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Locating James Byrnside’s 1774 survey: Tracing Virginia’s Nutty Real Estate History and Translating Handwritten Land Documents

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 …

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Jarrett’s Fort on Wolf Creek

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.

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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Grandma’s Story About Being Captured by Indians in 1779

One of the most important historical narratives from 18th century Indian captives, came from a woman buried in the cemetery overlooking Union, West Virginia. There are no historical markers to identify her grave, but the story is an amazing one . . . . In the early 1840’s, a little-old-lady living in Lewisburg, (West) Virginia, …

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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 …

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