Saturday, November 18, 2006

Caesar Mountain and Viney Mountain

Our house from the new addition to the place

This week I found something interesting in Pocahontas Times' "Fifty Years Ago" feature which quotes from editor Cal Price. In 1956, Price wrote about a bit of history which I'd heard about often, but for which I had no reference. Because the "Pocahontas Times News Archives is now Paid Access only," I will quote the article at length.

An Old Timer

In a law suit at the October term of the Circuit Court reference was made to the Massenbird land lines. So, the question, what about such land lines on Droop Mountain, anyway?

Well, around the year 1839, a man named George Massenbird died at his home on Droop Mountain. He was a native of England, and had lived here for a good many years. He owned Caesar Mountain and Vina Mountain, and other land. The tradition is that these mountains were given to and named for two Massenbirds slaves-Caesar and Vina Freeman.

However a casual search of the records shows only one transaction. This is a deed from John and Jane Blair to George Massenbird for 250 acres. The date is August 29, 1829, and the consideration is $120.

In the year 1842, there is a Court record of the appraisement of property left by the late George Massenbird. No mention is made of real estate. The appraisement of personal items amounts to $19.62. 1/2. However, bonds payable in dollars were appraised at about $2600. There was in addition a bond appraised at 500 English pounds sterling. This was due from the estate of one of George Breckenburg, of Skendleby, England.

The personal items, appraised at $19.62 1/2 brought $12.71 1/4 at the sale. Here are the purchasers and items:

  • Nancy Ware bought two bunches of newspapers at 3 1/2 cents and 2 1/2 cents; wearing apparel at $1.34.
  • Sarah Freeman two lots of newspapers at 7 1/4 cents.
  • John Hill, 6 numbers of Methodist magazines, 16 cents; Watson's Wesley 34 cents.
  • Walton McClung, 7 numbers of Methodist magazines, 20 cents.
  • Thomas Casebolt, 8 numbers of Methodist magazines; 21 cents; one slate, 26 cents.
  • James Keener, Doctor Clark's sermons, $1.75.
  • Thomas Hill, Doctor Clark's Life, 38 cents; Doctor Clark's Commentary, $8.

George Massenbird was a native of England. Further than that, there is meager tradition of him, other than he lived the life of a country gentleman and at the end he gave freedom and land to his servants.

Caesar Mountain and Viney Mountain are ridges connected to Droop Mountain.

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