It is believed that this family came from Germany from the Nassau-Siegen principality of Westphalia. The family name is a common surname in most every country in the world. The name derives from petr-, petri- and petro-, which means "stone or of stony hardness or rigidity". The name is also associated with "old". The German interpretations of the surname are "old stone" or "old estate".
Martin Petry (19 Jan 1757-aft 1835) was born near Port Republic in Orange County, VA and died in Packsville, WV. He married Elizabeth Ann "Betsy" Raines (abt 1760-aft 1840) of Rockingham County, VA, the daughter of John Raines, during the Revolutionary War. Betsy was an indentured servant when Martin met her. Martin served in the Militia during the American Revolution and "was marched to Yorktown and was at the taking of Cornwallis". During the early war years, Martin's service included "guarding against the depredations of the Indians in wilderness country that was entirely uninhabited by the whites". About 1792, Martin and Betsy settled on Lick Creek at what is now Brown's Chapel in the Pipestem area of what is now Summers County and lived there for 8-10 years. Around 1802, Martin built a one-room log cabin on Little Marsh at what is now known as Packsville, WV in now Raleigh County, near the over-flowing well (artisan well) and he lived here part-time while also maintaining a home at Lick Creek. Martin and Betsy lived here until their deaths and are buried on a small knoll behind where his cabin once stood. Martin and Betsy's children were James, Sarah, Sally, John, St. Clair, Samuel, Jacob and Elizabeth.