- Born: 13 Jul 1778, Charles Co., Maryland
- Marriage: Rosannah Fannin in North Carolina
- Died: 13 Jul 1856, Tazewell Co., VA at age 78
From Dodie Elizabeth (Smith) Browning - Copyright 1987-1997
George Steele was born in Charles County Maryland on 31 July, 1778, the youngest son of George and Elizabeth (Ratcliff) Steele. (Family Bible)
He married Rosannah, the daughter of David and Jane Fannin circa 1798, probably in Russell County Virginia. Rosannah was born (probably) in Montgomery County Virginia, on 17 December, 1779. (Family Bible) In October 1799, George Steele purchased 100 acres on Laurel Creek and Indian Creek from Syrinus Emmons and his wife Lydia. Emmons was a close friend and business partner of George's father in - law, David Fannin. This land was in the part of Russell County that was later annexed to Tazewell County, Virginia.
In October 1801, David Fannin deeded 100 acres to George Steele. This land was on the Maiden Spring Fork of the Clinch River, and joined the previous purchase. This land was also later annexed to Tazewell County. It was on this land that George and Rosannah built their first home about 1798, while the land was still in the name of David Fannin. (See picture of the cabin, this work.)
George's land was on the dividing line of the two counties. Until 1853, he owned land in both counties. The first mention of George Steele in Tazewell County records is when he witnessed a deed on 12 November, 1801.
In pioneer days there was a bounty on wolves, as they were a threat to the live stock of the settlers. On 27 November 1805, George was paid about $2.08 for the scalp of one "old wolf." The bounty at that time was about $4.16 for a young wolf. The younger wolves were considered more of a threat that the old ones, therefore, the bounty was higher.
On 29 June 1807, George Steele is recorded as being a member of the Militia for Tazewell County. He was a Lieutenant in Captain John Cecill's (sic) Company of Infantry, 2nd Battalion. He served in this capacity for at least three years.
On 29 June, 1807, George Steele was elected Constable for a term of one year. He held this office for a number of years. On 27 September 1809, he served as a juror. On 24 April 1810, he served on a Grand Jury, along with his brother, Richard.
On 14 April 1819, George was required to post bond in the amount of $500.00 to assure his appearance at the next term of Superior Court of Law in Washington County (Abingdon) Virginia, where he was to appear as a witness on behalf of the defense in the much publicized murder trial of Abner Vance. Tradition dictates that Abner was a Primitive Baptist Circuit Rider. No documentation has been found to prove nor disprove this. Abner was hanged in Washington County in June, 1819.
From the above information, which was taken directly from court records, we can determine that George was a stable member of his community, and prompt to fulfill his civic duty. Other records show that he jeopardized his own wealth to go on a bond for his nephew and namesake, George Steele, the son of his brother Ralph, for the younger George to become a constable. The younger George left the county, "absconding" with money that he had collected from various citizens. Various court records show that the elder George paid for this act, both financially and emotionally right up until he died.
The elder George served several terms as Constable for the Maiden Spring District. Over a span of fifty years he accumulated land and personal property. All of the land except the original 100 acres was deeded to him by his wealthy father in law, David Fannin. Land holdings of George Steele:
100 acres on Indian Creek (later included in the total acreage of the home place.)
100 acres on Maiden Spring Fork of Clinch River
256 acres on Indian Creek, deeded to George an Rosannah by Rosannah's father, David Fannin. This had been the home place of Rosannah's parents. ( See picture of Last Home of George and Rosannah (Fannin) Steele in FAMILIES OF FANNIN(G), first published 1987 (copyrighted) by this author. This home was later deeded to Rezin Ratcliff Steele, the youngest son of George and Rosannah. There is now a small subdivision on the land that our Steele ancestors called home.
George owned another 46 acres on Copper Ridge (Glade Hollow in Russell County,) which he sold in 1853.
The original Home /Cabin of George and Rosannah is still standing, although the stone chimney is falling and the structure is badly in need of repair. It consists of one large room and fireplace downstairs and a large room and fire place upstairs. There was originally a kitchen that was an L shape to the house, but this was torn down some time after the death of Polly Steele Wysor, George and Rosannah's youngest child and only daughter. The present owner is J. Robert Wysor, the great grandson of George and Rosannah. Bob was born in this house, as were his aunts and Uncle, and all of his great uncles. His grandmother, Mary "Polly" was born just before her parents moved to the larger house. We visited both of the houses numerous times before my husband, Ron died. The larger home was burned by vandals several years ago. George and Rosannah had eleven children,ten of whom survived to adulthood.
(Births from Family Bible)
1. John Steele, b. 1 April, 1799
2. Ralph Steele, b. 11 September, 1801
3. David Steele b. Oct. 1803 - (died Oct. or Nov. 1827)
4. Richard Steele b.19 June, 1806 - married Isabell Brewster. Richard died in Buchanan County 1892- no issue
5. Samuel Steele, b. 13 April 1809
6. Shadrack "Shade" B. Steele, b. 13 July, 1811
7. Abednigo White Steele, b. 2 December, 1813, d. 26 Dec. 1814
8.William Meshack Steele, b. 24 February, 1815
9. George Simpson Steele, b. 26 May, 1817
10. Rezin Ratcliff Steele, b. 31 March, 1821
11. Mary Jane "Polly" Steele, b. 4 February, 1824
George Steele died Intestate (meaning that he left no will) in Tazewell County Virginia on his son Shades's birthday; 13 July, 1856. Rosannah lived for another four years after George's death. She died 23 July, 1860. (death records found in Richmond and on tombstone) Their final resting place is in the family cemetery on a knoll overlooking the land where they spent their adult lives.
THE FAMILY CEMETERY
In 1977 W. Fred Andrews, a great grandson of George and Rosannah Steele, and Louise (Steele) Watts, a great grand daughter, were instrumental in having a chain link fence erected around the cemetery. They contacted known relatives in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky, asking for contributions. The fence was erected by Sears Roebuck & Company at a cost of $1,250.00. My good friend, J. Robert Wysor, another great grand son of George and Rosannah, assumed the responsibility of taking care of the cemetery for a short while, but he is quite elderly and no longer able to do this.
Rezin Steele and Polly (Steele) Wysor are the only two of George and Rosannah's children who are buried in the family cemetery, as far as I can determine. They, along with Meshack, were the only children of George and Rosannah who remained in Tazewell County.
George married Rosannah Fannin in North Carolina. (Rosannah Fannin was born on 17 Dec 1778 and died on 23 Jul 1860.)