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Beck, Jeffrey
Beverley, Capt. Harry
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Crowson, William
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Meckendorfer, Johannes
Mosby, Edward
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Wormeley, Elizabeth

Ancestor of the Month

January 2010

 

Edward Mosby

b. 1660                d. 1742

 

Our Edward Mosby lived life as a good man but apparently died in a very sad state.

 

Family Background

 

Edward’s grandfather, Edd Mosby was “The Immigrant” for the Mosby family in the colonies.   Edd’s actual place of birth is unknown, but it was probably Yorkshire, England.  He was transported to VA by an unknown benefactor and probably served time as an indentured servant in order to repay the debt.  He lived in Charles City County, VA and was quite successful.  He came to be a tobacco planter and had large landholdings.  He served as a vestryman at the Westover Church and was buried there in its cemetery in 1663.  His only son, Richard, was our Edward’s father.  Richard, like his father, was originally transported to VA (probably with his father) but for some reason returned to England.  Later a colonist named Richard Ballard paid for Richard Mosley’s passage to return to VA.  Ballard received 50 acres for this “headright.”  Richard Mosley’s only son, our Edward, was born in 1660.

 

Marriage #1

 

When Edward was a young man, he married Sarah Woodson (c1682-1716), daughter of Col. Robert and Elizabeth (Ferris) Woodson.  Col. Woodson (Potato Hole Woodson, remember him?) was the child of Dr. John and Sarah (Winston?) Woodson.  (To read about the Woodsons, go to the link for previously published articles at the top of this page.)  The Woodsons were quite well off financially and owned about 1200 acres in Henrico Co.   Robert’s rank of colonel came from his service in the VA militia.  Although Robert  and Elizabeth (Ferris) Woodson did not become official members of the Quaker religion, their children did.  Their daughter Sarah was particularly devout in her Quaker beliefs.  Their son-in-law Edward Mosby probably became a Quaker through Sarah Woodson’s urging.

 

Hardships for Quakers in VA

 

Quakers in VA had a hard row to hoe.  In 1658 the General Assembly of VA passed an act that banned Quakers and fined anyone who accepted a Quaker into his home the amount of ₤100.  Governor William Berkeley wanted to stamp our Quakerism in Virginia.  In 1660 he sent a letter to VA officials in which he instructed them “not to suffer any more of their [Quaker] meetings or Conventicles & if any such shall be refractory, yt [sic] you send them up prisoners to James Citty.” [original spelling retained.]  In 1661 and 1666 more laws attacking Quakers were passed.  They included (1) fines for anyone not attending the Anglican church for a period of one month, and (2) fines on “refractory persons” who failed to comply with militia regulations.  (These last two fines were directed pointedly toward Quakers.) 

 

Some Quaker couples were even prosecuted for living together unlawfully since the Anglican church did not recognize Quaker marriage ceremonies.  John Pleasants and his wife, who were Edward Mosby’s neighbors, were fined severely for following their Quaker lifestyle.  Their fines included ₤240 each for  “illicit cohabitation” and ₤20 each for every month they did not attend parish church (Anglican) services.   In addition the Pleasants were fined two thousand pounds of tobacco for not having their children baptized in the Anglican church and five hundred pounds of tobacco for allowing Quaker meetings to be conducted in their home.

 

According to Grady Gordon Brickhouse in “Eastern Shore Quakers”:

 

The Unlawful Assembly Act prohibited Quakers above the age sixteen or older from gathering in groups of five or more to practice their religion. If you were caught violating the law against assembling, the first offense could cost them as much as 200 pounds of tobacco, the second offense up to 500 pounds. If a Quaker was unable to pay a fine levied against him, it could be collected from other Quakers who had the means of paying the fine. The fines were used to promote others to inform on Quakers. Any person informing on a known Quaker would receive one half of the fine imposed. The remainder of the fine went into the public treasury

 

Thus, laws were definitely “stacked” against the Quakers.

 

Edward and Sarah’s Family

 

Even with all the prejudice against them in VA, Sarah and Edward chose to live there in Henrico County, and we may assume that they led reasonably happy lives.   Eventually the couple had 8 children:

 

1.      Robert Mosby (1685-1758) m. 1713 to Agnes Watson, widow of Benjamin Watson.  Robert and Agnes had 3 children: Robert, Jr., Elizabeth, and Martha.

2.      John Mosby (1687-1718) m. 22 Nov 1708 to Martha Womack (1689-1718) daughter of Abraham Womack.   One known child:  John

3.      Benjamin Mosby (1690-1774) m. 1725 to Mary Poindexter in Powhatan Co., VA.  Benjamin and Mary had 8 children:  Littleberry, Richard, Poindexter, Mary Ann, John, Benjamin, Powhatan, and Theodocia

4.      Agnes Mosby (1693-?) m. 12 Nov 1719 to John Binford in Henrico Co., VA.

5.      Jacob Mosby (c1697-1781) m. Susannah Cox daughter of Nicholas Cox and sister to Elizabeth Cox (see #6 below)  One known child:  Agness (a)

6.      Hezekiah Mosby (1702-1787) m. 1735 to Elizabeth Cox daughter   of Nicholas Cox and sister to Susannah Cox (see #5 above) in Cumberland Co., VA.  Hezekiah and Elizabeth had 10 children:  Phoebe, Mary, Sarah, Daniel, Edward, Nicholas, Susan, Agness (b), Agnes (c), and Samuel.  (Apparently the first Agness in Hezekiah’s family died, and the second was named for her.  One of these three cousin Agnes(s)es is our ancestor.  So far nobody has been able to find out which one.  No matter which one it turns out to be, her ancestors will be the same since we have two Mosby brothers marrying two Cox sisters.  Thus, all these Agnes(s)es will have the same grandparents, etc.)

7.      Joseph Mosby (1706-1727) m. Sabina LNU

8.      Richard Mosby (1708-1746) m. Hannah LNU

 

Even though Edward was a very skilled carpenter, his family was not wealthy (although they were probably comfortable in their living standards). Two of his sons held the rank of Captain in the militia, so they had some standing, and son Benjamin had the foresight and luck to marry into the wealthy  Poindexter family, causing him and his descendants to become “people of substance and social position” in the area.  (The two Captains apparently put their Quaker beliefs on hold or were not as devout as some of their fellow believers.  They may have served in the military simply to avoid the fines they would have received otherwise.)

 

Edward’s Contributions

 

Edward Mosby was one of the major coffin builders in the colony.  In addition, in 1701 he helped built the first Quaker meetinghouse in Henrico County.  “He sealed the inside, hung the doors and did some finishing work.”  Unfortunately, the congregation was slow in paying for his services.  Edward also built some public structures.  Principle among these was a bridge across the Chickahominy River at Bottom's Ford, connecting Henrico County with New Kent County.  (As a point of interest, the bridge was at the end of a road originally constructed by Edward’s father-in-law, Robert Woodson.)  Edward maintained this bridge for seven years, but as with the Quaker meeting house, he had trouble collecting his wages from Henrico and New Kent Counties for building and maintaining the bridge.  Eventually Henrico County paid the entire cost (8,000 lbs of tobacco), apparently allowing New Kent County to get away with paying nothing for a bridge that benefited both counties.

 

Marriage #2

 

When Sarah died in 1716 at age 34, Edward was left with several underage children.  Like many colonial fathers in this position, he quickly searched for a wife.  Widow Mary Watkins had just lost her husband, Henry, and she, too, had several minor-aged children.  Soon Edward and Mary announced their intentions to marry.  They were interviewed by “members in good standing” of the Quaker church (Robert Woodson and William Porter interviewed Edward, and Margaret Porter and Frances Gaithright interviewed Mary Hopkins.)  Once the couple’s plans had been approved, they were wed 12 August 1716.  Apparently they had no additional children of their own.  The Quaker monthly minutes of that time recorded:

 

Edward  Mosby and Mary Watkins were married at the meetinghouse near Curles 10th Day 9th month 1716.  Witnesses:  Robert Woodson, Edward Mosby , Mary Mosby, Joseph Woodson, William Lead, Robert Crew, Joseph Woodson, Jr., John Pleasants, Benjamin Watkins, Ephraim Gratrite, Francis Roing, Joseph Pleasants, Jr., Joseph Mosby, Joseph Pleasants, Elizabeth Woodson, Rachell Woodson, Mary Roin(g?), Mary Woodson, Jean Pleasants.

 

 (Quakers did not use the Gregorian calendar until 1752.  In addition they did not use the traditional names of months  because they were based upon names of pagan gods.  Before 1752, 11th month was January, 12th was February, 1st was March.  Unfortunately, this practice still does not reconcile the conflicting dates for Edward and Mary’s wedding given above.  12 August 1716 does not equal 10th Day 9th month 1716.)

 

(In 1685 while Mary was still married to Henry Watkins, her 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth was jailed for refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the King in court.  [Swearing was something Quakers did not do.]   Elizabeth offered to affirm her statements, but this offer was not satisfactory to the judges.  After two months in jail, the girl was brought before the judges again, but again she refused to swear.  The judges claimed that she was “obstanant” [sic] and was “pretend[ing] out of conscience’s sake” because she wanted to be excused.  Then, in their vast kindness and leniency, the judges said, “the court have out of their clemency in consideration of her young years remitted her offence and releast [sic] her of her confinement.”  In addition to this incident concerning her daughter, Mary Watkins had herself suffered the disparity existing among the courts, the laws, the Quakers, and justice.  After Mary was assaulted by a neighbor, her husband Henry refused to prosecute the culprit “because the law required actions contrary to the Quaker doctrine.”  Although Henry was trying to protect his wife’s religious beliefs, his actions allowed her attacker to go free and unpunished.)

 

Edward Falls from Grace

By  c1718 the Quaker congregation had grown so large that it was divided into two groups.   Mary and Edward were in the newly formed White Oak Swamp congregation.  Since it was the “younger” of the two groups, the White Oak Swamp congregation had no church building.  Thus, for four years it held its meetings at Edward Mosby’s home.   In 1722 the White Oak Swamp group decided to build its own meetinghouse.  They contracted with Edward to head the work and agreed to pay him 15  when work began and an additional 15  upon completion of the work, if he documented the additional costs.  Unfortunately additional costs ran higher than 15.  When Edward presented his bill of total costs, the congregation refused to pay.  Finally the disagreement was settled, and the congregation paid ₤15, 40 shillings.  According to the minutes of the Quaker meetings, Edward was satisfied with the settlement.  In actuality, he was not satisfied at all.  In fact, he was so angry about the settlement that he stopped attending Quaker meetings.  He spoke out against the church leaders.  He refused to reconcile.   The result of his behavior was that he was excommunicated.

 

On 5 July 1724, the minutes read:  (original spelling retained)

           

Whares Edward Mosby a pretended member of the society of Peopell called Quakers having for sum considerable time past walked not as Becometh the profeson he makes of the Blessed truth whereupon Friends have Delte with him according to the good order of The gospell practised by the sd. Peopell. Toward disorderly Brethren, which as it hath Bene a scandall to our holy profession They make of the truth Deney and Disown him the sd. Edward Mosby to be a member of our holy Society till it please the Lord to reach unto him So as to give him pease of Repentance To amendment of Life, which we truly and Sincerely Desire

 

Edward had been a member in good standing of the Quaker religion for a long period of time (at least 25 years).  He had helped build the first meetinghouse.  He allowed meetings to be held in his own home for 4 years.  He built the second meetinghouse.  He made coffins for his fellow church members.  Since there is no evidence that the disagreement and excommunication was ever cleared up, we may assume that Edward was shunned by his fellow Quakers for the rest of his life.  This action would probably have included being shunned by his children as well.  Thus, the last 17 years of Edward’s life were probably bitter and lonely.  (The date of Mary’s death is unknown.  She, too, may have shunned him.)

 

Edward’s Death

 

When Edward died in 1741, no heir appeared at the courthouse to handle his estate.  (Only one son, Richard, still lived in Henrico Co.  John and Joseph had died, and the other sons had moved away.)  Thus, the sheriff ordered that all his land and possessions be sold, the money going to the county.  Ironically, the cost for Edward’s coffin and burial expenses was 40 shillings, the same amount of money that had caused all the contention that led to his excommunication.  The motto on the Mosby coat of arms is  Je Le Feray Durant Ma Vie.”   [I Will Endure to the End.]  Edward endured, but the outcome of his strong will may not have been the best possible alternative.  Some concessions on his part might have made his last days more tolerable.

 

Notable Descendants

 

Contrary to what one might expect because of the couple’s Quaker views, many of Edward and Sarah’s descendants distinguished themselves in the colony, especially—and surprisingly—in the military. John Mosby, Jr. (grandson), Littleberry Mosby (great grandson), and Wade Mosby (great grandson) all served in the Continental Army.   General Littleberry Hardeman Mosby (Wade’s son) graduated from William & Mary College in 1809 and then served in the army during the War of 1812. Other Mosbys also served in the military, including the Confederacy’s famous Colonel John Singleton Mosby (4-great grandson).  Col. Mosby, known as the “Gray Ghost,” was not only the most famous Mosby soldier; he was also the hero of a 39-part 1950’s TV series.  Many stories tell of his daring adventures.  (Unfortunately, he is not one of our ancestors, but we can claim him as a relative or cousin.)

 

Edward Mosby lived a long life for his time.  It is sad that the end of his life may have been lonely.

 

Edward Mosby is Mamaw’s 6-great grandfather.  If you are Mary Elizabeth Hatcher’s great great grandchild, Edward Mosby is your 10-great grandfather.

 

Lineage from Edward Mosby to Mary Elizabeth Hatcher

 

Edward Mosby  (1660-1742) + Sarah Woodson (1665-1716)

Jacob or Hezekiah Mosby + Susannah or Elizabeth Cox

Agnes Mosby (1736-?) + Edward Davidson (1715-1794)

Elizabeth Davidson (? -c1830) + Meredith Webb IV (1747-1816)

Meredith Webb V (1779-1864) + Mary Nancy Couch (c1790-?)

Elizabeth Webb (1808-1881) + Israel McInturff (1805-1845)

Mary Elizabeth McInturff  (1837-1915) + James H. Hatcher (1839-1911)

Israel Alexander Hatcher (1860-1950) + Susan Ann Sutton (1866-1903)

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

 

Sources

 

“Charles City County”  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~johnsonsofva/vacounties/charlescitycounty.htm

 

“Colonial Virginia”  http://millennium.fortunecity.com/quarrybank/170/virginia.htm

“Descendants of Edd Mosby.”
http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=gene1600&id=I6459

“Descendants of Edward “Edd” and Hannah Mosby
http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/m/o/s/Michael-J-Mosby/index.html

 “Henry Watkins, 1660-1714” http://www.worldwidecommerce.com/carter/files/html/D0006/G0000092.html#I460

 

“Henry (Jr.) Watkins and Descendants.”

http://www.oursoutherncousins.com/Descendants%20of%20HENRY%20WATKINS,%20JR..pdf

 

McCarter Family Charts and Traditions

“Mosby “
http://members.tripod.com/LeeCase/mosby.htm

“Mosby Family Genforum” http://genforum.genealogy.com/mosby/index.html

 

“Miscellaneous Watkins Biography”  contains “History of Henrico Co.”

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wvmystica/Misc_-_Watkins_Biography_Henrico_County_VA.html

 

“Powhatan County, Virginia”
Misc. Abstracts from Order Book 1 (1777-1784)
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vapowhat/orders/powob1.htm

“Westover Plantation”  http://www.jamesriverplantations.org/Westover.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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