Location: Shenandoah County VA

Jewish Pioneers on the Virginia Frontier

The experience of getting to know Brent Kennedy brought back a memory from the exact same year that Brent discovered his Melungeon heritage – 1988.  The loan closing documents for purchasing what my former wife and I thought was a long abandoned “Civil War Era” farm house in the Shenandoah Valley produced two big surprises.  The plat for the farm was drawn in 1755 and had as its draughtsman and surveyor, the big initials, GeoW . . . that’s George Washington.  The giant oak tree at the entrance to the farm’s driveway had displayed the same initials until the 1940s when a collector from Washington, DC had cut it out. The original deed, from the same year, was from Thomas, Lord Fairfax to someone named Jost Hite.  Eventually, Jost Hite sold the tract of land to Colonel John Tipton and the adjacent tract to John Sevier. Both men had initially built log cabins. Tipton then built a heavy timber house in 1770 while Sevier soon moved on to what is now Tennessee. Tipton’s wife died in childbirth in the master bedroom of our house in 1776.  Afterward, Tipton spent most of his time fighting the British, until moving to Tennessee himself.   The copy of my former Virginia house in Johnson City, TN is now the Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site. The name, Hite, intrigued me.  One summer while at Georgia...

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Biography of John Davis

John Davis, of Jonesburg, familiarly known as “Uncle John,” is the oldest son of the late Thomas Davis, of Shenandoah Co., Va. John was born October 30, 1791, in Shenandoah County, and is now nearly 85 years of age. When he was about sixteen his parents removed to Bourbon Co., Ky., and when the war of 1812 began, he enlisted in the army and served under Generals Winchester and Payne. He was stationed at Forts Wayne and Laramie, in Ohio, for some time. In 1820 he came to Missouri, and stopped a short time in St. Louis, which then had only one principal street, and most of the houses were made of square posts set upright, with the spaces between filled with straw and mud, the chimneys being built of the same material. The court house was surrounded by a post-and-rail fence, and young Davis was sitting on this fence when the announcement was made that the Territory of Missouri had become a State. From St. Louis Mr. Davis went to Pike County, and settled in Clarksville, where he lived forty-six years. In those days rattlesnakes were much more abundant than they are now, and the old pioneers would occasionally go on “snaking” frolics. They always came back vomiting from the effects of the poisonous smell of the snakes. On one occasion Mr. Davis and his neighbors went to...

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Dunmore’s War Rosters

The “Dunmore’s War Rosters” is the chief and by far the most reliable source from which to obtain rosters of the companies engaged in the battle of Point Pleasant, and we print there-from all of those which participated in that struggle. In addition to these, this work contains rolls or lists of men engaged in defending the frontier in 1774.

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