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Early Southwestern Virginia Pioneers
NOTE: This information has been compiled by Robert L. Garrison; P.O. Box 594; Gallatin, TN 37066
Many thanks to him for sharing his research with us all!

To encourage expansion, Virginia's government was granting "proof of settlement" titles to land parcels to those who were brave enough to go after them.  The young Virginians as well as a few older ones formed a group to explore the wilds of western Virginia.  A fairly massive "hunting expedition"  was put together. All were interested in obtaining a land grant and this would be a golden opportunity.

The original hunting party was in place in the year 1767~1769.It consisted of: Morris Griffith, (for whom Morris Knob was named); James Burke, (Discoverer of Burke's Garden); Moses Higgenbotham; Rees Bowen; Thomas Maxwell; Wm. Webb; James Moore; John Pogue; John Ridgel; Wm. Wynne; Wm. Butler; Jessee Evans; Elisha Cary; Wm. Webb; John Taylor; David Ward; Peter Harmon; Samuel Fergerson; Wm. Garrison; James Ogleton; Wm. Wynne; Jacob Harmon; Wm. Harmon; Benjamin Joslin; Wm Asbury

In this time, there was safety in numbers, and the party did have encounters with the Indians.  I don't show of any deaths on the expedition, but perhaps there were.  Most likely, some families of members of the expedition followed the group on this arduous and dangerous journey from the eastern part of the state of Virginia.  The families waited at the "Edge of Civilization."  However it is recorded that on September 4, 1774 the Henry family was massacred in Thompson Valley.  The Henry family had settled there on 167 acres granted them by an order of Council on December 16, 1773.

The party went beyond an early settlement and makeshift fort Casteswoods,  places past that were not recorded,  records I have show names like, Elk Lick, Crab Orchard, and Morris Knob .  These were probably named by these expeditioners and used for landmarks for future reference in filing for a grant from the state.
Some facts on William Garrison & family:

Wm. Garrison did reside at Elk Lick prior to being granted a "Right of Settlement", some 290 acres in northern Washington  Co., Va., bordered by the river ,Maiden Spring Fork, westside of Morris Knob, 1772 (Wash. Co. Land Rec.).  Later on after Tazewell Co. was formed, William was shown to be a "surveyor of roads" for the county (Taz. Co. Court Rec.).  Williams wife Jane and two sons Reuben and William, Jr., and two daughters Eleanor,and Elizabeth were with him in Northen Washington Co. in 1772.  It is supposed that he returned to Stafford Co. to bring them back with him.  William's older brother John accompanied them also back to northern Washington County.

In 1785, his daughter Betsy, (Elizabeth), married Moses Higgenbotham (Wash. Co. Mrg Rec.)  The daughter Eleanor married Jarrett Bowling.  Records show that William and William, Jr. were among the petitioners to form Tazwell County (Taz. Co. Rec.).  Records show that in an application for an extension of pension of Andrew Shortridge, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, by his widow, Nancy.  In this application she stated, "Her name was Garrison, and that she had married Andrew Shortridge, a native of Scotland, in her father John Garrison's home in Tazewell in 1789.  She was 14 years old at the time, to be 15 in August".

William' s wife Jane died in 1795 in Tazewell Co., Va. Tazewell Co., Va. Marriage records show William re-marrying "Fanny" Higgenbotham on July 8, 1801.

In 1810 William started selling out his Virginia land holdings, (Aug. 28, 1810 sold 48 acres of original 290 acre survey to Jarrett Bowling), and with some ofthe Bowling and Higgenbotham families set out by wagon train to the Mississippi Territory, where later became Madison Co., Alabama. William's will and audit on record, as well as various Higgenbothams and Bowlings- (Madison Co., Alabama Probate Court Rec., Huntsville) where William died September 24, 1824.

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