Changing Times for James & Agnes
By the end of 1753, James and Agnes had completed their family. Both of them were 39 years old, and Agnes had just given birth to her last son, Edmund. They were established property owners in one of the largest and most influential colonies in North America. Virginia would continue to play a major role in the historical events that were beginning to unfold. The city of Williamsburg had been chosen as the capital of the Commonwealth, and “it was here that the convention adopted the Virginia Bill of Rights on June 12, 1776.” (Ref 1026) There was a restless wind of change that was blowing, however, and the repercussions would be felt in more than just the Old Dominion. The events leading up to the Revolutionary War and the final break with Great Britain were rooted in problems that had been simmering for quite some time.
Photos from Colonial Williamsburg
We know that James and Agnes were both born in Gloucester County, but the years following their marriage would find them living in new counties being formed further inland. The maps below show the settlement path the couple took during the years from their own birth to just prior to their move to Kentucky.
The following map gives us a good idea of how their world changed in the nine years most of the Ware children were being born. Shaded areas represent newly formed counties from 1741 to 1750. Virginia was growing as quickly as the Ware family.
With growth comes change, however, and the religious climate of Virginia was evolving as well. As author Shelley D. Bailess wrote:
“The period from 1769 to 1775 saw the rise of the Baptist evangelist, an increase in the number of converts and churches and as a result, more determined persecution from the Anglican establishment . . . . By the time of the American Revolution, Separate Baptists numbered more than ten thousand, and by 1790, there were more than two hundred Baptist churches and one hundred and fifty ordained ministers in the denomination in Virginia. Their enthusiasm, the rapid rise in their membership, and their place in the social order created an environment of opposition that soon developed into open oppression - and resulted in the drive for religious liberty in Virginia.” (Ref. 2567)
From documents and records found in the Virginia and Kentucky archives, a picture appears which leads us to believe that James Ware Sr. was highly involved in this exploding religious movement. There were many vibrant, inspiring ministers who adhered to this new faith, and each of the major Baptist ministers mentioned below (Hickman, Taylor, Craig, and Marshall) were acquainted with (and had interactions with) James and his family in some way. The following timeline and attached documents with explanations will support the conclusion that James Ware Sr. came to Kentucky with the Traveling Church.
X JAMES Sr. X HICKMAN X JAMES Jr. X TAYLOR X CRAIG X MARSHALL X SINGLETON
1767 – On November 20, 1767, a new church is started and named Upper Spotsylvania Baptist Church. (Spotsylvania and Caroline Counties had both been formed in the 1720s as the population moved further inland from Gloucester.) One of the members of the new church is Christopher Singleton who will later come to the support of James Ware Sr.
BAPTIST CHURCH by Oscar M. Darter, 1960 (Richmond, Va.), citing the
American Baptist Historical Society, Crozier Theological Seminary,Chester, Penn
1768 – William Marshall is converted and begins preaching in the Shenandoah area of Virginia (i.e., Frederick County) where James Jr. (Dr. James Ware) will later live in 1770.
1769 – James Sr. and James Jr. both start out living in Caroline County, but James Jr. ends up moving to Winchester, Virginia - in Frederick County.
Frederick Co. is blue, Spotsylvania Co. is red, and Caroline Co. is green
Marshall has been preaching in the area and performed the first baptism in the Shenandoah River. John Taylor is converted by Marshall and begins preaching.
– Lewis Craig becomes
of Upper Spotsylvania Church where several references tell us James Sr. attended.
At age 56, James Sr. and his
wife, Agnes, start to sell off
their property which they own in Spotsylvania. (See below)
Co., VA. James WARE & wife Agnes of
Caroline Co., VA, to John CHICK of Hanover Co., VA, 100 acres
Spotsylvania County for £1, 5s.
Witnesses to the deed were Wm. CROW, Francis BABER,
WARE. On this same
date, John CHICK
witnessed several other deeds from James & Agnes WARE to
for parcels of land in St. George's Parish, Spotsylvania Co. In all, James &
Agnes WARE conveyed 8 parcels of
land on May 7, 1770. Along
with John CHICK, the grantees were Nathaniel HILL of Hanover Co., James
of Caroline Co., Ezekiel MITCHELL of Caroline Co., Humphrey HALEY of
Co., Thos. UPSHAW of Essex Co., Wm. CROW of King & Queen Co.,
BABER of Caroline Co. (Spots.
VA, Deed Book G, 1766-1771).
On May 7, 1770, in Spotsylvania County, the couple “held a land lottery selling 1,000 acres, in 100 acre increments, which were drawn in Ware’s Lottery.” (Ref. 6,379) The Virginia County Deed Book states that one of those transactions was between “James Ware and Agnes, his wife, of Caroline County to Ezekiah Mitchell of said county.” (Ref. 5) On the same date, “James Ware and Agnes (his wife of Caroline County) deeded to Nathaniel Hill 100 acres in St. George Parish Spotsylvania County, which land Hill won as a prize in the Ware’s Lottery.”
the Spotsylvania County Records of 1721-1800, the
transactions were also done by James Sr. and Agnes
during this time:
James Ware and Agnes
his wife of Caroline Co. to James Riddle of said county - 100 acres in
Spotsylvania Co., in St. George Parish which said land was drawn in
James Ware and Agnes
his wife of Caroline Co. to Humphrey Haley of said county – 100 acres
George Parish, Spotsylvania Co. drawn in Ware’s Lottery
James Ware and Agnes
his wife of Caroline Co. to Thomas Upshaw of Essex Co. – 100 acres in
George Parish, Spotsylvania Co. drawn in Ware’s Lottery
James Ware and Agnes
his wife of Caroline Co. to William Crow of King
& Queen Co. – 100 acres in St. George Parish, Spotsylvania Co.
May 7, 1770 James Ware of Caroline Co. and Agnes, his wife, to Francis Barber of same county – 100 acres in St. George Parish, Spotsylvania Co. drawn in Ware’s Lottery
1771 – Louis Craig is arrested in Caroline County (where James Sr. and Agnes still live) for preaching. James Sr. is also arrested for preaching in Fredericksburg, the county seat for Spotsylvania.
1772 - James Ware Sr. is arrested for preaching in Caroline County and is given aide by Christopher Singleton. James Sr. and Agnes sell some of their last land in Spotsylvania, and the transaction is recorded by Nathaniel Holloway who will also be arrested for preaching in Caroline County that year. (See following documentation for land sale and the arrest of James Ware Sr.)
Dec. 5, 1772 James Ware and Agnes, his wife, of Caroline County, to John Knight of Spts. Co. 15 Lbs curr. 100 acres in Spts. Co. Nathaniel Holloway, Thomas Wisdom. March 18, 1772
Spotsylvania County Records Crozier, page 296
“In Caroline Co. VA Christopher and his family supported a Baptist minister, James Ware, who was being persecuted for preaching the first noted open, public sermon (in James Pittman's tavern). Christopher Singleton is noted as a "Powerful friend" and being a "rich planter of the great landlord caste.’" Coastal Carolina
“. . . there had been violent opposition to the Baptists in that neighborhood, the parson of the parish preaching against them, and warrants being issued for the apprehension of Lewis Craig, Edward Herndon, Bartholomew Choning, James Goolrick, James Ware and James Pitman, all of whom were thrown in prison.”A History of the Ten Baptist Churches by John Taylor, 2nd Edition (1827)
Meanwhile, as James Sr. is preaching, James Jr. is getting established in his new home in Winchester.
“In October 1772, James Ware was appointed overseer of the road leading from Berry’s Ferry (where US Route 50 crosses the Shenandoah River) to Winchester. Part of this old road is still in use and crosses the road leading from Boyce to Old Chapel near New Market.” (Ref. 203, 272, 322)
Later, in 1782, it is recorded that James, “along with Edward Smith and other inhabitants of Winchester, communicated with the Executive of Virginia. They were setting forth reasons why the British prisoners [being held] in barracks near Winchester should not be moved.” (Ref. 372) (Calendar of VA state papers) These soldiers had been “part of the army of General John Burgoyne, who was defeated at Saratoga in 1777 by General Horatio Gates.” (Ref. 2570)
1773 - James Sr. is still attending Upper Spotsylvania Church. There is another “Ware” activist who gets arrested, but he is not from the same family tree. This “Robert” Ware lived and preached around Essex County, and he never moved to Kentucky. The following is taken from a book by Alfred Bagby titled King and Queen County, Virginia, published in 1908, and it shows that Robert never left Virginia:
The following list was found in the book Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia by Lewis Peyton Little (J. P. Bell Co., Inc., Lynchburg, VA, 1938.) It shows where the two Ware men resided and the connection between Louis Craig and James Ware.
1. Burrus, John - Jailed for preaching
2. Choning, Bartholomew - Jailed for (?)
3. Craig, Lewis - Arrested and required to give bond
4. Craig, Lewis - Jailed for preaching “Three months”
5. Craig, Lewis - Carried to Williamsburg on habeas corpus
6. Goolrich, James - Jailed for preaching
7. Herndon, Edward - Jailed for preaching
8. Pitman, Hipkins - Arrested and threatened with whipping
9. Pitman,James - Jailed for preaching “Sixteen days”
10. Pitts, Younger - Arrested, abused and released
11. Waller, John - Jerked off stage—head beaten against ground
12. Waller, John - Whipped severely by the Sheriff
13. Waller, John - Jailed for preaching (Ten days)
14. Ware, James - Jailed for preaching (Sixteen days)
15. Young, John - Jailed for preaching (Five or six months)
1775 – Taylor visits Kentucky and stays about a year but then returns to Virginia where he will soon meet James Jr. in Winchester. Christopher Singleton, who had come to the aide of James Sr. when he was arrested, moves to Kentucky. Lewis Craig (although still preaching for the church) becomes a verbal and adamant proponent for the fight against England.
1776 – The country is now at war with Great Britain, and both James Ware Jr. and James Ware Sr. do patriotic service in one way or another. (See documentation below) There is also a great revival in Upper Spotsylvania Church, and over 100 people are added to its membership.
1777 – James Sr. and Agnes Ware still in Caroline County
Forks of Elkhorn Church, by Emina Jett Darnell, 1939
1778 – Plans are discussed at Upper Spotsylvania Church about moving to Kentucky.
1779 – The winter weather this year is unusually bitter. “It was fixed in the minds
of the early pioneers as the ‘Hard Winter of 1779-1780’ . . . heavy snows and low
temperatures brought extreme distress to human and beast over an extended time.”
(Ref. 2570) Lewis Craig comes with Captain William Ellis to explore the possibility of
moving to Kentucky. (It will take two years to make all the preparations.) Virginia is
authorized to send militia into South Carolina – thereby laying the groundwork for
Nicholas Ware (who will serve there) to make his future decision to permanently
move to the area. Nicholas, son of James Sr. and brother of James Jr., had been
attending Broad Run Baptist Church in nearby Fauquier County with his wife since
By his military record, we know Nicholas served in South Carolina, and according to
T. E. Campbell in his book titled Colonial Caroline, A History of Caroline County,
Virginia, Nicholas was “listed as a Lieutenant in the Militia in the year 1762, but he
eventually reached the rank of Colonel.” In 1783, Nicholas would take his wife and
family to South Carolina to “start the Turkey Creek Baptist Church.” Minutes of Broad Run
Baptist Church, Fauquier Co., Va., 1762-1872.
“NICHOLAS WARE OCT 25 DISMISSED TO SOUTH CAROLINA -
MARTHA WARE OCT 25, 1783 - DISMISSED TO SOUTH CAROLINA”
Minutes of Broad Run Baptist Church, Fauquier Co., Va., 1762-1872.
1780 – The capital of Virginia is moved from Williamsburg to Richmond. (Ref. 2570) A land warrant (dated March 22, 1780) for 3,000 acres in Kentucky “for military
service rendered” is given to James Ware Jr. He chose not to move to Kentucky
until almost ten years later, but he obviously was looking at his options because he
did contact a man named Simon Kenton, a known surveyor and land speculator.
Kenton had mixed reputation. Some thought of him as a folk hero, and others found
some of his actions unscrupulous. Not only did he have an unfavorable interaction
with James Jr., but another lawsuit followed in 1795 between Simon and the eldest
son of James, Thompson Ware.
This day came
William Smith of [illegible] before me John A. Woodcock, a Justice of
of same county, who being of full age deposeth and saith that about the
first of June 1780, being in Kentucky and
empowered to purchase Land, for Mr. James Ware, he
the deponent agreed with a certain Simon Kenton of Kentucky for 1000
Land about 2 or 3 miles from the big salt spring on Licking, that the
Kenton on condition that the sd. Smith would pay him L100 in hand and
when sd. Land was surveyed, ... sd. Kenton on his part would have the
surveyed, and a fee Simple made there to .... sd. Land was first rate
had a good Spring thereon .... He agreed to warrant and defend the same
against all persons whatsoever ... sworn to before me this 17th day of
1789. Later on, the
purchaser, who did
not take possession of the land for eight or nine years, feared it
prove as fertile as Kenton had said, and threatened to sue Kenton; but
evidently had the whip-hand in the controversy, for the land being out
wilderness, the purchaser did not know its exact location, and when he
threatened suit, and asked to be shown it, Kenton "swore that he would
show it at all."
[Letter of James Ware, Nov. 29, 1789.]
between Thompson Ware and Simon
1795, Mason County, Kentucky
The document reads: "Know all men by
these present that I, Simon Kenton of the County of Mason &
Kentucky, am held & firmly bound unto Thompson
Ware of the County & State aforesaid in the Penal Sum
of Three Hundred
pounds Good & Lawful money of Kentucky; I bind myself my heirs
Admors and Assigns firmly by these present sealed with my seal and
6th day of April 1795. The Condition of the above obligation is such
the above bound Simon Kenton his Heirs Exors and Admors or assigns do
well & truly pay unto the above named Thompson
Ware & his Heirs the just & full sum of One
Hundred & fifty
pounds in like money as mentioned above, on or before the 1st day of
next ensuing for & in consideration of 1000 acres of land sold
Kenton then this obligation to be void else to remain in full force
virtue in Law. (signed) Simon Kenton."
1781 - This was the big year for James Ware Sr. and the Upper Spotsylvania Church as the congregation of about 200 people decided to follow Lewis Craig into Kentucky. Marshall had also moved to Kentucky from the Shenandoah region and was followed shortly by what would become known as the Traveling Church. According to author Dalla Bogan, “One group, numbering about 500, which included the entire Upper Spotsylvania Baptist Church congregation . . . passed through the gap in 1781. As was common custom, they had to abandon their wagons, loaded with personal items, and walk the mountain trail with only what they could carry or load on horses.” It was a journey that required great courage, fortitude, and faith beyond measure. “The Travelling Church was perhaps less an organized church and more of a traveling band of disciples (some church members and some simply pilgrims) seeking a better life in Kentucky.” (Wikipedia)
Estimates for the size of the Traveling Church range between 500 and 600 people. The largest group was made up of church members, their children, and their slaves. Other emigrants who wished to travel in a large company for safety also joined in. Military guidance was provided by Captain William Ellis, a revolutionary soldier and pioneer who had previously visited Kentucky in 1779. Ellis would become one of the foremost settlers in early Kentucky and an early member of the Bryant's Station and David's Fork churches. Some Ware family members would also attend the David’s Fork church later.
As John Taylor wrote in his diary, the church in Virginia “prospered as long as Mr. Craig remained with it in its first location. Mr. Craig continued to serve Upper Spotsylvania church as pastor, till 1781, when he moved to Kentucky. So strongly was the church attached to him, that most of its members came with him.” With the history and interaction that James Ware Sr. had with Lewis Craig in Virginia, it would make sense that he and Agnes would become part of this massive exodus to Kentucky. (We know the Ware patriarch was there prior to 1790 because of the date on his will.) The following pieces of information would seem to back up this theory.
George Ranck, in his history of the Traveling Church written in 1891, gave “a partial list of the families that were part of this historic journey.” He wrote: “How many died on the way, how many were slain by savage foes and how many were injured for life by exposure, no records remain to tell nor is there a list extant of the heroic men and women who survived the perils of the wilderness and planted the banner of their faith at Gilbert's Creek. The names of some of them, however, have been secured and are herewith appended . . . These names were obtained from family records, ‘Ford's Repository,’ ‘Virginia Baptists,’ ‘Ten Churches’ and ‘Spencer's History of Kentucky Baptists. In most cases only the family name was given without either the names or number of the members of the family.” The names secured are:
ALLEN ELLY PRICE
ASHER EASTIN ROBINSON & Wife
BLEDSOE GARRARD RAMSEY
BOWMAN GOODLOE RUCKER
BARROW HUNT SHACKELFORD
BURBRIDGE HART SHIPP
BUCKNER HICKMAN SHOTWELL
CRAIG, Toliver & wife HICKERSON SINGLETON
CRAIG, Lewis MARTIN SMITH
CRAIG, Joseph MOORE SANDERS
CAVE, William MORTON STUART
CURD MARSHALL TODD
CARR MORRIS THOMPSON
CREATH MITCHUM WALTON
DUDLEY NOEL WOOLFOLK
DUPUY PAYNE WATKINS
DARNABY PARRISH, Timothy WALLER
DEDMAN PARRISH, James WARE
ELLIS, William & PITMAN WOOLRIDGE
ELLIS' family of 5 PRESTON YOUNG
It is interesting to draw special attention to some names listed above. These families
had close connections with James and Agnes Ware - making it logical that they
would want to travel together.
PARRISH, James - A grandson of James and Agnes (by their son Edmund) marries Joannah Parrish, the daughter of James Parrish.
CRAIG, Lewis - Clearly the Wares and Craigs were close because of the family membership in Upper Spotsylvania Church.
TODD – The full name of James’ wife was Agnes Todd Ware.
PITMAN – It was James Pitman who bailed James Ware out of jail.
SINGLETON – It was the Singleton family who aided James too.
PAYNE – A grandson of James (by son John) wed Susannah Payne.
GOODLOE – Thomas W. Goodloe would marry into the Ware family in 1844.
MARTIN – A granddaughter of James (by Edmund) wed into the Martin family.
Once they arrived at their destination and began their new church, named Gilbert’s Creek Baptist Church, records show “some of the early church member family names were Allen, Bowman, Barrow, Burnbridge, Craig, Cave, Curd, Creath, Dudley, Dedman, Ellis, Eastin, Garrard, Goodlow, Hunt, Hart, Hickman, Martin, Moore, Morton, Marshall, Norris, Payne, Pitman, Preston, Price, Robinson, Shackleford, Shipp, Singleton, Smith, Sanders, Stuart, Todd, Thompson, Walton, Woolfolk, Watkins, Ware, Wooldridge and Young.” (Ref. Spencer 1885)
(More information on the actual trip to Kentucky will follow later.)
Meanwhile, James Jr. buys land in Frederick County.
1782 - Another group, led by William Waller, comes from Spotsylvania to Kentucky. James Sr. has his land surveyed by John Buckhannon and officially filed. This property will later be purchased by Daniel Gray in 1798.
1783 – Taylor, after selling a lot of land he inherited in Virginia from an uncle, comes back to Kentucky and another group from Virginia (Orange County) arrives in the area. (Ref. 2570) Due to Indian problems, Lewis Craig and most of the congregation (i.e., James Sr.) decide to relocate by crossing the Kentucky River and moving further north. (Ref. 2570) They organize South Elkhorn Church. Taylor takes over the small congregation that is left at Gilbert’s Creek but later moves to South Elkhorn also. James Jr. has his survey for 1500 acres in Kentucky finished, and it is signed by Patrick Henry.
1784 – Official land warrants are now issued for military service. Although James Jr. is a member of an Episcopal church in Frederick Parish, he decides to visit Kentucky. He stays there all that winter. At this point, there were only two convenient routes “by which Kentucky could be approached from Virginia. The water route by way of the Forks of the Ohio River led downstream to the Falls at Louisville. The other course began in southern Virginia and followed the Kentucky Road through Cumberland Gap.” (Ref. 2570) Since James Jr., unlike his father, was coming from northern Virginia, he probably took the water route. We know for certain that he traveled by water in 1791. Hickman arrives in Garrard County and later moves to Woodford County.
According to a letter written by Charles Ware, son of James II, “In the fall of 1784, James III with his father, James Ware II, visited Kentucky and remained there all that winter. This was at the time when people lived in stations [forts].”
1785 – William Hickman moves up to South Elkhorn Church, and “under the labours of Craig, Hickman, and other visitors, South Elkhorn soon [grows] up to be a large and respectable church.” (Ref. Taylor) A committee of Hickman, Lewis Craig, James Rucker, and William Cave meet to decide the future of Gilbert’s Creek. It will ultimately be dissolved the following year.
1786 - Lewis Craig, who was chosen pastor of South Elkhorn Church at the time of its constitution, helps the church continue to prosper. He also helps organize Bryan’s Station which will become David’s Fork Baptist Church where grandchildren of James and Agnes will attend. James Ware Jr. officially patents his land grant.
Fayette County, Kentucky
Source: Land Office Grants No. 4, 1786, p. 375 (Reel 70) 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 Virginia
1787 – James Jr. enters into bond with Daniel Morgan, Marquis Calmes, and Edward Snickers in Virginia, and there is a huge Baptist revival going on where James Sr. now lives in Kentucky.
1788 – Forks of Elkhorn Church is formed as an “arm” of South Elkhorn Church - with William Hickman as the first minister. The congregation builds a log cabin but later upgrades to a frame meetinghouse with a slave gallery. (The new building was located at the crossroads of Steele’s Ferry and Lexington-Leestown Roads in order to take advantage of increasing road travel.) Woodford County is formed and “when they surveyed the line that separated the county of Franklin from Woodford, the line passed directly through the farm of James Ware Sr. and within a short distance of his log residence. It separated his farm into two almost equal parts, one in Franklin and the other in Woodford, but the residence went into Franklin County.” (Ref. 874) His home will (one day) be called Wareland.
Meanwhile, James Jr. buys more land in Frederick County in December.
1789 - James Ware Jr., at age 48, re-visits Kentucky and leaves his two sons (Thompson and James III) while he returns to Virginia to make plans for the move. James Sr., in all likelihood, makes contact with his two grandsons during this time.
Will for James Ware Sr.
1791 – Hickman goes back to Virginia for a visit. James and his two sons (William, and Edmund) are all still paying taxes in Kentucky. His other son, James Ware II, age 50, now relocates to Kentucky as well. He settles closer to the Lexington area.
Dr. Ware (James Jr.) came to Kentucky by a different route than his father, but the journey was equally difficult. “The old trail had much to be desired. It was wide enough only for packhorses and traveling folks. One source says that during the summer and fall of 1784, hostile Cherokee Indians killed more than 100 travelers on the Kentucky side of the gap. The result of this carnage was that travel in large groups was deemed most appropriate.” (Ref. 2569) Cautious travelers sought another option altogether.
“By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the population of Kentucky had swelled to more than 200,000. Many came over the Wilderness Road, the route first laid out by Daniel Boone for the Transylvania Company. But a majority of settlers avoided overland passage and made their way to Kentucky by traveling down the Ohio River.” (Ref. 2569) It is difficult to say which was the more toilsome. Lewis Craig traveled by land, and John Taylor by water.
Since Polly, the daughter of James Jr., wrote that “we descended the Ohio in flat boats in momentary apprehension of being attacked by the Indians,” we know that this second Ware migration was done by water. (Ref. 602) Family letters also tell us that James “sent out some Negroes and an overseer to make a settlement and clear some ground.” (Ref. 2) It was still a massive undertaking, but the family arrived “on June 16, 1791.” (Ref. 35G)
Samples of what flatboats looked like
“Early flatboat travelers were subject to Indian attack, so the boats were built like floating forts . . . windows, if any, were small and had sliding shutters. The walls were pierced with loopholes through which guns could be fired. Gradually, flatboats became more comfortable. The cabins were divided into chambers, and many had brick fireplaces and chimneys for heating and cooking, though a basic flatboat only had a sandbox fireplace.” (Wikipedia)
“In 1792, he built his home on the old Ironworks Pike, just east of the Bryan Station Pike. The Dr. James Ware house still stands at the intersection. . . .” (Ref. 939) James was also involved with civic duties and was appointed as a justice for Fayette County this year.
The youngest son of James and Agnes, Edmund Ware, was very active in the Forks of Elkhorn congregation. By 1792, he was elected a deacon. James Jr. would later join this church in 1801.
The three years from 1792 to 1795 were full and active ones for all the Ware family. Homes were expanded, livestock imported, babies birthed, and reputations made. The once “wild” Kentucky was, by now, the 15th state in the union.
In studying the events from 1767 to 1796, it is hard to overlook the connections between James Sr., Lewis Craig, and William Hickman. There has long been speculation on why James and Agnes would choose to sell all their property in Spotsylvania and relocate to Kentucky. With the death of their son Richard and few records for Clary, we are left with their remaining five children to further guide our investigation. With them, thankfully, there are documents to verify and substantiate what we know about them. Nicholas left the Anglican faith, moved to South Carolina, and became a charter member of the Turkey Creek Baptist Church. James Jr., in 1801, joined the Baptist church in Kentucky – as did his brothers, William and Edmund. “The Records of the Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church for 1800-1803” state that in 1801, “a meeting was held at William Ware’s.” Later, in 1812, William served on a committee to find a location for a new meetinghouse. Edmund was not only a member of the Forks of Elkhorn Church but a deacon. The only Ware son who did not convert to the Baptist faith was eldest son, John, who decided to stay in Virginia. This, alone, would lead one to think that religion played a large role in the move westward.
Although there is no hard and fast ‘proof’ that the “James Ware” identified in Caroline County (who preached and was jailed for his Baptist beliefs) is the same as the Ware patriarch who moved to Kentucky with the Traveling Church, there seems to be an abnormal amount of coincidences that would have to be reconciled for that not to be the case. We know for a fact that James Sr. and Agnes sold all their property in Spotsylvania – the very place where the Upper Spotsylvania Baptist Church was formed and became the Traveling Church. There is a documented land warrant for James Ware in the very area the church settled, and when they relocated and the Forks of Elkhorn Church was formed, we know James and his sons attended there.
Possibly the best proof of all is the Last Will and Testament of James Sr., which lets us know that (not only was he already in Kentucky in 1790), he was close enough friends with William Hickman to have him witness this important document. Tax records also verify the fact that James, William, and Edmund were all paying taxes as early as 1790. The family letters (dating back to the late 1700s) paint a clear picture that James Jr. followed his father’s exodus to Kentucky – only James Jr. chose to travel by water instead of tackling the Wilderness Road. Both methods of transportation were dangerous, and both father and sons (not to mention their wives, daughters, and other family members) endured much to secure a new life for themselves in the Bluegrass state. The rewards of their bravery, however, would be far-reaching.