Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Ark and The Dove

The Marbury family has kept me busy the last few weeks. There are a lot of men named Francis and Leonard and they all served in the Revolutionary War so it’s tough keeping them all straight. Because they were so desperate to protect their new country from the Indians and the Tories, everyone from age 10 to 100 grabbed a musket and fought.

Some families, like the Marburys, had three generations of soldiers, men and women, sometimes fighting in the same battles. I’ll soon be uploading what I’ve been able to find so far but, in the meantime, one set of ancestors seems interesting enough to spend a little more time with.

Watercolor of The Ark and The Dove by John Moll

My 10th great grandparents were Thomas Greene and Ann Gerard who arrived in Maryland on The Ark and The Dove Expedition of 1633 and helped settle the new colony of Maryland. They boarded the ship as a single man and possibly a widow and, a short time after they arrived in the new colony, had the first Christian marriage in Maryland. Their wedding took place on the banks of the St. George River.

Thomas was a son of Sir Thomas Greene and Lady Margaret Webb. Sir Thomas had been made a “knight bachelor” by James I in 1622 at Windsor Castle.
Ann is thought to have been the sister of another passenger, Sir Richard K.B. Gerard, and was one of the few "gentlewomen" on the initial voyage. She was likely a widow of someone with the last name of Cox.

Like Thomas Greene, many of those setting out for the new land on this expedition were Catholics who saw this as a way to experience religious tolerance. Consisting of two small vessels, the "Ark" and the "Dove," with about 200 people, left England in mid-October 1633. Shortly after heading down the Thames, it was discovered everyone on board had "not taken the oath of allegiance to the Crown." It seems the king was afraid they would get to the new world and revolt. After a detour that allowed everyone on board to take the oath they then had to wait for favorable weather conditions and final approval to leave. On November 22, 1633 they finally began their voyage.

During the journey, they encountered a storm, the two ships were separated and The Dove was thought to be lost at sea. However, shortly after The Ark docked in Barbados, The Dove pulled into port and the two ships were reunited. Together, they reached Point Comfort, Virginia on February 24, 1634, and then on March 25 landed on an island in the Potomac, which they named St. Clement's.

A Mass was led by the two Jesuit priests that accompanied the expedition. Two days later they founded a city they called St. Mary's in honor of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Here is an account of the landing of the Ark and the Dove:
"It was March 25, 1634, the initial day of Spring and the first day of the Julian Calendar, as well as the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, all of which were propitious for joyous and solemn celebration and a memorial day for each adventurer, who had survived the voyage of 123 days or slightly over four months from the sailing from Cowes to their destination. They selected the larger of three islands lying near the shore of the Potomac not too far distant from the mainland to disembark. To the island they gave the name of St. Clement after the fourth Bishop of Rome. Father White directed several of his retainers to construct a huge cross from one of the native trees. It was hastily hewn together and, on that virgin day of Spring in 1634, led by Father White who was assisted by Father Altham, all the Roman Catholics, and not a few of the Anglicans, gathered for the first sacrifice of the Roman Mass ever to have been celebrated in one of the Original Thirteen English Colonies."
“Flowering of the Maryland Palatinate” by Harry Wright Newman, pg. 38
Also on board the ship was Leonard Calvert who would become the colony’s first governor and was Thomas’ godfather and lifelong friend. In 1647, Thomas was appointed governor of the colony by Leonard, as an emergency measure only hours before Leonard's death due to a sudden illness.

Leonard served several years in various leadership positions in the colony but his Catholic faith and loyalty to England proved problematic. In 1650 he was “discharged from all offices for usurping authority.”

Ann died in 1643 and Leonard married a widow, Winifred Seybourne. Leonard died on January 20, 1651.

Memorials for The Ark and The Dove and Leonard Calvert in Maryland.

Ann and Leonard, being super-Catholics, named their daughter Mary. Mary Greene married Francis Marbury sometime before 1698 and they had a son named Leonard Marbury who named his son Francis Marbury who then named his son Leonard Marbury. Leonard is the Marbury who first moved to Haywood Co., TN around 1829. Leonard had a son named John who named his son Robert Green Marbury. At this time, could John have known about his “Greene” connection? Robert Green Marbury must have been very patriotic because he named his son Benjamin Franklin Marbury. Ben married Maggie Yelverton and both of them are buried at Zion Baptist Church Cemetery in Haywood Co., TN. Ben and Maggie’s son Hardy Joyner Marbury married Evelena “Lena” Booth and they had a daughter, my great grandmother, Allie Marbury.

The Society of The Ark and The Dove
The Ark and the Dove Adventurers
Wikipedia: Thomas Greene
Wikipedia: The Ark and The Dove
Maryland Online Encyclopedia
Historic St. Mary's City

Friday, September 3, 2010

Adam and Eve of Virginia

Much has been written about my 10th great-grandparents, Colonel William Randolph and Mary Royall Isham Randolph.

I recently wrote about Reverend William Dawson who was the second president of The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He was married to Mary Randolph Stith, who was the daughter of Captain William Stith Jr. and Mary Randolph.

Mary’s parents have been referred to as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia" because of both the number of children they had but also the significant historical personalities from their line.

Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick, called the Randolphs the quintessential "old established family in the land," and used them as a contrast to those families whose sons were forced into the dangerous job of whaling.

Colonel William Randolph arrived in Virginia in 1673 without much money but with a solid connection through his uncle, Henry Randolph, who had settled in the Colony a decade before. William Randolph was thought to have been a carpentry apprentice in England and, once in America, he began a business building barns. He soon began using hired help for the actual labor and functioned as a contractor.

Randolph also began purchasing land on what was called Turkey Island in pieces; ultimately building a large brick mansion with a dome on the property.

He also persuaded the Governor of Virginia to grant him a large plantation that adjoined his on Turkey Island that belonged to Nathaniel Bacon but had been confiscated after Bacon had
staged a revolt against the colonial government.

Randolph was around 30 years old when married Mary Isham, daughter of Henry Isham, another large plantation owner in the area, which secured Randolph’s place in colonial society and his position as one of the wealthiest men in the area. She was around 22 years old at the time of their marriage.

One of Randolph’s best friends was Colonel William Byrd, a London goldsmith, who moved to Virginia in the late 1660s. The Byrds and The Randolphs are said to have spent much time together and, when Byrd died in 1704, the families continued their friendship and Randolph remained close to William Byrd II who is considered the founder of Richmond, VA. Byrd II also wrote a book called “The Secret Diaries of William Byrd of Westover” which include many references to The Randolph Family.

As Randolph’s wealth increased, he built a line of ships that carried both cargo and immigrants between England and the Colonies.

As he acquired more property, he converted it from wilderness into farms and plantations and was very passionate about the possibilities the development new land offered everyone. He also took a leading role in trying to civilize Indians and hired them to work on his plantations. In everything one can read about Randolph, it is clear he was well-respected throughout Virginia and the surrounding area and offered legal advise and assistance to thousands of the colonists.

William and Mary Randolph had nine children.

I found an additional connection to The Randolphs which I think is interesting. While researching, I came across this manuscript which was written in 1949 by Wassell Randolph, the president of Cossitt Library here in Memphis and a prominent Memphis attorney at the time.

Wassell Randolph researched his ancestor William Randolph extensively and wrote:
"William Randolph, like so many prominent contemporary colonists, was an indiscreet eater and drinker. Consequently, he suffered severely from gout. The first spell mentioned in “The Secret Diary” occurred in December 1709 and recurrent attacks followed in January and May succeeding. How long had he suffered from this malady is not known, but he was so afflicted in 1700. It reoccurred persistently and may have been a contributing cause to his death."
William Randolph died April 21, 1711 at 5 p.m. in his home on Turkey Island and his wife, Mary, died Dec 29, 1735. She was buried on Turkey Island in the Randolph Family Cemetery, next to her husband.

Their headstone contains the following inscription:

Col. Wm Randolph of Warwickshire, but late of
Virginia, Gent. Died 11th 1711.
Mrs. Mary Randolph his only wife, she was the daughter
Of Mr. Henry Isham by Catherine his wife. He was of
Northamptomshire, but late of Virginia, Gent.

The Randophs had several children who played a role in American History, including:

Elizabeth Randolph Bland – mother of Richard Bland who was the first to put in writing the legal reason the colonies should become independent from England. Through her daughter, Mary Bland Lee, she was also the ancestor of Light Horse Harry and his son Robert E. Lee.

Thomas Randolph – great grandfather of John Marshall, Chief Justice of the US and great-great-grandfather of Thomas Mann who married Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Martha.

Richard Randolph - married a granddaughter of Pocahontas, Jane Bolling, and was grandfather of congressman John Randolph.

Isham Randolph – grandfather of Thomas Jefferson.

Sir John Randolph - the only native of Colonial America to receive a knighthood and father of Peyton Randolph, president of the First Continental Congress.

Mary Randolph - had a daughter, Mary Stith who would marry William Dawson, who would become the second president of William and Mary College. The Dawsons had a son named John Dawson who became a lawyer and who married Penelope Johnston, heiress and daughter of the Governor of Virginia.
Their daughter married John Castellaw and they named their son John Dawson Castellaw and he led many wagon trains from Bertie Co., North Carolina into Haywood Co., TN. John’s son was Thomas Jefferson Castellaw whose son was Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Jr. His son was Bob Castellaw and his daughter was Elizabeth Castellaw Williams who was the mother of my father, Bob Williams. Visit for more about The Castellaw Family.

Today, Turkey Island is still privately owned, but there are several owners. Randolph’s mansion burned in 1806 but parts of the foundation are still visible. The Randolph Family Cemetery is still there and is completely walled in and located between the former front of the mansion and the James River.

The oldest grave is that of William Randolph.

Other sources:
Genealogy of the Page Family
Descendants of William Randolph
Virginia's Colonial Dynasties
Col. John Wise of England and Virginia
Virginia Colonial Decisions