As with many Americans, a goodly portion of my family's story begins in Virginia. My mother's father's great-grandfather, William Droddy, was born in Augusta County in 1754. His father, Daniel, was from Ireland, according to a list of Rangers serving under Captain Wm. Preston. He is listed as having joined on August 8, 1755. Next to his name is his height (5'5") and the fact that he was from Ireland. This was long before the Irish Catholic migrations to this country, and dab smack in the middle of the waves of Scots-Irish immigration. We assume that he was Scots-Irish rather than native Irish for several reasons. One, he named his first son William. Bear in mind the Battle of the Boyne was July 1, 1690, where William of Orange defeated James II and his Irish supporters. I don't think the native Irish used the name William for a couple of hundred years after that.
We know little about Daniel. In 1758, he was adjudicated a garnishee and he and his wife Elizabeth left Virginia and moved to South Carolina/Georgia. We're not completely sure. They took their youngest son, Daniel, and abscounded, leaving their three remaining children to be bound out. We're not sure if they were bound out because they had been abandoned or if they were bound out to work off their father's debt. That's one of the reasons we want to go to Virginia and do some research.
William has other mysteries. He would have been 22 at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but there is no record of his service in the American Revolution until 1783, when he served in the Virginia militia fighting Indians in the West. That qualified him as an American Patriot by the Daughters of the American Revolution. What was the doing the previous 7 years?
He claimed his bounty lands due him for his service in the militia in far western Virginia (now West Virginia). Along with Daniel Boone, he was one of the founding fathers of Kanawha County which was carved out of Greenbriar County. William was the one of the county's first coroners. Over the next 40 years, he bought and sold land and steadily moved west. He had children born in Virginia and the territories of Ohio, Illinois, and finally Missouri. He died in St. Charles, Missouri in 1824.
As much as we know about him, we don't know anything. We know even less about his wife, Ruth Ellison. A speaker at a genealogy convention once said that our ancestors want us to know about their lives and that they leave clues all over the place. This is a roadtrip for clues.
So, to celebrate my sister Michelle's 50th birthday, my mom, sister Gwen and I are flying to Pittsburg on November 3, renting a car and driving to Charleston, West Virginia to research William and his wife Ruth. We also plan to drive to Virginia and do some more research. If any of my blogging buddies live near this part of the country, be sure to let me know. I'd love to meet you.