Map of the Upper Potomac

Map of the Upper Potomac

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Map of the Upper Potomac

Map of the Upper Potomac, including the area of Harpers Ferry, Ball's Bluff and Washington.

Map taken from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: II: North to Antietam , p.124

Map of the Upper Potomac - History

The following resources are organized from the highest elevations in Pennsylvania to the lowest elevations in Virginia, Maryland and DC.

Laurel Highlands

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail , 70 miles, Ohiopyle - Seward, PA, within Laurel Ridge State Park, Pennsylvania State Parks (click on "maps").

Download a map for the Laurel Ridge Cross-Country Ski Area from the Laurel Ridge State Park Web site. Weaving through a portion of the corridor for the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, the brochure/map illustrates a network of exceptional trails for all abilities.

Great Allegheny Passage

A 73-mile section of the Great Allegheny Passage rail-trail between Ohiopyle, PA, and Cumberland, MD, managed by the Allegheny Trail Alliance.

Eastern Continental Divide Loop (PDF 2.6 MB): A brochure/map for a developing 150 mile +/- network of paddling, hiking, backpacking, rafting and bicycling trails in Garrett County, MD, and Somerset County, PA, including a portion of the Great Allegheny Passage. For more information see Garrett Trails "Do the Loop" and Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources sites.

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath

184.5 miles, Georgetown, DC - Cumberland, MD, managed by Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP, National Park Service.

Civil War Defenses of Washington Trail

(.5 MB PDF 15.5 x 16.5 in. 2010) Side B of a brochure, the map illustrates a route for hiking on trails and sidewalks in DC, as well as bicycling routes in DC and Virginia. Hiking guides for three sections of the CWDW Trail in DC provide detailed guidance and historical context: Tenleytown Metro/Fort Reno-Fort Totten (2014) Fort Totten-Minn. Ave. Metro/Fort Mahan (2018) and Fort Mahan-Fort Stanton/Anacostia Metro (2018). Contact the Civil War Defenses of Washington coordinator for more information.

Southern Maryland PHT (On-Road) Bicycling Route

Between Oxon Cove Park (adjacent to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge) and Point Lookout, including a 27-mile, signed route in Prince Georges County (PDF 4.3 MB 2016), connecting parks, public landings and historic sites including Fort Washington Park, Piscatway Park and the National Colonial Farm Smallwood and Saint Clement's Island state parks and Leonardtown and Historic Saint Mary’s City.

Northern Virginia

Virginia Piedmont (PDF 14 MB 2016), various PHT segments between White's Ferry and the American Legion Bridge (I-495) in eastern Loudoun and northern Fairfax counties (connecting with the PHT trailhead within George Washington MP--see below). Obtain a brochure/map from Visit Loudoun or contact us. To volunteer on trail projects, contact the Potomac Heritage Trail Association.

Potomac Heritage Trail within George Washington Memorial Parkway (PDF 40 MB 2017), a 10-mile footpath between the trailhead for Theodore Roosevelt Island (and the Mount Vernon Trail) and Live Oak Lane (adjacent to the American Legion Bridge/I-495), including a parking area within Scott's Run Nature Preserve.

A brochure on the Woodlawn Historic District (PDF, 8.5 MB 2017) explores the many layers of history in this area of southern Fairfax County and illustrates walking and bicycling routes connecting George Washington's Distillery and Gristmill, Woodlawn and the Pope-Leighey House, hotels and associated sites.

Southern Fairfax & Prince William Counties, Virginia (PDF 5.5 MB 2016), a developing PHT network between Mount Vernon Estate and Locust Shade Park (in s. Prince William County), including Mason Neck and Prince William Forest Park please contact us with corrections and suggestions.

Fredericksburg & King George and Stafford counties, Virginia (PDF 1 MB 2016) A map of existing, planned and potential PHT routes and related resources, including the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail, based on a memorandum of understanding executed in January 2017.

Northern Neck of Virginia(PDF 4.9 MB 2014) The map side of the Northern Neck Heritage Trail Bicycling Route Network brochure, available from the Northern Neck Tourism Commission. Please note: Sections of Route 3 in Westmoreland County are used by vehicles traveling at high speeds and do not include shoulders nor lanes for bicyclists.

Land use and rezoning Edit

The land developed for National Harbor was previously Salubria Plantation, [2] built in 1827 by Dr. John H. Bayne. The plantation house burned down in 1981 and was offered for sale along with the surrounding land. The land was sold in 1984 and in 1994 was rezoned for mixed-use development. [ citation needed ] In the fall of 1997, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Army Corps of Engineers approved new developer permits, granted for the PortAmerica project in 1988. [3]

This development has caused considerable controversy due to its environmental impacts. The Sierra Club voiced strong objections in 1999 saying that construction of National Harbor would "prevent forever the completion of the Potomac Heritage Trail". [4] The site was linked to hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated sewage being discharged into the Potomac River in 2008. [5] In 2006, Peterson Companies withdrew plans to build a Target department store where the remaining plantation building, the slave quarters, still stand. [2]

Development Edit

The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor opened on April 1, 2008 [6] in Oxon Hill, Maryland. [7] The site is being developed by Milton Peterson's Peterson Companies with the project expected to cost well over $2 billion, [8] and a construction time frame of 2007 to late 2014. As of April 2016 construction was continuing and the cost was set at $4 billion. [9] In 2010, the development was designated as a census-designated place. [1]

The Walt Disney Company had announced that it would build a new resort hotel at National Harbor, but backed out of the project in November 2011. [10] In 2011, Bonnie Bick, a member of the Campaign to Reinvest in the Heart of Oxon Hill suggested preserving the remaining plantation building, and making it a part of a proposed historical loop of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, as a draw for the development. [2]

A location for the National Children's Museum opened in December 2012. The museum permanently closed in early January 2015, after having announced that it would relocate back to Washington, D.C. [11] The museum's location is now a Local Motors facility.

On November 29, 2012, ground was broken for a Tanger Outlets shopping facility a mile east of the National Harbor waterfront, which opened in November 2013. [12] The Capital Wheel opened in the mid-year of 2014. [13]

An MGM-branded casino, called MGM National Harbor, opened at National Harbor on December 8, 2016, following voters' approval of an expansion to the state's gambling program in the November 2012 elections. [14] It was built on the south side of the Beltway, about a mile northeast of the National Harbor waterfront.

On January 12, 2015, Peterson Companies announced Local Motors planned to open a location in National Harbor. [15] On June 17, 2016, Local Motors opened their facility to the public and debuted a new vehicle named Olli. [16] The facility includes a showroom of the company's latest vehicles, interactive STEM labs for children, and retail merchandise mostly featuring the company's brand.

The site has a convention center, six hotels, restaurants, shops, and condominiums. [13] National Harbor hosted Cirque du Soleil in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 and also features outdoor activities such as a culinary festival and outdoor concerts by military bands, an outdoor movie screen facing the river, an annual ice sculpture exhibition, and a Peeps Day with a Peeps eating contest. The national spelling bee competition is held there. The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, with 2,000 rooms, is the largest hotel between New Jersey and Florida, and the largest in the Washington area. The site includes a beachfront walking path and a connection to a bike trail on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge that crosses into Alexandria, Virginia. [17] [18] Amusements include a children's carousel, and the Capital Wheel, [13] a 175-foot Ferris wheel on a pier that extends into the Potomac River.

In December 2016, MGM Resorts opened a 300-room hotel, a 135,000-square-foot (12,500 m 2 ) casino, stores, a spa, restaurants, a 1,200-seat theater, a 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m 2 ) convention area, and a 5,000-square-foot (460 m 2 ) parking garage. [19]

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,788 people, 1,598 households, and 868 families residing in the census-designated place. [20] As of 2016, an estimated 7,000 staff work at National Harbor, with 3,000 more expected after the MGM Casino opens in the Fall of 2016. [21]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, National Harbor has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.8 km 2 ), of which 1.4 square miles (3.7 km 2 ) is land and 0.39 square miles (1.0 km 2 ), or 21.7% (consisting of the Potomac River), is water 300 acres are in the actual development itself.

Access Edit

National Harbor has direct road access to Interstate 95/495 (the Capital Beltway), Interstate 295 (Anacostia Freeway), and Oxon Hill Road. Commuters traveling via Indian Head Highway may access National Harbor by utilizing the Oxon Hill Road exits. [22] Early critics of National Harbor argued that the site is not accessible enough to the Washington Metro, the Washington area's rapid transit system. However, local civic groups dropped a lawsuit against National Harbor's developer in exchange for assurances of greater investment in the surrounding community and better access to mass transit. [23] Three years later, the state funded over $500 million in road improvements in order to handle the 10,000 cars expected to commute daily to National Harbor. [22]

The new Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which forms part of the Capital Beltway near National Harbor, was built to allow capacity for a future Washington Metro line. [24] However, there are no current plans to extend rail over the bridge to development. Instead, the state of Maryland pays $312,000 annually for bus access to National Harbor from the Southern Avenue Metro station. In June 2008, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center asked the state to fund additional transit service because employees found it difficult to reach National Harbor. [25] In 2011, Metro began considering the possibility of building a rail extension to National Harbor off the Green Line as part of its long-term plan. [26]

A water taxi line run by the Potomac Riverboat Company connects the National Harbor to Alexandria, Virginia. The City of Alexandria also runs shuttles from the water taxi terminal to King Street – Old Town Metro station. The service costs the city about $800,000 per year. [27]

Schools serving the CDP are Fort Foote Elementary School, [29] Oxon Hill Middle School, [30] and Oxon Hill High School. [31]

The river is 24.7 miles (39.8 km) long, [1] and its watershed covers about 590 square miles (1,528 km 2 ). It is formed by the confluence of Broad Run and Cedar Run in Prince William County Bull Run, which forms Prince William County's boundary with Loudoun and the northerly part of Fairfax counties, enters it east-southeast of Manassas, as the Occoquan turns to the southeast. It reaches the Potomac at Belmont Bay. The Occoquan River is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The name Occoquan is derived from a Doeg Algonquian word translated as "at the end of the water". [2]

Geographers, foremost Harm de Blij, defined the river as the most apt border between the American North and American South. Wolf Run Shoals was an important crossing point on the Occoquan between Alexandria and Richmond during the 18th and 19th centuries. It consisted of three islands and a mill, now submerged under the Occoquan due to higher water levels following damming for flood control, water supply, and power generation. [3]

Between c. 1900 and 1976, the Occoquan was frequently called "Occoquan Creek," but a campaign to restore its status as a river was successfully conducted by Rosemary Selecman. [4]

The Occoquan has three dams along its length. The first is at the town of Occoquan, a reservoir belonging to the Fairfax County Water Authority, which serves as a source of drinking water for parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties. The Occoquan Reservoir stretches from Occoquan to Bull Run. Further upriver is Lake Jackson. The dam that creates Lake Jackson is at Virginia State Route 234, Dumfries Road, and is a former hydroelectric facility. Today the dam contains the lake, but has not produced electricity in several decades. There is a third dam up Broad Run from its confluence with Cedar Run this dam forms Lake Manassas, which is the primary water supply for the city of Manassas.

Sandy Run Regional Park is at Fairfax Station and consists of the northeastern arm of the Occoquan Reservoir. The park is used exclusively for the education, practice, and competition of rowing. The high schools who use this park for rowing are members of the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association (VASRA). The member schools which call this park their home are Robinson Secondary School, W. T. Woodson High School, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, James Madison High School, Fairfax High School, Oakton High School, West Springfield High School, Langley High School, J. E. B. Stuart High School, and South County Secondary School.

Fountainhead Regional Park is also in Fairfax Station, further upriver from Sandy Run Regional Park, past Bull Run. Lake Braddock Secondary School, Westfield High School and (Virginia)], also VASRA members, use the park for rowing.

The Occoquan River is bordered by three parks administered by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. The three parks are Bull Run, Occoquan, and Fountainhead. In addition to horse riding, trailing cycling, fishing and boating access, the Bull Run to Occoquan trail travels through all three parks from the beginning of the river to its end. The Oxford Boathouse hosts Hylton High School, Potomac High School, Gar-Field High School, and Forest Park High School Woodbridge High School and Colgan High school.

• Wilmer L. KERNS' Early Settlers of Patterson's Creek: Map and List

Wilmer L. KERNS, scholar, historian and author, compiled a LIST of the early settlers of lower Patterson's Creek when a

survey map was made by James Genn in early 1748. The value of this map and material is that it showed not only who was

living on the land before or at the time of a survey, but it reveals where the cabins were located prior to the issuance of Fairfax

In addition, KERNS identified the "The Lost Map" -- the survey map of Patterson's Creek Settlement by James Genn in early

1748 made prior to Fairfax issuing grants in 1748-1749. KERNS wrote: "By the way, the Patterson's Creek Settlement is not

the same as the Manor. Morrison published the map of the manor and sought the other map for his entire later life. I wrote to

him several months before he died in Pennsylvania, and told him that I have the map and that we would get together soon. He

answered me, but he died before we could arrange a time to meet."

[KERNS contributed his discoveries of the "Early Settlers of Patterson's Creek"

A History of Fishing in the Potomac River

The borders of the Mount Vernon were washed by more than 10 miles of tidewater. The whole Potomac River shore, in fact, was one entire fishery.

Commander Donald D. Leach, USN (ret)

Records as early as 1606 mention the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries as sources of incredible stocks of fish and seafood. Some were seasonal, others available year-round. Great quantities of crabs, oysters, clams, and horseshoe crabs (the early settlers actually ate them) were available. The €colonists described Indian methods of catching and, more importantly, preserving these harvests.

The colonists also described their amazement at having boats swamped by four to six-foot sturgeon that leaped out of the water on board, and of fish schools so thick that they were unable to move their boats through them. Oysters as large as fourteen inches were common.

As a result of this abundance, the development of fisheries as a viable source of food and income was to be expected. The early colonists knew how to fish but were not skilled in farming in their new homeland. With the excesses available from the waters they lived by, they only needed to find ways to preserve the catches and to send their harvests to other markets.

In the northern colonies, a flourishing industry was already in progress in offshore cod fishing, with the salt dried cod being shipped to European markets. Living by and the use of the waters also dictated that there be a heavy dependence on all types of watercraft, so the construction and operation of boats followed in parallel with the fishing industry.

The main fishing effort on the Potomac involved the herring and shad runs during the spring season As the water began to warm, these fish returned to spawn in the upper river, creeks, and tributaries of the Potomac. In writings of the day, there are references to the surface of the water sparkling like silver, as millions of fish swam upriver. Early attempts at spearing fish or trapping them in enclosures made of wooden stakes, eventually led to the introduction of fish weirs and the use of seine nets imported from Europe.&rdquo

In Washington's time, it was natural that he would incorporate fishing into his plantation routine and make it a part of the revenue-producing activities of a working farm, following the lead of his father and half-brother Lawrence.

Historic Trades

Washington's Fisheries

No endeavor better represented Washington&rsquos entrepreneurial spirit than his three fisheries along the Potomac River spanning his 10 miles of coastline at Mount Vernon

The Upper Potomac River

Those of us who live in the Mid-Atlantic region are blessed with many great smallmouth fisheries that begin as small streams in the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains. Of these fisheries, the one with the best public access is undoubtedly the Upper Potomac River because of the presence of the C&O Canal. The 184.5-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park begins in Washington, DC and runs up the Maryland side of the Potomac River all the way to Cumberland in Maryland’s panhandle. Along its path, the river forms the boundaries between Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. There is limited public access to the river on the Virginia and West Virginia sides.

After the Revolutionary War, there were various attempts to make the Upper Potomac River navigable for commercial purposes, beginning with George Washington’s dreams of a northwest passage to Ohio. The most ambitious of these attempts was the construction of a canal along the river by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company. President John Quincy Adams officiated at the elaborate groundbreaking ceremony at Little Falls on July 4, 1828. Ironically, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) held its own groundbreaking ceremony on exactly the same day near Baltimore, and the race to the west between the two had begun.

There is a towpath alongside the canal that was built for mule teams to pull barges loaded with cargo westward up the canal. The barges would then float down river on their return, loaded with coal, quarry stone, lumber, grain and other commodities from the western regions. Because of frequent floods, cost overruns, labor problems and competition from B&O, the company was many years behind its original three-year schedule, far exceeded its original $22 million budget and was always in debt. B&O readily made its way to West Virginia, and the now-obsolete canal had only reached as far as Cumberland when it was devastated by another tremendous flood in 1889 (the same year as the flood that destroyed Johnstown, Pennsylvania). The company filed for bankruptcy, and all plans to expand further west were canceled. B&O gained control of the canal by buying up most of the company’s debts and promising the bankruptcy court to keep the canal in working order. One of B&O’s primary motives for taking possession of the canal was to keep it out of the hands of its competitors, so the railroad only halfheartedly ran the canal until another flood in 1924 caused it to cease operations. In 1938, B&O deeded the canal to the federal government for $2 million to cancel one of its own previous debts, and for the next few decades the canal remained in limbo while the government had other priorities and contemplated what to do with its unusual acquisition.

The C&O Canal managed to escape several plans for development, including one to turn it into a western bypass. It was declared a national monument in 1961 and became a national historic park in 1971. The National Park Service (NPS) then used the power of eminent domain to buy up most of the remaining private property between the canal and the river which gave the public nearly complete access to this entire stretch of the river. The history of the river and the canal makes a great story and has been grossly abbreviated for this article, so further reading is highly recommended.

Description of the Park Camping Facilities
There are 74 lift locks along the canal, about half of which have roads leading to them and small parking lots. Some of the old lockhouses are still standing, and some of the old locks still work. The canal mostly follows the river, which is often within view or just hidden behind trees, but can be as far as a mile or more away where the builders took shortcuts. There are also a few areas in the upper regions where the river is calm and flat so no canal was needed, and the towpath was built right alongside the river for the mule teams to pull the barges. The flat and graded towpath is well-shaded in the summer and is perfect for hikers and bikers, so it can become quite crowded around the more populated areas and historic landmarks during nice weather. NPS maintains water in the canal from Georgetown to Seneca and conducts short rides on reconstructed barges in Georgetown and Great Falls from spring to fall. Elsewhere, the canal is mostly a dry ditch or an insect-infested swamp, but there are also areas of the canal near Little Pool, Big Pool and Hancock that have been maintained with water by local organizations. These permanently watered areas of the canal are also used for fishing and canoeing. Almost every kind of fish found in the river can be found in the canal as a result of floods, and many children have the canal as the site of their first fishing lessons.

The C&O Canal parkland is a wildlife preserve and guns, hunting, and trapping are not permitted, however there are several areas where designated hunting lands are adjacent to the park, such as by Dickerson and McKee Besher in Montgomery County and many locations in Allegany County. The park teems with wildlife, and bird watching is a popular pastime. Canada geese, blue herons, hawks, ospreys, egrets, kingfishers, mallards and wood ducks are common sightings. Occasionally you can spot a bald eagle or a wild turkey, and in the spring and fall, migratory birds use the park as a resting spot on their long journeys. Relic hunting and possession of metal detectors are also prohibited in the park. Horseback riding along the towpath is permitted from Swains Lock to Cumberland, except for in the Paw Paw tunnel.

Every five miles or so, and at least one mile from any parking areas, there are hiker-biker camping spots right by the river which are simply flat, grassy spots with a portable toilets, picnic table, fire ring and sometimes a water pump. There are about 30 of these free campsites, and they and available on a first-come, first-served basis and closed in the winter. There are several park-run campsites you can drive to (primitive facilities only) and also several non-NPS campgrounds that were allowed along the river, most notably the ones at Brunswick and Big Pool. Camping and building fires in non-designated areas of the park is prohibited, however, the NPS only owns up to the riverbank. The river itself is owned and controlled by Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. Camping on most of the islands in the middle of the river is permitted, and many people float down the river and spend the night on one of these islands for a weekend trip.

In 1999, the C&O Canal National Historic Park was designated a “trash-free park” and garbage receptacles have been removed. Plastic bags are provided at the parking lots, and visitors are expected to take their trash with them to dispose of elsewhere.

The River
The Upper Potomac River technically starts at Little Falls near the DC/Maryland line and is nontidal water. Just below Oldtown, Maryland, (above Paw Paw) the Potomac splits into the North and South Branches. Most of the Upper Potomac River is about 3/4 mile wide and slowly narrows as it reaches up to its origin as a deceptive trickle at Fairfax Stone near Kempton, Maryland. Numerous small islands dot the river and some very large ones split the river in half, making it look narrower. Watkins Island between Seneca and Great Falls, for instance, is about 600 acres. A few of these islands are still privately owned and they are posted. Some of the others are owned by The Nature Conservancy and other conservation groups, but most of them are owned by the State of Maryland. In the summer, the water is typically gin clear with a sand and rock bottom that is easily wadable in sneakers and shorts, all the way across in many places. The most notable exceptions to this are between Great Falls and Little Falls and near the dams. Wading around the falls and dams is treacherous and forbidden, although bank fishing is still popular in these areas. As is usually the case, the river above dams is deep and lake-like, so water skiers and jet skiers get mixed in with fishing traffic. Another exception is that certain areas, such as Carderock/Turkey Run, produce an unusual amount of algae, so felt soles are recommended for waders.

There were eight feeder dams made of low, rock rubble planned along the river to provide water for the canal, but only six were built and a few have been destroyed. Some of these were renovated and enlarged to provide water to towns and cities and two are now high-rock dams used to produce electricity (Dan No. 5 and Dam No. 4, above and below Williamsport, respectively), but none are higher than 20 feet. Great Falls, which is a steep 80 foot drop, is the largest impediment on the river, and fish ladders were built there in the mid-1800′s to allow fish to migrate upriver, but in 1959, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built Little Falls Dam next to the old, ruined feeder dam to deliver water to the Washington Aqueduct, obstructing fish migration even further down river. It is only now in the late 1990′s that a fish ladder is being built at Little Falls to correct this situation.

It is a surprise to many that the Potomac River has so much white water so close to the Nation’s Capitol. Several Olympic kayakers are from the region and use the Potomac as their training ground. Great Falls is just outside the Beltway and is a Class VI rapid. Suicidal paddlers planning to go over Great Falls must first register with Maryland DNR. The area between Great Falls and Little Falls varies from Class I to Class III, and the area from Little Falls down to Chain Bridge, just over the DC/Maryland line, is listed an area of Class VI rapids. Further upriver there are sporadic sections of Class I to III rapids, especially around Harper’s Ferry, so water levels and a good map should be studied before setting out in any sort of watercraft.

On the Virginia side, river access is available to the public at Turkey Run, Dranesfield Park, Riverbend Park, Algonkian Park and Balls Bluff. Riverbend and Algonkian have boat ramps, and there is a small fee charged for both park entry and use of the ramp. There is also a free boat ramp across from Point of Rocks maintained by the Virginia Department of Natural Resources. Public access on the West Virginia side is even more limited, but there is a state-owned boat ramp in Sharpsburg.

In Maryland, there are boat ramps at Pennyfield Lock, Riley’s Lock, Edward’s Ferry, White’s Ferry (the last active ferry), Noland’s Ferry, Point of Rocks, Brunswick, Dargan Bend, Snyder’s Landing, Taylor’s Landing, Big Slackwater, Williamsport, Four Locks, McCoy’s Ferry, Hancock, Fifteen Mile Creek Aqueduct and Spring Gap. Most of these are free and maintained by NPS, but a few are private and charge a small fee. Also, many of the lock access points can be used to launch canoes, kayaks and small rafts, and there are various paths made to portage such craft that are marked on good maps. Beyond Cumberland, public access to the river becomes much more limited.

The Fishery
The most popular game fish in the Upper Potomac River is the smallmouth bass, but there are also catfish, sunfish, crappie, walleye, tiger muskies and carp. Largemouth bass can also be caught in the quieter pools. Catfish are actually more sought after than bass, but they are most often caught for food. Smallmouth bass in the Upper Potomac forage mainly on minnows (including spotfin shiners, bullnose minnows, spot tail shiners and darters), crayfish, stonecats and hellgrammites. An important aquatic hatch is the mayfly, the most common of which are the white miller and the march brown.

A nontidal fishing license is required on the Upper Potomac River, but Maryland grants reciprocity to Virginia and West Virginia license holders where those states border the Potomac, so no Maryland license is required in those cases up to Maryland’s riverbanks but not into its tributaries. The 1999 Maryland fishing regulations have a closed season for black bass from May 15 to June 15 but catch and release is permitted (and encouraged) year round. The current regulations for black bass impose a 12″ size limit with a daily possession limit of 5. There is also a special trophy bass area from Seneca Breaks to the Mouth of the Monocacy River and into the Monocacy River up to Buckeyestown Dam. In this section, no black bass under 15″ may be kept, and only one over 15″ may be in possession per day. Check the current regulations for changes and regulations for other species. In 1999, a Maryland resident’s nontidal license cost $10, and a non-resident’s license costs $15. There is also a 7-day license available for $7. A website for more information is

The 1999 Maryland regulations require PFDs for all persons aboard watercraft, including tubes, from November 15 to May 15, but there are no such regulations for waders. The river can be very dangerous, especially after heavy rains, so please exercise caution. River levels can be found on the weather pages of local papers, or by listening to the recording at 703-260-0305. A useful website for information is

Maps, Guides and Resources
Mark Kovach has a professional float fishing guide service that specializes in the Upper Potomac River, particularly above Brunswick. His guide service uses large rubber rafts adapted for these waters and is somewhat geared to flyfishing. Ken Penrod has a professional guide service called Life Outdoors Unlimited (LOU) that guides the entire river and uses mostly jet bass boats and standard tackle for smallies. LOU will also take you to other lakes and rivers in MD, VA and PA. Another recommended guide service is Reel Bass Adventures, which is a group similar to LOU.

There is an annual magazine that comes out called “Fishing in Maryland”. It currently costs $6.95 and is available from most bookstores and tackle shops in the area in the late spring/early summer. In this magazine are maps of the Chesapeake Bay and tidal Potomac River, which show depths and hot fishing spots. The Upper Potomac River maps are a bit sketchier with no depths shown, but good wading spots, hot fishing spots, towns, roads, islands and boat ramps are all marked. The map of the area from Brunswick to Seneca is provided by LOU. The map of the area from Dam No. 4 to Brunswick is provided by Mark Kovach. The magazine also has various articles covering different aspects of fresh and saltwater fishing in Maryland, trout stream maps, launch ramp guides, tide tables and fishing records. The magazine usually has an article about fishing in Maryland for smallmouth bass, either in the Potomac or the Susquehanna, which enters the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Penrod has written a book that covers from Paw Paw, WV to just above Great Falls, VA. It’s a wonderful book and contains plenty of information and stories as well as little sketch maps of each boat ramp on the C&O Canal as he takes you down this section of the river. You can obtain it by mail through his website at or at many tackle shops.

A handy map to have is the NPS map of the C&O Canal, which you can pick up from many of their park offices in the area. This free map provides lots of good information, including campsites, regulations, roads, islands, towns, etc., but it is small and therefore not very detailed about the river itself. You can get a map by mail from: C&O Canal National Historic Park, Box 4, Sharpsburg, MD 21782-0004 or call 301-739-4200. For a list of maps and books about the canal you can write to: Parks & History Association, P.O. Box 40060, Washington, DC 20016 or call 202-472-3083. You can also read more about the park and print a map off the NPS website at

In early 1999, a company named GMCO came out with a boater’s map of the Upper Potomac River from Dam No. 4 to Great Falls ($8.95). It is good map for boaters and fishermen, showing (and grading) rapids, islands, good fishing spots, dams, hiking trails, camping sites and the like. It is also waterproof. Like the other maps, it also shows no water levels because the river changes too much seasonally and annually to give any accurate water levels. It does, however, show contours, which could give you an idea of the bottom structure. The above-mentioned guide services contributed information for the creation of this map. The best place to get this map is through ADC stores or its website at GMCO is a small operation that splintered off from ADC, and as of early 1999, the owner hadn’t quite gotten his direct sales up and running yet.

A compact set of maps can be obtained from the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB). The Commission produced a lovely set of six, small strip maps that covers the river from Georgetown to Opequon Creek, so it has one of the few maps that details the river from Georgetown to Great Falls. These tricolor maps are detailed with place names, islands, rapids, fishing spots, portage spots, etc., and there are also text boxes on each map containing historical tidbits. A set of maps only costs $6.00. You can write to ICPRB at 6110 Executive Blvd., Suite 300, Rockville, MD 20852. Their website is

Smallmouth fishing in the Upper Potomac River can be a rewarding and peaceful experience. The park is full of history and wildlife, and it is easy to forget that you are only a short drive from a major metropolitan area. If you stay away from the areas near the parking lots, you can almost have the river to yourself with just an occasional canoe floating by. Certain stretches are more populated with powerboats, but their operators are mostly respectful of waders and paddlers. Other areas are so rocky only paddlers, tubers and waders will be seen, especially when the water level is very low. The river changes too much to get any more specific, and it is vastly a different experience depending on whether you are a boater or a wader. Exploring it for yourself is half the fun. Scout well, whether by trail, computer, or paper, and when you fish for bronzebacks, please practice catch and release and debarb your hooks.

A few others

Traders on the Susquehanna River and on the upper Potomac River drew from the same group of men. The first real exploration of the upper Potomac involves trade with the Natives already there. It should be noted that there was a village of the Conoy (Ganawese) Confederation on the Potomac about 1701. All evidence says that they actually lived on the lower Potomac, and they are not found later among the Shawnee on the upper Potomac Stephen R. Potter, Commoners, Tribute, and Chiefs, The Development of Algonquian Culture in the Potomac Valley” ( University Press of Virginia, 1993) excellent book covering the Conoy Confederation of tribes on the lower Potomac, and Chesapeake Bay Chapter One is a great introduction, especially pp. 7-8 on p. 144, chart of radio-carbon dates, at Cresaptown, Md., corn and beans dated 965 A.D. to 1635 A.D. see map p. 105 . They had seasonal fishing camps on the upper Potomac, with settled villages in the tidewater region, where their interactions with whites would have taken place. The Ganawese are mentioned on the Susquehanna River a few times in the 1720’s.

It should also be noted that a 1712 treaty set the Potomac as the southern boundary of Maryland Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 29: 184 . At that time the South Branch of the Potomac was understood to be this boundary. It was not till 1736 that a survey (by Virginians) claimed the much shorter northern branch as the “main” branch, and altered the Maryland claims.

Some traders came from a distance to be part of the action in the western lands of Maryland. The 1721 combined estate of three Dalbo brothers in West Jersey (New Jersey) says: personal estate totals L.122.15.3., including L.56.9. Indian debts debts due from: Amos Nicholes of Chester Co., Pa., Major Bradford on Potomack in Maryland, and Mr. Bradley of Maryland New Jersey Archives 23: 125 half of the combined estate of the three brothers was tied up in the Indian trade . The Dalbo family had been killed by a smallpox epidemic. The mother of the Dalbo brothers and the wife of Amos Nichols were sisters of Andrew Friend.

John Bradford is mentioned frequently in Maryland records. To sample only a few: He is on the Potomac in 1717 Danske Dandridge, Historic Shepherdstown (1910), 22-23, (mentions “settlers” in 1712 and 1726--but no further info.! She does mention John Bradford in 1717. There is no evidence for actual “settlers” beyond the Shenandoah River till the 1730’s) . On Oct. 12, 1717, in Prince George Co., John Bradford, Gent. of same, made a deed to William Sheppard, carpenter, for 150 acres called "Sheppard’s Purchase" Prince Georges Co., Md., Land Records, Book for 1717-1719, 45 . On July 26, 1721, in Prince George Co., deed from William Fitzredmond, Gent., to John Bradford, Gent., for 300 acres called "Batchelor’s Hall" and 4 slaves, (mortgage) to pay in three years… witness James Moore Prince Georges Co., Md., Land Records, Book for 1720-1726, 208 . In the 1755 land taxes of Frederick Co. is found: John Bradford heirs, part "Seneca Landing" 52 acres, part "Long Acre" 52 acres, part "Elizabeth" 50 acres, part "Henry" 105 acres Maryland State Archives, film #SR7994, Frederick Co., Md., 1755 debt book, 11 . He dabbled in trade up the Potomac, though apparently never lived there. Shepherd and Moore families are on the 1736 Winslow survey of the upper Potomac.

In the 1720’s a Thomas Perrin was licensed in Pennsylvania to trade with the Indians. John Perrin was on the upper Potomac by 1739 when he signed a petition Publications of the Hall of Records Commission, Publication #1, Calendar of Maryland State Papers, No. 1, The Black Book, 60-61: 1739 petition to Maryland Assembly, from "inhabitants of the back parts of Prince Georges Co.", saying vagabonds steal horses, sheriffs never come, etc., asking for a new county 88 names (there had only been one settler in the area pre-1732.) . In November 1739 he received a warrant for 100 acres called "Perrin’s Adventure" in what became Washington Co., Maryland warrant/survey: Perrin’s Adventure, 100 acres, patented Oct. 20, 1740, per Peter Wilson Coldham, 3: 173 . John Perrin was taxed in 1753 on 222 acres called "Perrin’s Adventure" 1753, Md., Frederick Co. debt books, page 37 Maryland State Archives, film #SR7994. (some pages torn.) . By a deed dated 1757 in Maryland, Edward Cartledge a farmer of N.C., sells land to Joseph Chapline, and the deed is recorded on July 11, 1763 by John Perrin Frederick Co., Md., Liber H: 530-4 . In 1769 John Perrins makes a deposition stating he is age 58 Frederick Co., Md., 1769, March, depositions regarding land, on the south side of the Great Marsh, Deeds, Liber M: 7-9 .

Map of the Upper Potomac - History

(A copyrighted publication of West Virginia Archives and History)

Early Land Grants and Settlers Along Patterson Creek

By Charles Morrison

Volume 40, Number 2 (Winter 1979), pp. 164-99

By the meanders of the river, Patterson Creek joins the Potomac about thirteen miles below the mouth of Wills Creek, which is at the site of old Fort Cumberland. The origin of the name is uncertain. Early maps of the upper Potomac show the name as Pattisons or Patersons. These maps were based on a survey of the Potomac made in 1736 by Benjamin Winslow, William Mayo, and others, on behalf of the Colony of Virginia and Thomas 6th Lord Fairfax. They are the first accurate maps of the region.

Although the official name of the stream is Patterson Creek, it is usually referred to locally as Pattersons Creek. In this article the form has been used that seems to best suit the context and as is correct, up and down, and above and below refer to the direction of stream flow and not to conventional map directions. Furthermore, in the interest of readability, the word Creek when spelled with a capital C refers to Patterson Creek likewise, Mountain refers to Patterson Creek Mountain, and Valley to Patterson Creek Valley.

Place names have been used generally as they existed at the time of the event or circumstance described. If the name has since been changed, the newer name follows in parenthesis if needed for identification.

Names of people, both surnames and personal, have been spelled as they appeared in the references from which they were drawn. Early writers were not always consistent therefore, variations will occur in the spelling of names throughout the text. As an example, Abram Johnstone may appear later as Abraham Johnson, etc. Hopefully, the context will make it clear that the reference is to the same person.

Patterson Creek drains an area of approximately 283 square miles. From its headwaters just above Lahmansville in Grant County, it flows generally north 33° degrees east, in a meandering course some thirty-seven miles to its junction with the Potomac. This gives it a drainage area averaging about seven and one-half miles in breadth.

Numerous tributaries join Patterson Creek in its passage from the vicinity of Lahmansville to the Potomac. These tributaries emanate from countless coves and hollows amongst the mountains that line the Valley. Cascading down the hillsides, they provide many scenes of quiet charm and spiritual beauty, and it is not difficult to imagine why this narrow valley beckoned to the pioneers almost as soon as the tide of settlement touched the South Branch Valley to the east.

Once the Blue Ridge barrier was breached, where the Potomac and the Susquehanna find their ways to the sea, the Indian road to the south became a thoroughfare into the unspoiled Virginia back country. By way of the McCullough path the more venturesome reached the fertile valley of the South Branch. From there, Patterson Creek was readily accessible by way of Lunice Creek or the passes between the ridges of Patterson Creek Mountain. New Creek, still further west, could be reached through Greenland Gap and the headwaters of Patterson Creek's North Fork. This sweeping tide of settlement all took place within three decades - 1720 to 1750 - spreading westward as it swept south.

In 1745 these valleys, north of a line surveyed between the sources of the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, became part of a vast proprietary grant, known as the Northern Neck. 2 This included all of the Patterson Creek Valley. The grant was an old one, having been made by Charles II in 1649, while in exile, to several his friends and supporters, including two members of the prominent Culpeper family. Over the years the Culpepers acquired the entire interest, and then through marriage it passed to the equally prominent and more enduring Fairfax family.

In 1719 this royal grant was inherited by Thomas 6th Lord Fairfax. The exact boundaries of the Proprietary had never been properly determined, partly because of disagreement over the language of the grant and partly because the geography of Virginia west of the Blue Ridge was almost unknown when the grant was made.

Thomas Fairfax was interested not only in establishing his inheritance, but also in getting the most out of the meaning of its terms with reference to the heads of the rivers involved - the Potomac and Rappahannock. Despite understandable opposition by the colonial government, Fairfax was politically successful in obtaining the most liberal interpretation of his patent and in the definition of the branches and sources of the two rivers.

In 1746 the back line as it was then called, was surveyed from the source of the Potomac's North Branch to that of the Rappahannock's southern branch, known as the Conway River. Quickly the Proprietor moved to have some of the best land within his newly acquired boundaries laid off as manors.

South Branch Manor, consisting of 54,596 acres, was surveyed by James Genn, the recorded date being March 31, 1747. 3 It included the most valuable land along the South Branch from Royal Glen Gorge to The Trough as well as the lower reaches of Mill Creek and Lunice Creek. From the headwaters of the latter, Genn's surveyors could readily cross the low divide to Pattersons Creek.

There, about a half-mile below the mouth of Mikes Run as it appears today, on the east side of the Creek at the foot of the Mountain, they commenced the survey of Patterson Creek Manor. This was about where the gently rolling land upstream begins to level off, with the Creek meandering across the floor of the Valley, between the Mountain on the east and higher ground to the west. The survey of Patterson Creek Manor is dated April 8, 1747, 4 just eight days after that of the South Branch Manor.

Generally, the manor line followed the edge of Patterson Creek, or the foot of the Mountain to the vicinity of the present community of Headsville. There it turned northwesterly for about eight thousand feet then southwestward for approximately eight miles, partly through the hilly country a mile or two west of the Creek and finally southeasterly to the point of beginning.

The survey, as recorded, is worded and punctuated as follows: 5 BEGINNING on the East side of the sd. Creek at a large white Oak Mark'd /F/ at the Foot of A Mountain & thence No. 60.Et. Three hundred & forty eight poles to another large white Oak/F/1 & thence No. 31.Et. One Thousand three hundred and Fifteen poles to a white Oak /F/ & thence No. 30.Et. Four Hundred and Eighty four poles to another white Oak /F/ & thence No. 35.Et. Four hundred and eighty poles to a red Oak /F/ & thence No. 35.Wt. Four hundred and eighty poles to a forked Maple /F/ & thence So. 43.30" Wt. Four thousand five hundred & forty poles to a white Oak /F/ & thence So. 35.Et. Five hundred & forty eight poles to the BEGINNING Containing TEN THOUSAND ACRES . . . . [6]

Mistakes become evident when the courses and distances are plotted on paper. In surveying language, Genn's survey does not close in fact, the failure to close represents a mistake of about six miles, one that was not likely to escape the attention of a surveyor of Genn's reputation. In comparing Genn's survey with one made later by Joseph Neville, it is discovered that the fourth course of Genn's survey, No. 35. Et. Four hundred and eighty poles, should have been recorded No. 53.Et. With this correction Genn's survey becomes more manageable, but it then becomes apparent that the sixth, or next to the last, course should have been recorded Two Thousand seven hundred & forty poles, a mistake of more than five and one-half miles.

These corrections and some minor adjustments in Neville's make the two surveys reconcilable. In addition, once the manor is located along the Creek, some of the topographical features mentioned by Neville can be identified on modern maps of the U.S. Geological Survey. One observation should be noted, however, in some places, within its flood plain, the Creek channel has shifted since Neville's survey was made.

Neither Genn's nor Neville's survey gives any clue as to the location of the manor along the Creek. Stream names, except that of Patterson Creek, have changed over the years and there were no established towns or specific reference points with which to relate their surveys.

There were settlers along Pattersons Creek when Genn first visited it in 1747. Next year, when he returned to continue his surveys for Lord Fairfax, he brought with him, in addition to his surveyors, two youthful observers. 7 One was George William Fairfax, son of the Proprietor's cousin the other one was George Washington, a friend of the younger Fairfax. The party was on its way to the South Branch of the Potomac by way of Cresap's trading post in Maryland.

In his Journal of My Journey Over the Mountain, 8 young George Washington mentioned Abram Johnstone as living "15 Miles from the Mouth" of the Creek. The party camped at Johnstone's overnight and the next day travelled up the Creek to the settlement of "Solomon Hedges Esqr one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace for the County of Frederick where we camped . . . . 9 " Hedges lived at the site of the present Fort Hill Farm, about three miles south of Burlington.

On his journey up the Creek with Genn's surveyors, Washington must have passed the sites of the future forts "at Ashby's" and "at Cocke's." A few days earlier, on March 23, at Cresap's trading post, he had been amused by the war "daunce" of a visiting party of friendly Indians. Within the next decade Washington would learn more about Indian behavior than he cared to, and the thought of their war dances would be far from amusing.

Although the two young visitors soon returned to the more civilized atmosphere of tidewater, Genn and his surveyors continued their work along the South Fork, the South Branch, and Pattersons Creek. As a result numerous grants were recorded for land along Pattersons Creek below (north of) the manor.

These were grants in fee, or forever that is, they could be deeded, willed, inherited, assigned, etc. in accordance with English law, subject only to the payment of certain recording fees and the initial "composition money" of ten shillings per one hundred acres, 10 plus the annual quitrent of two shillings per hundred acres, payable to the Proprietors of the Northern Neck "Yearly and every Year on the Feast Day of St. Michael the Archangel . . . ."

Sixteen lots were granted in 1748-49, as follows. These are recorded in Northern Neck Grant Book G, now in the safekeeping of the Virginia State Library at Richmond.


John Adam Long 293 acres Lot No. 2 Oct. 2, 1748
Capt. John Greenfield 200 acres Lot X Oct. 7, 1748
Nicholas Reasner 277 acres Lot No. 3 Oct. 23, 1748
George Parker 399 acres Lot No. 1 Oct. 25, 1748
John Ratan 354 acres Lot No. 4 Oct. 25, 1748
Abram Johnson 293 acres Lot No. 5 Oct. 26, 1748
Power Hasel 328 acres Lot No. 8 June 3, 1749
Joseph Hamlin 289 acres Lot No. 11 June 7, 1749
John Parker 312 acres Lot No. 12 June 8, 1749
Mathew Rogers 379 acres Lot No. 13 June 10, 1749
Jacob Good 394 acres Lot No. 13 June 11, 1749
Philip Martin 283 acres Lot No. 22 June 11, 1749
Joseph Robinson 332 acres Lot No. 21 June 11, 1749
Joseph Walter 238 acres Lot No. 15 June 11, 1749
Nicolas Crist 167 acres Lot No. 10 June 22, 1749
David Thompson 312 acres Lot No. 6 June 22, 1749

1. Lot No. 1 was adjacent to the northeastern boundary of the Patterson Creek Manor, at the present village of Headsville. In 1755 it was designated by Washington as the site of a defensive fort to be garrisoned by Captain William Cocke's company of the Virginia Regiment. However, the fort may have been built about one and one-quarter miles to the south on a hill on the east side of the Creek. This would have placed it within Lot No. 12 of the Patterson Creek Manor.

2. Lot No. 2 conveyed by Christian Long to John Reno on March 25, 1761.

3. In 1755 Washington considered Reasner's plantation, which was on Lot. No. 3, as a possible site for the defensive fort he later ordered built at Parker's, Lot. No. 1. In 1795 Jacob Reasner willed land on Pattersons Creek and Cabin Run Hill to his children and to John Murphy, land adjacent to William Rees' shop. See following entry.

4. Lot No, 5, granted to Abram Johnson, was the scene of Washington's first overnight camp on Pattersons Creek when he accompanied Genn's surveying party in 1748. Johnson then, or soon thereafter, had a mill nearby. In 1790 he sold 219 acres, and probably the mill to William Reese. This may be the origin of the name of the Reeses Mill community. In 1795 George Reese sold 352 acres on Johnsons Run to John Daton.

5. David Thompson conveyed Lot No. 6, 312 acres, to Jacob Reasoner in 1790. In 1795 this land was conveyed by mill to Reasoner's ten children.

5. [sic] The reason for the designation. Lot X, is uncertain. See Map Note 4. It included the mouth of Cabin Run, and today is crossed by W.Va. Route 46 at the intersection with W.Va. Adj. Route 11 to Headsville. In 1767 Captain Greenfield sold his 200 acres to Alexander Gibbony a year later Giboney sold it to Joseph Neavill, Jr. In 1775 Neville may have sold the same 200 acres to Okey Johnson. The same day Johnson sold it to Simon Purgatt (or Job Bacorn).

6. Lot No. 9 was surveyed but not granted in 1748-49. However, on September 18. 1771, it was sold by Edward Scott to John Carpenter, and by him to Thomas Holoback on March 11, 1777.

7. Lot No. 10 was sold by Jacob Crist to Okey Johnson on November 5, 1774.

8, Joseph Hamlin may have sold 50 acres of Lot No. 11 to Henry Bagley in 1761.

9. John Parker leased and conveyed his holdings on Pattersons Creek by 1775 to William Johnson and Peter Puttman.

10. Lot No. 13 was apparently subdivided in 1767 William Rogers conveyed 264 acres to James Rogers, and in 1772 Jonathan Rogers sold the remaining 115 acres to Peter Jones.

11. Jacob Good's holdings were distributed by his will, probated in 1780, to his wife, Susannah, and his sons, Peter, Abraham, and Isaac.

13. Lot No. 16, 300 acres, was surveyed by James Genn in 1748 for Charles Keller, or Sellers, but later forfeited, presumably for non-payment of the required fees and composition money, or the annual quitrent. Actually, Keller was killed, probably on his own land surrounding Fort Ashby, during the French and Indian War. The reasons for the forfeiture may have been taken into account by Lord Fairfax. The same lot was granted to John Keller of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, son and heir at law of Charles Keller, by deed from the Proprietor's office on June 1, 1779. There is some confusion between the names Keller and Sellers. Fort Ashby was built by Washignton's [sic] instructions "at the Plantation of Charles Sellars. . . ." 11 John Keller became one of the developers of the town of Frankfort, now Fort Ashby, but his name as Keller is not included in the census for Hampshire County for either 1782 or 1784. However, John Sellers is listed both years. Infra.

14. Joseph Robinson sold his 332 acres, Lot No. 21, to William Campbell in 1773. Thirteen years later Campbell sold it to Balson Shelhorn, who apparently disposed of it to Abraham and Peter Eversal in 1794.

15. Philip Martin, a nephew of Lord Fairfax, leased Lot No. 22 at the mouth of Pattersons Creek to John Hartley on August 8, 1769, for the lease rent of Three Pounds per year. Martin never occupied the land. He was a captain in the British army, stationed in Newfoundland, at the time of the lease. Later he acquired the Patterson Creek Manor by deed from his uncle, but he may never have visited any part of his Patterson Creek estate. His original grant, Lot No, 22, may have been the site of a small fort established for the protection of stores during the French and Indian War. Infra.

16. Lots No. 7 and 17 to 20, were surveyed in 1748 or 1749, but were not granted during those years. They may have been occupied, however, and the grants issued later. In two cases blank deeds were prepared that is, with no name inscribed and the word eight or nine omitted after the date "One thousand Seven hundred and forty . . ." This was apparently an omission which has led to the conclusion that at least one Patterson Creek grant was made as early as 1740. No grants could have been made properly prior to 1748. Since the deeds in question mention the twenty-second or twenty-third year of the reign of "our sovereign Lord George the Second by the Grace of God . . .," it is evident that they were prepared to be issued in 1748 or 1749.

It is too often believed that early land grants were likely to remain in the same family for generations. This was sometimes true, but often it was not. Life in that pioneer society could be transitory. Intestate inheritance, under the English law of primogeniture, resulted in some land grants being inherited by an heir of the same surname, and then disposed of. Warrants of survey, too, were transferable, although they were not recorded. These were issued on the basis of a claim or occupancy, and within two years entitled the holder to a grant on payment of the necessary fees and composition money.

As an indication of the frontiersman's attitude towards the formalities with regard to land records, it may be pointed out that Sims Index of Land Grants in West Virginia 12 does not include any of the early Fairfax grants that have been listed. Prior to the formation of Hampshire County in 1754, Patterson Creek grants would have been recorded, if at all, in Frederick County, and before that in Augusta County. Sims includes these two counties in his Index, but the names listed above do not appear. Like most holders of Fairfax grants, the grantees were content to have their deeds recorded in the Northern Neck land office and nowhere else or perhaps they were unaware of any distinction. Even more likely they were not concerned as long as they were not disturbed.

Moravian missionaries, who preceded Genn's surveyors by nearly a year, mentioned many people, German and English, who lived on Batesons Creek. 13 Amongst them, in addition to Solomon Hedge, were Abraham and William Degart, Oliver Creamer, 14 and a man by the name of Kasselman. They described the people as being religious, but uncertain about the Moravian beliefs. When one of the itinerants refused to marry a man who was described as the son of an Englishman Solomon Hedges threatened to put him in the nearest prison. That seemed not to happen and Hedges signed their passports and directed them over the mountain to theSouth Branch, probably by the same road taken by Genn and his surveyors later.

The Moravain diaries also provide us with an interesting glimpse of life as it existed along the Creek in 1747. 15 Piecing together the facets of primitive life on the Virginia frontier, it is easy to understand why many of the early settlers had little time or concern for the formalities of land tenure. Many of them lived on the land they found, without benefit of any official record. And for a time it seemed that Lord Fairfax was a rather lax or tolerant landlord either that, or he was preoccupied with concerns more immediately around him.

In order to maintain a degree of perspective it will be necessary to depart from a strictly chronological order of events and more to the year 1793. This was thirty years after the French and Indian War and twelve after the death of Lord Fairfax and the surrender at Yorktown.

On September 7, 1793, a survey for the Patterson Creek Manor was recorded at a Superior Court held at Hardy County Courthouse for the counties of Hardy, Hampshire and Pendleton. The manor was subdivided into thirty-one lots. Its area, according to the survey, totalled 9021 acres.

At that time the surveyors, Joseph Neville and John Moffett, appeared and testified that the survey was made on November 20, 1772, "pursuant to the Right Hnble Thomas Lord Fairfax's order of April 27, 1761." It seems rather unlikely that more than ten years had elapsed between the date of the order and its execution. Since the survey was not recorded for more than thirty years after the supposed date of the order, memory may have failed the surveyors or an error was entered into the court record as to the year of the survey.

For this and other reasons it seems likely that Neville's survey was made in 1762. Lot by lot, it is recorded in considerable detail, using then existent natural landmarks. 16 The corners are described in terms of two black Oaks and a white Oak, a red Oak by a Declivious bank of the Creek, three white Oaks and a Hicory by a Branch, etc. In an accompanying plat the streams are shown but the names do not coincide with those in use today.

There are some inconsistencies here and there between the surveys of adjacent lots, but with some experience in plotting colonial land surveys Neville's notes can be transcribed with some confidence into a plat showing the relationship of the thirty-one lots. There is no indication, however, as to the position of the manor lines with respect to any fixed position along the Creek.

Locating the Manor on a map became a bit like fitting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. A search at the Virginia State Library revealed the surveys of the twenty-three proprietary lots that were laid out by James Genn along the Creek between the Manor and the Potomac. Several of these lots have been listed in the previous tabulation.

Lot No. 1 is described as follows: "BEGINNING at a white Oak in the Manor Line on the east side of the said Creek and extending thence No. 55 Et Two hundred and eighty Poles to a white Oak red Oak and Hickory on the Top of a Hill thence No 35 Wt. crossing the Creek Two hundred twenty eight Poles to a blac Walnut, thence So 55 W Two hundred eighty Poles to the Manor Line Finally therewith So. 35 Et. Two hundred twenty eight Poles to the Beginning . ." 17

From Lot No. 1 to the Potomac, the lots each have one common boundary with another, so that a continuous plat can be drawn and fitted to a present-day map or maps of the area, with Lot No. 22 bordering on the river. Unnamed but permanent topographical features mentioned in the surveys may be matched against the same on the map to adjust for errors in distance introduced by the simple surveying methods of colonial days. This plat, when fitted to the positions of the Potomac River, Patterson Creek, and Cabin Run, the only three streams identified in the surveys, establishes within reasonable error, the position of Lot No. 1, and of the Manor line.

This boundary came so close to the present-day community of Headsville, in Mineral County, that it seemed desirable to verify if possible whether it was to the north or south of the village. Mr. J. W. Carskadon, who lives there, was of the opinion that the Manor line crossed the Creek just above, that is south of, Headsville.

Genn's and Neville's surveys were reconciled and then placed on the map, contiguous to Lot No. 1, to locate the remaining boundaries of Patterson Creek Manor. Again, by adjusting the plat of the Manor to those identifiable features of the terrain which time cannot alter, errors in distance were corrected. This placed the southwest boundary of the Manor so that it crossed the Creek about six thousand feet above the mouth of Elliber Run, which joins the Creek near Russeldale, and crossed the existing Patterson Creek Road about three and three quarter miles south of Burlington.

Inquiry at Fort Hill Farm, 18 which includes Lot No. 3 of Neville's survey, confirmed the accuracy of that position to within about three hundred feet. In fact, a map of the farm indicated that some of its boundaries coincided with Neville's survey of Lot No. 3.

Of interest to genealogists may be the names of those living within Pattersons Creek Manor at the time of its subdivision by Neville, presumably in 1762. Until that time they had probably paid no rent. Manor land was usually the best land within the Proprietary, and it was almost always reserved by the Proprietor for his own use or to be leased to those who for one reason or another had no permanent interest in the land. The least rent was usually ten shillings per one hundred acres - five times the fee rent for an outright grant in non-manor land.

The following occupants or claimants of land in the Patterson Creek Manor appear in the notes of Neville's survey.


Lot No. Occupied or Claimed by Acres
1 Thomas Douthitt (or Southitt) 162 1/2
2 George Corn 299
3 Solomon Hedges 625
4 Benjamin Rutherford 529
5 Reserved for Lord Fairfax 561
6 Edward Corn and Philip Langly 421
7 Timothy Corn 333
8 Windle Miller 280
9 John Ramsey 278
10 Joseph Barker 295
11 Robert Bell 330
12 Charles Savours and Samuel McMurray 371
13 Nicholas Seavours 292 1/2
14 John Moffitt 296
15 269
16 217
17 John Hared 201
18-31 Not claimed or applied for at the time of the survey
these were the less desirable lots in the rolling country
west of the flood plain.
(For the location of these lots within the Manor see Plat
which accompanies this article)

Various conjectures have been expressed as to Lord Fairfax's reasons for establishing his manors. Additional profit may have been one, but this does not appear to have been the overriding motives. 19 Manors were prevalent in Virginia before the Revolution, but generally they were nothing more than extensive tracts of preferred land acquired by an individual under a colonial patent at an annual fee rent of two shillings per hundred acres. Within these manors, grants or leaseholds could be made at considerable profit - double or triple quitrent for a grant, and even more for a lease.

Prior to his arrival in Virginia in 1735, some of Lord Fairfax's agents had used this right, reserving for themselves immense tracts of good land from which they hoped to profit as the tide of settlement pushed westward. For reasons that are not altogether clear, Lord Fairfax saw fit to follow the example of his agents. Perhaps this was nothing more than a defensive move on the part of the canny Baron in an effort to protect the best land that remained from the grasping hands of those around him.

Most of the manors were deeded or willed by Lord Fairfax to his favorite nephews, Thomas Bryan, Philip, and Denny Martin, as individuals. One, Great Falls Manor, was granted to Bryan Fairfax, a first cousin, once removed, who in 1800 became the 8th Lord Fairfax. Two manors, near the mouth of the Shenandoah, were surveyed in 1736, but were never granted. 20 For that reason they reverted to the Proprietary, and as such became vested in the Commonwealth of Virginia after the Revolutionary War.

Those of most interest here are the Manor of Leeds, Gooney Run Manor, South Branch Manor, and Patterson Creek Manor. These became the subject of intense and protracted litigation in the years following the Revolution, touching in no small way the career of John Marshall, even after his appointment as Chief Justice of the United States.

On August 21, 1767, Lord Fairfax granted outright to Philip Martin his Patterson Creek Manor 21 as recorded in Genn's survey of April 8, 1747. On the same date he conveyed the remaining manors to Thomas Bryan Martin, Philip's brother. With this, the Proprietor disposed of, at least for the time being, all of his manors, Greenway Court having been granted earlier to Thomas Bryan Martin as an outright conveyance. It was at Greenway Court that Lord Fairfax made his home with his nephew. This was also the Proprietary Land Office.

1. Plat drawn from Genn's survey, 1747, and Neville's plat, recorded September 7, 1793.

2. Stream names are as shown on recent maps of the U.S. Geological Survey.

3. On Neville's plat Wild Meadow Run is Hamptons Run: Mill Creek is Ed. Corns Run and Staggs Run is Parkers Mill Run. Other tributaries appear on Neville's plat, many unnamed. However, from the east a Meadow Run joins the Creek within Lot No. 7 from the west, Hoglands Run flows through Lots No. 24, 25, and 7 to join the Creek on the boundary between Lots No. 7 and 8. Across the flood plain the courses of some of these tributaries have changed since Neville's plat was made.

4. Communities are about as shown on maps of the U.S. Geological Survey. From north to south: Headsville, near the mouth of Staggs Run, northeast of Lot No. 13 Burlington, near the mouth of Mill Creek, within Log No. 6 Russeldale, near the mouth of Elliber Run, southeast of Lot No. 3.

With the exception of Greenway Court, the manors granted to Thomas Bryan Martin on August 21, 1767, were later reconveyed to the Proprietor by means of a legal device quite common at the time, known as lease and release. 22 By this means Lord Fairfax established the three manors as a part of his personal estate, within but legally separable from the Proprietary. As his own tenant he could and did devise by will the three manors to another nephew, Denny Martin, brother of Thomas Bryan and Philip Martin. The three were sons of Frances Fairfax Martin, favored sister of the Proprietor.

What was it in 1767 that motivated the Lord Proprietor of the Northern Neck to move toward the final disposition of his manors? By that time the French had been successfully driven from North America there was no threat to British sovereignty from that quarter There had been some dissatisfaction with British performance during the French and Indian War, but the charge could not be made that Lord Fairfax had done less than his part during the struggle.

Were the unravelling bonds of British sovereignty in the colonies becoming apparent to the wary Baron of Cameron? Did he sense the seeds of revolution germinating around him, and seek to protect the manors under his tenant's rights even though, as he must have known, his proprietary rights would be preempted? Or perhaps his preoccupation with the protracted suit of Jost Hite and others over lands in the Shenandoah Valley precipitated his move to protect the best of what remained of his royal grant.

So much for the reasons for the manors and their disposition. What of the land itself and its subsequent history? What of the people who found it, and the people who were there first? The valley Patterson Creek is not unlike those to the east and the New Creek Valley to the west nor are these unlike their counterparts to the south as they unite to form the James. In fact, the two river system are patterned very much alike, as if this were the kind of land of which there must be more than one.

Before any Europeans discovered the fertile flood plain of Patterson Creek, Indians had followed its lazy meanders to or from Cohongorooton, or Potomac, and traced the unusual twin mountain gaps that both link and separate the New Creek and Patterson Creek valleys. Between the creeks stand Knobly and New Creek mountains, guarding the main range of the Alleghenies, sometimes known as Allegheny Mountain or Allegheny Front.

This was all a consequence of the earth's long-ago geological upheaval that created the mountains and valleys runnings generally from southwest to northeast between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies. These ridges and valleys extend from the James River in the south to the Potomac in the north, and in a less defined way to and beyond the Susquehanna.

The main road from Petersburg on the Potomac's South Branch along Lunice Creek and Pattersons Creek follows the route of what was undoubtedly an old Indian road. Along the way the site of an ancient Indian fort was discovered some years ago, and with it the artifacts of tribal life and warfare.

Patterson Creek itself originates on the northern slope of a low divide about one and one-half miles north of Lahmansville, in Grant County. Several small runs combine near the community and are joined by others flowing from the hollows on the western slope on Patterson Creek Mountain. Their courses can be readily visualized between the knobs that characterize this part of the ridge.

Thorn Run, one of several with the same name, joins the Creek below Forman. The Middle Fork joins it at Medley. Both flow from the west, Thorn Run from its beginning in the foothills of Knobly Mountain, and the Middle Fork from a cove between New Creek and Knobly mountains.

The more sizable North Fork rises to the west of New Creek Mountain near the top of Allegheny Front. Passing between two of the Fore Knobs, it is joined by Elklick Run at Scherr, and then continues east through a gap in Walkers Ridge and on through the historic and picturesque Greenland and Falls gaps. Then, veering slightly northward, it joins the Creek about one and one-half miles southwest of Williamsport. See map accompanying this Article.

North of the little community another Thorn Run and several other small streams, some intermittent, flow down from Knobly Mountain to join the Creek. They include Rosser Run and, near the Grant-Mineral County line, Harness Run. Towards the old Manor line, others with family names emerge from the west - Buskirk, Clints, and Pursley then Dry Run and Mikes Run. From the side of Patterson Creek Mountain there is Cave Run, and near the tiny community of Russeldale, Elliber Run flows toward the Creek at what was the Manor line.

Mikes Run is of special interest. Rising about seven miles to the west of Pattersons Creek, on the east side of the saddle in New Creek Mountain, sometimes known as Dolls Gap, the run finds its way through a corresponding gap in Knobly Mountain and then winds through hilly country to the Creek. Near its source, between the two mountain gaps, Joseph Hanks had a cabin in which some historians believe Nancy, his niece 23 and the mother of Abraham Lincoln, was born. The site was marked by a monument in 1933 and more recently a cabin, supposedly typical of the frontier, has been built nearby.

Mill Creek, known locally as Mill Run, joins the Creek at Burlington. It drains an area reaching five miles to the west and is one of the Creek's larger tributaries. Mrs. G. H. Ebert, Sr., a local historian, tells of a number of mills that once operated in the vicinity of the town - a sawmill, flour mills, and woolen mills. At Antioch, about six miles above on Mill Run, a woolen mill operated until well into the twentieth century.

The raising of sheep, once a prominent feature of the Valley economy, has given place to the production of high grade beef. But like every other agricultural community in the Potomac valleys, the pressure of commercial development and land subdivision is as relentless in the Patterson Creek Valley as was the tide of early settlement.

At Headsville, just below the northeast manor line, Staggs Run, joined by another Mikes Run, empties into the Creek from the west together they drain a considerable area. Staggs Run may be the Parkers Mill Run which appears on Neville's plat. Beaver Run joins the Creek just below Headsville. For several miles it runs almost parallel to the Creek along a trough in the mountains within which it is joined by several runs from the west slope of Patterson Creek Mountain.

Below Headsville the Creek meanders along a generally northern course to the village of Reese's Mill. Here it is joined by an unnamed tributary from the west, which according to an old deed was probably once named Johnsons Mill Run. This is the area of Abram Johnson's plantation, where Washington spent his first night on Pattersons Creek on his way to the South Branch. Abram Johnson later conveyed his land to William Reese, and at that time may have moved to the newly established town of Frankfort, where he had acquired a one-quarter acre lot from the Trustees.

A mile or so below Reese's Mill the Creek is joined by Cabin Run, a stream ten miles long with a number of smaller tributaries that form between the knobs of Knobly Mountain to the west.

Below the town of Fort Ashby, Painter Run is the last significant tributary from the east. North of that stream a steep ridge interposes itself along the east bank of the Creek, rising almost from the water's edge and continuing uninterrupted to the Potomac. There it terminates in a high bluff that was once considered by Washington as a site for a defensive fort during the French and Indian War.

On the west, the rolling terrain towards Knobly Mountain is drained by Turners Run, Plum Run, Rocky Run, and some smaller streams. Plum Run now provides a convenient route for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to bypass its much longer right of way along the Potomac through Cumberland. On October 10, 1770, Washington lodged overnight at Wise's Mill on Turners Run. The mill was at the foot of Knobly in Short Gap, on land originally granted to Mary Creamer by Lord Fairfax. Mary was the widow of Oliver Creamer who was killed near there during the French and Indian War. Washington was on his way from his home to visit some of his western lands, including those granted him for his service during the French and Indian War. Along the way he had visited briefly the site of his old fort at Cocke's.

Genn's survey of the Patterson Creek Manor in 1747 was followed in 1748 by surveys of the non-manor lots downstream. This was the occasion of young George Washington's visit to the South Branch by way of Pattersons Creek. Genn's party ascended the Creek to the vicinity of the present village of Williamsport, then turned east across the mountain to the VanMeter settlement at Olds Fields.

1. Modern names and spelling in parentheses. In addition, Wills Creek is now Cumberland (Maryland), Frankfort is now Fort Ashby, and River Styx is now Stony River.

2. Unnamed towns along Patterson Creek from north to south: Burlington, within the Manor Medley and Lahmansville, above (south of) the North Fork. Many geographic names in the Patterson Creek Valley, including that of the Creek itself, are believed to be derived from the name of an individual or family.

3. For details of the Patterson Creek Manor, see plat, supra.

4. Proprietary non-manor lots were numbered from 1 at Headsville along the manor line to 22 at the mouth of the Creek. The numbers were consecutive except for a lot designated X at the mouth of Cabin Run, between the numbered lots 5 and 6. Lot No. 16 was the site of Fort Ashby (Frankfort on the map). The lots generally extended on both sides of the Creek. However, Lots 18-22 bordered on the west side of the Creek.

The Patterson Creek surveys, like those on the South Branch, sometimes were made in confirmation of a claim by an occupant already settled on the land. Generally the claimant had marked out about four hundred acres by blazing trees. Sometimes called tomahawk claims , they were usually respected by their neighbors and recognized by the Crown or the Proprietor unless there was a conflict.

During the years following 1748 more and more settlers arrived. As the land along the Creek was preempted by the earlier arrivals, some found land to suit them along the larger tributaries like Mikes Run and Cabin Run. Some leased a part of their land to less permanent families. There were mortgages, assignments, and conveyances by lease and release, all of which suggests that there was a measure of instability within the pioneer settlements - a restlessness that sent many to the south and west of Pattersons Creek. As a result, others, with the means at their disposal, were able to buy up land in several areas, which they subdivided and sold or leased later.

Until 1754 Indians moved along the streams and across the land, not in large numbers and not with seeming hostility. Rather they seemed to believe that they too had a share in the land and its bounty. These were Shawnee, whose tribes had not been a party to the Treaty of Lancaster, whereby white settlements were permitted as far west as the top of the Alleghenies. 24

The year 1754 marked the commencement of hostilities between the French and the British over the control of the trans-Allegheny country. The French sought to establish a line of fortifications and communication between Canada and Louisiana the English, particularly those with interest in Virginia, wanted no such infringement on their claims. By its earliest charter the colony was to extend west and northwest to the farthest sea.

Patterson Creeks unique chapter in history was made during this struggle. Washington's diaries and letters provide the most authentic source of information on events during these tragic years along the frontier. His entries were sometimes based on reports that he was unable to verify, but he sensed the terror of the settlers and felt the despair of a military man who is helpless to avert the cruelties of war from being inflicted on a civilian population.

By 1754 he had tasted defeat at Fort Necessity and the following year he had witnessed the ignominous [sic] rout of Braddock's force along the Monongahela. That had opened Virginia's northwest frontier to the savage attacks from along the Ohio.

The settlements along Pattersons Creek were particularly vulnerable. Fort Cumberland, at the confluence of Wills Creek and the Potomac, could readily be avoided by the war parties, and by way of the passes and gaps across and through New Creek and Knobly mountains the Indians could range up and down the Valley almost at will.

Although he was only twenty-three, Washington was appointed commander of the Virginia Regiment, which had been organized to defend the frontier. The young colonel planned a line of forts extending from Fort Cumberland, in Maryland, southward to the North Carolina border. 25 The two northernmost forts were along Pattersons Creek, which in his list he designated as Fort at Ashby's and Fort at Cocke's. These he judged to be twenty miles "distance from each other." 26

From Pearsall's fort, near Romney, he wrote to Captain William Cocke, on October 23, 1755: "You are hereby Ordered to remove with your Company from the place where you are now Quartered, to the Plantation of Nicholas Reasmer, in order to . . . protect the inhabitants, by sending out frequent Scouting Parties." 27 On the same day he wrote to his friend, George William Fairfax, "We arrived here today, where I met Captains Cocks and Ashby, whom I have appointed to remain on Pattersons Creek the one at Nicholas Reasmers, the other at Seller's in order to protect the Inhabitants" 28

Three days later, from Fort Cumberland, he worte [sic] to Lieutenant Bacon of the Maryland Independent Company, "You are to proceed to George Parkers Plantation, where you will meet with Captain William Cocks and his Company of Rangers, who are ordered to erect a Work of Defense at the said place." 29 It was to be a quadrangular fort of ninety feet, with bastions. Another fort of the same dimensions was "to be built by Captain Ashby's Company, at the Plantation of Charles Sellers, or the late McCrackin . . ." whichever was judged to be the most convenient.

Later on, he wrote to Governor Dinwiddie of a small fort "which we have built at the mouth of Patterson's Creek, containing an officer and thirty men guarding stores. This had been attacked "smartly by French and Indians . . . and were warmly received, upon which they retired." 30 This small fort has been called Fort Sellars by some writers more likely Fort Sellars is an earlier name for the Fort at Ashby's. Nor was the small fort the one Washington referred to earlier as the fort on "the Hill at the mouth of Patterson's Creek."

Beyond this display of optimism in his report to the Govenor [sic], the young Commander was well aware of the plight of the settlers he was supposed to protect. On his way from Pearsall's (Romney) to Fort Cumberland, on October 24 or 25, he had seen the terrible consequences of an Indian raid. Beyond the cruel treatment of individuals, he sensed the havoc of war in its effect on the land. Farms were deserted, houses burned, fields overrun, livestock wandering about, and the harvest was being neglected. He assigned soldiers to guard those remaining farmers who were willing to go out and tend their fields and livestock. 31 With it all he was acutely conscious of the inadequacy of his own military forces.

By spring, 1756, the enemy had almost overrun the valleys to the west of North Mountain the frontier was abandoned and its forts evacuated or isolated. From his fort on Pattersons Creek, Captain Ashby reported that Indians had demanded the surrender of the stockade, but that he had parleyed with them and they had departed without firing a gun. Later the same day these Indians attacked the fort at the mouth of the Creek.

As the summer drew on, Washington's frustration mounted. Intransigence on the part of the civil government, recruiting and disciplinary problems, deficiencies in supplies and ammunition, all contributed to the lack of protection he was able to provide for the inhabitants that remained. Their lowland farms and settlements were the fabric of that pioneer society, but in the years following Braddock's defeat they were in the midst of a land that was stricken by terror, tragedy, and desolation.

The isolation that had been, and to some extent still is, the splendor of the upper Potomac valleys, now became a part of their tragedy. By the spring of 1757 the two garrisons on Patterson Creek were withdrawn to the South Branch. Thereafter there was little in Washington's writings to indicate that he was even aware of the situation along the Creek. All he could do was hope that the settlers had escaped to the east.

Washington was disappointed, disillusioned, and discouraged but it was on that same forntier [sic] that the steel in his character was being tempered. Twenty years later it may have been the memory of this experience as much as the Stamp Act that led him and the frontiersmen to support the Revolution without them it would not have been won.

By 1758 pressure was mounting on the French lines of communication between Canada and the Ohio Valley, and a new British commander was pushing his way through western Pennsylvania to drive them out of Fort DuQuesne. With him was Washington. 32 Although the British were ultimately successful, the Indian tribes along the Ohio were never reconciled to the outcome. Their raids continued long after the French withdrew, but the incursions were more isolated and less frequent. Beginning with the year 1760 Hampshire County was recovering from abandonment and desolation.

Not all who left returned, and not all who remained lived to see the restoration of their county. E. L. Judy in his History of Grant and Hardy Counties lists fifty or so names of settlers killed in what was then Hampshire County. 33 In addition, there were more than thirty wounded or taken prisoner. From this and other sources it is possible to identify perhaps seven of these casualties as having occurred along Pattersons Creek, but Washington's writings lead to the melancholy conclusion that there were more.

Charles Keller (or Sellars), killed near Fort Ashby
Oliver Kremer, killed near Short Gap
Charles McCarty, killed near Fort Cocke
Wendle Miller, killed near Fort Cocke
Vincent Williams, killed near Williamsport
Two girls, surnames Flaugherty and Williams, taken prisoner later returned

Distressing as these events must have been, the cataloging of them does not reflect the disruption that the Indians inflected on the political and economic life of the County. Deeds recorded for the first eight years of Hampshire County's existence, including sales, leases, mortgages, bonds, etc., are as tabulated below:

1754 - 2 1756 - 0 1758 - 2 1760 -11
1755 - 3 1757 - 1 1759 - 1 1761 - 36

The numbers suggest the degree to which the frontier was demoralized during the worst years of the War.

Following the return to more stable conditions in 1761, Lord Fairfax ordered Joseph Neville to lay off his Patterson Creek Manor into lots. There may have been changes in occupancy as a result of the War, and the Proprietor may have felt that this was the time to establish the Manor on an orderly basis and to assert his rights and those of his tenants.

Probably the next year Neville, with John Moffett's assistance, completed the survey, subdividing the manor into thirty-one lots. The most desirable land bordering the Creek was found to be occupied, and to his notes for each of these lots Neville added claimed by (or occupied by) . . . . Solomon Hedges was still living at the place where he had provided Genn's surveyors with the crude hospitality of the frontier when they passed through in 1748. Later Hedges gave up his claim to Lot No. 3 and moved across the mountain to New Creek. A list of the lots in Patterson Creek Manor as surveyed and recorded by Neville, with their claimants and acreage, has been previously provided.

By the time of the Neville survey some sort of frontier society had evolved out of the primitive existence of those who were the first to arrive. Itinerant preachers were visiting the South Branch and Patterson Creek valleys in the 1740s Presbyterian first, and the Moravians a few years later. Classes, or congregations, of the established German speaking churches began to appear about 1767. Methodist and Baptist influence commenced about ten years later and to minister to the unchurched German people, the Methodist bishop, Francis Asbury, induced the United Brethren Church to send some of its itinerants to the frontier valleys.

Although early economic development was slow, a few mills began to appear. Neville's plat of Pattersons Creek Manor shows the name of a stream as Parkers Mill Run, and in an early deed there is a reference to Johnson's Mill Run. The mill sites probably provided the nucleus for the small communities that today go by the names of Williamsport, Antioch, Burlington, Headsville, Reese's Mill, and others.

Maize was well suited to the agricultural economy. Most of the tenants held between three hundred and four hundred acres, but not all of it was cultivated. The raising of livestock, mostly cattle and hogs, was an important part of the family economy. Corn was used to supplement the natural grass for feeding cattle, and hogs were often allowed to run loose in the hollows away from the flood plain. In some cases cattle were driven to the Allegheny plateau for summering, or summer grazing.

The hillsides and climate were suitable for orchards, and from the maples, planted by nature, a bountiful table and trade crop could be harvested in the form of syrup. Life for the pioneer families, if not an easy one, was sufficient to meet its material needs and the freedom and openness of the land more than satisfied the spiritual yearnings of these people who were mostly the children of persecution.

For reasons previously examined, Lord Fairfax conveyed Patterson Creek Manor to his nephew, Philip Martin, on August 21, 1767. At that time, or soon thereafter. Lot No. 4 had been leased to Benjamin Rutherford at the rate of twenty shillings per hundred acres. With the granting of the manor to Philip Martin, he then became 'lord of the manor' although his uncle retained his proprietary rights therein. Rutherford's lease rent for 529 acres was slightly more than one-half the fee rent Martin paid to his uncle, on paper at least, for the entire manor of ten thousand acres.

Philip Martin, a British Army officer, was an absentee landlord who had probably never seen the manor. To handle his Virginia interests he appointed his brother, Thomas Bryan Martin, attorney- in-fact. This power of attorney was recorded on June 9, 1768, 34 thus making Thomas Bryan Martin agent for both Lord Fairfax and Philip Martin. The following leases by or for Philip Martin are recorded in the Hampshire County Deed books:


Lessee Original Claimant
or Applicant
Acres Lot No.
Benjamin Rutherford Benjamin Rutherford 529 4
Robert Bell Robert Bell 330 11
Richard Boyce Solomon Hedges 625 3
Andrew Corn Timothy Corn 333 7
John Douthitt Thomas Douthitt 162 1/2 1
John Gilmore Edward Corn and Philip Langly 421 6
Peter Heaw Charles Savours and Samuel McMurray 371 12
George Miller Windle Miller 280 8
John Parker Joseph Barker (Parker) 295 10
John Ramsey John Ramsey 278 9
William Vause George Corn 299 2
Thomas Cooper Nicholas Seavours 292 1/2 13
Simon Doyle Not claimed 217 16
Michael Vanbuskird Not claimed 206 18

1. Prior to 1770 Solomon Hedges must have conveyed his claim or rights to Lot No. 3 to Richard Boyce. Thereafter Solomon Hedges' name appears in connection with land on New Creek.

2. In 1769 Rutherford transferred his lease to Richard Boyce. Presumably after confirming his lease rights with Philip Martin in 1771, Boyce conveyed his leasehold on Lot No. 4 to William Vandiver.

4. [sic] Like Solomon Hedges, Edward Corn, Philip Langly, George Corn, Samuel McMurray, and Charles and Nicholas Seavours (Savours) must have given up their claims to the land they occupied.

4. Andrew Corn, John Douthitt, George Miller, and John Ramsey probably inherited their claims under British law and satisfied their right to lease the land their families occupied. Windle (or Wendle) Miller was killed by Indians during the French and Indian War.

5. Lots No. 16 and 18 were leased during the Revolutionary War while the owner, Captain Philip Martin, was stationed in Newfoundland as an officer in the British Army. His alien status resulted in much litigation after the War.

6. In 1774 John Douthitt conveyed his rights to John Koon, who ten years later conveyed them to William Vause. There seems to have been some unrecorded transactions between members of the Corn family, and amongst the Corns, Douthitts, and William Vause. Some may have been the result of marriages between the families.

7. Lot No. 7 was conveyed by William Corn to Andrew Corn in 1787. Again there must have been some unrecorded transactions between 1771 and 1787. Also there may have been more than one Andrew Corn.

8. John Parker conveyed 295 acres, Lot No. 10, to William Johnson in 1772.

The terms and conditions of these leases are of interest, for they not only portray some remnants of a feudal system of land tenure that had been adapted to North America during colonization, but they reflect something of the nature of frontier life in western Virginia prior to the Revolution.

Like most colonial leases, those for land in Pattersons Creek Manor were to continue for three lives, usually that of the lessee, his wife, and a child or grandchild, whoever lived the longest. The rent was usually twenty shillings in sterling money of Great Britain per one hundred acres, although the two granted in 1778 were for a flat sum of Five Pounds in Virginia currency. The rent was payable on Lady Day, sometimes called Annunciation Day, March 25, which was one of the four English quarter days.

The occupant of the land also agreed to erect and build "with all expedition" a dwelling of at least twenty by sixteen feet, with a stone or brick chimney, to plant and raise one hundred apple trees, and not to "waste, dispose, or destroy any timber growing" other than for his own use.

By the time the leaseholders in Patterson Creek Manor were established, economic woes and political grievances caused much unrest amongst the planters of eastern Virginia, as well as considerable debate in the House of Burgesses, of which Washington had become a member.

In the valleys beyond the Blue Ridge, the peace-loving Germans and the imperturbable Scots were not inclined to share in the tumult. They or their parents had experienced political conflict before, and in their quiet valleys they had sought and found refuge for themselves and their children. To the Scots the quarrel was essentially English, and Scots were British but not English.

With the coming of the Revolution there were renewed fears of Indian attacks on the frontier settlements - this time British-inspired. But the Ohio tribes needed no British inspiration. They loved the British little they hated the Americans more. However, the exploits of George Rogers Clark west of the Ohio River eliminated the threat of either British or Indian attack from that direction.

At the close of the War the population of Hampshire County, within its original boundaries, was probably about 12,800 35 The number of families listed in the 1782 census was approximately 1960, or more than six persons per family. E. L. Judy, op-cit, lists about 300 families who in some way contributed substantially to the winning of the war, either by providing men for the Army or material for its support. The ratio of direct participation would be better than one family in seven: rather commendable for a region that has sometimes been considered as having lacked enthusiasm for the Revolutionary cause.

The Hampshire County Court records of 1786-87 reveal that Certificates were awarded to John Casey and Robert Williams, entitling them to Twelve Pounds and Fifteen Pounds a year, respectively, having been "disabled while in the service of the United States." Also, Jemima Howell, widow of George Howell, was granted Ten Pounds each year, he being listed as a private in the army who "died in the service of the United States." Likewise, Mary Lyon was granted Eighteen Pounds yearly, she being "the relict of William Lyon," who as a private in the 7th Virginia Regiment, was "killed in the service of the Continent."

Other veterans returned unharmed to continue life in the tranquil valleys where their parents and grandparents had laid claim to a bit of America - now the United States of America. Today a few marked graves remind us that they too shared in that struggle for freedom two hundred years ago, but for the most part their graves have been forgotten or lost in the tide of civilization.

Not all who returned remained. Some moved on to find ungranted land elsewhere or to exercise their warrants to bounty land along the Ohio, and some may have become part of the westward expansionist movement into lands beyond the Ohio.

On the other hand, veterans from other places found their way into the valleys and did remain. Amongst them were some from the armies of the King - deserters, and escaped or released prisoners of war who had no desire to return to Europe. Of these, the Hessians were the most literate, and though some of them spoke little English they made splendid teachers for the children of the German-speaking families. In time they and their descendants became a part of the rich and proud heritage of the backcountry.

The year 1781 was a significant one for all Americans, and in a special way to tenants of Fairfax land. On October 19, a sullen Earl Cornwallis surrendered his army at Yorktown, and the English cause was virtually lost and on December 9, the canny, inscrutable Baron of Cameron, Thomas 6th Lord Fairfax, died, leaving the vast Northern Neck grant in jeopardy and most of its manors in limbo. Of Lord Fairfax, Washington wrote from his headquarters at Newburg: "altho' the good old Lord had lived to an advanced age, I feel a concern at his death." 36

This friendship for Washington and other prominent Virginians served the old Proprietor well during the closing years of his life. Not only so: he was well liked by the ordinary people around him. Despite a crusty exterior, his decency and understanding brought him more closely into their lives than might have been expected of a baron of the realm.

With his death, however, the Northern Neck Proprietary passed into alien hands. A five-sixth undivided share went to Robert, the new and 7th Lord Fairfax, of Leeds Castle, England. The remaining one-sixth share, the manors, and other lands held by the 6th Lord as his own tenant at the time of his death passed by will to the Reverend Denny Martin, a nephew, and also a British subject. 37

The manors included the Manor of Leeds, Gooney Run Manor, and the Manor on the Wappacomo, or Great South Branch. Two other manors had been conveyed by grant to Denny's brothers during their uncle's lifetime. Greenway Court Manor, in the Shenandoah Valley, had been given to Thomas Bryan Martin, who served as his uncle's land agent and made a home for him there. 38 Patterson Creek Manor had been granted to Philip Martin in 1767.

In 1779 the Commonwealth General Assembly had passed an Act whereby all Virginia property belonging to British subjects became vested in the Commonwealth. This had not been applied to Lord Fairfax, even though it was known that he had not taken the oath of allegiance. Perhaps there were some political reasons in addition to those that have been suggested. Or did a sense of decency prevail despite the bitterness of war?

Whatever the reasons, they no longer existed after his death. Robert Fairfax, and Denny and Philip Martin were all subjects of the King Virginians had renounced. In 1782, the same year that George III acknowledged that the American colonies were free and independent states, Virginia made the Act of 1779 effective by sequestering all Northern Neck quitrents. Thus, with the exception of the continuing litigation between the Fairfax heirs and those of Jost Hite and Robert McKay, the Northern Neck, or Fairfax, Proprietary passed into history.

The manors, however, were grants within the Proprietary, held by individuals as unto the late Proprietor just as any other grant was held by an individual. Thomas Bryan Martin's title to Greenway Court Manor was unimpaired by either of the acts. He had been a resident of Virginia for more than thirty years he had served as County Lieutenant for Hampshire County during the trying days of the French and Indian War, and he had been a member of the House of Burgesses from Hampshire County and from Frederick County.

The English heirs possessed no such distinctions they were British subjects, and as such their property had by law become vested in the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, negotiations towards the treaty of peace offered them some encouragement.

Following confirmation of the Treaty of Paris by the Virginia General Assembly in 1784, Denny Martin Fairfax came to Virginia to salvage what he could for the English branch of the Fairfax- Martin family. The terms of the treaty included a provision whereby Congress would earnestly recommend to the States the restitution of Loyalist property.

When Denny Fairfax arrived an old suit against Lord Fairfax was being appealed by the heirs of Jost Hite. Denny and his uncle Robert, the 7th Lord Fairfax, were the defendants. Although capably represented by their attorney, John Baker, their defense was unsuccessful Not only so the appeal had raised questions about the validity of the entire Fairfax title to the Northern Neck.

Denny then engaged John Marshall, a promising young lawyer, who, acting as counsel for all the Northern Neck tenants, argued successfully that if the Northern Neck title was invalid, the original Hite vs. Fairfax suit should have been filed against the Crown and that by filing it against Lord Fairfax, instead of the Crown, the complainants admitted to the validity of the title.

Marshall, not then thirty, was no stranger to the Fairfax estate. He grew up in The Hollow , 39 within the Proprietary, in Fauquier County under the shadow of the Blue Ridge. His father, Thomas Marshall, had often served as an assistant surveyor under Washington for the former Proprietor. 40

Under the assumption that the Fairfax-Martin rights had been extinguished by the Acts of 1779 and 1782, many individuals had been claiming and obtaining Commonwealth patents to ungranted Fairfax land in return for the payment of delinquent taxes. At least twenty such patents were issued for land in the vicinity of Pattersons Creek, including one to Daniel Pugh for 9400 acres consisting of all or most of "that tract of Land formerly known by the name of Phillip Martins Manner." 41

On the advice of John Marshall, Denny Martin asserted title to both the ungranted proprietary lands and to the manors. Caveats were filed against all patents issued by the Virginia government within the Northern Neck domain. 42 This touched off litigation that was to have a long-lasting and far-reaching effect. The result was not only significant to the Fairfax heirs and to John Marshall himself, but beyond that, to the entire judicial system of the United States.

The dual claim filed by Denny Martin made it possible for Virginia to compromise by granting the one and denying the other. At the same time it was generally understood that if the claims to the manors was sustained, they would be conveyed by the Fairfax-Martin interests to an American syndicate, and thus pass out of alien hands. The syndicate was to consist of John Marshall, his brother, James Markham Marshall, and a brother-in-law, Rawleigh Colston. This curious arrangement made it possible for John Marshall to give the General Assembly certain assurances, which undoubtedly facilitated a favorable settlement.

It was in this setting that a compromise agreement was reached. By an act of the General Assembly it was confirmed on December 10, 1796. 43 The agreement provided for the execution of deeds by Denny conveying the ungranted lands to the Commonwealth in return for which the Martin brothers were confirmed in their titles to the manor lands.

In accordance with their arrangements with the Marshall syndicate, Denny Martin conveyed the South Branch Manor and an additional 4,356 acres in small tracts to James Markham Marshall on August 30, 1797. In the meantime, Thomas Bryan Martin, serving as Major-General Philip Martin's attorney, had conveyed the Patterson Creek Manor to Rawleigh Colston for the sum of "2000 Pounds, sterling, in Great Britain money." 44 This was upheld in a Superior Court held in Frederick County for the district comprising Frederick, Berkeley, Hampshire, Hardy, and Shenandoah counties on September 5, 1793. A year later a similar deed was executed by Philip Martin and sworn to before the Lord Mayor of London.

Finally, a Commonwealth grant was issued to Colston on October 4, 1803, for 9314 acres, being that ". . . contained within the bounds of a tract Said to contain ten thousand acres which was formerly granted by the late proprietor of the northern neck to Philip Martin. . ." on August 21, 1767. 45

But titles to tracts of previously ungranted non-manor land continued in litigation for years afterwards. One of these cases eventually reached the Supreme Court of the United States, where by that time John Marshall had become Chief Justice of the United States.

Because of his earlier association with the case and the land in question, Marshall disqualified himself, even though the larger question had to do with the appelate [sic] jurisdiction of the federal judiciary over state courts. Even without him on the bench the Court ruled in such a way that the superiority of the federal courts was firmly established. This was Marshall's own view, a view which the Court consistently upheld until the whole process of judicial review applied to federal and state law, with the Supreme Court as the ultimate legal authority under the Constitution of the United States.

However, while the political philosophies of the Country were being hammered out and the final settlement of Charles II's generosity being settled, life in the valley provinces was progressing in a manner that best suited the inhabitants. Slaves had never been important to the economy of the backcountry. In 1782, in Hampshire County, there were 454 slaves out of a total population of 7346, while for the State as a whole there were 293 thousand slaves and a total population of 748 thousand. 46 The disparity, of course, was enormous.

More than the economy was responsible for the difference. The settlers beyond the mountains knew something of intolerance and servitude, either firsthand or through their parents or grandparents, and their moral and religious scruples did not encourage passing it on to others. The record of deeds, leases, and mortgages for Hampshire County up to the year 1800 includes thirty-two transitions involving slaves of these, twelve were deeds of certificates granting freedom.

In 1784, less than a year after his resignation as Commander in Chief of the Army, Washington undertook a familiar journey. 47 Although his writings give no indication of his inner feelings, he must have been reminded of his first experience with the frontier in 1748. To what extent was he stirred by the memories of his campaigns against the French and Indians - the French who had helped him bottle up Cornwallis at Yorktown?

His new mission was twofold. He wanted to visit some of his western land holdings and had agreed to Governor Jefferson's request to investigate the feasibility of joining the waters of the upper Potomac with some corresponding and suitable tributary of the Ohio.

Following well remembered routes by way of Bath (Berkeley Springs), Cresaps (Oldtown), Fort Cumberland, and Braddock's Road, he reached the plantation of Thomas Gist on September 11. From that place his journey westward was disappointing. Along Miller's Run, now in western Pennsylvania, he found several families occupying land on which he held a patent. From an officer of the garrison at Fort Pitt he learned that Indian disquiet along the Kanawha made it inadvisable for him to visit his 10,990 acres there.

Returning to Gist's, he set out from that place on September 23 to find a route that might be useful in joining the waters of the Ohio with those of the Potomac. Reaching the Cheat at Ice's Ferry on the 25th, he proceeded to cross the Alleghenies generally by the route of the McCullough Trader's path. Across Coopers Mountain to James Spurgeons (Bruceton Mills), then to the headwaters of the Youghiogheny and the Potomac's North Branch, the route took him to Thomas Logston's about five miles west of the present community of Mt. Storm. Leaving Logston's on the 27th he travelled to the headwaters of New Creek and Pattersons Creek, then across Patterson Creek Mountain to the familiarity and comfort of Fort Pleasant at Oldfields. At the top of the mountain he dined at Snails (Snales or Snells). The journey from Ice's Ferry to Colonel Hites at Fort Pleasant was an arduous one for the fifty-two year old General and worse still the weather at times was abominable. One night he had to sleep in the rain.

At least one writer has suggested that his route from Logston's to the Patterson Creek Valley was by way of Dolls Gap and Mike's Run, where he might have stopped at the cabin of Joseph Hanks. For a number of reasons, based on his diary entries, this is hardly likely and the courthouse records would suggest that the Hanks family had left the cabin on Mike's Run sometime prior to Washington's journey. His more likely route was by way of the North Fork of Patterson Creek, through Greenland Gap to the falls and on to the Creek.

Had Washington had the time or the inclination to continue northward along the Creek, instead of turning east toward Fort Pleasant, he would have observed something far different than the scene of abandonment and desolation he witnessed during the French and Indian War. Solomon Hedges was gone, but numerous pleasant farms had grown up along the flood plain.

Where the trail westward from Pearsall's (Romney) crossed the Creek, he might have seen a mill and the beginnings of the village of Burlington. There were undoubtedly mills at other places where the tributary streams emerged from the hillsides to enter the Creek's flood plain.

Around Washington's fort at Ashby's John Keller was laying off lots, mostly one-quarter acre, in "new Frankford town . . . on Patterson Creek." Keller, who is described as the "son and heir-at-law of Charles Keller," received a grant of 300 acres, Patterson Creek Lot No. 16, from Lord Fairfax on June 1, 1779. 48

This was the same lot that had been surveyed by James Genn in November, 1748, for Charles Keller. Keller had been killed by Indians in the vicinity of the fort, and according to the deed issued to his son the lot had been forfeited by him, but "on Application of . . . John Keller" Lord Fairfax allowed "a deed to issue for him for the said Land which is bounded by the Survey aforesaid. . . ."

It will be remembered that in 1755 Washington had ordered that a fort be built "at Ashby's. . . at the Plantation of Charles Sellars, or the late McCrackins" whichever was judged "the most convenient situation." Washington's spelling, particularly in his early writings, was neither careful nor consistent. He may have spelled Keller with a C when he wrote the order. Somewhere in the transcription of his writing the C became an S, and so Keller became Celler, then Sellers.

In any event, new Frankford town was the name of a small community developing around the old fort by 1784. A year later a petition from the citizens to the General Assembly resulted in the creation of the town of Frankfort on land of John Sellers. The trustees mentioned in the petition were Hiram Alkire, Jacob Marker, Jesse Rice, James Dowden, Daniel Stocksleger, William and James H. Johnson.

In 1789 the trustees, as recorded in the Hampshire County Court, were John Ettitchel, John Reed, Lewis Dunn, Jacob Brookhart, and John Williams. Immediately, they proceeded to sell lots in the town until by 1800 they had conveyed more than fifteen acres in forty-eight lots. Independently, John Keller had sold thirty-five lots comprising forty-four acres. A list of the purchasers may be found in Early Records - Hampshire County, Virginia by Sage and Jones. 49

When post offices were established the name Frankfort was changed to Alaska to avoid confusion with Franklin in Pendleton County. Still later, the present name, Fort Ashby, was adopted, although the post office continued to be Alaska for some time thereafter.

Amongst many of the settlers who now lived along the two streams that had been so much a part of Washington's youthful experience, the two decades following the Revolution were a time of uncertainty and adjustment. The manors had new landlords, who were seemingly more exacting than the Fairfax-Martin agents had been. Occupants of previously ungranted land had to establish their claims to a valid title or patent through a State-designated escheater. 50 There was much activity. Abraham Johnson was still busy buying and selling land along the Creek and in the town of Frankfort as late as 1797. He had been Washington's host in 1748 in 1797 Washington had just completed his last term as President of the United States.

Out of his experiences as frontier Commander, Commander in Chief of the Revolutionary Army, and President of the United States, George Washington had grown from a provincial, tidewater Virginian to a compelling and articulate advocate for an effective national government. He had urged Virginia to relinquish any legitimate claims it might have to territory beyond the Ohio River. He foresaw the problems of communication and transportation that would exist between eastern and western Virginia. Soon they would become manifest, and during the next half century, they would result in the sectionalism that eventually tore the State asunder.

When it did, the valleys that had borne the brunt of the French and Indian War would once again be caught in the crossfire of man's readiness to resort to conflict. 51

1. Hamill Kenny, West Virginia Place Names (Piedmont, 1945), 475.

2. Order in Council, April 11, 1745, "determining the Bounds of the Ld Fairfax's Lands in Virginia . . . . ," Document CO5/1326, 293 ff., Public Records Office, Landon also Douglas S. Freeman, George Washington, Vol. I (6 vols., New York, 1948), 520ff.

3. Charles Morrison, "Early Fairfax Land Grants and Leases Along the South Branch of the Potomac," West Virginia History, 38 (1976), 2.

4. Northern Neck Grants, O, 74, at the Virginia State Library.

5. Ibid. (1 pole = 16 1/2 feet 320 poles = 1 mile).

6. Neville's Survey as "Recorded at a Superior Court . . . at the Courthouse . . . of Hardy County the 7th day of September, 1793," Deed Book A, 136ff.

7. George Washington, "Journey Over The Mountain," The Writings of George Washington, Vol. I., ed., John C. Fitzpatrick (Washington, 1931), 5f.

10. Stuart E. Brown, Jr., Virginia Baron (Berryville, 1965), 73.

11. Washingon, Writings, Vol. 1, 223.

12. Edgar B. Sims, Land Grants in West Virginia (Charleston, 1952).

13. Also Battesons and Batteson's. William J. Hinke and Charles E. Kemper, ed., "Moravian Diaries of Travels Through Virginia," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1904, XI, 225f.

14. Killed during French and Indian War.

15. Hinke and Kemper, op. cit., XI, 115ff., 224ff., 370ff. XII, 55ff., 134ff., 271ff.

16. Neville's Survey, loc. cit. Several of the lots surveyed by Neville were leased as early as May, 1771. This supports the conclusion that the date of the survey was 1762, not 1772.

17. Northern Neck Grants, G, 137, loc. cit.

18. Mr. and Mrs Clyde Bonar, owners they and other members of the family provided added items of interest concerning the probably site of Solomon Hedges' cabin and the subsequent history oft he surrounding area.

19. Other possible reasons were discussed by the Author in "The Swan Ponds Manor of Thomas Sixth Lord Fairfax," West Virginia History, 1973, XXXV, 26ff.

20. Shannondale, 29,170 acres and Piedmont, or Short Hill, 17,296 acres. Northern Neck Grants E, 20a, 21a, 22a, 23a, 42, 43, loc. cit.

21. Northern Neck Grants, O, 74, loc. cit.

22. Lease and Release. A method of conveyance by means of a bargain and sale for a leasehold interest, usually for one year, with a subsequent release, sometimes the next day, vesting the leasehold as a heritable estate in the lessee. The lease conveyed use, the release converted use into possession. A now nearly obsolete means of conveying a land title, originally used in England and the colonies, where titles were not always perfect.

23. Lineage not clear. William E. Barton, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. I (2 volumes, Indianapolis, 1925), 51f. Albert J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, Vol. I (2 volumes, Boston, 1928), 16n. John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 1 (9 volumes, New York, 1890), 24.

24. Otis K. Rice, The Allegheny Frontier (University of Kentucky, 1970), 36 Charles Morrison, Wappatomaka (Parsons, 1971), 126.

25. Louis K. Koontz, The Virginia Frontier, 1754-1763 (The Johns Hopkins Press, 1925), passim Morrison, Wappatomaka, 112f.

26. Actually not more than thirteen miles. The Fort at Cocke's is not to be confused with Fort Cox at the mouth of the Little Cacapon.

27. Washington, Writings I, 221.

31. Douglas S. Freeman, George Washington, Vol. II (6 volumes, New York, 1948), 132.

32. Freeman, op. cit., II, 307.

33. E. L. Judy, History of Grant and Hardy Counties (Charleston, 1951), 205f.

34. Hampshire County Deeds, Book 2, 159, 234 ff.

35. Estimated from figures in Virginia Census-1790 (Washington, 1908), reprinted Genealogical Publishing Co. (Baltimore, 1976).

36. Letter, "To Bryan Fairfax," Washington, Writings, XXIV, 150.

37. Lord Fairfax's will in Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, XXXIV, 45 Frederick County Will Book 4, 583.

38. Northern Neck Grants, H, 179ff., loc. cit. The rent was a good Buck and a Doe over and above the accustomed Rent.

39. Albert J. Beveridge, The Life of John Marshall, Vol. I (4 volumes, New York and Boston, 1916), 35f.

41. Virginia Land Office Grants, W, 99f., at the Virginia State Library. A Commonwealth grant, signed by James Wood, Lieutenant Governor, on July 21, 1792, on the basis of warrants issued on October 2, 1781. The survey coincides only generally with the earlier surveys of the Manor by Genn and Neville, and it may have excluded John Douthitt's Lot No. 1 and parts of Lots No. 14 and 15. Of interest, however, is a reference to Coosicks Run (now know as Mikes Run) near Headsville, to a State road (now abandoned, but once a part of the road from Headsville to Fountain), to Goods Mill Run (probaby [sic] Mill Run), and to a road between Goods Mill and Romney (now U.S. Route 50, the Northwestern Turnpike).

42. This would have had the effect of staying the grants of Fairfax-Martin lands made by the Commonwealth to Daniel Pugh and others.

43. This invalidated the grant made to Daniel Pugh on July 21, 1792, and confirmed the Patterson Creek Manor to Philip Martin.

44. Frederick County Deed Book, SC2, 79.

45. Virginia Land Office Grants, Z, 604ff., at the Virginia State Library. A Commonwealth grant, signed by John Page, Governor, on October 4, 1803, "pursuant to an order of the worshipful court of Hampshire County. . . ." The grant, which was for 9314 acres, is described by a survey of much more accuracy than that made for Daniel Pugh. Reference is made to Landis Spring Run and Plumbs Run (both probably intermittent and not discernible on modern maps) Goods Mill Run has been simplified to Mill Run, a designation that persists locally, although on most maps it appears as Mill Creek.

46. Virginia Census-1790, op. cit., 9.

47. George Washington, The Diaries of George Washington, Vol. II, ed., John C. Fitzpatrick (4 volumes, New York and Boston, for The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association), 279ff.

48. Virginia Land Office Grants, R, 217, loc. cit.

49. Clara McCormack Sage and Laura Sage Jones, Early Records Hampshire County (Delavan, Wis., 1939 reprinted Baltimore, 1969), 20f., 30f.

50. Letter, Isaac Vanmeter to the Hon. Ed. Randolph, November 28, 1786, in Calender of State Papers, Vol. IV, 185f.

Map of the Upper Potomac - History

There have been many names for the Potomac River. In our country’s history, it’s been called the lifeblood of the capital city. George Washington—who grew up and later planned his namesake city on its banks—called it the “Nation’s River.” [1] Almost two centuries later, Lyndon B. Johnson called its badly-polluted waters “the national disgrace.” [2] Nowadays, to most Washingtonians, it’s probably just “the river.”

But all nicknames and epithets aside, the Potomac actually has a complicated naming history. Though the name is of American Indian origin, historians can’t really agree on its exact meaning. It’s been called a lot of different names, depending on who you talked to. And, until 1931, most people weren’t even sure how to spell it.

The river’s name first entered English through Captain John Smith, the Jamestown settler and explorer. His book A Map of Virginia, with a Description of the Country, the Commodities, People, Government and Religion, published in 1612, gives us our first glimpse of the Potomac in recorded history:

“The fourth river is called Patawomeke and is 6 or 7 miles in breadth. It is navigable 140 miles, and fed as the rest with many sweet rivers and springs, which fall from the bordering hills. These hills…are planted, and yield no less plenty and variety of fruit that the river exceedeth with abundance of fish.” [3]

Detail of Captain John Smith's 1612 map of Virginia, published in his book A Map of Virginia. The "Patawomeck" River is clearly labeled here, as well as the names of the native tribes who lived on its banks. Source: Library of Congress

The river derives its name from an American Indian village on its southern bank, the home of the Patawomeke people. [4] They were a sometimes-ally of the larger Powhatan Confederacy, which controlled most of the territory in the region. Following the founding of Jamestown, the Patawomeke began a mostly friendly relationship with the English settlers—even allying with them against the Powhatan in the First Anglo-Powhatan War of 1612. But as more settlers colonized the area, the tribe lost much of their land and resources. Today, their descendants—the Patawomeck, one of Virginia’s recognized Native American tribes—still live close to the original village in Stafford County. [5]

The meaning of the name “Patawomeke” isn’t known for sure. The tribe spoke a now-lost Algonquin language, like most American Indians of the Tidewater region, so the exact English translation was never recorded. But based on oral tradition, local legend, and knowledge of other regional languages, historians have presented several possibilities. [6] One is “they who come by water,” referring to the tribe’s proximity to the river. “Patawomeke” could also mean “river of burning pine,” “river of swans,” or “river of traveling traders.” But it’s further confused by the fact that the river had several different names with several different meanings, depending on language, tribal jurisdiction, location, and geographical features. The upper part of the river, for example, was known as “Cohongarooton,” or “honking geese.” [7]

Even as European settlers overtook and displaced the native Patawomeke, the river continued to carry many names. For the most part, the original name stuck—sort of. Over many years of Anglicization, the original spelling and pronunciation changed. Somewhere along the way, two syllables were dropped completely. And most writers just spelled the name phonetically, not caring about continuity at all. In a letter from 1784, Thomas Jefferson uses two different spellings on the same page: “Patomac” and “Patowmac.” [8]

In 1930, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names officially regulated the river's name to "Potomac." This is the decision card submitted by the Chairman, which explains the decision and includes the new spelling and pronunciation. Source: Board on Geographic Names

Luckily, our country has a Board on Geographic Names. Formed in 1890, its purpose is to “establish and maintain” the uniform usage of place names, just to avoid any confusion. [9] In 1930, when they finally turned their attention to the Nation’s River, the Board collected nearly ninety-five variant names still in use at the time—versions of traditional American Indian names like “Cohongaroota River,” colloquial nicknames like “Turkey Buzzard River,” and even local family claims like “Elizabeth River.” [10] They also listed dozens of potential spellings of the river’s original name: “Patowomek,” “Potomach,” “Pittomack,” “Pottomeek,” and even “Betomek.” [11] You can read the entire list here.

But, as we know, the Board chose the name, spelling, and pronunciation they felt was most commonly used by locals: “Potomac.” A long way from the original, but still faintly recognizable.


In addition to the ideas below, visit Paddling the Potomac, a site created through a partnership with the Chesapeake Conservancy, for more trip ideas and resources.

Travel by boat is prominent throughout the history of the PHT corridor, from the dugouts used by American Indians and the shallop used by Captain John Smith and crew to present-day fishing boats and recreational kayaks. George Washington first knew the Potomac River as a transportation route and source of food and sought a connection with the Youghiogheny River and the "Ohio country." Developed with assistance from River Management Society, the information below can help to explore these same routes and places today.

Paddling the Youghiogheny River Water Trail: Part of the Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania races through the state's deepest gorge before plummeting over Ohiopyle Falls and through an exciting set of rapids: World-renowned whitewater paddling is a major attraction in this area. Farther downstream (north) the "Yough" offers scenic, family-friendly flatwater through an area rich in history. Maps for the 74-mile trail, divided into two sections, were developed by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council with assistance from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources. More information including maps and trail guides.

Paddling the Potomac River Water Trail: As an American Heritage River and with 300 miles recognized as a National Recreation Trail, the Potomac River is closely connected to our Nation's history and rich in recreational opportunities. Beginning at Jennings Randolph Lake to the mouth of the Potomac, you may choose to paddle the 355 miles to the Chesapeake Bay or take a single or multi-day trip all will give you a different view of the ways that previous residents used the river and its banks for their livelihood, transportation and recreation. Below and on the following pages are descriptions, lists and additional links to resources that will help you plan your adventure on the Potomac.

· North Branch (Westernport, MD - Cumberland, MD): Waterproof map set (2005) is available from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

· Upper Potomac (Potomac Park, MD - Shepherdstown, WV): Waterproof map set (2002) is available from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

· Middle Potomac (Opequon Creek, WV - Georgetown, DC): A d igital version of a map set (1998) is available from the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin.

· Tidal Potomac (Georgetown, DC - Chesapeake Bay): Digital version of a map set (1999) available from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Learn more about the tidal Potomac.

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail : An interactive map will help you to explore many of the places visited by Captain John Smith and crew in the early 1600s. For related water trails, visit the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.

Check out ideas for day and multi-day trips and a list of resources, contact us to send corrections and suggestions for additional content, and please remember to follow Leave No Trace principles.

Watch the video: Ano Patisia walk in Athens, Greece (January 2023).

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