Archive for the ‘001554. James Anderson’ Category

Which James Anderson Married Elizabeth Ligon?

27 April 2009 Leave a comment

Source: Michael R. Darnel, “Which James Anderson Married Elizabeth Ligon?” Virginia Genealogist 39[1995].

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William Black in his article, “STOKES-ANDERSON of Lunenburg County,”1 traced his ancestry back to a Charles ANDERSON and wife Lucy STOKES, who moved around 1798 from Nottoway Co., Va., to Mason Co., Ky.  Black then showed that Charles was the son of the James ANDERSON of Nottoway Parish of Amelia County whose will was probated in 1773,2 and that Lucy STOKES was the daughter of Young and Elizabeth STOKES of Lunenburg Co., Va.  Black then also stated that James ANDERSON came from Prince George Co., Va., and that Charles’ mother was Elizabeth LIGON.3 Unlike other articles in the Historical Southern Families series, Black’s gives excellent documentation in primary sources; however, he gives no documentation to substantiate the statements that James ANDERSON came to Amelia County from Prince George County and that his wife Elizabeth was Elizabeth LIGON.  Since the LIGON family is of proven royal descent,4 this last statement is of considerable interest.

In this article we will show that there is some difficulty with the identification of Elizabeth LIGON with the wife of James ANDERSON and also that this difficulty is based on a statistically unlikely series of events.  We begin by reviewing what is known of Elizabeth LIGON, and then study what is known about the family of James ANDERSON, focusing particularly on two of his children: Frances (ANDERSON) GRIGGS and Charles ANDERSON.  At the end we also examine a few other James ANDERSONs who might possibly be other candidates for the husband of Elizabeth LIGON.

Thomas LIGON of Henrico Co., Va., married Elizabeth WORSHAM in Henrico


1 John Bennett Boddie, Historical Southern Families, v. 2 (Redwood City, Calif., 1958), pp. 217-25.

2 Amelia Co., Va., Will Bk. 3, p. 37.

3 Boddie, op. cit., v. 2, p. 218.

4 Michael J. Wood and Gary B. Roberts, “Four Thomas LYGONs (LIGONs): An Abstract of New Findings,” The Virginia Genealogist, v. 23, pp. 253-54.

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County on 2 Feb. 1697.5 He then died early in 1705, as his widow was granted adminitration of his estate on 2 April6 and the inventory of his estate was recorded in Henrico County court on 1 June 1705.7 In addition to his widow, he was survived by four children: a son Thomas, who died as an infant in 1706, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Phebe and Mary.  Of these daughters, Mary died without issue before 1741 and Phebe married Henry WALTHALL, Jr., of Henrico/Chesterfield County.

A lawsuit, ANDERSON and uxor vs. LIGAN,8 held in 1741 gives further information about this family.  Elizabeth LIGON, the first daughter, was born in 1701 and married James ANDERSON in 1718.  The suit goes on to say that Phebe and her husband conveyed their interest of 82 acres in the “Powells” plantation to Alexander MARSHALL on 6 May 1720, as did Elizabeth and her husband on 1-2 Jan. 1723.  MARSHALL, who had married their mother, Elizabeth (WORSHAM) LIGON, in 1706, conveyed title back to the sisters and their husbands on 6 March 1737.

Deeds from Henrico and Chesterfield cos., Va., give still more information.  On 1 March 1729 James ANDERSON and wife Elizabeth sold their third interest in 200 acres located on Swift Creek to Phebe and Henry WALTHALL9; witnesses were Alexander MARSHALL, Sr., and Alexander MARSHALL, Jr.  On 1 Oct. 1733 James and Elizabeth sold their interest in 100 acres to Alexander MARSHALL.10 In 1740, James and Elizabeth deeded land in Henrico County to Henry WALTHALL.11 The deed of 1729 and the deed from Chesterfield County state that James and Elizabeth lived in Prince George County, while the 1733 deed from Henrico County states that they lived in Bristol Parish, with the county name being obliterated.  So we can conclude that the couple lived in Bristol Parish of Prince George County.  The surviving registers of Bristol Parish record the birth of only one child: John ANDERSON, born 4 May 1734, baptized 4 Aug. 1734.12 Thereafter, with the exception of the deed of 1740 and the lawsuit of 1741


5 Henrico Co., Va., Deeds 1697-1699, p. 96.

6 Henrico Co., Va., Deeds 1697-1705, p. 450.

7 Ibid., p. 446.

8 R.T. Barton, Virginia Colonial Decisions (Boston, 1909), v. 2, p. B151.

9 Benjamin B. Weisiger, Henrico County, Virginia, Deeds, 1706-1737 (Richmond, 1985), p. 106.

10 Henrico Co., Va., Deeds 1725-1737, p. 417; Benjamin B. Weisiger, Chesterfield County, Virginia, Deeds, 1749-1756 (Richmond, 1986), p. 18.

11 Henrico Co., Va., Order Bk. 1737-44, p. 121.

12 C.G. Chamberlayne, The Vestry Book and Register of Bristol Parish, Virginia, 1720-1789 (Richmond, 1898), p. 277.

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(neither of which state where the home of James and Elizabeth was), records of the area show no one that can be conclusively identified as being of this couple.  In part, this is because so many records of the area were destroyed in either TARLETON’s raid of 1781 or during the Civil War.

We now examine the James ANDERSON whose will was probated in 1773 in Amelia County.  This James ANDERSON on 5 Jan. 1736 patented 537 acres on Woody Creek of Deep Creek in Amelia (now Nottoway) County13 and 404 acres on Mallory’s Creek in the same county on 20 March 174514; an additional 350 acres on Mallory’s Creek had been patented earlier in 1744.  James ANDERSON died in 1773 leaving a will in which he mentioned his wife Elizabeth, daughters Elizabeth BAGLEY, Mason KNIGHT and Mary MARTIN, deceased daughter Frances GRIGGS, and sons John, James, Henry and Charles.  Daughter Elizabeth was the wife of George BAGLEY, who patented land on Snail Creek in Amelia (now Prince Edward) County in 1737.15 Mary was the wife of George MARTIN, and they participated in various exchanges of land among the heirs of James ANDERSON, and also witnessed deeds and wills of members of this family.  Whether Mary and George had children, or where they died, is not known.  Even less is known of the daughter Mason.

Son John ANDERSON married Martha _____; the first mention of him in Amelia County records is when he was sold land by his father in 175616; deeds involved in the transfer show that John had already been sold/given land.  Assuming that he had been given lands upon reaching the age of 21 or thereafter, this son of James ANDERSON could indeed by the John ANDERSON whose birth was recorded in Bristol Parish in 1734.  John died in Nottoway County between 1790 and 1794, leaving a will witnessed by his brother Charles, Charles’ wife Lucy, Elizabeth ANDERSON (widow of his brother James), and George ROBERTSON.17

Son James ANDERSON is the next to appear in Amelia County records.  On 3 March 1756 he witnessed the transfer of land from his father to his brother John and on 21 May 1760 he was given 100 acres on Woody Creek, part of the 537 acres patented by his father.18 From the sale of this land on 18 Oct. 1766, we


13 Virginia Patent Bk. 17, p. 91.

14 Virginia Patent Bk. 25, p. 37.

15 H.T. Owen, “Early Settlers in Prince Edward County,” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, v. 22, pp. 94-96.

16 Amelia Co., Va., Deed Bk. 5, pp. 445, 447.

17 Nottoway Co., Va., Will Bk. 1, pp. 127-28.

18 Amelia Co., Va., Deed Bk. 7, p. 202.

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learn that his wife was also named Elizabeth _____.19 She can definitely be distinguished from Elizabeth LIGON through the facts that their oldest child, Worsham ANDERSON, was born on 22 Nov. 1760,20 and that they then had seven more children before James’ death in 1782.21

Son Henry ANDERSON first appears in Amelia County deed records on 23 April 1761.22 He presumably is the Henry ANDERSON who died in Nottoway County in 1796, leaving a will naming Reinard ANDERSON (son of John and Martha ANDERSON23) as “friend” and executor.24

Daughter Frances ANDERSON married James GRIGGS,25 son of William and Susanna GRIGGS of Prince George County.26 Frances and James had children William, Elizabeth, James, Peter and Josiah GRIGGS.27 Of these, the Bristol Parish register records that Elizabeth was born on 24 April 1726, James was born on 7 Jan. 1729/30 (and baptized on 24 January), and Peter was born on 6 March 1731/2, with baptism on 5 Nov. 1732.28 This evidence is the strongest to link the James ANDERSON of Mallory Creek in Amelia County to Bristol Parish of Prince George County.  Frances and James then moved to Cellar Creek in what was to be Nottoway County, where James had patented 275 acres.29 James died in 1764; Frances survived him but died by 1773.

Son Charles ANDERSON first appears in Amelia County records in 1765 when he and his wife Lucy STOKES witnessed the sale of part of the 537-acre patent by his brother John.30 He had land of his own before 1769 when he is recorded purchasing 5 acres adjacent to his land.31 In 1768 Charles, Lucy and his brother James were among a group of Amelia County Baptists who petitioned the Amelia County court for permission to worship.32 Charles and Lucy moved to


19 Amelia Co., Va., Deed Bk. 9, p. 71.

20 Kentucky Ancestors, v. 7, p. 8.

21 Amelia Co., Va., Will Bk. 3, pp. 92-93.

22 Amelia Co., Va., Deed Bk. 7, p. 471.

23 Nottoway Co., Va., Will Bk. 1, pp. 127-28.

24 Ibid., pp. 156-57.

25 Amelia Co., Va., Will Bk. 3, p. 37; Amelia Co., Va., Deed Bk. 5, pp. 518-19.

26 Prince George Co., Va., Wills & Deeds 1713-1728, p. 924.

27 Amelia Co., Va., Will Bk. 2X, p. 68.

28 Chamberlayne, op. cit., pp. 307-08.

29 Virginia Patent Bk. 8, p. 521.

30 Amelia Co., Va., Deed Bk. 8, p. 521.

31 Amelia Co., Va., Deed Bk. 9, p. 285.

32 The Virginia Genealogist, v. 6, p. 74.

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Mason Co., Ky., around 1798,33 where Charles died in 1823.34

The question whether this James ANDERSON could be the one who married Elizabeth LIGON thus comes down to the question whether his oldest and youngest children, presumably Frances and Charles, had the same mother.  Frances was provably a mother herself in 1726, when her daughter Elizabeth was born; since Amelia County records suggest, by the order in which children were named in deeds and wills, that her son William was older than Elizabeth, Frances was probably a mother by 1724 at the latest.  If we assume the unlikely minimum of sixteen years between generations, we have that Frances herself could have been born at the latest by 1708, and that her mother (obviously not Elizabeth LIGON) could have been born at the latest by 1692.  Charles, on the other hand, would seem from the evidence to have been born between 1740 and 1744.  Thus if we assume that Charles and Frances did not have the same mother, that Charles was born in 1740 and that Frances’ mother was born in 1692, we would have that Frances’ mother was 48 years old when Charles was born, an event that is biologically unlikely but possible.

If, on the other hand, we assume the more likely average of twenty years between generations on the female side, we push the birth of Frances’ mother back to 1684 and have that she would have to have been the extremely unlikely age of 56 at the time of Charles’ birth around 1740.  It is thus very probable that Frances and Charles did have different mothers, although the alternative possibility cannot be discarded entirely.  If Charles and Frances did have different mothers, the evidence would then seem to suggest that Charles’ mother was indeed Elizabeth LIGON, although no known primary evidence exists at this time to prove the fact.

Particularly troubling to this is the evidence of names.  In the LIGON family of Henrico County, the names Thomas, William and Richard recur with great frequency; none of these names is that of a known son of James ANDERSON of Amelia County (though we know nothing as to whether or not there were other sons who died before coming of age.  On the female side, the LIGON family preferred Mary and Elizabeth, which do occur in the ANDERSON family.  However, the enormous popularity of these names for women at that time makes this information virtually useless.  We do not, however, see the names of Phebe and Johanna in the ANDERSON family, while they do appear in the LIGON family.  On the other hand, among the WORSHAM family of Elizabeth WORSHAM we do


33 Nottoway Co., Va., Deed Bk. 2, p. 61.

34 Mason Co., Ky., Will Bk. E, p. 275.

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find the male names of John, William and Charles, which also appear in the ANDERSON family, and the only explanation known to this author thus far of “Worsham ANDERSON” would be through the family of Elizabeth LIGON’s mother.

We now examine the other James ANDERSONs living in the general area of Amelia and Prince George counties in the period from 1720 to 1780 and discuss whether they could be the husband of Elizabeth LIGON.  Such an examination is presumptive in restricting the search only to these areas, since any cursory examination shows that persons in colonial Virginia were far more mobile than commonly thought.

A James ANDERSON was mentioned at the Nov. 1739 session of the Charles City County court as declining to serve as executor of the estate of Frances ANDERSON, widow of the Reverend Charles ANDERSON of Westover Parish, Charles City Co., Va.35; the relationship of this James ANDERSON to the family of the Reverend Charles ANDERSON has yet to be identified, and there is no indication from Charles City County records as to where he was living in 1739.

A better candidate is the James ANDERSON who patented and settled land along Little Guinea Creek in Powhatan Co., Va.36 This James died in 1782, leaving a will in which he mentioned his wife named Betty, sons named Thomas and William, and daughters Mary, Sarah, Elizabeth and Agnes.37 A fifth daughter, Susannah, was named in the division of the estate.38 However, it is certain that the widow Betty of this James ANDERSON cannot be Elizabeth LIGON, as Agnes was under age in 1782.  She was thus born no earlier than 1761, when Elizabeth LIGON would have been 60 years old.

A James ANDERSON occurs in Albemarle Parish of Sussex Co., Va., in 1778.  He wrote his will on 7 March 1778, leaving his estate to his mother, Jane ANDERSON, and after her death, to his unnamed brothers and sisters.39 His brother David ANDERSON was to be executor.  He is thus identified as being the son of William and Jane ANDERSON of Bristol Parish in Prince George County, where parish records mention that David was born on 29 Nov. 1750 and James on 21 Jan. 1753.40 This family then seems to have moved into Albemarle Parish of


35 Benjamin B. Weisiger, Charles City County, Virginia, Records, 1737-1774, With Several 17th Century Fragments (Richmond, 1986), p. 81.

36 Virginia Patent Bk. 24, pp. 36, 116.

37 Powhatan Co., Va., Will Bk. 1, p. 304.

38 Ibid., p. 432.

39 Sussex Co., Va., Will Bk. C, p. 300.

40 Chamberlayne, op. cit., p. 278.

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Sussex County, where a daughter, Susanna, was born on 12 April 1769 and christened on 16 July 1769.  William died there in 1773.41

Another James ANDERSON with definite ties to Prince George and Amelia counties was the son of Thomas ANDERSON of Martins Brandon Parish of Prince George County.42 Around 1710 this James ANDERSON married Mary JORDAN, daughter of George and Mary JORDAN of Surry Co., Va.,43 and he afterwards settled in that county.  Mary died by 1743 and James then married Rebecca COOK.44 He patented 150 acres on the Little Nottoway River in what is now Nottoway County on 18 Aug. 173545 and acquired other lands along Winningham and Jordan’s Little Run in Amelia/Nottoway County.  Of this land, he sold two parcels of 200 acres each to his sons Thomas and Jordan, and sold the 150 acre patent to his son James ANDERSON.46 The younger James then sold the 150 acres on 26 Nov. 175547; the deed identifies his wife as being named Mary.  Clearly, neither the father nor the son was the James ANDERSON who married Elizabeth LIGON.

Finally, there is the James ANDERSON of Bristol Parish, Prince George County, who was the brother of a Matthew ANDERSON of that parish and county.  Matthew died in 1718 leaving a will naming brothers James and William, and a sister Elizabeth LIGGON,48 who is thought to have been the wife of Matthew LIGON of Henrico and Powhatan cos., Va.49 From Prince George County deeds from 1710-11, it is clear that Matthew was the son of yet another James ANDERSON who had died by 1711,50 and hence father of James, William and Elizabeth.  This James ANDERSON is most likely to have been the husband of Elizabeth LIGON; further evidence toward this identification is that a James THWEATT was a witness to the 1733 deed from James ANDERSON and Elizabeth LIGON to Alexander MARSHALL, and also appears as witness to the will of Matthew ANDERSON and several Prince George County deeds involving the brothers


41 Albemarle Parish Register, Sussex County.

42 Prince George Co., Va., Wills & Deeds, 1710-1713, p. 36.

43 Surry Co., Va., Wills & Deeds 1715-1730, p. 141.

44 Surry Co., Va., Wills & Deeds 1738-1754, pp. 772-73.

45 Virginia Patent Bk. 16, pp. 151-52.

46 Amelia Co., Va., Deed Bk. 2, pp. 34-41.

47 Amelia Co., Va., Deed Bk. 5, p. 448.

48 Prince George Co., Va., Wills & Deeds 1713-1728, p. 232.

49 William D. LIGON, The LIGON Family and Connections, v. 1 (n.p., 1947), p. 373.

50 Prince George Co., Va., Wills & Deeds 1710-1713, p. 46.

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Matthew, James and William.51 There is also nothing to rule out that Matthew’s brother James was the James ANDERSON who settled in Amelia County; it may be significant that the 537-acre patent of the James ANDERSON of Amelia County was adjacent to land owned by a Henry THWEATT [THOVEAT].


51 Ibid., p. 136; Prince George Co., Va., Wills & Deeds 1713-1728, p. 105.