Gabriel Chrisman home and Rocky Station
by W. Dale Carter, copyright 2001, Kingsport, TN

Gabriel Chrisman Home
W. Dale Carter, 2011

Chrisman home
Gabriel Chrisman home

In July of 2010 I was contacted by a researcher for the television show “Who do you think you Are” to help research the ancestors of Tim McGraw, the subject of one of the episodes of the TV series. I learned that Tim McGraw was a descendant of Isaac Chrisman and through Isaac’s son Gabriel Chrisman. I began research to determine where the home of Gabriel Chrisman was located. 

Land records of Lee County, Virginia show Gabriel Chrisman lived on land granted to his father-in-law, Charles Cocke. I also learned that his home was the subject of an article printed in the Kingsport Times News. The article states that a log house located in the Rocky Station area of Lee County was once a fort in the 1770s that went by the name “Rocky Station. Not true. This log cabin referred to in the article was the home of Gabriel Chrisman built in the 1790s possibly as early as 1793.

Isaac Chrisman was killed by the Indians near his fort in Rye Cove, Scott County, Virginia in the summer of 1776. Isaac’s survivors were his wife, Jane Scott Chrisman, and children Isaac Jr., Gabriel, Nimrod, and possibly Catherine. After Isaac Chrisman Senior’s death, his widow married Nathaniel Hix and the family moved to the Rocky Station area of Lee County, Virginia. Hix was appointed guardian of his stepson Isaac Chrisman Jr., and Hix obtained two  land grants issued in the name of Isaac Chrisman Jr. When a survey was made for his grant, the surveyor clearly showed a “station” or fort was located within the bounds of the survey (1), and he also shows the location of the “Rock Spring” near the “Station”. This spring still exists.

Gabriel Chrisman, another stepson of Nathaniel Hix, married Jane Cocke (Cock), a daughter of Charles Cocke. About the time of their marriage,  Charles Cocke sold one of his land grants in Lee County(2), consisting of 400 acres, to his son-in-law on  11 June 1793 for 20 shillings (3). This land transaction tells us it was a gift from Charles Cocke  to his daughter Jane; prime  land in the 1790s  was valued at about 100 pounds per 100 acres. Charles Cocke never lived on this grant. He lived on his right of settlement land grant located at Dryden, Virginia. (4).

Apparently, at the time of Gabriel’s marriage to Jane or shortly thereafter, he built a home on his newly acquired land he purchased from his father-in-law, Charles Cocke. Land grants prove that Gabriel was living there (5) in 1802 and maybe before 1796 (6). The only log home that could have existed on the Gabriel Chrisman land in the 1790s would have been the log home built for Gabriel  and  known today as the “Wolliver” home, presently being restored and erroneously referred to as the Rocky Station Fort.

(1) Land Grant recorded in Grant Book “R”, page 137
(2) Va. Land Grant recorded in Grant Book “K”, page 567
(3) Lee County Deed Book 1, page 2
(4) Va. Land Grant recorded in Grant Book “R”, page 559
(5) Va. Land Grant to Nimrod Chrisman recorded in Grant Book 52, page 228
(6) Va. Land Grant to John McCredie recorded in Grant Book 36, page 358

Chrisman tract