Facts and Events
Early Land Acquisition in Augusta County, VA
Records of William Christian in Augusta County, VA
From Chalkley’s Augusta County Records:
Information on William Christian
In 1774 William Christian and friend James McCorkle agreed on an operation of a store at New Dublin. This partnership was to last until 1776. In the spring and summer of 1774, William was a colonel of the Fincastle County troops and prepared for action against the Indians. In the summer of 1784 William Christian and his wife Annie moved to Kentucky where he received a military grant and where his father had claimed lands. William sold 400 acres of the Dunkard's Bottomland to James McCorkle that year. [Source "Dunkard's Bottom" Historical Marker: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM4BYM]
Among the manuscripts collected by Grigsby are letters documenting the migration of members of the Christian family from southwestern Virginia to Kentucky shortly after the American Revolution. Letters, 1784–1789, to Elizabeth (Stark) Christian (d. 1789) in Botetourt County, Va., from her son William Christian (1743–1786); his wife, Ann (Henry) Christian (d. 1790); and their brother-in-law, Caleb Wallace (1742–1814), discuss the move, family members and slaves in Kentucky, economic prospects, and Indians (section 129). Correspondence, 1760–1795, of another of Elizabeth Christian's sons-in-law, William Fleming (1728–1795) of Botetourt County, is primarily with Caleb Wallace regarding economic activities (section 132). Letters, 1772–1797, to Anne (Christian) Fleming of Botetourt County are chiefly from her sister-in-law Ann (Henry) Christian in Kentucky and discuss conditions there (section 133). [Source: http://www.vahistorical.org/wguide/wguide_g.htm]
United States Department National Park Service of the Interior OMB NQ 1024-0018 National Register of HisContinuation Sheet Section 8 Page toric Places 5 Black Horse Tavern /Bellvue House and Office, Roanoake, Virginia
Historical Background The 4.15-acres included in the property were originally part of the "Stone House Tract" granted to Israel Christian in 1764 in a section of Botetourt County that would later become Roanoke County. In 1779, Thomas Madison purchased 1,410 acres of this tract from William Christian. Thomas Madison was married to Susannah Henry. sister of Patrick Henry and William Christian's wife, Ann Henry. Thomas Madison, who practiced law, also came from a prominent early Virginia family. He was the son of John Madison of Augusta County, who was a cousin of President James Madison. Thomas Madison's siblings were prominent figures in the settlement of southwest Virginia: two sisters and one brother were married to members of the General Andrew Lewis family; one brother, William, was married to Elizabeth Preston, the daughter of Colonel William Preston of Smithfield Plantation in Montgomery County; and the Reverend James Madison was Bishop of Virginia and president of the College of William and a r y . 'The Black Horse Tavern was established by Thomas Madison as early as 1782 and is cited as one of seven taverns licensed to operate in the area between 1770 and 1800. [Source: http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Roanoke_county/080-5143_Black_Horse_Tavern_(Bellvue_Hotel_&_Office)_2002_Final_Nomination.pdf]
COL. WILLIAM CHRISTIAN.
This gentleman, with whom Caleb Wallace became intimately connected by marrying his youngest sister, requires special attention in the present connection, inasmuch as one of the leading counties of Kentucky has been named for him. As has been shown above, he was the only son and the oldest child of Israel Christian, having been born near Staunton in the year 1743. His training was had in the severe school of the pioneers, and he early became inured to the use of arms. He entered the military service, and already, before he was of age, had reached the dignity of captain in the Second Virginia Regiment, commanded by Col. William Byrd, of Westover. That fact has been affirmed by Collins in his History of Kentucky, vol. 2, p. 127. It is confirmed by a document in the Virginia State Papers addressed to the Hon. Win. Nelson, Esq., President of His Majesty's Council, and the rest of that Honorable Board. It bears date May 8, 1772, and is entitled "The Petition of William Byrd, Samuel Meredith, James Walker, and William Christian, which Humbly Sheweth, That your Petitioner, Col. Wm. Byrd, served his Majesty during the late war as Colonel of the Second Virginia Regiment, and that your Petitioners, Samuel Meredith, James Walker, and Wm. Christian at the same time served as Captains in the said Regiment; tliat by the Royal Proclamation, dated at St. James the 7th day of October, 1763, your petitioners conceive themselves entitled to take up and obtain Grants for the respective quantities of land proportioned to their rank as officers, as by the said Proclamation, reference thereunto had, may appear; that your Petitioners have not been able to locate the Lands so designed for them as aforesaid, by reason of the restriction in the said Proclamation Contained on the several Governors on this Continent from giving patents or warrants of survey for any unceded lands reserved for the Indians. By which means the Royal Bounty intended your Petitioners hath been withheld from them. Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that out of the lands lately ceded by the Indians, &c., &c., they may be permitted to take up and obtain warrants for the respective quantitys of land following : Wm. Byrd, 5,000 acres; Samuel Meredith and James Walker and William Christian, 3,000 acres each, on the Eastern Bank of Ohio River at the Mouth of Little Kanawha, otherwise called Elk River, &c., &c." (Calendar of Virginia State Papers, I, 265, 266.)
The following report by Collins, vol. 2, 764, may have some kind of connection with the 3,000 acres of land which Col. Christian obtained in reward for his services in the Braddock war. He says "In July, 1774, Col. John Floyd, Hancock Taylor, and James Douglas each made official surveys in what is now Woodford County, as assistant or deputy surveyors under Col. William Preston, surveyor of Fincastle County, Va., of which the whole of the existing 74 In the Presbyterian Ministry.
State of Kentucky was then a part. Capt. Isaac Hite was with Douglas. Shortly after the date above, Hancock Taylor, while surveying land near the mouth of Kentucky River lor Col. Wm. Christian, was wounded by an Indian rifle-ball."
With respect to one of the representations contained in the above petition, it may be allowed to state that Capt. Christian is not mentioned in that character in the list of officers who accompanied Col. Byrd and the Second Regiment on the expedition to capture Fort Duquesne in 1758. At that time he was only fifteen years of age. He must have joined Byrd several years afterward, and before the close of the war in November, 1762.
After concluding his period of military service Capt. Christian went to Hanover to study law under Patrick Henry, who already was attracting much attention. One of the results of this enterprise was, that he became a brother-in-law of Mr. Henry by the marriage of his sister, Anne Henry. The date at which that union occurred is not stated, though it was likely as early as the year 1765.
By the year 1774 Capt. Christian had attained to the distinction of Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Virginia Regiment. In June of that year he made a military expedition against the Indians as far as Clinch River, in the present limits of East Tennessee. Taking the field again on the i2th of August, 1774, he was in service in connec- tion with the Battle of Point Pleasant on the loth of October, 1774, where he commanded a battalion composed of the companies of Captains Evan Shelby, William Russell, and Harbert, from Washington, and of Capt. Buford, from Bedford County; but they failed to reach the scene of action until the fight had been concluded.
In the month of July, 1775, Col. Christian was elected by the Convention to be Lieutenant Colonel of the First Virginia Regiment, which had just then been raised to resist Governor Dunmore. Patrick Henry was the colonel and Mr. Spotswood the major of that regiment.
In January, 1776, the First Regiment and five others from Virginia were received into the Continental Line, at which time the Continental Congress re-elected Henry and Christian to the positions which they had previously occupied. For some reason that has hitherto remained without explanation, Henry declined, about the ist of February, 1776, to accept the position of colonel in the Continental service. The officers of the regiment, as soon as his purpose had been declared, presented him an address, in which they speak of his "spirited resentment of a most glaring indignity" (Burk, History of Virginia, Vol. 4, 1 08) ; but it has never been declared just what was the color of that indignity.
A dinner of state was immediately given in honor of Henry at the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, at the close of which the troops gathered around the building in a mutinous fashion and called for their discharge on the ground that they had not enlisted to serve under any other persoh than Patrick Henry. This tumult rendered the situation somewhat more grave than a patriot could easily desire. Col. Henry found it necessary to delay the date of his departure from Williamsburg until he could succeed in quieting the troops, an enterprise in which he was actively seconded by Lieut. Col. Christian.
On the i8th of March, 1776, Christian in his turn was elected to fill the position that had been left vacant through the resignation of Henry. (American Archives, Fourth Series, vol. 5, 105.) That compliment on the part of the Continental Congress was doubt. In the Presbyterian Ministry. less appreciated by Col. Christian, but the place to which he was chosen was not long retained. Brig. Gen. Andrew Lewis, in a letter to the President of Congress, which was presented to that body on the 22d of August, 1776, says: "Since I wrote by General Mercer, Col. William Christian, who commanded the First Battalion, has resigned." (Am. Archives, Fifth Series, i, 1053.)
The purpose which moved him to this act of resignation was that he might take command of an independent expedition composed of twelve hundred men that was sent against the Cherokee Indians. On the I4th of October, 1776, the House of Delegates in session at Williamsburg received dispatches from Col. Christian, who was then in the Indian country, in which exact information was supplied relating to the existing condition of his command. On the 2gth of November further dispatches were received, to the effect that Christian had returned from his expedition, and laying before the authorities detailed information respecting the treaty that he had effected with the Cherokee?. (American Archives, Fifth Series, vol. 3, 902.)
There were numbers of Tories in the western section of Virginia, and when occasion appeared to favor them during the war they were much inclined to become insurgent. By consequence, when the above expedition had come to a close, Col. Christian took service in the militia, where he was useful in keeping down such perilous demonstrations for the balance of the lengthy struggle. It is suspected that he was a member of the Virginia Senate in the May term of the year 1781 ; at any rate there were frequent occasions on which the House of Delegates received messages from the Senate " by Mr. Christian." That circumstance renders it not impossible that he was the person indicated in the citation from Peyton's History of Augusta County, p, 204, as follows:
"In this bitter hour of defeat, when the House of Delegates was in session at Staunton in June, 1781, one of the members, recalling the history of Rome, who, when torn with intestine strife and deluged with blood, put a dictator at her head, suggested the idea of appointing Patrick Henry dictator. It found no countenance with Henry or the members, and one of them, Archibald Gary, meeting Henry's brother-in-law, addressed him with heat in the following terms : ' Sir, I am told that your brother wishes to be dictator. Tell him from me that the day of his appointment shall be the day of his death, for he shall feel my dagger in his heart before the sunset of that day.' "
Col. Christian's place of residence at this period, as it had been for several years before the war, was Mahanaim, in the county of Montgomery, not far distant, it is presumed, from the seat of his father at Dunkard's Bottom in the same county. Here, about the ist of February, 1781, he was appointed by Gen. Nathaniel Greene at the head of a commission to treat with the Cherokee Indians, the other members of the commission being William Preston, Arthur Campbell, Joseph Martin, Robert Lanier, Evan Shelby, Joseph Williams, and John Sevier. (Calendar Virginia State Papers, 2, 199.)
After the defeat at Blue Licks on the eighth of August, 1782, he proposed to the Governor of Virginia to raise a thousand men in the back parts of Virginia for the defense of Kentucky. (Cal. Va. State Papers, 3, 331-333.) In January, 1783, he also proposed to the Governor the project of building a gunboat on the Ohio for the purpose of fighting the Indians to better advantage. "At Limestone," he says, " or Licking would be a proper [Source: http://www.archive.org/stream/no4publications00filsuoft/no4publications00filsuoft_djvu.txt]