Edmondson Family of Southwest Virginia

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Edmondson Family
Southwest Virginia


Edmondson Tapestry

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


Persons of Interest

Person:Andrew Edmiston (2) Person:John Edmiston (5) Person:John Edmiston (1)
Person:Robert Edmiston (5) Person:Robert Edmondson (6) Person:Samuel Edmiston (2)
person:Thomas Edmiston (2) person:Thomas Edmiston (4) Person:William Edmiston (3)
Col. Wm Edmiston (5) Person:William Edmondson (17)


A group of inter-related families using the "Edmiston/Edmondson" surname settled on the Holston watershed, in what is now Washington County, VA. shortly after the area was opened to settlement. In 1773 seven members of this group signed the Ebbing Springs Call to the Reverend Charles Cummings. Their appearance as signatories on this document provides our most comprehensive single representation of their early presence in the area. The following table identifies these persons, along with links to corresponding articles about them, as well as giving key genealogical data. [1]

SignatoryLink to ArticleDOBDODFatherMotherSpouse
Margaret Edmiston Person:Margaret Buchanan (1)Person:John Edmiston (1)
Robert Edmiston Person:Robert Edmiston (5)c1740Person:John Edmiston (1) XMargaret ?
John Edmiston Person:John Edmiston (5)c1750Person:John Edmiston (1) XMargaret
Samuel Edmiston Person:Samuel Edmiston (2)1738Person:John Edmiston (1) Margaret
Thomas Edmiston Person:Thomas Edmiston (2)c1760Person:John Edmiston (1) Margaret
Wm. Edmiston Person:William Edmiston (5) 1736Person:John Edmiston (1) Margaret
Wm. Edmiston Person:William Edmiston (3)c1720c1789Person:Robert Edmiston (2)
Other relations
Person:William Edmiston (9) X
Person:James Edmiston (1) X
Note: "X" (as in John X) indicates this person has not been identified in Washington County Records.
Persons in "SteelBlue" cells have substantive articles prepared. Others need to be done

In 1844 Andrew Edmiston replied to a query from Governor David Campbell concerning the personal history of his father Person:William Edmiston (5). Campbell's interest was triggered by the fact that William Edmiston was second in command under Andrew Campbell, at the battle of King's Mountain. Andrews reply eventually made its way into the Draper Manuscript Collection where it became incorporated as one of Drapers sources for his "Kings Mountain and its Hero's". This letter represents one of those rare instances where we have direct evidence from a contemporary of the original families who settled in Southwest Virginia, regarding their migration history. According to Andrew, his father was born in Cecil County Maryland in 1734, and moved to Rockbridge County prior to the French and Indian War. Around 1765 he moved again, first to Grayson County settling on the New River, and finally to Southwest Virginia, settling near Glade Springs in modern Washington County. We can give approximate dates for his presence in each of these areas, though additional work is needed to confirm this accounting. Data is currently being collected on the Edmondson Family of Cecil County Maryland and the Edmondson Family of Rockbridge County Virginia.

LocationTime periodComment
Cecil County Maryland1734-c1754We assume that he grew to manhood in Cecil County, then relocated, probably with other family members, by 1754
Rockbridgec1754-c1765Served in the French and Indian War, and apparently received a significant land grant for his service as Ensign. Presumably this fueled his next relocation.
Grayson Countyc1765-1770documentation is needed in particular to support this phase of his life.
Washington County1770 to 1822 He was certainly in the area before 1773 when he signed the Ebbing Springs Call; need earliest land record, etc.His son indicates that he died in 1822.

Family Settlement SWVA

There are numerous mentions of the Edmondson family (See Surname Disambiguation below for variant spellings), involved in land transactions in southwest Virginia begining certainly by 1771, and perhaps by 1770. For example:

Robert Edmondson...257 ac...Commissioners Certificate...on the south fork of Holston River...Beginning on the north side of the river, corner to John Edmondson, Jr.'s land...line of William Edmondson, Sr...corner to the patent land...line of John Buchanans land...on the north side of the river...May 20, 1784 - Robert Edmondson, assignee of William Edmondson, assignee of Robert Huston...400 ac..on the south fork of Holstein River, 108 ac surveyed for William Edmondson, Sr. on March 15, 1774...includes improvements, actual settlement made in 1770...August 17, 1781

Suggests that Robert Edmondson may have settled here in 1770, though the assignment statement may indicate that this original settlement was made by Robert Huston, not Robert Edmondson. HOwever, the following entry:

Samuel Edmondson...400 ac...Commissioners Certificate...on both sides of the Middle Fork of Holstein River...Beginning corner to Samuel Steels land...with John Scots line...corner to William Edmondson...leaving Col. Edmondsons line...January 29, 1783 - Samuel Edmondson...400 ac...on the middle fork of Holstein, includes improvements...200 ac surveyed by Military Warrant on March 14, 1774, actual settlement made in 1771...August 23, 1781

makes no mention of assignments, and so it would seem that in 1783 Samuel Edmondson secured 400 acres on the Middle Fork of the Holston by virtue of a military warrant, with the notation that the actual settlement was made in 1771, and surveyed in the spring of 1774.

There is also the following "outlier":

Page 37 - Robert Edmonson...400 ac...Commissioners Certificate...between the middle and south fork of Holston River...June 12, 1782 - Robert Edmonson, Legatee of Robert Edmonson, decd...400 ac by settlement made in 1763...adjoining George Masonrie, Robert Montgomery, Samuel Houston & Edward Houston...August 10, 1781

This suggests a settlement date of as early as 1763. There were settlers in this area prior to the onset of the French and Indian War, so this is not impossible. Those settlers, however, are generally thought to have been killed or fled to less exposed areas. After the end of the F&I, new settlement in the area was precluded by a King's Proclamation until 1769. Also, the Edmondson's are believed to have remained in Rockbridge County area until after c1765, and then settled in Grayson County to the north. This makes a settlement by Robert Edmondson in this area in 1763 seem very improbable. The original record needs to be checked to see if there is a typo here (perhaps a 1773 settlement date was meant).

A summary of surveyor records for the area (Southwest Virginia Project, Early Settlers:Settlement Summary by Person) provides the following list of properties surveyed for various members of the Edmondson family:

GivenLastDate of SettlementSurvey DateWatershedCreek
Samuel Edmondson 1771 March 14, 1774 MFHR
William Edmondson 1776 SFHR
William Edmondson 1776 MFHR
William Edmondson 1776 MFHR
William, Sr Edmondson 1770 March 15, 1774 SFHR
Andrew Edmonson 1772 SFHR
Robert Edmonson 1763 SFHR
Thomas Edmonson 1772 SFHR
William Edmonson 1771 MFHR

Key:MFHR...Middle Fork Holston River; SFHR...South Fork Holston River

Surname Disambiguation

There are a number of spelling variants for the "Edmondson" surname in records of Southwest Virginia. These variants are briefly describe in Edmondson Disambiguation Pages

Early Settlers

The following is a partial listing of persons using this surname, or variants, in Southwest Virginia through about 1786. Some of those listed may be the same individuals but listed under different surname spellings. This list is based on Southwest Virginia Project Register as of 22 January 2009. "Hot links" to articles about these individuals, as well as other individuals present in the area during this period, may be added as information develops.

Ordered by Given NameOrdered by Surname Spelling
Andrew Edmonson Robert Edminston
John Edmiston John Edmiston
Margaret Edmiston Margaret Edmiston
Robert Edmiston Robert Edmiston
Robert Edmonson Samuel Edmiston
Robert Edminston Thomas Edmiston
Samuel Edmiston Wm. Edmiston
Samuel Edmondson Samuel Edmondson
Thomas Edmiston William Edmondson
Thomas Edmonson William Edmondson Sr
William Edmondson Andrew Edmonson
William Edmonson Robert Edmonson
William Edmondson Sr Thomas Edmonson
Wm. Edmiston William Edmonson


  1. The family relationships given are to be taken "as presently understood". As work progresses on this family groups, the relationships shown may change.