History of the First Settlements




Written expressly for The Progressive Age.

In the spring of 1769, Daniel Boone, accompanied by three companions started from North Carolina, explored that part of the great North-west country which was known as the Dark and Bloody ground now called Kentucky.  In Boone’s little company, there was a young man by the name of David Cox who accompanied Boone as far as Elizabethton in East Tennessee and there separated from them.  Boone and his companions held their way towards to the west, while young Cox turned his course to the north and passed through Big Moccasin Gap in Scott County.

This section of country was an entire wilderness.  There were scattered settlements on the Holston and its branches in what is now Washington county, and in Burk’s Garden in Tazwell county, and in the upper end of Russell co.  None of these counties then had a name, and I only mention them to identify the location of the settlements.

About fourteen miles to the north west of Big Moccasin Gap on Clinch river there was an Indian town, probably of the Wyandots.

This location was selected by the Indians because it possessed many advantages which could not be found at other points.  The country was covered with dense forests, that abounded in all the game that was known in this section.  This place which was so attractive for the Indians excited the cupidity of the white man, and tales of the great fertility of the soil, the richness of the furs, the superabundance of bears, turkeys and other game, were circulated in the settlements of North Carolina and were readily believed.  Such a country could not long remain in the peaceable possession of the Red Man.

Young Cox determined to trap along this river, but had not been there long when he was captured by the Indians and was sent north of the Ohio river where he remained a prisoner in their hands for about two years when he effected his escape and returned to his home in North Carolina.  The reports he circulated about the valley of the Clinch excited much interest in his neighborhood.

In the following year after Cox’s return, Joseph Blackemore, a man of courage and enterprise, made up a small company of emigrants, including David Cox, and proceeded to Virginia.  The place selected for their settlement at the mouth of Stony creek on the north bank of Clinch river.  There they built a fort and called it Blackemore’s fort in honor of Capt. Joseph Blackemore, the leader of the little band of pioneers.

In a short time after the completion of the fort, the Indians made their way to the settlement, but concealed themselves.  Dale Carter, an inmate of the fort, who was lame from white swelling in his leg, walked out about forty yards from the fort and was fired on by the Indians and killed.  Upon hearing the report of the Indian’s gun, John Carter run out and saw an Indian scalping Dale but being over a little eminence he waited until the Indian had finised [sic] and as he arose Carter fired and killed him.  Another Indian ran up to carry his dead comrade away which gave Carter time to load his gun, though in the hurry he rammed the bullet down without patching.  He was however in time to fire on the Indian and wounded him in the shoulder.

After this occurance [sic] John Carter settled on Clinch river where Joseph Salling now lives.  He had married Joseph Blackemore’s daughter and had five children.  In a short time after moving to his farm, having planted his crop and made such other preperations [sic] as were necessary to move back to the fort, he went out early one morning to listen for his horses and cattle which had bells on, intending to collect them up to move to Blackemore fort the next day.  This was locust year and he went out early to collect his stock before the locust’s began their noise.

He had proceeded about sixty yards when he heard his wife cry, Oh! John.  He turned and saw eight or nine savages entering his house and at the same time they fired upon him.

Realizing his perilous situation, he thought it best to make his escape rather than fight and exasperate the savages.  He ran to the fort and collected a company and returned to his home which he found in flames.

With some poles they succeeded in pulling out from the debris the charred remains of his wife and four children which they buried.

They heard a low plaintive groan a little distance from the house in the weeds and grass. They went to the place and found Carter’s little daughter, about ten years of age, with an awful gash across her stomach.

Her entrails had fallen out on the grass and leaves.  They carried her to the river and wrshed [sic] her, but she died in a few minutes.  Then there John Carter swore eternal vengance [sic] against the Red man and afterwards became a celebrated Indian fighter.

At some future time, I may tell more of his exploits.

(Draper Manusipts, Series C, Daniel Boone Papers, Vol. 6, Reel 4, un-numbered pages.  I decided to make my own transcription of this newspaper clipping.  It’s an interesting tale.  It places Joseph Blakemore in NC, but as far as is known, he never resided there. He was not called Capt. Blakemore in any records.  The fort was evidently named after Joseph Blakemore and his brother John Blakemore.  Violence between Indians and settlers on the frontier was endemic.  Francis Asbury, the circuit riding Methodist, recorded in a journal entry of  Apr 1790 regarding a visit to Joseph Blackmore’s Station that Blackmore had had a son and daughter killed by Indians.)



Joseph Blackmore and Anne his wife of Lancaster Co., VA to Catherine Sydnor and William Sydnor of Lancaster Co., for 200 pounds, a tract of land at the head of Mud Creek formerly called Ramps Creek containing 271 acres except 69 acres, part of a patent sold by John Sanders, father of Anne, to Joseph Ball on 16 Aug 1740.  18 Jul 1760.  Lancaster Co., VA Deeds & Wills 16, 1758-1763, p. 93.  Wit:  Jno Stott, Wm Stott, Jas Bennet.

Joseph Blackmore, 1770 Fauquier Co., VA rent rolls

Joseph Blackmore, tours of duty Lord Dunmore’s War of 1774, under Captains Looney, Patten, Thompson, and Russell.

[Payroll dating to Dunmore’s War in 1774:  Fincastle County.  Joseph Blakemore (Blackmore) is 6th from the top.]

Montgomery Co., VA Plott Book A, p. 77.  Joseph Blackmore, 75 acres part of the Loyal Company grant, on south side of Clinch River, Fincastle Co., VA, 24 Mar 1774.

Survey Book No. 1, Page 142, Washington Co., VA.  “We the Commissioners of the District of Washington and Montgomery Counties do Certify that Joseph Blackamore heir at law to Edward Blackamore, dec’d, is entitled to four hundred acres of land lying in Washington County on the South side of Clynch bounded by the River hills. and adjoining Samuel Ritchey to include his improvement ha having proved to the Court that he was entitled to the same by actual settlement made in the year 1773.  As witness our hands this 21st day of August 1781.  Jos. Cabell, Harry Innus, R Cabell, James Reed.” (Bales, Hattie Byrd Muncy.  (1977).  Early Settlers of Lee County, Virginia and Adjacent Counties, Volume II.  Greensboro, NC:  Media, Inc. Printers and Publishers; p. 522.)

Joseph Blackmore, 1782 Washington Co., VA tax list.

November 1794.  “4.  That fifty-five acres of land conveyed by Frederick Jones to the justices of the peace in the county of Lee, and their successors, for the use of the said county, as the same are already laid off into lots and streets, are hereby established a town, by the name of “Jonesville;” and Frederick Jones, William Ewing, Peter Fulkerson, James Campbell, Joseph Blackemore, Nathaniel Hicks, David Chadwell, Daniel Young, Benjamin Shap, and Moses Cotterell, gentlemen, are appointed trustees thereof.”  (Shepherd’s Continuation of Hening, Vol. 1, p. 322.)


[Virginia State Library & Archives (Loose Papers) Lee Co., VA.  Most of the Lee County probate records were lost, but somehow this will survived, and I obtained a copy of it.]

In the name of God amen I Joseph Blakemore of Lee county and State of Virginia being of sound mind and disposing memory (for which I thank God) but calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and being desirous to dispose of all such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give and bequeath the same in manner following that is to say

First after the payment of my debts and funeral expenses I give to my derly [sic] beloved wife Anne Blakemore one third part of my estate both real and personal for and during the term of her natural life and after her decease I give the same (together with the other two thirds of my estate) to my children and some of my grand children hereafter mentioned to be divided among them in the following manner and to be enjoyed by them forever

Secondly I give to my daughter Hannah Bird one dollar current money of the United States,

Thirdly I give to my Daughter Molly Hamblen (Alias Molly Adams) one dollar current money of the United States,

Fourthly I give to my son Joseph Blakemore a negroe girl name Prue I also give to my son Joseph Blakemore Negroe Winneys three children Pheby Hannah and Harry if they are not taken out of my possession or estate by Law but if the said three negroe children Pheby Hannah and Harry should ever be proven to be the property of any other person and taken out of my possession or estate by Law my son Joseph Blakemore is to have no other part of my estate but the above mentioned negroe girl Prue

Fifthly I give to my Daughter Susanna Skidmore a Negroe woman name Sall and her daughter Billinda and their increase

Sixthly I give to my son Thomas Blakemore a negroe man name Tom and Easters daughter Winney

Seventhly I give to my son William Blakemore four negroes to wit – George, Charlotte, Mary and Winneys son Tom

Eighthly I give to my son James Blakemore four negroes to wit Jacob Rhody Jim and Edy and the plantation whereon I now live to him and his heirs forever

Ninthly I give to my grandchildren Molly Berry Joseph Duncan and John Duncan one negroe girl name Milley

Tenthly I give to my sons Thomas Blakemore William Bakemore and James Blakemore two negroe women namely Easter and Winney and their increase to be equally divided between them after the decease of my wife Anne Blakemore

Eleventhly all the rest of my estate both real and personal of What nature or kind soever it may be not herein before particularly disposed of  I desire may be (at the decease of my wife) equally divided between my three youngest sons Thomas Blakemore William Blakemore and James Blakemore which I give to them their heirs executors administrators and assigns forever

And lastly – I do hereby constitute and appoint my sons Joseph Blakemore Thomas Blakemore William Blakemore James Blakemore and my son in law Henry Skidmore executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 18th day of June 1802 –

Joseph Blakemore

Signed sealed published and declared as and for the last will and Testament of the above named Joseph Blakemore in presence of us

Salley Carter

Charles Carter

Joseph Blakemore Will Recorded Teste Wm. Carter D Clk



Hannah (Blakemore) Duncan Bird married first William Duncan and was the mother of Joseph and John Duncan.

“On motion of Hannah Duncan Certificate for obtaining administration of the Estate of William Duncan decd. is granted her whereupon she together with John Duncan and Joseph Blakemore her securities entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of five hundred pounds with condition as the Law directs for the faithfull administration of the said deceased’s Estate.  (Russell Co., VA Court Order Book 1, p. 12; 9 Aug 1786.  An inventory and appraisment of William Duncan’s estate was taken on 14 Nov 1786; p. 23.)

Hannah (Blakemore) Duncan married second Francis Bird (Byrd) whose will was made in Scott Co., VA on 3 Jan 1823, probated 11 Jul 1832 (Scott Co., VA Will Book 2, pp. 126-127).  She was deceased by 10 December 1839 when the Scott Co. court ordered an inventory and appraisement of her personal property (Scott Co., VA Will Book 2, p. 250.)


~ by Jeffrey Thomas Chipman on August 21, 2013.

%d bloggers like this: