Wills of Rappahannock County, Virginia 1656-1692


Author: Sweeny, William Montgomery
Publication Date: 1947
Reprint Date: 2002
Pages: xii 179 pp.
ISBN: 9780806351742

Item #: 9764 Categories: , ,


This collection of verbatim wills from 1656 to 1692 pertains not to present-day Rappahannock County but to “Old Rappahannock” County. “Old Rappahannock” was formed from Lancaster County in 1656; in 1692 its land south of the Rappahannock River was re-named Essex County, while that to the north became Richmond County. Owing to his interest in the ancestry of Francis Graves, son of Captain Thomas Graves, a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1619, Mr. Sweeney painstakingly transcribed the wills of this extinct county from scattered deed and order books at the courthouse in Tappahannock, Virginia. Although he never found the coveted will of his ancestor, the compiler amassed, in the form of these wills, a priceless collection of information about “the extent and boundaries of early patents, the comfortable household equipment of a few of the inhabitants . . . The provision for widows and children, the maintenance of servants and slaves, the education of the children, the importance of livestock–the care of the sick, family quarrels” and much more about this newly settled community. Genealogists will be able to search among the very same wills for the names, relationships, and whereabouts of 2,500 of the earliest settlers of what would become Essex and Richmond counties.

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