Henry (The Long Hunter) SKAGGS

Male 1724 - Bef 1810  (< 86 years)

Personal Information    |    PDF

  • Name Henry (The Long Hunter) SKAGGS 
    Born 8 Jan 1723/24  MD Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    • Long Hunter and Indian fighter
    _UID 458AD5208AAD49418B7389D7FA51FB6C95D9 
    Died Bef 4 Dec 1810  Green Co. KY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Hiseville Park, Barren Co. KY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • "The life of Daniel Boone", written by Lyman C Draper, LL.D.

      "Henry, Charles, and Richard SKAGGS and three other brothers were grandsons of an Irishman who fled from Ireland of Londonderry in 1688-'89, when so many of the hardy Scotch-Irish race emigrated to the shores of the New World. We find his adventurous descendants, natives of Maryland, living on the frontiers of New River and sharing largely in the toils and hardships of the Long Hunters in 1770-'71.

      In June 1775 we find Henry SKAGGS aiding to pilot Col. Thomas SLAUGHTER and others on an exploratory tour of the Green River country. Henry SKAGGS and brothers were a noted family of hunters and nothing but hunters; and keeping pace with the advancing settlements, they pushed forward to Clinch River and were forting in 1777 at Shadrach WHITE's Station in the neighborhood of the Maiden Spring Fork of the Clinch.

      In 1781 one of the family of SKAGGS who had been residing in the Cumberland settlements removed to Kentucky. In 1779 Henry SKAGGS, accompanied by upwards of twenty men, started for Kentucky, were attacked by Indians in POWELL's Valley, lost part of their horses, when all had returned, save SKAGGS, his son John, a mere youth, and a man named SINCLAIR. With eleven horses, they went to the Green River country to hunt, and during the succeeding hard winter, SINCLAIR got lost, probably drowned in the Green River, and young SKAGGS sickened and died, and amidst the severities of the season, a hollow log was his burial place. His father was left alone to finish the hunt and return home with the horses, pelts, and furs.

      He settled on Pitman's Creek in the Green River country within present Taylor County, Kentucky, in 1789, with his children and connections around him sharing freely in the Indian difficulties of the times; and there he died in 1808 or '9, aged upwards of eighty years.

      Possessing a large and bony frame, he was bold, enterprising, and fearless. His brothers, Charles and Richard, who also settled in that region, lived to a good old age." [note 23, p.277: "MS. statements of Capt. John BARBEE, derived from Thomas and Moses SKAGGS, son of Charles SKAGGS; MS. notes of conversations with Morgan VARDEMAN of Kentucky."] Lyman C. Draper, The Life of Daniel Boone, Ted Franklin Belue, ed. (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1998), 268-69.

      "Two other long hunters known to REDD were William PITTMAN and Henry SKAGS, of whom [note 15] he said, "they were men of high sense of honor and vary great truth." Both probably lived for awhile in this section for PITMAN's Creek is a branch of Blackwater River, and several members of the SKAGS family, John, Charles and Zachariah, were given in the first list of tithables for Pittsylvania County.

      "It is very probable that WALDEN and his friends had served in the recent Indian campaign and ranging along the frontiers had seen for themselves the great abundance of game that lived undisturbed in the virgin forest of Southwest Virginia. They remained on this hunt eighteen months, ranging over southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, naming the mountains and streams as they came to them. POWELL's Mountain . . . [as well as] the adjacent river and valley. WALDEN's Ridge was named for WALDEN; SCAG's Ridge and NEWMAN's Ridge were named for other members of the company. They crossed the mountains through Cumberland Gap into the Kentucky country and all agreed that WALDEN should name the gap, which he did calling it Cumberland for his former home in Cumberland County, Virginia.

      "On their return the following year they crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains at Flower's Gap in Franklin County, and found few settlers west of the mountains, the murderous attacks of the Indians having driven them eastward and southward.

      "In the year of 1764 the BLEVINs went up into Kentucky and hunted near Crab-Tree Orchard on Rock Castle Creek, where they found the game so plentiful that they continued to hunt there for several years. Daniel BOONE, who was living on the Yadkin, came among the hunters that year, saying that he was employed by the Henderson Company to explore the country. Henry SKAGS was afterwards employed by the HENDERSONs for the same purpose. Draper [note 19] said of SKAGGS that he and his brothers Charles and Richard were a family of noted hunters, and nothing but hunters, who kept pace with the advancing wave of settlements. He described SKAGGS as "possessing a large bony frame, he was bold, enterprising and fearless."


      In the winter of 1771 Henry SKAGGS and a man named KNOX made a station and hunted in Greene County, Kentucky. One day when absent from the station on a hunt their camp was plundered by a half-breed Cherokee named Will EMERY. When they returned to find the result of their winter's labors gone, they carved on a tree, "Fifteen hundred skins gone to ruination." SKAGGS [note 20] and his brother later settled in this section of Kentucky, where they lived to a ripe old age." (Note 15: Virginia Mag. History, v.7, p.250. Note 19: Draper's Manuscripts. Note 20: Cyclopedia of Biography, v.5, p.813, says of the SKAGGS family that they were of Scotch descent and many of them settled in Maryland.) --Maud Carter Clement, History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia (Lynchburg, VA: J.P. Bell Co., 1929; transcribed by Ancestry.com), Chapter 7, The Cherokee War--Western Exploration, pp.90-91.


      "The Kentucky Explorer" magazine, October, 1999, issue that features an article about the efforts of the South Central Kentucky Historical Society to mark forgotten cemeteries in the area. This article has a photo of society's volunteers who have placed a sign on or near the burial place of HENRY SKAGGS, the Long Hunter, located on the property of former Kentucky Governor LOUIE NUNN, at Hiseville-Park, Ky. The site is in Barren Co., Ky., and near Green Co., Ky., where HENRY SKAGGS and CHARLES SKAGGS' wills are filed. HENRY SKAGGS m. MARY THOMPSON, d/o JOHN and MARY UNKNOWN THOMPSON.


      **General Notes**

      1. Sons of James and Rachel listed in the Pioneer Baptist Church Records of South-Central Kentucky and the Upper Cumberland of Tennessee 1799-1899 by C. P. Cawthorn & N. L. Warnell copyright 1985. Portions received from Brenda Harper 3/15/97.

      2. Henry was one of the early Long Hunters of 1761-1775 of which Kentucky Historians have recorded much about. He was considered very prominent in the settlement of early Kentucky.

      3. Henry was at the present site of Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1775.

      4. In the fall of 1779 Henry Skaggs started up from Tennessee for his usual Winter hunt. Indians attacked, stole the game his party had collected and frightened most of the hunters back to camp, leaving Henry alone with his young son and another hunter named Sinclair. Shortly after the three of them started further into the wilderness, Sinclair drowned in the icy Green River. Then young Skaggs took sick and died. The old hunter left his son's body in a hollow log, the ground being frozen too hard for a proper burying........which son?


      When the gospel was first sent to the Green River section of Kentucky, the land was wild and uncultivated. Alas! for the poor Baptists, death at the hands of a lawless savage was an ever present chill on the hearts of the living, and who could tell whether it would continue to advance with the quiet of a blight, or vet burst upon them with the fury of a tempest?

      A great number of these first Baptists were among the "Long Hunters" who came from the "Baptist Valley" area of Southwest Virginia.'

      These families were the forerunners of the "foot-washing" Baptists which subsequently moved into Kentucky and established many of the Baptist Churches of the frontier land. Among the leaders was the Skaggs family consisting of Rev. James Skaggs and his brothers Henry, Richard, Jacob, Charles, Moses, and William. These were the early "Long Hunters" of 1761-1775 of which the Kentucky historians have recorded much about. Henry and Richard were particularly prominent. Henry Skaggs was at the present site of Bowling Green. Kentucky in 1775. A brother, Moses, was killed by Indians on his second trip into Kentucky.

      Richard Skaggs had three sons named Shadrach, Mashack, and Abednego. It was Mashack who was killed by Indians on the creek named after him in present Monroe County, Kentucky.


      The men who lived on the frontier took protracted hunting trips into Kentucky, hence the name "Long Hunters." Later when Daniel Boone led a group of Yadkin farmers into Kentucky, they used a wilderness track referred to as the "Skaggs Trace." This track became a part of the Boone Trace and Wilderness Road that led the pioneers into Kentucky from Virginia.

      The first settlement of the Green River Baptists was in Green County in 1780, and was known as Skaggs Station. It was established by Rev. James Skaggs and was the third station in what is now Green County, Ky.; Glovers Station having been established in the Fall of 1779, and Pitman's Station in March of 1780.


      From The SW Virginian, Vol. 1, #3, Wise, VA, page 29, transcribed by Rhonda S. Roberson. This is a petition asking the House of Delegates of VA to place a line "fixed along Clinch Mt. and Montgomery line to the Carolina line" to separate them from Washington Co. These inhabitants include those of Clinch River, Mocason Creek, Powels Valley, north branch of Holstein River, and "others." Dated Dec. 9, 1785. Washington Co., VA, is in the far southern section of VA, just before the border into TN and not far from NC. Alexander SEAL, James SHEWMAKER, John SHOEMAKER, John SHORT, Thoms. SHORT, David SKAGGS, Solomon SKAGGS, John SKAGGS, Henry SKAGGS, Edwd. SMITH, H. SMITH, John SMITH, Enius SMITH, Elijah SMITH, Wm. SMITH, Wm. SMITH, Eli SMITH, Evens SMITH, Jr., Edward SMOTE, Tom STACY, Masheck STACY, Meshack STACY, Sammuel STALLARD, Edward STAPLETON, Edw. STAPLETON, Isaiah STILLS, Yeah STILS?, John TATE, Thomas TATE, Robert TATE, Jr., Rober TATE, Sr., Richd THOMPSON, John THOMPSON, Wm. THOMPSON, John THOMSON, Saml VANCE, John VANDYETHE,


      Cyrus Edwards, in the book Stories of Early Days,page 208. related that Henry Skaggs "The Long Hunter" came to the home of his grandfather, Cader Edwards, in Nov. 1765, asked for lodging and remained until spring, (Cader Edwards lived next door to Henry's brother Richard Skaggs). This was repeated every winter threafter until 1769, when Henry Skaggs went with a group of explorers of 1770-1771 trapping beaver at the big beaver dam on Barren River, near the big spring at the Adolphus Depp (now Dr. Nelson Pott) place. Cyrus Edwards thought that this was the first arrival of the white man in Barren County. Henry Skaggs told Cader Edwards that if anything ever happened to him to "bury me high on a hill in the woods I loved, wherever I die." After a wild turkey hunt he spent the night at his friend Mr. Bishop's A sudden illness overcame him and he died there. A huge tree stands as a sentinel at the head of the grave, not far from Mr. Bishop's house. In 1921 his grave stood in the residence of J.W. Irwin, near what is now the Park Post Office. He did not get along well with his wife and would stay out on long hunts for up to 2 years before returning home. He left his wife in good circumstances when she was old, with their children living close by and four slaves to do the work, she was well cared for.

      From 1658 to 1761 very little has been found about the migrations of the various Skaggs families. However, near the end of that period records of their living in southwestern Virginia begin to appear. After 1761 they are found in the vanguard of the slow but steady stream of pioneers into Tennessee and Kentucky.

      Robert L. Kincaid,in his book, The Wilderness Road, tells about the Long Hunters who pushed farther and farther west after 1761, traveling long distances in unexplored country for months at a time in their quest for pelts which could be sold or traded at home. In the meantime it was up to their wives and children to do the farming and gardening.

      One of the early leaders in these hunting expeditions was a man by the name of Walden. On one of his first trips he was accompanied by his father-in-law, William Blevins, his brother-in-law, Jack Blevins, HENRY SKAGGS, Walter Newman, Charles Cox and about a dozen other trained woodsmen. The party spent about eighteen months on the trip and ranged as far as the vicinity of Cumberland Gap. The area was a hunter's paradise abounding in deer, buffalo, beaver, otter and mink and small game for their daily food supply. They brought home a large supply of pelts and hides.

      In 1763, Walden and his party again went on a Long Hunt, passing through Cumberland Gap this time and going as far as the present town of Crab orchard, Kentucky. The news of their successful hunts soon spread and led others to venture on similar trips. In June, 1769, a party of hunters gathered at Fort Chiswell as the starting point for their hunt. Among the leaders was RICHARD SKAGGS. They went as far as present Nashville, Tennessee. In the following year, 1770, a large party passed through Cumberland Gap, ranging as far as Green River and the Barrens in Kentucky where many Skaggs later settled.

      In May, 1769, Daniel Boone and his party followed the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap into Kentucky but at Hazel Patch turned northward to the site of Boonesborough which he would later establish as a settlement. By the year 1775 the branch of the Wilderness Road that pointed toward Louisville, Kentucky was known as the SKAGGS TRACE and was named for three Irish brothers, HENRY, CHARLES AND RICHARD SKAGGS. Long Hunters who had spent much time in the region according to Kincaid, page 113. There is also a stream known as SKAGGS CREEK.

      During the Revolutionary War, the Indian allies of the British waged war against the Kentucky settlers. Beginning in 1777 the fighting was bitter bringing much loss of life and hardships to the people. Several Skaggs were in the war, at least three of them being killed. Virginia and Kentucky Skaggs in the war included JAMES, JOHN, RICHARD, WILLIAM, ARCHIBALD, HENRY, CHARLES, MOSES, JACOB, JORRE AND AARON [SKAGGS] and a few with the same names as some of the above. MOSES and AARON [SKAGGS] are said to have been killed and also a PETER SKAGGS. Several of them received pensions later according to the records.

      The Draper Manuscripts include a statement that "A number of Skaggs brother came to Green County, Kentucky, most of them very early, long before any settlement, and then they became the earliest settlers. JAMES, HENRY, JOHN, CHARLES AND RICHARD SKAGGS left records in Green County, while MOSES AND AARON [SKAGGS] were said to have been killed there." Note: In 1798 Barren County was split off Green County.

      The Skaggs brothers, sons of JAMES AND RACHEL SKAGGS are believed to have been HENRY, CHARLES, RICHARD, JAMES,JR., AARON, MOSES and possibly JOHN SKAGGS. Many of their descendants still live in Kentucky but as early as 1820 there were three Skaggs in Indiana and at least one is known definitely to be from Kentucky.


      21 July/24 Aug 1784, A 325, Henry Skaggs and Mary Skaggs, to William Grayson, 100 acres, (Monetary terms), Little River, branch of Woods River; witness, James McCorkle, John Kirk, Robert Currin, John Grayson, and William Christian. (Montgomery County, Christianburg Courthouse)


      Henry, the Long Hunter, died 1809-1810, and his will is recorded in Green Co., Book 1, p. 48. In W. R. Jillson's Kentucky Land Grants, Henry SKAGGS obtained 400 acres on Pitman Creek, Nelson Co., March 15, 1791. Pitman Creek begins in present-day Taylor County and runs southwest into Green County where it empties into the Green River. He lived in the northeast sector of present day Green Co.

      5 APRIL 1809
      Will Book 1 pp. 56-57


      In the name of God Amen, I HENRY SKAGGS of the County of Green and state of Kentucky do make this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following (To wit) I leave all my Estate both real and personal to my beloved Wife to be enjoyed by her during her life, and after her death, the tract of Land wher on I now live I give to my Grand son JOHN SKAGGS son of JAMES SKAGGS; my Negro man Bob I give to my son DAVID SKAGGS; my negro woman Lucy I give to SYLVIA ROARK; I give to my Daughter SARAH SKAGGS a negro girl Rachel; I give to my son JAMES SKAGGS the rest of my negroes, jinney, and all her Children except (Rachel) and her further increase should she have any during either my life time or the lifetime of my Wife. The ballance of my Estate is to be sold, and I give one Dollar to STEPHEN SKAGGS, the Ballance to be equally divided amongst my Children hereafter named, SOLOMON SKAGGS, LUCY STACY, RACHEL RAY, NANCY D SPANE,

      POLLY COMBS what I have here left to each of my Children is in addition to what I have heretofore given Lastly I do appoint my son JAMES SKAGGS and ELIAS BARBEE Executors to this my last Will Revoking all others heretofore
      made by me. In testamony where of I here unto set my hand and seal this fifth day of April in the year of our Lord 1809.

      HENRY SKAGGS (mark) (seal)
      Signed, sealed and puplished in the presence of


      At a County Court held for Green County on the 4th Monday in december1810. This will was produced into Court and proven by the oath off LARKIN DURRET, JAMES RAFFIRTY and JOHN BARBEE and ordered to be recorded which is done accordingly by Clerk JOHN BARRET DC Parents: James Skaggs and Rachel.

      He was married to Mary Thompson about 1756. [gcfamilies.GED]



      June 1815 Green Co., KY Circuit Court Case #5389 Green Circuit and County and Commonwealth of Kentucky to the honorable ___ Judges in chancery sitting

      Your orator Peter D. SPAIN and his wife Nancy D. SPAIN and Reubin ROARK and Silvy ROARK his wife and William Combs and Mary Combs his wife and Thomas RAY and Rachael RAY his wife humbly complaining showeth to your honors that Henry SKAGGS departed this life leaving your Orators heirs to part of his estate and that the deceased intended by a will to have devised his estate in such a manner as it might be well understood and for that purpose appointed Elias BARBEE and James SKAGGS in said will to be his Executors and to act for the benefit of all the legatees named in said will but said will either being so uninteligible as that said Executor could not act properly on said will or otherwise they have so mistaken said will so as to do great injustice to your Orators and have acted contrary to the last will and wish of the testator and your Orators veryly believes that the will is so vague and uncertain that it cannot be acted upon so as to do justice to the parties according to the true intent and meaning of the testator which will and the inventory and appraisment of said Estate your Orators prays may be taken and read as a part of this bill and that the said Executors Elias BARBEE and James SKAGGS may be made Defendants to this bill and that your honors may by a decree of your honorable Court make nul and void said will or otherwise if your honors should be of opinion that the said will can be understood so as to be acted upon your orators prays your honors to compell the said Defendants to do justice according to the true intent and meaning of the Deceased and compell the different legatees to act according to the justice of the case, to wit, David SKAGGS, Solomon SKAGGS, Stephen SKAGGS, John STACY and Lucy STACY his wife all of whom your Orators prays may be made defendants to this bill and your Orators farther states that Mary SKAGGS the wife of the deceased was left in possession of all the estate real and personal and has so waisted the estate for want of proper care and through neglect so as to deprive your orators from the benefit of their part of the estate when the said (Nancy is crossed out) Mary SKAGGS who is also made defendant hereunto was left in full possession of one tract of land the rents of which would have more than doubly supported her and also one valuable negro fellow named Bob whose labour alone with good management would have supported her and one other negro man named Ned whose labour was entirely sufficient to have supported her and your orators farther states that the Deceased was none indebted and left sveral other negroes sufficient to support her and her daughter Sally SKAGGS who is also made defendant hereunto all of which land and Negroes are now and have been in the possession and in the use of said defendant (Nancy is crossed out) Mary SKAGGS and if the will is not revoked the land to remain hers during her life and then to descend to John SKAGGS son of James SKAGGS which John SKAGGS is also made Defendant hereunto. And your orators would farther state that if the will is not made nul and void that they were and are entitled to a large share of the property of the Deceased as will appear from the will and Inventory and the right of the increase of one Negro woman which at present is three negroes all of which goods have been sold at publick sale and otherwise made way with except the three Negroes mentioned as the increase and they have in no accounted to your Orators for any part of the estate when it was the wish and desire of the testator that the said defendant (Nancy is crossed out) Mary his wife should be freely and honourably supported and that proper care shold be taken by the Executors and the defendant (Nancy is crossed out) Mary and that after her support the balance should be for your orators and that nothing should go to waste, but your orators state that there is a total neglect and in the defendant Mary SKAGGS want of care which is much to the Damages of your orators.

      All which actings and Doings are contrary to equity and good conscience and tend greatly to injure your orators in tender consideration whereof and as your orators are with out remedy at commonlaw and only relievable at equity before your honors where frauds are detected and hardships relieved against may it please your honors the premis considered to grant the Commonwealths writ of subpoena ad responendum by which the defendants may be compelled on their corporal oaths true and perfect answers to make to all and singular the premises as perfectly and as fully as if they were again repeated and interogated and that the Honourable Court may appoint Commissioners to adjust and settle the said estate of said estate and that by a final Decree of the Honourable Court they may make nul and void the said will as being too vague to be understood so as to do justice or otherwise Decree to your Orators such part of the estate as to them does justly belong and grant an injunction all waste of said estate in further granting to the defendant Mary SKAGGS the wife of the deceased a full and honourable support out of the estate and such other and farther relief as to equity doth belong and your orators as in duty bound shall ever pray.

      John EMERSON
    Person ID I4559  Master File
    Last Modified 24 Mar 2014 

    Father James SKAGGS,   b. 1700, at sea Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 1769-1798, Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 98 years) 
    Mother Rachel,   b. Abt 1705, Fincastle, VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1789, Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 84 years) 
    Married Bef 1723  Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F3396  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary THOMPSON,   b. 18 Aug 1739,   d. Unknown, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. John Thompson SKAGGS,   b. 06 Oct 1760, Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. ca 1779, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 18 years)
     2. Lucy SKAGGS,   b. Dec 1762, Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location
    +3. Solomon SKAGGS,   b. 03 Jan 1766, Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1820, Kentucky or Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years)
     4. David SKAGGS,   b. 28 Apr 1767, Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. Sylvia SKAGGS,   b. 18 Feb 1769, Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location
     6. Mary (Polly) SKAGGS,   b. 19 Dec 1771, Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location
     7. James SKAGGS,   b. ca 1773, Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location
     8. Rachel SKAGGS,   b. Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location
     9. Sarah SKAGGS,   b. Montgomery Co. VA Find all individuals with events at this location
     10. Stephen SKAGGS,   b. Mont Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 24 Mar 2014 
    Family ID F3397  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart