Image via WikipediaFirst, I hope everyone had as good a MLK day as I had in Nashville Tn. We certainly had a good time. We toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and Studio B. We accidentally attended part of the swearing in ceremony for the new governor. Obviously we walked downtown and enjoyed all they had to offer and we also went to the wonderful town of Franklin.
Last week I attended my first meeting for the Daughters of the American Revolution. The speaker was Mark Strength. He has written two books about Bonny Kate Sherrill and John Sevier and their relationship during the American Revolution. I read Bonny Kate Pioneer Lady and if you like romance with history, then this is the book for you. He interweaves facts with some fiction to tell the story of their meeting, their friendship, their sorrow and their romance through the time period of 1776 through 1780. He uses real names, real incidents, some fiction, history research and genealogy to put together a great tale of the Pioneers, the Torys and the Indians. This is a great read for a rainy weekend. Once again, Bonny Kate Pioneer Lady by Mark Strength.
Tip for the Week
Don't just limit your research to courthouse records. Google Books and some fiction hold fascinating details. For instance, the book above mentions William Campbell that helped lead the militia against the Tories at the Lead Mines at Fort Chiswell, Virginia. Robert Adams, my ancestor, was a captain at Fort Chiswell to guard the Lead Mines.
At the time I am looking for the book William Preston and the Allegheny Patriots by Patricia Givens Johnson. I hope to glean some more information about Robert Adams and his uncle Charles Lynch from this book. I am also looking for the book The Lead Mines of New River by Mary B. Kegley
As I mentioned above Captain Robert Adams of the militia was in charge of guarding the lead mines at Fort Chiswell. During the American Revolution the pioneers had more to worry about than the British. The British were using the Indians by insighting them to attack settlements and cause the militia to be occupied with defending their families rather than fighting the British. Also, the area was infested with Torys. These were not just men loyal to the King. They were thieves and cutthroats using the front of being loyal to King George to ransack and pillage homes.
The Wythe County lead mines also known as the mines on Cripple Creek, the Austinville Mines or the Wytheville mines were discovered by a Colonel John Chiswell. Colonel John Chiswell was from Wales and a British Officer and a southwestern Virginian Adventurer. An old Fort which was established around 1758 during the French and Indian War was named after Colonel Chiswell. Ten miles west of the Fort is the town of Wytheville. Fort Chiswell no longer exists and was located approximately where I-77 and I-81 intersect. A pyramid marker has been placed to show the location.
During Colonel Chiswell's adventures he found himself being pursued by a party of Indians. While the Indians tracked him, Colonel Chiswell found a hiding place in a cave near the New River and there is where he found mineral deposits and later in 1756/1757 he established the lead mines. In 1763 Colonel Chiswell traveled to Wales to find experienced miners. He hired William Herbert to be the superintendent of the mines. the miners were known as the "Welsh Miners".
Colonel Chiswell was involved in a shooting where a Scotsman was killed. There was to be a trial, but Colonel Chiswell committed suicide which ended the matter.
Tomorrow the lead mines change owners.
Virginia Minerals Commonwealth of Virgina Magazine Vol 41 No. 2 May 1996
Geology and the Civil War in Southwestern Virginia: The Wythe County Lead Mines.
Wythe County information found at Wikipedia
Tennesse Ancestors: A Tri-Annual Publication of the East Tennessee Historical Society Volume 25, Number 2 Auguest 2009 (1820 Knox County Manufacturers Census, Family Bible of Luther Ray Johnson, Daisy Fields Girlhood Home of Bonny Kate Sherrill Sevier, Hyman Winer, Jewish Peddler in Meigs County, East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Honors 6,000 Who Died in Service World War I to Iraq)
Life of General John Sevier
A Short History of Watauga County
USGS Topographic Quadrangle Map - Wytheville, Virginia (Folded/Waterproof)