Researching the Early Settlers of Henry County, Virginia
Updated: Jan 6
When conducting genealogical research in southwestern Virginia it is important to look into Henry County. One of the early counites to be formed in the region, it has a long and detailed history. Since the time it was formed from Pittsylvania County in 1777, it has left a vast collection of records that genealogists can use to their advantage. From the usual sources such as wills, deed, marriage records, tax records, etc, it is fairly easy to research this topic. However, to find your early ancestors in these records, it can also be of help to find them within the military records.
During this time, the militia from Henry County that served during the American Revolution were recorded at Guilford Court House, North Carolina, on March 11, 1781. Under the command of General Green, some of them include:
“Peter Hairston’s Company: Joseph Perregoy, Joseph Pearson, William Bowling, Jarratt Martin, John Aragan, Nathan Jones, William Brown, John Nance, Joseph Bowling.”1
With this knowledge, one can then begin to search the genealogical record for the patriots. On December 11, 1780, Peter Hairston is documented as a witness to a deed involving George Hairston.2 Three years later on 10 December 1783, another militiaman from Henry County, Joseph Pearson’s death is recorded.3 In 1779, Joseph Pearson is again documented as paying taxes to the Sheriff, John Salmon.4
When Henry was formed during the American Revolution, one would have suspected their genealogical records would reflect this, but for genealogists, it has given them an advantage. At the start, military records were complied which today can be used to find the first pioneers in the area. For those who are researching this region, it is a necessary method to help guide you in the right direction.
Documentation and Suggested Readings:
1. Judith Parks America Hill, A History of Henry County, Virginia (Berwyn Heights, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc, 2008), 13.
2. Lela C Adams, Abstracts of Henry County Virgina Deed Books I and II 1776-1784 (Greenville, South Carolina, 1992), 61.
3. Lela C Adams, Henry County Virginia Will Abstracts Vol. I and & II, 1777-1820 (Greenville, South Carolina, 1985), 13.
4. Lesa C. Adam, 1778 – 1780 Tax Lists of Henry County, Virginia (Greenville, South Carolina, 1989), 19.