Reading History

In your genealogy research, have you read the historical accounts?

Even though the experts recommend ‘knowing’ the history of a location, I have only skimmed county histories looking for my family name. I’ve never seriously read the history – until last night.

Last night, I read the book, The Travelling Church: An Account of the Baptist Exodus from Virginia to Kentucky in 1781 under the Leadership of Rev.Lewis Craig and Capt. William Ellis on Internet Archive. This book is about an ENTIRE church community packing up and leaving Spottsylvania County, Virginia for Logan’s Fort in Kentucky.

I didn’t find mention of the Crawford family in this book. I have clues suggesting my Crawford line came from Montgomery or Augusta Counties, Virginia – not Spottsylvania County. I have clues suggesting the Crawfords were Presbyterian – not Baptist.

Even though I did not find my family in this book, I learned a great deal by reading it.

  • Prior to the revolution, only ministers of the Episcopal (state church) were free to preach in Virginia. Pastors of other denominations, like Baptists and Presbyterians, were required to obtain a license. The group of Baptists that migrated to Kentucky were “Seperate Baptists”. They refused to obtain the license and some of them were jailed for preaching without a license.
  • Although they started out with wagons, they gave up those wagons at Fort Chiswell. The rest of the journey over the mountains was made on foot. Their supplies and young children were carried by pack horses or on the shoulders of the Negro slaves in the group.
  • Even though they planned to be in Kentucky before winter set in, they were delayed due to Indian activities along the trail. Thus, this ‘travelling church’ left Abingdon in November to follow the Wilderness Road across the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky
  • Salt was a precious commodity
  • They established Craig’s Station. Craig’s station is South of where Mary Crawford purchased land and West of  the Kennedy land where James Crawford settled. 

I’ve learned that the experts are correct. I need to read the histories. Thus, I’m searching for more digital copies about the history of early Kentucky. I’m also hoping our snowy weather will come to an end so I can plan a trip to the Midwest Genealogy Center where I can read to my hearts content.