Charles Ewing, whose will is dated May 31, 1770, and which was probated in Bedford County, Virginia, July 24, 1770, was the same splendid type of citizen as his brother, Robert. This is not mere theory. Nor is it simply family tradition. The positions these two brothers filled as well as those held by their children after them and the testimony of such men as R. D. Buford, who knew their neighbors and who spent years studying the family records of his county, furnish us undisputed proof.
This Charles, the immigrant, and his son, Charles, were the only Ewings of that Christian name in all that part of Virginia in their day, so far as I can learn. So it is the more easy to identify them. Undoubtedly it was the immigrant who bought land in Augusta County, Virginia, December 13, 1744 (3 Chalkley, Augusta County Records, p. 9); but so far as known he never lived in that county, -- a vast region once covering all the south-western part of Virginia. But Charles and his brother, Robert, undoubtedly had located in Virginia much earlier than that date. It was earlier than this that Charles located on lands near the Peaks of Otter in what is now Bedford County and established what in Mr. Buford's early day (before 1850) was known as Chestnut Grove. Until sold very recently by the mother of Miss Sallie O. Ewing, of Roanoke, Virginia, this old home came down through his descendants. "I have been at the sweet old home," wrote Mr. Buford of it in his 86th year. Continuing he adds: "It is now owned and occupied by my friend, Mr. M. L. Hatcher. Not a member of the Ewing family now remains in the county." With his brother Charles resided in Prince Edward County before locating in the newer Bedford at least as early as 1761.
This Charles by his last will leaves the home place of one hundred acres and Negroes to his wife during widowhood; and then provides for the following children, in the order named, which, of course, is no index to their respective ages:
William became a lawyer. He died in 1810, leaving a will bequeathing his books of law and of religion to his wife, who was Anna Cottrell, and whom he married in 1805. They had no children, and at the wife's death the land under the will passed to Mitchell Ewing, a nephew, who lived on Otter River. His brother, Caleb, had died before, leaving William as executor; and in his will William, by reason of his stewardship, provides for Polly and Betsy, children of Caleb. He makes some bequests to his brothers, Charles, George and David, indicating that they were then living.
This will of William Ewing also mentions his sisters, Martha and Mary, who were in Kentucky.
After the death of this William his widow married Christopher Domiere, as shown by the marriage records of Bedford County. They moved to Ohio, and there Domiere died. Anna, the widow living in Preble County, Ohio, December 6, 1855, applied for a pension on the ground that her first husband was a patriot soldier of the Revolution. She was then, she said, about 82 years old. In her affidavit, she says that she is the widow of "William Ewing, who was a sergeant in a regiment of Virginia troops" during the Revolutionary War and that he enlisted in "Bedford County, Virginia, October or November, 1780." She says that she and Ewing married in Bedford County, Virginia, February 26, 1805; and that he died in 1810; and that she remarried to Christopher Domiere.
In her petition, the name is also spelled Ewin.
A tenant who in 1805 lived on a farm of this Charles Ewing in Bedford County, in his affidavit with this petition says that "William Ewing was a man of good habits and well respected by his neighbors," and reputed to have been a soldier of the Revolution.
When Charles II Ewing was in his prime the county west of the Alleghenies and (to the southwest) the Cumberlands was an unsettled wild. Game was abundant; pelts were valuable. Hunters, in parties large and small, often spent an entire hunting season, camping, far beyond the frontier line. Land was examined, incidentally; and many a Kentucky home owes its original location to the intelligent eye of one of the early Virginia hunters. Charles (II) Ewing was such a pioneer.
From the Draper Manuscripts we get this letter written in answer to a request by Draper:
Taylor County, Ky., April 15th, 1849.
Your letters came to hand in due time but owing to various circumstances I have not been able to finish the Information you desired. The 2 sheets that I wrote out some time ago I have looked over I find many mistakes but which I hope you will correct, I will re view or look over those sheets & by way of notes I will add what had escaped me in the first Instance. Skaggs was accompanied on this hunt by Charles Ewing & some 24 men, it was this trip that they killed 1500 deer & built their skin house on the Canny fork of Russell Creek not far from Mount Gilliad meeting house Green Cy Ky here a jealousey arose in the breast of Ewing because H. Skaggs was the most successful hunter & a separation of the party took place, but whether before or after their return from the southern portion of Ky or not I do not know but Ewing with his party returned to Virginia. The place of this skin house was discovered many year after the settlements in the following manner. In 1804 there was an association of Baptist held on russels creek they chose a shady place near a fine spring the horses were tied very thick in the woods they pawed up the ground in one place when it was discovered that there was a vast quantity of hair which was covered over with soil this caused an examination and it was discovered that this was the old skin house.. . . . .
Addressed: Mr. Lyman C. Draper Philadelphia. Postmarked: Campbellsville Ky May 7. (Draper Mss. 5C77).
Inquiries to Capt John Barbee, Campbellsville Ky Oct. 24, 1820.
You have mentioned the jealousy of Ewing as the cause of his going off; that could hardly have influenced so many others. One account I have says, that those who went to the settlements, went for amunition, & when they returned, they found the camp robbed, but the dogs remained there & were quite wildóbut that these returned men pushed on to the French Lick regionónow Nashville. Can you throw any light on this?
Memorandum at bottom: "No reply.óL. C. D."
"The above is Draper's handwriting," said the custodian of the Draper manuscript to me.
Some of the descendants of this Charles Ewing have interesting traditions of his experiences on these long hunting expeditions. Occasionally he went far into the wilderness alone, daring wild beasts, then numerous, and taking fearful chances on leaving his scalp dangling at the belt of a husky savage ever on the alert.
This Charles II had William and Mitchell. William became a major in the State military service and long resided in Bedford County. This Mitchell (1) Ewing as shown in the original commission in the possession of Miss S. O. Ewing, a descendant, was commissioned by the Virginia authorities as lieutenant in the 91st regiment, 12th brigade, first division of the militia, June 13, 1814, having seen service in the war just closed. He received an estate from his uncle William, married a Miss Davis, and had:
Poly, Elizabeth, Mitchell (II), James M., and, according to Miss Sallie O. Ewing of Roanoke, Virginia, possibly a John.
The following letter, copied from the originals in the possession of Miss S. O. Ewing, are valuable for their genealogy and interesting for their light upon their time. They were written by John Allen Gano to James M. Ewing, Liberty, Bedford County, Virginia. These old letters are yet, except a very few words, plainly readable, and are neatly and well written. The paper has so faded as that punctuation marks cannot be distinguished in many places, though I have reason to believe they existed.
Geo Town Scott County Ky. Feby 11th, 1822.
Hope you will not think it farwardness in me, that prompts me to introduce myself to you by letter. I am the eldest son of your dear departed Sister Elizabeth (-abeth only being certainly legible) M. Gano who departed this life April 9th, 1812, leaving four daughters and three sons. I should have written before this, but I have never had the pleasure to hear from you till a few evenings since. Cousin James Cogswell was at Capt. Buckners (a brother in law of mine) we learned from him your place of residence &c., he also informed us of his intention of visiting you soon, and said that he expected you would accompany him to this country. I had not myself the pleasure of seeing him or should have written by him. My principle design in this letter, is to say how much pleased we should all be to receive the visit spoken of by Mr. Cogswell. And also to give you a brief history of our family since my mother's death. My youngest brother Richard M. Gano departed this life June 16th 1814. My father married a widow of Aaron Goforth's in October 1814 and died Oct 22nd 1815 never having enjoyed good health after his return from the second campaign. How sensibly have I felt the loss of two such beloved parents. My sisters were all married. The oldest (Mary) married Capt. John C. Buckner. The second (Margaret) married Doct Robert M. Ewing, son of Col. Baker Ewing, with whom I am now living in Geo. Town. The third (Cornelia) married Capt. Wm. Henry, who now lives near Hopkinsville, Christian County, the fourth (Elizabeth) married Daniel Henry brother of Wm. Henry, sons of Gen. Wm. Henry. Since Mary has three children, Sister Cornelia one, Sister Eliza Henry died in Christian County 4th of last August leaving one child. I am going to school in this place. I am studying Greek & Rhetoric and reviewing Latin. Brother Stephan F. Gano is living near here with Uncle Hubbell, and is also going to school he is learning the same with myself except Rhetoric. I should be glad to hear from you any time either by letter or otherwise. Sisters and brother join in sending their love to yourself and aunt Ewing and family.
I am Dear Sir with much respect your Nephew
JOHN ALLEN GANO.
The above bears the stamp of the "Geo. Town" post office, being mailed Feb. 14, and was folded and sealed with wax, no envelope being used, following the custom in that day.
The other letter was mailed in "Geo. Town, Ky., July 8," addressed to Mitchell Ewing, Esqr., Liberty, Bedford County, Virginia. It reads:
Geo. Town (Ky.) July 6th, 1824.
I arrived safely at this place on the 4th inst after a fatiguing journey of one thousand miles from Lynchburg, which I performed in thirteen days. I reached Richmond about 12 o'clock on the 23rd of June and was delighted with the place, the buildings are generally elegant particularly the capitol and those around it. In the evening I visited many parts of the City, I saw the Independent Club (so it looks to be) parade &c &c &c. In the 24th at 3 o'clk A. M. I left the City for Fredericksburg and arrived there about three in the evening, a distance of 75 miles. I took another stage immediately to Potomac River 9 miles from Fredericksburg at 9 o'clk that night I took the Steam Boat for Washington. Came in sight of the City about daylight, the appearance was truly a grand one; and I was never more pleased and gratified with any visit which was merely to receive information. I staid all day in the City, visited the Capitol &c. and in the evening was sick and in bed the attack was a slightly billious one, on the morning of the 26th I went to Baltimore here I soon went to bed, and of course saw very little of the city next day although I was unwell I set out for Wheeling a distance of 290 miles this we performed in a little more than 3 days. The Ohio was full and I soon got a board a Steam boat in a day and two night we ran to Maysville 400 miles from Wheeling. On the 3rd of July I arrived in Paris in the stage and the following morning came to Geo. Town, these are the general outlines of my visit, roughly drawn as you may easily perceive; I found all my relations well, and being now free from hippo; am much better myself.
The admrs. are satisfied with the arrangement as to the remainder I have not yet seen Cogswell, but will shortly. Your kindness to me; and favor in taking my horse to sell, is not only calculated to call forth my thanks, but to excite the liveliest feeling of gratitude. If he is well and you can sell him for $60 do so if not let him go for $40 and if no one will give this, start him homeward the earliest opportunity. My love to Aunt -- Ewing, Cousin Polly, Cousin Caleb, and all the Cousins. My respects to Mrs. Beard and family, Mr. Thomas, Capt. Jones, and their families and all other enquiring friends and believe me your affectionate Nephew
JOHN ALLEN GANO.
N. B. All the family send love to you and your family and request to see you as soon as you can come.
J. A. GANO
Mrs. Beard, to which reference above is made, must have been Mitchell's mother-in-law, as he married Mary Beard, niece of Rev. James. Beard.
Mitchell (II.) had by a first wife, Polly, who never married, and by the second wife, Caleb, William, James D., Robert M., Charles H., Edward, Elizabeth and Albert Mitchell (III), born June 27, 1828, and died December 5, 1878. Like his ancestor this Mitchell was fond of the chase and often spent consecutive weeks far in the woods.
Of these children Caleb married Miss M. L. Jones and died in 1838. They had Daniel Price Ewing, who married Miss Woods of Albermarle County, Virginia, and had two children, Cora, who married Thornton Stringfellow of Culpeper County, and who lives at Preston Heights, University of Virginia, and Anna who married Dr. Isom Summers now of Quantico, Virginia. Daniel Price Ewing become a noted captain in the Confederate army, dying in 1862. William married Lydia Patterson and lived to be 93 years old. He moved to Nebraska and had children, one of whom is W. E. Ewing of Franklin, Nebraska, who was a delegate from his State to the National Democratic Convention in Baltimore in 1912; and who is otherwise a man of prominence and means. James D. married Ellen Patterson, had at least one son, James A., and died before 1864. Robert M. never married. Charles H. married Elizabeth Patterson and had Robert A., who was in Colorado in 1913, and Charles A., who never married. Elizabeth married Spotswood Brown and had several children. Albert Mitchell served with much gallantry for four years in the Confederate army, Virginia troops. A few days before Lee's surrender he was made a prisoner. After the war he married Frances Hurt. He inherited Chestnut Grove in Bedford County, and after his death in 1879, the widow sold it. Their children are, Sarah (Sallie) Overton, fluent of pen, mentioned herein more than once, Albert Hughston, Elizabeth Bascom, a talented oil and crayon artist, and William Mitchell (IV).
Matt W. Hall of Marshall, Missouri, a descendant of Martha, daughter of Charles I, says that Martha was born in 1763; that she married Charles Crawford in 1783 (though there is no record of this in Bedford County). Her father died in or before 1770; and it is probable she was the youngest. This furnishes an approximate idea of the birth dates of the other children. She and her sister were living in Kentucky at the date of their brother William's will, as we have seen.
Baker Ewing was active in locating and obtaining lands in Kentucky before the death of his father; and he became an early pioneer of that section.
To an inquiry by Draper for information regarding Col. Baker Ewing, Robert Wickliffe of Lexington, Kentucky, September 25, 1854, wrote:
The Col. Ewing who you enquire after I knew well. He was Col. Baker Ewing of the Militia in Lincoln County. He was the first register of the land office of the State of Kentucky. He resigned the office in the year 1798 became a farmer of the County of Franklin in Kentucky, and died on his farm many years ago. (Draper Mss. 5C58).
This Baker Ewing had a son, Robert M., who became a noted physician of Kentucky. He married Margaret, the second daughter of Elizabeth M. (Ewing) Gano, as shown by the letter dated Feb. 11, 1822, by her son to his uncle James M. Ewing, of Liberty, Bedford County, Virginia, which we have just seen.
Page last updated 13 October 2008.