Born: Abt 1646 ? Isle of Wight County, VA Married: Elizabeth PRIME WATKINS (widow of Capt George Watkins) ?1675 Died: Abt 1693 Surry County, VA Parents: William and ? Ruffin
An excellent Resource for life and times of Robert Ruffin and family may be found in the book, Tidewater Virginia Families by Virginia Lee Davis Published 1989. (pages 502-538)
Robert was the first Ruffin owner of the "Richneck" plantation. Although the present day house was not built until around 1800, it is probably in the same location as earlier plantation homes.
Robert died while his children were still young. His will was recorded in Surry County July 4, 1693, and we estimate that he would have been about 47 years old. He had made the will on May 8, 1693. We do not know where he was buried. There is evidence of burials at both the Lawnes Creek Church and the Ruffin "Richneck" burying ground....but no markers exist.
Another RUFFIN Page pertaining to this family has been created by Randy Regan.
......................BUT, just to clarify... this Robert Ruffin's wife was Elizabeth Watkins (? married around 1705). She was the daughter of John Watkins and Elizabeth Spencer Watkins (according to Ms. Davis)========================================================================= Date: Thu, 05 Mar 1998 Lucy Ruffin
The Robert Ruffin who married Elizabeth Prime (widow of George Watkins) is the previous generation. With both Elizabeths having the name Watkins (one as a married name and the other as a maiden name) it does get confusing!
I just went to the section on Ruffin, of Ms. Davis' book, that you sent me and this is what she said:
"It is not known exactly when Robert married Elizabeth Watkins; however, it is probable that he was married by 1705 since he had seven children before his death in 1720. It is an interesting coincidence that the father and son, Robert Ruffin, each married a woman named Elizabeth Watkins. They were not kin, unless there was a relationship between the first Elizabeth's husband and the second Elizabeth's father. They were evidently not closely related. The father of Elizabeth Ruffin 11 was John Watkins, whose family had owned land on College Run as early as 1638. Elizabeth's mother was Elizabeth Spencer." (She does not reference the last statement about Elizabeth's mother)
Here is the will of a John Watkins who died in 1708 (correct time frame), that Virginia Davis references in her book:
I went to the court house in Surry yesterday and copied John Watkins will. This will is the source that Virginia Davis uses in her book Tidewater Virginia Families for saying Elizabeth's father was John Watkins. I believe this is incorrect. At least this will does not offer proof.
Surry County Will Book 5, p.407I apologise for the blanks. They won't let anyone photocopy most of the books and I had a difficult time deciphering the old writing.
Will of John Watkins - 5 Nov 1708
In the name of God amen. I John Watkins of Surry Co. being sick and weak in body but in perfect sense and memory thanks be given to Almighty God therefore do make and ordaine this my last will and testament in manner and form as follows: _________ and principally I bequeath my soul unto the hands of Almighty God my creator and Jesus Christ my Redeamer fully everything in his _______ ____ ____ ________ of all my sins and for that small estate that it hath pleased God to ________ me _______ In this life I do dispose of as in hereafter __________ secondly I give and bequeath unto my son Robert my plantation whereon I now live and my plantation at Indian Field that he hath now in his possession. To him and his heirs and assigns forever only reserving for my loving Elizabeth shall ______ my plantation whereon I now live during her natural life bounded as followeth. Bounded eastward to a line of marked trees that divides _______ Cheshetts(?) his land and my land _____ and up a swamp whereon Mr. Tho. Collier by mill stands unto the mouth of a branch and ____ ______ branch to ______ _______ leads to the plantation whereon _____ Davis did lately live thence a _________ a various line of marked trees to the main road and so(south?) up the road unto a line of marked trees that divides Mr. _______ Edwards his land and my land and southerly along that line to the swamp called the Indian Field Swamp and so(south?) down the swamp to that aforesaid line of marked trees that divides Cheshetts(?) his land and my land. And I also give my son Robert my plantation whereon ____ ______ now liveth and all my land only Eastern most tree of a branch called by the name of Colts(Cotts?) branch unto him his heirs and assigns forever. I also give unto my son Robert my Negro man called by the name of George and my Negro boy called by the name of Tom and a new feather bed and boulster and covers(?) and all of new Holland sheets and all of new ________ sheets and all of new blankets and of _____ _______ and my silver tankard and a hoop(?) gold ring and a _________ mortar and pestle and twelve new pewter dishes and twelve new pewter plates(?) and two new pewter ________ and one oval(?) table and six leather chairs and one lookinglass and a new gun and a young horse called by the name of Dimond and a new bridle and saddle and all of cattle already known to belong to him to witt: three cows and three calves and three three year old heifers and three two year old and one heifer at Lawrence Flemens and a steer of two years old and three ewes and a _____ of fine new cloth and muslin to make him two new ______ that is already in his house and a chafe(chase?) that he hath already in his possession and my carbine pistols and sword and all the hoggs that are known to belong to him and are of his own proper marks and as much canvas that will make him a ________. I do give and bequeath unto my son John my plantation whereon _____ Cooke(?) now liveth and all the land belonging to me Westward from a branch called Colts(Cotts) branch and my plantation whereon _______ Davis did lately live and all the land belonging to me Westward from a branch called the Deep Bottom branch and ______ branch unto the various marked trees to the road and along the road to Mr. Will. Edwards his line and so(south?) along the line to the line that divides Mr. Tho. Collier his land and my land unto him and his heirs and assigns forever and I give my said son Jno. my Negro boy called Roger to be delivered to my said son by my executor when he shall come to the age of twenty-one years and I give him a feather bed and Boulster and _______ of sheets a blankett and a rugg he to have his choice after his mother and I give him two cows and two three year old heifers and a _______ steer of four years old and a two year old heifer of his own mark and a bull calf and two ewes and all the hoggs that are of his own mark and a two year old heifer and a young mare of two years old my old gun and a thousand and forty(?) pounds of tobacco to be paid him by my executor when he shall come to the age of twenty-one years. And I give to my said son John all my linnen and wearing apparell. I give and bequeath unto my son Henry my plantation and land belonging to me ______ main Blackwater Swamp that I bought of Robert Warren unto him and his heirs and assigns forever. And I give my said son my Negro boy called by the name of James to be delivered to my said son by my executor when he shall come of the age of twenty-one years and if it should please God either my son John or my son Henry should dye before they come to the age of twenty-one years then it is my will that the survivor shall have both the aforesaid Negroes and I give to my son Henry a cow that is known to belong to him ___ _____ _____ my mare Colby(?).
I give and bequeath unto my son William my land on the south side of Cypress Swamp beginning at mouth of _________ his branch to him and his heirs and assigns forever and my Negro boy called Jack to be delivered unto my son by my executor when he shall come to the age of twenty-one years. And I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary my Negro boy called Frank to be delivered to my said daughter when she shall come to the age of twenty-one years or married. And I give to my daughter Eliza. one cow and one ewe and five hundred pounds of tobacco to be paid the ______ _____ after my death and I lend the labour of my Negro boy James unto my daughter Eliza. until next Christmas come two years. And I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Elizabeth a feather bed and boulster a pr. of new Holland sheets a blankett and a new rugg and a pr. of curtains and _________and a _______. And I give her my Negro woman called Cate and I lend the labour of my Negro man Dick unto my loving wife Elizabeth during her natural life and after her death I give him to my son Robert and I lend the labour of my Negro girl Jenny to my loving wife Elizabeth during her natural life and after her death I give her to my son Henry and that neither of my two Negroes Dick nor Jenny be removed of my plantation until the death of my wife and that the two girl children of my Negro Jenny shall bare of her body and live to the age of a year I do give to my son Jno. and the second to my son William. She to nurse them until ______age and if my son Henry should dye before he comes to the age of twenty-one years then I give her to my son Jno. and what estate I have not disposed of I do give it equally between my loving wife Eliza. my son Jno. my son Henry and my son William and my daughter Mary and the pewter and table linnen I have in my house I do give to my loving wife Eliza. and the goods shall come from England for the tobacco I sent home. I desire it may be equally divided between my wife my son Robert my son Henry my son William and my daughter Mary and if any goods should come on creditt I desire that my son Robert should have it and that he ship tobacco home to pay for it. And my will is that all the rest of my estate that is not yet disposed of after my _______debts are paid should be equally divided between my loving wife Eliza. my son Henry my son William and my daughter Mary and that this years crop of corne be disposed of for the familys life(?) and the new linnen in the house and what cloth at the weavers shall go towards the familys life(?). And I do will and appoint that my loving wife Eliza. and my son Robert shall be my whole and sole executors and execute of this my last will and revoking all former wills unto ______ I have hereunto let my hand and seal this 5th of Nov. 1708.
Signed Sealed in presence of
John Watkins Sealed
John Watkins Junr.
Eliza. X Skelton
her mark At a Court Held at Southwark for the County of Surry
The written will was this day proved in court by the oath of Nich. Maget and Elizabeth Skelton.
Robert Ruffin's wife Elizabeth
Virginia, I had the pleasure to meet Virginia Davis, author of "Tidewater Virginia Families," a mammoth book of eastern Virginia genealogies, and a Ruffin descendant herself. I questioned her about her statement that Robert Ruffin (the third generation) married Elizabeth Watkins. She said she only speculated this and never meant for it to be taken as a fact without proof. She said Elizabeth Ruffin II is the daughter of John Watkins. There is an Elizabeth Watkins mentioned in Boddie's "Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight", p. 561:"Wm. Oldis makes agreement with John Watkins and Bridgett his wife that he Wm. Oldis has undertaken the keeping and maintenance of Elizabeth Watkins, dau. to said John and Bridgett, being now at the age of ten years, until sd. Eliz. is 21 years of age. She to be maintained and educated in English. 10 June, 1672. Robt. Ruffin, Wm. (X) Ruffin."Wouldn't this Elizabeth be too old to be Robert Ruffin's(3) wife. She would have been about 19 years older.
There is something else curious about the Oldis, Ruffin, Watkins relationship. There is an earlier entry, same book, p. 561 which says:"John Bramston is indebted to Wm. Oldis payable at the house of Wm. Ruffin. 23 Jan., 1670. Robt. Ruffin, Wm. Pickney."I get the impression that Mr. Oldis is a tutor, possibly living at William Ruffin's home. Maybe he was Robert's(2) tutor?? Could he have been more than a tutor???
Here is David's comment on the above:
Subject: Elizabeth Watkins
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 07:09:19, -0500
I have seen the records you are mentioning, but really hadn't concluded anything from them. It is probably circumstantial at best. There has apparently been some confusion after my last posting about the conversation with Mrs. Davis - and you may feel the need to clarify this. Mrs. Davis wrote that both Robert Ruffin (generation 2) and his son Robert Ruffin (generation 3) married ladies named Elizabeth WAtkins. Now Mrs. Davis says the younger Robert's marriage was a speculation. (although in the book it seems to come across as fact)
Here is a second comment from David: The Robert Ruffin (3) line is not my area of expertise. In the RUffin project we are working on, I was assigned the North Carolina lines and left the Virginia lines to someone else.
However, in going through the Surry County records, I never found anything definite to prove the maiden name of this Robert's wife Elizabeth. It is certainly possible she may have been a Watkins, but I believe we must be extremely careful about saying so in print. The power of the printed word is tremendously strong.
Since reading all of this, it is coming back. I don't know if I forwarded these messages from David to you or not, but he did talk to Virginia Davis and she said she had nothing conclusive.
So without documents to prove Elizabeth's parents, do you think we should make a statement to that fact on the Homepage. That it is possible, but not conclusive.
(1) See Va. Mag. of Hist. and Biography, Vol. II, p. 380, where this paper containing the grievances of Isle of Wight is published in full.
WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE QUARTERLY
[CONTINUED FROM ISLE OF WIGHT - PAGE 229]
"scandalous words" uttered before ye Worpfll Comrs (in accord- ance with their order) April 9, 1677.
Petition(1) of John JENNINGS to the Right honoble Herbert Jeffreys, Esq., Governr and Capt Generall of Virga and the honble Council of State; that your peticonr haveing reced sentence of ban- ishmt and Transportation of this his Maties Colony asks for a longer time for his departure since by reason of the late Rebellion his estate has been so wasted that he has not the money to leave, and because it would peril his life to undergo the said sentence in his "aged, sick and weak condition," having the care also of a poor wife and children incumbent upon him.
Letter of Gov. Herbert Jeffreys dated Swann Point April ye 9th 1677, asking the opinion of his councillors Nathaniel Bacon, Sen., and Col William Cole, as to the case of John Jennings.
Endorsement of Nathaniel Bacon and William Cole approv- ing the Governor's suggestion of a longer respite to JENNINGS. COUNTY, GA -
Robert RUFFIN (and Elizabeth his wife) of Surry county, ap- parent heir and admr. of William Ruffin dec'd. 6 June, 1677.
Power of John JENNINGS to his wife Mary to get in his debts, and to let his plantation for three years, and sell either mares, sheep &c. 5 Sept., 1677.
(Part 2 of 3)
ALDRED Nicholas 1649 Isle of Wight Co., VA Will of Edward Chetwine (?Chetwood/Chatwood etc.) of Isle of Wight dated 7 Sep 1649. To James House; to Thomas Attwell. I give James House all my Bedding and what else of mine is at Mr. Aldred's...To Christopher Holms, John Young. I give Robert Watson, Henry Pitt, John Inglish (also English), Nicholas Aldred, Mrs. Anne Jones and all her children...And, for the performance of this my LWT, my debts being paid, I leave Mr. Robert Watson and Henry Pitt my executors. Wit: Tho. Brook and Gulelmi RUFFIN 27 Sep 1649. John Norseworthy m. Frances English d/o John in 1670. John Watts m. Alice English d/o John 1678. John Norsworth d. intestate in Isle of Wight in Apr 1670 naming his relict, Frances, admin. Security was posted by John Pitt and William Oldis.
Genforum post "ISLE OF WRIGHT COUNTY, VA by William Lindsay Hopkins, Deeds 1647, Court Orders 1693-1695 and Guardian Accounts 1740-1767, p 90---22 August 1711....John Fiveash and wife Kae Fiveash, of the upper parish to Roger Hodges of the same...16a in the upper parish (being 1/3 of 50A which descended to Kae Fiveash as one of three surviving sisters and coheirs of Timothy Fenn, decd.) bounded by Robert Ruffin and said Roger Hodges."So John Fiveash was born by 1690 to be age 21+ in 1711.
Click here to send e-mail to Virginia Crilley.
Return to Ruffin Index Page
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids