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B.1. James Berry {B.1.}

 

    James Berry {B.1.} was born at an unknown date, although, one undocumented source placed his birth date at 1716.321 Based on the estimated birth date of 1700 for his father, the elder John Berry, it can probably be reasonably assumed that James was born within 20 or 30 years of that date, so the 1716 figure appears to fall within a reasonable time frame.93,100 Since the Berry family does not appear to have arrived in Augusta County, Virginia until at least the mid 1740's (sometime after 1742), the only certain statement concerning his place of birth is that it was not in Augusta County, Virginia.21 As noted in the discussion of the elder James Berry, there is some disagreement on the timing of this family's emigration from the old country, and of their original destination site in the American colonies. Whether or not the elder James Berry and John Berry emigrated from the old country together is also an open question. It can only be assumed that this particular James Berry (i.e. the son of the elder John Berry) was probably born in Ireland or Scotland,96,99 Pennsylvania7 or possibly some other place in Virginia.96


      James Berry married Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill at an unknown place, and, although the marriage date is not known, an undocumented marriage date of 1737 has been found in the Berry/MaGill literature.1,21,93,94,98,99,100,110,169,321 If the birth date of 1716 is anywhere close to being correct, this marriage date also seems reasonable, since James would have been 21 years old at the time of his marriage, given these dates. Elizabeth was a daughter of William MaGill, although the identity of her mother is unknown.93,100,109,110,112,114,116,169 Her birth date and place are not known, although several undocumented sources provide a range of dates from "after 1715" to 1719 or 1721.116,322 Elizabeth's father was born in either northern Ireland or Scotland, and emigrated to the American colonies in 1726 or 1727. If Elizabeth's birth date range is correct (1715 - 1721) then she was probably born in the old country - most likely northern Ireland.265,322


    James and Elizabeth had three boys, but the birth date of only one, John Berry, is known. A 1758 Augusta County court record states that John Berry, who appears to be the youngest son of James Berry and Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill, was 15 years old at the time, which places his birth date at 1742 or 1743. The two other brothers mentioned in the court records must have been older than 16 at the time, since the court did not consider them to be minors. If the marriage date is correct, then these two boys were probably born sometime between 1737 and 1742. This is a five-year gap, giving plenty of time for two births to take place.


    There is general agreement on the date and place of the death of James Berry. Reliable primary source material for this man places his death in 1749, and most likely in Augusta County, Virginia.21,93,94,98 One secondary source, however, provides only a broad bracketing of 1751 - 1811,1 and another secondary source places the date at 1750.100 His widow, Elizabeth, (actually her second husband to be) had applied for a marriage license by February 1749, which, using the old date system, is actually February 1750. Since the Berrys arrived in Augusta County, Virginia during the agitation leading up to the French and Indian War, it is quite possible that James Berry was killed during a confrontation with the local natives. It is also of some interest to note that his father in law, William MaGill, died about the same time.21 There is certainly the possibility that they were killed at the same time in clashes with the Indians. Upon his death James Berry left three children and a widow. Although not a hard and fast rule, it was somewhat common at the time for older men to leave wills as they faced death due to old age or sickness. Young men who died suddenly were not as likely to have prepared a will, and this appears to be the case with James Berry. No will is available, probably because none was written. Shortly after his death, Elizabeth married John Jones (? - 1773), sometime between February 1750 and August 1751, and raised a second family.327,328 The date of Elizabeth's death is not known, although it appears she survived her second husband, who passed away between September 1772 and July 1773. She most likely died in Botetourt County, Virginia, which is where she and her second husband had been living for some time.327,328

 

Timeline of James Berry
Elizabeth Berry (Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill)/Elizabeth Jones
and John Jones

 

7 March 1749/50204

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book 1, page 250

  £/s/d
An account of the Goods appraised belonging to James Berrys Estate 10/0/0
For the improvement of the land 4/0/0
One bay Mare with a rulch (?) 3/0/0
One bay Mare with a Star of Snip (?) 5/10/0
One bray Mare 3/0/0
One roan Colt 2/2/0

One old spotted Cow

2/5/0
One brinole (?) Cow 2/1/0
One Red Spotted Cow  2/2/0
One Red Spotted Cow  0/15/0
One bull  0/15/0
One hifor  0/8/0

One Red Calf 

0/5/0
One black Calf  2/8/0
Six sheep and one Lamb  1/0/0
Five hoggs  0/2/6
One barrell  0/10/0
One sadle  0/4/6
One bigg Wheel  0/6/0
One Little Wheel  0/2/6
Two Sickles  0/4/0
One box Iron and heater  0/3/6
One Ax and hoe  0/4/0
One bridle  0/2/0
One Churn & Staff 0/6/0
One bridle  0/12/0
One pot and hooks & rack & tongs  0/2/0
One Dog & Chain  0/5/0
One pot hook & pan  0/2/6
Old Iron & Buttons of Candlestick  0/2/0
One Ridle (?) ? ?? and five ? Scales  0/4/0
Five Borkas (?) two pails ??  0/4/0

One tub and old pewter 

0/8/0
Four old baggs  0/3/6
To (?) Barley  0/2/0
One old Cheft (?)  0/2/6
Old Wooden War (?)  1/1/6
Three pewter dions (?) & six plates & Eight spoons  0/1/0
Four Bottles  0/3/0
One bridls (?) of (?) spools of (?) leather of roal (?)  0/3/8

Two Bibles a Sermon Book & pocket book 

0/19/0
Onossadlo (?)  0/0/6
Traios (?) and Ropes  0/2/0
Onoiatto (?)  0/2/0
Onohoau (?)  0/17/4
Thirteen Buffaloes of Rye  0/14/0
Plow iron & Harrow  0/2/0
Two benches one book one bolt one fork  0/3/6
Ma? rings & one wedge & frizens  0/4/0
Two belts  48/17/0

Thomas Beard
James Trimble
David Hays

 

1749 - 175021

Administrator's Bonds, page 130
Eleanor Berry, now wife of John Jones (May), recording Berry's inventory.

26 May 1750204

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book 1, page 252
This inventory and appraisement of the Estate of James Berry decd being returned into Court is ordered to be recorded.

28 Feb 1750/5121

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book No. 1, page 319
James Berry's bond as guardian of John, James and William Berry, orphans of James Berry, with surety Wm. Martin, George Berry, guardian appointed.

28 Feb. 1750/51204

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book No. 1, page 318
Know all Men by these Presents That We James Berry William Martin & George Berry of the County Augusta County are held firmly bound unto Jno. Lewis the first Justice in the commission of the Peace for the said County for, and in Behalf and to the sole Use and Behoos of the Justices of the said County, their Executors, Administrators or Assigns in the Sum of seventy pounds to be paid to the said Jno Lewis his Executors, Administrators and Assigns: To the which Payment well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, and each of us, by himself, our and each of our Heirs, Executors, and Administrators, firmly by these Presents. Sealed with our Seals, and Dated this 28 Day of Feb. 1750 
The Condition of this Obligation is such, that if the above bound James Berry his Executors and Administrators, shall well and truly pay and deliver, or cause to be paid and delivered, unto Jno. James & Wm. Berry Orphan of James Berry deceased, all such Estate or Estates as now is, or are, or hereafter shall appear to be due to the said Orphan, when and as soon as they shall attain to lawful Age, or when thereto required by the Justices of the said County Court, as also keep harmless the above-named and the rest of the said Justices, their and every of their Heirs, Executors, and Administrators, from all Trouble and damages that shall or may arise, about the said Estate: Then the above Obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force.
Sealed and Delivered
in the Presence of
James Berry
Willm Martin
George Berry
Received 28 Feb 1750

28 Feb. 1750204

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book 1, page 319
James Berry bein on his motion appointed guard to John, James & Wm Berry orphans of James Berry decd. with Wm. Martin & George Berry his securities in open court This their bond which is ordered to be recorded.

29 Aug. 1751208

Augusta County, Virginia Order Book No. 3, page 187
On the motion of James Berry Guardian to John Berry orphan of James Berry decd to bring forth that John Jones in whose custody this orphan now is abuses him, I'm therefore Ordered that the said Jones deliver him up to the said James Berry his Guardian

28 Nov 175121

Augusta County, Virginia Order Book No. 24, page 439
James Berry, guardian of children of James Berry, deceased. John Jones married James Berry's widow.

28 Nov. 1751205

Augusta County, Virginia Order Book No. 3, page 225
To the Honourable Bench of Augusta now Sitting November 28, 1751 the Humble petition of James Berry
Whereas Your pettitioner being the Guardian of the Children of James Berry Deceased part of the Estate Which was Sold at Just (?) Vandue (?) Remaining as a Book-Debt and Notes not being taken for it, it was Drawn out of the Vandue - paper into another which paper John Johnes which married the Widow of the said Ja. Berry Dilivered to your petitioner notwithstanding that is to: John Johnes had before Collected that Money and Converted to his own use and the paper which said Jno Johnes Gave to your petitioner being of no force or Value Your petitioner Shall thereby be in damages to your petitioner therefor hoped that your worships will take case into your Consideration and be Plansed (?) to order Some Redress and your petitioner will as in Duty bound ever pray.

15 Mar 175821

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book No. 2, page 226
Wm. McGill's (MaGill) bond (with Daniel Smith) as guardian (chosen) to John Berry, orphan of James Berry.

15 Mar 1758206

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book No. 2, page 226
Know all Men by these Presents That We William McGill & David Smith of the County Augusta County are held firmly bound unto Jno. Buchanan the first Justice in the commission of the Peace for the said County for, and in Behalf and to the sole Use and Behoos of the Justices of the said County, their Executors, Administrators or Assigns in the Sum of fifty pounds to be paid to the said Buchanan his Executors, Administrators and Assigns: To the which Payment well and truly to be made, we bind our selves, and each of us, by himself, our and each of our Heirs, Executors, and Administrators, firmly by these Presents. Sealed with our Seals, and Dated this 15 Day of March 1758
The Condition of this Obligation is such, that if the above bound Wm McGill his Executors and Administrators, shall well and truly pay and deliver, or cause to be paid and delivered, unto Jno Berry Orphan of James Berry deceased, all such Estate or Estates as now is, or are, or hereafter shall appear to be due to the said Orphan, when and as soon as h_ shall attain to lawful Age, or when thereto required by the Justices of the said County Court, as also keep harmless the above-named and the rest of the said Justices, their and every of their Heirs, Executors, and Administrators, from all Trouble and damages that shall or may arise, about the said Estate: Then the above Obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force.
Sealed and Delivered
in the Presence of
Wm Magill
David Smith
Received 15 March 1758

15 Mar 175821

Augusta County, Virginia Order Book No. 6, page 79
John Berry, orphan of James Berry, aged 15 years, chose McGill his guardian.

15 Nov. 175821

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book 2, page 280
Accounts against estate of William Magill paid by Hugh Campbell and Robt. Cravens. Legacies paid, viz: To James, John, William, Margaret McGill, Hugh Campbell, John Jones, Robert Dickson, John Berry, Ro. Fouller (to each of these £9, 1, 6).

04 Apr. 175921

Augusta County, Virginia Deed Book 8, page 127
Robt. Cravens to Joseph Cravens, £50, 300 acres on a branch of Cook's Creek; corner Samuel Harrison. 
Teste: Samuel Hemphill, John ( ) Jones.

27 Mar. 176121

Augusta County, Virginia Deed Book 9, p. 315
James McCarrell to John Joans (Jones), £12, 260 acres at a place called Snoden's Spring. Teste: William and Joseph Cravens, James Robertson. Delivered: John Jones, November, 1764.

16 Nov. 176421

Augusta County, Virginia Deed Book 11, p. 721
John ( ) Jones and Elizabeth ( ) to Daniel Young, £11.5. 260 acres at Snodon's Springs.

20 May 176621

Augusta County, Virginia Order Book No. 10, p. 154
James Cloyd appointed surveyor from lower end of John Bowyer's plantation of James River by Cedar Bridge to Mathew's Road, to work these tithables: Of Christopher Vineyard, John and Wm. Hall, John Logan, James Skidmore, Geo. Wilson, John Berry, John Jones, James McClure, Mathew Hair, John Bowyer, George Skillern and Conrad Wall.

18 Oct. 176821

Augusta County, Virginia Deed Book 15, p. 456
John Buchanan and Margaret and William Thompson and Mary, to James Skidmore, £55.5, 88 acres, part of a tract patented to John and William, 8th April, 1767, on James River, John Jones's line. Teste: Robert Campbell, Hugh Logan, David Smith.
Delivered: Randolph Guin per order filed 22d June, 1798.

10 May 1770241

Botetourt County Tithables 1770 - 1771
Benjamin Estill's List
From the south side of Buffaloe Creek to James River from mountain to mountain
John Pearle (1) 70 acres, Edward Green (1), Patrick Gobin (1), James Cartmill (1) 200 acres, Thomas Pearle (1), James Pearle (1), John McCoy, Joseph Dinis (1), Stephen Redman (1), Wm. Neail (1), Wm. Maxwell (1), Jos. Maxwell (1), Jno. Cmpbell (1), Samuel Walker (2), Saml. Walker Jur. (1), Robt. Shanon (1), David Scott (1), Robt. Moffet (1) 170 acres, James Bartain (1), John Bartain (1), Samuel McNabb (1), Saml. Fargeson (1), John Lucas (1), James McCown (1), Geo. Taylor (2) 225 acres, John Skelton (1), Edly Paul (2) 398 acres, John Berry (1) 100 acres, John White (1) 180 acres, Edward McGinis (1), John Carnihan (1), Edward Murphey (1), Hugh Barclay (2) 625 acres, John Gillmore (2) 220 acres, Wm. Mickelheney (1) 214 acres, John Maxwell (2) 200 acres, Samuel Miller (1), John Walker (2) 359 acres, Richard Matthews (2) 400 acres, John Scott (1), Wm Logain (1) 300 acres, Wm Greenlee (1), Henery Bowin (2) 320 acres, James Mickelheney (1), John Starling (1), Thomas Maxwell (1), Joseph Scott (2), Geo Salley (2) 200 acres, John Greenlee (3) 1907 acres, John Hall (1) 130 acres, Stephen Arnold (4), Christian Tally (1), James Arnold (1), Wm Skillern (2), John Logain (3) 200 acres, Thos. Logain (1) 200 acres, Geo. Francisco (20 385 acres, John Murrey (3), John Cowardeen (2), Henry Kartmill (2), James Green (1), Edward Golehow (1), David Smith (2), Joseph Butler (1), John Jones (1), John Berry (1), James Berry (1), Peeter Dimon (1), William May (1), Hugh Logain (2) 125 acres, Thos. Stevenson (1) 118 acres, Andw Boyd (7), Geo. Skillern (9) 1137 acres, William Cross (1), Reachal Bowin (1), Widow Bowin 2), William Bowin (1), Robt. Bowin (1), Arther Bowin (1), Charles Bowin (1), Malcom Allen 2), James Allen (1), Wm Mathews (1) 2999 acres, James Simpson (3) 243 acres, John Poage (2), John Poage Jr (1), James McClure (1), Daniel McDonald (1), William Chapman (1), John Sollers (1), Patrick Brown (2), Jacob Cooper (1), Christian Rhods (1), Geo Campbell (1), Jacob Cleek (1), Mathias Cleek (1), Geo Dougherty (1) 85 acres, Wm Dougherty (1), Jos. Dougherty (1) 200 acres, John Hickman (1), Boltis Cleek (1), David Cloyd (1), James Cloyd (3), James Gillmore (5), Christian Vineyard (1) 300 acres, Conrod Wall (1), Joseph Colwell (1), Wm Laird, Edward Tumins (1), James Dilong (1), Rubin Lantern (1), John Wallas (1), Henry Turner (1), John Loyd (1), James Loyd (1), William Billbrew (1), Benjamin Estill (4) 238 acres, Alexr Baggs (1), Wm. Taylor (1), Geo McNight (1), Benjamin Watson (1), James Wilson (1), James Skidmore (1) 88 acres, Robert Whitley (1), Michael Francisco (1), John Watkins V 200 acres, James Moore (2), Geo Commings (1), Henry Eyres (1), Wm Croford (1)

10 Oct 177021

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book No. 4, page 404
John Berry's will--To daughter, Mary; to John Nesbit; to John Berry, son of James Berry, deceased; to John Berry, son of William Berry; to John Berry, son of William Berry; to John Berry, son of Francis Berry; to Francis Berry, wheelwright; to Mary Berry, daughter of Wm. Berry, and her sister Elizabeth; to Elizabeth Berry, daughter of Charles Berry; to daughter, Rebecca Berry.
Executors, Alexander Walker, wheelwright, and Wm. Edmastonn. 
Teste: John Walker, Jr., James Walker, Francis Berry.
Proved, 22d March, 1771, by John, John (Jr.), and James Walker.
Executors qualify
(Edmiston's mark --) with John Walker, Jas. Crawford.

10 April 177156

At a court held for Botetourt County Court
James Hind (Plff.) against Wm. Fleming (Deft.) In Covenant
This day came the parties by their attornies and thereupon came also a jury, towit: Thomas Barns, John Taylor, Patrick Buchman, William Campbell, Thomas Dunn, William Laurence, William Carlton, James McNeal, William Curry, George Clark, John Potts, Junr & John Jones, who retd. Verdt. For deft. Jugt. Accdgly, cost to be pd. By plff.

18 Apr. 1772328

Botetourt County, Virginia, Will Book A, page 32
In the name of God , Amen. This 18 Day of April 1772 thus I , John Jones of the County of Botetourt and Colony of Virginia being weak in body but of perfect mind and memory.
Considering the mortality of my Body and knowing that is also appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament. And first of all I recommend my Soul into the Hands of Almighty God and my Body I recommend to the Earth to be Buried in a Decent like and Christian manner at the Discretion of my Executors here after Named and I order it as it is my Will, I desire that all my legal Debts and Funeral Charges may be paid by my Executors as soon as the litigation of my Affairs will admit. Informing I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved Wife Elisabeth Jones one third of all my real Estate of Lands either in Quality or Quantity owning her Life together with all my House/furnishings
Item I give and bequeath I devise unto my beloved Son Nathaniel Jones all my real Estate of Lands …as Revised above to him and his heirs and Assign for ever
Item I Give and Bequeath to my son John Jones five Shillings and likewise also at of the Blue Cloth that is now in house
Item I give and bequeath to my Daughter Margaret McCoy five Shillings and likewise to my Daughter Elisabeth John give five Shillings.. And the remainder if any be of my Estate I devise that it be Equally divided among Martha Sarah Jean and Nathaniel Jones and my daughter Hannah Harrison equal part with them and I will and desire that the ten pounds that is to be paid to John Logan out and of my Estate for Thomas Harrison that in Thomas Harrison will pay six (?) pounds to his wife Hannah Harrison and the other I will pounds to be paid his son John Harrison, Likewise to mind Constitute I appoint James McClure and Elisabeth Jones to be my whole and sole Executors of this my Last Will and Testament and I am to ratify and Confirm this to be my Last Will and Testament Given unto my Seal 
John Jones his mark

3 Sept. 177256,197196,56,838

Kegley's Virginia Frontier/Annals of SW Virginia

Botetourt County, Virginia Deed Book 1, page 496
LDS Microfilm # 30702, Botetourt County Virginia Deed Book 1, volumes 1 and 2, 1770 - 1780

This indenture made the third day of September in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy two between John Berry and Hannah Berry his wife of the County of Botetourt of the one part and John Jones Senior of the same county of the other part
Witnesseth that the said John Berry and Hannah Berry for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings current money of Virginia to them in hand paid by the said John Jones Senior on or before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged Hath granted bargained and sold and by these presents doth grant bargain sell unto the said Jno Jones one certain tract or parcel of land containing forty four acres lying and being on the south side of James River in the County of Botetourt being part of two tracts belonging to Jno Berry and is bounded as followeth viz
Beginning at a red oak and ash on the river corner to Skidmore’s land and thence in a line of the same south thirty degrees east one hundred and thirty six poles to two black oaks west twenty two poles to two black oaks south five degrees east thirty poles to three hiccory saplins corner to George Wilson’s land and in a line of the same south seventy four degrees east one hundred poles to a black oak pine North fifty five degrees east two poles to a white oak and black oak and north seventy five degrees west ninety eight poles to a hiccory North five degrees west thirty poles to a black oak (?) and lynn North seventy nine degrees East twenty poles to a black oak & north thirty two degrees East one hundred and twenty poles to a white oak and ash on the river below the head of a spring and thence up the river one hundred and twenty five poles to the beginning
And all houses buildings orchards ways waters watercourses profits commodities hereditaments and appurtenances whatsoever to the said premises hereby granted or any part thereof belonging or in any wise appertaining and the reversion and reversions remainder or remainders rents issues and profits thereof
To have and to hold the said forty four acres be the same more or less and all and singular other the premises hereby granted with the appurtenances unto the said Jno Jones and his heirs executors administrators and assigns from the day before the date hereof and during the full term and time of one whole year from thence and conveying fully to be complete and ended(?) yielding and paying therefore the rent of one peppercorn on Lady Day next if the same shall be lawfully demanded so the intent and purpose that by virtue of these presents and of the statute for transferring leases into possession the said Jno Jones may be in actual possession of the premises and be enabled to except and take a grant and release of the reversion and inheritance thereof to him and his heirs
In witness whereof the said John Berry and Hannah Berry hath hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written
John Berry
Hannah Berry
Sealed and delivered in the presence of
John Jones Thos Harrison James Berry

3 Sept. 1772196,56,838

Botetourt County, Virginia Deed Book 1, page 496
LDS Microfilm # 30702, Botetourt County Virginia Deed Book 1, volumes 1 and 2, 1770 - 1780

This indenture made the third day of September in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy two between Jno Berry and Hannah his wife of the County of Botetourt of the one part and Jno Jones Senior of the said county of the other part
Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of thirty pounds current money of Virginia to the said Jno Berry and Hannah Berry in hand paid by the said Jno Jones on or before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof they do hereby acknowledge and thereof doth release request and discharge the said Jno Jones and his heirs executors and administrators by these presents they the said Jno Berry and Hannah Berry  his wife hath granted bargained sold aliened received and confirmed and by these presents doth grant bargain sell alien release and confirm unto the said Jno Jones in his active possession now being by virtue of a bargain and sale to him thereof made by the said Jno Berry and Hannah Berry  for one whole year by indenture bearing date the day next before the day of the date of these presents and by force of the statute for transferring leases into possession and his heirs one certain tract or parcel of land containing forty four acres lying and being on the south side of James River in the county of Botetourt being part of a tract belonging to John Berry and is bounded as follows viz
Beginning at a red oak and ash on the river corner to Skidmore’s land and thence in a line of the same south thirty degrees east one hundred and thirty six poles to two black oaks west twenty two poles to two black oaks south five degrees east thirty poles to three hiccory saplins corner to George Wilson’s land and in a line of the same south seventy four degrees east one hundred poles to a black oak pine North fifty five degrees east two poles to a white oak and black oak and north seventy five degrees west ninety eight poles to a hiccory North five degrees west thirty poles to a black oak (?) and lynn North seventy nine degrees East twenty poles to a black oak & north thirty two degrees East one hundred and twenty poles to a white oak and ash on the river below the head of a spring and thence up the river one hundred and twenty five poles to the beginning
And all houses buildings orchards ways waters watercourses profits commodities hereditaments and appurtenances whatsoever to the said premises hereby granted or any part thereof belonging or in any wise appertaining and the reversion and reversions remainder or remainders rents issues and profits thereof and other all the estate right title interest and trust property claim and diversion whatsoever of them the said Jno Berry and Hannah Berry of in and to the said premises and all deeds licenses and writings touching or in any wise conveying the same
To have and to hold the said forty four acres be the same more or less and all and singular other the premises hereby granted and released and every part and parcel thereof with their and every of their appurtenances unto the said Jno Jones and his heirs and assigns forever to the only proper use and behoos of him the said Jno Jones and of his heirs and assigns forever and the said Jno Berry and Hannah Berry for them their heirs executors and administrators doth covenant promise and grant to and with the said Jno Jones and his heirs and assigns by these presents that the said Jno Berry and Hannah Berry now at the time of sealing and delivering of these presents are seized of a good sure perfect and indefeasible estate of inheritance in fee simple of and in the premises here granted and released and __ they hath good power and lawful and absolute authority to grant and convey the same to the said Jno Jones in manner and form aforesaid and that the premises are and are forever hereafter shall remain and be free and clear of and from all former and other gifts grants bargains sales dowers receipt and title of dower judgements and execution titles troubles charges and incumbrances whatsoever made done committed or suffered by the said John Berry and Hannah Berry or any other person or persons whatsoever the quitrents here after to grow due and payable to our soverign lord the king his heirs and successors for and in respect of the said premises on by excepted and foreprized (?) and lastly that the said John Berry and Hannah Berry and their heirs and all and singular the premises hereby granted & released with their appurtenances unto the said Jno Jones & his heirs and assigns against them the said John Berry and Hannah Berry and their heirs and all and every other person or persons whatsoever shall and will warrant and forever defend by these presents
In witness whereof the said Jno Berry and Hannah Berry hath hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written
John Berry
Hannah Berry
Sealed and delivered in the presence of John Jones, Thos Harrison, James Berry
At a court held for Botetourt County by the 8th day of September 1772
These indentures of lease and release were proved by the oaths of John Jones Thos Harrison & Jas Berry and ordered into record
Teste
David May

14 Jul 177356,327,328

Botetourt County, Virginia Will Book A, page 33
Signed Sealed published and pronounce by the said John Jones as his Last Will and Testament in promise fees.
At a court continued and held for Botetourt County this 14 Day of July 1773 this instrument of writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of John Jones deceased was Exhibited in Court by James McClure one of the executors here in named and providing the Oaths of said James McClure and James Skidmore Witnesses hereto and ordered to be secured. Where upon an the motion of this James McClure who make oath according to Law Certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate here of in due form he having first entered into Bond conditions as the Law Directs in this sum of two hundred pounds with John Logan and James Skidmore his securities.
James McClure
John Logan
James Skidmore
Teste David May DE

 

Analysis of the Timeline

 

     James Berry can be traced through Augusta County court records from 1749 through 1770, but all of this activity is related to court actions pursuant to the distribution of his estate, the guardianship of his "orphans", and the division of his father's estate. No primary records have been discovered, to date, representing actions of James Berry while he was still alive. 


     In the late fall of 1749, Elizabeth, the widow of James Berry, posted a bond as the administrator of his estate, and Charles and Thomas Berry, the brother and cousin of James Berry, respectively, were listed as sureties for the bond. Elizabeth was listed as Elizabeth E. Berry at that time, so, at least at the end of November 1749, she had not yet remarried. In February of 1750, Elizabeth's soon-to-be second husband applied for a marriage certificate, and a few months later, in March of 1750, the Augusta County Court ordered that the estate of James Berry be appraised and inventoried by Thomas Beard, James Trimble and David Hays. Several months after that, in May of 1750, the appraisal results were entered into court records, and by this time it appears that Elizabeth had married her second husband, John Jones. 


     The picture that emerges from an analysis of James Berry's personal property is that of a self-sufficient farmer and livestock owner. Among his possessions were four horses, nine cattle, seven sheep and five hogs, plus a variety of farm implements, such as sickles, axes, hoes and a plow, in addition to what appear to be harvested rye and barley. There were also numerous household items, such as candlesticks, plates, spoons and bottles. (The monetary correlation is 20 shillings per pound, and twelve pence per shilling.106 ) It takes land to serve all of this livestock and raise crops, but there is no record of a land sale in either the Borden or Beverley Grants for this particular James Berry, despite the fact that much open land remained for sale in both grant areas. The logical conclusion is that James Berry was "squatting" on land that was not yet his or that he owned land outside of these grants. A review of the Borden and Beverley land records, combined with Augusta County court data, seems to indicate that many people in this area lived and farmed on property, sometimes for several years, before they actually received title to the land. While the location of the land upon which James Berry lived is not known, the names associated with the administration of his estate may provide some clues. As shown in Figure 8, Figure10, Figure 24 and Table II, not only did the Berry cousins and brothers live near each other, the men selected to appraise James Berry's estate lived nearby, as well. The fact that several Berry relatives are known to have settled in proximity to each other (Figure10), and that several known local landowners were involved in the appraisal seems to suggest that James Berry also lived nearby. While James Trimble and David Hays had purchased their Borden properties in 1742 and 1743, respectively, Charles Berry did not assume actual ownership until 1752 and Thomas Beard not until 1753. Clearly, all of these men were already living in the area by 1749, most likely on the lands they ended up purchasing, so the logical conclusion is that James Berry was in the process of such a land acquisition when he unexpectedly died sometime in 1749.


     Several lines of evidence appear to define the youthfulness of James Berry and his, apparently, unexpected and premature death. First, he left several young children. If he had been an old man, there probably would have been more children, and, most likely, no minor children. Secondly, his widow appears to have remarried not long after his death, and raised a fairly large second family, which suggests that she, too, was quite young at the time of his death.116 Third, he left no will. Wills were written by young men when they went off to war, and by older men, as they realized that they were reaching the end of their life. In this case, there was no war, although there was escalating violence between English settlers and the Native Americans. The French and Indian War, however, was several years away (1754 - 1763).323,324,325,326 While James Berry's death could just as easily been caused by an accident, skirmishes with the natives were not uncommon, and became increasingly common as the war approached. Fourth, the father of James Berry, the elder John Berry, outlived his son by 20 years, and finally, if James Berry's birth date of 1716 is correct, then he passed away at the age of 33. 


     The next series of court entries, extending from the end of February through the end of November 1751, document the "orphan saga". Several of the dates on these documents are potentially confusing, and should be explained. As noted earlier in the report, until 1752 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted by England, the first day of the new year was the 25th of March. Since the first three months of our current new year would have been considered part of the old year, any court documents with a date between 1 January and 25 March would have been attributed to the previous year (at least in today's terms). In some of the entries, these occurrences are also expressed as double dates, such as 1750/1751. Consequently, a date of 28 February 1750/1751 or 28 February 1750, would actually represent 28 February 1751 and not 28 February 1750.222


     In Augusta County court records, the "orphan saga" began on 28 February 1751, when James Berry, the brother of the orphan's grandfather, was named by the court as the guardian of the "orphaned' children of the deceased James Berry. The guardian is the elder James Berry and the two other men identified as providing surety are James' son, George, and a neighbor, William Martin (Figure 14). It should be noted that during colonial times, the definition of an orphan seems to have been somewhat different than it is today. At that time an orphan appears to have been any child whose father had passed away, since, in this case, the mother is, quite clearly, alive. The fact that the brother of the orphan's grandfather (the elder James Berry) was selected as guardian instead of their grandfather (the elder John Berry) has been discussed previously in the report (see section II. A James Berry, Guardianship of the Orphans of the Deceased James Berry "The Orphan Saga" above.) To summarize, however, it appears that the elder John Berry had not yet immigrated into this area, so the eldest Berry family member, the elder James Berry, assumed the role of guardian. Only three months after guardianship was established, James Berry (the guardian) complained to the court that the child's stepfather (John Jones) was spending his step son's inheritance on himself, rather than reserving it for the child. Paperwork documenting the outcome of this case has been located in Augusta County court records. The final "orphan saga" entry is from the spring of 1758, when, at the age of 15, John Berry selected his uncle, William MaGill to be his guardian. The final entry for James Berry was when he was noted in his father's 1770 will.


     Following the death of her first husband, which probably occurred sometime in 1749, Elizabeth Eleanor (MaGill) Berry married John Jones. Although there are no marriage records available, the wedding must have taken place in Augusta County, Virginia sometime between November 1749 and May 1750. There are two individuals with the name of John Jones in Augusta County records: the John Jones that married Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill Berry and a Rev. John Jones. The latter was a minister, lived in Augusta County throughout his life and died there in 1778. The former eventually moved to what became Botetourt County and died in 1773. They can be easily differentiated based on their dates of death and where they lived.21


     In November of 1749 Elizabeth still retained her Berry surname, but by May of 1750, court records indicate that John Jones had married James Berry's widow. Apparently John Jones didn't get along with his youngest step son, John Berry, because only a little over a year later, he was accused of "abusing" him. The courts then shifted guardianship to the elder James Berry in August of 1751. Only a few months after that, in November 1751, the families were back in court, and John Jones was accused by the new guardian of spending John Berry's inheritance on himself. 


     In 1758, the estate of Elizabeth's father, William MaGill, was finally settled (he had passed away in 1749), and those receiving monetary distributions were William MaGill's sons, as well as those men, still living (i.e. Hugh Campbell, Robert Dickson and John Jones), who had married his daughters.321 A year later, Robert Cravens, one of the executors of William MaGill's will, sold some land on Cook Creek to his son Joseph, and John Jones served as a testamentary. Robert Cravens also owned land on nearby Linville Creek, and in his 1761 will, distributed some of this property to his children.21 In 1761 John Jones purchased 260 acres of land on Snoden's Springs, and two of Robert Cravens sons, William and Joseph, served as testamentaries in the transaction.21 The fact that Joseph Cravens and John Jones served as testamentaries for each other's land sales suggests that they were probably neighbors, and, since Joseph owned land on Cook Creek, it is seems likely the Snoden Springs property purchased by John Jones was also in this vicinity. Figure 25 shows the location of Cook and Linville Creek, as well as the approximate homestead locations for William MaGill and Robert Cravens.329 When John Jones received title to the Snoden Springs land in the fall of 1764, he and Elizabeth promptly sold the parcel at a slight loss. 


     The next entry for John Jones is from May 1766, and it appears that he and Elizabeth had moved south along the Great Wagon Road to the area described as the forks of the James. This is a rather large area defined by a split of the James River on the west side of the Blue Ridge mountains into a north fork and a southern fork. Quite possibly, the 1764 Snoden Springs land sale was made in preparation for this move from north of the Beverley Grant to south of the Borden Grant. In the 1766 entry, James Cloyd, a local land owner, was appointed to be the surveyor for the area between John Bowyer's lands on the James River from Cedar Bridge to Matthew's road. This area extended from Cedar Bridge, which was probably a bridge that carried the Great Wagon Road over Cedar Creek (see Figure 16) to Mathews Road. John Mathews was a road overseer and owned 1600 acres of land on Mill Creek in the north fork of the James River. This property was also described as being adjacent to John Poague's land.21 Although Mill Creek could not be located, Poague's Run is shown on Figure 16. Presumably, John Poague owned land somewhere along this creek. Furthermore, the north fork of the James is now called the Maury River. From Figure 16 it can be seen that Poague's Run empties into the Maury River just south of Buffalo Creek. The segment of the road that John Mathews was responsible for, extended from his own property to Renix's road.21 William Renix was another road overseer, and lived in the forks of the James, as well, but at an unknown location.21 While is not clear where these roads were, clearly, the surveyor's area of responsibility extended from Cedar Creek north to somewhere along the Maury River, possibly near Buffalo Creek. A number of men were named as tithables (taxable males) in this entry, which means they were over 21 and probably landowners. Of these men, Christopher Vineyard, John Logan, George Skillern, John Berry and James Skidmore all can be documented as owning land along the James River.21 Three others, John Berry (there appears to have been two individuals named John Berry), William Hall and John Hall, owned land along or near Cedar Creek, and John Hall owned land along Love Run and Elk Creek.21 All of these streams, except Love Run, can be found on Figure 16. In the 1768 court entry, James Skidmore's land was noted as being adjacent to that of John Jones, thus, further pinning down the general location of the Jones property. Unfortunately, the location of James Skidmore's property cannot be determined with any more accuracy than for John Jones' land.


     Botetourt County was formed from Augusta County in 1770 with the boundary being the Maury River. Soon thereafter, the newly formed county made a list of all taxable males (all those over the age of 16), including all owners of taxable personal property, which was most likely followed by a tax assessment.102 John Jones was recorded on Benjamin Estill's tithable list in the 1770 tax listing for Botetourt County. Benjamin Estill's area of responsibility was defined by streams on the north and south sides and the mountains on the east and west side. It extended from the south side of Buffaloe Creek to the James River and from the Blue Ridge Mountains on the eastern side of the valley to a series of mountainous uplifts on the western side. Buffalo Creek empties into the Maury River, which, as noted above, is the north fork of the James River. This area fairly closely conforms to the area of responsibility of the surveyor in the 1766 entry. Furthermore, many of the men identified in the 1766 and 1768 entries are found in the 1770 tax listing, including two John Berrys, Richard Mathews, John Hall, John Logan, David Smith, John Jones, Hugh Logan, George Skillern, James McClure, James Cloyd, Christian Vineyard, Conrad Wall and James Skidmore. The tax list also noted that there was only one male over the age of 16 in the household, which is, quite clearly, John Jones. Elizabeth and John were married in early 1750, so it is not too surprising that none of their sons were born prior to 1754. However, Elizabeth also had three sons from her first marriage, although one of them, John Berry, had not been living in her household for some time. These Berry boys were born in the late 1730's and early 1740's, and all of them were over 16 at this time. In fact, they were all over 21 and probably in their own households. Clearly, none of them were living with her in 1770, although it is quite possible that the James Berry as well as one of the John Berrys enumerated in the 1770 tax listing in this area represent two of these three sons. 


     In the spring of 1771, John Jones served on a Botetourt County jury, but by 14 July 1773, he had passed away.56 His will was proved in court in mid July by one of the executors of his estate, so he must have passed away sometime between 10 April 1771 and 14 July 1773 - more likely closer to the latter date. The last entry for John Jones was in the summer of 1773, when his will was probated.327,328 The date of Elizabeth's death is unknown, but she was still alive when John Jones wrote his will in the spring of 1772. 

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In-laws of James and William Berry

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