Sunday, July 11, 2010


I am something of an amateur historian and Botetourt County's history in particular has a great hold on me. My ancestry here goes way back, as does my husband's, and we intersect with a set of many-great grandparents back in the early 1800s. That makes us cousins but at a very great distance.

Recently I've had contact on Facebook from several folks who are Firebaughs who are interested in my husband's family history. Fortunately I have done a little research on that from time to time, which is a good thing since no one else in his immediate family seems to have an interest.

Last week one of these long-lost cousins came by for a few hours and we went off to see the ancestors.

This monument is in the Firebaugh family cemetery, which is on private property not far from where we live. It is not family-owned property anymore. I think this belongs to William Firebaugh, whose descendants populate this area.

More Firebaugh Cemetery shots. Many of these folks were buried before 1860. This is a great graveyard, complete with a big ol' tree that has uprooted some of the stones.

This is Jeanne Douglass, whose parents were Firebaughs. She is a cousin to my husband, going back to that William Firebaugh fellow who had a great many kids. The tombstone she is standing by is for her grandparents. She had not visited the grave since she was a child. This is at Haymaker Cemetery.

I had actually never been to Haymaker Cemetery myself, so I found it an interesting place to tour.

As you can see, the cemetery is next to a field.

This is the Firebaugh home place, called Stonelea. It is no longer in the family, either. Legend has it that Philip Firebaugh in 1818 rode into town with saddlebags full of gold and plopped down the money for this home and accompany acreage. The stones with which the house was built were mined on the property and the quarry is still visible if you know where to look.

This barn harkens back to the days of the ol' ancestors, too - this is pre-Civil War (1861-1865, for those who aren't history fans). I have been in this barn and it has hand-hewn logs in it; you can still see the axe marks. They built stuff to last in those days.


  1. Love the name Stonelea. My ancestors are from Germany, a place I have never visited. Your family history is very interesting!


  2. Love to learn the History that surrounds us. You and I need to spend a day at the courthouse and find our common relitive. GI

  3. I had the privilege of visiting Stonelea back in 71 when Anne and Hamp Frazier lived there. They were such wonderful stewards and didn't "update" any of the decor and you felt like you were back in time--lovely experience and beautiful people. I think Anne felt there was a friendly ghostly spirit that visited. Her son and daughter are still alive and live in Roanoke. What an interesting time for you to make these discoveries...unfolding.

  4. You're so fortunate to be able to uncover your family history so close to home. I love exploring this area's history, even if it's not my own.


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