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Subject: VAJAMESC Digest, Vol 3, Issue 60
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 18:45:12 -0600
From: Doris Christian <DMKCHRISTIAN(a)austin.rr.com>
DMK Heritage ( my commercial site) has put up a "Free Small Books"
section and it includes:
Free Books In Gallery:
Marriage Bonds of Tryon County NC from
Annals and Parish Register of St. Thomas - St.
Lunenburg County, Va. Wills 1746-1825
St. James Church, Goose Creek, SC 1706-1909
Frederick Parish, Va. 1744-1780, Churches,
Friends Records of Births and Deaths, Cane
Marriage Notices in SC & American General
Chronicles of St. Mark?s Parish Santee Circuit
Williamsburg Township, SC.
History of Overton County, Tenn. by
Vestry of St. Matthew?s Parish, SC 1769-1838
History of Grandal Shoals (Cherokee & Union
Reminiscences of Early Settlements & Settlers
of McNairy Co.,
Tenn. by Gen. Marcus Wright
Revolutionary Soldiers and Sailors for
Northampton Co., VA
French & Swiss Protestants in Charleston the
Naturalization Records 1695-96
Virginia Wills Before 1799 by Wm. M. Clemens
Penn. Marriages Prior to 1799
History of Marion Co., W. VA. by Geo. A.
Historical Sketches of ?Old Burton Church?
Scotch-Irish in America by Dinsmore
This month's issue of AARP The Magazine (p. 43ff) has a good basic explanatory
article on the topic. It's elementary so won't likely have much for us but it's a
good article for someone starting from scratch if you want to point someone to it.
Maynard, thanks so much for the extensive & interesting info about the
court case and your further musings.
In our Poythress List archives, on 17 Feb 2006 was the below info
about this Thomas in a message that I posted. Deep in the message is
info about another provision in Thomas Eppes Poythress' will. You'll
also see in the message more info about him and about his wife,
including info about her maiden name and her earlier marriage, as well
as the exact date she was buried, & more. NOTE: I am cutting out
the info in the original 2006 email re Francis Poythress, here, for 2
reasons: 1. to shorten what's pasted here, and 2. because on Feb 19,
2006, I posted correcting info re what the book had to say about
Francis Poythress. Thus if anyone reading this is interested in seeing
the info about Francis, go to the Poythress message archives and see
the full 17 Feb 2006 message AND to see the correcting info, then
click on the message archives' links at the bottom of the message. Or
you could search on Francis, but that would give lots more hits.
I re-found this message by searching at our Poythress List Message
Archives (link for which is at our research website, poythress.net) --
for those not familiar with that website, at the top put your cursor
on "Message Archives" and then click on "Keyword Search Poythress
Message Archives." For this search, at the resulting screen, I
clicked on "Advanced Search" and at the resulting screen, I typed
"1847" in the space for "Body" and typed "poythress" in the space for
the "List" to be searched.
Note that at the bottom of this 2006 message is the info that "...
Chancery Court Records, Box 2, 1849 - 0018
'Thomas P. Harrison by next Friend vs Thomas E. Poythress et als' as
another source re the death of Thomas Poythress in 1847"
>From that mention, in conjunction with Maynard's info posted today, it
seems to me that at the Library of Virginia in that Chancery Court
Record, there should be a copy of Thomas Eppes Poythress' entire will,
as one of the exhibits in the case.
= = =
Subject: Some Charles City Co, VA burials & burial sites
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 20:39:12 -0800
An excellent book is available, which those of you who have interest in
following various additional surnames might want to acquire: "80% Heaven
Bound: Deaths & Burials in Charles City County, Virginia" compiled by
Sherry Brown Tyler for the Charles City County Historical Society (570
pages, plus an almost 80 page index, all packed with info). I noted that
it was published in 2000, and the compiler noted that the Society in
1994 began recording all known burial sites in the county.
Tyler commented that work on the project won't be complete until all
deeds have been traced for every piece of land in the county, and
genealogies completed for every family, and until all opportunities for
error have been exhausted. She invited all to assist in the continuing
project by sending any additions/corrections (which she said can easily
be added to the computer file for the book) to the Charles City County
Center for Local History; P.O. Box 128; 10900 Courthouse Rd; Charles
City, VA 23030
Note: the following info is *not* listed in chronological order.
The first Poythress mention in the book is in describing a known burial
location, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. The church was built in 1834
for the convenience of those living in the eastern part of the county.
The church is on a site of approximately 10 acres along a bank of
Mapsico Creek. The deed (Charles City County, VA Deed Book 8, p.156)
describing the site is where the Poythress name comes in: Collier H.
Minge conveyed to Fielding Lewis, Thomas Poythress and John Minge, for
the establishment of a church, a tract of land described as follows:
"...on the main road leading from Charles City Courthouse to Barrett's
Ferry and running along the line that divides the lands of said Minge
and the heirs of John Creighton, to the swamp and thence down the swamp
to the road leading to the house of the said Collier H. Minge, thence up
said road to the main road: & Thence up the Main road to the beginning,
upon which said piece or parcel of land, the said building for the
Church aforesaid is erected..."
= = =
The next mentions of our name occur regarding a private cemetery at
"Farmer's Rest," which is the name of the property owned (in 2000) by
Richard Duke, who farms both Farmer's Rest and Farmington. She wrote
that he remembers tombstones in what is now the middle of a field, near
the site where the house collapsed by 1965, and where in 2000 bricks and
wood were still visible. The house had a basement and chimneys at both
ends. Farmer's Rest in 1826 was mentioned in Braxton Harrison's deed of
trust. In the 1867 deed index Thomas P. Harrison was listed as owning
it. In identifying information about Braxton Harrison and Braxton
Harrison, the elder, both of whom are "Possibly buried here or at
'Kittewan'" Tyler quoted the following:
re Braxton Harrison, the elder, who died by 1823:
"Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, Feb 1831 - Lamb vs Harrison's
Admir &c: 20 Nov 1823, administrator Thomas Poythress, appointed;
Minute Book 1: 18 Dec 1823, order to settle account; 17 My 1827 court,
settlement returned & recorded for Braxton Harrison, the elder."
re Braxton Harrison, who was born circa 1803 and who died 15 Dec 1833:
"Richmond Enquirer, 28 Jan 1834, p.3: Braxton Harrison died at his
residence, 'Farmer's Rest' in Charles City County, age 30, leaving wife
and 5 children; Minute Book 2: 20 Feb 1834, administration of estate
granted Thomas E. Poythress."
= = =
The next mention of our name is regarding that same Thomas E. Poythress,
in the section discussing Kittewan. Kittewan has five known burial sites
within its boundaries. After discussion of Kittewan, Tyler writes that
"David Minge owned land in the area of what is now known as 'Kittewan.'
Part of Minge's land was also called 'Kittewan,' but doesn't seem to
have been that parcel on which the mansion called 'Kittewan' now stands.
The family connections are quite complicated, intertwining with those
who owned the property on which the old mansion house stands." She then
discusses Minge, and his widow, Christiana (about age 36 when he died),
who was named in his will to have use of what he left until his sons
came of age or until she remarried. Christiana indeed remarried, to
Collier Harrison. After Christiana died, Collier Harrison married
Barsheba Bryant (who lived 1787-1850). After Collier died in 1809,
Barsheba married Thomas E. Poythress, per Minute Book 1: 20 Nov 1823,
[Collier's] widow, Barsheba, married next Thomas E. Poythress and they
were guardians of orphans Braxton & Robert C. Harrison.
The following sources are given re that orphan, Robert C. Harrison (born
circa 1809; died 19th of ?? 1845)
- Westover Parish Register: buried at Kittewan, age 36, died of
- Minute Book 3: 17 Apr 1845, his will was proved & recorded with
executor Thomas E. Poythress.
Tyler gives the following sources re Thomas E. Poythress (born circa
1802; died March 1847):
- "Westover Parish Register: buried at Kittewan - resident of 'The
- "Leavell's Register: buried 25 Mar 1847 at Kittewan - died of
intemperance - resided at 'The Glebe'"
- "Will Book 5, p.35: will written 22 Mar 1847 and probated 15 Apr
1847;" Tyler noted that in his will he directed that the cemetery be
enclosed. [Tyler noted that it had earlier, in the 1790 will of
Elizabeth Harrison Rickman Edmonson, been requested that the cemetery be
enclosed by a brick wall. Tyler noted that it is not known whether
Thomas E. Poythress' 1847 will mentioned enclosing it because it had not
been done earlier, or whether it needed to be enclosed again.]
- "Reports of Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of Appeals of
Virginia, Held at Richmond" Vol. I, by John M. Patton, Jr. and Roscoe B.
Heath (The Michie Company: 24 Feb 1900), p.521: January Term, 1855:
Poythress et als Vs Harrison: Thomas E. Poythress death date given as
1847 with his will recorded in Charles City County and George Walker was
Tyler gives the following sources re Mrs. Bersheba Poythress (born circa
1787; died Apr 1850):
- "Westover Parish Register: buried at Kittewan - relict of Col. Harrison"
- "Leavell's Register: Mrs. Bersheba Poythress, age 63 buried 19 Apr
1850 - residence, 'The Glebe' - quiet sufferer for years"
- "Will Book 5, p.182: will written 1 May 1849 and probated 18 Apr 1850"
- "Minute Book 4: 18 Apr 1850, will proved & recorded - Thomas E.
Tyler also notes that the following may have been buried there at
Kittewan, too, based on their association with the above:
- Caroline Poythress (born circa 1816; died 1 Oct 1824) "Richmond
Enquirer, 8 Oct 1824, p.3: age 8 - eldest daughter of Capt. Thomas E.
Poythress of Charles City County"
- Ann Maria Poythress (born circa 1821; died 7 Jul 1832) "Richmond
Enquirer, 13 Jul 1832, p.3: died at Kittewan - age 11 - only child of
Capt. Thomas E. & B. Poythress"
= = =
Tyler noted the following deaths were known to have been by the Court
- Joshua Poythress, by the Jul 1741 Court date, "executors involved in
suit" (Court Minutes Book 1; Weisiger's transcription)
- James Johnson, by 16 Mar 1826 Court date, "orphan Camilla A. M.
chose as guardian Thomas Poythress" (Court Minutes Book 1; Weisiger's
- William Poythress, by 18 Jun 1840 Court date, "mentioned as son of
Capt. Wm. S. Poythress" (Court Minutes Book 3, 1838-1847)
- Capt. William S. Poythress, by 18 Jun 1840 Court date, "certified
officer in Rev. War - died leaving 4 children certified as only heirs:
Thomas E.; Joshua; William (d. intestate, no issue); Patrick H." (Tyler
lists both Court Minutes Book 3, 1838-1847; and Francis B. Heitman's
"Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War
of the Revolution," Clearfield reprint, 1997, p.450: "A Wm. Poythress
was a 1st Lt. In the 1st Continental Artillery")
= = =
Tyler noted the following:
Chancery Court Records, Box 2, 1849 - 0018
Thomas P. Harrison by next Friend vs Thomas E. Poythress et als
as another source re the death of Thomas Poythress in 1847
We have pieces of this ca 1847 will in the form of an abstract of a Circuit Court decision
printed in the William & Mary Quarterly. If we have a copy of the actual will I haven't
The current database entry reads:
Thomas E. Poythress of Charles City County, death 1847
>From Circuit Court, Charles City county. Poythress et als. v. Harrison:
Thomas E. Poythress, of Charles City County, died 1847. Will: Widow, Beersheba inherited
estate for life, and at her death goes to legatees: a brother, Joshua; nephew William P.
Poythress; niece Nancy G. D. Harrison; Thomas P. Harrison, an infant, and his sister,
Oceana, children of Braxton Harrison, dec'd. Camilla A. M. Harrison was Thomas P.
Harrison's guardian. He willed his watch to his friend and neighbor, Thos. H. Wilcox.
George Walker, Executor.
(Wm & Mary Quarterly, 2nd series, vol. _ , p. 130)
Notes from an "account of a family member now dec'd":
Issue of William and Mary Gilliam Poythress:
1. Joshua Poythress, m. Jane Angus
2. Thomas Eppes Poythress, m. Mrs. Harrison
3. William Poythress, died unmarried
4. Patrick Henry Poythress m. Elizabeth Eppes
I now discover that there is a fairly complicated "Part B" story to this court case which
was appealed to the Special Court of Appeals for Virginia. I am transcribing this below
for those who may wish to append it to the database entry for the 1847 will. I'm assuming
that this record is "new" for us.
Other than confirming three generations of Poythresses which we already knew, this
court of appeals case is more confirmational than important and indeed in some respects
is even fun to figure out and remark over some of the mysteries. I will append some
conversation at the end intended only as whimsy for the comment of any who might offer
further enlightenment or opinion.
This rascal grows HAIR!........
1855 (January term, Special Court of Appeals of Virginia
POYTHRESS et als. v. HARRISON
Absent, Clopton, J. (He sat in the court below) [?]
A testator devises his whole estate to his wife for life, remainder to three nephews,
with a "condition annexed" to the estates of the remaindermen "that they are to
contribute equally to raise the sum of $1000 for Thomas P. Harrison, to be paid to
him at the death" of the widow. He also gives him a horse, bridle, and saddle, to be
received as soon as he completes his education; and a watch to be received at the
death of the testator. The will then proceeds, "but should he die before he receives
any or all of the legacies herein given him, then such as he may not have received"
are to go to his sister.
HELD: The legacy of $1000 is contingent upon Harrison's surviving his widow, on
failure of which it belongs to his sister. It is not, therefore, payable,
part of it, until the widow's death, though she renounces the will, and the
remaindermen receive a portion of their shares of the estate.
In 1847, Thomas E. [Eppes] Poythress died, leaving a will, by which he devised to
his wife, Beersheba, all his property for life. The will then proceeded as follows:
"Second, At the death of my wife, I give, and bequeath, and devise all my estate,
real, personal and mixed, to my brother Joshua Poythress, my nephew William P.
Poythress, and my niece Nancy G. D. Harrison, to be equally divided among them,
share and share alike, to them and their heirs forever, with this condition annexed -
they are to contribute equally to raise the sum of $1000 for Thos. P. Harrison, son
of Braxton Harrison, deceased, to be paid to him and his heirs forever. I also give
the said Thomas P. Harrison a horse of the value of sixty dollars, and my saddle and
bridle, to him and his heirs forever. This last bequest of a horse, saddle and bridle,
I wish him to have as soon as he completes his education. I also give him my silver
watch at my death; but should he die before he receives any or all of the legacies
herein, and in that event, I give such as he may not have received to his sister
Oceana Harrison, except the watch, which I give to my friend and neighbor, Thos. H.
The will was duly recorded in Charles City county, (of which the testator was a
resident,) and shortly thereafter the said Beersheba appeared in court and renounced
the provision made for her in the will. In consequence of this, one-third of the negroes
and land of the testator were assigned to her and, the remaining two-thirds to the
legatees in remainder above named. The rest of the personal estate remained in the
hands of the executor, (George Walker,) to be thereafter distributed by him, (after
paying the debts of the estate,) one-half to the widow and the other half to the legatees.
In May, 1848, after these proceedings had been had, Thomas P. Harrison, above named,
who was an infant, filed a bill by his next friend, setting forth the matters above
and insisting, that it was evident the testator intended he should receive his legacy at
same time that the legatees in remainder received theirs; that according to the will, they
would not have received their interests until the death of the widow, but that inasmuch
as they, by the renunciation of the widow, had become entitled to receive, and had
actually received, the greater portion of their legacies, though the widow was still
he also was entitled to receive a like proportion of his. The bill, therefore, prayed
such proportion might be decreed to him, and that provision should be made for the
payment of the residue upon the death of the widow. The executor and the devisees in
remainder were made parties to the bill, and the former was required to say in his answer
whether he had sufficient funds in his hands to pay the legacy of $1,000 to the plaintiff.
The defendants answered - the executor stating that he had, as he believed, enough money
in his hands to pay the legacy, but that he was unwilling to bind himself by an
admission of assets, in the then state of his transactions as executor; and the other
defendants, stating that they were willing to secure the payment of the legacy at the
death of the widow, if Harrison were then living, denied his right to receive anything
until that time, first, because the will directed it to be then paid, and secondly,
the devise to him was contingent upon his surviving the widow, in failure of which the
property was to go to his sister Oceana.
On the hearing of the case, the court decreed that the legatees in remainder should pay to
Camilla A. M. Harrison, the legally qualified guardian of the infant plaintiff, the sum of
$666.66 2/3 , that being two-thirds of his legacy, and should secure the payment of the
remaining one-third at the death of the widow.
>From this decree the legatees appealed to this court.
Gholson & Jones, for the appellants, submitted the case on petition of appeal.
Nance, for the appellee.
FIELD, P. delivered the opinion of the court, in which all the judges concurred.
The court is of the opinion that the appellee, at the time of instituting his suit in the
was not entitled to recover the legacy of $1,000 bequeathed to him by Thomas E. Poythress,
reasons: first, because the said legacy was not payable to him until after the death of
Poythress, the testator's widow, although she had renounced the provision made for her in
husband's will; and secondly, because the said legacy, until after the death of Mrs.
contingent, and if the appellee had died in her life-time it would have been payable to
Oceana Harrison, as directed by the will. See Swope v. Thambers 2 Grat.319. Therefore,
decreed and ordered, that the decree of the court below be reversed with costs. And the
proceeding to enter such decree as the court below should have entered, doth order the
said bill to be
dismissed with costs. But this decree is to be without prejudice to the right of the
appellee, in the
event of surviving Mrs. Beersheba Poythress, to institute a new suit for the recovery of
Source: Reports of Cases Decided in the Special Court of Appeals of Virginia, January,
1855 Term, pp. 197-200.
Funky punctuation above transcribed as rendered.
I suppose this is exhibit A on why not to write a complicated will. <g>
Also, it appears to be a case somewhat brought under the old saw that attorneys will
continue to represent an angry plaintiff for just as long as he can pay the lawyer fees
regardless of the merits of his case. It's easy to see in retrospect but this one should
never have gone to court in the first place. The Charles City court "splits the baby"
and the appeals court throws the bill out on two pieces of logic that seem self-evident.
Beersheba Poythress died between May 1849 and May 1850. I suppose the appeals
court is required to "time-warp" themselves and hear the case in the 1855 session as if
the issues still existed as they did at the time of the orginal 1847 decision. Still, the
issue became moot in the "real time" death of Beersheba Poythress; so why did they even go
forward with a costly appeal? I guess there must have been some reason, perhaps an angry
plaintiff unsatisfied with what the circuit court had given him.
Due to Rootsweb's decision to close all mailing lists the Poythress group has moved to Groups.io/g/Poythress for continuation of the discussion list. The message archive (1997 - March, 2020) will remain accessible via Rootsweb.