Moses Halsey of Grayson County, Virginia (born ca. 1770 – died 183?)

After being dissatisfied with the lack of proof of parentage for Moses Halsey of Grayson County, Virginia and wondering why William Halsey would travel to Virginia with a distant cousin, I began looking for some record of Moses Halsey in Morris County, New Jersey where William is documented to have originated. After much searching, I found Moses on the March 1790 Hanover township tax list as Moses Holsey, along with William Holsey and several other Holseys, which says that he was most likely NOT one of the two Moses Halsey’s found on tax records or census records in Southampton, Long Island, New York in 1790.

The first Virginia reference I find for Moses Halsey is in Grayson Co., Virginia, so we know he left Morris County, New Jersey after March 1790 and before 7 March 1800 as shown in the Marriage License for the marriage of Sarah Holsey.

Another problem I have with many family trees show Moses as born in 1759 or 1761. That does not really work with the ages of Moses and his children found in later census records.

Marriage License and its Transcription for William Howell and Sarah Halsey Grayson County, Virginia   (transcribed with original spelling)                                

Know all men by these present that We William Howell and Moses Holsey are bound unto Robert Wood Esquier Govner of the Common welth of Virginia at this time and his Sucsescors in the full and Just Sum of one houndred and fifty Dollars Courent moneys of the United States we bind our Selves Lands & tenements our heirs Severelley and Jointly by these presents Seald with our Seals and dated this 7 day of March 1800

The Condition of the above Obligation is Such that where as the above bound William Howel hath this day obtained a Lisences for his marrage with Sarah Holsey both of this County now if there beknow inpedement and Just Cose that the Sade William Howel and Sarah Holsey Should not be joined to gether in the holey Estate of matremoney then the above Obligation to be bound [? paper torn] other wise to remain in full force and Witnese[?]

given Under our hands
William [his mark, W] Howell
Moses [his mark X] Holsey

This marriage license brings several questions to my mind. First, why was Moses a bonsdman for the marriage of Sarah when she was supposedly only a distant cousin of Moses’? Why didn’t William Halsey sign as bondsman, especially since most have him as her father? Was there a closer kinship between Moses and Sarah? Was Moses actually her father? In addition, was there a kinship closer than distant cousins between William and Moses? Finally, was William Howell also from New Jersey and part of the Howell family that was in Long Island?

I finally realized that the proof that Sarah is William’s daughter is found in his will. He lists William Howell as one of the legatees and I can only assume that was because Sarah was his daughter and since she is not listed on his will, she must have died before her father.

Following are records found for Moses Halsey and other Halseys in Grayson County, Virginia beginning with the tax list of 1800. The fifth entry down has an unknown Halsey, Ezekiel Halsey, mentioned in August 1811. Who was he? Where did he go? Was he the son of William or the son of Moses? Unfortunately, the folks in Grayson County did not keep the best records, so we may never know. The William Halsey, Jr., first mentioned in the in October 1811, was the son of Revolutionary War soldier, William Halsey who came from Morris County, New Jersey.

1800 Tax List Grayson Co, Virginia [Jeff Weaver]
Halsey, William   1 males >21     2 horses
Halsey, Moses      1 males >21     2 horses
[note this would give them both a dob before 1779]

Grayson County Road Orders
August 27, 1806. Moses Halsey to be overseer of the road in the place of the one removed. . . It is therefore ordered that the same be cleared out and that William Stamper and William Howell jointly be appointed surveyors of the same, and that they, with the hands of Isaac Spencer, Nathan Cox, Jerad Perkins, Moses Halsey, Jonathan Anderson and Richard Hall clear out the same.

Early Grayson County Criminals []
June 6, 1810 Enoch Baldwin. Accused of stealing and carrying away one weeding hoe of the property of Moses Halsey on May 27, 1810. The court found the evidence sufficient and ordered him to be tried in the County Court. The Grand Jury refused to indict him at August Court 1810.

1810 Grayson County Tax List [Jeff Weaver]
Halsey, William       2 tithes 0 slaves   6 horses
Halsey, Moses          1 tithe   0 slaves   4 horses

The 1811 Grayson County, Virginia Court Order Book [Jeff Weaver]
At a Court begun and held for the County of Grayson on Tuesday the 27th day of August, 1811
Present, Joshua Hanks, William Hail, Joseph Fields & William Stamper}Gen. Justices
A deed from William Jessee to Ezekiel Halsey was proven in court by three subscribing witnesses and ordered to be recorded.

At a court begun and held for the County of Grayson the 22d day of October, 1811
Present: Matthew Dickey, Joshua Hanks, Stephen Fields and John Comer} Gen. Justices
A letter of attorney from Jonathan Night to William Howell, Jr. was proven in court by William Halsey, Jr. and ordered to be recorded.

The 1812 Grayson County, Virginia Court Order Book [1998, Jeffrey C. Weaver, Arlington, Virginia.]
May 1812
At a court begun and held for the county of Grayson on Tuesday the 26th day of May 1812.
The persons appointed at February Court last to view the best way for a public road from Nathan Wards by Joshua C….. the Mouth of Fox Creek, the Mouth of Wilson Creek, Robert Parsons, and to the North Carolina line made report in the following words, to wit: “Fort the worshipful court of Grayson, according to your order to us directed we have viewed the ground proposed for a waggon road from Nathan Wards to the “North Carolina” line. We find a good way to make the road and that much benefit to our inhabitants. Therefore it is considered by this court that the same is reasonable. It is therefore orderd that the same be established and that Benjamin Phipps and William Stamper be appointed overseers thereof and that they with the hands of Solomon Landreth, Thomas Baker, Thomas Young, Jonathan Anderson, Jerard Perkins, Isaac Spencer, Moses Halsey, John Cox, and Zachariah Osborne, oversee, open the same accordingly.

A History of the Sturgill Family, David Andrew Sturgill, Mack Howard Sturgill, p. 49
Records the sale of 156 acres in Grayson Co., Virginia to Moses Halsey by John Sturgill.
1813 Grayson Co Tax List
Halsey, Moses          1 tithe 3 horses    .48 tax
Halsey, William       2          5                .80
Halsey, Amos           1          1                 .16
Halsey, William       1          1                 .16

Amos Halsey was the son of William and Rachel Cobb Halsey. He moved first to Ashe County, North Carolina where he appears on the 1815 tax list  and 1820 census. He later moved to Smyth County, Virginia. A number of his descendants migrated to Kentucky. I believe that the Thomas Halsey book has several mistakes regarding Amos Halsey and his family, including his first wife’s name, but that is for another post. In 1853, Amos married Elizabeth Scott in Smyth County.

The William Halsey listed last in the above tax list was also the son of William and Rachel Cobb Halsey. He married Juda Peak in 1814 and is found on the Ashe County, North Carolina census in 1820 as well.

1817 Tax List Grayson Co., Virginia [Jeff Weaver]
Halsey, James                      1 males >16   2 horses         .36 tax
Halsey, William                   1                       1                      .18
Halsey, William, Sen.         1                       4                      .72
Halsey, Moses                      1                       3                      .54

1820 Census, Virginia, Grayson Co.,
Hosley, Moses 2 – – – – – 1 // 2 1 1 – 1 [this gives Moses a dob of before 1775]
2 boys <10 [Eli & ??].           2 girls <10
1 man 45 +                              1 girl 10-15
1 girls 16-25 [Elizabeth? or Sally?]
1 woman 45+
In the 1820 census in Grayson Co., Virginia, there also listings for James Holsey [son of Revolutionary War William, age 16-25] and William Holsey [age 45+], Robert Halsey [son of Moses, age 16-25], and William Halsey [age 16-26] in Grayson County, Virginia. Amos Halsey and another William Halsey [both aged 26-45] are listed in Ashe County, North Carolina. I think that William in Ashe County is the son of Revolutionary War William, or William, Sr. as is Amos of Ashe County. Is this Grayson County William the son of Moses? The James in Grayson is also thought to be the son of William, Sr. Robert is the son of Moses.

Land Office Grants No. 70, 1820-1821, p. 347 (Reel 136). [Library of Virginia]
Holsey, Moses. 1 September 1821. Grayson County. Description: 95 acres on New River. Beg.g &c in a line of s.d Holsey’s former survey. “In conformity with a survey made” 30 May 1817 “by virtue of a Land Office Treasury Warrant 2443 issued the seventh February 1780 there is granted by the said Commonwealth unto Moses Holsey” . . . 95 acres in Grayson County on the New River “on a ridge in a line with said Halsey’s former survey”.

1824 Grayson County Tax List
Halsey, William       1 tithes           1 horses         .12
Halsey, Moses          1                      3                      .36
Halsey, Robert         1                      1                      .12
Halsey, James          1                      1                      .12
Halsey, William       2                     6                      .72
Grayson County, Virginia 1826 Court Order Book Page 13…March 1826
Wednesday the 29th court met according to adjournment. Present: William BALLARD, John COOK, Thomas BALDWIN & Lewis MONTGOMERY Justices
The Commonwealth vs James HALSEY indictment for (________ blank) dismissed.
1827 Grayson County Court Order Book
19 James Halsy (sic) v. Mordecia Cross [Cress?]
27 Moses Halsey on grand jury
39/ 40 Deed from William Howell to Silvester Halsey proven by Isaac Pasley 29 Nov 1827
Deed from William Halsey to Elisha Halsey proven by Isaac Pasley & Silvester Halsey
The 1828 Grayson County, Virginia Personal Property Tax List [Transcribed by Jeffrey C. Weaver, July 4, 1998]
Name            White Tithe     Black Tithe    Negroes 12+          Horses             Tax
Halsey, Moses            1                                                                                    4                      .48
Halsey, Robert           1                                                                                    2                      .24
Halsey, William M.   1                                                                                    2                      .24
Halsey, William, Sr. 3                                                                                    7                      .84
Halsey, James           1                                                                                    4                      .48

1830 Census, Virginia, Grayson Co.,
5 Halseys, 2 Williams, Moses, Robert, James
William Halsey 1 – – 1 2 – – – – 1 // 1 – – 1 1 1 – – 1
boy <5                                    girl <5
boy 15-20                              girls 15-20
2 men 20-30                        woman 20-30
William 70-80                     woman 30-40
Rachel 60-70

Moses Halsey 1 1 1 – – – – 1 // 4 3 1 – 2 – 1 [this gives Moses a dob bet 1770 & 1780, combined with previous census, dob narrows to bet. 1770-1775]
1 boy <5                             4 girls <5
1 boy 5-10                          3 girls 5-10
1 boy 10-15 [Eli]               1 girl 10-15
Moses 50-60                    2 women 20-30
Margaret 40-50

William Halsey 1 1 1 1 – 1 // – 1 1 1 – 1
boy < 5
5-10                                   girl 5-10
boy 10-15                         girl 10-15
boy 15-20                        girl 15-20
William 30-40               woman 30-40

Robert Halsey 1 – 1 1 1 //2 – – – 1
boy <5                             2 girls <5
boy 10-15                        Polly 20-30
boy 15-20
Bobby 20-30

James Halsey – 2 1 – – 1 // 1 1 2 – 1 – – – – – 1
2 boys 5-10                     girl <5
boy 10-15                        girl 5-10
James 30-40                 2 girls 10-15
woman 20-30
woman 80-90

Grayson County, VA Deeds – Pacely to Halsey – 1834 Book 9, Page 265
This Indenture made and confirmed this Twenty-second day of July in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four by said undersigned Isaac Pacely and his wife Rachel Pacely of the County of Grayson and the State of Virginia of the one part and Sylvester Halsey of the County and State aforesaid of the other part witnesseth that they the said Isaac Pacely and wife for and in consideration for the sum of one hundred and seventy-five Dollars to them in hand paid by Sylvester Halsey hath given granted bargained sold and conveyed unto Sylvester Halsey a certain tract or parcel of land containing two hundred acres of land to the same more or less it being in and lying in the County and State aforesaid and bounded as followeth: Beginning at three black walnut trees on the East of New River Corner to William Halsey 100 __ __ South 85 East 158 poles to a large red oak John Cones corner South 23 East sixty poles to a hickory at the head of a branch and down the branch and bordering __ __ East 176 poles to a Buckeye at the mouth of the branch on the bank of New River thence up New River ___ thereon north 45 west 140 poles to a chestnut ___ ____ the ____ line on the bank of New River south 26 West 340 poles to the beginning together with all woods ways waters mines minerals and appurtenances there unto belonging to Sylvester Halsey and his heirs forever to have and to hold ____ Isaac Pacely and Rachel his wife and their heirs forever doth by these ___ bind themselves their heirs executors and administrators to warrant and forever defend the aforesaid __ __ __ to Sylvester Halsey and his heirs against all right titles claims and encumbrances the speculation claims excepted. In witness whereof they the said Isaac Pacely and his wife Rachel Pacely have set their hands and seals the day and date above written Signed sealed and delivered in presence of
Attest   Nathl Vannoy                             Isaac Pacely (Seal)
Moses (X-his mark) Halsey                Rachel (X-her mark) Halsey (Seal)
William (X-his mark) Halsey

Grayson County Court Clerks Office Sept. 1st, 1835
This deed from Isaac Pacely to Sylvester Halsey was presented in the offices proved by the oath of Nathaniel Vannoy a subscribing witness thereto and continued for further proof.

Grayson County Court Clerks Offices Sept. 1st 1844 fully proved by the oath of William Richardson a subscribing witness thereto and also the signature of Moses Halsey a subscribing witness thereto who has removed to the state of Kentucky was proved by the oath of William Richardson and committed to record. Teste John Dickinson C. C.

(Isaac Pacely married Rachel Halsey, daughter of Amos Halsey and Elizabeth Howell, granddaughter of William Halsey and Rachel Cobb, or others say she was William and Rachel’s daughter.)
Grayson County, VA Deed – Pacely to Richardson – 1834 Book 9, Page 376
This Indenture made and confirmed this twenty-eighth day of May in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four. Between Isaac Pacely and Rachel Pacely his wife of the one part of the County of Grayson and the State of Virginia and William Richardson of the County and State aforesaid of the other part witnesseth that they the said Isaac Pacely and Rachel his wife for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and twenty Dollars to them in hand paid by the said William Richardson, hath given, granted, bargained, sold and conveyed unto the said William Richardson a certain tract or parcel of land containing fifty acres more or less, it being and lying in the County and State aforesaid on the waters of Smiths branch and bounded as followeth: to witt Beginning on the blazed white oak on the bank of Smith’s branch the north corner of Enoch Vannoy’s field running up the point of a ridge along an old path, a blazed conditional line made by Moses Halsey and ____Hensley to the top of the ridge ____the path down the East side of the hill to a branch, then across the branch up to the top of the hill at three fork pathes then ___ to Moses Halsey’s Spanish oak corner top of a ridge near a path N 27 W 34 poles to a white oak in the head of a hollow N 80 W50 poles to four crab apple trees on the bank of a branch S40 W 120 poles down the branch ____ thereon to the beginning together with all woods ways waters mines minerals and appurtenances there unto belong to heirs the said William Richardson and his heirs forever. To have and to hold free and clear from all rights, titles, claims or encumbrances from Isaac Pacely and Rachel his wife and their heirs forever and all other persons and their claims. In witness whereof the said Pacely and wife have set their hands and seals the day and date above written.
Attest Natl. Vannoy                                     Isaac Pacely (Seal)
          Moses (X-his mark) Halsey     Rachel (X-her mark) Pacely (Seal)
Sylvester (X-his mark) Halsey

At the Clerks Office of Grayson County Court 1st September, 1834
This Deed from Isaac Pacely and wife to William Richardson was proved by the oath of Sylvester Halsey a witness Thereto and continued for further proof.
Grayson County Court Clerks Office September 1st 1835 further proved by the oath of Nathaniel Vannoy a subscribing thereto and continued for further proof. Grayson County Court Clerks Office September 2nd, 1845 fully proved by the oath of Sylvester Halsey who made oath to the signature of Moses Halsey a subscribing witness (who has moved from this State) thereto and committed to record. Teste John Dickinson C. C.
1835 Grayson County Virginia Tax List
Halsey, Moses          1          2          .12
Halsey, Amos            1          3          .18
Halsey, William       1          1          .06
Halsey, Silvester      1          1          .06
Halsey, Clisby           1          1          .06
Halsey, Eli                 1          1          .06

The following deed was written in 1835 and is pretty much the basis of my belief that Moses Halsey did not die in 1830 as many people have written in their family trees. How did Moses and Margaret Halsey sell this land to their son Robert in 1835 if Moses died in 1830? In the margin this deed has a notation that reads “Delivd to Robert Halsey Oct. 21/72.”
Grayson County Deed Book 4, p. 37
24 Sept 1835
“This indenture made and confirmed this 24th day of September AD 1835 between Moses Halsey and Margaret his wife of the one part and Robert Halsey of the other part both of the County of Grayson and State of Virginia. Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of two hundred Dollars to him payd by the sd Robert Halsey the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged that the said Moses Halsey and Margaret hath given granted bargained and sold to him the sd Robert Halsey a certain parcel of land in the county afsd. Beginning at the mouth of sd Robert Halsey’s meadow branch thence thence up sd branch to a beach (sic) and white oak near the mouth of a hollow thence N 35 W to a Spanish oak on the bank of the Tom [Torn?] branch thence up sd branch S 69 W to the sd Moses Halsey’s line thence S 43 E to a chestnut tree on the side of a hill near the forks of a branch in the State line thence with sd State line to a large double cucumber [??] thence to a cucumber sapling [?] on the bank of New River thence down sd River binding thereon to the first station 150 acres to be the same more or less. Together with its improvements and all wood water mines mineral henditaments [??] and apertainances belonging to or in any wise apertaining to the same to have and to hold and the sd Moses Halsey and Margaret do by these presents, warrent (sic) and forever defend the afsd granted land promising to him the sd Robert Halsey his heir or assigns forever clear and free from all titles or claims whatever in testimony whereof the sd Moses Halsey hath set his hand and seal the day and date above written. signed seal and delived in the presents of
E. Vannoy     Moses Halsey
E. Gentry      Margaret Halsey
B. Weld

Grayson County Court Feby Term 1871
A deed of bargain and sale from Moses Halsey and wife to Robert Halsey having been …
Here is one of my mistakes (and I am sure there are many I don’t know about) – I did not notice that the whole deed was not on the page and I neglected to copy the next page of the microfilm. More on this later.

If anyone has additions, corrections, or any thoughts on this, I would love to have you share them. 

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The Wills and Children of Richard Northcross and Jane Cragg Northcross

The Register of Albemarle Parish Surry and Sussex Countyies, Virginia recorded by the Rev. William Willie and transcribed by Gertrude R. B. Richard in 1958 lists the births of several children born to Richard and Jane Northcross. The first recorded is the birth of

“Susanna d. of Richard Northcross and his wife Jane; b. Sept. 10, 1753; christened Jan. 13, 1754; godparents; James Northcross, Abigail Northcross; Hannah Northcross.” (p. 232) Then we have
“Thomas s. of Richard Northcross and his w. Jane; born July 13, 1757, christened Feb. 19, 1758, gdpts Edward Powell, Wm. Hewitt, Henrietta Roper” (p. 136);
“James s. of Richard Northcross and his w. Jane; born Mar. 26, christened June 16, 1765; gdpts Thomas Ezell, Abel Mabry, Phoebe Battle” (p. 142);
“Thomas s. of Richard Northcross and his w. Jane; born Jan. 8, 1767, christened Feb. 21, 1768 gdpts Flood Nicolson, Robt Nicolson, Mary Gibbon” (p. 139);
“Becky d. of Richard Northcross and his w. Jane; born Aug. 11, christened Sept 29, 1771 gdpts George Randall, Sally Woodland, Rebekah Rowland” (p. 199); and finally,
“Ephraim s. of Richard Northcross and his w. Jane; born Aug. 30, christened 1773; gdpts —” (p. 21)

In all likelihood the first child named Thomas passed away, probably after the birth of James, and the second Thomas was a “replacement child”. It was a common practice in that time to give the name of a dead child to a new child born so that the new child “replaced” the one who was taken. We know that no child could replace a dead child, but it was a way to deal with the grief in a time when so many children did not live to adulthood. Many have used the older Thomas as the husband of Hettie Meglamre, but it is more likely the younger one, born in 1767 that was her husband.

Although Frederick Northcross and William Northcross are not mentioned in the Albemarle Parish registry, they are mentioned in their father’s will as his sons (see below) and so they, too, are added to the list of the children of Richard and Jane. Unfortunately, we don’t have birth dates for them.

[A note by the author – There is another transcription of the Albemarle Parish register which was an attempt to put the original transcription in alphabetical order by surname. Several mistakes were made in this newer transcription, with regard to the Northcross family in particular. By checking Gertrude Richard’s original transcription we see that the Peter Northcross mentioned in the second work is actually Peter Poythress. There was no Peter Northcross. Poythress is actually a moderately common name in the Tidewater region of Virginia. William Wren Northcross is added a son of Richard Northcross. A look at the first transcription disproves that, as Richard is not mentioned as his father.]

Richard Northcross lived during an exciting time in our American history. He is listed in DAR Patriot Index as having given patriotic service to the cause of the Revolution and so descendants would be eligible for membership. It is assumed that this would have been a reference to Richard Junior. At least two of Richard’s sons served in the War of 1812. Thomas and William both served in 1st Regiment (ALLEN’S) Virginia Militia. Thomas was a private and William reached the rank of sergeant.

The last mentions found for Richard Northcross were located in Sussex County when he paid taxes in on 1 white over 16, 1 black over 16, and 2 horses on April 24, 1799. He died sometime in early 1802 leaving a will, written in 1792, in Sussex County. It is included here:

Will of Richard Northcross Sussex Co., Virginia Will Book F, 1796-1806

“In the name of God Amen. I Richard Northcross of Albemarle Parish Sussex County being in health of body and sound and disposing mind and memory thanks be to God for the same do in a( ) and ordain this my last Will and testament in form and manner following to wit Imprimis My will and desire is that all my Just debts be paid ~
Item I Give and bequeath to my Son William Northcross the plantation wherein I now live with all the land adjoining with the following bounds to wit beginning at a Mayple in Blazes Branch, the line between Phillip Bailey and myself at the mouth of a small branch thence up the said Small branch to a Persimmion tree at the head of said Small Branch to a willow oak in the Poplar Swamp, the line between the land of Thos Ezell dec’d and myself to him his heirs, and assigns forever, after the marriage or death of his mother.
Item I give and bequeath to my son James Northcross all the land adjoining the Poplar Swamp Beginning at the Willow oak mentioned above, thence up the line of said Swamp to Richard Cockes line thence said line a North course to a lightwood line from thence a new Chopt line nearly on East Course to a pine in the line of the land Given to my son William thence along said line to the Willow oak mentioned begin at being one hundred acres more or less to him his heirs and assigns forever.
Item I give and bequeath to my son Thos Northcross all the land lying between Blazes Branch and the new Chopt line mentioned above, between my sons James & William being one hundred acres more or less, to him, his heirs & assigns forever.
Item I give and bequeath to my Daughters Susanna & Rebeca Northcross one Good feather bed of furniture and if either of them choses to have [leave?] the other, then the one that goes shall pay the other the price of said Bed.
Item I lend my loving wife Jane Northcross during her natural life or Widowhood the plantation where I now live with the Land adjoining, the same as given to my son Wm Northcross, also my negro woman Creessie with all the remains of my estate of any kind or whatsoever found, not before given.
Item my will and desire is that at the marriage or death of my said wife then my negro Woman Cressie to be possessed by my two daughters Susanna & Rebecca and if either of them marries, the single one to keep the Negro and if both should marry I give my said Negro Woman Creessie to be equally divided between my Children to wit James Northcross, Thos Northcross, William Northcross, Susanna Northcross, & Rebecca Northcross to them and their heirs & assigns forever.
Item I lend my two daughters Susanna & Rebecca Northcross the shed part of the House wherein I now live with the Shed House to live in as long as they chose.
I appoint my son Frederick Northcross Executor & my wife Jane Northcross Executrix of this my last will and testament and hereby revoking all the will by me before made as to ( )my hand and seal this 9th day of August 1792.
Witnesses Richard Northcross (his mark) Jordin Richardson, William Grigg, Frederick Grigg Will Proven February 4, 1802”

Richard wrote this will two days after he had given his son Frederick a deed of gift for 330 acres. You can see that perhaps this was a “double portion” that Frederick would have been entitled to as the eldest son. Jane Northcross died in 1804 leaving the following will (recorded in Sussex County Will Book G, p. 167) which mentions only her daughters, Susanna and Rebecca, and son Frederick. This is probably because she was leaving her daughters all that she had and making Frederick the executor because her other living sons had been taken care of in their father’s will.

Will of Jane Northcross

“In the name of God Amen, I Jane Northcross of Sussex County being of a sound and dispossing mind but calling to mind the uncertainty of this mortal life, do make this my last will and testament in the manner and form as followeth IMPRIMIS, I give and bequeath unto my two daughters Susanna Northcross and Rebecca Northcross my stock of cattle, hogs, Etc., and my crop of all kinds to them and their heirs forever. Lastly I appoint my son Frederick Northcross Executor of this my last Will and Testament, In witness whereof I have herein set my hand and affixed my seal this twenty eighth day of September one thousand Eight hundred and seven.*******
Signed and Sealed and delivered in presence of Jane X Northcross. (her mark)
Balaam Mangum
Frederick Northcross
At a court held in Sussex County the 1st day of December 1804, The last Will and Testament of Jane Northcross decd., was presented unto court by Frederick Northcross the executor named. The same was proved by oath of Balaam Magnum one of the subscribing witnesses and ordered to be recorded, and on motion of said Exec. who made oath and gave bond and security according to Law. Certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate thereof in due form.”

Tax, Court and Census records give us the outlines of families of Richard Northcross’ decendants. In all likelihood, Ephraim died before his father’s will was written in 1792 and it has been established that the first Thomas passed away sometime between his birth in 1757 and his namesake brother’s birth in 1767. No records have been found to indicate that daughters Rebecca and Susannah ever married.

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Will of Richard Burkes of Prince Edward County, Virginia 1793

Will of Richard Burkes of Prince Edward Co., Virginia
This will was taken from Chancery Records of Prince Edward Co. in the case of Administrator of Christopher DeJarnett against Richard Burks.

“In the Name of God amen:
I Richard Burkes of the County of Prince Edward being sick and weak, but of sound mind and memory; thanks be to god for the same: I do hereby make my last Will and Testament revoking all other will or Wills by me before made: first: I give my soul to God that it in hopes at the general resurrection: to receive it again with joy; and for my worldly Estate: I dispose of in manner and form following VIZT
I in promise do lend unto my wife Mildred Burkes, as much of the income of my old store place; as shall be though sufficient for her support for and during term of her natural life or widowhood; I also lend unto my said wife all my household furniture also all my stock of all kinds also all kinds of Working Tools for and during her life and Widowhood.
Item I give & bequeath the old store place together with one hundred and sixty eight ¼ acres of Land adjoining thereto lying in Prince Edward and Nottoway countys (sic): to my son Richard Floyd Burks and to his heirs forever. Also after his mother’s decease: I give unto my son Richard Floyd Burks all my house hold furniture all my stocks of all kinds, whatsoever and all my working Tools – no not withstanding they above things now lent to my wife: if my son Richd Floyd Burke shall support his Mother with such things as shall be thought sufficient for her support and finding her a hours and saddle to ride when she wants; my desire is that my said son upon his satisfying his mother; that he is to have the whole in his possession: and to do as he thinks proper with it as his own: I also give and bequeath unto my said son Richard Floyd Burke two Hundred acres of Land and plantation: Which I give Christopher Dejernatt [DeJarnette] and Jesse Owen a deed for to indemnify them as securitys (sic) for me in a suit Hatcher v. Burkes now if my said son shall pay the said judgment: I give him the said Land to him and his heirs forever.
Item my Will & desire is that after my son receiving this the before mentioned Land & premises that he pay to my two daughters Mildred Rains & Elizabeth Burks fifty pounds each or give them a negro Girl a peace (sic) to their liking instead of the money
Item my Will and desire is that a negroe Girl that I some years ago delivered to my Daughter Edith Langsdon [married Charles Langsdon and moved to Bullitt Co., Kentucky] may continue to her & her heirs forever: also the said Girl by the name of Nan; increase to her & her heirs forever:
Item my Will & desire is that my Daughter Elizabeth Burks is to continue with her mother in the same room as long as she lives single and Chooses so to do: and that she may have a place for horse & her cattle if she chooses to keep them:
Item my Will & desire is that they negroes that I give & delivered to my sons: Charles John & Thompson Burks: that hey may continue to them and their heirs forever: except one that I lent to my son Charles Burks when he went to Kentucky by the name of Peter: my Will & desire is that he the said negro Peter may be sold for the best price that can be got for him & the sum of money that Benja. Rice paid to Johnstons Executors for a negro woman: I give to my Daughter Mary Rice wife to the said Benja. Rice by the name of Fan & recovered of Rice by the Executors that out of the the money arising from the sale of the said negro Peter that said Rice is to receive the sum he paid to the said executors of Peter Johnston for the negro Fan; that the recovered of him;
Item the balance of the money arising from the said negro Peter I desire may be laid out in buying a negro to wait on my wife so long as she shall live as a widow & after her decease to be divided to my son Richd Floyd Burks & my daughter Elizabeth Burks equally provided they are to take care of their mother:
Item the judgment Ford & Co is to be discharged by my herein after mentioned executors by selling Land or other ways as my Will and desire is that my security is not to Suffer on that amount:
Item my will and desire is that all damages that Can or is recovered by means of the ill Treatment I received from Johnstons Executors, and other just recovery that Can be got may be equally divided between all my Children: after my executor deducting all his expenses & Costs that he should be at: not recovered
Item I will and desire is that as soon as my executor can get the business settled that he buy a negro Girl to give it to Martha Burke daughter of my son Philemon Burke deceased also if recovery made Sufficient my Will & desire is that my executor by a horse and saddle at the price of fifteen or twenty pounds when the said Martha or Patsy Burks daughter of Philemon Burks comes of age to give her the said horse and saddle:
Item the negro mentioned to be given to my Grand daughter Patsey or Martha is to be between fifteen & twenty years old and likely:
Item my Will and desire is that if the negroe Girl for which there is a suit defending in Prince Edward Court against George Burks jr is recovered that my Executor may sell him for the best price that can be got for him if he should think fit to sell him & at my wife decease the money arising from the sale of the said negro Girl to be Equally divided as before among all my Children: but that my Executor is and may lay out the said money as he shall think fit: tale [until] my wife decease: and only be liable principle sum at the division as the Other will be for the support of my Wife.
Item my Will and desire is that all just debts that cam be made appear against me to be paid let them be long or short: standing and all that appears for me to be paid in the same manner & Lastly I do constitute and appoint my beloved wife: and my son Richd Floyd Burks executors to this my last Will & testament & that my executrix is not to give or be held to security for their performance of this Will signed with my Own hand and sealed with my seal & dated this third day of June 1793 ~
Richd Burkes (seal)
The word lying in Prince Edward & Nottoway County in the ninth line and the word they in the thirty third line & the words in the forty first line & recovered of Rice by the executors the word all in fifty seventh line all were interlined before signed
Jno Foster
Benja Hawkins
Wm Arms

In Nottoway County Court 5th of June 1794 This Last Will & Testament of Richd Burke decd was proved by the Oaths of John Foster & Benjamin Hawkins witnesses thereto & ordered to be recorded
Benjamin Pollard CN” [?]

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Isaiah Worley, Tennessee, 1812

Found this article in The Star, Raleigh, North Carolina, June 19, 1812, p. 1.
State of Tennessee, Lincoln County.
Whereas Isaiah Worley, having been legally Committed to the Gaol of Lincoln County on a charge of Felony – did on the the night of the 6th inst. Brake Gaol and cleared himself, taking with him two Blankets.——-
Isaiah Worley is a man about five feet eight or nine inches high, eighteen or nineteen years of age, dark complected, a down look with brown hair, and tolerably heavy made. Any person apprehending said Worley and confining him in any Gaol in this State, so that he can be brought to Justice shall be liberally rewarded by me.
Fayetteville, May 6th, 1812.

Does anyone claim this Isaiah? What was his crime and did he escape or was he re-captured? If you know anything about this Isaiah, post a comment and let us know.

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John Worley, II of Buckingham and Powhatan Counties, Virginia

The first definite mention uncovered for John Worley, Jr. was a patent in the Virginia Land Office Book 20 which recorded that he purchased “250 acres on branches of Skinquarter Creek, Goochland Co.” on January 30, 1741. In June 1742, Thomas Dawson instituted a lawsuit against John Worley for a debt of ten pounds. This case went on for a year, being brought up at most monthly courts. John would fail to appear and the constable would report that he had no goods to confiscate to pay the debt. The court record of May 1743 referred to him as John Worley, Junr., so we are positive this is about the younger of the two Johns. The case was dismissed in June 1743.

It may or may not have had anything to do with the above case, but on June 20, 1743, John Worley, Jr. sold his 250 acres on Skinquarter Creek to William Bass. This deed was proved in court by the above mentioned Thomas Dawson and David Bell in September 1743. I am wondering if he had to sell the land to pay the debt.

Goochland Order Books record one other lawsuit in 1743 involving John Worley, Jr. This time he was the plaintiff against Alexander Warren. William Worley was a witness for his brother John in this suit. William then sued his brother for payment for his attendance at court for four days and was granted one hundred pounds of tobacco.

John, Jr. either made a move to or simply purchased land in Albemarle County as evidenced from a list of surveys that Joshua Fry made in that county between 1 June 1745 and 1 June 1746. This list can be found in the Albemarle County Court House Clerk’s office. The land may have been in what became Buckingham county as there are several familiar names of people that were known to have lived in in that county. At any rate, John Worley, Junr. had a survey made of 386 acres. Unfortunately, the survey seems to be nonexistant, so we don’t know where the land was located. This was just a record of the survey having been made. Other familiar names on the list include James Ford, John Foard, John Chldrs, Peter Salle, and Anthony Benoin.

The William and Mary Quarterly records that John Worley the 2nd, John Whorley the 3rd and Joseph Whorley were ordered to be “apprehended” or drafted into the colonial militia on 20 June 1757 by the court at Cumberland County, Virginia. This would have been during the French & Indian War. Eight days later, John Whorley, the 2nd was discharged, presumably for his age or some other disability, while John Whorley, the 3rd and Joseph Worley “were adjudged to be soldiers.” Following this, they were brought into court and “was delivered up to Capt. Poindexter Mosby, to be carried to such place and delivered to such officer as the Governor shall appoint to receive them.”

It was in 1757 that John Worley I died in Cumberland County, Virginia. The date of his death can be narrowed down to between the time he wrote his will on 22 March 1757, and 15 December of that year, when the vestry of Southam Parish appointed “Esther Whirley . . . sexton of South Chapel in the room of John Worley, deceased.” John’s will was probated on 27 March 1758. In the will he gives “to John Worley Jr younger and my grandson the plantation where his father [that would be John Worley Jr or the older] now lives and so to a new line I make according to my own pleasure for the division but my Will is that my son John Worley shall have the sd Plantation during his life but no liberty to sell it nor to rent it.” So, in effect, he bypassed his son, perhaps for reasons best explained by his son’s earlier debts, and left the bulk of his estate to his grandson, John Worley, the 3rd. John also left another grandson, Charles Maxey, the plantation he lived on after the death of his grandmother.

In 1759 John, Joseph, and William Worley were on the tithables list of Cumberland County. John was listed with two tithes; Joseph and William with just themselves as tithable. Joseph and John were on the same page with only Chas. Maxey between them. William was listed a few pages away between Francis Farley and Thos. Watkins. This William would have been the brother of John Worley, Jr.

John Worley witnessed the will of Thomas Gibson, his brother-in-law who was married to his sister, Elizbeth. The will named six sons; Benjamin, Miles, Thomas, William, John and James. Executors named were his wife, Elizabeth, and a friend, Joseph Baugh. Other witnesses were John Watkins and Joseph Baugh. There is a possibility that this could have been John III.

John Worley and his brother William took the oath of allegiance at Powhatan, Virginia on 19 July 1777, renouncing allegiance to King George. Sometime after that date but before 16 April 1778, John Worley, Jr. died. We are fairly certain of that because on the latter date John Worley of Buckingham County sold 100 acres of land in Powhatan County to John Moseley. Since his father was given the land for his lifetime with no authority to sell it, it must have been a sale made after the death of John Jr.

The children of John Worley Jr. are mostly probable children, rather than definite children, with the exception of his son John.

i.John III, was born before 1741 at Goochland County, Va. This date is based on his being drafted in 1757 and assuming he was at least sixteen at that time. John was in Buckingham County in 1764 as evidenced by his appearance on the tax list for that year. He lived there when he sold the land owned by his grandfather in 1778. He moved, first to Campbell County and then to Franklin County, Va., before settling in White Co., Tennessee. John Worley died in White Co., Tn in March 1815. He is thought to have married a woman named Dorothy based on the fact that a John Worley and a Dorothy Worley were witnesses to the will of John Dawn in Campbell Co., Va in 1786.

ii.Joseph was born between 1735 and 1741 at Goochland County, VA. See Joseph Worley of Goochland, Charlotte, and Campbell Counties, Virginia
for more on Joseph Worley.

iii.Mary was born before 1743 at Goochland County, VA; (I’m assuming she was 17 before marriage.). According to his register, she was married to James Smith, son of John Smith and Jane, whose last name was possibly Childers, October 2, 1760 at Manakin Town, Cumberland County, Virginia by the Reverend William Douglas. Interestingly, her cousin Judith (Jude) Worley married Humphry Smith, the brother of James. It is believed that Mary and James Smith had at least one son named Obadiah Smith who was mentioned in his uncle, William Worley’s will and who was found on the 1783 tax rolls of Buckingha County living with John Worley, presumably the third John, and Silas Worley.

iv. William was born before 1752. It was possibly William who was listed in 1770 as W. Whirley, a tithable in the household of Thomas Walthall in Amelia County, and in 1773 as William Worley, in the household of Samuel Spencer of Buckingham County. A will was found in Amelia County by Karen Worley which reads:

“William Worley wrote a will 25 Feb 1773 at Amelia County, VA.
“In the name of God, Amen. I William Worley of the Parish of Raleigh in the County of Amelia being of sound of disposing mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form Following, that is to say, Imprimis, I will that all my Debts and Funeral charges be paid and discharged by my Executors herein After named.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my Sister’s son Obediah Smith in Cumberland County my two mares and all my Wearing Apparel, one rug, one bed tick, one sheet, one blanket and twelve pound of Feathers, and all the money that is owing to me. When my debts is paid out of it to him and his heirs forever.
Lastly I do make and Constitute Joseph Baw [Baugh] in Cumberland County and Alexander Marshall in Chesterfield County Executors of this my last Will and Testament, Revoking all Wills formerly made either by Writing or Otherwise. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this twenty-fifth day of February in the Year of Our Lord one Thousand seven hundred and seventy three.
Signed, Sealed and pronounced by the said William Worley as his last will and testament in the presence of us, who in his presence and the presence of Each Other have hereunto subscribed our names.
Arthur Moseley, Thomas Moseley, John Moseley, Abraham Baugh.”

We know that there was an Obediah Smith living with William’s brothers, John and Silas in 1783 and that a Mary Worley married James Smith, so it is a logical extension to believe that this William was also a son of John II.

The muster rolls of the 6th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army listed a William Worley who joined the company on 1 August 1777 and died on 20 January 1778. Possibly this refers to this William as no other records can be found for him. We know they don’t refer to William Worley the brother of John, Jr. because he left a will in Bedford Co., Virginia in 1787.

v.Silas was born between 1754 and 1756 in Virginia. He is most often identified as a son of John, Jr. but it is nothing definite, as is true for most of these supposed children. Silas was first mentioned in Cumberland Co., Virginia in 1772 when he sold a horse, some hogs, and some furniture to Samuel Watkins. He was listed in Buckingham County by 1780 when he signed a petition asking that preachers not agreeing with the Revolution be silenced. In 1781 John Worley transferred 92 acres on Wreck Island to him. Silas stayed in Buckingham until 1786 when he relocated to Bedford County, Virginia. In 1800, Silas Worley was in Rutherford County, North Carolina. He moved there sometime between 1790 and 1800 and his family can be found in the records from that area. Some of his descendants moved to Georgia.

vi.Peter was born before 1763. He is the least certain of all of the children assigned to John Worley, Jr., even though all of them carry a degree of uncertainty. He enlisted in the Virginia Continental Line in 1776. In 1784 he received one hundred acres of land for his service of three years. He paid taxes in Buckingham County, Virginia from 1787 to 1822 with pretty good regularity. There was a gap from 1822 until 1835 when no Peter was listed which begs the question, is the 1835 Peter the same Peter.

Marriage records for Samuel Worley, age 75, in Floyd County, Virgina 1856 indicate that Samuel was a son of Peter & Hannah Worley of Buckingham County. From this we know that Peter married a woman named Hannah before 1781.

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Philip Spiller of Colonial Virginia

There are at least five distinct men named Philip (or Phillip) Spiller that came from the area around Prince William Co., Stafford Co., and Fauquier Co., Virginia during the Colonial period. This post has taken me a long time to put together as I sort, check, and organize the facts available. Many mistakes have been made regarding men by the name of Philip Spiller; the main error noted is that every record for a Philip Spiller is taken to refer to one man and only a few people entertain the possibility that there was more than one man with the same name.

This post is not an exhaustive look at these men and their families. It is just to point out how many different Philips there were.

Briefly the five Philip’s were:

1) Philip Spiller who first appeared in 1747 on a list of tithables in Dettingen Parish, Prince William Co., Virginia. He died ca. 1760 in Dettingen Parish, leaving at least four children who were mentioned in court and/or parish records: William, George, Daniel and Winney. Who his father was is speculation unless someone out there has some proof of parentage they would like to share.

2) Philip Spiller who was b. ca 1743 in Virginia. This was the Reverend Philip Spiller that died 6 January 1821 in Occoquan, Prince William Co., Virginia. His wife was Diana whose last name is unknown. (Where does the Fontaine come from? Does anybody have a source for this rumor?) He had at least six children, five of whom were mentioned in his will: Sophia Scanland (wife of Fielding Scanland), Samuel, Philip, Amos, Chloe Threlkeld (wife of William Threlkeld), and Elizabeth, who has no marriage record that I have found. Samuel was not mentioned in the will. I believe that this was the Philip Spiller that was a patroller of roads in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1776, along with Jeremiah Spiller.

3) Philip Spiller, son of Jeremiah Spiller. He first showed up on the tithables list of Fauquier Co., Virginia in 1782 with Jeremiah responsible for paying his tax. He was on the list following year as well. It appears that Jeremiah left Fauquier between 1787 and 1789. He is last found on a tax list there in 1787. He is shown delinquent in his taxes in Fauquier the following year and then we find Jeremiah in the court records of Union Co., South Carolina in 1789 and Philip Spiller there as well in 1790. In 1793, a Jeremiah Spiller is in the militia of Hancock Co, Georgia and in 1797, Philip and Jeremiah Spiller are ordered to go into the Creek Nation in Georgia. Was this Jeremiah really the same Jeremiah as the one living Fauquier who was born about 1740 or was this his son? Perhaps it was a nephew? Lest I go off on a tangent, I must remind myself that this is a post about Philip Spiller.

4) There was a Philip Spiller who was in Capt. John Ball’s militia company in 1782. I think that this is the Philip Spiller, Jr. who married Elizabeth Hume on September 9th of the same year. Was this the Philip Spiller who moved to Kentucky and whose widow, Elizabeth, married John Mulberry in 1792? Since Jeremiah’s son, Philip, was listed with him in the year 1782, this does not appear to be him. An additional item to note regarding the tax lists of Fauquier is the fact that in 1782, three separate Philips are mentioned: Philip, listed with Jeremiah; Philip listed with two tithes; and Philip Sr. listed with a slave named Sam.

5) Philip, son of Reverend Philip Spiller. He first appeared on tax lists with his father responsible for paying his tax in 1790. This would have made him between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one, giving his year of birth between 1769 and 1774.

I hope to write about each of these men and what happened to them and their families, or at least what I can uncover about what happened to them, but this will have to do for now. Enjoy, and don’t forget – this is not gospel, just what I can make out from the facts uncovered so far. If you have any corrections, I would love to have them!

Posted in Genealogy, Spiller | 11 Comments

Early Land, Court and Church Records for the Northcross Family in Virginia –

The earliest mention uncovered by this researcher of a Norcross/Northcross in Virginia was found in Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. 3, 1695-1732 compiled by Nell Marian Nugent. She records that in March of 1725, when William Jones purchased 150 acres of land in Surry county, it was adjacent to land belonging to Richard NORCROSS. Then, on October 31, 1726, Richard NORCROSS purchased 100 acres in Surry County, “on the south side of the Nottoway River, in the fork of the Spring Swamp” for 10 shillings. This is recorded in Grant Book #13. On the evidence of all future land purchases, court records, and church records I would claim that this was actually Richard NORTHcross.

On March 23, 1733, there was the purchase of 430 acres of land in Surry County by Richard NORTHCROSS, described as including “both sides of Spring Branch, South side of Swamp”, from John Stokes. Following this purchase, on March 7, 1738/9, William Jordan, James Washington, and John Andrews were witnesses to the deed of Richard Norcross to William Rowland for land south of the Nottoway River. The deed was recorded three days later.

On January 12, 1746, Richard Northcross was granted 338 acres on the south side of Nottaway River “beginning at William Atkeisons corner pine” (Land Patent Book 25). This was also in Surry county, Virgina and cost Richard 35 shillings. Surry County Deed Book 5 records that on November 12, 1747 “Richard Northcross and wife, Mary Northcross of Albemarle Parish” sold 238 on north side of Spring Swamp to Henry Adkeison for 37 pounds. The following deed, made the 13th of November 1747, records the sale of 100 acres to John Eaton “son in law to the said Richard Northcross“. This same deed records the name of Richard’s wife again as Mary.

“This Indenture made the thirteenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & forty seven Between Richard Northcross of Surry County of the one part and John Eaton, son in Law to the said Richard, of the other part Witnesseth That the said Richard Northcross for divers causes & considerations him thereunto moving but more Especially for and in Consideration of the Sum of Ten Pounds Current Money to him in hand paid the Receipt whereof he doth hereby Acknowledge hath given granted made over and confirmed and doth by these presents Give grant make over and confirm unto the said John Eaton one Certain Tract or Parcel of Land _____ lying or being on the North side of the Spring Swamp in the County of Surry Containing one hundred acres more or less and bounded as followeth, to wit, Beginning at a white Oak on Powells line, thence up the North side of the Swamp to the mouth of Peters branch, thence up the North side of the branch to a Corner Pine of the said Northcross’s land, thence due East to a Corner of Edward Powells Land thence along the said line to the Beginning. To have hold possess and enjoy the said Hundred Acres of Land with all Rights priviledges and Improvements thereunto belonging unto the said John Eaton & to his Heirs or assigns for ever and the said Richard Northcross for himself and his Heirs doth Covenant Promise and Agree to & with the said John Eaton that the Right & Title of the said Land against all & every person or persons he & they will warrant and forever by these presents _____ and maintain unto the said John Eaton & to his Heirs and Assign forever In Withness T__hereof the said Richard Northcross hath hereunto to set his hand seal the day and year above Written
Sign’d Seal’d & Deliver’d
In the presence of Richard Northcross. SS
John Bell
Edward Powell
Richard Northcross (his mark)
At a Court held for Surry County
the 17th Day of November 1747
“This indenture was acknowledged by the thereto subscribed, Richard Northcross and by the Court Order’d to be Recorded and Mary wife of the said Richd personally appear’d in Court & being privily Examined freely Relinquished her Right of Dower of & in the thereby Convey’d Land & Premises
Aug Claiborne Clk”

It is unclear at this point who John Eaton may have married. It could have been Hannah, Abigail, or Tabitha or another unnamed Northcross woman. Someone told me John Eaton’s wife was named Rosanna, but I have been unable to verify that. He moved to Lunenburg County before 10 May 1754 and sold this land to John Atkinson. Note that a Richard Northcross signed this deed as a witness. Richard could not have been witness to his own signature, therefore there must have been two Richard Northcrosses. I hope you will agree the second Richard was son to the first.

In 1750, Richard Northcross acquired 229 acres on the “S. side of the Nottoway River and Blazes Branch, adjacent to Henry Atkins, John Eaton, and William Smith” for 25 shillings (Land Patent Book 30, p. 202). In August of 1851 Richard Northcross sold what appears to be this same land to Richard Cocke, a judge in Surry County, for 25 pounds, 10 shillings and 10 pence to be paid by January 10th of the following year. As Mary is not mentioned in this deed, can we assume that she had died or possibly that this was a transaction by Richard, Jr. ? (Surry County Deed Book 6, page 277)

When Sussex County was formed in 1754 from Surry County the land that Richard owned was in the new county.

“Sussex County [was] named after Sussex County in England. First settlements in Sussex County appeared just before 1700 when settlers started to move west and south across the Blackwater River from Surry County and other counties in the Tidewater Region of Virginia . . .The county is located in the Coastal Plain region of Virginia about 45 miles southeast of Richmond, 60 miles northwest of Norfolk and 25 miles miles from the tri-cities area of Petersburg, Hopewell and Colonial Heights. Sussex is 496 square miles (317,400 acres) in size and three rivers (Blackwater River, Nottoway River, and Stony Creek) lie within it’s boundaries.” (from the Sussex County Historical Society)

The Order Books of both the Sussex County Court and the Surry County court contain the same references to Richard Northcross, Sr., Richard Northcross, Jr., and Thomas Northcross. They seem to be referencing the same cases in both counties, most likely because this is the time frame when Sussex County was forming and so the cases got recorded in both jurisdictions. The earliest mention found in this source was in May of 1754 when Richard Northcross, along with Samuel Northington, William Rowland, and/or John Atkins, was to appraise the estate of Richard Rose, deceased.

On November 18, 1753 there was a suit where John Atkeison was the plaintiff against James Jones for some 37 plus pounds of tobacco “being the balance due after deducting what appears to be in the Guarnishees (sic) hands . . . Francis Epes, Richard Northcross junior, & William Banks are severally made Garnishes”. [A garnishment is issued to notify a third party that money or property in his or her hands but belonging to a defendant has been seized by legal writ.] Richard Jr. was ordered in October of 1754 to make a payment of “nine shillings and three pence half penny . . towards satisfying his debt and costs . . .” The book Sussex County, Virginia Will Books A-F 1754-1806 (compiled by William Lindsay Hopkins p. 36) which is a transcription of Sussex County Will Book “B” 1764-1771 (p.151) has the following entry regarding “The account of the estate of Capt. William Gilliam for Capt. James Jones (which) shows payments to . . . Richard Northcross . . . on 17 March 1768”, possibly to satisfy the debt of Jones to Northcross over this.

On October 14, 1754 Richard Northcross was the defendant in a suit brought by John Maclin

“on an attachment Obtained by the plaintiff against the Estate of the said Defendant he being about to remove himself and effects out of this County and so absconds that the Ordinary process of Law cannot be served on him. This day came the plaintiff by his attorney and the Defendant although solumnly called came not but made default and John Shands one of the Constables of the County having made return that by Virtue of the said Writ to him directed he had attached the Crop of Corn & fother [sic] of the said Defendant at two plantations and also his Crop of tobacco and the Plaintiffs demand amounting to four pounds nineteen shillings being proved to be just Therefore it is Consider’d that he recover the same of the s___ defendant and his Costs by him in this behalf expended to be Levied of the same . . . it is ordered that the Sherif [sic] make Sale thereof by way of public Auction for ready money and return the same to the next Court.”

It is not stated if this is the senior or the junior Richard. In November of that same year the case again came before the court. The court “again ordered the Sherif sell the same by way of public aucion [sic]”. In December the Sherif had “sold the estate attached for four pounds twelve shillings and a penny.” It was ordered that he pay the whole amount to the plaintiff.

Richard Northcross was also the defendant in that same court session in a suit brought by Nathaniel Harrison, Esq. “In Debt. The defendant not being arrested on the motion of the plaintiff by his attorney an Alias Capias is awarded him against the said defendant.” (The writ of capias ad respondendum ordered the sheriff to arrest a defendant in a civil case for appearance in court to answer the plaintiff’s declaration. The Alias Capias is the second issuance of a capias after the original had gone without answer.) Another reference to this suit in November of 1754 refers to this Richard as being Richard Northcross senior and possibly deceased as Nathaniel Harrison was awarded 7 pounds 2 pence half penny and costs “against the estate of the defendant” Richard Northcross, Sr. It does not seem as if Harrison collected this debt however as in 1754 and 1755 the case came before the court and each time was “discontinued for want of prosecution”.

In the autumn of 1755 there is a reference to a Thomas Northcross, defendant in a case where he owed 3 pounds 11 shilling 1 3/4 shillings “due on account”. Judgement was for the plaintiff for the amount due plus costs with a lawyer’s fee. This is the only reference that I have found for Thomas of this generation, aside from his mention in the Albemarle Parish book.

These references to a Richard, Sr. and a Richard, Jr. clearly indicate that there were two Richards, one the father of the other. Also, the time frame for which records of an adult Richard Northcross exist seem to be quite large for one man’s lifetime. That is, for Richard to have been an adult in 1725 and still living in 1802 is a long lifetime by any standards, let alone for the rough existence on what was essentially the frontier in Colonial Virginia. I would propose then that there were two Richard Northcrosses. Richard the father was married to a woman named named Mary, possibly the mother of Richard, Jr. He appears to have had some difficulty with debt management. The Richard that was the son was married to a woman named Jane, whose last name was most likely Cragg. He was mentioned in reference to the one suit in the Order Books of Sussex and Surry County and seems to have decided that his father’s sins would not be visited upon him for he appears to have steered clear of unpaid debts for the rest of his life. It is my guess that Richard, Sr. was also the father of James Northcross who died in July of 1763 and the Thomas Northcross mentioned in the suit above and as a godfather in Albemarle Parish Records. This is definitely not proven at this point. It is also possible that James and Thomas were brothers, cousins or uncles of Richard, Senior. Richard, Sr. and Mary Northcross also had a least one daughter who married a man named John Eaton.

On August 20, 1760 Richard Northcross was granted 158 acres of land in Russell county on the south side of Nottoway River down the Sour Wood branch, adjoining Henry Atkins, Edward Powell, William Cragg, William Rachel, and Lidia Weathers. The cost was 20 shillings. (Virginia Land Patent Book 33) Most likely, this is Richard Junior, who by that time was married to William Cragg’s daughter, Jane.

In Register of Albemarle Parish, Surry and Sussex Counties, Virginia , originally recorded by the Rev. William Willie, transcribed and edited by Gertrude Richards, Richard Northcross is listed as the godfather of (D)rury Atkinson, “s. of Wm. Atkinson and his wife Winnifred” whose christening took place on September 30, 1744 (p. 19). Given the year, this could have been either the Senior Richard or the Junior. In September of 1749 Richard is once again called upon to serve as godparent for Selah Atkinson, “d. of John Atkinson and his wife Lucy”. One of her godmothers was Tabitha Northcross. Tabitha’s exact relationship with the two Richards is unknown at this time. Beginning in 1748 we find a “Thos. Northcross” serving as godfather to “Seymour s. of Edward Powell and his wife Mary”. In 1749 Thomas Northcross was again asked to serve as godfather, this time to both “Richard s. of Wm. Wiggins and his wife Agnes” and “Jones s. of Amos Nusom and his wife Agnes”. The final entry for Thomas is in 1752 when he was godfather to “Elizabeth d. of Wm. Longbottom and his wife Mary”. Stating the obvious, it is most likely that Thomas and Richard, Jr. were brothers, but could have been uncle and nephew or even cousins. This Thomas appears long before either of Richard’s sons named Thomas were born.

There was a William Wren Northcross whose christening was recorded in the parish register with William listed as the “s. of Hannah Northcross” (p. 238). No date of birth was given, just his christening date of September 14, 1760. It is not known whether he was an orphan who was adopted by Hannah or an illegitimate son. There was a Wren family living in the area, possibly William was an orphaned child whom Hannah adopted or Hannah was his biological mother. It is known that the Rev. William Willie did not deny the sacrament of baptism to illegitimate children. In 1782 William Renn Northcross purchased fifty acres of land in Mecklenburg county for sixteen pounds (Mecklenburg Deed Book 6, p. 219). This is the only land purchase I have uncovered for him. William Renn Northcross married a woman named Frances Hatsell (have seen this Hatchel in unofficial records) in Mecklenburg county on March 4, 1786. I have found no further mentions of him.

Other mentions of Northcross family members in this Parish register include: RICHARD, husband of Jane, who would be the Richard Northcross, Junior spoken of in the civil cases discussed above; THOMAS, who seemed to have collected godchildren, perhaps because he had none of his own; JAMES who served as godfather to Susanna Northcross as well as to “Richard s. of John Boush and his wife Margt” in 1751; ABIGAIL, one of Susanna’s godmothers; HANNAH who was also godmother to Susanna Northcross, the Richard Boush mentioned above, “Sarah d. of Charles Wood and his wife Dorothy” and the mother of William Wren Northcross; TABITHA, of whom no other record is found; and JANE, who was Richard’s wife. Tabitha and Abigail may be wives of Thomas and James, or sisters of Thomas, James and Richard. It is impossible to tell at this point. Hannah seems to be a sister, but it is possible that she is the widow of an unnamed brother.

Jane Northcross, wife of Richard, seems most likely to have been Jane Cragg the daughter of William Cragg who died 1760 in Sussex. His will, written April 25, 1760 and proven August 15, 1760, lists daughters Mary Cragg and Jane Northcross. Most of the estate was left to Mary, presumably because she was unmarried and had no one to support her. If Mary did not survive, Jane was to inherit the entire estate. Executors were Edward Eppes, John Moss and David Mason. Mary Craig later married William Parsons and moved to North Carolina. There is no evidence that Richard’s wife was Jane Stratton and it seems rather unlikely that there was a third Richard Northcross who had a wife named Jane who was in fact named Jane Stratton. There was a Jane Stratton in the Norcross family of New Jersey. That Jane was the daughter of Mark Stratton and his wife Ann Hancock. She married Joshua Norcross on April 10, 1754 in New Jersey. She died in 1766 in Burlington County, New Jersey. We are quite certain of these facts because her Bible, given to her by her father, is still in the possession of family members and it records these facts, as well as the births of her children, her husband’s remarriage after her death, etc. (Joshua Norcross was the father of Samuel Norcross who was the father of William and Nelson Norcross who moved to Virginia ca. 1820 and who are the subject of most of this book.) We know that the Jane married to Richard Northcross did not die until 1804. We also know that William Cragg/Craig owned land adjacent to the land of Richard Northcross in Sussex county as evidenced by this entry in Sussex County Deed Book D 1768-1772 (p.327) dated 16 Mar 1771….Edward Slate and wife, Sarah Slate, to Absolum Underwood for 23 pounds… “150 acres on Poplar Swamp and bounded by William Craig on the Long Branch Richard Northcross, Michael Weaver and William Richardson on the north prong of the Poplar Swamp”. Land was bought by Edward Slate from Joseph Smith. Rec 21 Mar 1771. The 158 acre land grant in 1760 to Richard that was referenced above also lists William Cragg as a neighbor.

Incidentally, for those who are interested, The Albermarle Parish Register by Rev. William Willie lists the following, with the spelling usually being Cragg but once listed as being Craig.

p. 68 Susanna d. of Wm Cragg & w. Susanna b, Aug 26, c. Oct 19, 1740
p. 112 Mary d. of Wm Cragg & w. Susanna b. Sept 13, c. Oct 30, 1743
p. 133 Sarah d. of Wm Craig & w. Susanna b. Sept 9, 1745/6, c. April 20, 1746
p. 218 Mary d. of Wm Cragg & w. Susanna b. July 15, c. Sept 18, 1748
deaths, all from p. 310
Wm Cragg d. Aug 27, 1747 i. Wm Cragg [i. = informant]
Sarah Cragg d. Sept 3, 1747 i. Wm Cragg
Susanna Cragg d. Sept 5, 1747 i. Wm Cragg “These were his children”

Even though there is no Jane listed, we will go with the assumption that since he calls her his daughter in his will, she was his daughter. It is also worth noting that Richard Northcross and Jane his wife named their first daughter Susanna, which would have been Jane Cragg’s mother’s name.

Taken together these records indicate that there were several adult Northcrosses in the Albemarle Parish area of Virginia, which would include Surry and Sussex counties, as well as Brunswick county in the late 1740’s and early 1750’s. Most likely they were descendants of the older Richard Northcross and Mary, his wife, but we can’t discount the possibility that James and Thomas were siblings of Richard Sr’s. From these various entries we get a picture of a family that was immersed in the life of their community. The elder Richard seemed to have financial woes, as did many planters in early Virginia; even those with extensive land holdings could be “land rich” and yet have little ready cash. Richard, Jr. was involved with the work of the church, with young people, with the purchasing of land and the building of his family.

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