Ambrose Ransone & Catherine Keeble, Cumberland County, VA, 1700s

Today, we will look at the family of Ambrose Ransone, proved through his own 1762 will in Cumberland County, Virginia and the 1761 lawsuit filed in Cumberland County Chancery Court – Thomas Davenport & Wife vs. Ambrose Ransone.

Ambrose Ransone was born c1700, the son of Robert and Frances (MNU) Ransone. Given that Ambrose was the first and only Ransone up until his lifetime to name one of his sons Flemstead, it is possible that Frances might have been a Flemstead. Apparently, there was a family of that name in early Virginia.

Ambrose wrote his will on 29 May 1761 and it was proved and recorded in Cumberland County court records on 23 August 1762.

Will of Ambrose Ransone (top left), 29 May 1761
Cumberland County, Virginia Will Book 1:256
Source: FamilySearch

I Ambrose Ransone of Cumberland County being in sound Mind and Memory for preventing disputes in my Family about the Estate I have at my Death I do make this my last Will and Testament

Item, I give and bequeath unto my Son Flamstead one hundred Acres of Land parallel to John Nelsons Land and to his Heirs forever.

Item I give and bequeath unto my Son Ambrose Seventy five Acres of Land and his Heirs forever parrellel to Flamstead’s Land.

Item I give and bequeath unto my Son Robert Seventy five Acres of Land parallel to my Son Ambrose’s and his Heirs forever.

Item I give and bequeath unto my Son William and his heirs forever Seventy five Acres of Land parallel to my Son Robert’s Land and

the rest of my Land be it more or less I give and bequeath unto my Son Henry and his Heirs forever

and the rest of my Estate be it in what it will I give equally among my five Sons Flamstead, Ambrose, Robert, William, Henry,

all to Let and her Childr and Bob they to go equally divided among my daughters Lucy, Catherine and Jane.

I make my Son Flamstead Exr of this my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Afixed My Seal this 29th day of May 1761.
Ambrose Ransone Seal

William Angley junor

Christopher Chaffin
[Stamles?] Chaffin

At a Court held for Cumberland County, 23d August 1762. This last Will and Testament of Ambrose Ransone decd was proved by the Witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and on the Motion of Flamstead Ransone the Executor therein Named x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x who made Oath according to Son Certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate thereof in due Form giving Security whereupon he together with Humphrey Keeble his Security ordered into and acknowledged Bond with Condition according to Law.

TestThompson Swann Clk

Trouble had been brewing in the extended Ransone family for a while, based on Ambrose’s own words:

for preventing disputes in my Family about the Estate I have at my Death

He may well have been served court papers by 29 May,  as his son-in-law, Thomas Davenport and his daughters Lucy Davenport and Catherine Ransone joined together to file a chancery lawsuit against Ambrose which commenced during the June 1761 court term.

The fact that Humphrey Keeble served as security for Ambrose’s estate to be settled is an important clue to Ambrose’s wife, who had predeceased him, had a researcher not already found the chancery court papers.

Only the opening page is needed to tell the rest of the story about this family argument and to identify Ambrose’s wife, her date of death, her father and her siblings.

Davenport & Ransone Petition to Chancery Court, June 1761
Cumberland County, Virginia File 1761-002
Source: Virginia Memory

To the Worshipful Court of Cumberland County sitting in Chancery

Humbly complaining sheweth unto your Worshipes your Orators Thomas Davenport and Lucy his Wife and Catherine Ransone Spinster That Walter Keeble late of the County of Gloucester decd Grandfather of your Oratrixes being in his Life Time and at the Time of his Death seized & posessed of a very considerable real & personal Estate and particularly of two Negro Slaves – the one a Boy named Bob and the other a Girl named Letty – departed this Life some time in or about the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and (                 ) having first made & duly published his Last Will & Testament in Writing bearing date the twenty sixth day of March in the year one thousand seven hundred and forty three duly proved & recorded in the Court of the said County of Gloucester wherein & whereby the said Testator among other things did lend to his Daughter Catherine Ransone your Oratrixes Mother lately decd. the said two Negro Slaves Bob & Letty [unreadable and struck out] and then gave them to be equally divided amongst her the said Catherines Daughters as by the said Will may appear whereby your Oratrixes said mother became entitled to the use of the said Slaves & the Increase of the said Letty during her your oratrixes said Mother’s Life. Your [struck out and unreadable] Orators also shew that their Father Ambrose Ransone in Right of his wife your oratrixes said Mother Catherine Ransone departed his Life some time in or about the Month of January in the year one thousand seven hundred & sixty one Leaving three Daughters mainly your Oratrixes Lucy & Catherine and Jane Ransone a younger Sister of yr Oratrixes now an Infant under twenty one years of age who together with the said ambrose Ransone your oratrixes Said Father they pray may be made parties respondent to this their Bill . . . . . .

This chancery case file is 18 pages long, but a quick summary is that Ambrose Ransone refused to allow his daughters to take ownership of the enslaved persons after his wife died in January 1761. Five months later, they were in the midst of the lawsuit, which was ruled on very quickly. Two men were appointed to do a valuation and equitable division so that the girls would receive their legacies as state in their grandfather Walter Keeble’s will.

Ambrose Ransone, born c1705, likely married Catherine Keeble sometime around 1727  i n Gloucester County, Virginia , as that is where her father, Walter Keeble, resided. She was probably a few years younger than Ambrose, so born c1707. They became the parents of eight children who survived to adulthood.

The boys may have been named in birth order in Ambrose’s will, as were the girls, but there is no way to tell how the sons’ and daughters’ births were interspersed, except Lucy was under 21 when she married in 1750. Assuming no children predeceased their parents, the children were probably born c1728-c1741.


1. Flemstead, born c1728; died 1796, Buckingham County, Virginia; married Elizabeth (MNU)
2. Ambrose, born c1730; died after 29 May 1761
3. Robert, born c1732; died after 29 May 1761
4. Lucy, born c1733; married Thomas Davenport, 28 April 1750, Cumberland County, Virginia. Father Ambrose Ransone gave consent on the marriage bond, so Lucy was not yet 21.
5. William, born c1735; died after 29 May 1761
5. Henry, born c1737; died after 29 May 1761
7. Catherine, born c1739
8. Jane, born c1741, but not yet 21 in June 1761

So, for all those Ransone researchers who blindly merged family connections in online trees, this time the information has been proven correct and there are now documents to back it up. 🙂


3 thoughts on “Ambrose Ransone & Catherine Keeble, Cumberland County, VA, 1700s”

  1. I am descended from Ambrose Ranson, (then Robert Ranson Sr., Robert Ranson Jr., John Ranson, Samuel Moses Ranson, Samuel Calvin Hanson, William Blassengame Ranson).

    In the tax rolls etc of Cumberland and Prince Edward counties, VA there is sufficient evidence to convince me that Ambrose Ranson’s mother was Frances Williamson who married Robert Bird, Robert Ranson and Bryant among others. The tax rolls show young people of these surnames living near Ambrose’s land. Sometimes persons of more than one of Frances’s husbands’ surnames are shown in the same household.

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