Peter HAIRSTON "The Immigrant" ID#1, b. about 1695
Birth*Peter HAIRSTON "The Immigrant" was born about 1695 in Ireland or Scotland. The law required Peter to be over 21 when he signed the land lease in 1723 and 1726, so he was probably born before 1702. Also, Peter Hairston is not listed in the 1758 lists of Albemarle County Militia, which required most men born between 1698 and 1742 to join. The estimate of 1695 is based on the above and the birth dates of Peter's grandchildren. 
Marriage*He married Agnes (surname unknown) about 1714. 
Ireland*On August 16, 1726, Peter Hairstones signed a lease for 120 years for farm land that was owned by Sir Robert Adair in County Antrim, Ireland. At the time he was living on a farm in Straidnahanna in the Parish of Ballyclair in the same county. William Owens and Andrew Allett also signed the lease with Peter. Peter signed with his mark. Since the lease started in 1723, it is possible Peter had been farming the land for 3 years before signing the lease. I have not found any other records in Northern Ireland relating to Peter Hairstones.

Copy of 1726 lease attached here ->
IrelandStraidnahanna is northwest of Belfast in Ballylinny, County Antrim, Northern Ireland in the map below and it is about 100 miles from Dumfries, Scotland following the red arrow on the map.

America*Peter Hairston and family immigrated to America about 1728, probably due to the drought that affected Ireland in 1727 and 1728. 
Pennsylvania*FIRST HOME: Peter Hairston's first home in the American Colonies appears to be 230 acres in Donegal Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1729. This land is now in Lancaster County, but was part of Chester County until 14 Oct 1728. A Land Warrant for 230 acres issued to Neil McAlister on 25 October 1738 states "Situate on Conewago Creek in Donegal Township settled by Peter Haristones nine years ago". On December 1, 1738 a Patent was issued to William Allison for land in the Township of Donegal that adjoined land formerly seated by Peter Hairston.2,3,4,5,6
PennsylvaniaSECOND HOME: His second home was farther south in Donegal Township. Peter had this land surveyed on April 8, 1736. However, a patent was issued to Lazarus and John Lowry in 1744 and it is assumed Peter sold the land to Lowry. Lazarus Lowry was born in Ireland and arrived in Donegal in 1729.

This 288 acres adjoined the lands of James Mitchel, John Kelly, William Allison, David Byers, Lazurus Lowry and James Harris. The survey reads as follows..."By order of the Proprietary Surveyed to Peter Hairstons a Tract of Land in Donegal Township & County of Lancaster (now in possession of Lazarus Lowry) Containing Two Hundred & Eighty Four acres and the usual allowance. Bounded according to ye above figure & Surveyed April ye 8th Ap 1736. By Sa. Blunston". - C-105-82 Pennsylvania Archives

The survey for William Allison land on 31 July 1738 has a note about an adjacent property that reads: "formerly seated by Peter Hairston". - Township of Donegal, Lancaster County. - C-107-28 Pennsylvania Archives

Also living in the Donegal area at this time was Michael Woods, from Ireland, who would later move to Goochland, Virginia, probably with Peter Hairston. The Presbyterian Ministers, Rev. James Anderson and Rev. Samuel Black were also in Donegal, Pennsylvania and traveled to Ivy Creek in Goochland County, Virginia.7
PennsylvaniaTHIRD HOME: Peter Hairston and his son Andrew Hairston each recieved a "Blunston" license in 1737 for property west of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. Samuel Blunston issued licenses for land West of the Susquehanna River starting 1734 for Thomas Penn. Samuel Blunston was the Deputy Surveyor and Justice of the Peace living in Lancaster County. At the time, these licenses were for remote land were ownership was being disputed by Maryland, Pennsylvania, Germans, Scotch-Irish and the Indians.

"June 6, 1737 Peter Hairstons 200 acres - On the South side of the South East Branch of the Conegochege."

"June 6, 1737 Andrew Hairstons 200 acres - On the South side of the North East Branch of the Conegochege in the fork."

A Land Warrant was issued to John Peter Saulinger for 500 acres in "Hopewell Township on Conegocheege Creek adjoining Peter Hersteyne" on 24 July 1738. Hopewell Township was formed in 1735, at that time in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In 1741 the inhabitants of Hopewell changed the name to Antrim Township, after their previous homes in Antrim, Ireland. This land warrant indicates that Peter Hairston did settle the Blunston License land on Conococheague Creek.

It is interesting to note that Evan Shelby also received a Blunston Licenses for land on the Conegochege. Peter Hairston's grandson, Capt. Peter Hairston served under Evan Shelby's son, Major Evan Shelby Jr. in the American Revolution. There are also family stories that a daughter of "Peter the Immigrant" married a Shelly or possibly Shelby.8,2,9,10,5
Virginia*Sometime around 1739, Peter and his family moved from Pennsylvania along the Great Wagon Road thru Wood's Gap (now Jarmin Gap) into Goochland County, Virginia. 
Court Record*On 15 Sep 1741, Peter Hairston, Michael Woods, John Woods, William Wallace and two dozen other residents signed a petition to have a road cleared from Thomas Morrisons to the D.S. tree in Michael Woods road in Goochland County. It is well known that, in 1734, Michael Woods led a group of families from Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah Valley to settle in Virginia. The gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains that Michael Woods led these families through was called "Woods Gap" until the name was changed to "Jarman Gap" in the 1800s. Michael Woods obtained his first patent in Goochland County in June 1737. Michael Woods was a Presbyterian from Ireland and his grandson John Woods would later marry Agnes Anne Hairston, Peter's granddaughter.

"On this petition of James Bell, William Verdeman, William Miller, Peter Hairston, Edward Molloy, Thomas Bell, James Bell Jun., John & Thomas & Hugh Dobbins, Thomas & Charles Hughes, William White, Davis Stockton, Alexander Reid, John Heard, Samuel Bell, William Morrison, John Roberts, David Martin, James Armour, James Robertson, John Fulton, Geo. Powel, John McCord, Saml. Arnett, Richard Stockton, Thomas Stockton, & Hum Dobbins. Leave is given them to clear a road from Thomas Morrisons to the D. S. tree in Michael Woods road. And that the petitioners be exempt from working on any other road." - Goochland County Court Order Book 5, page 3. FSL #7898186 image 22.11,12,13
Court RecordGoochland, Virginia, - Robinson vs Hearstone, Dec 1743 - "In the Action of trespass on the Case betweeen James Robinson Plt. and Peter Hearstone Deft. the Deft. failing to appear on the motion of the Plt. it ordered that an Alias Capias do issue agt. the Deft. returnable to the next Court." - Goochland County Court Order Book 5, page 331. FSL #7898186 image 203.12,14
Court RecordGoochland, Virginia, - Robinson vs. Hearstone, Mar 1743 (1744) - "The Action of Trespass on the case between James Robinson (Plantiff) & Peter Hearstone (Defendant) is dismissed with no prosecution." March Court 1744. - Goochland County Court Order Book 5, page 380. FSL #7898186 image 227.12,15
County Name*31 Dec 1744 - Albemarle County from Goochland. 
PropertyNorth Garden, Albemarle, Virginia, - on 12 January 1747 Peter Hairstone acquired a patent for 250 acres next to land owned by Robert Lewis. Robert Lewis was the grandfather of Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Peter's property was in Albemarle County when the patent was recorded, however, it was surveyed prior to 1744 when this land was in Goochland County. - Virginia Land Office Patents No. 25, 1745-1747, p. 528-530. FSL #8570212 image 545. Note: Peter and his wife Agnes sold this land on 24 October 1762.16,17,18
Church Record*In 1747, Peter Hairston and other members of the church sent a letter inviting Reverend Samuel Black to be their minister of the Mountain Plain Congregation, Ivy Creek, Albemarle County, Virginia. They were Orthodox Reformed Presbyterians. Mountain Plains was built near Lickinghole Creek and Mechum's River. It was named after Michael Wood's plantation. Albemarle County had been formed from Goochland County in 1744. A transcript of the letter is shown below.

Albemarle County in Virginia by Edgar Woods, Appendix No. 1, page 362. -- The original of the following Call was found by Mr. Nicholas Black in looking over the papers of his uncle, the late Thomas Black. It was published in the Charlottesville Chronicle of March 21st, 1879.

IVY CREEK, MARCH 29, 1747.
Whereas it is agreed or proposed that ye Inhabitants of Ivy Creek and ye Mountain Plain Congregation joyn together with ye Congregation of Rockfish, to call and invite ye Reverend Samuel Black, now Residing in ye bounds of ye Reverend Mr. John Craig's Congregation, to be our Minister and Pastor to administer ye ordinances of ye Gospel among us: All we, whose names are hereunto affixed, do promise and oblige ourselves to pay yearly and every year ye several sums annexed to our names, for ye outward support and Incouragement of ye said Mr. Samuel Black during his abode and continuance among us, for ye one half of his Labor in ye Administration of Gospel Ordinances to us in an orderly way, according, to ye Rules and Practice of our Orthodox Reformed Presbyterian Church: as Witness our hands: Michael Woods -- William Woods -- Archibald Woods -- William Wallace -- Andrew Wallace -- John Woods Sr. -- John Greer -- Thomas Lockhart -- Peter Hairston -- Adam Gaudylock -- Michael Woods Jr. -- William McCord -- John Gamble -- Davis Stockton -- Hugh Dobbins -- David Lewis -- James Gamble -- Charles Lambert -- John Monday -- Thomas Evins -- Thomas Wright -- William Little -- Nathan Woods -- Samuel Jameson -- John Lockhart -- Hendry Burch -- Thomas Alexander -- Patrick Woods -- John McCulloch -- William Ogans -- William Chamberlain -- Thomas Craig -- John Thompson -- John Corban -- Hendry Carr -- James Weir -- Robert McNeilly -- John Dicky -- William Norris -- John Kincaid -- John Woods Jr. -- John Jameson -- Benjamin Wheeler -- W. Bucknall -- John Burrisse -- Robert Stewart -- James Kincaid -- William Whiteside -- Andrew McWilliams -- William Bustard -- George Dawson -- Thomas Whiteside -- Joseph Kincaid -- Matthew Mullins -- John McCord -- Richard Stockton -- Archibald Woods.19 
Survey*On 11 September 1749, William Cabell had a survey of 324 acres adjacent to Col. Robert Lewis, Peter Hairstone, Frederick Dicks and Robert Day. It was transferred to John Lankford (Langford) and later to John Moore. - FSL #8152047 image 507.20
Property28 April 1752 North Garden, Albemarle, Virginia, - On 2 June 1752, John Bays has 90 acres surveyed in North Garden, Albemarle County. This land is adjacent to Peter Hairstone, Robert Lewis, William Brannum (Bramham) and Thomas Evans. On 30 August 1763, John Bays patents the 90 acres in North Garden, page 438. - FSL #8151807.21,16,22
SurveyJohn Lankford (Langford) Jr. had a survey of 148 acres of land adjacent to Peter Hairston, John Lankford (Langford) Sr., Thomas Evans and Ben Wheeler, Albemarle County. - FSL #8152047 image 377.21,23
SurveyOn 15 August 1760, West Langford had a survey of 175 acres joining Peter Hairston, Jacob Watts, Sam Arnold and John Langford in Albemarle County. The deed was recorded on 14 March 1771 in the Albemarle County March Court. In describing the property it states " of ridge to a Red Oak in Hairstones line then...". - FSL #8152047 image 379.21,24,25
SurveyPeter Hairston has 400 acres in Bedford County on the north branches of Seneca Creek surveyed on 9 November 1760. This land was adjacent to Butterworth and Bedel. - Bedford County Surveyors Records 1754-1881, page 112. FSL #8141114 image 68.
PropertyPeter Hairstone and his wife Agnes sold 250 acres in the North Garden of Albemarle County (formerly Goochland County) to Joseph Dawson of Amherst County for 48 pounds. Note that the deed is not dated. However, the deed was registered with the Albemarle courts on 14 Oct 1762. This land was next to Robert Lewis's land. There is a Joseph Dawson that married a Judith Dudley in Goochland County on 20 Nov 1753 (from Douglas Register). A George Dawson signed the Mountian Plain Congregation letter in 1747. - Albemarle County, Virginia Deed Book 3, page 242-243. FSL #7893699 image 331.26
NOTE*GENEALOGY NOTES: It is mentioned in several books that Peter and his wife had two daughters, Agnes and Martha. Agnes died at sea and Martha married a Mr. Shelly, brother of Gov. Isaac Shelby, and moved to Kentucky. The Shelby family was in the Pennsylvania about the same time as the Hairston family. The Shelby's were also issued a Blunston License in Pennsylvania on Conecocheague Creek, moved to Virginia, were in the Virginia Militia and then moved to Kentucky and Tennessee. There is a quote of Gen. Shelby calling a Hairston (Haustin) his cousin.

As to who the parents of "Peter the Immigrant" were. I found an interesting lead while in Dumfries, Scotland, that an Andrew Hairstanes of Holywood had several sons; Robert born 1694, Andrew born 1697 and John born 1691. Is it possible that our Peter was also one of Andrew Hairstanes's sons?

Other stories that have been handed down before the internet. Could be true or just folklore.
1. That the wife and a daughter of "Peter the Immigrant" died at sea on the voyage to the colonies.
2. That the trunk from Cooleemee Plantation was the used by "Peter the Immigrant" when he came to the colonies.
3. That the South Carolina Hairston families arrived in the Carolinas directly from Europe.
4. That the wife of "Peter the Immigrant" was an "Irish Lady of Rank".

Peter Hairstone and his wife Agnes sold their Albemarle County, Virginia property in October 1762 and that is the last record I have found of them. Where does a man and his wife go in their late sixties after they have sold their home of over 40 years. Did they go to live with a son or daughter? Did Peter and Agnes go to South Carolina?

The Virginia laws in the colonial age meant that the oldest son of "Peter the Immigrant" would inherit all of his property when he died. But since he had already sold his land for 48 pounds and most people did not have bank accounts, a will and probate court were probably not necessary. So, Peter and Agnes could have lived with a child and died peacefully of old age with no documents pertaining to their remaining lives. Why were "Peter the Immigrant" and his wife Agnes not listed in any of the old Hairston Family Bibles?

John McCord was a neighbor of Peter Hairston (The Immigrant) and a member of Mountain Plain Congregational Church. There are websites that claim John McCord or a son married a Hairston, but I have not found any sources for this. John McCord Sr. died in 1764 in Albemarle County, Virginia and his son John McCord Jr. moved to Abbeville County, South Carolina and witnessed John Hairston's will in 1806.27,28,29 


Agnes (surname unknown)
ChartsDescendant Chart
Descendant Chart Box

Sources (

  1. [S104] Contract between Sir Robert Adair, Peter Harstones, Andrew Allet and William Owens - 1726, PRONI - Public Records of Northern Ireland, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  2. [S216] Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives and History, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA.
  3. [S221] Ellis, Franklin, 1828-1885. History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers And Prominent Men. Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1883. Hathi Trust Digital Library.
  4. [S227] Ziegler, J. L. An Authentic History of Donegal Presbyterian Church: Located In East Donegal Township, Lancaster Co., Pa.. Mount Joy, Pa.; F. McManus, Jr. & Co., Philadelphia, 1902 ., Hathi Trust Digital Library.
  5. [S3456] Warrant Applications, 1733-1952. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania State Archives.,
  6. [S3595] Egle, William Henry, 1830-1901, Pennsylvania Archives 3rd Series Vol. 8, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania : Clarence M. Busch, state printer, 1896
    , Family Search Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  7. [S3097] Pennsylvania Achives, Third Series, Volumn VIII, edited by William Henry Egle, M.D., Harrisburg, Clarence M. Busch, State Printer, 1896,
  8. [S234] Boyd, Stephen G., Indian Local Names with Their Interpretations, Published by the author, York, PA 1835.
  9. [S3421] Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. XII, No. 1, March, 1933, p.65, unknown repository.
  10. [S3422] Donehoo, George P. Dr., A History of the Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, The Susquehanna Hostory Association, Harrisburg, 1930.,
  11. [S219] Goochland County Road Orders, 1728-1744 - Nathan Mason Pawlett, Virginia Highway & Transportation Research Council, Charlottesville, Virginia, June 1975 VHTRC 75-R71…
  12. [S3080] Blomquist, Ann K., Goochland County Virginia Court Order Book 5, Heritage Books, 2007, Personal Collection - printed book.
  13. [S3272] Goochland County Virginia Court Order Book 5, 1741-1744, Reel 22, Page 3, Library of Virginia -
  14. [S3661] Goochland County Virginia Court Order Book 5, 1741-1744, page 331. Family History Library, Film #007898186, image 203., Family Search Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  15. [S3662] Goochland County Virginia Court Order Book 5, 1741-1744, page 380. FSL 7898186-227., Family Search Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  16. [S3124] Hudgins, Dennis R. Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants : Volume Seven, 1762-1776. Richmond, Va: Virginia Genealogical Society, 1999. Print., Personal Collection - printed book.
  17. [S3282] Goochland County Virginia Patents 25, 1745-1747, p. 528, Reel 23, Library of Virginia -
  18. [S3617] The Virginia Genealogical Society. Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly and Magazine of Virginia Genealogy. Volume 28, August 1990, Number 3, page 198,
  19. [S146] Woods, Edgar. Albemarle County in Virginia: Giving Some Account of What It Was by Nature, of What It Was Made by Man, and of Some of the Men Who Made It. Charlottesville, Va.: Michie Co., printers, 1901. Print., Personal Collection - printed book.
  20. [S3657] Albemarle Co VA Surveyor's Book 1744-1750, Page 114. Family History Library, Film #008152047, Image 507., Family Search Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  21. [S3094] Grundset, Eric. Land Lying in the County of Albemarle: Albemarle County, Virginia Surveyor's Plat Books, Volumes 1, Part Land 2, and Volume 2, 1744-1853, [and 1892]. Fairfax, Va: E.G. Grundset, 1998. Print., Library of Virginia -
  22. [S3660] Albemarle Co VA Surveyor's Book vol 1, 1750-1755, Page 220. Family History Library, Film #008152047., Family Search Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  23. [S3654] Albemarle Co VA Surveyor's Book 1756-1790, Page 51. Family History Library, Film #008152047, Image 377., Family Search Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  24. [S3652] Albemarle County, Virginia Deed Book 5, Pages 274-275. Family Search Library, #7893700, Image 173., Family Search Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  25. [S3655] Albemarle Co VA Surveyor's Book 1756-1790, Page 54. Family History Library, Film #008152047, Image 379., Family Search Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  26. [S3411] Davis, Bailey Fulton, Albemarle County Virginia Deed Book 3, 1760-1763. Amherst Courthouse, Va. 1971, Salt Lake City, Utah : Digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2009, Family Search Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  27. [S145] Pedigo, Virginia G. and Pedigo, Lewis Gravely. History of Patrick and Henry Counties, Virginia - Genealogical Publishing Co., 1933 available on - CAUTION - this book was written in 1933 and has many errors regarding the Hairston family., Personal Collection - printed book.
  28. [S22] Hairston, Elizabeth Seawell, The Hairstons and the Penns and Their Relations, Roanoke, Virginia 1940,
  29. [S191] Old Parish Records, Dumfries & Galloway Family History Society, Dumfries, Scotland - this data was collected during my 2012 trip to Dumfries, Scotland. It is also available on the website
  30. [S101] Will & Probate of Samuel Hairston - 1782, Campbell County Will Book #1, page 6, Library of Virginia -
Last Edited1 May 2024