Oct. 25, 1781 Thomas Anderson Deputy Commissary, writes Col Davis seeking post of director of a magazine of provisions to be established in Buckingham County. He says the houses at Irving’s will do for such purpose since they are convenient to all parts of the river; to Charlottesville Barracks, Staunton, New London and the Southern Army, “there being direct roads to all these places”; and that there is abundance of timber for making barrels for salted meats; that canoes should be built and kept there to transport stores down the river, and to collect forage, of which there is abundance; that the lately captured prisoners if lodged at Charlottesville or Staunton could be supplied from Irving’s store; that he is anxious to secure the position “as the commissioner for the county has no such business of riding” and he cannot stand it. (2 Cal. VSP, 566).
November 6, 1781, Colonel C. Febinger writes Co. Davies from Cumberland Courthouse and among other things says: “ Reid, I should suppose is well fixed at New London and Conway with him.” He complains of his own men having small pox, and asks for molasses, vinegar and rice; he says his men need clothes, and that they are hungry and naked. (2 Cal. VSP, 584).
No doubt the people were pretty well worn out with war after the surrender of Cornwallis to Washington at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, if we are to take literally the expressions of Colonel Nathan Reid who writes to Col. Davies at Richmond on December 13, 1781. He says:
“I am here yet, and here likely to be, however I don’t grumble about that, but I think it rather tight on those folks who have no money nor cloaths. I would be much obliged to you for your opinion in regard to a Virginia officer that is, whether he had better continue in the army until he is broke for going on parade without a coat, or for him to retire while times is good. Leautenant Rankin who was ordered to this place to recruit has not enlisted anybody, nor I am sure will not, as the people would not turn around three times for ten thousand dollars.” (2 Cal. VSP, 657.)
New London was not the only place where the people were complaining of the lack of pay for supplying the army. The following letter from Captain E. Read, Virginia Light Dragoons in quarters near Winchester, Virginia, on December 27, 1781 to Col. Davies at Richmond:
“I received your (letter?) by Colonel Holmes, dates 17th and 18th instant, they will be immediately complied with and shall leive one of the smallest troops of 22 men, with their officers, the remaining two troops of 61 men I should have marched this very day to New London in Bedford County agreeable to your order of the third. But Colonel Homes informs me that the Acts of the Assembly for impressing provisions, forage &c is replaced and the County Commissioners and Commissarys are discontinued. Therefore I am at a loss how to subsist the Coar (Corp.?) to that place. The repeal of that act has had such an affect on the mindes of the people heare already, that they will not part with anything they have without cash and were the British prisoners not heare, I think there would be scarely a suffitiancy to support our Coar of Horeses throught the winter. The Dragoons weights on you for instructions, how I am to proceed to furnish Coar to Bedford. We shall be in readiness to march amediatly on his return. I must beg leave to remind you of clothing necessary for this Coar, they are getting extreme naked, particular for Breeches and Regimentals.” (2 Cal. VSP, 672).
Captain Edward Reed appears to have had a hard time getting started for New London. On January 5, 1782, he writes Governor Harrison from Winchester and among other things says:
“When I left Richmond I had orders to march Major Nelson’s corps of calvary to New London, but I found them ill with inoculation and small pox.” (3 Cal. VSP, 8).
On February 5, 1782 Captain Edward Read arrives in New London with the troops from Winchester. On the 7th he writes Governor Harrison as follows:
“Men marched from Winchester to New London, arrived two days ago.” He then says that he found nothing to feed the men and horses and but for some “principal gentlemen” they should have starved. He says that extreme nakedness and low accutrements makes it impossible to take the field if called upon; and that he has no power to impress. (3 Cal. VSP, 55.
March 2, 1782 Colonel John Pryor at New London reports to Col Davies the progress he has made in collecting and making returns of Public arms and other military stores; that he has embraced those of Washington County with Colonel Campbell (Arthur Campbell ), also those at New London. 3 Cal. VSP, 82
March 29, 1782 Captain John Pryor at New London reporting to Colonel Davies in the laboratory at Richmond about to be moved to New London that it is important that the men be instructed in the “different composition for fixed ammunition.” He says that Captain Green and Captain Allen are at Richmond and that Green says he was never paid for his service and is willing to take “one piece of Irish linen “for former service.” (3 Cal. VSP, 114).
Colonel William Preston advises Colonel Davies on April 5, 1782 to send clothes to New London for the Montgomery county drafted men.” 28 Va. Mag. of History 115).
July 23, 1782 Captain Bourne Price at New London writes Captain John Pryor that he had received his order for five hundred weights of powder to be sent to Colonel Campbell (Colonel Arthur Campbell) Adjutant of Virginia State Militia in western counties of Virginia, and second cousin of General William Campbell) but that Captain Irish forbade the order being complied with until Captain Pryor turned over to him the Continental stores. He says he has no musket powder but some cannon powder and militia arms on hand. (3 Cal. VSP, 227).
Those “principal gentlemen” at New London referred to by Captain Edward Read in his letter to Governor Harrison appear to have inconvenienced themselves in feeding Read’s men and horses for we find on May 28, 1782, Colonel Harry Innes somewhere in Bedford County writing the Hon. Beverly Randolph requesting his aid in behalf of himself and many other citizens who, when Captain Edmund Reads “State Corps of Horse” came to New London in February last and suffering severely for want of supplies, furnished provisions to their quarter master with the understanding that such supplies should be accredited to their share of “Specific Tax”. He says the County Commissioners are disposed to allow the credit, but that the Court of Claims will not entertain the case? He therefore appeals to the Governor and council. (3 Cal. VSP, 178).
On July 21, 1782 we find Harry Jones, somewhere in Bedford County, reporting to Colonel Davies on the “issues” in his district for the year. He says the business delayed “by the indisposition of Mrs. Jones who has been lingering for six months past, and how long this be the case God only knows.” He says he must resign unless a “favorable change takes place to prevent ye state from being injured and maintain my character as a man of business.” He further says that the cost of transporting specifics to the contractor at the Point of Forks is more than they are worth, thinks some of them might be disposed of to the Continental Contractor at New London, which is better than transporting them upwards of 100 miles; that there is no money in the hands of the people with which to purchase anything at public sale. (3 Cal VSP, 226).
September 20, 1782 Harry Innes, District Commissioner, writing to Col. Davies, from somewhere in Bedford County, asks to be informed whether the powder and lead manufactured at the Laboratory at New London is State or Continental, both Captain Irish and Captain Bourne Price had failed to give him the information. He says that Colonel Carrington on his way to the Southern Army promised punctual payment for the provisions furnished to Continental posts at New London and Peytonsburg (first county seat of Pittsylvania County) from January 1, 1782 to January 1, 1783.
On May 6, 1783 Colonel Arthur Campbell, Adjutant State Militia for Western Virginia, writes to Hon. Samuel Matthews desiring information concerning ammunition ordered sent to Washington County, stating that the Commissioner of War had directed him to receive 500 pounds of powder from New London to replace powder “lent out of the county magaxine” for Colonel Martin, but not a single pound had been received. He also complains that out of 1000 pounds of lead ordered by the Executive to be delivered to him only 300 pounds had been received by him from Colonel Lynch (Colonel Charles Lynch in charge of the lead mines at Wytheville, Virginia), and owing to that fact their was want of arms during the late “alarms”.
On December 11, 1783, we find Captain John Preston at the Point of Forks writing to Col. Thomas Meriwether, stating that he had inspected the Posts where Colonel Lynch had reported the State’s lead to be lodged; that at New London he found 63 pigs weighing 9, 500 pounds; at Mr. Ross’ Iron Works in Bedford 20 piggs weight 3000; none at Edward Winston’s “although Colonel Lynch reported 4,751 pounds stored there”; that he had arranged for the stocks at New London removed to Mr. Winston’s “three miles below Lynch’s Ferry on the river and thence to that post.” (3 Cal VSP. 547).
May 27, 1788 we find the expense account of Colonel William Fleming, who was born in Scotland February 29, 1729, came to Virginia in 1755 and settled at Staunton, Va., showing that he stopped at Captain Austin’s in New London and paid 2 shillings 6 pence for his keep; the account also shows he spent two shillings at Hook’s Old Store, which was either in or near New London. Hook was evidently the same person who sued Venable whom Patrick Henry so ably defended in his great “Beef Speech” in the old District Court at New London.
On February 8, 1782, the Justices of Campbell’s Court meeting at the home of Micajah Terrell recommended William Jordan, John Caffery and others be commissioned by the Governor, as captains of the militia. The John Caffery mentioned married Mary Donelson, eldest daughter of Col. John Donelson. Her youngest sister Rachel, married Lewis Robards of Virginia. Rachel subsequently married Andrew Jackson. Colonel John Donelson had 11 children. He married Rachel Stockley of Accomac County, Virginia. He was born April 7, 1725 in Somerset County, Maryland. His father was an importer. His grandfather on his maternal side was an Episcopal minister. Colonel Donelson moved to Pittsylvania County and his speculation there in iron works failed in 1778, and having heard glaring reports from the “Long Hunters” about the Cumberland Valley decided to go westward to recoup his fortune. It is said that Rachel at the age of 13 when she left Pittsylvania was as tanned as an Indian and agile as a boy. The Robards from Louisa County, Virginia had stopped near Harrodburg and built a large stone house. Rachel stayed with them while her father went ahead. Before she was 18 she married Lewis Robards. Peyton Short who lived at the Robard’s home was attentive to Rachel. Robards became jealous and notified the Donelson’s who had established a block house ten miles from Nashville to send for Rachel. After Rachel left Robards admitted his mistake and sent John Overton a lawyer and relative to intercede for her return. Andrew Jackson, Solicitor General for all of North Carolina’s Western County Rowan, which then included Tennessee, was then living with the Donelson’s more as a protection to the family against the Indians than as a boarder, (Colonel Donelson only recently having been killed by the Indians) fell in love with Rachel, a mutual love that lasted until the end of their days- and secured her divorce and married her.
No doubt Colonel Donelson and his little daughter Rachel, were frequent visitors at old New London, and in the homes of Colonel Lynch, Mr. David Ross, and Colonel Callaway. Rachel Donelson was at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, when the intrepid George Rogers Clark, the redheaded son of Ann Clark, and his little band of 150 Virginians, stopped at Old Fort Harrod and planned the campaign that saved the Northwest Territory for the Nation. Clark was a bachelor and was probably much infatuated by the beautiful Rachel, who was yet too young to marry, being only 14 at the time, and Clark had more problems on his mind- restoring the Northwest Territory to Virginia – yet when he reached St. Louis he did fall in love with Mile Terese Leyba, daughter of the Spanish Commandant. His defeat of the British at Vincennes, Indiana, restored to Virginia that great expanse of country which now comprises the great states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and eastern Minnesota, as well as making it possible for many who had gone into Virginia’s largest county – Kentucky – to return to their homes without fear of the Indian who was allied with the British. Later Clark’s brother William blazed the Oregon trail with Captain Merriwether Lewis of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Clark boys home site was on a creek between Jefferson’s Monticello and the present city of Charlottesville.
March 15, 1784 John Reid, who had been sent to deal with the Chicasaw Indians at Great Island on the Holston River stopped at New London.
February 20, 1785, Col. John Peyton, while on a trip of inspection to the lead mines at Wytheville, writes Colonel Thomas Meriwether at Richmond, stating that the public Negroes at the lead mines had been taken away, except Fielding, who escaped and deserted the mines, one wench and three children left- too cold for the children; that he had left for Colonel Lynch’s Ferry (Lynchburg); that he had left 74,000 pounds of public lead at the mines in care of Mr. Robert Saunders “who lives at that place”. Mr. McGaffoc (McGavock) ordered to take charge but too much expense to move it to McGaffoc’s place; that he could not examine the Continental arms and powder at New London, but that the same had been much examined by Mr. William Price. (4 Cal. VSP, 12)
Point of Fork, Feb. 26, 1790 Capt. E. Langham to Beverly Randolph, advising that he had examined the U.S. powder at New London and that it was not as good as that furnished the Indians by the State; that there was a considerable quantity of muskets (U.S.) at New London in need of repair; 3000 pounds of powder at New London going to waste. He suggest that the Secretary of War be notified.
April 15, 1790, Secretary of War, Henry Knox, writes Governor Randolph thanking him for Capt. Langham’s report, and says Congress too busy to make disposition. Powder was sent to Richmond. (5 Cal. VSP, 139)
November 26, 1791 “On the road twelve miles east of New London” John Rogers writes Governor Henry Lee, telling him that while crossing Spanish America by land and passing in Kentucky on November 15, 1791 of the defeat of the army of General St. Clair, and that Ft. Jefferson fell. He says the Chicasaws gave aid to the Americans; that General Butler was tomahawked by the Indians in his tent while doctor was treating wounds. (5 Cal VSP, 399)
June 7, 1788 Thomas Holt at New London writes Colonel Arthur Campbell that he has sent him nine quarter and two half barrels State powder from New London.
August 3, 1792, Governor Henry Lee, while stopping at New London, writes to Hon. Gen. Wood at Richmond, directing him to send his private letters to New London in care of Mr. James Steptoe. “Jimmy” Steptoe was Clerk of the District Court at New London) “where he shall meet them on his return”; and says that he has heard nothing from the southwest or northwest. ( 5 Cal. VSP, 650).
February 3, 1792, James Hawkins, Captain of the Rangers writes the Governor from Fincastle, Va. As follows:
“My company will be in want of about thirty musquits with the necessary accuretremens. If it will not be improper would thank you for an order on New London magazine for the same, and as much ammunition as you may think sufficient. If the time and place of our endzvou is fixed, would be glad to be informed thereof. I have the Honor to be Sir, with much respect, Your very himble servant.” (6 Cal. VSP, 281).
October 19, 1793. Payroll of militia over public arsenal at New London from September 22, 1793 to October 19, 1793, shows Lieutenant Benjamin Stith, 4 sgts, 2 corporals, (42?) privates. ( 6 Cal. VSP, 603-0).
September 1, 1794. Colonel Edward Carrington writes to Lieutenant Gov. Wood informing him that the expedition against the insurgents in Western Pennsylvania by the militia was in rendezvous at Winchester and that the subs from New London, Staunton and Culpepper Courthouse were not necessary. (7 Cal. VSP, 287). The foregoing letter referred to the Whiskey Rebellion on Western Pennsylvania which was the first test of the strength of the National government, which soon put an end to any opposition to its authority as a government of all the people. (7 Cal. VSP, 287).
September 16, 1794, General Daniel Morgan was at Winchester, Virginia, and wrote the Governor that he was expecting 1500 pounds of ammunition from New London. ( 7 Cal. VSP, 316).
The old District jail at New London must have been getting into a dilapidated condition in 1796, for on September 22 of that year R. Snoddy, jailor at New London, tenders his resignation to the governor because of the insecurity of the jail and insufficiency of compensation. (8 Cal. VSP, 390).
As late as February 20, 1797, the old Armory at New London was still being operated by the general government, for on that date James Penn writes to the governor of Virginia suggesting the retention of “New London Armory”, established by the general government under Joseph Perkins, superintendent, now about to given up by the general government, with the operatives there for the use of the state for the manufacture of arms needed. ( 8 Cal. VSP, 420).
The records of the deeds of William Callaway to the Trustees of Bedford County conveying the land upon which the town of New London was founded, as well as the courthouse and jail at that point, are recorded in Deed Book “A”, page 113, and Deed Book “C’ page 97. The first deed dated March 28, 1757, was recorded in March 29, 1757, Elizabeth Callaway, wife of William having relinquished her dower right in the property. William Callaway had appeared before the court on August 26, 1754 and agreed to give to Bedford County “One hundred acres of land at the forks of the road near his house to erect a courthouse and prison.” He agreed first to make a deed in fee simple for 50 acres, and to deed the other 50 acres as soon as he could obtain a patent. The trustees for the county were Richard Callaway, Zachary Isbell (sometimes spelled Isabelle) and Benjamin Howard, Gents.
On May 27, 1767, ten years after the first 50 acres was deeded to the trustees for Bedford County, William Callaway made a second deed to William Mead, Richard Callaway and Richard Stith, Trustees; of 50 acres; being part of a tract of 560 acres granted to him by patent of March 27, 1767, and being “That piece, parcel or lot of land containing fifty acres, which is laid off in lots in the Town of New London, in said county, and adjoining the fifty acres whereon the Court House is erected, which was formerly granted to said county by the said Callaway according to his agreement.”
In those early days of the court at New London the court examined and admitted to practice before it such men the court felt were learned in the Law. On May 23, 1757, the court admitted Gideon Marr as an attorney at law.
There must have been some stirring scenes in the Bedford Courthouse at New London. In one of the old Order Books of Bedford County we find the following order dated May 24, 1756 and entered by direction of Matthew Talbot, C. J., Richard Callaway, William Mead, Mark Cole, and Samuel Harstone, justices:
“That at the courthouse of Bedford County on Monday the twenty fourth day of May 1756 his Majesty’s commission under the seal of this colony bearing date the sixteenth instant directed to Matthew Talbot and others on any four or more of them to hear and determine all treasons cept treason and murders and other offenses committed or done by Hampton and Sambo belonging to John Payne of Goochland County, Gent. was openly read as was in like manner his Majesty’s dedimus potestatem under the seal and of the same date administering the oaths etc. to the said justices by virtue of which Richard Callaway and Robert Ewing administerd the oaths appointed by act of Parliament etc. to Mathew Talbot, who took the said oaths and repeated and subscribed the test and also took the oath of a justice of oyer and terminer (meaning a court constituted with power to hear and determine treasons, felonies and misdemeanors) and thereupon the said Matthew Talbot administered the oaths etc. to John Phelps, Richard Callaway, Robert Ewing, Mark Cole, and Samuel Harstone, who took the said oaths and repeated and subscribed the test and then took the oath of justices of oyer and terminer. The Court being thus constituted: The said Hampton and Sambo were set to the bar under the custody of Charles Talbot to whose custody before they were committed on suspicion of their being guilty of the felonious preparing and administering poisonous medicines to Ann Payne and being arraigned of the premises pleaded not guilty and for their trial put themselves up the court, whereupon divers witnesses were charged and they heard in their defense. On Consideration whereof it is the opinion of the court that the said Hampton is guilty in manner and form as in the in- dictment, therefore, it is considered that the said Hampton be hanged by the neck til he be dead and that afterwards cut in quarters and quarters hung up at the cross roads (probably the cross roads at the old courthouse mentioned in Callaway’s deed), and it is the opinion of the court that the said Sambo is guilty of a misdemeanor, therefore, it is considered that the said Sambo be burnt in the left hand and that he also receive thirty-one lashes on his bare back at the whipping post, and it is ordered that the sheriff do immediately exor thereof and the he then be discharged.”
The record shows that Hampton was valued at forty five pounds and this fact was certified to the general assembly. The law provided that the owner of slave should be paid for the loss of his slave. Whether the governor and council pardoned Hampton the writer is without information. To them he had the right of appeal. But it may be definitely assumed that the sheriff immediately executed the sentence on Sambo by burning him in the left hand in the brawn of the left thumb and giving him 31 lashes in open court. The burning in the hand arose out of the plea of “Benefit of Clergy” during the papal usurpation. The clergy claiming exemption for criminal process before the secular judges. Finally “benefit of clergy” was extended to the layman, and in order that the criminal might not have the benefit twice he was burned in left hand, sometimes burned with the letter “M” indicating murderer. The “quartering” of Hampton, while gruesome enough was not as barbarous as in ancient days when “quartering” was done on the living person by tearing them apart by four horses pulling in opposite directions on chains fastened to the legs and arms of the victim.
The death penalty was meted out at New London to the horse thief. In the District Court at New London in April 1789 Francis Suttle “late of the county of Campbell” was condemned to be hanged on Tuesday, May 22, 1789 for horse stealing. Upon consideration of two petitions numerously signed by the inhabitants of Bedford county the governor granted a pardon on recommendation of his council, James McClung, James Jones, Carter Braxton (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence), Will Heth and James Wood. (4 Cal. VSP, 625). The District Court at New London had just started to function when Suttle’s case came on to be heard. The Act of the General Assembly of December 22, 1788, creating district courts in Virginia, among other districy courts created provided: “ The counties of Bedford, Campbell, Franklin, Pittsylvania and Henry shall comprise another district, and the court shall be holden for the same at New London, in the late courthouse of Bedford County, now belonging to James and John Callaway, who have agreed to put them in repair, at their own expense, for use of the District Court, so be holden at New London, on the 15th day of April and 15th day of September, every year. The name of the judge who presided over the first district court at New London is not known by the writer. However, the judges of the general court meeting in Richmond on November 16, 1799, provided for the judges in the various district courts of Virginia. Edmund Winston and James Henry were assigned to the District Courts at Prince Edward Courthouse, New London, Washington Courthouse, and the Sweet Springs in Botetourt County. The general court was then comprised of Joseph Prentiss, St. George Tucker, John Tyler, William Nelson, Jr., Robert White, Jr. and Paul Carrington, Jr. (9 Cal. VSP, 56).