Highland, Virginia - Highland Pioneers & Sub-Pioneers
In Section II of the History of Highland County Virginia we learn about the classification of Highland families. They were classified as Pioneer and Sub-pioneer. The Pioneers were those who arrived prior to 1815. The sub-pioneers were those later families who came prior to 1865. Then there are those who came since 1865 and those surnames which had disappeared from the region.
In some cases of surnames you find local designations of some field, spring or other natural feature. And in some instances the name remained a long while, intermarried with families still in Highland County, Virginia. Though the name itself might be gone, there is quite sure to be some posterity in the female line. Back then the family surname was lost when the daughters married and had children, unless the family used the mother's maiden name as a middle name like some had done.
If you look deep enough in any long settled district to the threads of relationship that were spread out in all directions, you might find some persons of the seventh removed from the pioneer settler.
In varying degree, illegitimacy was everywhere to be found, and it includes some of the most worthy members of a community. These are the broken links in the chain of family descendants that complicate the work of historians.
The annals of Highland reach back a century or so with private family records, where they exist at all, are fragmentary. Until 1853, such public records as will be of help were the packages of marriage bonds that had not been lost, the generally incomplete mention afforded by wills, and the very casual shreds of information found in deed books and county order books. As to letters written during the first century of Highland, they are very rare.
It is true enough that a person is what they make themselves, yet it is also true that no one can in any real sense live to themselves. The person who proclaims that they have never bothered themselves about their ancestral connection and known almost nothing about it, is uttering a very unworthy sentiment. They put themselves where they cannot ask that the people who will take their place will care anything for the memory they leave behind them.
It has been very justly said by many that "not to know what others have been doing before us is to be always a child." As to the pioneers who braved the forest and the savage to bring Highland within the realm of civilization a debt of honor and gratitude is due, no less than to the soldiers of Highland who in various wars have fought for their convictions of right.
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