Old Land Suit Reads Like
An old land suit
of Simon Cockrell vs John Duncan, filed in the Superior Court of Augusta
County, Virginia, the 18th of May, 1796, with its accompanying depositions,
reads like a well written page of history of the very first settlers of
the Dungannon area, first known as Hunter's Ford, then Osborne's Ford and
finally, but much later as Dungannon.
In 1770, William
Herbert made a settlement on the waste and unappropriated land on Cubb
Creek, (then Botetourt, now Scott County) near an island in Clinch River.
Herbert brought out a stock of cattle to graze on the land and Robert Elsom
(Overseer for Herbert) and his father-in-law, William Hays, came along
to tend the stock and improve the land. Hays and Elsom built a cabin or
cabins on the land, near a spring that ran out of a cave, and lived upon
the land until Robert Elsom was killed by Indians in 1776, a fact heretofore
unreported by any historian writing of the area.
never actually lived upon this land, residing on a plantation known as
Poplar Camp, near Herbert's Ferry on New River in what is now Wythe County,
where he died in 1776, leaving the land on Cubb Creek (Scott County) to
his son, William Herbert, Jr., who in turn sold the land to Simon Cockrell,
after he (Herbert) had received a patent for it from the State in 1776.
In the year 1773,
Raleigh Duncan made a settlement on the same land and also received in
1786, a patent for his settlement right of 1773. Raleigh and his brother,
John Duncan, were to go halves in the plantation, but John was killed by
the Indians at Moore's Fort, on September 29, 1774, by the Indian Logan
and his warriors. Peter Hutcheson, another pioneer settler, said he heard
an argument in 1775 between Raleigh, and the widow of John Duncan, over
the plantation at the ford of the river (Clinch), where they both lived
at the time and Raleigh said he would not dispute with her, but would give
it up and take his chances on the place down the river (now in dispute).
Thomas Porter stated:
"That in 1775 he lived at the house of Hays and Elsom, and made a crop
on Herbert's land on the north side of Clinch River at a spring running
out of a cave. In the same year he helped Raleigh Duncan to raise a house
on the bank of the river on said land, a small distance above the island,
and that Robert Elsom was much distressed at Duncan's building his house
where he did."
This land descended
to John Duncan, who was a son of Raleigh Duncan, and it was between this
John Duncan and Simon Cockrell that the lawsuit took place.
An interesting sidelight
to this case are the statements and depositions taken from the witnesses
on both sides. John Fugate stated on the 30th of June, 1798, "that James
McCarthy told him he sold the land to Richard Stanton, and that Stanton
sold to William Herbert (Sr.) It was the first piece of land McCarthy took
up in the country; the land McCarthy's "corn-right" was laid on McCarthy
bought of David Cowan." All I know of James McCarthy was that he was stationed
at Glade Hollow Fort early in 1774, and was also with Col. William Christian
on his expedition against the Cherokees in the fall of 1774.
who owned 73 acres of land on the north side of Clinch River and was the
same for whom Stanton's Creek was named. He had a wife, Charity, who seems
to have died before he came out to the Dungannon settlement, and he was
also apparently childless. He died sometime between 15 January, 1781, when
he witnessed the will of Susanna Carter, and 21 March, 1782, when his estate
was appraised. Richard was a son of Thomas Stanton and lived with, or near,
his father in the 1740s and 1750s at Poplar Camp which land, interestingly
enough, he sold on the 28th of March, 1767, to William Herbert who owned
the land at Dungannon. His father, Thomas, and a brother moved to Orange
County, North Carolina, after the French and Indian War. Richard Stanton
served in the French and Indian War as a Sergeant, and a slip of paper
in the handwriting of General William Campbell, dated 22 October, 1778,
requests that Stanton's pay as Adjutant to Col. Campbell be paid to the
Sheriff of Washington County, for William Bryan's son, David, "now in my
possession." Just what relation David Bryan was to Stanton is unknown.
Richard also served in the early days of Dunmore's War, as a Scout, along
with Edward Sharpe, Ephraim Drake and William Harrold, the latter three
well known as long hunters.
in a deposition taken in Clarke County, Kentucky, 16th of May, 1798, stated:
"That in 1775 he knew Raleigh Duncan to purchase the tract from James Naule."
All I know of James Naule was that he was dead before 29th of April, 1777,
when the Washington County Court appointed Joseph Blackmore and others
to appraise his estate and James Green was appointed Administrator, which
may, or may not, suggest some connection with James Green, who was a pioneer
settler of the Fort Blackmore section.
One could almost
write a history of Dungannon with the Nicholson family alone, who as may
be seen from the foregoing, left the area and moved on to Kentucky. Of
the Nicholson family there was Benjamin, John (exempted from tax May 10,
1786, because of old age), Peter and Thomas. Benjamin, Peter and Thomas
Nicholson may have been sons of the aged John.
owned 425 acres of land on Clinch River, settled in 1773, and Benjamin
owned 450 acres, settled in 1774. Benjamin Nicholson was married to Jemima
Darnell, sister of David Darnell. Alexander Ritchie, Jr., who lived in
this same area makes an interesting statement in his pension claim. He
was born in Prince Edward County in 1762, and speaking of the various forts
in which he served as a "chain guard" for Russell County during the Revolution
he mentions these from Fort Blackmore to Martin's Station, about 20 miles
from Cumberland Gap, among which was "Osman's Fort" (undoubtedly another
spelling of Osborne). He is also backed up by a statement of Elisha Wallen,
born 1763, who mentions the same Osman's Fort, as does Charles Kilgore,
who was born in Orange County, North Carolina in 1763, and died in Davis
County, Indiana, 20 November, 1844, who says: "In the summer of 1779 he
volunteered again for two months under Captain John Snoddy and Lt. Cowan
for the purpose of guarding Osman's Fort on Clynch River in said county
of Washington. He remained in said fort for three months with the said
company, guarding the same."
Scott County Deed
book 4, page 553, 9 October, 1829, reads: "a certain tract or parcel of
land lying and being in Scott County on the north side of Clinch River,
it being part of the same bottom that joins Bustar's Shoals, opposite a
place called 'Nicholson's Fort.' John Bustar lived on Sinking Creek. Since
the Nicholson land was sold to William McClain (his "fish-trap" is mentioned
by Elizabeth Osborne Livingston in 1794 when Benge captured her), and one
William Osborne bought the Ritchie land, (360 acres on Clinch River), it
may be that Ritchie's Fort, Osman's Fort and Nicholson's Fort were one
and the same. The Ritchie land is described in Russell County deeds as
"one certain tract or parcel of land known by the name of Ritchie's Fort,
lying and being in the County of Russell on the south side of Clinch River
and both sides of Ritchie's Creek." Since the land of Nicholson was
on both sides of the river and adjacent to the Ritchie-Osborne land it
seems there was a fort (evidenced by troops stationed at Osman's Fort),
at Dungannon, unknown to past historians, known possibly by all three names,
or Nicholson's and Ritchie's may have been "fort houses" for immediate
family protection as was that of Patrick Porter known as Porter's Fort.
In this same case
Samuel Stallard is mentioned as owning eleven acres of land "on the island."
That Samuel Stallard moved into the area from Culpeper County, Virginia,
is proven by the entry of Raleigh Stallard's death in the Scott County
Death Register, with his place of birth given as Culpeper County. Samuel
Stallard was married to Jaelia Duncan, sister of Raleigh and John Duncan,
the latter slain by Indians at Moore's Fort. Among the children of Samuel
and Jaelia Duncan Stallard were: Raleigh Stallard (1771-1856) and wife
Elizabeth, a daughter of Peter and Susanna Hutcheson. Walter Stallard and
wife, Elizabeth. He was probably married to a second wife named Mary. James
Stallard and wife, Sally. Frances Stallard and husband, James Watson. Ruth
Stallard and husband, William Fletcher. Mary Stallard and husband, Edly
Murphy and Sarah Stallard and husband, William Addington. Samuel Stallard,
father of the above children died in 1816.
Of old Peter Hutcheson
I know very little. R. M. Addington in his "History of Scott County," says:
"The first settlement in the county was made by Patrick Porter, his son,
Samuel; Captain John Montgomery; Raleigh Stallard and _____ Hutcheson."
The wife of Peter Hutcheson was (as some descendants say) Susanna Green.
She may have been a sister to the pioneer James Green who settled at Ft.
Blackmore. Among his children were:
Susanna who married Richard Wells and lived
in Floyd County, Kentucky; Patsy who married Samuel Porter (perhaps his
second wife, for John Alley says in his pension statement that Samuel Porter
was his brother-in-law or they might perhaps have married Hutcheson sisters).
Peter Hutcheson, Jr., James Hutcheson; Nancy Hutcheson who married a Powers,
Elizabeth "Polly" Hutcheson who married Raleigh Stallard and Hannah Hutcheson
who married William Roberson.