Thursday, November 17, 2011

Valentine Felty Vanhooser on the Clinch River, Virginia

This is just a draft that needs editing.

Valentine Velty Vanhooser and his wife Maria Barbara Zerwe arrived in western North Carolina somewhere between 1747 and 1754, settling in the Yadkin Valley close to the Virginia border. The area of their land holdings, in what is now Surry County, was originally called Anson county. Later, about 1753, Rowan County was formed from the western section of Anson County with a county seat at Salisbury. Still later, about 1771, Surry County was formed. For this reason, all of these counties will occasionally be referenced in records about the Vanhoosers.

Valentine and his wife lived for 20 years in North Carolina, producing thirteen children by some records, the last of whom, Valentine Felty Vanhooser, Jr., was born 1768 in Rowan County. This Valentine is Bob's ancestor. He would later migrate to Tennessee in 1795.

Valentine's oldest son John will be the subject of the deposition found in the Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Augusta Co., Va by Chalkey, Vol.2, pp. 227-8. In a deposition in 1814, John who was then 67 years old, testified that he and his family came to Virginia in 1777, as he recalled. Another deponent, Charles Carter remembered the family Vanhooser arriving in 1775 and settling along the North Fork of Clinch River near Flat Lick. By the time of this deposition, the elder Valentine had died, and his younger son Valentine Jr. had left Virginia for Tennessee, settling near Fort Watauga.

Valentine senior and his family prospered in North Carolina, as evidenced by the several land transactions in which he bought and sold land at a considerable profit. But, sometime around 1771, Valentine moved from North Carolina across the border to Virginia, first near Fincastle for several years, then to the North Fork of the Clinch River in what is now Tazewell County.

The North Fork of the Clinch River cuts across Powell Mountain on the extreme western edge of Virginia and crosses into Tennessee. Powell Mountain is crossed by U.S. Route 58, the "Daniel Boone Trail Highway", the Wilderness Road crossing the mountain nearby, at Kanes Gap. This is the route that Daniel Boone and a large party would take in September 1779, leaving the Yadkin Valley and crossing first to the area near Fort Watauga, in what is now eastern Tennessee, then to Kentucky.

Vanentine Vanhooser's reasons for leaving North Carolina after so many years are unknown. But many were fleeing the violence of North Carolina. These include the struggle between the so-called "Regulators" and the
taxing authorities. Indian troubles continued on occasion as Cherokees raided western settlements in North Carolina from time to time. The coming American Revolution also stirred up rival passions between those seeking independence and Tories who remained loyal to the British. One who left on this trek later recalled that the road out of North Carolina was so clogged with Tories leaving that a traveler "could hardly get along the road for them."

See Boone, a Biography by Robert Morgan, page 288.

In 1771, Lord Dunmore became governor of Virginia. He and others, including George Washington, were interested in land speculation west of the Alleghenies. His policy was to encourage settlement in the Shawnee Indians’ ancestral hunting grounds south of the Ohio River in what is today Kentucky and West Virginia. This led to what is known as "Dunmore’s War". In the summer of 1774, Lord Dunmore along with a militia from Augusta, Fincastle, and Botetourt Counties defeated the Shawnees at the Battle of Point Pleasant.  British and colonial success was overtaken by events at Lexington and Concord. The outbreak of the American Revolution divided loyalties between Tories and those seeking independence. Lord Dunmore would command the loyalists in Virginia during the war.

Later, the Virginia legislature, in 1779, passed a law that settlers who had taken up land in the western reaches of Virginia prior to January 1, 1778, might obtain 400 acres at a nominal price and preemption rights to another thousand acres at the usual price of forty pounds per hundred acres.

It is not known whether Valentine Vanhooser participated in Dunemore's campaigns. He had however moved to Virginia at about the time of the outbreak of hostilities. His move to the mountains of western Virginia would have traded troubles with the Cherokees for Dunmore's campaign against the Pawnees. And, Valentine Vanhooser's known Tory sympathies make his move to Virginia away from North Carolina more logical.The question of family loyalties during the Revolution was not always clear. Even a loyal patriot like Daniel Boone had members of his wife's family who had Tory sympathies during the war.

References and source:

Valentine Felty Vanhooser
About 1771 Valentine sold his land in Surry Co., NC and moved to Virginia, settling just across the border in what was then Fincastle (now Carroll) Co., Va. He lived there for about four years before moving north and west to the North Fork of the Clinch River in what is now Tazewell Co., Va. According to Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Augusta Co., Va by Chalkey, Vol.11, pp. 227-8, Valentine and his oldest son, John took up land in that area, but only lived there two years before they were driven out by Indian uprisings. They returned to their former piece of land which was located along New River and Little Reed Island which was then in Montgomery Co., which became Wythe Co. in 1789/90 and Grayson Co. in 1792 and finally Carroll Co. in 1842.
Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Augusta Co., Va by Chalkey, Vol.2, pp. 227-8
March 1814 John Hooser, aged 67, deposes, came with
his father Felty and brother Abraham to this country 37 years ago. John
has a brother Jacob who was never out in this country. 
March, 1811, Elisha Wallen, aged 27, deposes. Caveat, 12th August, 1799, by John
Mackenny and Elisha Adams against John Donnell, assignee of Andrew
Cowan and John Campbell, Jr., for 400 acres in Lee County on North
Fork Clinch. Donnell and Campbell were granted a certificate by the 
Commissioners 8th August, 1781. Caveators claim under an entry made by
James Dugless, 1780, and sold by him to John Balfour, who has sold to
caveators. Thos. Beelor was an early settler on the land. 29th May, 1811, 
Charles Carter deposes, in Lee County, remembers that Titus and John
Benton were killed by Indians in Rye Cove in spring of 1777. He remembers 
the family Hooser or Van Hooser, as they were called, who settled on
North Fork of Clinch near Flat Lick in 1775. The oldest Van Hooser
(deponent understood from his father) made the upper improvement, and
the old man's son John was the next oldest man and made an improvement
near the old man. Deponent remembers two other members of the family,
Abram and Isaac. Deponent lived with his father in the Rye Cove at the
time those improvements were made. Never heard of Jacob Hooser. 
Deponent's statement is founded on hearsay. 
14th May, 1814, James Dugless
deposes, at dwelling house of John Smith in Madison County, Ohio, shortly
after 1780 deponent moved from Washington County, Va., to Kentucky.
26th February, 1812, Doswell Rogers deposes, in Lee County, he settled on
North Fork Clinch the same year that the Hoosers settled. The settlement
was broken up by Indians for several years. The Wallens, Bentons, Wm.
Roberts and others named these streams as they went through hunting
lands. The Bentons were killed 35 or 36 years ago in April next. 
29th May, 1811, Peter Fulkerson deposes, in Lee County, the country was 
unsettled and dangerous in 1785 on account of Indians. Deed, 30th May,

page 227

1803, by William McCutchen of Carter County, Tenn., John McKinny
of Lee County, land in Lee County. Corner Nathaniel Taylors, 16,000
acres survey. Corner George Goff, 200 acres bought from Nathaniel 
Taylor. Recorded in Lee County, August, 1803. Deed, 31st May, 1803, by
Nathaniel Taylor of Carter County, Tenn., to John McKinney of Lee... 
See The Daniel Boone Trail for a discussion of the route that Daniel Boone took passing by Valentine Felty Vanhooser's holdings on the Clinch River.

The Gwinns, for a discussion of Augusta County, Virginia and Dunemore's War.

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