Since the hitherto, available information on the Charles Morehead (who took up residence in the Northern Nek of Virginia, and from whom a large number of people have descended), has been entirely comprised of conjectures and assumptions, I am going to submit my own.
There are two possible scenarios for the first two generations of the Charles Morehead lineage. The first lineage scenario consists of a man by the name of Charles Morehead having immigrated to Virginia. Being married, his wife (at this point unnamed) gave birth to two children: William, born 1637; and Charles II, born 1639. The second child, Charles Morehead II was married twice, first to Sarah Nelms, and secondly to Jane Presley.
The second lineage scenario, and one that seems more probable to this researcher, consists of a man by the name of Charles Morehead having immigrated to Virginia, already married to Sarah Nelms. Charles and Sarah gave birth to two sons: William, born 1637; and Charles II, born 1639. The second son, Charles married Jane Presley.
In either of the two lineage scenarios, the additional “Charles Morehead” children(?) would have been the children of the Charles Morehead born in 1639 and married to Jane Presley. They included John, Alexander, Elizabeth, Anne, Mary, Winifred, and Presley (see below).
Of the children of Charles Morehead, John M. Morehead, in his history of the family, noted that
“...William seems not to have married...He is twice mentioned in the records as excused on account of illness, and on September 18 1735, his will was presented...This, together with the fact that not much more is heard of his brother, Charles Morehead (II), would seem to indicate either his death or immigration.”(4.31)
Charles, the son of Charles Morehead, appeared in a court record some eight years after his father’s death in 1705. The lack of court records does not imply anything other than the fact that a person may not have required legal assistance during his lifetime, or that the records have disappeared over the years. Therefore, it is not necessary to assume that Charles, Jr had either died or immigrated due to the absence of records indicating his presence.
According to John M. Morehead, William Morehead received a tract of land along the Great Wicomico River from his father, Charles Morehead.(4.32) When that transaction took place is not known because the record is not currently to be found. William, in turn, sold the tract of land on 12 November 1726 to Charles Nelms. William continued to reside in the region that originally was Northumberland County, Virginia until 1735. Prior to that date, William was mentioned in court records on 16 December 1710 and on 10 September 1711; the former as a witness to a deed between two men by the names of Smith and Nelms, and the latter by signing a bond in order for John Nelms obtain a license to maintain a tavern.(4.33) On 16 June 1714 William was noted as being excused from the ‘Levy’ due to being ill. The court record noted that William was “at present much weakened Lame and incapable of labour by means of some late sicknesse”.(4.34) On 18 September 1735 William’s will was recorded, and on 20 September probated.(4.35) It would seem apparent that William had never married because his estate went to a younger brother of his, Alexander, rather than to a wife or any children.
Of Charles Morehead, Jr, the one thing that we might assume with any surety was that he made a living (or at least was knowledgeable) as a maker of barrels and other wooden containers. He was recorded on 18 March 1713 as being ordered by the court to teach a twelve year old boy, Nicho Callan, the trade of cooper.(4.36) If Charles Jr., was not a cooper himself, how would he be able to teach a twelve year old boy the craft?
The word cooper comes from kuper, a lower saxon word meaning "a tub", and was conferred on one who makes tubs, along with casks, barrels and similar items.(4.37) It has been suggested that the idea of containing liquids inside a vessel constructed of wooden staves or slats arose from the shipbuilding industry. In the days of ships that were constructed of wood, the idea was to fit wooden boards tightly together so that the liquid of the ocean waters would be kept out. Someone must have looked at that and realized that if you could keep the ocean water out of a wooden ship, you might likewise keep liquids inside a similarly constructed wooden vessel.
In a day and age when zip-lock plastic bags and tupperware were not known, the cooper produced containers in which were stored both dry items and liquids. Dry items, such as grains, or ground flour and corn meal were stored in what were called dry or slack casks. Wet casks were used for storage of liquids such as distilled liquors and beer, cider and molasses in addition to salted meat and fish. Smaller kegs were used to store gunpowder.
Now all casks, no matter what size, were constructed in the same way. Six steps were primarily involved in the construction of a cask: 1.) Flat boards would be cut and shaped into staves; 2.) The staves would be positioned and connected together; 3.) Grooves would be cut into the staves at each end, into which the heads would be fitted; 4.) The heads of the cask would be cut and pounded into the grooves; 5.) The permanent hoops would be fitted and attached; and 6.) The spy hole would be drilled and fitted with spigots and/or plugs.
Casks were not the only product of the cooper. He also made all kinds of containers. A cooper might make nothing but containers other than casks. In that case, he was called a white cooper. The kinds of things the white cooper made included: buckets, piggins and peck/half peck measures, in which the ‘head’ was installed part way between the two ends. The head was so positioned so that two different dry measurements could be obtained from the single cask.
The white cooper also constructed items such as butter churns, pitchers and even cups or mugs. Anything that was constructed in the basic cask shape, and would be used to ‘contain’ some liquid or dry commodity would be made by the cooper or white cooper. The white cooper even made items such as a sieve or temse because of his knowledge and ability to bend and connect wood strips. The white cooper even made military drums.
Cutting and shaping a flat board into a cask stave was not an easy task for most people. A young man who apprenticed to a cooper would spend up to four years learning the craft. No one ever came up with a mathematical formula for shaping the perfect stave. The professional cooper would work the stave until he ‘felt’ it was right. One would reach that point of knowledge of the craft only after years of apprenticeship. It was just such an apprenticeship into which Nicho Callan was ordered by the court in 1713.
So what became of the other children of Charles and Jane Morehead? According to John M. Morehead, William and Charles’ sister, Elizabeth, married a man by the name of Haynie; and their sister, Anne married a man by the name of Dameron. Later family researchers have suggested that Anne’s husband was Benjamin Dameron. Mr. Morehead noted that the Haynies and the Damerons were “both well-known families”.(4.38) Mr. Morehead did not provide any additional information on their sisters, Mary or Winifred. Nothing, likewise is known about a brother, Presley Morehead, and he was not even mentioned in Mr. Morehead’s book. It would appear, though, that Mr. Morehead got some lines mixed up, and that the Elizabeth and Anne whom he recorded as Charles and Jane’s daughters were actually Charles and Jane’s granddaughters, as will be noted below.
It should be noted that, in regard to Presley, the name appears only in the Muirhead Clan Society database. The name does not appear in any of the database “Notes” for Charles Morehead and his family. But it has been inserted into the lineage, as the eldest child, nonetheless. He has even been given the birthdate of circa 1670 although there is no evidence to prove such.
In regard to Elizabeth, the daughter of Charles and Jane Morehead, it should be noted that the will of Andrew Flanigan, whom Charles Morehead’s widow, Jane, chose to be her second husband, listed one of Andrew’s step-daughters as Elizabeth Kesterson, rather than Haynie. It is possible that Elizabeth was married twice. But it is likewise possible that Mr. Morehead got his information a bit jumbled in regard to Elizabeth. He noted that when Elizabeth’s brother, Alexander Morehead died in 1743, that he gave his property to his daughter Anne, his son Alexander, Jr and to his ‘granddaughter’ Hannah Haynie.(4.39) Alexander is known to have had a daughter whom he and his wife named Elizabeth. It was no doubt that daughter, Elizabeth, who married the man by the name of Haynie, and gave birth to a daughter Hannah Haynie. It would seem quite probable that it was Alexander’s daughter, Elizabeth, rather than Charles’ daughter, Elizabeth, who married into the Haynie family, and that Charles’ daughter, Elizabeth, married only once - the man by the name of Kesterson.
Alexander Morehead, the remaining son of Charles and Jane Morehead, who was apparently the heir to his brother, Charles Morehead Junior’s estate, married a lady by the name of Hannah Cockrell.(4.40) Alexander was not included in the list of minor heirs of Charles Morehead, and therefore it might be assumed that he was in his twenties in 1710 when the court was petitioned in respect to those minor children. Some researchers state that Alexander would have been born circa 1683, and most certainly before 1689. Alexander and his wife gave birth to three children: Elizabeth, Anne and Alexander Junior. Elizabeth was born on 01 October 1723 and Anne was born on 02 October 1726. Alexander Morehead, Sr died in the early spring of 1743. On 12 March his will was probated, with Thomas Dameron and Samuel Nelms named as the estate’s executors.(4.41) In his will, Alexander Morehead bequeathed to his ‘granddaughter Hannah Haynie:
“fifty acres of land joining to the land of Charles Nelms dec’d, negro girl Manee and negro child Rachel, to her and the lawfully begotten heirs of her body, and if no heirs the land to fall to my daughter Anne Moorehead, and the negroes to be equally divided between my son Alexander and my daughter Ann Moorehead.”
To his son, Alexander, was bequeathed:
“the land whereon I now live, and my still and worm...”
And to his daughter Anne, Alexander bequeathed:
“all the remainder of my land and half my negroes and moveable estate, to her and the lawfully begotten heirs of her body, and if none to my son Alexander Moorehead.”
For whatever reason, the estate was not settled immediately, and the son, Alexander Morehead, Jr petitioned for it to be accomplished in 1752, but died before it was. Alexander Morehead’s wife apparently died prior to his own death in 1743 because she was not named in the will (as noted previously).
Alexander Morehead, Jr, son of Alexander and Hannah Morehead, married Jane Wildey, the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Wildey. Jane was born on 03 April 1735. It is believed that Alexander and Jane gave birth to a son and a daughter: Alexander III, and Elizabeth, born 01 October 1723. Alexander Morehead, Jr died on 10 April 1754. He died intestate, and the court awarded letters of administration to his widow, Jane on 13 May 1754.(4.42) Jane continued to reside in the region of Northumberland County, Virginia, and it was there, at Coan during March 1756 that a warehouse full of tobacco owned by Jane was burned. The province of Virginia reimbursed Mrs. Morehead for the loss.
Elizabeth Morehead, one of the two daughters of Alexander and Hannah Morehead, married Richard Haynie. They gave birth to the daughter, Hannah. Hannah Haynie, born on 28 November 1742, married David Ball in 1758. No children and known to have come from that union.
Anne Morehead married Bartholomew Dameron (rather than Benjamin) in 1754. They brought a daughter into the world, who was named after the mother: Annie Morehead Dameron. On 26 August 1788, Annie M. Dameron married Vines L. Mathis in Brunswick County, Virginia. To their union was born a daughter, Ann Morehead Mathis, in 1805. Ann, in turn, married James J. Jackson on 31 December 1824 at Caswell, North Carolina. In 1838 a son, Jerre V. Jackson was born to James and Ann. Jerre V. Jackson married Nancy M. Shrader in 1858 in Monroe County, Missouri. Jerre and Nancy gave birth to: Mary A., born 1859; James H, born 1861; Granville P., born in 1866; and Ora D., born in 1874. Jerre died in 1915, and Nancy died circa 1925.(4.43)
This brings us to the child of Charles and Jane Morehead for whom a great wealth of records exist: John. John Morehead was born circa or prior to 1700, possibly as early as 1681 or 1682. He married Mary Armistead, who was born circa 1700, and they established their home in what was originally part of Northumberland County, Virginia. The region in which the Moreheads resided would later fall under the jurisdiction of King George County, then Prince William County, and by the time that John died it would be known as Fauquier County.
John Morehead purchased a tract of 200 acres from Henry Calfee/Calley in 1726. Two years later, he purchased 124 acres from Joseph Allen. The two transactions were recorded in the King George County Court House.(4.44) The tract purchased from Henry Calfee/Calley was identified by John M. Morehead as consisting of “the great square between the Blue Ridge and the Potomac opposite the present site of Washington” which was then in King George County, but later became Prince William County.(4.45) John Morehead appeared on the tax assessment return known as the ‘rent roll’ for 1735/36 with 200 acres listed, and again in 1738/39 with 321 acres. In confirmation of his resident status in King George County, John Morehead appeared in 1741 on the ‘voter roll’, a listing of residents eligible to vote by virtue of their owning more than fifty acres of land.(4.46) In 1741, Lazarus Sutton, a planter residing in Northumberland County, sold to John Morehead a tract of 411 acres located in Prince William County and situated along the Elk Run, which according to John M. Morehead, was a grant made to John by Lord Fairfax.(4.47) A year later, in 1742, John Morehead received a grant of 167 acres bordering on Browns Run and Marsh Road in Prince William County; the tract lying adjacent to the property, in Hamilton Parish, on which he was residing.(4.48) John and his wife then sold, in 1746, a tract of 192 acres to John Frogg.(4.49) The tract included 167 acres from lands patented to John Morehead and twenty-five acres which had been part of the 200 acres purchased from Henry Calley twenty years earlier. A short time after that transaction, John Morehead rebought 181 acres of land from John Frogg.(4.50) This last transaction revealed that John Morehead and his family resided in what was known as Hamilton Parish. The changing jurisdictional lines occasioned by the formation of new townships out of larger, older ones would later result in Hamilton Parish appearing within Fauquier County, Virginia.
By 1751, John Morehead had amassed an estate of 514 acres in Prince William County, Virginia.(4.51) During the time that John was building up his land holdings, he and his wife, Mary, raised a family of ten children: Hannah, Charles, Joseph, John Jr, Alexander, William, Samuel, Presley, Mary and Elizabeth.
The estate inventory ordered by the Fauquier County Court, and filed along with his other estate papers in the Fauquier County court house after his death, reveals a bit about the home life of the John Morehead Sr family.(4.52) The estate inventory was not something that the deceased person would have requested; it was a decision made by the county Court. There were two purposes in making a complete inventory of the estate of a deceased person. One was to fairly and equitably divide the estate between a number of surviving children and grandchildren, which was the reason for John’s estate inventory. The other reason, though not applicable here because Mary had died prior to the settlement of John’s estate, was to determine the ‘widow’s share’. The widow was traditionally entitled to one third of the valuation of the estate. The inventory would be made, and values would be assigned to each item, and the widow was entitled to receive either currency in the amount of about a third of the total, or she could pick and choose any number of items from the estate whose value equalled the ‘widow’s share’. This practice came about because the wife, during the life of her husband, had no legal right to any of the items that had been acquired and used in the household. It is not uncommon to find in a will a bequest to the widow of the clothes she wore or her own horse saddle or her spinning wheel. Sometimes the dying husband would direct that his soon-to-be widow’s saddle or spinning wheel was to be given to a daughter. It wasn’t fair, but it was the way it was, and the wife and daughters would understand that it was their lot in life. So the practice of the ‘widow’s share’ came about out of a sense of compassion for the widow, that she might be able to lay claim to at least a portion of the things she had used while her husband was alive.
Now, in regard to John Morehead’s estate inventory, it was no doubt ordered by the Fauquier County Court because Mary had died prior to John, and because his will directed that the estate, upon Mary’s demise, be divided equally between certain of his sons (Alexander, William, Presley and Samuel). The only way to fairly do so was through the estate inventory. An estate inventory was very thorough. A group of neighbors would be asked by the Court to go through the deceased person’s house and farmstead and make a list of every single item, and then to estimate a value for each of those items. The estate inventory, thusly, provides a look at all of the worldly possessions of the deceased person.
John Morehead’s estate was valued at £392, ƒ12, p9. It included:
33 Head of hogs
From this inventory, it can be seen that John Morehead had quite a sizeable farm, with thirty-three hogs, thirteen sheep and twenty-two cattle. As despicable as it seems to us in this day and age, in the mid-1700s a farm of any size in the south was maintained through the use of slaves, and John’s farm was no exception. He ‘owned’ seven at the time he died.
There are few items in the estate inventory which are out of the ordinary for a farmstead of the Eighteen Century. There were more tables and chairs than one would normally find in the average house; the inventory lists five tables (counting the desk), and thirteen chairs. The average house would have contained only a single or perhaps two tables and, surprisingly to most people, only two chairs. When the family ate their meals, only the father and mother traditionally sat to eat. The children would stand at the table. There usually would not have been much room to have more than one or two tables and chairs, so an assumption can be made that John Morehead’s house was fairly large compared to the average. The number of beds, and the way they are listed, also point toward a larger house than that owned by the average person. Two beds are listed as one line entry and two more (ditto) are listed as another line entry. This implies that two beds were found in one room, and two more were found in another room.
The various kitchen items are pretty much in keeping with the average house of the Eighteenth Century. In John’s house we find the usually ‘dutch’ oven, pots and skillet. What is interesting to note is that dishes, per se, are not listed, but that ‘wooden ware’ is listed twice. Perhaps the dishes the family used were wood trencher type plates, which were very common. The ‘parcel’ of pewter can be assumed to have been a collection of pewterware, perhaps including a cup or two.The item listed as a ‘spice morter’ would have been a mortar and pestle, used to grind and mix spices and herbs. The keeping of meat was a difficult thing, and especially so in the south, where the normal temperature did not provide any natural means to keep meat cool. The answer to the question of how to preserve and keep meat was to cover it in spices and pack it in barrels with sawdust to keep the air out. The ‘spice morter’ owned by the John Morehead family was probably one of their most important possessions. The last item to be commented on would be the last item listed in the inventory: carpenter’s tools. Many of the repairs to one’s farmstead would be handled by itinerant carpenters and other specialized craftsmen. The fact that John Morehead owned carpenter’s tools points toward the possibility that he, himself, engaged in the profession of carpenter. It, just as easily, points toward the possibility that he wanted to be self-sufficient in the repair of his farm.
In 1751 there were two other individuals by the name of Morehead who appeared on the tax returns for Hamilton Parish in Prince William County. The one, James Morehead, has not yet been identified with any Morehead lines from this region. His name appeared only in the 1751 tax return. The other, Charles Morehead, would have been John and Mary’s eldest son. It has been conjectured that if he were a head of a household in 1751, he must have been twenty-one years of age at that time; and therefore would have been born circa 1730.(4.53) There is the possibility that Charles was not twenty-one years of age, but had married prior to that age. He very well could have been sixteen years of age (or any age under twenty-one) and married, and therefore a head of household by virtue of being the husband. Only a single freeman needed to be twenty-one years of age or older in order to qualify as a head of household without being married.
According to a transcription of the Prince William County Minute Book for 1752-53, John Morehead acknowledged deeds on 26 November 1753 to Charles Morehead and to Joseph Morehead.(4.54)
In the year 1754 the quit rent tax returns for Prince William County showed John Morehead with 239 acres, along with his sons, Charles with 180 acres, John Jr., with 115 acres, and Joseph with 150 acres. Charles’ 180 acres were taxed 4 shillings, 6 pence. After 1759, no men by the name of Morehead are found on the tax returns for Prince William County, Virginia.(4.55) Instead, the Moreheads are to be found on the returns for Fauquier County, Virginia. Fauquier County was formed out of a portion of Prince William in 1759. This fact helps to pinpoint more closely where the family had originally settled.
On 05 November 1762 John Morehead deeded a tract of 123 acres to his son, Joseph Morehead.(4.56)
John Morehead, Sr., died at some time in the late summer or fall of the year 1768. Mary is believed to have died in August just before John. John’s will was recorded on 22 June 1768 and probated on 24 October 1768 at the Fauquier County Court House.(4.57) In his will, John Morehead named his children: Hannah Johnson, Charles Morehead, Joseph Morehead, John Morehead Jr, Alexander Morehead, William Morehead, Mary Lawrence, Elizabeth Brixtraw, and Samuel Morehead.
It is interesting to note that to all of his children with the exception of Samuel, Alexander, Presley and William, John bequeathed only five shillings. To William, John bequeathed fifteen pounds (currency). To Samuel he directed a tract of land containing ninety acres and another tract containing fifty acres. To Alexander, John bequeathed “one Negro Woman named Sarah Also one Negro child called Betty…” Mary, John’s wife (who was living at the time of the writing of his will, but who died just prior to John’s death) was to receive the lands on which the family then resided, and upon her demise, it was to be divided between Alexander, William and Presley. The remainder of the estate was to be divided between Samuel and Presley. Now, it might be thought that, for John Morehead to bequeath only a measly five shillings to the majority of his children, he must not have liked them. But that was not necessarily the case. To be sure, there might have been a situation here or there in which the person for whom the will was being written was a mean spirited and belligerent person, that being the reason for a ridiculously small bequest. But more often than not, the reason was a very simple economic one. The estate generally went to the eldest son (and on the rare occasion, to the eldest daughter). If the eldest son already possessed land and a house in which to live, such was not bequeathed to him. If the next eldest son likewise already possessed land and a house, he also was passed over in the bequest of such. Unlike in modern days, where a man or woman bequeaths estates or portions of estates out of love to particular family members, in the 1700s and 1800s, the needs of the children, from the eldest downward was taken into consideration. Of course, the daughters who are noted by the surnames of their respective husbands (Johnson for Hannah, Lawrence for Mary, and Brixtraw for Elizabeth) were not in need of John’s estate because they were being provided for by their own husbands. So the assumption that John Morehead may have been unkind to the children to whom he directed to receive only five shillings is simply not warranted. He may have loved each and every one dearly; they simply did not need his estate as much as the four sons (and wife) whom he singled out.