While Virginia speculators were attempting to settle as much land as possible, their claims were being disputed by Thomas Lord Fairfax, who had become the sole inheritor of a patent issued in 1669 by Charles II of England.  Fairfax claimed all lands lying between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, including the lands of Samuel Taylor and Israel Friend, and he petitioned the Crown in 1733 to prevent the Virginia legislature from granting lands within the area he claimed. His actions prompted the Crown to have the Northern Neck surveyed in 1736. 

The map of the survey was delivered to Governor Gooch of Virginia the following year (Figure 4-1).1  Except for the few Regal land grants issued in 1734, no new Virginia patents were forthcoming in the Bakerton area for another 20 years — until the first round of the Hite-Fairfax dispute ended and the Treaty of Lancaster was signed. 

On the Maryland side of the Potomac River, the colonial government began issuing patents in 1738, and Maryland settlement continued during the hiatus in Virginia.  Near Antietam Creek, patents were issued to William Chapline (The Strife, 100 acres, 1749) and John House (Mill Place, 25 acres, 1747).  William Stroop, who would obtain several Fairfax Grants during the next decade, obtained a 110-acre patent called Rogue's Harbor in 1753. 2 

On April 6, 1745, the Crown defined Fairfax's rights: except for regal grants already issued, Lord Fairfax owned the lower Shenandoah Valley, including all of present Jefferson and Berkeley Counties.3  When Fairfax set up an office at Greenway Court (Virginia) in July 1749 and began to sell land in the Shenandoah Valley, Hite sued Fairfax for recovery of his lost lands; the matter was not settled for another 40 years.4  At the same time, Fairfax lodged numerous complaints against Hite, including the irrefutable charge that Hite reduced the value of unpatented lands by allowing a few settlers to claim most of the lands along waterways.5 

HEJC 4_1

The grants issued by Lord Fairfax differed from the earlier Regal grants both in the methods of payment and restrictions on the use of property. Most Fairfax grantors held their property under a system of lease and release in which a down payment was made and an annual quitrent was paid on St. Michaelmas Day.6  These grants also required that the grantor be entitled to "a full third part of all Lead, Copper, Tin, Coals, Iron Mines and Iron Oar that shall be found thereon."  These restrictions had not been included in the previously issued Regal Grants. 

Several patents were issued in the area during 1751, primarily to families who had purchased land from Jost Hite.  Some of them, such as the Lucas and Buckles families,  may have lived in this area since the early 1730's. The original patent of Edward Lucas lay on the west side of the junction of Flowing Springs Road and Halltown Pike, that of Robert Buckles adjoined Lucas on the east and extended to the edge of Samuel Taylor's 1734 patent.  Both families came to the area from an English Quaker settlement on the Delaware River, 7 and both acquired additional patents closer to the Potomac River in later years. 

While the conflict between Hite and Fairfax continued, a larger struggle was developing that would dramatically affect a wider area.  The Treaty of Lancaster (1744) had accelerated the expansion of Virginia's western frontier and intensified the conflict with the French and Indians over land rights.  During the same year, France and England found themselves on opposing sides in the current conflict with Spain and the War of Austrian Succession.  By 1753, France had drawn Ohio Indian tribes, including the Shawnees, Delawares, and Mingoes, away from their allegiance to the Iroquois.  Most Indians vanished from the Virginia and Maryland frontier during the spring of 1754, having been enlisted by the French to help overrun the Shenandoah Valley.8  Fighting broke out in Pennsylvania during July of that year. 

Despite the threat of Indian attack, settlers continued to migrate to the area.  First upon the scene was Melchior Engle [1], who received his patent (to the west near Duffields) in January 1754.  During the next year, grants were issued to Thomas Mayburry, Joseph McCamish, Richard Barber, William Wright, and John Carney (Figure 4-2).  Mayburry's grant encompassed the mouth of Elk Run on the Potomac River, and western portions of Elk Run became part of the Engle and McCamish tracts.  Land purchased by the other three grantees lay north and west of River Bend.  Samuel Taylor and Robert Buckles acquired new patents during the same period. 

This sudden wave of settlement appears to have been part of Virginia's plan to prevent France's access to the Tidewater area.  Thus settlers arriving from 1751 to 1765 became part of Virginia's first line of defence. 

The fate of all these families cannot be presented here, but the Buckles and Engles must be mentioned because of their role in the development of the Bakerton area. 


Robert Buckles [1] came to the area with his wife Ann Brown from an English Quaker settlement on the Delaware River.9  The actual time of his arrival is not known, but the couple probably came to the area about the same time as their neighbor, Edward Lucas.  Buckles' original patent of 407 acres was issued on June 14, 1751, and it is located just east of the junction of Flowing Springs Road and Halltown Pike.  The easternmost line of this grant adjoined Samuel Taylor's 1734 patent.  He acquired a 403-acre patent in 1754 adjoining the southeastern tip of his original grant and the southern boundary of Samuel Taylor's 1754 purchase.  The Buckles family, like the Engles, would later acquire additional land between Halltown Pike and the Potomac River.  As later chapters will show, the Buckles family became deeply involved in the conflicts during the French-Indian War and the Revolution. 


The land originally settled by the Engles is outside of the intended scope of this work, yet details of Engle family history shed light on the early settlement of the area and the controversy surrounding the Katrina Bierlin tombstone mentioned in the previous chapter.  In addition, Engle land ownership expanded eastward, toward the Potomac River during the 18th century, and many of the social ties existing between the Elk Branch-Duffields neighborhood and the Bakerton area are the result of this family's movements.  Melchior Engle [1], the progenitor of the Engle family in West Virginia, arrived in Pennsylvania in the early 1730's and was naturalized in 1743.  His mother Catherine married widower John Michael Beyerle after the death of Melchior's father; J.M. Beyerle is known to have arrived from Germany in 1730.10  Melchior Engle received a patent to 397 acres near Duffields on January 1, 1754, and purchased another 105 acres in June of the same year from his neighbor Thomas Hart.11  Engle probably brought his wife Magdelena (Mary) and sons John [5], George [7], Michael [4], William [6], and Philip [3] to the area from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, shortly before this time.  However, the land may have been occupied by Engle relations several decades before he arrived.  Family tradition suggests that Jacob Engle, who arrived in Philadelphia with his father Paul in 1682, moved to the Duffields area in 1707 and built a fort.12 

HEJC 4_2

If this tradition is true, then Jacob Engle is probably a relative of Melchior.  According to one source, Cattana Biern was the daughter of John Biern, one of the men said to have helped Jacob Engle establish a fort at Duffields in 1707.  She is supposed to have been killed in an Indian attack on the fort; the sandstone marker with the disputed date was reportedly brought from Philadelphia to mark the spot where she was buried.13  If such a story is to be believed, the Jacob Engle settlement would be one of the earliest in Jefferson County and the woman beneath the tombstone is not a member of the Engle family. A more conservative interpretation holds that Melchior's mother, Catherine Beyerle, accompanied her son to his land grant and died there in 1757.  Death records for Catherine Beyerle have not been found, and there is no evidence that she made such a journey.14  If this version is true, her grave is still one of the earliest surviving in the area, but numerous settlers had arrived by that time. 

Melchior Engle was a saddler by profession, but it is not known if he continued this trade after he moved to the area.  He did own a substantial number of horses and cattle, and farming appears to have been the principal occupation of Engle and his sons.  He also operated a small still, possibly to convert part of his crop into a more portable commodity.  Melchior Engle was not a slave owner, even though later generations of Engles used slave labor on their farms.  Engle's arrival in the area on the eve of the French-Indian War, his ownership of a pair of pistols, and his sons' subsequent service in the American Revolution suggest that he and his family actively defended their farm while their were gaining a foothold on the land.15 

Melchior Engle died in 1760 and was buried in the graveyard at Duffields near the resting place of Catanna Biern.  He left 100 acres adjacent to John Wright and Nicholas Parker to Philip Engle, Sr. [3], 100 acres adjacent to Joseph Darke and John Humphreys to Michael Engle [4], and the rest to his wife Mary to be divided equally between sons John [5], George [7], and William [6] at her death.  His sons John, George, Michael, William, and Philip remained on their father's property until shortly before the Revolution.16 

Although several families had moved into the area by the end of the decade, there had been little substantial development during this period.  A grist mill may have been operational on Elk Run at this time, and a mill and forge had been constructed by Gersham Keyes and William Vestal on the Shenandoah River.  There is no evidence that local residents had built a church.  Most of the residents of the area probably lived isolated from their neighbors in fortified houses surrounded by a few acres of cultivated land.  Before substantial agricultural and industrial development could occur, the Indian menace would have to be dealt with. 


1. Copied from portion of map prepared by Maj. William Gooch for Lord Fairfax, 1736-1737, Library of Congress. 

2. Thomas Scharf, History of Western Maryland, (Baltimore: Regional Publishing Co.), pp. 982-986. 

3. Rice, pp. 24-25.  In June 1744, the Six Nations had given up all claims to the Shenandoah Valley in the Treaty of Lancaster (Jennings, pp. 356-360). 

4. Elizabeth K. Rogers, "The Hite v Fairfax Suit," Mag. of Jeff. County Hist. Soc., 25 (1959: 15-27.  Clifford S. Musser, Two Hundred Years' History of Shepherdstown (Shepherdstown: The Independent, 1931), pp. 169-170. 

5. Rogers, p. 20. 

6. Rice, p. 25. 

7. Mrs.  Frank Buckles in Christine Bergen Papers, vol. 3, pp. 74-77, Berkeley County, W.Va., Court House. 

8.  Williams, History of Frederick County, p. 28. 

9. Mrs. Frank Buckles in Christine Bergen Papers, vol. 3, pp. 74- 77. 

10. Winfield S. Engle, The Melchor Engle Family History and Genealogy (Lima, Ohio: Published by the Author, 1940), pp. 16- 17. 

11. Deed Book 3, pp. 261-262, Winchester, Va. 

12. Lodonzo C. Engle (1866-1942), "A Brief by L.C. Engle on the Origin of the Engle Name," undated typescript in the possession of Kenneth and Donna Kidwiler of Engle, West Virginia, pp. 5-7. Another history of the Engle family, written by Jessie Engle Johnson (1850-1915), repeats the tradition of a fort being established in 1707 but fails to mention Jacob Engle's name (excerpted in Winfield Engle, p. 32).  James M. Engle's History of the Engle Family (Washington, D.C., 1906) gives few specifics about early settlement. 

13. Lodonzo C. Engle, p. 7. 

14. Millard K. Bushong, pp. 12-13. 

15. Will Book 2, p. 388, Winchester, Va. 

16. Winfield S. Engle, pp. 24-32; Will Book 2, p. 388, Winchester, Va. 

V.    THE FRENCH-INDIAN WAR (1754-1763)