George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 30 September 1784]

30th. Set out early—Captn. Hite returning home and travelled 11 or 12 Miles along the River, until I had passed thro’ the gap. Then bearing more westerly by one Bryan’s 1—the widow Smiths 2 and one Gilberts,3 I arrived at Mr. Lewis’s about Sundown, after riding about 40 Miles—leaving Rockingham C[our]t House to my right about 2 Miles.4

1From Brocks Gap, GW rode southwest for several miles along the base of Little North Mountain and then turned southeast to cross Linville Creek about two miles northeast of present-day Edom, Va. Several Bryans had settled in the Linville Creek area, and two of their homes stood west of the creek on the road which GW traveled today. John Bryan, who apparently settled there about 1744, built a house near the creek, while Thomas Bryan, who bought an adjoining 300 acres in 1762, had a house about a quarter of a mile farther west (WAYLAND [3] description begins John W. Wayland. The Lincolns in Virginia. Staunton, Va., 1946. description ends , 10, 14–15, 29–30, 52).

2Jane Harrison Smith (1735–1796), widow of Daniel Smith (1724–1781), lived at Smithland plantation about two miles northeast of Harrisonburg, Va. The eldest daughter of Capt. Daniel Harrison, she married Smith in 1751 and subsequently gave birth to at least 12 children. Her husband was a justice of Augusta County until 1777 and of Rockingham County after that date. He served as a captain at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, became county lieutenant of Rockingham in Mar. 1781, and died in the fall of that year from injuries sustained when his horse threw him during a militia review in celebration of the Yorktown victory (HARRISON [7] description begins J. Houston Harrison. Settlers by the Long Grey Trail: Some Pioneers to Old Augusta County, Virginia, and Their Descendants, of the Family of Harrison and Allied Lines. 1935. Reprint. Baltimore, 1975. description ends , 200, 245, 318–19).

3Felix Gilbert for many years kept a store near Cub Run about five miles southeast of Harrisonburg. Although an Augusta County justice as early as 1763, he did not become a Rockingham justice when the new county was formed. In May 1778 the Rockingham County court “convicted him of speaking treasonable words” against the Patriot cause (CHALKLEY description begins Lyman Chalkley. Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia: Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County, 1745–1800. 3 vols. 1912. Reprint. Baltimore, 1974. description ends , 2:364). He apparently moved to Wilkes County, Ga., about 1786 after empowering an agent to collect the many debts owed him in Rockingham (John Preston to Francis Preston, 26 Dec. 1786, PRESTON description begins “Some Letters of John Preston.” William and Mary Quarterly, 2d ser., 1 (1921): 42–51. description ends , 47; WAYLAND [2] description begins John W. Wayland. Historic Homes of Northern Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Staunton, Va., 1937. description ends , 219).

4The first permanent courthouse for Rockingham County was built at Harrisonburg 1780–81 (TERRELL description begins I. L. Terrell. “Courthouses of Rockingham County.” Virginia Cavalcade 23 (Autumn 1973): 42–47. description ends , 42–43).

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