[From the Clinch Valley Times, 1965]
Sunday, July 18th, Yesterday, Mr. L. F. Addington and I stood on the spot where 180 years ago the Scott family were massacreed, reminisced and wondered why he would have exposed his family to the savages at this remote spot. We gazed upon the spot where the victims were unceremoniously interred and read the inscriptions on the tombstones of the Duff family, relatives of Scott's wife, and next to settle the spot after the massacre; where Robert Duff was born in Ireland in 1759 and died on June 20, 1820 from a gunshot inflicted by his own hand; where his wife, Mary Dickenson Duff, was born 1770 and died 1853, a niece of Fanny Scott and daughter of her brother Henry Dickenson where three of their sons were killed in the Confederate Army during the tragic War Between the States.
In the year 1776 Archibald Scott moved his family of a wife and four children just across Kane's Gap to the head of Wallens Creek where he built a strong cabin known as Scott's Fort and which became a famous "stop over" on the Kentucky Trace. Here he lived, prospered in peace, until the evening of June 29, 1785 when tragedy in the form of wild savagery struck. In a letter written on July 5, 1785, by Colonel Arthur Campbell to Governor Patrick Henry, he states:
"By some gentlemen from Kentucky I am informed that in the night of June 29, last, Mr. Archibald Scott and all his children, four in number, together with another young man, was murdered by the Indians, and his wife supposed to be taken prisoner."
On July 7, 1842, Colonel William Martin, who was a son of Col. Joseph Martin of Martin's Station in Lee County, and who was living at Martin's Station when the Scott family were slain, writes the following to Dr. Lyman C. Draper:
"Among the families settled as above were those of Archibald Scott, a man of more than ordinary considerations in those regions, and ______ Ball, who had settled together about midway between Clinch and the Station (Martin's). With these families, especially Scott's, I became intimate in traveling back and forthward. At length, I had been to Clinch on business, returning in company with William Hord, my mate, a term then used among us for intimates. We called at Scott's and got refreshments. This was in the month of June, 1785. Some four or five days after this the Indians killed Scott and all his family, except his wife. Her they took prisoner. She finally escaped and returned. I saw her soon after and she gave me the following narrative, viz: 'One night, just after dark, her husband and children having gone to bed, she being up, and the door open, the Indians jumped into the house the first notice they had and shot and killed her husband as he rose from his bed, and then dispatched the children. In the meantime one fellow (Indian) laid hold on her and protected her against the violence of the others. They then rifled the house of such things as they thought proper to take, and among others, her saddle. The other family, Balls, defended themselves and were not injured."
After being carried toward the Ohio Indian towns, Fanny Scott made her escape from her captors some place along the Ohio River and returned to the Clinch. The Dickenson family genealogy says she returned to the vicinity of Weaver's Creek to the home of a Mr. Musick. Her wanderings, too long to relate here may be found in Summer's History of Washington County and the history of Tazewell County, Virginia. Also in Bishop Francis Asbury's Journal, Volume II, page 85, dated May 9, 1796, wherein he makes this entry: "Yesterday our prayers were requested on behalf of Fannie Dickenson. This day in the evening Brother J. Kobler was called upon to perform her funeral solemnities. The following account, in substance, was taken from her own mouth, sometime ago, by J. Kobler, who performed her funeral rites." The story told by Bishop Asbury in his Journal is essentially in agreement with other published accounts of her escape.
After her escape and return Fannie Dickenson Scott later married a Mr. Thomas Johnson for whom that county in Tennessee was named and reared a respected family.
Mrs. Fern Hughes who now lives on Wallen's Creek and who is a descendant of the Dickenson family through the Duffs told me the following story handed down through her family:
"That at the time the Scott family were slain a man was riding horseback through Kane's Gap and shortly after crossing through the Gap his horse shied and threw him near a "big rock". Arising and catching his horse he saw behind the rock a white man who had been slain and scalped by the Indians, which had caused the fright to his horse. Mounting the horse he rode on down to Scott's Fort where he found the family all slain. She says he got tools and buried them under a large cherry tree just above where the old fort house stood."
In all this well authenticated story there remains one question still unanswered and no one or record seems to have the answer. Who was the young boy killed along with Scott and his children? Mrs. Hughes says she remembers her grandmother saying he was a boy 15 or 16 years old, but never heard his name. Was he a member of the neighboring Ball family who fought the Indians off at this time?
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