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Historic Fulkerson Hilton Home

Historic Fulkerson Hilton Home

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Fulkerson-Hilton Home in the Hiltons community of Scott County, Virginia, is now available for rental through Airbnb.

Nearby residents to the historic home, Jeff and Rebecca Arrington, purchased the home and its surrounding property about two years ago to carry on the tradition of preserving the historic landmark and to share it with others through the Airbnb community. Jeff is an service architect for Eastman Chemical Company in neighboring Kingsport, Tennessee, and Rebecca is a social worker by training and now works in admissions and marketing at Nova in Weber City, Virginia.

When the Arringtons purchased the home, they wanted to maintain the historical integrity but, at the same time, provide modern conveniences for a more comfortable stay for their guests. The Arringtons accomplished the melding of the old and new perfectly.

Upon entering the two-story home, you are embraced by the past with the exposed oak, poplar and pine beams with half-dovetail notching. Centered in the front room is a large hand-chiseled stone fireplace complete with a hand-forged cooking crane. The beautiful arched fireplace features a tall, deep, and slightly trapezoidal firebox. A modern, comfy and overstuffed couch and loveseat arrangement beckon visitors to come and sit a spell in front of the fire.Central Fireplace in the Fulkerson Hilton Home

Around the room, the Arringtons have placed various antique pieces, many of which are original to the house or the property, including an upright piano.

The main front room and a small bedroom to the right, and a large upstairs with two additional large bedrooms are original to the farmhouse. The bedroom to the right of the main room contains a bunkbed, covered with a homey quilt and complete with a wooden child’s rocking horse in the corner.

To access the second floor, guests enter an enclosed staircase from the main parlor. The angle of ascent is steep, and the steps are narrow winders, which means the steps are shaped like wedges of a pie that pivot around a square post. The enclosed staircase is supported by the vertical-beaded pine board, which has no studs, in the main parlor.

The upstairs bedrooms transport visitors back to an earlier time. The loft features twin beds and an antique cradle and a beautiful secretary displayed with antique spectacles, an ink well and quill for writing, and an old pocket watch. The adjoining bedroom has a queen bed, also covered with a homey quilt. Antique complements to the room include an old spinning wheel, storage chest and rocking chair. Walls in the upstairs also showcase the home’s original log construction.

According to records used for the historical documentation on the National Register of Historic Homes, an addition was added to the log cabin around 1949. This addition included an updated kitchen, dining room and bathroom.

The Arringtons are using the dining room as another guest bedroom, which features an oak bed and small secretary desk. Adjacent to this room is the kitchen, which is stocked with water and snacks for guests when they arrive. Jeff explains, “no one wants to go to the grocery store just as soon as they arrive.”

Between this addition and the log structure is the original door from the time of construction. Significant to this door is the “nail pattern” on the doorway, which Jeff explains was the “signature of the carpenters who worked on the original house.”

While the home has been lovingly preserved in every aspect by the Arringtons, its true focal point is the massive chimney centered on the western wall of the house. Comprised of hand-chiseled stones, many of the stones exceed four feet in length, one foot in width and ten inches in thickness. According to the historical documentation, sandstone this size was not found in the Little Valley of Hiltons. Local sandstone consists primarily of limestone and shale. The document speculates the stones must have come from the Clinch Mountain, which is composed primarily of sandstone and lies approximately one mile to the north.

History of the House
Original Exposed Beams

Original Exposed Beams

While the home itself is a monument to history, the story of the families who lived here is just as fascinating. In 1782 Abraham Fulkerson purchased three parcels of land totaling 879 acres lying in Little Valley on the South Side of Poor Valley on the waters of the North Fork of the Holston. He was born to Dutch Reformed parents in Somerset County, New Jersey, in 1739, and later moved with his parents to North Carolina. Here he purchased land and married Sarah Gibson in 1766.

During the American Revolution, Fulkerson fought under the command of Col. William Campbell at the Battle of Kings Mountain on Oct. 1, 1780, where British troops suffered a decisive defeat. Following his time in service, he then moved to Little Valley in what today is Scott County.

By 1794, Fulkerson was joined by other settlers on the Holston River near Big Moccasin Gap. Fulkerson and his neighbors were subject to Indian raids, led by Chief Bob Benge, a half-breed Cherokee Indian. Benge and his band of marauders were notorious around the Big Moccasin area. At one point, Fulkerson and his neighbors sent a letter to the Governor seeking help in driving back Benge whose raids from 1791 to 1794 resulted in the deaths of at least 20 frontier settlers on the Holston.

Historical documents stated that at one point, Benge had his eye on the Fulkerson homestead. On that particular evening though, Fulkerson and his neighbors were engaged in a barn raising. Due to the large number of families gathered at the Fulkerson’s, Benge and his group bypassed the homestead.

Once the Indian raids ceased on the Virginia frontier after 1794, Fulkerson was able to develop his property on the North Fork of the Holston. He was able to shift from frontier subsistence to the processing of agricultural produce and created Fulkerson’s Mill and Mill House. In 1811, Fulkerson sold the property to the Hickam family, who then sold it again in 1816 to the Rev. Samuel Hilton, and wife, Nancy.

By this time, the property was now part of Scott County, Virginia, which was officially established in 1814. Fulkerson was one of the first Scott County commissioners.

As a man of the cloth, Hilton established two churches during his lifetime—the Double Springs Church on the Holston River and the United Baptist Church at Big Moccasin Gap, which was the first church built in Scott County. Samuel Hilton, along with his son, John, acquired extensive land holdings on the North Fork of the Holston River where it joined Little Valley.

Fulkerson’s daughter, Nancy, married John Hilton, and upon the death of Samuel Hilton, the Fulkerson home went back into possession of the Nancy Fulkerson Hilton. For the next several generations, the home would remain in possession of their heirs.

Downstairs Bunkroom

Downstairs Bunkroom

Several members of the Fulkerson and Hilton families are buried on the property, and include Abraham Fulkerson, Sarah Gibson Fulkerson, Rev. Samuel Hilton, Nancy Short Hilton and Fredrick Hilton. Abraham Fulkerson’s service to his country in the Battle of King’s Mountain was recognized by the Sons of the American Revolution with a burial marker commemorating his service at his grave on the Fulkerson-Hilton property.

For Jeff and Rebecca, restoration of the home has been a “labor of love.” They wanted to share the history of the home and this region with their guests. “I felt it was part of my responsibility to preserve this history for future generations.”

Visitors to the home have full access to the property, plus bicycles and kayaks for personal use. Upon request, Jeff can arrange fishing trips on both the Holston and Watauga Rivers. He can even provide guests with a blacksmithing experience at The Franklin Forge in Jonesborough.

Nail Pattern Door

Nail Pattern Door. In frontier times, nail patterns were used to identify the original carpenters of a home.

To book your stay in this historic home go to: https://airbnb.com/h/fulkersonhiltonhou

Parlor of Fulkerson Hilton Home

Cozy Front Parlor of Fulkerson Hilton Home

Winder Stairs

Winder Stairs Leading to the Upstairs Loft and Bedroom

Upstairs Loft Bedroom

Upstairs Loft Bedroom

Antique Secretary

Antique Secretary in Upstairs Loft

Downstairs Bedroom

Downstairs Bedroom

Historical rendering of Daniel Boone and the frontier party blazing their way along the Wilderness Road

Historical Rendering of Daniel Boone Along the Wilderness Road

One of the nation’s most historic routes, the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail was blazed by the legendary frontiersman in 1775 from the Long Island of the Holston at what is now Kingsport TN, through the Cumberland Gap of Virginia into Kentucky.  It would become the route for thousands of settlers to the western frontier.

Long before Columbus discovered America, the Wilderness Trail was a major link in the trail systems of the Indians on the North American continent, used for commerce and raids.  Gabriel Arthur, a young indentured servant, was the first of record to travel the route and see the Cumberland Gap, a natural break in the mountains.  Arthur was sent along the trail in 1674 by the Shawnee Indians to secure a trade agreement with settlers.  The next recorded man to see the Gap was Dr. Thomas Walker in 1750.

The most daring effort to colonize the rich lands of the Kentucky River area were those of Colonel Richard Henderson, a Superior Court judge of North Carolina.  Henderson decided the best way to secure the area was to deal directly with the Cherokee Indians.  He discussed plans with friends, and they formed the Transylvania Company and solicited the assistance of Boone in negotiating with the Indians and blazing the trail.

On March 10, 1775, Boone led his 30 trail blazers from Long Island of the Holston to cut the trail through some 200 miles of wilderness northwest through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky.

Thanks to the Daniel Boone Wilderness Road Trail Association, today, travelers can follow the Wilderness Trail as closely as possible along the original route.  Several historical stops are available along the route, and it makes a great day-long road trip through the scenic rolling hills and valleys of Scott County, VA into Lee County, VA to the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky.

Travelers may begin their journey at any juncture along the Wilderness Road.  Some of the more significant stops are listed below.  For detailed map:  https://danielboonetrail.com/trail-map/

Netherland Inn, Long Island of the Holston, Kingsport, Tennessee

Long Island on the Holston, or Hogoheegee River was the sacred treaty ground to the Cherokee.  It is the western terminus of the Reedy Creek Road, which carried the Great Warrior’s Path from Bristol to Kingsport. The Netherland Inn was strategically located in King’s Port and served as a way station for both river and road travelers.  Visitors can access the Long Island of the Holston via a swinging bridge, located on the Greenbelt walkway across from the Netherland Inn.  On the island, visitors can see the monument erected by the Cherokee nation on land ceded to them in commemoration of the United States Bicentennial.  The stone in the monument was brought from the Qualla Reservation at Cherokee, North Carolina.

Long Island of the Holston Marker

Cherokee Nation Marker at Long Island of the Holston

Anderson Blockhouse Site, Carters Valley, Scott County, Virginia

The historic marker indicates the original location of the John Anderson Blockhouse.  Anderson built his blockhouse on the knoll here sometime before 1775. (A replica of the John Anderson Blockhouse was constructed at Natural Tunnel State Park, Duffield, VA.  Generally open Saturday and Sunday, May through October, it is currently closed due to COVID-19.  Visitors can drive up and visit the grounds.)

A blockhouse was a specialized log cabin built of squared logs, and with an upper story that extended out overhanging the walls of the lower structure.  The squaring of the timbers made a tight fit, which left no space for an adversary to shoot through into the interior of the structure.

Since the favorite way to get someone who was barricaded within a log cabin to come out was to set fire to it, the overhanging upper story afforded the opportunity to shoot down on anyone attempting to set the lower building on fire.  Blockhouses were used as fortified strong points by the military all across the Eastern North America.

The Anderson Blockhouse functioned as a gathering spot for pioneers, who would wait at the Blockhouse until enough “guns” had gathered to make the trek through Indian territory.  The Blockhouse was the last contact with the Holston Settlements.

After gathering his 30 ax men at Fort Patrick Henry, it was at the Blockhouse that Boone began to blaze the trail into Kentucky.  The trail went north past the Blockhouse on state route 606 to the ford just upstream from the present swinging bridge.  The swinging bridge is still maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and visitors are encouraged to meander out on the bridge.

Moccasin Gap, Gate City, Virginia

Moccasin Gap in Clinch Mountain is one of two ground level water gaps leading from the western reaches of the Great Valley of Virginia into the interior of the Alleghenies, the other being the Narrows of the New River.

The two main trails of the central Appalachians joined for a short distance to make the passage through Moccasin Gap.  The most important one was the Great Warrior’s Path, or the Wilderness Trail, or alternately the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail.

This area was of great significance during Indian times because it was the main trail connecting the Cherokee Country with that of the Shawnee in Ohio.  This last trail ran from the Smokies through Moccasin Gap to Big Stony Creek to High Knob, Pound Gap, Elkhorn Creek, The Big Sandy River, and across the Ohio River.

Daniel Boone, Virginia, Scott County

Hob Nob Restaurant

Hob Nob Drive-in Restaurant

This railroad yard and the community that surrounds it is the only place in Virginia named after Daniel Boone.  This is the original Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail, and Boone reportedly drank from a spring in this area.  Today, this area is more famous as the home of the Hob Nob, an iconic restaurant that has been in the same family for more than 60 years.  It is famous for its diner fare, in particular the soft-serve ice cream cones.

Clinchport, Virginia and Stock Creek

Cinchport was the head waters of flat boat navigation on the Cinch River, just as Kingsport was on the Holston.  Not only did pioneer loggers build massive log rafts here in the winter to catch the spring tide to float their logs to mills at Chattanooga, but settlers farther up the Clinch would bring produce downstream in dug out canoes called bateaux.  Clinchport was the region’s point of entry into the Tennessee River System.  The Wilderness Road followed Stock Creek from here.

Natural Tunnel State Park, Duffield, Virginia

Natural Tunnel is a great spot to stop, get out and stretch your legs.  Although the Visitor Center is not open to the public now, the chairlift down to the bottom of the Tunnel is currently available Friday through Sunday.  Ride the chairlift down where you can take the boardwalk out to the mouth of the 850-feet long tunnel.  Tall as a ten-story building, the limestone cave within the tunnel was carved out thousands of years ago by Stock Creek.

Blockhouse

Replica of John Anderson Wilderness Road Blockhouse

Wilderness Road Blockhouse Exploration Station, Natural Tunnel State Park, Duffield, Virginia

Located within Natural Tunnel State Park, the Wilderness Road Blockhouse is a replica of the original John Anderson Blockhouse that stood on now Carter’s Valley Road and served as a gathering point for pioneers. Those making their way westward would gather at the Blockhouse until there were enough “guns” to make the trek through Indian territory westward to Kentucky.  The Blockhouse is currently closed to visitors due to COVID-19, but travelers may still stop and walk around the grounds.

Daniel Boone Historical Marker, Duffield, Virginia

One of the few remaining Daniel Boone Historical markers in existence.

Kane Gap, Duffield, Virginia

This natural notch was a welcome sight to travelers on the Wilderness Trail.  It was through this Gap that countless thousands trudged as they made their westward.  Accessed via Fraley Avenue, Duffield, this is the only trail where you can actually walk in the footsteps of famed frontiersman Daniel Boone.  The trail is part of the Daniel Boone Birding and Wildlife Trail.  Managed by the Jefferson National Forest Service, the trail is moderate to difficult, but is worth the climb to the Gap.  Just before reaching the Gap, visitors will see the “pioneer hotel” recorded in many journals.  This large rock outcrop served as a shelter to the thousands before they crossed down into the valley below.

Daniel Boone Wilderness Road Interpretative Center, Duffield, Virginia

A satellite location of Natural Tunnel State Park, the Center is currently open Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.  Admission is free.  Here visitors learn the important role the Wilderness Road played in American’s westward expansion.  The center offers a glimpse of the rough, unforgiving terrain early settlers traversed on their way to Kentucky.  The museum focuses on the portion of the trail from Sycamore Shoals in Elizabethton, Tennessee to the Cumberland Gap and the brave men, women and children who traveled the trail.  There are several hands-on exhibits, such as striking flint and steel to get a spark.

Powell Mountain Overlook, Duffield, Virginia

Regardless of the season, the Powell Mountain Overlook always delivers an amazing view.  Located between Duffield and Stickleyville, Virginia, the Overlook offers a spectacular view down into the valley below and is a favorite stop along the Wilderness Road.

Stickleyville School, Stickleyville, Virginia

The school stands on or near the site of the massacre of James Boone, Daniel’s son.  At the time, the Boones were migrating to Kentucky and James had gone ahead along with several others, notably, Henry Russell. According to accounts of the massacre, “wolves” howled all night around the camp.  At dawn, a mixed party of Shawnee and Cherokee Indians attacked and shot James Boone and Henry Russell, through the hips so that they could not escape.  The pair were then tortured with knives and then killed.  Boone is said to have asked a Shawnee Indian, Big Jim, who Boone knew from visits to the Boone family homestead in North Carolina, to kill him.  Russell was reportedly clubbed to death and his body shot full of arrows.

Jonesville, Virginia

Mumps Fort stood at the top of the hill where the current courthouse is located today.  The Fort was built by William Mumps in 1775 in a community known then as Glade Spring or Sinking Springs.  Mumps Fort abandoned in 1776 at the outbreak of the Cherokee War.  The garrison was then repositioned at Fort Blackmore in Scott County, Virginia.

White Cliffs, Ewing, Virginia

White Cliff Rocks, Ewing, Virginia

White Cliff Rocks, Ewing, Virginia

The white rock cliffs atop Cumberland Mountain were among the most commonly mentioned geographic features recorded in the journals of the emigrants along the entire length of the Trail.  The pioneers seemed to take the cliffs as a hallmark of the wonderful new land that they were claiming as their own.

The term Cumberland seemed to ring in the souls of the pioneers as the name of the port-of-entry into the Promised Land.  The Cumberland Mountain guided them on their way until they reached Cumberland Gap, which was the gateway to Eden.  From there they traveled across the Cumberland Valley to the Bluegrass of Kentucky.

Wilderness Road State Park, Ewing, Virginia

The Wilderness Road State Park offers picnicking, hiking and nature, and living history programs.  Visitors can enjoy the visitor center, home to a theater showing an award-winning docudrama, “Wilderness Road, Spirit of a Nation.”  The center also has a frontier museum and a gift shop with unique regional gifts.  The park features the reconstructed Martin’s Station, an outdoor, living history depicting life on Virginia’s 1775 frontier.  Guests can also enjoy the park’s picnic shelters, nature play-scape, ADA-certified playground, sand volleyball court and horseshoe pits.

Visitors can hike, bike or horseback ride on the 8.5 Wilderness Road Trail linking the park with more than 50 miles in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Middlesboro, Kentucky

Cumberland Gap National Park

Cumberland Gap National Park

Cumberland Gap National Park is located at the crossroads of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia and creates a natural break in the Appalachian Mountains.  The Cumberland Gap Visitor Center features a museum with interactive exhibits about the Gap’s role as a transportation corridor, and also features the Cumberland Crafts gift shop, which houses juried wares from crafters throughout Appalachia.

The park covers 24,000 acres and is among the largest national parks in the eastern United States.  Stretching about 20 miles, the park runs along the Cumberland Mountains.  It includes 24 known cave features, ranging in size from around 20 feet to more than 16 miles in length.  There are also a large number of cliff systems in the park, the most prominent of which is the 500 feet cliffs of White Rocks, which is located in the eastern portion of the area.  At the northeastern end, the park lies adjacent to the Sillalah Creek Wildlife Management Area and Martin’s Fork Wildlife Management Area and State Natural Area.

Driving the entire Wilderness Road Trail can be done in one full day.  Conveniently located along the way are several places to dine, including Campus Drive-in and Family Bakery, Gate City; the Hob Nob, Daniel Boone; ChuBeez, Duffield; A Better Burger, Jonesville; and Dutch Treat, Rose Hill; as well as national chain fast food restaurants.

For lodging convenient to the Wilderness Trail, visitors have the option of Roberts Mill Suites and Estilville Bed & Breakfast, Gate City; Appalachian Mountain Cabins and PapPaw’s Cabin, Duffield; Valliee Farm Farmhouse, Stickleyville; and Wilderness Road Bed & Breakfast, Ewing.  Camping is available at both Natural Tunnel State Park and Cumberland Gap Wilderness Road Campground.