Maternal Generation I: Elizabeth Hill married William Pinley
Hannah & Alexander Mountney of Virginia
Hannah and Alexander Mountney
Almost immediately after Thomas Spelman’s death, by December of 1628, Hannah Spelman married Alexander Mountney, evidenced by the British court records verifying Thomas Spelman’s will. Mountney was about eleven years her senior, and her neighbor to the east. Of Hannah’s husbands, Alexander Mountney immigrated to the Virginia colony first, arriving in 1610, aboard The Mary James, ten years before Hannah. Hannah was married to Alexander Mountney for about sixteen years before his death in 1644. Hannah lived for another 15 years after Mountney’s death, she never married again. Alexander Mountney died by 1644, near the age of 53, in Northampton County, along Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
He moved to Maryland by 1661, “transported himself” indicating he was not a servant (Maryland Archives, Gibbs, WT 738), and owned 100 acres on the Patapsco River in Baltimore County. He had at least one daughter named Hannah, who married John Hurst, described as an innholder in Baltimore. (Dorman, page 361) As Hurst bought his property from his father-in-law, Alexander Mountney, Jr., it is possible that Junior operated a tavern or inn in Baltimore, following in his parents’ footsteps. Charles Weathers Bump documents Alex Jr. as one of the original settlers of Baltimore, on a 1661 patent called "Mountenay Neck".
1624/5 Virginia Muster
Adventurers of Purse and Person, 1607 - 1624/5, 4th Edition, Volume One, (Dorman, p. 63)
The Move to Accomack/Northampton & Kent IslandSometime after 1631, the Mountneys focused attention on land across the Chesapeake Bay. Purse and Person IV states that Mountney disposed of his property in Elizabeth City by 1633, but only cites the 1642 disposal of the orphans’ land as the reference. (Dorman, p. 358) In conjunction with several of their Kecoughtan neighbors, the Mountneys moved up to Accomack/Northampton County, sometime before 1634, Alexander and Hannah Mountney made a home for themselves and daughters Elizabeth Hill and Mary Spelman in Northampton/Accomack County in the Northern Neck of Virginia. By 1634, Mountney was claimed as a resident of both Accomack County and Kent Island.
Kent Island and Alexander Mountney
By 1631, references to Alexander Mountney cite more incidents of business exchanges than farming ventures, and controversy between Virginia’s illustrious William Claiborne and Maryland enveloped much of Mountney’s remaining life. In Kecoughtan, Claiborne lived just north of the Mountneys along the Hampton River, in an area known as Strawberry Banks. While exploring the Chesapeake in 1628, Claiborne happened upon an island due east of Annapolis today. He bought the land for twelve pounds sterling silver from the Natives who lived there, and named it Kent Island. There he built a post for conducting fur trade with the locals.
And this deponent saith that in 1634 as is articulate the said Clayborne received 19 servants and noe more from the said Clobery and Company of whome this deponent was one and this deponent saith that for so many of the XI. servants as could welbe spared from the trade the said Clayborne did Joyne in copartnorship with one Alaxander Mountney and John Smyth and their servants which were freemen and did settle a Plantation called Craford and cleard ground and built houses (Maryland Archives, Proceedings, p. 235)Mountney traveled to Kent Island in partnership with Claiborne, but the frequent entries in Virginia courts indicate that Mountney was a Virginian from 1610 until his death, he never moved his residence and family to Maryland. Claiborne’s legal issues over ownership of Kent Island revolved around whether there was a permanent settlement on Kent Island at the time of the Calvert grant, or just a trading post. The Calvert grant clearly gave Lord Baltimore unsettled territory, it was therefore was in Claiborne’s best interest to have Mountney and others appear to have settled as permanent residents on Kent Island.
In the same year that he was proclaimed as a resident of Kent Island, on April 18, 1634, Mountney was called to court in Accomack County regarding a marriage wager. In this proceeding, Alexander Mountney was referred to for the first time as Mr. Alexander Mountney, indicating his increased stature after moving to Accomack County.
Another indication of growing prestige, Mr. Alexander Mountney was ordered to serve on the Vestry for the new parish, along with Wmll Cotton Mist’r, Mr. John Wilkins, Capt. Thomas Graves, Mr. Wm’ll Andrewes, Mr. Obedyence Robins , Mr. John How, Mr. Edward Drew, Mr. Wm’ll Stonne, Mr. Wm’ll Beriman, Mr. Wm’ll Burdett, Mr. Stephen Charelton. (Fleet, page 18) Minister William Cotton produced an order from Jamestown in court on September 14, 1635, to build a parsonage on the glebe lands.
The Vestry reported back to the court: “A vestry heald 29th day of September 1635. Present: Catp. Thom Graves, Mr. Wm’ll Andrewes, Mr. Obedyence Robins, Mr. Alexander Mountney, Mr. John How, Mr. Edward Drew, Mr. Wm’ll Burdett, Mr. Wm’ll Berrlman, Mr. Wm’ll Stonne. It is agreed by this Vestry that a parsonage house should be build upon the gleeb land by Christyde next and that the said house shalbe.........” (Fleet, p. 44) The detailed dimensions and floor plan of the parsonage are included in the court records.
In the same Accomack court session of September 14, 1635, Alexander Mountney also appeared on behalf of Philip Taylor in a complaint against Richard Jacob for six weeks work. It was this entry that probably led Ralph Whitelaw to conclude that Mountney was an employee of Captain Philip Taylor. Whitelaw’s book, Virginia’s Eastern Shore, states that Alexander Mountney moved up to Accomack/Northampton as an overseer for Taylor’s plantation, and first resided on the property of Philip Taylor at N46.
Captain Philip Taylor, mariner, was a neighbor to Claiborne and Mountney in Accomack, and their lives are entwined (and eventually include William Pinley ) for many years. Taylor was often referred to as the commander of Claiborne’s forces at Kent Island after Cornwallis killed Ratcliffe Warren and Calvert hung Thomas Smyth for piracy. The deaths of those two popular men was a great source of hostility toward the Marylanders for many years to come. Captain Taylor eventually married Smyth’s widow, Jane Smyth Taylor (later Jane Eltonhead). Mountney did testify in Taylor’s behalf after Taylor beat up the deputy sheriff; Taylor and his wife visited in the Mountney home to relate his adventure with the sheriff. (Ames, 211)
Taylor and Claiborne both had assets clearly in excess of the more humble Mountneys, but Mountney was an Ancient Planter with land certificates, leases and assets of his own, and the records available today indicate more of a partnership with Claiborne and Taylor than an employee relationship. He appeared in court far more often representing his own interests than Taylor’s. Three different waterways were named Mountney Creek on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, indicating that Mountney may have been more than just an employee of Taylor. Whitelaw’s sharp, and greatly beneficial focus on the Eastern Shore may have precluded notice of other relevant documents from Kecoughtan, The Records of the Virginia Company, and he may not have been aware of the connection between the Hill, Spelman, and Mountney land certificates.
Separate land grants in Accomack were certified to both Alexander and Hannah Mountney near Onancock (translated foggy place), the middle section of what would become Northampton County in 1642, N39 according to Whitelaw’s divisions, but no covering surveys or patents are found. (http://www.esva.net/ghotes/).
The land there granted to Alexander Mountney, Edward Hill and Thomas Spelman near Onancock was probably the result of their “second divident” as Ancient Planters, as both Hill and Spelman were dead at the time of issue. The cause of the separate certificate for Hannah Hill Mountney is unknown, but probably related to Spelman's will of his possessions in Virginia to Hannah. The land in Accomack patented to Hill and Spelman would have been held in trust by the daughters’ guardian, Alexander Mountney.
“Eighty Fower Acres and thirteene pole graunted by Lease from Secretary Kempe unto Alexander Mountney dated the thirteenth of November 1635 for one and twenty yeares under the yearely rent of one Barrell and Fowre Bushells of Corne etc.” (Ames, p. 15)The court records of Northampton/Accomack County are rich with entries about Alexander Mountney's business transactions. The Mountney home, along the banks of Kings Creek, a large creek on the Bayside just north of the present day town of Cape Charles (GHOTES website) near the “Towne Fields” appears to have been somewhat of a gathering place for the community. Mountney was frequently found in court, as a witness to discussions and confrontations that had occurred at his home, attesting to wills, verifying the quality of tobacco, collecting debts and rents owed. Court records often refer to disputes taking place at the Mountney home, as well as business negotiations and transactions. People came to the Mountney home to pay debts, make their wills and prepare for trips back to England.
As keeper of the community store at Kings Creek, Mountney was entrenched in trade between the new world and the old, and involved with the trading posts at Kent Island in Maryland, the Kecoughtan community store in his old home of Elizabeth City (run by John Neal) and the community store at Fishing Point run by Anthony Hodgkins. Reflecting the variety of the business community, debts at various times were paid in beaver pelts, tobacco, of tar, corn, and occasionally they actually used money, English sterling pounds and shillings.
Whitelaw indicates the Accomack/Northampton court sessions were held in private homes and taverns until a court house was built in 1665. Town Fields was the location of many monthly court session until 1647. Mountney owned the only liquor license in the Town Fields, his place was referred to as a tavern, quite likely was the scene of most of the early court sessions.
On the Eastern Shore, Mr. Alexander Mountney was called by the court to assess civil damages in various suits, sent as an observer when payments were delivered or judge the value of tobacco given as payment. When he gave testimony, the juries voted in favor of his word in every found case. His word was his bond, and Alexander Mountney appeared to be one of the most respected men in the community. Hannah was seldom found in court records until after Alexander’s death, but her word appears to have been likewise respected by the community.
Alexander Mountney was depended upon by the courts to carry out various financial responsibilities at their order, and appeared to be well respected in the community. At the end of this chapter, numerous court records concerning Alexander Mountney are provided to support the conclusion that Alexander Mountney was held in high esteem by the courts and the community.
On June 7, 1641, Alexander Mountney was appointed to be storekeeper near present day Cape Charles, Virginia by the Accomack Court. “It is ordered that Alexander Mountney shalbe Storekeeper for the Common Store at Kings Creeke, Hee putting in securitye according to the Actes.” This same appointment was previously given to Anthony Hodgkins (Hoskins) on August 3, 1640, but on June 7, 1641 Hodgkins was transferred to similar duties at another Common Store at Old Plantation Creeke. (Ames, 121) Since Mountney had to post the same security “according to the Actes”, reference will be made to the original job description and restrictions given to Hodgkins in 1640 as indicative of Mountney’s responsibilities.
And for the diverse Governor afforesaid, Doe hereby ... Licensed and authorized Anthonie Hoskins of Accomack ... an ordinary or Victuallinge howse, or a house of ... Accomack Giveinge hereby and grauntinge unto the said Anthonie Hoskins Full License and authority to sell utter and vend Beere Ale Wines ... Strong wateres or other Liquors, provided they bee good and ... necessary accomodation of his said howse of ordinary Willinge ... requiring him the said Anthonie Hoskins to bee very careful and as well to Fulfill keepe and observe his Majesties lawes and peace then as allsoe to cause the same to bee Fullfilled and kept at all type or tymes whatsoever, and not to cause or suffer the same to bee anie (wayes) violated or Broken And allsoe not to suffer anie uncivill or unlawfull Games to be had or used in his said howse. And further that he the said Hoskins shall not at anie tyme harbour or enterteyne anie riotous or unlawful person or anie persons riotously or unlawfully assault Contrary to his Majesties lawes in such cases provided Hee the said Anthonie Hoskins entringe unto A recognizance of twoe hundred shillings with sufficyent security unto his Majesties propper use” (Ames 30, 31)Upon William Pinley’s death in 1650, either the Northampton court or Hannah Mountney assigned the task of completing his Inventory of Estate which was filed in Northampton County October 5, 1650 to Anthony Hodgkins. It appears from the lack of a recorded land lease or certificate in the name of William Pinley, that William and his family may have resided on the Mountney leased land. If the Mountney home was still the site of the Community Store at that time, Hodgkins would have been a practical choice to conduct the inventory, to assure that Pinley’s property was separated from the store inventory, as Hodgkins appears to have still been the storekeeper at Fishing Point location.
By the 1630’s, he was addressed as Mr. Alexander Mountney, and court records show that he was well regarded by his peers and authorities. Testimonials to the character of Alexander Mountney include his selection as Hannah’s husband, Vestry Member, Storekeeper of the Common Store, nominee for sheriff, juror, court witness, executor of wills, and partner of William Claiborne.
Reading hundreds of court records from this era searching for variant spellings of ancestors affords great benefit in the acquisition of historical context. The County Court Records of Accomack/Northampton, Virginia exhibit every form of low class human behavior. Public drunkenness, sexual deviance, cursing, child abuse, wife and servant beatings, lying, cheating, stealing, murder and rebellion were common events in the hostile environment of early Virginia. In the found records, he was never accused of outrage, infidelity, violent outbursts (like his friends Taylor and Drew), or public drunkenness (even though he held the only liquor license at the Community Store). Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Mountney appear governed by higher personal standards than most of the citizens found in the courtroom. Their business deals required court visits, not their personal behavior. They paid their debts, and collected their due as well.
Alexander Mountney died at about the age of 53, sometime after his last court appearance on December 20, 1643 and before February 10, 1643/44 when Hannah, described as a widow, appeared in court to give a deposition unrelated to Alexander.
His death occurred during the time of the Puritan Revolution in England when Richard Ingle plundered the Chesapeake Bay in the name of Parliament. On April 28, 1643, Mountney was court ordered to pay 100 pounds of tobacco to John Major for damage done to his shallop (boat) when “shee was in the hands of Mr. Mountney”. In the same court session, testimony was given concerning an altercation that occurred between Cromwell’s pirate, Richard Ingle, and Argall Yardley. (Ames, 268, 269) Testimony given at the August court session stated Yardley and Ingle argued about Rattleheads and Roundheads. (Ames, 301). Mountney’s death cannot be linked to defending Accomack from Ingle, but did occur during the time frame when Ingle was actively raiding the Chesapeake coastline.
Taking advantage of the chaos, William Claiborne formed an alliance with Ingle, and reconquered Kent Island shortly after Mountney’s death. No cause of Mountney’s death was reflected in the records, it may have been related to any of those events.
Later in this document research regarding Kent Island will be developed as it relates to Mountney’s son-in-law, William Pinley. Mountney’s involvement on Kent Island after 1634 was not documented, but his frequent associates, allies, and neighbors, namely William Claiborne and Captain Philip Taylor were the ringleaders of the frequent rebellions on Kent Island. Maryland records document that Alexander Mountney was in copartnership with Claiborne in the building of the Crayford plantation and fort, but the extent of his investment in Kent Island is not known. That Mountney was part of Claiborne’s army sent to wreak havoc on Kent at various times is not documented, but his known associates were there.
On October 28, 1642, Mountney appeared in court to “humbly request” a land certificate for Danniell Tanner, as he had sold the land in Elizabeth City for cattle. Mountney stated that the 150 acres in Elizabeth City “lay voyde and was noe wayes beneficial to the said Orphants." (Ames, p. 212, 213). In this brief court appearance, Mountney provided an integral chunk of evidence when he stated:
“whereas the said Mountney marryed with the Relict of Thomas Spilllman and Edward Hill both deceased and haveing in his possession a Certayne quantity of Land amounting to one hundred and Fiftie acres Lying within the County of Elizabeth Citty belonging unto the Orphants of the said Hill and Spillman which Land Lay voyde and was noe wayes beneficial to the said Orphants in respect whereof the said Mountney converted the said land into Cattle for the sole use of the said Orphants and sold the land unto Danniell Tanner. The said Alexander Mountney his humble request therefore is that hee might have a Certificate to the Right Worshipfull the Governor and Councell That the pattent for the said Land might bee renewed in the name of the said Daniell Tanner. The court therefore thought it requisite and doth accordingly request the Governor and Councell that the said Pattent may bee renewed in the name of the said Tanner.” (Ames, p. 212, 213)This one court appearance by Alexander Mountney, first located by Jerry Penley in Kingsport, allowed the documentation that Hannah Boyle, Hannah Hill, Hannah Spelman, and Hannah Mountney were indeed one person, and tied the colonists in Elizabeth City directly to those in Accomack. Thank you, Mr. Alexander Mountney, for your “humble request”.
August 3, 1640: “Concerninge strifes and debates betwixt them and especially Concerninge hurt and damage done to Vaughn by Dewyns hogges. It is ordered that Mr. Alexander Mountney and Roger Johns to whome it is referred, shall take a viewe of such trespas and damage committed and accordinglely make reporte thereof unto the next monethly Court Upon which report the Court shall take such gurther order as shall be meete.” (Ames, p. 31)A confrontation between Vaughn and Dewyn over hogs had resulted in “violent blowes”, Mountney was sent out to survey the damage for the resulting civil suit. The court ruled against Vaughn on Mountney’s testimony, as Roger Johns did not testify.
September 7, 1640: “concerning damaze pretended to be done by hogges Beinge referred (.) It is now certified by Mr. Alexander Mountney that noe damage hath Beene done or suffered as was pretended.” (Ames, p. 17)With no intervening details available, John Vaughn later sued Mountney, and the courts again ruled against Vaughn, and in favor of Mountney.
May 17, 1641: It is ordered that John Vaughan shall satisfye the Charges of this Court in the suite depending betwen him and Alexander Mountney. Otherwise Execution etc.” (Ames, p. 84)On November 23, 1640, Alexander Mountney posted a bond of “100 pounds of good and lawful English money” to guarantee that his neighbor, Gentleman John Wilkins would answer to the court at James City to answer a suit filed by John Dennis. (Ames, p. 42)
June 7, 1641: It is ordered by this Court tha Alexander Mountney shalbe satisfied and payed out of the Estate of Daniell Cugley deceased one hundred and twenty poundes of tobacco which is dew unto the sayd Mountney upon Accompt and three shillings Money sterling, and two yeardes of Cotton all which particulars the aforesayd Alexander hath made appeare to be justley deu unto him upon oath in open Court, and as yett not satisfied.” (Ames, p. 88, 89)At various times, reasons unknown, Mountney refused to pay debts to Stephen Charlton, Mr. Wingate, Andrew Jacob, and Obedience Robins until ordered to do so by the court. May 1, 1637, a servant, Elizabeth Starkey complained of rigorous abuse offered her by Alexander Mountney. Without penalty to Mountney, she was sent to his friend Dr. John Holloway, who owned half of her contract. Starkey had various court appearances afterwards.