Brent Town and the Elk Run Valley, A History, Volume One: From Acquisition to Settlement, 1688-1800


The history of the Elk Run valley and its families is both rich and diverse. The land and people in eighteenth-century Elk Run valley offer a snapshot of a period of time so unlike our own as to defy description. The eighteenth-century landscape exhibited a land without the modern conveniences so taken for granted today. There were no cell phones, telephones, television, or radios to aid in communication. Farms grew the food necessary for the family. The wives and daughters were charged with making clothes for the family. Family holdings often included sheep and sometimes "cotton in seed." Looms and spinning wheels were common accoutrements to the family’s living space. Rifles were produced by gunsmiths, fishing rods were hand made. Days were long and only the wealthier households could afford a case clock to register time. Time was regulated by the rhythm of planting and harvesting seasons. Boys were expected to work the holding with the father while the girls learned quilting, sewing, and weaving. The children of wealthy planters might be tutored or home schooled. Reading the Bible was encouraged and the children, who could, learned that at an early age.

By the end of this volume, readers will have a better understanding of the life of an eighteenth-century family who lived in the Elk Run valley. Both the land and those who settled it have been long under-appreciated in a county that is known for its rich history and its multitude of surviving records. This work recognizes and honors both the families and the land on which they lived. It is a tribute to their work ethic, their sense of honor and integrity, and their stewardship of the land, all of which have been passed down through the ensuing two centuries to present-day residents.

The Elk Run valley is still filled with working farmers whose reverence for those who came before them, and whose love of history and the abiding devotion for their land, transcends everything else in their world. Given all the technological advances in communication, transportation and the like, present-day families in the Elk Run valley share a kinship and an enduring connection with their eighteenth-century counterparts.

Numerous illustrations, photographs, maps, a bibliography, and an index to full-names, locations and subjects add to the value of this work.

Joan W. Peters

(2010), 2023, 8½x11, paper, index, 386 pp.

ISBN: 9780788426698