The Vanbibber Dilemma IV: Peter Vanbibber II

Since posting this on April 30, 2020, I’ve found probable evidence that the Peter Vanbibber who fought at the Battle of Point Pleasant may have, in fact, been Peter II’s son, Peter Vanbibber III. While I do not have the hard evidence in hand, I feel pretty certain that the War records posted on another website are solid. Therefore, “Captain Peter Vanbibber” named in the history and military records of  Greenbrier County, West Virginia and likely Botetourt County, VA are referring to Peter Vanbibber III; that would be Peter Vanbibber Jr to those studying the Tax Records. If you’ve read the article below, please know that it will be updated according to what I am able to determine from his military records once I have them in hand. JMA-5/4/2020

You’ll notice that the top three headliner’s in my Vanbibber Dilemma articles are Peter (II), John (James), and Isaac. These are the three brothers that I am certain fought at the Battle of Point Pleasant, Mason County, West Virginia on October 10, 1774. Only Isaac did not leave the battlefield alive. Alas, there is no official list for all of the soldiers who fought there although historic records show that these men were engaged in their county militia. At the time of the battle, records for the three brothers are located in Botetourt County, Virginia but the area in which they and/or their families resided became Greenbrier County, West Virginia in 1778, four years after the battle.

I am descended from Peter II – or so the records allude – via Mathias “Tice” Vanbibber. Other genealogists have taken to numbering the descendants in order to distinguish them one from another. It has been challenging to figure out what records match which Peter when doing research. Here’s a brief outline of how I and most other genealogists distinguish the five Peters (note that Peter Vanbibber Sr and Eleanor Vanbibber are listed twice, each under his/her parents’ names):

Here is what I know about Peter Vanbibber II:

  1. He is credited with building the “blockhouse” fort on Wolf Creek known as Fort Vanbibber, which puts the fort in the vicinity of Pence Springs. I honestly wonder if this isn’t different from Fort Greenbrier which was downriver near present-day Lowell, WV (location of Col. Graham’s house).
  2. He was Captain of the local militia living “in the Green Brier region” per Otis K. Rice’s “A History of Greenbrier County” on page 60. It’s important to note here that Colonel William Fleming was county lieutenant of Botetourt militia. I quote:

    On Septmber 2 [1776 Colonel William] Fleming instructed Captatin George Givens to complete his company and take charge of Greenbrier defenses. Givens arrived in the Greenbrier region on September 15 with orders to send his ensign and fifteen men to Captain Peter Van Bibber’s fort on Wolf Creek and another fifteen men to Donnally’s fort.

  3. He was referred to as just “Peter” in the Greenbrier County Tax lists since son Peter Jr is listed, distinguishing father from son. Brother John is listed for both years also. Bear in mind that Peter is Peter II, Peter Jr is Peter III who later moved to Ohio – across the river from the mouth of Big Sandy – where Peter III was living with mother Margery Bounds and sister Olive after the death of Peter II. It is there that Nathan Boone traveled to marry Olive before the two headed to Missouri:
    1782 and 1783 Greenbrier County Tax Lists

    I’m unable to distinguish the Peter Vanbibber in the 1786-88 list. I have not delved into the identities of James and “Jos” Vanbibber although I suspect James is the elder son of John Vanbibber and “Jos” is Jesse, the son of Peter II. I’ve taken their ages into account. Remember, this is a transcription of the actual records:

  4. He is recorded in several court orders for Greenbrier County:
    1. Court of 16 May 1781:… Court appoints Peter Vanbebber 1st Lieutenant in Capt. Grymes Company of militia.
    2. Court of Thursday 20 June 1782:… Ordered that there be allowed to James Graham 29-2-0 for 582 rations furnished for the use of this state; ditto Peter Vanbeber 7-2-0 for 132 rations for same; ditto Peter Vanbeber 3-11-0 for 71 rations for same; ditto for John Vanbebber 3-11-0 for 71 rations for same… (the monetary values are understood as Pounds-Shillings-Pence).
    3. Court of Tuesday, 15 April 1783:… the following persons allowed for scout service: John Vanbebber for 90 days;… Peter Vanbebber for 35 days…
    4. These records are taken from Greenbrier County Court Orders by Helen S. Stinson. “Family Search.” Familysearch Accessed 3 May. 2020.
  5. Peter Vanbibber II died about 1796-1797 in Kanawha County, West Virginia. The administration of his estate – he died intestate as there is no Will to be found – can be located in early Kanawha County court records as well as one deed book.
    1. 3 July 1797: On motion of James Vanbibber and Jesse Vanbibber, together with John Reynolds, etc, certificate is granted them of obtaining letters of administration of the estate of Peter Vanbibber in due form. ALSO: On motion of James and Jesse Vanbibber it is ordered that Morris Reynolds, Leonard Cooper, Daniel Cook and Lewis Booten, or any three of them being first duly sworn, etc., be appointed to appraise the slaves (if any) and other personal estate of the said Peter Van Bibber, Dec’d, and return a true inventory thereof to next Court.
    2. On 15 July 1797, Kanawha County Deeds, Volume A, pp 270-271, we find the following entry:
      Estate Appraisement of Peter Van Bebber II, Kanawha Co, WV.

      If there is a distribution of these goods, I’ve get to run across it. Page 271 simply outlines the bond posted on 3 July 1797 in lengthy legalese.

  6.  It was – is – my sincerest hope to find a document that flat out states or alludes to Mathias Vanbibber as the son of Peter Vanbibber II. Yes, it looks as though the relationship is obvious but then… Isaac Vanbibber had a son Matthew of whom there is only one record: That of the Greenbrier County Court Orders on Wednesday, 22 March 1786 in which Peter Vanbibber (possibly the elder son of Isaac and Sarah Davis Vanbibber) is “appointed guardian to Matthew, John, Nancy, James, and Isaac.” In my mind, Matthew and Mathias could be one and the same and the Peter Vanbibber in this record is Peter II. Yes, Matthew could have died as a young man. Its all speculation on my part.

For now, I have shared all I know about the three Vanbibber brothers who fought at the Battle of Point Pleasant and the conclusions that I have drawn about the family to date. As I accumulate further records, I will update my posts accordingly.

**UPDATE 9/16/2022: I confirmed that the two Peter’s listed in the tax lists above for Greenbrier (1786 and ’88) are indeed Peter Vanbibber II and son, called Jr here, Peter Vanbibber III. This is due to the fact that Peter Vanbibber (Sr). and brother John Vanbibber, sons of Isaac are found listed in the 1786 Tax List B of Russell County, Virginia.

In Greenbrier County, WV on Friday, 21 June 1785 this order was entered: “…order to be certified to Auditors that Sarah (Davis) Vanbebber now wife of William Griffey made sufficient proof to court that she was 2 years the Widow of Isaac Vanbebber and that she had seven children during her widowhood.” Greenbrier Co., WVA Court Orders 1780-1850, Helen S. Stinson.

Then on Wednesday 22 March 1786 we find this court order: “…Peter Vanbebber is appointed guardian to Matthew, John, Nancy, James, and Isaac Vanbebber, with John Stuart, surety.” Greenbrier County Records, Volume 1, Larry G. Shuck.

Note the names of the missing children of Isaac and Sarah Vanbibber: older daughter Martha “Patsy” who married George Yoakum; and son Peter Vanbibber “Sr” as I’ve dubbed him, who married his first cousin Elinor “Nelly” Vanbibber, daughter of John. Also note that Peter Sr and Elinor are listed in the 1786 Tax List for Russell County, VA as well as one individual named John Vanbibber:

“Familysearch: Sign In”. Familysearch.Org, 2022, Accessed 15 Sept 2022.

What this tells me is that the Guardian appointed in the aforementioned case is my ancestor, Peter Vanbibber II, the children’s uncle.

This still does not provide me with the strong evidence I need to convince me that Matthew and Matthias are one and the same. Yes, I’m aware that Matthew disappears from the records from this point on. Plenty is written about Matthias, however, and his tombstone declares his age at the time of his death in years, months, days in 1827. He was 54 years old. Taking his date of birth and death into account, and that of Isaac Vanbibber, youngest son of Isaac, there is a difference in ages of 1 year, 2 months, 7 days. It is not unheard of for a mother to give birth that quickly after having a child but, in my research, it is a little unusual: most births occur every other year.

Suffice it to say that I still am not convinced that Matthew and Matthias Vanbibber are one and the same.

**UPDATE: 9/24/2022** I recently read “My Father, Daniel Boone,” edited by Neal O. Hammon in which I learned a great deal of information regarding the Vanbibber family. If you’ve never heard of the Draper Manuscripts, I recommend that you do some research on the subject matter. Lyman Draper personally visited Nathan Boone and his wife Olive Vanbibber Boone, at their home in Missouri in (I think) 1851. Draper was gathering information on Daniel Boone, who had already passed by this time along with the majority of his offspring. Draper’s intent was to write a book on the life and times of Daniel Boone but was never able to crank out a word. Bless his heart, though: Draper left nearly 500 Volumes – not pages, Volumes – of notes on Boone and other “trans-Allegheny pioneers.”

It was the chapter regarding Point Pleasant (WV) that I read first, of course, because, after all, that was the whole point in purchasing the book. Throughout the chapter, when Nathan refers to Matthias Vanbibber, he calls him “my wife’s brother.” However, when referring to Isaac Vanbibber (son of Isaac who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Point Pleasant) he calls him “cousin” or “my wife’s cousin.” Throughout the book, Olive provides some recollections of her own.

Then I went back and started reading the book from the beginning, Preface, Forward, and all, which I should have done in the first place. No harm done. I learned from this that Draper had compiled a family tree that he provided to Nathan and Olive, perhaps as a gift, upon his arrival to Nathan’s home in Missouri. That tree, or I should say several “trees” are included at the front of the book! There in black and white, Draper applies the name Matthias Vanbibber as the offspring of Peter Vanbibber II. He further included the descendants of Capt. John Vanbibber –  because his daughter Chloe married Daniel Boone’s son Jesse; but only one child of Isaac Vanbibber – Isaac Vanbibber Jr – who, as you know by now, was a ward of Peter Vanbibber II (guardian) and who married Daniel Boone’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Hays (or Hayes).

That was the lineage in 1851 as it was known and that’s the lineage I’m going with: Matthias Vanbibber was the son of Peter Vanbibber II. Had Matthias been the son of Isaac, Olive would not have referred to him as “my brother” but “my cousin” just as she did when referring to Isaac (Jr.).

Having settled that “dilemma” to my own satisfaction, I moved on to whether Peter Vanbibber II was at the Battle of Point Pleasant. The way Draper recorded Nathan’s statement regarding Matthias in the early paragraphs of Chapter 7: Point Pleasant, reads as if Matthias was at the Battle of Point Pleasant himself. But, as stated elsewhere, that just isn’t possible as Matthias would only have been 2 years old. I believe that it is from the Draper Manuscript that the “legend” that Matthias was there began. Remember, as Nathan spoke, Draper dictated his recollections. Although – and this is my humble opinion – Nathan begins speaking about Matthias, he immediately begins talking about “his brothers, John and Isaac” who were also there [at the Battle of Point Pleasant]. In the very next sentence, Nathan gives the date of death of Peter Vanbibber II. From this, I conclude that both Peter Vanbibber II and Peter III – father and eldest brother of Matthias – were at the Battle.

By the way, Peter Vanbibber III was only 17 years old in 1774. I invite you to obtain a copy of his application for a Revolutionary War Pension from Fold3, as I did, and read (if you can, it isn’t easy) the details of the services he provided to America in the defense of the frontier. However, I believe that it was his father who was titled “Captain” Peter Vanbibber who is credited with the command of and services rendered at Fort Greenbrier near Alderson, WV.

Bear in mind that I have given suffixes I, II, and III to the lines of Peter Vanbibber and his descendants, Peter I being the father of Isaac, John, and Peter II. Isaac also had a son named Peter (who married his cousin Elinor Vanbibber, daughter of John) who I dubbed Peter Sr. I think you realize by now that he is Peter Sr due to having a son named – of course – Peter Jr, who in turn had a son Peter. It was at that point I ran out of suffixes and patience and ceased tracing this line further. Suffice it to say that the family of Isaac Vanbibber moved further south and west of the Greenbrier River into the area of Russell County, Virginia (Powell’s Valley). Peter Vanbibber Sr. is found in the tax list of Russell County in 1786 – the same year his uncle, Peter Vanbibber II, was made guardian of the children of Isaac Vanbibber minus Peter Sr and his older sister Martha “Patsy” who was already married to George Yoakum (Yoakum is also enumerated in the same tax list).

As for Matthew Vanbibber, there is no further mention in any records that I have researched to this point, the last mention being the appointment of Peter Vanbibber II as guardian of his brother Isaac’s children. Bear in mind that I’ve calculated Matthew’s date of birth at about 1760. That would have made him 26 years old in 1786 when his uncle Peter became his guardian. Why would an individual of that age require a guardian? I should point out that, although Isaac’s son John was included as among the children of Isaac requiring guardianship in the court record in 1786, he too appears in the 1786 tax list of Russell County, Virginia. I calculated his birth as being about 1765, making him 21 years old. Apparently, the guardianship was appointed in Greenbrier County before John reached the legal age of 21, and as soon as he had a birthday, migrated to Russell County with his siblings.  Still, this does not answer what became of Matthew Vanbibber. There are no trees or descendants to my knowledge who claim him as ancestor, and that leads me to believe that it is quite possible he died as a young man.

I hope that my research has helped you in your genealogical endeavour of tracing this branch of the Vanbibber family.

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