Virginia Pioneers

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Searching Old Wills

Caroline County Images of all records online are available to members


  • Baylor, John (1706), LWT
  • Estes, Abraham (1757), LWT, transcript
  • Mickleburrough (abstract from burned records
  • Mills, Matthew (abstract from burned records


  • Caroline County Marriages 1787-1852

Digital Images of Wills 1742, 1762 to 1830

Testators: Buckner, William; Chandler, Robert ;Coleman, Richard ;Collins, Thomas ;Dismukes, James ;Gatewood, James ;Gray, John; Hornsby, Reuben ;Kidd, William ;Landrum, Thomas; Moore, Augustine, Land Grant ;Moore, Augustine; Moore, Richard; Murdock, Joseph ;Robinson, Benjamin ;Ship, Lemuel ;Stuart, Henry ;Teal, David;Thompson, John ;Yates, John

Traced genealogies and family histories of Caroline County available to Members !

Hoomes Leftwich Penn

What Happens to the Dower of the Second Wife

When a widow remarried, a Marriage Contract was written to protect the assets bequeathed to her by her deceased husband. Such contracts are generally found in deed records. These deeds need to be examined to follow the inheritance of the land and other items of value. Also, the estates and inventories should list the property owned by the widow before she re-married and specify how it was disposed of. In the instance of Reuben Thornton who died in 1768 owning a large number of slaves which were named and mentioned in the will and plantations in Caroline and Culpeper Counties, he bequeathed to his (second) wife the land located on Green Swamp as well as the mill pond which she had received from the dower of the estate of her former husband. In other words, when the widow remarried, her property became the legal property of Reuben Thornton.

The Friendly Virginians

Great Hopes Plantation It was customary for plantation owners to send someone up to the road to watch for strangers. The reason is that they wanted to hear the news. This primitive method of passing the news was welcomed by colonists in remote areas. The main house usually included a guest bedroom which was accessible off the front porch and strangers were fed and treated kindly. News came from supply ships and freighters and was at least three to six months old when it reached port. Official packets from England were first dispatched to the Royal Governor, the House of Burgess and other British officials. In the beginning, colonists were privy to news from Dutch trading vessels and privateers in the West Indies until Parliament intervened with its laws forbidding such trade. The reason is that the Dutch was competitive in price, and the British wanted to profit from trade with its colonists. Especially when tobacco increased in popularity abroad and it was so widely accepted as payment. As long as traded existed with foreign vessels, colonists paid less in tariffs and manufactured goods. Lead window panes, nails and plank boards were necessary products numbered among those goods costly to import. If you were a planter, you needed to know about incoming vessels and cargoes. Also, about the collection of tariffs and fines. The first English regulation concerning tariffs applied to those vessels which went into port. Thus, ships began avoiding the burdensome tariffs by weighing anchor off shore. By the mid 17th century, colonists were avoiding the payment of fines and tariffs. The construction of a home in Virginia was far more expensive than the same structure in England. For this reason, the colonists disassembled old structures and conserved the materials for later use. Many of the 17th and 18th century estates provide detailed accounts of the number nails and plank boards. The taxes and regulations which limited trade and prosperity in the colonies continued up until the time that the colonists had suffered enough outrage and cast the tea cargo into the sea.

St. Margarets Church, Ruther Glen

Caroline County, Virginia Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Marriages

Old Schoolhouse in Caroline County, Virginia Caroline County was established in 1728 from the counties of Essex, King and Queen and King William. It was named for Caroline of Ansbach, the wife of King George II of Great Britain. John Penn, a native of Caroline County, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Only Gentleman could Race Horses

horses From the earliest colonists, horseracing was a popular sport for gentlemen. The event was usually held on Saturday afternoons and run on a straight course of about a quarter of a mile. At first the stock were just sprinters. A notice which appeared in York County on September 10, 1674: "James Bullocke, a Taylor, haveing made a race for his mare to runn with a horse belonging to Mr. Mathew Slader for twoe thousand pounds of tobacco and caske, it being contrary to Law for a Labourer to make a race, being a sport only for Gentlemen, is fined for the same one hundred pounds of tobacco and caske. Whereas Mr. Mathew Slader and James Bullocke, by condition under the hand and seale of said Slader, that his horse should runn out by the way that Bullock's mare might win, which is an apparent cheate, he ordere to be putt in the stocks and there sitt the space of one houre." Arabian horses were not introduced into Virginia until about 1732 when "Bulle Rock" was imported into Hanover County by Samuel Gist. This stallion bred many of the mares for throughbred racing. John Baylor of Newmarket purchased a number of thoroughbreds in England for the purpose of racing. In 1764 his English agent acquired "Fearnought" of Arabian blood.