| || Notes for WILLIAM RHEA:|
William Rhea was born about 1718.From circumstances it is
thought his father was Archibald Rhea.It is believed he had
come from PA to VA and settled in what became Bath Co. VA.
Originally Orange Co., Augusta Co. (which was named in honor of
Princes Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, wife of Frederick Louis, Prince
of Wales, father of George III).This area was unsettled in
nature at the time and did not have a county government until
Sometime between 1740 and 1746, William married Elizabeth Clark,
born in Augusta County, VA, daughter of James and Elizabeth
(Summers) Clark.Elizabeth's father was a wheelwright and also
a land agent for William Beverly, dealing with a large parcels
of Virginia frontier land.
1750 he first record of William comes in the form of a real
estate transaction.In May of 1750, he was the first of three
brothers to purchase land from Benjamin Borden in Borden's
grant.He selected 230 acres on Hays Creek which is located
about sixteen miles north of Lexington (now Rockbridge Co., VA.)
Augusta Co. VA deed book 2, 751-753 dated May 17, 1750 recorded
May 23, 1750.This 230 acres was on the S.E. Side of Hays Creek
(also known as Walkers Creek) which at that point flowed more or
less south westerly, nearly paralleling the Borden patent line
located less than 200 yards to the north.The properties of
William, Archibald and Robert Rhea were located at the present
town of Zack on highway 602.In 1808 Andrew Kennedy built the
Kennedy-McCray mill on the property purchased from Archibald in
1753 March 13, Augusta Co. VA deed book 5, 185-188 - 200 acres
that straddled Walkers Creek and adjoined William's land to the
S.W. and the 188 acres on the N.E. that Robert purchased the
following year.Williamwas listed as communicant of Timber
Ridge Presbyterian Church in 1753. He signed the call for the
first minister, John Brown, per 'History of Rockbridge County'.
1758 having become a settler in Augusta County, William
performed civic duty by serving in the Augusta County Colonial
Militia.This was during the French/Indian War.This conflict
ended in l763 and the settlers returned to business of growing
crops and providing for their families.In 1764 May, John
Handley and Grizel conveyed to William "Reah", 257 acres (survey
to Joseph Kennedy on Broad Spring Run, otherwise called Back
1767 William was issued a Hemp certificate in Augusta Co. VA.
About that year, William moved his residence to the Upper Mill
Creek settlement, which occupied the basin of that stream above
Panther's Gap. Mill Creek is a branch of the Calf Pasture, just
a few miles northeast of the present town of Millboro.
1767 Augusta Co., Va Deed Book 13, 338-341. Lease dated and
recorded on May 20, 1767; the release was dated May 22, and
recorded May 21(?), the day before John Wilson,Gent. To William
Reah, 600 acres on Elm Creek, a branch of the Calf Pasture
River.William subdivided the land in 1775, selling tracts to
sons, William, James and John.
1769 Augusta Co., VADeed Book 16, 113-116.Lease and release
dated 20 October 16 and 17, 1769, respectively, and both
wererecorded October 18, 1769. In 1795 they were delivered to
Hugh Rhea, one of the two living children.
1769, William sold, to his son Archibald, that parcel of land in
Borden's Grant, which had been his original purchase.
(Archibald in 1771 purchased an additional 33 acres from the
Borden heirs.That parcel was wedged between his 230 acres and
Archibald's 200 acres to the N.E.)
1772 August 19, Augusta Co. Court Records, Order Book No. XIV,
shows business of the court was to "bind out" a three-year old
orphan by the name of William Woodridge to William "Reah".From
the Augusta County VA Parish Vestry Book, we learn the
responsibilities of William "Reagh" toward this orphan:"the
said Wm. Reagh shall cause him to be taught to read and write &
arithmetic as far as the Rule of Three and to learn him the
trade of a farmer and also to furnish and provide sufficient
meat, drink, lodging, and apparel fitting an apprentice ...and
shall give him the freedom dues that the law direct...."
1775, a Presbyterian minister was visiting the area and in his
journal, recorded his visit on the day after Christmas, with
William and Elizabeth Rhea, as follows:"Tuesday at Mr. Rhea's,
I passedpleasantly in rural enjoyment.He owns a very large
farm; it lies by itself three miles distant from any neighbor;
his range for stock is extensive and rich -- his stock is large
and valuable; hay in great quantities.Many cattle -- many
horses young and old -- several fine English fillies -- Mr. Reah
is a stiff Quo-He -- his wife is a chatty plain good-humored
body -- we supped and breakfasted on buttered Paste, of wheat
1775 Ausguta Co., VA Deed Book 21, 5-16.Leases and releases
dated and recorded in February and March, 1775. William, Jr.
purchased 300 acres (page 205-8), James, 125 acres (pages 9-13),
and John, 110 acres (pages 14-16). The deeds located the tracts
on Mill Creek, which was Elm Creek in the deed.
About eight years after relocating to Mill Creek, William deeded
tracts on Mill Creek to sons, James, William, and John.With
this action, William had awarded land to four of his six sons,
omitting only Alexander and Robert.
1801 William Rhea died on Mill Creek, in Bath Co. VA, on April
25, 1801, after having lived there at least thirty years.His
Will was dated January 3, 1801, recorded in Bath Co. Will Book
1, p. 214.One of the items in the will was a bequeath to a
grandson of a copy of "Whitefield's Sermons."In his Will, he
bequeathed only $1 to his son John, although he recognized the
remainder of his heirs equally.What appears to be an inequity
can be explained away because William was of the opinion that he
had provided for John through an earlier agreement.A lawsuit
between John and the other heirs finally resolved the matter.
1802 William's date of death is recorded in the family bible of
son Robert Rhea.
1802 Will of William Rhea of Bathdated Jan. 3, 1801 Wit:
Robert Bratton, Anne Dunlap, Henry Dill and John Dunlap -
Probated June 1802 courtExec: son RobertBeq:to beloved
wife Elisabeth "her body clos, two beds and beddingof cloes",
saddle and bridle, two of my horses, plows andtackling, 5
cows, 5 calves, all the sheep, 1/3 of the hogs,kitchen and
"cobert" furniture, 1/3 of my books, negro childSam and$70,
and for life Negro slave Tom and woman slave Dafneyto sons of
Archabel Rhea dec., Huey and John $1 each to son John $1 to son
Robert and Alexander 50 pounds and land on the Cowpasture
movable estate in fifths to the two grandson and son of Robert
and Alexander and daughter Ann Lockridge Will Book 1, page 238.
Inventory-William Rhea Submitted December 1802 court by James
Braton, James Kelso, Nathan Crawford and James Graham tableware,
kitchen utensils, 10 books, household furniture, farm implements
and tools, nine slaves (Samuel, Tom and Dafney listedby name),
cattle 32, hogs 23, sheep 9, geese 5, horses 12 including "a
sickly sorrel filley", money weights, one "pistle" and one
"swoard spoon mole", cooper's tools, shoemaker's tools, spinning
wheel, clothes, wagon, saddles and bridles.
1804 The Chancery Court suit which followed William's death (as
well as both wills for William and Elizabeth) was most revealing
as to family relationships.The suit was filed in Augusta
County onJuly 19, 1804, by John Rhea (youngest son) against
the other heirs of William Rhea's estate.In summary, John
deposed "In 1777 his brothers were about to leave their father,
William Rhea, in order to settle themselves.William (father)
applied to John (son) to stay with him.John was drafted for a
tour for a year, for which he hired a substitute.For this,
John was promised, by his father, a parcel of land."The suit
was filed in order for John to obtain a clear title to the land
that had been promised him by his father.