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Pioneers of the South Fork in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia


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Pioneer Families in a part of the Shenandoah Valley known as the "South Fork of the Shenandoah River"
Use search or find to locate a family name on this page.  See more details on families and descendants  HERE

Many people think of the Shenandoah Valley as the section bisected by Interstate 81 from Winchester in Frederick County Virginia to Staunton in Augusta County and on to Lexington in Rockbridge County.  However, there is a smaller valley area, bounded by the Massanutten mountain and the Blue Ridge mountains, running from Front Royal in Warren County south down to Luray in Page County.  The south fork of the Shenandoah river twists and turns along the base of the Massanutten mountain and merges with the north fork near Front Royal.  The main road through this valley is the Stonewall Jackson Highway or US 340.  

In the 1700's this valley was part of Orange, then Augusta, Frederick, Dunmore and Shenandoah counties but is now in Warren and Page counties.  Both counties were formed after 1800 and do not have records of the early settlement. Older records are sometimes found in Orange, Augusta, or Frederick counties.  The enlarged section of the map below shows the 16 mile section that was considered the "south fork of the south river" in early land grants.

 Settlement of the Valley

Possibly one of the earliest settlements, just south of this valley, was  in now Rockingham County.  About 1729 Jacob Stover and Adam Miller received a 5000 acre grant.  Purchasers from Stover were Christian Clemon, George Boone, Henry Sowter, Mathias Selzer, John Brubaker, Ludwick Stone and Abraham Strickler.  Purchasers from Miller were Michael Kauffman, John Rhodes, Michael Cryter, Philip & Paul Long, Martin Kauffman and Michael Rinehart.

Most people are more familiar with Jost Hite and his efforts to settle families in the Shenandoah Valley.  He had at least three other partners, Robert Duff, William Green, and Robert McKay.  Another member of the group, Peter Stephens, was a surveyor.  In 1731 the group secured an order from the Governor and Council of Virginia for 100,000 acres on several branches of the Shenandoah River which covered areas around Winchester Virginia, but also included the Massanutten mountain as well as both sides of the mountain.  

The Van Meter brothers had also obtained a grant for 40,000 acres, but they assigned their rights to Joist Hite and Robert McKay. Added to the 100,000 acres, this gave Hite and company a total of 140,000 acres. In 1734 the Virginia Council declared that Hite and company had complied with the terms of the 40,000 acre grant and were directed to have patents issued based on surveys. The surveys were deposited in the Land Office, but the patents were not issued, because Fairfax claimed the whole 140,000 acres were within his Northern Neck land. England interceded and restrained the Virginia Colonial government from issuing grants.

In 1746 there is record of a bond in Orange County Virginia describing the different grants:  Robert Green, of Orange County, to Robert McCay of Augusta, and Jost Hite, of Frederick. Bond in £3000 dated 18th June, 1746. Whereas, Robert McCay, Jost Hite, Robert Green, and Wm. Duff, deceased, did in lifetime of Duff obtain order of Council for one tract of 3,060 acres on north branch of Shanando; one tract of 9,860 acres in a hollow of the mountains in the fork of Shanando; one tract of 2,200 acres on north branch of Shanando; one tract of 7,000 acres on south branch of Shanando; one tract of 891 acres on north branch of Shanando; one tract of 310 acres on south branch of Shanando (in order for the more speedy conveying same to purchasers). Parties agree that patent should be made to Robert Green. Condition that Robert make proper conveyances to purchasers and one moiety of the residue to the other parties. Witnesses, Jno. Smith, Thos. Stevenson, Jno. Hite. Acknowledged, 18th June, 1746. 

In 1771 Hite got a decree in his favor, but Lord Fairfax appealed to the King and Council. The fight continued until after the revolution, and both Fairfax and Hite had died before the case was settled in favor of Hite.  

Location of the 100,000 acres grant: From the notes of Hunter Branson McKay

The Massanutten mountain lies between the north and south forks of the Shenandoah River.  On the top of this mountain is a valley where there was an old fort called Powels Fort and deeds referred to areas in that valley as Powels Fort on Passage Creek.  Narrow Passage was an area west of Luray Virginia at the south end of this mountain valley. 

On The South River Shenandoah: The Old Home Place--At McCoys Ford 310 acres in the lawsuit record, but described as 110 more or less in Robert McKay's will.

The Passage Creek Tract: Located in the Fort, along the Creek, from a point about a mile above the "Passage" to about opposite present Seven Fountains.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source of Map  with more information about the Fort Valley

 

On The North River Shenandoah: Three tracts

The Narrow Passage Tract: From a few miles south of the Narrow Passages to a point north of Woodstock, and apparently near to or adjoining the Denton Tract.

The Denton Tract: from the northern end of the Narrow Passage Tract to a point about opposite present Fishers Hill.

About 900 acres on the North River, located somewhere near Strasburg.

Smith Creek Land:  Smith Creek is listed as "creek, a small left-hand tributary to Shenandoah River in Shenandoah County."

Linville Creek Land: Some 7009 acres; 1200 acres apparently belonged to the McKays. Linville Creek is in present day Rockingham County.

The North Mountain Tract: West of Winchester.  Was part of the 100,000 acres, but was not in controversy in the Fairfax Land Suit.

The South River Grant 

The section of the Hite and McKay grant called the south river grant is described as:  "7000 acres as surveyed by Col. James Wood about 1735, but which was found to contain 11,520 acres when resurveyed by Thomas Marshall in 1770. This long and narrow tract started at Robert McKay's home place and extended up the River (south), more or less on both sides depending upon where the bottoms were, for about 16 miles or to a point about opposite Big Spring Church in present Page County."  The general area is sometimes referred to as the Page Valley.  The south fork of the Shenandoah River flows northeast and joins the north fork near Front Royal, Virginia in present Warren County.

The northern part of this south river grant is now a part of Warren county, and the southern part is now Page county.  The dividing line of the two counties is at Overall.  See map below.  The white valley area with the purple line, bounded by the Massanutten Mountain and the Blue Ridge mountains made up the south river grant.  Some pioneer family names are listed on the map showing general areas where they owned land.  Robert McKay and his extended family and friends, mostly Quakers from Chester county Pennsylvania, were the first settlers in this area, marked Point B.  

In early land records one sees references to rivers, creeks, runs, mountains, and trees, which were normal notations in early surveys.  Fortunately, there are also notations of names of adjacent landowners or to whom the land was sold.  Land changed hands frequently, and there were disputes over boundaries and titles. Sometimes people owned land but didn't settle on it. People have done research to follow land grants and subsequent ownership, but the history of families  and how they are interconnected is of more interest to genealogists.  Names of the early settlers can be found in lawsuits, surveys, land grants, sales of property, tax lists, wills and marriages. 

A lawsuit was filed in 1796: Hite vs. Snapp.  This lawsuit identifies relationships and descendants of some of the first landowners.
Isaac Hite, executor of Isaac Hite, deceased, Jonathan Clerk, Isaac H. Williams, John C. Williams, Nimrod Long and Eleanor, his wife, devisees under the will of Isaac Hite, deceased; Abraham Hite, devisee and executor of Abraham Hite, deceased; Mary Hite, Theodorick Lee and Catherine, his wife; Alexander Pitt Buckhannon and Sarah, his wife (said Mary, Catherine and Sarah), are daughters and co-heirs of John Hite, deceased (who was eldest son and heir of Jacob Hite, deceased); John Hite, executor and devisee of John Hite, deceased; John Hite, Jr.; William Hite, Thomas Cartmill and Ann, his wife (which said John, William and Ann are children and devisees of Joseph Hite, deceased); which said John, Isaac, Jacob, Abraham and Joseph are children and devisees of Jost Hite, deceased; Andrew McKay, eldest son and heir of Robert McKay, deceased, who was son and heir of Robert McKay, Sr.; James and Zackeriah McKay, who are sons and devisees of Robert McKay, Sr.; Isaac McKay, son and heir of Isaac McKay, who was son and heir of Moses McKay, a son and devisee of Robert McKay, Sr.; Leah Leith, daughter and devisee of Robert McKay, Sr.; Enoch Job, eldest son and heir of Margaret Job, a daughter and devisee of Robert McKay, Sr.; George Hollingsworth, son and heir of Abraham Hollingsworth, who was son and heir of Hannah Hollingsworth, a daughter and devisee of Robert McKay, Sr.; George Robinson, son and heir of George Robinson, who was son and heir of Mary Robinson, a daughter and devisee of Robert McKay, Sr.; Moses Green, executor and devisee of John Green, deceased; James Green, James Williams, William, James and Sarah Williams, children of James and Eleanor Williams, who was only daughter of Moses Green, deceased, which said John, James and Moses Green were devisees of William Duff, deceased; Robert Green, assignee and devisee of Eleanor Green, widow of Robert Green, deceased; Robert Green, Moses Green, executor and devisee of John Green; James Green, Robert Green, Jr, heir of Nicholas Green, deceased; James Williams, William, James and Sarah Williams, children and heirs of Eleanor Williams, deceased, who was only daughter and heiress of Moses Green, deceased, by James Williams, their next friend, which said Eleanor, Robert, John, James, Nicholas and Moses Green were devisees of Robert Green, Sr., vs. Lawrence Snapp.

It appears that most of this valley was in Augusta County, although the northern part was probably part of Frederick County.  The area later became part of Dunmore from 1772 to 1778 and then was renamed Shenandoah County.

In 1750, Augusta County added to list of tithables:  James McNeal, Wm. Overall, Josiah Parent, Ephraim Leath, Abraham Ciler, Benjamin Gugar , Steven Philips, John Hawkins, Wm. Jackson, Thomas Dodson, John Little, Bernard Agen (Barnabas Egan), Henry Netherton, Richard Waters, George Leath, John Davis, Robert Boyd.  Most of these are names found with later land grants in the area.  Because of the dispute over the land, many had to obtain a grant from Lord Fairfax to sell their land. 

Note:  Because some of these names repeated in families, finding the same names might represent the same person, but could also be referring to a son or other relative bearing the same name.  The intent of this page is to represent the family names in this small valley before 1800, and to indicate relationships where they are known. Primary family names on this page include Bethell, Cunningham, Dotson/Dodson, Job/Jobe, Keller, Leith/Leeth/Leath, Levesque, McCarty/McCartney, McKay/Mackey/McCoy, Netherton, Odle/Odell, Parent, Whitson,  along with other names included on tax or other lists.  Spelling of the names is always problematical, so I have tried to convert the names to the most common spellings.  In the case of Dodson and Dotson, I used the name that appeared first, followed by a slash mark for the other spelling.  This allows for an easier search to find the name.

McKay Family 

More details about the family and the land grants

Robert McKay Sr, one of the original landowners and partners, came from New Jersey to Cecil County Maryland, which borders on Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Many early settlers were from Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Robert McKay is listed on the South Fork by 1736.  The first area settled was in the northern part of the south fork valley, with others coming later and settling in the valley along the south fork of the Shenandoah River.  Robert's general area of settlement is represented by the letter B on the map above.  He and his partners had trouble securing the required number of settlers, but they made an effort among their own descendants, and many of the families are intertwined.   In 1752 the will of Robert MacKay Sr was proved in Augusta County Court.  The will names children as Mary as wife of George Robinson, Margaret as wife of Joshua Job, Leah as wife of William Taylor/Tyler, Hannah as wife of George Hollingsworth and Elizabeth, along with sons James, Zachary and Moses.  There are many spellings of the name recorded, such as Mackey and McCoy.  Mary McKay, a daughter of Robert McKay, married George Robinson at the New Garden Monthly meeting in Chester County, Pennsylvania, on 14 April 1726, and later relocated to the valley of Virginia. See notes about descendants in the 1796 lawsuit.  The McKays were Quakers who worshipped in Chester County Pennsylvania but later attended the Hopewell Meeting house built in 1734, north of Winchester Virginia. Robert McKay's daughter Hannah McKay married George Hollingsworth in Orange County, VA 19 December 1734, and is believed to be the first marriage celebrated at the Hopewell Meeting House. When the Crooked Run Meeting House was organized later, near the village of Nineveh in Warren County on the main road between Winchester and Front Royal, the McKays and other Quakers attended there.  1759 George Hollingsworth is on the rent rolls of Frederick County, Virginia.  Wife Hannah, daughter of Robert McKay Sr, had died about 1750. Leah McKay, another daughter of Robert McKay was  married to William Tyler and then to widower Ephraim Leith.   Leah Tyler, daughter of Leah and William married Charles Whitson, and then Jeremiah Odell, son of Samuel OdellJonathan Odell married Rachel, a daughter of Leah.  Jonathan and Rachel later moved to Tennessee. 1752 Aug 19 Proof of Robert McKay's will; Zechariah refuses to administer; James swears that Moses and Robert McKay are Quakers. 1753 May 22 Petition of Robert McCoy, an Exr. of his father, Robert. Hannah McKay, a daughter of James and Mary Chester McKay, married Isaac McCarty.  Isaac was a son of Darby McCarty.   Isaac McCarty and Hannah lived in the  Shenandoah Valley, but Isaac died  in Nelson County Kentucky about 1814.  On September 30, 1790, James McKay, Isaac's father-in-law  "consigned Power of Attorney to Isaac McCarty of Nelson County, Kentucky for the purpose of recovering and receiving money for land in Kentucky".  Isaac and Hannah McKay McCarty's daughter Rachel McCarty married William Dodson, who according to his statement in his pension application, was born 29 March 1758 in Frederick County "on the Shenandoah River".  He received a treasury warrant on 14 March 1780 in then Jefferson County, Virginia (Kentucky).  The 400 acres was surveyed 28 February 1783, and he appears on the Jefferson/Nelson County KY 1786 tax list.   

Job Family

Andrew Job died in Chester County, but many of his descendants migrated to the south fork of the Shenandoah River.  Descendants of Andrew Job intermarried extensively with McKay family descendants.  Andrew Job's daughter, Patience Job, was married in Chester county Pennsylvania in 1725 to Robert McKay Jr, of Orange County Virginia, son of Robert McKay Sr.  Another daughter of Andrew Job, Hannah Job, died in Frederick county in 1748/49 bequeathing her entire estate to her sister Patience. Andrew Job's son Joshua Job married Margaret McKay on 1 January 1730/31, another daughter of Robert Sr.  In 1735/36 Joshua Job was living on the South River of the Shenandoah on a 216 acre tract that had been granted to him by his father in law.  Samuel Odell Jr married Elizabeth Job, daughter of Enoch Job and granddaughter of Joshua and Margaret McKay Job.  Abraham Job, born 22 May 1702, another son of Andrew Job, moved from Chester County, Pennsylvania to the south river area around 1736.  He was appointed constable of the Massanutten south river area on 12 May 1746.  He had married Sarah Gatchell about 1724 in Pennsylvania, but his second wife was Elizabeth McKay, another daughter of Robert McKay Sr.  Elizabeth and Abraham's oldest son by his first marriage, Elisha Job, were executors of Abraham Job's estate in 1750.  His children were listed as Elisha, Rebecca, Isaac, Phoeby, David, Hannah Job, and Mary Job McKay (married to Moses McKay) and her son Isaac McKay, his grandson.  Elizabeth McKay Job was remarried to Thomas Bragg by 22 May 1753 when it is noted that Relict of Abraham Job has married Thomas Bragg and is required to give counter security. Abraham's son Elisha Job died before 28 September 1773, and his widow appointed Charles Whitson as her lawful attorney regarding some land. Caleb Job, another son of Andrew Job, was born in 1704 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  He married Barbara, last name unknown.  They settled near present day Overall.  The current Overall Run was called Caleb Job's Mill Run at one time.  Another run, later known as Cunningham's Run was originally referred to as Caleps or Caleb Jobs Run.  On 20 March 1749 in Augusta County, Barbara Job, believed to be Caleb Job's wife, and Thomas Dottson/Dodson are listed as a purchasers in an estate sale for John Campbell. 1751 May 28 Road ordered from Caleb Job's to James McKay's, crossing the river at a place called the Brush Bottom Ford, and so along the river by Henry Spears' plantation, and that the said Spears, with . . .  William Hurst, William Overall, Zachariah McCoy, James McNealEphraim Leeth, Josiah Parent, Wm. Parent, Thomas Parent, Adam Cunningham . . .  keep it in repair. Caleb and Barbara had four known children, and two of their sons married McKays.  Jacob Job married Deborah McKay, daughter of Zachariah McKay. Zachariah was a son of Robert McKay.  Samuel Job married Dorcas McKay, Deborah's sister. On 18 March 1746 in Augusta County Court a road was ordered from Caleb Job's Mill down to the county line, and many of the familiar family names appear, such as James, Moses and Zachery McKay, William Hurst, James McNeal, Adam Cunningham, Joshua and Caleb Job, and Ephriam LeithCaleb Job had died prior to 4 June 1750 when his will was proved naming children Samuel, Jacob, Nathan and Elizabeth Job. He named his wife Barbara Job and Ephraim Leith as executors.  

Leith Family

James Leith, father of George and Ephraim Leith   had come from Chester County Pennsylvania by 26 January 1735/36and settled in the South River area. In his deposition in the Hite/Fairfax lawsuit, Barnaby Eagon stated: "James Leith the father of Ephraim Leith was among the first settlers on the South River.  

In 1752 Ephraim Leith married Caleb Job's widow Barbara Job.  1752 Aug 19 Moses McKay prays for counter security from Barbara Job (now Leath) and Ephriam Leath, Administrators of Caleb Job. Barbara Job has married Leith. Counter security. It is said that Barbara and Ephraim had 5 children:  John, Ephraim Jr., Leah, Lydia and James Leith.  James Leith married Lydia McKay, granddaughter of Robert Sr., and James and Lydia's daughter Hannah Leith married Abraham Overall, son of John OverallIn 1758 Ephraim Leith purchased land from Josias Parent which was near the mouth of Overall Run. In 1768 Ephriam Leeth made bond for title to the church wardens of the Beckford parish of Frederick for half of an acre of land.  The parish levy of 1766 was appropriated for 30 pounds "for building a Chapel on the South River." In 1767, the vestry ordered Isaac Hite, one of its members and a son of Joist Hite, "to let the building of a Chapel at Ephraim Leith's Spring, the walls of square logs Dove Tailed, Twenty-two by thirty feet, and to be covered with Lapped shingles." The Vestry stipulated that the building was to be completed before the first of November, 1768. A contract was signed with Abraham Keller to build the chapel. On 2 March 1776 Ephraim Leith received a Fairfax land grant for the land assigned to him by Thomas Dodson/Dotson.  This was 367 acres on Jeremy's Run in Dunmore County which was surveyed in 1771 'very near Dodson's late survey on Jeremy's run'. In 1771 Thomas Dodson agreed if part of his land is land that Thomas Bullett applied for, he will relinquish his claim. In  1771 Bullitt laid no claim, and Dodson relinquished deed to Leith.    Ephraim Leith sold the same land 29 May 1783 to Moses Moody for 20 pounds. The land was located "at foot of Blue Ridge on Jeremy's Run of the South River of Shannandoah". Survey was by Richard Rigg.  On 9 July 1782 Lydia Leith, daughter of Ephraim and Barbara Job Leith married Robert McKay.  This Robert was a grandson of the first Robert, a son of James and Mary Chester McKay.  James Leith, son of Ephraim and Barbara Job Leith, married Lidia McKay another child of James and Mary Chester McKay.  Their daughter, Hannah Leith married Abraham Overall who was a grandson of John and Maria Christina Froman Overall, early settlers in the area.  Maria Christina Froman Overall was a granddaughter of Jost Hite, the original large landowner.   James Leith was appointed administrator of his father's estate.  James' securities were Edwin Young and Walter Cunnningham.  When James died, he bequeathed his land holdings to his son George Leith

George Leith Sr was a son of James and a brother to Epraim Leith. In 1748 Daniel Stover qualified as a guardian of John, Mary and James Campbell, orphans of John Campbell, with sureties Abraham Strickler and George Leath.  On 22nd of May 1750 orphan George Wiley was bound to George Leeth.  In 1752 George Leith received a grant for 250 acres which is at now Big Spring, south of Rileyville. (Point A on the above map).  George Leith was married to Miriam and named seven children in his will:  Josiah, George, Ebenezer, Anna, Rachel, Elizabeth and Grace Leith. The will of George Leith was witnessed by Jno. Levesque, Peter Jackson, Henry Nelson Jr. and probated 2 November 1768.  In his will, George said that Ephraim Leith was his brother.   Josiah Leith and Alexander Mathews qualified as administrators for the estate of George Leith.  Alexander Matthews was married to George's daughter Anna LeithJeremiah Matthews, brother of Alexander was married to Elizabeth Job, daughter of Caleb and Barbara Job. Ebenezer Leith, son of George Leith Sr, married Nancy McKay, a 4th child of James and Mary Chester McKay.  Josiah Leith, son of George Leith,  and his wife Elizabeth owned land on Jeremy's Run.  In 1784 Walter Cunningham purchased 120 acres on Jeremy's Run from Josiah and Elizabeth Leith who moved to Green/Jefferson County Tennessee.  Josiah appointed Edwin Young of Shenandoah 'his lawful attorney' in 1792 regarding land located on Cunningham Run and conveyed by Thomas Dodson/Dotson to Josiah Leith Sr in 1778.  This tract was located north from Overall on the west side of  present US Hwy 340 at Camp Skymont.  In Shenandoah County Deed Book Volume K 1795 is a record of sale of land by Josiah and Rachel Leith to Joseph Howey and references "a certain tract of Land Conveyed by Thomas Dodson/Dotson to Josiah Leith containing 197 3/4 acres more or less and being on Cunningham’s Run in the county of Shenandoah and State of Virginia".  

Cunningham Family

Adam Cunningham apparently came in 1740 according to a deposition he gave on 27 November 1770.  He said he was 57 years old and that he "came to this Colony about 30 years ago and that Joshua Job was at that time settled on the plantation whereon he now lives."  In 1765 Adam Cunningham purchased 197 acres in present-day Page County, south of Overall which contained a water grist mill that became known as Cunningham's Mill.  Adam Cunningham received a Fairfax grant for 133 acres in 1768 adjacent to a corner of Paget's tract.  This land was about one mile east of Bentonville near where Abraham Keller and Ephraim Leith lived. Adam and Catherine Cunningham sold a portion of a tract in 1769 to John Nelson and Alexander Woodrow, among others.   In  December 1749 Walter Cunningham was born.   A Walter Cunningham received a grant for 273 acres in 1779.  There is an another older Walter, but the relationship is unknown.  A Walter Cunningham  died in 1781, and Adam and Ann Cunningham were made administrators of his estate.  Securities were Edwin Young and Abram McKayJosiah Leith, Ephraim Leith, William Thomas and Abram McKay were appointed to appraise the estate. The Walter Cunningham born in 1749  applied for a Revolutionary War pension in 1832 in Harrison County, VA.  He said that in the summer of 1776 he was residing in Shenandoah County but in 1776 he went to Monongalia County and enlisted in the company of Capt. David Scott; employed in reconnoitering in the country between the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers against the Indians. Served 3 months and then returned to Shenandoah County. In the fall of 1777 he enlisted under Capt Michael Rader, marched to Fort Pitt and was attached to a regment commanded by General Hand. Went to Wheeling where he was discharged after 3 months. Names a brother Adam Cunningham. He said he moved from Shenandoah to Harrison County where he has lived for several years.

Other South River Events and Families

1749 John Givins petitioned that he be relieved as constable and one of three be put in his stead . . .  and nominates Barnibee Eagon, or Samuel Odle, or Joshua
Job.

1749 August 16 in Augusta County, Estate of John Wiley. Appraisement by Samuel Odell, Josiah Parent and John Davis. 'Work done for Barney Regan'.

1750 Augusta County:  John Davis, James McNeal, Wm. Overall, Josiah Parent, Ephraim Leath, Thomas Dodson, John Little, Bernard Agen (Barnabas Egan), Henry Netherton, George Leath, John Davis, Jacob Job added to list of tithables.

1751 Augusta County:  Petitioners for road from Thorn's Gap to Henry Netherton's: Henry Netherton, Barnabas Eagan, Elisha Job, Shadrack Parlour, John Davis, William Bethell, William Whitson, Daniel Stover. 26 November 1751 John Davis and Saml. O'Dell, to view a road from Thorn's Gap to Henry Netherton's.

1751 June 1 253 acres survey for Darby McCarty of Augusta County adjacent to Phillip Crum and William Calfee.  James McCarty was chain carrier.  Daby also had 400 acres surveyed 4 May 1751 on Passage Creek in Powell's Fort.  In 1754 Darby and James McCarty were Chain Carriers for George Hume on Survey for Adam Cunningham or William Safer - Land in dispute. 

1752 This is the year Richard Dotson/Dodson reported he was born in Frederick/Shenandoah County in his Revolutionary War pension application.

1753 June 16 William Bethell new Commission of Justice for Augusta County.

1753 March 23 Barnaby Agan, qualified Ensign of Foot; Samuel Odell, qualified Captain of Foot.

1754 William Whitson bought land in Frederick  County from James and Zacheriah McKay, 400 acres, and assigned to Charles Whitson, who died, in testate.  Land descended to Charles' heir at law, Jeremiah Whitson, who sold to Nehemiah Wood.  1759 William Whitson is showing on Rent Rolls of Frederick County.  William Whitson's daughter married Jeremiah McKay in 1774.

In 1754 Henry Netherton owned a tract of 167 acres surveyed in 1754.  This property was sold in 1755 to William Bethel.  In 1762 Henry Nelson received a Fairfax grant for 140 acres and also 400 acres adjoining  Henry Netherton and Samuel Odell. At one time Jeremy's run was called Netherton's Mill or Mill Run.  

In 1755 Thomas Dodson signed as a witness to a lease of Robert Grey & Margaret Grey for 350 acres of land in Frederick County. Other witnesses were W. Bethell, Ralph Hughes, Henry Nelson. In 1755 Robert Gray sold land in the Powell's Fort, Passage Creek Tract to William Whitson.

1756 The following people appeared in court regarding the Hite-Fairfax Lawsuit. Jeremiah Odell, James MacKay, John Ridgeway, Zachariah McKay, Moses McKay.  Appearing on muster rolls of the militia in Captain Spear's company about the same time were Zachariah McKay, James MacKay, Joshua Job and Moses MacKay.

1758  This is the year William Dodson said he was born in Frederick/Shenandoah County and where he enlisted in the Revolutionary War in 1776 serving two years.  He returned to the county after the war.  He married Rachel McCarty, daughter of Isaac McCarty and Hannah McKay, and granddaughter of Darby McCarty and great granddaughter of Robert McKay Sr.  

1762 Henry Nelson of Frederick County had 400 acres on a branch of Mill Run surveyed by George Hume. His land was adjacent to Henry Netherton, Samuel Odle/Odell.

1768 April 14 Frederick County Moses Moody assignee of Thomas Dodson/Dotson 136 acres on drains of South River adjacent to Henry Nelson, George Hume. Chain carriers were Jeremiah Odell, Charles Nelson. Surveyor Peter Stephens.

1768 April 16 Thomas Dodson/Dotson & Charles Whitson served as chain carriers for Peter Stephens, surveyor for 354 acres on Jeremy's Run on drains of the South River.  Survey for Jacob Follis/Fallis of Stafford County, assignee of Charles Whitson, assignee of Spencer Breeding of Frederick County.

In 1770 Barnaby Eagan stated in a deposition that he had lived on the south side of the South River near 30 years.  He was listed with 200 acres in 1735/36 on the Hite, McKay, Duff and Green 7,000 acres South River Tract.  The land had been given to Egan for "faithfully serving" Robert McKay as a servant.  

Moses Moody received a land grant in December 1771 for 133 acres adjoining the land of Henry Nelson

Although Thomas Dodson first appears on a tax list in 1750, no record has been found as to how he acquired this land or other acreage he sold or his relationship, if any, to other families of the area.

1771 Charles Whitson received a grant of 365 acres on Jeremy’s Run a branch of the South River of Shannandoah.

1771 Darby McCarty served as chain carrier on a survey by Richard Rigg for Philip Crume on Flint Run, a branch of the south river.

1772 Abraham Keller was appointed to take his list of tithables from the county line to Adam Cunningham's Mill and Henry Nelson from Cunningham's Mill to Pass Run. 

1772 Oct 25 Caleb Odell married Abigail Plumly. 

1775 Rent Rolls of Dunmore County Thomas Dodson tax levy. Abram Keller List:  Ephraim, Josiah and James Leith; Samuel, Nathan, and Jacob Job; James and George McKay; Darby and Isaac McCarty; John and William Overall. Francis Slaughter ListSamuel Dodson Sr and Samuel Dodson Jr.  

1775 Tax Tax list of Dunmore County by Henry Nelson Jr   View the listing showing numbers of people in each household HERE

Names of tithables: Henry Nelson, Samuel Odell, Samuel Harding, David Job, Alex: Mathes, Barneby Eagan, George Whitson, Barneby Eagan, Junr, Joseph Whitson, Jermiah Odell. Charles Whitson. Ann Hankins, James Mcneil, Zachariah Campbell, Thos. Sisk, Moses Job, Enoch Job, Fergus Cron, Israel Morris, Jonah Cave. Will Nail, John Skelton. John Bailey. Marion Leeth. Jonah Denton, Jonah Morgan, Joshua Job, William Penly. Thos. Jones, Spencer Coleman, Peter Jackson, George Snider. John Coleman. William Fleming. John Levesque. Adam Cunningham, John Pence. Isom Wood, Benjamin Odell. John Whitson, Jeremiah McKay, William Davis, Abram McKay, Isaac McKay, Jonathan Odell, George Conkion, Sinnit Young, Absalom Hurst. James Odell. Matthew Maddux, Daniel Trygler. Abram Strickler. Jacob Coleman, John Bullington, Thos. Hurst, John McDaniel, Moses Moody, Will: Dobson, Will: White, Will Whitson, Thos. Bragg. Will Whitson J., John Allen, Thos. Dotson/Dodson, Samuel Stover, Cunrod Beaver, Benjn. Williams, Daniel Strickler, Joseph Cave.

1775 Tax list of Dunmore County by John Netherton  View the listing showing numbers of people in the household HERE

Names of tithables: Abraham Keller, John Netherton, Charles Reagan, Henry Calfee, John Roy, Henry Netherton, Philip Crume, Jr., John Bentley, Jacob Job, Geo. McKay, Wm. Arterburn, Jno. Ramey, Eleazar Birkhead, Reubin Padget, Jr., Joseph Brown. Tehophilus Padget. Theophilus Miller, John Mathews, Ralph Crume, Peter Miller, John Overhall, William Overhall, Josiah Leith, Wm. Thomas, Ephraim Leith, Henry Netherton, Jr., Geo. Harding, Henry Harding. James Mathews, David Great, Nicholas Harding, Thomas Hune, Wm. Marshall, Hy Harding Jr.. David Crafford, John Handcock, John Smith, Humphry Hopkins, Robert Cuninghame, John Reevs. Aron Henry. Peter Macnabn. David Bradford, John Bradford, William Gorden, James Roboson, John Craford, Zachariah North, Andrew Cooksey, John Cooksey, John Smout, John Homes, Thomas Crockston, John Russell Sr., John Russell Junior, Henry Humboy, Henry Spelman, Filemin Smith, Richard Harrell, Aron Harrell, Alexander Mckay, Philip Poker, William Lashbuck, William Shaver, Peter Arterburn, Richard Foley, Adam Cuninghame, Walter Cuninghame, Gilbert Morgan, John Combs, William Wilson, John Calfee, John Cotney, John Graham, William Hill, Ruben Padget, Darby McKarty, Laurence Bodkin, Alexander McKintear, Nancy Paget, Jeremiah Wales, David Grate, Mary Jones

1776 John Levesque purchased 166 acres from Benjamin Odell which was adjacent to Samuel Odell and Henry Nelson

1778 Edwin Young had 70 acres surveyed adjacent to Robert Halfpenny, Adam Cunningham and Israel Morris.  Land was "on the steep hollows between the Blue Ridge and South River Shando; the same land John Whitson entered 10 Mar 1777 and did not execute.  Abraham McKay and James Leith were chain carriers.  In 1778 Edwin Young purchased land inherited by Margaret McKay widow of Joshua Job. 1783 May 26 John Heaston of Shenandoah County leased to Edwin Young of the same county 232 acres on the south side of the South River of Shenandoah.

1778 Abraham Keller Senior purchased 149 acres adjacent to his own land and also that of William Overall, and the same year John Overall purchased  land on the South River adjacent to Abraham Keller.

1778 Adam Cunningham obtained a deed for 89 acres adjacent to his own land and that of William Saffer, and Ephraim LeithWalter Cunningham was a chain carrier.

1779 John Levesque purchased 50 acres on the South fork adjacent to Benjamin Odell's land.  Samuel Odell was chain carrier.

1776 March 12 Survey completed for 214 acres on Caleb Job's Run for Josiah Leith an assignee of Thomas Dotson/Dodson. 18 March 1779 land was recorded.

1780 a partial list of landholders exists for another Hite-McKay-Duff and Green tract .  This grant was about 9800 acres and was called the Powell's Fort, Passage Creek Tract.  This area is a valley in the Massanutten mountain.  Access is from the south near Luray or from the north between Front Royal and Strasburg.  The partial list of landowners in 1780 included John Reed, Robert Gray, William Whitson, Dr. George Keller, John Denton Sr., George Ridenour, Abraham Dealbeck, Robert Scott, Phillip Munch, William Wood, Francis McFall, John Parkeston, George Weaver, Jonathan Denton, Edmund Basie, Christopher Croiser, Darby McCartney (with note: sold to Joe Combs in 1763), Caleb Odell, John Dilley, Timothy Eagle, Leonard Hornsby (note: sold to Elijah Odell in 1765), Jacob Galladay, Jacob Burner, Simon Morgan, Henry Walters, John Denton Jr., Fergus Cron, Samuel Odell, Thomas Sisk, Teter Clem, George McInturff, John and Fred McInturff, Michael Clem and John Morrell.  

1780 Will by Rachel Eagan, widow of Barbabus Eagan. Names Ruth Whitson and her children. Will witnessed by John Levesque and Moses Moody. Names John Barnes, Joseph Barnes, Charles Barnes, Woorey Caner. Executors Henry Nelson Jr and Charles Barnes. 

1782 Tax List shows both a Thomas Dodson and a Thomas Dodson Jr. Whether father and son or other relationship is unknown.

In 1783 all the tax lists of Shenandoah County are listed under the name of Alex. Hite, but they appear to be alphabetized by area, and some of the names that appear together appear to be the residents of the south river area.  Many family names reflect known families of the area.  Rachel, Thomas and Adam Cunningham, Jr., William Dotson/Dodson, James Sr, Robert, James Jr and Zachariah McKay, Ephraim and Josiah Leith, George McKay, Henry Sr, Henry Jr and John Netherton, William Nelson, John and William Overall, Darby and Jonathan McCarty.

1782 August 29 - Some of the claims submitted to the Shenandoah court for compensation for Revolutionary War provisions: Adam Cuningham for sundries; James and Robert McKay 1 day each for driving cattle; Edwin Young 9 days collecting cattle; Josiah Leeth a bagg; Jeremiah McKoy a horse 12 years old; Ephraim Leeth a horse 10 years old.

1784 Nov 25 Elizabeth Job, daughter of Moses Job married Jermiah Whitson.

In 1785 the tax list of Abraham Keller, complete list below, familiar names are Cunningham, Dodson/Dotsons, Levesque, McKays, Jobs, Odells, Moody and Leiths among others.  John Netherton's list includes many of the same names from 1775 (above) such as Cunninghams, McKays and Leiths.  

1785 Heads of Families - List of Abraham Keller South Fork of Shenandoah River
Name of Head of Family White Souls    Dwellings Other Buildings
Allen, James 6
Allen, John 9 1 3
Allen, William 2 1 2
Bailey, John  4
Bailey, John Jr 3
Beack, John 2
Breding, Spencer 10 1
Catlet, Charles 3 1
Clevenger, Thomas 8 1 1
Cunningham, Adam 9 2 3
Day, Robert 5
Dotson/Dodson, Thos 4 1
Dotson/Dodson, Thos. Jr 4
Grayham, John 12 1
Green, James 7
Green, John 3
Harding, Samuel 3
Harrel, James 1 1 1
Horner, Isaac 4
Hurst, Elijah 4
Ireland, James 1 1 1
Jaris, Samuel 10 1
Jobe, Enoch 6 1 1
Jobe, Moses 7 1
Jollis, Jacob 12 1 1
Jox, William 7
Leeth, Ephraim, Jr 4
Lewesuce, John 6 1
Linch, Peter 6
Mathewes, James 7 1
Mathewes, John 6 2 1
Matocks, Mathew 7 1
McDaniel, John 2
McKay, Jeremiah 11 1 1
McKay,George 7 1 2
McKulley, Wm.  4 1
Miller, Jacob  3 1
Miller, Peter 8 2 1
Moody, Moses 9 1 2
Night, Amannuel 3
Noble, Coleman 9
Noble, Wm. 6
Odle, James 8 1
Odle, Jonathan 9 1
Overall, John 10 2 3
Pagit, Reubin 3 1
Puling, George 12 1
Reagan, Charles Jr 2
Reagan, Charles Sr  7
Safer, William 7 1
Sandy, William 10
Summery, Samuel 7 1
Sutton, Moses 5
Tipton, William 9
Vaughan, Elizabeth 8 1
Whitson, Jeremiah 2 1
Whitson, John 9 1
Whitson, Ruth 6 1 1
Wiley, George 5 1
Wood, John 6
Wood, John 1
Wood, Wm. 3 1
Young, Sinnit 10 1

The following listing shows some of the families who were living on the south river area in 1786.

1786 June 15 Shenandoah County South River Survey. From the Jonathan Clark Notebook, 1786 – ‘Improvements in the Northern Neck’.  Jonathan Clark (1750-1811) was an older brother of George Rogers Clark and one of a group appointed to inspect improvements made on farms in a portion of the Shenandoah Valley.  In August of 1786 this group personally visited 219 farms on the south river and recorded what they found.  Example of information: Thomas Dotson/Dodson and John Allen tenants to William Whitson, deceased, heirs.  Cultivated and in tolerable order 16 acres of second rate bottom and 100 acres of second rate high land; buildings: a log dwelling house half worn, 24 by 18 with a stone chimney and two fire places, this house is very low pitched; an old round oak log stable 18 by 16; an old round oak log barn 40 by 20; a very old round log barn without doors or floor and the cover worn out; 2 old cabins. 

Other Names on the same South River survey and listed as living in this same area: James McCoy/McKay, Thomas Johnson, John Curle, James Rogers, John Netherton, Henry Netherton, Abraham Keller, Adam Cunningham, Rachel Cunningham, Zachary McCoy/McKay, James Leith, James Ireland, Jeremiah McCoy/McKay, Edwin Young, John Culpepper, Mary Clevenger, Sennett Young, John Graham, Leah Leath, William Tyler, Jonathan Odell, Samuel Odell dec'd - George Pullen tenant in possession, Elizabeth Odell, widow of S., James Odell, Ruth Whitson, Joseph Barnes, John Levesque, Samuel Pariah, Ebenezer Leith - claims under Geo. deceased, Six Barnet Grover, George Priest, William Smith.

In 1786 a Thomas Dodson is a tenant on land owned by heirs of William Whitson. Dodson's path is noted as being near Rileyville in a record of a land transfer to William Whitson later sold to William Hines, to Jeremiah Whitson, to Nehemiah Wood and to Benjamin Wood in 1797.  By now there are two Thomas Dodsons in the area, a Thomas Dodson Sr and Thomas Dodson Jr.

1787 Will: Abram Keller 
My wife, Elizabeth, Exe. My sons: Joseph and William My children: John, Jose, Rachel, and Elizabeth Written: 16 April 1787 Witnesses: George McKay and Charles Catlett Probated: 26 April 1787 

1788 Will: Alexander Mathis 
My sons: James, John, Alexander, Jeremiah, Benjamin, and George My wife, Gressel My sons, James and Benjamin, Exe. Written: 5 September 1783 Witnesses: Abraham Keller, John Hutchison, and John Netherton Probated: 30 October 1788 

1789 Will: James McCarty 
My wife, Sarah My son, Jonas My children: Dianah Mary Hannah Elizabeth Sarah and Margaret Written: 22 October 1788 Probated: 26 February 1789 

1790 May 1 Lawsuit brought by John Daniel Moyers against Thomas Dodson regarding Thomas' (unnamed) son.  Apparently there was some type of agreement regarding Thomas' son being employed to dig ore in the Powell's Fort area.  The son worked for a while, and then there was a disagreement between Moyers and Thomas Dodson.

1797 WillLeah Leeth (widow of Ephraim Leeth) - Witnesses to will:  Jeremiah McKay, James Johnston, Samuel Odell.  Probated:   12 September 1797.

1799 Will: Samuel Odell 
My sons; James and Jonathan My wife, Elizabeth Witnesses: Moses Chelton, Samuel Odell, and John Comery Probated: October 1799 

Date Unknown Will: Rachel Egan 
To Ruth Whitson, my Kinswoman To Joseph Barnes To Charles Barnes, to his brother, Joseph To Ruth Whitson's children To Woolrey Coner To John Barnes Henry Nelson, Jr. and Charles Barnes, Exe. Witnesses: John Hall and M. Moody

Many of these families or their descendants migrated out of this small valley in the late 1700's going to Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina or western Virginia.


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