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Our Families in Early America


      Our families came to America early in its history.
      Belcher, Remy, O'Dell, Nutter, Clay, Bartlett, Chaney, Wells, Slone, Looney, King, Isham, Childers,and Mullins are only a few of the surnames that arose from the first immigrants.
      Leaving their countries for many reasons, most came for the promise of free land, freedom of speech, and religious beliefs. Many came as bonded indentured slaves, working their way to freedom.
      Each came to make a new way of life for themselves in freedom.

      Jamestown Was Established May 14, 1607

      The Virginia Company of England sailed to the new world and they called the settlement Virginia in honor of Elizabeth I the Virgin Queen. One hundred twenty people made the voyage. Jamestown was established, the first permanent settlement in America.

      Most of the Jamestown settlers, were craftsmen, soldiers, artisand and laborers, two surgeons were amont them. The other half were gentlemen of wealth who did not work and found it hard to survive in the New World. After 8 months only 38 of the 120 were alive.

      Captain John Smith was among the survivors. He kept the colony going with good leaderhsip, Jamestown grew to 500 within two years.

      After he left in 1609, harsh winters and without his leadership, only 60 of those 500 survived. The people had many elements to fight, including disease, famine and the Algonquian indians. In 1619 a Dutch slave trader exchanged a cargo of captive Africans for food. The Africans became indentured servants, trading labor for shelter and eventual freedom. These were among the first African Americans in the Colonies. Racial slavery did not occur unti; 1680.

      The Pilgrims, founders of Plymouth, Massachusetts, arrived in 1620.

      By 1650 England had established a dominance in Eastern Americas. Many who settled in the New World, came for land and to escape religious persecutions. In both Virginia and Massaschusetts, the Colonies grew and with some assistance from the Indians.
      Corn helped keep them from strarving, Tobacco in Virginia provided a profitable cash crop. The 13 colonies grew to more than 2 million by 1770.
      Settlers were granted land grants by the King of England, for risks they took to colonize. There were many opportunities in America, but the lifestyle was demanding, the climate different, food, and physical work created a high death rate.

      More men than women came, so there was unbalance, so families were difficult to form and short lived. The majority of Marylands colonists were indentured slaves. who sold their labor to pay for ships passage, they would work from 4-7 years and then be given a small acreage, tools and supplies by their masters. None could marry until their terms of service had ended, postponing marriage until many were in their late twenties. This often shortened their child bearing time and couples had only two or three children. Most males didnt live past 40 and women often died of childbirth.

      There is little evidence to know why many colonists died but a very few graves have been found--of prominent citizens. A celebrated find of three lead-lined coffins has been analyzed by scientists in recent years. It revealed a woman and infant, and a man--probably a brother of one of the Calverts, Maryland's most prominent settlers. The woman, who had few remaining teeth, and infant both showed signs of scurvy--a disease of malnutrition. Forensic scientists say the infant was very sick at death (about 1689) and showed signs of a an advanced and apparently painful infection. Because 18th century American populations were essentially stationary---a majority of the population never ventured more than a few miles from home in the course of a lifetime---they rightfully feared the invasion of outsiders. Traveling armies carried with them a potpourri of communicable diseases and there were few means to combat the ailments these soldiers brought.

      Some Families that lived in Virginia, after Kentucky became a state in 1792 found themselves living in Kentucky. The same for many West Virginians.

      The Remy/Ramey family were French coming to America to escape the persecution of protestants by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church at that time ruled many lands and people even the Royals. They did not want anyone reading the bible for themselves or forming their own opinions of God. Jacob Remy was one such man, they were called Huguenots and that became a word well known in history for bravery because they refused to give in and still met secretly in homes and studied the bible in spite of the horrendous things done to them when found out. Jacob and his wife Francois traveled to Germany to his cousin Pierre's, then on to England, where he and Francois bonded themselves out as slaves for 7 years for their passage to Virginia in America. Francois died on the ship and Jacob remarried and became the progenerator of most of the Remy/Ramey's in Early America.

      The Belcher family is said to originally also be French, Bel-chere.
      The Belcher surnamed appeared in medieval England after William the Conqueor's army came to England in 1066. One line of Belchers was in Bandon, County Cork Ireland by 1610.
      Several of this family were Doctors and emigrated to Ireland and Canada.
      One line of the Belchers were seated in Guilsborough, Northamptonshire England. The earliest known descendant of this branch was Hugh Belcher born around 1460 of Guilsborough listed in "Calendar of Wills", 1510. Living in the reign of Edward the IV of England, this family held landed estates Thomas Belcher, Son of Henry is our first documented ancestor coming to Virginia in Early 1600's.
      Isle of Wight in 1637. "Early Virginia Immigrants" Lists William Thomas Belcher came to America and immigrated to the (Warrosquoyoake)Isle of Wight County Va @1637. Sponsored by: John Seaward Isle of Wight County.
      "Early Virginia Immigrants" 1623-1666. Richmond, VA: W. C. Hill Printing Co., 1912.
      Dec. 22, 1657 Thomas Belcher and George Fulke is listed as witnesses to John Mansfield and Richard Searle transfer of a Land document in Nominy Westmoreland County Virginia. "Virginia Colonial Abstracts". Marrying Tabitha Bartlett, a name well known in Massaschusetts, and Bartelot in England. Travels were often made between Massaschusetts and the Virginia Colonists. Tabitha father is unknown as records for women were almost non existent, except marriage records and many early Virginia records were destroyed in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

      William Bartlett is said to be one of the Earliest Bartletts in Virginia. The surname Bartlett originally Bartelot in England. Bartelot dates back to Adam Bartelot, of Stopham, Sussex County in England in 1066. A direct descendant of Adam was John Bartelot married the daughter of the Earl of Stopham, and acquired one-third of the Manor of Stopham. In 1555, William Bartelot purchased the remaining two-thirds of the Manor. With this, the Bartelots became the Lords of Stopham. "A History of the Castles, Mansion, Manors of Western Sussex: by Dudley Elwes." Many of these Bartelots are buried at Stopham Church in Sussex, England and also at St. Mary's Parish at Puddleton, Dorset England. Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire are also three counties where the Bartelot's are found.
      Several Bartletts appear in early Plymouth, Massachusetts (Pilgrims). Robert came from England on the ship "Ann" in 1623. He met Mary warren on the "Ann" and married her. A Robert Bartlett made his will in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and the will was proven 01 May 1679. Whether this is the same Robert Bartlett is unknown. A Lieutenant William Bartlett was with the Virginia Company in 1619 Virginia. "Virginia Company Records" There is also a Sir William Bartlett listed as the Governor (1655-66) in the " Virginia Colonial Records Project".
      Richard Bartlett settled in early Virgina in 1616. We are leaning to Richard as Tabitha Bartlett's father. According to the "General Register of the Society of Colonial Wars 1899-1902" Robert Bartlett served in Captain Myles Standish's Company in 1632.

      Clay was an old name in England, and many centuries ago the Clay families won the right to use a Coat of armour. The name appears in the Hundred Rolls of 1273 under some curious forms worth quoting, as Cley, Clai, Del Clay, de la Cley and le Clay.
      A still more singular form of it appears on a record of 1327 as att Cleygh--but by the time Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1397 was recorded, Clay or del Clay had become the established form. The name dates from the Saxon times, the Saxon equivalent being Claeg. As a family name it was said to have first been founded in the country of Nottingham, and was derived from the fact that the owner of it lived on Clay land, or at the Clay.
      The Clays were especially numerous in the Eastern part of England. John Clay, an ancient planter, came to Virginia in 1613, and his wife, ann, in 1623. it is claimed by some that he came from wales, but the best authority is that he was english. It is known that he had three sons , whose names, according to some, were Henry, William, and Charles, while others state that he had five sons, Francis, William, Thomas, Henry, and Charles at any rate from the sons of John clay descended most of the Virginia Clays. The story of the Indian massacre of some of Mitchell Clay and Phoebe Belchers children is a well known one in History.

      The family name Oldale/O'Dell was taken from the original location of the family in England. The name means "one who came from Old Hall Farm in Rock, Worcestershire or from Old Hall". The homonym Oldhall is derived from the Old English "eald heall" which literally means "old hall". One of the earliest references to this name is in the record of Robert Oldehale, who is mentioned in documents related to Worcestershire in 1275.
      MUEL OLDALE He was born abt 1640 in England. He arrived in America in mid-October 1677 aboard the ship "Martha". He was a mason by trade. He died abt 1705 in Bucks, PA. In 1730, the Colony of Virginia encouraged settlers from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Deleware, and Maryland to the frontiers on the east and west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains by issuing land grants.The migration through "Old" Frederick County, Virginia proceeded south from the Potomac River across the present day counties of Berkeley, Jefferson, Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Page and Shenandoah. The southern migration occurred between the late 1720's and mid-to-late 1730's. Approximately 85% of the early settlers of "Old" Fredereick County came from William Penn's area of Pennsylvania, Deleware, and New Jersey. Among these settlers was Samuel Oldale (odell). Samuel Odell lived on 400-acre tract of land from about 1744/45 when he arrived at the south River of Shenandoah County until at least 23 Mar 1770 when Adam Cunningham stated in a disposition that samuel was living there. "Pioneers of Old Frederick County, Va., by Cecil O'Dell.

      Christopher Nutter of Maryland
      Most if not all the Nutters in West Virginia descend from him.
      By all the records listed below from the Maryland State Archives, Christopher was an interpreter between the people and the Indians. Was called on many times for this purpose.
      He purchased several of acres of land, traded with the Indians, was a grower and a planter. Christopher Nutter Born about 1638-40 in Lancaster, England
      Resided in Northampton County, in 1662.
      Died after December 2, 1702 in Somerset County, Maryland. Parents Married Mary Dorman on March 14, 1664, in Northampton, Virginia. Mary Dorman died 1742. Her Parents were John and Sarah Dorman.
      One of the records listed at the Maryland state archives gives his age as 34 or thereabouts "The Deposicon of Christopher Nutter, aged thirty foure years or thereabouts taken 9th day of Augst 1670

      There were lesser amorial branches of the Cheney/Chaney family in County Kent England, but all shared common descendants. Throughout these branches the name of Richard was common. In those days the first born was named after the father, the second the grandfather, etc. the first born daughter was named after the mother and so on. the practice produced many with the same names.
      There are 23 richards in this line. On February 28,1643 24 subjects of the crown in the parish of Ripple, signed a proclamation upholding loyalty to the king and in defense of religion. One of the signers was Richard Cheney, who is the Richard Cheney of Cheney's Resolution, Maryland. There is strong evidence that they are one and the same.This earliest record is of Richard, born 1565 in Middlesex, London, England. he married Elizabeth Offley at St. Marys
      As was the custom, his first born son was named Richard. Richard was born 1-25-1595 in London and at St. Marys', he married Anne Ellinoir, 3 June 1622 Hackney Middlesex London England.
      Anne Arundel County Maryland gentry, volume I, 2nd edition states: "The Cheney (Cheyney)family of ancient antiquity was ennobled in england, but through extravagance and being royalists during the civil wars lost most of their property.
      There is every reason to believe that the Maryland emigrant was a scion of the ennobled family. The earliest entries in the All Hallows Parish, Anna Arundel County, Maryland are those of the Cheyney (Cheney)family. The date of the entry precedes the date of the establishment of the parish. It is evident that the family kept their own records.He probably landed in Virginia and moved to Anne Arundel County, Maryland with his wife Charity. He is mentioned as a signer of a Proclamation of Loyalty to the king. Richard and his wife, Charity, migrated to Maryland and settled in the South River Hundred of Anne Arundel County. Sharon Doliante in her book "Maryland and Virginia Colonials" states: Richard Cheyney, sr, born: (ca) 1630, died after 3-6-1685 (date of his will) and before 8-16-1688(date his estate was appraised) married Charity, who died in the mid to late 1600's: He then married Elinor(eleanor) who survived him.

      Zachariah Wells B 1739 North Carolina Died: around 1830 Lee County Va. Married Abagale Osbourne.
      "Pioneer Families of Leslie County Ky" lists Zachariahs father as Richard Wells and Nancy Brown dau of George and Nancy Stephen Brown. States: General James Wells and his brother, George, English Revolutionary War patriots.(Rev war in England was fought against King James 1688) James was the father of Richard Wells born in Sussex England around 1715 Richard Wells and his family came to America settled in Philadelphia then Maryland. Moving to North Carolina where Zachariah and a brother Robert Was born. Zachariah is the Earliest confirmed Documented Wells of this branch. Zachariah fought in the Revolutionary War. The Wells Families settled in Perry and Leslie County Kentucky. Wells is a common surname and very hard to research.

      James May was transported to America in 1771-72 on the ship Justita. He traveled under the alias of Emanuel Mills. James was pressed into service for England as a Loyalist, in the American Revolutionary War. He remained in the U.S. and married Elizabeth (betsy) King. from North Carolina,settled in Russel County, Va.: migrated to Pike County Kentucky in 1831-32 settling on the Blackberry Fork of the Tug Valley section, later moving across to Ball Fork area of Pond Creek also in Pike County Ky.
      Instead of returning to England after the war, he remained in America, asking his friend Jake Smith to bring him his Bounty of 40 Pounds. on Jakes return, he declined to turn it over to him, a lawsuit was filed.
      Listed on Captain James McDaniel's Company 1782 revolutionary War, on list of Cox's Militia Company 1782 and 83. Death: ABT. 1835 in Pike Co., KY
      Married:#1 Elizabeth "Betsy" King b: 1753 in Onslow Co., NC
      Married:#2 Martha born 1770 married about 1788

      According to some accounts the Looneys are said to be of Scotch origin, more often they are considered to be from Ireland where the O'Looneys were chiefs of Montir Loney, a district known as the Monter Loney Mountains in the county of Tyrone. It is also a Munster surname found chiefly in Cork and Clare, Ireland. Variants of the name are O'Looney; O'Lowney; Lowney; O'Luinie, Lonney, Lunney, Luna, etc. The Looneys descended from Robert Looney of Augusta and Botetourt Counties, Virginia, and said to have come from Ballagilley Farm about 3 miles south of Ramsey in Maughold Parish, Isle of Man; or possibly from Ballalooney in Amogary Parish. They claim that an ancestor fought with marlborough in Flanders (ca 1708-1709) in the reign of Queen Anne. According to persistent tradition in these Looney families, they are descended from John and Llewellen Looney who had 14 sons; namely, Moses, Josiah, James, Peter, Jonathan, Adam, John, Benjamin, Michael, Samuel, Robert, David, Joseph and Abraham. Sometimes Absalom is given instead of Abraham. It is probable that in 1734 Robert and Elizabeth and their older children, at least 7 sons, had recently arrived in America and that they soon moved westward through Pennsylvania. This family was one of 70 that entered the Colony of Virginia with Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan, of the Province of Pennsylvania, according to an agreement made as set forth in an order of the Lieutenant Governor and Council of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia dated 25 April 1735. (Executive Journal of the Council of 4, 229. See also William and Mary Historical Quarterly (2) 16, 617; and Hopewell Friends History. 1734-1934, p. 12.)

      muIn the 13th century, says Lieutenant Charles Johnston in his history of this family, "There lived in the mountainous district of Annandale, Dumbriesshire, Scotland, just north of Firth of Solway, a small but hardy clan of borderers, whose chief was called John. They were doubtless of Saxon origin, and up to this time were little known. Their clanbadge was the Red Hawthorne. As the clan grew stronger their Chieftain became ambitious to take his place among the chiefs of the larger clans. Their motto was: "Viva ut vivas." A little after the middle of the 13th century of chief of the clan applied to the Earl of Annandale, who was the grandfather of Robert Bruce, to purchase a tract of land near the center of the district; the deal was consummated, and it thereupon became necessary to give name to the tract in question; Bruce, in the charter, called it Jonistourn (or Johnston) , and this chieftain, now Lord Jonistoun, was called Sir John de Jonistoun. His clan was thereafter known as Jonistoun, or Johnistouns, the name now being spelled Johnstone or Johnston. Some writers have fallen into the error that the name is synonymous with Johnson, but a glance at the derivation of the names easily discloses the error; Johnson is derived from and means the son of John, while Johnston signifies John's Town; the one shows locality, the other indicates descent. James Johnston, of Fermanagh, had two sons, James and David, the latter born about 1726. The father having died and the estate under the laws belonging to the older brother, James, the younger son David, seeing nothing favorable to his remaining in Ireland, at the age of about ten years, viz: about 1736 or 1737 sought an opportunity to join his kinsfolk in America and succeeded in hiring himself to a ship captain as a cabin boy, and finally landed at Norfolk, Virginia, and made his way across the country to his relations on the waters of the Rappahannock. He became the ancestor of the New River Johnstons. When about twenty-five years of age (1751), he fell in love and married a pretty Irish girl by the name of Nannie (or Annie) Abbott, a daughter of Richard Abbott of Culpeper, and selected his home on Hazel River, near old Gourd Vine Church, in that county. We have several Johnstons in our families how they connect to this early James is unknown at present. David and Andrew were the first merchants and opened the first tannery.

      An Irishman John Goolman Davidson, born in Dublin, Ireland, a cooper by trade, from which he was generally called and known as "Cooper Davidson," came with his family from that part of the Valley of Virginia now known as Rockbridge County, and with him came Richard Bailey and his family, from the Blackwater section, then in Bedford, now in Franklin County, Virginia, and settled in the year of 1780 at the Beaver Pond Spring, a branch of Bluestone, now in Mercer County. A fort was built which was called and known as the "Davidson-Bailey Fort," the marks of the foundation of which may yet be seen near the residence of Mr. Harvey Bailey just west of the Beaver Pond Creek. Both Davidson and Bailey had considerable families, the latter had eight sons and two daughters. Richard Bailey had been a soldier in the American army. These men as well as their sons and daughters, were a brave and courageous people, and maintained their position on the border at the settlement they had made from the day they came in 1780, until the close of the Indian wars in 1795. Often in battles with the Indians, frequently compelled to flee for their lives, and shut themselves up in their strong quarters, and finally loosing Mr. Davidson, whose tragic and brutal murder by the savages will be hereinafter related. At the time of the settlement at Beaver Pond Spring by Davidson and Bailey, their nearest neighbors, were Captain James Moore in Abb's Valley, some twelve miles away, Mitchell Clay on Clover bottom, about the same distance, a man by the name of Compton on Clear fork of Wolf Creek, about eight miles away, and a man by the name of Wright at a place now called Springville, on the head of the Bluestone about eight miles away. Richard Bailey son of the elder Richard Bailey, the Settler, made the first settlement at the mouth of Widemouth Creek on Bluestone in 1790.

      Henry Asbury first appears in Westomoreland County on Feb 27 of 1678. Tradition in the family is that he originally came from Maryland and is confirmed in a suit before the Maryland Provincial Court in June 1678, in which a promissory note to Henry Asbury was in question, as Thomas Robinson also moved to Westmoreland County and was sued by Asbury in 1692. Henry Asbury was the son of Francis Asbury of Kent County Maryland and his wife Mary, they are briefly mentioned in records in the Maryland Land Office. Francis Asbury died in Kent Co. Md in 1703. Henry Asbury was born about 1655. All indications are that his wife, Mary was the stepdaughter of Henry Durrant of Westmoreland County.Henry Asbury died in Westmoreland County in 1707, His will was dated Feb 1706. leaving 630 acres of land to his three sons, Henry Jr , Thomas, and Benjamin and bequests to his daughter Catherine Remy and his wife Mary. Henry Asbury Jr. first appears in the records of Westmoreland County in Virginia, in April of 1704, when as he appeared as Henry Asbury Jr. witnessing a deed along with his father Henry Asbury and his Brother in Law, William Remy. Henry Asbury died in Westmoreland County in 1740.

      There are countless of our ancestors who made their marks in the earth and their times and roles of bravery fill the early colonial years when they traveled at great risk through the wilderness. And there were others who dared to explore the uncharted land, Farmers, slaves, and mill families came after them. The struggle faced by colonial pioneers to scratch out their homesteads in a strange, new land mirrors similar struggles enacted across the nation.

      Once, grist mills were the centerpieces of rural life, places where farmers brought their wheat and corn to be ground into meal and stayed awhile to socialize with neighbors too rarely seen today. The Belchers in Kentucky and West Virginia were involved in Grist Mills and Lumber, and many were coal miners and some still are today.



      Thousands of pioneers left Virginia and Maryland in "The Great Migration," a grueling and dangerous trip Some families traveled in open ox carts; some in one-seater buggies with baggage piled on top, some on horseback, others on foot pushing their belongings in a wheelbarrow. Whenever they met along the trail, they shared news about the location of the best land or conditions of the road ahead. Many were hurrying toward the Monongahela and Ohio River to a frontier outpost called Fort Pitt. Along its river banks were boatyards and sawmills where large barges called flatboats could be purchased. The streets were crowded with wagons. Rough-looking rivermen stood around the docks hoping for a job steering the flatboats to Limestone, Ky., a debarkation point on the Ohio.

      Further down the Ohio, at Cincinnati and Covington, Ky., is the mouth of the northward flowing Licking River Some of our Maddoxes settled along the Licking in extreme northern Kentucky .

      Settlers leaving the east were looking for land and escape of colonial war with Britain but they found a bloody frontier war with Indians instead.

      One of the facts that genealogists often overlook is that many children were brought to this country under appreticeship and very hard to find who their parents were..

      London Children in Virginia
      BY THE VIRGINIA COMPANY (1619)


      quote:"It is asked what land the children are to have in return for their going over to Virginia. The answer is that they are not to have any; but at the end of their apprenticeship they are to be tenants of the common land. It is thought that the council of the company would then allow twenty-five acres apiece, for every one of them. For the good of these same children it is ordered by the council that every one of the children who are now living at the expense of the Virginia Company shall be educated and brought up in some good trade and profession. By this means they will be able to get their living and support themselves, when they have reached the ages of four-and-twenty years, or are out of their apprenticeships. Their apprenticeships are to last at least seven years, if they live so long. Further it is ordered that all of these children when they become of age, or marry, whichever shall happen first, shall have freely given and made over to them fifty acres of land apiece. This land is to be in Virginia within the limits of the English plantation. It is fully intended that this next spring one hundred children more shall be sent and carried by the Virginia Company out of the city of London to Virginia. During their voyage they shall have their food sweet and good. They shall also be well dressed and have all other things necessary for the voyage. Every one of these children shall there be placed as apprentices with holiest and good masters.
      The boys shall serve for seven years, or until they are twenty-one years old or more. The girls shall serve for seven years, that is, until they are twenty-one or married.Their masters during that time must educate them and bring them up in some good trade or business. In this way they will be able to get their living and support themselves when their apprenticeships are over. During their terms of labor, they shall have all things necessary provided for them, such as food drink, and clothing. At the end of their apprenticeships, every one of these children shall have freely given to them by the Virginia Company enough corn to serve for food for a whole year. They shall also each have a house ready built to live in, and shall be placed as tenant in some convenient place upon as much land as they can manage. Each of these children shall, at this time, have one cow, and as much corn as he or she will plant. Each shall have suitable clothing, convenient weapons, and armor for defence in war.Every one shall have the necessary implements and utensils for the household, and enough working tools for his trade.
      Every one who has thus served the apprenticeship shall be bound to be tenant or farmer for seven years after his apprenticeship end. During that time of their labor and care they shall have one half of all the profits that shall arise from the management of their farms. At the end of the last seven years every one of the young men and women is to be at liberty to remain as farmer on the same land if he will, or to provide for himself elsewhere.The city of London had agreed to furnish one hundred children for Virginia, and to pay the Virginia Company a premium of twenty-five dollars apiece for each child, partly to pay for the passage to Virginia, and partly for the children's clothes. Apprenticeship.
      The custom of the time as to draw up agreements for boys and girls who were going into trades or service, by which their parents or guardians put children under the legal control of masters who had a right to their services for a term of years, usually seven. Virginia wanted as many farmers or planters as she could get. The first apprenticeship has to he followed in each case by a second, upon easier terms, or at least terms better suited to the age of the apprentice. After a man had worked as a farmer for fourteen years, he would be likely to continue in that occupation."