Elihu J. Sutherland

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Biographical Sketch of Elihu Jasper Sutherland

In the early part of the 20th century, historian Elihu J. Sutherland set out on a lifelong journey of documenting the many descendants of the pioneer John Counts Sr. of Glade Hollow.  His research culminated in a 400-page book published posthumously by his wife entitled "Some Descendants of John Counts of Glade Hollow 1722 - 1977."  Mr. Sutherland was able to painstakingly document thousands of the descendants of John Counts but admittedly was unable to ascertain the parents or early history of John.


ELIHU JASPER SUTHERLAND, came from hearty stock and was truly a man among men.  EJ, as he was usually called, was born  December 22nd, 1885 at the home of his parents William B. Sutherland and Eliza Jane Counts Sutherland on Frying Pan, Dickenson County, Virginia.  EJ's love for genealogy and family history research began as a child when his grandmother, Sylvia Counts Sutherland, told stories about Counts and related kin.  Sylvia, who sparked EJ's interest in family history, was born October 5th, 1826, and was the first born child of JOSHUA COUNTS and his wife MARTHA KISER COUNTS.  Joshua, was a son of JOHN COUNTS JR. of Cleveland and MARGARET KELLY COUNTS.  John Counts Jr. was a son of JOHN COUNTS Sr. OF GLADE HOLLOW and MARY MAGDELINE COUNTS. 

Elihu's grandfather, William Sutherland, born 3/25/1822, was the son of DANIEL and PHOEBE FULLER SUTHERLAND, and was an avid hunter in then known as Russell County, Virginia, and had lived on the Clinch River.  William, was a man of vision.  Even today one only need to attempt to reach the area he carved his home from to realize this man had great courage and was forward-thinking.  Without roads, as we know them today, following trails set by animals or perhaps Indians, and foraging through forests teeming with wild animals, William followed the probably as yet unnamed Frying Pan Creek, and up, up, up a mile of ever twisting hill to build a little log cabin from scratch for his wife and first child, JASPER in about 1846.  William cleared the trees continually to enlarge land on which to plant crops and orchards, and to a make better home for their ever growing family.  William's brother, JAMES SUTHERLAND and cousin, ABEDNIGO KISER were his nearest neighbors - a mile away!  The next nearest neighbor was seven miles away!

In 1855, William bought what would become his final home site which he named, "Fairview".  He paid $90 for 400 acres, eventually owning 2500 acres of this area's mountainous wild forest land.  From his previous home on the Clinch River, he brought with him seeds to begin an orchard of peaches, apples and pears.  His farm produced corn, and other vegetables but also wheat, rye, barley, oats and tobacco.  Elihu's grandfather was industrious.  In order to make bread, William had to take his corn, wheat and rye back to the water mills on the Clinch River to be ground.  This alone would have taken such preparation and the journey would have been extensive.  He raised cattle, hogs and had stands of bees to make honey.  He utilized some of the fruit from his orchards to produce brandy at a distillery he operated. 

Women weren't particularly thought of as the weaker sex then as they did more than their share of work on the farm, in the home and with the children.  Sylvia & William's union produced their children:  JASPER b 1845, NEWTON b 1847, ELIJAH THURMAN b 1849, JOSHUA P b 1851, PHOEBE b 1853, MARTHA TAYLOR b 1855, DANIEL BOONE R. b 1857, WILLIAM BEAUREGARD b 1857, MARGARET b 1863, an unnamed boy b 1865, GEORGE WASHINGTON b 1867, an unnamed boy b 1870 and lastly, LEANDER b 1872.  That's 13 children if you were counting.  13 pregnancies.  No hospitals.  Home deliveries.  No disposable diapers.  That's 15 mouths to daily feed and tend to.  Oh, my.

These were the days of no cars, no railways; other than your own two feet, horses were the preferred mode of transportation and much needed wagons as the nearest store or post office was located in Lebanon which was over 25 miles away. At some point a church had been built seven miles away, Sandlick Baptist Church, where they attended, perhaps, once a month.  Sometimes, church was wherever you made it and at times, coming together was at someone's home.  In 1879, SULPHUR SPRING PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH was duly organized.  In 1875, Elihu's grandfather donated the land and the logs to erect the first school house, SULPHUR SPRING SCHOOL which located on FRYING PAN CREEk and was also used for church services until the actual church was built nearby in 1898.   



 Source info was taken from Some Descendants of John Counts of Glade Hollow

Written by Phyllis Counts, dau of Eugene Edison Counts of Nealy Ridge, Virginia