Facts and Events
James McNair was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia
Will of James McNair
- In the name of God., Amen, I, James McNair of the County of Knox, State of Tennessee, being in a low state of health, but of sound memory, do make this my Last Will and Testament.
- First I wish all my just debts and funeral charges to be paid from my moveable property and my daughter Myre to have a horse worth 100 dollars or the money.
- To my true and well beloved wife, Martha, I give and bequeath my dwelling house as it stands with all and every part of furniture, the kitchen, smoke house, crib and Garden and the half of all kind of stock and farm tools, also old Cipeo, Rhoda and her child Cubit, all of which is to be at her disposal in her life time or at her death--I do will that my land at the death of my wife be sold to the highest bidder and also my boys, Bob and Austin, and from the sale, my son John is to have and receive one half of the purchase money, my son James on third, my son David and my daughters Polly, Hannah, Betsy and Myre shall have equal shares of the other third part.
- My son John is to have one half of the stock and all untensils with his mother and have full care of her. He has Bob and Austin as assistants and the whole plantation to cultivate for which he, the said John, is to let her have a full third part of all produce.
- I choose my true and trusted friends Asahel Chapman and my son John as my executors to see that my last will and testament be carefully executed. All former will being made void and of no effect. This I say, is my last will and testament wrote with my own hand and sealed with my seal this 5th day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventeen.
- (Signed) Jas. M'Nair
- In the presence of Ro Armstrong, Fras. Bounds.
- [Source: "Leaves From The Family Tree", by Penelope Johns]
- James McNair at the request of William Burgess has permission to go into the Cherokee Nation to work at farming with the said Burgess for the term of one year . . . 7th February 1802. [Records of the Cherokee Indian Agency in Tennessee: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Records. National Archives Microcopy M-208] (Note: likely this James McNair).
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Find A Grave.
- James McNair, the eldest son of Daniel and Hannah McNair, was imbued with the
spirit of adven ture, having begun to make explorations to the South when a
youth of twenty. It is known that he made more than one trip to the "Indian
Country" Tennessee, with his boyhood friend and neighbor, John Anderson, and a
few other young men from Augusta Co., VA. It is of record that they made one
trip as early as 1769 when they went down as far as what is now Hawkins Co., TN,
where they "saw so many signs of the Indians" they "deemed it prudent to
return." Among the members of the exploring expedition, who soon settled in
Sullivan Co., TN, were James McNair, John Sawyers, and Gilbert Christian, while John
Anderson located just across the disputed border line in Virginia. The ANNALS
OF TENNESSEE by Ramsey states, "The beauty and fertility of the valley of the
Holston proved a temptation to some men of the regiment as a region for
settlement. Gilbert Christian and William Anderson, accompanied by John Sawyers,
John Anderson, Robert Christian, James McNair, and Nathan Page, shortly after the
troops were disbanded, explored the valley. They crossed the North Fork at
the ford and penetrated as far down as Big Creek in the present County of
Hawkins, where they met a large party of Indians, and turned back."
About 1770, or 71, James McNair married Martha Price. John Anderson married
Rebecca Maxwell , 12 Jan. 1775. These boyhood friends of the Middle River
neighborhood in Augusta County now took their brides to make homes in the
wilderness along the border line between VA and NC, now TN, where they continued
neighbors. Their lifelong friendship was sealed with the marriage of their son and
daughter, Elizabeth (Betsy) McNair and John Anderson, Jr., a Lieutenant-Colonel
in the War of 1812.
James acquired a considerable quantity of land in the upper counties of what
is now East TN , before he finally located in Knox County. There is record of
various locations of land grants in the counties of Hawkins, Green, and
Sullivan where he made his home, and where his children were born. These grants were
military and were from NC.
James' wife Martha Price was of Welsh extraction. She was an excellent shot
with a rifle. O n one occasion during the absence of her husband, she heard
their dogs barking at some little distance from the house, and started out to
learn the trouble. She soon discovered that they had treed a large bear. She
returned to the house for her gun, and very soon the bear fell, a victim of her
markmanship. After skinning the animal without assistance, she made meat of the
James returned home one night, after an extended absence to find that his
horses had been sto len by Indians. Early the next morning he started in pursuit,
and after following their trail for three days, came upon their camp. After
killing two Indians, with others escaping, he captured his horses and returned
As the settlements were pushed farther down the TN Valley, James McNair moved
his family fro m Sullivan Co. to Knox Co. in the early 1790's. Here also he
acquired much land. The minutes of Knox Co., 1792-95, show that he served as a
Juryman Aug. 6, 1794. Other legal documents show that he was active in public
afairs in Knox Co. until his death sometimes between Jan. 5, and Mar. 23,
1817. His will was written with his own hand January 5, 1817, and proved at the
July term of the Knox Co. Court, 1818. The will in full is recorded in Knox Co.
Estate Book, Vol. 2, pages 351 and 352. His wife's will was written March 23,
1817, and was proved at the same session of the Court.