Dennis Linchey & Dennis Lindsey: Strother Family Links Help Establish Connection of Irish Indentured Servant in Virginia (1718) to Edgecombe/Granville County, North Carolina, Settler (1742-1762)

cropped-dennis-lindsey-1762-will-p1a-copy.jpg
Will of Dennis Lindsey, Granville County, North Carolina, August 1762 (in Granville County Loose-Papers Estate Files, North Carolina Archives, C.R. 044.801.25)

Using unexpected DNA findings (which show that the group of Lindseys from whom I descend have the Irish Type III genetic signature pointing to southwestern Ireland as the family’s pre-American place of origin) in combination with traditional genealogical research methods, a group of us researching my Lindsey line have determined that it’s almost certain the line descends from a Dennis Linchey/Lynch who came to Richmond County, Virginia, in April 1718 as an Irish indentured servant. It has also come to be obvious to me and others that this Dennis tried to patent land in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, after having served his term of indenture, and when he failed at this venture, went to Edgecombe (later Granville) County, North Carolina, where he acquired land and died in August 1762. 

Dennis’ name morphed to Lindsey after he came to Virginia. In both Irish records of this period and Virginia records, the names Lynch and Lindsey are often used interchangeably for the very same families. The Irish name O’Loinsigh was anglicized as both Lynch or Linchey and Lindsey in various places in Ireland.

Relationship Chart Lindsey Line

Relationship Chart Lindsey Line (2)

The following notes seek to show that the man arriving in Virginia as an Irish indentured servant in 1718 is linked to the man seeking to patent land in Spotsylvania County in 1728 and the one who died in 1762 in Granville (later Bute and finally Franklin) County, North Carolina, by numerous connections to the Strother family. These notes show that the Strother family of Richmond and King George County, Virginia, along with its kinship and business connections, links the Dennis Lindsey who died in 1762 in North Carolina with the Irish servant Dennis Linchey who arrived in Virginia in 1718 and the Dennis Lindsey who sought to patent land in Spotsylvania County in 1728. Strother connections help us conclude with great certainty that all these records pertain to the very same person: Dennis Linchey of the 1718 indenture record is clearly the man who died in Granville County, North Carolina, in 1762.

Some pertinent facts that we already know about Dennis Linchey/Lindsey:

6 August 1718:

Dennis Linchey/Lynch was indentured at Richmond County, Virginia, court to Francis Suttle (see Richmond Order Book for 6 August 1718).

At the same court session, court minutes show that several other Irish indentured servants arrived in Virginia along with Dennis, and were also indentured: William Welch (this surname is likely Walsh, which is pronounced as “Welsh” in much of southern Ireland) to Francis Woffendall; Michael Whaley to Robert Harrison; and Thomas Godley or Goddy to Bromfield Long. (The name Suttle, by the way, was pronounced Settle even when spelled Suttle, and ended up being spelled as Settle in many records in Virginia.)

Francis Suttle was the son of John Suttle and Mary, daughter of William and Dorothy Savage StrotherFrancis Woffendall, to whom William Welch was indentured, had a sister Mary who married Benjamin Strother, a brother of Mary Strother Suttle.  Another of the Irish servants, Michael Whaley, was indentured to Robert Harrison, whose wife Elizabeth was Francis Woffendall’s sister. So three of the Irish servants arriving in Richmond County, Virginia, by 6 August 1718 were placed in families with close ties to the Strother family.

As a footnote to this 1718 indenture record: it’s interesting to note that the Richmond County Court Order Book for 1709 shows another Irish servant, James Whaley, being indentured to Robert Carter in 1709 (Richmond OB 5, p. 98; see also Nathan Murphy’s database of colonial indentured servants). This Robert Carter is probably Robert “King” Carter, the wealthiest man in Virginia during his time frame, whose daughter Anne married Benjamin Harrison IV, linking those two prominent and wealthy Virginia families.

It’s very possible, I think, that the Michael Whaley arriving in Richmond County in 1718 with Dennis Linchey and other Irish servants was a close relative of James Whaley, and that they came from the same place in Ireland — and so these two names may prove to be a clue in locating the origins of Dennis Linchey in Ireland.

One other valuable fact we learn from the 6 August 1718 court record showing these Irish servants being indentured: the court minutes state that Samuel Skinker was the businessman who sold these Irish servants to their master, and the court decided that Skinker not be required to send off to Ireland for their missing indenture papers that, they testified, their shipmaster Francis Collett took from them. As we’ll see in a moment, records of Samuel Skinker’s life help us to demonstrate the links between Dennis Linchey/Lindsey and the Strother family (and other families we find mentioned in documents about Dennis).

12 June 1728:

Moseley Batteley and wife Elizabeth, widow of Robert Taliaferro, sued to stop a land patent filed by James Dyer, Dennis Lindsey, and Thomas Eddings in Spotsylvania County, Virginia (Virginia Council Journal for this date — see Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 34 [1926], p. 211). The patent filed by the three men was stopped on 11 June 1730 (Virginia Council Journals for that date — see Virginia Magazine of Biography and History 36 [1928], p. 135), and Mosely and Elizabeth Batteley received a patent for this land on 28 March 1733 (Virginia Pat. Bk. 15, 8).

22 April 1748:

Dennis Lindsey was a chain carrier for Jeremiah Strother’s survey of 300 acres in Granville County, North Carolina, on the south side of Sandy Creek, adjoining Dennis’ own land and that of others (Granville Pat. Bk. 14, p. 61, #2683).  As Margaret Hoffmann’s guide to research in North Carolina land records states, chain carriers on land surveys were usually close relatives of the person whose land was being surveyed, or closely associated with that person.

Jeremiah Strother was the son of Jeremiah Strother and Eleanor Savage. He was a nephew of Mary Strother Suttle, to whose son Francis Suttle Dennis Lindsey was indentured in April 1718, and also a nephew of Benjamin Strother, the brother-in-law of Francis Wolfendall, to whom Michael Whaley was indentured.

Three days after Dennis Lindsey was a chain carrier for the survey of Jeremiah Strother, he was the chain carrier for the survey of his son-in-law Roger Thornton on Sandy Creek (Granville Pat. Bk. 14, p. 78, #2742), who came to North Carolina (probably along with his father-in-law Dennis Lindsey) from Richmond County, Virginia.

Dorothy Savage, who married William Strother (parents of Mary Strother who married Francis Suttle’s father John Suttle) had a sister Alice who married Francis Thornton. The Thorntons and Strothers were connected to each other in numerous ways from the time they came to Virginia, and through intermarriage; their connections likely go back to England and predate the arrival of these two families in Virginia.

25 March 1749:

Dennis Lindsey was again a chain carrier for the survey of 300 acres for Jeremiah Strother on the south side of Sandy Creek, adjoining John Martin and Dennis Lindsey (Granville Grants 1748-63, PB 14, p. 61).

12 Oct. 1749:

Granville County court certified that a road had been laid from John Martin‘s to the Tar River warehouse, with the following county citizens having worked this road: Jeremiah Strother, Joseph Sims, James Underwood, Benjamin Sims, Abraham Bledsoe, Joseph Brantley, Bird Thomas [Long?], Henry [Junr.?], Thomas Owens, Dennis Lindsey, and John Martin (Guy Baker sent me a copy of the original document [source?] by email in Jan. 2009). (Abraham Bledsoe’s daughter Catherine married Henry Thornton, son of Roger Thornton and Catherine Lindsey, daughter of Dennis Lindsey.)

8 October 1754:

Dennis Lindsey is on the muster roll of Capt. Sugan Jones‘ company of Col. Wm. Eaton‘s militia, in Granville County (see Worth Ray, Colonial Granville [Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. County, 1979], p. 293).  Also in the unit were John, Henry, and Roger Thornton and Francis and Lawrence Strother.

3 Oct. 1769:

A deed of James Strother of Fauquier County, Virginia, to John Hawkins, Jr., of Bute County, North Carolina, for 250 acres in Bute County on the south side of Sandy Creek at John Martin‘s old line, notes that Strother had bought the land from Dennis Lindsey on 9 May 1760 (Warren County, North Carolina, DB 3, p. 233). This James appears to be Jeremiah Strother’s nephew, a son of Jeremiah’s brother James.

And now some documents that help us make the connections between Dennis Linchey of the 1718 indenture record in Richmond County, Virginia, and Dennis Lindsey, who died in 1762 in Granville County North Carolina:

15 June 1698:

Daniell McCarty of Richmond County, Virginia, and wife Barbary sell to Symon Tomasin of Stafford County a tract of land (160 acres, no location given) bought by McCarty in 1697. Barbara gives power of attorney on 8 July to “my trusty & well beloved friend” Sem Cox (Richmond DB 3, p. 28).

29 November 1710:

Robert Taliaferro of St. Mary Parish in Essex County, Virginia, acknowledged the sale of land to Benjamin Deverell and George Downing of St. Mary Parish in Richmond County, executors of the will of Sem Cox or Coke (Richmond DB 5, p. 341).

Benjamin Deverell was a Bristol, England, merchant who lived in both Virginia and Bristol, and was the predecessor of Samuel Skinker, who sold the Irish immigrants arriving in Richmond County, Virginia, in April 1718 to their masters. As Bryan Townes’ National Register of Historic Places Registration form for the Millbank property in King George County, Virginia, notes, this property originally belonged to William Strother, the Strother immigrant to Virginia, who settled it in 1669. William Strother died in 1702, at which time his oldest son, also named William Strother leased some of the Millbank property to Benjamin Deverell.

Deverell was an agent for a company headquartered in Bristol, England, and had a large mercantile business on the Millbank property, which sold items like paper, pipes, textiles, salt, nails, rum, and spices. When Deverell died in 1717, Samuel Skinker was selected as his replacement to head this business enterprise. Skinker consequently acquired a portion of the original 500-acre Strother tract and appears to have built a house on it by 1717. This source says that Skinker ended his associations with the Bristol business company in 1719, and then gave power of attorney to Charles Burgess to complete the financial obligations begun by Deverell. Later, Samuel Skinker purchased the remaining portion of the William Strother property (see Townes, linked above, citing Richmond DB 6, p. 150; and Richmond Miscellaneous Documents, p. 109, at Library of Virginia. See also Thomas K. Skinker, Samuel Skinker and His Descendants [St. Louis, priv. publ., 1923, pp. 20-21).

6 December 1710:

Will of Sem Coxe late of Richmond County, Virginia, proved by Thomas Evans, George Alsup, and Edward Turberville and probate given to executors Benjamin Deverill and George Downing. They are ordered to inventory the setate. Appraisers appointed: Jonathan Gibson, William Berry, James Strother, William Strother, and George Phillips (Richmond OB 5, p. 218).

3 January 1712/1713:

John Collier, a merchant of the Bristol and creditor of the late Lem [i.e., Sem] Coxe, planter of Virginia, gives to his loving friend Nicholas Smith on Rappahannock River in Virginia power of attorney to receive settlements from Benjamin Deverell, merchant, and George Downing, planter, executors of the late Lem Coxe (Essex County, Virginia, WB 1714-1717, p. 351).

5 July 1713:

John BecherThomas Longman, William Atwood, and Jeremy Innys, all of Bristol, England, merchants, and Rachel Deverill of the same city, executrix of Benjamin Deverill of Virginia, appoint Richard Johnson of York River and Samuel Skinker of Rappahanock River power of attorney (Richmond Miscellaneous Records, 1699-1724, p. 95B).

11 August 1713:

Benjamin Deverell’s estate, noting that he had been the agent of John Beacher and the Bristol Company of Merchants, late of Richmond County, Virginia, gives power of attorney to George Eskridge to collect his debts in Virginia; James Strother and Joseph Strother (Richmond Miscellaneous Records, 1699-1724, p. 112A). (Note: James Strother and Joseph Strother are brothers to Benjamin Strother and Mary Strother Suttle, mentioned above, and are uncles of the Jeremiah Strother who shows up in records involving Dennis Lindsey in Granville County, North Carolina.

22 March 1718:

Robert Harrison of parish of St. Mary’s in Richmond County, Virginia, deeds to Sem Coke of same parish and county, 450 acres out of land patented to Ralph Whiting in 1694. Witnesses: James Strother and Robert Harrison (Richmond DB Book 5, p. 69).

6 August 1718:

“Whereupon it is ordered that Mr. Samuel Skinker who sold the Servants doe not send to the Office in Ireland where the Servants alledge they were bound and gett a Certificate that there was not any such Servants bound there, otherwise the servants are ordered to serve their Masters or their assigns noe longer than the time the Servants alledge they were bound by their Indentures” (Richmond OB for this date; cited previously, in first part of this set of notes).

From 1723 forward:

According to Meade’s Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, the vestrymen of Hanover Parish in King George County (which was cut out of Richmond) from 1723 to 1779 included William Strother, Rowland Thornton, William Thornton, Joseph Strother, Samuel Skinker, John Skinker, and John Taliafero (William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, vol. 2 [Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1891], pp. 185-6, citing vestry minutes; Meade says that the vestrymen were not all necessarily living in the parish at the time they served on the vestry).

3/4 August 1727:

William Strother sells to Samuel Skinker, both of King George County, Virginia, 410 acres, of which 300 came to him as a deed of gift from his mother Margaret Strother, the land being from his deceased father William Strother. The deed notes that Samuel Skinker was then living on the land. Witnesses: Harry Beverley, Mosley Battaley, Enoch Innis, William Strother (King George DB 1 pp. 445-446). (Note Moseley Battaley’s name popping up in this record along with the names of William Strother and Samuel Skinker.)

31 August 1727:

Joseph Strother and John ffarguson [i.e., Ferguson], vestrymen of Hanover Parish, King George, sell to Samuel Skinker, merchant of King George, 92 acres that had come to Joseph Downing through the will of Sem Cox, with the will stipulating that if Joseph Downing died without issue, the land was to belong to St. Mary’s parish, now called Hanover Parish (King George DB 1 pp. 451-452). (See the 29 November 1710 deed of Robert Taliaferro to Benjamin Deverella nd George Downing above.)

4 July 1734:

John Savage of Overwharton Parish, Stafford County, Virgina, sells to Samuel Skinker of Hanover Parish, King George County, 500 acres in Truro Parish at the corner of Col. Robert Carter. Witnesses: Nath. Chapman, M[oseley]. Battaley, John Champe (Prince William County, Virginia, DB B, pp. 321-324). (Note: this is probably Robert “King” Carter, to whom James Whaley was indentured in 1709 in Richmond County; he had died in 1732, but the land would have been in his estate and referred to still as Robert Carter’s land.) (Again, note Moseley Batteley popping up as a witness to this deed — from a Savage, who is part of the Thornton-Strother kinship network, to Samuel Skinker.)

18 July 1734:

John Furguson of Truro Parish, Prince William County, Virginia, sells to Samuel Skinker, planter of Hanover Parish, King George County, 703 acres in Prince William. Witnesses: John Diskin, Sam. Smith, M[oseley] Battaley (Prince William DB B, pp. 317-321). (Moseley Batteley again.)

30 January 1735:

John Becher of city of Bristol appoints Samuel Skinker of Rappanannock River in Virginia his power attorney to deal with money and goods belonging to Becher from Charles Burgess, late of Rappahannock River, merchant (King George DB 2 pp. 41-42). (Note the 5 July 1713 power of attorney given by John Becher, Rachel Deverell, widow of Benjamin Deverell, and others to settle Benjamin Deverell’s estate as a Bristol merchant in Virginia; note also the 11 August 1713 power of attorney from Benjamin Deverell’s heirs, stating that John Beacher/Becher was part of the Bristol Company of Merchants; and note Bryan Townes’ National Register of Historic Places Registration document about Millbank linked above, stating that Benjamin Deverell originally acquired some of the Strother land at Millbank, and then was succeeded by Samuel Skinker as the next representative of the Bristol firm after Deverell died.)

4 March 1735:

Charles Holt, tobacconist of Bristol, gives power of attorney to Samuel Skinker, merchant in King George, to settled debts (King George DB 2 pp. 42).

24 January 1752:

Will of Samuel Skinker, parish of Hanover, King George County, Virginia (King George WB A, pp. 5-8):

I SAMUEL SKINKER of Parish of Hanover and county of King George .. give to my son, SAMUEL, the Tract of land I bought of JAMES KAY; to my son JOHN SKINKER; my son THOMAS SKINKER the tract of land I bought of SAMUEL HOYLE .. also the Land I bought of JOHN DISKINS, also the land I bought of THOMAS GRIGSBY also two tracts I bought of JOHN FARGUSON, also the land I bought of ROBERT DUNCOMB; my son GEORGE SKINKER .. to my son, JOHN, after the decease of his Mother the land whereon I now live also land bought of ST. JOHN SHROPSHIRE, of ROBERT HARRISON, of BENJAMIN STROTHER all which tracts adjoin the land I now live on .. a tract of land I bought of PATRICK GRADY near the Marsh in Prince William County; land I bought of SAGES heirs, of THOMAS DUNCOMB .. to my son, WILLIAM .. to my son, GEORGE, the land I bought of JOHN SAVAGE by estimation 500 acres .. to my son WILLIAM the tract of land I bought of JOHN STROTHER also tract of land whereon DANIEL TAYLOR now lives as one of my tenants .. land I bought of PATRICK HAMRICK land I bought of Hanover Parish; of JOHN BROWN lying in Prince William County; of JOHN BURN in aforesaid county .. one hundred pounds be put to Interest to be Applied to the education of my grandson, JOHN SIMPSON, until he is fitt to be sent to the University .. my Will that a bond due from COLO. CHARLES CARTER be called in & applied to the purchase of young Negroes to stock the plantation I now live on for the benefit of my son JOHN. To my son JOHN all my household furniture with all my books .. Whereas my sons SAMUEL, THOMAS & JOHN were all Born out of wedlock .. my will is that if my son GEORGE and my son WILLIAM should at any time hereafter attempt to make this part of my will void as far as it relates to them as not being born in Wedlock I then revoke every Legacy herein given to him that shall bring such a prosecution .. to my Daughter SARAH one hundred pounds to be paid her at her day of Marriage or when she arrives to age twenty one .. Lastly I appoint my wife DINAH my whole & sole Executrix during her widowhood and in case of her marriage I then appoint my sons SAMUEL & THOMAS my Executors .. the one hundred pounds to be given to my Daughter SARAH to be taken out of NATHANIEL GRAYS debt to me .. this 24th day of January 1752.

Presence of T. Turner, Samuel Skinker

Marg. x Strother,

William Cope, Mary Simpson

As the will states, both Robert Harrison (to whom Michael Whaley was indentured in April 1718) and Benjamin Strother, brother-in-law of the father of Francis Suttle, to whom Dennis Linchey was indentured, owned land adjoining Samuel Skinker— who sold those two servants to these masters. Note the Margaret Strother who witnessed Samuel Skinker’s will; this appears to be Margaret Thornton, wife of William Strother, a brother to Benjamin and Mary Strother.

1 March 1769:

Nicholas Strother of King George County, Virginia, to John Skinker of same, 91 ¾ acres (King George DB 5, pp. 773-774). (This is more of the Strother land in King George being sold to Samuel Skinker’s son John.

Deductions, Conclusions:

To my way of thinking, this collage of records makes it abundantly clear that the Dennis Lindsey who died in Granville County, North Carolina, in 1762 is the same Dennis Lindsey who sought to patent land in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, in 1728, and also the Dennis Linchey who arrived in April 1718 in Richmond County, Virginia, as an Irish servant being indentured to Francis Suttle. The records also point to possible sources of information that may help us find records about this Dennis leading back to Ireland:

☛ We know that both Samuel Skinker and Benjamin Deverell, the former selling Dennis Linchey and the other Irish servants to their masters in 1718, represented a firm in Bristol, England: has that firm left any records? Those records might contain indenture papers of servants handled by the firm, indications of where in Ireland the firm was obtaining servants to bring to the colonies, etc.

☛ A James Whaley preceded the Michael Whaley who arrived in 1718 with Dennis Linchey to Richmond County by nine years. James and Michael may well be related, and may have come from the same place in Ireland. Dennis Linchey could also have come from that place or somewhere near there. If we could find more information about these Whaleys, we might find some clues about Dennis.

☛ Some of the families in which the Irish servants arriving in Richmond County, Virginia, in 1709 and 1718 were placed were prominent and wealthy Virginia families, and may have left records or papers now housed in archives, which could contain information about these servants. These families include the Carters and Harrisons. The Strothers and Thorntons were also prominent families. Did Samuel Skinker leave any papers either in Virginia or Virginia? Archival holdings for any surviving documents of these families could help us.

Some sources among many others that have information that may help us:

*Mike Marshall’s “Early Colonial Settlers of Southern Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck Counties.”; and

The William Strother Society Inc.

*Thanks to a Twitter friend of mine, Oompa von Bulow, for sending Mike Marshall’s name to me after I had stated in an earlier version of this posting that I wasn’t sure who owned this website.

Please see this subsequent posting for a small chart graphing some of the comparisons-connections discussed above.

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