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Arthur Galbraith

Arthur Galbraith was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the year 1728, son of Andrew Galbraith and his wife Mary Kyle. Information on his first 40 years is almost non-existant, as his father Andrew moved to the West of the Susquehanna river in 1747. At that time Cumberland County was the limit of Westward expansion, and as a result of the rough and tumble life of the Pennsylvania frontier, records are few and far between. Really, documentation on the life of Arthur begins with his marriage to Mary Sharp on 15 January 1768 in the St. James Episcopal Church in the town of Lancaster. Arthur was 40 years old when he married Mary Sharp and this would suggest that in all probability his marriage to Mary Sharp was a second marriage. However no evidence of a prior marriage has come to light.

Arthur Galbraith on 22 September 1766, took up 250 Acres of land on Shaver's Creek, (according to Mr. M. Luther Heisey, of the Lancaster County Historical Society this is near Petersburg, in what is now Huntingdon County, PA). Huntingdon County, was created in 1787 from Bedford County, which in turn was erected in 1771 from Cumberland.

Since we know that Authur's father Andrew, moved in 1747, to Cumberland County, (when Arthur was 19) and since Arthur took up the acreage at Shaver's Creek, in 1766 when he was 38 years old this would place Arthur in Cumberland County, for 19 years before he became a land owner. Plenty of time for Arthur to marry and raise a family. If this is true, what happened to Arthur's first family? Do I dare to suggest that while Arthur was away from home, an Indian attack took place and that his whole family was massacred. After all his home was on the frontier, and Indian attacks were common at that time. This is of course, pure speculation and perhaps the truth will never come to light, but I do not believe that Arthur waited until he was 40 to marry for the first time. We do not have a record of the sale of Arthur's holdings on Shaver's Creek, but we do know that Arthur and his new bride departed Pennsylvania shortly after their marriage. Why did Arthur leave? Was it because his memory of his first family was too painful? Was it because he wanted to start a new life in new surroundings? Well no matter, the fact is he did leave and started down the Shenadoah valley to finally come to rest in Hawkins County, Tennessee.

Now, through the courtesy of Lewis Preston Summers, lets follow Arthur as he made his odyssey down the Valley on the Kings Hiway (now US 11) to his new home, as shown by the Annals of Botetourt, Fincastle & Washington Counties, Virginia.


13 March 1771: Botetourt County Court: It is interesting to note that the first official documentation of Arthur in his new home, concerns a breach of the peace on the part of Arthur, against his neighbor Arthur Campbell. Arthur Campbell was an adversary of no mean stature, of the same Scotch blood as Arthur Galbraith, and a lawsuit is much better than starting a Scotch Clan feud. Testifying to that is the fact that both of these men had traveled 105 miles, in the cold, stark weather of March to be present to settle the matter. The full minutes of the County Court, set out in the austere language imported directly from the British Isles, is given below, as being worthy for our modern day appetites. "Upon the complaint of Arthur Campbell agst. Arthur Calbraith for a breach of the peace, the parties being heard it is ord. that the sd. Arthur Calbraith give security for his good behaviour for a year & day next ensuing." Arthur must have known that he was going to lose as he brought his bondsmen with him as we see in the verdict next listed: "Arthur Calbraith, James Dewis & Peter Willey came into court & acknd. themselves severally indebted to our Sovereign Lord George the third, now King of Great Britain & in the sums following, viz.: The said Arthur Calbraith in the sum of one hundred pounds and the said James Dewis & Peter Willey in the sum of fifty pounds each of their respective goods and chattels, lands and tenements, to be levied, and to our said Lord the King, his heirs & successors rendered. Yet upon this condition that if the said Arthur Calbraith shall be of good behavior towards said Lord the King and all His Majesty's liege people, particularly the said Arthur Campbell, for a year & a day now next ensuing, then this recognizance to be void else to remain in full force." [L. P. Summers, ANNALS OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, Abington, VA, 1929, pp 106-107]

12 November 1771 A Grand Jury held on this date returned an indictment against Arthur Galbreath for "stopping the Kings Hiway between the Royal Oak and the Seven Mile Ford on Holston River." The crime of stopping the Kings Hiway, could mean any one of several things, but most likely it had to do with erecting a barrier of some sort to fence in cattle. This offense was seemingly minor as occurrences in the early days of Botetourt County were frequent. [Summers p 141]

13 November 1771 Arthur must have been considered a reliable citizen for the day after his indictment for stopping the Kings Hiway he was selected to serve on a Jury in the case of William Simpson agst William Herbert. [ Summers page 142]

14 November 1771 Well Arthur's quick temper and hasty tongue got him in trouble again. This time he was being sued by Thomas Hamilton for slander. Arthur was found guilty, but the jury apparently thought that there was some justification on the part of Arthur, as the assessment against Arthur was only one penny. [Summers page 145]

10 September 1772 Arthur and his neighbor Arthur Campbell are at it again. This time around Arthur Galbreath is suing Arthur Campbell for debt. No better luck this time as Arthur Campbell is found not guilty. [Summers, page 154]


4 May 1773, Fincastle County Court. Apparently people and cattle are becoming more numerous as the new county of Fincastle granted Arthur Galbreath a mark for his cattle, a Swallow fork on the left ear. [Summers, page 604]

5 May 1773 Ordered Arthur Galbreath to pay William Davis and James Davis 50 pounds of tob. for two daies attendance at this court as witnesses for him against Arthur Campbell. [Summers, page 605 & 606]

7 February 1775 "Ordered that John Campbell John Hayes Arthur Galbraith and William Lockhart or any three of them who being first sworn do appraise the personal estate and slaves if any of William Fowler deceased and return the appraisement to the court." [Summers, page 637]

6 June 1775 "On the motion of Arthur Galbreath It is ordered that his servant woman Mary Johnson serve him twelve month for the trouble of his house in having a bastard Child after her present time by Indenture or otherwise is Expired. [Summers, page 643.]

7 November 1775 "Ordered that Archibald Buchanan, Arthur Galbreath, Jacob Anderson, and Charles Bowen or any three of them being first sworn to appraise the Estate of James McElhenny Deceased according to Law." {Summers, page 646]


19 August 1778 Ordered that Arthur Galbreath be overseer of the road in the room of William Elliott. [Summers, page 999] This entry in the minutes of Washington County helps us locate the home of Arthur in that portion of Washington County, Virginia that became Sullivan County, North Carolina when the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina was surveyed in 1779. Sullivan County, North Carolina became Sullivan County, Tennessee in 1796. In August of 1777, William Elliot had been appointed surveyor "in the room of David Steel", [Summers page 965] and in January 1777 David Steel had been appointed "surveyor of the Main Road from Steel's Creek to the Meeting House. [Summers, page 954.] William Taylor in his "Historic Sullivan", located the Meeting House 4 miles west of what is now Blountville, Sullivan County, Tennessee.

18 May 1779 "Ordered that James Brigham, George Maxwell, Arthur Galbreath & Thomas King or any three of them being first sworn appraise the estate of Samuel Looney deceased and make return to Court." [Summers, page 1021]

19 May 1779 Arthur Galbraith sworn to jury duty. This is the last record of Arthur we have of him in Virginia. So far he has lived in four different counties without moving. Augusta County, Virginia, Botetourt County, Virginia, Washington County, Virginia and Sullivan County, (NC&TN). Now, HE moves, into Hawkins County, Tennessee.

Although scanty, early records of the New Providence Presbyterian Church Congregation indicate that it was organized in the home of William Armstrong Jr., in Carter's Valley. William Armstrong came to Carter's Valley from the New Providence Congregation of Virginia in 1776. Minutes of Holston Presbytery in the Historical Foundation of the Presbyterian Church at Montreat, NC show New Providence on the roll of churches as of 1780. It is one of the oldest Presbyterian Churches in Tennessee. At the time of it's organization it was in Sullivan County, NC. Since then it has been in Spencer County, State of Franklin, The Territory South of the River Ohio, Hawkins County, NC and Hawkins County, TN, when it became a State in 1796. No roll of charter members has been preserved but a partial list of members compiled more than 100 years ago show Arthur Galbraith and his wife Mary Sharp arriving prior to 1800. According to a letter written by William Galbraith, grandson of Arthur, the date of arrival in Hawkins County was 1779. (See Note 7, Galbraith Appendix) This was the last move on the part of Arthur, as he lived the rest of his life in Hawkins County, dying shortly after 23 February 1818 (date of his will) and his wife Mary preceding him by about 10 days, possibly on 11 February 1818. DAR application of Gerlyn Bess McDonald, dated 9 September 1968, number 536438 shows the following children of Arthur & Mary Sharp. +1. John b 12 June 1769, married Martha Larkins 14 April 1790 [04.GAL] +2. Margaret b 23 November 1770, d 25 July 1853 married John Young 8 February 1788. He was born 16 July 1763 and died 29 February 1844. Both are buried in New Providence Presbyterian Cemetery. [11.GAL] +3. Elizabeth b 22 April 1772, d 24 January 1831, m William Armstrong 11 August 1787. He was born 10 March 1757 in Augusta County, VA and died 19 January 1835. Both are buried in New Providence Presbyterian Cemetery. [12.GAL] +4. Mary { b 1 July 1774, m Benjamin Looney 20 October 1792. [14.GAL] +5. Andrew, b 10 April 1776, MARRIED FIRST, Elizabeth Laughlin 2 March 1797 MARRIED SECOND: Sarah Anderson, 3 December 1811 [15.GAL] +6. Sarah, b 15 March 1778, m Robert Young, 16 Feb 1790 or 94 [61.GAL] 7. Arthur Sharp b 21 June 1781 never married +8. Julia, b 13 February 1785 married Aquilla Davis 9 March 1804 or 1807 [62.GAL] +9. Tabitha, b 3 September 1787, married Samuel Henderson 15 January 1807 [63.GAL] +10.Joseph b 5 March 1789, m Martha Shanks, 30 December 1810 [64.GAL] +11.Lucinda, b 13 November 1791, m Asa Carrington 10 February 1809 [65.GAL] +12.Aeneas, b 12 February 1793 MARRIED FIRST, Polly Coldwell 21 April 1816, 2nd wife Catherine Wynn no date [66.GAL]

Note: Mention is made of only one other Galbreath in Summers Annals. At the 15th of May 1771 meeting of the Botetourt County Court, in the trial of Ross vs Campbell, Evan Galbraith is shown as a member of the jury picked to hear this case. As of this date I have not been able to find out anything further about this man Evan Galbreath.

This info was contributed by: W.W. Watkins