Bannister Notes

 Notes for a presentation at the
      Cabell Foundation Annual Meeting in
      Williamsburg in October 2000

      By Thomas Turpin Bannister
      Dept of Biology, Univ of Rochester, 
      Rochester, NY 14627

                              PRELIMINARY NOTES

    Recorded in Albemarle Co on 13 & 14 Aug 1751, were the postings of L500 
bonds to secure Tho Turpin my 4 ggfather, Wm Cab(b)ell your kinsman, and Tho 
Jefferson (grandfather of the President) as assistant surveyors under 
Albemarle Co Surveyor Joshua Fry. The Albemarle Surveyors Book 1 (1744-1755) 
is chock full of plats surveyed & drawn by your forebear and mine. Your family 
& mine are closely related by common enterprize if not by blood. 

In "Surveyors and Statesmen" Sarah Hughes lists...

Surveyors ...                             Assistant Surveyors as.. 

In Albemarle...                           
Joshua Fry 1744-1754                      Tho Turpin 1745-1756 
Peter Jefferson 1757                      Wm Cabell sr 1746-1754 
Jno Staples 1760-62                       Tho Jefferson 1750-51 
Jno Dawson    -1762                       Wm Cabell jr1753-1761 
Nicholas Lewis 1765-1773                  Jno Staples 1755-1760 
Anderson Bryan 1774-1782                  Jno Smith jr 1755-1756 
                                          Danl Smith 1767-1773 

In Amherst... 
Wm Cabell jr 1761-1777                    Jas Higginbotham1765-1777 

                 MAPS OF CABELL PATENTS & GRANTS (1738-1805) 


    Immigrant Dr Wm Cabbell (1700-1774) arrived in Va in 1723. He married Eliz 
Burk who, between 1727 and 1750, bore a dau Mary and 4 sons Wm 2, Jos, Jno, 
and Nicholas.  For a number of years, Dr Wm resided near Dover Ck in Goochland 
Co. It was in Goochland he first received patent for 1200a on the W branch of 
Lickinghole Ck (alias Treasury Run). 

    Dr Wm became interested early in acquisition of then empty lands along the 
James in what are now Nelson, Amherst, and Buckingham Cos. There, in the years 
1738-1814, he and his 4 sons amassed large acreages by some 70 patents or 

    My purpose today is to report to you what I have learned about the 
locations of these 70-odd Cabell tracts, as well as a number of patents 
received by Cabell kin, namely, Wm Mayo (cousin of Dr Wm), son-in-law Wm 
Horseley, by several Burks (Samuel, Richard, Jno Peartree, & Geo), and by  Dr 
Wm's associate or competitor Wm Megginson. 

    73 patents or grants were issued, from 1738 to 1814, to Dr Wm & his 4 
sons. One of these was the 1200a in Goochland, and a second was for land on 
the west side of Carters Mt in Albemarle. The 71 remaining were for tracts in 
modern counties of Amherst, Nelson, and Buckingham. (There were also 7 patents 
or grants of lands recorded as lying in Jefferson, Montgomery, Grayson, 
Monroe, and Greenbrier Cos of WVa or Ky.) 

    Of the 71 grants, three were for areas of 1.5 acres or less, two small 
islands and a 1.5 acre lot issued to Jos and other churchwardens; no attention 
has been given to these. The remaining 68 patent & grant records have all been 
read & plotted. Of the 68, the boundary lines of 52 have been mapped with some 
precision. And 10 surveys more, which reference identifiable streams, can be 
allotted to general vicinities. At present, 6 surveys only continue to defy 
efforts to locate. 

                                CABELL HOMLAND 

    Of the 68 Cabell records read & plotted, about 3/4 were located in 
southern Nelson and northwestern Buckingham, an area I call the "Cabell 
Homeland".  Several slides will now define the "Homeland" in terms of county 
boundaries, watercourses, roads, and topography. 

    (1) AREA defines the Homeland in terms of longitude and latitude. From the 
superimposed 2-mile grid, you see that the Homeland is about 20 miles east-
west by 15 miles north-south. The area contained is about 200,000 acres. 

    (2) COUNTY show the portions of Albemarle, Nelson, Amherst, Appomattox & 
Buckingham Cos lying in the Homeland. Superimposed are rivers, creeks, and 
branches (in blue), main roads (red), and 2ndary roads in brown. 

    (3) HYDNMS gives names of watercourses as found in the old surveys. 

    (4) TERRAIN show the massif of Pruett's & Spears (alias Slate River) Mts 
in Buckingham, the low Buffalo Ridge and its continuation as Horse Mt, and the 
chain of Findlay-Turner-Piney-PeaVine Mts further north. Again watercourses & 
roads are superimposed. 

    (5) Finally, COVER show in orange all the area within the Homeland for 
which surveys have been read and mapped. The boundary lines of the surveys are 
here shown in black. Areas in white are those where surveys have not yet been 
searched for, or have been searched for but not yet found, or are unresolved 
voids between adjacent surveys. You can see that patent or grant surveys have 
been found & located covering roughly 3/4 of the Homeland. 


    A series of 9 slides show the gradual occupation of the Homeland upto 

738.  The slide shows the areas for which patents were issued through 1738. 
      The earliest patents were to Allen Howard at the mouth of Rockfish River 
      in 1730 & 1735, to Jno Bolling in 1733, and to Saml Spencer in 1733. 
      These and all other non-Cabell patents to follow are tinted pale green. 
      The first of the Cabell patents was that of Wm 1, 4800 acres, a long 
      "snake" on both sides of the Fluvanna. Here & subsequently, all Wm 1 
      tracts are painted yellow. 

739.  Wm Cabbell 1 received 6 additional patents extending the "yellow snake" 
      further up the James River. Cousin Wm Mayo received land on James River 
      between Mayos & Swann Cks; this and  tracts of other Cabell kin are 
      painted gray. 

746.  In the years 1740-46, Wm Cabbell 1 received 2 patents up Tye River.  But 
      he conveyed 4 tracts to others. Two of Wm 1's tracts were conveyed to Wm 
      Allen who repatented them in 1745; reflecting the change, the yellow of 
      Wm 1 is replaced by pale green of a non-Cabell. And two tracts were sold 
      to Wm Megginson who also repatented them in 1745 ( yellow changes to the 
      grey the color of Cabell kin and associates). 

      Wm Mayo enlarged his holding on Mayo & Swann Cks, and three Burks rec'd 
      patents - Samuel on S s James, Richard at Great Bent, & John Peachtree 
      on Tye Riv. 

      At the W margin of the Homeland, appear small portions of 2 very large 
      patents each about 25,000 acres - one to Geo Braxton in 1743, the second 
      to Rev Robt Rose in 1744. 

      Elsewhere several patents to "others" - one to Benj Mims (Wm Cabbell's 
      neighbor back in Goochland Co on Lickinghole Ck), to Jas Fendly who 
      apparently gave Findlay Mt its name, & to Robt Walton an isolated tract 
      in the hinterland of Buckingham. 

756.  In the years 1747-1756, the following transactions occurred: 

      Wm 1 received a tract on Ravens Ck (yellow) 

      Wm 2 made his 1st appearance receiving 350 acres on Owens Ck (green) 

      Saml Burk received 350 acres on both sides of Tye Riv (grey) 

      Among non-Cabells, Joshua Fry and Margaret & Martha Fry received several 
      patents in the SW corner (pale green). Joshua Fry, Albemarle Surveyor 
      was Wm 1's (& Tho Turpin's) boss when the latter were Assistant 
      Albemarle Surveyors. 

      But the big change was issuance of another huge tract (28,528 acres) to 
      Walter King in 1750. King was a Brit and forfeited this land during the 
      Revolution. Subsequently, the large tract was divided into smaller lots; 
      many grants are recorded. 

    Conclusion to this point: large areas still unpatented. 

765.  The 10-yr interval 1756-1665  saw much activity. 

      Wm 2 received 1575a bs at Great Bent. There are troubles with the survey 
      - probably the acreage was good deal larger. Note that the earlier Richd 
      Burk patent land was included in Wm 2's patent (grey changes to green). 
      Note also that one of Wm 1's tracts was now identified as that of Wm 
      Horseley (yellow to grey). 

      Wm 2 received 1850a on ridge between Slate & Fluvanna Rivs. This plot             
      remains unlocated. 

      Wm 2 received three additional tracts totalling 940a at Pounding Mill, 
      Stephens, & Fendley Cks. 

      Jos Cabell 1st appeared, receiving 4 tracts in Buckingham totalling 1515 

      Jno Cabell 1st appeared receiving 3 patents totalling 685 acres 

      Geo Burk received 70a on Burks Ck 

      Wm Megginson received 3 tracts - one previously patented by one Hugh 

774.  From 1766 to 1774...

      Wm 2 received patents for 250a on Shirleys Ck (previously patented by 
      Joseph) & 3200a on Joes Ck & Ruckers Run 

      Joseph added 2 patents: 100a on S s Fluvanna & 80a in Buckingham 

      John patented 500a in Buckingham (including 400a previously patented by 
      Robt Walton) 

      Nicholas 1st appears receiving 5 patents totalling 6776a   

    Note: Wm 1 died in 1774. By then - or soon after - by deeds or will his 
lands would have passed to his 4 sons or other descendants. But this study is 
based entirely on the Land Office records of patents & grants. Thus the yellow 
color given to Wm Cabbell's patents persists until some subsequent patent 
shows that the tract has changed hands. We have seen some of Wm Cabbell's 1739 
patents change color as they passed to Allen or Megginson. And we shall yet 
see some portions of the "4800 acres" patented in 1738 change color. But much 
of the 4800 acres remains yellow up through the final 1805 map, because no 
later Land Office record shows conveyance. 

785.  During the war years 1775 to 1785... 

      Wm 2 adds 2000a on Mayo, Stephens, Mill, and Joes Cks  & 120a fronting 
      on Fluvanna Riv 

      Jno adds 120a on a N br of Davids Ck in Buckingham. 

      Nicholas adds 227a on Ivy Ck of Rockfish Riv 

795   Over the decade ending in 1795...

      Joseph's received a large patent 14740a in Buckingham (included were 3 
      tracts patented by him earlier). 

      Jno received 2200a on S s Fluvanna (included were 2 tracts previously 
      patented by himself, a tract originally patented by Samuel Burk, and 2 
      portions of Wm 1's "4800") 

      Many other tracts patented by "others" the largest being the 5682a of 
      Jno Webster 

805   "Mopping up" 

      Nicholas adds 76a 

      Jno adds 2 small tracts - each of 33a. 


    A number of stations of surveys of the HomeLand mention proximity to named 
roads. But the names are old ones not found in the DeLorme Va Atlas. It is 
interesting to see if the old roads can be related to modern ones. Slide 
805WRG is the 805 map overlaid with streams, roads, and a 2-mile grid. 

    1. A number of stations of surveys in Buckingham mention "Joseph Cabells 
Ferry Rd". The stations line up with with modern Rte 664, and appear headed 
for a ferry near Westminster. 

    2. A number of stations of surveys both east & west of the James mention 
"Megginsons Ferry Rd". East of the James, the stations line up with stretches 
of Rte 607, and the general alignment of stations on both sides of the James 
suggests a ferry on the Megginson patent lands (in the vicinity of the 
present-day crossroads of Five Forks & Eldridge Corner). 

    3. There is station of Wm 2's 1785 patent on "Church Road" which appears 
to be "Old Norwood Road" of the DeLorme Atlas. 

    4. There is another station of Wm 2's 1785 patent which mentions "an old 
schoolhouse"; it was in the immediate vicinity of "Union Hill". 

    5. There are stations on "Rolling Road" in Gleasons Gap and along the 
south side of Finlays Mt - apparently Rte 47 or Glade Rd. 


    North and west of the HomeLand, Wm 2, Joseph, and Nicholas Cabell patented 
a number of tracts. The records have all been read & the survey lines plotted. 
Some of tracts have been approximately located. Some other surveys mention 
identifiable streams and can be placed in the general vicinity of the 
drainage area. The locations of several other surveys remains unknown at 
present. There are large areas (white) where nothing is yet known about 
patents & patentees. 

    The slide AmhNels shows most of the two counties of Amherst & Nelson. A 
red rectangle at the lower right delimits the HomeLand. Only a few of the 
surveys in the Homeland are plotted. As previously, green identifies tracts of 
Wm 2, orange Joseph, lavendar Nicholas, and pale green others. 

    The map is dominated by several large patents. Yellow marks the 23,700a 
patent of Rev Robt Rose (1744),  and grey marks the similarly huge patents of 
Geo Braxton (1743, 25,000a), Walter King (1750, 28,528a), and three patents of 
Jno Chiswell (1739) totalling 30,000a. Also in grey 10,000a patented by Jno 
Carter (1738). Since the map was drawn, two more very large patents have been 
found: Wm Nicholas (1798, 25,000a) and Jno Fleming (1796, 10,000a). Perhaps 
more will be found. 

    Some of the Wm 2, Jos, & Nicholas tracts were on or adjacent to the 
BlueRidge; were they retreats from summer heat? 

    Table 1. TOTAL ACREAGES PATENTED in old Goochland, Albemarle, Buckingham, 
Amherst, & Nelson 

    # is the number of patents issued. TOTAL is the sum of acreages recorded 
in patent records. NEW is the acreage of land newly brought into ownership of 
one of the 5 Cabells. 

              #    TOTAL      NEW 

Wm 1:        14    8,590a    8,590a  (includes 1735 patent of 1200a on 
                                     Lickinghole Ck in Goochland) 

Wm 2:        22   18,084a   17,884a  ( -200a previously patented by Jos) 

Jno:         10    4,143a    2,919a  ( - 400a - 95a previously patented by Jno 
                                     - 282a - 447a previously patented by Wm 

Jos:         15   18,130a   17,605a  ( = 18,130a - 200a - 226a - 100a 

Nicholas:    12   13,552a   11,377a  ( = 13,552a - 0.5 x 4350a Crawford's 

    Altogether some ~58,000a were brought into Cabell ownership by these 5 


    0) Within "the homeland" (ca 196,000 acres),  "the coverage" is the area 
in which surveys have been mapped (very roughly 100,000 acres) 

    1) Within homeland, 1st patent was 1730, last patent about 1805 - 72 yrs 
or more than 2 generations. 

    2) Of the "coverage", only a small fraction of the area was patented 
before The Declaration of Independence (1776). Much of coverage was only 
patented in the last decade of the 18th C.  

    It is no surprize that the process of transforming unclaimed land into 
privately held tracts proceeded progressively westward from the tidewater. By 
1760 or so, lands of present day counties of Henrico, Chesterfield, Goochland, 
Powhatan had been completely privatized. But it has surprized me how much 
unclaimed land still existed in the Cabell Homeland at the end of the 
Revolution, and that the completion of the privatization in the last two 
decades of the century occurred at the same time that huge acreages were 
granted beyond the BlueRidge and in West Va & KY and even Ohio.