Paternal Generation I: William Pinley to Maryland and Virginia
William Pinley Immigration to Maryland: 1638
William Pinley, Our Immigrant to America:
William Pinley was born circa 1620 in England. Positive identification of his family in England has not been made, though nominees are being investigated.
March 13, 1639: St. Mary's, Maryland:
William Pinley arrived aboard The Charity in Maryland from England, as the servant of Walter Broadhurst, his transportation paid by Broadhurst. When correction is made to the modern calendar, his arrival date was March 13, 1639.
"Came into the Province 13th. March 1638.
(Maryland Historical Magazine, published by the Maryland Historical Society, 1910, p. 167 Land Notes, 1634 - 1655)
August 9, 1640: St. Mary's, Maryland
William Pinley and Oliver Gibbons were the two servants who arrived with Walter Broadhurst. Broadhurst, age 20, was the son of a wealthy Catholic family from Lilleshall, County Shropshire, England.
“August 9, 1640: Walter Broadhurst Gent. Demandeth three hundred acres of Land in Freehold due to him by Conditions of Plantation for Transporting himself into the Province in the year 1638 with two able manservants called Oliver Gibbons and William Pinley as was allowed.”
(Maryland State Archives. Land Office, Patent Record. Volume AB and H pp. 61, 83, and 101)
Although other records differ on Pinley's arrival date, PenleyPearls supports the March 13, 1639 date because it appears to be the primary source document used to support Broadhurst's claim for land. When a dispute arose between Governor Calvert and Thomas Gerard concerning ownership of headrights, Broadhurst's testimony proved himself to be the original owner of the headrights, and that he had later sold the headrights to Gerard.
Beginning in 1634, wealthy settlers to Maryland could earn 100 acres by paying for the transportation of another settler. Early in our research, great importance was placed on the headright issue, partly because so little else was known. "Headrights" were granted to whomever paid the transportation costs, but were not proof of an indentured contract. Walter Broadhurst, Thomas Gerard, and Governor Leonard Calvert each used William Pinley's name to earn 100 acres of land in Maryland, and Nicholas Stillwell probably used Pinley's name in Virginia (Mitchell Paper), each used a date most beneficial to their claim. Headrights were bought, sold, and traded by the wealthy in order to acquire larger plantations in both colonies.
Probably not... though it is now apparent that Walter Broadhurst received credit for transporting William Pinley, no contract of indenture has been located for Pinley, and there is no record of a 50 acre land grant at the end of indenture. Broadhurst owned use of his name in Maryland, and Pinley had no control over his headright sale to Gerard, Calvert, or Stillwell. Land acquisition was the motive behind the headright transfers.
The next documents are noted author and colonial historian Lois Green Carr's notecards, found at the Maryland Archives website. They led to a previous conclusion that Walter Broadhurst and William Pinley arrived with the Brent family on November 22, 1638.
Broadhurst Arrival, Maryland Archives, Lois Green Carr Notes, Record MSA SC 5094
(http://search2.mdarchives.state.md.us/carr.html, Broadhurst File 095)
Servant to Walter Broadhurst ?
The vision of William Pinley’s voyage to Maryland as servant to a wealthy Shropshire family changes somewhat when it is realized that Walter Broadhurst and William Pinley were both near 20 years of age. Later court depositions cited in this document verify ages. Broadhurst and Pinley may have been acquaintances in England, and the wealthier Broadhurst paid William’s passage to Maryland in exchange for his services.
Servant to Dr. Thomas Gerard ?
Broadhurst soon transferred his own headrights, and the Pinley/Gibbons headrights to the wealthier Dr. Thomas Gerard. Some sources indicate that Walter Broadhurst married Thomas Gerard's daughter, though Gerard did not bring his family to Maryland until 1650. Broadhurst's widow Ann certainly married a grandfather of George Washington. (Washington and his Neighbors, Lyon G. Tyler, William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 1. (Jul., 1895), pp. 28-43.) Tom Melton has presented excellent background information on Thomas Gerrard at http://members.cox.net/trm/GerardThomas1.htm.
December, 1641: St. Mary’s, Maryland
"December, 1641: Thomas Gerrard Gent. Demandeth four Thousand acres of Land due to him by Condition of Plantation for Transporting into the province at his own charge himself and twenty able menservants in the years 1637, 1638, and 1640 Viz: John Langworth, Peter Hayward, Sam Barrett, Thomas Knight, Robert Brafinton, Richard Stratford, John Ashton, Oliver Gibbons, William Pinley, Henry Smith, Thomas Wright, Thomas Morris, John Gerrard, John Taylor, John Shanke, Richard Wright, Richard Rousseau, Richard Walker, Frances Sutton, Thomas Doe, and tow Thousand more due to him by assignment from Mr. John Lewger."
Maryland Archives, Volume AB and H pp. 61, 83, and 101.
Servant to Governor Leonard Calvert
On February 7, 1641/2, Governor Leonard Calvert himself claimed land in the name of William Pinley, and 24 other servants. If Pinley was employed by Calvert, the Governor may have thought he could get by with claiming Pinley's headright, but Thomas Gerard called his bluff and took the Governor to court, and won back Pinley's headright. Other names used by Calvert equally dubious, as many were actually servants whose headrights or contracts belonged to William Claiborne in Virginia.
There was a long standing feud between Calvert and Claiborne, Maryland and Virginia, over ownership of Kent Island, and Calvert took an army of men to Kent in February of 1638/9 to “reduce” the island, and seized all of Claiborne’s property and servants for himself.
February 7, 1641/2:
"February 7, 1641/2: Leonard Calvert Esq. demandeth five thousand acres of Land due by Condition of Plantation for Transporting 25 Able Men into this province since the year 1633.
(Maryland Archives: Volume AB and H pp. 61, 83, and 101)
The controversy between Calvert and William Claiborne over Kent Island was boiling when William Pinley arrived in America. It now appears that William Pinley arrived just after Calvert seized William Claiborne's property and servants in the daring raid on Kent Island in February, 1638. It is obvious though, that William Pinley did form some permanent alliances with the rebels on Kent Island, and those who opposed Calvert's rule. Eventually, his acquaintances with Claiborne's men probably led him to the trading post run by Alexander Mountney on the Eastern Shore where he met and married Hannah Mountney's daughter, Elizabeth Hill.
Return to Dr. Thomas Gerrard's Service
Legal wranglings in turbulent Maryland are further evidenced by the fact that Thomas Gerrard went to court to regain William Pinley's headrights from Governor Calvert, and Walter Broadhurst gave a deposition that he had indeed sold the William Pinley and Oliver Gibbons headrights to Gerrard.
"The said Walter Broadhurst acknowledgeth that he has assigned over all his rights in the two men and their Conditions of Plantation unto Mr. Thomas Gerard .....the men and he further assigned over his own Rights in Conditions of Plantation for the Transporting himself unto the said Mr. Gerrard." (Maryland Archives)
The following is a chronology of William Pinley's legal footprints in Maryland and Virginia from 1638 - 1650:
If William Pinley was ever indentured to anyone in Maryland, he would have been a free man by 1642, and entitled to 50 acres of land, clothing and tools. After earning 50 acres through often grueling service, most servants could not afford to pay the high costs of quitrents, land surveys and deed recordings. Many servants had to forfeit their land back to Lord Baltimore, and sign a new indenture to survive. There is no Pinley land document found in Maryland.
William Pinley married Elizabeth Hill,
daughter of Edward and Hannah (Boyle) Hill, probably in Northampton County, Virginia.
1643-1644: Virginia or Maryland
Estimated birthdate of Will Pinley, Jr., probably in Northampton County, Virginia.
August 4, 1644: Maryland
Barnaby Jackson made a payment toward a debt for cattle which he and William Pinley had purchased. Only Barnaby Jackson is certified as present, Pinley may have already moved to Northampton County, Virginia.
"Received of Barnaby Jackson 1 200 £ tob. toward the accompt of his debt to the estate of Peter Draper for certaine cattel & swine bought by him & William Pinly
Maryland Archives: (http://www.msa.md.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc2900/sc2908/000001/000004/html/am4--285.html
December 29, 1645: Virginia or Maryland
According to Virginia Colonials & their Maryland Relatives, William Pinley witnessed the will of Nicholas Porter on December 29, 1645. Pinley's location at the signing is not given, it was eventually recorded in both Virginia and Maryland. Thomas Sturman's grandchildren were the beneficiaries of the will, and Thomas Sturman was residuary legatee. Youell (Ewell), Porter and Sturman were all involved with Ingle's Rebellion and Kent Island. The will is listed as probated in Westmoreland County, but Westmoreland was not created until 1653. The Sturman plantation was in the area of Northumberland County that became Westmoreland.
The Maryland Calendar of Wills, Volume I, Wills from 1635 to 1685:
(Baldwin, p. 34)
Porter, Nicholas, 29th Dec., 1645; 25th Sept., 1646.To Thomas Yoewell's eld. son and dau. personalty. Thos. Sturman, residuary legatee. Ex. not named.
Test: Wm. Pinly [Signature]
Maryland's Time of Trouble:
Maryland Governor Leonard sailed to England in April of 1643 to consult with his brother and King Charles regarding the Claiborne controversy, leaving Giles Brent in charge of Maryland. In order to hold onto the generous Maryland land grant, Calvert attempted to remain neutral in the English Civil War era, but Puritan warrior Richard Ingle arrived in Maryland to reduce the colony on the authority of the Puritan led Parliament.
William Claiborne took advantage of Calvert's absence, and allied himself with Puritan Richard Ingle. When Calvert returned late in 1643, he found his colony in turmoil under enemy control. Calvert fled for his life, and lived in exile until the end of 1646. His exact whereabouts during exile are unknown, though documents suggest he spent much of this time in Virginia, perhaps at Kecoughtan. He may have secretly traveled again to England at some point during his exile.
January 6, 1645/6: Northampton County, Virginia: Calvert's Horse
PenleyPearls does not know the location of Leonard Calvert's hideout in Virginia, but our William Pinley appeared to have known where his horse was kept. Northampton Court records indicate that Captain Calvert's attorney William Eltonhead went to court to claim Calvert's gray horse brought in from Maryland, but Eltonhead lacked "sufficient evidence". The Northampton Court refers consistently to Calvert as Capt. instead of Governor. This may indicate a lack of the Court's respect for Calvert, or that Calvert had abdicated his authority over Maryland.
Note also that Calvert's attorney William Eltonhead, was a strong Puritan, another indication of the complicated alliances the Catholic Calvert formed in order to recapture Maryland. However, Eltonhead later married local Captain Phillip Taylor's widow, and William Pinley later witnessed a transaction in which Jane Eltonhead freed a slave belonging to Phillip Taylor.
"William Eltonhead Attorney of Capt. Leonard Calvert Esq~ layeth clayme unto a gray horse lately brought from St Maryes (9 fol:) p'tending that the sd Horse doth belong unto the sayde Capt. Calvert and cannot at p'sent make it Justly appe by sufficient Evidence. It is therefore ordered by this Court that in case the sd Eltonhead can make it iustly appe that the sd Horse doth belong unto the sd Capt Leonard Calvert the sd Horse shall bee deliv'ed unto the sd Eltonhead Attorney of the sd Leonard Calvert."
(p. 17, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.)
April 29, 1646: Northampton County, Virginia
George Taylor testified that a gray horse being held by Thomas Powell belonged to "Capt. Leonard Calvert, late Governor of St. Maryes". This reference by the court again appears degrading to "Capt. Calvert", giving him credit only as the previous governor of just the town of St. Mary's instead of the entire colony of Maryland.
There was no love lost between Calvert and the Virginians on the best day, and especially in the hometown court of many of Claiborne's men from Kent Island. Calvert's commander Thomas Cornwallis had brutally killed the first Claiborne commander Ratcliffe Warren. Still residing in Northampton County were the widow and orphans of Thomas Smythe, Claiborne's second commander on Kent Island who was hung by Calvert for piracy on a bill of attainder, and denied clergy. After Captain Smyth's execution, respected Northampton resident Captain Phillip Taylor was put in charge of Claiborne's army on Kent Island.
When the Puritan Pirate Richard Ingle plundered Maryland and threatened Northampton County, he was arrested by Maryland's Acting Governor Giles Brent, but Calvert crony Thomas Cornwallis arranged Ingle's escape, and Cornwallis accompanied Ingle back to England with the loot stolen from Northampton County. Did Calvert truly expect the Northhampton court to order the return of his gray horse?
April 29, 1646: The deposicon of George Taylor taken in open Court. This deponent saith that the gray horse now in the Custody of Tho: Powell did pply [properly?] belong unto [word crossed out-Governor?] Capt. Leonard Calvert late Gov'n' of S' Maryes for the deponent did by Mr Lugurs (?) appoyntment deliv' all his Right & Tytle of the sd Horse unto the sd Calvert as the pp [proper] estate of the sd Calvert And further not./ Jurat' in apta Curia/p. 62, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.
Later on that same day, Calvert attorney Edmond Scarborough (now using a local resident as attorney) informed the court that our William Pinley had Calvert's gray horse. Northampton County was reluctant to honor the face value of the evidence of a Marylander (George Taylor) against a local resident Pinley, and instead ordered the case to be decided by the Governor of Virginia and the higher court at Jamestown. Both sides had to post bond that they would appear in Jamestown, but the Calvert man had to post double damages in case he lost the suit. Again tipping the scales of justice slightly in favor of Pinley, this court also ordered that the horse was not to be taken out of Northampton County. No record is yet found that the case was ever heard by the higher court in Jamestown.
April 29, 1646: Northampton County, Virginia: [page ] 29 Whereas there is a difference depending betweene Mr Edmond Scarburgh Attorney of Capt. Leonard Calvert late Gov’r of Saint Maryes plant and William Pindley late of the same place deft concerneing a gray horse now in the possession of the sd Pindley It is therefor ordered that the plt the appealant shall according to the late Act of Assembly put in Security to pay doublep. 63, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.
December 29, 1646:Northampton County, Virginia: William Pinley served on a jury in a dispute between Thomas Palmer and Jn Coghan. The jury found the debt had been satisfied and found Coghan unnecessarily troublesome in the suit, and referred the case back for the Censure of ye Court.
(p. 198, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.)
January 26, 1647: MarylandThis document was submitted to a Maryland court without indication of where the document was signed. It may have been signed at Chickacoan in Virginia where Hilliard had settled.
Octob: 29th Memorand: that I John Prichard doe acquitt and discharge John Hilliard of all debts, dewes, and demands, what soeuer, from the begining of the world to this present day 26th of Januarie 1646 [1646/7] wittness my hand John I (P) [his mark] Prichard Concordat cum original
March 13, 1646/7: Maryland
Aprill 6° Know all men by these prnts tht I Thomas Sturman doe freely & absolutely giue my shahlop, & all the cattle wch of mine are now in Mary-Land, vnto my sonne John Sturman, to haue, hold, & enjoy the sd shallop & cattle eur here after, firmely by these prnts as wittnes my hand this 13th March 1646. Sig.
June 4, 1647: Northampton County, Virginia:William Pinley served as attorney for John Hallowes of Maryland.
Upon ye pet of Wm Pinley (Attorney of Jn Hallowes) wheein hee makes appre to ye Cou't that there is due p specialty und the hand of William Lewis of Maryland unto ye sd Hallowes three Cowes w'th Calfe (or Calfes by their sides) to bee of age not above five years old nor und' three It is ordered yt an attachmt bee granted ye sd Wm Pinley to attach ye aforenamed number of Cattle (accordinge to ye specialty) for ye sd Hallowes/(p. 170, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.)
December 15, 1647: Northampton County, Virginia:William Pinley gave a deposition in Virginia court concerning a conversation he overheard while working at the Wilkins house. Mr. Wilkins was a long established neighbor of Pinley's in-laws, the Mountneys. A copy of the original is owned by PenleyPearls.
The dep: of Wm Pinley aged about 28 years Sworne & Exaied this 15th of Decembr 1647 Sayth That upon a tyme when this dept was att Mr Wilkins his howse att worke hee sd that hee was in Holland upon a tyme beinge wth Capt Yardley there came to them Rowland & tould them yt there was servtes to be had (if they would) Soe hee bought the[m] to ye howse where they were, And sent for an Interpretor who asked them what they would have him saye: Mr Wilkins made answr & sd that hee would have them to come to Virginia; this Guilbert made answr againe yt if hee told them yt they should goe their hee would nevr gett them But bid him tell them yt they should goe to Burdix[?] for hee sd that hee himself had beene basely used by these cuntrymen And for yt hee would remembr ym (if it laye in his powr)
p. 265, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.)
December 29, 1647: Northampton County, Virginia:
".....And for all y' rest of bussines in Suite Wee fynde to have no Relacon att all to common Lawe, Neith'by peticon, nor Evidence Both of w'ch makeinge it appre to us a fellionious Act And therefore to bee psonally answred. ...Wm. Pinley (and eleven other jurors listed)
(p. 186, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.)A 21 year land lease to Nicholas Guyther and Thomas Jackson by Thomas Gerard was witnessed by William Pinley. The lease began in 1643, but the date on the written contract appears to be February 24, 1647/8, although this document was not recorded in Maryland court records until a 1661 dispute about the contract arose, long after William's death in 1650.
February 24, 1648:
Maryland Archives: (http://www.msa.md.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc2900/sc2908/000001/000041/html/am41--464.html)William Pinley again served as a juror, in a case involving Randall Revell, and Thomas Peakes:
August 28, 1648: Northampton County, Virginia:
The Jurors Verdict. Wee the Jurors fynd for ye dft. Damages twenty pownds of Tobac. In respect noe Evidence appeares to Convict him./
(p. 291, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.)In a reference to the June 4, 1647 proceeding in which William Pinley acted as attorney for John Hallowes to collect a debt from William Lewis, Pinley is again identified as the attorney for John Hallowes. Lewis is ordered to pay the debt, and his security, Nathaniel Littleton is ordered to pay the debt if Lewis does not.
October 12, 1648: Northampton County, Virginia:
(p. 271, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.)
November 7, 1648: Northampton County, Virginia:
William Pinley again served as a juror.
(p. 306, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651, Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.)
Jane Eltonhead may have been first married to Thomas Smyth, the Claiborne commander on Kent Island who was hung for piracy by the Calvert government. She secondly married Phillip Taylor of Northampton, also a Claiborne's commander on Kent Island indicted for piracy, though Taylor escaped back to Northampton. Captain Phillip Taylor was a close associate of Alexander Mountney. Taylor died naturally in 1646. Ironically, after marrying two Kent Island rebels, Jane married William Eltonhead, Gentleman from Maryland, who was executed by Puritans in Maryland during Fendall's Rebellion in 1656. Some record Jane Eltonhead as one of Thomas Gerrard's daughters, but this is dubious. Eltonhead served as Calvert's attorney in the gray horse dispute, but here William Pinley did legal work for Eltonhead's wife. Go figure...
"These presents do testify that I Jane Eltonhead wife to Wm. Eltonhead gent. do covenant and agree to and with Francis Payne my negro servant (he being part of the estate belonging to my children) as followeth first that I the said Jane do resign all my right of this insueing crop that he is now a working in unto the said . . . until such time that I have freed myself of this judgment, witness our hands this 13th of May 1649." Signed Jane Eltonhead & Fran. Payne.
(p. 99, Northampton County Virginia Orders, Deeds, and Wills, 1651 - 1654, Book IVOn this day, December 26, 1649, at the home of Hannah Mountney in Northampton County, William Pinley wrote and witnessed a will for Edward Drew, who was preparing for a trip to England. Edward Drew died shortly after his return to Northampton. When Drew's will was entered into court records in January of 1651, witness William Pinley was deceased, and Hannah Mountney was called into court to prove Drew's will. She gave the now famous testimony: "I asked my sonn William Pinley whether Mr. Drew had a will or not not [sic] & hee answrd hee had for I William Pinley writt it". The full text of Drew's will and additional testimony is provided below, chronologically as it later occurred in court records.
Transcribed by Frank V. Walczyk, Peter's Row, Coram, NY)
December 26, 1649: Northampton County, Virginia:
On a Sunday, William Pinley uttered a reviling speech in the house of John Hallowes and was arrested and taken to the governor, convicted and sentenced to twenty lashes. By his speech, William Pinley regretted moving to Maryland in the service of the Governor, he wished for an estate in Virginia, and would have preferred to "gather oysters for his living" rather than live in Maryland.
On at least two occasions in Northampton County court records, William Pinley served as attorney for John Hallowes."The Court being informed of certain revileing Speeches of Wm Pinley uttered this present day in the house of John Hallowes viz , that he Should Say unto Robert Douglass a messenger Sent thither from the Governor upon business:"
With Governor Stone now presiding over court, William Pinley was charged with a debt to ex-Acting Governor Thomas Greene.
He was arrested for the debt, but later in the day of the same court session, William Pinley is given permission to go down to Virginia, along with Thomas Sturman, John Powell, and David (a Welsh servant of Arthur Whittington). To be released to go to Virginia, someone probably paid or cancelled his debt."4 ffebr Tho: Green Esq &c demandeth of William Pinly 361 £ Tob cask due by remainder of a bill of 800 £ Arrest 399 Eod"
In an unrelated 1653 dispute regarding a Scarburgh debt, a Scarburgh's sales inventory was entered into court records (Northampton IV, p. 96) which listed goods delivered to many people in 1649 and 1650, including our William Pinley:
By the time of the regular court session of August 8, 1650 in Northampton County, Virginia, our William Pinley was dead, at the young age of 30 years. He died sometime in the six months after gaining permission to leave Maryland on February 4, 1649/50, but before the August, 1650 court session in Northampton County.
It appears that his wife, our Elizabeth Hill Pinley, about age 26, died in the same year. Though Orphan Thomas was born about 1650, Elizabeth Hill Pinley is not mentioned in estate or orphan proceedings, though her clothing and personal items are listed in William's inventory. See the next chapter, Gleanings from the Documents for details on the friends, relationships, historical events and circumstances that shed light on these events.
The copy of this original document linked here was of poor quality.
vicesimo octano diemen......er Inquety
p. 461, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651 (Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.
Northampton County, Virginia: January 4, 1651William Pinley wrote and witnessed a will for Edward Drew. By the time Edward Drew died, all witnesses to his will were deceased. William Pinley’s mother-in-law, Hannah Mountney testified in court to validate the will written before Drew’s death. Links to copies of these original documents will be provided.
“Through the request of Jno Dolbey Mris Mountney came to testifye for ye endinge of controvrsie what she knew Concrneinge ye will of Mr Edward Drew lately decd To wch this depot repythe: I asked my sonn William Pinley whether Mr. Drew had a will or not not[sic] & hee answrd hee had for I William Pinley writt it And Mr Jno Wilkins & I am witness to it The Dept furthr saith yt she sawe her sonne write it in her howse And they went from her howse to ye water side (as she heard afterward saye it was to sign it.
(p. 457, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651 (Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000.)
In the months after Hannah Mountney was appointed executor of William Pinley's estate, creditors appeared in court to lodge proof of debts owed by William Pinley, as was the custom. Hannah was given bills by Mr. William Waters for George Clark, Mr. Obedience Robins, Peter Walker, Hannah Mountney, Thomas Leatherbury, Mich Taynter, and Jn. Woods for Jn. Younge , as documented on pages 431, 437, 441, 446, and 461 of Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 3, 1645 - 1651 (Edited by Dr. Howard Mackey and Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2000).
On September 29, 1652 Hannah presented Pinley's inventory to the court, and was released from the bond posted as executrix. The inventory of William Pinley's estate was recorded in court records on October 5, 1652. An interpretation of the original document is provided here. The inventory provides fascinating insight into the life he led. For historic commentary and analysis of William Pinley's inventory, please see the chapter on William Pinley, Final Inventory.
(p. 7, Northampton County Virginia Orders, Deeds, and Wills, 1651 - 1654, Book IV
Transcribed by Frank V. Walczyk, Peter's Row, Coram, NY)
EpilogueBy August of 1650, William and Elizabeth Pinley were both dead. William Pinley’s mother-in-law, our Hannah Mountney was given administration of his estate, and custody of his three orphans in Northampton County. The fact that William Pinley’s orphans, inventory and estate were settled in Northampton County is the proof of his residence there, no estate was found settled in Maryland. According to Nora Turman’s book, The Eastern Shore of Virginia, a law passed at the November, 1645 session of the General Assembly stated: “All administratons of estates of deceased persons shall be granted at the county court where the person did reside.” (Turman, p. 47) At the settlement of his estate, all the debts were paid to Northampton County landowners except one paid to a “mariner”.
The location and details of William and Elizabeth’s deaths are unknown. Elizabeth’s untimely death may be explained as a complication of childbirth, common in that century. Elizabeth appears to have died before William’s inventory was complete, Orphan Thomas was born circa 1650, therefore Elizabeth Hill Pinley’s date of death is estimated as 1650. The lack of a will for Elizabeth is predictable, she was not a landed widow.
William Pinley, however, was a man who knew the value of writing a will, as he had written, witnessed, and testified to many wills in his short life. Although no land deed is found for William, he was an educated man with personal property, debts and responsibilities; if his death had been anticipated or if William Pinley was with friends or family as his death neared, he would have written or spoken a will. Neither Northampton nor Maryland extant records indicate any investigation or inquiry regarding his death.
In retrospect, William Pinley's death appears sudden and unexpected. A lethal infection from his beating in Maryland should have been slow enough for him to speak a will unless he died with strangers or alone or in the wilderness. Boating mishaps on the Chesapeake were common. The Natives had been less of a threat since beaten down by Claiborne’s army after 1644, but renegades often sought revenge in remote forests. William Pinley probably died suddenly, or was among strangers when he died.
William Pinley was literate. Sadly, literacy was lost from this family for many generations after William's untimely death. One wonders about the different cascading effects through all our generations if William and Elizabeth (Hill) Pinley had lived to raise their children, if his three orphans had been afforded his education instead of the abuse provided by Will Crump.
After years of reading primary documents and works by many historians on this era, William Pinley emerges as a moderate in a very polarized era. He was friends with the Puritan Thomas Sturman and the Catholic John Hallowes, and at his end he was employed by the Anglican William Stone.
He was trusted to create legal documents and collect debts by important men and women who could not read or write to check his words. He served on juries and wrote wills. His illiterate friends or associates such as John Hallowes, Thomas Sturman, and Andrew Monroe made their initial mark on the documents Pinley wrote for them, but they lived on to become wealthy landowners in Northumberland County, Virginia and their children spawned Presidents and statesmen.