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Native Americans in Accomack County, Virginia,
Court Order Abstracts 1600's - 1700's



From JoAnn Riley McKey (jrmckey@hotmail.com) 9 Mar 2005, who is about one third done with Volume 15, 1724-1731


The Native American ancestor discussion prompted me to do a little research in the records that I have abstracted (Accomack County, Virginia, Court Order Abstracts, Vol. 1-14.) Among other things, the records show that:

–Sometimes a Native American “King” would arrange for children (probably orphans) under his control to become servants of the English.

–Native Americans, when they became servants to Englishmen, were sometimes given English names, including the last name of their masters, for example: George Parker, James Wise, James Revell, George Custis, Anne Custis, Dick Hill, Ned West, Nicander Bradford.

–Some Native Americans were treated as indentured servants, others were slaves.

–Between 1663 and 1725, there was only one documented English/Native American child born in the county. In 1671, Elizabeth Lang had a child fathered by an Indian named Kitt.

–In 1681, a Native American woman servant had a child, and her master sued two men with English names for the inconvenience, but the race of the father is not mentioned. One of the two Englishmen could have been responsible, or they may have merely been the servant’s former owners.

–In 1691, a Native American servant named Nanny had a child fathered by a Negro slave.

–Between 1698 and 1709, a Native American named Edward Bagwell seems to have been quite well integrated into English society. He paid taxes, socialized with the English on Sunday, and when he died, was married to a woman named Mary (race unknown).

–In 1719, the widow of James Kelly married a man named William Jones, who was “an Indian or Mallatto.”

–By the early 1700's, women who committed fornication with an African American were ordered to pay a fine of 15 pounds “money of Virginia” or be sold into servitude for five years. To avoid this heavy penalty, two women servants (Mary Bibens in 1719, and Anne Shephard in 1721) had children they at first tried to attribute to Native American fathers. They both later confessed that their children were fathered by Black men.

Some abstracts relating to the above cases follow:


Accomack Orders 1666-1670

16 August 1667--Four Indian youths were presented by a great man of Kikotanck, sent by their king to have their ages judged. Wickepeason, by the court renamed Humphrey, was judged to be 14 years old. Oquiock, renamed Edward, and Chotohoin, renamed George, were both judged to be 12 years old. Anuck, renamed Richard, was judged to be 10 years old. They were to serve Mrs. Ann Toft at Gargaphie till they were 24 years old, as was agreed by the King of Kikotanck. At the expiration of their terms of service, they were to receive corn and clothes according to the custom of the country and one good cow each. (p. 33b)

16 August 1667-- Wincewough, an Indian boy belonging to Metomkin was brought to the court, named James, and judged to be 12 years old. The court ordered that he serve Robert Hutchinson till he reached 24 years of age, and then to receive corn and clothes according to the custom of the country. (p. 35a)

25 October 1667– Capt. George Parker brought an Indian boy belonging to Anancock to have his aged judged in the presence of "the King and some great men." The court named the servant George Parker and judged him to be 12 years old. He was to serve Capt. Parker till attaining the age of 24 years, at which time he was to receive corn and clothes. (p. 40b)

25 October 1667– Mr. John Wise brought an Indian boy from Anancock to have his aged judged in the presence of "the King of Anancock and some great men." The court named the servant James Wise and judged him to be 12 years old. He was to serve Wise till attaining the age of 24 years, at which time he was to receive corn and clothes. (p. 40b)

25 October 1667– Mr. Edward Revell brought an Indian boy belonging to Matomkin to have his aged judged. The court named the servant James Revell and judged him to be 11 years old. He was to serve Revell till attaining the age of 24 years, at which time he was to receive corn and clothes. (p. 40b)

25 October 1667– Mr. Wm. Custis brought an Indian boy belonging to Matomkin to have his aged judged. The court named the servant George Custis and judged him to be 7 years old. He was to serve Custis till attaining the age of 24 years, at which time he was to receive corn and clothes. (p. 40b)

25 October 1667– Mr. William Custis brought an Indian girl belonging to Matomkin to have her aged judged. The court named the servant Anne Custis and judged her to be 12 years old. She was to serve Custis till attaining the age of 24 years at which time she was to receive corn and clothes. (p. 41a)

16 Dec 1667-- Capt. Hill brought an Indian boy to have his age judged. The court named him Dick Hill and judged him to be 14 years old. He was ordered to serve Hill until he reached 24 years of age, at which time he would receive corn and clothes. (p. 43a)


17 Dec 1667--Capt. John West brought to court an Indian boy, who the court named Ned West and judged to be 16? years old. He was ordered to serve West until reaching the age of 24 years and then to have corn and clothes. (p. 44a,b)

17 Dec 1667-- Nathaniell Bradford brought to court an Indian boy, who the court named Nicander Bradford and judged to be 12 years old. He was ordered to serve Bradford until reaching the age of 24 years and then to have corn and clothes. (p. 44b)


Accomack Orders 1671-1673

16 Nov 1671--Elizabeth Lang, servant to Wm. Custis, claimed that Kitt, an Indian, was father of her bastard child. Ordered that Custis appoint a
constable in the area frequented by the Indian to summon and bring him before a magistrate who would commit him until he satisfied the law. (p. 23)

17 Jan 1671/72--Elisabeth Lang, for fornication, was to be whipped or pay a 500 lb tobacco fine. Thomas Bagwell agreed to pay the fine at the next crop; the court accepted him for security and ordered him to pay court costs. (p. 51)

17 Jan 1671/72--Elisabeth Lang expressed her willingness to serve her master, Mr. William Custis for three years beyond her indenture plus extra time due to him for "hinderance and loss of time" during her pregnancy and delivery. She agreed that the child would be bound to Custis till attaining the age of 24 years, thus saving the parish from any expense. She also "humbly desireth that the Indian may not have the bringing up of my child, nor anything to do with it." She further desired that "a Pagan may not have my child." Signed 17 January 1671/72, by Elisabeth (M) Lang. (p. 52)


Accomack Orders 1678-1682

18 Nov 1681--Mr. Edward Revell petitioned the court for administration of the estate of James Revell, Indian. Since Edward was the greatest creditor, his request was granted. (p. 271)

16 Dec 1681– An Indian woman, servant to Capt. Custis was presented by Mr. Welburne, church warden, for fornication. (p. 274)

17 Dec 1681--Capt. William Custis sued Daniel Hilliar and John Poplewell, declaring that they owed him 3000 lbs tobacco for damages and disbursements for a child born to Custis’ Indian servant. It appeared to the court that Hilliar and Poplewell owed Custis 1200 lbs tobacco for “twelve months’ nursing the said Custis’ Indian woman’s child.” Ordered that they pay the debt and court costs. (Side note: The order was executed on Jno. Popelwell on 16 February 1681/82, by Ben. Eyre, subsheriff.)(p. 276) [Popelwell was probably bail for Hilliar.]


Accomack Court Orders 1682-1690

17 Nov 1691--Daniel Jenifer promised that his two Indian servants named Margarite and Nanny would serve for a term no longer than six years, at which time they would be free. Nanny would be paid one cow calf at the end of the term if she and Margarite behaved themselves during their terms of service. Nanny had “a daughter named Annus by my Negro slave called Old Daniel,” and though the mother would be a free woman at the end of six years, Annis was to remain in the service of Jenifer till she arrived at the age of 30 years. Any children born to her would remain servants for their entire lives. Signed 15 April 1687, by Daniel Jenifer. Witnesses: Daniel of St. Tho. Jenifer and Anthonie Gerrard. Recorded 13 October 1690. (p. 216)

15 December 1691–The will of Mary Scarburgh gave her grandson two slaves -- Tongo and an Indian woman named Malo. (p. 228a, 229)


Accomack County Orders 1690-1697

20 November 1694--It was presented to the court that “Jenny, an Indian slave belonging to Capt. George Nicholas Hack, not having the fear of God before her eyes but led by the instigation of the devil,” about the month of October at Hack’s house was secretly delivered of a live child which she murdered and privately buried. “Whereof the said Jenny, slave, standeth here indicted.” (Side note: Indictment of Jenny, Indian slave to Capt. Hack, 20

November 1694, quashed.) The commissioners tried Jenny, Indian slave to Capt. George Nicholas Hack, for the murder of her bastard child. The indictment was read, and when Jenny was required to answer whether she was guilty, she denied guilt. The evidence produced to prove the murder was examined and deemed to be of no validity to convict her of murdering her child. Since no further evidence appeared against her, Jenny was discharged from further prosecution and was acquitted. Hack paid court charges. (p. 135, 135a)


Accomack Court Orders 1697-1703

7 December 1698--Because Ann Bagwell failed to prosecute her action against Edward Bagwell, Indian, the suit was dismissed. (p. 49)

6 June 1699--Capt. Geo. Nicholas Hack, as high sheriff, had informed the court that Edward Bagwell, Indian, had been delinquent in turning in his list of tithables. The matter was referred to this court, and now Bagwell appeared and alleged that “he did carry in his list unto Capt. George Parker, but he being not at home.” However, it appeared that Bagwell left the list carelessly, that it was lost by his neglect and not entered by Parker. Because it did not appear that Bagwell had intended to defraud the county, he was acquitted from the fine, but had to pay his last year’s taxes and court charges. (p. 62)


Accomack Orders 1703-1710

5 December 1705--Col. William Custis issued a warrant against Peter Turlington upon the complaint of Edward Bagwell (Indian), who claimed that on 9 September, a Sabbath day, he was “in ye house of Thomas Wilson, peaceably and quietly. Ye said Peter Turlington did come into ye said house and immediately there did beat, bruise and batter the complainant with several blows on his jaw.” Custis ordered that Thomas Willson, Henry Lewis and Straton Burton be summoned as witnesses; they testified that Turlington “did strike [Bagwell] several blows upon ye Sabbath day, which ye said Peter Turlington confessed.” Custis then ordered Turlington to appear at the next court. Now he appeared and denied the matter, saying he was assaulted and acted in self defense. Since no contrary evidence appeared, the court discharged Turlington, who was to pay all charges that accrued in the matter. (p. 55, 55a)

5 April 1709--Mary Bagwell presented the will of her late husband Edward Bagwell, Indian. It was proved by the oaths of Thomas Bagwell and Elizabeth Fosque. (p. 135)

3 Nov 1709--Capt. George Hope (guardian to Mason Abbot) was granted his petition that the two Negroes belonging to the estate of John Abbot be divided. The widow was to have her thirds according to the law entitled "an act declaring the Negro, Mulatto, Indian slaves to be real estate." (p. 156)


Accomack Orders 1719-1724

1 September 1719--In March 1718/19, the court ordered that Mary Bibens, “a white Christian woman & a single woman,” be taken into custody and kept there till she posted security for her appearance at this court to answer the charges of fornication and having a mulatto bastard child. Arrested by the sheriff, she now appeared and was questioned but refused to swear to the identity of the father. The court ordered that the sheriff immediately take Mary into custody and take her to the common jail, where she would remain till she complied. (p. 5a)

2 September 1719--Mary Bibens, a single white Christian servant belonging to Maj. Geo. Parker had been presented by the churchwardens for having a bastard child. She now made oath that the child’s father was Hille, an Indian. Ordered that the sheriff take Hille into custody till he posted a bond to save the parish from the cost of supporting the child. (p. 5a)

2 September 1719--Maj. George Parker came into court and agreed to pay Mary Biben’s fine for having a bastard child. Ordered that Parker pay 500 lbs tobacco to the churchwardens at the next levy along with court costs. (p. 6)

2 September 1719--In November 1718, Mary Bibens, a single white Christian woman, had been presented for having a mulatto bastard child. She now swore that the mulatto child was fathered by a Negro slave named Jack, who belonged to Mr. Edmd. Scarburgh. According to the law enacted in WmBurgh regarding such cases, the mother of a such mulatto bastard child would, within one month after delivery, pay 15 pounds money of Virginia, or be sold for five years. Since Mary failed to produce the money, the court ordered that she be sold and that the money be used by the parish. (p. 6)

6 October 1719--Mr. Hanck. Custis informed the court that James Kelly had recently died leaving two orphans; Custis did not know if Kelly had assigned someone custody of the children in his will or during his lifetime. Custis reported that Kelly’s “widw hath since Intermarryed to one William Jones an Indian or Mullatto & yt ye sd Children is much abused and aught to have sum Care taken of them by this Cort.” The court ordered the sheriff to summon Jones and his wife to the next court; they were to bring the children with them. (p. 8a)

2 May 1721--The grand jury (foreman: Morris Shephard) presented Ann Shephard for fornication and bastard-bearing. (p. 30)

6 June 1721--Anne Shephard was presented at the last court for fornication and having a bastard child; summoned to this court, Anne was questioned about the identity of the father of her child and “She made answer yt Either Jos. Gunter or Indian Edmd.” The court decided that “it was a Contempt & yt she aught not to be sworne untill she was Certain.” They ordered the sheriff to take Anne into custody “& her Convey to ye Common Goale of this County & there to remaine dureing ye Corts pleasure.” (p. 32a)

6 June 1721--Anne Shephard, who was committed to jail for her contempt, was again called and appeared to be questioned about the father of her child. “She with Confidence to ye Cort. Sd yt Indian Edmund was ye father of ye sd bastard Child & ye Cort. ware of opp[in]ion yt she ye sd Ann was not Certain[,] shee but seeming to be Confident & in Contempt.” The court ordered the sheriff to take her back to the jail to remain there till the next court for further examination. (p. 33)

4 July 1721--At the last court the sheriff was ordered to commit Anne Shephard to jail for her contempt and for further examination to determine the identity of the father of her bastard child. Now when she appeared and was questioned, she swore that Henry Jackson, a mulatto, was father of the child. According to the 49th Act of Assembly made at WmBurgh, every “free Christian white woman yt shall have such bastard Child by any Negro or Mullatto” would have to pay 15 pounds money to the churchwardens or be sold for five years. Since Anne failed to produce the money, the court ordered the churchwardens to sell her with the proceeds going to the parish. She was to remain in the sheriff’s custody till the churchwardens asked for her. (p. 33)



 

 

 

 

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"The History and Genealogy of the
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