Tag Archives: John Wooldridge

John Wooldridge, Grandson of John Wooldridge, Blacksmith of VA

This John Wooldridge, the third John in my husband’s line and the grandson of John the blacksmith and probably Martha Osborne, is the man about which the least is known.

First, it is thought that John was born about 1733, likely in Henrico County, Virginia, being the son of John Wooldridge and Elizabeth Branch.

John would have married about 1758 or thereabouts. However, it isn’t known whether he married once or twice. It is believed that his wife, or one of his wives if married more than once, was a daughter of James Farley who died in Chesterfield County, Virginia in 1779.

Will of James Farley, Chesterfield County, VA 1779

In the name of God amen this ninteenth Day of February in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seven hundred & seventy nine I James Farley of Chesterfield County being sick & weak in Body but of perfect mind & memory do make % ordain this my last Will & Testament in manner & form following

Item I give and bequeath unto my Son James one Shilling Sterling
Items I give & bequeath unto my Son Henry all my wearing Cloathes
Item I give & bequeath unto my Son David one Shilling Sterling
Item I give & bequeath unto my Son Edward one Shilling Sterling
Item I give & bequeath unto my grand Daughter Elizabeth Wooldridge the feather Bed she lies on while with me & the Furniture that belongs to it also the little Chest & half the pewter that is found mine
Item I give & bequeath unto my Daughter Betty Phillips Hopkins the feather Bed The (other?) Furniture & also the other half of pewter & my great Chest

I Desire that my Estate be not appraised & that my Stock of Horses Cattle Hogs & Sheep & the other part of my House-Hold & Kitchen Furniture be sold at public Sale & after my Just Debts are paid the Money to be divided equally between all my Daughters
I Desire that my Son Henry Farley & Benjammon Hopkins be my Executors of this my last Will & Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & affixed my seal the Day & Year above written.

James (F) Farley seal
 His mark

Signed sealed & delivered
In the presence of. . .
Julius Hatcher, Josiah Hatcher, Robert Wooldridge, Henry Hatcher} Witnesses

Among those mentioned in his will is granddaughter Elizabeth Wooldridge, who is thought to be the daughter of this John Wooldridge.

I’ve also seen statements that his wife was named Mary, but no mention is made as to whether John married more than once.

John Wooldridge died about 1781 or 1782, reportedly in Bedford County, Virginia, but no record confirmation has yet been found.

An estate inventory for one John Wooldridge is entered into court minutes in July 1783 in Chesterfield County, Virginia:

Inventory of John Wooldridge, Chesterfield County, VA, 1783

Unless there is a battle between legatees, or the estate is particularly valuable, inventories aren’t normally filed when a will has been proven in court.

John’s father, also John Wooldridge, left a will dated 16 November 1780, but I was unable to determine when it was entered into the court records.

This 1783 inventory isn’t very lengthy and makes me think this was John, his son, who then didn’t die in Bedford County, Virginia. No evidence has been found of him residing there.

There are four children attributed to John Wooldridge:

  1. James, born 26 November 1760, Chesterfield County, Virginia; died before 11 October 1839, Prince Edward County, Virginia; married Ann (Nancy) Coleman, c1796. If his mother was a Farley, it could be that he was named for his maternal grandfather.
  2. Elizabeth Branch, believed to be the grandchild mentioned in James Farley’s will; no further record
  3. John?
  4. Sarah?


If you can help fill in any data on these four children, I would certainly appreciate it.

John Wooldridge & Elizabeth Branch of Chesterfield County, VA

The second generation in my husband’s Wooldridge line is another John, the son of blacksmith John and his wife, Martha (possibly Osborne).

John Junior married (1) Elizabeth Branch, daughter of James Branch and Mary (possibly Ware?). We’ll take a closer look at the Branch family soon.

John Wooldridge was born c1705, likely in Henrico County, Virginia, where his family lived. He married Elizabeth, c1730, probably also in Henrico County. She was born c1710 and died after December 1755, when she witnessed a deed for her mother and brother. When John died in 1783 in Chesterfield County, Virginia, his wife was named as (2) Margaret (MNU).

John Wooldridge left a lengthy will, dated 16 November 1780, Chesterfield County, Virginia.

John Wooldridge is listed in the DAR Patriot Index as having given patriotic service, so likely served in some kind of town office.

Beginning with the third generation of the Wooldridge family, children began to migrate westward, as land was becoming more expensive.

John’s children settled in Bedford and Campbell Counties, Virginia, in addition to Bourbon, Woodford and Henry Counties in Kentucky (not shown on this map, as they formed after 1776.) These were all considered part of Virginia.

It was a time of change and the beginning of the westward migration. John Wooldridge lived to see the independence of the American colonies, but he had been long gone by the time his sons headed to Kentucky.

John and Elizabeth were the parents of ten children. The first six were probably born in Henrico County, with the remaining born in Chesterfield County, which was set off in 1749:

  1. Richard, born c1731; died 1782 (Will Book 1:10), Campbell County, Virginia; married Elizabeth (MNU), c1760. Elizabeth appeared on the Campbell County tax rolls after that time.
  2. John, born c1733; died c1782, Bedford County, Virginia; married (1) possibly a daughter of James Farley, as he named a grandchild Elizabeth Wooldridge in his 1779 will (2) Mary (MNU)
  3. Mary, born c1737; died after 1780; married John Martin, before 1755
  4. William, born c1740; died before 18 February 1817, Bourbon County, Kentucky, when his estate was appraised; married Mary Harrison, c1766.
  5. Elizabeth, born c1745; died after 1780; married (1) John Wooldridge, c1771 (2) William Langston, before 1780
  6. Edmund, born c1748; died between 28 April, when he wrote his will, and September court term, when it was probated in 1791, Woodford County, Kentucky; married Elizabeth Watkins, 22 August 1774, Cumberland County, Virginia. Elizabeth married (2) John Moss, 8 June 1792, Woodford County, Kentucky.
  7. Verlinche, born c1750; reportedly married Daniel Elam, c1766, but I find no further information on this couple except they are said to have had quite a few children: Daniel, William, Robert, Thomas, Peggy, Verlinche.
  8. Phebe, born c1752; died 1792, Chesterfield County, Virginia; married Richard Elam, c1770. Richard Elam died in Chesterfield County, Virginia, between 9 July 1791, when he wrote his will and January 1792, when it was probated.
  9. Robert, born c1754; reportedly died 1801, Franklin County, Kentucky, but he isn’t found in 1790 or 1800; married Susanna Major
  10. Thomas, born c1756; died between 22 October 1840, when he wrote his will, and January court term 1841, when the will was proved, Henry County, Kentucky; married Sarah Ann Barnes, after 1780 (2) Mrs. Agnes Kelly. Agnes survived Thomas, as she is named in his will.

John and Margaret were the parents of two children:

  1. Martha, born c1762; married William Walthall, 29 October 1782 (bond), Chesterfield County, Virginia. She may have died soon as one William Walthall married there in 1787.
  2. Hannah, born c1765; married Richard Elam, 21 October 1784 (bond), Chesterfield County, Virginia

My husband’s line is through this John’s son, yet another John, but for those who are descended from Edmond or Thomas, here are their wills:

Will of Edmund Wooldridge
Woodford County, Kentucky 1791 Will Book  A: 34-35

In the name of God Amen. I Edmund Wooldridge of the County of Woodford do make and ordain this to be my last will and Testament in manner and form following

Viz. My will and desire is that after my just debts is paid that my Executors here after to be mentioned lay out all the money that shall or may be due my estate to the best advantage in likely young negroes and that I lend unto my wife during her life the third part of the negroes so purchased and also the (sance?) part of the negroes I have at present in my possession together with the third part of all my other personal estate, and also one third part of the tract of Land whereon I now live including that part of the plantation lying on the west side of Scotts Road. so as not to include? any of the  Clear? land on (?) east side of the said road I give unto my four Sons, Edmund, Samuel, Watkins and Powhatan four thousand acres of my best Land to be equally divided amonth them agreeable to quantity and quality.—I leave it in the power of my Executors to sell or exchange any part of my estate, Real pr personal as they may Judge necessary for the advantage of my estate. –And all my other estate both real and personal not before given away I desire may be equally divided amony my children both sons and daughters, when my Son Samuel shall arrive at the age of twenty one years or the whole or any part thereof sooner, if my Executors shall think Necessary & my will and desire is that if any of the negroes that my Executors shall think fit to let any of my children have before a division takes place shall die in that case the loss shall be made good to such child or children out of the remaining part of my estate before a General Division is made. It is my will that my Executors bind out each of my sons to some good trade when they respectively arrive at the age of sixteen years. And lastly I do appoint James Watkins Henry Watkins Thomas Wooldridge and Walthall Watkins as Executors of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this 28th day of April in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety one.

Edmund Wooldridge (seal)

Sign’d Seal’d & (Decreed?) to be the
last will & testament of Edmd Wooldridge
in the presence of
Wm (X) Hill
Thos Ray
Pageatten Coleman

Woodford County Sct September Court 1791
This will was produced in Court proved by the oaths of William
and Thomas Ray subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered
to be Recorded
Cave Johnson (?)

Will of Thomas Wooldridge, 1840
Henry County, Kentucky WB 7:284

I Thomas Wooldridge of the County of Henry and State of Kentucky do this day make this my last will and Testament I having Spetial Trust and confidence in my Worthey friend James Hisle I appoint him my executor
2nd I do will and bequeath my son Edward Wooldridge my negro man Jack a Servent for life.
3rd I do will my two daughters Betsy Wingate & Mary (Pliner?) five Dollars in Cash each 4th I do will my beloved wife Agnes Wooldridge all the reside of my estate real & personal consisting mostly of two head of Horses one Cow and Calf together with my Stock of Hogs and Household & Kitchen furniture farming utencisls & together with my present crop of corn and Wheat. In testimony whereof I do set my jand and Seal this 22 of October 1840

Thomas (X) Wooldridge (seal)

George King
James Hisle

Henry County Court January Term 1841

A Writing purporting to be the last will & Testament of Thomas Wooldridge Decd wast this day produced into court and proven by two Subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be Recorded.

Edw Thomas C

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