Kirk - Napier.
John Kirk, the ancestor of this family, came from
Scotland, and had located, several years prior to the beginning of the
American Revolution, in Piedmont, Virginia. John, the son of this
emigrant, came to the New River Valley at an early date, as shown by his
written application, made in 1832, for a pension for military services
rendered as an American soldier in the Revolution; he was born in
the County of Fauquier, October 10th, 1754. He had a son, Thomas,
who was also an American soldier, and had received, in one of the
battles of the War of 1812, a severe wound in the hand. The Kirks,
Duncans and Emmonses were neighbors in Fauquier.
The John Kirk who came to Middle New River married
Elizabeth O'Brien, and his son Thomas married Ruth Howe, a daughter of
Major Daniel Howe. John Kirk enlisted in the spring of 1776, in
the company of Captain John Chilton, of Fauquier County, which
company was attached to the 3rd Virginia Regiment of Infantry commanded
by Colonel Hugh Mercer, of which Thomas Marshall, father of Chief
Justice John Marshall, was the Major. This regiment, after its
organization, marched to Alexandria, Virginia, then to Williamsburg, and
from there to New York and was posted on Long Island. Colonel
Mercer, having been promoted to Brigadier General and put in command of
a brigade consisting of the 3rd, 7th, 11th, and 15th Virginia Regiments,
Colonel Weeden was placed in command of the 3rd Regiment, Thomas
Marshall becoming Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Leak, Major. In
the battle of Long Island, in August, 1776, Major Leak was killed and
Captain Lee was promoted to Major. The brigade of Mercer marched
to White Plains, then into New Jersey and on to Pennsylvania, camping on
the banks of the Delaware, from whence on the evening of
Christmas, 1776, the army crossed the Delaware through
floating ice, and surprised the Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey,
capturing more than 1,000 prisoners, who were safely brought away.
The army rested in the vicinity of the Delaware, where it was confronted
by the British Army, which, on the night of the...... day of January,
1777, it eluded and by a circuitous route attacked a British force at
Princeton, which it defeated. The brigade to which John Kirk
belonged opened this battle; its brigade commander, General
Mercer, fell mortally wounded. Mr. Kirk was also in the battle of
Brandywine, in September, 1777, in which his Captain Chilton, was
killed, as was Major Lee, of his regiment; he was likewise in the
battle of Germantown and wintered at Valley Forge. His term of
enlistment for two years expired in the spring of 1778, and he received
his discharge. All the people of the New River Valley, who bear
the name of Kirk, and many others who do not, are the descendants of
this family. John Kirk represented Giles County in the House of
Delegates of Virginia in the years of 1818-19, and was also Sheriff of
The progenitor of this family came from Holland (Note:
George Lybrook was killed by a runaway horse, about 1835, at a point
about one half mile south of Pearisburg, Virginia.) to
Pennsylvania. The original name was Leibroch, but anglicized into
Lybrook. The first and only one of this name that sought and found
a home in the New River Valley was Philip Lybrook, who came from
Pennsylvania between 1748 and 1755, locating at the mouth of Sinking
Creek, in what is now the County of Giles, then Augusta. He did
not come with the Draper's Meadows settlers in 1748, as he is not
mentioned, nor does his name appear in connection with that settlement
or the people who made it until August 7th, 1755, the day before the
butchery of the Draper's Meadows settlers by the Indians, when young
Preston had been sent by his uncle, Colonel Patton, over to Lybrook's to
get him to help with the reaping of the grain. Mr. Lybrook is
again mentioned by Hale, in his "Trans-Alleghaney Pioneers,"
in connection with the retreat of the Indians with their prisoners,
taken at Draper's Meadows, and the leaving of the head of Philip Barger
at Lybrook's. It may be mentioned in connection with the
remarkable escape and tramp of Mrs. Ingles from Big Bone Lick, in
Kentucky, up the New River to Adam Harman's at the Gunpowder Spring,
that she would not have stopped two miles below at Lybrook's; she
had been taken to Lybrook's by the Indians on their retreat, and there
would seem to be no reason why she should not have sought shelter at Mr.
Lybrook's. The only reasonable conclusion is that either Lybrook
had become fearful of the Indians and gone away to a place of greater
safety, or that Mrs. Ingles, in her worn and enfeebled condition, had
lost all knowledge of the locality of Lybrook's cabin, lost her
bearings, and that in avoiding the high cliff of rocks jutting into the
river just below the mouth of Sinking Creek, had been compelled to leave
the river, keeping, however, the general course thereof along the hills,
and in this way reached the river at a point along the hills, and in
this way reached the river at a point above Lybrook's without knowing
exactly where she was. There is no information
obtainable that Mr. Lybrook had abandoned his settlement between the
dates referred to; in fact, there is no other mention
of him until the year of 1774, though, beyond doubt, he had been visited
by John Snidow, from Pennsylvania, in 1765, as Snidow's family settled
near him in 1766. The Lybrook-Chapman-Snidow Fort stood at the
extreme upper end of what is known as the "Horse Shoe" farm, a
short distance below the mouth of Sinking Creek. In the early days
of August, 1774, there had been made known to the settlers that Indians
were prowling around. John Chapman was away from home that day,
Saturday, the 6th day of August, that information was conveyed to his
family that Indians were in the neighborhood. Mrs. Chapman
gathered her children and such of the household goods as they could
carry, crossed the river and struck for the fort, and as they passed
through the little bottom above the mouth of Little Stoney Creek
they found the fresh remains of a hog that had just been killed by the
Indians; this tended to hasten their pace and they reached the
fort in safety. Mr. Lybrook and an Irishman by the name of
McGriff were cultivating a small crop of corn at the mouth of Sinking
Creek, had erected a couple of cabins in which their respective families
resided; these men treated the statement that Indians were
in the neighborhood as idle stories. On the morning of Sunday, the
7th, some of the young people from the fort, among them the Snidows,
went up to Philip Lytbrook's, where during the day six
Indians attacked the young people in and about the river,
and also Mr. Lybrook in his little mill on the
Spring Branch. They killed a young woman by the name of Scott, and
five small children of Lybrook and Mrs. Snidow,wounded Mr. Lybrook in
the arm, captured three small boys, and ran a foot
race after John Lybrook, eleven years old, who escaped to his father's
Mr. Philip Lybrook had a number of children, but it is
only proposed to follow John and his descendants. Opposite this
page is a photograph of Major Samuel E. Lybrook, a great grandson of the
elder Philip, the settler, and grandson of John, who out ran the Indian.
John lived and grew to manhood and old age. When he was about
twenty-five years old he fell in love with Annie Chapman, daughter of
John and Sallie Abbott Chapman. Annie had another lover in the
person of James French, son of Matthew French, whom she had agreed to
marry; the day of the wedding was fixed, the license procured and
the wedding supper cooked, the minister present to perform the ceremony,
all the invited guests had arrived, save one--and that was John Lybrook--who
arrived, however, about dark. He rode up, hitched his horse,
walked in and made inquiry for Annie, and having found her in a room
with her bridesmaids, inquired, "Annie are you ready?"
She replying in the affirmative, walked out with him, sprang on his
horse behind him, and off they went for the home of John's father,
leaving James weeping and disconsolate. John seems to have had a
license also, at any rate he captured Jimmy's girl, and married her, as
the marriage bond shows under the name of Annie Chapman. The
marriage bond bears date January 11th, 1787, and the marriage bond
authorizing her marriage to James French is dated January 1st, 1787.
John Lybrook and Annie, his wife, had a number of children, among them
Philip, the first surveyor of Giles County, and a man of prominence in
his day. He married Miss Marrs and they had quite a large family
of sons and daughters; of his sons, David Johnston Lybrook went to
Australia at an early day, dying there some five or more years past;
a son, Major Samuel E., who resides in Giles County, and who married
miss Jennie Chapman; a son, John, of Montgomery County, who is the
father of John Barger Lybrook, of Washington, D. C., an employee in the
office of the Inter-State Commerce Commission.
John Lybrook, who escaped from the Indian in 1774, by
jumping a ravine twelve feet wide, became a famous hunter and brave,
bold Indian fighter; serving for several years in the various
forts along the New River Valley frontier under Captain John Floyd, and
Lieutenant Christian Snidow. Mr. Lybrook lived to about the age of
This family is of Scottish origin, and about 1688, with
the large tide of emigration then moving from Scotland to Ireland, on
account of religious persecution and other causes, emigrated to County
Down, from whence sprang the American representatives of that family.
James McClaugherty, of County Down, Ireland, married Agnes McGarre, and
came with his family to America in the year 1786, settling at Sweet
Springs (now Monroe County, West Virginia). In 1809 he started
with his family to Tennessee, and on reaching New River found a heavy
flood of water had carried away all the boats within reasonable reach,
and he stopped at the new River, settling where the late James Floyd
McClaugherty and family resided for many years. The sons of James
McClaugherty and Agnes, his wife, were James, John and Hugh, and one
daughter, Jane. On May 8th, 1813, in crossing New River, Mr.
McClaugherty, his wife, Agnes, and daughter Jane were drowned.
John, the son of James, married Miss Dingess, daughter
of Peter Dingess, and they had a family of sons and daughters.
James, the son of James, married Miss Sallie Mullins, and they had sons,
James, John and William, and daughters.
Captain John McClaugherty became a prominent figure in
the affairs of Giles County, and was for long years a magistrate, Deputy
Clerk, sheriff, and Deputy Sheriff; lived a long life of
usefulness, dying at the age of about ninety-three.
John, son of James McClaugherty, married Phoebe Hale, a daughter of
Captain Edward Hale, and they had sons, John, Joseph H., Nelson H.,
Edward, who died in the Confederate military service; D. W., and
Robert C., and a daughter, who married Dr. Evan H. Brown; another,
who married W. F. Heptinstall; another, who married Mr. Fillinger,
and another, who married Charles A. Deaton.
James Floyd McClaugherty, son of Captain John, married
Miss Martha Cunningham, and had sons, John, George and Robert, and a
daughter, Sallie, who married George Walker; John died young and
Charles W., son of Captain John, married first, Miss
Anne Kyle, second, Mrs. Shanklin; by his first wife he had sons,
Robert and J. Kyle; Robert died young; a daughter, Henrietta
married Charles W. Walker, and Virginia married John Adair, of New
The M'Comases and Napiers.
In 1776 John McComas and his brother-in-law, Thomas H.
Napier, came from western Maryland to the New River Valley.
McComas was of that bold, adventurous, Scotch-Irish stock that feared no
danger, and was always anxious to get away from restraints of all kinds,
and to be free and happy. McComas and Napier first took up their
abode at what is now known as Ripplemeade, but shortly removed to the
territory where Pearisburg, Virginia, now stands, and as a protection
against the Indians, built in connection with the Halls Fort Branch on
the land lately owned by Mr. Charles D. French, and which is about
three-fourths of a mile to the southeast of Pearisburg. McComas
very soon afterward entered and surveyed some lands around or near the
location referred to; and in 1782, the land where Judge Philip W.
Strother now resides, or a part thereof, was taken up and surveyed by
Moredock O. McKensey, and afterward conveyed to Thomas H. Napier.
The first or elder David Johnston died in 1786;
his will bears date in July of that year, and John McComas is one of the
subscribing witnesses to that instrument. John McComas and his
wife had a considerable family of children; among the
sons were: Elisha, David, Jesse, John, William and Moses, and
there were several daughters. John McComas, the elder, died in
Giles County, Virginia. Elisha McComas, son of the elder
John, and who is referred to as General Elisha, obtained his title after
he went to Cabell County, being commissioned a Brigadier General of
militia. He married in January, 1791, Annie French,
daughter of Matthew, of Wolf Creek, and removed to Cabell County about
1809. His brothers, or some of them, preceded him by seven or
eight years, and settled on the Guyandotte and Mud River waters, then in
Kanawha County, Cabell not being created until 1809.It will be noted
that Elisha was there in 1810, either in Guyandotte or vicinity, for he
is made, by the act of the Legislature creating that town, one of the
trustees, as well as a trustee of Barboursville in 1813. David
McComas, son of the elder John, married Miss Bailey, a daughter of
the elder Richard. David died early, leaving a widow and one son,
James, the latter the ancestor of the Mercer McComas', viz:
Archibald, Eli and others.
General Elisha McComas and his wife had sons, David,
William and James, and daughters, one of whom married John Shelton, and
another married....... Keenan, from whom descended Patrick Keenan
McComas, the eccentric lawyer of Logan County, West Virginia.
David, the son of General Elisha, married Cynthia
French, daughter of Captain David and Mary Dingess French, and he became
a distinguished Judge; was a member of the General Court of
Virginia; Judge of the Kanawha Circuit Court, and was at one time
a State Senator from the Kanawha District. He was born about 1795
and died in Giles County, Virginia, in 1864. He was a jolly man,
full of wit and humor, but a most negligent man about his dress.
Some good stories of his life as a judge have been preserved, and are
worth relating. As has been said, he was Circuit Judge; his
circuit, was a large one, and his mode of travel was on horseback.
Before he started on his circuit his wife made up and arranged his
clothing for the trip, which often lasted for weeks, and on his return
his wife would search his saddle bags for his soiled clothes, frequently
finding none; he had simply, by his forgetfulness, left them at
his boarding houses. On one occasion, when he was about to start
off for his courts, his wife prepared for him and packed in his
saddlebags a dozen new shirts, and enjoined upon him that he should
exercise prudence in taking care of the same. On his return, on
examination by his wife of the saddlebags, she found not a single shirt,
whereupon she said: "Just as I expected, Mr. McComas, you
have brought back no (Note: line appears to be missing from book.)stop
throwing off shirts until he had unburdened himself of eleven. His
wife and himself, while he was Circuit Judge and lived in Charleston,
made a visit to his relations in Cabell County, and after they had made
the rounds, he remarked to his wife, "Well, we must go and see old
brother.........." to which his wife inquiringly said, "Mr.
McComas, isn't he in the poorhouse?" "Yes,"
said the Judge, "but there is no difference between him and myself;
he is on the county and I am on the state." While
Judge McComas was in the Senate of Virginia, it is said that he made the
first straight-out secession speech that up to that time had been made
in Virginia. He and his wife left no children.
William McComas, son of General Elisha, married Miss
Ward, lived for some years at Malden, in Kanawha County, and while
living there in 1832 was elected to the Congress of the United States.
He was a member of the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861.
William McComas and his wife had the following children: Elisha
W., Hamilton, William Wirt, Mat, and Benjamine Jefferson, and a
daughter, Irene, who married Major McKendree. Elisha W. was in the
Virginia Convention of 1850-1, and was also Lieutenant Governor of
Virginia, afterward dying at Fort Scott, Kansas.
Dr. William Wirt McComas married Sarah M. French,
daughter of Captain Guy D., and Araminta Chapman French; he was an
eminent physician, and at the beginning of the Civil War raised in Giles
County a company of artillery, which he led into the service, and at
the Battle of South Mills, North Carolina, April 19th, 1862, he was
slain, leaving his widow and two small children, Guy F., and Minnie,
surviving him. The Napiers removed from Giles county
to Cabell about the time of the emigration of the McComases.