My metal detecting buddy Bill Burns found this scrap of iron near the cave spring at Byrnside’s Fort. After finding it, he set it on top of a fence post, believing it to be farm junk. After noticing it on top of the fence about a year later, I immediately suspected this to be an early “Betty Lamp,” a type of grease-based lighting device. Basically an iron lamp with a bowl for some type of grease for fuel, a lid of some sort, and a spot for a wick. The shape is right. You can see that there was a hollow reservoir at some point, with a hinged lid. You can see the remnants of the curved upright handle, which would hang on an iron hanger of some sort. This would have been forged out of wrought iron by a blacksmith, and would be consistent with the lighting options available at Byrnside’s Fort during the fort occupation of the site, circa 1770-1782. It also could have been early 19th century. But it’s primitive construction suggests earlier, to me.
We can trace history through the documentation left by our forefathers in the courthouse land books. When it came to real estate, they spared no ink. I found a circa 1774 survey of the Byrnside’s Fort property from a 1780 land grant by Thomas Jefferson. You’d think it would be easy to use that to …
These are 3 original pack saddles in the 18th century style, 2 of which were found in Greenbrier County, WV. These were used by the early long hunters on the frontier to transport their belongings, which most importantly included their furs, hides, meat, etc. They were also used by the early settlers to bring their belongings to new areas of settlement, to which no roads existed.
In the autumn of 1770, a mysterious stranger appeared in town, who had “a rather remarkable appearance.” The man stopped at Benjamin’s Tavern. He introduced himself as John Sterling, from Edinburgh, Scotland. Locals immediately were suspicious of him, since he appeared as a traveler, and not to be engaged in any worldly or religious business. However, in reality, he was the son of a Scottish Baronet, and had been sent on a trip by his father to tour America and Canada. It doesn’t sound as if he immediately disclosed this fact to the town. However, he was reportedly pleasant and entertaining.