Early Virginia Halsey’s – from 1635 to 1800

These Halsey’s were in Virginia long before my own ancestor, Moses Halsey, and his relative, William Halsey, came to Virginia, sometime between 1790 and 1800. I think this may open the possibility of another line (or lines) of Halsey’s in Virginia altogether. They may be related to ‘our’ Halsey’s, but they certainly appear to be in addition to the family that came from Southampton, New York. Perhaps these lines came directly from England or perhaps they migrated down the coast from the more northern colonies.

I hope to have an opportunity to do some research on immigrants to Virginia in the next week or so and will be posting anything I find. I would love to have anyone post a comment if you can claim any of these Halsey or if you have any further information on them.

I. Virginia Peninsula

The following records involve individuals living in, or very near, the geographic area known as the Virginia Peninsula. This area is in southeast Virginia bounded by the York River, James River, Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay and encompasses the area of Jamestown where the first permanent settlement was made in Virginia in 1607. York County is on the tip of the Peninsula while Charles City County is at the northwest reaches and is considered by some to be part of the peninsula. Surry County is part of Southside, not part of the peninsula, to the south of Charles City and southwest of York, separated from both by the James River. Lower Norfolk County no longer exists. It was divided in 1691 to form Norfolk County and Princess Anne County. Princess Anne County is also extinct. It is now the area of the city of Virginia Beach. Norfolk County is across Hampton Roads and is not part of the Peninsula.

It is clear that these records pertain to people who landed in Virginia at the coast. They came by ship, but whether they came directly from England or from the northern colonies is unclear.

Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Vol. I.
p. 44/45 Accomack Co. 1632-1637
“May 20 1633 Robt. Halsey services”
His name appears in the suit of Wm. Clayborne against Clobery and Company. (See Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. 28, p. 31 for details of suit.)
p. 47 Accomack Co. 1632-1637 1631 [not a typo]
“The names of such persons as were transported on the Affrica (sic) upon the joynt accomp viz: . . .
“Richard Haulsey – was thought by the men to have fyred [fired] the houses willingly and therefore they would not endure him. Whereupon I sold his tyme being a very untoward youth.” Does this refer to the same 13 year old Richard Halsey who seems to have come back to Virginia in 1635? If it does he must have been about 9 years old when he first made the voyage. Life was hard on little boys.
p. 86 Accomack Co. 1637-1640 Transcript p. 144
“[Original p. 190 Abstract] Certificate of John Holloway for 550 acres for importing: John Holloway, Wm Cooke, Gabriell Henerlin, Jo Tilney, Henry Pace, Jo. Wayworth, Jo Halsye, Richard Savage, Richd Clement, James Barnaby, Sara Barnaby.

Hulse Family Network Newsletter, Hulse Family Network, 1993, p. 369
RICHARD HALSEY. From page 100 of Michael Tepper ‘s “Passengers to America”, passengers for Virginia, July 1635. “These underwritten names are to be transported to Virginia embarqed in the “Assurance de Lo”: Richard Halsey aged 13.

Virginia Colonial Records, Vol. III
p. 26 “York County, 1633-1646, No. 2, p. 74 Whereas there was due to Thomas x x x x the Court doth therefore order that x x x collect the said tob [tobacco] and corne from the said fowerteene Mr. Robert Vaus and his familye . . . Which tob is to be disposed of for the other publique uses and servis already done by men whoe have as yet not been appointed payment for there said servis Vizt to Robert Halsey in the first place his sallery due for his servis done in 1644 at the Midle plantation Garrison.”

Middle Plantation was established patented in 1632. The palisade there was completed in 1634 providing a place for the settlers to take refuge from the Indians. In April 1644 the second major massacre by the Indians occurred in the colony. The above reference to Robert Halsey’s service in 1644 may refer to this. Poor Robert, who was in Virginia in 1633 or earlier, seems to have passed on in the next entry which was undated but in the records for 1648.

Virginia Colonial Records, Vol. III
p. 85 “York County, 1646-1648, p. 321 That Robt Helsey dec’d stand indebted to Mr Robt Vaus 300 lbs tobo and 14 lb beaver. Vaus to be pd by the admrs of the estate. This name also appears as Robt Holseye in the entry.”

York County Wills and Administrations (1633-1811) p. 327.
Halsey, Robert. Adms. bond rec. 25 Jan. 1647.
Wills, [Orders], & Deeds [Records No. 2], 1645-1649 (Reel 1 a)
“Armiger Wade to have admr of est of Robt Halsey, dec’d.”

The following records for Stephan and Ann Halsey/Holsey both contain a reference to Howell Pryse. The first record state that Howell Pryse paid for the passage of Stephen Halsey to Virginia from England and was due land. The entry refers to the importation of several persons. Ann Holsey’s name has not been found, but records are not complete for the colonial time. She may have come to the colony as a single woman and may have married Stephen Halsey or another Halsey after she got here.

For those not familiar with the headright system in Virginia, anyone who paid for their own or someone else’s passage to Virginia was entitled to 50 acres of land. This system was greatly abused due to poor record keeping, etc. Oftentimes several people would claim a headright for the same person, or a wealthy person would make repeated entries to the colony, going to and from England, and claim a headright for each trip.

The Henry Halsey in Lower Norfolk was counted among the assets of Christopher Burrowes because he still owed him four years of servitude. Many came to the colonies with their passage paid for by others to whom they then owed seven years indentured servitude.

Virginia Colonial Records, Vol. III
p. 211 “Charles City County Court Orders, 1658-1661, p. 171 [1658] Howell Pryse . . . Right to 3850 acres of Land for the charge of importacon of . . . Steph: Halsey”
p. 231 “ Charles City County Court Orders, 1658-1661, p. 235 Abstract “The peticon and clmplt of Persivall Barton and Ann Holsey servants of Nicholas Perry of their violent abuses and dealings with and by their sd marster and mistresse is referred to exaied and decided by mr Charles Sparrowe, And in the interim the sd servts to be and remaine with mr Cha: Sparrowe aforesd or where he shall appoints them if shall see just cause for the same.” Also concerns judge for Howell Pryse agst Nich: Perry for a filly.”
p. 453 “Lower Norfolk County, 1641-1654, p. 55 Inventory of Estate of Christopher Burrowes, gent. Taken 4th Feb 1652/3 . . . Includes: . . . Henrey Halsey having fower yeres to serve – 2800 lbs tobacco”

Do the records below refer to the same Robert Halsey being imported twice? Did he return to England and come back to Virginia? This is quite possible if it is the same Robert Halsey referred to all the way to the end of the article. We see that Robert Halsey who purchased land with William Halsey left at least one son, also named Robert, in England.

Or is it two separate Robert Halsey’s?

Virginia Land Patents of the Counties of Norfolk, Princess Anne & Warwick, p. 24
24 Aug 1669 (crossed out in Patent and 1673 inserted) John Williams 444 ½ acres in Lower Norfolk County . . . Due for the transportation of 9 persons: . . . Robert Halsey . . .

Early Virginia Families Along the James River: Their Deep Roots and Tangled Branches, Vol. III
p. 103 “Mr. Samll Plaw, 240 acres, Surry Co., on both sides of Pigeon Sw., 20 Apr 1684, p. 370” . . . Trans. Of 5 pers: . . .
Robt. Halsey .

II. Middle Peninsula and the Northern Neck
The Rappahannock County mentioned below is Old Rappahannock County which no longer exists and was divided into Essex County on the south side of the Rappahannock River and Richmond County to the north side. Richmond County would be considered part of the Northern Neck. Lancaster County is at the tip of the Northern Neck, separated from Gloucester County by the Rappahannock River. Gloucester County is at the tip of the Middle Peninsula, separated from York County by the York River. So this is basically just across the York River from the location where the first Robert Halsey was found. We are left wondering what, if any, was the relationship between the two Roberts. These records could quite possibly refer to the Robert Halsey that came to Virginia in 1669 and served his indenture of seven years. Perhaps he returned to England sometime around 1684 or ’85 to visit family and returned to Virginia.

Records of Colonial Gloucester County, Virginia Which Includes Matthews Co., p. 94
Rappahannock County Deeds, 1676-82 VI
“p. 142a Deed – Thomas Garner to Robert Halsey – 1681
Thomas Garner of the county of Rappahannock . . . sould . . . to Robert Halsey and William Halsey of Gloucester County . . . 100 acres of land . . . On Kings Swamp. 5 May 1681” Thomas Garner
Wit – James Whitlock
Thomison X Barham
Rec. Sept 1 1681

Perhaps Robert and William were brothers or father and son. At any rate, we can see that they bought land together in the late spring of 1681. William died six years later, leaving an oral will. Robert continued on in the colony as a tanner. Robert died 25 or 26 years after William, sometime between May of 1702 and November of 1703.

Lancaster County Wills and Administrations (1652-1800), p. 116-116a.
Nunc. will pro. 14 Dec. 1687. Holsey, William. Note: Wills, Etc., No. 5, 1674-1689 (Reel 18)

Land Office Patents No. 8, 1689-1695, p. 431 (Reel 8).
21 April 1695. Robert Halsey
Essex County. 100 acres escheated land of John Hawkins, deceased, dated 1691/2.

Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Vol. II
p. 34 12 Aug 1696 Robert Halsey witnessed the assignment of a Land Grant from Robert Yard of Glouster (sic) to Thomas Edmondson of Essex Co.
p. 106 Robert Halsey witness to deed dated 10 Dec 1701 from Argoll Blackstone of Essex, carpenter and Eliz’a his wife to John Morgan
p. 110 Deed 8 May 1702 Robt Halsey of Franham par, Essex Co., tanner to Thos. Johnson. Johnson later assigned land to Richard Jones. That bond, dated 19 July 1704, refers to Robt Halsey as deceased.
p. 100 Bond 10 Nov 1703 James Boughan, coroner, as admr. of Robt. Halsey, decd.
p. 104 Inv of Estate undated but recorded 10 Apr 1704 L 111. 02. 8

Essex County Records, 1703-1706
p. 31 “p. 208 Inventory of Mr. Robert Halsey dec’d taken by Court order dated 10 Nov 1703. Totals L 111.02.8. Signed
Leo: Chamberline
Jno. Games
Tho x Snead.

William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. XX, Lyon G. Tyler, editor, p. 278-281
“The following letters are recorded in a suit appearing on the records of Essex County at Tappahannock. The Francis Makemie who wrote two of them was the minister of that name to whom is given the credit of establishing Presbyterianism in America. . .
“The suit in Essex County concerns certain lands, which were conveyed to Robert and William Halsey on May 5, 1682, by Randolph Segar and Mary his wife.
“Letters
Virginia, May the 16th 1704.
“Mr. Halsey
“Sr These come to Inform you that your father hase bine dead in Jenewarye next tow yeares [Robert must have died January 1703] & he has made no will nor any of his blood heare to Inherit neither Landes goodes nor Chattels so that administration of his Estate is granted to me & upon ye apprasement off his Estate it Dide amount about one hundred & ten pounde & ass for your father’s lande, heare is one Mr. Thomas Merewether has gotten & Escheat for it pretending that there is no hare [heir] for it but ass I havie it in possession & iff you thinke ffite to come to it I wolde have you to send me a power to kepe it in possession for you . . .
James Boughan
“To Mr. Robert Halsey, to be left at Mrs. Anne Kay at the harp in ffritness rentes in London. The present Jan’ry 22d 1717. Proved by John Boughan son of ye said James to be his father’s handwriting.

Virg’a Wmsburg 9ber 9th 1705
“Mr. Robert Halsey
“Sr I had a tedious and sick voyage and could not Informe you last fleet any think [thing] of your affair, but this comes by a single ship bound for Bristol & comes to informe you I brought hither three witnesses in my sloop besides myself to prove your papers at ye first Generall Court, which will be some charge to you and I came to Court seasonably; for Boughan after he had prevented Mr. Merryweather his Escheating you Land, by producing to ye Jury of Inquisition your letters to your ffather, he immediately escheates for himself, and finding your 400 acres in the Escheat list, I made a motion to ye Court to stop his proceedings which was accordingly done . . . I am afraid the notary has not particularly described your ffather, by not calling him Tanner living at Piscataqua Creek in Rappahannock. [This reference to Robert Halsey being a tanner helps to cement that these letters refer to the same Robert Halsey.] . . . I am your most humbel servant Ffrancis Makemie. Direct your letters to me at Accomack in Virginia
“To Mr. Robert Halsey to be found at Mr. Thomas Parkhurst at ye thee crowns & bible, Cheapside, London.”

Virg’a James River 7ber 4 1706.
“Mr. Robert Halsey
“Sr I worte you formerly, which I hope came safe to hand, informing you that when I went to Wmsburg to prove and record your papers, I found Mr. Boughan escheating you Land after he had prevented Mr. Merryweather doing so by producing your letters to your father to ye court or Jury of inquest, and I, came serviceable to put a stop to it, and I have been lately with Mr. Boughan who owns my power, and seems very ready to surrender and account, we went to ye Land which he says is 300 acres tho as I wrote you I found in the Excheat list is 400 which he says is a mistake. The plantation is a ruined place, and Boughan seems inclinable to buy it., but greatly undervalues it, tho I believe I shall find a better Chapman as soon as I have a power to dispose thereof, & ye sooner the better. Coll. Willm Churchill is a councillr and so great to be Employed & declines being concerned, so that ye whole matter, and all charges lyes upon me and I have made some disbursements . . . I found a poor shoemaker on ye land & desired him to live there till further order, he paying ye Quitt Rents. I have drawn upon you for money I am already out of pocket . .
“I am in hast your srvt Ffrancis Makemie. To Mr. Robert Halsey at Mr. Parkhurst at the Bible & three Crowns.”

Virg’a Sept. 12, 1708
“Sr. while Mr. Makemie lived he employed me to sure for ye account of your ffather Halseys Estate here, w’ch I did & sent him an account of it long before his Death, but finding that Mr. Makemie had done nothing before his death but perhaps sent ye copy of ye Reciepts w’ch I sent him, I was unwilling you should still lye out your money, so told Coll. Churchill of it . . . But he told he had all along refusd to meddle & would not concern himself . . . Your land here lies neglected, I understand there is a moan lives upon it that pays no rent nor takes any care of repairs . . .
Robert Beverly
“But you must send me a full Lre [?] of Attorney.
“To Mr. Robert Halsey, Stationer in London. . . “

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5 Responses to Early Virginia Halsey’s – from 1635 to 1800

  1. ian halsey says:

    hi do you have any halseys who emigrated to america in the 1700s +.
    john halsey b,abt 1734 cublington buckinghamshire
    marr ann biggs 12 7 1756 aston abbotts cublington.
    cant trace his birth or place or his death place,any info would be great,yours ian halsey.(england.)

  2. Ann Wilkes Allan says:

    So, was Elizabeth (last name unknown) a Halsey? She was married tp 1)Thomas Stevens, 2)Raleigh Travers, 3)Robert Beckingham, 4)Thomas Wilkes, 5)George Spencer, 7)William Mann. Raleigh Travers was somehow related to Sir Walter Raleigh and perhaps to Churchhill.

    Co. of Lancaster, VA: Wilks, Thomas & Mrs. Elizabeth Wilks page 116-117 mentioned in the will of William Holsey 1687. It is thought that William Holsey was the father or brother of Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Wilks. Finding a copy of the will may clarify!! (See Will below)

  3. Ann Wilkes Allan says:

    Ann Wilkes Allan again:

    Molsey, Wm. Nuncupative. Rec. Dec. 14 1687. Brother: Robert Molsey of Rapp. Co. Exor. Devissees: Mrs. Elizabeth Wilks (Travers). Mr. Rawleigh Travers and Giles Travers and Mr. Downman.

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