Person:James Maxwell (55)

Capt. James "Great White Chief" Maxwell
d.bef. 27 March 1821 Tazewell County, Virginia
  1. William Maxwell1743 -
  2. Capt. James "Great White Chief" MaxwellABT 1745 - bef 1821
  3. John Maxwell1745 -
  4. Thomas Maxwell1747 - 1782
  • HCapt. James "Great White Chief" MaxwellABT 1745 - bef 1821
  • WJane Robertsbef 1750 - after 1820
m. BEF 1767
  1. Mattie Maxwell1768-1776 - 1782
  2. Jennie Maxwell1768-1776 - 1782
  3. Mary MaxwellABT 1774 -
  4. Margaret 'Peggy' MaxwellABT 1776 - AFT 1850
  5. Nancy Ann MaxwellABT 1778 - 1840
  6. James Maxwell1780 - 1866
  7. William MaxwellABT 1782 - ABT 1868
  8. Robert Maxwell1786 - 1861
  9. Jane Maxwell1788 - 1861
Facts and Events
Name Capt. James "Great White Chief" Maxwell
Gender Male
Birth? ABT 1745 Augusta, Virginia, United States
Baptism[5] 15 AUG 1745 Augusta, Virginia, United States
Marriage BEF 1767 Virginiato Jane Roberts
Death[6] bef. 27 March 1821 Tazewell County, Virginia


Maxwell Tapestry

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


Source:Harman, 1922. Annals of Tazewell County, Virginia, from 1800 to 1922. (Numerous Maxwell entries).
Source:Bundy, 1976
Transcript:Narrative of Mary Ann Fields, 1918 in:Source:Harman, 1922:375
Transcript:Maxwell Vs Pickens, Augusta County, 1807


Transcript:Signatories, Petition to form Tazwell County, VA, 1797[7]
Transcript:Will of James Maxwell, Tazewell County, VA, 1820
Transcript:Narrative of Mary Ann Fields, 1918
Joel Hager's South West Virginia Research
Notebook. Notes for the James Maxwell family of Tazewell County, VA
Transcript:Deed, Children of James Maxwell, Tazewell County, VA, 1828


The grandson of immigrant ancestor John Maxwell (88), James Maxwell came to what is now Tazewell County in 1772. Years later he would testify that:

In 1772 orator went from Botetourt, where he lived, to present Tazewell County to make a settlement. It was then a wilderness. He was in company with Samuel Walker. Found a tract with some improvements, viz: The foundation of a cabin, some rails split and some trees deadened. That night they fell in with a party of hunters, among them Uriah Stone, who claimed to have made the improvement, and orator purchased it, and the same year moved his family there and lived until 1784. Transcript:Maxwell Vs Pickens, Augusta County, 1807

It would seem from this account that James had already married by 1772, which probably indicates that he was born c1750. The reference to "Samuel Walker" is significant in terms of identifying his family relationships. .....

Where the property was that he secured from Uriah Stone was located is unclear. His greatgrandaughter (Mary Ann Fields) described his home As being on Cavitts Creek near the Clinch River, but this is probably not the original homesite:

My great-grandfather emigrated to the western part of Virginia. Settled in Tazewell County, Virginia on Cavitts creek near Clinch river, four miles from the Courthouse. He owned a nice farm, owned cattle, horses, sheep and hogs, was considered a "well-to-do" farmer at that time. His horses, cattle and sheep ran at large for want of fences and enclosed pastures. He kept four large Dane dogs for protection when he went in search of his cattle and horses. He had a large dog before and behind him, his gun on his shoulder, a knife at his side. He never looked to the right or left, went straight forward with a firm step and a fixed determination to conquer or die. The Indians never molested him, they were deadly afraid of him, called him: "The Great White Chief". From: Transcript:Narrative of Mary Ann Fields, 1918.


My great-grandfather and his sons worked hard, cleared the timber from their land built a crude log house and out buildings, had a garden, also set out a young orchard, had also fields to raise corn, rye, and such grain as they could get seed for. Autumn rolled around and he had to take his horses and sons and go to King's salt works, now called Palmer works, to get salt, to save his meat, also for his stock. The mother was left with the younger sons and oldest daughter. The mother was confined to her bed with an infant. Some stray skulking Indians were passing through came to the little home in the forest, scalped and tomahawked the two little sisters, Jennie and Mattie Maxwell. They each had a pet lamb, they asked their sister, Mary if they could go in the orchard to find their pets, she gave them her consent. They tarried too long, she went in search of them found the dead lambs and the two children slain, one was dead the other died that night.Transcript:Narrative of Mary Ann Fields, 1918

Hamilton places this event in April of 1782, and provides extensive original source documentation. (See also, Entry 47 in Index to Hamilton's Atrocity Stories. "At the same time Indians attacked the William Ingles family in nearby Burke's Garden, capturing his wife, several children, and others. James' brother, Thomas Maxwell led a party of 22 men in pursuit of the Indians, and was killed during the fight to rescue the Ingles family." (See: [[ Hamilton).

Following the death of his two daughters, and brother Thomas, James apparently left the area for awhile. The Cavitt's Creek property is probably where he settled after his return a year or two later.

Land grants

James Maxwell 17 Oct 1804 Tazewell County 705 a. On the waters of Clinch River adjoining John Tallott and Bells land Grants No. 52, p. 492

James Maxwell 4 Nov 1803 and William George Tazewell County 87 a. On the waters of Clinch River adjoining his own and James Wittens land Grants No. 52, p. 102

Historical markers

X-16, Indian-Settler Conflicts (formerly Indian Outrages), Bus. Rt. 19 two miles west of Tazewell - During Dunmore's War (1774) and the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) conflicts between Indians and colonists often intensified as European powers encouraged Indians from the Ohio region to attack frontier settlers. Tensions also sometimes increased when settlers moved into lands that were once Indian territory. Nearby to the south, an early conflict occurred in the upper Clinch River Valley, when Indians attacked and killed John Henry, his wife and their children on 8 September 1774. Additional conflicts took place during this period, including a March 1782 Indian attack on the house of James Maxwell that killed two of his daughters. (Revision-March, 2001)


The following contain useful information, but they are not tied into the main article. As such, they are more "notes" than actual references. Some of the material is copyrighted, and exceed fair use limitations (e.g., the item from Emory Hamilton).

  1.   A list of Captain James Maxwell's Company' formed 1777 (ca 1881 or before.), in Kegley, Mary B. Militia of Montgomery County, Virginia, 1777-1790. (Roanoke, Virginia: M.B. Kegley, c1975 (Roanoke, Va. : Copy Cat)).

    James Maxwell Capt.
    Thomas Maxwell Lieut. (Thomas Maxwell was wounded)
    Samuel Mares
    Henry Mars
    William Maxwell

  2.   Unknown.

    In 1782 Captain Maxwell was at the head of Clinch River over twenty five men. He was the group nearest the Washington County line.
    Wythe County, VA Tax Lists 1793 to 1800. We find James Esq. in 1793, 1794, 1796, 1798, 1799 and 1800. There is also a Isaac in 1800 that I can not place.
    Virginia Tax Payers 1974 by Fothergills
    Rockbridge 1782
    John Maxwell
    Mongtomery County 1782
    Bazleel Maxwell
    Elisha Maxwell
    James Maxwell
    Thomas Maxwell
    William Maxwell

  3.   Hoge, James M. First Tazewell County Deeds, Surveys, Land Grants, Patents.

    James Maxwell and Jenny 1795 Survey 250 acres Adjacent William Brooks Wythe SB 1-138
    1802 Deed 200 acres branch Crab Orchard Creek branch Clinch River to Audley
    Campbell, Tazewell 1DB 104
    1809 Deed 157 acres also John and Polly to William Maxwell Tazewell 2 DB 3
    1809 Deed 210 acres to John Maxwell Tazewell 2 DB 2
    23 Feb 1790 James Maxwell a tax payer living Clinch River, Plumb Creek,
    Baptist Valley from Montgomery County, VA Circa 1790 by Yantis p91
    1800 Wythe Tax Lists has John Maxwell, James Maxwell, Henry Marrs and Christopher Marrs.

  4.   Chalkley, Lyman. Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish settlement in Virginia: Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County, 1745-1800. (Rosslyn, Virginia: The Commonwealth Printing Company, 1912-1913 in Three Volumes), Vo l 2, pp 24-33.

    SEPTEMBER, 1800 (A to G).
    Commonwealth vs. James Maxwell--Appeal from Winchester District Court from judgment of conviction for receiving bribe for appointing Henry Bedinger Clerk of County Court of Berkley. Information filed 13th October, 1798. District composed of Frederick, Berkley and Shenandore.
    "Not guilty."

  5. Many genealogists describe his birth as in "Old Craig Parish". This seems to be a reference to Tinkling Springs and Stone Meetinghouses in Augusta County, whose congregations were ministered to by the Rev. John Craig. Since the terminology "Old Craig Parish" is used by genealogists almost exclusively with respect to this Maxwell family, there probably was not a formally designated parish by this name.
  6. Probate date. See Transcript:Will of James Maxwell, Tazewell County, VA, 1820
  7. Petition was signed by a "J. Maxwell" who could be james Maxwell.
  8. The statement that " The statement that "The Indians never molested him..." is not accurate, as Ms Fields goes on to describe the 1782 death of two of his daughters, both of whom were killed by Indians, along with his brother Thomas.