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Historical Events :: Kingsport

Kingsport Heritage by Muriel Millar Clark Spoden


Historical Events :: Kingsport

The Virginians :: Dr. Thomas Walker

1673 Virginians, James Needham, Gagriel Arthur mission to establish trade between Cherokees and Virginia Colony. Crack of the traders rifle.

1690's from South Carolina establish trade with the Overhill Cherokees. Great Indian Path (later known as Great Trading Path) through Kingsport. Many killed. Firm trading not until 1730. French at same time in lower Mississippi Valley compete. Chief Moytoy. Many traders lived with Cherokee.

Late 1740's hunters were many in area. James Patton, William Buchanan, Mr Clinch (Clinch River, Clinch Mountain, Clinch Valley) 1748 Stephen Holston at head waters of Holston River. Friends took boating run down Holston Tennessee Ohio and Mississippi to Natchez country. Before this white man called the river Indian or Cherokee River. Cherokees called it Hogohegee, meaning Big River.

1748 Virginian Dr. Thomas Walker, physician, surgeyor, explorer, land speculator and guardian of Thomas Jefferson, became agent of Loyal Land Company of Virginia. Received a 800,000 acre grant of frontier land. James Patton, William Buchanon John Findley and others explored and opposite the Long Island.
1750 with second exploring party, came to Long Island. Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, Henry Lawless, Colby Chew and John Hughes. Horse, armed, dogs pack horses. Changed the name of West Creek to Reedy Creek. starts in Virginia, empties in Holston at Tilthammer Shoals opposite Long Island. Camped 5 miles up the creek in west end of Giant's Ditch, Boozy Creek (old name North Fork of Reedy Creek) enters Reedy Creek.

1750 Week after Walker left Giant's Ditch, other surveyors entered this part of the Reedy Creek Valley on April 6. completed the last survey of four large tracts for the Loyal Land Company. These were the first land grants made in Tennessee country. All within Sullivan County area. Part of the sea-to-sea charter of Vigianian governed by Augusta County Virginia.
  • 1. Sapling Grove 1946 acres 2.22.50. Now Bristol.
  • 2. 'The Hazel Land' 1250 acres nov 20 1748. Later home of John Shelby
  • 3. Holly Bottom 995 acres 3.15.50 1773-1775 John Seviers first home in TN (2 and 3 laid along the Holston River between Holston Dam and Hickory Tree)
  • 4. West Creek or Reedy Creek. later Pendleton grant area, 3000 (4000) acre 4.6.1750 Straddled Reedy Creek from the old Kingsport Press, eastward up both sides of Reed Creek to Holly Springs Church on 11W. 9 miles.

    March 3, 1750 Walker's party down Reedy Creek to Holston and crossed the Great Trading Path's "old ford" of the North Fork Holston. Measured large elm "25 feet around 3 feet off from the ground." In the fork of Holston and its north Fork wrote "five Indian houses built with loggs and covered with Bark, an abundance of Bones, some Pots and Pans, some broken and many pieces of mats and cloth." Saw four more Indian houses on the west bank of the Old Ford. Traveled four miles down river and camped "on the Bank of the Holston Opposite to a large Indian fort." Old Ford locaed a short distance up river from Rotherwood Bridge.
    Indian Fort at or near Solitude Ford. Marked his name here 4.1.1750 on several Beech trees. (north river bank of Holston Defense property.)
    Walker party continued on to 'discover' Cumberland Gap after crossing the Clinch and Powell Rivers. Then went home to Virginia.
    Dr. Walker never mentioned the Long Island.

    Some traders friends of Cherokee built cabins on Long Island. Carried on trade. Nathaniel Gist, Thomas Price, Richard Pearis. Pearis/Price partners may have been first there. 1751. 1754 he asked Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia for land grant Long Island. (not gotten) Pearis had trading post on the Island.

    French Indian 7 year war with British decreased the trading. Explorations and long hunters from Virginia in to Long Island all but ceased.

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