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Wild and Unsettled

by: Garnie Rooker

Southwest Virginia was the American Frontier of the Eighteenth Century. All of West Virginia and the Virginia Counties of Giles, Tazewell, Montgomery, Fincastle and others were formed during this period.

In mid-century the Colonial government declared the entire area Off-Limits due to Indian attacks. The Clays worked their way through the mid-section of Virginia from it's earliest settlements along the James River to Southwest Virginia and the edge of the frontier.

From Maryland came John Havens, another ancestor, to the area when it barely knew the white man.

The Carters came from New Jersey to North Carolina until Virginia became somewhat safer place to inhabit.

Blakeman ancestors may well have settled in Augusta County, Virginia, during this era; an Adam Blakeman appears in early Augusta County records.


Although farmers by occupation, these hearty people were hunters, militiamen, road builders, Indian fighters and frontiersmen. The account of the 1783 Indian massacre at Clover Bottom, where the Mitchell CLAY family lived has been often recorded. Two Children were killed and the third kidnapped.

Clay organized a militia and followed the Indians north, but they were unable to save his son, who was burned at the stake in Chillicothe. Chillicothe was the name of several sites of Indian encampments in Ohio country.


Mitchell CLAY, Matthew and John FRENCH, and two of the HAVENS fought in the Battle of Point Pleasant. Although an Indian fight in Dunmore's War, this pivotal battle has been cited as the first real battle of the Revolution.

The men were asked to swear allegiance. not to the English Crown, but to the American Colonies. Notably, the HAVENS refused. The others went on to fight with their Militia Units in other battles of the Revolution.


Captain John CLAY was the same John CLAYE , who arrived at Jamestown, Virginia aboard the "The Treasurer" during February of 1613, His wife Anne or Martha, later arrived in "The Ann", also in Virginia, August of 1623.

The Clays had been married since about 1604. Records give his birth as about 1587 and death in 1656

The next generation included a son, Charles CLAY, who was born in 1638 in Charles City County, Virginia. He married HannahWILSON, daughter of John WILSON. Hannah was born abt. 1642 in Henrico County, Virginia.

The CLAYS would later prove to be part of the BLAKEMAN , HAVENS, CARTER and FRENCH heritage, although the surname CLAY through marriages eventually disappear; as our story progresses.

Succeeding Charles CLAY was Henry CLAY who was born in Henrico County, Virginia in 1672. He was not History's "Henry Clay", the statesman, who would appear a generation or two later. Our Henry CLAY married Mary MITCHELL from Swift Creek, Chesterfield, Virginia in 1693. Her parents were William and Elizabeth MITCHELL.


Henry and Mary CLAY, were succeeded by William Mitchell CLAY, born in 1710, who married Anne LEWIS. Anne gave birth to Mitchell CLAY Sr. about 17 36, who married Phoebe BELCHER in 1760, and was a cousin of the statesman Henry Clay, who served as Secretary of State from 1825-1829.

Mitchell CLAY Sr. and wife Phoebe were the first white settlers in what is now Mercer County, West Virginia. As early Pioneers, they are commemorated by the impressive tragedy of losing three of their fourteen children in the 1783 Indian Massacre described earlier.


Obedience, the daughter of Mitchell Phoebe (Belcher) CLAY Sr. was born about 1759. Obedience married John FRENCH on February 1, 1787. John, who was born about 1760 in Culpepper County, Virginia, served in the Montgomery County. Militia in the Revolution, along with his father, Matthew FRENCH. They fought at Point Pleasant and in the Carolinas At Whitsell 's Mill (maybe misspelled) March 06, 1781 and also at Guildford. Court House , March 15, 1781.

Matthew FRENCH was born Feb 2, 1732. He married Sallie PAYNE of Culpepper County, Virginia.

The FRENCH'S also had a pioneering history, going back to Matthew's father, the former John FRENCH, (younger John's grandfather) who was born about the year 1711, wife's name was Martha

A daughter of John and Obedience FRENCH, Anne, married William CARTER on November 4, 1809, William, who was born in 1785, was the son of Simeon and Catherine CARTER, who hailed from Rowen County, North Carolina. Simeon CARTER died in Tazewell County, Virginia in October 1814, at approximate age of fifty-nine years.


William CARTER came to Ohio with his son Simeon and daughter Sarah and her husband, Howard HAVENS.

They arrived in 1835 and bought land in Jackson County. The HAVENS first resided in Bloom Twp, Scioto, Ohio. (according to 1840 Census) before removing to their land in Jackson County. William Carter was a farmer, and is buried (December 1854) on the land he bought in 1835.

It appears that the Clay Heritage continued with children born to William and Anne French CARTER. James BLAKEMAN and Abigail HAVENS named their fifth child Henry Clay Blakeman, Then Henry's son, Oliver Blakeman, named his fourth child Henry Clay Blakeman , who's only son was named Henry Clay Blakeman Jr. a M.D. Whether named after History's renowned Secretary of State, Henry Clay or Captain John Clay's Grandson Henry Clay, is not certain.


A John HAVIN (or HAVENS Sr.), born between 1700 and 1706, now enters the story. Records indicate he came from the New Kent County, Maryland to Ausgusta County, Virginia and received a patent for land in Southwest Virginia in 1762. He first married Elizabeth FETTYPLACE, August 19, 1727 in Ann Arundel County, Maryland. They resided in Kent County, Maryland 1731-1741 where he was Deputy Clerk of Court and Schoolmaster, later to become Schoolmaster during 1747-1757 in Baltimore County, Maryland, during which time (after 1754) his wife Elizabeth died.

John HAVIN (or HAVENS Sr.) next married Sarah O'Brian (or O'Bryan) Widow of Cornelius O'Brian (or O'Bryan) of Augusta County, Virginia He is next recorded as Schoolmaster (1770-1784) in Botetourt, County, Virginia. John HAVENS died August 1784 in Botetourt County, Virginia.

Descending from John was a James HAVEN (or HAVENS) who was born in 1728. He is recorded as living in Frederick County, Maryland during 1759-1764, in Bedford County, Virginia during 1769-1772, in Montgomery County, Virginia in 1782 and on Bluestone River in Tazewell County, Virginia about 1800. James is mentioned earlier in this writing, along with his father or brother as having served in Dunmore's War in 1774 (Captain Burk's Company), but refused to take an Oath of allegiance. They were noted as ringleaders of the Tories in the area. The name of his wife is unknown. He died before 1816.


From the previous James HAVENS comes a son James Haven Jr., born in 1758, of whom little is known, including his wife's name. Records show him residing in Wythe County, Virginia in 1830.


And from the second comes a third James HAVENS who is shown residing in Wythe County, Virginia in 1850,

This James HAVENS and his wife Abigail FANNIN were born in 1790. Both deaths are recorded "after 1850".

Abigail FANNIN was a daughter of Acles FANNIN and Mary HAVENS. Acles being the son of Bryant FANNIN and Mary HAVENS being the daughter of James HAVENS, born 1728.

Meanwhile, let us go back to Howard HAVENS and his wife Sarah Jane CARTER. Their daughter Abigail was a pivotal force of melding the Clays, Mitchells, French, Carters and Havens, into the Blakeman ancestral lineage, when she became the wife of James D. BLAKEMAN, son of Moses BLAKEMAN and Elizabeth KING, both of whom we have family sketches.


The above information was compiled by Garnie Roberts ROOKER (deceased). Others who contributed to the compilation were Nancy AIKEN, Sandy BLAKEMAN, John CARTER of Pickering, Ohio, Robert Young CLAY, archivist in Richmond, VA, and Virginia COCKRANE. Derre MAYBURY is the person who is responsible for sharing the above information with other Havens researchers. Derre is the great granddaughter of Sarah Ann (BLAKEMAN) BRIGNER who was a sister of Caroline BLAKEMAN ROBERTS, mother of Garnie Roberts ROOKER. Derre is continuing her cousin's work and asks for the help of other researchers.

Derre has two corrections to make to the above information. The first CLAY, Capt. John was not from England , he was from WALES. His wife's name was Martha not Anne. There is documentation, which she is gathering for all of our families so they can join the DAR.

Contact Derre Maybury by email at

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