General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Edward Dorton

Edward Dorton, one of the earliest pioneers to come through the Gap. He served in a volunteer company in the Powell valley region making safe for other settlers to pass through the Gap.
Dorton was born on March 19, 1750. In 1773, Dorton moved to Russell count VA making him one of the first settlers to move there. In the spring of 1776, Shawnee and Cherokee Indians went on the warpath attacking caravans of new settlers coming into the Cumberland Gap region.  Col. William Campbell ordered a volunteer company be formed to fight the Indian threat. Dorton joined this volunteer company under the command of Captain Brickly and traveled to the Powell valley region. Dorton remained in Powell valley fighting Indians from March- August 1776.
  In the year 1777, Dorton would spend most of his time fighting Indians again. In April 1777, Indians started attacking settlements in western Va. 1777 would become the worst year for attacks in Southwest VA and along the Kentucky frontier. During the months of June- august 1777; Dorton fought Indians along the Holston River near Kingsport TN.
 On August 1, 1780, Dorton joined a group of volunteers who fought along who the Sc militia at Hunts Bluff near Cheraw Sc. Here Major Thomas, Patriot commander attacked a British Flotilla on the Pee Dee river transporting Troops to Camden. Thomas captured 100 British troops and several supply barges.
 On October 7, 1780, Dorton participated in the battle of Kings Mountain. Here Ferguson the British commander was killed.  Kings Mountain would become a turning point in the Southern campaign of the revolutionary war.
 On December 20, 1780 Dorton was part of Nathaniel Greene’s militia at Cheraw Sc. Greene wrote Congress a letter saying “He had only a Shadow of an army who had no weapons or winter clothing.”  What Greene was referring to was that several hundred of the militia had no weapons of any kind and no winter clothes for the rough winter ahead.
This region would play an important part during the Civil war as well. On January 3, 1865, the 64th Illinois Regiment marched through Cheraw after their victories at Salkahatchee and Cambahee Ferry.
  On January 17, 1781, Dorton participated in the battle of Cowpens. Here Tarleton, the British commander was defeated. It was the first battle that the Continental army would defeat a British army in the Southern campaign. Cowpens was another link in the chain of defeats for the British army.
 On March 15, 1781, Dorton participated in the battle of Guilford courthouse. Here Greene nearly won the battle killing or wounding over one fourth of Cornwallis’s British troops. British Whig Party leader, Charles fox stated in Parliament after hearing of the British losses,” Another such victory would ruin the British Army.
 In 1782, Dorton was transferred back to Rock Station Fort in Russell County, the only fort to remain open during the entire Revolutionary war in Southwest VA, to fight Indians. Later that year he met Mary Johnson and was married.
 In 1832, Dorton moved his family through the Cumberland Gap to Floyd county KY where applied for a Pension. In 1847 at the age of 93 Dorton died and was buried near his home place.
 The region Dorton lived in Floyd County would late become Pike county Ky. During the Civil war, descendents of Dorton fought on both sides. Pike county KY would suffer greatly during the Civil war with over 30 skirmishes within their county lines.


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