Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia



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Old Augusta

Early Settlers
Beverley Manor
Borden's Grant

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Migration History

The first Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia arrived in the 1720's primarily from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Eastern Virginia. Some were German-born or the Pennsylvania-born children of German-speaking Protestant immigrants from the Palatinate and other areas bordering the Rhine River. These were Lutheran, Reformed, or Brethren. The greatest numbers of early Augusta settlers were from the province of Ulster in the north of Ireland, or were the Pennsylvania and Maryland-born children of these Ulster Scots or Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. Many early settlers took up land on the 112,000-acre tract that the colonial government granted to William Beverley, later referred to as "Beverley Manor".

In 1739, Benjamin Borden a New Jersey Quaker, received a grant beginning at the southern boundary of Beverley Manor. Borden was promised 1,000 acres for every settler he located, amounting in all to 92,100 acres. John McDowell, a surveyor, helped Borden locate his tract and was rewarded with a large acreage. The "Borden Tract" later became Rockbridge County, VA. In addition to the Scot's Irish, English and African-Americans were also among the early settlers in the area. Many settlers were of of English descent, coming into the area from eastern Virginia. African Americans were also among the early settlers, some free-born, but most enslaved. Although initially small in number, by the Civil War they represented 20% of the population. (Source: Augusta County Historical Society, http://www.augustacountyhs.org/history.html)

Augusta County was created from Orange County in 1738. For seven years, until the population grew large enough, Augusta’s records were kept in Orange. In 1745, Augusta elected a sheriff, a vestry, a county court, a minister, and a clerk of court. A courthouse was built on the same site in Staunton (originally called Beverley’s Mill Place) as the current courthouse. The county’s records have been kept continuously at the courthouse since 1745. In that year, the county included all of present southwestern Virginia, most of present West Virginia and even stretched to the Mississippi River. As people began to settle in those western areas, new counties were formed from parts of Augusta, beginning in 1769 with Botetourt County, then Rockingham and Rockbridge in 1778.

Sources: Augusta County Historical Society Website [1] ; "Ulster-Scots in Virginia, from Pennsylvania to Shenandoah", by Richard McMaster; "Kegley's Virginia Frontier: The Beginning of the Southwest", by E.F. Kegley; Wikipedia; Rootsweb.


The First Families


From: Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871 By Joseph Addison Waddell These were the first few families that made up the first influx of primarily Irish settlers seeking prosperity in early Orange and Augusta County, Virginia.

  • Lists Date of Importation and Family Names:

22 Feb. 1739

Patrick Campbell (b. 1696, Ireland, d. 17 Mar. 1767, Augusta County, VA), m. 1) Elizabeth Taylor, bef. 1716 prob. in Ireland, m. 2) Eleanor (unknown) abt. 1754.

George Hudson, no information.

John Lewis (b. 01 Feb 1677/78, County Donegal, Ulster Province, Ireland, d. 01 Feb 1762, Augusta County, VA), m. Margaret Lynn (1693-1773). This John Lewis is sometimes confused with another John Lewis, from Shenandoah County, Virginia.

George Robertson, no information.

28 Feb. 1739

John McDowell made oath that he imported himself, Magdalen his wife, Samuel McDowell his son, and John Rutter his servant at his charge from Great Britain in the year 1737 to dwell in this country, is refered to as Capt. John McDowell (b. 1714, Ireland, d. 14 Dec 1742, where he was killed by Indians in Augusta County). He married Magdelena Woods (1712-1810), a daughter of Samuel Woods and Elizabeth Campbell. His wife Magdalena married 2nd, Benjamin Borden, Jr. in 1744, and 3rd, Gen. John Bowyer bef. Nov. 1754.

James Cathey, Ann, his wife; Wm, Elizabeth, Andrew, George, Margrot & Ann Cathey (from Ireland)

Patrick McCaddan; for himself and Samuel Givens. GenealogyTrails.com

William Ledgerwood; for himself and Agnes, Martha, Jane, Elener, William, James. GenealogyTrails.com

Robert McDowell; for himself and Martha, Jane, Margaret, William. GenealogyTrails.com

29 Feb. 1739

Ephraim McDowell (being old), John McDowell, his son, James & Margaret McDowell

22 May, 1740

George Anderson , his wife, Elizabeth, and his children, William, Margaret, John and Frances. This was George Anderson, (b. abt. 1710, Ireland, d. 1788, Augusta County, VA), m. Elizabeth Crawford (abt. 1710-1788). George was a son of John Anderson and Margaret (unknown), and brother of John, William and James Anderson, who also migrated to Augusta County.

John Anderson his wife, Jane, and his children, Esther, Mary and Margaret. This was John Anderson, (b. abt. 1712, Ireland, d. 1787, Augusta County, VA), married Jane (unknown). He was the son of John Anderson, Sr. and Margaret (unknown) and brother of George, William and James Anderson, who also migrated to Augusta County.

James Bell and his children, John, Margaret and Elizabeth. These were the "Long Glade Bells". This was James Bell (b. 1710, Ireland, d. May 1751, Augusta County, VA), m. Rachel McCune. Owned several tracts of land in Augusta County, mentioned in his will, written in 1749.

Alexander Breckenridge and (unreadable), John, George, Robert, (unreadable), Smith, (unreadable), and Letitia Breckenridge from Ireland to Philadelphia. Note: In a deed from Wm. Null to John Coalter, Nov. 28, 1750, for 210 acres of land on Mill Creek, mention is made of Robert McClanahan's lines and the corner "to the grave-yard of John Breckinridge who was murdered by Indians." This is Alexander Breckenridge (b. 1670, d. 1743, Augusta County, VA) that married Jane Preston and brought a large family to Augusta County.

William Brown and his children, Mary, Robert, Hugh and Margaret. More information needed on this family.

James Caldwell and his children, Mary, Jean, Agnes, John, Sarah and Samuel. This was James Caldwell, (b. bef 1714, prob. Ireland), purchased 600 acres in Augusta County 20 Feb. 1738 on Christian's Creek. Appointed Constable in 1743. Wife Mary, Children: Jean, Agnes, John, Mary, Sarah and Samuel.

John Hays and his children Rebecca, Charles, Andrew, Barbara, Joan and Robert. John Hays (b. est. 1685-1694, prob. Ireland, d. Dec. 1750, Augusta County, VA) was probably the brother of Patrick Hays, listed below.

Patrick Hays and his (wife) Frances and children, Joan, William, Margaret, Catharine and Ruth. Patrick Hays (b. est. 1700-1710, d. abt. 1761 in Orange County, VA) married Frances (some say McNitt), and was probably the brother of John Hays, listed above.

David Logan his wife, Jane, and his children, Mary and William. David Logan (b. 1706, d. abt. 1757, Augusta County, VA) married Jane McKinley and were the parents of Gen. Benjamin Logan (1742-1802), who was born shortly after their migration to Augusta County, VA.

Robert Patterson , his wife Grace, and his children, Thomas, Mary and Elizabeth. Robert Patterson (b. 28 May 1700, d. bet. Oct-Nov. 1774, Augusta County, VA) was a son of William Patterson and Janet Erwin.

Robert Poage his wife, Elizabeth, and his children, Margaret, John, Martha, Sarah, George, Mary, Elizabeth, William and Robert.

John Preston came in with Breckinridge and others, but postponed proving his importation till 1746, when he appeared before the court of Augusta, "to partake of his Majesty's bounty for taking uplands."

Samuel Scott, his wife, Jane, and son, John. Samuel Scott (b. bef. 1710, d. 1749 in Augusta County, VA) married 1st, Jane (Unknown) bef. 1730 and 2nd, Ann Oliver bet. 1746-1746, probably in Augusta County, VA.

Robert Scott, his wife, Ann, and his children, Mary, George and Esther. Robert was the brother of Samuel Scott, listed above.

John Stephenson and his (wife) Sarah and (daughter) Mary. John Stephenson (b. abt. 1700, d. abt. 1778, Rockingham County, VA) married Sarah Waite. Their daughter Mary married Archibald Houston (1730-1774). One account has John Stevenson being imported with "daughters" Sarah and Mary, but that appears to be in error according to other accounts. There is no mention of a daughter Sarah in his will, only his wife Sarah was mentioned.

Thomas Stephenson and Rachel Steavenson (from Ireland)

John Trimble and his children, Ann, Margaret and Mary. [this appears to be John Trimble, Sr. of North Mountain]

David Wilson, his wife, Charity, and son, James.

26 June, 1740

Hugh Campbell and his children, Esther and Sarah. (b. 1714, Ireland, d. Dec. 1774, Augusta County VA), married Esther McGill, daughter of William McGill/Magill and Mary Eakin.

John Smith, his wife, Margaret, his children, Abraham, Henry, Daniel, John and Joseph, and Robert McDowell. This was Captain (later Col.) John Smith of Augusta, who became prominent during the Indian wars, as did his sons, Abraham, Daniel and John.

Robert Young and his children, Agnes, John, Samuel and James, (b. 1711, County Antrim, Ireland, d. 1762 in Augusta County, VA), m. Agnes Crockett abt. 1730 in Ireland. Robert was a son of John Young (d. 1747, Augusta County) and Annie Houston.


Early Landowners

Settlers in Beverley Manor

Note: Links to Early Landowners that received land from William Beverley (Beverley Patent), listed in alphabetical order with Hildebrand map quadrant (if located), date of acquisition (from Hildebrand map or Chalkley's reference) and other identifying information from Chalkley's (if referenced), and some include link to WeRelate family:


"The Great Valley of Virginia, Old Augusta"

Series of articles in the Staunton Spectator on "The Great Valley of Virginia, Old Augusta". Staunton spectator. [volume] (Staunton, Va.), 20 May 1873. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024718/1873-05-20/ed-1/seq-1/>

  • 1st, 20 May 1873 includes the Discovery and First Settlement of Augusta, The Beverly Manor Grant deeds list, The Four Johns-Salling, Marlin, Lewis and Mackay, and The Preston Family
  • 2nd, 27 May 1873 includes The Preston Family-Continued (major portion of article), The Christians and Patricks, The Leslies
  • 3rd, 3 June 1873 The Scotch-Irish of the Valley, 4th 10 June 1873 The Scotch-Irish of the Valley continued and 17 June 1873 The Scotch-Irish of the Valley, The Contest for Freedom Begun ...
  • 8 July 1873 includes Archibald Stuart, Sr and His Descendants
  • 15 July 1873 includes The Leslie Family-Continued, John Stuart's Family, Old Parson John Craig, The Crawfords, Thomas Patterson, William Baskins
  • 22 July 1873 includes The Poague Family, Rankin Family, John Percy-Sometimes called Piercy. Seems to be the final article.

Borden's Grant

Land Owners in the Borden Grant (Original Patents)
Arrivals to the Borden Grant

Beyond Goshen Pass:

The Calfpasture
The Cowpasture
The Bullpasture (formerly called "Clover Creek")

Shenandoah River

James River

Settlers of the James River

Outlying Areas:

Settlers of the Upper Potomac (Included three major watershed: The Cacapon River (a portion of which was known as the "Lost River of Calaphon"), The South Branch of the Potomac, and the North Branch of the Potomac)

Settlers of the Upper Roanoke

  • There were two streams known as "Buffalo Creek" and and two streams known as "Goose Creek" in Old Augusta. In the case of "Buffalo Creek" one was in the James River Watershed, and the other in the Roanoke watershed, and survive as currently named. There were also two Goose Creeks, one in the James and the other in the Roanoke watershed, but only the one in the James River watershed continues to be known as "Goose Creek. The one in the Roanoke watershed is now known as the North Fork of the Roanoke.

Settlers of the Woods River/New River

Settlers of the Upper Tennessee

Settlers of the District of West Augusta

Counties Formed from Augusta

Augusta County was established in 1738 from part of Orange County (which was formed from 1734 from part of Spotsylvania). Initially, it covered a very wide area extending south to the modern Tennessee Border, and westward into Kentucky what is now West Virginia, and beyond. 0ver the next 150 years Augusta was repeatedly subdivided into more manageable units, until it finally reached its present size and configuration. As the county evolved, settlers once in "Old Augusta" found themselves in the new daughter counties. In some cases, this happened because they physically moved to new locations within the boundaries of Old Augusta, and in other cases, they never left their original homesite, with the area in which they lived successively being redesignated as part of a series of successive daughter counties.

A consequence of this is that in order to keep track of early settlers that lived in the Augusta County, Virginia area, one must take into account the areas within and adjacent to Augusta County's original boundaries that later formed other Virginia Counties (up to 1799). The following is intended to help keep track of these changes. Eventually, the plan is to include maps showing the repeated subdivision of the area once known as "Augusta County".

Orange (parent County of Augusta) - formed in 1734 from part of Spotsylvania
Augusta - formed in 1738 from Orange (records kept in Orange until 1745)
Frederick - formed in 1743 from Orange (many Augusta families lived in areas bordering Frederick and records are frequently found in both Counties)
Hampshire - formed in 1754 from parts of Frederick and Augusta, became part of West Virginia in 1863
Botetourt - formed in 1770 from Augusta
Berkeley - formed in 1772 from northern third of Frederick, became part of West Virginia in 1863
Fincastle - formed in 1772 from part of Botetourt, became Montgomery County in 1777
Shenandoah - formed in 1772 (then called Dunmore) from part of Frederick, later re-named in 1778 to Shenandoah
Montgomery County - replaced Fincastle County in 1777
Rockbridge - formed in 1777 from part of Augusta and Botetourt
Greenbrier - formed in 1778 from part of Botetourt and Montgomery, became part of West Virginia in 1863
Rockingham - formed in 1778 from part of Augusta
Hardy - formed in 1786 from part of Hampshire, became part of West Virginia in 1863
Pendleton - formed in 1787/88 from parts of Augusta, Hardy and Rockingham, became part of West Virginia in 1863
Bath - formed in 1790 from parts of Augusta, Botetourt and Greenbrier
Monroe - formed in 1799 from part of Greenbrier, became part of West Virginia in 1863

Map Work

Early Map of Beverley Manor and Borden Grant Showing Meeting Houses (Rootsweb link)[2]

Map of Augusta County, Virginia - 1886

  • (Shows location of North River, Middle River, Beverley Manor, South River and Riverheads)

Map of Borden Tract, based upon J.R. Hildebrand Map (Rootsweb link) [3]

Alphabetical Listing of Borden Grant Settlers (Rootsweb link) [4]

Maps of Beverley Patent, 1736, as compiled and painstakinly drawn by J.R. Hildebrand, the reknowned cartographer, in 1954, which shows the plots to the original grantees:

Northeast Section: (Rootsweb link) [5]

Northwest Section: (Rootsweb link) [6]

Southeast Section: (Rootsweb link) [7]

Southwest Section: (Rootsweb link) [8]

Hard copies of the J.R. Hildebrand maps of the Beverley Patent and the Borden Grant are available at: History Museum and Historical Society of Western Virginia 1 Market Square S.E. Roanoke, VA 24011 Phone - (540) 342-5770

Alphabetical Listing of Original Grantees in Beverley Manor with Hildebrand Map Coordinates, painstakingly compiled by James D. Small, of Surgoinsville, Tennessee (Rootsweb link) [9]

Note: there are some errors in dates on the Hildebrand Map and the Alphabetical listing of James Small that are in conflict with the dates listed in Chalkley's. I have deferred to the date listed in Chalkley's in those circumstances.

A selection of maps of Old Augusta county is available at Maps of Old Augusta County. Maps include:

Panoramic View 1861
Boundaries of Old Augusta County, 1761


Good summary of early settlement period
Semi-Comprehensive Bibliography of Augusta County
Bibliography of Augusta County
Bibliography for Augusta County


Augusta County Justices 1740-1770