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because they had no words to express an oath. Red people would not cheat, because they had no temptation to commit fraud: they never told falsehoods, because they had no temptation to tell lies. And as to religion, you go to your churches, sing loud, pray loud, and make great noise. The red people meet once a year, at the feast of new corn, extinguish all their fires, and kindle up a new one, the smoke of which ascends to the Great Spirit as a grateful sacrifice. Now what better is your religion than ours? The white people have taught us to get drunk, to steal, to lie, to cheat, and to swear; and if the knowledge of these vices, as you profess to hold them, and punish by your laws, is beneficial to the red people, we are benefitted by our acquaintance with you; if not, we are greatly injured by that acquaintance.

To say the least of this untutored old man, his opinions, religion excepted, were but too well founded, and convey a severe rebuke upon the character of those who boast of the superior advantages of the lights of education and a knowledge of the religion of the Holy Redeemer.

From this digression the author will again turn his attention to the early history of our country.


About the year 1763, the first settlements were made at or near the head of Bullskin. Two families, by the name of Riley and Allemong, first commenced the settlement of this immediate neighborhood. At this period timber was so scarce that the settlers were compelled to cut small saplings to enclose their fields. The prairie produced grass five or six feet high; and even our mountains and hills were covered with the sustenance of quadrupeds of every species. The pea vine grew abundantly on the hilly and mountainous lands, than which no species of vegetable production afforded finer and richer pasturage.

From this state of the country, many of our first settlers turned their attention to rearing large herds of horses, cattle, hogs, &c. Many of them became expert, hardy and adventurous hunters, and spent much of their time and depended chiefly for support and money-making on the sale of skins and furs. Moses Russell, Esq. informed the author that the hilly lands about his residence, near the base of the North mountain, in the south west corner of Frederick, and which now present to the eye the appearance of great poverty of soil, within his recollection were cov

*Messrs. Christian Allemong and George Riley both stated this fact to the author.

+Mr. George Riley, an aged and respectable citizen, stated to the author that the grass on the Bullskin barrens grew so tall, that he had frequently drawn it before him when on horseback, and tied it before him.

The late Henry Fry, one of the early settlers on Capon river, upwards of forty years ago informed the author, that he purchased the tract of land on which he first settled, on Capon river, for which he engaged to pay either £200 or £250, the author does not recollect which sum, and that he made every dollar of the money by the sale of skins and furs, the game being killed or caught with his own hands.


ered with a fine growth of pea vine, and that stoek of every description grew abundantly fat in the summer season.

Isaac Larue, who settled on the Long marsh in 1743, as has been stated, soon became celebrated for his numerous herds of horses and cattle. The author was told by Col. J. B. Larue, who is the owner of part of his grandfather's fine landed estate, that his grandfather frequently owned between ninety and one hundred head of horses, but it so happened that he never could get his stock to count a hundred.

The Hites, Frys, Vanmeters, and many others, raised vast stocks of horses, cattle, hogs, &c. Tradition relates that Lord Fairfax, happening one day in Winchester to see a large drove of unusually fine hogs passing through the town, inquired from whence they came. Being informed that they were from the mountains west of Winchester, he remarked that when a new county should be laid off in that direction it ought to be called Hampshire, after a county in England celebrated for its production of fine hogs; and this, it is said, gave name to the present county of Hampshire.

The author will only add to this chapter, that, from the first settlement of the valley, to the breaking out of the war, on the part of the French and Indians, against our ancestors, in the year 1754, our country rapidly increased in numbers and in the acquisition of property, without interruption from the natives, a period of twenty-two years.

In my next chapter I shall give a brief account of the religion, habits and customs, of the primitive settlers.





A large majority of our first immigrants were from Pennsylvania, composed of native Germans or German extraction. There were, however, a number directly from Germany, several from Maryland and New Jersey, and a few from New York. These immigrants brought with them the religion, habits and customs, of their ancestors. They were composed generally of three religious sects, viz: Lutherans, Menonists and Ĉalvinists, with a few Tunkers. They generally settled in neighborhoods pretty much together.

*Simon Meno was one of the earliest German reformers, and the founder of this sect.

The territory now composing the county of Page, Powell's fort, and the Woodstock valley, between the West Fort mountain and North mountain, extending from the neighborhood of Stephensburg for a considerable distance into the county of Rockingham, was almost exclusively settled by Germans. They were very tenacious in the preservation of their language, religion, customs and habits. In what is now Page county they were almost exclusively of the Menonist persuasion: but few Lutherans or Calvinists settled among them. In other sections of the territory above described, there was a mixture of Lutherans and Calvinists. The Menonists were remarkable for their strict adherence to all the moral and religious observances required by their sect. Their children were early instructed in the principles and ceremonies of their religion, habits and customs. They were generally farmers, and took great care of their stock of different kinds. With few exceptions, they strictly inhibited their children from joining in the dance or other juvenile amusements common to other religious sects of the Germans.

In their marriages much ceremony was observed and great preparation made. Fatted calves, lambs, poultry, the finest of bread, butter, milk, honey, domestic sugar, wine, if it could be had; with every article necessary for a sumptuous feast in their plain way, were prepared in abundance. Previous to the performance of the ceremony, (the clergyman attending at the place appointed for the marriage,) four of the most respectable young females and four of the most respectable young men were selected as waiters the bride and groom. upon The several waiters were decorated with badges, to indicate their offices. The groomsmen, as they were termed, were invariably furnished with fine white aprons beautifully embroidered. It was deemed a high honor to wear the apron. The duty of the waiters consisted in not only waiting on the bride and groom, but they were required, after the marriage ceremony was performed, to serve up the wedding dinner, and to guard and protect the bride while at dinner from having her shoe stolen from her foot. This custom of stealing the bride's shoe, it is said, afforded the most heartfelt amusement to the wedding guest. To succeed in it, the greatest dexterity was used by the younger part of the company, while equal vigilance was manifested by the waiters to defend her against the theft; and if they failed, they were in honor bound to pay a penalty for the redemption of the shoe. This penalty was a bottle of wine or one dollar, which was commonly the price of a bottle of wine: and as a punishment to the bride, she was not permitted to dance until the shoe was restored. The successful thief, on getting hold of the shoe, held it up in great triumph to the view of the whole assemblage, which was generally pretty numerous. This custom was continued among the Germans from generation to generation, until since the war of the revolution. The author has conversed with many individuals, still living, who were eye-witnesses of it.

Throwing the stocking was another custom among the Germans.*--

*Throwing the stocking was not exclusively a German custom. It is celebrated by an Irish poet, in his "Irish Wedding." It is not improbable but it was common to the Celtic nations also.

When the bridge and groom were bedded, the young people were admitted into the room. A stocking, rolled into a ball, was given to the young females, who, one after the other, would go to the foot of the bed, stand with their backs towards it, and throw the stocking over their shoulders at the bride's head; and the first that succeeded in touching her cap or head was the next to be married. The young men then threw the stocking at the groom's head, in like manner, with the like motive. Hence the utmost eagerness and dexterity were used in throwing the stocking.This practice, as well as that of stealing the bride's shoe, was common to all the Germans.

Among the Lutherans and Calvinists, dancing with other amusements was common, at their wedding parties particularly. Dancing and rejoicings were sometimes kept up for weeks together.


The peaceable and orderly deportment of this hardy and industrious race of people, together with their perfect submission to the restraints of the civil authority, has always been proverbial. They form at this day a most valuable part of our community.

Among our early settlers, a number of Irish Presbyterians removed from Pennsylvania, and settled along Back creek, the North mountain and Opequon. A few Scotch and English families were among them.

The ancestors of the Glasses, Allens, Vances, Kerfotts, &c. were among the earliest settlers on the upper waters of the Opequon. The ancestors of the Whites, Russells, &c. settled near the North mountain. There were a mixture of Irish and Germans on Cedar creek and its vicinity; the Frys, Newells, Blackburns,† Wilsons, &c. were among the number. The Irish, like the Germans, brought with them the religion, customs and habits, of their ancestors. The Irish wedding was always an occasion of great hilarity, jollity and mirth. Among other scenes attending it, running for the bottle was much practiced. It was usual for the wedding parties to ride to the residence of the clergyman to have the ceremony performed. In their absence, the father or the next friend prepared, at the bride's residence, a bottle of the best spirits that could be obtained, around the neck of which a white ribbon was tied. Returning from the clergyman's, when within one or two miles of the home of the bride, some three or four young men prepared to run for the bottle. Taking an even start, their horses were put at full speed, dashing over mud, rocks, stumps, and disregarding all impediments. The race, in fact, was run with as much eagerness and desire to win, as is ever manifested on the turf by our sporting characters. The father or next friend of the bride, expecting the racers, stood with the bottle in his hand, ready to deliver to the successful competitor. On receiving it, he forthwith returned to meet the bride and groom. When met, the bottle was first presented to the bride, who must taste it at least, next to the groom, and then handed round to the company, every one of whom was required to swig it.

The Quakers differed from all other sects in their marriage ceremony.

*Christian Miller, an aged and respectable man near Woodstock, related this custom to the author.

Gen. Samuel Blackburn, it is said, descended from this fasily.

The parties having agreed upon the match, notice was given to the elders or overseers of the meeting, and a strict enquiry followed whether there had been any previous engagements by either of the parties to other individuals. · If nothing of the kind appeared, the intended marriage was made known publicly; and if approved by all parties, the couple passed meeting. This ceremony was repeated three several times; when, if no lawful impediment appeared, a day was appointed for the marriage, which took place at the meeting-house in presence of the congregation. A writing, drawn up between the parties, purporting to be the marriage agreement, witnessed by as many of the bystanders as thought proper to subscribe their names, concluded the ceremony. They had no priest or clergyman to perform the rite of matrimony, and the whole proceeding was conducted with the utmost solemnity and decorum. This mode of marriage is still kept up, with but litlle variation.

Previous to the war of the revolution, it was the practice to publish the bans of matrimony, between the parties intending to marry, three successive Sabbath days in the church or meeting-house; after which, if no lawful impediment appeared, it was lawful for a licensed minister of the parish or county to join the parties in wedlock. It is probable that this practice, which was anciently used in the English churches, gave rise to the custom, in the Quaker society, of passing meeting. The peaceable and general moral deportment of the Quakers is too generally known to require particular notice in this work.

The Baptists were not among our earliest immigrants. About fourteen or fifteen families of that persuasion migrated from the state of New Jersey, and settled probably in 1742 or 1743 in the vicinity of what is now called Gerardstown, in the county of Berkeley.*

Mr. Semple, in his history of the Virginia Baptists, states, that in the year 1754, Mr. Stearns, a preacher of this sect, with several others, removed from New England. "They halted first at Opequon, in Berkeley county, Virginia, where he formed a Baptist church under the care of the Rev. John Gerard." This was probably the first Baptist church founded west of the Blue Ridge in our State.

It is said that the spot where Tuscarora meeting house now stands, in the county of Berkeley, is the first place where the gospel was publicly preached and divine service performed west of the Blue ridge. This was and still remains a Presbyterian edifice.

*Mr. M'Cowan, an aged and respectable citizen of the neighborhood, communicated this fact to the author.

†This information was communicated to the author by a highly respectable old lady, of the Presbyterian church, in the county of Berkeley. She also stated that in addition to the general tradition, she had lately heard the venerable and reverend Dr. Matthews assert the fact. Mr. Mayers, now in his 87th year, born and raised on the Potomac, in Berkeley, stated his opinion to the author, that there was a house erected for public worship at the Falling Water about the same time that the Tuscarora meeting-house was built. Both these churches are now under the pastoral care of the Rev. James M. Brown.

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