Lewis County, Virginia Land Records

-- Another Project In Progress --

by Lars Byrne
It was the last day of May, 2007, at a Civil War Task Force meeting for the W.Va. Division of
Tourism being held at Hacker Valley Pioneer Descendants building just outside of Weston, West
Virginia when I stumbled on to more clues....

While staring into the abyss during some late agenda items, I noticed in the shelf across the
room a series of books I knew to be from the Lewis County Courthouse. In West Virginia,
originals of certain types of records need not necessarily be kept in the courthouse proper.
They may be maintained elsewhere, as was the case of the Lewis County, Virginia, Land Books.

Land books annually record the land owner and taxes due for property in a given year. The
record also includes some description(s) as well. So at the conclusion of the CW session, I
ventured over to the far wall and picked up the first two volumes.

And what to my wandering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer...  
well, almost. One must note that parts of nearby Braxton County were at one time part of Lewis
County. This is the case for Burnsville and Bulltown.

For the first year, 1817 (May 28), I found Paton Byrn, Uriah Byrn, and John B. Byrn were land
owners and tax payers (I assume they paid the taxes). I believe this was the first year for Lewis
County, Virginia. [I'll double check that later]. In 1818 the names were more what I expected,
namely that of Peyton Byrn, Uriah Byrn and John B. Byrn-- kinda. That pesky ol' "E" was
missing once more.

But let's not get too far ahead of the story. The information, basically, was:

      Peyton Byrn, 165 acres, Saltlick Creek, 26 miles SW of county seat
      Peyton Byrn, 100 acres, Little Kanawaha River, 24 miles SW of county seat
      Uriah Byrn, 400 acres, Saltlick Creek, 25 miles SW of county seat
      John B. Byrn, 66 acres, Saltlick, Creek, 20 miles SW of county seat.

Peyton and son, John B., were noted as residents of Lewis County and Uriah was listed as
residence unknown.

I was able to check the years through 1825 and found the following items of note:

      The names are spelled "Byrn". There is the 1817 inconsistency with Peyton/Payton. Peyton
and John B. are living in what is now Burnsville. I still think the date for moving from Preston
County to Lewis (Braxton) is around 1808, but only Harrison County records will verify that;

      Uriah will be noted in 1822 with a residence of Loudon County. Uriah also "sold" 120 acres
of his land to Peyton in 1819, but by 1821 the land was again listed under Uriah;

      Charles Byrne, of Monongalia [Preston?] County had taxable land listed in 1822? on Cedar
Creek, 35 miles SW of county seat [Weston]. We already know Charles' story from the W.E.R.
Byrne letter;

      Peyton Byrne heirs are listed in 1824 (he died that year) with the Salt Lick properties as well
as 16 acres on the West Fork River, 7 miles N of Weston having belonged to Thomas H. Bailey;

      Lewis County must have had a new clerk in 1824 as new forms are used in the Land Books.
ALL OF THE BYRNE NAMES HAVE THE "E" in the property listings;

      Also in 1824 is a listing for 150 acres on Millstone Creek and Copen Run, 22 miles S of
Weston. The directions match for Millstone Creek, but not for what is now known as Copen Run.
Millstone Creek is Bulltown and the land that should be located beside Moses Cunningham.
This establishes the date for the saltworks at Bulltown
if you assume it was not operated until
the property was purchased and operations began with the property purchase. There is other
material on the saltworks that I will post at another opportunity.

Of course, the Lewis County Deed Books [or Braxton] should clear up some of this when I get
to them at Weston if they still exist. I don't know if I can get the earlier information on Burnsville
from Harrison County. The Lewis or Braxton grantor indexes still may have info listed for this
property when the Byrne family sold it.

I will get back to Hacker Valley one day, hopefully sooner than later. But the search does
continue.

June 4, 2007