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The 14th Annual Reunion and Meeting was held on September 24 - 27, 2015 with the theme: Southwest Virginia -- Carter Appalachian History and Music. Attendees stayed at the Marriott Meadowview Resort and Conference Center in Kingsport, Tennessee and utilized the facilities for a several presentations on Friday, a wine tasting, and excellent dining. After breakfast in the hotel Saturday morning, attendees visited Natural Tunnel State Park where guides lectured on a Carter cabin and the natural features of the park. The tour continued at the Anderson Blockhouse. Following a box lunch, the tour continued with the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap. Dinner was at Pratt's Barbecue. Saturday evening, the tour continued in Hiltons, Virginia where attendees toured the Carter Museum and the A. P. Carter Store before enjoying an evening of old mountain music and dancing performed at the Carter Family Fold.
The 2015 Reunion Program can be downloaded as a large pdf file (31 MB) here.
Southwest Virginia - Carter Appalachian History and Music
Thursday, September 24, 2015
- 1:00 pm - Registration in Lobby
- 1:00 pm - Genealogy Exchange in Salon A
- 6:00 pm - Dinner at the
- 8:00 pm - Board Meeting in Bays Mountain Board Room
Friday, September 25, 2015
- 7:30 am - 9:00 am - Breakfast in Salons B, C, D
- 9:45 am - on the Carters who lived in the Rye Cove during the Revolution
- 10:45 am - Break
- 11:00 am Paul Carter on his trip to England for Carter Research
- 12:00 pm Lunch
- 1:00 pm - Danny Dixon on History of Southwest Virginia
- 2:30 pm - Break
- 2:45 pm - Bob Lumsden on location of Captain Thomas Carter home
- 4:00 pm - Wine Tasting at Reedy Creek Cellars
- 5:00 pm - 2015 Carter Society Meeting on patio (open cash bar)
- 6:45 pm - Barbeque on patio with The Sea Notes and Carter Fold Rep
Saturday, September 26, 2015
- 7:30 am - 9:00 am - Breakfast in Salons B, C, D
- 10:00 am - Tour -- Carter Cabin & Anderson Blockhouse
- 11:30 am - Box Lunch in State Park
- 1:00 pm - in Big Stone Gap
- 4:30 pm - Dinner at
- 6:00 pm - Tour Museum & A. P. Carter Store at Carter Fold in Hiltons, Virginia
- 7:30 pm - to hear old mountain music performance and Flat Footin' dancing
Sunday, September 27, 2015
- 7:00 am - 11:00 am - Breakfast in Meadowview Restaurant
- 11:00 am - (Option) Attend church service at Mount Vernon United Methodist Church (Singing Carter Family Church)
- Hand in Evaluation Form
Scott County Welcome
Scott County's rich history spans 8,000 years. Visitors can follow in the footsteps of Daniel Boone, visit breathtaking railroad trestles or trace the history of country music.
Native Americans lived and hunted in Scott County for thousadnds of years. A number of village sites have been found in the county as well as an abundance of artifacts. But when the first Eurpoean explorers ventured into the county, all found were remains. Who were these early inhabitants an where had they gone? The mystery remains to this day, although some suspect that the Native Americans were members of the Yuchi Tribe, who were remnants of the old mound-builder culture.
Early European settlers noted that a Native American village one stood on the south bank of the Clinch River near the mouth of Little Stony Creek. A 1977 archaeological excavation shows evidence of another settlement outside Dungannon.
The earliest European settlers to Scott County built forts to protect themselves from the "Indians." Fort Blackmore was one such structure, constructed on an ancient elevated floodplain on the north side of the Clinch River. For many years, the fort was on the extreme frontier of Virginia and was used by hunters, explorers and settlers for rest and refreshment.
In 1774, Daniel Boone commanded Fort Blackmore, along with the several other forts on the Clinch River, whild militiamen were engaged in the Point Pleasant campaign of Dunmore's War. the next year, Daniel Boone headed west, blazing a trail from what is now Kingsport to the Cumberland Gap, through which he entered Kentucky.
Despite the presence of hostile Indians, plentiful game in the area and the dream of home sites to the west prompted thousands of families to follow the Wilderness Trail over the next few decades. Modern visitors can view many of the historic sites along the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail and Fincastle Loop, both self-guided driving tours that include the famous fortified blockhouse.
Meanwhile, folks were settling in Scott County itself. They came from eastern Virginia, from Augusta County, Virginia, and from the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina, along with a few from Ireland. Rather tahn retreating to forts every time Indians came to call, many of these settlers opted to build their own fortified houses. One of these -- Kilgore Fort House, outside Nickelsville -- is still standing. This is probably the oldest house in the coutny, although the structure at Osborne's Ford outside Dungannon may be a close second.
As pressure from the Native Americans eased, Scott County became more populated. Mountain farms scratched a subsistence life out of the mountain soils while communities spang up around mills like the Bush Mill, an operational gristmill outside Nickelsville. A spur road from the Wilderness Trail ran through the heart of Scott Coutny starting in 1841, and the Fincastle Turnpike is now a second driving trail that passes by many historic sights.
By this time, Scott County had been formed by an act of the virginia General Assembly. The county was created out of parts of Washington, Lee, and Russell Counties on November 24, 1814, and named after General Winfield Scott.
A third driving tour winds past historic buildings that spann 200 years of the county's history and include the remains of the magnificent Hagan Hall.
Scott County's isolated character changed dramatically when the railroads broke through the mountains. Several historic tunnels and trestles can be viewed around the county, including The Copper Creek Double Trestle, dating from 1890 and 1908, or the Guest River Gorge Trail, dating from 1922, and the route that runs through the magnificent Natural Tunnel near Clinchport.
stop by the Fuffield Train Museum to see railroad memorabilia.
Scott County is also home of a musical landmark. The Carter Family Fold and Museum showcases the home of the world-famous family who led to the birth of county music.
Do you think your ancestors may have lived in Scott County? The Scott County Court House in Gate City has original records dating back to 1815, and the county library has original histories compiled by some of our local authors. The Scott County Historical Society recently moved into a new home in the former Gate City Jail on Jackson Street. Volunteers can help you trace your family's history or provide historical information about the county.
Carters in Southwest Virginia
Several of our members have ancestors who came to this area in the late 1700s from Prince William County, now Fauquier. These were the sons of Peter Carter; Norris, Thomas, and Joseph. You will hear more about this family during Linda Hansen's presentation.
In addition to this family, Peter had a brother named Charles. He and his sons moved to Scott County as well. They were Dale, John and Charles. They settled on the Clinch River about Fort Blackmore. John's family was killed in 1787, and burned in their cabin. Charles left no descendants, Dale was killed by the Indians in 1774, and left two sons who subsequently came to this county. They were John R. and Joseph Carter. Joseph left no issue, but John R. who married Elizabeth Day, left a large family here and, in later life, went to Alabama, where, tradition says, he reared another. He was the father of John R., Jr. who in turn was the father of the late Pinckney Carter. John r., Jr. was a brother to Daniel Wesley, Milton, William and Joseph; also, Polly Cox, Malinda Brickey, Sally Berry and Elizabeth McCurry.
Addington's History of Scott County, p. 58, tells the story of the killing of Dale Carter. "Secretly approaching Fort Blackmore, the Indians came within about 75 yards of the gate before they were discovered. Most of the men, at the time, were sitting upon some logs, which lay a short distance from the gate. Evidently seeing this, the Indians decided to make a bold push to enter the fort before the men could recover from their surprise. So, creeping along under the bank of the river, completely hidden from view by the bank and a fringe of trees and underbrush, they were just about to rush into the fort when Dale Carter, who happened to be about 55 steps from the fort, saw them and began to halloo, Murder, murder! Upon hearing Carter's cry of alarm, the men ran toward the fort with all possible speed. They succeeded in reaching the gate before the Indians. Thus frustrated in their designs of cutting the men off from the fort, the Indians next turned their attentions to Carter. One Indian shot at him, but missed him; another shot him through the thigh, inflicting a wound, which though not mortal, rendered him too lame to escape into the fort. One Indian, bolder than the rest, soon ran up to Carter and, killing him with his tomahawk, scalped him. In the meantime, a Mr. Anderson and John Carter who, with their guns, were either outside the fort or, on hearing the firing, quickly ran to the outside, endeavored to prevent Carter's being scalped. Anderson shot at the Indian who was in the act of scalping Carter, while John Carter shot at another Indian who was nearby. It is not known whether either of these shots took effect; they caused the Indians, however, to scamper off about 100 yards from which point they began firing at Anderson and his companion. Fortunately, both men were unhurt. The men, who were now in the fort, opened fire on the Indians, and quickly drove them into the woods."
On August 29th 1787, the Indians again attacked. A short time after John Carter moved to his farm, he planted his crop and completed other such preparations as were mecessary to move back to the fort. He went out one morning to listen for his horses and cattle, which had bells on, intending to collect them before moving to Fort Blackmore the next day. This was a locust year, and the went out early in order to collect his stock before the locusts began their noises. He then proceeded about sixty yards fromt he house, when he heard his wife cry out "Oh, John." On turning, he saw eight or nine Indians entering his house, and at the same time, they fired at him. Realizing his perilous situation, he thought it best to go for assistance rather than gight and exasperate the savages in an unequal contest. Hastening to the fort, he collected a company and returned to his home, which he found in flames. With some poles, his companions succeeded in pulling out of the burning coals the charred remains of his wife and six childern, whey they buried. When they had done this, they heard a plaintive moaning a little distance from the house, in the weeds and grass. They went to the place whence the sounds came and found his little daughter, about ten years of age, with an awful gash across her abdomen. They carried her to the river and washed her but she died before they finished.
Also representing the Robert (King Carter) family is John and Landon, sons of John Carter. See Other Sites to Visit to read more about the home of John and Landon Carter, The Carter Mansion in Elizabethton. The Blackmore family was also related to the carters through Captain Joun Blackmore's wife Lucy Morgan Carter. The family built Fort Blackmore.
George L. Carter was born January 10, 1857. He was the oldest of nine children of Walter Crockett and Lucy Ann Jennings Carter. His Family goes back to Captain Thomas Carter, Sr. He lived in Hillsville, Virginia growing up and his early adulthood. After he married Mayetta in 1895, they purchased a home in Bristol, Virginia.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s the development of the natural resources in southwestern Virginia, eastern Tennessee, southern West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky led to the rise of complex business empires. Many men, mostly from outside the Appalachian region became famous as entrepreneurs, coal barons, and railraod builders. However, one man who built such an empire and who, more than any other man, brought industrial development to those areas, is today virtually unknown even in the very places he once owned and developed. Not an "outsider" but a man who was born and reared in southwestern Virginia, his business career lasted more than fifty years and generated millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
In 1877, Carter was employed by the Wythe Lead Mine Company in Austinville, Virginia on the New River (Wythe County, Virginia). Here he held positions as bookkeeper, buyer and later manager of the company. George became associated with George T. Mills who was building the Dora Iron Furnace in Pulaski, Virginia. When Mills died before the furnace was completed, Carter moved from vice president and manager to president of the operation.
It was obvious in a short time that the price of coke then being processed and transported from the Pennsylvania coalfields to the Dora furnace facilities in Pulaski had become one of the major costs in the operation. Carter began exploring coal veins in southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia. Because of available rail service, he opened his first mine at Crane's Nest on Tom's Creek in Wise County, Virginia. In a short period he had established a second modern mining facility there and was operating 700 coke ovens. Ab out the same time, his company purchased the Crozier Furnace in Roanoke, Virginia and combined it with the Dora furnace and Tom's Creek operations. In 1898, the new company was named the Carter Coal and Iron Company.
Later he took on the building of the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railroad. The railroad would be about 275 miles long, have some 50 tunnels, and numerous trestles and viaducts. He then began amassing land purchases of about 350,000 acres of coal mining land.
For the next decade Carter devoted his energies to building the Clinchfield Railroad. The railroad was a profitable one and continues in operation today (1989).
In 1912 Mr. Carter organized the Carter Coal Company. At Coalwood, Mr. Carter buildt a model town for his employees. It was written of the town, "He owned lock, stock, and barrel the model coal town of Coalwood -- houses, stores, churches, police, clergy, medical services, and all that made up life for the miner. It is a town in remarkable contrast to surroundging villages where squalor and poverty are the word. With houses painted and surrounded by flour gardens and lawns, it looks like an Alpine Village rather than the begrimed coal towns of most of America."
George L. Carter died on December 30, 1936 in Washington, D.C. hospital of pneumonia at the age of 79.
George L. Carter was a native son of the area he helped explore and develop. Through his empire he created thousands of jobs for the people and was heralded in a Kingsport paper as "The greatest industrial developer and leader the southern Appalachian coal section ever producted." Because of his aversion to publicity, little has been written Mr. Carter, however, because of his contribution to the region, his name and his accomplishments must never be forgotten.
George L. Carter's lineage is:
Captain Thomas Carter and Katherine Dale
James Carter and Mary Brent
George Carter and Sally Baysie
Robert Carter and Jane Crockett
George L. Carter and Elizabeth Calfee
Walter Crockett Carter and Lucy Ann Jennings
Gelorge Lafayette Carter
Marriott Meadowview Conference Resort and Convention Center
Welcome to Kingsport, Tennessee and the Marriott Meadowview Conference Resort. Newly renovated and remarkably relaxing -- it's the perfect getaway. Nestled in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountain foothills, the Meadowview Marriott Conference Resort and Convention Center is perfect for a relaxing getaway. Tranquil and elegant, the 305-room hotel recently underwent a multi-million dollar guest room rennovation and expansion. Enjoy myriad dining options, a new indoor swimming pool and fitness center and Cattails Golf Club in a scenic, natural setting.
Also, we will be doing a wine tasting on Friday afternoon. Come experience the collaboration between the region's premier resort and Tennessee's largest vineyards. Reedy Creek Cellars at Meadowview delivers vintage style with southern roots. This first and only winery on a Marriott-managed property in the world produces a series of vinews, each crafted to bring out the best expressions of the grapes grown in our unique mountain-south vineyards. This unique attraction features a wine retail shoppe, wine cellar/meeting room and several wine-themed tasting areas including the flagship tasting room for Reedy Creek Vineyards. In our red, white and rose selections, guests will find a wine to suit every taste and occasion.
The Carter Family Fold
Welcome to The Carter Fold every Saturday night! Janette Carter, one of three children of A. P. and Sara Carter established the Carter Family Fold to honor the memory of her parents and Maybelle Carter who played a historic role in helping give birth to the age of country music beginning in 1927. Even though Janette has passed away, her daughter Rita is carrying on the musical and performing legacy she established. The original Carter Family lived on this hallowed ground, right where the Carter Fold is today, in Poor Valley, at the foot of Clinch Mountain in southwest Virginia. This was their home and base of operations. Since 1974, the non-profit Carter Music Center has presented programs of old time and bluegrass music every weekend. Formally established in 1979, the Center's objective is to promote old-time music and pay tribute to the Original Carter Family (A. P. Carter, Sara Carter, and Maybelle Carter). The Saturday concerts highlight the musical style made popular by the Carter Family, considered by many as country music's first family. In keeping witht he traditional music style, no electrical instruments are allowed (everything is acoustic). There's lots of dancing and fun for the entire family. Shows are family oriented; no alcohol is permitted at concerts. Delicious home-fried snacks are available at the Carter Fold Snack Bar, and you might be able to round out your collection of Carter Family Recordings a the well-stocked souvenir and record concession. Come early and browse through the Museum before the show.
Once a year, a two-day (Friday and Saturday) festival takes place the first Saturday/Sunday weekend of August. Mountain craftsmen are on hand to sell their goods, and there's lots of good country cooking going on too.
The Singing Carter Family
by Linda Carter Hansen
Most people have heard of Johnny Cash, but what about June Carter Cash, his wife, or the Singing Carter Family? I didn't know much about them until my first research trip in 1982 to southwest Virginia. I remember thinking "wouldn't it be cool if I were related to them." It wasn't until much later in the 2000's that I discovered their website and their genealogy that I had proof that I was related.
Our connection comes through my five times great grandfather, Norris Carter. I then descend to his son, John. The Singing Carters, sescend to Norris's son, Williamson. From there the next generation is Dulaney, followed by Nancy, and then to Robert C. Carter. The Singing Carters began with Robert's son, A. P. or Alvin Pleasant and his wife Sara Dougherty. A. P.'s brother, Ezra, married Maybelle Addington, the third member of the original group. Maybelle was the mother of June Carter and her sisters, Helen and Anita.
A. P. Carter Cabin and Birthplace
Visitors to the Carter Fold may visit the cabin and birthplace of A. P. Carter following completion of a years' long relocation and restoration project. The cabin has been moved from its secluded and inaccessible original location to a spot virtually only a few steps from the Carter Fold building and the Carter Family Museum.
A visit to the Fold combined with a tour of the museum, which itself used to be A. P.'s store operated by him almost to the time he passed away, in 1960, provides a Carter Family experience and education previously only dreamed about by A. P.'s children Janette, Joe, and Gladys (all now deceased), as well as numerous other descendants.
Built in the mid-1800s, the cabin was originally located in Little Valley, which runs parallel to Poor Valley. There was no public access to its original locations, yet it was designeated both as a national and a state (Virginia) landmark.
In order to remain on the historic registers, the restoration consisted of costly and time-consuming procedure involving professional preservationists, archeologists, as well as craftsman, carpenters, and historians. The cabin had to be taken apart ameticulously board by board, brick by brick, moved, restored and in the case of some times replaced, and then rebuilt. Nothing but the most loving care on te part of everyone involbed was given to te tremendously complicated project.
A. P. Carter descendants Roger Carter, Fern Carter Salyer, David Carter, Ann Carter Collie and their families donated te cabin, an invaluable contribution witout which the project could not even ave begun. A tremendous amount of gratitude also goes to the deeply appreciated financial contributions from numerous fans, local businesses, civic groups, and countless other supporters.
Carter Family Sites
Five istoric landmarks are connected to the Carters and lie witin a few miles of eac oter. They are:
- A. P. Carter's Birthplace
- the House of A. P. and Sara Carter
- The House of Ezra and Maybelle Carter (and June, Helen, and Anita)
- Mount Vernon United Methodist Church and Cemetery
- A. P. Carter Store -- now The Carter Family Museum
Of these five landmarks, only the store/museum and the church are open to the public. A. P. and Sara are buried in the cemetery behind the Mount Vernon Church as are their children Janette and Joe. Their graves can be visited at any time. Mount Vernon Church has services at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday; Sunday school is at 9:45 a.m.
Carter Family Genealogy
Alvin Pleasant (A. P.) Delaney Carter married Sara Elizabeth Dougherty, June 18, 1915
A. P.'s parents: Robert C. Carter and Mollie Arvelle Bays
Robert C. Carter's mother: Nancy Carter
Nancy Carter's parents: Delaney Carter and Rebecca Smith
Delaney's parents: Williamson Carter and Martha England
Williamson's parents: Norris Carter and Agnes Allen
Norris's parents: Peter Carter and Judith Norris
Peter's parents: Captain Thomas Carter, Jr. and Arabella Williamson
Captain Thomas's parents: Captain Thomas Carter, Sr. and Katherine Dale
A. P. and Eck Carter were brothers. A. P. married Sara and Eck married Maybelle. A. P. and Sara's children are Gladys, Janette, and Joe. Eck and Maybelle's children are Helen, Valerie June Carter Cash, and Anita Carter.
Natural Tunnel State Park
More than 850 feet long and as tall as a ten story building, Natural Tunnel was naturally carved through a limestone ridge over thousands of years. William Jennings Bryan called it the "Eighth Wonder of the World." Other scenic features include a wide chasm between steep stone walls surrounded by several pinnacles, or "chimneys." Facilities include two campgrounds, cabins, picnic areas, an amphitheater, a visitor center, a camp store and a gift shop. One will also find the Wilderness Road historic area, a swimming pool with a one hundred foot slide and a chairlift to the tunnel floor. Guests enjoy cave tours and canoe trips on the Clinch River, as well as the Cove Ridge Center, which offers environmental education, conference facilities and overnight dorm accommodations.
Natural Tunnel State Park is in Scott County, about thirteen miles north of Gate City and twenty miles north of Kingsport, Tennessee. To get there, from I-81, take U.S. 23 North to Gate City (about 20 miles). The turn-off to the park is at mile marker 17.4 on Route 23. Take Natural Tunnel Parkway, Duffield, Virginia 24244-9361.
The visitor center is open daily, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It's open on weekends from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. in April, May, September and October. Visitors are provided with information on the park and its programs along with the surrounding area's attractions. The facility has restrooms available for public use. One will also find a gift shop and exhibits on the history and geology of the park.
Chairlift: The Virginia State Park system has only one chairlift and it is at the Natural Tunnel State Park. The lift runs seven days aweek from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. It also runs on weekends from the first weekend in Maythrough the last full weekend of October.
Accessibility: The chairlift can be stopped at both terminals for loading and unloading passengers. Wheelchairs and walkers can be sent down in the chair with the person or in the next chair. The park has a wheelchair at the lower terminal for public use should it be needed or in case the given motorized wheelchair is too heavy to load. Staff will provide assistance at this facility in loading and unloading physically challenged passengers. The boardwalk to the tunnel is level, and guests can wheel to the mouth of the tunnel. There is also an accessible pit tolet at the lower terminal building. There is also a hand-railed, asphalt, ramped walkway with stairs that go to the tunnel. (This route is not recommended unless very physically fit. It is very steep and there are hundreds of stairs). The Cover Ridge Center is accessible.
The Carter Cabin
Originally part of Carter's Fort built in 1784 the Carter Cabin was passed down through six generations of Carters. Settlers along the Wilderness Road would retreat to Carter's Fort during the threat of Indian attacks. It was donated to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1998 and moved to the Natural Tunnel State Park.
Wilderness Road Blockhouse
The Anderson Blockhouse was built in the 1700's to protect European settlers from Indian attacks. The original location of the blockhouse can be visited along the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail while a replica can be seen at Natural Tunnel State Park. John Anderson built his blockhouse in the East Carter's Valley section of Scott County sometime before 1778. Situated on the edge of the Wilderness Trail, it became an important stopover for travelers who gathered at the blockhouse until a sufficient number of people and rifles made it relatively safe to proceed on their journey west. From the blockhouse, these settlers would travel for at least two weeks to the Cumberland Gap through which they would voyage into Kentucky.
Approximately 300,000 people walked and led their packhorses along this trail on their way toward their dreams, somewhere to the west.
The blockhouse is a fortified building, constructed to be easily defendable. The top story is wider then the lower, and openings in the overhanging story allowed defenders to fire down upon anyone who approached the building. The chimney is located within the structure so that attackers could not use it as a way to enter the building.
The replica found at Natural Tunnel State Park was built in 2003 by the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association. Adjacent to the blockhouse is the Wilderness Road.
Daniel Bone Wilderness Trail
One of the nation's most istoric routes, the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail was blazed by the legendary frontiersman in 1775 from Long Island of the the Holston at what is now Kingsport, Tennessee, through the Cumberland Gap of Virginia and into Kentucky. It would become the route for hundreds of thousands of settlers of the western frontier. The topography of the eastern United States is dominated by the Great Valley of Virginia, which runs from New York to Alabama between the Appalachian Mountains to the east, and the Alleghenies to the west. There are only three significant passages through the Alleghenies that give access to the fertile plains of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. These routes connecting the east with the west are the Mohawk River-Lake Erie shore trail, the Ohio River, and Moccasin Gap/Cumberland Gap.
The three greatest Indian tribes in this part of the country were the Iroquois in New York, the Cherokee of the Carolinas, Tennessee and North Georgia, and the Shawnee of Ohio and Indiana. Moccasin Gap and Cumberland Gap sit near the center of the triangle formed by the territories of these tribes, and the system of trails that led these areas of settlement through Cumberland Gap was known as the Great Warriors Path. Beginning in the Hudson River Valley of New York and the plains of Delaware and New Jersey, the various smaller versions of this route gradually came together as they passed to the southwest down the Great Valley. they picked up the trails coming from the Cherokee who lived in the Smoky Mountains. Finally, the trail led through the magnificent Cumberland Gap in Cumberland Mountain, then fanned out onto the Blue Grass of Kentucky and on toward Ohio.
Gabriel Arthur, a young indentured servant, was the first European to travel the route and see the Cumberland Gap, a natural break in the mountains. Arthur was sent along the trail in 1674 by the Shawnee Indians to secure a trade agreement with settlers. The next recorded man to see the Gap was Dr. Thomas Walker in 1750. In 1775, Daniel Boone took a party of 30 ax men from what is today Scott County and blazed a frontier pathway from the Holston Valley through Moccasin Gap across southwest Virginia to Kentucky. Following the Great Warriors Path of Athawominee, as it was called by Indians, the trail Boone marked was to to become the first gateway to the west.
Thousands of Ulster-Scots and Palatine Germains that traveled the trail settled in it river valleys and mountain meadows forged a new nation, and became Americans in the process. Pennsylvania was the greatest port of entry for European immigrants. As population pressures around Philadelphia pushed the newest immigrants to the west, they hit the impenetrable wall of the Alleghenies, and were deflected down the Great Valley to the southwest. Know it or not they were on their way to Cumberland Gap along the Great Warriors Path. The Scots-Irish and German pioneers began to refer to it as the Wilderness Trail for as the Great Kentucky Road. The Indians hotly contested the pioneers' passage down the Wilderness Trail. the warfare lasted from 1774 to 1794, and was the bloodiest to occur withing the United States. In 1776, the Cherokee drove out the militia garrisons in Lee County, leaving only the eastermost open. Carters Fort, in Scott County had to be abandoned.
The Cherokee attacked as far east as Black's Fort in Abingdon. The life line to the Kentucky settlements were all but cut, but on at least two occasions the militia of Carter's Fort from Rye's Cove raced down the Wilderness Trail to save the settlements around Boonesborough. Later, the route of the Clinch Valley Branch of the Wilderness Road was the roadbed of the great stage toll road that ran from the road network in the central part of Virginia to Cumberland Gap. The Fincastle to Cumberland Gap Turnpike was in use from the 1830s to the coming of the railroad in the 1850s. It followed the road that lies at the entrance of the reconstructed Wilderness Road Blockhouse site at Natural Tunnel State Park. The Carter log cabin that has been reassembled near the mouth of Natural Tunnel was a relay station on that turnpike. Horse teams were changed out at that house when it stood in Rye Cove a couple of miles to the east of the park.
Dinner Thursday Night at River Front Restaurant
Northeast Tennessee's only fresh seafood restaurant. The restautant is located on the South Fork of the Holston River and overlooks Bays Mountain. We had select menu choices.
Dinner Saturday Night at Pratt's Barbeque
Pratt's is a unique combination of an established restaurant, acclaimed catering service, and famous honey glazed hams. An icon of the east Tennessee/southwest Virginia region for over 30 years, Pratt's Restaurant is unforgettable. with a distinct building anchored by a 33-foot tall Indian by the door, the restaurant is decorated with a unique blend of old and new memorabilia. A local favorite of the Tri-Cities since 1971, Pratt's casual, open atmosphere compliments the quick, friendly service. Pratt's Restaurant is famous for the fresh smoked-on-site barbeque including por, brisket, chicken, and ribs. Pratt's also does a mighty fine fish fry of which we will enjoy this evening.
Rye Cove Area
Rye Cove is one of the premier karst areas in Virginia. The term "karst" is used to describe a landscape that contains numerous caves, underground waterways, rock outcroppings and sinkholes. This landscape has give rise to the world famous Natural Tunnel that lies just west of Rye Cove. The caves underlying the area are also home to a globally rare cove isopod called the Rye Cove Isopod.
The name Rye Cove refers to the native prairie grasses found here in the 18th century. This grassy cove played a major part i the westward expansion of the nation, with many travelers passing through Rye Cove on the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail starting in 1775.
The Cyclone of Rye Cove and the Carter Connection
On May 2, 1929, an unusually violent storm struck the little community of Rye Cove, located in the mountains of Scott County. During the storm the local two-story schoolhouse, with over 150 children and teachers inside, was struck directly by a tornado. The building was completely leveled, and the drbris caught fire from an overturned stove. Thirteen were killed. The dozens of injured were rushed by special train to the hospital in Bristol.
A. P. Carter -- leader of the famous country music group, the Carter Family, and a prolific songwriter -- was in the next valley on the day of the strom. He rushed to Rye Cove to help with the rescue efforts. Carter was touched by the horror of what he saw and soon composed "The Cyclone of Rye Cove." The Carter Family recorded the song that same year for RCA Victor. "The Cyclone of Rye Cove" easily became a part of the musical traditions of Southwest Virginia.
"The Cyclone of Rye Cove"
Oh, give us a home far
Beyond the blue sky,
Where Storms and
Cyclones are unknown,
And there by life's
Strand, we'll clasp with our glad hands
God's children in a
Oh, listen today in a
Story I tell,
In sadness and tear
Of a dreadful cyclone that came this way,
And it blew our schoolhouse away.
Rye Cove, Rye Cove, Rye Cove, Rye Cove
The place of my childhood and home,
Where ib life's early morn I once loved to roam
But now it's so silent and lone.
When the cyclone appeared, it darkened the air,
And the lightning flashed over the sky,
And the children all cried, "Don't take us away,
And spare us to go back home."
There were mothers so dear and fathers the same,
That came to this horrible scene,
Searching and crying, each found her own child,
Dying on a pillow of stone.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum -- Bristol, Tennessee
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, explores the history of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting impact on our music heritage. From the Bristol Sessions and beyond, our region continues to influence music around the world.
The 24,000-square foot museum is located at 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way in Historic Downtown Bristol. Through text and artifacts, multiple theater experiences, film and sound, and interactive, technology-infused displays -- along with a variety of educational programs, music programs, and community events -- the exciting story of this music and its far-reaching influence comes alive! Rotating exhibitions from guest curators and other institutions, including the Smithsonian, will be featured throughout the year in the Special Exhibits Gallery. The museum will also be home to an extenfive digital archive.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is not a passive experience -- we want you to explore the music through a variety of interactives! Delve a little deeper into Bristol history to set the scene for the Bristol Sessions' story, and explore the sounds of the Sessions -- every issued recording is represented! Listen to the ways contemporary musicians from Lead Belly to Nirvana have arranged some of these classic songs; give those tunes new sounds at the mixing stations; and belt out a song with family, friends and fellow visitors at the sing-along station.
Through text and artifacts, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum shares the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, explores how sound technology shaped their success and has evolved, and highlighteds how this rich musical heritage lives on in today's music. Panels focus on topics such as the stars that emerged from the Bristol Sessions and the development of musical genres for commercial purposes.
At the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, you can engage in multiple film and theater experiences, beginning witht he Orientation Theater film "Bound To Bristol." Enter the Greasy Strings Theater to explore the philosophy and techniques behind the playing of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings. You can take a pew in our small chapel to hear local gospel groups speak and sing about how faith has shaped music and our connection to it. The Immersion Theater makes you part of "the unbroken circle" -- and gives you space to dance!
Southwest Virginia Historical Museum -- Big Stone Gap, Virginia
Construction of the house began in 1888 and was completed in 1895; the Architect-builder was Charles A. Johnson. The exterior of the building is made of sandstoen and limestone quarried locally and hand-chiseled. Native red oad is used throughout the interior of the building with hand-carved motifs adorning the windows and doors.
In 1885 Rufus Ayers served as Virginia's Attorney General. He and other gentlemen such as John Imboden, Charles Sears, George Carter, and John Taggert felt that Big Stone Gap could become the "Pittsburgh of the South" because of its iron ore and coal deposits. Rufus was instrumental in helping develop the coal and iron ore industry in Southwest Virginia and bringing the railroads to this area. Big Stone Gap, however, did not become the next Pittsburgh due to the economic depression.
The house was purchased by C. Bascom Slemp in 1929. Slemp, a native of Lee County, served many years in Congress and later became the private secretary to President Calvin Coolidge. C. Bascom and his sister, Janie Slemp Newman, had a love for Southwest Virginia, its people, history and rich culture. They collected artifacts depicting life of the area, which were originally displayed in the Janie Slemp Newman Museum. Before C. Bascom's death in 1943, he established The Slemp Foundation. It was his wish that the state acquire the Ayer's home for a museum and that the Janie Slemp Newman collection be give to the state for their museum.
In 1946, the Commonwealth of Virginia acquired the Ayer's home and the Slemp Foundation donated the collection. The Southwest Virginia Museum was offically dedicated by the state on May 30, 1948. The museum is manageed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation's development of Southwest Virginia and shows the lives of the men and women who settled in and around the area. The exhibits depict the early "boom and bust" era of the late 1800s. Life at the turn of the century can be seen by such items as mail-order catalogs, photographs, and radios. Artifacts from the early settlers who developed the area in the late 1700s are also on display. Also in the collection are rqre pieces taht C. Bascom and Janie acquired during their travels. The collection includes a set of Disraeli china which Queen Victoria had made for her Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Also included are fine French paintings, a caisson, which is an Italian hope chest, and antiquities from the Orient.
Other Sites to Visit in Southwest Virginia
The Carter Mansion in Elizabethton
On a quiet neighborhood street in Elizabethton, Tennessee the unpretentious bu stately Carter Mansion sits back from the road among old shade trees with the Watauga River in the backyard. The house was built between 1775 and 1780 by John Carter and his son Landon Carter. It is believed to be the oldest frame house in the state of Tennessee and the first house to have glass windows.
This area, originally called the "Watauga Old Field" ws the home of Native Americans before the first permanent European settler, William and Lydia Bean, arrived in 1769. John Carter arrived at the Watauga Settlement in nearby Sycamore Shoals in 1772, the same year the Watauga Association was formed. John Carter became the Chairman of the Association.
The Association drafted the Watauga Petition, which made them the first democratic government of American-born men west of the Appalachians. This preceded the Declaration of Independence by 4 years and the U. S. Constitution by 14 years.
According to the State of Tennessee website, 90 percent of the interior of the house is authentic. Illustrations painted directly on the walls were discovered and recovered during the restoration.
The Daniel Boone Cabin
This log cabin sits on the grounds of Netherland Inn complex in Kingsport. Daniel Boone built this cabin in 1773, where he and his family lived until 1775 before going to Kentucky. In 1979 this 1773 cabin was carefully dismantled and moved from beside the Kentucky Wilderness Road in Duffield, Virginia and reassembled here on the foundation of the Netherland Inn Slave Cabin home of a beloved, Jordan Netherland and his wife Jane Lynn. It is a fine specimen of the typical early pioneer log architecture of the region.
There is a historical marker near where the fort stood. The fort was first known as Crissman's Fort, and later as Carter's or Rye Cove Fort, and Fort Lee. Build by Isaac Crissman, Dr. in 1774, it was acquired by Thomas Carter after Chrissman was killed by Indians in 1776. the fort was rebuilt in 1777 by Col. Joseph Martin and his militia troops who occupied it until 1794. The fort was under the command of Captain Andrew Lewis, Jr. from 1792 to 1794.
There is a historical marker for Fort Blackmore. The fort was 600 feet to the west of the marker. Here Daniel Boone's Party rested from October 1773 to March 1975. Blackmore's Fort stood to the northeast on the on the Clinch River near the mouth of Stony Creek. John Blackmore and others likely constructed the fort by 1774. It served as a defensive fortification for settlers of European descent on then frontier. During dunmore's War in 1774, Daniel Boone commanded Blackmore's Fort as well as Moore's and Cowan's Forts on the Clinch River. During that war and the American Revolution, periodic conflicts between Native Americans and settlers occurred there, in part because of increased settlement. In the nearby cemetery are buried some of the earl settlers to the area.
Cumberland Gap National Park Visitor Center and Museum - 130 miles
Barter Theater - Historic building in historic downtown, Abingdon - 38 miles
Tipton Haynes State Historic Site - History of northeast Tennessee, 11 buildings, Johnson City - 23.5 miles
June Tollivar House and Folk Art, Big Stone Gap - 39 miles
Gate City Public Library - Archive of Southwest Virginia Resources
Abingdon Muster Grounds, Keller Interpretive Center, History of the American Revolutionary Period in southwest Virginia, Abingdon - 38 miles
Keith Memorial Park, Nickelsville, Memorial sign for Indian Wars with Carters
Wilderness Road State Park - Historic Martin's Station
1775 Outdoor Living History Museum
Docudrama - Wilderness Road Spirit of a Nation
1870s era mansion
See the Membership Directory for contact information.
|Adcock, Robbie||Arth, Kathy & Bob||Beason, Donald & JoAnn||Billings, Nancy|
|Brown, Bob & Pat||Bullard, Judy||Cantrell, Jr., James||Carter, Barbara|
|Carter, Curt||Carter, Doug||Carter, Paul & Debra||Carter, Rand|
|Carter, Wallace & Ann||Clark, Jim & Betty||Cole, Dr. Lucy & Johnson, Capt. Gene||Dooley, Betty Brown|
|Douglas, Katherine||Dwiggins, Betty||Gunn, Margaret & Levine, Ken||Hansen, Linda & Gerald|
|Harris, H. Carter||Kemplin, Ben||Kirby, J. Ray & Martha||Lumsden, Dr. Bob & Lumsden, Ernest|
|Peca, Kay & Tom||Rawlins, Charles & Mary||Reese, Suzanne||Robinson, Emily|
|Sledge, Robin M.||Smith, Vicki||Sondeen, Tracy||Taylor, P. Randolph (Randy) & Suzanne Allen|
|Vaughan, Dr. David & June||Warren, Bob & Sandy||Withers, Madeline & Dr. Nathaniel||Woodd, Gloria J. Carter|