Colonel John Stuart (March 17, 1749-August 18, 1823) was born in Augusta County, Virginia. A prominent pioneer, soldier, and leader, Stuart was known as the ‘‘Father of Greenbrier County.’’ He was a surveyor in the 1769 expedition of Augusta Countians to establish a permanent settlement in the Greenbrier Valley.
At his first residence near Frankford, Stuart built the first mill in present Greenbrier County in 1770. He soon moved to the Fort Spring area near Lewisburg, where he replaced his log cabin with a large stone house in 1789. Fort Spring, a refuge during Indian raids, was built near his house and placed under his command. Stuart led a Greenbrier company at the 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant and defended Greenbrier settlements during Indian raids, including the last attack on Fort Donnally in Lewisburg in 1778. His Memoir of Indian Wars and Other Occurrences, written in 1799 and published in 1833, includes an account of the Battle of Point Pleasant and Cornstalk’s murder.
One of Lewisburg’s first city trustees, Stuart was named clerk of the county in 1780, building the first clerk’s office in his own yard. As a member of the 1788 Virginia convention, he advocated ratification of the U.S. Constitution. He donated land in Lewisburg for the first courthouse and for the Old Stone Presbyterian Church. Stuart is buried in the family cemetery on his Fort Spring property.
Written by Debra K. Sullivan
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