Montgomery County, Virginia, wasn’t always what it is today. It used to be much, much, MUCH larger. A 1784 land survey in our collections show a portion of it that reached as far as Ohio, at one time.
The text at the top reads as follows:
I certifee that this is a Draught of thirty two thousand acres of Land Surveyed for M. Levi Hollingsworth merchant of Philadelphia in the year 1784, situate on Guyandotte river which falls into the ohio river between the great Ranhaway river, and the Caintucky river, on warrants and orders of Survey (?) from the Land office of Virginia, which warrants with a draught of each thousand acres, and numbered as set down in this draught are returned to the Register Generals office for the said State of Virginia, that the said thirty two thousand acres are surveyed in thirty two Tracts of one thousand acres each in the manner herein delineated, that the whole of the titles are Indisputable. This Land is situated in a most agreeable Climate about thirty nine degrees north Latitude, is fertil well Timbered and waters, and produces many kind of grove(?). Tobaco, Hemp Peas. The river that passes through the Land is navagable into the Ohio, from which all produce can be taken to the best marketts by water, this Country abounds in fish and fowl, and is situated near that (?) and fertile settlement of Caintucky. that Tract of Land is well Timbered with Oak, Hickory, Walnut ash yew, is covered with under growth with Cain and pappaw, and is well watered with (?) (?) Springs.
In actuality, this land covers part of what we would now consider West Virginia. The Guyandotte River breaks away from the Ohio River at the border near Huntington, WV, not far from the Kentucky border. It’s not all that close to our modern Montgomery County, but it does show us how the name, location, and identity of a place can change dramatically with the growth of a nation.
You can read more about this land survey and then-owner of the property, Levi Hollingsworth, in the finding aid online. And if you’d like to see and learn more about historic Montgomery County, we have maps, books, and manuscripts that just might interest you. Feel free to stop by!