This volume presents a fascinating, detailed history of old Augusta County and her early residents. Alexander Spotswood is credited with the discovery of the Valley of Virginia. His glowing reports of the area reached John Lewis, an Irish immigrant living in Pennsylvania. In 1732, Lewis and his family moved to the Valley, forming a nucleus for future Scotch-Irish, English and German settlers to build upon. By 1745, the community had grown so large that Augusta County was formally created from Orange County.
As originally established, Augusta County covered parts of present-day West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania, its western boundary being the Mississippi River. Although the French first explored and settled the Mississippi Valley area, the English sought control of the western country. The French ordered the English to leave; the English refused. Peyton describes in detail how the ensuing French and Indian Wars affected the Augustans. The Augusta colony was soon noted for its industry, progress and good order. Peyton describes, among other things, how roads were built and expanded; how numerous Presbyterian churches were formed before 1740; and how Augusta Academy (later known as Washington and Lee University) was opened in 1749. Augusta County’s involvement in the Civil War, including the battles of Mt. Crawford and Piedmont, also receives substantial treatment in this volume. Officer rosters are included for the Staunton Artillery, the West Augusta Guard, and the 5th and 52nd Virginia Volunteer Infantries. Numerous original records supplement this informative history: a 1768 deed for 200,000 acres of land from the chiefs of the Six United Nations to G. Croghan, numerous letters including one heretofore unpublished from George Washington to Lord Dunmore, and, perhaps most importantly, the General Assembly act establishing Augusta County.
A section of the book is dedicated to genealogies, including the family of John Lewis, which is carried into the 1860s. Eighty-eight pages of genealogies follow, including the families of M’Dowell, Preston, Campbell, Stuart, Bell, Cochran, M’Cue, Crawford, Waddell, Peyton and Baldwin. There is also a section of biographical sketches and a list of marriages performed by Rev. John Brown between 1785 and 1793. This edition has been greatly enhanced by the addition of a new index which combines the topical citations of the original with a new full-name index.
J. Lewis Peyton
(1882), 2018, 5½x8½, paper, index, 420 pp.