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[364]

Liberty Hall Academy.

It was nearly a century after the settlement at Jamestown, that Governor Spotswood of Virginia, at the head of a troop of horse, first explored the hitherto unknown land beyond the mountains, and upon his return from the expedition, the Governor presented to each of his bold companions, a golden horseshoe, inscribed with the legend: ‘Sic jurat transcendere montes,’ as a memorial of the event; a circumstance which caused them to be named in history, ‘The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.’ In August, 1716, these adventurous spirits first looked down from the heights of the Blue Ridge upon the beautiful Valley of Virginia,—a virgin land indeed, tenanted only by the roving red men. Glorious must have been the thrill of joy that quickened their hearts, as the tempting vision lay spread before them, as their eyes ranged over the fields and forests of this new land of promise in its summer sheen,—a land watered with many rivers, and especially with that beautiful and abounding river, ‘the Shenandoah,’ which the Indians named ‘The Daughter of the Stars.’

But prophetic as may have been the glance that saw in the fruitful valley, the future home of a great and thriving people, slow were the footsteps that followed the pioneers and occupied the huntinggrounds of the receding Indians. For in those days immigration was not quickened by steam and electricity, and early tradition had pictured the transmontane country as a barren and gloomy waste, infested with serpents and wild beasts and brutal savages.

But erewhile the reports of Spotswood and his men went far and wide, and the Star of Empire beamed over the Alleghanies. And along, in 1730 and 1740, we find the spray of the incoming tide breaking over the mountains—the sturdy Scotch-Irish for the most part, with some Germans and Englishmen, pouring into the Valley from Pennsylvania and Eastern Virginia, and from the fatherlands over the water. Not speculative adventurers were they, with the ambition of landlords, but bringing with them rifle and Bible, wife and child, and simple household goods—home-seekers and homebuilders, who had heard of the goodly land, and who had come to stay, and who built the meeting-house and the school-house side by side when they came. Rough men were they—ready to hew their way to free and pleasant homes—but in nowise coarse men, for they were filled with high purpose, and religion and knowledge they knew should be hand-maids of each other. And showing their instinctive

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