Iman family notes


Over the Hills
Eymans lived on the South Branch of the Potomac toward the Alleghenies. There were also Eymans in Rockingham. We've not found evidence of their knowing each other though it's quite likely. The distance between these two places isn't as much as it might seem. Some pretty interesting people have made the trip between these locations on foot or horseback.


The historian John Wayland's provides an account of the Spangonberg/Reutz Moravian hikes in 1748. These backwoods preachers went from the South Branch as far south as Hot Springs, then came back north to Fort Seybert and from there found a path over to Brock's Gap. That was essentially a walk from the Eymans near Petersburg on Iman's Run to Linville Creek!

"On July 25th they left the South Branch and began to climb the remarkably high mountains called the North Ridge, which are the Kittidame or Endless Mountains ...For an hour and a half they climbed the very steep ascent, but when they reached the top they surveyed in every direction an exceedingly wide region, and it seemed to them as if the whole world were at their feet. On account of its remarkable height, they called the mountain Prince Peak. In passing over the top and in descent they spent four full hours. As it was evening and they missed the road, they happened to strike an elk trail which took them between two mountains. Here they spent the night., hungry and thirsty, encamped at their fire. They were frequently visited by elks, which are numerous in these mountains."

"On the following morning, July 26th, they came to a marked path. It brought them to a salt lick which is frequented by elks and then they are usually shot by hunters. A kind spirit led them to the right way, by which they continued their journey, till they came in the evening to a German Plantation. Here Adam Roeder lives.."

Notes: Rader was a Mennonite who lived at Timberville, perhaps 5 miles north of Linville and near the creek. The Fairfax Line, surveyed less than two years before, was only a few miles to the northwest. (Now, had they turned right from Raders and taken the road down from Broadway, they'd have been at Edom before lunch!)


Underground Railroad:

During the Civil War, Mennonites and Brethren of Rockingham were deeply concerned with events. As people of peace, their homes were becoming the central battleground of an ugly war. Pressure was heavy on every able bodied person to serve. At their annual meetings, they encouraged one another to resistance to participation. West Virginia, more aligned with the Union, broke away from the Confederate portions of the state. With little alternative, many people of peace took to their horses and headed for western territory. The documented route of a group of 70 which was apprehended at Petersburg of West Virginia shows a pathway from Linville Creek to the South Branch. The group, gathering at Samuel Beery's near Chrissman's would have been meeting at Edom, and perhaps even at the Mennonite church built by Brfennemans. The proceeded directly west and walked up through Hopkins Gap, along ridges and across ravines to the Judy's on the South Fork. Their trip the next day was across Ketterman's Mountain and a walk up the South Branch of the Potomac to Petersburg where they were arrested and marched back to Staunton and off to Richmond Virginia to be imprisoned.

During the Civil War, there were a number of people of "peace" who opted to help Blacks escape from the south. A common path for the "Underground Railroad" was to proceed from Rockingham up the mountains into West Virgina, which broke away from the Confederacy, and walk up through Petersburg to catch a train to the North.


George Washington:

George Washinton's describes his days wandering through Rockingham in 1784 on his way back from the Ohio Valley. He too went a very similar path down through the South Branch and through Brock's Gap to Rockingham. In this case though, he stopped to see the neighbors!

"September 29, 1784. Proceeding up the So. Fork of the So. Branch (of Potomac) about 24 miles -- bated our Horses & obtaiined something to eat ourselves at one Rudiborts. (1)) Thence taking up a branch & following the same about 4 miles thro' a very confined & rocky path, towards the latter part of it we ascend a very steep point of the So. Branch Mountain, but which was not far across, to the No. Fork of Shanondoah;-- down which by a pretty good path which soon grew into a considerable road, we descended until we arrived at one Fishwaters in Brocks Gap, abut Eight Miles from the foot of the Mountain -- 12 from Rudiborts -- & 36 from Colon. Hites (2). This gap is occasioned by the above branch of Shannandoahs running thro' the Cacapehen & North Mountains for about 20 Miles and affords a good road, except being Stony & crossing the Water often. -- September 30, 1784. Captn. Hite returning home -- and travelled 11 or 12 Miles along the River, until I had passed thro' the Gap -- then bearing more westerly by one Bryan's (3) -- the Widow Smith's -- and one Gilberts, I arrived at Mr. Lewis's about Sundown (4)...

(1) This may be Rohrbachs who were on the South Branch and intermarried with Eymans.
(2) "Capt. Hite" would have been Abraham Hite, Jost's son who married VanMeter and resided around Moorefield.
(3) Washington apparently didn't stay with Bryan, but at least inquired perhaps to understand who owned the rather spectacular home on the north end of Edom. It was part of this property, sold by Thomas Bryan, son of Cornelius, which had already become the property of Christian Eyman and Susannah of Conestoga, and which was sold several years later to Jacob Lincoln, grand uncle of the president, who lived across the creek.
(4) There was a Felix Gilbert who was a wealthy and prominent citizen of Rockingham who furnished supplies to revolutionary troops. He was a merchant at Cross Roads (of which there are many references in the area). Gilbert had several properties within ten miles to the east and southeast of Edom. The Lewis place was 10.5 miles southeast of Harrisburg.