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Ancestor of the Month

March 2010 

 

William Robinson

25 Mar 1709        5 May 1792

 

Our ancestor William Robinson was from an illustrious family. (To see articles on his father, the Hon. John Robinson; his grandfather, the Hon. Christopher Robinson; his grandfather-in-law, Major Robert Beverley, and his brother-in-law, Captain Henry “Harry” Beverley, click the link at the top of this page.)  It would be almost impossible to study colonial Virginia history without running across the Robinsons and Beverleys.

 

William’s Parents and Family

 

William was born 25 Mar 1709 in the family plantation Hewick in Middlesex County, VA.  He was the fourth child and third son of the Honorable John Robinson (1683-1749), one of the early governors of VA, and Catherine Beverley (1686-1726), daughter of Robert Beverley, a prominent lawyer and vestryman of Christ Church Parish, clerk of the House of Burgesses, and commander of the King’s forces during Bacon’s Rebellion.  Both William’s maternal and paternal lineages were filled with role models with whom he could identify and later emulate.

 

William grew up in a large family of eight children.  His seven siblings included:  John, Christopher, Mary, Robert, Catherine, Henry, and his brother Beverley.   All his brothers were active in community affairs and public service.  His brother Beverley, however, chose to remain loyal to the English crown when the Revolution rolled around.  Beverley was an officer in the British forces and went to Canada after the war where he continued to be active in political and public life.

 

First Marriage

 

In 1735 or 1736 when he was about 25 or 26 years old, William married Agatha Beverley (1716-c1756), his first cousin.  Agatha was the daughter of Captain Harry Beverley (1669-1730) who was known not only for his public service but also for his adventures fighting pirates.  Agatha’s mother was Elizabeth Smith, the wealthy heiress of Maj. Gen. Robert Smith (1605-c. 1687) and his wife Elizabeth Wormeley Smith (1616-aft. 1683).  The young couple began their married life at about the top of VA society.  William and his family eventually ended up at Newlands plantation, but I was not able to discover the date or way he acquired this land nor was I able to discover which wife first helped him to establish this home.  If Newlands was like other plantations of the time, William probably was a tobacco planter, but I have no evidence of this.  (William supposedly died at Newlands.)

 

Some sources say that William and Agatha had eight or nine children, but dates and repetition of names in his first and second marriages make a smaller number more likely.   The couples’ children listed below have various dates of birth and death, depending upon the source.  Thus, verify any of the dates below with other sources whenever possible.  They are definitely “iffy.”

 

  1. Agatha Robinson b. 1737  d. 1812.  Agatha was our ancestor.  She married Captain William Sims (1730-1799).  Sims was a member of Hogg’s Rangers during the French and Indian War.  William and Agatha had 10 children.
  2. John Robinson b. between 1737-1738 in Spotsylvania Co., VA, d. 1798.  John was an officer in the colonial militia, Speaker of the House of Burgesses, and Treasurer of VA. John married Lucy Smith.  The couple had 9 children
  3. Henry Robinson, b. c1740 d. 3 Oct 1771.  Henry married Elizabeth Pierce.  They had one known child.
  4. Catherine Robinson b. 20 Jul 1742 in Spotsylvania Co., VA, d. 1789 in Spotsylvania Co., VA.  Catherine married twice.  One marriage was to her cousin, Beverley Winslow (1734-1793), 1st Lieutenant of Spotsylvania County Militia in1756, Sheriff in 1764, and County Lieutenant in 1781.  The other marriage was to Robert Throckmorton (?-?)
  5. Samuel Robinson b.1748 – d. ?  Samuel married Unknown Weavil
  6. Benjamin Robinson b.1752- d. 1825.   Benjamin married Catherine Parker on 18 Feb 1783.  They had 11 children

 

Second Marriage

 

When Agatha died around 1756, William married again.   This time his wife was Agnes/Agness Smith (1725-c1792).  They were wed 27 Jan 1757 in Spotsylvania County.  They had 4 children (or more or fewer, depending upon the source.)

 

1.      Agnes Robinson b. 1762- d. ?

2.      Lucy  Robinson b. 1763- d.?   Lucy married James Nelson on 3 May 1788.  They had four children

3.      Francis Robinson b. 2 Mar 1765- d. 31 Dec 1840.  Frances married Mary “Polly” Terrill (6 Feb 1771-d. c1840) on 28 Feb 1788.  Polly was the daughter of William Terrill.  Francis served as a private during the Revolutionary War.  He and Polly had 3 known children.  He and his family moved to Harrison County, Kentucky.

4.      Elizabeth Robinson b. 3 Nov 1770-d. 16 Oct 1830   Elizabeth married William Nelson son of William, Sr. and Elizabeth Haydon Nelson.  They had 10 children.  William Nelson, Jr. and Lucy’s husband James Nelson may have been related. 

 

(Note:  In some sources all the children listed from the Smith/Robinson marriage are combined with the children of the Beverley/Robinson marriage and/or certain children or moved from one mother to the other or omitted entirely.) 

 

Military Service and Public Life

 

Like most of his male relatives, William served in the militia.  Unlike his brother Beverley who elected to stay loyal to the crown, William was a patriot.  He was :  "commissioned a Major of Militia 17 Sept., 1743."  He was a "Colonel of Militia in the American Revolution, Adjutant of the 9th Virginia Regiment and later annexed to the 5th Virginia Regiment."  (By the time the Revolution got underway, William was in his 60's--but--even George Washington was in his mid-40's at that time.

 

In addidtion to military service, William was for years Justice of the Peace of Spotsylvani Co.  He alsoo was a liberal supporter of the Anglican Church and served as a vestryman for St. George's Parish in 1730.  He was probably a vestryman other years as well.  For instance on 5 Nov 1759 he was one of he vestrymen who signed a deed selling 499 acres of the Glebe land belonging to the church to

Erasmus Withers Allen of St. George’s Parish, Spotsylvania Co.

(Glebe land was acreage belonging to a parish church which the vestry could use in various ways to produce revenue to support the church and its endeavors.)

 

Death

 

Unfortunately, not much more information is available for William Robinson.  He died at his home, Newlands, on 5 May 1792, and his will was probated the same year.   Some of his children remained in VA, but others, like our ancestor Agatha, moved away.  Agatha and her husband, Capt. William Sims, operated a mill on Priddy Creek.  It is reputed to have been the first mill there.  Their daughter Joanna Sims married James Ownby and moved to NC.  Joanna and James’ son John married Mary Jane Koone, and this family moved on to the Greenbrier section of the Great Smokies.

 

William Robinson was Papaw’s 4-great grandfather.  If you are the great great grandchild of Eli McCarter, William Robinson is your 8-great grandfather.

 

Line of Descent from William Robinson to Eli McCarter

 

William Robinson (1709-1792) + Agatha Beverley (1716-c1756)

Agatha Robinson (1737-1812) + Capt. William Sims (1735-1761)

Joanna Sims (1761-1852) + James Ownby (1761-1850)

John Ownby (1781-1857) + Mary Jane Koone (1793-1881)

Mary Ownby (1814-1846) + Thomas McCarter (1811-1888)

Thomas Hill McCarter (1846-1923) + Marriah Reagan (1842-1923)

Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955) + Mary Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969

 

Sources

 

American Revolution Genealogy Forum” http://genforum.com/americanrev/messages/9831.html

 

“Ancestors of Col. William Robinson.”  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~robinson999/genealogy/Legacy/675.htm

 

“Ancestors of Lazarus Long.”  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lzrslong/b3508.htm

 

“Ancestors of Violet May Schliemann.”

http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~duimstra/schliema.htm

 

“Bryant Family, The.”  http://www.wrestlingusa.com/bryantrightframe.html

 

“Descendants of John Robinson of Yorkshire England.”  (From “My York Co., VA project”  http://hdhdata.org/york.html

 

Hewick.’  (National Register of Homes Form)  http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Middlesex/059-0006_Hewick_1978_Final_Nomination.pdf

 

McCarter Family charts, database, traditions

 

“Obert Family Genforum.”  http://genforum.genealogy.com/obert/messages/90.html

 

“Robinson Family Genealogy Forum.” 

http://genforum.genealogy.com/robinson.

 

“Robinson L Archives.”   http://listsearches.rootsweb.com/th/read/ROBINSON/2003-01/1042941454

 

 

 

 

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