US Southern Colonies Virginia

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Date: After 1650 to about 1686
Location: Present day Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentuckymap
Surnames/tags: SOUTHERN_COLONIES Colledge-35 Colledge
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Categories: US Southern Colonist | US Southern Colonies British | Virginia Colony | Virginia | Virginia Colonists | Virginia Genealogy Resources | Virginia Colony Genealogy Resources | Jamestown, Virginia Colony.

Decker Creek Colony
German New River Settlement

Colony of Virginia Resource Page

For more information on the project please see:

Project Home Page The main project page with members, general information, links.

Main Image Page This is the main page for images related to the project, but images can also be uploaded to the individual colony page.

Project Resource Home Page This is the main resource page with links to resources that encompass all of the colonies, links to the sub projects, and other main resource pages.

Southern British Colonies Resource Page which provides links to the other four English/British colonies.


Jamestowne Colony

For information about the Jamestowne Colony, visit the following page:
Jamestown, Virginia Colony Project Page

Virginia Colony Origin/History and Information on Counties

  • 1607 - Jamestown founded - first settlement in Virginia
  • 1617 - By this date, the Virginia colony had been divided by the Virginia Company into the Incorporations of Henricus, Charles City, James City, and Kecoughtan. Virginia Places
  • 1619 - Virginia Company's Great Charter
  • 1634 - Eight original "Shires" formed, and immediately called "Counties" Virginia Formation Maps
    • Accawmack
    • Charles City
    • Charles River
    • Elizabeth City (originally Kecoughtan Incorporation)
    • Henrico (originally Henricus Incorporation)
    • James City
    • Warrosquoyacke
    • Warwick River
  • 1634-1788:
  • History of Virginia Counties which has a great timeline for which counties were formed from existing, defunct or renamed counties, etc. Great resource.

Government Structure

Original Structure

Evolution of Government Structure

History: 400 years Local government in Virginia has one of the longer histories of the English-speaking settlements of North America. It all began with the settlement at Jamestown in 1607 (a poorly-sited location later abandoned) and Kecoughtan a better-sited location essentially stolen from Native Americans in 1610 which in the 21st century lays claim to status as the oldest continually-occupied settlement in the British Colonies in what is now the United States.

For almost 400 years, hundreds of counties, cities, and towns were formed in the Colony of Virginia and later the Commonwealth (State) of Virginia (the Old Dominion). It was generally the tradition of the English during the colonial period to establish large geographic units, and then to subsequently sub-divide them into smaller more manageable units. This two-phase process was conducted in order to establish legal claims to maximum territory. As areas were settled the large territories were subdivided for a variety of reasons. Counties The local governmental unit of a "county" came to Virginia following the form of shires (or counties) in England in 1634. The concept as it was brought to North America, was to have an area of size such that legal matter such as recordation of land and property transfers, resolutions of disputes, and other matters could be handled at a "court" within a day's journey of travel from all of its parts. As the population of counties grew, especially into more distant geographic extremities, many counties were subdivided to form additional counties. Having counties comprised of areas of common interests to the citizens became a more important factor as the distance one could travel in a single day increased. Throughout the United States, counties are generally the setting for local courts, and local courts are still the designated places for recording land transactions and resolving civil disputes and criminal matters.


Early Colonial Virginia Settlers

The following persons were among the prominent first families that immigrated to Colonial Virginia in the 1600's through the early 1700's:

Anthony Armistead (1645-1726) England bef. 1676 Elizabeth City Was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1693, 1696, 1699, and one of the committee in 1700 reporting a revision of the laws which were approved by the General Assembly in 1705

Gov. Richard Bennett (1609-1675) England bef. 1629 Virginia Colony Served as Colonial Governor of Virginia

Norborne Berkeley, 4th Baron Botetourt (1717-1770) England 1768 Virginia Colony Served as Colonial Governor of Virginia 1768-1770

Maj. Robert Beverley (1641-c1685) England abt. 1663 Middlesex County Grandfather of Col. William Beverley, who patented "Beverley Manor" in Orange (later Augusta) County.

Col. Robert Bolling (1646-1709) England 1660 Prince George's County

Maj. Lewis Burwell (c1621-1658) England 1640 Gloucester Sergeant-Major of Militia

William Byrd (1652-1704) England bef. 1672 Charles City Was a fur trader and served in the House of Burgesses

Col. John Carter (1620-1669) England 1649 Norfolk Served in House of Burgesses in 1653-1658, father of Robert "King" Carter, acting Governor of Virginia 1726-1727.

Capt. Raleigh Croshaw (1584-1624) England 1608 Elizabeth City Arrived in Jamestown in 1608, Served in House of Burgesses for Elizabeth City County.

Lt. Gov. Robert Dinwiddie (1673-1770) Scotland bef. 1751 Virginia Served as Lt. Governor of Virginia from 1751 to 1758

Sir William Fairfax (1691-1757) England 1730's King George's County. Fairfax's daughter Anne married Warner Washington, 1st cousin of President George Washginton

Sir Thomas Gates (c1585-1621) England 1609 Jamestown Settlement Served as Governor of Jamestown in 1610.

Sir William Gooch (1681-1751) England bef. 1727 Virginia Colony Served as Governor of Virginia from 1727 until 1749, named Goochland County, Virginia after himself in 1727. Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia was named after his wife, Rebecca Staunton.

Capt. Thomas Graves (c1580-1635) England 1608 Jamestown Settlement One of the early Settlers of Jamestown

John Henry (c1704-1773) Scotland bef. 1732 Hanover Father of Patrick Henry, American Founding Father

Gen. Robert Hunter (1664-1734) Scotland bef. 1707 unk. Served as Lt. Gov. of Colonial Virginia 1707-1709, Gov. of New Jersey and New York 1710-1720 and Gov. of Jamaica 1728-1734.

Gov. Edmund Jennings (1629-1727) England bef. 1680 York Served as Acting Gov., Secretary of State and Attorney General

Col. Richard Lee (c1618-1684) England 1639 Jamestown Settlement Served as Attorney General, High Sheriff and Col. of the Militia

Col. George Mason (1629-1686) England 1652 Norfolk, Virginia served in House of Burgesses and was Sheriff in Stafford County

John Rolfe (1585-1622) England 1610 Jamestown Settlement First to successfully cultivate tobacco in Colony; married Pocahontas.

Capt. John Smith (1579-1631) England 1607 Jamestown Settlement Founded the Jamestown settlement in 1607

Alexander Spotswood (c1676-1740) Morocco/England bef. 1710 Spotsylvania Appointed Lt. Governor of Virginia in 1710, founded the first Germanna Colony in 1714.

Col. John Washington (1630-1677) England 1656 Westmoreland Great Grandfather of Pres. George Washington

Francis West (1586-1634) England 1608 Jamestown Settlement Served as Deputy Governor of the Colony of Virginia 1627-1629.

Lt. Col. John West (1638-1703) England bef. 1661 Accomack High Sheriff and Capt. of Militia in Accomack County, a contemporary of Col. John West.

Gov. John West (1590-1659) England bef. 1632 King William Served as Colonial Governor of Virginia 1635-1637.

Col. John West (1632-1691) Virginia bef. 1654 New Kent Served in House of Burgesses for New Kent County, son of Gov. John West.

Gov. George Yeardley (1587-1627) England 1610 Jamestown Settlement Served as Deputy-Governor of the Virginia Colony from 1616-1617, 1625 & 1627.



Migrating From the Northern Colonies


1600s - The Great Warpath - Beginning as an animal path, this trail connected major Native American kingdoms, the Delaware in Pennsylvania, The Shawnee in the central valley of Virginia, and the Yuchi in southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee prior to their extermination by the Cherokee.

1654 - Abraham Wood made his first trip into the Southwest region of Virginia from Fort Henry, traveling 120 miles to the chief town of the Occaneechi at the junction of the Roanoke and Dan Rivers.

1669-70 - Dr. John Lederer, a German physician journeyed to the top of the Blue Ridge chain at Front Royal.

1671 - Abraham Wood sent an expedition led by Captain Thomas Batts and assistant Robert Fallam. This is first report of explorers reaching the Appalachian divide and finding the Indian trail known as the Great Warpath. The Totero people of the Cherokee nation were encountered on this journey.

1673 - Abraham Wood sent James Needham and his assistant Gabriel Arthur to the Cherokee capital at Chota (Tennessee). They followed the "Path of the Armed Ones". Arthur was left with the Cherokee to learn the language and customs while Needham returned to report at Fort Henry.

1674 - Gabriel Arthur was captured by the Shawnee but was released in hopes of promoting trade with the English. He traveled along the trail from Ohio through the Cumberland Gap on the Warriors’ Path of Kentucky.

1681-1698 - Colonel Cadwallader Jones established trade with Indians beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains even though such contact was discouraged by the Crown (of England) at that time.

1706 - Franz Ludwig Michel of Bern, Switzerland undertook an early exploration of the Shenandoah Valley coming as far as present day Edinburg.

1716 - Governor Alexander Spotswood led his Knights of the Golden Horseshoe to the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains and into the Shenandoah Valley.

1738 - European incursions and settlements precipitated the formation of Augusta County, the westernmost colonial territory at the time.

1739 - A British Crown land grant of 92 thousand acres was given to Benjamin Borden to bring settlers into the area that is now Rockbridge County.

1742-1745 - Colonel James Patton received two large land grants of 100 thousand acres each to encourage settlement in the Roanoke River and New River valleys.

1744 - The Treaty of Lancaster with the Iroquois Confederacy affirmed the use of the Warriors’ Path and allowed English settlements west of the "Great Mountains".

1745 - The first settlement west of the New River was called Dunkards Bottom due to the practice of full immersion baptism by the religious community.

1749 - Augusta Academy was founded in Lexington eventually becoming Washington and Lee University. The institution continues to receive dividends on stock donated by George Washington.

1750- Dr. Thomas Walker partnered with Peter Jefferson (father of Thomas) and others to form the Loyal Land Company and find 800 thousand acres in far southwest Virginia. Walker kept a detailed journal of rivers, salt licks, Indian trails, mountains and valleys. He and his men traveled through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky where they built a small cabin.

1751- Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson published a map listing several names for the route, including "Indian Road by Treaty of Lancaster" and the "Great Road" thro Virginia to Philadelphia." The map indicates the Carolina Road splitting off the Wilderness Road at the town of Amsterdam near Fincastle and traversing toward North Carolina.

1754 - French and Indian War began. Many inhabitants fled eastward to escape Indian raids. Others "forted up."

1755 - Draper’s Meadow in present day Blacksburg was attacked by Shawnee who captured Mary Draper Ingles and killed Colonel James Patton.

1755-1756 - Fort Vause was established near Shawsville along the route in response to Indian attacks and the return of Mary Draper Ingles from captivity. Fort Vause was then captured and burned by the Indians and French.

1756 - Colonel George Washington oversaw the reconstruction of Fort Vause, near Shawsville and was almost captured and killed by Shawnee warriors traveling northward on the Wilderness Trail.

1758 - The road became known as the Valley Road in the Shenandoah region, also the Pennsylvania Road or the Irish Road.

1758 - Fort Chiswell (near Wytheville) was built by Colonel William Byrd, III as a staging point for the "Cherokee Wars." The fort was then managed by Colonel John Chiswell who founded the lead mines in the area.

1758 - Three companies under Major Andrew Lewis improved and widened the route into a wagon road from the crossing on the New River to present day Abingdon. He continued on to the Holston River by another route.

1758-1765 - During the French and Indian War, George Washington commanded the Virginia regiments from his headquarters in Winchester.

1761 - Elisha Walden and a party of long hunters departed Fort Chiswell (near Wytheville) to explore and establish hunting camps in the area west of the Cumberland Gap. Even though they got no further than Wallen’s Creek, their success stimulated more hunting parties to travel to the far reaches of Virginia’s "caintuck" (Kentucky) region.

1761 - William Ingles received license to operate a ferry "over the New River to the opposite shore" to aid travelers. This ferry operation continued for many years.

1763 - French and Indian War peace treaty was concluded and the British got most of the French land in North America. Because of the expense of the conflict, the British began taxing the colonists to pay for the war.

1769 - Joseph Martin was recruited to settle Powell Valley. He explored an area within a few miles of Cumberland Gap.

1769 - Daniel Boone with a group of long hunters bound for the Kentucky hunting grounds encountered Joseph Martin in Powell Valley. Boone followed the hunting path into Kentucky where he established a hunting camp and continued exploring for nearly two years. His father and brothers made trips back to their homes in North Carolina.

1773 - Daniel Boone and William Russell attempted to move their families to Kentucky. Boone’s son James and Russell’s son Henry along with seven other men were about 2 miles behind the main party when they were attacked by a mixed band of Shawnee, Delaware and Cherokee. James and Henry were both killed along with others. Boone and Russell abandoned their attempt to move to Kentucky.

1773-1774 - Daniel Boone and his family wintered at Castle Wood on the Clinch River following the aborted attempt to move to Kentucky.

1774 - Natural Bridge, a geologic wonder, was purchased by Thomas Jefferson to be preserved as a mountain retreat.

1774 - Smithfield Plantation was founded by Colonel William Preston in present day Blacksburg. He served as a member of the House of Burgesses and held the offices of County Lieutenant, Sheriff, and County Surveyor for Fincastle County.

1774 - Lord Dunmore ordered the building of forts along the Clinch River, later to become the Fincastle/Cumberland Gap Turnpike route. Local militia determined the number and location of forts to be built

1774 - During Lord Dunmore’s War, Colonel Andrew Lewis led officers and troops at the battle of Point Pleasant in present day West Virginia. This conflict effectively ended war with the Shawnee Indians (for a time) and paved the way for the settlement of Kentucky.

1775 - Colonel Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Land Company sought to obtain a large portion of Kentucky from the Cherokee Indians through a questionable land purchase at Sycamore Shoals (Elizabethton, TN). He employed Daniel Boone to blaze a path through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky.

1775 - William Preston and William Christian gathered a group near Fort Chiswell to write and sign the "Fincastle Resolutions," a document calling for freedom, liberty and popular sovereignty (a precursor to the Declaration of Independence).

1775-1810 - An estimated 200 to 300 thousand people passed through Virginia on their way to Cumberland Gap and Kentucky.

1776 - The American Colonies declared their independence from Great Britain.

1779 - Thomas Harrison deeded land for public buildings for a community known as Rocktown which became a refuge for Brethren and Mennonites. The town later became the city of Harrisonburg.

1780 - The Overmountain Men mustered at several points along the route including Abingdon, with the grand muster at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga, and then marched to Kings Mountain. The battle that followed was one of the turning points of the American Revolution.

1783 - Great Britain and three other countries recognized the independence of the 13 United States at the Treaty of Paris.

1784 - Teacher and explorer John Filson wrote about the Wilderness Road and the exploits of Daniel Boone in his book The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucke published in Philadelphia. The book inspired many to pack up and head to Kentucky along the Wilderness Road.

1795-1796 - The Kentucky portion of the Wilderness Road was improved and opened to wagon travel.

1804-1808 - Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (of Lewis & Clark fame) courted local women near Fincastle before setting out as leaders of the Corps of Discovery. Both men traveled the Wilderness Road on their return to Virginia. Clark married his fiancée, Julia Hancock, after naming a river for her on the epic journey.

1831 - Cyrus McCormick demonstrated the first successful mechanical reaper near his farm at Steeles Tavern, thus beginning the age of farm mechanization.

1834 - The Virginia Assembly passed legislation allowing the incorporation of the Valley Turnpike Company to improve the road from Winchester to Harrisonburg. Legislation was also passed to develop the Fincastle - Cumberland Gap Turnpike.

1838 - The Valley Turnpike charter was expanded to include the road from Harrisonburg to Staunton.

1840-1850 - With the opening of the National Road and other avenues westward, the route through western Virginia declined in importance. It was partially abandoned and later absorbed into the national highway system.

1850 - The Virginia and Tennessee Railroad edged ever closer to the far reaches of Southwest Virginia, eventually reaching Roanoke two years later.

Kentucky, Originally Part of Virginia Colony

Separation from Virginia

Several factors contributed to the desire of the residents of Kentucky to separate from Virginia. First, traveling to the state capital was long and dangerous. Second, offensive use of local militia against Indian raids required authorization from the governor of Virginia. Last, Virginia refused to recognize the importance of trade along the Mississippi River to Kentucky's economy. Trade with the Spanish colony of New Orleans, which controlled the mouth of the Mississippi, was forbidden.[5]

The magnitude of these problems increased with the population of Kentucky, leading Colonel Benjamin Logan to call a constitutional convention in Danville in 1784. Over the next six years, nine more conventions were held. During one, General James Wilkinson proposed secession from both Virginia and the United States to become a ward of Spain, but the idea was defeated. Finally, on June 1, 1792, with Virginia consenting to the separation, the United States Congress accepted the Kentucky Constitution and admitted it as the 15th state,[5] without creating a territory first

Kentucky was a battleground during the Revolutionary War; the Battle of Blue Licks, one of the last major battles of the Revolution, was fought in Kentucky.

Fort Boonesborough located in Madison County, established in 1775, by Daniel Boone and others, was the first fort in Kentucky. Fort Boonesborough became the first town in Kentucky chartered by the Virginia Assembly. Present-day spelling of the town is "Boonesboro", although the fort and state park retain the old way.

First Settlers of the Northern Neck of Virginia Migrated from Maryland

In the late 1640s many leaders of Maryland's Civil War fled south across the Potomac River to settle on the Northern Neck of the Colony of Virginia. As Ingle's Rebellion demonstrated, these men had an overwhelming desire for individual freedom, ownership of the land they worked and self-government. Their experiences in Maryland would influence the future of Northumberland and Westmoreland Counties of Virginia and indeed of our nation since three of America's first five presidents were great-grandsons of immigrants to this spirited environment.

Migrating Ancestor Template
Flag of Maryland
... ... ... migrated from Maryland to Virginia.
Flag of Virginia

To add a migrating ancestor template to a profile:
  1. Click on the edit tab of this page and scroll down to the Migrating Ancestor section of the page.
  2. Left click on the left beside the double brackets, hold down the left mouse button, and highlight all of the text down to the closing brackets. This will highlight the text you want to copy.
  3. Next, right click on the highlighted text and click on "copy."
  4. Go to the target profile, use the edit tab, scroll to the place where you want to add the template and click there.
  5. Right click and select "paste." This will paste the template exactly as you see it here.
  6. To customize the template for your target profile go to Flag Images to find different flags or go directly to State Flags.
  7. Copy the file name of the flag you want to use, and paste it to the right of the = sign under origin and destination flags.
  8. You can also go to the blank template , copy and paste it to your page, and add your customized information.
  9. For ancestors who did NOT migrate, you can use the Virginia Sticker (see Templates on the Virginia Project page for details).
Flag of Virginia

{{Virginia Sticker|fulltext=Virginian}}

Flag of Virginia
born in Henrico County

{{Virginia Sticker|fulltext=Virginian<br>born in Henrico County}}


American Indians

Indentured Servants


Economic Resources and Information

Conflicts Within The Colony

Research Resources

WikiTree Resources

Existing Categories

Related Free Space Pages

Surname/Family Pages

  • Warren includes Virginia, Maryland and other areas.
  • Robert Berry, born 1729 in Princess Anne County, Virginia


For guidance in setting up categories for cemeteries:

On individual Cemetery pages, resources should be listed along with a description.

Free Resources

Paid Resource Sites

Photos and Images

Map of Virginia[1]

Main Image Page for the Southern Colonies project. See also the other colonies' pages.

"Henricus Hondius" 1630 Map of the Virginia Colony and the Chesapeake Bay[1]

"Ould Virginia" from John Smith's, The Generall Historie of Virginia ...[2]

Online edition (translation) UNC
Online edition (Full text) HathiTrust

"British Virginia Counties in 1652"[3]

Sources for this Page

  1. 1.0 1.1 Contributors "Wikimedia Commons" Wikimedia Foundation, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, Web accessed September 18, 2014
  2. John Smith, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles ... Page 18a, London: Printed by I.D. and I.H. for Michael Sparkes, 1624, Documenting the American South. October 12, 2014, University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, accessed October 12, 2014
  3. Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D., The American Nation Vol 4 (New York, NY: Harper and Brothers, 1906) 98, from Educational Technology Clearinghouse "Maps ETC" Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of South Florida, July 14, 2009, accessed September 19, 2014

Images: 4
US Southern Colonies British Virginia
US Southern Colonies British Virginia

"Ould Virginia," John Smith, 1580-1631

British Virginia Counties in 1652
British Virginia Counties in 1652

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On 28 May 2018 at 08:39 GMT Mark Hankins wrote:

Here's something I just found the other day related to Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland. I didn't see it mentioned here (forgive me if I've missed it). My lines seem to have hit brick walls just short of it, however as we both grow I expect to begin to get hits over there at which point their siloed project will likely be insanely valuable to me (and I'm assuming others as well). It's not precisely what's described in this page but our ancestors didn't plan their lives with staying nearly within their distant progeny's research categories...:

On 26 Apr 2017 at 17:03 GMT Paula J wrote:

A comment has been made on g2g:

If you click on the Virginia Sub-project page, it says "Virginia was the 10th state to enter the Union" on 25 June 1788. Incorrect, it was the 10th state to ratify the US Constitution.

Could you please check this out and make any necessary corrections depending on what it is that you are posting.

Thanks so much!!

On 21 Jan 2017 at 16:49 GMT Cheryl (Stone) Caudill wrote:

When trying to open this reference *Kentucky People - Pioneers and Explorers

I obtained this message; Forbidden You don't have permission to access /learn/pioneers.html on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

On 3 Jan 2016 at 19:54 GMT Cheryl (Stone) Caudill wrote:


Another fine on Maps and "The Lost Colony"; Lots of information, maps, and sources, Very interesting read. The Lost Colony


On 3 Jan 2016 at 19:39 GMT Cheryl (Stone) Caudill wrote:


Here is something I came across online that I did not know and thought I would share. I knew the British shipped Convict's to Australia, but didn't know they shipped them to the American Colonies.

Scottish Prisoners shipped to the colonies British Convicts Shipped to The Colonies

Regards, Cheryl

On 1 Mar 2015 at 14:51 GMT Nae (Lockhart) X wrote:

Can this be added to a resource under Northumberland County? Not sure where you want to put it, but it does have a list of names associated with the land grants. THANKS!

On 10 Dec 2014 at 13:57 GMT Paula J wrote:

Image:Profile_Photo_s-268.jpg December 10, 2014

On 10 Dec 2014 at 13:55 GMT Paula J wrote:

You know, this information fits best on this page and the scroll box is in MarkUp and no one should be printing the entire page out as a backup for an electronic source for a profile so I say we leave it unless someone specifically asks you to remove the boxes. If someone does, let me know and I will be glad to transfer the info to a space page.


On 9 Dec 2014 at 21:14 GMT Paula J wrote:

Thanks Mags but they are not going to let us have scroll boxes even with Wiki Markup (Eric doent know this yet because he hasn't encountered any) because they don't print out when you print a page. Yes, there are many ways around that such as printing from the changes page etc. but they are just not going to let us do that. The standards are still being written. I would save the code in the event they change their mind but for right now that is what I got from Eowyn who has been the go between.

Thanks!! Paula

Ps. Sorry I didn't see this until after I sent email

On 9 Dec 2014 at 03:26 GMT Mags Gaulden wrote:


Eric suggested the changes I made to the scroll boxes as being in compliance. Hope they pass muster! Mags

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