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Title: McDowell Greenlee, Mary Elizabeth to , 1806
CollectionIrish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan. Letters and memoirs from colonial and revolutionary America (1675-1815) [K.A. Miller et al.]
SenderMcDowell Greenlee, Mary Elizabeth
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationsettler
Sender Religionunknown
OriginRockbridge Co., Virginia, USA
Recipient Genderunknown
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1956
Genrelegal deposition, settlement
TranscriptMary Elizabeth McDowell Greenlee, Forks of the James River, Rockbridge County, Virginia, legal deposition in Peck v. Borden, before Joseph Walker and J. Grigsby, 10 November 1806
... Mary Greenlee being sworn deposeth and saith That she with her husband James Greenlee settled in Bordens large Grant as near as she Can recollect in the fall of the Year 1737— her son John was born the 4th of October in the next year after they Settled in <the> Grant, and by the register of his birth kept in the family Bible, to which <she> has had recourse to refresh her memory, it appears he was born on the of October 1738— shortly before her Settlement in <the> Grant she together with her husband, her father Ephraim M c Dowell (then a very aged man), and her brother John M c Dowell were on their way to Beverly manor and were advanced as far as Lewises creek, intending to stop on the South river having at that time never heard of Bordens Tract (she remembers of her brother James having the Spring before Gone into <Beverly> manor and raised a crop of Corn on the South river above Turks near what was Called Woods Gap) about the time of their Striking up their Camp in the Evening, Benjamin Borden the Elder came to their Camp and proposed Staying all night In the course of conversation Borden Informed them he had about 10<0>,000 acres of land on the waters of James River or the forks if he could ever find it and proposed Giving 1000 acres to any one who would conduct him to it. …Borden had been at William<s>burg and some one, perhaps the Governors son in law (by name Needler as well as she Can recollect), and his other partners had in a frolick Given him their Interest in said Grant— She understood there were four of them: The Governor (Gooch), his son in Law and two others whose names she does not recollect who were Interested in the order of Council for said land and that Borden got it from them....
<W>hen a light was made <Borden> produced his papers and satisfied the Company of his rights The deponents brother John M Dowell then Informed Borden he would conduct him to the forks of James River for 1000 acres and shewed Borden his Surveying Instruments &c, and finally it was agreed that M c Dowell should conduct him to the Grant, and she thinks a memorandum of the agreement was then made in writing They went on from thence to the house of John Lewis, in Beverly manor near where Staunton now Stands, who was a relation of deponents father— They remained with him a few days and there further writings were entered into, and it was finally agreed they should all settle in Bordens Tract John M c Dowell was to have 1000 acres for conducting them there agreeable to the writing entered into, and the Settlers were moreover to have 100 acres for every Cabbin they should build, even if they built forty Cabbins, and they might purchase any quantity adjoining at 50/ per hundred acres Borden was Interested in these Cabbin rights, as they were Called, for every cabbin saved him acres of land These Cabbin rights were afterwards counted and an account returned to the Government, then held at Wmsburg, and She has heard about that time many Tests of the manner in which one person by Going from Cabbin to Cabbin was Counted and Stood for several Settlements
She recollects particularly of hearing of a Serving Girl of one James Bell named Millhollen who dressed herself in mans cloaths and saved Several Cabbin rights, perhaps five or Six, calling her self Millhollen but varying the Christian name— These Conversations were Current in that day— …it was Immaterial where the Cabbins were built— they were to entitle the builder to 100 acres wherever he Chose to lay it off, and he had a right to purchase at 50/ any larger quantity— One John Patterson was employed to Count the Cabbin rights He was accustomed to mark the Setlers on his hat with Chalk and afterwards deliver the account to her brother John McDowell, and <she> remembers to hear that her Brother had expressed his Surprise at so many people by the name of Millhollen being settled on the land, but which was afterwards explained by the circumstance of the Servant Girl, and was a Subject of General mirth in the Settlement She does not Know whether this plan of saving several Cabbin rights by one person appearing at different Cabbins was suggested by Borden the Elder or not every person Saving a Cabbin right Got 100 acres for each right so saved, as Borden was <obliged> to have a Cabbin for every 1000 acres
When the party with which she travelled came (as they Supposed) into the Grant, they Stoped at a Spring near where David Steele now lives and Struck their Camp— Her brother and Borden having Gone down <the> branch until they were satisfied it was one of the waters of James River The Balance of the party remained at that Spring until her brother John and Borden went down to the forks formed by the waters of the south and north River and having taken a Course thro the Country returned to Camp They then went on to the place Called the red house where her brother John Built a Cabbin her brother built and setled where James M c Dowell now lives— The first Cabbin her husband built was by a Spring near where Andrew Scott now lives, but when <she> went to see it she did not like the Situation, and they then built and settled at the place afterwards Called Browns They sold this after some short time and purchased the land on which her Brother James had made an Improvement (now Called Templetons) and where she resided untill about the year 1780, being within sight of where her Father (then near 100 years of age) resided. This was the first party of white people that ever Settled in the Grant
Borden the Elder remained in the Grant from that time for perhaps two years and more obtaining Setlers, and she believes there were more than 100 Setlers before he left them— she believes he was in the Grant the whole time from his first coming up until he left it before his death but how long before his death he left it she does not Know He resided some time with a Mr Hunter (whose daughter afterwards married one Quin) and to whom he Gave the Tract whereon they lived when Borden the Grant he left his papers with her Brother John M Dowell, to whose house a Great many people resorted to See about Lands, but what authority her brother had to Sell or whether he made sales or not she does not Know Her brother John M Dowell was Killed about Christmas before her son Samuel (her first son of that name) was born He was born, as appears by the register of his birth in the Bible, about April 1743. …
Young Ben Borden Came into the Grant before her brothers death she recollects this from the Circumstance of his being then in ordinary plight and such that he did not then seem much respected by her brothers wife, and when brother’s widow> afterwards married him she could not but reflect on the Change of Circumstances—<for> he was altogether illiterate Benjamin Jr lived with her Brother John Whilst in the Grant but returned to his fathers before the death of John, and after his father’s death <he> returned fully empowered by his Fathers will to Complete Titles and sell lands, and then married the widow of her Brother and continued to live at the place where her Brother settled until his death. ...
<A>s to the Value of the lands remaining unsold by Ben Borden <Jr.>—one Hardin... was an Executor... <Hardin came to> this Country after the death of young Ben Borden and after John Bowyer had married <Borden’s> widow.... <Harden> was Setling Bordens Business but she does not Know by what authority Hardin offered to her Brother James the unsold lands for a bottle of wine if he would clear him of the quit rents— her Brother consulted with her father about the proposition, <but her father> advised him to have nothing to do with it for it would probably run him into Jail This was Shortly after Bowyers marriage
She does not Know whether Benjn Borden Jr was distressed on account of the quit rents or not, <b>ut <she> recollects that shortly before his death, Patten was at her house, a horse of Bordens broke out and came there.... Patten wished to have <the horse> caught <so> that he might take him for some claims against Borden… <However> she had <Borden’s> horse sent home, fearing that as there had been some misunderstanding between <her> husband and Borden about their Land, he might think they had aided in <the> her husband purchased 1000 acres of land of old Borden at an early day for 50/ per hundred which he had located on the Turkey Hill, <but> after the death of old Borden his son Benjamin disputed Giving a deed for the whole quantity there, alledging it was all Valuable Land, and afterwards for the sake of peace it was agreed that a part should be taken there —a part

Joining Robert Cullens, which was sold to one Buchanan, and a part near John Davidsons— This arrangment was made at the time Hardin was present. <He> seemed willing to give the land and advised <her>, whose husband was then abroad, to agree to take it at those places, which she did all the land purchased by her husband was purchased from old Borden Indeed he had purchased this thousand acres before they came to the Tract at Lewises, provided he liked the land when he saw it— which he did. ...
<T>he people paid no quit rents for two years from the time the grant was first settled this exemption was Granted by the Governor at the instance of one Anderson a preacher When they had to pay quit rents they raised money by sending butter to New castle, to W m burg and other markets below, and Got also in return their salt Iron &c. ... The people who first Settled and purchased did not always have their lands Surveyed at the time of the purchase some had their lands surveyed & some had not, but when it was not Surveyed they described it by General boundaries.... <For example, her> brother James <McDowell> purchased a considerable Tract, perhaps four or 500 acres, either at or below where Stuarts mill now stands It run on a large Hill but whether in one or two Tracts she Knows not— This tract he sold to some person but <she> does not Know who She does not Know whether he<r brother> had it surveyed or not but supposes it was merely designated by General boundaries She thinks if She was on the land She could point out the tree whereon his name was Cut If it is yet standing it stood near a deep hole in the Creek she Knows not how he acquired it but understood he had built a Cabbin on it and saved a Cabbin right <she> never saw the Cabbin nor does she Know where it stood, but the land was Called his very shortly after they went to the Grant and in the lifetime of old Borden.