Rocky Station

Image:Long Boone Cumberland--thin.jpg
Southwest Virginia Project
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This article is one of a series on the forts of southwest Virginia during the period of Indian Hostilities, (1774-1794). The accompanying map shows the location of the forts in the Powell, Clinch, and Lower Holston watersheds. An index to these forts is found at List of Forts of Southwest Virginia. The location of many of these forts is known only approximately, and different sources sometimes suggest different locations. Much of the information in these articles is based on Emory Hamilton's article "Frontier Forts".

Phil Crowther's Photograph of Rocky Spring Station, 1999
Phil Crowther's Photograph of Rocky Spring Station, 1999



Hamilton, 1968 tells us that Rocky Station was on the "Kentucky Trace" between Woodway and Dryden. (See map below, item 7. For a complete list of Forts on the lower Clinch and Holston, and in Powell Valley, see List of Forts of Southwest Virginia). However, The Kentucky Trace passed south of both Woodway and Dryden. The photograph of what is believed to be the surviving Rocky Station Fort was taken at a point on US 58 about half way between Stickleyville and Jonesville. The Kentucky Trace crossed Powell Mountain between Stickleyville and the community of Duff and then passed over Wallen Ridge. Modern 58 follows the route of the Kentucky Trace quite closely, and Hamilton's idea that Rocky Springs was between Woodway and Dryden seems to be in error.
"Rocky Station Fort was located close to marker 7 in the above map
"Rocky Station Fort was located close to marker 7 in the above map


It was probably constructed by Issac Crissman, about 1775. A land record in Washington County reads

Wash. Co. Survey Book page 215 Isaac Crisman ...400 ac...Commissioners Powells Valley and on the north side of Wallins Ridge...Beginning on the south side of the a path...February l8, l783 - - Isaac Crisman, heir of Isaac Crisman decd...400 settlement made in Powells Valley known by the name of Rock Spring Station, includes improvements...August l4, l78l.

Rocky Station was the only fort in Powell Valley to remain open after the start of Indian Hostilities in 1776, all others being abandoned due to the imminent threat.

The forthouse is known to have been garrisoned by a ten man force under Charles Cocke during the period 1780-1782. In later years the fort was used as the County Courthouse.


Rocky Station Fort was still standing in 1999 when photographed by Phil Crowthers (below). At the time of the photograph the original log structure still survived, though covered with siding. (Email from Phil Crother to SW VA List on Rootsweb). At the time the current owners planned on demolishing the fort. As can be seen from the photograph this is a substantial building. The physical structure surviving in 1999 may reflect later additions made when it served as a way station for travelers following the Wilderness Road to Kentucky, or later as the Lee County Court House. There seems to be no direct evidence that Rocky Station was ever a stockaded structure, though it was definitely garrisoned in the 1778-1780 period.

References and Links

  1. [The Historic Environment of the Forts of The Holston Militia]