As my previous posting (just linked above) notes, we can know that Thomas left Frederick for Wythe in 1792 because he appears on the tax list in Frederick in 1791 but not in 1792, and he then shows up on the tax list in Wythe in 1793. What could explain the decision of a man of mature years (Thomas seems to have been around 45 when he made this move) with a number of older children about to come of age to make such a move, one might ask?
The Move from Frederick to Wythe County: Historical Considerations and Context — Frederick as Gateway County to Western Virginia
To answer this question, one needs first to understand something of the history of Frederick County and the role that county played in the settlement of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and counties lying just west and east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Frederick was a gateway county to the western portion of Virginia and to counties south of Frederick, which began to be settled by the first half of the 18th century, with many of the settlers of this part of Virginia coming through Frederick, sometimes having lived there for some time before they moved further south.
A key factor in migration to Frederick County and from that county up the Shenandoah Valley (up, as in from north to south) in the first half of the 18th century was the Great Wagon Road, which began at Philadelphia, ran through Lancaster and York in southeastern Pennsylvania to Winchester in Frederick County (by way of the Old Monocacy Road), and entered the Shenandoah Valley, continuing there as the Valley Pike, following a pathway used by the native Americans prior to European settlement. The Great Wagon Road gave settlers from the middle colonies means to access and migrate to Virginia, where Frederick County was the primary gateway to much of the western portion of the colony south of Frederick.
As historian Wilmer R. Kerns notes, as early as 1734, the Great Wagon Road was cited in a land survey as the wagon road that went from the Conestoga region to the Opeckin (i.e., Opequon Creek) in Frederick County, Virginia. The Conestoga was a region in southeastern Pennsylvania named after a native American tribe and a creek, where the Conestoga wagon was developed by Pennsylvania Germans. The Opequon flows near Winchester, emptying into the Potomac.
Kerns notes that the Great Wagon Road brought early settlers to Old Orange County, the parent county of Frederick, and to Old Frederick County, with these settlers coming primarily from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. Many of these early settlers were Welsh, English, and Ulster Scots Quakers who migrated along with Ulster Scots Presbyterians. As noted in the last posting, there was also a significant presence of Germans in what became Frederick County, people who had initially settled in Pennsylvania and Maryland and then moved south. Historian Warren Hofstra notes that, in fact, west of the Blue Ridge, people of English or Anglo-American ancestry were in the minority among immigrants from Northern Ireland or the Palatinate region of Germany. According to Hofstra, “one of the most striking characteristics” of the society that grew up along the headwaters of the Opequon in Frederick County was “its mixture of ethnic groups.”
In his history of the early period of Frederick County, Cecil O’Dell points to the Hite-Fairfax lawsuit settled by the Virginia Supreme Court in 1786 for an explanation of what motivated settlers from the middle colonies to pour into Virginia in the first half of the 1700s. The suit began in 1736 with disputes about the conflicting land claims of Lord Fairfax and of settlers Jost Hite and Robert McKay brought to the Northern Neck. As Cecil O’Dell notes, the complaint filed by Hite’s heirs as they set the suit into motion states that what motivated settlers to pour into the Northern Neck (i.e., what became Frederick County) were the large rents being charged for small parcels of land in the middle colonies in the first part of the 1700s, as those colonies were also becoming populous, with land becoming scarcer. In 1730, by offering land grants, the colony of Virginia encouraged settlers from regions northward to come to Virginia and settle on the colony’s frontier on the east and west side of the Blue Ridge. Cecil O’Dell indicates that approximately 80% of the settlers of “old” Frederick County (“old” designates the period 1725-1744) came from areas Penn had helped settle in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, as well as from northern Maryland.
By the mid-1730s, settlers from these areas also began coming through Frederick, the gateway county to the Shenandoah Valley, and up the Valley into Augusta and Botetourt and east of the Blue Ridge to Bedford, Lunenburg, Brunswick, Pittsylvania and surrounding counties. As Mary B. and F.B. Kegley note, by May 1745, Orange County records state that James Patton and John Buchanan reported to the county court that they had viewed the road running from Frederick County into the part of Orange County that later was Augusta — a road already in use by settlers moving into this part of western Virginia south of Frederick County. The French and Indian war accelerated this migration pattern. By the middle of the 1700s, in fact, people who had initially settled in Frederick County were also frequently moving further south and taking up new parcels of land in the Valley of Virginia and the Blue Ridge, where Wythe County is located.
A number of sources document the significant role played by Jost Hite and his business partner Robert McKay in promoting migration to Orange, later Frederick County, Virginia, from 1730 forward. McKay was a Quaker, and he actively promoted the migration of Quakers from the middle colonies to northern Virginia, where Frederick County quickly became a Quaker stronghold. According to Warren Hofstra, in 1730, McKay and Hite petitioned the Virginia government for permission to settle the backcountry of Virginia along with other families. They settled in what was then Orange County. Hofstra says that Robert McKay arrived with Jost Hite and his family and a friend, Peter Stephens, in the Shenandoah Valley in late 1731. O’Dell gives the date of McKay and Hite’s petition to the Virginia government as 21 October 1731 — but this may be, I think, the date on which McKay and Hite obtained their patent to 100,000 acres in the Shenandoah Valley. As F.B. Kegley notes, Hite and McKay (both with roots in the middle colonies) began acquiring land in the Shenandoah Valley in 1731.
As the history of the Hopewell Quaker meeting in Frederick County compiled by meeting members notes, as McKay and Hite’s business developed, the two also took into partnership William Duff, a Quaker of Ulster Scots background, who was living in the 1730s in King George County, Virginia, and his nephew Robert Green of Orange County. After his move to Virginia, Robert McKay became an active and important member of the Hopewell meeting. Duff and Green assisted with the recruitment of Quaker settlers from the middle colonies. At some point in the future, I’ll share more about Robert McKay (1679-1752), who is one of my direct ancestors. As his name suggests, he had Scottish origins, but may not have been the immigrant ancestor of this family, but more likely born in Freehold in Monmouth County, New Jersey. He moved from there initially to Cecil County, Maryland, where he bought 150 acres from Stephen Hollingsworth on 18 July 1723 and where he was a member of the Nottingham Friends meeting.
In summary, migration through and out of Frederick County to Virginia counties south of Frederick (and into the Carolinas) had been going on for some years already before Thomas Brooks moved his family down to Wythe County in 1792. Examples of this migration pattern abound: for example, in 1750, after his Quaker community in Exeter, Pennsylvania disavowed him, Daniel Boone’s father Squire Boone brought the family along the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania through Frederick County and then up the Shenandoah Valley and down into Rowan County in western North Carolina.
And as David Hackett Fischer notes in his study of distinctive Anglo-American regional cultures entitled Albion’s Seed, after moving from Ulster to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1733, the migratory Calhoun family, which had previously moved from Scotland to Northern Ireland, made its way down to Virginia, where the Calhouns settled in what became Wythe County before moving to the South Carolina upcountry, where they inaugurated the Long Canes settlement at what was then Granville (and part of Colleton) County and later Abbeville County not long before 1760. The progenitor of this Calhoun family that includes John Caldwell Calhoun, twice vice-president of the U.S., was a Patrick Calhoun who died in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, by 1741, when his estate was inventoried. By October 1745, Patrick Calhoun’s children made the move with their mother Catherine from Pennsylvania to what was then Augusta County, Virginia (later Botetourt, then Fincastle, and finally Wythe), where they settled on Reed Creek by October 1745. I also descend from Patrick and Catherine Montgomery Calhoun through their son Ezekiel, and will say more about that family at some point down the road. (A note of thanks is due here to sharp reader John Blythe for reminding me that Abbeville County did not exist by 1760, but only after Granville-Colleton became Ninety-Six District in 1769 and then Abbeville in 1785.)
In moving from Frederick County to Wythe County in 1793, Thomas Brooks was following in the footsteps of many previous migrants who had followed a similar path. As we’ll see when we examine his presence in Wythe County records, the people with whom he interacted after his move to Wythe County sometimes, in fact, had come there, as he did, from Frederick County.
Thomas’s Arrival in Wythe County, 1793 and First Records in the County
As a previous posting notes (an image of the document is at this posting), Thomas Brooks begins appearing in Wythe County records in 1793, when he is on the county personal property tax list taxed on 5 April for three tithables (white males over 16) and 6 horses. The three tithables in his household are Thomas himself and his two oldest sons James (born 1772) and Thomas Jr. (born 1775). The enumerator for the district in which Thomas Brooks is found is Captain James Davis.
I think it’s likely that James Davis belongs to the Davies/Davis family intermarried with the family of Thomas Whitlock, whose daughter Sarah married Thomas Brooks’s son Thomas Madison Brooks in February 1796, but I don’t have a clear enough picture of the Wythe County Davies/Davis families, in which the given name James recurs in multiple lines, to know this for certain. As a previous posting notes, Sarah Whitlock’s brother Charles married Mary, daughter of Henry Davies/Davis of Wythe County about 29 January 1793, and following Charles’s death in Wythe County in April 1796 due to a falling tree, Thomas Brooks Jr. testified in Wayne County, Kentucky, in a chancery court case filed by Charles’s widow Mary on behalf of their two daughters against Thomas Whitlock. Thomas’s father Thomas Brooks Sr. also testified in the case in Wythe County, as we’ll see in a moment.
As we’ve also seen previously, after his initial appearance on the Wythe County personal property tax lists, Thomas Brooks Sr. continues on the tax list there up to 1805, when his widow Margaret then begins appearing as head of the household on the tax list, following Thomas’s death sometime before 12 February 1805. The posting I have just linked discusses Thomas Brooks’s listings on the Wythe tax lists up to 1798, providing digital images of each entry. As that posting notes, in 1794-5, Thomas is again enumerated in James Davis’s district, and in 1794, his son James, now 22 years of age and possibly married (prior to his 1804 marriage to Nancy Isbell) is taxed separately from his father.
In 1796, Thomas’s son Thomas Jr., now 21 years of age and married to Sarah Whitlock, is listed separately from his father, and the designation Sr. and Jr. is given on the tax list to separate the two. Both are enumerated in Captain Samuel Crockett’s district — a family intermarried with the Davies/Davis family: Mary Davies/Davis, who married Charles Whitlock, was the daughter of Henry Davies/Davis and Jean/Jane Crockett.
As the posting linked at the head of the penultimate paragraph also shows, Thomas Brooks Sr. and Jr. appear again on the tax list in Wythe County in 1797 in Captain Samuel Crockett’s district, and in 1798, Thomas Brooks Jr. is no longer found on the county’s tax lists, since this is the year in which he moved his family to Pulaski (later Wayne) County, Kentucky. Thomas Brooks the father continues in this year in Captain Samuel Crockett’s district in Wythe County.
Records Telling Us Where Thomas Lived in Wythe County, 1796 Forward
Starting in 1796, Wythe County court order books begin to provide us with important information about where Thomas Brooks lived in the county and who his neighbors were. On 9 March 1796, the court order books show Thomas ordered by the court along with William Carter to allot hands to work a county road under Moses Austin and William Ross. Since Thomas Brooks’s son Thomas Jr. had married the preceding month and was now living on his own with wife Sarah, it’s possible, of course, that this record — which does not use the Sr.-Jr. designation — refers to the son and not the father, but I think this is more likely a record pertaining to Thomas Brooks Sr.
This court record suggests that when he moved his family to Wythe County, Thomas Brooks had settled near William Carter. The Carter family was intermarried with the Crockett and Davies/Davis families that tie to the family of Thomas Whitlock through the marriage of his son Charles to Mary Davies/Davis. A number of documents show Thomas Whitlock as neighbor to a George Carter who is, I think, closely related to William Carter — but I don’t know enough about this Carter family to tell you with certainty how these two men might connect. For example, on 24 September 1782, Josiah Fugate entered 88 acres on the south side of New River in Montgomery County, Virginia, with the land falling between land of George Carter and James Gray, and another 264 acres joining this, joining Thomas Whitlock. In 1789, when Wythe County was formed from Montgomery, this land fell into Wythe.
A 25 October 1784 deed of James and Flower Gray of Montgomery County to Fredegal Adams for land on the south side of New River shows us that one of the three tracts they were selling adjoined Henry Davies, and another joined Thomas Whitlock and George Carter. The Fugate family holding land next to the Carters, Grays, Thomas Whitlock, and Henry Davies/Davis, had moved to Montgomery County from Frederick County, Virginia, about 1775. As we’ll see in a moment, a February 1798 Wythe court record will show us that the Fugates were also neighbors of Thomas Brooks. It’s also worth noting as I discuss the Wythe County Carter family to mention that, according to Augusta Phillips Johnson in her history of Wayne County, Kentucky, William Carter, a member of the Wythe County Carter family, moved with wife Unity Bates to Wayne County, where both died and are buried.
Thomas Brooks appears in Wythe County court minutes again on 16 June 1797, when the court ordered him along with Walter Crockett, Thomas Foster, and George Carter to view a way for a road between William Carter’s ferry and John Miller’s property on the road to Evans’s Ferry. According to Mary B. Kegley, this court record shows us that Walter Crockett and the others named with him in the record lived near Evans’s (also known as Jackson’s) ferry in Wythe County. Note the recurrence of George Carter’s name in this record. The Walter Crockett named here was a brother of Jane/Jean Crockett who married Henry Davies/Davis. Again, since Thomas Brooks Jr. had married by this date and was still in Wythe County, this court record could pertain to the son and not the father, though in my view, it more likely points us to Thomas Sr.
The first map above, from Mary B. Kegley’s Early Adventurers on the Western Waters, provides a good snapshot of the part of Wythe County in which Thomas Brooks bought land in February 1804, and was apparently living from the time he came to Wythe County in 1793. I’ve penciled in Thomas Brooks’s name on the map to show where his land lay. The map shows Evans’s ferry as Jackson’s ferry, and also shows us where Jesse Evans and George Carter lived. Thomas Whitlock lived on Little Reed Island Creek in the vicinity of George Carter. As the second map immediately above, also from Mary B. Kegley’s work, shows, Little Reed Island Creek ran a bit east of Poplar Camp Creek, where Thomas Brooks lived. The arrows I’ve drawn on the second map are to show where the creeks in question are located, not to mark the exact location of Thomas Brooks’s and Thomas Whitlock’s land, which was closer to New River.
The third map above is a map showing where many early settlers of Wythe County lived. It was compiled by John Hildebrand, F.B. and Mary B. Kegley, and the Roanoke Valley Historical Society, and is online at the Harrell Collaborative website. The map does not include the names of either Thomas Brooks or Thomas Whitlock. I have highlighted the area of the county in which they lived (fourth map) and have magnified the highlighted section to show where William Herbert lived next to Jesse Evans, and where Walter Crockett and the Carter family lived. The land Thomas Brooks bought in 1804 next to Jesse Evans was purchased from Thomas and Sarah Herbert, who had the land from William Herbert.
On 13 September 1797, Thomas Brooks reported to Wythe court along with Walter Crockett, Thomas Foster, and George Carter that they had viewed the road that the court had requested on 16 June that they view. Court minutes note that Major (Jesse) Evans had proposed the road and that since its initial proposal, a suggestion for an improved road had been made. To this end, the court ordering that Hugh McGarrick, John Montgomery, David Sayers, Thomas Whitlock, James McGavock Jr., Robert Graham, and Andrew and James Crockett view the suggested improved route and report to court.
On 14 February 1798, Wythe court ordered Thomas Foster and Thomas Brooks Sr. to allot hands to work the road under supervision of Thomas Whitlock and Reubin Harrill and to return a report to court. This is the first designation I find of Thomas Brooks in Wythe court records as Sr. or Jr.
Court minutes for the next session of Wythe County court on 13 March 1798 state that Thomas Brooks (no designation of Sr. or Jr.) was to be allowed credit for one old wolf head at the next levy (that is, at the next tax period, he was to be given a credit for having presented the head of a wolf, a predator threatening livestock of local farmers, to the court). The minutes of this same court session also say that Thomas Foster and Thomas Brooks returned a report to court regarding hands to work on the Reed Island road.
In 1799, Thomas appears on the Wythe County tax list in Captain Samuel Crockett’s district charged on 6 May for two tithables and 5 horses. There is no designation of Sr. or Jr. here, since Thomas’s son Thomas had by this point moved his family from Wythe County, Virginia, to Pulaski (later Wayne) County, Kentucky. The second tithable on this tax list was Thomas’s son Robert H. Brooks, who was born 8 November 1780 and was 19 in 1799.
A 10 May 1799 Wythe County deed by Thomas and Sarah Herbert of Grayson County (the couple from whom Thomas Brooks will purchase land in 1804) to Thomas Foster tells us that the 306 acres Foster was buying on the south side of New River adjoined land owned by Thomas Brooks, Jesse Evans, “and others.” I have not found a record of Thomas Brooks buying land in Wythe County prior to 1804. But note that this deed suggests he owned (or was he renting?) land there before he bought a tract from Thomas and Sarah Herbert in 1804.
In 1800, Thomas Brooks appears on the Wythe County tax list in James Newell’s district taxed on 20 April for two tithables and 5 horses. Again, the additional white male now of age in Thomas’s household is his son Robert (the older sons James and Thomas had left their parents’ household by this date), who begins appearing on Wythe County tax lists under his own name in 1803, a year before he would marry Rachel, daughter of George Adkins in Wythe County on 4 April 1804. By 1801, Thomas Brooks had three tithables in his household when he was taxed on 1 June in Thomas Crockett’s district (he was taxed also for 6 horses). The additional tithable this year was Thomas’s son Jesse, who was born 23 September 1784, and who was just coming of age. In 1802, Thomas’s household again shows three tithables (Thomas himself and sons Robert and Jesse) and 7 horses. The tax list was taken on 23 June in Thomas Crockett’s district; Thomas’s son James, who seems to have moved to Kentucky and then back to Virginia for a period of time, was taxed in the same district on for one tithable.
On 7 April 1803, Thomas Brooks gave testimony at the house of Jesse Evans in Wythe County in the case of Whitlock v. Whitlock filed in Augusta County chancery court in September 1799. Mary Davies/Davis Whitlock, widow of Thomas Whitlock’s son Charles, had filed suit against Thomas Whitlock on her behalf and that of her daughters Agnes and Hannah, claiming that Thomas Whitlock had promised half of his land to Charles if he married Mary, that Charles had lived on the land and Mary and her daughters continued to do so, and that Thomas Whitlock had reneged on his promise to deed the land to Charles’s family when Charles died without having produced a male heir. A previous posting discusses the testimony given in this case in Wayne County, Kentucky, on 10 March 1804 by Thomas Brooks’s son Thomas Madison Brooks, husband of Charles Whitlock’s sister Sarah.
In his April 1803 affidavit, which was witnessed by Jesse Evans, Nathaniel Frisbee, and Robert Sayers, Thomas Brooks stated that he had been at Charles Whitlock’s house a few hours before Charles was killed, and that Charles had returned five days before from the French Broad and had seen a piece of land there he wanted to buy. A Mr. Carter was present at the time, and he thought the price of the new land was high, and that Charles should rely on his father Thomas Whitlock to help him purchase the land. The affidavit designates Thomas Brooks as Sr.
Wythe County court minutes for 15 June 1803 tell us rather precisely where Thomas Brooks lived. Court minutes for that day say that on the motion of Jesse Evans, viewers had been appointed to view a road from Poplar Camp furnace to James Crockett’s furnace, running past the house of Thomas Brooks. Those appointed were Leonard Straw, William Ross, Thaddeus Cooley, Joseph Russell, Henry Honeacker, and James Reddish (i.e., Reddus), or any three of them. In the same court session, court minutes tell us that the viewers appointed to view a road from Poplar Camp furnace to James Crockett’s furnace had returned their report, and that on the motion of David Peirce, James Crockett, and Andrew Crockett, the report was quashed. Hence the motion for a new road committee….
As noted above, Thomas Brooks lived on Poplar Camp Creek. According to Mary B. Kegley, James Evans, founder of the community of Evansham that became the Wythe County seat, Wytheville, was owner of large landholdings in the best locations in Wythe County, including the Jackson place at the shot tower at Poplar Camp. Kegley says that Jesse Evans first appears in records of southwest Virginia in 1774, when he was in a militia company under Captain Walter Crockett. In October 1811, Thomas Herbert sold his Poplar Camp plantation and its ferry farm of 1,000 acres to Jesse Evans. Wythe County court records note that on 9 June 1813, Samuel Folks was to oversee a road from Evans’s Forge to Poplar Camp furnace, and in 1814, Jesse Evans was granted license to keep an ordinary at his house near his ferry across New River. An obituary of Jesse Evans written by L. Waugh after Jesse’s death on 28 July 1843 in Osage County, Missouri, and published in the Methodist publication The Western Christian Advocate says that he was born in Maryland about 1755, removed to South Carolina and then to Virginia when he was about 20. Jesse Evans was a representative from Wythe County to the Virginia legislature in 1793, and again twice after that before he moved to Missouri, and he was also county sheriff and a major of the local militia.
On 15 September 1803, Wythe County court noted that the most convenient way for the road from Poplar Camp furnace to James Crockett’s furnace was along New River, as proposed by Jesse Evans. This road would, the court decided, be easier to build than an alternate one proposed by Pierce, which would perhaps have made drawing iron ore from the mines easier. In addition, the river route had accommodation for lodgers. Since this road would pass through the land of Thomas Brooks and Thomas Foster, they were ordered to show cause why it should not be opened.
In 1803, Thomas Brooks appears on the tax list in Wythe County taxed on 27 June for one tithable and 4 horses in John Crockett’s district. On the same day and in the same district, his sons Jesse and Robert were also taxed for one tithable; they had begun living on their own apart from their father by this date, and this is why Thomas’s household has only one tithable.
Thomas Buys Land, 1804, from Thomas and Sarah Herbert
On 13 February 1804, Thomas Brooks bought from Thomas and Sarah Herbert (the deed spells their surname as it was pronounced, Harbert), all residents of Wythe County, a tract of land on the east (i.e., south) side of New River, formerly the property of William Herbert Jr., containing 300 acres. The land lay on both sides of Poplar Camp Creek. Thomas Brooks paid $3,000 for the tract. Witnesses to the deed were James Newell, John Evans, and Robert Sanders Jr. It was proven at February court by James Newell and John Evans. Written beside the deed in Wythe County deed book 5 is a marginal note saying that Thomas Brooks was deceased, with Jesse Brooks his executor. This appears to be the land on which Thomas had been living for some time prior to 1804, perhaps from his arrival in Wythe County in 1793.
Thomas and William Herbert Jr. were sons of William Herbert Sr., who had a plantation called Poplar Camp near the present community of Poplar Camp in Wythe County. According to Mary B. Kegley, William Herbert came to what was then Montgomery County and later Wythe County when Colonel John Chiswell (1710-1766), who discovered lead mining potential in the county and set up a mining operation there, went in 1763 to Bristol, England, to secure Welsh lead miners to work in the mines. Chiswell had grown up in Hanover County, Virginia, where Thomas Whitlock had roots, where his father Charles Chiswell claimed land rich in iron ore and became an authority regarding the smelting industry. John Chiswell married Elizabeth, daughter of William Randolph of Turkey Island in 1737, and became a member of the House of Burgesses. His interest in smelting brought him in the late 1750s to the New River area, where he discovered lead deposits. On 6 May 1760, he claimed 1,000 acres on the south side of New River and by 1761, had erected a foundry on his land. Chiswell had marital ties to the Carter family.
On 25 April 1763 at Bristol, William Herbert (who had married Sarah Fry there on 13 December 1758) signed a contract to come to Virginia and oversee Chiswell’s lead mining operation in Wythe County. Herbert arrived in what became the community of Poplar Camp sometime before January 1765, and operated a ferry across the New River. From this time forward, the lead mining community that grew up in this vicinity began to be known as the Welsh Mines.
According to Kegley, the ferry Herbert established on New River prior to 1770 was Jackson’s ferry. Following his death, Herbert’s son William Jr. acquired the land from William Jr.’s brother David in 1786, who had owned their father’s land on the south side of the river with his brother William owning the father’s land north of the river. William superintended the lead mines following his father’s death. In 1793, William Jr. sold his tract on the north side of the river (now known as Harbert’s Ferry) to William Carter.
Sometime after 1774, David Herbert transferred a portion of his father’s land near the mines to Jacob Vanhoze, who sold to Jacob Cane, who then sold to William Carter. Carter then sold his land to James Reddus and removed to Wayne County, Kentucky, where he was living in 1812 when Reddus filed suit against him because Reddus’s title to the land was unclear. In October 1811, Thomas Herbert sold most of his portion of Poplar Camp plantation and its ferry farm of 1,000 acres to Jesse Evans — hence the name Evans’s ferry for the ferry William Herbert Sr. had been operating which was previously called Jackson’s ferry. In 1813, Evans and Stephen Sanders Jr. settled a suit about who had the rights to the ferry.
Kegley’s account of the James Reddus v. William Carter lawsuit notes that William Lockett and wife Louisa of Wayne County, Kentucky, were among those giving testimony in this legal case. The Locketts were another family who migrated from Wythe County, Virginia, to Wayne County, Kentucky: when Charles Whitlock married Mary Davies/Davis in Wythe County around 29 January 1793, Daniel Lockett, a Methodist minister, was the minister marrying the couple. Daniel’s brother William, who went to Wayne County, Kentucky, was also a Methodist minister.
Kegley also notes other significant family ties with William Herbert Sr.: for instance, Walter Crockett, uncle of Mary Davies/Davis Whitlock, was executor of William Herbert’s estate and guardian of his children. And following William Herbert’s death sometime before 3 September 1776, his widow Sarah remarried to Francis Day in the fall or winter of 1776 and the couple went to Kentucky. Note that Thomas Brooks’s daughter Margaret married Joseph Day about 1792 in Wythe County, and this family also went to Kentucky.
From soon after his arrival in Montgomery (later Wythe) County, William Herbert had close ties to Boiling Spring Presbyterian church, where he became an elder. As Mary Kegley notes, the eastern end of Wythe County where the Herberts (and Thomas Brooks and Thomas Whitlock) lived was heavily Scotch-Irish — though the Herberts were Welsh and the Whitlocks and probably the Brooks were English — and was the location of two of the earliest churches in the county, Boiling Spring and Unity, both Presbyterian congregations. The 18th-century location of Boiling Spring church is now not known precisely, though it seems to have been on Reed Creek on the flat below Carter Park. In her history of early settlements on New River, Patricia Givens Johnson cites records of Hanover Presbytery showing that on 13 April 1769, Reverend John Craig reported to the Presbytery that a church had been established at Boiling Springs on lower Reed Creek, with 42 families enrolled, and with William Herbert, David Sayers, William Sayers, Nathaniel Wiltshire, and Robert Montgomery as ruling elders.
When Thomas Whitlock lost his lawsuit with his daughter-in-law Mary Davies/Davis Whitlock, after deeding Mary the half of his land he had promised to his son Charles, Thomas and wife Hannah sold the other half, their homeplace, on 8 May 1805 to Thomas and William Herbert and removed to Cumberland County, Kentucky. Thomas and Hannah sold the 340 acres to the Herberts for $1,500. The deed describes the land as lying on both sides of Little Reed Island Creek on the east (i.e., south) side of New River, bounded by the heirs of Charles Whitlock and by James Calfee and Carter. Thomas and Hannah both signed the deed with witnesses George Carter, Levi Durnal, Robert Thompson, and Absalom Dunnagan. This land was later to be the site of the High Rock forge in Wythe County, a community now known as Patterson.
In a 5 May 1993 letter, Elsie Davis, a Brooks-Whitlock researcher, told me that the 300 acres Thomas Brooks bought from Thomas and Sarah Herbert in 1804 were on the south side of New River, with a boundary line that crossed and re-crossed Poplar Camp Creek. This land was only a few miles from Thomas Whitlock’s land on Little Reed Island Creek.
The community of Poplar Camp still exists in Wythe County. It is west of interstate 77 and just south of highway 719 — between this highway and the Carroll County line. Eighteenth-century maps of Wythe County show Poplar Camp Creek flowing from what was to become Carroll County into Wythe and emptying into New River in the extreme southeastern portion of present Wythe County. As noted previously, just upstream (i.e., just east) is Little Reed Island Creek, which also flowed from present-Carroll County into New River. The present community of Poplar Camp is immediately south of the old shot tower (now the Shot Tower Historic State Park). It is so close to the tower that pictures of Poplar Camp can be taken from the tower; Kegley’s 1978 article about William Herbert for the Wythe County Historical Review contains a photograph of Poplar Camp taken from the shot tower.
Shot Tower Park is located where U.S. highway 52 crosses New River, at the Poplar Camp exit on I-77. It is one of only three such towers in the U.S., and was built in the early 1800s to supply frontiersmen and early settlers with shot. I visited this site in the fall of 1993 and have some good black-and-white photographs of it. Beneath the park is a log cabin that is still inhabited, and a collection of farm buildings surrounding the cabin. The cabin has a steeply pitched tin roof, fireplaces at both ends, and three doors opening onto a porch across the front. Crude log pillars meet the roof on the porch. I have no idea how old the cabin is, but suspect that it is at least a 19th-century structure, if not older. It is tempting to wonder if the Brooks family lived in a house similar to this.
On 31 March 1804, Thomas Brooks appeared for the last time on Wythe County tax lists. He and sons Jesse and Robert were all taxed on that date, each with one tithable, Thomas with 4 horses (and Jesse with 3 and Robert 2).
Thomas Makes His Will, November 1804, and Dies, February 1805
Thomas Brooks made his will on 4 November 1804 in Wythe County, and the will was proven at court on 12 February 1805 by his widow Margaret and sons Robert and Jesse, so he died at some point between those two dates. The will (images at the top of this posting) reads as follows:
I Thomas Brooks of Wythe county and State of Virginia do hereby make my last will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say
1st I devise that the land I live on may be sold after my decease.
2nd I devise to my best beloved wife Margaret one third part of the price of said land also the household furniture & the moveable property until her decease then to be equally divided between my daughter Rebekah and John Jehu Brooks.
3rd Upon James Brooks throwing in two hundred dollars, Robert Brooks one hundred and twenty dollars, Jesse Brooks one hundred dollars they may have an equal divide of the monies arising from the sales of said land with Sally Lahue, Thomas Brooks, Margaret Day, Susanna Harland, Ruthie Greenwood and Rachel Brooks, but if said sons aforementioned should be more than an equal share then they must pay John Brooks the overplus of these sums owed by them.
4th the plantation tools to be equally divided between Robt. and Jesse Brooks.
And lastly I do hereby
appoint constitute and appoint Robert Brooks and Jesse Brooks and my wife Margaret Brooks Executors and Executrix of this my last will and Testament hereby revoking all other or former Wills or testaments by me heretofore made
In witnesſ whereof I have hereunto set my hand & affixed my seal this 4th day of November 1804
Signed sealed published & declared as and for the last will and testament of the above named Thomas Brooks in the presence of us
John Folks Sr.
John Folks Jr.
Wythe February court 1805. This the last will and Testament of Thomas Brooks deceased was proven in Court by the oaths of John Folks Junior and Joseph Evans two of the Subscribing witnesſes thereto and ordered to be recorded
Tate B. Crockett
Wythe County court minutes for 12 February 1805 show Margaret, Robert, and Jesse Brooks presenting Thomas Brooks’s will to the court on that date, and giving bond in the amount of $1,000 for execution of the will with John Jenkins and John Folks Jr. The court ordered William Carter, James Newell, John and Jesse Evans, and David Peirce, or any three of them, to appraise the personal property of the estate.
On 12 March 1805, an inventory and appraisement of Thomas’s personal estate was returned to court by James Newell, Joseph Evans, and Jesse Evans. The estate was appraised at $407.09. It consisted of livestock (22 hogs, 3 horses, 6 cows, 27 geese, 2 sheep), household furniture (3 bedsteads and bedding, 7 chairs, a loom, 2 tables), kitchen and table ware (tinware, pewter, a brass kettle, a tea kettle, crocks and other cookware), and various farm implements. The estate also included a lot of old books, which suggests that some members of the family were literate — and note that Thomas signed his will, though another copy of the same estate inventory that Margaret and her sons Jesse and Robert Brooks returned to Wythe court in October 1805 (see below on this) was signed by mark in the case of each of those family members.
There was no sale of any of this movable property, since Thomas’s will left these items in the hands of Margaret during her lifetime, to go to their children Rebecca and John after her decease, with the farm tools to go to Robert and Jesse.
William Carter is a name we’ve met previously, as are Jesse and John Evans. As we’ve seen, in 1800, Thomas Brooks was taxed in James Newell’s district, and James Newell and John Evans witnessed Thomas and Sarah Herbert’s 1804 deed to Thomas Brooks of land on Poplar Camp Creek. Newell was a gentleman justice of the Wythe court in the late 1700s and early 1800s, according to Wythe County court order books. Mary Kegley says that James Newell (1749-1823) was a son of an older James Newell and wife Mary Drake, and married Sarah, daughter of William and Martha Drake Wood. According to Kegley, the children of James and Sarah Newell married into the Sanders, Kincannon, Evans, and Trigg families of the lead mine communities in Wythe County.
Wythe County court minutes for 8 October 1805 state again that the inventory of Thomas Brooks had been returned to court, and Wythe County will book 1 shows the same inventory being recorded twice at two different dates, with no explanation given for the duplicate records. Court minutes for the same court session state that Robert, Jesse, and Margaret Brooks were summoned by court on that date to shew cause why they should not give counter security to John Jenkins for faithful executorship of Thomas Brooks’s will. This question about the executors’ and executrix’s bond with Jenkins may account for the double recording of the inventory of the estate of Thomas Brooks.
Court minutes for the following day, 9 October, say that Jesse Brooks, executor of Thomas Brooks, had appeared in court with William and John Lehue, who gave bond with him for his execution of the estate — evidently replacing Jenkins, who had wanted to be released from his bond obligation, it appears. William and John Lehue/Lahue/Lehew were brothers, sons of William and Hannah Lehew. John was Jesse Brooks’s brother-in-law. He married Jesse’s sister Sarah in November 1804 in Wythe County.
On 5 May 1805, Margaret appeared as head of her household on the tax list in Wythe County, taxed for no tithables and 3 horses. Her son Jesse was taxed on the same day (one tithable and 2 horses), and Robert on 24 May (1 tithable and 2 horses). Note that the absence of tithables in Margaret’s household in 1805 suggests that her son John was not yet of age. That would place John’s birth after 1789.
After 1805, Margaret drops off the Wythe County tax lists. I do not have a record of her death or remarriage. From 1806 until 1810, when he moved to Wayne County, Kentucky, Jesse Brooks is the only member of this Brooks family whom I find on the tax list in Wythe County. It’s possible, of course, that Margaret had also gone to Kentucky following Thomas Brooks’s death, to live with some of her children there. Note that though Thomas’s will stipulates that his land was to be sold, I find no deed records in Wythe County showing that this actuall happened.
In my next posting, I’ll move back a generation to look closely at the will of 1786 Mary Brooks in Frederick County, Virginia, and anything more that it might tell us about this Brooks family. After that posting, I’ll follow the lines of Mary’s family, and then of her son Thomas’s family, down a generation or two and tell you what I know about those family lines.
A Different (Unrelated?) Brooks Family in Wythe County Records
A Brooks family separate from the family of Thomas Brooks also appears in Wythe County records in the latter part of the 1700s. This family descends from a William Brooks whose family bible apparently states that he was born 3 February 1752 in Prince William (later Fauquier) County, Virginia, and that he died 24 January 1841 in Tazewell County, Virginia. On 9 November 1768, in Fauquier County, he married Ann Locke. The couple are said to have had children John, Margaret, Richard, Thomas, Mary/Polly, Nancy, William, Sarah, Elizabeth, James, and Louisa.
A number of researchers of this family indicate that the William Brooks who married Ann Locke is a William Brooks named in the 10 January 1767 Fauquier County will of an older William Brooks, whose will names children Sarah, Hannah, Dorcas/Darcus, Mary, Elizabeth, Thomas, and William. The son Thomas named in this will left a will in Fauquier County dated 20 January 1792 (pr. October 1795), naming wife Elizabeth and children Thomas, William, John, Elizabeth Brown, Nancy Fox, Sarah Brown, Winnifred Northcutt, and Mary and Dorcas.
The William Brooks who married Ann Locke and resided in Wythe County may be a William Brooks who claimed 399 acres in Montgomery County (later Wythe) on 20 March 1787 by right of settlement. The land was on Maiden Spring Fork on Bradshaw’s Pounding Mill Branch, crossing Plumb Creek. According to a law passed in 1776 by the Virginia Assembly, those who settled on a tract prior to 24 June 1776 could claim 400 acres. This land would have fallen into Wythe County.
I do not know if this Brooks family was in any way related to the family of Thomas Brooks. These Brooks lived in a different part of Wythe County than where Thomas and his family lived, and I find no records showing the two Brooks families interacting with each other or with the same sets of people in Wythe County.
For a brief addendum to this posting discussing pieces of information I’ve found regarding the handling of Thomas Brooks’s estate by his executrix Margaret Brooks and executors Jesse and Robert Brooks, please see this subsequent posting.
 Wilmer L. Kerns, Frederick County, Virginia: Settlement and Some First Families of Back Creek Valley, 1730-1830 (Baltimore: Gateway, 1995). On 5 June 1996, Wilmer Kerns posted a set of notes about the Great Wagon Road and Frederick County to the Harrison family discussion list at Rootsweb. These notes summarize his research in his published history of Frederick County.
 Warren R. Hofstra, The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2004), p. 52.
 Ibid., p. 39.
 Cecil O’Dell, Pioneers of Old Frederick County, Virginia (Westminster, Maryland: Heritage, 2007), p. 10, citing Hite/Fairfax lawsuit, British Copy, pp. 80-1.
 See Hofstra, Planting of New Virginia, p. 145.
 O’Dell, Pioneers of Old Frederick County, p. 11.
 Ibid., p. 12.
 Ibid., p. 13.
 Mary B. Kegley and F.B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters, vol. 1 (Orange, Virginia: Green, 1980), pp. 48-0.
 O’Dell, Pioneers of Old Frederick County, p. 13.
 See Hofstra, Planting of New Virginia, p. 34.
 Ibid., p. 94.
 O’Dell, Pioneers of Old Frederick County, p. 18, citing the Hite-Fairfax lawsuit. See also Hofstra, Planting of New Virginia, p. 91, on the 100,000-acre grant received by McKay and Hite on 21 October 1731.
 F.B. Kegley, Kegley’s Virginia Frontier (Roanoke: Southwest Virginia Hist. Soc., 1938), p. 34.
 Hopewell Friends (with John W. Wayland), Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934 (Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. Co., 1975), pp. 185-6.
 See O’Dell, Pioneers of Old Frederick County, p. 364.
 See John Mack Faragher, Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer (NY: Henry Holt, 1992), pp. 27-9.
 David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989), pp. 645-6.
 See Mary B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters, vol. 3, pt. 2 (Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth, 1995), pp. 597-8.
 Ibid., p. 594.
 See Henry Davies’s will, Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, pp. 297-9, pr. September 1804. Jane/Jean Crockett was the daughter of Samuel Crockett (1694-1749) and Esther Thompson — see the biography provided at her Find a Grave memorial page, created by David Haugh; and also the information provided about her in this FGS at the We Relate site. See also Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 253-260, who gives the name of Henry Davies’s/Davis’s wife as Nancy Agnes Crockett instead of Jane/Jean Crockett. The Find a Grave memorial page for Henry Daviscreated by Judy Llamas has a biography stating that Henry was son of a James Davis who appears in Orange County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1 on 24 July 1740 claiming importation rights for himself and his family, including son Henry, who had arrived there from Ireland. An FGS page for Henry Davis at the We Relate site has Henry, however, as son of Thomas Davis.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1796, p. 70. See also Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, p. 195; and Mary B. Kegley, Abstracts of Court Orders of Wythe County, Virginia, vol. 1 (Wytheville: Kegley, 1996), p. 14.
 See supra, n. 22.
 According to Mary B. Kegley, Robert Carter (1769-1801) married Jane (1772-1844), daughter of Walter Crockett, in Wythe County on 8 May 1792. Kegley says that Robert was a son of George Carter and Mary Craig, and that Jane Crockett’s sister Katherine married William Sayers: Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, p. 260.
 Montgomery County, Virginia, Land Entry Bk., 1782, p. 146
 Montgomery County, Virginia, Deed Bk. A, p. 341 — see Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 2, p. 68.
 Augusta Phillips Johnson, A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, 1800-1900 (Louisville: Standard, 1939), pp. 234-5.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1797, p. 84. See also Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 259-260; and also Kegley, Abstracts of Court Orders of Wythe County, vol. 1, p. 26.
 Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 2, p. 566. As the map states, it’s Mary B. Kegley’s work in association with S. Rush Crockett.
 Ibid., vol. 3, pt. 1, p. 216.
 John R. Hildebrand, F.B. Kegley, Mary B. Kegley ,and Roanoke Valley Historical Society, A Settlement Map of Wythe County, Virginia: Giving the Names and Locations of Many of the Early Adventurers in the Territory — From 1745 to 1858 (Roanoke, Virginia: Roanoke Valley Historical Society, 1974).
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk., 13 September 1797, unpaginated. See also Kegley, Abstracts of Court Orders of Wythe County, vol. 1, p. 28.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk., 14 February 1798, unpaginated.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk., 13 March 1798, unpaginated. See also Kegley, Abstracts of Court Orders of Wythe County, vol. 1, p. 34.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk., 13 March 1798, unpaginated. See also Kegley, Abstracts of Court Orders of Wythe County, vol. 1, p. 35.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 2, pp. 339-340. See also Early Adventurers, vol. 2, p. 235.
 Ibid., 1802.
 Whitlock v. Whitlock, Commonwealth of Virginia Chancery District Court (Staunton, Virginia), box 10, file 38.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk., 15 June 1803, unpaginated. See Kegley, Abstracts of Court Orders of Wythe County, vol. 1, p. 102.
 Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 262-7.
 Ibid., pp. 287-8.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1812-15, pp. 54, 142; see also ibid., p., 265.
 Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, p. 266, citing the original obituary in possession of Wisconsin Historical Society, file 16E67. Kegley reproduces sections of the obituary here.
 Mary B. Kegley, Wythe County, Virginia: A Bicentennial History (Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth, 1989), p. 261.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk., 15 September 1803, unpaginated. See also Kegley, Abstracts of Court Orders of Wythe County, vol. 1, p. 107; and Early Adventurers, vol. 2, pp. 325-6, which states that this record is on p. 267 of the county court order book dated 1801-5. At some point, someone has written page numbers on select pages of the court order books, and by counting pages, one can assign numbers to all the otherwise unpaginated pages — if one spots the occasional page numbers at the top of pages in the order books.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 5, pp. 67-9.
 Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, p. 328; and Kegley, “Captain William Herbert,” Wythe County Historical Review 13 (January 1978), p. 3. Extensive information about William Herbert is in Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 273-289. Information about William Herbert is also found at Deborah Shelton Wood’s Virginia Roots website.
 Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 250-3. In its collection of papers from Frederick’s Hall plantation in Louisa County, the Southern Historical Collection at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill holds Chiswell’s account books from his mercantile activities in Hanover and Louisa Counties in the early 1750s. These have been microfilmed by the LDS Family History Library and are on US/Canada film 1760195, but are almost impossible to read due to bleed-through. See also Kenneth M. Stampp, ed., Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution Through the Civil War, Series J: Selections from the Southern Historical Collection, Part 9: Virginia (Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1996).
 Kegley, Wythe County, Virginia: A Bicentennial History, p. 63.
 Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 287-8.
 Kegley, ibid., cites James Reddus v. William Carter, Augusta County, Virginia, Superior Court of Chancery Pleas, vol. 6, 1812.
 Kegley, Early Adventurers, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 287-8.
 Ibid., pp. 282-3.
 Kegley, Wythe County, Virginia: A Bicentennial History, p. 210.
 Ibid., p. 209.
 Patricia Givens Johnson, The New River Early Settlement (priv. publ., 1983), p. 179, citing “Capt. William Herbert Helped in Early Development of this Section,” Southwest Virginia Enterprise, April 1945. See also ibid., p. 209.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 4, pp. 288-9.
 Kegley, “Captain William Herbert.”
 Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, pp. 308-9; and Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1801-5, p. 439.
 In a 30 January 2012 email to me, a Folks researcher, Patricia Howell, told me she thinks the Folks who witnessed Thomas Brooks’s will were related to a Josiah Folks who deeded land in Prince Edward County, Virginia to a Thomas Brooks on 10 April 1783. I have not found this deed. Note also the previous mention of a 9 June 1813 court record showing Samuel Folks overseeing a road from Evans’s Forge to Poplar Camp furnace.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1801-5, p. 446; and Wythe County Will Bk. 1, pp. 312-3.
 Kegley, Wythe County, Virginia: A Bicentennial History, p. 336.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk.1801-5, p. 540; Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, p. 330.
 Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk.1801-5, p. 542.
 Ibid., p. 549.
 Fauquier County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, p. 1.
 Ibid., p. 381.
 Montgomery County, Virginia, Survey Bk. D.