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Virginia Pioneers



History and Genealogy by Jeannette Holland Austin
VIRGINIA PIONEERS
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All the Ladies Wear a Red Cloak during Voyage to Maryland

Boat Pleasure Ride December 13, 1773. "Mr Carter is preparing for a Voyage in his Schooner, the Hariot, to the Eastern Shore in Maryland, for Oysters: there are of the party, Mr Carter, Captain Walker, Colonel Richard Lee, and Mr. Lancelot Lee. With Sailors to work the vessel, I observe it is a general custom on Sundays here, with Gentlemen to invite one another home to dine, after Church; and to consult about, determine their common business, either before or after Service. It is not the Custom for Gentlemen to go into Church til Service is beginning, when they enter in a Body, in the same manner as they come out; I have known the Clerk to come out and call them in to prayers. They stay also after the Service is over, usually as long, sometimes longer, than the Parson was preaching. Almost every Lady wears a red Cloak; and when they ride out they tye a white handkerchief over their Head and face, so that when I first came into Virginia, I was distressed whenever I saw a Lady, for I thought She had the Tooth-Ach! The People are extremely hospitable, and very polite both of which are most certainly universal Characteristics of the Gentlemen in Virginia; some swear bitterly, but the practise seems to be generally disapproved. I have heard that this Country is notorious for Gaming, however this be, I have not seen a Pack of Cards, nor a Die, since I left home, nor gaming nor Betting of any kind except at the Richmond-Race. Almost every Gentleman of Condition, keeps a Chariot and Four; many drive with six Horses. I observe that all the Merchants and shopkeepers in the Sphere of my acquaintance and I am told it is the case through the Province, are young Scotch-Men; Several of whom I know, as Cunningham, Jennings, Hamilton, Blain; And it has been the custom heretofore to have all their Tutors, and Schoolmasters from Scotland, tho' they begin to be willing to employ their own Countrymen. Evening Ben Carter and myself had a long dispute on the practice of fighting. He thinks it best for two persons who have any dispute to go out in good-humour and fight manfully, and says they will be sooner and longer friends than to brood and harbour malice. Mr Carter is practising this Evening on the Guittar He begins with the Trumpet Minuet. He has a good Ear for Music; a vastly delicate Taste; and keeps good Instruments, he has here at Home a Harpsichord, Forte-Piano, Harmonica, Guittar, Violin, and German Flutes, and at Williamsburg, has a good Organ, he himself also is indefatigable in the Practice."

Source: A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion by Philip Vickers Fithian 1773-1774: The Journal of Schoolteacher at Nomini Hall.

The Suffering of Prisoners Imposed by the British

British prison Ship Jersey During the Revolutionary War, when an American was taken into the hands of the British as a prisoner, his fate was sealed. Unlike the patriots who showed compassion for British prisoners, the British administered cruel treatment, not only in battle, but particularly to their captives. The patriots were treated more like felons than as honorable enemies, or cousins. Despite the fact that they spoke the same language and shared the same blood, the British excused their cruelty by saying that their prisoners were deserters of the King, and were to be dealt with accordingly. The patriotic seamen of the Virginia Navy were no exceptions to the rule when they fell into the hands of the more powerful lords of the ocean. They were carried in numbers to Bermuda, and to the West Indies, and cast into loathsome and pestilential prisons, from which a few sometimes managed to escape, at the peril of their lives. Respect of position and rank found no favor in the eyes of their ungenerous captors, and no appeal could reach their hearts except through the promises of bribes. Many patriots languished and died in those places, away from country and friends,whose fate was not known until many years after they had passed away. But it was not altogether abroad that they were so cruelly maltreated. The record of their sufferings in the prisons of the enemy, in our own country, is left to testify against these relentless persecutors. Researchers might examine the records in Barbadoes and other islands in the West Indies.

War in South


The Birth Place of George Washington

Birthplace of George Washington George Washington was born February 22, 1732 in an old-fashioned Virginia farm house, near the Potomac River, on what was known as Bridge's Creek Plantation. The house had four rooms on the ground floor, with an attic of long sloping roofs and an enormous brick chimney at each end. His father was a wealthy planter, owning more than 5000 acres of land land in four counties, some of which were on the banks of the Rappahannock River, this latter location because he had money invested in iron-mines. To this plantation the family removed when George was seven years old, the new home being nearly opposite the small village of Fredericksburg. George was sent to a field school and taught by a man named Hobby, a sexton of the church and tenant of the father of George. The taught subjects were reading, writing, and ciphering. It was not until later in life that George perfected his penmanship. When George was eleven years old his father died, leaving to him the home where they lived on the Rappahannock, and to his brother Lawrence the great plantation on the Potomac afterward called "Mount Vernon". George received his home training from his mother. Fortunate, indeed, was he to have such a mother to teach him; for she was kind, firm, and had a strong practical sense. She loved her son, and he deeply appreciated her fond care of him. Some of George's youthful letters to his mother are full of interest. After the manner of the time he addressed her formally as "Honored Madam,&quoy; and signed himself "Your dutiful son." Lawrence also played an important part in shaping his character. As was the custom, the eldest son inherited the bulk of the estate of his father and was sent to a school in England to receive the training which would fit him to be a gentleman and a leader in social life. Thus, Lawrence returned from England as a cultured young man with fine manners and well fitted to be a man of affairs to help influence his younger brother, now seven or eight years of age. Soon after the death of his father, the boy went to live with his brother Augustine on the "'Bridge Creek Plantation" which provided him the advantages of a good school. Many of his copy-books and books of exercises, containing such legal forms as receipts, bills and deeds, as well as pictures of birds and faces, have been preserved. In these books there are, also, his rules of conduct, maxims which he kept before him as aids to good behavior. George heard many stories about wars with the Indians and about troubles between the English and the French colonies. Meanwhile, his brother Lawrence served as a soldier in the West Indies in a war between England and Spain. This service inspired George to organize his boy friends into little military companies, and, acting as their commander, drilled, paraded, and led them in their sham battles in the school-yard. When he was sixteen years of age, George went to live with his brother Lawrence at "Mount Vernon" where he spent much of his time in surveying. This is where he became acquainted with Lord Fairfax of "Belvoir" plantation. This warm friendship soon had a practical turn. Lord Fairfax owned an immense tract of country in the Shenandoah Valley Some said that this land comprized one-fifth the size of the present State of Virginia. Lord Fairfax decided to send George into this wild region of the Blue Ridge Mountains to report to him something about the lands there. Thus, during March of 1748, George Washington set out with the eldest son of the cousin of Lord Fairfax to travel on horseback through a forest of some of 100 miles before they reached the Shenandoah Valley. They carried guns in their hands, for until their return about a month later they would have to depend mainly upon hunting for their supply of food. After reaching the wild country they had to live in the most primitive fashion. For instance, Washington tells of a night inside the cabin of a woodsman who had nothing but a mat of straw for his bed and a single blanket for cover which was alive with vermin. He wrote in his diary: "I made a promise to sleep so no more, choosing rather to sleep in the open air before the fire." Again, in a letter to a friend, he says: "I have not slept above three or four nights in a bed, but, after walking a good deal all day, I have lain down before the fire upon a little hay, straw, fodder, or a bear-skin, with man, wife and children, like dogs and cats; and happy is he who gets the berth nearest the fire." Once they fell in with a war-party of painted warriors who gathered about a huge fire built under the trees. As the great logs blazed in the midst of the dark forest, the Indians joined in one of their wild, weird dances. They leaped to and fro, whooped and shrieked like mad beings, while one of their companions thumped upon a drum made by drawing a deer-skin across a pot filled with water, and another rattled a gourd containing shot and decorated with a horse's tail. It was a strange experience which these two youths had that month. But Washington was well paid, earning from $7 to $21 a day. On the return of the young surveyor to Mount Vernon his employer, Lord Fairfax, was so much pleased with the report that he secured his appointment as public surveyor. For the next three years George lived the life of a surveyor, spending much of his time with Lord Fairfax at his wilderness home, "Greenway Court", near Winchester. Soon thereafter, Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, appointed him to the rank of major in the State militia. Some two years afterward his brother Lawrence died and left the "Mount Vernon" estate to his daughter, with George Washington as guardian. And upon her death, a little later, Washington became owner of the immense plantation at Mount Vernon, and hence a wealthy man.

A Descendant of George Washington
Published by The Jones Headlight, Gray's Station, January 28, 1888

Joseph E. Washington "Speaking of Washington, writes F. G. Carpenter, from the National capital, we have, I understand, one of his descendants in this Congress in the person of Joseph E. Washington who succeedes representative Caldwell of Nashville. Washington is a young man not over thirty, small stourt and light-haired. He does not show much evidence of the Washington features, but he is, I understand worth a million dollars, and the most of his property comes by inheritance. It is a curious thing that a descendant of Washington should represent the district of Andrew Jackson."

Note: Washington was born on November 10, 1851 on the family homestead, Wessyngton near Cedar Hill, Tennessee. He was a graduate of Georgetown College in Washington, D.C. on June 26, 1873 and two years later studied law at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Another Relative of George Washington

Brasenose Sir Richard Anderson of Herefordshire, England, in his last will and testament dated 1630 directed that 40 shillings be given to "my cousin Lawrence Washington of Brasenose" College (at Oxford), while Sir Richard's two sons attended Pembroke College. Lawrence Washington was the progenitor of George Washington of Westmoreland County, Virginia. Sir Richard Anderson was lord of the manor of Pendley which is partially within the Parish of Tring, Hereshire; and his wife was a daughter of Robert, Lord Spencer, Baron of Wormleighton and owner of the manor Althorp.

17th Century Ceremonies: The Funeral
By Jeannette Holland Austin

Jeannette Holland Austin Colonel Richard Cole of Westmoreland County directed in his last will and testament that the minister chosen to conduct the services at his grave should wear a pair of gloves as well as a love scarf. The pall-bearers who were to embrace the leading citizens of the county, were to be similarly dressed; whilst the remainder of the company present were to wear gloves and ribbons. Source: Westmoreland County Records, Vol. 1655-77, p. 186.



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Westmoreland County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Marriages, Deeds


Westmoreland Court House

Westmoreland County Virginia was formed in 1653 from Northumberland County. The county seat is Montross, Virginia. Some well-remembered residents of the county were President George Washington, President James Monroe and Robert E. Lee as well as Robert Carter, Henry Lee, Richard Lee, Daniel McCarty, George Turbeville and John Turbeville.

A bloody naval battle occurred on July 14 1813 at the mouth of the Yeocomico River when a British force with a five-to-one advantage attacked an American vessel, leaving no survivors.

Westmoreland Wills, Estates, Marriages available to members of Virginia Pioneers

Marriages
  • Marriages to 1699
  • Marriages 1772 to 1865
Digital Images of Wills 1755-1804

Testators: Annandale, Thomas ;Bankhead, James ;Briscoe, James ;Callis, Sarah ;Carr, William ;Chancellor, Thomas ;Dozier, Joseph ;Drake, Richard ;Eckles, Solomon ;Edsor, Joseph ;Garlick, Mary; Garner, Catherine; Garner, Jeremiah ;Green, Jemima ;Harrison, William ;Hutt, Gerald ;Kirk, Randol ;Kitchen, Sarah ;Knott, Elender ;Lamkin, Matthew ;Martin, Mary Ann;Middleton, Benjamin; Mitchell, David ;Monroe, Andrew ;Monroe, George ;Monroe, Jamina ;Monroe, Rachel; Monroe, William; Moore, Judith ;Parker, Sarah Rich ;Payton, Anthony ;Price, John;Rigg, Sarah ;Short, Landman ;Smith, Peter Sr.; Thompson, Margaret ;Tidwell, Anna ;Tyler, William ;Washington, John

Digital Images of Wills and Deeds 1706-1804

Testators: Ball, Richard ;Berryman, William ;Bridges, William ;Bran, John ;Canady, Benjamin ;Carter, Robert ;Carter, Robert (2) ;Chancellor, Thomas ;Dolman, William ;Edward, William, appointed captain of the militia ;Eskridge, Jane ;Fryer, Frances;Garland, Griffin ;Garner, George ;Hague, John; Hore, James ;Johnson, Ann ;Johnston, George ;Lamkin, Ashton ;Lamkin, Matthew ;Lee, Richard Henry ;McCullock, Elizabeth ;Monroe, John ;Morgan, Daniel ;Rust, Elizabeth ;Rust, Hannah ;Sanford, Patrick ;Self, Walter ;Smith, Samuel ;Smith, Samuel and wife ;Templeton, Samuel ;Thomson, John;Tool, William; Tupman, William; Weaver, Zachariah

Indexes to Probate Records
  • Index to Wills (by dates) 1653 to 1950
  • Index to Wills 1755 to 1804
  • General Index to Wills 1653 to 1950, Surnames A to Z
Indexes to Deeds
  • Index to Deeds, 1706-1804 (Grantees)
  • Index to Deeds, 1706-1804 (Grantors
Miscellaneous Documents
  1. John Washington LWT
  2. Thomas Marshall


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