Builders of the Old Dominion 3

Samuel Almond and Mary Crockford

Getting to Virginia

Despite the fact that many events in the life of Samuel Almond cannot be documented, he was a real person who really did leave his home in Chesham, England, to immigrate to Jamestown.  That much we know.

Chesham is only 11 miles from Aylesbury, where Thomas Harris and Adria Hoare had lived, and also not far from London, where Christopher Branch and Mary Addie had lived. They were among many who left this area of England in the first half of the 17th century to settle in Virginia. Samuel’s name is usually seen in the documents as SAMUELL, and the surname is sometimes seen as ALLMAND or D’ALMOND.

A review of my previous post, Builders of the Old Dominion 2, will help give context:   Christopher Branch and his wife Mary Addie had arrived on the Marchant in 1620. By the time Christopher Branch’s children had grown up, Samuel Almond had arrived in Jamestown. This is estimated by researcher Louise Ashby Almond to have been around 1635, when Henrico County was organized as one of the eight original shires of Virginia. 

Christopher Branch and Samuel Almond undoubtedly knew each other since they were land owners in the same county, but Christopher’s wife Mary had died by the time Samuel Almond arrived. Years later, Samuel’s daughter, Sarah Almond, married Christopher’s son, Christopher Branch, Jr.  There is no documentation for this, unfortunately—only family tradition and unverified notes. (Sarah Almond and Christopher Branch Jr. were the parents of Mary Branch, future grandmother of President Thomas Jefferson.)

Becoming a Land Owner

Samuel’s three land transactions were made in 1637, 1638, and 1639. Immigration records show his arrival in 1639, but that date refers to when his land was patented or the record created—not when he actually arrived. This is explained in this reference from Ancestry.com:

The map which follows shows Samuel’s land in the extreme upper left corner. It was just south of present day Richmond. The transactions are listed in Cavaliers and Pioneers.

  1. Arthur Bayly and Thomas Crosby received 800 acres in Henrico County in January 1637. They assigned 400 acres of this patent to Samuell Almond.
  2. Thomas Crosby transferred another 400 acres to Samuell Almond in February 1638.
  3. In March 1639, Samuell Almond received 600 more acres in Henrico County.

Almost all of the land owners grew tobacco, and, apparently, it was a very involved process to get the tobacco ready for market. (Note: The illustration more accurately portrays a much later time period.)

Whether Samuel had slaves or not, I do not know, but I doubt that he did. The first slaves arrived in 1619, but the Virginians had no intention of having slaves. Slavery was introduced when a Dutch ship captain, running short of provisions, was trying to get the Africans off his ship. He landed at Jamestown and wanted the Virginians to buy them. The Virginians did not want to do that, but they finally agreed to it when the captain threatened to throw the captives overboard. (Wallace)

Over time, more and more settlers had slaves, but it was a societal change that evolved slowly from that first encounter, eventually creating suffering and discord that has lasted to this day.

The tobacco growers had a system of verifying the quality of all the tobacco. Samuel was tasked with this responsibility in 1639, as explained in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. It is apparent that he had earned respect from his new neighbors after being in Henrico less than five years.

Still Researching the Almonds

I have seen some trees on Ancestry.com that provide more detailed information about Samuel Almond; however, the sources included do not support the conclusions. For example, you can’t use birth records to support  a birth that occurred a century earlier. Obviously.

One contributor on Ancestry.com did provide some credible notes of Louise Ashby Almond (1911-1990), who had received the genealogical records completed by her uncle, Frank Hobson. Clearly, we have to use this information cautiously since we have no other documentation. Louise stated that the Almond family originally lived in Alsace Lorraine, where residents were under severe stress due to wars and religious persecution. The Almonds fled to England and settled in Chesham.

According to Louise’s notes, Samuel’s two children, Sarah and William, survived the well-documented Indian massacre of April 1644 by hiding in a woodbox. Samuel, however, was among 500 other Virginians who were slaughtered. No mention is made of Samuel’s wife or who cared for the children after their father’s death.

The tradition is that Samuel’s wife was Mary Crockford. I have not yet been able to verify that, but I have found some English wills in Sussex that mention Crockfords. Contributors to WikiTree have included a little more detail, providing the names  John Almond and Elizabeth Weldon as Samuel’s parents, and  George Crockford and Anne Honna  as parents of Mary. The WikiTree page says Samuel and Mary were married in Sussex, England, in 1623.  I will update this post as more reliable information comes to light.

Hopefully, someone will read this and offer information that helps verify the wife and children of Samuel Almond, a resident of Henrico County for less than 10 years before his decease. If you know more details, I want to hear from you!

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