On This Day in 1854

155 Years Ago Today
March 31, 1854
Nancy “Nannie” Ward Gregory

My great grandaunt was one six children born to Daniel Parham and Mary Jane (Daugherty) Gregory. Nannie was named for her grandmother Nancy Ward, daughter of the pioneer David Ward.

Taken from Pendleton’s History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia, Copyright 1920, page 528, this picture shows some of the implements the pioneer women used for manufacturing fabrics to make clothing for their families. The woman standing by the loom is Miss Nannie Gregory, one of the very few expert weavers now left in the county. She is wearing the poke bonnet her grandmother wore many years ago. The loom, which was her grandmother’s is a hundred years old, as are also the spinning wheels and reel seen in the picture.

From Pendleton’s History of Tazwell, p. 411. “Abstracts of Tazewell County Will Book # 1, page 221,” records David Ward’s will, made May 12, 1821 and Proven June 1827. Wife , Eleanor, one-third of the plantation where I now live containing by estimation 400 acres, At the death of wife the 400 acres to go to equally to Isaac Ward, Hiram Ward and Addison Ward. To son, Rees Ward 100 acres. Balance of personal estate to be divided among my four daughters, Jane Ward, Nancy Ward, Phebe Ward and Matilda Ward. David Ward, John Ward, Robert Ward, Wm. Ward and Joseph Ward signed a petition to form Tazewell Co. VA in 1793. Again in 1795 a petition to form Tazewell Co. VA., signed by William Ward, James Davis, George Davis, Wm. Davis, John Davis Jr., Zachariah Davis, Abram Davis, John Davis, John Davis Sr., Wm. Ward, David Ward, John Ward and Joseph Ward. Then in 1796 a petition of Wythe Co., to form a new County, Tazewell Co., David Ward, John Ward, Joseph Ward, Saul Ward, Wm. Ward, John Davis, A. Davis, Wm. Davis and Zachariah Davis.

Originally from Scotland, the Wards went to Ireland under England’s plantation act after lands and titles were confiscated. Thus becoming the Scotch-Irish of the new world. It all started with James Ward born 1672 in Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal, Ireland and died 1759 in Greenville, Augusta County, VA. He married Sarah Rodgers before 1700 in Ireland. Their immigration was c 1730, from Ireland to Philadelphia, PA, Augusta Co., VA. Three sons, James Ward Jr.; William Ward; and John Ward all born in Ireland and came with their parents to the new world. We descend from William Ward.
Source: Jeannie Frazier [mailto:jeannie.frazier@worldnet.att.net]

The Scotch-Irish began to arrive in America in 1640 and continued to come in small numbers. By 1700 adverse economical conditions and political and religious conflict arose. The English landlords demanded higher rentals and Parliament regulations restricted the cattle and sheep raising industry. In 1704, Parliament excluded Presbyterians from holding civil and military offices, and taxed them to support the Anglican Church in which they refused to worship. All this caused thousands of them with their Scotch heritage, their Presbyterian faith, and their experience in colonization of Northern Ireland, to leave for the American Colonies. When the English landlords in Ireland in 1717, upon the expiration of leases, raised the rentals a steady stream of the Scotch-Irish began to pour into America, with 10,000 arriving in Pennsylvania within a year. It was with these Scotch-Irish at this time that our Ward forebears came to this country.

James and Sarah Ward with their five children emigrated from Ireland to the American Colonies, landing at Philadelphia PA in about 1730, according to family tradition. The Wards remained in Philadelphia until the Governor of Virginia encouraged the opening of southwest Virginia to settlement. The Governor offered inducement to attract new people as a buffer between established settlements and the Indians.

The streams of emigration that poured over the mountains were people whose wealth consisted of strong arms and stout hearts. They had been followers of Cromwell during the English Civil War. Many of the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians from PA and Maryland made their way through the Shenandoah Valley to Augusta County, populated primarily by those belonging to the Episcopal (Anglican) Church of England. Religious conflicts arose between the two groups, but by 1800 most animosity had subsided.

In 1758 James made a petition to the local government for support because he was almost blind and unable to provide for himself, according to the “Chronicles of The Scotch-Irish Settlement of VA” Volume 2, page 232.

130 Years Ago Today
March 31, 1879

My 2nd cousin, 2x removed, Marvin N. Walker, was born to Rev. John Randolph and Mary Jane (Brown) Walker. His grandmother, Nancy Reeves (Gregory) Brown was sister to Daniel P. Gregory, father of Nannie, shown above.

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