"Pioneer Settlers of Grayson, Virginia" – A Story For All

Posted: June 15, 2011 in Canute, lead mines, legislature, Mocavo, search engine, sutherland, Virginia
Tags: , ,

The Virginia welcome sign at the Virginia welc...

The Virginia welcome sign at the Virginia welcome center on I-95 employs the state bird, the cardinal, and the state tree and flower, the dogwood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Using the Mocavo search engine, I came across the following article by New River Notes web site. It’s entitled Pioneer Settlers of Grayson County, Virginia”, written by Benjamin Floyd Nuckolls, 1914. I have never seen this article before, but think it may have something to do with my own ancestry based upon the names given. I am hoping a member of my family sees this particular blog post and can shed some light on this story. I have changed the color of the text so that it is not mistaken as plagiarism, because that is definitely not my intent, and it’s also unethical. 


“Up to about the year 1871, the Cornett family of Grayson spelled their name Canute; in all their business transactions it was written Canute, and some of the older people still spell it and pronounce it that way. The family tradition is that they are descended from King Canute of England. The following is copied from Montgomery’s English history:
Canute (1017-1035) Seveyn the Dane, conquered England (1013). “All the people,” says the Chronicle, “`held him for full king.”‘ He was succeeded by his son, Canute, (1017). He was from beyond the seas, but could hardly be called a foreigner, since he spoke a language and set up a government differing but little from that of the English.
After his first harsh measures were over, he sought the friendship of both Church and people. He gave the country peace. He rebuked the flattering of courtiers by showing them that the in-rolling tide is no respecter of persons; he endeavored to rule justly, and his liking for the monks found expression in his song:
“Merrily sang the Monks of Ely,
As Canute the King was passing by.”



“Canute’s plan was to establish a great Northern empire, embracing Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and England.
To facilitate the government of so large a realm, he divided England into four districts: Wessex, Mercia, East Angelo, and Northumbria, which, with their dependencies, embraced the entire country.
Each of these districts was ruled by an Earl invested with almost royal power. For a time the arrangement worked well, but eventually discord sprang up between the rulers. Their individual ambitions and their efforts to obtain supreme authority imperiled the unity of the country.
William Canute, Sr., was an early settler on Elk creek, now Grayson county, Virginia, and is said to be a descendant of King Canute, of England.
He married Jennie Sutherland, a daughter of John Sutherland, Sr., and wife, Elizabeth Bryan.
In the history of the Bryan family, written by the wife of William Jennings Bryan, she states, “The great grandfather of William Jennings Bryan bad a brother, Francis Bryan, and a sister, Elizabeth Bryan, that moved west from Eastern Virginia, and the family has lost trace of them.”
In the early settlement of Southwest Virginia, Francis Bryan and his sister, Elizabeth Bryan, came to Fort Chiswell and the Lead Mines; from there they crossed the Iron Mountain and settled on Elk Creek. Elizabeth Bryan married John Sutherland, Sr., and brought up a family of sons and daughters. Francis Bryan married Phoebe Woodruff, and moved from Elk Creek to Ashe county, North Carolina.
John Sutherland’s family were originally from Scotland.
William Canute, Sr., and wife, Jennie Sutherland, had a large family; all settled on Elk Creek.
Their first son, Col. Eli Canute, married Sena Hale, daughter of Richard Hale and wife, Elizabeth Stone. They have two sons: first, Capt. William Cornett; second, Wiley Winston Cornett. They also had six daughters: Matilda, Elizabeth, Amanda, Elvira, Theresa, and Jennie.
The second son, Levi Cornett, married Olive Hale, daughter of Dudley Hale and wife, Mary Burroughs. They had seven sons: first son, Francis Cornett, married first, Miss Austin, of Elk Creek, Virginia; had sons and daughters; his second marriage was to Miss Jane Daniels, of Elk Creek; they also had sons and daughters.
The second son of Levi Cornett and wife, Olive Hale, George W. Cornett, married first, Miss Herbert; they had one son, Thomas. He married the second time, Miss Sarah Gentry, daughter of Col. Allen Gentry and wife, Rebecca Reeves. Judge Cornett is a lawyer, represented Grayson county in the Legislature, and was judge of the county court. He has been a useful and worthy citizen of Grayson county for many years.
He has four daughters and one son, by his second wife. His son, Munsey, is a lawyer; married and has children. First daughter, Myrtle, married Rev. Kelly Boyer, member of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Second daughter, Rebecca, married first, Mr.-, of Richmond, Virginia.
The second time married Frank Sanders, son of John L. Sanders, Chilhowie, Virginia.
Third daughter, married Prof. Morgan Cheek, Principal of Elk Creek High School.
Third son of Levi Cornett, William, first married Callie Delp; had one daughter, who married a Mr. Copenhaver, of Smyth county, Virginia. William second time, married Miss Fisher Asbury, Wythe county. One son, Thomas, married Miss Lundy, daughter of Ellis Lundy and wife, Alice Hale.
Fourth, Zach. M., married Gazilda Cecil, of Pulaski county, Va. and lives there; has children.
Fifth, Miles Foy, was a noble young man; died single.
Sixth, Lewis K., married Nannie Warrick; he was representative in Legislature of Virginia from Grayson county the second time; has two children.
Friel, the youngest son, who lives at the old homestead, is a worthy citizen; he married Miss Hester Ring; one son, Romulus Ring; four daughters; first, Isabella, married Col. William Mitchell; two daughters; Martha married John Cecil, of Pulaski county; moved to Texas; have children. Nancy married Mr. Steffy, Wythe county, Virginia.
Second, Nancy, married Lewis Perkins; no children.
Third, Elvira, married James Cornett; live on Elk Creek; have children.
Fourth, Theresa, married Carson Andis; one daughter, married Robert Carson; one married Noel Tomlin, Jr.
The third son of William Canute and wife, Jennie Sutherland, was Francis Cornett, Sr. He married Miss Catherine Fulton, daughter of Samuel Fulton and wife, Miss Martha Powell-Jones. (See Fulton and Jones families.)
There were three sons: First, Samuel Monroe Cornett, married Jane McCarty, of Elk Creek. Prof. Fielden R. Cornett married Malissa Copenhaver, of Smyth county, Virginia.
The third son of Francis Cornett and wife was Peyton H. Cornett, who married Amelia Cox, daughter of Enoch Cox and wife Susan Thomas, of Bridle Creek, Virginia.
There are also two daughters of Francis Cornett and wife: the first, Amanda, married Van Buren McCarta; the second, Martha Powell, died single.
The fourth son, Col. Alexander Cornett married Jemima Rhudy. Their sons: Friel N., James P., William J., Stephen H., and Eli C.; daughters: Martha, Elizabeth, Theresa, Charlotte, and Nancy.
William Cornett, Sr., and wife, had three daughters: First, Charlotte D., married William Rhudy; had a family of sons and daughters.
Lucy H. married Andrew Porter; they had sons and daughters; lived on Elk Creek.
The third daughter of William Cornett and wife was Margaret. She married Rev. Abraham Elliott, a local Methodist preacher. Mr. Elliott and his wife first settled on Meadow Creek, near Grayson C. H.; afterward moved to Elk Creek to the Cornett mills; from there to Independence, Virginia. For some time they kept Hotel Elliott at Independence. Mr. Elliott was a tinner by trade; was a useful, industrious, good man; he and his wife both died and are buried at Independence. They brought up a family of sons and daughters; all settled in and around the town of Independence. Their youngest daughter, Margaret, married William Wright, editor of the “Grayson Journal.” Mr. Wright has been editor of this paper for over forty years at Independence, Virginia.
William Cornett, Sr., was an energetic, enterprising citizen, and brought up and trained his family for useful, industrious citizens of their country.
Elk Creek is a bold, swift mountain stream, flowing through a beautiful valley, and emptying into New River, furnishing fine water power.
William Cornett, in the early days, built a mill for grinding grain, also a saw mill, and a carding machine for carding wool. These mills were on the banks of Elk Creek, and were used by the settlers for many miles around.”

If this is indeed my family, I am very pleased to have found something like this. If it’s not, then I hope this helps someone else in their search for their ancestors. 🙂

Nuckolls, Benjamin Floyd. “New River Notes.” New River Notes-Since 1998 – Historical and Genealogical Resources for the Upper New River Valley of North Carolina and Virginia. Jeffrey C. Weaver, 1998-2006. Web. 14 Jun 2011. <http://www.mocavo.com/visit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newrivernotes.com%2Fva%2Fnuckolls1.htm&gt;.


  1. you are right on track, this is indeed our ansestors.

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