Sherlene\’s G-LOG

Making Sense of the Census (Fording the Langs, at Present)

Benjamin Lankford of VA Gen. Assembly (b. abt. 1730, m. Henrietta Bowcock 1771), of Pittsylvania County, Virginia

Benjamin Lankford notes, compiled by Sherlene Hall Bartholomew (shb hereafter), as of 9 August 2006:

ABT 1730–BIRTH/TWELVE SIBLINGS: RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project posting by Grant Pinnix, at http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=AHN&db=grantpinix&i . . ., site referred to shb by Ann Langford, accessed 9 Sep 2006, agrees with the “abt. 1730” birth year I had for Benjamin and names twelve siblings for Benjamin (thirteen total, as I have now entered them), but does not name either parent. Of course all of this needs verification. His entry at this site reads: “1. xii. Benjamin Lankford was born abt. 1730. He married Henrietta Bowcock [our first indication of her maiden name–shb] 1771 in Halifax County, Virginia. She was born abt. 1735.” [The 1. reference to him does not give additional information, except to suggest, “see ‘spouses’ to see Henrietta Bowcock’s burial information.” –shb 9 Sep 2006

SIMILAR CHILDREN’S NAMES/WERE WEST, JOSEPH, AND BENJAMIN LANGFORD BROTHERS? Descendants and Progenitors of Fielding Langford, compiled and edited by Ida-Rose Langford Hall (1970, 2003): “Notice the similarity in the names of Benjamin’s children (Benjamin and Stephen) to the names in the marriage and tax lists in Kentucky. Were they the same individuals? I thought so until I found the marriages of the children of Benjamin Langford in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The children of Joseph Langford (his supposed brother, that is) were getting married about the same time as the children of Benjamin Lankford in Pittsylvania. I wonder if it is possible that West Langford, Joseph Langford, and Benjamin Langford were brothers. Incidentally, Benjamin Langford, who married Nancy Peyton, in Lincoln County, Kentucky, named one of his sons ‘Stephen.'” –shb 8 Apr 2006

COUNTIES IN VIRGINIA (summary forwarded by Terry Smith, 8 Aug 2006):
Bedford: Formed from Lunenburg Co 11/1753, Effective 5/10/1754
Campbell: Formed 1782 from Bedford
Franklin: Formed 1786 From Bedford & Henry
Gloucester: Formed 1631 from Pamauneeshire, one of 8 Shires in Virginia
Pittsylvania: Formed 6/1/1767 From Halifax

A SLAVE HOLDER/FATHER NICHOLAS LANKFORD, SR.?  Benjamin was a slave holder, as he was taxed for a slave named “Moll,” on the first tax list when Pittsylvania was formed from Halifax, in 1767 (see 1767 notes, below).  The only other Lankford on this tax list was Nicholas.  However, since Nicholas Sr. died in 1742-43, this Nicholas on the 1767 tax list would have been Nicholas Jr.–Benjamin’s brother?)  –shb

SON STEPHEN WAS SAME ONE WHO SETTLED MT. VERNON, ROCKCASTLE, KENTUCKY? E-note from Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 22 July 2006: “Hi! Sherlene, I think you have taken copies of emails I sent to you during this journey to identify Langfords. I’ll try to straighten those out tomorrow [I forwarded my notes about our quest to make some of these links and invited all participants to edit them, since we’ve changed our minds so many times, before I post this on my G-log, inviting additional input from relatives we hope will “tune in”–shb.]

“It will take lots of straightening and the grandchildren have just left the house. After a full day at work, and grandchildren to boot, I’m too tired to do that tonight. But I will do that. Just give me time.

“Here’s what I think is true. I think the murdered Thomas was Pitt Ben’s son [see evidence from Michelle Bartell, as noted in Benjamin’s daughter Mary’s notes–Michelle’s whose aunt posted notes about Mary Todd Langford and family that were found in an old attic, as referred by a reader of my Langford blog–shb]. I think that he was also the sibling of Rockcastle Stephen and Mary Langford Todd. I think that the Thomas your mother lists as Benjamin’s son [in her book, Progenitors and Descendants of Fielding Langford–shb], the one who married in 1806, is Pitt Ben’s grandchild and not his son.

“It’s been a five year road searching for these ancestors. So often my opinion would change along the way [as did we all–shb]. But lots of threads are coming together to make me almost certain that what I wrote, in short, above is the actual truth.

“I’ll try to make sense of this tomorrow. Till then I’m still Your Rowdy Cuz” –shb 22 July 2006

RESPONSE FROM LANGFORD RESEARCHER BARRY WOOD: Barry D. Wood is my brother-in-law, an attorney and a marvelous genealogy researcher who has blessedly also shown an interest in his wife’s Langford genealogy. He responds to Shi’s letter, 22 July 2006: “Right… I agree with Shi. (But I’m still in shock to find that Kenneth Hufford Hanner [connected to home attic find of Mary Langford Todd note–shb] really is MY cousin, as well as related to you on the Langford side! His grandfather Simon Hufford was desc. from Jacob Hufford, one of the 17 children of Christian Hufford/Hoffert/Hoffarth, immigrant from Schwaigern, Kraichgau, Baden-Wuerttemburg in 1729, whose oldest son Christian Jr.’s son Peter’s son John was my mother’s grandfather.)” –shb 23 July 2006

1728–SHOWS UP IN CAROLINE COUNTY, VIRGINIA RECORDS. “The Front Porch Rocker News” blog, posted by “CURIOSITY,” who later signs off as “Anne,” lists Lankford entries entered in Caroline County records. Among other Lankfords in entries, besides Benjamin, are Nicholas, Joseph, James, Henry, Richard, and Elizabeth. I have copied over the entire list, at the end of Benjamin’s notes, in my own files, so I have all Lankford entries together, but here post only those that mention Benjamin:

“Subject: CAROLINE COUNTY, VIRGINIA

“Contributed by Anne starr460@insightbb.com

“Caroline County was formed in 1728 from the Upper Parts of Essex, King and Queen and King William counties. The only remaining colonial records remaining (with the exception of a few items) are the court order books. The book covering the first four years is no longer
extant. The first entry is Court 11 May 1732. [Then “Anne” begins a long list of extracted Lankford entries, including these for Benjamin, the first of which is on record, 11 Jan 1745.
That same year she lists entries for Nicholas Lankford, Jr. [Nicholas Sr. died in 1743] and James Lankford–shb.]:

“11 Jan 1745 – Robt. Lyon agt Benja Lankford. Jury finds for deft.

“14 Dec 1745 – Benj. Lankford agt estate of Philip Herndon. Judgment for pltf

“15 Feb 1745 – Suit on attachment. Benja Lankford agt Phillip Herndon. Sheriff returned that he attached a parcel of corn, parcel of tobacco hanging, and a parcel of fodder. Edward Herndon & Richard Walden, garnishees, stated they have belonging to the defendant. 2 iron wedges, pair of sheep sheers, a ball of shoemakers thread, a candlestick, pair of cotton cards, pair of nitt needles & a shirt. Property of the defendant. Sheriff to sell items to pay judgment.

1749, MARCH 12–JUDGMENT THAT HE, ALONG WITH JOSEPH LANKFORD, SETTLE DEBT. From e-letter by Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 16 July 2006: ” . . . . Now about Ben [meaning the Pittsylvania County, Virginia Benjamin Lankford, who was in the General Assembly–shb], I don’t have a certain birth date for him, but I ran across some research which was posted at Genealogy.com. The person who posted the message was anonymous, but the research seemed spectacular.

“He/she said that in the Court Order Book for 1746-1745 from Caroline County, VA, July 11, 1751, there was a judgment enforced against Joseph and Benjamin Langford with regard to a debt. They were required to pay the debt and interest on the debt from the 12th day of March, 1749, until the judgment was satisfied. Defendants had to be sued in the county of their residence, and the suit and judgment show that both Ben and Joseph were of age by this last date mentioned. Otherwise they could not have entered into an enforceable contract unless they were of age. That was Virginia’s law.

“That being the case, both Joseph and Ben must have been born about 1725 to 1728 at the latest, and maybe even before then. There’s just no way to tell from this court record. But it does give us a way to say they were both at least 21 in the year 1749. Let’s say Joseph was born in 1728. That would mean he was 57 at the time his will was probated in 1785.” –shb 16 July 2006 [Note: I do not see this case in the “Front Porch Rocker News” extracts, unless it is the same one listed below, for 11 Jul 1751–shb.]

“11 Jul 1751 – William Johnston &c the exors of Samuel Coleman agt Benjamin & Jos. Lankford – on a debt from 12 Mar 1750. [Note: BENJAMIN AND JOSEPH LANKFORD MENTIONED TOGETHER–SAME CASE AS ABOVE?–shb]

“11 Aug 1758 – Edmond Taylor agt Benjamin Lankford, debt. William Broughill undertook for the defendant Benja. That in case he should be cast in this suit, he should pay the condemnation.

“11 May 1759 – Edmund Taylor agt Benjamin Lankford. Debt. Jury finds for the pltf.

“12 Jun 1759 – Dunlop &company agt Benjamin Lankford. Judgment of the last August court against him and John Lyon his security

“10 Jul 1760 – Richd Lankford by Ben: Lankford moved the court to take testimony of the verbal gift of a slave and it appearing to the court that the executors of Dixon had legal notice of the motion, its ordered the same be continued.

“11 Sep 1760 – On motion of Richard Lankford by Ben: Lankford to prove a verbal gift of a negro slave, it appearing to the Court that William Johnston and Wm. Broughill, executors of the last will of Robert Lyon, the doner had legal notice of the motion, the depositions of Ambrose Jones, Ben: Bough, & Nichs. Lankford were taken. The Court are of opinion the gift is sufficiently proved.

“16 Feb 1765 – William Johnston agt Michl. Brassfield and Benja Lankford. Petition. Continued

“15 Mar 1765 – John Gray & Company agt Benjamin Lankford. The pltf to sell one hilling hoe to pay the debt owed.

“15 Jun 1765 – William Johnston agt Michael Brassfield & Benjamin Lankford. Abates as to Brassfield. Pltf to recover from Lankford.

[I am temporarily abandoning the “Front Porch Rocker News” chronology of Caroline County entries to line-up, by year. other events in Benjamin Lankford’s life, with accompanying historical detail and correspondence, but will bring the chronology back, with the next entry–shb.]

1767, JUNE 1–PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY IS FORMED FROM HALIFAX COUNTY.

1767–BENJAMIN LANKFORD ON FIRST PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY LIST OF TITHABLES, WITH SLAVE “MOLL”/NICHOLAS ONLY OTHER LANKFORD ON LIST: Source given is History of Pittsylvania county, Virginia, by Maud Carter Clement: “June 1767 Tithables, taken by Thomas Dillard, as posted at http://www.rootsweb.com/%7Evapittsy/tith.htm, accessed 13 Apr 2006, by shb: “Benjamin Lankford, negro Moll.” Also on this list is a “Jacob Farris.” The only other Langford on this list is “Nicholas Langford,” on the “List of Tithables 1767, Taken by Hamon Critz, Gent.” [Note: At least one Langford researcher believes this Nicholas was our Joseph Langford’s father. Since he is the only other Lankford besides Benjamin on this Pittsylvania County first tax list, perhaps he is also Benjamin’s father–shb.] –shb 13 Apr 2006

[TO DO: Look for earlier records on Lankfords in Halifax County–shb.]

1767–FIRST SHERIFF IN PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY: “[Benjamin] was chosen as the first sheriff of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in 1767.” [From “Langford & Lankford Families in Virginia, posted at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~cmddlton/lgdfmva.html, accessed 8 Apr 2006, by shb. Source given is “post to LANGFORD-L by Kathy Newton who offered material from ‘History of Pittsylvania Co., VA’ p. 97.”] About this, Shiron Wordsworth adds, e-letter to shb, 8 Apr 2006 (on the same day I entered the above information, about his being sheriff):

“Benjamin was the first sheriff of Pittsylvania County, appointed by the governor of Virginia in 1767, when Pittsylvania County was formed. In the book Albion’s Seed, by David Hackett Fischer (great book, by the way!), p. 399, he says that in Virginia, county sheriffs were the most important order keepers in that colony and were appointed in the name of the Crown. A sheriff was “the leading executive officer of the county. His duties were to organize the courts, impanel juries, issue writs, call elections, read royal proclamations, maintain the peace, protect the church, administer judicial punishments, run the jail, and keep the county’s records.” [Yes, I read Albion’s Seed for a class at BYU and agree that it made fascinating reading–shb.]

“Fischer also says that the sheriff in a Virginia county didn’t actually dirty his hands nabbing felons. He had a whole crew of folks working under him who “did the dangerous manual labor of order keeping in Virginia.” So as the first sheriff of Pittsylvania, Benjamin was a highly respected, and important figure in the county. Essentially he held that office by royal appointment if you will, an appointment issued by Virginia’s governor who was answerable to the Crown.

“Benjamin is referred to in the Court records as both a ‘Gentleman,’ and as ‘Esquire.’ The first court records can be found at the Pittsylvania GenWeb site. They are interesting reading. Fischer also says of Virginia that the words “gentleman” and “independent” meant the same thing which was basically freedom from the necessity of labor. I’m not sure whether or not that was a good thing, but that’s what Fischer says, anyway.” –shb 8 Apr 2006

1771–MARRIES HENRIETTA BOWCOCK, IN HALIFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Maiden name of Henrietta and marriage year, county, as posted by Grant Pinnix on RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project at http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=AHN&db=grantpinix&i . . ., site referred to shb by Ann Langford, accessed 9 Sep 2006. This site also says that Benjamin was born about 1730, which means he would have been age forty-one when he married Henrietta. So there is a good chance there was an earlier marriage. –shb 9 Sep 2006

1774-1790–REP TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY: “Benjamin Lankford represented Pittsylvania County, Virginia in the General Assembly from 1774-1790.” [From “Langford & Lankford Families in Virginia, posted at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~cmddlton/lgdfmva.html, accessed 8 Apr 2006, by shb. Source given is “post to LANGFORD-L by Kathy Newton who offered material from ‘History of Pittsylvania Co., VA’ p. 97.”] –shb 8 Apr 2006

1775–APPOINTED CAPTAIN/ON COMMITTEE OF SAFETY: “In 1775, when the county was put in a state of defense, Benjamin Langford was appointed Captain of a company of Militia and a member of the Committee of Safety. In 1777, he was made major of the county militia.” [From “Langford & Lankford Families in Virginia, posted at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~cmddlton/lgdfmva.html, accessed 8 Apr 2006, by shb. Source given is “post to LANGFORD-L by Kathy Newton who offered material from ‘History of Pittsylvania Co., VA’ p. 97.”] –shb 8 Apr 2006

Some thoughts forwarded by Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 4 July 2006:

“I’ve spent most of the morning with the Founding Fathers. It occurred to me that Benjamin Langford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, heard this the first time it was spoken. I want to stand up and cheer when I read this. I like to think he did the same one fine day in March, 1775. Who knows? Maybe he congratulated the speaker afterwards. Anyway, on this 230th anniversary of our nation’s birth, I think Benjamin Langford, Gentleman, would appreciate the fact that his children’s children still value what was said that day.

“‘The War Inevitable

“‘March, 1775

They tell us, Sir, that we are weak — unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.

Three millions of People, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, Sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable; let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come!

It is in vain, Sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace! — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that Gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

“‘Patrick Henry, Delegate
“‘Virginia Assembly, Richmond’

“Happy Fourth of July !!!! Shiron.” –shb 4 July 2006

1776–CALLED “THE NOTABLE”/FELLOW DELEGATE FROM PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY WAS COL. ROBERT WILLIAMS. “We the Delegates . . .” – Virginia’s Constitutional Ratification Convention June 2-27, 1788, Part II: Pittsylvania County’s Ratification Convention Delegates,” by Herman E. Melton, as posted at http://www.victorianvilla.com/sims-mitchell/local/articles/phsp/039/, accessed 5 Aug 2006, by shb:

“Colonel Robert Williams, the other Delegate, resided on the waters of Sandy Creek of the Banister. He had title to many acres and perhaps epitomized the Pittsylvania landed gentry.

“Williams was a lawyer, and his selection as a delegate meant that the Convention was to have the benefit of his good legal mind. He was practicing law in the area when Pittsylvania County came into being in 1767. He was married to Rebecca Lanier in 1774, and they reared several children. Both were originally from North Carolina.

“He served as Colonel in the Militia during the Revolution and was elected to the important post of Chairman of the County Committee of Safety. In 1776 he was elected as one of the first two Delegates to serve in the newly formed Virginia House of Delegates. His fellow delegate from Pittsylvania County that term was the notable Benjamin Lankford.” –shb 5 Aug 2006

[Returning to “Front Porch Rocker News” Chronology of Caroline County entries]:

“14 Apr 1768 – John Gray &company agt Benjamin Lankford – debt

“10 Jun 1769 – John Gray & Co agt Benjamin Lankford. Dismissed.

“12 Aug 1771 – John Baylor Pltf against Benjamin Lankford deft. The same & the same. On attachment. These suits are continued & it is ordered that Richard Woolfolk, Thomas Jones, John Johnson to settle with the executors of Mary Lyons their account of administration on their decedents estate & report to court.

[Again leaving “The Front Porch Rocker News” Caroline County Lankford chronology to insert, by year, some other events in Benjajin Lankford’s life–shb]:

1777–SIGNED “OATH OF ALLEGIANCE”: “Benjamin Lankford” is named on “Reuben Pain’s List,” in Pittsylvania County Oaths of Allegiance, as posted at http://www.rootsweb.com/~vapittsy/Oaths.html , accessed 7 Apr 2006, by shb. Also named for signing, on a separate “Lankford’s List,” is my ancestor, “Joseph Lankford” (relationship to Benjamin now unknown–see Joseph’s notes, for this list). Those who refused to sign were so noted in separate (very short) lists, and I saw no Lankfords on these.

“Oaths of Allegiance – 1777 Pittsylvania County, VA,” copy done by Cynthia Hubbard Headen (Magazine of VA Genealogy, v.23, #1 (Feb.1985), transcribed by Marian Dodson Chiarito. These lists were taken from a typewritten copy found in the Clerk’s Office, Pittsylvania County, at Chatham, Virginia. The two following affidavits found attached to the copy are self- explanatory [these are certifications of clerks in 1930 and 1939 who attest that these lists are accurate to the best of their “knowledge and belief”–shb]. Besides documenting that Benjamin signed the “Oath,” this list is an interesting compilation of neighbors, friends, and probable relatives of those who signed. My ancestor Joseph Lankford also signed, on a separate “Lankford’s List” (see his notes):

“Reuben Pain’s List
Absolem Addams
Allen Addams
Cain Addams
John Addams, Jun.
John Addams, Sen.
Nathan Addams
Thomas Addams
William Addams
Zebulon Brynson
Daniel Cofman
Samuel Dilerd
John Dupays
Pryant Easley
Josiah Fargeson
Moses Freeman
Thos. Gee
Henry Hall
John Hall
John Hall
Daniel Hankins
Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, Sen.
William Hardy
Hugh Henry, Sr.
Nathaniel Hughes
Aaron Hutchings
Charles Hutchings
Charles Hutchings
Christopher Hutchings
Moses Hutchings
Benjamin Lankford [1st sheriff, Rep. to Gen. Assembly, County Justice, & etc. & etc.–connection to my ancestor, Joseph Lankford, unknown, at present–shb]
Francis Lamson
Jonas Lawson
Daniel Lovell
Marcom Loval
John McGhee
John Martin
John May
John Mode
William Moore
John Nuckels
Josiah Nuckles
Edmund Pain
Philemon Pain
John Parsons
Joseph Parsons
Samuel Parsons
George Perseye
Hezekiah Pigg
James Pigg
Benjamin Porter
Joseph Porter
Joseph Pruett
Bird Pruitt
Levey Pruitt
Daniel Ragsdale
Frederick Ragsdale
Joseph Richards
Armstead Shelton
John Short
William Short
Burel Vading
Zachariah Waller
William Waters
Archebel Weatherford
Harding Weatherford
John Weatherford
Joshua Welch
John Wilson
John Wimbush
William Witcher” –shb 7 Apr 2006

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA IN THE WARS: A history by Maud Clement, as posted at http://www.victorianvilla.com/sims-mitchell/local/clement/mc/abb/06.htm, accessed 18 July 2006, by shb, tells much about the times, including history of Pittsylvania County during various wars. She mentions Benjamin Lankford for being on the Committee of Safety (I have placed his name in full caps and also that of a descendant, Richard Todd, in this excerpt–shb):

An Abbreviated History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Chapter Six: Pittsylvania’s Military History
By Maud Carter Clement, Chatham, Virginia, ca. 1952.

“French and Indian War

“In 1754 trouble arose with France over the boundary lines of the French and English possessions in America, resulting in the conflict known as the French and Indian War. Many northern Indians, taking the part of the French, waged cruel war against the frontier inhabitants of Virginia.

“The sufferings of his fellow countrymen so moved the heart of young George Washington that he wrote to the governor of Virginia: ‘The tears of the women and the petitions of the men melt me into such deadly sorrow that I would offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy provided that would contribute to the people’s ease.’

“At this time Pittsylvania was a part of Halifax County, which formed the southern part of Virginia’s frontier line. Her back inhabitants suffered from the fury of the savages as did the whole length of the frontier.

“The arrival of General Braddock with an English army in 1755 raised the spirits of the people, for they felt that a protector was at hand. After his defeat by the French and Indians, panic seized upon the back settlers, for well they knew the havoc that would be wrought upon them by the victorious savages. To the number of thousands they forsook their homes in the Valley and across the mountains in Piedmont Virginia, and fled to the Carolinas, seeking protection of the friendly Cherokee and Catawba tribes.

“Colonel William Byrd, the third, was serving as a justice of the peace and county-lieutenant of Halifax, the commanding officer of the military force of the county. While his home, ‘Westover’ in Charles City County, was more than one hundred and fifty miles distant, he still owned a large part of the 105,000 acres granted to his father. He was a man of great wealth but this did not dull the edge of the patriotism, and he served the colony actively throughout the war. He was naturally absent from the county a great part of the time, and the inhabitants in their anxious fears, appealed to the governor through their justices of the peace, for greater protection. Governor Dinwiddie wrote to Colonel Byrd: ‘July 22, 1755 – Sir: I have a long representation from the justices of the County of Halifax in regard to the barbarous murders committed in Augusta, and their fear of being attacked by these savages. They complain of want of Officers for the Militia. As you are Lieutenant of the County I enclose you some blank commissions to fill up to such as you think are most worthy. They complain of want of ammunition. I have ordered all the Militia of the County to be Mustered and a report to be made to me of their numbers and how provided with guns, Ammunition Etc. When you make a return to me of your county Militia, I shall endeavor all in my power to supply their Wants.’

“In response to this letter we may suppose that Colonel Byrd journeyed up from Westover and re-organized the Militia, for at the August court of Halifax, the following officers were elected:

* William Irby, Colonel of the Militia
* Nathaniel Terry, Major of the Militia
* Thomas Dillard, Major of the Militia
* Benjamin Clement, Captain of the Rangers
* William Lawton, Captain of the Rangers

“The duty of the Rangers was to “range” along the frontiers in search of enemy Indians.

“In the meantime the inhabitants had raised a volunteer company of fifty men whom they agreed to pay for six months service. When this was made known to the governor he sent a commission for the commanding officer, Captain Nathaniel Terry, and four and one half barrels of powder, two barrels of shot, and swords, and wished the men to stay out ranging until November.

“Forts

“For the defense of the frontiers the General Assembly enacted in March, 1756 ‘that whereas the frontiers of this Colony are in a very defenseless condition and exposed to the incursions of our cruel and savage enemies, who are daily destroying the lives and estate of the inhabitants of that part of the colony it is necessary that forts should be erected in those parts to put a stop to those violent outrages of the enemy.…That a chain of forts be erected to begin at Henry Enochs on the Great Cape-Capon, in County of Hampshire, to extend to the South Fork of Mayo, in the County of Halifax.’

“These forts were placed not nearer to one another than twelve miles and no farther apart than twenty-five miles; there were three erected in western Halifax. In September 1756, George Washington visited the line of forts and reported to the governor that he proceeded to Fort Trial on Smith River, the most southerly of the forts.

“Fort Trial was located six miles west of the present city of Martinsville, upon a hill that commanded a wide view of Smith River, the most southerly of the forts. The fort was enclosed by a stockade of trees split in two and sunk in the ground, standing erect and quite close together. On either side of the gate were log huts; in the center, two frame houses, heaped with clay and stone as a protection from small arms.

The other two forts of western Halifax were Mayo Fort, located on the plantation of John Frederick Miller, and Hickey’s Fort, and the lands of John Hickey, the store keeper.

“In 1759 John Frederick Miller petitioned the General Assembly for redress because of the damages he suffered on account of the fort. He stated that by order of the commanding officer of Halifax County a fort had been erected on his plantation which enclosed his dwelling home and other houses, and was garrisoned by a company of militia who ‘to render it more secure from the approach and attacks of the enemy, cut down a large orchard, burnt one house, and 1600 fence rails, and made use of 118 feet of plank about the Fort,’ besides doing him many other damages. He stated that the fort at this time was in the possession of the militia and rangers.

“In 1756, probably as soon as the forts were completed, the governor ordered that one of the forts of Halifax be garrisoned with officers and forty men. ‘Provisions are to be weighed out to them, one and one half pounds of Beef, and one pound of Bread daily. The 100 beeves you have sent there I suppose will serve the Garrison to the time.’ (March 1, 1757)

“The fears of the inhabitants of Halifax were not without reason as is shown in the following letter of Peter Fontaine, county surveyor, written from Halifax in June 1757: ‘The County of Halifax is threatened by our enemy Indians, and the people in the upper part are in great consternation and all public business at a stand. The poor farmers and planters
have dreadful apprehensions of falling into the hands of the savages, as they have good reason, considering the treatment of those who have had the misfortune to be surprised by them.

“‘We have amongst us two or three who have made their escape from the Shawnees (a tribe living on the Ohio), the Indians suspected that one of them whose wife and children had been inhumanly murdered, would attempt to escape, to prevent which they cut deep gashes in his heels and as soon as the man was like to get well and be in order to travel again they cut other gashes across the former, and by that means and at other times searing his feet with hot irons, kept him a continual cripple. The man, however, providentially made his escape . . . Such cruelties they practice upon our people that all had rather perish than be taken alive.’

“In the spring of 1758 the Shawnees made an attack upon western Halifax, seizing and carrying into captivity one of the leading citizens of the county, Robert Pusey, a justice of the peace. He came of a distinguished family of Pennsylvania Quakers, was a large land owner, and made his home on Otter Creek of Smith River. In a petition to the General Assembly in 1775 Pusey stated that he and his wife and child were captured by the Shawnees in March 1758, and carried into captivity, where he was held a long time until he redeemed his liberty. He thereby lost all his property and prayed for some relief.

“Virginia’s plan of defense for the colony consisted in keeping companies of rangers out along the frontiers, manning the line of forts with the militia, and maintaining two regiments of 1000 men, each, under the commands of General George Washington and Colonel William Byrd, to cooperate with the English forces in a campaign against the French. Each county was called upon to furnish its quota in making up the regiments.

“The militia of Halifax furnished the men who garrisoned the forts and made up the companies of rangers for the county. Captain Thomas Calloway was in command of Hickey’s Fort and his brother, William Calloway of a fort on Pigg River (Draper).

“In 1758 the General Assembly provided that the soldiers who had seen active service in the war should be paid. The following list of officers was given from Halifax:

* Captain Thomas Calloway
* Captain Peter Wilson and a company of militia
* Captain James Dillard and a company of militia
* Captain Robert Wooding and a company of militia
* Captain Robert Wade and a company of militia
* Lieutenant Thomas Green and a company of militia
* Lieutenant Thomas Spraggin and a party of militia

“After William Pitt assumed control of the war, under his wise guidance it was brought to a successful close late in 1760.

“It is probable that the men of Halifax serving in the campaign against the Indians, became acquainted with the Tennessee and Kentucky lands, and the great abundance of game there. For as soon as the Indian troubles quieted down, in 1761, a party of eighteen men of western Halifax, led by Elisha Walden, organized themselves into a company for the purpose of taking a ‘long hunt’ in this western county. They continued to hunt there year after year, the forerunners of the first settlers.

“Revolutionary War

“In the year 1768, a new English governor, Lord Botetourt, arrived in Virginia. He at once issued a call for an election of Burgesses, and the following spring, May 1769, the General Assembly convened at the capitol in Williamsburg.

“Pittsylvania elected as her Burgesses Colonel John Donelson, the county surveyor, and Mr. Hugh Innes, a lawyer. They were present and witnessed the elegant scene of Governor Botetourt’s arrival at the capitol in a state coach presented to him by King George the Third, driven by eight milk white horses.

“Since there was no particular business for them to consider, the Burgesses began to discuss the matter of taxes. You have seen that the Stamp Act had been repealed through William Pitt’s efforts; but a new had been laid on paper, glass and tea. The Burgesses drew up some resolves, stating that ‘the right of imposing taxes in Virginia is now and ever has been vested in the House of Burgesses.’ It was agreed that the resolution should be presented to the King, himself.

“This so alarmed the Governor that he dissolved the Assembly, but the gentlemen simply retired to another house and continued their meeting. They formed an Association agreeing not to buy anything of England until this new tax was removed. This agreement was signed by John Donelson and Hugh Innes, along with Washington, Jefferson, and other great Virginia leaders.

“At the Continental Congress of 1774, it was resolved that the Colonies would neither by from nor sell to Great Britain, and this agreement was called the Continental Association. All towns and counties were directed to form committees to see that the Association was carried into effect, and Virginia lost no time in carry out these instructions.

“Committee of Safety

“There has been preserved in a newspaper of the day, an account of Pittsylvania’s selection of her Committee of Safety, which you can read in the Virginia Gazette of February 11, 1775.

“‘The freeholders of the County of Pittsylvania, being duly summoned, convened at the Courthouse of the said county on Thursday the 26th day of Jan. 1775, and there proceeded to make choice of a committee agreeable to the direction of the General Congress. The following gentlemen were chosen members of the same: Abraham Shelton, Robt. Williams, Thomas Dillard, WM. TODD, Abraham Penn, Peter Perkins, BENJ. LANKFORD, Thos. Terry, JAMES WALKER, Wm. Peters Martin, Dan’l Shelton, Wm. Ward, Edmond Taylor,
Isaac Clement, Gabriel Shelton, Peter Wilson, Wm. Short, Henry Conway, John Payne, Sr., Wm. Witcher, Henry Williams, Rev. Lewis Gwillian, John Salmon, Peter Saunders, Richard Walden, John Wilson, Crispen Shelton. [Note: I follow Walkers, because my ancestor was named “Walker Langford,” so I am hoping that was the maiden name of a family mother. Shi Wordsworth reminds me that there were prominent exploring Walker settlers for whom my Walker could also have been named, without having been related–shb.]

“‘During the time of choosing the said committee the utmost good order and harmony prevailed and all the inhabitants of the county then present (which was very numerous) seemed determined and resolute in defending their liberties and properties, at the risk of their lives and if required to die by fellow sufferers the Bostonians whose cause they consider their own.…The committee rose and several loyal and patriotic toasts were drunk, and the company dispersed well pleased with those people they had put their confidence in.’ (At Callands)

“The first work of the committee was to organize the county for defense. The military strength of the county as given the census of 1774 was 1438 men, who were now enrolled in twenty-seven companies of militia. This was considered so important that it was recorded in Deed Book 4, of the Court records. The account reads: “At a meeting of the Committee of Safety on Wed. Sept. 27 1775, the following gentlemen were nominated as officers of the militia: John Donelson, County Lieutenant; Robert Williams, Colonel; William Tunstall, Lieut. Colonel; John Wilson Major.” Then followed the names of 27 captains, 27 captains, 27 lieutenants, and 27 ensigns.

“The Virginia convention of July 1775, had ordered two regiments of 1000 men to be raised for the Northern Continental Army, and a body of Minute Men for State defense.

“Pittsylvania was called upon for one full company for the Minute Men, which was commanded by Capt. Thomas Hutchings and Lt. James Conway, and attached to the 6th Regiment.

“In October 1776, Pittsylvania sent to the Northern Continental Army one company of four officers and 94 men. It was probably commanded by Capt. Henry conway, who received his Continental Commission in February 1777. (Heitman’s)

“In the summer of 1776 the Cherokee Indians attacked the western frontiers, and Virginia sent a force of 1600 men against them. We know of four companies of Pittsylvania Militia which marched with this force, commanded by Captains Jesse Heard, Peter Perkins, William Witcher, and Joseph Martin.

“The Cherokees lived on the Tennessee River and many of their towns were burned as a punishment. It was estimated that their stores of food amounted to 50,000 bushels of corn, and 15,000 bushels of sweet potatoes.

“Two companies of militia marched in the Indian campaign of 1777 commanded by Captains John Donelson and William Witcher. These troops met at Pittsylvania Old Courthouse (Callands) in March. One can picture the scene, the soldiers clad in stout hunting shirt and leggings, suitable for frontier warfare. There would be a gathering of inhabitants to see the men off, with possible speeches by commanding officers. An old tradition has lingered even today of a great tree at Callands around which the Revolutionary soldiers stacked their arms and this may have been the occasion.

“In January 1778, Captain Thomas Dillard’s company marched from Pittsylvania to the frontier and continued on to Boonesboro, Kentucky. There several members of the company were transferred to Colonel George Roger Clark’s Regiment and marched with him north of the Ohio, capturing the posts of Vincennes and Kaskaskia. The region taken by Clark became a part of Virginia, and was known as the County of Illinois. James Irby, a Pittsylvanian, died on the march.

“Captain John Donelson and Captain John Dillard, also led companies of county militia to the frontier in the spring of 1778.

“Peytonsburg, Military Post

“When the British landed a force in the South, Georgia and South Carolina were quickly over-run. General Gates was put in command of a Southern Continental Army, and was badly defeated at Camden, South Carolina. He was then removed and General Nathaniel Greene of Rhode Island was appointed in his stead. On his way south Greene stopped in Richmond to make arrangements for Virginia to furnish his army with all necessary supplies. Food, clothing, arms and ammunition were needed and Virginia alone could supply them. In order to collect these supplies the state was divided into nine districts with a central depot in each at which the stores were to be collected and forwarded south. The district of Dan and Staunton Rivers comprised the counties of Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Charlotte, Halifax, Bedford, Pittsylvania and Henry, the central depot of the district being at Peytonsburg in Pittsylvania.

“The village at once became a place of great military activity. Smith shops were hastily erected where guns were repaired and horseshoes and canteens were made by hand. A large number of men were employed in these shops.

“Warehouses were built to store the supplies gathered from the inhabitants of the district. Wagon brigades plied between the post and the army in the South; at one time McCraw, commander of the post, reported that a brigade of forty wagons had just set out. There was the hurried arrival of express riders, bearing important dispatches, which were forwarded on. Down the dusty roads plodded droves of cattle, sheep and hogs; and above all was the incessant din of hammer and anvil as horse shoes and canteens took shape.

“Continental Congress had established two arsenals in the new nation, one at Springfield, Massachusetts, and the other at New London, Bedford County, Virginia. It was said of the arsenal at New London that ‘it is of first importance, as the operations of Greene’s Army depend entirely upon the supplies.’ And in January 1781 General Greene said, ‘Unless Virginia immediately collects the magazines of provisions on the Roanoke we shall absolutely starve.’

“Now you are beginning to see the important part in establishing our independence that was played by this small section of our nation, the district of the Dan and Staunton Rivers, with their two posts of New London and Peytonsburg. In the course of time Peytonsburg has disappeared, and even the site is in dispute; while New London is but a ghost of itself. But you must never forget the valiant part played by your Pittsylvania forefathers in winning for you the great heritage of a free America.

“Virginia never failed to support General Washington and the Northern Continental Army. In October 1777, Pittsylvania was called upon for thirty-six men; in May 1778, for a full company of fifty men with officers, and again in October for one twenty fifth of all militia.

“When General Nathaniel Greene assumed command in the south, Virginia at once sent reinforcements. From Pittsylvania in the fall and winter of 1780-81 marched companies of militia commanded by Captains John Winn, James Brewer, William Witcher, Isaac Clements and Joshua Stone.

“Cornwallis, who commanded the British Army, tried to force battle upon Greene before he was prepared, and then followed Greene’s masterly retreat north across the Carolinas into Halifax county, Virginia. When he felt he was sufficiently strong Greene marched back into North Carolina and offered battle to Cornwallis on the fields of Guilford Courthouse (Greensboro), on March 15, 1781. No doubt every man in Pittsylvania who could shoulder a gun took part in the battle, for the enemy was now on their very door steps. But the names of only a few companies have been preserved in the pension files. Companies were commanded by Captains James Brewere, William Dix, Thomas Smith, and Joseph Morton. Colonel Peter Perkins commanded a regiment in the battle.

“Revolutionary Hospital

“Following the battle, General Greene established his hospital for the sick and wounded in Pittsylvania on Dan River, at the homes of Colonel Peter Perkins and his neighbors, William Harrison, Constant and Nicholas Perkins. The hospital was maintained there for three months and was under the charge of Dr. Daniel Brown of New York State (who afterwards adopted Virginia for his home, and settled on Staunton River.)

“In the summer of 1781 Cornwallis invaded Virginia, and together with the forces of Phillips and Arnold, pillaged and laid waste the central and eastern parts of the state. It was now necessary for Virginia to put a third force in the field for self defense, which was known as State Troops. Five thousand men were ordered to take the field, and the great difficulty in clothing, arming, and feeding this third army is shown in the official reports of the time which you can read in the Calendar of Virginia State Papers. Here you will find the reports from the commanding officers of Pittsylvania and adjoining counties, and you can see how great were the demands made upon your forefathers.

“Colonel Robert Wooding of Halifax reported the military strength of the county to be 1004 men, but the real strength of the militia to be only 600, of which 300 were with Greene and 100 under marching orders. Colonel John Wilson reported Pittsylvania’s military strength to be 600, 200 with Greene and 150 out in the state. These were the times that tried men’s souls.

“After laying Virginia waste, Cornwallis marched his force to Yorktown. Now came the order for one quarter of Pittsylvania’s militia to the ‘Siege of York.’ The Court of Claims gives the item: ‘To RICHARD TODD [the one who m. Mary Lankford, d/o Benjamin, of the Committee of Safety and Virginia’s General Assembly?–shb] for Riding Express to give militia officers notice (and finding himself for four days) in consequence of his Excellency the Governor’s Order to order one quarter of the militia to the Siege of York.’

“From pension declarations we learn the names of a few of these men. There were companies commanded by Captains Charles Hutchings, William Dix, and Charles Williams, who were present and witnessed the scene of the Surrender of the British armies at Yorktown in October, 1781.

“This brought to an end open conflict in Virginia, but the war was not yet won. In 1782 Virginia put in the field a force of 3000 men, drafting one in every fifteen men. Peytonsburg being a Continental Post, continued in full operation. The signing of a peace treaty with Great Britain in 1783 at last brought these troublous times to an end.

“War of 1812

“The War of 1812 was our second war for independence. It was fought with Great Britain because of her presumptuous claim that she had the right to stop American vessels at sea and remove from them and British-born seaman. Prior to 1812 she had carried off thousands of American seaman.

“Virginia loyally upheld the Federal government and loaned large sums of money for the prosecution of the war. Pittsylvania sent hundreds of her sons into the armed forces. The military strength of the county consisted of two full regiments, the 42nd which was raised in the southern half and the 101st in northern half of the county.

“Pittsylvania Flag

“Colonel Daniel Coleman served throughout the war as Colonel of the 42nd regiment, which was stationed both at Norfolk and in Maryland. It was probably at this time that the regiment conceived the idea of regimental colors of their very own, and had designed and pointed a beautiful white silk flag. A few years ago it was found to be in the State Library, and returned to the county the only Virginia County flag known to be in existence.

“Other known officers of the 42nd regiment were Peter Wilson, Thomas Ragsdale, James M. Lanier, John Wilson, James Nance, Robert Bullington, Captains.

“In the 101st Regiment few names have been preserved. Jesse Leftwich served as Major, and William Swanson and William Clark as Captains. But the regiments were not held intact, and companies were transferred to other regiments.

“The scene of conflict extended from the Canadian border south to New Orleans. British vessels harried the Atlantic coast, attacking towns and cities. The new capitol, Washington, was burned by the enemy. General Andrew Jackson commanded the American Army at New Orleans, which defeated the British forces under General Packenham. Peace was made in December 1814 and thereafter the United States of America was recognized as a nation by all other countries.

“War Between the States

“When Virginia decided in 1861 that secession from the Union was the only honorable course left open to her, a great sadness was felt by her thoughtful people, who realized how large a part of Virginia had played in founding the Union. But her sons from all parts of the state responded promptly to her call to arms – the lawyer left his office, the doctor his profession, the teacher his classes, the farmer his fields, all determined to defend Virginia’s rights.

“There were many great leaders produced in the struggle but we should not forget that ‘the real hero is the private soldier. It was he who won the victories that distinguished his commanders. It was he who stood sentinel at the lone midnight hour, faced cold, hunger, nakedness, peril, with no hope of fame; it was he who pointed the rifle, wielded the sword, fired the cannon, defied overwhelming odds, all for the sake of loyalty to his state. No grander, no more tragic figure has ever trod the page of history than the Confederate soldier.’ (J. Leslie Hall)

“The following list of Pittsylvania companies which served in this great conflict is correct as far as it goes. It was compiled from the memories of the veterans (Wyatt Whitehead, James Carter, Rawley Martin and others): [I excised these lists, as I do not recognize any of our family names as company leaders–shb.]

“Pittsylvania sent hundreds of her sons into the Confederate ranks, her companies following Generals Lee, Jackson, Stuart and Johnston in their campaigns. Company I, 53rd Regiment took part in the battle of Bethel, the first conflict of the war on Virginia soil. Company I, 21st Regiment was with Jackson in his celebrated Valley Campaign. Pittsylvania cavalry stood side by side with Stuart at Yellow Tavern when he received his mortal wound. Pittsylvania men charged with Pickett across that field of death at Gettysburg, bearing aloft the flag of the 53rd Regiment.

“When the war came to a disastrous close at Appomattox in April, 1865, the sad condition of Virginia is officially described in the Code of Virginia: ‘No people ever suffered greater losses by the termination of the war than the people of Virginia. At one blow their entire slave population was emancipated, their value entirely lost, and their accustomed labor instantly stopped, the circulating medium (money) State and Confederate was rendered worthless, no Federal money in circulation; houses, homes, fences, mills, given to flame, lands impoverished, and having no money value, and they themselves entirely powerless to purchase, and for want of buyers equally powerless to sell.’

“The men of Pittsylvania set about the task of rebuilding their lives and their country, and though the outlook was dark, they faced the undertaking with a strong courage. Out of the destruction and wreckage of the Old South they brought order; and with no outside aid, by their own efforts, they laid the foundations on which we have built our prosperous commonwealth today.” –shb 18 July 2006

RELATED TO MY ANCESTOR, JOSEPH LANKFORD: Joseph Lankford and Benjamin Lankford were both involved, during the same time period, in transactions involving the Georges, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia (see Mary Grant chronology for the Georges, below):

1767-1789–LANKFORD/GEORGE ASSOCIATIONS APPEAR IN PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA RECORDS: Apparently Benjamin and Joseph Lankford [my ID 232–shb] and several Farrises lived near the Georges, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, as they are mentioned, in connection with George events, as posted, in chronological sequence, by Marty Grant, under the title, “John George and Francis _____ of Caroline, Pittsylvania, and Halifax County, Virginia and Green County, Georgia.” I am interested in the Farrises, as they are undoubtedly connected to the Johnson or “John” Farris [ID 58820] who married Jenny or “Jean” Lankford, b. abt. 1770, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. She was the daughter of the Joseph Lankford, mentioned above, who I believe is the same Joseph who is our ancestor (Jenny would then be the sister of Walker Lankford, also our ancestor). Jenny’s husband, Johnson or “John” Farris, was not b. until 1768, so the John Farris listed below, who is witnessing events involving the Georges is older. Genealogy notes involving Mary Lankford Todd, daughter of “Pitt Ben” (as we call General Assembly Benjamin, of Pittsylvania County), were found in an Atlanta George attic and noted a Thomas Lankford who was murdered in Kentucky, along the Wilderness Trail, by the Harpes Bros. Johnson Farris, son-in-law of my ancestor Joseph Lankford, owned the tavern where Thomas Lankford stopped and was later paid, according to court records, for burying (unburying for identification purposes, then reburying) Thomas’ body. We think this indicates a connection between the Rockcastle Langfords/Farrises and the Pittsylvania Langfords. Note that Marty Grant lists, in this chronology, a deed witnessed by Benjamin Lankford (my ID 56896) that involves Elisha Farris. This is no doubt the “Elisha Faris” [ID 66760] who moved to Moccasin Creek (near Gate City, in Russell County, Virginia), who with much of his family was killed by Indians, 26 Aug 1791 (I forwarded a photo sent by Shiron Wordsworth of a historical marker near “Faris Station,” near where they lived). No doubt the Pembertons mentioned are also related to us, on our Hall side, as Elizabeth, daughter of William and Hannah (Richardson) Hall, m. Isaiah Pemberton (from a prominent Quaker family). Elizabeth and Isaiah migrated to Newberry County, South Carolina. I here list those items, as posted in Marty Grant’s chronology, that involve Lankfords and Farrises or that indicate important information about the Georges that might have also affected the lives of our Lankfords(full caps mine):

“I have abstracted numerous court records in Caroline Co, VA for John George (Jr), but for some reason, I can’t find my original references for them, so I can’t quote book and page number, but I will retrieve that information as soon as I can relocate it.

“On 9 Nov 1752, John George Jr was mentioned in Caroline Co, VA Court Minutes, when ‘Jack’, a Negro boy belonging to him was judged to be 10 years old. (Caroline Co, VA Order Book 1746-1754 page 352)

“When I locate the rest of my records for John George Jr in Caroline Co, VA, I’ll add them to the web page.

“John George married Frances — before ca 1764, probably in Caroline Co, VA. I have no clues as to her maiden name. On some records, she is listed as “Fanny”, a common nickname for Frances.

“John and Frances moved to Pittsylvania Co, VA before 1767. His brother James, and several sisters, also moved there around the same time. They all lived on or near Allen’s Creek, in the area on both sides of the county line between Pittsylvania and Halifax Co, VA.

“On 25 Feb 1767, John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Joseph Dejarnett and JOHN FARIS), witnessed a deed in Halifax Co, VA between William Bowman Jr and wife Rachel, to James Pemberton DeJarnet (John’s brother-in-law) for land on the south side of the North Fork of Allen’s Creek. (Halifax Co, VA Deed Book 6 page 312). [Note: Johnson Farris, of Rockcastle County, Kentucky, was often called “John” in the records, though I don’t know if this is the same person–shb.]

“On 12 Sep 1767, John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Thomas Dillard Jr and Joseph Collins), witnessed a deed in Pittsylvania Co, VA between James Collins of Halifax to William Collins of Pittsylvania, for land on Camping Branch of Great Straitstone Creek. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 1 page 94).

“On the same date (18 Apr 1768), John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, JOHN FARRIS, William East and John Pemberton) witnessed a deed between John Hamilton to JOSEPH FARRIS, for land on Allen’s Creek. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 1 page 117).

“On 12 Nov 1768, John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Joseph Collins and Jeremiah Ward) witnessed a deed between Thomas Dillard Sr to Thomas Dillard Jr for land on Straitstone Creek. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 1 page 253).

“On 24 Jul 1769 Richard Brown sued both John George and BENJAMIN LANKFORD for debt. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 100).

“On the same date (26 Aug 1769), THOMAS FARRIS filed a petition against John George and his brother James George. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 146).

On 21 Nov 1769 Isaac Clement filed a petition against John George. This case was dismissed. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 157).

“On 28 Jan 1769 James George of Pittsylvania Co, VA, sold BENJAMIN LANKFORD (of same place) two Negroes. Witnesses were Edmund King, JOSEPH FARRIS, Abraham Shelton. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 1 page 457).

“On 26 Aug 1769 THOMAS FARRIS sued both James George and John George with a petition (no details). (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 146).

“On 28 Jul 1770 James George and BENJAMIN LANKFORD were jointly sued for debt by Robert Caldwell. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 217).

“On the same date (28 Jul 1770) James George and BENJAMIN LANKFORD were jointly sued for debt by Joseph Dejernat. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 218).

“Also on the same date (28 Jul 1770), James and BENJAMIN were sued by Charles Rice for debt. Also sued by THOMAS FARRIS for debt, and also by JAMES FARRIS (each in a separate case). (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 218).

“On the same date (28 Jun 1771) JOSEPH LANKFORD also brought a petition against James George, as did Robert Weakly and Elisha Dyer and Isaac Clement, each in separate cases. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 302).

“On 4 Dec 1775 John George of Carolina Co, VA (James’ father) sold James George 200 acres on the South side of the North Fork of Allen’s Creek in Pittsylvania Co, VA, for 60 pounds. The land was bounded by Luke Smith, John Pemberton, Peter Bowman, and William Bowman Jr. Witnesses were BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Jonadab George (James’ cousin) and Nathaniel Pope. There is a possibility that this deed was not from James’ father John, but from his brother John George instead, if he had moved back to Caroline Co, VA. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 179).

“On 25 Apr 1776 James George and John George (and BENJAMIN LANKFORD and John Buckley) witnessed a deed from JOSEPH FARRIS to JOSEPH FARRIS JR. for land on Allen’s Creek. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 199).

“The American Revolution (also called the War of Independence) began in 1776 and lasted until 1781. I have not found any record showing James George participated in the war in any way. I’ve often been asked if descendants could get into the DAR or SAR via the James George family, but I’ve found no proof that he served. James George was in the County Militia in 1775, but I’ve found nothing else on him during the war years (pertaining to military service, that is). [Is there a record of Lankfords doing this–shb?]

“In 1777 James George signed the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Virginia in Pittsylvania Co, VA. [Did Benjamin Lankford sign this?–shb]

“On 6 Feb 1777, John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, John Buckley, and Robert Bruice) witnessed a deed between ELISHA FARIS to Robert Farguson for land “near Muster Ground”. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 290).

“On 2 Aug 1777 John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Joseph Roberts, William Todd, John Dier and Joshua Stone) witnessed a dower relinquishment from ELIZABETH HARNESS, wife of JOHN HARNESS. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 421).

“On 2 Aug 1777 James George of Pittsylvania Co, VA sold 20 acres on Allen’s Creek to Joshua Stone. The land was in both Pittsylvania and Halifax Co, VA, joining lands of John Oliver, JOHN FERRIS, and John Megregor. Witnesses were BENJAMIN LANKFORD, R. Ferguson, John Oliver and James Roberts. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 399).

“On 15 Nov 1779 James George received a Land Grant of 329 acres in Pittsylvania Co, VA on Allen’s Creek adjoining LANKFORD and Pemberton. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Grants Book B page 73 I’m not sure where I found this).

“John George apparently moved from his Pittsylvania Co, VA land to Halifax Co, VA around 1787. His Allen’s Creek property may have been in both counties, but in this same year (see below) he purchased land in Halifax Co, VA.

“On 7 Jun 1787, John George received a 50 acre land grant in Pittsylvania Co, VA on the south fork of Allen’s Creek adjoining Jenkins and Todd. (Virginia Grants Book 12 page 149).

“On 1 Aug 1787, John George “of Halifax”, sold land in Pittsylvania Co, VA to Abraham Shelton. I didn’t get the acreage, but the land was on Allen’s Creek, bounded by William Doss, Haynes Morgan, Charles Crenshaw, RICHARD TODD, WILLIAM TODD, Daniel Jenkins, Peter Pucket, William Hamblett, James Henderson, and JOSEPH FARRIS. Witnesses were: Vincent Shelton, James George Jr (nephew), W. Shelton and Fred Shelton. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 8 page 88).

The above deed might represent all of John George’s Allen’s Creek land (and there was quite a lot of it). I’ll have to read it again to see if the acreage was given. A relinquishment (dated 21 Sep 1789), by Frances, wife of John George, appears to refer to the above deed and states it was for 1400 acres.

On 10 Jun 1789, John’s brother James George, in Pittsylvania, wrote a letter to their brother Reuben George in Caroline, mentioning John several times. He said that John was “in a bad state of health with a cansor in his nose …” He also mentions that Reuben had sent his son down for some money John owed him (Reuben), but James said there was slim chance, as John had serious money problems, and that he had deeded all his land to someone for a loan, and had paid it back, but had not gotten the deed back (this is referring to the deed to Abraham Shelton for 1400 acres, apparently all of John’s land). (“The George Family Record”, Thomas R. George, 1978, page 16).

On 21 Sep 1789, in Pittsylvania Co, VA, William Todd, Joshua Stone and BENJAMIN LANKFORD, gentlemen, Justices for the county, proved that Frances, wife of John George, relinquished her dower rights in the deed to Abraham Shelton for 1400 acres (See deed dated 27 Aug 1788) (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 8 page 441).

“On 16 Jul 1792 James George and wife Elizabeth George sold 130 acres on Allen’s Creek to Benjamin Gosney, land bounded by Joseph Farris, BENJAMIN LANKFORD, James Henderson and William Keates. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 9 Page 278).” –shb 6 Apr 2006

[Returning, now, to “The Front Page Rocker News” blog, by “Anne” or “CURIOSITY,” that lists Lankfords, as found in Caroline County records–shb]:

“Feb 1795 – Nicholas Lanford – is exempt from paying the county levy. (because of old age?) [Is Nicholas Lankford Benjamin’s father?–shb]

“No Langford on the land tax books – 1787-1799.” [End of entries by “Anne” in the “Front Porch Rocker News” blog, in the Caroline County section.] –shb 9 Aug 2006

1798, DECEMBER–SON THOMAS MURDERED BY HARPES BROTHERS. See son Thomas’ notes for detail about his terrible murder and evidence that he was Benjamin’s son. –shb 8 Apr 2006 [Note: Shiron Wordsworth and I have changed back and forth, deciding whether this Thomas who was murdered was the son of Benjamin Lankford, of the Virginia General Assembly. However, new evidence points to the probability was Benjamin’s son and Mary Lankford Todd’s brother: As posted by Michelle Bartell at http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec?hix=printmessage&r=rw&p=surn , accessed Jul 2006, by shb, as referred to me by “Mary F.,” (she saw my G-log post for Mary L.’s father, Benjamin Lankford and left a comment). Michelle says these notes were “found in an old house in Atlanta, GA by my aunt [later identified to shb as Martha Coe (1934-1998)]. I am not related in any way to these families and have no further information. I will gladly send a scan of the below letter that I have transcribed to anyone that wants it.” At the time she transcribed the first, Michelle did not notice that there was writing on the other side of the paper, so I have transcribed the whole, as recorded in Mary Lankford Todd’s notes (three scans of the original and her transcription are now also attached to Mary Todd’s media files). What is intriguing about these hastily written notes found in this attic is that they, in mentioning Mary Todd’s genealogy, also note the murder by the Harpes Brothers of Thomas Lankford. This helps us think that Thomas was probably Benjamin’s son and Mary’s brother.] What also blew our minds is that the letter was found in the attic of a home owned by a relative of my brother-in-law, Barry Wood, who has always shown great interest in our Lankford research, even though it is his wife’s and not his own blood line! –shb 16 Apr 2006

1810–SEPTEMBER 17–WILL PROVED: Descendants and Progenitors of Fielding Langford, compiled and edited by Ida-Rose Langford Hall (1970, 2003): “From the deeds and wills of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Book #1, p. 351, Will of BENJAMIN LANKFORD, proved September 17, 1810: “Sons BENJAMIN and STEPHEN LANKFORD, daughter [sic–should that be “daughters”?–shb] MARY TODD, widow of RICHARD TODD, ANNE MADISON, SARAH BROWNE, KITTY TURNER, HENRIETTA LANKFORD.” –shb 8 Apr 2006

BENJAMIN’S WILL OBTAINED AND TRANSCRIBED. Shiron Wordsworth ordered Benjamin’s will from Pittsylvania, transcribed it, and forwarded it to shb, 14 July 2006, as follows. See, also, Shi’s analysis, below the will, of what we learn from this will. At first we thought she was transcribing from beautiful script in Ben’s own hand, but a comparison of the handwriting with other wills in the book convinced Shi that the copy she got was a rewriting by some clerk, from the original, into the court record:

“WILL OF BENJAMIN LANKFORD

In the name of God amen I Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County in the state of Virginia being very sick and weak in body, but of sound mind and memory I do make and ordain this to by my Last will and Testament in words and manner following and first I do desire that all my Just and Lawful debts may be honestly paid by my executors hereafter named and secondly Too give unto my son Benjamin Lankford all and Singular the tract of Land whereon I now live containing upwards of five hundred acres and fourthly I desire that all the rest of my estate be equally divided between my son Benjamin Lankford & Stephen Lankford and my Daughters Mary Todd, Anne Madison, Sarah Brown, Kitty Turner and Henrietta Lankford or their representatives and I do appoint John Turner and my son Stephen Lankford Executors of this my last Will and Testament. In Witnefs whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this sixth day of September 1805

Signed Sealed & acknowleged Ben Lankford (seal)

“At a Court held for Pittsylvania County at the Courthouse the 17th day of September 1810 A Writing purporting to be the last Will & Testament of Benjamin Lankford was presented in Court and it appearing to the Court from the Testimony of William Tunstall, John White & others that the said Will is wholly in the handwriting of the said Lankford order that the same be recorded. And on the motion of John Turner one of the executors therein named who made oath thereto according to Law, and with Richard Johnson, Edward Douglafs, Stephen C. McDaniel, Henry Arnold, and John Farris his Securities entered into and [?] their bond in the penalty of Ten Thousand Dollars Conditioned as the Law directs Certificate is granted him for obtaining probate of said Will in due form liberty being reserved to the other executors in the said will named to join therein when they shall think it.

“Teste Will Tunstall [?]”

This will is recorded in the Deeds and Wills Book 11, Page 351

Transcribed by Shiron Wordsworth from a certified copy dated 11th July 2006
Certified by Suzanne Moore, Deputy of the Circuit Court, County of Pittsylvania, VA –shb 14 July 2006 [Note: Is the John Farris mentioned in the last paragraph, above, Johnson Farris (often referred to in records as “John”) the husband of Jenny/Jean Lankford, daughter of my ancestors Joseph and Mary Lankford? Per e-note from Shi, 13 July 2006, that is going to be hard to prove–shb.]

Shi’s analysis of the will, forwarded to shb 14 July 2006:

“Here’s for certain what we have learned from the will of Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia:

“1. Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, had a son named Stephen listed as one of the executors in his will.

“2. Benjamin did not bequeath to his son, Stephen, any land, but then if Rockcastle Stephen were Benjamin’s son, why would that be necessary or even an equitable settlemant if Stephen already had 13,000 acres of Kentucky land and was no longer a resident of Pittsylvania County, Virginia? Particularlay would this be true if the inheriting son named Benjamin were not as land wealthy as his brother, Stephen, and was, in fact, still a resident of Pittsylvania at the time of their father’s death, and, therefore, perhaps a more reasonable candidate to inherit his father’s land.

“3. Benjamin trusted Stephen to be one of the executors of his will irregardless of the fact that Stephen did not stand to inherit any of Pittsylvania Benjamin’s land.

“4. A couple of names common to Rockcastle and Pulaski are mentioned in the will, namely Turner and Farris.

“5. Ben’s will was written in 1805. Stephen Langford of Kentucky was alive at the time this will was written, so Stephen Langford of Kentucky remains a viable candidate as Benjamin’s son. Since there is no known record of a Stephen Lankford or Langford in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in 1805 (or no known record that has surfaced at this time), Kentucky Stephen remains a person of interest with regard to a relationship with Benjamin Lankford of Virginia.

“Here’s what we don’t know of a certainty, yet:

“Is the Stephen mentioned in the will of Benjamin Lankford of Virginia ‘our’ Kentucky Stephen? No mention of Stephen’s residence is made in the will. So the will does not provide a certain link between Kentucky Stephen and Pittsylvania Ben. The following thoughts are, however, of interest concerning a possible relationship between Rockcastle Stephen and Pittsylvania Ben. They provide at least some of the questions that must be answered before a verified connection between the two can be made.

“1. As mentioned before, names common to both Lincoln County, Kentucky, and Pittsylvania County, Virginia, are recorded in Benjamin Lankford’s will. The name John Farris seems especially notable given that the Farris family as well as the Langford family have ties to both localities.

“2. There is an interesting naming pattern with regard to the early Kentucky Langfords. If, in fact, Kentucky Stephen is Pitt Ben’s son, he followed the Virginia folkway with regard to naming patterns in that he named a firstborn son, Benjamin, after the child’s paternal grandfather. In turn, Stephen’s son, Benjamin, followed the same Virginia pattern by naming his firstborn son Stephen, and so perpetuating the paternal grandfather’s given name. This is, at the very least, a connection, of sorts, to a custom peculiarly common to Virginia.

“3. Mary Langford Todd was living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, at the same time, as was Stephen Langford. Mary Langford Todd was Virginia Ben’s daughter. Ben also had a son named Stephen, as witnessed by the will. Are Mary Langford Todd and Stephen Langford siblings? It’s possible although not verifiable at this time. Certainly it’s coincidental that individuals with the same names as two of Benjamin Lankford’s children are living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, during the same time period. The coincidence is made more intriguing since there is no other Stephen Langford mentioned in any records that have come to light so far in either Virginia or North Carolina that would “fit” as Pitt Ben’s son other than Rockcastle’s Stephen.

“4. There is a subjective but interesting thought worth consideration concerning Stephen Langford’s Kentucky career. Stephen appears to be one of those settlers bent on amassing land and status. Benjamin Lankford of Virginia was a “Gentleman” and an “Esquire,” used to hobnobbing with the likes of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and Colonel John Donelson. Benjamin was Pittsylvania’s representative at the Virginia Conventions of 1775 and 1776, a representative in the House of Burgesses in 1775, and later a member of the Virginia General Assembly. The subjective question here is this. Is it possible that Stephen’s own ambitions stem from the fact that he was raised by a father such as Benjamin Lankford of Virginia? Yes, it is possible, but it’s also a possibility that is impossible to verify historically. Nevertheless, this is an interesting ‘subjective.’

“5. In other accounts from Virginia records, Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, acknowledged having had a son named Thomas. Thomas Lankford of Pittsylvania County, VA, was murdered on the Wilderness Road 12 December 1798. According to Otto A. Rothert in The Outlaws of Cave-in-Rock, this Thomas Langford had money in the amount of 500 pounds in his possession at the time of his murder. He was traveling in Kentucky, with a view toward visiting relatives in the area and possibly relocating. If the murdered Thomas were also Benjamin’s son, Thomas, then he was considering “relocating” in the same vicinity where Mary Todd and Stephen Langford were residing at the time. Thus, in 1798, there are three individuals bearing the same names as three of the children of Pittsylvania Benjamin, and all three are mentioned in connection with Lincoln County, Kentucky. Given the fact that Rockcastle’s Stephen was increasing his land holdings about 1797, is it possible that his brother, Thomas, was in Kentucky with the idea of either joining in Stephen’s enterprises or purchasing land near Stephen? It’s a consideration worth exploring at the very least.

“6. There has always been a question as to whether the Rockcastle Langfords were from Virginia or from North Carolina. I suspect that the answer may be, in fact, that they had ties to both states.One question emerges with regard to the Stephen Langford of Rutherford County, North Carolina, whose lands were confiscated in 1781, as a result of his service with Major Ferguson, British commander at the Battle of King’s Mountain. Is the North Carolina Stephen the same individual who was the son of Benjamin Lankford of Virginia? I think it’s possible. The following things make me think that this might be so:

“* I came across information recently that several Lankford brothers of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, migrated to what would become Rutherford County, NC. While Stephen’s name is not listed as one of these Langfords, a Ben Langford is. Is it possible that this Ben Langford is the brother to Stephen Langford, and the same Ben who inherited Pitt Ben’s land? Is it possible that both brothers relocated to Rutherford for a time? It’s a coincidental possibility, one that is, however, without verification to date, but also a coincidence worth serious examination.

“*Certainly there was a Stephen Langford in Rutherford County, North Carolina. That’s historical fact and a matter of the Rutherford County, NC, court records. So far, no records in Pittsylvania indicate that Benjamin’s son, Stephen, was residing in Pittsylvania, or anywhere in Virginia, for that matter, at the same time that a Stephen Langford resided in Rutherford County, NC. No other Stephen Langford has emerged to date that is of an age to be Pittsylvania Ben’s son except for the Rutherford County Stephen. While this is not proof that North Carolina Stephen and Benjamin’s Stephen are one and the same, it is suggestive of a possible link between the two particularly given the information that Langfords from Pittsylvania migrated to Rutherford.

“*Tory Stephen’s NC lands were confiscated in 1781. I found mention that some of these convicted Tories migrated to Kentucky. The first mention of Stephen in Kentucky is in 1782. These dates seem to “fit” the historical events that occurred in Rutherford County, NC. Then, too, there’s the Rutherford County, NC, gentleman named William Twitty who acknowleged a Power of Attorney to Stephen Langford for the recovery of lands in Kentucky settlement. (As per Betty Price’s research posted 4 December 1998, at Genealogy.com.) If her research is credible and verifiable, it links Kentucky Stephen with Rutherford County, North Carolina Stephen, even if only by inference. Coincidentally, Kentucky Stephen is living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, as is Mary Langford Todd, Pitt Ben’s daughter. He is also residing there concurrently with Joseph Langford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, commonly acknowledged as the brother to Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Add to these facts the supposition that Thomas Langford of Virginia was in Kentucky, according to Rothert, to visit relatives and possibly relocate, and you are faced with a convergence of names common to both North Carolina and Virginia: Stephen Langford, Joseph Langford, Mary Langford Todd, and Thomas Langford.

“*Another possible link between Kentucky Stephen and Rutherford County Stephen is Betty Price’s research that says that the North Carolina Stephen was first married to the sister of Major Richard Singleton of Rutherford County, NC, the same Richard Singleton who died in Lincoln County, according to Price, in 1800. There remained a connection between the Rockcastle Langfords and the Rockcastle Singletons by means of marriage that stretched all the way into the 20th century. Kentucky Explorer Magazine (Volume 19, Number 4 – September 2004, p. 108) published a photo taken in 1941, on Singleton Mountain in Rockcastle County. One of the young men pictured is Tip Langford Singleton. Tip Langford was sheriff of Rockcastle County in the 1920s. His sister, Dona Langford married Monroe Singleton. Does this Langford – Singleton connection stretch as far back as Rutherford County, North Carolina, in the 1780s? It’s possible. At the very least, it’s an interesting coincidence.

“All of the above is merely suggestive that Stephen Langford of Rockcastle County, Kentucky, might well be the Tory Stephen of Rutherford County, North Carolina, and also the son of Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. All of these assumed connections need proof. If, however, they should prove to be not merely historical asumptions but facts verifiable by record, the question as to the origin of Rockcastle County Langfords, whether North Carolina or Virginia, would be finally answered. The answer would be yes, on both counts.” –shb 15 July 2006

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SIMILAR CHILDREN’S NAMES/WERE WEST, JOSEPH, AND BENJAMIN LANGFORD BROTHERS? Descendants and Progenitors of Fielding Langford, compiled and edited by Ida-Rose Langford Hall (1970, 2003): “Notice the similarity in the names of Benjamin’s children (Benjamin and Stephen) to the names in the marriage and tax lists in Kentucky. Were they the same individuals? I thought so until I found the marriages of the children of Benjamin Langford in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The children of Joseph Langford (his supposed brother, that is) were getting married about the same time as the children of Benjamin Lankford in Pittsylvania. I wonder if it is possible that West Langford, Joseph Langford, and Benjamin Langford were brothers. Incidentally, Benjamin Langford, who married Nancy Peyton, in Lincoln County, Kentucky, named one of his sons ‘Stephen.'” –shb 8 Apr 2006

A SLAVE HOLDER. My notes say that Benjamin was a slave holder, though I lack documentaiton. –shb 8 Apr 2006 [I found support for this (see below)–shb.]

1767–ON FIRST LIST OF TITHABLES, WITH SLAVE “MOLL”: Source given is History of Pittsylvania county, Virginia, by Maud Carter Clement: “June 1767 Tithables, taken by Thomas Dillard, as posted at http://www.rootsweb.com/%7Evapittsy/tith.htm, accessed 13 Apr 2006, by shb: “Benjamin Lankford, negro Moll.” Also on this list is a “Jacob Farris.” The only other Langford on this list is “Nicholas Langford,” on the “List of Tithables 1767, Taken by Hamon Critz, Gent.” –shb 13 Apr 2006

1767–FIRST SHERIFF IN PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY: “[Benjamin] was chosen as the first sheriff of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in 1767.” [From “Langford & Lankford Families in Virginia, posted at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~cmddlton/lgdfmva.html, accessed 8 Apr 2006, by shb. Source given is “post to LANGFORD-L by Kathy Newton who offered material from ‘History of Pittsylvania Co., VA’ p. 97.”] About this, Shiron Wordsworth adds, e-letter to shb, 8 Apr 2006 (on the same day I entered the above information, about his being sheriff):

“Benjamin was the first sheriff of Pittsylvania County, appointed by the governor of Virginia in 1767, when Pittsylvania County was formed. In the book Albion’s Seed, by David Hackett Fischer (great book, by the way!), p. 399, he says that in Virginia, county sheriffs were the most important order keepers in that colony and were appointed in the name of the Crown. A sheriff was “the leading executive officer of the county. His duties were to organize the courts, impanel juries, issue writs, call elections, read royal proclamations, maintain the peace, protect the church, administer judicial punishments, run the jail, and keep the county’s records.” [Yes, I read Albion’s Seed for a class at BYU and agree that it made fascinating reading–shb.]

“Fischer also says that the sheriff in a Virginia county didn’t actually dirty his hands nabbing felons. He had a whole crew of folks working under him who “did the dangerous manual labor of order keeping in Virginia.” So as the first sheriff of Pittsylvania, Benjamin was a highly respected, and important figure in the county. Essentially he held that office by royal appointment if you will, an appointment issued by Virginia’s governor who was answerable to the Crown.

“Benjamin is referred to in the Court records as both a ‘Gentleman,’ and as ‘Esquire.’ The first court records can be found at the Pittsylvania GenWeb site. They are interesting reading. Fischer also says of Virginia that the words “gentleman” and “independent” meant the same thing which was basically freedom from the necessity of labor. I’m not sure whether or not that was a good thing, but that’s what Fischer says, anyway.” –shb 8 Apr 2006

1774-1790–REP TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY: “Benjamin Lankford represented Pittsylvania County, Virginia in the General Assembly from 1774-1790.” [From “Langford & Lankford Families in Virginia, posted at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~cmddlton/lgdfmva.html, accessed 8 Apr 2006, by shb. Source given is “post to LANGFORD-L by Kathy Newton who offered material from ‘History of Pittsylvania Co., VA’ p. 97.”] –shb 8 Apr 2006

1775–APPOINTED CAPTAIN/ON COMMITTEE OF SAFETY: “In 1775, when the county was put in a state of defense, Benjamin Langford was appointed Captain of a company of Militia and a member of the Committee of Safety. In 1777, he was made major of the county militia.” [From “Langford & Lankford Families in Virginia, posted at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~cmddlton/lgdfmva.html, accessed 8 Apr 2006, by shb. Source given is “post to LANGFORD-L by Kathy Newton who offered material from ‘History of Pittsylvania Co., VA’ p. 97.”] –shb 8 Apr 2006

[Insert here by shb–some thoughts forwarded by Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 4 July 2006:

“I’ve spent most of the morning with the Founding Fathers. It occurred to me that Benjamin Langford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, heard this the first time it was spoken. I want to stand up and cheer when I read this. I like to think he did the same one fine day in March, 1775. Who knows? Maybe he congratulated the speaker afterwards. Anyway, on this 230th anniversary of our nation’s birth, I think Benjamin Langford, Gentleman, would appreciate the fact that his children’s children still value what was said that day.

“‘The War Inevitable

“‘March, 1775

“‘They tell us, Sir, that we are weak — unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.

“‘Three millions of People, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, Sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable; let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come!

“‘It is in vain, Sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace! — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that Gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

“‘Patrick Henry, Delegate
Virginia Assembly, Richmond’

“Happy Fourth of July !!!! Shiron.” –shb 4 July 2006

1777–SIGNED “OATH OF ALLEGIANCE”: “Benjamin Lankford” is named on “Reuben Pain’s List,” in Pittsylvania County Oaths of Allegiance, as posted at http://www.rootsweb.com/~vapittsy/Oaths.html , accessed 7 Apr 2006, by shb. Also named for signing, on a separate “Lankford’s List,” is “Joseph Lankford” (relationship to Benjamin now unknown–see Joseph’s notes, for this list). Those who refused to sign were so noted in separate (very short) lists, and I saw no Lankfords on these.

“Oaths of Allegiance – 1777 Pittsylvania County, VA,” copy done by Cynthia Hubbard Headen (Magazine of VA Genealogy, v.23, #1 (Feb.1985), transcribed by Marian Dodson Chiarito. These lists were taken from a typewritten copy found in the Clerk’s Office, Pittsylvania County, at Chatham, Virginia. The two following affidavits found attached to the copy are self- explanatory [these are certifications of clerks in 1930 and 1939 who attest that these lists are accurate to the best of their “knowledge and belief”–shb]. Besides documenting that Benjamin signed the “Oath,” this list is an interesting compilation of neighbors, friends, and probable relatives of those who signed. My ancestor Joseph Lankford also signed, on a separate “Lankford’s List” (see his notes):

“Reuben Pain’s List
Absolem Addams
Allen Addams
Cain Addams
John Addams, Jun.
John Addams, Sen.
Nathan Addams
Thomas Addams
William Addams
Zebulon Brynson
Daniel Cofman
Samuel Dilerd
John Dupays
Pryant Easley
Josiah Fargeson
Moses Freeman
Thos. Gee
Henry Hall
John Hall
John Hall
Daniel Hankins
Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, Sen.
William Hardy
Hugh Henry, Sr.
Nathaniel Hughes
Aaron Hutchings
Charles Hutchings
Charles Hutchings
Christopher Hutchings
Moses Hutchings
Benjamin Lankford [1st sheriff, Rep. to Gen. Assembly, County Justice, & etc. & etc.–connection to my ancestor, Joseph Lankford, unknown, at present–shb]
Francis Lamson
Jonas Lawson
Daniel Lovell
Marcom Loval
John McGhee
John Martin
John May
John Mode
William Moore
John Nuckels
Josiah Nuckles
Edmund Pain
Philemon Pain
John Parsons
Joseph Parsons
Samuel Parsons
George Perseye
Hezekiah Pigg
James Pigg
Benjamin Porter
Joseph Porter
Joseph Pruett
Bird Pruitt
Levey Pruitt
Daniel Ragsdale
Frederick Ragsdale
Joseph Richards
Armstead Shelton
John Short
William Short
Burel Vading
Zachariah Waller
William Waters
Archebel Weatherford
Harding Weatherford
John Weatherford
Joshua Welch
John Wilson
John Wimbush
William Witcher” –shb 7 Apr 2006

RELATED TO MY ANCESTOR, JOSEPH LANKFORD: Joseph Lankford and Benjamin Lankford were both involved, during the same time period, in transactions involving the Georges, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia (see Mary Grant chronology for the Georges, below):

1767-1789–LANKFORD/GEORGE ASSOCIATIONS APPEAR IN PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA RECORDS: Apparently Benjamin and Joseph Lankford [my ID 232–shb] and several Farrises lived near the Georges, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, as they are mentioned, in connection with George events, as posted, in chronological sequence, by Marty Grant, under the title, “John George and Francis _____ of Caroline, Pittsylvania, and Halifax County, Virginia and Green County, Georgia.” I am interested in the Farrises, as they are undoubtedly connected to the Johnson or “John” Farris [ID 58820] who married Jenny or “Jean” Lankford, b. abt. 1770, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. She was the daughter of the Joseph Lankford, mentioned above, who I believe is the same Joseph who is our ancestor (Jenny would then be the sister of Walker Lankford, also our ancestor). Jenny’s husband, Johnson or “John” Farris, was not b. until 1768, so the John Farris listed below, who is witnessing events involving the Georges is older. Note that Marty Grant lists, in this chronology, a deed witnessed by Benjamin Lankford (my ID 56896) that involves Elisha Farris. This is no doubt the “Elisha Faris” [ID 66760] who moved to Moccasin Creek (near Gate City, in Russell County, Virginia), who with much of his family was killed by Indians, 26 Aug 1791 (I forwarded a photo sent by Shiron Wordsworth of a historical marker near “Faris Station,” near where they lived). No doubt the Pembertons mentioned are also related to us, on our Hall side, as Elizabeth, daughter of William and Hannah (Richardson) Hall, m. Isaiah Pemberton (from a prominent Quaker family). Elizabeth and Isaiah migrated to Newberry County, South Carolina. I here list those items, as posted in Marty Grant’s chronology, that involve Lankfords and Farrises or that indicate important information about the Georges that might have also affected the lives of our Lankfords(full caps mine):

“I have abstracted numerous court records in Caroline Co, VA for John George (Jr), but for some reason, I can’t find my original references for them, so I can’t quote book and page number, but I will retrieve that information as soon as I can relocate it.

“On 9 Nov 1752, John George Jr was mentioned in Caroline Co, VA Court Minutes, when ‘Jack’, a Negro boy belonging to him was judged to be 10 years old. (Caroline Co, VA Order Book 1746-1754 page 352)

“When I locate the rest of my records for John George Jr in Caroline Co, VA, I’ll add them to the web page.

“John George married Frances — before ca 1764, probably in Caroline Co, VA. I have no clues as to her maiden name. On some records, she is listed as “Fanny”, a common nickname for Frances.

“John and Frances moved to Pittsylvania Co, VA before 1767. His brother James, and several sisters, also moved there around the same time. They all lived on or near Allen’s Creek, in the area on both sides of the county line between Pittsylvania and Halifax Co, VA.

“On 25 Feb 1767, John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Joseph Dejarnett and JOHN FARIS), witnessed a deed in Halifax Co, VA between William Bowman Jr and wife Rachel, to James Pemberton DeJarnet (John’s brother-in-law) for land on the south side of the North Fork of Allen’s Creek. (Halifax Co, VA Deed Book 6 page 312).

“On 12 Sep 1767, John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Thomas Dillard Jr and Joseph Collins), witnessed a deed in Pittsylvania Co, VA between James Collins of Halifax to William Collins of Pittsylvania, for land on Camping Branch of Great Straitstone Creek. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 1 page 94).

“On the same date (18 Apr 1768), John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, JOHN FARRIS, William East and John Pemberton) witnessed a deed between John Hamilton to JOSEPH FARRIS, for land on Allen’s Creek. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 1 page 117).

“On 12 Nov 1768, John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Joseph Collins and Jeremiah Ward) witnessed a deed between Thomas Dillard Sr to Thomas Dillard Jr for land on Straitstone Creek. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 1 page 253).

“On 24 Jul 1769 Richard Brown sued both John George and BENJAMIN LANKFORD for debt. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 100).

“On the same date (26 Aug 1769), THOMAS FARRIS filed a petition against John George and his brother James George. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 146).

On 21 Nov 1769 Isaac Clement filed a petition against John George. This case was dismissed. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 157).

“On 28 Jan 1769 James George of Pittsylvania Co, VA, sold BENJAMIN LANKFORD (of same place) two Negroes. Witnesses were Edmund King, JOSEPH FARRIS, Abraham Shelton. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 1 page 457).

“On 26 Aug 1769 THOMAS FARRIS sued both James George and John George with a petition (no details). (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 146).

“On 28 Jul 1770 James George and BENJAMIN LANKFORD were jointly sued for debt by Robert Caldwell. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 217).

“On the same date (28 Jul 1770) James George and BENJAMIN LANKFORD were jointly sued for debt by Joseph Dejernat. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 218).

“Also on the same date (28 Jul 1770), James and BENJAMIN were sued by Charles Rice for debt. Also sued by THOMAS FARRIS for debt, and also by JAMES FARRIS (each in a separate case). (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 218).

“On the same date (28 Jun 1771) JOSEPH LANKFORD also brought a petition against James George, as did Robert Weakly and Elisha Dyer and Isaac Clement, each in separate cases. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Minutes Book 1 page 302).

“On 4 Dec 1775 John George of Carolina Co, VA (James’ father) sold James George 200 acres on the South side of the North Fork of Allen’s Creek in Pittsylvania Co, VA, for 60 pounds. The land was bounded by Luke Smith, John Pemberton, Peter Bowman, and William Bowman Jr. Witnesses were BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Jonadab George (James’ cousin) and Nathaniel Pope. There is a possibility that this deed was not from James’ father John, but from his brother John George instead, if he had moved back to Caroline Co, VA. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 179).

“On 25 Apr 1776 James George and John George (and BENJAMIN LANKFORD and John Buckley) witnessed a deed from JOSEPH FARRIS to JOSEPH FARRIS JR. for land on Allen’s Creek. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 199).

“The American Revolution (also called the War of Independence) began in 1776 and lasted until 1781. I have not found any record showing James George participated in the war in any way. I’ve often been asked if descendants could get into the DAR or SAR via the James George family, but I’ve found no proof that he served. James George was in the County Militia in 1775, but I’ve found nothing else on him during the war years (pertaining to military service, that is). [Is there a record of Lankfords doing this–shb?]

“In 1777 James George signed the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Virginia in Pittsylvania Co, VA. [Did Benjamin Lankford sign this?–shb]

“On 6 Feb 1777, John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, John Buckley, and Robert Bruice) witnessed a deed between ELISHA FARIS to Robert Farguson for land “near Muster Ground”. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 290).

“On 2 Aug 1777 John George (with BENJAMIN LANKFORD, Joseph Roberts, William Todd, John Dier and Joshua Stone) witnessed a dower relinquishment from ELIZABETH HARNESS, wife of JOHN HARNESS. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 421).

“On 2 Aug 1777 James George of Pittsylvania Co, VA sold 20 acres on Allen’s Creek to Joshua Stone. The land was in both Pittsylvania and Halifax Co, VA, joining lands of John Oliver, JOHN FERRIS, and John Megregor. Witnesses were BENJAMIN LANKFORD, R. Ferguson, John Oliver and James Roberts. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 399).

“On 15 Nov 1779 James George received a Land Grant of 329 acres in Pittsylvania Co, VA on Allen’s Creek adjoining LANKFORD and Pemberton. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Grants Book B page 73 I’m not sure where I found this).

“John George apparently moved from his Pittsylvania Co, VA land to Halifax Co, VA around 1787. His Allen’s Creek property may have been in both counties, but in this same year (see below) he purchased land in Halifax Co, VA.

“On 7 Jun 1787, John George received a 50 acre land grant in Pittsylvania Co, VA on the south fork of Allen’s Creek adjoining Jenkins and Todd. (Virginia Grants Book 12 page 149).

“On 1 Aug 1787, John George “of Halifax”, sold land in Pittsylvania Co, VA to Abraham Shelton. I didn’t get the acreage, but the land was on Allen’s Creek, bounded by William Doss, Haynes Morgan, Charles Crenshaw, Richard Todd, William Todd, Daniel Jenkins, Peter Pucket, William Hamblett, James Henderson, and JOSEPH FARRIS. Witnesses were: Vincent Shelton, James George Jr (nephew), W. Shelton and Fred Shelton. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 8 page 88).

The above deed might represent all of John George’s Allen’s Creek land (and there was quite a lot of it). I’ll have to read it again to see if the acreage was given. A relinquishment (dated 21 Sep 1789), by Frances, wife of John George, appears to refer to the above deed and states it was for 1400 acres.

On 10 Jun 1789, John’s brother James George, in Pittsylvania, wrote a letter to their brother Reuben George in Caroline, mentioning John several times. He said that John was “in a bad state of health with a cansor in his nose …” He also mentions that Reuben had sent his son down for some money John owed him (Reuben), but James said there was slim chance, as John had serious money problems, and that he had deeded all his land to someone for a loan, and had paid it back, but had not gotten the deed back (this is referring to the deed to Abraham Shelton for 1400 acres, apparently all of John’s land). (“The George Family Record”, Thomas R. George, 1978, page 16).

On 21 Sep 1789, in Pittsylvania Co, VA, William Todd, Joshua Stone and BENJAMIN LANKFORD, gentlemen, Justices for the county, proved that Frances, wife of John George, relinquished her dower rights in the deed to Abraham Shelton for 1400 acres (See deed dated 27 Aug 1788) (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 8 page 441).

“On 16 Jul 1792 James George and wife Elizabeth George sold 130 acres on Allen’s Creek to Benjamin Gosney, land bounded by Joseph Farris, BENJAMIN LANKFORD, James Henderson and William Keates. (Pittsylvania Co, VA Deed Book 9 Page 278).” –shb 6 Apr 2006

1798, DECEMBER–SON THOMAS MURDERED BY HARPES BROTHERS? See son Thomas’ notes for detail about his terrible murder and evidence that he was Benjamin’s son. –shb 8 Apr 2006 [Note: A recent letter from Shiron Wordsworth presented evidence that it was probably NOT the murdered Thomas who was the son of Benjamin, with the same name–see notes of the murdered Thomas–shb.] –shb 16 Apr 2006

1810–SEPTEMBER 17–WILL PROVED: Descendants and Progenitors of Fielding Langford, compiled and edited by Ida-Rose Langford Hall (1970, 2003): “From the deeds and wills of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Book #1, p. 351, Will of BENJAMIN LANKFORD, proved September 17, 1810: “Sons BENJAMIN and STEPHEN LANKFORD, daughter [sic–should that be “daughters”?–shb] MARY TODD, widow of RICHARD TODD, ANNE MADISON, SARAH BROWNE, KITTY TURNER, HENRIETTA LANKFORD.” –shb 8 Apr 2006

BENJAMIN’S WILL OBTAINED AND TRANSCRIBED. Shiron Wordsworth ordered Benjamin’s will from Pittsylvania, transcribed it, and forwarded it to shb, 14 July 2006, as follows. See, also, Shi’s analysis, below the will, of what we learn from this will. At first we thought she was transcribing from beautiful script in Ben’s own hand, but a comparison of the handwriting with other wills in the book convinced Shi that the copy she got was a rewriting by some clerk, from the original, into the court record:

“WILL OF BENJAMIN LANKFORD

In the name of God amen I Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County in the state of Virginia being very sick and weak in body, but of sound mind and memory I do make and ordain this to by my Last will and Testament in words and manner following and first I do desire that all my Just and Lawful debts may be honestly paid by my executors hereafter named and secondly Too give unto my son Benjamin Lankford all and Singular the tract of Land whereon I now live containing upwards of five hundred acres and fourthly I desire that all the rest of my estate be equally divided between my son Benjamin Lankford & Stephen Lankford and my Daughters Mary Todd, Anne Madison, Sarah Brown, Kitty Turner and Henrietta Lankford or their representatives and I do appoint John Turner and my son Stephen Lankford Executors of this my last Will and Testament. In Witnefs whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this sixth day of September 1805

Signed Sealed & acknowleged Ben Lankford (seal)

“At a Court held for Pittsylvania County at the Courthouse the 17th day of September 1810 A Writing purporting to be the last Will & Testament of Benjamin Lankford was presented in Court and it appearing to the Court from the Testimony of William Tunstall, John White & others that the said Will is wholly in the handwriting of the said Lankford order that the same be recorded. And on the motion of John Turner one of the executors therein named who made oath thereto according to Law, and with Richard Johnson, Edward Douglafs, Stephen C. McDaniel, Henry Arnold, and John Farris his Securities entered into and [?] their bond in the penalty of Ten Thousand Dollars Conditioned as the Law directs Certificate is granted him for obtaining probate of said Will in due form liberty being reserved to the other executors in the said will named to join therein when they shall think it.

“Teste Will Tunstall [?]”

This will is recorded in the Deeds and Wills Book 11, Page 351

Transcribed by Shiron Wordsworth from a certified copy dated 11th July 2006
Certified by Suzanne Moore, Deputy of the Circuit Court, County of Pittsylvania, VA –shb 14 July 2006 [Note: Is the John Farris mentioned in the last paragraph, above, Johnson Farris (often referred to in records as “John”) the husband of Jenny/Jean Lankford, daughter of my ancestors Joseph and Mary Lankford? Per e-note from Shi, 13 July 2006, that is going to be hard to prove–shb.]

Shi’s analysis of the will, forwarded to shb 14 July 2006:

“Here’s for certain what we have learned from the will of Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia:

“1. Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, had a son named Stephen listed as one of the executors in his will.

“2. Benjamin did not bequeath to his son, Stephen, any land, but then if Rockcastle Stephen were Benjamin’s son, why would that be necessary or even an equitable settlemant if Stephen already had 13,000 acres of Kentucky land and was no longer a resident of Pittsylvania County, Virginia? Particularlay would this be true if the inheriting son named Benjamin were not as land wealthy as his brother, Stephen, and was, in fact, still a resident of Pittsylvania at the time of their father’s death, and, therefore, perhaps a more reasonable candidate to inherit his father’s land.

“3. Benjamin trusted Stephen to be one of the executors of his will irregardless of the fact that Stephen did not stand to inherit any of Pittsylvania Benjamin’s land.

“4. A couple of names common to Rockcastle and Pulaski are mentioned in the will, namely Turner and Farris.

“5. Ben’s will was written in 1805. Stephen Langford of Kentucky was alive at the time this will was written, so Stephen Langford of Kentucky remains a viable candidate as Benjamin’s son. Since there is no known record of a Stephen Lankford or Langford in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in 1805 (or no known record that has surfaced at this time), Kentucky Stephen remains a person of interest with regard to a relationship with Benjamin Lankford of Virginia.

“Here’s what we don’t know of a certainty, yet:

“Is the Stephen mentioned in the will of Benjamin Lankford of Virginia ‘our’ Kentucky Stephen? No mention of Stephen’s residence is made in the will. So the will does not provide a certain link between Kentucky Stephen and Pittsylvania Ben. The following thoughts are, however, of interest concerning a possible relationship between Rockcastle Stephen and Pittsylvania Ben. They provide at least some of the questions that must be answered before a verified connection between the two can be made.

“1. As mentioned before, names common to both Lincoln County, Kentucky, and Pittsylvania County, Virginia, are recorded in Benjamin Lankford’s will. The name John Farris seems especially notable given that the Farris family as well as the Langford family have ties to both localities.

“2. There is an interesting naming pattern with regard to the early Kentucky Langfords. If, in fact, Kentucky Stephen is Pitt Ben’s son, he followed the Virginia folkway with regard to naming patterns in that he named a firstborn son, Benjamin, after the child’s paternal grandfather. In turn, Stephen’s son, Benjamin, followed the same Virginia pattern by naming his firstborn son Stephen, and so perpetuating the paternal grandfather’s given name. This is, at the very least, a connection, of sorts, to a custom peculiarly common to Virginia.

“3. Mary Langford Todd was living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, at the same time, as was Stephen Langford. Mary Langford Todd was Virginia Ben’s daughter. Ben also had a son named Stephen, as witnessed by the will. Are Mary Langford Todd and Stephen Langford siblings? It’s possible although not verifiable at this time. Certainly it’s coincidental that individuals with the same names as two of Benjamin Lankford’s children are living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, during the same time period. The coincidence is made more intriguing since there is no other Stephen Langford mentioned in any records that have come to light so far in either Virginia or North Carolina that would “fit” as Pitt Ben’s son other than Rockcastle’s Stephen.

“4. There is a subjective but interesting thought worth consideration concerning Stephen Langford’s Kentucky career. Stephen appears to be one of those settlers bent on amassing land and status. Benjamin Lankford of Virginia was a “Gentleman” and an “Esquire,” used to hobnobbing with the likes of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and Colonel John Donelson. Benjamin was Pittsylvania’s representative at the Virginia Conventions of 1775 and 1776, a representative in the House of Burgesses in 1775, and later a member of the Virginia General Assembly. The subjective question here is this. Is it possible that Stephen’s own ambitions stem from the fact that he was raised by a father such as Benjamin Lankford of Virginia? Yes, it is possible, but it’s also a possibility that is impossible to verify historically. Nevertheless, this is an interesting ‘subjective.’

“5. In other accounts from Virginia records, Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, acknowledged having had a son named Thomas. Thomas Lankford of Pittsylvania County, VA, was murdered on the Wilderness Road 12 December 1798. According to Otto A. Rothert in The Outlaws of Cave-in-Rock, this Thomas Langford had money in the amount of 500 pounds in his possession at the time of his murder. He was traveling in Kentucky, with a view toward visiting relatives in the area and possibly relocating. If the murdered Thomas were also Benjamin’s son, Thomas, then he was considering “relocating” in the same vicinity where Mary Todd and Stephen Langford were residing at the time. Thus, in 1798, there are three individuals bearing the same names as three of the children of Pittsylvania Benjamin, and all three are mentioned in connection with Lincoln County, Kentucky. Given the fact that Rockcastle’s Stephen was increasing his land holdings about 1797, is it possible that his brother, Thomas, was in Kentucky with the idea of either joining in Stephen’s enterprises or purchasing land near Stephen? It’s a consideration worth exploring at the very least.

“6. There has always been a question as to whether the Rockcastle Langfords were from Virginia or from North Carolina. I suspect that the answer may be, in fact, that they had ties to both states.One question emerges with regard to the Stephen Langford of Rutherford County, North Carolina, whose lands were confiscated in 1781, as a result of his service with Major Ferguson, British commander at the Battle of King’s Mountain. Is the North Carolina Stephen the same individual who was the son of Benjamin Lankford of Virginia? I think it’s possible. The following things make me think that this might be so:

“* I came across information recently that several Lankford brothers of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, migrated to what would become Rutherford County, NC. While Stephen’s name is not listed as one of these Langfords, a Ben Langford is. Is it possible that this Ben Langford is the brother to Stephen Langford, and the same Ben who inherited Pitt Ben’s land? Is it possible that both brothers relocated to Rutherford for a time? It’s a coincidental possibility, one that is, however, without verification to date, but also a coincidence worth serious examination.

“*Certainly there was a Stephen Langford in Rutherford County, North Carolina. That’s historical fact and a matter of the Rutherford County, NC, court records. So far, no records in Pittsylvania indicate that Benjamin’s son, Stephen, was residing in Pittsylvania, or anywhere in Virginia, for that matter, at the same time that a Stephen Langford resided in Rutherford County, NC. No other Stephen Langford has emerged to date that is of an age to be Pittsylvania Ben’s son except for the Rutherford County Stephen. While this is not proof that North Carolina Stephen and Benjamin’s Stephen are one and the same, it is suggestive of a possible link between the two particularly given the information that Langfords from Pittsylvania migrated to Rutherford.

“*Tory Stephen’s NC lands were confiscated in 1781. I found mention that some of these convicted Tories migrated to Kentucky. The first mention of Stephen in Kentucky is in 1782. These dates seem to “fit” the historical events that occurred in Rutherford County, NC. Then, too, there’s the Rutherford County, NC, gentleman named William Twitty who acknowleged a Power of Attorney to Stephen Langford for the recovery of lands in Kentucky settlement. (As per Betty Price’s research posted 4 December 1998, at Genealogy.com.) If her research is credible and verifiable, it links Kentucky Stephen with Rutherford County, North Carolina Stephen, even if only by inference. Coincidentally, Kentucky Stephen is living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, as is Mary Langford Todd, Pitt Ben’s daughter. He is also residing there concurrently with Joseph Langford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, commonly acknowledged as the brother to Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Add to these facts the supposition that Thomas Langford of Virginia was in Kentucky, according to Rothert, to visit relatives and possibly relocate, and you are faced with a convergence of names common to both North Carolina and Virginia: Stephen Langford, Joseph Langford, Mary Langford Todd, and Thomas Langford.

“*Another possible link between Kentucky Stephen and Rutherford County Stephen is Betty Price’s research that says that the North Carolina Stephen was first married to the sister of Major Richard Singleton of Rutherford County, NC, the same Richard Singleton who died in Lincoln County, according to Price, in 1800. There remained a connection between the Rockcastle Langfords and the Rockcastle Singletons by means of marriage that stretched all the way into the 20th century. Kentucky Explorer Magazine (Volume 19, Number 4 – September 2004, p. 108) published a photo taken in 1941, on Singleton Mountain in Rockcastle County. One of the young men pictured is Tip Langford Singleton. Tip Langford was sheriff of Rockcastle County in the 1920s. His sister, Dona Langford married Monroe Singleton. Does this Langford – Singleton connection stretch as far back as Rutherford County, North Carolina, in the 1780s? It’s possible. At the very least, it’s an interesting coincidence.

“All of the above is merely suggestive that Stephen Langford of Rockcastle County, Kentucky, might well be the Tory Stephen of Rutherford County, North Carolina, and also the son of Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. All of these assumed connections need proof. If, however, they should prove to be not merely historical asumptions but facts verifiable by record, the question as to the origin of Rockcastle County Langfords, whether North Carolina or Virginia, would be finally answered. The answer would be yes, on both counts.” –shb 15 July 2006

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July 4, 2006 - Posted by | Genealogy, Virginia Langfords

4 Comments »

  1. This post on Todd board sounds like its your family:

    I hope it is!

    http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/msg/rw/HGSBAEB/2277

    Mary

    Comment by Mary F | July 18, 2006 | Reply

  2. I descended from Elisha Farris ( the man who he and part of his family were killed by indians on Moccasin Creek ). I found this out from the Farris DNA Study ( where Farris males can submit a cheek swab of their dna and it pinpoints where their ancestors originated ). One of the males in our family gave dna and it traced back to Elisha Farris. I read where someone wants to know where to rest of Elisha’s survivors went after the massacre. I know some of them ended up in Tishamingo County Mississippi. Thank You, Janice

    Comment by Janice Marie Farris | July 22, 2006 | Reply

  3. I ran across this geneology on the Lankford’s today. My late husband was a Lankford. I have heard his dad talk about some of the names in this article. His Dad was John Stephen Lankford…july 25,2006

    Comment by jean langford(lankford) | July 26, 2006 | Reply

  4. I’m interested to know if Henry Langford, of Montgomery Co., VA who married Susannah Clements, Benjamin Clement / Clements, Jr. & Mary Baker’s daughter in the year 1799 was related to this Benjamin Langford and how. Several Year ago, I had written to Montgomery County Circuit Court, I was told that there was a record of Marriage between Susannah Clements and Henry Langford in the year 1799. I never sent for the Copy, but they sent me letter back saying that had one on file for me. And Certified the letter with a date. Anyway, I’m wondering what that relationship would be. Because of Benjamin Langford and the land deed between Jame Clement here is that deed Deed Benjamin Lankford to James Clements dated 22 Sep 1767 Pittsylvania county, VA, Deed Book 1, pages 54-55. Sincerely, Cathi (Clements) Gross

    Comment by Cathi L Gross | March 12, 2017 | Reply


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