First Settlers of the Shenandoah Valley

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The Shenandoah Valley region of western Virginia, from Winchester to Roanoke, Virginia, is bordered by the Blue Ridge mountains to the East and the Allegheny mountains to the West. The Valley also includes the eastern panhandle of West Virginia- the Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley.

The counties of today are listed below showing the parent counties. Those counties in the early 18th century are the early settlements of the First Settlers.

Initially there were two counties in the early part of the 18th century, Frederick and Augusta counties, both created in 1738 from Orange County. The later counties are break-out counties from these two original ones. Frederick County had borders, but Augusta County was huge prior to the Revolutionary War, as it was bordered to the East by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the West by the Mississippi River, and to the North by the Great Lakes. But only the settlements between the two mountain ranges, Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains, is considered within the Shenandoah Valley.

The qualifying FIRST SETTLER ancestor needed for FSSV membership is a person who resided in an area that is located in present-day Shenandoah Valley before 31 December 1799.

Settlements established in present-day Virginia by 1799:

VA COUNTIES in Shenandoah Valley (Towns)
DATE CREATED
PARENT COUNTY
*Orange 1 Feb 1734 Spotsylvania
**Augusta (Staunton & Waynesboro) 1 Aug 1738 Orange
Frederick (Winchester) 1 Aug 1738 Orange
Botetourt 7 Nov 1769 Augusta
Shenandoah (Front Royal) 24 Mar 1772 Frederick
Fincastle 1772-1777 Botetourt
Rockbridge (Lexington & Buena Vista) 20 Oct 1777 Augusta & Botetourt
Rockingham (Harrisonburg) 20 Oct 1777 Augusta
Pendleton VA/WV 4 Dec 1787 Augusta
Bath 14 Dec 1790 Augusta, Botetourt & Greenbrier
Alleghany aft 1799 Bath, Botetourt & Monroe
Clark aft 1799 Frederick
Craig aft 1799 Botetourt, Giles, Roanoke & Monroe
Highland aft 1799 Bath & Pendleton
Page aft 1799 Rockingham & Shenandoah
Roanoke (Roanoke & Salem) aft 1799 Botetourt & Montgomery
Warren aft 1799 Frederick & Shenandoah
WV Panhandle COUNTIES-Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley
Berkeley VA/WV 10 Feb 1772 Frederick
Pendleton VA/WV 4 Dec 1787 Augusta, Hardy (WV) & Rockingham
Jefferson VA/WV (Charles Town & Harpers Ferry) aft 1799 Berkeley
Morgan VA/WV aft 1799 Berkeley & Hampshire

*ORANGE CO, VA can be deceptive. From 1 Aug 1738 when the two counties Augusta and Frederick were created out of Orange Co, the part of Orange Co, VA that is included in the Valley would be the western part of Orange Coó the to-be Frederick Co and Augusta Co parts. Prior to 1738, both counties were included in Orange Co, but not the whole of Orange Co was in the Valley. Please see the map reference below to help pin-point your ancestorís residence.

**AUGUSTA CO, VA, prior to 1776 stretched westward to the Mississippi River and up to the Great Lakes. It included WV, KY, OH, part of PA, etc. Obviously, all of early Augusta County would not have been IN the Shenandoah Valley. Be sure if your ancestor was in Augusta Co, VA, that s/he resided or worked within the mountain ranges that border the Valley. Please see the map reference below to help pin-point your ancestorís residence.

NOTE: If you have any questions about which towns are actually IN the Shenandoah Valley, go to the map link below that shows the topography of the mountain ranges. One can maneuver the map reveal to view the full Valley and its surround. The Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway provide a guideline of the Blue Ridge mountain ridge, but it is not an absolute border if you can prove a case for your SETTLER being in the VALLEY. As there is no hard line of demarcation of the Shenandoah Valley, borderline cases are considered on a case by case basis.

MAP REFERENCE: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=ysH&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=Orange+Co+VA&fb=1&gl=us&hq=Orange+Co&hnear=VA&ei=YjjrSs_9LMnYlAf0p-X_BA&sa=X&oi=local_group&ct=image&resnum=4&ved=0CC0QtgMwAw

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