Tag Archives: Cary Ferguson

Henry Purkins & Cary Farguson, Essex County, VA

We’ve now moved back into the 17th century with the third Henry Perkins in this branch of the family tree.

Henry Purkins was born c1685, probably in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia, the son of Henry and Mary (MNU) Purkins.

An important piece to know about Virginia history – Old Rappahannock County was formed in 1656, but in 1692, it was abolished and divided into Essex and Richmond Counties. Therefore, it is likely that the Purkins family didn’t move – the county just changed named.

Henry Purkins married Cary Farguson, daughter of John and Ann Farguson, before 20 September 1720, when she was called Cary Purkins, administratrix of the estate of Class Caston, probably in Essex County, Virginia. She had previously been married to Class Caston, c1705, and who died in 1715 and with whom she had four children, John, Class, Cary and Elizabeth.

Henry and Cary were parents to four children before Henry’s untimely death in 1738, when he was only in his 50s. Henry survived his own father by only two years.

Will of Henry Purkins, 1738
Essex County, VA Will Book 6:171-172
Source: FamilySearch

In the name of God Amen I Henry Purkins of the County of Essex in P’ish of South farnham being sick & weak in body: but of perfect sence & memory thanks be to God Almighty; and Calling to mind the unsartain State of this Transitory Life & tis appointed for men one to dye do make this my Last will and Testament

Imprimis first I bequeath my Soul to God who Gave it me hoping through the Meritts & mercys of my blessed Saviour to have full pardon and Remission for all my sins; secondly I committ my body to th eEarth from whence it was first taken to be decently buried by my Executors Thirdly as toutching what Small Estate it hath pleased God to bless me with I give & dispose as follows Vize ——-

Item I give all my lands to my Son Henry Purkins and his Lawfull heirs for Ever & I will that my Loving wife Cary have as much of my Estate as by Law is allowed; and as toutching Slaves & other Estate Desire that it may be Equally devided among all my Child that hearafter mentioned to witt Henry Sarah & Tabitha provided my daughter Rachel Griggs dyeth without Lawfull Issue of her body; 7 if she hath Lawfull Issue of her body & liveth to be of full age that then that Issue have one fifth part of my Estate Except my land it is my will that all the negroes that my wife holds for her dower & their increase after her death Shall be divided as my other Estate is tis my will that whereas I have given an assignment to a Sartain person for one of my negroes that that assignment Shall be fully Complyed with: which assignment beareth date the Twelfth day of this Instant Lastly I do appoint my loveing wife Cary my son Henry Purkins my whole & Sole Executors of this my Last will & Testament Wittness my hand and Seale this 21 day of Semtpeber 1738

Item I give my Daughter Rachel Griggs one Shilling for her Share of my Estate
Henry Purkins Seal

Item I give to
Joannah St. John the wife off John Sr all my & of an her Dower of the Land that I bought of our Sheriff at oction Witt my hand & Seale this 23 day of Septemr 1738 Henry Purkins Seal
Frances X Griggs
John Griggs
Elebeth X (Hortine?)

Henry Purkins either died from the effects of an accident or else he quickly passed from a sudden illness if he was apparently renting out an enslaved person just two weeks before he wrote his will.


1. Henry, born c1718, probably Essex County, Virginia; died after 2 June 1780, when he wrote his will, in Essex, County, Virginia; married (1) Elizabeth Gatewood, c1740 (2) Mary (MNU), c1758
2. Rachel, born c1720; died after 18 November 1738; married Mr. Griggs, before 1738, probably Essex County, Virginia
3. Sarah, born c1722; died after 18 November 1738; unmarried at that time
4. Tabitha, born c1724; died after 18 November 1738; unmarried at that time

Tomorrow, we will look at the family of the fourth and final (yes!) Henry Purkins, the man who married (1) Mary (MNU) and (2) Tabitah St. John, daughter of Thomas and Mary (MNU) St. John, also of Essex County, Virginia.