Well, Sonia, all I know about these people I learned at the Society of Genealogists nearly a year ago, on my last trip to London. There is a wonderful 3-volume set of books there by Noel Currer-Briggs titled “English Adventurers and Virginia Settlers,” published in 1969.
I didn’t post what I found because I wanted time to analyze it. Well, the time never became available – or I spent it tracking down other ancestors. So here are some facts for you to work with. Let me know what they mean. I have added a few comments, but I really don’t have a conclusion.
But first, something very significant that I found at the Fort Wayne (Indiana) genealogy library, on my summer 2007 trip. I admit I’m awful about collecting data and then hoarding it. Anyway, this is an abstract of the 1674 will of Thomas Meers of Severn River, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, dated May 16, 1674 and probated September 9, 1674. This is the Thomas Meers who started out in colonial Virginia and showed up as a young man in the “Muster” of Thomas Flynt (or Flint). Incidentally, Flint in 1628 patented 1,000 acres (for which he would have needed 20 head rights; I haven’t researched to check if they are available) adjacent to the plantation of John Rolfe, whom we Americans know as the husband of Indian princess Pocahontas. I think this might have something to do with there being a Pocahontas Precinct in Bond County, Illinois, where my Merry ancestors settled in the 1830s.
Here is what the Thomas Meers will said:
Bequests of personal property to Chris: Rowles; Winlock Cristison of Talbot County (Maryland); Eliza Hawkins, wife of William Hawkins of Broad Neck (a Hundred in AA county); Eliza Underwood; John Gather; and the poor Quakers.
100 Acres and home plantation to wife Elizabeth during her life. (Comment: “home” plantation implies to me that there were others.)
All lands at death of his mother to son Thomas and his heirs.
Residue to wife; son Thomas; daughter Sarah, wife of John Homewood.
Another source (which I failed to note; I might have made a copy, which is stashed away elsewhere) says that Sarah Homewood was the sister of John Meers of AA county. Also, John Meers’ will was made in 1675 in AA county.
I also recall seeing somewhere that Thomas Meers, son of Thomas Meers, was listed as a head right in Maryland for his father.
But then there is this:
A Thomas Meares was listed as a head right for William Yarrett (or Yorrett) and Francis Whittington, for a 580-acre patent on the north side of the Rappahannock river (“next above land of Robert Bird) in 1650. This land was then in Old Rappahannock County, now in Richmond County. That part of Virginia was not really being developed in 1650, but there was a lot of land speculation with wealthy planters staking claims. Was this the Thomas Meers son, being brought back into Virginia from Maryland? I think they did things like that. Also, I think those two owners may have Quaker connections.
But now on to the Currer-Briggs book.
1711, probated 1712, will of Henry Hayward, York County – witnessed by Francis Merries.
1687 will of John Robinson of New Poquoson, York County – to Peter Merry; one yearling heifer. Others named are wife Elizabeth, son Anthony, grandson John Robinson. William Wise, son of William Wise, also gets a heifer. So he and Peter Merry are both grandsons?
1658, probated 1659, will of Francis Heyward, witnessed by John Merrey. York County.
1666, probated 1668, will of Thomas Kirby, witnessed by William Merry, Henry Freeman (Thomas Sr. married a Freeman, right?) And Robert Shelton. York County.
1694, probated 1695, will of Robert Miller. (Bequests to?) Wife Alphya Miller, god-daughter Margaret Lowry, friend William Lowry, godson Augustine More Jr., friend Mrs. Hannah Marshall., Frances Lowry. Residue to wife Alphya Miller, Alpha Prettyman and Thomasine Prettyman, equally among them. Elizabeth City County, “Back River.” This is on the same neck as York and Warwick Counties. In Virginia geography, necks are peninsulas, except they are between two rivers. The main rivers flowing into Chesapeake Bay, as you travel north, are the James; York; Rappahannock and Potomac. There are necks between all of them. There are some minor rivers that may also result in “necks.”
Then: 1695, William Lowry, father of Margaret Lowry, sues Alphya Miller for 2 negroes given to her by will of Robert Miller. Elizabeth City County court.
1689 York County deed recites that John Merry at the time of his death owned 100 acres near the head of the New Poquoson River on the south side and that he died intestate without heirs. Land granted to John Toton of James City. Comment: Were brothers, uncles, nephews or cousins considered eligible as heirs then, if there was no will?
1694 Elizabeth City County – Augustine More collects list of tithables. This makes him sheriff or deputy sheriff, or some such title. He is identified as being from Old Poquoson Precincts. By 1700, he “is no longer sheriff.”
1666 Augustine Moore of Old Poquoson, Lancaster County, and wife Mary sell to John Scarborow 300 acres on Piankatank River, granted to him in a parcel of 650 acres, 1662. This is a smaller river between the York and Rappahannock, not the same neck as York, Warwick and Elizabeth City Counties.
1651, Northampton County (on the other side of Chesapeake Bay), Augustine More, going to Holland, leaves with Robert Bailey of Northampton County, tailor, 2 cows; “they shall be at his disposal until my return out of England.”
1687 estate of John Merry, deceased; Thomas Curson is paid 300 pounds of tobacco and Thomas Kirby is paid 1500 pounds. Presumably these were debts. York County. In 1685 John Merry had been a juror in a case involving Robert Kerby and Nicholas Rawlins. York County.
1683 William Meeres serves on York County grand jury.
Finally, there is the Elizabeth City County will of Thomas Merry, dated May 12, 1718 and probated June 18, 1718. It mentions his sons Prettyman Merry, Thomas Merry and John Merry and daughters Mary Merry and Elizabeth Merry. All of them are under 18 years old (daughters under 16). Cousins are William Brasey and Mary Brasey (more on that family in another post soon). Executor is his loving friend and kinsman William Tucker. Alternate is friend Samuel Roberts. Witnesses are Symon Hollier, Plane Ward and John Wilson.
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