Thanks, Barb. While it will be nice to have the text for
the database, what you have provided is certainly comprehensive
enough for the purpose I intended which was to discover just
which combination of "a Francis and a William" were executors
settling all those accounts for John FitzGerrald (the way the
clerk spelled it most of the time). FitzGerrald died in 1738
and it seems like he had some kind of "account" (usually as the
creditor) with half the people in PG county.
I had a chance to scan that microfilm once more over at the KY
Hist. Assn. last week and it appears I may have missed some on
the scan I did eons ago in Houston.
By my new count there were at least 19 people involved who owed a
settlement to the FitzGerrald estate. The amounts weren't big sums
of money but it looks like Francis and William did a conscientious
job of rounding them up and pursuing the deal. I was left with the general impression
that these weren't particularly "hostile"
lawsuits but that William and Francis (Francis did most of the
heavy lifting) were getting the court to make the "orders" as much
as an administrative proposition as anything. There was, of course,
some element of "disputation" in the things because in a few
instances the court ordered the "defendant" to only pay a fraction
of what William and/or Francis had asked for.
I have a speculation that while John FitzGerrald was indeed
likely a "good friend" of Francis' he was more likely to have been
his brother in law than his uncle. In trying to figure out which
combination of William-Francis were the ones involved I'd be
inclined to guess that William was RBB 25 and Francis (his brother)
was the first son of John RBB 2 that didn't get on Batte's chart
because he was not specifically named in John RBB 2's will (I'm told this was not
in primogeniture wills).
The ages are right with John FitzGerrald documented as dying in
1738, leaving Elizabeth (Poythress) his widow who was the sister
of both William RBB 2 and Francis (No RBB #) and virtually all
the suits were in 1738 and 39.
I'm further inclined to that point because I can't seem to find
a Francis to be a nephew of John FitzGerrald (although granted,
it's awfully easy to miss a Francis here or there among that crowd).
Going into the next generation actually looking for a John
FitzGerrald nephew produces a William (RBB 211 2) but no Francis.
I guess my reason for wanting to separate all these Francis'es
is the notion that when we get over into that Francis (RBB 4)
line and tease out the ones in that line we'll ultimately find
ourselves (if we're gonna do it at all). That is, if we take Mr.
Batte at his word on William (RBB 281 5) that "As William left
no male issue the Poythress name became extinct as to his branch
[i.e., John RBB2] with the death of his only daughter." Hard
as that is to believe, I'm rarely inclined to doubt Mr. Batte.
Does anyone have a different take on it?
From: poythress-bounces(a)rootsweb.com [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 8:37 PM
To: Poythress List
Subject: [POYTHRESS] John Allen vs Francis Poythress, Jan 1738/39 in PG Co,VA
The document listed in Beverley Fleet's "Virginia Colonial Abstracts" as
miscellaneous file composed of 3 leaves in the Brock Collection, "having Francis
Poythress' Answer to Bill of Complaint brought by John Allen, 1738/39 January 27, BR
(Brock Collection), Box 256" is a document that I obtained a photocopy of, for my
research. Under the restrictions of obtaining that copy, I am now sending a letter to The
Huntington Library asking for permission to publish my transcription of the entire 3
leaves. If that permission is granted, I will let you know further.
In the meantime under the restrictions, I cannot quote from the document. I can, and I do
here below, further describe what was going on, as shown by the document's many
I recall reading that the Library of Virginia has microfilm copies of the documents
contained in the Brock Collection, so anyone wishing to examine the 3 leaves can do so
there. Today I was unsuccessful in locating the exact reference in the LVA collections
listing online, to the Brock Collection, mainly because LVA holds so much from Brock.
Also, please be aware that while I was in Richmond last May, at the Library of Virginia
Archival Manuscripts room, I sought any further documents in this case, which would have
logically been handled by the Chancery Court for Prince George County, Virginia. I was
assured by the archivist that no further documents of the apparent suit have been
This is not surprising, since few Prince George documents survive.
In looking at at Prince George County, VA's extant records abstracted by Benjamin
Weisiger, we already know that William Poythress and Francis Poythress were executors for
John Fitzgerald, deceased, and that various entries were made in the PG Co Minute Books
regarding their efforts to collect on debts that were owed to Fitzgerald when he died.
3 leaves in this document show further background on Fitzgerald's situation.
The easier leaf of these three leaves, is just a small slip of paper, apparently written
by and signed by Francis Poythress on 11 May 1736 directing Colonel John Allen to pay 80
lbs of tobacco to Captain Avent.
The other two pages (apparently front & back of the same sheet) are on legal-size
and are closely covered with small clerkly-looking handwriting in one long 2-page
document. Per the bottom of the second side, it was copied by the Clerk of the Court for
Prince George Co, VA. Thus this longer document is not in Francis' handwriting, and
the handwriting is different from that on the above-mentioned small slip of paper.
This longer document is, as Beverley Fleet noted, the answer of Francis Poythress to a
Bill of Complaint brought against him by John Allen, a gentleman. It was sworn to in PG
Court on 27 January 1738/39.
In his answer, Francis explained that in 1725 Allen (the complainant), Nathaniel Harrison
Esquire, Philip Ludwell Esquire, and William Edwards, a gentleman, became partners
in tobacco and other commodities. They sent for various merchandise from Great Britain
employed John Fitzgerald as factor to sell and buy for them. Soon afterward, Fitzgerald
purchased Edwards' share. Ludwell's share was purchased by a London merchant,
Bradley (who was by 1738/39 deceased). Fitzgerald, Bradley, Harrison, and Allen (the
complainant) carried on the trade for some years.
In Oct 1732 Fitzgerald died without leaving any acounting to John Allen (the
William Poythress and Francis Poythress were appointed Fitzgerald's executors.
was described in the document as being uncle and good friend of Francis Poythress. No
relationship was spelled out between William Poythress and either Francis Poythress or
Francis was aware that Fitzgerald owed Bradley in England. Francis wanted Allen to advise
Bradley to place an agreed-upon allowance between Allen and the other partners to the
credit of Fitzgerald's account for such debts that Francis should receive collection
Francis expected no reward for his trouble beyond his expenses, and he expected only a
usual commission, but he never promised he'd be able to collect all the outstanding
Francis collected many debts; he assured that he had not been guilty of neglect; and he
assured that he'd always been willing to settle Allen's account.
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