I’m reading a lot of North Carolina history lately, trying to get a handle on what life was like about the time my 4X great-grandfather John Scott, was born. He was born in Buncombe County in 1800. Ashville is the county seat of modern-day Buncombe County, but at the time it was just a wilderness at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Buncombe County was formed in 1792 and encompassed the entire western end of North Carolina. There were a few trading trails crisscrossing the county, and a few scattered settlements, but it was rough rugged land and settlers were on their own. As soon as the county was established the flood gates opened and pioneers, especially veterans of the Revolutionary War came to stake a claim.
Huge land grants were issued and in 1796 over a quarter of a million acres was granted to David Allison. This huge parcel was outlined by “Hominy creek, Mill’s and Davidson’s rivers, Scott’s creek, Big Pigeon and down it to Twelve-Mile creek to the French Broad and to the beginning.”
Did you catch Scotts Creek there in the land description?
I found all this on a history of western North Carolina website and a few paragraphs later I found another reference to Scotts Creek.
SCOTT’S CREEK. As this creek was on the eastern border of the Cherokee country from which the Indians were removed, and as Gen. Winfield Scott was in charge of their removal in 1835-38, some suppose that the creek took its name from him; but in two grants to Charles McDowell, James Glascow and David Miller, dated December 3, 1795, (Buncombe Deed Book No. 4, p. 104) the State conveyed 300 acres on the waters of Scott’s creek, waters of Tuckaseegee river, including the forks of Scotts creek and “what was said to be Scott’s old lick blocks,” and on the same date there was a further grant to the same parties to 300 acres on the same stream, including a cane brake, with the same reference to Scott’s old lick blocks. (Book 8, p. 85.) But a careful search revealed no grant to any Scott in that section at or near that time; and the Scott who gave his name to this fine stream was doubtless but a landless squatter who was grazing and salting his cattle on the wild lands of that day. He probably lived in Haywood county, near the head of Richland creek.
Haywood county was formed in 1809 just west of Buncombe, going all the way to Tennessee, but when I googled Richland Creek I didn’t find one in the area.
There’s no way to know if this might have been one of our Scotts, but whoever it was didn’t stay long enough to leave a trail.
The American Revolution ended in 1782, eighteen years before John Scott was born. That’s an awfully long time for his father to have fought in the war, but maybe his grandfather did, depending on how old he was between 1776 and 1782. Never the less, sometime late in the century, John Scott’s father was in the mountains of western North Carolina. Since the area was so sparsely populated, it seems to me he brought his wife with him, although she may have arrived in the area with her family about the same time. The young couple would have established a home there in the 1790s.
They would have cut down trees, probably along a creek, to make room for a log cabin where John and his siblings were born. The Scotts wouldn’t stay long in North Carolina but head west to settlements in newly opened lands in Tennessee and then south along the Natchez Trace where our John Scott would cut down trees along Bumpass Creek, and carve out a home north of Waterloo, Alabama. He would have 15 kids of two wives and fairly cram that section of Lauderdale County with Scotts, so many that eventually many would pick up and move west again to settle in Texas, and then later in Oklahoma.
Seems we were trailblazers all along the way, arriving in new areas with the first wave of settlers.