Virginia Pioneers

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.

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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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 (abstracts) 1763 to 1775
  • Cemeteries
  • Bedford County Marriage Bonds
  • Gilbert, Samuel, LWT (1776) (digital image)