Virginia Pioneers


Francis Jerdone

Shoes in 1700 A merchant of Louisa County, Francis Jerdone by name, lamented that "the Virginians have most of their shoemakers in their own families, and have no occasion for any but stuff [i.e., cloth] shoes from Britain." He referred to members of the well-to-do planter class, who customarily maintained on their plantations one or more skilled workmen. Among these there was almost sure to be included a cordwainer to make and repair the footwear of the plantation family. The shoemaker might be a slave, indentured servant, or a journeyman receiving wages. However, Francis Jerdone could just as well have been writing of another kind of Virginia planter, the small farmer who built his own house and barns, made his own crude furniture, coopered his own hogsheads, ground his own corn, sheared his own sheep, and made the shoes for families while his wife spun and wove their clothing. These small farmers, far outnumbering the great planters, would not have ordered cloth shoes from London, to be sure. But neither would they have ordered very many leather ones, either from England or from Williamsburg shoemakers. Source: The Leatherworker in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg Being an Account of the Nature of Leather and of the Crafts commonly engaged in the Making & Using of it by Thomas K. Ford. Polish Glassmakers

The Robert Gilbert Story

The Virginia Gazette Eleven advertisements placed in the weekly newspaper for Williamsburg, the Virginia Gazette, from 1768 to 1783, remain the sole evidence of the business venture of Robert Gilbert, boot and shoemaker. His shop was in Williamsburg on Back Street in a house where he formerly resided opposite to Mr. Richard Charlton. The story is one of the hazards faced by most craftsmen in eighteenth-century Williamsburg; debts piling up, excess stock on hand, shortage of capable and reliable help, and a market that dried up when the capital moved to Richmond in 1780. He crafted men and womens wood-heeled shoes, calf skins, sole leather, calimanco and pumps, childrens morocco,etc.
"ROBERT GILBERT, BOOT and SHOEMAKER, &c. HEREBY acquaints the publick that he has opened shop near the Capitol in Williamsburg, where he intends carrying on his business in all its branches, viz. shoe or channel, calf or buckskin boots, jockey do. and splatterdashes, mens plain, stitched, spring, and wood-heeled, shoes and pumps, calf or dogskin; campaign, single, double, or turned channels, slippers, blue or red turkey, cork soles, galloches; womens leather, stuff, silk, and braided shoes and pumps, slippers, cork soles, galloches, and clogs. As he imports the whole of his materials from Great Britain, where punctual payments are required, he proposes supplying Ladies and Gentlemen with any of the above articles on the most reasonable terms, for ready money. Those who please to favour him with their custom may depend on their work being speedily executed, in the genteelest and newest fashions, and in such a manner as he hopes will merit a continuance of their favours. Source: Virginia Gazette, June 30, 1768.
Source: The Leatherworker in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg Being an Account of the Nature of Leather, & of the Crafts commonly engaged in the Making & Using of it by Thomas K. Ford.

Did you Find the Genealogy Clues Along the Way?

tobacco Nowadays, scanning census records are basic to all genealogical research. Of course, that was not the case in past days. Genealogists stuggled to locate information in unindexed books (yes, books!) and census records. I performed my census research, page by page, county by county. It was the worst sort of tedium. Details lead us to further clues. When examining census records, it is important to note the State of birth for the parents as well as the children. Later on, the 1880 census reveals how many years the couple were married, how many children were born an the number of surviving children. The places of birth represent the migratory trail and his last known date (of residence) in a specific place. Do these years sound familiar? How do they match up to land grants, land lotteries and Indian removals? If the dates are close to the drawing of land lotteries, search the land lottery books. Were the Alabama and Mississippi births after 1833? If so, they probably took the conventional trail down through Virginia into the Caroliins, to Georgia, then West into Chambers County, Alabama and finally to Mississippi and Texas. Did any of the daughters disappear from one census record to the next? Each step which the parents took has to be examined to establish a chart of the migratory trail. Do not overlook deeds and tax digests. Deeds provide land locations which are needed to search cemeteries in the area while tax digests reveal the location of other parcels of land which may have been land grants or drawn in land lotteries.

During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, tobacco was the big cash crop in Virginia. But as tobacco wore out the land, people moved on in seach of rich soil.

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

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How Reliable are Memories of Things Past?

memoriesThe genealogist know all about memory, especially from interviewing relatives. Sometimes the memory of an event is actually better than the event itself. That is because as time passes and we have the privilege of embellishing upon it in a happier way it becomes more elusive. That is one of the reasons that people do not have perfect recall. Can you remember the date of your grandmother's death? Or Mother? Since birth, we are processing family information into our memory banks, yet recalling it seems to fade into oblivion. We are more accurate in our recall effort shortly after the event occurred. As time passes, we lose credibility. In the same respect, writing about the historical past is not "second-hand", however, more like "gossip!" If we were not there (at the time), how can our version be wholly accurate? How do we know if Thomas Jefferson slept with slaves? Did we see it? Is there a substantial record which proves it? If we were not there, we cannot draw conclusions. The quest of the historian, then, is to take his date from facts. That is, old written documents. Another imposition has been taken with Christopher Columbus. The story is that he imposed himself upon island people. Yet, the only first-hand information comes from the explorer himself, who "kept a log" of his travels. This log, now translated, written in his own hand-writing, describes a deeply religious Catholic who believed that he was on a mission for God. And then today we have women claiming that a politician "improperly touched them " 40 years ago! Since, the first complainer has broken down in tears, claiming that she does not remember the details of what happened. Thus, should we shuffle aside our interviews with relatives, or compare their memories with actual records?

Solving Genealogies by Reading the Old Wills

QuillRemember the days when we climbed on ladders to shuffle down dusty books all because it might help with finding ancestors? Or, the census microfilm which contained no indexes? And how tedious the search through dozens of census records to try and locate the family or just to find a clue? In those days, we examined the records of the county "thought" to be the residence, then circled the wagon in surrounding counties. For some reason, family history books rarely contained an index. Finally, county records began to be extracted and published. But the problem here is that one really needs to read the original document (rather than an abstract) because it contains so many little details helpful in discovering more clues. Yet few originals recorded by the clerks survived. Genealogical Societies have made good effort to restore the torn and smudged documents, however, because of this and colonial-style writing, they are not much help. However, one should not overlook this aspect of research. Instead, learning Latin phrases and colonial hand-writing will serve well to produce results. Like going to school all over again, we can learn the beautiful colonial script! Virginia Pioneers has done its best to acquire actual images of most of the old Virginia Wills, Estates, Inventories, Annual Returns, etc., which may be printed out or downloaded for later study.


Do the Magic Centipede


Map of Louisa County Virginia


Louisa County, Virginia Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Marriages, Court House Records


Ferncliff, Virginia

Louisa County was created in 1742 from Hanover County, Louisa County and was named for Princes Louise of Great Britain, the youngest daughter of King George II and the wife of King Frederick V of Denmark. Patrick Henry was known to have resided in Louisa County for a short time on Roundabout Creek. Thomas Johnson was a representative of Louisa County in the House of Burgesses. Patrick Henry established himself as an eloquent lawyer and won his first election in 1765 and represented Louisa County.

Louisa County Wills, Estates, Marriages available to members of Virginia Pioneers

Marriages

  • Marriages 1757 to 1856

Digital Images of Wills 1745 to 1766

  • Belscher, Patrick
  • Buckner, Philip
  • Clark, Christopher
  • Cosby, John
  • Fleming, Robert
  • Harris, Benjamin
  • Johnson, John
  • Kimbro, William
  • Lea, Francis
  • Mackalester, William
  • Meriwether, Francis
  • Moorman, Elizabeth
  • Sumter, William
  • Terrill, Richard
  • Waddy, Samuel
  • Woodall, James
  • Yancy, Archelaus

Digital Images of Wills 1767 to 1783

  • Anderson, David
  • Anderson, Pouncey
  • Arnett, James
  • Barrett, Charles
  • Belscher, Judy
  • Bibb, Benjamin Sr.
  • Bourn, William
  • Bunch, Samuel
  • Byars, John
  • Carr, John
  • Carr, John (2)
  • Carr, Samuel
  • Christmass, John
  • Chiles, John
  • Clark, Francis
  • Clark, Joseph
  • Cory, Edward
  • Cosby, David
  • Davis, John
  • Dickenson, Charles
  • East, Joseph
  • Fernham, Robert
  • Garland, Nathaniel
  • Garrett, William
  • Gooch, William
  • Glynn, Jeremiah
  • Hall, John
  • Hall, John
  • Henderson, Joseph
  • Henson, Richard
  • Hester, Robert
  • Hunter, Andrew
  • Jackson, William
  • Jones, Richard
  • Jones, Richard (2)
  • Jordan, Francis
  • Kingfield, Robert
  • Laurance, Elizabeth
  • Laurance, Henry
  • Lea, Ann
  • Lipscomb, Thomas
  • Lowry, William
  • McCullock, Elizabeth
  • Moore, John
  • Parish, Jolley
  • Paulet, Thomas
  • Pettus, John
  • Poindexter, Christian
  • Smith, Charles
  • Smith, James Jr.
  • Statham, Love
  • Tait, John
  • Tate, James
  • Terrill, Richmond
  • Terry, James
  • Thomason, George
  • Thomson, Thomas
  • Thomson, Wilson
  • Trumyear, William
  • Venable, Abraham
  • Waddy, Mary
  • Wadkins, John
  • Whitlock, Thomas
  • Woodleif, Catherine
  • Wright, Richard
  • Yancey, Robert

Miscellaneous

  • Sims, William-Last Will and Testament