Thursday, March 5, 2015

Quakers move from Philly to Northern Virginia c. 1730

When one reads about the movement of the Quaker families out of the Philadelphia area, the movement that I first became aware of was from Philly area to Northern Virginia.  Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan seem to have headed up this migration.  ("He" is Alexander Ross)

  • He and Morgan Bryan petitioned the Council of the Colony of Virginia on 28 October 1730 that there were 100 families desirous of settling in Virginia and requested 100,000 acres on the west and north side of "Opeckon" to the North Mountain and along the River Cohongarooton (Potomac River). With the advice of the Council, the Governor gave permission to Ross and Bryan to take up the 100,000 acres; patents would be granted, providing that the 100 families were present and dwelling upon the land within two years.

    Ross probably moved to Virginia soon after he received notification of the Council's action. He received his patent from the Colony on 12 November 1735 for 2,373 acres. The tract is located west of Clearbrook, Virginia on Braddocks Road, Frederick County Highway 672. Interstate Highway 81 crosses the east part of the tract, Frederick County Highway 671 runs along the north side and County Highway 661 runs along the east.


Joseph has told me that:

  The Mordecai we know we are related to in Pennsylvania is the son of John and Jane.  He is Steve's ancestor, who left the area about 1729, is missing for about 15 years, and then turned up in Frederick County, VA, then Granville, NC, then SC.  There is no evidence that James and Rose had more than the two children we know about---John and Mary. 

The date that Mordecai "goes Missing" is just about perfect for having been a part of Alexander Ross' early group to move from the Philly area to Northern Virginia.  I did a bit of thinking about this and remembered that Old Frederick county was not carved out of Orange until 1738.  So it is possible that Mordecai might be found among the Orange County, Virginia records in the period between 1730 and 1738.  I am doing this from memory...but I believe that early Hopewell MM records burned in a fire in someone's home.  I will work on some of this when I get home.

Here is what I found on-line (Thanks to Bruce Locken) about the original 70 families that accompanied Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan from Philly area to Northern Virginia:

In the State Land Office at Richmond are to be found recorded in Book 16, pages 315-415, inclusive, the patents issued to the settlers who came to the Shenandoah Valley under authority of the Orders in Council made to Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan. All bear date of November 12, 1735, and recite that the grantee is one of the seventy families brought in by them, and excepting location and acreage, are alike in wording and conditions, and are signed by William Gooch, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony at that time. . . .

These patents were issued under the seal of the colony and were grants from the Crown, free of any obligation of feudal services to the Fairfax family, who claimed the land as lords proprietors of the Northern Neck of Virginia. The sixth Lord Fairfax, who later established his home at Greenway Court near Winchester, instituted many suits against early settlers in the Shenandoah Valley, but it does not appear that any Friend who claimed under Ross and Bryan was ever ejected from his land.

Although it is specifically stated that seventy families have been "by them brought in to our said Colony and settled upon the Lands in the said Order mentioned," only thirty-six patents issued to thirty-four grantees have been found. The names of these grantees are here given, together with sundry information gathered from the minutes of various Friends' meetings, from the records of the counties of Orange and Frederick in Virginia, and Chester County, Pennsylvania. . . .

 Frederick County, Virginia, Hopewell Friends History [database online], Orem, UT:, 1997:

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