The Book Lovers

Robert Booth

Robert Booth was born about 1613 in England and settled in Gloucester and York Counties, Virginia, before 1638. He was married to Frances Burgess and was the father of Ann Booth, who married William Clopton, Gentleman, as her second husband. Robert was one of two physicians in early Jamestown and also served as Clerk of York County from 1640 to 1657. He represented York County in the House of Burgesses in 1653 and 1654. In 1657, he died, leaving Frances (1609-aft. 1668) as his widow.

Robert Booth’s library, valued at 14 pounds sterling, contained more than 300 books, according to Burns’ Constitutional History of Virginia. Colonial records indicate that he had, at his death, 23,000 bricks valued at 184 shillings. Bricks could have been made by slaves or by transient labor. Land conveyances from and to Robert Booth in 1639, 1642, 1649, 1652, and 1653, as shown in patent records of Charles County and York County, indicate that Robert owned extensive tracts of land.

Sources for Robert Booth:

  1. Ancestry of William Clopton of Virginia, Chapter VII, p. 222. The Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  2. “Genealogies of Virginia Families.” William and Mary Quarterly, Volume I, p. 450.
  3. Virginia Extracted Vital Records, 1660-1923, indexed by Judith McGhan, Ancestry.com, Lehi, Utah, 2017.

William Faris

William Faris was almost certainly a close relative, if not the father, of Mary Farris (1739-1783), who married Andrew Spearman (bef. 1735-1765) before 1755 in North Carolina. Mary and Andrew were the parents of Temperance Spearman (1758-1820), who married Solomon Lee.

Before immigrating to New Hanover County, North Carolina, William Faris (or Farris) had been a merchant in London and possibly Ireland. In Wilmington, he owned a tar house and wharf located on Princess Street. With David Lindsay, he also had a store called Faris & Lindsay on Market Street.

William was a member of the Wilmington Assembly. He was chosen as Wilmington Town Commissioner in 1740, when the town was chartered, and, with William Bartram, he promptly presented a bill that same year to establish St. James Parish. In other actions as an Assembly member from 1740-1752, he proposed forming a committee for the General Inspection of Commodities of the Province, presented an address from the entire Assembly in response to a speech by the Governor, proposed a committee to manage the public debt, served on a committee to prepare a tax bill, brought forth an Act for building and maintaining the roads, and authored an Act to better regulate the town and confirm a survey. In August 1750, he and Dr. Isaac Faris were chosen to hold a poll to choose two new Commissioners in Wilmington. In September 1751, taxes were levied to go toward the construction of the new church that William had helped to establish.  However, the second building, illustrated above, was constructed in the late 1800s.

Considered a man of vision and action, William Faris was responsible for improving the lives of Wilmington residents through his many roles within the community. In his will of January 3, 1757, part of the estate was to go toward finishing the construction of St. James Church. His will was probated the same year. 

Apparently, William read widely, especially in the fields of theology, government, literature, and commerce. The books listed below were part of the inventory of his estate. I have found information about some of these online at AbeBooks.co.uk. That information is indicated with brackets.

  1. Marine Affairs, 2nd Volume
  2. Map of Charleston
  3. Reflections on Theatrical Expression [in Tragedy]
  4. England’s Recovery
  5. Lives of the Saints
  6. Abernathy’s Sermons
  7. The Holy Bible
  8. Fisher’s Arithmetic [A Teacher’s Manual in Arithmetic for Primary Grades]
  9. Gardener’s Calendar
  10. Greek Testament
  11. Gentleman’s Accompaniment
  12. Introduction to the Classics
  13. Treatise on Hemp and Flax
  14. Moses and Aaron
  15. An Apology for Christian Divinity [by Robert Barclay, 1711]
  16. An Account of Denmark
  17. Seneca’s Works
  18. French Grammar
  19. Tully’s Offices [by Roger L’Estrange, 1720]
  20. Epistles
  21. An Apology for the Christian Religion
  22. Poems on Several Occasions [by Mary Barber]
  23. Jacob Behmon’s Epistles
  24. Psalm Book
  25. Pope’s Works
  26. Guide to English Juries [possibly by Richard Bernard, published 1627]
  27. Treatise on Baptism
  28. 11 Volumes of Rapin’s [Rapin De Thoyras] History of England
  29. Dialogues on Education
  30. Virginia Laws
  31. Salmon’s Geography
  32. Prideaux’s Connection [of the Old and New Testaments]
  33. Abernathy on the Attributes
  34. Watt’s Logic
  35. Paraphrase on the Gospels
  36. Common Prayer Book
  37. Court Register
  38. Duncan’s Logic
  39. Milton’s Paradise Lost
  40. Forster’s Sermon [Popery Destructive of the Evidence of Christianity]
  41. Free and Candid Disquisitions . . . [by John Jones, 1749]
  42. Sophocles, a Tragedy
  43. Manners Translated from the French
  44. A Discourse on Freedom of Will [possibly by Jonathan Edwards]
  45. Scripture Line of Time
  46. The Foundling
  47. The History of Louis XIV
  48. Manners
  49. Plutarch’s Lives
  50. Grave’s Miscellany
  51. Incorruptible ______
  52. Duchess of Marlborough’s London
  53. Nature of the Sacrament
  54. A Letter Concerning Affirmation
  55. Taylor on the Romans
  56. Naval Trade and Commerce
  57. An Essay on the Sabbath
  58. Juvenile Persons
  59. Grammatical Commentaries
  60. The Order of Passing Bills [possibly by Henry Scobell, published 1685]
  61. The Laws of North Carolina

Sources for William Faris:

  1.  McEachern, Leora Hiatt. History of St. James Parish, 1729-1979. Wilmington, North Carolina, 1985. Repository: Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, Houston, Texas

  2. New Hanover County Court Minutes 1738-1769. Abstracted, compiled, edited, and published by Alexander McDonald Walker. Bethesda, Maryland, 1958. Repository:  Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, Houston, Texas

  3. “North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9CV-V7NZ?cc=1911121&wc=Q649-H7W%3A183207901%2C183266201%2C1066710761 : 21 May 2014), New Hanover County > F > Faris, William (1757) > image 22 of 23; State Archives, Raleigh.

  4. St. James Church, Wilmington, North Carolina Historical Records 1737-1852, compiled by Ida Brooks Kellam and Elizabeth Francene McKay, 1965, Wilmington, North Carolina. Repository: Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, Houston, Texas

  5. Weddell, Alfred Moore. A History of New Hanover County and the Lower Cape Fear Region 1723-1800, Vol. 1. Heritage Books Inc., 1989. Repository:  Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, Houston, Texas

  6. The Wilmington Town Book 1743-1778, edited by Donald Lennon and Ida Kellam. Raleigh, North Carolina, Division of Archives and History and North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1973. Repository:  Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, Houston, Texas

Copyright © 2019 K Steele Barrera. All rights reserved.

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