The citizen of Campbell is ever turning his eye toward the lowlands of Virginia when there is mention of Colonial and Revolutionary times, yet within the limits of his own county much transpired during both eras to make him proud that his ancestors did so much for American independence and the progress of civilization. The name of New London was frequently mentioned in the Colonial House of Burgesses, the Continental Congress, and in the halls of the Congress of the United States. Many important personages were frequently mentioned in the Colonial House of Burgesses, the Continental Congress and in the halls of Congress of the United States. Many important personages were frequent visitors in the homes and taverns at old New London before, during and after the war of independence. Many British prisoners of war were quartered at New London. Muskets, sabers and other implements of war were manufactured at New London for use by the American patriots. A laboratory for the making of gun powder was one of New London’s landmarks. Colonel Charles Lynch of Campbell was a familiar person on the streets of New London. He had charge of the lead mines at Wytheville and was ever busy, with his many other duties, in mining the lead and zinc ore, extracting the lead and forwarding it to New London to be made into bullets for use by the armies of Washington and Green and the Militia. Lead was not only important as a war material but was used to hold the panes of glass, then made only in England, in place in the homes of these people. No doubt Colonel Charles Lynch had charge of the soldiers who were ordered to visit the homes of the people throughout the Piedmont section and remove the lead from the windows to be used by the army in waging the war of independence.
Halifax County was formed from Lunenburg County two years before Bedford. Pittsylvania County was formed from Halifax thirteen years after Bedford. Eleven years after Lunenburg gave Bedford produced Charlotte, the beloved aunt of Campbell. Albemarle was formed in 1744, ten years before Bedford. Amherst County was formed from Albemarle in 1761, seven years after the formation of Bedford and twenty one years before the formation of Campbell.
The early maps of Virginia show the old road from Williamsburg to the wilderness of western Virginia. New London is one of the few places shown on these old maps. Lynchburg was yet to come into existence. There was a cross road in New London. The people from the northern part of the state came to New London over that old road, making their way to the south or west. Many were bound for Kentucky, then Virginia’s largest county. Considering that Kentucky, in 1787 the year the Constitution was framed – had a population of 50,000 of whom one-fifth were slaves, we may imagine how important New London was to the pioneer. There he replenished his larder, sought the militia for protection on his westward journey.
There is little reason to doubt that Daniel Boone frequently passed through and visited at New London with the Callaways’ and Col. Charles Lynch at Wytheville. While it may be said that Daniel Boone blazed his own trail and made his own roads yet it is reasonable to suppose that he followed the old trail from Kentucky through New London on to Richmond.
The student recalls the capture of Daniel Boone’s daughter and the two daughters of a Callaway by the Indians in Kentucky and how the girls tore off strips of their dresses and dropped them along the trail in order that their parents might come to their rescue. No doubt these Callaway girls were born in New London.
New London was not unknown to George Rogers Clark, that indomnitable and courageous little redheaded warrior son of Anne Clark of Albemarle County, who with his little band of one hundred and fifty men set out on May 12, 1778 to wage a war against the British and Indians in the West. No doubt some of that little band of 150 patriots came from Bedford. Clark with his resourcefulness, small means and rare diplomacy with the Indians fought the good fight in the West, without hope of assistance, and held back the British, the Tomahawk and scalping knife from the Eastern army. In 1777 Clark met with Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Wythe, and George Mason and formulated the plans for his expedition. With his band, he marched through the wilderness to Pittsburg (Fort Pitt) and from there they floated down the Ohio to a Somt (Summit?) near and made their way to Fort Harrod, and then struck off again in the wilderness, and on July 4, 1778 captured Kaskaskia on the Mississippi, and by December of that year he had captured Fort Vincennes on the Wabash River. It is clear that had Clark not captured these forts and driven out the British in the country east of the Mississippi before the surrender of Cornwallis and the close of the war of independence the boundry of the United States may well have been established along the eastern and southern boundry of the Ohio River when a treaty was made with the British.
The following message from Governor Patrick Henry to the Honorable Speaker of the House of Delegates of Virginia on May 18, 1779, shows some interesting facts concerning Clark’s expedition and the imprisonment of the British, captured by Clark and his little band, at New London:
“I have enclosed a letter for the perusal of the assembly, from Col. Clark at the Illinois. This letter among other things inform me of an expedition which he had planned and was determined to execute, in order to recover Fort St. Vincent, which had been formerly taken from the British Troops, and garrisoned by those under the Colonel’s command. This enterprise has succeeded to our utmost wishes, for the garrison commanded by Henry Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor of Detroit and consisting of British Regulars and a number of volunteers were made prisoners of war. Col. Clark has sent the Governor with several officers and privates under proper guard, who have by this time arrived at New London, in the County of Bedford. Proper measures will be adopted by the executives, for their confinement and security. Unfortunately, the letters from Col. Clark containing no doubt particular accounts of this affair were in the possession of an express, who was murdered by a party of Indians on his way through Kentucky to this place, as I am informed were destroyed. As the facts which I have mentioned, are sufficiently authenticated, I thought it material that they should be communicated to the Assembly. I have the Honor to be, Sir, Yr. Most Obedient Servant.” (See 1 Cal. Va. State Papers 319).
Prisoners of war were often marched through New London, some were quartered there, and others were moved on the other prison camps. In a letter from Edmund Hyrne, dated New London, Va. February 14, 1781, addressed to Governor Thomas Jefferson; he says that he was in charge of a number of prisoners captured by General Green that he was marching them through Henry and Bedford Counties to Staunton; that some of them escaped and were concealed in the county. He request the Governor to make arrangements to relieve him of his prisoners. (See 1 Cal. Va. State Papers 514)
New London was an important militia post for protection of the people from the Indians long before the war of independence. Its strategic location, on a plateau, made it the logical place for the manufacture and storing of arms, and gathering of people for protection against the Indian.
In 1757 there were large bands of marauding Cherokees and Catawbas constantly robbing, assaulting and annoying the settlers, and sometimes murdering them and carrying off women and children. Bedford citizens petitioned to be allowed to kill them (North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. 2 p 619. The pioneer settlers were prohibited from shooting or killing the Indian for fear that it would start an uprising among them.
Matthew Talbot, Presiding Justice of Bedford and Clement Read, presiding Justice of Halifax held and general court at Mayes Ferry ( now Booker’s Ferry ) in Halifax County and took the testimony of many people, among whom were Henry Snow, Richard Thompson, John Wheeler, William Vardeman Sr., and his son of the same name, Robert Jones, Jr., Wm. Morgan, Pinkentham Hawkins, Thomas Overstreet, George Thomas, George Watts, Charles Bright, Samuel Brown and John Craig. One part of Captain Haristone’s company of Bedford testified that “they went in search of them” and found them within a few miles of Bedford Court House. John Hall, Sr. was killed in one of the skirmishes. Others who testified were John Wallocks, Phillip Preston, Patrick Johnson, George Adams, Robert Pepper, John Allcorn and James Moore.
Among the old records extant there may be found today, many interesting and enlightening letters and papers from officers and men stationed in and around old New London.
On May 13, 1781 Captain Nathan Reid at New London writes to a fellow officer in Richmond:
“Dear Col.. Since my arrival at this place I have had a very easy time of it, not more than seven soldiers has been delivered to me, and two of them deserted. They tell me that Arnold and his crew burnt all the Hutts at Chesterfield Courthouse, and I am afraid has took my portmantem and cloaths, which I left at Mr. Balls. If they are gone I wish the first man that puts any of them on may break his neck. I wish I know’d whether the enemy was at Mr. Ball’s or not. Captain Lovely went through this town to the Sweet Springs. He was very unwell at the time. I expect he is dead as I have heard nothing of him since he went away.” (2 Cal. Va. State Papers 93).
June 13, 1781 Major John Pryor, Commissioner General of Military Stores, while at Charlottesville, writes Colonel Davies at Richmond, and refers to a large number of riflemen to join the Marquis (Lafayette), the necessity for increase of supply of “loose ammunition”, the fact of having sent out express 40 miles to the southwest mountains to take lead from windows, the stoppage of laboratories “that at Bedford is of the first importance, as the operations of General Greene entirely depend upon its supplies”, and that since the arrest of Captain Irish it (laboratory at New London) had been discontinued, but says that he has sent Captain Grear to New London to undertake its operation. He mentions the importance of sending to the lead mines at Wytheville for lead. He refers to “Seven Islands” as having been destroyed by the enemy on “Saturday Last”. Says he has sent 20 men to Buckingham for find powder if any is left. Says the enemy is then at Elk Island with some of their light troops about Bird Ordy (sp?) Informs the Colonel the American troops lay at Mr. Allegries. “ I think we shall touch them up tomorrow. Pray dispatch the powder and lead.” (2 Cal. VSP. 156).
June 17, 1781. Major John Pryor had arrived at New London to establish the laboratory. Thomas Smith, District Commissary of Military Stores at New London writes to Colonel Davis at Staunton, informing him of the arrival of Major Pryor and asks that Col. Davies supply tin, cartridge paper and other military stores from Staunton. (2 Cal. VSP. 166).
July1, 1781, Thomas Smith at New London writes Colonel Davies at Staunton, expressing great concern at the situation of “our public matters”, and regrets that the Continental and State affairs have blended at to involve both in common difficulties, but that he has, however, removed all stores from Prince Edward Courthouse. (2 Cal. VSP. 195)
July 15, 1781 we find Major John Pryor back at Charlottesville writing to Colonel William Davies at Richmond, thanking Colonel Davies for approval of his conduct. He laments the endeavors of the Quarter Master not crowned with success. Says he has followed the instructions of Baron de Steuben, mentions artificers idle for want of material., “men threatening to leave”, requests that Captain Bohannon come for these men; is informed by Mr. David Ross the enemy is at Amelia Courthouse. Says that he has sent officer to New London to have the “whole of the military stores removed over the Ridge from that place.” He scores Major Claiborne for not furnishing wagons to remove stores from Charlottesville. Marquis (Lafayette) orders him to send 300 stand of arms to General Lawson. He says further: “ I am sick of the whole world.” (2 Cal. VSP. 221).
Colonel William Davies writes Colonel William Preston in July 1781 and refers to the posts at New London and Staunton as a place for imprisonment of deserters. The deserter was given six months more army service. (28 Virginia Magazine of History 112).
July 20, 1781 Captain Bohannon writes from Irving’s Store to Colonel William Davies at Richmond, stating that he had removed the stores “at New London twenty miles farther up the country being apprehensive the enemy coming to that post.” (2 Cal. VSP. 231).
July 22, 1781, Bourne Price at New London writes to Major John Pryor, stating that having heard the enemy had returned down the county determined to remain at New London and save the expense of moving stores in hired wagons; stores not damaged by weather; none lost except a few sword; about forty pounds of powder, owing to barrels giving way when removed. He wished to be informed if laboratory is to be moved and where. Says men will certainly go off if money is not furnished them as they have none and “can get no credit in this part of the world”, Captain Grice is not able to “to buy himself a chicken.” (2 Cal. VSP. 235).
July 28, 1781 Bourne Price at New London writes Colonel Davies at Richmond and says that he will leave as many arms put in order for the Militia to march, as he can, but is in great want of musket cartridge paper. He says Major Mazurat has called on him for all fixed ammunition he has, to be forwarded to Halifax Old Courthouse, amounting to ten or twelve wagon loads. He desires to be informed in regard to rumored removal of the laboratory over the mountains, which place has been mentioned by Colonel Callaway, although all the houses would have to be built.” (2 Cal VSP 264).
June 25 and Sept 29, 1781, Captain Christopher Irvine certifies that he had received for public use at New London from John Thompson 21 bushels of oats, and 475 pounds of beef. Many other inhabitants of that region were constantly furnishing supplies for the army on credit. Captain Irvine was the District Commissary agent at that time and it was his duty to forage the country for supplies.
August 8, 1781 Colonel William Davies writes the Governor that he contemplates organizing a corp of artificers, such as gunsmiths, gunstockers, blacksmiths, strikers, nailers, carpenters, saddlers and harnessmakers, wheelwrights, shoemakers, tailors, and placing them between New London and the River (evidently the James), where provisions can be secured with more ease and the stores readily sent down the river, besides the advantage to be derived from the neighborhood of Mr. Ross’ iron works. (2, Cal VSP 304).
August 10, 1781 Colonel James Callaway writes from New London to Colonel William Davies at Richmond, stating that he had discharged the militia ordered to the South in as much as those of adjoining counties had been discharged, but says that he had ordered them to hold themselves in readiness to march at a moments notice. He thanks Colonel Davies for the compliment paid to the militia of Bedford, and assures him that if the enemy ever makes it necessary, the will entitle themselves to credit. (2 Dal. VSP 312).
August 10, 1781 Captain Bourne Price at New London writes Colonel William Davies at Richmond, stating that before he had removed any stores from New London to Crow’s Ferry the order was countermanded by Major John Pryor; that the laboratory is idle for want of material; that the “tinsmen” time is out: that Mr. Clark, the Armorer’s time is also out; that it is impossible to keep workmen without money; that should the militia march from Bedford he will issue all the arms fit for service: that he has 500 arms on hand, most of which wants stocks and locks; that the guns and tools are branded “U. S., and that Mr. Anderson has sent to him for all the tools in his hand as State Property, but that orders must come from Major Pryor or Colonel Smith before he will turn them over, the credit of the state is so bad he cannot get a thing done without personally being responsible- “they take their wagons to pieces, cut the gear, and ride the horses”-, and to impress a horse is to bring “a fight on my hands.” Implores the Colonel for some clothing for a few Continental soldiers who have not drawn any for three years “it is discouraging to the men to hear that money is furnished at every other post, but they get none.” (2 Cal. VSP, 310).
On August 11, 1781, Captain Henry Greer at New London writes to William Davies Commissioner of War at Richmond, a most interesting letter as follows:
“Sir: As my situation in this place is so bad, I hope you will excuse me in taking the liberty to inform you me and my men is Almost neaked for want of clothing and this post without any money which render it disagreeable as we cannot purchase. But as for the men if it is agreeable to you, they can be supplied by Coln. Callaway. I can assure you they are almost neaked and constantly mermering for their pay as they have not received any this eight months. As for me I met with a Great loss at whear Capt. Bohannon and me carried on the laboratory below Charlottesville. But I strove to save all the stores which would be affected had not the barron left the point of fork for I got two hundred barrels powder in canoes in order to get protection under the barron. But he was gone the enemy hearing of me fowled and took all that but what I got hid in the woods. Was all saved which I went back and sent it all to the Barracks, but there was two wagon load of very valliable stores left by me at Buck Island Creek, such as bridles, axes, spurs, camp kettles which came from Fredericksburg. I believe if Captain Bohannon has not forgot he may have to then the man’s name is Lovly. I hope you will please to consider my situation and order as you think best. I am your obt. himble svt.” ( 2 Cal. VSP, 321) This was certainly a sad day for poor Henry Greer. No doubt he had returned to his home in New London. Bedford County records show that one Henry Greer married Susanna Hatcher, September 24, 1792, daughter of Benjamin Hatcher. Samuel Hatcher was surety on the marriage bond. Other marriage records of that family in Bedford are: James Greer married Anne Low, widow, April 28, 1767, Parmenas Haynes, surety. Martin Greer married Mary Wright, February 28, 1788, Joseph Wright, surety. The Greers were patriots and hospitable even in times of great sorrow and distress, for witness a letter written from New London on August 18, 1781 from Captain Nathan Reid to Colonel William Davies at Richmond: (An old custom around N. L. A. – The Irish Wake C. A. Thompson) “ Nothing of moment has transpired of later, but that Mr. Greer’s wife is dead, and I had the pleasure of drinking part of two bowls of excellent punch. The soldiers come in very slowly, and the Laboratory men idle for want of cartridge paper.” In all probability that “excellent punch” partaken of by Captain Reid was made from some of the “good old corn” made by John Thompson at his still on Buffalo Creek operated in connection with his flower and corn mill. Further circumstantial evidence that the “Excellent Punch may have been made from John Thompson’s “Good Whiskey”, (“Old Thompson” is still on the market) is a receipt signed by Christopher Irvine, District Commissary, and witnessed by Caleb Tate, acknowledging on July 18, 1781, shortly before the “wake” at Mr. Greer’s home, which reads: “I hereby certify that I have recvd, of Mr. John Thompson twenty five gallons of good Whiskey for Public Use. Given under my hand-25 Gall: Whiskey at 4/5. (2 Cal, VSP 344; John Thompson’s Will. Campbell County, 1792, Book 1 pp 207 at seq. and Revolutionary Claims of Bedford County, Va., for supplies furnished army). (Italics supplied). John Thompson was evidently a frugal man for at the time of his death he owned approximately 3000 acres of land in and near New London besides a large farm on the head waters of the Appomatox River in Prince Edward and Buckingham counties. He held Colonel John Callaway’s bond for 1500 pounds, owned 14 grown slaves and a number of their “increase”. He had settled near the town of New London early in the eighteenth century, fought the Indians along with other settlers, established a mill on Buffalo Creek, and operated a still and made good whiskey, which was then a very important thing in the life of the soldier and the frontiersman both of whom suffered the rigors of the winters because of lack of housing and shelter, and proper clothing. Surviving Thompson in 1792 were his wife, Margaret, and children; John; Andrew; Matthew, then living on his Prince Edward and Buckingham County farm; Elizabeth Gill; Jane Mitchell; Ester Phair; and the children of his deceased son William, among whom was the grandson of David. All of his other children had married at the time of his death and had children. In 1761 he had a grant of 360 acres of land on Dreaming and Tomahawk Creeks adjoining Callaway’s land. (Patent Book 34 p. 913).
There seems to have been considerable rivalry and discontent over the ownership of arms and ammunition at New London. September 14, 1781 Captain Bourne Price, Deputy Commissary Military Stores at New London, writes Colonel Davies at Richmond as follows:
“Sir: In your last letter you wished for an explanation of the arms at this post. I assure you, so far as it was in my power (I) have done it. As to our Smiths branding the arms U.S., get your information where you may, it is without foundation, except when the muskets were branded on the barrel and not on the lock, in that case they were branded on the plate of the lock. I should consider myself a rascal in attempting to defraud our State out of a single gun. You must from every circumstance believe I have no interest in keeping a single article of the state’s from you. I have delivered up my charge of the stores to Capt. Irish. I have informed him of what I know of the matter, who will be with you in a few days with a return of the whole of the stores at this post. The bearer Mr. Smyth is a Gent. worth your notice &c. He has been of infinet advantage to this post by furnishing necessarys for the Business that could not by other means have been procured. I am with respect &c.” (2 Cal. VSP, 431)
September 17, 1781 Captain A. Bohannon writes Col. Davies, approving the mode for transporting the cartridge boxes from Maryland, especially as he can ill afford to spare Mr. Frazer who is collecting the cannon balls and shells. Says he has ordered the militia stores at New London and Staunton to be collected at Irvin’s Store, to be sent hence to Westhem: that he has sent Mr. Jordan to New London to take inventory of Arms at that place but found Captain Irish had “claimed them as Continental Arms and had put some of them in repair and sent them to General Green’s camp.” (2 Cal. VSP, 453).
It is interesting to learn that General Greene relied upon arms and other military supplies from New London. But at the time Captain Irish sent the supplies to General Greene’s camp, the General had already met Lord Cornwallis, on March 15, 1781, at Guildford Courthouse, and had been defeated, yet he had waged such a severe battle against Cornwallis that the latter failed to see the advantage of following up the General but moved his army on to Wilmington, N. C., thence into Virginia and Yorktown where he was defeated by the forces of Lafayette Courthouse. Captain James Tate, Virginia Riflemen, was mortally wounded in the first skirmish with the British. The name Tate is familiar in Bedford and Campbell. Captain Griffin Fauntleroy, 1st Virginia Light Dragoons, was also mortally wounded at Guildford. Captain Fauntleroy was born September 28, 1754 in Northumberland County. He was a direct descendant of Colonel Moore Fauntleroy, who was born in England in 1610 and came to America in early manhood and established “Naylor’s Hole” in Richmond County on the Rappahannock above “Cat Point Neck”, about 1650, where he purchased a large tract of land, conveyed to him by a written conveyance, dated April 4, 1651, and signed by Accopatough, “the true and right born King of the Indians of Rappahanoc Town and Towns” which transfer was confirmed by Act I the grande assemblie at James Citie Virginia, the 23rd of March 1660-1. While a member of the grande assemblie Colonel Moore Fauntleroy absented himself on March 1, 1658-59 and was suspended, but on the 8thfollowing he appeared, acknowledged his error and was reinstated. Captain Griffin Fauntleroy’s home was probably at “Fauntleroy’s” in Cherry Point Neck on the Potomac river in Northumberland county which was established by Colonel William Fauntleroy, son and heir of Colonel Moore Fauntleroy, and who married Katherine Griffin, a daughter of Colonel Samuel Griffin of Northumberland county. The Fauntleroy family of “Avoca” on highway route 29, just north of the city of Altivista; are descendants of Colonel Moore Fauntleroy’s line. On the maternal side they are also related to Colonel Charles Lynch, who lived at the present site of “Avoca” and often held court at his home, and whose greatest pastime was to punish the Tories and make them cry out “liberty.”