George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 14 March 1748]

Monday 14th. We sent our Baggage to Capt. Hites (near Frederick Town) went ourselves down the River about 16 Miles to Capt. Isaac Penningtons (the Land exceeding Rich & Fertile all the way produces abundance of Grain Hemp Tobacco &c.) in order to Lay of some Lands on Cates Marsh & Long Marsh.

Jost Hite (d. 1760) was born in Strasbourg, Alsace, and emigrated to America about 1710, settling first in the vicinity of Kingston, N.Y. About 1716 he moved to Pennsylvania and in 1731 purchased a tract of nearly 40,000 acres from John and Isaac Van Meter in what soon became Frederick County, Va. In 1732 he moved to his Virginia lands with 16 other families of settlers. He was a member of the first Frederick Parish vestry. Hite was one of the leading land speculators and developers in Frederick, eventually settling families on a tract amounting to 94,000 acres. His land purchases involved him in a dispute with Lord Fairfax over ownership of his grants. The case continued in the courts for 50 years and was settled in Hite’s favor in 1786, 26 years after his death.

Frederick Town is now Winchester, Va.

Isaac Pennington came to the Shenandoah Valley, probably from New Jersey, about 1734 and settled a tract of some 600 acres on the south bank of Buck Marsh Run, near present-day Berryville, Va. He was a member of the first grand jury empaneled in Frederick County in May 1744 (CARTMELL description begins T. K. Cartmell. Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants: A History of Frederick County, Virginia, From its Formation in 1738 to 1908. Winchester, Va., 1909. description ends , 23). In 1750 GW surveyed a tract of land for him in Frederick County (survey for Pennington, 23 Oct. 1750, NN: George Washington Newspaper and Catalogue Clippings Box). Pennington sold his holdings in Frederick County, including most of the site of Berryville, to Gabriel Jones of Augusta County and John Hite of Frederick County in 1754 and moved to South Carolina in the fall of that year (CHAPPELEAR [1] description begins Curtis Chappelear. “Early Grants of the Site of Berryville and Its Northern Vicinity.” Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association 8 (1948): 17–38. description ends , 17–18).

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