From the book The Chronicles of JOHN CLARK JOHNS, by David L. Taylor:
"The name JOHNS is of Welsh origin and is a variant of Jones or Jone. It was originally taken as a surname by the sons of one named John. The name is found on ancient Welsh and English records in the various spellings of Jone, Jones, Johne, Johnes, Joane, Joanes, Jon, Jons, John, Johns, and others. Families of this name were found at early dates in the British counties of Cardigan, Cornwall, Somerset, Montgomery, Oxford, Hertford, Merioneth, Carmarthen, Monmouth, Worchester, and London. They were, for the most part, of the landed gentry and yeomans of Great Britian. One of the numerous Welsh families of the name descended from Sir Elidir of Carmarthenshire in the early fifteenth century. Another early Welsh line descended for Llewelyn ap (son of) Owain. While it is not clear in many cases from which off the many lines of the family in Wales and England the first emigrants of the name to America were descended, it appears from old records that bearers of the name Johns were among the earliest British settlers in the New World. One of the oldest and largest Johns line first settled in Maryland. There seems to be quite a large family or group of relatives coming to the new colony between the years 1631 and 1637. Just which line this branch connected with we are unable to say. Settling in Maryland first, they then scattered in various directions. Some went to New Jersey, others to Penn., and still others settled in Virginian and the Carolinas. Among this group by the name Johns we have found that each came on a different vessel. (He then lists all arrivals he could find)...Also among the early immigrants of the name in America were Jacob and Richard Johns of Northampton County, Va in 1645 and William Johns of Hingham, Mass. before 1663. No definite records, however, have been found concerning the immediate families and descendants of these early immigrants. Richard Johns of Bristol, England, emigrated to America about the year 1673 and settled in Calvert County, Maryland.... Samuel and Griffith Johns, the sons of John Phillip of Pembrokeshire, Wales emigrated to America about 1709 and settled in Chester County, Penn. Of these brothers, Samuel had issue by his wife Margaret of Mary, Samuel, Margaret, David Ellen, Daniel, and Rebecca. Griffith married Ann Williams in 1714 and most likely had issue of several children although their names are not of record. Benjamin Johns settled at Sharon, Conn., in the early eighteenth century and removed to New York in 1752. No definite records have been found, however, concerning his descendants, if any. About this year 1760 Isaac Johns, whose ancestry is not known, made his home in Highland County, Va. His children wer probably William, Sarah, James, Jeremiah, Isaac, and John."

More on this later. Duty calls.

Cliff Johns


Subj: Re: Joe Paynes new Home Pg. http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/5273/genealogy.htm
Date: 4/23/98 1:53:09 AM Central Daylight Time
From: RJohns24
To: JPayne5744
CC: mpollock@mindspring.com, HJohns3

Dear Joe,

You've got a great new home page.  I didn't have time to read everything and will as soon as time permits.

One important point, however, Karen and I are both now convinced that Roger Johns is not the father of Richard Johns of King William.  In fact he doesn't appear to have been a father at all.  He referred to Elizabeth, in his will, as his servant.  She was probably indentured, because one of the things he bequeathed to her was her "TIME". That is the remaining time she had to serve.  I don't think anyone, even in those days, could get away with calling their wife their servant.  There were no children mentioned in the will whatsoever.  You may want to change this part of your page.  I believe that Roger is somehow connected to Richard of KW, perhaps an uncle?  We're still working on that.

Incidentally I'm still waiting to hear from Hawkins Co. re land records for Henry father of Rial.  I'll let you know as soon as I hear.

Best regards,  Rob

P. S. To: Michael Pollock,  Mike please contact Joe Paynes new Home Page, address in the caption.  It has most of my work on the Quaker connections for Roger, plus a lot more!  RJ


Subj: More on Robert of Amhers and Richard and Roger of Northampton
Date: 97-12-30 14:34:35 EST
From: RJohns24 To: ksalisbury@ccsinc.com
CC: Aor7capt, HJohns3, Gmj1492, cgilliam@intcomm.net

Dear Karen,

This is to acknowledge your msg of 25 Dec 97. Both you and George have sent me copies of your interlocking pedigrees and lots of info on the descendants of Robert Johns Sr. of Amherst. You have both done an outstanding job in collecting details of the lives of your ancestors with biographical notes, cemetery records and old letters. You should get together and write a book.

I am really pleased to hear that you and your husband David might find time to visit the court house in Eastville, Northampton Co, VA. There are some very specific things that need to be done there and I will attempt to tell you what and why.

First off, as you know, I believe Robert Sr. of Amherst and Thomas Sr. of Cumberland are brothers whose father I believe to be William of Cumberland, Buckingham, and Amherst. These three individuals are mentioned in the will of Alexander Trent II recorded 1750 Cumberland. I am going to attach to this msg a copy of that will. I have located William Johns in Goochland Co. 1730, and King William Co. 1720. He is also mentioned in the 1703 will of Richard Johns, " I give to my sonn William Johns one hundred acres of land being the Plantation he now lives on to him and his heirs forever." I have a copy of this will but I have not scanned it in so I don't have it in document file form to transmit. It is believed at this time that Richard of KW may be the same Richard transported by Roger Johns to the Naswattock Creek area of Northampton Co ca, 1638. Roger Johns obtained a headright for five individuals including himself and was granted a patent on 250 acres on Naswattock Creek in 1645. {doc Cavaliers and Pioneers} Mary Jane Steinhagen, another Johns researcher, has provided me with an index of the documents pertaining to Richard Johns and Roger Johns in the old records of Northampton. I have already gotten a copy of the will and abstract of the will of Roger Johns recorded Northampton 1652. This will is very hard to read, not because the copy is bad but because the handwriting is too flourishing. The documents that we need to find, read, take notes, and or copy are as follows from Mary Janes index:

Name Event Date Place Source Page Richard Johns innocent of civil action 1641 Accomack Co B0200 128

" testified 1641 " B0200 091
Roger Johns debtor 1638 Northampton Co A0026 003
" paymnt ordered from 1639 Accomack Co. B0008 132
" payment ordered from 1639 " B0008 133
" made a deposition 1639 " B0008 140
" rented from another 1639 " B0008 134
" payment ordered from 1640 " B0008 165
" arbitrator 1640 " B0200 030
" acted as gunsmith 1641 " B0200 105
Roger Johns resident of 1645 Northampton Co. B0087 016
" blacksmith 1646 " A0026 011
" present in court 1646 " A0026 024
" involved in court case 1647 " A0026 061
" accused of slander 1647 " A0026 065
" judgement against 1647 " A0026 109
" quietus est granted 1654 " A0020 013

This list may seem complex when first viewed. It really isn't when you see the index to the source codes { the next to last item on each line "A0200" etc.} The page number is the actual page number of the document described in the original county entry. I am sending, as an attachment to a second short Email msg, a copy of the " Source Codes". The sources are the actual record books where the entrys are to be found at the Eastville Court House. If you don't have time to look up all of the entrys, do the ones you think will yield the most info. Your guess on this is as good as mine. I think you will find Mrs. Mary Elliot, the county person in charge of genealogy, to be quite helpful. You might want to call her before you go to visit. Her telephone is 757-678-0465. This phone rings in her office, and she is the person who answers. Of all of the entrys to check the most important are the two Richard Johns entrys. It appears that Roger Johns arrived in VA with Richard and Jacob Johns. Roger stayed on to live the rest of his life in Accomack and Northampton, Richard ony stayed long enough to appear twice in court records and Jacob never appeared in any record I have been able to find in VA.

Good luck and happy hunting. The results of this investigation may determine the roots of all or most of the Johns lines that we are tracing. Any question please Email or call me. My phone is 626-332-8548.

Best regards.

Rob Johns


Forwarded Message:
Subj: Va Quaker Johns
Date: 98-03-06 18:48:44 EST
From: ksalisbury@ccsinc.com (Karen L. Salisbury)
Reply-to: ksalisbury@ccsinc.com
To: RJohns24@aol.com (Robert Johns), gmjohns@wwd.net (George Johns), HJohns3@aol.com (Hank Johns), Aor7capt@aol.com (Cliff Johns), MColeMD@CompuServe.com (Michael Cole)
Rob is correct on the VA Quaker connection. I was over limit today but have found today at the CW library, Hopewell Quaker Meeting Rosters, Richard Johns and George Fox.   Also Richards' dau Elizabeth was married in meeting with many witnesses. Hopewell meeting was in Frederick County MD.

Also, I truly suspect that Richard may not be related to Roger. I found today that Richard Johns came to VA on the Mayflower in 1634 or 6. He was involved in a hearing by the Admiralty court about the captains inproprieties. I will get you more on that. In Virginia Settlers and English Adventurers, Durrer-Briggs, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1970, Part VI, Hight Court of Admiralty Libels and Examinations, #1156; VASSALL vs KINGSWELL. 7 Nov. 1634 ...Same Case. 13 Nov. 1634 Richard Johns of St. Ethelburgh, Bishopsgate, London, Merchant, aged 42 Witness was in the "Mayflower" in August 1633 when she set sail from Gravesend.

This goes on for many pages with other's testamony. To give an overview, the Mayflower left England with The Defense and The Primrose. Vassall owned the Mayflower which he bought in August 1633, Capt. Andrews was the master. Amongst the many complaints were: denying the passengers food and water, throwing their mail overboard because even though he sold passage to VA he was really going to FL, and more of the like. They did end up going to VA as the ship was of too deep draft to go to FL. (That's what it says)

Case 1178, HCA 13/55, fol. 294, JOHNS vs POTTS (or Pitts). 10 Oct. 1639 James Buckley of Shadwell, sailor, aged 33. John Johns was freighter of the ship the "Blessing" in this her last voyage from London to Virginia, of which William Hill was master. Witness served in the ship and returned in her. He was on shore at Kicotan in Virginia where he heard one Mr. Robert Johns and Mr. Percival Potts (or Pitts) discussing the freighting of the ship. The "Blessing" was furnished and provided with all vecessaries fir for the voyage from Londont o Virginia and back and on 11 or 12 October 1638 she departed from Gravesend. She was becalmed on the Downs for three weeks but was then forced to put in to the Isle of Wight where they took on one Capt. Hobson as a passenger. They stayed two months in the Isle of Wight during all of which time the wind was contrary. When they set sail from the Isle of Wight they got to Virginia in the space of severn weeks.

I did receive you em this am. I will address it there. K


Forwarded Message: Subj: Re: Va Quaker Johns, and Various Johns Merchants
Date: 98-03-08 01:09:26 EST
From: RJohns24
To: ksalisbury@ccsinc.com
CC: McoleMD@compuserve.com, Aor7capt, HJohns3 CC: gmjohns@wwd.net, selena@mhtc.net, CDrenn

Dear Karen,

Thanks for this interesting msg. There is absolutely no question in my mind,at this time, regarding the Quaker and Puritan influence in the Johns family. Roger Johns was probably one of the founders of the first Quaker meeting in southern America at Naswattock VA. He and his best friends James and Martha Barnaby, knew Elizabeth Harris, who was a very active missionary of the Quaker sect. In fact they credit her with founding the Virginia Quaker movement, and state that the first meeting house was at Naswaddox, Northampton, VA. This info is outlined in "The Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy". All of the Naswattock meetig records were lost!

I believe Roger,in addition to being a gunsmith and blacksmith, was a tobacco merchant and importer of British made goods. There are so many Richard Johnses that we are dealing with now, one has to be very specific in making reference to Richard Johns.

I believe that the Richard and Jacob Johns individuals transported by Roger to Northampton in abt.1638, for whom Roger obtained the headright 28 Nov. 1645, were indeed related to him, but were not his children, possibly his nephews. He may have been in business with them. All indications are that they were from Bristol, England.

I am aware of the Richard Johns,who sailed on the Mayflower and was the subject of the deposition outlined in your msg. He was a "freighter", a term with which I am not completely familiar. It appears to be a person, who sails on a vessel, and has loaded aboard a consignment of goods which he is taking to the destination of the ship and will sell or barter for goods at the port of destination. He would then return with his bartered goods, in the case of Virginia most likely tobacco, and sell them for profit in England. I think that Jacob Johns may have been performing this sort of task when he came to Northampton? The Richard Johns of the Mayflower incident is probably not related to our line or that is to say Roger, or Richard of Northampton. He was from London, not Bristol. Did you know there was a Robert Johns listed in Cav & Pioneers V.1 pg 96 who came to James City Co. VA prior to 1638. He was listed as a merchant? He set up business on the James River. This Robert may well be the one mentioned in the incident of the "Blessing". I Think the early Johns were tradesmen and merchants from all appearances. The London Johns and the Bristol Johns may be from the same origins in Carmarthen, Wales. We have a lot of work to do to get to that point.

Warmest regards,
Rob


Dear Johns Researchers,

I finally found it!! Like most genealogists (of the amateur variety), I had boxes of stuff before I got savey and got on line. I can remember everything, but can find almost nothing.

In any case, it is a better copy, in 4 parts, but not real clear. I quote from Margaret Druse letter of 29 Feb 1996: "In going over the tree I could find no Jacob. However, the family of Kensey Johns and Susannah Galloway is developed much more fully than those of his siblings - and there are quite a few male names...

It just occured to me that perhaps you could get a copy of the tree in the Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St., Baltimore. I'll never forget how dumbfounded I was upon seeing a duplicate of our's when we visited the Society in 1975. Aunt Belle may have had the tree long before it was sent to my mother in 1923. I can only think that the unknown creator made more than one when it was done, perhaps in the 1850s....

We asked several people about copying the tree. At a camera shop we were told that it was much too large to copy, even in sections, and also, they wouldn't accept the responsibility for doing it.
These copies are very poor and there is a slight (over an inch) gap across the center, but at least it will give you a bit of an idea about it. I'm very sorry.
Now it is March 2. I just talked with my sister Carol in Forest Hill, NY. She will check to see whether she has a copy our dad made many years ago.
Richard Johns (1649-1717) was not born in Calvert Cliffs, but in Wales or Bristol. He apparently sailed from the latter location. I hope you have real success in your quest for the tree.

Best Wishes,

Margaret"

There is more. She quotes George Rodney Crowther's note on p.227 in the June 3, 1961 issue of Md.Hist.Mag, in which he announces, "It has become my painful duty to announce that the Welsh ancestry of Richard Johns is absolutely disproved as it is set forth in the records of the Colonial Dames of America, Chapter One...I am in possession of documents which disallow the line as now proposed."

Harry Wright Newman, in To Maryland from Overseas, Gen.Pub. Co.Inc, Baltimore, 1985, p. 101 wrote: "Descendants of Richard Johns who emigrated to Calvert County in 1670 are lead to believe that their ancestor was the son of Sir Thomas who was the son of Sir Henry, son of Sir Thomas, according to Francis Culver, late genealogist. Unfortunately, Culver had the bad habit of not documenting some of his work. No knighthood was ever conferred upon a Johns, per Shaw's Knight of England."

I hope some of this helps with leads to sources and earlier research.

In any case, I will copy the 4 parts of the tree and see if they are legible. Anyone particularly wanting a copy, let me know. Of course, I will send one to Rob Johns as the lead on our new progject.

Regards,
Cliff Johns


Subj: Re: The will of the two brothers et al
Date: 98-04-28 22:29:54 EDT
From: RJohns24
To: mpollock@mindspring.com
CC: Aor7capt, JPayne5744, Jrn2217
CC: ksalisbury@ccsinc.com, selena@mhtc.net, CDrenn CC: HJohns3, bjohnsjr@inetconn.net
Michael,

The caption on this msg, to which I am now replying, is misleading. My original msg treated with two subjects. 1, The will of the Two Brothers; 2, An explanation to Karen why I felt Roger Johns is important to our lineage, although not directly connected. Your msg, using the same caption, treated only with my comments on the importance of Roger Johns. I will attempt to answer the questions you raised in that regard.

Let's take the Richard Johns appearance in Virginia in order. Roger Johns transported Richard #1 and received a headright grant 28 Nov 1645. We know that Roger arrived in Northampton prior to 1638 because he appeared in Northampton court records as a debtor in 1638,Northampton Co Deeds, Wills book 1645-1651 pg 3. Richard appeared in Northampton court records twice in1641, innocent of civil action and testified, Northampton Co. court records book 1640-1645, pgs 128 and 91 respectively. Since these dates were so close together I suggested they may have arrived on the same ship. Even if Richard arrived after Roger the difference is only three years. If this Richard were anything younger than an adult I would not think it likely that he would appear in two court actions testifying in one and appearing as innocent in a civil action against him in the other.

I have spoken by telephone to Mrs, E. E. Mihalyka, whom you may know to be a noted genealogist living in Cheriton, VA near Eastville . She is busy extracting archives in the Eastville Court House. She also has written several books of archive extractions Published by Hickory House of Eastville. She has agreed to look into the court actions of Richard to try to give us some idea of what they were. Meanwhile I have ordered her book of extractions. I hope she will shed some light on this subject.

Returning to Richard an adult of let's say 25 years (probably older) in 1641. If it was he who returned to Northampton in Southey Littleton's transportation of 1656, actually arriving in abt. 1651, he would have been abt 35 years of age. This is a little past the age at which men of those days waited to mary, hoever it is possible. He would then have been 87 yrs at the time of his death in King William 1703, also older than average for those times, but credible. One can play with these numbers and make it work out with one Richard or two depending on the age one assigns to the first appearance of Richard. It still seems likely to me that the second appearance of Richard in Northampton in abt 1650-1656 might well have been a different Richard than the first, but this point is really of minor importance. Roger was involved in the first transportation and I feel this definitely connects Roger to Richard. Even if there were two Richards and the second was a son or close relative of the first, there still would be some connection to Roger.

In your msg you said that you were "troubled" by the fact that none of Richard's sons were appointed as the executor of his will. You suggested that this might be because they were either minors, (which is not possible) or living somewhere other than King William. Well, my premise that Richard Johns the oldest son of Richard of King William was indeed the Richard of Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, would place that son in Maryland, with his wife Elizabeth Kinsey Sparrow Johns at the time of the death of his father Richard of KW in 1703. Richard Sr. along with sons Robert and Arthur signed a Loyalty Oath to King William III, recorded in KW Co. in 1701/2. Copy of this document appears in Beverly Fleet's "Virginia Colonial Abstracts, vol 1". Richard's will grants a parcel of 100 acres of his land to his son William, "on which he is now living", thus accounting for William, whom I believe to be the father of Thomas Johns Sr of Cumberland Co., VA and Robert Johns Sr. of Amherst Co., VA. Richard, in naming his wife Jane as executrix of his will, apparently thought that she, of all people still living in KW, would be the person most likely to administer the rather complex distributions thereof. It appears that in the end Richard Jr, his son, may have ended up with most of the land his father owned that was not otherwise distributed in the will.

Your third from last paragraph really leaves me in a quandry. You state in part, "the inference of what I found is that the Richard Johns who died in King William County in 1703 was probably not the headright claimed by Southy Littleton. The surname is too commonplace for there to be any legitimate basis to suppose Richard was a nephew or close kinsman of Roger without such a connection."

I suggest there is reason to believe that Richard of KW has some connection to Roger of Northampton. If Richard of KW is indeed the same Richard whom Roger transported in 1638-41 then that is the connection. If the Richard of Southey Littleton's later transportation is not the same as the one of Roger's transportation, we must consider other factors. Roger's will was written in 1651. Hence Roger still lived in that year. Southey's grant was recorded in 1656, but the actual arrival of Richard took place earlier, possibly 1649-50, while Roger was still living. If this Richard were not connected to Roger in some way why did he come to Northampton Co, rather than one of the main tidewater ports of mainland Virginia? He did so no doubt to visit Roger and the friends and contacts that Roger had in Northampton, possibly including the Littleton Family who had contacts in Wales. Col. Nathaniel Littleton and his wife Anne Southey Littleton were the parents of Southey Littleton. Col. Nathaniel was the son of Sir Edward Littleton, Chief Justice of North Wales. It is likely that many of the headrights that were transported in Southey's land grant were of Welsh origin and probably of residence in Bristol. It is interesting to note that in this transportation and grant to Southey, he was only eleven years of age at the time of the grant having been b. 1645, and d. 1679. ( All of the references to the Littleton Family are from Genealogies of Virginia Families, vol IV, He-S) It is quite obvious that it was Col Nathaniel Littleton who arranged the headright grant application for his young son Southey.

I have as yet been unable to document that Jane wife of Richard of KW was the dau. of Capt. John Fox. The family of John Fox lived in New Kent Co. in early times, which became King and Queen and then King William in 1702. There are a number of genealogies prepared by individuals, other than Sam Randle, who designate John Fox as the father of Jane who m. Richard Johns. Regretably the early records of all three of these counties have been destroyed or lost.

I hope that you can now feel a little more secure in accepting the connections of Roger to Richard and that this Richard is indeed the same as he of 1703 King William.

I rest, Rob Johns


Subj: Re: Rogers Will Date: 98-04-28 22:36:51 EDT
From: ksalisbury@ccsinc.com (Karen L. Salisbury)
Reply-to: ksalisbury@ccsinc.com
To: RJohns24@aol.com (RJohns24)
CC: mpollock@mindspring.com, Aor7capt@aol.com, HJohns3@aol.com, JPayne5744@aol.com

I couldn't disagree with you more. In the proving of the will she is clearly named as wife and relict. Court clerks do not sloppily do this. I have always maintained what Michael said last week, she was at one time an indentured servant, probably to Roger, who married her and only the will releases her from than bondage, which means they were probably married for fewer than seven years, even though that is conjecture on my part.

I personally doubt that he had issue in this country or his will would probably have mentioned them. I believe the legal court records speak rather plainly for themselves. K


From: RJohns24 To: mpollock@mindspring.com
CC: Aor7capt, HJohns3, JPayne5744, CDrenn
CC: ksalisbury@ccsinc.com, selena@mhtc.net

Dear Michael,

Suddenly the email has become overwhelming. Here's an attempt to answer your questions on the RogRich document.

I did err in my statement regarding age requirements, in fact I made up a rule that seemed to fit most of the cases that I was aware of. Bad idea. I was under some pressure to get the job done for the February Johns Group Meeting. I'll go with 12 years or no age limit. There was a lot of chicanery about the headrights anyhow.

In that regard I am am attaching a copy of the Headright statement from the first volume of Nell Nugent's Cavaliers and Pioneers. I have used this, or my interpretation of it, to make my judgements on headright situations.

It appears that Roger Johns probably resided on his Nassawattox property, although he may have also had rented quarters in town? (what town I'm not sure?) John Majors threw him and his friend Wyatt out of rented quarters, even after he had paid the rent in advance. This seemed likely to have been the act of a Church of England landlord persecuting a Puritan. There is no indication that Wyatt had any blood or legal relationship with Roger. Puritans did always address or refer to each other as brothers and sisters. I have just finished reading "Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647" by William Bradford. This book abounds with brother this and that and brethren in plural. It also contains some interesting information relative to the same times we are researching. Page 235 commences chapter 20 ANNO DOM: 1629. The footnote at the bottom of this page "This was the begining of the Great Puritan migration to Massachusetts". If they migrated to MA they undoubtedly did to VA as well. In fact the Pilgrim fathers first planned to go to VA and ended up near Cape Cod because they were blown off course and nearly shipwrecked. Page 236 has a footnote, "The cost of trasatlantic passage in 1629-30, complained the Rev.Francis Higginson of Salem, was "wondrous dear at Lb 5 a man and Lb 10 a horse and commonly of Lb 3 for every tun of goods." This would seem to indicate that the value of a headright was then about Lb 5 for 50 acres or Lb .1/acre.

On the above basis the cost of Roger Johns' 250 acres at Nassawattock Creek was abt. Lb 25. But there was something quite unique about that location on the creek. It shows on my map as being fairly protected from storms or winds coming from any direction but west and it is also isolated from James City and the major colonial ports of early tidewater Virginia across the Bay. An ideal place to drop off passengers who might not want to pass through the authorities at the major tidewater ports. Those old square riggers were impossible to handle in close quarters, such as sailing up the Chesapeake. It appears that Northampton might have been the destination of many of those who desired to slip into Virginia or Maryland without being too closely scrutinized. This was true of both the Puritans and later of the Quakers.

I'm going to let this go to press now, although there is a lot more proof that Roger Johns may have been one of the founding fathers of the Quaker movement in Virginia. I believe that Richard Johns of KW was a Quaker when he arrived in Northampton and remained one until some time before he swore the oath of allegiance to King William III in 1702. The swearing of the oath of allegiance was the test a presumed Quaker was always put to. If he failed to swear, he was presumed to be a Quaker because their religion forbade them to swear oaths. This then lead to imprisonment or fines, or whippings or other punishment.

Until later, Rob


Subj: Roger Johns' Will
Date: 98-05-23 12:33:25 EDT
From: Aor7capt
CC: Johns Research Group
Greetings,
I have just had an opportunity to examine the copy of Roger Johns' will that I was sent some time ago, and having done so, I feel obliged to alter my previous positions regarding Richard Johns of King William County as a son of Roger Johns of Northampton.

The letter of probate of Roger's will CLEARLY identifies the Elizabeth who was called "servant" in the will as Roger's wife. The reason this may have been missed was that she was identified as "relict', which is an archaic synonym for widow. As I read through the actual will, I thought that, exception for calling her "servant", it read as if Elizabeth was his wife. In light of what I now know as a result of reading the will and letter of probate, I can resolve the contradiction. Roger married his servant woman Elizabeth _____ while she was still his servant. This was possible because as her master, Roger would have had the authority to grant her permission to marry as he would have to have done had she married anyone else. A servant given permission to marry by his/her master was still obliged to finish the term of the indenture, so Roger forgave her remaining time of servitude, presumably to prevent either his "heir-at-law" from arguing that Roger's failure to do so abrogated her right to any other bequest made to her by Roger's will or any creditor from claiming that servitude as payment of a debt by also arguing that Roger's failure to forgive Elizabeth's servitude made her a part of his estate.

Under this scenario, Roger and Elizabeth would probably have married in 1650 or 1651. Thus it is quite conceivable that Elizabeth gave birth to a child fathered by Roger after his death, though that assumes the marriage was not strictly a gesture of appreciation by Roger to Elizabeth for her caring for him in his final days made "necessary" by the fact she had been his servant and thus could have had her right to inherit any of Roger's estate challenged by either his family or a creditor. I looked for any acknowledgment in Virginia Wills and Administrations, 1632-1800 and in Wills and Administrations of Accomack County, Virginia, 1663-1800 of a will/administration/settlement for Elizabeth or her subsequent husband, Robert Hutchinson, in the hope that such a record might acknowledge a Richard Johns, but found none. Several volumes of court orders for Accomack County have been published by Heritage Books, and should be checked for any reference to a Richard Johns/Jones (I do find references in the Accomack wills to a Richard Jones, but in a context that makes it unlikely he could have been a son of Roger), but my guess is that a search of the Northampton records would be more promising. For example, while it is not a certainty, if Elizabeth did have issue by Roger, there should have been record of either her subsequent husband or a disinterested 3rd party being appointed guardian of the child, with the latter more likely since her subsequent husband would have become the de facto owner of Roger Johns' entire estate upon his marriage to Elizabeth if there was no heir and no marriage contract since Roger's will did not disinherit Elizabeth if she were to remarry.

I trust that I will be forgiven for having jumped to conclusions before I knew all the facts contrary to my own advise.
Michael

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