Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Old Book on the History of the New River Settlement

While I was in Virginia last week Madam and I spent some time at Mom's cleaning and straightening up. Years and years ago the public library in the little town of Narrows went belly up and my Dad bought a bunch of the books that were sold. One of those was "A History of Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory" by David E. Johnston published in 1906. I had seen it before on the shelves and I had already 'rescued' all of the genealogical books but somehow had skipped this one. This time I brought it home and have begun reading it. As I may have mentioned here before, my family were original Virginia colonists and some of the earliest pioneers to move into the Appalachians, so this is really a history of mine and the other families that first settled along the New River in Western Virginia and what is now West Virginia.

I knew a little of the history of the area as a result of my genealogy research but never the detail as covered in this book. I'm just barely into it and just now have reached the Revolutionary War. I had no idea that from the 1650's to the 1770's as whites were trying to expand into the area that they met some very serious resistance from the Native American tribes that used the area for hunting. While the Cherokee seemed to be pretty friendly(much to their later regret I suppose) the Shawnee from the Ohio valley were constant raiders of the settlements and these raids continued through the Revolution and beyond. Roving bands of Indians would attack, murder the family and burn farm after farm and many times take children hostage back to Ohio. I had read of the occasional confrontation with Indians but it was evidently a constant burden on the settlers and many a family was lost to these raids. Fascinating reading and it evidently wasn't all turkey dinners and pumpkin pie back in those days.

Update: corrected "wasn't all turkey dinners" from "was all turkey dinners"

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