• A visit to Union 2013. If you grew up in Union, West Virginia and you have not been able to return to Monroe County recently, chances are you will enjoy a little tour of Union and the area.

    View a Picture Tour of Union & Monroe County.


Davidson-Campbell Family History by Julia Campbell Higginbotham and Mary Ann Campbell Hinkle

Davidson-Campbell Photos

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The Davidson Family History – John G. Davidson

Part One…..

John Goolman Davidson, born in Dublin, Ireland, a cooper by trade, came to America about 1755, and settled in Beverly Manor, in what was then Augusta County. Subsequently he moved with his family to the Draper-Meadow’s Settlement, and from thence in the year of 1780, he moved and located at the head of Beaver Pond Creek, in what was then Montgomery County, Virginia, now Mercer County, West Virginia. During the same year he was joined by Richard Bailey and family, and they erected a block house, a short distance below the head of Beaver Pond Springs. From John Goolman Davidson has descended all of the people of that name now in this and the adjoining counties. A portion of the city of Bluefield is built on land formerly the property of Mr. Davidson.

During the time in which John Davidson and his family were living in Draper’sMeadow settlement, a man by the last name of  Rice had stolen a hog from Davidson. He was apprehended, convicted and sentenced to receive and did receive on his bare back forty lashes. Mr. Rice was so enraged at Mr. Davidson, he vowed he would have revenge, if he had to bring Indians upon him.  We shall soon see how well Rice kept and performed his vow, and succeeded in having his revenge, although more than ten years had elapsed before the opportunity was afforded him.  Mr. Davidson having some unfinished business at his former home in the valley of Rockbridge County, among others, the collection of some eight hundred dollars due him, determined a visit to the valley to close up his business and get his money.  There was talk throughout the neighborhood that Mr. Davidson was going to make the journey. In the month of  February, 1793, Mr. Davidson set out on horseback, reached his destination safely, settled his business, collected his money and started on his homeward journey having with him an extra horse which he was leading.  He came over the usual route to travel to Rocky Gap and was seen passing south by a family residing near the pathway.  Mr. Davidson  never returned home.   A search party set out in search of  Mr. Davidson and they immediately determined that he had been killed by a gang and his horses taken.  While traveling through Rocky Gap, they found on the path, on the mountain, a hat band that was recognized as belonging to Mr. Davidson’s hat.  On inquiry, it was found that Mr.Davidson had passed the settlements south of Rocky Gap before noon on the 8th day of March, and it was discovered at an old waste place at the mouth of Clear fork, that he had there fed his horses. Further investigation at the point where the path left the Laurel fork starting up the mountain, evidence appeared of the blade of a hatchet having been struck into a white oak tree, and that a gun had rested on the hatchet, and near by on the bark of a beech tree was freshly cut the name of “Rice,” and under the root of the tree, on the side of the creek, where the water had washed away the earth, the nude body of Mr. Davidson was found, so far advanced in decomposition it could not be removed to his home, and was buried near by where it was found and where it still remains. The statement by some writers that the body was carried to his home and buried is incorrect according to the statements of Mr. Joseph Davidson and Captain John A. Davidson, two of his great grandsons. Colonel Robert Trigg, in his report to the governor, dated on April 10th, 1793, states that Davidson was killed on the 8th day of March of that year, and that there were twelve Indians in the party, who stole a large number of horses and passed through the center of the Bluestone settlement.

On October 17th, 1793, Major Robert Crockett and fifty others, among them Joseph Davidson, John Bailey, James Bailey, Reuben Bailey, Richard Bailey, William Smith and John Peery, sent a petition to the governor of Virginia, informing him of the defenseless condition of the border, and asking for assistance, and stating the killing by the Indians of John Davidson on the 8th day of March 1793. The searching party for Mr. Davidson’s body found evidences on the ground that satisfied them that Mr. Davidson, had upon being shot from the tree where the blade of the hatchet had been buried, fallen from his horse which took fright and ran out into the brush and vines on the creek bottom, by which one of the brass stirrups had been pulled off.  No doubt remains but that Rice and his party got the $800.00 which Mr. Davidson had with him when killed. Several years after the killing of Mr. Davidson, Captain William Stowers, then a lad of some fifteen years, while plowing in the bottom where Mr. Davidson was killed, found a brass stirrup which was recognized by the family of Mr. Davidson as one belonging to his saddle, and missing when his horse and saddle were recovered by Major Crockett and his men on the 15th day of March, 1793.

Davidson History taken from the Mercer County History and the History of Tazewel County and Southwest Virginia  1748-1920.


                            The Davidson Family History

            Andrew Davidson – Son of John G. Davidson

Part Two….

Andrew Davidson, son of John Goolman Davidson was married to Rebecca Burke, granddaughter of James Burke.

The spring of 1791 being late, Andrew Davidson having some important business at Smithfield (Draper’s Meadows ) from which his father and family had moved about ten years before, set off from home in the early part of April leaving at home his wife, his three small children, two girls and boy, and two bound children, orphans, whose names were Bromfield. Mr. Davidson had requested his brother-in-law, John Bailey, to look after his family. Shortly after Mr. Davidson’s departure, perhaps two or three days, and while Mrs. Davidson was gathering sugar water from sugar maple trees close by the house, there suddenly appeared several Indians (who spoke English), who told her she would have to go with them to their towns beyond the Ohio. There was no alternative although she was in no condition to make such a trip, as she was then rapidly approaching motherhood. Taking such plunder as they could carry, they set fire to the house and with their prisoners departed and the Indians helping along with the children.

When they arrived at a point near Logan Courthouse, West Virginia, Mrs. Davidson gave birth to a child.  After allowing only two hours relaxation, they march on to Ohio resumed and  they again pushed on.  The birth of the child must have been premature, as it was drowned the next day by the Indians on account of its feeble condition.

On the fateful morning on which Mrs. Davidson and her children were captured, John Bailey being at the fort informed his people that he must go over and look after Andrew Davidson’s family, whereupon one of his sisters, (he had but two), told him to get her a horse and that she would go with him, to which he assented and secured the horse for her. They set out on the journey, on reaching the gap, Mr. Bailey discovered a heavy smoke from the direction of the Davidson house, and thereupon told his sister to remain on her horse in the gap and watch. He hurriedly returned, reporting the house on fire, and that evidently the Indians had been there and taken the family, as no one could be seen about the house. Mr. Bailey and his sister rode rapidly to the fort, gave the alarm to the neighborhood, and a party gathered as quickly as possible and pursued the Indians, but the leaves being dry, the savages had left but few, if any marks, and the party was unable to overtake them.

On arriving at the Indian town, the little girls of Mrs. Davidson were tied to trees and shot to death before her eyes. The boy, her son, was given to an old squaw, who in crossing a river with him upset the canoe and the boy was drowned. As to what became of the two bound children, was by the white people never known. Mrs. Davidson was in captivity from April, 1791, until August, 1794.

Mr. Davidson made the second trip in search of his wife before he found her. He had before his second trip received information through an old Indian, which led him across the Canadian border. While stopping at a farmhouse to obtain a meal, observed a woman passing him as he entered the house, to whom he merely bowed and went in. Shortly the woman came in with a load of wood and laying it down, looked at the stranger for a moment, and recognize the man to be her husband, Andrew Davidson. She then told him that she was his wife. Mr. Davidson was not only astounded, but joyfully and more than agreeably surprised, for when he last saw his wife, she was a fine healthy looking woman, her hair as black as a raven’s wing, but had now turned to snowy white.  Rebecca  had been sold to a wealthy French farmer living in Canada and being a humane man, gave up Rebecca to her husband for a considerable sum of money and the next morning sent them on their way rejoicing.   Mr. Davidson and his wife settled at the mouth of Abb’s valley on a farm.  They were fortunate to have raised another family of children and a number of their descendants are now living in Mercer County, West Virginia.

Taken from: Mercer County History

Pendleton’s History of Tazewell County

The unpublished  manuscript….Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powel & Holston Rivers


The Davidson Family History: The Johnson Female Academy was purchased by the Davidson Family

by Julia Davidson Campbell Higginbotham and Mary Ann Campbell Hinkle

Part Three……

The Johnson Female Academy, located in Union, West Virginia, was closed around 1888, and stood empty until 1892, at which time, the Academy building and surrounding land was purchased by Joseph Davidson, great grandson of John Goolman Davidson, an early pioneer of Mercer County, and his wife, Jane King of Giles County, Virginia.  Joseph and Jane Davidson brought along to Monroe County their three sons, one being George Davidson and his wife, Mary Ann Freeman Davidson and their baby, Jane.  After Joseph Davidson purchased the Academy and land, it was known as the Davidson Farm.

There was a Grist mill located on the Davidson Farm on Indian Creek, on the Willow Bend Road and was operated by Alexander Raines.  His wife was Mary Matilda Cottle Raines.  They had ten children, one being Edgar Lewis Raines, who later married Jane Davidson.  At the time of their marriage, they too, moved into the Davidson home, where they had two children; Gladys, born November 8, 1911, and Helen, born in 1915.

Edgar Raines served in World War I and an interesting, but lucky circumstance happened in New Port News, Virginia, during the War.  Edgar was in line to board the ship that would sail the troops to Europe, when the troop line was stopped a few men ahead of him.  The ship was full.  Because they were lined alphabetically, and his name toward the end of the alphabet, he did not board the ship that fateful day.  After the war, Edgar returned home and farmed the Davidson Farm until his death in 1972.

Their daughter Gladys married Robert M. Campbell, son of  Robert Edgar Johnson Campbell and Annie McClaugherty Campbell.  Robert was born at the Campbell Home on Indian Creek, near Red Sulphur Springs on November 6, 1905.  Robert’s parents moved to a farm at Gates, Monroe County, WV, when he was but a small child.  Here he lived until he reached manhood. He graduated from Union High School, class of 1926.  After high school graduation, he attended Dunsmore Business College, Staunton, Virginia. He returned to Union and began farming on the Davidson Farm.  He married Gladys Raines on November 9, 1935 at the brides home and they set up housekeeping in the Davidson home place where they later bought part share of the Davidson Farm.  Gladys and Robert had two daughters, Mary Ann Campbell and Julia Davidson Campbell.

Mary Ann married Cecil Hinkle, Jr. of the Sinks Grove community.  Cecil Jr. is the son of Mildred Cook and Cecil M. Hinkle.  He has three sisters. They are Mary Ann Hinkle Ballard of Florida, Phyllis Hinkle Baker of Pickaway, and Nancy Hinkle McCormick of Sinks Grove.  All four siblings were graduates of Union High School, and were raised on their family farm in Sinks Grove.  Their dad, Cecil M., was a school teacher as well as a farmer. Later in life, he worked as a social worker for the WV Dept. of Welfare.  Great-great-great-grandparents were Philip Hinkle (Henckel) and Barbara Vallmer Fullmore Hinkle, who were of German decent.  Great-great grandparents were Samuel and Mary Knight Hinkle, Great-grandparents were Andrew Alexander (Andy) and Martha C. Correll Hinkle of Frankford, (Greenbrier County, WV).  Grandparents were Clinton Moses Hinkle (Greenbrier Co, WV) and Ida Jane Hedrick Hinkle (Wolf Creek, Monroe County, WV, and the daughter of Nancy Jane Lemons and John Hedrick).

On August 31, 1957, Cecil Jr. and Mary Ann Campbell were married at the Union United Methodist Church. Also in that year of 1957, Cecil Jr. entered the army at Fort Jackson, North Carolina.  He did basic training there and later was transferred to Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia in the infantry division.  In 1958, he was sent to Bamburg, Germany, where he remained for the rest of his active duty. Mary Ann joined him in Germany and their first daughter Elizabeth Ann was born.  He was released at Fort Dix in New Jersey, in October 1959.   He then began helping Mary Ann’s dad, Robert Campbell, with the farming at the Davidson farm until Mr. Campbell’s death in 1968, when Cecil Jr. took over the farming all together.   Mary Ann and Cecil Jr. built their home on the Davidson Farm and raised three daughters, Elizabeth Ann, Mary Jane and Betsy Leigh.  All three daughters were graduates of Union High School.

Julia married James W. Higginbotham, on July 20 1969, at the Union Methodist Church. James was the son of ­­­­­­ Louise Dixon and James Henry Higginbotham of Buena Vista, Virginia. He is a graduate of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge, VA, Murray State University in Murray, KY, and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. He has taught at Allegheny County High School, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, and Monroe County Vocational School.  Julia graduated from West Virginia University and taught at Mountain View Middle School until her retirement. Together they had two sons, Robert and Andrew.

Joseph and Jane King Davidson’s  daughter’s Jane and Isabel, Jane’s two daughters, Gladys and Helen Raines, Isabel’s two children Rutter and Roland Boyd; Gladys’ two daughters, Mary Ann and Julia Campbell, all grew up at the Davidson home place. Julia’s two sons also grew up in this home.  It remained the Davidson home place until Julia married James  Higginbotham. They became the occupants and changed the name to the Higginbotham House.

Gladys and Helen Raines, Rutter and Roland Boyd,  Mary Ann and Julia Campbell and Robert Higginbotham were graduates of Union High School. Robert graduated from WVU with honors in Pharmacy and presently works as a Pharmacist at K-Mart in Lewisburg.  Andrew graduated from James Monroe High School, which replaced UHS, in 1994. Andrew graduated with honors from WVU in Chemistry.  He is now working for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Sanford, North Carolina, as a scientist.

The Higginbotham House is on the State Historical List and has been placed on the West Virginia Civil War Historical Trail.  The house and farm are also on the WV Quilt Trail, with a Quilt Block hanging on the barn located on the Willow Bend Road and another Quilt Block hanging on the wood house at the Higginbotham House in Union.

To this date, Julia and James remain the owners and occupants of the Higginbotham House.


                        ROBERT McCLAUGHERTY CAMPBELL  


Part Four……

Robert McClaugherty Campbell was born at the Campbell Home on  Indian Creek, near Red Sulphur Springs on November 6, 1905.  His death occurred on December 30, 1968. His parents were Robert Edgar Johnson Campbell and Annie McClaugherty Campbell.  They were married on December 30, 1902.  The Campbells moved to a farm at Gates, Monroe County, WV, when Robert was a small child and lived there until he reached manhood.   His father, a graduate of Concord College, became a farmer, the Postmaster of the Gates Post Office and a school teacher at the Gates School.  His mother attended Hollins College and was a teacher at the Gates School.  They had six children….Catherine (nurse) unmarried… Robert (farmer) married Gladys Raines, parents to Mary Ann and Julia…  Mary, married to Clyde Pritt (farmer) and parents to Tom, Ann Kyle and Sarah…Walter(engineer) married to Priscilla Hoskins and parents to Douglas and Bob… Agnes, (teacher) married Forrest Roles (attorney) and parents to Forrest and Margaret…William, (WV and Maryland Agriculture) married to Marie Lyons and parents to Richard and Kenton. All six children were graduates of Union High School and are now deceased.

Robert graduated from Union High School in 1926.  After graduation, he attended Dunsmore Business College in Staunton, Va.  Upon his graduation, he returned to Union and began farming on the Davidson Farm.  He married Gladys Overton Raines  on November 9, 1935, at the brides home in Union.  They set up housekeeping  in  the Davidson home place, where they later bought part share of the Davidson Farm.  They had two children Mary Ann  and Julia.

Gladys Overton Raines Campbell was born on November 8, 1911.  Her death occurred on February 28, 1968.  She spent her childhood at the Davidson Farm, Union, WV, with her parents Edgar Lewis and Jane Davidson Raines and grandmother, Mary Ann Freeman Davidson.  She graduated from Union High School in May, 1930, and attended Greenbrier Woman’s College, Broaddus College and Marshall College.  She later taught school in several one-room schools in Monroe County.  In her later years, she worked for the West Virginia Department of Welfare as a Social Worker.  Gladys sang in the Methodist Church choir, was a member of the Methodist Women Missionary Society, and the Farm Women’s Club. She instilled in her two daughters high character and the worth of giving back to the community.


                    The Royal Oak Tree on the Davidson Property

                 Taken from The Monroe Watchman of 1935   and

                        Morton’s History of Monroe County

Part Five……

An interesting landmark associated with the Davidson property is the Royal Oak tree. Around this tree in the early 1800’s, during Colonial Virginia,  the Monroe militia would muster. According to Morton’s  History of Monroe County, at the spring muster, the captains and lieutenants of the Monroe militia wore the old Continental hats with white and red feathers, and a red sash around their waist.  At this muster there appeared 1200 men in all imaginable garbs and colors, and with canes and umbrellas for arms. They marched to the Royal Oak field, fife and drums in front, and every man walking his own step. The field officers on their spirited horses took the whole road in front. The animals were excited by the music and progressed sidewise, their rearing and plunging lending a certain zest to the occasion. After reaching the field, outsiders were kept ten feet from the fence by a guard.

The Royal Oak tree, itself, has some interesting statistics. It was 35 feet as the base and it took nine men to span around the tree. About the time, 1850 – 1851, Christopher Beirne paid Joshua Hall $1.00 to cut the tree. There was a bet of $8.00 – $10.00 on whether the tree could be cut from  sun up to sun set. It was a close call, but the tree fell about five minutes before sun set.

Thurmond’s Rangers camped in the Royal Oak field in the fall of 1863. The stump was then measured and found to be nine feet from rim to rim. The center had rotted away. Since these colonial days, the Davidson’s, the Raines’, the Campbell’s and the Hinkle’s have grown hay and corn within the boundaries of this historical field. Through the years many family members have enjoyed horseback rides over land that once belonged to Colonial Virginia and where distinguished men of our County mustered for the call of freedom.



                         The Campbell’s Love of  Horses

                        by  Julia Campbell Higginbotham

Part Six…..

Robert Campbell, (UHS Class of 1926), father to Mary Ann and Julia, enjoyed farming, but most of all he loved Tennessee Walking Horses, having showed at the West Virginia State Fair and other local shows. He always kept a barn and field full of walking horses. He was sure one of his girls would become a horseback rider. Mary Ann’s first experience was having a pony, named Tar Baby.  Julia’s first pony was named Trigger, and later Traveler. Neither daughter became the experienced rider that their Dad wished for, but he instilled a love of horses in both of them. Mary Ann, her husband  Cecil, Jr.  and their three daughters Elizabeth Ann Jameson, Mary Jane Rickman, and Betsy Leigh Johnson, show to this day, Tennessee Walkers, and have won numerous prizes. Ann Hinkle Jamerson won  the 2008 World Grand Championship of Walking horses in Shelbyville, Tennessee.  Julia’s two sons, Robert and Andrew, showed Walkers while in high school throughout the states of  West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. Robert won the West Virginia State Juvenile Division for Walking horses in 1991, and Andrew won the same title in 1995. For many years Julia took care of her son’s show horses on the Davidson Farm.

Presently, Mary Ann and the family sponsor a horse show each year during Farmer’s Day at the Robert Campbell Show Ring, located on the Willow Bend Road, on the Davidson Farm. The proceeds of this show have been donated to the Little League Park, Union’s Farmer’s Day fireworks, Union’s Christmas Lights and they are in the process of establishing a scholarship for a James Monroe High School Graduate.


Civilian Conservation Corps Located on Davidson Farm

 “Submitted from the Monroe Watchman”

An Essay written by Tyler Jameson

Part Seven….

The CCC was an agency authorized by the government to hire unemployed young men for public conservation work. The program was set up in 1933, which was during the great depression of the 1930’s, to provide training and employment. The CCC conserved and developed natural resources by such activities as planting trees, building dams and fighting forest fires. More than 2,000,000 men served in the CCC before Congress abolished it in 1942.

In April 1935, Monroe County had an opportunity to obtain one of the CCC Camps. This CCC Camp was located on the Davidson Farm on Willow Bend Road, Union, WV.  It was established for lime and soil erosion projects. This CCC Camp became known as Camp Rowan being named after Col. Andrew S Rowan who carried a message to Garcia during the Spanish American War. It was located in a locust grove on ten acres of land owned by Mrs. George (Mary Ann Freeman) Davidson, Mary Ann and Julia Campbell’s great grandmother.

The CCC Camp had four barracks with two hundred men and twenty to thirty leaders. They had a garage where they repaired trucks, a mess hall with a kitchen, a recreation building where a modern sound projector showed “sound films” each Tuesday night, a bathhouse, and a school.

The workers were paid $30. per month and were required to send $25. to their parents  which left them $5. to spend on themselves. They were also given board and clothing. The jobs were for six month hitches.

The CCC Camp Rowan began to close out in the late 1930’s. In 1940, the Soil Conservation District was formed which continued many of the soil conservation projects started by Camp Rowan. Camp Rowan reverted back to the Davidson family.

Today only one building remains and the Davidson heirs still use the roads and the pine and locust trees still stand tall above the abandoned camp.

History has come and gone on the Davidson Farm and our family is proud of the help they have done in giving unemployed citizens jobs to survive after the Great Depression.

By   Tyler Jamerson

Son of :   Ann Hinkle Jamerson – UHS Class of 1976

Grandson of:  Cecil Hinkle, Jr ,- UHS Class of 1953  and

Mary Ann Campbell Hinkle – UHS Class of 1956

Great, great, great grandson of : George and Mary Ann

       Freeman Davidson