The Northcross Family of Sussex County, Virginia

Joel Warren Norcross included the following reference to the Northcross family of Virginia in his 1893 work on the Norcross family of Massachussetts:

“W. N. Northcross of Trenton, Kentucky, writes me that his grandfather lived in Virginia in the early settlement of that State. He was an Englishman coming perhaps from the Isle of Mann, which is about 70 miles from Ribchester. He settled in what is now Sussex County, 35 miles south of Petersburg. The early names of the Northcross are similar to the early Norcross names. He thinks the names Northcross, Norcrosse and Norcross have one origin.”

The striking similarity between that statement and the following quote by sisters Margaret Northcross Ellis and Josephine Northcross Fagg in their book Tidewater Ancestry, tends to make one believe there may be something to this family legend. These women are descendants of Richard Northcross of Virginia, as was W. N. Northcross. Their branch of the family remained in Virginia, while other branches moved south and west during America’s years of expansion. They write,

“It has always been claimed, by certain members of the family, that the first Northcross to land in America was a schoolmaster and that he came from the Isle of Mann. This was reported by Cousin Tom and was generally believed, because he was the only relative who had visited the British Isles.”

There is some speculation, which has made the rounds on the internet for years and seems to be accepted as fact by many, that Richard Northcross of Virginia, husband of Jane, was the son of Richard Norcross and Rose (sometimes seen as Jane) Woodward of Massachussetts and that this Richard Northcross was married to a woman named Jane Stratton. No source is ever given for this information, but it appears to have caught on and most internet family trees on the Northcross family include it. It is as if the mere repetition of this has made it true in the minds of many researchers. While the fact that no source is ever posted for this doesn’t make it not true; it does make it speculation. Whether this family came from the Isle of Mann or descends from the Norcross family of Massachussetts, or has some undetermined origin, I will leave for the reader to decide after presenting the evidence uncovered.

On the side of Massachussetts origins, we have the fact that the given names of some of the sisters of Richard Norcross (b. 1687), son of Richard Norcross (b. 1660) and Rose Woodward, appear in association with Richard Northcross of Sussex County, Virginia, but these were very common names at the time. Richard Norcross (1687) of Massachussetts had a sister named Abigail and a half-sister Hannah. Abigail and Hannah Northcross were both mentioned in records of Albemarle Parish and seem to be peers of Richard, as they served as godmothers to his children. However, there were also both a James Northcross and a Thomas Northcross mentioned in the same Virginia records; both appear to have been contemporaries of Richard Northcross, possibly his brothers, but the possibility exists that they may have been uncles or cousins as well. Richard Norcross of Massachussetts had no brothers named James or Thomas, nor any close male relations with those names. If Abigail and Hannah are to be used to support the idea that Richard was from Massachussetts, James and Thomas must also be included. Their presence seems to cast doubt on the theory of Masschusetts origins.

Joel W. Norcross made the following statement regarding the children of Richard Norcross and Rose Woodward of Massechussetts:

“He had a large family of eleven children, eight sons and three daughters. His sons settled in different parts of the State (Massachusetts) and Connecticut. . . This seems to be the first scattering of the Norcross family. He sold his estate which contained four acres to his son Joseph in 1743 when 83 years old. He died in 1745, aged 85.”

So we know that some of his children did move away from their original home of Watertown, but most seem to have remained in New England. It is curious that no mention is made in Watertown records as to what became of his son Richard.

According to The Genealogical Dictionary of New England Settlers, Richard Norcross, husband of Rose Woodward, was indeed a schoolmaster, as was his father, also named Richard, before him (b. 1620). The father, Richard, and Richard’s brother, Jeremiah, were the original Norcross immigrants to this country. This family was originally from Ribchester, England, not the Isle of Mann. Ribchester is about 70 miles away from the Isle of Mann. Ministerial records in Watertown, Massachussetts clearly show the presence of both Richard Norcrosses in that town as late as 1690.

“Such as were baptized by me in Watertown in 1689, & also 1690. . .Ye 25th of May 1690 3 children, one of Josiah Jones called Issaac & 2 of your Richard Norcrosse (he & his wife Rose publickly took shame for their grt sin. I might have written this & many other things as yt of Sarjeant Barnard, Nat, Halland, & other things by themselves but wt I write is only for myself & not others) called Richard, & ye other Samuell . . .”

I don’t know what the “great sin” of Richard and his wife Rose could have been, but this clearly states that Richard Norcross, their son and the one who was supposed to be married to Jane Stratton, was baptised in Massachussetts on May 25, 1690. It is known that Richard Northcross of Virginia, husband of Jane whose last name we will leave alone for now, died around 1802 as evidenced by the will he wrote in 1792 that was proved in court in 1802. It does not seem possible that this could be the Richard Norcross (b. 1687), son of Richard Norcross and Rose Woodward as he would have been over 110 years old at the time of his death. In addition, he and his wife Jane did not start having children until the mid 1700’s. Surely 110 years is an overly optimistic life expectancy for most anyone, let alone someone living on what was the frontier in Virginia in the early 1700’s.

Court records in both Surry and Sussex counties, Virginia clearly label a Richard Northcross, Sr. and a Richard Northcross, Jr. (outlined more clearly in a future post on Court and Land Records of the Northcross family). That said, it is possible that Richard Norcross (b. 1687) was the Richard Northcross, Sr. who appears to have been the father of Richard, Jr., husband of Jane; if indeed Richard Norcross left Massachussetts and migrated to Virginia. However, this Richard was married to a woman named Mary, not Jane, asas will be shown, and so his wife could not have been Jane Stratton.

As stated above, there is some evidence that the children of Richard Norcross and Rose Woodward did move away from Watertown, but no proof has been uncovered to show a migration outside of New England. This subject obviously requires more research before a definitive answer can be put forth.

James Northcross was mentioned in Reverand Willie’s parish registry several times as having served as a godfather in Albemarle Parish, in particular to Susanna Northcross, daughter of Richard Northcross and his wife Jane in 1753. James died in 1763, apparently intestate, in Brunswick County, Virginia. The appraisal and inventory of his estate was recorded in that county July 13, 1763. His estate was finally settled in 1773. Mary Northcross received “her third part of personal estate after charges pay’d” of 11 pounds and 3 shillings, leading to the assumption that this was her part as a dower’s share and gives us at least a first name for James’ wife. Two girls, Mary and Martha Northcross, are mentioned as having each received a third of the estate paid to their guardian, Joseph Burnett of the same amount as Mary above. James and Mary may have had another daughter as there was a payment from James’ estate to Leonard Powell “for making a coffin for a little girl” as well as a charge for making a coffin for James. She must have died between the time her father died in 1763 and when his estate was settled. Joseph Burnett was mentioned in Wake county, North Carolina in 1771 having been appointed as the guardian for Mary Northcross, orphan in that county. A search of this county’s records may produce more information regarding these orphans, but at present no other information has been uncovered regarding them.

Thomas Northcross was also mentioned as serving as a godfather in Albemarle Parish as early as 1748. Thomas left no known children and no record of an estate for him has been found. There were also Northcross women mentioned in early parish records. Hannah, Abigail, and Tabitha may have been sisters, cousins, or aunts of Richard, or even wives of James and Thomas. Their exact relationship is maddeningly unknown.

We have a total of seven Northcrosses mentioned in Albemarle Parish records; Richard, Jane, Thomas, James, Hannah, Abigail and Tabitha with no relationships given among them other than that between Richard and Jane who are clearly labeled as husband and wife.

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Henry Worley of Charlotte, Buckingham and Bedford Counties, Virginia

Sarah Ann Worley wrote a letter dated Sept. 24, 1841, Bedford Co., Va., to her brother Joshua Worley. Joshua Worley had moved from Virginia circa 1832 to follow his love to Missouri. Thomas Thornhill and his wife, Lucy Taylor Strange Thornhill, left Virginia with a small group of families. Joshua apparently had a longing in his heart for the Thornhill’s daughter, Mary. Joshua accompanied the group, invited or uninvited, and according to a descendant of Joshua’s, her father allowed them to marry along the way, in a small town before they reached the Virginia border. This letter was posted here, but after first being given permission to publish the letter, descendants asked that it be removed. The letter has been deleted from this post, but my conclusions about the family remain.

Sarah Ann and Joshua Worley were the children of Henry Worley and his wife, Susan. A reading of the letter reveals that she calls Rainey Worley their uncle. That would make Rainey and Henry brothers. Since the father of Rainey, or Reynard or Rane or Rain or any of several spellings, has tentatively been identified as Joseph Worley, I will go make the assumption that Henry Worley was also a son of Joseph Worley. This is a best guess, NOT a proven fact. See Joseph Worley of Goochland, Charlotte, and Campbell Counties for more on Joseph Worley.

Other siblings of Henry and Reynard include Reverend Joshua Worley, Daniel Worley, and Rhoda Worley. Rhoda would be the only proven child of Joseph. He was identified as her father when he gave his consent for her marriage to Moses Worley in 1789. Joseph also gave surety for the marriage bond of Daniel Worley and Rachel Copeland in 1787. That marriage did not take place, but in 1788 Rachel’s father finally gave his permission for them to marry. Joshua and ‘Revey’ Worley were witnesses to his permission and Joshua performed the marriage ceremony. See Joshua Worley of Charlotte and Bedford Counties for more on Joshua Worley.

Sarah Ann also mentioned an “oldest” brother and two elder sisters living in Buckingham County, a sister named Polly still at home, as well as three aunts living nearby. The older brother is believed to be Nehemiah Worley. Buckingham is one of Virginia’s ‘burned’ counties, meaning that the courthouse burned along with all or most of the records, so if these women were married in Buckingham County finding who they married will be difficult, if not impossible.

Henry Worley, father of the children mentioned in this letter, made his first appearance in public records in 1788 and 1789, paying personal property tax in Campbell Co., Virginia. Since this was the first mention we find for him, we can assume he was close to 21 years or a bit older, giving him a year of birth of 1767 or earlier. Joseph Worley, presumed father of Henry, was also paying his tax in Campbell County in 1788.

Henry moved to Charlotte County by 1794 and paid taxes there until 1798, along with Daniel and Joshua Worley, who, as mentioned, are thought to have been his brothers. These are the only Worleys in these counties during these years. Henry went missing for two years and then he reappeared in 1801, 1802, and 1803. Joshua and Rainey Worley are also found in this county during these three years and the 1803 tax list also included Daniel Worley.

Henry moved back to Campbell County in 1807 and stayed there until 1813, when he moved to Buckingham County. Henry remained in Buckingham until 1819, probably living in the border area between Buckingham and Campbell County. Henry and his family were listed on the 1820 census living in Campbell County. There were two boys and four girls. The boys have tentatively been identified as Joshua, ten to sixteen years old, and Nehemiah, sixteen to eighteen years old. Henry and his wife were both listed as being over forty-five. Henry was listed on the same page with David Alvis. The two youngest girls would be Sarah Ann and Polly, mentioned in the letter above. The two oldest would be the “eldest sisters” mentioned.

Nehemiah Worley, believed, but not proven, to have been, a son of this Henry began paying property tax in Buckingham County in 1823, giving him a year of birth of 1802, if he had just turned twenty-one. He married Mary Alvis, the daughter of their neighbor, David Alvis, in Campbell County, the day after Christmas 1825. Henry and Nehemiah Worley are the only Worley’s in Campbell County, Virginia from Henry’s first appearance on the tax rolls in 1807 until an Edmund Worley appears in 1842.

During the 1820’s, Henry Worley and his family bounced back and forth between Buckingham and Campbell Counties. He was listed in the 1830 census residing in Buckingham. Henry’s age was given as between sixty and seventy years (possibly a mistake), his wife was between fifty and sixty, and they had six girls, a boy, and another man living with them. The two oldest girls have been tentatively identified as Sarah Ann and Mary or Polly. They were between ten and fifteen years of age. There were two girls between five and ten, and two young girls under five. The man was twenty to thirty and the boy was also under five. A possible explanation cold be that this was Nehemiah living with his parents. The youngest children could have belonged to him. In 1850, Nehemiah’s wife’s name was given as Jane. His first wife, Mary Alvis Worley, may have died and he returned home for help with his children. THIS IS JUST SPECULATION. There are so few records for early Buckingham County that speculation is often the only way to construct a family tree for the families that lived there.

Henry appeared off and on on the Buckingham County tax lists during the 1830’s. Then, in 1840 he turns up in the northern area of Bedford County, just a couple of census pages away from his brother, Rainey. Henry’s family had three women in the twenty to thirty age range; one woman in the thirty to forty group; a man, aged forty to fifty; a man (this one probably Henry) aged sixty to seventy; and a female in the eighty to ninety age range. We know from the letter mentioned in the beginning paragraph that the family of Henry Worley is living in Campbell County again in 1841 on the Poindexter farm. Sarah Ann’s letter, dated September 24, 1841, stated that Mr. Poindexter had just died. Bedford County records show that Samuel Poindexter, Sr. died on the 18th of Sept. 1841.

The 1850 census of Bedford County, Virginia finally gives us some names for the women of this household. We find that Henry must have died before the census was taken and his wife, Susan Worley was listed as age eighty, born in Virginia, occupation pauper. Sally, or Sarah Ann, was thirty. Polly, mentioned in Sarah Ann’s letter, was thirty-three, and there was a fourth girl, Betsy, aged twenty-seven. Surely she was too young to have been the daughter of eighty year old Susan! But to whom does she belong?

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The Children of John Worley and his wife, Esther (who was NOT a Blount), of Powhatan County, Virginia

The children of John and Esther [–?–] Worley of Powhatan Co., Virginia were as follows:

i. Mary, born before or around 1720 in what was Henrico Co., Virginia. She married Silvanus Maxey about ten years prior to her death in 1748. Figuring two years per child times five children would give an approximate marriage date of 1738. Silvanus was the son of Edward Maxey, Sr. and his wife, Susannah [–?–].

We find some early records concerning Silvanus in Goochland County. In August 1739, he was given “leave to Clear a Bridle way from where Majr. Mayo’s road turns into the Chappel [sic] road to go by James Gate’s and from thence to directed by James Watkins and Edwd. Tanner to Edwd. Maxeys.”

Edith Maxey, in her third book about the Maxey’s, states, “In January 1743, the records of Goochland County, Virginia, show that he [Silvanus Maxey] was brought into court by William Mayo, Gentleman, for abusing Mayo’s Negro ‘on the road.’ Sylvanus was released on his own recognizance for the sum of 5 pounds plus two securities conditional on his good behavior for one year and a day, at which time this penalty would be voided. His good behavior not only to Mr. Mayo but to ‘all his Majesty’s leige people’ was assured by the levying of 2 pounds on his goods and lands.” Is this perhaps an insight into the man?

We get another glimpse at Maxey’s character looking at the following Grand Jury proceedings dated May 1744: “. . . We Present the Surveyor of the road from John Mossoms to the Head of Dutoys branch for not Clearing the said Road by the Information of Silvanus Maxey. . .”

Mary Worley Maxey died before April 1748, shortly after the birth of her fifth child, Edward. Silvanus married his second wife, Elizabeth Lansdon, daughter of William Lansdon and Esther Journay [aka Jones], sometime before April 1848, when ‘Elizabeth Maxey’ witnessed the deed for the sale of the land in Goochland that he had inherited from his father to his brother, Walter.

Sylvanus had a large family that he raised in Albemarle and Buckingham Counties. He moved to Prince Edward County, Virginia with his son, William, and died there in 1770.

Mary Worley and Sylvanus Maxey had the following children:
a. Esther Maxey, b. abt. 1739, married William Cannifax, son of John Cannifax.
b. Susan Maxey, b. 1740-1742.
c. Charles Maxey, b. 3 May 1743 in Virginia. He is purported to have married Anne Bondurant.
Charles’ maternal grandfather, John Worley, left him his ‘plantation’ in Powhatan county after the death of his grandmother, Esther Worley. Charles and his wife, Anne, sold this plantation, 5 March 1777, to Jacob Brintle of Chesterfield County for seventy-five pounds. Charles and Anne lived in Buckingham County, Virginia along with most of the other children of Silvanus, and, no doubt, had little use for land in Powhatan. Charles was referred to as ‘Methodist’ and ‘Reverend’ in several land tax records in Buckingham, giving some insight into his vocation.
d. William Henry Maxey, b. 1744 in Virginia.
e. Edward Maxey b. 1747.

ii. Elizabeth, born around 1720 in Henrico County, Virginia, married Thomas Gibson prior to her father writing his will in 1757 and early enough to give her six sons by December 1761. We can come up with a latest possible marriage date of about 1749, but it was most likely earlier.

In 1735, Thomas Gibson witnessed a deed between Robert Hudson and Henry Hatcher, Jr. involving the sale of land in Henrico County where they all resided.

The will of Thomas Watkins, written in 1760 in Chesterfield County, included the following sentence: “I want Thomas Gibson to continue, unmolested, on my plantation in Chesterfield until 1762.” It would seem that Thomas Gibson was living on his land. I wonder what happened to poor Elizabeth and her six sons when her husband died in 1761.

Her brother, John, Jr., witnessed Thomas Gibson’s will, written 18 December 1761, in Chesterfield County, Virginia. In his will, Thomas Gibson mentions his six sons; John, Benjamin, Miles, Thomas, William and James.

The last mention of them found was found in a list of tithables in Goochland County, Virginia dated 1762 where we find –
Benjamin Gibson 1
Miles Gibson, Jean 1
Elisabeth Gibson, Jane
Robert Ashust, Miles Gibson Jr. 2

Elizabeth Worley and Thomas Gibson had the following children who, I am sorry to say, I have spent no time researching:
a. John Gibson.
b. Benjamin Gibson.
c. Miles Gibson.
d. Thomas Gibson.
e. William Gibson.
f. James Gibson.

iii. John, Jr. was born, at a best guess, before 1720, in Virginia. He resided in Powhatan county until his death sometime between July 1777 when he swore an oath of allegiance to the state of Virginia in Powhatan County and 16 April 1778 when the land of his father was sold by John, III ‘of Buckingham’. We know that he had at least one child, John, III and believe from circumstantial evidence that he had several others including Joseph, Silas, Peter, William and Mary. More about John, Jr. in another post.

iv. William, born before 1720 in Henrico County, Virginia. He married Mary [–?–] and later moved to Bedford County, Virginia. More about him later, as well.

v. Christian, was born around 1720 in Henrico County, Virginia and married Anthony Agee, 1 May 1751, in Cumberland County. Anthony was the son of Mathieu and Ann (Godwin) Agee. Mathieu and Ann were Huguenot refugees fleeing from religious persecution in France stemming from their Protestant faith. The French Hugenot’s left France for the comforts of England first. King William granted them land in the New World and many of them left England to settle on the frontier of Virginia. The exact date that Mathieu arrived here is not known, but he was mentioned in the records of King William Parish as early as 1710.

According to The Agee Register by Louis Agee, Anthony Agee “was born near Five Forks in the Manakintowne.” He appears with his father in an entry reading “Anthony [and] Mathieu Ogé” in the King William Parish tithables list of 1735. He received land from his father in 1740 near Flat Rock, Virginia. Anthony purchase one hundred forty acres of land in Cumberland County, now present day Powhatan County, from William Riggin in September 1749. The land was described as being “on Buckingham Road, near the new Chapple (sic), the Rock that lies in the Road is and lies in the said land where John Whorley now lives, together on both sides of the Road.”

Anthony and Christian moved to Albemarle County, in the area of the county that soon became Buckingham County. He sold this land at Flat Rock to William Maxey on January 2, 1750. The deed stated “the said Anthony Agee for diver good causes and considerations him thereunto moving but more especially for the valuable consideration of 27 pounds, 10 shillings to Wm Maxey 150 acres lying on both side of Buckingham Rd, bounded by Edward Moseley, Jr., William Worley in Lansdons line . . .” Christian Agee, his wife, released her dower rights to this property. On 18 October 1757, “Anthony Agee of the County of Albemarle” sold his remaining one hundred acres of land in now Powhatan County to John Scurry. We know that Christian was still alive because she once again signed the deed, releasing her dower rights.

As stated, the area of Albemarle that the Agee’s removed to was later made part of Buckingham County. In 1764, Anthony received a grant of two hundred acres “among the small south branches of Slate River” and in 1767 he was granted another four hundred acres on the branches of Green’s Creek, also part of Slate River.

vi. Jude Worley, born around 1725 in Henrico County, Virginia, married Humphrey Smith, son of John Smith and Jane Childers.

Humphrey purchase one hundred acres in Cumberland County bounded by William and Nathaniel Maxey on the 19th of March 1750. The sale was witnessed by his brothers Joseph and Childers Smith.

Humphrey Smith wrote his will in February 1766, and died before 23 June 1766, when his will was proven in Cumberland County, Virginia. His will mentioned no children but left his entire estate ‘to my beloved wife Judey.’ In February 1782, an inventory and appraisal of the estate of Humphrey Smith, dec’d, was returned to the court at Powhatan and ordered to be recorded.

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Children of Capt. William Spiller and Catherine Wright Turner Spiller

William Spiller, born circa 1750, married Catherine Wright Turner, daughter of James Turner and Orianna Russell.William Spiller died in 1800.

Kentucy Court records, bounty land claims, and newspaper obituaries made identifying the children of this marriage fairly easy. The Kentucky Court of Appeals had a case that stated that this William Spiller wrote his will in 1797 and at that time had four children. After he wrote the will he had another son identified as George A. Spiller, born in 1799. One son was identified as B. C. Spiller in the court documents and a daughter named Mary was mentioned.

George A. Spiller, William H. Spiller, and Colin C. Spiller applied for additional bounty lands in 1831 and were certified as the only surviving and legal heirs of William Spiller, deceased. This makes sense because the Richmond Enquirer carried the following obituaries:

“Died- On June 18, at her mother’s residence in King William County, Mary Spiller, only daughter of the late Major William Spiller.” (July 11, 1826, p. 3, c. 5 ), and,

“Died- At his residence in King William County, on Thursday, Sep 20, in his 23rd year, Benjamin C Spiller, a lawyer. (November 13, 1827, p. 3, c. 5).

The year following their application for additional bounty lands another obituary was published, this time for Dr. George A. Spiller of King William County, dated July 24, 1832.

Another entry which identified these children positively was found in Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 2, p. 110 in a section titled “Some Virginia Revolutionary Veterans and Their Heirs” by Wm H. Dumont. It stated that veterans received bounty land warrants for their service. They had to turn in the warrants to get scrip which could be turned in for land. “Only Virginia veterans whose heirs received scrip are included in the list. Those who were alive . . . or who had transferred their warrants to others have been omitted.”
Spiller, William, Capt State Line, pp. 181, 194; 1835-1836, heirs: George A. (deceased), William H. and Colin C.

This last, being the most compelling, is presented verbatim from its source. It even gives us the name of one of William’s grandsons.
Genealogical Abstracts Revolutionary War Veterans: Scrip ACT 1852 by Margie G. Brown, p. 79 –
“Application: 321 William Spiller, Captain Virginia State Line
King William Co., Virginia Court 22 Nov 1832
William Spiller d. before 1832
1. William H. Spiller
2. Colin C. Spiller
3. George A. Spiller, d. 17 June 1832, will in King William Co., Virginia devising his effects to his nephew William A. Spiller
Depositions Peter Foster (RWS), Claiborn Morris b. ca 1759 (RWS), John Woollard b. ca 1760 (RWS), Benjamin Figg, William Burns b. ca 1768” Copies of this application are online at the Library of Virginia website for those interested.

So we see that the children from this marriage were:

i. Capt. William H. Spiller was born in 1793 in King William Co., Virginia and died on 30 Mar 1837 in King William Co., Virginia at age 44. William married Elizabeth S.C. King, date unknown. According to Karen Lawless, she was the daughter of Miles and Mary Quarles King.

There were two William H. Spiller’s of about the same age in Virginia at this time. William Hickman Spiller, son of Hickman Spiller and his first wife, Catherine Markham Smith, and cousin of this William H. Spiller, was born in 1800 and great care must be taken to NOT confuse records for the two men. Luckily, William Hickman Spiller spent most of his time in the Wytheville, Virginia area making it easier to keep them straight.

We can be fairly certain that the William H. Spiller that served as a 1st Lieutenant in the War of 1812 was this William because the other William H. Spiller would surely have been too young, only having been born in 1800. Colin C. and Benjamin C. Spiller, his brothers, served as well.

The Religious Herald dated 31 March 1837, carried his obituary. “Died at his residence, in the county of King William, on Monday evening, the 30th inst, after a painful and protracted illness, Capt. Wm. H. Spiller, in forty fourth year of his age.”

A Mrs. Elizabeth Spiller, William’s widow, married Robert Johnson, 6 July 1844, in Chesterfield County, Virginia. They were living in King William County in 1850. Robert was listed as thirty-two and Elizabeth was forty-eight. Elizabeth King Spiller Johnson died 13 December 1862.

Children of William and Elizabeth (King) Spiller were: Colin C. Spiller, 1821-1893 (md Sarah Crouch, served in Civil War, steamboat captain. He died and was buried in Alabama.); Mary Catherine Spiller, 1828-1903 (md William Samuel 1848. She died in Chatanooga, Tennessee); Robert Miles Spiller, ca. 1827-1878 (md Anna Augusta Maltby 1857 in New York City. He died in Baltimore, Maryland.); William A. Spiller, ca 1829-aft 1880 (md 1) Elizabeth Francis Shadwick 1847 and after her death md 2) Adeliza T. Shadwick, her sister. He died King William Co., Virginia.); Benjamin George Spiller, 1835-1844, died King William Co., Virginia.

ii.Colin C. Spiller, born 27 Nov 1796, most likely in King William County, Virginia, died before 6 June 1842 in Albemarle County, Virginia when his brother-in-law, George C. Gilmer, was granted administration of his estate and the guardianship of George C. Spiller, ‘infant son of Colin’. Colin married Georgeanna (or George Anna) Gilmer, daughter of George and Elizabeth Hudson Gilmer of Albemarle County, Virginia, 15 April 1829. Georgeanna Gilmer Spiller died 20 September 1840, at the age of thirty.

Colin served with his brother, William H., in Captain Charles Braxton’s Company of Cavalry during the War of 1812. A Benjamin C. Spiller also served but it is unclear if this was the younger brother of William H. and Colin or perhaps their cousin. Colin, at least, was in the Battle of the Thames. For those of you who, like me, have no idea when or where this happened, the Battle of the Thames, also known as the Battle of Moraviantown, was an American victory in the War of 1812. It took place on October 5, 1813, near Chatham, Ontario in Upper Canada. The Indian leader Tecumseh was killed there in hand to hand combat. Many Kentuckians fought in this battle and having been told to expect no quarter from the British and to avenge the massacre at Raisen River, fought with a certain desperate fierceness.

It seems that there was great debate over who actually killed Tecumseh. The October 1996 issue of Military History carried an article by William Francis Freehoff that told of some of the controvery.

“To this day, details of Tecumseh’s death remain unknown. Legend has it that Richard Johnson killed Tecumseh, and the colonel-congressman was to get credit for a deed he himself never claimed credit for. Johnson shot and killed an Indian who came at him with a tomahawk, but no one could say for certain that the Indian was the great Shawnee chief. Nevertheless, the following jingle became part of Johnson’s later political campaigns: ‘Rumpsey dumpsey, rumpsey dumpsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh.’

“Another of the grisly legends that grew out of that battle was the skinning of Tecumseh. For years afterward, Kentucky veterans of the battle would show their friends strips of leather they claimed were made from the hide sliced from the recumbent form of Tecumseh himself. Some of Tecumseh’s braves later told a different story. His face stained with blood from a head wound, Tecumseh shouted encouragement to his warriors until he was mortally wounded by a bullet in his left breast. A few followers then carried him from the field and secretly buried him. His body was never recovered, at least not by white men.”

William Galt wrote a letter in 1866 to the editor of The Historical Magazine and Notes and Queries Concerning the Antiquities, History, and Biography of America regarding “Who Killed Tecumseh?” He offered a different view entirely of who killed Tecumseh. I quote the letter because it will surely be of great interest.

“To Henry B. Dawson, Esq., Ed. Historical Magazine.
Norfolk, Va., Aug. 15th ’66.
Dear Sir,
In the No [?] of your Magazine for July, I find a statement of facts relative to the death of Tecumseh.
It is in my power to furnish you with a corroboration of that very circumstantial narration, were any needed.
An intimate friend of my youth, Mr. Colin C. Spiller, of the county of Albemarle, Virginia, was in the battle of the Thames, and he related to me the following facts, which I give you in almost his very words.
He told me that after the battle he walked over the field with a Kentuckian, a red-headed man; and I am very sure that he said that his name was King. As they went on, they came to three Indians lying dead. The Kentuckian remarked, “I killed that fellow,” pointing to the Indian lying between the two others. King did not know who the savage was, and it was not till afterwards that he was identified as Tecumseh. The conversation was introduced by my own assertion that I believed that Col. Johnson had killed the Indian chief, as was then the general opinion, and Mr. Spiller gave me the above account to prove that I was mistaken.
I may add that Mr. S. [Spiller] was a gentleman of the strictest sense of honor, and I know that his narration was true.
Very respy., Wm. R. Galt.”

I did find a Coalman C. Spiller, 3rd Seargent, in a company of Kentucky Mounted Militia that was raised by Governor Isaac Shelby, lending perhaps some credibility to the story that Colin C. Spiller was present at the battle, but not to who actually killed Tecumseh.

When Georgeanna’s father died in 1836 he left her five hundred dollars “to be so conveyed and settled as not to be in the power, possession, or interest of her husband CC Spiller (for which purpose I appoint my executor sole Trustee).” It would seem that his father-in-law had little faith in him.

Colin and Georgeanna had two sons, both of whom died without issue. Benjamin C. Spiller was born 22 January 1831 and died on the 4th of June of the same year. George Gilmer Spiller was born 16 August 1832. His uncle, George C. Gilmer, was given guardianship of young George when he was orphaned by his father’s death at the age of ten. The accounting of the estate of George G. Spiller begins in August 1842 and continues until December 1851. There are entries for tutors or schooling each year and clothing but there are also several interesting items. There are several entries reading “To cash paid expence (sic) of Ward to King Wm Co: Ho:” It seems as though he was transported several times to see relatives in King William county. In September of 1849, seventeen year-old George set out on a trip recorded when his guardian paid $55 for his expenses to Missouri. The details of his trip and where he went are tied up in that statement. In December 1851 there is a record of $25.50 paid for “Wards expenses from Guyandotte” and then a small amount paid that same month for “Ward home sick.” He may have died shortly after he returned home. His account was settled out in October 1853. There is a chancery court course that was settled in Albemarle County in 1873 involving G.G. Spiller but I have not had an opportunity to look this up yet.

iii.Mary Spiller, was born before 1797 when her father’s will was written as he states he had previously given her a slave. She died 18 June 1826 in King William County, Virginia. Her obituary identifies her as the “only daughter of the late Major William Spiller.”

iv.Benjamin C. Spiller. The Kentucky lawsuit brought by George Spiller says that all the children of William Spiller except for him were born before William wrote his will in 1797. However, the obituary of Benjamin, published in the Richmond Enquirer and available on the Library of Virginia website, stated that he died 20 September 1827, stated that he was “in his 23rd year” meaning that he was twenty-two years old. If that was true, he would not have been born until 1804 at the earliest. Perhaps this was a typo and should have read he was in his 33rd year, giving him birth year of 1794. But that is just speculation and not proven. It would definitely make more sense when looking at the possibility of his serving during the War of 1812. At any rate, Benjamin was described as a lawyer and no marriage record for him has been found.

v.George Augustus Spiller was born 1799 in King William County, Virginia. He died 17 June 1832. He married Agnes Dandridge Dabney in 1821 in King William County. They had one child before George died, but that child died very young.

Karen Lawless, a longtime Spiller researcher and descendant of the line of George Spiller and his wife, Polly Spears, provided the obituary of George from the Richmond Enquier, 24 Jul 1832-
“Died, on Monday the 16th inst. after a long and painful illenss, at his residence in King William county, Doct. George A. Spiller, in the 25th year of his age. He was a gentleman of the kindest and most urbane manners, of fine intellectual endowments, and great eminence of his profession. His loss will be deeply felt and lamented by a large circle of friends and relatives, and particularly by his distressed widow, who but a short time before, had sustained another most afflicting dispensation of Providence, in the loss of her only child, a very interesting infant, only a few months old.” His will left his effects to his nephew, William A. Spiller.

Again, we see a discrepancy in the ages of a son that was mentioned in the lawsuit brought in Kentucky. In both instances the boys were listed as much younger in their obituaries than the lawsuit. Possibly the date of the death their father is incorrect. We may not have the dates correct, but at least we have the children assigned to their proper parents.

George’s wife, Agnes, went to marry again the following year to Mr. John P. Boughton. She and her husband moved to Missouri and I wonder if her nephew by marriage, George G. Spiller, son of Colin C., was visiting her on his trip to Missouri.

I must point out that George Augustus Spiller (aka George A. Spiller) was not the same man as George Anderson Spiller (also aka George A. Spiller), who was the son of George and Polly Spears Spiller of Buckingham County, Virginia. That George A. Spiller was considerably younger, having been born in 1818, and later moved to Texas where he died and was buried.

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William Spiller, Son of William, Brother of Benjamin C., Died 1800 in King William County, Virginia

William Spiller, Gentleman died in King William Co., Virginia sometime before June 1774 when his son, Benjamin C. Spiller, and his other executor brought suit in Caroline Co. against a Lazarus Yarborough. Because we have his death somewhat narrowed down, we can identify records after that date as definitely belonging to his son, William, the subject of this sketch. There is obviously some overlap in their records and care must taken, and mistakes will probably be made, in assigning those records.

William Spiller, the son of the above William, served as a Captain of a Virginia State Regiment in the Revolution from 1778 to 1781. In 1780, his commanding officer, Colonel George Muter, sent Thomas Jefferson a letter saying, “Capt: Spiller was despatched to save the arms in Isle of Wyght and Southampton.” The following January, Spiller was sent to Petersburg, Virginia for the purpose of “removing the arms and Stores at Petersburg, the powder at the Powder Mills and at Manchester.” A Colonol Carrington complained about the manner in which William Spiller handled that assignment, prompting Capt. Spiller to write a letter, dated January 18, 1781, to Col. Muter, resigning that post. A portion of this letter follows:

“I set out from this place about 12 o-clock or after, my orders was to proceed to Chesterfield Court house, to call on Col: Davies for his assistance, and from thence to Petersburg, it was after dark before I arrived at Petersberg. I went immediately to the Quarter Masters’ office (he having previous notice from Col Muter to prepare waggons for the removal of the Stores) and enquired for him, was told by his assistant that he was gorn (sic) home. I then enquired if he had left no orders to prepare waggons for removing of the Stores, the man informed he had ordered him to impress all the waggons that he could find, he had accordingly (as he said) imprest several, but having no guard, they had gorn off. That he had sent several men different ways to stop the sd waggons. I desired him to send for Mr Elliott, the Q. Master at that station, informing him that I was waiting for waggons to remove the Stores, he immediately sent off a Servant to Mr Elliott. I then told him I should go to a tavern near, & desired him to send for me when the Q. Master or the waggons come to the office. Having rode a horse that nearly gave out before I got to Petersburg I was greatly fatigu’d. When I got to the above mentioned tavern I went to a bed and lay down, and fell asleep and probably slept two or three hours, when I awoke I went to the office. Col: Carrington was there, and had sent off several waggons loaded with stores. I met the sd waggons as I went to the office. Col. Carrington told me he should inform against me. I told him he was very welcome to do so. He then gave me orders that he had received from you, to proceed to the Countys of Isle White (sic) & South Hamton: which I did & rode the whole night. Thus Sir, you have all the circumstances relative to that business that I can remember. The informer (which I suppose to be Col. Carrington) is much mistaken about the time of my geting to Petersburg. I was there before him.”
“The post I now hold as Commissary of Military Stores seems to have many directors, more than one man can possibly please. I therefore from this moment resign the said post.”
” I am with much Esteem Sir,
Your most Ob’ & very humble servant.”

William’s resignation as Commissary of Military Stores was accepted by Thomas Jefferson on the 20th of January. He did not, however, leave the service of his country until 1781.

The war was effectively over in October of 1781 and we find William back in King William County with 265 acres listed on the land tax records in 1782. Additionally, he paid tax on nine slaves and one poll tax. William signed a petition, dated 6 June 1783, from the citizens of Hanover Co. to deny citizenship to tories, or those who had supported the British Crown.

William is mentioned in Meade’s Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia as a lay delegate from St. David’s Parish in King William County to the Convention of the Episcopalian Church in 1786 and 1787. This church was the daughter of the Church of England. He seems like he was a spiritual man who took his faith seriously.

By 1787, William’s property in King William had increased to 473 acres. He paid a tithe on just himself, so we know that he had no children over the age of sixteen. He had fifteen slaves, eight horses, and twenty-two cattle. His older brother, Benjamin still had his 615 acres, one white male between the ages of 16 and 21, probably one of his sons, twenty-five slaves, ten horses, forty-two cattle, and one chair carriage. Both of these men could read and write and both took and active part in the politics of the day. Clearly, this was a well-to-do, educated family.

In 1790, William Spiller petitioned the House of Delegates “setting forth, that he was a commissary of stores during the late war, and hath received for his services a general warrant on the treasury not payable out of any particular fund; and praying that provision may be made for the payment thereof.” The Delegates decided that was a reasonable petition and said his warrant should be paid out of the aggregate fund.

Hening’s The Statutes at Large contains a reference to William Spiller involving a deceased free negro man named Preamble who had been a resident of King William County. Preamble left the management of his estate to William Spiller, asking him to purchase and emancipate Abraham, a slave belonging to Benjamin Temple. Abraham was Preamble’s son. Spiller had purchased Abraham and then had to petition the Assemble to pass a law authorising his emancipation. The law stated, “That the said negro man slave Abraham, shall be free in as full and ample a manner, as if he had been born free.” His daddy must have been very happy.

While William did not mind purchasing and freeing a slave at the direction of said slave’s father, he also did not mind owning several slaves of his own. Perhaps he was as conflicted as Thomas Jefferson about the issue of slavery; knowing it to be wrong and yet not knowing how to survive without it. At any rate, in 1797 William owned fourteen slaves. He was paying only one tithe, indicating that none of his sons was over the age of sixteen yet. He still had his 473 acres.

It seems that it was sometime near the end of the 1780’s or the very early 1790’s William married. A bit late in life, it seems and possibly he was married twice but I have uncovered no evidence of it. I have found a copy of Colin C. Spiller’s family Bible online at the Library of Virginia website. Colin was one of the sons of this William Spiller. This Bible does not give the date William married but does state that he married Catherine Wright Turner, daughter of James Turner and Orianna Russell. I struggled over who belonged in this family, but the following record helped considerably.

Reports of Select Cases Decided in the Court of Appeals of Kentucky During the Year 1833, Vol. I, Dana, James G., 1834.
pp. 170-171 “Chancery – Haskins and others against Spiller Spring Term 1833, from The Circuit Court For Green County.
April 22. Judge Nicholas delivered the Opinion of the Court.
In March, 1797, William Spiller, a citizen of Virginia made his will whereby he devised to each of his four then children, a tract of land, by name; gives to his wife, in the event of her marrying again, a tract of three hundred acres in Kentucky, some furniture, and one fifth part of his stock ; and lends her, during life, certain slaves; but in case she did not marry, it was his desire that his estate should be kept together, for the support of her and all his children, until they successively attained twenty one years, or married, “when I wish all my slaves (except the one given to my daughter Mary) may be equally divided among them and my wife, allotting her an equal proportion with each of them.” And so on, as they successively attained twenty one, or married; “and the part allotted my wife is to be equally divided, at her death, among all my children. All my property not specifically devised, as also what I have lent to my wife, I design, may be equally divided among all my children, at her death.”

In 1799, George A. Spiller, a son of the testator, was born, and in 1800, the testator died.
Among the tracts so devised, was one in Kentucky, to B. C. Spiller, who having sold and conveyed to sundry persons, this suit in chancery was brought, by George A. Spiller, against them, asserting claim to a portion thereof, as a pretermitted child of the testator . . .” The upshot of this case was that George was indeed entitled to his share in his father’s estate and one-fifth of what his brother B. C. Spiller had inherited and sold.

At any rate, this tells me: 1) By 1797 William had four children who were under twenty-one and he had his fifth child in 1799. 2) One of his children was daughter named Mary. 3) His youngest son was George A. Spiller. 4) One of his sons was B.C. Spiller, and 5) William himself died in 1800. Certainly, this fills in a lot of blanks for us, especially when we couple it with this entry in Virginia Soldiers of 1776 which reads: “4 Apl. 1831. The heirs all’d Land Bounty for 1 years service in addition to what had been heretofore allowed, for William Spiller’s service as a Captain in the Virginia State Line. John Floyd, King William County, 22 Nov 1833 certified that William H., Collins C. and George H. Spiller are the only surviving and legal heirs of William Spiller, deceased.” Now we know that he also had sons William H. and Colin C. Spiller. From the court enty we can see that George is actually George A., not George H. Spiller.

We find a record of a deed from Thomas Batchelder & Catherine his wife to Catherine Spiller, adjoining the estate of William Spiller, dated 1805. The 1810 census of King William County lists William Spiller’s estate with one white tithe over the age of sixteen (this was most likely William H. Spiller, who seems to have been the eldest son), eighteen slaves, nine horses, and one charriot carriage. The 1815 Directory of King William County Land Owners states that the estate of William Spiller was located twelve miles west of the King William County Courthouse and that his widow was still living there.

The Richmond (Virginia) Enquirer carried death notices for several of these children. Beginning on 11 July 1826 we find this notice: “Died- On June 18, at her mother’s residence in King William County, Mary Spiller, only daughter of the late Major William Spiller.” Her mother was still living at this time, since she died at her mother’s residence.

The November 13th issue of 1827 carried the following announcement: “Died- At his residence in King William County, on Thursday, Sep 20, in his 23rd year, Benjamin C Spiller, a lawyer.” I am assuming this is the B.C. Spiller who sold the land in Green County, Kentucky. If he was indeed just twenty-three, he would have been born in 1804, making either his age incorrect or that he was the B.C. Spiller referred to above an incorrect assumption.

We saw that in 1831 the remaining three sons applied for additional bounty land, which they were granted, but not until 1835 or 1836, as seen in the following: Veterans received bounty land warrants for their service. They had to turn in the warrants to get scrip which could be turned in for land. “Only Virginia veterans whose heirs received scrip are included in the list. Those who were alive . . . or who had transferred their warrants to others have been omitted.”
Spiller, William, Capt State Line, pp. 181, 194; 1835-1836, heirs: George A. (deceased), William H. and Colin C.” George A. Spiller’s death notice was in Richmond Enquirer’s July 24th 1832 issue.

Next up, the children of William and Catherine Turner Spiller.

1. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, Heitman, p. 511.
2. Calendar of Virginia State papers and other Manuscripts: 1652-1781, Vol. I, Palmer, editor.
3. Old New Kent County [Virginia] Some Account of the Planters, Plantations, and Places, Harris, Vol. I p. 896, 897.
4. Virginia Taxpayers 1782 Other than those published by the US Census Bureau, Fothergill & Naugle, p. 118
5. Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, Volume 1, Meade, p. 380
6. 1787 Tax List King William County, Virginia
7. Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1790, p.47.
8. The Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, William Waller Hening, p. 619-620.
9. 1797 Personal Property Tax List King William Co., Virginia, p. 14
10. 1797 Land Tax List, King William Co., Virginia
11. Richmond Enquirer, July 11, 1826. (p. 3, c. 5).
12. Richmond Enquirer, November 13, 1827, (p. 3, c. 5).
13. Richmond Enquirer, July 24, 1832, (p. 3, c. 6).
14. Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 2, p. 110
15. Reports of Select Cases Decided in the Court of Appeals of Kentucky During the Year 1833, Vol. I, Dana, James G., 1834.
pp. 170-171

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William Spiller, Stafford and Prince William Counties, Virginia, died 1754.

This family is maddeningly confusing. Every generation uses the same given names repeatedly. You have several brothers of a single generation naming their sons after their brothers so that you get many men of the same generation with the same name! One of my goals in posting this information is to clearly post what is conjecture and what is proven. I will try to use words like probably and possibly to indicate relationships that are not backed up by documentation.

Below is the first record I have found for William Spiller. If he was married with a son, let’s just say he was at least twenty years old in 1707 when this first entry was recorded. This would give him a year of birth of 1687 or earlier. I see that his wife’s name was Mary but I have not uncovered anything that suggests even remotely what her last name may have been, so all the people out there with her as Mary Mason are pushing a myth until somebody uncovers some proof.

It seems likely that this family of Spillers was related to the Spillers of King William and Prince George Counties, Virginia mainly because the names of people around them are similar. For example, they all seem to have known Rice Hooe. However, no proof of any relationship has been uncovered. No deeds, wills, court records, or Bible records, etc. have been uncovered linking them.

George Spiller of Stafford County is one possible father for this William. George left records in Stafford from 1690 to 1718 when his death was recorded in the parish records of St. Paul’s Parish which covered areas in Stafford and King George Counties. See “Early Spillers of Westmoreland, Stafford, and Prince William Counties, Virginia” for more on early Spillers.

William Spiller began to accumulate land in the area in 1707, or that is the earliest record for him that I have found. This land was on the Occaquan River, near Washington, D.C. Prime real estate today and I am sure it was prime real estate in 1720’s. The first record we have found for him includes both his wife’s name and his oldest son’s name. I am going to try to not clog this up with every record I have found for him, just the more important transactions.

Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 3, p. 198-200
John Mercer’s Land Book

William Brent to William Spiller, lease 25 August 1707, to William Spiller and Mary his now wife for the longest life of them and for the life William Spiller son of William and Mary, “for the longest liver of them” one tenement of land . . . lying in the Potowmack Neck.
William and Mary Spiller transferred the right to this lease to Henry Parry for 3000lbs of tobacco to be pd yearly 10 Sept 1714.

Stafford County, Va, Deed Book J, Pages 21-22, 1729-1748, Ruth and Sam Sparacio.
This indenture made 10th March in seventh year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George the first between Henry Filkin of County of Stafford Planter and William Spiller of county aforesaid…for sum three thousand two hundred pounds of good tobacco and for divers good causes doth grant tract in County Stafford beginning upon the main Run of Occaquan and on the North side of the main run at the mouth of a branch commonly called the Mare Branch and extending to the back line it being part of 750 acres granted to me Henry Filkin and Mathew Moss by patent from under hands and seals of the proprietors agents and so along the back line to a branch commonly called the Mare Branch…to first beginning…for 100 acres of land.
Presence of:
Samuel Kent
David Anderson
William Bland
Att a court held in Stafford County March 14th 1721, Then came Henry Filkin and personally acknowledged the within deed…ordered to be recorded.

Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants, Vol. 1, Gertrude Entz Gray
p. 74 A-29: William Spiller of Stafford Co., 350 ac on Occaquan in Stafford Co. Wrnt 19 Feb last. Surv. by Capt Thos Hooper 22 Feb. last. Adj. William White, John Bennett, ffrancis Jackson, dec’d. Brenton Grant [see A-12]. 11 Apr 1723.
(Brenton Grant – 3000 acres granted by Lord Culpeper to George Brent, Robert Bristow, Richard Foot and Nicholas Wayward, 10 Jan 1686.)
p. 78 A-103 William Spiller of Stafford Co., 269 A in said county on Occaquan adj. Cha’s Wattkins, Henry Felkins, Tho’s Whitledge, Lewis Tackett. 11 Jan 1724.
p. 83 (A-195) William Spiller of Stafford Co., 116 A in sd county on Occaquan River Cabbin Branch 8 Feb 1725.

The Register of Overwharton Parish, Stafford County, Virginia, 1723-1758, George Harrison Sanford King, p. 159
William Spiller \
John Spiller \ 4 tithes 17210 tobacco plants
Warington Spiller /
John Grub /
William Spiller, Junr 1 tithe 6000 tobacco plants

This parish levy list gives us the first indications of the names of William and Mary Spillers’ children. We know that once a young man reached the age of 16 he was considered tithable and at twenty-one he would have been responsible for paying his own tithe. Since I haven’t seen the list for 1723, I don’t know which Spillers were listed on it, so we can only say that William Jr. was at least twenty-one, maybe older, narrowing his year of birth down to 1703 or earlier. John and Warrington would have been born sometime between 1703 and 1708, both being at least sixteen but under twenty-one.

Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 3, p. 220
John Mercer’s Land Book

William Brent to John Mercer Lease for Lives Indenture of 27 August 1733 between William Brent of Overwharton Parish, Stafford co, Gent. to John Mercer of the same parish and county, gent. . . . to one William Spiller of the messuage tenement and plantation hereinafter mentioned for and during the lives of the said William Spiller, Mary the wife of the sd Wm Spiller, and William Spiller the son of the sd Wm Spiller (all of whom are now living) . . . in Potowmack Neck in the county of Stafford . . .

I didn’t copy the whole of this. It basically was a turning over of the land that William and his wife Mary got in 1707 to John Mercer. It was a bit of a surprise to find William and Mary Spiller both still living in 1733 and William, at least, lives for a couple more decades. Several of the Spiller men had long lives. Good genes!

The following record was in Prince William County (PWC) which formed in 1731 from Stafford County, Virginia, so it is likely that county boundaries just changed around the Spillers.

Prince William County, Virginia Deed Book Liber A 1731 – 1732, Deed Book Liber B, 1732-1735, p. 39
Pages 63-66. July 15, 1733. Henry Filkin of Pr. William, planter to Richard Wright of same co., trader….for 4000 lbs. Tob… whereon now lives Benjamin McColough….on small run called Spillers Run issuing out of south side of Cedar Run in Parish of Hamilton….containing 50 a….part of a greater tract of 800 a ….greater tract was granted in joynt tenancy unto Halley and Hogan by deed from the Proprietors office then granted in Stafford Co….greater tract was divided between said Halley and Hogan and said Halley sold his part of said land unto William Spiller as by records in Stafford Co….the 50 a was sold by William Spiller unto Henry Filkin as by records in Stafford Co… standing in a line of greater tract….near William Spillers Jr….line of Charles Gwatkins below the head of the race ground….corner to Thomas Whitledge….deed of lease and release.
Henry Filkins
Wit: Thomas Reno, Robart (B) Bates
At court July 18, 1733 Henry Filkins, planter acknowledged this release to Richard Wright, trader.

The Encyclopedia of Dumfries, Virginia 1700-1739
1738-RENT ROLLS – Prince William County, VA
William Spiller
“Fauquier Co. was formed in 1759, being taken from Prince William Co. The Rent rolls of Prince William Co. (1738) are to be found later in Fauquier Co.”

Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants, Vol. 1, Gertrude Entz Gray, p. 139
E-368 William Spiller of Stafford Co now PWC has Patent for 116 A on Main Run of Occoquan R & Long Cabin Br. Feb 1725. Surv. erroneous. Spiller returned original Grant & desires his son Warrington Spiller to have sd land in Deed w/ 217 A adj. waste land. 333 A. Grant to Warrington Spiller. Surv. by Mr. Joh Warner. Adj. Samuel Dishman, Maurice Bevan, John Florence, Wm Spiller, Mr. Geo. Byrne, Francis Jackson. 23 Nov 1741.

Now we have proof that Warrington was indeed the son of William Spiller of Stafford!

Robert Bland William Bland James Bland, Jr.
John Nevil John Reeves James Bland
George Calvert William Spiller John Bland

Many other names are on this list. These are just some that are of interest. A later generation will marry the granddaughter of George Calvert.

Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants, Vol. 2, Gertrude Entz Gray, p. 3
(F-62) William Spiller of PWC 46 a (including 182 acre surplus) in part of 740 a granted to John Hogan 24 Sept 1710 in PWC adj. Wright’s land, Gwatkins, land formerly used by Hunter, William Thompson, on Cedar Run 22 Dec 1742

1748: Prince William Co., Va., Deed of Gift
William Spiller, Sr. of the Parish of Dettengen, Planter, for the love and affection which I have and do bear towards John MAYSEY and my loving granddaughter, Mary, his wife, of the Parrish of Truro, County of Fairfax, have given and granted . . .one tract of land in the Parrish of Dittingin, Prince William Co., . . . 150 acres, . . So. side of Main Run Occoquan and on the lower side of a small branch called French Branch, thence up . . . at the Mouth of the inside fork of said branch thence up the said fork . . . near the head of the said fork, . . . line in the Midle Branch, thence down the said Branch with the old line to Long Branch, thence down Long Branch to the Main Run of Occoquan.
Witness: John METCALFE, William JOENS, Edward GWATKIN.

I have seen it written on many people’s trees that Mary Maysey was the daughter of Warrington Spiller. I have never seen any proof. Does anyone have any proof of this? I do know that she could just as easily be the daughter of Margaret Spiller Gwatkins and her husband Edward. Edward Gwatkins actually witnessed this transaction which makes me think that maybe he is more likely her father. If Warrington was her father, why not have him as a witness? If people want to make a guess as to who belongs to whom, that’s is great, but the guess should be clearly labelled a guess, and why not at least include the reasoning behind the guess?

Prince William County, Virginia Rent Rolls, p. 180
1751, 1753, 1754 William Spiller

Prince William County, Virginia Order Book 1754-1755
November 26, 1754 A deed of gift from William Spiller to William Splawn was proved by the oaths of the witnesses thereto and on the motion of the said William Splawn the same is admitted to record:
George Mason, William Bear, John Duncan plaintiffs Rebecca Tomlin, William Cornwell, William Emmons defendants
Suit is continued.

This was a suit brought to recover the lands that were given to William Splawn by William Spiller. Rachel Spiller, “of full age”, gave a deposition in a case in 1761 (see Prince William Co., Virginia Deed Book P 1761-1764) stating that Mrs. [Rachel] Spiller had not cohabited with her husband, William Spiller, Jr., “until after his father died and a little before he brought suit against William Splane for the land he afterwards recovered.” If true, and the suit involving Splawn/Splane occurred in 1754, then William, Sr. must have died before 29 November 1754. No relationship is given in these court papers as to who this second Rachel Spiller was.

Prince William Co., VA Bond Book, Aug 1753-1782, , Abstracted by June Whitehurst Johnson
2/28/1757 – William Spiller dec.; William Spiller Adm.; William Tackett and George Dodson.

Prince William County Order Book 1755-1757, p. 257
February 27, 1757: Administration of the Estate of William Spiller, dec’d, is granted to William Spiller, his Son, he having taken the oath of an Administrator and entered into the executed bond with George Dodson, and William Tackett, his secritys according to Law for his faithful adminstration of the said Estate. Ordered that George Mason, Francis Jackson, Richard Wright, Nicholas Noland appraise.

Children of William Spiller, Sr.
1.William Spiller, Jr. Proof – mentioned in lease from William Brent to William Spiller as early as 1707. A William Spiller Sr. is mentioned in Rent Rolls of PWC and then William Spiller, dec’d. Finally, the last entry above, date 27 Feb. 1757 states the William Spiller was the son of William Spiller.
2.Margaret Spiller – Proof – PWC Deed Book P, p. 74-81, the testimony of Margaret Gwatkins, wife of Edward, is objected to on the grounds that she is the sister of the deceased, the deceased being William Spiller, Jr..
3.Warrington Spiller – Proof – In 1724 William Spiller pays his tithe. Real proof comes from Virginia Northern Neck land grants, Volume 1, Gertrude Entz Gray, p. 139 where William Spiller calls Warrington Spiller his son.
These are the only three people that I have what I feel is sufficient proof to say they are definitely children of William Spiller.

Possible/Likely additional children of William Spiller.
4.Waddington Spiller – Did Waddington even exist? I think that his name was just a mis-spelling of Warrington. I am beginning to wonder if “Wadd” was a nickname given to Warrington, Jr.
5.John Spiller – WHY? – 1724 William Spiller pays his tithe. He could be just another Spiller relative, but I think he and and Warrington are likely sons of William. Since Warrington turned out to be a definite son, I would be more inclined to think that John is also a definite son. The real question is, what became of this John? This was the only mention of him in the records that I have found. What seems to be a different John Spiller was present in PWC in 1761 court records.

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George Lansdown(e), Prince William County, Virginia to Bath County, Kentucky

I have a small addition to make to this entry on George. I had long seen that a George Lansdowne was an ensign during the War of 1812. I found yesterday that he served, along with his brother, John Lansdowne, a sargeant, in Capt. Joseph Smith’s Company of the 36th Regiment in the County of Prince William. It would seem that it was a long way from ensign to the rank of colonel that he went by in Kentucky, but I guess that re-inventing yourself was the beauty of moving so far from home.

I was quite stumped as to where this George Lansdown came from when I first noticed him in Bath County, Kentucky. I began collecting bits and pieces of information about him because he lived at an early time and seemed like he could be related to the Virginia Lansdown family. Then the following reference to him popped up in my search one day:

Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 119-124.
“Hail Ye Also From Virginia?”, Roger G. Ward
“A major source of frustration to many genealogists researching the 18th and 19th century American frontier is the phrase “born in Virginia” or “came from Virginia. . . Listed below are Virginia landowners in the 1815 county land tax lists . . . “east of the Blue Ridge” ”
p. 124 “Landsdown, George, by his wife in 1817, of Kentucky; Prince William County”

So, George was from Prince William County, Virginia and I had conveniently found a will for John Lansdown of the same County, written 8 December 1811 and proven 6 January 1812, which mentioned sons William, John, and George. It would seem that George used the money from his father to head to Kentucky. George married prior to his moving but his first wife’s name is unfortunately lost to us. His only child from this marriage, Andrew Jackson Lansdowne was born 20 October 1814 in Virginia. We can see by the reference above that he was in Kentucky by 1817, so we can narrow down the date of his move to that window of about two and a half years. We know his wife was with him in Kentucky and so we have her date of death as being between 1817 and 1819, when George remarried.

George Lansdown lived a remarkably colorful life. The following citation relates an incident from George’s early time in Kentucky. It seems to show an impulsive man, but perhaps also a loyal man. For whatever reason, he seemed to believe the punishment did not fit the crime committed by Ellenor Gillespie.

Briefs from History of Bath Co.., KY 1876, William M. Talley
“July 26, 1817. Jury Wm. Smith, Robert Downs, Thomas Perry, Gordon Griffin, Drury B. Boyd, James Thompson, Wm. Miller, Christopher Oakley, George Butcher, John Trumbo, and Jarvis Brennigan sentenced Ellenor Gillespie to hang for the murder of her husband. She was executed at the forks of the road on Mt. Sterling pike, on gallows erected by David Hynoman. Guards were: George Cloyd Jr.,Charley Cooper, Asa Maxey, Denny Burns, Billy Burns, and David Fathey.
While Ellenor was confined in jail, George Lansdown went in and undressed himself, gave her his clothes and she attempted to escape by walking boldly out of the jail. David Fathey saw the deception and arrested her as she was leaving. Lansdown was incensed at Fathey for not permitting her to escape; a fight ensued and Fathey whipped Lansdown.”

Bath County records of May 1818 show George Lansdown being ‘ordered’ to view prickly ash road with two out of three neighbors; Andrew Cartmell, Thomas Cartmell, and Hebron Rall, and determine the best way to ‘turn’ the road. Road viewing was a task commonly assigned to the men of the community in colonial America. I suppose this return to community life shows that George was somewhat forgiven for his defense of Mrs. Gillespie the previous year.

On October 24, 1819 Col. George Lansdowne (he added the ‘e’ to his surname) married Mary Lonsdale Menefee, widow of Richard Menefee who was “one of the founders of Owingsville, one of the wisest law makers of Kentucky’s earlier years, and the father of one of the three great orators of Kentucky.”

The 1820 Census of Bath County, Kentucky showed George and his family living in the town of Owingsville, the county seat. The household consisted of three boys under ten years of age, three between ten and sixteen, along with George and his new wife, Mary, both between twenty-six and forty-five years old. One of the boys was Andrew Jackson Lansdowne, son of George and his first wife. The five Menefee boys, stepsons of George, were: Allen Menefee, and his twin, Alvin Menefee, both age sixteen; Alfred Menefee, age thirteen; Richard Hickman Menefee, age nine, later a Kentucky congressman and lawyer; and John Lonsdale Menefee, age seven. John was killed in a duel in Mississippi in 1838.

A biography of Richard Hickman Menefee, step-son of George Lansdowne, written by John Wilson Townsend, gives some insight into the family. “Menefee completed his first year at [Walker] Bourne’s school with great credit to himself. In the summer of 1822 he probably labored in the fields of some friendly farmer, and in the fall of the same year returned to Bourne’s school. One day, in the latter half of his second year at Bourne’s school, he came home and found his mother in tears. Inquiring for the cause of her sorrow he was told that she had been mistreated by his step-father, and, seizing a carving knife he made ready to repay the injury that Lansdowne had inflicted upon his mother. A relation, who happened to be in the house at the time, interfered and serious trouble was averted. This difficulty caused “the lion of his nature to first break out.” Menefee now left the home of his mother, and at the age of fourteen years started out to face the cold and uncongenial world.”

The same biography of Menefee contains a letter from Menefee to his step-father which showed that the two were somewhat reconciled.

“Lexington, December 30th, 1826
Dear Col:—I should be glad if you would inform me as soon as you can conveniently whether or not you intend that I should pay what remains of the money which I have to Mr. Brooks for boarding, or whether yourself and Mr. Brooks have arranged it yourselves. If you recollect, John Fletcher loaned me all the books which are necessary in College and thus far I have been obliged to purchase but one or two; Owing, however, to a different arrangement in the studies of the different classes all the books (excepting one or two) which I borrowed from Fletcher have become entirely useless; those of them which are still necessary, he has sent for, and I shall be under the necessity of purchasing. I think it is very probable that I could sell all the books which I shall buy for almost the same sum for which I buy them. I have been obliged to be at far more expense than I expected to have been by getting shirts, shoes, etc.
College will not be open for the students until Tuesday and I should like to hear your advice before that time.
If you think it advisable I will either get the books and sell them again or keep them for Jackson; I think, however, it would be advisable to dispose of them, as there is almost every year a change in books, though I leave this entirely to your own wishes. My respects to Ma and the family.
Yours with gratitude
R. H. Menefee.
N. B. The reason of my wishing to know the agreement of Mr. Brooks and yourself is that the boarders who are here at this time make quarterly payments; and if I am also to do it, as I have been here three months, I should be about it. After getting a college receipt of $20, books and other necessaries I have yet remaining $22.50 which I shall expend in any manner you may advise.
I am anxious for an immediate answer as I am entirely at a loss how to act. R. H. M.

“The Mr. Brooks referred to in the letter was James A. Brooks, who had charge of the University refectory during the entire time that Menefee was at Transylvania. “Jackson” was Andrew Jackson Lansdowne, Colonel Lansdowne’s only son, born to him by his first wife. By Menefee’s mother he had two daughters, one of whom married B. F. Tomlinson and the other one married Harrison Gill. Gill’s daughters have assisted in the preparation of this biography.”

Bath Co., Kentucky Deed Book E, 1824-1826 shows a purchase of land by George Lansdown dated 6 November 1824. He apparently paid one dollar to Robert Crockett and his wife, Polly, for a track of land “on the waters of prickly ash” which seems to have contained a little over ninety-two acres.

For many years George Lansdowne was one of the lessees of Olympia Springs in Bath County and announced in May, 1830, that he had “lately purchased the above celebrated watering-place of the Hon. H(enry) Clay” and was ready for business. Kentucky Atlas and Gazetteer has the following snippet about this resort that was popular in the nineteenth century. “Olympian Springs was a resort and spa in southern Bath county located about seven miles southeast of Owingsville on KY 36. The site was originally known as Mud Lick and the mineral springs attracted development before the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was named Olympian Springs around 1800 by Thomas Hart for a nearby hill called Mount Olympus. Through the years it had a succession of owners and cabins and hotels were constructed on the site. Kentucky’s first stage coach line, in 1803, ran from Lexington to Olympian Springs. The resort closed in the early part of the twentieth century. The Olympian Springs post office opened in 1811 and operated intermittently until 1822 when it moved to the nearby town of Olympia. Modern maps refer to the site as Olympia Springs and it is locally known as Mud Lick.” That George was running a resort explains the rather large household present in the 1830 census for George and his family. He and his wife had added two daughters to the family, Georgia Ann, called George Ann, in 1820 and Mary Jane in 1826. His son from his first marriage was just sixteen, and at least one of his stepsons was still at home, along with two unidentified white women, possibly employees, and fifteen slaves.

There is a record, dated 27 May 1831, “(in Henry Clay’s hand) signed by George Lansdowne selling (a) seven or eight year-old bay mare raised in Virginia with a star on her forehead said to have been got by Potomac to Clay.” Apparently the men were gambling buddies. There is a story that George obtained the springs from Henry Clay in a card game. Others claim that he won the right to purchase the resort in said game.

On 12 February 1833 George added fifty acres on Mud Lick Creek to his land holdings. And then his life turned upside down. The first tragedy was the death of his wife, Mary, on June 21, 1833, at the age of forty-six. She was buried at Olympia Springs. The next tragedy that marked George’s life is hard to understand. Perhaps he was grief-stricken and not in his right mind. Sometime prior to January 9, 1834 he was arrested and jailed for murder. The Journal of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky of that date stated “Mr. Stone presented the petition of George Lansdown of Bath county, representing that he is confined in the jail of said county on the charge of murder; and that from the prejudice existing against him in said county, he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial, and praying a change of venue.” Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky carried the following: “AN ACT to change the venue in the case of George Lansdown. Whereas, it is represented to the present General Assembly, that George Lansdown is confined in the jail of Bath county, upon a charge of murder, committed upon the person of his own slave, and that it is believed by him, and so proven, that the Judge who presides in said Circuit Court is unfriendly to him; that there is great prejudice existing against said Lansdown: and moreover, that the prosecuting Attorney, in said county, is nearly related to the prisoner [I believe this was his stepson, Richard Hickman Menefee, who was commonwealth’s attorney in 1831 and 1833]; and he has petitioned the Legislature for a change of the venue for his trial.” Eventually the trial was moved to Fleming County, but unfortunately, not living in Kentucky, I have been unable to discover the exact verdict. However, by 1840 George is back in Bath County in what seem like greatly reduced circumstances. He was between forty and fifty years old and was living with just one male slave.

In 1850 George Lansdown was living with his daughter, George Ann Gill, and son-in-law, Harrison Gill. His age was given as 60. Also in the home were the five children of Harrison and George Ann, Thomas Gill, an eighteen year-old deputy sheriff, and Allen Menifee, age forty-seven, a constable of Bath County and George’s stepson. Oddly, George is also listed as living with his daughter, Mary Jane Tomlinson and her family as well. So maybe he divided his time between the two.

George Lansdowne died on October 3, 1851. His tombstone says he was in “the 63d year of his age.” If true, we have his birth date narrowed down to about 1788. He is buried beside his wife, Mary, in Olympian Springs Cemetery on the grounds of the resort he ran. His son-in-law, Harrison Gill, took over Olympian Springs and ran it for several years. He and his wife, Georgeanne Lansdowne Gill are also buried in the cemetery.

Child of George Lansdowne and his first wife:
I. Andrew Jackson Lansdowne, b. 20 October 1814, probably in Prince William County, Virginia, d. 15 April 1873. He married Mary Hord, daughter of Thomas Hord, 13 May 1842, in Kentucky. She b. 15 Aug 1825 in Carter Co., Kentucky, d. 21 Apr 1881, Grayson Co., Kentucky.
Their children:
a. Lucy Lansdowne, b. 4 May 1843. She married Louise Gobel.
b. Mary “Daisy” Lansdowne. She b. 11 November 1844. She married George Ostenton. Their son Charles was a state senator from West Virginia.
c. George W. Lansdowne, b. 1 Nov 1848 in Carter Co., Kentucky, d. 7 Feb 1924 in the same. He married Helen Bayless 14 Feb 1872 in Carter Co., Kentucky. Their marriage produced nine children before their separation. Their son John C. Lansdowne was murdered in 1904. Their daughter Helen became one of the first women in advertising, working in New York City with her husband.
d. Juliet Lansdown, b. 20 Jan 1852 in Carter Co., Kentucky, d. 6 Apr 1947 in Carter Co., Kentucky, where she is also buried. She married Frank Powers.

Children of George Lansdowne and Mary Lonsdale Lansdowne:
I. Georgeanne Lansdowne, b. 21 October 1820 in Owingsville, Kentucky, d. 21 Jun 1883. She married Harrison Gill, 6 Dec 1837. They had nine children.
II. Mary Jane Lansdowne, b. 1826 in Owingsville, Kentucky, d. Missouri. She married Benjamin Franklin Tomlinson, 29 December 1839. They moved to Missouri about 1858. They had six children.

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