Analysis:James Edmiston of Augusta County



Source Materials
Edmondson Tapestry

……………………..The Tapestry
Families Old Chester OldAugusta Germanna
New River SWVP Cumberland Carolina Cradle
The Smokies Old Kentucky


Will of James Edmiston of Wilkes Co. NC



There are numerous records in this area during this time period for a "James Edmondson" (and variant spellings). Genealogists frequently cite these records when discussing "their" James Edmondson. Sometimes different genealogists will cite the same records in discussing what are entirely different persons (albeit of the same name). This article is intended to help sort out which records are associated with which "James Edmondson".

Notebook:James Edmiston provides a summary of records presented in Chalkley's Chronicles that mention a "James Edmiston" (and variant spellings)). These records can be grouped into four major groups based on geographic clues that they contain. These are:

Records that mention a James Edmiston

1. In the southeastern quadrant of Borden's Grant, in the general vicinity of St. Mary's River.
2. In the vicinity of Buffalo Branch west of Staunton, on Beverly's Manor
3. In the vicinity of Red Banks in the Shannanodoah watershed in the northern portion of Augusta County (Now Shennandoah County)
4. Can not be associated with a specific area

For our immediate purposes, without presupposing who these individuals are related to, we can distinguish between them using georgraphic "By-names"[1]

James of Borden's Grant
James of Beverley's Manor
James of Red Banks

Many of the record set used to establish the three groups above contain information about the family relations of the individual that can potential help sort out to whom the individuals are related. The cues these records contain, however, are limited. Examining these records in isolation can lead to misunderstandings as to who the records are referring to. when not examined in the context of the other "James Edmiston's" can lead to misinterpretations about who is descended from whom. For example, James of Borden's Grant is sometimes identified as the son of David Edmiston who lived on Elk Creek on Beverly's Manor, and someetimes as the son of Robert Edmiston who lived on Borden's Grant. Both David and Robert had sons named David; property owned by each is separated by only about 15 miles. If you happened to notice only a few of the records, you could easily concluded that James of Borden's Grant could be the son of either Robert or David (and vice versa with James of Beverly's Manor.) However, if you look at the totality of the records, a more focused picture arises. Specifically, we can note that James of Borden's Grant is living in exactly the same area as Robert Edmiston---south east of Timber Ridge MH, on the St. Mary's River. At the same time, James of Beverly's manor is found living on Buffalo Branch, just west of Staunton, and in close proximity to where David Edmiston was living on Elk Creek. Further, the James Edmiston who was living in the Red Bank Community, can be seen as very unlikely to be closely related to either James of Borden's Grant, or James of Beverly's Manor, simply because Red Bank is over 40 to 60 miles distant from the where either of the other two were living.

Person Summary

Turning back to the original records, we can extract additional data about these individuals.

James of Borden's Grant. Person:Robert Edmiston (2) lived on Borden's Grant just southeast of the Timber Ridge MH. This is the same general area where James of St. Mary's lived with his wife Sarah. Sarah is known to be the widow of a George Hays. Robert's brother William lived on Hays Creek in northern Borden's Grant, near Andrew, John, and Charles Hays. The relationship between these three and George Hays is not clear at the moment, but we can guess that George is their kin. Putting all of that together suggests that James of St. Mary's is the son of Robert (2), and therefore, the James of the person:James Edmiston (1) article.

The foregoing gives a reasonable basis for identifying James of St. Mary's as the son of Robert Edmiston (2). It is not proof, as it would be possible for other interpretations to be made. For example, it might be that for whatever reasons James of Red Bank chose to purchase land some 60 miles distant on the St. Mary's River. The distance involved is substantial, but not impossible. We would, however, have to explain (for example) how he came to be married to Sarah Hays, whose family probably centered on Hays Creek on Borden's Grant; its not impossible to think so, but we have no real reason to expect that. While this, and other scenarios like it, are possible interpretations, the identification of James of St. Mary's as the son of Robert (2), seems to be the simplest explanation, and is therefore the one accepted as a working hypothesis.

James of Beverly's Manor.

Robert of Red Bank.

The following summarizes key points of interest.

Person by nameSpouseLocationProbable Family AffinityProbable Person Article
James of St. Mary'sSarah Hayslived south of the Timber Ridge MH on Borden's Grant, in the St. Mary's WatershedProbably the son of person:Robert Edmiston (2)person:James Edmiston (1)
James the tavernerAgness ThompsonLived on Beverly's Manor, and probably owned a tavern in Staunton,probably the son of David Edmiston=IsabellaPerson:James Edmondson (9)
James of Red BankLived well north of Beverly's Manor in the "Red Banks" communityFamily affinities unknown