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Nathaniel Rice (d. Bef. Jan. 29, 1753), Colonial Governor of North Carolina
Posted by: David Brown (ID *****9344) Date: January 13, 2008 at 11:13:30
  of 12094

Nathaniel Rice (my probable 7th great-grandfather) served as Secretary & later President of the Royal Council of Colonial North Carolina from c.1731 to 1753 as well as Governor of the North Carolina Colony in 1734 and again 1752-1753 (he died by January 29, 1753). He was married at least twice as follows:

Anne Gibbs in St. Clements Danes of London, England in 1726;
Mary Bursey in Unknown Location between 1726 & 1753

A curious reference in correspondence from George Burrington, another colonial governor of North Carolina referred to Nathaniel Rice as a brother-in-law of Martin Bladen who was Lord Commissioner of the Board of Trade and Plantations as well as Member of Parliament. This reference has been a bit of a mystery, but thanks to Karen Proudler in the United Kingdom, I believe the mystery has been solved! Anne Gibbs, whom Nathaniel Rice married in 1726, was a sister of Mary Gibbs, wife of Martin Bladen. The Gibbs' sisters were daughters of John Gibbs, "planter" of Currituck and Governor of the North Carolina colony in 1689, and Elizabeth (Pride) Gibbs, great-niece of General George Monck, First Duke of Albemarle and one of the eight original Lords Proprietors of Carolina.

Information (as provided by Karen) pertaining to the Gibbs/Pride/Monck relationship follows below.

From Karen Proudler (contact website: www.bladens.co.uk) including appeal to House of Lords & explanatory comments:

Martin Bladen owned land known as Gibbs Marsh, North Carolina. This land is mentioned in a book History of the Dividing Lline written by Martin's acquaintance William Byrd of Westover Virginia. This was a satirical account of his expedition in 1728 to survey the border between Virginia and North Carolina. Byrd states that "this belonged formerly to Governor Gibbs, but since his decease, to Colonal Bladen in right of his 1st Lady who was Mr Gibb's daughter" NDB William Byrd, NUL. John Gibbs was a planter of Currituck N.C. (close to VA border) who was described as something of a fire-eater and claimed that he had been appointed Governor of North Carolina. A revolution in the earlly 1690s occurred and Gibbs escaped with his wife and children, eventully reaching England but his claim as Governor was repudiated (probably tied to the legality of N.C. ownership). This land may have originally been derived from Martin Bladen's mother in law Elizabeth (Pride) Gibbs, who would have fled with her husband. On the death of Gibbs she remarried circa mid 1690s William Sherwin, the famous Royal portrait engraver. Martin would have married Mary Gibbs circa 1698-1700 in London

YEAR 1709, Dec 5th, no. 2615, EARL OF BATH & OTHERS -v- SHERWIN & OTHERS

This was a House of Lord's Bill (an appeal by complainants) to finally settle once and for all, the legitimacy of Christopher Monk, the 2nd Duke of Albemarle (d. 1688). A legal case had been going for some 15 years.

a) first paragraph. "George, late Duke of Albemarle, was in his life time and at his death seized (held) a great estate in England, Ireland, Carolina and elsewhere. He died 3 Jan 1669, leaving Christopher, late Duke of Albemarle, his son and heir ... (died) 6 Oct 1688 (without issue). John, late Earl of Bath (others) ... claimed parts of the estate ..."

George Monk (d. 1669) 1st Duke of Albemarle, fought initially for King Charles I (1640s civil war) but was captured by Sir Thomas Fairfax and later fought alongside Fairfax on the parliamentary side. Both Fairfax and Monk are credited with restoring Charles II in 1660 (called The Restoration) to the throne, with Fairfax only receiving a life sparing pardon (involved in the Trial of Charles I), however Monk received the highest accolates. King Charles II, in appreciation for the support leading up to the restoration, gave large tracts of North America, known as Carolina (and later Bahamas Is.) as a charter to 8 joint proprietors. Three of these were the Duke of Albemarle, Lord Craven, Earl of Clarendon(1). Caroline comprised the current US states of North and South Carolina.

b) third paragraph "six years after the death of Duke Christopher (therefore 1694) Thomas Pride (jnr) and Elizabeth his sister, who was formerly wife of one Gibbs and afterwards married William Sherwin, set on foot a scandalous story that Anne, Duchess of Albemarle, mother of Duke Christopher ... was never married to Duke George, or if she was, that her first husband was still living at the time of the birth of Duke Christopher ... Thomas Pride (jnr) who was himself the son and heir of Elizabeth the daughter of Thomas Monk Esq, eldest brother of Duke George, therefore claimed to be heir at law to Duke George".

Thomas Pride (jnr) was a lieutenant in his father's regiment in November 1647 and attained the rank of captain. He married Rebecca, daughter of William Brydges, 7th Lord Chandos. His mother was Elizabeth Monk, niece of General George Monk, Duke of Albemarle. His father was Thomas Pride (d. 1658) soldier who fought with Sir Thomas Fairfax, parliamentary general who in 1648 instructed Pride to guard the entrances to the House of Commons preventing about 90 members from entering, popularly known as Pride's Purge. Thomas Pride snr was with Sir Thomas Fairfax on the trial of Charles I. Pride Snr had become rich enough to buy the royal palace of Nonsuch and was buried there in 1658. In the Restoration he was attainte and his estates confiscated (his body was not exhumed and hung like Cromwells, Ireton and Bradshaw) - attached NDB.

Elizabeth Pride, sister of Thomas Pride jnr above, former wife of one Gibbs and then of William Sherwin (d. 1710). From the National Dictionary of Bibliography for William Sherwin - describes him as a famous royal engraver, who specialised in mezzotint plates for royal and other VIP portraits as taught to him by Prince Rupert (Charles II's cousin). His wife is described as "Elizabeth Pride, great niece and ward of George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, whose heir at law she eventually became" - attached NDB William Sherwin.

c) last four lines, p. 316. A bill, the object ... finally to quiet all questions ... (re) legitimacy of Duke Christopher .......

(1) Clarendon was the grandfatheer of Queen Mary and Anne and Earl of Rochester - Sir John Darnall jnr's probable patron. Queen Mary's godmother was Mary, duchess of Buckingham, daughter of the aforesaid Sir Thomas Fairfax (1611-1681) 3rd Baron Fairfax of Cameron.

----------------

Last four lines p. 316. A bill, the object ... finally to quiet all questions re legitimacy of Duke Chrisopher ... was referred in the Court of Chancery in Michaelmas Term 1703, by petitioners viz, William Henry Earl of Bath (& others) Complainants, against William Sherwin and Elizabeth, his wife, Martin Bladen and Mary his wife (& others) Defendants

The cause was heard on 31 May 1706 and on the 28th June last (1708) a Decree was made and pronounced therein, whereby the Bill was dismissed with costs".

William Henry, Earl of Bath, grandson of the late John, Earl of Bath (d. 1701).

Martin Bladen (1680-1745) - son of Nathaniel Bladen & Isabel Fairfax, married as first wife Mary Gibbs.

p. 318 Annexed e). Answer of Anne Gibbs, an infant ... with her sister Mary, the wife of Martin Bladen, are the co-heirs of George, late Duke of Albemarle, being the only children of Elizabeth Sherwin deceased, by John Gibbs, her former husband deceased. The said Elizabeth was sister and heir of the late Thomas Pride (Jnr) Esq).

Anne Gibbs - sister in law of Martin Bladen

p. 319, first paragraph, "Sir Samuel (Barnardiston) lent a sum of 350 l. to Thomas Pride (Jnr) and his wife (Rebecca Brydges), and after their death, a further sum of 200 l. to William Sherwin for the securing of which debt 550 l. William and Elizabeth Sherwin and Martin and Mary Bladen by Indenture dated 28 April 1703 conveyed to Sir Samuel and his heirs the Manor of Clewar and other messuages, land and tenements in Clewar and New Windsor in the county of Berkshire, subject to (redemption clause).

Sir Samuel Barnardiston (1620-1707) whig politician and deputy governor of the East India Company.

Manor of Clewar, New Windsor - according to the History of Berkshire 1908 this formed part of the royal estate known as Windsor Castle and the split into Old (Windsor Castle) and the New Windsor appears to have occurred in the reign of King Charles II. It is assumed that the King gave this to the Duke of Albemarle. Some time in the first part of the 18th century it had reverted back to the crown, into the current Windsor Castle estate.

My interpretation is that the Appeal of 1709 by the Complainants, in the House of Lords, was not successful, leaving it open to the Defendants to recover the assets (i.e. in favour of Martin Bladen and the Gibbs clan). THis is based solely on the evidence as to what happened in the longer term, from the reference in the N.D.B. for William Sherwin, as described above. "Elizabeth Pride, great neice and ward of George Monck, Duke of Albemarle, whose heir at law she eventually became". Further investigation would be of real interest. The one comment I would make is that this is a most unique case, that dragged on for some 15 years, funnelling down the family tree to eventually end up in Martin Bladen's lap - maybe it was a strategic marriage - Mary (Gibbs) Bladen was the mother of Isabella (Bladen) Tinker Blound and therefore the descendants of this family can claim the whole Gibbs / Pride / Monk ancestry. This also explains why Martin and Mary (Gibbs) Bladen christened their son, as George Monk Bladen in 1702 at St Martin's Westminster. It is noted that whilst these court cases and House of Lords hearing were being conducted, Martin Bladen was away (probably for most of the time) fighting for the Duke of Marlborough in the War of the Spanish Succession 1701-14. Probably because this was such a significant inheritance he probably made sure, he was available in London when these were being conducted!

Therefore Martin Bladen and his Gibbs relatives potentially inherited (legitimately after 1709 say) estates in England and land in North America (also re England: Sutton in Yorks.

Circumnstantial evidence of this is as follows: The Crown in 1719 purchased South Carolina from the proprietors and in 1729 North Caroline (known as Albemarle). All this occurred whilst Martin was a Commissioner on the Board of Trade and Plantations, which administered colonies in North America, West Indies and others. In 1731 Burrington was selected as the first governor of North Carollina and "this was presumably the work of Martin Bladen". In 1733 Burrington was recalled and states in his letters that Martin Bladen implied that a relative of Bladen's was to replace him". - American Colonies in the 18th C. N.U.L. Via the net, I obtained details on Bladen County, North Carolina, "it was called Bladen in honour of Martin Bladen, a Lord Commissioner of Trade and Plantations ... fifty five of the one hundred counties in North Carolina can boast that they were once part of the original Bladen precinct". Early History of Bladen County. This indicates that Martin had a significant influence re N.C. either via the Board or in ownership. Maybe it was this strong connection to N.C. that provided a passport to the Board of T&P in 1717.


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