Canoe Rock

     At Big Stone Gap, near the old Richmond house at River Boulevard and First Avenue, is Canoe Rock. It is a broad flat rock in the edge of Powell River. When Richmond settled here prior to the formation of Wise County there was not a bridge across the river, so he started a ferry using a canoe. The rock was used as a landing and also as a dock to tie the canoe to. There was no charge for crossing the river on the canoe, but the services were rendered as a neighborly act. After Richmond sold to James Monroe Flanary, in 1879, Flanary still carried on the neighborly act of ferrying the people across the river. The Canoe-Ferry ran till after 1890.
     During the Civil War, the "Bushwhackers" made a raid on the William Richmond family at Big Stone Gap (then Three Forks) in search of money. All the family escaped but William, Jr., who was lame due to one leg being shorter than the other and he was nicknamed "Flitter Bill," and a neighbor boy. In order to make them tell where money was hidden, the Bushwhackers took them into the yard where three pines and a cedar was and are still standing, and were going to hang them if they didn't tell where the money was hidden. The neighbor
boy asked them if they wouldn't hang "Flitter Bill" first, stating that after he was dead he wanted to see if his leg was still shorter than the other. The Bushwhackers got amused at the boy and decided they didn't know where any money was and went away.
     The Richmond family moved to Floyd Co., KY in the fall of 1879. They moved away in an oxcart and the wheels of the cart were made by sawing blocks from large logs and working the spokes and hub out of the center of the block thus making the wheel complete from one piece of wood.
     After Flanary bought the Richmond property he established a store, which, for a long time, was the leading store in Big Stone Gap. Matches were a rare thing in early days and Flanary eventually managed to get in some for his store. One of his descendants states that a Kentuckian bought a box and while taking them
home they got wet and would not strike. Upon his next trip to the store he brought them back and said they would not strike, so Mr. Flanary took one and scratched it on his pants and it instantly lighted (having dried since it got wet). But the Kentuckian said, "Oh, well, I don't want them anyway, because I can't come back here to strike them on the seat of your pants everytime I want to build a fire."


Return to Wise
Return to Articles

Copyright Notice
All files on this site are copyrighted by their creator. They may not be reproduced on another site without specific permission from Vickie Sturgill Stevens . Although public information is not in and of itself copyrightable, the format in which they are presented, the notes and comments, etc., are.