Dabney Family of Early Virginia
Cornelius Dabney (b 1630) and his descendants
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Cornelius Dabney, I

Male 1631 - 1693/94  (~ 62 years)


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  • Name Cornelius Dabney, I 
    Suffix
    Born Dec 1631  Bucknall, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Died 1693/94  New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Person ID I92  Dabneys of Virginia
    Last Modified 8 Oct 2017 

    Family 1 Eedeth (__),   d. Aft Jun 1678 
    Children 
     1. James Dabney,   b. 1660-70, New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1710, King William County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 164 years)
     2. George Dabney, I,   b. Abt 1670, New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1729-34, King William County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Sarah Dabney,   b. Abt 1670-80, New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1732, Hanover County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 165 years)
    Last Modified 25 Feb 2010 
    Family ID F71  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Susannah (__),   d. Abt 1722 
    Married Aft 1678 
    Children 
     1. Dorothy Dabney,   b. Bef 1680, New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1732, Hanover County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 52 years)
     2. Benjamin Dabney,   b. Bef 1684, New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef Mar 1722, King William County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 38 years)
     3. Elizabeth Dabney,   b. Abt 1684, New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Apr 1688  (Age ~ 4 years)
     4. Cornelius Dabney, II,   b. Abt 1686, New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1764/65, Hanover County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 79 years)
     5. John Dabney,   b. Abt 1687, New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Apr 1688  (Age ~ 1 years)
     6. Mary Dabney,   b. 22 Jan 1688, New Kent County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Sep 1748, Caroline County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)
    Last Modified 14 Sep 2016 
    Family ID F317  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • Cornelius Dabney, a son of Theodore Dawbney/Daubney and his wife, Dorothy Batte, was baptized December 11, 1631, in the parish of Bucknall in Lincolnshire, England. The Bucknall parish records also report the marriage of his parents April 30, 1629. His parents evidently moved within the next 14 months to the Parish of Hainton, where they had a son named John who was born February 15, 1632, and baptized in that year. Also buried there in the same year was a Matthew Batts, gent., who may have been a relative of Dorothy.
      Cornelius probably emigrated to Virginia in the late 1650’s or early 1660’s. The first Virginia record of his residence is a patent for 200 acres on the Pamunkey River dated September 27, 1664. The land was located between the Pamunkey River (called the Yorke River in the patent, an older name) and Totopotomoys Creek where they run roughly parallel to each other until the river turns south and the creek empties into it. The land contained rich alluvial soil reflected in high tax assessments in later years. He received a second patent for 640 acres nearby on the south side of Totopotomoy Creek in 1666. A third patent dated March 16, 1667/68 added 100 acres to his first tract, which was included in the boundary description in the patent. When the patents were issued, the tracts were in New Kent County, but today are in southeastern Hanover County. In addition, Cornelius and seven other early settlers leased tracts of land from the Pamunkey Indian tribe on the northeast side of the Pamunkey River, which the Virginia Council had set aside for the tribe through 1700. In 1679, the Virginia Council recognized the leases and ruled that the lessors should have priority when grants could be made after the expiration of the Indian rights. As a consequence, patents were issued 22 years later in 1701 to four of Cornelius’ children: James, George, Sarah, and Dorothy. The location of Cornelius’ and his four children’s patents on the two sides of the Pamunkey River that divides Hanover and King William Counties is shown in Figure 3 in the Introduction. The area can be located on a detailed map of tidewater Virginia in relation to U. S. highway 360 and the Pamunkey River.
      Cornelius evidently possessed exceptional linguistic and diplomatic ability because in 1676 the government appointed him the official interpreter for Queen Cockacoeske of the Pamunkey Indians, a tribe then friendly to the colonial government. In 1677, the English government made gifts of rich clothing and jewelry to the queen who led the tribe, her son, and her chief counselor to reward them for refusing to participate in recent raids by other tribes and to partly compensate them for injuries inflicted by angry settlers. A new gray suit was also given to the queen’s interpreter, Cornelius Dabney, described as “a man of goodly presence and of large stature in great esteem with the queen and her people.” In the Journals of the House of Burgesses and the Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts are several orders and requests from 1676 to 1684 to pay Cornelius Dabney for his services as interpreter.
      Cornelius was closely associated with Col. Francis Moryson, one of three commissioners sent by the English government to investigate and make recommendations regarding the Virginia Colony and its intermittently hostile relations with the Indian tribes. In a personal letter to Moryson dated June 29, 1678, Cornelius mentioned as a closing aside that his wife Eedeth “would gladly send y’ one of her boys a year or two hence,” presumably to receive further education and learn English ways from an accomplished politician and diplomat.
      Cornelius was married first to Eedeth (__), probably during the 1660’s. They had three children: James, George, and Sarah, who were probably born during the 1660’s or early 1670’s. Eedeth was still living in 1678, when Cornelius mentioned her in a letter to Col. Moryson, but probably died soon after. Cornelius remarried to Susannah (__) about 1679. They had six children, of whom 4 survived into adulthood: Dorothy, born before 1680, died about 1732; Benjamin, born ca 1682, died before March, 1722; Elizabeth, born ca 1684, died April 4, 1688; Cornelius II, born ca 1686, died 1764/65; John, born ca 1687, died April 7, 1688; Mary, born January 22, 1688, died September 7, 1748. Benjamin is known from only two records, but both are official documents and therefore reliable. No records have been found for their birth dates except for Mary, so their birth order and dates are mostly estimated from indirect evidence.
      In the vestry book of St Peter’s parish, which begins in 1684, Cornelius Dabney is listed as churchwarden 1684-1685 and subsequently as a member of the vestry until his death in late 1693 or early 1694.
      After Cornelius’ death, Susannah remarried to David Anderson. They had one child, David Anderson, Jr. David Sr. died about 1716. Susannah died after March 7, 1722, when she signed her will. She left bequests to her then living children: Cornelius Dabney II; Dorothy (Dabney) Anderson Trice, wife first of Capt. William Anderson and second of James Trice; Mary (Dabney) Carr, wife of Capt. Thomas Carr; David Anderson Jr.; and her grandchild, William Anderson.

      Later History of Cornelius Dabney’s First Land Patent

      Cornelius Dabney’s first land patent was granted September 27, 1664, for 200 acres, then reissued March 16, 1667/68 with an additional 100 acres added. It filled an elongated v-shaped area between the Pamunkey River and Totopotomoy’s Creek with a 847 yard linear boundary joining the two water courses on the west side. With some additional adjoining land, it later came to be known as Spring Garden. One hundred and fifteen years later in 1783, the tract’s per acre valuation in the county tax list was about 3.5 times a sample estimate of the average valuation for Hanover County, indicating that it was exceptionally fertile, probably because of alluvial deposits from the bordering river and creek.
      After Cornelius’ death in late 1693 or early 1694, his second wife, Susannah, inherited the tract and remarried to David Anderson. According to the surviving parish records of processioning (legally required quadrennial tracing of tract boundaries by adjacent neighbors), David continued to hold the land through 1716. He evidently died after the 1716 processioning and before the 1719 processioning, when the records indicate that Susannah was occupying the tract. She probably died soon after signing her will March 7, 1722.
      The next processioning that lists the land holders near Spring Garden was in 1735, when James Skelton was shown as owner of the tract. Since there is no indication of a family connection between the Dabneys and Skelton, the tract was probably sold during the years after Susannah’s death. Skelton was living in King William County in 1726, perhaps on the Spring Garden tract, but later moved to Goochland County where he owned a large amount of land. In 1723, he obtained patents for 1200, 400, 400, and 400 acres and in 1726 for 750, 1600, and 1600 acres (of which 1200 was a reissue of a 1723 patent), all in Henrico County (later Goochland County). In 1730, he obtained 393 acres in Hanover County. In 1734, when the 1730 patent was reissued and he signed an unrelated bond, he was living in Goochland County. In 1744 and 1745, he was listed as a neighbor in patents in Goochland County and in 1750, he obtained a patent for an island containing 10 acres in the James River in Goochland County.
      In 1735, James Skelton signed a bond to William Meriwether promising to convey to James’ wife, Jane Meriwether (probably a close relative of William), 1,000 acres of land to be passed on to their daughter, Sally Skelton, after Jane’s death. This was probably the Spring Garden farm, now enlarged to about 1,000 acres. Since a wife’s property was customarily listed in her husband’s name, James Skelton continued to be identified as the owner through the 1751 processioning, after which Meriwether Skelton, their son, took his place. He continued until 1780, when he resigned from St. Paul’s vestry and probably died relatively soon afterward.
      In the 1782 land tax records for Hanover County, the earliest ones surviving, Col. Thomas Jones, the husband of Sally Skelton, was listed as the owner of the tract, which consisted of 1020 acres. Col. Jones retired from the position of clerk of Northumberland County in 1781 and moved to Hanover County, where he was born about 1726 and his wife owned the farm Spring Garden. According to one writer, Jones was quite prosperous and lived in expensive style. While still serving as clerk, he wrote to the father of a prospective wife for his son Catesby that his clerkship was worth £400 a year and that he intended to turn it over to his son.
      Col. Jones died in late 1785 or early 1786 and the property was listed for land taxes as Thomas Jones estate until 1798. After Thomas’s death, Sally Jones, his widow, was listed in the personal property tax list until her death in late 1792 or early 1793. From 1793, one of the Jones sons, Meriwether, was listed until 1797. In 1798, 400 acres were sold to Smith Blakey and in 1800, the remaining 620 acres were sold to Gawin Corbin a son-in-law of the Jones. Corbin then sold them in 1803 to Judge Spencer Roane. Roane was an influential political leader and distinguished jurist, who served on the Virginia Supreme Court for 27 years. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates at the age of 21 and became a confidante and adviser to Governor Patrick Henry. His first wife was Anne Henry, one of the governor’s daughters. He added 97 acres to the estate in 1805 and in 1809 and 1810 purchased two tracts totaling 1029.5 acres in the nearby New Castle area. After his death in 1822, his widow, Elizabeth (Hoskins)Roane, who was his second wife, was listed with the 725 acres of the Spring Garden farm and his daughter, Eliza, was listed with the New Castle land. In 1825, Eliza married Albert G. Ruffin, who died in 1829. In 1839, Eliza remarried to Charles McDonald, the newly elected governor of Georgia.
      After the death of Spencer Roane’s widow in 1825/26, his son, William Henry Roane, settled on the Spring Garden farm. W. H. Roane was active in Virginia politics and served one term in the U. S. House of Representatives and another in the U. S. Senate. After Roane’s death in 1845, Spring Garden appeared in the tax lists as the W. H. Roane estate until 1851, when it was sold to John A. Meredith, who was commonwealth attorney for Hanover County and later a Circuit Court judge in Richmond. He continued to own Spring Garden through 1863, the latest year for which land tax data is available.
      The house where the Jones and Roane families lived was built of brick and was about 34 feet by 44 feet with two stories having four rooms on each floor. The valuation assigned to it by the Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia was the highest among their insurance policies in Hanover County. According to Old Homes of Hanover County, Virginia (Hanover, VA: Hanover County Historical Society, 1983), it was damaged by fire in 1784/85 and 1820, later deserted, and only slight ruins remain today. [2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37]

  • Sources 
    1. [S1837]

    2. [S1622]

    3. [S87] p. 40, 43..

    4. [S1623]

    5. [S96] v. 1, p. 514; Virginia Land Patent Book 5, p. 370 (406), 27 Sep 1664..

    6. [S96] v. 1, p. 558; Virginia Land Patent Book 5, p. 558, 7 Jun 1666..

    7. [S96] v. 2, p. 31; Virginia Land Patent Book 6, p. 114, 16 Mar 1667&|;8..

    8. [S97] pp. 57-59, 69..

    9. [S240]

    10. [S247] v. 2, p. 81, 172..

    11. [S280]

    12. [S281] p. 134..

    13. [S285]

    14. [S48] p. 22..

    15. [S87] p. 428..

    16. [S169] p. 106, 143..

    17. [S281] p. 136..

    18. [S212] p. 428,.

    19. [S87] pp. 40, 43..

    20. [S277] p. 47..

    21. [S279]

    22. [S169] p. 106. Compare The Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, p. 253, precinct 22, with p. 262, precinct 20, which indicate that David Anderson was credited in 1716 with the land held by Susannah Anderson in 1719..

    23. [S212] p. 291, precinct 23.

    24. [S96] v. 3, p. 318..

    25. [S96] p. 261, 318, .

    26. [S96] v.4, p. 50..

    27. [S329] p. 46..

    28. [S96] v. 6, p. 12..

    29. [S330] p. .

    30. [S212] p. 564..

    31. [S331]

    32. [S28] pp. 49-51..

    33. [S332]

    34. [S275] “Patrick Henry”.

    35. [S334]

    36. [S275]

    37. [S28] p. 49-51..