Pulaski County

Frontier Trail
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Pulaski County

Pulaski County received its name from Count Casimir Pulaski, a refugee from Poland who died helping to fight for American independence at siege of Savannah in Georgia. Pioneers and settlers crossed the New River into Pulaski County at Ingles Ferry. William Ingles was the husband of Mary Draper Ingles who survived the 1755 massacre in Draper's Meadow. To the west in Pulaski County, the route to Newbern is presently named the Wilderness Road. One may visit the Wilderness Road Regional Museum in historic Newbern.

Among the first European settlements was a group of early Germans who had immigrated to the New World for religious freedom. These distant cousins of the Amish were called Dunkards because of their practice of full-immersion baptism. Dunkards' Bottom now lies under Claytor Lake. Also under water is Fort Frederick, a primitive fortification built to protect settlers during the French and Indian War, and the home of Col. William Christian. In 1763, at the age of twenty, William Christian became a captain of rangers in the County. Educated in law under his famous brother-in-law, Patrick Henry, he chose instead the adventurous life of a soldier. He recognized the value of public service by serving in the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Fincastle County Committee. Under his chairmanship, the famous Fincastle Resolutions were proclaimed in 1775 calling for freedom from the tyranny of British rule.

He attained the rank of colonel and served as the commander of support forces during the Battle of Point Pleasant, a not-so-pleasant engagement with Shawnees on the banks of the Ohio River. Although he missed the main part of the battle, he arrived with badly needed provisions after driving men and cattle through hazardous mountain terrain at night. He also fought in the Revolutionary War and led a large body of troops into present Tennessee against the Cherokees. Later he represented Virginia's vast frontier counties in the senate of the General Assembly.

When Pulaski County was finally free from the threat of Indian raids, Col. Christian moved his family to Kentucky. There he died from wounds obtained while chasing an Indian war party. One chimney from his home in Pulaski County was salvaged from under water and has been re-erected as a monument to this heroic frontiersman in Claytor Lake State Park.

Additional Sites

Pulaski County Courthouse

Olde Virginia Textile Museum

Raymond Ratcliffe Museum Train Station

New River Trail