of Nansemond Co, VA,
Johnston Co, NC,
andWake Co, NC
Christopher Woodward must have been born by 1740, as he had an unknown child by 1759 and a son Jordan born in 1760. However, it is possible that Christopher Woodward could have been born as early as 1700 if he lived to the age of 85. There is not enough information to narrow the span further. My guess is that he was born around 1730, give or take a few years. He lived in Nansemond Co., VA prior to his arrival in Wake Co. But his great-grandson, Andrew Jackson Woodward, believed Christopher had lived in Jamestown before coming to Wake Co, but had emmigrated from England at some earlier date. This is virtually impossible since Jamestown was abandoned well before the 1760's - plus we have the record that places Christopher Woodward in Nansemond Co shortly before his arrival in NC.
Suffolk Parish vestry records (Nansemond
Oct. 31, 1759: Capt. Randal for keping Christopher Woodward's child 4 months.
So any Woodward ancestor who settled at Jamestown must have been much earlier than Andrew Jackson Woodward thought. But there seems to be some basis for the story about an ancestor who came from England to Jamestown.
A similar story came down in the family of Merrill Utley concerning an Elizabeth Woodward. Elizabeth's father has not been proven, but she was certainly a descendant of Christopher Woodward of Wake Co in one way or another.
An article about Newton W Utley, son of William Washington Utley and Sallie Ann Holland - and grandson of Merrill Utley and Elizabeth Woodward, found in Memorial Record of Western Kentucky, Lewis Publishing Company, 1904, pp 515-520 states:
"Born upon a farm in Marshall county,
Kentucky, May 12, 1860, he [Newton W Utley] has spent almost his entire
life in this state and now makes his home in Eddyville. His parents
were William Washington and Sallie Ann (Holland) Utley. His paternal
grandparents were Merrill and Elizabeth (Woodward)
Utley, both natives of North Carolina, and the progenitor of the family in America was an Englishman who came to the colony of Virginia with the Jamestown settlers."
Merrill Utley's wife - and his widow after his death - was Winifred Matthews/Jones of Wake Co, NC. Who was this Elizabeth Woodward that someone associated so closely with Merrill Utley's family that it was thought she was Merrill's wife? There are several possible explanations, but no proof. No Utley records have been found in relation to Jamestown. However, there are records for an early Christopher Woodward who settled in Jamestown. Since two totally separated families had heard of this early Jamestown settler in their ancestry, it appears likely that Christopher Woodward of Wake Co descended in some way from the earlier Christopher Woodward who settled at Jamestown. I have not been able to prove the exact trail of this descent, but I have discovered some interesting possibilities.
Christopher's signature on his will as it appears at the top of this page was very fluent and practiced - not at all the struggling signature of his sons or the shaky signature of a very elderly man. From a comparison of his signature to the handwriting in the body of the will, it appears possible that Christopher himself wrote the will. Whether that is the case or not, just from his signature alone, it is obvious that he was well educated.
Our Christopher Woodward had a great-grandson named Sanders Woodward. This might imply Sanders ancestry behind the Woodwards. But this Sanders Woodward was also the grandson of Pleasants Woodward and Winifred Utley whose mother Phoebe (wife of Jacob Utley, his will dated August 19,1796 - her will dated Nov. 2, 1804) was almost certainly a daughter of James Sanders Sr and a sister to James's son Hardy Sanders who married Lucy Utley, Jacob Utley's sister and Winifred Utley's aunt. The name Sanders appeared several times in the descendants of Jacob Utley and Phoebe - and even the complete name Phoebe Sanders Utley was used for one grandchild, a daughter of Merrill Utley and wife Winifred Matthews/Jones. But, although there is quite a bit of very strong circumstantial evidence, there are no records that actually state that Phoebe was a daughter of James Sanders Sr and wife Ann Holmes.
Wake Co. was created in 1771 from Johnston, Cumberland, and Orange Counties. Therefore, when Christopher Woodward first appeared in the records in this area in 1766, the Middle Creek community was considered part of Johnston Co. The earliest NC record that reflects the presence of Christopher Woodward comes from Orange Co., NC Will Book A in which Christopher Woodward, William Barker, and Lewis Barker witnessed the will of Samuel Lehman dated 18 Oct 1766. In chosing witnesses, the testator usually wanted people who lived in the area and would be available to prove the will in court later, so it's possible that Christopher Woodward was living in Orange Co at the time. In 1760, Orange Co was quite a large county lying west of Johnston Co and Granville Co and north of Cumberland Co to the Virginia line. The later counties of Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Guilford, Person, and Wake were formed from Orange Co or parts of Orange Co.
The next NC record that has been found comes from the Johnston Co. court minutes. The Apr. 21, 1767 entry listed Christopher Woodward as serving on the Petty Jury. (Wasn't there a requirement that only landholders could serve on juries? Had he had land surveyed for a patent at this time?) His first appearance in the deed books was in Johnston Co. in 1769 when he witnessed the deed from Benjamin Womack of Johnston Co. to John Bradford, Jr. of Halifax Co. In 1770 in Johnston Co., he witnessed a deed in which Edward Earp (possibly Harp) transferred the ownership of several Negroes to his grandson, William Harp (possibly Earp).
Since none of Christopher Woodward's earliest NC records state the location of the land on which he was living or lands that he held, it's not known if he first lived in the Middle Creek vicinity or elsewhere in Orange or Johnston County. Shortly after the 1767 Johnston Co Petty Jury record, Christopher Woodward was recorded again in the Johnston Co court minutes as security for the defendant in the case Stephen Phillips vs Thomas Horn. In 1762, Thomas Horn had witnessed a deed from Joseph Lane to William Utley for land on the N side of Swift Creek. Both Joseph Lane and William Utley held lands near Middle Creek and Swift Creek which lies just north of Middle Creek. So it seems likely that Christopher Woodward was residing nearby at that time. Although there were earlier records in Orange Co, Edgecombe Co, and Northampton Co for his neighbor, William Utley, Sr (will dated Dec. 23, 1780), there have been no records found for Christopher Woodward in Edgecombe or Northampton Co prior to 1766. Similarly, no records have been found in Bertie Co where James Sanders, Sr lived after leaving Nansemond Co.
Most of the land that Christopher Woodward held later in Wake Co was located in the Middle Creek and Swift Creek vicinity, but there was one piece of land that he held somewhere on Crabtree Creek. It is not known if he ever lived on the Crabtree Creek land. That seems doubtful. By 1778, he was living on Middle Creek, and by 1781 he owned and operated a mill referred to as Woodward's Mill on the same piece of land. This was his homeplace land that he left to son Pleasants Woodward when he wrote his will in 1784.
The Nov. 11, 1769 deed from Benjamin Womack to John Bradford, Jr. does offer another clue as to where Christopher Woodward first lived when he arrived in the area. The land involved was located on Terrible Creek in Johnston Co Terrible Creek lies just south of the lands later held by Christopher Woodward on Middle Creek. Since witnesses were frequently neighbors or family members, this too would tend to indicate that Christopher Woodward was already living in the Middle Creek area by 1769. John Bradford, Jr. was closely associated with the Joseph Lane family mentioned earlier.
It seemed strange to me that the earliest NC record found for Christopher Woodward was not earlier than 1766. His eldest son, Jordan Woodward, stated in his Revolutionary War pension application that he was born in NC in 1760, but there are no known records for Christopher Woodward in NC prior to the Orange Co. record of 1766. Was Jordan Woodward mistaken about his place of birth? Did he state that his birthplace was NC simply because he had spent most of his childhood in NC? Or was Christopher living in another county in NC in which the records have been lost? The records of Johnston Co. have been well-preserved, so if our Christopher Woodward had been a resident of Johnston Co. from 1760 to 1767, there would almost certainly be some record of him in the court minutes or deed books during that period. The fact that there were no such records leads me to believe that Christopher Woodward was living elsewhere, perhaps in NC as Jordan stated, but maybe in another county, or perhaps even in Nansemond Co, VA if Jordan's statement was not accurate.
There was a section of land near Sarem Swamp on the NC/VA border which was sometimes referred to as part of Nansemond Co, VA, but also was sometimes referred to as lying in NC. The Speight family and Hambleton family who were later close neighbors to the Woodwards in Wake Co were associated with the Sarem Swamp area - as was an earlier Richard Woodward. If Christopher Woodward lived in the Sarem Swamp area prior to his move to Johnston Co, NC - and we have no records that prove he did - this might explain why Jordan Woodward stated he was born in NC but the one record we have for Christopher Woodward indicates he came from Nansemond Co, VA.
There are no records of any deeds, patents, land entries, or grants that associate Christopher Woodward with any land until eleven years after his first appearance in the Johnston/Wake Co. area. However, since Christopher served on the petty jury in 1767, I would think that he held land in Johnston Co at that time even though there are no records to prove how or when he acquired the land. The following land entry records prove that he held land on both Crabtree Creek and in the Middle Creek vicinity where he was living by 1778.
From Wake Co. NC Land Entries
May 15, 1778 Christopher Woodard enters two hundred acres of Vacant Land in Wake County lying on both sides of Crab Tree Creek joining the land where Marck Phillips lives including the improvement made by Abraham Blechendon.
May 16, 1778 Lewis Jones enters six hundred acres of Vacant Land in Wake County lying on both sides of Beassills Creek joining the lines of Christopher Woodward & John Utley including the plantation he, Jones, now lives on.
May 16, 1778 Christopher Woodward enters three hundred & twenty acres of Vacant Land in Wake County lying on the South side of John Uttleys land joining his line & including the improvement he (Woodard) now lives & bought of David Howell. [Other records indicate this name was actually David Harvill or Harvel. Christopher Woodward's will also mentioned "Land which I purchised of William Harvil which Land lying and being on both sides of lick Branch".]
May 16, 1778 Christopher Woodard enters five hundred acres of Vacant Land in Wake County lying on both sides of Middle Creek joining the lines of Jacob Uttley including the improvements made by William Honeycut, George Rainey Turner & Drewry Honeycut now lives on.
The 320 acres south of John Utley's land was the site of the home of Christopher Woodward in 1778 according to the above land entry record. There is no earlier deed reflecting the purchase of this land from David Howell (or Harvill or Harvel or Harwell or similar), so it's impossible to tell how long Christopher Woodward might have held this land. However, it is apparent that he had purchased this land or the rights to the land prior to these 1778 records, but whatever records there might have been reflecting that purchase no longer exist. There was no requirement that deeds be recorded at the courthouse, so this deed might not have been recorded, or the record of it might have been lost as so many others were.
The Wake Co. court minutes dated
Sept. 7, 1778 listed Christopher Woodward as the tax gatherer in Capt.
Utley's district. The court minutes of June 8, 1780 included the following:
Capt. district: Capt. Utley
Assessor: Jacob Utley
Justice: Hardy Sanders
Constable: Christopher Woodward
John Utley, brother of Jacob Utley, was often called "Captain Jack", probably because he served a number of years as the captain of the military district in Wake Co. which included all or part of the Middle Creek area. Each district had its own captain, justice, assessor, and constable, so Hardy Sanders, Jacob Utley, and Christopher Woodward each held their positions within Capt. Utley's district which obviously was located in the Middle Creek vicinity. Hardy Sanders' wife, Lucy Utley, was the sister of John Utley and Jacob Utley. So Hardy Sanders was the brother-in-law of John and Jacob Utley who were brothers, both sons of William Utley, Sr.
A letter from Lt. Col. Hardy Sanders to Gen. Sumner headed "Camp Middle Creek, Near Woodward's Mill, Wake Co., Aug. 21, 1781" was published in State Records of North Carolina by Walter Clark, vol. IV, p. 612. The letter itself is of no value for our purposes, but the heading establishes that Woodward's Mill which was owned by Christopher Woodward and later left to his son, Pleasants Woodward, was built in the Middle Creek area by 1781, perhaps a number of years earlier. From later records, we can determine that his home and the mill were on the same piece of property, so this must have been the property bought of David Howell/Harvell. We have no way of knowing if the mill had already been built when he purchased the land, or if Christopher Woodward built the mill himself. With this information, we can surmise that he probably made his living as a planter and miller, at least from the late 1770's until his death.
According to Elizabeth Reid Montgomery
in Wake, Capital County of North Carolina 1983:
"Camp Middle Creek, near Woodward's Mill on that watercourse, may have been the regular Wake County muster ground."
Although there are no records of Christopher Woodward serving in the militia during the Revolutionary War, there are vouchers at NC State Archives which prove that he sold 140 pounds of "neat pork" and 134 pounds of bacon to Wake Co. Commissioner Thomas Wootten in 1781. The meat was purchased for the use of the military. This same Thomas Wootten appeared on another record dated April 1, 1781 as the Commanding Officer of the Wake Co. Militia. Was Christopher Woodward providing this meat for use at Camp Middle Creek near Woodward's Mill? Even though these vouchers do not prove active military service, the DAR does recognize them as proof of Revolutionary service since they establish that the provider was sympathetic and supportive to the Revolutionary cause. To the best of my knowledge, no descendant of Christopher Woodward has ever applied for DAR membership on these vouchers, probably because his descendants have been so difficult to prove.
Christopher Woodward wrote his will in 1784. His son Pleasants Woodward was left the mill and home plantation. Surely Woodward's Mill of the 1781 record must have been the same mill, and it was no doubt located on the land which lay to the south of John Utley's land and had been the location of Christopher Woodward's home in 1778 according to the land entry.
From Abstracts of the Early Deeds
of Wake Co., NC 1785-1802 by Joseph W. Watson:
Deed Book K, p. 106: State of NC Grant #1151 to Christopher Woodward May 18, 1789 320 acres both sides Middle Creek adjoining John Utley and Thomas Driver.
The Wake Co. index to deeds shows this deed as recorded Dec. 4, 1796. The number of acres agrees with the land entry that was described as south of John Utley and the location of the Woodward home. Notice that this grant and the following grant were made after Christopher Woodward's death in 1785. By this time, Pleasants Woodward had inherited the land. This record also establishes that the land on which the mill was located was still in the possession of Christopher's heirs (in this case his son Pleasants) as late as 1796. Since the land was not granted to Christopher Woodward until after his death, perhaps it was only the rights to a patent or warrant or entry that had been bought of David Howell/Harvell.
From Abstracts of the Early Deeds
of Wake Co., NC 1785-1802 by Joseph W. Watson:
Deed Book K, p. 156: State of NC Grant #1275 to Christopher Woodward's orphans Jan. 12, 1798, 40 acres on Buck Branch adjoining Smith, Rhodes, Phillips, warrant dated Aug. 19, 1778.
The Wake Co. index to deeds lists this as recorded Apr., 24, 1799. I have found no record of the earlier warrant. The name Phillips is suggestive of the Crabtree Creek land entry, but the number of acres does not agree. The 1887 map shows a Buck Branch as a branch flowing south into Swift Creek just west of another Reedy Branch and east of Dutchman's Creek. (The Reedy/Ready Branch mentioned in Christopher Woodward's will was certainly Reedy Springs Branch which flows into Middle Creek.) Buck Branch can also be found in a similar location on the grants map.
Even though this land was granted fourteen years after Christopher Woodward's death, it still indicates that he had an interest in the land before his death in 1785, and his children had an interest in the same land until at least 1799. The grants map shows nearby grants to Theophilus Hunter, John Rice, John Whitaker, and William Brown. All of these names were associated with the Woodwards as friends, bondsmen, or acquaintances in later years. John Rice sold land in Bladen Co. to Christopher Woodward shortly before his death in 1785. William Brown was the bondsman for the marriage of Christopher Woodward's son, Pleasants Woodward. John Whitaker was the bondsman for the marriage of Pleasants Woodward's son, Joseph Woodward. A grandson of Pleasants Woodward was named Theophilus Hunter Jones. But the grants map shows no Smith, Rhodes, or Phillips in the nearby area. Without more information, it is impossible to tell if this grant was located near Crabtree Creek or near Swift Creek. Christopher Woodward's will did not mention land on Buck Branch, and I have seen no later Woodward deeds mentioning Buck Branch.
Today we think of Crabtree Creek as lying north of Raleigh where the shopping center that bears its name is located. Actually, Crabtree Creek runs through Morrisville, then east through Raleigh, and on to the Neuse River. The Wake Co. grants map shows Thomas Phillips and John Rhodes as holding lands near Crabtree Creek to the northeast of Morrisville. In the same area is a grant to Aaron Johnson. It was probably a descendant of this Aaron Johnson who years later was so closely associated with Christopher Woodward II, Pleasants Woodward's son and Christopher Woodward's grandson. It's possible that the Crabtree lands that Christopher Woodward held were somewhere near Morrisville, but if Christopher Woodward II later lived on those same lands, there is no evidence that he inherited it.
To better understand where these various lands were located, it will be necessary to refer to several maps of the area. The map of Wake Co. land grants is a relatively recent map which was prepared about 200 years after the grants were issued. The reliability of the information contained in the map depends on the availability of records (many were lost or never recorded), the accuracy of the descriptions in the records (often confusing, vague, or ambiguous), and the interpretation of these descriptions when the map was prepared. There is plenty of room for error. The names of the creeks are the present names and sometimes do not match the names used in earlier deeds and on earlier maps. For example, the creek which flows north into Middle Creek on the grants map and is labeled Basal Creek on this map has been referred to as Brazel, Brazil Creek, or Braswell Creek on other maps. The 1778 land entry above referred to it as "Beassills Creek". These names could easily be confused with Braswell Creek which is shown on some maps as the western part of Middle Creek. Other maps label this western part of the creek as Middle Creek and the southern branch as Braswell Creek. A current map shows the southern branch as Basal Creek, but a housing development built on the creek now bears the name Braswell Creek. A careful comparison of the creeks as shown on the grants map to the same creeks as shown on other Wake Co. maps will reveal that Braswell and Basal Creeks as labeled on the grants map are not drawn correctly in relation to Middle Creek.
The sources for the information to prepare this grants map were not given but must surely have been the early grants records. In my opinion, the available records would only allow a rough estimate as to where the grants were located. Many land records for Wake Co. have been lost. Sometimes land was transferred, but the deed was never recorded by the new owner. In some cases, land granted to one person was soon sold or transferred to another person. Sometimes the records of these transfers can be found, and sometimes no record can be found, as in the case of the David Howell/Harvell land which had been sold to Christopher Woodward. There is no record of the transfer of the land to Christopher Woodward, no record of a land entry or grant to David Howell/Harvell, and no record of a transfer of the land from an earlier owner to David Howell/Harvell. It cannot be determined who the original grantee was from the existing records or the various later transfers which eventually led to the sale of the land to Christopher Woodward by David Howell/Harvell. Christopher Woodward may have been the first to receive a grant for this particular piece of land if no grant was ever issued to Howell/Harvell.
It should be remembered that the grants map only shows the believed location of grants and the dates of those grants. In comparing the grants records to the grants map, I have found many dates that do not agree. I have found other cases in which the descriptions as given in the grants do not seem to agree with the placements of these grants on the map. The large section of land supposedly granted to John Utley is not dated at all on the map. The reason for this is not known, but it would seem that no date could be determined. Perhaps it could be determined that land had been granted to John Utley in that general area or that John Utley held land there, but the exact grants and dates could not be found. It is also possible that the location of John Utley's grant as it is placed on this map is in error.
It should also be remembered that even though the map shows grants made as late as 1780 to 1800, neighbors at the time of these later grants may or may not be reflected by the map. The neighboring land granted at some previous date might have been transferred to a new owner in the interim, possibly several times. When the later grants were made, the original grantee of the adjoining land may no longer have been in possession of that land. In other words, if Mr. X was granted land in 1780, then Mr. Y was granted adjoining land in 1800, Mr. X and Mr. Y might never have been neighbors and may have never known each other if Mr. X disposed of his land in 1782.
Because of the missing Wake Co. deeds and land records that might reflect the later transfers of granted lands, it is frequently difficult or impossible to trace the later owners of these granted lands. Although some land which might have been held by Christopher Woodward may never be determined and traced, we do have his will written Aug. 27, 1784 and probated Oct. 25, 1785 (scan of original now at NC Archives) which establishes the land which was in his possession several months before his death. His will reflects much more property than there are records for in the deed books, another indication of lost records. We will probably never know if many of the pieces of land reflected in his will were granted to him prior to his death, were held by warrants, or had been purchased from other landowners.
Christopher Woodward of Wake
County and State of N. Carolina Being well in health and perfect Memmory,
do mak Constitute and Ordain this to be my last will and Testament in Manner
and form Following Vis:
Item. I give unto my Son Jordan Woodward all my land that lieth on the East side of Camp branch and from the mouth of said branch a derct(?) corse(?) to the giving line also three Cows & Calves to him and his heirs for Ever
Item. I give unto my Son Corbell Woodward all my land that lieth between Camp and Ready branch and from the mouth of sd. Ready branch down the Vearious Courses of Midle Creek to the first Drean which Empts into sd. Creek on the south side thenc up sd. Drean to Thomas Drivers line also three Cows and Calves to him and his heirs for Ever
Item. I give unto Pleasants Woodward my Son my Mill and Plantation whereon I know live also three Cows and Calves or Earlings to him and his heirs for Ever also my Riding hors & sadle for Ever
Item I give unto my Son Richard Woodward one hundred Acres of Land including the Dutchmans feald also an Entry of land Containing three hundred and fourty Acres including the old feald which lieth on the south prong of Midle Creek also one bed and furniture also Ten pounds worth in Cattle also Tin pounds specie to him and his heirs for Ever
Item I give unto my Son James Woodward all my land that lieth on the Dreans of Crabtree Creek also three hundred Acres of woodling Land which I purchised of William Harvil which Land lying and being on both sides of lick Branch also my Still and Twenty five pounds specie to him and his heirs for Ever
Item I give unto my Daughter Elisabeth Woodward one bed and furniture also Twenty pounds specie to hir and her heirs for Ever
Item I give unto my Daughter Mary Woodward Eighty pounds specie to hir and hir heirs for Ever
Item My Outstanding Debts to be Collected and Elisabeth and Mary Woodwards Legises to be first paid up and the ball thereor and All the Rest of my Estate which is not given above be sold and Equual Devided between the above mentioned Sons and Daughters Vis:
and Mary Woodward
Item I do Constitute and Appoint my Son Jordan Woodward and Also Etherld. Jones Executrs. of this my last Will and Testatment in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Fixed my Seal this Twenty seventh Day of August Ano Dom 1784.
Christo. Woodward (Seal)
Lewis + Jones (Jurat)
Levi Jones (Jurat)
Etheldread Jones (Jurat)
Wake County Septr. Term 1785
The Execution of the within Will was duly proved in Open Court by the Oaths of Lewis Jones, Levi Jones and Etheldred Jones Witnesses thereto and Ordered to be Recorded.
Recorded in the Clerks Office
of Wake County in Book B. and Pages (66 &c) this 25th day of Octr.
The entire will, except for the witnesses' signatures and the clerk's additions, may have been written in Christopher Woodward's own handwriting. It shows no signs of the shakiness of an elderly hand. It does show the fluid, confident strokes of a well-educated person. There is no doubt as to the spelling used for Corbell's and Pleasants' names which have appeared with different spellings on other documents. On many documents recorded by clerks, the final S is left off the end of Pleasants' name, probably an assumption by the clerk since the name Pleasant was much more common. However, Pleasants' own signature on both the will of Lewis Jones, Sr. and his marriage bond to Winifred Utley plainly show the final S as is recorded in Christopher's will. This is another reason I suspect that Christopher himself penned this document. He certainly would have recorded his son's name correctly if he wrote the document himself and was well-educated as he seems to have been.
Pleasants Woodward inherited Woodward's Mill and the home plantation. Surely this must have been the 320 acres mentioned in the land entry and later 1789 grant (recorded in 1796) that we know was the location of the Woodward home in 1778. Since this land had been purchased at an unknown earlier date, it was probably the Woodward home for a number or years before that. Apparently both the home and the mill were located on this piece of land. The grant described the land as lying on both sides of Middle Creek.
According to the will, Christopher Woodward owned 340 acres on the "south prong of Middle Creek" which he left to his son, Richard Woodward. In examining the branches of Middle Creek, the only branch I can find that might be the "south prong" is the branch which forked off to the southwest, supposedly on Thomas Driver's grant according to the grants map, and ran through what is shown as land originally granted to John Utley. However, the courses of the creeks as drawn on this map are not accurate. I believe the fork in the creek on Thomas Driver's grant is intended to represent the fork at Basal Creek and Middle Creek at the location of what is now called Sunset Lake. As will be shown later, Christopher Woodward's Mill was at this location. So unless Christopher Woodward purchased part of Thomas Driver's grant, the fork at Basal Creek should be farther west on the grants map placing this fork on Christopher Woodward's grant. If Christopher Woodward's land included the land at Sunset Lake (the home plantation left to Pleasants) and land that extended farther south down Basal Creek (the land left to Richard), then some of the land that was supposedly granted to John Utley as shown on this map was in the possession of Christopher Woodward at the time that he wrote his will in 1784. The 1778 land entry referred to the land on which Christopher Woodward's home was located as lying south of John Utley's land. Either the grants map is in error, or Christopher Woodward later acquired lands which were located in the southern part of John Utley's original grant as shown on the map. Regardless of what the grants map shows, we know that by 1784 Christopher Woodward owned land on both sides of Middle Creek and more land father south on Basal Creek. Apparently Thomas Driver owned land to the east, but east of Thomas Driver's land was another piece of land owned by Christopher Woodward between Camp and Ready Branches and along Middle Creek. Another piece of land that was left to Jordan Woodward lay on the east side of Camp Branch. Since John Utley's land was north of the Woodward home plantation which lay on both sides of Middle Creek, that piece of Utley land must have been north of Middle Creek. The land that Christopher Woodward owned at Dutchman's Field was probably along Dutchman's Creek, which would place it either north of or on one side of John Utley's land. Dutchman's Branch, Camp Branch, and Reedy Springs Branch can be located on the 1887 map. I have not been able to locate Lick Creek.
The home plantation was still in the possession of Pleasants Woodward in 1789 since that was the date of the grant. At some time after 1793, Pleasants Woodward sold the northern part of this property including the mill to either John Utley or his son, Young Utley. There is no surviving deed for this sale, but other records involving Pleasants Woodward establish this sale.
On July 31, 1789, Pleasants Woodward entered 88 acres of vacant land in Wake Co. on the waters of Middle Creek bounded by his own lines and the lines of Richard Woodward and Thomas Driver. This was undoubtedly the same land he was granted on Dec. 19, 1799 described as 88 acres both sides Middle Creek adjoining Richard Woodward, Thomas Driver, Utley, and his own line. There is no later deed existing now for the sale of this land, but it would seem to have been sold, probably before Pleasants Woodward left Wake Co. and probably before 1820 when he deeded a lot in Raleigh to his son, Christopher, and the remaining 225 acres of land in Middle Creek was sold by the sheriff to Jesse Osborn. Since the deeds are lost, we can only guess as to what might have happened to this land.
What happened to that 88 acres is not nearly as important as the adjoining land mentioned in the land entry and the later grant for the same land. Compare the adjoining lands in the 1789 land entry to the 1799 grant for the same 88 acres. It seems that Pleasants Woodward owned land on two sides of this piece of land in 1789, but in 1799 land on one side that had previously belonged to Pleasants Woodward in 1789 was in the possession of -?- Utley. Although we have no deed, this is evidence that some of Pleasants Woodward's land had been transferred to an unknown Utley during the period between 1789 and 1799. In 1793, Pleasants Woodward was taxed on 322 acres, which pretty much agrees with the acreage from the land entry record for Christopher Woodward in 1778 and the later posthumous grant to Christopher Woodward dated 1789. The grant described the land as lying on both sides of Middle Creek. But by 1820 when the remaining land was sold to Jesse Osborn, the homeplace seems to have contained only 225 acres that lay south and east of the mill pond, therefore only on the south side of Middle Creek. What happened to the other 95 to 97 acres that must have been on the north side of the creek? We know that Christopher Woodward's land inherited by Pleasants Woodward lay on both sides of the creek. What happened to the mill that was located on the north side of the pond? Since John Utley is believed to have run the mill before his death in 1807, the northern part of the Woodward land on which the mill was built was probably sold to John Utley after 1793 when Pleasants Woodward's tax records indicate he owned 322 acres, but before the 1799 grant which proves that some of Pleasants Woodward's previous holdings were in the possession of an Utley. Since the grant for this land to Christopher Woodward wasn't recorded until Dec. 4, 1796 - seven years after the date of the grant in 1789 and eleven years after Christopher Woodward died and the land was inherited by Pleasants Woodward - I would suspect that Pleasants finally had the grant recorded in 1796 in preparation for the sale of part of the land to John Utley.
Pleasants Woodward lost the remaining acreage to insolvency in 1820 and the land was sold to Jesse Osborn. The land in this 1820 deed was described as lying south of Young Utley's line and running south and east from the mill pond. Young Utley was the son of John Utley and apparently had inherited the mill from his father. Young is known to have run the mill after his father, John Utley. The description of the locations of the Woodward and Utley land above agrees. Pleasants Woodward's son, Joseph Woodward, repurchased part of the lost family land from the same man who had bought it, Jesse Osborn, but Joseph too either lost or sold the land before long. His deed described the land as lying south and east of Clement's Mill Pond. Clement's Mill Pond is now known as Sunset Lake.
Compare these two deeds:
From Wake Co. Deed Book 5, page
Pleasant Woodward by Sheriff Samuel Whitaker to Jesse Osborn: By order of writ dated 3rd Monday of Nov. 1820. $453.28 with intererst a sum of $436 from <?> day of Aug 1820 adjudged to the State Bank for debt and damages. About 225 acres N side of Brazils Creek beginning at Mill Pond in Young Utley line thence S 225 poles to a pine thence E 122 poles to a pine in Etheldred Jones line thence with said line N 255 poles to a maple in a branch and then W about 75 poles to the Mill Pond. Recorded Jan. 22, 1822.
Wake Co. Deed Book 6, page 185:
Jesse Osborn to Joseph Woodward: For $163.50 one certain tract or piece of land lying in the County aforesaid on the South side Brazels Creek and bounded as follows ..?.. Beginning at Clements mill pond Tilleys(?) line running South sixty three pole to a maple Woodson Clementt corner thence East one hundred and Eighty three pole to a stake and pointer in Etheldred Jones line thence North one hundred pole to the center of four red oaks said Clements Corner thence West to the mill pond and thence up the said pond to the first Station Containing one hundred and nine acres To hold the said piece of land unto the said Joseph Woodward .... Dated Jan. 20, 1824. Witnesses James Woodward, Junr, Austin Jones, Benjamin Henry Jones. Proven Feb. term, 1825, registered May 27, 1825.
By this time, Woodson Clements owned the mill and it was known as Clement's Mill.
According to the writings of Rev. Charles H. Utley as published in Descendants of William Utley and Elizabeth Turner of Wake Co., North Carolina by Joan Brink, Young Utley owned and ran the mill and lived on the west side of the mill pond. Rev. Utley believed that John Utley might have built the mill, but could never find records to prove it. (We can now prove that he didn't build it, but obtained it in some way from Pleasants Woodward.) Rev. Utley referred to the mill as Mills' Mill, which is now known as Bass Lake. Bass Lake is located on Basal Creek south of Sunset Lake. Rev. Utley's writings were undated, at least as published in this book, but he was born in 1869 and died in 1944, so a rough guess for the date of his writings can be made from that. Certainly the mill pond mentioned in Pleasants Woodward's 1820 deed which adjoined Young Utley's line was the same mill pond. But Rev. Utley named Mills' Mill Pond, and Joseph Woodward's deed said Clement's Mill Pond, a different pond altogether. Pleasants Woodward's 1820 deed in which the remaining part of the home plantation was sold described the land was "north of Brazils Creek".
At first I thought Brazils Creek must have meant Braswell Creek which appears on some maps as an extension of Middle Creek on the west side of Sunset Lake. I couldn't understand how the property could have run south and east of the mill and pond if it was on the north side of the creek. Mills' Pond (Bass Lake) is south of Braswell Creek on Basal Creek, and that didn't agree either. I finally found the solution in another Wake Co. map of 1870. The creek that is shown on current maps as Basal Creek was shown on the 1870 map as Brazel Creek. Through the years, the name has evolved and the same creek has been labeled by various names depending on which map you refer to. An 1887 map of Wake Co. labeled the western end of Middle Creek as Middle Creek, and labeled the southern fork as Braswell Creek. But Mills' Pond still did not match the description as lying north of Brazel or Basal Creek. Basal Creek really does not have a north or south side since the creek itself runs pretty much north-south. Therefore, it has east and west sides.
I had been trying to place the Woodward property in relation to Mills' Pond as described by Rev. Utley, and it simply wasn't working no matter which map or name for the creek I used. On the same 1870 map, I found the solution to that problem too. Mills' Pond, now known as Bass Lake, did not exist until long after John Utley and Young Utley had died. The only dam and mill that existed in that area in 1870 was the one at the north end of Basal or Brazel Creek. It was called Mill Pond in Pleasants Woodward's 1820 deed, and later called Clement's Mill Pond in Joseph Woodward's deed. In 1887 it was labeled "Alford's". It is now called Sunset Lake. Apparently Rev. Utley confused the name Mill Pond with Mills' Pond. The Utleys who were associated with the mill and whose graves Rev. Utley had hoped to find could not have been buried at Mill's Pond/Bass Lake because the 1870 and 1887 maps prove that Mill's Pond did not even exist until some time after 1870 but before 1887, long after John Utley and Young Utley had died! John Utley died in 1807, and Young Utley died in 1849. So the mill and land that were associated with John Utley and Young Utley were actually at what is now called Sunset Lake - called Alford's in 1887, Clement's Mill in 1870 and 1825, Mill Pond in 1820 - and before that, Woodward's Mill in the 1780 Revolutionary records. Although Sunset Lake is not "north of" Basal Creek/Brazel Creek/Braswell Creek, it is at the northern end of the creek. This land at Sunset Lake was home to four generations of Woodwards: Christopher Woodward, Pleasants Woodward, Joseph Woodward, and Andrew Jackson Woodward.
Since this land was Christopher Woodward's home at the time of his death, it is undoubtedly where he was buried. Another undated sketch written by Rev. Charles H. Utley published in Descendants of William Utley and Elizabeth Turner of Wake Co., North Carolina by Joan Brink may give us a clue as to the location of a cemetery where some of the Woodwards might have been buried. According to this sketch, one of John Utley's sons, John "Little Jack" Utley, and his wife, Charity Jones Wrench, "like so many others, fill unknown and unmarked graves at the head of the Mills' Pond. Pines cover the old cemetery." He stated that he had visited the location of this cemetery where he believed it to be at Mills' Pond but had not been able to find any graves.
So we are faced with another puzzle. Since Rev. Utley was confused as to the name of the mill pond associated with John Utley and Young Utley, did he visit the correct pond? Was he describing only the land that he saw at the head of Mills' Pond where he thought the cemetery was supposed to be located? How could he have recognized the location of the cemetery if the graves were unmarked? There is no known cemetery at Mills' Pond/Bass Lake now, and no one in the area has ever heard of a cemetery there except for one used temporarily in the early 1900's and once marked with funeral home stakes. Since Mills' Pond is not the correct mill pond, if Rev. Utley found a cemetery there, it surely was not the one he wanted. The problem is, we don't know if he was at Mills' Pond, or if he was in fact at Sunset Lake but somehow became confused as to the correct name of the pond. If he did visit Mills' Pond, then his description of pines covering the old cemetery is not valid, at least as far as a cemetery is concerned. But the land at the head of Mills' Pond/Bass Lake is covered with pines. I suspect he had somehow learned of the cemetery where John "Little Jack" Utley and his wife were buried and that it was located at the head of the mill pond, but then went to the wrong pond and described the land at the head of that pond. He may have described the graves as unmarked simply because he could not find markers at this location - or because he had been told the graves were unmarked. It would be difficult to locate a cemetery without markers, even if you knew in advance where it was located.
There is an old cemetery at the head of Sunset Lake about 1/8 mile west of the dam on the south side of Sunset Lake Road. If Rev. Utley had visited this pond, he certainly should have found that cemetery. It's easily visible from the road. The graves are spread over a knoll in a grassy field. The cemetery itself covers about 1/4 acre. There are a few marked graves there, mostly for Turners, Jones, and Johnsons. One is as recent as 1993. Most of the marked graves are those of people who died after 1900, but one marker goes back to the late 1800's. These marked graves are spaced around the perimeter of the cemetery with the central area left vacant. The cemetery was surveyed in 2002. At that time it was referred to as the Jones, Turner, Booker, Adams, Stewart Cemetery.
I was able to learn more about the mill and the cemetery from Mrs. Margaret Lea Parker who lived in Raleigh and was 76 years old when I talked with her in March of 1995. She stated that she had lived at Sunset Lake as a child with her parents, Fred and Ford Lea, who were the caretakers for Mr. B. T. Poindexter, the owner of the lake at that time. Before his death, Mr. Poindexter, who she said had owned the lake for only a short time, gave the lake property to the Leas, and Mrs. Parker inherited it at her mother's death in 1981. She stated that it was named Sunset Lake during the 1920's, but was not sure what it had been called prior to that date. She said that Woodson Clements and Mr. Alford had been previous owners, but she wasn't sure exactly when and had no idea who the owners were prior to them. According to her, Wake Forest College had at one time owned the lake. (Could she have meant N. C. State College?) She stated that the present dam is the same dam that was there in the 1930's, but that the city of Raleigh had accidentally burned the mill while they were pumping water from the lake. Mrs. Parker also said that when Mr. Alford drained the lake, rice was planted there until the new dam was built.
So the mill that burned was certainly not the original mill that belonged to Christopher Woodward. Remants of the burned mill can still be found at Sunset Lake. Probably the original mill was destroyed when Mr. Alford drained the pond and replaced the dam, or perhaps even earlier.
Mrs. Parker said that the old cemetery west of the dam was always known as the Turner Cemetery, and is now used mostly by Black families. However, it had once been a cemetery for Whites, and prominent people from Raleigh had been buried there in the past. She said it was called the Turner Cemetery for a Judge Turner of Raleigh. She said that there had once been many markers at the cemetery covering a large area, and, as I had suspected, there had been graves in the central area that is now vacant. She said the markers were there before WWII, but when she and her husband returned after WWII, those early stones were gone.
Another person who has been quite helpful is Alfred Brinkley Oliver who was age 73 when I spoke with him in May of 1995. His great-grandfather, William Brinkley Oliver, Sr., was the millwright at Mills' Pond at some time after his return from service in the Civil War. Although he worked at Mills' Pond, he was buried in the cemetery at Sunset Lake, referred to as the Turner Cemetery by Mrs. Parker. Mr. Oliver said the cemetery was quite old, and that Joe Ballentine, who was the undertaker years ago, could have taken you to any grave site there. Mr. Oliver had no idea what had happened to the old tombstones. He, too, mentioned that rice had once been planted at the lake. He said that James Slaughter currently has the old mill stones. Later in the conversation, he said that a Mr. Slaughter who has ancestors buried there had been researching the cemetery, but Mr. Oliver couldn't remember his first name. He didn't remember a Judge Turner, but he said he remembered a Sheriff Turner. Neither could recall a first name for Turner.
There are no fieldstones or depressions remaining to help identify those earlier graves now. There are a few trees scattered here and there, but the cemetery certainly is not covered with pines as Rev. Utley described. If Rev. Utley visited the wrong pond and was describing the land at the head of that pond, perhaps this is the cemetery he was trying to find. It is located on the west side of the pond where he said John Utley and Young Utley once lived, and it is near the head of the pond. He did not state if the cemetery was located on the east or west side of the pond. He did refer to the graves as unmarked, but that may have been only because he could not locate markers at the pond he visited.
The map drawn in 1870 is interesting in other respects. Of course, this map was drawn well after the Woodward land at Sunset Lake had been sold, and almost a hundred years after Christopher Woodward lived on the land, but still we can get some idea of the roads that must have been in the area. Smithfield Road on this map still exists on modern maps. Sometimes it's called Old Smithfield Road and sometimes Optimist Farm Road. Since Wake Co. was once part of Johnston Co., this road probably existed from very early times to allow the inhabitants of this area access to their county seat. The spur road running back to the mill from Smithfield Road still exists today as a small section of Sunset Lake Road. It runs right past the old cemetery and mill now, as it did in 1870, although it ended at the mill at that time. Since the mill existed as early as 1781, surely a road to the mill existed too. Avent Ferry Road allowed access to Raleigh and must have been built very early as well. I don't know if it existed before Raleigh was made the county seat of Wake Co., but if it wasn't, it must have been built soon afterward. As the name implies, it also led to Avent Ferry Crossing on the Cape Fear River where NC 42 now crosses the river in Lee County. Although there are no maps of the roads in this area in the 1780's, I feel sure the 1870 road to the mill followed the same path it had followed for many years. The mill was at the end of the road, the cemetery was probably beside the road as it is now, and the Woodward homeplace must have been very nearby and accessible from the same road, perhaps on the opposite side of the road from the cemetery.
Since the Woodward land at the mill pond on the north side of Middle Creek was later Utley property, it is very possible that the Utleys were buried in the same cemetery that had once been used by the Woodwards. Probably Christopher Woodward was the first or one of the first to be buried near the mill. Perhaps his unknown wife was buried there before him. Since Christopher's son, Pleasants Woodward, left for Tennessee shortly after he lost his land, his grave probably is not near the lake but in Carroll Co, TN instead. But the graves of Joseph Woodward and his wife, Delia Jones, have not been located in any of the early Raleigh cemeteries, so it is probable that they were also buried in the cemetery that Rev. Utley mentioned. Perhaps other children and grandchildren of Christopher Woodward were also buried there. What is more natural than wanting to be buried with your own family in the family cemetery on the old homeplace? Mrs. Parker did state that people from Raleigh had been buried here, but we don't know that she was referring to the Woodwards who moved to Raleigh.
At some point in time, Woodson Clements became the owner of the mill. His son, John Calvin Clements, married Cynthia Utley, daughter of John "Little Jack" Utley and Charity Jones Wrench who were both buried in the cemetery at the head of the pond according to Rev. Utley. Woodson Clements is said to have sold the mill to a Mr. Alford. William R. Alford married Lucy Maranda Utley, daughter of Burwell Utley, the brother of John "Little Jack" Utley. An H. Alford appears on the map near Clement's Mill. Either of these might be the unknown Mr. Alford who supposedly purchased the mill. I have not researched the Alford records.
The inventory of Christopher Woodward's estate was recorded Oct. 25, 1785 in Wake Co. Will Book B p. 70. This record establishes that Christopher Woodward also owned land in Bladen Co. that was not mentioned in his will:
320 acres in Bladen Co on S side
of Cape Fear River; Negroes: York, Nan, Jupiter; livestock; furniture;
receipt of Martin Lane; farm tools; tack; notes of: William Harvell, Christopher
Isbell, William Segraves, Moses Harvell, John Gent, Jarat Stinson, Roland
Stinson, Christopher Osborn, Thomas Stephens, Matthew Jones, Andrew Peddy,
John Strickland, Landman Short, Adam Hamilton, George Mills, Hardyman Taylor,
Jessee Jones, Morgan Darnold, George Slimmons, Jesse Osborn, John Segraves,
J..?.. T..?.., James Trowell, Jasper Turner, Charles Huks, John Jones,
Lewis Barker, Solomon Wood, William Barker, Jr., Andrew Hamilton.
Extr: Jordon Woodward, Etheldred Jones
This Bladen Co land was not mentioned in the will because it was purchased after the will was written. I don't know if Christopher ever even saw the land since the deed was prepared and signed in Wake Co. The grantor, John Rice, had been a resident of Wake Co for many years, but he seems to have had no close connections with any of Christopher Woodward's family. I have no idea why Christopher wanted to purchase land in Bladen Co unless perhaps he simply thought it would be a good investment. He certainly never moved to Bladen Co, and there are no indications that any of his children ever lived on the land.
Bladen Co Deed Book 36, p. 296:
John Rice to Christopher Woodward. State of NC, Wake Co. 9th day of Nov, 1784. John Rice legatee & heir at law of Nathaniel Rice, Esq. dec'd. 65 -?- specie already paid, land on the SW side Cape Fear river beginning at an oak David Lewis' corner tree. [No other neighbors or landforms mentioned, only degrees, chains, poles, links, etc.] 320 acres more or less. Land was granted by original patent to a certain William Cain bearing a date 8th day Sept. 1735 and conveyed from sd William Cain by a deed under hand and seal of William Barham Esq. high Sheriff of Bladen Co. bearing date 25 day of Mar. 1745 to Nathaniel Rice Esq.
Witnesses: Jordan Woodward, Pleasant Woodward
Bladen Co., May term, 1785 this deed was [word omitted] in open court & ordered to be registered.
John White CC.
According to the terms of the will, this land should have been sold and the proceeds divided between the children. I could find no deed under the name Woodward in Bladen Co for the sale of this land. However, many of the Bladen Co records have been lost to courthouse fires, and possibly the deed for the sale of this land was one of them, or perhaps the deed was under some name other than Woodward and sold by power of attorney. Perhaps it was sold by Etheldred Jones as executor of the estate. I have not read all the deeds of Bladen Co. Since the deeds are not arranged in chronological order, it would take reading every deed book to find mentions of Woodwards who were not the grantors or grantees in the deeds. Some of the Bladen Co deeds have been abstracted and cross-referenced, but this deed and many others are not included in the published records.
Although I could find no signs of a previous connection between Christopher Woodward and John Rice, I did discover that John Rice and his father, Nathaniel Rice, many years before were associated with Capt. Samuel Woodward of Cape Fear. The majority of Capt. Samuel Woodward's records centered around New Bern (Craven Co.) and Wilmington (New Hanover Co.). He died by 1745, apparently without children. He left his property to his nephew, Benjamin Woodward of Drumbarrow, County Meath, Ireland, the eldest son of his eldest brother, Charles Woodward, Esqr., dec'd. Joseph Woodward of Cahill Town, County Meath, Ireland, under power of attorney from his brother Benjamin, sold the property in New Bern previously held by Capt. Samuel Woodward to Enoch Hall on Dec. 6, 1746. Although Joseph Woodward did come to Craven Co. long enough to sell the land, there are no later records for him in NC. It is not known if he remained in the colonies or returned to Ireland. I have not been able to find any connection between these Woodwards of the Craven Co. records and Christopher Woodward except for the odd association of John Rice with each of them. The Bladen Co. land purchased by Christopher Woodward does not trace back in any way to lands previously belonging to Capt. Samuel Woodward.
Sometimes the witnesses or executors that appeared in a will provide clues as to family connections. Christopher Woodward's will included members of two different but possibly related Jones families. Two of the witnesses to his will were Lewis Jones and Levi Jones. Lewis Jones, Sr. was the father of Lewis Jones, Jr., Levi Jones, Nathaniel Jones, and others, and owned land adjoining Christopher Woodward in Middle Creek. Pleasants Woodward was one of the witnesses for the will of Lewis Jones, Sr. a few years later. Christopher Woodward was the bondsman for the 1783 marriage of Mary Matthews to William Jones, who is suspected to be a brother of Lewis Jones, Sr. Mary Matthews had at least one and probably two illeginitmate children by William Jones prior to their marriage.
William Jones left his will in Wake Co dated March 7, 1800, recorded May 1, 1800. He named wife Mary, her children Winifred Matthews & Reddick Matthews and their children Sytha Jones, Young Jones, Etheldred Jones, and Anderson Jones. Extrs Samuel Northington, Andrew Peddy, Jacob Roland; wits Lewis Bledsoe, David Jones, Lewis Jones.
This will by itself leaves the impression that Mary was previously married to a Mr Matthews, and Winifred Matthews and Reddick Matthews were children by that marriage. But the following record posted by Lori Addison proves something very different:
Divorces & Separations from Petitions to the North Carolina General Assembly from 1779.
MATTHEWS, Mabel and husband, Reddick. Petition of Mabel MATTHEWS of Wake County sheweth that about three years past she intermarried with Reddick MATTHEWS of said county, commonly known by the name of Reddick JONES, he being an illegitimate son of William JONES, deceased, of same county. At the time of her marriage with said Reddick, your petitioner had acquired a small portion of property through her own industry. Within a very short time after her said marriage, said Reddick had squandered all the property she had and even broke open her chest to procure what money she had concealed therein to prevent him entirely reducing her to beggary - all of which he spent in Drinking & Rioting, in which dissipated course he continued until having contracted debts, he finally absconded and is now living in Tennessee or some other part of the western country. Your petitioner further states that whatever she can now acquire is continually taken from her to pay the debts of her said husband, contracted before his departure.” She prays an act to secure her in such property as she may hereafter acquire. (GASR Nov.-Dec. 1807, Box 3: folder “Petitions-Divorce, etc.”.) Committee of Divorce and Alimony, to whom the petition of Mabel MATTHEWS was referred, are of opinion that the clemency of the Legislature ought to be extended to [her] relief and recommend the bill be passed. (GASR Nov.-Dec. 1807, Box 2 folder “SCR”.) Bill to secure persons therein mentioned such property as they may hereafter acquire: Mabel MATTHEWS of Wake County, wife of Reddick . . . Read third time and passed. (GASR Nov.-Dec. 1807, Box 2: folder “SB 10 Dec.”.) Published in N. C. Laws, 1807, p. 39.
Mary Matthews' family has not been determined, although she may have been related to John Matthews whose grant adjoined William Jones' grant to the west of Christopher Woodward's land.
William Jones' will also named Winifred Matthews in the same manner that Reddick Matthews was named. Winifred later married Merrill Utley, but the marriage bond recorded her surname as Jones rather than Matthews. So she most likely was also born before William Jones' marriage to Mary Matthews. Merrill Utley and wife Winifred Matthews/Jones were closely associated with Christopher Woodward's son James Woodward in KY. There was also an unexplained Elizabeth Woodward who seems to have been closely associated with the Merrill Utley family in KY.
William Jones and Mary Matthews had several children after their marriage, one of whom was also named Etheldred Jones (not the same as Capt. Etheldred Jones who was one the the executors of Christopher Woodward's will). This younger Etheldred Jones later married Winifred Woodward, daughter of Pleasants Woodward and granddaughter of Christopher Woodward. After Christopher Woodward's death, about 1793, Nathaniel Jones, son of Lewis Jones, Sr., sired an illegitimate child by Christopher Woodward's youngest daughter, Mary/Polly Woodward. The same Nathaniel Jones was also the father of triplet daughters including Delia Jones who later married Christopher Woodward's grandson, Joseph Woodward, son of Pleasants Woodward.
It seems likely that Capt. Etheldred Jones, Lewis Jones, Sr., and William Jones were related to each other, but I haven't been able to determine any prior link that any of these Jones may have had to Christopher Woodward although the ancestors of Etheldred Jones can be traced back to Nansemond Co, VA. Perhaps the Woodward and Jones families became close only after Christopher Woodward moved to Johnston/Wake Co. There was later a close bond between the Utleys and the Woodwards, but at the time that Christopher Woodward wrote his will, the closest association seemed to be with these Jones families. I have wondered if Christopher's wife might have been a Jones, but at this point no proof has been found for his wife. It's not known if he had one wife or several wives. Since he is known to have had at least one child before he left Nansemond Co, it's probable that the mother of that child was from the Nansemond area.
Christopher Woodward witnessed the will of George Slimmon dated Dec. 7, 1776 and recorded July 12, 1777. He was not named as an heir. The Johnston Co. Court Minutes dated Aug. 28, 1780 included the following entry:
John Sanders, Richard Rivers, and Kedar Powell Esqrs. who were appointed yesterday to sett-- and determine a controversy depending in this court between the Exors. of George Slimmon and Christopher Woodward, took the same into consideration and after examining the witnesses on both sides, made the following report /viz We find for the plaintiff L1000 with cost of suit etc.
A Wake Co record dated Dec. 2, 1776 states that George Slimon held a mortgage for land on Middle Creek apparently in the possession of Jacob Utley ("mortgage of Jacob Utley held by George Slimon") which Slimon had purchased of Hardy Sanders. The witnesses were Samuel Northington, Lewis Jones, and William Utley.
The 1785 inventory of the estate of Christopher Woodward included a note of George Slimmons. This later George Slimmons or Slimon was certainly not the same man whose will was witnessed by Christopher Woodward, but may have been a nephew. The George Slimmon will of 1776 did not name a son, but did mention brothers and sisters.
As mentioned earlier, Christopher Woodward was a witness to a 1770 Johnston Co. deed by Edward Earp (or Harp) to William Harp (or Earp). In 1789 in Johnston Co., a William Earp and Nancey Woodard were witnesses to a deed from Thomas Proctor of Johnston Co. to Thomas Woodard of Johnston Co. This Thomas Woodard was the son of John Woodard of Edgecombe Co.
If the land that Christopher Woodward owned on Crabtree Creek was in fact near Thomas Phillips' land, then the following Wake Co. land warrant may be of interest:
May 16th, 1778. James Jordan Enters Five Hundred acres of Vacant Land in Wake County Lying on the West side of Buffelow Creek Joining Thompson Bunches Line on the lower side & Joining his own Line Including the Improvement where Thomas Phillips now lives.
Of course, the name Jordan is of interest since Christopher Woodward's oldest known son was named Jordan Woodward. The name Bunch is also of interest. The Wake Co. marriage bonds record the 1823 marriage of Budd Woodward to Nancy Bunch with Samuel Wilder as the bondsman. According to Wake Co. Heritage, Nancy Bunch was the daughter of David and Martha Bunch. Budd Woodward was born between 1800 and 1810. I have found no records that prove his father. He was listed on the 1830 Wake Co. tax list in the Little River district with no land. The Earps, Traywicks, Hatchers, Clenneys, and other families that have appeared in records relating to Christopher Woodward or his descendants lived near the Little River, as well as Jethro Woodward and descendants of Thomas Woodard, son of John Woodard of Edgecombe Co. This John Woodard was previously from Isle of Wight Co, VA. His land adjoined the Nansemond Co line. However, John Woodard signed with a mark as did his son John Woodward who moved to Wake Co. Since Christopher Woodward signed his will with a flowing and practiced hand, it's very unlikely that the two were brothers. There are no records that indicate any association between the two families prior to the early 1800's. Christopher Woodward's son, Richard Woodward, moved to Robertson Co, TN, where grandchildren of John Woodard of Isle of Wight/Edgecombe (sons of Moses Woodard) had settled a few years earlier. Although these Woodards from Edgecombe Co occasionally appeared in records with Richard Woodward or members of his family, they never appeared as witnesses or in any context that might suggest kinship.
Wake Treasures, Vol.
III, No. 1, Spring 1993, a publication by the Wake Co. Genealogical Society,
contains an interesting article about the early military districts in Wake
Co. Each district had its own "Captain", and the districts were referred
to by the current Captain's name. So when the Captain changed, the name
of that district changed as well to reflect the new Captain's name. Frequently
a district can be recognized by the names associated with them.
According to this publication, Capt. Utley (probably John Utley) was the Captain of the district which included Middle Creek from 1777 to 1780. The court minutes of 1780 listed Capt. Jones instead of Capt. Utley. From 1780 to 1782, E. Jones was the Captain. Captain Woodward was listed in 1783 (surely Christopher Woodward since Jordan was still so young and "green"). No records could be found for 1784 to 1786. Lewis Jones was the Captain from 1787 to 1789, then Etheldred Jones from 1790 to 1794. Augustus Turner was the Captain from 1800 to 1802, followed by Pleasants Woodward from 1802 when he was first mentioned through 1804. Since Etheldred Jones was known as "Capt. Etheldred Jones" and John Utley was known as "Capt. John Utley", I suppose Christopher Woodward and Pleasants Woodward and Lewis Jones were also known as "Capt. Christopher Woodward" and "Capt. Pleasants Woodward" and "Capt. Lewis Jones" although I have never seen their names recorded in that manner in records other than these.
There were later records for Woodwards in Wake Co. that cannot be related to any particular Woodward family. However, some of the marriage records, especially for brides, would seem to indicate that there might have been some descendants of Christopher Woodward that can't be proven with the available courthouse records.
These unknown Woodwards in Wake Co could be other unproven children of Jordan Woodward or Corbell Woodward or they may have come from one of the other unrelated Woodward families that lived in the county. Since Pleasants' and Richard's families can be proven, and James was too young to have left adult children in Wake Co when he moved to KY, we can eliminate these three sons as possible fathers.
In many wills, the children were named from the eldest to the youngest, sometimes separated by sexes. Although it has been difficult to pin down dates of birth for most of Christopher Woodward's children, it would seem that he named his sons first in order of their age, and then his daughters in the same manner. We know that Jordan, Corbell, and Pleasants were of age when their father died in 1785 - plus Pleasants, the youngest of these three, was old enough to witness a deed Nov, 1784 - but Richard, James, Elizabeth, and Mary required guardians.
Dec 6, 1785 Etheldred Jones appointed guardian of Richard Woodward, orphan of Christopher Woodward; signed by Etheldred Jones and Silas Green.
Dec 6, 1785 Etheldred Jones appointed guardian of James Woodward, orphan of Christopher Woodward; signed by Etheldred Jones and Silas Green
Dec 6, 1785 Jacob Utley appointed guardian of Elizabeth Woodward, orphan of Christopher Woodward; signed Silas Green, John Norris
Some LDS submissions give this date as the marriage date for Jacob Utley and Elizabeth Woodward, but no evidence of this marriage has been found and it seems to be nothing more than family lore. Phoebe Utley's will makes it clear that all the children of Jacob Utley were also her children. No later records for this Elizabeth Woodward have been found. However, an unidentified Elizabeth Woodward was mentioned in association with Merrill Utley's family. It's not known if she was Christopher Woodward's daughter Elizabeth. Since Elizabeth was named in her father's will before Mary, she was almost certainly older than Mary who seems to have been born about 1778. Since Jordan, Corbell, Pleasants, Richard, and James all seem to have been born 1760-1770, Elizabeth and Mary would almost have to have been born after 1770 unless there were twins in the family.
Dec 6, 1785 Jordan Woodward appointed guardian of Mary Woodward, orphan of Christopher Woodward; signed Jordan Woodward, --?-- Brown, --?-- --?-- [unreadable]
March 6, 1793 Nathaniel Jones son of Lewis cited for conceiving bastard child by Mary Woodward.
If Mary was about age 15-18 when this child was born, this would put her DOB at approximately 1775-1778.
Polly Woodward m Augustus Turner May 2, 1801 Wake Co, bm Corbell Woodward.
This Augustus Turner (there were several Augustus Turners) disappeared from the Wake census records until 1840. He was probably the A. Turner (recorded as Agustin B Turner, Esq when the deed was proven) who witnessed when Merrill Utley sold his land in 1805. A. Turner also witnessed when James Woodward sold his land in 1805. James Woodward and Merrill Utley were both found in Logan Co, KY shortly after these deed. A. Turner witnessed when Richard Woodward sold some of his land in 1807 prior to his moved to Robertson Co, TN. Possibly he was the Augustus Turner who was one of the executors named in Jacob Utley's 1797 will and owned adjoining land left to Jacob's son Little John Utley and Jacob Utley (Jr).
I could not find Augustus Turner in the census records of Wake Co until 1840:
1840 Wake Co: 1M5-10, 1M10-15, 1M30-40, 1M60-70, 1F0-5, 1F5-10, 2F10-15, 1F40-50, 1F60-70. If the older female here is Mary Woodward, her date of birth would have been 1770-1780. This would work well with the dates of the bastardy record and the marriage record.
Jordan Woodward stated in his Revolutionary
War pension application that his father had kept a family record which
included his birth, but he did not know what had ever become of it. Wouldn't
we love to have that record now!
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2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
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I have provided this research for free to assist others in their research of the various families involved. It is never to be copied and sold for profit in any format.