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Pioneer Virginia

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CHAPTER

       V

Pioneer Virginia

We know definitely that Michael O'Hair left Ireland in the year of 1761, as evidenced by his arrival at Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia, the 17th day of February, 1762. However, we do not know definitely from where or why he left Ireland. Without support of family records we can only theorize. To reconstruct what did occur we need to examine that which is known of the then existing conditions as well as the probable reasons for his action.  At that time living conditions in Ireland for Catholic families were oppressive and intolerable. Catholics had been deprived of their lands and were being driven from their homes. They were either transported to barren lands to the south, or existed the best they could in the mountains and forests. Michael O'Hair's family was no exception. Many young people who had been dispossessed of their homes left Ireland for America as indentured servants recruited by ship owners and American land owners. It is probable that one or both of Michael's parents were dead, and having heard of a better life in America, he decided to leave Ireland. He might have left with the consent and blessing of one or both parents, because we know that his only possession was a Catholic Bible which may have been the gift of a parent or a Priest.

In the year Michael O'Hair left Ireland, boats were sailing from Warrenpoint, County Down, approximately forty miles from his probable home. We believe he sailed from Warrenpoint late in the year of 1761, the exact date unknown. Sailing ships took several months to cross the Atlantic. Their principal cargoes were people seeking new homes in

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America. It is reasonable to assume that Michael either hid on the boat, or agreed to serve as a cabin boy to pay for his transportation to America. Ships entered Virginia by way of the James River and navigated as far inland as the present site of Richmond. It must also be assumed that adults seeking homes and employment were also passengers on the same boat with Michael. They made their way over the mountains to Staunton, and brought the young boy, Michael, along with them. It is an accepted family tradition that Michael was a stowaway. We do know Michael was not an indentured servant, because he was a minor and could not enter into a contract himself. No indenture contract was ever recorded, and contracts were recorded as a general practice in those days. Many contracts of indentured servants are recorded in both Ireland and America. Michael was treated as an orphan at Staunton. Under the then existing laws, the established church was responsible for orphans. Michael was to be settled at the home of Alexander Millroy in Augusta County. He was to remain with Millroy until he became of legal age and responsibility. In those formative years he was to learn among other things how to use a rifle and how to fight Indians. This training was to be of great benefit to him in the Revolutionary War as it enabled him to be classified as an expert rifleman and be selected by Daniel Morgan to become a member of his famous regiment known as "Morgan's Rifle Regiment."

Before the Revolutionary War most of the early settlers in the Valley of Virginia, lying between the Blue Ridge and Alleghanies, were Scotch-Irish. Michael was an exception because he was pure Irish. His forbears of old had lived in Ireland for over a thousand years. Those early inhabitants of Ireland were called "Natives." Michael' s great-great grandfather was a native, having been born prior to 1610, when the Scotch-Irish first settled in Ulster.

As previously stated, under the reign of George II, many Scotch-Irish Presbyterians left the scarcity and oppresions of Ireland as early as 1727. They landed at Philadelphia and first settled in Pennsylvania. The Scotch-Irish were not content to remain in Pennsylvania because of the restrictions imposed by that government upon the civil and religious liberties they sought. By way of the Wilderness Trail, they ventured into Virginia and settled in Augusta

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County as early as 1732. The early Scotch-Irish were an industrious working class of people, composed mostly of farmers, a few merchants and mechanics.

A part of the Valley of Virginia had been seen by white men for the first time in 1710, when a group of adventuresome explorers climbed the Blue Ridge and could see the beautiful valley before them. Six years later an expedition of gentlemen and their attendants, headed by Governor Spotswood, crossed the Blue Ridge and entered the valley below. Spotswood, Virginia's governor from 1710 to 1723, then declared the valley to be a possession of England's King George I. The historian, Robert Beverly, was a member of that expdeition and recorded many details of the journey.

A few hunters and other ambitious men were lured into the valley by the tales of Spotswood's companions about the richness of the soil, the lush vegetation and abundance of game. Very few were willing to risk the dangers of the new wilderness, so it was more than a decade later before small settlements began to spring up in the valley. The part of Virginia west of the Blue Ridge mountains was not permanently settled by white men until after 1725. There was a small German settlement in 1726 on the Shenandoah River, near the little village of Port Republic, in Augusta County, which has since then been subdivided and is now Rockingham County. There was a Shawnee Indian village in the northern tip of Virginia, near Winchester. The Shawnee was a small tribe of less than a thousand. They were responsible for most of the massacres that took place during the years Michael lived in Virginia. Shawanogi was the original name of the tribe. The early settlers shortened the name to Shawnee.

When Spotswood's group first visited the valley in 1716, they noted a lack of forests in the fertile bottom lands of the valley. There were, however, many trees along the rivers and streams. The valley at that time was a hunting ground of the Indians. After the hunting season was over it was the Indian custom to bum off the dry grass and scrub growth of the bottom lands. With the coming of Spring an abundance of grass grew on the land burned off the previous Autumn. The bottomlands of the Cowpasture River gave evidence of the burning procedure. The grass attracted an abundance of game. The buffalo, elk, deer and small game grazed there and were easy target for the Indian hunters.

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There were many Indian trails made by the Catawaba and Cherokee tribes from the south on their way to battle with the northern tribes. Ancient burial ground mounds and the many arrowheads give evidence that Indians for centuries past had lived in the valley. The Catawaba Indians were said to have mined gold and silver and adorned themselves with ornaments made of the precious metals. The Delawares coveted this great wealth. The two tribes met in combat in Rockingham County where the Catawaba defeated their enemy. Although silver has been found in that county, if the Indians had mines, the location of their mines was never disclosed.

The Shawnee were credited with having a higher mentality than other tribes. Their great chief, Tecumseh, was considered to be one of the best leaders in history. Each tribe laid claim to a large territory with well defined boundary lines. The territory was considered a possession of the tribe as a whole and could not be sold except by the whole tribe. Each tribe was divided into clans. Each clan was headed by its own chief. Marriage within a clan was prohibited as each member of the clan was considered to be a brother or sister. Parental authority was vested in the clan of the mother. Their living was of a communal nature. The open ground around a village was usually cultivated. To the women of the tribe fell the duty of the cultivation of the corn and crops, as well as the regular household chores and raising of the children. The men of the tribe occupied themselves with hunting and making or repairing their weapons. During the summer and early fall months the men were away from the village much of the time on hunting trips. They always returned to spend the winters with their women, children and the old people of the tribe. The old men were esteemed for their wisdom and were consulted on matters of the tribe. To the old men and women fell the duty of relating tribal folklore to the young. They were generally a healthy race and relied on roots and bark of trees as their medication. They believed in the Good Great Spirit and in the Evil Spirit. They also worshipped other deities which they ranked superior to themselves, such as fire, water and thunder. The Indian was usually gay and talkative among his own kind. When among the white people he appeared moody and sullen. He spoke very little although he comprehended and was usually able to speak a few words of the language of the white man.

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Corn was entirely unknown to the white man. The Indian taught the white man how to plant and cultivate the corn. The Indian was not an habitual user of tobacco although he discovered the plant. Tobacco was used as a ritual while the smoker communed with the Great Spirit. It was also smoked mutually to seal a treaty or an agreement. Game was not killed for the mere pleasure of the hunt. The game brought in by the hunters not only served to feed the tribe, but to clothe its members as well. Skins were dried by a crude process and made into clothing. The skins were also used as covering for the teepee or wigwam.

Unless on the warpath, the Indian was generally considered hospitable. If a visitor was welcomed to an Indian village, he was treated with courtesy and well fed. The Indian believed in reciprocity when he visited the white settler. The Indian did not have the same sense of ownership as we have. He did not consider it wrong to take or steal what he wanted. When at war the Indian was ruthless and barbaric. His fighting was of the guerrilla type and employed much cunning. He massacred women, children and the helpless without compunction. He scalped for a trophy and mutilated because it was his belief that no one could go to the Great Spirit who was not of a whole body. A captured prisoner was usually treated without mercy, although many times a captive was adopted into the tribe and well treated. Many captives developed an attachment to the Indian way of life to the extent of refusing freedom if and when offered. The Indian was not a welcomed, although a tolerated visitor to a white settlement. There was a semblance of peace between the two races for some twenty years after the first people settled west of the Blue Ridge in Augusta County.

Settlements had been made around Staunton in 1732 and much of the country west of there had been explored by that date. The Cowpasture River was known and named as early as 1727. Michael came to America in 1762 and lived on the Cowpasture that year.

A condensed version of prevailing conditions at the time of the early settling of the Valley of Virginia in Augusta County, has been taken from Kercheval's book, "History of the Valley," first published in 1833.

The first houses erected by the primitive settlers were log cabins covered with split clapboards and poles to

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keep the clapboards in place. The floors were frequently earthen; or if wood floors were used, they were made of rough planks, a little smoothed with the broad-axe. There were few framed and stone buildings erected previous to the war of the Revolution. As the country improved in population and wealth, there was a corresponding improvement in the erection of buildings. When this improvement commenced the most general mode of building was with hewn logs, a shingle roof and plank floor. The plank was cut out with a whip saw. A short description of a whip saw might not be uninteresting. It was about the length of the common mill saw, with a handle at each end transversely fixed to it. The timber to be sawed first was squared with a broad-axe and then raised on a scaffold six or seven feet high. Two able bodied men then took hold of the saw, one standing on the top of the log and the other under the log, and commenced sawing. The labor was excessively fatiguing. About a hundred feet of plank was considered a good day's work for the two men. The introduction of saw mills soon superseded the use of the whip saw, but they were not entirely laid aside until several years after the war of the Revolution.

A house raising was the usual manner of settling a young newly married couple into their home. A location was selected on a piece of land usually belonging to one of the parents of the young couple. A day was appointed shortly after the marriage for starting the work of building the cabin. The workmen consisted of choppers, whose business it was to fell the trees and cut them off at proper lengths; a man with a team of horses for hauling the logs to the building site and arranging them properly assorted at the sides and ends of the building; and a carpenter, if such he might be called, whose business it was to search the woods for proper lumber for making clapboards for the roof. A tree for this purpose had to be straight-grained and from three to four feet in diameter. The boards from this tree were split four feet long and as wide as the diameter of the tree. They were used without planing or shaving. The materials for the cabin were usually prepared on the first day of the house raising. Sometimes the foundations were laid the first day. The second day was allotted for the raising of the house.

The neighbors gathered the morning of the second day for the raising. The first thing done was the election of four

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corner-men whose business it was to notch and place the logs. The rest of the men kept them furnished with timbers. Boards and planks for the floor and roof were collected in the meantime so that by the time the cabin was a few rounds high, the sleepers and floor began to be laid. The door was made by cutting or sawing the logs so as to make an opening about three feet wide. A door opening was secured by upright pieces of lumber about three inches thick through which holes were bored into the ends of the logs to pin them fast. A similar opening was made at the end for the chimney. At the square end logs projected a foot or so beyond the wall to receive the butting poles against which the ends of the first row of clapboards were supported. The roof was formed by making the end logs shorter until a single log formed the comb of the roof. On these logs the clapboards were placed, overlapping the next below them and kept in place by logs spaced upon them. The roof and sometimes the floor were finished on the same day of the raising.

A third day was commonly spent by a few carpenters in leveling off the floor, making a door and furniture. A table was made of a split slab supported by four round legs set in auger holes. Three legged stools were made in the same manner. Shelves for tableware were made by sticking pins in logs at the back of the cabin and placing clapboards across the pins. A crude bedstead was built from forked logs forming one end of the support and the cabin walls forming the other end of the support. A few pegs were placed around the walls for hanging clothing. Two small forks or buckhorns fixed to a joist served for holding the rifle and shot-pouch. From the heart pieces of the timber from which the clapboards were made, billets were made for chinking up the cracks between the logs of the cabin and chimney. Mortar was used for daubing up the cracks and a few stones which formed the back and jambs of the chimney. The cabin being finished, the ceremony of house warming took place before the young couple were permitted to occupy the house. The house warming was made up of a gathering of the neighbors and relatives of the bride and groom. On the following day the young couple took possession of their new mansion.

Tableware for several years after the settlement of the valley, consisted of a few pewter dishes, plates and spoons, but mostly wooden bowls. Gourds and hard-shelled squashes

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were often used in place of platters and mugs. The iron pot, knives and forks, salt and iron, were brought by pack horse from the east side of the mountain. Pork and hominy were the proverbial main dishes. The only forms of bread at the outset of the settlements of the valley were johnnycake and cornpone. Milk and mush were the standard supper. Owing to the scarcity of cattle or lack of proper pasture, milk was often scarce. Mush was frequently eaten with sweetened water, molasses, bear oil or fried meat gravy.

Every family had a small garden near the house for a few vegetables and a much larger garden, consisting of half an acre or so, away from the house in which they raised corn, pumpkin, squash, beans and potatoes. In the late summer and fall the vegetables were cooked with pork, venison or bear meat. The standard meal for every log-rolling, house raising and harvest - day was a pot pie served for dinner and again for supper after the conclusion of the labor of the day.

Previous to the war of the Revolution the married men generally shaved their heads and wore wigs or white linen caps. This fashion was laid aside when the war started, partly from patriotic considerations, and partly from necessity. Because of the war with England, wigs or linen for caps could not be easily obtained. Men's coats were generally made with broad backs, straight short skirts and pockets on the outside with large flaps. The waistcoats had skirts nearly half way down to the knees and very broad pocket flaps. The breeches were so short as to barely reach the knee. They were banded at the knee and fastened with either brass or silver buckles. The stocking was drawn up under the knee-band and worn with a colorful garter below the knee. Shoes were of coarse leather and fastened with brass or silver buckles. The hat was made of wool or fur with a broad brim and a round crown about three or four inches high. The neck dress was usually a narrow collar with a white linen stock drawn together at the ends back of the neck with a broad metal buckle. The more wealthy and fashionable had stock, knee and shoe-buckles in gold or silver with brilliant stones.

The clothing of the early settlers was of the plainest material - generally of their own manufacture. The dress of the men on the frontiers was partly Indian and partly that of

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civilized nations - particularly the men who were in the habit of hunting, scouting and war campaigning. The hunting shirt was universally worn. This was a kind of loose dress reaching half way down the thighs with large sleeves and a front opening wide enough to lap over a foot or more when belted. The sleeves of the hunting shirt were often handsomely fringed with cloth of a different color. The bosom of the hunting shirt served as a wallet to hold a chunk of bread, jerk, wipings for the gun barrel, or any other necessity for the hunter or soldier. The belt was always tied behind and answered for several purposes besides that of holding the hunting shirt together. Upon the belt were suspended the tomahawk, the scalping knife in its sheath, the bullet bag and mittens in cold weather. The hunting shirt was generally made of linsey, coarse linen or deerskins. These last were very cold and uncomfortable in wet weather. A pair of drawers, or breeches and leggins, were the dress of the thighs and legs. A pair of moccasins answered for the feet much better than shoes. Moccasins were made of a single piece of deerskin with a gathering seam along the top of the foot and another seam along the bottom of the heel. They were as high as the ankle joint or higher, with flaps on each side to wrap around the ankle and tie with thongs so that no dust, gravel or snow could get inside the moccasin. The moccasins in ordinary use cost but a few hours' labor to make with a tool which was the back spring of an old clasp knife called a moccasin awl. This awl with its buckhorn handle was an appendage of every shot-pouch strap along with a roll of buckskin for mending the moccasins. This was the labor of almost every evening. The feet were kept warm in cold weather by stuffing the moccasins with dried leaves or deer hair. In wet weather the spongy texture of the deerskin was little more than a decent way of going barefooted. Owing to this defective covering of the feet, more than to any other circumstance, a great number of hunters and soldiers were afflicted with rheumatism. They were all apprehensive of this disease. In cold or wet weather they always slept with their feet to the fire to prevent or cure the rheumatism as well as they could.

The female dress was generally the short gown and petticoat made of the plainest materials. In hay and harvest time, women joined the men in the labor of the fields. Many

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women were expert mowers and reapers. It was not uncommon to see women of the family at the hoe or plow. The natural result of this kind of rural life was to produce a hardy and vigorous race of people. It was this race of people who had to endure the various Indian wars and storms of the Revolution.

Previous to, and for several years after the war of the Revolution, considerable quantities of tobacco were raised in the lower counties of the valley. Two crops of tobacco in succession were generally taken from newly cleared land and then another crop planted. The tobacco left the soil in the finest possible state for wheat, rye, flax, oats or anything else.

Hunting was an important occupation of the early settlers of the valley. The woods supplied many families with the greater part of their subsistence. It was not uncommon for families to live several months without bread. Frequently there was not any food until it was obtained from the woods. Fur and pelts served as money in exchange for rifles, salt, and iron on the side west of the mountain. The fall and early part of the winter was the season for hunting deer. All winter and part of the spring was the season for hunting bear and fur-skinned animals. There was a customary saying that fur is good during every month in which the letter "r" occurs.

The manner of granting away lands in immense bodies was unquestionably founded in the most unwise and unjust policy. Instead of promoting the speedy settlement and improvement of the country, instead of holding out to the bulk of society every possible encouragement to settle and improve the country, monopolies in several instances were given or pretended to be sold to a few favorites of the governing powers. Those favorites were enabled to amass vast estates to the disadvantage of the majority of the other population.

The two counties of Frederick and Augusta were laid off at the same session of the colonial legislature in the year of 1738 and included all the vast region of the country west of the Blue Ridge. Previous to 1738 the county of Orange included all the territory west of the mountains. Orange was taken from Spottsylvania in the year of 1734. Spottsylvania had previously crossed the Blue Ridge and was laid off in 1720. Previous to the laying off of the county of Orange in 1734 the territory west of the Blue Ridge, except for a

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small part which lay in Spottsylvania, does not appear to have been included in any county. Thus it appears that less than two hundred fifty years ago Spottsylvania was a frontier country. The vast region west of the Blue Ridge with its millions of people has been settled and improved from an entire wilderness.

In the year 1770, Botetourt County was taken from Augusta. The act establishing the county contains the following clause: 'And whereas the people situated on the Mississippi, in the said county of Botetourt, will be very remote from the court house, and must necessarily become a separate county, as soon as their numbers are sufficient, which will probably be in a short time; Be it therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that the inhabitants of that part of said county of Botetourt, which lies on the said waters, shall be exempt from the payment of any levies to be laid by the said county court for the purpose of building a court house and prison for the said county.' Thus it appears that Virginia, at that period, claimed the jurisdiction and territory of that vast region of country westward to the Mississippi.

The county of Fincastle was taken from Botetourt in 1772. Fincastle was divided into the counties of Kentucky, Washington and Montgomery in 1777, and the name of Fincastle became extinct.

Rockingham County was taken from Augusta in the year of 1778. The same year Greenbrier was taken from Augusta and Botetourt counties. The years 1776 and 1777 were remarkable for many divisions of the western counties. In 1790 Wythe County was taken from Montgomery and part of Botetourt added to Montgomery. In 1790 Bath County was taken from Augusta, Botetourt and Greenbrier.

Lexington, in the county of Rockbridge, was established in the month of October, 1777. Extract from the law: And be it further enacted, that at the place which shall be appointed for holding courts in the said county of Rockbridge, there shall be laid off a town to be called Lexington, thirteen hundred feet in length and nine hundred in width. 1  Rockbridge was named after the famous natural bridge in the southeast section of the county. The county seat was named after Lexington, Massachusetts.

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A GENEALOGY OF SOME VIRGINIA COUNTIES

                        |-Hampshire ____________________    Hardy

                        |    1754 (W.Va.)                        1786 (W.Va.)

                        |-Botetourt (See next chart)

                        |    1770

                        |-Monongalla - All later divided into W. Va. counties

                        |    1776 (W.Va.)

                        |                                  |-Brooke__________   Hancock

                        |                                  | 1797 (W.Va.)        1848 (W.Va.)

                        |-Ohio_________________|_-Tyler____________Wetzel

                        |    1776 (W.Va.)         | 1814 (W.Va.)         1846 (W.Va.) 

                        |                                  |-Marshall

                        |                                     1835 (W.Va.)

Augusta  ______|

   1745             |

                        |-Yohogania

                        |    1776-1786 (ex.)

                        |-Rockbridge

                        |    1778

                        |-Rockingham __________-Page

                        |    1778                       1831

                        |-Illinois

                        |    1778-1784 (ex)

                        |-Pendleton ___________-Highland

                        |    1788 (W.Va.)            1847

                        |                                   |-Pocahontas

                        |-Bath _______________  | 1821 (W.Va.)

                            1791                         |-Alleghany

                                                               1822

 

 

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A GENEALOGY OF SOME VIRGINIA COUNTIES

                                                                                    |-Bourbon_______-Mason

                                                            |-Fayette______|  1786 (Ky.)         1789 Ky.)

                                                            |  1786 (Ky.)    |-Woodford

                                    |-Kentucky_____|                          1789 (Ky.)

                                                |  1777-80        |-Jefferson______-Nelson

                                                |  (extinct)         | 1780 (Ky.)       1785 (Ky.)     |-Madison

                                                |                       |-Lincoln_______________________|-1786 (Ky.)

                |-Fincastle-__|                        1780 (Ky.)                                          |-Mercer

                |   1772-77   |                                                                                     1786 (Ky.)

                |   (extinct)   |                                      |-Grayson ______-Carroll

                |                   |                       |-Wythe__|   1793               1842

                |                   |                       |  1790    |-Tazewell_____| Buchanan

Botetourt-|                   |                       |                1800              |  1858

   1770     |                   |                       |                                      |-McDowell  1858 (W.Va.)

                |                   |                       |

                |                   |                       |             |-Later divided into W. Va. counties

                |                   |-Montgomery--|-Giles___|

                |                   |       1777        | 1806    |-Bland 1861

                |                   |                       |-Floyd 1831

                |                   |                       |-Pulaski 1839

                |                   |                                                                |-Scott 1814_-Smyth 1832

                |                   |                                        |-Lee 1793____ |

                |                   |_Washington__  -Russell  |                       |-Wise 1856

                |                              1777         1786     |-Dickenson 1880

                |-Greenbriar 1778 W. Va.____- Later divided into W. Va. counties

                |-Roanoke 1838

                |-Craig 1851

 Webmaster's note:  I need to clean this up at a future date.

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Several large land grants or patents were made in the late 1730's. According to a patent on file at the Circuit Clerk's office at Staunton, Virginia, William Beverley and three others were given a patent consisting of 118,491 acres on August 12, 1736. A stipulation of the land patent provided that three of every fifty acres were to be cultivated and improved within three years. The tract included nearly all of the present county of Augusta. People were attracted to this land patent by advertisements in all the leading towns and seaports. The land was sold for about an average of half a shilling per acre. The earliest deeds for this tract were recorded in Orange County inasmuch as Augusta County did not have a courthouse until late 1745. Among the earlier deeds appear the names of: Patrick Campbell, 1546 acres; Robert Campbell, 350 acres; David Campbell, 466 acres; Alexander Campbell, 559 acres; John, Robert and William Christian, 1614 acres; and James Patton, 474 acres. Many of the same names appear on other deeds in other tracts of land. Most of the people who settled in Beverley's Manor were Scotch-Irish. There were so many of that nationality that Beverley's Manor became dubbed, "Irish Tract."

William Gooch, Governor of Virginia from 1727 to 1749, granted a land patent to Benjamin Borden, Sr., in 1738. The patent was for a large tract of land known as Borden's Manor. The land was located in what was then Augusta County, later formed into Rockbridge County. This grant included all of the present Rockbridge County and extended northward to Beverley's Manor. Borden was promised another tract of 100,000 acres southeast of Borden's Manor if he could induce a hundred families to settle on the land patent. He induced many families by offering to give them free tracts of a hundred acres just for building and improving the land within a specified period of time. "The purchases within the Borden grant averaged nearly 300 acres, and was rather less than customary size of the individual patents around it. And since labor-saving machinery was unknown in that day, so large a holding was a plantation rather than a farm. As a rule the purchaser was a substantial yoeman, and he often had a tenant on his place or one or more indentured servants in his household." 2  John Hays was one of the earliest settlers in Borden's Manor. Hays owned the first mill in the new tract. The deed books of Orange County

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show many tracts in Borden's Manor recorded between the years 1741 to 1745, including Gilbert Campbell for 389 acres.

James Patton was another wealthy landowner and a leader in county affairs. He and his associates obtained a land grant of over 100,000 acres. William Campbell and five others took deeds for over 2,200 acers of this grant on April 2, 1745. Their land was located in the Calfpasture valley near the Cowpasture River, close to the place Michael O'Hair lived in 1762. James Patton had been born in Ireland and had served in the royal navy. After his service in the navy, he was the owner of a "passenger ship" and brought many people from Ireland to Virginia. He is said to have made twenty-five voyages across the Atlantic. He landed his passengers at Hobbes' Hole, Virginia, on the Rappahannock River. For the return trip, his ship carried a cargoe of pelts and tobacco. 3

The passengers of Patton's ship were usually poor people known as indentured servants. They averaged nineteen years of age. An indenture contract for an average of five years duration was signed as payment for their passage to the new country. At the end of the voyage the contract was sold by the shipowner at the usual price of $65.00. The indentured servant fared little better than a slave for the term of his contract. Slavery had grown in Virginia from the first twenty slaves first brought to Jamestown in 1619, to about a fifth of the population of the state by 1745.

As previously stated, the counties of Frederick and Augusta were established November 1, 1738. Until that time the county of Orange, east of the Blue Ridge, had included all the territory west of the Blue Ridge. Frederick County was named in honor of Frederick, the Prince of Wales. Frederick was the son of King George II, and the father of King George III. Frederick died in 1751 while his father was still the king. Augusta County was named in honor of Frederick's wife, Princess Augusta. The establishment of the two new counties divided the territory west of the Blue Ridge. Augusta was the largest of the two new counties and included: all of the present Rockingham and part of Page counties; to the south it extended to the Virginia border; to the west and northwest it took in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, all of the area claimed by Great Britain in that direction.

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The act establishing the two new counties in 1738 stipulated that they were to remain under the jurisdiction of the parent county of Orange until there were a sufficient number of inhabitants for appointing justices of the peace, other officers, and erecting courts therein. The inhabitants of the new counties were excused from tax levies in the county of Orange and the parish of Saint Mark. So for several years the settlers still had to travel all the way across the Blue Ridge to the Orange County courthouse, a journey taking two or three days by horseback, to transact any official business. The only officially recognized church was the Episcopal Church of England. There was not an "official" church in Augusta County until 1747 which created a hardship for couples contemplating marriage. There were meeting houses, or places of worship, but their ministers were not allowed to perform marriages, and the people were still required to contribute to the support of the Established Church.

The first courthouse for Augusta County was a house donated by William Beverley at a place known as Beverley's Mill Place. The first session of court was December 9, 1745. The only business transacted during the first term of court was qualifying of the justices and swearing in of officers. The next session of the court was the following February 11th, when the first will was admitted to record, among other things on the large docket of business.

Money was counted in pounds, shillings and pence. A pound was equivalent to $3.33 1/3 in Virginia currency. Rates for ordinaries, as a tavern or innkeeper was then known, were fixed by the courts. The established rates in 1746 for Augusta County were:

                 Hot "diet"                             $   .12 1/2

                 Cold "diet"                                 .08

                 Bed with clean sheets               .04

                 Stabling and fodder at night      .08

                 Rum, a gallon                           1.50

                 Whiskey, a gallon                     1.00

                 Claret, a quart                            .83

Beverley's Mill Place became the town of Staunton when William Beverley recorded a plan for the town in February, 1749, as evidenced by Deed Book Number 2, Page 410. The plan called for twenty-five town lots of one-half acre each. The following year Beverley gave title to twenty-five

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acres to the justices for use as a courthouse and county buildings. Official matters were still conducted in the little eighteen by thirty-eight foot log house which had been donated by Beverley, until a new courthouse was completed in 1755. Church was also held in the courthouse. Beverley donated land for a new church in 1750, but the church was not started for ten years. The fashionable new brick church was completed three years later at a cost of $1,663.33, or 499 pounds. Staunton was the center of local government for a territory covering a section of the valley nearly two hundred fifty miles long.

A debtor was sentenced to serve time in jail during those early years, and most of the occupants of the jail were debtors. A courthouse yard contained many items used as corporal punishment for those unable to pay a monetary fine. A pillory consisted of a frame of adjustable boards erected on a post, having holes through which the head and hands of the offender were thrust while the culprit stood in a most uncomfortable position for the number of hours comprising the sentence. The stock was similar to the pillory except that the offender took the punishment in a seated position. A scolding woman was more apt to mind her tongue after a drenching on the ducking stool, which was a seat fastened to a long plank overhanging a pond. The whipping post was used for both men and women. The mother of an illegitimate child, or a woman found guilty of theft, usually received the required number of lashes as punishment for her crime. Swearing or drunkenness were against the law, as well as working on Sunday, slander, non-maintenance of roads, and tax delinquency. Non-conformity to the laws of the times was almost certain to result in a fine or the shame of public corporal punishment.

There had been an unsuccessful attempt in 1727 to colonize the Cowpasture River area. The Cowpasture had first been known as Clover Creek, and the Bullpasture River was first known as Newfoundland Creek. It is not known just when or why the names were changed. During the years 1745-1746, about 10,500 acres were surveyed in the Cowpasture River vicinity. The land surveyed was in Augusta County then, but is now a part of Bath County. The survey lists thirty men who had purchased the surveyed lands. The patent records are still to be found in Augusta County.

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Among the thirty names listed in the survey is the name of Alexander Millroy to whom Michael O'Hair was bound out in 1762. By 1752 the thirty families had grown to include a few more names and the people petitioned to have a road from the lower Cowpasture over the mountains to Borden's Manor tract.

The French and British both claimed the country west of the Allegheny Mountains. The Indians sided in with the French. James Patton, as the Augusta County Lieutenant, became a Colonel. In the fall of 1754, forty or fifty men were assigned to him by General Washington for the protection of the frontier against Indian attach. The British general, Braddock, was badly defeated July 9, 1755 at Fort Duquesne, near Pittsburgh. His defeat left the frontier open to greater Indian invasion. Terror spread throughout the frontier. Colonel Patton was one of those killed at the Draper's Meadow massacre July 30th. The numerous massacres caused many of the settlers to seek safety in the more populated areas east of the Blue Ridge and elsewhere. After Braddock's defeat in 1755, many settlers around the Cowpasture left their homes. Several families followed their dissenting minister to South Carolina. The Indian atrocities were numerous until the British again took over Fort Duquesne in 1758. The following year the British took Quebec.

When enough people lived within a new settlement to have its own courthouse, a new parish of the "official" Episcopal Church of England was established. The first vertrymen for the newly established parish were elected by the qualified voters of the community. Later vacancies were filled by the board. The vestrymen approved the hiring of a minister, or rector, for the new parish. The minister of the first parish in Augusta County was paid fifty pounds a year. A. minister was frequently paid in tobacco equivalent to his salary. Everyone living within the parish was required to contribute to the support of the "official" church even though he was a member of a dissenting congregation. The church vestrymen in those times assumed many of the duties now performed by our County Supervisors. The jurisdiction of orphans fell to the vestrymen.