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New Documentation on Glade Hollow Fort Location

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New Documentation on Glade Hollow Fort Location

Posted: 1225060995000
Classification: Deed
Surnames: Dale, Horne, Calhoun, Cowan, Smoots, Henderson, Counts, Rasnake, Sharp, Crabtree
Last year we had an extensive discussion on this list about the exact location of the Glade Hollow Fort. Over the years, there have been several writings on the subject based on known clues, but none offered concrete evidence, and none to my knowledge have been precisely correct. It is my pleasure to announce that Tom Rudder, a long time member of this list, has discovered documentation that has led to determining the exact location of the fort.

In the book, The Life and Times of Gen. Sam Dale by J.F.H. Claiborne, Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, New York, 1860, the author cites the following statement of Sam Dale: “I am of Scotch-Irish extraction. My father and mother were natives of Pennsylvania, in the vicinity of Carlisle, but soon after their marriage removed to Rockbridge County, Virginia, where I was born. In the latter part of 1775, they again moved to the forks of the Clinch River, Washington County, and purchased a piece of land where, uniting with a few neighbors, we built a stockade called Glade Hollow Fort, for the protection against the incursions of the western Indians.” Dale appears to be off by at least a year on the date, since we know by Major Arthur Campbell’s letter dated September 29, 1774 to Colonel William Preston that, “The fort at Glade Hollow had its compluments compleat” (referring to the number of militia at the fort).

In the book, Sam Dale described one incident at the fort as follows, “Joe Horn and Dave Calhoun went to their clearing to plant corn, very imprudently taking their wives and children with them, who camped in the field. Being both off hunting one day, the prowling savages made a clean sweep of the two families. The poor heart stricken husbands, almost crazy, returned to the fort and the whole night was passed by all of us in lamentations and vows of vengeance.”

The key document discovery is the land grant of the above-mentioned David Calhoun. On May 21, 1794, Governor Henry Lee signed his grant for 100 acres of land by survey bearing the date of March 30, 1786, “lying and being in the County of Washington on both sides of Glade Hollow branch of the waters of Sinking Creek, a branch of the Clinch River between Edward Smoots and Richard Henderson’s land.” The survey goes on to describe the boundaries, beginning at the point of a spur and running across the hollow southeast 1650 feet, then running southwest 2790 feet, then running northeast 1353 feet back across the hollow, then running northeast 3300 feet TO THE FORT STATION. Thus, David Calhoun was granted the land on which the Glade Hollow Fort was located in the northeast corner. On July 24, 1804, David Calhoun sold this land to Jacob Rasnake, who in turn transferred the land to brothers George and David Cowan. David Cowan gave the land to his sons, Charles H. and David Cowan. The Cowan cemetery is on the spur mentioned above, just inside the Cowan property, which overlooks the site of the fort. The stones of Charles H. Cowan and wife Sallie are in this cemetery. As a matter of interest, On June 27, 1788 Robert McFarland was granted 166 acres in Glade Hollow, the land on which the above Richard Henderson was living. Four years later McFarland sold that 166-acre tract to John Counts, Sr. We all know John Counts of Glade Hollow and his son-in-law Jacob Rasnake from E.J. Sutherland’s books.

So, tracing the Calhoun land to present day owners, and plotting the survey, the fort was in Glade Hollow proper, north of Lebanon, on State road 640 about one and one-half miles east of its junction with road 82. A copy of Tom’s survey plot is attached. Tommy Joe Breeding now lives on the north side of the road, and Bill Honaker lives on the south side of the road where the fort once stood. The stream running down the hollow empties into a sinkhole just before reaching the fort site, consequently there is no creek bed running through the site. The spring located in the northeast corner of the site is still producing a small amount of water, which runs about 100 feet, then sinks into the ground only to reappear on the opposite side of the road. The outlet of the spring is quite large, indicating that it would have at that time provided an abundant supply of water for the stockade. Specifically, the fort location is at Latitude 36 degrees, 55 minutes, 17 seconds North, and Longitude 82 degrees, 4 minutes, 54 seconds West. A photograph of the area is attached, facing south, with Lebanon just over the hills at the top of the photo. The spring is out of view just to the right of the trees in lower right. Sinking Creek sinks into the sinkhole at the curve of the road where the road disappears in the photo. The brick house is the Breeding home, and the Honaker home is across the road to the left, not in view.

This location is consistent with the clues contained in other sources, to wit:

The book, Documentary History of Dunmore’s War 1774, compiled from Draper’s MSS by the Wisconsin Society of the SAR and edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1905, contains Capt. Daniel Smith’s map of the Holston and Clinch area in 1774 that shows the "Road to the Clinch" crossing the Clinch Mountain through Hayter's Gap and down through Elk Garden, down Cedar Creek toward the Clinch, then westward up Glade Hollow, then out on present Route 71 for a stretch before crossing Copper Ridge and down to Castle’s Woods. The map is not clear in the area of present day Lebanon and Glade Hollow, but for the fort to be on the “Road to the Clinch,” the road would have to pass through Glade Hollow. “Road to the Clinch” was later referred to as the Kentucky Trace. This book also names the militiamen in Capt. Daniel Smith’s Company at both Elk Garden and Glade Hollow Forts in August – November 1774.

The Benjamin Sharp pension application in describing the Whitesides incident states that Elk Garden Fort was “10 miles higher up the country” from Glade Hollow, as did Sam Dale in the above Dale book, who said Elk Garden was some 10 miles to the south. The salt petre cave mentioned by Sharp was likely Daugherty’s Cave in Glade Hollow, about one and one-half miles east of the fort. John Carr’s statement in the Draper MSS referring to Glade Hollow Fort as Dale’s Fort could well be referring to Sam Dale’s family.

The Isaac Crabtree pension application said, “Daniel Smith came to the fort (Elk Garden) and took him and several other men, making ten, and went down Clinch, and as they came to Glade Hollow Fort, they met about the same number of Indians. He, and Burton Litton and William Priest were some distance in front of the others when they met the Indians. The Indians were laying in ambush in two sink holes, and on each side of the Trace…” There are numerous sinkholes in Glade Hollow, and the fort was on the Trace, or Road to the Clinch, as previously described.

Further details will be presented in a planned article for the Appalachian Quarterly.

Tom Rudder has requested the Virginia Department of Highways to install an historic marker at the fort site. The current marker is out on Route 71, west of Lebanon.
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