A Little History of Boones Mill

by Betty Naff Mitchell

The 18th Century Mill Built by Jacob Boon
Photo Furnished by Franklin County Historical Society

Boones Mill lies about fifteen miles south of Roanoke, Virginia, midway between Roanoke and Rocky Mount, Virginia. It is a small, rural town rich in history and beautiful to visit. It was the home of many of the first settlers in Virginia, and the birthplace of many of their descendants. You will see Boones Mill mentioned many times when researching the genealogy of the Naff, Flora, Bowman, Barnhart, and innumerable other families.

On first thought, most people want to know if Boones Mill had any connection to Daniel Boone. There is a local tradition that pioneer Daniel stopped overnight in the village that became today's town of Boones Mill. This may very well be true, since Daniel probably traveled the route down the old Carolina Road, which runs about parallel with today's Route 220, but the facts are that the town is not named after Daniel. 1

It has been concluded after extensive research that Daniel Boone's family had no connection with the founding of Boones Mill, Virginia. There are at least two distinct Boone families in the United States. Daniel Boone, the famous pioneer, is of the British (English, Scotch and Scotch-Irish) line which descended from George Boone, III, and his wife, Mary Mauridge of Devonshire, England.2

In the year 1741 a German immigrant by the name of Johann Diel Bohne landed in Philadelphia, PA. He arrived on the ship "Marlborough" from the Palatinate, Germany, near the Rhine River. His age is given on the ship's list as 30 years. The original of this document is on file with the Pennsylvania Historical Society at Harrisburg.3

On April 10, 1750, fifty acres of land located near Frizellburg, now Carroll County, Maryland, called "Boone's Content" were patented to Theobald Boon (Land Warrant No. 587, Carroll County, MD). We know by Johann's will that this land had come into the possession of Johann Diel Bohne. Perhaps Johann had relatives in the new world before he left Germany. In September, 1752, Johann Bohne acquired 80 acres of the "Resurvey on Shear Spring." (Land Warrant #1970, Carroll County, MD) In October of 1758 Johann acquired 40 acres of the tract "No Whisky." (Land Warrant #2821).4 We can see that this immigrant was acquiring quite a lot of land and his estates were growing.

Johann Bohne died in 1764. Johann had made his will in 1761 before a visit to Germany. The witnesses were Michael and Peter Moyers or Myers. English clerks took "Bohn" to be "Bone" and copied it that way into the will book at Frederick, Maryland. A photostat of Johann's signature to the original will in German shows to have been "Johann Diel Bohn." This family has always pronounced it "Boon" even to this day. On the back of the will is the statement that the will was "proved by P. Myers, and the other witness (Michael Myers/Moyers) was dead 5th of April, 1765". The will was filed April 13, 1764 (Liber A #1, folio 209). The executors Johann named did not serve, and Nicholas Bohne, Johann's son by his first marriage, acted as administrator. 5

Johann Diel Bohne/Boone's children:6

1. Nicholas Bohn/Boon - Child of Johann's first wife. Nicholas remained in Maryland.

Children by second wife:

2. Jacob Bohn/Boon, Sr. - Moved to Franklin County, Virginia.
3. Abraham Bohn/Boon - Moved to Rockingham County, Virginia. He died young.
4. Margaret Bohn/Boon - Remained in Maryland.
5. Mary Bohn/Boon - Married Jacob Hoss. Moved to Washington County, Tennessee. Their daughter, Catherine Hoss, married Jonathan Naff, 31-Jan-1795 in Franklin County, Virginia, son of Jacob Naff and Eva Flory. He was b. 1771 in Maryland & died 15-Aug-1853 in Washington County, Tennessee.
6. John Bohn/Boon - Moved to Franklin County, Virginia. Later to Montgomery County, Virginia.
7. Catherine - Remained in Maryland.
8. Elizabeth - Went to Tennessee
9. Adam - No information.

Will of Han Deall Bo(o)ne
Made November 1, 1761 - Filed April 13, 1764

Son Nicholas, Administrator - Liber A #1, folio 2097

"In the Name of God Amen Whereas I, Han Deal Bone of Frederick County and Province of Maryland Farmer being in good health of Body and of sound mind and memory and being forthwith to depart on a voyage to Germany do make this my Last Will and Testament as follows:

Imprimis first of all I give and bequeath to my well beloved son Nicholas all that Tract of Land called No Whiskey lying in Frederick County in the Province of Maryland containing forty acres of land to him and his heirs forever, he the said Nicholas paying unto my two sons John and Adam when they come of age five pounds Current Money each.

Imprimis I also give and bequeath to my said Son Nicholas ten acres of land part of a tract of Land called Shear Spring adjoining to the aforesaid Tract of Land called No Whiskey to him and his heirs forever and no more of my Estate.

I also give and bequeath to my son Jacob my Dwelling Plantation with one hundred and twenty-five acres of land he paying to my Son Abraham fifty pounds Current Money at the end of two years after he enters on said Land to him and his Heirs forever.

Imprimis I also order that my personal Estate shall be equally divided between my two Sons viz John and Adam and my four Daughters viz Margaret, Mary, Katherine and Elizabeth.

Imprimis I also order and Will that my well beloved Wife Mary shall keep entire possession of Dwelling Plantation, until my youngest Son is of Age.

Imprimis I do also nominate and appoint Joest Runkle and Daniel Zacharias Executors of this Will and Testament hereby revoking all former Will or Wills by me heretofore made.

In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this first Day of November, seventeen hundred and sixty-one.

Signed Sealed published and declared by the above named Han Deall Bone as and for his Last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our Names as Witnesses thereto in the presence of the said Testator and of each other.

Jacob Boon, Sr. - Builder of the Mills

Two sons of Johann Bohne moved from Carroll County, Maryland to Franklin County, Virginia. They were Jacob Boon and John Boon. The brothers may have moved to Franklin County together or John may have come along later.

Jacob Boon, born ca. 1749 in Maryland, died 1814 in Boones Mill, Franklin County, Virginia; and is generally accepted as the founder of Boones Mill. He married Catherine (_?_) in Maryland, ca. 1769 and they had 12 children.8, 9 Before Jacob moved to Franklin County, Virginia, his father had bequeathed to him his dwelling plantation, "Boone's Content," and 125 acres of land with the proviso that Jacob's mother, Mary Bohne/Boone should keep possession of it until Adam, her youngest son, became of age.10

Jacob Boon received on July 12, 1777, from Nicholas Boone, administrator of Johann Bohne's estate, 80 acres off of "Shear Spring" and 40 acres off of "Boone's Content", as well as a lot in Frizellburg, Maryland, off of "Wagoner's Fancy" containing 1/4 acre, except ½ acre to be in a square around the graveyard on the "Shear Spring" tract. (Lib. R.P. folio 207).11

In a deed dated July 12, 1777, Jacob Boon, Blacksmith, and his wife, Catrin, deeded to Nicholas Bohne, Farmer, his interest in a part of "Black Oak Hill," which was "Foul" or "No Whiskey" tract, 7 1/4 acres. Jacob had purchased this 7 1/4 acres from Valentine Mirer/Meyer on June 15, 1770. (Liber N. Folio 203)11

On September 18, 1777, Jacob Boon, Farmer, deeded to Mary Triplett, of Baltimore, widow, all of his interest in the tree tract, graveyard excepted; his wife Catrin (Catherine) joining in the deed. (Lib. R. P. folio 250). This is the last record of Jacob Boon on file in Frederick County, Maryland.11

Jacob Boon moved from Frizellburg, Carroll County, Maryland, to Franklin County Virginia about 1782. The first record of Jacob Boon's residence in Franklin County, Virginia, is his purchase of a 1 1/4 tract on Magotty Creek, May 1, 1786. This property is thought to have been the Mill site.11

Jacob Boon built his mills and engaged in farming and milling in Boones Mill, south of Roanoke, near the Norfolk and Western Railroad. Jacob built a corn mill and a flour mill. The town of Boones Mill seemed to grown up around the mills, as they were a gathering place for the local farmers.12

Jacob Boon died in 1814 and is buried at Boones Mill on property now owned by the North American Housing Corporation. The grave is marked with a stone on which the lettering "J. Boone" can still be read. Jacob's daughter, Elizabeth, stated that he died after his hip was crushed by a falling log at his sawmill near the grist mill. His wife, Catrin, died in 1822.13

The United States Postal Service Archives, says the first post office at "Boone's Mill" was opened in February 18, 1828, with George Wright as postmaster. This was during the Presidency of John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States. There has never been a postmaster named Boon(e) in the ensuing years. The post office and community name was changed to "Boone Mill" in 1892 and to "Boones Mill" in the 1950's.13

In 1880 Mr. and Mrs. John William Angell bought Jacob Boon's house and much of the land that later became the town of Boones Mill.14 Jacob's corn mill was the first to go. It was torn down many years before the flour mill went in 1932 to make room for construction of U.S. Route 220. The flour mill had operated until the 1920's.13 Jacob's original mill stood on a site now occupied by an antique shop on the northern end of the town.14 Boones Mill was incorporated as a town in 1927. Ed L. Blankenship was the first mayor.13

Jacob and Catrin (Catherine) Boon had nine children. It is probable that the first four or five of his children were born in Maryland and the rest in Virginia. 11

1. Mary Boon - 1771-1853. Married in 1789 Ludwick Kesler. Lived in Franklin County, Virginia.
2. Peter Boon - b. 1773 d. unknown. Married in 1807 Catherine (Harrold) Willis. Lived in Franklin County, Virginia.
3. Jacob Boon, Jr. - b. 1775, d. 1838. Married 1811, Catherine Ehrman.
4. Abraham Boon - b. 1779, d. unknown. Married Mary Ehrman in 1807. Moved to Fairfield County, Ohio.
5. Elizabeth Boon - b. ca 1781, d. 1822. Died unmarried. Will filed at Rocky Mount, Virginia, naming brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.
6. John Boon - 1783-1853. Married 1810 Susan Fewler. Lived in Franklin County, Virginia.
7. Catherine Boon m. William Pennock.
8. Isaac Boon - b. 20-Dec-1786, d. May, 1841 (tombstone). Married Clarissa Kinsey (license May 5, 1817, Surety Jacob Kinsey.)
9. Susanna Boon - b. 1788 d. 1861, m. 1807 Daniel Noftsinger. Married (2) Jacob Abshire in 1811.
10. Daniel Boon - 1791-1872, married Mary, daughter of Ulrich and Ann Mary Saylor.
11. Nancy Boon - b. 1790, d. unknown, m. Dec. 25, 1814, Daniel Fisher.
12. Joseph Boon - 1796-1819/20. Mentioned in father's Estate.

John Boon and The Naff Connection

The exact date of John Boon's birth is unknown. He died in Montgomery County (now Floyd County), Virginia, after having moved from Maryland to Virginia, then to Montgomery County, Virginia.15

In Frederick County, Maryland, which is now Carroll County, Maryland, John Boon married Elizabeth (_?_). John Boon probably left Maryland between 1779, the date of the birth of his first son, and 1784; when he began paying taxes in Bedford County, Virginia. He paid land tax in 1786 on 300 acres located on "Little Creek." This land was four or five miles south west of Boones Mill where his brother Jacob settled and began paying taxes in 1782.15

In 1788 we find Jacob Boon, John Boon, and Jacob and Isaac Nave/Naff, all paying personal property taxes in Franklin County, Virginia. Virginia Personal Property Tax Lists - 1800.

On a Marriage Bond dated June 1, 1789 in Franklin County, Virginia., John Boon gave his permission for the marriage of his step daughter, Barbary Moyers, to Isaac Nave/Naff. The surety for the bond was Daniel Barnhart.16

We have further proof that John Boon was residing in Franklin County in 1799. According to Richard Weber, author of "Stover Brethren," published 2001, in that year there were two religious petitions by the Brethren of Virginia. The first was made on September 13, 1799 by the Botetourt County Brethren. This first petition was the one transcribed in Sappington's, "The Brethren in the New Nation."

The second petition was made on December 14, 1799 by the Brethren of Franklin County, Virginia. It reads as follows:

"To the Honbl Speaker & Gentlemen of the Genl Assembly of Virginia

The petition can be viewed at: Early Virginia Religious Petitions, Franklin County, Virginia.

In 1801 we find John Boon, Sr. paying taxes on 610 acres of land in Franklin County, Virginia.15 In 1807, John Boon moved to Montgomery County, Virginia, settling in the part that became Floyd County, Virginia, in 1831. His land was four miles west of Floyd, which is now the County Seat and a bout 15 miles from his first home on "Little Creek." John Boone died in 1824.15

John Boon and Elizabeth (_?_) Boon had the following children:17

1. Jacob - b. 1779 in MD d. 1853 in VA. Married Rachel Kesler. Married (2)Barbara Kesler, in Franklin Co., VA, 17-Dec-1832.22
2. Mary - b. abt. 1780 in MD, d. after 1834 in VA, unmarried.
3. Elizabeth - b. abt. 1782 in MD, married to Andrew Weddle.
4. Catherine - b. Dec. 3, 1785 in MD., married John Jamison.
5. Abraham - b. abt. 1787 in VA, d. 1834/5, married Susan Kelly and N. Gearhart.
6. Sarah - b. abt. 1789 in VA, m. David Harter or Harper.
7. Nancy - b. 1791 in VA, married Joseph Fleger on Phlegar.

Will of John Boon - Christiansburg, Virginia

Made February 24, 1824 - Filed March 182518

In the name of God amen I John Boon of Montgomery county and state of Virginia being weak in body but of disposing mind & memory and being desirous to dispose of such worldly estate as it has pleased God to bless me with,


From the acquisition of the land known as "Boon's Content" by Johann Diehl Boon from a Theobold Boon in Maryland, 1750, the witnessing of Johann Diel Bohne's will by Michael and Peter Moyers/Myers, Jacob Boon's appointing of Isaac Nafe as executor of his will, down to the will of John Boon which Isaac Nave/Naff witnessed; it is interesting to note the connection of the Myers/Moyers and Nafe/Naff families through these two generations of Boons. Born in 1763, Isaac Nave/Naff would have been 62 years old at the time John Boon's will was recorded for probate.

Although we see no mention of a Barbara Myers/Moyers in John Boon's list of children, and no mention of her in his will, we do have John Boon's signature on the Marriage Bond for Isaac Knave/Naff and Barbary Moyers in 1789. In fact, in the permission to marry at the bottom of the Bond, signed by John Boon, he had written above the line the word "step" to designate that Barbara was not his natural daughter. The birth and death dates of Barbara are not known, and the surname of John Boon's wife is not known. If these two facts could be ascertained, we might have irrefutable proof of the parentage of Barbara Moyers. However, the facts that the Marriage Bond exists, and Isaac Nave/Naff was a witness to his father-in-law's will is good and sufficient proof of their connection. Also we have the record of the marriage of Isaac Nave/Naff and Barbara Moyers in Marshall Wingfield's "Pioneer Families of Franklin County," published 1964, page 164.

The Brethren Petition of December 14, 1799, definitely places Jacob Nave/Naff, Jacob Nave/Naff, Jr., Isaac Nave/Naff, and John Boon in Franklin County at the same time, engaged in a cooperative effort.

Mary C. Williams wrote in correspondence to Betty Naff Mitchell, 18-Nov-2001: "I have a record of a Boone Cemetery in Franklin County, located off Rt. 220 in the northwest angle of its juncture with Rt. 676. There is a stone for Isaac Naff, Mar. 1, 1810 - Oct. 3, 1893 Aged 83 Yrs 7 Mos 2 Days...." This would be Isaac Naff, Jr. Son of Isaac Naff, Sr. and Barbara Moyers. Isaac Naff, Jr., was born in Franklin County, Virginia, 01-Mar-1810. He married (1)Elizabeth Peters on 31-Jan-1833, (2) Mary Peters on 22-Apr-1839. Mary and Elizabeth Peters were sisters.19 This then, is another generation of connection of Myers/Naff/Boone, and another pointer toward the marriage of Isaac Naff, Sr. and Barbara Moyers.

From Roxann Flora Rhea, Isaac Naff, Jr.'s great, great granddaughter:

"03-Jul-2001 - Isaac Naff, Jr. was my great-great grandfather. He migrated from Virginia to Illinois in the 1860's. He lived in Sangamon County, IL. (he did not go to Nebraska as Boitnott thought). I was looking for wills in Sangamon County and found an estate administration for a Mary Naff in 1868. I thought this was strange, since I knew that Isaac's second wife, Mary (Peters) Naff, was still living with him in the 1880 Sangamon County Census. Examination of the record revealed that Isaac was the administrator for the estate of Mary Naff (his unmarried sister). The four heirs listed were: Isaac Naff, John Naff, Henry Naff and Elizabeth Flora. Including the deceased, Mary Naff,...these are the five children of Isaac Naff, Sr. named in his will written 10 March 1834...proven 6 February 1846. Will Book 6, pp. 93- 94...Franklin County courthouse in Rocky Mount, Virginia. It may also be copied from FHL (Family History Library) Film #0031488...Wills... Franklin County Virginia pp. 93- 94."

Roxann's grandfather, Isaac Flora, was a grandson of Isaac Naff, Jr. Her grandfather, two of his sisters, Amanda and Mary Flora and their grandfather, Isaac Naff, Jr., travelled by train from their home in Divernon, IL. to Virginia for a visit. Isaac Flora kept only one diary. It was for the year 1891. The diary records the date of their arrival in Salem, Virginia, on December 17, 1891. The entry for Friday, December 25, says in part.."We went to Red Hill to church tonight. Grandpa [Isaac Naff, Jr.]. preached."20, 21


1Franklin County Historical Society, Special Research Project, Oct. 2001, page 3.
2Franklin County Historical Society, page 2.
3Whedon, Nellie Woods, "The German Bohne-Boon-Boone Family." Privately published, page 1.
4Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 2.
5Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 3.
6Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 3.
7Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 6.
8Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 4.
9Franklin County Historical Society, page 3.
10Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 15.
11Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 15.
12Franklin County Historical Society, page 1.
13Franklin County Historical Society, page 3.
14Franklin County Historical Society, page 4.
15Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 30.
16Wingfield, Marshall, "Pioneer Families of Franklin County, Virginia," Chesapeake Book Co., Berryville, Virginia., published 1964, page 164. 17Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 31.
18Whedon, Nellie Woods, page 32.
19Boitnott, John Wesley, "Naff and Related Families, Swiss Ancestors of Naffs & Neffs in the USA and Descendants of Jacob & Eva Catherine (Flora) Naff and Sebastian and Mary (Saylor) Naff," Park View Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1979, page 34.
20Diary pages of Isaac Flora, from Roxann Flora Rhea.
21Roxann Flora Rhea.
22Richard Kesler - from Marriage Bonds of Franklin County.


Mary Frances Conner Williams, published a book entitled "Descendants of Johann Diel Bohne 1711-1764" in the year 2000. She stated in correspondence to me: "I began my book with a 40 page booklet done in the early 1940's by Nellie Woods Whedon, a descendant of Nicholas Boon and Dr. John Calvin Wright, a descendant of John Boon." You may contact Mary Conner Williams about purchase of the new book at: Mary C. Williams.

Mary Conner Williams graciously furnished me with a copy of the Nellie Woods Whedon book, and gave a good deal of information about the Boon family in correspondence.

I send a special thank you to Mary C. Williams, Roxann Flora Rhea, and the Franklin County Historical Society for their invaluable help in furnishing information for this article.


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