Saturday, October 6, 2018

Lewis Wood Pattillo 1890 - 1978 My Paternal Grandfather

Lewis Wood Pattillo
My paternal grandfather was an ordinary man who lived during an extraordinary time period. He was the son of parents who were directly impacted by the Civil War, and during his lifetime he lived through the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War. While he registered for two of these conflicts he did not serve in any. The radio, movies, airplanes, radar, television, helicopters, jets, computers, fiber optics, and the bikini were all invented while he was alive. Eight new states joined the union – Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii. The internet launched and we walked on the moon.
Lewis as an infant
Lewis was born on March 18, 1890. He was the first son born to Carrie B. and James W. Pattillo who lived beyond infancy. Carrie’s first three births were all boys – Wirt, born May 23, 1880, James H. born September 18, 1882, and a third unnamed son that was born and died on January 31, 1884. Lewis had two older sisters – Jo and Mary, one younger brother, Elmer (see July 2016 blog post), and twin sisters Maude and Ruby. The three boys who died were all born in Handley, Texas. Jo and Mary were also born in Texas. Lewis, Maude, Ruby, and Elmer were all born while the family was living in Los Angeles. Elmer also had a twin – a brother named Edward who lived to be a toddler.

Lewis as a young boy
When Lewis was born his family was living at 3443 Delmonte in Los Angeles. By 1900 when the census was taken, he was ten years old, and the family had moved to 212 Jefferson Street, Los Angeles. The 1909 city directory shows the family living at 1176 W. 37th Place which was considered an upscale neighborhood at the time. Lewis’s father was a self-employed concrete paving contractor with a successful business at that point. In later years, James had financial difficulties, which is probably why they moved to Fresno in 1918.

Homes & Professional Life
Lewis started working for his father when he was still a teenager. City directories list JW and LW Pattillo working at JW Pattillo & Co. starting in 1909. He continued in that profession his entire life as did his son Bert, so there are three generations of concrete workers in our family. One of the most notable projects Lewis worked on was the concrete work for the Posey Tube that runs under the Oakland Estuary and connects the cities of Oakland and Alameda.
Phone directory listing showing Lewis
Working for JW Pattillo & Co.
When he was twenty-one, Lewis married Anna Vetter on September 18, 1911. They were married by a Methodist Episcopal Minister in Pasadena. Anna’s sister Mary and a friend named George Riehl were their witnesses. When they were married, Lewis was still living on W. 37th Place and Anna was living at 321 N. Catalina in Pasadena. Anna would have been living with her father and his new wife Nellie Gilbert, so she was probably very anxious to get out of the house. After they were married, Lewis and Anna’s first home was at 2707 LaSalle Avenue. Two years later they were living at 221 W. 51st Street.
221 52st Street, Los Angeles where Lewis and Anna lived
shortly after they were married

On July 3, 1917, Lewis filled out his draft registration papers for World War I. By that time he and Anna had moved to Fresno and were living at 3454 Nevada Avenue. Lewis was working as a cement finisher at Thompson Brothers in Bakersfield. A year later they’d moved to 3512 Tulare Street in Fresno where they stayed until 1927.

Home that Lewis and Anna rented for $28 per month at
1310 49th Avenue, Oakland
When the 1930 census was taken Lewis, Anna, and their two sons, Edward and Bert were living at 1310 49th Avenue in Oakland, California, and Lewis was working as a cement contractor. They were renting their home for $28 per month. They continued to live at that address until about 1949 when they bought their home at 5632 Hilton Street in Oakland. This is the home where I remember celebrating holiday dinners. It was a small stucco house on a small lot. The dining room was so small that Gramma had to set a separate table in the living room for her four youngest grandchildren – that included me. There were only two bedrooms. As a boy, my father had to share a room and the bed with his younger brother. I have no recollection of the kitchen but I distinctly recall Grandpa sitting in his chair which was in the corner of the living room near the front door. Gramma crocheted so there were doilies on the arms of all the furniture and table tops.

I have a note in my database saying that Lewis was a maintenance foreman at the Alameda Naval Base in 1938. Mom gave me this information but I have nothing to collaborate it. I have some doubt about the accuracy of the information because my Grandfather worked as a cement finisher his entire life, and he did not seem like the “foreman” type. On the 1940 census, Lewis was listed as a cement finisher earning $1500 a year and working 36 weeks per year.
Lewis and Anna's home on Hilton in Oakland where I
remember celebrating holidays with our family

In 1942, when Lewis registered for World War II he was 52 years old and working for a man named Nat Lena at 1174 19th Street in West Oakland. Nat emigrated from Italy in 1902 and started his construction business in Oakland in 1914. Nat was a member of Oakland Rotary for 47 years and when he died he left $85,000 to the club’s scholarship fund. I found this information on a blog called Oakland Underfoot. Linda Hamilton shared the information about Nat in 2011.

Searching historic newspapers yielded very little information about Lewis but I did find one article that included a blurry photo. The news clip was dated December 13, 1949. The photo caption said that Lewis and Erik E. Waldius served coffee at a Fifty-Plus Club event. This seems to be some sort of community service group.
Lewis and Anna on their wedding day

As a child, I visited my grandparents regularly with my family. We celebrated most holidays together along with and my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. My grandfather’s appearance never changed during the time I knew him. My impression of him is simply that he was very quiet. My cousin Laine says that is because whenever he tried to speak up his wife Anna would tell him to be quiet.

Sometime after he retired Lewis and Anna moved to Contra Costa County and lived in a retirement facility near their son Bert and Aunt Marge. They were living there when Lewis and Anna celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Lewis died on March 22, 1978. He was 88 years old. Jimmy Carter was president at the time. He and Anna are buried in the mausoleum at Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette, California.
Lewis and Anna's crypt at Oakmont Memorial Park

Lewis and Anna at Grandpa
Thornally's cabin in Brookdale, CA

Back: Lewis, John and Emma Thornally
Front: Anna, Ed, Marge, and Bert Pattillo

Lewis and Anna with sons Bert (L) and Ed (R)
ca. 1922

Lewis and his father James William
Pattillo, Ed in the overalls, and two
unknown children

Lewis and Anna with their first grandchild,
Terry Pattillo, 1942

Lewis & Anna with Chris Pattillo, 1950

Lewis and Anna 50th Wedding anniversary

L-R: Emma Thornally, Lewis and Anna, Ed,
and Chris Pattillo

Lewis, Anna, Ed, Lottie, Terry and Emma 1970

2707 LaSalle, Los Angeles, where Lewis and Anna lived
when they were first married, 1911

Lewis, Anna, and Ed with their model T Car

Lewis and his sister Jo.

Lewis in the plaid jacket with the crew that poured the
concrete for the Posey Tube between Oakland and Alameda

Lewis's signature
Sources For This Post: 1900 to 1940 censuses, Ed Pattillo's birth record, Lewis's WWI and WWII registration, phone directories from Los Angeles, Fresno and Alameda Counties, marriage license, voter registration, Oakland Tribune news article from 1949.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Rice Curtis Sr. 1680-1749 My 7th Great Grandfather on My Father’s Side

Christ Church in Middlesex County, Virginia
Rice Curtis Sr. was the son of Giles and Mary Curtis. He was born on November 4, 1680, in Christ Church Parish in the Colony of Virginia, and baptized the following January 15th. He had at least one sister Jane who was baptized on July 24, 1687. Rice married Elizabeth Merry, the widow of Peter Montague. Rice’s name appeared in the Christ Church registry when his son Rice Jr. was born in 1704, he was 23.  When he was 27 Rice again appears in the record books when Thomas Montague chose him to serve as his guardian after the death of Thomas’s father Peter Montague.

Christ Church from the Library of Congress collection of
Historic American Building Survey (HABS)
One of the best sources for Rice Curtis Sr. is the Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Virginia 1653 to 1812 published by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in 1897. This book lists births, marriages, and deaths of family members and slaves. This is the first time I have found such information about the African American’s who enabled one of our ancestors to thrive as a tobacco Planter. This source has twenty entries about the workers owned by Rice.  Jenny or Jeney gave birth to five children between 1714 and 1725 who were named Nanny, Ned, Natt, a Winnie, and a Winney. Judy had a son Frank on 5, 1723, and Jack on July 12, 1725. Phillis had sons Enos on October 21, 1724, and Will on January 17, 1726. Frank, Sarah, and Judith were born between 1708 and 1711 but for some reason, Rice did not register their births until 1726, and the names of their mothers were not recorded. That year was notable because four of the farms' laborers died in 1726 – Dinah on February 26th, Dick on July 29th, two-year-old Minta, Jone’s daughter, on December 10th, and Tom on December 12th.  I checked Evan’s Early American - A Brief History of Epidemic and Pestilential Diseases; and learned that the summer of 1725 was particularly wet and cold and the winters between 1722 and 1725 were called, “the hard winter.” There was a severe frost in January of 1726. People suffered and died from fevers in summer and “inflammatory” in winter.
Middlesex County historic marker

In the Spotsylvania Roads Order Book from 1722-1744, I found an interesting set of entries starting in March of 1730 at which time Rice was ordered to take over as overseer for building the County Road to Greens Branch. The following month, Rice refused to accept the responsibility and was fined 20 shillings. In May, Robert Hutchison was appointed to take over the task, and on May 5th Rice presented his case for having his 20 shillings refunded. The entry stated that Rice had ample reasons for not accepting the responsibility but did not explain what those reasons were. On May 4th the topic changed to “pining down a plank” at the Po River Bridge which Rice was responsible for maintaining. That same day there was a cryptic note stating that Rice would be responsible for maintaining the bridge for ten years and it seems he was to be paid £6000 pounds of tobacco. 
Christ Church historical marker

In October of 1731, Rice was charged with building and maintaining a bridge over the River Ny. This transaction was for £2000 of tobacco. Two other bridges were mentioned in a November record – the Mine Bridge and the East North East Bridge. Rice was involved with both projects. Two additional entries addressed who would continue to maintain these bridges and included a reference to the Hazel Bridge. These types of records are not uncommon but it still amuses me that individuals were responsible for building their own roads and bridges – tasks we now leave to our various branches of governments.

I found a couple of source books that mention that Rice served as a Vestryman in Spotsylvania County from 1731 to 1738 which indicates he was actively engaged in civic affairs. According to the Christ Church Parish Registry, “Vestrymen were chosen from the leading citizens of the parish.” According to Wikipedia, “A Vestry may also have had the role of supervising local (Parish) public services, such as the workhouse, administration of poor relief, the keeping of parish records (baptisms, deaths, and marriages) and so on. Usually the term vestryman (as used in the UK) would denote a member of the parish council at a certain period in history (and is synonymous with or equivalent to a parish councilor) but the term may depending on context, also signify an official (or employee) of the Parish Council although strictly, this should be in the form Vestryman.”

Display in the Middlesex museum
Between 1741 and 1751 when Rice was aged 49 to 59 he was involved in several land transactions. In one source – Spotsylvania Vital Records 1722-1800 I found 3 records showing that Rice purchased a total of 795 acres in the county, and eight more records of sales totaling 1927acres.  Clearly, he must have acquired much of his land prior to 1722.

Location of Middlesex County in Virginia
Christ Church from the HABS collection, Library of Congress
Rice Curtis made his will on January 22, 1742. In it, he distributed his property to his family. Phillip Vass received the slaves that were currently in his possession plus a desk. Phillip was Rice’s great-granddaughter Mary Curtis’s husband. Henry Pendleton, husband of Rice’s granddaughter also received two slaves and a looking glass. He stipulated that fifty pounds was to be raised from his estate and used to purchase two female Negroes aged about fourteen and given to his son Rice Jr. He directed that his slaves Cate and Little along with their current and future offspring be equally divided among his three youngest daughters. Anything that was left of his estate after his mother died was to be given to his son Rice Curtis Jr. A provision was added by his wife Elizabeth certifying that she resigned her right and title to the administration of her husband’s estate. I do not know where Rice Curtis is buried.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Rice Curtis Jr. 1704-1763 My 6th Great Grandfather on My Father’s Side

St. George's Parish, Spotsylvania County, Virginia. The Po
River is on the border between St. George and Berkeley Parish
Rice Curtis Jr. was born in 1704 and baptized on September 30th at Christchurch in Middlesex County, Virginia. He is the son Rice Curtis Sr. and Elizabeth Merry. Rice Jr. was married at least twice and possibly three times. His first wife was Martha Thacker born in 1701 daughter of Henry and Eliza Payne Thacker. Rice and Martha were married the day after Christmas in 1723.

Between January 1, 1728, and April 3, 1733, Rice was involved with seven land transactions. He leased 50 acres to Richard Kewan for £110. He purchased 500 acres from Richard Booker for £100. Edward Franklyn sold him 200 acres in St. George’s Parish for only £36 – sounds like a deal. On March 14, 1731, Rice was identified as a Planter when he sold 600 acres to John Minor, also a Planter from St. Mark’s Parish. On the same day, he sold 195 acres to John Douglas for £20 sterling. It is not unusual for multiple land transactions to take place on the same day. Courts were only held on specific days in each district so landowners would arrange for multiple transactions on that day. William Hutcherson sold Rice 100 acres for £22. Finally, Thomas Chew sold 611 acres to Rice for £20.  This all adds up to 1461 acres that Rice acquired and 795 acres sold. All these transactions took place in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

This shows the location of Spotsylvania County in Virginia
During this same time period, Rice served as a vestryman of St. George’s Parish which means he was one of the citizen officials in his community. Vestrymen were church officials.
On September 28, 1733, Rice married Susanna “Ann” Brock daughter of Col. Joseph Brock and Mary Chew. Joseph was a large landowner and Sheriff in Spotsylvania County. A record of this marriage was found in the first County Order Book covering the period from the formation of the county, in 1722 to 1750. Their £1 marriage license fee was recorded in the Governor’s dues book which is how I confirmed this date. Susanna is my sixth great-grandmother. I don’t know what happened to his first wife Martha. I have not found any documentation showing they divorced; nor have I found a death record for Martha which is the more likely scenario.

Rice’s name appears on many documents as a witness to several different types of legal transaction. I found these in a collection of vital records for Spotsylvania County for the period 1721 to 1800 – a 583-page source available as a Google eBook.  I found thirty-nine additional records about various court transactions. On June 3, 1735, he sold three parcels to three different men totaling 508 acres, all in Spotsylvania. In October of that same year, he inherited 865 acres from his father-in-law. This parcel, as well as many other of the various land transactions, was part of a land grant to Larkin Chew dated June 4, 1722. 

A Spotsylvania home
Rice Jr. served as a Magistrate and Burgess in the Assembly. He served several terms including the sessions 1736-1740, 1748-1749, 1752-1755, and 1756-1758. A magistrate is someone who serves in the court system.  The principal function of the magistrate is to provide an independent, unbiased review of complaints of criminal conduct brought to the office by law enforcement or the general public. Duties include issuing arrest warrants, summonses, bonds, search warrants, subpoenas, and certain civil warrants.

The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first elected legislative body in colonial America. The house functioned from 1619-1776. They developed local laws, carried out the Governor's orders, regulated taxes and determined eligibility of its members. The House of Burgesses is important because the ideas and leaders from this group helped bring about the American Revolutionary War.

An image of a cavalryman from
 a UK military museum
In 1742, Rice and his brother-in-law Thomas Duerson inherited 4000 acres and several slaves from his father-in-law Joseph Brock. In 1749, Rice served as executor of his father’s will. At that time he received two slaves and the will stipulated that Rice would receive the remainder of his father’s estate when his mother died.

On April 3, 1750, Rice was commissioned to be a “Major of the Horse”. Google has failed to provide a succinct explanation of what this military rank meant. A major is a person who commands a company, squadron or battery normally of 150-200 men. Presumably, the “horse” refers to being part of the cavalry. When he was 51, Rice was made a Colonel by Governor Dinwiddie, on July 7, 1756.

In 1752, Rice bought 278 acres in St. George’s Parish from his father-in-law. In 1753, his mother gave him a water grist mill, the dam, and appurtenances that that had been owned by his father Rice Sr. the mill was built on the Po River. 

Rice resigned from the assembly in order to assume the position of Sheriff of Spotsylvania County on July 11, 1756. This was an appointed position with a two-year term. The duties of the Sheriff were to maintain law and order and to execute court orders. A list of the High Sheriffs of Spotsylvania County is included in the collections of the Spotsylvania Museum – Rice is included on this list.

This exhibit is in the Spotsylvania museum.
Rice Curtis Jr. is listed at the bottom right.
Rice was one of several Vestrymen of St. George’s Parish that made the decision to sell two parcels of glebe land (excess church-owned land) on October 2, 1759. 499 acres were sold to Erames Withers and 78 acres to Abraham Estes.

The exact date when Rice Jr. died is unknown but his will was probated on April 21, 1774. This suggests that he died near his 70th birthday. His will appears in Will Book E of Spotsylvania County. In the will he names each of his children. His daughter Jane was given two parcels of land located in Louisa and King William Counties. He also left Jane one Negro girl named Jenny but the portion of the will, included in the Spotsylvania vital records and did not specify what his other children would receive.

I do not know where Rice Curtis Jr. is buried. If anyone reading this does please add a comment and let me know.

Sources For This Post: Descendants of Capt. Thomas Carter of Barford, Lancaster Co, VA by Joseph Lyon Miller, Effie Shelton Campbell; US and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900, Yates Publishing; Virginia Births & Christenings, 1584-1917 database on FamilySearch; Virginia Genealogies A Genealogy of the Blassell Family of Scotland by Horace Edwin Hayden; Virginia County Records Spotsylvania Co. 1721-1800 Transcriptions from Original County Records Wills, Deeds, Admin & Guardian Bonds, Marriage Licenses and List of Rev. War Pensioners; History of St. George Parish In the County of Spotsylvania and Diocese of Virginia by Rev. Phillip Slaughter; Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, Vol. 2 by William Meade; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography Vol. IV by Philip Alexander Bruce editor; Virginia Marriage Records, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, William and Mary College Quarterly 1984; Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia by John Frederick Dorman; The Colonial Register by William Glover Stanard, Mary Newton Stanard; Virginia Colonial Militia 1651-1776 by Ediited by Wm. Armstrong Crozier JRS; Gleanings of Virginia History by W. Fletcher Boogher; Spotsylvania Museum in Virginia; A Crane's Foot (or Pedigree) Branches of the Gregg, Stuart, Robertson, Dobbs and Allied Families by E. Stuart Gregg, Jr.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Mary Pomfret ca. 1648-1738 My 8th Great Grandmother on My Father’s Side

This book by Cynthia Vold Forde and
Anne Curtis Terry includes a chapter
about Mary Pomfret, my 8th Great Grandmother
Mary Pomfret was the daughter of William Pomfret and Mary King – that is according to a short bio found on the FindAGrave site, which is to say it may not be reliable information. In researching Mary I found no other sources to support her parentage.

Records note that she was born about 1648 in a place called Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, England. Newport Pagnell is about fifty miles north of London. Not surprisingly I have found very few records that prove what is known about Mary. One exception is the book The Spirit in The South, Stories of Our Grandmothers Spirits compiled by Reverend Dr. Cynthia Vold Forde and Anne Curtis Terry. This book includes an entire chapter on Mary Pomfret Waller written by Eugenia Waller. Eugenia’s relationship to Mary is not revealed. Presumably, she is a direct descendant so a reliable source. This source provides a lot of information about Mary’s husband Dr. John Waller and his ancestors but scant detail for Mary herself.
Historic building in Newport Pagnel where Mary
and her husband Dr. John Waller lived.
John and Mary were married on January 13, 1669, in the Church of St. Michael in Walton Parish in Newport Pagnell. The church register provides support for this fact. Some sources suggest that Mary may have been married before and was widowed. Between the ages of 23 and 36, Mary gave birth to eight children including William in 1671, John 1673, Mary Elizabeth 1674, Thomas 1675, Steven 1676, Benjamin 1678, Edmund 1680 and James in 1683. Seven sons and one daughter.

When Mary was about 75 her husband died. The essay by Eugenia Waller includes a description of Mary’s presence at John’s funeral – how she was dressed and what was said during the funeral service. What happened next is debatable. Sources provide two different stories and both present good arguments for their belief of what happened to Mary. Eugenia and others tell us that Mary left England shortly after her husband’s death and went to live in the Colony of Virginia where her sons William and John and daughter Mary were living. Eugenia provides a detailed description of the family mementos Mary packed to take on the trip to give to her children. One item is described as an antique bowl that was given to Mary and John as a wedding gift. 

The conflicting story argues that Mary Pomfret was not mentioned in her husband's will and that that suggests that she pre-deceased him. They also suggest that even if Mary was alive when her husband died she would have been quite old and that it was unlikely that she would choose to leave England and her children that were still in England.
Another view of Newport Pagnel found on Google

Supposedly, Mary died on September 9, 1738, in Virginia and may be buried in the family cemetery on her son Col. John Waller’s property in Spotsylvania. Again, the source of this information is FindAGrave and thus not wholly reliable. On the other hand, had Mary died in England she would have been buried with her husband. Since she is not there that suggests she may very well have gone to Virginia.

Note: As always I’ve tried to be accurate with the facts of Mary Pomfret’s life but when writing about events that occurred over 350 years ago it is not easy. If anyone reading this sees a false statement I welcome feedback with proof. 

Sources for this post: The Spirit of the South by Forde and Terry; Genealogies of Virginia Families from the William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine Vol. 5; Wikipedia; and FindAGrave. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Dr. John Waller (1645-1716) My 8th Great Grandfather on My Father’s Side

Surgeon's tools from the Barber-Surgeons Company. This
image from the Science Museum in the United Kingdom
Compared to the other Waller men I have researched, I have found remarkably little information about my eighth great-grandfather Dr. John Waller. Almost all of the information I have found comes from a single source, which is not good from a genealogical perspective. On the other hand, it is a good source - a book titled, Genealogies of Virginia Families written by R.M. Glencross, a London Genealogists, published in 2006 in the William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine Vol. 5.

John was born about 1645 in England, in a place called Newport Pagnell which is in Buckinghamshire. This is the same year that the Rainbow sailed to Africa from Boston to acquire slaves – the first ship to do so. John was the son of Thomas Waller and Anne Keate. According to an essay written by Eugenia Waller, John had at least two brothers who were named Thomas and William.
Image from the Barber-Surgeons college from the Science
Museum Brought to Life
When John was only thirteen he started an apprenticeship program at the Barber Surgeon Company. He was admitted to St. Catherine's College in Cambridge in 1664, and on 6 Feb 1665, he was “admitted to Freedom” which meant that he was entitled to practice as a medical doctor. According to Wikipedia, “A barber-surgeon was a person who could perform minor surgical procedures such as bloodlettingcupping therapy or pulling teeth. Barbers could also bathe, cut hair, shave or trim facial hair, and give enemas.” St. Catharine’s College was founded in 1473 and continues to educate students currently.
This is St. Catherine's College at Cambridge which is still active today. Permission to use given by the college.

John married Mary Pomfret on January 13, 1669, when John was 24 and Mary was 21. There is a lengthy story written about Mary Pomfret Waller in the book The Spirit in the South Stories of Our Grandmothers’ Spirits by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Vold Forde and Anne Curtis Terry, J.D. and Cousins. John and Mary had eight children.
Rule book from the Barber Surgeons
Company, printed in 1831

As a young man John practiced as a surgeon, but by 1711 he had apparently given up medicine and was working as an attorney. The source of this information is from a document dated June 23, 1711, in which he “presented his son William to the rectory” of the Church of St. Michael in Walton Parish in Newport Pagnell. In the document, John identified himself as an attorney.

Dr. John Waller died on August 21, 1716, and is buried at Newport Pagnell in a tomb that he designed himself. Regrettably, I have not found a photo of the tomb. His will was proved on August 21, 1723, and was recorded in Prerogative Court, an ecclesiastical court at Canterbury. According to Eugenia Waller's essay, "he was a man of substantial means. He lavished gifts of houses, jewelry, land, and money. The text of his will breathes a warm personality:

1) I give and devise unto my son John Waller who liveth in Virginia, over and above what I have already given and lent him, the legacy or sum of twenty pounds, to his eldest daughter Mary (Lewis) Ten pounds and to the rest of his children five pounds apiece... 274

2) I give and devise unto my brother Thomas Waller who liveth in Virginia the legacy or sum of twenty pounds... 275 
Another example of a surgeon's medical tools in John
Waller's time
3) My body I comitt (sic) to the Earth to be decently interred and laid in the Vault of Monument which I cause to be built on the South side of the Church of Newport Pagnell, aforesaid, at the bottom of the Grille neer (sic) the River Wall...”

Sources for this post: Family History; FindAGrave website; Wikipedia; Genealogies of Virginia Families by R.M. Glencross, a London Genealogist published in the William and Mary College Quarterly Magazine; website; The Spirit In The South by Forde and Terry. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Col. John Waller, Gent. (1673-1753) My 7th Great Grandfather on My Father’s Side

This Parish Lines map of Colonial Churches shows
the location of King & Queen County, on the left.
From Google.
Col. John Waller was the first of this family line to immigrate to the British colony of Virginia. He arrived sometime around 1693 when he was in his early twenties. He was the son of Dr. John Waller, a man of prominence in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England, and his mother was Mary Pomfrett.

John was the eldest in a family of nine children. He was christened on February 23, 1673, in Newport Pagnell, so he was probably born a few days before that. He had two sisters – Mary born May 23, 1674, and Jemima, the youngest born August 31, 1684. John also had five brothers including Thomas born October 17, 1675, Steven born November 24, 1676, Benjamin born about 1678, Dr. Edmund born February 3, 1680, and James born May 25, 1683.

The first record of John being in America is a land record showing that he purchased 1036 acres from Elias Downs. The location of the land was on Pamunkey Neck in King William County. Later it became part of Spotsylvania County.  John was the first of four generations of our family to live in Spotsylvania. He married Dorothy King about 1697, so shortly after having immigrated. See my blog post dated July 6, 2018, for more about Dorothy and their children.

The county seat was moved from Fredericksburg to Spotsylvania in 1839, and at that time a lot of records were lost. This is the reason why exact dates are sometimes unknown. The birth records are from the register in Newport Pagnell, England which survived.

Civic Life
When John was 26 he was appointed as Sheriff of King William County. He held that position from 1699-1702.  According to an article posted on Wikipedia, there was a small building on the property where John and Dorothy lived that served as the county jail. That is the only place I’ve read that tidbit so I am not at all certain that it is true, so don’t quote me.
Two photos of Endfield found on Google

About 1705, John established his plantation and built a large home that he named “Endfield”. In the book Old King William County Homes and Families by Payton Neal Clark, he wrote this about Endfield, “The original home of the Waller family in King William County. The house is situated on the bank of the Mattapony River, and the land is part of the original grant to John Waller by King Charles II. The patent is still in existence. The house is more than one hundred and fifty years old, and has been occupied by a long line of Wallers.”

John’s father died in 1716 when John was 43. He was mentioned in the will. About 1720, when John would have been 47 he served in the military under Captain John West as a Colonel. I don’t know anything more about his service.

Life at Newport Plantation
In 1723, John and Dorothy relocated to Spotsylvania County, Virginia and established a new plantation that they named “Newport” after his place of birth in England. This is where John was living when he died and is the property he left to his son William in his will. Newport was at least 400 acres. He also left 500 acres to his son John.

Survey of Enfield property
John was appointed as a County Judge in King and Queen County in 1705, and according to multiple sources he elected as a member of the House of Burgess, 1719-1722. According to Wikipedia the men who served in the House of Burgess governed their communities along with a royally-appointed Colonial Governor and six-member Council of State. The Governor could veto the actions of this body but it did provide the settlers with “limited say in the management of their own affairs, including their finances.”

When Spotsylvania was formed from King William County, John was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace and as the first County Court Clerk on August 1, 1722. He remained in that position until 1742, when he stepped down and his son Edmund became the second county clerk. Others sworn in at the same time as John were Augustine Smith, John Taliaferro, Wm. Hansford, Richard Johnson and Wm. Bledsoe.  Bledsoe was named Sheriff.

Between 1726 and 1730 John was identified seven times as being involved with various road construction projects. They all seemed to be located near the Po River and Mattapany Church. 

In the year 1727, an act of the Assembly had been passed founding the town of Fredericksburg. John along with John Robinson, Henry Willis, Augustine Smith, John Taliaferro, and others, and their successors were appointed trustees to oversee the building of a town. They were charged with laying out lots and streets on a fifty-acre parcel as well as deciding on locations for the church and a churchyard.

Map of Spotsylvania County showing St. George's Parish
In 1745, John was appointed as a vestryman of Church of England. In Rev. Phillip Slaughter’s History of St. George’s Parish, he describes the duties of a vestryman in this footnote. “The first meeting of the vestry of St. George's Parish, of which we have a record was held in June of 1726, at the lower church on the Rappahannock, and was composed of the following persons, viz. : Rev. Theodosius Staige, minister; Augustine Smith, and John Grayson, church-wardens; John Taliaferro, Francis Thornton, Thomas Chew, William Hansford, Stephen Sharp, and George Wheatle. Among the duties imposed by law in these times upon the vestry was the superintendence of the processioning of land, and the cultivation of tobacco. The vestry was required to divide the parish into so many precincts as to them shall seem convenient, and to appoint two intelligent, honest freeholders, in each precinct, to see such processioning performed. The proceedings incident to this duty occupy a large space in the records of the vestry. These proceedings are not without interest to the antiquarian, as they describe many localities as they were long ago, and recite the names of many of the ancestors of the present generation, who encountered great perils and privations in subduing those lands on which their descendants now repose with none to make them afraid.”
This is an image of the interpretive exhibit board about Col.
John Waller in the museum in Spotyslvania County. 
According to Slaughter’s book, as a vestryman, John was “directed to provide a set of books and plate for each of three congregations in the parish - one in Germanna, one near the present site of Fredericksburg, and the third at Mattapony, which was called the "Mother Church", probably because it was the place of worship for the inhabitants of the frontier before the parish of St. George was erected.” He was also directed to, “send to England for pulpit cloths and cushions for each church in the parish, to be of crimson velvet with gold tassels, each cloth having a cipher with the initials S.G.P.(St. George’s Parish). He was also directed to send for two silver chalices.

John’s brother Edmund died when John was 72. In his will Edmund left 100 pounds to his brother or, if John was deceased, to be divided among John’s children. But, he added that John’ eldest son was to receive 50 pounds. He did not explain why this nephew was supposed to get more than his siblings.

Col. John Waller died on August 2, 1753, when he was 80 years old. In his will, he left each of his grandchildren one Negro each, if they had not received something previously, and twenty shillings. Sadly, even though John had tried to distribute his property fairly to each of his descendants, there was a dispute between his sons when Benjamin objected to the amount of land he had received from his father. Benjamin filed a lawsuit against his brother William and won. As a result, Benjamin received 421 acres in King William County. Eventually, the land that Benjamin accumulated totaled 1496 acres, all of it was left to his son John, who sold the family estate to Carter B. Berkeley in June of 1814, so the plantation was in the family for 87 years.

John is buried in Waller Cemetery on land that was part of his Newport plantation in Spotsylvania.

Sources for this post: Spotsyvania County Road Orders 1722-1734; Rootsweb; Genealogies of Virginia Families by R.M. Glencross, a London Genealogist published in the William and Mary College Quarterly Magazine; Spotsylvania Museum exhibit material; the Wallers of Endfield by Andrew Lewis Riffe with notes by Clayton Torrence; FindAGrave website; Virginia County Records Spotsylvania Co. 1721-1800; Old King William County Homes and Families by Peyton Neal Clark; History of St. George Parish by Rev. Slaughter; Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, Vol. 2 by William Meade; A History of Caroline County, Virginia by Marshall Wingfield; Virginia Magazine of History and Bio Vol. 26 by Philip Alexander Bruce editor & William Glover.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Dorothy King Waller (1675-1758) My 7th Great Grandmother on My Father’s Side

This home is typical of a residence in King and Queen
County, Virginia in the 1700s where Dorothy was born.
Virginia Colonial Homes website
Dorothy was born in 1675 in King and Queen County, Virginia. While there is a great deal of information about her husband and children online, I have found very little about Dorothy. I know that she married Col. John Waller in about 1697 when she would have been 22.

She and John had six children. The eldest was their only girl named Mary (1702-1765), who married Zachary Lewis. A great deal has been written about Zachary. He was a vestryman in St. George’s Parish of Spotsylvania County. In colonial America, the vestrymen, who were tied to the church, handled the governance of their communities. They collected titles, oversaw land boundaries and surveyed roads, so were important leaders of their communities.
When Dorothy was 17 Puritans in Massachusetts burned
20 witches as part of the Salem Witch Trials. While this
may not have impacted Dorothy directly, it no doubt cast a
shadow over her life.
Dorothy and John had five sons. The eldest was Thomas (1714-1764). Col. William (1714-1760) married Ann Stanard. John Jr. (1715-1776) married Agnus Carr. Benjamin (1716-1786) married Martha Hall, and Edmund, my 6th great grandfather, married Mary Pendleton. See my post dated June 30, 2018, for more on Edmund and Mary.

The last execution for witchcraft took place in 1712, when
Dorothy was 37.
I have found one land record that mentions Dorothy as the wife of John Waller. It was dated February 9, 1727, and had to do with a 1000 acre tract of land that she and John sold to Richard Fitzwilliam in Williamsburg, for 100 pounds. Dorothy was 52 at this time.

Dorothy was 78 when her husband John died in 1753. She was named in his will as one of his executors but no specific bequests were left to her by her husband.

Dorothy’s will was recorded in deed book B on page 427. Her will was probated on October 1, 1759. It is a very brief document that named her son William Waller as her executor. Her son John Jr. was a witness. Her will also mentioned Dorothy Jemima Waller, daughter of Dorothy’s son Edmund, her son Benjamin and son-in-law Zachary Lewis, but it did not say what each was to receive from her estate.

This is the Governor's mansion built between 1706 and 1710
during Dorothy's lifetime
Dorothy died on October 26, 1758, and is buried in Newport, Spotsylvania, Virginia.

Sources for this post: Rootsweb; Genealogies of Virginia Families by R.M. Glencross, a London Genealogist published in the William and Mary College Quarterly Magazine; FindAGrave; Sons of the American Revolution Application 1889-1970 for Thomas Waller, Natl. No. 60915; State No. 1214 ; History of Henry Co, VA with Biographical Sketches of its Most Prominent Citizens and Genealogical Histories of Half a Hundred of Its Oldest Families by Judith Parks America Hill; Virginia Magazine of History and Bio Vol. 26 by Philip Alexander Bruce editor & William Glover; Virginia County Records Spotsylvania Co. 1721-1800.