Joel Hager's Southern West Virginia Research

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  • ID: I22230
  • Name: Charles Clendenin
  • Given Name: Charles
  • Surname: Clendenin
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: Abt 1714 in Dumfrieshire, Scotland
  • Death: Abt 1793 in Fort Lee/Fort Clendenin, Charleston, Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
  • _UID: CCC2433E517A40619FCFFE8210A6B5744810
  • Change Date: 4 Dec 2009 at 12:28
  • Note:
    Much of the following came from Rootsweb files that I have referenced and Cathy O'Hara, who has been a great help in compiling the information on this family as well as providing additional information.

    Charles Clendenen was recorded as Charles Archibald Clendenen in research of Helena Clendenen. There are several reports that Charles Clendenen and Archibald Clendenen were two of three brothers who came to America (Baltimore) together, and were living in Augusta County, VA in 1743. It seems that they were not actually brothers, and they did not act like brothers. They settled 40 miles apart across a mountain range.

    The spelling of the family name varies widely, with all vowels frequently found in the last two syllables. In this account, I am using all "e"s, even though Clendinen is a popular spelling in the official records.

    Charles Clendenen probably emigrated to America because of the famine of 1740-1741. According to the pamphlet "The Clendenins" by Virgil A. Lewis, Charles was married when he came to America.

    Charles Clendenen first appears on record in the Shenandoah Valley in Augusta County, VA in 1743 when his son Thomas was christened in the Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church. In America the "Ulster Scots" were called "Scotch-Irish", a great misnomer, because this indicates they were a mixture of Scottish and Irish blood. Nothing could be further from the truth. The effort to mix the Protestant Scots with the Irish Catholics turned into an open war. This conflict continues today.

    Charleston, WV was named for this Charles Clendenen. The History of Charleston and Kanawha County West Virginia and Representative Citizens, W.S. Laidley, Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, 1911 provides the following account:

    "It seems that in dealing with Charleston we should begin with Col. Thomas Bullitt, who was the first one to see that its location was a good one. In 1773 he was made a survey or on the Kanawha, and this year he made surveys for Frankfort and Louisville. He made a survey on Kanawha of 1,030 acres above Elk mouth and 1,240 acres below the mouth of Elk. The patent for the 1,030 was given to Cuthbert Bullitt in 1779, and Cuthbert's will was recorded in Prince William in 1781, and he gave the 1,240 to his four daughters. The 1,030 acres Cuthbert conveyed by deed dated Dec. 28, 1787 to George Clendenin (son of Charles), a copy of which is found in 10 W.Va. Reports 404.
    There were with Geo. Clendenin, also his father Charles, and his brother William, Robert, Alexander Clendenin and also Josiah Harriman. Chas. McClung, John Edwards, Lewis Tackett, John Young, James Hale and others continued to come.

    It was in 1788 that George Clendenin began to construct the fort on the 1,030 acres and it was the 1,030 acres covered with elms, sycamore, beech and such like trees that had to be removed, and some of them to build the fort, to be thick enough to stop a bullet and there was no saw mill.

    Charleston is said to have begun to grow May 1, 1788. It was located on the east bank of the Kanawha River, immediately above the mouth of the Elk River, which empties into the Kanawha. There were two streets laid off, running up from Elk, to where Capitol street now is, and there were cross streets on the lots between. This map was made by the surveyor of Greenbrier County, a Mr. Welch. There were subsequently another map found in William Clendenin's possession with the streets somewhat extended, but practically the same.

    In 1789 when the county was organized there were seven houses. In 1798 there were about twelve, from 1803 to 1810, about twenty. The town had no name specially. It was called "The Town at the Mouth of Elk," and was sometimes known as "Clendenin's Settlement" or his Fort. The pound, shilling and pence, English money, was used in Kanawha until the dollar and cents were used in 1799. But there was no sufficient money in Virginia to answer the purpose of trade and business, and tobacco was made a legal tender and thus used. The assessor's books show the use of English money for some years after the county was organized and the calculation is not now easy, nor was the payment of taxes with tobacco, nor with money.

    Charleston was established by Act of Assembly Dec. 19, 1794. "It was enacted that forty acres of land, the property of George Clendenin, at the mouth of Elk River, in the County of Kanawha, the same as laid off into lots and streets, shall be established as a town by the name of "Charles Town," and Reuben Slaughter, Andrew Donnally, Sr., William Clendenin, John Morris, Sr., Leonard Morris, Geo. Alderson, Abram Baker, John Young and William Morris, gentlemen, are appointed trustees."

    Says John P. Hale: "On the 19th of December, 1794, the legislature of Virginia formally established the town, and fixed its name as "Charlestown." It is a curious fact that, although the legislature had officially established the county, in 1789, as 'Kanawha,' and now the town, in 1794, as 'Charlestown,' both names by common consent, became changed - one to 'Kanawha' and the other to 'Charleston.' A public meeting was called here to discuss the propriety of changing the name of our town from 'Charleston' to 'Kanawha City.' It was warmly discussed, but defeated, mainly on the sentimental ground that it would be sacrilege to abolish the name of the dear old pioneer who had shed his blood and risked his life here, "in an early day," among the Indians; had founded the town, given it his own name, and built a fort to protect and defend his neighbors as well as himself, etc. Sentiment prevailed, and the name remained unchanged; but the writer took some pains to look up the early history of the settling and naming of the town. It was soon discovered that the founder's name was George, not Charles. This somewhat staggered the sentimentalists, but they recovered, saying that George was a very modest gentleman, and, instead of taking it himself, he had conceded the honor of the name to his brother, whose name was Charles; and they clinched this by quoting Howe, who, in his History of Virginia, so states; and other historians all follow Howe. But a further investigation of the family records show that George had no brother Charles; then it was conjectured that the name was probably in honor of his son Charles, but a still further investigation of the family genealogies proved th at he had no son. After much search of records, and tracing of traditions among the old timers, the writer has but recently arrived at the facts of this case through Mr. C. C. Miller, of Mason county, a descendant of the Clendenins. He says the town was named by George Clendenin, the found, in honor of his father, whose name was Charles. He was an elderly gentleman, who came here with his sons, died in the Clendenin block house, and was buried near the upper end of the garden in Charleston in 1794."

    In 1917, 127 years after his death, a monument to Charles Clendenen, was erected by the Colonial Dames of West Virginia near the spot where he had been buried within Fort Lee in 1790. In the 1930's Kanawha Boulevard was built over this location and the monument was relocated to the Lee Street Triangle in Charleston, WV. Then in 1976, the Charleston Bicentennial Commission moved it very near to its original location. It can be found on the Kanawha Riverside of Kanawha Boulevard, between Brooks and Morris Streets. The mon ument has an octagonal base 26 inches in diameter and is surrounded by a black wrought iron fence.

    1. Title: Charles Clendinen of Virginia
    Author: Clendenen, John F. and Harriet M.
    Note: Full Title: Charles Clendinen of Virginia
    His Parents
    His Son Adam Clendinen
    Some of Adam Clendinen's Descendants
    Note: copies provided by Cathy O'Hare
    Call Number:
    Media: Manuscript
    Page: p. 3
    2. Title: Clendenen Genealogy Notes
    Author: Clendenen, Helena
    Note: Mostly hand-written notes
    Note: Notes in folder
    Call Number:
    Media: Manuscript
    3. Title: Charles Clendinen of Virginia
    Author: Clendenen, John F. and Harriet M.
    Note: Full Title: Charles Clendinen of Virginia
    His Parents
    His Son Adam Clendinen
    Some of Adam Clendinen's Descendants
    Note: copies provided by Cathy O'Hare
    Call Number:
    Media: Manuscript
    Page: p. 28

    LeClair LeClear
    Entries: 7726 Updated: Sat Jan 5 13:47:22 2002 Contact: Don LeClair &id=I0924

    Charleston, WV was named for him by his son. The name was changed 19 Jan 1818 from Fort Lee/Fort Clendenin to Charleston. Charles and Mary Ann settled in (West) VA in 1746 (Fort Lee/Fort Clendennin area?).

    I copied the following by hand years ago at a library. I believe it is from the book "An Account of the Coming to America of 3 Clendenin Brothers from Scotland," by Capt. Joe Vincent Meigs, (basically about Archibald, Thomas and Charles.) The excerpts I made are of the early history of the family from which all of our branches descend. Many of you may already have this, but I wanted to share it in case you don't.
    Best Wishes, Bruce Wood

    Clendenin Family
    An ancient and noble line that made history in Scotland, Wales, England, and Ireland - A Welsh prince and a knightly crusader - alliance with the Black Douglas followers of Bruce and the Stuarts - American pioneers and patriots - Symbolism of armorial bearings. According to tradition, the name Clendenin was originally Glendowyn or Glendonyn and belonged to the Glendowers, the royal family of Wales. The Glendowers, in turn, took their name from the place called Glendwr or Glendwdy. Glyn or glen, meaning vale, is a common syllable in old names of places; of these Glendonwyn is one of the most ancient, as well as one of the most honorable. Owen Glendower, living during the 14th century, was the last Welshman who assumed the title of Prince of Wales, and it was he who led the only formidable attempt made by the Welsh to retain their freedom after their subjugation by Edward I.

    The Glendowyn family was not founded, however, by Owen Glendower, for before his day members of the family had settled in Scotland, where their history is part of the history of that country. In time, "C" being substituted for "G", the name appears in a great variety of forms, as for example: Clendennenge, Clendennin, Clendenning,
    Clendening, Clendenon, Clendenen, Clendenan, Clendenning, Clendening, Clendinan, Clindinin, Clandennin, Clandening, and Clandinen.

    William of Glendonyn or Glendenning, lived in the 12th century and was the second son of the Lord Douglas, one of whose estates, Glendenning, comprised portions of Esdale, Liddendale and Teviotdale, Scotland. A descendant, Robert de Glendonyn, for valor at the Battle of Largs, 1263, was knighted by the king and granted lands in Ayrshire. At the end of the 13th century, Sir Adam de Glendony, of the Douglas branch of the family, was chief justiciary of Scotland. His son, Sir Simon, was a follower of Bruce and a cursader. He married the daughter of "The Black Douglas". Sir Simon was killed at Otterbourne and buried at Melrose Abbey. His sword is still treasured at the family residence at Kirkendbrightshire.

    The English branch of the family was founded in the 15th century by John Glendenning of the Douglas lineage. In Ireland, the family was established still earlier.

    In this country, the Clendenins have been founders of towns, fort and block-house builders, and Indian fighters. Their names are written upon every page of history that tells of the civilization and growth of Virginia and Maryland. Clendinen is the usual colonial form of the name, varied with Clendining and Clendennin. Henry Clendenin was living in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1745. Charles was a pioneer of Augusta County 1752. John and William, Henry's sons, were soldiers of '76 and John became a Western pioneer. Colonel George, Majors William, Robert and Archibald, sons of Charles, were at the Battle of Point Pleasant. Other of the name, who took part in the fight, were Adam, Alexander, and Charles.

    In 1788, Colonel George purchased 1000 acres, the site of the present city of Charleston, West Virginia, and this named in honor of his father, Charles. The large house which Colonel George built on the Kanawha River was called Fort Clendenin, and the first court in the State of Virginia was held there October 5, 1789, the court books being furnished by Colonel Clendenin for 1920 lbs. of tobacco, the legal tender in those days. Virginia archives contain many letters from Colonel Clendenin to the governor on the defense of the frontier, of which he was the Commandant. He was a member of the convention at Richmond which ratified the Federal Legislature. The portrait of Major William hangs in the State House at Charleston.

    Descendants of this lineage include, among other prominent southern families, those of Moore, Wallis, McCulloch and Miller. Parthena, daughter of George Clendenin, married a brother of Governor Meigs of Ohio, and Mary, another daughter, married Major Cantrell.

    The founder of the New York branch was John Glendening, merchant who came from Ireland about 1800. His home, "Sharon Farm", was in what is now Central Park. He was a patriot and gave largely to the support of the American Navy in the War of 1812. The New Hampshire family was founded by Archibald, who settled in Londonderry, probably about 1718, and was one of 19 Scotch-Irish founders of the town.

    Adam Clendenin was in Philadelphia, 1707; James, John, Samuel and Charles, brothers, locate in Cumberland County, Pa, in 1746. James "went west", which then meant Western Pennsylvania.

    Isaac Clendenin of Somerset County, New Jersey, according to tradition, was of Scotch-Irish ancestry. This line intermarried with the Treats and the Cranes who were among the founders of Newark, New Jersey. The goods of John Clendenin and the plantations of James Clendenin of Sussex County, now Warren County, New Jersey, were sold on March 25, 1779 under judgement against them as loyalists. Patriots whose names are found upon revolutionary rosters are James of Maryland, Lt. John of North Carolina, Samuel and Isaac of New Jersey and John of Pennsylvania.

    Characteristics of the Clendenin family are generous enthusiasm, selfsacrifice and fearlessness. "He knew no fear, he was true as steel", has been said of one member of the family. Adherence to the cause expoused, alike regardless of gain or loss, has also been a notable characteristic.

    Many have led and are leading consecrate lives. The arms and crests would seem to bear witness to notable achievements in the religious life. Burke's "Peerage", blazons "Arms for Glendonywn or Glendenning as follows: Quarterly, argent and sable, a cross parted per corss indented and counter changed of the second and first. These were the arms granded the crusaders. Crest: a maunch, or lady's sleeve or, upon the point of a sword proper. The supporters are: Dexter: a knight in armor holding in his right hand a lance. Sinister: an angel, touching with one foot the ground and holding in his hand a twig of laurel.

    These are the only arms given for any of the family, whatever the spelling of the name, varoius chrests have been granted to different branches. Fair Bairn blazons as on a sword and wheat-ear in saltire. Another crest, the one ....... etc. etc.

    Excerpts from documentatiuon #1 below:
    * "John Clendenin, Lancaster Co, PA, one of 3 brothers who landed in Baltimore in 1746 was a revolutionary soldier under Washington. His children located in PA and MD. The two older brothers of John were Charles and Archibald, West Virginia.
    * Adam died 6/19/1717, married Esther Hall of PA.
    * Archibald was killed by Indians 6/27/1763 at Muddy Creek Massacre.
    * Charles was on the Ben Brden Grant in 1753 and left many descendants in West Virginia and the Ohio Valley. He went West in 1780. Children: George, William, Robert, Alexander, and Mary Ellen.
    * Thomas Clendenin - born 1741, came from Scotland. Settled in Cecil Co, Md. Moved then to Fishing Creek, York District, South Carolina before the Revolutionary War.

    1. "The Clendinen, Myers and Mills Families and Various Related Families of The South", by Mrs. J.R. Baird, Thomas Clendinen Catchings, and Mrs. Mary Clendinen Torrey, 1923. A.B. Caldwell Pub. Co, Atlanta, Georgia".
    2. DAR, Report of Mrs. William Steenbergen, Chairman Genealogical Records Committee, recorded 16 January 1946, Daughters of the American Revolution 36341, Point Pleasant, WVA.

    Newcomb Clendennen GEDCOM
    Entries: 4398 Updated: Wed Mar 8 10:05:41 2000 Contact: Neil Newcomb 04

    Father: William Glendining b: 16 May 1680 in Langholm, Dumfrieshire, Scotland
    Mother: Rose Ann Kirkpatrick b: Abt 1680 in Garrel, Dumfrieshire, Scotland

    Marriage 1 Mary Ann Patterson b: Abt 1715 in Scotland
    • Married: Abt 1735 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
    • Change Date: 25 Sep 2005
    1. Has Children James Clendenen b: Abt 1736 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
    2. Has Children Adam Clendenen b: Abt 1741 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
    3. Has No Children Margaret Clendenen b: Abt 1742 in Virginia
    4. Has No Children Thomas Clendenen b: Bef 31 Jul 1743 in Augusta County, Virginia
    5. Has Children George Clendenen b: Abt 1746 in Augusta County, Virginia
    6. Has Children Robert C. Clendenen b: Abt 1747 in Augusta County, Virginia
    7. Has No Children Thomas Clendenen b: 7 Jul 1748 in Augusta County, Virginia
    8. Has Children Mary Eleanor 'Nelly' Clendenen b: Abt 1751 in Augusta County, Virginia
    9. Has Children William Clendenen b: 23 May 1753 in Augusta County, Virginia
    10. Has Children Alexander Clendenen b: Abt 1754 in Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia
    11. Has No Children Charles Clendenen b: Abt 1756 in Augusta County, Virginia
    12. Has Children Ann Clendenen b: Abt 1756 in Augusta County, Virginia
    13. Has No Children Elizabeth Clendenen b: Abt 1758 in Augusta County, Virginia
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