Irish and Scottish Emigrants
Early during the 18th century, Irish and Scottish emigrants, suffering from high rents and poverty, began to leave their countries to find a better life in America. The stop-over in Pennsylvania was Berks and Bucks Counties. The grandfather of Jefferson Davis was Evan Davis. Evan had a brother who settled in Augusta County in 1730. (His son was the of the Rockingham County, Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War). About the same time, Edward Hall migrated from Ireland into Augusta County in 1736. He was married to the daughter of Archibald Stuart who migrated from Scotland to Pennsylvania. Another irishman, Beavis Shirey placed himself in bondage to come to America in 1775. He was a gunmaker from Bristol and boarded the ship Baltimore which left London in June. After landing, he traveled down through the Shenandoah Valley into Augusta County, Virginia.
The Origins of Immigrants to Augusta County
The Scotch-Irish cut a trail from Pennsylvania down through the Shenandoah Valley and into the region of Augusta County. During 1732, sixteen families from Pennsylvania crossed the Potomac and settled near the present town of Winchester. Joist Hite settled upon a land grant of 40,000 acres in the valley which had been acquired by Isaac Vanmeter and his brother from the Governor of Virginia. John Lewis, an immigrant from Ulster, Ireland who had waited for his family to join him from Europe, joined this group. The genealogist might do well to search the Burke and Berk Counties, Pennsylvania records first, while assuming that the earliest settlers came from Ulster and Antrim, Ireland. Source: History of Augusta County, Virginia.
The Cyclopean Towers of the Alleghany Mountains
The Cyclopean Towers are also in Solon, Virginia were so called because of their resemblance to the Cyclopean walls of the ancients. They are formed of limestone, and as they stand at the outlet of a valley, through which it is probable a mighty river once flowed, they were evidently formed by the water while forcing its way around 171 the point of the neighboring hill. There are five or six of them, and they vary from forty to ninety feet from base to summit, and are covered with trees. When viewed at the twilight hour they appear like the mouldering ruins of a once magnificent castle, and the wildness of the surrounding scenery is not at all calculated to dissipate this illusion.
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Blood is By Far Thicker than Water
John Preston was the first of his family to come to America from Londonderry, Ireland. His father and uncles were Englishmen who served under King William and aided in the defense of that city when besieged by Roman Catholics commanded by King James in 1689. Preston was a protestant and married a sister of Colonel James Patton of Donnegal and removed with him from Ireland to Virginia during the year of 1740. Colonel Patton had for some years commanded a merchant ship and was a man of property and enterprise. The Colonel obtained an order from the Council from the Governor of Virginia under which he appropriated to himself and associates 120,000 acres of the best lands lying above the Blue Ridge Mountains. When Colonel Patton was killed by Indians at Smithfield in 1753, some of these lands passed on to his descendants. The first Virginia residence of John Preston was "Spring Hill" in Augusta County; thereafter, in 1743 he settled his family upon a tract of land adjoining Staunton on the north side of that town. He died shortly thereafter and was buried at Tinkling Spring Meeting House.
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Augusta County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Marriages
The county seat is Staunton, Virginia. Augusta County was formed in 1738 from Orange County; it was named after the Princess of Wales, Augusta (of Saxe-Gotha), mother of King George III of the United Kingdom. Originally, Augusta County was a vast territory with an indefinite western boundary and this explains why the genealogist locates a vast supply of records in this early county and why research should include that the States of West Virginia and Kentucky were taken from it. Some of the earliest settlers were: Jean Bohanan (from France), John Bumgarner, William Cowden, Robert Crockett and Peter Cotner.
Augusta County Wills, Estates, Marriages available to members of Virginia Pioneers
Digital Images of Augusta County Wills 1745 to 1753
Testators: Ahres, Simon; Anderson, Isaac ;Baxter, Andrew ;Bell, James ;Bohanan, Jean ;Boyd, Andrew; Brock, Rudal ;Bumgarner, John ;Campbell, Gilbert ;Clendening, Archibald ;Cook, Patrick Cotner, Peter Cowden, William ;Crocket, Robert ;Crockett, Samuel; Cumberland, John ;Davison, Robert ;Denniston, Daniel ;Dobikin, John; Fulton, James ;Galaghar, Charles ;Gibson, Daniel ;Goldman, Jacob ;Griffie, Mathusalem; Hays, John ;Hill, William ;Hodge, Elizabeth ;James, William ;Jamison, William;Johnson, John; King, Robert; Kirkham, Robert ;Lusk, Nathan ;Magill, William ;McKay, Robert Sr. ;McCleary, Alexander ;Moore, Andrew ;Moore, David ;Noble, John;Patterson, John ;Reese, Thomas ;Robison, James ;Rothgab, John Jacob ;Ruddle, John Jr. ;Rutledge, John; Scott, James ;Sayers, Robert ;Scott, Samuel ;Sharp, Mathew ;Thorn, Henry ;Thompson, Mathew ;Wiley, John ;Woodley, John
Index to Probate Records
- Marriage Bonds 1785 to 1786
Miscellaneous Wills and Estates
- Index to Wills, Deeds, Inventories 1745 to 1753
- Index to Wills and Estates 1745 to 1903
- Askew, Thomas (1815)
- Burkett, Nathaniel (1813)
- Lyle, John (1758)
- Macky, John (1773)
- Millsaps, Thomas (1759)
- Piper, Daniel (1823)
- Rankin, Richard (1796)
- Runkle, Samuel (1802)
- Property Books 1782 to 1787
- Property Books 1820 to 1827
- Property Books 1836-1860
- Property Books 1876-1879
- Property Books 1881 to 1900
- Property Books (Staunton) 1802, 1804-1807