Page images

The Indians surrounded the fort at night ere they were discovered, and soon made an attack, which continued at intervals until 2 o'clock in the morning. In the intervals of the firing the Indians frequently called out to the people of the fort, M Give up, give up, too many Indian. Indian too big. No kill." They were answered with defiance. "Come on, you cowards; we are ready for you. Show us your yellow hides and we will make holes in them for you." They were only six men in the fort, yet such was their skill and bravery, that the Indians were finally obliged to retreat with the loss of a number of their men.

"Thus was this little place defended by a Spartan band of six men, against 100 chosen warriors, exasperated to madness by their failure at Wheeling Fort Their names shall be inscribed in the list of the heroes of our early times. They were Jacob Miller, George Lefler, Peter Fullenweider, Daniel Rice, George Felebaum, and Jacob Letter, jun. George Felebaum was shot in the forehead, through a port-hole at the second fire of the Indians, and instantly expired, so that in reality the defence of the place was made by only five men."


Botetourt was formed in 1769 from Augusta, and named from Gov. Botetourt. Its length is 44 miles, with mean breadth of 18 miles. The Blue Ridge forms its E. boundary, and much of the county is mountainous. The James River runs through the N. part Much of the soil is fertile.

[graphic][merged small]

Fincastle, the county-seat, lies 175 miles west of Richmond. This town was established by law in 1772, on forty acres given for the purpose by Israel Christian, and named after the seat of Lord Botetourt in England. It is compactly built in a beautiful rolling country. It contains 5 mercantile stores, 1 newspaper printing office, 2 academies; 1 Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopal, and 1 Methodist church; and a population of about 700. The above view shows the principal part of the village as it appears from Anderson's or Grove Hill. The public building on the left is the Episcopal, and that on the right the Presbyterian church. The North mountain, 5 miles distant, appears in the background. Pattonsburg and Buchanon lie immediately opposite each other, on the James River, 12 miles N. of Fincastle. They are connected together by a fine bridge, and in a general description would be considered as one village. They are beautifully situated in a valley, between the Blue Ridge and Purgatory mountain, at the head of navigation on James River, though in high water, batteaux go up as far as Covington in Alleghany co. These villages were incorporated in 1832-3, and contain at present 1 newspaper printing office, a branch of the Va. bank, 5 stores, a tobacco inspection, 2 tobacco factories; 1 Free, 1 Presbyterian, and 1 Episcopal church; and a population of about 450. Eventually the James River Canal will pass through here to Covington, and probably a macadamized road from Staunton to Knoxville, Tennessee.

Dagger's Springs are situated in the northern part of the county, near the James River, 18 miles from Fincastle, 16 from Buchanon, 22 from Lexington. The scenery-in the vicinity is very fine. Some years since extensive improvements were made there for the accommodation of the guests.

"The roost active mineral ingredients In tho water are carbonated alkalies. In this it differs materially from the White and Salt Sulphur, and is more nearly assimilated in its qualities to the Red and Gray Sulphur. It Is, however, more decidedly alkaline than either of those springs. This peculiarity will ever recommend it to persons subject to acidities of the stomach, and to the other concomitants of dyspepsia, while the large quantity of hydrogen that it contains will render it useful in ail of those compt&ints for which sulphur-water b usually prescribed."

At the small village of Amsterdam, 5 miles s. of Fincastle, there is a large brick church, lately built by the Dunkards. The Dunkers at Amsterdam are descendants of Germans who emigrated to Pennsylvania. The following, regarding the tenets and practices of this sect, is from a published account:

The Tankers are a denomination of Seven th-Doy Baptists, which took its rise in the year 1724. It was r. Qnd*-d by u, German, who. weary of the world, retired to an agreeable solitude, within sixty miles ot Philadelphia, for the more free exercise of religious contemplation. Curiosity attracted followers, and his simple and engaging manner* made them proselytes. They soon settled a little colony, called Ephrata, la aJlttttan to the Hebrew*, who used to sing psalms on the border of the river Euphrates. This denomination seem to have obtained their name front their baptizing their new converts by plunging. They are ilw called Tumblers, from the manner in which they perform baptism, which is by putting the person, w bile kneeling, head first under water, so as to resemble the motion of the body in the action of tumbling. They use the trine immersion, with laying on the hands and prayer, even wh^n the person baptized is in the water. Their habit seems to be peculiar to themselves, consisting of a long tunic or coat, reaching down to their heels, with a sash or girdle round the waist, and a cap or hood hanging from the shoulders. They do not shave the head or beard.

The men and women have separate habitations and distinct governments. For these purposes, they erected two large wooden buildings, one of which is occupied by the brethren, the other by the sisters of the society; and in each of them there is a banqucting-room, and an apartment for public worship; for the brethren and sisters do not meet together even at their devotions.

They used to live chiefly upon roots and other vegetables, the rules of their society not allowing them flesh, except upon particular occasions, when they hold what they cull a love-feast; at which time the brethren and sisters dine together in a large apartment, and eat mutton, but no other meat. In each of their little cells tbey have a bench fixed, to serve the purpose of a bed, and a small block of wood for a pUlow. They allow of marriages, but consider celibacy as a virtue.

The principal tenet of the Tunkers appears to be this—that future happiness Is only to bo obtained by penance and outward mortifications in this life, and that, as Jesus Christ, by his meritorious sufferings, became the Redeemer of mankind in general, so each individual of the human race, by a life of abstinence and restraint, may work out his own salvation. Nay, they go so far as to admit of works of supererogation, and declare that a man may do much more than he Is in justice or equity obliged to do, and that bis superabundant works may, therefore, be applied to the salvation of others.

This denomination deny the eternity of future punishments, and believe that the dead have the gospel preached to them by our Saviour, and that the souls of the just are employed to preach the gospel to those Who have had no revelation in this life. They suppose the Jewish Sabbath, sabbatical year, and year of jubilee, are typical of certain periods after the general judgment, in which the souls of those who are not then admitted into happiness arc purified from their corruption. If any, within those smaller periods, are to far humbled as to acknowledge the perfections of God, and to own Christ as their only Saviour, they are received to felicity; while those who continue obstinate are reserved In torments,until the grand period, typified by the jubilee, arrives, in which at shall be made happy in the endless fruition of the They also deny the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity. They disclaim violence, even In cases

of sell-defence, and suffer themselves to be defrauded, or wronged, rather than go to law. Their church government and discipline are the same with other Baptists, except that every brother is allowed to speak in the congregation; and their best speaker is usually ordained to be the minister. They have deacons and deaconesses from among their ancient widows and exhorters, who are all licensed to use their gifts statedly. The Tunkers are not so rigid in their dress and manner of life as formerly; still they retain the lailh of their fathers, and lead lives of great industry, frugality, a ltd purity.

In 1761, about sixty Shawanee warriors penetrated the settlements on James River, committed several murders, and carried off several prisoners, among whom were Mrs. Renix and her five children. The Indians were overtaken in their retreat by a party of whites, and nine of their number killed, after which they proceeded towards their villages without further molestation. The remainder of the story is given by Withers:

In Boquet's treaty with the Ohio Indians, it was stipulated that the whites detained by them in captivity were to be brought in and redeemed. In compliance with thin stipulation. Mrs. Itenix was brought to Staunton in 17f>7 and ransomed, together with two of her sons, William, the late Col. Renix, of Greenbrier, and Robert also of Greenbrier—Betsy, her dnughtcr, had died on the Miami. Thomas returned in 1783, but soon after removed, and settled on the Scioto, near Chilicothe. Joshua never cnine back; he took an Indian wife, and became a chief among the Miamiea—he amassed a considerable fortune, and died near Detroit in 1810.

Hannah Dennis was separated from the other captives, and allotted to live at the Chilicothe towns. She learned their language, painted herself tfs they do, and in many respects conformed to their manners and customs. She was attentive to sick person*, and was highly esteemed by the Indians,-as one well skilled in the art of curing diseases. Finding them very superstitious and believers in necromancy, she professed witchcraft, and affected to be a prophetess. In this manner she conducted herself, till she hecame so great a favorite with them that they gave her full liberty, and honored her as a queen. Notwithstanding this, Mrs. Dennis was always determined to effect her escape, when a favorable opportunity should occur; and having remained so long with them, apparently well satisfied, they ceased to cuter lain any suspicions of such a design.

In June, 1763, she left the Chilicothe towns, ostensibly to procure herbs for medicinal purposes, (as she had before frequently done.) hut really to attempt mi escape. A« she did not return that night her intention became suspected, and in the morning some warriors were sent in pursuit of her. In order to leave as little trail as possible, she had crosned the Scioto River three times, and was just getting over the fourth time, 40 miles below the to^ n, when she wits discovered by her pursuers. They fired at her across the river without effect; but in endeavoring to make a rapid flight *he had one of her feet severely cut by a sharp stone.

The Indians then rushed across the river to overtake and catcli her, but she eluded them by crawling Into the hollow limb of a large fallen sycamore. They searched around for her some time, frequently stepping on the log which concealed her, and encam ped near it that night. On the next day they went on to the Ohio River, but finding no trace of her. they returned home.

Mrs. Dennis remained at that place three days, doctoring her wound, and then set off for home. She crossed the Ohio River, at the motith>of Great Kenawha, on a log of drift-wood, travelling only during the night for fear of discovery. She subsisted on roots herbs (rrecn grajies, wild cherries, and river mussels—ami, entirely exhausted by fatigue and hunger, sat down by the side of Greenbrier River, wilh no ex|)ectation of ever proceeding further. In this situation she was found by Thomas Athol and three cithers from Clendennin's settlement which she had passed without knowing it She had been then upwards of twenty dnys on her disconsolate journey, alone, on foot; but, till then, cheered with the hope of again being with her friends.

She was taken back to Clendennin's, where they kindly ministered to her, till she became so far invbror ated as to travel on horseback, with an escort to Fort Young on Jackson's River, from whence she was carried home to her relations.

Gen. Andrew Lewis resided on the Roanoke, in this county. He was one of the six sons of that Lewis who, with Mackey and Salling, had been foremost in settling Augusta co., and the most distinguished of a family who behaved so bravely in defending the infant settlements against the Indians.

In Braddock's war, he was in a company in which were all his brothers, the eldest, Samuel Lewis, being the captain. This corps distinguished themselves at Braddock's defeat. They, with some other of the Virginia troops, were in the advance, and the first attacked by the enemy. Severed from the rest of the army, they cut their way through the enemy to their companions, with the loss of many men. His conduct at Major Grant's defeat, in his attack upon Fort Duquesne, acquired for him the highest reputation for prudence and courage. He was at this time a major. In this action, the Scotch Highlanders, under Grant, were surrounded by the Indians; when the work of death went on quite rapidly, and in a manner quite novel to the Highlanders, who, in all their European wars, had never before seen men's heads skinned. When Major Lewis was advancing to the relief of Grant with his 200 provincials, he met one of the Highlanden under speedy flight, and inquiring of him how the battle was going, he said they were " a' beaten, and he had seen Donald M'Donald up to his hunkers in mud, and a' tie tkttn af hi* heed." Both Lewis and Grant were made prisoners. Before Lewis teas taken into the fort, he was stripped of all his clothes but his shirt. An elderly Indian insisted upon having that; but he resisted, with the tomahawk drawn over his bead, until a French officer, by signs, requested him to deliver it, and then took him to his room, and gave him a complete dress to put on. While they were prisoners, Grant addressed a letter to Gen. Forbes, attributing their defeat to Lewis. This letter being inspected by the French, who knew the falsehood of the charge, they handed it to Lewis. He waited upon Grant,* and challenged him. Upon his refusal to fight, he spat in his face in the presence of the French officers, and then left him to reflect upon his baseness. Major Lewis was with Washington July 4, 1754, at the capitulation of Fort Necessity, when, by the articles agreed upon, the garrison was to retire and return without molestation to the inhabited parts of the country; and the French commander promised that no embarrassment should be interposed either by his own men or the savages. While some of the soldiers of each army were intermixed, an Irishman, exasperated with an Indian near him, " cursed the copper-colored scoundrel," and raised hup musket to shoot him. Lewis, who had been twice wounded in the engagement, and was then hobbling on a staff, raised the Irishman's gun as he was in the act of firing, and thus not only saved the life of the Indian, but probably prevented a general massacre of the Virginia troops. He was the commander and general of the Virginia troops it the battle of Point Pleasant, (see Mason co.,) fought the 10th of May, 1774. In this campaign the Indians were driven west of the Ohio. Washington, in whose regiment Lewis had once been a major, had formed so high an opinion of his bravery and military Ml. that, at the commencement of the revolutionary war, he was induced to recommend him to Congress as one of the major-generals of the American army—a recommendation which was slighted, in order to make room for Gen. Stephens. It is also raid, that when Washington was commissioned as commander-in-chief, he expressed a wish that the appointment had been given to Gen. Lewis. Upon this slight in the appointment of Stephens, Washington wrote to Gen. Lewis a letter, which is published in his correspondence, expressive of his regret at the course pursued by Congress, and promising that he should be promoted to the first vacancy. At his solicitation, Lewis accepted the commission of brigadier-general, and was soon after ordered to the command of a detachment of the army stationed near Williamsburg. He commanded the Virginia troops when Lord Dunmorc was driven from Gwynn's Island, in 1776, and announced his orders for attacking the enemy by putting a match to the first gun, an eighteen pounder, himself.

Gen. Lewis resigned his command in 1780 to return home, being seized ill with a fever. He died on his way, in Bedford co., about 40 miles from his own house on the Roanoke, lamented by all acquainted with his meritorious services and superior qualities.

"Gen. Lewis," says Stuart, in his Historical Memoir, "was upwards of six feet high, of uncommon strength and agility, and his form of the most exact symmetry. He had a stern and invincible countenance, and was of a reserved and distant deportment, which rendered his presence more awful than engaging. He was a commissioner, with Dr. Thomas Walker, to hold a treaty, on behalf of the colony of Virginia, with the wx nations of Indians, together with the commissioners from Pennsylvania, New York,, »nd other eastern provinces, held at Fort Stanevix, in the province of New York, in the year 1768. It was then remarked by the governor of New York, that 'the earth seemed to tremble under him as he walked along.' His independent spirit despised ■ycophautic means of gaining popularity, which never rendered more than his merits ex. totted."



Brunswick was formed, in 1720, from Surry and Isle of Wight. It is nearly a square of 26 miles on a side. The southwest angle

* This was the same Col. Grant who, in 1775, on, the floor of the British Parliament, "id that he had often acted in the same service with the Americans-^that he knew them well, and, from that knowledge, ventured to predict " that they would never dare* face an English army, as being destitute of every requisite to constitute good soldiers."

touches the Roanoke, and a small section is drained hy that stream: but the body of the county is comprised in the valleys of Meherrin and Nottoway Rivers and declines to the east. Large quantities of tobacco and corn are raised, together with some cotton. Pop. 1830, 15,770; 1840, whites 4,978, slaves 8,805, free colored 563; total, 14,346.

Lawrenceville, the county-seat, is 73 miles w. of s. from Richmond. It is a neat village, pleasantly situated on a branch of Meherrin River, and contains 2 churches and about 25 dwellings. Lewisville contains about 15 dwellings.

In the upper end of the county, in the vicinity of Avant's and Taylor's creeks, have been found many Indian relics, and this portion of the county yet shows traces of having been inhabited by Indians. It is supposed that when the country was first settled, there was a frontier fort, or trading establishment, a few miles below Pennington's Bridge, on the Meherrin: an iron cannon now lies on a hill near the spot, and in the neighborhood runs a road, called to this day " the fort road." There are also excavations in the earth constructed for wolf-pits, by the early settlers. Tradition says they were formed in the following manner: A hole was dug ten or twelve feet deep, small at the top, and growing wider on all sides as it descended, sloping inwards so much that no beast could climb up. Two sticks were fastened together in the middle at right angles; the longer one confined to the ground, and the shorter—to the inner end of which was attached the bait—swinging across the middle of the pit, so that when the wolf attempted to seize it, he was precipitated to the bottom.


Buckingham was formed in 1761, from Albemarle. It is 34 miles long, with a mean breadth of 24. The James River runs on its N. and w. and the Appomattox on- its s. boundary. Willis' and Slate Rivers rise in the south part. On the margin of the streams the land is fertile, but the intervening ridges are frequently sterile and desolate, and in many sections uninhabited. The surface is generally level, and the only mountain of note is Willis', from which is an almost uninterrupted prospect over a vast extent of level country. The Buckingham White Sulphur Spring is 12 miles Be. of the court-house, and there are also one or two other mineral springs in the county, none of which have as yet attained any celebrity. Buckingham is rich in minerals; some dozen gold mines have been in operation, only three or four of which have proved profitable. Limestone found in the county is beginning to be used in agriculture, and iron ore abounds. Upon Hunt's Creek, within 2 miles of James River Canal, is an inexhaustible slate quarry of superior quality. The principal literary institutions of

« PreviousContinue »