John Lansdown, died 1812, Prince William County, Virginia

In writing about the sons of William Lansdown who died in 1753, I am starting with John because he was the one that all other Lansdown researchers quit looking for when they decided he married Frances Whirley in Goochland Co., Virginia. He did not. Here he was in Prince William Co., formed from Westmoreland Co., with a wife named Elizabeth, not Frances. William and Frances, whose surname was really Lansdon which was morped into Langsdon, left records in the Goochland Co. area as late as 1816 when they both gave depositions in a court case. It is nice to know this John Lansdown was around because he gives us the names of several children that were randomly attached to others, such as the William Lansdown who married Lucy Spiller. He sort of helps to tie up several of the Lansdowns of Northern Virginia.

Prince William County was created by an act of the General Assembly of the colony of Virginia in 1731, largely from the western section of Stafford County as well as a section of King George County. The area encompassed by the Act creating Prince William County originally included all of what later became several of the counties and cities of Northern Virginia including Fauquier County. Fauquier County was established on May 1, 1759 from Prince William County. Since Stafford County was formed from Westmoreland County, it is possible that the Lansdown family never moved, or at any rate, never moved very far. The county boundaries may have simply changed around them.

The first mention of John was in the will of his father, William Lansdown, who directs that all three of his sons; William, George, and John, be bound out to learn a trade. From later records in this area, it seems as if John was bound to a tavern keeper, although I have not found any document proving that.

From 1787 – 1789 John Lansdown is found on the tax lists of Fauquier Co., Virginia. In 1789 his son William [this would be the third William] is listed with him, so William would have been at least 16, giving us an approximate birth year for him of 1773 or earlier. Neither John nor William are found on the 1790 or the 1800 tax list, even though I am fairly certain they were still in the area.

John Lansdown was mentioned in a lease agreement in Fauquier County from Benjamin Harrison to Thomas Bland in 1788. In April of the same year, John Lansdown witnessed the will of Thos Bland in Fauquier Co. . . This will was proved by the oaths of Phillip Spiller and John Lansdown.

The Dumfries Weekly ran an advertisement in its May 5, 1796 edition for the stud services of a horse named Shark who was made available “Fridays and Saturdays, at Mr. Lansdown’s Tavern”. This appears to have been John Lansdown. There are several later references to this tavern in court documents, even into the 1850’s, but I have not come across its original license.

In 1799 we catch up with John again. He paid taxes in Prince William Co., Virginia on 1 white tithe, 1 black tithe, and 3 horses &/or mules. In 1810 we find him on the census record for this county; his household consisted of himself and his wife, presumably Elizabeth, both over 45, and one young man between the ages of 16 & 25. I believe this young man was his son George.

In May of 1811, John served on jury duty during the trial of James Cornwell who had been indicted for horse stealing. The jury found him not guilty.

On 5 Aug 1811, the will of Benjamin George was presented to the Court and proved by the oaths of Richard Roberson [sic], John Lansdown [sic] & Elijah Dawson, witnesses.

John Lansdown wrote his will on December 31, 1811. It was recorded in Prince William County on January 6th of 1812. He left his “wife Elizabeth” 1/4 of my estate during her natural life, and gave sons William, George, and John each a quarter of his estate. [It seems as if this family is stumped in coming up with new names for their sons! William, George, and John were the names of John’s father’s sons as well.] To his daughter Elizabeth who married Edward Dickerson he stated “whereas I have given her previously 38 pounds ten shillings and four negroes, I give unto the heirs of my said daughter Elizabeth dec’d 1 shilling sterling.” His son John was named executor. The inventory of his estate included four negroes: Jane, Joseph, Rachel and David, who was a small boy. The total value of his estate was $1462.57.

If anyone has a guess as to the identity of Elizabeth, wife of John Lansdown, I would greatly appreciate the information.

Children of John Lansdown and Elizabeth [–?–]
1. William Lansdown, b. abt. 1768, d. 1814 in Prince William Co., Virginia. William married Lucy Spiller 19 April 1798 in Culpeper Co., Virginia.

I am fairly certain that this William was the son of John because 1) John Lansdown and Philip Spiller were known to each as evidenced by their both witnessing the will of Thomas Bland, and 2) the William Lansdown that married Triphenia Settle is mentioned by name in a chancery suit concerning the heirs of Triphenia’s father, Newman Settle, in Bedford County which began in about 1833 and so was not dead in 1814. Of course, it is possible that I have these two William’s crossed. The question remains, if one William was the son of John, who was the father of the other William? I am stumped on that one but think that it is possible/probable that he is a son of William Lansdown of Halifax Co., Virginia and Wilkes Co., North Carolina.

The William Lansdown who married Lucy Spiller is found on the 1801 Culpeper Co. Tax List when he paid taxes on one white male tithe. There is a record of the inventory of his estate, dated 1814, in the index of Prince William County Wills as being in Will Book 12, p. 296. However, the actual will book on microfilm at the Library of Virginia jumps from page 292 to 301. He left no will indicating that perhaps he died suddenly. I have not been able to locate William on any census records, perhaps they were living with her parents.

2. David Lansdown, b. in Virginia, d. before 1810, probably in Culpeper Co., Virginia. He married Sally Dillard, daughter of Mary Norman and William Dillard 10 December 1794.

I am not positive that David is the son of John, just as I am not sure who is the father of William who married Triphene Settle. He does make sense in here. He would not have been mentioned in the will of his father because he died before that will was written. David is first mentioned in Fauquier Co., Virginia when he married Sally Dillard in 1794. We find John Lansdown paying property taxes here during this time frame. On 24 February 1797 he cashes in a treasury warrant issued to him in 1781 and is granted 188 acres in Culpeper Co. on Hickman’s Mountain adjoining the lands of his wife’s grandfather, Joseph Norman and other. In 1797 we find that David is the bondsman for the the marriage of his wife’s sister, Nancy Dillard, to Absolom Norman.

It would appear that David died before 1810 when we find Sarah Lansdown, aged 26-44 years, on the census along with 3 girls between the ages of 10 and fifteen years. In all probability these are the daughters of David and Sally.

In October 1815 we find the following reference “On the motion of Sarah Lansdown, the Culpeper Co., Virginia Court ordered that John Monsos, Wm. A. Lane, John Derring, Absalm Jordan and Charles Shackeford, or any three of them, go upon the land where Mary DILLARD died seized and possessed, and in the first place lay off one eight part #1 thereof to James Dillard and divide the balance between Mary Horton, Sarah Lansdown, Nancy Norman [wife of Absolom], and Elizabeth Baldwin in equal apportions according to quality and quantity thereof.

3. George Lansdown, b. abt 1790 in Prince William Co., Virginia, d. 3 Oct. 1854 in Bath Co., Kentucky. George was married twice. His first wife’s name is unknown and to this marriage was born Andrew Jackson Lansdown.
a. Andrew was b. 20 April 1814 in Prince William Co., and d. 15 April 1873. He married Mary Hord 13 May 1842.
George married next Mary Lonsdale, the widow of Richard Menefee, 24 Oct. 1819 in Bath Co., Kentucky. To this union were born
b. George Ann Lansdown
c. Mary J. Lansdown
I have collected quite a bit of information on George and believe I will write more about him later.

4. John Lansdown. I have found no information on John and wonder if he died young.

5. Elizabeth Lansdown d. before 31 December 1811. She married Edward Dickerson according to her father’s will.

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