring is
part of Poor Valley, an area named not for economics but its poor quality
name of the McConnell community in the Copper Creek valley
probably derived from its first postmaster, Henry McConnell, in
1885. Some say
Copper Creek was name for copperhead snakes.
Central: VA-670 at VA-671,
MILLER YARD: A
Miller Yard post office operated from 1924 to 1948.
comes from H. I. Miller, president of the
Interstate Railroad in the 1920s, when this
railroad yard was
VA-608 at Clinch River.
NATURAL TUNNEL: In
central Scott County, the Natural Tunnel spans 850 feet
Purchase Ridge. The
feature formed about one million years ago as
bearing carbonic acid percolated through cracks in a wall made
limestone and dolomitic bedrock. The water created a cave as the regional water table gradually
Stock Creek was rerouted underground, and the creek widened the
tunnel through erosion.
This natural phenomenon is used as a railroad
passage. It also
lends its name to the
Natural Tunnel community, where a post
office existed in the 1860s.
Natural Tunnel –
the park or the place – can be found
by going 3.5 miles south of Duffield on
following VA-871 east for one mile.
northeastern Scott County, Nicklesville lays along VA-71.
was named for the family of James Nicksles, Sr.
(1781-1869), an early6 landowner
whose sons William and Walter
operated a store and postoffice here in the 1830s.
Originally incorporated as “Nicholsville” in 1902, the
town adopted the current spelling
Nottingham community probably owes its name to the family
H. and Martha Nottingham. The
couple deeded land to establish a church here
Southern: US-58/421 at VA-614.
Rev. Samuel Patton was a prominent early minister in Scott
County and is remembered in the name “Pattonsville.”
Western: VA-604 at VA-638.
PENDLETON ISLAND: The
shallow Clinch River slips around Pendleton Island, a
owned by the Nature Conservancy of Virginia and once deemed the
300 yards of mussel diversity on the planet.
The water here supports 40 different
including the green-blossom pearly mussel, believed to live only
at this vicinity.
Named for a local Pendleton family, the island is actually a
collection of three wooded islets
rising over 33 acres of
once grew corn here, carrying
crops to the mainland by horse and
cart when the river was low.
A post office called
“Pendleton” operated in the
Clinch River, one mile downstream of
VA-72 bridge at Fort Blackmore.
RYE COVE: Wild
rye growing in central Scott County lent its name to Rye Cove,
agricultural community at the crossroads of VA-649 and
VA-650. Yet the name Rye
Cove designates more than just a road
crossing. The name
also identifies the largest
valley in Scott County, stretching
six miles long and four mile wide.
Similar to Burke’s
Garden in Tazewell County, Rye Cove
is ringed by mountain walls at all sides.
Perhaps this setting seemed like natural protection
to pioneer settlers, who built the
long-gone Rye Cove Fort here
in the 1770s. Even
so, these mountain walls did not
block Indians from finding the
Rye Cove Fort and attacking it with deadly force in
The mountains encircling Rye Cove also could not hold
back a cyclone on May
That afternoon, a tornado killed 12 schoolchildren and
one teacher. The
left 54 people with injuries and destroyed Rye Cove
Consolidated School. Classes
the community were not held again for a year, when Rye Cove
Memorial High School
opened in 1930.
waterfall on the Ketron Branch of Cove Creek tumble down
stairs at heights of about seven feet alongside US-58/421, one
mile east of the
This community of cattle farms was named for early
Joel Shelley. Southeastern: easternmost crossroads of US-58/421 and VA-617,
early-1900s business that dug silica sand out of nearby Clinch
left behind the name “Silica.”
Southeastern: VA-614, near Washington County.
naturally slopes toward the Clinch River at Slant. Still, the area is
alternately known as “Starnes,”
Starnes Bluff,” or even “Starnes Slant.”
name comes from Frederick Starnes who
settled at Slant in the late 1700s.
Central: VA-65 at VA-662.
doesn’t snow in Snowflake any more than in other parts of
one account says a snowstorm in the 1880s, when the Snowflake
office was established, inspired the community’s name.
A different tale, still, says
Snowflake took its name
because it looked like snow had fallen here after nearly
everyone painted their houses white.
Central: VA-71at VA-671.
SPEERS FERRY: Prominent
landowner Joshua Speer, Sr., established a ferry
Clinch River in 1833 and gave his name to the Speers Ferry
The ferry was discontinued in 1925 after a highway bridge
US-23/58/421 bridge over Clinch River.
earlier settler, most likely Richard Stanley (1750-1838) or
his son George, inspired the name “Stanleytown.”
Northwestern: VA-653 at VA-772.
says the name “Sunbright” originated from the railroad
stop’s location, a tiny valley where the sun shines bright
among dense mountains.
VA-653 at VA-871.
TWIN SPRINGS: A pair
of springs naturally inspired the community name “Twin
VA-671 at VA-680.
WEBER CITY: No
Webers were involved in the name of Weber City, a southern
County town near the Tennessee border.
The town’s name actually, comes from a joke by the late Frank
M. Parker, Sr. This
businessman is credited with naming Weber City after hearing a
skit on the old radio
show “Amos and Andy” in the 1930s.
In one episode, a character p0romoted a real
development in a place called “Weber City.”
Finding inspiration there, Parker
erected a WELCOME TO
WEBER CITY sign at his service station on US-23, near
first, Parker’s sign seemed like a joke to residents.
But, in 1954,
that joke became reality when the town here
was incorporated as “Weber City”
The town spans just over two miles of US-23 – from the
US-58/421 crossroads to
just over the bridge which crosses the
North Fork of the Holston River.
1886, residents of Yuma produced a list of possible names for a
one they liked the most – the name of an Indian tribe in
Arizona – came from a suggestion by the
county’s superintendent of schools, W. D.
Southern: VA-614 at VA-640.