Colonel John Stuart (17 March 1749 in Augusta County, Virginia – 18 August 1823 in Greenbrier County, Virginia ) was a Revolutionary War commander and pioneering western Virginia settler. A veteran of the Battle of Point Pleasant (1774), he surveyed and settled the Greenbrier Valley and is known locally as the “Father of Greenbrier County”. Owing to his Memoir of Indian Wars and Other Occurrences, written in 1799, he has been called "the most important chronicler of pioneer history in southern West Virginia".
Stuart"s father, the Scotsman David Stuart, was among the supporters of Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") as king of Great Britain.
(They were distant relatives) Soon after the failure of the Prince"s cause at Culloden (1746) David found it necessary to immigrate to America. He settled in Augusta County, Virginia on the Shenandoah River, some distance from the town of Staunton.
The following year he built the first mill in present day Greenbrier County, at Frankford. In 1774, he led a company of Greenbrier troops in the Battle of Point Pleasant at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers.
In 1777, Stuart — then at Fort Randolph, which had just been built on the site of the Battle of Point Pleasant — witnessed the slaughter of four Indians including the Shawnee Chief Cornstalk who had been there to explain the Shawnee attitude toward the British and Americans.
(Cornstalk"s own desire was for peace but the young Shawnee youth wanted war) These murders by a mob were denounced by Patrick Henry and the Continental Congress. In 1778, Stuart was commander of troops when the last Indian raid on Fort Donnally, near Lewis Spring (Lewisburg), occurred. (His first office in Lewisburg—in his own yard—is still standing) He attended the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention and advocated ratification of the United States. Constitution.
In 1789 Stuart built a large stone house (“Stuart Manor”) at Fort Spring (which he ended up commanding and which was later called Fort Stuart) near Lewisburg.
The land on which the first county courthouse and the Old Stone Church in Lewisburg are situated was donated by Stuart. Stuart was a correspondent of Thomas Jefferson and in 1796 he sent Jefferson fossil bones he had obtained from a salt petre cave about five miles from his home.
These specimens fascinated Jefferson and were eventually determined to be tens of thousands of years old and to represent Megalonyx jeffersonii, or Jefferson"s Ground Sloth. (With his publication of his commentary, Jefferson is considered to have initiated the discipline of vertebrate paleontology in the United States).