Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pattersons and Daniel Boone


Legends are the stuff that dreams are made of. Glory, grandeur, drama. When we think of legends we think of King Arthur, William the Conqueror, George Washington, General Custer, Daniel Boone. We often think of legends as the first to do something. Or, the greatest at having done something. Most of the time, however, our assumptions about these legends are highly inaccurate. At the very least, exaggerated.

For example, Daniel Boone. Yes, he was a great explorer, but there were many failures on his part along the way. That's okay, though, as persistence won the day for him. No problem.

Likewise, Boone was not the first explorer or even the only explorer to traverse the frontier in most places he traveled. He was simply the most famous.

The Frontier

When the Boone family first left Pennsylvania for the frontier, they traveled to the Shenandoah valley of VA. Daniel's parents, Squire and Sarah Boone, sold their PA land in 1750 and moved to the Linville Creek area of VA near modern day Harrisonburg. They only remained there for a year and then followed the many families who were migrating to the Yadkin River valley of Piedmont, North Carolina.

But have you ever wondered why they moved to Linville Creek, VA and then to modern day Mocksville, NC? The Boones were not the first families to make those moves. Many families had already begun settling the Linville Creek frontier region of VA in the 1730's. Families like the Linvilles, Harrisons, Cravens, Stewarts, Pattersons, Blacks, etc. By 1750, dozens of other families had arrived, such as the Bryans and Morgans, families which the Boones were heavily intermarried with (plus the Linvilles).

My gggggg-grandfather was Robert Patterson, born circa 1711. He bought 106 acres of land in Sussex Co DE in 1732 and then he and his wife Sarah sold it in March of 1738. That was when they moved to the Linville Creek part of VA, following their relatives and neighbors from DE who began the migration in 1737.

By 1748, Joseph Bryan was already in the Linville Creek vicinity. Joseph Bryan was a pillar in the community for the decade or so he lived there. He was married to Alice Linville, sister of William and Thomas Linville. The Linvilles were close neighbors to Robert Patterson. Additionally, Bryan's sister Elinor was married to William Linville.

Here's where the Boones come in... Joseph and Alice Bryan's daughter, Rebecca Bryan, married Daniel Boone in 1756 after they had all moved to NC. Another daughter of Joseph Bryan, named Martha, married Edward Boone. Furthermore, Joseph's brother, William Bryan, married Mary Boone, sister of Daniel Boone. Suffice it to say, the Boones and Bryans had a lot of mistletoe on their farms!

The Patterson Connection

On March 15, 1755, the estate of Benjamin Copeland was appraised at Linville Creek, VA. Three men were appointed by the court to appraise Copeland's estate, to wit:  Robert Patterson, Joseph Bryan, and John Brown. There were several Robert Pattersons in Augusta Co VA during those days, but there is no doubt as to which Patterson this was. My Robert Patterson did not sign his own name, he always made "his mark". But instead of an "X" he always made an "R". See the following image of the signatures and marks of the three appraisors.

Robert "R" Patterson, Joseph Bryan, John "J" Brown

Notice that Patterson and Brown both made their marks, while Joseph Bryan signed his name. By the following year, the Bryan family were in NC with their daughter Rebecca getting married to the famous Daniel Boone. They had known each other in PA, and then lived near each other (probably the very same farm) on Linville Creek in VA in 1750-51, and were then reunited in NC by 1756.

I find this appraisal record very intriguing, however. My ancestor being so closely involved in local matters with a man who was otherwise just an ordinary, run of the mill, normal man - Joseph Bryan. And he was a common man, as was his son-in-law, Daniel Boone.

Legends truly become legends after they're long gone from this old world. I would dare say this was true in the case of Ole Dan'l, as well. In 1750, he would have been a spry 16 year old while living near my Patterson clan. I wonder what sort of pranks he was known for carrying out? I'm sure my family could have told you "way back yonder".

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