Robert Elsom Killed on Clinch River at Gray's Island

Robert Elsom Killed on Clinch River at Gray's Island

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, page 31.

In 1770, William Herbert who lived on a plantation called "Poplar Camp", at Herbert's Ferry on New River in now Wythe County, VA, acquired a tract of land on Cubb Creek, about two miles below Dungannon, near a place known today as Gray's Island.

Herbert, himself, never lived on this land, but brought out a herd of cattle to graze upon it. Robert Elsom and his father-in-law, William Hays came along to herd the cattle and improve the land. Robert Elsom was listed as "Overseer" for Herbert. Hays and Elsom built a cabin on the land at "a spring that ran out of a cave", and lived upon the land until Elsom was killed by the Indians sometime in 1776. The writer has been unable to find any details concerning the killing. In 1798, Cubb Creek was known as Hays' Creek.

Raleigh Duncan and his brother, John, (the latter slain at Moore's Fort in 1774), settled on part of the land claimed by Herbert in 1773 and obtained a patent for the same by settlement right. William Herbert, Sr., died in 1776, and his son William Herbert, Jr. sold the land to Simon Cockrell, a Baptist preacher. A lawsuit (1) for possession ensued between Cockrell and John Duncan, son and heir-at-law of Raleigh Duncan, from which suit the foregoing facts have been gleaned.

(1) Augusta Co., VA Court Causes Ended, Cockrell vs Duncan.

This file contributed by: Rhonda Robertson

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