John Wooldridge, Blacksmith of Virginia & Martha (Osborne?)

My trek into my husband’s Wooldridge family began when I discovered the record of the fourth marriage of his 2X great grandmother, Mary Bandy, in Peoria, Illinois. It was recent enough in modern times to include the names of her parents!

This is one of those records where being familiar with Virginian surnames is an advantage. Her father’s name, Andrew Bandy, is easy enough to read, but look at her mother’s name:

The court clerk had not-so-great cursive, but her mother’s name is Rebecca Wooldridge. Linking Rebecca to her parents came about because of the name of one of her eldest sons, Samuel Coleman Bandy.

Rebecca’s father, James Wooldridge, died young. Her mother was Ann (Nancy) Coleman, daughter of Samuel Coleman, and court records helped prove this link, but I am off on a tangent here.

James Wooldridge, her father, was actually the fourth generation of the family in Virginia, so we need to start at the beginning with his immigrant ancestor.

John Wooldridge, the progenitor of this family, served as the indentured servant or apprentice of Mrs. Eliza Kennon, who he sued for wages in Henrico County, Virginia court in March 1699. It is thought that John had just turned 21, thus was born about 1678. He died in 1757, which would have put his age as 79 years at death.

It isn’t known whether he was related to Thomas Wooldridge, who had land patented in the 1640s in York County, Virginia.  He did, however, name a son Thomas, so there might be a family tie. Perhaps time, and DNA testing, might narrow down his place of birth and ancestry.

It is reasonable to assume he was born either in Virginia or England. I’ve seen many mentions of the family being from North, East and South Lothian and Midlothian, but no primary sources validate that belief.

John Wooldridge married Martha about 1704, probably in Henrico County, where marriage records don’t begin until 1781. There is some belief, possibly correct, that Martha was an Osborne. Here is the reasoning. Edward Osborne left a 1696 will naming a daughter Martha and she inherited a great chest. John Wooldridge left his son Edward (possibly named for his grandfather?) a great chest. This might all be coincidental, but there is nothing to indicate that Martha was not an Osborne.

In addition to that clue, on 6 October 1740, John Wooldridge witnessed a deed transaction between Thomas Osborne and Richard Randolph, proved by his oath and that of James Woodfin. I think that we can tentatively accept that John’s wife was most likely the daughter of Edmund Osborne, who died in 1696.

John Wooldridge and wife Martha were the parents of six children, who were likely all born in Henrico County. It is believed that John named his children in birth order in his will:

  1. John, born c1705; died 1783, Chesterfield County, Virginia; married (1) Elizabeth Branch, c1730 and (2) Margaret (MNU)
  2. Thomas, born c1708; died between 22 February, when he wrote his will, and 24 May, when the will was proved, in 1762, Cumberland County, Virginia; married possibly a Watkins, c1735. Thomas’s will was witnessed by John Watkins, John Wooldridge and Thomas Hall. Executors were John Watkins and Thomas Watkins; Samuel Watkins was named guardian of one of his children. There is no other known relationship between these two families, so his wife may be have been a Watkins.
  3. William, born c1709; died 1798, Elbert County, Georgia; married (1) Unknown, c1738 (2) Sarah Flournoy, after 1739
  4. Edward, born c1711; died 1808, Chesterfield County, Virginia; married Mary Flournoy, c1745
  5. Mary, born c1715; died 1789, Chesterfield County, Virginia; married Jacob Trabue, c1732
  6. Robert, born c1719; died after July 1794, probably Chesterfield County, Virginia; married Magdalene Salle, c1738

As John was a successful blacksmith, he was able to save money and eventually move into farming tobacco. Over time, he accumulated over 1700 acres of land.

The Flournoy, Trabue and Salle families, into which four of his children married,  were of French Huguenot origins.

By the time John died, he had worked his way up in society from an indentured servant or apprentice to a yeoman who owned some land and, finally, to a landowner who was honored with the title “Mister” in his later years.

John Wooldridge died between 20 April 1757, when he wrote his will, and 7 October 1757, when it was mentioned in the court order books.

His will was not recorded in Chesterfield County. It is said to be among the Chesterfield County loose papers which today are housed at the Library of Virginia. Apparently, there was some question about a change he had made to include his son-in-law Jacob Trabue in the bequests. John stated that he originally opposed the match with his daughter, but had come to realize that Jacob was worthy and he wanted to include him in his will. For whatever reason, the court decided not to order the will to be recorded.

Dave’s line of descent:

John Wooldridge & Martha (likely Osborne)
John Wooldridge & Elizabeth Branch
John Wooldridge & Mary (?Farley)
James Wooldridge & Ann (Nancy) Coleman
Rebecca Wooldridge & Andrew Bandy
Mary Bandy & Isaac Sturgell
Abijah Houston Sturgell & Martha Susannah Alberty
Oscar Eldon Sturgell & Ethel Anne Nation
Ruby Jewel Sturgell & Edward Earl Stufflebean
David Lee Stufflebean



5 thoughts on “John Wooldridge, Blacksmith of Virginia & Martha (Osborne?)”

  1. Information I have is that John came from Scotland and after getting out of indentured servant started the Mid-Lothian coal mines. His home still stands and now is Crab Louies resturant. He was my 7th great grandfather and son was Edward Molage Wooldridge. His son was Captain Simon Wooldridge . Supposedly he married Martha Osborne who was daughter of Thomas Osborne . They had property called Coxendale. Today there is Wooldridge Rd, Coxendale rd, Osborne rd in Chesterfield County and Henrico County on both sides of James River , Midlothian is busy part of the county, coal mines closed in the 1920’s.

  2. There is a restaurant named Crab Louies in Midlothian we stopped in there and it still has some original woodwork pieces from John Wooldridges home. Midlothian park has a bunch of plaques that also tell you about our family history.

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