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Early History

Virgina | North Carolina | South Carolina | Kentucky | Indiana


The earliest records of our known ancestors find them in Virginia. In 1736, a survey of land owned by Lord Fairfax of England reveals the names of three Falkenberg households: Henry, Jacob and Andrew. These three men appear in various documents for the next nine years such as petitions for roads, court cases and a baptism, and their surnames are written as "folkenburrough", "Falkenborough", "Fulkenburgh" and others. In a 1743 petition, the name John Falkenburg is found which might indicate that one of Henry, Jacob or Andrew's sons came of age and was old enough to start signing as an adult. I believe that the Henry mentioned in these records is our Henry Falconbury (born about 1700) who was the father of Isaac Falconbury (born around 1725) and the grandfather of Jacob Falconbury, Senior (1757 - 1844).

Unfortunately for these families, a dispute arose over their possession of the land. The Governor and Council of Virginia, in 1730, issued the right to settle 10,000 acres of land around the Shenandoah River to John Van Metre. If he could get 20 other families to settle in that area he would receive another 20,000 acres and his brother, Isaac, received another 10,000 acres. By 1731, the rights to all 40,000 acres had been transferred to Josh Hite. Unknown to all of those involved, this land had already been granted by the King of England several decades before and was the rightful property of Lord Fairfax. He came to Virginia in 1735 and undertook legal action against Josh Hite and his business partners. This legal dispute was not resolved until 1786 which was, of course, after the close of the Revolutionary War and, by that time, both Hite and Lord Fairfax had died.

North Carolina

Due to the impending legal difficulties, many families started moving out of that area of Virginia. The last Virginia record of the Faulkenburgs is dated March 13, 1745, where Henry Fulkinburg is instructed to help oversee construction of a road by the Virginia Court in Orange County. The next recorded information for Henry is less than two years later in the form of a warrant for land from the North Carolina Governor's office dated November 26, 1746. The land was situated around the Pee Dee River in Bladen County which later became Anson County.

During this period of time in America, life in the untamed wilderness was tough. To get to the new frontiers, settlers blazed trails through heavy forests, crossed mountains and rivers, cut down the trees to build their homes, cleared the land, and planted and raised their crops. Meanwhile, they had to be wary of potentially hostile Indians. If this was not bad enough, the government also laid its share of burdens upon the early pioneers.

Even though the population in the western part of North Carolina was growing, their representation in state affairs was not on the same level as the more established eastern communities. They received few benefits from the government but they were still taxed for services that were enjoyed mainly by those in the east. The local offices were held by men who basically purchased the offices and saw those offices as a way of making money. Corruption was found at all levels of government. By 1765, the settlers of the western regions were at a breaking point. They wanted the right to "regulate" their local governments and end their unfair treatment so they began to form into groups known as the "Regulators". For three years they attempted to bring change peacefully but it became apparent to them that nobody was concerned about their situation.

On April 21, 1768, 40 armed men went to the Anson County court house and took it over to protest. They were calmed down and soon left but, a week later, about one hundred men returned. Stopping court proceedings, they considered tearing down the court house and the jail but finally decided to let the buildings stand and eventually dispersed. Samuel Spencer, of the Anson County court, wrote to Governor Tryon about the situation. The Governor responded by ordering Spencer to raise a militia to keep the peace and uphold the law but also suggested that the settlers send a petition concerning their concerns to him or to the General Assembley. A petition, which was signed by ninety-nine men including Andrew Fortinberry, John Fretinberry and Henry Frostinberry, was sent to the Governor who replied in a letter dated August 19, 1768.

One of the Regulator leaders, Solomon Gross, was later arrested on charges that the other Regulators felt were false. Having sworn to defend each other, some of the men went to the Anson County jail on February 27, 1769, and tore it down, freeing Gross. The Falconburys were part of that group and they were named in a group of 33 men for whom arrest warrants were issued.

A petition known as the "Regulators Petition" was signed later that year on October 9, in Anson County. The petition listed seven grievances the people had about inequities in taxation, oppressively high fees, and unfair treatment. The document lists seventeen provisions that would provide relief and cites their right to do so as allowed by the Bill of Rights passed under King Charles I and the Act of Settlement of the Crown of the Revolution. There are three columns of signatures. Near the top of the first column is the name "Isaac Falconberg" and near the bottom of column two are the signatures of "John Falconbery", "Andrew Falconbery", "Isaac Falconbert Junr" and "Henry Falconbery". Read the petition along with a list of the signers. In this particular site, John Falconberry's name is missing from the list of signers. At this site, a brief description of the document is given along with the list of those who signed. John's name appears in this list just above Andrew Falconbery's name. There is no record of any subsequent activities by the Anson County Regulators. It is likely that one of the Isaac Falconberry listings is the son of Henry and the father of Jacob. It is possible that the Henry Falconberry who signed the petition was Isaac's father; he would have been about 69 years old at the time.

There were Regulator organizations in other counties that continued to operate. On September 24, 1770, the Orange County group took over the court house at Hillsborough and, on May 16, 1771, a battle occurred between the Royal Militia and the Regulators at Alamance Creek in Orange County. The Regulators were defeated and Governor Tryon had six of them hanged although he offered clemency to the rest. After this, many of the settlers in the area began moving on to other areas. It appears, however, that Henry, Isaac and Jacob stayed. Jacob was living in Anson County when he joined the army and fought against the British in the Revolutionary War. There are records of land being bought and sold by these three ancestors of ours up through 1782. In that year, Jacob and his wife, Charity, sold 200 acres of land to Samuel Spencer. In December of that same year, Jacob and Isaac Falkenborough were ordered to pay damages to Thomas Wade and their property was sold.

South Carolina

Sometime after 1782, Jacob moved to South Carolina, settling in the Orangeburgh District. He is listed there in the 1790 census with seven people in the household: one male over 16, two males under 16 and four females. In August of that year, he received 600 acres of land in that district from the state and, in 1793, received an additional 373 acres. In 1800, Jacob Fortenbury of Chester County, South Carolina recorded a deed in Lancaster County. In this document he waived any claim he might have on his former property in North Carolina and, in the document, it is stated that Jacob was the "son and heir" of Isaac Fortenberry. Jacob can not be found in any listings of the 1800 census.


Jacob may have already left South Carolina at the time of the 1800 census. Our next records about him come from Lincoln County, Kentucky where, on January 9, 1804 he claimed 62 acres of land on Fishing Creek and which was granted on March 5, 1804. Jacob would have had to already settled on the land and improved it in order to get the grant. Additionally, some records indicate that Jacob's son, Benjamin Franklin Falconbury, was born in Kentucky in 1801 or 1802. Thus, the evidence seems to support the idea that he moved his family to Lincoln County sometime between 1801 and 1803. On May 8, 1822, Jacob obtained an additional 50 acres that joined his current 62 acres.


Jacob and Charity sold their land to their son, William, on October 3, 1826. Even though Jacob was about 69 years old and his wife was about the same age, they packed up and moved on to Decatur County, Indiana. Most of their children stayed behind but it appears that Joseph, Benjamin, Henry Baker and Catherine moved with Jacob and Charity. Henry married Mary Armstrong on October 2, 1828, and Catherine married John Houk, Junior, on July 7, 1831. Jacob and Charity and Joseph, Benjamin and Henry are all on the 1830 census but Charity died sometime between then and 1836 because Jacob is known to have married Lavina Brown on January 29, 1836, in Jennings County. On August 5, 1836, Jacob received 40 acres of land which he sold on July 11, 1844 to his son Joseph. Jacob died on November 2, 1844 at the age of 87 years, 8 months and 19 days.

The preceding information came from the following sources which contain more details you may be interested in reading:
 Criminger, Adrianne Fortenberry; The Fortenberry Families of Southern Mississippi; (Southern Historical Press, 1984).
 Jillson, Willard Rouse. The Kentucky Land Grants, - Vol. I-II (2). Louisville, KY: Filson Club Publications, 1925.
 Reynolds, Lyman Foster: Jacob Falconbury 1757 - 1844; (Self-published work, 1993).

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