Daniel Driskill (1740-1813) Colonial Soldier

  

This is from a tin-type of Nathaniel Pruett (1837-1900) and his wife Laura Lavelette Driskill Pruett (1848-1933), probably from the 1890s.

They were married in 1864 while Nathaniel was a Confederate soldier. He was with Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox at the surrender. We still have a part of an apple tree leaf that he brought back from near the surrender site.  Before she died in 1968, Ethel Pruett Hardister, daughter of Laura and Nathaniel gave me the leaf.  When Laura Lavelette died on 25 Jan. 1933, she was living with Ethel.  The 1930 census shows them living on John St. (now Richmond Ave.) in Danville, Virginia.  John M. “Coy” Hardister and wife Ethel are both 42 years old.  Living with them is 82-year old widow Laura L. Pruitt (sic), Coy’s mother-in-law.  Just up the street on the corner at 503 Middle Street was the house where the census taker found the family on 2 June 1900.  Laura Pruett, born 12 Feb. 1848 was the head of the household. 

It appears that Nathaniel had died, but his death date is listed as 25 July 1900 at age 62.  Also in the household is Annie Brook Pruett (Jones), born Sept. 1880 (age19), son David Pruett, born Sept. 1877 (age 22 – David died on 15 July 1901 before he reached his next birthday), son John Pruett, born Aug 1884 (age 15) and daughter Ethel Pruett (Hardister), born Sept.  1888.  Next door was Laura’s older daughter Mary Pruett, born Feb. 1874 (age 26), who in 1895 married James Petty, born June 1874 (age 25).  At that time they had only two children Gus Hughes Petty, born July 1897 (age 2) and James Otis Petty, born Dec 1899 (age 7/12).  They later had three more children.  

 

This is the revolver which belonged to Nathaniel Pruett.  Our cousins, descendants of the oldest son “Uncle Willie” in Florida,  have this gun which is said to have been carried through the Civil War by Nathaniel.  I think it is a Smith and Wesson.  Someone who knows guns might tell us more about it.  More pictures and information about Laura and Nathaniel are on our website rdricketts.com under family history.

Nathaniel and Laura lived on his father William Pruett’s land in the Birch Creek area of Halifax County.  The family graveyard in on the Mercy Seat (Presbeterian) Church  Road in Sutherlin (just across the line with Pittsylvania County.  Their daughter, my grandmother Annie Pruett Jones, often told me about coming to Danville in 1888 on a mule-driven wagon.  She was so excited when, coming down the Old Halifax Road, she saw the electric lights of Danville.  The town of Danville went online in January of 1886 with its municipal street lights.  Annie was eight years old and had never seen electric lights Laura Lavelette Driskill’s father William B. Driskill (1798-1854) is buried at Red Hill.  Virginia’s first governor and one of our most famous “founding father’s” is famous for his “Give me Liberty or give me Death” speech.  He spent his last years at Red Hill in Charlotte, where his home site was very near the Campbell County.  Laura Lavelette Driskill’s great grandfather was Daniel Driskill.  Private Daniel Driskill enlisted in 1758 to serve with Gen. John Forbes in the 2nd Virginia Regiment in the recovery of Fort Duquesne, which was then part of Virginia.  Virginians enlisted (probably enticed by ten-pound enlistment money) by the Ohio Company for settlement of the upper Ohio Valley were building a fort at the present site of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania when the French with their Native American allies massacred the settlers and completed the fort for their own use.  The Ohio Company was granted 200,000 acres by the Governor and Council of Virginia in 1749 on the condition that they settle at least 100 families in the area and build a fort for protection of the people.  We sometimes forget that part of Pennsylvania was part of Virginia.  Somehow, this land in Northern Virginia got in the hands of Pennsylvania, but that’s another story.   Have you ever driven across Pennsylvania?  It is too big now, but it’s probably too cold for Virginians anyway.The fort was at the “forks’ of the Ohio River (junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers), where Pittsburg is now located.  Incidentally, Pittsburg and Pittsylvania County, Virginia were both named for the same man; William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham.  Chatham Virginia is the county seat of Pittsylvania.  In 1755, the British sent troops under Gen. Edward Braddock, and George Washington a young 23 year old officer, to retake the fort from the French.  They suffered a defeat.  Many British soldiers were killed or captured.  Although one musket ball torn through his uniform coat, George Washington dodged all the bullets and escaped.  The Indians are said to have thought that the future president was a god, because he seems infallible.  It is said that, during combat during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, 26 horses were shot from under him and he was never wounded.  Washington believed that God saved and protected him for a special purpose.  He spent time in prayer and gave credit to the Almighty for this protection.Well, we let the French have the fort for three years.  In 1758, Virginia formed a second regiment for the express purpose of taking back the “Ohio” land which was in Virginia, but now in Pennsylvania.  Gen. John Forbes was in command of the Virginia troops as they neared the fort on November 24, 1758.  The French burned the fort and escaped “by water and by land.”  The Virginians rebuilt the fort and renamed it Fort Pitt.  Before he died on March 11, 1759, Gen. Forbes referred in his writings to the area of the fort as Pittsburg.  Daniel Driskill already owned land in Bedford (the area became Campbell County in 1782), when in 1780 he received a land grant on Falling River, east of the present town of Brookneal. The land he owned at that time came from Thomas Watkins.  Daniel’s first was was a Watkins and possibly a sister of Thomas Watkins. Daniel Driskill, who fought in the French & Indian Wars under Gen. Forbes (1758) and was a Revolutionary War Patriot, received a 300-acre land grant on 1 Sep 1780 “beginning at his own corner.”   This land was on the east side of Falling River, “beginning at the mouth of Island branch.” 

In the deed description for this land grant, there is mentioned a Michael Pruitt’s Mill Dam, and the mouth of Dog Creek.   Daniel Driskill received another grant on March 1, 1810 for 285 acres “in the county of Campbell on the waters of great Falling Creek “beginning at the red oak near a branch on the estate of Patrick Henry dec’d.”  This land was adjacent to and east of his 1780 grant.  The adjacent land on the east of the 1810 grant was the land where Patrick Henry died in 1799.  The land for both these tracts is just a couple of mile west of the Henry home site.  We plan an expedition to the area soon to find the homesite and graveyard.      

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