Or, Subtitled: Hand Mills, Small Swords, and Beds and Bolsters
In my last posting, I pointed you to the 18 September 1749 will of William Monk in Northampton County, Virginia, to show you that Nottingham Monk, who died before 20 July 1793 in Bertie County, North Carolina, was William’s son: the will names him as such. The first record I find of William Monk in Northampton County is in another will: on 19 February 1708/9 William Munk and William Munk Jr. witnessed the will of Samuel Palmer, along with Robert Howsen and William Dyer. The two Monk men signed by mark.
Estimating William Monk’s Year of Birth, Identifying His Father (an Elder William Monk)
At first glance, this document might not tell us much about William Monk, father of Nottingham Monk. How do we know, in fact, that either the older or younger William Monk witnessing Samuel Palmer’s will is the same man who left a 1749 will naming Nottingham Monk as his son?
But there are actually a lot of valuable clues embedded in this will that make it evident that one of the two William Monks witnessing this will (and I’m going to propose that it’s the younger man) is the father of Nottingham Monk. The will points to information that places Samuel Palmer and his family in a web of family and community connections that we’ve already encountered in investigating the life of Nottingham Monk in Northampton County, Virginia, one that includes, in fact, the family of Nottingham Monk’s mother, Elizabeth Nottingham Monk.
Remember that, in my previous posting about Nottingham Monk linked above, I told you the following?
- Sometime before or in 1763, Nottingham Monk sold to Addison Nottingham a piece of land that came to him from his mother Elizabeth Nottingham Monk. In 1763, Addison Nottingham sold the land to Littleton Eyre. The land had come to Elizabeth by the 5 November 1718 will of her father William Nottingham in Northampton County, and was part of the Hungars Plantation tract.
- I also told you that there is a file in Northampton County for an April 1742 court case in which Nottingham Monk was found indebted to Thomas Cable. As I noted, Cable managed the Eastern Shore affairs of Col. John Custis IV and married Custis’ sister Sorrowful Margaret Custis.
Now have a look at the names of legatees mentioned in Samuel Palmer’s will: he names wife Sarah; Samuel, son of John Mapp; Sarah Custis Mathews; Palmer, a daughter of William Kendall Jr.; Robins Mapp; John Mapp Jr.; sons-in-law William Kendall Jr. and John Matthews; and William Waters. Do a bit of investigating, and we discover that Samuel Palmer’s wife Sarah was the daughter of Henry Custis and Joan Whittington, and he was rector of Hungars Parish.
Prior to marrying Rev. Samuel Palmer, Sarah Custis had previously married 1) Walter Matthews and then 2) William Kendall I, who was a Virginia burgess. The William Kendall Jr. and John Matthews named as sons-in-law (i.e., step-sons) in Samuel Palmer’s will were his wife’s sons by her previous marriages. Sarah Custis was a sister of John Custis II, whose son John Custis III, another burgess, was father of the John Custis IV whose Northampton County business matters Thomas Cable managed. Before marrying Cable, Sorrowful Margaret Custis, sister of John Custis IV, had married William Kendall III, a grandson of William Kendall I.
Confused? I surely am, by the bewildering intermarriages between the noted Custis family that connected to George Washington through his marriage to Martha Dandridge, widow of Daniel Parke Custis, and the Kendall family and allied families like the Mapps and Whittingtons.
The Nottingham family of William Monk’s wife Elizabeth Nottingham ties into this kinship network by the marriage of Jane/Joane Parks to the William Kendall Jr. named in Samuel Palmer’s will — a son of William Kendall I and Sarah Custis. Jane/Joane Parks was a daughter of Charles Parks and Anne Nottingham, an aunt of Elizabeth Nottingham Monk. In witnessing Samuel Palmer’s will, and in his involvement with Thomas Cable, William Monk Jr. was interacting with people within the kinship and marriage network of his wife Elizabeth Nottingham, and with people prominent in Hungars Parish, in which he lived. (You’ll recall, too, from my previous posting that the vestry of Hungars Parish paid Nottingham Monk in November 1760 for keeping William Page.)
That piece of land that Nottingham Monk sold in or before 1763 in Northampton County to Addison Nottingham, which had come to his mother Elizabeth from the will of her father William Nottingham: according to Ralph T. Whitelaw, it was part of a vast tract originally patented by William Stone (later governor of Maryland) in 1635. In 1647, the land fell to William Whittington, and through a number of changes of hands, portions of the tract were bought by William Kendall and Robert Howson. Howson willed his portion in 1720 to godson Howson Mapp, which Mapp sold in 1773 to John and Sarah Kendall.
This Robert Howson is the same man who witnessed the will of Rev. Samuel Palmer along with William Monk Sr. and Jr. and William Dyer. After Samuel Palmer died, his widow Sarah Custis (Matthews) (Kendall) (Palmer) married Robert Howson.
William Whittington also sold some of the land patented by William Stone to John Custis III. Whitelaw notes that the Monk and Nottingham families were living in 1669 on a tract of 1300 acres (i.e., they lived on a small piece of that large tract) that William Kendall I had patented out of the Whittington tract. The piece of this land that came to Elizabeth Nottingham Monk by the will of her father William Nottingham was land Teigue/Teague Harmon, who willed it to William Nottingham, had gotten from William Whittington.
As we chew over the 1708/9 will of Samuel Palmer, note the following: this record, the first record we find in Northampton County of William Monk, father of Nottingham Monk, links him to families with ties to Hungars Parish and the Hungars Plantation, making it very likely that one of the two William Monks who witnessed the will of Samuel Palmer in 1708/9 is the very same man who left the 1749 will naming Nottingham Monk as his son. A number of pieces of evidence also suggest that the William Monk and William Monk Jr. witnessing Samuel Palmer’s will were father and son, and that the man who died testate in 1750 with a son Nottingham Monk is the younger William Monk witnessing this will.
Note that, since he would almost certainly have been of age as he witnessed a will, the younger William Monk witnessing Samuel Palmer’s will would have been born before or around ca. 1690. We know the year of birth of Elizabeth Nottingham, wife of William Monk, from a 1742 case in Northampton County in which she gave testimony. This was the case of Kendall v. Mapp, in which John Marshall and George Kendall complained against Samuel Mapp and William Ellegood, tobacco inspectors at Cherrystone and Hungars warehouse, alleging that Mapp and Ellegood were not performing their duties. When Elizabeth Nottingham Monk deposed in this case in 1742, she gave her age as 42.
This establishes Elizabeth Nottingham’s year of birth as 1700, a birth year that fits well with the projected date of birth of her husband William Monk as about or before 1690. As we saw in my last posting, documentary evidence leads me to conclude that their son Nottingham Monk was born by 1720.
As we’ll see in my next posting, the older William Monk of the 1708/9 Samuel Palmer will died intestate in Northampton County sometime before 17 July 1716, when his widow Catherine was appointed administratrix on behalf of herself and her children. The estate was appraised by Richard, Joseph, Robert, and John Nottingham. On 31 July 1716, the estate was inventoried, with Richard, John, Joseph, Robert, and Benjamin Nottingham signing the inventory.
Unfortunately, none of the estate documents (insofar as I have discovered) names a list of William’s heirs, but the involvement of the Nottingham family in this estate coupled with the fact that a William Monk Sr. and Jr. witnessed Samuel Palmer’s will make me confident that this William Monk dying in 1716 is father of the William Monk who was father of Nottingham Monk, and that father and son were witnessing Samuel Palmer’s will together.
Further Documentation of William Monk’s Life in Northampton County to His Death
In addition to the 1708/9 will of Samuel Palmer and his own 1749 will, I have a list of references to William Monk in Northampton County in the intervening years that cast some light on his life, and which also point out to me how much more research I need to do in Northampton records – in the original records and not abstracts of those records. Here’s my list:
- 8 December 1710: William Munk’s mark for hogs and cattle is recorded in Northampton County. Note that the son was evidently of age by this date, and this is prior to the father’s death, so this record could refer to either of the two Williams.
- 14 November 1721: William Monk is a grand juror in Northampton County.
- 13 February 1721/2: the case of William Monk vs. Edward Joyne for trespass is postponed.
- 14 February 1721/2: the case of Monk v. Joyne is dismissed since neither party has appeared in court; both are identified as planters in the court record.
- July 1722: William Monk appears in George Harmanson’s tithable list, Northampton County, with 2 tithables.
- 11 July 1722: the case of Monk v. Joyne, in which William Monk is accusing Edward Joyne of trespass, has continued and is deferred.
- 14 August 1722: Monk v. Joyne resumes, Joyne demurring, pleadings to continue to next court.
- 11 September 1722: Joyne pleads not guilty and trial is set for next court.
- 9 October 1722: a jury is impaneled for the Monk v. Joyne trial and finds for Monk.
- 13 November 1722: court confirms judgment for William Monk in his trespass case against Edward Joyne.
- 14 December 1722: William Monk and wife Elizabeth bring suit against Thomas Dolby alias Odollo, who is granted an imparlance.
- March 1722/3: Elizabeth Monk is called to testify on behalf of Samuel Church against John Drighouse, identified in the court record as a Negro man, for assault.
- 10 June 1723: William Monk (along with George Monk) is on Devereaux Godwin’s tithable list in Northampton County; he has 2 tithables.
- 13 May 1724: William Monk is on Devereaux Godwin and Jacob Stringer’s tithable list with 2 tithables.
- 10 June 1725: William Monk (along with George Monk) is on Devereaux Godwin’s tithable list with 2 tithables.
- 2 July 1726: William Monk is again on Godwin’s tithable list with 2 tithables.
- November 1726: William Monk and wife Elizabeth sue John and Anne Pigot for slander in Northampton County.
- August 1728: William Monk is on Michael Christian’s tithable list, with a note he has turned in squirrels’ heads.
- 8 August 1728: William Monk (with John Haggoman) is on Robert Nottingham’s tithable list.
- 1729: William Monk is on John Haggoman’s and Clark Jacob’s tithable list.
- 13 March 1733/4: Complaint of William Tazewell, King’s Attorney, that Thomas Church lives incontinently with Elizabeth Monk, wife of William Monk. Obedience Roberts and Elizabeth, wife of Samuel Church, are summoned to give knowledge of Thomas Church’s incontinent living with Elizabeth, wife of William Monk.
- 9 April 1734: “Complaint of King’s Attorney v. Thomas Church … upon examining the Evidences it appeared to the Court that there is too great a familiarity between him and Elizabeth Monk. Sheriff take him into custody to give bond of twenty pounds not to cohabit or keep company with Elizabeth Monk.”
- 15 May 1734: Thomas Church enters into bond not to cohabitate with Elizabeth Monk. Thomas Church was the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Church, a biracial family who appear in Northampton County records, as mulatoes.
- 1735: William Monk (with George Monk) is on John Godwin’s tithable list, Northampton County.
- 16 May 1741: Elizabeth Nottingham Monk witnesses the will of Elizabeth, the widow of her uncle Richard Nottingham.
- March 1744/5: George Holt complains that Richard Cornelius has left Northampton county owing money, with all his goods left in the hands of several people, including Jacob Nottingham and William Monk.
- March 1749: William Monk protests a road proposed by Howson Mapp. Monk’s complaint notes that he (Monk) owns only 75 acres of land. The viewers report that the road proposed by Monk would be detrimental to the interests of Robert Nottingham’s son, now an orphan. (This is Isaac Nottingham, a son of Elizabeth Nottingham Monk’s first cousin Robert Nottingham, who died in 1745.) The case was dismissed in June 1750.
William Monk’s Will
18 September 1749: William Monk makes his will. It reads as follows:
In the name of God Amen. Item I give to my Son Nottingham Monk my hand Mill and one Small Sword, if my son should Come Down to live; if not, then to be for the use of my Wife and children. I give to my Son Nottingham Monk one Shilling. Item I give to my Son William Monk one Shilling. Item I give to my Daughter Anne Eshon one Shilling. Item I give to my Daughter Catharine Monk one bed and bolster. Item I give to my Daughter Elizabeth Monk one bed and bolster. Item I give to my Wife the Mair that She calls her’n. Item I give to my Wife one Side Saddle and all the remainder part of my Estate, after my Lawfull Debts and other Charges paid to be Equally Divided betwixt my Wife and three Daughters Bridget Nottingham, and Catharine and Elizabeth Monk. I appoint my Loving Wife Executrix of this my Last Will and Testament. Revoking all other by me made, As Witness my hand and Seal this 18th of September 1749.
William Monk (his mark)
Robert Widgeon (his mark)
Joshua Nottingham (his mark)
11 December 1750: William Monk’s will is proven:
At a court held for Northampton County the 11th Day of December 1750
The Last Will and Testament of William Monk decd was Proved by the Oath of Robert Widgeon one of the Witnesses to the said Will, which is Ordered to be Recorded, and the Executrix therein appointed being dead, on the motion of William monk son of the said Testator, and he having given Bond with Security, and taken the Oath for the true Performance of the said Will according to Law, Certificate is granted him for Obtaining letters of administration of the Estate of the said William Monk, with his Will annexed in due form.
Gilbert Stith, Ct. C.
A question about William Monk’s will: is anything to be made of the fact that he bequeathed a small sword to his son Nottingham Monk? I cannot recall having encountered swords as property being bequeathed in wills in Virginia during this period, though perhaps my knowledge in this regard is limited. I wonder as I read the will if William (or his father?) may have had some history as soldiers.
The Children of William Monk and Elizabeth Nottingham
These are some very brief notes about the children of William Monk and Elizabeth Nottingham. I have already discussed their son Nottingham Monk (abt. 1720 – 1793) in previous postings.
Bridget Monk: Bridget appears to have been born abt. 1730. Abt. 1750, she married her cousin Joshua Nottingham (abt. 1728 – 1758), son of Richard Nottingham (1652 – 1729) and Elizabeth Johnson. Richard was an uncle of Elizabeth Nottingham Monk. Joshua Nottingham and Bridget Monk had children Shaday, Richard, Martha, and Elizabeth.
William Monk: I have no further information about him except the reference to him as executor of his father’s will in lieu of Elizabeth Nottingham Monk.
Anne Monk: Anne married Jonathan, son of John and Mary Esham of Northampton County, about 1730. Jonathan gave a deposition in the Kendall v. Mapp case discussed above, giving his age as 23 in 1742, thus establishing his year of birth as 1719, though M.K. Miles thinks Jonathan was likely born closer to 1714. Jonathan died testate with a will dated 17 February 1792 in Worcester County, Maryland, probated 9 March the same year, naming sons William, Solomon, John, and James, and his wife, who is not given a name.
Catherine Monk: I have no information beyond her mention in her father’s will.
Elizabeth Monk: an Elizabeth Monk died testate in Northampton County in 1781. Her will is not extant, but was proven 14 February 1781 by Henry Warren.
Northampton County, Virginia, Wills and Inventories 27-R, #19, p. 531.
Northampton County, Virginia, Deeds and Wills 19, p. 77: see James Handley Marshall, comp., Abstracts of the Wills and Administrations of Northampton County, Virginia, 1632-1802 (Camden, Maine: Picton, 1994), p. 191). The will was probated 28 July 1709. See also “The Randolph Manuscript” (no author given), Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 19,1 (Jan. 1911), p. 11; and Anne Kendrick Walker, The Storied Kendalls, with Historical and Genealogical Records of Scottish and Allied Families (Richmond: Dietz, 1947), pp. 21, 20, 32.
Addison Nottingham (abt. 1715 – 1773) was a son of Elizabeth Nottingham Monk’s first cousin Joseph Nottingham (bef. 1684 – 1721) and Bridget Addison. Joseph’s father Richard Nottingham (1652 – 1729) was a brother of Elizabeth Nottingham Monk’s father William Nottingham (1669 – 1719).
I’m relying here on M.K. Miles’ well-documented analysis of the family histories of early Eastern Shore families in his Miles Files collection online at the website of Virginia Eastern Shore Public Library Foundation. For the lineage of Sarah Custis and for information about Samuel Palmer, see “Miles Files 19.1,” p. 546, at the link I have just provided. See also M.C. Howard, “Hungars Church, Northampton County, Virginia,” in Colonial Churches in the Original Colony of Virginia: A Series of Sketches by Especially Qualified Writers, 2nd edn., ed. W.M. Clark (Richmond: Southern Churchman Co., 1908), p. 108. On William Kendall, see Lothrop Withington, Virginia Gleanings in England (Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. Co., 1980), p. 556.
See Martha W. McCartney, Jamestown People to 1800: Landowners, Public Officials, Minorities, and Native Leaders (Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. Co., 2012, pp. 131-3.
See ibid., pp. 240-1.
Ralph T. Whitelaw, Virginia’s Eastern Shore (Richmond: Virginia Hist. Soc., 1951; repr. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1968), vol. 1, pp. 318-325. The 5 April 1720 will of Robert Howson in Northampton County names Howson Mapp as his godson: see “Miles Files 19.1,” p. 546. Howson Mapp was a son of John Mapp (bef. Feb. 1667 – 1725) and Esther Matthews, a daughter of Sarah Custis by her first husband Walter Matthews. Howson Mapp’s wife was Leah Nottingham, a daughter of Elizabeth Nottingham Monk’s first cousin Robert Nottingham (abt. 1660 -1698), son of Robert Nottingham (abt. 1652 -1698) and Jane Johnson. On William Whittington and his vast land patents on the Eastern Shore, which passed to his son William Whittington II, a burgess, see McCartney, Jamestown People to 1800, p. 445.
Whitelaw, Virginia’s Eastern Shore, pp. 322, 344.
Ibid., p. 344.
Ibid., p. 328.
Kendall v. Mapp, Northampton County, Virginia, Loose Court Records, packet 28: see Jean M. Mihalyka, Loose Papers and Sundry Court Cases, Northampton County, Virginia, vol. 2 (Eastville, VA: Hickory House, 2000), p. 157.
Northampton County, Virginia, Order Bk. 15, p. 258; see Marshall, Abstracts of the Wills and Administrations of Northampton County, Virginia, p. 197.
Northampton County, Virginia, Order Bk. 15, p. 343.
I have the original source recorded as Northampton County, Virginia, Record Bk. 5, p. 159, but this book number does not correspond to the date of this record: Record Bk. 15 is more likely. My source for this record is undoubtedly Frank V. Walczyk, Cattle Marks of Northampton County, Virginia, 1665-1742 (Coram, NY: Peter’s Row, 1999).
Northampton County, Virginia, Order Bk. 17, p. 136.
Ibid., p. 158.
Ibid., p. 162.
Northampton County, Virginia, Order Bk. 17, p. 168.
ibid., p. 169.
ibid., p. 177.
ibid., p. 184.
ibid., p. 190.
ibid., p. 200.
Northampton County, Virginia, Loose Court Records, packet 4. For information about this case, see Paul Heinegg, Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina from the Colonial Period to about 1820 (Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. Co., 2005), p. 319.
Northampton County, Virginia, Loose Court Records, packet 11.
Northampton County, Virginia, Order Bk. 20, p. 99.
Ibid., p. 103.
Ibid., p. 113. Northampton County, Virginia, Loose Court Records, packet 20, apparently has information about this case.
Heinegg, Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina, pp. 318-9.
Northampton County, Virginia, Wills and Inventories XXVII-R, #19, p. 45.
Northampton County, Virginia, Loose Court Records, packet 30.
I have a notation that this case is in Northampton County’s loose-papers court records, but do not have the packet number, unfortunately.
Northampton County, Virginia, Wills and Inventories 27-R, #19 p. 531.
On Addison Nottingham, see supra, n. 3. Joshua Nottingham was a first cousin of Elizabeth Nottingham Monk, who married his cousin Bridget Monk, daughter of William Monk and Elizabeth Nottingham — and so he was William Monk’s son-in-law as he witnessed Monk’s will.
Worcester County, Maryland, Will Bk. JW, p. 6.
Northampton County, Virginia, Order Bk. 29, 1777-83, p. 309; see Marshall, Abstracts of the Wills and Administrations of Northampton County, Virginia, p. 466. I have seen no proof that this is the Elizabeth Monk named in William Monk’s will. A Jacob Monk administered the will of a Henry Warren in Northampton County. Jacob was the son of George Monk, whose will mentions other members of the Warren family, so it seems likely this Elizabeth belongs to the family of George and Jacob Monk.