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Vestry Records of Virginia

The Hanover Historical Society published an article in 1976 that began, "In 1704 when St. Paul's Parish was formed....it contained the area between the Pamunkey and Chickahominy Rivers , to Matadeguin Creek on the east, and to the northwest theoretically...indefinitely. Sixteen years later Hanover County was formed using these same boundaries...In 1702 a petition of the upper inhabitants of the Parish was presented by John Kimburros, James Nuckols and Richard Corley laying down that they were remote from the church and it was agreed that a church 20X40 be built."

From the Vestry Book of St. Peter's in 1702"....It is ordered that a new Church or Chapell be built (upon the upper side of Mechumps Creek adjoining to the Kings Roade.)" Mechumps Creek can be seen on a modern Hanover County map, flowing into the Pamunkey River, coming from the west just south of Hanover Court House. These names compare with an earlier order in the Vestry Book of St. Peter's on "this 4th day of May 1689...In pursuance of an Act of Assembly enjoyning ye Remarking of each mans Land in Each Particular Parish one in four years....each vestry doe putt their Parishes in to P'sincts and appoint a time for ye Prossioning and Remarking ye bounds of Each mans land." The next to last precinct contains the names "James Nuckles, Rich. Caudry, Jn Kimbour and ye Rest of his neighbors. The Inhabiters belonging to St. Petters Parish in Pamamuch Neck Viz Mrs. Susana Page, Tho. Spencer, Jno. Burross, Mrs. Gouch, James Henderson, Wm. Turner, Tho. Carr, Rich Chastin, James Adams, Tho. Nichols, Edm Smith, Hen.Dillan, Capt. ffran Page, Mr. Goodwin."

In 1708 in the St. Paul's Vestry Book "The land of Abraham Cook, James Knuckles, Jno,. Kimbrow, Tho. Bradley and Henry Bos, lying adjacent to each other being made one precinct, of Which the Said James Knuckles and John Kimbrow were appointed Overseers.......

The 'Act of Procession' comes from the earliest Virginia settlements when the persons holding land along a road or water way would line up in order before the Vestrymen to declare the boundaries of their property. As the number of settlers increased, these neighborhoods were divided into precincts where the land owners would meet to agree on their boundaries and an appointed 'captain and his partner would make the actual written report. The word 'procession' is so similar to the word 'possession' that they are often confused. A piece of land might be dedicated to helping provide support for the ministers--called the 'Glebe,' and the Vestrymen would see that this land was used profitably. These activities are quite different from the minister's responsibilities to christen, marry, bury and preach so the records may be kept separately.

In 1716 " The Lands of Maj. Nich Meriwether, James Knuckols, the Glebe, Mrs. Carrs Orphans, Col. Mann Page, Majr. Curtis and Mr. Edwd. Garland being made one Precinct of which Maj. Meriwether and James Knuckols were appointed Overseers made no return."

"At a vestry held at ye upper church in St. Paul's Parish ye 22nd day od August 1727" The lands of Capt. Garland, John Garland, Edw. Garland, Jun., Carr's Orphans, Col.Page, Ja.Nuckles Sen., John Mitchel, Rob Pennington, Col. Bird, Wm. Meriwether, Tho. Hickman, John Blalack, Madam Littlepage, and Wm. Terrel being made one precinct."

This may be the last mention in the Vestry Book of James Nuckolls, Senior born about 1670. This birth date is estimated from his early appearances in the St. Peter's Registry with Elizabeth for the christening of their children -- Edward 1686, James 1695 and Isabell 1697.

In 1727 there is also a precinct that appears to be that of his son James. "Ordered into one precinct for processing , the lands of Wm. Clapton's Orphans, John Haden, Anthony Pate, James Brewer, Mary English, Jonathan Ashworth, Wm.Hanes, Adam Reatherford, David Gwin, Widd. Broadhurst, Edmund Massey, Sam. Bumpass, James Nuckols, Benj. Whealer..." As with his father, James born 1695 repeatedly appeared in a precinct with some of these names. This is also true with the grandson Nathanial Nuckols.

James' second wife Susannah Nuckols, possible mother of Samuel and William is named in a precinct with families similar to those in her husband's earlier precinct.......In 1731 "Order'd into one precinct for processioning, the land of Peter Garland Gent., John Garland, Manoah Chiles, Carrs Orphans, Col. Page, Susannah Nuckols, John Mitchel, Wm. Bounsher, Col. Bird, Ralph Hunt, Wm. Meriwether, Tho. Hickman, John Blalack, the Glebe, Madam Littlepage, Butlers, Wm. Terrel's, Wm. Jennings, Matth. Jennins...; " Note that just as her husband did, Susannah appeared between Page and Mitchel.

In 1744 "Order'd into one precinct for processioning the Lands of Wm. Byrd Esq., Col. Page's Orphans, Susannah Nuckols, Anthony Pouncy, Marshal Dregg, Carr's Orphans, John Mitchels Orphans, John Joyner, the Glebe land, Capt. Bickerton...present, Francis Smith, Marshal Dregg, Mr. Booth and Wm. Nuckols."

This is that last appearance of Anthony Pouncey who is recorded as selling several properties and migrating to South Carolina. This may also be the last appearance of Susannah. Is she Anthony's sister? In 1654 John Pouncey received a land grant in New Kent and Roger Pouncey signed the Blisland Complaint. There is a Pouncy Tract Road that runs from Richmond into Hanover County. William gave the name Pouncey to his first son with widow Elizabeth Duke. The name seems to be restricted to the "one L" Nuckols.

"At a Vestry held for St. Pauls Parish September 30th 1751.."Ordered into one precinct for Processing, the Lands of John Bickerton, Francis Smith, Tho. Booth, the Glebe, Mill's, William Thornton, John Pierce, William Nuckolds, Robt. Page, Harden Burnley, John Joyners Orphans, John Dregge, John Mitchels Orphans, Widd. Garlands and John Bickerton and Francis Smith." (Harden Burnley's great-granddaughter married sons of Pouncey Nuckols.)

Research on this area has a serious problem produced by three major fires. The first in 1676 was the burning of Jamestown in the Rebellion lead by Nathaniel bacon. The second in 1776 was the British burning of the courthouse. The third in 1865 was the union burning Richmond, the Confederate Capitol, where several counties had stored their records for safety. Many persons have sought to locate every Nuckolls mention but there are few. One of the most interesting is the signature of James Nuccol/Niccoll on the Blisland Complaint after Bacon's Rebellion

Chamberlain wrote in his introduction to the Vestry Book of Blisland parish, "On January 29,1677, the commissioners sent over by the English Government to inquire into and report upon the state of affairs in the colony arrived in Virginia. When they let it be known that they would receive and examine 'grievances' that were duly signed and sworn to, many such 'grievances,' complaining of the oppressions which had caused the Rebellion, were presented by the inhabitants of various counties and parishes..." (This actual document is archived at Cambridge University in Magdalen College among the Samuel Pepys' papers.)

Of the eighty-eight signers of the Blisland Complaint many are processioners in St. Peter's parish in New Kent in 1689. Two--rch. Corley and Roger Pouncie are known to have land near the James Nuckolls born 1670. John Barnet in 1670 had a patent for 1900 acres in "Pamunkey Neck." There is proof that James Nuccol signed a document in 1677 with landholders living below the Pumunkey River and their names or their descendants' names appear in the vestry records of St. Peter's and St. Paul's'. Is he the father of James Nuckolls born 1670?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has a CD showing the members of the Scottish parishes in the 1600's. There are many persons in or near Aberdeen that have a name that sounds like Nuckolls. There seems to be no other areas where the name is common. There has been a large effort to collect names of immigrants who might be Nuckols.

Between 1643 and 1651 a John Nuckols received 300 acres. James born 1670 appears on the New Kent County Quit Rent Rolls of 1704 paying for 300 acres. Is this the same parcel of land?

The Nuckolls family had a tradition that three brothers came to Virginia -- John, James and William..but it is possible that John Nuckols had a son James Nuccol born about 1650, a grandson James Nuckolls born about 1670 and a great-grandson William Nuckols born 1720 and many other descendants.

By Doris Dell, Nuckolls Society Member

 

 

 

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