My file on the Watkins family is the largest in my database. Our direct ancestor (my greatx3 grandmother) was Mary Elizabeth Martha Watkins who married Charles DeLaigle in Augusta, GA. I have met so many lovely people in the course of this research, and I thank each and every one. Most particularly, I thank Mrs. Eugenia Richards, whose friendship and help made learning more about our shared Watkins and Walton ancestors such a joy!
There are several sources that state there was an early HENRY WATKINS (born about 1585) who was the father of Henry Watkins of Henrico County, Virginia, who married Katherine.
Most particularly, there is the application of Miss Jamie Hess to the Daughters of the Pilgrims, which stated that “Henry Watkins was born in Wales, 1600, was Burgess of Henrico Co, VA, 1623, listed as dead same year, References provided: Copies with applications of family records, wills and deeds filed with application. Virginia House of Burgesses, 1619-1658.” I don’t know the truth of her proofs, and can’t help but wonder if those records still exist somewhere!? It seems to me that he would have been born earlier than 1600, and he seems to have been alive in February 1624, although that is the last mention of him I can find.
The first representatives of Accomack in the Assembly were "Captain John Wilcocks" and "HENRY WATKINS" both of whom signed a paper as Burgesses from the Eastern Shore in 1624.
Henry is listed in Henry Watkins of Henrico County: His Descendants and Their Allied Families. States he was born 1585, which gives this list:
I. Henry Watkins (1585-___)
II. Henry Watkins m. Katherine Pride
III. Edward Watkins (c 1665-1771)
IV. John Watkins (c. 1710-1765) Phoebe Hancock
V. Henry Watkins (1758-1829) Elizabeth Hudson Clay
VI. John Watkins (1785-1845) Catherine T. Milton
Henry Watkins, alive on the Eastern Shore in 1623, after the great Indian massacre of March 22, 1621 .
In 1621, John Rolfe, in his "Relation of Virginia" writes of being at Cale's Gift near Cape Charles, where there were 17 inhabitants under the command of Lt. Craddock. By 1623 there were 96 inhabitants, 9 of whom were females. Of the 87 men and boys, the only names preserved were: Edward Rodgers, Benjamin Knight, Henry Wilson, William Andrews, John Parsons, Thomas Hall, Walter Scott, William Williams, Robert Edmunds, John Evans, Thomas Powell, Thomas Parks, HENRY WATKINS, William Davis, John Wilkins, William Smith, John Barrett, Thomas Ancient Savage, John Fisher, James Vocat Piper, John Parramore, and Thomas Gascoyne.
Henry Watkins subscribed with twenty-five other Burgesses means with which to send Mr. Pountis , in 1623 , with a petition to the Crown. - (Campbell , 178, and Hening I, 129.)
In February 1624, Accomack Plantation was represented at a stormy session of the General Assembly. Captain John Wilcox, overseer of the Company land, and HENRY WATKINS, overseer for Lady Dale, were the Burgesses. King James I had annulled the charter of the Virginia Company and only a decree of the highest court in England was needed to make the annulment final. The fate of the representative government which had functioned for almost five years was unknown. The King had never favored it and some members of the Virginia Company who sought Royal favors had criticized it. This Assembly was also concerned about the ownership of land in fee simple when the charter was annulled. Some existing laws were strengthened and additional ones were passed to make this government more closely conform to the English Parliament. After the General Assembly of 1624 adjourned, Burgesses Wilcox and WATKINS returned to Accomack Plantation to explain the laws to the people. At the census at this time there were 79 men, women and church. The charter of the Virginia Company was annulled on June 24, 1624, and Virginia became England's first Crown Colony. A church was built on the Secretary's land. After the harvest was finished in the fall of 1624, the rest of the Company tenants were transferred to Elizabeth City. The census of 1625 shows 51 people.
Other than in Miss Hess’s application, I can find no further proof that this early Henry Watkins was the father of our Henry Watkins. There is no will of the early Henry Watkins, that I know of, and no land records, etc., that might tell us the truth of the matter. There are proofs that we descend from the following Henry, however.
HENRY WATKINS is documented in Henrico County, Virginia. He was a Quaker, a member of the Society of Friends, and appears in officials records in Henrico County, VA as early as 1677. One quote says: "One of the most interesting families in Virginia from the point of view of economic, social and political development is the distinguished family of which Henry Watkins is the immigrant ancestor."
1677: assisted Richard Cocke, Col. Ligon, and Gilbert Jones in the survey of “Mawburne Hills,” which he owned.
1678: Henry Watkins paid tithes in Varina parish.
1679: Deed patented for 170 acres of land on the north side of the James River in Henrico County. Henry Watkins held land in the "Turkey Island" district of eastern Henrico County, north of the James River, when a militia roll was taken in June 1679.
1684: Fined for continuing in his Quakerism.
1690: Purchased 360 acres of land in Varina Parish, Henrico Co, south side of Chickahominy Swamp from Lyonel Morris. That same year, he bought 60 acres of land adjoining his own land and touching a run of Turkey Island Creek.
His religion, at times, caused him to clash with the ruling authorities in Virginia. In 1660, the Virginia Assembly passed a strict law against Quakers, who they described as “"... an unreasonable and turbulent sort of people, who daily gather together unlawful assemblies of people, teaching lies, miracles, false visions, prophecies, and doctrines tending to disturb the peace, disorganize Society and destroy the peace, disorganize society and destroy all laws, and government, and religion.” You’ll find many mentions of Henry Watkins in "Quaker Records of Henrico Monthly Meeting" by F. Edward Wright. When his wife was assaulted, he refused to prosecute the criminal because the law required actions contrary to the Quaker doctrine. In 1661 an act was passed that anyone who failed to attend services of the established church for a period of one month would be subject to a fine. And again in 1666 an act was passed imposing fines on 'refractory persons' for failure to comply with the militia laws and regulations. In 1684 Henry Watkins was fined by the court for "continuing in his Quakerisms." His fine was later remitted. Other Quaker families in the area were the Pleasant’s, “Makeney’s,” and the Woodson’s.
One thing that endears Henry Watkins, to me, is his disbursement of his lands to his children prior to his death. He mentions his love for his children when he gave land to each of his sons on the south side of Chickahominy Swamp in 1691/2. The tradition of primogeniture was still common in the early colonies. However, by making a will you could distribute your property as you saw fit. Henry went even further than this when he partitioned his land to his sons prior to his death. I feel it showed a great deal of confidence in the ability and integrity of his sons.
In January 1691/2, he gifted, “With love and affection,” the following to his sons:
William: 120 acres next to Edward Finch
Joseph: 120 acres “in the lower part”
Edward: 120 acres “in the lower part”
Henry (Jr.): “the tract where I now live”
Thomas: 200 acres on “Three Runs”
Some sources state that Henry was born about 1638 in Wales, possibly in Talgarth, Brecknockshire, South Wales. I have done some minimum research on Talgarth, and can find no mention of a Henry Watkins, although there was fairly large Watkins family living in that area. I can provide those notes to anyone who is interested).
Henry Watkins died about 1691. For the longest, I believed Henry died in 1714/1715, but now I don’t believe that is true. We know Henry Watkins, Jr. died at that time. My reason for stating that Henry died in 1691 is from the application of Miss Jamie HESS who gave the following lineage as a Daughter of the Pilgrims (apparently providing proofs of the same):
I. HENRY WATKINS (1) born in Wales, 1600, was Burgess of Henrico Co, VA, 1623, listed as dead same year, References provided: Copies with applications of family records, wills and deeds filed with application. Virginia House of Burgesses, 1619-1658
II. HENRY WATKINS (1637-will 1691)
III. HENRY WATKINS (1660-1714) m. 1680 Mary -----
IV. THOMAS WATKINS (1691-1760. wife unknown
V. BENJAMIN WATKINS ( __ - WILL 1753); married Jane Watkins (___-will 1778)
VI. LYDIA WATKINS (1759- __) married JOHN JOHNSON (1738-1827)
VII. JANE JOHNSON (177201846) married HENSON JOHNSON (1763-1827) [which was child of Lydia & John?!]
VIII. ELIZABETH JOHNSON (1808-1857) married 1826 JOHN LEMON (1804-1881)
IX. MARTHA EMELINE LEMON (1842-1918) married GEORGE PHILIP HESS (1836-1897)
X. EDWARD DANIEL HESS (1862-1897) m. 1892 THEODOCIA MILLER (1873-1941)
XI. Miss JAMIE HESS, 5825 ½ Victor Street, Dallas, TX, recorded 1952 in Texas.
I do believe we can safely state that Henry died at his plantation near “Malvern Hills,” in Henrico County. I have never seen a copy of his will. All I know is that it particularly left bequests to his grandson Thomas Watkins, son of Henry: 1 feather bed and bolster, 1 yarn "sett rugg", 1 pair nine quarter blankets, 1 pair sheets.
HENRY married CATHERINE. Her last name has been assumed to be “Pride.” Oddly, I have never seen any proof that was her last name. I also don’t know if she survived Henry. Catherine is “infamous” in her own way, and since it’s important to provide all information, good and bad, there is the following:
KATHERINE WATKINS' CASE, 1681. - Henrico County Deed Book, 1677-1692, 192-195
The examination of Katherine Watkins, the wife of Henry Watkins of Henrico County in Virginia had and taken this 13 of September 1681
before us William Byrd and John Farrar two of his Majesties Justices of the County aforesaid as followeth (vizt.)
The said Katherine aforesaid on her Oath and examination deposeth, That on fryday being in the Month of August aboute five weeks since, the said Katherine mett with John Long (A Mulatto Belonging to Capt. Thomas Cocke) at or neare the pyney slash betweene the aforesaid Cokes and Henry Watkins house, and at the same tyme and place, the said John threw the said Katherine downe (He starting from behind a tree) and stopped her Mouth with a handkerchief, and tooke up the said Katherines Coates [i.e., petticoats], and putt his yard into her and ravished her; Upon which she the said Katherine Cryed out (as she deposeth) and afterwards (being rexuced by another Negroe of the said Cockes named Jack White) she departed home, and the said John departed to his Masters likewise, or that way; after which abuse she the said Katherine declares that her husband, inclinable to the Quakers, and therefore would not prosecute, and she being sicke and her Children likewise, she therefore did not make her complaint before she went to Lt. Col. Farrass, which was yesterday, morning, and this day in the morning she went to William Randolphs' and found him not at home. But at night met with the gentlemen Justices aforesaid at the house of the aforesaid Cocke in Henrico County in Virginia aforeaid before whom she hath made this complaint upon oath . . .
(my note: and here we get the other side of the story:)
The deposition of John Aust aged 32 yeares or thereabouts Deposeth, that on fryday being the twelvth of August or thereabouts he came to the house of Mr. Thomas Cocke, and soe went into his Orchard where his servants were a cutting downe weeds, whoe asked the deponent to stay and drinke, soe the deponent stayed and dranke syder with them, and Jacke a Mulatto of the said Thomas Cocke went in to draw syder, and he stay'd something long whereupon the deponent followed him and coming to the doore where the syder was, heard Katherine the wife of henry Watkins say (Lord) Jacke what makes thee refreaine our house that you come not oftner, for come when thou wilt thou shalt be as well come as any of My owne Children, and soe she tooke him aobut the necke and Kissed him, and Jacke went out and drawed Syder, and she said Jack wilt thout not drinke to me, who sayd yes if you will goe out where our Cupp is, and a little after she came out, where the said Thomas Cockes negroes were a drinking
and there dranke cupp for cupp with them (as others there did) and as she sett Negroe dirke passing by her she tooke up the taile of his shirt (saying) Dirke thou wilt have a good long thing, and soe did several tymes as he past by her; after this she went into the roome where the syder was and then came out agine, and between the two houses she mett Mulatto Jacke a going to draw more syder and putt her hand on his codpiece, at which he smil'd, and went on his way and drew syder and she came againe into the company but stay'd not long but went out to drinking with two of the said Thomas Cockes Negroes by the garden pale, And a while after she tooke Mingoe one of the said Cocke's Negroes about the Necke and fling on the bedd and Kissed him and putt her hand into his Codpeice, Awhile after Mulatto Jacke went into the Fish roome and she followed him, but what they did there this deponent knoweth not for it being near night this deponent left her and the Negroes together, (He thinking her to be much in drinke) and soe this deponent went home about one houre by sunn . . .
"In 1679 he received a patent for 170 acres of land on the north side of James River in Henrico Co. adjoining land of John Lewis, Mr. Cocke, and Mr. Beauchamp, and
touching the 'three runs' of Turkey Island Creek." So, (Capt. Thomas) Cocke, was indeed a neighbor, and apparently the owner of the slaves involved in this case with Katherine Watkins.
Early Virginia Families Along the James River: Henrico County, Goochland ... By Louise Pledge Heath Foley:
HALCOAT PRIDE was living in Goochland County, February 1724, when Thomas Locket had 900 acres on north side of Appomattock River, adjacent to Halcoat Pride, on the south side the main Butterwood Creek, along with Samuel Hancock and Arthur Moseley.
JOHN PRIDE, 400 acres (N.L.), HENRICO COUNTY on the main branch of Swift Creek, above the Beaver Ponds, crossing Genetoe Br., 9 July 1724, pg 6 40 Shill.
James Akin, 100 acres, Goochland County, north side of Appamattock River, adjacent HALCOATE PRIDE and Thomas Locket, on east side of a branch of Butterwood Creek, Arthur Moseley, on south side of a branch of Swift Creek, and JOHN PRIDE'S LINE, 26 June 1731, p. 195, 5 lbs money.
Joseph Baugh, 400 acres, Goochland County, on south side of Swift Creek, adj. JOHN PRIDE and Thomas Baugh, 17 Sept 1731, pg. 369, 40 shillings.
HENRY WATKINS & CATHERINE (PRIDE’s) CHILDREN WERE:
1) Henry (Jr.) WATKINS (b.1660-Henrico County,VA d.1714/1715-Henrico County,VA)
| sp: Mary CRISPE/CREWS
2) Elizabeth WATKINS (b.Abt 1669-Henrico County,VA)
| sp: John BOTTOMS/BOTTOMLEY (b.Abt 1665 m.1692)
3) Rachel WATKINS (b.Abt 1670-Henrico County,VA d.Bef 1729)
| sp: Robert (Jr.) (called himself Sr.) WOODSON (b.Abt 1660 m.Abt 1710 d.1729-Henrico County,VA)
4) THOMAS "of Swift Creek" WATKINS * (b.1672-Malvern Hills Plantation,Henrico County,VA d.1760-Cumberland Cty,VA)
| sp: Elizabeth PRIDE * (b.Abt 1688-Swift Creek,Chesterfield,VA)
5) Edward WATKINS (b.Abt 1676 d.1771-Cumberland Cty,VA)
| sp: (unknown)
| sp: Mary Bishop TAYLOR PENDLETON (m.Abt 1723)
| sp: (third wife of Edward Watkins-unknown)
6) Joseph WATKINS (b.Henrico County,VA d.1723-Henrico County,VA)
| sp: Anne
7) William WATKINS (b.1685/1690-Curles Plantation,Henrico County,VA d.Abt 1781-Cornwall Parish; Charlotte County,VA)
sp: Martha HERNDON (m.Abt 1726 d.1781)
Note: I have seen others reference Mary Watkins as a daughter of the elder Henry. I have also seen her listed as a child of Henry Watkins, Jr. If anyone has information about Mary, who married Nicholas Hutchins, please contact me! For now, I list her as a child of Henry, Jr. As Henry, Jr. was the eldest child, he could have married and had Mary as an elder child, but I have no proof one way or the other.
The children of Henry & Catherine Watkins
1) HENRY WATKINS, JR. was born about 1660; he died in 7 Feb 1714/1715– in Henrico County, VA. Henry Watkins, Jr. is often mentioned in "Quaker Records of Henrico Monthly Meeting.” In 1699 he is listed in an account of society members who contributed to the building of Curles Meeting House. In Sept. 1701 he witnessed the marriage of Nicholas Hutchins and Mary Watkins (his daughter or his sister?). In 1703 he witnessed the marriage of Robert Crew and Sarah Crispe. April 17, 1719. "John Hughes appointed clerk. After Tarlton Woodson and Judith Fleming proposed their marriage to the meeting, the meeting discussed whether marriages to first cousins were agreeable according to scripture. John Pleasants, Joseph Pleasants, Joseph Woodson, Jr., William Porter, Jr., John Crew, HENRY WATKINS, JR., Nick? Hutchins, William Lead voted against it; and G. R. Ellyson, Robert Hughes, Robert Woodson, Benjamin Woodson, Richard Feris, Edward Mosby, Charles Fleming, John Woodson and John Atkinson were for it." The will of Henry Watkins Jr. was dated November 15, 1714, and recorded February 7, 1715. In it, he left to his wife Mary, the plantation for life; and mentions his sons: John, Benjamin, Joseph and Stephen. I have never seen a complete copy of his will. It was witnessed by Robert Woodson, Jr., Thomas Edwards and Allen Tye. Several of his children were still minors at the time of his death, son Henry (III) had died prior to Henry making his will.
1699: Subscribed 500 pounds of tobacco towards building the Friends meetinghouse at Curls
1703: Paid 50 pounds of tobacco towards furnishing the Friends building.
1704: Quit Rents of Virginia lists Henry Sr. with 100 acres in Henrico County
Henry Watkins, Jr. married Mary “Crispe” or “Crews.” If anyone has definitive knowledge of Mary’s last name, please let me know! Mary survived Henry, and after his death she married Edward Mosby on September 10, 1716 at Curles Meeting House. In August, 1716, Robert Woodson and William Porter were appointed by the Curles Meeting to inquire into the clearness of Edward to marry. Margaret Porter and Frances Gathright were appointed to visit MARY and inquire into her clearness (the marriage intent of Edward Mosby & Mary Watkins).
Henry and Mary’s children were:
A) Mary WATKINS (b abt .1682)
| sp: Nicholas HUTCHENS
B) John (son of Henry) WATKINS ("the tray-maker") (b.Abt 1695-Henrico County,VA d.Abt 1743/1744-Henrico County,VA)
| sp: Elizabeth BUTLER (m.1720)
C) . Benjamin (son of Henry) WATKINS of "Jenitoe" (b.1698-Henrico County,VA d.17 Sep 1753-Goochland County,VA)
| sp: Jean/Jane WATKINS (b.1708-Henrico County,VA m.1726 d.2 Dec 1777-Goochland County,VA)
D) Joseph WATKINS of Chesterfield (b.Abt 1700 d.Abt 1734-Goochland County,VA)
| sp: Mary FARRAR (m.1730)
E) Henry (III) WATKINS (b.Abt 1702 d.Aft 1714) (died young)
F) Stephen WATKINS (b.Abt 1704 d.1758-Chesterfield County,VA)
sp: Judith TRABUE (m.Abt 1735)
2) Elizabeth Watkins is the only daughter of Henry Watkins (Sr.) specifically mentioned in the records of Henrico County, VA as she refused to take the oath of allegiance to the king before the county court. In "Henry Watkins of Henrico County", by Jane Allen 1985, is stated: "His daughter Elizabeth also held his loyalty to his faith. At the age of 16 in April, 1685, she refused "for conscience sake" to swear to a deposition she had made. The Henrico County Court ordered her imprisonment. In June she was again brought to the bar and "still persisting in ye same obstinacy as she pretends out of conscience sake and seconding her request the court have out of their clemency in consideration of her young years remitted her offence and released her of her confinement." Elizabeth married John Bottomley (Bottoms?). I have very little information about their family, and would appreciate hearing from any descendants. I have the following list of possible children, but have not researched further for proof.
A) John (Jr.) BOTTOMLEY
B) Mary Garrett BOTTOMLEY
C) Thomas BOTTOMLEY
D) Mary BOTTOMLEY
E) Elizabeth BOTTOMLEY
F) William BOTTOMLEY
G) Joseph BOTTOMLEY
3) Rachel Watkins was born about 1670. I have very little information on Rachel, and would appreciate hearing from any descendants. Rachel married Robert Woodson (who was actually a “Jr.”, but called himself “Sr.” He was the son of Dr. Robert Woodson and Elizabeth Ferris, and Rachel was his 2nd wife. William & Mary Quarterly states: "Robert Woodson lived in Henrico County, though he owned lands in Goochland. In his will he calls himself Robert Woodson, Sr., to distinguish himself from his nephew Robert Woodson Jr., His will was made July 6, 1729, and recorded in Henrico court February 1729 (note, should be 1730). It names sons Stephen (Stephen Woodson, of Henrico, who married Mary Woodson, daughter of Joseph Woodson, and died in 1761); Joseph, to whom land in Goochland; Robert, to whom land in Goochland; Jonathan; Elizabeth, Sarah, Judith. According to the "Standard" he had by Sarah Lewis - Stephen, Joseph, who married Elizabeth Mattox; Robert left no issue; Elizabeth, married John Povall; Sarah married Joseph Parsons and Mary died unmarried; Agnes married Richard Williamson, and by RACHEL WATKINS he had:
A) Elizabeth Woodson married John Knight; Through Elizabeth was descended Col. John Hughes Knight, Dr. Lucien Lamar KNIGHT , Historian Emeritus of Georgia, and Brig. Gen. John Thornton Knight.
B) Judith Woodson married John Cooke, "mother of all the money-making Cooke’s." I would love to have more information about Judith and John.
4) THOMAS WATKINS “of Swift Creek” was born 1672 at Malvern Hills Plantation, Henrico County, VA; died 1760 in Henrico County, VA. Thomas married Elizabeth Pride, daughter of John.
1704: Thomas Watkins on the list of Quit Rents of Virginia with 4 land holdings: 200 acres in Henrico County, 400 acres in Essex County, 190 acres in Norfolk County, and (Thomas Jr.) 125 acres in King & Queen County.
1715: Thomas owned 400 acres on the main branch of Tuckahoe Creek, below the "Devil's Woodyard," in Henrico county
Thomas and Elizabeth had the following eight children: The read more about his children, go to Watkins Family, page 3
A) Susannah WATKINS (b.1700/1706-Henrico County,VA d.Aft 1760-Powhatan Co,VA)
| sp: Joseph (son of Benjamin) WOODSON
B) Jean/Jane WATKINS (b.1708-Henrico County,VA d.2 Dec 1777-Goochland County,VA)
| sp: Benjamin (son of Henry) WATKINS of "Jenitoe" (b.1698-Henrico County,VA m.1726 d.17 Sep 1753-Goochland County,VA)
C) Mary (dau of Thomas "Swift Creek") WATKINS (b.1710-Swift Creek,Henrico County,VA d.13 Feb 1778-Goochland County,VA)
| sp: Robert WOODSON (m.Abt 1724)
D) . Elizabeth WATKINS (b.1712 d.1802-Cumberland County,VA)
| sp: Benjamin WOODSON
| sp: William S. (son of James & Margaret Vivion) DANIEL (b.1714 d.1775-Cumberland County,VA)
E) THOMAS "Chickahominy" WATKINS * (b.Abt 1714-Henrico County,VA d.Nov 1783-Henrico County,VA)
| sp: FRANCES ANDERSON * (b.Abt 1715-Henrico County,VA d.Aft 1750)
F) . Joel (1st) WATKINS (b.1716-Henrico County,VA d.27 Jan 1776-Prince Edward County,VA)
| sp: Rhoda GRESHAM (b.Abt 1735 m.15 Jul 1752)
G) Stephen WATKINS (b.1720-Swift Creek,Henrico,Virginia. d.1755-Amelia Co.,Virginia)
| sp: Mary CHRISTIAN (m.Abt 1745d.Amelia Co.,Virginia)
H) Benjamin (son of Thomas "Swift Creek") WATKINS (b.1725-Henrico County,VA d.12 Feb 1781-Chesterfield County,VA)
sp: Elizabeth CARY (m.25 Oct 1755 d.Jul 1801)
Thomas Watkins of “Swift Creek” Will (continued next page)