Saturday, October 25, 2008




Traditional family states that Robert Looney was born on the Isle of Man in the English Channel in the late 1600's. He married Elizabeth Llewellyn. Supplemental Volume 5 of The WV Heritage Encyclopedia reproduces a statement that Robert was a member of the Jamestown VA settlement.

Leroy W. Tilton states in “The Robert and Elizabeth Looney Family”, “No record of Robert Looney in America has been found earlier than 1734 when Robert and Elizabeth Looney were in Philadelphia at the time their son Peter was born. This is known only because of an interview that Peter had on 28 July 1757 at Philadelphia with a correspondent of the "London Chronicle: or Universal Evening Post." The issue for September 6 - 8 gives an account of Peter's captivity for about a year among the French and Indians at Fort Detroit. Peter stated that he was about 23 years of age, had been born in Philadelphia, and was on his way from Albany to Virginia where his parents lived. It is probable that in 1734 Robert and Elizabeth and their older children, at least 7 sons, had recently arrived in America and that they soon moved westward through Pennsylvania. This family was one of 70 that entered the Colony of Virginia with Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan, of the Province of Pennsylvania, according to an agreement made as set forth in an order of the Lieutenant Governor and Council of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia dated 25 April 1735”.

Tilton further states. “Baylor's Book of Surveys in Frederick County Courthouse, shows that Robert Looney had a survey on Lunie's Mill Creek in April 1740. The Looney family probably moved south through the Shenandoah Valley about 1739 or 1740. Robert Looney obtained a grant of 250 acres on James River and on Lunie's Mill Creek on 30 July 1742. These lands are not far from Natural Bridge in what had become Augusta County in 1738 (but not organized as such until 1745) and in 1769 became a part of Botetourt County. Consequently, since the Augusta County was not organized, the suits in Orange County continued. Adam Payne sued Robert Luney of trespass in 1745, but after several continuances it was dismissed in 1744. Francis and John Marshall sued Robert Luney for debt in 1744, James Patton being security for Luney. The case was tried by jury 4 August 1744 and a verdict found against Luney for 18 pounds 1 shilling 6 pence, with 1 penny damage, and so recorded 5 October 1745. (Orange Order Book 4).

The old Looney home on the James stood on the south bank of the river and the west bank of the creek, but it was seldom usable and the family operated a ferry at the eddy just above the creek. Robert and his sons hunted, ran the ferry and a mill, grazed cattle and horses, and developed a nursery and orchards. (See Kegley's Virginia Frontier, p. 163; also West Va. Blue Book 1924, and Roanoke Times 4 June 1961.) Looney's Ferry estb. 1742)”

Tilton Also states. “But on 15 November 1762 something happened that made it possible for Looney descendants to get considerable information about Robert and his family. One this day Robert Looney and Elizabeth deeded to John Bowyer 250 acres, the land that was patented in 1742 on 30 July. This seems to have included not only the land verbally given to sons Peter and David but also land previously given to sons Absalom and Daniel. Consequently, certain suits were brought by the heirs of Daniel and of Peter against Robert Looney and John Bowyer, and these affairs were taken or discussed in the court records at length. Robert (1) was active at least as late as August 1764 when he pleaded in answer to such suits that he was drunk (intoxicated) when the instruments were signed, on 20 Nov. 1764 he deeded land, 160 acres at Sinking Springs to Joseph Looney. On 24 May 1765 it was decreed that John Bowyer should reconvey to each of the interested parties their lands. The agreement of 1759 was recorded in the same month. John Bowyer deeded the lands to David Looney, to Peter Looney Jr., son of Peter Looney, deceased and to "Margaret" Looney, daughter and heiress of Daniel.”

“In May 1768 there is recorded an account or record of settlement between Robert Looney and Irwin Patterson's estate. From this it seems that Elizabeth Looney bought one looking glass and sundry goods on 10 May 1745-6 also that ferriage at 20 shillings per annum for 10 years was due from Patterson's estate to Looney.”

“Certain entries at the October term of court in 1770 indicate that Robert was living then, but his death occurred in Oct. or Nov. before his will was proved 13 November 1770.”

Robert Looney's Will

In the name of God amen September the fourteenth one thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine I Robert Looney being very sick and weak in Body but of Perfect mind and memory and calling to mind the uncertainty of this life and knowing that all men was worn to die once I recommend my soul to God who gave it and my Body to the ground to be buried in a decent manner at the discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but I shall have it again at the Resurrection. As for the worldly Estate that it has pleased God to Bless me with I give and bequeath in manner and form the following. I leave my well beloved wife Elizabeth Luney and my beloved son Joseph Luney to be my sole Executors. Next I leave to my beloved grandson John Luney one shilling sterling. All the remainder of my Bodily Estate after my funeral charges and Lawful Debts are paid I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife Elizabeth Luney to Live on and use as she pleaseth During her natural Life and then to descend to my beloved son Joseph at her death the rest of my children having already got all that I allow to them of my estate.

Signed Sealed and Pronounced in Presence of us

John Smith (His Mark)

James Crow Robert (RL) Luney (Seal)

Elinor Crow (His Mark)

John Burton (His Mark)

At a court held for Botetourt County the 13th of November 1770 this writing purporting to be the Last Will and Testament of Robert Looney decd. was presented in court by Joseph Looney one of the Executors herein named and proved by the oaths of Thomas Crow, James Crow and John Smith and ordered to be recorded and on motion of said Executor who made oath according to Law certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate thereof in due form whereupon he together with Abraham McClelland and John Looney his securities entered into and acknowledged their bond in five Hundred pounds conditioned as the Law directs. Tests John May C.B.C. Recorded in Will Book A, page 5; Botetourt County, Virginia.

(Robert's mark was a capital R on the upper shank of capital L.) (Probably his stock Brand)

Children of Robert and Elizabeth (Llewellyn) Looney.

2. (1). Thomas b.c 1718 d.c. 1758

m. Jane Harmon

3. (2). Robert Jr. b.C. 1721

m. Margaret Rhea

4. (3). Daniel b.c. 1723

m. Jane Evans

5. (4). Adam b.c. 1725 d.c. 1770

m. Hannah Wright

6. (5). Samuel b.c. 1727 d.c. 1760

m. Ann ------

7. (6). Louisa b.c. 1728

m. Capt. John Shelby

8. (7). Absalom b.c. 1729 d.c. 1796

m. Margaret “Peggy” ------

9. (8). Lucy Jane b. 1730

m. Stephen Holston 1753

10. (9). John b. 1732 d. 1817

m. Esther “Hettie” Renfro

See RENFRO Genealogy blog

11. (10). Peter b. 1734 d. 1760

m. Margaret Lauderdale,

12. (11). David b. 1735 d. 1810

m. Mary McClelland.

13. (12). Joseph b. 1740 d. 1817

m. Jean/Jane Bowen 25 Jun 1764 Augusta County VA. (license)


John Looney, a son of Robert and Elizabeth (Llewellyn) Looney, was born about 1732, probably just before the family came to America. In 1749 his name was on the tax list in Augusta County VA. John married Esther Renfro about 1756. Esther, a daughter of Stephen Renfro Sr. (Will (1802-1804), Estate Book 1, Knox Co., Tenn., 149.), was born about 1739 and may have been the first white female born west of the James River.

John Looney was security with Robert Rowland on 17 March 1756 when his sister-in-law, Margaret (Rhea) Looney administered on the estate of her deceased husband, Robert Looney Jr. On 6 May 1761 John Luney witnessed a power-of-attorney from Charles Milliken of Orange County, North Carolina, to John Buchanan. (Augusta Deeds A, 277.) On 17 February 1762 he assisted in the appraisement of the estate of Christian Hicks. (Augusta Wills 3, 113.)

On 27 September 1767 John Looney purchased of his older brother Adam Looney, the 271 acres known as the Meadow Run or Bryan’s Creek tract which Adam had bought from Colonel James Patton in 1752. On 4 March 1768, John Looney had 250 acres surveyed on Looney’s Mill Creek along his own patent line; also 196 acres adjoining John Mill’s land. (Rockingham Co. Surveys 1, 137.) The 250 acres were purchased from his nephew Peter (3) Looney, but the deed was not made or recorded until 12 January 1796. (Botetourt Deeds 5, 347.)

When Joseph Looney proved the will of Robert Looney in Botetourt County on 13 November 1770, John Looney was security with Abraham McClellan. On that day both John and Joseph were on the Grand Jury in Botetourt County, and John was named as “one of the most capable freeholders of this County.” On 14 May 1771 John Looney succeeded John Mills as overseer of roads, and was again on the Grand Jury.

At the 1810 census of Botetourt County VA, John Looney appears, over 45, with female over 45, living with Robert Looney, 16 to 26, female 16 to 26. On 23 March 1816 John Looney and Esther his wife deeded 315 acres to Robert Looney for 800 pounds. (Botetourt Co. Deeds 12, 98.) On 13 April 1817 a tract of John Looney’s in Botetourt County was divided between his sons David Looney (85 acres) and Joseph Looney (82 acres). (Survey Book 3, 407.) John’s son Robert sold his land and removed from Botetourt at about this time. John may have died in 1817. He is not found in the 1820 census of Botetourt County VA.

Esther, widow of John Looney, died on 26 February 1821 in her 82d year, on Sinking Creek, Virginia. (Natl. Intellingencer, Washington, D.C., 12 July 1821.)

Children of John and Ester "Hettie" (Renfro) Looney.

14. (1). John b.c. 1757

15. (2). Stephen b.c. 1758

16. (2). Robert ` b.c. 1760

17. (4). Peter b.c. 1761

m. Judith Robinson (bond) 10 March 1786

18. (5). Jane b.c. 1763

m. Stephen Holston (bond) 1 June 1781

19. (6). Mary b.c. 1766

m. Cartill 4 July 1786 Botetourt County VA

20. (7). Martha b.c. 1769

m. ------ Cuningham

21. (8). Esther b.c. 1777

m. John Walker; bond 14 June 1802 Botetourt County VA

22. (9). Eleanor b.c. 1780

m. George Walker Jr. Botetourt bond 18 Dec. 1805

23. (10). Joseph b. Jan 4 1783 d. 1867

m. Nancy Hendrickson (bond 13 May 1806, Botetourt Co. VA.

24. (11). John b.c. 1784

m. Elizabeth Walker 29 March 1804 Botetourt County VA

25. (12). David b.c. 1786

m. Peggy Ferrier (bond) 6 January 1806 or 1807

26. (13). Robert b.c. 1787

m. Catherine Stover (bond) 9 December 1809


See STOVER Genealogy blog


Robert Looney, a son of John and Ester "Hettie" (Renfro) Looney, was born in Botetourt County VA February 22, 1786 and died in Roane County WV January 6, 1870. He married Catharine Stover in Botetourt County. Their marriage (bond) was dated December 9, 1809 in Botetourt County Marriage Register 186 was signed by John Looney Sr. as father of the Groom. Catharine, a daughter of George Stover was born in Pennsylvania in 1785 and died in Roane County WV March 14, 1865.

On June 26, 1813 Robert Looney volunteered in Botetourt County for 3 months and served 2 months or more as Corporal in Captain Joseph Hannah’s Company in the 4th (or 121st) Regiment of Virginia Militia commanded by Colonel James McDowell. He was discharged at Fairfield, near Richmond, on 13 August 1813 (having furnished a substitute). (Bounty-land application papers 76301-40-50; 22807-160-55.)

On March 23, 1816 Robert Looney purchased from his parents 315 acres for 800 pounds. (Botetourt Deeds 12, 98.) By June 11, 1818 Robert was described as of Russell County, Virginia, when he purchased 76 acres there on both sides of Lewis Creek of Clinch River from Martin Honaker and wife Lyddy. On October 17, 1818 he purchased another tract of 171 acres from the same parties. (Russell Deeds 6, 124, 134, or 174.)

Robert Luney and wife, both 26-45, are listed in the Russell County VA census of 1820 with 4 girls and 1 boy under 10 years. On 3 July 1825 Robert (3) Looney bought 100 acres in Russell County on Louisa Creek of Sandy River from John Wilson, attorney for Thomas Wilson. (Russell Deeds 7, 287.)

On July 20, 1832 Robert (3) and Catherine his wife sold their 247 acres, known as Mill Farm on Louisa Creek, to Harry Smith. (Russell Deeds 9, 55.) Five months later on December 28, 1832 they sold to Joseph Looney of Russell County their 100 acres on Sandy River. (Russell Deeds 9, 201.)

Bishop’s History of Roane County states that in or about 1839 Robert and Catherine Looney removed to a location near the present Looneyville and Walton, south of Spencer, in what is now Roane County, WV. According to traditions in Buchanan County, Virgina, Robert made a dugout canoe 51 feet long and 4 feet wide from a very large tree and took his family and possessions by water down the Louisa and Sandy to the Kanawha, a distance of nearly 100 miles, and then some 30 or 40 miles up the Main Branch of Poca, a northern tributary of the Kanawha.

In 1850 this region was within the bounds of Kanawha County, Virginia, and the Federal Census lists Robert Looney 63, blacksmith, born Virginia; and Catherine 63, born Pennsylvania. With them lived David Looney 22, laborer, born Virginia, and Abraham Looney 69, laborer, born Virginia. A neighbor was Jennetta A. Looney 20, with Frances O. Looney 3 months old.

Known children of Robert and Catherine (Stover) Looney.

45. (1). Mary “Polly” b. Nov 23 1810

m. Joseph Looney

46. (2). Delilah b.c. 1812

m. David Atkins

47. (3). Betsey b.c. 1815

m. ------ Haynes

48. (4). Sarah "Sallie" b.Oct 5 1818 d. Jul 2 1911

m. William Vineyard Jul 28 1840

49. (5). Peter b.Mar 28 1823

m. Charity Vinyard Feb 22 1844


See VINEYARD Genealogy blog

50. (3). Daniel b.Jan 8 182

m. Jenette A. Caldwell

51. (4). Abraham b. 1830

m. Sarah S. McClanahan


Peter Looney, a son of Robert Jr. Catherine (Stover) Looney, was born in Tazewell County Virginia March 28, 1823 and died in Roane County WV July 2, 1911. He moved to Kanawha County VA in 1839 and married Charity Vineyard there February 22, 1844. Charity, a daughter of Presley and Cynthia (Hammock) Vinyard, was born in Kanawha County Virginia July 10, 1825.

Children of Peter and Charity (Vineyard) Looney.

137. (1). Mary b.Jun 14 1845

138. (2). Daniel b.Sep 22 1846 d. 1891

m.Elizabeth R. Lowry

See LOWRY Genealogy blog

139. (3). Rachel b.Jun 13 1848

140. (4). Robert b.Jun 4 1850 d.May 7 1860

141. (5). Presley b.Apr 22 1852

m.Charity McGlothlin Dec 28 1876

142. (6). James C. b.Dec 7 1854 d.Feb 7 1883

143. (7). Peter C. b.Feb 24 1857

m.Luverna B. Lowe Dec 15 1881

144. (8). Catherine b.Aug 2 1859

m.Winfield Scsott Simmons

145. (9). Susan E. b.Aug 10 1861

146. (10). Davidson b.Aug 28 1863

m.Rhoda Kelly

147. (11). Abraham W. b.Jun 1 1866

148. (12). Jane E. b.Mar 17 1869

149. (13). Clark b. 1870 d. 1941

m.Annie Mae Hershberger


Daniel Looney, a son of Peter and Charity (Vineyard) Looney, was born in Roane County VA (WV) September 22, 1846 and died March 24, 1891. He married Elizabeth R. Lowry in Roane County October 8, 1867. Elizabeth, a daughter of William Harrison and Hannah (Patton) Lowry, was born in Roane County August 6, 1846.

Children of Daniel and Elizabeth R. (Lowry) Looney.

490. (1). Martha Hannah b.Sep 5 1868

m. William Edward Ryan Mar 14 1897


See RYAN Genealogy blog

491. (2). Peter Clark b.Oct 10 1870

492. (3). Joseph Delmar b.Oct 5 1872

493. (4). Franklin Pierce b.Mar 15 1878 d.Nov 13 1951

m.Nona Mae Combs

494. (5). Clarence Linden b.Feb 24 1880 d.Apr 18 1881

495. (6). Mary Jane b.Apr 9 1882

496. (7). Carrie Jeanette b.Mar 30 2884

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