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Looney Files:

Adam Looney
Robert Looney
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Looney Family

Robert Looney
b. 1692-1702 d. 1770

Robert Looney's signature on 1746 Augusta Co. Virginia, order to appraise Zimmerman's improvements p. 130
Used by permission
To view Robert Looney's will CLICK HERE

Robert Looney was a public spirited man who provided valuable services on the Upper James River, an area that was a key to the advancement of the frontier. An account with Moses Thompson, made before 1746, may suggest that Robert Looney was a Long Hunter during the 1740ís. It is possible that nothing is known about the period of his life when he traversed southwestern Virginia, possibly even into what is now Kentucky, as a hunter, trapper and explorer. Through the generations, certain traits seem to be common among some Looney descendants; these include hunting and an interest in western land.  One probably led to another;  to reach the best hunting areas, one had to push westward.  Robert Looney's main interest , hunting and exploring, may not be recorded in the records;  but he probably taught these activities to his sons, who taught their sons, etc. 

Click to enlarge photo

This photo was taken just above the mouth of Looney's Mill Creek (center and far right) looking down the James River.  The Blue Ridge Mountains are shown in the background.  Looking east from Looney's Ferry in the mid 1700's , Robert Looney had this view.  Used by permission from the book: Most Distinguished Characters On The American Frontier, by Madge Looney Crane and Phillip L. Crane.

Robert Looney showed excellent judgment in choosing from all the vast wilderness areas available a location that nature had foreordained to be a gate to the future of Southwest Virginia.  Here he and his sons built up a settlement that became the center of a community extending throughout the valley of the creek that took its name from his mill.  They were capable, industrious, hardworking men.  They cleared and farmed land, ran a mill, established and operated a ferry over the river, planted and tended a nursery, and started the first apple and peach orchards in Southwest Virginia, with pear, cherry and plum trees in all probability among the offerings of their nurseries.  The Looney boys were also explorers, seeking out lands to be acquired, and hunters, ranging far over the vast unoccupied land to the south and west.

Robert established in 1742, Looney's Ferry.   In one of the first maps ever made of this territory, by Peter Jefferson, father of Thomas Jefferson, the only designated place in the present confines of Botetourt is Looney's Ferry.  His sons went forth to settle the frontier and their descendant's name is legion.  Looney's Ferry was the first crossing of James River in that region

LOONEY'S FERRY, 
Augusta County
(now Botetourt Co).  Picture taken by Phillip L. Crane in 1994.  Used by permission.

Looney's Mill was built by 1739-40, making it one of the very first mills west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The mill operated from 1740 (or before) until 1755 (and possibly later).  During this period of time, Looney's Mill was certainly essential to the development of the region and many settlers depended upon the valuable services that Robert Looney provided.
The French and Indian War (1754-1763) may have interrupted activities at Looney's Mill, since many inhabitants left the area or moved to forts for safety.

Robert married Elizabeth Llewellyn (tradition says this was her maiden name) and they had 10 children.  Thomas, Robert Jr., Daniel, Adam, Samuel, Absalom, John, Peter, David and Joseph.  There may of been other sons and daughters unknown.   I descend from son Adam Looney.

Leroy W. Tilton's Manuscripts. (Eight Parts)

The Tilton Manuscripts provide details concerning the history and descendants of Robert and Elizabeth Looney, of Augusta County, Virginia. These manuscripts were created in 1963 based on 50 years of work by Mr. Tilton and many others who collectively gathered, coordinated and composed these Manuscripts for the benefit of future Looney and Related Family Researchers.