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The Revolution of 1776
In March of 1775 Patrick Henry made his famous speech uttering "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!" In April 1775 Paul Revere made his midnight ride before the Minute Men battled the British at Lexington and Concord. In June of 1775, George Washington was named Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.

Thomas Norton and William Norton along with Sarah's husband, William Farney possibly joined with the 7th Virginia Regiment organized in Ablemarle county between February and May of 1776. Thomas Norton would have been 23 and William Norton 22. A third brother John was 17 at this time, but it appears he stayed at home to help manage the plantation.

The 7th Virginia first defended the Chesapeake Bay during 1775.
Lord Dunsmore had evacuated Williamsburg for Norfolk in the fall of 1775 because Norfolk was considered to be a more loyalist area. Great Bridge became the focus of British defensive strategy against local militia. Lord Dunsmore organized the Queen’s Own Loyal Virginians, which consisted of local Tories and a regiment of former slaves, called Lord Dunsmore’s Ethiopians. A hastily built British fort secured the land approaches and main bridge to Norfolk, and patriot positions were set up opposite. On December 9, 1775 the British attacked with 600 British regulars and the Queen’s Own across the "great bridge" but were immediately repulsed in a bloody counter-fire from the redoubt held by local Virginia militia under Colonel William Woodford. In all the British lost between 62-102 in the engagement, depending upon various historical military accounts.

The battle forced Lord Dunsmore to withdraw from Norfolk on January 1, 1776 and the British began a naval artillery barrage of the town. Norfolk was now occupied by Virginia patriot forces. The former colonial governor was compelled to leave North America for Britain all together by the summer of 1776. Many loyalists from Norfolk and the surrounding areas left Virginia with Dunsmore.

The retreat from New York
The next major action for the 7th Virginia Line was the defense of Northern New Jersey. On August 22 1776, the British mounted a massive invasion on Long Island. By August 27, the British overwhelmed the Continental Army. Washington withdrew to Manhattan and then up the Croton River. On November 16, after heavy losses by the British, Fort Washington was surrendered and the British took possession of New York City.

By this time, General Washington had crossed into New Jersey making his headquarters in Hackensack. He received word there of the battle for New York and watched the fight from the cliffs at Fort Lee. General Howe captured 2,818 rebel officers and men and killed 53. The British invaders lost 458 men out of a force of 8000 British and Hessian soldiers.

Now the British turned their sights upon Fort Lee and Northern New Jersey across the Hudson River. Fort Lee had been a hub of activity as nearly 3000 American troops evacuated supplies from New York. The British invaded with 8000 troops using a cleft in the Palisades and were within eight miles of Fort Lee. The American army abandoned the fort in such a hurry that cook fires were still burning. Tents, cannons and other supplies where left behind in the retreat.

Washington's army was now in danger of being trapped between the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers. At dawn, they began the march south.

Thomas Paine, an aide-de-camp to General Greene, began writing "The American Crisis" essays at campfires:

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Washington's troops burned the bridges behind them at the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers. The troops tarried at Newark while supply depots across New Jersey were readied. While the Continental army fled further south to New Brunswick, British General Charles Cornwallis gave close pursuit. Within minutes of the Americans departure from Princeton, the British force entered the city. The Continental army fled to Trenton and then across the Delaware into Pennsylvania. New Jersey had fallen to the British Army.

Howe settled in for the winter and waited for the rebels to accept a pardon he had recently offered.

On Christmas Day, 1776, Washington crossed the Delaware River and attacked a garrison of 1600 Hessian troops under the command of Colonel Johann G. Rall.

In a bold daylight attack 2400 American troops with eighteen cannons subdued the Heesians within an hour. One hundred Hessians lay dead, 900 captured and the rest fled into the New Jersey woodlands. The Americans then returned to Pennsylvania.

On December 30, 1776, with most of the army enlistments ended, Washington led 1600 volunteers, Continentals and New Jersey and Pennsylvania militia back into Trenton.

The defense of Philadelphia
The campaign to seize Philadelphia began in late July. Some 15,000 troops under Howe's command sailed from New York on 23 July and landed at Head of Elk (now Elkton), Maryland, a month later (25 August). Washington, with about 11,000 men, took up a defensive position blocking the way to Philadelphia at Chad's Ford on the eastern side of Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania. Howe attacked on 11 September, sending Cornwallis across the creek in a wide-sweeping flanking movement around the American right, while his Hessian troops demonstrated opposite Chad's Ford. Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene's troops staved off Cornwallis' threatened envelopment of Washington's whole force, and the Americans fell back to Chester in a hard-pressed but orderly retreat. Patriot losses in this engagement totaled about 1,000 killed, wounded, and prisoners. British casualties were less than 600.

After their victory at Brandywine the British forces under Howe maneuvered in the vicinity of Philadelphia for two weeks, virtually annihilating a rear guard force under Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne at Paoli on 21 September 1777, before moving unopposed into the city on 26 September. Howe established his main encampment in nearby Germantown, stationing some 9,000 men there. Washington promptly attempted a coordinated attack against this garrison on the night of 3 - 4 October. Columns were to move into Germantown from four different directions and begin the assault at dawn Two of the columns, both made up of militia, never appeared to take part in the attack, but in the early phases of the fighting the columns under Greene and Divan achieved considerable success. However, a dense early morning fog which resulted in some American troops firing on each other while it permitted the better disciplined British to re-form for a counterattack and a shortage of, ammunition contributed to the still not fully explained retreat of the Americans, beginning about 0900. Howe pursued the Colonials a few miles as they fell back in disorder, but he did not exploit his victory. American losses were 673 killed and wounded and about 400 taken prisoner. British losses were approximately 533 killed and wounded.

Valley Forge

" . . . you might have tracked the army from White Marsh to Valley Forge by the blood of their feet."
- George Washington

"An army of skeletons appeared before our eyes naked, starved, sick and discouraged,"
- New York's Gouverneur Morris of the Continental Congress.

"The unfortunate soldiers were in want of everything; they had neither coats nor hats, nor shirts, nor shoes. Their feet and their legs froze until they were black, and it was often necessary to amputate them."
- The Marquis de Lafayette

The 6th Virginia regiment entered Valley Forge in the winter of 1777 with 427 assigned and only 46 fit for duty. When they left the following Spring they had 376 with 226 fit for duty.

Thomas Norton is a Corporal in the Virginia 7th regiment.

There is a strong family tradition that says that James Norton served as an orderly in George Washington's guard. James never mentioned this service in any of his War Pension applications, but I believe the family tradition is correct. James married Jean Bybee whose brother served as an "Aide de Camp" for Washington. The Bybee's had seven sons who served with Washington in important postitions.

The Norton family in 1778-1779 consisted of Christopher and Mary about 53 and 43 years old, Thomas 25, William 24, John 21, Sarah 20 (married to William Farney) James 17, David 15, Elizabeth 11 and Milly 4.

It appears that the Norton brother's enlistment was up in the early in the Spring of 1778. In May of 1778 Thomas Norton purchased 300 acres on a branch of the North Mill Creek commonly known as "Wolf's Place" in southeast Rockingham, Virginia. Close by is William Farney who was married to Thomas' sister Sarah. This land is only 40 miles from the family farm in Fluvanna County but just over the Blue Ridge Mountains and served as a "safe" place when the British moved through Albemarle and Fluvanna in 1780. It is apparent that the Norton family located there for safety from the British from the war record of James Norton.

James Norton the 4th son served two tours of duty in the Virginia Militia during 1779. James pension record states he served his 1st Tour from April to September 1779. He joined under Col. George Thompson, Capt William Smith, Leuftenant Ben Smith in Fluvanna County, Virginia. (James 1st Pension app said he started from Rockingham, but his 2nd says he was wrong and started from Fluvanna) He marched from Fluvanna to Albermarle barracks. Then to Richmond and Petersburg. From there to Portsmouth and Norfolk. From Norfolk he returned to Albermarle County til his tour of 6 months was fulfilled. James 2nd Tour was for 3 months starting in Sept 1779 in Albermarle County under Col. Hamilton and Capt Lamb. He marched to barracks in Winchester and conveyed prisoners there. He then returned to Albemarle county till his 3 month tour was up in December 1779.

James substituted for John Shannon beginning March 12 1780 from Albemarle, Virginia which constituted his 3rd tour. John Shannon furnished him with suitable clothes and everything except a gun which he drew from the Gochland Court House. This was a rifle company. Several of his company were killed during action on Chesapeake Bay and the south branch of the Potomac in Hampshire County. This tour saw considerable sickness in his camp. From the mouth of the James River he marched to Camel Court House through Pittsylvania County VA and here received his discharge about September 1780.

The British invade Fluvanna 1781
For Christopher Norton the War for Independance was a personal battle. As a former British naval officer with decades of service, he was trained for command and had already lived a life of action at sea. He knew what to expect from the British.

British forces led by turncoat Benedict Arnold and Lord Cornwallis entered the Virginia interior in January of 1781 and Virginia was powerless to defend itself. Many of their ablest fighters had been sent elsewhere in the service of George Washington. Only a disorganized and inexperienced force remained to fight for the home cause. Thus, the British arrived unchecked at Richmond, and considerable damage was done to the area.

In June 1781 the "British Legion" commanded by Banastre Tarelton called "The Butcher" for his actions at Charleston was at the very door of the Norton plantation in Fluvanna. In a forced march, Tarelton came right through the Norton plantation in Fluvanna to suprise Charlottesville, almost capturing Thomas Jefferson at Montecello. Jefferson was warned of the attack just in time just in time, and was able to disperse family and visitors to various shelters. He himself fled to safety just as the approaching British arrived within sight.

During this time there are indications that the Norton family had moved to Thomas Norton's land in Rockingham county in the Shenendoah Valley safely away from the British. It appears that all five Norton sons join the Virginia Militia for the final battle at Yorktown. It is possible Thomas Norton and William Farney died at Yorktown.

From James Norton's pension record we learn some of the details.

In July or August [James] was marched down within a few miles from Richmond and connected with Maj. Bunting and General Layfette. where the Americans had just left.

The only event in particular he now remembers of was during the siege of York and Glocester. One morning about four October, the British broke out and overtook a little battery where the French troops were posted. And the battery repulsed at length with some loss on both sides but the American side suffered most.

This was after as he now remembers Vandenberg, the fight of Pigeon Hill which also took place during the siege. He states that he was not stationed on the York side where the most of the Virginia troops were until the day preceeding the surrender.

He states that he was on the north of York River on the night the British attempted to escape but was punished by the fury of the water. (a storm came up to foil the English escape) He was at Gloucester upon York where the British gave up having crossed over to the other side. This last service he was commanded mostly by French commanders whose names he has mostly forgotten. Gen. Chois, a frenchman, took the command of the Virginia army. This just before the surrender. (On the 3d of October the Sieur de Choisy marched to block up Gloucester, and take a position at three miles distance from that place.) Gen. Chois commanded one division during the siege that he was in.

He was not out on furlough for one day after the British gave up. He went with the Militia and some prisoners to Winchester, he remained till the last of December 1781 and was discharged & received his discharge from Patrick Shannon on who was in the barracks.

Our Colonel was authorized to call out men whenever necessary. Being what were called "Minute Men" as we had to be always in readiness so that we could go at less than one hours notice. James Norton remains with the army guarding prisoners until December of 1781.

We know from brother-in-law, John Black's war pension records that John Norton was also at Yorktown, but we have no details.

Sadly the end of 1781 brought the business of taking care of the families and estates of Thomas Norton and William Farney who died just after the Battle of Yorktown. Thomas' brother John Norton was appointed executor of William Farneys estate posting a bond for 30,000 pounds Sterling. He was also appointed guardian of their only son, John Farney.

The children of Thomas Norton are also bound out to wards of the court.



 

 


Christopher Norton
.1718 England
Mary Emmerson b.1735 Goochland, VA
...Thomas Norton b1753 Goochland, VA
...William Norton b1754 Goochland, VA
...Martha Norton b1756 Goochland, VA
...Sarah Norton b1757
Goochland, VA
...John Norton b1759 , VA
......Hiram b.1795 Bourbon, KY
.........Nimrod b.1831 Nicholas, KY
...James Norton b1761 , VA
...David Norton b1763 Fluvanna, VA
......David Jr b.1795, Pendleton, VA
...Elizabeth Norton b1769 Fluvanna, VA
...Milly Norton b1774 Fluvanna, VA

Early Photos
Pleasant Norton b.1801
James Baker Norton b.1831
John Wesley Norton b. 1820
James W Norton b.1822
Nimrod Norton b.1831


Timeline

  • 1717 Robert Norden emigrates to Virginia be establish Baptist congregation in Ille of Wigh county.
  • 1725 Robert Norden dies in Virginia.
  • 1747 lawsuit filed in 1747 at James Cittie that names Charles Friend, mariner v. Christopher Norden,
  • 1752 Christopher Norden and Mary Emmerson married in Goochland, VA
  • 1753 Thomas Norton born.
  • 1754 William Norton born Goochland, VA
  • 1756 Martha Norton born Goochland, VA
  • 1757 Sarah Norton born VA
  • 1759 John Norton born VA
  • 1761 James Norton born VA
  • 1762 Mary Norton witness deed in Albemarle, VA
  • 1763 David Norton born Fluvanna, VA
  • 1769 Elizabeth Norton born Fluvanna, Virginia
  • 1769 Elizabeth Norton born Fluvanna, Virginia
  • 1774 Milly Norton born Fluvanna, Virginia
  • 1775 Marriage of William Norton and Mildred Taylor
  • 1775 Marriage of Sarah Norton to William Farney both of Orange, VA
  • 1777 First mention of Christopher Norton in Fluvanna deed books.
  • 1778 Thoams Norton purchases land in Rockingham, VA
  • 1779 Christopher Norton witnesses deed in Fluvanna, VA
  • 1779 James Norton serves his 1st Tour from April to September 1779. in Fluvanna County, Virginia. James 2nd Tour in Sept 1779 in Albermarle County his 3 month tour was up in December 1779.
  • 1780 May, David Norton enlists in Virginia Line.
  • 1780 James serves 3rd Tour from Albemarle, VA.
  • 1780 Thomas Norton captured at Charleston, SC
  • June 1781 the "British Legion" commanded by Banastre Tarelton attack Charlottesville, VA going through Norton plantation.
  • 1781 Estate of Thomas Norton settled.
  • 1781 Oct 18 Yorktown surrenders. James and John Norton are documented as being there.
  • Nov 26 1781 John Norton executor of William Farney estate in Rockingham.
  • August 19, 1782 James at the "Battle of Blue Licks" in Kentucky.
  • September 10, 1782 Christopher Norton received a Land Office Treasury Warrant from Patrick Henry, the Gov. of Virgnia. He and his wife "Mary" sold that land to a man named John Furbush in September 1788.
  • 1784 John Norton marries Sarah Spencer in Albemarle. Married by Benj. Burger a Baptist minister.

 

 


 

Sources:

1 James City County, Mariner, Charles Friend v. Christopher Norden Judgment 1747
http://www.lva.virginia.gov/whatwehave/local/burned/locality-ip.asp

Israel Friend had many family members who followed him to the Potomac area, including two siblings. Charles Friend (1699-1751) lived in the area that is now Williamsport, Washington Co., Md.(24) Mary Friend had
been married in1727 in Cecil Co., Maryland to Robert Turner, who is found in Frederick Co., Md. deed records as late as 1769.(25)
http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvclay/israel.htm

Israel's sons had followed their father's example, and had movedto the leading edges of the frontier to find their fortunes. Eldest son Jonas Friend was born circa 1725. He had lived at Friend's Fort, now Elkins, Randolph Co., West Virginia, where he died 15 Nov. 1807.(30) He had married by 1754 to Sarah Skidmore in RockinghamCo., Va., and they had five children. Second son Jacob Friend was born circa 1727. He lived inRockingham, later Pendleton, Co., Va. He died in 1818.(31) He hadmarried in 1756 to Elizabeth Skidmore, sister of Sarah, and they had atleast nine children. It has been said that Jonas and Jacob met their brides inRockingham Co., Va. However Joseph Skidmore (their father) is found inFrederick County, Maryland in 1750.(32) He is also found on the 1766list of debts owing to merchant James Dixon of Frederick, Md. (33) The youngest son Charles Friend was born circa 1730, and died in1816 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia.(34), leaving at least four children.

More records on Friend
Friend, Wm. -- merchant -- 1678, SR 05762c, p. 24
Friend, zzz -- master of ship: Cartwright -- 1744, SR 00900, p. 1 These refer to Capt Friend of the ship Cartwright
Friend, zzz -- master of ship: Cartwright -- 1744, SR 14692, p. 1

The Friend family were Quakers and the reference to Capt Friend of the ship Cartwright is for carrying letters to Virginia of London Friends meetings.

2

3 Wm. Douglas Register of marriages in Goochland- Fluvanna, VA.
"Christopher Norden & Mary Emmerson a son named William born Jun 13.1754
[Baptized] 1756 June 26. p. 49" [p. 261 in the Douglas Registry book]


THE DOUGLAS REGISTER, by W. Jones (1928). "Being a detailed record of births, marriages and deaths with other interesting notes as kept by the Rev. Douglas, from
1750 1797." A Goochland Co. Will Index is also included. According to the book, The reverend William Douglas came to St. James northam parish in goochland county, VA, Dover church, on the 12th of October 1750. A memorandum in the register shows that he had charge of St. James northam parish for 27 years: Maniken town (king William parish) for 19 years and ministered to a charge in Buckingham County for 4 years.

"This book is known as the Douglas register for the reason that it not only contains a record of births, christenings, marriages and deaths and funerals in St. James Northam parish and the county of Goochland but in many instances in adjacent counties and other more remote. the record also is not only for the period he was in charge of St. James Northam parish but continues after he left that parish on the 5th of Sept 1777 and went to live in the Louisa County. In fact he kept up the entries in the register until 1797 and thus it covers a period of 92 years.


4 Albemarle Deed Book 3, p. 211
20 Dec 1761 HENRY TILLEY JR. & wife JEAN (JANE) to PHILLIP THURMAN (This is the fellow who is said to have changed spelling to THURMOND) for L30, 294 acres adj. Rich Meadow; CAPT. JOS. MARTIN, HENRY BUNCH. Wit: DAVID THOMSON, CATY THOMSON, MARY NORTON.

5 Christopher Norton received a Land Office Treasury Warrant from Patrick Henry, the Gov. of the Commonwealth on September 10, 1782. He and his wife "Mary" sold that land to a man named John Furbush in September 1788. This grant was unusual for not being assiciated with land bountys granted Revolutionary War vetrans. It seems to be a special grant giving the Nortons ownership of land that they had been farming since at least 1777 when Christopher Norton land is mentioned on deeds bordering it. Several other parcels bordering this land in Fluvanna changed hands at the end of the Revolution suggesting that a Loyalist previously owned the land. Most were purchased in pounds sterling. "Real" money was scarce after the Revolution and paying in pounds sterling was unusual.

6 Christopher Nordens birth may be as early at 1710 and as late as 1725. He married Mary Emmerson in 1754 when she was 19. If he was born in 1725 he would be 29. This age difference is not unusual for a man with a career in the Royal Navy. However if he was born in 1715 and was 39, it begs our imagination to allow it. Also his last child was born in 1774. He was 49 if he was born in 1725 and 59 if he was born in 1715.

Another way of measuring his age is from his naval references. The "Pirate Story" says he was 12 when he went to sea and spent 40 years at sea. 12 years old is the common age for a commission as a midshipman in the Royal Navy. If we count back 40 years from 1777 when we have references for Norton land in Fluvanna and add 12 more we get 1725. It could be that Christopher served the Revolution as a mariner and that could add a few more years to his birth date.

7 Cast of characters associated with the deed Mary Norton witnessed.

Albemarle Deed Book 3, p. 211
20 Dec 1761 HENRY TILLEY JR. & wife JEAN (JANE) to PHILLIP THURMAN (This is the fellow who is said to have changed spelling to THURMOND) for L30, 294 acres adj. Rich Meadow; CAPT. JOS. MARTIN, HENRY BUNCH. Wit: DAVID THOMSON, CATY THOMSON, MARY NORTON.

==================
Richard Meadows listed as "rich meadow". -a location
Capt Joseph Martin - location
Henry Bunch -location
vid Caty Thomson - witness
Mary Norton - witness
Phillip Thurmond - purchaser
Henry Tilly - owner


1) First of all I found the location of the deed.

It's just below Free Union, VA. This deed is right on the road south of Free Union at the joining of Moremans and Mechams creeks. You can see it on the map. It's 7.5 miles from Nortonsville south on the main road.

2) (witness) There is a John Thomson one property east (1759). I have 7 other Thomson properties without a locator to plot them. Any of these could be next to the witness property. William Thomson has land on Moremans creek and close to Woods gap.

3) (location) Rich Meadow west of deed.

4) (location) Joseph Martins land adjoins (barely) north. 1745

5) (location) Henry Bunch adjoins southish. William Bunch has land 1/2 mile from Nortonsville 1739.

6) (seller) Henry Tilley has several properties on the survey I am using but none real close to this property. The records are far from complete.

7) I didn't find any Emmersons in Albemarle, but I misspelled it "Jemmerson" and hit the jackpot.

Adjoing the deed or very near by are 1000 acres owned by the 3 oldest brothers of Mary Emmerson Norton.

Samuel Jemmerson and John Jemmerson (several spellings) have 1000 acres going up the north side of Moreman's creek. This is within 1/4 mile of the witnessed property. The deed dates are 1741-1751. I think Jemmerson is a problem transcribing "J. Emmerson" or combining "Je" for a Capital E. At least they were consistant. I find no Jemmersons on other counties.

There is also a Henry Emmerson in the area but more towards Fluvanna border and of course Thomas Emmerson (deed 1773) within 1/4 mile of Christopher Norton. Thomas Emmerson also has land further down the 3 notched road 1763.
Emmerson is also used as "Thomas Eme'son's". Thomas Emmersons land is mentioned

9) Adjoining Thomas Emmersons property in Christopher/Fluvanna is John Thurmond, Glasby, Joseph Walker, Samuel Davis,Francis Baker, Jno Stranges, John Bybe.

10) Thomas Emmersons other Fluvanna Property dates from 1747. 1/4 mile away is David Walker 1739, John Walker Jun. 1739 and Joseph Walker 1750. Thomas Walker also witnessed a deed 1728.

11) Goochland. It turns out that Thomas Emmersons land in Goochland (240 acres) adjoins his land in Fluvanna. The Goochland deed dates from 1763. Next door is John Walkers land (400 acres) dating from 1735. Joseph Walker
is next to John 1735.

8 this land transaction is close to Boonesville and is the location of Gentry church. In 1785, James Gentry, from Louisa County, purchased 400 acres of land in northern Albemarle County near the county line with Orange County. The land was purchased from Thomson and Sarah Walton for 40 pounds of current Virginia money. In 1810, James Gentry purchased 400 acres of land from John Huckstep and his wife, Aggy, just across the Albemarle County line into Orange County. The 400 acres was located on the Lyne (Lynch) River and is now located in Greene County (see map, Figure 2a).


9 A HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS By Thomas Armitage THE AMERICAN BAPTISTS
The first nine Acts of 1661 provided for the support of the State Church; in each parish a church edifice was to be built out of the public treasury, together with a parsonage house and the purchase of a globe for the minister's use. He was to receive a salary of ,80 sterling, a provision subsequently changed to 16,000 pounds of tobacco, to be levied on the parish and collected like other taxes. Each minister must be ordained by a Bishop in England, all other preachers were to be banished; every person who wilfully avoided attendance on the parish Church for one Sunday was to be fined fifty pounds of tobacco; every Non-conformist was to be fined ,20 for a month's absence, and if he failed to attend for a year he must be apprehended and give security for his good behavior, or remain in prison till he was willing to attend Church. Much pretense has been made, that because the early settlers of the colony were cavaliers, they were less austere, more polished and of gentler blood than the Puritans of Massachusetts. But the brutal intolerance of the English Court was faithfully copied by them, and no darker or more bloody pages stain English or Massachusetts history than those that defile the early records of Virginia. White tells us of a band of men who were driven from Virginia 'for their religious opinions' in 1634. [Annals of Annapolis, p. 23] Bulk records the revolting barbarities inflicted on Stevenson Reek for the same cause in 1640. He 'stood in the pillory two hours with a label on his back, paid a fine of ,50, and was imprisoned at the pleasure of the Governor,' for simply saying, in a jocular manner, that his majesty was at confession with my lord of Canterbury.' [ Ecc. Hist. of Va., ii, pp. 51-67] Holmes details, at length, that in 1648 four missionaries were sent from Massachusetts to Virginia, Messrs. James, Knollys, Thompson and Harrison. They held a few meetings there in private, but their little congregations were violently broken up and the missionaries banished, while many of their hearers were imprisoned.' [Annals, 289] James Ryland, a member of the House of Burgesses from the Isle of Wight County, prepared a Catechism which was pronounced 'blasphemous' for which he was expelled in 1652; and for some other trivial religious offense a member from Norfolk was expelled in 1663. Virginia had adhered to the king against Cromwell and the Commonwealth, and Dr. Hawks, the eloquent Episcopal historian of Virginia, tells of four of Cromwell's soldiers who were 'rudely hung, as a warning to the remainder' in 1680, for their religions opinions, under the pretense that 'their assemblages' were 'perverted from religious to treasonable purposes', 'these religious assemblages themselves being regarded as a subversion of the government.' [Hist. of Episcopacy in Va., pp. 71-72]

Hening states that the 111th Act of the Grand Assembly of 1661-62 declared that, 'Whereas, Many schismatical persons, out of their averseness to the orthodox established religion, or out of the new-fangled conceits of their own heretical inventions, refuse to have their children baptized; Be it therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that all persons that in contempt of the divine sacrament of baptism, shall refuse when they may carry their child to a lawful minister in that county, to have them baptized, shall be amersed two thousand pounds of tobacco; half to the informer, half to the public.' [Statutes at large, ii, pp. 165-166]

This was a blow dealt at the Quakers, as there seem to have been no Baptists in the colony at that time. Several Acts of the Assembly in 1659, 1662 and 1693 made it a crime for parents to refuse the baptism of their children. Jefferson writes: 'If no execution took place here, as in New England, it was not owing to the moderation of the Church or the spirit of the Legislature, as may be inferred from the law itself, but to historical circumstances which have not been handed down to us.'

When William and Mary came to the throne, in 1689, their accession was signalized by that enactment of Parliament called the ACT OF TOLERATION. Even this, as Dr. Woolsey remarks, 'removed only the harshest restrictions upon Protestant religious worship, and was arbitrary, unequal and unsystematic in its provisions.' Still, it was the entering wedge to religious freedom, and while the Baptists of England gladly availed themselves of it and organized under it in London as a great Association for new work, a hundred and seventeen Churches being represented, the authorities of Virginia thought it inoperative in their colony. It was not until a score of years after the passage of this Act that the colonial Legislature gave to the colonists the meager liberties which it granted to the British subject. When, however, news of this Act reached Virginia, the few individual Baptists then scattered abroad there resolved on their full liberty as British subjects under its provisions. They entreated the London Meeting to send them ministers, an entreaty which was followed by a correspondence running through many years. In 1714 Robert Nordin and Thomas White were sent as ordained ministers to the colony, but White died upon the voyage. Up to this time there seems to have been no organized body of Baptists in Virginia, although there are traces of individuals in North Carolina as early as 1696, who had fled from Virginia to escape her intolerance. Semple finds the first Baptist Church of Virginia organized in association with the labors of Nordin at Burleigh, Isle of Wight County, in 1714, on the south side of the river and opposite Jamestown. Howell thinks that before the coming of Nordin there had been a gathering of citizens there, joined by others from Surry County for consultation, and that they had petitioned the London Baptists to send them help. Be this as it may, Nordin was soon followed by two other ministers, Messrs. Jones and Mintz, and under the labors of these men of God the first Church was formed in that year, and soon after one at Brandon, in the County of Surry. The first is now known as Mill Swamp; it is thought that the Otterdams Church is the second. These were General Baptists, but in a few years they embraced Calvinistic sentiments, and Nordin labored in that region till he died, in 1725. While this movement was in progress in the southern part of Virginia, the influence of the Welsh Baptists, in Pennsylvania and Delaware, began to be felt in Berkeley, London and Rockingham Counties, which were visited by their ministers. Semple thinks that these laborers first readied the colony through Edward Hays and Thomas Yates, members of the Saters Baptist Church, in Maryland, and that Revs. Loveall, Heaton and Gerard soon followed them. Churches were then gathered at Opecon, Mill Creek, Ketocton and other points in rapid succession, which became members of the Philadelphia Association, from which they received the counsel and aid of David Thomas, John Gano and James Miller, which accounts in part for the rapid spread of Baptist principles in North Virginia. They were soon strengthened, also, by the labors of two men of great power, formerly of other denominations, who became Baptists. Shubael Steams, a native of Boston, Mass., was converted under the preaching of George Whitefield, and united himself with the revival party of the Congregationalists, called New Lights, in 1745. He continued with them for six years, when lie became convinced, from an examination of the Scriptures, that infant baptism was a human institution and that it was his duty to confess Christ on his faith.

10 Albemarle County Will Book No. 3 1785-1798, pg. 101 reads, "I will and bequeath to my daughter Mary Morton five shillings...."

However, the Albemarle Wills microfiche (#30212) of the handwritten will clearly reads "Mary Norton": especially when you compare the handwritten "M" in "Mary" to the "N" in "Norton."

11 "Although from this time orders proliferated for roads within present Louisa County, the
next order falling within our area of interest occurs in the fall on 10 October 1743 O.S. This
order called for a road from the road in Orange that extends to the dividing line between this
County and Orange on Linches river to the upper north fork of Buck Mountain creek along the
track that leads to Robert Thomson.? Greene County was separated in 1838 from Orange
County, created in 1734, so that the area in question lies on Lynch?s River along that boundary.
Although it is not known where Robert Thomson lived, the upper north fork of Buck mountain
creek would appear to be those branches of the stream in the Boonesville area, and the road
Route 810 from the hollow north of Browns Cove down through the present Boonesville and
Nortonsville to Lynchs River and ?the road in Orange County that extends to the dividing line."
ALBEMARLE COUNTY ROADS 1725-1816 By Nathaniel Mason Pawlett

 

The Deeds of Amherst County, Virginia 1761-1807 and Albemarle County, Virginia 1748-1763 by The Rev. Bailey Fulton David, Page 208 13 Aug 1762 DAVID THOMPSON & wife CATY to DAVID MILLS for [pound symbol] 55: 524 acres-250 acres of it pat. 16 Aug 1756; 274 acres pat 10 Aug 1759, Lynch River branches. Wit: NICHL. MERIWETHER, JNO. LEIS JR. (LEWIS) [V Note: Caty is Elizabeth “Caty Ann” Lewis.]

 

Baptist church in Albemarle near Nortonsville. 1773 Chestnut Grove Baptist church. (formerly Buck Mt. church) George Gentry a member in 1799.