The Botetourt County Historical Museum recently received a new acquisition when George E. Holt III, on behalf of Borden Run LLC, donated the original document commissioning Lt. Col George Skillern into the Botetourt County Militia, by the Committee of Safety of the Colony of Virginia. The document is dated April 4, 1776. Col. Skillern subsequently led Botetourt County troops during the Revolutionary War.
Robert Stoner, author of “A Seedbed of the Republic,” describes the document as hanging on the wall of a direct descendant in a home located in Cherry Tree Bottom, near present day Buchanan. The home incorporated a portion of Col. Skillern’s dwelling In Cherry Tree Bottom and was hanging there in the 1960s. Col. Skillern purchased the land in Cherry Tree Bottom in 1764, prior to the founding of Botetourt County in 1770.
Col. Skillern had served as a Justice of the Peace and in the militia of Augusta County prior to the founding of Botetourt County. He was one the first justices of Botetourt County and served in the militia, on the local roads commission, as sheriff of Botetourt County and as a member of the House of Delegates representing Botetourt County. He was a successful planter of hemp, which was one of the major cash crops in early Botetourt.
Lynsey Allie, executive director of The Botetourt County Historical Society, expressed appreciation to the Holt family for donating this important piece of early Botetourt County history, and said, “This is a great addition to the society’s holdings, and we are beyond thrilled to have this unique artifact in our collection. We hope to use the document to expand the understanding of Colonial Botetourt and to help in interpreting those times to our visitors.”
The museum, located at 26 East Main Street, one block from the Botetourt County Courthouse, is open daily, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays from 2-4 p.m. Admission is free.
~ Botetourt County Historical Museum