Bailey - Bowens
The Bailey Family
Richard Bailey the elder, was a soldier in the American
Army during the War of the Revolution, and his
residence was on the Black Water, in that portion of Bedford County,
Virginia, which subsequently became a part of Franklin County.
Richard Bailey married Miss Annie Belcher, and their family consisted of
ten children, eight sons and two daughters. The sons were John,
James, Eli, Micajah, Archibald, Reuben, Richard, and Henry. Mr.
Bailey came with his family to the Beaver Pond Spring in the year of
1780, and together with John G. Davidson, built the block-house or fort
near that spring which was afterwards known as the "Davidson-Bailey
Fort." Aside from Mr. Davidson and his family, Mr. Bailey's
neighbors were Captain James Moore, in Abb's Valley, some ten miles
away; Mitchell Clay, on the Bluestone at the Clover Bottom, about
twelve miles away; Joshua Day, at the mouth of Laurel Fork of Wolf
Creek, about fifteen miles away; Hickman Compton, on Clear Fork of
Wolf Creek, eight miles away, and Gideon Wright, at the head of the
South Fork of Bluestone, twelve miles away. The sons of Richard
Bailey, especially the elder ones, were great Indian scouts and
fighters, and were splendid specimens of physical strength and manhood
and of great personal courage.
John Bailey, the eldest son, married Nancy Davidson, the
daughter of John G. Davidson, and in 1789, he built a log house on the
south side of Bowyer's Branch, on the farm now owned by Thompson Calfee--this
building is still standing at this writing--and in which Mr. Jonathan
Bailey, their oldest son, was born in 1790, and when he was but four
days old an Indian incursion into the neighborhood caused Mr. Bailey to
take his wife and child on horseback to the fort at the Beaver Pond.
Henry Bailey, the youngest son of Richard the elder,
married a Miss Peters, daughter of John Peters, of New river.
Among the sons of Henry were John P., Elijah, Colonel James M., Philip
P., and Major William R. Bailey. John P. Bailey went to Texas in
the forties. Elijah was quite a prominent citizen in his day,
having been a member of the House of Delegates of Virginia from the
Counties of Giles and Mercer, and was afterward Sheriff of Mercer County
and long a Justice of the Peace of said county. Colonel James M.
also represented Mercer County in the House of Delegates, and was a
Colonel of Militia; and William R. was likewise a Major in the
Nancy, one of the daughters of Henry, married Charles W.
Calfee, who was long the Clerk of the Mercer County Court.
Elizabeth first married William Ferguson and subsequently the Rev.
Carroll Clark. Jane married Wilson D. Calfee, and Polly first
married James Bailey, and after his death, married John Bailey;
she was a woman of strong good sense and intellect.
From the elder Richard Bailey, the first settler,
descended all the numerous families by that name, now scattered over
several of the counties of West Virginia, particularly Mercer, McDowell,
Wyoming, and Logan, and in Tazewell County, Virginia.
Robert H. Bailey, a great grandson of the elder Richard,
has been prominent in county affairs. Estill Bailey, another great
grandson, is now the Clerk of the County Court of Mercer County.
Many of this family are prominent citizens of adjacent counties;
among them may be mentioned Theodore F. Bailey, of Wyoming.
Nearly all who bore that name, during our great civil strife, were
gallant and brave soldiers.
The Bane Family of New River Valley.
This family is of Scottish origin. The founder
thereof in America--at least of those of the name who came across the
Alleghanies--was James Bane, who came, in 1688, to New Castle, Delaware.
He had left his country because of political ostracism, and sought
shelter in the land soon destined to be free. He bought valuable
lands of William Penn in what was then, or had been, Pennsylvania.
James,one of the descendants of the first named James,
came into the Virginia Valley about 1748, and there married, in 1751,
Rebecca McDonald, a granddaughter of Bryan and Mary Combs McDonald, of
New Castle, Delaware. It would seem most probable--as some of the
McDonalds were settled between 1738 and 1744 in Beverly's Manor, near to
where the present city of Staunton, Virginia, is situated--that he
married his wife, Rebecca, in that neighborhood, and thence removed to
the Roanoke section near where Salem now stands, about 1763, where he
remained until a flood in the Roanoke River drove him to and beyond the
summit of the Alleghanies, into what is now Montgomery County.
He came, probably, about 1775--at any rate he had frequently to take
shelter from the Indians in Barger's Fort, on Tom's Creek. His
son, James, married Bettie, the daughter of John Haven, of Plum Creek,
in Montgomery, about 1776, and from thence he removed to Walker's Creek
in 1793. He had a large family of children, viz: 12;
Mary married John Henderson, Howard married Miss Hickman, and a daughter
of Howard married Colonel Erastus G. Harman, of Bluestone; Colonel
James married Mary Henderson December 31st, 1801; Annie married
.......Wilson, Sara married John Carr, Rebecca married .......Burke,
John married Mary Chapman, Jesse married Jane Carr, Edward and Joseph
died unmarried, Elizabeth married William Carr, William married Sallie
Colonel James Bane and his wife, Mary Henderson Bane,
had the following children: Sallie, who never married;
Elizabeth married Tobias Miller; Maria married Madison
Allen, John H. married Nancy Shannon, Jane S. married John Crockett
Graham, William married Jane Grayson, Nancy married Thomas Jefferson
Higginbotham, and Samuel married Lucy B. Baker. A daughter of
William Bane married John D. Snidow, and Mr. William Bane Snidow, a
prominent lawyer of Pearisburg, Virginia, is their son. All of
this family of Banes, who were in the war 1861-5, were good soldiers;
a number of them were killed and wounded. Joseph Edward Bane was
killed in the first battle of Manassas, and Major John T. Bane was a
distinguished soldier in Hood's Texas Brigade. Of this family have
come some of the very best citizens of Giles and surrounding counties.
Donald Bane succeeded Malcolm III as King of Scotland between the years
The Belcher Family.
Isham Belcher married a Miss Hodges, in Franklin County,
Virginia, and came to what is now Mercer County, then Wythe, in
1796, and settled on what is known as the Waldron Farm, about two miles
Southeast of the present city of Bluefield. He was a nephew of
Phoebe Clay, the wife of Mitchell Clay, the elder. Isham Belcher and
wife had a family of thirteen children, eleven sons and two daughters;
the sons were Obediah, Isham, Jesse, Asa, Henry D.,
John, Micajah, Jonathan, Moses, James, and Robert D. From Isham
Belcher, the elder, descended all the people of that name scattered over
a number of the counties of Southern West Virginia. Captain George
W. Belcher, a grandson of the elder Isham, Alexander Belcher and many of
that name and blood were bold, courageous Confederate soldiers in our
The Family of Black, of Montgomery.
The Rev. Dr. Samuel Black, a minister in the
Presbyterian Church--of Scotch extraction--was born in 1700;
educated in Edinburg, Scotland, and licensed to preach at Glasgow;
came to America in 1735, and first located at and had charge of the
church in Brandywine Manor in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Later
he removed to Albemarle County, Virginia, where he was Pastor of Joy and
Mountain Plains Churches for the remainder of his long and useful
His sons, John and William, came across the Alleghanies
and settled nearby where the town of Blacksburg, in Montgomery County,
is now situated. The year of their coming seems not definitely
known, but it was during the border Indian wars. John
had married Miss Jane Alexander, who, with an infant son, he brought
with him into the wilderness, where with the aid of a servant he erected
a dwelling house which was shortly thereafter burned by the Indians, he
and his family escaping to the woods and finally to Augusta, where he
left his family until he could erect another dwelling, which he turned
into a fort for protection against the Savages. He served in the
American Army during our War for Independence, under General William
Campbell, and was with him at the time of the treaty with the Indians,
at Long Island, Tennessee. Two of his sons were in the War
of 1812, and one of them, Matthew, died in the service. Five of
his sons went to the state of Ohio, where their descendants now live.
His daughter, Susan, who married Stephen McDonald, went to Missouri;
Mary, another daughter, married Walter Crockett, and they went to the
Pacific coast; while the son, Alexander, remained at Blacksburg.
John Black lived to the age of ninety-four years; his wife,
Jane Alexander, was of the family of that name, some of whom settled in
the County of Monroe.
William Black gave the land on which the town of
Blacksburg, Virginia, now stands, and which was incorporated by the
General Assembly of Virginia, in the year of 1798. By this act
George Rutledge, John Black, James P. Preston, Edward Rutledge, William
Black and John Preston were made trustees. William Black removed
to the County of Albemarle in the year of 1800.
The Barns Family.
Robert Barnes, born in Ireland in 1765, first settled in
Maryland, removed to Rockbridge County, Virginia, and from there to the
Clinch River section, now in Tazewell County, Virginia. He married
Grace Brown, and they had two sons: William Barnes,
born 1790, and John Barnes, born 1793. William Barnes married
Levicie Ward. John Barnes married Lilly Heldieth as is first wife,
and as his second Eliza Allen.
The names of the children of William Barnes are as
follows: Robert, married Ella Gibson; Clinton, married Sarah
Gillespie; Oscar F., married Mary Gillespie; John, married
Margaret Smith; Mary, married William T. Moore;
Nancy, married James Harrison; Amanda, married Moses Higginbotham;
Rebecca, died unmarried; Sallie W., married Captain D. B. Baldwin;
Eliza, married A. J. Copenhaver.
John Barnes had one son, William, who died unmarried, in
the Confederate Army.
John Ward, who married Nancy Bowen, was the father of
Levicie, who married William Barnes; and the children of the said
John Ward and Nancy Bowen are as follows: Levicie, married William
Barnes; Jane, married Robert Gillespie; Rebecca,
married William Crawford; Lilly, married John Hill;
Nancy, married Mr. Hargrave; Henry, married Sallie Wilson;
Reece, married Levicie Richardson; Rufus, married Elizabeth
Wilson; David and John, unmarried.
The Bowens, of Tazewell.
This family is of Welch extraction, and the
immediate ancestors of those that came hither were, long prior to the
American Revolution, located and settled about Fredericktown, in western
Maryland. Restive in disposition and fond of adventure, like all
of their blood, they sought, fairly early after the first white
settlements were made in the Valley of Virginia, to look for homes in
that direction. How early, or the exact date, that
Reece Bowen, the progenitor of the Tazewell family of that name, came in
to the Virginia Valley from his western Maryland home, cannot be named
with certainty; doubtless he came as early as 1765, for it is
known that for a few years prior to 1772, when he located at Maiden
Spring, he was living on the Roanoke River, close by where the city of
Roanoke is now situated, then in Augusta County, he married Miss Louisa
Smith, who proved to him not only a loving and faithful wife, but a
great helpmeet in his border life. She was evidently a woman of
more than ordinary intelligence and cultivation for one of her day and
opportunity. She was a small, neat and trim woman, weighing only
about one hundred pounds, while her husband was a giant in size and
strength. It is told as a fact that she could step into her
husband's hand and that he could stand and extend his arm, holding her
at right angle to his body.
Prize fighting was quite common in the early days of the
settlements, by which men tested their manhood and prowess. The
man who could demolish all who chose to undertake him was the champion,
and wore the belt until some man flogged him, and then he had to
surrender it. At some period after Reece Bowen had settled on the
Roanoke, and after the first child came into the home, Mrs. Bowen
desiring to pay a visit to her people in the Valley, she and her babe
and husband set out on horse-back along the narrow bridle way that then
led through the valley, and on the way they met a man clad in the usual
garb of the day--that is , buck-skin trousers, moccasins, and hunting
shirt, or wampus. The stranger inquired of Mr. Bowen his name,
which he gave him; proposed a fight for the belt.
Bowen tried to beg off, stating that he was taking his wife and child,
the latter then in his arms, to her people. The man would take no
excuse; finally Mrs. Bowen said to her husband; "Reece,
give me the child and get down and slap that man's jaws." Mr.
Bowen alighted from his horse, took the man by the lapel of his hunting
shirt, gave him a few quick, heavy jerks, when the man called out to let
him go, he had enough.
It is also related of Mr. Bowen, that in a later prize
fight, at Maiden Spring, with a celebrated prize fighter who had, with
his seconds, come from South Carolina to fight Bowen, and when he
reached Bowen's home and made known to him his business, he, Mr. Bowen,
did what he could in an honorable way to excuse himself from engaging in
a fight; but the man was persistent and Bowen concluded to
accommodate him and sent for his seconds--a Mr. Smith and a Mr.
Clendenin. The fight took place and the gentleman from South
Carolina came off second best.
Just when Reece Bowen first saw the territory of what is
now Tazewell County cannot be definitely stated. Whether he was
one of the large hunting party organized of men from the Virginia
Valley, North Carolina and New River, which rendezvoused at Ingles'
Ferry in June, 1769, and hunted on the waters of the Holstein, Powell's
River, Clinch, and in Kentucky, is not known; his name does not
appear among the number, but the writer, "Haywood's Civil and
Political History of Tennessee," does not profess to give all
the names of the party. Nevertheless it is highly
probable that Bowen was along, or he may have gone out with the party
the next year, or he may have met with the Witten's, and others, on
their way out in 1771, and joined them. He seems not to have made
his settlement at Maiden Spring until the year of 1772. He went
with Captain William Russell's company to the battle of Point Pleasant,
in 1774, leaving home in August of that year, and leaving Daniel Boone
in command of that part of the frontier. As already stated in this
volume, Boone had been forced to give up his journey to Kentucky in
September, 1773, on account of the breaking out of the Indian War, and
had spent the winter of 1773-4 in the neighborhood of Captain William
Russell, near Castleswoods.
Captain Russell's company belonged to Colonel William
Christian's Fincastle Regiment, the greater part of which did not
participate in the battle of Point Pleasant, being in the rear in charge
of the pack horses carrying provisions for the army;
but Shelby's and Russell's companies went forward with the main body and
took an active part in the conflict. Moses Bowen, a relative of
Reece, was with Russell's company, but died on the journey, from
From 1774 to 1781, when Reece Bowen marched away to the
battle of King's Mountain, the border on and along the Clinch was
harassed by bands of marauding Indians, and in many of the skirmishes
and troubles Reece Bowen took a hand. During the period from the
date of Bowen's settlement at Maiden Spring until his death, to procure
salt, iron, and other necessary materials he had to travel across the
mountains to Salisbury, North Carolina, carrying them on a packhorse,
and would be absent for weeks, leaving his wife and children alone.
His trips, however, were always made in winter, when there was no danger
from the Indians. He left rifle guns and bear dogs at home, and
with these his wife felt safe from danger, for she was a good shot with
a rifle, often exceeding the men in ordinary rifle practice. Mr.
Bowen had selected a lovely country for his home, and around and
adjacent thereto, prior to the fall of 1780, had surveyed and secured
several thousand acres of that valuable land, of which his descendants
today hold about twelve square miles.
When it was known that Lord Cornwallis' Army was
marching northward through the Carolinas, and that Colonel Ferguson, who
commanded the left wing of his Army, had sent a threat to the "Over
Mountain Men" that if they did not cross the mountains and take the
oath of allegiance to the King, that he would cross over and destroy
with fire and sword, Evan Shelby, John Sevier, and William Campbell
determined to checkmate Colonel Ferguson by crossing the mountains and
destroying him and his army. Colonel Campbell
commanded the Washington County Military Force, and William Bowen a
company that belonged to Campbell's Command, though a part of his
company lived on the Montgomery County side of the line. In this
company Reece Bowen was a First Lieutenant, his son John a Private, and
James Moore a Junior Lieutenant. When the order came for Bowen's
company to join the regiment it found its Captain, William Bowen,
sick of a fever, and this situation devolved the command of the company
upon Lieutenant Reece Bowen, who led it into the battle of King's
Mountain, and there, together with several of his men, was killed and
buried on the field. His remains were never removed, for the
reason that when opportunity was offered for their removal the spot in
which he was buried could not be identified. Campbell's Regiment
lost in this battle 35 killed and wounded; among the killed, other
than Lieutenant Reece Bowen, were Captain William Edmondson, Robert
Edmondson, Andrew Edmondson, and Henry Henninger, and among the wounded,
Charles Kilgore and John Peery, the two latter and Henninger from the
Upper Clinch Waters.
Reece Bowen has in Tazewell County many highly
respected, prominent and influential descendants, among them Mr. Reece
Bowen, Colonel Thomas P. Bowen and Captain Henry Bowen, all brave and
distinguished Confederate Soldiers; the latter, Captain Henry,
being frequently honored by his people as a member of the
Legislature of Virginia, and a Representative in Congress. The
present Mr. Reece Bowen married Miss Mary Crockett, of Wythe;
Colonel Thomas P., Miss Augusta Stuart, of Greenbrier, and Captain
Henry, Miss Louisa Gillespie, of Tazewell.