John Kincaid’s Rev War Narrative, Frontier Forts, Lead Mines, Scandal, and Forensic Pathology

I came across this interesting Rev War pension application, signed by one John Kincaid, with some cool local details, pertaining to the harshness of the winter of 1778-1779 in what is now Lewisburg, (West) Virginia, and as always, one thing leads to another, including a doppleganger John Kincaid, references to our fort, other forts, scandal, …

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The “Singing Cave” of Indian Creek and the making of gunpowder by frontier settlers

A local historian friend sent me this scan of an original 1777 document, signed by early frontiersmen of the Greenbrier Valley, where they are leasing the mineral rights of property belonging to one Jacob Mann, containing a cave with valuable saltpeter, which was used to make gunpowder. From the best that I can read it, …

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Our awesome two-part TV segment on the “Traveling West Virginia” series by Brad Rice

If you haven’t seen our sweet TV debut yet, it’s now on YouTube. This originally aired a few weeks back on Eyewitness News in WCHS and WVAH on Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia during their weekly “Traveling West Virginia” segment by photojournalist Brad Rice. Part 1 is about “Scavengeology” as a new field of science, …

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The first “Thanksgiving” in America was in Virginia – and it’s in December

Most of us who are interested in Virginia history know that Virginia’s Jamestown settlement preceded the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, but do we also know that the Jamestown settlers celebrated their own “Thanksgiving” in 1619 – before the Pilgrims arrived? Today would not be Thanksgiving if Virginia history got its due. Americans would be …

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Felix Renick’s Drawings, his interesting family, and his life as a scavengeologist on the Ohio Frontier

When I first came across this map, I immediately recognized the name, “Renick,” though I didn’t recall seeing it associated with the name Felix. In the Greenbrier Valley, there is still a “town” named Renick (though it’s mostly just an unincorporated neighborhood at this point, or even you could call it a “ghost town”), and …

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Last Will and Testament of John Byrnside (1763-1816) 2nd white child born in Monroe County (West) Va.

I recently found the 1816 Last Will and Testament of John Byrnside, who lived at Willowbrook from 1770 through his death in 1816. He was the owner of the plantation itself, beginning in 1788, when it was deeded to him by his father, James Byrnside. John then took over running the plantation, as well as …

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A Year From Home: a young boy’s Civil War story from the Greenbrier Valley – Part 1 of 2

I was born May 11, 1845, in Monroe Co., Va. . . . . NOTE: this is a super-interesting short memoir written by Edden Morris Johnson, born in 1845 in Johnson’s Crossroads, Monroe County, (West) Virginia. He was a member of the same family of Johnsons who later moved from Johnson’s Crossroads to Willowbrook Plantation …

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Willowbrook Plantation and Christopher J. Beirne during the Civil War

Confederate officer, farmer, wealthy bachelor, and member of the Skull and Crossbones Secret Society . . . . Check out the documentation we found of “C.J. Beirne’s” agricultural contributions to the Confederate Army, utilizing Willowbrook Plantation, as well as other aspects of his life. So far the receipts from the Confederate Army we’ve found, add …

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Restoration Progress on Byrnside’s Fort, a.k.a. Willowbrook

In the past couple of months there’s been a lot of progress on restoration of “our fort,” – Byrnside’s Fort, which is technically inside the larger home of Willowbrook. We temporarily stopped interior work in an attempt to get the outside painted and sealed before winter. Most of our followers will be happy to see …

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