Category Archives: Perkins

Will of Mary Billington, Widow of Thomas St. John and Mr. Billington, Essex County, VA 1727

My husband’s Southern lines often get cut short because his ancestors seem to pick only places with no records kept, like on the frontier, or places with lost records, due to fire and what have you.

His Perkins family is an anomaly because the early family hailed from Essex County and Old Rappahannock County before that in Virginia in the 1600s.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Normally, I would be really excited because the Perkins family left scattered crumbs on the paper trail. However, Mary (MNU) St. John Billington is unfortunately not a direct ancestor of Dave’s, but a stepmother to his Henry Perkins who married Cary Ferguson.

Here is the tie to the Perkins family and his line:

Henry Perkins married (1) Mary (MNU), mother of his children and (2) Mary (MNU) St. John Billington. Henry and the first Mary are the 8X great grandparents to my husband.
Henry Perkins married Cary Ferguson
Henry Perkins married Elizabeth Gatewood
Henry Perkins married Mary Ransone
John Perkins married Rhoda Walters Woosley
Samuel Henry Perkins married Martha Hamby
Mary Woosley Perkins married Emsley Harrison Brasher
Joseph Henry Brasher married Minnie Mae Williams
Pearl Lillian Brasher married Earl Marcus Stufflebean
Edward Earl Stufflebean married Ruby Jewel Sturgell
David Stufflebean – my husband

Although widow Mary Billington was not the mother of Henry Perkins’ children, she must have thought highly at least of her stepson, Henry Perkins Jr., as she named him one of the executors of her will.

Since Mary left several children and there are likely descendants today, here is her will.

Essex County, Virginia Will Book 4:248-50

Will of Mary Billington

Will of MARY BILLINGTON in the parish of South Farnham and County of Essex, now being sick and weak in body, dated 23 July 1727.

To my son in law Nathanll. Newbill one parcell of land lying on the south side of the Dragon Swamp it being the land that I bought of one William Cheandy and after his decease to his son Thomas Newbill.

To John and Thomas St. John the sons of Thomas St. John deced, 120 acres at the lower part of my track where I now live to be equally divided when they come in the age of twenty and one years and the remainer of the track to William St. John the sone of William St. John decst, and if either of them should dye without issue their part to Thomas Newbill.

To William St. John one Negro and one feather bed and furniture excepting curtains and valing.

To Tabitha the wife of Henry Purkins Senr., one feather bed and furniture except curtains and valings; 10 pounds cash.

To my granddaughter Mary Deshazoo a young Negro which she how hath in possession.

To Hannah Harper the wife of Edward Harper, one Negro.

To Hannah Covington the daughter of Thomas Covington, one young Negro on the day of marriage or when she comes to the age of eighteen years.

To Barbary, Catherine and Thomas Newbill each one Negro.

To John and Thomas St. John the sons of Thomas St. John decest, one Negro between them equally divided.

If after my desese Elizabeth St. John the widow of William St. John desest doth acquit my heirs from all claims due to her and hir children in my estate by inheritance from William St. John decest and also enter into bonds that neither she nor her children shall bring action nor no way claim part of my estate, and when her five sons comes to age of twenty one years every one of them, to wit Richard, James, Thomas, Abraham and Isaac St. John, acquit my heirs from all claim in my estate, then my executors pay each of the above mentioned Richard, James, Thomas, Abraham and Isaac St. John one Negro, but if any one of her sons or herself should refuse then my executors pay each of the above five sons one shilling.

To Nathan Newbill four of my best Negros during his life and after his decese divided between Thomas Newbill and Catherine Newbill.

All my personal estate not before given equally devided amongst Nathan Newbill and all his children share and share alike. William Newbill and Henry Purkins Junr. executors.

Signed: Mary (X) Billington

Wit: Jer. Shepard, James (N) Newbill, James (J) Dicks. 16 Jan. 1727 (1728).

presented by Nathl. Newbill and Wm. Brooke, Gent., justices.

For 200 pounds sterling. 20 Feb. 1727 (1728).


Flemstead Ransone of Halifax, Cumberland & Buckingham Cos., VA, 1700s

Flemstead Ransone, sometimes found as “Ransom”, is the fifth generation of his family to live in Virginia. He first appears in the Cumberland County, Virginia court order book on 24 September 1754, as a witness, so he likely was at least 16 years old and probably 21 or older. That would place his birth between 1733-1738.

Flemstead Ransone married Elizabeth (MNU), but little is known about his family. Elizabeth’s name is known to us because she and Flemstead’s names appear Cumberland County deeds from the 1770s to the 1790s.

Deed of Flemstead & Henry Ransone, 18 November 1790
Cumberland County, Virginia Deed Book 7: 35
Source: FamilySearch

The court recorded this deed from Flemstead and Henry Ransone for the sale of land to William Meredith. However, it noted that their wives, Elizabeth and Sarah, could not conveniently travel to the courthouse to acknowledge the release of dower rights. Clerks of the court appended a statement dated 18 November 1790 that each had been examined privately and gave free consent to the sale. Therefore, we know that Elizabeth was still living as of that date.

Flemstead Ransone died between 8 July 1793, when he was mentioned in a Buckingham County, Virginia court record as not taking an oath and 27 March 1797, when a Cumberland County, Virginia land deed mentions the estate of Flemstead Ransone, along with John F. Ransone and William Ransone selling land to Tscharner Woodson.

Cumberland County, VA Deed Book 8:272
Source: FamilySearch

The most interesting part of this deed is in the opening:

This Indenture made this fifth day of September one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight Between Ambrose Ransone Administrator with the Will annexed of Flamstead Ransone dec’d. .

There is no transcription of the will of Flemstead Ransone following this deed! However, the will of “Flamstead Ransome” was filed in Buckingham County in 1796 and has been published in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy! This will was in exhibit in the U.S. Supreme Court case Hopkirk v. Ransome heard by Chief Justice John Marshall.

Children (Those in blue are proven, Mary and Henry are assumed to be.):

1. Ambrose, born 1761-1770; died 12 July 1843, Batavia, Clermont, Ohio; married Ann Andrews, 30 December 1793, Cumberland County, Virginia. He was an abolitionist. In the lawsuit between John F. and Henry, Ambrose deposed that they were his brothers, both younger than him.
2. Mary, born c1764; died after 25 July 1803, date of her husband’s will; married Henry Purkins, c1787
3. Henry, born before c1765; in a lawsuit with John F. from 1797-1799; died before 6 March 1822 when sarah’s dower rights were settled; married Sarah P. Wright, 24 December 1786, Cumberland County, Virginia
4. Catherine, born c1768; (1) married Gabriel Wright, 26 December 1785, Cumberland County, Virginia with consent of her father, Flemstead Ransone (2) John Sharpe, who died before 14 March 1823, Prince Edward County, VA [Deed Book 18:133]
5. John F., born c1770; married Elizabeth (MNU)
6. Elizabeth, born c1774; died after 5 September 1798; married James Price and lived in Prince Edward County, Virginia
7. William, born c1775; married Susan Dejarnette, 15 August 1799, Halifax County, Virginia
8. Lucy; born c1777; died after 5 September 1798, living in Buckingham County and unmarried at that time.

Mary is placed in Flemstead’s family because she and Henry named a son Flemstead and her son, John, and his wife, Rhoda Walters Woosley in turn named a son John Ransone Perkins.

Also lending credence to the idea that she was a daughter of Flemstead is a Virginia chancery court lawsuit between John F. and Henry Ransone, brothers, who sued over the sale of enslaved persons who were part of their father’s estate. Henry Purkins, in his deposition, stated at he was present during the settlement of the sale. His wife being a legatee of Flemstead would explain his presence.

Virginia Memory: Chancery Records
Case 1797:004, Cumberland County, VA
Adm of F Ransome & James Wilson v Adm of F Ransome & James Wilson

The affidavit of Henry Perkins, Taken this 21st day of September. 1795. In a Certain Suit i Chancery In the County of Cumberland Now depending Between James Wilson Plaintiff and Flemstead Ransome, defendant. The said Henry Perkins being first sworn. Saith he happened at the Dwelling house of the defendant Ransome; when The Settlement took place, between the parties Respecting Two Negroes and the said Perkins Understood by the Parties, that there had been the Day before a Sale of Some of Ransome Negroes, and James Wilson become the Purchaser of some of them; and a negro Woman Named Leah [illegible} Inclinable, Ransone Should take back and said she was Worth Forty pounds, Ransone Replyed, Mr. Wilson, she is [?] Negro. Take her Wilson mentioned this several times, and Ransone made him the Same Reply as before, She is your Negro. take her; and this deponent, Understood by the parties; that the defendant had Taken a Negro Man by the Name of Cambridge at three fourths of. . . . .

More discoveries to come about the Ransone family, as I have discovered proof of the mother and paternal grandfather of Flemstead Ransone in another lawsuit!

Humphrey Perkins, Immigrant Ancestor to Old Rappahannock County, VA

There are three more family sketches to share about the Perkins clan early in Virginia. Thankfully, though, I am done with the multiple Henrys!

Humphrey Perkins is said to be the father of the first of the four Henry Purkins in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia.

“Said to be” is the closest there is to proof for a couple of reasons. The strongest reason is that he is of the right age and in the right place to be the father of Henry Purkins, born c1660, probably in Old Rappahannock County.

Second, Humphrey appears to be the only Perkins in the county, and living in South Farnham Parish, where later Henry Purkinses lived,  at that time. That definitely narrows the parental possibilities unless Henry himself was a later immigrant.

Third, Humphrey Perkins left a nuncupative will – an oral will – that was ordered to be recorded in Rappahannock County Court Order Book 1686-1692, page 41 on 3 August 1687:

Probate by oaths of thomas Evett and Richard Taylor is granted upon the Nuncupative Will of Humphrey Perkins of the County decd. to Wm. Ffreeman Exor. named of the sd Will.

The bad news is that Humphrey’s will is one of a group of early Rappahannock wills that exists only as a mention in the order books. There is no extant copy naming his heirs.

However, there are a couple of other tidbits that tell us a bit more about Humphrey Perkins and his family. First, his only known wife was “Mary, relict of Nathaniel Baxter.” Tyler’s Quarterly Magazine, 14:46 includes this transcription from court order book 1683-86, page 85, recorded on 4 December 1684:

“Whereas Humphrey Perkins married the relict of Nathaniel Baxter and became possessed of the estate of the deceased and as Richard Taylor married one of the daughters of the sd. Baxter, the Court considers 2038 lbs. tobacco due sd. Taylor in right of his wife and it is ordered Humphrey Perkins pay this amount. “

Two other bits of information that support Humphrey as the father of Henry Purkins:

Humphrey Perkins received a 300 acre grant of land in 1685. On 22 Feb. 1695, a deed of sale was recorded in Essex County Order Book 1:383 indicating that Henry Perkins  sold 100 acres of land to John Crow.

Deed of Henry Purkins, 1695
Essex County Order Book 1:383
Source: FamilySearch

The wording of the deed describes Humphrey Perkins now deceased former owner of Henry Perkins land sold to John Crow 100 [acres] S. Farnham Parish N side Draggon [Dragon] Swamp adj Thos Covington being pt 300 acrre patent Nov 4 1685 of Humphrey Perkins. Henry’s wife, Mary, relinquished her dower rights at the same time.

Lastly, sometime between 1717-1722,  Humphrey “Purkins,” Henry Purkins Junr and Rosemond Covington witnessed a deed by William and Anne Covington. It appears from this that Humphrey Perkins had not one, but two sons. It is certainly possible that he might have had daughters, but if so, their names are lost to time.

To summarize, we have Humphrey Perkins, born c1638, probably in England, who married (1) Unknown and (2) Mary (MNU), widow of Nathaniel Baxter before 4 December 1684.

Mary was not the mother of Humphrey’s two children as Nathaniel Baxter wrote his will on 22 May 1676 and it was proved in court on 2 May 1677.

In the Name of God Amen.
I Nathaniel Baxter of the parish of ffarnham in the County of Rapp” Planter, being by God’s grace intended forth for the warrs do make and ordain this my last will & Testament in manner & form following Imprs. I bequeath my Soule unto Almighty God who gave it in full & certain hope in and through the meritts of Jesus to inherit Eternal life and my body to return to the earth and likewise it is my will & I do hereby give & bequeath unto my naturall Sonn Nathaniel Baxter and his heirs forever all the bounds of my land from Piscataway Creek unto Mr. Parrys little Creek and the remainder of my divident of land which lyeth on the other side of Mr. Parrys Creek towards Thomas Dayes formerly Huttsons by virtue hereof I will unto my daughter Ann Baxter and to her lawful heirs forever Provided allways that if it please God to take to his Mercy either my son Nathaniel or my daughter Anne before they be of the age of one and twenty years or be married the first of them so dyeing his or her part of the land abovesd shall fall and descend to the Survivor for ever.
To wife one young gray stone horse with a small slit in the right eare and a black pied heifer comonly called by the name of Fitt with all her increase to be wholly at her disposing.
To my daughter Elethias Baxter one cow commonly known by the name of Cherry with all her increase male and female to her and her heirs for ever and in case the said cow should die without any increase then the sd Elethias to have a heifer out of the stock with her increase male & female for ever Provided allways and it is my desire that in case the said Elethias shall die without issue then the said cow or heifer to returne with their increase to my abovesd Children.
To wife in lieu of her thirds and to my abovenamed son and daughter Nathaniel and Anne equally to be divided after my debts satisfied all my personal estate moveable and unmoveable for ever. Executrix and Executors my wife and my son Nathaniel and my daughter Anne and likewise my beloved friends Mr William Young senior & Thomas Roberts to see this my will executed.
Thomas Roberts, aged 28 years or thereabouts, testified that he the deponent did write and see Nathaniel Baxter sign said will in the presence of Thomas Jenkins, John Jolly & Barbary Andrews.

Children with previous wife/wives:

1. Henry, born c1660; died after 11 March 1734/35, when he wrote his will; married Mary (MNU), c1682/83
2. Humphrey, living 1717-1722, when he witnessed a land deed by William and Anne Covington. Henry Purkins Jr. witnessed the same deed.

My husband’s Perkins descent:

1. Humphrey Perkins & Unknown
2. Henry Purkins & Mary (MNU)
3. Henry Purkins & Cary Ferguson
4. Henry Perkins & Elizabeth Gatewood
5. Henry Purkins & Mary Ransone
6. John Perkins & Rhoda Walters Woosley
7. Samuel Henry Perkins & Martha Hamby
8. Emsley Harrison Brasher & Mary Woosley Perkins
9. Joseph Henry Brasher & Minnie Mae Williams
10. Earl Marcus Stufflebean & Pearl Lillian Brasher
11. Edward Earl Stufflebean & Ruby Jewel Stufflebean
12. David Lee Stufflebean