The Calfpasture River originates on the slopes of Gordons Peak, in Augusta County, near Shenandoah Mountain, in George Washington National Forest. Its headwater tributaries drain Bald Ridge. The river flows generally southwest for most of its course.
The tributary Braley Branch joins just before the Calfpasture River flows by the small settlement of West Augusta. U.S. Route 250 crosses the river at West Augusta. Continuing southwest, the river is joined by West Dry Branch from the east, then it enters Deerfield Valley, where the tributaries Tizzle Branch and Still Run join. Deerfield Valley is flanked by Shenandoah Mountain to the west and Great North Mountain to the east. The Calfpasture River flows by the small town of Little Baltimore after which one of its main tributaries, Hamilton Branch, joins. The Calfpasture River then flows out of Deerfield Valley and through Fridley Cove, where Fridley Branch joins.
Below Fridley Cove, the Calfpasture River continues flowing southwest, through the valley between Walker Mountain to the west and Great North Mountain to the east. The river passes the small town of Marble Valley, then Clayton Mill Creek joins, after which the river leaves Augusta County and enters Rockbridge County.
Near the town of Goshen, Virginia the Calfpasture River is joined by Mill Creek from the west and Goshen Branch from the east. State Route 42 crosses the river at Goshen, and State Route 39 follows the river from Goshen downstream to the Maury River.
Just south of Goshen the tributary Brattons Run joins the Calfpasture River, which then turns eastward, passing through a gap between Bratton Mountain and Knob Mountain. The Calfpasture River then joins the Little Calfpasture River. The confluence of the two marks the beginning of the Maury River. (Source: Wikipedia.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calfpasture_River )
The Calfpasture Valley
Information from "Annals of Bath County, Virginia", by Oren Frederic Morton and "A History of Rockbridge County, Virginia", by Oren Frederic Morton:
Though not a portion of Bath, the main valley of the Calfpasture is closely associated with this county. At the time of early settlement it was undoubtedly open ground, and was shut off from the country around Staunton by timbered mountains. Access to the Cowpasture was rendered easy by Panther Gap and by the great depression at the south end of Shenandoah Mountain. Some of the pioneers, or members of their households, speedily began to move in this direction, thus establishing ties of relationship and interest with the people of Bath.
The valley of the Little Calfpasture is more distinctly a part of the great Valley of Virginia, and is not considered in the present chapter. On the other hand, Mill Creek, though coursing mainly in Bath, is a tributary of the Great Calfpasture. Locally, the two Calfpasture streams are known as Great River and Little River.
Actual settlement on Great River can scarcely have begun much earlier than 1743. The author of Annals of Augusta claims that this valley was settled quite as early as the district around Staunton, yet offers no evidence in proof. The records of Augusta, especially the muster rolls of 1742, do not support the statement.
The first constables were Robert Graham and William Hodge, appointed February 28, 1745. William Jameson was made a captain the same year to succeed Alexander Dunlap, appointed in August, 1743. In 1744 Henry Gay was made a lieutenant.
Acting under an order of council, John Lewis and James Patton surveyed in 1744 a tract nearly fifteen miles long, but nowhere more than about one and one-eighth miles broad. Their map shows it cross-sectioned into twenty-three lots, the first lying where Goshen now stands and the last rather to the north of Deerfield. With a single exception, every lot had already been taken by some settler. The following tabular statement shows consecutively the number of the lot, the name of the settler, the acreage, the purchase price, when stated in the deed, and the early transfers of title. In those instances where the deed was issued to some other individual than the original settler, the name is given in brackets. The name of a wife is also thus given.
In 1744, an early settlement on 16,500 acres on the Calfpasture granted to James Patton and John Lewis was very closely associated with the James River and Roanoke settlements. The original settlers were Alexander Dunlap, William Jameson, Thomas Gilham, Robert Crockett, David Davis, Thomas Weems, Henry Gray, Francis Donally, Robert Gay, Samuel Hodge, John Miller, Robert Bratton, James Lockridge, John Graham, Robert Gwin, John Preston, William Warwick, James Carlisle, Jacob Clements, John Campbell, James Carter, Loftus Pullen (Pullin), John Wilson, John Kincaid, William Elliott, Jr., William Hamilton, William Gay, Samuel Gay, John Ward.
In 1750, as listed in the following citation in Chalkley's, early settlers petitioned for a road for eaiser travel:
Listed by Tract Number: (Note: amounts listed in pounds were taken from "Chalkley's" or Orange County Deed Books)
Not all the original claimants were actual settlers on the survey, but lived on the Beverly or Borden grants and took lands here for speculation or for their sons. This seems to be the case with Crockett, Davis, Donally, Miller, and Preston. Miller is named as a resident of Albemarle. John Kincaid "Clerk, County of Chester, Pennsylvania" (also referred to as "Rev. John Kincaid), acquired 1,061 acres in the Calfpasture from James Patton and John Lewis on 17 July, 1745. He apparently stayed in Pennsylvania for several years and appears to have sold this land to David Kincaid.
The first deeds were issued mainly in April and July, 1745, and in Orange County. Carlile, Graham, and Weems did not take deeds until 1748.
Listed in Alphabetical Order:
Still other early settlers were the Armstrongs, Blacks, Blairs, Clarks, Craigs, Elliotts, Fultons, Hamiltons, Hendersons, Johnstons, McConnells, McCutchens, McKnights, Meeks, Mateers, Moores, Risks, Smiths, Stevensons, Walkups, and Youells.
From "Annals of Bath County":
Thomas Adams came from New Kent County and was a local magnate. He was one of the exceedingly few men of his time to own a "chariot." By his will he freed a slave, "as there is no man to whom I consider myself under greater obligations than to my slave, Joe."
James Carter was a millwright, and his mill is named in early road orders. He was in the Carolinas in 1748, but must have returned. He died in 1768.
The Calfpasture families not only took a very prominent part in settling the valleys of Bath and Highland, and afterward those of Greenbrier and Pocahontas, but they helped to people the uplands of the Carolinas. They were also prompt in taking a share in the settling of Kentucky. In 1779, Captain James Gay and Alexander Dunlap, Jr., headed a party which settled in the blue-grass region of that state and founded Pisgah church, said to be the first Presbyterian organization in Kentucky. The school which grew up by the side of the church developed into Transylvania University.
Gay, who was but twenty-one years old when he turned westward, had served under Andrew Lockridge. His second wife was Elizabeth, a daughter of John Dunlap. He was himself a son of James Gay, who married Jean Warwick. Alexander Dunlap, Jr., married his sister, Agnes. Major Samuel Stevenson, whose mother was a daughter of John Warwick, was a third member of the emigrating party, and he also wedded a Gay. Thus the Gays, Dunlaps, and Stevensons, as well as the Hamiltons, Kinkeads, Warwicks, and other Calfpasture families, have gained both affluence and prominence in the Bluegrass State and other commonwealths of the Great West. A Warwick gave his name in a changed spelling to Warrick County, Indiana. Lieutenant-Governor Walkup, of California, was a descendant of Captain John Walkup, who came to the Calfpasture about 1760.
So great was this exodus that in time it nearly extinguished the Calfpasture surnames of the Revolutionary period.
Because of the homogeneity between the early populations of Bath and the Calfpasture, there were many persons who thought the latter region should be included in the new county. Geographic considerations appeared to link it with Bath rather than Augusta. But there was a difference of opinion on this matter among the inhabitants of the Calfpasture itself, and the stronger voice prevailed.
Rocky Spring church was built on an acre deeded in 1773 by Andrew Kincaid, Jr., to the "trustees of a congregation of dissenters." These trustees were James Bratton, Lancelot Graham, Andrew Hamilton, Thomas Hughart, William Kincaid, and Andrew Lockridge.
It seems to have been on the Calfpasture that Charles Knight was to have $60 for teaching one year, every half Saturday or every other Saturday to be free time. In case of an Indian alarm Knight was to have the privilege of being lodged in the neighborhood.
From "History of Rockbridge County":
Alexander Dunlap, a man of some means, was appointed a captain of horse in 1743, but died the following year. He was succeeded in this position by William Jameson. Thomas Gilham qualified as captain of foot in 1752, and James Lockridge and Robert Bratton in 1755. James Lockridge and William Jameson are named as members of the first county court of Augusta in 1745. The latter acted as a justice in 1747, but it is not known whether Lockridge qualified.
According to a statement by a daughter of James Gay, the pioneer, there was a stockade on the Calfpasture during the French and Indian war.
The first mill seems to have been that of James Carter. It was probably built about 1745. Some ten years later, Andrew Lockridge had a gristmill.
Charles Knight is mentioned as a schoolmaster in 1755. He was to have $60.00 a year, every half Saturday or every other Saturday to be free time. In case of an Indian alarm he was to enjoy the privilege of being lodged in the settlement. But it is not probable that he was the first teacher.
Rocky Spring Church was built on an acre deeded by Andrew Kincaid, 1773, to the "trustees of a congregation of dissenters." These trustees were James Bratton, Lancelot Graham, Andrew Hamilton, Thomas Hughart, William Kincaid, and Andrew Lockridge. Lebanon Church was organized in 1784 at the home of William Hodge. The first elders were William Youell, Alexander Craig, John Montgomery, John McCutchen, Joseph McCutchen, and Samuel McCutchen. The first meeting house stood close to the Augusta line, the second a half-mile to the south and in Rockbridge. As a consequence there are two cemeteries. The will of John Dunlap, written in 1804, provides a sum to build a gallery for the negro worshippers. John Montgomery, for a while a teacher in Liberty Hall Academy, was the first minister. John S. McCutchen was a successor. But the first congregation on the Calfpasture was that of Little River. The "meeting house land" is mentioned in deeds about 1754. John Hindman preached in the vicinity as early as 1745.
Partly as a result of its only moderate fertility, the Calfpasture has been a great fountain-head of emigration to newer localities, especially Kentucky and Tennessee. Some of the pioneer names have thus been nearly or quite extinguished. Not a few of the men who went from the Calfpasture, or their descendants, have achieved some renown in Western history.
Major Samuel Stevenson, who had lately moved to the Greenbrier, headed in 1776 an expedition to the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. He was accompanied by James Gay, William Elliott, and Benjamin Blackburn. William Campbell, a wheelwright, was picked up as the party went through the wilderness. One of the members said "Blackburn was so stiff with fear we could hardly get him along." In the spring of 1784, Stevenson settled in Woodford county, the "Asparagus Bed" of the Bluegrass State. He was preceded a few weeks by Alexander Dunlap, Jr., and James Gay, Jr. The wives of Stevenson and Dunlap were sisters to Gay, who was a son of James Gay and his wife, Jean Warwick. Pisgah Church, said to be the first Presbyterian organization in Kentucky, was founded the same year. Its first minister was Adam Rankin, who came from Rockbridge. Pisgah Academy, founded by Gay, Dunlap, and Stevenson, developed into Transylvania University, as Liberty Hall Academy developed into Washington and Lee University. The region around was settled almost wholly from Rockbridge and its neighboring counties. The following names, from the membership of Pisgah Church in 1808-1826, will be recognized as occurring in the pioneer annals of Rockbridge: Aiken, Alexander, Allen, Brown, Campbell, Carr, Dunlap, Elliott, Gay, Hamilton, Holman, Kinkead, Kirkham, Logan, Long, Martin, McClung, McClure, McCullough, McPheeters, Renick, Ritchie, Smith, Steele, and Taylor.
We close this chapter with special mention of several of the Calfpasture families.
The Bears sprang from Blastus Baer, a Mennonite who came from Germany in 1740 and settled in Page county in 1763. Jacob, a son, married a daughter of a Mennonite minister and came to the Calfpasture in 1788. Their sect was but slightly represented here, and the Bears attached themselves to other churches.
Robert Bratton, who married the widow of Alexander Dunlap, Sr., was one of four brothers. Samuel Bratton remained in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania; James Bratton, who married Dorothy Fleming, settled near Christiansburg. Three sons of another brother, (William Bratton) went to South Carolina. Captain Robert Bratton was a man of wealth and distinction.
Archibald Clendennin lived in this valley before moving to the lower Cowpasture, where he died in 1749. Archibald, Jr., was the most conspicuous victim in the Greenbrier massacre of 1763. Charles, another son, gave his name to the capital of West Virginia.
Capt. James Coursey came from Orange and married as his second wife the widow of Robert Dunlap. A great grandson is Major O. W. Coursey, of South Dakota, a soldier, educator, and historian.
Robert Crockett, son of the pioneer of that name, was one of the "Long Hunters" spoken of in Chapter VIII. The eccentric Davy Crockett, of Tennessee and Texas history, was of another family, although in his youth he worked for a German farmer in this county.
Samuel Ebberd came from Maryland.
Captain Thomas Gilham had seven sons and two sons-in-law in the armies of the Revolution. The family moved first to South Carolina, but afterwards to the north of Illinois.
John Graham and his family experienced a great storm during their voyage from Ulster. John appears to have been a brother-in-law to William Elliott and John Armstrong of the Calfpasture. Elliott was born in 1699. William and Graham was a brother to John. Christopher Graham, who died in 1748, was probably the father of Robert Graham of the Bullpasture, and the wife of Joseph Walkup.
John Hepler came from Pennsylvania.
Daniel Kite—otherwise Hight—was a son of Daniel Heydt, a German who settled in the Luray valley.
William Jameson was commissioned coroner in 1753, and seems to have died the same year. A grandson of the same name owned valuable property on the border of the city of St. Louis. Timothy Flint, the historian, calls one of his daughters a "rose of the prairie," and says of the Jameson family, "a group of more beautiful children I have never known."
The pioneer Lockridges were the brothers, James, Robert, and William. William lived first in the Borden grant. (Note (error): the William Lockridge that lived in the Borden Grant was the Uncle of the three Lockridge brothers listed). The descendants are most numerous in the West. Colonel John Lockridge was a pioneer of Sangamon county, Illinois. Another Colonel Lockridge figures in early Texas history. Andrew Y. Lockridge, a grandson of Major Andrew Lockridge, son of James, was a noted missionary to the Cherokee Indians.
Five brothers of the name of McCutchen came to this part of Virginia. Robert settled on Little River, Samuel in the Borden grant, and William, James, and John in Beverly Manor. James died in 1759, and his sons, James, John, and Patrick went to Washington county. The descendants of the five pioneers are numerous, widely scattered, and include persons of mark. One of these is Robert Barr McCutchen, a distinguished writer.
The McConnells, who founded McConnell's Station, now Lexington, Kentucky, previously lived on Kerr's Creek, as well as the Calfpasture.
Moses McElvain (McIllvain) located in this valley in 1763. While prospecting in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, in 1779, he was captured by Indians, but was released at the intercession of a trader by the name of McCormick, who had known Mcllvain in Ireland. Mcllvain married Margaret, a daughter of Samuel Hodge, of the Calfpasture, and settled anew in Woodford county, Kentucky.
Timothy McKnight came from Ulster. His son John, merchant of St. Louis and trader to Santa Fe, was a heavy owner of realty in and near the Missouri metropolis. Robert, another son, settled in Chihuahua, Mexico, as a merchant and mine owner, and married a Spanish lady. Thomas settled in Iowa and was the first candidate for governor of that state on the Whig ticket. James remained on the Calfpasture, but his son John joined his uncle at Chihuahua and became a wealthy merchant. Rebecca, a daughter, married William McCutchen, and the wife of William W. Rucker, Congressman from Missouri, is a great- granddaughter.
Five Walkups, James, Joseph, John, Margaret, and (Florence Walkup) the wife of John Graham, Jr., were brothers and sisters and came to Little River about 1748. Captain James moved to the Waxhaw settlement, North Carolina, 1755, where he was a large planter and slaveholder. Samuel M., a grandson, was an antiquarian of that state. Joseph, son of John, was a lieutenant-governor of California, and is said to have refused an election to the senate of the United States. For several decades there was much confusion in the spelling of the family surname. Professor Wauchope, a distinguished literary critic of the South, has returned to the orthodox Scotch orthography. The appropriateness of doing so is very much open to question. The form Walkup is free from strangeness, and to the American ear is the closest possible approximation to the Scottish pronunciation. The phonographic value of the word Wauchope is unmistakable in Scotland, but not in America. In this connection it may be remarked that those German families who in years past modified the spelling of their surnames pursued a wise course. It was a practical step in Americanization.
William Warwick had four children. Jean and Martha were killed by the Indians about 1759. John Warwick settled in Kentucky in 1784. Jacob Warwick was an extensive owner of realty and livestock in Pocahontas. The widow of William Warwick married Andrew Sittlington of Bath.
J. Fulton Whitlock, otherwise Tarleton Whitlock, came from the east of Virginia.
William Youell settled on the Calfpasture about 1771.