m. BEF 1700
m. ABT 1739
Facts and Events
James Stuart was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia
Advisory on James Stuart
There is disagreement over the parentage of James Stuart, and is apparently unproven. Some researchers believe that his father may have been an Archibald Stuart, but that claim has been discounted by other researchers. According to "family tradition" this is either a James or William Stuart, father of Robert, James, John, Mary and Elizabeth Stuart, who migrated from Ireland to Virginia in the early 1700's. Others believe James' parents were John Stuart and Mary Shaw (?). More research is necessary to determine the correct parentage.
Estate Records of James Stuart
Records of James Stuart in Augusta County, VA
Biography of James Stuart
James Stewart (Stuart) settled on the "Lewis Land Grant", on a branch of the Cowpasture River--1747. This branch of the Cowpasture has since been called "Stuart's Creek". Records show that he was a business partner of Ralph Laverty, who owned the adjoining farm. Feb, 1757 before three of his sons were grown, James was captured with his son James Jr. by Pawnee Indians and burned at the stake, in the presence of his son. The son later escaped. This was known as "Dinwiddie's Massacre." James, Jr., was then a lad of about 13. James, Sr.'s wife was Ann, and she was made admnx. of husband's estate Nov. 17, 1757 (Order Book No. 6, Augusta Co. records). By Sept. 24, 1763 the widow had m--again to Thos. Armstrong. His ch, minors at time of father's death were: James, Jr. (Indian captive--but returned to family), he chose John Hamilton, a cousin by m--his guardian on Feb. 17, 1762--he was then 18 years old. He m--Isabel (probably Isabel Elliott, dau--of John Elliott; after first husband's death, she m-- ............ Barker); James went with brother Ralph to Tygart's Valley (now Monongehale Co., W. Va., where he d--1777, probably while in militia service). Ralph Stuart chose as his guardian Robert Stuart, no doubt a relative--1762; he was then 15. He also went to Tygart's Valley and became a prominent man there. He was Capt. Ralph Stuart of the Revo; d--1792. John Stuart chose as his guardian Henry Murray; he was then 14. This was Feb. 17, 1762; he seems to have remained on homestead, or in Augusta Co.
He came to America from Ireland, about 1740, and settled in Virginia.1 James STUART settled his family in the Shenandoah Valley, in an area called "the Cowpasture", and at Tygart Valley. This lineage is well documented (Dickerson 1966). He left a will on Mar 14, 1758 at Augusta Co., VA; James Stewart's appraisement, by Ralph Laverty, James McCoy, Henry Cartmell. On Feb 17, 1762 in the Orphans Court of Augusta Co., VA, 15 year old Ralph Stuart, Jr. (Stewart), orphan of James Stuart, chose his older brother Robert Stuart as his guardian. On Feb 17, 1762 in the Orphans Court of Augusta Co., VA, 18 year old James Stuart, Jr., orphan of James Stuart, was bound out to John Hamilton as his guardian. On Sep 24, 1763 Lt. Thomas Armstrong and Ann, his wife (former Ann Stuart, administratrix of James Stuart), were summoned to render accounts. Accountings of the property of James Stuart were made in 1757 and 1758.
In the month of June, at Martin's for on Crooked Run, another murderous scene was exhibited by the savages. The greater part of the men having gone forth early to their farms, and whose who remained, being inapprehensive of immediated anger, and consequently supine and careless, the fort was necessarily, easily accessible, and the vigilance of the savages who were lying hid around it, discovering its exposed and weakened situation, seized the favorable moment to attack whose who were without. The women were engaged in milking the cows outside the gate, and the men who had been left behind were loitering around. The Indians rushed forward, and killed and made prisoners of ten of them. James Stuart, James Smally and Peter Crouse, were the only persons who fell, and John Shiver and his wife, two sons of Stuart, two sons of Smally and a son of Crouse, were carried into captivity.
According to their statement upon their return, there were thirteen Indians in the party which surprised them, and emboldened by success, instead of retreating with their prisoners, remained at a little distance from the fort till night, when they put the captives in a waste house near, under custody of two of the savages, while the remaining eleven, went to see if they could not succeed in forcing an entrance at the gate. But the disaster of the morning had taught the inhabitants the necessity of greater watchfulness. The dogs were shut out at night, and the approach of the Indians exciting them to bark freely, gave notice of impending danger, in time for them to avert it. The attempt to take the fort being thus frustrated, the savages returned to the house in which the prisoners were confined, and moved off with them to their towns.
THE ROCKCASTLE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH THE FIRST 100 YEARS March 2002 AS TRANSCRIBED FROM THE ORIGINAL RECORDS by Lee Hash and Patricia LaBelle EDITED by Lee Hash 624 Lone Tree Court Culpeper, Virginia 22701 Tel: 540/825-7045 Fax: 540/825-7049 E-Mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
James Stuart and Mary Ann Laverty, along with Ralph Laverty who had married Elizabeth Stuart, a sister of James, are said to have come from Ireland and located in the Scotch- Irish settlement in Augusta Co. Va. sometime before 17__ It may be said that James Stuart/Stewart and Ralph Laverty/ Lafferty may be the progenitors of the families by that name who later settled in Wyoming County. James Stuart Sr. was killed by the Indians near his settlement in the fall of 1757.
Ralph Stuart was born December 7, 1752 near the confluence of Stewart's Run and the Wallawhatoola River in that county. (Wallawhatoola being the Indian name for the Cowpasture). Capt. Ralph was a Revolutionary War veteran who had been selected by Gen. Washington to guard Cornwallace in a cave at Yorktown after his surrender. He later served as a scout protecting the pioneers against the Indian invasions.
Ralph Stewart first married Mary Elliott of Virginia and settled with his family in Kentucky. There were seven children born to this couple: Absalom who was captured by the Indians and who Abbs Valley in Virginia was named; James; John; Richard; Phebe; Becky and Annie. After the death of Mary Elliott, Ralph Stewart removed from Frankford, Kentucky to the New River in Montgomery County where he married Mary O. Clay on June 25, 1788. Mary was a daughter of Mitchell Clay. In about the year 1800 he settled in the Crany Fork area in what is now Wyoming County. They later settled on Laurel Fork near Matheny where he died 11/18/1835. Mary Elliott Stewart died in about the year 1865.
The known children of Ralph Stewart and Mary Clay were: Henry, Mitchell, William, Robert, Catherine "Katie", Anny, Margaret, Sally, Ora, Charles and George P. Stewart. When the Wyoming County was formed, Capt. Ralph Stewart, G. P. Stewart and Charles F. Stewart were among those inpaneled as the first Grand Jurors.
The following excerpts are from “The James Stewart Family of Early Augusta County, Virginia” by Florence S. Dickerson. The execution of Charles Stuart I, in 1649, filled the Virginians with horror and indignation, and the well-known sympathy of Virginia with the unhappy King, drew many exiled cavaliers to America. The Government invited Charles II, to be King of Virginia, but on the eve of his embarking from Holland, in 1660, he was recalled to the throne of England. After he ascended the throne, Charles II desirous to giving a substantial proof of the profound respect he entertained for the loyalty of Virginia, caused her arms to be quartered with those of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as an independent member of the Empire.
This fact, and because Virginia was the first of the English settlements in the limits of the British Colonies, led her to be styled, “The Old Dominion”. Spottswood affected the first passage, or discovery of the Blue Ridge Valley at the head of a group of horse, in August of 1716. In 1732, sixteen families from Pennsylvania crossed the Potomac River and settled near Winchester, in Augusta County, Virginia. The Scottish people poured into Virginia through Pennsylvania from 1732 on.
Most of the early Scots came from Galloway, Scotland, through Ireland. They settled in the Province of Ulster during the period from the Cornwallion invasion up to and including the corenanthers wars of Scotland, some were on the prisoners lists captured at Bothwell Bridge. In 1736, Benjamin Borden secured a land grant of 500,000 acres, from Governor Gooch, in the Valley of Virginia, in what was then Augusta County, provided that he settled one hundred families on this land in ten years. To comply with this condition, Borden brought many immigrants into Virginia among them the Pattons, McDowells, Tellfords, Alexanders, Moores, Archers, Stewarts, and Mulhollows. They settled in and around Stanton (Staunton), Virginia. Brock, in the Dinwiddie Papers, states that Col. James Patton crossed the Atlantic twenty-five times to bring Scotch immigrants over for the Borden and Beverley grants.
The Cowpasture River flows southwest beyond the crest of the ridge of the Allegheny Mountains known as the great North Mountain, and the land in the present county of Bath. Cowpasture River was so named in a petition 1727. The Indians called the Cowpasture River “Wallawhatoola, “ meaning crooked river. The settlers first called it Clover Creek. It is said this beautiful pastureland was made by the Indians setting fires in the late fall to capture the Buffalo, which fed there. Adam Miller was the first settler on the Cowpasture River. He bought the land from Jacob Stover, and lived there fifteen years. This Stover land was disputed and in 1736 legal means through Lord Fairfax was taken to obtain the land in the Valley, nine plantations were there in 1733.
The Valley was the highway through which contending India n tribes from the north and south passed and repassed in their perpetual wars. The country abounded in game, buffalo, elk, deer, and bear. Wolves were so numerous that in 1742 the inhabitants of Augusta County petitioned the General Assembly to levy a tax to hire persons to destroy these animals. This was enacted in 1745. The Shawnee, the most powerful and war-like of the Indian tribes, claimed all the hunting ground between the Blue Ridge and the Allegany Mountains, and as far west as the Mississippi River. They had three villages in or near the Valley. They gave untold trouble to the early settlers, later they moved their villages westward, as migration increased in 1736.
John Stewart, of Rockbridge County, Virginia is believed to be the father of one line of Stewart's in Augusta County, Virginia. Among those in this line were a James Stewart, a John Stewart, Jr., Robert Stewart, and a sister Mary who married John Hamilton and settled in Augusta County with James. John was of the “House of Stewart.“ They landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and went directly to the Shenandoah Valley. John was also thought to be the father of Robert Stewart, a bachelor, who returned to England in 1764 to raise a regiment for use in the colonies but failed at this endeavor.
This early Virginia family was notified of inheritance in Scotland, a number of years after settling in the Valley, but due to the lack of correspondence during their years in Ireland and America, they were unable to identify themselves to the satisfaction of the crown, thereby losing their estate. The first settlers to this part of Augusta County, Virginia were the John Lewis, Adam Dickerson, James Stewart, Ralph Lafferty, John Mitchell, James Waddell, and John Donnaly. William Stewart, Edward Stewart, and Benjamin Stuart lived on the opposite side of the Cowpasture from James Stewart and believed to be relatives of James Stewart.
William Stewart had a crossing on the Youghioheny River in 1753, known as “Stewart's Crossing” over which Braddock's troops passed in 1755.
The aforementioned James Stewart married Ann Lafferty in Ireland. Ann Lafferty was the sister of Ralph Lafferty. They were members of the Irish gentry. Ann Stewart, as a widow of James Stewart, received rental from lands in Kilocoskan, Dublin County, Ireland in 1761. Thomas Leech and James Shiel were witnesses to this in the Perogative Court of Irel and. James Stewart gave his name to the stream that was known as “Stewart's Creek” but is now “Stewart's Run.” Robert Stewart had land near his father's.
As the Stewart's invested in land, their land became endless in Cowpasture. In 1745, it is a known fact that there were several Stewart brothers, and at least five adult Stewart's settled in the Cowpasture area. In 1742, a Militia was formed in Augusta County, and all men regardless of age were enrolled. In this Militia with James Stewart was Henry Murray, John Hamilton, Ralph Lafferty, Alexander Walker, William and James McCutcheon, and James Stewart's son, Robert Stewart. James Stewart served as a Captain of the Augusta Militia under John Dickenson.
In September of 1757, Shawnee Indians captured James Stewart and his son James Stewart, Jr. James Stewart was burned at the stake in front of his son. James Stewart, Jr. later escaped. Ralph Lafferty was the brother of James Stewart's wife, Ann Lafferty Stewart hence the Ralph name went to so many of the descendants. James and Ann Stewart had three minor sons, named by the Court, James, Ralph, and John. Robert was grown. Augusta Records page 95, February 17, 1762, James, Ralph, and John Stewart, ages 18, 15, and 14 years, were placed by the Court of Augusta County under guardians. James chose John Hamilton (his uncle), Ralph chose Robert Stewart (his brother), and John chose Henry Murray as guardians.
In 1763, James Stewart, Jr. and his brother Ralph Stewart volunteered to fight the Indians. Later they were with a party of men who made an attack on a group of 96 Indians. They rescued 6 white prisoners. Peace was made with these Indians. A treaty was signed which protected them under the crown and the Governor of Virginia. However, James and Ralph Stewart were hunters and had valuable furs in the lodge that the Indians had destroyed, abusing the brothers. After the Indians left, the boys followed them and surprising them at night, they killed 5 of the protected Indians. Later Ralph told a boy friend of the killings and being secretly jealous of Ralph because of a young lady, the friend reported the slaying. A warrant was sworn out for the brothers because of the treaty. Hearing of this from friends, the brothers departed to the New River section where they scouted out for 18 months, seeing but one other person. The Governor pardoned them and they returned home.