52 Ancestors #4 Aaron Henry in two places at once?

Aaron, cousin of the famous Patrick HENRY was born 1743 in Marion County, VA.

He married Rebecca BURRELL before 1768 in Shenandoah County, VA.  She would have been 29 and he 30 years old.  [NOTE:  I obtained this information from an online family tree and do not have documented proof as yet.]

At about the same time or shortly after their marriage Aaron, like many men of the day tried to claim his chunk of wilderness.  In 1770 he located a tract of land between the creeks of the Little and Big Paw Paw Creek.  This location was unfortunately inhabited by Indians and he had to abandon the idea because of constant danger. Paw Paw Creek is about 14 miles long and a tributary of the Monongahela River in what is now W. VA

Aaron was on a list of persons in Dunmore County, VA in 1777.  (Dunmore was later changed to Shenandoah County in 1777.)  He was listed with 3 white males and 7 white females.

The 1783 Shenandoah County Tax list indicates Aaron HENRY and 4 white souls.

In 1783 Westmoreland County, PA also lists Aaron HENRY with 5 white residents living in his home.  How can this be?  It is very likely it is the same Aaron HENRY.

Lengthy land disputes had dragged on between Pennsylvania and Virginia.  Both states wanted to lay claim to a section of land and by 1770 both states claimed the entire southwestern corner of what is now Pennsylvania.  This area was named Westmoreland County by Pennsylvania.  The main conflict was over the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers that came together to form the Ohio River.  This union was the location of Fort Pitt, now Pittsburgh.  Problems arose when land grants were issued by both states for the same property.  Tempers heated up and in 1774 a group of the Virginia Militia attacked and captured the Westmoreland County Justices who had refused to recognize the jurisdiction of Virginia

In 1776, during the heat of the American Revolution the Virginia General Assembly formed 3 counties from a portion of Augusta County, VA (now northern W VA and south west PA).  They created Monongalia, Ohio and Yohogania Counties.

On December 17, 1779 the United States Congress made the recommendation that the two states should concentrate on fighting the British and not each other.  In 1780 the Mason Dixon line became the boundary between the two states.  In 1781 Pennsylvania formed Washington County, and in 1783 Fayette County, out of Westmoreland.  This solution was only temporary and a permanent survey wasn’t performed until 1784 through 1786.  The survey chopped and divided several counties into more counties divvying the land up in pieces.

So to make this long story short Aaron HENRY could have easily been counted twice, once by Virginia and once by Pennsylvania because the land in question, still in dispute, was claimed by both states.

Continued reading about Aaron Henry in the next post.

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