Descendants of Roger Williams – No! Not That One! Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced Roger Williams of Bedford County, Virginia, through details in a chancery court law suit. This Roger Williams, who has no known connection to Roger Williams of Rhode Island, resided in Cumberland County, Virginia in the years before he removed to Bedford County.

The Williams family were a large, extended clan even in the 1700s. Brothers Matthias and Thomas Williams were contemporaries of this Roger Williams. Land and court records show the families all knew each other, although I don’t get the sense that Roger was their brother. I think it is more likely he was their cousin or, possibly, a nephew. After the Revolutionary War, various branches moved westward, first in Virginia to Bedford and Campbell Counties, and then continued onward to Tennessee.

Today’s post introduce the early 1700s clues about these family relationships and, in the future, I will write about the families of Roger and Thomas. Matthias’s descendants have already been discussed.

I published a book about this extended family about fifteen years ago and, while I have not published any update, I have significantly added to the Williams information in it. The introduction, which was Chapter 1 in my book, is still current so I’d like to share portions of it here:

There were three men born between 1712 and the late 1720’s who lived in Cumberland County.  Roger Williams was the first.  Little is known of this man, except that he gave a tract of land to Roger Jr. in 1773, stating “me hereunto moving.” The relationship of the other two, Thomas and Matthias Williams, is certain because of a land transaction from Thomas to his brother, Matthias, in 1763.

There are a number of Williams’ names common to early Hanover County, Virginia that later appear in Goochland County.  Several families appear to have moved in the same era to the area that later became Cumberland County, Virginia.  Virginia land patent records show a Roger Williams receiving 200 acres of land adjoining John Johnson and Robert Allin on the north side of Chickahominy Swamp in New Kent County, Virginia as early as 1719.  By Sept 1723, John Johnson received 250 acres on Chickahominy Swamp, then in Hanover County, on the lines of John Hogg and Roger Williams.

The Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish in Hanover County mentions in 1730 that the tithes of Capt. Thomas Anderson are to assist Roger Williams in clearing the road of which he is surveyor.

The will of one Thomas Anderson was written 25 October1757 and recorded 9 March 1758 in Albemarle County, Virginia.  He named daughter Susannah Williams, among others, with witnesses shown to be John Gannaway Jr., John Gannaway Sr. and Roger Williams Sr. It is believed that this Susannah Anderson was the wife of Thomas Williams of Cumberland County.  Thomas Anderson and Roger Williams in Hanover County  may be the same men as those earlier in Albemarle County. The Gannaways have long, deep ties to this Williams family.

In August 1731, Michael Holland received 6,350 acres in Hanover County.  The land was adjacent to many men, including a Roger Williams..

 On 6 November 1734, one Thomas Williams was a witness noted in the Hanover County court minutes. Samuel’s father, Thomas, was born in 1712 according to a family Bible record. If the same man, Thomas would have been 22 and of legal age in 1734.

In addition, there are numerous records in Goochland County naming other Williams men along with surnames connected to the Williams family by marriage.  Some of those early Williams men were Edward, John, William, Samuel and Robert.  All are given names appearing in the Cumberland County group a generation later.  Associated surnames with Williams in land deeds, wills or court records include Womack, Holman, Witt, Crouch, Woodson and Wright.  Those same names are also closely associated with the families of Roger, Thomas and Matthias Williams in Cumberland County.

Thomas Williams sold land in 1765 that was adjacent to Richard Randolph’s property. Roger Williams’ land also bordered Richard Randolph’s.

Additionally, Cumberland County, Virginia court orders for 28 August 1787 record Roger and Samuel Williams as administrators of the estate of Thomas Fitch, deceased. 

A Bible record viewed on line (accession number 34530) at the Library of Virginia includes information on Thomas Fitch. His wife, Darces (Dorcas?) Williams was born 15 January 1739. They married on 26 May 1757. Children included Susannah, Francis, Sarah, Samuel, Charles, Polly, Elizabeth, Samuel and Jane. All of those names are found in the Williams family of Cumberland County, Virginia, with the exception of Francis. It appears that Darces may have been a daughter of Thomas and Susannah Anderson Williams.

Court records of Halifax and Pittsylvania counties in Virginia show that one Thomas Williams, son of Roger, entered land in Pittsylvania County in 1752.  Court records note in 1755 that Thomas Williams was the executor of Roger Williams, deceased. These records, if related to the Cumberland group, may actually refer to the earliest Roger in New Kent Co. in 1719 and Thomas later of Cumberland County.

Thomas Williams was a witness on behalf of Roger Williams in a 1755 lawsuit against William Hudgens in Cumberland County.17

In Cumberland County Court in 1763, Thomas Williams was sued for debt.  His bondsmen were John Gannaway and Charles Williams (probably the Charles who lived in Halifax County and  later Pittsylvania County. A son of this Charles, also named Charles, married Susannah Williams, daughter of Roger Williams and Cassie Ann Blair in 1797.  This third Roger was the son of Roger born in the 1720s.

Thomas Williams, son of Matthias Williams, married Esther Morrow on 6 August 1780 in Prince Edward County.  Roger Williams was the surety.

In January 1788, Thomas Williams sold land to Archibald Wright. The 200 acres were part of a tract conveyed to Samuel Williams, bounded by lands of said Samuel, Alexander Trent and Seymore Scott.  Thomas noted the sale took place because of the 5 shillings received by Thomas, plus the 200 lbs. current money paid in hand to Roger Williams.  Witnesses were John Lee, Saymer Scott and Creed Taylor.

These details prove that there was some sort of close family relationship between Roger and brothers Thomas and Matthias Williams. Roger Williams’ family will be covered in Saturday’s post.






One thought on “Descendants of Roger Williams – No! Not That One! Part 1”

  1. Hello, Can you give any more details to your statement about the Gannaways having deep ties to the family of Roger Williams? Thanks!

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