An Extraordinary Genealogy Resource For Tennessee Research

An Extraordinary Genealogy Resource For Tennessee Research–

Pioneers of Old Frederick County, Virginia written by Cecil O’Dell and published in 1995 by Walsworth Publishing Company, Marceline Missouri, is not a new book. It has been on the shelves of libraries I use for several years. And it is the most amazing book!

Author O’Dell says in the introduction that he wishes he had access to such a study when he first began his research in Virginia and North Carolina. I spent well over two hours reading it, carefully studying the 16 land-ownership maps, and comparing the index with the text. Then I went page-by-page through the volume examining the separate sections on surnames.

WOW! 32 surnames that I am currently researching! The very people! Babb, Beeson, Bowman, Breeding, Burrus, Carter, Chrissman, Cowan, Crumley (Crumless), Curtis, Funk, Harden (Harding), Harness, Harrill (Harrold), Heastand (Heston), Hiatt, Hite (Hitt), Holeman, Johnston (Johnson), Littler, Long, Looney, Martin, Newman, Niswanger, Parrot, Pearis, Perkins, Rittenhouse (Writtenhouse), Stover, Taylor. Old Frederick County is the seedbed for these families who move into Tennessee and Kentucky..

How did I miss this remarkable book? Do my library resources dictate the results of my research?

How many times do the libraries we use dictate our genealogy research results? It is easy to overlook a new book–there are so many of them. It is easy to miss a book notice or review–the specific issues where the review appeared may arrive at an inopportune time. It is easy to miss a self-published book–it may not be widely announced. I have personally visited Frederick County Virginia more than 5 times since 1995. How did I miss this book?

Well, I don’t want you to miss the evidence in Cecil O’Dell’s book–

Each chapter is built around a newly-sketched land-ownership map, with land grants placed on the ground and water courses and mountains sketched in. A separate map list includes each grantee, acreage, tract number, and date. The text supplies family details and descriptions of land transactions which are fully documented in county and state records by volume and page.

Wherever possible, O’Dell gives information on place of origin for the early settler and his family. Some accounts tell you where these people end up–in North Carolina, in western Virginia, in Tennessee, in West Virginia, and in Kentucky.

Approximately 85% of the early settlers of Old Frederick County Virginia (1725-44) came from William Penn’s area of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and northern Maryland; about 5% from southern Maryland; about 5% from New York; and about 5% from east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. (p. 12)

…the Virginia colony issued a proclamation of inducements to secure colonization of their internal lands. This caused such a migration from the northern colonies and Pennsylvania across the lands of Maryland, that the Maryland government decided to induce these people to settle there. Since the major route of travel was the old Monocacy Road, it was the land of Frederick County Maryland that those headed for Virginia crossed.

In 1732, Maryland offered two hundred acres of land free from quit rents and fees to family men who settled within three years; one hundred acres to single persons, male or female, and tax-free ownership for some years thereafter. (See p. 13).

In 1995, the book was available from the author: Cecil O’Dell, 464 Morse, Liberty MO 64068. $49.50 plus $4.50 postage and handling. I did a Google search on O’Dell and his book–many libraries public and private have the book.  There are listings for look-ups as well. lists two copies, one used ($85.00) and one new ($148.00).  You can also check WorldCat for the copy nearest you. I recommend that you add it to your Autumn and Winter reading lists–if you have ancestors in TN, KY, NC, WV, VA, MD. Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle

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