Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 100

This has been a day of contrasts. With a conference call scheduled at 11am, I decided to use the morning to do chores and invoicing. Those accomplished I found out at 11:15 that the call had been cancelled the day before but I wasn't notified. At this point, I knew I should head for the probate court but I just couldn't face that task. So - I headed south in the rain to find Moffatts Creek.

Joseph Kennedy came to the area in the 1730s. You have to picture him as a loud, boisterous, Irishman. The courts fined him twice for abusing the judge. He purchased several hundred acres of the Borden and Beverly land grants along Moffatts Creek and established a fulling mill. His sons worked the mill with him. Son John (our 5 g grandfather) must have been discontented early as he appears to have left for NC by about 1748. In general, many of the Scotch-Irish immigrants were unhappy with their land options. Virginia did not allow anyone to buy land beyond the headwaters of the creeks and rivers that drained into the Atlantic. The land beyond the mountains looked appealing and the Carolinas had no such restrictions. Between 1760 and 1770 1,000 Scotch-Irish from Augusta County left for the Carolinas. Our 6 g grandfather Joseph Kennedy followed son John in 1762. The tax court reported him as "returned no inhabitant."

I drove about 12 miles south of Staunton to Middlebrook and stopped at the library to look at a more local map. Nothing was available (this is a small library) but the volunteer knew just where the creek started - another 5 miles south parallel to the road. Sure enough, I found it and could visualize how lovely the area must have seemed to the Kennedy family - woods and open spaces. Another five miles south and there was the New Providence Presbyterian Church. Joseph and Elizabeth K. donated the land for the church in 1754. Yea - I was actually on the land occupied by our ancestors. Amazingly, this area looked much like what we saw in Paint Lick, KY - the Kennedy homestead of Joseph's grandson Thomas.

I then realized that while yesterday I went to Rockingham County (north) I should have gone to Rockbridge County (south). Off to Lexington! I arrived at the historical society at 2pm and was given free rein to look at anything. The librarian even left at 3 to get lunch and told me I was in charge. Every place is different!! Most of the original material is held at the archives at William and Lee College (2 blocks over). I may need to go there tomorrow afternoon. However, I found some good nuggets and got a much better picure of the development of this area of Virginia plus acquired a land grant map. An interesting side note - John Letcher (son of Giles and Hannah Hughes Letcher - 6 g grandparents on the Atkinson side and brother to our Steven Giles Letcher) moved from eastern VA to Rockbridge County and became prominent in the development of the area.
VMI is also located in Lexington. It is definitely at khaki-colored citadel!

Tonight I have spent 4 hours and think I finally have the Robertsons straightened out. Still have to do Robinsons but am making progress. Tomorrow I will be back at the Augusta Historical Society and may go to the probate court and fit in William and Lee plus drive to Roanoke????? I think I better head to bed.

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