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Fox Hunting and Gambling

Since the Virginians were excellent horsemen, it was but natural that they should enjoy hunting. No sport was more dear than chasing the fox. Washington was known to ride the hounds until his sixty-third year, when a slight injury to his back made such exercise uncomfortable. Washington was a true Virginian in his love for his dogs, to whom he gave such pretty names as Mopsey, Truelove, Jupiter, Juno, Rover, Music, Sweetlips, Countess, Lady, and Singer. Other sports enjoyed by Virginians were cock-fighting, and gambling with cards. The passion for gambling was so intense among Virginians that laws were enacted against recovering gambling debts were and innkeepers who permitted any game of cards or dice, except backgammon, were subject to a heavy fine as well as forfeiting their licenses.

The Love of Horse-Racing

In their fondness for horses the Virginians were true children of England. In the stables of wealthy planters were to be found specimens of the finest breeds and everyone enjoyed a good horse race. Common folk, however, were not allowed to take part in the sport, except as lookers-on. One of the earliest references to horse-racing is an order of the county court of York in 1674: "James Bullocke, a Taylor, haveing made a race for his mare to runn with a horse belonging to Mr. Mathew Slader for twoe thousand pounds of tobacco and caske, it being contrary to Law for a Labourer to make a race, being a sport only for Gentlemen, is fined for the same one hundred pounds of tobacco and caske." Yet, by 1740, almost every ordinary person kept a horse and would ride their horses two or three miles to church, the court house, or to a horse race. And by 1770, there were races at Williamsburg twice a year. Adjoining to the town was a course for either two, three, or four mile heats and the purse was generally raised by subscription and are gained by the horse that wins two four-mile heats out of three. The purse the first day amounted to as much as one hundred pounds.

Night Watchman Announced the Capture of Cornwallis

Night Watchmen In Philadelphia one October evening of 1781, the old watchman's cry was heard echoing along the deserted streets: "Two-o'clock-and-Cornwallis's-captured!" The first newspaper published in America was the Boston News-Letter in 1704. It was a weekly, a brown sheet hardly more than a foot square. News traveled slowly, for there was little communication between city and city. Travelers were few, and conveyances were slow. A stage-coach that made forty miles a day between New York and Philadelphia was called, on account of its great speed, the "flying machine." In other colonial cities, news was announced in the daytime by the public crier, who walked the streets ringing a large hand-bell, and pausing at the corners, where he recited his message of any important event. In the night the town watchman, with rattle and lantern, paced the streets, stopping every person he met after nine o'clock to demand his name and business. He also called aloud the hours of the night in a sing-song tone: "Twelve-o'clock-and-all-'s-well." Out in the countryside, plantation owners sent people up to the road to stop strangers and get the news. It was a friendly situation, and strangers were welcome to spend the night in a special room on the porch. This is the time for War! Patrick Henry, the Eloquent Patriot 1776. The Battle of Fort Washington Our Precious Freedom Won by our Ancestors American Rebels Show British Prisoners Great Humility Revolutionary War Pensions Provide Interesting Family Stories The Battle of Long Island Flats The Suffering of Prisoners Imposed by the British 1781 Map of Seige of Yorktown Revolutionary War Pensions on this website

The Apple Orchards of Bedford County

cider makingFrom the earliest time period, the colonists in Virginia made their own manufactures, such as cider. The Blue Ridge mountains is ideal for apple orchards, and, historically, during the apple season, large quantities of cider were the specialties of local taverns. An orchard 12 to 15 years old in Bedford County, on Porters Clay, at 1500 ft. elevation with southeast exposure produces fruit of excellent quality. Also, the sandy loam is also ideal for other fruits, vegetables and pumpkins.

Poplar Forest Plantation

Poplar ForestThomas Jefferson designed and built Poplar Forest (above) plantation in Bedford County near Lynchburg to be used as a private retreat from about 1806 until his death some 20 years later. Jefferson once wrote a correspondent saying "It is the most valuable of my possessions."

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Rewards Come from Researching the Details of History

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin Genealogy Books by Jeannette Holland Austin

The best way to be well informated is to research the historical time-frame of any given area and learn what was happening during the time that our ancestors were searching for a place to call home. The American history which has been taught in our school systems since the late Great World War II, has been lacking. It lacks proper details and facts. I would venture to say that the genealogist who knows more history than the average student. We seek out the details by looking at actual records. If I had not examined militia records during Lord Dunsmore's War of 1774, I would have never discovered the details surrounding it and why my ancestor moved back East. This war was probably one of the most eventful fight in history. All militia had been ordered out by Lord Dunsmore, yet only two militia companies from Botetourt County arrived in time for the battle. All the men in the county, including those over fifty years, did not hesitate to take up arms against the Indians. The two Botetourt militia companies were the first to reach the falls of the Ohio River and come face-to-face with Shawnee Chief Cornstalk. The war was at hand; but the brave militia met the vicious warriors in a battle which lasted for several hours. Both sides lost hundreds of men, but finally the Botetourt militia won out and effected a Treaty. Cornstalk did not honor the Treaty, of course, and the massacres and slave-taking continued. Some militiamen who had fought the Shawnees, went East several years later and fought the British in the American Revolution! There is a history of militia battles, but we have to research the militia records, pensions, etc. in order to assemble the facts. For the genealogist who digs deeply into actual records, there are a lot of rewards.

Those Who Left Their Homes for Bounty Lands

Ruined Tobacco Crop Not everyone was the fortunate eldest son who traditionally inherited the family-seated plantation. Thus, it was the quest of the younger sons to find respectable occupations. When war came, most young men elected to serve in some capacity. At first, everybody signed up for three-month intervals in order to be able to be home during planting and harvest times. The pension records reflect that this 3-month interval was repeated time and time again by the same people. The longer periods of time in service meant land grants. After the war, their commanding officer testified to service given and the bounty lands were granted. By the time of the Revolutionary War, land in Virginia was pretty well depleted from tobacco crops. Thus, it benefited everyone for veterans to take up new land. Many Virginia accepted land grants in Georgia along the eastern coast. Thomas Preston of Bedford County served, and as a Major during the War of 1812. Afterwards, he received bounty lands in Jasper County, Georgia. Another soldier from Bedford County was William Pullen who served in the 14th Regiment of the Continental Line, serving seven years in all. Pullen slew a British officer in hand-to-hand combat. Afterwards, he also took up bounty grants in Georgia.

Origins of Virginians

Bedford County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Marriages

Bedford County Court HouseBedford County was created from Lunenberg County in December 13, 1753; parts of Albemarle County were added in 1754, and an additional part of Lunenberg County was added even later. In 1782, Campbell County was formed for parts of Bedford County; in 1786, Franklin County was formed from Bedford County.

Bedford County Probate Records available to members of Virginia Pioneers

Tax Digests

  • Bedford County Tax Digests of 1782, 1784 to 1816

Digital Images of Wills 1763 to 1787

Testators: Allen, Reynolds | Allen, Robert | Allford, Silvator | Banister, William | Bates, John | Beard, Adam | Beard, Elizabeth | Beard, John | Birdwell, George | Board, John Sr. | Bodiker, William | Bowyer, Frederick | Bramlett, William | Brander, John | Brown, John | Bryan, William | Buford, Thomas | Burgess, William| Bush, John | Callaway, George | Campbell, William | Candler, Daniel | Cantrell, Sarah | Carson, John | Cook, Andris | Credell, Humphrey | Dalton, Timothy| Dixon, Thomas| Dooly, Thomas| Downing, John | Early, Jeremiah | Eger, George | English, Stephen | Ewing, Charles | Ewing, Robert | Ferguson, John | Fuqua, Ralph | Gaddey, George | Gibson, James | Gilbert, Samuel | Goad, John | Goode, John | Gouldman, Edward | Gower, Standly | Gray, John | Green, John | Greer, Joseph | Hailes, Francis | Hail, Richard | Hamilton, Thomas | Hancock, George | Hardwick, Robert | Hatcher, Edward | Hayth, William | Haynes, William | Hoard, William | Hollogain, John | Huddleston, Abraham | Hunter, Alexander | Irvine, Christopher | Irvine, William | Itheny, Thomas | Johnson, Benjamin | Jones, Michael | Jones, William | Kennedy, John | Lawson, Jonas | Lainhart, John Christopher | Linn, Adam| Loving, William | Martin, Robert | McCormack, William | Milam, Benjamin | Milam, Thomas| Miller, Simon | Mitchell, Daniel | Moon, Jacob Jr. | Moorman, Silas | Moreman, Thomas | Morgan, Thomas | Morris, Daniel | Murphy, Thomas | McMurtree, James | Pate, Edward | Pate, John | Phelps, John | Pollard, Francis | Prather, Jonathan | Rawlins, Benjamin | Ray, Joseph | Redd, John | Rentfroe, Joseph | Roberts, David | Roberts, Thomas | Robinson, James | Roland, Henry | Rust, George | Shaw, John | Smelser, Paulser | Smith, Bowker | Smith, Guy | Snow, Thomas | Steward, James | Stemon, Martin | Stump, John| Tanner, Nathaniel | Taylor, Henry | Thompson, William | Trigg, William | Turner, Richard | Wade, Jeremiah | Walker, Robert | Watkins, Thomas | Welch, Nicholas | Willson, John | Wilson, Mathew | Womack, Jesse | Worley, William | Worlly, Francis | Wright, Thomas |Young, James

Digital Images of Wills 1788 to 1803

Testators: Adams, John | Arthur, John | Ayres, James Sr.| Ballard, William | Banister, Isaac | Bobbett, Ivey | Boyd, William | Brickey, Janet | Brooke, Elizabeth | Brown, Daniel Sr. | Brown, Henry | Brown, James | Brown, Joseph | Bullen, Moses | Butler, William | Campbell, Moses | Canada, William | Cowan, Robert | Dabney, Cornelius | Daughterty, Hugh | Davies, Zachary | Eckhols, John | Embree, Moses | Franklin, Mary Ann | Fuqua, John | Gibson, WIlliam | Gilliam, Richard | Gray, Sarah | Hancock, Simon | Hatcher, Henry | Hatcher, Reuben | Hatley, Henry | Holt, John | Jackson, Jervis | Johnson, Timothy | Krantz, Michael | Lambert, Charles | Leftwich, Augustin | Luhle, Michael | Mayberry, Frederick | Mayse, James |Meador, Hambrus | Mitchell, Robert | Moody, William | Mosley, Walter | North, Abraham | Overstreet, Thomas | Payne, John | Phelps, John | Preston, Thomas | Ramsey, Bartholomew | Read, William | Reynolds, Amos | Rosebrough, Robert | Routon, Richard | Scott, William | Slinker, Christopher | Stockton, William | Stone, Micajah | Thornhill, William | Trueman , William | Watson, Johnson | Watts, Edward | Williamson, John | Wood, Thomas.

Digital Images of Wills 1803 to 1811

Testators: Baber, William | Bruce, Richard | Callaway, James | Creesey, Thomas | Dolard, Reuben | Donald, Lucy Ann | Ewing, William | Gadde, Shearwood | Harkins, Francis | Hatcher, Jeremiah | Johnson, David | Keen, Michael | Keshmon, Martin | Meeks, Atkinson | Nelms, Presley | Preston, Mary | Scruggs, Thomas | Tate, Jesse | Wildman, William |Wright, John

Wills

  • Wills (abstracts) 1763 to 1775

Cemeteries

  • Cemeteries

Marriages

  • Bedford County Marriage Bonds

Miscellaneous

  • Gilbert, Samuel, LWT (1776) (digital image)

Traced genealogies and family histories of Bedford County available to Members !

Anderson Arnold Arthur Callaway
Clay Early Irvin Irving
Leftwich Lynch Otey