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Rockingham County, Virginia
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A History of Rockingham County
John W. Wayland Ph.D.

Chapter IV





1738 - 1777.


     When the first white settlers located in what is now Rockingham County, the whole district west of the Blue Ridge was a part of the county of Spotsylvania.  It was thus until 1734, when Orange was formed so as to include within its limits the country west of the Ridge.  The Valley thus continued a part of Orange till 1738, when, by an Act of the colonial government, that part of Orange west of the said mountain was divided into the two new counties of Frederick and Augusta.  The text of this Act has already been given in Chapter I.  The district later organized as Rockingham County fell within the limits of Augusta, according to the division of the Valley made in 1738.  The complete organization of Frederick and Augusta was delayed for several years, the first courts being held for the former in 1743, and for the latter in 1745.  In 1739 the inhabitants of the lower Valley, impatient at the delay, petitioned Governor Gooch, requesting that the said county of “Frederica” might immediately “take place.”  About fifty men signed the petition, but none apparently from the upper part of the Valley.(1)  We have already seen, however, in Chapter III, that in Augusta, particularly in that part later to become Rockingham, settlement was going rapidly on.  From various sources we are enabled to get occasional glimpses through the heavy curtain of years, and recognize some of the figures moving upon that far-off, pioneer stage.


(1)  For a list of the names signed to this petition, see Wayland’s German Element,”  pp. 57,58.



     A few years years [sic] ago, Mr. Charles E. Kemper, a native of Rockingham, and Rev. William J. Hinke, a native of Germany, discovered in the archives of the old Moravian church at Bethlehem, Pa., a series of diaries that had been kept by Moravian missionaries who traveled through the Valley and adjacent parts of Virginia during the years from 1743 to 1753.  Mr. Hinke translated these diaries from the German, Mr. Kemper edited them by supplying historical and geographical notes, and then the annotated translations were published in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.  In these matter-of-fact records, made by zealous heralds of the cross more than a century and a half ago, we find many things of interest relating to persons and conditions in what is now the county of Rockingham.

     On July 21, 1747, the Moravian brethren, Leonard Schnell and Vitus Handrup, were in the vicinity of Linville and Broadway, and staid over night with and Irishman who must have lived somewhere below Timberville.  They had come across the mountains from what is now Pendleton County, West Virginia, and were traveling on down the Valley toward Winchester.  The next spring Brother Gottschalk, who appears to have followed thus far the general course taken by Schnell and Handrup, likely fell in with the same son of Erin. He writes:

     At night [about April 1, 1748] I lodged in a very disorderly, wicked and godless house of an Irishman, who kept an inn.  The Saviour helped me through.


     Who this Irish innkeeper was cannot now be determined; but he lived near the site of Timberville.

     Under date of April 2 Brother Gottschalk writes:


     I continued the journey on foot to the Germans.  I crossed the Chanador, (2) which was pretty deep, cold, and had a rapid current.  If the Lord had not supported me in the water by his angels, the rapid stream would have carried me off, for I was hardly twenty feet above a fall.


Having gone down the Valley to Cedar Creek, Gottschalk


(2) The north fork of the Shenandoah.




turned southeastward, crossed the Massanutten Mountain through the picturesque Powell’s Fort, and came up the south fork of the Shenandoah to the Massanutten settlements.  One night he lodged with John Rhodes, the Mennonite preacher, who was doubtless one of the pioneer settlers.  The next day he went to the home of Matthias Selzer, of whom he speaks as follows:


     He is a rude and hostile man towards the Brethren.  I was compelled to stay with this man all afternoon, because I wanted to make inquiries about the people in that district and because I was surrounded by water and terribly high mountains on all sides.  He treated me very rudely, called me a Zinzendorfian, threatened me with imprisonment, and referred to the travels and sermons of the Brethren in a very sarcastic manner.  He said if I should get to the upper Germans they would soon take me by the neck, for he did not know what business I had among those people.  In the first place we had been forbidden to travel around through the country, and then again they had such an excellent minister, that if the people were not converted by his sermons, they would certainly not be converted by my teaching.  But soon afterwards he related of the excellent Lutheran minister that he got so drunk in his house that on his way home he lost his saddle, coat, and everything else from the back of his horse.  I was silent to all this, but prayed for the poor man that the Lord might open his eyes.


     Having staid over night with Mr. Selzer, Brother Gottschalk set out eastward to cross the Blue Ridge.  His host, with no mean courtesy, speeded the parting guest, the latter being witness:


     I started early.  Matthias Selzer saddled two horses and took me not only across the South Branch of the Chanador, but even five miles farther so that I could not go astray. (3)


     Having crossed the Blue Ridge, Gottschalk descended into the beautiful valley of the Robinson River, now in Madison County, and became the guest of Rev. George Samuel Klug, pastor of Hebron Lutheran Church from 1739 to 1764.  Mr. Klug was at this time extending his ministerial labors to the German communities in Rockingham and adjacent sections of the Valley, and was doubtless the “excellent Lutheran


(3)  See Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, July, 1904.




minister” of whom Matthias Selzer had spoken.  After a day and a night in association with him, Brother Gottschalk gave him a fair report. (4)

     In July, 1748, Brethren Spangenberg and Reutz were in the vicinity of Brock’s Gap and Timberville.  On the 26th of the month they were at the home of Adam Roeder, for whom it is probable that Rader’s Church, just west of Timberville, was named.  The Brethren made note of the fact that Adam Rader’s mother was at that time eighty-six years old, and that she was living in Lehigh County, Pa., a member of the Macungie [now Emmaus] congregation.  Crossing the Valley toward the east, the missionaries came to the Massanutten settlements, where they reported Germans of  “all kinds of denominations - Mennonites, Lutherans, Separatists, and Inspirationists.” (5)

     Early in December, 1749, Brethren Schnell and Brandmueller were on a missionary tour in Virginia.  They came down from the vicinity of Staunton, into what is now East Rockingham, and made record of their goings and doings in the following interesting narrative:


     On December 2nd we continued our journey the whole day, because we wished to be with the Germans on Sunday.  Once we lost our way.  But our desire to preach to-morrow strengthened us in our journey.  In the evening we attempted to hire a man to go with us part of the way, but none was willing.  We continued for a time down the Tschanator, and arrived rather late at the house of the sons of the old Stopfel Franciscus, who kept us over night.

     On Sunday, December 3rd, the young Franciscus went very early with us to show us the way to Matthias Schaub’s, (6) who, immediately on my offer to preach for them, sent messengers through the neighborhood to announce my sermon.  In a short time a considerable number of people assembled, to whom I preached.  After the sermon I baptized the child of a Hollander.  We staid over night with Matthias Schaub.  His wife told us that we were always welcome in their house.  We should always


(4)  For an extended account of Mr. Klug’s life and labors, see Huddle’s History of Hebron Lutheran Church, pp. 31-38.  See also Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, January and July, 1904.


(5)  Virginia Magazine, January, 1904, pp. 238-240.




come to them whenever we came into that district.

     Towards evening a man from another district, Adam Mueller, (7) passed.  I told him that I would like to come to his house and preach there.  He asked me if I were sent by God.  I answered, yes.  He said, if I were sent by God I would be welcome, but he said, there are at present so many kinds of people, that often one does not know where they come from.  I requested him to notify his neighbors that I would preach on the 5th, which he did.

     On December 4th we left Schaub’s house, commending the whole family to God.  We traveled through the rain across the South Shenandoah to Adam Mueller, who received us with much love.  We staid over night with him.

     On December 5th I preached at Adam Mueller’s house on John 7: “Whosoever thirsteth let him come to the water and drink.”  A number of thirsty souls were present.  Especially Adam Mueller took in every word, and after the sermon declared himself well pleased.  In the afternoon we traveled a short distance, staying over night with a Swiss. (8) The conversation was very dry, and the word of Christ’s sufferings found no hearing.

     On December 6th we came to Mesanoton.  We staid with Philip Lung, (9) who had his own religion.  I intended to preach, but he would not let us have his house, assuring us that none would come, since Rev. Mr. Klug had warned the people to be on their guard against us.  We had soon and opportunity of seeing how bitter the people are towards us.  Hence we concluded to leave, which we did, wishing God’s blessing upon


(6)  Schaub (Shoup) died a month or two after Schnell’s visit.  On February 26th, 1750, Jacob Nicholas and Valentine Pence qualified as executors of his will.  See Augusta County Will Book No. 1, pp. 312, 313.  He evidently lived on the west side of the river, somewhere between Port Republic and Elkton.


(7)  Adam Miller, the first settler.


(8)  Mr. Chas. E. Kemper thinks that this “Swiss” was likely Jacob Baer, Sr., a native of Zurich, and at this time a resident of East Rockingham.


(9)  Philip Long was one of the first Massanutten settlers.  The Long family is still numerous and prominent in upper Page County.  A member of this family was the wife of Gen. Sterling Price, of Missouri.  Philip Long was born in Germany in 1678, and died in Page or Rockingham County, Va., May 4, 1755.




the district.  An unmarried man, H. Reder, took us through the river.  He told us that eight weeks before he had visited Bethlehem. (10)


     On their tour through Virginia in the fall and winter of 1749, to which reference has just been made, Brethren Schnell and Brandmueller made out a table of distances over which they travelled, beginning at Bethlehem, Pa., crossing Maryland into what is now West Virginia, following up the South Branch of the Potomac through what are now the counties of Hardy and Pendleton, and going beyond, even to the valleys of the James and New River, then returning to Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah Valley.  Beginning about Staunton, the following distances show the route taken through Rockingham and Shenandoah:



[From N. Bell] To Franciscus at the Soud Schanathor


To Matthias Schaub,


To Adam Mueller and back again across the river


To Philip Lung and Mesanothen


To Captain John Funk,

20 (11)



     In the autumn of 1753 a colony of the Moravian Brethren migrated from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.  Their way led up through the Valley.  In their record they mention the Narrow Passage and Stony Creek (in Shenandoah County), and speak of camping alongside the “Shanidore Creek,” at a place that must now be located between Hawkinstown and Red Banks.  Five miles further on they crossed the “Shanidore,” and camped close to the bank to observe Sunday (October 21, 1753).  They were now in the famous Meem’s Bottoms, between Mt. Jackson and New Market.  Brethren Loesch and Kalberland were bled, because they were not well, and all gave themselves a treat by drinking tea.  The next day, coming on up the Valley, they found, in the vicinity of New Market or Tenth Legion, a tavern-keeper named Severe.  This was evidently Valentine Severe, father of General John Sevier, and a relative of Francis Xavier.  The next part


(10)  Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, October, 1903, pp. 126-128.


(11)  Idem, July, 1904, page 82.




of the narrative gives so many realistic touches relating to the Rockingham of that day, that it is quoted herewith verbatim:


     We inquired about the way, but could not get good information.  After traveling three and a half miles, we found two passable roads.  Bro. Gottlob and Nathanael preceded us on the left hand road.  They met a woman, who informed them about the way.  Then they came back to us again and we took the road to the right.  We traveled ten miles without finding water.  It was late already and we were compelled to travel five miles during the dark night.  We had to climb two mountains, which compelled us to push the wagon along or we could not have proceeded, for our horses were completely fagged out.  Two of the brethren had to go ahead to show us the road, and thus we arrived late at Thom. Harris’s plantation.  Here we bought feed for our horses and pitched our tent a short distance from the house.  The people were very friendly.  They lodge strangers very willingly.


     The “two mountains” above mentioned were probably spurs of Chestnut Ridge; and “Thom Harris” was probably no other than Thomas Harrison, founder of Harrisonburg.  It is likely that Harrison had already (1753) erected his stone mansion house, now occupied by Gen. John E. Roller as a law office, and, according to the present lay-out of the town, situated on Bruce Street, just west of Main; and that the wayfaring brethren pitched their tent beside the big spring that was for so many years a familiar rendezvous at the west side of Court Square.  Harrisonburg still has he habit of being hospitable to strangers.

     We follow the brethren a few miles further, as they go on toward “Augusti Court House, a little town of some twenty houses, surrounded by mountains on all sides.”


     On October 23 we started at daybreak [from Thomas Harrison’s].  We had bought a small barrel of milk to use for dinner, but it broke and we lost all.  Two miles farther we bought some meat, and then traveled six miles farther to North River, where we ate our dinner.  This creek is half as large as the Lecha [Lehigh], but it is impassable at high water, nor is a canoe in the neighborhood. (12)


     The brethren had thus come in their journey to the


(12)  Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, October, 1904, pp. 144-147.




vicinity of Mt. Crawford.  They tell of their dinner there of meat and dumplings, and of their experiences farther on, at Middle River, at Robert Bohk’s, and at “Augusti Court House”; but having followed them to the borders of Rockingham, we bid them farewell.


     Samuel Kercheval, the old historian of the Valley, says:


     From the best evidence the author has been able to collect, . . . the settlement of our Valley progressed without interruption from the native Indians for a period of about twenty-three years.  In the year 1754, the Indians suddenly disappeared, and crossed the Alleghany Mountains.  The year preceding, emissaries from the west of the Alleghany Mountains came among the Valley Indians and invited them to move off.  This occurrence excited suspicion among the white people that a storm was brewing in the west, which it was essential to prepare to meet. (13)


     Kercheval dates the beginning of the Valley settlement in 1732.  Counting thence twenty-three years would give 1755, the year of Braddock’s defeat.  The war with the French and Indians began in 1754, and continued till 1763.  During this time Indian raids into the Valley from the west were frequent, particularly in the two or three years following the defeat of Braddock.  Occasionally the bands of red men were led by French officers.  It was in April of 1758 that the massacres at Upper Tract and Fort Seybert took place, in which more than forty persons were killed, some twenty-odd others being carried into captivity.  The Indians at Fort Seybert were led by the famous chief Killbuck.  From 1777 to 1787 both Upper Tract and Fort Seybert were within the boundaries of Rockingham County, the site of the latter being west of Brock’s Gap, only a few miles beyond the present Rockingham line. (14)


(13)  Kercehval’s [sic] History of the Valley of Virginia, reprint of 1902, page 49.


(14)  For detailed accounts of the massacres at Upper Tract and Fort Seybert, see Kercheval, pp. 89-91, and Morton’s History of Pendleton County, West Virginia, pp. 42-50.




     During this war with the French and Indians the legislature of Virginia passed numerous Acts for the defence [sic] of the frontiers, for paying the troops called into service, and for supplying the army with provisions.  The frontier counties naturally furnished the largest numbers of men for this war.  In the seventh volume of Henings’ Statutes is found a schedule, appended to an Act passed in September, 1758, giving the names of soldiers to whom pay was due, together with the names of other persons who held accounts against the Colony for work done for the army, for provisions furnished, for horses sold or hired, etc.  In this schedule lists are given from 39 counties.  Some of these lists are very short, a few are very long.  The longest four, named in order of length, are those of Augusta, Bedford, Lunenberg, and Frederick.  Inasmuch as what is now Rockingham was then a part of Augusta, it is possible to find in the Augusta list a number of Rockingham names.  The following, copied from the list of Augusta soldiers, are almost certainly names of Rockingham men:


Christopher Armentrout

Jacob Grub

Henry Benninger

John Gum

George Capliner

George Hamer

John Cunrod

Stephen Hansburgher

Walter Cunrod

Gideon Harrison

Woolrey Coonrod

John Harrison

Hugh Diver

Nathan Harrison

Roger Dyer

Adam Hedrick

William Dyer

George Hedrick

Abraham Earhart

Samuel Hemphill

Michael Erhart

Leonard Herron

Michael Earhart, Jr

Archibald Hopkins

Jacob Eberman

John Hopkins (lieut.)

John Eberman

Honicle Hufman

Michael Eberman

Philip Hufman

Jacob Fudge

Francis Kirtley (Capt.)

George Fults

Gabriel Kite

John Fulse

George Kite





Jacob Kite

Henry Peninger

Valentine Kite

Gunrod Peterish

William Kite

Matthew Rolestone

Daniel Long

Samuel Rolston

Henry Long

William Rolestone

John Long

John Seller

William Long

Edward Shanklin

Ephraim Love, (Capt.) (15)

John Shanklin

George Mallow

Richard Shanklin

Michael Mallow

Paul Shever

Nicholas Mildebarler

James Skidmore

Adam Miller

John Skidmore (16)

David Miller

Joseph Skidmore

Jacob Miller

George Shillinger

Peter Miller

Isaiah Shipman

Jacob Moyers

Josiah Shipman

Nicholas Null

Lodowick Slodser

Jacob Pence

Abraham Smith (Capt.) (17)


(15)  Capt. Love probably lived near the site of Singers’s Glen.  On July 29, 1748, Jacob Dye and Mary his wife sold to Ephraim Love, late of Lancaster County, Pa., 377 acres of land “on ye head Draughts of Muddy Creek under the North Mountain,” adjoining Daniel Harrison.  Witnesses, William Carroll, William White, and Peter Scholl.  Peter Scholl lived on Smith’s Creek.  As early as 1742 he was one of the twelve militia captains of Augusta, and in 1745 was one of the first justices of the county.  Valentine Sevier, father of Gen. John Sevier, is represented as being a member of Scholl’s military company in 1742.  See Waddell’s Annals of Augusta, pp. 45-47.


(16)  John Skidmore was one of the original justices of Rockingham County.


(17)  Abraham Smith, son of Capt. John Smith.  A. Smith was a captain of militia in Augusta in 1756.  In 1757 he was a prisoner in the French dominions.  In 1758 he was court-martialed, but acquitted, his accuser being punished.  In 1776 he was colonel of militia; in 1778, one of the first justices of Rockingham County, and county lieutenant.  He owned a large estate at the foot of North Mountain, about two miles from North River, which descended to his son Henry.




Daniel Smith (Lt.) (18)  

Ury Umble

Mathias Tice (Dice?)

Peter Vaneman

Christian Tuley

Jacob Wiece

Gunrod Umble

Joseph Wiece

Martin Umble

Filey Yacome


     Among the persons named in the schedule as having furnished supplies to the the [sic] troops, the following were all probably from Rockingham:


James Bruister

James Fowler

Wooley Coonrod

Felix Gilbert (19)

George Coplinger

Ruben Harrison

James Cowan

Alexander Hering

Charles Diver

Leonard Hire

Hugh Diver

Nicholas Huffman

Roger Dyer

Archibald Huston

William Dyer

Gabriel Jones (20)

Michael Erhart

Joseph Love

Evan Evans

Henry Peninger

Nathaniel Evans

Matthew Rolestone

Rhoda Evans

William Rolestone

Lodowick Folk

Ephraim Voss (21)


(18)  Daniel Smith, a younger brother of Abraham, was a captain of militia in 1776, and in 1778 was one of the first justices of Rockingham, being presiding justice at the time of his death in 1781.  He lived at Smithland, two miles below Harrisonburg, and the first sessions of the county court were held at his house.  His wife was Jane Harrison.  He had been a justice in Augusta County, and had held the office of sheriff in that county.  When the troops returned from Yorktown, in the fall of 1781, he was colonel of militia, and was thrown from his horse and fatally injured in the grand review held in Rockingham to celebrate the victory.  See Waddell’s Annals of Augusta, pp. 150-152.


(19)  Felix Gilbert was a well known citizen of Rockingham, wealthy, and prominent in many connections.


(20)  Gabriel Jones, “The Lawyer,” lived on the river, a mile or two below Port Republic, the place now being known as Bogota.


(21)  Voss may have lived in Southwest Virginia, since Fort Voss (Vause) is said to have been at the head of Roanoke River, in the present county of Montgomery, about ten miles from Christiansburg.




      By the favor of Mr. John T. Harris the author has been enabled to go over an old day book used from 1774 to 1777, etc., by Felix Gilbert, who lived and kept a store at or near the place since known as Peale’s Cross Roads, five miles or so southeast of Harrisonburg.  A number of items, copied from this old book, are given below.  They have personal, social, and economic interest, as well as some political significance.



Recd. for the Bostonians



Patrick Frazier

1 bus. wheat


Jos. Dicktom

2 do.


George Boswell

5 1/2 do. (5 bus. Retd.)


James Walker

1 do.            Return’d


George Clark

1 do.


James Beard

1 do


Robt. Scott & son

2 do


      It is evident from the above that contributions were being made in this part of Virginia, as well as elsewhere, for the relief of the patriots of Boston, whose harbor had been closed by Act of Parliament in 1774, as a penalty for the “Boston Tea Party.”


Monday, Decr. 5th, 1774

                                John Alford                                 (weaver)                              Dr.

                                                To 1 pr. Shoe Buckles                                            1 [s.]        3 [d.]

                                                To 1 qt. whisky                                                      1              0

                                                To 1 pr. Compasses                                                               9

                                                To 3 doz. Buttons                                                  2              0

[Same Date.]

                                Robt. Elliot                                 Pr. Order                             Dr.

                                                To pd. Schoolmaster                                               6              0

                                James Wayt Pr. Order                                                            Dr.

                                                To pd. Schoolmaster                                               6              0

                                Dennis McSwyny  (Schoolmaster)                                        Cr.

                                                [By above two items and]

                                Wm. Ham                                                                                4              4

                                Esther Taylor                                                                          10            0

Wednesday, Decr. 7th, 1774

                                Little Jack                                                                               Dr.

                                  To 1 pt. Tin                                                                                          9 [d.]

                                       1/2 pt. whisky




     It is possible that Little Jack was an Indian.  Whiskey was a common commodity in the Valley in Revolutionary days, as doth abundantly appear not only from Felix Gilbert’s old ledger, but also from the records of the court, a number of which records may be found in the next chapter.


Decr. 13, 1774

                                Col. Thos. Slaugh’r                                                              Dr.

                                                To a handsaw                                                       5              6

                                                To Drawg Knife                                                    2              9

                                                a hammer                                                               2              -

                                                1 augr                                                                     1              3

                                                1 pr. shears                                                            1              -

                                                200 nails                                                 2              10

                                                2 Gimlets                                                                -               6

                                                1 Tin Cup                                                               -               6

                                                1 1/4 yds. flannl                                                    3              1

Friday Decr. 23d, 1774

                                Capt. Danl. Love                                                                  Dr.

                                                To 1 Gal. Rum                                                       5              0

                                                4 lbs Sugar                                                            3              4

                                                To 4 pr. Garters                                                     3              0

                                Colo. John Frogg                                                                 Dr.

                                                To 1 knife & fork                                                  2              3

                                                To 1 sack salt                                        1              1              0

Saturday, Decr. 24th, 1774

                                Little Jack                                                                              Dr.

                                                To 6 pipes

Tuesday, Decr. 17, 1774

                                Jacob Grubb per self & Frow

                                                To 1 lb. Lead                                                                         6

                                                To 1 stamp’d Handhf                                          3              6

                                                To 27 1/2 lbs. Iron at 4 d.                                    9              2

                                                To 6 lbs. Eng. Steel                                              6              0

                                                To 1/2 lb. Blister’d do.                                                         4 1/2

                                                To 2 setts knit’g needles                                                    8

Tuesday, Jany. 10th, 1775

                                Jacob Lincoln

                                                To 24 1/2 lbs. Blistered steel                              18            4 1/2

                                                To 14 1/2 lbs. Eng. do.                                         14            6

                                                To 1 hank silk                                                       1              0




Saturday, Jany 14th, 1775

                                Jack (bigg)                                                                             Dr.

                                                To 1/2 pt. whisky                                                                 4 [d.]


     Were “Big Jack” and “Little Jack” both Indians?  it would so appear from the nature of their purchases.  Indians were frequently seen in this part of the Valley at a much later period.


Saturday, Feby. 11th, ‘75

                                Gawin Hamilton                                                                    Dr.

                                                To 5000 E. nails                                                    1              7              6

                                                To 3 Chizels                                                                          3              0

                                                To 1 Rasp                                                                              1              3

                                                To 1 pr. saddle strops                                                         1              0

Friday, Feb. 17th, ‘75

                                Capt. Rowland Thomas

                                                To 35 lbs. tallow at 6d.                                                        17            6

                                                To 237 lbs. Flower at 12-1c                 1              9              7 1/2

Monday, Feby. 20th, 1775.

                                Mr. Thos. Lewis pr Capt. Smiths Cesar

                                                To makg Ring & Staple

                                                & pin for Ox Yoke                                                                3              9

Thursday, March 2d, 1775.

                                Doctr. Thos. Walker (22) pr Mr. Gilmer

                                                To 2 yds Osnabrugs                                                            2              2

                                Mr. Peachy Gilmer                                                                Dr.

                                                To 23 yd. wt. linin                                                3              3              3

                                                To 2 Oz. wt. thread                                                               3              0

                                                To 2 felt Hats                                                                        4              0

                                                To 2 qr. paper                                                                       3              6


(22)  This was probably the distinguished Dr. Thos. Walker, of Albemarle County, Va.




Friday, March 17th, 1775

                                Isaac Zane (23) pr. W. Crow                                               Cr.

                                                By 20--0--12 Iron                                  20            2              2

Tuesday, May 30th, 1775

                                Mr. John Madison (24) Senr. pr self

                                                To 18 1/2 yds. Velveret                                       1              14            0

Saturday, July 1st, 1775.

                                Danl. Love                                                                             Dr.

                                                To 2 Sickles                                                                           2              3

Thursday, July 6th, ‘75

                                Jacob Purky                                                                          Cr.

                                                By 1 day Reaping                                                                   2              6

                                                By 1 day do. yr. negro                                                            2              6

[No date:  Probably 1777:]

     one Davis a preacher has a Hyde of Leather - John wilson owes 3 Dollars - an old Quaker on Stephen jays place - Saml. watts owes something.

     Feby. 16th--1778  Boler Lee has rented e plantation I had of Thos. Dooley on ye South mountain [Blue Ridge].  he is to have it for one year & to make up ye Fences & pay 400 lbs. of good merchantable Tobo. or 12 Barrils of Corn.  if he Dos not keep it more than one year he is to let ye person that sukceeds him to put in a fall Crop.




     Felix Gilbert was probably authorized by the Augusta County court to take the list of tithables in his distirct [sic]. At any rate, the following list, dated 1775, is found written in his book.  Most of the names herein given are still familiar in Rockingham:


John Coutes


Heny. Munger


Robt. Heth


Jno. Tack


Jno. Deneston


Henry Tack



(23)  Gen. Isaac Zane had iron works on Cedar Creek, the present boundary between the counties of Shenandoah and Frederick.  He was perhaps a brother of Elizabeth Zane.


(24)  John Madison was the first clerk of Augusta County, and was the father of Bishop Madison.  He lived at Port Republic.




Jacob Tack


Adam Siller


Chas. Foy


Peter Siller


John Foy


Heny. Siller


John Mungor


Jacob Arkinbright


John Miller


John Rush


Paul Lingle


Henry Deck


John Lingle


John Deck


Danl. Price


Jacob Deck


John Futch


Lewis Rinehart


Fredk. Haynes


Geo. Hoofman


Heny. Null


Michl. Hoofman


Heny. Tamwood


Fredk. Armontrout


Jno. Null


Mathias Shooler


Jacob Lingle, Jur


Ullry Hushman


Mathi’s Kersh


Ullry Hushman, Jr.


Michl. Siller


Peter Nasmus


Avonas Bowyer


Geo. Conrod


John Bowyer


Conrod Petorfish


Jno. Futch, Jur


Jacob Moyer


Saml. Magot


Peter Brunomer


James Madday


Anthony Brunomer


John Hardman


Danl. Sink


John Hadrick


Heny. Cook


Stephen Hansberger


Heny. Armentrout


Adam Hansberger


Heny. Price


Geo. Fridley


Boler Lee


Jacob Hammer


Michl. Dofflemire


Wm. Summersetts


Windal Leverts[?]


Geo. Blose


Adam Blose


Conrad Taylor


Conrod Young


Martin Doffilmire


Wm. Smith, Jr


Christian Teter


Mijah Smith


Heny. Miller


Brustor Smith


Boston Noster


Wm. Smith


Thos. Barnet


Jacob Nicholas


Matthew Petmus


Richd. Welsh


Wm. Haney


John Lawn






Thos. Doolin


Robert Hill


Wm. Lee


Willm. Lee, Jr.


Zephaniah Lee


David Koch


Zachariah Lee


Rubin Roch


Martin Crawford


Willm. Boswell


Robert Lynes


John Frizor


James Raynes [?]


Ephraim Wilson


Thos. Berry


Wm. Coile


Jas. Raines Jur.


Thos. Huet


Jas. Berry


William Campbell


John Siller


Jno. Jackson


Christian Miller


James Bruster


Philip Lingle


Felix Gilbert


Jno. Armontrout


John Craig


Augustian Price


William Hook


Geo. Mallow


James Hook


Wm. Pence


Robt. Hook Irish


Jacob Grace


James Archer


Geo. Pence


George Shaver


John Pence


James Scott


Chas. Rush


Nat Scott


John Rush


Robt. Scott, Jr.


Anthoney Aler


Jacob Scott


William Oler


Nicholas M-----


Henry Oler


Michl. Trout


John Oler


Margt. Purkey


John Fults


Jacob Purkey


Cutlip Arie


John Pence, Jur


Robert Hook, Sr.


Henry Pence


Evan Evins


Adm. Pence


John Hooper


John Purkey


Jonathan Evans


Henry Purkey


Saml. Twichet


Jacob Pence


John White, Sr.


Elijah Hook


John White, Jr.





     The evidence is already abundant in the foregoing particulars to show that the settlement of Rockingham was go-




ing on steadily and rapidly during the whole period now under consideration, that is, the years from 1738 to 1777.  The records concerning inn-keepers, military organizations, and well established communities, as well as those concerning numerous individuals widely distributed, indicate conclusively that even as early as the first courts in Augusta (1745) that part of the county now included in Rockingham was dotted over with clearings and homesteads.  Additional evidence, if it were needed, might be found in the records of the old churches, some of which can easily trace their organization back into the early 18th century.  St. Peter’s, below Elkton, Peaked Mountain Church, at or near McGaheysville, Rader’s Church, near Timberville, Friedens, near Cross Keys, St. Michael’s above Bridgewater, and Spader’s Church, near Pleasant Valley, not to mention others, are all old churches, and in a few of them are well-preserved chronicles of very early days.  The most complete and best preserved records are perhaps those found in the Peaked Mountain Church.  Parts of these records were translated and published in 1905, by W.J. Hinke and C.E. Kemper, in the William and Mary College Quarterly.  A complete translation should be given to the public in convenient form, since dozens of families, not only in Rockingham County, but also in many other parts of the United States, would find therein matter of great interest.

      A few of the Peaked Mountain records of births and baptisms go back to 1750 and before, but the regular organization of the congregation must, perhaps, be placed a few years later.  The following extract is given from the above-mentioned translation by Mr. Hinke, as containing certain facts of historical interest relating to the period under consideration, together with a number of family names that have been familiar in Rockingham for more than a century and a half.


   Agreement Between the Reformed and Lutheran Congregations

       Worshipping in the Peaked Mountain Church:  Rockingham Co.,

       Va., Oct. 31, 1769.


   In the name of the Triune God and with the consent of the whole




congregation, we have commenced to build a new house of God, and it is by the help of God, so far finished that the world may see it.

     We have established it as a union church, in the use of which the Lutherans and their descendants as well as the Reformed and their descendants, shall have equal share.  But since it is necessary to keep in repair the church and school house and support the minister and schoolmaster, therefore, we have drawn up this writing that each member sign his name to the same and thereby certify that he will support the minister and school-master and help to keep in repair the church and the school-house as far as lies in his ability.

     Should, however, one or another withdraw himself from such Christian work, (which we would not suppose a Christian would do), we have unitedly concluded that such a one shall not be looked upon as a member of our congregation, but he shall pay for the baptism of a child 2s. 6d., which shall go into the treasury of the church, for the confirmation of the child 5s., which shall be paid to the minister as his fee; and further, should such a one come to the table of the Lord and partake of the Holy Communion, he shall pay 5s., which shall go into the treasury of the church; and finally, if such a one desires burial in our graveyard, he shall pay 5s., which shall also be paid into the treasury of the church.

     In confirmation of which we have drawn up this document, and signed it with our several signatures.

     Done in Augusta County, at the Peaked Mountain and the Stony Creek churches, on October 31st, Anno Domini, 1769.

     The present elders:


                George Mallo, Sr.                                 Nicholas Mildeberger


                John   X  Hetrick                                   Frederick Ermentraut



                Philip Ermentraut                                                  Jacob Bercke

                Henry Ermentraut                                                         his

                Daniel Kropf                                                         Jacob I. E Ergebrecht

                Peter Mueller, Sr.                                                        mark

                        his                                                                    John Reisch

                Adam O Hetrich                                                   Jacob Ergebrecht

                       mark                                                                 John Mildeberger

                Jacob Traut                                                           John Hausman

                Augustine Preisch                                               George Mallo, Jr.

                George Schillinger                                                Jacob Lingle

                Anthony Oehler                                                   Peter Niclas

                John Mann                                                            Jacob Kropf

                Alwinus Boyer                                                     Jacob Niclas

                Charles Risch                                                        George Zimmerman

                Henry Kohler                                                        Christian Geiger

                William Long




                Augustine Preisch, Jr.                                         Peter Euler

                Conrad Preisch                                                     William Mchel

                Jacob Kissling                                                      Jacob Risch

                Jacob Bens                                                            John Ermentraut

                Adam Herman                                                       Corad Loevenstein

                Michael Mallo                                                      John Schaefer

                                      his                                                      Christopher Ermentraut

                Christopher  X  Hau                                             Martin Schneider

                                     mark                                                   John Bens


     In closing this chapter it will be of interest to record the fact that the part of Augusta County now known as Rockingham furnished at least one company of soldiers in Dunmore’s War, and that this company took part in the famous battle of Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774.  This company was commanded by Captain, later, Colonel William Nalle, who lived in East Rockingham, and was, in 1778, made one of the first justices of Rockingham County.(25)  It is also a fact of special interest that it was a Rockingham man, Valentine Sevier, who, with James Robertson, later known as the father of Middle Tennessee, first discovered the presence of the Indians early on that fateful morning at Point Pleasant.  Sevier was a younger brother of General John Sevier, and was born in Rockingham in 1747.  In 1773 he went to the southwest, and was thus a member of Captain Evan Shelby’s company in 1774.  He and Robertson went out before day at Point Pleasant to hunt turkeys, and thus discovered the Indian army.  He was a captain in the Revolution, and took part in the battle of King’s Mountain.  After other military services, in which he rose to the rank of militia colonel, he removed to Clarksville, Tenn., where he died in 1800.

     Among the other captains who took part at Point Pleasant, as given by Thwaites and Kellogg, were Benj. Harrison, John Skidmore, Joseph Haynes, and Daniel Smith.

     Benjamin Harrison (1741-1819) was a son of Danile Har-


(25)  For a list of the men in Captain Nalle’s company, see the muster roll in the Appendix.  This muster roll is copied from Thwaites and Kellogg’s Documentary History of Dunmore’s War, page 405.




rison of Rockingham; father of Peachy Harrison, grandfather of Gessner Harrison.  He was a colonel in McIntosh’s campaign (1777), and led troops in 1781 to aid Lafayette against Cornwallis.  John Skidmore, who was wounded at Point Pleasant, was a soldier in the French and Indian War and one of the first justices of Rockingham County.  Daniel Smith, though living at this time in Southwest Virginia, was probably a son of Colonel Daniel Smith of Rockingham.  Joseph Haynes was a resident of Rockingham or of some section adjacent.  In Felix Gilbert’s day book before me, covering several years from December 5, 1774, the names of Capt. Jos. Haynes, Capt. John Skidmore, and Capt. Benjamin Harrison, as well as the name of Capt. William Nalle, frequently appear.  Evidently they were all frequent customers at Gilbert’s store, which, as shown above, was not far from Harrisonburg.  It is reasonable to suppose, therefore, that a number of the men in the companies commanded by Harrison, Skidmore, and Haynes were also from Rockingham, though the rolls of these companies seem not to be preserved.(26)


(26)  For additional particulars regarding Harrison and Smith, the reader is referred to Waddell’s Annals of Augusta, Boogher’s Gleanings of Virginia History, and Thwaites and Kellogg’s Documentary History of Dunmore’s War.  In the last may also be found a sketch of Valentine Sevier, Jr.