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!

Sources:

Mysterious Origins

John Bristow

My immigrant ancestor John Bristow is listed in some genealogies as John Newton Bristow, but I have not found any document that included the name “Newton”. The Christ Church Parish records from Middlesex County, Virginia, contain many of the births, deaths, and marriages of John Bristow, his children, and grandchildren, so we know they stayed in one place for several generations. Genealogists working on families from Middlesex County will appreciate the efforts of the vestrymen who, in 1663, initiated the creation of the register and then took care to preserve it.

The church now standing was being built before John died, but there had been another building on the same site since 1666. The photo of Christ Church was originally posted by J. T. Cummings at Findagrave.com in the section devoted to Christ Church Cemetery, where John Bristow is buried. I do not know if there is actually a tombstone marking his grave, but his death and burial are included in the church register: “John Bristow dyed October ye 10 & was buried October ye 13, 1716.” There is a Christ Church Cemetery map posted by D. Bevan at Findagrave.com, which indicates that plot 107 is where any Bristows are buried.

John’s origins are mysterious, and any effort to determine his ancestry will result in frustration. However, it seems fairly clear that John, was, indeed, an immigrant. The Bristow Association, which I have not yet been able to contact, previously issued a report saying that John Bristow was “found wandering through the Colony of Virginia in 1663”.  This was in Lancaster County, established in 1651. The Lancaster County Order Book mentions him: “John Bristow svnt to John Hughes coming into this country without indenture and appearing to this Cort is ordered to serve seaven years from his arrival.

It has been estimated that John was 14 years old in 1663, which would put his birth in 1649. Why was he in Virginia without “papers”? How did he get there? Where did he come from? Who were his parents? I am still trying to find satisfactory answers to those questions. Middlesex County was formed from part of Lancaster County in 1669, so John Bristow stayed in the same general area from 1663 until his death in 1716. These counties are on either side of the James River where it empties into Chesapeake Bay, and many immigrants entering Virginia from the Atlantic Ocean likely passed through them.

A Robert Bristow had property in Lancaster County at the time John arrived there, but it is not known what their relationship was. (Cavaliers and Pioneers pages 340, 505, 536, and 553 In searching wills, land records, county histories, and parish records for answers, one will find an extraordinary amount of conflicting data.

Here are some examples of the conflicting data: Robert Bristow married Averilla Curtis, and it seems his son Robert married Catherine Woolley in England. This much can be gathered from marriage records and wills. One may be inclined to say that Robert Sr. and Averilla were John’s parents, but one record says Robert Sr. was born in 1625 and another says he was born in 1643. Some records say he immigrated to Virginia in 1660, but he supposedly married Averilla, of Virginia, in 1650. Some records say Averilla was born in 1625, but her sister, Sarah Curtis Perrott, was born in 1657. That seems an unlikely age difference. Sarah Curtis married Richard Perrott, Jr., in 1672, at age 14, but she had already been married to William Halfhide before 1670, which would have made her 11 or 12 at first marriage. The mother of Averilla and Sarah was also named Averilla, so the records are sometimes unclear as to which Averilla is meant. Robert Bristow, the Lancaster County plantation owner, returned to England at some point and remained until his death in 1706/7. His son Robert Jr. apparently lived in England and died just before his father. They both left wills, but they are a little confusing (at least to me). Richard and Sarah Curtis Perrott attended the same church as John Bristow, but it is not known how they were related, if at all. One might guess that Sarah Curtis Perrott was John’s aunt or cousin. However, I have not found any evidence other than proximity that John was the son of Robert Bristow Sr. and his wife Averilla Curtis. I do believe they were related in some way. John did not name any of his children Robert or Averilla, but his son James Bristow did name children Robert and Averilla. James was the only one of John’s children whose birth is not in the parish records, but he was mentioned in John’s will.  Clearly, there are many issues involved in trying to pin down John’s heritage, and I don’t believe anyone has been able to do it at this point.

John’s indentured service ended around 1670. Sometime before 1680, he married Mary Michal Nicholls. In 1687, he served in the Middlesex County militia. The births of these children are in the parish records: Johannah in 1680, William in 1682, Michal in 1684, Thomas in 1687, Elizabeth in 1690, Nicholas in 1694, and Anne in 1701. Almost all of these children’s marriages are also in the parish records, as well as the births and marriages of some of John’s grandchildren. My descent is from the daughter Anne Bristow, who married Anthony Seale and moved to Prince William County. John’s first wife, Mary Michal Nicholls, died before 1711, and John then married Mrs. Mary Goodloe Carter, by whom he had three more children. I found birth records for two of them—Jedediah in 1713 and Mary in 1715.

John had a plantation with many slaves that are mentioned in the parish records. He left a will naming some of his children, but  daughters Elizabeth and Michal, and possibly Johannah, preceded him in death. The will of John Bristow was probated Nov. 6, 1716, and is recorded in Will Book “B”, p. 51, Middlesex County, Virginia. It reads

  “In the name of God Amen I John Bristow being sick and week in body but sound in memory do make this my last will and testamt First I bequeath my soule to God that made it; my body to the earth from whence it came; and all my worldly goods as follows:  Item I lend unto my loving wife Mary Bristow one negro woman named Judy during my wifes natural life; then to return to my estate againe Item I give and bequeath unto my son Nicholas Bristow one negro man named Jack to him and his heirs Item I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Anne Bristow one negro woman named Bess with incres to hur and hur heires forever Item I give and bequeath unto my grandson John Bristow sone of Tho: Bristow one negro  boy named Majgor to him and his heires Item I give and bequeath unto William Owen sone of Michaell Owen one negro garle named Lotty hur and hur incres forever Item I give and bequeath unto my sone William Bristow one negro garle named Rose hur and hur incres forever Item I give and bequeath unto my two sones Nicholas and James Bristow my land to be equally divided betoined them and their heires forever Item I give and bequeath my hole personall estate to be equally divided betoine my wife and children after my debts first paid and Lastly I appoint my sones Nicholas and James Bristow Executures of this my last Will and Testament as witness my hand and seale this 20 Day of Feb 1716.

  (Signed) John Bristow (Seal)

  Will Daniell

  Will Daniell jnr.

Probated November 6, 1716″

Despite his inauspicious arrival in Virginia, John seems to have been successful. I don’t like the fact that he owned slaves, but he was apparently devoted to his family and was a respected resident of Christ Church Parish where he served as lay reader, appraiser, juror, and clerk of the vestry.

Copyright © 2019 K Steele Barrera.   All rights reserved.

 

Sources for John Bristow

Cavaliers and Pioneers. Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1666, Vol. I. Accessed at Ancestry.com on March 15, 2019.  https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=FLHG-CavaliersPioneers&h=334676&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt

Colonial men and times : containing the journal of Col. Daniel Trabue, some account of his ancestry, life and travels in Virginia. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah, 2005. Accessed on March 15, 2019.

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Published by Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah, 2004. Accessed on March 15, 2019.

The Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Virginia, from 1653 to 1812. Printed by W.E. Jones, Richmond, Virginia, 1897. Accessed 15 March 2019 at https://archive.org.

U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900. Yates Publishing, 2004. Accessed at Ancestry.com on March 15, 2019.

Virginia Colonial Militia, 1651-1776, Vol. II. Accessed at Ancestry.com on March 15, 2019. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=FLHG-VAColonialMilitiaII&h=342614&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt

Virginia Will Records. Accessed at Ancestry.com on March 15, 2019