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Hester, wife of Isaac of Isle of Wight, VA 1685: what proof she was a Fawdon?
Posted by: Duane Boggs (ID *****6286) Date: November 30, 2010 at 14:19:52
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Numerous researchers of the family of John George (ca. 1602 to ca. December 1678) of Isle of Wight County, Virginia state that his son Isaac (mentioned explicitly in John's Will) married Hester Fawden (a/k/a Fawdon), supposedly daughter of George Fawdon. Does anyone have credible evidence to support this idea? If so, please share.

I believe that Isaac's wife Hester was NOT the daughter of George Fawden or Fawdon. Below is my rationale.

1. In 1685, Isaac George and his wife Hester sold land that Isaac had inherited from his father to his late father's friend, James Powell. Unless someone seriously misread the old handwritten records, then this is pretty clear evidence that, as of 1685, Isaac's wife's first name was Hester.

2. Researcher Marty Grant has located a court record from March 1702 (new style) from Surry County, VA (which borders Isle of Wight County's "Upper Parish", where Isaac George lived in 1685) whereby one Thomas George, orphan son of Isaac George, was bound out to Thomas Drew.

3. The practice of binding out an orphan only applied to minors (not yet of legal age). Assuming that the legal age at that time in Virginia was 21, then we can infer that Thomas George was under 21 in March 1702 and so born sometime after March 1681.

4. Thomas Drew appeared on the tax or tithe lists for Surry County, VA in 1702 and 1703, and all males of the age of 16 or over in his household were enumerated by name. There was no mention of Thomas George. From this, I believe we can infer that at the time the 1703 list was effective, Thomas George was under 16 (assuming he was still alive and had not died following the March 1702 binding out). To be under 16 in 1703, he would have been born after 1686.

5. Isaac George's wife in 1685 was Hester, and Thomas George was likely born soon after 1686, and so would have been Hester's son as well.

6. Given human physiology, it is well-established that women experience declining fertility after age 40 and up until menopause. Therefore, Hester was likely 44 or younger when she bore Thomas George in/after 1686. This means she was most likely born in/after 1642. If she married at 18 or 20, circa 1660-1662, then she was of the right age to bear Isaac's son, Robert George, in February 1666 (new style).

7. In April 1654, George Fawdon had given land to Isaac George, but had provided that the land would revert to Fawdon if Isaac did not reach age 21. Most researchers state that Isaac George was born February 20, 1636 (new style), and so would have been just 18 at the time he received the gift of land from George Fawdon.

8. I believe that most researchers have asked, "Why would George Fawdon have given land to Isaac George?" Some have reasoned that it MIGHT have been a wedding gift and have then made the leap of faith that Isaac George's wife, Hester, MIGHT have been the daughter of George Fawden. The logic, however, does not hold, because there is no supporting evidence and even some contrary evidence.

9. There is NO evidence that George Fawdon had a daughter, or that he had been married at any time before his marriage to Ann Smith in 1654/55.

10. Hester (maiden name unknown) George, wife of Isaac, was almost surely born in/after 1642. Therefore, in 1654, she would only have been 12 or younger.

11. Even in colonial Virginia, I don't think many 12-year-old girls married. Furthermore, not very many 18-year-old boys/men married either. The odds (or statitistical probabilities) are against Isaac George marrying Hester anybody in 1654.

12, There is NO evidence that Isaac George started fathering children as early as 1655. There is evidence that he fathered Robert George in February 1666 (new style; conception nine months before, circa May 1665, when Isaac would have been 29).

12. Therefore, the "guess" that the gift of land from George Fawdon to Isaac George was a wedding gift has no real basis. It is pure conjecture, and very weak at that. It is equally plausible that Fawdon was Isaac George's godfather, or maternal uncle, or simply a very good friend of Isaac's father, John George.

13. Therefore, there is really NO reliable evidence of which I am aware that Hester was born a Fawden.

If anyone has a different interpretation of the data, or additional evidence to support the Fawden theory, please share.

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