Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Catawba Valley Settlements

From History of the McDowells and Connections, by John Hugh McDowell, pub. 1918, C. B. Johnston, page 232:

    Amongst the earliest settlers in the valley of the upper Catawba, in the old county of Burke [then Rowan],* were Joseph McDowell the elder [b. 1715], a grandson of Ephraim, the founder of the family in Virginia, Kentucky and our own State, and his cousin, known as "Hunting John," who was near the same age. They migrated somewhere about the year 1760, and during the French-Indian war, from the old home of Ephraim McDowell, in Rockbridge** [then Augusta] County, Va., and because the country west of the Catawba was rendered unsafe by roving bands of Cherokee and Catawba braves, went with their families through Rowan and Mecklenburg counties to some point in South Carolina, near the northern boundary line. Their sturdy Scotch-Irish friends had already drifted from Pennsylvania, where they, with thousands of Germans, were first dumped by the English land agents upon American soil, to upper South Carolina, and had commemorated their first American home by naming the three northern counties of that State York, Chester and Lancaster.
*Burke was formed from Rowan County in 1777
**Rockbridge was formed in 1778 from Augusta and Botetourt counties in Virginia. Botetourt had been formed from Augusta in 1770. Augusta was formed from Orange County in 1738.