John Blew 25
- Born: Abt 1691
- Marriage: Cattron Van Meter
- Died: 1770
The author's 7th Great-Granduncle
"1.1 John BLEW, (1691?-1770), m. Cattron VAN METER?. Famil y legends claim that John Blew was one of the earliest sett lers in the valley of the South Branch of the Potomac River , in what is now Hampshire County, WV. He supposedly brough t his wife and children from New Jersey in 1725, settled o n the river about five miles north of the present site of R omney, and built his cabin near Hanging Rock (sometimes cal led Blue's Rock). This tradition conflicts with the followi ng evidence and deductions.
1. John Blew (1.1) was in Somerset Co., NJ, on 14 Nov 1757 , to be sworn in as coexecutor of his father's will. Althou gh this was about two months after the death of John Blaw ( 1.), it is highly unlikely that John (1.1) came all the wa y back from Hampshire Co. to discharge this duty. This, alo ne, is not conclusive, however, since many settlers fled Ha mpshire Co. during the years 1754-1758 due to the Indian ra ids of the French and Indian War. John (1.1) and his famil y might have retreated to the coast to escape the war, an d returned to New Jersey when he received word of his fathe r's death.
2. At his death in 1770, John (1.1) did not own land. No land was mentioned in his will, and no Hampshire Co. deeds (known to the compiler) record his ownership of land.
3. In Maxwell and Swisher's "History of Hampshire Co., WV" (page 701), it is stated that "The date at which John Blue came to Hampshire Co. is fixed partly by tradition and pa rtly by family record. His son John (grandfather of the pre sent John Blue) was twelve years old when he came with hi s father to Hampshire. He died in 1791, aged 78 years. Tha t would prove that he came to Hampshire in 1725. If such wa s the case, he was about eight or ten years earlier than th e usually accepted earliest settlement of the South Branc h Valley". A careful examination of this statement shows a n inconsistency. The present (1897) John Blue (b. 1834) was a son of Garret I. Blue and his wife Sarah. Garret I. Blue was a son of Capt. John Blue (b.1740). Therefore, if the grandfather of the 1897 John Blue was twelve years old when he came to Hampshire Co., this dates the arrival of the Blues at 1752, and establishes the pioneer as John Blue ( 1.1.1).
4. The John Blew who received the Fairfax land grant for Lot 27 on the South Branch was John (1.1.1). Although dated 1 7 Aug 1749, this grant was really executed subsequent t o 1 May 1754, the date that Hampshire County was formed. Th is fact is established by the identification of the grantee as "John Blew of Hampshire Co.". This also indicates that John Blew was living in Hampshire Co., or what was to be Hampshire Co., before the grant was executed, probably having arrived in 1752, as indicated in (3), above.
5. Most deeds for Fairfax Lots, subsequent to the original grants, mention the original grantee, as well as later owners. The earliest deed on record for Lot 27 was executed i n 1816 between Uriah Blue's heirs and Uriah and Garret Blue . The deed states that the deceased Uriah received the land through the will of his father, John Blue (John 1.1.1). No mention is made of an earlier John Blue as the original grantee.
6. The Maxwell and Swisher account, referenced in (3), above, also states that "There were three brothers, John, Uriah and Michael, the latter two making their homes near Shepardstown, while John settled about five miles north of Romney, ----." John (1.1) did not have a brother named Uriah, and the Michael, who was possibly his brother, died in New Jersey. John (1.1.1), however, did have brothers Uriah and Mi chael, who did settle in the area near Shepardstown. Therefore, this John Blew (1.1) followed his sons to Virgin ia after the death of his father in 1757. The actual date of his arrival in Hampshire Co. is unknown. John and Cattron probably lived on land owned by their children, since there is no record which identifies him as a grantee or grantor of land. John (1.1) died in 1770, and his will, dated 2 0 July of that year, left personal effects to his family, i ncluding clothing, three silver spoons, two riding horses and saddles, plow irons, a wagon, a hoe, an axe and an iron wedge. Most of these he probably brought with him on his journey from New Jersey. His wife, Cattron, outlived him and she was named executor of her husband's will, a duty she declined in favor of her son, Abraham. She is said to be a Van Meter by some researchers, but I have found no evidence to that effect. By th e spelling of her name, it is probable that she too was of Dutch ancestry."
John married Cattron Van Meter.