How Trimble's Creek Got
which heads up near the Russell County line between Castlewood and Dungannon,
has an interesting background as to how it came by its name. The surest
way to perpetuate the name of an individual is to name a natural landmark
after him. His name, if not his memory, will be remembered for ages to
come. So is the memory of Robert Trimble, living on since the year 1771,
two hundred and fifteen years after he first set foot on the small stream.
The Trimbles were
an early family in Augusta County, Virginia. John Moffett was one of the
earliest settlers of Augusta County. His wife was Mary Christian and his
children were George, Robert, William, John, Mary, Katy, and Hannah Moffett.
At some time prior to 1749, perhaps as early as 1742, he left his home
for Carolina and was never heard of afterwards. In the course of time he
was presumed dead, probably killed by the Indians. His widow, Mary Moffett,
qualified as Administratrix of his estate on February 28, 1749, with her
brothers Robert and William Christian as her securities.
Mrs. Moffett contracted
a second marriage with John Trimble, by whom she had one son, James Trimble.
Several of John
Moffett's children emigrated to Southwest Virginia as early as 1770-1771,
among whom was Captain Robert Moffett who settled in 1771 on the upper
Clinch in present day Tazewell County. While living here two of his little
boys, George and John, were captured at a Sugar Camp by the Indians and
carried to the Indian town of Piqua, on the Miami River in Ohio, and John
was adopted into the family of Tecumseh's mother. They were given up at
Wayne's treaty in 1794, but John, who was the older, was unhappy and later
returned to Piqua, married an Indian wife and settled down with the Indians.
Captain Moffett and his wife, Jane, had migrated to Kentucky in 1783 and
were living in Jessamine County when their sons were released.
Captain Robert Moffett's
half-brother, Captain James Trimble, lived in Washington County, Virginia,
and another brother lived somewhere near Abingdon. His sister, Kitty Moffett,
the wife of Benjamin Estill, Sr., and the mother of Judge Benjamin Estill,
Jr., after whom Gate City in Scott County was first named, lived on a 1300
acre tract of land at Hansonville. It is of interest to note that Kitty
Moffett Estill and her half-brother, Captain James Trimble, had both been
captured by the Indians and escaped while they were living in Augusta County
as young children.
In October of 1783,
a caravan of emigrants started from Staunton in Augusta County for settlement
in Kentucky, among whom were the Moffets, Trimbles, Allens and others.
As this caravan moved down the Shenandoah Valley and the great Wilderness
Road, it was joined by another caravan and by individual people along the
way. Many families who had settled at Castlewood and Abingdon earlier also
joined this caravan, among whom were the Moffets, Trimbles, Scotts and
others. This caravan moved on to Bean's Station in Tennessee and entered
Kentucky by that route. They were met at Bean's Station and escorted on
into Kentucky by Colonel James Knox of later family in the state of Kentucky.
Robert Trimble for
whom the creek was named came to Moccasin Creek in early 1771, along with
Benjamin Logan, John Gross and others looking for land and stopped at the
home of Thomas McCullock, the first settler of Scott County. Shortly afterwards
he asked for assistance in "raising a cabin" and McCullock ,John Wherry,
Alexander Montgomery and others helped him to build one. Trimble returned
and brought his family, but about five months later moved them to Abingdon
on a tract of land he purchased from Dr. Thomas Walker, Agent for the Loyal
Land Company. Perhaps his reason for moving his family away was fear of
the Indians, for all of Moccasin Creek was abandoned in June of 1771 for
this reason and remained so for about a year.
John Morgan, the
man who supposedly led the first settlers to Castlewood in 1769, had bought
this land from Francis Cooper who was the earliest claimant, and Morgan
in turn sold it to William Carr, who in turn sold to Francis Fugate who
moved his family into Trimble's cabin in November 1772. All these land
transactions were made by simply assigning the land warrant from one person
to another as there were no legally recorded deeds in Washington County
until the first Land Commissioners met in 1781. When the Commission did
meet in 1781, Robert Trimble laid a claim to his old cabin site and got
a land warrant for it. Francis Fugate, whom one settler referred to as
a "rash man" swore he would die before giving up claim to the land, but
was killed shortly after the meeting of the Commissioners by being thrown
from his horse.
A lawsuit did ensue
in the High Court of Chancery in Staunton between Fugate's heirs and Robert
Preston, to whom Trimble sold the land on September 2, 1786, three years
after his removal to Kentucky.
The last entry in
Washington County, Virginia court records pertaining to Robert Trimble
was March 22, 1781, when he was made a Captain of Militia, yet his name
still lives on in Trimble's Creek after a lapse of more than two centuries.