Giles Carter-1; Theodorick-2;Theodorick-3; William-4; Joseph-5; Elizabeth-6
The CARTERS have been a very interesting and challenging line to trace and the author has been assisted very much by Sue Gunter who helped find an out-of-print book, Giles Carter of Virginia, Genealogical Memoir, by General William Giles Harding Carter, Lord Baltimore Press, 1909. The author of this early book researched his subject very well and we have attempted to confirm and add to his research findings with recently discovered records to which he did not have access. It has not been a solitary work, however, and assistance has been given by various other CARTER researchers who are descended from the “Giles line” of the CARTERS.
Though the pre-American origins of our GILES CARTER-1 are not absolutely known, according to General Carter and other researchers, the Carters of Glouchestershire, England, by the seventeenth century, had lived in that area for several centuries. They used “Giles, William, and John” as heirloom names for generations. Those names were passed from generation to generation in the blood-lines and carried over into the families of the daughters with different surnames. General Carter states that these Christian names were unique to that group of Carters. This gives us reason to believe that there is some connection to our GILES CARTER and to the Giles Carter found in Virginia in 1620, before the birth of our GILES.
There were two or three other lines of Carters in early Virginia, principally the line of John Carter and his fifth wife, Sarah Ludlow. This line descends through Robert “King” Carter, who was probably the richest man in Virginia. This Robert Carter owned lands near our relatives in Fairfax, bought in the name of his three-year-old son, Robert, Jr. If our GILES has any connection with the line of “King” Carter, it is probably very remote. Robert Carter died at age 69, possessed of hundreds of thousands of acres of land, over 1,000 slaves, and it is said, 10,000 pounds sterling in cash. The separateness of the two lines is underscored by GILES’ connection to the rebels in Bacon’s Rebellion and the other Carter’s connection to the Government side.
There were several “William Carter” lines that congregated principally in Middlesex County in the 1700s, but there does not appear to be any close connection to our lines, except for the repeated use of the name William. That “William” line, however, did not also use our other heirloom names of Giles, Theodorick, and Francis.
John Carter, the father of “King” Carter, was probably from Middlesex County in England, whereas according to General Carter in his book, our CARTER lines appear to have come from Gloucestershire County in England. It is quite certain that John Carter of Corotoman had Royalist sentiments and our group in Henrico County fraternized with the opposition to Sir William Berkeley, the Governor of Virginia. James Crewes, one of the men tried and executed in Bacon’s Rebellion, one of the chief leaders of the rebellion, left GILES CARTER’s family a significant portion of his estate in his will.
The perpetuation of Christian names serves to greatly facilitate the identification of family lines in all the records and contemporary history. In several families of Carters of Virginia certain Christian names peculiar to each family occur in each generation, while other names, such as John and Robert, are quite common in all the families, even where no relationship exists. The name “Giles” and “Theodorick” have not been found in any other branch of the Carter family, and both of these names have appeared generation after generation. The naming of a son Francis in our particular line of the CARTER families is another important clue for us in pin-pointing our particular lines, and in separating them from other lines that frequently use William and John as given names for their sons.
While perpetuation of Christian names serves to identify families, it also leads at times to serious embarrassment, from the viewpoint of the genealogist, unless contemporary records are available to unravel the multiplication of identical names. General Carter
Though the pre-colonial ancestry of the CARTERS has not been proven, we will also include here some of the data and conclusions that have been compiled and hope that at some future date another researcher will definitely untangle the web of this family. There are some current researchers on this line that think that our GILES was a nephew, not a son, of the original Giles Carter of Virginia. Research, and “pedigrees” of these Magna Carta, and other lines, is filled with error. Pre-colonial pedigrees in general are not accurate, but they are sometimes interesting to read in any case.
Giles Carter-1; Theodorick-2; Theodorick-3; William-4; Joseph-5; Elizabeth-6
Regardless of his ancestry, the man we know to be our ancestor, GILES CARTER-1 of Virginia, born about 1634, somewhere in England, came to Virginia before 1653. He gave a deposition in 1680, stating his age as 46. [Henrico County, VA Deeds 1677-1705, pg. 148.]
We can be sure that our GILES-1 was in the colony before 1653, when he is listed as among those imported by Mr. William Fry, who claimed land for GILES’ importation, along with 15 other persons. [Virginia Colonial Records, patent book 3, page 192.] In the year 1653, many claims were filed for head-rights for persons who had probably been imported several years previously, so we don’t know the exact date of GILES’ importation. It is quite likely that he was fleeing the problems created in England by Cromwell’s rise to power. It is also quite probable that he was seeking his own fortune as a younger son with few prospects at home, but with good family contacts
The Colony granted 50 acres to each person who imported a colonist at his expense, or brought in a slave or indentured servant. If a man paid his own passage, he would receive the 50 acres of land. This policy resulted in great lists of imported persons, when they were imported, and by whom. The imported person must stay in the colony for three years, or die in the colony, for the land grant to be valid. Thus, we may be reasonably sure that GILES was actually in the colony by 1650 or before. If his birth date of 1634 is about right, then he would have been 16 years old, or thereabouts, when he came to the colony. This is consistent with the customs for indentured servants at that time, most of whom were very young males. These lists are a great help to genealogists.
If a man is listed as imported by another man, it is fairly conclusive that he was imported as an indentured servant or family member. At this time in Virginia’s history, many former indentured servants rapidly moved into the ranks of land owners. In one study of the records, the term of years between importation and owning land varied, but averaged about 12 years.
In Genealogical Evidence, the author points out on page 23, “The terms “indentured servant,” and “bond servant” may be confusing. The term “indenture” actually refers to the document or contract between the master and the apprentice or servant. The indenture actually means the wavy line caused when the two copies of the contract written on one piece of parchment, vellum, or paper was cut in two—one copy for each party.”
The fact that GILES CARTER-1 never claimed land for the importation of his wife or children means that they were either transported by others or born in the colony. GILES’ wife, HANNAH, was most likely, imported by someone else or born in the colony. Since we are not sure of her maiden name, we are unable to find a record of her importation or birth. GILES-1 may have worked as a “servant” [employee] for Mr. Fry, or the indenture could have been sold to another. Labor was dear in the colony, and land cheap, so it was not difficult for a man to rise in the financial scheme of things, especially if he came from a family connection with some influence in the mother country. Even though he might have been an impoverished younger son, having “family connections” to help him would have been a great benefit in advancing financially. There were many opportunities in the colony to make financial advances, but they were greatly assisted by “connections” which could give a person a leg up and put them in a position to benefit from the opportunities.
GILES’ friends and associates seem to have been better “fixed” than he was, and left him legacies in their wills, as if they were related or were very close family friends. The legacies speak well of his family connections in England.
It is possible that our ancestor, GILES-1, may have returned to Britain after he first came to Virginia, and then returned to Virginia again. It was not uncommon for men to make the crossing several times, though we have no proof that he did. The lists of people that GILES later imported as immigrants to Virginia, whose names are shown on the court land grants, are not found on any published lists of persons sailing from ports in England, according to General Carter. He also states that those lists are intact. This strengthens the evidence that GILES came from Gloucestershire and sailed from Bristol, as did the first Giles Carter in 1620. There are only two passenger lists preserved from Bristol. He could have returned home to recruit these settlers and his name be on the missing lists from Bristol.
Our GILES-1 probably served out an indenture of from four to seven years working for someone else. We find no mention of GILES between 1653, when he is on the headright list, and the next item nine years later, in 1662, in the will of John Rowan [Rowen], written May 1, 1662. John Rowan leaves items to his son, his nephew, and his brother, in addition to a bequest to GILES CARTER of “a cow and gift of a house and land on this plantation for one year, then to brother Henry.” This was a substantial bequest, and probably meant that GILES was living on Rowan’s plantation, or very near by. It also indicates that GILES may have been working for Rowan or renting a place from him.
John Rowan was obviously the guardian for the Price orphans. He also mentioned that his brother, Henry, was to have the upbringing of the John and Daniel Price, who were orphans of John Price. Daniel Price would later marry Susannah Carter-2, the daughter of GILES CARTER. One of the witnesses to the will was a woman named Margaret Crewes.. She may have been the wife of Captain James Crewes, who was later executed after Bacon’s Rebellion. Daniel Price was left the clothing of James Crewes in Crewes’ will in 1676. He also owed a debt to the estate for which he was sued by the heirs. Daniel Price [Sr.] was probably born at least by 1655, which would mean he was a few years older than Susannah Carter-2.
By Rowan’s bequest we know that GILES-1 probably did not have land of his own yet in the colony. He may have been working for Mr. Rowan in some capacity. GILES had probably been in the colony for more than 12 years at the time of John Rowan’s will. The next mention we have of GILES CARTER-1 and his family is fourteen years later, in 1676, in the will of James Crewes. By 1676, GILES CARTER had been in the colony at least 23 to 26 years, but still apparently did not own land outright.
By the time of Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, GILES and his wife, HANNAH, lived in an area called Turkey Island in Henrico County, Virginia, on the plantation of James Crewes. GILES still apparently did not own land of his own and was renting land from Crewes, and by this time, had several children. [Will of James Crewes.] This land was located in Henrico Parish on the James River between Shirley and Bremo, the later residence of the Cocke family for 200 years. The area was named for the large number of wild turkeys located there by the first party sent up river from Jamestown. William Randolph, acting as an attorney, bought the property in 1684 from the heirs of James Crewes. GILES and HANNAH transferred their [life] interest in 50 acres of the land in 1684/5.
The history of Henrico dates back to the very earliest times of the settlement of Virginia. It was the second established settlement in Virginia, after Jamestown. Sir Thomas Dale founded the settlement in September 1611, lading 350 men, chiefly German laborers. It was called Henricopolis after Prince Henry, the eldest son of James I. John Rolfe and Pocahontas lived there until she and her husband went to England. In 1622, when the Indians attacked the settlements, the survivors of the massacre fled to Jamestown. In 1624, the Virginia Company was dissolved by the King. From this time on to 1730, the annals of Henrico Parish are more fragmentary and uncertain. We do know, though, that the Reverend James Blair was rector from 1685 until 1694. He was a determined Scotsman who had been educated at Edinburg University. Mr. Blair was later the first president and founder of William and Mary College. [History of Henrico.]
In 1695, the Reverend George Robinson became the rector, but little else is known about the man besides his name and position. A report in 1724 mentions that the minister present had been minister for fourteen years, but his name is missing from the records. The report stated that in 1724 there were 400 families resident and 1,100 tithables within the parish which had two churches. The remaining records of the vestry commence with the vestry book in 1730. Goochland County had been cut off from the Parish in 1727.
We aren’t sure about everything that happened to GILES during the 23 years between 1653 and 1676, but we do know that during that time he acquired a wife, named HANNAH, and that they had several children. We don’t find any record that GILES owned land up to this point, and he may have been working as an “overseer” for the plantations of John Rowan and then James Crewes, or simply renting lands from them to farm for himself. Crewes mentioned in his will, in 1676, that he had “lett” [or rented] a plantation to GILES and gave use of it to him “rent free” for life, except for a “grain of Indian corn yearly” for the rest of his life. He also gave GILES the oversight of his house, servants, and plantation, with specific instructions to live there, run the plantation, make crops, and give account to Crew’s administrator. The 50 acres that GILES sold his interest in might have been the lands that he had been renting, that James Crewes had given him rent free for life. The heir[s] of James Crewes did not live in Virginia, but were residents of London. That Crewes gave only a “life interest” in his lands, while giving generously of his personal property, again underscores the probability of there being no close blood relationship.
There has been much speculation among researchers of this line about the kinship and/or relationship of HANNAH and James Crewes, who willed a significant portion of his Virginia personal property estate to HANNAH, GILES, and their children. Many researchers think HANNAH was a sister of James Crewes or he was her father. The legacy and mention of HANNAH in the will is used as “proof” that she was the daughter of James Crewes in published accounts. This myth, without substantial foundation, found its way into print and has been impossible to stamp out with the truth of the matter. This author has received many “pedigrees” attesting to the relationship of HANNAH and her “father” James Crewes. Many of these false pedigrees are presented with all sincerity and pride in being descended from this early revolutionary.
The way the will is actually worded, however, implies that there was no close blood relationship. He named the blood relationship to other heirs, but no kinship relationship was mentioned concerning GILES or HANNAH. James Crewes’ leaving his property to his nephew precludes his having children. First, a man in Virginia was precluded by law from cutting his children entirely out of the estate. If he had children, a man could leave only one-third of his real estate to anyone outside his immediate family. That one-third was called “the dead man’s third.” [Reference: Women and the Law of Property in Early America, by Marylynn Salmon.]
Court records mention that James Crewes was “unmarried at the time of his death.” That didn’t mean he was never married, but that at the time of his death he had no living wife. There is a theory that “Margaret Crewes” [who witnessed some deeds] was the wife of James and was deceased before 1676. There is some evidence that this Margaret Crewes was nee Llewelyn. Much work needs to be done on these lines, however, to clarify several theories. [Henrico County Wills and Administrations, part 1, pg. 7]
Later lawsuits over the estate, and suits in an effort to collect debts owed to the estate, indicate that there was no blood relationship between our CARTERS and James Crewes. The only surviving children of James’ two [and only] brothers were Matthew Crewes and Sarah Crewes Whittingham. If James Crewes had had living children, his nephew and niece would not have inherited his lands.
Other researchers think that HANNAH’s surname might have been Sewell. William Sewell, who also left legacies to the family, and was guardian of Giles Carter-2, a minor child, after GILES’ death, might have been HANNAH’s father or brother. There was obviously some close relationship, and probably blood, between either GILES or HANNAH and William Sewell. The fact that William Sewell left his entire estate to Giles Carter, Jr., and was allowed to do so [i.e. it was more than the “Dead Man’s Third.”] indicates a blood relationship.
After GILES’s death, a note about William Sewell was “it ordered that the clerk take bond with secty of William Sewell for that estate he hath in his hands belonging to Giles Carter an orphan of Giles Carter late of this county, decd.” [Orphans Court Book, 1677-1739 of Henrico Virginia, page 91.]
This did not necessarily mean that HANNAH __?__ CARTER was deceased. Frequently, when a man died, his children were given appointed [male] guardians, even though their mother was alive.
William T. Sewell in his own will, recorded February 7, 1725, willed his entire estate to Giles Carter, Jr. William Sewell had given Giles [Jr] a mare before GILES [Sr.] died about 1699 and GILES [Sr.] mentioned this mare in his own will. In 1699, a gift of a horse was a princely gift indeed. February 1, 1708/9 [OS/NS] a deed given by William Sewell, witnessed by Giles Carter-2, mentions the wife of Sewell, named Elizabeth.
It is logical to assume that there was some close relationship between the CARTERS and both William Sewell and James Crewes, as well as John Rowen, but we are not sure just what it was.
General Carter makes the circumstantial case that the Crewes and Carters were close in England before coming to America. Though we may never know the exact relationship[s], we do know that GILES and HANNAH lived on the plantation of James Crewes prior to Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, and had a close relationship. GILES may have been the overseer of the plantation. The mention by James Crewes that GILES was to control the plantation seems to indicate this. James Crewes was one of the leaders in the Rebellion. However, we do not find any proof that GILES was actively engaged in the fighting, though he very well could have been. In any case, he was well aware of what was going on. Almost all of the local planters were involved in the fray to one degree or another. This author believes it is highly unlikely that James Crewes would have left such large legacies to someone who did not agree with his political views, or to someone who was not a close friend.
James Crewes was executed for his participation in the rebellion. He was a merchant and business partner of Daniel Llewelyn, the last husband of Ann__?__ Price Hallom Llewelyn, the mother of Daniel Price and John Price, Jr., and the widow of John Price, Sr., mentioned in the will of John Rowan. Her son, Daniel Price, would marry Susannah Carter, daughter of GILES and HANNAH.
James Crewes’ brothers, Francis and Edward, were also merchants in London. Francis was a grocer and silkman by trade. Their father, Matthew Crewes, had been a leather seller of London.
Crewes apparently was a bit hot-headed. A suit prior to the rebellion
brought before the “two houses” by Captain David Peibiles
concerned some sort of debt. The quarrel had resulted in a physical
fight, as well as an exchange of words. Crewes ended up being fined
2,000 pounds of tobacco, and the court said that Piebiles’
assault on James Crewes was justified and was
occasioned by the “unworthy and uncivil provocation” of Crewes.
In other words, James Crewes got what he deserved for acting a
fool…”stabs and blows.”
The next petition to the court was from James Crewes, “humbly” requesting that the 2,000 pounds he owed Piebiles for the fine be deducted from the 2,300 owed him by Piebiles. The members of the court and council were made up of James Crewes’ near neighbors.
Bacon’s Rebellion was the most serious civil disturbance experienced by Virginia during the entire history of its existence as a Colony. According to some historical reports, Nathaniel Bacon, “Jr.” was a young aristocrat who led his friends through the dense woods to “protect defenseless farmers against the hostile natives.” However, there are at least two views by historians about Bacon. One side says that he was a defender of the helpless against the tyrannical Governor Berkeley. The other side says that he was a hot-headed fool who defied lawful authority. From reading the history written about this event, this author is of the opinion that he was both. One reference, written by his enemies, says that James Crewes and two or three others got Bacon drunk and got him to agree to lead the colonists against the Indians. Whether the ill-fated decision was made sober or drunk, the rebellion cost the colonists much. The Governor seems to reserve particular malice toward James Crewes, however. [History of Henrico County, pg. 44-47.]
Nathaniel Bacon “Jr.” was a young Englishman still in his twenties when he arrived in the Jamestown area and settled on a plantation near Crules Neck on the James River in 1674. He was of good English family and the only son of Thomas Bacon, a wealthy man of Suffolk, England, and the grandson of Sir Robert Brooke. Bacon had attended University and toured the Continent. He had married the daughter of Sir Edward Duke, who did not like his new son-in-law and had disinherited his daughter. Bacon had a nice fortune of his own, but soon became involved in financial difficulties in England and ended up coming to the new world to “start afresh.” His father furnished enough funds to settle him comfortably in the new world. Nathaniel Bacon was well-connected in the Colony. A kinsman, Nathaniel Bacon, “Senior,” was a member of the Governors’ Council and a leading citizen. Soon, the younger Nathaniel was also a member of the Governor’s Council and admitted to the inner circle of society.
William Berkeley, the governor for many years, ruled Virginia as his own private country, rather than for the king’s benefit. He extorted taxes from the common men and used them for his own personal enrichment. His cronies on the Council were exempt from the taxes. He extracted more taxes from the people to build “forts” and to “protect” the people, but these forts were additional scams to put more of the colony’s riches into his own pockets.
The domestic taxes alone amounted to something between one-quarter and one half of the average planter’s income. They were extracted from men who, the drought year of 1676, could not grow tobacco enough to buy clothes for their families. Perhaps they could not feed them. These ordinary planters had been close to starvation as recently as 1674... In the next two years, Indian attacks prevented upcountry planters from making anything like a full crop of corn.
Even in good years, peaceful years, the ordinary planter subsisted mostly on hand-mortared Indian corn and water. Occasionally beef was available after midsummer, when the beasts have some meat on their backs... without money enough to buy food for themselves, the planters could not afford to pay their ruler’s taxes. [Webb, 1676, pg. 19.]
Shortly after the younger Nathaniel Bacon settled in the new world, the Susquehannok Indians swarmed down on the Potomac because they had been driven from their homes by other Indians. Friction developed between them and the local Indians. The Virginia militia carried out an unsuccessful campaign against the intruders and the farms and plantations along the James River suffered. Bacon’s plantation overseer and numerous other whites were killed by the savages.
Not only were there Indian problems, but the autocratic rule which Governor Berkeley had instituted during his later years had already produced serious discontent among the colonial population. He had allowed no election for Burgesses for 15 years and all public officials were subservient to the Governor. The Indian raids and Berkeley’s refusal to let the settlers take revenge set off the spark that fired Bacon’s Rebellion. The taxes which he extorted also kindled the fire.
One possible reason that Berkeley wouldn’t allow the colonists to defend themselves was that he was engaging in the Indian trade to his own advantage. At first, he ordered forays and retaliatory expeditions against the Indians, but for some unknown reason, called them off. Four of the leading planters in the area, Henry Isham, James Crewes, William Byrd, and Nathaniel Bacon [Jr.] held a consultation. Whether this “consultation” was done drunk or sober, it was decided that young Mr. Bacon would lead the men against the Indians. Some records indicate that James Crewes and a few others got Bacon drunk and sort of “put him up to it.” Other records canonize Crewes for his “brave stand” against injustice. The truth probably lay somewhere in between these two poles. There is ample evidence, however, that both Bacon and Crewes were hotheads.
The colonists sent a message to the governor requesting a commission [permission] to go against the Indians. Instead of a commission, after Bacon had already marched, Berkeley sent a message ordering him to return, and threatening to declare him a rebel if he refused. Some of Bacon’s men turned back, others proceeded with Bacon. Bacon and the friendly Indians in the area found and dispatched about 30 of the savage Indians in an “inhumane” manner. Later in the same episode, for reasons not clearly understood, Bacon’s men attacked the friendly Indians’ fort and killed them, men, women and children. He took some captives and returned to the plantations a “hero” to the neighbors.
Part of the colonists’ problems arose from the fact that they could not tell the “good” Indians from the “bad” Indians. To the colonists, the Indians all appeared the same.
The governor become alarmed and realized that the situation was getting out of hand. Berkeley dissolved the Burgesses and ordered a new election. The new delegates were not his friends. The defiant Bacon and Crewes were elected from Henrico County to the House of Burgesses. Since Bacon had been declared a rebel, he was not eligible to take his seat, but he decided to go and try to be seated anyway. He and about 40 of his friends and supporters went in his sloop to Jamestown. He sent a messenger to inquire if he would be seated in peace. The answer was a shot from the fort’s cannon.
Sometime later, when Bacon was captured and brought before Berkeley, he was expecting harsh punishment, but instead received a parole and his seat in the council. Bacon made his apology on bent knee before the governor. Berkeley was aware that Bacon had the upper hand politically and had many followers in Jamestown and in the new House.
According to the History and Present State of Virginia, by Robert Beverly, the oath that Bacon’s followers took was:
The oath was Word for word as follows: Whereas the country hath raised an army against our common enemy the Indians, and the same under the Command of General Bacon, being upon the Point to march forth against the said common enemy, hath been diverted, and necessitated to moved to the suppressing of forces, by evil disposed persons raised against the said General Bacon purposely to stir up civil war among us, to the ruine of this his Majesty’s Country, and whereas it is notoriously manifest, that Sir William Berkeley Knight Governor of the Country, assisted, counselled and abetter by those evill disposed persons aforesaid, hat not only commanded, fomented, and stirr’d up the people to said civil war; but failing therein hath withdrawn himself to the great astonishment of the people, and the unsettlement of the country... it hath been thought fit by the said General to call unto him all sober and discreet gentlemen as the present circumstances of the country will admit, to the Middle Plantation to consult and advise of re-establishing the peace. So we the said gentlemen do resolfe, first that we will at all times join the said Bacon and his army against the common enemy in all points whatsoever.
Secondly, that whereas certain persons have lately contrived and design’d the raising forces against the said general, and the army under his command, thereby to beget civil war; we will endeavor the discovery and apprehending of all and everyone of those evil disposed persons, and secure until further order from the general.
Thirdly, whereas the governor hath inform’d his majesty that the said general ... is under rebellion, and removed from their allegiance, our allegiance is to his most sacreed majest.
Bacon continued to demand a commission to go against the Indians which Berkeley refused. Bacon then disappeared from Jamestown because he had received information that Berkeley had planned to arrest him. He rashly entered on a course from which there was no turning back. He collected an armed force of his neighbors and forced the Governor to grant the commission. He was apparently prepared for extreme measures, but the majority of Virginians were still loyal to their king, and to the King’s representative, their governor.
The fighting was hot and heavy, with 29 of the 30 colonists being on Bacon’s side. Bacon’s faction even burned the richest section of Jamestown to the ground, so that Berkeley’s faction could not refortify it for a refuge. Some of the richer planters, who were with Bacon, actually set fire to their own homes. James Crewes was Bacon’s “chief” follower, and though we have no documentary proof that GILES CARTER marched with this band of men, it is probable that he did.
When Bacon became suddenly ill with a fever and died, the rebellion was delivered a mortal blow. The revolutionary leaders continued to push their cause for reform, both politically and with force of arms, but before long it was over. With Bacon gone, the momentum of the movement died.
The governor arrested, tortured, and tried several of the chief followers. He harassed others of lesser status unmercifully.
Several of the ringleaders were executed or died of ill treatment in prison before they could be executed. It isn’t known exactly what part James Crewes played in the rebellion, but when a pardon was granted to the participants later [after his death by execution] he and about 50 others were specifically excluded. From the comments made by the governor, it is apparent that James Crewes was one of the top leaders.
A pamphlet published in 1677 in London was called “More News From Virginia, being a True and Full Relation of all Occurrences in that Countrey since the Death of Nath. Bacon With An Account of the Thirteen Persons that have been tryed and executed for their Rebellion There” printed for W. Harris in the year 1677. [A replica can be found at the University of Central Arkansas Library, Conway, Arkansas]
General Carter, in his Memoir of GILES CARTER, says;
Viewed in the light of documents since made public, Colonel Crewes was a patriotic, self-respecting gentleman. He was officially slain by the verdict of a court-martial assembled to do the bidding of an irascible and vindictive governor, who appeared willing to sacrifice the lives and property of the English Planters that his own interests in the Indian trade might continue undisturbed.
After the collapse of Bacon’s Rebellion, James Crewes, the man on whose plantation GILES and HANNAH lived, was hastily court martialed at Green Springs, the home of Governor Berkeley, January 24, 1676/7.
Present Sir William Berkeley, Knt. Governor and Captain General of Virginia ... James Crewes being brought before the court for treason and rebellion against his most sacred majestie, and pleading nothing in his defense, and the court being very sensible that the said Crewes was a most notorious actory, aydor [aider] and assistor in the rebellion therefore the court are unanimously of opinion and doe adjusdge him guilty of the accusation: sentence of death, therefore past upon him to returne to prison from which he came and from thence [on Friday next] to be carryed to the gallowes, there to be hanged untill he be dead.”
“Condemned at the house, and executed at the havitation [habitation] where Bacon usually lay, the first one was Crewes, Bacon’s chief parasite and trumeier to him, whoo continually imploy’d his little parts [tongue] in extolling all Bacon’s actions, and justigying his Rebellion. [More News from Virginia, 1677]
If Berkeley had been “fortunate” enough to have had access to a “trained” executioner he could have “hanged, drawn and quartered” the rebels, but unhappily for him, he had to make do with untrained executioners. Berkeley made the executions as painful as possible, though, with the pitiful untrained help he had to accomplish the task. At that time in history, there were special executioners who made the executions as drawn-out and painful as possible, and kept the victim alive for quite some time. The person would be hanged, but not long enough to kill them, then cut down and revived, and the abdomen cut open and the entrails extracted, then set on fire. After the poor person finally expired, the body would be cut into four pieces which could be displayed in four different locations. The head might be placed on a pike and set in the city walls. The governor expressed his regrets that he did not have executioners capable of this form of execution.
However, he had one man hanged in chains, instead of a rope, so that his death would be as slow as possible, and the bodies were left to hang until putrefied. Others were so mistreated in prison that they died before they could be hanged, much to the Governor’s displeasure.
King Charles sent a new governor to replace Berkeley and recalled Berkeley to England, but Berkeley chose to ignore this summons by his own “interpretation” of the wording of the summons. During this time, he stalled going back to England so that he could seek revenge upon the rebels by confiscating their property and executing some of them even though the King had pardoned them. He even wanted to execute the entire populations of some parishes! His excesses became so outrageous that he had the gall to totally ignore the King’s general pardon to all the rebels and continued to execute more of his enemies and plundered their plantations of all of value. He even used this time to arrest and demand ransoms from as many of the planters as he could lay hands on. He seized the property and persons of free blacks and allowed the rape of the wife of one free black planter, that directly caused the death of the pregnant woman. He took entire estates of some people, and even extorted notes on future crops, when they had nothing else with which to ransom themselves! The governor was in such a fit of rage at the colonists that he was almost insane!
A proclamation of Sir William Berkeley dated February 1, 1676/7 granted “pardons” to “all followers of Bacon provided they ask within the next twenty days their justices of the peace and take before him the oath of obedience of James I.” The pardon was not to include about fifty men, among whose name was James Crewes, mentioned as already deceased. The pardon did not include the property of several of those excluded from pardon, as well. Property seemed to be the operative word with the governor.
A communication from John Berry and Colonel Moryson to Thomas Watkins bearing the same date as the above proclamation of Berkeley said “the Governor is seizing the rebel’ estates, but he has no legal power to do so, much less to dispose of the estate, if any are to be exempted from pardon, the King has to mention them.”
King Charles II later commented that Berkeley had hanged more men for the rebellion in Virginia than he had hanged for beheading his father!
Governor Berkeley eventually returned to England in disgrace, but with much of his plunder intact. The colony was now a royal colony and continued to be ruled by the British elite. The cause of the common man was not advanced by the late rebellion. The seeds were sown, however, that would flower in a 100 years’ time with the colonies’ rebellion against King George and the American Revolution. The descendants of GILES-1 and HANNAH CARTER would fight another day.
The ultimate result of Bacon’s Rebellion was that the progress made in the colony since 1607 was markedly set back due to the destruction of the plantations by the fighting and looting. It is reported that due to the revolution, King Charles lost about 140,000 English pounds in revenue from the loss of taxes for the tobacco crop alone. Many of the planters lost everything. How much our CARTERS lost is unknown, but with their closeness to James Crewes, it can be presumed that they must have lost much, and may have been in some manner victims of Berkeley’s wrath. They must have had some uneasy days, weeks, or months of anxiety until Berkeley left the colony. With many estates entirely seized by the Governor, it is quite curious why the estate of James Crewes was not also entirely seized.
July ye 23d, 1676.
In the name of God Amen. I James Crewes of Turkey Island Planter in Henrico County, being of sound and perfect memory prased be God doe make and ordaine this my last will and testament in manner and forme following first and principle I committ my soule into the hands of Almighty God my creater hoping and assured by believing through the merritts death and passion of Jesus Christ my only Saviour and Redeemer to have and obtaine free and full remission and pardon for all my sins, as touchinge concerninge al my worldly estate, either here in Virginia in England or elsewhere dew either by bill bond or account.
Item I give and bequeath unto Mary Carter daughter to Giles Carter ten thousand pounds of tobo: & cask one feather bed two blankets & one good rugge, this to be paid in three years after my decease, the interest thereof to be towards her cloathinge.
Item I give unto Susan Carter tenn thousand pounds of tobao: & casq: one feather bed two blanketts & one rugge to be payd as above said.
Item. I give unto my man Tero his freedome he serving three years after my decease, and at the expiration of the said tyme I give unto him one cow, one sow, if I have any left, and as much land as he shall tend for him and another [some transcribers interpret this word to be “mother,” but there is no indication that James Crewes’ mother was in the vicinity] during life.
Item. I give unto Hannah Carter, wife of Giles Carter my negroe maid keate forever and her increase.
Item. I give unto Daniel Price [future husband of Susannah Carter] my best suite & cloathe I have.
Item. I give unto Giles Carter what he owes me by bill or booke and further the plantation which I have formerly lett [rented to] him that he and his wife Hannah Carter shall have it during both their lives rent free, only paying one graine of Indian Corne when demanded and further it is my will that what I have given to the said Giles Carter’s children, that if either of them should dye that it should come to the rest of his children. It is further my will that when the said Hannah Carter wife to the said Giles Carter shall die, then the said negroe wench return to Theodorick Carter her son and if she [the slave] hath any children them is to be at her [Hannah’s] disposing who she will give them too.
Item I make my loving Cozen [actually nephew, son of his deceased brother Francis] Mr. Mathew Crews my sole executor of all my lands here in Virginia or elsewhere & all the rest of my estate to him or his heirs forever, my just debts being payd.
Item it is my desire that my loving friend Giles Carter shall live here in my said house and command my servants and make crops or any other thing as shall be convenient and necessary for the said plantacon and soe to give account yearly as my said executor shall order.
Signed and sealed Ja: Crewes.
[Henrico County, VA Wills & Administrations, pg. 6.]
He gave to GILES and HANNAH and their children personal property, which he had a right to bequeath anyway he wanted to. He gave them only the use of lands that they had been renting, not the title or ownership of the property, which would revert to his estate upon the death of GILES and HANNAH. However, as we shall see, they sold this “life interest” in the property at a later date. Crewes also appointed GILES overseer of the rest of his estate, and allowed the CARTERS to live in the house and manage the estate for his heirs.
James’ will was probated December 10, 1677, in Henrico County, Virginia. The 10,000 pounds of tobacco left to GILES’ daughters by James Crewes was a large sum of “money.” Tobacco was the “currency” of the colony, and 10,000 pounds would buy a nice plantation, 12 or 14 nice horses, and the interest from it would support the needs for a young woman. It was about equal to the year’s production of five to 10 acres of tobacco crop. One or two acres was about all a family could cultivate per year. So, essentially, he was giving her the equivalent of five or 10 years’ labor from a family, or half the yearly income of the local minister, whose wages were set at 16,000 pounds yearly. [Henrico County, VA Wills & Administrations, pg. 7.]
In 1679, the list of tithables residing in the old settlements of Bermuda Hundred, Curls and Turkey Island includes for Turkey Island:
Richard Cocke 5
William Randolph 5
GILES CARTER 6
Thomas Cocke 8
William Cocke 2
Henry Watkins 3 [Henrico Co. Beginnings of its Families, pg. 731.]
The numbers after each name represent the number of poll taxes each man was responsible for, or tithables. An adult free male was tithable. Indentured servants [male] were tithable, a female indentured servant if they were worked in the fields was tithable, and slaves of any sex after age 16 were tithable. Widows, ministers, old men, injured men, or male children under age 16 were not taxed. We know that, at that time, GILES had only one young son; therefore, the other four tithables must have been servants or slaves.
GILES-1 was appointed by the county court in August, 1681, as one of the persons to appraise an estate, but as far as we know, he did not hold any appointed offices with the courts.
James Crewes’ niece and nephew also sued the creditors of James Crewes for the debts that they owed to the estate in tobacco and deer skins and were successful for several of them. The lawsuits did not overturn the free rent for life to GILES, however, and he retained his interest in the lands until he sold them. [Henrico Deeds.]
Depositions taken in London from several different men noted that a man named Matthew Crewes, a citizen and leather-seller, had three sons.
One of those sons, Francis, a citizen and grocer of London, by trade a silkman, deceased, had a son, Matthew Crewes, Gentleman, citizen and haberdasher. Another son, Edward, also deceased, had an only daughter, Sarah [Crewes] Whittingham. The other son was Captain James Crewes, deceased, of Virginia. A record in Henrico County, April 1, 1681, noted that Captain James Crewes died unmarried.
John Toro, the former indentured servant of James Crewes, who had been left a legacy of “enough land for himself and another,” sued the Crewes heirs for his legacy. A commission was appointed by the court to lay out how much land he should get and where. He was granted 20 acres of the Crewes plantation near the cart path and adjoining Randolph’s land.
In 1684, James Crewes’ heirs [his nephw and niece] sold the Turkey Island plantation to William Randolph. GILES CARTER transferred his interest in the plantation February 25, 1684/5. In 1686, the estate of James Crewes was finally settled. [Henrico County Deeds 1677-1705, pg. 27.]
On April 1, 1685, shortly after they transferred their interest in the Crewes plantation, GILES purchased 50 acres of land from William Cocke. It was this land which he willed to his son, Giles Carter-2. This was evidenced by a deed dated July 27, 1711, where Giles-2 sold the land and stated the “chain of custody” as from Cocke to his father to him by inheritance. At the same time Giles-2 sold this above land, he bought another 94 acres from John Pleasants “on south side of Chickahominy Swamp, next to THEODORICK CARTER-2, White Oak Swamp.” He paid 5,000 pounds of tobacco for the lands. [Henrico County, VA Deeds 1706-1737, pg. 29.] Giles-2, sold this same land to Ralph Hudspeth in 1717, and the deed noted that the land was bounded by THEODORICK CARTER-2. The price was 20 pounds [money] ]Henrico County, VA Deeds 1706-1737, pg 66.] In 1722, Ralph Hudspeth sold the land again, this time to William Willis, of New Kent County, and the deed again noted that the lands were “next to THEODORICK CARTER-2.” The price was 1,500 pounds of tobacco. [Henrico County, VA Deeds 1706-1737, pg 74.] In October of 1731, THEODORICK CARTER-2 bought this same 94 acres of land from Willis for 2,000 pounds of tobacco. [Henrico County, VA Deeds 1706-1737, pg 119.] Since the price of tobacco varied from year to year, and the value of the land also went up or down relative to the price of tobacco, it is difficult to determine whether or not the value of this land was actually decreased over the years. Lands were soon worn out by tobacco cultivation and new lands had to be cleared.
In the 1705 Rent Rolls, John Pleasants, a prominent Quaker, owned 9,669 acres of lands in the Henrico area. His neighbor, probably either a son or brother, Joseph Pleasants, owned 1,709 acres.
GILES must have done well for himself in the colony, because by 1687, GILES and several partners patented 1,780 acres for the importation of 36 persons, and the records start to refer to him as “Mr. GILES CARTER.”. The cost to import [pay passage for] a person was about six British pounds. The indenture could be resold, however, in an auction of sorts at the docks, and frequently the indenture might go for two or three times the price of passage, so the importer could be doubly or triply rewarded, besides the head-right lands. The importing of servants was a very lucrative enterprise. Labor was in very short supply in early Virginia. The first black slaves-for-life were not imported until 1619 and because the “servants-for-a-time” [usually whites] quickly moved into land ownership after their terms were served out and acquired lands of their own, for which they too needed labor, the labor market was a seller’s market.
In 1687, GILES received 800 acres for:
land due for ye importacion of these sixteen  persons under writte, being legally proved in court; viz. Jonathan Cocke, John Gren, Philip Marshall, Mary Allen, John Holmes, Elianor Bushell, Katherine Price, Mary Richards, Moses Martin, Jno Cocks, Nicholas Lund, William Wheeler, John Bengany, Thomas Smeethers, and Rachel Lockerson.
He sold some of this land, along with Richard Ferris, William Harris, and Roger Commins, as evidenced by a deed from Robert Woodson, Sr., conveying some of this land, and mentioning that he had patented it from the above mentioned men, along with GILES CARTER-1. [Henrico County, Deeds, 1706-1737, pg 5.]
Indentured servants were given a term of years to serve to pay back the person who imported them, or the person who bought their indenture. They were called “servants for a time” to distinguish them from “slaves for life.” If a servant was by “custom of the country” rather than by indenture, if they were under 19 years old, they must be brought to court and have their ages adjudged. Then, they must serve until 24 years of age. If they were over age 19, then the term was for five years. GILES had been brought to the colony before 1653 by Mr. William Frye. [[avaliers and Pioneers, pg 276.] He had obviously prospered in the colony where he had come before he was 19 years old, so he had probably served some earlier settler in the capacity of servant. The term “servant” did not always mean menial servant. However, in the primitive conditions of the colony, at that point in time, almost everyone was required to perform “menial” labor or perish. The colonists were not ever very far ahead of starvation.
The free immigrant to whom was due fifty acres for his “personal adventure” might not care to settle on the frontier where alone unpatented land could usually be found. At times he sold his right and purchased a plantation in some one of the more advanced counties. It is not conclusively proved, then, that a certain person came as a servant merely because he is listed as a headright. On the other hand, the fact that it was the custom to set forth such transfers clearly in the patent itself, justifies the conclusion that in the cases where no statement of the kind is made, the headright for which the land was granted usually came in under terms of indenture.” [The Planters of Colonial Virginia. pg. 76.]
Male servants and slaves alike were worked together in the fields, and according to Robert Beverly, “some distinction indeed is made between them in their cloaths and food, but the work of both [slave and servant] is no other than what the overseers, the freeman, and the planters themselves do.
Neither is any servant required to do more in a day than his overseer ... generally their slaves are not worked near so hard nor near so many hours in a day, as the husbanmen and day labourers in England.
The white women were rarely put to work in the fields. [Bruce, Economic History of Virginia, pg 100-101.] If a white woman were worked in the fields, she was taxed more heavily. Slave women were commonly worked in the fields, they were also more heavily taxed than white servant women.
Beverly went on to say that masters were required by the courts to provide sufficient and wholesome diets and clothing for their servants and slaves. What was considered a wholesome diet in that day and time would not be considered either by today’s standards. Before the days of refrigeration and “canned” food, and before the days of rapid transportation, for several months per year there was generally not a balanced diet. Scurvy was not at all unusual nor was pellagra. Pellagra is a deficiency of niacin in the diet from eating salt meat without fresh vegetables. Scurvy is a lack of Vitamin C. From November, when the first frost killed off green vegetables, until June, when garden produce would be plentiful, the colonists lived on a diet of corn meal and salt meat, with preserved foods, such as pickled cabbage or turnips and other root crops which would keep reasonably well. Some things could be dried, such as green beans, peas and other beans. At some times and places, the colonists had game in plenty during the winter months. With the colonists having little enough to eat for several months out of the year, and an unbalanced diet at that, the servants’ and slaves’ diets were probably even less wholesome than the “masters’.” Though they may have had enough to fill their bellies, it was far from a nutritious diet, especially for women who were bearing or nursing children.
Servants could complain to the courts and the masters were required to respond to the first court or forfeit the service of the servant. Complaints were received “without process” and “did not delay for form, upon the merits.” No master could renegotiate the contract without going before the court. The master could not confiscate the servant’s money or property. When a servant had discharged his time, he was to receive 15 bushels of corn and two new suits of clothes. There are records of servants suing their masters for holding them illegally, winning the suits, and receiving their freedom, and damages as well. There are also instances of suits where a servant sued his master and was judged frivolous and given additional time to serve to compensate the master for the suit.
Many, if not most, indentured servants became landowners after their time expired. By the middle 1650s, living conditions in the colony had improved to the point that most of the servants were surviving their terms of indentures, rather than dying from disease and starvation or Indian attack before their term was up. Land was relatively cheap and labor dear, so it was possible for a man to gain employment that would pay him enough to purchase land for himself. He might also do as GILES CARTER did and lease or rent lands. The time needed was from two to 20 years from release to land ownership. One study of the records found the average time was 12 years.
A common form of lease was a “three-lives-lease” where a man with more land than he could work or hire or buy labor to work would lease a piece of ground for “three-lives.” The person leasing the ground would put three names on the lease and the lease was good for the lives of all three persons listed. The person leasing the ground was required to make improvements to the land, and the improved land reverted to the owner at the death of the third person. Sometimes these three-lives leases were sublet. This was an excellent way for someone to build up an estate of improved plantations for themselves or their heirs.
In 1687, GILES was also referred to as “Mister” GILES CARTER. The term “mister” denoted social standing in the community, bought not only with financial status but by right of birth. GILES’s financial status had obviously risen since he was imported before 1653, but his status conferred by birth had remained the same. His rise in financial status, coupled with his status by birth, had elevated him to the status of a “mister” in the colony.
Social rank mimicked the mother country, in which social rank was recognized and acted upon by all Englishmen. When De La Warr had arrived as the new governor of the colony, he had insisted on the line of social separation between the gentlemen and the common laborers. Even in the crude conditions in early Jamestown, De La Warr had continued to expect and receive the deference he would have expected from his inferiors in England. It never occurred to any of the settlers that things should be different, just because the conditions were crude or the settlers far from the mother country.
when [The term Mister] was applied in legal documents as a prefix to a name, it signifies that the person so designated was entitled to a higher degree of social consideration than was enjoyed by a mere yeoman, the term seems … to have been reserved in those early times in all forms of written and printed matter, such as records and books, for persons whose claim to be gentlemen in the broad social sense, was admitted by all. [The Social Life of Virginia.]
GILES’ partner in the servant importation business, Roger Comins, died and William Ferris failed to pay his share of the purchase price, so the three remaining partners divided the land. GILES’ share was 552 acres, lying along the main run of white Oak Swamp. They had gotten this land for bringing in more settlers, including John Strong, John Hickson, Geo. Swallow, Moses Reese, Jono Worthy, Antho. Gant, Wm. Norris, Dan’ll Waller, Tho. Adock, Tho. Clark, Ed Davenhill, and others, 36 in all, including one Negro slave. The cost of transporting a person to the new world was about six pounds sterling. The sale of the indenture might be twice that, so a tidy profit could be returned in addition to the land acquired.
In 1688, James II, a son of King Charles I who was beheaded by Cromwell, was reigning monarch in England. Virginia was his loyal colony, but James II had been a selfish and despotic king. In November 1688, James’ daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, came from Holland to England to claim the throne from James by force of arms. William and Mary eventually prevailed and after a decisive battle fought July, 1690, they became joint rulers of England.
The children of Giles Carter-1 and his wife, Hannah
Susannah Carter-2, born before 1676, and mentioned in James Crewes’ will, the first wife of Daniel Price, Sr.-ii, the man to whom James Crewes left his best clothes. Daniel-ii was also the child mentioned in the will of John Rowan in the 1660’s. Her second husband was Thomas Williamson. She was the mother of Daniel Price, Jr.-iii Daniel, Sr.-ii was the son of John Price-i mentioned in John Rowan’s will. His mother had married, as her third husband, the man who was James Crewes’ business partner.
Ann Carter-2, was probably born after 1676, as she was not mentioned in the Crewes will. Married James D. Davis.
THEODORICK CARTER-2, born before 1676, and mentioned in James Crewes’ will, married a woman named ELIZABETH, possibly surnamed WEBB, and they were the author’s ancestors. THEODORICK-2 died in 1736/7 leaving his widow and a child just born. He would have been in his sixties, so his wife must have been several years younger than he was. She died about 1751, when her will was probated.
Giles Carter-2, born after 1681, married a woman named Mary [Henrico Co. Deeds 1706-1737, pg 174] and died in King George County in 1745. Giles-2 and Ann-2 were the only known children of GILES-1 and HANNAH not mentioned in the Crewes will. Giles-2 was a minor when his father wrote his will in 1699. The guardian for Giles-2, William T. Sewell, left his entire estate to Giles-2. William Sewell was probably related to HANNAH or GILES and may have been HANNAH’s brother, or less likely, her father. William Sewell was listed in the 1705 Quit Rent Rolls as owning 59 acres. His widow’s name was Elizabeth.
Mary Carter-2, born before 1676, married Thomas Davis, and was mentioned in the Crewes’ will.
From 1620 to 1720 Henrico Parish was referred to as Varina Parish and the principle church in the parish referred to as Varina Church. In 1680, the Reverend John Ball was the minister of Henrico County, serving Varina Parish and the half of Bristol Parish north of Appomattox. Ball was replaced in 1685. At one point he had been publicly referred to as “fitter to make a hangman than a minister.” Reverend James Blair was the minister from 1685 to 1694. Apparently, the early ministers that came to Virginia were not of the “best” sort and were men who could not find parishes in England. They were certainly not heroic “missionaries” who cared much for their flocks.
In January 1686, the Middlesex County Records contain an order for:
Stephen Cocke having moved this court to assigne certain gentlemen of this countye to meet such as shall be appointed by the court of Charles Citye County to view and receive the bridge over Turkeye Island Creek, it is ordered that Captain William Randolph and Captain Frances Epps doe meete these gents. As shall be appointed.
GILES’ will was written December 14, 1699, and recorded in Henrico County. The proving witnesses were Thomas Smythes, William T. Sewell, and James D. Davis, his son-in-law.
Will of Giles Carter, Sr.-1
In the name of God Amen. I Giles Carter Senr: being of a weake and infirm body yet [blessed be God] of a sound and perfect memory: and Considering the frailty and incertainty of man’s life and not knowing the time of my departure hence: I doe make constitute and appoint this my last will and testam’t: hereby revoaking all other wills by me heretofore make whatsoever imprs: I comend my soul into the hands of my Blessed Redeemer Jesus Christ Relying only upon his merits for Salvation. My body I commit to the earth to be decently therin interred. And for what worldly goods and possessions God hath bestowed upon me, it is my will and desire they may be disposed of in form and manner folowing.
I give and bequeath to my son Theodorick Carter five shillings sterl’g to be paid by my deare wife Hannah either in silver or to the full value thereof as to her shall seeme most convenient. Item I give to my daughter Susannah now ye wife of Thos. Williamson five shillings sterling to be paid as above sd. Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary now ye wife of Thomas Davis five shills. Sterl’g to be paid as aforesaid. Item I give to my daughter Ann now the wife of James Davis, one fether bed and bolster, one rugge, one blanket, one cow. Item I give to my son Giles one mare called nanny with her increase forever. It being a mare formerly given to him by William Sewel, she being but a philly.
These legacies being paid as also wt. Debts have or shall be lawfully by me contracted being fully satisfied, It is my will and desire that what Of my estate shall remaine [one feather bed and furniture only excepted] for my wife Hannah which I give unto her may be equally divided into two parts, the one part thereof belonging to my wife Hannah the other to my son Giles. It not being my intent or design’d in any wise hereby to disannul or make voide a deed of gift formerly by me made to my son Giles and entered upon records. But I doe by this my last will and testament rattifie and confirm the same. Item it is my will and desire that what estate shall appertaine to my son Giles that he may receive the same when he shall arive to the age of eighteen years; and also enjoy the benefit of his labour, my wife Hannah not being any wise mollested or disturbed upon the plantacon wee now live during her life.
And lastly I make constitute and appoint my dear and loveing wife Hannah full and sole execx. Of this my last will and testament, the which I own to be my last; all others being hereby disannulled and made voide. As witness my hand and seals this 14th day of December 1699.
Giles Carter [Seal of Red Wax]
Witnesses: Thomas Smythes, William T. Sewel, James D. Davis.
Probated: February 2, 1701/2 in Henrico County Court Virginia [Henrico Co. VA. Will & Deed Book 1677-1692, pg. 256.]
GILES CARTER, Sr., was about 65 years old when he died. The life expectancy in that era was about 40 years of age.
GILES’ will principally conferred a life estate in all his lands to his wife, HANNAH, and the division of the personal property was greater than she would have received by law in her “thirds” or dower. He mentioned “a deed of gift” given to Giles, Jr., and reaffirmed the title to what was conveyed. HANNAH was entitled to at least a dower, or life-estate in one-third of the real estate.
No slaves were mentioned in the will and any that GILES had owned at the time the will was made might have already been divided or given to the children, or they would go with the real estate and other items to Giles-2 when he inherited the estate. GILES-1 had apparently already given real estate to the sons and divided most of the personal property as well. It would not be unusual if GILES-1 only mentioned those things in his will that were special bequests. Since the property laws set out how the property of a man who died intestate would be divided, a person who made a will might only mention those things that he wanted done differently than the law had already set out. The notice that he wanted HANNAH to live on the plantation for her entire life indicates that he had land in fee simple. The other items mentioned in his will were all personal property. It is quite likely that the items mentioned in the will were only the special bequests, rather than the entire estate.
Susannah Carter-2, who was the wife of Thomas Williamson when her father died, first married Daniel Price, the man mentioned in James Crewes’ will in 1676 to receive the clothing of James. Daniel died and she married Thomas Williamson. She had one son, Daniel Price, Jr., by her first husband. Her brother, THEODORICK-2, was called into court to testify that her second husband would take care of the estate of her son. Daniel Price, Jr., later gave a release to the court that he had received all his inheritance from the hands of his step-father. [Henrico County, VA Deeds 1706-1737, pg 40.]
Daniel Price, Sr.’s mother, Ann, whose maiden name is unknown, married a man named Hallom after John Price, the father of Daniel Price, Sr., died. She was widowed again, and was last married to Daniel Llewelyn, who had been the business partner of Captain James Crewes. The Price family, as well as the CARTER family, apparently had some ties with the Crewes family.
In seventeenth-century Virginia, a funeral was an occasion for the gathering of friends and neighbors and family from afar. Many times, the deceased would be buried in a family plot marked off on his plantation. Family and friends would gather and refreshments would be served. It was not unusual for the estate to expend the value of 1,400 pounds of tobacco on food, drink, and gunpowder for a funeral of even modest proportions. The firing of guns was a custom in seventeenth century Virginia that was eventually outlawed due to the waste of powder and lead as well as the many deaths caused by heavily drinking men shooting off weapons at funerals.
The funeral would usually include a funeral sermon as well as the festive affair of the gunfire and the feasting.
After GILES’ death, THEODORICK-2 transferred lands on March 2, 1701, to John Pleasants. The land was called “The Lowgrounds,” laying on the north side of the James River on a Run of Turkey Island Creek, for 10,000 pounds of tobacco. John Pleasants traded the property known as “Round Hills” on the south of the Chicahominy Swamp. [Henrico County, VA Deeds 1677-1705, pg 120.] This “Round Hills” land later identified John Carter-3 as the son of THEODORICK-2 to whom it was willed. THEODORICK-2 and Giles-2 also witnessed a deed December 1, 1708, from John Pleasants transferring lands to William Cocke. [Henrico County, VA Deeds 1706-1737, pg 15.]
John Pleasants was an early Quaker of Henrico during the time when Quakers were persecuted and fined, even whipped for their beliefs. Pleasants was a wealthy and influential man, however, and managed to escape the worst of this persecution. Eventually, after the Act of Toleration was passed, his fines and other difficulties with the law were negated and he was allowed to build a meetinghouse for the Quakers in Henrico. [History of Henrico, pg 64-67.]
In 1702, there were 863 tithables in the original county, and this number increased by 52 in 1703. The census of 1703 reported 2,413 souls in the county, excluding the French refugees. Of this figure, 915 were tithables, and 1,498 were women and children. A total of 148,757 acres of land had been patented in the county and 98 horses were reported. This small number of horses in the county shows just how valuable the horse given to Giles, Jr.-2, by William Sewell was. Obviously, with only 915 adult males or slaves in the area very little of the 148,000 acres was actually under cultivation. The average number of acres per tithable was 150, and obviously one man could not cultivate 150 acres by himself. At first the colony tilled the soil with a hoe and mattock. Later, oxen were the primary draft animals used for plowing on the farms in this era. Horses were used more for a mode of transportation. Roads were very poor and few. Even in places where there were roads, carts, buggies and wagons were seldom used due to the roads’conditions. A rough sled, usually pulled by oxen, was the primary method of transporting heavy or large items.
Today, there are millions of pairs of oxen used throughout the world, and even a few thousand pairs of steers are working in the United States. The term “oxen” is a job title, rather than a specific breed of cattle. It simply means “working cattle.” The plantion owner or farmer would pick a pair of young male cattle, neuter them, and train them to work. This was done by first training the animal to lead and respond to voice commands to go forward, left, right, and back. A yoke, or wooden beam, was placed either on the animal’s neck or behind the horns. Traditional English yokes were “neck” yokes, fitting on the top of the animal’s neck, and being held in place by bent wooden bows. Canadian oxen would usually work in a head yoke, or a wooden beam strapped behind the horns of the animal. All oxen must have horns. This is necessary for holding the yoke, of whatever type, onto the head or neck of the animal. The oxen, if fully trained, would not have lines, a bridle, or halter, like a horse, but would respond to cues from a stick, called a goad, or to the owner’s vocal commands. A pair of oxen is called a “Yoke of oxen” and more than two are called a “team.” Any breed of cattle can be used, but dairy breeds were preferred and usually available. Even a cow can be used to pull sleds or wagons, but neutered males, called steers, are the preferred animal. Before the animal is mature, about four years of age, he is referred to as a “working steer” and after age four, as an “oxen.”
William Sewell’s wife, Elizabeth, relinquished her dower in a deed dated February 1, 1708/9 in Henrico which was witnessed by Giles Carter-2. William was transferring lands “in the low grounds” to William West. The lands were also noted as being on the north side of the James River, and “bounded as in a deed from Theodrick Carter to John Pleasants.” This would indicate that Giles Carter, Jr., was born at least before 1688. [Henrico County, VA Deeds 1706-1737, pg 16.]
In 1697, the population of Virginia was estimated at 70,000 people. In 1698, Governor Andros resigned and his successor was Francis Nicholson, the former Governor of Maryland. Nicholson promised “freedom and liberty of conscience” to all religions and the Act of Toleration was passed. Williamsburg was the new capitol of the colony. This act did not entirely release the dissenters from persecution and fines, or even from having their young men conscripted to serve in the militia against their wills, but it did some good in reducing the persecutions such as whippings and bannings against the Quakers. The CARTERS were apparently members of the established churches and had their children’s baptisms recorded in the vestry books. Infant baptism was the established church’s practice and custom.
THEODORICK CARTER-2, son of GILES and HANNAH, married a woman named ELIZABETH. Many researchers think her name was ELIZABETH WEBB, and that she was the daughter of John Webb, born in 1688. The birth of a child named Elizabeth, the daughter of one of the men named John Webb, is recorded in the Henrico Parish records in 1688. If she is that Elizabeth, it would have made her 12 years younger than THEODORICK-2. This is possible, but after looking at all the records available, the author thinks that she may have been the daughter of a Webb family, but not necessarily this one. There were several men named John Web in the area. The daughter of THEODORICK-2 and ELIZABETH married the son of one of the John Webbs, also named John Webb. The land of one of the men named John Webb abutted the lands of THEODORICK-2.
THEODORICK-2 and ELIZABETH both signed as witnesses on the will of the John Webb who died in 1725. Some researchers think that this might be her father or her brother, or that he was the father of her son-in-law, John Webb. Some people have even proposed that the John Webb who married ELIZABETH’s daughter was her brother, i.e. uncle marrying niece. The author is more inclined to believe that the John Webb-ii, her son-in-law, was her nephew, and that John-ii and her daughter were first cousins, and that she was the sister of John Webb-i, the one who died in 1725, and whose will she and THEODORICK-2 signed. Marriages between first cousins in Virginia were very common, and actually encouraged. Marriages between uncle and niece are extremely rare and would have been considered incest! Genealogical Evidence, by Noel C. Stevenson states, on page 77, about prohibited marriages, “a man may not marry his brother or sister’s daughter.”
This standard was established in 1653 by Archbishop Parker. There were other prohibited unions as well. Marriages between first cousins was not prohibited in any group except the Quakers.
Marriages in early Virginia were considered a uniting of estates and families, and so cousin marriages were encouraged to keep the estates “in the family.” In some cases, this resulted in the decreased viability of the offspring, when inherited weaknesses would be perpetuated in the lines when the marriages of cousins continued for several successive generations. This was true in the Randolphs of Virginia, for example, producing insanity in come cases. President Jefferson’s mother was a Randolph, and several of his cousins and nephews were frankly insane.
THEODORICK-2, was an “affluent” planter in early Virginia by the standards of the day, but he was not one of the ruling “elite.” Nor had his father been one of the “elite.” They apparently lived their lives in the quiet pursuit of their business and plantation building. They were members of the established church and their births and baptisms were recorded in the parish registers. However, THEODORICK-2 did associate with some of the “elite” and wealthy planters in the area.
THEODORICK-2 and his brother, Giles Carter-2, lived in Henrico County and raised their families. Some of the birth records are recorded in the St. Peter’s Parish records in New Kent County. The reason for this was that the same minister served both parishes for several years during the 1730s. We find land patents in Henrico for Giles-2 in 1724 and in 1725. In the vestry of the parish, an Act of Assembly was recorded for settling the titles and bounds of the lands and for preventing unlawful shooting and ranging thereupon. Giles-2 witnessed this document on March 1736 in Henrico. THEODORICK-2’s land was processioned the year before and the lands of his neighbors, Gerrard Ellyson, Robert and William Ferris, were also processioned at this time.
Pursuant to an Act of Assembly of this Colony, and in obedience to the order of Henrico County court, made at a Court held for ye said County, this first day of December Ano. 1735; The Vestry do order that John cock, Gerrard Ellison, and Giles Carter, with the Assistance of the neighboring free holders, do sometime before the last day of march Next coming goe in procession and renew the lands of all Lands from Bore Swamp, on Chickahominy Swamp, to the lower bounds of ye parish, thence Southerly to the place where the long bridge road parts with Bottom Bridge Road and that the said John Cocke, Gerrard Ellison and Giles Cocke [sic] [or any two of them] do take and return to their Parish Vestry an account of every person’s lands by them processioned. [Moore, History of Henrico Parish and St. John’s Church, Richmond Virginia 1611-1904, Part Two, pg. 24.]
Page 27 of the above reference gives the following list of signers of the processioning list after it was accomplished: THEODORICK CARTER-2, his land processioned, John Webb, Garrard Ellyson, John Spear, Sam Bugg, Francis Brothers, Francis Amos, John Moss, William Clarke, Robert Ferris, William Ferris, Jr. & Sr., Edward Goode, Ann Austin, John Bottom in behalf of Philamone Smith, Richard Truman, Jr., Michael Hartwell, John Roper Watkins, and Richard More. It also mentions “the lines between John Cocke and Giles Carter that is in the County.” It was dated March 31, 1736.
John Cocke and William Parsons, both agreed in the presence of Giles Carter and Thos. Jolley.” [Moore, History of Henrico Parish, pg 33] and goes on to mention the “line between John Cocke and Thomas Watkins” and the line between “Thomas Watkins and Joseph Woodson processiooned …and the line between Thomas Watkins and Thomas Watkins [Jr & Sr. or the same man?] and William Porter, Sr. And the line between Thomas Watkins, and Thomas Binford and Edward Mosby Page 34 mentions lands of Francis Rowlins not processioned in 1736 because no one would appear to do it for him. [May 3, 1736, the Vestry Book.]
He appears to have been unable to come himself for some reason. At the same meeting in which the above processionings were noted, the parish hired a new minister, the Reverend Mr. William Stith.
Tobacco prices had fluctuated due to the government control and taxing vs. the fluctuating of production. In 1730, Governor Gooch had reorganized the entire tobacco industry. It required the planter to take his tobacco to a warehouse for inspection before shipping it to England. It reduced fraud, raised the quality, standardized weight, and reduced surplus. Taxes were proportionally very high for the planters, and all taxes together took from one-third to one-half of the gross income [cash and produce] that the planter produced. Many years the planters had little left to feed and clothe their families. This also probably caused some hardship and transportation problems.
Since the planters had settled primarily along the “necks” of land in between the fingers of water that they used for transportation instead of roads, frequently ships could tie up at the private plantation docks right in the planter’s back doors, thus saving the planter having to transport the tobacco very far. By having to have it inspected in a central warehouse, however, the planter could no longer ship produce right out of his back door. This did cut down on some of the fraud, however. This was especially important since the tobacco was essentially the currency of the colony.
Carter-2 moved to King George County after 1736,
a few years before he died in 1745. His will is recorded there,
naming sons William Carter-3, Giles Carter-3, and
John Carter-3. His wife was named Mary.
is a very interesting article by Joyce Hetrick about some early