Houston's Fort, Scott County, VA

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From: FRONTIER FORTS OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA By Emory L. Hamilton Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Number 4, 1968, pages 1 to 26, (pro parte)

Fide: Rootsweb contributed by Rhonda Robertson.

[HOUSTON'S FORT was located] Scott County on the waters of Moccasin Creek.... While the Moccasin Creek waters are a tributary of the Holston River, this stream was more in the Clinch River defensive area than of the Holston, and it was thought for several years after the first settlers that Moccasin Creek was a tributary of Clinch River.
The fort was built by William Houston and his neighbors in 1774, upon land which had formerly been settled by Thomas McCulloch in 1769, and abandoned by McCulloch in June of 1771, because of fear of Indians. William Houston, assignee of Thomas McCulloch, seems to have taken up his abode on the land in 1772. Nearby stood a grist mill which Houston had built to serve his and his neighbors' need for bread.
In the late summer of 1776, probably in August, Fort Houston was attacked by a large force of Cherokee Indians, said by some people who were in the fort to number 300. This attack was driven off when two companies of militia under Captain Daniel Smith and Captain John Montgomery were sent to the relief of the station from Fort Blackmore where the troops were gathering for Colonel William Christian’s Cherokee Campaign. (19)
Samuel Cowan, who lived in lower Castlewood, had raced across country on a borrowed stud horse belonging to Deskin Tibbs to warn the station that Indians were in the area and arrived before any attack had been made upon the fort. After delivering his message he insisted upon returning to his home against the advice of those in the fort and started upon his return and was fired upon a short distance from the fort. The defenders of the fort hearing the shots sallied out to his assistance, found him shot and scalped, but still alive. He was carried into the fort, but died a short time afterwards. The horse Cowan was riding was uninjured and reached Castlewood, covered with sweat and lather from the long run, and Mrs. Cowan seeing the riderless horse fainted, knowing that her husband had been shot from the horse. (20)
John Carr, who was in the fort with his parents, and at the time, only three years of age, wrote to Dr. Lyman C. Draper in 1854, that he could remember his father holding him up to a port hole to see the Indians firing upon the fort. (21)
Mrs. Samuel Scott, another intimate of the fort, said that when the fort was attacked there were about thirty people in the fort, with perhaps ten of these being men, and that the Indians stayed around several days killing livestock. (22)
  • [19] Pension Statement of Charles Bickley, 1836, National Archives;
  • [20] Draper Mss 11 CC 224;
  • [21] Draper Mss; [22] Ibid, 11 CC 224;

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