When last I wrote about Isaac Bellangee, he had made it to Augusta County, Virginia, dragging along numerous legends and myths that still float around 245 years later. Despite all the fiction revolving around Isaac, his documented history is just as interesting. Born around 1719 in Burlington, New Jersey, Isaac was raised by a Quaker family (Evi [Yves] and Christian Delaplaine Bellangee). Evi died a short time after Isaac was born. Unfortunately, Isaac's story leap frogs over a huge gap of information that blanks out the early adulthood years until he leaves New Jersey for the mountains of Virginia.
The story of Isaac Bellangee is picked up in 1767 in
County, . This is the time period when some people say he left a family behind in New Jersey, but that's not proven. I don't know why Isaac selected Augusta County for his new home; perhaps he drifted South until he found a place he liked. Quakers from Burlington County, New Jersey, were settling in northern Virginia, but Isaac doesn't seem to have any connection with the Quakers. I don't know how living in New Jersey prepared him for the bare-knuckle life in the mountains overlooking the Shenandoah Valley, but Augusta County holds a hand-drawn survey of land granted to Isaac on Craig’s
Creek. Craig’s Creek is a branch of Barbour’s Creek
which is in the modern-day area of Boutetourt and Virginia, when Isaac would have been about 48 years old .
There is no documentation about Isaac having a family at this time, so I think of him as being single when he settled on Craig’s Creek. Some sources refer to Isaac Blangy being in Abb’s Valley (modern day
Craig Counties ) before 1771. Tazewell County
The namesake of Abb’s Valley was Absalom Looney who also had a survey on Craig’s Creek in 1770. It may be that Isaac knew Looney and that they travelled and hunted the area together. There is no land record which indicates that Isaac settled on land in Abb’s Valley, and documentation is not presented in any source as to how it was determined that Isaac was in Abb’s Valley.
Settlers often spent weeks away from home hunting and trapping before returning to their cabins.
“. . .the hardy backwoodsman of Augusta frequently left home and all its endearments, and took upon himself the toil and fatigue, as well as the pleasures, of a trapper’s life. . . the backwoodsman returned regularly to his family, at the end of a few months. . .” Perhaps during one of these trapping explorations, Isaac visited Abb’s Valley.
In 1769 the part of
Craig’s Creek was included in a new county named Botetourt. The Annals
of Southwest Virginia (1929, p. 138) gives a record of a jury trial that
occurred during the 11 October 1771 session of the Botetourt County Court in
which Isaac Bolinger sued Patrick McDonald.
A verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff (Bolinger) for seven
pounds, 13 shillings, and six pence. Augusta
On 1 August 1772 a land patent was recorded in Botetourt County for the 210 acres owned by Isaac Bellangee (spelling variation the same as that used by the New Jersey Bellangees) in consideration of the sum of 25 shillings. The boundaries of the land began on the south side of “Barbers Creek” and ran across the creek with survey measurements identical to the survey from
in 1767. The patent was granted by
George the Third, through Lord Dunmore in Augusta County .
Indian attacks were problematic for the Augusta County settlers during the years from 1764 to 1766. In 1758 Sir William Johnson arranged a treaty stipulating that the land in western Pennsylvania would continue to be used by the Six Nations as hunting grounds, and this provided a period of calm. To pacify the Indians, the British government restricted settlement west of the Alleghenies, but white settlers, more or less, ignored those limitations. By 1773 tensions increased between the Indians and the white settlers when the settlers began to move into the territory south of the Kanawha River that included Indian hunting grounds.
When the Indian attacks increased in 1774, Lord Dunmore wrote to General Andrew Lewis in Botetourt County directing Lewis to assemble a southern army that would march to Point Pleasant and there fight the confederated Indian tribes. General Lewis ordered men to gather at
(modern-day Lewisburg, West Virginia), ready to march to Point Pleasant
on 30 August. Isaac Bellangee is on the
roster of men who were paid in 1775 for their services in Lord Dunmore’s
War. He provided 13 days of service in
1774. Because the militia rolls and the
public service claims are merged on the list, it’s not possible to determine
what service Isaac provided, but because he was only paid for 13 days, his service was probably minimal.
The army assembled on 30 August and the Battle of Point Pleasant
occurred on 10 October, so Isaac’s service may have been to move supplies from Botetourt County
over to to prepare for the
long march. The men from Greenbrier
County Augusta County
took 400 pack horses with 54,000 pounds of flour and 108 beeves to . The supplies were taken from Camp Union Staunton
to present-day Lewisburg, but there was no road to accommodate the wagons from Camp Union
to the Ohio River.
Isaac was one of six men in Captain Edward Cawen’s company and provided the fewest days of service among all six. With such a small period of service, it’s unlikely that Isaac marched through the mountains to the mouth of the Kanawha (
). It’s more probable that he provided some
resource (flour, beeves, horses, etc.) that he moved from Parkersburg Botetourt
County to . Although Isaac didn't associate himself with the Quaker community in Virginia, his childhood instruction by the Society of Friends may have lingered on into his adult life and influenced him to take a pacifistic turn. Was he a peaceful, quiet-mannered man? Or a burly, mountain-man who hunted bear and trapped beavers for their pelts? Camp Union
Kegley’s Virginia Frontier (1938, p. 440) says that in August 1774 (perhaps on the way to muster for Lord Dunmore’s War?) a group of men “looked over” a way from the Sweet Springs Road on Dunlap’s Creek to Camp Union on the Greenbrier River. By 15 November 1775, this road was “established” thus opening up more convenient travel from
County to . Greenbrier County
After the resolution of the hostilities with the Indians, Isaac married a woman named Jean (or Jane, in some documents). Her surname is unknown, as is the date of their marriage. When the couple moved to Greenbrier County, they lived near James Graham and William Graham, which gives some credence to the theory that Jean's surname was Graham. Four Graham gentlemen also witnessed Jean's will when she died, which demonstrates a close relationship between her and the Graham family. The first documented birth date of any of their children is 1778, so it can be assumed that their marriage occurred about 1777 when Isaac was about 60 years old. Some sources list their marriage date as 1768. If that is true, either no children were born to the marriage for 10 years or no documentation exists for the children from those earlier years.
Children of Isaac and Jean Ballengee
Name of Child
“Ballengees of West Virginia”, no author, no date, from
Born about 1785
Isaac Ballengee, Jr.
Greenbrier Co. death records and age from 1850 census
With the arrival of the American Revolutionary War, colonists were required to declare their loyalty to the newly formed American government. Isaac swore an oath of allegiance in
in 1777. This is the only documentation for Isaac
during the Revolution which occurred from 1776 to 1781 (Siege of
Yorktown). A search of the database of
patriots with the Daughters of the American Revolution reveals that no records
of service during the Revolution exist for Isaac. Two of his children, Henry and George, were
born during the Revolution. Botetourt County
Isaac continued to live in
Botetourt County at least through 1 September 1780 because a
deed in which William Walker purchased 63 acres states that Walker’s
land was adjacent to the . Sometime between this citation and 1783,
Isaac had moved to land
of Isaac Ballenger . Kegley’s
Virginia Frontier (p. 463) says that in 1783 a “new way was marked out from
the place formerly Balliner’s (sic) on Barber’s Creek to the Sweet
County was established in 1778, and
when the trail across the mountains from
improved to a “road”, Isaac moved his family to the territory he may have first
seen when he provided services during Lord Dunmore’s War. Botetourt County
The census for 1790 is not extant, but the census has been reconstructed with names from county tax lists in
. Isaac Ballinger appears on this “heads of
families” list from 1782-1785 in Greenbrier County. The 1787 tax list “C” from Virginia
lists Isaac as owning four horses and eight cattle. The assessor called on Isaac on 5 May, and
Isaac appears on the list adjacent to James and William Graham who were
probably his neighbors. Greenbrier County
On 8 May of the same year Isaac assigned power of attorney to Thomas Price of
to act as his agent in selling
his 210 acres there. On 18 October 1787 Isaac received a grant of
184 acres on the Kanawha and Greenbrier Rivers “by virtue of a certificate in
light of settlement given by the commissioners for adjusting titles to
unpatented lands in the District of Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier” and for
the sum of one pound sterling. The tract in Botetourt County Greenbrier
County is described as “. . .on the
Kanawha below the mouth of . . .beginning at
the Sheep Rock Branch. . .crossing an island. . .leaving the island”. This land was situated where the city of Greenbrier
River is now
Judith McClung writes of traditional information that was related by David Graham Ballengee. The story goes that Isaac had intended to travel to
Ohio, but one of the children became
ill, so they stopped near the until the child
recovered. They decided to buy the land
using “squatter’s title” and that they finalized purchase of the land in 1785. David Ballengee thought that Isaac and his
family arrived in Greenbrier
River around 1780. Greenbrier
The story continues that Isaac built his first cabin in a field, but it burned, so he built another cabin in 1781. “The home was sturdy and spacious, and the island offered protection from wild beasts and Indians. For safety reasons there were no windows.” There was supposedly a Ballengee home built on an island in the
River, but this could not have been the home that stood near the C
& O Railroad yard that was occupied until around 1900 because, obviously,
that home was not on the island.
Isaac’s representative in
, Thomas Price,
sold Isaac’s land there on 8 December 1789. The last documented child was born to Isaac
and Jean in 1789. The family remained on their farm by the
river until Isaac died. The date of his
death is not documented, but on 14 March 1798 Jonathan Rumford bought land
adjoining that of Isaac Ballengee, deceased. In 1799 Jean Ballengee is on the Botetourt
County county tax list
with two tithables, which means that she is the head of the household. Monroe County was created from Greenbrier
County in 1799, so Jean's tax record is transferred from Greenbrier County to Monroe County. Monroe
A grant of land was made to Jean Bellengee by the
on 22 November 1800. The grant included a total of 300 acres that
bordered a survey of land owned by Jonathan Rumford (7,473 acres) and another
for Isaac Bellengee, deceased (184 acres).
With Isaac’s original grant, Jean now owned a total of 484 acres. The grant was located on the north side of
the New River about a half-mile below the mouth of the Commonwealth of Virginia . The survey began at Sheep Rock Branch;
another landmark mentioned was Rebekah’s Branch. Greenbrier River
Jean died between 15 October 1804, when she wrote her last will and testament, and 18 February 1805 when her will was probated at
court. She left to her sons George and
Isaac each one cow, and the 500 acre tract of land was to be divided equally
among Henry, George, and Isaac, Jr. Her
daughters, Jane and Florence, who were married, each received one dollar
because Jean said they had already received their “equal part”. Her two unmarried daughters, Elizabeth and
Susana, received all of Jean’s moveable property which was to be divided
equally between the two daughters. The will was witnessed by James Graham, Sr.,
Samuel Graham, James Graham, Jr., and Lanty Graham. Monroe County
Isaac's farm along the New River is now home to the town of Hinton, where a street is named after him. His life is reduced to a few facts gleaned from land records and will books, but I imagine he had some good stories to tell when the family sat around the fireplace after supper. Those had to be some wonderful stories.
 Harman, John, Annals of
Volume I, p. 24. Tazewell County, Virginia
 Kegley, F. B., Kegley’s Virginia Frontier, 1938, p. 456.
 P. 341
 Skidmore, Warren, Lord Dunmore’s Little War of 1774, 2002, p. 4.
 Lewis, Virgil, History of Pt. Pleasant, 1909, p. 25.
 Waddell, Joseph, Annals of
County, from 1726-1871, 1902, p. 183. Virginia
 Yantis and Love, The 1787 Census of
Virginia, , 1987, p. 163
and p. 171. Greenbrier
, Book 3, p. 476. County Deeds
Commonwealth of Virginia
to Isaac Ballengee, 18 October 1787,
Office, No. 15, p. 199, Virginia State Library, Richmond, VA. Virginia
, Book 4, p. 145. County Deeds
 “Ballengees of West Virginia,”
Commonwealth of Virginia
to Jonathan Rumford, 14 March 1798, Office, No. 38, p.
131, Virginia State Library, Richmond, VA. Va. State
 Morton, History of
1916, p. 480. Monroe County
Commonwealth of Virginia
to Jean Bellengee, 22 November 1800, Office , No. 48, p.
81, Virginia State Library, Richmond, VA. Va. State
Monroe , Book 1-A, p. 49. County