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CHAPTER II

ANDREW1 HARRISON OF ESSEX CO., VA, AND HIS CHILDREN

By Abner Harrison of West Point MS

Part 1 Contents Part 2

As noted previously, neither Torrence nor JEH identified the family name of the wife of Andrew1 but identify her as Eleanor; Ray maintains she was Eleanor Elliot/Ellit; Hutton gives her name as Eleanor Ellitt, and Meynard identifies her as Elinor Long, without any comment as to the source of her information. All concur that Andrew1 and Eleanor Harrison had two sons, Lawrence2 and Andrew2, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. See Chart 3. Whatever his origins, Andrew1 Harrison died in Essex County in 1718.

Andrewl's will, recorded in Will Book 3 of Essex County, names his widow Eleanor, his children (Andrew2, William2, Margaret, and Elizabeth), and his son-in-law, Gabriel Long (husband of Margaret). Seemingly, Elizabeth had not yet married Thomas Munday. Andrew1 also named three of his grandsons - "... my daughter Margarett Longs three youngest sons Viz: Richd & Gabril & William ... " [In Richard Long's will, proved in Spotsylvania County in August, 1762, Long mentions his six sons; Gabriel, James, William, Andrew, Richard, and John. Wilkerson (1953) also records two daughters, Ann Long who married James Sherwood in 1721, and Elizabeth Long, who married James Lewis the same year.] The inventory of his estate made on June 2, 1719, was valued at £l13, 10s, and 10p, and covered bedding, household furniture and equipment, farm equipment, cattle, one white servant (indentured?) and two negroes (slaves?).

After coming to the Rappahannock Valley, he had settled on Golden Vale Creek in an area that, by the time of his death, became St. Mary's Parish of Essex County. It subsequently became part of Caroline County, and today lies with Fort A.P. Hill.

The connection between Andrew1 and John Battaile as headrights to Cadwallader Jones has been established. Joseph Battaile, Under-Sheriff for the south side of the Rappahannock, had married first Catherine Taliaferro, who had been a ward of Cadwallader Jones following her father's death. Following her death, Battaile married Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Lawrence Smith. After John Battaile died, his daughter Elizabeth became the ward of Andrew1 Harrison in 1708; two years later, she married Andrew2 Harrison. At that time, Andrew1 conveyed to Andrew2 a deed for 130 acres that constituted Andrew1s "home place," retaining a life right for himself and his wife.

Andrew1 served as constable for Essex County for a number of years, beginning in 1699. For the next four generations, at least one of his line served as constable.

Life on the Evolving Virginia Frontier

Before continuing a discussion of the Andrew1 Harrison line, the following comments are offered to comment on what Virginia was like in 1700, the continuing change in politicogeographical boundaries, some of the main events that affected the Harrisons, and the politics and economics of the times.

Regarding the land at the time, three Virginia residents (Henry Hartwell, James Blair, and Edward Chilton) prepared a report in 1697 on "the present state of Virginia, and the college. " Virginia "looks all like a wild desart; the high-lands overgrown with trees, and the low-lands sunk in water, marsh, and swamp ... perhaps not the hundredth part of the country is yet clear'd from the woods, and not one foot of the marsh and swamp drained. " Where the heavy forest cover had been cleared, small patches of cultivation were surrounded by tree stumps and tangles of bushes.

The houses of the ordinary planters (all tobacco farmers of the time were termed 'planters') were almost uniformly small, dark, drafty, dirt-floored one- or two-bedroom boxes, ill-made and poorly maintained. Even the Westover plantation house of William Byrd I, who made a fortune early on, was a four-square wooden farmhouse built for utility. Governor Berkeley's home at Greenspring was a 6Ox6O foot small English brick country house before it was remodeled at the beginning of the century. Bailyn's description of the life of the colonists of the time portrays a rugged existence, hard work, a struggle against the elements (drought, storm, and freezing winters), a fluctuating market for the tobacco that was the currency of the time, and endemic disease. The mortality rate was high, especially among women and infants, and life expectancy was short.

When Andrew1 came to Virginia, the Golden Vales area where he settled was in Old Rappahannock County until 1686. The earliest counties had been laid out in long wedges so that each had access to the Chesapeake Bay or to a navigable river. A man could walk or ride a horse (the supply of horses was limited in early days) to get from one point to another, but all shipping was by water. Locations on the upper portions of the rivers and creeks weren't popular, since they usually were bounded by cliffs, where Indians could shoot down on the settler in his boat. See Map 1. As the population grew and spread into the western part of the counties, it was difficult for outlying citizens to get to the county seat to transact their business. So, new counties were erected by subdividing the old. Portions of Old Rappahannock ended up in King & Queen and King William Counties, and the portion where Andrew1 lived became Essex County in 1692. Essex County was nearly 80 miles long in the early 1700s. See Map 2. Note that the western ends of the inland counties were open-ended; they just ran on indefinitely to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In 1720, with the Essex county seat and court at Rappahanock, the people of upper Essex were demanding their own county. The residents of lower Essex opposed this division, since their taxes would be increased. A slight adjustment was made in Essex at this time, and after a bitter campaign, the election of 1727 was held. This election ended in a general brawl and punch-out. When the furor didn't die down, Williamsburg (then the capitol of the colony) created Caroline County out of the western end of Essex, King & Queen, and King William Counties. Spotsylvania County, erected in 1721, and Louisa lay to the northwest, and Orange County ran on to beyond the Blue Ridge.

Similarly, Orange County was too large to be governed as one political entity, and western settlers objected to crossing back over the mountains to transact business at the county seat, Orange. So, Augusta County was created for the trans-mountain lands, but it too was enormous, encompassing country that some day would make up all or part of half dozen states .

Again, a division was made in 1770, with the southern portion becoming Botetourt County, covering today's western Virginia, Kentucky, most of Illinois and Indiana, and a third of Ohio; it ended at the Mississippi River. The northern section became West Augusta County, encompassing today's West Virginia, part of western Pennsylvania, most of Ohio, part of Indiana, and all of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. See Map 3.

Regarding politics, a number of the first settlers to Virginia came in with grants for thousands of acres. When the crown took over the colonization, court favorites got the plums. The third wave, which included Andrew1 Harrison and Lawrence Battaile, went beyond the Tidewater into the Piedmont. The first Rappahannock Valley claim was made in 1666, by Robert Taliaferro and Lawrence Smith, at the head of navigation on the Rappahannock River, in hopes that a town would be built there. (Fredricksburg was build on that spot, but many years later.)

Pirates sailed the Rappahannock, and settlers built several miles from the river to escape their attention. Settlers were also nervous about the Indians, and rightly so. Colonization did not really begin until after Bacon's Revolution in 1676. Sir William Berkeley was the royal governor and refused to call out the colonial militia against the Indian raids. A number of outlying settlers were killed and more were burned out. Berkeley had a highly profitable trade monopoly going with the Indians and he didn't want to interrupt it. His traders were selling guns, powder, and bullets to the Indians for furs; the Indians were using the guns against the settlers. A young London-educated settler, Nathaniel Bacon, called up settlers to form a war party against the Indians, despite clear, definite orders from Berkeley to disperse and go home. When Berkeley set the militia on Bacon's troops rather than the Indians, the Baconites rebelled, and Berkeley headed for safety across the Chesapeake in Maryland. Bacon's force went on to clear out the Indians, killing enough to convince the remainder not to carry out any major organized attacks on settlers. (Small-scale settos were to continue for some years.) When Bacon and his troops headed back towards Williamsburg, they were met by the militia under the command of Lawrence Smith, the most experienced soldier in Virginia at the time. At a battle in Glouster County, the settlers roundly defeated the trained militia, and marched into Williamsburg.

Another soldier, Robert Beverley, a staunch admirer of Berkeley who despised Bacon for allowing the lower classes to interfere in the business of government, had come back across the Chesapeake and was in Williamsburg. The day after Beverley arrived, Bacon died of a malignant fever in Glouster County. He had left no effective second-in-command, and Beverley was able to talk the rebels in dispersing. When the governor returned, Beverley took fall credit for putting the rebellion down, and wanted land grants as his reward. A number of the rebels had their lands confiscated, four were executed, and there was a shuffle as to who owned what tract.

Succeeding governors continued this pattern of giving large grants to favorites, supporters, syncophants, and persons the governor owed a favor. These awards usually had the tacit approval of the House of Burgesses. It is difficult for people today to appreciate the power of a colonial governor. Appointed by the throne, he was basically all-powerful, with jurisdiction over all county officers. He could convene, dismiss, or prorogue the General Assembly and veto its acts. He also presided over the General Court (the highest court in colonial Virginia). In some cases, the Governor never came to Virginia but sent a Lt. Governor to act for him. The Council of State was the next most powerful instrument of government. It was composed, usually, of twelve members, selected by the King from names submitted to him by the governor, or occasionally, by the King's selection directly from England. Councilors were chosen from the wealthiest and most powerful men in Virginia, and several men desiring the position were turned down because their wealth wouldn't support it.

The House of Burgesses was the colonial equivalent of the present-day House of Representatives, and was the law-making body of the colony. Two were elected from each county. The magistrates were the county judges, appointed by the House, with one appointed as the justice of the county court. The county surveyor laid out the boundaries of patentable lands so that patents or deeds could be obtained. There are two other positions that bear mention - the Clerk of the county court, appointed by the Secretary of the Colony, and the County Lieutenant. He carried the rank of colonel or lieutenant colonel and was the commander of the county militia. The difference in rank was based on the full colonel being a member of the council and a judge in the general court.

The backcountry of the Mattapony was building up a population of settlers who were basically anti-royalists. They received none of the perks of the establishment, and saw clearly that the governor and the large landholders were operating the colony for their advantage, often to the detriment of the smaller planters and settlers. This situation changed somewhat in 1710, when Alexander Spotswood took over as governor. He instituted habeus corpus in Virginia, so that the wealthy and politically powerful could not drag out a law suit with their opponent being held in jail for months or years.

Andrew1 Harrison's entire life, like that of most of his fellow planters, revolved around the weather and the price of tobacco. In 1679, the glut of tobacco was so great that over 10,000 hogheads of Virginia tobacco was left in Virginia warehouses because the merchant fleets didn't have enough bottoms to haul it all to England, nor did the English warehouses have buyers for the tobacco already on hand. More accumulated the next year. In 1680, when Governor Culpeper arrived from England, he played strictly the party line; he took his orders from England, and wasn't about to let the settlers get away with anything. In addition to saturating the economy with "clipped" (shortweighted) pieces-of-eight with a true value of 5 shillings, Culpeper then ordered they be accepted at a face value of 6 shillings - a clear, immediate profit of 20% for him. When the coins were in general circulation, he ordered that they would be accepted at a 5-shilling value in payment of any debt to the government. After 3 months in Virginia, Culpeper returned to England for a short visit, leaving Sir Henry Chicheley in charge. Before Culpeper departed, he prorogued the Assembly, so that they could not meet until he called them back.

Prorogument was an accepted practice in England, but the colonist were accustomed to, and believed in, the rights of popular assemblies. While Culpeper was absent, the tobacco market worsened. The London warehouses were filled, and the surplus was driving prices down. Despite attempts by English merchants to dump the surplus on the European markets, the retail purchase of tobacco fell far short of the supply. This meant that the colonists were cut off even from smuggling tobacco out.

The customs commissioners didn't help the situation, since they would not permit the planters to lay off planting for even one year - that might give rival nations a chance to plant tobacco and capture part of the world market. Moreover, tobacco duties were continued at the set rate, despite the greatly reduced price the tobacco would actually bring. The London Board of Trade refused to hear the plight of the planters, and instead, sent flax and linen seed to Virginia, with orders that each planter would produce a crop of flax and linen in addition to their tobacco crop.

When Culpeper did not return when expected in January, 1662, the planned meeting of the Burgesses had to be further postponed. To quiet the Virginians, Chicheley announced that they would meet in mid-April (he expected Culpeper to be back by then). When the time arrived, Culpeper still had not returned, and instead had sent a message that, under the circumstances, the Burgesses were absolutely forbidden to meet until he did return. Also, the crown revealed that henceforth the Virginians would be responsible for paying for the elements of the British army stationed there. The redcoats were not popular with the colonists, who considered them worthless in defense of the colony, and troublemakers to boot. Similarly, the redcoats disliked the colonists and despised duty there.

Without an assembly, planting would have to be carried out as usual. Despite the injunction, the Burgesses met for four days before Chicheley was successful in proroguing the assembly. He announced the next meeting for November. A few days later, the planters of Glouster County decided to take care of the matter of tobacco planting without a cessation order - they went to the fields and cut down the plants. While the center of the "plant slashers" was Glouster, the practice spread to other counties.

Chicheley was afraid to order the British troops out against the colonists - he was justly fearful of the redcoats running amok, of the reactions of the colonists, and the real possibility of open rebellion. Instead, he ordered out the local militia, hoping that they would enforce the law against their fellow colonists. They did, guarding the fields and arresting the ringleaders. The plant cutters simply waited until night to enter the fields, and the wives of arrested men took up the knife.

The arrest of ringleaders continued as the slashing spread, even though greatly reduced by the roving militia. Col. Beverley, who had been a staunch supporter of Berkeley, was considered to be a prime danger; he was held incommunicado aboard an English frigate that happened to be in port. Lord Calvert was so afraid of the slashers entering Maryland that he had the infantry and cavalry patrolling the banks of the Potomac.

Chicheley tried to do what he could to keep the colony from going up in rebellion, despite the destruction of thousands of hogsheads of tobacco. By defining the incidence as riot, not rebellion, he was able, as provisional governor, to offer amnesty to those who surrendered. He issued fines and minor punishments, with the most stringent punishment going to John Stuckler, one of the most notorious cutters. Chicheley pardoned him on condition that he build a bridge across Dragon Swamp and maintain it for 21 years; Chicheley's plantation was nearby.

When Culpeper finally returned on December 16th, after an absence of nearly 15 months instead of the 3 originally planned, he reopened the affair, even though it had died down almost completely. He overrode Chicheley's grant of amnesty, and declared that the cutters were guilty of rebellion and high treason, crimes punishable by death. He based his decision on the English law whereby depriving the King of revenues due him was treason. Since an estimated 10,000 hogsheads of tobacco had been lost, this was a sizable amount. Culpeper went to Elizabethan law to determine that the intent to deprive was equivalent to the actual deprivation.

A number of the ringleaders were arrested and tried. The evidence against Beverley was not sufficient for conviction, so that all Culpeper could do was banish him from ever holding another office. Two men were hung, but when Chicheley died in March, Culpeper had an excuse to end his vendetta. He did some clever arguing on how he legally could offer amnesty to persons convicted of high treason - a right reserved for the King. His stated reasons included the preservation of peace in Virginia, the determination that the two men hung served as a deterrent to other wrongdoers, the point that fines were useless since the slashers were penniless, and finally, that jailing was not the answer since Virginia jails were incapable of detaining anyone because of their dilapidated condition.

The whole rebellion had been pointless, since the Lords of Trade had agreed to a cessations in June of 1682, primarily because the price of tobacco was increasing. Culpeper kept this a secret from the Virginians, writing to the Lords he had been able to keep the peace without the cessation, and indeed, had so encouraged the planting of tobacco that the next years crop should be at least 50,000 pounds greater than any previous crop.

The basic causes of this riot - or rebellion - had not been corrected, and Virginians would again face periods of recession and depression caused by the practices of English authorities.

Andrew1 Harrison surely was caught up in the Tobacco Rebellion of 1715. Williamsburg had placed a tobacco tax of 85 pounds of tobacco per head of all male residents, black and white. Since the planters had to haul their crop to a bonded warehouse so that it could be weighed and graded, the tax was figured and deducted there. The St. Mary's Parish (which included Golden Vale) planters took their tobacco to private warehouses on the Rappahannock and sold their crop to black marketeers. When the Sheriff of Essex County heard of these goings-on in the upper parish he traveled there. He intimidated a few planters to move their tobacco from the private warehouses to chartered warehouses, but most did not. In April, 1715, a gang broke into the chartered warehouse, destroyed the scales, and burned the building where the more timid planters had their tobacco held. The Sheriff gave up, notifying the Council that he could do nothing to enforce such an unpopular law in such a remote parish. The tax was later rescinded.

Andrew1 Harrison died before Caroline County was erected, but the lives of his sons, daughters, grandchildren, etc. were bound up in the events that transpired in Caroline County during the next several decades.

From its beginning, Virginia's economics was driven by tobacco. For many years, there were five kinds of currency in Virginia - British money, Virginia specie (issued after the French and Indian War), Spanish pistoles (the only gold in circulation and in great demand), bills of exchange, and tobacco certificates. Bills of exchange were as good as the credit of the man who issued them and his creditors. They were used locally, but were worthless for trans-Atlantic commerce. Tobacco certificates were the day-to-day currency of the colony, and prices often were stated in pounds of tobacco rather than pounds, shillings, and pence. London controlled the price of tobacco, which remained at a penny a pound until 1755, when it was raised to 2 pence a pound. In actually, the value varied according to supply and demand, English recessions, etc.

Planters concentrated on tobacco as their money crop. The seedlings were planted in April, carefully tended for four or five weeks, when the plants were well started. At that time, corn and wheat were planted. Then, it was back to the tobacco. Tobacco was (and is) a labor-intensive stoop crop, so that a man could handle about one to two acres. Most of the remainder of the season was devoted to caring for the tobacco, cutting it, drying it in barns, and finally packing it into hogsheads to be rolled to the nearest tobacco warehouse. The planters raised enough cotton and wool to supply the demand for clothing in the colony, but there was little demand for these for export. The same was true for foodstuffs - corn and wheat were raised in sufficient quantity for human and animal needs, but little was exported.

In 1736, the London Board of Trade and the Virginia General Assembly enacted laws to boost the price of tobacco to 2 pence a pound (the price was not actually increased for 19 years), and limit production so there would be no over-production. Unfortunately for the planter, the tax charged on each pound of tobacco was based on this price, not what the tobacco actually bought. The means of limiting production was by specifying how many plants could be planted per acre, and by forbidding the tending of seconds. Seconds was the second growth after the main crop had been harvested. These restrictions had little effect on the major planters, but the smaller planters and the settlers were hurt, as were indentured servants and others who had no other opportunity to earn money (many planters allowed the servants to tend the seconds and keep the money they made). Caroline County was predominantly middle-class, and fought against these laws. Constables turned a blind eye unless forced to make an arrest, and many juries refused to convict despite all efforts of the courts to enforce the laws.

Regarding the second generation of Harrison, they were the offspring of a father who was a member of the minor gentry, and a mother, Elizabeth (Battaile) Harrison, who was connected to the powerful Smith and Taliaferro families, and indirectly to William Woodford, who had married her mother following her father's death. In light of some of Woodford's actions, it is doubtful if any benefit accrued to the Harrisons because of this relationship. See Endnote 1, this chapter. Andrew1 accumulated a sizable land holding, over 1,800 acres, that he left to his children. These lands included land on the Mattapony River in King and Queen County, a grant he received in 1704.


Footnotes

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