An American Family History


Abraham Van Meter


The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia borders Maryland and Virginia. The first European settlers started arriving about 1730.



  also spelled Vanmeter, Vanmetre, Van Metre, Van Matre, Van Meteren, Van Maitre,  

The Dutch were the first Europeans claim land in New Jersey. The region became a territory of England in 1664 when an English fleet sailed into New York Harbor and took control of Fort Amsterdam.

Abraham Van Meter was born about 1721 in Somerset County, New Jersey. He was the son of John and Margaret Van Meter.

He married Ruth Hedges

Joseph Van Meter (1743,),
Jacob Van Meter (1745, married Isabella Evans)
Rebecca Van Meter (1746, married John Spahn)
Isaac Van Meter (1747)
Mary Van Meter (1748, married William Gorrell), and
Abraham Van Meter (1751, married Elizabeth Burns).

His second wife was Martha Roberts Wheeler.

John Van Meter (1752)
Ruth Van Meter (1753, married Reuben Foreman),
Daniel Van Meter (1755, married Ruth Harp),
Hannah Van Meter (1760, married Providence Mounts).





Opequon Creek is tributary of the Potomac River. It joins the Potomac northeast of Martinsburg and its source is at the foot of Great North Mountain. It is part of the boundary between Frederick and Clarke counties in Virginia and between Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia.

Abraham Van Metre, son of John and Margaret Van Metre, b. Somerset Co., N. J., circa 1721 ;d. in Berkeley Co., Va., circa 1783;

m. 1st circa 1742, Ruth Hedges, daughter of Joseph and Catharine (Stallkop) Hedges, of Prince George's Co., Md., sister of Solomon Hedges, Esq., who m. Rebecca, the sister of AbrahamVanMetre.When Ruth Van Metre died, he m. 2d Mrs. Martha Wheeler (nee Roberts).

By his father's will Abraham was bequeathed a tract of 100 acres of land on Opequon Creek which was purchased from Francis Prichard; another tract, also on Opequon Creek and called Allan's Hill, comprising 237 acres, purchased of Jost Hite, and still another half moiety of a property, equalling 200 acres, which Jost Hite had given his bond to purchase for John Van Metre, were also inherited by Abraham from his father. By a deed of conveyance, dated 3d May, 1768, it appears that Abraham secured the last mentioned land by patent from Lord Faifax, under date of 28 Oct., 1754 (Frederick Co., Va., Records), and 100 acres of it was granted by Abraham Van Metre to Samuel Roberts (probably a brother of his (Abraham's) second wife) by the first mentioned conveyance.

Abraham Van Metre was appointed by the Court of Frederick Co., Va., 8 March, 1748, to be "overseer of road from Simon Linders to Old Sayds."

Abraham, like all of the Van Metres who were famous grazers and cattle traders, had extensive business relations with the frontier posts that were established along the borders during the advance of the settlers towards the Ohio Valley. With the pioneers who pressed farther into the wilderness and effected settlements in the most desirable localities, Abraham and his brothers were among them....

In looking over the History of Washington Co., Pa., for the year 1772, it appears that when the grand inquest of the Quarter Sessions was held, on July 6 of that year, an indictment for riot was found against Abraham, Henry and Jacob Van Metre; and John, John, Jr., and Thomas Swan; the locality was then in what is now Greene Co., Pa. (History of Washington Co., Pa., p. 152). . .

The following is a record of one of his cattle-trading expeditions up the Ohio under date of 4 July, 1774.

Then rec of Abraham Van Meeter Three Steers & one Cow ; one Stear & one Cow markd a crop and half peny in ye neare Eare— half peny the of Eare. One Stear an markd the other markd half crop in the neare Eare and Slit in the of Eare. Being Appraised by Jacob Van Meetre & Edward Polke according to order of Capt. John Connolly Commander of Fort Dunmore. Being for the use of Government of Virginia & Appraisement to Sixteen Pounds ten Shillings. Recd by me. William Harrod [Documentary History of Dunmore's War, p. 68, Thwaites].

Abraham Van Metre acquired settlement rights to lands in Ohio Co., Va.; these were located on the waters of Short Creek, but some of it was not surveyed until 1786, long after he was deceased, but it became then the property of his heirs (Survey Book, No. 2, p. 48; Wheeling, W . Va.). ...

The following is a part of the record of the first Court held at "Black's Cabin 6. January 1777; ... & Forasmuch as the tract of land agreed upon for holding Coarts at in future doth of right appertain unto Abraham Van Meetre of Opeckan [Opequon] Creek in the County of Bartley,

Ordered therefore, that Zachariah Sprigg, Silas Hedges, Esquires be appointed to Contract and Covenant with sd Van Metre for not less than Two acres of sd tract Including the Cabbin and Spring. In behalf of this County, for the purpose of erecting and Building thereon a Coart- house, Prison and other necessary publick Building, for any sum not exceeding Twenty pounds, & Report make of their procedings therein as soon as may be to this Coart. signed, David Sheepherd" (See Ann. Carnegie Museum, Vol. III., No. 1, Dec, 1904). . .

3 Nov., 1777: "Ordered that the Sheriff pay Abraham Van Metre 20 pounds for the lands which the County took to build Court house and prison on,— out of the money by him collected of the tithables in this county." (SeeAnn.Car.Museum,Vol.III.,p.1,Dec,1904.)

A stockade was afterward erected on the Short Creek land a few miles above its juncture with the Ohio River, which became known as Van Metre's Fort. . .

In his will dated 21 Dec, 1780, and probated in Berkeley Co., Va., 18 Nov., 1783, no mention whatever is made of his wife and it may be presumed that his second wife was deceased at this date,1780. There were ten children in his family and Jacob the only one not mentioned in his will as a legatee; the sons Jacob and Isaac, with son-in-law William Gorrell, were executors.

It is said that of his children, Jacob, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Rebecca and Mary were by his first wife, Ruth Hedges (or Ruth Hedges Bentley, a widow as has been sometimes stated), and John, Ruth, Daniel and Hannah were the issue of his second wife, Mrs. Martha Wheeler Van Metre (B. F. Van Metre, Biographical and Genealogical Sketches). The older set of children seem not to have participated in the provisions of the will, and in such case it is believed that he provided for them at the time of his second marriage, if we accept the theory that there were two sets of children...






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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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