In 1750, the New River Valley was the "West". Thousands of land and fortune seekers would follow the creeks and springs from the east, ford the River and follow the sun. These settlers and pioneers in the New River Valley of Virginia would begin the epoch of western settlement in the new world which would not end until the last years of the nineteenth century.
The River collects its headwaters from the streams and creeks in the high Blue Ridge elevations of Ashe and Alleghaney Counties, NC. After wandering easterly through these counties, it starts its northern course and enters Virginia in Grayson County, southeast of Mouth Of Wilson. After a short easterly course by the mountains in Grayson County, it reenters NC for a short distance and then proceeds north near Independence, VA.
The Virginia passage transverses Grayson, Carroll, Wythe, Pulaski, Montgomery, and Giles Counties before entering West Virginia near Glen Lyn, VA. This journey, at near 2000 feet of elevation, cuts in and around the regions mountains, collecting their tributary headwaters and creeks, passing by occasional flatlands and bottoms.
The earliest documented European exploration of the New River and its valley was a 1671 expedition sponsored by Abraham Wood, Commander of Fort Henry at the falls of the Appomattox River of Virginia (Petersburg area) . The cartographer for the expedition named it Wood's River the adoption of "New" is unclear). Notable expeditions were made by Henry Batte, Thomas Batte, John Sailing and Dr. Thomas Walker between 1671 and 1748.
It was opportunist and adventurer, Colonel James Patton that obtained the original grant , The Wood's River Grant, in 1745 and commenced surveying and the solicitation for settlers. There had been numerous claims in the area, but it is is now generally believed that the original settlement was in 1748 near present day Blacksburg and Drapers Meadows by George Draper, John, Thomas and William Ingles. A competing grant was made to Dr. Thomas Walker and others as the Loyal Company of Virginia in 1749.
In the intervening years, the French, to protect its exploration interests from current Canada, and the Cherokee and Shawnee tribes, became more alarmed regarding the English intrusion of these hunting grounds. This would result in numerous skirmishes and bloodshed in the next few years which would retard settlement.
With the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, warrants for military service, and adventuresome nature of the first pioneers, the movement West started its push over the Blue Ridge barrier. The headwaters, creeks, and flatlands of the New River Valley would become the sites of settlements, recorded boundaries in land grants and deeds and the basin of sweat, tears and blood of the Scotch-Irish and German settlers as they adapted to this harsh, but beautiful landscape.
New River Valley Guide
Current news of the Valley from the Roanoke Times
Blacksburg Electronic Village
Links to the Blacksburg Area
Galax, VA Online
Links to the Galax Area
Info regarding the University including outreach and library.
Town of Radford, VA
Links to the Radford Area
Wyhte County Info
More links to Wythe County Wytheville Info
Going to Wytheville, check these links for food, lodging, etc.
Bluefield Daily TelegraphA local area newspaper
New River Valley Genealogy Pages
Bland County Genealogy
Part of the USGenweb project; notes and facts regarding Bland County; enter your Bland County Query at this location.
Carroll County Genealogy
Part of the USGenweb project; notes and facts regarding Carroll County; enter your Carroll County Query at this location.
Giles County Genealogy
Part of the USGenweb project; notes and facts regarding Giles County; enter your Giles County Query at this location.
Montgomery County Genealogy
Part of the USGenweb project; notes and facts regarding Montgomery County; enter your Montgomery County Query at this location.
Pulaski County Genealogy
Part of the USGenweb project; notes and facts regarding Pulaski County; enter your Pulaski County Query at this location.
Tazewell County Genealogy
Part of the USGenweb project; notes and facts regarding Tazewell County; enter your Tazewell County Query at this location.
Wythe County Genealogy
Part of the USGenweb project; notes and facts regarding Wythe County; enter your Wythe County Query at this location.
Mercer Co., WV
Part of the USGenweb project; notes and facts regarding Mercer County; enter your Mercer County Query at this location.
Wags' Home Page