(Second Article)
By   L. S. Pence
The Lebanon Enterprise     February 6, 1920

Not only did Jonah Heaton and company seek to deprive Captain Samuel Pottenger of the rightful name of Pottenger’s Creek, but they planned a conspiracy whereby they sought to substitute that “less valuable” boundary of surveyed land along the waters of Prather’s Creek for the “fine body of land” that Captain Pottenger had shortly before discovered and preempted near the Rolling Fork river, and upon the waters of that creek which James Harrod had christened “Pottenger’s Creek.”  The fraudulent nature of Jonah Heaton’s scheme was as follows:  He and his company went along the original Prather’s Creek boundary surveyed by themselves, “south” from the “big knob” and deliberately blazed out each original “red keal” mark placed upon each tree extending from their starting point near the “big knob,” down to the mouth of Prather’s Creek at the Rolling Fork river.  After doing this fraud they then proceeded across the ridge, “north and west” from the big “pine knob,” (which is north of “big knob”) and went down Pottenger’s Creek, and upon this latter “stream” (they called Pottenger’s Creek a stream) they commenced anew to survey and again mark out a precisely similar boundary of 4,000 acres to correspond in exact size to the original boundary of 4,000 acres situated upon the waters of Prather’s Creek, and attempted fraudulently to substitute the “fine body of land” upon Pottenger’s Creek, “covered with big cane high as a man’s head riding on horseback,” for the “less valuable” boundary of 4,000 acres upon the waters of Prather’s Creek, and down to the Rolling Fork river.
Had it not been for the alertness of counsel representing Captain Samuel Pottenger in detecting this fraud this fraud, (even after trial had in the lower court, and while the case was pending in the Court of Appeals at the capital of Virginia, seven hundred miles away, and where these pillagers had already enrolled their Prather’s Creek boundary) it is a certain fact that Captain Pottenger would have been defeated and robbed of his “fine body of land.”  But be it ever remembered: “No man ever did a designed injury to another, but at the same time he did a greater to himself.”  I shall believe, from a similarity of two names in Jonah Heaton’s company that these swindlers who attempted to rob Captain Pottenger, as above outlined, were none other than six merciless forerunners sent out by a body of London promoters to survey 15,000 acres of land, in Nelson County, upon Rolling Fork river, upon which was to be founded the historical “Lystra,” the “beauty city of the world,” described by Collins, lying between the mouth of Salt Lick creek and Otter creek.  These servants on seeing what they believed a chance for spoliation, attempted their handiwork upon Captain Pottenger as their victim.  The pillagers were put to flight.
But back to the discussion: Although 142 years have elapsed since the pioneer under discussion exercised his judgment in the selection of a “fine body of land,” we of today can readily confirm the accuracy of his judgment, at a passing glance, when the rich bottom lands of Pottenger’s Creek gleam in autumn with ripeness of golden ears of corn.  It is of charming interest to hear the witnesses relate about the soil at this early date.  One witness states, “And that the land on the upper side of the mouth of Pottenger’s Creek is good land.”  Another witness states, “That the land at the mouth of Pottenger’s Creek upon the lower side is cold, wet beechy land.”  These pioneers also relate that Leonard Johnson was the original settler after whom “Johnson’s spring” got the name.  This “Johnson’s spring” and “Pottenger’s spring” in early days quenched the thirst of the settlers; in fact was the only substitute for ice water in those days of privation in the wilderness.
At or about the time when the above controversy waged hottest over the land dispute, (not about the name of the creek) Captain Pottenger voluntarily went to the aid of his country, and took an active part to help free America from the British yoke.  He joined the “Pioneer Soldiers of Kentucky,” and soon gained the position of Captain in the company of William Harrod, the youngest brother of James Harrod, and it was the latter who immortalized his friendship for Captain Pottenger in naming the creek for him.  Somewhere, I remember seeing it said of a distinguished soldier that “He never tells his name to the enemy.”  Captain Samuel Pottenger’s life, although spent in the wilderness, was full of affection toward all men.  His particular work was that of the universal protector of the poor and distressed in all his vicinity.
When, however, Captain Pottenger returned from the war, the fact soon developed to him that Jonah Heaton and company had transferred all their “false improvements” and “alleged 4,000 acres boundary” upon waters of Pottenger’s Creek to one William Oldham.  Soon William Oldham departed for his home in “Monogahala country,” and he likewise transferred the boundary over to Samuel Oldham.  Evidently Samuel Oldham was a confederate in the attempted pillage intended by Heaton and company, because Samuel Oldham insisted that he owned the “preemption land” to which Captain Pottenger held legal title.  Therefore, Captain Pottenger had to exchange military service for what may be termed legal service in upholding his rights against the alleged claim of Samuel Oldham.
The historian of Kentucky graphically states: “The distressed and desolate condition of land titles in Kentucky (district of Kentucky) at this date (1780) were almost as calamitous as pestilence or famine.”

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