BIOGRAPHY: Richard Ware (1764-1834)
“Richard Ware may have been born in Scotland about 1764 and came to America
with a brother settling in Alexander, Virginia in 1774. Richard and Mary
“Polly” Wilson were married 24 June 1804. George Wilson, his father-in-law,
lived at Elkwater, Virginia. Surely Richard and Polly had a strong spirit of
adventure to have made their home at Valley Head, a beautiful wild forested
land with the waters of the Tygart Valley River nearby. Fish and wildlife
were abundant. I think this reminded him of his homeland and that it would
be a perfect place to raise sheep, cows, horses and pigs, just like in
Scotland. Of course he had to build a home large enough for a growing
family, but after all, there were many neighbors to help him. His land would
be a place to farm. The meadows and hillsides were a wonderful place for
hunting all kinds of animals. The last buffalo in West Virginia was killed
in Valley Head, Randolph County in 1825. His rifle was very important in
this land for food or to kill dangerous animals such as, panthers and
wolves. The fur trade was important too. This was also Indian ground. For
many years the Shawnee and Mingo tribes like to come back to Valley Head to
hunt. My father lived a short time on Windy Run and found several Indian
relics and flint arrowheads. He also found some on his own farm on Conley
Run, not too far from Valley Head. Richard had a tomahawk, but I never heard
where it came from. Previous to peace with the Indians, some forts were
built along the Tygart Valley River for the protection of the pioneer
settlers, but at the Richard settled here, there was peace in the valley.
The Scots were known for their individualism, independence, self reliance
and resourcefulness. I am sure this applied to Richard and Polly as they
struggled for survival in this new and vital land”, [Note #1].
Richard Ware was a constable in Randolph County from 1799-1804. His duties
during this period of time were the same as sheriff. Presumably he worked in
the Valley Head, Elkwater area which was near his home, [Note #2].
Richard served in the War of 1812 under the command of Lt. Colonel William
Boyd’s Co., 9th Regiment, Virginia Militia. He served for 9 days from 2 Dec
to 10 Dec, 1814, [Note #3]. He was given several land grants in Randolph
County, Virginia. Many soldiers were given these land grants. The Grants
were made by Lord Fairfax of Virginia prior to the Virginia Land Office, by
the Commonwealth of Virginia of Lands now embracing the state of West
Virginia, and by the state of West Virginia under its first constitution.
Richard received 100 acres of land was joint owner of another 500 acres with
Michael Huffman between 1825 and 1832 in Randolph County, Virginia, [Note
Richard and Polly were the first pioneers to be buried in the Valley Head
Cemetery, a piece of land donated by Richard to the community as a burial
place. He died in 1834 of dropsy, and Polly died of tuberculosis in 1828. A
tall tombstone marks their burial place in the center of the cemetery.
Their children were: Matilda, Lucinda, Elizabeth, Richard Brooks, George
Washington, James Randolph, Jacob See, John Newton, Benoni T, Hiram, Edward
and Andrew. Many of these children, grandchildren and other family members
are also buried in this area.
#1. “The Channel Family” by Rose Channel / Phillips, (1983).
#2. “Mountain Heritage Self-government”, 4th Edition, p.45, by Dr. Norman
Simpkins (McClain Printing Co, Parsons, West Virginia. 1980).
#3. “Virginia Militia in the War of 1812”, Vol. II, (Genealogical Publishing
Co, Baltimore, Maryland, 2001). These Muster Rolls were part of a supplement
to the Pay Rolls printed and distributed in 1851.
#4. Virginia Land Office Patens & Grants/Northern Neck Grants & Surveys.
Part of the index to the recorded copies of grants issued by the Virginia
Land Office. The collection is housed in the Archives at The Library of