I really appreciate all the feed back that has been coming through. The more information we have, the more we can piece together what their life was like during that time. I notice that many people are just interested in their station in life or what was their financial worth. And even though, that can help you follow some of their life, it is good to know the extras. Today with phones, tvs, satellites, and a quarter of an acre of land for your home, it is hard to imagine someone that owns over 20,000 acres. No car, no phone to check on the crops, the mills and the tavern. It is all mind boggling. I would love to be able to figure out who was their overseers and who ran the tavern and who stopped by to stay. Surely in someone's research they had to have read where someone mentions stopping at Ward's Tavern.
In Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches, they mention that he established a ferry across the Staunton which was free, but in 1810 he obtained permission to erect a toll bridge near his ferry. I wander how the locals felt about that.
Some of the comments I received mentioned slaves. Unfortunately, this was true. My grandfather's home which is located in Pittsylvania County was part of the Ward estate. Above Old Woman's Creek there was a slave grave yard which we would visit when I was a little girl. It has disappeared over time. There were only large rocks to mark the spots and now they have disappeared. There is a book for sale about a Register of Free Negroes. It's called Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Register of Free Negroes and Related Documentation by Alva H. Griffith published by Heritage Books. Apparently this information was found back in the 1990s while someone was doing research and they have published this list. Many of the slaves were released by the Will of John Ward Senior by his executors John Ward and Lynch Dillard in January of 1827. In the list they give the name, description and parents of the slave being released. Here is an example of the list in Mr. Griffith’s book.
P. Roberts-Virginia Pittsylvania County to wit-No. 75-At the instance of John Ward and Lynch Dillard Executors of the last Will and Testament of John Ward Senr deceased duly proven and recorded in the Court of said County Paulina Roberts a girl of colour emancipated by the said Will was this day numbered and registered in the Clerks Office of the said Court, pursuant to the provisions of the act of Assembly in that case made & provided. The said Paulina Roberts is a child of Pleasant & Hannah & is of light complexion about 14 years old five feet high, has a long scar over the left eye and a scar on the back of the right hand. Given under my hand as Clerk of the said Court this 5th day of January, 1827. Will:Tunstall
I read the will of John Ward in Will Book 3 page 462 and I have not found a reference to releasing of slaves. I will have to check further to get information that I may have missed.
I have also heard tales that Old Woman’s Creek was named after a slave that died there. If anyone knows anything about that, I would appreciate feedback.
That is all for today. I hope to have more information as we move along. As before, feel free to comment and send information.