The Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky is comprised of the eight westernmost counties - Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken. It is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River, on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the Tennessee River and the state of Tennessee to the south. By Kentuckians it is generally referred to simply as "the Purchase".

Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby purchased the land lying west of the Tennessee River from the Chickasaw tribe and opened the area for settlement around 1820. Within the next few years, my grandfather's ancestors came there from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee - the Beadles, Clapps, Pryors and Wingos settled in Graves County with the Reeves and Halls in neighboring Ballard County.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Jamestown Colonist Thomas Garnett

Jamestowne, established in 1607, was the first of the English colonies in America that endured the food shortages, indian attacks and countless other hardships to become a lasting settlement. The only earlier English colony had been Sir Walter Raleigh's ill fated 1585 settlement on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. The 115 colonists left at that settlement in 1587 had vanished when an expedition returned three years later to resupply the colony.

Settlement of Jamestowne
Recently I found that Thomas Garnett, the father of Sussan Garnett, sailed from the Port of London as a passenger on the ship Swan from June through August 1610 to the Jamestowne Colony. His daughter Sussan, born in Elizabeth Cittie around 1622, was the mother of Robert Foster, born about 1651 in Gloucester County and ancestor of the majority of the Foster families of Amelia County, Virginia which include our Mary Holt Wingo. The children of Thomas Wingo and Mary Holt were some of the earliest settlers to the Jackson Purchase. Thomas Garnett, his wife Elizabeth and baby daughter Sussan, survived the attack in 1622 by the Algonquin tribe who had become disenchanted with the colonists. The indians attacked the out plantations and killed over 300 of the colonists but a late warning saved Jamestowne.

Thomas Garnett may have come from Lancashire in England. English records show that there were Garnetts settled there from at least the 12th century and the parish records for the church at Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire show a Thomas Garnett, son of Robert Garnett, baptised there on the 14th of December 1585.

It appears that Thomas Garnett came to the American colonies as an indentured servant to Capt. William Powell. Tyler, Narratives of Early Virginia cites a conflict between Thomas Garnett and Capt. Powell from the record of the first meeting of the elected assembly at Jamestown on August 3, 1619:
Captaine William Powell presented a pettition to the generall Assembly against one Thomas Garnett, a servant of his, not onely for extreame neglect of his business to the great loss and prejudice of the said Captaine, and for openly and impudently abusing his house, in sight both of Master and Mistress, through wantonnes with a woman servant of theirs, a widdowe, but also for falsely accusing him to the Governor both of Drunkennes and Thefte, and besides for bringing all his fellow servants to testifie on his side, wherein they justly failed him. It was thought fitt by the general assembly (the Governour himself giving sentence), that he should stand fower dayes with his eares nayled to the Pillory, viz: Wednesday, Aug. 4thm and so likewise Thursday, fryday, and Satturday next following, and every of those dayes should be publiquely whipped.
The Virginia Colony
There is nothing to prove that the accusations made by William Powell against Thomas Garnett were true. Only William Powell who was known to be a drunkard and a gambler testified. Powell was also closely associated with the governor having been known to have lost his estate Chippokes, on the James River, in a card game with him.

In a "Muster of Inhabitants" taken in 1624-25, Thomas Garnett, aged 40, was living at Elizabeth City with his wife, Elizabeth, aged 26, who came in the ship Neptune in 1618, and their young daughter, Susan aged three. Elizabeth must have died sometime in 1624 because another census apparently taken later that year lists the wife of Thomas Garnett as Joyse Gyffith, age 20, who arrived in 1624 on the ship Jacob.

Whatever the truth of the conflict with William Powell, within fifteen years Thomas Garnett was no longer an indentured servant and had become a land owner in his own right. There is patent dated 3 July 1635 recorded in the Land Office at Richmond in Grant Book 1, page 201 from Governor John West granting 200 acres of land lying along the Little Poquoson Creek in Elizabeth City County to Thomas Garnett. The land was granted to Thomas Garnett for transporting four colonists to Virginia at his own expense for which he received 50 acres each.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

JP Ancestors in the Court of Henry VIII

As unbelievable as this sounds, I have recently discovered that the documented ancestors of Sarah Loy who married John Isaac Clapp and Sarah M. Rozzell, wife of Lewis Yancey Beadles, Jr., the daughter of Thomas Rozzell and Nancy Abernathy, were in fact descended from Sir Thomas Boleyn through his daughter Mary Boleyn. Several years ago a movie The Other Boleyn Sister was made about Mary, but her sister Anne, second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth I, is the most famous of the two sisters.

Mary Boleyn
Both of these Graves County families descend from Christopher Tilghman and Ruth Blount who are documented as coming to the American colonies in 1638. Sarah Loy, the daughter of George Loy and Mary Catherine Tillman (Tilghman) descends from Christopher's son Gideon while Sarah M. Rozzell descends from his son Roger Tilghman.

The great granddaughter of Mary Boleyn and William Carey of Aldenham, and mother of Ruth Blount was Penelope Devereux. The history of this family is filled with the intrigues of the courts of both Henry VIII and his daughter Queen Elizabeth I. Mary Boleyn is recorded as having had an affair with the king before her sister Anne became his second wife and the mother of Elizabeth.

Lady Penelope Devereux, although married to Robert Rich (3rd Baron Rich), had an affair with Charles Blount, Baron Mountjoy. Lady Penelope and Charles Blount are documented as having had four children, one of whom was Ruth. Penelope's brother Robert Devereax, the Earl of Essex, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth was eventually tried and sent to the Tower of London where he was executed. After Devereux fell from favor with the Queen, Lord Rich divorced Penelope in 1605. Prior to the divorce, Lord Rich threw Penelope and her Blount children out of the house. She then began living in his house and having a very public affair with Mountjoy. After Queen Elizabeth's death when James I became King of England, he created Mountjoy the 1st Earl of Devonshire.

Once divorced, Penelope and Mountjoy requested to be married in order to legitimize the children but King James I refused. They did marry in a private ceremony performed by Mountjoy's chaplain but afterward were banished from court by King James.

The above photos of paintings depicting Penelope's parents, Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex and her mother Lettice Knollys make the disparity of their lives and that of their descendants, our Jackson Purchase ancestors, extremely apparent.

It was not uncommon for young men from well to do families like Christopher Tilghman to leave England and settle in the new colonies. The English practice of primogeniture which is the right of the firstborn child to inherit the family estate was the law or custom at the time of the settlement of the American colonies. Many younger sons who were left to make their own way chose to seek their fortunes in the New World. Here they could own vast tracts of land and become affluent as they never could have in England.

I love genealogy but it has never been my aim to find titled or famous ancestors, this information came to me recently from another researcher who called to my attention the identity of the parents of Ruth Blount (sometimes called Devonshire). It is still amazing to me that these are my ancestors and not just the subjects of history books and PBS series.