Henry Purkins & Mary (MNU) & Tabitha St. John, Old Rappahannock & Essex Counties, VA

Congratulations if you have hung in here through all these Henry Purkinses in Essex County, Virginia. We have reached the earliest of the four Henry Purkins!

Henry Purkins was born c1660, probably in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia, the son of Humphrey and (Unknown) Purkins. He married (1) Mary (MNU), c1683 and (2) Tabitha St. John, c1708. Tabitha was the daughter of Thomas and Mary (MNU) St. John.

Henry Perkin is listed with 300 acres on “A True and Perfect Rent Roll of all the Lande held in Essex County this present year 1704.”

Henry Purkins died after 11 March 1734/35, the day he wrote his will, in Essex County, Virginia and before 15 February 1736/37, the day it was recorded in court records.

Will of Henry Purkins, 1736
Essex County, VA Will Book 6:46-47
Source: FamilySearch

In the Name of God amen I Henry Purkins Siner (Senior) of the County of Essex in the parish of South farnham do make ordain this my last will and Testament in mannor and forme following that is to say ffirst I bequeath my Soule to the hands of Almighty God believeing remission of sins and everlasting life after death by the merrits death and passion of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.

Item I give unto my son Griffing Purkins all my lands and plantations that I now live on to him and his heirs forever.

Item I give unto my Daughter Ailce Booaton the negro woman that she hath now in possession to her and heirs forever.

Item I give unto my daughter Tabitha Lumpkins one negro man named Taylor to be delivered to her at the end of one year after my decease and also one feather bed and furniture.

Item I give unto my son Griffing Purkins one negro named Dick and one negro named London to him and his heirs forever.

Item I give unto my grand daughter Mary Purkins Eight pounds current mony to be paid her at the day of her marage or at the age of twenty one years.

Item I give unto my grandson Henry Purkins Taylor one young heffer.

Item I give unto my grand Daughter Mary Taylor one young heffer.

Item I give unto my Daughter Anne Purkins one negro boy call’d Bristoll to be delivered to her at the day of her marage or at the age of twenty years and I also give her one negro girle named Lotto and her Increase but not to be delivered unto her untill my beloved wife’s death or day of her marage. Also one feather bed and furniture and one Cow and Calfe it is my will that if my said Daughter should die in her Minoritie and not married that the negro boy Bristoll shall return unto my daughter Tabitha Lumpkin and the rest of the Legaseyes given her to be Equally divided amongst the rest of my Children.

Item I lend unto my loving wife one negro girle named Lotte during her widowhood and then to returne to my daughter Ann as before given, Also I lend unto my said wife two other negroes named Golah and Judy and one trunk her riding Sadle and the moiety or halfe my Estate after my debts and legaseyes paid for and during her natural life and after her decease I give the two negrose before given her, and personall Estate (Excepting the trunk and Sadle) or what shall be remaining unto my son Henry Purkins and my daughter Mary deshazo Eaqually to be divided between them and theire heires for ever.

Item I give unto my son Griffing Purkins the other moiety or halfe of my personal Estate after my debts and legaseyes paid. If my said son shall die in his minoritie not married all his Estate before given be devided between my three Daughters hereafter named Ailce Booaton, Tabitha Lumpkin and Anne Purkins to them and theire heirs for ever.

Item It is my will and desire that my Executors hereafter named may not be obliged to give security for the performance of my Estate nor my Estate to be appraised.

Lastly I doe appoint my loving wife Tabitha Purkins and my son Griffing Purkins whole and sole Executors of this my last will and Testament In Witness whereof I have hearunto set my hand and Seale this 11th day of March 1735/36″

Henry his(HP)mark Purkins (seal)

Signed Sealed & Published
in the presence of
Wm. Covington
ffrancis Brown
Thos. Covington

Children with Mary (MNU):

  1. Henry, born c1685; died before 15 November 1738, Essex County, Virginia; married Cary Ferguson, c1716. She was the widow of Class Caston.
  2. Daughter, married Mr. Taylor, but died before her father’s will was written. She had two children, Henry Purkins Taylor and Mary Taylor.
  3. Possible son who died before his father, but married and had one daughter, Mary Purkins. Henry Jr. didn’t name a daughter Mary in his 1738 will.

Children with Tabitha St. John:

4. Mary, born c1709; died after her father’s 1735 will, but not in her mother’s 1738 will; married Mr. DeShazo (Note: Mary must be a child of Tabitha, as Mary (MNU) St. John Billington, Tabitha’s mother, named granddaughter Mary DeShazo in her 1727 will.)
5. Tabitha, born c1711, died after her mother wrote her will; married John Lumpkin, c1729, probably Essex County, Virginia
6. Alice, born c1713; married Mr. Boughan, c1731, probably Essex County, Virginia
7. Griffin, born c1715; died after his mother wrote her will
8. Anne, born c1717; died after her mother wrote her will, in which she was the prime beneficiary and unmarried at the time

Tabitha (St. John) Purkins left a will, too, dated 29 April 1738 in Essex County, Virginia:


Will of Tabitha Purkins, 1738
Essex County, Virginia Will Book 6:247-248
Source: FamilySearch

In the name of God Amen I Tabitha Purkins of the County of Essex being sick and weak doe make this my Last will and Testament in manner and forme following that is to say first I bequeath my Soul into the hands of Almighty God believing remission of sins and Everlasting Life by the merrits death and passion of Jesus Christ my Lord and only Saviour.

Item I give unto my son Griffing Purkins one Shiling.

Item I Give unto my Daughter Ailce Booaton one Shiling.

Item I give unto my Daughter Tabitha Lumpkin one Shiling.

Item I give unto my two Grand Daughters Elizabeth and Tabitha Lumpkin Each of them Ten Shilings to buy them Rings.

Item all the rest of my Estate let it [???] or quality [???] (after my Just debts paid) I give unto my Daughter Anna Purkins & her heirs forever to be [???] of the same Emediatly after my Death and also that my said Daughter be for her self to act and doe without the hindrance or Interuption of any person whatsover from the time of my death.

Lastly I doe appoint my Daughter Anna Purkins and John Lumpkin to be my Executors of this my last will and Testament.

In Witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and find my Seale this 29th day of April 1738.

Tabitha X Purkins (Seal)
her mark

Signed Seald and declared in the presence of us
Wm Covington
Sarah her (X) mark Newbell
Margret her (EC) mark Clarke

One thought on “Henry Purkins & Mary (MNU) & Tabitha St. John, Old Rappahannock & Essex Counties, VA”

  1. Do you know what became of the Mary Purkins who was a granddaughter of Henry Purkins “I” (apparently a daughter of an unknown son of Henry Purkins “I,” per your website)? The later Henry Purkins (died around 1780 in Essex Co., VA, as I recall)….whose second wife was Mary Dunn (a daughter of William Dunn “II” and Winifred Waters)….fathered Winifred Purkins with Mary Dunn, and my research shows that Winifred Purkins clearly married a Mr. Bennett and had children who included Smith Bennett and Mrs. Mary (Bennett) Brown (the wife of a John Brown). That John and Mary (Bennett) Brown took-in, named and reared my maternal gg-grandfather (born 1814-1818), and they named him Smith W. Brown…..though he was actually a “biological Y DNA Smith.”

    Note: Miss Winifred Purkins was not mentioned in her father’s Will, but she was included with several of his other children in a later guardian record.

    That later Henry Purkins (again, died around 1780, as I recall) was closely associated in Essex Co., VA in the 1760s (per a couple of court records) with William Dunn “III” (a brother of the above Mrs. Mary (Dunn) Purkins), Isaac Kidd and an unknown John Smith. That unknown John Smith (apparently born circa-1730) was married to a Mary, and I am wondering if that Mary might have been the granddaughter of Henry Purkins “I” mentioned above who was named Miss Mary Purkins. That “Smith/Purkins association” might explain why Mrs. Winifred (Purkins) Bennett named a son Smith Bennett. Could that Mary Purkins have married a John Smith who was born around 1730 or so? Comments? Thanks!

    Note: The above-referenced Isaac Kidd in Essex Co., VA was a brother of Henry Kidd, and Henry Kidd’s daughter Mary Kidd married an older John Brown….and they were the parents of the later John Brown who married Mary Bennett. Also, a biological great- grandmother of my Smith W. “Brown” was a Miss Frances Kidd (born 1727 in Middlesex Co. VA; she married a James Smith) who was a member of that same overall Kidd family.

    Note: The brother of Mrs. Mary (Dunn) Purkins named William Dunn “III” married a Lucy Smith, so that “connection” might also explain why Mrs. Winifred (Purkins) Bennett named a son Smith Bennett. The referenced Lucy Smith, however, is known to have been a member of a different/unrelated Smith family, versus my Smith W. “Brown” (the Nicholas Smith family of Essex Co., VA, (Lucy Smith’s family), versus the Alexander Smith family of Middlesex Co., VA (my Smith family)).

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