Monday, December 31, 2007

The Backcountry & the Scots-Irish

From The 1780 Presbyterian Rebellion and the Battle of Huck's Defeat, by Sam Thomas, Curator of History, Culture & Heritage Commission of York County:

    In the Backcountry, due to their isolation from the coast, past resentments could be put aside—at least temporarily. When war arrived after 1776, at first the Scotch-Irish were rather lukewarm toward the idea of independence from Great Britain. Here they were content to remain neutral so long as they were left alone. The conflict as most of the Scotch-Irish saw it was between the British Crown and the Charleston aristocrats, whom they resented as much as the British officials and so it did not involve them. But the problems between the Backcountry and the Crown finally boiled to the surface in 1780 as "The Presbyterian Rebellion." In 1778 an unknown Hessian officer recorded his observations on the war. "Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American Rebellion: it is nothing more or less than a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian Rebellion." George Washington also remarked on the contribution to the war effort with a tribute to the Scotch-Irish from his headquarters at Valley Forge when he declared, "If defeated everywhere else, I will make my last stand for liberty among the Scotch-Irish . . ." It is this Backcountry Rebellion which is so closely identified with the battles of Kings Mountain, Cowpens, Hanging Rock, and Huck's Defeat.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Scotland to Ireland, the First Migrations

The migration of Protestant Scots to Ulster, Dublin, and other parts of Ireland, occurred mainly during the 17th and 18th centuries. The first major influx of Scots into Ulster came during the settlement of east Down. This started in May 1606 and was followed in 1610 by the arrival of many more Scots as part of the Plantation of Ulster. During the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Irish Catholics attempted to expel the settlers, resulting in inter-communal violence and, ultimately, leading to the death of between 10,000 and 20,000 settlers and an undetermined number of Irish people, over 10 years of war. The memory of this traumatic episode, and the savage repression which followed, poisoned the relationship between the Scottish and English settlers and Irish Roman Catholics, almost irreparably.
The Scots-Irish population in Ulster was further augmented during the subsequent Irish Confederate Wars, when a Scottish Covenanter army was landed in the province to protect the settlers from Irish Catholic forces. After the Wars were over, many of the soldiers settled permanently in Ulster.
Finally, another major influx of Scots into northern Ireland occurred in the 1690s, when tens of thousands of people fled a famine in Scotland to come to Ulster.
The settlers and their descendants, the majority of whom were Presbyterian or Anglican, became the majority in the province of Ulster. However, along with Roman Catholics, Presbyterians and other non-Anglican Protestants were legally disenfranchised by the Penal Laws, which gave full rights only to Anglicans, who were mainly the descendants of English settlers belonging to the Church of Ireland. For this reason, up until the 19th century, and despite their common fear of the dispossessed Catholics, there was considerable disharmony between the Presbyterian and Anglican populations of Ulster. Subsequently, in 1798, many Ulster-Scots joined the United Irishmen and participated in the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

(Source: Wikipedia,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More re: Ephraim McDowell

From Historic Families of Kentucky, by Thomas Marshall Green, pub. 1889, R. Clarke:

    Ephraim McDowell, who fought at Boyne river, as well as at Londonderry, was already an elderly man, when, with his two sons, John and James, his daughters, Mary and Margaret, and numerous kinsmen and co-religionists, he emigrated to America to build for himself and his a new home. In his interesting "Sketches of Virginia," [William] Foote states that he was accompanied to Virginia by his wife, and that his son John was a widower when he left Ireland; but, as in the deposition of Mrs. Mary E. Greenlee, the daughter of Ephraim, her father, her brother John, her husband, and herself, are designated as composing the party emigrating to Virginia from Pennsylvania, and no mention is anywhere made of her mother, Mr. Foote is probably in error; and the uniform tradition of the family is more likely to be correct—that the wife of Ephraim McDowell died in Ireland, and that John McDowell had never been married until he came to America. The exact date of his arrival in Pennsylvania is not known. The journal of Charles Clinton—the founder of the historic family of that name in New York—gives an account of his voyage from the county of Longford, in the good ship "George and Ann," in company with the "John of Dublin," having many McDowells aboard as his fellow passengers. The "George and Ann" set sail on the 9th of May, 1729. On the 8th of June, a child of James McDowell died, and was thrown overboard; several other children of the same afterward died; also a John McDowell, and the sister, brother and wife of Andrew McDowell. The ship reached land, on the coast of Pennsylvania, on the 4th day of September, 1729. Whether or not the conjecture that Ephraim McDowell was a passenger with his kindred on board this ship at that time is correct, it is certain that about the same time he and his family, and numerous other McDowells, Irvines, Campbells, McElroys, and Mitchells, came over together, and settled in the same Pennsylvania county.
    In Pennsylvania, Ephraim McDowell remained several years. There his son, John, was married to Magdalena Wood, whose mother was a Campbell, and, as tradition has it, of the noble family of Argyle. There Samuel, the eldest son of John and Magdalena McDowell, was born, in 1735. There, too, probably, Mary, the daughter of Ephraim, met, was beloved by, and married James Greenlee, a Presbyterian Irishman, of English descent, and said to have been remotely descended from the Argyle Campbells.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Moores & the Shawnee (Part 2)

From History of the Settlement and Indian Wars of Tazewell County, Virginia, by George W. L. Bickley, M.D., pub. 1852, Morgan & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio:

    In July, 1786, a party of forty-seven Indians, of the Shawanoes tribe, again entered Abb's Valley, Capt. James Moore usually kept five or six loaded guns in his house, which was a strong log building, and hoped, by the assistance of his wife, who was very active in loading a gun, together with Simpson, a man who lived with him, to be able to repel the attack of any small party of Indians. Relying on his prowess, he had not sought refuge in a fort, as many of the settlers had; a fact of which the Indians seem to have been aware, from their cutting out the tongues of his horses and cattle, and partially skinning them. It seems they were afraid to attack him openly, and sought rather to drive him to the fort, that they might sack his house.On the morning of the attack, Capt. Moore, who had previously distinguished himself at Alamance, was at a lick bog, a short distance from his house, salting his horses, of which he had many. William Clark and an Irishman were reaping wheat in front of the house. Mrs. Moore and the family were engaged in the ordinary business of housework. A man, named Simpson, was sick up-stairs.
    The two men, who were in the field, at work, saw the Indians coming, in full speed, down the hill, toward Captain Moore's, who had ere this discovered them, and started in a run for the house. He was, however, shot through the body, and died immediately. Two of his children, William and Rebecca, who were returning from the spring, were killed about the same time. The Indians had now approached near the house, and were met by two fierce dogs, which fought manfully to protect the family of their master. After a severe contest, the fiercest one was killed, and the other subdued. I shall again use Mr. Brown's narrative, it being quite authentic.
    "The two men who were reaping, hearing the alarm, and seeing the house surrounded, fled, and alarmed the settlement. At that time, the nearest family was distant six miles. As soon as the alarm was given, Mrs. Moore and Martha Ivins (who was living in the family) barred the door, but this was of no avail. There was no man in the house, at this time, except John Simpson, the old Englishman, already alluded to, and he was in the loft, sick and in bed. There were five or six guns in the house, but having been shot off the evening before, they were then empty. It was intended to have loaded them after breakfast. Martha Ivins took two of them and went upstairs where Simpson was, and handing them to him, told him to shoot. He looked up, but had been shot in the head through a crack, and was then near his end. The Indians then proceeded to cut down the door, which they soon effected. During this time, Martha Ivins went to the far end of the house, lifted up a loose plank, and went under the floor, and requested Polly Moore (then eight years of age) who had the youngest child, called Margaret, in her arms (which was crying), to set the child down, and come under. Polly looked at the child, clasped it to her breast, and determined to share its fate. The Indians, having broken into the house, took Mrs. Moore and her children, viz: John, Jane, Polly, and Peggy prisoners, and having taken everything that suited them, they set it and the other buildings on fire, and went away. Martha Evans remained under the floor a short time, and then came out and hid herself under a log that lay across a branch, not far from the house. The Indians, having tarried a short time, with a view of catching horses, one of them walked across this log, sat down on the end of it, and began to fix his gunlock. Miss Ivins, supposing that she was discovered, and that he was preparing to shoot her, came out and gave herself up. At this he seemed much pleased. They then set out for their towns. Perceiving that John Moore was a boy, weak in body and mind, and unable to travel, they killed him the first day. The babe they took two or three days, but it being fretful, on account of a wound it had received, they dashed its brains out against a tree. They then moved on with haste to their towns. For some time, it was usual to tie, very securely, each of the prisoners at night, and for a warrior to lie beside each of them, with tomahawk in hand, so that in case of pursuit, the prisoners might be speedily dispatched.
    "Shortly after they reached the towns, Mrs. Moore and her daughter Jane were put to death, being burned and tortured at the stake. This lasted some time, during which she manifested the utmost Christian fortitude, and bore it without a murmur, at intervals conversing with her daughter Polly, and Martha Ivins, and expressing great anxiety for the moment to arrive, when her soul should wing its way to the bosom of its Savior. At length an old squaw, more humane than the rest, dispatched her with a tomahawk."
    Polly Moore and Martha Evans eventually reached home, as described in the narrative of James Moore. ...
    It is said that Mrs. Moore had her body stuck full of lightwood splinters which were fired, and she was thus tortured three days, before she died.

The Moores & the Shawnee (Part 1)

From "Indian Tragedies of the Walker Family," by Emory L. Hamilton, Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, 1974:

    In July 1784 the depredations by Indians began on the family of Captain James Moore when his fourteen year old son James Moore was captured by the Shawnee Black Wolf, his son, and another Indian, when he went to a field to get a horse to ride to the mill. He was carried to the Shawnee towns in Ohio and did not return until September, 1789. The only source I know for details of this capture is Pendleton's History of Tazewell County, and Pendleton lifted much of his material from Bickley's History of Tazewell, published about 1853. Pendleton states:
         "In 1785 he was so fortunate as to get away from the Indians, and several years after his return related the following incidents in connection with his captivity:
    'When we returned from hunting in the spring, the old man (Indian) gave me up to Captain Elliott, a trader from Detroit. But my mistress, Black Wolf's sister, on hearing this became very angry, threatened Elliott, and got me back. Sometime in April (1785) there was a dance at a town about two miles from where I resided. This I attended in company with the Indian to whom I belonged. Meeting with a French Trader from Detroit, by the name of Batest (Baptiste?) Ariome, who took a fancy to me on account of my resemblance to one of his sons, he bought me for fifty dollars in Indian money. Before leaving the dance, I met a Mr. Sherlock, a trader from Kentucky, who had formerly been a prisoner with the same tribe of Indians, who had rescued a lad by the name of Moffett (Captain Robert Moffett had two sons taken by the Indians from a Sugar Camp on the Clinch in 1782, and at the time James Moore refers to him, he was living in Jessamine County, Kentucky, having moved from the Clinch about 1783 or 84 in the same caravan that Mrs. Samuel Scott traveled with.) who had been captured at the head of Clinch, and whose father was a particular and intimate friend of my father. I requested Mr. Sherlock to write my father, through Mr. Moffett, informing him of my captivity, and that I had been purchased by a French Trader and was gone to Detroit. This letter, I have reason to believe, father received, and that it gave him the first information of what had become of me....'It was on one of these trading expeditions (with Mr. Ariome) that I first heard of the destruction of my family. This I learned from a Shawnee Indian with whom I became acquainted when I lived with them, and who was of that party on that occasion. I received the information sometime in the summer after it occurred.
    'In the following winter (1786-87) I learned that my sister, Polly, had been purchased by a Mr. Stagwell, an American by birth, but unfriendly to the American cause. He was a man of bad character - an unfeeling wretch and treated my sister with great unkindness. At the time he resided a great distance from me. When I heard of my sister, I immediately prepared to go and see her; but it was then in the dead of Winter, and the journey would have been attended with great difficulties. On being told by Mr. Stagwell that he intended to move to the neighborhood where I resided in the following spring, I declined it. When I heard that Mr. Stagwell had moved, as was contemplated, I immediately went to see her. I found her in the most abject condition, almost naked, being clothed only by a few dirty and tattered rags, exhibiting to my mind, an object of pity indeed. It is impossible to describe my feeling on the occasion; sorrow and joy were both combined; and I have no doubt the feelings of my sister were similar to my own. On being advised, I applied to the Commanding Officer at Detroit, informing him of her treatment, with the hope of effecting her release. I went to Mr. Simon Girty and to Colonel McKee, the Superintendent of the Indians, who had Mr. Stagwell brought to trial to answer the complaint against him. But I failed to procure her release. It was decided, however when an opportunity should occur for our returning to our friends, she should be released without renumeration. This was punctually performed on application of Mr. Thomas Evans, who had come in search of his sister, Martha, who had been purchased from the Indians by a family in the neighborhood, and was, at the time, with a Mr. Donaldson, a worthy and wealthy English farmer, and working for herself. ...'"
    On July 21, 1786, Walter Crockett, County Lieutenant of Montgomery County, Virginia, wrote to Governor Patrick Henry, stating:
         "I am sorry to inform your Excellency that on the 14th instant, a party of Indians supposed to be about 40 or 50 in number, came to the house of Captain James Moore on Bluestone, in this county, and killed himself, and his whole family, eleven in number, and carried off his whole stock, which was very valuable. They likewise burned the house and fencing, and left several war clubs and arrows and to all appearances are for continuing hostilities."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Gone to Carolina"

It is probable that some families left Virginia due to increasing conflict between settlers and Indians. In 1755 attacks by the Shawnee along the frontier increased significantly. In October 1755 Colonel Adam Stephen, one of George Washington's officers, wrote from Winchester, Virginia that the Indians "... go about and Commit their Outrages at all hours of the Day and nothing is to be seen or heard of, but Desolation and murder heightened with all Barbarous Circumstances and unheard of Instances of Cruelty.... The Smoke of the Burning Plantations darken the day, and hide the neighboring mountains from our sight...".
These events were part of the struggle now known as the French and Indian War. During this struggle England and France strove for control of the lands west of the Alleghenies between New Orleans and Quebec. In order to forestall French intent, Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia sent a military expedition under General Edward Braddock to the Valley of the Ohio. Braddock and his men, however, were ambushed as they moved into the Ohio Valley; Braddock was killed, and only a few of his men (including George Washington) survived to make their way back to Virginia. This defeat left frontier settlements in the Shenandoah Valley virtually defenseless, and set off a panic among settlers. Many of the settlers fled to North Carolina at this time. County records of this period frequently identify settlers with the phrase "gone to Carolina."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Road to the Catawba River Valley

From Partisans and Redcoats, by Walter Edgar, © 2001, HarperCollins Publishers:

    In 1740 there were very few Europeans in the South Carolina backcountry. By the American Revolution, nearly one-half of the colony's total population, and 80 percent of its white population, lived there.
    The migration of predominantly Scots-Irish settlers transformed the lower South and, in the final analysis, was key to America's triumph over Great Britain in the Revolution. The Great Wagon Road that served as the settlers' highway began across the Schuylkill River from Philadelphia. From the Pennsylvania capital it went west to Harrisburg and then turned south, following the great Shenandoah Valley through Maryland and Virginia into the piedmont of North Carolina. The road veered slightly southeastward to the Moravian settlements at Wachovia, and then almost due south to the South Carolina town of Pine Tree Hill (Camden).
    The Great Wagon Road traversed the Catawba River Valley from north to south en route from Wachovia to Pine Tree Hill. The Catawba River, arising in North Carolina and continuing into South Carolina, was a slow moving, muddy river. Its valley was broad and fertile. Because of its lushness and accessibility, it was the site of some of the first backcountry settlements in South Carolina. The Waxhaws, one of the largest backcountry settlements, was situated in the Catawba River Valley. In 1769 John Stuart, who was royal superintendent of Indian affairs for the Southern District, wrote that "near the Boundary, that Country is full of inhabitants, which in my memory was considered by the Indians as their hunting Ground, such is their rage for settling far back."

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lowlanders, Celts & Beginnings of the Troubles

From The Road to Guilford Courthouse, by John Buchanan, ©1997, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 120-121:

    There are Celtic myth enthusiasts who believe the Scotch Irish were Celts, have peopled with Highlanders whole American landscapes where there were none, imagined bagpipes on American battlefields that never echoed their wails, conjured a Celtic culture for an entire American region where it never existed. But the Scotch Irish were not Celts by either blood or culture. Their ancestors were Lowland Scots, inhabitants of a poor, backward, violent land. The difference between the Lowland Scots and the more famous Highland Scots should be established immediately. All that Lowlanders and Highlanders had in common, besides wretched poverty, was a political line on the map separating Scotland and England, and their incompatibility survived the Act of Union (1707) of the two kingdoms well into the nineteenth century. They might have lived in very different countries, for they were very dissimilar people and they hated each other.
    The hardening split between Highlanders and Lowlanders had developed at least by the late fourteenth century and was rendered more intransigent by deep ethnic and cultural differences. ... To these differences was added after the Protestant Reformation the profound distinction between Protestant Lowlanders and largely Catholic Highlanders in an age of fierce religious conflicts.
    In the early seventeenth century, in a continuation of an effort England had begun five centuries before to subdue Ireland, James I of England, who was also James VI of Scotland, confiscated the Ulster lands of the Irish aristocracy and created the Plantation of Ulster. On it were settled Scottish Lowlanders and English farmers and Londoners, Protestants all. Earlier settlements under private initiative were also composed of Scottish and English Protestants. James also hoped that flooding the land with Lowland Scots and English would prevent joint actions by Irish Celts and Scottish Highland Celts. Thus were the seeds planted for the terrible "troubles" we have witnessed on our television sets for the past decades.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Mary McDowell Greenlee, re: "Borden's tract"

From Annals of Augusta County by Joseph Addison Waddell, pub. 1902,
C.R. Caldwell, page 31:

    Borden's tract was South of Beverley's Manor, and in the present county of Rockbridge. The first settlers on the tract were Ephraim McDowell and his family. His daughter, Mary Greenlee, related in a deposition taken in 1806 [at age 94], and still extant, the circumstances under which her father went there. Her brother, James McDowell, had come into Beverley's Manor during the spring of 1737, and planted a crop of corn, near Woods' Gap; and in the fall her father, her brother John, and her husband [James Greenlee] and herself came to occupy the settlement. Before they reached their destination, and after they had arranged their camp on a certain evening at Linnville Creek, (now Rockingham,) [Benjamin] Borden arrived and asked permission to spend the night with them, being doubtless on his way to his tract from his home in the lower Valley. He informed them of his grant, and offered them inducements to go there. The next day they came on to the house of John Lewis, and there it was finally arranged that the party should settle in Borden's tract. Ephraim McDowell was then a very aged man, and lived to be over one hundred years old. When a youth of 16 he was one of the defenders of Londonderry. He and his family located on Timber Ridge, originally called "Timber Grove," being attracted by the forest trees on the ridge, which were scarce elsewhere in the region. Borden offered a tract of one hundred acres to any one who should build a cabin on it, with the privilege of purchasing more at fifty shillings per hundred acres. Each cabin secured to him one thousand acres. Mrs. Mary Greenlee related in her deposition, referred to, that an Irish girl, named Peggy Millhollan, a servant of James Bell, dressed herself in men's clothes and secured five or six cabin rights. John Patterson, who was employed to count the cabins, was surprised to find so many people named Millhollan, but the trick was not discovered till after the return was made. Among the settlers in "Borden's grant" were William McCausland, William Sawyers, Robert Campbell, Samuel Woods, John Mathews (father of Sampson and George), Richard Woods, John Hays and his son, Charles and Samuel Walker. Borden obtained his patent November 8, 1739.*
    *[Benjamin Borden, Sr] died in the latter part of 1743, in Frederick, leaving three sons, Benjamin, John and Joseph, and several daughters. The next spring his son Benjamin appeared in Rockbridge (as it is now) with authority under his father's will to adjust all matters with the settlers on the grant. He had, however, been in the settlement before his father's death.
    Mrs. Greenlee says Benjamin Borden, Jr., was "altogether illiterate," and did not make a good impression on his first arrival, but he proved to be an upright man, and won the confidence of the people. The saying: "As good as Ben. Burden's bill," passed into a proverb. He married Mrs. Magdalene McDowell, (originally a Miss Woods, of Rock fish), widow of John McDowell, who was killed by Indians in December, 1742, and by her had two daughters, Martha and Hannah. The former became the wife of Robert Harvey, the latter never married. Benjamin Borden, Jr., died of small-pox in 1753. His will was admitted to record by the County Court of Augusta, November 21, 1758. The executors appointed were John Lyle, Archibald Alexander and testator's wife, but the first named declined to serve. His personal estate was large for the time. During her second widowhood Mrs. Magdalene Borden contracted a third marriage with Colonel John Bowyer.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Scotch-Irish Blood in America"

From History of the McDowells and Connections, by John Hugh McDowell, pub. 1918, C. B. Johnston, page 45:

    Courage and Thrift of Ancient Clans Infused Into American
    Character—Recent Investigations Which Grace a
    Revolutionary Lineage Back to 373 A. D.

    The Scotch-Irish blood in America has been a strong influence in the molding of our national character. In Virginia, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky, and along the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, the firmness, the courage and thrift and love of liberty of the ancient clans have been engrafted into American character for many generations. Recent investigations in Scotland and Ireland plainly show that among the founders of the American Republic were sons of the strongest strains of blood in the world.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quaker Meadows & Pleasant Gardens

The McDowell House at Quaker Meadows Plantation,
built in 1812 by Captain Charles McDowell, Jr
near Morganton, Burke County, North Carolina
From History of the McDowells and Connections, by John Hugh McDowell, pub. 1918, C. B. Johnston:

"According to tradition, the Quaker Meadows farm was so-called long before the McDowells or any other whites established homes in Burke County, and derived its name from the fact that the Indians, after clearing part of the broad and fertile bottoms, had suffered the wild grasses to spring up and form a large meadow, near which a Quaker had camped before the French-Indian war and traded for furs. On the 19th of November, 1752, Bishop [August Gottlieb] Spangenburg recorded in his diary (Vol. V. Colonial Record, page 6) that he was in camp near Quaker Meadows, and that he was "in the forest fifty miles from all settlements." The Bishop described the lowlands of Johns River as the richest he had seen anywhere in Carolina. But, after surveying the large area, he abandoned the idea of taking title for it from Lord Granville, because the Indian War began in 1753, the next year, and lasted nominally seven years, though it was unsafe to venture west of the Catawba until after 1763, and few incurred the risk of doing so before 1770. 'Hunting John' McDowell first entered 'Swan Pond,' about three miles above Quaker Meadows, but sold that place without occupying it, to Colonel Waightstill Avery, and established his home where his son Joseph [of Pleasant Gardens] and grandson James [Moffett McDowell] afterwards lived, and where, still later, Adolphus Erwin [brother-in-law of James] lived for years before his death. His home is three miles north of Marion on the road leading to Bakersville and Burnsville. The name of Pleasant Gardens was afterwards applied not only to this home, but to the place where Col. John Carson* lived high up the Catawba Valley, at the mouth of Buck Creek."

*John Carson (1752-1841) first married Rachel Matilda McDowell (1756-1795), "Hunting John" McDowell's eldest daughter and older sister of Joseph McDowell (1758-1795), of Pleasant Gardens. In 1797, widower John Carson married Joseph "P.G." McDowell's widow Mary Moffett McDowell (1768-1825).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ninety Six, South Carolina

From The Road to Guilford Courthouse, by John Buchanan, ©1997, John Wiley & Sons, page 140:

    Ninety Six was a fortified village more important than hundreds of far larger American towns today, second only to Camden as a Back Country outpost. It got its name because it was thought to be ninety-six miles from the Cherokee town of Keowee in the southwestern corner of South Carolina. It was described a few years later in the diary of the northern Tory, Lieutenant Anthony Allaire, as containing "about twelve dwelling houses, a courthouse, and a jail . . . situated on an eminence, the land cleared for a mile around it, in a flourishing part of the country, supplied with good water, enjoys a free, open air, and is esteemed a healthy place." Ninety Six began in the 1730s as an Indian trading post on the Charleston Path, the route from Indian country to the coast, along which moved furs and millions of deerskins. When the Rice Kings, aroused by actual and threatened force, finally deigned in the late 1760s to provide the Back Country with judicial districts, the first courthouse was established at Ninety Six.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

York County Gets A Toehold

The colony of South Carolina was founded in 1670, and was divided into three counties 12 years later. Craven County, which roughly encompassed the northern half of South Carolina, included the southern half of present-day York County, while the top portion of present-day York County was considered part of North Carolina.
Before the boundary between the two Carolinas was fixed in 1772, the northern portion of York County was originally part of Bladen County, North Carolina. In 1750 it was included in the newly created Anson County, North Carolina; the first land grants and deeds for the region were issued in Anson County.
In 1762 Mecklenburg County, North Carolina was formed from western Anson County, and included present-day northern York County. Five years later the area became part of Tryon County, which comprised all of North Carolina west of the Catawba River and south of Rowan County. The area would remain a part of Tryon County until 1772, when the boundary between North and South Carolina was finally established.
After its transfer to South Carolina in 1772, much of the area was known as the New Acquisition. In 1785, York County was one of the original counties in the newly created South Carolina, and its boundaries remained unchanged until 1897, when a small portion of the northwestern corner was ceded to the newly-formed Cherokee County.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Carolina Counties

  • 1712: Archdale Precinct (created 1709) of Bath County was renamed Craven Precinct.
  • 1729: New Hanover Precinct of Bath County was formed from Craven Precinct. (It was named for the House of Hanover, which was then ruling Great Britain.)
  • 1734: Bladen and Onslow Precincts were formed from New Hanover.
  • 1739: With the abolition of Bath County in 1739, all of its constituent precincts became "Counties".
  • 1750: Anson County, NC was formed from Bladen County.
  • 1753: Rowan County, NC was formed from the northern part of Anson County.
  • 1762: Mecklenburg County, NC was formed from the western part of Anson County.
  • 1764: Brunswick County was created from New Hanover and Bladen Counties. Brunswick later gave up some of its lands for Columbus County in 1808.
  • 1768-1779: Tryon County, NC existed for only 11 years (1768-1779). The area it covered was one of the first inland population centers in America, located west of the Catawba River and covering parts of present day North and South Carolina. Tryon County had been formed from Mecklenburg County in 1768, and abolished* in 1779 to form Rutherford and Lincoln counties. From its formation until the Carolina border survey of 1772, Tryon County included all or portions of the South Carolina counties of York, Chester, Union, Spartanburg, and Cherokee counties. This is why Mecklenburg County, NC records contain land grants that are physically in South Carolina.
  • 1777: Burke County, NC was formed from Rowan County.
  • 1779: Rutherford County, NC came into existence in 14 April 1779 during the American Revolution. Prior to 1779, Rutherford County was part of Tryon County.
  • 1785: York County was one of the original counties in the newly created South Carolina.
  • 1842: McDowell County, NC was formed from parts of Burke and Rutherford Counties.

    *Tryon County had been named for North Carolina's oppressive British governor.
  • Charles Woodmason & the Backcountry Presbyterians

    Charles Woodmason, an Anglican itinerant minister, was sent into the Carolina backcountry as a missionary in the 1760s. He stated that the congregation in the Waxhaws was "most surprisingly thick settled beyond any Spot in England . . . Seldom less than 9, 10, 1200 People assemble of a Sunday." With populations centered around the meetinghouses, the churches quickly became religious and social centers in the back country Scots-Irish stronghold.
    The Anglican Church, official church of the Carolina colonies, began taking notice of the ever increasing population of Presbyterians in the back country. In an effort to convert them to the "correct religion," a number of Anglican ministers were sent into the area. Charles Woodmason was one of these, and he recorded his observations and judgments of the backcountry residents. The majority of Woodmason's criticism was, as you might expect, reserved primarily for the Presbyterians, whom he referred to as those ". . . Ignorant, mean, worthless, beggarly Irish Presbyterians, the Scum of the Earth, and Refuse of Mankind." Woodmason also made mention of arriving at a Presbyterian meetinghouse which "had a large Congragation [sic] - but according to Custom, one half of them got drunk before they went home" that evening from the service.
    The Presbyterians apparently did not think much of Woodmason either. On one occasion, Woodmason was attempting to deliver a sermon to an assembled group, "But the Service was greatly interrupted by a Gang of Presbyterians who kept halooing and whooping without [the] Door like Indians." On another occasion "they hir'd a Band of rude fellows to come to Service who brought with them 57 Dogs (for I counted them) which in Time of Service they set fighting, and I was obliged to stop." When everything had quieted down, Woodmason tried to continue, and again the service was interrupted. He further explained his situation in not seeking charges against this band of ruffians "as all the Magistrates are Presbyterians, [and] I could not get a Warrant—if I got Warrants as the Constables are Presbyterians likewise, I could not get them serv'd—If serv'd, the Guard would let them escape."

    (Source: Charles Woodmason, (Richard Hooker, ed.), The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution: The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1953)

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    The Great Georgia Gold Rush

    White County, Georgia, was created in 1857 from part of the original land lot county of Habersham, which was created in 1818 from Indian treaty lands. In early times, the area of White County formed a transitional boundary between the Cherokee and Creek Indian nations. Gold was found there in the late 1820s along the Nacoochee River (then known as Duke's Creek) touching off the Great Gold Rush of that century. During the gold mining years, nine gold mines operated in what became White County, and operations remained profitable until as late as 1940.
    Two parties of sixty-one families emigrated to the Nacoochee Valley in the early part of 1822. These two parties came from Burke County, North Carolina, and rapidly spread over the entire county.
    History records of Habersham County indicate that "Alexander Erwin, a North Carolinian, son of a man who as a mere boy fought at the battle of Kings Mountain, came to the county in 1829. He, with Gen. B. F. Patton, a brother-in-law of Dr. George Phillips, put up a store for the purpose of trading with the Indians. Their place of business was the old O'Callaghan building on the site of the present Court House. Too old for service when the War Between the States broke out, he kept the post office and helped to look after the affairs of the town, but he sent three gallant sons, Capt. W. S. Erwin, J. B. Erwin and Capt., afterwards Judge, Alex S. Erwin."

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    John Lewis, First Settler of Augusta County

    From History of Augusta County, Virginia, by John Lewis Peyton, pub. 1882, Samuel M. Yost & Son:

      Among those whose attention was now directed to our Valley was John Lewis, who had been for some time in Pennsylvania, quietly awaiting the arrival from Europe of his wife and children. This remarkable man was born in the north of Ireland, descended from a French-Protestant family, and was educated in Scotland. In Ulster, where he resided until fifty years of age, he commanded the confidence, respect and esteem of the people, and occupied that position of influence, and took that leading part in society and county affairs, which had been traditionally the role of the O'Donnells, Chichesters and O'Doghertys. In youth he was of impetuous temper, but the varied experience of an active life had taught him to control his spirit. He was endowed with a high order of intellect, a valorous soul, and soon became noted for his virtuous principles. A deplorable affair, but one alike honorable to his spirit and manhood, terminated his career in Ireland. He had been sometime in America, when, in 1732, Joist Hite and a party of pioneers set out to settle upon a grant of forty thousand acres of land in the [Shenandoah] Valley, which had been obtained, in 1730, by Isaac Vanmeter and his brother, by warrant from the Governor of Virginia. Lewis joined this party, came to the Valley, and was the first white settler of Augusta....John Lewis' settlement was a few miles below the site of the town of Staunton, on the banks of the stream which still bears his name. It may be proper to remark here, that when the circumstances of the affray [in Ireland] became known, after due investigation, a pardon was granted to John Lewis, and patents are still extant, by which his Majesty granted to him a large portion of the fair domain of Western Virginia.
      For many years after the settlement of Fort Lewis, great amity and good will existed between the neighboring Indians and the white settlers, whose numbers increased apace, until they became quite a formidable colony.

    Friday, November 9, 2007

    The Warriors Path becomes The Great Wagon Road

    In the 18th-century migrations, few trails in America were more important than the Indian route which ran east of the Appalachians from Pennsylvania to Georgia. This Ancient Warriors Path had long been used by Iroquois tribesmen of the north to travel south and trade or make war in Virginia and the Carolinas. By a series of treaties with the powerful Five Nations of the Iroquois, the English acquired use of the Warriors Path. After 1744 they took over the land itself. The growth of the route into the principal highway of the colonial backcountry was important in the development of the nation. Over this road came English, Scots-Irish, and German settlers to claim land. The Warriors Path led from the Iroquois Confederacy around the Great Lakes through what later became Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Bethlehem, York, and Gettysburg, into western Maryland around what is now Hagerstown, across the Potomac River at Evan Watkins Ferry, following the narrow path across the "back country" (or "up country" or "Piedmont") to Winchester, Virginia, through the Shenandoah Valley, to Harrisburg, Staunton, Lexington, and Roanoke, to Salem, North Carolina, to Salisbury, where it was joined by the east–west Catawba and Cherokee Trading Path at the Trading Ford across the Yadkin River in Rowan County, to Charlotte, then to Rock Hill, South Carolina, where it branches into two routes to Augusta and Savannah, Georgia.

    (Source: The Scots-Irish From Ulster and The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road, by Brenda E. McPherson Compton,

    Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    Raloo Parish, County Antrim

    Raloo Parish, County Antrim, Ulster, Northern Ireland
    From The Irvines and Their Kin by Lucinda Boyd, Chicago, Illinois, 1908:
      There is no district in all of Ireland so rich in armorial bearings as the neighborhood of Larne. The churchyards of Carncastle, Glynn, and Raloo [pictured] abound with them. The churchyard of Raloo is over-grown with long grass and weeds, so as to be almost inaccessible. But one may pull aside obstructions and remove lichens from the tall gray tombstones; trace the arms carved upon them, and read the names of the Craigs, McDowells, Crawfords, Boyds, and others.
      There is an old book, more than six hundred years old (I was told), that I found at Fair Hill, near Larne. It had belonged to successive sextons for hundreds of years, from the dates it contained, the last one being 1775, and giving a description of the flag adopted by the American Colonies. It is written in longhand, and has pen-pictures of the Coats of Arms of the Carlisles, Earls of Kilmarnock, McDowells, Irvines, Johnstons, Crawfords, and Blairs, and many others not connected with this history. In the beginning of the book this appears, written in a clerkly hand: "Nobilitatis virtus non stemma"–"Virtue, not pedigree, is the mark of nobility.”

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    Settlers of Burke County, North Carolina

    The MCDOWELLs, BOWMANs, and GREENLEEs came from Virginia to Burke County previous to the Revolution [late 1750]. JOSEPH MCDOWELL's grant on Quaker Meadows was dated 1749. They were all related by marriage or consanguinity. JOSEPH MCDOWELL, SR., was of Scotch descent, and emigrated from North Ireland to America. He was born in 1715, and emigrated with his wife at an early age, having offended his wife's relatives, the proud O'NEALs [O'Neills], the descendants of the ancient Irish kings, by his marriage with their sister, MARGARET O'NEAL. Wheeler, in his History of North Carolina writes as if they (Joseph and his wife Mary) only had two sons, Generals CHARLES and JOSEPH MCDOWELL. On the contrary, there were four: HUGH, CHARLES, JOSEPH, and JOHN MCDOWELL. Charles died the owner of Quaker Meadows; Joseph died the owner of the fine plantation on John's River, where the widow of the late Dr. JOHN MCDOWELL now lives [1894]. Dr. MCDOWELL was grandson of Major JOSEPH MCDOWELL, of Pleasant Gardens, the son of HUNTING JOHN MCDOWELL*, the brother of JOSEPH MCDOWELL, SR.
    HUGH MCDOWELL was the father of MARGARET, who married Capt. JAMES MURPHY, and the only child, JOHN HUGH (MURPHY) was the offspring of this marriage. He married MARGARET STRINGER AVERY, a niece of Col. WAIGHTSTILL AVERY, SR.

    (from biographical sketches written by Col. Thomas George Walton, first published in the Morganton Herald in 1894)

    *"Hunting John" McDowell (b. 1724) was actually the son of Charles McDowell (b. abt 1697), brother of Joseph McDowell (b. 1715), and therefore the nephew of Joseph, Sr.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    John Lewis (1678-1782)

    John Lewis was descended from Huguenots who emigrated from France to Ireland in 1685 (at the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.) He left Ireland in 1729, a fugitive, after his oppressive landlord Charles of Clonmithgairn launched a brutal attack to evict Lewis’ family from premises of which he held a freehold lease. During the attack, Lewis’ wife was wounded and his invalid brother Edward was killed. John Lewis defended his family, slaying the landlord and one of his henchmen in the process.
    In Virginia, shortly after William Beverley received his grant of 118,000+ acres in 1736, a grant of 100,000 acres was made to John Lewis and his associates, under the name of the “Greenbrier Company.” (John Lewis had been occupying previously unsettled land, afterwards granted to Beverley, which in the interim made Lewis a "squatter" after Beverley took possession.) Much of this land was located on the Greenbrier River, a name given to the stream by Col. Lewis. John Lewis, along with his son Thomas, were of the first magistrates of Augusta County, Virginia at the formation of the county in 1738. In 1751, John Lewis and his son Andrew would survey the Greenbrier tract.
    In 1900 Joseph L. Crowder, a Staunton, Virginia citizen, realised that the grave of John Lewis was in a dilapidated state, and the inscription on the monument was even then very hard to read. On 18 November 1900, Mr. Crowder, with great effort, copied this inscription:

    Here Lie the Remains of
    John Lewis
    Who Slew the Irish Lord
    Settled Augusta County,
    Located the City of Staunton
    And furnished five sons to
    Fight the Battles of the
    American Revolution.
    He was the son of
    Andrew Lewis and Mary Calhoun
    Was born in Donegal County
    Ireland 1678 and
    Died February 1, 1762 aged
    84 years.
    He was a brave man
    A true patriot and a Friend of
    Throughout the World.
    “Morta litate Relicta Vivit”

    Friday, October 26, 2007

    The Great Wagon Road

    (click image to enlarge)
    The Great Wagon Road was an early American thoroughfare and the heavily-travelled main route for settlement of the southern states, particularly the backcountry. Beginning in Philadelphia, the Great Wagon Road passed through the towns of Lancaster and York in southeastern Pennsylvania. Turning southwest, the road crossed the Potomac River and entered the Shenandoah Valley at Winchester, Virginia, continuing down the valley via the Great Warrior's Trail. The Shenandoah portion of the road is also known as the Valley Pike. South of the Shenandoah Valley, the road reached the Roanoke River at the town of Big Lick (today Roanoke, Virginia). From there, the road passed through the Roanoke River Gap to the east side of the Blue Ridge, and continued south through the Piedmont region and the present-day North Carolina towns of Winston-Salem, Salisbury, and Charlotte, ultimately reaching Augusta, Georgia on the Savannah River. South of Roanoke, the Great Wagon Road was also called the Carolina Road.

    (Source: Wikipedia)

    The Family vs Magdalen's 3rd Husband

    Robert Harvey and Martha, his wife et als., vs. John Bowyer
    --O. S. 140; N. S. 48--.
    Orators Robert and Martha are children of Magdalen Bowyer of Rockbridge, wife of John.
    Complainants are, viz: Robert Harvey and Martha; David McGavock and Elizabeth; James McDowell of Rockbridge; James McDowell, son of John, said John next friend to his infant children, Polly, Samuel, William, Sarah and John; George Moffett and Sarah, his wife, representatives of Magdalen Bowyer, deceased.
    Samuel McDowell of Jessamine County, Ky., deposes 26th July, 1808: Was son of Magdalen; was Dr. McDowell; moved to Kentucky with his family in 1783. Andrew Reed was Samuel's son-in-law. Martha Harvey was only daughter of Benj. Borden, her sister Hanna having died infant and intestate. Elizabeth McDowell was widow of James McDowell (deceased intestate), son of Magdalen. Martha had been the wife of Benj. Hawkin's, deceased. Benj. Borden, Jr., died April, 1753. Magdalen Bowyer and Mary Greenlee were sisters-in-law. John McClung deposes 7th August, 1809, he was acquainted with Gen. John Bowyer on his arrival in this country, which was about fifty-five years ago. John came as a school teacher, which he followed only a few months, when he married Mrs. Magdalen Borden. Samuel McDowell's wife was sister of deponent. William Patton deposes (same time as above) that in fall coming it will be about 55 years since Genl. John Bowyer came first to this part of the country. Deponent was about 13 years old. Bowyer opened a school which William attended, and in a few weeks Bowyer and Magdalen were married. Bowyer had of property only a horse and saddle and the usual clothes which young men in his station had.

    (Source: Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, Vol. 2, by Lyman Chalkley, originally pub. Mary S. Lockwood, 1912; "Circuit Court Records, Section 'I'; Circuit Court Judgments and Causes Ended. These notes are extracted from the records of the District Court, the Circuit Superior Court, the Circuit Court, and all papers belonging to the records of the present Circuit Court. The references are to the bundles of original papers and style of suit or to the number of the order or record book in which the original papers will be found.")

    Benjamin Borden's Agents & Settlers

    When Benjamin Borden came to Augusta he made different men his agents and lodged at their houses using the houses as places to see persons wanting land. Aside from John McDowell with whom he first met he had John Patterson, through whom he sold many tracts of land. McDowell first made entries of one hundred acres each for James Bell, Alexander Breckenridge, George, James, Robert and Adam Breckenridge, John Moore, Quentin Moore, John Walters, William McCanless, Robert Poage, Seth Poage, Daniel McAnaire and John Gwinn, the land to be given them if they would build and improve on it by the next April. This agreement was dated Feb. 21, 1738-39. The settlers got no deeds and brought suit against Borden's executor for titles. Benjamin Borden, Jr. charged in answer that James Bell caused a servant wench of his to be dressed in man's clothes and made an entry in her name as a man, and also caused another woman, the wife of William McCanless, to appear in her proper person on a different part of the land as the wife of another settler and thereby obtained another entry.
    Among other purchasers were David Moore, Isaac Anderson, Andrew Moore, William Evans, John Downing, William Sawyers, John Paul, Robert Campbell, Samuel Wood, John Mathews, John Edmiston, Richard Woods, John Hays, Charles Hays, Samuel Walker, John McCraskey. Alexander Miller was the first Blacksmith and John Hays the first owner of a mill. James Greenlee came in 1737.

    (Sourced verbatim from Kegley's Virginia Frontier: The Beginning of the Southwest : the Roanoke of Colonial Days, 1740-1783, by Frederick Bittle Kegley, The Stone Press. Roanoke, VA. 1938)

    Andrew Jackson, Brave Boy of the Waxhaws

    (click image to enlarge)
    Caption reads: Andrew Jackson, the Seventh President of the United States, in 1780 when a boy of 13 enlisted in the cause of his country, and was taken prisoner by the British. When ordered by an officer to clean his boots, he indignantly refused, and received a sword cut for his temerity.

    Thursday, October 25, 2007

    Judge McCue to Lyman Draper,
    re: Daniel Boone & the McDowells

    Staunton, July 23d/83

    Hon. Lyman C. Draper,

    My Dear Sir,

    I was engaged in the midst of an important criminal case as counsel for the defense when yr letter of the 7th inst. came to hand which occupied me about twelve days. This will account for my not replying to your letter at an earlier date. I am descended from Henry Miller of the Iron Works– the first established west of the Blue Ridge--& second I suppose to that of G__ Spottswood in America. I know little of the Miller, Boone & Winter families. My mothers maiden name was Hannah Winters Moffett, daughter of James McDowell Moffett, who was the son of Col. Geo. Moffett of Indian warfare & revolutionary memory –and Sarah or Mary Marg McDowell daughter of Jno. & Magdalen McDowell– Jno. The son of Ephraim McDowell. Magdalene his John’s wife was a Woods. Jno McDowell my great great grandfather was killed by the Indians near Balcony Falls in Rockbridge Co.
    I know that Col D. Boone was related to my maternal ancestor – the grandfather of my mother– Henry Miller –founder of Millers Iron Works on Mossy Creek in the southwestern part of Augusta Co. He accumulated a vast fortune in lands & left descendants innumerable. Henry Miller was the founder of many great families as I have been told--& know, that all or nearly all have held respectable positions in society. Henry of the Iron Works died at his residence, a splendid hewn stone mansion on his furnace property –when about 37 years of age. The late Jno Howe Peyton –that great lawyer father of J. Lewis Peyton said of him –he had brains enough to fill the Office of
    President of the United States.
    I know that Miller of the I Works & Dan’l Boon were related and visited this Co. trading with the Indians--& were fast friends. How related I know not. I have written to several persons in reference to the subjects of yr letter, who are believed to be better informed than any others, and so soon as I hear from them – you shall hear from me.
    Have you seen Hale’s pamphlet on Boon? If not, will loan you the only copy I have –sent me by the authors. Mr. Hale is of Charleston Kanawha Co. Va. His given name I do not recall. ___by postal whether or not you have the pamphlet. Maj J.M. McCue, my first cousin, knows more of Dan’l Boon & Miller than any man living– also of the Winter family. Write to him my care Staunton Va. A letter from you will bring out his knowledge. To me he says “Oh– Mr. Draper knows all I
    do.” He is very much engage in historic research just now in another line.
    I trust yr History of King’s Mountain will do justice to my kindred, the North Carolina McDowells whose names do not appear on the monument. Are you not related to or connected with the McDowell’s in some way. Let me know & how.
    Court day & no time to read over for correction.

    Most truly,
    Yr fnd & obt servt

    Jno H McCue

    [note in margin]
    Thanks for Wisconsin Collection. JH McCue

    (J.H. McCue to Lyman C. Draper, July 23, 1883; Draper Manuscripts, 20C63; transcribed from microfilm copy of the original document from the Draper Manuscripts Collection of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; spelling and punctuation are as they appear in the original text)

    The McDowell & Lewis Families

    From Peyton's History of Augusta County, Virginia (1882):

    Though the founder of this family settled on Burden’s grant, the whole of which lies in the present county of Rockbridge, it is intimately connected with many of our people. The McDowells and Lewises were relatives and lived near each other, previous to 1732, in Ireland. They intermarried so extensively with the McCues, Prestons, Pattons, Cochrans, Moffetts, Bells, Alexanders, &c., of our county, that we take pleasure in inserting the following brief account prepared by our esteemed friend, Judge John H. McCue:

      “Ephraim McDowell came to this country and settled in Pennsylvania previous to 1735, and between 1735 and 1740, with his son, John, who had married Magdalene Woods, in Pennsylvania, came to the home of his relative, John Lewis, the Founder. There they met with Burden,* and became settlers on his grant near Fairfield, in what is now Rockbridge. John McDowell was Burden’s Surveyor...."
    *Benjamin Borden, Sr, owner of "Borden's Grant"

    According to John Marshall...

    "Those who explore and settle new countries are generally bold, hardy, and adventurous men, whose minds, as well as bodies, are fitted to encounter danger and fatigue; their object is the acquisition of property, and they generally succeed."

    The eldest of 15 children, John Marshall was born in a log cabin on the Virginia frontier 24 September 1755. He would grow to become 4th Chief Justice of the United States. He died 6 July 1835 at the age of 79, having served as Chief Justice for over 34 years, and also as the last surviving member of John Adams' Cabinet.

    Capt. John McDowell (1714-1742)

    From Waddell’s Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, page 37:

      “On the 28th of February 1739, John McDowell, who settled in Borden’s Grant, made oath at Orange Court that ‘he imported himself, Magdaline, his wife, and Samuel McDowell, his son, and John Rutter, his servant, at his own charge from Great Britain in the year 1737, to dwell in this colony, and that this is the first time of proving their rights in order to obtain land pursuant to the royal instructions’”.
    Waddell further says, “Captain John McDowell, was a prominent Captain of a military force of Augusta County in 1742. Ephraim McDowell, then an old man, was a member of his son John’s company. All grown men were enrolled without respect to age.”

    Augusta County, Virginia

    The area that became Augusta County was settled primarily by the Scots-Irish in the early 1730s. Formed from Orange County, Augusta County was created in 1738 by an Act of the General Assembly which provided that its territory should remain a part of Orange County until there were sufficient inhabitants to support a local government. The first Court was held in 1745.

    Borden's Grant, 1734

    Benjamin Borden,* a native of New Jersey, and agent of Lord [Thomas] Fairfax in the lower Valley, obtained from Governor [William] Gooch a patent dated October 3, 1734, for a tract of land in Frederick county, which was called "Borden's Manor." At the same time he was promised 100,000 acres on the waters of James River, west of the Blue Ridge, as soon as he should locate a hundred settlers on the tract.

    *His surname is sometimes found spelled "Burden" in early texts. Bordentown, New Jersey, was named for one of the extended family, James Borden.

    (Source: Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871, by Joseph Addison Waddell, pub. 1902, C.R. Caldwell)

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Andrew Jackson & his vocabulary

    Early biographer James Parton [Life of Andrew Jackson, pub. 1859-60, 3 vols.], had this to say of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, son of Scots-Irish immigrants:

      "His ability in swearing amounted to a talent. Volleys of the most peculiar and original oaths, ejected with a violence that cannot be imagined, seared and overwhelmed the object of his wrath. Aware of his powers in this respect, he would feign a fury that he did not feel, and obtain his ends through the groundless terror of his opponents."

    Frontier Forts

    There were eight frontier forts in Scott County, Virginia territory built to provide protection against Indian raids and for use as stopping places for hunters and settlers:

  • Blackmore’s Fort, overlooking the Clinch River, was built by Capt. John Blackmore in 1772. It was attacked by Indians many times and several people were killed or captured near the fort. Daniel Boone was in command of Fort Blackmore and other forts on the Clinch in 1774 while the militia was engaged in the battle of Point Pleasant during Dunmore’s war.
  • Huston’s [Houston's] Fort was built in 1774 on the waters of Big Moccasin Creek by William Huston [Houston] on land assigned to him by Thomas McCulloch. McCulloch had established the first Scott County territory settlement there in 1769, but was forced out by Indians. In 1776 Fort Huston was attacked by an Indian force estimated to be near 300.
  • Porter’s Fort was built by Patrick Porter in 1775 on Falling Creek near present-day Dungannon. He built a grist mill there which was most likely the first mill in Scott County territory.
  • Other forts were Carter’s Fort located in Rye Cove, Duncan’s Fort on the Clinch River, Dorton’s Fort east of present Nickelsville, the Anderson Blockhouse located near the North Fork of the Holston River and Moccasin Gap, and Kilgore’s Fort built on the waters of Copper Creek west of Nickelsville.

  • (Source: Wilderness Road: Virginia's Heritage Migration Route)

    A Koger Marries a Porter,
    GrandDaughter of the Western Waters

    On November 26, 1818, in Floyd County, Kentucky, my great-great-great-grandfather James Koger married Sarah Walker Porter, aka "Sally". Tracing the Walker name in Sally's name led me to her paternal grandmother Susanna Walker (1739-1795), who married Sgt. Patrick Porter (1737-1805) around 1756 at Walker's Creek, Augusta County, Virginia.
    Sgt. Patrick Porter and his father-in-law, John Walker, my 6x great-grandfather, relocated to southwest Virginia about 1770-1772, settling on the Clinch River in what became Russell County. Western lands in North Carolina had been closed to settlement by Colonial government policy until 1778. In Virginia, however, Indian Treaties of 1768 and 1770 opened the "western waters" for settlement. While there had been settlers in the area before these treaties, emigration into the area did not begin in earnest until 1769-70. The Walker and Porter families were likely part of this immigration.
    In 1772, the Porters, along with others, moved from Castle's Woods, where they had first settled, to Patrick Porter's land survey at Falling Creek, near present day Dungannon, Virginia. They quickly set to building a fort, called Porter's Fort, nearby. In 1774 Porter added a mill, the first on the Clinch River, and gradually a settlement began to grow.
    Daniel Boone lived in the Castle's Woods, Virginia area from 1773-1775. The Porters were friends with the pioneer. Patrick's son (my 5x great-uncle) Samuel Walker Porter travelled with Daniel Boone to Kentucky in 1773, and in 1778 answered Boone's request for assistance defending Boonesborough during the Shawnee siege.
    At various times, Patrick Porter commanded part or all of the forts along the Clinch River and was in charge of monitoring and responding to hostile Indian activity over a wide area.

    Counties of Virginia

  • 1721: Spotsylvania County was established from Essex, King and Queen, and King William counties.
  • 1734: Orange County was established from Spotsylvania.
  • 1738: Formed from Orange County, Augusta County was created in 1738 by an Act of the General Assembly which provided that its territory should remain a part of Orange County until there were sufficient inhabitants to support a local government.
  • 1744: The Virginia General Assembly created Albemarle County by taking the northern portion of Goochland County.
  • 1761: Albemarle County was divided, forming Buckingham and Amherst counties, at which time the county seat was moved from the formerly-central Scottsville to a piece of newly-central land, christened Charlottesville.
  • 1770: Botetourt County was formed from Augusta County.
  • 1778: Rockbridge County was formed in 1778 from Augusta and Botetourt Counties. (The settlement within the bounds of present day Rockbridge, however, began in 1737 in Borden's Grant. The area was then a part of Orange County, Virginia. Augusta County began keeping records in 1745, and covered what is now many states.)
  • 1786: Russell County was formed from Washington County.
  • 1793: Lee County was formed from Russell County.
  • 1799: Tazewell County was formed from parts of Wythe and Russell Counties.
  • 1815: Scott County was formed from parts of of Russell and Lee Counties.
  • 1855: Wise County was formed from parts of Lee, Scott, and Russell Counties.
  • 1858: Buchanan County was formed from parts of Russell and Tazewell Counties.
  • 1880: Dickenson County was formed from parts of Wise and Buchanan Counties.
  • John Walker III (1705-1778)

    John Walker, the son of an immigrant of the same name came first to Augusta County [Virginia] and later to Rockbridge, where they settled and lived on a creek named for them and which still carries the name of Walker's Creek.
    Leaving Rockbridge County, this John Walker arrived on the Clinch in the year 1773, and settled on a 300 acre tract of land at the "sink" of Sinking Creek between Castlewood [Castle's Woods] and Dungannon. This tract of land he named "Broad Meadows." He was born in 1705 in Ireland and had married, about 1734, Ann Houston, who may have been a sister of William who built Houston's Fort on Big Moccasin Creek in Scott County. Upon arrival on the Virginia frontier, John Walker was some 68 years old and had undoubtedly followed his children in their westward wanderings. Despite his advanced age, when he arrived on the Clinch he lived to see his son and daughter-in-law slain by the Indians, and his daughter and grandson carried into captivity and who had not returned at the time of his death. He died sometime between Sept 23rd and Nov. 17, 1778. His will bearing date of Sept 23rd, (no year given, but presumed) was probated Nov. 17, 1778.
    The known children of John and Ann Houston Walker were: Susanna, Mary, Jane, Hetty, Ann, Martha, Margaret, John, and Samuel.

    (Source: Pioneer Settlers of The Clinch, by Emory L. Hamilton, Clinch Valley Times, St. Paul, Virginia, Oct. 10, 1967)

    John Snoddy, Daniel Boone & The Moores

    The Filson Club Quarterly, July 1971, pg 256:

      "John Snoddy, in a deposition, said 'I came to Kentucky with Daniel Boone in the year 1775 and came by the blue lick crost Silver Creek and went up Harts Fork and soon on to what is now Bonnesbourgh.'"
    The Moore brothers assigned their land warrants to Captain John Snoddy when they left the Clinch, and since Captain Snoddy was a militia officer and at times was in command of Moore's Fort, as well as owning it, it was sometimes called Snoddy's Fort. Moore's Fort was the largest and most widely known of the Clinch chain of forts.

    (Source: “Frontier Forts of Southwest Virginia”, by Emory L. Hamilton, Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Number 4, 1968)

    Chief Logan & The Porters

    Patrick and Samuel Porter were intimately acquainted with Cayuga Indian Chief Logan. Patrick Porter, while serving under General Lewis on the Ohio River, was approached by Chief Logan who, with a smile, extended his hand to Porter, at the same time saying, "I know you. You are Patrick Porter. I want to be your friend. You don't know me. I am Capt. John Logan. Many times I could have killed you, but would not."
    He then asked Patrick about his son, Samuel, but at that moment, he saw Samuel coming towards them. When Samuel walked up, Chief Logan said: "I am Logan; and was your friend. Many times I could have killed you, but would not. You were too good a man. You guarded the women and children, which made me love you and your father." On being assured of their perpetual love and friendship, he then mentioned several occurrences that had taken place in the vicinity of Porter's Fort. One of the incidents recalled was concerning a large, fine horse that was hitched to the fort gate. By some chance, the horse was left there a great while, night coming on in the meantime. Logan, who was skulking near the fort, had watched the horse with covetous eyes. Taking advantage of the darkness, he tried to steal him. Covering himself with a shock of fodder, he began gradually to approach the horse. But just at the moment when he was nearly ready to lay hold of the horse, a child inside the fort fell out of bed, and made such a noise that Logan, fearing discovery, dropped the fodder, and left. "Did you ever notice that sock of fodder?" asked Logan. "Yes," replied Samuel Porter. "The breaking of that child's arm saved your life, Logan; I was on guard at the fortgate that night, and observing the fodder moving toward me, cocked my gun and was in the very act of firing when you dropped the fodder and ran away. I was within twenty feet of you, with as good a gun as was ever fired." Logan replied that the Great Spirit did not let one friend kill another.
    (Source: Draper Manuscripts; Collection of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, WI)

    Patrick Porter (1737-1805)

    In 1769, Patrick Porter and his family, William and Edward Russell, and a party led by John Morgan (consisting of the Walker sisters and their husbands, William and Andrew Cowan, James Smith, William Trimble, James Wharton, Fredrick Fraley, Joseph Moore, James Anderson, three Dickenson brothers, and Col. John Snoddy) moved to the area called "Castle's Woods," which was settled earlier by Jacob Castle. The group soon built Snoddy's Fort, later called Moore's Fort, the largest on the Clinch River.
    In 1772, Porter and his family, along with Raleigh Stallard, Capt. John Montgomery (Porter's son-in-law,) Samuel Porter, and Charles Kilgore moved to Porter's land survey at Falling Creek near present day Dungannon, Virginia. Shortly they set to building a fort, called Porter's Fort, nearby. In 1774 Patrick Porter added a mill, the first on the Clinch, where Falling Creek spills over a cliff near the river.

    John Walker II (1677-1734)

    John Walker and his wife, Katherine Rutherford, first lived at Wigton, Scotland, later moving to Newry, Ireland, from whence they sailed from Strangford Bay in May 1726, landing in Maryland in August of that year. Soon he was settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1734. His wife, Katherine, died the same year. Most of the family of John Walker, the immigrant, moved from Pennsylvania and settled in Augusta and Rockbridge Counties in Virginia, and from there they scattered westward.

    (Source: Indian Tragedies Against The Walker Family, by Emory L. Hamilton, unpublished manuscript)

    Sunday, September 2, 2007


    British sailors who landed on Barbados in 1625 at the site of present-day Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited. From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627–1628 until independence in 1966, Barbados was under uninterrupted British control. Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly began meeting in 1639.
    Large numbers of Scots-Irish went to Barbados as indentured servants. This group became a buffer between the Anglo-Saxon plantation owners and the larger African slave population, variously serving as members of the Colonial militia and allies of the slaves in a long string of colonial rebellions. As well, in 1659, the English shipped many Irishmen and Scots off to Barbados as slaves, and King James II and others of his dynasty also sent Scots and English off to the isle, e.g., after the crushing of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. The modern descendants of this Scots-Irish slave/servant population are sometimes derisively referred to as Red Legs, or locally, "ecky becky," and are some of the poorest inhabitants of modern Barbados. There has also been large-scale intermarriage between the African and Scots-Irish populations on the islands.

    (Source: Wikipedia)

    Saturday, September 1, 2007

    The Carolina Backcountry

    The Carolina back country was nearly devoid of European settlers prior to 1750, but by the time the American Revolution reached the area in 1780, the back country contained an estimated population of more than a quarter of a million. The largest proportion of these were Scots-Irish Presbyterians, although there were also numbers of English, Welsh, native Irish, native Scots, Swiss, French, and Germans.

    (Excerpted from "Historical Properties of York County, South Carolina," © 1995, York County Historical Commission)

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    Scotch Irish, aka Scots-Irish, aka Ulster Scots

    The people we call Scotch Irish, known in the old country as Ulster Scots, were largely descendants of mixed Germanic peoples who over many centuries had moved into and taken over the Scottish Lowlands. Beginning in the early seventeenth century many migrated to Ulster in Northern Ireland, and starting about 1715 the Scotch Irish began a massive migration to America. By 1775, when the War of the Revolution began, some quarter million had arrived. Most of them ended in the Back Country from Pennsylvania south into Georgia.

    (Source: Jackson's Way: Andrew Jackson and the People of the Western Waters, by John Buchanan; John Wiley & Sons, 2001)

    Thursday, August 16, 2007

    1729 Voyage of the George and Ann

    From the Journal of the Voyage of Charles Clinton from Ireland to America, 1729:

    "A Journal of my voyage and Travels from the County of Longford in the Kingdom of Ireland to Pennsylvania, in America, A.D. 1729. I took my Journey from The County of Longford, on Friday the 9th day of May; came to Dublin ye 12th ditto. Entered on shipboard the ship called the George and Ann, ye 18th. Sett sail the 20th.
    Came to anchor at Glenarm on the 24th, where Matthw. McClaughry and his wife and two of his family went on shoar and quit their voyage.
    Set sail from Glenarm on ye 25th and came to anchor at Green Castle, in the Lough of Foyle, the 26th, where we stay'd till ye 29th; then sett sail in company with the John of Dublin bound for Newcastle in the same country.
    Ditto. Came in sight of Loughsuly [Lough Swilly] ye 30 th. Sail'd by Tory [Tory Island] and Horn-head.
    On the 30th, at night, a strong wind arose, ye continued to ye first of June at evening which Loosened our Bowsprit with Hazard of our masts.
    June 2d we had a fair breeze for our westerly course.
    On the 3d ditto my daughter Catharine and son James fell sick of the measles.
    A strong gale of westerly wind continues to ye 10th ditto.
    James Wilson's child died ye 5th.
    On the 7th met ye Mary from Pennsylvania from which she sail'd to us in 5 weeks and 5 days.
    On the 8th ditto a child of James McDowel's died and was thrown overboard.
    On the 10th ye wind came to East and be South.
    On ye llth changed more Easterly and continues fair and seasonable.
    On the 12th the wind blew North and be East, a fresh gale bywhich we sail'd 40 leagues in 20 hours, and found we were in 49 degrees 20 minutes North Latitude by observation.
    My son James, on ye 28th of August, 1728 at 7 In ye morning.
    A son of James Majore's.
    A brother of Andrew McDowell's.
    Two daughters of James McDowell's.
    A daughter of Walter Davis's.
    Robert Frazer.
    Patt McCann, servant to Tho. Armstrong.
    Will Hamilton.
    James Greer, servant to Alex. Mitchell.
    Widow Gordon's daughter.
    James Mondy died Thursday,llth of September.
    A servant of Mr. Cruisels.
    A son of James Beaty's.
    Fran. Nicholson
    A sister of Andrew McDowell's.
    A daughter of John Beatty's.
    Two of Mr. Cruise's men servants.
    Margarey Armstrong. [daughter of Thos. Armstrong]
    A servant of Mr. Cruise's.
    Two of John Beatty's children.
    Jamei Thompson's wife.
    James Brown.
    A daughter of James McDowell's
    A daughter of Thos. Delap's.
    A servant of Mr. Cruise's.
    A child of Widow Mitchell's.
    John Oliver's wife.
    James Majore's eldest daughter.
    John Rook, a sailor.
    Joseph Stafford.
    John McDowell.
    John Beatty.
    Andrew McDowell's sister.
    James Wilson's wife.
    James McDowell's wife.
    Sarah Hamilton, Will Hamilton's sister.
    Thos. Armstrong, died Monday ye 29th of September.
    John Beatty's wife.
    Isabella Johnston.
    Edward Norris.
    Margaret McClaughry.
    Widow Frazer's daughter.
    Andrew McDowell's brother.
    Joseph Mclaughry.
    Mattw McClaughry.
    A young sister of Andrew McDowel.
    Thom Delap. and his daughter Catherine.
    James Barkly.
    Discovered land on ye Continent of America ye 4th day of October, 1729."

    In May 1729, the George and Ann set sail from Ireland for the American colonies. The trip, at the time, averaged four weeks of sailing. The journey of the George and Ann took over four months. The passengers and crew—those who survived—made first landfall at Cape Cod rather than their intended destination of Philadelphia. At least eighty-six of the ship’s 168 passengers died during the Atlantic crossing. Eleven of those lost were McDowells.

    (Journal of the Voyage of Charles Clinton from Ireland to America, transcribed from The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries, by John Austin Stevens, Martha Joanna Lamb, Henry Phelps Johnston, and William Abbatt, 1877, A. S. Barnes & Company. A copy of Charles Clinton’s journal is reportedly preserved in The New York Public Library.)

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    The Scots-Irish

    Scots-Irish is an ethnic group from Ireland which ultimately traces its roots back to settlers from Scotland, and to a lesser extent, England. In particular Scots-Irish can often be traced back to the Scottish Highlands, Scottish Lowlands, Galloway, and the Scottish Borders.
    The Scots-Irish and their descendants are primarily found in Ulster, where they are Ulster Scots, and in Canada and the USA, laterly where they are often identified as Scotch-Irish. Most Scots in Ireland are Ulster Scots, although there are also some who live in the Republic of Ireland, mainly in Donegal.
    The Scots-Irish are strongly identified with Protestantism and, in modern day Ireland, unionism.
    The Ulster-Scots are predominantly Presbyterian, with many Anglicans, some Congregationalists, and some Quakers. In America, many Scots-Irish people gravitated towards the Methodist and Baptist denominations. In Ireland, Ulster Scots are usually identified with the Irish unionist tradition, although many Ulster-Scots involved themselves in the Society of United Irishmen, an Irish republican organisation in the late 1790s.

    (Source: Wikipedia)