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 Robert Poage, Sr

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Robert Poage, Sr

Robert Poage, son of Thomas and Mary Cochran Poage, landed in Philadelphia in 1738 with his wife, Elizabeth (Preston), and nine children, Sarah, John, Martha, Robert, Mary, Elizabeth, Martha, George, William, and Margaret. A tenth child, Thomas, was bom to them the next year.

The second son, John, above named, married Mary Blair, who was a sister of the Rev. John Blair and Rev. Samuel Blair, of Pennsylvania, and William Lawrence Blair, a lawyer of Kentucky. Robert Poage located his family within three miles of Staunton, Virginia.

Martha Poage Woods, the third child of Robert Poage. the emigrant, married Michael Woods, who located in the Valley of Virginia, in 1734, She was bom in Ireland in 1728, and died in Ripley, Ohio, in 1818. She was the mother of eight children, all of whom grew to maturity, married and had families. Mary, her daughter, born Febmary 18, 1760, was married to Col. James Poage, March 10, 1787, and died at Ripley, Ohio, in April, 1830

Ann, daughter of John Poage and Mary Blair, married Andrew Kincaid. She and her husband died about the same time, leaving six young children, three of them daughters, whom Col. Poage took and reared as his own. They grew to womanhood in Ripley and all three of them married.

Robert Poage, grandfather of Col. James Poage, established his residence within three miles of Staunton, Virginia, on a tract of 772 acres, and he acquired much larger tracts afterward. He and his wife were well educated and strong Presbyterians. He led his family in Bible reading, sacred song and prayer, every morning and evening, never permitting business to interfere. Sunday afternoons, his wife led all the children of the family, visitors and callers in the study of the Bible and of the shorter catechism, while he attended to the chores. This Sunday afternoon study was made very interesting and was kept up in the family of his son, John Poage, and his son-in-law, Rev. Woods.

Robert Poage was one of the first Magistrates of Augusta County, and on several occasions entertained General George Washington. His son, John, father of James, the founder of Ripley, OH accompanied Col. George Washington on the Braddock campaign and became much attached to him. Robert, the emigrant, died about March 6, 1774, and his will was probated that year in Augusta County.

John Poage was County Surveyor of Augusta County, Virginia, about thirty years and was Sheriff in 1778. He was a strong Presbyterian and died in the faith. He gave each of his children a large family Bible, several of which are still in existence. His will was proven in Augusta County, Virginia, April 22. 1789. General Washington himself requested the Poages to aid in securing the Ohio Valley to the people of the United Colonies. In accordance with the request, William Poage, uncle of Col. James Poage, moved to Kentucky in 1778, and there lost his life in an Indian campaign, leaving seven children.

Col. James Poage went to Kentucky in 1778, but there is no authentic account of his movements from that time until his marriage in 1789, except that he was engaged with surveying parties, and in protecting the families of his relatives from the incursion of the Indians. Sometime in this period, he was at the head of a surveying party and sometimes he commanded several. His work was fraught with great dangers. No men were permitted to accompany his parties except those expert in the use of a rifle. A number of hunters accompanied the parties to provide food.

The furs of the animals were carefully preserved and packed. The most efficient scouts were obtained to guard against Indian attacks which could be expected at any time. Danger often compelled several surveying parties to keep together. The head of a single party would be called a Captain.

When several parties worked together, their chief was called a Colonel, and James Poage often commanded consolidated parties, and it was in this way in which he obtained his title of Colonel. Few Western surveyors did more work in dangerous localities than Colonel James Poage and yet he was never involved in any serious encounter with the Indians. He was always on the lookout for them and Indians will rarely attack an enemy except by surprise. Col. Poage could not be surprised by any of them. Whenever he encamped his party or parties, he took such precautions that he could not be surprised, and his men had implicit confidence in him as a commander. When he met the Indians openly and peaceably he always treated them fairly and with justice and kindness, and he had their respect. He did work with surveying parties in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Considerable of this work was done after his marriage. When at home he devoted himself to farming and stock raising.

He could get more work and more willing work out of his farm hands and slaves than any man of his times, except his brothers, George, William and Robert, who had the same traits. Another feature of those who worked for him, whether free or slaves, was that they would be as faithful in his long absence from his home as during his presence. He took an interest in everyone who worked for him, and whenever occasion required he would turn to and perform manual labor in that perfect manner he expected it to be done for him. He had a tact with his servants that could be imitated by no one and which cannot be described.

He first resided in Clarke County, Kentucky, and represented that county in the Legislature of 1796, but most of his time in Kentucky he was a resident of Mason County. He disliked and was opposed to human slavery. In 1804, he took up one thousand acres of Survey No. 418 in Ohio, along the Ohio River, the center of which contains the town of Ripley, and here he made his home and laid cut a town, which he named Staunton, for Staunton in Virginia. He located this tract because he wanted to free his slaves, and to do it, had to remove to a free state. During his residence in Ripley, he was distinguished for his liberality and hospitality, but he always lacked ready money. However, that was the case with everyone in that time, but was the hardest on those disposed to be liberal. He always entertained all the visiting ministers. All distinguished visitors were his guests. It was rarely his family sat down to a meal without guests. Every Virginian passing that way felt in duty bound to visit him, and he felt in duty bound to entertain everyone from his native State. Frequently he had so many visitors at one time, that his daughters all occupied one room and his sons all occupied the hay loft. So lavish was his hospitality that often tea, coffee and sugar were lacking at his table, but neither he nor his wife ever apologized for these deficiencies or were kss cordial to their guests for the want of them. His daughters and his wife, from flax, wool and cotton, made nearly all of the clothing for the entire family and fitted it as neatly as a modern tailor.

For his services in surveying Virginia and General Government, he was granted 40,000 acres of land, half near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and half that quantity near Cairo, Illinois. On this he paid out a large amount of taxes, and his executors abandoned this land after his death for want of funds to pay taxes and bring it into the market.

As a husband and father, he was kind and affectionate. He was a magnetic kind of man and his family obeyed him implicitly. He exercised a wonderful influence among those around him, securing their concurrence in his judgment and direction about matters. But above all things, he was distinguished by his robust, cheerful piety. His life and example tended to make other men believe and embrace his faith. A number of his letters breathing that earnest spirit of piety, his chief characteristic, are still in existence.

His children were as follows:
Martha, bom in Virginia, February 17, 1788, married George Poage, son of Gen. George Poage, her uncle. Died in Brown County, Ohio, between 1855 and i860. No descendants.

John C. Poage, born in Virginia, April 19, 1779, married Mary Hopkins. No children.

Andrew Woods Poage married Jane Gray, died April 19, 1840, at Yellow Spring, Ohio.

Mary and James, twins, born March 25, 1793. She died in Ripley in 1821 and he in 1820. Robert Poage, bom February 4, 1797, married Sarah Kirker, had children. Died in Illinois, February, 1874.

His oldest son, James Smith Poage, is a minister of the Gospel.

Elizabeth Poage, born April, 1798, married Isaac Shepherd, a minister, died in Ripley, Ohio, July 30, 1832. No children.

Ann bom May 5, 1800, married Alexander Mooney. Died near Russellville, Ohio.

Margaret, bom September 10, 1803. Married Rev. Thomas S. Williamson, died at St. Peter, Minn., July 21, 1872. Had ten children, the three eldest died in childhood and are buried in the old cemetery at Ripley. Three sons of the remaining seven survive. Rev. John Poage Williamson, D. D., Missionary to Dakota; A. W. Williamson, Ph. D., Professor of Mathematics, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois; H. M. Williamson, Editor of the Rural North West, Portland, Oregon. Also, one daughter survives, Sarah, born March 4, 1805, married Rev. Gideon H. Pond, died at Bloomington, Minn., 1854. Had seven children, of whom six survive. Thomas, born at Ripley. Ohio, June 1, 1808, died there August, 1831.

Rev. George Poage, bom June 18, 1809, married Jane Riggs, died in Colorado in 1807. Had six children, of whom only one survives, but had a number of grandchildren, all surviving.

As a farmer and stock raiser. Col. Poage had no superior and was successful in obtaining the best crops and the finest cattle and horses.

In what proved to be Col. Poage's last sickness, he was prevailed upon to go security for a large sum for a woolen mill in which he had invested money. After his death, the mill failed and his estate was called on to pay the debt. Want of capacity to make the note might have been successfully pleaded, and his executor and legatees were so advised, but his children declined and the debt was paid by his estate. However, it was this that made the executor abandon the lands owned by him in West Virginia and in Illinois. Finally enough was saved out of his estate to give each one of his children a fine farm.

This is the story of the founder of Ripley, and the materials were accessible to have made it more elaborate in details which would have been as interesting as any given.


Family Members



Immigrant from Ireland-1739. Elder in Augusta Stone church-1740. Justice, First Commission of the Peace. Augusta County- 1745. And to the memory of his wife Elizabeth Preston.

(Monument erected by J. G. Bishop, Nyack, NY, a descendant.)





  • Maintained by: Lilbuddy
  • Originally Created by: JMB
  • Added: 26 Sep 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 59231465
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Poage, Sr (1702–6 Mar 1774), Find A Grave Memorial no. 59231465, citing Augusta Stone Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Fort Defiance, Augusta County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Lilbuddy (contributor 47845606) .