Jeff Harvey

Before we continue with our look at what William Sanders II had to say in his book “A New River Heritage, Volume IV”, (McClain Publishing, 1994), I want to say thanks again to the people who have commented either face-to-face or via email about the column. The compliments are welcome and I’ll do my best to address any specific questions you may have.

Archaeological evidence has shown that the Shawnee used the areas of Crump’s Bottom and Clover Bottom for habitation. A much-plundered graveyard along Island Creek at the mouth of New River, close by the Estel French mill and blacksmith shop and within view of an ancient settler’s cemetery just above the mill site, Said cemetery was removed by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of the Bluestone Reservoir flood plain,

That cemetery was passed down by the French family as the burial spot of “New River Hugh” Caperton who commanded a company of Virginia militia under George Washington before the Revolutionary War. His company, which included Daniel Boone briefly, patrolled the Kanawha wilderness. Caperton was held in some suspicion by his contemporary settlers, because his family wasn’t raided by the Shawnee, allegedly because he was known to have traded with them (Kyle McCormick account)

Archaeologist Dr. David Fuersrt from the University of North Carolina spent several summers digging at the Clay family settlement and has solid proof that Native Americans were using the Bluestone Bottom in village life as far back as1,000 years.

Sanders then recounted experiences as a child hunting arrowheads with his friend Eugene Worrell, who was one-quarter Native American. They explored Clover Bottom at the future dig site and in west Princeton near Resthaven Cemetery and the Frazier Bratton farm off the Old Bluefield Road.

Sanders and Worrell were well-acquainted with the Clay land and cemetery, which was where Bartley and Tabitha Clay were buried, plus a point odf land which could have been used as a lookout by Native Americans northwest of Lake Shawnee on the north side of Route10.

We’ll pick up next time with more.

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