Map of Abraham Lefever properties and neighbors,Thompsons Creek and Bakers Creek (Hutton Creek), also Dry Run (Greever Branch), Washington County, Virginia.
For a map of tracts between the middle and south forks of the Holston River, CLICK HERE.
The earliest survey in this area was on March 14, 1746, for a 2600 acre tract named "Kilmackronan," owned by Col. James Patton and surveyed by John Buchanan, deputy surveyor for Augusta County, Virginia. James Patton was one of the original magistrates of Augusta County, VA, when it was organized in 1745. This tract was inherited by Captain James Thompson, son of Mary Patton and William Thompson, and grandson of James Patton (History of Southwest Virginia 1746-1786 Washington County 1777-1870 by Lewis Preston Summers).
Apparently, the first settler to this area was Samuel Stalnaker, who arrived in 1750 with his wife, Susanna, and son, Samuel. In March of 1750, Samuel erected a cabin with the assistance of Dr. Thomas Walker and party, who were passing though the area on an expedition. At the time, Stalnaker was located at the western edge of the English frontier. On June 18, 1755, the home of the Stalnakers was attacked by Indians and Samuel and his wife were taken prisoner. Samuel's mother and four children escaped. Susanna apparently died soon after the attack or during captivity. On May 10, 1756, Samuel escaped from the Indians and arrived in Williamsburg in early June. He did not return to his home on the Holston River for a number of years (the last known record for him is from an English traveler who visited him there in 1769) (M. Lisa deGruyter, 2006).
Another early settler to this area was Humphrey Baker, who arrived in 1752. On April 9, 1753, a survey of 430 acres (tract T on map) on Stalnakers Creek (Bakers Creek) was conducted for H. Baker. On May 3, 1755, Shawnee Indians attacked the home of Humphrey Baker and wounded daughter Mary Baker. In November of the same year Humphrey moved his family to Bedford County, VA to avoid any further attacks during the French and Indian War. In 1767 Humphrey moved his family back to the property on Stalnakers Creek. Humphrey and sons Thomas, John and George are on the 1770 Tithables list for Botetourt Co, VA (presently Washington Co.). In 1774, son George was granted land at Bakers Gap, adjoining Humphrey's land (this property later owned by John McCall - note McCall Gap label on map below). In 1788 Humphrey Baker sold his 1753 survey on Bakers Creek to John Hatton (Hutton) Sr.(Humphrey Baker DNA Family Group, 2005).
The French and Indian War, 1754 - 1763, created an environment of hostility in southwestern Virginia, causing a complete abandonment of settlements by whites. During the winter of 1768 and early 1769, many settlers moved into the present boundaries of Washington County, VA, during a period of relative safety from Indian attacks (History of Southwest Virginia 1746-1786 Washington County 1777-1870 by Lewis Preston Summers).
Below is a list of individuals who acquired land in the Lefever neighborhood before and after the French and Indian War. A number of these tracts were settled just prior to the Revolutionary War and some were originally surveyed near the end of the colonial period. After the war, commissions were established to certify the earlier settlements. The commission for Washington and Montgomery Counties certified property rights for a number of the tracts on the map below. Due to changes in government after the revolution, new surveys were conducted and were submitted to the land office of Virginia, who provided land grants. In cases where there were both pre- and post-revolution surveys, the acreage did not always match. The variance in acreage may have reflected a true change in the tract of land owned, as was the case for tract K owned by Abraham Lefever (261 acres surveyed June 8, 1774 and 171 acres surveyed February 24, 1785).
The Washington County Surveyors Record 1781 - 1797 contains the survey data for surveys conducted after the war. In addition, when these surveys were based on settlement prior to the war, a copy of the commission's certification was commonly included in the survey record. The certification specified the year of settlement and also the date of any previous survey. Some of the certifications also specified previous owners of the land. When a settlement date is given, the identity of the settler is not always clear, particularly if previous owners are specified.
List of Properties . Use the links below to examine transcriptions of the survey data contained in the land grants and surveys (land grants available online at Library of Virginia).
Starnes 160 acres surveyed 16 Jun 1782 settled 1774 by Leonard
CLICK HERE for a high resolution map (5.6 MB - long download if you don't have high speed internet)
A number of the surveys do not close or even come close to closing when drafted (for example, see tract K, Abraham Lefever). For some of these tracts I did not attempt to force a closing by altering the lines. This results in separate starting and ending points. If the the tract survey resulted in close starting and ending points, I simply altered the last line slightly so that it ended at the starting point as drafted.
The first tract outline applied to the topographic map background was tract K, Abraham Lefever. The tracts to the west and northwest of this tract were added one by one, starting with the ones that adjoin tract K (tracts B and J). Then adding tracts A and C. Then tracts U, D, E. Then tracts R, S, L. Then tract M. Then tract F. Lastly tract T. For the tracts east and north of tract K, tract G was added first. Then tracts H and P. And lastly tract N.
Due to the fact that tract K does not come close to closing, the tracts to the north and east do not merge properly with those to the west and northwest. For example, note how tracts P and B do not meet properly, even though they are adjacent tracts. The end result is that tracts further from tract K probably have a greater error in placement. But even the tract K may have a slight error in placement, as there are no absolute benchmarks available for aligning these old surveys to the modern topographic map. One also needs to consider that there may have been some changes in the positions of creeks and the river over the 200 year period between the original surveys and the time of the creation of the topographic background map.
In placing the tract K on the topographic map, there are four points on the old surveys that are helpful. Three are on Lefever's survey, two points near the Main Road on the western portion of the tract and one point near the river on the southern portion of the tract. The remaining point is one shared by the Lefever and Henneger tracts (K and G), but only on the Henneger tract does the survey indicate that the point is near the Main Road. From the references to the Main Road in the old surveys, it is apparent that the old Main Road followed closely the path of highway US 11 of modern times. Using the placement of US 11 on the topographic map, and the location of the river, the tract K can be fitted to the topographic map with a fair degree of confidence.
Also note that the topographic map has a dirt road marked in the area where tracts C, U and J meet. At the northern end of this dirt road there is a building marked on the topographic map. This is probably the "stone house" of John Kirk's tract (C). Joseph Meek, Jr. owned this tract in 1839 when his will was probated. The will discusses the lane leading from the stone house to the Main Road. In the will Meek included a small part of tract J to be combined with tract C to accommodate the lane out to the Main Road. If this old lane matches the dirt road marked on the topographic map, then it is apparent that the tract overlays should be moved about 15 poles west in this region so that the lane crosses tract J, not tract U.
This work by Jeffrey La Favre is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
RETURN TO HOME PAGE
last updated March 9, 2009