In his history of the Morehead Family of North Carolina and Virginia, John M. Morehead III started describing the life of Charles Muirhead with a few assumptions. He noted that: (4.15)
|“If, as family tradition asserts, the first Morehead to come to Virginia was Charles Morehead in 1630, the probabilities are that he was a son of David…”.|
This first sentence with which Mr. Morehead started out his third chapter correctly implies that there is no actual source for the “family tradition” by his use of the word ‘if’. The link between Charles and the David Muirhead who helped to finance the Kent Island venture was also noted as based on an assumption, by his use of the phrase ‘the probabilities are’. In the absence of any other evidence of the link between the two individuals, Mr. Morehead merely linked them by the statement that “if” the first Morehead to come to Virginia was Charles, then he was probably the son of David Muirhead. It might also have been suggested that Charles could have been David’s brother, or nephew, or uncle and so forth. The only source referring to Charles and David’s relationship is found also in Mr. Morehead’s book; the name of Charles is not mentioned in David’s will, nor in any other type of ‘public’ record.
Earlier in his book, Mr. Morehead noted that: (4.16)
|“David, of London, died in 1642, and might easily have been David, the writer, who had a son Arthur on November 7 1596; a son John on April 27 1600; a son William, October 26 1602; a son Richard, December 8 1609; and a daughter Euphanie on November 28 1612, by his wife Marioun Lowsone;…”|
Because of the number of children apparently sired by David, the writer, Mr. Morehead then noted the possibility of a second marriage for David of London (in the process confusing David, who was married to Grissell Machalls and then Marion Lawson, with his son, David, who was married to Anne Hardrett):
|“but Anne Hardrett might as easily have been his second wife, by whom he had an ‘eldest sonne’, David, whose age is not known, but who must have been born elsewhere than near St. Ann’s, Blackfriars, and apparently at a much earlier period than three brothers, William, James, and John, who were born respectively in 1634 1637, and 1641, and two sisters, Anne and Jane. And it is not known whether, by each wife, he might not have had other children.”|
Despite the fact that a son, Charles, was not known to have been born to any man by the name of David Muirhead, Mr. Morehead, nonetheless stuck to his assumption by noting that:
|“As has been said, however, whether these two are the same or not does not affect the fact of David of London’s descent from the house of Lauchope, nor does it disprove the probable identity of Charles Morehead of the Northern Neck as a younger son of David of London…”|
Unfortunately for the family history’s sake, neither did it prove the identity of Charles as a younger son of David.
In a letter to Raymond Morehead, dated 17 August 2001, Preston Haynie, a researcher for the Northumberland County (Virginia) Historical Society stated:
|“I can find nothing to support the idea that the Moreheads of Northumberland came from Kent Island.”|
He was referring to the fact that David Muirhead of London was involved with the Isle of Kent venture, and that the Moreheads of Northumberland was the family starting with the progenitor Charles, and that Charles’ lineage could not be proven to connect to that of David’s by any of the records available for research. Nor could Diane Baptie, performing research in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, find any records overtly linking a son named Charles to David Muirhead of London. Although it may very well be factual that Charles was indeed a son of David Muirhead of London, there simply are no records extant to verify John M. Morehead’s statement, and therefore it must be treated as a conjecture, or as Mr. Morehead himself stated: family tradition.
Then, in the first sentence of the second paragraph, Mr. Morehead stated that: (4.17)
|“At any rate, if Charles came over when he was of age, as was so frequently the custom, then in 1645… he would be fifteen years older, or thirty-six, and probably married.”|
In this sentence Mr. Morehead made a number of assumptions based not on factual evidence, but rather on traditional viewpoints. In the first place, he assumed that Charles would have been twenty-one years of age when he came over in 1630 “if [he] came over when he was of age…” A definition of the phrase ‘of age’, as used in the past, can be derived from An Etymological Dictionary, in which it is noted that: “at twelve years of age, a man may take an oath of allegiance… at fourteen he is at age of discrection, and at twenty one at full Age.” (4.18) That dictionary was published in 1789. The definitions may have changed between the 1630s and the 1780s, a span of 150 years, but changes did not come, at that time, at the lightning fast pace they do nowadays. So, in his statement, Mr. Morehead may have indeed been correct; if Charles came over (in 1630) when he was of age (21)…then in 1645…he would be fifteen years older, or thirty-six. The math is certainly correct, but it needs to be noted that there is no actual proof that Charles was twenty-one years of age when he emigrated, nor that he even emigrated from Scotland in the year 1630. And lastly, why would it be “probable” that Charles was married? In regard to this assumption, Mr. Morehead would have based his statement on the fact that most people, especially immigrant settlers to the New World, would have found the state of being married to their benefit. Therefore, this assumption is certainly not a bad assumption, but it must be accepted as an assumption nonetheless.
Another assumption that does not necessarily hold true is the assumption that it was “so frequently the custom…” for emigrants to be twenty-one years of age. If one looks at any number of ships passenger lists in which the ages of the passengers were included, it will be found that men of all ages, including teenagers, left their homes in Europe to seek new homes in the New World. As has been seen in the dictionary definition, a male at the age of twelve years could legally “take an oath of allegiance”, meaning he could leave one country, enter another, and pledge his allegiance to that new country. Robert V. Wells, in an article on “Population and family in early America”, included in The Blackwell Encyclopedia Of The American Revolution, noted that: “When illness and death were common, however, life expectancy may not have exceeded 25 years at birth. At best, life expectancy reached 45 or even a little higher.” (4.19) In a day and age when the average age at death was between twenty-five and forty-five years, men did not wait (nor did they have to wait, for any legal reason) until they were at least twenty-one years of age to travel to the New World.
The point that needs to be emphasized here is that the appearance of a man by the name of Charles Morehead in the New World in the 1630s did, in fact, occur, but the suggestions of whether he was a son or any close relation to the David Muirhead of London, whether he was twenty-one years of age at the time, and whether he was married when he emigrated are conjectures, but only conjectures.
In most, if not all, of the records available regarding Charles, his surname is spelled Morehead, rather than the earlier version of Muirhead. Whether Charles took that spelling of the name prior to his emigration from Scotland, or whether it was changed after arriving in the New World is not known. There exists no actual ship’s passenger list to reveal the spelling of Charles’ name at the time of his journey. It should be remembered that the reference for 1630 comes from the conjecture of John M. Morehead ~ not from any actual ship’s record.
The earliest record regarding Charles Morehead, as noted by John M. Morehead, was dated 22 December 1692.(4.20) In that record, a servant, Charles Nowland, had covenanted on the 2nd of November to serve Morehead, who had been residing in the Great Wicomico region of Northumberland County, Virginia for four years. The Great Wicomico region of Virginia is an area more commonly known as the ‘Northern Neck.’ Peter Flynt, the man for whom Nowland was then working, refused to give him up. That induced Morehead to file a lawsuit against Flynt. The case was ruled in favor of Charles Morehead on 16 February 1693 and Flynt was ordered to deliver Nowland to Morehead and pay the court costs.
According to John M. Morehead, the court records for Northumberland County contain a few other references to Charles Morehead.(4.21) On 21 March 1694 a suit against Charles failed. He appealed another suit on 16 July 1696. And then on 20 October 1699 Charles was sued as security for Marmaduke Thompson. The ruling in that case was that Charles Morehead was ordered to pay 144 pounds of tobacco. On 16 November 1698 Andrew Harrison (variously, Farguson), an indentured servant of Charles Morehead, was adjudged by the Court of Northumberland County, Virginia to have to serve Mr. Morehead for the remainder of his term.(4.22)
A few comments on the institution of indentured servitude might be mentioned at this point. First, indentured servitude was not gender specific; both males and females could serve as indentured servants. Secondly, indentured servitude was not the same thing as slavery. Slavery is a situation in which one person claims absolute ownership of another person for the duration of the slave’s life. To the ‘master’, the ‘slave’ exists as just another piece of property. In addition, in the situation in which slavery exists, the master assumes ownership of any offspring of the slave. Indentured servitude was, in some ways, similar to slavery, but it was certainly not as extreme as slavery. In the situation of indentured servitude, one person claims ownership of another person, but only for a brief period of time. Also, the period of indenture was often utilized by the ‘master’ for training a craft to the ‘servant.’ The primary purpose of the institution tended to be to pay off a debt, but it also was used as a means to provide apprenticeship instruction to a child without the parents being required to pay specie to accomplish it. Thirdly, It is generally believed that an individual who served as an indentured servant did so until he or she reached a certain age, generally assumed to be twenty-one years of age. That is not strictly accurate. A person who was of sufficient age to enter into a bond of indenture on their own accord, perhaps to pay off a debt, would come to an agreement with his or her master-to-be on the intended length of indentureship. A child, on the other hand, who was to be bound out as an indentured servant, usually served for a period of six years. The foregoing brings up the fact that indentured servants were divided into two groups: servants and bound servants. If an individual entered into indentured servitude of his or her own free will in order to pay for something for which he or she had no means to pay otherwise, he or she was simply considered to be a servant. On the other hand, if the person was sold into indentured servitude against his or her free will, he or she was considered to be bound out and was known as a bound servant.
Children, for the most part, filled up the category of bound servants. It was the customary practice, when parent immigrants died enroute on the ship, for the Master of the ship to take into his custody any children who survived. Although it seems like a heinous practice to modern-day viewers, it must be remembered that there were few welfare programs in effective operation in the 1600s and 1700s. It was far better for the children of deceased parents to be taken into possession (i.e. guardianship) by the Master of a ship than to be thrust out into the great unknown of the New World without any means to survive. Because the ship’s Master would not be able to raise and care for the children, he in turn, often sold them into servitude. Young children thusly sold, were often raised and trained as apprentices by the wealthy families that ‘acquired’ them. Far from being an atrocious practive, indentured servitude sometimes gave the child schooling and craftsman experience which he/she might not ever have been able to obtain otherwise.
On 18 April 1700 Thomas Lock, another indentured servant of Charles Morehead was adjudged by the Northumberland County Court. Lock was, at the time, eleven years of age. The court ruled that Lock would have to serve out the remainder of his covenanted time to Morehead.(4.23)
According to John M. Morehead, Charles spent over a year (from 23 January 1701 to 17 July 1702) fighting a suit brought against him by Captain Warner over 1093 pounds of tobacco, and in the end was the victor in the case. Without providing any other details, John M. Morehead stated that on 23 October 1702, Charles “won another” court case and also on 18 March 1703 he won “still another.” Although no reference is cited, Mr. Morehead noted that on 23 January of 1702, Charles Morehead served on the grand jury
|“as ‘one of the most able and discreet’ men of the county.”|
Finally, on 22 September 1704, a lawsuit brought by Charles Morehead against Richard Nelms was dismissed by the Northumberland County Court.(4.24) Charles had been noted as residing on land owned by Richard Nelms on 13 April 1700.
On 21 March 1706 a certificate was recorded in the Northumberland County, Virginia Order Book granting to Captain George Eskridge the privilege of importing twenty-one persons into the Virginia Colony. In exchange for the new settlers, which the colony desired in order to further legitimize its claims to the land, Captain Eskridge received one thousand and fifty acres of land. One of those twenty-one persons was a man named Charles Moorehead.(4.25) This record poses a problem with the research on the life of Charles Morehead, the early settler. If he had arrived circa 1630, his name should not be included in a listing of recently imported settlers. It is possible that the actual event of the importation had occurred years before, and that the record which was filed in 1706 was simply an after-the-fact situation. It is also possible that the man listed as Charles Moorehead on the record was a different individual, not directly related to the early settler.
Not much else is known about the public life of Charles Morehead of Northumberland County, Virginia. If, as the tradition stated, Charles had been sent over to America by David Muirhead, his supposed father, to watch over David’s interests in the Kent Island venture, he must not have been very proactive about it; his name failed to get mentioned in any of the colonial records in that regard. Nor was Charles’ name mentioned in any of the papers associated with William Claiborne.
The composition of the family of Charles Morehead is just as difficult to prove by original documents as the link between Charles and David Muirhead of London.(4.26) There exist no original records to provide the name(s) of Charles’ wife(s) or his children, except for the petition for the probate of his will and a petition to have the estate divided between his ‘younger children’ and his widow. The particulars of the family members of Charles Morehead have essentially been derived from assumptions and family traditions.
According to the family tradition, Charles Morehead was married twice, first to Sarah Nelms, (born 1618, the daughter of Richard and Ann Nelms) and secondly to Jane Presley, (born 29 January 1652, the daughter of Peter and Winifred Presley). In fact, there is often a question of which wife was first, Sarah or Jane. The fact that Sarah was born in 1618 and Jane in 1652 sort of suggests the eldest being Charles’ first wife. But there is the further evidence that Sarah was the first and Jane the second in the fact that Jane re-married after Charles died. If she would have been his first wife, in order for Jane to re-marry, the couple would have had to have been divorced, rather than Charles being deceased. Divorce was not as easy to obtain in the Seventeenth Century as it is today. Special requests had to be made to either the Church or the secular government for a divorce to be granted. The lack of any records, clerical or secular, testifying to the fact that Charles and Jane had divorced would indicate that such was simply not the case.
According to certain researchers, it is believed that two sons were born to Charles and Sarah: William, in 1637, and Charles, in 1639. Sarah may have died soon after, or during the birth of Charles. Seven other children were probably born to Charles and Jane: Alexander, Presley, John, Winifred, Elizabeth, Anne and Mary. Five of these children were listed as the ‘younger children’ on a petition that was filed in the Northumberland County Court in February 1710 by Charles Moorehead on behalf of the younger children of Charles Morehead and requesting that the estate be divided between the children and their mother. They included: John, Winifred, Elizabeth, Anne and Mary. The earliest date that any of the minor children would have been born to qualify being under the age of eighteen years in 1710 would have been 1692. Of all of the children sired by Charles Morehead, Presley would have been the eldest. His year of birth has been stated as 1670 according to the Muirhead Clan Society database. Presley and Alexander were not listed on the petition of 1710. If he did, in fact exist in this family (see below), and if his birthyear was 1670, then Presley would indeed have been an adult at the time the petition was filed, and it would seem probable that Alexander was also older than eighteen years. It should be noted that although there is no definite proof for it, a Nelms family historian, Ruth Nelms Hooker, stated that the children of Charles Morehead and Sarah Nelms included Charles Jr, John and Winifred.(4.27) Apparently, Mrs. Hooker failed to notice that Winifred was listed as a minor on the petition of 1710, and therefore could not have been a child from the first marriage.
John M. Morehead, in his book, noted that: (4.28)
|“Among these ‘younger children’ come to maturity about 1710, is John Morehead, who, if in the neighborhood of twenty-one years, as this proceeding indicates...”|
The ‘proceeding’ he was referring to would be the 1710 petition by Charles Morehead Jr to have the estate divided. But the content of the petition certainly does not ‘indicate’ that John was in the ‘neighborhood of twenty-one years’. To the contrary, it would imply that John, being one of the minor children of Charles Morehead, would indeed not have been even eighteen years of age, otherwise his name would not have been included in a list of ‘younger’ or minor children. Some sources claim that John would have been born circa 1700, making him only about ten years old at the time of the petition. That would seem more plausible than John M. Morehead’s assumption that he was twenty-one or older.
On 18 July 1705 a probate of the last will and testament of their deceased father, Charles Moorehead, was granted to William Moorehead and Charles Moorehead. The will was proved and witnessed by the oaths of John Hughlett and Andrew Flanagan.(4.29) Unfortunately for researchers of this line, a fire destroyed many of the Northumberland County Court records in February of 1710, and the will of Charles Morehead was forever lost. Only the ‘Order Books’ and ‘Record Books’ for the county survived the fire, and it is from those documents that we must piece together the public history of the family.
As alluded to above, Charles Morehead’s widow, Jane, later married Andrew Flanagan, one of the witnesses to her first husband’s will. Andrew Flanigan’s will noted bequeaths to his sons-in-law and daughters-in-law (i.e. step-sons and step-daughters) Anne Morehead, John Morehead, Elizabeth Kesterson, William Morehead, Alexander Rider and Alexander Morehead.(4.30) Andrew Flanigan’s will included the following bequeaths. To Anne Moorhead was bequeathed
|“negro man Tom, and negro woman Charrity to her and her lawfully begotten heirs, and if none to be equally divided between her brothers and sisters.”|
To John Moorhead was bequeathed
|“one thousand pounds of tobacco, and two thousand in the hands of John Edy, and his choice of my feather beds and furniture except one.”|
To Elizabeth Kesterson, Andrew Flanigan bequeathed
|“two cows and calves, four sheep, and one feather bed and furniture.”|
To his son-in-law/step-son, Wiliam, Andrew left
|“all my wearing cloaths.”|
To Alexander Moorhead was bequeathed
|“my bridle, saddle, pistols, houlster, sword, and all my working tools.”|
To Alexander Rider, Andrew bequeathed
|“my still cap and worm, after he comes to the age of eighteen years.”|
And finally, to Anne Moorhead, Andrew bequeathed
|“the rest of my estate, and she to be executrix.”|
Samuel Nealms, John Hudnal and Richard Hudnal signed the will as witnesses
Looking only at the records which are available to us, and not at family tradition and assumptions made by researchers through the years, it would appear that there was only one man by the name of Charles Morehead who established a family line in Virginia in the latter part of the Seventeenth Century. That man would have been the one assumed to have been born circa 1609 and died in 1705/6, who emigrated from Scotland, ostensibly to tend to his father’s estates in the Americas. The reason it would appear that there was only one man involved stems from the lack of any proof of any marriages other than his own. There is a belief, held by some researchers of the line, though not proven by any extant record, that a man by the name of Charles Morehead who was born in 1639, the son of Charles Morehead, the emigrant, and his wife, Sarah (Nelms), was the father of John Morehead, born in the year 1682, and his siblings. But John and his siblings have been more widely assumed to have been the children of Charles Morehead, the emigrant and his wife Jane Presley. But there exists no tangible proof for the assumption that the emigrant, Charles Morehead was married twice, first to Sarah Nelms, and secondly to Jane Presley. Would it not be possible (if not more plausible?) that Charles, the emigrant was only married to one woman – Sarah Nelms, and that Charles, the son of the emigrant, born in 1639, was married to Jane Presley? At first glance, that idea appears promising, but it is ultimately defeated by the fact that Charles Moorehead, the son of the emigrant, had filed a petition, along with his brother, William, in 1710, to have Charles, the emigrant’s will probated. And then shortly thereafter, a Charles Moorehead petitioned the court to have the estate of Charles, the emigrant, divided between his younger children and their mother. Those younger children of the emigrant would more than likely have been the 1639 Charles’ younger siblings, rather than his own children, although that cannot be proven.
I’d like to pause here for a moment and comment on the fuzziness of historical and genealogical reasearch. As is the case with any genealogical research (including this one you are reading now), assumptions will be made in the absence of documented facts. Those assumptions may or may not be accurate because the absence of the documented facts might simply be the result of the failure of the researcher to find such facts. In many cases, the researcher will attempt to discover an un-preconceived fact, and will make one or any number of assumptions based on other clear and indisputable facts; the assumption(s) is based on a substantial “if this thing occurred, than this was the result” form of argument. Other researchers will make a preconceived assumption first, and then not even waste any time supporting it with facts. The assumption is given the same respect as a statement of fact. Apparently the latter was the case with John M. Morehead when he compiled his history of the Moreheads of Virginia and North Carolina. It is apparent in the statement he made referring to his original assumption, as if it was an actual fact. It must be taken into account that the entire history of Charles, the emigrant, as it is known today, is based solely on a number of assumptions made primarily by John M. Morehead in 1921, and perpetuated in various respected reference works, such as the Compendium of American Genealogy and the Virginia Heraldica.
To summarize what has been said of Charles the emigrant, and to separate facts from assumptions:
|1.) The date of emigration from Scotland was 1630.|
There exists no proof whatsoever that any person by the name of Muirhead, or its variations, emigrated from Scotland in the year 1630 ~ that fact was simply a family tradition quoted by John M. Morehead [p.32 ~ If, as family tradition asserts, the first Morehead to come to Virginia was Charles Morehead in 1630,…]. The earliest date that any Scot by the surname of Muirhead (or its variations) emigrated (according to research performed by David Dobson, using the records maintained in the Register of the Privy Council and other primary sources) was 1684. In fact, no person by the name of Charles appeared on any emigration record for the 1600s. The earliest reference to an emigrant named Charles was dated 21 March 1705/06 in which Charles Moorehead was named as one of twenty-one persons imported by Captain George Eskridge. The Compendium Of American Genealogy ~ The Standard Encyclopedia Of The First Families Of America published by the Institute of American Genealogy was initially published in 1924. In the edition published by the Genealogical Publishing Company of Baltimore in 1963, there is an entry for the name of Charles Morehead on page 49, in which it is stated: (1609-1705; son of David, of London); came from Scotland to look after his father’s interest which was partial ownership of the Isle of Kent project with William Claiborne 1630; settled in the Northern Neck of Va; m twice. Although this entry would seem to serve as a ‘proof’ that Charles Morehead did indeed emigrate from Scotland in the year 1630, it must be taken into account that the entry was not derived from primary source records, but rather from an authority on the family history – John M. Morehead. The casual researcher must be aware that ‘authoritative’ books, such as the impressively titled, Compendium Of American Genealogy were often produced and published as subscription projects. For a certain fee, a family could have an entry included in the volume. Such an entry would be written up by the person submitting it, and because of that, the information would not necessarily be verified by anyone else. The information published in all volumes, such as the Compendium Of American Genealogy, must be used cautiously. As was noted in the previous chapter on the Isle of Kent Venture, it was not until October of 1634 that David Muirhead became involved in the partnership with Claiborne and Clobery, and so, in 1630, there were no interests for which David’s son, Charles, would have to supervise and safeguard.
|2.) The birthdate of Charles Morehead was in the year 1609.|
The year of 1609 has been universally accepted by researchers of this line as the birth year of Charles Morehead. That date may or may not come from any factual primary source (see below). It appears in an assumption made by John M. Morehead. He assumed that Charles Morehead would have been twenty-one years of age when he emigrated in 1630 – hence he would have been born in 1609. [p.32 ~ At any rate, if Charles came over when he was of age… then, in 1645… he would be fifteen years older, or thirty-six…] There is no reason to accept this date just because John M. Morehead said it was so. As noted above, the date of 1630 for the emigration from Scotland is not proven. In fact John M. Morehead never stated it was absolute; he qualified his statements with the word ‘If’. And so, the problem that is presented by the stretch between the birthdate of the apparent birthdates of the younger children of Charles, the emigrant, in relation to his own may not be such a problem after all. Perhaps the father of Elizabeth, Anne, Mary, John and Winifred was not in his nineties when they were born. If the age of Charles’ first wife, Sarah Nelms, is accurate at 1618, and Charles was born about the same time, he would have been in his late teens and early twenties when their sons, Charles Jr and William were born circa 1637 and 1639. Charles would have been in his seventies when he and his second wife, Jane Presley, gave birth to the younger children, the eldest of which would have been born circa 1692. Although not the normal age for conceiving children, it is not unusual for a man. Jane, born circa 1752, would have been in her forties, which also, despite being a bit outside the normal age for bearing children, would not be completely unusual for a woman. It must be remembered too, that the ages of the children were not noted in the 1710 petition. There were only five of them, and if they were born at a rate of one per year, starting at the earliest date to qualify for being under the age of eighteen in 1705, that would give birth years of 1692 1693 1694 1695 and 1696. Charles, if born circa 1618, would have been seventy-eight years of age in 1696. Again, though not normal, it would certainly not be impossible for a man to father a child at that age.
Note: The Muirhead Clan Society database states that: “On 22 Dec 1692 Charles Morehead instituted a suit in Northumberland Co. VA. He stated his age as eighty-three years.” Susan Shaw, the manager of the database has not provided a reference for the source of this statement; it may or may not be true and accurate, as much of her information has proven questionable.
|3.) The deathdate of Charles Morehead was 22 December 1692.|
This bit of information comes from the book, Humston Gleanings, by Edward A. Humston 1981. Where Mr. Humston came up with that precise date for Charles’ death is unknown. It is coincidental that that exact date does appear as being the one on which Charles Morehead filed a suit in the Northumberland County Court claiming that a neighbor, Peter Flynt refused to release a servant of his, Charles Nowland for a covenanted period of servitude. If Charles died on 22 December 1692, it would have been somewhat difficult for him to file a suit in the Northumberland County Court on the exact same day.
|4.) Could the children, Elizabeth, Anne, Mary, John and Winifred have been the grandchildren, rather than the children, of Charles, the emigrant?|
To insert another man by the name of Charles between Charles, the emigrant, and John, who died in 1768, would make the petition of 1710 pointless on one hand and questionable on the other. If these children were not the children of the man who died in 1705, why was the petition made on their behalf at all? The easy way to resolve this question is simply to assume that the father of the children also died in 1705. What a coincidence! But if that was the case, then there would have had to have been two children by the same name, Charles, Jr., born to Charles, the emigrant, and Sarah Nelms. The one would have been the father of the children, for whom the petition was filed, and the other would have been the person who filed the petition on the children’s behalf. Granted, the filer of the petition is not necessarily named as a brother to the younger children, and if he was not a brother, then who would he have been? Was he a non-relative, by the name of Charles Moorehead, who just happened to appear in Virginia at that time, and volunteered to file a petition for the children? Perhaps he was the Charles Morehead who had been listed on Captain George Eskridge’s list of twenty-one persons who he imported into the Virginia Colony on 21 March 1706. Although it certainly would not have been impossible for this to have been the case, and it would easily explain the dilemma of the Eskridge information, that alternative simply does not make a whole lot of sense. It was usually a close relative who would petition the court to settle an estate. For a stranger, albeit a distant relative, but a stranger to the immediate family, to become involved in a petition to settle an estate, when there were other, closer relatives available to do so, just stretches the credibility a bit.
|5.) Where did the idea that there should be multiple generations of men named Charles originate?|
This idea came from Donald L. Wilson, the librarian for the Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center for Genealogy and Local History. He was given the birth year of 1609 and the death year of 1705 for Charles, the emigrant. Then he extrapolated the possible birth years for Charles’ older children as circa 1680 to 1684, and for the younger children as being between 1692 to 1705. This was by assuming that if certain of them were adults when the 1710 petition was made, they should have been between twenty-five and thirty years of age, and that the younger children would have had to have been younger than eighteen years of age, therefore with birth years between 1692 ands 1705. He then made the estimation that for Charles to have fathered a child in the year that he died 1705, he would have had to have been 95 years of age. His additional suggestion was that the father of the children would have been born circa the 1650s to 1660s to have older children between twenty-five and thirty years of age. That assumption led to the suggestion that there might have been more than one generation involved. While these estimations and suggestions are sensible and rudimentary, they are not necessarily reflective of the real world since variations and exceptions can occur. The estimations and suggestions are also questionable because Mr. Wilson was given the birth date of 1609, that has not been proven to be accurate, as noted above.
Mr. Wilson also was given the already questionable death date of 22 December 1692 for Charles, and therefore made the suggestion that such a death date would make it possible for him to have been the father of the Charles who died in 1705, but certainly not the same man. His suggestion was based on incorrect information to begin with, and although very sound, it provided no worthwhile advice in the end.
These are questions that will haunt the research of this lineage until such time that original documents can be located to prove or disprove any or all of them. The loss of Charles’ will by fire cannot be altered, and therefore that best source of information will never be found. So, the best thing that we can do is work with the information we have available, whether it be fact or assumption, and move on.
4.15 op cit, The Muirhead Family Of North Carolina And Virginia, p 32.
4.16 ibid., pp 20-21.
4.17 ibid., p 32.
4.18 op cit., An Universal Etymological Dictionary.
4.19 The Blackwell Encyclopedia Of The American Revolution, edited by Jack P. Greene and J.R. Pole, 1991, p 48.
4.20 op cit., The Muirhead Family Of North Carolina And Virginia, p 33. In regard to these references, Mr. Morehead noted that the Case between Charles Morehead and Peter Flynt was found in Court Order Book 1678-1698, p 616. The additional references were not footnoted. Recent searches for court references have not resulted in the corroboration of all of Mr. Morehead’s findings.
4.21 Northumberland County, Virginia Court Order Book 1678-1698, Part 2, p 842. Transcribed by W. Preston Haynie in the book, Records Of Indentured Servants And Of Certificates For Land Northumberland County, Virginia 1650-1795, p 176.
4.22 Northumberland County, Virginia Court Order Book 1699-1713, Part 1, p 95. Transcribed by W. Preston Haynie in the book, Records Of Indentured Servants And Of Certificates For LandNorthumberland County, Virginia 1650-1795, p 194.
4.23 Records of Indentured Servants And of Certificates for Land Northumberland County, Virginia 1650-1795. Compiled by W. Preston Haynie, p 194.
4.24 Northumberland County, Virginia Court Order Book 1699-1713, p 314. Transcribed by Charlesand Virginia Hamrick.
4.25 op cit., Northumberland County, Virginia Court Order Book 1699-1713, Part 1, p 376. Transcribed by W. Preston Haynie in the book, Records Of Indentured Servants And Of Certificates For Land Northumberland County, Virginia 1650-1795, p 219.
4.26 The information on the family of Charles Morehead comes from a variety of sources, including: Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Series 2, Volume 1, Northumberland County, Virginia 1678-1713, by Lindsay O. Duvall, pp 50 101-102 104 124; Virginia Heraldica – Being A Registry Of Virginia Gentry Entitled To Coat Armor, With Genealogical Notes Of The Families, by William Armstrong Crozier 1908, p 101; The Filson Club Historical Quarterly, Volume 8 1934, pp 39-43 101-104; The Morehead Family Of North Carolina And Virginia, by John M. Morehead 1921, pp 32-36; and research provided by Donald L. Wilson of the Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center For Genealogical And Local History, Manassas, Virginia.
4.27 Information regarding the Nelms research comes from an article titled Morehead Family by Col. Jeffrey F. Stanback, which appeared in the Wednesday, June 22 1949 and the Wednesday, July 6 1949 issues of the Rockingham Post-Dispatch for Richmond County, North Carolina.
4.28 op cit., The Muirhead Family Of North Carolina And Virginia, p 34.
4.29 op cit., Northumberland County, Virginia Court Order Book 1699-1713, p 340.
4.30 Northumberland County, Virginia Record Book 1726-1729, p 40.