While Thomas Jefferson became Vice President of the United States in 1797, he also became President of the American Philosophical Society – a position once held by Benjamin Franklin, who founded the society in 1743. When Jefferson arrived in DC to assume these positions, he had with him some massive bones which came out of a cave in the Greenbrier Valley.
I recently discovered additional Revolutionary War veteran pension applications mentioning Byrnside’s Fort. These first-hand narratives, mostly from the 1830s, are the recollections of the 18th century frontier soldiers of the Greenbrier Valley. They’re the best documentation we have on life and service on the Virginia frontier. They paint a good picture of the importance of Byrnside’s Fort, as well as James Byrnside himself during the Revolutionary War era. There’s strong evidence through these narratives that our fort was in active military use from around 1774 through 1782, which for the most part is the entire timeline of Lord Dunmore’s War and the American Revolution.
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 …
Just like Byrnside’s Fort, Jarrett’s Fort was one of the chain of small private forts through the Revolutionary War era Greenbrier Valley, which served mostly a defensive purpose, as a place to house local inhabitants in times of danger, as well as to garrison Virginia militia “Indian Spies,” who were tasked with patrolling the likely travel corridors for Indian war parties.
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, …
Included among her recipes are medical and pharmaceutical recipes, for things like arsenic, nitrous gas, and phosphate of potash. I believe these books originally belonged to her father, Gov. John Floyd, who is buried on the property. He was a doctor and served as a surgeon on the Revolutionary War. Some of the beautiful handwriting appears to be much, much older. These were probably carried with him during his service, and was later given to his daughter. Or perhaps she just kept them when he died on the property during a visit in 1837.
I shot this footage last fall in 4k, but I never properly processed it. Well here it is. I recently found an old print of “The History of Gap Mills Community,” written by C.C. Ballard, so I threw in a few historical tidbits I thought was interesting. That way, it isn’t a complete waste of time to watch the video, since you will technically learn something.