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Rockbridge County Wills, Estates, Marriages available to members of Virginia Pioneers
Images of Wills, Deeds, Estates 1778 to 1796
This record is without an index. (550 pages)
Images of Wills 1797-1806 Testators:
|Harper, Rev. James Sr.
Images of Wills 1806 to 1811 Testators:
|Taylor, William Sr.
Davy Crocket in Rockbridge County
"An old Dutchman, by the name of Jacob Siler, who was moving from Knox county to Rockbridge in the state of Virginia, in passing, made a stop at my father's house. He had a large stock of cattle, that he was carrying on with him; and I suppose made some proposition to my father to hire some one to assist him. He hired me to the old Dutchman, to go four hundred miles on foot, with a perfect stranger that I never had seen until the evening before. I set out with a heavy heart, it is true, but I went ahead, until we arrived at the place, which was three miles from what is called the Natural Bridge, and made a stop at the house of a Mr. Hartley, who was father-in-law to Mr. ,who had hired me. My Dutch master was very kind to me, and gave me five or six dollars, being pleased, as he said, with my services.
I had been there about four or five weeks, when one day myself and two other boys were playing on the road-side, some distance from the house. There came along three waggons. One belonged to an old man by the name of Dunn, and the others to two of his sons. They had each of them a good team, and were all bound for Knoxville. They had been in the habit of stopping at my father's as they passed the road, and I knew them. I made myself known to the old gentleman, and informed him of my situation; I expressed a wish to get back to my father and mother, if they could fix any plan for me to do so. They told me that they would stay that night at a tavern seven miles from there, and that if I could get to them before day the next morning, they would take me home; and if I was pursued, they would protect me. This was a Sunday evening; I went back to the good old Dutchman's house, and as good fortune would have it, he and the family were out on a visit. I gathered my clothes, and what little money I had, and put them all together under the head of my bed. I went to bed early that night, but sleep seemed to be a stranger to me. For though I was a wild boy, yet I dearly loved my father and mother, and their images appeared to be so deeply fixed in my mind, that I could not sleep for thinking of them. And then the fear that when I should attempt to go out, I should be discovered and called to a halt, filled me with anxiety; and between my childish love of home, on the one hand, and the fears of which I have spoken, on the other, I felt mighty queer.
But so it was, about three hours before day in the morning I got up to make my start. When I got out, I found it was snowing fast, and that the snow was then on the ground about eight inches deep. I had not even the advantage of moonlight, and the whole sky was hid by the falling snow, so that I had to guess at my way to the big road, which was about a half mile from the house. I however pushed ahead and soon got to it, and then pursued it, in the direction to the waggons. I could not have pursued the road if I had not guided myself by the opening it made between the timber, as the snow was too deep to leave any part of it to be known by either seeing or feeling. Before I overtook the waggons, the earth was covered about as deep as my knees; and my tracks filled so briskly after me, that by daylight, my Dutch master could have seen no trace which I left.
I got to the place about an hour before day. I found the waggoners already stirring, and engaged in feeding and preparing their horses for a start. Mr. Dunn took me in and treated me with great kindness. My heart was more deeply impressed by meeting with such a friend, and at such a time, than by wading the snow-storm by night, or all the other sufferings which my mind had endured. I warmed myself by the fire, for I was very cold, and after an early breakfast, we set out on our journey. The thoughts of home now began to take the entire possession of my mind, and I almost numbered the sluggish turns of the wheels, and much more certainly the miles of our travel, which appeared to me to count mighty slow. I continued with my kind protectors, until we got to the house of a Mr. John Cole, on Roanoke, when my impatience became so great, that I determined to set out on foot and go ahead by myself, as I could travel twice as fast in that way as the waggons could. Mr. Dunn seemed very sorry to part with me, and used many arguments to prevent me from leaving him. But home, poor as it was, again rushed on my memory, and it seemed ten times as dear to me as it ever had before. The reason was, that my parents were there, and all that I had been accustomed to in the hours of childhood and infancy was there; and there my anxious little heart panted also to be. We remained at Mr. Coles that night, and early in the morning I felt that I couldn't stay; so, taking leave of my friends the waggoners, I went forward on foot, until
I was fortunately overtaken by a gentleman, who was returning from market, to which he had been with a drove of horses. He had a led horse, with a bridle and saddle on him, and he kindly offered to let me get on his horse and ride him. "
Rockbridge County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Tax Digests
It is said that George Washington was one of the surveyors of the region of Natural Bridge. Rockbridge County was established in October, 1777 from parts of now neighboring Augusta and Botetourt counties, and the first county elections were held in May 1778. Rockbridge County was formed during an Act of Assembly intended to reduce the amount of travel to the nearest courthouse, and to ensure trials were held fairly, and among friends rather than strangers. The first court session in Rockbridge County was held at the home of Samuel Wallace on April 7, 1778. Rockbridge County was named after Natural Bridge, a beautiful landmark in the southern portion of the county.
As the cultivation of tobacco was too convenient a profit to ignore, the English were disappointed who wanted to fill supply raw goods to the English markets looking forward to shipments of iron, timber, potash, hemp, silk and other commodities. However, the English authorities repressed every effort of the colonists to manufacture their own clothing and other necessary supplies. Every coat worn by the planter, every dram of spirits consumed by him, which had been obtained by means of tobacco from traders of Holland, diminished the value of the Virginia market for English goods. Additionally, to permit the colonists to export their agricultural products to any foreign country was looked upon as destroying all ties to England. Thus, laws and regulations were enacted against the dutch traders, and others. For example, head covering was made of fur which had been sent to England from the colony for working up, and then returned in the shape of hats to be sold or bartered. Source: Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century by Philip Alexander Bruce.
Virginia Military Institute
Cadets of the Virginia Military Institute patrol the Shenandoah Valley.