Person:John McDowell (5)

Capt. John McDowell
b.1714 Ireland
m. 1706
  1. Mary Elizabeth McDowell1707 - 1809
  2. William McDowellabt 1710 - 1796
  3. James McDowellAbt 1712 - Abt 1760
  4. Capt. John McDowell1714 - 1742
  5. Margaret McDowellAbt 1716 -
m. 14 DEC 1734
  1. Col. Samuel McDowell1735 - 1817
  2. John McDowell1735 -
  3. James McDowellabt 1737 - 1771
  4. Sarah McDowell1741 -
Facts and Events
Name Capt. John McDowell
Gender Male
Birth? 1714 Ireland
Marriage 14 DEC 1734 Pennsylvaniato Magdalena Woods
Death? 25 Dec 1742 killed by Indians in Augusta County, Virginia
Burial? McDowell Cemetery, Rockbridge, Virginia, USA

John McDowell was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia


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Early Land Acquisition in Augusta County, VA


John McDowell's land as shown on the Beverley Manor and Borden Grant map meticulously drawn by J.R. Hildebrand, cartographer. This map is copyrighted©, used by permission of John Hildebrand, son of J.R. Hildebrand, April, 2009.


John McDowell's land (Borden Tract, NE, 959 acres, 1755) as shown on the map meticulously drawn by J.R. Hildebrand, cartographer. This map is copyrighted©, used by permission of John Hildebrand, son of J.R. Hildebrand, April, 2009. Note land of Ephraim McDowell (300 acres acquired in 1747), father of John, adjoins this tract to the north.

Account of John McDowell's land acquisition in Augusta County, from "Ulster-Scots in Virginia, From Pennsylvania to Shenandoah", by Richard MacMaster:

With so many Scotch-Irish pioneers moving up the Valley, other land speculators kept one step ahead of them. 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 92,000 acres. John McDowell, a surveyor, helped Borden locate his tract and was rewarded with a large acreage. The Borden tract later became Rockbridge County.

Acquisition of Land from Orange County, Virginia Records:

  • John McDowell had a survey made for 400 acres in Orange County, Virginia on 6 March 1739 James Wood, Surveyor. [Orange County Virginia Deed Book 3, Dorman, pg. 15].
  • John McDowell had a survey made for 400 acres in Orange County, Virginia on 9 March 1739 James Wood, Surveyor. [Orange County Virginia Deed Book 3, Dorman, pg. 15].

Acquisition of Land from Chalkley's:

  • Page 102.—20th May, 1755. Borden's executors (Magdalen Bowyer, relict and administratrix of John McDowell, late of Orange County, and mother of Samuel McDowell, an orphan under 21 years, being eldest son and heir-at-law of said John McDowell to said Samuel McDowell under the tuition of his guardian, Richard Woods, Gent.). Benjamin, Sr., had agreed to sell in his lifetime to Jno. McDowell. John entered the land under the agreement. John was killed by Indians. John had had the land surveyed by Borden's purveyor, John Hart; contained 1,359 acres; of this, John McDowell had covenanted to sell to John Paul 400 acres, whereupon Paul and others brought suit, vs. Samuel, for title. Decree, 22d August, 1752. Conveys all residue of the 1,359 acres whereon John lived; Roger Key's land: lohn Lyle's line; Mathew Lyle's corner, 959 acres. Delivered: Samuel McDowell, March, 1764.

Disposition of Land in Augusta County, VA from Chalkley's:

  • Page 295.—15th May, 1754. John Paul to Roger Keys. Benjamin Borden. Sr., had agreed to convey to John McDowell several parcels or tracts of land in Borden's tract to John McDowel and McDowell had covenanted to sell 400 acres to John Paul. Borden and McDowell both died, and Paul brought suit to compel a conveyance, which was decreed, but Benjamin. Jr., died before conveyance; but Archibald Alexander and Magdalen did convey to Paul, 10th April, 1754, now, $12, 400 acres where Benjamin Borden, Jr., and John McDowell lived on a small branch of Mary Creek at a corner in oatent line; corner to said John Paul's land; corner to said John Paul and Thomas Paxton, joyner.
  • Page 267.--1st October, 1765. Samuel McDowell and Mary to Christopher Vingard, £60, 300 acres patented to his father, John McDowell, 10th November, 1742, and said Samuel is eldest son and heir-at-law, whereon said Vingard now lives, on James River. Delivered: Christopher Vingard 6th July, 1793.
  • Page 408.--13th October, 1765. Samuel McDowell, eldest son and heir of John McDowell, deceased, and Mary to George Skillern, £300, 400 acres on James River.
  • Page 336.--14th October, 1765. Archibald Alexander, executor of Benj. Borden and Magdalene Bowyer, administratrix of John McDowell and mother of Samuel McDowell, orphan and heir-at-law of John McDowell, to William Lusk (contracted by Benj., Sr., to John McDowell). John covenanted to convey to Wm. Armstrong 300 acres for £9 in two tracts. Armstrong entered into possession, 200 acres thereof on Mill Creek in Borden's grant, and 100 acres on a west branch of James River called Catawbo Creek and made improvements on both places. John McDowell died 1742 without making conveyance. Armstrong brought suit in chancery, in which in 1752 it was ordered that conveyance be made to Armstrong, but Armstrong has covenanted to convey to Wm. Lusk the 200-acre tract for £26.10, beginning at a black oak; corner Isaac Taylor on Mill Creek, Daniel Lyle's line; corner Daniel Lyle and Edward Tarr. Teste: James and Samuel McDowell, Christopher Vinyard. Delivered: Wm. Lusk, November, 1766.

Importation of John McDowell to Orange County, Virginia

Capt. John McDowell (1714-1742) From Waddell’s Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, page 37:

“On the 28th of February 1739, John McDowell, who settled in Borden’s Grant, made oath at Orange Court that ‘he imported himself, Magdaline, his wife, and Samuel McDowell, his son, and John Rutter, his servant, at his own charge from Great Britain in the year 1737, to dwell in this colony, and that this is the first time of proving their rights in order to obtain land pursuant to the royal instructions’”. Waddell further says, “Captain John McDowell, was a prominent Captain of a military force of Augusta County in 1742. Ephraim McDowell, then an old man, was a member of his son John’s company. All grown men were enrolled without respect to age.”

Survey Agreement with Benjamin Borden

from "A History of Rockbridge County, Virginia", by Oren Frederic Morton, pg. 22-23:

It was just after the McDowells had established their camp on Linville Creek that an incident occurred which led to some change in destination. A man giving his name as Benjamin Borden* came along and arranged to spend the night with them. He told them he had a grant of 100,000 acres on the waters of the James, if he could ever find it. To the man who could show him the boundaries he would give 1,000 acres. John McDowell replied that he was a surveyor and would accept the offer. A torch was lighted, McDowell showed his surveying instruments, and Borden his papers. Each party was satisfied with the representations made by the other. At the house of John Lewis, where they remained a few days, a more formal contract was entered into, the phraseology of which indicates that it was written by Borden. The document reads as follows:

Sept. ye 19th 1737

This day John McDowell of Orange County in Virginia have agreed with Benjamin Borden of the same place that he the said McDowell would go now with his family and his father and his Brothers and make four Settlements in the said Bordens land which was granled to the said Borden on this side of the blue ridge in the fork of said River, and said McDowell has also agreed with the said Borden that he the sd McDowell would cut a good Road for Horses loaded with common Luggage and blaze the Trees all the way plain, and also the said McDowell has agreed with the said Benjamin Borden that he the said Mr. McDowell would go with the sd Borden and take account of the Settlement of Borden Lind on the River at the place called the Chimbly Stone and on Smith Creek and be evidence for the said Borden of all his settlements aforesaid, and in consideration oi the premises the said Borden is to give one thousand acres of Land when he the said McDowell build in the sd fork of the sd River and the sd Borden is to give the said McDowell good lawfull Deed as the said Borden can get of the King clear of all charges excepting the quitrents & also the said Borden do here agree to give to these the other three Settlements six hundred acres of Land clear of all charges as before excepted and the said McDowell is to go down with a compt (count) of all the Settlements as aforesaid with Borden to his House by the tenth day of October next to go with said Borden to Colo Willis to price the Settlements as aforesaid as witness my hand

Benjamin Borden

Record of John McDowell's Administration

From Orange County, Virginia records:

  • Pages 254-55. Bond of Magdalene McDowell, Richd. Wood and James McDowell unto Thos. Chew, justice. For £800. 24 March 1742. Magdalene McDowell is admx. of John McDowel, Gent. (signed) Magdalene (M) McDowell, Richard Wood, James MCDowell. Wit: James Porteus. 24 March 1742. Acknowledged. [1743]. [Orange County, Virginia Will Book 1, Dorman, pg. 49].
  • Pages 269-72. John McDowel, Gent. Inventory. Made pursuant to order of 20 April 1743. Total valuation ₤216.4.3½ including two Negroes valued at ₤40 and one white apprentice boy. (signed) John Mathews, Joseph Lagesly [?], Jno. Christian. Signed by Magdalene McDowel, administrix. 23 June 1743. Presented into Court by Magdalene McDowel, admx. [Orange County Virginia Will Book 1, Dorman, pg. 51].

From Chalkley's:

  • Page 59.--17th September, 1747. Benj. Borden on behalf of his wife, Magdalene, qualifies administrator of John McDowell, with sureties Richard Woods, Peter Wallace. Teste: Benj. Johnston.

Personal Information of John McDowell

The following account in Chalkley's describes the migration of the McDowell family to the Orange/Augusta County, VA area:

Page 122--Mary Greenlee deposes, 10th November, 1806, she and her husband settled in Borden's Grant in 1737. Her son John was born 4th October, 1738. She, her husband, her father (Emphraim McDowell, then very aged), and her brother, John McDowell, were on their way to Beverley Manor; camped on Linvel's Creek (the spring before her brother James had raised a crop on South River in Beverley Manor, above Turk's, near Wood Gap); there Benj. Borden came to their camp and they conducted him to his grant which he had never seen, for which Borden proposed giving 1,000 acres. They went on to the house of John Lewis, near Staunton, who was a relative of Ephraim McDowell. Relates the Milhollin story. They were the first party of white settlers in Borden's Grant. In two years there were more than 100 settlers. Borden resided with a Mrs. Hunter, whose daughter afterwards married one Guin, to whom he gave the land whereon they lived. Her brother John was killed about Christmas before her son Samuel (first of the name) was born (he was born April, 1743).
Benj. Borden, Jr., came into the grant in bad plight and seemed to be not much respected by John McDowell's wife, whom Benj. afterwards married. Jno. Hart had removed to Beverley Manor some time before deponent moved to Borden's. Joseph Borden had lived with his brother Benj.; went to school, had the smallpox about time of Benj's. death. When he was about 18 or 19 he left the grant, very much disliked, and dissatisfied with the treatment of his brother's wife. Beaty was the first surveyor she knew in Borden's grant. Borden had been in Williamsburg, and there in a frolic Gov. Gooch's son-in-law, Needier, has given him his interest in the grant. Borden's executor, Hardin, offered to her brother James all the unsold land for a bottle of wine to anyone who would pay the quit rents, but James refused it because he feared it would run him into jail. This was shortly after Margaret Borden married Jno. Bowyer. John Moore settled in the grant at an early day, where Charles Campbell now lives.
Andrew Moore settled where his grandson William now lives. These were also early settlers, viz: Wm. McCandless, Wm. Sawyers, Rob. Campbell, Saml. Wood, John Mathews, Richd. Woods, John Hays and his son Charles Hays, Saml. Walker, John McCraskey. Alexr. Miller was the first blacksmith in the settlement. One Thomas Taylor married Elizabeth Paxton. Taylor was killed by the falling of a tree shortly after the marriage. Miller removed and his land has been in possession of Telford. Deponent's daughter Mary was born May, 1745. McMullen was also an early settler; he was a school teacher and had a daughter married. John Hays's was the first mill in the grant. Quit rents were not exacted for 2 years at the instance of Anderson, a preacher.


From post:

Re: Woods-McDowell [PA-VA] circa 1730 Posted by: Kelle Metz Date: May 11, 2000 at 09:42:03 In Reply to: Woods-McDowell [PA-VA] circa 1730 by Brett F. Woods of 7006

I show that Magdalina Woods and John McDowell had the following children: James McDowell b 1739 Rockbridge Co. VA.; Sarah McDowell b 1741 VA.; Elizabeth McDowell b VA.; John McDowell b 27 Dec 1735 VA.(twin?); and Samuel McDowell b 27 Dec 1735 (twin?).

With these dates it would seem that the Margaret and Mary McDowell listed were not children of Magdalina Woods McDowell, nor were they probably Magdalina. I will look at my McDowell info and see if I can find who they might be.

Kelle Metz