First Settlement in Turkey
In 1770 or 1771,
Thomas Berry and a William McGaughy went into Powell Valley to hunt with
a Thomas Sowards, who seemed to be familiar with the Valley. While Berry
and Sowards had gone up the valley after buffalo, McGaughy seems to have
remained behind at their hunting camp and upon their return he had deadened
some trees which he claimed as his "corn or settlement rights." At this
time McGaughy was living on the Holston, as was Berry. McGaughy never actually
made any improvements or lived upon his corn right which the law required
for a legal claim, but nevertheless the Land Commissioners granted him
a warrant for 1000 acres in Powell Valley in 1781. In 1793, McGaughy traded
his land in the Turkey Cove which by accurate survey was 1400 acres to
Walter Preston for forty-five pounds in the form of a Negro girl slave,
named Milly and aged about 12 years. The terms of this contract were such
that if Preston could not get a clear title to the land Milly was to be
returned to him, and in case she had been removed by death or some other
accident then McGaughy was to repay Preston 47 pounds and 8 shillings.
Walter Preston sold this land to Simon Ely, and he, Ely, bought it contrary
to the advice of Vincent Hobbs who told him Preston could not make a good
deed because McGaughy had not made a legal settlement, with Ely saying:
"What is it that a Preston cannot do?"
In April 1775 or
1776, Jeptha Massey, along with his brother-in-law, Thomas Sowards, made
a settlement on this same land on a pre-emption for 1000 acres in Turkey
Cove and they were also granted a warrant by the Land Commissioners of
Washington County in 1781. Massey who was granted the warrant for this
land actually lived upon it, as did Sowards, built a cabin, cleared land,
planted corn, cabbage, peach stones and apple seeds, but were driven out
by the Indians in June, 1776, although they returned after Col. William
Christians' Cherokee Campaign ended in the fall of that year. Jeptha Massey
sold his warrant sometime between 1777 and 1779 to one James Arbuckle who
moved his family into the cove and occupied the Massey cabin at the Sinking
Springs. Marital trouble began between James Arbuckle and his wife, Rachael,
and he left her, going to Greenbrier County, West Virginia (then Virginia)
where he died at the home of Henry Hunter in April, 1783. Rachel continued
to live on in the Cove and Jeptha Masey, the cause of separation from her
husband, at a place called "Rachael's Cabin." She was still living here
in 1780 when Vincent Hobbs went to the Turkey Cove to make a settlement
and he said she seemed very angry that he trespassed upon her land, which
she claimed by Massey's settlement right.
On October 12, 1781,
Rachael Arbuckle sold the land to William and Robert Davis and Alexander
Wiley of Wythe County, having either her son, James, who was then 14 or
15 years old, or one Joseph Cury forge the "X" for her husband's signature.
James Arbuckle, Jr., who was born in 1766 or '67, stated in Jefferson County,
Indiana, on March 20, 1820, that Cury made the "X" mark.
The Davis brothers,
William and Robert and Alexander Wiley used the Arbuckle land to pasture
livestock, and did not reside upon it, as did James Thompson who owned
the large tract upon which Captain Vincent Hobbs settled with his family
in 1780. Thompson, who lived at the Townhouse in Chilhowie was a son-in-law
of Col. Evan Shelby and had herdsmen who tended his and Shelby's cattle
on the Turkey Cove land.
These two land grants
of McGaughy's and Massey's which were for the same tract of land caused
two lawsuits in the Chancery Court of both Wythe and Augusta Counties,
the first being Simon Ely vs Davis, and the second in Wythe being between
the heirs of James Arbuckle vs Davis and Wiley.
Who was this James
Arbuckle, Sr? He came into Augusta County, Virginia around 1745. He had
a wife and two sons, Matthew and Thomas Arbuckle. He was serving in the
militia prior to April 21, 1759, with the two sons serving as their father's
servants. After the death of his first wife, James Arbuckle, Sr., married
the above mentioned wife, Rachael, on January 11, 1762, and by her had
at least one son, the James Arbuckle, Jr., heretofore mentioned.
son of James, Sr., by his first wife, was the famed Captain Matthew Arbuckle
on James River who was in command at the murder of the Indian Chief Cornstalk.
Matthew and his wife, Frances, who after his death in Greenbrier County,
in 1781, married a man named Welch, had at least two sons, Charles and