Documents and Letters Pertaining to Hat Creek, Campbell Co. VA

Most of these were sent to my grandmother and her sister in the 1950s and 1960s by Miss Julia Asher and her sister Marian Asher Fawcett of Campbell County. I don't have originals of any of the documents; I received all as typed transcriptions.

William Irvin's church history [9.8 MB pdf file]
William Irvin (b. 1791) was the son of Major John Irvin and Mary Ann Tucker. The Asher sisters wrote that he was physically handicapped from young manhood, probably due to polio, and could not walk upright. He was known as "Uncle Billy", and did not marry. It was supposedly for his benefit that Paulette Clark was hired as a tutor in Major John Irvin's home. William was well educated in the classics of his time. He was very close to his mother, and to his sister Mary Ann Clark (Paulette's wife), who cared for him after his mother's death. He was the historian of Hat Creek church, and wrote the historical sketch in 1854. Orthodox Creed Taylor Clark fell heir to this history, from whom it was received in 1882 by Rev. John Addison Scott, pastor of Hat Creek Church. Scott made a copy in longhand for Hat Creek, and sent the original to Dr. Benjamin Smith at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, who made another copy for the files there. The original was then deposited at the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia.

Hat Creek Church, Virginia by Louis Clark Asher (1867-1933) [2.6 MB pdf file]

Facts and Fiction about Hat Creek by the Asher sisters [4.2 MB pdf file]
This was prepared for a community gathering in 1956 or 1957, and is referred to in the 1957 letter from Julia Asher linked below. I'm afraid there's more fiction in this than the Asher sisters realized. They have obviously relied on Lucinda Boyd's book Irvines and Their Kin, which we now know is inaccurate on the Irish history of the Irvine or Irvin family. There is also compelling evidence that the Irvines did NOT sail on the George and Anne in 1729.
With this document I've included drawings by Marian Asher Fawcett of the Irvin family arrival in Hat Creek, and the Hat Creek fort. The drawing of the family is dated 1968, so was not part of the original Facts and Fiction document.

Letter from Julia Asher to her North Carolina cousins, 1957

William Irvin's family history [1.3 MB pdf file]
This is a brief personal memoir about William's grandparents John Irvin and Mary Boyd. John died before William was born, and William was only about 23 when his own father died. While the oral family history is probably reasonably reliable, by the time William wrote this and the church history above, everyone with first-hand knowledge of the Irvin family's arrival in Hat Creek was long since dead. It's perhaps not surprising that there are some serious inconsistencies in the dates that William gives. As discussed on my Irvine / Irvin page, it seems very unlikely that the family remained for 20 years or more in Pennsylvania yet arrived as early as 1736 (or 1739 as the church history states). The strongest evidence for this is the fact that none of John and Mary's children married before about 1760, suggesting that they were probably born between about 1735 and 1750, not all before 1736 as this memoir implies. Did they actually stay in Pennsylvania only a few years, or did they not arrive in Virginia until much later, perhaps the 1750s?

Paulette Clark's personal memoir [4.7 MB pdf file]
This incomplete document was written by Paulette Clark shortly before his death. He was fuzzy on dates and left quite a few blanks to be filled in. See my Clark page for what I know of his children's dates and spouses.

Nineteenth Century Letters

Susan Iantha Clark to her brother Will Clark, August 6, 1852 [4.2 MB pdf file]
Susan Iantha Clark (1831-1867) was the daughter of Pleasant Clark and Nancy Paulette Clark (daughter of Paulette Clark and Mary Ann Irvin). William Fontaine Clark (1823-1865) was her brother. He served in the Lynchburg Rifles, Pickett's Division, 11th Virginia Infantry, and died in 1865 in a Union prison camp. He is buried at Point Lookout NY. Susan married Joel Foster Asher in 1866, and was the grandmother of the Asher sisters.
Mary Ann (Mollie) Smith (1837-1885), Susan's first cousin and future wife of Francis Pollard, adds to the letter on the second page.

Susan Iantha Clark to "Kit", April 16, 1860 [2.1 MB pdf file]
I believe the recipient is Susan's brother Christopher Clement Clark (1827-1863). He also served in the Lynchburg Rifles, and was killed on 26 May, 1863.

Susan Smith to Will Clark, December 5, 1862 [1.9 MB pdf file]
This is also signed "Sue" but the writing is different and the salutation is "Dear Cousin Will." I think therefore that the writer is Susan Elizabeth Smith (1839-1907), sister of Mollie Smith Pollard.

Mollie Smith Pollard to her husband Francis Thomas Pollard, June 10, 1862 [2.8 MB pdf file]
Francis Thomas Pollard enlisted in the Confederate Army in March, 1862, and served in Company B, 10th Battalion VA Heavy Artillery, until sometime during the summer of that year. He became ill in camp with "brain fever" and returned home to Bedford Co., where he died on August 4, 1862.

Susan Smith to Will Clark, May 6, 1863 [7.5 MB pdf file]

Twentieth Century Letters

Creed Elliotte to Annie Maud Pollard, 1955
This letter refers mostly to the former home of Francis Pollard (Annie Maud's grandfather) and Mary Ann Smith.

Sue Brown Gillespie to Annie Maud Pollard, 1972
This letter was obviously written shortly after Creed Elliotte's death. Annie Maud must have sent her condolences, and Sue replies, telling her about the funeral.
Photographs of Sue and her family

Marian Asher Fawcett to Elizabeth Holder, 1981
This letter discusses the ancestry of William Booker Smith and other family history.