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Generation II: Thomas & Elizabeth Pinley

Thomas & Elizabeth Penley of Virginia

The American Penleys


September 16, 1698: Northumberland County, Virginia

The Orphan Thomas Pinley, died in 1698 in Northumberland County at the estimated age of 48 years. Except for the notice of his death, no further documents reflecting his life have been thus far realistically identified as referring to the Orphan Thomas Pinley.

In Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Series II, Vol. I by Lindsay O Duval for Northumberland Co, 1678-1713, page 837 the following abstract indicates the 1698 death of Thomas Pinley.

25 Sept 1698, motion of Elizabeth Pinley, Widdow and Relict of Thomas Pinley.

At this time, the maiden name of Elizabeth is not known. Their marriage may have taken place in Talbot or Somerset County, Maryland, or Northampton or Northumberland County in Virginia, the counties where probable Thomas Pinley records have been found. Thomas and Elizabeth Pinley may have had other children, but William Pinley is the only child thus far documented in found records. Without hard evidence, family research estimates William’s birthdate as 1680, indicating a marriage between Thomas and Elizabeth before that time.

Sometime after 1698 and before 1707, Elizabeth married again, to Robert Harrison, who sold 100 acres in the adjoining County of Richmond to her son William Pinley in 1707, their relationship well documented by the land deed. In this document, prepared at the behest of Elizabeth, the spelling of the family name is the same as used by the Immigrant William Pinley. The deed also clearly documents Elizabeth Pinley Harrison and her son as residents of Northumberland County. At the bottom of the deed, Elizabeth makes her mark, indicating that she was not literate.

KNOW ALL MEN by these presents that I ELIZABETH HARRISON, Wife of ROBERT HARRISON of the Parrish of St. Stephens in county of NORTHUMBERLAND in Virginia do by these presents appoint my well beloved friend SAMLL CHURCHILL of NORTH FARNUM in county of Richmond to be my lawful Attorney to acknowledge all my right and title of a parcel of land wch my husband sold to my SON, WILLIAM PINLEY. it being 100 acres of land as by the Deed of sale may appear as Witness my hand and seale Janry ye 27 1706.

This deed of sale is remarkable due to the manner in which Elizabeth Pinley Harrison is included in the transaction. At the top of the document, Elizabeth Harrison appoints Samuel Churchill of Richmond County to be her attorney. There is no specific mention of relinquishing dower rights, but she appoints her attorney “to acknowledge all my right and title of a parcel of land wch my husband sold to my SON”, and she makes her mark on the deed on January 27, of 1706/7. Yet at the bottom of the document, when the deed is recorded in Richmond County, Robert Harrison appeared in person, but Elizabeth did not make the trip to the Richmond County Court to record the deed. A different attorney, William Humphries represented Elizabeth in Richmond County, even though Samuel Churchwell was present when the deed was recorded.

Acknowledged in Richmond County Court by ROBT. HARRISON personally and WILLIAM HUMPHRYS ATTo. of ELIZABETH HARRISON the 5th day of Febry Ano Dom 1706 & recorded the 12th day of ye same month & same yeare........

Signed Sealed and Delivered in the presence of us with TURFE and TWIGG.
WM. HUMPHRYES ROBT HARRISON
SAMLL CHURCHHILL ELIZABETH (her mark) HARRISON

Acknowledged in Richmond County Court by ROBT. HARRISON personally and WILLIAM HUMPHRYS ATTo. of ELIZABETH HARRISON

the 5th day of Febry Ano Dom 1706

& recorded the 12th day of ye same month & same yeare........

It appears that Samuel Churchill was her attorney when she signed her mark to sell the property, but a second lawyer represented her when the deed was recorded in the adjacent county. It is a bit strange for a wife to require two separate attorneys in order to approve a husband’s sale of land to her son. It could be that the sale was more complicated than ordinary, perhaps complicated by exchanges of other property. There is no record yet found of Elizabeth’s first husband, Thomas Pinley owning any land at the time of his death, but the wording in this deed is not comparable to the standard release of dower rights. It could be that Samuel Churchill was rejected as the attorney in Richmond because he was a family relation to either Elizabeth or Robert, or because he had originally sold the property to Harrison.

Elizbeth Pinley Harrison described Samll. Churchill of Richmond County as her “well beloved friend” as she appointed him as her lawful attorney in the sale of land by her current husband, Robert Harrison to her son, William Pinley. In search of Elizabeth’s maiden name, Samuel Churchill was researched to find a family connection.

According to a will posted at the Northumberland County GenWeb site by Laura Jackson (http://www.rootsweb.com/~vanorthu/wills/ChurchellWill.html) Samuel Churchwell, Sr. died in 1702, Northumberland County, leaving “my land in the woods by the house of the Churchwell's” to his son Samuel. Samuel Churchwell, Jr. did receive wooded land, but the son Joseph seemed to fare better in the will of the father, as he received the current dwelling house, land, a gun, household items, cattle, and the other three children were named executors, excluding Elizabeth’s “well beloved friend” Samuel Jr. as executor. Daughters Lydia and Sarah received horses and household items. It is possible that Samuel Jr. had already received a distribution, but the will as stated seems to benefit the son Joseph over Samuel Jr.

Jerry Penley researched the 207 acres of Richmond County land which Robert Harrison bought from Samuel Churchell on December 19, 1705, and found that Harrison deeded 107 acres of that land to his daughter Alice Harrison, and sold the other 100 acres of that tract to our William Pinley. There is no proof that this land was the same inherited by Samuel Churchell from his father, but it is a possibility. Robert Harrison gave 100 acres to his other daughter, Mary Harrison, from the 240 acre tract that he bought from Joseph or John Adams.

In 1698, Andrew Spratling claimed land in New Kent County using John Penley (Nugent, Vol. III, p. 23) as a headright, and one Benjamin Harrison of James City and William Leigh patented 3,474 acres in King and Queen County by claiming headrights for 70 persons, including one John Penley (Nugent, Vol. III, p. 30). A grant of that size probably resulted from buying up headrights from willing persons. No solid connection to this John Penley has been made, but it is probable that Orphan Thomas had more than one child. If money was tight after the death of Thomas in 1698, Elizabeth may have sold a son John’s headrights to Spratling. There may have been an indenture involved, but by this point in Virginia history, the use of a name to qualify for land was sometimes bought without expectation of service, unless passage had been paid from England.

No solid connection was found, but the names of Lydia, Alice, Mary and Sarah emerge in Penley naming patterns after the Harrison and Churchell land transactions are recorded. The Churchell relation may have been through Elizabeth’s birth family, her marriage to Thomas Pinley, or her marriage to Robert Harrison. William Penley’s wife’s name was Mary, and their son Thomas named a daughter Alice. Elizabeth (Penley) Rice named her first son William Penley Rice, and named her first daughter Lydia.

Joyce Pendley Comer located this deed and posted it to the Penley List at Rootsweb.com in April of 2000. This was an extremely important find, as this 1707 land deed to William Pinley is an integral part of the Penley family history, as this one document connects the Orphan Thomas and Elizabeth Penley to the next generation. William (The Immigrant) Pinley’s orphan son Thomas was born about 1650, and probably never knew either of his parents before their death. He was raised for nine years by his strong willed grandmother, Hannah Mountney, and then adopted and abused by his uncles Will Crump and Nicholas Porquoy. Thomas Pinley returned from Maryland to Northumberland County, Virginia where he died in 1698 at the estimated age of 48 years. He was survived by his widow Elizabeth who later married a Robert Harrison. Positive identification of one surviving child, William Pinley, has been made based on the 1707 deed of sale.

Thomas and Elizabeth likely had other children born to their marriage, but William is the only descendant positively documented at this time. John Penley, whose headrights were claimed in New Kent County in 1698 is suspected to be their child. The date of Elizabeth Penley Harrison’s death is unknown at this time, the 1707 land deed to William Pinley states that she and her husband, Robert Harrison, were residents of St. Stephens Parish in Northumberland County, Virginia.

THIS INDENTURE made the 27th day of Janry in the 5th yeare of the Reigne of our SOVEREIGNE LADY ANNE by the Grace of GOD of Scotland, France and Ireland. QUEENE defender of the faith annoq. Domini 1707/6. Betweene ROBERT HARRISON of Parish of St. Stephens in County of NORTHUMBERLAND in Virginia Planter and ELIZABETH his Wife of one party and

WILLIAM PINLEY in the County aforesaid, Planter of the other party. Wittnesseth that Robert Harrison and Elizabeth his Wife for the sum of Five thousand pounds of good sound merchantable tobbacco in caske to them in hand paid by WILLIAM PINLEY by these presents do bargaine sell and confirme unto WILLIAM PINLEY his heires all that part or tract of land containing by estimation 100 acres situate in Parish of FARNHAM in County of Richmond at the head of ye branches of Swamp called Marches Swamp. it being part of a Devidend of land which SAMLL CHURCHWELL of County Richmond conveyed to Robert Harrison of County NORTHUMBERLAND for 207 acres and beginning for the said 100 acres att a Chesnutt Post standing in ESQR. CORBINs line betweene three marked tree, a white oak, a red Oake and a Hickory tree near three inward marked saplins that is to say one white Oake and two Hickory saplins standing in the line wch was formerly EDWARD and THOMAS LEWISes, from thense along the said LEWISes line a line dividing from TELIFF ALTERSON JUNR 2 TOTASKEY FERRY ROAD and the line of ESQR. CORBIN 2 theire severall dividing corner trees as mentioned in the Survey of 207 acres which was Surveyed for ROBERT HARRISON ending in ESQR. CORBINs line att the begining Chesnutt Post. To have and to hold the tract of land hereby sold with the clear grounds proffitts appurtenances unto WILLIAM PINLEY his heires to be holden to the CHEIFE LORD of the Fee of the premises for the Services for the same due and of right accustomed to be paid, free and discharged from all former incumberances.

In Wittness where of the parties first above named have sett theire hands and affixed theire seals the day and year first above written.

Acknowledged in Richmond County Court by ROBT. HARRISON personally and WILLIAM HUMPHRYS ATTo. of ELIZABETH HARRISON

the 5th day of Febry Ano Dom 1706 & recorded the 12th day of ye same month & same yeare........

Signed Sealed and Delivered in the presence of us with TURFE and TWIGG.

WM. HUMPHRYES ROBT HARRISON

SAMLL CHURCHHILL ELIZABETH sign (her mark) HARRISON

Acknowledged in Richmond County Court by ROBT. HARRISON personally and WILLIAM HUMPHRYS ATTo. of ELIZABETH HARRISON

the 5th day of Febry Ano Dom 1706 & recorded the 12th day of ye same month & same yeare.......

Found by Joyce Pendley Comer in 2000.