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Rockbridge County


Geographically distinct from the rest of Rockbridge, and not properly a part of the Valley of Virginia, is the section of the county west of North Mountain and above the lower Goshen Pass. In the very dawn of settlement it became known as the Calfpasture, or simply as "the Pastures," because it already comprised a large area of open ground. Its leading watercourses were first known as "the Great River of the Calfpasture" and "the Little River of the Calfpasture." It will thus be seen that the valley named the streams and not the streams the valley. In what manner the names Calfpasture, Cowpasture, and Bullpasture came into existence is not clearly known. The Cowpasture was first known as Clover Creek and the Bullpasture as Newfoundland Creek.
Great and Little rivers head in Augusta and Mill Creek in Bath. But the larger and more important share of the Calfpasture basin lies in this county, and with respect to the pioneer families it will be treated as a whole. In the timbered and sparsely peopled valley of Bratton's Run is the resort of Rockbridge Alum Springs. At the mouth of Mill Creek is the town of Goshen. A little above is Panther Gap, utilized by the first railroad to cross the Alleghanies in this latitude. On Great and Little rivers is a considerable area of low-lying land, somewhat thin, but otherwise well suited to agriculture.
Why this section of the Pastures should have been included in Rockbridge is not at this day very obvious. It was doubtless the work of influential men. We do know that some of the inhabitants did not like being placed in this county. We also know that when the people of the Bath area began moving for a new county in 1777, they wished the Calfpasture to be a part of it. The people of the Pastures seem to have been about evenly divided on that question.
The author of Annals of Augusta asserts that the Calfpasture was settled about as early as the country around Staunton, yet offers no evidence in support of this claim. The records of the parent county, especially the muster rolls of 1742, do not indicate such early settlement. From another source we learn that the first settler was Alexander Dunlap, who came in 1743. He was accompanied by his wife, four children, and an indentured servant, Abraham Mushaw. At this date there was no settler any farther west. Dunlap's cabin stood near the spot now occupied by the Alleghany Inn.


Next year, James Patton and John Lewis, acting under an order of council, surveyed a tract nearly fifteen miles long, but nowhere more than about one and one-eighth miles broad. Their map shows it cross-sectioned into twenty three lots. The lower end of the grant included the site of the town of Goshen. The upper end extended rather to the north of Deerfield. With a single exception every lot had been entered by some settler. From this circumstance we may infer that these other people came almost as soon as Dunlap.

The following tabular statement shows consecutively the number of the lot, the name of the settler, the acreage, the purchase-price—when stated in the deed—and the early transfers of title. When the deed was issued to a successor of the original settler, such other name is given in brackets.
Names of consorts are also thus shown:
1. Alexander Dunlap (John Dunlap)—625—$68.69—295 acres sold Robert Dunlap, 1761, for $333.33.
2. William Jameson—170—$20.87.
3. Thomas Gilham—168—$18.86—sold, 1752, by Thomas (Margaret) Gilham to James Lockridge for same price—resold, 1767, by John Dickenson to William Thompson for $200.
4. Robert Crockett—370—$41.15—sold, 1760, by pioneer's sons—James (Martha) and Robert, Jr., (Janet), both of Mecklenburg county, North Carolina—to William Thompson for $200—295 acres sold by Thompson, 1767, for $166.67.
5. David Davis —290—$29—sold, 1749, by Patton and Lewis to John Poague.
6. Thomas Weems—525—$31.10—sold, 1768, by Thomas (Eleanor) Weems to William Given for $723.33.
7. Henry Gay—694—$33.39—100 acres sold, 1769, to James Frazier for $33.33.
8. Francis Donelly—266—$30.02.
9. Robert Gay—519—$57.89.
10. Samuel Hodge—449—$47.97.
11. John Miller - 316—$70.08—sold by John (Ann) Miller to John Ramsay, 1757.
12. Loftus Pullin—252 (240?)—$26.92—sold to James Shaw, 1760, for $30—sold by Shaw to John Ramsay, 1768, for $150.
13. Robert Bratton—834—$96.67-^100 acres sold to James Bratton, 1771, for $133.33.
14. James Lockridge—280—?—sold by James (Isabella) Lockridge to Andrew Lockridge (son), 1764, for $66.67.
15. John Graham—696—$79.58—150 acres sold to James Graham (son), 1768, for $16.67.
16. Robert Gwin—544—?—sold by William (Agnes) Gwin to Robert Lockridge, 1766, for $575.
17. John Preston—1054—$31.15—520 acres sold by William (Susanna) Preston to Mary Preston, 1762, for $333.33. The same sold by Mary Preston to Robert Lockridge, 1763, for $366.67.
18. William Warwick—106—$118.67—sold, 1745, to John Kincaid.
19. James Carlile—600—$65.39—250 acres sold, 1753, to John Carlile, and sold by him, 1762, to Thomas Hughart for $166.67—200 acres sold by John (Mary) Carlisle to Thomas Adams, 1796, for $391.67.
20. Jacob Clements—457—$51.67—202 acres sold, 1751, by Jacob (Mary) Clements to John Campbell for $66.67, and sold by John (Ann) Campbell, 1768, to James Carlisle for $250.
21. John Campbell—308—$34.17—208 acres sold by Samuel Campbell to William Lockridge, 1769, for $713.33.
22. James Carter—300—$33.38—sold to Robert Gay, 1768.
23. John Wilson—100—$66.

Other patents in the Calf pasture, prior to 1770, are these: acreage, date, and description being given consecutively:
Adams, Thomas—(1) 190—1769—Bratton's Run. (2) 235—1769—Calfpasture.
Beverly, William—700—1743—head of Great River.
Bratton, James—90—1769—Bratton's Run.
Campbell, John and Samuel—100—1761—branch of Great River.
Crockett, Margaret and Andrew—(1) 48—1749—David Mill place on Calfpasture. (2 ) 44—1749—adjoining James Poague.
Dunlap, John—125—1760—Dunlap Creek (Bratton's Run).
Dunlap, Alexander—90—1769—Calfpasture above Jameson.
Jameson, William—80—1755—east side Great River.
Kincaid, Andrew—45—1769—Calfpasture above Tinker.
Lockridge, Andrew—22—1755—branch of Great River.
McKittrick, Robert—110—1759—branch of Great River.
Patton, James and John Lewis—600—1743—Elk Creek of Calfpasture.
Still other early settlers were the Armstrongs, Blacks, Blairs, Clarks, Craigs, Elliotts, Fultons, Hamiltons, Hendersons, Johnstons, McConnells, McCutchens, McKnights, Meeks, Mateers, Moores, Risks, Smiths, Stevensons, Walkups, and Youells.

Alexander Dunlap, a man of some means, was appointed a captain of horse in 1743, but died the following year. He was succeeded in this position by William Jameson. Thomas Gilham qualified as captain of foot in 1752, and James Lockridge and Robert Bratton in 1755. James Lockridge and William Jameson are named as members of the first county court of Augusta in 1745. The latter acted as a justice in 1747, but it is not known whether Lockridge qualified.
According to a statement by a daughter of James Gay, the pioneer, there was a stockade on the Calfpasture during the French and Indian war.
The first mill seems to have been that of James Carter. It was probably built about 1745. Some ten years later, Andrew Lockridge had a gristmill.
Charles Knight is mentioned as a schoolmaster in 1755. He was to have $60.00 a year, every half Saturday or every other Saturday to be free time. In case of an Indian alarm he was to enjoy the privilege of being lodged in the settlement. But it is not probable that he was the first teacher.
Rocky Spring Church was built on an acre deeded by Andrew Kincaid, 1773, to the "trustees of a congregation of dissenters." These trustees were James Bratton, Lancelot Graham, Andrew Hamilton, Thomas Hughart, William Kincaid, and Andrew Lockridge. Lebanon Church was organized in 1784 at the home of William Hodge. The first elders were William Youell, Alexander Craig, John Montgomery, John McCutchen, Joseph McCutchen, and Samuel McCutchen. The first meeting house stood close to the Augusta line, the second a half-mile to the south and in Rockbridge. As a consequence there are two cemeteries. The will of John Dunlap, written in 1804, provides a sum to build a gallery for the negro worshippers. John Montgomery, for a while a teacher in Liberty Hall Academy, was the first minister. John S. McCutchen was a successor. But the first congregation on the Calfpasture was that of Little River. The "meeting house land" is mentioned in deeds about 1754. John Hindman preached in the vicinity as early as 1745.
Partly as a result of its only moderate fertility, the Calfpasture has been a great fountain-head of emigration to newer localities, especially Kentucky and Tennessee. Some of the pioneer names have thus been nearly or quite extinguished. Not a few of the men who went from the Calfpasture, or their descendants, have achieved some renown in Western history.
Major Samuel Stevenson, who had lately moved to the Greenbrier, headed in 1776 an expedition to the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. He was accompanied by James Gay, William Elliott, and Benjamin Blackburn. William Campbell, a wheelwright, was picked up as the party went through the wilderness. One of the members said "Blackburn was so stiff with fear we could hardly get him along." In the spring of 1784, Stevenson settled in Woodford county, the "Asparagus Bed" of the Bluegrass State. He was preceded a few weeks by Alexander Dunlap, Jr., and James Gay, Jr. The wives of Stevenson and Dunlap were sisters to Gay, who was a son of James Gay and his wife, Jean Warwick. Pisgah Church, said to be the first Presbyterian organization in Kentucky, was founded the same year. Its first minister was Adam Rankin, who came from Rockbridge. Pisgah Academy, founded by Gay, Dunlap, and Stevenson, developed into Transylvania University, as Liberty Hall Academy developed into Washington and Lee University. The region around was settled almost wholly from Rockbridge and its neighboring counties. The following names, from the membership of Pisgah Church in 1808-1826, will be recognized as occurring in the pioneer annals of Rockbridge: Aiken, Alexander, Allen, Brown, Campbell, Carr, Dunlap, Elliott, Gay, Hamilton, Holman, Kinkead, Kirkham, Logan, Long, Martin, McClung, McClure, McCullough, McPheeters, Renick, Ritchie, Smith, Steele, and Taylor.
We close this chapter with special mention of several of the Calfpasture families.
The Bears sprang from Blastus Baer, a Mennonite who came from Germany in 1740 and settled in Page County in 1763. Jacob, a son, married a daughter of a Mennonite minister and came to the Calfpasture in 1788. Their sect was but slightly represented here, and the Bears attached themselves to other churches. 
Robert Bratton, who married the widow of Alexander Dunlap, Sr., was one of four brothers. Samuel remained in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania; James, who married Dorothy Fleming, settled near Christiansburg. Three sons of another brother, went to South Carolina. Captain Robert Bratton was a man of wealth and distinction.
Archibald Clendennin lived in this valley before moving to the lower Cowpasture, where he died in 1749. Archibald, Jr., was the most conspicuous victim in the Greenbrier massacre of 1763. Charles, another son, gave his name to the capital of West Virginia.
Captain James Coursey came from Orange and married as his second wife the widow of Robert Dunlap. A great grandson is Major O. W. Coursey, of South Dakota, a soldier, educator, and historian.
Robert Crockett, son of the pioneer of that name, was one of the "Long Hunters" spoken of in Chapter VIII. The eccentric Davy Crockett, of Tennessee and Texas history, was of another family, although in his youth he worked for a German farmer in this county.
Samuel Ebberd came from Maryland.
Captain Thomas Gilham had seven sons and two sons-in-law in the armies of the Revolution. The family moved first to South Carolina, but afterwards to the north of Illinois.
John Graham and his family experienced a great storm during their voyage from Ulster. John appears to have been a brother-in-law to William Elliott and John Armstrong of the Calfpasture. Elliott was born in 1699. William and Graham was a brother to John. Christopher Graham, who died in 1748, was probably the father of Robert Graham of the Bullpasture, and the wife of Joseph Walkup.
John Hepler came from Pennsylvania.
Daniel Hite—otherwise Hight—was a son of Daniel Heydt, a German who settled in the Luray valley.
William Jameson was commissioned coroner in 1753, and seems to have died the same year. A grandson of the same name owned valuable property on the border of the city of St. Louis. Timothy Flint, the historian, calls one of his daughters a "rose of the prairie," and says of the Jameson family, "a group of more beautiful children I have never known."
The pioneer Lockridges were the brothers, James, Robert, and William. William lived first in the Borden grant. The descendants are most numerous in the West. Colonel John Lockridge was a pioneer of Sangamon county, Illinois. Another Colonel Lockridge figures in early Texas history. Andrew Y. Lockridge, a grandson of Major Andrew Lockridge, son of James, was a noted missionary to the Cherokee Indians.
Five brothers of the name of McCutchen came to this part of Virginia. Robert settled on Little River, Samuel in the Borden grant, and William, James, and John in Beverly Manor. James died in 1759, and his sons, James, John, and Patrick went to Washington county. The descendants of the five pioneers are numerous, widely scattered, and include persons of mark. One of these is Robert Barr McCutchen, a distinguished writer.
The McConnell’s, who founded McConnell's Station, now Lexington, Kentucky, previously lived on Kerr's Creek, as well as the Calfpasture.
Moses McIlvain located in this valley in 1763. While prospecting in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, in 1779, he was captured by Indians, but was released at the intercession of a trader by the name of McCormick, who had known McIlvain in Ireland. McIlvain married Margaret, a daughter of Samuel Hodge, of the Calfpasture, and settled anew in Woodford county, Kentucky.
Timothy McKnight came from Ulster. His son John, merchant of St. Louis and trader to Santa Fe, was a heavy owner of realty in and near the Missouri metropolis. Robert, another son, settled in Chihuahua, Mexico, as a merchant and mine owner, and married a Spanish lady. Thomas settled in Iowa and was the first candidate for governor of that state on the Whig ticket. James remained on the Calfpasture, but his son John joined his uncle at Chihuahua and became a wealthy merchant. Rebecca, a daughter, married William McCutchen, and the wife of William W. Rucker, Congressman from Missouri, is a great-granddaughter.
Five Walkups, James, Joseph, John, Margaret, and the wife of John Graham, Jr., were brothers and sisters and came to Little River about 1748. Captain James moved to the Waxhaw settlement, North Carolina, 1755, where he was a large planter and slaveholder. Samuel M., a grandson, was an antiquarian of that state. Joseph, son of John, was a lieutenant-governor of California, and is said to have refused an election to the senate of the United States. For several decades there was much confusion in the spelling of the family surname. Professor Wauchope, a distinguished literary critic of the South, has returned to the orthodox Scotch orthography. The appropriateness of doing so is very much open to question. The form Walkup is free from strangeness, and to the American ear is the closest possible approximation to the Scottish pronunciation. The phonographic value of the word Wauchope is unmistakable in Scotland, but not in America. In this connection it may be remarked that those German families who in years past modified the spelling of their surnames pursued a wise course. It was a practical step in Americanization.
William Warwick had four children. Jean and Martha were killed by the Indians about 1759. John settled in Kentucky in 1784. Jacob was an extensive owner of realty and livestock in Pocahontas. The widow of William Warwick married Andrew Sitlington of Bath.
J. Fulton Whitlock, otherwise Tarleton Whitlock, came from the east of Virginia.
William Youell settled on the Calf pasture about 1771.

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