Ancestor of the Month
Capt. Henry “Harry” Beverley
d. 30 Nov 1730
(Sorry about the strange presentation. I've worked to correct the problem but have
had little success. Reading the article is possible but requires patience. Again, sorry for the inconvenience.
Maybe someday I'll succeed in getting the problem fixed.)
family tree needs at least one ancestor like Capt. Harry Beverley. Luckily, we
have several. Capt. Harry’s life was the kind that often makes its way
to Hollywood—or at least to a series on TV. Envision tramping through “The
Great Dismal Swamp,” searching for Spanish treasure, cruising the Caribbean for pirate ships, escaping from prison in
Vera Cruz, designing cities, and you have only a portion of our Harry’s adventures.
Birth and Family
Beverley was born in Middlesex Co., VA in 1669, the second son of Major Robert Beverley and his first wife, Mary, whose surname
has not been determined (though many believe she was Margaret Mary Boyd Keeble, widow of George Keeble, a Justice in Lancaster
County.) (To see the AOM article on Major Robert Beverley in the Archives, click the link to previously published articles
at the top of this page.)
grew up in a large family, for his mother Mary brought with her 4 of her 7 children from her first marriage. Soon she and Major Robert had five more. Mary died in 1678,
and Robert married again, this time to a woman named Catherine who also had a “last name problem” for researchers. (Again, see AOM on Robert Beverley.)
Robert and Catherine had four more children. The Beverley household must
have been “interesting,” though probably not noisy since children in those days were to be “seen and not
heard” or were at least to be well behaved. In addition to involved family
life, the Beverleys were active in church and civic affairs. Harry grew up with
the idea of serving the public.
In 1695 when he was 26 years old, Harry married 25-year-old Elizabeth Smith (1670-1720), daughter of Robert Smith,
Jr. (1658-?) and Elizabeth Buckner (n.d.-n.d.). The wedding ceremony for Harry and Elizabeth Smith took place in Middlesex
Co., VA. Harry’s bride was the granddaughter of Anthony and Sarah Ellis
Buckner, prominent planters in the area; she was also the granddaughter of Major General Robert Smith (n.d. -after 1678) and
Elizabeth Wormerley. (n.d.-n.d.) Elizabeth Wormerley Kemp Lunsford Smith was
titled and called Dame Elizabeth or Lady Lunsford because of her marriage to Sir Thomas Lunsford. Major-General Robert Smith, Sr. was a member of the Governor's Council and head of the King's army
in Virginia. With Major Robert Beverley, Gen. Smith strongly supported
Governor Sir William Berkeley during Bacon's Rebellion. Thus, not only was our
Harry from a prominent family, Elizabeth Smith was also considered “quite a catch.” In addition, Elizabeth’s father was her grandfather’s only son.
When he died (date unknown), this left Elizabeth as her grandfather’s only heir.
Major General Robert Smith was not poor. Elizabeth Smith Beverley came
into a sizeable fortune.
young couple started their family right away, and over the next 20 years or so, it grew to include 11 children:
1. Elizabeth Beverley b.
9 Nov 1697 in Christ Church, Middlesex, VA; d. Jun 1747
2. Mary Beverley b. 11 Nov 1699 in Middlesex Co., VA; d. 30 Sep 1777
b. 6 Nov 1701 in Christ Church Parish, Middlesex, VA; d. 12 May 1733
Margaret Beverley b. 27 May 1704 in Middlesex Co., VA; d. after 1740
Susanna Beverley b. 15 Nov 1706 in Christ's Church Parish, Middlesex, VA; d. 1778
6. Catherine Beverley b. 17 Dec 1708 in Middlesex, VA; d.14 Apr 1778
Judith Beverley b. 25 Oct 1710 in Middlesex, VA; d. 1756
Peter Beverley b. 2 Jul 1712 in Middlesex, VA; d. before 18th birthday
9. Agatha Beverley b. 22 Sep 1716 in Middlesex, VA; d. ?
Anne Beverley b. c1718; d. unknown
11. Lucy Beverley b. 3 Jul 1720 in Middlesex, VA; d. 6 Jun 1721
Soon Harry became involved in civic affairs.
He was already part of the militia (everyone was), and in 1700 served as a Justice or Magistrate in Middlesex County. In 1702 he began serving as a surveyor in both King and Queen and in King William
Counties. He held these surveyor positions until 1714. In 1706 he surveyed and laid out the settlement of Tappahannock, even naming its streets—Queen, Church
Lane, Water Lane, Marsh, Duke, Prince, and Earl—with the names they still bear today.
Because Harry’s plan was not just a simple grid, his “ambitious design” was not immediately put into
effect. But, since the area already served as a port for river traffic, people knew that as it grew, it would
develop into a village of substantial importance. When Harry’s plan was then undertaken, it “guided Tappahannock to orderly growth
for the next two centuries.” In 1705-1706 Harry served in the House of
Boundary Between North Carolina and Virginia
Harry had one of his first big adventures. He was chosen as part of the group
assigned to survey the boundary line between NC and VA. Col. William Byrd, II
(1674-1744) led this group. Byrd wrote A History of the Dividing Line,
which, long ago, was required reading for American Literature in college. (At
least it was for me). In the book Col. Byrd describes the horrible conditions
involved in surveying the boundary line through the swamp known as “The Great Dismal.” In an attempt at humor, he also gives a sneering, disparaging picture of people who lived in the region.
related to one of Byrd’s sisters [Ursula] who married Harry’s brother, Robert Beverley, II. Theirs was a sad story. Ursula was only 14 when she married
Robert. They had two children: a boy in 1696 named William [after her father],
and a girl in October 1698 named Ursula. Ursula Byrd Beverley died 31 Oct 1698,
probably of complications of childbirth. Her tombstone gives her age at death
as “16 years 11 months and 2 days.” Luckily, Ursula’s daughter,
Ursula Beverley, survived. She grew up and married John Dudley. She and John had their own Ursula. Ursula Dudley (20 Sep 1704
-1799) grew up to marry John George, Sr. (18 Aug 1704 -1784). Ursula and John
George had 3 children: John, Catherine, and Martha. It is here that the line
of Ursulas ends. Ursula and John George officially separated in 1777 and
did not reconcile. She had to sue him for support.)
second decade of the Seventeenth Century, pirates plundered ships along the southeastern coast of the American colonies, the
gulf coast, Central America, and the Caribbean. This was the time of Edward Teach (Blackbeard), Samuel Bellamy (Black Sam),
Henry Jennings, Ben Hornigold , Palgrave Williams (a former goldsmith and “black
sheep” son of a former Rhode Island attorney general), “LaBuze” (the Buzzard), and countless other pirates. Tales of Spanish wrecks containing priceless treasures of gold, silver, and jewelry
helped spread “gold fever” even more. Unfortunately, some who went
to look for Spanish gold ended up joining the ranks of pirates. Many lives were
lost, ships were plundered, destroyed, or stolen, and the situation continually worsened.
It was during this period, in 1716, that Harry had his biggest adventure and received his rank of Captain
Virginia’s Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood (1676-1740) outfitted a sloop named The Virgin and sent it under
the command of Capt. Harry Beverley to combat the pirates and to search for Spanish treasure.
(There is some indication that in addition to governmental backing, Capt. Harry received financial aid from individuals
who hoped to share in any recovered treasure. In a will dated 9 Nov 1716,
a Mrs. Sarah Churchill stipulated that if Mr. Harry Beverley “brings back any money or other returns from the wrecks,”
her share was to go to certain of her grandchildren, whom she named.)
Harry’s orders dated 5 Jun
1716 were to sail to the Bahamas and the Isle of Providence “in quest of Pirates, Spanish wrecks, etc.” (If you are a resident of the Southeastern or Gulf coast, your eyebrows probably just went up. Spotswood couldn’t possibly have chosen a worse time to send Harry on his quest. Hurricane season starts in June!) The day after sailing, The
Virgin “was surprised with a violent hurricane and drove [sic] as far
eastward as Bermuda.” On the fifth day of the voyage, although Spain and
England were not at war, a Spanish man-of-war seized the sloop. The ship was
“rifled, and the men striped, abused and made prisoners.”
After his capture, Harry wrote back to VA from St. Domingo. He said that he had petitioned for a trial from the Spanish but had been refused. He expected that he and his crew would be “sent to the mines.” Instead, he and his men were taken to Vera Cruz in Mexico where conditions worsened. Their captors provided them “no subsistence” and again refused them a trial. Because of provisions in the 1713 Assiento Treaty between Britain and Spain, there were Englishmen in Vera
Cruz, and they donated what food they could to the prisoners. Even so, several
of Harry’s men died for lack of food and other necessities. Many of the
men begged in the streets for food. (I’m still looking for an explanation
of how they begged in the streets if they were prisoners.) After seven months
of captivity, Harry managed to escape and make his way back to Virginia, arriving before August of 1717. I do not know what became of his crew.
(In 1718 Spotswood secretly sent two
privately funded sloops—the Ranger and the Jane—specifically to find Edward Teach [Blackbeard]. This expedition was more successful. Blackbeard
was chased to the area of Ocracoke, NC where he was killed 22 Nov 1718. Two days
later, after Teach was already dead, Spotswood announced that anyone who could bring Teach to justice would receive a reward. Hmmm.)
The Octonia Grant and Other Landholdings
During his life Captain Harry managed to acquire a great deal of land. In 1716 before Harry departed on his ill-fated treasure voyage, Lt. Governor Alexander
Spotswood took a group of 62 men on a westward tour through some of the most beautiful land in Virginia. They traveled through the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
After the trip, Spotswood
is reputed to have given each of the eight officers of the group a gold horseshoe-shaped pin, and the men became known as
“Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.” In 1722 King George gave Spotswood
24,000 acres of land in Virginia that pretty well coincided with the same area the men had hiked over in 1716. Spotswood in turn gave this land to the eight men who had been officers of the expedition: Harry Beverley, John Robinson, (who would become Harry’s daughter
Agatha’s father-in-law), Christopher Robinson, Bartholomew Yates, Lewis Lane, William Stanard, (who would later marry
Harry’s daughter Elizabeth as his second wife and whose own daughter Anne from his first marriage would marry Harry’s
son, Robert), Jeremiah Clowder, and Edwin Thacker.
The land was known as the Octonia Grant. It was about two miles wide and 20 miles long.
Part of the agreement in accepting the land was that improvements would be made on it.
Many of the men defaulted. Captain Harry was not an able man by the time
the grant was in jeopardy, but his son Robert took the steps necessary to save the land.
Octonia grant was re-patented in 1729 to Robert Beverley, son of Capt.
Harry. This time Harry’s son made sure that the land in the Grant would be developed. He hired a man named Andrew Head
as overseer. In November of 1730 Head moved his wife, 7 children, and 3 men he
had hired 80 miles to Octonia to begin improving the land. (Capt. Harry died
in 1730 around the time Robert hired the overseer.)
[Andrew Head] and three other men apparently built a house
in 17 days. Later in 1731 he and his wife and daughter took eight days to drive cattle to Octonia. A dwelling house with two
outside chimneys and two rooms was built and a tobacco house, barns, a dairy, corn house, hen house and 800 panels of fence
were erected; 67 acres were cleared and 50 acres were used for woodland pasture for the 13 head of cattle. Head evidently
put out 1,000 peach, cherry, and apple trees.
(When Robert Beverley died in 1733, the Octonia Grant was divided up according
to his wishes. One item in his will was a bequest of 200 acres to his overseer Andrew Head.)
Harry’s interest in land was lifelong. He had paid
for the passage of indentured servants through the ‘headright” system, and on 2 Nov 1705 he applied for and received 1920 acres in Essex County for importing 39 people to VA. In addition, he
patented 2,700 acres known as "Portobago" in Essex County. His wife’s grandfather
Major General Robert Smith of Middlesex had owned this land earlier
Move to Spotsylvania County
In 1720 a few years after returning from his Spanish shipwreck adventure, Harry and his family moved to Spotsylvania
Co, VA and lived at his plantation “Newlands.” This is purely a guess,
but the Beverleys may have moved because of tragedy that struck the family. In
1718 a daughter named Anne was born and apparently died; at least I could find
no information about her other than her birth. (She is not mentioned in her father’s
will.) Elizabeth became pregnant again, and it was around this time, 1720, that
the family moved. Unfortunately the birth did not go well. Elizabeth died in 1720 when their new child Lucy was just one month old.
The child, too, died before the year was out, not even reaching her first birthday.
The family may have moved to “Newlands” for a change. We’ll
probably never know for sure, but the move seemed to add to the family’s misfortunes.
The loss of his wife and daughters may have been why Harry again turned his interest to public service and land acquisition
as distractions from his personal sadness.
More Land and More Public Service
According to records, on 6 Apr 1725,
“Harry Beverley, of Spotsylvania County, sold to Andrew Harrison, of Essex County, for 4600 pounds of tobacco, 600 acres
in Spotsylvania County, being a part of a patent granted to sd [sic] Beverley. Recorded June 1, 1726.” That same year, Harry sold 600 acres of land on Pamunkey River to the same Andrew Harrison of Essex County that he
had dealt with earlier. This new tract was near Lt. Governor Spotswood's Germanna
patent in an area that had provoked interest in possible mineral wealth.
Harry also owned 1,017 acres, which the Upshaw family had originally acquired
in 1699. In all, Capt. Beverley owned land amounting to about 32,000 acres in several Virginia counties
(Germanna was not a high point
in VA’s history. Spotswood had opened iron mines in the area and used German
workers who were indentured to him for paying their transport. These particular
Germans had arrived in 1717 and had been ill used from the beginning. One of
their ship captains had been thrown in jail in London and kept there until the passengers had consumed their supplies. With their food gone, some died of starvation on the voyage to the colonies. Bound for Philadelphia, they were blown off course and landed in VA. In VA they were “sold” by the ship’s captain to pay for their passage. Alexander Spotswood was the highest bidder. Records indicate
that the Germans who worked in the iron mines were mistreated. Because of the
amount of time they were required to mine ore and run the iron furnaces, they did not have time to build and maintain homes
and farm the land for food. When they tried to leave and find their own lands,
Spotswood sued them. [Spotswood seems to have had his fingers into everything. When he left office, he owned 80,000 acres of land and 3 iron works.] As far as I could determine, our Harry had nothing to do with the iron works. Maybe the unpleasant situation at Germanna prompted him to sell his land near there.)
Harry also kept himself busy through
more public service. For a number of years he was Presiding Justice of the Spotsylvania
County Court. He was also a member of the House of Burgesses for Spotsylvania, and was elected Clerk of the House of Burgesses. In addition to everything else he was doing, according to Court Order Bk. 6, 1721-1726 for Middlesex Co., Harry Beverley was also appointed guardian of Thomas Sandifer/Sandeford
3 Apr. 1722. (I found no clear cut evidence determining who Thomas Sandifer/Sandeford
might have been. However, a Sandifer researcher suggests that the boy may have
been the eldest son of William and Frances Townsend Sandeford. The Sandefords
were married in 1710, and William died in 1715 or 1716 without leaving a will. At
most, a son of this union would have been only 5 or 6 years old when his father died and 10 or 12 when the court stepped in
to appoint a guardian. If this is the correct Sandifer/Sandeford family, we know
that William Sandeford had inherited a good deal of property from his own father—John Sandeford—including “all
that my dwelling plantation on which I now live together with all the houses and orchards and woodland ground”; thus,
Thomas would have in turn inherited all or part of this land. In all probability
Harry was appointed guardian of the child to protect his inheritance, but why did the court wait so long? [Frances Townsend Sandifer/Sandeford remarried in 1723. Maybe
her upcoming marriage spurred the court’s action])
Death of Captain Harry
Captain Henry “Harry”
Beverley died 30 Nov 1730 at his home “Newlands” in Spotsylvania Co., VA.
He was 61 years old. His will was probated 12 Feb 1730. Witnesses were John Gordon, John Henderson, William Chapman, and Thomas Sellars. Son Robert Beverley was named as executor. Harry left large
parcels of land to each of the eight children named in his will: “to daughter Elizabeth Stanard, the lower part of my tract of land on the River Tappahannock,
in Spotsylvania Co., that lies below the branch that is next to Col. John Robinson's bridge; [to] daughter Mary, the residue
of above tract; [to] daughter Margaret; daughter Susanna; daughter Catherine; [and] daughter Judith, 1000 acres [each] adjoining
the land I sold to Andrew Harrison; [to] daughter Agatha; [and to] son Robert, [the] balance of lands not disposed of."
Daughters Anne and Lucy were not mentioned
in the will; Lucy had died as a baby, and Anne had probably suffered the same fate.
Not a great deal is known about Harry’s children,
but enough information exists to show that they married into prominent families, produced families of their own, and prospered
- Elizabeth Beverley married William Stanard, Jr. (1682‑1732),
on 18 Aug 1717. William was the son of William Standard, of Middlesex County, and his wife Eltonhead Conway Thacker, widow
of Henry Thacker, and daughter of Edwin Conway and Martha Eltonhead. William,
Jr. was Clerk of Middlesex Co and a vestryman in Christ Church parish. Elizabeth was his second wife. They had three children,
a boy named Beverley and girls named Elizabeth and Sarah. Elizabeth (the wife)
died in 1747.
- Judith Beverley married
(1) Reverend Rodham Kenner on 1 Jun 1729 and had a son. After the death
of Reverend Kenner she married (2) Thomas Roy, son of Robert Roy. Judith and Thomas had a son named Beverley who served as
a Captain in the Revolution and was a charter member of the Society of the Cincinnati.
In 1765 after Judith had died, her eldest son George Kenner sold to Francis Jerdone the 1194 acres she received from
her father, Harry, in his will.
- Margaret Beverley married John Chew (1701/5-1756) on 28 Jan 1729.
They had two boys, Robert and John, and 3 girls, Hannah, Mary, and Mary Beverley.
A John Chew was a member of the House of Burgesses for Spotsylvania Co in 1739, but I am not sure that that John Chew
- Mary Beverley married Larkin
Chew (1700-1770) on 30 Sep 1737. Larkin and John Chew were brothers. Mary and Larkin had three children: Mary, Larkin, and Elizabeth Beverley. The Chews were from an influential
VA family. Unfortunately, like most of our relatives, the repetition of names
in the Chew family made finding specific information about this Larkin and this John very difficult. One Larkin Chew described as “a prominent citizen of Spotsylvania Co” was involved in a “long-running
feud” with Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood and accused him of “misappropriating colony funds.” The angry Larkin may have been Mary’s husband or one of his relatives. (Remember, in earlier years Harry’s father Robert had suggested that even Governor Berkeley had abused
his powers of office by passing on land and valuables to his cronies. [See
article on Robert Beverley by clicking link at the top of the page.])
- Robert Beverley married Anne Stanard, daughter of his sister Elizabeth’s husband, on 10
Apr 1759. (Anne was a child of William Stanard’s first marriage to Anne Hazelwood.) Robert and Anne had a son named
Harry and two unknown daughters. Robert must have been an astute businessman
for it was he who re-patented the 26,000 acres of the Octonia grant in 172
- Susanna Beverley married Benjamin Winslow, Sr. on 22
Nov 1726. Benjamin was the son of Tom and Ann Parker Winslow, and he was
Sheriff of Essex Co., VA in 1739. Susanna and Benjamin had five children. 2 girls, 3 boys: Susanna Beverley and
Catherine; Benjamin, Jr., Harry, and Beverley. Their son Beverley was a Colonel
during the Revolution.
- Catherine Beverley married George Stubblefield, Sr.
before 1742. They had five children, all boys. George, Harry, Beverley, Robert,
and Peter. All except Harry were officers during the American Revolution. [I
could not find out why Harry did not serve. Perhaps he died before the
- Agatha Beverley married
William Robinson on 17 Feb 1736. Agatha and William were first cousins. Her father and his mother were both children of Maj. Robert Beverley. William’s father was the Hon. John Robinson, and his brother, John, Jr., was Speaker of the House
of Burgesses and Treasurer of VA. Agatha and William had 9 children: five boys and 4 girls: John, Harry, Benjamin, Francis, Samuel,
and Catherine, Agatha, Lucy, and Elizabeth. Both Agatha and William are our ancestors.
Their daughter Agatha Robinson married Captain William Sims. Agatha was
the mother of Joanna Sims, who married James Ownby. In fact, Agatha Beverley,
William Robinson, Robert Beverley, John Robinson, William Sims, Joanna Sims, and James Ownby are all our ancestors—not
just our relatives. (Plus, of course, Capt. Harry and Elizabeth.)
Captain Harry Beverley could not have wished for
a more full life.
Harry Beverley is Papaw’s 5-great grandfather. If you are Eli McCarter’s
great, great grandchild, Captain Harry is your 9-great grandfather.
Line of Descent from Harry Beverley to
Rev. Eli McCarter
Harry Beverley (1669-1730) + Elizabeth Smith (1670-1720)
Beverley (1716-?) + William Robinson (1709-1792)
Robinson (1737-1812) + Capt. William Sims (c1729-c1798)
Sims (1761-1852) + James Ownby (1761-1850)
Ownby (1781-1857) + Mary Jane Koone (1793-1881)
Ownby (1814-1846) + Thomas McCarter (1811-1888)
Hill McCarter (1846-1923) + Marriah Reagan (1842-1923)
Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955) + Mary Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969)