Author: Alan Vance Briceland


Edward Bland (bap. 1614–1652)

Edward Bland was an explorer whose extensive landholdings were inherited by his brother Theodorick Bland, progenitor of the Bland family in Virginia. Born in England to an investor in the Virginia Company of London, Bland managed family interests in Spain and the Canary Islands before he moved to Virginia by 1646. He expanded his family’s property, as well as his own holdings, and he helped organize an expedition to the colony’s western frontier with explorer and trader Abraham Wood in 1650. He described his journey in the pamphlet The Discovery of New Brittaine the following year.


Thomas Batte (fl. 1630s–1690s)

Thomas Batte was one of the first Anglo-Virginians to explore west of the Appalachian Mountains. Born probably in Virginia, he patented almost 6,000 acres of land near the mouth of the Appomattox River in 1668. In September 1671 he and Robert Hallom (or Hallam) set out on a month-long journey from Fort Henry, near the present site of Petersburg. Accompanied by Appamattuck, Saponi, and Totero Indian guides, they headed west across the Staunton River and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Batte and Hallom traveled parallel to the New River as far west as the Tug Fork, seventy-five miles west of the crest of the Appalachians. Their expedition, later known erroneously as the Batts and Fallam Expedition after their names were spelled incorrectly in accounts of the journey, established the first solid British and Virginian claims to the Ohio and Mississippi River watersheds. Batte served as a county court justice during the 1680s. His name last appeared in public records in August 1695.