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Finding Yesterday with Topocal Maps
Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin
As the countryside gets scraped off, built upon and altered in so many different ways, we lose sight of its appearance in yester years. For this reason, topographical maps are useful in locating old cemeteries, wells, homesteads, railroads and the like. So what is a topographical map? It is a modern charting of the terrain in any given area, characterized by large-scale detail and quantitative representation of relief and reveals both natural and man-made features. I have used these maps while searching for old home steads and cemeteries. They are quite definitive in locating details such as old farm paths and roads, and the sites where buildings or houses once stood.
An excellent finding aid is the descriptions of land lots, creeks, rivers, etc. found in the deeds of the ancestors. Remembering that lakes and rivers were used for navigation, the location of old river beds, rotting dock posts protruding out of the soil and other visuals of a wharf may be central to understanding the positioning of the home stead and its out buildings. Also, the thick weeds in old fields may reveal evidence of plowed rows crops, sunken wells, out-houses, etc., all of which helps to define the period during which our ancestors lived.
One never knows what he is to find, until he looks!
Irish Refugee, John Daly Burk, Friend of Thomas Jefferson and John Randolph
John Daly Burk, of Petersburg, Virginia was born in Ireland, and educated at Trinity college in Dublin. Because of his political opinions and affiliations he was compelled to leave the country (1797) while yet a student at college. He first tried his fortune in Boston, and after wards in New York. But he received no encouragement. His love for Ireland and his ardent democracy made against his success at the North, and he finally came to Virginia. Here he became the friend of Jefferson and John Randolph, both of whom encouraged the brilliant young refugee. He was a lawyer, poet, dramatist and historian, and was undoubtedly one of the most accomplished men in the state during his day. He was the author of the History of Virginia in four volumes; A History of the Late War in Ireland. Before he completed the fourth volume of the History of Virginia he was killed in a duel with a French gentleman at Campbell Bridge in Chesterfield county, Virginia, on the 11th of April, 1808. Source: Some Irish Settlers in Virginia by Hon. Joseph T. Lawless, Richmond, Virginia.
General Lafayette Returned to Virginia in 1824
The memory of General Marquis de Lafayette arriving in the Yorktown harbor to ensure the American victory still resides in the hearts of Americans. His fight at Yorktown was the beginning of freedom for the American colonies, but earlier on Lafayette had also fought in the crucial Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania. Afterward the war, he returned to his home in France and forty years passed. He was in France pursuing a political career which championed the American ideals of Liberty. While the Bourbon constitutional monarchy had been in place in France for at least ten years, during the spring of 1824, King Louis XVIII was wheelchair-bound and suffered from severe health issues which would prove fatal by late summer. So, during that year, the last surviving French General decided to make a tour of the then twenty-four American States and to make as many stops as possible. He left France on the American merchant vessel Cadmus on July 13th. The tour commenced on August 15, 1824 upon his arrival in Staten Island, New York. It was the welcome of a hero everywhere that he went. He was accompanied by his son, Georges Washington de La Fayette and spent most of the journey on stagecoach, horseback, canal barge and steamboat. And finally, he arrived in Richmond, Virginia in October to a celebration held in his honor at the old Richmond City Hall.
How the Revolutionary War Affected Those at HomeAt the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Valentine West had a small farm in Chesterfield County, however died in 1776, four months before the crafting of the Declaration of Independence. His last will and testament only provided that some barrels of corn be given to his sisters. Another planteer, Creed Haskins, who had come to Chesterfield from Brunswick County was operating a plantation of some 390 acres of land, and died in the midst of the war (1781). Night Watchman Announced the Capture of Cornwallis
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 Distinct Influence of the British
Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin
Virginia settlers were influenced in so many ways by the British. In dress, style, architecture, customs, laws and so on. I can remember when modern America followed the dress styles of France and Italy. I have photos of my great aunt wearing her fur coat whenever she went to Atlanta, and especially to the famous Fox Theatre. Whenever the hem was lengthened or shortened, everyone made the adjustment. Until the Hippie movement of the 1960s when that generation decided that "anything goes." Hems of skirts were both long and short; shoes and boots of all styles were part of the mix, and a fad of stringy necklaces, gaudy pins and rings changed the landscape. Until then, everyone dressed appropriately, wearing hats, gloves and carrying umbrellas to match. I was working downtown Atlanta at the time. Suddenly, everything changed from the appearance of nicely dressed people with good manners to a slum city of deadbeats. Atlanta took on the appearance of motorcycles, leather coats and pants, and the clothing of the "flower children." viz: ragged, torn, faded, etc. Hairstyles went long and stringy for everyone. They slept on the street and in parks. It was a period of utter disgrace as LSD entered the scene and young girls were stolen away. However, the period of the foreign styles mimic had last for hundreds of years. This is the way that it was for Virginians throughout the early periods of immigration, the 17th through 19th centuries. In those days, people saved just about everything. The seams were removed and the old dress was used as a pattern for the new dress.
The Real Irish People to Virginia
The Dooleys, Pattersons, Glennans, Kevills, Barrys, O,Connors, Fitzgeralds, Keans, Rheas, Kendricks, Kellys, McChesneys, Goolricks, Wards, Higgins, Doyles, Lawlers, Rafters, Ferriters, McKenneys, McCrackens, Youngs, Coles, Macgills, O.Bannons, Irvings, Irwins, Nolans, O.Sullivans, Sullivans, Walshs, O.Neills, Kanes, Murphys, Ryans and a hundred others, came largely during the present century. Perhaps most of these families left Ireland in the great exodus which followed the famine of 1846 to 1847. Certainly Virginia received about that time the greatest number of immigrants who, unfortunately for themselves and for their race, have preferred for the most part to lead urban lives.
Capt. Page McCarty, of Richmond, Va., writes: "I learned something of Irish-Americans from the papers of my father, Governor of Florida at one time, and member of Congress in 1839. The Scotch-Irish appear to have established a theory of pre-emption or monopoly, and of that I learned but little. O.Brien, of staff of General Washington, was from Alexandria, Va. Colonels McClanahan and Andrew Wagoner and Maj. Richard McCarty, of the Revolution, were descendants of a small group of Irishmen who named the little town of Kinsale on the Potomac about 1662. Daniel McCarty, speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses 1715, was of this set of people, and grandson of McCarty, of Clenclare, though 166I see that some of his kin are trying to Scotch-Irish him also. The main immigration of Irish was through Philadelphia and Charleston, South Carolina, and they penetrated to the mountains with the most adventuresome pioneers and met in the valley that extends from the Peaks of Otter to the headwaters of the Tennessee river." Source: Some Irish Settlers in Virginia by Hon. Joseph T. Lawless, Richmond, Virginia
Think of your Ancestors in this Setting
If you have visited the old plantations located along the James River, it is easy to visualize the historical navigation of goods to and from London. Look around. The preservation of the oldest homes include green houses cut deep into the ground where planters grew cuttings of English boxwood and other flowers and plants. Among the occupations of the first settlers were brick masons, glass blowers, candle makers, silversmiths, etc. They copied the architectual styles and tastes of their countrymen.
Each plantation had its wharf for loading and unloading. Sometimes, there was a little storage house built nearby where crops like cotton and rice awaited transport. Rivers have always been essential to navigation for vessels of all shapes and sizes. From the early 1600s in Virginia, carpenters built useful vessels to be used on the rivers, ranging from flat boats to sloops. The Atlantic, Chesapeake and the major rivers in the Commonweath played a major role of imports and exports from Europe and the West Indies. The New England areas expanded rapidly because of its ports, and many of the first settlements in Virginia can be attributed to the James River.
A useful practice for genealogists is to pinpoint the various ports of entry along the Atlantic seaboard and visualize where the ancestors might have first set their feet upon American soil!
Old Cars, and Things
This generation thinks of the old automobiles of the past as glamorous and classy. I remember when the
"40 Ford" was quite popular for its easy finesse around town. It did not have the "shiny classic
car look" of today. In other words, during the days of actual use, it was simply
a loud, smelly, dusty vehicle which bore the brunt of wind, rain and dust. One had to be properly addressed
for the occasion. The glamorization part seems to occur after a society suffers through an age of
invention and industrialization and passes on its upgrades to future generations. Yet the old farms, mules,
chicken coups of our ancestors is a reminder that they prepared the way, for us.
Chesterfield County Genealogy, Wills, Marriage Bonds, Indexes to Probate Records
Chesterfield County was formed in 1748 from part of Henrico County.Early settlers: John Archer, Stephen Cheatham, Richard Baugh, Abraham Bowman, Benjamin Granger, Creed Haskins, Caleb Davis, Burrell Parkinson, David Watkins, Daniel Gill Sr., Elick Moore, Essey Worsham, Francis Dyson, William Vaden, John Dier Sr., John Frailey, James Ferguson, Henry Walthall, Henry Turpin, Gregory Grant, Gilbert Elam, George Hastings and Francis Mean, Hamblin Cole, Joseph Bills, Ambrose Cobbs of the Cobbs of America family, and more.
Wills and Other Records Available to Members of Virginia Pioneers
Indexes to Probate Records
- Index to Wills 1774 to 1785.
- Index to Wills 1785 to 1800.
Digital Images of Wills 1774 to 1785
Adkins, William;Amonett, John;Anderson, John;Archer, John;Atkinson, James;Baker, Sarah;Bass, Joseph;Batte, Richard;
Baugh, James;Baugh, John;Baugh, Peter;Beaseley, Benjamin;Beech, John James;Black, William;Bowles, James;Bowman, Abraham;Bowman, John Sr.;Branch, Olive;Branch, Thomas;Cary, Hannah;Chappell, Abraham;Charolton, Christopher;Cheatham, Stephen;Christian, Turner;Cobbs, Ambrose;Cogbill, Thomas;Cole, Hamblin Sr.;Cole, Robert;Cosby, John;Cox, Henry;Crisp, John;Dance, Thomas;Davis, Caleb;Dier, John Sr.;Dyson, Francis;Edwards, Thomas;Elam, Gilbert;Elam, MarthaElam, Robert Sr.;Ellys, Thomas;Farmer, Elam;
Farmer, Thomas;Ferguson, James;Ferguson, Martha;Frailey, John;
Francis, Robert;Franklin, James;Franklin, Thomas;Franklyn, Archibald;Featherstone, Charles;Gates, James;Gates, James (2);
Gibbs, Mary;Gill, Daniel;Gill, Daniel Sr.;Gills, Joseph;Granger, Benjamin;Grant, Gregory;Graves, William;Harrison, Sarah;Haskins, Creed;Hastings, George;Herbert, Whiddon;Hill, Edward;Jackson, Richard;Johnston, Edward;Keys, Michael;Kennon, Robert;Lacy, Nathaniel;Lassun, Alexander;Lassun, Elias;Ligon, Judith;Linn, George;Mann, Daniel;Martin, John;Martin, Mary;Mean, Francis;
Miles, James;Minggo, John;Monifett, John;Moore, Elick;Moore, John;Moore, Thomas;Moore, William;Moseley, William;Nevins, Samuel;Osborne, Edward;Osborne, Edward (2);Osborne, Thomas;
Parkinson, Burrell;Pride, Thomas;Randolph, Elizabeth;Roberts, Morris;Robertson, George;Robertson, George (2);Rowlett, John;
Rowlett, Mary;Rowlett, Thomas;Rucks, William;Saddler, Thomas;
Scott, Walter Sr.;Short, Samuel;Smith, Martin;Smith, Obediah;Stiles, John;Stratton, Thomas;Stuart, Sarah;Todd, Betty;
Towler, John;Trabur, John James;Traylor, Elizabeth;Traylor, John;
Traylor, Joseph;Turner, William;Turpin, Henry;Vaden, William;
Valeneiu, Valentine;Vest, John;Vinton, Mardune;Walker, Francis;
Walthall, Francis;Walthall, Henry;Walthall, Henry (2);Walthall, Thomas;Ward, Benjamin;Ward, Leonard;Ward, Seth;Washam, John;
Watkins, Benjamin;Watkins, David;Watkins, Joseph;West, Valentine;
West, William;Wilkinson, Joseph;Williamson, George;Wilson, William;Winfrey, Mary;Wisham, John;Wooldridge, John;Worsham, Essey;Worsham, Rosamond
Digital Images of Wills 1785 to 1800
Archer, Elizabeth;Archer, Mary;Ashurst, Francis;Baugh, Peter Sr.; Baugh, Richard;Belcher, Thomas;Berry, David;Bowman, John;
Branch, Benjamin;Branch, Edward;Branch, Matthew;Branch, Samuel;Burton, Hardin;Burton, Thomas;Cary, Archibald;Cary, Nathaniel;Cashon, James;Cheatham, Francis;Cheatham, Josiah;
Cheatham, William Sr.;Cogbill, Charles;Cogbill, George;Cox, Judith;Edwards, Ann;Elam, Daniel;Elam, Robert;Farmer, Dorothy;
Farmer, Mary;Farmer, Phebe;Fleming, Charles;Folkes, Edward;
Gibson, Miles;Giles, Nicholas;Gill, Thomas;Goode, John;Goodwyn, Collins;Granger, Ann;Graves, Michael;Graves, William;Hall, David;
Hall, John Jr.;Harden, William;Hatcher, Nathaniel;Hatcher, Samuel;Hill, John;Hudson, John;Jackson, Isaiah;Johnston, Andrew;
Kibbon, John;Leigh, William;Mann, Obedience;May, John;Moore, Eleazer;Moseley, Matthew;Norris, James;Nunnally, Henry;Osborne, Thomas;Pankey, Stephen;Perkinson, John;Robertson, Lodowick;
Royall, Joseph;Spears, Mary;Thomas, Elizabeth;Trabert, William;
Turpin, Philip;Vaden, Daniel;Walthall, Jeremiah;Walthall, illiam;
Walthall, William (2);West, George;Williamson, Richard;Winfree, Henry;Winfree, Valentine;Womack, Thomas;Worsham, William
Traced genealogies and family histories of Chesterfield County available to Members !