Bath County is a United States county located in the Shenandoah Valley and on the central western border of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 4,731 in 2014, the population was estimated to be 4,771, making it the second-least populous county in Virginia. Bath's county seat is Warm Springs.
Bath County was created in 1790 from parts of Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier counties, and it was named for the English city of Bath. Like its namesake, Bath County's economy is focused on tourism and recreation, due to its many natural mineral springs found in the area. The county's major employer is The Homestead, a resort and historical hotel located in Hot Springs, Virginia.
Bath County was established on December 14, 1790 from sections of Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier counties. Due to the many mineral springs found in the area, the county was named for the English spa and resort city of Bath. The area's economy has focused on tourism and travel since the 1700s, particularly when The Homestead Resort was built in 1766.
Located along the western central border with West Virginia, Bath County comprises a number of villages, including Hot Springs, Warm Springs, Millboro and Mountain Grove. Hot Springs and Warm Springs are the most well known of the villages, given their natural mineral springs. Bath County is one of the few counties in Virginia without a traffic signal. (Charlotte County, Mathews County, and Rappahannock County are the others.)
Annals of Bath
The Annals of Bath County by Oren Frederic Morton, The McClure Co., Inc., Staunton, Virginia 1918 http://books.google.com/books?id=-yQTAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=related:ISBN0806346426#v=onepage&q&f=false
Page 36 AREAS OF SETTLEMENT
SINCE only a very minor portion of Bath was covered by the early holdings of the pioneer families, it is possible to group these holdings into several tolerably well defined areas of settlement. The names we aportion among these areas are not presented as an exhaustive list or as one that is free from error, even so far as it goes.
The Dickenson settlement may be considered as extending along the Cowpasture from the gorge below Fort Lewis into the bend at Griffith's Knob, and as including the lower course of Stuart's Creek and the occupied part of Porter's Mill Creek. The more conspicuous of the earlier names associated with this belt are Abercrombie, Beard, Clendennin, Coffey, Crockett, Daugherty, Dickenson, Donally, Douglass, Gay, Gillispie, Graham, Hicklin, Insminger, Kelso, Kincaid, Laverty, Madison, Mayse, McCay, McClung, McDannald, Millroy, Mitchell, Muldrock, O'Hara, Porter, Ramsey, Scott, Simpson, Sitlington, Sloan, Stuart, Thompson, Waddell, Walker, Watson.
The Fort Lewis settlement began a little above the mouth of Thompson's Creek and extended up the Cowpasture to Laurel Gap. Here we find the names, Benson, Black, Cartmill, Cowardin, Dickey, Feamster, Francisco, Frame, Hall, Hughart, Jackson, Knox, Lewis, Mayse, McCreery, Miller, Montgomery, Moody, Moore, Wallace.
The upper Cowpasture settlement included the bottoms on that river between Laurel Gap and the mouth of Shaw's Fork and on the lower course of the latter stream. Here were the Devericks, Erwin, Gwin, Johns, Shaw, and Steuart families.
The upper Mill Creek settlement occupied the basin of that stream above Panther Gap. Names associated with this somewhat limited space are Bratton, McDonald, Putnam, Rhea, Swearingen.
The Green Valley settlement embraced the upper basin of Stuart's Creek and is connected with the following names: Bell, Crawford, Eddy, Hall, Hepler, Fitzpatrick, McCausland, Morrow, and Warrick.
The Bullpasture settlement stretched along the entire course of that stream from its source nearly to the Bullpasture Gap. Here the names are Beathe, Black, Bodkin, Bradshaw, Burnside, Carlile, Curry, Davis, Duffield, Erwin, Estill, Ferguson, Graham, Harper, Hempenstall, Hicklin, Hiner, Hynes, Jones, Justice, Lockridge, Malcom, McCoy, Peebles, Pullin, Siron, Summers, Wiley.
Adjacent to the Bullpasture valley, and just within the Bath line, is the Red Holes, or Burnsville, settlement. The earlier name is derived either from the reddish loam exposed to view in the sinkholes, or from the artificial licks, made by driving stakes into the ground, withdrawing them, and then filling the holes with salt. Here David Frame patented a tract that nominally covered 1150 acres. But when sold in 1792 to Elisha Williams, John Burns, and James and Daniel Monroe, the lines proved so elastic as to include 1363 acres.
The bottoms on Jackson's River are less continuous than those of the Cowpasture. The "pockets" in which they occur were mainly gathered into a few large surveys. The northernmost of these pockets begins beyond the Highland line and may be called the Wilson settlement. The names found here are Bratton, Cleek, Given, Gwin, McFarland, Wilson.
For several miles below the Wilson settlement Jackson's River is closely confined between lofty hills. Then comes the Fort Dinwiddie settlement, comprising two very long surveys by William Jackson and Adam Dickenson. Here are the names Bourland, Byrd, Cameron, Davis, Dean, Jackson, McClintic.
A short distance east of the Wilson settlement is Little Valley, where the early names are Carpenter, McAvoy, and Pritt.
Beginning below the Fort Dinwiddie settlement, reaching nearly to Covington, and extending up the valley of Cedar Creek was the Fort Mann settlement, where these names occur: Armstrong, Bollar, Elliot, Kincaid, Kirk, Mann, McGuffin, Montgomery, Morris, Robinson, Walker.
Around and just below Covington was the Fort Young settlement, occupied by the Carpenters, Mallows, Seelys, and Wrights.
On Great Back Creek, stretching some distance above and below the mouth of Little Back Creek, was the Vance or Mountain Grove settlement where lived the Baxters, Gregorys, Hamiltons, Kellys, and Vances.
On the lower course of Potts Creek were the Potts and Persinger families.
On the Cowpasture, below the pass at Griffith Knob, were several pioneers, but our knowledge of their names is quite unsatisfactory.
The Warm Springs basin and the upper valley of Falling Spring Run may be termed the Warm Springs settlement. But so closely were the lands in this locality monopolized by wealthy non-residents, that most of the people living here in the early days were tenants, and we know little as to who they were. This was not quite so much the case at the Falling Springs end, which is associated with the Chambers, Massie, and Mustoe families. The three tracts held by Gabriel Jones of Port Republic begin at Healing Springs and run a long way to the north. North, east, and south of him were the lands of Thomas and Cuthbert Bullitt. John Bollar had 400 acres alongside Jones. Against the present Alleghany line were the holdings of Oliver and Thompson. Immediately to the south was Thomas Massie's tract of 3329 acres. The John Lewis survey ran north from Warm Springs itself, and one owned by John Cowardin ran in the direction of Warm Springs gap.
Adam Dickenson, the leading pioneer on the lower Cowpasture, was in 1733 living at Hanover, New Jersey. In 1742 he was an ironworker in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but seems to have moved in the same year to Prince George County, Maryland. It was at this date that he entered into a bond in favor of Thomas Lindsay, whereby he was to patent 1,000 acres on Clover Creek, "otherwise ye Cow Pasture"; and place two families on the tract. Four years later, he brought suit against Roger Hunt, Lindsay's assignee, for a failure to comply with the contract. He must have come to the Cowpasture himself by 1744. When Augusta was organized, at the close of 1745, he alone, of the 21 justices in the first county court, represented the portion of the county west of Shenandoah Mountain. His grist-mill was evidently the first in this region, and the church built on his homestead was undoubtedly the first house of worship among the southern Alleghanies. Dickenson acquired at least 3321 acres of choice land. He died intestate about 1760. His personal property was appraised by his neighbors, James Gillespie, James McCay, John Young, and Andrew Sitlington, at almost $1,000, easily the equivalent of $5,000 today. The estate included two slaves, 33 cattle, and a wagon valued at $23.33. The only book was a large Bible. Abigail, a daughter, married William McClung. Another daughter was Mary Davis.
John, the only son of Adams Dickenson, was almost an exact contemporary to George Washington. He was born in 1731 and died in 1799. At the age of 22 he was a captain of horse, and during the next 25 years he saw very much military service on the frontier. After being wounded in at least two skirmishes with the Indians, he received a severe hurt in the shoulder at the battle of Point Pleasant. For this injury he was granted a pension of 50 pounds ($166.67) a year. In 1777, with the rank of colonel, he returned to Point Pleasant at the head of a regiment of militia. In 1757 he was a justice of Augusta, but in 1779 he declined further service. Although appointed a member of the first county court of Bath, he refused the honor. Colonel Dickenson was a large holder of real estate, owning land on the Greenbrier and even in North Carolina. He was of positive convictions and was influenced by high motives. His generous impulse appears in his kindness to the unfortunate Selim, and in his refusal to deliver up some converted Indians whom the governor assumed to be spies of the French. By a clause in his will, no liquor was to, be served at his interment, and in this matter he stood against a very pernicious custom of his day.
His children were Mary, Martha, Nancy, Adam, Jean, and John. Mary and Martha married, in order of mention, Samuel and John Shrewsbury, who, after being prominent in Bath, migrated to West Virginia. The only grandson in the male line to finish his days in Bath was John Usher Dickenson, who returned about 1850 and was the first proprietor of the hotel at Millboro.
William Jackson gave his name to the river which runs more than three miles through the land he took up. He may have been the first settler on its upper course, although he could not have been living in this valley in 1740, when he succeeded James Pickett as constable. His home on Jackson's River was probably near the site of Fort Dinwiddie. Jane and William were children. The former married Archibald Bourland, his executor. The son, and probably the son-in-law also, went to North Carolina. Whether the early Jacksons of the Cowpasture were related to this family we do not know. William Jackson died June 1, 1750, and his suits against Robert Abercrombie and Jacob Marlin were thereby abated. His personality of $1106.07 ranked him among the nabobs of early Bath. The appraisement by Ralph Laverty, George Wilson, and Archibald Elliot mentions 23 horses, 18 cattle, and some timothy seed. A lancet, and the instrument of torture styled a "tooth drawers" would appear to indicate that he made some pretensions to the healing art. It took seven gallons of liquor to lubricate the sale of the personal effects. Archibald Bourland, the executor, named the following persons at the "vandue": James Bourland, James Brown, Thomas Bryan, John Carlile, John Crockett, William Davis, Robert Dufneld, Andrew Dunlap, Charles Dunlap, Archibald Elliot, Samuel Ferguson, Alexander Gillespie, John Graham, Napthalim Gregory, William Hamilton, John Harden, Michael Harper, George Lewis, James Lockridge, Joseph Mayse, Samuel McAlvery, Alexander Millroy, Nathan Patterson, David Stanley, John Warrick, John Williamson, George Wilson, and Alexander Wright. A number of these persons lived more than 20 miles away.
According to C. K. Bolton, the following Ulster immigrants came from county Antrim. The Arbuckles, Campbells, Clarks, Crawfords, Givens, Harpers, Jacksons, Jamesons, McCays; from Derry, the Grahams, Lockridges, Pattons, Rheas; from Down, the Carliles, Dunlaps, Mathews, Steuarts; from Donegal, the Brattons, Hamiltons; from Londonderry, the Kincaids; from Tyrone, the Burnsides, Knoxes, and Walkups.
Certain of the families who have migrated from this country include names of considerable prominence. Thus James B. McCreery and his cousin, Thomas C. McCreery, of Kentucky, are great grandsons of Robert, son of John McCreery, of the Cowpasture. Both these men have served in the United States Senate, and the former has twice been governor of his state. Dr. Charles McCreery, the first physician to remove the collar-bone in a surgical operation, which was done in 1813, was a son of Robert. By way of North Carolina we are told that Zebulon B., Robert B., and Robert E. Vance of North Carolina, are of the Vance family of Back Creek. All three served in Congress. The first was also a famous governor of North Carolina, and the second was a brigadier general in the Confederate army. Meigs County, Tennessee, is named for Return Jonathan Meigs, a descendent of the Clendennins.