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John, d. 1779, Culpeper, VA; wife Apphia; was she a Thornton?
Posted by: Duane Boggs (ID *****6286) Date: February 04, 2011 at 09:56:17
  of 492

John Foshee was likely born before 1725, probably in Virginia, and died about 1779 in Culpeper County, VA, leaving a Will written in 1777. Researcher Kathleen Bowen has posted a family tree on World Connect ( that includes this John Foushee. She has posted his Last Will, from 1777. In addition to John's son, Thornton Foushee, there is mention of a Luke Thornton as one of the witnesses.

I think the fact that John and Apphia (Thornton???) Foushee named a son Thornton Foushee, and the fact that a Luke Thornton was a witness to the Will, provide strong circumstantial evidence that Apphia's maiden name was Thornton. It is also likely that the witness Luke Thornton was related to her. This Luke, to be a witness, was almost certainly at least 16 years old in 1777, and more likely over 18, or even over 21, and so born before 1761 (and possibly as early as the 1720s (so that he would have been a contemporary of John and Apphia)). I have looked at various men named Luke Thornton (all from a Thornton family originating in the area of Westmoreland and/or Richmond Counties, in VA, and several of whom then had connections to Orange County, VA). My own guess is that this witness Luke Thornton was the son of Daniel and Sarah (Sanford) Thornton, of Orange County (this Luke is mentioned in Daniel's Will in 1815 (probated in 1821). I am guessing this Luke was born between 1756 and 1760.

IF this theory is correct, then this witness Luke Thornton would have been the nephew of Apphia (Thornton??) Foushee. Apphia (Thornton??) Foushee might have named her son Daniel after her brother Daniel. This would make Apphia the daughter of James and Ann Thornton of Orange County.

Does anyone have any different, better evidence of the maiden name of Apphia (Mrs. John Foushee)? Does anyone have any different, better ideas on the identity of the witness Luke Thornton, and how he might have been related to Apphia? If so, please share, by posting a reply here, or by contacting me directly at

Copying verbatim from Ms. Bowen's family tree (at, here is the Will of John Foushee.

Will of John Foushee, written 1777, probated 1779:
In the name of God amen. I John Foshee of the county of Culpeper and Parish of Saint Marks being weak in Body but of Sound mind and memory thanks be to God for the same do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following. after having commended my soul to God who gave it and my Body to be Buried at the discretion of my Friends ------

Item I will that all my Just debts and legacys be duly paid--------

Item I will that my Tract of Land on which I now live of which I am possest in fee simple containing by Survey at several times and several parcels Five hundred and Eighty five acres, be taken into three parts or Divisions the the first middle and principal part to hold or contain three hundred and thirty five acres and on which my Buildings and Improvements chiefly are the second Division to begin at a corner bounded with Mr. Peter Gatewood on Cedar Run thence down the Run Sixty five poles to the Back line at such a place as shall Include or take into the Intended Division One hundred and Fifty acres bounded by said lines to the South East by Mr. Gatewood, Capt. Goodrich Lightfoot & the back line to the North and West. The third and last part of the Division Begin at a Corner bounding with John Wolfenburger thence up the Glade as far as it would take in or Include one hundred acres
with Joining Mr. Charles Porters? (I believe it's "Porters" - there's a bit of an ink blot) or Mr. Nathaniel Saunders line.

Item I give or Lend unto my Faithfull wife Apphia Foshee during her Widowhood all that Middle or Principal Division of land as above Described being three hundred and thirty five acres with the house and household furniture of every Kind Gardens Orchards plantations fence and woods thereon
containing together with six Negro Slaves, by name Tom, Dick, Harry fellows Beck Judy and Silk(?) and if my loving and Faithfull wife Apphia Foshee should Marry again, I will that then she should take her choice of Five negroes out of the six aforementioned and Fifty pounds Cash during her natural life & at the Death or Marriage of my wife then the middle division of land aforementioned being three hundred and thirty five acres goes to my son John Foshee then the remainder of the six negroes aforementioned was given or lent to my loving wife Apphia Foshee during her Widowhood be they more or less all and every one of them together with the Household furniture of every kind and Tools of every Kind with the stock which shall then be of every Kind cattle horses hogs Sheep to be Equally Settled and Divided amongst my several children which shall be then living or their Heirs Married or unnmarried without respect or difference to each alike the choice of a person or persons so to divide to lie in my Two Eldest sons which shall be then living--------

Item I give to my son John Foshee and his Heirs one Negro man named Will and a Feather bed and Furniture

Item I give to my son Benjamin Foshee and his Heirs one hundred acres of land that he now lives upon being the third division aforementioned and a negro Giirl named Winney

Item I give to my son Thornton Foshee and his Heirs one hundred and Fifty acres of Land being the second Division aforementioned and a negro Girl named Alice and a Feather Bed and Furniture

Item I give to my son George Foshee and his Heirs Two Negroes Sam, a grown fellow and Morriss, a boy & a Feather bed & Furniture

Item I give to my son Charles Foshee & his Heirs Two Negroes Frank a grown Wench and Moses a boy & Twenty pounds Cash & a Feather bed & Furniture

Item I give to my son Joseph Foshee and his Heirs Two Negros James a boy and Milley a Girl & Thirty pounds Cash and a Feather bed & Furniture

Item I give to my son William Foshee & his Heirs Two Negroes Phill a boy and Diner a Girl and Thirty pounds Cash & a Feather bed & Furniture

Item I give to my son Elijah Foshee and his Heirs Two Negroes Bob a boy & Sally a Girl and Thirty pounds Cash & a Feather bed & Furniture

Item I give to my son Daniel Foshee & his Heirs Two Negroes Edmun a boy & Fanny a Girl and Thirty pounds Cash and a Feather bed & Furniture

Item I give to my daughter Nancy Tureman and her Heirs Two Negro Girls named Ginney & Caty and Thirty pounds Cash

Item I give to my daughter Jemimah Foshee and her Heirs Two Negro Girls named Rose and Rachel and Thirty pounds Cash and a Feather bed & Furniture

Item I give to my daughter Hannah Foshee & her Heirs Two Negroes Siller (?) a Girl and Isaiah a boy & Thirty pounds Cash & a Feather bed & Furniture

Item I give to my daughter Elisabeth Foshee and her Heirs one Negro Girl named Milley and Seventy pounds Cash & a Feather bed & Furniture

Item I will that the Orphans such as are in Manage together with their several parts be and remain under the care & Discretion of my wife Abphia Foshee & such their parts be given out at Age or Marriage

Item I will that such Estate in Land or negroes which shall by virtue of this my Last Will and Testament become the Lot or part of aney of my children return to and remain in the the hands of my said Wife in case or aney of then should happen to Depart this life Unmarried or in Manage within
the lifetime of my said Wife and such Estate so returning to be considered as a part of and be Divided in the latter Division with the before mentioned

Item I will that Dower be and Remain Vested in my Wife Abphia Foshee according to her discretion to help if any of the Orphans happen to sustain loss of their or any of their certain part by death of their Negroes or other Accidents which she my said Wife shall be yet living & in that case she will or may confer on or give unto such a one so sustaining loss such Negroes or such Effects as she shall best Judge as convenient yet not so as to Surpass the prime valuation of such Orphan as sustaining loss

Item I will that if either of my three sons Joh Foshee Bejamin Foshee & Thornton Foshee should happen to Depart this life without Heir or Heirs living Truly begotten of their own Bodies that then their said Land be sold and Equally divided amongst my sevrla children then living or their Heirs

Lastly I nominate and appoint my Faithfull and loving wife Abphia Foshee and John Foshee and Benjamin Foshee & John Tureman Executrix and Executors of this my Last Will and Testament Disannuling and making void any former Will or other Instrument of like nature heretofore by me made and /done and this only approve and Allow to be my Last Will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this Fifteenth Day of April In the year of our Lord one Thousand seven hundred and seventy seven--------
John Foshee (seal)
Luke Thornton Peter Gatewood

At a Court held for Culpeper County the 21st Day of June 1779
This Last will and Testament of John Foshee dec d was exhibited at the Court by Abphia Foshee and John Foshee Two of the Executors therein named and was proved by the oaths of the Witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded, and on the motion of the said Executors Certificate is granted them for obtaining a probat thereof in due form they having made oath thereto and given bond & Security according to Law
Teste John Jameson

I am researching the Thornton family of Orange County, Virginia. I am trying to make connections for an Apphia Thornton, born circa 1723, and who married a John Foushee and named a son Thornton Foushee.

I have come across what I consider reliable evidence that a John Foushee (imagine the various spellings possible) was born in or somewhat before 1712 to John and Elizabeth (Spoe) Foushee of Lunenburg Parish of Richmond County, Virginia (on the Rappahannock River). By 1740 or so, this John Foushee had married an Apphia Thornton, either in the area of Richmond County (there were several Thornton families there) OR perhaps in Orange County, Virginia (where several families from Richmond County, including Foushee, Thornton, Petty and others) migrated (perhaps even before 1735, when Orange was formed from Spotsylvania County). John and Apphia (Thornton) Foushee had many children, including a son named Thornton Foushee,a daughter named Ann (nickname “Nancy”, and because she was apparently the first of their daughters to marry, to John Tureman, before 1777, she was likely the eldest daughter), and a son named Daniel.

I am working on a theory that this Apphia Thornton was a daughter of the James and Ann (maiden name unknown or “MNU”) Thornton of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia, who migrated to Orange County before 1740. I believe that name clues can lead to a possible identification of Ann (MNU) Thornton.

The evidence is what I call the "Apphia Phenomenon". The female name Apphia appears in the New Testament of the Bible. See the Book of Philemon, chapter 1, verse 2. Due to simpler education and more relaxed spelling conventions of the 17th and 18th centuries, this name can appear in records as Affia, Apphir and other variant spellings (some of which were the choice of the writer, but some of which are likely transcription errors, based on inability to decipher the less-than-clear handwritten script from a quill pen).

Drawing from the Bible for personal names is/was not an unusual practice, but the name Apphia is relatively rare. I doubt if a lot of different parents went skimming through the Bible and, independently of each other, all happened upon the name “Apphia”. This would be too great of a coincidence. Instead, I think that these parents must have been exposed to the name (that is, they knew someone who had the name or at least heard talk of a person with the name). Of course, names can also be used as clues for family connections, and I believe I have found a connected chain of related women named Apphia. This "Apphia Phenomenon" seems to have been geographically limited to the counties on the lower Rappahannock River, in Tidewater Virginia.

I have done a search of all of the family trees submitted to World Connect ( for women with this name in Virginia from about 1650 to 1720, and I have found that several of the women were related, through generations of a single family.

First was Apphia Hughes, born in the British Isles (or possibly Virginia) in the 1600s. She married Richard Bushrod (who was a “captain” at some point in time, probably in the colonial Virginia militia).

Apphia (Hughes) Bushrod had a son, John Bushrod, who married Hannah Keene and named one of his daughters after his mother (the baby girl’s paternal grandmother), thus an Apphia Bushrod. This Apphia married William Fauntleroy and had a daughter that she named for herself, thus Apphia Fauntleroy.

Apphia (Hughes) Bushrod also had a daughter, Elizabeth Bushrod, who married Richard Doggett (son of the Reverend Benjamin Doggett) and named one of her daughters after her mother (the baby girl’s maternal grandmother), thus an Apphia Doggett.

Now Richard and Elizabeth (Bushrod) Doggett also had a daughter named Ann (or Anne), born somewhere between about 1693 and 1700, probably in Lancaster County, Virginia (also on the Rappahannock River, adjacent to Richmond County). On June 20, 1721, Richard Doggett wrote his Last Will, which was recorded with the Lancaster County court on November 8, 1721. In his Will, Richard expressly mentioned his wife Elizabeth, his sons Bushrod and George, his daughter Ann and “other” children. Thus, Ann was still alive in 1721 and possibly still single. I have searched the Latter Day Saints website ( and no submitter has reported a spouse for this Ann Doggett. I have also looked at the approximately 17 family trees submitted to World Connect that include this Ann Doggett. Sixteen of them have no spouse for this Ann Doggett (and one mistakenly confuses this Ann with her first cousin, another Ann Doggett, who married George Reeves). Thus, it appears that this Ann Doggett’s spouse (if any) has not yet been identified. While it is possible that she died soon after 1721, while still single, or remained single into later life, the most likely scenario is that she married while in her 20s.

My THEORY is that Ann Doggett, born about 1700, married about 1722 James Thornton of neighboring Richmond County, VA. In approximately 1724, James and Ann had a daughter, who they named Apphia Thornton (possibly after Ann’s sister, Apphia (Doggett) Boatman, or possibly after Ann’s maternal grandmother, Apphia (Hughes) Bushrod).

Does anyone have any other explanation for the name of Apphia (Thornton) Foushee? Please contact me directly at if you are interested in this Thornton family of Richmond and Orange Counties in Virginia.

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