James W. (James William) Head.

History and comprehensive description of Loudoun County, Virginia [electronic resource] online

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The dress of the women of these classes was shabbier still,
their costumes, for the most part, comprising stamped cotton
and white dimity gowns, coarse shift (osnaburg), country
cloth, and black quilted petticoats. In the backwoods and the
primitive (German settlements the women all wore the short
gowns and petticoats, also tight-fitting calico caps. In sum-
mer, when employed in the fields, they wore only a linen shift
and a petticoat of home-made linsey. All their clothing, in
fact, was home-made.

The ladies of quality, however, as has been intimated,
dressed extravagantly, frizzed, rouged, wore trains, and
acted as fashionable women have done from the immemorial
beginning of things.

The pioneers dressed universally in the hunting shirt or
blouse, sometimes fringed and decorated, and perhaps the most
convenient frock ever conceived. It fit loosely, was open in
front, reached almost to the knees, and had large sleeves, and
a cape for the protection of the shoulders in bad weather. In
the ample bosom of this shirt the hunter carried his bread
and meat, the tow with which to wipe out the barrel of his
rifle, and other small requisites. To his belt, tied or buckled
behind, he suspended his mittens, bullet-pouch, tomahawk, and
knife and sheath. His hunting-shirt was made of dressed deer-
skin — very uncomfortable in wet weather— or of linsey, when
it was to be had. The pioneer dressed his lower body in
drawers and leathern cloth leggins, and his feet in moccasins;
a coon-skin cap completing the attire.

His wife wore a linsey petticoat, home-spun and home-made,
and a short gown of linsey or "callimanco," when that ma-
terial could be obtained. She wore no covering for the feet


in ordinary weather, and moccasins, coarse, "country-made"
shoes, or "shoe-packs" during more rigorous seasons. To
complete the picture Kercheval, the historian olF the Shenan-
doah Valley, is here quoted: "The coats and bed-gowns of the
women, as well as the hunting-shirts of the men, were hung in
full display on wooden pegs around the walls of their cabins,
so that while they answered in some degree the purpose of
paper-hangings or tapestry, they announced to the stranger
as well as the neighbor the wealth or poverty of the family in
the articles of clothing."

It is to be hoped that the desultory sketch furnished above
will not be found uninteresting despite its imperfections.
Many details have been omitted or neglected, but enough
has been written to illustrate in a general way the qualities
for which our ancestors were most distinguished, for which
their characters have excited most comment and perhaps
deserved most praise.

As a whole, they were a generous, large-hearted, liberal-
minded people, and their faults were far fewer than their
virtues. The yeomanry, in their own rude, rough-and-ready
manner, reflected the same sort of personal independence of
character and proud sense of individuality as the social


Little can be learned of Loudoun's participation in the last
great French and Indian War (1754-1763). It had its begin-
ning three years prior to her admission into the sisterhood of
Virginia counties, and the services she must have rendered
during that period are, of course, accredited to Fairfax, of
which county she was then a part. The few existing or avail-
able records of the remaining six years of warfare, as of the
entire period, are imperfect and unlocalized and would baffle
the most experienced and persevering compiler.

The only deductions that have seemed at all noteworthy are
here presented:

The General Assembly of Virginia, on April 14, 1757,


passed an act providing for the appointment of a committee
to direct the pay of the officers and soldiers then in the pay
of the Colony, of "the rangers formerly employed, and for
the expense of building a fort in the Cherokee country," for
the pay of the militia that had ''been drawn out into actual
service, and also for provisions for the said soldiers, rangers,
and militia. . . ."

In the following schedule are given the names of Loudoun

payees and the amount received by each:

£ s. d.

To Captain Nicholas Minor 1 00 00

^neas Campbell, lieutenant 7 6

Francis Wilks 1 17

James Willock 1 15

John Owsley and William Stephens, 15s. each 1 10

Robert Thomas 10

John Moss, Jr 4

John Thomas, for provisions 5

John Moss, for provisions 2 8

William Ross, for provisions 2

7 13 2

By a later act of the same body commissioners were em-
powered "to examine, state, and settle the accounts of such
pay, provisions, arms, etc. , " of the six counties from which
they were appointed, "and all arrears whatsoever relating to
the militia."

The following list of Loudoun beneficiaries, with the
amounts opposite, is reproduced in the identical form in which

it was then submitted:

£ s. d.

"1757. To Robert Adams, assignee of Stephen Thatcher, for

his pay, 5 12 6

Do. do of Thomas Bond, fordo., 4 10

Thomas Gore, for a rifle gun impressed, 4 10

Stephen Kmorie, for dressing guns for militia, 13

James demons, for a gun impressed, 4 10

1763. Captain Moss, for 60 days' paj' at 6s., 18

Lieutenant Gore, for do. at 3s., 6d., 10 10"


Colonial Assemblies. — General Assembly of 1758-61, Fran-
cis Lightfoot Lee and James Hamilton; General Assembly of
1761-65, Francis lyightfoot Lee and James Hamilton; Gen-
eral Assembly of October, I765, Francis Lightfoot Lee and


James Hamilton; General Assembly of 1 766-' 68, Francis
lyightfoot Lee and James Hamilton; General Assembly of
May, 1769, Francis Peyton and James Hamilton; General
Assembly of 1 769-' 71, Francis Peyton and James Hamilton
(the latter vacated his seat during the session of May 21,
1770, to accept the ofl&ce of coroner. He was succeeded by
Josiah Clapham); General Assembly of 1772-74, Thomas
Mason and Francis Peyton; General Assembly of 1775-76,
Josiah Clapham and Francis Peyton.

State Conventions.

Below will be found a compendium of Virginia conventions,
with the names of the delegates returned by Loudoun County.
Few, if any, counties of Virginia have had an abler or more
influential representation in the various State conventions.
From the meeting of the first to the adjournment of the last
Loudoun has been represented by fifteen of her wisest and
most prominent citizens.

Convention of 777^.— Met August 1, 1774. Adjourned
August 6, 1774. Loudoun delegates: Francis Peyton and
Thomas Mason.

Convention of March 20, 1775. — Met at Richmond, Monday,
March20, 1775- Adjourned March27, 1775. Loudoundele-
gates: Francis Peyton and Josiah Clapham.

Convention of fuly 17, 1775. — Met at Richmond, July 17,
1775. Adjourned August 26, 1775. Loudoun delegates:
Francis Peyton and Josiah Clapham.

Convention of December z, 1775. — Met at Richmond, Decem-
ber 1, 1775. Adjourned January 20, 1776. Loudoun dele-
gates: Francis Peyton and Josiah Clapham.

Convention of 1776. — This convention met in the city of
Williamsburg, on Monday, May 6, 1776, and "framed the


first written constitution of a free State in the annals of the
world." Adjourned July 5, 1776. Loudoun delegates:
Francis Peyton and Josiah Clapham.

Previous conventions did not frame constitutions, but they
directed the affairs of the colony, and, in a measure, con-
trolled the destinies of her people. Like the convention of
1776, they were instead revolutionary bodies.

Convention of iy88. — This convention met in the State
House in the city of Richmond, June 2, I788, to ratify or re-
ject the Constitution which had been recommended to the
States by the Federal Convention on the 17th of September,
1787, at Philadelphia. Adjourned sine die June 27, 1788.
Loudoun delegates: Stephen T. Mason and Levin Powell.

Convention of i82g- JO. — Assembled in Richmond on the 5th
day of October, I829. Tenth District (Loudoun and Fairfax)
delegates: James Monroe, Charles Fenton Mercer, William
H. Fitzhugh, and Richard H. Henderson.

Convention of 18^0-^1. — Met at the Capitol in the city of
Richmond, on Monday, October 14, I85O. Adjourned sine
die, August 1, I85I. District of Loudoun delegates: John
Janney, John A. Carter, and Robert J. T. White.

Convention of 1 86 1. — Met February I3, I86I. Adjourned
sine die, December 6, I86I. Loudoun delegates: John Janney
and John A. Carter. The former was elected President of
the Convention. Both voted against the ordinance of seces-
sion, April 17, 1861. Mr. Janney's resignation as President
of the Convention was tendered on November 14, I86I.

Convention of 1864. — (Restored Government of Virginia.)
Met February 13, I864. Adjourned ^z;?^ flfzV, April 11, I864.
Loudoun delegates: John J. Henshaw, James M. Downey,
and E. R. Gover.

Convention of i86y-68. — Met at Richmond, Tuesday, De-
cember 3, 1867. Adjourned April 17, I868. Loudoun dele-
gates: Norborne Berkeley and George E. Plaster.


Convention of I go I- 02. — Met June 12, 1901. Adjourned sine
die, June 26, 1902. lyoudoun and Fauquier district delegates:
Heary Fairfax and Albert Fletcher.


Loudoun^ s Loyalty.

The story of the Revolution and the causes which led to
that great event are properly treated in a more general history
than this purports to be. If, in the few succeeding pages, it
can be shown that Loudoun County was most forward in re-
sisting the arbitrary aggressions of the British government
and that the valor and patriotism she evinced during the
Revolution was equal to that of her sister counties, who had
suffered with her under the yoke of British oppression, then
the primary object of this sketch will be accomplished. Her
blood and treasure were freely dedicated to the cause of
liberty, and, having once entered the Revolution, she deter-
mined to persevere in the struggle until every resource was

Armed with flint-lock muskets of small bore and with long-
barreled rifles which they loaded from the muzzle by the use
of the ramrod; equipped with powder horn, charges made of
cane for loading, bullet molds and wadding, but bravely
arrayed in homespun of blue, and belted with cutlass and
broadsword by the side, cockade on the hat and courage in
the heart, her revolutionary soldiers marched to the music of
fife and drum into battle for freedom against the power and
might of the mother country.

Resolutions of Loudoun County.

In 1877, the following article appeared in a Leesburg
newspaper under the caption "Loudoun County a Hundred
Years Ago:"

"Major B. P. Nolan, grandson of Burr Powell, has just put us in pos-
session of a verified copy of the proceedings of a public meeting held at


Leesburg, Loudoun County, on the 14th of June, 1774, nearly one hun-
dred and five years ago. It is interesting, not merely for its antiquity,
but as showing the spirit of independence that animated the breasts
of our liberty-loving countrymen two years before the Declaration of
American Independence in 1776. The original document was found
among the papers of Col. Leven Powell, at one time member of Congress
from this district, who died in 1810. His son, Burr Powell, forwarded
a copy to R. H. Lee, Esq., who in 1826 was about to publish a second
edition of his 'Memoirs of the Life of R. H. Lee,' of Revolutionary

The proceedings or resolutions follow:

"PuBWC Meeting in Loudoun in 1774. "

"At a meeting of the Freeholders and other inhabitants of the County
of Loudoun, in the Colony of Virginia, held at the Court-House in Lees-
burg the 14th of June, 1774, F. Peyton, Esq., in the Chair, to consider
the most effectual method to preserve the rights and liberties of North
America, and relieve our brethren of Boston, suffering under the most
oppressive and tyrannical Act of the British Parliament, made in the
14th year of his present Majesty's reign, whereby their Harbor is
blocked up, their commerce totally obstructed, their property rendered
useless —

''Resolved, That we will always cheerfully submit to such prerogatives
as his Majesty has a right, by law, to exercise, as Sovereign of the
British Dominions, and to no others.

''Resolved, That it is beneath the dignity of freemen to submit to any
tax not imposed on them in the usual manner, by representatives of their
own choosing.

"Resolved, That the Act of the British Parliament, above mentioned,
is utterly repugnant to the fundamental laws of justice, in punishing
persons without even the form of a trial; but a despotic exertion of un-
constitutional power designedly calculated to enslave a free and loyal

"Resolved, That the enforcing the execution of the said Act of Parlia-
ment by a military power, must have a necessary tendency to raise a
civil war, and that we will, with our lives and fortunes, assist and sup-
port our suffering brethren, of Boston, and every part of North America
that may fall under the immediate hand of oppression, until a redress
of all our grievances shall be procured, and our common liberties estab-
lished on a permanent foundation.

"Resolved, That the East India Company, by exporting their tea from
England to America, whilst subject to a tax imposed thereon by the
British Parliament, have evidently designed to fix on the Americans



those chains forged for them by a venal ministry, and have thereby
rendered themselves odious and detestable throughout all America. It
is, therefore, the unanimous opinion of this meeting not to purchase any
tea or other East India commodity whatever, imported after the first of
this Month.

^^Resolvedy That we will have no commercial intercourse with Great
Britain until the above mentioned act of Parliament shall be totally
repealed, and the right of regulating the internal policy of North
America by a British Parliament shall be absolutely and positively
given up.

^'Resolved, That Thompson Mason and Francis Peyton, Esqs., be ap-
pointed to represent the County at a general meeting to be held at
Williamsburg on the 1st day of August next, to take the sense of this
Colony at large on the subject of the preceding resolves, and that they,
together with Leven Powell, William BUzey, John Thornton, George
Johnston, and Samuel Levi, or any three of them, be a committee to
correspond with the several committees appointed for this purpose.
" Signed by —

'•John Morton,

Thomas Ray,

Thomas Drake,

William Booram,

Benj. Isaac Humphrey,

Samuel Mills,

Joshua Singleton,

Jonathan Drake,

Matthew Rust,
Barney Sims,
John Sims,
Samuel Butler,
Thomas Chinn,
Appollos Cooper,
Lina Hanconk,
John McVicker,
Simon Triplett,
John Wildey,
Joseph Bay ley,
Isaac Sanders,
Thos. Williams,
John Williams,
William Finnekin,
Richard Hanson,
John Dunker,
Thomas Williams,

James Nolan,
Samuel Peugh,
William Nomail,
Thomas Luttrell,
James Brair,
Poins Awsley,
John Kendrick,
Edward O'Neal,
Francis Triplett,
Joseph Combs,
John Peyton Harrison,
Robert Combs,
Stephen Combs,
Samuel Henderson,
Benjamin Overfield,
Adam Sangster,
Bazzell Roads,
James Graydey,
Thomas Awsley,
John Reardon,
Henry Awsley,
Edward Miller,
Richard Hirst,
James Davis,
Jasper Grant."


Revolutionary Committees,
The County Co;ntnittee of lyoudoun for 1 774-' 75 was com-
posed of the following members:

Francis Peyton, Ivcven Powell,

Josias Clapham, William Smith,

Thomas Lewis, Robert Jamison,

Anthony Russell, Hardage Lane,

John Thomas, John Lewis,

George Johnston, James Lane,

Thomas Shore, George Johnston,
Jacob Reed, Clerk.

The appended findings of this as well as a later committee
exemplify the work of these Revolutionary bodies.

"At a meeting of the Committee of Loudoun County, held at Lees-
burg on Friday, May 26, 1775. . • •

"The Committee, taking into consideration the conduct of the Gover-
nour relative to the powder which was, by his express orders, taken
secretly out of thepublick Magazine belonging to this Colony, in the night
of the twentieth ult., and carried on board the Magdaline schooner.

''Resolved, nemine contra dicenie, That his Lordship, by this and other
parts of his conduct which have lately transpired, has not only forfeited
the confidence of the good people of this Colony, but that he may be
justly esteemed an enemy to America; and that as well his excuse pub-
lished in his Proclamation of the fourth instant, as his verbal answer to
the address presented him on that occasion by the city of Williams-
burgh, are unsatisfactory and evasive, and reflect, in our opinion, great
dishonour on the General Assembly and inhabitants of this Colony, as
from the latter a suspicion may be easily deduced, that the Representa-
tives of the people are not competent judges of the place wherein arms
and ammunition, intended for the defense of the Colony, may be safely
lodged, and that the inhabitants (unlike other subjects) can not, in pru-
dence, be trusted with the means necessary for their protection from
insurrection, or even evasion; so in the former a very heavy charge is
exhibited against the best men among us, of seducing their fellow-sub-
jects from their duty and allegiance; a charge, we are confident, not
founded in reality, and which, we believe, is construed out of the dis-
charge of that duty which every good man is under, to point out to his
weaker countrymen, in the dayof publick trial, the part they should act,
and explain, on constitutional principles, the nature of their allegiance,
the ground of which we fervently pray may never be removed, whose
force we desire may never with reason be relaxed, but yet may be sub-
servient to considerations of superior regard.


"The Committee being informed by some of the ofiBcers who com-
manded the Troops of this County i;hat marched on the above occasion,
that the reason of their marching no farther than Fredericksburgh was,
their having received repeated requests from the Honourable Peyton
Randolph, Esq., to return home, assuring them that the peaceable citi-
zens of Williamsburgh were under no apprehensions of danger, either
in their persons or properties; that the publick treasury and records were
perfectly safe, and that there was no necessity for their proceeding any
farther; three of the other Delegates appointed to the Continental Con-
gress, the only civil power we know of in this great struggle for liberty,
being of the same opinion.

''''Resolved, netnine contra dicente^ That under such circumstances we
approve the conduct of the said Ofl&cers and Troops,

''''Resolved, netnine contra dicente. That we cordially approve the con-
duct of our countrymen. Captain Patrick Henry, and the other volun-
teers of Hanover County, who marched under him, in making reprisals
on the King's property for the trespass committed as aforesaid, and that
we are determined to hazard all the blessings of this life rather than
suffer the smallest injury offered to their persons or estates, on this
account, to pass unrewarded with its equal punishment.

'''■Resolved, nemine contra dicente. That it be recommended to the
Representatives of this County, as the opinion of this Committee, that
they by no means agree to the reprisals, taken as aforesaid, being

'■^Ordered, That the clerk transmit immediately a copy of the preced-
ing resolves to the Printers of the Virginia and Pennsylvania gazettes,
to be published.

"By order of the Committee.

"George Johnston, Clerk.''

In session in Loudoun, May 14, 1776:

"Richard Morlan being summoned to appear before this Committee,
for speaking words inimical to the liberties of America, and tending to
discourage a Minute-man from returning to his duty; and also publickly
declaring he would not muster, and if fined would oppose the collection
of the fine with his gun: The charge being proved against him, and he
heard in his defense, the Committee think proper to hold the said
Morlan up to the publick as an enemy to their rights and liberties; and
have ordered that this resolution be published in the Virginia Gazette,

"Christopher Greenup, Clerk.'*


Loudoun, at the time of the Revolution, was one of the
most densely populated counties in the State. Her militia,
according to the returns of I78O and 1781, numbered 1,746,


which number was far in excess of that reported by any other
Virginia county.

It is probable that a few Loudoun patriots served in Captain
Daniel Morgan's celebrated "Company of Virgina Riflemen,",
thus described by a line ofiicer of the Continental Army:
"They are remarkably stout and hardy men; many of them
exceeding six feet in height. They are dressed in white
frocks, or rifle shirts, and round hats. These men are re-
markable for the accuracy of their aim; striking a mark with
great certainty at two hundred yards distance. At a review,
a company of them, while on a quick advance, fired their
balls into objects of seven inches diameter at the distance of
two hundred and fifty yards. They are now stationed on our
lines, and their shot have frequently proved fatal to British
officers and soldiers, who expose themselves to view even at
more than double the distance of common musket shot."

The Germans of Loudoun were intensely loyal to the cause
of freedom, many serving in Armand's Legion, recruited by
authority of Congress during the summer of 1777, and com-
posed of men who could not speak English.

Quaker Non- Participation.

During the period preceding the Revolution, important
offices had been bestowed on the Friends or Quakers of
Loudoun and they exercised a decided influence in the govern-
ment of the County. They, however, withdrew participation
in public affairs on the approach of war; and, to the deter-
mination of the American patriots to throw off the yoke of
British tyranny, they opposed their principles of non-resistance,
not only refusing to perform military duty, but also to pay
the taxes levied on them, as on all other citizens, for the
prosecution of the War of Independence.

This non-conformity to the military laws of the State from
conscientious motives, brought them into difficulty, as will be
seen in the annexed extract from Kercheval's History of the
Shenandoah Valley:

"At the beginning of the war, attempts were made to compel them to
bear arms and serve in the militia; but it was soon found unavailing.


They would not perform any military duty required of them, not even
the scourge would compel them to submit to discipline. The practice of
coercion was therefore abandoned, and the legislature enacted a law to
levy a tax upon their property, to hire substitutes to perform militia duty
in their stead. This, with other taxes, bore peculiarly heavy upon them.
Their personal property was sold under the hammer to raise the public
demands; and before the war was over, many of them were reduced to
great distress in their pecuniary circumstances.

"This selling of Quakers' property afforded great opportunity for de-
signing individuals to make profitable speculations. They continued to
refuse to pay taxes for several years after the war, holding it unlawful
to contribute their money towards discharging the war debt. THis being
at length adjusted, no part of our citizens pay their public demands
with more punctuality (except their muster fines, which they still refuse
to pay)."

Loudoun's Revolutionary Hero,

John Champe, the tall and saturnine sergeant-major of Lee*s
celebrated partisan legion, was a resident of I^oudoun County.
Readers of Lee's "Memoirs of the War" will recall the account
of Champe' s pretended desertion from the Continental armies.
This perilous adventure was undertaken for the threefold
purpose of capturing the traitor Arnold, saving the life of the
unfortunate Andre, and establishing the innocence of General
Gates, who had been charged with complicity in Arnold's
nefarious intrigue. His investigations secured the complete
vindication of Gates; but, failing in his other attempts, he
drifted with the Red Coats to North Carolina, where he de-
serted their ranks and rejoined the American forces under
General Greene.

That ofi&cer provided him with a good horse and money for
his journey, and sent him to General Washington. The
commander-in-chief " munificently anticipated every desire
of the sergeant, and presented him with a discharge from fur-
ther service, lest he might, in the vicissitudes of war, fall into
the enemy's hands; when, if recognized, he was sure to die

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Online LibraryJames W. (James William) HeadHistory and comprehensive description of Loudoun County, Virginia [electronic resource] → online text (page 10 of 15)