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Re: Joseph Timberlake Sr. of Caroline Co Va
Posted by: Larry Blackman (ID *****6831) Date: February 23, 2003 at 13:05:06
In Reply to: Joseph Timberlake Sr. of Caroline Co Va by ollie clarke of 986

Hi, Ollie.

I can't be sure about this, but my guess is that this Joseph Timberlake is actually Joseph Timberlake III, the grandson of Joseph Timberlake, who died in Middlesex County, Virginia, on March 14, 1719. For more on this line see messages 224, 368, 497, 593, and 665 on the Timberlake GenForum. Joseph Timberlake, Jr., was born October 18, 1719, in Middlesex and somewhat later moved to Port Royal, Caroline County.

According to "The Timberlakes: Shaping Fluvana," by David W.C. Bearr, Joseph Timberlake, Jr., and his wife, Elizabeth (Dixon) Timberlake, had four sons, John, Lewis, Joseph, and someone else. Joseph Timberlake III married Mary Bowie. Furthermore, a son of Joseph and Mary (Bowie) Timberlake was John Bowie Timberlake, who "married the now infamous Peggy O'Neil who was the victim of many speculative accounts after she was involved in scandal during the Andrew Jackson administration." All of this is on p. 11 of Bearr's article.

Let's speculate a bit just to see if we can get the dates about right. Suppose Joseph Timberlake, Jr., married Elizabeth Dixon ca. 1744. He would have been about age 25. Maybe he was younger when he married. In any event, Bearr tells us (on p. 9) that John Timberlake, son of Joseph, Jr., was born in 1748 and died in 1832. We aren't informed when Joseph Timberlake III was born, but if he was a younger brother to John, he might have been born, say, in 1754. Then maybe Joseph Timberlake III was married ca. 1777. He would have been about age 23.

Now let's go to another source. A while back, a professional genealogist named Judith Carman did some research for me on various Timberlake families in Virginia. Among other things she came up with a chancery suit in Caroline County: "William Drummond vs. Sarah Timberlake, widow of Joseph Timberlake. Polly (Sarah) and children James, John, Joseph, Polly, Jane and Lucy, children of Joseph Timberlake, deceased, and George Terrell, late Sheriff of Caroline County, 15 March 1799. Sarah the mother and widow of Joseph Timberlake refers to her children as being under 21 and their guardian was James Bowie on 10 March 1800." This means that the children were born no earlier than 1779. Almost certainly this was the source for the entry on p. 37 of William L. Hopkins' book on Caroline County, but I'm not sure Hopkins mentioned the fact that the children were under age 21 in 1800.

Furthermore, in The Autobiography of Peggy Eaton (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932), Margaret ("Peggy") O'Neil says she was born December 3, 1799. As we know, her first husband was John Bowie Timberlake. Although we don't know when John was born, let's suppose this happened ca. 1790. Then, indeed, he would have been less than age 21 in 1800. What I am suggesting is that the John Timberlake mentioned in the Caroline County chancery suit might have been the same as John Bowie Timberlake, later to be the husband of Peggy O'Neil. On p. 27 of her autobiography, Peggy O'Neil writes that her husband's mother lived at Port Royal. Moreover, Peggy also claims (on pp. 20-21) that she first laid eyes on John B. Timberlake when she was age 16 [1815], at which time he was already a purser in the U.S. Navy, so he was certainly somewhat older than she. In other words, both the places and the dates fit. This doesn't constitute a "proof" that the John Bowie Timberlake who married Peggy O'Neil was the same as the young John Timberlake mentioned in the Caroline County chancery suit, but I think it is somewhat likely.

Peggy (O'Neil)(Timberlake) Eaton also informs us (on pp. 44-45) that she had three chidren by John B. Timberlake: William, who died at six months, Virginia, and Margaret.

Now, on pp. 17-18 of Look Where the Sun is: Timberlake Reflections, by Clarice (Jones) Foster, we get an account of the Joseph Timberlake line first published in the famous "Timberlake Genealogy" by Mary Adeline (Timberlake) McCall. She writes about the four sons of Joseph Timberlake, Jr., namely, John Timberlake, whom she describes as the eldest son of Joseph of Port Royal; Lewis Timberlake; William Timberlake; and Joseph Timberlake. Here is what she says about son Joseph: "The last son of Joseph I was Joseph II. [She was evidently unaware that she was actually talking about Joseph, Jr., and Joseph III.] He had three children, Jack, of the Navy; Virginia, who married a Bowie, and Lucy, who married a Gravitt." And she goes on to write (naturally) about Peggy O'Neil and the "nose-pulling" incident.

This both helps and hurts our case. What helps is that Addie McCall claims a daughter of Joseph Timberlake III was a certain Lucy. Sure enough, a Lucy Timberlake is mentioned in the chancery suit as a daughter of the deceased Joseph Timberlake. (Bearr doesn't mention Lucy.) What hurts is that, according to the chancery suit, Joseph's wife was named Polly or Sarah, while in Bearr it is said that Joseph's wife was Mary Bowie. What may resolve this is that "Polly" was often a nickname for Mary. Another problem is that the "Virginia Timberlake" mentioned in Addie McCall's genealogy was unnamed in the chancery suit. Perhaps Virginia Timberlake (who is said to have married a Bowie) was older than age 21 in 1800; maybe she had already married and out of the household. I really don't know otherwise how to account for Virginia.

Maybe I have only succeeded in confusing things, but I do think the evidence is fairly strong that we are talking here about the same John Bowie Timberlake, son of Joseph Timberlake III of Caroline County. And it follows that the Joseph Timberlake whose name appears in Hopkins' book was Joseph Timberlake III.

Best wishes, Larry

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