West Virginia, the Mountain State

By Charles H. Ambler; Festus P. Summers | Go to book overview

Chapter IX
Post-Revolutionary Days to 1800

A NEW IMMIGRANT MOVEMENT

DURING the closing days of the Revolution and those immediately following, an immigrant tide, surpassed in size only by a similar movement into Kentucky, pushed into northwestern Virginia. Eager to escape oppressive taxes, the evils of an unsound currency, the exactions of creditors, and the consequent prevailing annoyances from lawyers and courts, many persons sought these refuges to begin life anew under different conditions. Some of them were also seeking retreats in which to escape the odium of having been Loyalists. As a result of these movements, the total population of the Trans-Allegheny rose to one hundred twenty-five thousand in 1790, at least twenty thousand of whom lived in what is now West Virginia.

Among those going into Kentucky at this time was Abraham Lincoln, grandfather of a future President of the United States; and the Hanks family, from which Nancy Hanks, mother of President Lincoln, descended. The Lincoln family emigrated from the Valley of Virginia, as did also the Hanks family; but, before going west, the Hankses are said to have sojourned in a log cabin near what is now Mikes Run, Mineral County, West Virginia. Here, it is claimed, Nancy Hanks was born. In 1929, a commission, acting for West Virginia, designated the site of her supposed birthplace, and six years later it was marked by a monument.1

As already indicated, immigrants established themselves in northwest Virginia while the Revolutionary War was in progress. In 1778, Thomas

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1
W. Va. Legislature, Hand Book and Manual ( 1929) pp. 793-810. A Hanks cabin was on the present Doll farm, on the east side of New Creek Mountain.

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