In the spring of 1785, a band of Cherokee and Shawnee warriors led by "Chief" Benge started from what is now northern Georgia and made their way to this area. They were outraged when they found what had once been a meadow where deer grazed was now occupied by the Scott family. Late that evening, the war party attacked the house, shooting and killing Archibald Scott. His four children were killed, three of them were tomahawked and had their throats slit as they lay in their beds; the fourth was tomahawked in her mother's arms as Fannie pleaded for the child's life. The Indians then tried to attack the home of the Ball family some distance away but were driven off. The party then returned to the Scott house, stole what property they could carry, burned the house, and kidnapped Fannie. They took her with them through Powell Valley by Big Stone Gap, forcing her to walk endlessly and slapping her with the scalps of her husband and children. Their destination was the Shawnee towns on the Miami River in Ohio.
About eleven days into their journey, Fannie managed to escape from her captors when she was left alone with the oldest man in the group. For days, she wandered in the wilderness, hiding in a hollow log when the party came looking for her. She became lost, she was starving, and she was weak from exhaustion. Still she trudged along, eating berries, cane, bark, and herbs, until she came to the Big Sandy River. She followed the river to a fork and had to decide which way to go; if she took the wrong fork, it would certainly be a fatal decision. She chose the left fork but, as she started up the trail, a bird lit on her shoulder and then flew into the valley of the right fork. A moment later, a second bird did the same thing. Fannie believed these birds were the spirits of her murdered children so she turned around and took the right fork. Two days later, on August 11, she reached the settlement at New Garden in present-day Russell County. Newspapers as far away as Philadelphia told of her ordeal.
Sources: "Benge!" by Lawrence J. Fleenor, Jr. and Virginia historical marker K-5