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LONG HUNTERS

Collins'History of Kentucky, p. 418

 

Submitted by Brenda Collins Dillon

In 1861, a number of hunter's came into what is now Carter's Valley, in east Tennessee, to hunt. There were 19 men, the company being composed of parties of men from different localities: some from several adjoining counties of Virginia, some from Pennsylvania, one party from Yadkin, in North Carolina, seemingly, for Daniel Boone was at the head of it.He, however, left when the company of hunters reached the place now occupied by the town of Abington, Virginia. These hunters remained several months in that region, and gave their present names to Powell's Valley, Powell's Mountain, Clinch River, Clinch Mountain,Copper Ridge, Newman's Ridge,Wallen's Ridge, and Scagg's Ridge. It is said that they entered Kentucky by way of the Cumberland Gap, and terminated their western journey fourteen miles beyond, at Laurel Mountain.

 

These hunters returned year after year in larger and larger companies, and penetrated further each year into the interior of the continent. In 1762, they came in by the way of Flower Gap, in the Blue Ridge,Jones Ford on the New River, and Blue Spring Gap, in Iron Mountain.They spent most of their time that year in what is now Hawkins County Tennessee. In the fall of 1763, they went through the Cumberland Gap and hunted on the Cumberland River. In 1764, they hunted on the Rock Castle River and about the Crab Orchard, in Kentucky. Daniel Boone came among them to learn the geography of the western country. One of these hunters, Scaggs, was employed by Boone to explore the Cumberland River location, which he did.

This party continued to hunt in the western wilderness every year, sometimes numbering 40 hunters, with pack horses. In 1771, they numbered 22 among them

James Knox

Henry Knox

Richard scaggs

Henry Scaggs

Issac Bledsoe

Abraham Bledsoe

James Graham

Joseph Drake

John Montgomery

_____Russell

_____Hughes

William Allen

William Lynch

Christopher Stroph

Matthias Harman

& several Bevins

 

22 in all, with several horses. They were so successful in getting skins they could not pack them all back; and as their hunt was prolonged, they built what they called a skin house, at the common center in what is now Green County, upon Caney Fork of Russell Creek, almost upon the very spot now occupied by the Baptist meeting house called "Mt. Gilead". Their hunts extended into the barrens of Green River. ONe of the hunters named Bledsoe wrote on a fallen poplar tree which had lost it's bark, near where Creed Haskins lived until his death in 1851:"2,300 Deer Skins lost;Ruination by God". Part of the company returned to the settlements in February ,1772, but others remained..... The party returned in 1772, some having been away from home for between two and three years. They have been known every since as

"The Long Hunters".

 

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