Sally Bourden

Okay, yet another mystery woman has popped up in my Bourden research.  The following is a deed between Baker Bourden and John Watkins, dated September 9, 1815, and witnessed by Sally Bourden and Readin Bourden (Deed Book 5a, page 531):

This Indenture made this 9th day of September in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and fifteen, Between Baker Bowden of the County of Duplin & State of North Carolina and John Watkins of the County & State above mentioned, Witnesseth, that I the said Baker Bowden for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred & eighty three dollars to him the said Baker Bowden in hand paid by the said John Watkins before the sealing & delivering of these presents, the receipt whereof he doth hereby acknowledge, hath given granted bargained and sold and doth hereby give grant bargain sell alien convey & confirm unto the said John Watkins his heirs or assigns forever, a certain tract or parcel of land situate lying & being in the County of Duplin on the head of Calf Pasture branch, on both sides of the main road & joining Wayne County line, Beginning at a pine & Black Jack Jacob Taylor’s corner, & runs along Reuben Johnston’s line Wt. 100 poles to a pine, thence No. 210 poles to a pine, thence Et. 100 poles to a pine on Jacob Taylor’s line by his corner, thence to the beginning, containing one hundred & twenty five acres be the same more or less, which said bargained lands & premises with all the improvements privileges or advantages to the same belonging or in anywise appertaining, I the said Baker Bourden do bind myself my heirs exers. or admns. to warrant secure & forever defend unto him the said John Watkins his heirs excrs. admins or assigns forever against all person or persons whatsoever.  In witness whereof I the said Baker Bourden have hereunto set my hand & affixed by seal this day & date above written.

Baker Bourden

Signed sealed acknowledged in presence of

Sally (her mark) Bourden
Readin Bourden

State of No. Carolina Duplin County, July Term 1816 –
Then was the within deed proved in Court by the oath of Sally Bourden & ordered to be registered.

Copy Th. Routledge, Esq.
Test, W. Dickson, C.C.

Who the heck is Sally Bourden?  Sally is probably short for Sarah.  Did Reading have another wife before he married Nancy?  Or did Mary Branch Bowden predecease her husband and Baker took a second wife?  Or she could be one of Baker and Mary’s daughters.  This is the first time I’ve come across this name.

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 duplinrod.com, 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.

ProofTabithawifeofNickSr

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.

Martha

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.

Catherine

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).

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 FamilySearch.org (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

JohnBourdenVestryDate

with what’s written for Baker.

BakerBourdenVestryDate

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.

JohnWrenVestry

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.