Inlaws of Elizabeth Nesbit

Robert Wardlaw and Martha Downey

     Robert Wardlaw was born at an unknown date and location, as was his wife, Martha Downey. The date and location of their marriage is unknown, as well, but, since Robert’s family can be traced to the Borden Grant in Augusta County, Virginia, it seems likely that they were married in that county. At an unknown date they moved to Harrison County, Kentucky, and in early 1800, they moved again, this time to Brown County in southern Ohio, where they spent the rest of their lives.


Timeline of Robert Wardlaw and Martha Downey


1 Oct. 176121

Augusta County, Virginia, Will Book 3, page 131
William Wardlaw's will--In Borden's tracke, planter. Executors, Jeannet Wardlaw and John Wardlaw. To wife, Jeannet; to son, John; to ? James Wardlaw; to son, Hugh Wardlaw; to ? Joseph and Wm. Wardlaw, the plantation testator lives on; to daughter, Margaret Wardlaw: to son, Robert Wardlaw, the plantation of woodland lying beside Samuel Buchanan.

Teste: Robt. Weer, Jas. Wardlaw, John Wardlaw. Hugh Wardlaw. P

roved, 18th May, 1762, by Robt Weer, Jas. and John Wardlaw.

Executors qualified, with James and Hugh Wardlaw. Janet ( ) her mark.

24 May 176921

Augusta County, Virginia, Deed Book 15, page 381
John ( ) Sproul and Margaret to Alexander Wilson, 40, 250 acres of Borden's tract; corner Andrew Steel and William Alexander; corner Robert Telford, Robert Lowry's line.
Teste: Charles Campbell, Thomas Alexander, Robert Wardlaw.

Delivered: Alexander Wilson, March, 1772.

19 May 177321

Augusta County, Virginia, Order Book 15, page 103
Robert Wardlaw appointed road surveyor, vice William Berry

26 Mar. 177621

Augusta County, Virginia, Deed Book 21, page 356
Andrew Duncan to John Brown.
Teste: Charles Campbell, John Brown, John Marshall, Robert Wardlaw, Alexander Wilson.

1789 - 179321

Augusta County, Virginia, Records from September 1789 to April 1793, District Court, page 145
Wm. Patton, aged 64, deposes, in Rockbridge, 7th November,1806, he has lived in Rockbridge 56 years since last May. After the Revolution there was a rapid increase of immigration from the North. James Wardlaw and deponent's father were intimate. James had a son Hugh and a son Robert. There were Indian troubles for about 10 years. Fifty years ago there was a fort at McClung; the last incursion was 43 years ago, when 16 or 17 people were killed. Deponent helped bury them and they were attacked at the burial. These were very early settlers, viz: James, Alexr. Saml. Walker, James Moore, Saml. Coalter, Jno. Wallace, Archd. Rhea, James Rutherford, James Buchanan, Andrew and Charles Hays. Deponent was born September, 1742. McDowell was killed Christmas or New Year's, after his birth.


History of Brown County, Ohio
Early Settlers
The earliest settlements within the present limits of Scott Township were for the most part by adventurers from Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Vermont. Little more than a decade had elapsed since the close of the War of Independence when the army of emigration from the Atlantic States and from Kentucky took up its devious march through the trackless wilderness to the remote Northwestern Territory. The column reached and halted on the banks of White Oak Creek in the spring of 1800. In this year, Robert Wardlow purchased and settled on a tract of about three hundred acres in William Moore's survey, No. 1053, on the east bank of White Oak, in the extreme northern part of the township. The following year, Col. Henry Zumatt moved on a smaller piece of land allocated in J. Burton's survey, No. 1,213, in the central part of the township and two years later, that is to say in 1803, Lewis Shick bought and took possession of a considerable tract in the southern quarter. To Robert Wardlow, Henry Zumatt and Lewis Shick belongs the distinction of the traditional founders of the early settlements on White Oak. From some old correspondence in the hand of Henry Kimball, it is learned that prior to 1800 Mr. Wardlow resided near Rockridge, Va. At his decease, Mr. Wardlow left quite a numerous family of children, four of whom survive their father. Henry and Levi and another (name unknown to this writer) are living.
Early Settlement
The first permanent settlement made in what is now Washington Township is credited to the Wardlaw family. Just prior to the dawn of the present century--in the early spring of 1800--Robert Wardlaw, with wife, Martha Downey, and a number of sons and daughters, some of whom were married and were parents themselves, emigrated from Kentucky and halted on the banks of White Oak and effected the Wardlaw settlement. The family had for some years resided in Kentucky, where the father owned considerable land, which, it is said, he traded for that on White Oak. Here he possessed 300 acres, in Survey No. 1,053, which lies on either side of White Oak Creek, in what is now the subdivisions of Washington, Scott and Pike, at a point where the three are close together. Robert's home was in Scott, but those of William and Samuel, who were men of families, were in Washington, along the North and East Forks of the creek. The family had, prior to going to Kentucky, resided in the State of Virginia. Further reference to the father will be found in the sketch of Scott Township. Other sons and daughters of Robert and wife were John, James, Josiah, Hugh, Mattie and Jane. William's wife was Isabel Nesbitt, and their children were James, Samuel, Philander, Robert, Jane, Mary and Matilda, the most of whom became permanent residents of Brown County, and the men folks assisted in the clearing and improvement of land. The father, William, was a soldier of the war of 1812, a member of Capt. Jacob Boerstler's company, and was engaged in battle with the company at Brownstown, where he was killed August 4, 1812. Samuel Wardlaw married Elizabeth Nesbitt, a sister to William's wife, and their sons were Allen, Preston, Levi, Rainey and Henry; and the daughters were Mary, Ann and Elizabeth. All remained permanent settlers in the county, and Levi and Rainey of the township, where both are now residing, on the original tract of their parents. Samuel died May 6, 1848, in the seventy-fifth year of his age.

Analysis of the Timeline


     Robert Wardlaw and his wife, Martha Downey were born at an unknown date and location. An Ohio county history noted that the couple had migrated from Kentucky to Ohio in the spring of 1800, and had lived in Virginia prior to their Kentucky residency. In fact, they were noted as being the first permanent residents of Washington Township along White Oak Creek in what was eventually to become Brown County. They had eight children and two of their sons, William and Samuel, married two daughters of Samuel Nesbit and Mary Berry, Isabel and Elizabeth, when the Wardlaw and Nesbit families lived in close proximity back in Harrison County, Kentucky. The Wardlaws originally lived in the Borden Grant in the part of Augusta County, Virginia that was eventually split off to form Rockbridge County. Borden Grant records, however, note the existence of two Wardlaw families, James and William, who were, presumably, closely related to each other. Both of them purchased land in the Borden Grant, but, unfortunately, each seems to have had a son by the name of Robert. Without additional information, it is not possible to identify which Robert Wardlaw was the man who married Martha Downey and later moved to Harrison County, Kentucky.


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