THE MELUNGEONS
 &
FORT BLACKMORE

SOME NOTES





Attorney Lewis Jarvis was born 1829 in Scott County, Virginia and lived in the area and time period where he knew many of the historical Melungeons such as Vardy Collins, the Bolens, and Zachariah Minor. In 1903 he was interviewed for the Hancock County paper and said;  "The white emigrants with the friendly Indians erected a fort on the bank of the river and called it Fort Blackmore and here yet many of these friendly “Indians” live in the mountains of Stony creek." (1)



The Fort

Daniel Boone and his family lived at Fort Blackmore in present Scott County, Virginia from October of 1773 until March of 1775 and was in command of Fort Blackmore and other forts on the Clinch River in 1774 while the militiamen were engaged in the Point Pleasant campaign of Dunmore's war.  Some of these men did not fight at Point Pleasant but were detached and were with Boone guarding the clinch frontier.  Were they the 'company of men'  -- the 'friendly Indians' who erected Fort Blackmore as Jarvis said? (See William Herbert's men below)

There were seven of the original forts erected in compliance with Lord Dunmore's order, four on the lower Clinch under Captain William Russell's militia command, and three on the upper Clinch under the militia command of Captain Daniel Smith. These forts were erected by the local militia under the supervision of Colonel William Christian who had been sent out to the frontier by Colonel William Preston who was militia commandant for the area.

When Captain Russell received Lord Dunmore's orders for building the forts it happened to be muster day for the militia in Cassells Woods, and he immediately, on June 25, 1774, laid the facts before his constituents and informed Colonel Preston of their actions on June 26, 1774,  saying: "My company yesterday voted two  forts to be immediately built, I think in as convenient a place as we can get, and we shall immediately begin to build them."

Two weeks later, on July 13, 1774, Captain Russell again wrote to Colonel Preston the following letter showing that his people had changed their minds about the number of forts to be built and states that the forts had already been erected.

"Since I wrote you last, the inhabitants of this river have altered the plan for two forts only, on this river, below Elk Garden, and have erected three; one in Cassells Woods which I call Fort Preston; a second ten miles above which I call Fort Christian; the third, five miles below the first, which I call Fort Byrd, and there are four families at John Blackmores near the mouth of Stony Creek, that will never be able to stand it alone without a company of men. Therefore, request you, if you think it can be done, to order them a supply sufficient to enable them to continue the small fortification they have begun." (5)

Fort Blackmore was built on the north side of the Clinch River opposite the mouth of Rock Branch. The fort was on the extreme frontier of Virginia and was used by hunters, explorers, adventurers, and home seekers for rest and refreshment.


The Men 

From Jeff Weaver's site;  NEW RIVER NOTES

Bios of William Herbert's company     *See more biographies  From Jeff Weaver's site

Micajah Bunch
listed as living on Indian lands. His land was on Elk Creek in current day Ashe Co., NC. He is in William Herbert's company in 1771.

1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Micajah was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.


John Collins
The Fincastle 1772 and 1773 list includes: David (Indian lands), Ambrose, John, John Jr., Charles (Indian lands), Elisha, Samuel (Indian land), Lewis, George (Indian land) Collins and Micajer Bunch (Indian Land).
3. - 1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): One of the John Collins was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.


Enoch Osborne 1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Enoch was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier. He is listed as a sergeant.

Ephraim Osborne Jr.
1) born 1754 in Rowan Co., NC
2) 1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Ephraim was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier...........
Ephraim married Mary Brock (b. before 1774, d. between 1830-1840 in Harlan Co., KY), the daughter of Aaron Brock, sometimes called by his Cherokee name Cutsawah or Red Bird and a Cherokee woman called Sarah. She was a sister to Jesse Brock who fought on the Whig side in the Revolution. It appears that Ephraim or his descendants were present at the Massacre at Yahoo Falls in 1810 on the side of the Cherokee. After this attack, the mixed race Cherokee ceased to exist in Kentucky as Indians and were assimilated into the white population.

Stephen Osborne ---3) 1774: Stephen was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier

Charles Roark

(Not on Jeff's list, but he is on the list of those paid with Capt. Looney's Co. as were many others in Herbert's company)
Born about 1750, Augusta Co., VA (?). His parents may have been Timothy O'Rourke (b. Ireland, d. Frederick Co., VA?) and Rachel (Timothy married first Sarah Parker, see Timothy Jr. below).

Married Abigail (by tradition a Cherokee Indian) about 1775 in Fincastle Co., VA. She died before 1820 in Ashe Co., NC.
1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Charles was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier

William Roberts--- William is probably a brother of Cornelius Roberts and more doubtfully a son of the notorious Capt. James Roberts (Tory leader). He shared an 1780 court venue with Cornelius....He is the William Roberts born about 1744 in old Lunenburg Co., VA who married Elizabeth "Betsy" Walling, daughter of Elisha Wallen
and Mary Blevins

   
1774: William was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.

Doswell Rodgers----1774: In Herbert's Company. Doswell was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.

William Vaughn----1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): William was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.....Daniel Boone records meeting him in the wilds of Kentucky on his first visit (Howling Wilderness). William married a Cherokee maiden by the name of Fair-A-Bee-Luna in Tennessee. It was around his wife's tribal fire that he first heard of the old Indian Healing Springs, now known as Eureka Spring, Arkansas. (Don Byrne)........Eddie Davis was unable to prove Fereby's Cherokee ancestry through DNA testing.

James Wallin-- 1746 - born, Lunenburg Co., VA, son of Elisha Walling and Mary Blevins.
1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): James was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier

Joseph Wallin
1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Joseph was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier

Thomas Wallin----1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Thomas was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.

By family tradition, Thomas' daughter Judy was part Cherokee. According to notes in Tobias Harkleroad's Worldconnect database, Thomas was "living with the tribe after his marriage to her mother [Mary Cox?], and taking part in tribal life
Not on the 1782 Montgomery Co., VA personal tax list. - had moved to the Clinch or Powell River valley in Virginia or Tennessee near Kyle's Ford by then


Edward Williams ---
1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Edward was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.

Some of the land in the original Loyal Company grant was also claimed by the Cherokee, who were the first target of these same leaders in the Revolution. Much of the rest of the land was the ancestral home of the Shawnee, who had been driven from northern and central Kentucky by the Iroquois in the 1660s. The men in Herbert's company, including Herbert, were not part of this Loyal Land Company scheme for the most part, although I have heard people suggest that Enoch Osborne and John Cox may have had some long standing business ties to the company. In fact, many of the people in Herbert's company had trading or even familial ties to the Cherokee, and so it is not surprising that so many became Tories when the Cherokee were attacked in 1777.


William Hays came out in 1770, along with Robert Elsom as stock tenders for Capt. William Herbert, Sr. of Poplar Camp, Wythe Co., Va. Herbert had a patent for land between Dungannon and Gray's Island on Clinch River. Robert Elsom was killed there by the Indians in 1777.  Most of the men who served under William Herbert were from Grayson County, Virginia

*See more Biographies  From Jeff Weaver's site




The 1755 Orange County, North Carolina, tax list several families who either they are their forefather once lived on the Pamunkey River in Louisa County, Virginia and who eventually migrated to Hawkins County, TN and became know as the Melungeons.
Gidean Bunch 1 tithe (mulatto)

Micajer Bunch 1 tithe (mulatto)
Moses Ridley (Riddle) 1 tithe and wife Mary (mulattoes)
Thomas Collins 3 tithes (mulatto)
Samuel Collins 3 tithes (mulattoes)
John Collins 1 tithe (mulatto)
Thomas Gibson 3 tithes (mulatto)
Charles Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)
George Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)
Mager Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)

Most of these families moved from the Flat River to the New River area of Virginia and North Carolina. The follow tax lists are from Kegley’s early adventures on the Western Waters) 1771 New River area Botetourt County, Virginia
Charles Collins 1 tithe
John Collins 4 tithes
Samuel Collins two tithes
Charles Sexton 1 tithe
McKegar Bunch 1 tithe
William Sexton 1 tithe

Some of these including Micager Bunch were living on Indian Lands.
Fincastle County was formed from Botetourt in 1772; this 1773 tax list shows the ones living on Indian land. Which means they had crossed the survey line agreed upon in the treaty of Lochaber as the western boundary.
David Collins (Indian Lands)
Charles Collins (Indian Lands)
Samuel Collins (Indian Lands)
George Collins (Indian lands)
*Micajer Bunch (Indian lands)
John Collins SR
John Collins Jr.
Ambrose Collins
Elisha Collins
Lewis Collins




According to an "authentic tradition" related to Robert M. Addington about 1930 by W. S. Cox of Scott County, Virginia,   Baron deTubeuf planned to build a city there just about ten miles above Fort Blackmore on the Clinch River. Tubeuf's colony was very close to where a peaceable band of Indians came down Stony Creek into the neighborhood of Fort Blackmore about  1817 for undetermined ceremonial purposes [prayers were said at a
local Indian mound located directly behind the fort].


DOCUMENTING  THE   MELUNGEONS


 



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