William & Mary Quarterly
Updated March 19, 2016
This article from the William & Mary Quarterly, discusses the relationship between the Meriwether, Bathurst, Skelton and GILLIAM families. This article appeared in the Quarterly in response to an article on the Shelton/Skelton family.
It has been suggested that the wife of John GILLIAM of Prince George whose Will was ordered to be probated in 1739 was Ann Bathurst. The executor of John’s Will was his wife Ann. It has not been proven that Ann was Ann Bathurst, daughter of Edward Bathurst and Ann Morris.
Besides the prominent family of Woodhouse, of Princess Anne county, Va. descendants of Henry Woodhouse, Esq., Governor of Bermuda—we have mention of Thomas Woodhouse, of Jamestown Island, who in 1655 was a patentee of land on the Island, and kept an inn in which the General Assembly held their sessions, after the burning of the first State House. He was probably the Thomas Woodhouse who was one of the millwrights sent by William Claiborne and his partners to Kent Island in 1634. This last was born in the parish of Holden, in the County of York, England, in the year 1608, and in 1640, after Claiborne was driven out of Kent Island, he resided at Smith's Fort, in Surry county, Va., situated about two miles up Gray's Creek, opposite to Jamestown. (Archives of Maryland, Proceedings of the Council, 1667-88, p. 228.)
In 1665, Mr. Nicholas Meriwether, born in 1631, is mentioned as the administrator of Tho. Woodhouse. This has led Mr. W. R. Griffith to think that the wife of Nicholas Meriwether, Elizabeth Meriwether, who was also a resident of Surry and James City, was the daughter and heir of Thomas Woodhouse. (See Griffith's Record of Nicholas Meriwether of Wales.) All that can really be said is that there is no trace of Thomas Woodhouse's male descendants.
In New Pocosin Parish, York county, lived a Woodhouse family. Edward Woodhouse and Sarah his wife had issue, (1) Ann, born June 30, 1665, (2) Edward, born February 14, 1700, (3) Sarah, born January 25, 1702. John, son of Edward Woodhouse, by Elizabeth his wife, was born June 15, 1711. Charles Woodhouse, son of Charles, by Eliza his wife, was born 1738. Henry Woodhouse, son of Charles, by Eliza his wife, was born January 18, 1742. John and Anne Woodhouse, twins of Charles, by Eliza his wife, were born November 9, 1740.
Nicholas Meriwether, ancestor of the distinguished family of that name, was clerk of Surry Court, and one of the justices, and by his wife Elizabeth had issue, (1) Col. Nicholas, of New Kent county, Va. Married Elizabeth Crafford, (2) Jane, of James City county, married William Browne, Jr., of Surry county. (3) Elizabeth, of James City county, married Capt. Francis Clements, of Surry county. (4) Francis, of Essex county, married Mary Bathurst. (5) William, of Surry county, who died unmarried between January 7, 1694, and March 5, 1694. (6) Thomas, of Essex county, married Susanna.
Mary Bathurst, wife of Capt. Francis Meriwether, was a daughter of Lancelot Bathurst, of Essex county, Va., son of Sir Edward Bathurst, of Gloucestershire, England, and his second wife, Susan Rich. Lancelot had, besides Mary, three other children, viz., (1) Lawrence, who died unmarried, in Essex county, about 1705; (2) Elizabeth, married, first, William Tomlin, and second, in 1709, William Daingerfield; (3) Susanna, married Drury Stith.
Mary Bathurst survived her husband, Francis Meriwether, and married, secondly, Reuben Welch; thirdly, Hon. John Robinson. By her marriage with Francis Meriwether, who was clerk of Essex in 1692, and burgess for Essex in 1706 and 1712 (Colonial Virginia Register), she had issue, (1) Elizabeth, who married Drury Bolling, of Prince George county, Va., who had Frances Bolling, married Theodorick Bland; (2) Francis Meriwether; (3) Jane, married James Skelton, of Essex county, Va.; (4) Mary, married, first, William Colston, of Essex county, second, Thomas Wright Belfield, of Richmond county, Va.; (5) Thomas, who died unmarried; (6) Lucy, who married Col. Francis Smith, of Gloucester county. (William & Mary Quarterly, Vol. VII., p. 98-100; Griffith's Meriwether Family)
In 1750, James Skelton contracted to rebuild the Capitol in Williamsburg, burned in 1746. In the "Diary of John Blair" is this paragraph, under date January 31, 1751: "Skelton set off to go up to bury his wife, having got a black coat for it." (See William & Mary College Quarterly, VIII., p. 2.)
In a letter of Francis Jerdone, 12 September, 1754, is this paragraph, "James Skelton is dead, as also Robert Miller, of Williamsburg." (Quarterly, XL, p. 242.)
James Skelton and Jane Meriwether his wife had, it seems, the following children: (1) Reuben Skelton, clerk of St. Paul's Parish, Hanover county, Va., married Elizabeth Lomax, and died before 1760, when his widow married John Wayles, of Charles City county. (quarterly, VII., p. 103.)
John Wayles' daughter Martha, by a former marriage with Martha Eppes, married, first, Bathurst Skelton, and after his death, she married Thomas Jefferson. (2) Bathurst Skelton, born June, 1744. He married Martha Wayles November 20, 1766. He died September 30, 1768, and his will was recorded in Charles City county, in 1768, and names wife Martha and son John (quarterly, II., p. 273). His widow, as stated, married, secondly, January 1, 1772, Thomas Jefferson. (3) Jane Skelton, who married Col. Thomas Jones (see Judge Jones' Jones Family). (4) Meriwether. (5) Lucy, married Robert GILLIAM. Her will, dated February 23, 1784, proved September 8, 1789, recorded in Prince George county, Va., names brother Meriwether Skelton and sister Sally Jones. Meriwether Skelton died at New Castle, Hanover county, Va. Robert GILLIAM and Lucy Skelton, his wife, of Elk Island, Goochland county, had issue, as shown by the batter's will, (1) John, (2) Elizabeth, married David Buchanan, (3) Reuben Meriwether, (4) James Skelton, (5) Susanna Bathurst, (6) Anne, married Ellyson Currie, of Lancaster county, (7) Jane, who married Armistead Currie, of Lancaster county, (8) Meriwether Bathurst. Lucy GILLIAM's will is witnessed by William Thomas, Mary GILLIAM, Ben. Harrison, John Skelton. It is believed that no descendants of this family, bearing the Skelton name, survive. John Skelton, son of Bathurst Skelton, is said to have died in infancy (Randall's Life of Jefferson, Vol. 1., p. 63). Who, then, was John Skelton, who witnessed Lucy GILLIAM's will?
In the name of God, Amen.—Whereas, Meriwether Skelton, Esquire, late of the county of Hanover, deceased, did, by his last will and testament in writing, bearing date the 13th day of March, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, devise his whole estate, therein mentioned to his sisters Jones and Lucy GILLIAM, for life in such proportion as in and by the said will may appear, with power (among other things) to his said sisters to dispose of his estate so devised by will or other writing, particularly to his sister Lucy power to dispose of the whole estate which he possessed in the counties of Goochland and Fluvanna. I, the said Lucy GILLIAM, enabled to do so by the bounty and permission of the Almighty, do, in virtue of the power vested in me aforesaid, make, publish and ordain this my last will and testament, and dispose of the estate aforesaid, in the manner following:
Imprimis: I give to my son John GILLIAM and his heirs forever one moiety, or half part of the tract of land called Elk Island, in James River, in the county of Goochland, and one moiety or half part of a tract of land in the county of Fluvanna adjacent to said Elk Island, both of which said tracts of land whereof the estate of the said Meriwether Skelton, to hold the said moietys, or half parts of the said two tracts of land to him my said son John GILLIAM, and his heirs forever.
Item—I give to my son James Skelton GILLIAM, the other moiety or half part of the said tract of land called Elk Island in James River, in the county of Goochland, and the other moiety, or half part of the tract of land above mentioned, lying in the county of Fluvanna, to hold the said moietys, or half parts of the said two tracts of land to him, my said son, James Skelton GILLIAM, and his heirs forever; but if my said son, James Skelton GILLIAM, should die under twenty-one years of age, and without issue living at the time of his death, then it is my will, and I do hereby order, direct and devise the said moietys, or half parts of the two tracts of land aforesaid to my son Reuben Meriwether GILLIAM and his heirs forever.
Item—I give to my son, John GILLIAM, a bay mare, part of the estate aforesaid, which is now in his possession, and 1 do hereby give and relinquish to him all my right to the foals she may have from the day of the date hereof.
Item—I give to my son, James Skelton GILLIAM, a sorrel mare, part of the estate aforesaid, and I do hereby give and relinquish to him all her foals, which are now at Elk Island, or which she may have hereafter.
Item—All the slaves, stocks of cattle, money and whatsoever else of the estate of my said brother Mereweather Skelton, may be in my possession or belonging to me at the time of my death, and was and is intended to be included in the moiety of his said estate subjected to my use and disposal by his will aforesaid I do hereby devise, give, order and direct that the same shall be equally divided among my following children, to-wit: Reuben Mereweather, Elizabeth, Jane Mereweather, Mereweather Skelton, Susanna Bathurst, and Anne, or such of them as shall be living at the time of my death (and the children which either of them who may die in my lifetime) shall leave and be living at my death, the children aforesaid to divide amongst them the share of their deceased ancestor) and the children which may be born after the making of this my will—it being my intent and meaning that such children which I may hereafter have shall take equal shares with my children above named, provided they or either of them be living at the time of my death, such division to be made specifically or by making sale of the said slaves, stocks and personal estate, and dividing the money arising by such sale, at the discretion of my executors hereinafter mentioned, the division to be made as soon as conveniently may be after my death; and finishing the crops on hand, at that time, which crops is to go in the same manner as if this will had never been made.
Lastly, for the due and effectual performance of this my will I do nominate, constitute and appoint my sons John, James Skelton and Rubin Mereweather, executors and trustees thereof, for the purposes aforesaid.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal, the 23rd day of February, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four.
Lucy GILLIAM (Seal).
Signed, sealed, published and delivered by the said Lucy I do hereby certify that this GILLIAM, to be her last will will was made with my and Testament, in the consent, presence of us.
I do hereby certify that this will was made with my consent.
September 8, 1789
Ben. Harrison, Jr.,
John GILLIAM, Jnr., son of Jno. GILLIAM.
At the court held for Prince George county, at the Courthouse, on Tuesday, the eighth day of September, 1789.
The foregoing will and testament of Lucy GILLIAM, deceased, was presented into court by John GILLIAM, junior, one of the executors named therein, who made oath thereto according to law, and the same being proved by the oaths of Benjamin Harrison, Jr., and John GILLIAM, Jr., two of the witnesses thereto, the same is, together with the certificate from Robert GILLIAM respecting the said will, by order of court, truly recorded, and, on motion of the said executor, certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate of the said will in due form.
Teste: C. L. RUSSELL, D. Clerk.
A Copy Teste: H. C. BRITTON, Clerk
- William & Mary Quarterly