Generations Past

There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors and no slave who has not had a king among his.
 ----Helen Keller

John Varney and Betsy Hunter

The oldest VARNEY I have information about is John Varney. He was born about 1760 in Bedford County, Virginia. He died sometime after 1805 in Bedford County, Virginia. The family story is that he was gathering salt-peter in a cave in the Blue Ridge Mountains when a slide came and entombed his body which was never recovered. Salt-peter was used in the making of gun powder at that time.

He married, probably about 1780 since their first child was born in 1781.  Nothing is known about this lady.  She probably died sometime  between 1783, the birth of her last child,  and 1792, the year John married Betsy.  She and John had two daughters.

John then married Elizabeth “Betsy” HUNTER, 6 Sep 1792, in Rockbridge County, Virginia. She was born about 1783 in Bedford County, Virginia, the daughter of William Hunter. Betsy and John had three sons.

  1. Mary Ann “Polly” Varney born 1781; died 11 Dec 1871 in Canada, Kentucky. She married John W. TAYLOR on 13 April 1804 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was born about 1779 in Amherst County and died 9 Sep 1814 in Norfolk, Norfolk County, Virginia, during the War of 1812. She married an unknown after John’s death.
  2. Nancy Varney born between 1781 and 1790 and died after 1815. She married Ambrose MORRIS born 1770 in Halifax County, Virginia. He was the son of Ambrose Morris
  3. Alexander Varney born about 1797 in Bedford County; died 1870. He married Susannah RUNYON (1797-1852) in Bedford County.
  4. Andrew Varney born 19 Jun 1800 in Bedford County and died after 1849 in Logan County, Virginia (now WV). He married Sarah “Sally” STRAFFORD on 9 May 1820 in Floyd County, Kentucky. She was born 7 Jun 1805 in Logan, Virginia and died Jun 1879. She was the daughter of John Miles Stafford and Nancy Runyon.
    NOTE: Andrew and Sally had a daughter, Matilda, who married Nathan Chafin.  Nathan and Matilda had a daughter, Levicy who married Devil Anse HATFIELD of the Hatfield and McCoy Feud.
  5. Daniel Varney born 1805 Bedford County, Virginia

Alexander, Andrew, Mary, and Nancy migrated to what is now Mingo County, West Virginia and Pike County, Kentucky. Nothing more is known about Daniel. It is unknown if Betsy came with her children to West Virginia or came later but family stories always said that her body was buried at the mouth of Peach Creek in Logan County, West Virginia.

For more information on John Varney and his family  please go to
the Thompson Directory.  You will find more information and many more names.

I am interested in sharing any family history information and in correcting any misinformation. Please send corrections or additions to my email box.