THIS MESSAGE IS ABOUT TEN PAGES AS FIRST HALF OF THE ACADEMY REPORT IS HERE.
According to the Academy of Geneology report that I am just getting in it's entirety from my in-laws, Constable John 1735 (His son was a constable John in Halifax in 1760), was the brother of the Samuel about whom we speak. His father was Samuel (the immigrant)--the one we are trying to determine if is correct, or is actually a Daniel/Ann combination. I am going to cut and past the first half of the Academy report now. I have not retyped the second half into my computer, but will send it out on the message board when done. THat should be in the next day or so. I figure that if more people get this "professional" research, and know the source of the Samuel born about 1685 and from E. Greenwich, Kent, England story, then we can take it and run to either confirm it or dump it once and for all!
I am also concerned about clearing up the John Bentley m. Christian Hammock question I have. Allan talks about the will of Christian's father stating son-in-law "from" North Carolina or something, but this Academy info. states they went TO NC. Do we have a marriage information on John and Christian Hammock? I got a date of the mormon site from a listing--not sure the credibility, that states she married Jan 9, 1756 a John H. Bentley. The will from the father-in-law was also in 1756. The Academy shows their moving to Onslow Co. NC in 1763 timeframe. We have information from an unconfirbale source that John (H?) and Christian Hammock's son John was constable of Halifax Co. 1760. If Christian was cristened--some report born in 1723, I find it hard to believe that she could have been mother to a child old enough to be constable in 1760. MAYBE/Most probably, the marriage was correct, but the COnstable of Halifax in 1760 is in error. MAYBE that was John brother Samuel (ch. 1719), son of Samuel the Immigrant, that was the constable. He married Judith Cobb in that year, so he would have been old enough. Did John BEntley/Judith Cobb get married in Halifax or Amelia Co.? Ido not have those notes handy. Would it have made a difference? They were married in Dec. of that year. I have not yet seen the documentation of teh Constable 1760 thing. Does anyone have that information?
Academy stuff--first half---
Samuel1 Bentley, the Immigrant
Samuel1 Bentley, the Immigrant Ancestor of our Bentley family was born in England about 1685 (estimated), and there, was a resident of the Manor of East Greenwich, County Kent. The descendents of Samuel Bentley spread through Amelia, Powhatan, Lunenberg and Halifax Counties, Virginia; Onslow County, North Carolina; Elbert, Wilkes, and Forsyth Counties, Georgia; and Elmore , Madison, Chambers and Coosa Counties, Alabama, all before theWar Between the States.
The date of the Bentley family’s establishment at East Greenwich cannot yet be ascertained. They apparently settled there after the Restoration. East Greenwich was then a quiet manor near the Thames, only a short ride by horse back or by carriage to London.
In East Greenwich, the Bentleys were considered “gentile”(as reflected in the wordage of the 1745 Royal Land Grant to John2 Bentley, son of Samuel 1 ). The family was probably Protestant in England, for on their arrival in Virginia they affiliated with the Protestant church. From 1715 to 1730 many English immigrated to Virginia. It is most likely that Samuel came to Virginia during the later part of the 1720’s.
On July 11, 1735, Samuel1 Bentley leased a tract of about six acres of land in Amelia County, Virginia, to his son John2 Bentley. The consideration (payment) was one ear of corn payable each Christmas, on demand.
A 1735 business account book of Southside Henrico County, Virginia, bears the entry:
“Samuel Bently in Amelia. Dr. 1736.
To your Store debt L6:1:2-1/4’”
The record came from an unidentified budiness account book. The entries there refer to residents of Henrico County in 1736, on the south side of the James River—and also to others with properties or business in that section. This account locates Samuel’s residence that year in Amelia County.
Samuel Bentley1 then disappears from the records. In all likelihood he probably returned to England. His son, Samuel2 Bentley, brother of our ancestor, Constable John2
Bentley, married about 1738, Miss May Wheldon, of an old Virginia slave-holding family. It is Samuel2 who appears in later Amelia County records.
Not long before the War Between the States, Richmond became the depository for many early county records of Virginia. When the Union Army set the torch to the Confederate Capital, many of these old records were destroyed. Destroyed in the holocaust were many records of Prince George County.
Amelia County, where the first records appear of Samuel1 Bentley and his family in America, was formed in 1735 from Prince George County. Prince George County had been established in 1703 from Charles City County, one of the original counties.
Thus, our Bentley family’s arrival in the Amelia County region, somewhere in the late 1720’s probably, is hidden by the 1703-1735 missing records of Prince George County.
The Bentleys settled in the Amelia County region for two reasons. First, the tobacco lands were fresh and rich, while those of eastern Virginia were becoming exhausted from lack of fertilizer and crop rotation. Secondly, the land in eastern Virginia was thickly settled, and new colonists taking up vacant land had to push their way into a wilderness, no less a feat than that of Daniel Boone’s company fifty years later.
The Family Church in Amelia County
St. John’s or “Grub Hill” Church, one of the oldest colinial churches still standing in the Protestand Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, was built in 1732 in Raleigh Parish, in the section later Amelia County. The Church founders were William and Joseph Eggleston, Thomas Tabb, Colonel Archer and Captain Edward Booker—all later related by marriage to this Bentley family. The name “Grub Hill” came from the name of the Eggleston plantation, of which the churchyard site was a part.
Mary Armstrong Jefferson, a local historian, wrote, in her OLD HOMES AND BUILDINGSOF AMELIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA:
“This congregation of Grub Hill Chruch was typical of the
best tradition of Virginia.”
Judith Archer married Colonel William Wheldon3 Bentley (Samuel2 Samuel1 ). William and Judith had several children, including William Archer4 Bentley, a wealthy plantation owner, member of the Virginia General Assembly from Powhatan County. Later, William Archer Bentley settled in Halifax County, Virginia, where he founded Bentleyville, by a special act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1808. ( ACTS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, 1807-1808 (1808), page 52, Chapter L1, An Act establishing certain towns, therein mentioned. Passed January 7, 1808.)
Colonel Edward Booker, son of Captain Edward Booker, the Grub Hill Church Founder, was married September 30, 1761, to Mary3 Bentley (Samuel2 Samuel1 ). Joseph owned Kennons, an 1136-acre plantation with a substantial and attractive two story brick mansion, which is still standing. The style of living at Kennons must have been sumptuous, for in 1820, the mansion and estate became the residence of Jerman Baker, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Children of Samuel1 Bentley:
1. Constable John2 Bentley. See Chapter Two
2. Samuel2 Bentley (1719-1786), married Mary Wheldon. Of Amelia County, Virginia. Revolutionary War Patriot.
3. William Bentley
4. Sarah Bentley, married Broadnax, living in 1786.
4. Daughter, married James Spicer (included on basis of information found in James Spicer’s will.) See Chapter Four.
Constable John2 Bentley
“Constable” John2 Bentley, son of Samuel1 Bentley, was probably born about 1710, and either was a native of East Greenwich, county Kent, England or spent part of his youth there.
In America the first record of John appears in the early records of Amelia County, Virginia.
On may 9, 1735, at Amelia County’s very first meeting of the County Court, John was appointed “Constable for this County above Deep Creek” (Order Book 1:1)
Constable John was then a young man and must have met the requirements of being lawful, sober-minded and (as was then customary in a frontier law officer’s stature) of superior size and physical strength.
Evidently, at the time of his appointment, he did not own land. Being a landholder was a requirement for holding office and the error (or rather oversight) was remedied shortly. On July 11, 1735, barely two months after his appointment as Constable, his father leased to him about six acres of land.
There is no record of Constable John’s tenure, yet he appears to have continued in office for at least three years. On December 8, 1738, John sued Nicholas Gunnel on a charge of assault and battery. The court determined the case for the plaintiff; John was to recover L1.10 and court costs. (Order Book 1:50) The Gunnel or Juniel family later moved to Halifax County, Virginia, there being neighbors of Samuel3 , Constable John’s son.
On August 15, 1740, John appeared in Amelia County Court to claim payment for three days’ attendance as a witness on behalf of Matthew Tolbott. As will appear later in this history, it was common practice then to appear in Court to claim for attendance as a witness.
In July 1743 John appeared in court again, two days as a witness in John Leonard’s duit against the same Matthew Tolbott.
“A list of Tithabels in Amelia County above Flat Creek for the year 1741”, shows “John Bently” as a householder and voter.
In November 1742 the Amelia County Court Order Book has the entry:
“ John Bentleys Stock mark a Crop in each Ear Slit to the right.” (Order Book 1:222)
Constable John2 Bentley’s brother, Samuel’s stock mark, recorded May 16, 1740, was:
“…a Crop Slitt in the right Ear. A Crop &two Slitts in the left…” (Order Book 1:102)
John2 Bentley became a man of means in the decade following his appointment as Constable in 1735.
ROYAL LAND GRANT (1745)
On July 10, 1745, John received a Royal Land Grant for 200 Acres of land in Amelia County. A copy of the original Grant follows as Bentley Document A, in the Addendum.
On July 21, 1749, in Amelia County, John sold these 200 acres to Samuel Tarry for the sum of L50.
In 1754 John again appears on the Amelia County list of Tithables.
Constable John2 Bentley’s Wife- Christian Hammock
In 1756 Benedict Hammock Senior of Amelia County deeded fifty acres to John Bentley, then still in Amelia County, and John’s wife, Christian, daughter of Benedict. The consideration was a nominal five shillings. Benedict Sr. was apparently distributing his property among his children, Benedict Junior, William and Christian, wife of John Bentley.
ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
By 1763 John removed to Onslow COUnty, North Carolina, a settling place for many former Amelia Countians. Various Hammock in-laws also moved to Onslow County, North Carolina.
There, on June 11, 1763, Robert Trawick deeded 365 acres to William Bentley for L100. (By their 1774 joint deeds, William and John2 Bentley, brothers, stated that they owned the 1763 purchase in common.
On November 23, 1763, John2 Bentley, now a resident of Onslow County, North Carolina (according to the original record in Amelia County, Virginia), for L35, deeded the hammock land he had been deeded by his father-in-law to William Hammock.
On March 24, 1774, John and William Bentley, in Onslow County, deeded 183 acres of their 1763 purchase to Edward Howard. The following day, on March 25th, John and William sold their remaining 182 acres to John Jarrott.
The Bentleys remained in Onslow County through the following fall, for on October 3, 1774, William Bentley was issued a bond there to marry Jane Hammond. “Hammond” may have been a miswriting for Hammock.
Children of Constable John2 and Christian (Hammock) Bentley:
1. Samuel3 Bentley. See Chapter Three
2. Edmund (also recorded as Edward) Bentley.
3. John Bentley.
Samuel3 Bentley- The Revolutionary War Patriot
Samuel3 Bentley, son of Constable John2 Bentley and Constables John’s wife, Christian Hammock, was born in Amelia County, Virginia, as his father was resident there at the time.
Samuel received a Royal Land grant in 1760. This establishes that he was then 21 or over, and was born by 1739.
Samuel3 Bentley’s brother John, was the first of the Bentley family to settle in Halifax County, Virginia, area. John Bentley “of Amelia” received a Land Patent in 1751 in Lunenberg County, Virginia. In 1752 Halifax County was formed from Lunenberg.
This Patent was in the section which became Halifax County, and later was part of Pittsylvania County, carved out of Halifax. The original Patent can not be lcated in the original Patents and Land Grants recorded at Williamsburg. However a record was made of the Patent in early__________
ROYAL LAND GRANT (1760)
In addition, on August 20, 1760, our Samuel3 Bentley, brother of John, the 1751 Patentee, received a Royal Land Grant, consisting of 400 acres, located in Halifax County, Virginia. A copy of the original Grant follows as Bentley Document B, in the Addendum.
On February 17, 1763, Samuel sold 200 acres of the 1760 Royal Land Grant, 100 acres each, to John Northern and Henry Strange.
Two years later, in June 1765, Samuel sued Thomas Hodges “In Debt”. Lack of currency before the advent of the United States (yet unformed) mint, together with an unstable economy in colonial Virginia, caused innumerable lawsuits for debt, as indicated by the few surviving pre-revolution Court Order Books of several Virginia Counties.
In May 1771, John3 Bentley appeared in court as a witness for his brother Samuel3 in a suit against Thomas Cobbs. In attending court, John claimed payment “for Seven Days Attendance and once coming and returning Twenty five miles…”
1773 was a busy year for Samuel. On February 18, John Murohy deeded 198 acres to Samuel. Shortly afterward, Murphy appeared in Court to acknowledge that he had made the Deed, and it was ordered recorded.
In taking up the land deed him by John Murphy, Samuel became embroiled in a lawsuit. George Boyd, a neighbor, sued Samuel Bentley, Edward (or Edmund) Bentley and Mark Powell for trespass. There was probably a question of the boundary between Boyd’s land and Samuel’s. The case lasted until July 1773 when was dismissed.
In September 1773 Samuel filed suit against Maxajah, Thomas and Robert Estes. The suit was in litigation until February 1774 when it was determined in favor of the defendants.
Samuel3 Bentley had a Survey made in 1774 of a 22 acre tract. The Survey was recorded on June 6. There may have been another potential suit regarding the land boundaries, and Samuel probably wanted to confirm his ownership of the tract.
To illustrate the vagueness of land boundaries at the time, the following is excerpted from Samuel’s Royal Land Grant:
“Beginning at a Hickory on a Fork of the said Polecat(creek) thence
North twenty one Degrees West three hundred poles crossing two
Branches of the said Creek to a White Oak on Solomon Owens line
thence on his line North thirty Degrees East fifty six poles crossing
a Fork of the Creek to the said Owens pine thence on William
Sizemors South thirty seven Degrees East eighteen poles to his Red Oak…:
The White Oak on Solomon Owen’s boundary line may have been one of many White Oaks. Creeks change their courses. Although surveys at the time of the original Royal Land Grant (and even later), defined boundaries, the makings were trees, stumps, creeks and other perishables.
On October 11, 1775 Samuel Bentley and Jane, his wife deeded 200 acres to William Boyd, in consideration of L35. This 200-acre tract was probably the last of Samuel’s 1760 Royal Land Grant.
In August 1776 Samuel appeared in Court as a witness for John Boyd. Apparently the trespass issue had been forgotten or settled by the sale of the 200 acres to William Boyd.
Three years later, during the Revolutionary War, in June 1779, Samuel Bentley sued John Talbot, claiming a right to attach certain property of Talbot, but the case was dismissed.
Samuel Bentley’s Neighbors-1782
In 1782 the Tax Lists began to be kept in Halifax County, Virginia. A complete schedule of the Bentley entries on the Tax Books before 1800 will be found in Chapter Eleven.
Two 1782 lists survive of Samuel Bentley’s neighborhood. They are transcribed here, with notes on some of Samuel’s dealings with them.
LIST ONE LIST TWO
Heads of Families of VA. State Census Personal Property Tax 1782 1782
Estes, Moses Young, James
Parker, Richard Toler, John
Boran, John Clardy, John Seurlock, Thomas Lamkin, Richard
Morrison, Joseph Day, Thomas
BENTLY, SAMUEL BENTLY, SAMUEL
Matlock, John Hendrick, John Matlock, Jane Rice, John Osborne, Skearn Thomas, Henry Hudson, John Gent, William Day, Thomas Gent, James Townes, Henry Whithworth, John Juniel, Anthony
The Estes, Day, Gent Whitworth and Juniel families play a part in the lives of Samuel, his father, and as many of these families moved on to Georgia, there were neighbors of later generations of the Bentley families.
In 1782 Samuel Bentley filed two suits to attach property of debtors. In July, he sued Ambrose Davidson (case dismissed) and in September, he sued William Camp. During the straitened times of the Revolution the courts were more than lenient with debtors.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR PATRIOT
The original records showing Samuel Bentley’s contributions to the sause of American Independence have been reproduced and follow, with an account of Virginia Public Service in the Revolution, in the Addendum.
In February 1785 Samuel returned to the Estes suit, which he had initiated in September 1773. This time Samuel sued Micajah Estes alone. For an unknown reason Samuel declined to prosecute further and the Court found in favor of Estes, for court costs.
In March of 1786 Samuel, now aged about fifty, files a successful lawsuit against Joel Parrott, again on an attachment.
In August 1786 Samuel appeared in court with a suit against Elam Lewis and others , but the case was continued to a later hearing.
Samuel Bentley was a man of Property and the frequent lawsuits which mark his life give us an insight into the standards of the period. Boundary disputes and debts owed to Samuel were the causes for his periodic court appearances.
As his father and brother both served their communities as law officers, and as later generations contributed significantly to their communities, Samuel also apparently helped many of his neighbors through financially difficult times. His repayment appears to have been meager, even nil in many instances.
In fact, the Court permitted several of his debtors to go scot free. Virginia, as so much of the New World, was trying to discard the Old World attitude toward debtors. Debtors prisons in England in many families were still a personal nightmare. The Revolutionary War period brought even an increased feeling of sympathy for any colonists in financial trouble.
Samuel’s experience, as well as that if his father, brother John, cousins, and many of his friends, as frequently unsuccessful litlgants, may have influenced Samuel4 Bentley Jr., who was an attorney in 1792. Indeed, this early history may have forshadowed the Bentley and interest in the fields of legal and educational administration.
The Two Marriages of Samuel3 Bentley
Samuel3 was twice married. His first marriage took place before 1767. On October 11, 1775 his first wife, Jane (Spicer), joined him in deeding land in Halifax County.
James Spicer of the Parish of Saint Andrew, Brunswick County, Virginia, made his will on July 2, 1867, proven November 20, 1768. Among his bequests, James left to his son-in-law, Samuel Bentley: “my Broad Cloath Coat Jacket and Breeches.”
The only other adult Samuel Bentley in Virginia at the time was Samuel2 (son of Samuel1 ) uncle to our Samuel, who lived back in Amelia County, and about 1738 married Mary Wheldon, who survived until after the Revolutionary War.
Jane evidently died before 1797 and Samuel remarried. On September 15, 1797, he and his second wife, Lucy, sold 96 acres in Halifax County, Virginia, to Daniel Talley, of Warren County, North Carolina, for L95 “Virginia money”.
Although present family records show Samuel’s wife to have been Elizabeth
Younger, a thorough search of Halifax County marriage records reveals that Elizabeth Younger was the wofe of John LeGrand and was the mother of Nancy (LeGrand) Bentley. Nancy married Samuel4 Bentley Jr., son of Samuel3 and Jane (Spicer) Bentley.
In writing the family records someone apparently remembered Elizabeth, and noted her as Levicie5 Bentley’s patenal grandmother. The original records prove that Elizabeth Younger was Levicie’s maternal grandmother.
Children of Samuel3 and Jane (Spicer) Bentley:
1. Samuel4 Bentley Jr. See Chapter Five.
2. James Bentley
3. John4 Bentley
4. Sarah Bentley
The Bentley-Spicer-Bentley Unions
James Spicer, father-in-law for our Samuel3 Bentley, was apparently of the same Spicer family which settled also in North Carolina (where the names James and John predominate in the Spicer family).
His will, dated, July 2, 1757, was proven on November 20, 1768, in Brunswick County, Virginia. (Will Book 3:522-3) In his will, James Spicer names four Bentleys as his heirs:
1. Samuel Bentley, son-in-law of James Spicer;
2. James Bentley, son of John and Christian;
3. John Bentley, son of Willaim;
4. Samuel Bentley, son of Samuel.
In order to understand the significance of these bequests, it is improtant to mention here that Samuel1 Bentley, the immigrant, had three sons: out Constable John2 , William2 , and Samuel2 . Constable John2 (our ancestor) and William2 moved to Onslow County, North Carolina. Samuel2 their brother remained in Amelia COUnty, Virginia and died there in 1786. Constable John2 was the father of Samuel and James (1 and 2, above); William2 was the father of John (3) above; and Samuel2 was the father of Samuel (4) above. James Spicer thus names as his heirs, sons of each of the Bentley brothers. This division of his estate indicates that he had but one daughter, the wife of our Samuel3 Bentley.
Similar distributions usually indicated that the decedent was an uncle of the heirs. Ad no relationship, except for his son-in-law, is given we infer James was an uncle to the Bentley heirs.
Also, as we know that Constable John2 married Christian Hammock, James Spicer could not have been a maternal uncle to the Bentleys.
The above facts and deductions lead to the conclusion that James Spicer married a sister of Constable John, William and Samuel.
James Spicer’s wife therefore was a daughter of Samuel1 Bentley.
First cousins (Samuel3 and Jane (Spicer) Bentley) married; and two of their grandchildren, also first cousins (Hiram and Levicie (Bentley) Bentley), married. Our Bentley family, descended from these double first cousin marriages, thus has not one descent from Samuel1 Bentley, the Immigrant, but FOUR.
Hiram5 Bentley was the grandson of Samuel3 Bentley, and through him, great-grandson of Samuel1 Bentley;
Levicie5 Bentley was the granddaughter of Samuel3 Bentley, and through him, great-great granddaughter of Samuel1 Bentley;
Hiram5 Bentley was also the grandson of Jane (Spicer) Bentley, and through her, great-great grandson of Samuel1 ; and
Levicie5 Bentley was the granddaughter of Jane (Spicer) Bentley, and through her great-great granddaughter of Samuel1 Bentley.
This quadruple descendent first reveals itself in the persons of Judge John Samuel6 Bentley, one of the leading men of Coosa County, Alabama, and his brother Oliver Callaway6 Bentley, Superintendent of Education I Elmore County, Alabama. John Samuel and Oliver Callaway each left a son who rose to prominence as a missionary minister.
As shown in the history of the Bentley family, intermarriages here have produced a superior strain of individuals.
Ensign Samuel4 Bentley Jr.
Samuel4 Bentley Jr., the son of Samuel3 and Jane (Spicer) Bentley, was born July 8, 1772, in Halifax County, Virginia.
At an early age, Samuel Jr. appears on the records of Halifax Co. From 1792 to 1787 he is shown as Samuel Bentl(e)y Jr. on the Halifax County personal Property tax lists, although not on the land books. This indicates he was “of age”(i.e. over 16) but was not a landowner.
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