Mathew Ryburn

b. 26 August 1753, d. 6 March 1818
FatherMathew Ryburn
MotherMary Galbreath
Baptism26 Aug 1753 Mathew Ryburn was baptized on 26 Aug 1753 in the parish church at Campbeltown, Scotland, and was probably born earlier the same month.1,2,3 
Anecdote The following information was recorded in a journal kept by Mary Jane Beaty Davis Moffett with the assistance of her mother Sarah Davis, who was Mathew Ryburn's daughter:

"Mathew Ryburn came from Scotland when he was 17 yeare old[.] he had but one sister, Ann, 15 yeare old, she would not stay behind him in Scotland, they were so attached to each other, there own mother being dead, (haveing a stepmother) they landed in Penn, where they had an Uncle by the name of Gilbreth and remained there for several years. Mathew married in Penn. and his wife did not live more than a yeare, they had no child. And he and his sister Ann then moved to Washington Co. Va and there he married a second time, a widow lady by the name of Jane Buchanon, her maiden name being Jane Beaty and they had 6 daughters and two sons.... Ann Ryburn grandfather's only sister married one John Buchanon and they lived about 8 [2?] miles apart the remainder of their days."4 
  Mathew and Ann arrived in Washington County in late 1779 or early 1780. Years later Mathew stated that he arrived during the "Hard Winter", a phrase used historically for the winter of 1779-1780.5 
Marriagebetween 1779 and 1781 He married Jane Beattie, daughter of John Beattie and Elinor Gilmore, between 1779 and 1781.6 
Land-Buy18 Apr 1784 On 18 Apr 1784 John Beattie, Mathew's father-in-law sold Mathew 350 acres of land for the token amount of 5 shillings.7 
Residence  The land was part of a much larger tract that John Beattie purchased from James Wood some years earlier. John "gifted" large parcels of it to his children as they married and started their own families. Portions of Mathew and Jane's parcel remained in the Ryburn family for several generations. The land generally sat to the west of the current community of Glade Spring, Virginia. 
Religion  Mathew and Jane raised their family in the Presbyterian faith.8 
Tax  Washington County tax records exist from 1782 and Mathew is listed every year through 1817 (with the exception of a few years where the records are missing for the entire county). From 1782 through 1806 he was charged for 1 tithable (himself) but in 1807 when his son Beattie passed the age of 16, the number of tithables rose to 2. In 1814 Beattie appeared on the tax list on his own for the first time but Mathew's tithable count remained at 2 since his younger son, Mathew Jr., passed the age of 16 that year and was hence added to his father's tithable count.9 
Will22 Feb 1818 Mathew wrote his will on February 22, 1818 and remembered in it his sons Beatie and Mathew, as well as his daughters Jane, Ann, Sarah Davis, Nancy Buchanan (wife of James), Elenor Nichol and Mary McNeille. Sons Beatie and Mathew were named executors and also inherited the family land.10 
Death6 Mar 1818 Mathew died on 6 Mar 1818 at age 64.11,12,13 
Burial He was probably buried in Ebbing Spring Cemetery, Washington County, Virginia.14 
Will-Recd17 Mar 1818  Mathew's will was recorded in Washington County court on 17 March 1818. His sons Mathew and Beatie took the oath required of executors and posted bond in the amount of $5,000 with Thomas Edmiston and Peter Clark as their security.15 
Probate Recd19 May 1818 On March 28th Mathew's estate was appraised by John Porterfield, James Beattie and William Byars. The inventory list included such household items as 14 chairs, several tables, 7 beds and bedsteads, pewter dishes, a set of silver tea spoons, bake ovens, kettles, a looking glass, 3 coffee pots, a book case and books and a pot rack and hooks. As the appraisal continued in the other buildings on the property, it listed "sundry old vessels in the smoke house", a pickling tub and surplus bacon. Then the farming tools were inventoried to include a handsaw drawing knife, augers, plough shears, axes, a wagon hay forks, several ploughs and other items. The farm animals were also listed as were the crops on hand: corn, rye, oats and wheat. Mathew also owned a rifle and powder horn. The most valuable items on the appraisal were seven Negroes: Frank, Biddey, Bill, Sam, Henderson, Major and Blake.16 
Probate Recd22 Jan 1823 The settlement account of Mathew's estate, dated June 2, 1820, listed $1,574 from cash on hand, notes and the proceeds of the sale of his personal property. Disbursements included $100 each to Eleanor Nichols and Mary McNeel, as well as $342.95 each to William Davis, James Buchanan and James Clark.17 

Related Links and Images:

Read about Campbeltown, Scotland; also look for the link to Rod Ryburn's website on the history of the family in Scotland
Mathew and Jane Ryburn Family data - possibly copied from an earlier Bible (image + analysis)18
Mathew's will
The Ebbing Spring Church and Cemetery page identifies the location of the old cemetery and tells a little about its history
To read the pages in Mary Jane's journal that pertain to Mathew see Mary Jane's Journal, in particular, pages 7-10


Jane Beattie b. abt 1760, d. 21 Aug 1814
ChartsDescendants of Mathew Ryburn and Jane Beattie
Last Edited12 Nov 2013


  1. [S5] Elizabeth Kelly Allison, Early Southwest Virginia Families, p. 103. States that Mathew Ryburn was born in 1753 but does not provide source.
  2. [S140] "Ryburn History," compiled by P. Shugart, p. 2. States that Mathew Ryburn was born in 1753 but does not provide source.
  3. [S16] The date of baptism recorded for Mathew in the Campbeltown parish register is identical to the date of birth reported for William Ryburn, progenitor of the "other" Washington County Ryburn family and a likely relative to Mathew (see his narrative). It is not known if this represents a coincidence or a possible error on Wiliam's date of birth.
  4. [S10] "Journal of Mary Jane Beaty (Davis) Moffett", p. 7.
  5. [S3268] "Mathew Ryburn deposition dated 27 April 1805", James Dysart vs admr of Hugh Johnston, etc.; Admr of Hugh Johnston, etc. vs James Dysart, Augusta Co., Virginia Ended Chancery Causes 1809-047, index with digital images, Library of Virginia Online, <<>>. The deposition was taken at the house of Fleming Byars. Mathew stated he arrived during the "Hard Winter" which is known historically as the winter of 1779-1780.
  6. [S10] "Journal of Mary Jane Beaty (Davis) Moffett", p 1. The fact of the marriage and the names of the participants was recorded in the journal but the date was not. Date range is estimated based on the date (Sept 1779) Jane released her dower rights in lands of her deceased husband (and was referred to as Jean Buchanan), and the birth date of her first child with Mathew Ryburn (Sept. 1781).
  7. [S1046] Washington Co., Virginia Deed Book 1: 7. Original deed is very difficult to read from film.
  8. [S10] "Journal of Mary Jane Beaty (Davis) Moffett", p. 28.
  9. [S1249] Washington Co., Virginia Tax Records 1782-1805.
  10. [S131] Mathew Ryburn will (22 Feb. 1818), Washington Co., Virginia, Will Book 4: 234-235. Lists sons Beatie and Mathew Ryburn, also daughters: Jane Ryburn, Ann Ryburn, Sarah Davis, Nancy Buchanan (mentions her husband as James Buchanan), Eleanor Nichol and Mary McNeille.
  11. [S2648] Mathew Ryburn Family Record, handwritten copy, original held in 2011 by Carolyn Ryburn, Glade Spring, Virginia. Entry reads: "Mathew Ryburn died March 6th 1818 Aged 66 years."
  12. [S5] Elizabeth Kelly Allison, Early Southwest Virginia Families, p. 103. Ms Peggy Shugart Ryburn, a contributor to this text, was the likely source for the date.
  13. [S140] "Ryburn History," compiled by P. Shugart, p. 2. Source is not provided.
  14. [S5] Elizabeth Kelly Allison, Early Southwest Virginia Families, p. 103. It is not clear if the author was suggesting that Mathew OR his wife Jane was buried in Ebbing Spring Cemetery. It is likely they were both buried there.
  15. [S131] Mathew Ryburn will (22 Feb. 1818), Washington Co., Virginia, Will Book 4: 234-235. Proved on oath of John Apperson, Thomas Edminston and John Clark.
  16. [S857] Mathew Ryburn Appraisal (1818), Washington Co., VA Will Book 4: 249. The appraisal was done on March 28, 1919 by John Porterfield, James Beattie and William Byars and recorded in court on 19 May 1818.
  17. [S858] Mathew Ryburn settlement (1823), Washington Co., VA Will Book 5: 87. The administrative account was exhibited by Beatie and Mathew Ryburn as executors and recorded on Jan. 22, 1823. It was dated June 2, 1820.
  18. [S1376] Image courtesy of Carolyn Ryburn.
  19. [S10] "Journal of Mary Jane Beaty (Davis) Moffett", p. 8. Children of Mathew Ryburn and Jane his wife: Elen, Mary, Jane, Sarah, Beaty (oldest son), Ann, Nancy, and Mathew (youngest son).