A Possible English Ancestry for Thomas White

Thomas White (1599-1665) was granted 450 acres in Lower Norfolk County with Peter Sexton on March 1653(Nugent 1:247). The grant was on the Southern Branch on the south side of Gaythers Creek. Just across Gaythers Creek was the land of Thomas Alexander, granted in 1665(Nugent 1:540).

I found some record in the book English Adventurers and Emigrants, 1609-1660, which leads me to speculate on the English ancestry of Thomas White. In depositions re:The Fortune (pp 138-140) of November 1652 there is the deposition of Thomas Alexander of St. Michael, Wood Street, London, citizen and grocer of London, aged 22. Other depositions say that Thomas Alexander went to Virginia in the Honor and that Thomas Alexander and John White loaded tobacco on the Fortune. It is this connection between Thomas Alexander and Thomas White and Thomas Alexander and John White which leads me to speculate that Thomas White and John White might have been related.

Further depositions in this case show that John White went from England to Virginia in 1650 and his brother William White went in 1651 in the Margaret. The deposition of William White of St. Martin, Ludgate, London, citizen and woolen draper of London, aged 36, says that he sent goods to his brother John White in Virginia in October 1651. In a deposition in a related case by Matthias Jansen he says that he took a sloop to Chuckatuck Creek to collect tobacco from John White from which we can infer that William White’s brother lived in Nansemond County.

On 11 May 1652 Edward Hall was granted 390 acres in Lin Haven parish, Lower Norfolk County. Among the 8 headrights were a Wm. White and John White(Nugent 1:287). It is very likely that these are the headrights for John and William White who came over in 1650 and 1651.

If one looks a bit further in Lower Norfolk County records we find that Thomas Alexander first starts to appear in June 1652 as Thomas Alexander, merchant, in an action of debt(Brayton, Book C: f.11). In March 1654/5 he gave notice on the court house door of his intended voyage to England (Brayton, Book C: p. 294). In December 1655 Thomas Alexander of London, Merchant, gave Francis Emperor and Randall Jones his power of attorney(Brayton, Book C: f. 183). He is appearing in Lower Norfolk court records again by 15 Feb. 1655/6 (Brayton, Book C: f. 202).

John White who lived on Chuckatuck in Nansemond County appears in Lower Norfolk records several times. In Lower Norfolk court dated 15 Feb 1651/2 is recorded the affirmation of John White from the court in Nansemond County. It concerned the statement of Barbara Hobson, widow, of London and the estate of William Hobson(Walter, Book B:f.165). In Jan. 1651/2 there was an action between Thomas Daynes and John White defendant concerning 850 pounds of tobacco(Brayton, Book C: f.33). He appears in Dec. 1663 as agent for the estate of Francis Hough (Brayton, Book D: f.390). Francis Hough owned land in several counties but his largest grant was in Nansemond, which is where he evidently lived. Francis Hough of London Merchant made his will in 1648 and it was proved in the same year, but administration was granted in 1667(Virginia Historical Magazine v.13, p. 62). Loss of records in Nansemond County prevents any more detailed information about John White.

The will of William White is abstracted in Virginia Historical Magazine(15:64), and (Account of the Meeting of the Descendants of Colonel Thomas White of Maryland[Philadelphia, 1870], p. 109).

William White, citizen and haberdasher of London, parish of St. Brides. Will 20 November 1676. To be buried in the parish Church of St. Martin’s Ludgate … To my wife Ann the lease of the wharfe in St. Brides … To my Sonne Thomas White all that debt which is owing by my brother John White now in Virginia beyond the seas … to my daughter Elizabeth, my house at Collier Rowe, parish of Hornechurch, Essex. To my son William White … Witnesses: Jasper White, Wm. Warne, Henry Duke his servant

I originally thought that William White was a the son of Josiah White of Hornchurch, but now have found a different and probably correct identification for him.

New Theory

The book Account of the Meeting of the Descendants of Colonel Thomas White of Maryland presents a strong case that William White haberdasher of London was actually a member of the White family of Newport-Pagnell in Buckinghamshire. Thomas White was born in London in 1704 and emigrated to Maryland as a young man. His son was Bishop William White of Philadelphia, the first Episcopal bishop in the US and chaplain to the Continental Congress. Thomas White was the great grandson of William White haberdasher of London. The connection back to William White of London is with primary evidence. To identify William White the researcher used the coat of arms used by Bishop White to identify William White of London as the son of Thomas White of Newport-Pagnell, and brother of Jasper White and of John White, baptized at Newport-Pagnell 15th August 1624. The witness to the will of William White, evidently his brother Jasper, and the fact the he must have been born between 1610 and 1616, which matches the age given in the deposition of the amiralty case seems to be a good match. That combined with the coat of arms makes this probably the correct identification. William White was first married in London in 1637 to Catherin Best, and he was described in the register as of St. Martins, Ludgate, as per the admiralty deposition. He married second in February 1654-5 in London Anne Juxon, widow.

In Lancaster County, Virginia, court of 29th September 1658 is recorded:

Ordered that Henry Colepepp doe secure the estate of Will White Clerke & Martha his wife both deced till an executor appear or till this court further order therein.(Lancaster Order Book 1656-1666, p. 56)



Henry Culpeper was in Virginia by 1653 when his name was entered as a headright (Nugent 1:242). He initially lived in Lancaster County, but moved to Lower Norfolk County where he was sold one of the two land grants of Thomas White by his son John White in 1671 (http://gen.culpepper.com). This shows that Thomas White of Lower Norfolk was perhaps related to William White, minister, and that he had some connection with Henry Culpepper.

William White was minister in York County and Lancaster County before 1658(The Colonial Clergy of Virginia, p. 54). William White married in Virginia after May 1657 Martha Bries, widow. The will of Martha White, late widow of William White, minister, was recorded in 1660. In it she made bequests to her husbands children, Jeremiah White and Margaret White, orphans living in London. The orphans guardians were Jeremiah White, Minister, and Mr. Hulett, merchant(Weisiger, York Records 1659-1662, p. 62). An examination of the original will of Martha White, which I found difficult to transcribe partly due to the quality of the copy, but also because of the use of court hand, shows that the orphans guardians were seemingly called the brothers of William White. We can infer from this that William White and Jeremiah White were brothers and William White and George Hewet were either half brothers or brothers-in-law.

In the name of God Amen
Martha White late widdow unto Mr William White minister of York Parish though weak and sick in body yet in perfect … and perfect memory praised bee to God doe make this my last will and testament in manner and form as followeth

First I bequeath my soule unto God from whence it each into first being and unto Jesus Christ his only sonne who … by his merit I hope to be saved as for my body I leave it to Mr. Clarke and Mr. Mann to bury it as it will please to so do. As for my worldly estate I leave to be disposed in manner and forme as followeth. I give and bequeath unto my husbands two children Jeremiah White and Margaret White now living in London a parcel of land contayning nine hundred or one thousand acres of land lying upon the north side of Rappanahannock River commony called by the name of Mr Thomas Brises plantation and all the cattle and hogges that can be found upon the aforesaid lands orchard whence that are proved to be mine … except three cows I give and bequeath Francis Brise, orphan to him and his heyres … I give and bequeath all my whole estate movable and movable cropps and cropps then it move by my fortune to pay the aforesaid … all my husband White’s debts are paid according to my husbands will as neare as I can

I wish … my will it Mr. Jeremiah White minister of God and Mr. Hulett … merchant my husbands brothers the which be left to be the orphans guardians Also my will to have them to be their guard and to have full power to be this my will perform for the good of the orphans my husbands two children after the decesase of … when .. shall please God.. this world …


A Jeremiah White was baptized 14 April 1653 at Halberton, Devon. His parents were listed as William White and Margaret(IGI). It is likely that this is one of William White’s children and the other was named for her mother, Margaret. An examination of matriculation records of Cambridge and Oxford found the entry of William White, born 1629 at Elworthy, Somerset, that is probably the minister in Virginia. His record states he went to school at Tiverton in Devon. Halberton mentioned as the probable baptism place of Jeremiah White is a small town near to Tiverton.

Jeremiah White, minister, guardian of the orphans of William White was almost certainly Jeremiah White who was Chaplain to Cromwell. His matriculation record at Cambridge shows he was born in 1629, although his parents or place of birth are not given (http://venn.lib.cam.ac.uk). There are 2 entries in the IGI that match his age. One in the county of Lincoln, and the other was on 12 Feb. 1629 at Saint Mary Abchurch, London. The parents were Oliver White and Jane.

In 1661 Capt. Humphry Booth was granted land in Rappahanock County and one of the headrights was Jasper White. Quite possibly this was the same who was the brother of William White of London, perhaps making a visit to America and returning to England where he died in 1681. However, this grant states that it was on the land of William White, clerke(Nugent 1:397). This coincidence of Jasper White and William White, minister, suggests that the family of William White, minister, is related to the family of William White, merchant of London.

Old Theory

The parish register of Hornchurch has these baptismal records:

  • John White, son of Josias White, 31 Aug 1615
  • William White, son of Josias White, 13 May 1617
  • James White, son of Josias White, 18 Nov 1621

Here is the record for this family in the Visitation of Hampshire:

visitation of Hampshire visitation of Hampshire

A second possible connection of John White of Hornchurch and our Thomas White can be found from this visitation record. John White’s mother was Anne Barlowe of Peterfield. Petersfield is a town in Hampshire. Henry Barlowe was born on Southampton in Hampshire (Historical Southern Families 2:21). Henry Barlowe on 9 March 1652/3 was granted 350 acres running down Julians Creek in Lower Norfolk County. By 22 Dec. 1651 Henry Barlow was resident in Lower Norfolk County, and in 1655 was granted a second parcel for 300 acres in the Southern Branch of Elizabeth River (Nation Genealogical Society Quarterly 50:115). On 19 Jan. 1653/4 he sold his Julians Creek patent to Francis Emperor, who then sold it to John Wilkinson (Brayton, Book C:f.104). In 1655 Thomas White was granted 300 acres in Julians Creek (Nugent 1:329), so that Thomas White and Henry Barlow, a possible kinsman of the mother of John White of Hornchurch, owned land on the same creek at about the same time.

Another possible connection of Thomas White to the Whites of Southwicke might be in a debt of Thomas White’s son John. Lower Norfolk court records starting on 18 Jan. 1669/70 have several entries concerning a debt of John White to Joseph Winslo (Lower Norfolk Book E:f.44,44a,47,55). Joseph Winslow was probably the same who was born in Massachusets in 1628, the nephew of governor of Massachusets, Edward Winslow, and grandson of Edward Winslow who was married at Saint Brides, London, the same parish where William White lived when he made his will of 1676. John White who lived in Nansemond County on Chuckatuck Creek for over 25 years was the nephew of the famous John White, patriarch of Dorchester, one of the founders of the colony of Massachusets.

Ann (Barlow) (White) Drake left the following will dated 1665. Several points in this will seem to contradict the idea that her son William was the same whose will of 1676 is quoted. First is that her son although living in London was called a grocer as opposed to a haberdasher. Second is that John White was described as a merchant of London when he should have been described a merchant living in Virginia. Lastly is that the land mentioned in the will and also her son’s and husband’s (Frances Rose-Troup, John White Patriarch of Dorchester, p. 412) was not in Hornchurch, but in Roxwell, about 10-15 miles away.

In the name of God Amen I Anne Drake of the citty of London widow sometimes wife of Josias White of Hornchurch in the Conty of Essex clerke and late relicte of Francis Drake of Walton in the county of Surrey esquier being of perfect health and memory God be praised but sensible of the frailty and uncertainty of the life doe ordayne and make this my last will and testament , vizt.

Imprimis I recommend my soul to God in full assurance of salvation by Jesus Christ my saviour. My body unto the earth to be interred att the descretions of my second sonne William White of the Citty of London Grocer whom I do hereby constitute and appoynt my sole and only executor.

Item in pursuance of the desire of my sonne Josias White deceased and by his last will and testament I do give devise and bequeath unto my said sonne William White whom I think and have found most servicable to me and to his heirs forever all that messuage or tenemant and farm commonly called by the name or names of Fetches als Thetches situated and being within the … of Roxwell in the parish of Writtle in the County of Essex with all and singular therein houses edifices orchards lands meadows and the appurtencances thereunto belonging contayning by estimation thirty five acres be it more or less which was to me devised by the said last will of my said sonne Josias White and to him and devised by my late husband Josias White deceased.

Item I give and devise to my said sonne William White and his heires all those lands meadow and pasture adjouning to the said tracts called Fetches als Thetches commonly called by the name of coakes, contayninig by estimation twenty six acres bee it more or less also one little parcell of meadows called by tne name of cooks by estimation half an acre bee it more or less situated or lying in Roxwell aforesaid together with al my goods upon these condicions not otherwise .. that he the said William White doe pay within three years after my decease unto John White of London merchant my eldest sonne living the somme of twenty pounds Also to my sonne James White now or lately of the Isle of Barbadoes Merchant the somme of twenty pounds if he or any of his shall then be living. And in case either of then shall not accept of this of oyther of their legacies but shall molest or … parte or parcell of the land aforesaid then my will is they shall only paid unto them five pounds a piece and nor more.

Item. I give and bequeath unto Margarett Barker Thirty Shillings also I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Spinter als … thirty . Alsoe to .. Loudon the wife of Stephen Loudon of Tomiteril twenty shillings and wherever I shall be buryed I give unto the poor of this parish forty shillings .

In withess I have herunto sett my hand and seale this one and Twentyth day of April in the year of our Lord God according the the computation of the Church of England one thousand six hundred sixty five.
Ann Drake(PCC)