Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Working on Wednesday: John Scott (1659 - 1724), Tobacco Planter and Mill Owner

My paternal seventh great grandfather John Scott was born in Charles City County, Virginia, in about 1659. He later became a resident of Prince George County without having to leave the area when that county was created out of Charles City in 1702.
[Virginia and Maryland. By H. Moll, Geographer. (Printed and sold by Tho: Bowles next ye Chapter House in St. Pauls Church Yard, & Ino: Bowles at ye Black Horse in Cornhill, 1736?). David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

By his marriage in 1685 to Betheyer Boyce*, John was connected to one of the earliest families to settle in the colony and we know that he acted as a witness in several legal documents over the years.

Although many early Virginia documents have been lost, from surviving records of Prince George County** it's clear that he owned a lot of land, including 748 acres on the south side of Warwick Swamp which he acquired on June 16, 1714,  and where he appears to have settled for the rest of his life.

In his will, signed June 1, 1724 and proved eight day later, John named each of his surviving children (all married daughters) and made provision for his grandsons, the minor children of his recently deceased son John. Thomas was to have "my mill and ten acres of land whereon it stands" (although his grandmother Betheyer was to retain half the profits during her widowhood). The bequest to his other grandson, another John, was the remaining 348 acres of the home plantation. Apparently his daughter Elizabeth, who had married Samuel Chappell*** in 1720, had already been given property because his bequest to her was "all that she is possessed with already and 630 pounds of tobacco." Everything else was to go to his widow for her life or widowhood.

John only names three enslaved persons in his will, "negro man Will," given to his daughter Bridget and "Ceasar & Nan" who are to remain with Betheyer until her death or marriage and then become the property of grandson John. But it's clear that he owned other human property from the wording of the will; we don't know how many slaves there were in his estate because he ends the document by directing that it wasn't to be inventoried.

Unfortunately these records are available only as transcriptions.

[ The Edward Pleasants Valentine papers : abstracts of records in the local and general archives of Virginia relating to the fami [database on-line]. Original data: Valentine, Edward Pleasants,. The Edward Pleasants Valentine papers : abstracts of records in the local and general archives of Virginia relating to the families of Allen, Bacon, Ballard, Batchelder, Blouet, Brassieur (Brashear), Cary, Crenshaw, Dabney, Exum, Ferris, Fontaine, Gray, Hardy, Isham (Henrico County), Jordan, Langston, Lyddall, Mann, Mosby, Palmer, Pasteur, Pleasants, Povall, Randolph, Satterwhite, Scott, Smith (the family of Francis Smith of Hanover County), Valentine, Waddy, Watts, Winston, Womack, Woodson.. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1979.]

Betheyer (spelled Berthia this time, no one seems to know how to spell her given name) died the following year and her estate was inventoried and appraised on November 9, 1725.

* Her grandfather Cheney Boyce arrived in Jamestown in 1617.
**In 1720 he deeded 221 acres of this patent to his only son, another John Scott, "for natural affection."
***Their great granddaughter was Sarah Heath Chappell,

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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