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Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Great Adventure

Bolliing Hall
It appears from the land grants and county records that from the very beginning large tracts of land went to prominent Englishmen who took their residence in Virginia.  Among the most important patentees in the early part of the century were George Menefie and Samuel Mathews.  Menefie obtained land grants for 8,465 acres of land and Mathews for about 9,000 acres. Also, these landowners probably held other lands, from purchase or mortgages. John Carter and his son of Lancaster County sued out patents to 18,570 acres. Nathaniel Bacon Sr. had 5,000 acres more or less. John Page had 7,000 acres. Richard Lee had 12,000 and William Byrd 15,000.  The Charles City County records burned, and we do not have those records, however, wealthy Englishmen and adventurers continued to swarm into Virginia.  Land was king due mostly to the great necessity of letting fields lie fallow for several years before replanting.  This practice caused a great demand for land. Also, as family seats were divided up at the death of the owner and families grew in size,  by about 1800 there simply was not enough land to divide up and plant. This is why you see so many veterans of the Revolutionary War being awarded land grants in North Carolina and Georgia, and moving on. The food was being grown mostly in southern States and exported.  Tobacco, as lucrative and convenient as it was for bartering, was a great diminisher of the soil.

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