The Vanbibber Dilemma II: John Vanbibber

I find the following in the available online records:

John, Peter Jr (aka II), and Isaac Vanbibber/Vanbiber are listed in the Pittsylvania Co, VA 1767 tax list. (Subsequent tax lists are not available online, this is a transcription). Files.Usgwarchives.Net, 2020, Accessed 18 Apr 2020.

John Vanbebber is in the Greenbrier County Tax List for 1782. In 1783, John, Peter, and Peter Vanbebber Jr are in Greenbrier County Tax Lists. There was not another tax list until 1786 in which only Peter Vanbebber appears in Greenbrier. There is no Jr or Sr designation after his name so whether he is Peter I or Peter II, I’ve no idea. The Vanbibber surname does not appear in the Greenbrier Tax lists in the transcription I have by Larry Shuck from 1786 through 1815. It’s important to note that a highway historical marker near the James Graham house at Lowell, WV states, “Near site of Fort Greenbrier, commanded by Capt. John Van Bibber during Indian raids in 1777….” placing John Vanbibber in the Greenbrier Region of what at that time would have been Botetourt County.

One has to either visit a local LDS Stake or travel to Charleston to the Archives in order to view land/tax/court records for a specific county but my interest here would be for Kanawha and Mason Counties. From documents that I have been sent (without citations), it is probable that John, James, and Jesse Vanbibber lived and served in both counties. All three are mentioned in early court records of Kanawha County from 1789 to 1803, the most prominent being James Vanbibber who apparently acted as a Justice of the Peace for many years.

My cousin Jim McGrew, also a descendant of Mathias Vanbibber through his mother, recorded and shared the following information from his research:

Mason County, WV Personal Property Taxpayers 1805-1814 show the following listings for Vanbibber:

    • James Vanbibber: 1807, 1809, 1810
    • Jesse Vanbibber: 1805, 1806, 1807, 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1814
    • John Vanbibber: 1805, 1806, 1807, 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1814

Ancestry has several records, like the distribution of John Vanbibber’s estate in the Kanawha County Court. The Court entered the distribution of goods to the following “heirs” on 10 June 1823:

  • Col. Andrew Donnally (Jr, the son of Andrew Donnally, husband of Marjorie/Mary Vanbibber)
  • James Vanbibber (m. Louise Reynolds)
  • Hannah Slaughter (m. Goodrich Slaughter)
  • Representatives of Chloe Boon (m. Jesse Bryan Boone, son of Daniel and Rebecca)
  • Miriam Reynolds (m. John Reynolds)

Will Book, Vol A, 1831-1882; Will Record, Vol 1, 1820-1858; Please bear in mind that the people/person at Ancestry who did the indexing for the above “Will” didn’t look at the date very closely. The indexer placed the date as 1825 but a closer look shows 1823. Further, the second paragraph states, “Pursuant to an Order from the County Court of Kanawha being dated at March Term 1823…”. Note that there is no mention of a wife or consort to whom goods were bequeathed. My assumption is that she had already passed. But what we learn is that John Vanbibber died prior to the March 1823 Court term in Kanawha County. I did my best, within the limitations of Ancestry, to get the largest image possible for this post.

From the estate distribution, one could assume all the names of John’s children, save two: a daughter named Rhoda (or Rebecca depending on whose account you read), and a son Joseph. From the “West Virginia Historical Magazine Quarterly, Vol 3: January 1, 1903,” an article authored by Mrs. M. W. Donnally provides the telling of what became of Rhoda: shot and scalped by a small band of rogue Shawnee. She was allegedly 19 years of age, rather old for an unmarried female in those days. Joseph was allegedly aged 12, was captured and returned home, thanks to the daring rescue attributed to Mathias Vanbibber, but who died after his return some seven years later. The date of this event is provided by another as 1788. While I have the two listed in my tree with approximate dates and places of birth, it nevertheless explains why we do not find either name in the distribution of father John’s estate.

This is about all I have currently on John Vanbibber of Greenbrier and Kanawha County, WV fame. But bear with me as I now browse the Greenbrier County Court Orders by Helen S. Stinson.


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