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This webpage reproduces an article in the
William and Mary Quarterly
2nd Ser., Vol. 17 No. 4 (Oct. 1937), pp501‑513

The text is in the public domain.

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 p501  A Sketch of the Early History
of Southwestern Virginia
By Ralph M. Brown

Thayer's Note: This page once had Web-based maps that showed just how misleading the title of this paper is, but the maps are no longer available (and the work I expended on them went up in smoke). Follow along with an atlas or a good map, though, and you'll see that a better title would have been something like "Westward Expansion from Virginia in Colonial Times".

No comprehensive history of Southwestern Virginia has ever been written, and a seeker after historical information concerning that region must, of a necessity, consult much source material, and check and recheck his findings before he tries to write or to talk about the section.

It is with the idea of collecting in one place data to be found in a score and more of works that this paper has been prepared. The writer lays no claim to being an authority on the subject, but he has spent many hours consulting books, magazine articles, and maps that deal with Southwestern Virginia, and has striven to separate fact from fiction or hearsay when he wrote down his notes.

When Captain John Smith and his companions landed at Jamestown, in 1607, the Saponi and Tutelo tribes of Indians, belonging to the Monacan Confederacy of the Siouanº stock, probably had a few small villages in Southwestern Virginia. These tribes were the remnants of the Siouans,º that great stock which once inhabited Virginia "west of a line drawn through Richmond and Fredericksburg, up to the Blue Ridge, or about one-half the area of the State. In North Carolina, the Siouians were spread over the basins of the Roanoke, the Tar, the Cape Fear, the Yadkin, and the upper Catawba rivers, comprising more than two-thirds of the area of that state. In South Carolina, these Indians peopled nearly the whole central and eastern portion. In the three states the territory in question comprises an area of about 70,000 square miles, formerly occupied by about forty different tribes".1

In prehistoric times, perhaps in the 16th century, the majority of the Siouians abandoned the country and gradually retreated across the mountains to the West, continuing their migration until they crossed the Mississippi River. "The most probable cause of this great exodus was the pressure from the north and from the south of hostile tribes of alien lineage, leaving to the weaker Siouian tribes no alternative but to flee or to remain and be crushed between the millstones."2

The Iroquoian tribe, the powerful Cherokee nation, succeeded the Siouians in the control of their former territory in Southwest Virginia. The Cherokees, although of Iroquoian stock, were hostile to the northern Iroquois and to the great Southern  p502 Iroquois tribe, the Tuskaroras, who lived along the Neuse River in North Carolina. The original territory of the Cherokees included "all of North Carolina and Virginia west of the Blue Ridge, as far north at least, according to their tradition, as the Peaks of Otter near the headwaters of the James River, together with the upper portion of South Carolina and the mountain section of Georgia and Tennessee".​3 They were driven from the greater portion of their holdings, around 1672, by the northern Iroquois, and settled upon the Savannah River and in the territory south of the Tennessee River. The Cherokees apparently permitted the remnants of the Siouians to live undisturbed in Southwest Virginia, but the Siouians constantly attacked by the northern Iroquois, kept on moving their villages. "Up to 1670 the Monacan (Siouan) tribes had been but little disturbed by the whites, although there is evidence that the wars waged against them by the Iroquois were keeping them constantly shifting about. Their country had not been penetrated, except by a few traders who kept no journals, and only the names of the tribes living on the frontiers of Virginia were known to the whites. Chief among these were the Monacan proper having their village a short distance above (the present) Richmond."​4 This settlement was identical with the "Mowhemenchouch" or "Massinacack" found by Newport's expedition, from Jamestown, in 1609. The English, settled on their border (at the falls of the James (Richmond) ), of course were constantly encroaching upon them, and they rapidly wasted away. The English, the Powhatans, and the Iroquois all waged war against them.

In May, 1670, John Lederer, a German traveler, under commission from the governor of Virginia, explored the country from the settlement at James falls (Richmond) southwestward through Virginia and North Carolina to a village of the Saura, then apparently located on a northern affluent of the Yadkin River, in North Carolina. On the third day, he passed through the Monacan village on the James only twenty miles above the falls. After traveling for days over a rough road, without meeting any Indians or sign of habitation, he arrived at "Sapon", a town of the Nahyssans, probably on the Otter River, southwest of Lynchburg, Virginia. The inhabitants of this village belonged to the Siouian stock, who were called "Tutelo" by the Iroquois. Three days of easy travel carried him fifty miles southwest of the Siouian village of the Occaneechi, at the junction of the Roanoke and Dan rivers, near Clarksville, Virginia. This village was on a prehistoric path, which ran from Bermuda Hundred, on the James River, to Occaneechi. Thence it passed to the Catawba, Cherokee,  p503 and other tribes in southwestern North Carolina and northwestern South Carolina, and from the Catawba, via the Cungaree Post, to the present Augusta, Georgia. Its entire length was somewhat over 500 miles. Lederer then struck out to the Southwest, visiting a number of Siouian villages in what is now North Carolina, and afterwards returning to Apamatuck (across from Fort Henry (Petersburg) on the Appomattox River).

The next year (1671) an exploring expedition under Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam, with two Indian guides, left the Appomattox village (now Bermuda Hundred, Virginia), at the mouth of the Appomattox River to discover what lay beyond the mountains. "The three gentlemen bore a commission from Major-General (Abraham) Wood, obtained from Governor Berkeley of Virginia, for the finding out the ebbing and flowing of the Waters on the other side of the Mountains in order to the discoveryº of the South Sea."5

On the fourth day they reached the Sapony or Nahyssan villages, one of which Lederer had visited the year before, on the Otter River, southwest of Lynchburg. They pushed on to a Hanahaskie (Siouian) town; some twenty-five miles west by north, on an island in the Roanoke River. Following up the Roanoke River, they soon came in sight of the mountains (the Blue Ridge). The next day they arrived at the Totero (Tutelo) Indian town, in the vicinity of the present Salem, Virginia. From there they followed the imperial trail up the North Fork of the Roanoke River and crossed the divide somewhere north of Price's Mountain, thus probably passing the future Draper's Meadows on their way to the New River, which they struck, possibly at the mouth of Strouble's Creek, and went down the river a short distance beyond the Narrows at Peter's Mountain, to Union, West Virginia. Here they were compelled to turn back because their Indian guides were "impatient of a longer stay by reason it was like to be bad weather, and that it was so difficult to get provisions".​6 They returned to Fort Henry (Petersburg) by the same route they had followed coming out. The journey took 13 days going, and 10 days returning. The distance travelled from the Appomattoc village (Bermuda Hundred) to Union, West Virginia, where they turned back, was about three hundred and sixty miles, making the round trip approximately 720 miles.

This expedition was probably the first one to reach the New River, although "cropping out in all the literature of the Mississippi Valley exploration from the eighteenth century to the monographs of contemporary scholars, is the bare statement,  p504 now calmly presented as a fact, now contemptuously mentioned as a lie, that in the year 1654 or at various times in the decade following that year Abraham Wood (who commissioned the Batts and Fallam expedition) gained the banks of the Ohio, or of the Mississippi, or both. It can probably never be either proved or disproved with absolute certainty, but long and patient search has yielded the facts about to be recited, and only these . . . Dr. Daniel Coxe was the first to mention the episode. His account appears in a memorial to King William, presented to the Board of Trade November 16, 1699, and, in the younger Coxe's book 'Carolina'. Coxe states that at several times during the decade 1654‑1664 Wood discovered several branches of the great rivers Ohio and Meschabe (Mississippi). In confirmation, Coxe alleges that he was at one time in possession of a journal of a Mr. Needham, one of the agents Wood employed in his exploring expeditions. Now Wood's men did discover branches of the Ohio and Mississippi, in the years 1671‑74; and the Needham referred to was employed in the most brilliant of these discoveries (that of the Tennessee River, in 1673). Since Coxe states incorrectly both Wood's title and place of residence, it is most probable that his information about the date was also incorrect. It would seem that subsequent writers have simply followed Coxe, either at first or second hand . . . The whole tone of Fallam's journal and of Wood's letter regarding the explorations of 1673‑74, and especially Wood's references in that letter to the discoveries of Batts and Fallam, in 1671, make it reasonably certain that Wood had not been on the western waters at any prior time."7

Soon after 1701, the Siouians, constantly attacked by the northern Iroquois (the Cherokees did not disturb the Siouians), began to group together in a large tribe, first making a settlement, called "Sapona Town", a short distance east of the Roanoke River and about 15 miles westward from the present Windsor, in Bertie County, North Carolina, and finally, in 1711, locating near Fort Christanna, about the site of the Gholsonville, Brunswick County, Virginia, of to‑day. This by permission of Governor Spotswood. About 1740, having made peace with the northern Iroquois, the last of the Virginian Siouians, the remaining members of the Tutelo and Saponi tribes, went north, stopping for a time at the Indian village of Shamokin (Sunbury), Pennsylvania. In 1753, the Cayuga Indians, living near Ithaca, New York, formally adopted the Siouians, who then became part of the Six Nations — the Iroquois.

With the departure of the last of the tribes of the Siouians from Southwest Virginia, in 1711, the region was probably cleared  p505 of all Indian settlements. The entire great valley was disputed Indian territory, both the Cherokees and Shawnees holding it as their hunting ground.

Mention has just been made of the Shawnees, that tribe that was such a scourge to our early settlers. Of the Algonkian stock, they originated along the Savannah River, in Georgia, and southward from the Ashley River, in South Carolina. They began to move from this region, in 1677, owing to dissatisfaction over their treatment by the whites, and continued their migration for more than 20 years, the main body first settling on the Delaware River at the mouth of the Lehigh River, Pennsylvania, then, after allying themselves with the French, passing to the north bank of the Ohio River, in Ohio and Pennsylvania, extending from the Alleghany River down to the Scioto River.​8 In 1755, the Shawnees were estimated to number 300 warriors, or about 1,300 souls. They harassed the frontiers, as allies of the French, from the beginning of the French and Indian War, in 1755, until the treaty of Greenville in 1795. The majority of the expeditions sent across the Ohio river during the Revolutionary period, were directed against the Shawnees and most of the destruction on the Southwestern Virginia frontier was the work of the same tribe.

Much has been said about the Indians who occupied Southwest Virginia, at various periods, or who later claimed the region as their hunting ground. To clearly picture Southwest Virginia as it was at the time of the first settlement (1742 or thereabouts), it is necessary to describe the principal Indian trails leading to and through the section. Along these trails the Indians had moved for centuries, for trading and for warfare. Over these paths came the white trappers, hunters, explorers, and settlers. "Several considerations prompted the Indians to adopt these trails in their travelings; such as the ease with which the mountains could be crossed, the abundance of game, the absence of swamps and large streams of impassable water, and the absence of hostile inhabitants, and these same considerations led to the early settlement of this region and the adoption of these routes of travel by the early Scotch, Irish, and English settlers of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee."9

The trails with which we are most concerned were branches of the path that is known to historians as the "Great Indian War Path". "It ran from the Creek Indian country in Alabama and Georgia, through the East Tennessee Cherokee settlements, to Long Island on the Holston River, dividing near what is now  p506 Kingsport, Sullivan Island, Tennessee. Here the fork which we have called the Chesapeake Branch led off to the northeast through Virginia, into Pennsylvania and beyond."​10 This trail passed three miles west of what is now Bristol, then through the sites of present-day Abingdon, Glade Spring, Marion, Rural Retreat, Fort Chiswell, Draper, Ingle's or Pepper's ferry, Salem, Roanoke, Amsterdam, Buchanan, Lexington, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Winchester, Martinsburg, Williamsport, York, and Lancaster, to Philadelphia. A fork of this branch cut off at present Ellett, Virginia, went up the North Fork of the Roanoke River, down Catawba Creek to Fincastle or Amsterdam.

"The other (trail), which we have called the Ohio branch, led up Holston Valley to the north fork of the Holston by what is now Saltville, Va., to the New River, and thence down the New and Kanawha Rivers to the Indian settlements in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania."​11 The Richmond fork of this Chesapeake branch led off from Salem, and continued southwest of Lynchburg, and thence northeast to the site of Richmond of to‑day.

The trail over which most of the Shawnee raids were made, forked from the Chesapeake Branch at Ingles Ferry, continued down the New River, crossed at the ford above the mouth of the Bluestone River, West Virginia, thence across what is now called White Oak Mountain, the northeastern extension of the Flat Top, by way of where Beckley, West Virginia, is now situated, on to the head of Paint Creek, and down to the Kanawha River, and on to the Ohio and Scioto rivers.

If the settlers of Southwestern Virginia had been deliberately looking for Indian trouble, they could not have done better than they did, grouping together on centuries-old Indian trails, in a region disputed as a hunting ground by the Cherokee and Shawnee Indians, and overlorded by the Five Nations (the Iroquois), the fiercest and most powerful of the tribes of North America.

Now a short account of the county history of the region. The country discovered by Governor Spotswood, in 1716 (beyond the Blue Ridge, at Swift Run Gap, Rappahannock River, Augusta County), and claimed by him for the British Crown, became part of the county of Essex, the western boundary being undefined. In 1721, the county of Spotsylvania was organized from the counties of Essex, King William, and King and Queen counties. Spotsylvania County was divided, in 1734, into Spotsylvania and Orange counties. Orange County included "all that territory of land adjoining to, and above the said line, bounden southerly, by  p507 the line of Hanover County, northerly, by the grant of the Lord Fairfax, and westerly, by the utmost limits of Virginia (and that included all the land north and west to the Great Lakes, and the Pacific Ocean)". From Orange County, 1738, were made the counties of Augusta and Frederick. Augusta embraced, northward, the present county of Rockingham, and a part of Page; to the south it extended to the border of Virginia. Until the Treaty of Paris, in 1763, it included all the land north to the Great Lakes and west to the Pacific ocean. To the west and southwest, Augusta County extended, after 1763, over the whole territory claimed by Great Britain in those quarters, including nearly all of West Virginia, the states of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and, as contended by the Virginians, a part of western Pennsylvania. The county was not organized until 1745. From Augusta County, in the eighteenth century, were formed the following counties in Southwestern Virginia: Botetourt, 1770, Fincastle, 1772, Montgomery, 1777, Washington, 1777, Russell, 1786, Wythe, 1790, Grayson, 1793, and Lee, 1793.12

In 1745, Colonel James Patton, county lieutenant and commander of militia for Augusta County, was granted by the Governor and Council of Virginia, one hundred and twenty thousand acres of land to the west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He, with his son-in‑law, John Buchanan, deputy surveyor of Augusta County, in 1745, located lands along the James River and founded the villages of Pattonsburg and Buchanan on that river.

Doctor Thomas Walker, Colonel James Patton, Colonel John Buchanan, Colonel James Wood, and Major Charles Campbell, in 1748, made an exploratory journey to Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee, locating and surveying a number of very valuable tracts of land, included in Colonel James Patton's grant.

"At the time Dr. Walker and his associates made their trip of exploration described above, they were followed as far as the New River, by Thomas Ingles and his three sons, William, Matthew, and John. Mrs. George Draper and her son John, and daughter Mary, Henry Lenard, and James Burke, pioneers in search of a home in the wilderness. Lands were surveyed for each of them, which lands are described in the respective surveys, as lying on Wood's River, or the waters of Wood's River."​13 They purchased the land from Colonel Patton. The name given by these early settlers to their village was 'Draper Meadows', and it was located on the present site of Blacksburg. There is some evidence to show that a Mary Porter had settled at the junction of the East River with the New River as early as 1742, for a grave was discovered in 1780, in that locality, with a stone  p508 on which was found the following inscription, "Mary Porter was killed by the Indians 1742". The Harmons are usually credited as being part of the Draper's Meadows settlement, but that they were located on the New River, in 1745, is proven by the Orange County road order of 1745, which reads, in part, "that the road continue from the said Cherry Tree Bottom (on the James River) to Adam Harmon's on the New or Wood's River".14

"The company of settlers at Draper's Meadows was at once increased by new arrivals, and numerous tracts of land west of the New River and near what were afterwards known as the Lead Mines (Austinville) occupied . . . James Burke and his family, settled in 1753, in what has since been known as Burke's Garden . . . Stephen Holston built his cabin within thirty feet of the Middle Fork of the Holston River . . . A colony of people called the 'Dunkards' settled on the west side of the River near Ingles Ferry, in 1745, and in the year 1750, Samuel Stalnaker, a hunter, with the assistance of Dr. Thomas Walker and his associates, erected his cabin on the Holston River, nine miles west of Stephen Holston's house."​15 His was the cabin farthest to the west. It was this Stephen Holston who piloted Dr. Walker and his party at a later date to Kentucky.

The French had settled along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and their tributaries, and laid claim to all the territory west of the Alleghany Mountains. These claims were contested by the English Government and the American Colonies.

In 1749, the Governor and Council of Virginia made a grant to the Ohio Company of 500,000 acres of land west of the Alleghanies and between Monongahela and Kanawha rivers, though part of the land might be taken up north of the Ohio. The Ohio Company was an association formed, in 1748, by Thomas Lee, of "Stratford", Westmoreland County, Virginia, president of the Council of Virginia and acting governor of the colony,​a for effecting settlements west of the Alleghanies. He associated himself with twelve other gentlemen in Virginia and Maryland, and with John Hanbury a London merchant.

The Loyal Company, composed of 46 gentlemen, among whose members were John Lewis and Thomas Walker, both of whom played an important part, in latter days, along the frontier, were granted, in 1749, by the Governor and Council of Virginia, 800,000 acres of land, beginning on the bounds between Virginia and North Carolina and running to the westward.

The "Loyal Company" employed Dr. Thomas Walker to locate and survey their lands. He started from his home, Castle Hill, a short distance east of Charlottesville in Albemarle County,  p509 in March, 1749, with his associates, and headed west, following the Indian trail, and the route of the Batts-Fallam expedition, in 1671, to Big Lick (present Roanoke), present Salem, and along the Roanoke River and its North Fork to Draper's Meadow, Ingles Ferry, and over the Chesapeake Branch of Great Warriors' Road (the Wilderness Trail) to Cumberland Gap. He then traveled, in a northwesterly direction, to the Cumberland river and Milley's River (a branch of the Kentucky River) continuing to the northeast, crossing Frederick's River, the Big Sandy River, and the New River, striking the waters of the Greenbrier River, and on thruº present Staunton to his home in Albemarle County. His journey took four months and one week.16

The "Ohio Company" got its exploring agent into the field in October, 1750. He was the well-known surveyor, Christopher Gist. Gist set out from the Old Town, opposite present Green Spring, at the mouth of the south branch of the Potomac River, in Maryland, continued north to the Juniata River, then northwestward across the Alleghany Mountains to present Pittsburg, going on, southeastward, over the Muskingum, Hocking, and Scioto rivers, to the Ohio River again, northwestward to the Great Miami River, southeast to the Little Miami River and the Ohio River, southwest to Frederick's River (a branch of the Kentucky River) and Powell's River, northeast to Clinch River and the New River crossing at Crump's Bottom, eight miles above the mouth of the Bluestone River. On the 11th of May, 1751, he came to a very high mountain, upon the top of which was a lake or pond, about three-fourths of a mile long and one-fourth of a mile wide. From this description, it is evident that Gist visited Mountain Lake, Virginia, since that is the only lake of that description in the locality. This is the first recorded description of the lake. From Mountain Lake, he came down to Sinking Creek, over the mountain to Draper's Meadows, crossed the New River, at Ingles' Ferry, and proceeded southeastward, to his home on the Yadkin River, North Carolina.17

In July, 1754, the Loyal Company had surveyors at active work in the New, Holston, and Clinch river valleys. By the end of 1754, Dr. Walker and his associates had surveyed and sold 224 tracts of land, at three pounds per hundred acres, in Southwest Virginia, containing more than 45,000 acres, many of which tracts were occupied by settlers.

"During this time James Patton had been surveying and selling lands to settlers under his grant from the Governor and  p510 Council, and the tide of emigration was fast settling toward Southwest Virginia, when the French and Indian War of 1754‑1763 came on, and, thereby, Dr. Walker, agent for the Loyal Company, and others were prevented, for the time being, from further prosecuting their enterprises in surveying and settling this portion of Virginia."18

Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, in the early part of 1754, sent a mission to the French commander on the Ohio, George Washington being the governor's commissioner. Washington delivered his dispatches, which were to the effect that war between Virginia and the French forces could not be avoided unless the French should immediately abandon the country. The commander of the French refused to acknowledge the rights of Virginia to the territory in question, and said that it was his intention to destroy every Virginia settlement in the west. Washington made his return journey without mishap and reported the results of his mission to Governor Dinwiddie, who ordered a regiment to be raised, pla­cing it under the command of Colonel Joshua Fry and Lieutenant-Colonel George Washington. The regiment marched to the west, and at Redstone, western Pennsylvania, contacted and put to flight a force of French and Indians. The Virginians next proceeded to Great Meadows, Pennsylvania, where they put up fortifications, which they called Fort Necessity. The French and Indians rallied their forces, and, on July 3, 1754, attacked the fort and compelled its surrender.

The American colonists, in the spring of 1755, sent expeditions against the French at Nova Scotia, Crown Point, Niagara, and on the Ohio River.

General Braddock, an English general, commanded the attack on the Ohio. He had but recently arrived from England, bringing with him two royal regiments. Governor Dinwiddie sent 800 men to join the English. Braddock marched his troops from Alexandria, Virginia, to the Monongahela River, which he reached on the 9th of July, 1755. He, being unacquainted with Indian warfare, permitted his troops to be lured into an ambuscade. Braddock fell mortally wounded, his men were routed with a loss of 777 men killed and wounded. The survivors retreated 120 miles to the settlements, leaving the entire frontier of Western Virginia open to the attacks of the French and Indians, who sent raiding expeditions across the Alleghany Mountains into the Valley of Virginia and as far as the New River, killing and capturing many of the settlers on the frontier.

The first Indian depredation committed on white settlers west of the Alleghany Mountains, however, was in April, 1749, when  p511 the house of Adam Harmon, one of the first settlers (1745 or earlier) near Ingles' Ferry on the New River, was visited by the Indians and his furs and skins stolen.

On the thirtieth of July, 1755, three weeks after Braddock's defeat, Draper's Meadows (present Blacksburg), the advance settlement of the Virginians, on Strouble's Creek, a branch of the New River, was attacked by a raiding band of Shawnees, from the Ohio River, and destroyed. Colonel James Patton, Casper Barrier, Mrs. George Draper, and a child of John Draper were killed. Mrs. William Ingles and her two children, Mrs. John Draper, and Henry Leonard were captured. Mrs. Ingles​c was forced to accompany her captors to the principal Shawnee town at the mouth of the Scioto River, in Ohio. She was then taken to Bone Lick, Kentucky, where she made her escape, in the dead of winter, and after a terrible journey of forty days finally reached Adam Harmon's cabin on New River, not far from the site of Draper's Meadows.

The Indians attacked again and again in the years 1755, 1756, and 1757. Vass's Fort, near Shawville, Virginia, was stormed in fall of 1755, by about one hundred French and Indians and twenty-four persons were killed or carried into captivity, not a single man, woman or child escaping. A register of the persons who were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner in the years 1754, 1755, and 1756 of the New and Holston rivers and Reed Creek has been preserved (it is in the Preston Papers in the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and is known as the "Preston Register"). It includes the names of twenty-nine killed, ten wounded, and forty-three taken prisoners.

The following extract from a letter of Colonel William Preston, dated Greenfield, Virginia, July 27, 1763, to his brother-in‑law, the Reverend John Brown, vividly depicts the calamitous results of the Indian raids on the frontier settlements: "all the valleys of the Roanoke River and along the waters of the Mississippi are depopulated, except Captain English (Ingles) with a few families on the New River who have built a fort . . . they intend to make a stand until some assistance be sent them."19

From the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1764, until 1768, nothing of importance occurred in Southwest Virginia beyond the visits of the Long Hunters and the surveyors for the land companies, few settlements being made. During the winter of 1768 and the early part of 1769, many settlers came into Southwest Virginia and some of them continued on as far south as Boone's Creek, Tennessee. The Indians still kept up their raiding, even though a treaty had been concluded with the  p512 Iroquois and Shawnees in 1768, and with the Cherokees in 1769.

In 1769, the Chickasaws defeated the Cherokees, killing many of them. This was a very fortunate occurrence, from the settlers' point of view, for it put an end to Cherokee raids for seven years, thus greatly aiding in the conquest and settlement of Southwest Virginia and Tennessee.

At the Battle of Point Pleasant, where the Great Kanawha River empties into the Ohio River, Colonel Andrew Lewis, commanding the Southwest Virginia militia, defeated, in 1774, the Ohio River Indians. This defeat quieted the northern Indians for some years.

The Cherokees continued occasional raids during and after the Revolution and it was not until after General Anthony Wayne crushed the Indian tribes on the Wabash and Maumee rivers, in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, August 20, 1794, and concluded the Treaty of Greenville (1795) with them that the red men ceased to harass the settlers of Southwest Virginia. On April 6, 1794, occurred the last recorded invasion of Southwest Virginia by Indians — at the site of the present town of Mendota in Washington County, when Mrs. Peter Livingston was captured by a band of Cherokees. She was rescued a few days later.

The great influx of settlers into Southwestern Virginia and Kentucky did not begin until after 1794, when the Indians were finally subdued. And the trail and path and road that the majority of these pioneers followed was the Chesapeake Branch of the Great Warriors Road, leading from Pennsylvania up the Valley of Virginia to the James River, at Buchanan, thence to present Fincastle or Amsterdam, and on up Catawba Creek, down the North Fork of the Roanoke River, and over the mountains to Ingles Ferry, and present Draper, Fort Chiswell, Wytheville, Marion, Abingdon, Gate City, Jonesville, and Cumberland Gap.


Alvord, Clarence W. The Mississippi Valley in British Politics. V. 1, 1917.

Alvord, Clarence W., and Bidgood, Lee. The first explorations of the Trans-Alleghany regions by the Virginians, 1650‑1674. 1912.

Bureau of American Ethnology. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Articles on the Cherokee, Saponi, Shawnee, and Tutelo Indians. Bulletin No. 30, Parts 1 and 2. 1907.

Bureau of American Ethnology. Indian trails of the Southeast. By William E. Meyer. 42d Annual Report, 1924‑25, pages 729‑857.

 p513  Bureau of American Ethnology. The Siouian tribes of the East. By James Mooney. Bulletin No. 22. 1894.

Hale, John P. Trans-Alleghany pioneers. 1886.

Johnston, David E. History of the Middle New River settlements and contiguous territory. 1906.

Johnston, J. Stoddard. First explorations of Kentucky Dr. Thomas Walker's journal, 1749‑50. Colonel Christopher Gist's Journal, 1751. Filson Club Publications No. 13. 1898.

Pendleton, William C. History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia, 1748‑1920. 1920.

Preston, Thomas L. Historical Sketches and Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 1900.

Price, Harvey L. Draper Meadows and Smithfield. Presented at the D. A. R. meeting (Blacksburg, Va.), October 15, 1930. Typewritten.

Robinson, Morgan P. Virginia Counties. 1916.

Summers, Lewis P. Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769‑1800. 1929.

Summers, Lewis P. History of Southwest Virginia, 1746‑1786. Washington County, 1777‑1780. 1903.

Waddell, Joseph A. Annals of Augusta County, 1726‑1871. 1902.

The Author's Notes:

1 Siouian tribes of the East, James Mooney, pp8‑9.

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2 Ibid., p11.

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3 Siouian tribes of the East, James Mooney, p8.

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4 Ibid., p26.

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5 The first explorations of the Trans-Alleghany region by the Virginians, Clarence W. Alvord and Lee Bidgood, p21.

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6 Ibid., p191.

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7 The first explorations of the Trans-Alleghany region by the Virginians, C. W. Alvord and Lee Bidgood, pp52‑54.

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8 Handbook of American Indians north of Mexico, Frederick W. Hodge, part 2, article "Shawnee".

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9 History of Southwest Virginia, Lewis P. Summers, p27.

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10 Indian Trails of the Southeast, William E. Myer, Bureau of American Ethnology, 42d Annual Report, p249.

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11 Ibid., p9.

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12 Virginia Counties, Morgan P. Robinson.

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13 History of Southwest Virginia, Lewis P. Summers, p44.

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14 Draper's Meadow and Smithfield, Harvey L. Price, p3, manuscript.

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15 History of Southwest Virginia, Lewis P. Summers, p46.

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16 Journal of Doctor Thomas Walker, 1749‑50. (In Annals of Southwest Virginia, Lewis P. Summers, pp8‑26.)

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17 Journal of Christopher Gist, 1750‑51. (In Annals of Southwest Virginia, Lewis P. Summers, pp27‑57.)

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18 History of Southwest Virginia, Lewis P. Summers, p53.

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19 Historical Sketches and Reminiscences of an Octogenarian, Thomas L. Preston, p118.

Thayer's Notes:

a Stratford would be the birthplace of Robert E. Lee, Thomas Lee's great-grand-nephew: for the family connections, see Vol. I, Chapter 10 of Freeman's Robert E. Lee.

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b We're used to thinking of the United States, and their interstate highway system, as new creations; but Interstate 81 follows the old Indian trail very closely.

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c For Mary Draper Ingles' 800‑mile trek back to Draper's Meadows, see Blue Ridge Country's excellent page (with a very good map); and for a good biographical sketch, this page by Carol Whitehead, a descendant.

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Page updated: 15 Nov 21