Second in a series of articles celebrating the tenth anniversary of Craig Valley Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
In 1775, James Trenor left Ireland and landed in Baltimore, Maryland. He soon traveled to Bedford County, Virginia. From there, in 1780, he enlisted in the Continental Army with a light infantry regiment under Col. George Gibson. He was described as having brown hair, grey eyes, fair complexion and being 5’ 7” tall. In January of 1782, the following was written by his commanding officer:
“I do hereby certify that Mr. James Trenor served eighteen months in the Virginia Line, part of the time as a Sergeant and the other as Issuing Commissary. Both of which stations, his conduct gained him the esteem of his superiors, and the friendship of his equals – as he is now retiring from the service, for want of employment I can from my own knowledge venture to recommend him as a man very capable of business.”
James married Elizabeth Goggin of Bedford in 1786, and they established their homeplace in the Sinking Creek Valley of what was then Botetourt County. There is no indication that he ever owned land in Bedford, but by the time of his death in 1834 he held over 2,700 acres reaching into what later became West Virginia and Kentucky. These landholdings indicate he was a good farmer and manager. Additionally, he was a Deputy Sheriff for Botetourt County in 1784, a sheriff from 1811 to 1813 and for twenty years served as a Commissioner of the Revenue for a designated district of the county.
Elizabeth died in 1826. Curiously, her funeral was preached one year later by Rev. Nicholas Carper. James himself died suddenly on July 3, 1834, while in Fincastle, the county seat of Botetourt.
James and Elizabeth had five children. Their only daughter was Mary Kyle, known as Polly, who married John McIver and had seven children. Of her four sons, two died in childhood according to a family Bible. The third was George Henry Trenor who married Sarah Garwood and had one child, Garwood Goggin Trenor.
The fifth child of James and Elizabeth was James Rowland Trenor, and he married Sarah Handley in 1824. Their marriage was performed by Henry Holstein (Jr.), whose family is connected to the cabin currently being reconstructed by the Craig County Historical Society. James and Sarah had three children. The third was still-born, and Sarah died the following day in 1828.
One year later, James Rowland Trenor married Ann Lake and went on to have eight more children.
Many descendants of Revolutionary Soldier James Trenor remain in the area today which became Giles County in 1806 and Craig County in 1851. Some of the original acreage, the family Bible, and other artifacts are owned and treasured by family members. One such is Jean Hypes Bane who spent over ten years compiling research into “A History of James Trenor and Some of His Descendants.” This valuable collection of documents and family history is available at amazon.com and in many area libraries. Jean, whose brother C.D. Hypes was a longtime teacher at New Castle High School, currently lives in Pearisburg and is a member of George Pearis Chapter, DAR. She is a descendant of James Rowland and Sarah Handley Trenor.
Other DAR members of this family include Sarah Fisher, Jeanette Kremer and Jean’s daughter, Becky. For information about joining DAR to honor your ancestor, please visit www.dar.org or call Craig Valley members Diane Givens at 540-580-3745 or Margaret Hines, 540-864-8447.
– Submitted by Craig Valley NSDAR