Note: At present I do not have access to the complete original document from which this portion, starting with Part Two, was scanned into the computer. I have also been informed that the author is no longer living. Possibly sometime in the future someone else will decide to scan or retype the remainder of the document.
For information, contactWilliam LaMartin.
SOME OF HIS DESCENDANTS
James E. Morgan, Jr.
James E. Morgan, Jr., 2462 Whites Mill Road
Sumter, South Carolina 29153
NICHOLAS SESSOMS, IMMIGRANT ANCESTOR
Nicholas Sessoms, along with six others, was transported to the Colony of Virginia by Arthur Allen, for which Mr. Allen received 350 acres of land "on a bra. of Black Water Surry Co., Va." according to a land patent dated 14 June 1578. (Nugent, Vol. I, p. 186). Although the land patent was dated in 1678, Nicholas Sessoms arrived much earlier, for we find that in a Surry County Court held in July, 1710, the records state: "Certificate is granted Nicholas Sessoms to the Secretarys office For 50 acres of land for importation of himself into the Colony, he having made oath as the law directs, having been in the Colony forty four years and was a servant when came in" (Surry County Order Book 1691-1713, p. 352). This would place his arrival in the Colony of Virginia in the year 1666. This date is Further substantiated by the Fact that on 5 March 1670, "Mrs. Alice Allen (assumably the wife of Arthur Allen) discharges Nicholas Sessoms of all claims of debts". (Surry County Record Book I, p. 405). This would mean that Nicholas worked For Mr. and Mrs. Allen the customary four years to pay off the debt for his transportation to the Colony of Virginia. Nicholas Sessoms is also listed in Servants to Foreign Plantations (p. 63) as coming from England, and in the book Bristol and America, Nicholas is shown as being transported from Bristol, England between 1663-1679 (p. 117). From this we conclude that Nicholas Sessoms arrived in the Colony of Virginia from Bristol. England in the year 1666 as a servant, worked for Mr. and Mrs.. Allen of Surry County for four years, and became a Free man after he discharged all claims and debts in 1670.
The Headright System
Nicholas Sessoms was imported by Mr. Allen of Surry County under a system called "Headright", designed by Virginia and other colonies to encourage population growth of a vast and empty land. Under the system, 50 acres of land were granted to a person For transporting himself with an additional 50 acres awarded for any other person for whom he paid passage. In most cases, the person being transported (called indentured servants or bond slaves) would have a contractual agreement with the person paying for his passage to serve as a servant for a period of time (normally four years). After the term of indenture, the servant would be entitled to 50 acres of land and other accommodations and become a free man or woman and take his or her place in society. Unlike Negro slaves, indentured servants were protected by English law to be treated fairly, and in many cases they were considered a member of the master's Family.
There were two classes off these servants: one class was those who wanted to come to Virginia, the other was made up off those who were forced to come. Those who wanted to come were those who came under the Headright System and had an agreement to pay for their passage. Those who were forced to come ware penniless orphans, beggars, petty criminals, prisoners off war, unfortunate debtors, and persons who were kidnapped. Persons who had committed serious crimes were prohibited by Virginia law from being sent over. While records do not reveal whether Sessoms was rich or poor, the fact that he came as a "Headright" means that he came as a matter off free choice and was not forced to come.
When Nicholas Sessoms arrived in Surry County in 1666, Virginia was well established. The terrible days of constant hunger, inadequate shelter, fatal plagues, inept management and other hardships which had made the early years off the colony a time off sheer horror, were practically over. Not only had Virginia become self-supporting, but with tobacco she had found a crop by which fortunes could be made. Plantations were privately owned, the House of Burgess was meeting in Jamestown, there were settlements along all principle rivers, there was a population of approximately 15,000, and for many life was comfortable and pleasant and for a few in Surry County it was even luxurious.
In contrast, England was in turmoil politically, religiously and economically. Charles II became king after Charles I had been beheaded in 1660, shifting the form of government from a Parliamentary system of "Rule of Law not by Men" to one of "Divine Rights" where the King made and enforced all laws. On the other hand, Virginia insisted upon and maintained the right of self-government. Moreover, prices in England were high and unemployment was widespread, filling the land with "violent rogues and sturdy beggars". Ownership of land was difficult for even the well off, and next to impossible for the poor, while in Virginia land was so plentiful that it went begging to be owned. So under such conditions, it is not surprising that Nicholas Sessoms sought a better life in the New World.
This does not mean, however, that when Nicholas Sessoms settled in Surry County in 1666 that it was a well developed land. To the contrary, Surry County was very sparsely settled. In 1668, for example, the tax rolls show that there were only 216 white males over the age of 16 in the County with an estimated total population, counting Indians, Negro slaves, women and children, of about 1,700. This population, except Indians, was mostly concentrated on a Few plantations widely scattered over a vest area of woods, swamps and streams. (see Map, page 9a)
Wild animals abounded, including bears, the Eastern cougar (panther) and wolves. Apparently there was a bounty paid for wolves for in the September 1697 Court, Nicholas Sessoms was paid 600 pounds "For two wolves head taken in a pit" (Order Book 1691-1713, p-187).
Indians did not seem to be a problem during the times o Nicholas Sessoms, although there was a Fort on Black Water River where he lived, and the records For 1687 show that he served in the Surry County military (for horses).
Although mandated by the State that roads be built by the County, the roads of Surry County in the 1600's were little more than trails, passable only by wagon or horseback. These roads were built and maintained by court appointed overseers and work crews taken from the tax rolls. However, despite these conditions, by 1713. Nicholas Sessoms had a road (or highway) by his plantation, for in the October, 1713 Court, Henry Hart was appointed "to oversee the highway going over the main swamp to the main road by Nicholas Sessoms", and the records of 1714 mention a road "From Bynchen Soughbride to Nicholas Sessoms' warehouse at the mouth of Grogs Creek".
Education of the 17th Century in Surry County, as well as other Virginia counties, was under the control of the established church which was the Church off England. But, since the population was so widely scattered, few children could be concentrated in one place except on the large plantations. Consequently, the schooling of children and, in many cases, servants became the responsibility off the plantation owner.
Records do not show whether Nicholas Sessoms received an education either in England or America. Records do show, however, that he considered the education off others very important. For example, in his will (which will be discussed later) he provided for the education off his granddaughters to wit: "Desire granddaughters to be well educated by Ethelred Taylor, Hannah and Mary Black and take over plantation after my death". Also, in a Court held in November 1696, when Susanna Nash is bound to Nicholas Sessoms as an indentured servant,. he is ordered by the Court to "oblige himself (among other things) to teach her to read, sew and spin perfectly". Then in the 1699 Court, the records show this: "Joseph Manyard bound to Nicholas Sessoms who obliged himself in Court at the expiration of the said Maynard's time of service to give him (among other things) two years off schooling".
Although Virginia had a highly structured class system, it was unlike the one in England where a person's class was determined at birth: In Virginia one's class was determined by wealth and social position, which could be earned. Despite the fact that Sessoms came to the Colony as an indentured servant, in his lifetime he had achieved both wealth and social position placing him in the highest class of all the gentry.
Once he had served the four year indenture to pay for his transportation and was released by Mrs. Allen in 1670 to become a free man, Sessoms began to take advantage of the opportunities available to him by accumulating land, slaves and producing commodities for trade and sale. Using the Headright system, by paying the passage of others, over a 12-year period, he had acquired an estate of some 1,800 acres of land (for patents of this land, see Nugent, Vol. I, pp. 199, 276, and 362). Most of this land was located on Pigeon Creek, Black Water River, in Surry County (see Map page 9a). Considering the average plantation in Virginia at the time was 628 acres, Sessoms' 1,800 acres was large even by Colonial standards (Colony Surry, Bodie, p. 86). In addition to land, the plantation most likely include a manor house. Barns and servant quarters as well as the warehouse mentioned earlier in the Court records.
Besides a large plantation, Sessoms owned slaves, both Blacks and American Indians, as well as indentured servants who were working off their cost of transportation. For example, the 1702 Tithables (tax list) for Southwark Parish shows that Sessoms owned 4 servants living in his household and 98 others living on his plantation. (Colonial Surry, Bodie, p. 209) Regarding Indians being servants, the October, 1711 Court, page 378, had this to say: "Nichs. Session (sic) producing an Acct. against the Publick for his Indian mans working on the Lines at James Town &c. & having made oath that he never received any satisfaction for the (?) It is therefore ordered to be certifyed to the next Genll. Assembly for allowance".
In addition to land and slaves, other sources wealth were tobacco, corn and pork, with tobacco proving to be a chief money crop in 17th and 18th Century Virginia. It is evident, from Court records, that Sessoms was a large producer of all three of these commodities, for example, in a Court held on 1 March 1680, Thomas Warren, William Foreman and Nicholas Sessoms were bound to the Court for 40,000 pounds of tobacco in the estate settlement of Thomas Warren, Sr. (Surry County Record Book I, 1617-1684, p. 11). In another Court action of 19 January 1691, Sessoms was granted 780 pounds of tobacco From Thomas Mathers (Order Book 1691-1713, p. 20); and again in Septembe 1694, Sessoms brought suit against Joseph Rogers, asking For 10,000 pounds of tobacco in damages because Rogers had falsely "accused him of burning the said Rogers house". (Order Book 1691-1713, p. 77). Corn and pork were involved in a suit for indebtedness Sessoms brought against Thomas Clark in the January, 1711 Court, where Sessoms was awarded 60 pounds and a quarter of pork and 70 pounds of Indian Corn. (Order Book 1691-1713, p. 387).
Due to his wealth, there is no doubt that Nicholas Sessoms enjoyed a high social status in Surry County. Moreover, the records show that he was a Church Warden in Lawne's Creek Parish. This was a high honor, since the parish had only two wardens who, with the minister, were responsible for collecting the parish taxes, caring for the poor, and for interpreting moral offenses and presenting them to the County Court. While not elected to public office, he apparently associated with the elected officials of the County, for example, he called Ethelred Taylor friend in his will and Sessoms wife Katherine was one of the witness of the will of Mr.Taylor. (Order Book 1713-1718, p. 85) Taylor was sheriff of Surry County and his son Ethelred, Jr., was a member of the Virginia House of Burgess (Colonial Surry, Bodie, p. 169). He also was closely associated with three other prominent Surry County families: the Smiths, the Blows and the Wynns. (A brief history of these families is included in Part Six)
Despite the fact that he was a Church Warden and had a position of influence in the County, the Court records indicate that Sessoms was involved in several lawsuits, both as a defendant and a plaintiff, concerning moral issues. Abstracts of the Court -records of some of these suits are listed below:
Source: Surry County, Virginia Order Book 1671-1691 p: 453. 7br. 2d. 1684:
"Nicholas Sessums bringing to this Court agt. Tho. Mather for severall abusive words he had spoaken agt. the said Sessums & his wife, and the said Mather appearing in Court and acknowledomg a wrighting under his hand whereby it appeares what he had spoaken was false and that he was sorry for it, with which the said Sessums being satisfied, with his Consent the accon. is dismist the said Mather paying costs als. Excn."
Source: Surry County, Virginia Order Book 1691-1713 p: 20:
"Judgment is granted Ni. Sessums against Thomas MATHARS for seven hundred & Eighty pds of tobo. being the ballance of a bond dated the 28th. of 8br. 1687, It is therefore Ordered that the said MATHARS (sic) pay the same with Costs als Exo."
p: 31: Mar 1691: "Nicho. Sessums and John Hold Churchwardens of Lawnes Creeke Pish haveing Caused Jno. Phillips to be sumoned to give security to save the said Pish harmless from any Charge should arise by reason of his Entertaineing Roger Puliston & his wife in his house, and the said Phillip makeing it appeare he hath sent them out of the Pish, he is discharged from the sd. Sumons pay all Costs als. Exo."
p: 76: July 1693: "Nicho Sessums and Tho. Smith presenting themselves security for Tho. Floods payment of the Estate of Geo. Avery deced. to John Avery they are accepted and Ordered to give bond accordingly."
p: 77: July 1693: "Exit. Corp. Jnry. 1st. 93. Nicholas Sessums haveing brought his accon to this Court against Joseph Rogers set forth that the said Rogers in the moneth of June last in this County did most Maliciously falsely and Scandalously report publish declare in the heareing of severall that he burnt Wm. Cockerhams house thereby endeavouring what in him lyeth to ruine the petr. in his good name fame and reputation and to cause him to loose (sic) that good repute and Esteem he hath hither to alwaies had amongst all his Neighbours and others to his damage at least 10000 lbs of tobe. He therefore prayed Judgment against the said Rogers for the said tenn thousand pounds of tobo., with Costs & c. to which the said Rogers appeared & pleaded not Gilty (sic) and for tryal put himselfe upon his Country soe likewise the plt. who vizt: Mr. Thompson, Mr. Wm. Pittman, Mr. Thomas Davis, Mr. Wm. Handcock, Mr. Jos. Seate, Mr. Cha. Savage, Mr. Wm. Goodman, Mr. Wm. Chambers, Mr. Tho. Jarrell, Mr. Edward Moreland, Mr. Henry Norton & Mr. Thomas Flood return for Virdt. We finde for the defdt. upon the defdts. Motion the Jurys Virdt. is Confirmed and a Nonsuite is granted him against the plt. It is therefore Ordered that the said Sessums pay damage according to Law with Costs als Exn."
p: 78: July 1693: "Exied ___ Janry 1st. 93
Nicholas Sessums haveing brought his accon. to this Court against Will. Cockerham and Hannah his wife set forth that the said Hannah in the Moneth of June last in this County, did most Maliciously falsely and Scandalously report and declare in the heareing of severall people that he burnt her husbands house, thereby indeavouring what in he lyeth to Ruine him in his good Name Fame and Reputation and to cuase him to loose that good repute and Esteeme he hath hitherto alwaies had among all his Neighbours & others to his damage at least tenn thousand pounds of tobo. he therefore prayed Judgment against the said Will Ceckerham and Hannah his wife for the said tenn thousand pounds of tobo. with Costs &c. to which the deFdts. appeared and pleaded not Gilty and for tryal put themselves upon their County so likewise the plt. who vizt: (same jury as on p:77). Return for Virdt. we Finde For the defdts upon the defdts. Motion the Jurys Virdict is Confirmed and A Nonsuite granted them against the plt. It is therefore Ordered that the said Sessums pay damage according to law with Costs als. Exo."
p: 110: Sept 1694: "Nicholas Sessums haveing caused Roger Squire to be arrested to this Court & set Forth that notwithstanding his wife Catherine hath alwaies demeaned and behaved herselfe Civilly Orderly & Modestly & never was accounted a Whore nor ever gave the least occasion to be subjected, but hath lived in good name & reputation all her days, yet ye sd. Squire ye. deFdt. hath made it his endeavour to take away her good Name Fame & reputation & to cause her to be disesteemed & slighted & to Effect his Malicious Intentions had at divers places before several p:sons as he more P:ticularly did at the house oF John Browne in Lawnes Creeke P:ish the beginning of August last before a great many people there mett on an Invitation utter publish & declare these Malicious Falce & scandilous Words Vizt: that shee was a Whore & he would prove her a Whore & he would prove her a Whore & to make the same as publick as he could thereby to render her as Odious as possible very often said Kate (speaking to ye. plts. sd. wife) you are a Whore & I will prove you a Whore which was to his damage at least one hundred pds. Sterl. For which he prayed Judgment with Costs to which the Oefdt. appeared & pleaded not Guilty a Jury was therefore sworne to try the same, who Vizt: Walter Flood, Tho.Warren, Tho. Orew, Jno. Browne. Robert Hart, Jos. Wall, Augt Hunicutt, Roger Potter, Edwd. Rowell, Robt. Lancaster & Cha. Savage returne for Virdt. we findefFor the defdt. upon ye. defdts. motion the Jurys Virdt. is Confirmed and an Nonsuite granted him agt. the plt. It is therefore Ordered that the plt. pay damage according to Law with Costs als. exon."
p: 143: Xbr. 1695: "Joseph Rogers haveing caused Nicholas Sessums to be arrested to this Court set forth that the sd. Sessums did this Sumer to sundry people in many places more p:ticulerly in Lawnes Creek P:ish in this County report that ye. sd. Rogers starved his apprentices & Jornymen feeding them with nothing but bull beefe & bores, & broath made of tripes & such likes & yt. by such & other his Wicked & malce scandilous & Malicious words diswaded severall Jornymen shoemakers from workeing with him & several P:sons from bindeing their sons apprentices which was to his damage fifty pounds sterl. for which he prayed Judgment with Costs, to which ye defendt appeared & pleaded not guilty a Jury was therefore Impanelled to trye the same who vizt: Jer. Ellis, James Stanton, Wm. Chambers, Wm. Pettway Anthony Evans, Thomas Edwards, Wm. Newsom, Wm. Rose, David Andrews, John Browne, Tho. Collier & Saml. Alsobrooke returne for Virdt. wee finde for the defendt. upon the defendts. motion ye. Jurys Virdt. is ConFirmed & a Nonsuite is granted him against the plaintiff. It is therefore ordered that the said Joseph Rogers pay damage according to Law with Costs Exon.
p: 144: Xbr. 1695: "Joseph Rogers haveing caused Nicholas Sessums to be arrested to this Court set forth that the said Sessums did at the house of Gea. Morell in Lawnes Creek P:ish in County in June or July last on a Sabbath day most maliciously scandelously & Falcely report that ye. said Rogers was a hog-stealer & that he would prove it, that he was an old Rogue and that he would prove him one with many other Malicious falce and scandilous words which was to his damage fifty pounds Sterl. for which he prayed judgment with Costs to which ye. defendt. appeared & pleaded not guilty, A Jury was therefore Impanelled to try the same who Vizt: (same jury as p. 143). returne for virdt. wee finde for ye. Plaintiff fifty pounds of tobo. upon the plantiffs motion the jurys verdict is Confirmed & said Sessums ordered to pay him the said fifty pounds of tobo. with Costs als. Exon."
p: 224: May 1702: "Nicholas Sessums and Sarah Backer (Barker?) being presented by the grand jury for Adultery Ordered that they bee sumoned to appeare at the next Court to answr. the same."
p: 233: Jan 1702: "Sarah Barker appeareing in Court and confessing herself guilty of adultery for wch. shee is now presented by the grandiury is fined according to Law.
"Nicholas Sessums being presented by the grandjury for adultery but not sufficient proofs appeareing agt. him hee is discharged payeing Fees."
The age of Nicholas Sessoms when he arrived in the Colony of Virginia in 1666 cannot be determined from existing records. However, since at his death in 1715, he had been in the Colony for 50 years, we can conclude that he lived approximately 70 years. Records show that he was married twice: first to Hannah then to Katherine.
Regarding Hannah, we find this:
"Hannah, wife of Nicholas Sessoms appearing in Court and relinquishing her right of dower in a parcel of land sold by her husband to George Holly. It is therefore admitted to Record" (Surry Co Order Book 1671-1691, p. 453, 7Br 2d 1684).
Although Hannah's last name is not shown in Surry County records, this deed proves that she was the daughter oF Thomas Culmer: "Thomas Culmer, of Surry County, Churchgier for love and affections gives to his daughter Hannah, now wife of Robert Lane, and to Robert Lane, 300 acres of land at upper sunken marsh, Southwark Parish, Formerly belonging to William Jennings (Cooper), and now belonging to Thomas Culmer. If daughter Hannah dies the land goes to said Robert Lane." (Book I 1652-1672, p 198, 6 November 1662). Hannah is mentioned in a deed as wife of Robert Lane, dated 2 May 1666. (Book I, p. 276). Robert Lane appears on the Tithables (white) for the year 1668, but does not show up on any other Surry County records after this date. This implies that Robert Lane died sometime after 1668, thus making Hannah a widow. Several circumstances support the contention that Hannah Culmer Lane was the first wife of Nicholas Sessoms. It will be shown later that Nicholas Sessoms named a daughter Hannah and a son Thomas and son Thomas named one of his sons Culmer. The court case below seems to remove any doubt concerning this assumption:
"Eliza Lane having been delivered of two mulatto bastard children which she confesseth were begotten by Nicholas Sessoms Negro man, it is ordered that the sheriff during the setting of this court (January, 1690) give her ten lashes on her bare back well layed on and at the next court he give her ten lashes more." (Order Book 1671-1691, p. 77). As this indicates, Eliza Lane was living in the household of Nicholas Sessoms and most probably was the daughter of Nicholas first wife Hannah Culmer Lane.
Besides Thomas, only two other Culmers were found in Virginia records. Hotten's Original List or Persons or Quality, page 41 lists a James Culmer (age 22) and a Mathew Culmer as transported to the Isle of Wight County in 1664. (Nugent1 Vol. I, p. 433).
Thomas Culmer first appears on the deed books of Surry County in 1663 (Book 1, p. 33) and continues to be shown in Surry County records until 1662. No further account is given of him in Virginia or North Carolina.
Nicholas second wife Katherine is first mentioned in the suit brought against Joseph Rogers in the July, 1693 Surry County Court. She is listed again as the wife of Nicholas Sessoms when she relinquished her rights to dower of a piece of land Nicholas gave to his daughter Ann Williams (Order Book 1691-1713, p. 254, May, 1704), and she is named as wife in Nicholass will (see later). Research failed to reveal Katherine's last name.
Nicholas Sessoms died between the time that his will was made on October 1715 and when it was probated on 21 October 1716 (Book 7, p 33). This will follows:
"SESSOMS, Nicholas: Leg.- To wife, Katherine, for life, the Plantation I live on - 300 acres - at her decease to my daughter, Hannah Black, and for want of issue, to grandaughter, Mary Black. To granddaughter Hannah Black, doz. spoons, trunk, household goods, an Indian girl, etc.; if she die or marry before of age, to go to my granddaughter, Mary Black. To daughter, Ann Williams, two barrels of pork. To daughter, Mary Black, a negro called "Isle of Wight" etc. To son-in-law, William Williams, after my wife's decease one negro. To grandson, William Willimas my land at, or near, Marshapingo. To grandson, John Black, land on the south side of Bridge Swamp, if no heirs to granddaughter, Mary Black. To granddaughter, Katherine Williams my Plantation on Pegion Swamp, 200 acres, if no issue to my granddaughter, Mary Williams. To son-in-law William Black, all my leather. To two sons-in-law, William Williams and Wm.Black, all my wearing clothes to be equally divided. To friend, Ethelred Taylor, five pounds. To wife, Katherine and two sons-in-law all the rest of est. to be equally divided. Desires granddaughters to be well educated by Ethelred Taylor, Hannah and Mary Black, and take over the Plantation after my death. He to be overseer of will, with two sons-in-law. Made: 8 Oct., 1715. Prob.: 21 Oct., 1716. Wit: Samuel Cook, John High, Mary Evans. Book 7, p. 33.
As the above will indicates, Nicholas had two daughters, Hannah who married William Black, and Ann who married William Williams. He also had one son, Thomas, who will be discussed separately in the next chapter.
I Hannah Black is obviously the daughter of Nicholas first wife Hannah Culmer. Hannah or William Black are not mentioned in Surry County Records through, nor are they listed in the files of Chowan or Bertie Counties in North Carolina, where the other Sessoms settled. However, records suggest that William Black died and Hannah married John Mitchell. This assumption is based on the fact that Hannah is mentioned as the wife of John Mitchell in a Bertie County deed dated 7 September 1724, between John Mitchell and Dennis McLendon. Also, the Chowan County deed books show that John Mitchell bought 100 acres from Nicholas Sessoms Jr. (son of Thomas), joining George Winns, Black Haw branch and Wickaneuse Creek commonly called Bear Swamp. (Chowan County, NC Book B #1, p. 16). This deed places John Mitchell in the came location where the Sessoms, James Boon and George Wynn settled when they left Surry County (see later). Hannah is shown as the Executrix of the Estate of John Mitchell in the Bertie County, North Carolina Court of Common Pleas of the 2nd Tuesday, 1739. (Book I, p. 275); and in the May Court of 1740, John Mitchell's estate was divided between the widow and seven orphans (Book II, p. 283); and in the November Court of 1740, the division of the Estate of Mitchell was returned by Benjamin Warren, John Perry and Nicholas Sessoms (Book II, p. 305). No further research of Hannah was made by this compiler.
II Ann Williams - wife of William Williams, is no6 mentioned in Surry County records through 1750. However, William Williams is mentioned several times, including his will which is quoted below:
"WILLIAMS, William: Leg.-To son, Lewis Williams, 40 acres adjoining his own land up Wet Slash to Green Swamp. To daughter, Hester, my Plantation where I live with one-half the remaining part of land and one negro. So, William, to have the use of the other part of the land for seven years then to my daughter, Lidia. Gives daughter Lidia, into the care of Wm. Newsums wife until of age, or married and teach her to read the Catechism. To daughters, Anne, Katherine, Mary, Hannah, Unity, and Faith, each Five shillings. Sons John and William Five shillings each. Mentions Five children, Lewis, Wm., Eliza, Lidia, and Hester. Friend, Wm. Edwards and son, Lewis Williams, Exers. Made: 17 Nov., 1740. Prob.: 16 April, 1741. Wit: Wm. Edwards, John Johnson. Book 9, p 294.
Apparently Ann Sessoms Williams had died prior to the above will since she is not mentioned. No Further research was made of Ann Williams by this compiler.
III THOMAS - Although not mentioned in the will of Nicholas Sessoms, since he died prior to that date, he had one son, Thomas, who will be discussed in the next part.
Thomas Sessoms first appears on the 1693 Tithables List for Lawnes Creek Parish living in the household of his father, Nicholas Sessoms. (Mag. of Va. Gen., Vol. 23, No. 4, p. 65). He is next shown as living in a separate household on the Tithables List for 1697, adjoining the land of his father and that of his brother-in-law William Williams. (Mag. oF Va. Gen. Vol. 24, No. 2, p. 72). In the 1658 Tithables List, he is shown in the same location. (Mag. of Va. Gen. Vol. 24, No. 2, p. 72). Thomas appears on the 1701 Tithables List, but is listed next to William Blake (It is to be noted that William Blake, along with William Williams, was an executor of the will of Nicholas Sessoms, however no relationship has been established. It is also interesting to note that George Winn, a long time associate of the Sessoms Family, as it will be shown later, is shown as living in the household of William Williams). (Mag. of Va. Gen. Vol. 24, No. 3, P. 71). Thomas continues to appear in the Tithables List for Lawnes Creek Parish through 1703 with no change except that on the 1703 list. a Goodchile is shown as living in his household. Tithables Lists are not available For Surry County, Virginia after 1704.
When Thomas Sessoms was born, when he married, the birthrate of his children, nor the exact date of his death are not recorded because the records of Lawnes Creek Parish, where this information would be available, is extent. However, from existing records we can deduct most of this information.
Considering that he was at least 16 years old when he First appeared on the 1693 Tithables List as living in the household of his Father (only males 16 years or older were listed), he would have been born around 1677 then Nicholas was married to his first wife, Hannah.
He was probably married near the time he was listed on the 1697 census as living in a separate household. We know that he was married by 1700, For we Find this: "Elizabeth Sessoms, wife of Thomas Sessoms, appearing in court and relinquishing her right of dower of, in and to a parcel of land sold by her husband to Nathaniel Harris on it is omitted to record." (Surry County Order Book 1691-1713, p 210).
The Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Sessoms, declared in the above deed was Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Richard Smith, long time associate of Nicholas Sessoms. This relationship is confirmed in the Smith family History in the Virginia State Library, Richmond. According to researcher Doris V. Stone in a letter to this compiler, this history states that Thomas Sessoms married Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Richard Smith and his first wife Margaret (Blow) Smith. This history also shows that Thomas and Elizabeth moved to Chowan County, North Carolina, and after the death of Thomas, Elizabeth married James Boon.
The records abstracted below give proof of these relationships:
In a deed dated 8 February 1729, Nicholas Smith conveys 100 acres of land "for good will and affection" to his nephew Richard Sessoms. This deed is witnessed by Samuel Sessoms and others. (Bertie Co., N.C. Dead Book C, p. 129). It is to be noted that Nicholas Smith was named as son in the will of his father Richard Smith and Richard Smith and Elizabeth Boon were given a cow.
SMITH, Richard: Leg.- To wife, Mary Smith, my whole est. and make her Exerx. To Elizabeth Boun and Richard Sessoms each a cow. To son, Richard Smith, the Plantation I live on at my wife's decease. To sons, Thomas Smith and Nicholas Smith, the land where Thomas Smith now lives. The rest of est. to wife, Mary. Wit: Will. Davidson, Robert Booth. Made: 24 Feb., 1712. Prob: 20 May, 1713. Bk. 6, p. 144.
Records of a court held for the Precinct of Chowan (N.C.) at the house off William Branch the 3rd Tuesday in April A.D. 1711 states this: "Elizabeth Sessoms (spelled Sessions) prays letter of
administrations off goods and credit off Thomas Sessoms. Granted as prayed." (Chowan, N.C. Deed Book A, #1, p. 107-109).
Elizabeth is named as wife off James Boon in several Chowan County deeds. for example: "James Boon off Chowan Precinct and Elizabeth, his wife. to Richard Barefield (residence not given), 31 March 1718, 20 pounds sterling, 250 acres more or less on Chowan River, adjoining Peter Evans, the main road, Gum branch and the river. We bind ourselves in the full sum of 50 pounds sterling. Reg. 18 April 1718". (Dead Book B, #1, Chowun County, N.C.).
From the above, we can conclude that Thomas Sessoms is without doubt the son of Nicholas Sessoms, that he was born ca. 1677, that his mother was Hannah Culmer Lane Sessoms, that his wife was Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Richard Smith and Richard's first wife Margaret (Blow) Smith, that he and Elizabeth moved to Chowan County, N.C. sometime before 1711, he died before 1711, and after his death Elizabeth married James Boon.
Where Thomas and Elizabeth Sessoms settled in Chowan Precinct, North Carolina when they moved from Surry County, Virginia is not shown in the records. However, it was most certainly on Weecaunse Creek, for we find this: "James Boon of Chowan Precinct to Nicholas Sessoms of ye same precinct, 13 October 1718, 40 pounds sterling, 400 acres more or less joining James Boon, etc. (Deed Book # , Chowan Co., N.C., p 187) Then this: "James Boon off Chowan Precinct to Nicholas of ye same precinct, 13 October 1718, 100 pound sterling 575 acres at mouth off Bear Swamp, joining George Winn and ye Branch, etc." (Deed Book W, #i, p. 388) (The mention off George Winn is important since George Winn is located on the map, page 27a, showing his land as being on Weecaunse Creek)
We also find that in a deed dated 9 July 1722, George Winn, Chowan Precinct and Rose, his wife, sell 200 acres off land to John Mitchell, joining, among others, Thomas Sessoms, Jr. and Bear Swamp. As these deeds indicate, James Boon (who married Elizabeth Smith Sessoms), Nicholas Sessoms and Thomas Sessoms, Jr. were living on adjoining lands on Bear Swamp near George Winn. On the map, page 27b, please note that Weecaunse Creek is a subsidiary off the Chowan River, and that the Chowan River is formed from the Black Water River and Nottoway River in Virginia and changes names at the Virginia/North Carolina line.
Based on the above, it is the contention off this compiler that Thomas and Elizabeth Sessoms moved down the Black Water River where they were living in Virginia to Chowan County, North Carolina, some time before the death off Thomas, circa 1711, settled near George Winn and when Thomas died, Elizabeth then married James Boon.
(Bertie County was formed from Chowan County in 1722, and the land owned by James Boon, George Winn, John Mitchell, and the Sassoms fell within the new County of Bertie.
The Bertie County records from 1720 through 1757, show that in addition to Nicholas and Thomas, other Sessoms were living in Bertie County. These were Thomas Jr., Richard, John, Samuel, Culmer and Walter. Also William and Hannah Williams' sons must have moved from Surry County to Chowan County, North Carolina about this time, because deeds now find them living near the Sessoms, John Mitchell, George Winn and James Boon.
It is evident from the above Thomas and Elizabeth Sessoms and their children were the vanguard of an exodus of their friends and kin from Virginia to North Carolina.
Although he left no will and the records of Lawnes Creek Parish were destroyed, from existing records, the children of Thomas and Elizabeth have been identified as follows: Thomas, Nicholas, Richard, Culmer and Samuel.
Each of these children will be discussed in Part four, next.
The Children of Thomas and Elizabeth Smith Sessoms
Nicholas Sessoms is possibly the second son of Thomas and Elizabeth Smith Sessoms, because according to Colonial tradition, the second son was named after the father of the husband.
Nicholas is first shown on the records of Chowan County, North Carolina when he buys 400 acres of land from his father-in-law, James Boon in 1718. This land adjoins James Boon and Long Branch (Chowan Co. Deed Book W, 1, p. 387, 13 October 1718); and on the same date he buys another 575 acres from Boon "at the north of Bear Swamp, joining George Winn and ye branch" (Deed Book W, 1, p. 388).
In 1718, Nicholas sells 100 acres of this land to John Mitchell, who is most likely his brother-in-law. (Deed Book B, 1, p. 615). In 1719, he sells 80 acres to John Williams, son of William Williams who married Ann Sessoms; and in the same year he sells 100 acres to James Boon. (Deed Book B, p 618 and p. 627).
(When Bertie County was formed from Chowan County in 1722, Nicholas' land, along with the other Sessoms, John Williams, John Mitchell and George Winn, fell within the new county.)
Bertie County records indicate that Nicholas and his wife Elizabeth sold 80 acres to James Page adjoining John Williams (Bertie Co., Deed Book A, p 147). In 1724, he witnessed a deed between Jacob Lewis and John Marner (Deed Book A, p. 255) and another deed between John Sweeney and Captain John Van Pelt (Deed Book O, p. 19). Bertie County records further reveal that Nicholas was granted 420 acres 0F land by patent dated 1 February 1725, (Deed Book F, p. 350).
So, by 1725, Nicholas was a large landowner. He was also active in county affairs. The Bertie County Court minutes from 1724 through 1739, lists Nicholas four times: Acknowledging deeds, laying off roads, and as overseer of juries.
In the Court minutes for 1740 through 1762, he is mentioned another four times to include the settlement of the estate of John Mitchell, his widow and seven orphans.
In a Court held on 9 September 1742, at the house of Ino Cullins near Red Bend, the records state that "Nicholas Sessums proved his rights to wit:
Nicholas Sessums, Elizabeth Sessums, Samuel Sizemore, Elizabeth Sessums , Ivy Rachel Sessums , Luranna Sessums Nicholas Sessums Jr., Wi1iam Sessums , Anna Sessums Sarah Sessums, Grace Sessums, white persons."
As his will shows, these are Nicholas' wife and children. (Although Samuel Sizemore was shown several times in deeds and other documents with the Sessoms, his relationship was not determined by the compiler.)
In 1744, Edgecombe County was formed from Bertie County and Nicholas was living in that part off Bertie which included the new county. There are several Edgecombe County land transactions between Nicholas and other parties from 1745 through 1753, including this one which names his wife Elizabeth and shows the location of his land: "Nicholas Sessoms and his wife Elizabeth to Samuel Sizemore of Edgecombe County, 20 February 1753, 5 pounds sterling of Great Britain, 140 acres on E. side off Coneto Swamp, Witnesses among others, William Sessoms and Nicholas Sessoms Jr.
The last name of Nicholas' wife Elizabeth has not been identified.
[Note of Kyle VanLandingham: Nicholas Sessums' wife was Elizabeth Hooker, daughter of William Hooker, Sr., of Chowan Co., NC. Elizabeth was first married to Samuel Sizemore, and had one son, Samuel, Jr. After Samuel's death, Elizabeth married Nicholas Sessums. See Hugh Buckner Johnston, "Sizemore of North Carolina and Georgia," Georgia Genealogical Magazine, pp. 140-l4l, Spring, 1981.]
Nicholas Sessoms died between the time his will was made on May 22, 1764, and when it was probated in the October, 1764 Court. This will, which names his wife Elizabeth and his children is quoted below:
"SESSUMS, Nicholas - May 28, 1764. Oct Ct., 1764. Wife: ELIZABETH SESSUMS, use of my whole estate her lifetime; son: THOMAS SESSUMS, furniture, my wearing clothes, 1/2 my still, 1/2 my orchard, horse, and mare for use on plantation; daus: ELIZABETH DUFFIELD, RACHEL PARKER, LURANA DUNN, ANN DUNN, SARAH MARLEY, 5 S each; sons: WILLIAM SESSOMS, 100 A of land joining SIZEMORE'S line in Contenea in Edgecombe Co; NICHOLAS SESSUMS, whole off my estate after my wife 's decease to take care of his younger bro. THOMAS SESSUMS during his life; 1/2 my still and orchard shall help maintain my wife. Exr: NICHOLAS SESSUMS. Wit: JOHN SKINNER, BENJAMIN FAIRCLOTH. "
This is the end of the material in my possession.