Early Land Grants and Settlers of West Virginia

Some history of early settlements and land grants in West Virginia by W. S. Laidly, Esq., who has devoted much study to the subject. A long list of names is given, perhaps most of the settlers of the time.

It is rare that so many names of the early settlers of any region can be gotten at this day. Their descendants, who were legion, overflowed to the Ohio and Kanawha Valleys, and went to help build up several Western States, especially Ohio. Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

There has been some discussion on this subject through the publications of the West Virginia Historical Society and there may be more. It is not now our purpose to continue here this discussion, but to speak by the records of those that were among the earliest, if not the first settlers.

Spotsylvania County was formed in 1720
Orange in 1734
Frederick was established by law in 1738 but was not organized until 1743
Berkeley County was founded in 1772
Jefferson in 1801

Hampshire and Hardy were included in Frederick County. It is known that in 1732, that Jost Hite with sixteen families went into the Shenandoah Valley and from that date there has been a record kept and the settlement reaches back to that date, beyond question with the further question, of whether there was others there before that date, unsettled.

The first patent or grant of land west of the Blue Ridge was made to Jost Hite. 20 Aug. 1734, see Grant Book No. 15, page 276. In this grant, it is said, that it is designed to be included in a county to be called Orange, being part of the forty thousand acres purchased by the said Jost Hire from Isaac and John Van Meter, who had obtained orders of our said Lieutenant-Governor, in Council, to take up the same, upon certain conditions therein expressed, which orders were made June 17, 1730. The grant to Hite was for one thousand and twenty acres (1,020).

Then follows a large number of other grants to others, "designed to be included in a county to be called the county of Orange, being part of the forty thousand acres purchased by Jost Hite from Isaac and John Van Meter, who had obtained orders from our said Lieutenant-Governor, in council, to take up the same upon certain conditions therein expressed, which orders were made the seventeenth day of June, 1730."

The assignment of the said "orders" was made to Hite and Hite had the surveys made, and the surveyor was Col. James Wood, afterwards Clerk of the Court of Frederick, and these survey were assigned by Hite to those who purchased of him, and the grants were issued directly to the said purchasers, with the above clause therein, which designates the same as purchasers of Hite, of the 40,000 acres, he obtained from Van Meter

Grant to John Smith, 420 acres, on Turkey Spring of Opeckon creek, dated 21 August 1734
Grant to Rus Smith, 150 acres, 21 August 1734
Grant to Henry Willis, 2030 acres, on Stony Lick and dated August 21, 1734
Grant to Thomas Shepherd, 220 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Samuel Taylor, 200 acres, on South side of the Cohongolulu, dated 3 October 1734
Grant to Thomas Johnson, 150 acres, on Turkey Spring of Opeckon, dated October 3, 1734
Grant to William Jasper, 62 acres, on Opeckon Run, dated October 3, 1734
Grant to Neil Thompson, 139 acres, dated 3 October 1734
Grant to Isaac Pennington, 500 acres, dated 3 October, 1734
Grant to Richard Pendall, 300 acres, dated October 3, 1734
Grant to Stephen Hollingsworth, 472 acres, dated October 3, 1734
Grant to John Welton, 442 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Israel Frond, 300 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Robert McKay, jr., 828 acres, October 3, 1734.
Grant to Peter Woolf, 600 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Samuel Morris, 378 acres, dated October 3, 1734
Grant to David Perkins, 519 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to William Jay 100 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Richard Morgan, 210 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Richard Morgan, 290 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Thos. Johnson, 298 acres. October 3. 1734
Grant to John Van Meter, 885 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to George Williams, 489 acres, October 3. 1734
Grant to Daniel Burnett, 490 acres, October 3. 1734
Grant to Josiah Jones, 104 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Benjamin Harden, l 142 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Thos. Branson, 1370 acres, October 3, 1754
Grant to William Vestal, 285 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Morgan Bryant, 1250 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Paul Williams, 270 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Abraham Pennington, 600 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Isaac Garrison, 1000 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Robert Slaughter, 536 acres, in Spottsylvania
Grant to Peter Stephen, 600 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Geo. Bowman, 100 acres. October 3, 1734
Grant to Richard Paulson, 834 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Robert Worthington, 3000 acres, October 3, 1734
Grant to Morgan Morgan, 1000 acres, on the _____ branch of the Opeckon, between the lauds of John Mills and _____ Hobzson, dated 12 November 1735
Grant to Alexander Ross, 2373 acres, 12 November 1735

The following is a list of grantees of lands conveyed by Jost Hite and recorded in Orange County, before the county of Frederick was organized:

On March 24. 1730 there were deeds recorded to Stephen Hunsonbeller. Christian Nisoranger, Thos. Wilson, Jno. Van Meter, Thos. Chester, Lewis Starry, Robt. Dorarfe, Geo. Harris.
On Oct. 27, l 737 deed to Jno. Leamen.
On April 27, 1738, dated to James Wood, and to William Williams, Jacob Neswanger, Lewis Stephens.
In Feb., 1739, to Hendery Hunt, Christian Blank.
In May, 1740, to Peter Writtenhouse, Jacob Christman, John Hite, William Reed, Jno. McCormick, Samuel Walker, Chas. McDowell and James Beans in 1741.
In 1742, Robert Allen, Jno. Harron, Geo. Hite, David Vance, Jas. Hoge, Abraham Wiseman, James Vance, Peter Make, Jacob Hite, John Peuter, Thos. Bronson, Samuel Glass, David Logan, Fred Forman, Nath Thomas:
To Emanuel Grubb in 1743
To John Grubb, Thos. Ashby, Win. Brock, Robt. McKay, and Abraham Hite in 1744.

We have endeavored to not repeat the names either on the grants or on the deeds. It will be noticed that there were deeds recorded in Orange in 1743 and 1744, and Fredrick Co. was organized in 1743, where it would be supposed that deeds would be recorded after that date.

In 1748, Thomas, Lord Fairfax sent George Washington to Frederick County to survey lands for him, which surveys were made and a record kept thereof.

A most remarkable thing, for a boy only sixteen year old to be a competent surveyor, but more remarkable that he would go away out in a new country, infested with Indians, with few of the conveniences of civilization, where he was not known.

He made surveys in 1748 and 1750 and the following are those for whom he made such surveys, viz:

Jno. Anderson
Jona Arnold
Capt. Thos. Ashby
Henry Ashby
Robt. Ashby
W. M. Baker
W. M. Blackburn
Capt. Marques Calmes
Maj. Andrew Campbell
Jacob Peter
Samuel Camperlin
F. Carney
Thos. Carney
Richard Career
John Collins
Thos. Colston
Jno. Cozen
Wm. Crawford
Col. Thos. Cresop
Ralph Croft
N. Daughily
Win. Davis
I. Foster
Robt. Fox
James Green
George Joseph
Richard Hampton
Thomas Hampton
Henry Harris
Joshua Haynes
Col. Hedges
Hy Hendricks
Geo. Horner
Jo. Howt
Samuel Isaacs
Jno. Johnson
Abraham Johnson
Capt. Geo. Johnston
Thos. Johnston
Wm. Johnston
Thos. Jones
Isabella Jeomp
Jno. Keeth
T. Keys
Samuel Kinsman
Jas. Kinsman
John Lindsay
Thos. Lofton
Thos. Lofton Jr.
Timothy McCarty
Th. McClanahan
Dr. Jas. McCormick
Darby McKean
Daniel McKledoff
John Maddin
P. Mathews.
Jno. Miller
Ed. Musgrove
Jno. Musgrove
Ed. Musgrove
Geo. Neavil
Isaac Pennington
Andrew Pitts
Chas. Polk
Hugh Rankon
P. Rice
Thos. Rutherford
Reuben Rutherford
James Rutledge
Stephen Sebastian
John Sheely
Walter Sherley
Geo. Smith
Hannah Southard
Stephen Southard
Richard Stephenson
Robt. Taylor
Lewis Thomas
Nathaniel Thomas
Owen Thomas
John Orton
A. Vance
J. Vance
Hy. Van Meter
John Vestal
Wm. Vestal
Samuel Walker
Lawrence Washington
Wm. Wiggons
Jno. Woods.
Robt. Worthington

From Norris History of Lower Valley, while he does not admit they are the first settlers, yet the full names he is able to give, or does give, are as follows:

Yost Hite
John Hite
Jacob Hite
Isaac Hite
Abraham Hite
Joseph Hite
Geo. Bowman
Jacob Chrisman
Paul Froman
Lewis Stephens
Robt. McKay

There were others that then in 1732 that came, but their names are not known.

In 1734 there are mentioned.

Robt, Harper
Thos. Shepherd
Richard Morgan
Wm. Strope
Israel Fiend
Thos. and William Forrester
Thos. and Van Swearingen
Ed Lucas
James Foreman
Robt. Stockton
Robt. Buckles
John and Samuel Taylor
Jno. Wright

In 1738 the Varices, Glasses, Hoges, Wilsons, Frys, Aliens, Johnstons and others, came and settled about the Opequon Presbyterian Church, above Winchester. There was another settlement of Quakers in another vicinity, viz: the Perkinses, Luptons. Walkers, Beesons. Barretts, Neets, Dillons, Fawcetts and others. This, perhaps, will be sufficient to show that after 1732, this part of the country settled up very rapidly, and the above brings us down to about 1750.  

West Virginia AHGP

Source: The West Virginia Historical Magazine, Quarterly, January 1903, Vol. 3, No. 1
[Webmasters note: The 3 articles, Early Land Grants, Frederick County Voters, Property Surveyed by George Washington were all part of the same article.  All give reference to Virginia. The opening statement on the Early Land Grant page, is from the Historical Magazine.]

 

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