The territory now occupied by Scott County was hunted over and
fought for by many tribes of Indians. According to evidence found
by the early settlers, an Indian village once stood on the south
bank of the Clinch River near the mouth of Stony Creek.
Next to the rich, virgin soil, wild game was perhaps the greatest
inducement to the pioneer hunters to enter a wilderness often
made dangerous by the presence of hostile Indians. Some of these
men came as Long Hunters and fur traders, explored the country,
and marked traces to be followed by adventurous home seekers and
their families. These early explorations and settlements would
hardly have been possible without the food that the wild game
built for protection against Indians. The Blockhouse, built in
1775 and situated about four miles southeast of Big Moccasin Gap
at the meeting point of the pioneer roads from Virginia and North
Carolina, was one of the most widely known places on the Wilderness
Road. It was possibly the only blockhouse in the county, the other
forts being log cabins and stockades.
early a famous fort, was situated on an ancient elevated flood
plain on the north side of the Clinch River opposite the mouth
of Rock Branch. For many years, the fort was on the extreme frontier
of Virginia and was used by hunters, explorers, adventurers, and
home seekers for rest and refreshment. Daniel Boone 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.
forts were built in the early days. In Rye Cove, Crisman's Fort
was built in 1776 and Carter's Fort in 1784. Porter's Fort was
built on Fall Creek in 1775. Fort Houston was built probably soon
after 1774 on Big Moccasin Creek near the present Russell County
line and was a place of safety for the earliest setters in that
valley. Dorton's Fort, built one mile southwest of Nickelsville
about 1790, was not so exposed to Indian attacks as the forts
Gap, a breach in the hard rocks of the Clinch Mountain, is perhaps
the most important natural feature in the county, for in it centered
much of the early history and development. Through the gap, Daniel
Boone and his companions carved the Wilderness Road to Kentucky
in 1775 and through it thousands of pioneer settlers passed on
their way to Kentucky and the Middle West. Most of the goods used
by the people who lived north of the Clinch River were hauled
through the gap before the coming of the railroad. The first railroad
in the county was built through big Moccasin Gap, and most of
the main highways now lead toward it.
the first settler, located in 1769 on Big Moccasin Creek near
Fort Houston. From 1769 to 1782, many people came to live in what
is now Scott County, and settlements increased until they reached
nearly all sections. In 1790, strongly-built houses began to take
the place of forts; and one of these, the Old Kilgore Fort House,
about two miles west of Nickelsville, is still standing. It is
probably the oldest house in the county. Convenience to water
was one of the main considerations in the selection of home sites,
and most of the early homes were located on low land.
settlers were mainly Scotch-Irish, though some were of English
descent. They came from eastern Virginia, from Augusta County,
Virginia, from the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina, and a few
from Ireland. Some of the thousands who traveled the old Wilderness
Road on their way westward grew weary of traveling, turned aside,
and settled in the Scott County territory. A string of log cabins
soon lined the Wilderness Road from the Blockhouse to Cain Gap
in Powell Mountain.
was formed by an act of the General Assembly on November 24, 1814,
from parts of Washington, Lee, and Russell Counties, and was named
for General Winfield Scott. Its area in 1830 was 24 square miles.
In 1856, part of Scott County was taken to form part of Wise County.
The first court was held in a dwelling at Big Moccasin Gap in
1815, and the first public free schools were opened in 1870.
still consists largely of descendants of the early settlers. Most
of the people live on smooth land near streams and on the smoother
ridge tops in the valley uplands. Very few live in the steep and
rugged mountain country. Much of the land is unsuitable for intensive