Virginia Pioneers

Shawnee Chief "Cornstalk" Attacks Botetourt Militia at Point Pleasant

CornstalkThe Shawnees and Mingoes were causing havoc in the mountains of Virginia during the early 18th century. After the French and Indian War, Europeans began to pour into the region from Pennsylvania, traveling down the Wilderness Road into the mountains of Virginia (later Kentucky and West Virginia). They were Germans, Scotch-Irish, and Quakers from Philadelphia. The large quaker families of the Boones from Philadelphia drifted across these mountains in search of new homes. They had ten to fifteen children and the son of George Boone IV, Squire Boone (there were several generations by this name) moved in Botetourt County. Also, the Francis Easom family came to Botetourt from Talbot County, Maryland and during the process two of their daughters were kidnapped. Edward Franklin (of Spotsylvania County) patented 400 acres in 1734 on the NW side of Blue Water Run above the Little Mountain on a ridge in the Octonia Line at the foot of Piney Mountain (called Neds Mountain). A rock mill was nearby to process the octonia rocks in the region. Later on, the Orange County Minute Book of 1736 was petitioned by John Cleveland to reassign the road duty on Piny Mountain Run near Octonia Mill, stating that Edward Franklyn, Laurence Franklyn (and his son, Benjamin) should work the lower part of the road. This is exactly the site of the original land patent (in Orange County, later Botetourt County). When the Indian situation arose, volunteers, from the ages of sixteen to sixty, turned out to put down the problem. A son of Francis Easom, Samuel, enlisted, as well as James Franklin (probably killed) and William Franklin who had purchased land in Buchanan, on the banks of the James River. William Franklin was listed as wounded in the battle of Mt. Pleasant on October 10, 1744 and was released about a week later. The battle of Pt. Pleasant (or Kanawha) was fought primarily between the Virginia Militia and the Mingo and Shawnee Indians. During 1774 there was an increase of violence between the european settlers and Native Americans in western Virginia. Thus, the Virginia Governor John Murray, the Earl of Dunmore, attempted to impose peace by sending militia into the Ohio Valley. Lord Dunmore created two armies, personally leading seventeen hundred men from the north, while Andrew Lewis (of Botetourt Militia) directed eight hundred troops through the Kanawha Valley. Shawnee chief Keigh-tugh-qua, or Cornstalk, elected to strike the southern regiment before it united with the force of Lord Dunmore. On October 10th, about twelve hundred Indians under Cornstalk attacked the troops of Captain Lewis troops at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers at present-day Point Pleasant. The battle resulted in significant losses on both sides and forced the Shawnee to retreat to protect their settlements in the Scioto Valley of present-day Ohio. As a condition of the subsequent Treaty of Camp Charlotte, Native Americans relinquished property and hunting claims on land south of the Ohio River. Consequently, the Battle of Point Pleasant eliminated Native Americans as a threat on the frontier for the first three years of the Revolutionary War and cleared the way for more rapid settlement of the region.

For genealogists to locate ancestors in Botetourt (originally Orange, Augusta Counties), it is necessary to explore the activities of the early settlers. Specificially, learn the officer under whom the ancestor fought, and follow the career of that officer. Lists of the volunteers under Captains Philip Love and Andrew Lewis are listed with the Botetourt County probate records and available to members of Virginia Pioneers

Map of Botetourt County

Genealogy History

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Salem, Explored and Settled

Salem, Virginia The area surrounding Salem was originally occupied by Indian tribes, especially the Souan-speaking Totero people who still had a village there in 1671 when explorers Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam named the region Totero Town. Fort Lewis was later built West of the town (1752) in Roanoke County to protect settlers against the Indians and was named after General Andrew Lewis. Andrew Lewis distinguished himself in the French and Indian War, serving under George Washington in 1754 at Fort Necessity. In 1774, Lewis later led the Virginia troops against a Confederacy of Indian Nations in the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774 and during the Revolutionary War Lewis drove Lord Dunmore, the last British Governor, out of Virginia. In 1800, the son of General Lewis, William, sold 31-acres to his neighbor James Simpson for $100. At this time, fewer than twenty-five families inhabited the area between the Roanoke River and Fort Lewis Mountain, but Simpson subdivided the land he purchased from William Lewis into purchasable lots on each side of the ":Great Road".; Through the sale of those lots, Salem quickly grew into a prosperous community serving travelers as they headed west along the Great Road. In the first decades of the century, local businesses included taverns, stables, blacksmith shops, wagon and buggy repair facilities, groceries, clothing stores, a horse racing track, and a canal navigation company. The same road bed known as the "Great Road" into the region later became US-11 and Interstate 81. The town of Salem was officially settled in 1802. George Hartman, a waggon-maker, owned several town houses and lots in 1823, mentioned in his last will and testaemtn. Also, upon the death of Thomas Goodwin in 1818, his estate reflected that he owned three tracts of land consisting of 181 acres on the north and south sides of the James River.

Origins of Virginians

Botetourt County, Virginia Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Marriages, Military Records

Botetourt County Court House

The first court house was constructed in 1772, built with logs, destroyed by fire in 1848. There were several fires which destroyed subsequent buildings and a new building was built in 1975. The county was formed in 1770 from Augusta County and it derived its name from Lord Botetourt, the Governor of Virginia.

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

  • Old Map of Botetourt County
  • Wood Map of Botetourt County
  • Marriages 1770-1803
Indexes to Probate Records
  • Index to Wills, Deeds, Estates 1824 to 1829
  • General Index to Deeds 1770 to 1889
Miscellaneous Wills
  • McCoy, James, LWT (transcript)
  • McCoy, John, LWT (transcript)
  • Wallace, John, LWT (transcript)
  • Index to Marriages 1770 to 1853
  • First SUrveys 1770 to 1772
  • List of Volunteers of 1744 from Botetourt County in Dunmore's War
  • Veterans of War of 1812 published in Fincastle Herald 1 Oct 1899
  • Some Revolutionary War Records
Digital Images of Botetourt County Wills 1824 to 1829

Testators: Anderson, Robert ; Bannister, Elijah ; Betts, Elisha ; Bowyer, John ; Byrd, Thomas Sr. ; Calhoun, William ; Compton, William ; Freeman, Aggy ; Getty, Jeremiah ; Goodwin, Thomas ; Gulliford, Anna ; Hartman, George ; Holstine, Stephen ; Horn, Charles ; Kinsey, Christian ; Knight, James ; Lacklin, Elisha ; London, James ; McClanahan, Sarah ; McElhaney, Samuel ; Obenchain, Philip ; Palmore, Charles; Patterson, Timothy ; Peffley, David ; Pitzer, John ; Reed, Frederick ; Reed, Thomas ; Shaver, Andrew ; Smith, Absalom Sr. ; Spiller, Jacob ; Stover, William ; Terry, Stephen ; Wallace, David ; Wallace, William ; Welch, John ; Womack, William

Digital Images of Botetourt County Wills 1829 to 1838

Testators: Anderson, Nancy ;Arms, Andrew; Book, Philip; Bowyer, Henry; Breckinridge, James; Britz, Adam; Cartmell, Henry Jr. ;Copp, Christian; Crawford, Josiah; Crush, Daniel; Crutchfield, Thompson; Detzett, James ;Dillon, John ;Douglass, John ;Eller, Jacob ;Falls, James ;Ferrill, Stephen ;Floyd, Edward ;Franklin, David ;Gist, George; Gish, Jacob ;Harvey, Robert ;Johnston, Charles; Jordan, John ;Kittinger, Rudolph ;Kyle, Sarah ;Lemmon, Frederick ;Little, William ;Lyon, George; Mayline, Reason ;McDonald, William; McKaliston, Garland ;Middlecaugh, John ;Mitler, Valentine ;Parker, Caleb;Poage, George; Poage, William ;Preston, John ;Quigley, Margaret ;Robinson, Isaac; Rowland, William; Safford, Adam; Sharkey, Nicholas ;Sheck, Jacob ;Sherrit, Thomas; Smiley, William; Snider, Mathias ;Stewart, Samuel ;Stever (or Stover), George ;Stover, John ;Taylor, Allen; Thomas, Francis; Van Meter, Hester ;Weitzel, John ;Whalen, Dennis ;White, Samuel ;Whitten, William ;Wilson, Thomas

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