Creeks and Streams of Southwest Virginia

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Based on Jerry Brimley, personal Communication, 9 June 2008


Modern Hutton Creek

In 1750 Samuel Stalnaker settled near Glade Spring on a stream first known as Stalnakers' Creek. Dr. Thomas Walker's exploration party helped Stalnaker build a cabin as the expedition passed through the area in 1750. Soon afterwards, Stalnaker who is credited with being the first settler in Washington Co., VA fled the area during a period of Indian Hostiltities. Humphrey Baker next settled in the area in the 1752, likewise fleeing because of Indian attacks, but later returned with his rather large family. After a period Stalnakers Creek became Bakers Creek.

Capt. James Thompson settled on a 2,000 acre tract (U) on the lower reaches of Bakers Creek. The area, first called the Indian fields, then Kilmackronan. This parcel was first owned by Thompson's maternal grandfather, well-known surveyor James Patton. The lower part roughly 1/3) of the 3-4 mile creek below the Great Road became known as Thompsons Creek as it flowed through the property of Capt. James Thompson's Kilmackronan tract before emptying into the Middle Fork of the Holston River. Over time, the entire creek became known as Thompson's Creek. The stream is now called Hutton Creek after early settler John Hotton (D. Col. Aaron Lewis, uncle of Louisiana Territory explorer Meriwether Lewis, surveyed the lands of many of the early settlers along present-day Hutton Creek and resided on tract P before moving to Kentucky.

Fifteen Mile Creek

Frm Summers, 1929, all in Washington County:

969 Halburt McClure....view a way for a road from the Foot of Clinch Mountain where james Logan lived to the Gap of the Mountain opposite to the head of Fifteen Mile Creek.

p. 1084 Ordered that William Hallard be surveyor of the Watago Road from Fifteen Mile Creek to the forks of the road below James Bryan. James Montgomery Gentleman to give him a list of tithables.

1093 John Reid has leave to build a mill the Fifteen Mile Creek on his own land on

1508 James Craig to Richard White 132 pounds, 65.5 acres on a branch of Fifteen Mile Creek.

Cowan's Branch

Page 401 - Abraham Devault - 323 ac - treasury warrant #9048 - in the Brushy Valley on the waters of Opposom Creek, a north branch of the north fork of Holstein River - beginning on the west side of Cowans Branch - January 18, 1787 Robertson, 1998

From XYZ

Source:Bickley, 1852

Clinch is the principal, and Sandy, the most important in [Tazewell] county. The latter heads in the county, and is navigable to the county line, for flat-boats. East river, Tug, and Bluestone creek, are considerable streams.

Clinch river heads in this county, and receives its name from an incident which occurred on it in 1767. A hunter named Castle, left Augusta and went to what is now Russell county, to hunt with a party of friendly Indians, who were living on it. This tribe made frequent visits to the settlement, carrying off horses, and such other stock as they could get hold of. A man named Harman, who was robbed of some things, and believing Castle to be the instigator to these acts, applied to a Mr. Buchanan, a justice of Augusta, for a writ to 'arrest Castle and bring him to trial. The writ was issued, and a party raised to arrest him, among whom, was a lame man named Clinch. The party went to Castle's camp, and attempted to arrest him, but the Indians joined Castle, and Harman's party were forced to retreat across the river.

In the hurry of the moment, Clinch got behind, and while fording the river was shot by an Indian, who rushed forward to secure his scalp, but was shot by one of Harman's party. The vulgar tradition is, that an Indian was pursuing a white man, who clenched, and drowned the Indian in the stream.

I had the former statement, however, from a grandson of the magistrate who issued the warrant for Castle's apprehension.

Maiden SpringAs before stated, the river rises in the county, east of Jeflersonville, running in a westerly direction, and receiving numerous small streams, till it reaches what is known as New Garden, in Russell county. It is then joined by the Maiden Spring fork, which rises in Thompson's valley, flows a short distance, sinks several miles, and rises again near what is known as Maiden Spring, owned by Col. Rees T. Bowen, and one of the loveliest places in Tazewell. This spring is named also, from an incident which happened to Rees Bowen, the earliest settler near it, and grandfather of its present owner.

When Mr. Bowen first saw the spring, he discovered a fine young female deer, feeding on the moss within the orifice from which gushes the spring. He shot it, and when he went to get his deer, saw a pair of elk horns standing on their points, and leaning against the rocks. Mr. Bowen, was a very large and tall man, yet he had no difficulty in walking upright under the horns. He chose this place for his home, and the spring and river, have since been known as Maiden Spring and Fork.


The Sandy river has several branches heading in this county, the most important of which, are the La Visee, Dry, and Tug Forks.

La Visee, has many branches in Tazewell, and is navigable for flat-boats, to the county line. The first white man who ascended it, was a Frenchman, who found a well-executed design, or painting upon a peeled poplar; hence its name— "la," translated, meaning the, and " visee," meaning a design, aim, or representation. It is sometimes called Louisa fork, from Louisa C. H., Kentucky, near its junction with the Tug river.

The Dry fork, heads about six miles N. "W. from Jeffer- sonville, and flows into the Tug river. So named, because the waters on it get very low during the summer.

The Tug river, is named from an incident which took place in 1756. "Maj. Andrew Lewis was appointed to command this expedition (one ordered by Gov. Dinwiddie, to march against the Shawanoes on the Ohio), and directed to proceed against the Shawnee villages, near the mouth of the Great Kanawha. Maj. Lewis led his men, through great peril and suffering, within a few miles of the Ohio, when a messenger, ordering a return of the expedition, reached him. The whole party suffered intensely during this march, and once were reduced to the necessity of cutting their buffalo- skins into tugs, and eating them; hence the name Tug River."* The river is in the northern part of the county, and abounds in fine fish. It is too much obstructed by falls, to be navigable at any stage of water.

East river, so called from the direction which it flows, is a small stream, emptying into the Kanawha.

Bluestone creek or river, also, flows east, and is remarkable for the clear blue color of its waters; hence its name. In addition to these rivers (which are but large creeks), there are quite a number of creeks, only a few of which will here be noticed.

Great Indian creek, rises in what is known, as the Sinking waters, and flows southerly, into Clinch river, sixteen miles west of Jeffersonville. A man named Ray, was killed on it, by some Indians. At its head is a spring, said to possess the property of petrifying nuts, twigs, etc., some of which are in my possession.

Cove creek, rises in the Cove, and meanders under ground through it, coming out at Maiden Spring. Numerous openings from the surface enable stock to get water from it. [This is probably Locust Cove Creek.]

Wolf creek, rises in Burk's Garden, flows into the Ka- nawha (here called New River), and was named from a rencounter with a wolf on its margin.

There are hundreds of others, each one of which, by its name, perpetuates some traditional incident; but I have not space to notice them.