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Down the Blue Ridge
        By the middle of the eighteenth century the Talbots, the Meads, and the Hailes were settled in Lunenburg County, Virginia (in the region which later became Bedford County).  That they here became active in the Baptist Church suggests assimilation into the frontier society and perhaps alienation from high church aristocracy.  They held various county and municipal offices.  Nicholas Haile served as County Justice in 1749, William Mead took up surveying, became a county official and lieutenant in the militia.  Eventually he acquired the rank of colonel in the Continental Army.  Talbot and Haile undertook a grist mill on what is still called Hale's Mill Creek.  In about 1752, Nicholas's widowed daughter Mary married Talbot's son Matthew jr. (1729-1812).  In 1750, Nicholas Haile was charged to draw up a List of Tithes for Bedford Town.  It includes his inlaws the Merrymans as well as another Baltimore family, the Wheats, who now resided at Haile's Fork of the Otter River, as it flows through Bedford town.

        Although they still looked back to Baltimore County as home, the Nicholas Hailes had now removed well beyond the fall line of the James and the Rappahannock into what they called Augusta County.   In 1716 Governor Spotswood had followed Indian trails into the back country.  He named the territory after George II's mother, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.  Augusta County
It extended all the way to the Mississippi River in those days.  It lay on the path of the great migration out of Pennsylvania down the Blue Ridge into the Carolinas, called the Great Philadelphia Road, or just the Great Wagon Road.

       Quakers were not the only dissenters settling here.  Presbyterians had shipped to Pennsylvania as well.  Although originally Scots, they were called Scots Irish because, after their defeat by the Royalists at Worcester (1651) they had been exiled to Ulster.  Among them was a McClure family, my maternal forebears, still very conscious of their Scots poetry and song.  Venturing south on the Great Philadelphia Road, these people entered the Shenandoah Valley via Staunton.  Here lay a vast tract which in 1736 had been granted in the name of George II to William Beverley on the condition that Beverly induce permanent settlers into the back country.  Beverly had been a companion of Governor Spotswood in exploring the wilderness.  The idea was to bring settlers into the backwoods as buffer to shield the Tidewater against Indian (and French) incursions.  The McClures must have struck Beverly as substantial folk.  Although he had put land up for sale at ₤ 1 sterling per 40 acres, the McClures appear to have got it at a tiny fraction of that.  The first known schoolhouse in Augusta County was on James McClure's tract "at the foot of a hill in the meadow."

        James became a charter member of the Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church
at its founding in 1740.  One of the church's first tasks had been to obtain a Presbyterian minister from back "home" in County Donegal, the thirty-year-old John Craig.

His church is still thriving, situated near the Fishersville exit from I-64 on the way into Waynsboro A few miles on east of the church flows the South River, along which young Andrew McClure took 370 acres in 1738.  Andrew was the son of James, who bought an adjoining 408 acres in the next year, and another 359 acres ten years later.  This James McClure (1685-1761) had been a tailor in Raphoe, County Donegal, as was his father, James Arthur McClure, who never made it to the New World:  he died at sea in 1732.  His death no doubt occurred aboard the same ship which brought the old man's son and daughter-in-law, Agnes, as well as his seven grandchildren into Delaware Bay.  If so, then the McClures' half-dozen years in Pennsylvania prior to the records of the Beverly Grant remain unaccounted for.  These may not have been the only McClure family among the Scots Irish emigration to Pennsylvania.  

      The James McClure school at Tinkling Spring illustrates a second stage in Virginia education.   We have seen the first stage in Tidewater families like the Hailes, for whom education lay within the  legal framework of the apprenticeship and indenture contracts.  The guardian often required tutors, and may have even called upon traditional Latin schools.   Nicholas on the Corotoman was required by law to provide schooling for every bonded servant he brought over.  The McClure school, on the other hand, was a community effort.  These battered Scots Irish had been repeatedly torn from accustomed surroundings in England and Scotland, they had been exiled in Ulster for three generations (the Battle of Worcester was in 1651), had endured a grueling, months-long North Atlantic crossing, and spent some years toiling in the Pennsylvania back country.  Now their immediate concern in the mountain wilderness was for spiritual guidance.   James McClure's rôle as schoolmaster in Tinkling Spring may say something about this Donegal tailor's intellectual stature in the community, but above all it is evidence of frontier preoccupation with the transfer of culture to their children.  The intellectual content of their religion made them quick to call a preacher from home in County Donegal.

        The spot where the McClures settled in the Shenandoah Valley lay just beyond the Blue Ridge from where Nicholas and Anne Long Haile were to establish their new home.    A folk song from those days suggests the Hailes' impression of the culture they encountered here:

Turkey in de straw, turkey in de hay
Turkey in de straw, turkey in de hay

 Roll 'em up an' twist 'em up a high tuc-ka-haw
 An' twist 'em up a tune called Turkey in the Straw
                                                                        Turkey in the straw--haw haw haw
                                                                                          Turkey in the hay--hey hey hey
                                                                         The Reubens are dancing to Turkey in the Straw.

One might guess "The Reubens" to be what we call "rubes" today.  For the Hailes, the word may have carried an overtone alluding to the Bible (the eldest son of Jacob).  Whether biblical or not, the Reubens are such hicks that their dancing is an awkward affair.  And what is a "tuckahaw"?  I guess it to be the Indian word "tuckahoe," here used (as recorded in Webster's) as a nickname for "a Virginian living east of the Blue Ridge mountains."  Actually, Tuckahoe is also the name of the river on which the Randolphs built a mansion of the same name.

                 Tobacco plantation of the Randolphs, acquired by Thomas Jefferson. The name became a Virginia term for the tobacco aristocracy in general.

                In the song, a "high tuckahaw" has to be something you can "roll up and twist up."  It probably just means a fine tobacco leaf, a cigar.  The Virginians who used the term Tuckahoe for local aristocracy had another word for "the Reubens":  Cohees.  The Cohees were Bible-quoting ("quoth he") grain farmers of Presbyterian, Quaker, Baptist, Methodist, etc. faith--just like the McClures at Tinkling Spring.

        Nicholas and Anne Haile probably still regarded themselves as Tuckahoes from Baltimore County.  That is where their youngest child was born in 1743.  But by the time their eldest daughter married in 1750,  Nicholas and Anne were in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.   Their subsequent trek down the Great Wagon Road to Bedford occurred just at that perilous time when the colonists were being drawn into England's quarrel with France, and the French were allied with the hostile Delaware Indians.  At a battle on the Monongahela in the summer of 1754, the Delaware defeated  young Colonel George Washington.  Their subsequent ambush and destruction of General Braddock's forces at the fork of the Allegheny now posed a dire threat to the entire route along which families like the Hailes and McClures were settling.  The formidable Delaware were not alone.  In the same month as Braddock's defeat (July, 1755) the Shawnee massacred a frontier Virginia settlement and robbed a young mother, Mary Draper Ingles, from her home.   While her captors were rushing her down the Ohio River, Mrs. Ingles gave birth to a little boy.  In Indiana she finally made her famous escape.  If her infant son survived, he was left behind with the Indians.  Mary Draper Ingles' trek back home was long and arduous.  She had no choice but to follow the great River.  Wherever a tributary might flow into the Ohio, she had to detour in search of a crossing.  Her travail culminated in her successful return home in December.  Contemporary correspondence (below) concerning nearby Bedford offers another perspective on the Indian problem.

      Royal authority held Virginians to a scrupulous forbearance , even in the face of Indian depredations.  In an attempt to enforce British policy and to shield the colonists, Colonel Washington founded a "chain of forts" from Maryland along the Blue Ridge down into Carolina.

Among Washington's correspondence are letters from John Blair (1731-1800), president of the Council in Williamsburg. In writing to Washingon, Blair encloses letters from two colonial defenders against the Indians, Matthew Talbot and William Mead.  Since both these men are inlaws of Nicholas Haile, we have to assume that the Haile household was among those upset by the Indian troubles depicted here below.
*Blair was later to become one of the signers of the Constitution and, after Washington became President, a justice of the United States Supreme Court.

        In May of 1758, young Blair wrote to Colonel Washington on the subject of funds and recruits for the colonial militia.  As he was writing, more pressing business arose.  He reports:

Last Saturday brot. me an Accot. of a large party of Indians who in passing thro' Bedford spread themselves in smaller Companys many Miles wide and Robb'd every Plantation they came at.  This provoked the Inhabitants to a great degree; Col: Talbot sent out Militia to protect them, who came up with a Party of them and seeing some of their Horses demanded restitution; but the indians answered they must fight for them, and fired and killed one Man; whereupon they fired upon the Indians and killed some of  them.  But to save my writing I send you the accounts I received, having ordered a strict enquiry to be made above, by Col: Read, Colo. Talbott and Col. Maury, which when transmitted to me I purpose to send by express to Govr. Lyttleton to beg his Assistance, to prevent the disaffection of the Nation and the ill consequences that might ensue on a misrepresentation . . . You may assure them if our Men were the aggressors they will be severely punished and if the Indians were guilty of what is charged upon them the Wise great Men our good Friends will not blame what was done, but think they brought it upon themeselves by their own folly.
. . . I am Sir Your very humbl Servt.
. . . John Blair

The Colonel Talbot whom Blair mentions is Nicholas Haile's partner, Mary's father-in-law:
William Talbot, age fifty-nine.  The first of Blair's enclosures is  Colonel Talbot's  letter addressed to the clerk of Lunenburg County on May 3, 1758.  Begging for reinforcements.  Talbot writes

I do everything I can to keep a few men out on the frontiers of this County but alass I fear it will not be long they wil Continue indeed it is very hard for men to be from there plantations at this time of the year when they Should be planting Corn to make the bread for their families . . . I am very uneasy about the Cherokees there was about fifteen Came through the Settlement where I Live and Spread themselves at least ten miles in breadth and went to Every plantation in their way I Cant Say they did much mischief or behaved very ill but their presence frithen the women very much So much that if they be allowed to Come without white men . . .  with them I do not blieve our County will Stand a month Longer there Came about nine or ten to my house they reley Seemd to me as if they Came to See what white men and negroes we have and so see what our Strengthe we are of, the people in general Seem to fear the return of them with more force they made for Stanton [over the mountains, about 50 miles north] they went to a house where there was not any body but a man and his wife and rensacked the house of every thing they thought Proper to take and I expect to hear of Some murder Committed by them when they Get to the outward Inhabitants . . . My son Matt [ths is Mary's husband]  is endeavoring to raise men to goe out after the Indians and to lie in wait for them and tell me he is determind if it be possible to goe till he get Some of there Scalps and or Leave his he imagines to get about five and twenty men . . . he will have none but what is Select Gunners and . . . good woodmen I know he refuses Several who offer to goe because they are not Such he seems to be very ambitious that way and I Cannot forbear incouraging him in it . . .he will leave his wife and Children with me or at Charles. . . .

As the marauders moved north, they would threaten settlements around Winchester, where the Crank family was now located.  By "outward inhabitants," Talbot means people like the McClures who had been brought into the back country as a buffer against the Indians.  The Beverley Patent lay at that gap in the Blue Ridge which would enable these Indians to pass as "they made for Stanton [Staunton]."

had also received a note of distress from William Mead (Anne's husband), dated May 8th--

With Sorrow I inform you . . . that the Indians has taken all Thos. Morgans family and all are Carried away or killd. and all the Goods Carried away and destroyed and it is the opinion of the men that Some are Killd. by the Signs they Saw--and as you render the Good of your Self and Country beg youl Send men immediately . . . to relieve the Poor distressed Prisoners . . .


Blair also told Washington of a pitched battle on May 10th, and enclosed a report from Col. Talbot to the county clerk:

in what Manner Shall I Represent to you the Horror and anxieties that at this time reigns among our Inhabitants (indeed as I have not words I must be Silent and Leave it to your imagination).  Occasioned by these banditties of Cherokees who daily are traveling through our County . . . they Rob our houses of all things they Like So that oftentime they Leave us not one rag of Cloaths to Shift our Selves withall nor never a horse to goe mill or plough withall, yet these people are Called our friends our people will bear it no Longer Indeed I think they have bore it to Long allready and I do not know but the persons who have exerted them Selves in defence of their rights and properties may be Called to a Strict account for it [he cites some examples, then returns to his own experience] Last Sunday there passed by 33 Indians in another parcel which Robed and pillaged as they went Capt. Mead [Anne's husband] with Seventeen men went in pursuit of them and wrote to me to beg I would Send him Some assistance . . . and if they Come up with the Indians as I expect they will and the Indians will not deliver the Horses and other things they have Stole a Battle will insue for our people is determined to bear Such usage no Longer . . . I beg if this Come to yr. Hand before you Send to me that youl be so good as to Send Isham [Matthew's 20-year-old son by a second marriage] up to me to be Some assistance to me in these troublesome times for I am very much afraid I must move my wife and what Small effects to some place of Safety and I wish you would be pleased to Look out for a west house a Small one would do for my wife and I though I will be hear as Long as I Can Yr. Complyance will Greatly
oblige Dr. Sir yr very Hble
Ps SIR I beg youl Hasten up what men you design for our relief Dr Sir I beg youl Let Isham Come up to me directly and be So good as to Send me a 100 flints and if you have not a horse to Spare Let him Come afoot the Bearer if you order him will goe to Wmburgh with the Letter to the President--I this minute Recd yrs by Hicks and alas See our frontiers (as you observe) is Little regarded . . . if I had the Eloquence of Cicero I Could not tell you the anxiety of my Soul at this time for my Self family and Inhabitants here--Keith Daughter is dead Likewise I am informed to day that Bruff wife is Likewise dead.

Among other entreaties, Blair sends along to Washington letters from the colonel's older son, Charles (Charles and Matthew, Jr. were thirty-five and twenty-nine at this time)

        Marauding Indians were a fairly typical circumstance all along the mountain ridge down to the CarolinasNicholas's younger brother George (b. 1712) moved his large family from Baltimore the same three hundred miles down to Bedford County (then still called Lunenburg) in Virginia.  From one of George's Tennessee grandchildren we learn that the family purchased eight Irish bondsmen in Baltimore, and took them along to the Watauga (Crowe, p. 31).  This was exactly the way the family had come to Virginia a hundred years earlier, first providing themselves with the labor to develop the land they hoped to acquire.

           Another of my maternal forebears, the Crank family, were Tuckahoes who moved upriver past the fall line, then down the Great Wagon Road through Cohee country.  Originally the Cranks had dwelled  just across the Rappahannock from tdhe mouth of the Corotoman (where Nicholas Haile farmed).  From there, Matthew Crank's son Thomas (1735-1782), m. Elizabeth Richardson (b. 1745) moved upriver into Goochland County. Their youngest child, William (1772-1854) m. Tabitha Poindexter (1775-1854), can also be traced by record oftheir children's births: a daughter and two sons upriver in Louisa County; then a third son down the Blue Ridge in Amherst County, adjacent to Bedford, where the Hailes had located.  By the time of Thomas Jefferson's administration, the Cranks had moved all the way down to the North Carolina border in Halifax County.

        I can scarcely help wondering whether my various kinfolks had not made acquaintance in those days.  These were people of similar background who shared the same hopes, had similar means for accomplishing them.  Furthermore, they were all of English stock, often of the same English culture. They were following the Great Wagon Road southward, an extension of the Philadelphia Road which the McClures had taken down out of Pennsylvania.   They were spending their lives among a burgeoning German population, as place names attest today still.  Yet for these English and Scots Irish there appears no intermarrying with the Virginia Germans.   Later Crank generations eventually moved to Arkansas. This is where young Elisha McClure took Mary Crank to wife.  Two years later, Elisha's older sister married Mary's brother (Robert).  Then finally Elisha's younger brother (Daniel) chose Mary's sister Martha.  The profusion of double cousins bespeaks also how families clustered together in the wilderness, if only for safety, but probably to preserve its own traits, each after its kind--as the settlement at Tinkling Spring had sent back to County Donegal for their preacher. To preserve their Christian heritage,  they became active in denominations which displaced the Church of England.  And now in Arkansas, after more than a century in America, the Tidewater English Tuckahoes were finally mixing with back-country Scots-Irish Cohees.

        One destination for the Hailes was to be the Watauga region of what was then North Carolina.  Mary's husband, Matthew Talbot, became a very large landholder both in Virginia and on the Watauga.  Although Talbot, like his brother-in-law  young Nicholas Haile, had been raised in the Church of England, he too became a Baptist preacher.  He founded a church on Sinking Creek.  His was the generation drawn up into the
War for Independence, beginning here already in the 1760s.  Talbot built a fort on his Watauga property which served as staging ground for the Battle of Kings Mountain (1780), in which he fought.  Matthew's oldest son, Haile Talbot, moved out to Missouri, where he became involved in the Missouri push for statehood.  In subsequent Talbot generations, Hale / Haile continues to recur as given name, sometimes as a middle name for the girls.

       Anne's husband, William Mead, was a prominent figure in the development of New London (about 15 miles east of Bedford).  This is the Colonel Mead in the Washington correspondence above, a
n important defender of New London.  He was already an experienced fighter, having figured as a youth in the campaign at Fort DuQuesne (1758).  Like Matthew Talbot, William Mead would go on to serve in the War for Independence.  Anne bore William seven children before her death in childbirth.  Mead then married the widow of his sometime boss William Stith (chief surveyor in Bedford) and fathered six more children.  Having accumulated immense land holdings, Mead at last moved to Georgia, where he again accumulated large estates.

        Nicholas's name, on the other hand, ceases to turn up
in Virginia records, even as records are now becoming more abundant.   We must assume that Nicholas did not survive his fifties, since his wife returned to Baltimore and remarried there in 1760.  Perhaps problems of health had already contributed to his restlessness, even to his religiosity--but that is pure speculation.  While Nicholas's son-in-law, offspring of Quakers, went on to a very worldly and warlike career, Nicholas's own son (Nicholas, included in the Bedford County tithes mentioned above) founded a Baptist church in Watauga, as had his brother-in-law Matthew Talbot.

        The Indian troubles these fellows describe in their letters certainly put a great fright into the Scots Irish settlers up at Tinkling Spring, where a general exodus was prevented only by the stalwart encouragement of their Reverend John Craig.  Samuel McClure was one of several who did foresake the Tinkling Spring Community.  By 1757, Samuel had made it as far south as
Hanging Rock Creek, just across the border from North into South Carolina.  In that year he married a local girl, Sarah Rankin.   Samuel,  James McClure's youngest son, had become father to his family's first child born in America.  The peace loving qualities of Samuel and his kin would make them especially vulnerable to impending conflicts in the Carolina backwoods.  Samuel's children remained at Hanging Rock Creek until after the War of Independence.

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