Virginia Pioneers

Genealogy and History

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Europeans Settled the Shenandoah Valley

First, the Pennsylvania Germans came into the Shenandoah Valley. Then the Scots-Irish were attracted by the tall grass. Because of the physical barrier of the Allegheny Front on the West the settlers were steered South into Virginia. Actually, it was the Blue Ridge Mountains which deterred the English from moving into the Shenandoah Valley. Those in the valley imported merchandise from europe, such as cloth, guns, glass and wine. Like other colonists, they acquired sugar and rum from the West Indies. They exported were grain and other foodstuffs to the eastern towns.

John Lederer Explores the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains

John Lederer Map

Johann Lederer was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1644 and studied medicine at the Hamburg Academic Gymnasium where he matriculated in 1662. In 1668 he immigrated to Virginia, well-versed in French, Italian and Latin in addition to German. However, he had to learn English. Lederer came to know the colonial Governor of Virginia, who believed, as other Europeans, that the passage westward could easily be traveled by sea. Sir William Berkeley who was anxious to find that passage to the West and the Indian Ocean. Therefore, he commissioned three expeditions expeditions into the Appalachian mountains. On 9 March 1669, Lederer left Chickahominy, an Indian village located near the headwaters of the York River and traveled northwest to Eminent Hill. During this expedition, Lederer and the three members of his small party became the first Europeans to crest the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the first to lay their eyes upon the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and the Allegheny Mountains beyond. During May of the following year Lederer left Fort Charles (now Richmond) and followed the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains south into what is now North Carolina. He was accompanied by Major Harris who commanded twenty white men and five Indian guides. At that point, twenty-one members of the party turned back, but Lederer pushed on with Jackzetavon, one of his five Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannock guides and explored North Carolina as far as the Catawba River near what is now Charlotte. It was not until the middle of July before this company returned to the frontier post of Fort Henry which was located on the Appomattox River, but in August they he set out again, this time with Colonel John Catlett. They departed a small settlement south of the Rappahannock River and followed the Rappahannock River valley north, where Lederer wrote these words "vast herds of red and fallow deer which stood gazing at us". Unable to cross the Blue Ridge by horseback, they left their mounts with some Indians in the party and climbed the mountains by foot. When they reached the heights, they sighted the Allegheny Mountains beyond the Shenandoah Valley.

Traced genealogies and family histories of Shenandoah County available to Members !

Alderson Bowman Britton Bird
Funk Green Hairston Keller
Pennybacker Pugh Richardson Riddleberger
Rinker Sehorn Tipton

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Map of Shenandoah County Virginia

Shenandoah County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Probate Records

Shehandoah Valley

Shenandoah County was established in 1772 and was first named Dunmore County for Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore. The county was renamed Shenandoah in 1778, being named after the Senedos Indian tribe.

Shenandoah County Wills, Estates, Marriages available to members of Virginia Pioneers

  • McKay, George, LWT (1797)
  • McKay, James, LWT (1797)
Indexes to Probate Records
  • Wills and Inventories 1772 to 1784
  • Wills and Inventories 1783 to 1789
Digital Images of Wills 1772 to 1784
  • Abell, Joseph
  • Andrews, Frederick
  • Bell, Samuel
  • Darling, Adam
  • Dellinger, Christian
  • Downey, William
  • Durst, Isaac
  • Garret, Philip
  • Guyger, Jacob
  • Hoop, Peter
  • Hoy, John
  • Hurst, William
  • Miller, William
  • Nively, Anthony
  • Odell, Jeremiah
  • Offenbacher, Jacob
  • Peters, Ulrich
  • Pickenberger, Abraham
  • Pfifer, Henry
  • Prantz, Susan
  • Rohrer, Jacob
  • Slaughter, Francis
  • Snapp, Lawrence
  • Suddell, John Sr.
  • Surf, John Macon Sr.
Digital Images of Wills 1783 to 1789
  • Allen, Jackson
  • Ather, Henry
  • Barnett, Michael
  • Baughman, Henry
  • Beyer, Jacob
  • Calfee, John
  • Campbell, Alexander
  • Cloud, Henry
  • Denton, John
  • Derk, Simon
  • Dodson, John
  • Garber, John Sr.
  • Hackman, Benjamin
  • Harrow, David
  • Holeman, Jacob
  • Houburt, Nicholas
  • Huddle, David
  • Kagy, Henry Sr.
  • Keesling, Winny
  • Keller, George
  • Kiser, Henry
  • Lambert, Christopher
  • Layman, Benjamin
  • Loghmiller, George
  • McCarty, James
  • Mathis, Alexander
  • Miller, Henry
  • Mowren, Mary
  • Nulen, David
  • Oberhold, Samuel
  • Oldenbrouch, Daniel
  • Ruddell, Archible
  • Ryan, Edward
  • Stephens, William
  • Taylor, Charles
  • Volckner, Allen
  • Woolman, David
Jamestown Map
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