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The Irish Tract & The Westward Movement

To help understand the "Westward Movement" I recommend the book "Western Lands and The American Revolution" by Abernethy(1890). A must to read, also, is the webpage of "The Chronicals of Scotch-Irish in Virginia" (SW-Pennsylvania) by Lyman Chalkley. They Chronical the movement with actual court records.

  • Chronicles of The SCOTCH-IRISH OF Virginia & SOUTH WEST Pennsylvania (3 Vol by Chalkley-1745-1800)
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  • Some of the Frontiersmen (or their forefathers)who pioneered the "Westward Movement"
    Hardin Gibson Breashears
    Irish Humphries (The Black Stranger lee Jones
    Campbell McPheeters Lewis
    Collins Wisdom Hogg
    Roberts Martin Clayton
    Biggs Eytchison Mason

    Virginia Looks Beyond The Mountains

    The great exodus from the German Palatinate and from Ulster (Ireland) began about this time (1730) and aided the colonization of the Valley (Shanandoah's Irish Track") . Immigrant ships were met with enticing advertisements of this El Dorado in Virginia, and during the decade several important Irish and Scotch-Irish families settled west of the Blue Ridge.

    James Patton, from Donegal, was the head of one of these. He had formerly been a sea captain and had crossed the ocean many times, his vessel crowded with redemptioners for Virginia, some of whom were bound for Beverleys estate (Virginia). It was inevitable that Patton himself should get the contagion for a fling at fortune in the New World. In 1736 he, with his brother-in-law John Preston, formerly a ships carpenter, settled together on Beverleys grant. Prestons son William and his sons-in-law Robert Breckinridge and John Brown were destined to be leaders in the West, as was also Pattons son-in-law John Buchanan.8

    Probably the earliest settler in this neighborhood was John Lewis, an Ulsterman who under great provocation had killed his landlord and fled to America. In 1732 he settled in what was soon to be "Beverley Manor" and surveyed the town of Staunton for Beverley in 1748. There came with him to America three young sons: Andrew--whom some Virginians thought should have been given command of the Revolutionary Army instead of Washington--Thomas and William. These together with Charles, born in Virginia and who was to die at Point Pleasant, became important figures on the frontier. A third family of equal importance was that of John Campbell who, like Lewis, was an early Scotch-Irish settler in the neighborhood. His descendants were numerous and distinguished, but the most famous in the early period were General William Campbell of Kings Mountain fame and Colonel Arthur Campbell of separatist tendencies.5

    When Augusta County, including most of Virginia west of the Blue Ridge, was organized in 1745 Patton became its first high sheriff and Thomas Lewis its first surveyor.6 In the same year the governor and council of Virginia granted Patton and others a tract of one hundred twenty thousand acres to be located at the southern end of the great Valley of Virginia.