Samuel William HAIRSTON ID#59, b. 18 December 1826, d. 31 March 1885
Father*Col. George "Old Rusty" HAIRSTON Jr.1 b. 27 Nov 1784, d. 13 Oct 1863
Mother*Louisa HARDYMAN b. 25 Dec 1787, d. 23 Oct 1847
Birth*Samuel William HAIRSTON was born on 18 December 1826 in Marrowbone Plantation, Henry County, Virginia.2 
He was the son of Col. George "Old Rusty" HAIRSTON Jr. and Louisa HARDYMAN.1 
Census 1830Samuel William HAIRSTON appeared on the 1830 census of Col. George "Old Rusty" HAIRSTON Jr. in 1830 in Henry County, Virginia; Males <5 1 (Samuel William), 5-9 1 (Robert Henry), 10-14 1 (Nicholas Hardyman), 15-19 1 (George Stovall), 30-39 1 (unknown), 40-49 1 (George), Females 5-9 1 (Louisa Hardyman), 10-14 1 (Susan Maria), 15-19 1 (Elizabeth), 30-39 1 (unknown), 40-49 1 (wife - Louisa), Slaves 138.3
College*Samuel William HAIRSTON graduated college about 1845 in Washington College, Lexington, Virginia.4

Marriage*He married Elizabeth A. PENN, daughter of Thomas Jefferson PENN and Mary Christian KENNERLY, on 26 October 1848 in Poplar Grove, Patrick County, Virginia; Minister Wiliam M. Schoolfield.5,6 
Census 1850*Samuel William HAIRSTON appeared on the census of 28 October 1850 in Patrick County, Virginia, Saml W. 24, Eliza 24, Jno T. 1.7

Census 1860*He appeared on the census of 2 August 1860 in Patrick County, Virginia, Samuel W 33 an iron maker, Eliza 33, Joth T 10, George R 7, Mary L 9, Elizabeth 5.8

Property*Inherited "Union Furnace" iron works from his father George Hairston. Samuel and family moved to Georgia for health reasons..4 
WillIn Col. George "Old Rusty" HAIRSTON Jr.'s will dated 15 September 1862 in Henry County, Virginia, Samuel William HAIRSTON was named as executor; Executors were his 3 sons Geo. S., Robt. H. & Saml W. Hairston. 
Residence*He returned to Henry County, Virginia. in 1867 in Henry County, Virginia.4 
Census 1880He appeared on the 1880 census of Mary Christian KENNERLY on 23 June 1880 in Mayo River, Patrick County, Virginia; Mary Penn 77, Samuel W. Hairston 52 son-in-law, Eliza 52 daughter, Mary L. 24 grand-daughter, Mary Penn (not Hairston) 22 grand-daughter.9

Death*Samuel William HAIRSTON died on 31 March 1885 in Henry County, Virginia, at age 58.2 
Burial*He was buried in Hordsville Cemetery, Henry County, Virginia.2 

In the land office at Richmond, Va., there is a grant to George Hairston, Sr., for a "draught on Goblintown Creek" I 789, and grant of several thousand acres of land in one body in lSor, embracing territory from Bull Mountain (where famous Fairy Stones are found) to Gohlintown Creek. Upon the banks of this stream was located the "Union Fur­nace," and just beyond on Hale's Creek, near the Franklin County line, was the forge with huge hammers weighing eral tons used for beating the iron bars into steel.

The property was called "Union Furnace" because of the joint mvnership of two brothers, George and John Hairston, who inherited it from their father, George Hairston, Sr. These brothers operated the ore banks, the furnace and forge until about when sold his interest to brother, George, Jr., and a few years later the property descended to George's sons, Robert and Samuel Hairston. In a level of many acres surrounded on every side by hills, was built the furnace, the rock iron house, so massive al1d substantial that the used to say "Ole Master will have to shake that down at Judgment Day." There was also the carpenter shop, black­smith shop, superintendent's office and just beyond on a ridge was the Overseers house, the negroes' comfortable "hewed log" cabins with bnck chimneys, the stables and barns, and still further on the side of the Mountain, were the ore banks. No doubt these are the "tunnels". described and unaccounted for by recent dwellers and visitors to section.

In I848, Samuel V. Hairston, my father, was married and bought his brother Robert's interest in the property a1JJ erected a beautiful residence on an eminence overlooking the furnace, around the waters Goblintown and Hale's Creeks flowed. The residence was commodious had every convenience of a country home in those days. A beautiful lawn, graveled walks, flower and vegetable gardens, well and of purest water, laundry, and servant's houses~everything make ideal country home. It may seem incredible to people of the present day of railroads, automobiles, trucks, electricity, etc., that the nearest railroad was more than miles away. No "made roads" mountains, rocks mud made impossible to get coal from the distant coal mines to operate the furnace, so there was a number of able bodied laborers kept busy much of the cutting coal pits, and burnll1g-coal to supply the furnace with charcoal to the furnace in "blast" for melting the ore. This are was dug from the mines with "picks and shovels," hauled to the furnace stack by horse mule Imagine what management, energy and it required to conduct this business successf m addition to managing a farm.

In 1863, after a severe illness of pneumonia, my father's health required a milder climate, and for this reason he de­cided sell to Stovall Barksdale, who to be agents Confederate Government -and that the "G. H_ was the best could be tires for war caissons and for Cavalry horse shoes. After selling the "Furnace" we went to Southwest Georgia, and one day while riding, my father discovered that "Big Davy," his Virginia
saddle horse had cast a shoe, so he stopped at a blacksmith's shop and asked to have a set of shoes made. he smithy admired the magnifiicent proportions of the horse and said, "I don't believe I have shoes that will do for that horse." As my father turned to ride away the man called him back saying, "Wait -- I have a small piece of the best iron I ever handled, if you are willing to pay the price, I'll make the shoes of that." My father answered, "Big Davy is a Virginia gentleman wears only the best." Imagine his surprise and emotion when he looked at the iron and saw his own brand "G. H." iron made by his "Union Furnace.'" So "Big Davy" had his shoes. I have given loose rein to memory and have digressed far beyond intention, which not to call to mind personal reminiscences of "Union Furnace" so completely obliterated now and forgotten except perhaps by the descendents of the original owners, but to perpetuate the history of what was once a prominent factor in the prosperity of that section, Patrick County, and compare its former character to its present use.

Those who purchased property, as "agents for the Confederate Government," knew nothing of manufacture of iron, of the coal pits, or even the management of that large number of laborers, so before long the are banks were caved in, the furnace stack had fallen, the furnace itself a wreck, the residence was destroyed by fire and all that of a prosperous and an idealcountry home was a mass of twisted rotted timbers burnt ruins. Even the "rock house" has gone --- the stone being used to build a dam across the creeks, turning the water into the level space (once the furnace yard) forming an artificial lake, surrounded by cottages, etc. All the old land marks of "Union Furnance" are lost in modern Fairy Stone park.

The above is from "The Hairston and Penns and Their Relations", by Elizabeth Seawell Hairston, 1939.4 


Elizabeth A. PENN b. 14 Dec 1826, d. 1 Jan 1900

Sources (

  1. [S24] Hall, Wm. Kearney 1918-. Descendants of Nicholas Perkins of Virginia. 1957 Ann Arbor, Michigan., Hathi Trust Digital Library.
  2. [S16] Hordsville Plantation Cemetery, Henry County, Virginia.
  3. [S1830] 1830 Federal Census - National Archives and Records Administration - and
  4. [S22] Hairston, Elizabeth Seawell, The Hairstons and the Penns and Their Relations, Roanoke, Virginia 1940,
  5. [S70] Marriages of Patrick County, Virginia 1791-1850, Lela C. Adams, (Bassett, VA 1972).
  6. [S95] Penn Family Bible 1735-1926, Bible of Captain Thomas Penn, Poplar Grove, Patrick Co., Virginia.
    Summary     Record is a typed transcript (2 leaves). Area covered is Patrick County, Virginia. Bible printed in 1824. Other surnames mentioned: Foster, Hairston, Hay, Kennerly, Leath, Shelton, Smithee, Tatum, and Zentmeyer. This transcript appeared in the March 1973 issue of Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, Library of Virginia -
  7. [S1850] 1850 Federal Census - National Archives and Records Administration - and
  8. [S1860] 1860 Federal Census - National Archives and Records Administration - and
  9. [S1880] 1880 Federal Census - National Archives and Records Administration - and
Last Edited22 Nov 2021