The Greenbrier Company was one of several companies of speculators to which large land grants were given in return for settling the Virginia frontier. Land promoters were offered 1,000 acres of land for each family that actually established a homestead. Members of the company included Robert, John, William, and Charles Lewis as well as several prominent politicians of eastern Virginia.
The Greenbrier Company was granted 100,000 acres in the Greenbrier Valley in 1745. The company promoted the first settlements in the valley, largely based on surveys done in the region by Andrew Lewis, the son of John Lewis and later the commander at the Battle of Point Pleasant. Though settlers moved into the area in the 1750s, most were driven out by Indian attacks during the extended French and Indian War. Settlers returned to the Greenbrier Valley in the early 1760s.
The Greenbrier Company became embroiled in conflicting claims to its property as squatters moved into the region and established homesteads without regard to land title. In other cases land patents were granted, in lieu of payment for state service, in the region which had already been allocated to the company. West Virginia historian Otis Rice pointed out that the Greenbrier Company’s powerful political connections made this company more adept than others at protecting its property and at profiting from the sale of disputed land to squatters and holders of conflicting patents.
This Article was written by Kenneth R. Bailey
Last Revised on September 30, 2013
Rice, Otis K. The Allegheny Frontier: West Virginia Beginnings, 1730-1830. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1970.
Cite This Article
Bailey, Kenneth R. "Greenbrier Company." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 30 September 2013. Web. 23 February 2017.