Isaac Crissman Killed in Rye Cove

Isaac Crissman Killed in Rye Cove

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 26-28.

Isaac Crissman entered 225 acres of land on both sides of Cove Creek in Fincastle Co., VA, February 28, 1774. He had possibly been living on this land sometime before his entry was made.

Sometime prior to 1775 he had built a fort of some sort upon his land. John Redd of Martinís Fort in Powell Valley says it was about eight miles from the North fork of Clinch, situated about a mile off from the stream (Cove Creek) on itís west side. There were several fine springs at the fort. It enclosed about a half acre of land, which was large for that day. The Indians attacked Crissmanís fort sometime in 1776 while the militia was away at Point Pleasant and killed Crissman and two members of his family. Captain Joseph Martin was then ordered into the Rye Cove to protect the people and remained there until the following spring of 1777. (1)

Isaac Crissman served as a militia soldier at Glade Hollow Fort in 1774. (2) It was probably in this year that Crissman built his fort in Rye Cove for Charles Bickley tells in his pension statement of serving at a fort in Rye Cove in 1775. Crissmanís fort is hard to understand for he had another fort in Powell Valley known as the "Rocky Station" His preemption warrant for this reads:

We, the Commissioners, certify that Isaac Crissman, (Jr.) heir-at-law of Isaac Crissman, deceased, is entitled to preeemption of 1000 acres of land on account of settlement made in 1775, lying in Washington County in Powells Valley known by the name of Rock Spring. (3) Crissmanís Fort was later known as the Rye Cove Fort.

Perhaps Crissman had sold or abandoned his fort in Rye Cove, was living in Powell Valley and when it was evacuated in June 1776 had returned to Rye Cove fort for protection.

The Rocky Station in Lee County, was, however, the only fort in that valley that remained open from this time and on through the Revolutionary War, and was commanded from 1776 to 1780 by Colonel Charles Cox and his Rangers.

The estate of Isaac Crissman was administered at the first court held for Washington County on January 28, 1777, by Archibald Cox, with John Kinkaid, Abraham McClellan, John Anderson and John Snoddy as securities, and the appraisers of the estate were: John Kinkaid, Sr., James Wharton, John Dunkin and Samuel Porter. It is interesting to note of these men appraising and administering Crissmanís estate that Archibald Cox and Wharton were killed later by Indians, and John Dinkin and Samuel Porter were captured and carried to imprisonment in Canada.

(1) John Reddís Narrative, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.
(2) Draper MSS 2 QQ 408
(3) Land Office Preemption Warrants 1 0 2132 and 1926.

This file contributed by: Rhonda Robertson

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