GREENBANK LAND GRANTS
October 23, 1934
R. W. Brown, Surveyor
Greenbank, W. Va.
Some time ago you asked me to write you a list, or something, concerning the original patents or land grants of the Greenbank community. I have forgotten which particular grants you mentioned, however, I will give you a list of the original Land Grants that are adjacent, and contiguous, and run with common lines; and are situated on the waters of the North Fork and Deer Creek and should figure largely in the local history of the Greenbank Community.
We don’t know the exact date, but some time long before the Revolutionary War, a dauntless bank of pioneers possessed of adventurous spirits crossed the Allegheny Mountains and from the summit of one of the loftiest peaks, where until then the foot of a white man had never trod, they viewed the vast expanse of the level land and forest of the Deer Creek Valley; returning probably to quaint old Williamsburg, they told of the wonderful discovered country which is now the Greenbank community, and thus opened the way for the venturesome pioneers who were destined to overcome difficulties and build homes in the Deer Creek Valley. But several years had passed when, one day about 1765, the figure of a stalwart, broad shouldered man could have been seen standing on top a wild and rugged knoll, which reaches its rocky bluff high above the North Fork Creek, which is a short distance east of the junction of the North Fork and Deer Creek. He no doubt was alone, save for the companionship of a long rifle which he leaned upon as he contemplated the glorious scenes that stretched before him, as he forecast the future of the beautiful landscape.
This lone pioneer was John Warwick. He was one of those daring men, who, as the tide of emigration started westward, had left his friends and family and, after many days of hunting and exploring, reached the junction of North Fork and Deer Creek.
The scene so impressed John Warwick that he concluded to build a home and found a settlement on the waters of Deer Creek. After taking a tomahawk right of possession, which consisted of blazing a few trees, and building a rude shack, he set out for his home in East Virginia to tell his people of the magnificent country he had discovered.
Immediately, with his three sons, Andrew, John Jr. and William, he persuaded a large number of settlers to accompany him to the Deer Creek Valley; the country through which they passed was a tangled and almost impenetrable forest; the ax of the pioneer was never sounded in this region where every mile of the way might harbor some danger from the Indians; these pioneers knew not the meaning of fear; the war whoop of the Indians and the twang of the bow and arrow were familiar sounds to them. The old pole ax wielded by strong arms soon cleared some land, and reared stout log cabins within the radius of three or four miles. Then new settlers moved in and the settlement began to grow and flourish and the red men began to be troublesome; some settlers were shot, and bands of hostile Indians prowled around and made it very dangerous.
An attack from the Indians was apprehended and the settlers determined to build a Fort as a defense for the infant settlement which was planned by Jacob Warwick and named for him, but was built by the people of the community. As a rule, the old Indian Forts were built in the shape of a parallelogram. Mr. Peter Warwick told me that his grandfather said this Fort was in circular form, and that the roof was covered with sods and dirt to prevent fire from the enemy. The white oak walls bristled with port holes and surrounded by a stockade fence, it presented an almost impregnable defense. This fort was used as a home for some of the settlers who often lived for weeks inside its walls.
For many years it remained a famous Fort on the frontier, having withstood several Indian attacks. The Fort was situated in the forks of North Fork and Deer Creek on an elevation of ground that commanded a fine view of the surrounding country; now in the west end of a field of F. H. Warwick. Mr. Warwick told me he had hauled several wagon loads of rock from the foundation and chimney of the old Fort.
The month of June 1780 must have been a very busy time for the early settlers of the Greenbank community, due to the fact that they were surveying out their lands to secure grants or patents. It appears that there had been no surveying done prior to the Revolutionary War.
June 7, 1780 is the date of the first survey as shown in the Augusta Grant Book No. 1 in the Auditor’s Office at Charleston, W. Va., which was made for Jacob Warwick for 340 acres.
June 8, 1780, James McCartee 215 acres. June 9, 1780, William Nottingham 300 acres. June 10, 1780, James Rucker 361 acres. June 11, 1780, James Rucker Jr., 345 acres. June 12, 1780, Jacob Gillispie, 400 acres. June 12, 1780, Thomas Jarvis, 400 acres. June 13, 1780, Thomas Cartmill 358 acres. August 8, 1782, William Warwick 900 acres. Abraham Ingram, November 15, 1785, 138 acres. William Taylor, 1785, 230 acres. Godlip Hartman, 1795, 313 acres.
All these grants are recorded in Augusta County Grant Book No. 1, and Grants issued to James McKamey, James Kerney, John Warwick, Joseph Wooddell, Thomas Coberley, Thomas Wooddell, William Warwick, Daniel Kerr, James Munsen, Benona Griffin and Samuel Tallman are found recorded in Bath County Book No. 1.
This brings us up to 1795, when the speculators and land sharks began to secure grants for large tracts of land in the Allegheny Mountains bordering on the new settlements, which was Bath county at that time.
To be continued…