Big Laurel


     About the year 1820 young Rafe Kilgore, of the Rye Cove section of Scott County, VA, went over to neighbor William Wheatley's place to court William's daughter, Milly, who had just killed a bear with a skillet. Rafe admired both her courage and beauty. So it was not long until he claimed the bear-slaughtering lassie for his bride; and soon after the wedding the two young people bundled up their duds and struck out to find a home for themselves where it was not too crowded.
     Over High Knob they came; down through the laurel-locked bottoms on which the town of Norton now stands; turned up Guests River; and, just above the point where another pioneer woman, Mrs. Benjamin Bolling, had slain a panther with a piggin, some forty years before, they took the right hand fork of the stream; almost hewed their way through laurel and grapevine thickets for a distance of three miles to a little bottom a hundred and fifty yards, up a hollow, to the left of the watercourse they had been following, where they unloaded their budgets and packsaddles and built themselves a home from hewn beech logs.
     And that was the beginning of Big Laurel. Soon thereafter Milly's brothers, Jack and Arter Wheatley followed the Kilgores across Stone Mountain. Jack established himself on Greasy Branch of Rocky Fork and Arter built his house in Grassy Gap from which pint he could look almost straight down on his brother-in-law's home on Rotten Hollow.


 
 
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