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HALL'S - Catawba Valley, VA - Bogus Story

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HALL'S - Catawba Valley, VA - Bogus Story

Posted: 16 Jan 2001 5:00AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 14 Feb 2002 7:01AM GMT
Surnames: HALL, LEDGERWOOD, MITCHELL, OTHERS
Anyone using a story regarding the HALL family entitled, "History of the Cabin-Fort", by George von Kromer...there are a lot of errors. This story was also included in the book, "Places Near the Mountains", by Helen Prillaman. This story is regarding the HALL family of Catawba Valley, Roanoke Co., VA

Some of the errors are:

"The story began in 1707. After a tempestuous journey of 60 days...'on the 13th of May 1707, three ships...' "

CORRECTION: These 3 ships, that Mr. Kromer is speaking of, are the Sarah Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery. Mr. Kromer states that one Thomas Hall, wife and child (William) were on the Godspeed. This is false. There were no Hall's on any of those 3 ships...and besides that...those 3 ships landed in 1607 - not 1707...So to begin with...that puts the story off 100 years.

Daniel MITCHELL - Kromer gives him the title of Reverand and states that he performed the marriage ceremony for his daughter Jean to Wm. HALL. Kromer also states that this marriage took place in the spring of 1722.

CORRECTION: No records for any Daniel MITCHELL have been found to date. There are several records for a David MITCHELL and family. Transcription error? Yes, could be, but David seems to be too prevalent in records for it to be miconstrued with the name Daniel. Also note, that neither David MITCHELL, Sr. or Jr. were Reverands. The David MITCHELL family proved their "oath of importation" in Orange Co. on 2-28-1739. They were traveling with the LEDGERWOOD & MORPHET families from Ireland. ALSO note the date of 1739...a marriage date of 1722...the MITCHELL'S were here 17/18 years too late.
In 1722 this area was still in Spottsylvania Co., VA. No record of marriage can be found for a Wm. HALL and a Jean/Jane MITCHELL - nor is there a marriage record in Orange Co.

Kromer states that the HALL home was 16 miles east of present Blacksburg (Montgomery Co., VA).

CORRECTION: This part is basically true...However, Kromer would lead you to believe that this home was built in the early 1720's. How could it have been...when William HALL (s/o Thos. & Mary HALL), was in his 20's and was residing in the Lexington, VA area. William Hall never resided in the Catawba Valley, he resided his entire life in and around the Lexington and Natural Bridge areas (Whistle Creek & Cedar Creek precincts respectively, buying his first land in 1750). Kromer also would lead you to believe that this Wm. HALL who died in 1772/3 is buried in the HALL Cemetery in Catawba.
Why would someone who lived his entire life in the present Rockbridge Co. area be buried in the Catawba Valley - the places are about 60 miles apart. Also this Wm. HALL was instrumental in beginning the Hall's Meeting House (church).

Kromer states...With the cabin and 70 acres...deed later recorded at Fincastle by Andrew Hall...

CORRECTION: There is NO deed filed in the Botetourt Co. Courthouse for this land and cabin by Andrew or any other HALL family member. All HALL land transactions that were recorded are for land lying in what is now Rockbridge Co. The land the Rockbridge Co., Hall's held and the land the Botetourt Co./Roanoke Co. Hall's held (at a much later date) are approximately 60 miles apart.
It appears that the HALL land that Kromer is speaking of was not HALL land, but LEDGERWOOD land - as was patented to William LEDGERWOOD (200 acres).
This land was haded down to the LEDGERWOOD family and then in later years portions were bought by and willed to William HALL who died in 1849 and his wife Nancy LEDGERWOOD.
Kromer stated that William HALL was the son of Andrew HALL. However, upon reading the will of Andrew HALL (of Rockbridge - the only Andrew appearing in court records for Botetourt, Montgomery, Roanoke and Rockbridge Counties), no children are listed by the name of William.
It appears that if this "Cabin-Fort" belonged to anyone - it belonged to the LEDGERWOOD family first.

Kromer states that "There are many incidents of historic and other interest connected with the cabin-fort. In Sept 1752, George Washington...'We got Supper and was lighted into...' ".

CORRECTION: Well, yes this statement was made by Washington and is written in his diary. However, this statement deals with Washington and his crew being near present day Winchester, VA. Also this statement was written in Washington's diary on Tues., March 15th 1748 - not Sept. 1752. This info comes from Washington's Diaries, Vol 1, p. 3-12

Kromer also states from Washington's diary..."The next day, traveling due west...arrived about noon and...staid with friend HALL. We cleaned..."

CORRECTION: The rest of that statement from 'We cleaned'...is found in Washington's Diary. "staid with friend Hall", is not in this or any other paragraph in the diary beginning March 11th 1747/8 through April 13th 1748. These men in the beginning of their exploration and survey trip were in Prince Wm. Co., VA and concluded at Mr. Vernon on the Potomac. And at this date were still somewhere around Winchester, VA.
George Washington never stayed with this William HALL who d. in 1773. If he stayed with any HALL family, it was most probable that he stayed with the Richard HALL family. Christopher GIST mentions, in his diary, of staying with Richard HALL and also a reference in Chalkley's Chronicles notes that Col. Wm. PRESTON wtore in his diary that he stayed with Richard HALL.
There is a map contained in Chalkley's Chronicles regarding Washington's route on his tour of inspection of the frontier forts - Oct. 1756. This map shows where Washington began and ended. His trek came nowhere close to the part of the Catawba Valley where the Wm. HALL family was supposedly residing. The closest Washington came was when he crossed Craig's Creek at New Castle.
Also in Chalkley's Chronicles there is a map regarding the "Roanoke Community" 1740-1760. It's similar to a "plot map" - showing names where people resided. There is no listing for a HALL where they should have been according to Kromer. The only HALL family on this map is that, again, of Richard HALL residing between Stroubles Creek to the north and Crab Creek to the south. Also there are no MITCHELL'S or LEDGERWOOD'S shown on this map. Those families were still in the Augusta Co. area at that time. The LEDGERWOOD's didn't show up in the Catawba Valley until around 1770.

Accout of Christopher Gist can be found in Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800, by Lewis Preston Summers. Reference to Col. PRESTON can be found in Chalkley's Chronicles on p. 226.

Kromer speaks of the Draper's Meadow Massacre and that is was "but just a few miles away..."

CORRECTION: Quite a few miles away. We figured about 25 miles away. However, Richard HALL was within less than 10 miles from the Drapers Meadow area.

PERSONAL NOTES: Getting back to Washington's Diaries. It appears that Mr. Kromer took what he wanted to take from Washington's diary and added it to "play up" the HALL family story. It also appears that Mr. Kromer has very obviously confused the HALL family of what became present day Rockbridge Co. and the HALL family of the Catawba Valley.
Although there is no proof of the following, it is probable. Richard HALL, who resided on Stroubles Creek (in present day Montgomery Co.) and Wm. HALL who resided on Whistle Creek & Cedar Creek (in present day Rockbridge Co.) may have been brothers. Both of these HALL families settled within 60-70 miles of each other and both in the year 1750 bought land. There is also a reference in Chalkleys Chronicles of a Richard HALL delivering a Wm. HALL a deed.
The date of Sept 1752, used by Kromer - According to Washington's Diaries - Between March 5 to Dec 31, 1752, diaries missing or not kept. Numbers are not assigned to these periods as it is extremely doubtful that diaries were kept. Appears that Kromer picked a "convenient" date...and below is another example...
Kromer makes a statement regarding the year 1757, about their being an entry made in James MITCHELL'S Bible regarding Washington visiting Ft. William and staying with the HALL'S. Once again cannot verify this as Diaries were missing or not kept between 1755 and 1759. However, I very seriously doubt this statement by Kromer is correct since the above regarding the entries in Washington's Diary are now proved to be regarding somther other than the HALL family.

More info to share with other interested parties who will do the same.
Thanx - Cindy HALL Driscoll - i2luvlucy@aol.com

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