I am trying to determine the parents of my ancestor, William Welborn, who married Hepzibah Stearns in 1757 and who lived in the Sandy Creek, NC, area when the famous Separate Baptist preacher Shubal Stearns preached at Sandy Creek Baptist Church.
My line is:
William Welborn m. Hepzibah Stearns
Isaac Stearns Wellborn m. Mary Oldham Barton
Shelton Wellborn m. Pauline L. Murray
Elizabeth L. Wellborn m. Bennett Boggess
Thomas Shelton Boggess m. Frances Ann Lavina Barton
Julian Eugene Boggess m. Laura Lillian Binion,
and Julian is my grandfather and namesake.
In my local library I discovered a seven-volume work by Frederick A. Virkus, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy, originally published in individual volumes during the 20’s and 30’s and republished by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1968. There are Welborns listed in four of the volumes.
In Vol. I, first published in the early 20’s, Virkus lists William Welborn and his ancestors as follows:
“James Welborn, from Wales, in the “Sea Venture,” 1609, which was wrecked, and he arrived at Jamestown, Va., 1610, settled in Accomac Co., Va.;
Capt. Thomas (1640 – 1702) m. Arcadia ____;
Samuel, settled in N.C., 1700, m. Mary ______;
William, soldier in Am. Rev., m. Heptzabah Starnes”
In Vol. II, first published in 1926, Virkus lists exactly the same information for James, John, and Thomas, followed by:
Samuel, settled in N.C., ca. 1700, surveyor; m. Mary Chapley;
Thomas (d. 1778), will recorded in Guilford Co., N.C.”
Note that by Volume II Virkus had apparently discovered additional information about Samuel Welborn; he was a surveyor, and his wife was Mary Chapley.
In Vol. IV, first published in 1930, Virkus lists the same information for James and John as given previously, followed by:
Capt. Thomas (1640 – 1702), mem. Bd. of Justices and high sheriff, Accomac Co.; m. Arcadia Toft (Henry, m. Anne ____);
Samuel, settled in N.C., ca. 1700, surveyor; m. Mary (or Mason?);
William (1762 – 1839), soldier in Am. Rev., m. Heptzabah Starnes”
By 1930 Virkus apparently is not sure William’s wife is Mary Chapley.
In Vol. VI, first published in 1937, Virkus lists a William Wilburn as one of the the descendants of “John” (instead of James) Welborn of the ‘Sea Venture’:
William (Willbourne, Wellbourne, Wellborn) Wilburn (said to have been son of John Wellbourne, who was wrecked in the ‘Sea Venture’ on Bermuda, 1609), to Jamestown , Va., 1610; had grants in Accomac Co., Va., 1636, in Nansemond, 1637; married dau. of Robert Jordan
Robert (1638 – 1698), wrote name Wellbourne; Nansemond to Lancaster, Va., 1652, to St. Mary’s, Md., 1662; md. Dau. Edward Price.
So by 1937 Virkus thinks the ancestor of the Maryland Welborns is John (or James) Wellbourne of the ‘Sea Venture’). The Samuel Welborn listed by Virkus apparently had three sons, Thomas, James, and my William.
William Welborn and Hepzibah Stearns had many children, including Isaac Stearns Welborn, Johnson Welborn, and Chapley Ross Welborn. “Johnson” and “Chapley” are not standard given names, but apparently are family names. Hepzibah’s mother’s name was Rebecca Johnson, accounting for the first name of Johnson Welborn. But how about Chapley Ross Wellborn (b. 09 Dec 1780 in Randolph Co., NC)? If his paternal grandmother was Mary Chapley, then that would account for his given name. However, I have seen a statement on this forum that “Mary Chapley” was made up by two "little old ladies" many years ago and that the Chapley name was originally “Shapley” and came from Hepzibah Stearns’s line.
I have lots of data on Hepzibah’s ancestors, but I don’t see any connection to a “Shapley” or “Chapley”. A lengthy two-volume work “Genealogy and memoirs of Isaac Stearns and his descendants, vol. 1” and “Genealogy and memoirs of Isaac Stearns and his descendants, vol. 2: Genealogy and memoirs of Charles and Nathaniel Stearns and their descendants” by Avis Stearns Van Wagenen, is available from the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU at their web site: http://www.lib.byu.edu/. After checking the indices for the two volumes, I did not find any listing of a “Chapley” or a “Shapley”. There was an “Olive Shapleigh”, but born far too late (1867) to be the source of Chapley’s name. The names “John Stearns” and “Joseph Chapley” both appear on the “List Of 8000 Men Who Were Prisoners On Board The Old Jersey,” from Project Gutenberg's American Prisoners of the Revolution, by Danske Dandridge, but there is no indication of any relationship between the two men. I searched the Internet for an afternoon or so, and I discovered some Shapley’s in New London, CT, and Charlestown, MA, between 1650-1700, but I could find no record of any marriages to a Stearns. There is a Nicholas Shapley listed on p. 819 of Bond’s history of Watertown, MA, where many Stearns lived, but I find no connection to any of the Stearns.
So, does anybody have any verifiable information on the parents of William Welborn who m. Hepzibah Stearns? Thanks!
- Julian E. Boggess
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