HARRIS-COLONIALVA-L ArchivesArchiver > HARRIS-COLONIALVA > 2003-11 > 1069825193
Subject: [HARRIS-COLVA] Some Notes Concerning the Overton Family & Harris Connections
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 00:39:57 EST
A descendant of the Harris-Overton family has written a note to me concerning
William Overton, and that note has jogged my memory concerning William
Overton, reported to be father of Temperance Overton, wife of William Harris of
Pamunkey River area, now in Hanover Co., VA.
I have reviewed my notes concerning William Overton, who allegedly married
Elizabeth Waters. I have not reviewed these notes in some time, and perhaps
better researchers than I have some corrections to make. This is an
accumulation of notes made over many years. As family historians of the Robert
Harris-Mourning [Glen or Glenn?] family have noted, there are many discrepancies in a
list of their children, and each list should be researched with available
records, preferably original records. And these sources should be documented for
future family historians.
I have cut and pasted from my word processing program, and the formatting in
e-mail may be wonky!! Please forgive. If you have some more recent sources,
such as deeds, patents, wills, please share with the list. As you may have
noticed, there are many Overton Harrises in American genealogies, and my
ancestor is one of many. He died testate in Madison Co., KY in 1827. Overton Harris
of Madison co. was son of second marriage of Christopher Harris, formerly of
Albemarle Co. and of Louisa Co., VA and thus a grandson of Robert Harris and
Mourning. However, there were previous Overton Harrises, as you may have
Submitted by E.W.Wallace
WILLIAM OVERTON, the elder. A source for much of the Virginia
information about the Overton family is said to have come from a book called
"Josephus," held in the Winston family and said to have been given to John Winston in
the will of his mother, Barbara Overton Winston. It is said to probably have
been a copy of Flavius Josephus's "Jewish Antiquities," which contained on its
blank leaves a family register of births and marriages in the Overton-Winston
families for five generations. (Information from a letter in the George
Harrison King collection entitled loosely "Overton-Carr," which collection is at
the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA. Viewed by this writer May 1999
in Richmond, VA.)
According to Cross and Cole, WILLIAM CROSS OF BOTETOURT CO., VA. AND HIS
DESCENDANTS (Columbia, MO: 1932), William Overton of "Glencairn," Hanover Co.,
VA emigrated to Virginia ca. 1681. He was the son of Col. Robert Overton, and
he was married to Elizabeth Waters, daughter of Samuel Waters (ca. 1617-1665)
and his wife Anne (d. ca. 1700).
Clayton Torrence had a different perspective as he wrote the following
of William Overton in WINSTON FAMILY OF VIRGINIA (publ. 1927, repository:
Virginia State Library CS71 W782):
"... was born in England, December 3, 1628 [or 1638]. On November 24,
1670, he married Elizabeth Waters, and together they came to Virginia in 1681,
settling in St. Peters Parish, New Kent County. On April 23, 1681, a patent
was issued to William Overton and Eben Jones [Evan Jones] for 4600 acres lying
in New Kent County on south side of Pamunkey River, on Falling Creek; for the
transportation of 92 persons into the colony, and among the names of
head-rights to this pattent appear: William Overton and Elizabeth Overton. On October
29, 1690, a patent issued to William Overton and John Lyddall for 837 acres
lying in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent County, above main fork of Pamunkey
River, next above a divident of land granted Jonathan Norwood and Ambrose Clre,
late in the tenure of Samuel Ousteen." [Overton?]
Torrence cites the land patents, which are readily available to
researchers in the early volumes of Nugent's CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS, especially Vol.
II. The land patents, originally in New Kent Co., later fell into a newly
formed county, Hanover Co. These are in Patent Bk 7-78 (co-patentee Evan Jones,
1681 the year) and in Patent Bk 8-121 (co-patentee John Lydall in 1690).
In a footnote, Torrence wrote: To this time , the parentage of
William Overton has not been discovered, nor the place of his birth. The
Register of St. Sepulchre's [London] does not give the marriage of William Overton
and Elizabeth Waters. There were Overtons living in St. Sepulchre's Parish,
London; but a careful search of the Births, Marriages and Buriels [sic] from
1662 (when the registers begin) up to 1700 has thrown no light on the 'origin' or
relationships of William Overton. Overton wills and administrations in the
ARCHDEACONRY OF LONDON REGISTERS, 1413-1725, have also been investigated
without favorable results. For note on this discrepancy in statements as to year
(1628 or 1638) of William Overton's birth see ante page 29, footnote." [Note:
This researcher failed to photocopy Page 29.]
[Another comment by EWW: Somewhere I picked up some information that the
Overtons may have been Catholic. If so (and they are said by an authority on
English Catholics to have been among the aristocracy of Britain), then that may
account for no records in Church of England records. However, I see a later
note says the family was Presbyterian. Anything other than Church of England
was probably intolerable to the government of England.]
Francis Stuart Harmon, MA, LLB, LLD, compiled and edited ADAM'S EVES
(privately published 1946). Harmon, a descendant of William Overton, has a
slightly different version. Harmon states: William, born 3 Dec 1638, probably was
the son of Major General Robert Overton and his wife Anne Gardiner Overton.
"He came to Virginia in the sixteen sixties and on November 24, 1670 was
married to Elizabeth (NOT Mary) Waters, at Yorktown on board the vessel which had
transported her from England. The records of Mathews County, Virginia show
that William Overton paid fifty pounds of tobacco for the passage of his fiancee
to Virginia. Also Virginia land records show a grant of 4600 acres on the
south side of the Pamunkey river to William Overton for transporting 92 persons
to the colony, including Elizabeth Waters. Another deed in 1680 conveyed land
to him in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent Co., Virginia. .."
[Comment: It is strange that the record of payment would be in Mathews
Co., VA records, as that county was not formed until 1791; further, most of
the county's records were destroyed by fire in 1865. Torrence is probably the
more reliable source. In "Virginia Gleanings of England," in VIRGINIA MAGAZINE
OF HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY, V. XI, p. 307, the author cites these land patents in
condensed style, but adds that Pamunkey is "South Anna." Then, there is a
parenthetical addition "This land on which Barbara (Overton) Winston resided at
her death in 1766." Compare "South Anna" with some of the patents of the
Harris family whose biographies are included in this writer's work.]
Harmon gives information about the parents of Elizabeth Waters.
"The will of Ann Waters, aged widow of Samuel Waters (b. about
1617-1665) of the Parish of St. Sepulchre's London, was dated September 29, 1697 and
was proved at London by Thomas Waters, July 4, 1700. A pertinent provision
'I give unto my daughter Elizabeth Overton, now in Virginia, the summe
of tenn shillings and to my sonne in law, William Overton, her husband also
Harmon lists six children of William and Elizabeth Waters Overton, one
of whom was Temperance Overton, the ancestress of the writer. See her separate
biography. Harmon is a descendant of Temperance's younger brother James
Clayton Torrence in his family history of the Winston family included
the Overtons because the youngest Overton daughter, Barbara, became the wife of
John (or James) Winston, of Hanover Co. The Winston family, of course, was
his main focus.
Torrence quotes from the copy of the Overton record as given in THE
VIRGINIA MAGAZINE OF HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY, Vol. XI, p. 306:
"William Overton was born December 3rd, 1628 [or 1638], in England.
Married Mary [sic: Elizabeth] Waters November 24th, 1670. Emigrated to
Virginia. Elizabeth, their daughter, born June 28th, 1673. William Overton, their
son, born Augst. 14th, 1675. Temperance Overton, their daughter, born March 2,
1679. Samuel Overton, their son, born Augst. 14, 1685. James Overton, their
son, born Augst. 14, 1688. Barbara Overton, their daughter, born Feby 5,
1690. Barbara Overton married John Winston. Barbara Overton Winston died Octo.
Torrence gives two dates for the birthdate of William Overton because of
conflict in family records of descendants. Also there was conflict in whether
the husband of Barbara Overton was John or James Winston.
Of William Overton, Malcolm Hart Harris has written much of the same
information as cited above. Harris traces Robert Harris through land patents and
court documents. He writes that "it is certain that the lands of Robert
Harris lay along the headwaters of the branches of Ware Creek in New Kent County."
Harris gives specific locations as shown on modern-day maps. He adds: "This
land was owned by Robert Harris from prior to 1659 until after 1675/6."
Harris then cites a warrant issued by Governor Sir William Berkeley to the
Escheator of New Kent County. Among those appearing on the jury were Wm. Overton,
Evan Jones (Overton's co-patentee in an early land patent), and Robt. Harris.
About this jury composition, Harris makes these remarks:
"This record confirms that Robert Harris was qualified for jury service,
was a freeholder and resident of the County of New Kent. Of equal interest is
the association of William Overton on this jury.
"William Overton, the immigrant, was born in England 3 Dec 1638. He
came to Virginia and later his betrothed, Elizabeth Waters, followed him and they
were married on the deck of the ship in which she came on 24 Nov 1670 at
Yorktown. They acquired land in New Kent County where they were established in
1673 when he served on the jury."
Harris lists the children of William Overton and Elizabeth Waters:
Elizabeth, William, Temperance (q.v.), Samuel, James, Barbara.
(Malcolm Hart Harris, "Major Robert Harris (CA 1630-CA 1701) of New Kent
County, Virginia: Was He Real or A Myth?" in THE VIRGINIA GENEALOGIST, V. 25,
No 1, 
Early Overtons in Virginia
Is it possible William Overton had relatives already in the New World?
One John Overton and his wife Penelope appear in the deed books of Old
Rappahannock Co., VA in 1687. (Refer to Ruth & Sam Sparacio, DEED ABSTRACTS OF (OLD)
RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, 1686-1688 3 March 1686-12 November 1688
[McLean, VA: The Antient Press, 1990], p. 92) Their land was on Totuskey Creek.
A recent visit in the late 1990s to England by this writer, however,
indicates that Overton is a rather common place name in England. Therefore, it
is conceivable that the Overton family along the James River bears no
relationship to that family in Old Rapphannock Co., VA.
Later Overton Family Members - 1782
There is evidence in 1782 tax list of Hanover Co., VA (formed from New
Kent Co.) of the prevalence of Overton family members and evidence of the
beginning use of this surname as a given name, especially for members of the Harris
family. Since surnames of other families with whom the Harrises are
intermarried are found in Hanover Co. also (Glen, Grubbs, Gentry, Dabney), they were
probably interrelated. The following were listed in Capt John Thomson's and
Thomas Price's companies of militia--list of John Lawrence, gent'n.
Samuel Overton (estate) 7 whites; 69 blacks.
William Overton (estate) 1 white; 29 blacks.
Mildred Overton 4 whites; 3 blacks.
One would deduce from the number of slaves that the Overtons were of the
Overton Surnames in Northern Neck Virginia
Edmond Overton and his widow Margaret Overton appear in Richmond Co., VA
It is unknown whether Edmond Overton was related to the Overtons of
Tidewater Virginia. He was deceased by 4 June 1714, Richmond Co., VA. Margt: her
mark + Overton, John Rankin, and John White gave administrators bond on that
(Ruth & Sam Sparacio, DEED ABSTRACTS OF RICHMOND COUNTY, VIRGINIA
1711-1714, Richmond County Deeds, p. 50.)
Some Descendants of Overton in Kentucky
From Thomas Speed, THE POLITICAL CLUB, DANVILLE, KENTUCKY, 1786-1790,
BEING AN ACCOUNT OF AN EARLY KENTUCKY SOCIETY FROM THE ORIGINAL PAPERS RECENTLY
FOUND (Louisville: Filson Club Publication No. 9, 1894)
"John and James Overton. At a very early day four Overton brothers came
to Kentucky from Virginia. They were natives of Louisa County, Virginia.
Clough Overton was killed at the battle of Blue Licks. Waller Overton settled in
Fayette County. James and John Overton resided at Danville. They were sons
of James Overton and grandsons of William Overton, who emigrated from England
"William, the emigrant, was a son of Colonel Overton, a distinguished
soldier in the Parliamentary War. History first takes note of him a letter of
October 2, 1647, from Lieutenant-General Oliver Cromwell to Sir Thomas Fairfax,
General of the Parliamentary forces, recommending that Colonel Overton, then
commanding a regiment in the field, be appointed Governor of Hull, an
important fortress and depot of supplies. The appointment was made, and Colonel
Overton remained in command of Hull and its garrison until the breaking out of the
second Parliamentary War, when he again took the field, commanding a brigade
at Dunbar and Inverkeithing, in which latter "mercy," as Cromwell called his
victories, he won flattering mention in one of Cromwell's pious letters to
Speaker Lenthal, of the House of Commons.
"Colonel Overton was, however, a Presbyterian and 'friend of Milton," as
Carlyle says, and was suspected of sympathy with his brother Covenanters in
his quarrel with Cromwell and the Puritans.
"After the conquest of Scotland he was sent for to Whitehall and
admonished; and again in December, 1654, he was sent for and questioned about a
reported conspiracy to depose General Monk and place him (Colonel Overton) at the
head of the army then in Scotland. The end of this last 'lecture' was a
commitment to the Tower, where he probably died.
"Colonel Overton's son William was born in 1638. He married Mary
Waters, a young lady of Roman Catholic faith and considerable fortune, and these
two, Presbyterian and Catholic, left England after the Restoration and settled in
Virginia on a grant of five thousand acres in Hanover County, which they
named Glen Cairn.
"The following inscription on the tomb of one of their daughters is
still legible: 'Here lies the body of Temperance Harris, deceased the 19th of
[Here is a footnote "A descendant of Mrs. Temperance Harris is Judge W.
Overton Harris, of the Louisville Bar, to whom I am indebted for this account
of the Overton family."]
"One of their grandsons, John Overton, was an officer in the
Revolutionary Army and father of the late William Overton, of Green Springs, in Louisa
Co., Virginia, a country gentleman of wealth and social position, widely known
for the virtues and graces which belonged to that class.
[Another footnote is appended: In Wirt's Life of Patrick Henry is an
account of a very interesting interview between Patrick Henry and Colonels Samuel
and John Overton at the home of the latter.]
"Four other grandsons were the John, James, Waller, and Clough who
removed to Kentucky. Waller became a noted citizen of Fayette County, where his
descendants still reside. His daughter married the celebrated lawwyer, William
T. Barry, and a daughter of this marriage became the wife of Colonel James
Taylor, of Newport, Kentucky. It is an interesting fact that Waller Overton was
on the jury with Daniel Boone, in 1780, which escheated the lands of John
Connolly, where the city of Louisville now stands. George May was the escheator
of the court at Lexington, and the jury found that Connolly of his own free
will had joined with the British forces.
"James and John Overton were both lawyers. While they lived at Danville
the practiced in the court in other parts of the State. James was sworn in
as an attorney at Louisville, April 5, 1786. While both were marked men, John
was destined to the greater success and distinction.
"After practicing in Kentucky some years John Overton removed to
Nashville, Tennessee, in 1789, where he .... [incomplete]
Other Members of the Overton Family
Relationships of these persons is unknown:
John Pettus of Louisa Co., VA wo died prior to Nov 1773 must have been
descended from the Overton family or had married a woman who was a descendant.
This is apparent from the names of his orphans as indicated in Louisa Co. WB
"Settlement of est. of John Pettus by Wm. Pettus, Admr. To orphans of
John Pettus as follows; Samuel Overton Pettus, Ann Overton Pettus, Mary
Waters Pettus, John Waters Pettus, Barbara Overton Pettus, Lucy Waters Pettus, Wm.
Overton Pettus, Thomas Waters Pettus. Dated 4 Nov 1775. Signed: Saml.
Ragland, George Lumsden, Thomas Minor. Rcd. 13 Nov 1773."
(Nancy Chappelear and Kate Binford Hatch, ABSTRACTS OF LOUISA COUNTY
VIRGINIA WILLS 1743-1801 [Washington, DC: 1964], p. 93)
VA St Library CS71 B2268 1964 ADAMS EVE compiled & ed. by Francis
Stuart Harmon, MA LLB LLD (re Banks-Bruce-Overton fams)
On Feb 5, 1806, when he was 27, George Banks (V) married Jemima Ann
Overton (1789-1863) the fourth of the six daus of Rev Army Captain John Overton
(IV) of Woodstock and his first wife Susanna Garland Overton (1766-1797).