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Rappahannock County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Marriages, Indexes to Probate Records

Rappahannock County Court House
Rappahannock County was first founded in 1656 from part of Lancaster County. Many of the first colonists resided in the area and records exist back to the sixteen hundredths. This old county became extinct in 1692 when it was separated to form Essex and Richmnd Counties. In 1833, the Virginia General Assembly created the currently existing Rappahannock County, taking land from Culpeper County. It was named after the old Rappahannock River which separates it from Fauquier County. The county seat is Washington, Virginia.

Historical Tidbits: In 1669 Thomas Butler of Rappahannock County bound himself to deliver to George Brown, the captain of the Elizabeth of London, three hogsheads of sweet-scented tobacco belonging to the choicest portion of his crop. Brown was to carry this tobacco to England and there to dispose of it for money sterling. After having laid aside twenty-two pounds for his own use, the amount of a claim which he held against Butler for goods previously sold to him, Brown was to employ whatever remained in buying linen and woollen cloths, shoes and stockings to be conveyed to Butler in Virginia.

Sources: Records of Rappahannock County, original vol. 1668-1672, p. 291. Want to receive more historical tidbits on Virginians? Join our free blog

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John Lederer, Adventurer
By Jeannette Holland Austin

The Discoveries of John Lederer In 1669 and 1670, John Lederer was known to have made three journeys into the interior of Virginia. These journeys took him up the York and James Rivers and the third he describes as "from the Falls of the Rappahannock River to the top of the Apalataen Mountains." Although he obtained the consent of Sir William Berkeley before making his explorations, he seems to have incurred the ill-will of the Virginians themselves who were being attacked and thieved upon by local Indians. Governor Berkeley was well aware of the Indian difficulties, but refused to do anything about it. It was a climate of danger for European settlers and Lederer being friendly to the natives may have sparked off a flame, as he was afterwards forced to flee into Maryland. Lederer met Sir William Talbot in Maryland, who sympathized with and befriended him and translated the story of his travels from the latin. It was published in London in 1672 with a "foreword" by Talbot in defense of Lederer. The account of Lederer concerning the Indians then inhabiting the western parts of Carolina and Virginia, he said:

"The Indians now seated in these parts are none of those which the English removed from Virginia, but a people driven by the Enemy from the northwest, and invited to sit down here by an Oracle above four hundred years since, as they pretend for the ancient inhabitants of Virginia were far more rude and barbarous,[9] feeding only upon raw flesh and fish, until they taught them to plant corn, and shewed them the use of it."

Lederer referred to the Piedmont region as "The Highlands" and wrote: "These parts were formerly possessed by the Tacci, alias Dogi, but they are extinct and the Indians now seated here, are distinguished into the several nations of Mahoc, Nuntaneuck, alias Nuntaly, Nahyssan, Sapon, Managog, Mangoack, Akernatatzy and Monakin &c. One language is common to them all, though they differ in dialects. The parts inhabited here are pleasant and fruitful because cleared of wood and laid open to the Sun." The Tacci, alias Dogi Indians described by Lederer are suggested by Mooney may have been those participating in the Bacon rebellion in 1676, probably a branch of the Nanticoke. Source: Legends of Loudoun by Harrison (1938); The Discoveries of John Lederer,

Carpenters in Rappahannock
By Jeannette Holland Austin Jeannette Holland Austin(profile)

Thomas Madison was the most prominent and prosperous of all the carpenters at Rappahannock. His name appears frequently in the records as a seller or purchaser of land. At the time of his death, he had to his credit in England 70 pds. sterling, which had been gained by shipments of tobacco to the mother country. Such details are never learned, unless the historian or genealogists takes the care to read the old will s, estates and deeds. Source: Records of Rappahannock County, 1668-1672, pp. 48, 59, 215; ibid. vol. 1664-1673, p. 78.


A Distillery
By Jeannette Holland Austin

"A distillery in Rappahannock County, Virginia has tempted twelve stands from the path of honey and wax and made confirmed inebriates of them. Before the distillery was started, their owner, a woman, found the bees very profitable, but their periodic visits to the still have made them comparatively worthless." Source: The Jones Headlight, Grays Station, Georgia, Saturday, January 7, 1888.

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