WESTERN EXPLORATIONS IN VIRGINIA BETWEEN LEDERER AND SPOTSWOOD [A Chapter From “landmarks Of Old Prince William”] By Fairfax Harrison, The Virginia magazine of history and biography, Volume 30, By Virginia Historical Society
In November, 1673, Cadwallader Jones, who must then have been just twenty-one years of age, patented 1443 acres in the freshes of the Rappahannock, on the south side of the river below the falls, and here he posted himself during the anxious period of Indian depredations on the Virginia border immediately following the Susquehannock war. The Rappahannock settlements were peculiarly exposed and Cadwallader Jones seems to have come to the front as a dauntless fighting man. In June, 1680,* when the Council was considering the book of country claims sent up by the Burgesses, they found therein an item of a petition for relief by “Lt. Col. Cad. Jones,” and annotated it as follows: “The Sufferings of the Petitioner are most apparent and his resoluteness to abide his plantation ag’t all attempts and conspiracies of our Indian enemies for many years hath (as may well be supposed) maintained us in the seatment of the upper parts of Rappahannock for many miles.” This evidence is persuasive that it was Cadwallader Jones who, in 1678, lead the party of Virginia rangers into the Rappahannock backwoods, “as far from the English plantations as Cahuaga is from Albany,” and had that clash with a roving band of Senecas which resulted in acrimonious diplomatic exchanges, and the agreement by Virginia in 1684 to keep out of the piedmont highlands.” Jones’ interests were not, however, confined to the Rappahannock. He apparently inherited from his mother a part of her Stafford plantation on Chotank creek.
When a somewhat ruffled dove of peace returned to Virginia after the deaths of Bacon and Berkeley, she found Jones in command of the fort on Rappahannock,” carrying on thence a trade with Occaneechie and the Tuscaroras of North Carolina. There survives an interesting letter he wrote to Lord Baltimore at this time. Under date of “Mt. Paradise, Virginia,” February 2, 1681/2,” Jones asked Baltimore for permission for the bearer, Thomas Owsley,” to trade for him “at Nanticoke only, for Roanoke and Peake,” explaining, “I have an inland trade about four hundred miles from here S. S. W. This year the Indians will need Roanoke and I have a considerable trade with them. Through it I learned six weeks since of the motion of the Seneca indians about 300 miles S. S. W. from here. They took from an Indian town 35, and 4 or 5 from several small towns under the mountains near 500 miles [from hence]. They have so oppressed the Indians that they have made no corn this year. They are now in a full body returning home. By reckoning, they may be in your country on their return, when the turkeys gobble, by the information of those that were here.”
[Roanoke and Peake = Indian money http://www.lost-colony.com/trade.html ]
During the ensuing summer of 1682, Jones ranged the great fork of the Rappahannock with John Taliaferro, of Snow Creek, son of the Robert “Talifer” from whose house on Rappahannock Lederer had set out ten years previously. It was then, as Taliaferro afterwards testified,” that they explored to “the first Heads or Springs of the Two Branches of Rappahannock,” and perhaps it was then also that they anticipated the achievement of the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe and crossed the Blue Ridge to camp on the banks of the Shenandoah.
In February, 1686/7, the sanguine temperament which had brought an earlier Cadwallader Jones to disaster had the same consequence in his grandson. Our Cadwallader Jones’ Indian trading had over-stretched his credit. He was then living on his Stafford plantation “Rich Neck” and Nicholas Spencer sent to William Fitzhugh a debt to collect from him there. Fitzhugh reported, on February 18th,” “I offered to buy two or three negroes of him, he assured me they were already made over to the Alderman” and his Ship Merchants to whom he hath not yet paid one penny, and therefore that way there was nothing to be expected. And I have since heard that the night he went away from my house, he went into Maryland and so conclude he is clear gone.” A month later this news is confirmed. “As I writ in my last,” says Fitzhugh on March 14th, “my thought of Coll° Jones his departure I find since absolutely true, but whither I can’t yet learn, but I imagine (by some Discourse he let fall at my house) it is for England to get himself into his Majestys Army.” He adds that Jones’ wife had meanwhile removed all his goods to Rappahannock. Jones, himself, made his way to England and there was enabled, doubtless by the influence of the Jeffreys to whom he was most’in debt, to enlist the interest of the proprietors of the Bahamas. On November 14, 1689, he was commissioned Governor of those islands. In this capacity he served for four years, when he was superseded by that Nicholas Trott who was later a large figure in Carolina. In this new milieu Jones’ desperate effort to retrieve his shattered fortune got him into trouble again. In 1697 one Thomas Bulkely petitioned the Crown against Jones, rehearsing his “arbitrary and tyranical exercise of power” while Governor and particularly his intimate association with the pirates who notoriously then infested the islands. Although, on the advice of Edward Randolph, the Lords of Trade found against Jones, the proprietors stood by him nevertheless. They had found his accounts “imperfect,” but they ratified Trott’s action in continuing him in the Council and, when Bulkely’s charges became hot, winked at his “escape from the colony.” This “escape” seems to have been in the summer of 1698, when Jones once more took refuge in England.” A few months later he is again in Virginia, and from “York Town” indites the following paper to Governor Nicholson, with which was enclosed the map we reproduce:
…It [Jones’ paper] served as the basis of Spotswood’s indian company, which was to have its headquarters at Christanna. [my emphasis]
There is only one more record of the man himself. Six months after the date of his Lovissiania and Virginia Improved Jones took out a Northern Neck grant for 500 acres, beginning at “Colo. William Fitzhugh’s western most corner tree upon or near the branches of Accotinck.””* He had returned to the neighbourhood of his great patent of 1677. He was then not more than forty-six years of age, but probably he died soon after. The tradition of the family of Slaughter of Culpeper is the only evidence which makes for any assurance that Cadwallader Jones left progeny in Virginia.” In the family of Jones of Petersburg, there has, however, descended a sword of the seventeenth century, which was worn in the Confederate army, and of which the tradition is that it was the sword of Cadwallader Jones.TM
…[an] interesting tradition in the family of Jones of Petersburg, that Cadwallader was a brother of that contemporary Peter Jones who married a daughter of Col. Abraham Wood of Fort Henry and whose son, another Peter, gave his name to Petersburg. If there was any evidence for this tradition it would forge a link between Cadwallader Jones and Wood, the able indian trader and promoter of western exploration, which would explain at once Jones’ interest in the indian trade and in the country west of the Blue Ridge.
In 1670, William Fitzhugh (a.k.a. “William the Immigrant”) settled in Westmoreland County Virginia. He became a governor of the College of William and Mary and a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. He also established one of the largest land grants in the “new world.” He owned land that stretched from present day Stafford County to Arlington County. The Fairfax County portion of this property, the 21,996-acre Ravensworth Tract, was described in 1694 as “upon the runs of Accotinke, Mussel Creek run and on the south side of the run Four Mile Creek.”
In the 1680s and 1690s, the Fairfax County land known at the time as Ravensworth was marketed to French Huguenots who were suffering under religious persecution. In 1686, William Fitzhugh wrote the following to entice the Huguenots to buy or lease this land: “The land I offer to sell or lease is scituate in this county, lyes within a mile and a half of Potomac River, and of two bold navigable creeks, is principal good land and is proper for Frenchmen, because more naturally inclined to vines, than yours or any about our neighborhood; and will engage to naturalize every soul of them at 3 per head without anymore or other matter of charge or trouble to them, whereby the heirs will be capacitated to inherit the fathers purchase.”
In 1730, tobacco warehouses were established at Little Hunting Creek and Occoquan. These helped to make Ravensworth a very prosperous tobacco plantation. By 1782, Ravensworth was the fourth largest plantation in Fairfax County, and had 203 slaves. In 1783, the north section of the Ravensworth tract was divided among the five grandsons of William Fitzhugh. The south section, south of Braddock Road, remained largely intact until Robert E. Lee’s children inherited it. Richard Fitzhugh, one of the five grandsons, built Oak Hill in 1790. In the same year, Ossian Hall and another house named Dover were all constructed by the grandsons of William Fitzhugh. Today Oak Hill is the only remaining home built by the Fitzhugh family left in Fairfax County.
THOMAS OWSLEY http://www.ofhs.org/id33.html
By 6 September 1679, however, he was back in Virginia. On that date Colonel William Fitzhugh of Stafford County offered his opinion to Major Robert Beverly, clerk of the House of Burgesses, of a suit in which Thomas Owsley was then involved (OFHS Newsletter, March 1996, pp. 6-7). By the following year, at the age of only 22 years, he held the position of Clerk of the County Court (Goolrick, John T., The Story of Stafford, Stafford, Virginia, 1976, p. 49). From the earliest days this important position was always held by a man of education and Thomas Owsley was well suited for the post. His clerical duties appear, however, to have been of short duration, for he was soon again engaged in a more profitable business, as agent for one Colonel Cadwallader Jones. On 14 March 1681/2, Jones was issued a memorandum, valid for six months, to authorize Thomas Owsley to traffic in a variety of commodities, excepting munitions, with the Nantecoke Indians (Maryland Historical Society, Archives of Maryland, XVII, p. 88).
A Letter has survived from this period that presents a vivid picture of the danger that was often present to the early settlers and in this situation directly impacted upon Thomas Owsley. In 1692, he was residing upon his plantation on Pohick Run when Indians attacked his home. The letter, presented to the Maryland General Assembly, describes the events of May 1692:
“…Last night about 11 or 12 a Clock Came two men from Mr Ousleys to Captain Addisons to give notice that about 3 a Clock in the afternoon Mr Ousleys negro Woman going betwixt the Lower and Upper house was almost killed by two Indians and hath two wounds in her head, and a peice of Skin the breadth of a Crown piece flead off her skull, and stabed under the right Breast, which wound is thought to be Mortall and Stabbed quite through one Arm, with several other small wounds, a Cooper being at a Little Distance heard her Cry out, who with another Man with him made towards her, which frightened them away and in a Little time after Mr Ousley being out, came home with his Ranging Party and Eleven Pisscataway Indians with him, who immediately went after them & found where they had Camped near to the house. The Indians say they think by the footing there is ten of them. They pursued them so hard that they dropt several things 1st pair of Mockasoons, one stick like a back sword much like that you did see at Captain Addisons; Mr Ousley returned to his house last night, but the Indians are still in pursuit, who says they doubt not to come up with them, unless they Come over Potowmack Mr Ousley and his Party is appointed by Our Indians to meet them again this Day…” (Maryland Historical Society, Archives of Maryland, XIII, p. 282-283)