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Historical Sketches 








Librnry of Conc4ress 

Two Copies Receivfo 
AUG 25 1900 

C«pjrrij{ht Mitr^ 
N. A / 


2rKJ Copy Ddivbrari t» 


^£P1 lyju 






Whilst visiting Soutliwest Virginia I was often urged 
by my relatives and friends (descendants of associates 
of a past generation) to write some " historical sketches " 
of the earliest patents and settlers of that section, and 
also of those traditions which were fast fading from the 
memories of the " oldest inhabitants," and which I alone 
could recall. This obligation to my friends was pressed 
with renewed earnestness in the autumn of 1897, and in 
order partially to discharge it, I, aided by my friends. 
Judge F. B. Hutton and others, examined the records 
of Washington county, so as to verify dates and refresh 
my memory about the periods of many incidents. 

The Mayor of Abingdon did me the kindness to put the 
records of the town into my hands and allowed me to 
make such extracts from them as I chose. With these 
aids and with court papers, courteously furnished by Mr. 
James L. White, I entered upon the composition of this 
little book, painfully conscious that the duty had been 
too long deferred. Before, however, beginning the task, 
I examined many histories of Virginia to ascertain what 
had been written about the Southwest. All the his- 
torians were Eastern Virginians, and only brief allusions 


8 Preface. 

had been made to the iiieu aud matters of the West, aud 
these often with errors of date and family connections. 

It would have been a pleasant task had 1 been younger, 
to show the importance of the civil and military services 
given by the men who drafted the proceedings of "the 
Freehohlers of Fincastle County " in the struggle for 
independence. The material for that purpose is scanty, 
and may soon be entirely lost. But perhaps some abler 
and younger man, following the trail which I have 
blazed, may perform this duty to the noble dead. Those 
men, with their contemporaries, truly composed the van- 
guard of the Revolution. 

My Reminiscences illustrate, to some extent, the 
society of that period of our history to which they refer, 
and may recall similar incidents, traditions and legends 
in many families of Virginia. 

I am under great obligations to my friend. Professor 
John Hart, for his judicious and careful editing of my 
book. He makes clear what was obscure and eliminates 
repetitions which had been overlooked. 

Thomas Lewis Preston. 

Uuhrrsiti/ of Vinjinia, August, J 899. 


lu April, 1748, a party of pioneers left Wayuesborough, 
iu Angusta county, Virginia, to explore the unknown 
country beyond the Alleghany Mountains. This party* 
was organized and led by Colonel James Patton, and 
consisted of John Buchanan (Patton's son-in-law), Charles 
Campbell (brother-in-law of Buchanan), Dr. Thomas 
Walker, and James Wood, of Albemarle county, together 
with a number of hunters and woodsmen. 

Colonel Patton had been a lieutenant in the British 
navy, and received from George II. a grant of 120,000 
acres of land to be located in Virginia west of the Alle- 
ghany Mountains. At that i^eriod this country was 
absolutely a terra iucogiiifa, and, so far as the grantor 
knew, had never been visited by a white man. This fact, 
however, did not daunt the adventurous spirit of the 
gallant seaman. He came with his wife and two daugh- 
ters to America about 1732, and settled at Spring Hill, 
near Waynesborough, then an unbroken wilderness. His 
home was afterwards included in the patent of the 
" Manor of Beverley," granted on the 6th of September, 
1736, by Governor William Gooch, and in the name of 
George II. by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, 
France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc. 

* Waddell's Annals of Augusta County, p. 38. King's Mountain and 
its Heroes, p. 379. 


10 Historical Sl-ctches and 

The patentees were William Beverley, of Essex; Sir 
John Eandolph, of Williamsburg; Richard Randolph, of 
Henrico, and John Robinson, of King and Queen. The 
grant was for 118,491 acres " in the county of Orange, 
between the great mountains and on the river Shen- 
ando." On the next day (September 7th) the other 
grantees released their interests in the patent to Bever- 
ley. This patent embraced a large part of the present 
county of Augusta, south as well as north of Staunton. 
To perfect the title to his settlement, Patton bought or 
accepted one from William Beverley for 1,398 acres for 
five shillings (83^ cents) in 1740. 

Colonel Patton was about fifty-eight years old, of a 
tall and commanding figure and great physical strength 
and vigor. He was wealthy and well educated, and well 
fitted for the long and arduous expedition he planned. 
His party was also well chosen for the same purpose. 
John Buchanan (his son-in-law) was a surveyor, as was 
also Charles Campbell, both of whom had the spirit and 
courage of the early pioneers, with the physical attri- 
butes of strength and power of endurance. 

Dr. Thomas Walker, born January 15, 1715, was thirty- 
three years old, and in the prime of manhood. He was 
richly eadowed with every qualification for such an 
expedition, mentally and physically, and, as physician 
and surveyor, a great accession to the party. It is fair to 
assume that he and Colonel Patton were previously well 
acquainted. Their homes were hardly forty miles apart, 
and the enterprising and wealthy seaman found a con- 
genial spirit in the daring, restless and intelligent owner 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 11 

of 15,000 acres of land on the slopes of the Southwest 

This first* exploring expedition in all probability 
awakened in Dr. Walker that spirit of adventure that 
prompted the second in 1750, when he crossed the Cum- 
berland Mountain, east of Cumberland Gap, and struck 
the head-waters of Kentucky river, not far from and 
west of the present Whitesburg, and thence went down 
that river, and, crossing " a divide ' ' to the waters of Big 
Sandy, proceeded as far as the juncture of the two forks. 
He named the western fork " Louisa," pronounced by the 
people of the country Lewcsa. The rivers mentioned in 
Dr. Walker's Journal (page 56) — viz., Hunting creek, 
Miller's river and Frederick's river, are branches of the 
Kentucky. Dr. Walker also made a third expedition, 
when he surveyed the tract of land of 6,780 acres in Wolf 
Hills, for which a patent was granted him from George 
II., July 14, 1752. 

This tract embraced the present site of Abingdon, and 
ran from the foot of W^alker's Mountain on the north to 
the Knobs on the south. The consideration for this 
patent was £34. These several expeditions prepared and 
pointed to Dr. Walker in 1779 as peculiarly fitted to be 
" chief of the commissioners on the part of Virginia to 
meet the commissioners from North Carolina in order 
to run the boundary line between these two Common- 

The well organized and equipped party of Colonel 
Patton left the vicinity of Waynesborough in April, 1748, 

* J. H. Hale's Trans-AUeghany Pioneer, p. 250. 

12 Historical Sl-rtchr.s and 

and, following the trend of the mountains towards the 
southwest, as did the buffaloes in their periodical migra- 
tions, it passed through the present counties of Rock- 
bridge, Botetourt, Roanoke, Pulaski, Wythe, Smyth and 
Washington, in Virginia, and Sullivan, Hawkins, Gran- 
ger and Claiborne, in Tennessee, to Cumberland Gap. 
" Reaching the summit, where now the three States of 
" Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee meet, we may 
" imagine they pitched their tents near the limpid foun- 
" tains which send their waters towards the rising and 
" setting sun. They were loyal subjects of the British 
" crown, and when on the morrow they looked over the 
" vast country spread out below them they felt that there 
" was a greater domain than that secured to his Majesty 
" by the victory of Cullodon in April, 1746. Patton, grate- 
" ful for his princely grant, and glowing with enthusiasm 
" for the young imperial general, named the mountain 
" and the river that rises along its western base for the 
" Duke of Cumberland." 

No diary of this remarkable expedition has been found, 
and yet its incipiency and details have lingered among 
the descendants of the Pattons and Campbells to the 
present day, and have been noted by Joseph A. Waddell 
in his " Annals of Augusta County," and by Lyman C. 
Draper in " King's Mountain and Its Heroes " (page 379). 
The w^riter knows the fact that Dr. Draper had access to 

Note. — Theodore Roosevelt, in his " Winning of the West," gives 
Dr. Thos. Walker the credit of naming Cumberland Mountain and 
Cumberland Gap, basing his assertions upon Dr. Walker's diary of his 
exploration in 1750. His exploration was ///vj years aftir that made 
by Colonel Patton, whom he accompanied. 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 13 

and examined the papers of Mrs. Sarali B. Preston, grand- 
daughter of Charles Canii)bell, and those of Colonel Wil- 
liam Preston, the acting executor both of Colonel James 
Patton and John Buchanan, who died at his house near 
Amsterdam, Botetourt county, Virginia. 

In 1749, John Buchanan, certainly, and, perhaps, 
Campbell, revisited the country they had explored, for 
in that year Buchanan located and surveyed a tract of 
1,900 acres, called " Sapling Grove," on the 21st of Feb- 
ruary, 1749. Tills land was claimed by John Taylor, who 
assigned it to James Patton, and he assigned it to John 
Buchanan. Buchanan did not obtain a patent for it, and 
after his death, the survey was laid before the Court of 
Appeals by his executors, William Campbell and William 
Preston, and the court " certified " it to be established, 
and it was then (December 23, 1779,) granted to William 
Campbell and William Preston, Executors of John Buch- 
anan, by Thomas Jefferson, Governor of Virginia. The 
executors died before transferring the patent to Buch- 
anan's heirs, and the obligation of discharging this duty 
fell upon Francis Preston, executor of William Preston, 
by whom it was performed about 1797 or 1798. 

This tract of 1,960 acres was in latter years owned by 
the Bev. James King, and is that on which the joint 
cities of Bristol, Tennessee and Virginia, are located. 

Charles Campbell, the other surveyor of Colonel James 
Patton's pioneer expedition, in all probability, accom- 
panied John Buchanan in 1749, and surveyed some of 
the lands which were patented to him and J. Buchanan 
in 1753. There is a tradition in the family that on the 
first surveying expedition there came to the camp of the 

1^1 Hisiorical i^kctchcH and 

party a hunter, who, after partaking of their hospitality, 
said that he knew their purpose, and if they would sur- 
vey a tract of land he had chosen, he would show the 
best lands in all that section of country, for he had 
hunted over it; and, further, that he was on friendly 
terms with the Indians, and would insure the party 
against any attack or molestation by them. 

This was agreed to and the survey made, and the 
patent assured to St. Clair (pronounced Sinkler) in 1753. 
Some confirmation of this tradition is found in the fact 
that the date of the patent to St. Clair is the same 
(1753) as those to Aspiuvale and the " Salt Lick " (now 
the Alkaline Works of Sniythe county), patented to 
Charles Campbell. 

St. Clair's " choice," a fine body of land on the South 
Fork of the Holston, is now known as Sinkler's Bottom. 
It is well situated, but was the least fertile tract sur- 
veyed by those sagacious judges of soils, Charles Camp- 
bell and John Buchanan. 

In the distribution of the lands under the grant to 
Colonel Patton, the tradition of the families is, that 
every alternate survey was for the daughters or sisters 
of the surveyors. 

John Buchanan first settled at Pattonsburg, on the 
James river, in Botetourt county, and the opposite bank 
was called Buchanan. A few years afterwards he moved 
to the tract given to his wife Margaret by her father. 
Colonel James Patton, and called it "Anchor and Hope." 
The present "Anchor and Hope Church " near Miax 
Meadows, in Wythe county, is not far from the site of 
John Buchanan's house. 

Reminiscences of an Octogenttrian. 15 

Mrs. Laetitia Floyd (daughter of Colonel William 
Preston, and wife of Governor pJolin Floyd), says in 
her letters to her son that " Colonel Patton came to 
"the extreme western counties of this State (Virginia); 
" he located all the fine lands of Upper James river, 
"Catawba, and the Amsterdam lands in Botetourt 
"county; he then came to North Roanoke, Strouble's 
" creek, embracing the Blacksburg lands and Smithfleld, 
" the present seat of Colonel James Patton Preston. 
" After that he came to Burk's Garden and the Rich 
" Valley on the Holstein, in which the celebrated salt- 
" works of Mrs. Sally (Sarah) Preston and Mr. William 
" King are situated." She says that this exploration was 
after the treaty with the Indians, made at Log Town, 
somewhere near Pittsburg. In this Mrs. Floyd makes a 
chronological mistake. The treaty of Log Town was 
made January 13, 1752, nearly four years after the 
pioneer exploration. But on the streams and at the 
places mentioned by Mrs. Floyd surveys were made by 
Colonel Patton's deputies or agents, John Buchanan 
and Charles Campbell. 

In confirmation of these facts it is or was of record at 
Orange court-house and Staunton that the lands were 
held by William Preston's descendants near Amsterdam 
and Fincastle, in Botetourt; John Buchanan's at Pat- 
tonsburg and Anchor and Hope; William Thompson's 
(who married Colonel Patton's daughter Ann), at Burk's 
Garden, and on the Holston, where Chilhowie is now 
situated. This latter tract extending from Walker's 
Mountain on the north and over the Chestnut Ridge to 
the south; from the Aspinvale tract on the east to 

16 Historical k^Jcctchcs and 

and including the James Bjars tract on tlie west, must 
liaA'e embraced some 8,000 acres — perhaps more. 

Before leaving this subject of the early surveys it may 
be mentioned that in 1749 the Loyal* Company was 
formed by Colonel James Patton, Dr. Thomas Walker, 
and others, with a grant of 800,000 acres of land to be 
located north of the Korth Carolina line and west of 
the Alleghanj^ Mountains. In that year Colonel Patton 
and William Ingles visited Burk's Garden and located 
land there. 

This preliminary account of the patents and early 
exi^lorations beyond the Alleghany Mountains is a neces- 
sary preface to the story of the settlement of the country. 
These explorations opened a new region, fertile, pic- 
turesque and healthy, abounding in a great variety of 
game. Buffalo, elk, deer, bear, turkeys and other smaller 
birds and beasts frequented the primitive forests and 
glades, and the streams were full of fine fish. It is not 
to be Avondered at that a current of immigration flowed 
into this " choicest of lands," and filled up the recesses 
in the vicinity of the first large surveys. 

* Trans-Alleghany Pioneer, p. 108. 

Rcininificcnccs of an Ocioycnarian. 17 


The most substantial early settlers on the v^^aters of 
the Holston were the Scotch-Irish or their descendants. 
They came not only from Augusta and the Valley of Vir- 
ginia, but from Pennsylvania and directly from Ireland 
and Scotland. The frequent murderous incursions of the 
Indians into Pennsylvania and along the borders of the 
Ohio turned the tide of immigration more towards the 
interior, and the large grants to Borden and to Beverley 
Manor induced many to seek the more secluded and 
equally eligible lands of the western waters. It may be 
impossible now to ascertain who were the firf<t settlers 
in the Valley of the Holston. The first name I have found 
is that of Samuel Stalnaker, whom Dr. Walker mentions 
in his journal (March 23, 1750). He had met Stalnaker 
in April, 1748, between the Reedy Creek settlements 
and Holston river, on his way to trade with the Cherokee 

In 1750, Stalnaker had settled on the Holston about 
nine miles below " Davis' Bottom," and Dr. Walker and 
Mr. Powell helped him to build his cabin. The location 
of this, the first cabin on the waters of the Holston, 
cannot now be ascertained. 

The next name mentioned is that of Taylor, who had 

18 Historical Hkctchcs and 

settled at Sapling Grove (now Bristol), and from whom 
Colonel Patton bought the settler's right and gave the 
tract to his son-in-law, John Buchanan, to whose heirs 
the patent for 1,960 acres was issued, as heretofore 

Next comes St. Clair, the hunter, to whom was 
patented Sinkler's Bottom in 1753. Not long afterAvards 
came the Dungans, who squatted on a part of the Aspin- 
vale tract, and afterwards entered land near the foot of 
Walker's Mountain. Soon other settlers poured in and 
took up land further west. On the South Fork were the 
Scotts, Thomases and Grahams; on the Middle Fork the 
Edmondsons, Berrys, Dentons, and many others. On 
the North Fork, near the Salt-works, were the Scotts, 
Lyons, Crabtrees, Talbots, Henegars and others. In 
short, the tide of immigration was directed to this in- 
terior and fertile country by Colonel Patton, Dr. Thomas 
Walker and others of the Loyal Company, and by the 
fact that the settlements on the waters of the Ohio from 
Pennsylvania and the Valley of Virginia westward were 
made unsafe by the hostility of the Indians, who in times 
of peace were troublesome, and whose plundering incur- 
sions often terminated in pitiless massacres. These 
influences combined to fill rapidly the Valley of the 
Holston, so that in tAventy years from the date of the 
earliest patents, and less than thirty years after the first 
pioneer exploration (1748) there was a well-organized 
and established community of intelligent and God-fear- 
ing people. No better evidence of this fact need be 
adduced than that in January, 1773, there were one hun- 
dred and thirty-eight (138) signatures to " a call from the 

Reminiscences ejf an Octof/enarian. 19 

united congregations of Ebbing and Sinking Springs on 
Holston's river, Fincastle county, to be presented to the 
Rev. Cliarles Cumniings, minister of the Gospel at the 
Rev. Presbytery of Hanover, then sitting at the Tinkling 

Sinking Spring is not a mile northwest of Abingdon, 
at the eastern base of Academy Hill. The Ebbing Spring 
is about tAvelve miles east of Abingdon, on the Middle 
Fork of Holston, and Tinkling Spring, where the Presby- 
tery sat, is in Augusta county, about three miles west of 

The full list of the 138 signatures to this call was given 
by Governor David Campbell, November 12, 1851, to the 
Rev. William Henry Foote, and is found on pages 116 
and 117 of his " Sketches of Virginia " (second series). 
These names are so familiar to many of the citizens of 
Washington county that the list is copied in full: 

William Lester, James Piper, 

W^illiam Page, James Harrold, 

Samuel Buchanan, Jr., Samuel Newell, 

Thomas Montgomery, David Wilson, 

Samuel Bell, David Craig, 

John Campbell, Robert Gamble, 

Richard Moore, Andrew Martin, 

Thomas Ramsey, Augustus Webb, 

Samuel Wilson, Samuel Brigg, 

Joseph Vance, W^esley White, 

William Young, James Dorchester, 

William Davidson, James Fulkerson, 

James Young, Stephen Jordan, 


Ifisforical i^lrtchcs and 

Joliu Sliarp, 
John Long", 
Robert Topp, 
John Hnnt, 
Thomas Bailey, 
David Gattgood, 
Alexander Breckinridge 
George Clark, 
James Molden, 
William Blanton, 
Chris'r Acklin, 
James Craig, 
Joseph Gamble, 
John McNabb, 
Chris'r Fnnkhonser, 
John Funkhouser, 
John Fnnkhonser, Jr., 
John Sharp, 
John Berry, 
James Montgomery, 
Samuel Hnston, 
Henry Cresswell, 
George Adams, 
George Buchanan, 
James Dysart, 
William [Miller, 
Andrew Leeper, 
David Snodgrass, 
Dan'l jNfcCormick, 
Francis Kincannon, 
Joseph Snodgrass, 

Alex. Laughlin, 
James Inglish, 
John Bobinson, 
James Kincannon, 
Margaret Edmiston, 
John Edmiston, 
John Boyd, 
Kobert Kirkham, 
Martin Pruit, 
Nicholas Brobston, 
Andrew Miller, 
Alexander McNutt, 
William Bruitt, 
John McCutchen, 
James Berry, 
James Trimble, 
William Berry, 
Moses Buchanan, 
David Carson, 
Samuel Buchanan, 
William Bates, 
William McMillin, 
John Kennedy, 
Kobert Lamb, 
Thomas Rafferty, 
Thomas Baker, 
John Groce, 
Robert Buchanan, 
Thomas Evans, 
William Marlor, 
William Edmiston, 

Rfniiiiiscrnccs of an Oclof/oKiridii. 


James Tlionipson, 
Robert Deniston, 
William Edmiston, 
Sam'l Edmiston, 
Andrew Kin cannon, . 
John Kelley, 
George Blaclvburn, 
William Blackburn, 
James Vance, 
John Casey, 
Benjamin Logan, 
Robert Edmondson, 
Thomas Berry, 
Robert Trimble, 
William JMcGaughey, 
David Drydon, 
William McNabb, 
John Davis, 
Ilalbert iMcCliire, 
Arthur Blackburn, 
Kath'l Davis. 
Sam'l Evans, 
William Kennedy, 
Andrew McFarren, 
Sam'l Hendry, 
John Patterson, 
James Gil more, 
John Lowrey, 
William Christian, 
Andrew^ Colvill, 
Robert Craig, 

Thomas Edmiston, 
John Beaty, 
David Beaty, 
George Feator, 
Mich'l Halyacre, 
Stephen Cawood, 
James Garvill, 
Robert Buchanan, Jr., 
Edward Jamison, 
Richard Higgons, 
John Lester, 
Hugh Johnson, 
Edward Pilaris, 
Josei)h Lester, 
Sam'l White, 
George Blackburn, 
Arthur Blackburn, 
Wm. Blackburn, 
Joseph Black, 
Joseph Craig, 
Robert Craig, 
John Dover, 
Nathaniel Davis, 
Geo. Clark, 
John Campbell, 
Jas. Gil more, 
John Lowrey, 
Geo. Feator (Flenor?) 
Jas. Dysart, 
John Kelley, 
Jas. Piper, 

22 Historica] .SlrtcJics and 

Joseph Black, Stephen Cawood, 

Jonathan Douglass, John Lester, 

William Berry, James Lester, 

John Cusick, Wm. Lester. 

The Ebbing Spring-, I am sorry to hear, has ceased " to 
ebb and flow." \Yhen I last visited it it ebbed and flowed 
at intervals of about two or three hours. In its normal 
condition it is a bold, beautiful stream, flowing from 
among limestone rocks. Before the water begins to flow 
there is a gurgling sound, and then the stream gushes 
out with a rapid current, filling the channel. The ebb 
begins gradually and in less than half an hour the spring 
is as limpid and quiet as it was before the disturbance. 

It will be observed that the " Call " is dated " Fincastle 
county." At that time this county embraced all that 
country belonging to Virginia west of Montgomery 
county, and was supposed to extend to the Ohio on the 
north and the Mississii)i on the west. It had a short 
existence, as it was established in 1772, and abolished 
in 1776, " when the territory covered by it was divided 
into three new counties — viz., Montgomery, Washington, 
and Kentuck}'. It was called ' Fincastle ' from the seat 
of Lord Botetourt, in England, Fin Castle.''^ The county 
seat of this county was at " Fort Chiswell," now in 
Wythe county, and the seat of the McGavock family. 
The fort was built by the State in 1758 under the direc- 
tion and superintendence of the third Colonel William 
Byrd, and named by him after his friend. Colonel John 
Chiswell, the owner and operator of the " New River 

Rctitini,s(riicc.s of an Ori()</viiari<ui. 23 

Lead Mines " (then but recently discovered by him), a 
few miles distant. 

Fort Chiswell has other claims to historical associa- 
tion. It was the meetini>- place, in all probability, of that 
band of " West Augusta " patriots who were the first to 
resolve " to resist the aggressions of England by force." 
The author of those celebrated " Fincastle Resolutions " 
is not authentically ascertained. They may have been 
written by the Kev. Charles Cummings, or by Colonel 
William Preston, or William Christian, or Arthur or 
William Campbell, or by some other of the many who 
signed them. The only names given by Lyman C. Draper 
in " King's iMountain and Its Heroes " are Colonels Wil- 
liam Preston, William Christian, Arthur and William 
Campbell, and William Edmondson, Rev. Charles Cum- 
mings and other leaders of Fincastle county, comprising 
the Holston settlements. They are dated January 20, 
1775, three months before the battle of Lexington; four, 
before the " patriotic resolves " of the people of Mecklen- 
burg, North Carolina; five, before the battle of Bunker's 
Hill, and nearly a year and five months before the Decla- 
ration of Independence. 

These resolutions were sent to General Washington, 
then a member of the convention in Philadelphia. He 
knew, personally, several of the signers, and was a friend 
and correspondent of Colonel William Preston. With 
this knowledge of the leaders and the people of the 
county they represented, he felt warranted in saying, 
" Strip me of the dejected and suffering remnant of my 
army; take from me all that I have left; leave me but a 
banner; give me but the means to plant it upon the 

2J^ Historical ^^Irtches and 

mountains of West Augusta,* and I will yet draw around 
me the men who will lift up their bleeding country from 
the dust and set her free." 

The report of the committee appointed to draft the 
proceedings to the meeting of " the Freeholders of Fin- 
castle county," and " the Holston settlement " is so 
replete with interest and reflects so accurately the feel- 
ings of the intelligent citizens of Virginia at that period, 
that I giye in full the text of the copy so kindly furnished 
me by R. A. Brock, former secretary of the Historical 
Society of Virginia, and present secretary of the South- 
ern Historical Society. The men who composed that 
committee were representatiye men, and a more intelli- 
gent and patriotic group could not be found in any sec- 
tion of the " Old Dominion." Their names are " house- 
hold \yords " in Southwest Virginia. For their seryices 
in the Keyolutionary War as citizens and soldiers each 
one deseryes a separate biography and a monument of 
marble. Well may their descendants be proud of such 

American ARCHiyES. 

FixcASTLE County (Virginia) Meeting. 

In obedience to the resohes of the Continental Con- 
gress, a meeting of the Freeholders of Fincastle county, 
in Virginia, was held on the 20th day of January, 1775, 

* Some of Augusta County's favorite orators have quoted this pas- 
sage from Gov. McDowell's speech as applying to that county cxcIusircJi/, 
but it is fair to presume that it had pnminihj reference to the signers 
of the Fincastle Resolutions as well as to his friends, the Lewises and 
others of Augusta County. 

Rcmiuiscoicrs of an Ortonruariaii. 25 

who, after approving of the association framed by that 
august body in behalf of all the Colonies, and subscrib- 
ing thereto, proceeded to the election of a committee to 
see the same carried punctually into execution, when the 
following gentlemen were nominated: The Rev. Charles 
Cummings, Colonel William Preston, Colonel William 
Christian, Captain Stephen Trigg, Major Arthur Camp- 
bell, Major William Inglis, Captain Walter Crockett, 
Captain John IMontgomery, Captain James McGavock, 
Captain William Campbell, Captain Thomas Madison, 
Captain Daniel Snuth, Captain William Russell, Captain 
Evan Shelby, and Lieutenant William Edmondson. 
After the election the committee made choice of Colonel 
William Christian for their chairman, and appointed Mr. 
David Campbell to be clerk. 

The following address was then unanimously agreed 
to by the people of the county, and is as follows: 

To the Honorable Peyton Randolph, Esquire, Richard 
Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, 
Junior, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and 
Edmund Pendleton, Esquires, the Delegates from 
this Colony who attended the Continental Congress 
held in Philadelphia: 

Gentlemen, — Had it not been for our remote situation 
and the Indian war which we were lately engaged in,* 
to chastise those cruel and savage people for the many 
murders and depredations they have committed among 

* Called Dunmore's War, and ended by the battle at Point Pleasant, 
October 10, 1774. 

26 Historwal mrtches and 

US, now happily terminated under the auspices of our 
present worthy Governor, his excellency the Right Hon- 
orable the Earl of Dunmore, we should before this time 
have made known to you our thankfulness for the very 
important services you have rendered to your country, 
in conjunction with the worthy delegates from the other 

Your noble efforts for reconciling the ^Mother Country 
and the Colonies on rational and constitutional princi- 
ples, and your pacific, steady and uniform conduct in all 
that arduous work entitle you to the esteem of all British 
America, and will immortalize you in the annals of your 
country. We heartily concur in your resolutions,* and 
shall in every instance strictly and invariably adhere 

We assure you, gentlemen, and all our countrymen, 
that we are a people whose hearts overflow with love 
and duty to our lawful sovereign, George Third, whose 
illustrious house for several successive reigns have been 
the guardians of the civil and religious rights and liber- 
ties of British subjects as settled at the glorious Revolu- 
tion; that we are willing to risk our lives in the service 
of his Majesty for the support of the Protestant religion 
and the rights and liberties of his subjects as they have 
been established by Compact, Law and Ancient Charter. 
We are heartily grieved at the differences which now 
subsist between the parent State and the Colonies, and 
most ardently wish to see harmony restored on an equit- 

* These resolutions were passed on the 14th October, 1774. Hinton's 
United States, pp. 232-3-4. 

Reminiscences of an ()cto</enarian. 21 

able basis, and by the most lenient measures that can be 
devised by the heart of man. Many of us and our fore- 
fathers left our native land, considering it a kingdom 
subjected to inordinate power, and greatly abridged of 
its liberties; we crossed the AtJautic, and explored this 
uncultivated wilderness, bordering on many nations of 
savages, and surrounded by mountains almost inaccessi- 
ble to any but those very savages, who have incessantly 
been committing barbarities and depredations on us 
since our first seating this country. The fatigues and 
dangers we patiently encountered supported by the 
pleasing hope of enjoying those rights and liberties 
which had been granted to Virginians, and were denied 
us in our native country, and of transmitting them invio- 
late to our posterity; but soon to these remote regions 
the hand of unlimited and unconstitutional power hath 
pursued us, to strip us of that liberty and property with 
which God, nature, and the rights of humanity have 
vested us. We are ready and Avilling to contribute all in 
our power for the support of his Majesty's Government, 
if applied to constitutionally, and when the grants are 
made by our own representatives, but cannot think of 
submitting our liberty or property to the power of a 
venal British Parliament, or the will of a corrupt 

We by no means desire to shake off our duty or our 
allegiance to our lawful sovereign, but, on the contrary, 
shall ever glory in being the loyal subjects of a Protes- 
tant Prince, descended from such illustrious progenitors 
as long as we can enjoy the free exercise of our Religion 

28 Historical m-cfches and 

as Protestants, and our Liberties and Properties as 
British subjects. 

But if no pacific measures shall be proposed or adopted 
by Great Britain, and our enemies shall attempt to dra- 
goon us out of these inestimable privileges which we are 
entitled to as subjects, and to reduce us to a state of 
slavery, we declare that we are deliberately and reso- 
lutely determined never to surrender them to any power 
upon earth, but at the expense of our lives. 

These are our real, though unpolished, sentiments of 
liberty and loyalty, and in them we are resolved to live 
and die. 

We are, gentlemen, with the most perfect esteem and 
regard, your most obedient servants. 

Copy Verbatiini et Literatim. 
Bi/ Dr. R. A. Brocl'. 

Richmond, Va., April 30, 1898. 

The spirit of freeman in Virginia was not of recent 
nor of ephemeral growth. Nearly ten years before the 
date of this meeting of " the Freeholders of Fincastle 
county, Virginia," says Mr. George Bancroft, " received 
the plan to tax America by Parliament with consterna- 

" Patrick TIenry, then, for the first time, a member of 
"the Legislature, ^ saw the time for the enforcement of 
"the stamp tax drawing near, while all the other colo- 
" nies, through timid hesitation, or the want of oppor- 

Ron Uii seen cc)-i of an Ociogrnarian. 29 

" tunity, still remaiued silent, and cautious loyalty 
" bushed the exi^erienced statesmen of bis own,' made 
" that celebrated s])eecb in wbicb be said, ' Tai-quin and 
" Caesar bad eacb bis Brutus; Cbarles tbe bis Crom- 
" well, and George tbe Tbird ' — . ' Treason,' sbouted 
'' tbe Speaker, * Treason, treason,' was ecboed round tbe 
" ]iouse, wbile Ileuiy, fixing bis eye on tbe first inter- 
'' rupter, continued witbout faltering, * may profit by 
" tbeir example.' " 

On tbe same da^^ of tbis meeting, tbe Parliament of 
England was discussing tbe rigbt of taxing tbe American 
Colonies, w^ben Lord Cbatbam delivered tbat eloquent 
speecb in defence of tbe Colonies wbicb endeared bim to 
every American. In it be declared, " But bis Majesty is 
advised tbat tbe union in America cannot last. I pro- 
nounce it a union, solid, permanent and effectual. Its 
real stamina are to be looked for among tbe cultivators of 
tbe land; in tbeir simplicity of life is found tbe integrity 
and courage of freedom. Tbese true sons of tbe earth 
are invincible." Tbe spirit of tbe patriots of Fort Chis- 
well was inspiring the mind and heart of the British 
orator and statesman. 

In Mr. Bancroft's account of tbis meeting of Free- 
holders, be says it was near Abingdon. A distance of 
more than sixty miles separates tbe localities. 

Tbe ('Ougress proceeded with great deliberation; its 
debates were held with closed doors, and tbe honor of 
each member was solemnly engaged not to disclose any 
of the discussions till such disclosure was declared ad- 
visable by the majority. It was not till tbe I4tb of 

30 Historical ^^IrtcJics and 

October that the following series of resolutions, which 
may be regarded as their grand declaration of rights and 
grievances, was j)assed and proniulgated. To abridge or 
analyze them would be an injustice to the memory of 
their authors, and to the fidelity of history. We there- 
fore present them entire: 

" Ri'solvfd, unanimously. That the inhabitants of the 
English Colonies in North America, by the immutable 
laws of nature, the principles of the English Constitu- 
tion, and the several charters or compacts, have the fol- 
lowing rights: 

" 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty and property; 
and they have never ceded to any foreign power what- 
ever a. right to dispose of either without their consent. 

" 2. That our ancestors who first settled these Colonies 
were, at the time of their emigration from the Mother 
Country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immuni- 
ties of free and natural-born subjects within the realm 
of England. 

" 3. That by such emigration they by no means for- 
feited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that 
they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the 
exercise and enjoyment of all such of them as their local 
and other circumstances enable them to exercise and 

" 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all 
free governments, is a right in the people to participate 
in their legislative council, and as the English colonists 
are not represented, and, from their local and other cir- 
cumstances, cannot properly be represented, in the 

Rt'Dtiii'hsccitccs of ail Ovtoijcuarian. 31 

British Parliament, tliey are entitled to a free and 
exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial 
legislatures, where their right of representation can 
alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal 
policy, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in 
such manner as has been heretofore used and accus- 
tomed. But from the necessity of the case, and a regard 
to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully 
consent to the operation of such acts of the British Par- 
liament as are, hona fide, restrained to the regulation of 
our external commerce, for the purpose of securing the 
commercial advantages of the whole empire to the 
Mother Country, and the commercial benefit of its repre- 
sentative members; excluding every idea of taxation, 
internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects 
in America, without their consent. 

" 5. That the respective Colonies are entitled to the 
common law of England, and, more especially', to the 
great and inestimable privilege of being tried by their 
peers of the vicinity, according to the course of law. 

" 6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of 
the English statutes as existed at the time of their colo- 
nization, and which they have, by experience, respec- 
tively found to be applicable to their several local and 
other circumstances. 

" 7. That these, his INIajesty's Colonies, are likewise 
entitled to all the immunities and privileges granted 
and confirmed to them by royal charters, or secured by 
their several codes of provincial laws. 

" 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, 
consider of their grievances, and petition the King; and 

32 Historical l^^krtchcs and 

that all prosecntions, prohibitory proclamations and com- 
mitments for the same are illegal. 

"D. That the keeping- a standing army in these Colonies 
in times of peace, Avithout the consent of the Legislature 
of that Colony in which snch army is kept, is against law. 

" 10. It is indispensable to good government, and ren- 
dered essential by the English Constitution, that the 
constitnent branches of the Legislature be independent 
of each other; tliat, tlierefore, the exercise of legislative 
power in several Colonies, by a council appointed during 
pleasure by the Crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous 
and destructive to the freedom of American legislation. 

"All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in 
behalf of themselves and their constituents, do claim, 
demand, and insist on as their indubitable rights and 
liberties, which cannot be legally taken from them, 
altered or abridged by any power whatever, without 
their consent, by their representatives in their several 
provincial legislatures." 

" In the course of our inquiry," they proceed to say, 
" we find many infringements and violations of the fore- 
going rights, which, from an ardent desire that harmony 
and mutual intercourse of affection and interest may be 
restored, we pass over for the present, and proceed to 
state such acts and measures as have been adopted since 
the last war, which demonstrate a system formed to 
enslave America." 

In their address to the people of Great Britain, after 
enumerating the several acts of Parliament deemed to 
be violations of their rights, they appeal for relief to the 
generosity, to the virtue, and to the justice of the nation. 

Reminiscences of an Octoijenunan. S3 

"You have been told," they say, "that we are seditions, 
impatient of government, and desirous of independency. 
Be assured that these are not facts, but calumnies. Per- 
mit us to be as free as yourselves, and we shall ever 
esteem a union with you to be our greatest glory and 
our greatest happiness; we shall ever be ready to contri- 
bute all in our power to the welfare of the whole empire; 
we shall consider your enemies as our enemies, and your 
interest as our own. But if you are determined that 
your ministers shall wantonly sport with the rights of 
mankind; if neither the voice of justice, the dictates of 
the law, the principles of the constitution, or the sugges- 
tions of humanity, can restrain your hands from shedding 
human blood in such an impious cause, we must then tell 
you that we will never submit to be hewers of wood and 
drawers of water for any ministry or nation in the world." 

It was said above that ^Yilliam Preston was a friend 
and correspondent of General Washington. As illustrat- 
ing this fact I venture to give an extract from Mrs. Mil- 
ler's ^lemoirs of Governor McDowell. Speaking of her 
great-grandfather, William Preston, she says, " Wliile 
" pursuing his business as surveyor he fell in with a young 
" man from Eastern Virginia, carrying his ball and chain, 
" being engaged in the same craft as himself. The ac- 
" quaintance between them was promoted by Preston's 
" hospitable entertainment of his friend at his own 
" house." 

Indians yet prowled around in that mountain region. 
They were not foes, however, but friends to the family 

SJf Historical SJxdchcs and 

on the bleak knob of the Alleghanies, especially to the 
genial, warm-hearted, sand^-haired young man who was 
the head of it. They felt very differently to the dark 
stranger who came to visit him, and, after a while, deter- 
mined to destroy him. Seizing an occasion when the 
gentlemen, unconscious of danger, sat chatting on the 
green turf, an Indian raised his bow and took aim at the 
unwelcome visitor. But before he loosed the arrow, 
Preston, in the eagerness of his talk, flung himself for- 
ward so as completely to shelter his friend. The savage 
drew back and dropped his bow. He would not risk an 
injury to Preston for the gratification of a hatred, how- 
ever intense. And it was many a long day, doubtless, 
before either the host or his guest knew the peril which 
had threatened. 

This "dark stranger" was George Wasliington. The 
friendship of the young surveyors brought about a cor- 
respondence between them that lasted as long as Preston 
lived. Long after the Indians had disa])peared from the 
scene the young son of the sandy-haired Preston met his 
father's friend in Philadelphia, the one President of the 
United States, the other representing in Congress the 
Virginia they both loved. Warm relations were estab- 
lished between the old and the young man, and in re- 
membrance of the old friendship the horn of a bufiPalo 
was produced as a trophy to Colonel Preston's skill in a 
hunt they had had in the Alleghanies. The horn was 
put into the hands of a clever silversmith in Philadelphia, 
who constructed out of it a small ladle, the handle of 
which was finished with a silver cap, and the bottom 
filled in with a silver plate. On the inside of the plate 

Reminiscences of an Octof/cnarian. So 

Washington bad his head engraved, while 3'oung-, Preston 
covered the outside with Masonic emblems. This unique 
little affair was much prized in the family, but the 
owners of it, in a spirit of patriotic pride, lent it, in 1S70, 
to the Centennial Exposition, and it was neA^er heard of 

RcwiiiisrnicC'^ of an Octof/rnarian. 


From this long digression we turn to the less exciting 
and more prosaic account of the early settling of the 

In 1766, Arthur Campbell with his wife Margaret 
(daughter of Charles and sister of General William 
Campbell), settled at " Koyal Oak," a mile east of Marion. 
This was one of the tracts of land embraced in the Patton 
grant, and assigned by Charles Campbell to his daughter 
Margaret. Few now know much of Arthur Camx)bell, 
and yet he was one of the most remarkable, influential 
and talented men of the period. A brief sketch of his life 
is given in Howe's History of Virginia (page 503), pre- 
faced by these sentences: 

" The annexed biographical sketches of Colonel Arthur 
" Campbell and General William Campbell are from the 
" MS. history of W^ashington county. The notice of the 
" latter Avas written by the former, who was both a cousin 
" and brother-in-law." This MS. memoir or history, 
as Howe states, and as is known to many now living, was 
written by Colonel John Campbell, Treasurer of the 
United States in the administration of President Jack- 
son, and brother of Governor David Campbell. It was 
stolen from the clerk's office of Washington countv, 

38 H'lHionca] Xl-vichci< and 

where it was kept by his uephew, James C. Campbell, 
and has never been recovered. The loss is lamentable 
and irreparable. 

As Howe's History is out of print, and in possession of 
but few of the present generation, his sketch of Arthur 
Campbell will be added as an appendix to this sketch, 
with such other facts and incidents as may be illustrative 
of his character and career. It may be noted here that 
he was born in Augusta county, 1742, and, at the time 
when he settled at Royal Oak, in 17G6, was only twenty- 
four years old. General William Campbell was also a 
native of Augusta county, and was born in 1745. Soon 
after the death of his father (Charles Campbell), in 1767, 
he, then about twenty- three years old, removed to 
Aspinvale, with his mother and four sisters, and built a 
double log cabin, which was his home until his death. 
Aspinvale is eight miles Avest of Marion, Smythe county, 
and one mile west of the Seven-i\lile Ford, and is now 
owned by Charles Henry Camj)bell Preslon, the great- 
grandson of General William Campbell. William Camp- 
bell inherited this beautiful estate from his mother and 
the " Salt Lick ■' from his father, who was one of Colonel 
Patton's exploring expedition in 1718, as previously men- 
tioned. The patents for these lands were granted by 
Lord Dinwiddle in the name of George XL, October 23, 
1753. As they are somewhat curious and of historical 
interest, a copy of that for the '' Salt Lick," of 330 acres, 
is here inserted: 

" George the Second by the grace of God of Great 
'' Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the 
" faith, etc. 

Rcmliiificvnirf< of ait (Jv(o(/(iiai-iaii. 39 

" To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting. 
" Know Ye that for divers good causes and Considera- 
" tions but more especially for and in Consideration of 
" the sum of thirty-flye shillings of good and lawful 
" money for our use paid to our Keeeiyer General of our 
" Eeveuues in this our Colony and Dominion of Virginia, 
"we liave given, granted and confirmed, and by these 
" presents for us, our heirs and successors. Do give, grant 
" and confirm unto Charles C^ampbell one certain tract 
" or parcel of land containing three hundred and thirty 
" acres, Ijhig and being in the county of Augusta on the 
" North fork of the Indian river, a branch of Mississippi, 
" and bounded as f olloweth to wit : Beginning — at a 
" double Beech tree and running thence North twenty 
" Degrees West one hundred and seventy six Poles to a 
" Beech under a High Knob of a hill; thence North sixty 
"Degrees, East Eighty Poles to a white Oak; thence 
" North thirty four Degrees West Eighty Poles to a white 
"Oak on the south East side of the hill; thence South 
" sixty one Degrees, West Eighty poles between two 
"Buckeye saplins by a brook; thence South thirty nine 
" Degrees West one hundred and thirty four poles to two 
"Hiccorys; thence South seventy five Degrees West 
" Eighty six poles to a hiccory and Lynn tree; thence 
" South one Degree west forty poles to a Hiccory and a 
"white Oak; thence South sixty three Degrees West 
" ninety Poles to a Lynn tree; thence South one Degree, 
" West Seventy two Poles to a sugar tree and a Buck Eye ; 
" thence North Eighty five Degrees East three hundred 
" and thirty five poles to the Beginning, with all Woods, 
" UnderAvoods, Swamps, Marshes, low Grounds, Meadows, 

.'lO lli.sioi-ical ^SJccivlic.s and 

<' Feediiij^s, and his due share of all Venis Mories and 
" quarries as well Discovered or not discovered within 
" the bounds aforesaid and being part of said quantity 
"of three Hundred and thirt}^ Acres of Land, and the 
" rivers Waters and Water Courses therein Contained 
" together with the Privi ledges of Hunting, Hawking, 
" Fishing, Fowling and all other Profits, Commodities 
" and Heriditaments whatsoever to the same or any Part 
" thereof belonging or in any Avise Appertaining TO 
" HAVE, HOLD, POSSESS and enjoy the said tract or 
" Parcel of Land and all other the granted premises and 
" every part thereof with their and every of their Appur- 
" tenances unto the said Charles Campbell and to his 
" heirs and assigns forever to the only use and behoof of 
" him the said his lieirs and assigns forever to be held 
" of us our heirs and successors as of our Manor of East 
" Greenwich in the County of Kent in free and common 
" soccage and not in Capite or by Knights Service yield- 
" ing and paying unto us our heirs and successors for 
"every fifty Acres of Land and so Proportionately for a 
" lesser or greater quantity than fifty acres the free rent 
" of one shilling yearly to be paid upon the feast of St. 
" Michael the Arch Angel and also the Cultivating and 
" Improving three Acres part of every fifty of the tract 
" above mentioned within three 3^ears after the date of 
"these presents; provided always that if three years of 
"the said free rent shall at any time be in Arrear and 
" unpaid or if the said Charles Campbell his heirs or 
" Assigns do not within the space of three years next 
" coming after the date of these presents cultivate and 
" Improve three Acres part of every fifty of the tract 

Ri'iiiiiiiscciicc.^ of (III Octoncnariaii. 'il 

" above mentioned then the Estate hereby granted shall 
"Cease and be utterly Determined and hereafter it 
"shall and may be lawful to and for us our heirs and 
" successors to grant the same Land and premises with 
"the Appurtenances unto such other person or persons 
" as we our heirs and successors shall think fit. 
" In Witness whereof we have caused our Letters 
" Patent to be made. WiTNr:ss our trusty and well beloved 
" Robert Dinwiddle Esqr., our Lieutenant Governor and 
" Commander in Chief of our said Colony and Dominion 
" at Williamsburg under the seal of our said Colony XX 
" (20) day of August one thousand seven hundred and 
" fifty three in the twenty seventh year of our Reign." 

" Robert Dinwiddie." 

Elizabeth, the eldest of William Campbell's sisters, 
married John Taylor; the second, Jane, Thomas Tate; 
the third, Margaret, Colonel Arthur Campbell, and the 
fourth, Ann, Richard Postan. To each of these was as- 
signed those fertile and beautiful tracts of land in the 
Rich Valley on the waters of the North Fork of Holston 
river, and their descendants occupy portions of the land 
to this day. These various tracts were parts of the James 
Patton grants and were entered and surveyed by Charles 
Campbell not long after the pioneer expedition of 1748 — 
perhaps in 1749 or 1750. As Charles Campbell and John 
Buchanan were associated in these surveys, it seems 
probable that they were made contemporaneously with 
the survey of Sapling Grove (now Bristol, Virginia-Ten- 
nessee), b}' John Buchanan in 1749. 

Jf2 Historical Slrtchcs and 

These were the earliest surveys made upon the waters of 
Holston river. 

When the Salt Lick was patented to Charles Campbell 
(1753) more than one-third of the area was covered by 
water, and anotlier third was a morass extending- up to a 
point opposite the old plaster bank. The margin of the 
pond or "lake/' as it was called, was fringed with tall 
grass, bulrushes and cat-tails, and furnished a screen to 
hunters who could by this means get within gun-shot of 
the water-fowl which periodically visited in great num- 
bers this sequestered and attractive inland lake. James 
Crabtree, the son of the original owner of land adjoining 
the Salt Lake on the east, told the writer that when he 
was a boy his mother promised him a pint of cream for 
every swan he killed, and that he rarely failed to get his 
cream every day. 

Wild geese, in their migrations north in spring and 
south in autumn, made this a favorite resting place, and 
wild ducks of several varieties passed a large part of the 
year on this " Lake of the Woods," the water of which 
did not freeze as early nor as solidh" as that of the fresh- 
water ponds and streams of the adjacent regions. 

As late as 1847-'48 large flocks of teal and mallards 
visited the valley and furnished good sport to the hunters 
and a savory, appetizing dish for the table. Woodcock 
were also abundant, and here they reared their young. 
Sora were also frequently found about marshy spots and 

That it was a favorite resort of the buffalo, elk and 
deer was natural, as the instinct of these animals leads 
them unerringly to saline deposits, and rich pasture 

Reminiscences of an. Octogenarian. J/S 

I lands. In this valley both were found in abundance, and 
in the most attractive form, and of the best quality. It 
it not, therefore, to be wondered at that the Aborigines 
of the country pitched their tents and erected their wig- 
wams near that mysterious lake. In 1846 or ISIT, when 
the field south of the road leading from the valley to 
Cedar branch was ploughed, the lines of former buildings 
could be distinctly traced by the ashes and piles of peri- 
winkle shells and fragments of pottery, which were 
turned up. These were scattered along two parallel lines 
about fifty or sixty feet apart. One explanation of the 
presence of the periwinkle shells is that they formed a 
sort of medium of exchange or money among the tribes 
who frequented this section of country. A similar 
deposit of these small shells is found on Mr. Benjamin 
Buchanan's place near Caywoods (pronounced Keywood) 
Gap, but there is no trace of former dwellings there. A 
more natural supposition is that these Crustacea were 
used for food, being boiled with meat or herbs. There 
is strong presumptive evidence that the Indians made 
salt here by boiling the water that flowed from salt 
springs which rose to the surface at the eastern margin 
of the valley, and on the margin of the creek between the 
Cedar-Creek road and the river. The writer well remem- 
bers two of these springs. One was at the base of the 
tall knob that commands the valley on the east, near a 
large walnut tree Avhich stood on the margin of the plain; 
the other issued from a crevice in the limestone rock and 
flowed over a smooth surface to the creek. Along the 
margin of the latter salt was formed in clear, bright 
crystals during the warm days of the summer months. 

//.} Hisiorica] f>lrt('hrf< and 

Originally the slopes of the hills inclosing the valley were 
covered by a magnificent forest of oak, poplar, lynn, 
sugar-tree, walnut and elms. The imagination can 
scarcely conceive of a more beautiful scene than was pre- 
sented to the eye when the rich foliage of this forest was 
touched by the frost and reflected in the tranquil waters 
of the lake. The colors of the rainbow seemed settled 
upon the earth, and the varied hues of the flower garden 
were scattered among and rested upon the leaves of 
forest trees. In the gloom of a damp twilight and during 
the " w^ee " hours of the night " the Jack o'lanteru " or 
" Will o' the Wisp " could be seen flitting along the shore 
of the pond, in and out of the tall weeds and bushes, and, 
from the resemblance to a lantern swung by human 
hands, might lure a benighted and bewildered traveler 
from his path into the morass that gave it birth. 

Neither limner's brush nor poet's pen can convey an 
adequate idea of the varied beauties of this peculiar 
\ alley. It must be seen to be appreciated. Its outline is 
like the longitudinal section of a pear, and the phases of 
its beauty change at every point of view. 

From the old Preston house the level foreground 
extends to the " ^Madam Russell House," a distance of 
nearly three quarters of a mile. At this point the grace- 
ful waving line of the oval-shaped hills which border the 
valley on the north begins. Beyond these and higher is 
Little Bushy Mountain, crowned with its forest of pine. 
Beyond this towers Clinch ]Mountaiu in its forest mantle 
(azure tinted by distance) to the highest point of its 
range crowned by the White Rocks, which look like the 
walls of a giant castle, placed to command a view of a 

Ron i II i>«-('ii <■('!■< of an Octogenarian. J/ij 

Avide domain spread out below. Next in altitude are the 
Red Kecks, the flanking buttress as it were, of the White 
Castle. They curve in the segment of a circle, and, as the 
name implies, have caught the hues of an autumnal sun- 
set. At any period of a clear day at sunrise when the 
White Kocks catch the earliest rays; or at midday, when 
the plain is bathed in light; or at eventide, when the 
lengthening shadows steal softly across the scene, and 
the White Kocks glow in the red rays of the setting sun, 
the landscape is of surpassing beauty. And at night, 
when the moon is full, and, rising behind the sharper 
peaks on the east, throws their shadows upon the valley, 
the scene is one to dream of, so soft, so quiet, so full of 
that rapture of repose that falls like dew upon the soul 
after the bustle and struggles of the day are done. 

From the promontory-like eminence, near the center 
of the eastern border of the plain is another but different 
landscape. Looking west is like looking through a re- 
versed telescope. The valley gradually rises and nar- 
rows to Buena Vista, a mile and a half distant; the hills 
diminish in height and size; and the forest-clad hills be- 
yond bound the horizon. To the left is the old Preston 
house, at one period made picturesque by the tall Lom- 
bardy poplars, and the weeping and golden willows that 
stood in front, at the sides and in the rear of the build- 
ings ; and the " Sugar Loaf," like a pyramid, rising 350 
feet from the plain, and the old mill, with its wheel of 
20-feet diameter turned by the water from the spring 
that rises in the gorge between the Sugar Loaf and the 
adjoining hill, at the base of which is a cliff. 

On the summit of this rough and lofty hill eagles built 

Jf6 Historical Slrlchcs and 

their nests from the earliest settlement of the A-alley until 
about 1850, and added to the fascination of the place by 
their graceful soaring as they rose higher and higher into 
the clear atmosphere. But they, with the trees, the mill- 
wheel, and many other accessories of the past, have dis- 

From the western end of the valley the picture is 
reversed, and at Buena Yista all of the valley (except the 
Preston house and its surroundings) is spread like a map 
before you. The old salt furnaces and houses built from 
the time of William King (in 1800) to 1865 are only some 
600 yards distant, and add life to the scene. The horizon 
to the east is varied by the highest ridge and knob 
bounding the valley. 

" But see what a change is wrought by the civilizing 
"Caucasian! The mighty battlements of white and red 
" sandstone crowning the lofty Clinch Mountains, alone 
" liave defied his handiwork. Let us suppose the mam- 
" moth skeleton found in the cave overlooking this lovely 
" valley was rehabilitated and did ascend in the flesh 
" again from his dark and stony resting place to gaze 
" upon his home of the past. His great black eyes would 
" dilate and flash in human wonder — nothing except 
" those mountain cliffs seem familiar. Where was once 
" the crystal lake cushioned in lofty forest is now a level 
" meadow of waving grass, intersected here and there by 
" geometric macadamized roads and well trimmed 
" hedges. Where once he glided swiftly in bark canoe 
" and whizzed his arrows at clattering wild geese, now is 
" hard, solid ground, and the crj of the water-fowl is 
" heard no more. Where once the giant forest skirted 

Rciiiiiii^iccnccs of an Orfofiviiariaii. Jf7 

'' the lake, and where, groiipino- here and there through 
" the sylvan openings,, were seen the wigwams of his 
" tribe, now, amidst long rows of modern cottages, hnm- 
" ming factories Avith great chimneys belching forth 
" dense masses of inky smoke, and glistening in the morn- 
" ing snn, he sees a glittering golden cross — emblem of a 
" new race and a new faith. Bnt was not their God his 
"God? The 'Great ^Maniton,' the 'Great Spirit,' of 
" the Indians embodies the same ideal of love and power. 
" Suddenly this mighty warrior of other days starts 
" and shivers in abject terror, A shriek so deep, so pow- 
" erfnl, so all-pervading, fills the valley, echoing back 
" from hill to hill, that the very White Rocks give out a 
" faint response. His untutored mind could conceive of 
" naught save the mighty voice of the clouds to equal it. 
" His gaze is westward, and, rushing from it, as it seemed 
" to him from beneath the earth, there comes a monster 
" serpent. Breathing fire and smoke, it glides along its 
" checkered path with tremendous speed, stopping sud- 
" denly, grim and panting, at the eastern end of the 
"valley. Lo! the poor Indian. Dire distress is written 
" upon his brow. He feels and knows that all of his wild 
" kin of the woods and the buffalo, elk and bear have long 
" since fled before this awful monster; that this beautiful 
" valley is no more held for him and his people by the 
" Great Spirit, and that there can never be any joy for 
" him again upon earth. He casts one yearning, heart- 
" broken glance over his ancient domains, and, waving 
" them an eternal farewell, descends once more into his 
" sombre rest."* 

* Kindly contributed by Captain Frank S. Robertson. 

-)<S Historical Sketches and 

What it was like at that prehistoric period, when the 
mastodon wandered through its morasses (if morasses 
they were) and fed upon its foliage, can never be known. 
But at whatever period the mastodons came, or whence 
they came, or how they were destroyed, they did come 
and left as evidence of their presence their mouldering- 
bones, buried a few feet beneath the earth's surface 
during all these centuries. 

AA'ell may man's imagination be troubled by such reve- 
lation of the power of God. The first discovery of these 
mastodon relics was made when a well was dug by Gen- 
eral Francis Preston, about 1797 or 1798, in front of the 
Preston house, now occupied by Mr. George W. Palmer. 
They were only a few of the jaw teeth and other bones 
that soon crumbled after being exposed to the air. They 
were, however, enough for a practical joke played upon 
Bishop Madison (then president of William and ^lary 
College) by William Preston (brother of Francis) and a 
former pupil of the Bishop's. He gave a glowing discrip- 
tion of the discovery and sent to the Bishop a box of the 
peat-like soil, which he said was taken from the stomach 
of the exhumed monster, and asked that it be analyzed 
to ascertain on what food the animal fed, and to what 
genus or species it belonged. The Bishop, knowing his 
correspondent, detected the hoax, but replied that if the 
substance sent was from the stomach of the extinct 
animal, it was " of the herbivorous species." 

Since then many other specimens of teeth and bones 
have been dug up. When the ditch was dug in 1847 and 
1848 (which drained the pond) besides teeth, a rib not 
four feet under the surface was found. Some portion 

KciHinisvincc8 of an Octuyviiarian. Jf9 

of it was decayed or broken off, but the fragment was 
long enough to reach from the floor over the head of the 
writer, then five feet eleven inclies in heiglit. A large 
fragment of a tusk was discovered by the late Governor 
Wyudham Robertson, Sr., on his place. It was about 
four feet long and four or five inches in diameter. 

Leaving the prehistoric period and coming to that of 
the Aborigines, curious fragments of skeletons were 
discovered in 1848 or 1850 by a party of students from 
Emory and Henry College, headed by Frank Hampton 
(youngest brother of General Wade Hampton) in a cave 
back of the Madam Russell house. The existence of this 
cave was known, but its orifice was almost closed by the 
accumulation of earth washed from the surrounding 
hills, and only a small hole Avas left. The earth was 
removed and an easy entrance made for the exploring 
party, and, furnished with candles and matches, they 
entered the cave. Upon a ledge of rock, which was 
apparently cut for the purpose, were found the skulls 
and other portions of two human skeletons. That of a 
man was of almost gigantic proportions and of peculiar 
shape. The forehead or frontal bone was so retreating 
that it gave the impression of being artificially pressed 
back. The upper temporal ridge was rather flat. The 
back or occipital bone was abnormally large. Only the 
jaw teeth remained, and they were uncommonly large 
and strong. The leg bone of this skeleton, when put 
upon the floor, reached to the knee joint of the writer, 
and this, by comparative proportion, would indicate a 
height of about seven feet. 

The other skull was that of a matured female, as 

oO Hi.storical l^kviclics and 

proved by other portions of the skeleton. It was not 
larger than that of a child, but was of as beautiful pro- 
portions and developments as a model. The bones of 
this skeleton indicated a stature not over three feet and 
a half or four feet. 

If these Avere fair t-ipecimens of the races that dwelt 
in or frequented that picturesque country, then "there 
were giants in those days," and, perhaps, fairy-like pig- 

The salt property remained undeveloped until about 
1782 — perhaps as late as 1785-'86. At one time it came 
near being sacrificed for a small amount. Charles Camp- 
bell, the patentee, had occasion to go to Orange Court- 
house, then the seat of justice, and whilst there was 
arrested for the non-payment of taxes, and kept " in 
prison bounds " until they were paid. He wrote to his 
wife, explaining his dilemma, and requested her to sell 
the Salt Lick tract and ransom him. She replied, " Re- 
main where you are and I will pay the taxes." It was 
autumn and the flax was prepared for spinning, and she 
spun many hanks of beautiful, smooth thread, and, 
mounting her horse, took it to market and sold it for 
more than the amount of the taxes and brought her hus- 
band home. Small bunches of this thread were given by 
Mrs. Sarah B. Preston (her granddaughter) to every 
member of her family, and they are kept as a prized 
memorial of the skill and industry of that spirited and 
noble woman. She Avas the sister of John Buchanan, the 
son-in-law of Colonel James Patton. The author of this 
sketch, the only surviving member of Mrs. Preston's 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 51 

family, has still in his possession the little hank given 
him by his mother. 

Organization of Washington County. 

Washington county Avas organized at Black's Fort, 
January 28, 1777. On the 29th this order was made: 

" Ordered, that William Campbell, William Edmin- 
" ston, John Anderson and George Blackburn be ap- 
" pointed commissioners to hire wagons to bring up the 
" county salt, alloted by Governor and council, and to 
" receive and distribute the same agreeably to said order 
" of council." 

" Ordered, that Captain Robert Craig and Captain 
" John Shelby be added to the commissioners appointed 
" to receive and distribute the flour contributed in 
" Angusta or elsewhere for the distressed inhabitants of 
" the county." 

These are surprising and startling orders of the first 
court held for Washington county, and would indicate 
a state of destitution wholly unexpected among the 
Freeholders of the recently defunct Fincastle county. 
The first named commissioner to hire wagons to bring 
up the salt alloted by the Governor and Council from 
Staunton, perhaps, or some place east of the Blue Ridge, 
was the owner of the Salt Lick, where an almost inex- 
haustible supply could, with little labor, have been 
obtained. His associates were intelligent, influential and 
prominent men in the community, but to none of them. 

52 Historical Sketches and 

nor any member of the court, did it occur that so great 
a treasure was only eighteen miles distant. 

Another inference drawn from the last order is that 
no flour mill had been built in that section of country. 
The abundance of w^ater power unutilized wasted its 
strength in the shadow of overhanging trees. The early 
settlers were too much occupied in clearing up the land 
for crops that would supply urgent and pressing neces- 
sity to give any time to diverting the water's current 
and building mills. Self-protection was the problem of 
the day, and every family had to provide for itself. But 
this selfishness, instead of separating families, led to 
combinations and, by mutual help, accomplished what 
no individual or single family could accomplish. So, 
when a new family reached the neighborhood and the 
cabin was to be built, the men for miles around gathered 
in, and the men of reputation for carrying up corners 
took their places of prominence with axe in hand, and 
rapidly notched and fitted the logs as they were lifted 
up to them. 

The cause for this destitution may, perhaps, have been 
the absence of those patriot soldiers who had marched 
under William Campbell in September, 1775, to Williams- 
burg to aid Patrick Henry in forcing Governor Dunmore 
to return the gunpowder he had removed from the old 
magazine to the schooner " Magdalen," at anchor in the 
James river. The promptness with which they left their 
homes allowed no time for providing for their families. 
These were, therefore, wards of the Commonwealth, and 
provided for by their neighbors and the State. If this 
be not the cause of the destitution, then the substantial 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 53 

citizens who signed the call to Rev. Charles Cummings, 
in 1773, and the Freeholders of Fincastle county who 
met at Fort Chiswell on the 20th of January, 1775, must 
have made slow progress in clearing and cultivating the 
fertile lands selected for their homes. 

After General William Campbell's death (August 22, 
1781) Arthur Campbell (one of his executors) took charge 
of his estate, and, finding that some persons had made 
salt at the Salt Lick, determined to develop it more fully 
himself. By what means he did so is not known. He, 
however, foresaw the value of the property and the neces- 
sity of securing an abundant supply of fuel for the pros- 
pective furnaces. He therefore entered a large tract of 
land adjoining the Salt Lick tract and smaller tracts 
in the vicinity in the name of Charles Henry Campbell, 
the infant son of General William Campbell. This child 
died when he was five years old, and the property de 
scended to his sister, Sarah Buchanan Campbell, who 
married General Francis Preston. A dispute arose 
between Colonel Arthur Campbell and General William 
Russell (who had married the widow of General Camp- 
bell) about the guardianship of Sarah B. Campbell, and 
to reconcile the family disi3utes the court appointed, in 
1789, Colonel Thomas Madison (whose wife was a sister 
of Mrs. Russell) guardian of the child. In the interest of 
his ward he came to the Salt Lick about 1790, and built 
a log cabin on the site of the Preston house; dug a well 
on the margin of the flat below, and commenced the man- 
ufacture of salt in the primitive mode of the times. 

The salt-house was of hewed logs. The salt was lifted 
from the kettle by long-handled dippers, and put into 

5-^ Historical Sketches and 

baskets of splits over the kettles to drain. When suffi- 
ciently drained these baskets were carried along the plat- 
form and emptied into the salt-house which stood some 
thirty feet away from the furnace. 

Before Colonel Madison assumed the guardianship of 
Sarah B. Campbell, General William Russell, who had 
married the widow of General William Campbell in 1783, 
moved his family from Aspinvale, in February, 1788, to 
the " Salt Lick," and built the famous Madam Eussell 
house. This move was prompted by the purpose of 
General Russell to give his personal attention to the 
manufacture of salt, which was rapidly developing into 
an important industry. 

General Russell dug a well on the margin of the flat 
in front of his house and obtained salt water, and built 
a furnace and salt-house. The furnace was an open shed, 
and the kettles were the camp kettles of that day, of a 
capacity of from eight to twelve gallons. 

In 1792 General Russell's health failed, and he started 
for Williamsburg, where the Legislature, of which he 
was a member, was in session, but he died at the home 
of his son, Robert L. Russell, in Culpeper county, on the 
14th of January, 1793. 

In 1795, General Francis Preston had a frame build- 
ing added to the log cabin of Thomas Madison, and in 
that or the next year made his home there. It was the 
first frame building erected in the valley. The carpenter 
was Francis Irby, who continued to be an inmate of the 
family for nearly forty years. The nails used in the 
building were made by a colored blacksmith, old Cyrus, 
a slave of General Preston, and so firm was their hold 

Rviiiiitisci ii<-<:s of (III Ochiijciuiriau. 55 

in the timber tliat fifty years afterwards a cliiinney- 
iiiantelpiece could not be taken down without breaking 
it into fragments. The stone chimney at the west end 
of the house was built by Jesse Dungan, and when the 
cap-stone was placed he stood on his head upon it. It is 
still erect and remains as a monument to Dungan and 
his honest masonry. 

General Preston also had a well dug near to that of 
Colonel Madison. It was an open shaft of between eight 
and ten feet in diameter and about eighty feet deep. It 
was " cribbed ■' or lined with hewed logs to prevent the 
earth from crumbling in. The water in all the wells in 
this locality rose to within twenty or thirty feet of the 
surface, and was nearly as strong as that at the western 
border of the valley. But as the surface and seapage 
water gradually found its way into these open shafts the 
strength of the brine was diminished, and other wells 
were dug. 

The water was drawn up in large buckets by a wind- 
lass and emptied into an open trough that led to cisterns 
near the furnace. These furnaces were open sheds simi- 
lar to that of General Russell, but of greater dimensions 
and larger kettles. The chimneys vrere not more than 
fifteen feet high, and though the draft was sufficient to 
burn the wood, it did not convey the heat far enough 
back to boil the water in the kettles near the chimney, 
a distance of thirty or forty feet. 

On the 8th of October, 1795, William King bought from 
John ]Musgrove and wife a tract of land of 150 acres for 
£500. This was the tract entered by Evan Lee, and ad- 
joined the Salt Lick on the west, l^ee sold to James 

56 Historical ^^ ketch vs and 

Crabtree for £120, and Crabtree sold to INIiisgrove for 
£100. ^IiisgTove made a good speculation, but lost a large 
fortune by his sale. 

Mr. King oifered to transfer his purchase to General 
Preston, telling him that he (King) was sure that salt 
water could be had upon it. But General Preston replied 
that there was enough for both of them, and he would 
rather King should share with him than any one else. 
They were brother iMasons. 

When King began his well is not known. He located 
it so near the line of the Salt Lick tract that the earth 
thrown out by the laborers fell over the line of that tract. 
He struck water, practically a saturation of salt water, 
at the depth of about 200 feet, in 1799, and promptly 
began the construction of a furnace and other buildings. 
As the w^ell was at the head of the valley the surface 
drainage did not at first weaken the water, and the yield 
of a bushel of salt (fifty pounds) was obtained from thirty- 
tAvo gallons of water. The water weighed nine pounds 
per gallon. 

In Jedediah Morse's geography, printed in 1805, there 
is this account of " Preston's Salines ": 

" The ummmoth, the king of the land animals, was 
" formerly an inhabitant of this country, as appears from 
"his bones which have been dug up by laborers at Pres- 
" ton's salines, North Holston, when sinking salt pits. 
, " They were from three to seven feet below the surface 
" of the earth. The bones have also been found at a lick 
" near Nashville. Preston's salines mentioned above are 
" on the North Fork of Holston, half a mile south of the 
"river, seventeen or eighteen easterlv from Abingdon. 

Rcin'urlscciKrs of an OHof/ciiar'HUi. 57 

" The tract that contains these salines is a great curiosity. 
" It was discovered by Captain Charles Campbell about 
" 1745, who was one of the first explorers of the western 
" country. In 1753 he procured a patent for it from the 
" Governor of Vir<;inia. His son, the late General Wil- 
" liani Campbell, the same v\'ho behaved so gallantly in 
"the American war in the year 1780 and 1781, became 
" owner of it on his death. But it was not till the time 
" of his death, when salt was very scarce and dear that 
" salt water was discovered, and salt made by a poor man. 
" After this time, under the direction of Colonel Arthur 
"Campbell, it was improved to a considerable extent, 
" and many thousands of inhabitants are now supplied 
" from it with salt — a superior quality — at a low price. 
" The tract consists of about 300 acres of flat marsh land 
" of as rich a soil as can be imagined. In this flat pits 
" are sunk in order to obtain the salt water. They are 
" from sixty to ninety feet deep. After passing through 
" the rich soil or mud, you come to a very brittle lime- 
" stone rock, with cracks or chasms through which the 
" salt water issues into the pits, whence it is drawn by 
" buckets and put into the boilers, which are placed in 
" furnaces adjoining the pits. The hills that surround 
" this flat are covered with fine timber. Near this Mr. 
" King has a well more than 200 feet deep, ten feet 
" square constantly more than half full of water. Thirty- 
" two gallons of this, and some of the other wells, make 
" one bushel of salt. Two hundred bushels have been 
" made in a day. It is equal to Liverpool salt. He can 
" supply the State of Tennessee and Southwest Virginia 
" with this essential article." 

58 Hi star leal i^JxTtches and 

This account of the salines was, in all probability, 
written early in 1800, as King struck water in his well 
in 1799, and rented the Preston salines on the 20th of 
February, 1801. Except in some unimportant facts it is 
a very good account of the valle^^ at that time. The date 
of Charles CampbelTs " discovery " is antedated three 
years, and the discovery of the " poor man " was in 
utilizing" what was known to the aborigines, as previously 
stated. The present owners of the salines may be sur- 
prised at the quantity of salt produced and the area of 
country to be supplied. 

It has been stated that William King rented the Hol- 
ston Salt-Works on the 20th of February, 1801, for ten 
years. As this first lease of the Preston estate contains 
many peculiar stipulations, the following extracts are 
given. After describing the different tracts of land 
embraced in the lease the contract proceeds: 

" And should there not be wood enough on said lands, 
"together with the tract of land on which John Broddy 
" now resides, adjoining Saltville, and suitable for split- 
" ting and good for wood to make up the quantity of 
" 62,600 cords of wood and likewise furnish rails for the 
" land now rented from the said Preston, then the said 
" King is to have permission to cut cord wood to that 
" amount on any part of the said Preston's lands, and 
" hawl the same to the Saltworks or the works rented of 
"the said Preston, as the said King may choose or find 
" it convenient." 

This rapid consumption of wood would soon have 
stripped the adjoining lands of the primitive forest. 

Reminiscences of an Ocfof/oianan. 59 

Fortunately, however, it renewed itself rapidly, and the 
writer liad cut from land that had been cut over twenty- 
five years previously as much as fifty cords per acre. 

Permission was given to King to quarry rock at any 
quarry and haul this and all farm and other products 
over the rented premises, and to dig mines and search for 
salt-water and minerals, etc., on the premises and dispose 
of them during the lease; and to rent all or any part of 
the said premises, and at the expiration of the lease to 
remove his salt and other property, provided it was done 
within nine months. 

The annual rental for all this property and privileges 
was 112,000, to be paid to Francis Preston or his order 
or representative on the 10th day of jNIarch, 1802. The 
first payment was to be at that date, and the last at the 
expiration of the lease. For the first three years one- 
third was to be paid in cash at Abingdon and one-half 
in an order on a merchant or merchants in Richmond or 
Baltimore, where said King may deal, current wholesale 
selling price, at six months, on such articles as said 
Preston may choose out of the said wholesale store; the 
remaining .|2,000 in salt at Saltville at ten per cent, dis- 
count from the said King's selling prices. Residue of the 
term eight thousand dollars in cash, and four thousand 
in Mdse, as before mentioned annually. ***** 
" The said Francis Preston further contracts and agrees 
tliat in case other salt-works being erected within one 
hundred miles easterly or northerly or within three hun- 
dred miles westwardly or southwardly from said prem- 
ises in this State of Virginia or Tennessee or North Caro- 
lina, that one or all of the said works within the said 

GO Historical ^^1xrt(^l^cs^ and 

bounds make 20 bushels per day or upwards, the said 
lease to be void, if chosen by the said William King or 
his heirs or executors, etc. Tlien or at any time there- 
afterwards he, the said William King or his heirs, etc., 
chooses by giving said Francis Preston or his representa- 
tives, etc., a written or personal notice or advertising 
on the door of the court-house of Washington county 
aforesaid, three months previously, of his, the said King's 
intentions. It is also agreed that in case any other salt- 
works being established in the said bounds, even in 
making a less quantity than twenty' bushels per day, that 
should the said King think proper to sacrifice his salt by 
selling at or under one dollar per bushel, the said Preston 
agrees that the said premises and works shall be rent 
free during the time the said King sells salt at or under 
one dollar per bushel at Saltville; and in that case the 
said Preston, if he thinks proper, may commence salt- 
making on his own premises, and the lease is to expire 
if he chooses at the cease of the rent." 

" It is also further agreed that, upon two years' trial, 
should the said King choose, he is at liberty to make void 
the lease by giving twelve months' notice in the manner 
of the notice before expressed," and in any future year 
"the same privilege, even in case of no salt oi^position, 
" only the notice of twelve months' notice in this case 
" is required, during which the said Preston is at liberty 
" to dig wells and prepare for salt-making in the manner 
" contracted at the end of the two yeai's' lease, should 
" the said King choose to hold it so long as hereafter 
" mentioned.' " 

There are many other stipulations by which all proba- 

RcDiiuiscnirrfi of an Oriof/niarimi. Gt 

ble contingencies are provided against. The above are 
given chiefly to show the mutual coufldence of the parties 
and the apprehension on the part of King that salt water 
might be found within the area of the market, and salt be 
made and sold for less than one dollar per bushel. The 
fear of such competition continued for many years, and 
many persons supposed that salt water would be discov- 
ered in the near neighborhood of Saltville. Both Francis 
Smith and James White dug deep wells upon their lands 
bordering upon the river without finding a trace of salt. 
The only trace ever found was b}' Mr. Wyndham Robert- 
son in a deep well (about 500 feet) sunk near the line of 
the King estate, on the western slope of the Salt- Works 

W^illiam King was very successful in his business 
affairs, and had many mercantile establishments in 
Virginia and Tennessee. He died in 1808, and by his 
will directed that the salt estate and mercantile es- 
tablishments should be managed, as equals in part- 
nership, by his brother, James King, William Trigg 
(who had married his niece, Rachel Findlay), and his 
wife during the life of the latter. Mrs. King renounced 
her interest under the Avill of her husband, but united 
with James King and William Trigg in an agreement 
for working the salines. James King died in 1809, 
and by his will devised and directed, as far as 
his estate was interested in the salt-works, that it be 
carried on according to an agreement entered into be- 
tween Mary King, William Trigg and himself, and that 
his part be under the direction of his executor, Charles 
S. Carson, to whom one-third of the profits was given as 

62 Historical Sl-ctches and 

compensation for his services. The other two-thirds were 
divided between his wife Sarah and his three children, 
William, Thomas and Rachel Mary Eliza. In 1813 Wil- 
liam Trigg died, leaving Lilburn L. Henderson as his 

The business of the salt-works was carried on by these 
parties until May, 1819, Avhen James White and the 
creditors of William Trigg filed a bill in chancery, 
alleging waste and non-payment of William King's debts. 
The prayer of the bill was granted, and James White was 
appointed receiver. On the 17th of June, 1819, Francis 
Smith, who had married the widow of William King; 
Thomas Claiborne, who married the widow of James 
King, and L. L. Henderson, who married the widow of 
William Trigg, in right of his wife, and as guardian of 
William Trigg's children, leased the salt-works to John 
Sanders for five years from August 1, 1819, at an annual 
rent of |30,000. 

The next year James White purchased the lease from 
Sanders, and continued in possession until 1833. 

When this striking figure and remarkable man, James 
W^hite, appears upon the stage an introduction is not 
only appropriate, but necessary. He was over six feet 
high, of broad shoulders, deep chest, and that symmetry 
of limb that indicate agility and strength. His physical 
energy surpassed that of ordinary men, and his intellec- 
tual endowments may (in part) be measured by his suc- 
cess in business. He was born near Carlisle, Pennsyl- 
vania, February 22, 1770, of Scotch-Irish parents, and 
when quite young was a clerk in the concern of Talbot, 

Reni'uiiscruccs of an Octoijeuanau. (iS 

two or three years, and that firm advanced him a small 
stock of goods, with which he made his first trip to South- 
west Virginia. He quickly sold the same, and thus began 
his business ventures in that country when about twenty- 
one years of age. On the 4th of January, 1798, he mar- 
ried Miss Eliza Wilson, and settled in Abingdon. All of 
his enterprises seemed to prosper, and his control of the 
salt-works and its markets for salt enabled him to estab- 
lish a great number of mercantile concerns (it is said 
forty-five at one time) in the States of Virginia, Tennes- 
see, Alabama and Georgia, and from the profits of these 
and the sale of salt large revenue was derived. These 
profits were invested in large interests of the Lead Mines 
in Wythe county; in cotton plantations, slaves and other 
property, which were worth at least |750,000 at his death. 
He died October 20, 1838. 

As bold and sagacious as he was, he made some grave 
mistakes in his business. The most remarkable, perhaps, 
was in his contract with James Sanders, by which he 
agreed to take all the salt that Sanders could make at 
one dollar per bushel. The estimate of the capacity of 
King's salines for the production of salt was from 90,000 
to 100,000 bushels, and that amount could easily be sold 
at a large profit. But Sanders built additional furnaces, 
and there seemed to be no limit to the production and 
the consequent glutting of the market. 

To avoid the threatened bankruptcy. Colonel White 
offered Sanders large sums to cancel the contract. At 
last it was agreed that if Colonel White would purchase 
the beautiful estate on the Middle Fork of Holston, lying 
west of the Aspinvale tract, and extending to Colonel 

O'l Ili.storical ^Irfrhr.s and 

Greavers, below the present Chilhowie, and deed it to 
Sanders, the contract wouhl be cancelled. Tradition says 
this purchase cost Colonel White |75,000. 

Before the lease to Sanders expired, in 1824, Colonel 
White renewed it for himself, and retaining peaceable 
possession of the property, be,£»an with his usual energy 
to increase the production of salt and extend the area of 
the market. Unfortunately, the interest of Rachel Mary 
Eliza, only daughter of James King, and wife of Dr. 
Alexander JNfcCall, was not included in the lease. 

In order to understand these complicated interests it 
is necessary to revert to another peculiar bequest in the 
will of William King, Sr. Wishing in some measure to 
entail his estate he devised the salt-works property to a 
son of his brother, James King, provided he married a 
daughter of William Trigg and Rachel Findlay (his wife), 
and niece of William King. Rut in default of such a mar- 
riage, to a son of William Trigg and Rachel, his wife, 
provided he married a daughter of James King. It so 
happened that William Trigg and wife had only four sons 
and James King only one daughter, Rachel Mary Eliza, 
and she married Dr. Alexander IMcCall. After years of 
litigation the Supreme Court of the United States de- 
cided that as the bequest of the testator could not be 
complied with the property descended to his heirs gen- 
eral. This decision made all of the heirs of William King 
co-tenants of the salt-works estate. As Dr. McCall, by his 
marriage with IMiss Rachel IMary Eliza, only daughter 
of James King, had defeated the bequest of the salt- 
works to that family, he appeared to be infatuated with 
the purpose of obtaining some indemnity for it. His 

Rciiiiin.scciiccs of an Octof/ciKirian. 60 

wife's interest not being legally included in the lease to 
Colonel White, he refused to receive his proportion of 
the rent, and in the name of his wife and others brought 
suit against Colonel White for possession, as co-tenant, 
of a part of the property, and also for rents and profits 
from 1824. This suit was not decided until February 15, 
1833, when Judge James E. Brown delivered his opinion, 
by which McCall and others were denied the right of 
entering upon the property, but given the right of an 
account of rents and profits. 

On the 2d of September, 1833, Colonel White leased 
the King Salt-Works to Alex. McCall and William King 
at an annual rent of |15,9T2, during the life of Mrs. 
Francis Smith, formerly Mrs. William King. On the 
same day McCall and King leased the Preston estate at 
an annual rent of |16,000. 

From the time of the first least the policy of the lessees 
was to prevent competition. As the water on the King 
estate was stronger than that on the Preston, more fur- 
naces were erected by the lessees on the former than on 
the latter, and hence the salines were generally known 
as " King's Salt-Works." The furnaces on the Preston 
estate were neglected, and were soon in a dilapidated 
condition. The seapage-water from the neighboring 
marsh diluted the water in the wells until the impression 
was made that this estate could not compete with King's 
in the manufacture of salt. The rental value of the 
former, therefore, was so lessened that General Preston 
decided to develop and manufacture^ salt on his own 
property. His son, William C. Preston, took charge of 
the property, and was so successful that the lessee of the 

66 Historical Hlrtchcs and 

King estate, who was paying a large rental, soon dis- 
covered that the competition was too formidable, and to 
realize any profit a lease of the Preston estate was abso- 
hitely necessary. This lessee Avas Colonel James White. 
He greatly increased the prodnction of salt, and extended 
the area of the market. Nearly all of the furnaces were 
on the King estate, and the salt transported on the river 
was hauled in wagons to different points of shipment. 
This involved heavy expense. It was during Colonel 
White's lease that the earth around King's well caved 
in some ten or fifteen feet below the surface, and the 
cavity was filled by a pool of water. To support the 
superincumbent earth and check the influx of surface 
water, he had many cords of wood thrown into the cavity. 
Colonel White ceased to rent the Preston salines in 
1829. In 1830 Charles H. C. Preston, son of General 
Preston, was put in possession of the Preston estate, and 
dug a well in the vicinity of King's well, and obtained as 
strong water as the latter. To avoid the expense of haul- 
ing salt to the river he built furnaces where the alkaline- 
works are located, and conveyed the water in wooden 
tubes to them. He died on the 13th of January, 1832, 
before his more advanced plans of manufacturing salt 
were matured. After his death John S. Preston, the 
managing partner of John S. Preston & Co., lessees of 
their father, Francis Preston, took charge of the property, 
and he employed a northern man (Anthony) to put a 
pump in the new w^ell. It was of iron, and soon began to 
leak. In the course of the next year (September 1, 1833) 
King and McCall rented the entire salines and estab- 

Rcniiiii.'^rcncrs of an Ociof/fiinriaii. 67 

lislied their offices and dwellings at the river works. 
Their lease of the Preston property continued till 1845. 
Before its expiration, it was decided by the Court of Ap- 
peals that the heirs of William Kini>- were '' tenants in 
common,'' and that any one of them had the right to enter 
upon the property and work the salines, accounting to 
the other heirs for profits. In the exercise of this right, 
after the death of Mrs. Smith (1839), Messrs. Alexan- 
der and Thomas Findlay, nephews of William King, with 
John D. Meitchell and others, as Findley, Meitchell & 
Co., took joint possession with King and McCall of the 
King well, and began the manufacture of salt. This 
competition was fatal to King and McCall, and they, 
failing to pay the rent of the Preston estate, gave up the 
property Januarj^, 1815, and Thomas L. Preston was 
given the management of it. 

During that year an effort was made to unite the two 
estates under a common management. All the parties 
in interest agreed upon the terms of the contract, but 
when it was written and many had signed, Dr. Alexander 
McCall, for himself and William King, refused to sign. 
He had been present at all of the conferences, discussed 
the various stipulations, and urged their acceptance. 
This breach of faith arrested for a time the efforts for a 
combination, but it was regarded as so important to the 
interests of all other parties that an agreement was en- 
tered into by other heirs of the King estate, and Thomas 
L. Preston, and the business was commenced on that 
footing. Mr. McCall soon began building a furnace on 
the King estate, and this led to a long chancery suit. 
The court finally decided to take charge of the property 

6'<S IT'isttoricaJ »S7.T/r7/r.s n)i(l 

and have it rented for the heirs general of William King, 
Under this decree of the court Thomas L. Preston rented 
the King estate at an annual rent of |16,000 for five years 
on the 1st of January, 184G. At the expiration of his 
lease Wyndham Kobertson became the lessee of both 
estates for five years at |16,000 annually for each. On 
the expiration of his lease Thomas L. Preston again 
rented the King estate on the same terms for five years. 
During the occupancy of King and ^fcCall no profits were 

When Thomas li. Preston took charge of the Preston 
saline estate it was in a very dilapidated condition. The 
farm had been neglected, and some fifty or sixty tenants 
were scattered among the hills and valley's. The ditches 
in the flat were filled, and the swamp laud extended in 
every direction. The cattle of the neighborhood grazed 
unmolested on the meadows, as there was only a pre- 
tence of a fence to keep them out. The old residence had 
been occupied by rough tenants, and the doors on which 
the old brass locks, with their pendant handles were still 
attached, were fastened by a ti'ace chain that passed 
through an inch augur hole over a rough staple driven 
into the side-post. The papering in the parlor hung in 
shreds, and the closets were nests of rats and mice. The 
out-houses were in a state of decay, and the only shelter 
for a saddle-horse Avas a corn-crib without a floor. 

The furnaces were in nearly as bad a condition. They 
were open sheds, and the long, heavy oval-shaped kettles 
were imbeded more than one-half of their area in rough 
walls, so that but a little more than a third of the convex 
surface Avas exposed to the fire. 

Rcmiiiistonwrs- of an Ocfoijcuurlau. 69 

William King invited the gentlemen who were to 
appraise the personal property agreed to be taken by the 
incoming tenant to dinner. The principal dish w^as a 
roasted pig, and a former man-cook of the Preston's was 
given the duty of preparing it. He stood upon the abut- 
ment of the chimney and turned the spit on the top of it. 
It was not more than four feet high. It is not surprising 
that the lessees failed who used such primitive and in- 
adequate processes of making salt. 

The first furnace modeled after those of Syracuse, New" 
York (with some original improvements), was built by 
Thomas L. Preston in 1845-'6. It was located opposite 
the old office, and was burned by the Yankees in 1864. 

In 1847, Thomas L. Preston had a ditch dug six feet 
wide and four feet deep from the northeastern corner 
of the valley to the old mill at the foot of the " Sugar 
Loaf Hill," on the east. When the ditches reached a 
point nearly opposite the Madam Russell house they re- 
ported that a rock was struck that was too hard to be 
removed by their picks. The rock ran vertically into the 
flat, and on the eastern side a salt spring of considerable 
volume rose in the bottom of the ditch. When this bar- 
rier was removed the water poured in such volume from 
the pond and the adjoining marsh that the progress of 
the ditch was delayed for several days, and lateral 
ditches were cut to convey it off. The earth from the 
ditch was thrown on the eastern bank and formed the 
basis of the present road through the valley. The entire 
flat was drained by this ditch. 

In 1858, Thomas L. Preston, then the lessee of the King 
salines, rented both estates to Spencer Ackerman & Co. 

70 ni.<itorira] Slrtrhrfi and 

In 1863, Stnart, Palmer aud Parker piirohased the Pres- 
ton property from Robert (Jibboney, trustee of Thomas 
L. Preston, ami in 18()4 a joint stock company of the two 
estates was formed nnder the title of the Uolston Salt 
and Plaster Company. In 1893 the joint saline estates 
were purohasetl by the present proprietors. 

Ri'iiiini.srrurr.s of an ()<i<)<irii<irian. 


The early settlers of the vicinit}- of the Salt-Works 
were a primitive and peculiar class of people, unlearned 
and superstitious, but, like most frontiersmen, manly and 
independent. The buffalo and elk had disappeared from 
the country, but deer, bear and other game was abund- 
ant, and every man was a hunter and skilled in the use 
of the rifle. They knew nothing of the luxuries of life. 

On one occasion, w^hen a neighbor was sick, General 
Preston visited him, and finding that he was only weak 
and depressed, asked if he would not like to have some 
coffee. He said that the would, and the General sent a 
few pounds. A few^ days afterwards the General called 
again, and asked how he liked the coffee. He replied, 
" Well, Gineral, I am much obleged for your kindness, 
" but my old woman hikd them heans all dai/ most, and they 
" were jist so hard I couldn't eat 'em." 

The w^omen often came and talked with Mrs. Preston. 
Of these there w^as a notable character, a Mrs. Henagar, 
who had the reputation of being a witch. Her upper eye- 
lids were paralyzed and drooped over her eyes, giving her 
the appearance of being blind. Whenever she read her 
Bible she was obliged to stoop over it and hold the lids 
up with her hands. Then her vision was perfect. Mrs. 
Preston asked her, " Why, Mrs. Henagar. do people say 

12 Historical Shichcs and 

you are a witch? " " Law, bless your sweet soul, liouey," 
she replied, " it's because I have got more sense than all 
of 'em put together." This bad reputation, however, 
clung to her, and every riHe that had " a spell " upon 
it, and every child that had convulsions in the neighbor- 
hood was supposed to be bewitched by Mrs. Henagar. 
So fixed was this belief that Charley Talbot, a notable 
hunter and marksman, once had " a spell " on his gun, 
and he could not win at shooting matches nor kill a deer 
in the woods. He said that ]Mrs. Henager had a 
" grudge " against him, and had put the " spell " on his 
gun. To avenge himself and rid the neighborhood of this 
supposed meddlesome person, he determined to practice 
a " spell " upon her. To accomplish this it was necessary 
to draw an outline of her figure upon a tree and shoot 
it in the heart with a bullet in which there was a large 
portion of silver. This he did, but, to his surprise, j\[rs. 
Henager did not " pine away and die," but continued in 
her usual health. He was, therefore, convinced that it 
was not Mrs, Henagar that had " spelled " his gun, but 
some other witch. 

Many other stories of witchcraft were circulated and 
believed, but, perhaps the best authenticated was that 
of the children of young Mrs. Talbot and her cousin, ]\[rs. 
Henagar. They lived together on the north side of the 
river, about a mile from the King Salt-Works. Their 
children were little girls, nearly of the same age, and 
had learned to talk well enough to be understood. On 
a bright summer day the two mothers barred the door 
of the house in which the children were left, and went to 
the river side to do their washing. Suddenlv there was 

Brill i II i.sTCii rex of an Octof/riKiridii. 7, J 

a noise and shrill ontcry from the house, and the 
mothers ran back to it. On entering the door one of the 
children was found sittin*;- in the " crib," and the other 
greatly excited and alarmed running about the floor. 
Soon it was discoA-ered that the one on the floor had lost 
the power of articulation; was, indeed, dumb, and the 
other, in the cradle, was paralyzed in its lower limbs, but 
could speak. No intelligent explanation of wdiat had 
occurred could be given by the only child which could 
talk, and, as far as she could indicate, the only cause for 
alarm was that a hlacl' cat had come down the chimney 
with a cap on its- head This solved the mystery, and was 
accepted by the families and the neighborhood as a clear 
case of witchcraft. Subsequent events confirmed the 

On the anniversary of this event the mothers and chil- 
dren went to bed just as they had done for a year; 
but, lo! when they awoke next morning the paralyzed 
child sprang up and ran about the floor as actively 
as her cousin had done the day before, but that cousin 
sat in bed talking in the advanced language of a year, 
but could not move her legs. This periodical interchange 
of condition continued for two or more years, and until 
the paralyzed child sickened and died. The dumb one 
lived to be an old woman. In her youth she was bright 
and cheerful; loved dancing, and attended the festivities 
of the neighborhood. She kept house for her brothers, 
and when one of them lost his wife, she took care of and 
attended to his children. 

The writer of this visited the family when Miss Talbot 
Avas an elderly woman, and was struck with her tidiness, 

7-^ Historical Slrtcltcs and 

and the neatness and orderly management of the house- 
hold. He cannot fix the date when she particularly re- 
quested him to come to her house, as she wished to con- 
sult with him on an important matter of business. When 
he arrived her brother was in the room, and spoke for her 
the usual greetings and inquiries. She then motioned 
to him to retire, and send to her a negro girl (one of her 
slaves), whom she had taught to be her interpreter. This 
girl informed the writer that her mistress wished him to 
write her vill. Writing materials were produced, and 
Miss Talbot, through her interpreter, explained how she 
wished to dispose of her estate, real and personal. She 
owned five or six slaves, and for these (especially her in- 
terpreter) she made kind, considerate and judicious pro- 
vision. The landed estate was left for life to her brothers, 
but in trust for the nephews and nieces she had brought 
up. As each bequest was read, if it did not explicitly 
express her wishes she would pause and then insist upon 
such changes as did. Her mind was as clear as the 
clearest, and there was no uncertainty in her purposes. 

She was asked if the story about her cousin and herself 
was true. She replied, " Of course I do not remember 
anything about it, but was told that it happened as you 
have heard it. I have no recollection of being able to 

The sequel is a sad one. After Thomas L. Preston 
moved to eastern Virginia, a plausible and designing 
man persuaded Miss Talbot that ^Ir. Preston had deceived 
her, and instead of writing her will as she dictated, had 
inserted a clause bequeathing the slaves and, perhaps, 
some other property to himself. But if she would let 

ReniiirisTVUccfi of <m Octof/riiarian. 7;> 

him destro}^ that will and write one for her the property 
would be secured to those she wished to leave it to. She 
yielded to these suggestions, and the will was written 
and duly executed. When, after Miss Talbofs death, it 
was presented for recordation, then it was discovered 
that the slaves were bequeathed to this pretended friend. 
He took possession of them, brought them to the court- 
house and .sold thcni as his own. The family protested 
against this fraud, but were unable to set the will aside. 
This information was obtained from Benjamin K. 
Buchanan, who knew the facts, and whose integrity and 
veracity cannot be questioned. 

Another incident characteristic of that period may be 
mentioned. Colonel Francis Preston was in Philadelphia 
when a ship, having many immigrants, arrived. Those 
immigrants who could not pay for their passage were 
sold as servants for a term of years fixed by the price 
paid for them. Hence they were called " Redemptioners." 
Colonel Preston was struck by the appearance of a young 
German, bought him, and brought him to his home. It 
was soon discovered that he was an educated gentleman, 
spoke English, and was an accomijlished musician. In- 
stead of putting him to menial service, he was installed 
as music teacher to Colonel Preston's daughters. In 
this capacity he continued until his term of service ex- 
pired. On the day before its expiration. Colonel Preston 
said to him, " I wish you to dress in your best clothes for 
dinner to-morrow." At the appointed hour he presented 
himself, and when he was ushered into the parlor he 
stood abashed at the door, for Colonel and Mrs. Preston, 
with their children, were in full dress. The Colonel 

76' Jfistorica] h<l-(tchrs and 

advanced and held out his hand, saying, " Mr. , 

your term of service is ended, and we welcome you into 
our family circle as a gentleman and friend." At this 
unexpected greeting he broke down and wept like a 
woman. His coming to America was caused by a painful 
and humiliating incident. Whilst on a visit to England 
he was made drunk by a party of gay young men, and 
during that insensate condition was married to a w^oman 
of the streets. When he awoke next morning and found 
what had occurred, and that by the laws of England the 
marriage was legal, he was so horrified and overwhelmed 
with shame that he started promptl}^ for Liverpool, and 
took passage in the first vessel sailing to America. For- 
tunately, he fell into the hands of Colonel Preston, and 
after his term of service expired continued to live as one 
of the family, until the good news reached him that the 
w^omau he had married was dead, and that he could 
return untrammeled to his family in Germany.* 

A somewhat similar incident occurred in the family of 
Colonel William Preston, of Montgomery county, father 
of Francis. He bought a " redemptioner," and after 
bringing him home, discovered that he was an educated 
physician. His name was Thomas Lloyd. He was treated 
as one of the family, and when in the summer of IK)", 
Colonel William Preston with Thomas Lewis were ap- 

* Mrs. Letitia Floyd, in her letters to her son, Ben. Rush Floyd, 
is mistaken in saying this German was purchased by her father, Colonel 
William Preston, and says his name was Aaron Palferras. This may 
be true of the name: I cannot recall it. The incidents of the German's 
residence at the Saltworks I often heard from my mother, Mrs. Sarah 
B. Preston. T. L. P. 

Rcmiiiiscrnrcft of an OcftH/fimridii. 77" 

pointed commissioners by Governor Dinwiddie to make 
a treaty with Shawnee and Dehiware Indians at the 
mouth of Big Sandy river, Dr. IJoyd was taken with 
them. Mrs. Letitia FI03TI (from whose letters to her son 
this account is taken), says: "Lewis, I believe, did not 
" accompanj^ the party. The treaty was made with 
" Ocanothoto (?) and Cornstalk. Colonel Preston endured 
"singular hardships in this expedition; he had tied his 
"moccasins somewhat too tight; the string chafed the 
" instep of one of his feet, which produced partial morti- 
"fication. The skill of Dr. Lloyd saved his life. The 
" Doctor continued a companion and died many years 
" afterwards, the firm friend of the Preston family." 

The descendants of many of the redemptioners were 
among the most respectable families of a later period. 

Rciii'uiiscnicc.s of an ()<ioijfii<(riaii. 79 


Charley Talbot, whose belief in " spells " has been men- 
tioned, was a notable character in his day, and illustrates 
by his career some of the traits and opinions of the 
mountaineers of that period. He was short of stature, 
only five feet eight inches high, broad shouldered, deep- 
chested and lithe of limb, of great strength and agility. 
One of his feats of strength was to rest the back of his 
head on one chair and his heels on another and sustain 
a Aveight of 225 pounds on his chest or stomach. So fleet 
was he that he would bet he could beat any horse in a 
race of 100 yards, if the horse's head were turned from 
the course to be run when the word " go " w^as given, and 
a hurdle of rails five feet high placed midway the course. 
These wagers he continued to win until in the meridian 
of life, he and the horse reached the rails simultaneously 
and Charley's legs were caught in the top rail, struck 
by the horse, and his thigh-bone was broken. 

So skilled was he with the rifle that in the shooting 
matches for beef he occasionally won the entire ox. The 
arrangement was that a neighbor gave notice that on a 
certain day and place he would offer a fat beef to be shot 
for. When the crowd assembled a price was put upon 
the animal and an auction followed for the different parts 
of it. Tt was divided into five quarters. The first and most 

80 Historical ^Mchc.s and 

valuable was the hide and talhnv : then the hind quarters, 
and, lastly, the two fore quarters. If the sums bid equaled 
the price of the beef, marksmen chosen by the parties 
began the contest. Each marksman had his own target, 
and the best three shots out of five was the winner. The 
winner of the first quarter had the right to bid for the 
others, or take them in succession. Charley always bid 
in the first quarter, and if he won that continued to con- 
tend for the others, and thus secured the entire ox, and 
drove it home or sold it on the spot. If he failed to do 
this the ox was butchered and divided pro rata among the 
winners and their partisans. 

Unfortunately, Charley was too fond of a dram, and to 
unsteady his hand and blur his keen vision he was some- 
times persuaded to " wet his vrhistle " too often and shot 
wildly after the first contest. The distance shot was 
usually sixty yards for off-hand shooters, and one hun- 
dred for those who shot with a rest. Charley was always 
among the first class. He began life in the employment 
of General Preston, and had the cattle under his charge, 
but the routine and constraints of civilized life were irk- 
some to one of his wild and erratic nature. He soon, 
therefore, after his marriage, built a cabin on a spur of 
Clinch Mountain. 

This cabin was situated not far from a rough precipi- 
tous gorge and could be approached only by a steep, 
rough and narrow path. There, in seclusion, he and his 
wife (a fit mate for such a character) continued to live. 
Their frugal fare consisted chiefly of the game he killed 
with his rifle, and of that there was variety and abund- 
ance. Deer, bear, wild turkeys and j)heasants (mountain 

Rnninlsccnccs of an OcUxjcHurian. 81 

grouse) abounded, and the flesh of these, with the various 
forms of bread made of cornmeal, satisfied their simple 
tastes. For luxuries they had home-made sugar and 
coffee, and dried berries, and always an abundance of 

Charley had charge of herds of cattle sent by General 
Preston and Captain Francis Smith to the mountain 
coves for summer pasture, and attended to their salting, 
and saw that none strayed away. For this service he was 
paid, and this and his peltries gave him money for his 
small expenditures. In his early manhood he was the 
hunting companion of William C. Preston, of South Caro- 
lina, and together they roamed through the mountains 
and became familiar with every leading ridge and gorge 
of Clinch Mountain for many miles east and west, and 
with all the hills and valleys between that mountain and 
Walker's Mountain to the south. Mr. Preston leased a 
cabin and some land to a lame Irish cobbler named 
Walker, upon the condition that he should always keep 
a pack of hounds ready for the chase, and which he could 
call out at the sound of his horn. With this pack Mr. 
Preston and Charley would go into the " drive " and start 
the deer which they knew would, after the shorter or 
longer chase, run to certain " stands," where other hunts- 
men were stationed. Mr. Preston and Charley enjoyed 
the excitement of the chase and often killed a deer in 
the drive. 

This community of tastes made Charley a devoted 
friend of Mr. Preston, whom he regarded as a superior 
being, and whose behests were to be obeyed without ques- 

82 Historical Sl-etc1ies and 

tioning. In the summer of 1845 Mr. Preston visited his 
brother Thomas at the Salt-Works, and as they sat look- 
ing at the White Eoeks on the summit of Clinch Moun- 
tain, he said, " I would like to go up there once more 
before I die, and have Charley Talbot with me." He was 
assured that this could be accomplished. A messenger 
was dispatched to Charley, with the request that he 
would come the next morning before sunrise prepared 
to pilot the party on this expedition. He was on time, 
and after an early breakfast the party started. The old 
loyalty was as fresh in Charley's heart as it had been 
twenty-five years before, and he rode by the side of Pres- 
ton talking as freely as he had done in the happy days 
of early manhood. In a pause when not far from the 
summit, Charley was by the side of Mr. Preston, who 
turned to him, and without preface, said, " Charley, did 
you have anything to do with the murder of Mrs. Cay- 
wood? " Charley turned quickly, and, straightening him- 
self up, looked directly into Mv. Preston's eyes with a 
concentrated gaze, and replied deliberately, " William, 
you know Charley Talbot, and you know he is not a good 
man, but you know he wouldn't hurt a hair on a woman's 
head. No! I had nothing to do with it and am as inno- 
cent of that crime as you are yourself." 

" Then, Charley, why did you hide in the mountains, 
and not let yourself be summoned to court? " asked Mr. 

" Lord! William. I knowed they would put me in jail; 
and I'd 'ave died behind them bars," he replied. 

Yes; the eagle in a cage would not have pined more 
than Charley Talbot in the cell of a prison. There was 

Reminiscences of an Octof/enarian. 8S 

further conversation about the murder, and the evidence 
in the case, and after a pause, ^Ir. Preston said, " Charley, 
were you ever minded to kill any one? " Charley did not 
answer promptly, but seemed to reflect for a moment, 
and then answered slowly, "No, William; not exactly. 

But there was that rascal F who told lies about 

me, and went to Captain Smith and told him that I did 
not salt his cattle regularly, and took into the cove other 
people's cattle, and when a steer was missing said it had 
died from eating some pizoii (poisonous) weed, or had 
fallen over the cliff, when I had killed it, and sold what 
meat I did not keep for myself. I knowccl the rascal 
wanted my place. So I went to Captain Smith and told 

him I heard F had been telling these lies on me, 

and that he ought to know Charley Talbot too well to 
believe them, as we had been boys together; and he 
knowed I took good care of his cattle, and gave an honest 
account of them every year. Well, one day I was still 
hunting, and was near the head of the holler, where the 
path across the ridge winds around it like a bow. I was 
standing on a log, but hidden by the brush that grew 

about it. As I looked around I saw F a riding, 

come over the top of the ridge. I set the triggers of 
' Betty ' (his rifle) so fine that a puff of wind would spring 
them.-' (In demonstration of his meaning he set the 
triggers of his rifle, and, holding it near Mr. Preston, then 
with a puff of breath sprang them.) " And I drew a bead 
(sight) upon his heart, and followed all around the path, 
saying to myself, ' If it is God's will to send a wind and 
kill this man, then 'tis all right.' But there was no wind. 

8-) Historical ^Irtchcs and 

and F passed on out of sight." This question of 

casuistry was not discussed. 

When the conversation ended we toiled on to the foot 
of the rocks. On the very apex these rocks are cleft to 
their base, leaving a smooth passwaj" not over ten feet 
wide. On the southern and taller side there is a narrow 
ledge about eight feet from the base. As we entered the 
narrow defile, Charley exclaimed, " Just look there, what 
" a scuffle there has been! ' To T. L. Preston's eyes, there 
" was no apparent evidence of a ' great scuffle,' but it was 
" clear to Charley, and, looking around, he said, 'A pan- 
" ther caught a doe or spiked buck here last night. Yes; 
" he was lying on that ledge and when the deer passed 
" through, he sprang upon and knocked him down, and 
" then they scuffled, and tore up the ground until the 
" panther got him by the throat and cut his jugular vein 
" and sucked all the blood out of him. And that panther 
^'' aint far from here now. He heard us and has hidden. 
" If we had a dog we could soon trace him.' Then, looking 
" over the ground, he said, 'That deer aint far from here.'" 
We had dismounted, and, leaving the horses, Charley 
walked like a dog upon a trail directly to the root of a 
tree that had been blown down, where a pile of leaves 
had apparently drifted, and, pulling some of them away, 
uncovered the deer, saying as he did so, " I told you so." 
Upon examining it, the meat was fresh, only a part of 
the thigh eaten; and upon the flanks and neck were the 
marks of the claws and teeth, and the large veins of the 
throat were punctured. Passing on to a moist and 
densely shaded depression, a large tree had fallen across 
our course, and as we neared it, Charley again said, 

Reminiftcrnces of an Octoffninrian. 85 

" Look there! " Stretched by the side of the tree hiy the 
skeletons of two bucks, their heads together, and their 
horns so interlocked that they could not be separated 
without breaking the points. These were secured and 
brought home as mementoes of the expedition, and were 
entrusted to a person to be deposited in the Smithsonian 
Institute, at Washington. Neither this nor many other 
specimens of Indian and prehistoric relics were ever 
heard of afterwards. 

On the return down the mountain we stopped at Char- 
ley's cabin, and, desiring to know how he avoided being 
arrested by the sheriff, the writer asked him for an ex- 
planation. He began by pointing out the " rack " for his 
rifle over the liead of his bed, and which could be reached 
from a sitting position, and said, " There ' Betty ' stays 
when not in my hands." Then to his saddle bags (wallets 
swung over a pole suspended by ropes from the joist), and 
by their side a suit of clothes. " Now, you see. Tommy, 
when Watch (his dog) gives the signal, I jist reach up 
for ' Betty,' ; jerk down them saddle pockets and breeches, 
and am out before any one can git to the door." " But," 
said his interlocutor, " your house was surrounded." 
" Yes, but I lifted the bed off of that puncheon and 
slipped under, and my old w^onian lifted it back on it, and 
was in bed, mighty complaining, when they came in. If 
they lifted up the puncheon, they would only see a tater 
(potato) hole under it. I was out in the ravine, and no 
man could catch me there among them rocks and bushes." 
This subterraneous passage Avas never discovered, and 
Charley eluded the sheriff and posse until he was per- 

86 Historical Slrtclies and 

suaded to give himself up aud establish his innocence in 

The murder of Mrs. Cay wood was tJie celehratcd case 
of the period, and excited an intense interest throughout 
the entire country. Ben Caywood was a prosperous 
blacksmith, and, with his brother Tom, owned most of 
the farm now owned by Benjamin K. Buchanan at Cay- 
wood's Gap, on the south of Walker's Mountain. He 
(Ben Caywood) became infatuated with a woman of the 
neighborhood named Prather, and, in order to marry her, 
it was necessary to get rid of his wife. A cunning and 
skillful plan was devised for this purpose. As his was a 
log house, about three inches of the cltinl-'uig between the 
logs, near the door, was carefully removed, making an 
opening just large enough to admit the muzzle of a rifle. 
It was then arranged that Caywood and his wife would 
be engaged in paring apples before a bright fire. By that 
light the assassin could see distinctly how to fire the fatal 

Mrs. Caywood (there were no children) was placed 
nearest the door, and facing the fire presented her left 
side to the assassin, whilst Caywood sat on the other side 
of the fireplace, and out of the direction or line of the 
shooting. This was the description of a witness who 
looked in ui)on the party not more than five or ten min- 
utes before the fatal shot. 

He testified that he was returning to his home from 
the court at Abingdon, and as he approached the house, 
there was such a bright light from the door that he 
thought the house was on fire, and, turning out of the 
road, he reached a point so near the house that a full 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 87 

view of the inmates could be obtained. The fire, he said, 
was of dry " clap-boards," once used for covering the 
house, and the bright flame from them made every object 
in the room distinctly visible. 

He did not disturb the quiet group, but, turning back 
into the road, he had scarcely passed beyond the light 
from the door when he heard the crack of a rifle, and 
immediately screams and a great noise in the house fol- 
lowed. These screams reached the ears of Tom Cay- 
wood's family, not more than one hundred yards distant, 
and they rushed down the hill to Ben Caywood's house. 
He (Ben) appeared greatly excited, blood was streaming 
over his face, the room was in the greatest confusion, and 
Mrs. Caywod lay dead on the floor. 

Ben said that an attempt had been made to kill him 
and his Avife and rob the house, and that the robbers, 
after the shooting, rushed into the house, but that he had 
driven them out after a desperate struggle, in which he 
received the wound on his head; that the assassins missed 
him when they fired, and he showed in the fireplace 
the mark of the bullet that was intended for him. The 
mark of the powder on the log where the muzzle of the 
rifle had rested when Mrs. Caywood was shot was dis- 
tinctly traceable as late as 1845, and was seen by the 

Colonel Francis Preston happened to be at the Salt- 
Works, and, as a magistrate and friend, was sent for. He 
arrived early the next morning, and began an examina- 
tion into the circumstances and facts of the case. On 
examining Mrs. Caywood's body, he found that the rifle 
ball had passed through the heart, and that the shot was 

88 Historical ^Irtches and 

accurately aimed. The powder mark on the log proved 
that only one shot had been fired from that point. Then 
Ben Caywood's rifle was examined, but it was covered 
with dust, and the condition of the lock showed that it 
had not been fired for some time. The premises were 
searched for footprints or any traces of the assassin. 
None were discovered. The mill-pond, which was but 
a short distance from the house, was dragged and drained 
to see of the gun used could have been thrown there. 
None w^as found. But the circumstances in which the 
murder was committed were such that Colonel Preston 
had Ben Caywood arrested. He at once became defiant 
and said he had money enough to get soon out of jail, and 
that there was |1,000 in silver in his saddle-bags under 
the bed which he would take with him. This request 
was granted. 

As stated before, Charley Talbot was suspected of kill- 
ing Mrs. Caywood, but the only grounds for the suspicion 
seemed to be the accuracy of aim of the fatal shot, and 
that Charley was poor and lived a secluded life. He was 
of a kindly nature, with a touch of chivalry, and could 
then have proudly said " he would not hurt a hair on a 
woman's head." As there was no proof against him 
attention was directed to Prather, the brother of the 
woman Caywood wanted to marry. A train of suspicious 
circumstances centered at last upon him, and he was 
arrested and put in jail. 

In due course of time the trial came on. Benjamin 
Estell (afterwards Judge) was attorney for the Common 
wealth, and the defence was conducted by Charles C. 
Johnston, then a young man, but one of the most talented 

Rcininisvviur.s of an Octof/vnariaiL 89 

of the talented sons of Judge Peter Johnston. So able 
and ingenious was the defence that the jury could not 
agree upon a verdict, and a new trial was ordered. Again 
there was a hung jury. When the time came for the third 
trial a panel could not be had in Washington county, as 
every man of sufficient intelligence to sit in the trial of 
such a case had made up his mind upon it. Subpoenas 
were sent to the adjoining counties of Tazewell, Russell 
and Scott, Avithout success. After persistent efforts by 
the sheriffs and other officers a panel of eleven persons 
was at last obtained, but how to get the twelfth no one 
could tell. At last it was ascertained that the school- 
master in Abingdon had said that he had not formed 
an opinion upon the case. He was a Swedenborgian, and 
entertained conscientious scruples against capital punish- 
ment. This was reported to Mr. Estell, and his reply was, 
" Let him be summoned. I can convince any intelligent 
and reasonable man of Caywood's guilt." He was accord- 
ingly brought into court, and after being questioned as 
to his opinions, was accepted as a juryman, cheerfully, 
no doubt, by Mr. Johnston. The testimony against Cay- 
wood and Prather was more conclusive than ever, and 
when the jury were sent to their room a verdict of (/iiiltij 
was confidently expected. After a long delay the fore- 
man came into court and announced that the jury could 
not agree upon a verdict. The schoolmaster, though con- 
vinced of Caywood's guilt, refused to sign a verdict that 
involved capital punishment. As this w^as the third trial, 
and no verdict was found, the accused was acquitted. 
Caywood, his silver all gone, and Prather were set free, 

90 Uhtofkid ><laU-hc8 and 

but with the understanding- that they should leave the 
country at once. This they did, and were never, as far as 
known, heard of afterwards. The schoolmaster's school 
was soon broken up, and he also left for parts unknown. 

Note. — I was one of his pupils then a lad of eight or ten summers. 

T. L. P. 

Rrnuuisrniff.^ of an Ocfof/rnariau. 91 


The establishment of Washington county and its civil 
and military organization are interesting in themselves, 
and too characteristic of the period to be passed in 
silence. The extracts given from Major John CampbelPs 
Manuscript History in Howe's History of Virginia are 
therefore copied in full: 

" The act establishing the county of Washington passed 
in October, 1776, but it was not to go into operation until 
January, 1777. It received its civil and military organi- 
zation on the 28th of January, 1777. It is the oldest 
county of Washington in the United States, being the 
first that was called after the Father of His Country. 
The act establishing the county passed in the first year 
of the Commonwealth, and the county was organized the 
first month of the new year." 

The following are the first records made in which the 
county received its civil and military organization: 

" January 28th, in the first year of the Commonwealth 
of Virginia, and in the year of our Lord Christ, 1777, being 
the day appointed by act of the General Assembly of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia for holding the first court of 
the county of Washington at ' Black's Fort,' a commis- 
sion of the peace and Dedimus for this county, directed 
to Arthur Campbell, William Campbell, Evan Shelby, 

92 Historical ^Irtches and 

Daniel Smith, William Edminson, John Campbell, Joseph 
Martin, Alexander Buchanan, James Dysart, John Kin- 
caid, John Anderson, James Montgomery, John Coalier, 
John Snody, George Blackburn, and Moses Maston, gen- 
tlemen, bearing date the 21st day of December, 1776, 
were produced and read. Thereupon, pursuant to the 
Dedimus, William Campbell and Joseph Martin, two of 
the aforesaid justices, administered the oath of the jus- 
tice of the peace, and of a justice of the county Court of 
Chancery to Arthur Campbell, the first justice named in 
said commission, and he afterAvards administered the 
aforesaid oaths to William Campbell, William Edminson, 
and others named as aforesaid in the commission." 

The records also state that James Dysart liroduced a 
commission as county sheriff from Governor Patrick 
Henry, and security being given, he took the oath. 

The sheriff having opened the court in the name of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia, David Campbell (afterwards 
Judge Campbell, of Tennessee,) was inducted into the 
office of county clerk. 

Under these able and patriotic men the county of 
Washington was established, and has ever since main- 
tained a reputation worthy of its noble founders. 

An act for establishing a town at the court-house of 
the county of W^ashington was passed at the October 
(1778) session of the General Assembly. It provided, 
" That whereas it hath been represented to this General 
Assembly that Thomas Walker, Esquire, Joseph Black 
and Samuel Briggs have engaged to give one hundred 
and twenty acres of land in the county of Washington 
where the court-house of the said county now stands, 


Rcmh)if^cnicc.9 of an Offof/rnariaii. 9S 

agreeable to a survey thereof, made by Robert Doach for 
the purpose of establishing- a town thereon, and for rais- 
ing a sum of money towards defraying the expenses of 
building a court-house and prison, agreeable to which 
part of the said land has been laid off and several lots 
sold and buildings erected thereon; and whereas it would 
tend to the more speedy improvement and selling of the 
farms of the freeholders and inhabitants thereof, could 
they be entitled to the same privileges enjoyed by the 
freeholders and inhabitants of other towns in this State. 
Be it enacted by this (Jeneral Assembly that the said 
one hundred and twenty acres of land, agreeable to a 
survey thereof being had, be, and the same is hereby, 
vested in fee simple in Evan Shelby, William Campbell, 
Daniel Smith, William Edmiston, Robert Craig and An- 
drew Wllloughby, gentlemen, trustees, and be estab- 
lished a town by the name of Abingdon." 

By giving the town this name the compliment to Gen- 
eral Washington was consummated, as it is the name of 
the parish, perhaps the earh^ home, of his wife. 

These trustees were authorized to make conveyances 
to the purchasers of lots already sold, or to be sold, and 
lay off other parts of the lands in lots and streets, to be 
sold at public auction after giving three months' notice 
at the court-house on some court-day of that and adjoin- 
ing counties. " The purchasers respectively to hold the 
said lots subject to the condition of building on such lots 
a dwelling-house at least twenty-four feet long* and six- 

* The same conditions for building houses on lots were in the first 
ordinance of the city of Richmond. 

9Jf Hkioncal ^l-rtchcf^ and 

teen feet wide, with a brick or stone chimney, to be 
finished within four years from the day of sale." 

The proceeds of these lots Avere held liable to the orders 
of the court of Washington county and applied to defray- 
ing the expenses of the public buildings and repairing 
the streets of the town. To the trustees authority was 
given to settle questions of boundary of the lots and 
everything else for the order and well-being of the town. 

" And be it further enacted that if the purchaser of 
" any lots sold by the said trustees shall fail to build 
" thereon within the time before limited, the said trustees 
"or a major part of them, may thereupon enter into 
" such lot, and may either sell the same again aud apply 
" the money towards repairing the streets, or in any other 
" way for the benefit of the said town, or they may appro- 
" priate the said lot or any part of it to any public use for 
'• the benefit of the inhabitants of the said town." 

That the title to the land given for the site of the town 
should be free from any incumbrance it was necessary 
that Dr. Thomas Walker (the original patentee), who had 
sold to Joseph Black and Samuel Briggs should unite in 
the deed. It may be that the two last had not fully paid 
for their purchases, and that Dr. Walker held a lien upon 
the land. 

The town of Abingdon was originally a rectangular 
parallelogram, and occupied not more than, twenty-five 
or thirty acres near the center of the survey. It extended 
from about forty yards from the branch on the east to the 
foot of the hill west of the court-house, and consisted 
of three wide parallel streets, running due east and west; 
two narrow alleys parallel with the above. These were 

Rciniiiiscciiccs of an Octix/citariaiL 95 

intersected at right angles by one broad street passing 
east of the court-house, and two narrow alleys, one east 
and the other west of the court-house. 

The center street was INfain street; that on the south 
Water street; that on the north Valley street. The alley 
south of Main street was " Trooper's alley," and that on 
the north "Chinquipin " or Plum alley; either name 
would have characterized it. 

The court-house is on an oval hill, and the approach 
from either east or west was quite steep. Before the 
street was graded and macadamized it was no uncommon 
thing for a loaded wagon, during bad weather, to " stick 
in the mud " so deep as to require the aid of an additional 
team to extricate it. The court-house crowned the sum- 
mit of the hill, and fronted south; the jail was quite near 
on the north, and across the street from it the first brick 
house in the town was built by William King about 1802 
or 1803. 

The first stores or mercantile houses were on the south 
side of Main street, and the tavern (it was not a hotel) 
was located on the eastern slope of the hill and north 
side of Main street. There was one notable " house of 
entertainment " on the south side of Main street kept by 
a fiddler named Fin. There the plain people took their 
meals and lodged, and there the hard drinkers congre- 
gated. Fin played the " fiddle," and many uproarious 
jig dances were performed under the inspiration of Fin's 
" Fisher's Hornpipe " and similar dance music. Tact and 
management were exercised by Fin, and his house was 
never regarded as a nuisance, and so conservative and 

96 Historical Sl-ctchr.s' and 

respectful Avas his conduct that he kept the esteem of 
the better class of the citizens. 

The white man's inn was kept by a Mr. Saul. ]Mrs. 
James Preston's house occupies the site of this once 
famous hostelry. It was a rambling frame building of 
a story and a half, and the rooms were small and badly 
ventilated. But the host, a small, round-shouldered man, 
a little deaf, was as spry and quick as a Scotch terrier, 
and did all he could to make his guests comfortable and 
satisfied. His chief assistants were three buxom daugh- 
ters, one of whom was Miss Maria, the beauty of the 
family. Mrs. Saul was fat and rarely appeared among 
the guests. 

Attached to the rear of the house was a long dining- 
room, and in it were given the halls (dances) of the period, 
the occasional shows of jugglers, or other indoor amuse- 
ments. The dances were attended by the young people 
from many miles around, and the frolic lasted into the 
wee hours of the morning. 

Eound dances were not then known, but the cotillon 
and reels were enough for the enjoyment of the young 
people of that primitive age. As the dancing master 
boarded at the house, the IMisses Saul were taught gra- 
tuitously, but it was Miss Maria whose beauty and grace 
made her the belle of many a ball. She married a south- 
ern planter, I believe, and passed beyond our horizon like 
the evening star. 

Among the other belles of the period were the Misses 
Sanders from near Chilhowie, one of whom, now over 
ninety years old, is the only survivor, and Miss Sniythe, 
daughter of Pleasant Smythe, and Miss Mary Byars (a 

Rcmiiii'icviar.^ of ait Octoi/ciKiriaiL 97 

beauty), and others of that neighborhood. Of the beau- 
ties of the town the most conspicuous was Miss Sally 
Beckam, who married ^yilliam Kint>-, Jr. There were 
others, but the veil of propriety and age shut them from 
the public eye. 

At an early period Abingdon became the commercial 
center of the district, and sold goods by the wholesale 
and retail to the smaller dealers in the adjoining counties 
of Tazewell, Russell, Scott and Lee, in Virginia, and the 
border counties of North Carolina and Tennessee. 

Much the larger part of the trade was in barter, i. c, 
an exchange of country products for such articles as were 
needed for consumption or sale. The large warehouses 
and the upper stories of merchants' houses were filled 
with these country products. Great piles of goose- 
feathers occupied one compartment, the bagging of which 
for the eastern cities was a frolic for the young men of 
the establishment and their friends. Heaps of ginsing 
occupied other places, and the ceiling was festooned by 
strings of this root hung up to dry. Kegs of beeswax and 
jars of honey had their places, and cured hams, sides, 
and other meats were piled about in convenient places 
for packing. The shelves of the stores, also, held con- 
tributions from the labor products of the times, such as 
rolls of flax and tow linen, plain and twilled, much used 
for towels, table cloths, etc., and also for outward and 
under garments of both sexes, and for many other 
domestic purposes. To these should be added country 
woven jeans and linsey, and woollen socks knit by the 
country women. 

98 Hisforical I'^kctvhcs and 

This mass of barter, after supplying tlie home market, 
was sent in wagons to the eastern cities, and snpiilied 
return loads to those four- and six-horse teams that were 
the " inland ships " of the period. Nearly every farmer 
had a " plat " of flax and hemp, and all the appliances 
for breaking, "scutching'' (?) and hackling flax and 
hemp. In the largest room of the house were the big 
and little wheels for spinning wool and flax. In an outer 
room was the loom, where the yarn and thread were 
woven into cloth. 

To the buzz of these wheels, as the spinner moved back- 
ward and forward, drawing out and winding up the yarn 
on the big wheel, or sat moving with her foot the rapid- 
turning flax wheel, was added the music of the voice, 
singing a spirited hymn or favorite ditty. 

Alas! how greatly the habits of our rural population 
have changed! The lots for cultivating flax and hemp 
are devoted to other crops, and the smooth, clean area 
where the flax and hemp were spread for the woody flbre 
to be rotted has disappeared. The spinning wheels fall 
to pieces in out-houses, and the wood of the loom has 
furnished fuel for fires. The SAveet contented home circle 
is broken up, and the young men and maidens, when their 
school days are over, scatter in every direction, seeking 
employment. The work of the homestead and farm have 
lost their charm, and the question arises, are the country 
people better and more contented by the change? 

At the northeast slope of the hill on which the court- 
house is situated there is a cave Avhich has been explored 
as far as underneath the court-house. The opening to it 
is on the lot of James L. White, and there a clear stream 

Reminiscences of an Ocfogenarian. 99 

of water rushes b}'', ]nakiui>- an admirable and cool dairy. 
In the lot now owned by Mrs. Eliza Mitchell, and i'orni- 
erly an appendage of the Saul's tavern, there is a trrll 
passing through the cave and into the stream below. The 
water was drawn by a bucket, and to protect and guide 
it to the- water a cylinder was fastened to the floor of 
the cave. A boys' school at one time was not far off. and 
one of the tricks of the mischievous was to go into the 
cave as far as the well, watch for the descending bucket, 
and gently divert it to the exterior of the cylinder. The 
fun was to watch the wrath of the cook or old hostler as 
he ran to the mouth of the cave to catch the intruder. 
This was never done, as a signal corps was on the alert 
and gave timely warning. 

Some of the earliest records of Washington county 
and Abingdon were lost or burned when the town was 
burned by a raiding party of Federal soldiers in 1864. 
This party was headed by a renegade named Wyatt. 

Fortunately, there were a few Confederates on fur- 
lough in the town and vicinity, and they, quickly organ- 
izing, the Federal banditti were driven off. Wyatt was 
shot by Mr. Findlay, of Mississippi, as he turned from 
Main street towards the Protestant Methodist church, 
and fell from his horse near it; was carried into the Stone- 
wall Jackson Institute, where he died soon afterwards. 

The first Board of Trustees was organized in January, 
1785. They were William Edmiston, Robert Craig, James 
Armstrong, Robert Preston, and Robert Campbell. This 
board continued in offlce with few changes for several 
years. At a meeting of the board on the 1th of October, 
1798, Andrew Russell was appointed secretary of the 

ion Historical ^^IxCtchcs and 

board. Just when he came to Abingdon is not known, 
but as clerk of the Sui)erior Court he was recognized as 
one of the best and kindliest of men and faithful, efficient 
officers to the time of his death. 

The first " jail " was built by Abraham Goodpasture 
in 1787, and was located in the rear of the court-house, 
and quite near it. It was probably built of hewed logs. 
It was superseded by an order of court on the 20th day of 
March, 1799, that William King, James Armstrong, John 
Eppler and Kobert Craig, or any three of them, report 
to the next court the plan of a stone prison and the 
probable expense of building the same, and that the 
money and bonds arising from the sale of lots after 
former appropriations are discharged, together with the 
money borrowed by Andrew IJussell from this court be 
applied to building the said prison, and the balance of 
the exi^ense be levied on the tithable persons of the 
county. That stone prison remained for many years. 
James White was " the undertaker for building the stone 
jail," at a cost of |1,110.05, about 1801. But on the Gth 
of May, 1804, the town of Abingdon did not have money 
enough to pay his order for £21-2-11. The proximity of 
the jail to the court-house was an annoyance, and its 
capacity for accommodating the increased number of 
criminals of progressive civilization and population too 
limited. The new jail at the corner of Valley and Court- 
house streets has modern improvements, and is much 

On the 13th of January, 1803, the Legislature passed 
an act authorizing the trustees of the town of Abingdon 
to raise by lottery a sum not exceeding |2,000, for the 

Reminificcnces of an Octogcnarkm. 101 

purpose of purchasing a library, philosophical and mathe- 
matical apparatus, and anything else necessary for the 
use of the academy.* 

The scheme for carrying out this purpose was entrusted 
to Andrew Eussell, Jacob Hamilton and James White. 
If the writer is not mistaken the lottery was a failure, 
and neither the library nor "anything else" was pur- 
chased for the academy. On May 3, 1803, the by-laws of 
the trustees were adopted, and these gentlemen were 
present: Andrew Kussell, William King, James White, 
Michael Deckard, John McClellan, Jonathan Smith, Wil- 
liam Trigg and David Campbell. 

Of these nine influential and trusted men the descend- 
ents of but two perpetuate their names as citizens of 
Abingdon, and they are James White and William Trigg. 
After a lapse of eight years the name of another con- 
spicuous citizen appears on the records as a trustee — 
that of Benjamin Estell, the able lawyer, attorney for 
the Commonwealth, and judge of the Circuit Court. 

On the 11th of June, 1811, the act was passed imposing 
a fine of one dollar for fighting or rioting in the streets. 
In default of payment the offender should be confined in 
the stocks for two hours. The writer remembers when 
these " stocks " stood on the western side of the court- 
house, and seeing offenders confined in them. They con- 
sisted of a platform some five or six feet above the 
ground. The center stanchion reached to seven feet 

* This Academy was founded by William King in 1803 and chartered 
by act of incorporation January 13, 1803, and stiU stands as a monument 
to his memory. See Appendix A. B. 

102 Historical mrtchcs and 

above the platform. To this were attached movable 
boards, one at the foot of and another about four feet 
above the platform. In these boards were holes, through 
which the head, hands and feet of the culprit were thrust. 
It was no easy position to be confined to for an hour. One 
experience generally deterred offenders from a repeti- 
tion of the experiment. 

A similar fine and penalty were imposed for running a 
horse on the street, and a fine of fifty cents for shooting 
horizontally in any lot. These " orders ■' of the trustees 
contributed a great deal to the quiet and safety of the 
citizens. Before their passage such offences were fre- 
quent, as the old inhabitants testified. 

The earl}^ provisions against the spread of fire should 
not be omitted. Every householder was required to have 
a fireman's bucket for every male adult of his establish- 
ment, free or slave, and a ladder long enough to reach 
to the eaves of his house. It was the duty of the town 
sergeant periodicaly to visit every house and see that this 
order was executed, and a fine of fifty cents was imposed 
on every delinquent, and repeated if the order were not 
promptly obeyed. In case of fire every able-bodied citizen 
was required, under the same penalty to come with his 
bucket and fall into the line for passing the buckets from 
the nearest supply of water to the conflagration. Per- 
haps some of those fire-buckets have been kept as memen- 
toes of the past by the descendants of the old inhabitants. 

The annals of the city are silent during the turbulent 
period of the war of 1812-'14, and nothing was deemed 
of sufficient importance to be noted until 1828. 

In the meanwhile the town had grown, and several 

Rcini)iisccncfs of on Octof/rnarian. 103 

"plants" (to use a modern phrase) for manufacturing 
and other purposes had been established. Of them was 
that of Peter Henritze for the manufacture of hats. He 
made not only the soft wool hats worn by the country 
people, boys and slaves, but an imitation of the fashion- 
able silk " stove-pipe hat " of the period. His establish- 
ment, therefore, furnished a market for the peltry of all 
fur-bearing animals. Henritze's place was on Main 
street, on the east side of the ravine that crosses the 
street at the foot of the western hill, and nearly opposite 
the Episcopal church. To dry his wares an inclined plat- 
form was erected facing and close to the sidewalk of Main 
street. The odor of fresh peltry and newly-dried hats 
pervaded the streets, and this, with the variegated plat- 
form, so frightened horses from the country that it was 
often difficult to force them to pass it. 

The merchants also dealt in skins, and on the front of 
their store-houses bear and buffalo skins were hung, as 
well as festoons of gay-colored calicoes. These also 
frightened country horses, and much vexed the good peo- 
ple of the community. To abate this nuisance, and re- 
move all difficulty of access to the town and preserve the 
quiet of the streets, the trustees on the 9th of May, 1828, 
passed an order forbidding all persons from drying hats 
or exposing bear skins or merchandise on Main street. 
In front of every store there was a railing with hooks to 
fasten horses, and at nearly every dwelling-house one or 
more hitching posts. On court-days these railings were 
crowded with horses, and sometimes when a sudden gust 
of wind blew and the skins and calicoes rattled and 
flapped bridles were broken, and there was a stampede 

lOJ^ Historical l:<krtvJu',s and 

of horses through the streets, dangerous alike to man 
and beast. 

At the same meeting the ordinances were passed for- 
bidding all persons to throw water or filth into the streets 
or alleys or to play the game of long-bullets in the streets 
or alleys. The fine for each offence was fifty cents. 

This game of long-bullets is among the things of the 
past. At that time it was a favorite game with the boys 
of the academy, and as they returned towards town, if 
the road was smooth, they jerked those iron balls of one 
and a half inches in diameter upon it all the way. The 
effort was to keep the balls in the beaten track and see 
how far they could be made to roll. The greatest skill 
was to make the ball skim over the surface and lose no 
momentum by bouncing. They were jerked by a sweep 
of the arm along the side, and not thrown from the 
shoulder. It was also a favorite game with the young 
men of the village. The force of one of these balls jerked 
by a stout boy or man would have endangered the limbs 
or life of a child, and inflicted serious injury on man or 

The trustees who signed these revised by-laws of May 
9, 1828, were Andrew Russell (principal trustee), Augus- 
tus Oury, John M. Preston, M. Shaver, and Jacob Lynch. 
These names are guarantees of conservatism and good 
order, and their reputation lingers as the foundation of 
past prosperity. 

Of Andrew Russell mention has been made. Augustus 
Oury was postmaster and remarkable for the rapidity 
and accuracy with which he handled the large mail daily 
or niahtlv delivered for assortment and delivery. At 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 105 

that time Abingdon was the distributing office for the 
district, and to it came the mails for Russell, Tazewell 
and Scott in Virginia, and one or two of the border 
counties of North Carolina. To these points, as well as 
to the small offices of Washington county, it was carried 
on horseback or two-horse hacks. 

When the mail coach arrived from the east or west, 
and the driver threw out the heavy mail-bags, they were 
seized by one of the deputies (there were five or six of 
them), and thrown into a large room lined with boxes. The 
contents were emptied upon the floor, where the assort- 
ing was done, and every package and letter thrown into 
its appropriate box. Then followed the distribution into 
the mail-bags for the different offices. It was a busy 
scene in this big room, as watched through the window 
by boys and men as they waited for their mail. 

John ]M. Preston was one of the most successful mer- 
chants: a man of spotless integrity and the purest moral 
character. His descendants are proud of their inheri- 
tance, for his name is a synonym for honesty. 

Michael Shaver was a silversmith, and repaired and 
regulated the watches and clocks of the community. He 
began life as a blacksmith, and in early manhood in- 
dulged in the then fashionable amusement of cock-fight- 
ing, and was as ready for a fight as his own games. But 
he joined the Presbyterian church, and thenceforth was 
an exemplary member of it, and won the esteem of his 
fellow-citizens by his manly and consistent conduct. A 
story is told of him that may illustrate one of the pecu- 
liarities of that section of the country at that time. The 

106 Historical ^^Irtchcs and 

currency was almost exclusively of Spanish silver coins 
of one dollar, divided in halves, quarters, eighths and 
sixteenths. The last Avas worth six and a quarter (614) 
cents, and was called fourpence. The next was worth 
twelve and a half (121/.) cents, and desij>nated ninepence. 
There were no copper cents in circulation — not enough to 
make change for anything under six and a quarter cents, 
and as the coins of this value were scarce the people 
resorted to the device of cutting the ninepence coins in 
half. These halves passed readily as fourpence half 
penny (pronounced fopenmpcuji). A country lad brought 
the two halves of one of these 12y:>-cent pieces to 
Mr. Shaver, and asked him if he could put them 
securely together. It was court-day. ^Iv. Shaver said, 
" Yes, he could," but that he was very busy, and could 
not do so on that day. The lad was very urgent, and as 
he had to return home that evening, begged Mr. Shaver 
to do that small job for him. " Very well," said Mr. 
Shaver, " I will have it ready when you call this after- 
noon." The lad called, and, sure enough, there lay the 
mended ninepence, bright and strong. " How much do 
you charge for mending it? " asked the lad. " Twenty- 
five cents," replied Mr. Shaver. " Why, it's only a nine- 
pence, Mr. Shaver," answered the lad. " That is true, 
but my work on it is worth twenty-five cents," Mr. Shaver 
replied. After a pause the lad said, " Will you take the 
mended ninepence for half pay?" "No; it's a counter- 
feit," replied Mr. Shaver. The lad paid the twenty-five 
cents, and left with well-bought experience. 

The last signer of the revised by-laws was Jacob Lynch. 
In size he was almost a dwarf, but of a trim and sym- 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 107 

metrical figure, not much over five feet, if so much. He 
began life as a deputy clerk under David Campbell, after- 
wards Governor of Virginia, and succeeded him in the 
clerkship, holding it till his death. 

Mr. Lynch had his peculiarities. One of these was to 
wear always a high hat and high-heeled shoes. These 
apparently added to his stature. He was punctuality 
personified, so that those who lived on the wa^^ between 
his home and his ofiice, knew the time of day by his 
passing. His handwriting was round and clear, and 
almost as plain as print. He therefore wrote slowly and 
carefully. The records kept by him are models of neat- 
ness and accuracy. His deliberation was sometimes 
trying to impatient waiters for papers, but he could not 
be hurried, and he was too self-possessed and even-tem- 
pered to be flurried by importunities. His even temper, 
good sense, and spotless probity won and secured for him 
the esteem and confidence of the community. 

Five years after the adoption of the revised statutes, 
on June 13, 1838, an ordinance was passed requiring the 
owners of lots on Main street to furnish curb-stones along 
the line of their property. This was necessary, not only 
to prevent the spread of the rock for macadamizing and 
the grading then just begun, but also to support the side- 
walks, which were to be paved. 

These long-needed improvements changed the aspect 
of the street, and removed many of its peculiarities, some 
of which were associated with the sweet memories of 
childhood and youth. 

Tall Lombardy poplars bordered a part of the street 

JOS Historical ^^Irichrs and 

west of the court-house. They were removed, as well as 
other obstructious to the paving and grading.* 

To the south of the town is '' King's Mountain." It was 
so named because of a fancied resemblance to the famous 
mountain in South Carolina, on which was fought the 
battle of October 1, 1781. The victory won there by the 
western mountaineers, quorum magna pars, w^ere Wash- 
ington county men, Mr. Jefferson said, turned the tide of 
war in favor of the United States and led Cornwallis to 
march to Yorktown, to his surrender there, and the end 
of the war. 

There were many of the veterans of that campaign 
alive, and to rehearse the incidents of the contest and 
impress upon the minds of that generation the gallant 
and daring deeds of their ancestors a sham battle was 
fought at King's ^Mountain. The positions of the Revo- 
lutionary commanders were occupied by officers who 
were instructed (perhaps drilled) how to play their parts, 
and the English in red coats, with cannon and bayonetted 
muskets, occupied the crest of the hill. There was great 
firing of blank cartridges, charging up the hilh and 
retreat from the fixed bayonets of the British regulars, 
until Colonel Furgerson was killed and the white flag 
raised. In all this melee no fatal accident occurred and 
few casualties.! 

On the northwest of Abingdon, about a quarter of a 

* This grading and paving was done by John Keller, who often 
represented the county in the Legislature. 

t An account of the sham battle was given me by my mother. Gen- 
eral Francis Preston, my father, was one of the commanding officers. 
T do not know whom he represented. 

ReminUcences of an Octogcnariau. 109 

mile beyond the grove the last fight with Indians in that 
vicinity occurred. The IJev. Charles Cummings, accom- 
panied by his servant Job, and three neighbors, and 
Creswell driving the Avagon, were attacked by them. 
Creswell was killed by the first fire of the Indians, and 
during the skirmish two of the neighbors were wounded. 
Mr. Cummings and his servants, who were well armed, 
drove the Indians from their ambush, and, with the aid 
of some men from Black's Fort, who, hearing the firing, 
came to their relief, brought in the dead and wounded. 
Creswell was the first person buried in the present grave- 
yard, and a stone with his name and date of death 
roughly carved is yet standing.- 

The Kev. Mr. Cummings had as a neighbor James Piper. 
They thought their lands adjoined, but by some error in 
the survey a vacant strip was left between them. A 
very objectionable person discovered this fact, and took 
possession of the strip. Much annoyed by the proximity 
of this bad character, the Parson went to Mr. Piper and 
asked if there was any way of getting rid of him. Mr. 
Piper replied, '' Don't give yourself any trouble about 
him. I'll get rid of him." Watching an opportunity when 
the man was absent, Mr. Piper entered his cabin, drew a 
large circle in the center of the floor, put in it queer 
figures and cabalistic signs, and sprinkled the center with 
finely-cut black horse-hair. Next morning the cabin was 
vacant, and no more was heard of the troublesome 

With James Bradley's residence a mile west of Abing- 
don, across Wolf creek, there is associated one of those 
psychological incidents not yet explained in our philoso- 

110 Historical Sketches and 

phv, and wliieli startle the incredulous by the testimony 
of unimpeachable witnesses. I tell the tale as it was told 
to a little group of students, of which were Lilburn H. 
Trigg- (a native of Abingdon) and myself, by Aaron Lind- 
sey, of Mississiijpi. I am truly sorry that the names of 
the parties are forgotten. Apropos of the topic of conver- 
sation, Mr. Lindsey said, " A similar incident occurred 
in (say) Jacksonville. A young merchant married the 
daughter of a wealthy citizen of the place, and within a 
few weeks afterwards started for Philadelphia for a new 
stock of goods. But a little while before he was expected 
to return the young bride became anxious and depressed. 
She was laughed at by the family for pining after her 
husband, but as the depression deepened, everything was 
done to divert her mind and cheer her spirits. She said 
she was sure that her husband was sick, and her heart 
and mind were tilled with the most gloomy apprehen- 

One morning soon after breakfast, when she appeared 
more depressed than usual, she went upstairs to her 
chamber. Soon after entering it she was heard to fall 
on the floor. The family hastened to her, and found that 
she had fainted, and was lying on the floor. Restoratives 
were administered and the flrst words she uttered on 
regaining consciousness were, " My husband is dead, and 
not a friend was with him. I saw him die." Then, cover- 
ing her face with her hands, she said in tones of deepest 
anguish, '' I see the room in which he died, and the house 
and everything about it." The family endeavored to 
sooth and persuade her that this was on\j the effect of 
nervous depression, as they themselves believed it to be. 

Rcmtni-sccnccs of an Octof/oiariaii. Ill 

But nothiiio- shook her conviction of the truth of the 
vision. ''Oh/' she would say, "I see it all; the little 
chamber upstairs in a brick house, close by the road, 
with a window looking over a porch, and in front a rocky 
hill with a double loi^-barn upon it, and near by a creek 
where there is a tilt-hannner. Oh, I see it all, and my 
dear husband dead and alone." 

At this point of the story Lindsey turned to Trigg- and 
myself and said, " I have forgotten the name of the man 
who lived there. You fellows ought to know, for it is 
not far from your town." We almost simultaneously 
answered, " It is Bradley's." " Yes," said Lindsey, " that 
is the name." 

So inconsolable was the bride, that her brother decided 
to look up the bridegroom, taking the road by which he 
would return. When he arrived at Bradley's he was so 
impressed with the resemblance of the place in all its 
details to the description given by his sister, that he dis- 
mounted, and on meeting Mr. Bradley, asked if there had 
been a sick man from ^Mississippi stopping with him. 
" Yes," Mr. Bradley replied ; " he came here sick and died 
in the room upstairs. I wrote to his family, but have 
not received an answer. All his effects and money I have 
kept safely." On a comparison of the dates it was ascer- 
tained that the man died at the hour his bride fainted 
at her home in Mississippi. From the window of the 
upper chamber the scene is identically the same as that 
described by the disconsolate bride. It is needless to 
add that she had never been in that part of Virginia. 

The sequel to this imperfect sketch of the ancient and 
interesting village of Abingdon I leave to younger and 

i/.- llisUirhal Skvlchcs and 

abler hands. I am the ohlest living native-born of tlie 
town, and of my boyhood associates and school-fellows 
only one survives, and that is David C. Cnmmings. We 
were born on the same day of the same month and year — 
November 20, 1812. 

1 remember^ I remember. 

The house where I was born; 
The little window where the sun 

Came peeping in at morn. 
He never came a wink too soon. 

Or brought too long a day; 
But now I often wish the night 

Had borne my breath away. 

I remember, I remember. 

The poplars straight and high, 
I used to think their slender tops 

Were close against the sky. 
It was a childish ignorance, 

But now 'tis little joy 
To know I'm farther off from Heaven 

Than when I was a boy. 


Rcininistrnct'8 of an Ocloycuariaii. 113 


Colonel William Preston was the son of John Preston 
and Elizabeth Patton Preston, and was born in Donegal^ 
Ireland, on the 25th of December, 1729. His parents 
came to America about 1737,* with three daughters, and 
this one son, then in his eighth year. 

He often spoke of his voyage to his children, and of 
incidents which he well remembered. His parents came 
directly to Augusta county, Virginia, and were domiciled 
for four or five years with Colonel James Patton, the 
brother of Mrs. John Preston. 

After the death of John Preston, in January, 1747, f the 
care of the family devolved upon William, then a lad of 
seventeen, and he was employed to post the books of 
some of the merchants in Staunton. Such employment 
shows the home training of this youth, for "the school- 

* This date (1737) is established by the fact that William Preston 
was " in his eighth year," as affirmed by General Francis Preston, the 
second son of William Preston, in memoranda left for his family. All 
who have written about the family from John Mason Brown and James 
A. Waddell, to the Hon. William E. Robertson, have made this mistake. 
All of them were misled by the fact that John Preston proved his 
importation in 1740. This was done when he wished to buy the tract 
of land on which he settled after leaving Colonel Patton's, where he 
had resided since his arrival in America. 

t This date is fixed by the fact that his wife qualified as executrix 
February 6. 1747. 

ll-'^ Historical Skctclics and 

master was not then abroad," and elementary education 
was given by the parents. It also shows home influence 
upon character. Few lads of his age would have acquired 
sufficient knowledge of arithmetic and book-keeping for 
such duty, or have established a character for steadiness 
and integrity for so responsible a position. Colonel Pat- 
ton, soon after being domiciled with Mr. Preston, appre- 
ciated the moral and intellectual merits of his nephew, 
and sent him to be more liberally educated to the Rev. 
John Craig, a Presbyterian preacher and classical 
scholar. At that early period of life such was William 
Preston's piety, that the family thought of dedicating 
him to the ministry, but Mr. Craig decided that he was 
too old to begin the studies thought necessary for so 
learned and responsible a vocation. At that time (as 
always) " life was real, and the youths of the frontier 
had to be up and doing." 

William Preston's widowed mother and his three 
sisters were to be cared for, and he was apparently their 
stay and support. There was, however, another closely 
connected with the family who was watching with affec- 
tionate interest the development of this youth, and that 
was his uncle, Colonel James Patton. He was at that 
time a rich and prominent man in Augusta county, and 
had large enterprises in contemplation, and no doubt 
looked upon this steady, manly and sensible nephew as 
his future confidential secretary and companion. His 
education, therefore, was made a practical one, and yet 
such was the influence of Mr. Craig that it imbued his 
mind with a love of literature and intellectual cultivation 
that was fostered through life, and prompted the efforts 

Jiemiimcences of an Octof/enarid)!. llo 

to use every .available means of educating- his nniuerous 

William Preston learned surveyinu;- under Mr. Craig, 
and soon after leaving that instructor, to acquire better 
knowledge of the practical business of life, he accepted 
the deputy sheriffalty from William Estell, High Sheriff 
of Augusta county. 

He could not have held that office very long, as we 
find that he accompanied his uncle. Colonel Patton, as 
private secretary when he (Colonel Patton) went as com- 
missioner to make a treaty with the Indians at Log Town, 
sixteen miles below Pittsburg.* Under the instruction 
from Covernor Dinwiddle, dated December 13, 1751, Col- 
onel Patton was to proceed immediately to Fredericks- 
burg, " and there receive from Mr. Strother the goods 
sent as a present by his Majesty to the Indians, and pro- 
vide everything necessary for the gentlemen appointed 
as commissioners on behalf of this government." The 
treaty was concluded June 13, 1752. 

The appointment by Colonel Patton of William Preston 
as his private secretary on so important a commission, 
shoAvs the confidence of the uncle in the capacity and 
fidelity of the nephew of twenty-two years. A still more 
striking evidence of Colonel Patton's affection for and 
confidence in this nephew is that in his will, executed 
September 1, 1750, when William Preston w^as only 
tv/enty-one years old, he, with John Buchanan and Wil- 
liam Thompson, were appointed executors. 

In 1755, Colonel Patton was accompanied by William 

* Annals of Augusta County, p. 48. 

110 Hifs-torica] ^Irtfhn^ and 

Preston on his tour of inspection of the lands he and his 
agents had located, and many of which had been sur- 
veyed. They stopped at " Draper's ^leadows " (after- 
wards Smithfleld near Blacksburg) with William Ingles 
and the Drapers to rest from the fatigues of the journey, 
and also for the restoration of Colonel Patton's health. 

On S^unday, the 8th of June, 1755, a party of Indians 
which had hidden in the ripe wheat near by rushed upon 
the unprotected settlers. Colonel Patton was sitting at 
a table w^'iting, with his broad sword by his side, and 
when the Indians rushed in upon him he killed two of 
them, but was shot dead by those outside. 

Colonel Patton's will was admitted to probate at the 
November term of the Court in 1756. 

AVilliam Preston was then (1755) nearly twenty-five 
years old, and the disturbed condition of the country 
demanded the services of tlie best men for the protection 
of the frontier against Indian raids and massacres. Wil- 
liam Preston soon raised a company, and was a captain 
of volunteers in 1756, and was ordered by Governor Din- 
widdle to join Major Andrew Lewis in his expedition 
against the Shawnees at the mouth of Big Sandy river. 
This expedition was planned by Governor Dinwiddle in 
1755.* It was not, however, a success, and the difficulty 
of procuring supplies for the troops and the rugged 
sterility of the country led to such insubordination that 
the expedition was abandoned and the troops disbanded. 

A similar expedition was undertaken eleven years 
afterwards, in the summer of 1767. An account of it is 

* Annals of Augusta County, p. 81. 

Remiiiifirrncrs of an Octof/onirian. Ill 

given b}^ Mrs. Letitia Floyd, daughter of William Pres- 
ton, in her letters to her son, Beujaniiu lUish Floyd, writ- 
ten at the request of Lyman C. Draper. I quote from a 
copy of this manuscript : 

" The summer of 1767 Colonel Preston had been ap- 
" pointed commissioner to hold a treaty with the Shawa- 
" nes and Delaware Indians at the mouth of the Big 
" Sandy river, a branch of the Ohio. Colonel Thomas 
" Lewis, of Kockingham county, was likewise a comrais- 
" sioner. Lewis, I believe, did not accompany the party. 
" The treaty was made, I think, with Ocanothota (?), who 
" was very old, and a chief called Cornstalk. 
" On their return from the mouth of the Sandy they 
" pursued a fork of the river which was through a very 
" rugged region, got so entirely out of food as to be com- 
" pelled to eat the buffalo tugs which tied on their packs, 
" and hence the stream was named by Colonel Preston 
" the Tug Fork of Sandy." 

In " the partial list of delegates from Augusta in the 
House of Burgesses," furnished Mr. Joseph A. Waddill 
by Dr. R. A. Brock, there is a gap of five years, from 1752 
to 1757, and it is probable that within that period Wil- 
liam Preston and John Buchanan were elected, as stated 
by Mrs. Floyd, who states that the year after their 
election Preston was requested by the congregation of 
Episcopalians of Staunton to procure a carpenter to 
undertake the building of a church in that town. Francis 
Smith, who lived near Hanover Courthouse, a rich 
carpenter and contractor, was applied to. He had a 
beautiful daughter, Susanna, who was educated by the 
Rev. Patrick Henry. She married William Preston the 

]J8 Historical ^^krt('hcs and 

ITth of July, 1761.* After the birth of their first child, 
Elizabeth (Avho married Mr. William S. Maddison), born 
olst May, 1762, William Preston removed from t^tannton 
to Greenfield, about five miles west of Fiucastle, and a 
mile from Amsterdam, in Botetourt county. This was, 
and is, a valuable estate, and is still in the possession of 
his descendants, the present owner being Alfred Preston. 
The next 3'ear (17(53), " having some business in 
" Augusta county ' (I (piote from Mrs. Floyd's letters), ' in 
" the month of May he left his family (wife and child) at 
" Greenfield. Early in the morning Mrs. Preston was 
*' startled by the firing of two guns in quick succession at 
" a neighbor's house, within a half mile of hers. Very 
" shortly afterwards Mr. Joseph Cloyd rode up on his 
" plough-horse with the gears on, telling her that the 
" Indians had killed his brother John, and had shot at 
" him, but missed him, although his shirt was powder- 
" burnt. They had gone to the house, and he expected 
'• had killed his mother. ]Mrs. Preston sent a young man 
'' living at her house to Captain Francis Smith, who com- 
" manded a small fort on Graig creek, to bring his troops 
" to pursue the Indians. She wrote a letter to him which 
" was free from tremble or trepidation. She then sent a 
"Avhite man and two negro men to Mr. Gloyd's, where 
" they found Mrs. Cloyd tomahawked in three places, all 
" the household destroyed, and the money carried off (Mr. 

* There is a tradition in the family that Preston met Miss Smith 
whilst he was a member of the House of Burgesses. If this be so, it 
explains why he went so far as Hanover Courthouse to find a carpenter, 
and also goes to confirm Mrs. Floyd's statement that William Preston 
and John Buchanan were members of the House before 17G1. 

Rciuiiii-scciiccs of an Ocfo(i('ii(iri<iii. 119 

" Cloyd bad a large sum of money stored away). Mrs. 
"Cloyd was perfectly in her senses; told all the cir- 
"enmstances of the savaiie revelry in j;ettin«;' dnink 
"and rippinji' u]) the feather beds, and one of them, 
"taking np a cob and wiping off the blood from her 
"temples, exclaiming, ' Poor old w^oman! ' She <lied the 
"next morning."* 

This acconnt of the mnrder of IMrs. Cloyd is a cine to 
and explains a fragment of a letter which was probably 
written by Colonel William Preston to his brother-in- 
law, the Rev. John Brown, and preserved by Colonel 
John IMason Brown, of Kentncky, and it throws some 
light npon the state of the times. The letter is dated 
Greenfield, 27th Jnly, 1763. The writer says, " Onr 
situation at present is very different from what it was 
when we had the pleasure of yonr company. All the 
valleys of Roanoke river and the waters of the Mississippi 
are depopulated, except Captain English (Ingles), and a 
few families on New river, who have built a fort, among 
whom are JMr. Thompson and his family. They intend to 
make a stand till some assistance be sent them. Seventy- 
five of the Bedford militia w^ent out in order to pursue 
the enemy, but I hear the ofificers and part of the men are 
gone home, and the rest gone to Reed creek to help in 
James Davies and two or three families there that dare 
not venture to travel. 

" I have built a little fort in which are eighty-seven 

* Mrs. Floyd does not give the date of the massacre of Mrs. Cloyd, 
but as no mention of a fort or stockade at Greenfield is made, the pre- 
sumption is that it occurred in May, 1762. 

120 Hhiorkal ^latches and 

persons, twenty of whom bear arms. We are in a pretty 
good jiosition of defence, and, witli the aid of God, are 
determined t.o make a stand. In five or six other places 
of this part of the country they liave fallen into the same 
method, and with the same resolution. How long we 
nmy keep them is uncertain. ' No enemy has appeared 
" here as yet. Their guns are frequently heard, and their 
" footing observed, which makes us believe they will pay 
"us a visit. My two sisters and their families are here, 
" and all in good health. We bear our misfortunes so 
" far with * * * * and are in great hopes of being 
" relieved. I have a thousand things * * * Captain 
" Christian can't wait. I give you joy.' " 

The asterisks indicate part of the letter torn cmt. 

From this letter some idea of the condition of the 
Avestern frontier of Virginia is gained, and it shows the 
intelligent and generous care taken of the people of that 
section by William Preston. The fort about his house 
was doubtless built at his own expense, and was not only 
large enough to protect his own family, but to shelter 
" eightj^-seven persons, twenty of whom bear arms.'' 

It also shows the heroism of that young wife with an 
infant not yet two years old. Few women in so exposed 
and dangerous a situation could have written a letter 
" free from tremble and trepidation.'' It may be pre- 
sumed that she knew of the Indian raid into the settle- 
ment of the James river in 1701, and of the massacres and 
the captives they took. Among them was Mrs. Hannah 
Dennis, whose escape and return home is surpassed in 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 121 

resolution and hardship only by that of Mrs. Draper. 
(Howe's Hist, of Va., p. 20.) 

During the next five years William Preston, with 
others, was fully occupied in protecting the frontier set- 
tlements.* It has been stated that in the summer of 1767 
he was a commissioner to make a treaty with Indians 
at the mouth of Big vSandy river. In the yeai' 1768-'69 he 
was elected with John Wilson a member of the House 
of Burgesses, and there he probably became acquainted 
with the leading statesmen of the period. 

He had met and become acquainted with General 
Washington as early as 1755 on the latter's visit to the 
forts of the west. On the 22d of December, 1769, JNIr. 
Preston was commissioned colonel by Governor Din- 

Botetourt county was formed from Augusta in 1769, 
and he was one of the first justices of the county. At the 
first term of the court (February, 1770) he qualified as 
surveyor, coroner, excheator and colonel of militia. Fin- 
castle county was formed from Botetourt in 1772, and 
embraced all the country west belonging to, or claimed 
by, Virginia, which included Kentucky. Colonel Pres- 
ton then decided to move into the new county, and 
took possession of Draper's IMeadows, which he named 

* The sad condition of the Western frontiers of Virginia, the ineffi- 
ciency and insubordination of the militia, and the absence of combi- 
nation among the settlers are fully and vividly detailed by General 
Washington m his letters of that period to Governor Dinwiddle, and 
need only be referred to. 

122 Historical ^"^ketchcs and 

Smithfleld, in compliment to bis wife. On this excursion 
he was accompanied by John Floyd. 

I quote from Mrs. Floyd's letters: "During Colonel 
'' Preston's residence at Greenfield, in 1770, a young gen- 
'' tleman by the name of John Floyd was introduced to j 
" him by Colonel Joseph Cabell, of Rockingham county, 
" as very well qualified to fill the post of deputy in the 
"surveyor's office. It was always a rule with Colonel 
" Preston to require every young man who was employed 
" in his office to teach school six months at least, thereby 
" finding out his temper, diligence and trustworthiness. 
" Breckinridges, Smiths and my sisters and brothers con- 
" stituted Floyd's school." 

The pupils of the Eev. John Craig and the Rev. Patrick 
Henry were too appreciative of the advantages of educa- 
tion not to use every available means of imparting it to 
their children and inculcating in them a love of reading 
and intellectual cultivation. 

I quote again from Mrs. Floyd's letters: "Colonel 
" Preston, Colonel Thomas Lewis of Rockingham, Gen- 
" eral Andrew Lewis of Botetourt, Mr. John Madison, 
" and Colonel Fleming of Augusta, engaged a Mr. Gabriel 
" Jones, an Englishman, to select for them libraries in 
" London. This Mr. Jones was Mr. Jefferson's first part- 
" ner in the practice of law. A good selection of the 
" classics, ancient history, the distinguished poets of 
" England, the dictionary of arts and sciences — a sort of 
" encyclopedia — constituted the libraries. I would ob- 
" serve that the use of these books gave to each family 
" possessing them a station which outranked very many 
" wealthier families than the above named." 

Reminiscenc€8 of an Octoycnarkin. 123 

In the autumn of that year (1773) Colonel Preston and 
Colonel Nathaniel Gist were appointed to make a treaty 
with the Cherokees, and, I think, the Chickamaugas, at 
Long Island on the Holston river, in the State of Ten- 
nessee. The treaty was made, and the southern Indians 
were perfectly quiet. In the March of 1774 Colonel Pres- 
ton removed my mother and her children to Smithfleld. 
There was a fort or stockade around the house. Several 
of the neighbors' families came into it for safety because 
the northwestern Indians made constant attempts on the 
settlements. John Taylor, who had married a niece of 
Colonel Buchanan, brought his family. Mr. Robert Pres- 
ton,* Captain James Charlton, his brother Wash., and 
Captain John Lucas were mainly the persons who de- 
fended the fort. 

I make these extracts from Mrs. Floyd's letter to show 
the authority for the facts stated. She wrote from 
memory, 'tis true, and sometimes made mistakes in dates, 
but her recollection of family incidents and history was 
clear and vivid. After her marriage she lived within a 
mile of Smithfleld at " Solitude " (now a property of 
Blacksburg College), and by this proximity to her mother, 
learned more of the family history than the other mem- 
bers of the family. 

In the summer and autumn of 1774 there was serious 
troublec with the Indians northwest of the mountains 
of Virginia and along the Ohio river, and war was 

* This Robert Preston was the father of John Preston, of Washington 
County, who married the youngest daughter of Colonel Preston. They 
left a large family; the Sheffeys of Smythe are descendants of one 
of the daughters. 

12^1 Historical ^^kctchcs and 

imminent. Governor Diuwiddie and General Andrew 
Lewis were with tlieir resx:>eetive commands marching 
towards the Ohio river. Colonel Preston was detained at 
home by the dangerous illness of his wife, but there was 
Avork for him in his official capacity to do at home, as is 
evidenced by the following letter, dated only twelve days 
before the battle of Point Pleasant. It is to be regretted 
that the entire letter was not given : 

Extract from American Archives (4 Series IV., page 
808) of a letter from Colonel William Preston, dated Fin- 
castle, September 28, 1774: 

That part of the army under the command of Colonel 
Lewis which is to meet Lord Dunmore at the mouth of 
the Great Kanhawa or New river, assembled at the Great 
Levels of Greenbrier to the amount of above fifteen hun- 
dred rank and file. Colonel Charles Lewis marched with 
six hundred men on the 6th instant for the mouth of Elk, 
a branch of New river, which empties some distance 
below the falls, there to build a small fort and prepare 
canoes. Colonel Andrew Lewis marched with another 
large party the 12th instant for the same place, and 
Colonel Christian was to march yesterday with the re- 
mainder, being about four hundred, and the last supply 
of provisions. This body of militia being mostly armed 
with rifle-guns and a great part of them good woodsmen, 
are looked upon to be at least equal to any troops for 
the number that have been raised in America. It is 
earnestly hoped that they will, in conjunction with the 
other party, be able to chastise the Ohio Indians for the 
many murders and robberies they have committed on the 
frontiers for many years past. 

Reminiscences of an Octof/enarian. 125 

On the 8tli instant, one Jolm Henry was dangerously 
wounded and his wife and three children taken prisoners 
on the head of Clinch river. The man at that time made 
his escape, but is since dead of wounds. The same day 
a man was taken prisoner by another party of the enemy 
on the north fork of Holston. On the 13th a soldier was 
fired upon by three Indians on Clinch river, but as he 
received no hurt, he returned the fire, and it is believed 
killed an Indian, as much blood was found where he fell, 
and one of the plugs which burst out of the wound was 
also found. The soldier was supported by some men who 
were near, and gave the two Indians a chase, who, it is 
supposed, threw the wounded one into a deep pit which 
was near. The parties of the enemy were pursued several 
days by Captain Daniel Smith, who could not overtake 
them, they having stolen horses to carry them off. 

On the 23d two negroes were taken prisoners at Black- 
more's Fort, on C'linch river, and a good many horses and 
cattle shot down. On the 24th a family was killed and 
taken on IJeedy creek, a branch of Holston, near the 
Cherokee line, and on Sunday morning, the 25th, hal- 
looing and the report of many guns were heard at several 
houses, but the damage done was not known when the 
express came away. These last murders are believed to 
be perpetrated by the Cherokees, as two men lately re- 
turned from that country and made oath that two parties 
had left the towns, either to join the Shawanees or fall 
upon some of our settlements; and that the Cherokees in 
general appeared in a very bad temper, which greatly 
alarmed the traders. 

It is imjjossible to conceive the consternation into 

126 Historical l^ketches and 

which this hist stroke has put the inhabitants on Holston 
and Clinch rivers, and that rather as many of their choice 
men are on the expedition, and they have no ammuni- 
tion. Two of these people were at my house this day, and, 
after traveling above an hundred miles, offered ten shill- 
ings a pound for powder; but there is none to be had for 
any money. Indeed, it is very alarming, for should the 
Cherokees engage in a war at this time it would ruin us, 
as so many men are out, and ammunition so scarce. Add 
to this the strength of these people, and their towns being 
so near our settlements on Holston. 

From its contents it may be inferred that his letter 
was an official rejjort either to the Executive or some 
superior officer. The account given of the condition of 
the country confirms the inference as to the consequences 
to Virginia had General Lewis's army been defeated. 
The suspicion of Governor Dunmore's treachery and 
covert x^urpose to allow General Lew^is's command to be 
defeated, not only pervaded the officers, but men under 
his command, as is manifest from their declaration at the 
mouth of Hockhocking on the 5th of November, 1774, 
that " as the love of liberty and attachment to the real 
interests and just rights of America outweigh every 
other consideration we resolve that we will exert every 
power within us for the defence of American liberty and 
for the support of her just rights and privileges.'' 

This " declaration," it may fairly be i)resumed, was 
intended not only as a rebuke to Governor Dunmore, but 
a warning of what were the sentiments of the people west 
of the mountains.* 

* John E. Cook refers to Colonel Stewart's journal of record in 

RciHinisrrnccs of an Octoi/cnariait. 121 

Altlionj^li Colonel Preston was much occupied by 
organizing- defences of the western frontier against the 
Indians, he did not fail to inform himself about the con- 
dition of eastern Virginia and the other colonies of 
America. The air was resonant with angry rumors of 
British oppression from every quarter. Congress was in 
session at Philadelphia, and had distributed its cele- 
brated resolutions throughout the Colonies, sending them 
to the leading men of the counties of Virginia. It may 
be assumed from his acquaintance with General Wash- 
ington and the prominent members of Congress, as well 
as from his official position — colonel of Fincastle 
count}^ — that a copy was sent to Colonel Preston. He 
was a man of purpose and prompt action, and, with other 
prominent and influential gentlemen, soon called a meet- 
ing of the Freeholders of Fincastle county on the 20th 
of January, 1775, for which was drafted the proceedings 
given in the " Historical Sketches and Reminiscences." 

Before this event, or soon after, he sent John Floyd 
as his deputy surveyor to locate and survey lands on the 
Ohio river for Colonel Preston and himself. Floyd went 
to Point Pleasant, had a boat made and with his assist- 
ants descended the river as far as the falls. Near these, 
at the mouth of Bear Grass creek, he surveyed a tract 
of land (now within the corporation of Louisville), some 
portion of which is still owned by the descendants of 
Colonel Preston. Floyd was so long absent and unheard 

Giles County (and I have been told in Greenbrier also) in which Colonel 
Stewart states that General Lewis was " credibly informed " of Goveronr 
Dunmore's intention to sacrifice his command. I have failed to get a 
copy of this journal. T. L. P. 

128 Historical Hl-iivhvs and 

from that it was coneliuled he had been killed. But after 
encountering many dangers and hardships that few could 
have endured, he made his way home by Guyandotte and 
up New river. 

As soon as the Declaration of Independence was pro- 
mulgated, Colonel Preston, as colonel of the county, acted 
as the military commandant, and no longer as colonel in 
his Majesty's service. His position exposed him to covert 
and open attacks from the Tories, who infested the moun- 
tains of Virginia and North Carolina. They were, in the 
beginning of the war, bold and aggressive, and often 
threatened the lives of the Whig military officers, espe- 
cially those of the zealous Whigs, such as Colonel Preston 
and William Campbell. 

Their raids upon the settlements were dreaded almost 
as much as those of the Indians, for they were led by 
and composed of the lowest and most vicious class of 
society. To defend himself, his family, and his AThig 
neighbors against these, and to guard the frontiers 
against the Indians required all the energy and intelli- 
gence of such an officer as Colonel Preston. How well 
he discharged those arduous duties history has not re- 
corded, and probably never will do so, as most of his 
papers have been destroyed, and he had no Homer to 
sing his praise. They were appreciated at the time by 
a grateful people, and spoken of with praise by their de- 
scendants for more than one generation. 

The lead mines in Wythe county were much coveted by 
the Tories, for the principal supply of lead for that sec- 
tion of country was obtained from there. Frequent 
attempts were made by the Tories to get possession of 

Rcmliiisvciices of ait OcfoyciiariaiL 129 

them, one of which was by so formidable a body of men 
that Colonel Preston called upon Colonel William Camp- 
bell for assistance, and, in conjnnction with Colonel 
Crockett, they defeated the Tories, dispersing and 
driving- them into North Carolina. The Cherokees and 
other tribes of southern Indians, tampered with by the 
English, continued to threaten and make inroads upon 
the frontiers, and gave Colonel Preston and the other 
officers of that section full employment from 1776 to the 
close of the war. When the expedition against Colonel 
Furgerson was urged by Colonels Shelby and Sevier, 
Colonel William Campbell hesitated to join it, because 
his own home was threatened by Tories. As soon, how- 
ever, as Colonel Preston's approval of it was known and 
concurred in by Colonel Arthur Campbell, Colonel Wil- 
liam Campbell acquiesced, and was given command of 
the troops raised in Washington county. 

The victory at King's Mountain so discouraged the 
Tories of the mountains on the borders of Virginia and 
North Carolina, that both Colonel Preston and Colonel 
Campbell promptly responded to the request of General 
Green to recruit his army with militia riflemen of West- 
ern Virginia. Their gallantry and efficiency at King's 
Mountain established their reputation. Colonel Preston 
being nearest, responded first to General Green with a 
force of over 300 men. Colonel Campbell soon followed 
with about sixty men.* These riflemen were sent for- 

* General Henry Lee (Lighthorse Harry) gives to Colonel William 
Campbell this number. He may have had a reason for it. (See Rev. 
David Schenck's North Carolina, 1780-81, account of the battle of 
Guilford Courthouse and p. 301. He, also, gives to Campbell's contin- 
gent 60 men.) 

130 Histork'ul Sketches and 

ward as skirmishers before the battle of Guilford Court- 
house (March 15, 1781). They met the advance of Coru- 
wallis's army at Whitsell's Mills, a short distance from 
General Green's position. " Colonel Preston was riding 
" a large, fiery horse that took fright at the report of the 
" guns, dashed through the mill pond, threw Colonel 
" Preston off, who was likely to be cut down by the 
" British Light Horse. At this critical moment, Colonel 
"Joseph Cloyd dismounted, put Colonel Preston on his 
" horse, and thereby saved his friend and officer's life. 
'" Cloyd was the young man who escaped when his 
" brother and mother were killed near Greenfield.-' (See 
Mrs. Floyd's letters to her son.) 

Colonel Preston's health had been precarious, and he 
was so exhausted by this accident that he was carried 
from the field, and his men were assigned to the command 
of Colonel William Campbell. For an account of how 
gallantly they fought, under the most difficult and 
trying circumstances, reference is again made to David 
Schenck's North Carolina, 1780-'81, and the account he 
gives of the battle of Guilford Courthouse. 

*" After Colonel Preston's return from North Carolina 
" his health continued to decline. In the month of July, 
" 1781, he spent the evening with his intimate friend, 
" General Evan Shelby (the father of Governor Isaac 
" Shelby), and on the morning following (the 28th) he 
"prepared to attend a regimental muster at Michael 
" Price's, three miles from Smithfield. His eldest son, 
" General John Preston, then a youth, accompanied him, 

* Mrs. Floyd's letters to her son. 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 131 

"as did General Shelby. The day was exceedingly hot. 
" After being on the field a few hours, he beckoned to 
" his son John to come to him, complained of pain in the 
" head, and desired to lie down on Price's bed. A short 
" time afterwards he requested his son to help him on 
" his horse ; he wanted to go home. When the horse was 
" brought to the door he made an attempt to put his foot 
" in the stirrup, sank down, was caught by his son, and 
" laid on the bed again. By this time he had lost his 
" speech, but took his son's hand, rolled up his shirt- 
" sleeve, and made a sign to his son to bleed him. This 
" his son could not do. Mrs. Preston was sent for, who 
" immediately reached the place. Colonel Preston's 
" reason had not been staggered in this conflict. He 
" caught his wife's hand, kissed it, shed tears and made a 
" motion to be bled. This could not be done from con- 
" steruation and ignorance. Soon afterwards the sterto- 
" rous breathing of apoplexy came on, and about mid- 
" night he breathed his last. Thus the life of this Chris- 
" tian gentleman and patriot ended. 
" Colonel Floyd was killed on the 12th of April, 1781. 
" When the news reached Colonel Preston such were the 
" feelings produced by it that he was never seen to smile 
" afterwards. 

" Colonel Preston was above the ordinary height — five 
" feet eleven inches; he was large, inclined to corpulency, 
" ruddy, and had fair hair and hazel eyes. His manners 
" were easy and graceful. He had a well cultivated in- 
" tellect, and a fine taste for poetry. I remember reading 
" several beautiful productions of his addressed to my 
" mother in praise of her domestic virtues. On the 18th 

132 Historical Slrtchcs and 

" of June, 1823, this excellent lady expired, after having 
" lived a widow forty years. She desired to be buried in 
"the same grave with her husband; this was done. A 
" tombstone was placed over the grave by their second 
" son. General Francis Preston. No portrait of either 
" was ever taken." 

Besides his widow, Colonel Preston left ten children 
and many friends to mourn his death. 

Colonel Preston exerted a more benign influence upon 
the people of his section of country than any of his con- 
temporaries. The cardinal virtues of integrity, truth, 
and courage were attributes of his character, and com- 
manded the respect of all who knew him. These manly 
attributes were softened and made beautiful by his piety. 
He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and went 
on horseback from his mountain home to Staunton once 
every year (and oftener, when not prevented by other 
duties,) to commune with his brethren, as there was no 
church nearer. Exemplary in all the relations of life, 
as father, husband, son, brother and friend, .he left an 
unspotted reputation as an inheritance to his children, 
and an example of unselfish and devoted patriotism to be 
followed by his countr3anen. 

John Preston, son of Archibald, was of the Yorkshire 
branch of the Prestons of England, as is established by 
the " crest " preserved by his descendants. This " crest " 
is a tower with an eagle rising from its summit, and the 
motto is " Si Dieu Yeult " (/. c, " When we leave the 
towers of earth (D. V.) we soar to Heaven." 

Burke — General Armory — gives, " Preston (Preston 
Richard, Preston Patrick, and Nether Levens, co. West- 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 133 

moreland; seated here from time immemorial ; the parent 
stock from which sprang the extinct Baronets, the Pres- 
tons of the Manor and Abbey of Furness, the Prestons of 
Holker and of Ellel in Cockerham, co. Palatine Lancas- 
ter). Ar. two bars gn. on a canton of the last a cinquefoil 
or. Crests — First, on a ruined tower ar. a falcon volant of 
the same, beaked, legged and belled or; second, on a 
chapeau gu. turned up erm. a wolf or. Motto — Si Dieu 

He came with his wife (who was the sister of Colonel 
James Patton) and children from Donegal, Ireland, and 
settled in Augusta County, Va., near Staunton, in 1737. 
He was industrious, manly and pious. In 1747 he died 
and was buried at " Tinkling Spring," Augusta County, 
where a monument to his memory has been erected by 
his descendants. He left a widow, four daughters and 
one son. 

William, born December 25, 1729, died July 28, 1781,* 
the subject of the preceding sketch. He left a nume- 
rous family. His second son, Francis, was born at Green- 
field, near Amsterdam, Botetourt county, Virginia, 
August 2, 1765, was educated at William and Mary Col- 
lege, Virginia; studied law under Judge George Wythe, 
and practiced with success in Montgomery, Washington 

* This date is given by General Francis Preston, his son and executor. 
The old Bible at Smithfield gives the date of his death on June 22, 
1782. I am inclined to believe that the date given by General F. Preston 
is the correct one from an expression in Mrs. Letitia Floyd's lettei's 
to her son, Ben. Rush Floyd. She says his health continued to decline 
after his return from the battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Caro- 
lina. But says that he died on the 28th of June of that year. 

IS'/ Hisioriccd Sketches and 

and other counties. He married Sarah Buchanan Camp- 
bell, daughter of General William Campbell (hero of 
King's Mountain), and Elizabeth Henry, sister of Patrick 
Henry, on the 10th of January, 1793; was elected to Con- 
gress that year from the Montgomery District, which 
included Washington county, and served with distinction 
two terms — 1793-'9T. His private business then requiring 
his undivided attention, he declined a re-election. He was 
commissioned colonel in 1812, and marched with his 
regiment to Norfolk, but was not engaged in any active 
campaigns. Subsequently he was commissioned briga- 
dier-general and promoted to major-general of militia; 
was repeatedly elected to the House of Delegates and 
Senate of Virginia, where his impressive style of speaking 
and ability in debate placed him in the front rank among 
his contemporaries. He was remarkable for his physical 
strength and manly beauty; was courteous and graceful 
in manners, chivalrous in spirit, scrupulously truthful 
and conscientious and exact in business. United with 
these masculine attributes was a heart as warm and full 
of tender sympathies as a woman's. Hence the friend- 
ship of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe. Marshall and others 
with whom he corresponded. 

My earliest recollection of him is that of a man in the 
full prime of life, and as fine a specimen of manhood as 
I ever looked upon. Just six feet high and of a full, not 
fleshy figure, with . the erect bearing of a soldier and 
moving with the firm, elastic step so characteristic of 
the men who in their youth wore moccasins whilst hunt- 
ing in the mountains. He had the courtly manners of the 
day and court of Washington. On his arrival in Phila- 

Rcniinisccucvs of (ui Octogvnurluu. 135 

delpliia as a member of Coiigres^s from the Montgomery 
District, in wliieli AVasliini^ton county was iucUuled, he 
was recognized and received by General Washington, 
then President, as the son of an old friend, and treated 
with courteous attention and consideration. 

General Preston died at the house of his son, William 
Campbell Preston, in Columbia, South Carolina, May 26, 
1835. His remains were subsequently removed to the 
family grave-yard at Aspinvale, Smythe county, Virginia. 
A monument to his memory was erected by his three sons. 

William Campbell Preston was the oldest son of Gen- 
eral Francis and Sarah Buchanan Preston, and was born 
on December 27, 1794, in south Fourth street, Philadel- 
phia, Pennsylvania. His father was at the time a mem- 
ber of Congress, which then held its sessions in that city. 

Mrs. Dorothea Madison, wife of President James Madi- 
son, and a relation of INlrs. Preston, always claimed that 
she was the first person that held him in her arms, and 
through life spoke of him as " her boy." 

The following memoir was written by ^Irs. Virginia P. 
Carrington, niece and adopted daughter of William C. 
Preston, and published in the " Sunny South," August 
20, 1887, and signed "A. M.": 

His early home was at the Salt-Works, Smythe county, 
Virginia. This, to the day of his death, he thought the 
most beautiful spot on earth, and, next to it, the Cove of 
Cork. The Salt-Works was not then enriched and dis- 
figured by the numerous salt-houses, plaster-banks, small 
stores and dwellings, which are seen in what is now 
called Saltville. A few white dwellings, a few long sheds 
for salt, emphasized the beautiful green of the meadows; 

136 Hisfork-al ^^Jx-clvhcs and 

fine forests clothed the hills which prefaced the moun- 
tains surrounding- the valley; now, the hills and moun- 
tains are bare, and the iron horse shrieks through the 
meadows where vet the finest cattle graze in the richest 
fields, undisturbed by the new inventions of the century. 
He was descended of illustrious parentage. His mother's 
father was General William Campbell, of King's ^NFoun- 
tain fame; her mother was Elizabeth Henr}^, who was 
said to be as eloquent as her brother, Patrick Henry. His 
paternal grandfather, William Preston, was one of the 
surveyors Avho accompanied Washington in his early 
examinations of Virginia in the valley and beyond the 
Alleghanies. He was afterwards greatly distinguished 
in the Indian wars. When absent from the fort which 
he commanded his wife took his place, and defended it 
successfuly against the Indians. 

The subject of this memoir was well instructed by pri- 
vate tutors until of an age to enter college. He attended 
for a while Washington College, now Washington and 
Lee University. Afterwards, his lungs appearing weak, 
he was sent to South Carolina College, at Columbia; he 
was so charmed with the climate, the beauty of the city 
and the elegance of the people that he determined to 
make it his home. He chose the profession of the laAv, 
and was early admitted to the bar. In the practice of his 
profession he was eminently successful, and made for- 
tune after fortune, which he spent with equal celerity. 
An instance of his good memory and his knowledge of 
the English classics occurred at his entrance into South 
Carolina College. A portion of Homer was given him to 
translate. He asked if a ueneral, instead of a literal 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 1S7 

translation, would do. Upon receiving an affirmative 
answer he gave page after page of Pope's grand para- 
phrase. His father, who was wealthj^, offered him the 
opportunity of travel and study in Europe, but insisted 
he should see something of the wilds of his own country 
first. So he sent him to the far, far West, where the fron- 
tiersman and Indian could be seen in all their pristine 
glory — even to Missouri ! He travelled on horseback with 
a servant carrying his portmanteau. He was, the next 
winter, sent to see the highest social circle of America — 
to Washington. There he was received with the utmost 
cordiality by his kinswoman, Mrs. Madison, who insisted 
that he should stay at the White House, which was more 
delightful from the presence of several charming young 
ladies, conspicuous among whom was the great belle and 
beauty, Miss INIaria Mayo, who afterwards became Mrs. 
(leneral Winfield Scott. 

His voyage to Europe was slow and tedious, so that 
^Yhen he stopped off the Cove of Cork, he was so weary 
of the sight of the waste of waters and the beauty of the 
land was so tempting, that, with his usual impetuosity, 
he jumped into one of the little boats which had come 
out to traffic with the passengers and went ashore, send- 
ing his luggage on by the ship. He traveled in Ireland 
until his financial condition compelled him to follow his 
letters of credit. When he landed in England he had 
only money enough to take an outside place on the stage, 
which then carried passengers from the mouth of the 
river to Liverpool. It was raining, and the wetting he 
got, together with the fatigue, brought on a fever and 
consequent delirium, in which state he was taken into 


138 Historical Sketches and 

the inn. The landlord, on examining his papers, found 
letters to the American Consul, who was then, and for 
many years after, ]Mr. James INIaury, but he being- absent, 
his place was sui)plied by ]Mr. Haggarty, of Virginia. 
He, with the assistance of his friend, Washington Irving, 
nursed him back to health. Thus, with Washington 
Irving, began one of his most valued friendships, and one 
which ended only with death. One of the last things 
which I read to Mr. Preston, as he lay on his death-bed, 
was an account of the first celebration of the anniversary 
of Irving's death, ^fr. Irving was already a man of dis- 
tinction in the world of letters. When ]Mr. Preston went 
to London he gave him letters of introduction to Lord 
Brougham, Lord John Russell and others. Through the 
letter to Lord John Eussell he had an invitation to spend 
the Christmas at the country house of the Duke of Red- 
ford, where he met many people of distinction. There 
were some trouble to know how to place the untitled 
American gentleman. Finally he was consigned to the 
care of one of the younger sons of the house and went 
into dinner under his care. Lord Brougham spoke of the 
relationship between their families. Lord Brougham, 
Lord Erskine and Patrick Henry were cousins, and all of 
them nephews of Robertson, the historian.* Sidney 
Smith asked to be introduced to him, as he said an Ameri- 
can gentleman was quite a curiosity. When he went to 
Edinborough to enter the TTniversity, Mr. Irving gave him 
a letter of introduction to Sir Walter Scott. Scott was 
partial to Americans, and paid them much attention. 

*This has been questioned. 

Reminiscences of an Octoi/enarian. 139 

There was a remarkable set of students at that time in 
Edinborough. Mr. Cogswell, at the Astor Library; J. 
Fenimore Cooper, Mr. Hugh S. Legare, Mr. Govau, Mr. 
Everett, and Mr. Ticknor were in Europe at the time and 
traveled with Mr. Preston on the Continent, but I aiu not 
sure they studied together. Sir Walter Scott took a 
special fancy to Mr. Preston, and he was consequently 
much at Abbotsford. Mr. Preston asked Sir Walter's 
advice as to whether it was well for him to accept the 
invitations to Abbotsford to the house of Mrs. Grant of 
Laggan (author of " Roy's Wife of Aldervalock "), and 
other places where literature was a topic of chief interest. 
Sir W^alter said he would scarcely ever meet with such 
society as was then in and around Edinborough, and he 
should by all means take advantage of it; he should be 
diligent also in attending all the lectures at the Univer- 
sity, for there was a remarkable set of professors, but 
his books he could carrj^ with him anywhere. When, 
years afterwards, he was elected to the Senate, a friend 
hastened to Laggan to tell Mrs. Grant of the honor be- 
stowed, " Pshaw! " she said; " if those Americans had any 
sense they w^ould have made him President long ago.'' 

During the vacations he made several pedestrian tours 
with Mr. Irving; they rambled through Scotland, North- 
ern England and Wales. Many of the scenes of the 
" Sketch Book " were witnessed together. Mr. Irving 
wrote to Mr. Preston: "Your allusions to Jones of 
Brienne and Loch Katrine brought up a host of recollec- 
tions of pleasant scenes and pleasant adventures, which 
we enjoyed together in our peregrinations through Scot- 
land and England in our younger days. I often recur in 

IJfO Historical Sketches and 

thought to those ramblings, which present some of the 
most agreeable day-dreams of past times; and if I dared 
indulge my pen, could call up many an amusing incident 
in which you figured conspicuously." 

Soon after his return from Europe he married Aliss 
Maria Eliza Coalter, daughter of Judge John Coalter, 
formerly of Virginia, then of Missouri. Judge Coalter 
had several beautiful daughters, all of whom married 
distinguished men. One married Judge William Harper, 
whom Mr. Preston considered the finest intellect South 
Carolina ever produced. Another, Judge St. George 
Tucker, one of Virginia's finest jurists; one Judge Ed- 
ward Bates, who was afterwards a member of President 
Lincoln's Cabinet; the youngest married Mr. David 
Means, an eminent Presbyterian divine. 

Mr. Preston became as conspicuous in politics as in 
law, and for many years represented South Carolina in 
the Senate, where he ranked with Webster, Clay, Cal- 
houn, and Benton. On his resignation from the Senate 
Mr. Webster wrote: 

" Dear Sir, — Your resignation gives me pain, although 
3'ou had prepared us to expect it. In the political and 
social circles here it causes a void not easily to be filled. 
Your career in the Senate has been long, useful, and 
splendid; and I believe you leave Congress wirh the re- 
spect and good wishes of all its members. Since I have 
been in my present situation, I have derived important 
aid from your advice and occasional suggestions — an 
obligation I most cheerfully acknowledge, but I owe you 
a much greater debt, for your constant personal kindness, 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. I4I 

from the social happiness derived from your conversa- 
tiou, aud for the gratilication aud instruction derived 
from your efforts in debate. This, my dear sir, is entirely 
honest and sincere. I am melancholy at your leaving 
the Senate, and could not forego this occasion to signify 
to you my ardent feelings of attachment and regard. 
Kind remembrances to Mrs. Preston; there again I have 
heavy losses. With whom shall I now converse on Bibli- 
cal criticism, old English style and other kindred sub- 
jects. I salute, also. Miss Preston, with very sincere re- 
gards; aud wish for you all true and everlasting happi- 
ness. Daniel Webster." 

Mrs. Preston here alluded to was Senator Preston's 
second wife, who had been Miss Louisa Penelope Davis, 
the daughter of an eminent physician of Columbia, South 
Carolina. She was a lady of great beauty of person and 
remarkable literary attainments. Although much 
younger than Mr. Preston, he outlived her thirteen years, 
and he always said his heart died with her; but he was 
much revived in his last years by the love of an adopted 
daughter. Miss Preston, of whom Mr. Webster speaks, 
was the only child who attained maturity; her father's 
tender, loving heart was crushed by her death. 

Mr. Preston was a great patron of the arts. He was 
the means of sending the sculptor, Hiram Powers, to 
Italy; that is, he recognized his genius, and called the 
attention of his brother, Mr. John S. Preston, to him, and 
he supplied most of the means which enabled Mr. Powers 
to prosecute the studies which have placed him first 
among American artists. Mr. Powers has shown his 

1^2 Historical Slxeiches and 

gratitude in many ways — by bestowino- the name of 
Preston on bis son, wlio is now eminent among sculptors; 
by gifts of his works; several portrait busts were pre- 
sented to the family. His Eve, Proserpine, and Genevia 
were made for Mr. John S. Preston. Mr. W. C. Preston 
also assisted Mr. Chapman to go to Italy to study paint- 
ing. Shortly before Mr. Preston's death, Mr. Chapman 
sent him several etchings and some photographs of his 
large paintings. 

Mr. Preston was made president of South Carolina Col- 
lege, in which capacity he served for many years, to the 
great advantage of the institution and of the young men 
under him. In general, he enjoyed it, but I heard him 
say once, when the boys were rather unruly, that he 
" would rather drive an earthquake with a team of 
volcanoes than a set of wild boys." He was a man of 
powerful influence in the politics of his State. He was 
beloved by the least child and the greatest intellects. He 
honored and admired woman to such a degree that he 
habitually said no man was worthy of any woman. He 
was very active in nullification. When the secession in 
the Democratic party took place in Charleston, in 1860, 
his heart broke, for he had studied the relations between 
the States and the strength and purpose of each and all, 
so that he knew what a fearful struggle was impending. 
As he lay dying Mr. Petigru, the great Charleston lawyer 
and his contemporary, came to see him, and they wept 
together over the coming strife. Mr. Petigru said: "I 
envy you, Preston. You are leaving us, and I will 
have to stay and see it all. And so he gladly bade fare- 

Remimsccnccs of an Octoi/enarian. I'lS 

well to earth on May 22d, rejoicinj^- in hope of the world 
to come. A. M." 

To this j^raceful and graphic sketch the following 
sequel is appended: 

No report nor synopsis of his greatest efforts as an 
orator have been preserved. Among the first was his 
speech before the Legislature of South Carolina in de- 
fence of Judge James, who was impeached for drunken- 
ness. In preparing this speech, Avhich was done with 
elaborate care, the pathetic portion of it rose so palpably 
before him that he rested his head upon the desk and 
wept like a child. 

When the House was called to order every seat was 
occupied, and the aisles and galleries crammed. As he 
rose there was a hush that made breathing audible. His 
manner was grave and dignified as became the occasion, 
and the opening sentences caught and fixed the atten- 
tion of the assembly. The argumentative portion w^as 
clear, spirited and able, and when he felt that his 
audience was in full sympathy with him he drew a pic- 
ture of this pure and able judge, bowed and humiliated 
by a single infirmity, so pathetic that the whole assem- 
bly was moved to tears, and senators sobbed aloud. This 
effort confirmed his reputation as the first orator of the 

At the bar he ranked among the ablest and most 
learned lawyers of his day, and was as successful in the 
management and preparation of civil as criminal cases. 
The latter, however, offered oi)portunities for the display 
of his peculiar gifts. The trial of Mr. for murder 

i//.} Historical Sketches and 

was one in which his tact, ability and eloquence were 
conspicuous. The evidence was strong against his client, 
and the only plea upon which any hope of acquittal could 
be founded was that of self-defence. His quick and re- 
tentive memory recalled a very similar case in which 
Cicero had succeeded upon the same plea. In his speech 
he not only availed himself of the ingenious defence of 
the Koman orator, but captivated the jury and the 
audience by a paraphrase of his glowing and most im- 
passioned eloquence. Indeed, so full was his mind of 
classic and modern instances, that often in the familiarity 
of the home circle his conversation was interspersed with 
apt quotations in prose and poetry from the best authors. 
Few were as familiar with the English classics as he 
was, and for the edification of the younger members of 
his family he would recite scenes from Shakespeare or 
passages from Milton, Scott, or some other standard 

As a popular orator he was fully the peer of his mater- 
nal uncle, Patrick Henry. ^lany instances could be given 
of his absolute sway over the emotions of large assem- 
blies, and his power of rousing them to the most tumult- 
uous enthusiasm, or melting them to tears, or convulsing 
them with laughter. The memory of one such instance 
still lingers in Southwest Virginia after the lapse of half 
a century. It was during a canvass for Congress between 
Mr. Draper and Mr. Charles C. Johnston. Mr. Preston 
was staying with his family at Chilhowie Springs. The 
mass-meeting was at Meek's Store-house, about five miles 
distant. Mr. Draper was represented by John N. Humes, 
a young lawyer recently from Tennessee. By some acci- 

Reminiscences of an Octof/enarian. IJ/S 

dent, neither Mr. Johnston nor any speaker authorized 
to represent him could be present. In this extremity his 
partisans sent a delegation in haste to Mr. Preston to 
urge him to come to their assistance, and to give him 
some idea of the attack that would be made upon an inti- 
mate friend and relation. Their representations roused 
Mr. Preston, and he hastened to the rendezvous. His 
arrival Avas kept a secret, and, unobserved, he entered 
the rear of the house from the piazza from which the 
speakers were to address the crowd. Mr. Humes, all 
unconscious of his presence, and thinking he had the field 
to himself, indulged in unguarded assertions and bitter 
denunciations of IMr. Johnston. When he closed, Mr. 
Preston presented himself before the audience, and, 
straightening up to his full height (six feet two inches), 
stood, the impersonation of the champion that he was. 
The effect was electric. Mr. Humes ventured to suggest 
that Mr. Preston had no right to speak in a Virginia can- 
vass, as he was a South Carolinian. His friends took it 
up, and for a few moments the crowd was agitated. Then 
Mr. Preston's voice, like a clarion, thrilled through it as 
he said : " My foot is on my native heath and my name 
is William Campbell Preston." Instantly every murmur 
was represj-ed, and the whole assembly settled into the 
attitude of fixed attention. He alluded to the fact that 
almost within the sound of his voice rested the bones of 
four generations of his people, and named the com- 
panions of his boyhood with whom he had roamed over 
hill and dale of that neighborhood, and these companions 
were sons of that gallant band of heroes whom his grand- 
father had led in the battle of King's ^fountain. The 

1/^6 Historical Sketches and 

chord of sympathy was struck and vibrated in harmony 
to every touch he gave. The crowd was roused to the 
wildest enthusiasm. It was an easy task to vindicate 
Mr. Johnston before such an audience, and this was done 
so fully and effectually that every imputation was 
silenced forever. Mr. Preston then turned his batteries 
upon Mr. Humes, and, pointing at him as the recent im- 
portation from Tennessee, held him up before the crowd 
in every aspect of ridicule and scorn that his excited feel- 
ings suggested. Passages of this speech were remem- 
bered and quoted as long as those who heard it lived. 

Of Mr. Preston's speeches in the Senate of the United 
States, one of the most carefully prepared and effective, 
was upon the French spoliation claims. He had been 
examining into the subject for some time and collecting 
information from every source. The discussion of the 
question was interrupted for a day by other business, and 
he went to the Senate that morning expecting some other 
senator would resume it and occupy the morning session. 
No one did, however, and unexpectedly the duty devolved 
upon him. As soon as it was known in the House of 
Eepresentatives that Mr. Preston was speaking there was 
a rush for the Senate Chamber, and in a very little while 
every seat was occupied, and the gallery crowded. For 
two hours he held the audience spellbound; and not even 
the rustling of a lady's garments broke the silent and 
absorbed attention of senators and the mixed audience of 
the galleries. Details and facts, which would in other 
hands have been tedious and dry, sparkled with interest 
and were inspired with life. The style and manner of 
his delivery were in harmony with the highest ideals of 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. l.^il 

senatorial dignity, and elicited enoominms and praise 
from Clay, Webster and others of the brightest intellects 
of the period. 

Mr. Preston's vocabulary was singularly voluminous, 
and both in conversation and speaking, his choice of 
words was felicitous and exact. Hence the grace and 
beauty, as well as lucidness, of his sentences. His voice 
was clear and melodious and capable of great modulation. 
Elocution was a natural endowment, but was so culti- 
vated and trained that in the most impassioned passages 
of his speeches he neither strained his voice to an unna- 
tural pitch nor mouthed his words. He was, therefore,dis- 
tinctly heard by the most remote of the largest audiences 
he addressed. His gestures were so natural and graceful 
that they were observed only when they gave point or 
emphasis to the idea expressed. 

In short, to use the language of a competent and 
learned critic, " he was the most finished orator America 
has produced." 

John S., son of Francis and Sarah B. Preston, was born 
at the Salt-Works, Virginia, April 20, 1809: died in 
Columbia, South Carolina, May 1, 1881; graduated at 
Hampden-Sidney College; attended lectures at the Uni- 
versity of Virginia 1825-'6; then went to Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, and began the study of law. 

He married Caroline M. Hampton, daughter of General 
Wade Hampton, April 28, 1830, and first settled in Abing- 
don. After the death of General Hampton he moved to 
Columbia, South Carolina. For some years he w^as largely 
engaged in sugar-planting in Louisiana, but was never 

1J[8 Historira] i^hichcf; and 

so absorbed by business that much of his time was not 
devoted to literary pursuits. He retired early and rose 
between 3 and 5 A. M., that the quiet of the morning- 
hours might be given to intellectual occupations. The 
aid he liberally gave struggling artists of America, nota- 
bly to the sculptor Hiram Powers, whose genius was 
recognized and brought to his notice by his brother, Wil- 
liam C. Preston, is only one of many instances and acts 
of his generosity, and also indicates his love of the fine 
arts. In part acknowledgment of this timely assistance, 
jNlr, Powers presented him with the first replica of the 
Greek Slave. He also became widely known as an orator, 
delivering among other famous addresses the speech of 
welcome to the Palmetto Regiment on its return from the 
Mexican War, in 1848, which gave him a national repu- 
tation. This was increased by subsequent orations before 
the '76 Association of Charleston; the literary societies 
of South Carolina College, and that at the seventy-fifth 
anniversary of the battle of King's Mountain, and at 
laying the corner-stone of the University of the South at 
Sewanee, Tennessee. These orations were of absorbing 
interest and force, and of themselves entitled General 
Preston to the first rank among southern orators. He 
was an ardent secessionist, and in May, 1860, was chair- 
man of the South Carolina delegation to the Democratic 
Convention at Charleston. 

After the election of President Lincoln, he was ap- 
pointed commissioner to Virginia, and in February, 1861, 
made an elaborate plea in favor of the withdrawal of 
the State from the Union. This was regarded as the 

Reniiniscoicrs of an Ocloj/cnariaii. Uji) 

crowniiiii- effort of his oratory, and was spoken of in terms 
of the highest eulogy by all who heard it. 

He was on (Jeneral P. G. T. Beauregard's staff in 1861, 
and acted as one of the aides de-camp in the first battle 
of Manassas or Bull Bun. Subsequently he was trans- 
ferred to the Conscript Department, with the rank of 
Brigadier-General. Not long after the surrender he left 
this country for England, and remained abroad two or 
more years. Some time after his return he was asked 
to deliver an address at the commencement of the Uni- 
versity of Virginia. The character and sentiments of this 
speech have been misunderstood and misrepresented. It 
was a fervid and bold expression of opinions formed from 
a southern view of history, and which alone justify the 
action of the Southern States. 

Subjugation may repress, but does not change convic- 
tions, and southern leaders, whilst they acquiesce in the 
arbitrament of war, honestl}' believed the cause they 
maintained with their fortunes and their lives was just 
in the sight of God. General Preston voiced this con- 
viction, and remitted its vindication to posterity. Such 
utterances may have been imprudent at the time and 
under the circumstances, but they were not treasonable; 
nor were they intended to repress the spirit of reconcilia- 
tion, so carefully fostered by true patriots, provided the 
faith that animated and sustained the entire South in 
that sad conflict was not denounced and characterized as 
wilful and wicked rebellion. 

When General Preston surrendered and gave his 
allegiance to the United States he had no reserved 
thoughts, and was as loyal a citizen as could be found 
between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

Koiiijiiscou'Cfi of an Octoc/cnariaii. 151 


lu the '" Filson Club Publications, No. 13," entitled 
" First Exploration of Kentucky," by Colonel J. Stoddard 
Johnston, there is this note on page 42: 

" From the fact that Dr. Walker was here (on the Hol- 
ston river) in 1748, historians have fallen into the error 
of stating that it was in this year that he went to Cum- 
berland Gap in company with Colonel James Patton, 
Major Charles Campbell and others, but there is nothing 
upon which the assertion rests except a misty tradition. 

" It is doubtless based upon the fact that these gentle- 
men, in 1749, Dr. Walker being one of the number, made 
an exploration with a view to taking up land, as some 
of them did on the Holston in East Tennessee." 

As I was one of these historians (?) who have fallen 
into the " error " (if error it be), I may be pardoned for 
giving the authorities upon which I based the account 
of Colonel Patton's exploring expedition in 1748, and 
which was published in the American Monthly Magazine 
of January, 1897. 

First. As to the line through which this alleged 
" misty " tradition is traced. 

My father, General Francis Preston, was a son of Col- 
onel William Preston, who was the nephew, private 
secretary, and executor of Colonel James Patton; Mrs. 
Letitia Flovd, wife of Governor John Flovd, was his sis- 

152 Historical Shivhcs and 

ter, and (Tovernor Floyd was the .i>Tandson of Colonel 
John Buchanan, who was the son-in-law of Colonel James 
Patton. and was one of the surveyors who accompanied 
him upon this and other expeditions. ^Ix mother was the 
daughter of General William Campbell, only sou of Major 
Charles Campbell, the other surveyor. Major Charles 
Campbell's wife vras the sister of John Buchanan, and 
grandmother of my mother. 

If tradition transmitted through such closely-allied 
families be " »//.s///," then it would be difficult to say by 
what combination of circumstances and family alliances 
a tradition could be relied upon as free from " mists." 

Second. Joseph A. Waddell, in his "Annals of Augusta 
County," on page 38, says: " It is stated that as early as 
1748, Colonels Patton and Buchanan and others, with a 
number of hunters, made an exploring tour to the Scmth- 
west. They discovered and named the Cumberland 
Mountain and river, so called in honor of the Duke of 
Cumberland, who had recently gained the battle of Cul- 
loden in Scotland." 

In Virginia, ]Mr. Waddell is accepted as reliable 
authority for every statement of fact that he makes. 
Even where he does not give his authority for his asser- 
tions, it is assumed that they are supported by and based 
upon ascertained facts, derived from reliable sources. 

I felt warranted by this statement, sustaining the 
family tradition, in giving to Colonel Pattou the credit 
of discovering and naming Cumberland ^louutain and 
Cumberland river, and suggested the influence which 
prompted him so to name them. 

It mav also be noted that ^Ir. Waddell does not men- 

Rcminiscoiccfi of an Octofienariaii. 153 

tion Dr. Walker as of the party. Had he occupied the 
most prominent position it is fair to presume that he 
would have been named. 

Third. Lyman C Draper, in his " King's Mountain and 
Its Heroes," page 379, says: "Charles Campbell was not 
" only an enterprising farmer of Augusta, but early en- 
" gaged in Avesteru explorations and in the acquisition of 
" the rich Avild lands of the country. In April, 1748, he 
" made an exploring tour down the Holston in company 
" with Dr. Thomas AValker, Colonel James Patton, James 
" Wood and John Buchanan, together with a number of 
^' huntsmen and woodsmen." 

In this extract the names of the principal parties are 
given, and the date of the expedition. 

Knowing the relation of these parties to each other, 
their relative positions can be assigned. 

The organization indicates Colonel Patton as its author 
and leader. Of the two surveyors, John Buchanan was 
his son-in-law, and Charles Campbell, the brother-in-law 
of John Buchanan, making a famil}^ party. 

Dr. Walker and James Wood were honored but invited 
associates, as may be inferred from the sequel. The 
hunters and woodsmen were, in all probability, from the 
vicinity and selected by Colonel Patton, from his knowl- 
edge of their fitness for the service for which they were 

At the date of this expedition. Colonel Patton was 
about fifty-eight years of age, in the full vigor of robust 
manhood, and had won influence and distinction in 
Augusta county, and was regarded as one of the wealth- 
iest men of that community. He was able, therefore, to 


i5-^ Historical Sketches and 

equip and support the party that he organized for such 
an extended and perhaps perilous expedition. 

Dr. Walker was also in the prime of life — thirty-three 
years old, and, by right of his wife, owner of 15,000 acres 
of land in Piedmont Virginia. He was a worthy associate 
and friend of Colonel Patton. 

It was on this expedition that Reedy Creek, Walker's 
Mountain, and Walker's Creek, in Wythe county, were 
named. The Holston river was called " Indian river," 
as is proved by the earliest surveys. (See patents to 
Charles Campbell.) Why and when the name was 
changed, first to Holstein, then to Holston, I have not 
been able to ascertain. Dr. Walker calls it Holston river 
as early as March 23, 1750. The changes of name must 
have been rapid. 

Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston has traced with great 
labor and research the course of Dr. Walker's expedition 
in 1750. But I can see nothing in it contradicting the 
assumption and proof of a previous expedition in 1748 
with Colonel Patton and his party. The organization of 
the two parties are widely different. The companions of 
Dr. Walker are named in his diary, and were his personal 
friends, for whom he named many of the streams he 
reached and partly explored, beginning with Powell's 
river that flows through Lee county, Virginia. 

His statement that in 1750 he had met Samuel Stal- 
naker on the Holston is conclusive evidence that he him- 
self was there at that time, and the only tradition or 
mention of an earlier exploring expedition to the waters 
of the Holston, is that of Colonel James Patton, in 1748. 

With all due deference to Colonel Johnston's opinions 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. 155 

and inferences, I am constrained to differ with him in 
regard to Stalnaker. Dr. Walker says only that when 
he first met Stalnaker, he (Stalnaker) was on his way to 
the Cherokee Indians and " expected him to pilot me as 
far as he knew, but his affairs would not permit him to 
go with me " (on this expedition of 1750). 

No hint is given that Stalnaker was anything more 
than a trader with the Cherokee Indians, and they lived 
on the borders of Tennessee and Georgia, south of Dr. 
Walker's projected route. 

I do not think it i)robable (as Colonel Johnston seems 
to do) that Stalnaker gave the information as to certain 
localities that he (Dr. W^alker) contemplated visiting — 
such as the valley of the Clinch river, the region north 
and west of Clinch Mountain, and Cumberland Mountain, 
to the head-waters of Kentucky and Cumberland rivers, 
of which previous information he (Dr. Walker) gave 
evidence as he advanced into Kentucky. It is more 
probable (in my opinion) that this " previous informa- 
tion " was obtained from a more intelligent source — 
Colonel James Patton — as will appear from the sequel. 

In John P. Hale's " Trans- Alleghany Pioneers " (page 
102), he states: "This way (by luglis' Ferry on New 
river) passed Dr. Thomas Walker and his first party of 
explorers in 17J/8, and also his second expedition in 1750." 

Again, on page 108, he says: "On the return of the 
expedition of Dr. Walker, Patton and others, in 17^8, 
they organized the ' Loyal Land Company,' based on a 
grant of 800,000 acres of land, to lie north of the North 
Carolina line, and west of the mountains, and incorpor- 
ated their company in June, 1749." 

136 Historical Si-etciies and 

Again, on page 250: "1748. — Dr. Thomas Walker and 
" party crossed New river westward, and were the first 
" from this direction to penetrate into Kentucky." {Italics 
mine. T. L. P.) It has been previously stated how this 
party of " Dr. Walker and others " of 1748 was organized 
and commanded. (See page 9.) 

The extracts from Hale are given as proof that there 
were tico expeditions in which Dr. Walker was a party, 
and that the first in /7-JS, was " the first from this (New 
river, west) direction to penetrate into Kentucky." Mr. 
Hale repeats on page 109 the statement of the tiro trips 
of the exi^loring parties of Dr. Walker, and mentions 
some of the streams " traveled up and down which empty 
into New river." 

The fact of two trips west of New river being estab- 
lished by proof that cannot be gainsaid, it may be well 
to examine from whom Dr. Walker obtained information 
about the country he explored in 1750. 

It is stated, or rather intimated, by Colonel J. S. John- 
ston, that Dr. Walker went on this expedition in the 
interest of, if not employment of, other parties or persons. 

This intimation is confirmed by the opening para- 
graph of Dr. Walker's journal, as published by the Filson 
Club. Itis— 

" Having on the 12th of December last been employed 
" for a certain consideration to go to the westward in 
'^ order to discover a proper place for a settlement, I left 
" my house on the Gth day of March at 10 o'clock, 1749-'50, 
" in company with Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, 
" Colby Chew, Henry Lawless and John Hughes." (Note 
how entirely different this company is from that organ- 

Reminiscences of an Oclof/enarian. 151 

ized by Colonel Patton.) They reached " Euglish's " 
(Inglis') on the IGth of March. (See Diary, page 1.) 

But the question is, who employed Dr. Walker to go 
westward '' in order to discover a proper place for a set- 
tlement? " There can be but oue answer, the Loyal Com- 
pany. As Colonel Patton was at the head of that organ- 
ization, it could only have been chiefly, if not exclusively, 
through his influence that Dr. Walker Avas sent on this 
tour of discovery of a proper place for a settlement. This 
company, as stated by Mr. Hale (pages 108 and 250) was 
organized in June 1749, ufier their return from the ex- 
pedition in 1718, by Walker, Patton, and others (William 
Inglis was one of the " others '■) with a grant of 800,000 
acres of land. The Holston Valley into Tennessee had 
been previously explored. Colonel Patton and William 
Inglis had crossed Clinch Mountain into Tazewell county 
through Burk's Garden, and it may be as far north as 
the headwaters of Clinch river. The country to be ex- 
plored, therefore, was the Clinch Valley and the region 
north and west of Clinch and Cumberland mountains. 
This hypothesis explains the route taken by Dr. Walker, 
and his deflection from the Holston Valley at Abingdon 
to the Northwest, and crossing Clinch Mountain, perhaps 
at Moccasin Gap, and so through Scott to Powell's Valley, 
in Lee, naming the river that flows through it after his 
friend, Ambrose Powell, and thence over Cumberland 
Mountain to the head waters of the Kentucky and Cum- 
berland rivers. 

It is remarkable that Dr. Walker does not give the 
name to any mountain that he crossed, but does give 
names to every stream of any magnitude and to many 

158 Historical Sl-etches and 

smaller branches. I do not, and cannot, concur in 
Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston's inference, for it is only 
an inference, and not an assertion of Dr. Walker's, that 
he (Dr. Walker) aftericard " named " Cave Gap " Cum- 
berland Gap. 

Jf, as I maintain. Colonel Patton's party "penetrated 
into Kentncl-y,''^ as John Hale says they did; and named 
Cumberland Mountain and Cumberland Gap, as Joseph 
A. Waddell says they did, and the pioneer expedition 
was organized April, 1748, as Lyman C. Draper states 
(supplemented by Waddell), then the "misiy traditioii,^' 
examined by the light of investigation, like some cloud- 
capped pinnacle when lighted by the sun is seen to stand 
upon a sure foundation — the foundation of historical truth. 

Thos. L. Pkeston. 

University of yirginia, April, 1899. 

Note 1. — Colonel Patton and John Buchanan in 1749 went as far 
west as Bristol, Tennessee (how much fuilher is not known), for in 
that year Colonel Patton bought the " settlers' right " of one Taylor, 
and gave it to his son-in-law, John Buchanan, who surveyed it that 
year. The patent for it^ however, was not issued until after General 
Francis Preston became the executor of Colonel William Preston and 
General William Campbell, who certified the survey to the court, and 
the patent was issued by Mr. Jefferson, then Governor of Virginia. 

T. L. P. 

Note 2. — " William Inglis purchased the land at and about Inglis' 
Ferry from the Loyal Land Company, Dr. Thomas Walker agent." — 
Dr. John P. Hale, " Trans-Alleghany Pioneer," p. 109. 

Reminiscences of an ()clo(/enarian. JoO 


William King was born iu Ireland, 17G9, and came to 
America a lad of fifteen, landing at Newcastle, Dela- 
ware, August 17, 1784. He went to Philadelphia and 
entered into an engagement for five years with a mer- 
chant of that city. 

He did not know where his father, Thomas King, had 
settled, and his father Avas not informed of the arrival 
in America and employment of his son. As soon, how- 
ever, as he ascertained that the son was in Philadelphia 
he started from Fincastle (where he was engaged in busi- 
ness) on horseback, leading a pony to bring his son to 
his home. 

But the young man would not yield even to a father's 
persuasion, and refused to violate his contract with the 
merchant and return with his father. He remained, 
therefore, in Philadelphia until 1791, when he joined his 
father at Fincastle. Not long afterward his father sent 
him to Ireland for his stepmother, his brother and sister. 

The only members of the family that did not return 
with him were Connally Find lay and his family. They 
came five years afterwards, in 1796. Whilst in Ireland 
William King received a legacy of £100 left him by his 
grandmother, Elizabeth Davis. With this capital he 
started as a peddler to make his fortune, and the success 
he attained shows what intellect and energy can accom- 

160 Historical Sketches and 

plish. He soon established stores (as they were called) 
or mercantile houses along his line of travel, and stocked 
them with such merchandise as best suited the people of 
the country. By his repeated trips he acquainted himself 
with the people and learned their wants. 

Wonderfully endowed by nature with quick discrimi- 
nation, observation and sagacity, his business prospered 
with phenomenal rapidity, and he soon acquired the 
position of an influential member of the community. His 
education and his courteous manners gave him access to 
every social circle, and he won the confidence of his con- 
temporaries by his integrity and manliness. One of his 
gifts was rapidity and accuracy in calculation. His ac- 
counts were kept in pounds, shillings and pence, and, it 
is said, he added up the long columns of the old account 
books by a succession of spans or hand-breadths. In 1799 
he married IMiss Mary Trigg, one of the handsomest and 
most elegant daughters of that old family, and built the 
first brick residence in Abingdon. There he made his 
home, and there it stands diagonally across the street 
north of the court-house. 

Mr. King, as most English-born subjects, wished to 
entail his estate, and as he had no children, he decided 
to make such dispositions that some branch of his family 
should inherit the bulk of it. The acquisition of his 
valuable property at the Salt-Works and the conditions 
of the will by which he attempted to dispose of it have 
been referred to in the " Reminiscences." 

William King died in 1808. Am I not justified in say- 
ing that the crowning act of his life was the bequest of 

Ixcininiscoiccs of an Octof/cnariaii. 161 

110,000 to " The Academy " as a school for boys? No 
memorial shaft or proud mausoleum could so enduringly 
perpetuate his wisdom and beneficence. These may 
crumble and mingle with the dust, but so long as that 
hill stands, crowned by the academy, the name of Wil- 
liam King will be gratefully recalled by successive gen- 
erations. His widow married Captain Francis Smith, 
and their descendants are among tl 
cultivated of the present generation. 



Abingdon, 11, 19, 29, 59, 63, 86 

93, 94, 9&, 96, 97, 98, 99, 

101, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 

109, 110. 157, 160. 

Academy 101, 

Academy Hill 

Acklin, Chris 

Adams, Geo 

Albemarle Co 

Alkaline Works 

Alleghany Mountains, 9, 16, 34, 

Amsterdam 13, 14, 15, 118, 

Anchor and Hope 14, 

Anderson, Jno 51, 

Armstrong, Jas 99, 

Aspinvale. .14, 15, 18, 38, 54, 63, 

Astor Library 

Augusta Co., 9, 10, 17, 19, 38, 

121, 122, 133, 153. 

Bailey, Thos 

Baker, Thos 


Bancroft, Geo 28, 

Bates, Judge Edw 

Bates, Wm 

Bear Grass Creek 

Beaty, David 

Beaty, Jno 

Beauregard, P. G. T 

Beckam, Miss Sallie 

Bedford, Duke of 

Bedford Militia 

Bell, Samuel 

Benton, T. H 

Page. Page. 

139 Berry, Jas 20 

, 89, Berry, Jno 20 

100, Berry, Thos 21 

108, Berry, Wm 20, 22 

Berrys 18 

161 Beverley, Manor 17 

19 Beverley, Wm 10 

20 Big Sandy River. 11, 77, 116, 117, 121 
20 Black, Jos 21, 22, 92, 94 

9 Blackburn, Arthur 21 

14 Blackburn, Geo 21, 51, 92 

36 Blackburn, Wm 21 

133 Blackmore's Fort 125 

15 Blacksburg 15, 116 

92 Black's Fort 51, 91, 109 

100 Bland, Richd 25 

135 Blanton, Wm 20 

139 Blue Ridge 51 

51, Borden 17 

Botetourt Co., 12, 13, 14, 15, 118, 
121, 122, 133. 

20 Botetourt, Lord 22 

20 Boyd, Jno 20 

59 Bradley, Jas 109 

29 Breckenridge, Alex 20 

140 Briggs, Saml 19, 92, 94 

20 Bristol 13, 18, 41 

127 Brobston, Nicholas 20 

21 Brock, Dr. R. A 24, 28, 117 

21 Broddy, Jno 58 

149 Broughham, Lord 138 

97 Brown, Col. J. Mason 119 

138 Brown, Judge Jas. E 65 

119 Brown, Rev. Jno 119 

19 Buchanan, Alex 92 

140 Buchanan, Benj 43, 75, 86 





Buchanan, Geo 20 

Buchanan, Jno., 9, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 
41, 50, 115, 117, 152, 153. 

Buchanan, Moses 20 

Buchanan, Robt 20 

Buchanan, Robt, Jr 20 

Buchanan, Saml 19 

Buena Vista 45, 46 

Bull Run 149 

Bunker's Hill 23 

Burk's Garden 15, 16, 157 

Byars, Jas 16 

Byars, Miss Mary 96 

Byrd, Col. Wm 22 

Cabell, Col. Jos 122 

Calhoun, Jno 140 

Call 22 

Cambridge 147 

Campbell, Ann 41 

Campbell, Arthur, 23, 25, 37, 38, 41, 

53, 57, 91, 129. 
Campbell, Chas., 9, 13, 14, 15, 37, 

38, 41, 42, 50, 53, 57, 58, 151, 152, 

153, 154. 
Campbell David.... 19, 37, 101, 107 

Campbell, Eliza 41 

Campbell, Jane 41 

Campbell, Jno. 19, 21, 37, 38, 91, 92 

Campbell, Margaret 37, 41 

Campbell, Robt 99 

Campbell, Sarah B 53, 54, 134 

Campbell, Wm., 13, 23, 25, 37, 38, 

41, 51, 52, 53, 54, 57, 91, 93, 128, 

129, 130, 134, 136, 152. 

Carrington, Miss V. P 135 

Carson, Chas. S 61 

Carson, David 20 

Catawba 14, 15 

Cave Gap 158 

Cawood, Stephen 21 

Cay wood, Ben 86, 87, 88 

Cay wood, Mrs 82, 86, 87 

Cay wood's Gap 43, 86 

Cay wood, Stephen 22 


Cay wood, Thos 86, 87 

Cedar Branch 43 

Chapman, N. W 142 

Charleston 148 

Charlton, Capt. Jno 120 

Charlton, Washington 120 

Chatham, Lord 29 

Cherokee Line 125 

Cherokees 17, 126, 129, 155 

Chestnut Ridge 15 

Chew Colby 156 

Chicamaugas 123 

Chilhowie 15, 64, 96 

Chilhowie Springs 144 

Chiswell, Col. Jno 22 

Christian, Wm 21, 23, 120, 124 

Claiborne, Thos 62 

Clarke, Geo 20, 21 

Clay, Henry 140, 147 

Clinch Mts.,44, 46, 80, 81, 82, 155, 

Clinch River 125, 126, 155, 157 

Clinch Valley 157 

Cloyd, Geo 118 

Cloyd, Joseph 118, 130 

Coalter, Judge Jno 140 

Coalter, Maria E 140 

Cogswell, Mr 139 

Colonies 23 

Columbia 135, 136, 147 

Colvill, Andrew 21 

Cooper, J. F 139 

Cornstalk 77 

Cove of Cork 137 

Crabtree, Jas 42, 56 

Crabtrees 18 

Craig 21 

Craig, David 19 

Craig, Jas 20, 21, 115, 122 

Craig Robert 21, 51, 93, 99, 100 

Cresswell 109 

Creswell, Henry 20 

Crockett, Capt. Walter 25 

Crockett, Col 129 

Culloden 12, 152 




Culpeper Co 54 

Cumberland, Duke of 12, 152 

Cumberland Gap.... 11, 12, 151, 158 
Cumberland Mts., 11, 152, 155, 157, 


Cumberland River 155, 157 

Cummings, David C 112 

Cummings, Rev. Chas., 19, 23, 25, 

53, 109. 

Cusick, Jno 22 

Cyrus 54 

Davidson, Wm 19 

Davis' Bottom 17 

Davis, Eliza 159 

Davis, James 119 

Davis, Jno 21 

Davis, Miss L. P 141 

Davis, Nathan 21 

Deckard, Michael 101 

Delawares 77, 117 

Deniston, Robt 21 

Dennis, Mrs. Hannah 120 

Dentons 18 

Dinwiddle, Gov., 38, 41, 77, 116, 121, 


Doach, Robt 93 

Dorchester, Jas 19 

Douglass Jonathan 22 

Dover, Jno 21 

Draper, Lyman C, 12, 23, 117, 153, 


Draper, Mrs 120 

Draper's Meadows 121 

Drydon, David 21 

Dungan, Jesse 55 

Dungans 18 

Dunmore, Gov 26, 52, 124, 126 

Dysart, Jas 20, 21, 92 

Ebbing and Sinking Spg 19, 22 

Edmiston, Jno , 20 

Edmiston, Margaret 20 

Edmiston, Robt 21 

Edmiston, Saml 21 


Edmiston, Thos 21 

Edmiston, Wm... 20, 21, 51, 93, 99 

Edmonsons 18 

Edmonson, Wm 23 

Elk River 124 

Emory and Henry Coll 49 

Eppler, Jno 100 

Erskine, Lord 138 

Essex Co 10 

Estell, Benj 88, 89, 101 

Evans Saml 21 

Evans, Thos 20 

Everett, Mr 139 

Feator, Geo 21 

Filson Club 151 

Fin Castle 22 

Fincastle 15, 118, 159 

Fincastle Co. .19, 22, 23, 51, 121, 127 

Fincastle Co. Meeting 24 

Fincastle Resolutions 23, 28 

Findlay, Alex 67 

Findlay, Connally 159 

Findlay, Meitchell & Co 67 

Findlay, Mr 99 

Findlay, Rachael 61 

Findlay, Thos 67 

Pin's 95 

Fishersville 19 

Fleming, Col 122 

Flenor, Geo 21 

Floyd, Benj. R 117 

Floyd, Col 131 

Floyd, Gov.... 14, 15, 122, 127, 152 
Floyd, Mrs. Letitia, 14, 15, 77, 117, 
122, 123, 151. 

Foote, Rev. W. H 19 

Fort Chiswell 22, 23, 29, 53 

Fredericksburg 115 

Frederick's River 11 

Freeholders of Fincastle 24 

French Claims 146 

Fulkerson, Jas 19 

Funkhouser, Chris 20 

Funkhouser, Jno 20 




Funkhouser, Jno., Jr 20 

Fergerson Col 129 

Gamble, Jos 20 

Gamble, Robt 19 

Garvill, Jas 21 

Gattgood, David 20 

George II 9. 38 

George III 26 

Gibboney, Robt 70 

Gilmore, Jas 21 

Gist, Col. Nathan 123 

Gooch, Wm 9 

Goodpasture, A 100 

Govan, Mr 139 

Grahams 18 

Granger Co 12 

Grant, Mrs 139 

Great Kanawha 124 

Greavers, Col 64 

Greenfield 118, 122, 130, 133 

Green, Genl is 129 

Groce, Jno 20 

Guyandotte 128 

Haggarty, Mr 138 

Hall, J. P 155, 157, 158 

Halyacre, Michael 21 

Hamilton, Jacob 121 

Hampden-Sidney College 147 

Hampton, Caroline 147 

Hampton, Frank 49 

Hampton, Wade 49, 147 

Hanover C. H 117 

Hanover Presbytery 19 

Harper, Judge Wm 140 

Harrald, Jas 19 

Harrison, Benj 25 

Hawkins Co 12 

Henderson, L. L 62 

Hendry, Saml 21 

Henegar, Mrs 71 

Kenegars 18 

Henrico Co 10 

Henritze, Peter 103 


Henry, Eliz 134, 136 

Henry, Jno 125 

Henry, Patrick, 25, 28, 52, 92, 117, 

122, 134, 136, 138, 144. 

Higgons Richd 21 

Hist. Soc. of Va 24 

Hockhocking 126 

Holstein 15 

Holston 157 

Holston River, 17, 19, 42, 123, 126, 

151, 153, 154. 

Holston Salt Wks 58, 70 

Holston Settlement 23, 24 

Holston Valley 17 

Howe's Hist. Va 38, 39, 91 

Hughes, Jno 156 

Humes, Jno. W 144, 145, 146 

Hunting Creek 11 

Huston, Saml 20 

Indian River 154 

Ingles— Inglis— English, 16, 20, 25, 
116, 119, 157. 

Irby, Francis 54 

Ireland 17 

Irving, Washington 138 

Jackson, Andrew 37 

Jail 100 

James, Judge 143 

James River 14, 52 

James River Upper 14, 15 

Jamison, Edw 21 

Jefferson, Thos...l3, 108, 122, 134 

Job 109 

Johnson, Hugh 21 

Johnston, C. C 88, 144, 145 

Johnston, Col. J. S., 151, 154, 155, 

Johnston, Judge Peter 89 

Jones, Gabriel 122 

Jordan, Stephen 19 

Kelly, Jno 21 

Keller, Jno 108 




Kennedy, Jno 20 

Kennedy, Wm 21 

Kentucky Co 22 

Kentucky River 11, 155, 157 

Key wood Gap 43 

Kincaird, Jno 92 

Kincannon, Andrew 21 

Kincannon, Francis 20 

Kincannon, Jas 20 

King and Queen Co 10 

King Estate 61,65,66,67, 68 

King, Jas 13, 61, 64 

King, Mary 61 

King, Rachel M. E 62, 64 

King, Sarah 62 

King's Mt, 108, 129, 134, 136, 145, 

King, Thos 62, 159 

King, Wm., 15, 46, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 
60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 
95, 97, 100, 101, 159, 160, 161. 

King, Mrs. Wm 65 

King's Salines 63, 65, 69 

Kirkham, Robt 20 

Knobs 11 

Laggan 139 

Lamb, Robt 20 

Laughlin, Alex 20 

Lawless, Henry 156 

Lead Mines 63 

Lee, Evan 55 

Lee Co 97, 154 

Lee, Richd H 25 

Leeper, Andrew 20 

Legare, Hugh S 139 

Lester, Jas 21, 22 

Lester, Jno 21, 22 

Lester, Wm 19, 22 

Lewesa River 11 

Lewis, Andrew 116, 122, 124, 126 

Lewis, Chas 124 

Lewis, Thos 76, 117, 122 

Lexington, Battle of 23 

Lincoln, A 140, 148 

Lindsey, Aaron 100 


Little Bushy Mts 44 

Lloyd, Dr. Thos 76, 77 

Logan, Benj 21 

Logtown 15, 115 

Long Island 120 

Long, Jno 20 

Lottery 100, 101 

Louisa River 11 

Louisville 127 

Lowry, Jno 21 

Loyal Co 16, 18, 155, 157 

Lucas, Jno 123 

Lynch, Jacob 104, 106, 107 

Lyons 18 

McCall, Dr. Alex. .64, 65, 66, 67, 68 

McClellan, Jno 101 

McClure, Halbert 21 

McCormick, Danl 20 

McCutchen, Jno 20 

McDowell, Gov 33 

McFarren, And 21 

McGaughey 21 

McGavock, Jos 22. 25 

McMillin, Wm 20 

McNabb, Jno 20 

McNabb, Wm 21 

McNutt, Alex 20 

Madame Russell House 44 

Maddison, Wm. S 118 

Madison, Jas 48, 134, 135 

Madison, Jno 122 

Madison, Mrs. Jas 135, 137 

Madison, Thos 25, 53, 54, 55 

Magdalen, Schooner 52 

Manassas 149 

Manor of Beverly 9 

Marion 37, 38 

Marlor, Wm 20 

Marshall, Jno 134 

Martin, Andrew 19 

Martin, Jos 92 

Maury, Jas 138 

Max Meadows 14 

Mayo, Miss Maria 137 




Means, David 140 

Mecklenburg 23 

Meek's Store 144 

Meitchell, Jno. D 67 

Mexican War 148 

Middle Fork 18, 19, 63 

Miller, And 20 

Miller's River 11 

Miller, Wm 20 

Mississippi River 22 

Mitchell, Mrs. Eliza 99 

Moccasin Gap 157 

Monroe, Jas 134 

Montgomery Co 22, 76, 133 

Montgomery, Jas 20, 92 

Montgomery, Jno 25 

Montgomery, Thos 19 

Moore, Richd 19 

Musgrove, Jno 55, 56 

Newcastle 159 

Newell, Saml 19 

New River 124, 128 

New River Lead Mines 23 

Norfolk 134 

North Fork 18, 41 

North Roanoke 15 

Ocanothoto 77 

Ohio 17, 18 

Ohio Indians 124 

Ohio River 22 

Orange Co 10, 15 

Orange C. H 50 

Oury, Augustine 104 

Page, Wm 19 

Palmer, Geo. W 48 

Palmetto Regiment 148 

Patterson, Jno 21 

Patton, Ann 15 

Patton, Grant 37, 41 

Patton, Jas., 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 

16, 18, 38, 50, 113, 114, 115, 151, 

153, 155, 157, 158. 


Patton, Margaret 14 

Pattonsburg 14, 15 

Pendleton, Edm 25 

Pennsylvania 17, 18 

Petigru 142 

Pharis, Edw 21 

Philadelphia 23, 34, 159 

Piper, Jas 19, 21, 109 

Pittsburg 15„ 115 

Plum Alley 95 

Point Pleasant 124, 127 

Postan, Richd 41 

Powell 17 

Powell, Ambrose 156 

Powell's River 154 

Powell's Valley 157 

Powers, Hiram 141, 148 

Powers, Preston 142 

Prather, Miss 86 

Preston, Alfred 118 

Preston, C. H. C 38, 66 

Preston, Eliza 113, 118 

Preston Estate ... 58, 65, 66, 67, 68 
Preston, Francis, 13, 48, 53, 54, 55, 

56, 59, 60, 66, 71, 75, 80, 81, 87, 

88, 132, 135, 151. 

Preston, James. 15, 133, 151, 152, 154 

Preston, Jno.. 104, 105, 113, 130, 132 

Preston, Jno. S.66,141,142, 147. 149 

Preston, Jno. S., & Co 66 

Preston, Mrs. Francis 71 

Preston, Mrs. Jas 96 

Preston, Mrs. Wm 118 

Preston, Robt 99, 123 

Preston Salines 56, 58 

Preston, Sarah B., 13,15,50,135, 147 
Preston, Thos. L., 67, 68, 69, 70, 74, 

82, 84, 85, 158. 
Preston, Wm., 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 33, 

34, 48, 76, 77, 83, 113, 114, 115, 

116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 

123, 124, 127, 128, 131, 132, 133, 

136, 151. 

Preston, Wm. C, 65, 81, 82, 135. 

139, 140, 142, 144, 145, 146, 147, 





Price, Michael 130 

Pruitt, Martin 20 

Pruitt, Wm 20 

Pulaski Co 12 

Rafferty, Thos 20 

Ramsey, Tlios 19 

Randolph, Jno 10 

Randolph, Peyton 25 

Randolph, Ricnd 10 

Redemptioners 75 

Red Rocks 45 

Reed Creek 119 

Reedy Creek 17, 125, 154 

Richmond 59 

Rich Valley 15, 41 

Roanoke Co 12 

Roanoke River 119 

Robertson, Jos 138 

Robertson, Wyndham... 49, 61, 68 

Robinson, Jno 10, 20 

Rockbridge Co 12 

Rockingham Co 117, 122 

Royal Oak 37, 38 

Russell, Andrew... 99, 100, 101, 104 

Russell Co 89, 97, 105 

Russell, Lord Jno 138 

Russell, Madame 49 

Russell, Madame, House... 49, 69 

Russell, Robt L 54 

Russell, Wm 25, 53, 54, 55 

St. Clair 14, 18 

St. Clair's Choice 14 

Salt Lick . 14, 38, 42, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55 

Saltville 58, 59, 61, 135 

Salt Works 18, 61, 135, 147, 160 

Sanders, Jas 63, 64 

Sanders, Jno 62 

Sanders, Misses 96 

Sapling Grove 13,18, 41 

Saul, Miss Maria 96 

Saul, Mr 96 

Saul's Tavern 99 

Schenck, David 130 

Scotch-Irish 17 



Scott Co 89, 97, 105, 157 

Scott, Mrs 137 

Scotts 18 

Scott, Sir Walter 138, 139 

Seven Mile Ford 38 

Sevier, Col 129 

Sewanee 148 

Sharp, Jno 20 

Shaver, M 104, 105, 106 

Shawnees 77, 116, 117, 125 

Shelby, Evan 25, 91, 93, 130 

Shelby, Isaac 130 

Shelby, Jno 51, 129 

Shenendo River 10 

Sinkler 14 

Sinkler's Bottom 14, 18 

Smith, Daniel 92, 93, 125 

Smith, Francis, 61, 62, 81, 83, 117, 
118, 16L 

Smithfield 15, 116, 122, 123 

Smith, Jonathan 101 

Smith, Mrs. Francis 65 

Smith, Sidney 138 

Smithsonian Inst 85 

Smith, Susanna 117 

Smythe Co 12, 14, 38, 135 

Smythe, Miss 96 

Smythe, Pleasant 96 

Snodgrass, David 20 

Snodgrass, Jno 20 

Snody, Jno 92 

Solitude 123 

Southern Hist. Soc 24 

South Fork 14, 18 

Southwest Mts 11 

Specimen Grant 38 

Spencer, Ackerman, & Co 69 

Spring Hill 9 

Stalnaker, Saml 17, 154, 155 

Staunton 10, 15, 51, 118, 132 

Stocks 101 

Stonewall Jackson Inst 99 

Strother 115 

Strouble's Creek 15 

Stuart, Palmer & Parker 70 



Page . 

Sugar Loaf 45, 69 

Sullivaa Co 12 

Talbot, Chas., 71, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 
85, 88. 

Talbot, Miss 73, 74, 75 

Talbots 18 

Tate, Thos 41 

Taylor 17 

Taylor, Jno 13, 41, 120 

Tazewell Co 89, 97, 105, 157 

Tennessee 12 

Thomases 18 

Thompson, Jas 21 

Thompson, Wm 15, 115 

Ticknor 139 

Tinkling Springs 19, 133 

Tomlinson, Wm 156 

Topp, Robt 20 

Trigg, L. H 110 

Trigg, Mary 160 

Trigg, Stephen 25 

Trigg, Wm 61, 62, 64, 101 

Trimble, Jas 20 

Trimble, Robt 21 

Trooper's Alley 95 

Tucker, St. Geo 140 

University of South 148 

University of Va 147 

Valley of Holston 18 

Valley of Va 17, 18 

Vance, Jas 21 

Vance, Jos 19 

Waddell, J. A 12, 117, 152, 158 

Walker, Dr. Thos., 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 

18, 81, 92, 94, 151, 153, 154, 155, 

156, 157, 158. 

Walker's Creek 154 

Walker's Mt 11, 15, 18, 81, 154 

Washington and Lee Univ 136 

Washington College 136 

Washington Co., 12, 19, 22, 37, 51, 

60, 89, 91, 92, 94, 99, 105, 129, 

Washington, Geo., 23, 25, 33, 34, 35, 

93, 121, 127, 134, 135, 136. 

Waynesborough 9, 11 

Webb, Augustus 19 

Webster, Danl 140, 141, 147 

West Augusta 23, 24 

White, Jas., 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 98, 

100, 101. 

White Rocks 44, 47, 82 

White, Saml 21 

Whitesburg 11 

Whitsell's Mill 130 

William & Mary Coll 48, 133 

Williamsburg 10, 41, 52 

Willoughby, Andrew 93 

Wilson, David 19 

Wilson, Eliza 63 

Wilson, Jno 121 

Wilson, Saml 19 

Wolf Hills 11 

Wood, Jas 9, 153 

Wyatt 99 

Wythe Co 12, 14, 22, 63, 154 

Wythe, Geo 133 

Young, Jas 19 

Young, Wm 19 






009 941 637 3