Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

so I start this site in Virginia… go figure

Pitt _IOW to Edgecombe

with 15 comments

I ran across this early 1600s mention of Henry Pitt of Bristol England… apparently these items became available in 1973.  Perhaps the James Powell who married the widow Ann of Henry was also a partner/employee? in Bristol.  It is stated both Henry and son Thomas were in Virginia by 1662.


Bargain and sale
1. Mathewe Haveland, mayor, and the Burgesses and Cominaltye of Bristol.
2. William Pitt, merchant.
Premises: One messuage in the parish of St.Thomas the Apostle extending from Redcliffe Street to the Avon, 25′ front breadth, 29′ at the back.
One messuage in the parish of Redcliffe, extending from Redcliffe Street to Avon Back. 15′ front breadth, 13′ at the back.
Annual Rents: £1.13s.4d. and £1.6.8d. respectively, [£1.66½] [£1.33]


Marriage settlement by deed to lead the uses of a recovery
1. Henry Pitt, merchant
2. Thomas Dale of Wrington, Somerset, gent., Walter Stephens, mercer, John Price and William Shute, gent.
Premises: One messuage in Redcliffe Street, St.Thomas One garden near St.Thomas’ Lane, St.Thomas One messuage in Redcliffe Street, Redcliffe.
Consideration: Marriage, already solemnised between Henry Pitt and Margaret, daughter of Thomas Dale and £450 dowry.


Quit claim
1. Henry Pitt, late of Bristol, now of Virginia, U.S.A.
2. Thomas Pitt, his son.
Premises: Messuage in Redcliffe Street, St.Thomas

Assignment of lease as in (4)
1. James Powell, Thomas Pitt and Sarah Pitt (daughter of Henry Pitt) spinster.
2. Edward Moore, cooper
3. Edward Brooke, cooper
Premises: As in (6)
Consideration: £50


Deed to lead the uses of a fine
1. Henry Pitt and Anne his wife, Thomas Pitt (son of Henry) and Sarah Pitt
2. Edward Moore, cooper
3. Edmond Heath, merchant
Premises: Messuage in Redcliffe Street, St. Thomas

Ann is evidently his second wife… 

A map is included at the above site which might allow us to figure out almost exactly where old Henry Pitt loaded up his ship to send stuff to Virginia… and I have (I think) figured out just about where Henry had land in Isle of Wight, VA.  This is a treat for me to research because I’ve never had this wealth of information for any of these old guys.

Thomas Pitt made a deposition Feb. 9, 1664 in which he stated he was 28 years of age. This would make his date of birth in 1636.

Below essentially identifies some property of Thomas Pitt in Isle of Wight, 1679  (no reference of when he obtained it originally… I cannot find a patent).  This land was about 4 or 5 miles south of Arthur Smith’s property near modern Smithfield… on Cypress Creek. Henry Pitt’s property was 4 or 5 miles west of Smithfield on modern Jones Creek (Thomas Pitt would inherit this land at his father’s death).  I’ve attempted to map the Pitt’s property (see my Isle of Wight map)… I fully “expected” to find these early guys near  a “seaport” access since they were merchants to and from Bristol.  Such is not the case however… their land was on smaller creeks.  Arthur Smith had the best access in the entire county at a place called “king of all places” near modern Smithfield… it would make good business sense for the families to intermarry.  If I am correct with my map, then Robert and Henry Pitt  had near-adjoining property in 1643. (Robert was in IOW at least by 1637… I am not sure about Henry who patented land in 1652 but obviously still had connections in Bristol in 1662, per above English records.)

Pitt_Th_land 1679

Below are some extant deeds I found at the Library of Virginia site…

Pitt_deeds IOW

This is the first deed I found for Robert Pitt  (or PITT”S” in this case … adding the “S” is necessary to find it on the Lib of Virginia site)…  I am convinced that this was located at the modern Brewer’s Creek at the northernmost juncture of Isle of Wight and Nansemond Counties.


From Joani’s research…
“James Pitt d Edge 1797 md Ann West, daughter of Richard West d. IOW 1747 and second wife Ann ? died 1751.
I’m quite sure my James brother was Thomas Pitt died 1774 IOW with wife Elizabeth Norsworthy. They had 3 children Joseph, Arthur and Elizabeth. John Smelly was the first guardian but he died and my James went back to IOW and took over guardianship of Arthur and Elizabeth and brought them back to Edge. Older brother Joseph came too and died Edge 1818. Arthur and Elizabeth moved on to TN and originated the Pitt Distillery in Robertson CO. Ann West’s grandparents were William West (Bacon’s Rebellion fame) and wife Rebecca Braswell.”

Below are “processioning” returns from IOW, Newport Vestry Book, 1744… several Pitts are mentioned… the last page pretty much pinpoints the “Nansemond line”, which is Kingsale Swamp area running to modern Brewer’s Creek… with all the convoluted name changes of the various creeks and rivers, this line has remained constant since 1674.

Pitt_processioning 1744

…….side note… I cannot find a modern reference to the “Davis Creek” mentioned above and think it may be a “lost to history” deal. I’m thinking it was named after a real person of the time and suggest this:

Thomas Davis received a grant of land of 300 acres in Upper County of Norfolk in 1644, as follows (Nugent’s Abstracts, p. 232):

 “Thomas Davis, 300 acs. Up. Norf. Co., Aug. 10, 1644, Page 21.  Upon a br. of Newtown haven river called Beverley Cr., adj. Thomas Jordens, dec’d. & Thomas Poole, 100 acs. by patent dated Nov. 27, 1637 & the residue for trans. of:  Attwell Bestwicke, Richd. Goffe, Michael James & Jno. _______.  Marginal note:  This patent was falce in the old records and entered true in the 56th page of the said Booke.”

 There are two grants in Nugent’s Abstracts, pages 238-239, one under the other, the first for land in Nansemond, and the second for land in Isle of Wight, which leads us to believe that these grants were for the same Thomas Davis, the subject of this sketch, and they are as follows:

 “Thomas Davis, 300 acs. Nansemond Co., Aug. 10, 1646, Page 70.  On Beverley Cr. a br. of Newtown haven Riv., adj. Thomas Jordan, dec’d. & Thomas Poole.  100 acs. by former patent & 200 acs. for trans. of 4 pers.

My guess is that Davis Creek is at or near the modern Brewer’s Creek (see my Isle of Wight map under “Pages”)  but then it would need to be several miles BELOW Brewer’s Creek just to accommodate the lands listed?



My first impression is that Henry and Thomas had adjoining property and ditto for James and John… but they were several miles apart.

If you think of these “returns” as say “chunks of folks”… then the Ralph Vicars/ formerly George Anderson land is roughly in the middle.

I’m thinking Henry & Thomas may have been at the area of my Isle of Wight map where the William West property is shown (a couple miles north of George Anderson (shown in red)…. I think Henry Pitt purchased that West property??

The patent for John Pitt in 1703? for 22 acres mentions the “north west side of Chuckatuck Creek” which would be on the Nansemond line…


Some folks from the 1702-1709 era… from the “Chuckatuck” Vestry (anyone know if this is still in existence?… this author is from the 1854-1878 time period. If he gathered these notes prior to the 1866 fire then this may be the only record of the vestry book.)


page 305/6

“I have also referred to a small parish, called Chuckatuck, in Nansemond county, of which I could say nothing for want of any documents. A friend has sent me the copy of a portion of an old vestry-book of this parish, which contains the proceedings of the vestry from December of the year 1702 to 1709. I will first give the names of the gentlemen composing the vestry during that period : — ”

“Captain Edmund Godwin,

Major Thomas Swann,

Captain L. Havield,

Mr. James Davis,

Mr. Oliver Slaughter,

Mr. James Cewling,

Mr. Thomas Drury,

Colonel Thomas Godwin,

Captain John Pitt,

Mr. Thomas Corbell,

Colonel George Norsworthy,

Captain Charles Drury,

Mr. John Brasseur,

Major Thomas Jordan,

Captain B. Kearne,

Mr. John Lear,

Peter Best,

Thomas Cutchins,

John Isles.”

page 304

The following is the list of vestrymen during the period of which it is a record : —

” Laurence Baker, Samuel Davis, Matthew Jones, Thomas Walton, William Kinchin, William Crumples,

William Bridger, James Day, George Reddick, Matthew Wills, Reuben Proctor, Nathaniel Ridley,

Thomas Woodly, John Goodrich, George Williamson, James Ingles, John Porson, John Davis,

John Simmons, William Wilkinson, Joseph Godwin, Henry Lightfoot, James Bridger, John Monro,

Thomas Parker, Hardy Council, Henry Pitt, Arthur Smith, Richard Wilkinson, Henry Apple- whaite,

Thomas Day, John Laurence, Hugh Giles, Thomas and John Applewhaite, Thomas Tynes, John Eley,

Thomas Smith, Jordan Thomas, John Darden, Dolphin Drew, John Wills, William Hodsden,

William Salter, Robert Barry, Charles Tilghman, Robert Burwell, Miles Wills, Edmund Godwin.”

In the foregoing list, my friend remarks, are forty different surnames, almost all of which are now

to be found in Isle of Wight and Southampton counties ; that is, within the original bounds of old

Warwicksqueake shire and parish. It appears from the vestry- book that, in the year 1737,…

Source, Title above,  (a free e-book)


And searching the Quaker records of Nansemond – this blurb from 1703… evidently Thomas Pitt did a gig as sheriff:

Early Quaker Records in Virginia – Miles White, jr.

page 27

I doe hereby acquit & discharge Richd Rattcliff from all Judgmts executions or Debts whatsoever Pr Henry Pitt

ffebr 24 : 1702/3

Sesed by Tho Pitt high shrif of the Ile white County 1703 the sume of 160 lb of Tobb for the Priet Andrew monroe & other Church rates to wit Clerk saxton

from Pr Richd Rattcliff senior

Quakers and Anglicans… oil and water.  Of course starting in 1776 most Americans were a bit sour on the idea of forced taxes to support a “state” church.

This further proves Andrew Monro was a minister.


I am bouncing around… trying to wrap my head around WHERE these guys were living…

Here is a telling deed from 1752… proof of line of descent from Thomas Pitt to son Henry then to GRANDSON Henry… land is near Cypress Creek (my guess is this is close to the original grants… which would be nearer the Rev. Brasswell church … which suggests the area also for the William West connection…  (this would not be the “Nansemond” Pitts)         ???

Pitt_Henry 1752IOW

This deed (lease) of 1713 mentions the William West land…

Pitt_Henry1713 IOW

Taking a stab at the Robert Pitt line (again, theorizing about WHERE these guys lived)…. This guy is my guess for the progenitor of the Nansemond Pitts.

Robert Pitts, Merch’t, Feby 14, 1638, 550 acres about 3-1/2 miles up
the river called New Town haven.

Robert Pitt, Aug. 28, 1643, 209 upon the westward side of a branch of
New Town haven river called Beverly creek.

Robert Pitt, Apl 17, 1648, 300 acres Beg’g &c toward New Town haven

Lt. Col. Rob Pitt, June 7, 1654, 1200 acres Beg’g at a branch of
Newtown haven river at a small creek on the north side of the said land.

He also acquired a large chunk of property many miles west of here near the Blackwater River but I theorize this was just “investment” property with a couple other hotshot speculators. His will was dated 1672 and he mentions a grandson Robert, “the son of Robert Pitt deceased” so I assume the Blackwater property was his. Other folks speculate he also had some property in Accomack County (I haven’t looked into that but it would make sense if he was plowing the James River hauling merchandise around.

I’m thinking the descendants mentioned in the 1744 “processioning records” above are his… namely John and James Pitt. Given that the original land is divided between the descendants and they move on to better their circumstances, it seems likely.


Sooooo… I’ve got my theories and figure I’ll just start running down wills and deeds and track the descendants…

I think I’ll stick with this Robert Pitt line as long as I can just to stay focused… we know that this Robert had a brother Thomas Pitt but for my purposes I’ll call Robert the “Nansemond” line and Thomas the “Isle of Wight” line.

WILL OF ROBERT PITT – Recorded in ISLE of WIGHT Co., Virginia       1672

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN: I, Robert Pitt, Merchant, being sick and weak of body but praise be god in sound memory do ordain this for my Last Will and Testament in manner and form as follows:

First, I give and bequeath my soul to God my maker trusting to find Salvation and redemption for my soul and life eternal through the merits of my Saviour his son Jesus Christ who died for me and my body to be buried at the discretion of my executor.

ITEM: I give and bequeath as a gift of my beloved wife Martha Pitt one parcel of land that lieth about the plantation that Robert Bartlitt now lies on and joineth upon the North side of the land by Mr. John Seward for the length, and breadth towards the Church upon the land, which was Captain Uptons on his land my executor is to build one house twenty-five feet in length within four years after my decease which aforesaid land and housing is to be given for the estate of poor women and three cows.

ITEM: I given and bequeath as a gift from my daughter Martha Pitt two cows and two females calves, which cattle and their increase are to be put upon the aforesaid land and not any to be disposed of until they increase to a number of twelve which number is to be continued upon the aforesaid land, and what shall be over that number of cattle shall be disposed of by the Sheriff, then one half of the benefit of the cows and the whold benefit of the land to be for the estate of poor women and the other half of the benefit of the cattle to be for the estate of poor female orphans.

ITEM: I give and bequeath the dividend of land, where I now live upon being twelve hundred acres and what more lieth between Capt. Bridgers Creek and Sewards adjoining to it unto my son John Pitt, during his life and after his death to my grandson William Pitt and his heirs for ever.

ITEM: I give and bequeath that land that lieth on the North side of the Creek that Robert Bartlitt lives on and the Creek Captain Bridgers lives on, for running towards William Ernest and northly into the woods, unto my son John Pitt during his life and afterwards to my grandsons, John Pitt, and to his heirs lawfully begotten of his body.

ITEM: I give and bequeath unto my son John Pitt that land that Thomas Turner liveth on and what land shall lie between the land, given to my grandson William Pitt and Chuckatuck the bounds of which land is to be the Branch which runeth straight up through field to Captain Godyne which aforesaid land after my son John’s decease, I give to my grandson Robert Pitt and to his heirs lawfully begotten of his body.

ITEM: I give and bequeath unto my daughter, Mary Brassier, the Value of ten thousand pounds of tobacco and cattle in goods or chattel to be paid out of my personal estate, by my so John Pitt and his heirs, more I give unto my daughter Brassier on silver tankard and one looking glass and furniture and clothes.

ITEM: I give and bequeath unto my daughter [Hester] Bridger a pair of cushions being worked upon canvass.

ITEM: I give unto my daughter Elizabeth Norseworthy five hundred pounds of tobacco and cattle to be paid unto her yearly to be paid out of the rents of the land which I have given to William Pitt, more I given unto my daughter Elizabeth Norseworthy my set of chairs.

ITEM: I give unto my grandson Robert Pitt, the son of Robert Pitt deceased, the sum of five thousand pounds of tobacco and cattle or to the value in goods to be paid unto him when he is come to the age of eighteen years. And if it should please to take away out of this life anyone of my grand children in whom I have given my land before the decease of my son John, then his part of land shall be disposed of at the discretion of my son John Pitt.

I hereby revoke all former wills and do make my son John Pitt my Executor of my Last Will and Testament as Witness my hand and seal this sixth day of June 1672.

Robert Pitt Seal


Richard Johns

Thomas R. Hill

Looks like an only son John with grandsons Robert & William Pitt….  It is purported the son Robert, a sea captain, died about 1668 and evidently the grandson Robert removed to Accomack County… William also removed? (I haven’t dug very deep into Accomack records)


John Pitt will 1702
William and Mary College Qrtly, Vol. 7, No. 4, P. 253

Will of Coll. John Pitt, of Bristoll, now living in the Isle of Wight Co., Va. My Father Coll. Robert Pitt: devises lands in Chuckatuck Creek, Newport, in Isle f Wight Co. (devised by his father) to his sons, John, Henry, James: his deathhead ring to his son John, his seale ring to son Henry, to James Pitt his strong water still and furniture and silver tumbler marked J. P., to Henry Pitt a silver tankard marked J. PMC,a silver tumbler marked S. P., to son John my silver salt cellars. Dau. Sarah Nosworthy 5 shillings, Martha Nosworthy 5 shillings, dau. Prudence Driver 2 cows, dau. Mary Drury 5 shillings, dau-in-law Anne Bromfield 12 sheet weh her mother gave her more yn what is due to her of her father Mr. John Bromfield’s estate, John Pitt Exor. Dated 28 Nov 1702, pr. 9th Jan, 1702-3. Inventory of John Pitt, 163 L, 9s, 4d.


from John A Brayton Vol 7 Colonial Families of Surry and IOW  The Pitt Family of Bristol, Glouster, Charleston, Mass. and IOW VA

Brayton pg 47


28th day of Nov / probated 9 th of Jan 1702/1703- Will of Coll. John Pitt

-In the name of God amen I John Pitt of the city of Bristol now living in Isle of Wight County Virginia….My death being certain but the time uncertain, being at present of sound and perfect memory do make this my last will and testament and revoking all others, as followeth first I do commend my soul into the hands of God in assured hope of my resurrection to life eternall, by ye only merits my blessed Jesus Christ giving my body to the earth to be buried at the discretion on my Exrs hereafter named.

Whereas My father COLL ROBERT PITT did by his last will and testament gave unto me all his lands and to my children after my decease, as by his will may appear, and in case any of his grandsons to whom hebequeathed his lands should dye before me, then that part of ye lands bequeathed should be wholly at my disposal. Wherefore I give…sd lands as followeth–

I give to my son JOHN PITT that land where he now liveth on Chuckatuck Creek which is contained in a patent of 450 acres  of land taken up by RICHARD YOUNG so far as land do extend on ye Creek and back in the woods to the Main Road goeth down ye Neck. Likewise, I give 100 acres of land contained in a patent of 400 acres taken up by JOHN WILLIAMS in the same part of land lying in Nansemond County. I likeewise give unto my son JOHN PITT all my land as y woods as far as MANDEWS,  joinning on the land of Col. JOSEPH BRIDGER for whyich land I have a conveyance, from Col Joseph Bridger for 600 acres of land to him my said son JOHN PITT  his heirs of his body lawfully begotten forever, & for want of suchs heirs herewith to my son JAMES PITT & his heirs forever.

I give unto my son HENRY PITT all that tract of land whereon my father COL. ROBERT PITT lived and whereMR. MONRO now liveth being twelve hundred acres lying on ye Neck between the Chuchatuck Creek & into the woods. I likewise give to my son HENRY PITT one lot or ½  acres of land lying in the towne of Newport in Isle of Wight County being the 26th Lott to his heirs and the heirs of his body lawfully begottenforever and fore want of such issue to my son JAMES PITT &  his heirs forever .

I give to my son JAMES PITT all that land whereon the WIDDOW SNOWDEN and WIDDOW GRAY and ARTHUR MURPHREY now liveth as far into the woods as the main road And as ye road runneth to be ye bounds between him & John Pitt and to bound on the  Back Creek. I likewise give my son JAMES PITT one lott or ½ acres of land lying in the towne of Newport it being the 25th lott whereon is the house with Brick Chimneys to him and his heirs lawfully begotten, forever & for want of heirs then to JOHN PITT & his heirs forever.

I give to my son JOHN PITT my negro woman ROSE . I likewise give him my Death head Ring.

I give unto my son HENRY PITT my negro man TIM &my negro Girl Pink, and my seal Ring.

I give unto my son JAMES PITT my negro woman HAGAR and my negro boy Ark, and likewise give unto my son JAMES PITT my strong water still with all ye furniture belonging to it and silver tumbler marked J. P.

I give unto my grandson ROBERT PITT one negro girl called FLOWER

I give to my son HENRY PITT a silver tankard marked I P Mc and a silver tumbler marked S. P.

I give unto my son JOHN PITT my silver salt sellers.

I give to my daughter SARAH NORSWORTHY five shillings.

I give unto my daughter MARTHA NORSWORTHY five shillings;

I give unto my daughter PRUDENCE DRYVER two cows.

I give into my daughter MARY DRURY

five shillings .

It is my will that my daughter in law ANN BROMFORD (IELD) have twelve sheep which her mother gave her which is more than what is due  to her of her father’s JOHN BROMFIELD’s estate.

And for the rest of my estate that is not given, it is my will that my three sons JOHN,  HENRY, and JAMES

divide it between  themselves. I appoint my son JOHN PITT my whole executor of this my last will and testament revoking all other wills….in witness eth thereof I have —to set my hand and seal this 28th day of November 1702.  wit by Daniel Camron, George Allen, Richard Scamwell


 Note there is no mention of a son “Robert” in the above will.. But much to my chagrin concerning my notes below he mentions a “grandson Robert” which I have not accounted for…  I may have to pop a cork and ponder this… darnnit!  Who is THIS Robert a son of?  

…..for you will reading wizards… what does this mean from the 1702 will?  This is referring directly to the grandsons of his father who died in 1672…

Whereas My father COLL ROBERT PITT did by his last will and testament gave unto me all his lands and to my children after my decease, as by his will may appear, and in case any of his grandsons to whom he bequeathed his lands should dye before me, then that part of ye lands bequeathed should be wholly at my disposal. Wherefore I give…sd lands as followeth–


From a blurb in William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Volume 7:

Robert Pitt and Henry Pitt were sons of William Pitt and Mary of Bristol.  William Pitt was son of Thomas Pitt, who made his will in 1613.  Thomas Pitt, who patented lands previous to 1646, on the Appomattox, was probably another brother…

Robert Pitt was a member of the Council and Lieutenant Colonel. His wife at the time of his death was Martha, sister of Col. John Lear. He had issue:

(1) Robert, dead before 1672, leaving son Robert

(2) Lt. Col. John

(3) Hester m. Col. Joseph Bridger, Esq.

(4) Elizabeth m. Nosworthy

(5) Mary m. John Brasseur

[per son John from same footnote]

His son, Lt. Col. John Pitt, mar. after 1677 Olive Hardy. He appears to have had

(1) Robert (?), dead before father, m’d Sarah, dau. of Col. Arthur Smith; she mar., secondly, Rev. Andrew Monro

(2) John

(3) Henry

(4) James

(5) Sarah m. Nosworthy

(6) Prudence m. Driver


The “Roberts” above just don’t add up (which explains the “(?)” of this early research)…

Col. John Pitt’s will is dated 1702

Robert Pitt’s will (his supposed son) is dated 1711, R. 1712

…………. J.B. Boddie also has a Robert as a son of John Pitt….. I disagree.

So who is the Robert who married the daughter of Arthur Smith?  The grandson of the first Robert Pitt is “purported” to remove to Accomack and (I assume) take up his father’s estate and business…  ???   I don’t think he did…

From Wills and Administrations, Accomack County, Virginia, 1663-1800 by Stratton Nottingham:

PITT, ROBERT – “Upon intelligence of the death of Mr. Robert Pitt, Devoras Browne produced a will formerly made by the sd Pitt appointing him to be his exucutor” Browne willing to take charge of said estate……… 1670…

… and then a line of Pitts from “Pitt’s Creek” in Accomack find their way into history (including a “Robert” leaving a will in 1711, R. 1714)…… is there any proof of a connection to the Nansemond Pitts????

In 1663 the General Assembly re- warded John Pitt, of Isle of Wight, for building a vessel of 28 tons. Robert Pitt was in 1699 Justice of Accomac Co.    (misc note)

Again, who is the Robert who married the daughter of Arthur Smith? 

 It looks to me that the Robert who leaves the will in 1711 is the grandson of the first Robert Pitt d. 1672.  There is also the grandson William to contend with (each being left some of the grandfather’s property east of modern Smithfield, roughly).

Aha… this guy’s father was the “deceased” Robert of the 1672 will of his grandfather (in my opinion).  His mother Sarah Smith Pitt, remarried to Monro (which explains his sisters Monro and his uncles the brothers of his father Robert.

Will of Robert Pitt, of Newport, in Isle of Wight Co.:  Bro.

John Monro, 3 sisters Henrietta Monro, Sarah Monro, and Mary

Monro, Uncle James Pitt, Unkle Henry Pitt, Unkle John Pitt.

“I give and bequeath my whole right and title of the town land

as never having received any satisfaction for it to the use of the

church for a Gleab, or as the Court and vestry shall think fitt”; to

Mary Pitt, dau. of Mr. Thomas Pitt, and to Elizabeth Bridger,

dau. of Capt. Joseph Bridger, 10 pds. sterling each; Mary Moss-

crop, dau. of Thomas Mosscrop, and to Sarah Watt, dau. of John

Watt, to each like sums.  To Martha, dau. of Mr. John Nos-

worthy, and to Jane Smith, dau of Coll. Arthur Smith, and to

my three sisters before mentioned to each 5000 pds. Tob.; my

father-in-law Andrew Monro and Uncle Henry Pitt Exors.

D. July 10, 1711.  R. Jan. 26, 1712

This seems likely for the grandson William… died intestate 1692  (did an appraisal for James Hunter in 1688… no other mention)

Pg 48 of Chapman’s typewritten notes for IOW Wills & Admin:

Pitt, William: Appraisal by John Frissell, James Garner, John Dun.

D. May 13, 1692        Page 319

So far, I note, the name “Thomas” is not showing up in the Nansemond Pitt line….


There appears to be some debate about the Robert Pit d.1711.  I think that Robert Pitt (his father d. before 1672) married Sarah the daughter of Andrew Smith.  It would be nice to clear up any doubts.  My point of interest is that I think he left NO heirs.  I also think his likely brother William also left NO heirs.  Any proof to the contrary would be helpful.   For my purposes it is not critical to establish the relationship of these 2 Roberts and this William….  the line is important.


By 1711… the only living “direct” male descendants are John, Henry and James, sons of John Pitt d.1703.

This is my guess for son Henry who appears to die relatively young:

The will of Henry Pitt dated Feb 6 1718/19 named legatees: my children John, Joseph and Mary; to son John the gold ring, which my father gve me. Wife Executrix. Witnesses: Arthur Smith, John Turner, & Mary Smith. Recorded Oct 28 1719.

Note this bequest from John Pitt d.1703:  “his deathhead ring to his son John, his seale ring to son Henry“… also of interest is Arthur Smith as witness. He is likely the son of Arthur Smyth d. 1697 (whose daughter Sarah married 1.Robert Pitt, son of Robert Pitt d. 1672) then 2.  Monro.)

Will of Arthur Smyth:  Names son Thomas; John Hole; Mary Pitt, mother to said John Hole; son George; grandson Arthur Benn; son Arthur Smyth, dau. Jane Benn; daus. Sarah Monro and Mary Pitt; certain lands entailed on his sons and daus., and “for want of issue to fall to ye parish of newford “[Newport] “for ye mainteying and encouraging of a free schoole.”  Dated 2 December, 1696; pr. 10 June 1697.

The bit about “for want of issue to fall to ye parish of newford “[Newport] “for ye mainteying and encouraging of a free schoole.” makes me wonder if NONE of his children had any issue at the time of his will?  The will of Robert Pitt d. 1712 also had a similar bequest: “I give and bequeath my whole right and title of the town land as never having received any satisfaction for it to the use of the church for a Gleab, or as the Court and vestry shall think fitt”.

re: John Hole….  from this site:     ???

William Flye was the son of John Flye. His mother’s name is unknown. William was born about 1658, probably in Virginia. He died about 1679 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia . At the time of his death he was in his early 20s. Around 1678, not long before he died, William married Mary Smith in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Mary was born around 1662 in Isle of Wight County and died there sometime after 1702.

Mary Smith Flye, wife of William, had four husbands and was widowed three times. William Flye was her first husband. After his death Mary married John Hole (in 1688) in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. After he died, Mary married Captain Thomas Pitt (sometime before 1696) in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. She was again widowed. Sometime before April 1702 she married a man whose last name was Tyler (first name unknown) in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Her last husband outlived her.

The Thomas Pitt m. Mary Smith is merely a coincidence to the Robert Pitt “Nansemond” line… they were simply near neighbors/cousins…

This begins to explain the “Monro” neighbors in the 1744 Processioning deeds from the Vestry Book cites above…


Sons John and James are the only ones left of the line… everyone else is dead. (I’m referencing direct male heirs).

Henry’s will recorded 1719. (his sons are not of interest to me now… his brothers are my focus…)

1719…     next will, 1729


In the name of God Amen – I JOHN PITT do make this my last Will & Testament in manner and form as followeth. I give unto my daughter MARTHA PITT that land on whereon Capt JOSEPH BRIDGER now liveth on, to her my daughter MARTHA PITT and her heirs lawfully begotten for ever. I give unto my grandson JOSEPH BRIDGER that land whereon JOHN TURNER now liveth on lying on Jones Creek and on the East side of Newport to the Main Creek to my grandson JOSEPH BRIDGER to him and his heirs lawfully begotten for ever. I give unto my daughter RACHEL PITT that land whereon ANN SMITH now liveth on ______ Newport to the Main Creek and to the head of the Poplar Neck Creek. I likewise give my daughter RACHEL PITT that land whereon Elizabeth Shaw now liveth on. I give the said lands to her my daughter RACHEL PITT to her and her heirs lawfully begotten for ever. I give unto my daughter ESTHER PITT that land whereon I now living upon I do give unto my daughter ESTER PITT to her and her heirs lawfully begotten for ever. I give unto my daughter PRUDENCE PITT that land whereon EDWARD DRIVER and ROBERT SMITH now liveth upon and likewise the Poplar Neck Land these sd lands I give unto my daughter PRUDENCE PITT to her and her heirs lawfully begotten for ever. I give unto my daughter ANN GODWIN that land whereon WILLIAM GODWIN & SAMUEL CROON now liveth upon these said lands I give to my daughter ANN GODWIN to her and her heirs lawfully begotten for ever. I give unto my daughters and grandson WILLIAM BRIDGER all my land in the woods by Mandcun?            (I’m thinking this is Thomas Mandue… the land may be the LARGE chunk of property from the Pitt grant of about 1664 or so… near Blackwater River in IOW)

to them and their heirs to be equally divided amongst them. I give unto my grandson WILLIAM BRIDGER a place of a Mill which is known by the name of the little Mill by the Court House Bridge to him and his heirs. I Give unto my daughter MARTHA PITT one feather bed bolster & furniture and bedstead, and my negro Sam and my silver salt seller? one silver spoon. I give unto my daughter RACHEL PITT one feather bed bolster & furniture & bedstead and my negro Harry and my silver candle cup & cover and silver spoon. I give unto my daughter PRUDENCE PITT one feather bed bolster & furniture & bedstead and five silver spoons one brass? kettle, one copper kettle, iron? potshooks? & racks? and spit? and tongs one pair of andirons?, one Rosso? water still, a table, one chest, one ________. I give unto my daughter ESTER PITT one feather bed bolster and furniture and bedstead, my strong water still with all ye furniture belonging to it and five silver spoons, one chest and long table. I give unto my four daughters MARTHA RACHEL PRUDENCE & ESTHER PITT all my table linnen & pewter? to be equally divided amongst them. I give unto my daughter ANN GODWIN one silver cup and two silver spoons. And for the rest of my estate that is not given, it is my will that my daughters are to have it equally divided amongst them. I do appoint WILLIAM GODWIN my whole executor of this my last will and testament revoking all former wills by me made in witness hereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this sixteenth day of December 1729.

JOHN PITT {seal}


At a Court held for Isle of Wight County, February 24, 1734.

The last Will & Testament of John Pitt Gent deceased was probated in Court by WILLIAM GODWIN the Executor therein named who made Oath thereto according to Law and being proved by the Oath of the Witnesses thereto it is admitted to Record

Teste JAMES BAKER CC                 (No sons mentioned… William Godwin is his executor)


sidenote …. this helps explain my hunch on the Mandue connection above…

BRIDGER, JOSEPH: Leg. wife Hester; son Samuel land bought of John and William
Gatlin, whereon John Cooke now lives. also one-half of plantation at Curawoak;
son William land granted me by escheat of 850 A. formerly belonging to Nathan
Floyd, except what is disposed of by me to Francis Hobbs, Mrs. Dorothy Bond
and William Blunt. also two tracts taken up by Col. Pitt, Mr. William Burgh
and myself containing 3000 A., except 600 A. sold to Lt. Col. John Pitt, part
of this tract leased by me to Thomas Mandue, Richard Parker, William Worrell,
Richard Jones, Thomas Reeves, Robert Sturdy and others, also tract leased to
Christopher Wade; to my wife the land on which I now dwell of 850 A. formerly
belonging to Capt. Upton and 300 A. formerly belonging to Mr. Seward on which
Mr. Izard, Ould Phillips and William Lewis lived, reversion to son Joseph with
half of the tract at Curawoak and a tract at Monokin; Daughters, Martha
GODWIN, Mary, Elizabeth and Hester; my mother. Mrs. Mary Bridger. Wife Extx,
with the assistance of Lt. Col. John Pitt, Thomas Pitt and Col. Arthur Smith.
D. Aug 3, 1683.
Revocation of all bequests to son Joseph. Oct. 18, 1683. R. April 9, 1685
Wit: James Bennett, Robert Pitt, Samuel Luck, Richard Glover. Page 250.


John dies between 1729 and 1734 and leaves no sons…. the only remaining direct heir is James…

Now remember the sons mentioned in the will of Henry d.1719….  John, Joseph and Mary…    no “James”…

The money question is could the missing son James still be living in the next mention I find for “a” James…. 1750?

GODWIN, JAMES: Leg.-son Joseph; son James; daughter Martha. Exs., wife Elizabeth and brother Samuel GODWIN. D. Oct. 1, 1750. R. Feb. 7, 1750. Wit. Thomas Willis, James Pitt. Page 300

 And to stretch credibility even further… this mention in 1761…


In the name of God Amen I Joseph Godwin of the County of Isle of Wight being

very sick and weak but in my perfect sensce and memory do ordain this my last

Will and Testament as followeth ~

I give unto my two Grandsons Joseph & James Godwin Sons of my Son Matthew two

hundred acres of land that I bought of Thomas Underwood joining the Old

Plantation and bounded by a line of marked trees and known by the name of the

Cyprus Pocosin and Ten Pounds Cash apeace to be paid unto them when they come

of age by my hereafter mentioned Exors and if either of them should die

before they come of age then their part to go to the other ~

I give unto my Grandson James Godwin son of my son James half of the crop of

corn now upon the ground & two younf heffers I give unto my Grandson Joseph

Godwin son of my son James Two Young Heffers and five pounds cash which money

I desire may be paid out of my stock ~

I give unto my Grandson Joseph Pitt forty Shillings cash to be paid unto him

immediately after this my will is proved and one young heffer ~

I give unto my two grandsons Jonathan and Samuel Godwin sons of my son

Jonathan my negro girl called Pegg to be equally divided between them ~

I give unto my daughter Patience Pitt fifty pound the money that (last ??)

was valued to ?? ~

I give unto my daughter Martha Milner two cows and one younf heffer ~

I give unto my son Thomas Godwin one bed and furniture and my wearing

clothes ~

I give unto my son Samuel Godwin my negro man Saul ~

I leave my negro Pink to be sold and Ten Pounds of the money to be given to

my son Jonathan Godwin ~

I give unto my daughter Elizabeth Smith five pound cash to be raised out of

my stock ~

I give unto my daughter Martha Milner ten pound if so much left after my

other legacies is paid~

And all the rest of my estate to be disposed of at the descretion of my

hereafter mentioned executor among my grandchildren after my just debts is

paid ~

And I do appoint and ordain my Son in Law James Pitt my Whole & Sole Executor

of this my Last Will & Testament in Witness hereof I have hereunto set my

Hand and fix my Seal this 17th day of November 1757 ~

Joseph Godwin (S S)

Sealed & Signed in presence of us]

Thomas Godwin

Samuel Bridger

James Godwin


At a Court held for Isle of Wight County January 1st 1761 ~

The Last Will and Testament of Joseph Godwin Deced was presented in Court by

James Pitt the Executor therein named who made oath thereto and being proved

by the Oath of Thomas Godwin and Samuel Bridger two of the witnesses thereto

is ordered to be recorded ~

Test Richard Baker Cl


Controversies about these folks are really beginning to irritate me.  I mean hell, can’t we simply establish WHO actually did WHAT? In a tiresome suit of about 1792 a grandson of the above Joseph Godwin sues to obtain the children of a (since dead) slave named Peg (who was bequeathed in the will of 1757).  Amidst all the suing and hand wringing accusations the suit itself declared than a WILLIAM Pitt was actually the Executor of Joseph Godwin’s estate.    This crap just ticks me off because now we have to see the actual will to determine if it was William or James Pitt who was the actual Executor!  Grrr… here is the court case for any folks who are researching the sons of Joseph Godwin…

Pitt snippit

To make matters worse, I think this is the second reference I’ve seen that it was a William and not a James Pitt as Executor…  maybe all of this is simply a clerical error…. but we don’t KNOW do we without seeing the REAL will of Joseph Godwin?


James Pitt and Patience Pitt witnessed this will in 1761:

Elizabeth Smith: Leg.- granddaughter Silvia Jordan; daughter Mary Holladay; granddaughter Charity Holladay; daughter Elizabeth Godwin; son Thomas Smith.
Ex., son Thomas Smith D. April 15, 1760. R. April 2, 1761.
Wit: James Pitt, Patience Pitt, Elizabeth Godwin.
Page 70, Chapman

I am perplexed by this Elizabeth Smith.  Her will is recorded in April, 1761.  The Joseph Godwin will above was recorded January 1761. Could this be his daughter he mentions in his will?

“I give unto my daughter Elizabeth Smith five pound cash to be raised out of my stock ~”

I am hesitant to identify Elizabeth Smith because there seems to be an endless supply of Smiths in IOW at this time…

The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography: Volume 3, page 194
Arthur Smith and Thomas Smith, of 1752.
Editor of Virginia Magazine 0/ History, etc.

Sir — The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, in its April Number (1895), in a note on page 391, discussing Arthur and Thomas Smith, of 1752, points out “a discrepancy ” between my state ment of this family in the paper on “The Old Brick Church,” and that of its ” recent informant,” and requests a correct account. As my contribution to this “correct account,” I submit the following statement: In 1891, when I wrote the paper alluded to, I examined attentively 6 Hening, page 308, which gives what I believe to be a perfectly accurate account of the family of Arthur Smith down to 1752; the records of the County Court of this county; the Acts of January 7th, 1800, January 6th, 1802, and January 4th, 1803; the case of Boykin’s Devisees U. Smith and others, 3 Munf, page 102 (1811); the family trees of some branches of the family, and had long and frequent talks on this subject with Dr. John R. Purdie (now in his 86th year), N. P. Young (now in his 79th year, and for 54 years clerk of our courts), and others, who knew the late Colonel Arthur Smith well, and ought to be posted upon his family his tory. It was the impression of these parties that the Thomas Smith of 1752 was the son of the Arthur Smith of that day, but they did not know how to reconcile their impressions with the record that I will presently men tion. I do not know how I wrote that the Arthur Smith of 1752 was the 3d Arthur, when 6 Hening, page 309, was in my hands, right before my eyes, and plainly showed that he was the 4th Arthur. I must have been nodding. It is such a plain, palpable inadvertence that I concluded it would explain what also must have been an inadvertence that bothered me in 1891, and has been bothering me ever since. I did not then see how it could be an inadvertence. I see it plainly enough now.

In 6th Hening, page 309, is the statement that the third Arthur Smith, “the grandson, became seized of all the said lands with the appur tenances, and died so seized, leaving issue Thomas Smith, his eldest son and heir, who entered into the same and hath laid off seventy-five acres or thereabouts,” into lots for the town of Smithfield. In this town of Smithfield there were afterwards built a Courthouse, a Jail, a Clerk’s office, and there was a large vacant lot adjacent, in all about two acres. In 1K00, Francis Boykin proposed to build a Courthouse, Clerk’s office and Jail, on his farm seven miles from Smithfield, and to exchange that property for the Courthouse property in Smithfield. The exchange was made. The Smiths then claimed that the Courthouse property in Smithfield reverted to them, as it was no longer used for public pur poses. Francis Boykin brought an action of ejectment in the District Court at Suffolk, and lost the case. He died and devised the property in question to his son Francis M. Boykin and his daughter Annie, wife of James Johnson, member of Congress from 1813 to icS2o, and collector of port of Norfolk afterwards by the appointment of President lames Monroe. They then brought the chancery suit of Boykin’s Devisees P. Smith and others (3 Munf., 102 ), which passed on through the stages of an original bill and an amended bill, which was elaborately argued in the lower courts, and in the Court of Appeals, by Wirt for the appellants, and Wickham for the appellees. In the amended bill in this case the statement is made that “one Arthur Smith, uncle of the said Thomas” (italics in the case to draw attention to it) ” was, at or about the year 1754,” seized, &C., of the land in Smithfield, &c. Now it is this statement in this amended bill that has always bothered me. It is not only there, but it is italicised. It was made in 1810, not very long after Thomas Smith had died. He appeared in open court in Smithfield in 1798, and verbally, at least, released his claim to this iden tical property in litigation. The ejectment suit must have been brought soon afterwards. The chancery suit must have been brought as early as 1807. His children Jane, Elizabeth, Frances, Lelia, their husbands, and Arthur Smith were parties to it, and a statement carefully made under these circumstances I did not think I could lightly throw away. On the faith of this grave statement, so seriously, so pointedly made, I followed the record and saw that Thomas Smith was the nephew of Arthur Smith. But I have never thoroughly believed he was. There was an irreconcil able conflict between 6 Nening and 3 Munf., and it has always annoyed me. So when I saw in the note in the Magazine that I wrote that Ar thur Smith of 1752 was the “third Arthur,” with 6 Hening in my hand, which showed he was the 4th Arthur, I concluded that the man who drew the amended bill alluded to and said that Arthur Smith was the uncle of Thomas Smith, meant to say, and thought he did say he was the father of Thomas Smith. I therefore went out to the Courthouse to-day to make special examination into this matter, and into this matter alone, and took with me 6 Hening, 3 Mimford, the Magazine of History, &C., the paper on The Old Brick Church, &C., to see if I could not set tle this question now and forever. I found, as before, more Arthur Smiths, Elizabeth Smiths and Thomas Smiths than you could shake a stick at — enough to run any man crazy — but I clung to the Smithfield lot as a guide through them all. I found that the last deed of Smith and Elizabeth, his wife, for a lot in Smithfield, was to Joseph Bridger, January 3d, 1754, and that the first deed of Thomas Smith for a lot in Smithfield was to William Robertson, .October 26th, 1763, and that the first deed of Thomas Smith and wife, Elizabeth, for a lot in Smithfield, was to William Hodsden, January 7th, 1769. In the deed of Thomas Smith to Samuel Wentworth, drawn with un usual care and skill, I found an explicit reference to the act in 6th Hon ing, and the statement that “Arthur Smith departed this life, after whose decease the said lots or half acres descended to the aforesaid Thomas Smith, heir at law to the aforesaid Arthur Smith.” I looked to the wills, but I could not find any will of this Arthur, or of this Elizabeth, his wife. I looked to the orders of the Court, to the appraisements of the property, and to the accounts and settlements of the personal represen tatives of estate, and found that on the 2d of January, 1755, an order for the appraisement of the property of Captain Arthur Smith, in Surry, and in Isle of Wight: that the appraisement in Surry was made on the 24th day of January, 1755; that the appraisement was made in this county on the 5th of February, 1755; that they were returned to our court on the 6th of February, 1755, and that Mrs. Elizabeth Smith was the administratrix of this Arthur Smith. This Mrs. Elizabeth Smith died prior to the 4th day of April, 1755, for I find an account rendered by Thomas Smith on that day, the first item of which is, “To the funeral charges of Arthur Smith and Elizabeth Smith his wife £vo.tx’.” And the next item is “To Doctor Willises account for tendance of Arthur Smith and Elizabeth Smith and their son Thomas.” I infer from these facts that Arthur Smith died in December 1754, and his wife in March 1755. As there was another Arthur Smith, who died about this time, and left a wife Elizabeth, who was his administratrix, I am inclined to the belief that it was this Arthur Smith who is said to have committed suicide by shooting himself through the head with a pistol in each hand, whose skull was found in 1797, when they were digging the grave for Jerry Pedue, at the Old Brick Church, and identified by the bullet holes over each ear. Thomas Smith would not have buried his father and his mother elsewhere than in the old burial ground in the old Smith plantation, and if he did so he would have hardly have left it unmarked by some slab, or monument. If he had omitted to do this in 1754, it is not probable that he and his children would have been guilty of another neglect in 1797. The will of this Thomas Smith, the son of Arthur Smith, who ap peared in open court in Smithfield, in 1798, is dated April 17th, 1799, and is admitted to probate the 2d of September, 1799. In it he speaks of ” being sick and weak of body,” and mentions his wife, Elizabeth, and his five daughters, Elizabeth Johnson (wife of James Johnson, who is his executor), Sarah, Fanny, Jenny, Leliallas (also spelt in the same will Lellias), and his son Arthur. Special provision is made for the education of Arthur, “who is to study the art of surgery and physics,” and “have a smattering of French when he has obtained a sufficiency in the Latin language.” I learn from the family tree, loaned to me by Miss Irene Hayden in 1891, and again to-day, that this Thomas Smith married Elizabeth Wad- drop, daughter of John Waddrop and of Nancy Hunt Cocke, of Surry, and that their children were: 1. Nancy. 2. Sally. 3. Jane, married Augustus Olivier, and lived in Gloucester. 4. Elizabeth, married James Johnson, son of Dr. Robert Johnson, and had a daughter, Eliza Waddrop Johnson, who married Lieutenant Wil liam H. Cocke, U.S. Navy, “who was killed on board the U.S. Schooner Fox, under his command, whilst entering the harbor of St. john’s, Porto Rico, by a cannon ball fired from the Moro, on the 6th day of March, 1825, in the 32d year of his age.” ” Pursuant to an order from the Secretary of the Navy, his remains were disinterred and brought to this country on the U. S. Schooner Porpoise, which arrived in Ports mouth, Virginia, on the 25th day of July, 1832.” They had a daughter Louisiana, who married C. B. Hayden, of Smithfield, and she left two daughters, Irene and Louisiana. 5. Frances, who married Robert West. 6. Lelia, who married |. B. Whitehead (for thirty years the sheriff of the county), and had a son Algernon Arthur, who married Elvira Good win, and had a son A. R. Whitehead, and a daughter Lelia, the wife of I. C. Goodrich. 7. Arthur Smith, — who was to study medicine but did not — who studied law, and became one of the most eminent men this county has ever produced. He was a man of charming simplicity of character, and sacrificed his political career to his conscience. He overwhelmed me as a boy with his wonderful learning the first time I ever saw him, and repeated several verses of poetry that I have been hunting for ever since. If the male line of Arthur Smith had to become extinct it was wall to close with this Arthur — the most eminent of them all. Mr. A. R. Whitehead has the seal of the Arthur Smith family. It is handsomely set in gold, and was worn as an ornament to a watch fob or chain. I enclose you an impression of it. He has also another curious document — the oldest originial muniment of title that I have ever seen. It is a patent from Sir William Berkeley, given March 21st, 1643, in renewal of one given by Si* John Harvey in 1637. It reads as fol lows: “To all to whom these presents shall come. I Sr. John Harvey Knt. Governor &c. Send &c. Whereas &c. Now Know ye, that I the said Sr. John Harvey, Knt., do with the consent of the Council of state, ac cordingly give and grant unto Arthur Smith One Thousand fower hun dred and fiftie Acres of Land, situate, lying and being in the Countie of Isle of Wight, being a Neck of land running South East along a Creek be hind the Pagan shore and North West into the woods. The said One Thousand fower hundred and fiftie Acres of Land being due unto him the said Arthur Smith by and for the transportation at his own proper Cost and Charges of nine and twenty persons into this Colony, whose names are in the Record mentioned under this patent. To have and to hold &c. Dated the 10th of September 1637, ut in alis. “This patent is renewed by Sir William Berkeley the 21st March. 1643, In the name of Arthur Smith and fiftie Acres added to it. ( Can’t read it), Sam’i. Ahhott, Ci.. Copy (can’t read it), J. Frannrid, p R. Hickman, C. G. C. As I have mentioned two lames Johnsons above, the one who mar ried Elizabeth Smith, and the one who married Anne Boykin, I will men tion the third. Captain James Johnson of the Revolution, so that they may not be confounded. He was a member of the House of Delegates, of the Convention of 1788, a Justice of the Peace for many years, sat on the old bench of magistrates as late as 1843; died August 16th, 1845, the last survivor of the Convention of 1788. Permit me to add my thanks to Mr. McAlister for his contribution ” to the formation of counties,” and to refer him to page 218 of the October Number of this Magazine, where I said the July list was copied from ” an old almanac.”
R. S. Thomas.
Smithfield, Va., April 9th, 1895.

Anyone have a better candidate for James?  Seems to me there ought to be one earlier than this… but then again, everyone seems to be accounted for.

James Pitt… 1762


That deed and sale of land by Mathew Godwin is particularly interesting because Mathew is another “shadowy” figure with few records available.  I suspect his records may have burned in the Nansemond courthouse fire of 1866.  Also I suspect this land is on the IOW and Nansemond County line.

About 20 years later these folks and that land is brought up in a court case…


Chancery case… Charity Wilkinson, widow of Willis Wilkinson vs Mills Wilkinson

“Humbly complaining sheweth unto your Worships that your Oratrix Charity Wilkinson widow & relict of Willis Wilkinson dec’d that your Oratrixs said husband was in his life & at the time of his death seized & possesed of a valuable tract or parcel of land in the sd County of isle of Wight containing one thousand acres & sundry negro slaves which have descended & come now in the tenure & occupation of Mills Wilkinson his eldest son & heir at law that by the laws of the Land your Oratrix is intitled to her a reasonable dower in the said Lands & slaves…” [Charity received her dower evidently… Mills did not fight the case]

That 1780 court case is witnessed by a Joseph and John Pitt.     I suppose my main point is that this land in 1762 involved James Pitt and in 1780 it involved 2 other Pitt men… the question being whether they were related?


Some notes from Joani Taylor…

Oct 1766- Joseph Pitt an infant by James Pitt his father against Elias Whitley…defendants attorney prays  to leave til next court.

May 1767 – Joseph Pitt an infant by his father James Pitt against Celia Godwin….she accused of scandalous and defamatory words

May 1767- Joseph Pitt an infant by his father James Pitt against William Green
Samuel Whitfield witness for Joseph Pitt; Jonathan Godwin witness for Joseph Pitt.

ORDER BOOK 1768- 1797

Aug 1768 – Joseph Pitt an infant by James Pitt his father against Celia Godwin – Celia found guilty of speaking slanderous words-
– on the motion of WILLIAM GREEN an evidence for Joseph Pitt against Celia Godwin it is ordered said Pitt pay Green 325 pounds tobacco for 13 days attendance.

Oct 1768- Joseph Pitt an infant by James Pitt his father VS. WM GREEN for want of execution of (prior?) judgment (see Aug 1768)

ORDER BOOK 1768- 1797
Mar 1779 – Patience Pitt exr. Of James Pitt deceased VS. Robert Eley


Aha… another tantalizing clue for the mystery James Pitt of IOW…

Tristran Norsworthy was the guardian of James Smith (orphan of Nicholas Smith, died about 1763 or so?)

This tiny little factoid pops up for the year 1778/9:


The above “guardian accounts” for 1766-1782 also have accounts for John Pitt (orphan of John Pitt) and Thomas Pitt (orphan of Henry Pitt)…. also one Joseph Pitt (orphan of Maj. Joseph Pitt, 1768).

…But back to James Pitt… and whiplashing all the way back to 1706..  an abstract from Hopkins book:

(pg. 59) Jan 1706… John Norsworthy, Gent., of Chuckatuck Parish in nansemond County to Thomas Boyd, Gent. and wife Martha Boyd of the same (being the late wife of Col. George Norsworthy, decd.) for the Love and Affection he has for his mother the said Martha Boyd… -?- acres in Newport Parish in Isle of Wight County and now in the possession of Benjamin Baldwyn and bounded by the upper side of a place called Horse Hall, Ragged Island Creek and the Nansemond County line.  Thomas Boyd is also written as Thomas Bird in this deed.

Wit: John Giles,  Phillarete Giles, Philarete Giles, Jr., Trus Norsworthy  and James Pitt                       Rec: 10 Feb 1706

John Norsworthy

Thomas Boyd

Martha (X) Norsworthy

(pg. 61)  10 Feb 1706… Mr. Trustrum Norsworthy acts as his attorney in the above deed.

Wit: James Pitt and Henry (X) Be….                                                                                                                                  Trus Norsworthy

All of which makes me suspect that James Pitt spent his entire life in the area of the Nansemond County line and Chuckatuck Creek. (roughly for now). Add to this supposition the 1744 “processioning accounts”.   Finding no will as yet, he may have died intestate…. when did he die and what of his heirs?  It is supposed he was born perhaps 1682 (and he was not mentioned as underage in his father’s will of 1702)… surely the James of the 1779 account above cannot be him but we also can’t say for sure it is his son?

…the tedious 1706 Norsworthy deed mentioned above…

norsworthy deed1706_pitt

An old map drawn about 1899 or so which succinctly shows the area we are pondering…

Isle of Wight County Records

 The William and Mary Quarterly , Vol. 7, No. 4 (Apr., 1899), pp. 205-315


The bulk of the original Robert Pitt property was near Chuckatuck Creek… also in the very early records is mention of Thomas Godwin’s property which was likely shown on the above map at what is styled “Brewer’s Creek”.  Also shown above is “Norsworthy” and “Ragged Island”… each mentioned in early deeds.  The Nansemond County “line” seems to be consistant since the beginning of Isle of Wight.

It is my point so far, that James Pitt seems to stay right in that area until his death…

……….. an interesting site detailing Joseph Bridger (and Robert Pitt) property in IOW and Nansemond…

The good folks at the above site hired a professional survey firm and plotted several deeds of the early Pitt folks… I had no knowledge of that fact before I made my Isle of Wight map… in their account they surmise that the modern Brewer’s Creek was the rather nebulous New Town Haven River…   They may be correct ( which will force me to update my Isle of Wight map).


The 1702 deed of John Pitt led me to dissect it thusly:                      ( the original patent is at the top of this page.. the last one)

pittJohn 1702 plat

Hmm… little did I realize until recently that Thomas Godwin’s house still exists.
Cherry Grove Road

Within the Greater Chuckatuck Historical (GCH) area Cherry Grove Road can be traced back to our early settlers in the way of land grants from the King of England.

“The original Thomas Godwin claimed the land along the navigable part of Chuckatuck Creek. The land was about a mile deep, the SE border was along Chuckatuck Creek from somewhere near the grist mill to its confluence with Brewer’s Creek at Cherry Grove. The NW border was then the Cherry Grove Road, most likely, close to its current location. The SW border was approximately the Smithfield Road.” This comment comes from an e-mail to Lynn Kirk Rose from Claiborne Ball, nephew of Russell Kirk. In later years there were five large land holdings on the Chuckatuck Creek between the beginning of Cherry Grove, which is identified as the land mass between Brewers Creek and Chuckatuck Creek, and the old stage road between Chuckatuck and Smithfield. The early names of each are available except for the one immediately adjacent to Cherry Grove Plantation.

The first of these would be Concord as you turned off of Smithfield Road coming from Chuckatuck on the right hand side. The next would be the Anchorage now lived in by Annie Lee and Cornelius Duff. It is the oldest house in the GCH area having been built in 1695 and used as a house since that date. Next is the Lawrence farm or Cotton Plains, current home of Joseph and Shelley Barlow and the fourth could have been the farm occupied by the Savage family at one time and finally Cherry Grove. These plantations are mentioned individually below.


So we now have a spot for the  John Pitt 1702 plat. (somewhat 🙂


Joani makes an interesting point about this Nicholas Smith deed of 1763… a James Pitt is witness and signs with an “X”…  which begs the question, is there a “literate” James and an “illiterate” one?


Hopkin’s abstract of above deed:

Hopkins pg 78 IOW Deeds 1750-1782,
DB11 -118 2/8/1763 Bond of Nicholas Smith to Nicholas ParkerWhereas Nicholas Smith lately sold James Bagnall 13 A on Back Creek in Newport Parish and Bagnall has since sold the 13 A to Nicholas Parker and Nicholas Smith has now sold on 3/3/1757 17 A on the s side of Back Creek and joining the 13 A wit : James x Pitt, William Whitfield, and Henry Applewaite


Since these “mystery James Pitts”  are a brick wall, we are attempting to amass all the info we can… also to compare the signatures (or marks).

Here is another one:

Isle of Wight Co, VA Bk 6 p 449 ‘
Written 28 Oct 1757 Probated 7 Dec 1758
To son John 10lbs that I have paid him to Richard Jordan.
Grandson Edmund Jordan
To dau Mourning
To dau Elizabeth THARP
To dau Margaret SEBRELL
To son Joseph
To son Billingsby

Sons Joseph and Billingsby by executors and friends James Jordan and James Pitt overseers of my Will.
Witness: James Jordan and James Pitt

Bk 6 p 473
Estate of John Jordan, decd. appraised 7 Dec 1758 by John Marshall, Robert Driver and John Newman. Executors of Will, Joseph Jordan and Billingby Jordan.


Some Pitts remained in Isle of Wight and/or Nansemond County through the Revolutionary War…  some others went on to North Carolina (Edgecombe County).

The Nansemond Pitt descendants were “landed” with money/status… one would expect a James Pitt of that clan to be “literate”.  What reason would he have to move on to NC?

But an “illiterate” James Pitt may have missed out on the family fortunes and moved on to seek fame and fortune… (just thinking out loud).


A teeny tidbit, but interesting…  I have no idea when this newspaper article was published (but prior to 1800 evidently).

In 1750 one William Rand is credited with building the Smithfield Courthouse which was replaced elsewhere in 1800…

 Colonial Virginia Source Records, 1600’s – 1700’s, Abstracts from 18th-Century Virginia Newspapers, Surnames Q-R 

Rand, William, dec’d, pursuant to his will, his HHF and several tracts of land in Isle of Wight and Southampton Counties will be sold by his extx., Sophia Rand, and ex., Lewis Allmand; also mentioned are John Rand in Smithfield and William Rand in Southampton County (VG 9 Jan 1772) Rand, William, of Smithfield, dec’d, his admrs., Walter Rand and James Pitt, will sell his houses and lots there (VIC 22 Apr 89).

Remember in the 1702 John Pitt will…. James Pitt was given some land in the town of Newport:   (I assume Newport became Smithfield… The town was established in 1752 by Arthur Smith IV as a seaport.  The original survey and plat of the Town of Smithfield was made by Jordan Thomas, County Surveyor, for Captain Arthur Smith in 1750. per a Wikipedia article).

“I give to my son JAMES PITT all that land whereon the WIDDOW SNOWDEN and WIDDOW GRAY and ARTHUR MURPHREY now liveth as far into the woods as the main road And as ye road runneth to be ye bounds between him & John Pitt and to bound on the  Back Creek. I likewise give my son JAMES PITT one lott or ½ acres of land lying in the towne of Newport it being the 25th lott whereon is the house with Brick Chimneys to him and his heirs lawfully begotten, forever & for want of heirs then to JOHN PITT & his heirs forever.”



Hmmm… actually that newspaper article is pretty revealing…  (it would be nice to find the original article… just sayin’ 

The good Mr. Rand dies 1771…

Isle of Wight County Deed Book 13, 1772-1778

(p.284) 30 Dec 1774…. Sophia Rand, Executrix and Lewis Allmand, Executor of the Estate of William Rand, decd., to Andrew Mackey…. 200 acres (being land William Rand Bought from Jonas Williams on 13 Sep 1724) and 80 acres (being part of a tract formerly belonging to John Williams who gave it to Robert Jones, who, with Martha Jones, conveyed it to the said William Rand on 31 Oct 1749…. Also 484 acres which said William Rand, decd., bought from Jacob Thomas on 18 Apr 1748. The total sale is for 764 acres.

Wit: John Taylor, W. Baldwin and William Orr.

Rec: 2 Feb 1775

Isle of Wight County Deed Book 14, 1755-1782

(p.51) 4 Mar 1779…. George Hall and wife, Elizabeth Hall, to William Smith…. Lot # 19 in Smithfield Town (being land bought from Sophia Rand and Lewis Allmand, acting Executors of William Rand, decd., in 1773).

C’mon folks… James Pitt was left Lot # 25 in the will of his father in 1702… can we say neighbors?

Wit: William Hodsden, J. Wills and George Hall, Jr.

Rec: 4 Mar 1779

This gets my attention…

Isle of Wight County Deed Book 8, 1747-1752

(p.499) 6 Aug 1752…. Thomas Applewhaite to Bartholomew Lightfoot…. 100 acres on Cypress Swamp (being land said Applewhaite bought form Richard Casey) adjoining Thomas Pitts’ land now in the possession of his grandson Henry Pitts and said Lightfoot.

Wit: William Rand, Nicholas Fulgham and Moses Allmand.

Rec: 6 Aug 1752

Isle of Wight County Deed Book 13, 1772-1778(p.135) 7 Jun 1773…. Sophia Rand, Executrix, and Lewis Almond, Sr., Executor of the last will of William Rand, decd., to George Hall… Lot # 19 in Smithfield Town.Wit: Henry Applewhaite, Bartholomew Lightfoot Jr., Harrison Whitfield and Richard Hardy.Rec: 2 Sep 1773
Isle of Wight County Deed Book 8, 1747-1752(p.499) 6 Aug 1752…. Thomas Applewhaite to Bartholomew Lightfoot…. 100 acres on Cypress Swamp (being land said Applewhaite bought form Richard Casey) adjoining Thomas Pitts’ land now in the possession of his grandson Henry Pitts and said Lightfoot.Wit: William Rand, Nicholas Fulgham and Moses Allmand.Rec: 6 Aug 1752All of which is found on this collection of notes from 2001 by a gentleman named Timothy Ray Allman… thank you Mr. Allman.

The above mentioned James Pitt married Mary, a daughter of William Rand.

“To the Justices of the County of Isle of Wight in Chancery setting.;  James Pitt and Mary his wife, humbly complaining, shew – That William Rand, late of the sd. County, made and published his last will and testament in writing, dated the 3rd day of November in the year 1767 _ That he made and published an addition thereto in writing of the same date, – and one other addition also in writing dated the 30th day of August in the year 1771 – That he died on or about the [blank]  day of [blank] in the year last mentioned…”  [snip]

A detailed account can be found here:

A tidbit pertaining to where William Rand lived:

Hening’s Statutes, pg 156



An Act to impower William Rand to build a Bridge over Pagan Creek, and for other purposes therein mentioned.

I. WHEREAS it hath been represented to this general assembly, that the bridge formerly erected over the western branch of Pagan creek, in the county of Isle of Wight, from the land of William Hodsden to the land of Richard Reynolds, is fallen down and become useless, and that the erecting another bridge on the land of the same persons, a small distance above where the old bridge was built, will be of great use, ease, and benefit to the public; and William Rand, of the town of Smithfield, in the county aforesaid, hath applied to this general assembly for leave to erect, maintain, and support a good and sufficient bridge over the said creek at his own expence: Be it therefore enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governor, Council and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That it shall and may be lawful for the said William Rand, his heirs or assigns, to erect, support, and maintain a good and sufficient bridge over the said creek, at the place aforesaid, at his own expence; and as soon as the same shall be compleatly finished, fit for travellers to pass over in carriages, it shall and may be lawful to and for the said William Rand, his heirs and assigns, to demand, take, and receive, of and from all persons passing over the said bridge with horses, wheel carriages and cattle, the following rates, to wit: For a man and horse four pence: For every wheel carriage two pence per wheel: For every head of nett cattle two pence: For every head of sheep or hogs one penny; and that no person shall have liberty to pass over the said bridge with wheel carriages, horses, or cattle until they shall first pay and satisfy the said William Rand, his heirs and assigns, the toll herein before mentioned.

II. Provided always, That no person who is desirous to pass over the said bridge on foot, without horses or other cattle, shall be obliged to pay the said toll or any part thereof, but all such foot persons are hereby declared to have liberty to pass over the said bridge free.

J.B. Boddie gives his account :

Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia: A History of the County … pg. 254

“Joseph Smith married and had a son Joseph who married Mary Rand, daughter of William and Sophia Rand, 27 March, 1773. [and names children Issue: WILLIAM RAND SMITH, Nancy and Catherine].

I’ve not found William Rand’s will (anyone care to share?)… but in addition is also the will of his widow Sophia who is purported to leave a will in 1775 … wherein she supposedly states:

“Item – I give and bequeath all my wearing Apparel to be equally divided between my three daughters Catherine Garton, Mary Smith, and Christiana Ross.”

I found that mention here:

But then, not to make any of this easy to understand, Sophia writes her will in 1775? but then does not die until 1789… which allows time for this account…

‘The widowed Sophia subsequently remarried for a third time to Charles Hanson in 1778. The marriage occurred six years after the death of William Sr., when Sophia was 59 years of age.” The poor, aging dear must have thought she was marrying for love. “However shortly after her marriage, Sophia became concerned that her new husband had married her with the intent of enhancing his financial position. With this fear in mind, she took Charles Hanson to court to protect the property that William Sr. had desired to pass on to her and his heirs. Hanson was then placed in the custody of the sheriff until he could provide a bond that would allow her estate to be appraised and to deter him from taking possession of any property that was designated for the heirs of William Rand…”

She died between 1 Jan 1789 and 22 Feb 1789 in Smithfield, Isle of Wight Co., VA.

The remainder of the William Rand Sr. estate in Smithfield was disposed of at that time by her youngest son Walter and her son-in-law James Pitt, Laurenson reports. “Charles Hanson survived Sophia by five years and died in 1794.”

Above in the court case (which is clearly James Pitt and Mary Rand), the records indicate the years 1791 through 1793…  with this little tidbit written on the back of one of the papers…”March 1793  Abates by death of the wife”… does this indicate Mary Rand Pitt died in 1793?

A bit of info on Charles Hanson…..  a cad, evidently…. by 1778 the marriage wasn’t going so well…

Walter Rand…. from a Find A Grave article

Walter’s father died in 1771 when he was about 10 years old, and his mother married her 3rd husband the following year, Charles Hanson.

Walter was about 15 when he left school and enlisted with the 15th Virginia Regiment during the Revolutionary War. Nine months after his enlistment, on September 11, 1777, he was wounded in the foot at the Battle of Brandywine, and carried the scar of a British bullet to his grave. Despite his injury, he served until the end of the war.

At war’s end, on February 13, 1783, 22-year old Walter married 18-year old Mary Parker, daughter of wealthy landowners Elias Parker & Elizabeth Harrison, also of Isle of Wight. The marriage was disapproved of by the Parkers, and to make matters worse, Walter found his own wealth greatly diminished.

 His father’s will had amply provided for all the children, and even though he had a guardian (believed to be one of his Almand uncles), by the time Walter came of age, much of his inheritance was gone. Some speculate the stepfather had squandered it. 

After his mother died in 1785, Walter and Mary left left Virginia for Wake County, NC. It was here his older brother John had come, and died in 1781, leaving Walter a plantation at the Falls of Swift Creek. (Some sources say this was land originally granted to his father, William, who never occupied the property.) With what was left of his own property, and what his Mother and his brother gave him, he had a very good start in life.


Another interesting factoid… and a signature possibly for James Pitt…


The Commonwealth of Virginia to the Sheriff of Isle of Wight County greetings; you are here by commanded to Summon William Goodwin to appear before our Justices of our said county court in Cancery at the Court House on the first Thursday in Apr? to answer a bill in Chancery exhibited against him by Joseph  & George Goodin by Walter Rand their next friend and this he shall _?no wise omit under the penalty of L100 _ nd have then there this Writ  Witness Francis Young  Clerk of our said Cort at the Court house the 10th day of March _ 1788 in the 12th year of the Commonwealth___ Francis Young Cl

William Godwin is being sued over a division of slaves…..  Walter Rand is acting in the behalf of Joseph & George Godwin who are apparently underage…

Here is the Chancery case:     (there seems to be confusion whether Joseph & George are GOODRICH or GOODWIN?)

My interest is the mention of James Pitt who is drafted to help settle the dispute (and particularly his signature… remember that there may be a James who signs with an “X”)…  Also of interest is that Walter Rand and James Pitt mentioned as “administrators” selling William Rand d1771 property in the newspaper article above…  so… are these two brothers in law?



I just can’t say for sure about the signature…. if you compare the capital “P” in the one at the top of the page and the actual signature they appear to be the same… so my guess is they were both made by the clerk who entered the document?????     darn it!


Ah… a little factoid of hard evidence…

THE SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIAN, Volume 7 January 1989 Number 1

Unrecorded IOW County Marriage Bonds, 1776-1779 by L.H. Hart….  page 11

4 Feb. 1779  James Pitt = Mary Smith, widow.  Joseph Pitt, sec.  Bride consents.  Francis Young, witn.

(Francis Young was deputy Clerk of the County of IOW- 1768-1787….    clerk until 1794…. my note)

I’m guessing of course… but the fact that Mary Smith was a “widow” (with 3 children) suggests this James was at least 20 yrs… so born prior to 1759…    The 2 James Pitts above are the same person.

Here is William Smith suing his step father James Pitt:

Who was the Joseph Pitt who acted as his security?

An account of a Joseph Pitt in regard to Elizabeth West (who appears to have been unceremoniously dumped by her husband Richard… aka…the cad)

Again from the IOW Chancery records… aka… the Gold Mine of information…


And why pray tell… does his name seemed to be “erased” in both places on this record?


We seem to have a bit of intrigue surrounding Joseph Pitt, “her next friend” and Elizabeth West (who is apparently still married to Richard in 1779)… Is this the Joseph who was security for James?


An 1805 court case….  Elizabeth Pitt vs John King   (this involves her brother Nathl [Nathanial, I presume] Norsworthy “who went to sea many years ago and never returned”  Henry Pitt, her son, administered the estate “which was very large”).

Who was Elizabeth Norsworthy married to and had son Henry Pitt?

Is this that Nathanial?

5 Jan 1784 Will of Tristram Norsworthy (WB 9, P 226) probated 6 May 1784, “I give unto my son Nathanial Norsworthy, the plantation whereon I now do live…likewise the Quarter Plantation to the pasture fence as it now do stand, that is to say from the Ragged Island Creek across to the head of a small gully, from thence down the said gully to the pine tree,…I give unto my son Joseph Norsworthy all that tract of land over the ragged Island Creek whereas Nathan Bagnall and Willis Pitt now live containing 375 acres as the bounds now do stand adjoining Cousin Tristram Norsworthy line and like the plantation over the Crossy Way whereon Thomas Parker now do live…”


This Tristram (COL Tristram Norsworthy) was a patriot in the Revolutionary War.

Elizabeth (wife of Tristram Norsworthy Sr.) will was written 16 Nov 1773 and recorded 4 Aug 1
774 (WB 8, P 332). Her will named four eldest grandaughters, Ann Godwin, Ann Thomas, Elizabet
h Pitt and Martha Norsworthy with provisions that in case Ann Thomas or Martha Norsworthy sho
uld die before they are twenty-one that their legacies would go to Tabitha Thomas. She name
d her son Tristram Norsworthy, executor.

Tristram Norsworthy Jr.’s will left son Nathanial “the plantation whereon I now do live”, lef
t son Joseph “tract of land over the Ragged Island Creek were on Nathan Bagnall & Willis Pit
t now live containing 375 acres adjoining Cousin Tristram Norsworthy”, daughter Mary, daughte
r Elizabeth, and daughter Sally (Isle of Wight County, Will Book 9, 1779-1785, Page 226.)

Tax records of Isle of Wight County indicate Tristram Jr. was a large land holder. He was lis
ted as Colonel Tristram Norsworthy and he and his estate paid taxes on 1155 acres of land, 17
82-1799. In 1782 he paid taxes on land which belonged to the Smith orphans and to a Godwin. T
he estate no longer paid tax on the Smith land in 1788 and in 1796 it no longer paid tax on t
he Godwin land.

Col Tristram Norsworthy’s estate remained undivided, at least for tax purposes, until at leas
t 1799. Until 1788 the estate paid taxes on land belonging to a Smith, probably Nicholas. I
n 1788 James Smith began paying those taxes.

Elizabeth, Sally, and Mary Norsworthy were given slaves by their father, Tristram, on 2 Octob
er 1765, Book 12, page 31, Isle of Wight County, VA. They were children by a wife, or wives
, prior to Tristram’s marriage to the widow of Nicholas Smith. Nathaniel was also by a wife p
rior to that marriage.

The court case…



Joani found the whereabouts of one Henry Pitt in 1778… you can’t get a better land description than this… Jones Creek to James River to Chuckatuck Creek to Brewers Creek to the beginning”… (see my 1919 map below”…


Other untraced Pitts…..

A newspaper article on Edmond Pitt, born 1759    I don’t know the connection to the Pitt line but this is nice hard evidence of his birth, death and where he was living at his death…  My understanding of “Esq”… Esquire… today means “lawyer”…. I think in 1812 it may have meant simply “gentleman” or the landed/aristocratic class…. i.e. the dude had money.



Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County Virginia 1647-1800, Chapman
Execs: wife MARY and friend THOMAS WALKE.

James Pitt d.1796/99   wife Mary     

         + Thomas Walke

         + James   

         + Edmund  

… a slave case of 1836…

Abstract-  Thomas Walke Pitt, a resident of Kentucky, explains that his father, James Pitt, died in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, in 1799. James bequeathed Aggy and her “increase” to his wife, Mary, and after her death to the petitioner. Mary Pitt Andrews has died, but her son charges that he has not received Aggy or her children. He believes that after his mother’s remarriage, her new husband, James Andrews, sold Aggy and some of her children to a number of different purchasers: Jesse Heath in Prince George County acquired Aggy; Gilbert Rambaut purchased her “very valuable” son named Claiborne; Peyton Mason bought her daughter named Lizza; and James Lumsden bought another daughter named Malinda or Marinda. Pitt complains that he “has never received one of said Slaves thus bequeathed to him.” If the slaves were not thusly sold by Andrews in his lifetime, Pitt charges that they were sold as estate slaves by Andrews’s administrator, Thomas Branch. Pitt asks the court to determine the number of children belonging to Aggy, as well as their whereabouts, and to order the defendants to relinquish them and any children the women may have had while also accounting for their hires.

Will of James Pitt, 1799…


Wife Mary was the mother of Thomas Walke… she remarried one James Andrews.  She was the daughter of Thomas Walke. (She may  have died early 1830s?)

40 pages of documentation concerning the “slave case” can be found here… and a goldmine of genealogy facts… the year is 1836…

… a snippit…  “Ans:  I was acquainted with James Pitt formerly of Isle of Wight county & who died in the fall of the year 1799  I was acting at the time as deputy sheriff in the said county; the said James Pitt was a man in very ordinary circumstances (many?) was generally thought to be poor – as to the amount of his property I cannot say with any precision”      image 19


Aha… son James was a step son of Mary… 17 years old at the time of his father’s death in 1799… a tailor’s apprentice in Norfolk  (where exactly was Norfolk in 1799, across the Nansemond River?).  So son Thomas Walke was a half brother.  Edmund is still unresolved.

From the newspaper clip he seems to have removed to Petersburg and lived there in 1836.  Ergo… he has no obvious “Edgecombe County, NC” connection. Did he follow stepmother and her husband James Andrews to Petersburg?  And was James Pitt senior a bit of a flake or what?  (My apologies if that sounds offensive… I suspect the man committed suicide … draw your own conclusions from his son James deposition in 1836)

James 1799_sonJames

Joani did the ponderous transcription… I edited a bit…

Deposition 10/31/1836 in law suit of Thomas Walke Pitt of KY against James D Lumsden, Jesse Heath and Thomas Branch adm of est of Mary Walke Pitt Adrews taken of Office of Commissioner Gaines at town of Petersburg.  Despondent duly sworn answered to interigations as follows:

1)   Are you the son of James Pitt resided in IOW and died about 1799?

I am, My father died 4/3/1799

2)   Was your father in indigent circumstances or not at the time of his death?

My father owned no land but lived on a rented place. He owned one negro girl named Aggy and ordinary household furniture and small stock of cattle and hogs and one or two horses, I don’t remember. He was in the habit of going to market himself with pigs, poultry, brandy, cider, corn and the like. He was an industrious ______ man, but some how or another he could never get ahead.

3)    Where were you residing at the time of your fathers death?

I was residing as an apprentice in the tailors trade in Norfolk. I was in my 17th year.

4)     Were you presant at the sale of your father’s estate by his executrix after his death, if so state all you know in regard to the sale of the negro girl Aggy?

I was not at the sale and all I know of it is information that I heard from the family and never heard any contradicted_ that information was, that a public sale took place at my father’s residence of all his effects and Mr Thomas Walke, the father of my step mother who was the exexutive, became the purchaser of the negro girl named Aggy at the price of 25LB and allowed her to remain in the posession if his daughter as her own. This account of this matter was frequently given to me by my stepmother who is the mother of the deff[endant], and I never heard any other. My step mother was an excellent woman and I placed entire confidence in her statements and conduct in all respects. In addition to what I have said about my father’s property, I will state that some short time before my father’s death I frequently heard him say that he had become embarrassed by acting as deputy sheriff, He was an easy and unsuspecting man and I should suppose that in such office he was whily (JPT?) [likely?MA]  to suffer something.  Mr. Thomas Walke, his wife’s father, resided with him and I have no doubt rendered some assistance to the family. My father became a very inhappy man before his death and appeared to be in trouble, which I always attributed to the difficulties in which he became insolvent.

5) Can you make any estimate of what would be the value of your fathers __(tax ?)___ible estate at the time of his death?

I have examined the accounts of his estate hereto ________[annexed?MA] and I am of the opinion that the Acct of the sales with which she has charged herself would fully equal what his estate could sell for at public auction at that time at public auction.

James Pitt______  ((Line appears after his name(JPT …a mark? or just line on paper, as sheriff he must have signed his name)

 [I’m thinking the signature is from the clerk in the Petersburg office,  for no other reason than that it was a “sharpened” pen… thinner pen stroke…MA)

Back to the hunt for Joani’s Edgecombe James….


Since the Robert Pitt line seems to be drying up, I’ll switch to the Henry/Thomas line which is in IOW county…  I’ve highlighted some key creeks in this 1919 map:

Nan_1919 creeks

Below are a couple snippits from Bob Bairds site where he discusses the Reynolds family of IOW… they were neighbors of the several Pitts.  Of particular interest is the mention of “Jones Creek” which is still on modern maps.

Baird’s site:

1 Oct 1752            Richard Reynolds and Charles Driver witnesses to 15 year lease of Henry Pitt to Giles Driver…”all my land” on the south east side of Jones Creek (except 50 acres known as “Hains”). Giles West is mentioned.  Recorded 2 November 1752.  [Isle of Wight Deed Book 9, p38 abstracted by Hopkins]

4 Feb 1753            Richard Reynolds, Charles Driver and William Chapman witness deed from Henry Pitt to Giles Driver….50 acres (being part of a patent for 750 acres “formerly granted to my deceased father, Thomas Pitt”) on the south side of Jones Creek.  [Isle of Wight Deed Book 9, p98 abstracted by Hopkins]

7 Jun 1754             Deed: Robert Reynolds and his wife Patience Reynolds, to Henry Pitt, 200 acres called “the Pocoson Plantation” adjoining Jordans Mill Swamp, Robert Driver and Turner (?). Signed:  Robert Reynolds, Patience (x) Reynolds and Ann (x) Hunt.  Witness: Giles Driver.  Recorded 7 Nov 1754.  [Isle of Wight Deed Book 9, p289 abstracted by Hopkins]


Here are a few more misc accounts from the Newport Vestry Book… so you know, there are about 153 pages in the records… unindexed and a pain in the ass to go through (forgive my French… and apologies to the French I suppose)… I have gone thru this book several times and it never ceases to pop up some tidbit of info…


a James Pitt, late 1700s of Isle of Wight

married Sally Shivers, daughter of William Shivers


a Joseph Pitt… late 1700s

Brewer Godwin , Sheriff, IOW

b. abt 1751, d. abt 1800

Father: Edmund Godwin b: ABT 1710

Mother: Ann Applewhaite b: ABT 1712

Marriage 1 Hannah (Parker) Godwin,  leaves will, 1806


Josiah Godwin

Mary Godwin

Dolly Godwin  m. Joseph Pitt

Priscilla Godwin

Brewer Godwin

John Godwin

Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County Virginia 1647-1800

CHARLES FULGHAM of Newport Parish.



Leg. to brother Joseph FULGHAM, now living in PLYMOUTH, NEW ENGLAND, with reversion of the bequest to his son Charles; to cousin Martha REYNOLDS, in case she dies, bequest to go to the use of a free school, to be kept in the town of SMITHFIELD; godson BREWER GODWIN; goddaughter Margaret EASON; to Priscilla GODWIN; to Brewer GODWIN’s son Brewer; wife ANN.

Exec. wife ANN FULGHAM, in case of her death, my friend James EASON.

I request Mrs. EASON to have the care of my darling MARTHA REYNOLDS.

Wits: James RONALDSON, Thomas BROWNE, Robert SHEDDON.

Will and Administrations of Isle of Wight County Virginia 1647-1800




Estate to be divided between BREWER GODWIN and MARTHA REYNOLDS.


Wits: none named.


Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia: A History of the County …

By John Bennett Boddie    pg 191

Ordered that John Jennings Wheadon be appointed a second lieutenant to the Company whereof Goodrich Wilson is Captain.  Brewer Godwin, Sheriff.

At a Court held April 6th, 1780.

Ordered that John Lawrence, Gent., be appointed a Col. of Militia in this county in the room of Tristram Norsworthy, who has resigned the office; that James Wills be appointed a Major in the room of John Lawrence, who is appointed a colonel; that Christopher Dickinson be appointed a Captain in the room of James Wills, who is appointed Major and that Joseph Pitt be appointed a first Lieutenant and George Benn a second to the said Company.

He appears to be a Rev. War veteran (an officer no less) but I do not find a pension… perhaps he died before 1832?

A few Chancery Court cases which mentions Pitt and wife Dolly…  Virginians appear to be very litigious folks 🙂


a James Pitt married relict of Benjamin Bowden (Anne) in 1819, IOW


Comments are welcome… I have found after a decade plus of playing this genealogy game that one person simply can’t do it without some feedback from others. If for no other reason than that each of us form “preconceptions” about all kinds of things…whether it be an area that we “think” someone lived… or a person that we “think” was related… you get the drift…

If you disagree… say so. There is nothing more refreshing that a dose of fact.


Written by anderson1951

November 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

15 Responses

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  1. Thank you for all of this information. I will be matching it against information that I have on my 4th GGF, Arthur Pitt.

    Carol Likens

    March 27, 2014 at 8:59 pm

  2. I hope that Joani gave me credit for the information that she gave you- I did the research for her in Isle of Wight County whereby I found information on James proving marriage to Ann West but primarily was the one who found that Thomas Pitt (d 1774) was father of Joseph,Arthur and Elizabeth and that it was indeed her James Pitt who became guardian to my ancestor, Arthur Pitt before moving into Edgecombe County. Enjoyed reading your information! Mary Scott

    Mary Scott

    June 9, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    • I am sure that Joani merely overlooked giving full citations for her sources. She and I and David Gammon have exchanged notes for years, in fits and spurts of mostly good natured and fun jabs at each of our inability to figure out who these folks parents were. As I said above… there is nothing more refreshing than a dose of fact. Thank you for your contributions to the field of genealogy.

      Below is a bit of an update on my Pitts research…


      June 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm

  3. Hi, I enjoyed watching your chase the many James Pitt. I kept hoping you would run up on my Charles Pitt, s/o a Henry Pitt b. 1645, Henry supposedly the illegit son of Col. Robert Pitt. It is my understanding that Charles (d 1750) father of a Joseph Pitts lived in the Swamp area.

    Elizabeth (Lib) Pitts

    October 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    • Hi Elizabeth

      Read my stuff… study the MAPS…take some aspirins for the headaches. After you realize none of us have a handle on the actual facts… then go to and look at the actual records.

      Everything you think you know may be right… but I doubt it. (smiling in good fun)



      October 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      • Hi Marc ! Truthfully, I don’t think what I have is accurate, and all the postings on the internet, as the saying goes, does not “jive” but I keep trying because I KNOW that much of what is on the internet is NOT correct….>>>>>>”Consideration: Marriage, already solemnised between Henry Pitt and Margaret, daughter of Thomas Dale and £450 dowry.” I think Boddie mentioned this but I wondered if he had the correct Henry.

        1. James Powell, Thomas Pitt and Sarah Pitt (daughter of Henry Pitt) spinster. [ I don’t think this Sarah is the daughter of Henry but rather the daughter of Arthur Smith, Marc.] By the way, is there a way for comments in the area they are seen, Marc? I really appreciate you chasing my Col. Robert. I have always believed that the answers are somewhere in Virginia, but I am unable at this time to get up there so I really appreciate what you are doing. I’ll try to get into Family again. I haven’t got all of your work read today, but what I have read makes more sense that what is “out there”. Maybe I’ll soon learn to use this a bit better.
        Lib Pitts

        Elizabeth S. Pitts

        November 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      • Lib

        The Thomas Dale references are from accounts in English records I found online… apparently a Pitt married a daughter of Dale.

        Dale appears to prefer to settle around the modern town of Petersburg.

        “In 1611, Sir Thomas Dale arrived with Rev. Whittaker founded Henricopolis (Henrico City) at Farrar’s Island which was the origin of the founding of the county of Henrico in 1634. On the south side of the James River the plantation Coxendale and Hope-in-Faith was founded with forts. Also in 1611, Sir Thomas Dale overtook an Indian village at the mouth of the Appomattox and established a plantation which he called New Bermudas. Bermuda Hundred was very close to Henrico city.”

        That Thomas Dale and both of the immigrant Pitts were “wealthy” people apparently… coming from the same area of England.

        They seem to be the first generation of the “Virginia” Pitts.

        Don’t worry what Boddie thought…. follow your nose.

        It looks to me like the “wealth and property” lasted for several generations and then began to break up among lawsuits and daughters intermarrying. By the 1700s there were winners and losers… the losers began to seek their fortunes elsewhere and moved on. Which is the problem for us modern folks… we can trace to say the mid 1700s in NC and SC and can’t make a link to the Virginia clans. I think any clues are hidden in court records (perhaps) from the other colonies.


        November 15, 2014 at 5:07 am

  4. Boddie’s works are interesting, especially since he was closely related; however, I do not accept anyones research if they can not give me a reliable source. Thanks for your comments! – I am off to read what you have put above that I have not gotten to review yet. What I originally had in my website was with proof; however, Family Tree went into my computer and took my “Working Copy” with all my private information, with an entirely different name, and merged it with my information in Ancestry, while I was in the hospital. Boy, did I ever get some emails from friends who had donated private info…I had definitely put it under PRIVATE but Ancestry changed it without my knowledge. Boy what a mess. Consequently, I deleted all that information. I have it on a disk but it would take more time than I have to remove all they inserted. They really messed up 15 years of research. Years ago, I used to use Family Sounds like it has improved.

    Elizabeth S. Pitts

    November 15, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    • is a marvelous site for original records. I can’t praise them enough and it is free. I am impatiently waiting for their Edgecombe County, NC court records to come online… they continuously update so I hope it is only a matter of time. I never use the “search” function with their records… I always go to the entire book and literally start turning “digital” pages (they sometimes have an index which helps). While I enjoy going to Raleigh and being around the original records it simply does not compare with having the luxury of seeing the same records online where I can spend time at my leisure. They are not open at 5 in the morning (smiling).

      The Library of Virginia is also a treasure for researchers… they also update regularly… ditto NC Archives.

      This Brantley site is a goldmine for Southampton records (they begin in 1749 when Southampton began and Isle of Wight quit)… this was a private effort that I much admire… I would love to see a group do the same thing with the early Chowan County records. Ditto the very early Isle of Wight.

      Years ago when I was a member of I found usable original records but have since got tired of the commercialism and “one size fits all” nonsense. If I ever see another green leaf I think I will throw up.

      I respect Boddie’s efforts especially considering that he and his cohorts were traveling to various archives and turning actual paper pages without a “search” button.


      November 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      • Thanks for all the information you shared, Marc. I hope to be able to sneak in some research time today. It is almost impossible most days. I’m still reading your input, especially on Col. Robert. Lib


        November 16, 2014 at 9:28 am

  5. Marc – I have a rather lengthy post – it includes some bolding and underlining – will that cut and paste onto the site when I put in the “leave a reply” ?? or should I send to you and let you put it up?? Mary S

    Mary Scott

    October 29, 2015 at 7:15 am

  6. HI Marc
    So I’ve progressed some but still no answer.

    Simple answer to James Pitt married Mary Rand (widow of Joseph) Smith who died 1780’s after having sons James and Edmond R Pitt. James then married Mary Walke, dau of Thomas Walke and had son Thomas Walke Pitt

    The family of Edmond R. Pitt can be found in the 1820 census for Chatham County, North Carolina, in the 1830 census for Franklin County, Tennessee, and in the 1850 census for Lamar County, Texas. Edmond served in the War of 1812 and is on the 1812 census for the Wake County Regiment, Seventh Company, North Carolina Militia.

    DNA proved Edmond R Pitt down line is in the same DNA batch as My James Pitt as well as Robert Pitt from Edge.

    Elizabeth West was nee Pitt, daughter of John Pitt d. 1761 of John 1748 of Henry 1719 of John 1702.
    She had a brothers John, and William. She married Richard West, son of Robert West, sister of Ann West that married my James Pitt. I do have tons more.

    Joani Taylor

    January 30, 2017 at 10:02 pm

  7. Marc, I am late to the game. But I have a question. From what it looks like Mary Rand Smith Pitt died around Mar 1793 as that is when the chancery suit abates by her death. On 27 Jul 1794 James Pitt married a Mary (Walke) Michael, who I believe was widow of John Michael who died in 1793. Thomas Walke, her father?, shows up in his will, but I have not seen entire will- just abstract on ancestry.

    In Thomas Walke Pitt’s deposition in Kentucky, he says he was 17 years old when his father died in 1799. Am I missing further info? This would mean Thomas Walke Pitt would have been born abt 1782, long before James Pitt married Mary Walke. If he was born in 1782, does this mean he is possible son of John and Mary Walke Michael? If he is in error about his age (or it is clerical error) and he was born after James Pitt and Mary Walke married there was no way he could have remembered an estate sale if he was only 4 years old.

    Can you straighten this out for me?

    Thanks, Mary Scott

    Mary H Scott

    July 7, 2017 at 6:51 am

  8. Well, I found “Find a Grave” for Thomas Walke Pitt, Calloway Co KY. Confirms his birth as 25 Sep 1795. The deposition is still confusing, however

    Mary H Scott

    July 7, 2017 at 7:02 am

    • Mary,
      I lost all our communication over a decade ago when I had a computer crash, I do wish that was not so!

      The deposition is of James Pitt son of James Pitt d. IOW 1799 and his first wife Mary Rand (Joseph) Smith which was taken as part of the Thomas Walke Pitt, son of James Pitt d. IOW 1799 and 2nd wife Mary Walke law suit.

      FTDNA Pitt/Pitts project has proven Edmond R Pitt son of James Pitt and Mary Rand is a match to James Pitt and Robert Pitt of Edgecombe.

      Last week the DNA results of a supposed downline of Arthur Pitt of TN turned out to be a NONMATCH!
      This could be an error in the research or a NPE, or Arthur was adopted, or Mary Kirkland had a son, supposedly James Pitt before she and Arthur married, or even somewhere else down the chain. Since I have only verified the Arthur Pitt line by census, you probably have allot more earlier documentation than I do on that line.

      I’ve reached out to a “cousin” who has a connection to a Milton Buck Pitt of Edge that descends from the Joseph Pitt died Edgecombe 1818, and assumed brother or half brother of Arthur to see if we can get a DNA sample.

      Joani Taylor

      August 26, 2017 at 2:58 pm

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