At the time of its first settlement in the mid-1600s, the New River Valley was part of the vast, unexplored wilderness stretching from the Alleghenies westward to the Mississippi River. This expansive history by David Johnston, spanning the years 1654 to 1905, focuses on the early settlements along the New River in the area that encompasses present-day Mercer and Monroe counties, West Virginia, and Tazewell and Giles counties, Virginia. This volume is first and foremost a chronicle of the people of the Middle New River settlements: the dangers they faced in their first explorations; their roles in the French and Indian War and American Revolution; and their history during and after the Civil War. Dispersed throughout are thumbnail sketches of the early residents of the area.
Of particular interest to genealogists are the biographical and genealogical summaries of the following thirty-nine families: Bailey, Bane, Belcher, Black, Barnes, Bowens, Burke, Calfee, Capertons, Chapmans, Christian, Cecil, Clay, Cloyd, Davidson, Emmons, French, Gillespie, Hale, Hare, Hoge, Howe, Johnston, Kirk, Lybrook, M’Claugherty, M’Comas, Meadow, M’Donald, Napier, Pack, Peck, Pearis, Peters, Shannon, Smith, Snidow, Straley, and Witten. In addition, the lists in the appendixes of judges, chancellors, justices of the peace, and sheriffs; state senators and representatives; attorneys; and soldiers in various military units will be extremely useful to genealogical researchers.