Samuel Weaver Ancestors in England and Early Virginia

From
Descendants of Samuel Weaver of Martin's Hundred, Virginia
Especially those who migrated to the Upper New River Valley
1990, 1998, Jeffrey C. Weaver & Larry Cockerham

William Wever(-2) (b. Abt 1540) probably in Shropshire County, England, and married Ann Roberts on 17Nov1565 in Chelmarsh Parish, Shropshire. Notice the lack of an "a" in the spelling of the name. This information was discovered in the parish records of Chelmarsh Church (Church of England). No personal data was discovered about William or Ann, and no ancestors were noted. Consider the time. Henry VIII was King of England, Elizabeth yet to begin her 40 year reign, and the world was on fire to change. Consider what it must have been like to have lived at the time. England was emerging as the preeminent world power, the Roman Catholic church on the way out and the Church of England on the way in. What must it have been like to have been a farmer or miner in Western England on the border of Wales? We can only wonder.


It seems like a good time to speculate further back than the 16th century date advanced as the beginning date of our line. Shropshire is a large county in western England on the Welsh Border. Weavers seem to have multiplied like rabbits in this part of England, and I focused in on a couple of parishes adjoining Chelmarsh. The name Humphrey Weaver seems to be predominant in the early era. It seems likely that Humphrey Weaver was the father or uncle of William above. If so, and further investigation should be undertaken, then the line would tie in with the New England Weaver line, and could be traced to ancient times.


From a review of the parish records, it would appear that William had daughters Anne, Ch 2Feb1566 and Alicia, Ch 7Aug1567. It appears also that this William had a brother Thomas, who had daughters Jane, Ch 12Sep1568 and Johana, Ch 25Jul1561, and married Thomas Urwicke; a son a Rye Weaver who was Ch 28Jan1573. There was another Rye Weaver in Chelmarsh Parish who married Katherine Crofte 9Feb1567.


This William Wever(-2) and Ann Roberts had a son, Thomas Weaver(-1), Ch 14Sep1572 in Rushbury Parish (formed from Chelmarsh Parish) in Shropshire County, England. Thomas married Margaret Cowper 28May1590 in Rushbury Parish, Shropshire. This information is from the Parish register of Rushbury Parish. Again, no personal data is known about Thomas. A son was discovered, Samuel, our ancestor. There were probably others. Thomas apparently also had sons, Thomas Weaver, Ch 21Jan1592; Thomas Jr. married Johane Smythe 5Nov1610; Richard Ch 11Mar1598.


In the Western England Wales border area were several Weaver families from the times that Englishmen carried surnames (13th century) and this line is without doubt tied in with one of these ancient lines. However, I have been unable to connect them at this time. Mr. Lucious Weaver of Rochester, NY published a book in 1928 tracing the ancestry of the Rhode Island Weavers to the fourth century A.D. Mr. Weaver did an excellent work tracing the descendants of Clement Weaver, born 1590 and died 1683 in Newport, RI. Clement was a freeholder in RI in 1653 and had a son Clement Weaver, Jr. a Sergeant in the Colonial Militia.



THE WEAVER FAMILY IN VIRGINIA

Samuel Weaver(1) (b. Abt1599-1600) as christened 3Aug1600, Cardington Parish, Shropshire, England, son of Thomas Weaver and Margaret Cowper. Cardington Parish was formed from Rushbury in 1592. This Samuel applied for permission to go beyond the seas as is found in the parish record of Cardington Parish in 1620 and in 1621 or 1622, (there is some confusion on the exact date). He boarded a ship in London as the indentured servant of William Harwood bound for Virginia.


The following bits and pieces have been found about Samuel Weaver in Virginia and the list is drawn exclusively from official records of the colony or church.


- Samuel Weaver was the indentured servant of William Harwood, listed in his household in the Martin's Hundred muster dated 16Feb1623. There are ages and the ship of immigration listed with these muster rolls. There is conflict from year to year, and based on ages given, the date above is basically correct. There is no variance on the ship of arrival, that being the BonyBess.

- Martin's Hundred Muster dated 4Feb1624 shows Samuel Weaver is listed as living with the widow Jackson and daughter. Further investigation in ADVENTURERS OF PURSE AND PERSON reveals that she was named Ann and the wife of John Jackson, one of the first freeholders in Martin's Hundred. John Jackson and another daughter died shortly after their arrival in Virginia. Ann Jackson's age was not given; however, her surviving daughter was 20 weeks old in 1623.

- The Virginia House of Burgesses required that all immigrants be counted upon disembarkation in Virginia with Ship's name, age and point of origin.

Samuel Weaver should have remained the indentured servant of William Harwood until circa 1628-9. He appears to have become a freeman before that date. This gives rise to several questions, including his relationship with the widow Jackson. Did the w idow Jackson buy Samuel's indenture and marry him? What were her circumstances? Other clues to this dilemma can be found in the land records of York County, VA. No land entry has been found for Samuel Weaver prior to 1635 anywhere in Virginia or other colonies. He should have received a 100 acre freedom grant ca. 1628-30. In 1635 he was granted 650 acres in York County for the transportation of 13 individuals to Virginia. How did he acquire the wealth through his own efforts? It would seem likely that he had acquired wealth through his wife, rather than through his own efforts. If he had acquired this on his own effort, then it would seem likely there would be more land transactions in his name. A Thomas Smith, later Sir Thomas Smith, was granted 250 acres on 26Jul1635 at Martin's Hundred on Kethe's Creek next to Weaver's Plantation. Thomas Smith was also granted 350 acres on 21Aug1637 next to Samuel Weaver's Plantation on Kethe's Creek. (Source: Colonial Virginia Abstracts by Beverly Fleet, Cavaliers and Pioneers by Nugent)


- The 1635 Land Grant of 650 acres in York County, Virginia was sold to John Hansford on 19May1658. This land was on "Captain John West's Creek."

-From Accomack County, VA court records, we know that Samuel Weaver brought a law suit against Anthonie Wills. Wills was required to post a bond of £100 Sterling. No further details of this law suit are known. It was set to have been tried in the Quarter Court of James City in Winter 1633-4.

-ca. 1670 Samuel Weaver, the immigrant died, probably in York County, VA.

Questions of Family still remain, the only known child is William Weaver. Were there others? If there were, what happened to them? Are other Weavers in early Virginia records, other children of Samuel and his wife?



MARTIN'S HUNDRED

This information is quoted from, THE FIRST SEVENTEEN YEARS, VIRGINIA 1607-1624, by Charles E. Hatch, Jr., The University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, VA 1957 (1987, 8th edition), pages 104-107.

"This was one of the earliest of the 'particular' plantations and had a larger and more vigorous life than most. It has been said that this might be listed as the leading, or model, Hundred in the Colony. It was organized by a group within, yet outside of, the regular Company [The Virginia Company] projects. It was named for Richard Martin, an attorney for the London Company. He was a leading member in the Society of Martin's Hundred as this special group of adventurers was known. Another leader in the sponsoring group was Sir John Wolstenholme whose name was associated with the town, described in January 1622 as the 'Towne in Martin's Hundred (which) is now seated called Wolstenholme Towne.'

Wolstenholme was located on the James, it seems, and the boundaries of the Hundred, when laid down in 1621, were measured five miles along the 'river called (Kinge) James river' in each direction from it. This was five miles toward Jamestown and five miles toward Newportes Newes.' Northward the bound was the Queenes River alias Pacomunky [York].' It is of interest to note that the boundaries were to the 'middest' of the rivers. Roughly 80,000 acres lay on the north side of the James between Archer's Hope and Mulberry Island.


In October 1618 the Society sent its first colonists to Virginia. These made up a party of 280 who reached Virginia several months later in the Guift of God. Several additional groups were sent out in 1619, a large party in 1620 and others in 1621 [Our ancestor Samuel Weaver was one of those sent in 1621] The later were sent, it was recorded, 'to plante and inhabite and to erect and make perfect a church and towne there already begunne.' At the time of the Assembly in 1619 it was an established community and sent its representatives up to Jamestown - John Boys and John Jackson. [See comments preceding this description of Martin's Hundred for the relationship of Samuel Weaver to John Jackson].


It appears to have been a determined lot of 'Ancient adventurers' who sponsored Martin's Hundred and the record indicates that they worked hard and zealously to make it a paying organization. They were, however, often beset with difficulties. Shipmasters and mariners abused them as did the 'Capemarchant' according to their reports. When they sought Company shares to sustain losses in one shipment to Virginia, Sir Edwin Sandys reminded them that they were a particular group. He related 'As Martin's Hundred hath been at great charges, so have divers other hundredes, so have also beene many perticuler persons, Captaine Bargrave alone hath brought and sett out divers shipps...Sir Thomas Gates, and Sir Thomas Cole, besides a multitude of other(s), who have spent a large portion of their estates therein....'


Martin's Hundred suffered severely in the massacre of 1622. The slaughter took a total of seventy-eight persons including the commander. Among those killed were a score of women and children, showing that family life was well developed here. The loss was so great that the settlement was temporarily abandoned along with a great many others in Virginia. The abandonment was of short duration, it seems, for new references soon appear such as that naming Captain Ralph Hamor 'to have absolute power, and command in all matters of war over all the people of Martin's Hundred.' In any case the 'replantinge' was left to the Society which originally established it, along with others which had been deserted, 'of absolute necessitie,' it was too busy with its own projects to aid materially.


The Society 'set forth a verie chargable supply of people' in October 1622. When William Harwood [Samuel Weaver's master] was mentioned for Council, Martin's Hundred asked that he not be named since they needed his services full time. Reverend Robert Paulett was named instead. In April 1623 it was a going concern although life was dark in the eyes of Richard Frethorne who wrote of the danger, hunger and the heavy work. He related 'ther is indeed some foule (fowle) but wee are not allowed to goe, and get it, but must worke hard both earlie and late for a mess of water gruell, and a mouthful of bread, and beife.' He stated that of twenty who came that last year, but three were left. In all he said, 'wee are but thirty-two.' the Indians he feared, 'the nighest helps that wee have is ten miles of us." Here 'wee lye even in their teeth.' The break in the monotony, it seems, was an occasional trip to Jamestown 'that is ten miles of us, there be all the ships that come to the land, and there must deliver their goodes.' The trip up took from noon till night on the tide. The return was the same.


Nothing came, at this time, of the proposal for 'runninge a pale from Martin's Hundred to Cheskacke,' between the York and the James Rivers. The stockade across the peninsula was still a decade away. When built it would be several miles to the west. There was nothing to indicate that the church or school, for which William Whitehead left funds in his will in 1623, ever materialized. The plan was that it was to be built at Martin's Hundred.


Evidently conditions at this time were at a low ebb. George Sandys felt it was a pity that the project could not be pushed more vigorously. When the plantation was asked to take a number of the 'infideles children to be brought up' the officials asked to be excused since they were 'sorely weakened and ... in much confusion.' The Indians, too, were still around. The Governor in May 1623 urged that the Commander keep watch, insure the carrying of arms and prevented straglers from loitering about. The Indians were suspected of coming to 'spy and observe.' Seemingly the plantation, perhaps already a parish in the church organization was not represented in the Assembly in 1624.


At this time Martin's Hundred was reported to have twenty-three persons, but twenty-eight had died within the year, two being killed. At the time of the general census of the next year, there were but thirty-one, a fact that indicates small growth. To accommodate these there were seven houses, supplied of corn and fish and some cattle and hogs. The settlement was well stocked in weapons with 32 armors of various types, 31 swords, and 52 small arms. Perhaps William Harwood, who was in charge, remembered well the massacre.


[This information has been presented so that you can get some idea of the conditions that Samuel Weaver found upon arrival, and get an indication that he was a strong man, for he survived when 100s in this plantation did not. Items in brackets [] were added for clarity by me. There are other references about this community at Martin's Hundred. This selection was chosen for its brevity and clarity.]


SECOND GENERATION

The only known child of Samuel Weaver was one William Weaver(2), born circa 1628 in Charles River shire Virginia. He died about 1678 in York County, VA. His wife was named Mary, and was named as an heir of John Githeng. William filed a law suit on her behalf in York County, VA, docket record 7Aug1674 in York County, Va. to recover her legacy which the executor of the will did not wish to release to her. Mary married after William's death a Humphrey Ward.


Though the relationship of William and Samuel has been established, he may have had siblings, Samuel, Thomas and Robert, though I have no proof of it, and doubt the first two, but am relatively certain of Robert. They just don't seem to fit in anywhere else. This second generation of Weavers in Virginia seem to have left virtually no clues to their having been here. Other clues to Robert might be uncovered if one had more time to dig further into the records of Virginia, though it is doubtful, as New Kent's records were destroyed.


William has been much more elusive than Samuel in the records of Colonial Virginia. It would certainly be of great interest to know more about this man. In fact he was so obscure, that I nearly overlooked him. The records of Nannie Francisco Porter pointed me in the right direction, and led to William's inclusion in this work. He probably resided in New Kent County, as no records of him other than stated above have been found for him in York County. The York records are nearly complete, however New Kent's burned. It is known that his son, Samuel, was a resident in New Kent. The Parish Register of St. Peter's Parish begins after the supposed death of William, and are of no value in deciphering the mystery surrounding the life of this William.



THIRD GENERATION

William Weaver and Mary had one known child, Samuel Weaver(3) (b. Abt1655) in York or New Kent County, Virginia and died "Jan ye 25th 1709 in New Kent County. His wife was named Elizabeth, maiden name unknown and date of birth unknown, but who died "june ye 5th 1728 in New Kent County, VA. [Reference the St. Peter's Parish register]. This Samuel Weaver was a parish warden for St. Peter's Parish in 1684 [St. Peter's Vestry Book]. He was the one listed in the 1704 Quit Rent Rolls of Virginia. At this time he owned 150 acres of land in New Kent County. His children and other family information comes from the St. Peter's Parish register. The Official records of New Kent burned in 1781 and no county records are available to check this information and add more detail to the story of Samuel.


As was done with William Wever in England, perhaps we should take the time to wonder what life must have been like for Samuel. His grandfather had come to America as one of the first few hundred settlers in Virginia and survied the deprivations of the land and survived when most died, He stayed when there was talk of abandoning Virginia. By 1655 Virginia had been establised for almost 50 years and there were several thousand white settlers. The frontier was still in the tidewater, and certainly no more than 100 miles from the coast and settlements not further up river than the point of navigation. This was a time 30 years after the introduction of slavery in Virginia and the wealthy were accumulating slaves and land, and importing others into the colony as indentured servants. Here was our Samuel who at the age of 50 possessed 150 acres of land when other families had thousands of acres. Samuel was a church warden of the Church of England at St. Peter's parish. Surely this was a position of some responsibility. He died at age about 54, a goodly age for the time and place. The family of this couple has been discovered beyond doubt, from the Parish Register and is presented in the following pages.


1. Samuel Weaver 1600-1670
11. William Weaver 1628-1678 & Mary Gething
111. Samuel Weaver 1655-1709 & Elizabeth _______
1111. Samuel Weaver 1682-1745 & Mary Robinson


SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS
DESCENDANTS OF SAMUEL AND ElIZABETH WEAVER

1. Samuel Weaver Jr.(4) was born circa 1680 in New Kent County, Virginia and died circa 1745 in Goochland County, VA. These dates were not recorded in the parish registers of St. Peters or in the Douglas Register, though he is mentioned in both records, especially the former, several times. His wife was listed as Mary in the St. Peter's Parish records and from the files of Nannie Francisco Porter, Professional Genealogist in Richmond, VA from the 1920's to 1950's lists her as a Robinson, though I was unable to decipher her notes to discover the source of her information. After a cursory check of the Virginia IGI, it would appear that Mary Robinson was the daughter of Anthony Robinson and Mary Starkey, who were married in York County in 1684 and Mary was born circa 1685. Anthony Robinson was the son of John Robinson and wife, Elizabeth and was born circa 1660.


Mary Robinson Weaver died 27Oct1727 and this date is recorded in the Parish register of St. Peter's Parish. Apparently shortly after Mary's death Samuel moved with his family to Goochland County, VA and settled with the French Hugenots at Manikentowne. Samuel Weaver, Jr. may have remarried in Goochland, but the record may apply to his son, Samuel III, who also lived in the area.


There were several children which can be ascribed to this couple and all of the information is extracted from the Parish Records of St. Peter's Parish and clues and relationships noted in the records of Goochland County, VA.