The Brothers Bourden: Isle of Wight County, Virginia

Nicholas Bourden and Prudence Wrenn, “relict” of John Wrenn, were married in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, before 1738 (The Marriages of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1628-1800 by Blanche Adams Chapman, page 5).  On November 16th of that year, Nicholas was referred to as “brother-in-law” in the will of Prudence’s brother, Samuel Davis (Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 2, by Blanche Adams Chapman, page 136).  Since their first child was born in April of 1737, they were most likely married in 1736.  There is a John Wrenn whose estate was ordered to be appraised March 22, 1735.  Whether this was Prudence’s husband or some other John Wrenn, I don’t know.  She married him sometime before August 15, 1734, when she’s referred to as Prudence Wrenn in the will of her brother, Thomas Davis (Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 2, page 70), but after 1720 when she’s referred to as Prudence Davis in the will of her mother, Mary Davis (Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 2, page 9).  There is reason to believe the marriage took place before 1727 (see below).  Also, the wording of her mother’s will may imply that Prudence had not yet attained the age of 21.

The births of Nicholas and Prudence’s five children were recorded in the Newport Parish Vestry Book, which can be viewed at (Virginia, Isle of Wight County Records, 1634-1951 – Church Records – Vestry Book, 1727-1772).  Bottom right of image 117 for the boys, left side of image 119 for Mary.  If you’d rather not strain your eyes reading old documents, this information can also be found in Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Volume 9, Number 2, page 119. This can also be accessed through FamilySearch.

The children of Nicholas Bourden and Prudence Davis Wrenn were:

  • Samuel Bourden b. April 14, 1737
  • John Bourden b. June 10, 1739
  • Nicholas Bourden, Jr. b. March 25, 1741
  • Baker Bourden b. January 10, 1742/3
  • Mary Bourden b. March 30, 1745

The above list is slightly different from that found in Tyler’s Quarterly which has Baker being born in the month of June.  However, looking at the Vestry Book, I think it may actually be January.  Compare the June written for John


with what’s written for Baker.


Doesn’t the second letter look like an “a” rather than a “u”?  And the fourth more a “u” than an “e”?  Its being January instead of June would also explain the 1742/3 thing.  Mary’s birth year is written in Roman numerals, of all things:  MDCCXLV.  The “V” is written with quite a flourish.

Besides the five children she gave Nicholas, Prudence had two children with John Wrenn.  One of these was named John.  In the Vestry Book, at the very bottom of image 117, you can just make out “John Wren son of John Wren and Prudence his wife….”  The next line, which would be his birth date, is illegible due to extreme fading.


We know there was another child because of the Accounts of the Estate of John Wrenn (scroll down a bit), taken by Nicholas and Prudence in 1748 (James Baker was ordered to audit the Accounts of the Estate August 12, 1748), in which there is the entry “To bringing up two small Children.”  The implication being that the youngest was now of age. In those days, this meant they were at least 21 years of age, that is born in or before 1727.  I’ve seen several online trees that say the Thomas Wrenn who married Catherine Ingram was the other child, but, as yet, no one has offered any actual proof that I’ve seen.

If Nicholas and Prudence used conventional Colonial naming patterns, which is suggested by second son John, for her father, John Davis, and third son, Nicholas (for him), then eldest son, Samuel, would have been named after his paternal grandfather.  As for the fourth son, Baker, I’ve wondered if Baker was the maiden name of Nicholas’s mother.  Thus, Nicholas Bourden, Sr., may have been the son of Samuel Bourden and ? Baker.  Of course, I have no proof of that, so it’s complete speculation.

With Prudence, we’re on much firmer ground.  She was the daughter of John Davis and Mary Green.  An abstract of John’s will can be found in Chapman’s Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 1, page 79, and Mary’s in Volume 2, page 9.  We’ll get into her family in more detail in future posts.

The first appearance of Nicholas Bourden in the records was in Elizabeth City County where on December 2, 1734, he witnessed the will of John Kerby (Wills and Administrations of Elizabeth City County, Virginia, 1688-1800 by Blanche Adams Chapman, page 48).  And on April 4, 1735, still in Elizabeth City County, he witnessed another will, that of Mary Picket (same source, page 69).  After his marriage to Prudence, Nicholas’s name is peppered throughout the second volume of Chapman’s Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County as he appraises, examines and settles many estates.  The first of these occurs at the bottom of page 91, where he and Lawrence Baker settle the estate of Jeremiah Ingraham, October 23, 1738.

On December 20, 1738, Nicholas Bourden wrote a letter to The Virginia Gazette about a tragic incident which occurred the Wednesday prior, December 13 (Some Descendants of John Moone ca 1600-1655 and Nicholas Bourden ca 1700-1759: Jamestown and Isle of wight County In the Colony of Virginia by Richard Bowden Jones, page 7, citing The Virginia Gazette, Issue Number 133).  Images of the Virginia Gazette can be accessed through the Colonial Williamsburg website.  Go to Research – Online Resources – Digital Library – Virginia Gazettes.  You’re looking for Parks, 1739, February 23.  This letter is on page 3, bottom right.

Isle of Wight County, Dec. 20, 1738

Mr. Parks,
The Publication of the following unhappy Accident, may be a Means to prevent the like in other Families, which I hope will be a Warning to all; and desire it may be inserted in your Gazette, for the Public Good. On Wednesday the Thirteenth of this Instant, I intended to kill some hogs, and accordingly put a Kettle of water, containing 20 Gallons, over the Fire, for that Purpose; and when the Water was boiling, none being in the Kitchen but my only Child and a Negro child, the Sway-Pole broke, and scalded them to such a Degree that twas a most horrid Spectacle, and must have moved the most obdurate. The Negro Child is dead, but my own Child, I hope is in a fair Way of Recover tho’ prodigiously scalded: My Wife very narrowly escaped the same Fate; for she had not gone three Steps from the Kitchen Door, before the Kettle fell down, when she sat on her Hams, putting some Potatoes in the Fire for the Children: The Children were both in the Corner when the Kettle fell down, or it must have been present Death.

I am, Sir, Your humble Servant,

Nicholas BOURDEN.

Samuel would have been just over a year and half and Prudence would have been carrying John, though she may not have known it yet.

Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5: Families G-P by John Frederick Dorman, page 681, mentions that Samuel was ordered bound to John Dering, a tailor, August 1, 1751.  He’d have been 14.  Samuel, along with James Dering and Martha Dering, witnessed the will of Benjamin Barlow (bottom of page and onto next page) December 26, 1757.  The will was registered April 5, 1759.

Louise Jones abstracted entries from various Isle of Wight County records concerning “Orphans and Other Children of Isle of Wight County” which were published over several issues of The Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly and of which I’ve only had glimpses thanks to my free Ancestry account.  I can’t afford a paid account right now, so all I get are frustrating snippets.  But what intriguing snippets they are!

  • August 1,…Samuel Bourden, orphan of Nicholas is…Taylor [James Dering, tailor?]. p. 342.   (Volume 25, Number 2)
  • 6 July…John Bourden, orphan of Nicholas, is to…    (Volume 26, Number 1)
  • Snippet of the index to Volume 26, Number 1 lists Baker on page 32 and John on page 31

If you put the snippet about Samuel together with the apprentice bond mentioned in Dorman, both dated August 1, then it’s possible that Nicholas Bourden had died earlier in 1751 or in late 1750.  On page 8 of his book cited above, Richard Bowden Jones says that John was bound out in July 1759 and Baker in November of that year.  I’ve yet to find mention of young Nicholas being apprenticed to anyone.  If anyone has further information on this, either through the aforementioned article or the Isle of Wight County Order Book, 1746-1752, please contact me via comments.  Thank you so much, in advance.

Young Nicholas witnessed the will of a John Davis February 1, 1762 (Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 3, by Blanche Adams Chapman, page 12).  Whether uncle or cousin, I’m not sure.  John Bourden was one of the men to appraise the estate of John Jackson which was recorded January 6, 1763 (same source, page 20).  This is the last public record, that I’m aware of, in which John appears.  It’s possible he died shortly after this.  And, as far as I know, there’s no mention of Mary after her birth.  Of course, it’s harder to find women in the records and she may have married or she may have died in childhood.  Either way, she’s left no trace. There is no record, that I know of, that either John or Mary ever left Virginia, but the other three migrated to Duplin County, North Carolina.

Which is where we’ll follow them next.

Update 7/7/2017:  I finally managed access to the above mentioned articles in the Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly.  The article, “Orphans and Other Children of Isle of Wight County”, yielded no further information than that given by Mr. Jones in his book and recounted above.  However, there was another article, “Isle of Wight County Order Book, 1746-1752” (Volumes 38 through 40), which gave me this gem, from Volume 40-1, p. 54 (emphasis mine):

Francis Wrenn, plantiff, vs. Nicholas Bourden, type: in chancery, verdict: dismissed due to the death of the defendant.

The date for that entry was January 4, 1749.  From this, we can conclude that Nicholas died late in 1748.  Other entries from the Order Books:

9 Apr 1747 – William Sutter provided evidence for Robert Bureswetter, Gent. vs. Nicholas Bourden.
9 Jul 1747 – Robert Burwell, Gent. plantiff, vs. Nicholas Bourden.
5 Apr 1750 – John Davis, Edward Brantley & wife Mary, Nicholas Bourden & wife Prudence, & Sarah Murry, plantiffs vs. John Davis admin of Elizabeth Davis…verdict dismissed, parties agreed.


Who was Ephraim Gatlin?

I have three Gatlin lines and all of them lead back to one couple:  John Gatlin and Esther Tingle.  John Gatlin and James Gatlin purchased a marriage bond January 6, 1784 for John to marry Esther Tingle.   There are two sources that lay out their children. The first is a deed of gift (Craven County Deed Book 30, page 130), dated February 22, 1793, from Esther’s father, Solomon, to the children:

To all People to whom these presents shall come I Solomon Tingle do send Greeting.

Know ye, that I the said Solomon Tingle of the State of North Carolina in the County of Craven Farmer for and in consideration of the love good will and affection which I have and do bear towards my loving grand children Abner Gatlin, Mille Gatlin Shadrack Gatlin Holon Gatlin of the same County sons and daughters of John Gatlin and Esther his Wife, have Given and Granted and by these presents do freely Give and Grant unto the said Abner Gatlin, Nille Gatlin Shadrach Gatlin Hollon Gatlin their Heirs Executors or administrators all to one Feather bed and furniture to one Linen Wheel, to one pewter bason, one pewter dish, four pewter plates, to five head of cattle to four head of hoggs, of which before the signing of these presents I have delivered them the said Children an Inventory signed with my own hand goods and cattles to the said Children their Heirs Executors or administrators from henceforth as their proper Goods and chattels absolutely without any manner of condition In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 22nd day of February 1793.

Signed Sealed & delivered                   Solomon (his mark) Tingle
In the presence of us
Amos Cutherell
John Tingle

March Craven County Court 1793
Then was the deed acknowledged in open court by Solomon Tingle the grantor and ordered to be recorded.

Attest Samuel Chapman CC

Many Tingle researchers seem to be unaware of Esther’s relationship to Solomon. Probably due to her omission from his will, dated September 30, 1784. In it, he mentions sons Solomon and John, daughter Mary, and wife Mary. The will was proven March Term 1795. I strongly suspect that he had another daughter not mentioned in the will, the Mills Tingle who married John King October 11, 1782 with Amos Cuthrell as bondsman.  According to the text of their respective bonds, both Mills and Esther were “of Christ Church Parish”.  This raises the question, in my mind, anyway, of whether Solomon’s wife, Mary, was a Mills. But that’s a puzzle for another time.

The second piece of documentation proving the children of John Gatlin and Esther Tingle comes from Craven County Deed Book 39, page 535:

This Indenture made and executed, this eleventh day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen by and between Esther Gatlin, widow and Abner Gatlin, Shadrach Gatlin, Jeremiah Roe and Milly his wife, Shadrach Roe and Holland his wife, heirs at law of John Gatlin deceased of the County of Craven, and State of North Carolina of the one part, and John Reel Esquire of the County & State aforesaid, of the other part; Witnesseth, that the said Esther Gatlin, Abner Gatlin, Shadrach Gatlin, Jeremiah Roe and Milly his wife, and Shadrach Roe and Holland his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of Dollars to them in hand paid, by the said John Reel at and before the sealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof they do hereby acknowledge, have given, granted, bargained, and sold, and by these presents do give, grant, bargain and sell, unto the said John Reel his heirs and assigns their undivided shares or portions of a certain tract or parcel of land situate, lying and being in the County of Craven on the north side of Neuse river and the West side of Morgan’s Swamp, beginning at a white oak in the fork of turkey neck branch and running thence, north forty five Degrees West one hundred and sixty poles crossing the main prong of turkey neck branch, to a stake in back [or buck] savannah, about half a pole to the north east of a marked pine saplin, then north forty five Degrees East one hundred and sixty poles to a pine, in or near John Gatlin’s other patent, then to the beginning, containing one hundred and ten acres, more or less, being the same tract which was patented by the said John Gatlin 24th day of October, A.D. 1782.–To Have and to hold that portion, share or dividend of the said tract herin before bounded & described with its appurtenances, which descended to the said grantors as heirs of the said John Gatlin to the said John Reel his heirs and assigns for ever and the said grantors for themselves and their heirs, Executors and administrators, to and with the said John Reel his heirs and assigns do hereby covenant and grant thir said undivided interest and share in the tract herein before described with its appurtenances against themselves, the said grantors, and their respective heirs and against the lawful claim or claims of all persons whatsoever, unto the said John Reel his heirs and assigns forever to warrant secure and defend by these presents– In Witness whereof the said Esther Gatlin, Abner Gatlin, Shadrach Gatlin, Jeremiah Roe and Milly his wife, & Shadrach Roe and Holland his wife, have hereunto set their hands and seals, the day and year first above written.–

Esther [her mark] Gatlin
Abner Gatlin
Shaderach Gatlin
Jeremiah Roe
Milly [her mark] Roe
Shadrick Roe
Hollon [her mark] Roe

Signed sealed and Delivered in the presence of
Jacob Burch
Wm Gatlin

So, the children of John Gatlin and Esther Tingle were:

  • Abner Gatlin (b. 1785)
  • Mills “Millie” Gatlin (b. 1788) married Jeremiah Roe January 29, 1812 with Abner Gatlin as bondsman
  • Shadrack Gatlin (b. 1790) married Margaret Stevenson May 15, 1811 with Elijah Gatlin as bondsman
  • Holland Gatlin (b. 1792) married Shadrack Roe December 17, 1811 with Jeremiah Roe as bondsman

I descend from all but Abner.  Shadrack through Mom’s maternal grandmother and both Mills and Holland through Dad’s maternal grandmother.

It all looked pretty cut and dried until I found another deed, Deed Book 41, page 306:

This Indenture made this 16th day of December one thousand eight hundred and sixteen between Esther Gatlin, Abner Gatlin, Shadrick Gatlin, Jeremiah Roe and Milly his wife grantors of the County of Craven and State of North Carolina of the one part for and in consideration of one hundred dollars to them in hand paid by Shaderick Roe of the County and State aforesaid of the other part at the sealing and signing of these presents the receipt and payment whereof is hereby is acknowledged the said Grantors have bargained sold conveyed and confirmed and do hereby bargain sell convey and confirm unto Shaderick Roe his heirs and assigns forever our several undivided shares in a certain piece or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Craven on the North side of Neuse river and east side of Little Swift creek and east side of Bumpy ground swamp begining at a small sweet gum on the said Swamp to the center of a big laurel and sweet gum and turns No. 62 Et. 25 poles to a pine John Harris’ corner then with his line No 45 Et 128 poles then So 18 Et 60 poles to a stake then So 6 Wt 80 poles to a pine then So 40 Wt 66 poles to a pine in Simon Bexley’s line then with his line No 42 Wt 60 poles to a stake then So 67 Wt 56 poles to the Bumpy ground Swamp then with the various courses of the said Swamp to the begining which land was patented by Ephraim Gatlin and by a legal decent came to the present proprietors and by them sold to Shaderick Roe. To have and to hold the said several undivided shares contained in said Ephraim Gatlin’s Patent with all ways woods waters and every other appurtenance thereunto belonging to Shaderick Roe his his heirs and assigns forever in fee simple and we the said grantors for ourselves our heirs Exrs. and admirs do covenant and promise to and with the said Shaderick Roe his heirs and assigns that we shall and will warrant and forever defend each of our undivided shares in the aforesaid patent free from all lawful claim or claims of any person or persons whatsoever. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals the day and year first above written.

Ester [her mark] Gatlin
Abner [his mark] Gatlin
Shaderick Gatlin
Jeremiah Roe
Milly [her mark] Roe

Signed Sealed and delivered in presence of
John [his mark] Evernton
Lazarous [his mark] Ipock

Who was Ephraim Gatlin? The only other document I’ve found with his name on it is the patent mentioned in the aforementioned deed, entered January 10, 1798 and issued June 3, 1799. If he’s old enough to patent land in 1798, then he was born in or before 1778.  How does he fit into the overall Gatlin jigsaw and by what legal descent did Esther and her children come by this land?  Does anyone out there have a clue?  Cause I don’t.  I’ve considered two possibilities:

  1. That Ephraim was John’s son by a previous marriage.  But this would not explain how Esther would have acquired any share in the land.
  2. That Esther married Ephraim sometime after John’s death.  But, in the first deed, dated September 11, 1815, she’s referred to as Esther Gatlin, widow.  The second deed is dated December 16, 1816.  So when did John die?  Ephraim?  There is no estate record for Ephraim, but there are three for a John Gatlin dated 1801, 1807, and 1811.
    1. John Gatlin, Sr. (1801) – Died before March 9, 1801.  On that date, Esther Gatlen, John Gatlen and David Gatlen paid £100 administrator bond on the estate of John Gatlen.
    2. John Gatlin (1807) – Clearly, this is the John who married the widow Dolly Barnes.
    3. John Gatlin (1811) – Died before June 10, 1811 when Esther Gatlin, Abner Gatlin & Shadrack Gatlin paid £500 administrator bond on the estate of John Gatlin.

    Chances are high that our John is the one who died in 1811.  Looking at the estate sale, which occurred July 3, 1811, Esther, Milly, Abner, Hollan, and Shadrick are the top buyers.  John Gatlin, Sr. is, probably, the one who married Esther Johnson sometime in the 1760s.  The only other documents in our John’s estate folder pertain to the required audit and settlement of the accounts of the administrator, in this case, Esther, with the Estate.  This is dated March 5, 1816.  Usually, when a widow remarries, and that widow is the administratrix/executrix of an estate, those duties are transferred to the new husband.  There is no documentation to show that this occurred in this case.

It’s a puzzle.

Here’s a little something else to throw out there, from Deed Book 33, page 107:

State of North Carolina, Craven County

To all Men to whom these presents shall come I Elizabeth Gatlin senr. send greeting. Know ye that I the said Elizabeth Senr. of the County and State aforesaid for and in Consideration of the Love good Will and affection, which I have and do bear towards my two Grand Sons Abner Gatlin & Shadrick Gatlin, both of this County & State have given & granted and bye these presents do freely give and grant unto my said two Grand Sons Abner & Shadrick Gatlin their Heirs & Assigns forever, a Certain Tract or parcel of Land lying and being in the State and County aforesaid and on the South East Side of Swifts Creek and North Side of Neuse River: Beginning at a large Pine by the Side of the white March, from thence So. 29 ds. East 40 poles to a post in Samuel Lawsons given Line thence North 65 Et. with Lawsons given ine 153 pole to his Beginning Corner a Gum in Kitten Bridge Swamp then South 55 ds East with Lawsons line 83 pole to a pine, then No. 40 ds. East 52 pole to a Stake in Ephraim Pearcesis Line then North 30 ds with his line 45 pole to a Light wood Stump said Pearceis beginning Corner in or near Willis’s Line 154 pole to the cutting Ledge [or Lodge] Marsh then along the Marsh side and binding on the Side of the Marsh to the Beginning Containing one hundred and fifty Acres of Land, unto them the aforesaid Abner and Shadrick Gatlin and their Heirs and Assigns forever, with all the Houses plantations Timber profits, benefits and advantages to the same belonging or in any wise appertaining unto them the said Abner & Shadrick Gatlin their Heirs and Assigns forever may have hold and quietly possess the aforesaid Land and Improvements Clear from the just Claim of the aforesaid Elizabeth Gatlin her Heirs or any other person or persons whatsoever to their proper use, without any manner of Consideration. In Witness whereof I have hereunto put my Hand & Seal this ? day of ? 1797 August the 12th day

signed sealed & delivered in the presence of us

Elizabeth [her mark] Gatlin
Lazarus [his mark] Gatlin
Baron [his mark] Gatlin
Mary [her mark] Gatlin
Levi Burch

State of North Carolina
Craven County Court March Term 1798
Then was the foregoing Deed proved in open Court agreable to Law and ordered to be registered
Attest Saml Chapman CC

The identity of this Elizabeth Gatlin, Senr. is just one more Gatlin puzzle. Trust me, there were a lot of Gatlins marrying women named Elizabeth!  This land was originally entered by John Gatlen, Junr. May 8, 1779 and his grant issued October 9, 1783.  He sold it to Elizabeth August 6, 1792 for £100 (Deed Book 30, page 139).

Oh, and, if you’re curious, here is John Gatlin’s “other patent” mentioned in the John Reel deed (North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 20, pg. 707, Grant No.: 110):

John Gatlin: 100 acres Craven on the N side of Neuse river and on the W side of Morgans Swamp Beginning at the head of Turkey neck at a post oak and runs No 75 W 127 poles to a pine then So 15 W 127 poles to a pine then So 75 E 127 poles to a pine on Morgans Swamp from thence a direct course to the Beginning dated 14th November 1771.                                                                                                     Jo Martin


The Discovery of Britty Swindell

In my post, Dixon Wives: Nancy Jane Daniels, I proposed that the parents of Nancy’s father, Isaiah, were Wilson Daniels and Prudence, his wife. My reasons for this were based on information gleaned from the 1850 and 1860 censuses. In 1860, the households of Isaiah and Wilson Daniels were contiguous, houses 246 and 247, respectively. Wilson, an apparent widower, was 63 and Isaiah was 38. Simple arithmetic leads one to the simple conclusion that they were father and son.


The 1850 census gives us the name of Wilson’s wife, Prudence.


Although I’ve yet to find a document that states outright the relationship between these men, it seems self-evident.  But, as it turns out, the relationship between Isaiah and Prudence may have had little to do with blood (since  I don’t know Prudence’s maiden name, I can’t  discount some sort of blood tie).  You see, my friend, Google, led me to a discovery: The John Gray Blount Papers. Mr. Blount and his brother, Thomas, were merchants based in Washington, Beaufort County. On page 429 of Volume 4 (Internet Archive), there is a letter from William Higson, in Mattamuskeet (this is in Hyde County), to John Gray Blount, dated April 12, 1825:


and further on:


I was all agog, let me tell you! Just why the boys would need a guardian when their father was still living quite baffles me. Over to FamilySearch I went to glance through Hyde County estate records. From these, I learned that Henry Williamson died sometime before December 11, 1802 when the sale of his estate was held and a year’s provision was set aside for his widow, Ann.  There were two Swindells at the sale, Jonathan and Solomon. Which, if either, of these gentlemen was the husband of Fanny Williamson? Back to Google I went. It gave me an answer: Jonathan.  Proof of this is supposed to be contained within an 1802 deed in Hyde County, bur I can’t confirm this until I’m able to see for myself.  The search results also told me Jonathan left a will, dated 1847.

Clicking back to FamilySearch, a quick browse through the Beaufort County will books nets me the will of Johnathan Swindle:

Jonathan Swindell

July the 28 1847
this is my last will and testament
Britty daniels one dollar
my son isaac swndell one dollar
megattin swindell 50 acres of land begining on lintons line runing to [word that’s smudged but looks like] my middle bay gineing [joining?] Jerome Spain
Johnathan Swindell 50 acres of land begining on lintons line runing to middle bay gining gattin swindell
my daughter salina my house and plantation gining land 50 akers
the balance of my land to tomouse defoe [I think] swindell my grand Child
50 dollars to my son Joel Swindell is to Come out of my property
Joel Swindell execter to my property and Josiah Lupton

Johnathan Swindell [signed with a mark]

J. B. Spain
Stephen Mason [signed with a mark]

If you’ll remember, Isaiah had a daughter named Britannia who was called Britty. Can we get a Eureka!?

The will was probated in December 1847 by the oath of J. B. Spain and Joel Swindell qualified as Executor. There is an Estate folder for Jonathan in the CRX boxes in Raleigh. Maybe, one of these days, I’ll get around to viewing them. They’re not the only papers in those boxes I want to see, trust me.

So, we have Britannia “Britty” Swindell, daughter of Jonathan Swindell and Fanny Williamson married Wilson Daniels, probably about 1818 or 1819, in the Goose Creek area of Beaufort County.  Wilson Daniels appears on a tax list for the first time in 1819, in this area, with 1 white poll taxed at $0.55.  Britty’s father, Jonathan, also appears on this list with 50 acres valued at 50 with one white poll taxed at $0.66.

I have more about the Williamsonses and Swindells that I’ll post later.  Henry Williamson was an intriguing character!

Proof: Tabitha, wife of Nicholas Bourden

Just hours after scheduling the previous post, The Brothers Bourden: Men of Family, I’ve discovered proof that Tabitha was, indeed, the wife of Nicholas Bourden, Revolutionary War Captain.

I was reading deeds at, focusing on James and trying to untangle him from his nephew, when I found a bill of sale (Deed Book DFTU, page 433) wherein Nicholas Bourden sells to James Bourden a “certain Negro woman named Sue, aged twenty one years, for the sum of three hundred dollars.”  I’m unsure if these are James and his father or his two nephews, or some other combination thereof.  The witnesses were Nathan Garner and William Bourden.  At the bottom, after the witnesses’ signatures, it says:

a mistake in the [can’t make out this next word, but it begins with an “f”] of the Bill of Sale of Excepting Nicholas Bourden Senr. & Tabitha his Wife‘s lifetime.  a mistake by me James Bourden.

Here’s a screenshot so you can read it yourself.


The Brothers Bourden: The Wives

Before discussing the children, I want to take a moment to talk about their mothers. In various genealogies posted across the web, I’ve seen the maiden name of all three wives given as Holder. No records are ever cited, no evidence given. The only sources are other genealogies and Ancestry. Similarly, the given name of Nicholas’s wife is often said to be Elizabeth, but, again, no documentation is sourced. If some descendant somewhere has record of these things, a family bible, perchance, I wish they’d come forward. Otherwise, in reality, only the first names of Samuel’s and Baker’s wives are known with any certainty.


We learn the name of Baker’s wife, Martha, through the court and probate records of New Hanover County.  Both he and Martha left wills, which I’ll discuss in more detail in the next post.

From New Hanover County Court Minutes, Part 3, 1786-1793, Abstracted, Compiled and Edited by Alexander McDonald Walker:

5 January 1790 … Estate of Baker Bowden, Decd.–Will proved by Jno. Fulwood; and Joel Parish qualified as Exr. (page 48).

9 Apr 1790 … Estate of Baker Bowden, Decd.–Martha Bowden, decedent’s widow appointed Admrx. with will annexed; bond 200 pounds; John Erwin and James Stanley, sur. (page 52).

My personal theory, and it’s just that, a THEORY, regarding Martha is that she was a Parrish.  My reasons are pretty diaphanous.

  1. Joel Parrish was one of the Executors appointed in Baker’s will.
  2. Joel Parrish’s own will, he mentions a son named Richard and a daughter Molsey. Baker and Martha have children with those names.

That’s it. See? It couldn’t get much more flimsy and still have any basis in documentation whatsoever. I’ve also toyed with her being a Cowan, based on even shakier grounds:

  1. John Cowan is listed right next to Martha in 1790.
  2. Two of his daughters married sons of Baker and Martha.


The name of Samuel’s wife, Catherine, comes down to us through a deed of gift, dated March 30, 1809 (Deed Book 4A, page 17):

The only other surname I’ve seen suggested for Catherine is Hodges, which makes a lot more sense than Holder. This comes from a tree at FamilySearch, but no source is given, and no parents suggested.

Mrs. Nicholas

As for Mrs. Nicholas Bourden, Jr., my working hypothesis is that she was a Bryan or Bryant. My only basis for this is that one of their sons was given that name. But, as any researcher knows, names can be clues. Her own given name may have been Tabitha. My one and only source for a Tabitha Bowden is a deed, dated April 8, 1789, “…between Owen O’Daniel of the County of Duplin & State of N Carolina of the one part and Wm Duncan of the same County & State aforesaid of the other part…”, which can be found in property book DFTU, page 101). It was “Signed sealed & delivered in the presence of Tabetha Bowden, Samuel Bowden, Bryan Bowden….”

My first thought was that she was one of the unknown daughters of Samuel, Sr., found in the censuses. But, with Bryan being the other witness….  You see, there is another Samuel, son of Nicholas, and Bryan is another of his sons (Deed Book M, page 72, for Samuel and Book N, page 257, for Bryan) I find myself wondering if she was their mother and, thus, the wife of Nicholas, Jr. In any case, to have witnessed a legal document, she was, more than likely, of or over 21. Therefore, whether wife or daughter, Tabitha Bourden was probably born in or before 1768 (if wife, obviously, well before).

Dolly Bowden

Dolly may have been a nickname.  It just sounds like it should be.  I’ve read that Dolly can be used as a nickname for Dorothy.  At the time she married James Bourden/Bowden, her surname was Southerland, but that may or may not have been her maiden name.  There are indications that she may, originally, have been a Spence.  Or her mother was.  Or her mother-in-law, because I have no idea who James’s mother was.  Why am I so certain somebody in this family was a Spence?  Because of this entry in the Spence Family Bible:

Bethsay Ann BOURDEN the darter of Jonas? BOURDEN and wife Dolly BOURDEN was born the 15 day of February 1830.
Bethsay Ann BOURDEN dec’d the 26 day of March 1835.

Why would little Betsy Ann be recorded in the Spence Family Bible unless one of her parents, or grandparents, was a Spence?

Before I go any further, you’ll want to open that link in a new window, because I’m going to refer to that bible record frequently in this post.  There will be lots of speculation with theories, hypotheses, and possibilities galore.  I’m going to focus on Dolly and/or her mother being the Spence, but, keep in mind that, as I said before, it could just as easily have been James’s mother who was the Spence.  If anyone has any information that would back any of this up, or prove me horribly wrong, please share!

I hinted in my post Hiram Wright and the Bowden Sisters that certain questions were raised in my mind by the genealogy Some Early Families of Eastern North Carolina.  I discussed one of those questions in that post, whether James and Dolly were the parents of Mitchell Bowden.  The answer, in my humble opinion, being an emphatic no.  The dates just don’t work.  A second question pertains to the parentage of Dolly herself.  It says Dolly was the daughter of Isaac Spence and Mary Elizabeth Bowden, daughter of Samuel Bowden.  I’ve seen no actual evidence that her name was Mary, the marriage bond just says Elisabeth, and I’m not so sure Samuel was her father.  Isaac Spence and Elisabeth Bowden married in Duplin County April 27, 1789, as per this post.  I know most genealogies have the date of their marriage being in 1769, but the William Dickson argument utilized in that post is compelling. And, let’s face it, 1789 makes Dolly Spence a more likely probability.

The above genealogy also says Timothy W. Spence, born June 4, 1771, was the son of Isaac and Elisabeth Bowden Spence, which is, clearly, incorrect.  No, this is not wishful thinking on my part due to the whole 1769 vs. 1789 thing.  The bible record clearly states that he was the son of Timothy and Elizabeth Spence.  This older Timothy is quite likely the Timothy Spence on the 1767 Tax List for New Hanover County.  There’s a John Spence on that list, as well, though I don’t know if they’re brothers or father and son or something else entirely.  Just so you know, if John turns out to be the son in this possible father/son relationship, it will render the rest of this post moot.

I’m wondering if Timothy W. Spence and Isaac Spence were brothers, both sons of Timothy and Elizabeth?  And maybe we could add the John Spence of the 1790s Cumberland County land patents to the mix.  We could also, still hypothetically speaking, add to this list of possible children the Sarah Spence who married Beesly Maning June 10, 1793 in Duplin County with Elisha Gibbs as bondsman.

So, the children of Timothy Spence, Sr., and Elizabeth, his wife were:

  • John Spence (b. 1768, d. 1830) married Rhoda (as per his estate)
  • Isaac Spence (b. 1769) married Elisabeth Bowden (b. 1773)
  • Timothy W. Spence (b. June 4, 1771, d. May 3, 1853) married Martha “Patsy” (d. December 14, 1858)
  • Sarah Spence (b. 1777) married Beesly Maning

The dates for Timothy and Patsy come from the bible record, and John’s death date from his estate file, the others are calculated from a marriage age of 20 for the men and 16 for the women.  And does anyone have information about Beesly Maning?  All I have is this marriage bond.

Now let’s say, for supposition’s sake, that Timothy and Elizabeth married just before John’s birth, that is in 1767, and, further, that she was 13 when they wed.  That would mean she was born in 1754.  Dolly was born in about 1785, give or take a year or two.  In 1785, Elizabeth would have been 31 and, barring tragedy, still able to bear children and would  have been even if she’d married at 16 instead of 13.  Or, she and Timothy could have had a daughter born in 1772, who would have been 13 in 1785 and who was Dolly’s mother, Mrs. Southerland.  These calculations would work even if the hypothetical Mrs. Southerland was a year or two older than Isaac instead of younger.

Quick aside, I’ve read in various genealogies that Martha “Patsy” Spence’s maiden name was Futch, though with no actual proof, and that she was the daughter of Onesimus Futch.  Looking at the dates involved, I think granddaughter would be more likely.  Onesimus and his son, John, appear on the 1762 tax list in New Hanover County (see here for that and other tax lists for that county).  To be considered taxable, John had to have been at least 16 in 1762 which means he was born no later than 1747.  I don’t know where the 1766 date in so many genealogies comes from.  Martha was born sometime in the 1770s. Onesimus was the son of Martin Futch and Isabella Lawson Chilly.  Isabella was the daughter of John Lawson and Hannah Smith and widow of John Chilly and Martin the son of Jacob and Margaretha Fuch who were among the Palatines that came to the New Bern area with Baron von Graffenreid.  See this post:  Martin and Isabella Futch N. C.  This Onesimus Futch, there were at least five in the eighteenth century alone that I know about just glancing through some of the available data, never lived anywhere but North Carolina.  He was born in Craven County, probably in the part that is now Jones, and died in New Hanover County in 1781 (his estate file).  His wife’s name was Mary, she may or may not have been a Blunt.  It is interesting to note that Onesimus Futch entered a patent (it was never recorded) for 200 acres on the north side of Goshen Swamp, Duplin County, April 18, 1767.  John Futch was issued a patent, same county, for 100 acres on Farris’s Branch, not sure where that was, May 17, 1754.

Back to the bible record for a moment.  I found these entries especially interesting:

Isaac SPENCE, Junr, died the 21st day of October 1820, age twenty-six and four
months and twenty days old.
Timothy SPENCE, Junr. Died the 17th day of September the year 1818, age 21
years and 13 days old.
Samuel SPENCE died the 16th of November 1819, age 23 years 10 months old.
Elibeth SPENCE the wife of Isaac SPENCE dec’d the 24th day of May 1821.

and, further down,

Isaac SPENCE, Sr. died the 19 day of April 1848.

The question, here, is which Isaac Spence was “Elibeth” married to?  Was she the wife of Isaac, Jr. or was she the wife of Isaac, Sr., and, thus, Elisabeth Bowden?  The Isaac, Junr was, obviously, the son of Timothy and Martha, their children are the main focus of this bible record, born May 1, 1794.  Or so I thought until I did the math, with the help of this age calculator.  Their Isaac would have been 26 years, 5 months, and twenty days old on October 21, 1820.  So, either someone miscalculated his age at death, or this isn’t their Isaac, but someone else.  Plus, their Timothy was only 9 in 1818, and they had no son named Samuel. Were Samuel (b. Jan 16, 1796), Timothy, Junr. (b. Sep 4, 1797) and, Isaac, Junr. (b. June 1, 1794, exactly one month after his cousin of the same name) the sons of Isaac Spence and Elisabeth Bowden?

Ergo, the children of Isaac Spence, Sr., and Elisabeth Bowden, for now, are:

  • Isaac Spence, Jr. (b. June 1, 1794, d. October 21, 1820)
  • Samuel Spence (b. Jan 16, 1796, d. Nov 16, 1819)
  • Timothy Spence (b. Sep 4, 1797, d. Sep 17, 1818)

Now to tackle another puzzle:  Who, exactly, was Elizabeth, wife of John Prowse, Schoolmaster, and what relation was she, if any, to Isaac Spence?  There’s a whole conversation about this on the message boards, mostly about whether or not Elizabeth Prowse was Elisabeth Bowden.  See, John Prowse wrote his will January 16, 1791 and it was probated in July.  After what I’ve come to think of as the preamble, it says:

…the Residue and Remainder of my Estate both real and personal 2 lend to my beloved wife Elizabeth Prowse during her natural life or widowhood, and at her decease or future marriage then 2 give and bequeath the whole to my son Thomas Prowse to him and his heirs and assigns forever.  And further to constitute and appoint my trusty friend Samuel Bowden and my son in law Isaac Spence to execute this my will and testament…

One of the witnesses is Timothy Spence.  The sticking point is the term “son-in-law.”  At this point in time, it could have it’s modern meaning, but it could also refer to a stepson.  So which was Isaac Spence to John Prowse?  If son-in-law, then what happened to Elisabeth Bowden Spence?  And if Elizabeth Prowse was Elisabeth Bowden Spence, making Isaac John’s stepson, then the only way this makes any sense is if the 1769 marriage date is correct instead of 1789, the Isaac Spence in the will being the son of Elisabeth and the senior Isaac.  That’s the gist of the controversy.  However, using my theory, as yet unproven, then Elizabeth Prowse was the widow of Timothy Spence, Sr., when she married John Prowse and was, thus, Isaac’s mother.  And, within the bounds of that hypothesis, Thomas Prowse would have to been her stepson, there being no indication that he is underage (under 21) in this will and, thus, was born in or before 1770.

The only other information I’ve been able to find on John Prowse is a deed in which he buys 100 acres from Hardy Reeves for 50 pounds on August 27, 1785.  He is on no tax list I can find for Duplin or Sampson County, nor can I find him on the 1790 census.

Isaac is the only Spence to appear on the 1784-1786 State Census + Goshen Swamp Project of 1785 in Duplin County.  I suspect he’s just on the Goshen Project list not the census because there are not numbers beside his name.

Looking at Isaac’s little family in 1790, it appears he and Elisabeth may have had twins.  One boy, I’ve been debating with myself whether or not this is Elisha Spence, and one girl.

Heads of Households Free White Males Free White
Other Free Slaves
16+ <16
Isaac Spence 1 1 2 0 0
Timothy Spence 2 1 3 0 0

The household of Timothy Spence could be interpreted in many ways.  I don’t know if he and Patsy were married yet, and, if they were, the bible record lists no children born prior to 1792. Timothy would have been 19 in 1790.  The other man could be his stepfather, John Prowse, and Thomas could be the boy under 16.  Yes, I know, I’m reaching.  I just got finished saying that Thomas Prowse was, probably, of or over 21 in 1791.  That sound you just heard was my exasperated huff.  The females could be Elizabeth Prowse, Dolly Spence/Southerland, and either Patsy Spence or ? Spence Southerland, widow.

In 1800, Isaac and Elisabeth have three boys under 10, Isaac, Samuel, and Timothy as well as the tweenaged “Elisha” and two daughters. I wonder who the other male is?  Could it be Thomas Prowse?  This genealogy mentions Thomas selling 100 acres in Duplin County in October 1804, so he was alive and in Duplin County. I don’t know if their theory about this Thomas being their Thomas of Kentucky is correct.  The older girl is probably “Elisha”‘s twin, not Dolly.  I don’t know where she is at this point.  If she was the sister of Isaac and Timothy instead of the niece, being about 15, she’s probably married to Mr. Southerland.  Whichever one he was.  And, looking at Timothy’s household, it appears that Elizabeth Spence Prowse had passed.  I think that the Rhody Spence in Sampson County, Fayetteville Township, may have been John’s wife, but I’m not sure.  It’s just herself, two sons, and a daughter.

Free White Males Free White Females
<10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+ <10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+
Duplin County
Isaac Spence 3 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0
Timothy Spence 3 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 1 0
Sampson County
Rhody Spence  1  1  0  0 0  1  0 0 1  0

Isaac Spence appears on the 1806 tax list, but he’s the only Spence to do so.

Now, 1810 is the first census in which I’ve found John. I know he was in Cumberland County before this due to several land patents in the 1790s and early 1800s, but I can’t find him in either prior census. Notice that he is of or over 45, whereas Isaac and Timothy are aged 26 to 44 (41 and 39, respectively).  It leaves the option open that this John could be the John on the 1767 tax list in New Hanover County and, thus, their uncle instead of their brother.  If he was 16 in 1767, and thus born in 1751, then he’d be 58 in 1810 and 78 when he died in 1830.

By this time, Dolly had married James Bourden, January 12, 1804.  They have two young daughters and a third girl who may be Dolly’s daughter from her marriage to Mr. Southerland.  If not, then I have no idea who this girl could be.

Heads of
Free White Males Free White Females
<10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+ 0-9 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+
Duplin County
Isaac Spence 3 1 1 1 0 2 1 0 1 0
Timothy Spence 4 2 0 1 0 2 3 0 1 0
James Bourden 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 0 1 0
Cumberland County
John Spence 1 0 0 0 1 2 3 2 1 0

And this is where we’ll leave them for a bit, before the move to Cumberland. Next post we’ll talk about James Bourden and his family. After that, we’ll hook back up with the Spences.

Into the labyrinth: My Vendricks, an overview

Since my mind is stuck on the Vendricks after my post Chosewell Dixon’s second wife? and the mother of Vendrick Dixon, let’s stay with them for a bit. Of the many speculations and conjectures in that post, I hypothesized that Penelope, daughter of the John whose will is dated November 30, 1804 and his wife, Mary, was the first wife of Churchill Vendrick. Church, along with Vendrick Dixon and James Martin, paid the administrator bond on Chosewell Dixon’s estate December 9, 1816.

To review:

Children of John Vendrick (-1804) and Mary (listed in order of mention):

  • Peter Vendrick
  • James Vendrick
  • Penny Vendrick – I speculate that she was the Penelope Vendrick who married Church Vendrick March 16, 1808.
  • Lany Vendrick – Married a Dickson. I speculate that she was the second wife of Chosewell Dixon but don’t entirely discount the possibility that she was, instead, the wife of his (hypothetical) son, John.  Either way, she was quite likely the mother of Vendrick Dixon.
  • Mary “Polly” Vendrick – She married George Carpenter February 22, 1785. They had a daughter named Sarah, who was mentioned in John’s will. Polly, herself, isn’t mentioned which leads me to conclude that she had died by November 30, 1804.  I think that Sarah may be the Sally Carpenter who married Elias Lawson June 28, 1808 with a James Vendrick as bondsman (see this post).
  • Eliza Vendrick – She married Hardy Hukins July 28, 1792. Note: Liza is not specifically called daughter in the will.
  • Rebeckah Vendrick – She married Ezekial Read September 26, 1797.

I theorized that this John Vendrick was the son of another John Vendrick, wife Rebeckah, who wrote his will February 4, 1785. I have no actual proof of this beyond a) they, as per the will, had a son named John, and b) John of the 1804 will had a daughter named Rebeckah.

Children of John Vendrick (-1785) and Rebeckah:

  • Peter Vendrick
  • John Vendrick – Perhaps the John Vendrick who died in late 1804.
  • Anne Vendrick – Her first husband was a Green. They had a son named Solomon who was mentioned in the will. Second, she married Thomas Harper, Jr. April 10, 1783.
  • Daniel Vendrick
  • Abraham Vendrick (-1812) – An Abram Vendrick married Mary Boyd January 8, 1805. Before this, he may have been married to a Mary E. Green according to this Green genealogy (#40). Or there could have been more than one Abraham Vendrick.
  • Francis Vendrick (-1815) – There are several Francis Vendricks, but I think this was the one who married Sidney Vendrick September 9, 1783. Thomas Harper was their bondsman.

The 1785 will also makes bequests to the heirs of John Boyd. This and the marriage between “Abram” and Mary Boyd makes me wonder if Rebeckah was a Boyd either by blood or previous marriage.

Why all this focus on Church Vendrick? His sister, Ruth, was my fourth great-grandmother on my mother’s side. Their father was named Jesse. He left a will dated September 10, 1819 which was probated in June of 1820. In the will are mentioned wife Sarah, sons Church and Jesse, daughters Easter and Ruthy Trewett and granddaughter Louisa Vendrick. Executors were “friend” William Trewitt and Church Vendrick. The will was witnessed by Thomas King, my fourth great-grandfather. His grandson, Thomas J. King, would marry Ruthy’s granddaughter, Nancy Ann Martin, November 6, 1870.

Sarah was not Jesse’s first wife or mother of his children. Jesse Vendrick, Sr., married Sarah Whitty March 13, 1817 with William Trewhitt as bondsman.  I don’t know who the mother of Jesse’s children was.

The children of Jesse Vendrick (-1820) were:

  • Ruth Vendrick – married William Trewhitt June 26, 1801
  • Churchill Vendrick (-1822) – married 1) Penelope Vendrick, probably daughter of John Vendrick (-1804) and Mary March 16, 1808 and 2) Elizabeth “Liza” Vendrick, daughter of James Vendrick (-1803) and Asenath “Seney” Ives November 4, 1816.  After his death, she married Thomas Smith January 28, 1823.
  • Jesse P. Vendrick, Jr. – married Elizabeth Vendrick November 4, 1816.  I don’t know who the parents of this Elizabeth were.  There were so many Elizabeth Vendricks it’s not even funny.
  • Easter Vendrick – married John Broughton March 13, 1821

Interestingly, John Broughton’s first wife, Sally, was Thomas King’s sister. They married August 4, 1810. Church Vendrick was their bondsman. John would repay the favor by standing as Thomas’s bondman March 24, 1814 so he could marry Sidney Lawson. For some unknown reason the marriage didn’t take place.  There is another marriage bond for Thomas and Sidney dated April 19, 1817 with no bondsman.  Also, Thomas named one of his daughters Asenath.  We’ll talk more about the Kings in a later post.

I don’t know who Jesse’s parents were.  There were, at least, four, maybe five, Jesse Vendricks alive at, roughly, the same time.

  • Our Jesse Vendrick who died in 1820
  • His son, Jesse.
  • Jesse B. Vendrick, the son of Francis Vendrick (-1815) and Sidney.  He is mentioned in his father’s will.  He’s the one who married Hannah Hukins September 1, 1815 with Francis Vendrick as bondsman.  He died before 1837 when his widow remarried.
  • Jesse, brother of the Peter Vendrick who fought in the Revolutionary War.  According to the record linked to above, Peter was born in 1760.  Something around this date would work for my Jesse, however, when asked if he had a record of his age, Peter replied:  “Yes it is contained in my fathers family Bible, which said Bible now belongs to my Brother Jesse Vendrick who resides in Craven County, and who now has it in possession.”  This inquiry took place October 17, 1832.  The use of the present tense implies that this Jesse was still alive at this time.  My Jesse was not.  There is a marriage bond dated May 28, 1819 between Jesse Vendrick and Sarah Jackson with Peter Vendrick as bondsman.  I don’t know if that would be this Jesse or his son.

Ruthy’s daughter, Aretta, married David Martin July 10, 1839. Vendrick Dixon was their bondsman. Just wondering: could David be the son of James Martin and Mary Dixon? The way my family tree twines around itself, it would not surprise me. It isn’t a tree, I don’t think, but a patch of kudzu!  The birth date I have for David, estimated from census data, is 1814.  James and Mary married in 1815, so, it’s possible.

Ritty, as she was called, and David were the parents of Nancy Ann Martin who married Thomas J. King, as I told you.

Another Vendrick connection, though more nebulous, involves Thomas J. King’s mother, Tabitha Everington King. Thomas’s father, Edward J. King, died in late 1850, leaving her a widow with a one year old son. A couple of years later, on December 1, 1852, she married John F. Vendrick. Michael Vendrick was their bondsman. John and Michael were the sons of James H. Vendrick (-1845), son of Peter Vendrick of the Rev. War (1760-1833) and Margaret “Pegga” Hyman, and Fanny Hukins. Fanny was the daughter of Eliza Vendrick, daughter of 1804 John, and Hardy Hukins. After Fanny’s death, James married her widowed sister, Hannah Hukins Vendrick. Hannah’s first husband, as stated above, was Jesse B. Vendrick, son of Francis (-1815) and Sidney Vendrick.

See what I mean about Vendricks marrying other Vendricks?

John would, later, stand as Michael’s bondsman when he married Jane Vendrick June 30, 1853. John and Tabitha disappear. They show up on no census I can find.  They had a daughter together, Julia, between 1855 and 1860. I only know this because of her marriage record.  A Julia Vendick shows up in the household of John Hall in 1870, and a July Vendrick in Bradford Gatlin’s in 1880.  She would marry John Micajah Sawyer January 10, 1882. Since he remarried in about 1887, Julia must have died before that.   Thomas was a farm laborer in the household of Levi Martin (David, I think.  Lot of the same names as David’s household in 1860) in 1870.  He and Nancy had their own household in 1880.  Interestingly, Nancy’s second husband would be a John B. Hall.  And Mr. Hall’s first wife had been Julia Everington Lewis, Tabitha’s widowed sister.  Nancy and Thomas’s son, John Hilliard King, would marry a Gatlin.

Dixon Wives: Sarah Ann Daw

Sarah Ann Daw (or Dawe) was born sometime between 1705 and 1715, most likely in Beaufort County, North Carolina, to William Daw and his wife, Dinah.  William was the son of Captain Nicholas Daw and Lydia Windley, I’ll talk more about them in a separate post, and Dinah may have been a Prescott or an Etheridge, I’ve seen both.  Of course, she could have been a widow when she married William.  Such was common in those days.

An Aaron Prescott wrote his will, in which he mentions a daughter named Dinah, February 24, 1709 in Currituck Precinct of Albemarle County. The will wasn’t probated until March 24, 1719, so he obviously survived whatever illness that prompted him to write it.

John Prescott, Aaron’s father, had arrived in Virginia by March 11, 1653, transported there by a James Johnson to whom he was bound.  On that date, Johnson received 300 acres for transporting 6 persons (Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1800, page 241).  By April 5, 1664, John was being granted 400 acres of his own for the transport of 8 people (Cavaliers and Pioneers, page 514).  And on September 29 that same year, he and 5 others received 1,000 acres for transporting 20 people (Cavaliers and Pioneers, pages 513-14).  Aaron was his younger son.  The elder son, Moses, inherited all of John’s land in Virginia and died there June 19, 1724, in Norfolk County.

William and Dinah probably married in approximately 1700, either in North Carolina or Maryland.  William appears on A List of Jurymen In Beaufort and Hyde Precincts in 1723. Their daughter, Sarah, married John Dixon in about 1730.

John Dixon was born sometime between, say, 1705 and 1710, either in North Carolina or Virginia.  This John Dixon was not, I repeat NOT, the son of Walter Dixon, Sr. of Pitt County.  I’ve come to this conclusion, despite much misinformation posted all over the Internet, because I actually looked at the dates on their wills.  For more about that see my post A Problem of Wills.

John and Sarah witnessed the will of James Leigh April 4, 1738.  Sarah certainly had better handwriting.

Sarah Dixon is mentioned in her father’s will in 1744.  I think the year “one thousand seven hundred and forty five come one” is supposed to mean 1744.  It makes more sense with the probate date than 1746.

I have seen scans of this will and I have seen abstracts.  Some of the abstracts don’t seem to match the scans.  One such abstract appears in Grimes’ Abstracts of North Carolina Wills on page 95:

There’s another abstract in The North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 1, dated January 23, 1745, that agrees more with the scans:

As for the scans, the better of the two I got from Ancestry during the free probate and will access weekend they had a little while ago.  Now, of course, you’d have to pay for the privilege.  Which sucks, because there are still a few other wills I’d like to see.  The other scan you can access for free at North Carolina State Archives MARS – Basic Search.  Type in “William Dawe” and “All” then click “Search.”  You’ll be able to read the actual will with the help of a free DJVU viewer browser plugin.  Both scans are extremely difficult to read.  The handwriting is atrocious, Sarah obviously did not learn to write from her father, and the ink has faded and/or bled through in many places.  However, you can make out enough to know that it is not dated the twentieth of January.  I would guess the twenty-fifth, or “the five and twentieth Day of January.”  This is what I can make out (I’ve created paragraphs for easier reading, and, as you cans see, it could use some punctuation but I’ve tried to stay a true as possible to the original):

In the Name of God Amen. The five and twentieth day of January In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty five come one I William Dawe Planter at the head of Leighs Creek South Side of Pamplico River Beaufort County in the Province of North Carolina Being sick but of well and ? disposing mind and memory praised be to God for the same doth constitute ordain and make this my Will in manner and form following

and first I bequeath my soul to Almighty God my most Mercyfull Father hoping through the Merrits and Mediation of my Dear Redeemer to obtain pardon of my Sins and to be an Inheritor of his heavenly kingdom. And my body I commit to the Earth by Decent buriall at the Discretion of my wife and children.

and Secondly I appoint my Loving Wife Dinah Dawe my ? and sole Executive of this my Last will and testament.

To my Eldest son Nicholas Dawe I wish to bequeath one hundred acres of land ? by Oyster Swamp, his choice of one bed & bedding above stairs, a bay Mare with a star in her face, one gun both called his, my chest, all the cattle with his mark.

To my son William Daw one hundred acres of land on the West side of Durhams Creek, one bed & bedding above stairs next his Brother Nicholas bed & beding, one two year old horse & all the cattle with his mark.

… my Daughter Diana one oval table & one chest & one ? dish with all the cattle in her Mark.

To my son John Dawe the plantation where I now dwell my ? gun, and young mare, all the cattle in his Mark.

To my Daughter Borhya all cattle in her Mark.

To my Daughter Biah all the cattle in her Mark.

To the said daughters Borbiya & Biah Dawe I give the Negro wench to help ? being them use & for their use all …

This is where it gets really difficult.  Lots of faded and smeared ink.  From what I can make out, he gives use of the plantation he left John to his wife, Dinah, for her lifetime.  Although I can’t see it, the words “or widowhood” are probably tacked on.  Then he mentions “daughters who are married” Sarah Dixon (or, something -on, anyway) and Lydia (I don’t think this is Kee or Coe or Cob. It could be Roe, Rowe, or something else equally short).  It gets illegible again then “if demanded being they have had their portions”.


I Desire my sons Nicholas and William to assist their Mother and my Will in that all my just debts which ? ? at my ? be fully paid and satisfyed and this I Declare to be my Last will & testament [unreadable but probably “disannulling” or “disallowing”] and Revoking all heretofore made this being [illegible] In testimony I set my hand and seal [illegible]

The signatures are all faded, smeared, or bled through.  Including his.  Maybe it can be read better on microfilm.

So Sarah had seven siblings, three brothers and four sisters.  The children of William Dawe and Dinah, his wife were:

  • Nicholas Dawe – Married Abigail Wallis, daughter of William Wallis and Mary Shaw, before December 9, 1748, when she’s mentioned as Abigail Daw in her father’s will, of which Nicholas was Executor.
  • William Dawe (d. 1792, his will) – Married Mary Compton
  • Sarah Dawe – Married John Dixon
  • Lydia Dawe – May have married John Rowe, son of William Rowe and Mary Brough, as his second wife.
  • Diana Dawe
  • John Dawe – He may have been a child when his father died because while he appears on the 1764 tax list, he doesn’t in 1755.
  • Borhya(?) Dawe
  • Abiah Dawe

She and John, themselves, had six children (this number comes from the wills of John and Thomas Dixon and from Tax Lists), most, if not all, born before 1755.  All four sons certainly appear on the 1755 List of Taxables Beaufort County, NC, and were, thus, of or older than 16 years of age.  Only Chosewell and, possibly, Thomas were married.  The fact that Thomas is living with John Lee, combined with Sarah and John witnessing James Leigh’s will makes be wonder if there was a familial connection between the families.

The sons, at least, also appear in 1764 List of Taxables Beaufort County, NC.  I don’t know if the John Dixon listed is the father or the son.

Notice the proximity of John’s family to that of William Dixon in 1755, and to Benjamin Dixon in 1764.  William was the son of Walter Dixon, Sr. and Benjamin was either his son or his grandson.  I know of a Benjamin Dixon in the area in the 1790s.  He was, I think, the son of James Dixon, Sr. who was the son William Dixon.  In New Bern District Court Records, there are a series of depositions dated from July to September 1795 concerning the burning down of David Smithwick’s house by Shad Price, William Dixon, and James Dixon.  A Benjamin Dixon was among the deponents.  Anyway, this, and the fact that Chosewell Dixon’s grandson was named Roland, which was also the name of Walter’s youngest son, all point to some sort of relationship between the families.  I’ve noticed that on early posts on various message boards and genealogies, Walter Dixon, Sr. was given a birthdate of 1692.  Later, this was changed to 1682.  However, if the initial date was correct, then it is possible that my John, especially if he was born closer to 1705 than 1710, was the younger brother of Walter instead of his son.  It’s definitely something to think about.

The children I have for Sarah and John Dixon are:

  • Chosewell Dixon (d. 1816) – married a woman named Mary, maiden name unknown, son William and probably another son and I don’t know how many daughters.
  • Thomas Dixon (d. 1780) – According to his will, he had two daughters, Mary and Martha.  They were both under 18.
  • Elizabeth Dixon (Source:  Will of Thomas Dixon) – I don’t think she ever married.
  • Draper Dixon (Source:  1755 Tax List) – There seems to be some confusion over who he married.  Some genealogies say she was Elizabeth Mixon, some Prudence Mixon.  Both were daughters of William Mixon and Frances Bryan.  I don’t think it was either, but another sister, name unknown.  Something about the wording of William Mixon’s will and how he leaves things to both Elizabeth and Prudence and to Elijah Dixon, grandson, all in the same sentence.  According to my database, he died in October of 1778 in Camden District, South Carolina.
  • John Dixon, Jr.
  • Tabitha “Bitha” Dixon (Source:  Will of John Dixon) – She married a Cason Scott (b. 1741) that I think, but can’t prove, was the son of Cason Scott (b. 1715) and Averilla Horde.  Cason died January 5, 1816 in Santee District, South Carolina, and Tabitha November 10, 1824 in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.

Chosewell Dixon and Mary, his wife

Chosewell Dixon was born sometime between 1730 and 1735 to John Dixon and Sarah Ann Daw, probably in Beaufort County, North Carolina.  He appears on 1755 List of Taxables Beaufort County, NC.


To be considered taxable, white men had to be at least 16 years of age.  This means he was born no later than 1739.  Above him on the list are his father, brothers and grandmother, Dinah Daw, and below him is his brother Thomas.

In March 1756, Chosewell Dixon was appointed a constable by the Beaufort County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (source:  Pitt County Genealogical Quarterly, May 2006).  Also in 1756, this time in September, a stock mark was awarded his son, William.  Incidentally, this makes William at least ten years older than most genealogies have him to be.  The name of Chosewell Dixon’s wife is usually given as Mary, maiden name unknown.

He, his father and brothers, grandmother and uncle, all appear on the 1764 List of Taxables Beaufort County, NC.


According to a deed abstract posted by Suzy Dixon, Chosewell purchased 350 acres of land, situated on both sides of Goose Creek, from James Coor December 19, 1767.  The land had once belonged to Cason Scott who got it from Cason Brinson.  If you go to North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, and search a query “Cason Brinson”, select Beaufort from the dropdown menu, and click “include bordering counties”, you’ll see that all Cason Brinson grants and patents are in Craven County.  Many are on Goose Creek.  Cason Scott also had a patent for 300 acres on the west side of Goose Creek.  The deed says Chosewell’s “of Beaufort Co., NC”, but by 1769, Chosewell had moved to Craven, where he appears on the 1769 List of Taxables and Carriage Wheels in Craven County.  Remember, white males have to be at least 16 in order to be taxable.  There are 3 such in the household of Choswell Dixon.  Himself and two sons, maybe?  If one of these was William, then the latest he could have been born was 1753, which is one of the reasons I think Chosewell himself was born in the early 1730s instead of the later part of that decade.  Chosewell is also listed on this Craven County 1770 Early Census.

As an aside, I can’t help but notice Chosewell’s proximity to Nathaniel Draper on the 1769 list.  I’ve been wondering about a possible connection there.  Chosewell had a brother named Draper and Nathaniel isn’t too far down the list from the Dixons in Beaufort County back in 1755, either.  It’s just a thought.

Chosewell Dixon (or Chasewell, as it’s spelled), James Brinson and William West, witnessed the will of Rodger Squires, February 27, 1770.  On March 23, 1772, Chosewell was named an Executor in his father’s will.  John died sometime between then and December 11, 1773 when the will was proven in Court.   For more on that see my post A Problem of Wills.  He purchased items at the estate sale of Christopher Dawson June 28, 1774.  In 1779, he’s listed in the 1779 List of Assessments, Craven County District No. 3 (Chonwell Dixon with 286 acres of land, and 1290 in other property).

When his brother Thomas died October 29, 1780, he appointed Choswell Executor of his will (right side page), dated September 23, 1780.  All spelling, punctuation, and capitalization errors are true to the actual will.

The Deposition of Sarah Leversage and Elizabeth Dixon being sworn on the Holy Evangelish of Almighty God deposeth and saith that on the Twenty Third day of September last past Thomas Dixon of the County of Beaufort being sick but of sound and perfect mind and memory did make his last Will in manner as herafter mentioned viz.

He the said Thomas Dixon desired that his writing desk should be delivered to his Daughter Martha, and his round Table to his Daughter Marey; and all the other part of his personal Estate to be equaly divided between his two Daughters afsd [aforesaid] when the youngest shall arive to the age of eighteen years; and he further desires that is sister Elizabeth Dixon shall have the care and bringing up of his said children upon the profitts of his Estate untill they shall arrive to the age afsd or maried.

He further desired that his Brother Choswell Dixon should Execute this Will under the authority of the County Court; And further these deponents saith known.

Sarah Leversage
Elizabeth (her E. mark) Dixon

This may Certify that this Deposition was taken within nine hours after the Death of the said Thomas Dixon, before Tho Bonner 29th Oct. 1780

On September 14, 1782, a ten year old Roger Cutherill was bound to Chosewell Dickson as a cooper by Craven County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.

I cannot find him listed in either the 1790 census or that of 1800, but, as I said in my post about his son William and William’s wife, Lydia Caton Dixon, I think that he may have been the other free white male of or over 16 living with them in 1790.  In 1790 (second column), William and Lydia lived between John Daw and Barry Holton.

  • 2 Free White Males of 16 or more
  • 2 Free White Males under 16
  • 1 Free White Female
  • 0 Other Free Persons
  • 1 Slave

I don’t know what happened to Chosewell after William’s death in 1797, because he is not living with Lydia and her 5 children, his grandchildren, in 1800.  He would have been over 60 and none of the Dickson households in the county had anyone over 45.

The sale of the estate of John Scott was held September 18, 1805 where Chosewell was among the purchasers.  He bought:  2 hews, a tin pot, a chest, and a pad lock.  November 7 of the following year, he stood bondsman for John’s son, another John, and Patsy Bland.  The text of the bond says it was purchased by John Scott and Joseph Dixon, but the actual signatures at the bottom are John Scott and Chosewel Dixon.

The 1810 census for Craven County has been lost, but there is a tax list for the year 1815.  There is a Caswell Dixon listed in Captain William B. Perkins’ district that I think may be Chosewell.  If it is, he has 82 acres of land valued at 150 pounds/dollars (not sure what unit of valuation they’re using).

On December 9, 1816, Vendrick Dickson, James Martin, and Church Vendrick paid a 500 pound administrator bond towards a period of 2 years with Vendrick Dickson as administrator of the estate of Choswell Dickson, according to his estate papers.  The Inventory and Estate Sale were held December 20, at Goose Creek.  The only Dixsons on that list besides Vendrick are a Polly Dixson (widow or daughter?), a John Dixson, and Rolen Dixson.

Who was Vendrick Dixon?  From the census data, I know he was born sometime around 1795.  That’s too late to be a son of Chosewell.  Unless, of course, he had a second wife, which is possible.  Perhaps this hypothetical second wife was a Vendrick. Or he could’ve been a grandson.  Remember that third male 16 or over in 1769?  On the 1815 tax list there is a John Dixon listed just above Vendrick Dixon with one free poll and 250 acres valued at 250.  Vendrick just has the one free poll.  Further up the list is a John Dixon, Jnr., also with one free poll.

Also, one of Chosewell’s nephews, David, son of Draper Dixon, is said to have married a Vendrick, possible first name of Elizabeth.  Here’s the Find A Grave page for their son, Churchill Dixon.  I wonder what Vendrick Dixon’s relationship to Churchill Vendrick was?  As far as I know, Church had only two sisters, neither of whom married a Dixon (I’m descended from Ruth on my mother’s side), and his three daughters were way too young.  And none of these women was named Elizabeth.  I do know that Vendrick, along with Hasten Dixon, purchased a marriage bond for him to marry Celia, the daughter of another of Draper’s sons, Elijah, October 22, 1822.  Hasten is Hasten Dixon, Jr., son of Hasten Sr. and yet another grandson of Draper.

Dixon Wives: Lydia Caton

Lydia Caton was probably born sometime around 1766 to John Caton and his wife Mary Ball, as per this post by Gean Gray Caton Nelson. Mary was, herself, the daughter of James Ball and Catrin. We know this because James Ball left what appears to be a partial will in Craven County, undated and unsigned. In it he leaves his grandson, William Caton, “son of John Caton and Mary my daughter,” a cow and calf. James’ father also left a will, but in Carteret County. An abstract of this will appears in Grimes’ Abstracts of North Carolina Wills on the bottom of page 15. For some reason he’s listed as John Ball.

Ball, John.             Carteret County
November 10, 1749. December Court 1749.
Sons: NATHAN (“houses and plantation whereon I now live”), STEPHEN (159 acres land on “west side of Brice’s plantation”), JAMES (150 acres land “adjoining plantation whereon I now live”). Daughters: SARAH BALL, RACHEL BALL. Wife: MAGDALENE BALL. Executors: MAGDALENE BALL (wife) and SAMUEL NOBLE. Witnesses: DAVID TURNER, FRANCES EGLETON, REBECCA TURNER. Clerk of the Court: GEO. READ.

There is a folder labeled James Ball (1750) in North Carolina Estate Files – Carteret County at All it contains is an undated inventory of his estate returned during the June term, 1850.

John Caton was born circa 1735 in Princess Anne County, Virginia, and was the son of William Caton. Both he and his father are listed as being part of Cason Brinson Sr.’s Company on a muster roll dated October 15, 1753. John, along with his brothers William, Solomon, and Moses, are all listed on the Craven County 1769 Tax List, each with one white male and no slaves, but for whatever reason, John is missing from the 1770 Tax List. The 1790 Federal Census (second column), shows John Caton living between John Arnold and Jesse Holten with:

  • 2 Free White Males of 16 or more
  • 1 Free White Male under 16
  • 2 Free White Females
  • 0 Other Free Persons
  • 0 Slaves

I wonder who the second female was. Lydia was already married. William Dixon and Charles Harrington purchased a marriage bond for William to marry her March 8, 1786. They were a bit tardy in making it official.  Roland, their oldest son, was born January 24, 1786.

William was most likely the son of Chosewell Dixon and his wife Mary, maiden name unknown. Most genealogies have William’s being born between 1765 and 1770, but I contend that he was born no later than 1756, probably earlier. In Beaufort County Court Minutes, September Term, 1756 a stock mark was granted William Dixon, son of Chosewell Dixon. Chosewell appears on the 1755 List of Taxables Beaufort County, NC. You had to be at least 16 in order to be taxable, and the fact that Chosewell has his own household means that he was probably married. If William was one of the three white males in Choswell’s household on the 1769 List of Taxables and Carriage Wheels in Craven County, then the latest he could have been born is 1753.

William Dixon was appointed an Executor in the will of Joshua Cutherell, dated January 6, 1781. His future father-in-law, John Caton, was a witness thereto.  The will was proven in Court in March of that year.  Joshua’s three children were bound out September 14, 1782:  Ann to Abraham Vendrick “in the business of spinning and weaving”, Daniel to Amos Squires as a turner, and Roger to Chosewell Dickson as a cooper.

In 1790, William and Lydia live a few houses away from John Caton, between John Daw and Barry Holton.

  • 2 Free White Males of 16 or more
  • 2 Free White Males under 16
  • 1 Free White Female
  • 0 Other Free Persons
  • 1 Slave

This would be William, Lydia, and their two sons, Roland and William, Jr. Who is the other man of or over 16? I think it’s probably William’s father, Chosewell. He is not listed on the census under his own name, so he almost certainly must be living with one of his children. We know he’s still alive because his Estate was probated in December of 1816.

In 1793, William witnessed a sale of some land:  William Caton, Jr. bought 100 acres from his father, and William’s father-in-law, John Caton for 20 pounds on June 5.

Sometime in early 1797, William died, leaving Lydia a widow. The Inventory of his Estate was taken April 20 of that year by Lydia Dixon and is returned during the September term of the Craven County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. There, on September 13, she, her brother William Caton and Benjamin Brinson paid an administrator bond of 300 pounds.

In 1800, Lydia Dickson lives between Solomon Caton and William Dawe, with:

  • 2 Free White Males of 10 to under 16
  • 3 Free White Females under 10
  • 1 Free White Female Between 26 and 45
  • 0 Other Free Persons
  • 0 Slaves

The males are, most likely, Roland, who was 14, and young William.  And, of course, the adult female was Lydia herself.  Her three daughters, assuming that’s who they were, were all under 10.  I’ve, occasionally, seen other sons listed for Lydia and her William, but the census data just doesn’t support that.

The children I have for William and Lydia Caton Dixon are:

  • Roland Chosewell Dixon b. Jan 24 1786, d. Nov 26 1864 married Penelope Keel Jul 6 1813
  • William Dixon, Jr. b. abt. 1788 (before 1790, at least)
  • Sarah “Sally” Dixon b. abt. 1791
  • Mary Dixon b. abt. 1793 (Apr 15 1792 is the date given in the Caton genealogy I’ve been referencing)
  • Clarissa Dixon b. abt. 1795 married William Simpkins 24 Aug 1818

The 1810 census for Craven County has been lost, but there is a tax list for the year 1815. Lydia is not listed, but her son, Roland, is listed in Captain William B. Perkins’ District with 50 acres of land valued at $50. She’s also not listed in 1820.

I think that Lydia’s daughter Mary is probably the Mary Dixon who married James Martin August 2, 1815.  This is based solely on the fact that James had acted as bondsman for Mary’s brother Roland in 1813.