Smyth County, Virginia Personal Property Tax Lists, 1832-1837, 1839-1849, 1852-1853, 1855, 1857, 1859, 1861, 1863


From the author's preface:

I believe the county to be unique among counties in the commonwealth in that it received a hearty number of New England and New York settlers – a group perhaps second only to the very numerous PA settlers – primarily of German origin with occasional elements of Swiss-German, but also very likely English, Scottish and a few Ulsterite (Scots-Irish) settlers also from PA. A few examples of this can be found in the histories of such families as the Coles and Wheelers from New England, the Bishops and Sherwoods (the latter family via New Brunswick, CA) from NY (and just across the line in WCV, the Aylesworths (Rhode Island to Saratoga, NY to WCV), Dentons (NY), and Thompsons (stonemasons from CT). The county also harbored a number of persons from MD (such as the Talbot [Talbert], Smallwood, Vermillion, Smallwood, and Poston families [and right across the line in WCV, the McNew, Cawood and Athey families], as well as “Delaware Swedish ” (Stalcop/Stolcup). Some German speaking persons might have come via NC such as the Swiss Billetor/Billeter family (Stokes Co NC). But, of course, it was the PA settlers that, by far, dominated the ranks of the early settlers of the county. This likely put the “Eastern Virginia English” into a quite small minority although some few families from the VA Piedmont did appear in early times, such as the Harris, Thompson, and McGhee families (Louisa Co), the Crenshaw family (Amelia, Nottoway Co – originally in St. Martin’s Parish, Hanover Co), and the Ferguson and Lee families (both from Buckingham Co.). In my opinion, the early migration to Smyth Co VA indicates a heavy preponderance of settlers from North of VA, with PA dominance and a unique and fairly sizeable New England and other Middle Atlantic contingents.

In summary, the county was heavily German and Swiss German with a healthy dash of Scottish and some few “Eastern Virginia English” having crossed through the water gaps to join the principally Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and New England early settlers to the county.

Jack Hockett and Donald Helton