The Dunkins
[From Scott County Herald Virginian, February 9, 1967]
 
     NOTE: Several months ago, this writer had articles published on this incident stating that the victims were taken out of Elk Garden.  Since that time a wonderful diary written in 1845, by the grandson of Captain John Dunkin has come into my possession relating the whole incident of the capture of the above families, who were not taken out of Elk Garden, but elsewhere as the diary will show.  I hope to run installments of the capture in the very words of the grandson, and then support these with another wonderful document told by one of the persons actually captured, both documents, corrobating the truth of each other.

Captain John Dunkin
Part I
 
     Captain John Dunkin, who settled in Elk Garden about 1769, was an only son of Thomas Dunkin.  Thomas Dunkin, early in life had emigrated from Scotland to Ireland, having married in Ireland, Elizabeth Alexander, also of Scottish Descent.  About 1740 he emigrated to Pennsylvania, eventually settling in Lancaster County, where he died in 1760, leaving one son, and four daughters, viz:
     Captain John Dunkin, subject of this sketch, who married Eleanor Sharp, daughter of John Sharp, and sister of John, Thomas and Benjamin Sharpe, who also came from Pennsylvania and settled in Washington County, VA.  Captain John Dunkin died on Spring Creek, near Abingdon in 1818, and his wife at the same place in 1816.  The daughters were: Elizabeth Dunkin who married Samuel Porter and lived and died at Castlewood; Martha who married Solomon Litton and lived and died in Elk Garden; Mary Jane who married James Laughlin (brother of John Laughlin who married Mary Price) and lived in Washington Co., and the youngest daughter whose name I do not know, but who married a Robinson or Robertson in Russell County, who took her back to Lancaster County, PA, from whence he had come.
     This family of Dunkin claim descent from "Good King Dunkin" of Scotland, and contend the true patronimic name to be spelled Dunkin and not Duncan.  About 1765, this family, along with the Laughlins, Sharps, Prices, and other related families left Pennsylvania, first settling in Botetourt County, near the town of Fincastle, later moving on westward to Washington and Russell counties.  By 1769, young John Dunkin, with his aged mother, wife and children, three of whom were born before leaving Pennsylvania reached Elk Garden in Russell County, and here he was made a Captain of Militia and was active in protecting the frontier against Indian attacks from 1774 to 1778.  When Powell Valley was evacuated in June of 1776, just prior to the outbreak of the Cherokee War he led a party of militia and settlers into Powell Valley and guarded them while they brought out their personal possessions, which they had to leave because of the sudden evacuation of the valley.
     Samuel H. Laughlin, born 1799, and grandson of Captain Dunkin states: "On one occasion while he (Capt. Dunkin) lived on the Clinch, a predatory band of Indians came into the settlement and murdered a man named Bush and his wife, and took their children, three daughters and a son prisoners.  The son was nearly grown.  Captain Dunkin with a few men, followed the trail, and by hard marching overtook them, killed three of the Indians, and rescued the prisoners without losing a man.
     Further to the northwest where Powell's Valley had begun to be settled, in what is now Lee County, VA, the Indians were in the habit of murdering travelers.  Before the settlement had become permanent, the great buffalo trace to Kentucky, or that part of Virginia forming Kentucky - by adventurous explorers, on which numerous murders and robberies were committed by various tribes of Indians, but mostly by Cherokees and Shawnees.  Captain Dunkin and his little faithful band, frequently went out, and remained for different periods on tours of duty in protecting the settlers in this valley and on the road.  On one of these tours, he and his company, fell in with a band of Indians, whom they instantly attacked and killing four and wounding a fifth.  They followed the wounded Indian some distance to a place where he had entered a cave.  Captain Joseph Martin, (builder of Martin's Station in Lee Co.) was along, having with other Rangers, met Captain Dunkin and was with him, when it was agreed between the two, that while others kept guard outside, they would enter the cave and take the Indian or kill him.
     They entered, each with a blazing torch in one hand and a pistol in the other, cocked and primed.  After going in sixty or seventy yards, Captain Dunkin saw the Indian's eyes shining in the distance, and taking deliberate aim, not knowing but that the Indian had a gun, and supposing others to be with him, was so lucky as to shoot him right through the head.
     In the year 1777 he went to Kentucky, raised corn, and made improvements by erecting a cabin in the forks between Hignston's and Stoner's Forks of Licking River.  He had removed his mother and sisters with him to Clinch.  After thus preparing in Kentucky in 1777-1778, he removed his family, including his aged mother, and two sisters, and their husbands, Samuel Porter and Solomon Litton, out from Clinch of Kentucky in 1779.  I say, he removed them, for besides being the head of his family, he was the Commander and Leader of the immigrants, though Porter and Litton, and others who went along, were men of enterprise and good soldiers and woodsmen.  These two (Porter and Litton) had farms also, begun by improvements near Martin's Station.  Martin's Station was on Stoners River (or fork of Licking) five miles above its confluence with Hingston or Licking River.  Ruddle's Station (pronounced Riddle's) was three miles below the junction or forks, consequently the forts were eight miles apart.


 
 
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