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Archiver > RAINS > 2001-07 > 0994290142

Subject: [RAINS] Rowland & Thomasin Raine of Accawmack / Northhampton County, Va.
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2001 19:42:22 EDT

In a message dated 7/1/2001, writes:

<< Can someone give me a true rundown on Rowland Raine/Rayne and wife
Thomasin, that came to Virginia in 1636?
Mary >>

Hello Mary,

It looks like the proper answer to your question is either "no" or "not
yet." I have not attempted to really study Rowland Raine since I have never
suspected him to be an ancestor. However, he should be interesting to us
since he was here so early. Most of my material is simply data that I have
incidentally gathered, much of it from the research of others. I have been
hoping someone who is less confused and knows more than I do about Thomasin
and Rowland Raine would answer your question, but since they have not I will
try to state the conflicting data. This is not intended to provide any final
answers, but I hope someone will use this material as a starting point to dig
out the true facts on Rowland -- at least some of which I suspect are

A little historical background might be helpful. First, in the 1600s
there were a smattering of Africans who were living in Britain as either
indentured servants or free persons of color. Slavery had been prohibited in
England for a couple of centuries by that time. The first Africans who
arrived in Virginia in 1619 were almost certainly accorded the status of
indentured servants since the English Colonials had no institutional or legal
basis for slavery. "There can be no question that slavery in English America
was a development of indentured servitude." The "Virginia Magazine of
History and Biography," Vol. XXI, for the year ending Dec., 1913, "Book
Reviews," p. 445, reviewing the book, "The Free Negroe in Virginia,
1619-1865," by John H. Russel, Ph.D. In "Before the Mayflower," by Prof.
Lerone Bennett, Jr., 6th Rev. Ed., (1987), p. 35, it is stated:

"In Virginia, then, as in other colonies, the first black settlers
fell into a well-established socioeconomic groove which carried with it no
implications of racial inferiority. That came later. But in the interim, a
period of forty years or more, the first black settlers accumulated land,
voted, testified in court and mingled with whites on a basis of equality.
They owned black servants, and certain blacks imported and paid for white
servants whom they apparently held in servitude."

Although statutory recognition of slavery first came to the colonies in
Massachusetts in December 1641, and to Connecticut in 1650, slavery was not
legally sanctioned in Virginia until 1661. Free blacks continued to have the
right to vote in Virginia until 1723. Ib. at 38.

The language of an 1660 Virginia statute seems to make it clear that the
institution of slavery was developed as a practice before there was official
statutory sanction. From William Waller Henning, The Statutes at Large;
Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the
Legislature in the Year 1619, (New York: R & W & G. Bartow, 1823):

"Vol II, MARCH, 1660-1, 13th Charles II, ACT XXII, 2:26.
English running away with negroes.
BEE itt enacted That in case any English servant shall run away in
company with any negroes who are incapable of makeing satisfaction by
addition of time, Bee itt enacted that the English so running away in company
with them shall serve for the time of the said negroes absence as they are to
do for their owne by a former act."

The first mention of the word "slave" occurs in the Virginia statutes the
following year in a more detailed statutory scheme for dealing with runaways.
See Ib., MARCH, 1661-2, ACT CII, 14th Charles II, 2:116. For a compilation
of Virginia Statutes on Slaves and Servants see:

The details get both complex and murky and are beyond the scope of this
note, but there are various historical tidbits that suggest Virginia slid
into slavery through the back door without statutory authority. In 1636 my
best guess is that there was not yet any slavery in Virginia, but by sometime
in the latter 1640s I believe some of the newly arriving Africans were being
treated as slaves.

Rowland and Thomasin appear to have been counted as headrights twice,
perhaps as a result of some fraudulent activity. Any person paying for the
transportation of himself, a family member or any other person to the
Colonies was entitled to 50 acres of land. (Not all persons whose
transportation was paid for by a third person came as an indentured servant.)
Headrights were not necessarily claimed in the same year that the persons
arrived. Sometimes headrights were bought and sold, somewhat like commercial
paper or bills and notes today. A person might save up his own headrights
plus buy a few from others so he could claim a larger chunk of land setting
up a good sized plantation. ("Plantation" was simply the word for a crop
farm and had nothing to do with size or slaves, but did exclude farms that
were for grazing only. The same usage prevails in England today.) I have
documented some headrights being claimed as long as four years after the
person's arrival; however, I think it was more typical for headrights to be
claimed within a year.

The double counting creates some question as to where Rowland and
Thomasin may have initially located. I think the evidence supports the fact
that they settled in Accawmack County rather than Upper Norfolk (later
Nansemond) Co. Persons who were claimed as headrights did not necessarily
settle in the same place as where the land claimed by headrights located, but
I think they did settle nearby more often than not.

From "Cavaliers and Pioneers, 1623-1666," by Nell Marion Nugent, "Vol.
I," p. 46; Pat. Bk 1, pt. 1, p. 378, John Wilkins, 1300 acs. Accomack [???]
Co., 9 Sept. 1636. On the E. side of Nansamund Riv. beginning on the S. side
of the first br., running S.W. by W. along the Cr. E. S.E. into the woods,
N.E. upon land of Mr. White & butting W. upon land of James Knott. 50 acs.
for his own per adv. & 1250 acs. for trans. of 25 pers: Brigett Craft, Agnis
Medlam, Rosomae Yetman, Henry Medcalfe, Georg Lee, Paul Trendall, Tho.
Vincent, Joane Harman, Richard Ganes, Mary Wells, David Kiffin, Wm. Woolfe,
Richard Leake, Wm. Hutchinson, Antho. Stensby, Robert Stackhowse, William
Willbourne, Michaell Bryant, William Cozier, ROWLAND RAINE, Edward Writt,
Stephen Barnett, William Crossman, THOMASIN, a maid, his Negroe.

The Nansemond River is identified in my DeLorme Virginia Atlas Gazetteer
topographical map as the large inlet or slough feeding into the south side of
the James River about 10 miles west of Portsmouth. It is located in the
northern part of Nansemond County, legally the City of Nansemond since 1972.
This is southwest of the city of Hampton. The mouth of this Nansemond River
would have been about 25 miles from the southern tip of Accawmack County
(renamed Northampton in 1643), i.e., across Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay.
The Accawmack County name was changed to Northampton Co. in 1643, and later
subdivided in 1661 into Northampton in the south and Accomack in the north.
The boundaries of both counties have remained the same and both counties are
on the southern part of the peninsula on the eastern side of Chesapeake Bay.

I cannot explain how the references to Accomack Co. and Nansamund River
both became part of the first patent or why a second patent (see below) was
issued for apparently the same land in Upper Norfolk County. The second
patent may have been intended as a "deed of correction" or it may have been
part of a fraudulent scheme to double the land received.

From "Cavaliers and Pioneers, 1623-1666," by Nell Nugent, "Vol. I," p.
56, John Wilkins, 1300 acs. upper county of New Norf. 18 May 1637, Pat. Bk 1,
pt. 1, p. 420, E. side of Nansamund Riv. on the second Cr. on S. of the first
branch, S.E. into the woods, N.N. upon Mr. White's land & W. upon James
Knotts land. 50 acs. for his own per. adv. & 1250 acs. for trans. of . . .
Jane Hurman. . . ROWLAND RAYNE, THOMASIN his wife, A Negro, Stephen Barnett,
William Crosman. [CW Note: In this second patent eight months later,
various names are spelled differently and Thomasin is wife of Rowland rather
than the maid of William Crossman, but the patent based on the same group of

The following reference from Melva Wheelwright again refers to Rowland in
Accomack County. From VA State Land Office Index & Abstracts, Patents &
Grants FHL 0029310 -86 - Accomack Co 1637-1640: Davy Wheatley for abusing
Rowland Raine & his wife, to set in stocks at time of Ct & 3 Sundays no date
Transcript p. 145. This conflicting data on where the land awarded for the
headrights was located remains a puzzle for the time being, but I believe the
evidence is persuasive that Rowland himself settled in Accawmack County.

New Norfolk County was created from Elizabeth City in 1636, and was
divided into Upper (west) and Lower (east) Norfolk in 1637. Lower Norfork
County included the area that is now the cities of Va. Beach, Norfolk,
Portsmouth and Suffolk. Upper Norfolk had boundaries the same as or similar
to the later Nansemond County, now City of Nansemond since 1972. There is no
modern river identified or spelled as the Nansamund River, but it seems
almost certain that the Nansamund River referred to in 1637 was the large
inlet or slough feeding into the south side of the James River about 10 miles
east of Portsmouth now referred to by the spelling Nansemond. This
attribution is confirmed by the map, "A general map of the middle British
colonies in America... (1771)" from the Library of Congress online site:
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gnrltitl.html ]

From "The Biographical Dictionary of Early Virginia, 1607-1660," Ransom
B. True, Ed., pub. Richmond, VA by The Assoc for the Preservation of Virginia
Antiquities, 1985 (contained on 21, 4" x 6" microfiche):

p. 3025
Rayne, Mary widow purchased land; received a deed of gift, 1642; owned
cattle, 1642; wife of Rowland Rayne, 1642; wife of Robert West 1642; Mary,
second {suffix}, daughter of Rowland Rayne, 1642, [all in] Northampton Co.
[CW: The name of Accawmack County was changed to Northampton County in 1643,
but Northampton was subsequently divided into Northampton in the south and
Accomack in the north in 1661.]

p. 3046
Rowland Raine, aka Rowland Rayne; victim of defamation (slandered);
married man, 1639, [all in] Accomack Co.

Rowland Rayne, aka Rowland Raine, 1639; died about 1640; subject of
headright, 1636; Inventory of Estate returned, 1640; payment ordered from the
estate 1640 - ACCOMACK CO.
Rowland Rayne, deceased husband of Mary Rayne 1642; father of Mary Rayne,
1642 [in] Northampton Co.

Given Rowland Raine's short duration in Virginia, I doubt that he had two
wives. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that there were two Rowland Raines in
Accawmack/ Northampton County during this era. I cannot explain the two
different names for his wife, but can only speculate on the possibility of
some confusion between a wife and a daughter. Since the probate, civil court
and land records from Accawmack / Northampton County from 1632 are still
extant, I think it is likely that issue can be resolved if someone wants to
read some microfilm about old Rowland. If he owned land, I would think there
is also a good chance that it could be located. Based only on fact that
settlement started at Jamestown and moved north incrementally, I think it is
more likely that Rowland and Thomasin settled in the part of Accawmack County
that is presently Northampton rather than Accomack.

I received this very confusing extract from Melva Wheelwright where Mr.
Ray appears to make several basic errors:

"Tennessee Cousins, by Worth S. Ray:
1554 Agness Rayne md Ralph Harrison 17 Oct (Accomack?), p. 506
1686 Andrew Harrison died; he of Westmoreland Va who md Thomasin Raine of
Culpeper & Amherst p. 501
1637 Rowland Raine and Thomasins in New Norfolk & Accomack p. 506
1639-40 Rowland estate Inventory, son Andrew was in Hungar Parish

Of course neither Virginia nor Accawmack County existed in 1554. Culpeper
County created in 1748/1749 never existed in Thomasin's lifetime, etc. I
have never heard of a "Hungar" parish. It may be that the alleged "son
Andrew" is confused with widow Thomasin's second husband. Nevertheless, this
book may be worth (no pun intended) taking a look at for its sources on this

I have done nothing to check out the following suggested later history
for Thomasin, but Ms. Ferguson suggests that widow Thomasin, not Mary,
outlived Rowland and remarried to an Andrew Harrison.

Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 13:56 -0500
From: "Sandra Ferguson" <>
Subject: Harrison and Davis...late 1600s

"I am looking for information on the Harrison family. Thomas Harrison
(son of Andrew [d. 1686] and wife Thomasin (?) Rayne) was reportedly born in
Farnham Parish, and married Ann (?). Their daughter, Francis Harrison
married Joshua Davis, son of Joshua Davis, attorney on the Northern Neck who
died in 1710, and who had been a member of St. Mary's White Chapel Church,
and parish.

"Does anyone have access to the Farnham Parish records, compiled by
George H.S. King? There is apparently mention of the births of the younger
Harrison children in these records, and their mother Thomasin Harrison was
still in the parish in 1686, when she made gift deeds to her children in
August of that year, after her husband's death.

"I also have read " ....Andrew Harrison and Thomasin, his wife, who
came to VA, with Col John WILKINS, in 1623, as the "Maid, Thomasine". She
"afterward married Rowland Rayne, also a headright of Col Wilkins, and after
her husband's death married Andrew Harrison, son of Anthony." There was no
documentation for this information listed in the book . . ."


I hope Mary or someone follows up on this and gets back with us on what
she or he finds.

Cleve Weathers

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