The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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A Nutshell History of Smyth County, Virginia

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1992

Issue: July-August-September, 1992

These short and unrelated facts will give you an overall view of the County of Smyth in Southwest Virginia. Prehistoric history goes back as far as the Stone Age with the finding of a few spear points in the county.

Smyth County was formed in 1832 from Washington and Wythe Counties and named for General Alexander Smyth, who was a member of Congress for many years.

The Holston River valleys that make up a large part of Smyth County were traveled by the early "long hunters." Samuel Stalnaker built a cabin here in 1750 and at that time, it was the further most western settlement in the whole United States.

The Indians first discovered and used the salt in western Smyth county at what is now Saltville.

The first settlement on what is now the Town of Marion was the home of Author Campbell and was known as Royal Oak.

Hungry Mother State Park's name comes from a legend of an Indian raid in which a woman was carried off with her infant.

The Holston River was named for Stephen Holston, an early settler who came to the area before 1748.