Letter to Jesse Vanbibber from Nathan Boone

I recently encountered another descendant of Peter Vanbibber II. It turns out Bobby and I had likely crossed paths many years ago, where else but Bancroft, WV? I mentioned to him that I had a copy of a letter written by Nathan Boone (actually, by Nathan’s “secretary” of sorts named Phillip Anthony) to Bobby’s ancestor, Jesse Vanbibber, living in the Point Pleasant, WV vicinity. I’ve also provided an explanation of those individuals whom Nathan mentions in his letter; detailed family trees of each of the Vanbibbers who settled in the vicinity; and my “author notes” which is written with my usual verbosity and detail. Yours truly, Julie McGrew Ayres.


Boone, Nathan. Letter, St. Charles County, MO, to Jesse Van Bibber, 1831 September 19. 1 item. Ms80-179
“Manuscript Collections”. 2023. Archive. Wvculture.Org. https://archive.wvculture.org/history/collections/manuscripts.html

St. Charles County Missouri Sept. 19 th, 1831

Dear Sir-

I imbrace this oportunity of writing to you by a young man who lives in the neighbourhood of this part by the name of Phillip Anthony – who should you see him can give you information of many of your friends in this country. I have nothing perticular to write you more than the health of the family and friends.

Your Mother [1] is still living and has good health – your Sister Nelley [2] is living in this neighbourhood and has good health – your Brother James is living in the same neighborhood that Isaac liven in about fifty miles from this; their familys are both in good health – Isaac [3] and Ervin [4] is gone a traping to Rockey Mountains – our family begins to scatter about we have one daughter who lives high up the Mississippi River married to a Mr. Jas Craig another daughter living up the Missouri and one living in the this neighbourhood – I have lately heard from them all and find them all in good health – we lost our daughther Nancy last fall she died on the 22 nd of October with a sickness of four days – she was 22 years of age when she died – Goodridge daughter [5] is living eighty or ninty miles from us and I have not heard how the family was at present – Jas Taylor [6] is likely to make a fortune at Mining he is still working at the place when your cozen James Vanbebber [7] left him about thirty five mile from this – I have nothing to write you in particular – Olive [8] has become very fat and can hardly (?) on hors back – I should be glad to hear from you, pleas write & let me hear how you are doing – with much respect

Your friend

Nathan Boone

Jesse VanBibber


PDF of the Upper Letter

PDF of the Lower Letter


1. Marjory “Major” Bounds Vanbibber, widow of Peter Vanbibber II; d. 22 July 1838, aged 104, Greene County, Mo, at the home of Nathan and Olive Vanbibber Boone.
2. Eleanor “Nellie” Vanbibber, daughter of Marjory & Peter Vanbibber II; married her first cousin Peter Vanbibber Sr, son of Isaac Vanbibber who died from wounds received in Battle of Point Pleasant; Isaac Vanbibber was the older brother of Peter Vanbibber II and Capt. John Vanbibber.
3. Isaac Vanbibber, Jr, moved to KY then to MO with the Boone families when Daniel and Rebecca Boone left Point Pleasant, WV; he married Daniel Boone’s granddaughter Elizabeth Hays (daughter of Susannah Boone & William Hays) probably KY;
4. Assumed to be Erwin Vanbibber, son of James Vanbibber and Jean Ervin/Erwin, son of Marjory & Peter Vanbibber II;
5. daughter of Hannah Vanbibber (daughter of Capt. John Vanbibber) and her husband Goodridge/Goodrich Lightfoot Slaughter m. 17 May 1797 Kanawha Co.;
6. James Taylor, unknown to me at this writing;
7. James Vanbibber, son of Isaac Vanbibber Sr;
8. Olive Vanbibber, youngest child of Marjory and Peter Vanbibber II, sister of Jesse, Matthias, and Peter Vanbibber III.

3 Sons & Grandchildren of Peter Van Bebber I & Ann Honriette _

Isaac b. 2 FEB 1724 Cecil Co, MD, d. 11 OCT 1774 Botetourt Co, VA (nka Point Pleasant, Mason, WV); m. Sarah Davis abt. 1755 in Halifax County, VA
1. Martha “Patsy” Vanbibber b. 1756 Halifax Co, VA, m. George Yoakum abt. 1773 prob. Botetourt Co, VA;
2. Peter Vanbibber Sr. b. 5 Aug 1757 Halifax Co, VA, d. 13 May 1816 Claiborne Co, TN, m. *Elinor/Eleanor “Nellie” Vanbibber 29 Jun 1785 Greenbrier Co, WV;
3. Matthew Vanbibber b. abt. 1760 Halifax Co, VA – all other info besides name unknown;
4. John Vanbibber b. abt 1765 Halifax Co, VA, d. abt 1818 Claiborne Co, TN, m. Margaret Crismon 1787 Russell Co, VA;
5. Nancy Vanbibber b. abt. 1767 Pittsylvania Co., VA, m. Robert Howard – further info unknown to me;
6. James Vanbibber b. abt. 1769 Botetourt Co, VA – further info unknown to me;
7. Isaac Vanbibber Jr. b. 20 Oct 1771 Botetourt Co, VA, d. 30 Sep 1840 Montgomery Co, MO, m. 1797 pos. Mason Co, KY, m. Elizabeth Hays (granddaughter of Daniel Boone & Rebecca Bryan);

Peter II b. 1732 Cecil Co, MD, d. 10 OCT 1796 Kanawha Co, WV; m. Marjory Bounds 1756 Halifax Co, VA
1. Peter Vanbibber III, b. 5 Aug 1757 Halifax Co, VA, d. 8 Oct 1838 Ripley Co, IN, m. Sarah Yoakum 22 Jul 1785 Greenbrier Co, WV; *Rev War & Pension records on file at Fold3 reveals he was also present at the Battle of Point Pleasant 1774;
2. Jesse Vanbibber b. 8 AUG 1759 Halifax County, VA, d. 10 APR 1852 Point Pleasant, Mason Co, WV, m. Rachel Greenlee 9 Jul 1799 Washington Co, OH;
3. Sophronia/Veronica Vanbibber b. abt. 1762 Halifax Co, VA, d. 1824 Indiana, m. George Dixon 20 Oct 1782 Greenbrier Co, WV
4. Ellinor/Eleanor “Nellie” Vanbibber b. abt. 1765 Halifax Co, VA, d. unknown St. Charles Co, MO, m. * Peter Vanbibber Sr 29 Jun 1785 Greenbrier Co, WV;
5. James Vanbibber b. 8 May 1766 Halifax Co, VA, d. Feb 1840 Calloway Co, MO, m. Jean Ervin/Erwin 17 Apr 1796 Kanawha Co, WV;
6. Matthias Vanibber* b. 27 Dec 1772 Botetourt Co, VA, d. 9 Mar 1827 Nicholas Co, WV, m. Margaret Robinson Gardner 16 Apr 1797 Kanawha Co, WV; m2. Margaret Hutchinson 5 May 1812 Kanawha Co, WV; *ancestor of this writer;
7. Jacob Vanbibber b. abt. 1775 Botetourt Co, VA, d. abt. 1836 Greenup Co, KY, m. Sarah Miller 1795 Kanawha Co, WV;
8. Joseph Vanbibber b. abt. 1781 Greenbrier Co, WV, d. abt. 1795 Point Pleasant, Mason Co, WV – injured & captured by hostile natives with his cousin Rhoda Vanbibber (scalped), d/o John Vanbibber at Point Pleasant along the banks of the Ohio River;
9. Olive Vanbibber b. 13 Jun 1783 Greenbrier Co, WV, d. 12 Nov 1858 Ash Grove, Greene Co., MO, m. Nathan Boone (son of Daniel Boone & Rebecca Bryan) 25 Sep 1799 prob. Mason Co. KY

John b. Jan 1734 Cecil County, MD, d. 17 Mar 1820 Kanawha Co, WV, m. Chloe/Chlorinda Stanaford abt. 1760 prob. Lunenburg Co, VA;
1. James Vanbibber b. 2 Aug 1762 Halifax Co, VA, d. 5 Aug 1841 Greenup Co, KY, m. Louise Reynolds 6 Jan 1797 Kanawha Co, WV;
2. Rachel/Rhoda Vanbibber b. abt. 1769 Pittsylvania Co, VA, d. 1788 Greenbrier/Kanawha Co, WV – scalped by hostile natives with her cousin Joseph Vanbibber, s/o Peter Vanbibber II along the banks of the Ohio River;
3. Chloe Vanbibber b. 13 Aug 1771 Botetourt Co, VA, d. 1821 St. Louis Co, MO, m. Jesse Bryan Boone (son of Daniel Boone & Rebecca Bryan) Sep 1790 Kanawha Co, WV;
4. Hannah Vanbibber b. 23 Nov 1778 Botetourt Co, VA, d. 28 Jun 1858 Kanawha Co, WV, m. Goodridge/Goodrich Lightfoot Slaughter 17 May 1797 Kanawha Co, WV.
5. Miriam Vanbibber b. abt. 1779 Greenbrier Co, WV, d. Feb 1850 Kanawha Co, WV, m. John Reynolds poss. 1790 Kanawha Co, WV;
6. Marjorie Mary Vanbibber b. 13 Mar 1781 Greenbrier Co, WV, d. 14 Feb 1850 Kanawha Co, WV, m. Andrew Donnally, Jr. 1 Jun 1802 Kanawha Co, WV.


I have provided Marriage and Birth locations according to the county in which the male is listed in the personal property tax list of the specific county at the time and the present state in which it exists. For example, Greenbrier County, WV was formed 20 Oct 1778 from Botetourt County, VA. Although births and deaths were not recorded until 1858 and forward in the two Virginias, marriages were. In order to locate and obtain those records you need to search in Greenbrier County in the State of West Virginia. The same is true for each of the counties in Virginia and West Virginia.

In order to keep the individuals separate while researching (and writing), I designated Peter the Patriarch as I; Peter his son as II; and Peter his son as Peter III. Peter the Patriarch had Isaac Vanbibber or Sr. Isaac’s son Peter is Sr; his son is Peter Jr; and finally son Isaac as Jr.

Peter Vanbibber I, the Patriarch of this family, is listed in Lunenburg County, VA Personal Property Tax List in 1748 with his eldest son Isaac Sr. as well. The area in which the family was living and farming was most likely encompassed by at least two newly formed counties during their residence: Halifax County in 1752 then Pittsylvania County in 1767. Peter Vanbibber I died about 1769. It was after this that I believe the three sons, Isaac, Peter II, and John along with their families physically moved to the newly formed Botetourt County (1770) in which all three are enumerated in that county’s Personal Property Tax List. We then find the men enumerated in the Greenbrier County PP Tax List in 1782. I know that their children began to marry in Greenbrier County and that those marriages were performed by none other than minister Jon/John Alderson who settled in the area named for him, Alderson, WV where he helped found the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church in 1781.

Given that information along with the fact that the construction and commanding of Fort Greenbrier (aka Vanbibber’s Fort at Lowell, WV on the Greenbrier River near Alderson) is attributed to  Capt. John and possibly his brother Peter Vanbibber II, I have ascertained that:

  1. the Vanbibber families lived in the vicinity of Fort Greenbrier before moving to the vicinity of Point Pleasant, WV subsequent to the Battle in 1774 and
  2. the families moved to to the Point Pleasant vicinity after leaving Greenbrier County in 1785 (John) and 1786 (Peter II). A review of the county formations at MapofUs shows that the only major change from Botetourt County (1776) to Greenbrier County (1777) was the southern boundary. There is further evidence showing that Isaac Vanbibber Sr. sold furs to and frequented the Matthews brothers’ Trading Post near present-day Caldwell, near Lewisburg, WV, pursuant to Otis K. Rice, Historian and History Professor in his “History of Greenbrier County.”

Greenbrier County Court Orders & Records provide us with information in regard to the three Vanbibber brothers, particularly the family of Isaac Vanbibber, Sr subsequent to his death after the Battle of Point Pleasant.

  1. Sarah Davis Vanbibber states to the court on Friday 21 June 1785 that she was a widow and that she had seven (7) children during her widowhood.
  2. At the Court of Wednesday 22 March 1786, we find that Peter Vanbibber (son of Isaac Sr., deceased) was appointed the guardian of his 5 brothers and sister, Mathew, John, Nancy, James, and Isaac Vanbebber, with John Stuart as surety. *updated 8/10/2023

Research shows that the three older children, (1) Martha “Patsy” Yoakum (husband George Yoakum), (2) Peter Vanbibber, Sr., and (3) John left Greenbrier and are enumerated in the 1787 PP Tax List of Russell County, VA. The personal property tax list of 1799 Grainger County, TN shows that brother James went to southwest Virginia as well. But of Matthew I find no further records. Was Matthew, as many believe, adopted by his Uncle Peter,  maintaining the traditional family name of Matthias Vanbibber? I am inclined to think not. That is because the Greenbrier County Court record lists the names of Isaac’s children in chronological order, making Matthew younger than his brother Peter (born 1757) but older than next sibling John (born 1765) – a space of eight years with no other recorded children between.

Headstone photo Copyright DeniseFreeWV.

Further, Matthias Vanbibber was born Dec 1772 according to his age on his gravestone whereas Isaac Vanbibber Jr was born Oct 1771. Looking through the births listed above we find that there are about 20-plus months between each child’s birth (the same is true for most families). A 12-month spread between the births of two children isn’t unheard of but it is uncommon. Combined with the fact that throughout notes collected by Lyman Draper via his correspondence and personal interview with Nathan and Olive Boone, Nathan consistently refers to Matthias Vanbibber as “my wife’s brother” while he refers to Isaac Vanbibber Jr. as “my wife’s cousin.” Why would Peter Vanbibber II, uncle as well as guardian, adopt Matthew-Matthias but none of the other four children? In this light, I firmly believe that Matthias Vanbibber was the biological son of Peter Vanbibber II and wife Marguery Bounds, not the “missing” Matthew Vanbibber. See “My Father, Daniel Boone” by Neil O. Hammon.


Daniel Boone, his wife Rebecca, and two youngest sons, Jesse Bryan and Nathan, left Limestone (nka Maysville), Kentucky and removed to the area now known as Point Pleasant, West Virginia sometime after 1786 but before or about 1789. The Boones took up residence in a cabin on Crooked Creek. Both Daniel and son Jesse are enumerated in the 1792 Kanawha County WV Personal Property Tax List. Nathan states (in the aforementioned book) that he was sent back to Kentucky to be educated. However, he spent enough time in the area of Point Pleasant to become well-acquainted with the Vanbibber families, particularly his future wife, Olive Vanbibber. Daniel Boone conducted a survey in Kanawha County 14 June 1791 and served Kanawha County in the Virginia State Legislature at Richmond beginning 1791. At some point after 1792, son Jesse B. Boone and wife Chloe Vanbibber removed to Kentucky. Daniel and Rebecca then settled in a cabin in the Charleston area along the Kanawha River opposite the mouth of Campbell’s Creek – the cabin’s location was behind the current Lowe’s Home Improvement in Kanawha City – on property then belonging to, I think, either one of the Donnally or Slaughter families. It was from this location that the Boone’s returned to Kentucky accompanied by Isaac Vanbibber, Jr. Before his departure, Daniel Boone gave a rifle, with his initials carved in the stock and ephemera to my ancestor, Matthias Vanbibber, a close hunting companion and a chain carrier on Daniel’s surveying trips while a resident in West Virginia. This rifle is in possession of the West Virginia Cultural Center at Charleston and is featured in Discovery Room 3.

Note that I neither refer to Isaac Vanbibber Sr as Isaac ‘Michael’ Vanbibber which I have been told is on a placard at the Battlefield in Point Pleasant, nor do I refer to him as a minister. I have not found documentation nor evidence of the name “Michael” having been used in historical records nor is the name used for any other immediate nor extended family member. No reasoning for this middle name has been discovered. It is simply “there” in other family trees. As for the assumed title of “minister” or “reverend,” I find no evidence nor reasoning for this either. One descendant claimed Isaac was an “Old Side Baptist” minister in the vicinity of North Carolina but there is no such thing, nor ever was such a thing, as Old Side Baptists. There were Old Side Presbyterians but only until about 1758. Records of Isaac Vanbibber Sr in North Carolina have not been discovered.

I have a copy of an account book believed to have been handwritten by Nathan Boone Vanbibber, grandson of Matthias Vanbibber, who died 16 AUG 1928 in Witcher, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. Apparently a family member donated a box of his writings and/or memorabilia which included this account book to either the Oklahoma Archives or the Oklahoma Genealogical Library in Oklahoma City. This is according to Earl W. Quintrell, deceased, who mailed a copy of the account book to my father Jack McGrew in 1992. (Quintrell’s Vanbibber research and documents were donated to “The McClung Historical Collection” located in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, on the 3rd floor of the East Tennessee Historical Center.) In it, Nathan B. Vanbibber gives knowledge of his “granduncles,” stories probably shared with him by his father. At no time does he mention Isaac Vanbibber Sr having the middle name Michael nor of him being a minister. He does, however, mention a fabulous butcher knife crafted by uncle Isaac. This is not proof to the contrary, it is simply a statement to the further lack of evidence for a middle name or a ministerial position.

See Also: Van Bebber/Vanbibber History – Gendeavour

*Author Note: I have since learned that J. Philip Anthony, apparent secretary and writer of Nathan Boone’s letter above, married Nathan’s daughter Olive Boone in St. Charles, MO in 1830. The couple moved to or resided in Pyeatt Township, Pulaski, Arkansas where second son, James Anthony died on 3 Aug 1836 followed shortly by the death of his mother Olive on 5 Aug 1836.

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