Our grandfather lived next to Virginia’s first Governor, Patrick Henry

Great grandmother Laura Lavelette Driskill Pruett (1848-1933) was a great granddaughter of Daniel Driskill.  Daniel was born in 1740 in Ireland and died in 1813.  He is buried in the community of Red Hill in Campbell County, Virginia.   Laura’s father William B. Driskill (1798-1854) is also said to be buried at Red Hill.  (see the map at the end). She was only six years old when her father died, but she probably lived on the Driskill land grant property at that time

Red Hill was the 2,920-acre estate of Patrick Henry, who is among the best known of Revolutionary patriots.  Patrick Henry, Virginia’s first governor in 1776, died and is buried at his Red Hill home place.  His home and grave is less than a mile north of the confluence of Falling River and the Staunton (Roanoke) River.  The mouth of Falling River is the dividing line between Campbell and Charlotte Counties and across the river is Halifax County. 

 Daniel Driskill is recognized by the DAR as a patriot for his services during the Revolutionary War.  His home was less than two miles north west of Gov. Henry’s home place.  Driskill settled here on September 1, 1780, during the Revolutionary War, when he obtained a land grant adjacent to the land where he then lived. 

This land was then a part of Bedford County (Campbell became a county in 1782).  Daniel Driskill’s 1780 land grant is described as “beginning at his own corner,” 300 acres on Falling River.  One line in this tract crosses Falling River near Michael Pruitt’s Mill Dam.  

Michael Pruitt’s Mill, built in 1767, was across the river. One source states that “Michael Prewit patented 1,770 acres on Falling River between 1773 and 1780.  In 1782, the inhabitants of the new county of Campbell petitioned the legislature for an act to remove Pruitt’s mill dam to open a passage for fish.  It seems that no action was taken.  Usually, builders of grist mills were required to own land of both sides of the stream, but it appears that the Pruitt land was south of Driskill’s land north of Falling River. 

Apparently, the land between Gov. Patrick Henry’s land and this 300-acre grant was vacant until March 1, 1800, the years after Henry died.  This land grant from 285 acres began “at the red oak near a branch on the estate of Patrick Henry, dec’d.”  Another point in the deed description is “a pine stump corner to Daniel Driskill.” 

So, we can say that, during the last few years of Patrick Henry’s life, our grandfather was his next door neighbor. 

On our second trip to this area, my niece Sylvia Matthews and I found the cemetery shown on this map.  It is definitely on the original land of Daniel Driskill, but he sold sold land very early. 

The marked graves here are those of Captain James Terry (1809-1895).  Capt. Terry was appointed Deputy Sheriff of Campbell County in 1845 and was Captain of Co. C 162 VA Militia in the Confederate States Army during the 1860s.  There are many unmarked graves outside of the walled Terry burials.  We thought that these may have been early Driskill graves.

We now suspect that Daniel Driskill, who was born in Ireland in 1730 and died here in 1813 may be buried in two cemeteries on either side of the road leading north on the upper right side of this map.  Several of our ancestors are buried “on the Campbell/Charlotte County line.”  More to come when we find the graveyard.

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Contact: dan@rdricketts.com

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