Edward Dean my sixth great grandfather was born about 1720 probably in Henrico County, Virginia. He married Rebecca Abney about 1740 probably in Henrico County. General Abney consensus is that Rebecca was the daughter of Abraham Abney and Cassandra Meredith (see the discussion about two paragraphs down in italics).
Edward must have been a wonderful person. In the pension application of Joshua Dean, C. B. Turner talks about how “Joshua Dean’s father raised his father (an orphan) and that his father died and left him and his mother in the care of the Deans”. It must have been difficult to take in another mouth with at least six children of your own to feed. Then Joshua continued to look out after the family during the war. Ironic that Edward Dean’s children, including Julius would be bound out after he died.
In addition Edward must have been quite a patriot. At least two of his sons Julius and Joshua joined the Continental Line of the Army when they were in their thirties. His grandson John who was his oldest son John’s oldest son also joined the Continental Line of the Army. This was very unusual on the frontier where the majority of frontiersmen join militia units and didn’t want the restrictions of the regular army. In addition, both Julius and Joshua joined militia units after their tour of duty.
Link to all the Land, Court and Tax Records for Edward Dean Senior and Rebecca Abney Dean
The first official record I have of Edward is in February 1743 from the St. Johns Vestry Book, Henrico County, Virginia p. 71 “Whereas, by order present Lands, John Pheris, Thomas Elmore, William Gathrit, one line joining Elmore; Capt. James Cocke not done; Processional Joseph Childers, Charles Winfrey, Anthony Matthews, Edward Allen, Arobiria Elmore, Martin Martin, Joseph Watson, Richard Williamson, William Ives, William Sprague, John Leason, Edward Dean….”
Then in November of 1745 Edward appears in a document where Abraham Abney sells a plantation in Hanover County on which Edward Dean was living. This has led to speculation that Rebecca Abney’s father was Dr. Abraham Abney. It is interesting to note that George Abney bought property on Gillies Creek in 1728. I wonder what the connection is between the two land holdings.
“Hanover Co., Va. of Dr. Abraham ABNEY to Isaac BREEDING dated 04 Oct 1745 and recorded 1st Mon. Nov 1745. as follows: Abraham ABNEY of Hanover Co. to Isaac BREEDING of Blissland Par., New Kent Co., for £27/10, all that plantation which Edward DEAN now lives on, part of a greater tract formerly belonging to said ABNEY, 172 a. bounded by Gilleys Creek. /s/ Abra. ABNEY, Casan ABNEY. /w/ William BRUCE, Edward (his + mark) DEAN, William (his g mark) GADBRY. Casana, wife of Abraham, relinquished her dower right.”
See following discussion written by R. R. Abney about whether Rebecca Abney’s father was Dr. Abraham Abney or George Abney.
“If we use the great weight or preponderance of the evidence, we have to go with this theory, as opposed to the theory that Rebecca was a daughter of George. Why? Here’s the greater weight of the evidence:
Edward DEAN as a son-in-law of: Dr. Abraham living on his land – wife not in George’s will – called Dannett bro-in-law – ditto migrated with him. The only evidence we have that Rebecca was a daughter of George was that Edward DEAN called Dannett ABNEY his brother-in-law! However, that statement still holds true in the author’s theory!
The author believes, therefore, that our research should be geared toward proving the children of Dr. Abraham ABNEY, of whom it now appears that Rebecca and Cassandra are in that category!”
Source R.R. Abney
October 1, 1756
John Dyer 400 Beginning at Edward Deans upper corner thence to the Head of Terrible & out westerly for Complt.
Source: Entry Record Book 1737-1770 (Land entries in the present Virginia Counties of Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry, Franklin, and Patrick) p. 244
Then in 1760 Edward Deans began to run into financial trouble and by April 1761 he died.
May Court 1760
James Hunt, Plt, vs Edward Dean, Deft, In Debt. This day came the Plt by his (P. 85) atty, and the Deft failing to answer the Plt’s plea, judgment for Plt for 38 pounds 2 shillings and 11 pence, but to be discharged by the payment of half of the afd sum and interest from May 10, 1758.
Halifax County Plea Book 3, 1760
Then from the Vestry Book of Antrim Parish, Halifax County, Virginia, 1752-1817. It appearing to his Vestry that Edward Dean is Infirm Ordered that he be exempt from paying Parish Levys until he shall have recovered his Infirmity.
April 2, 1761
135 Edward Dean – Will
“…sick & weak of body..”
To Rebecca Dean my wife my plantation with all land from 2nd branch upwards. Also my household goods, chattels & all debts due by account during her life except one mare & colt value about five pounds sterling, I give to John Dean my eldest son. My plantation, etc. which I lend to my wife as aforesaid I give to Edward Dean my son. What remains of the moveables at wifes decease I give & bequeath to Chiles Dean & Joshua Dean my sons and the child my wife is now pregnant with. The remainder of my land I dispose of as followeth: to Julius Dean & his heirs I give the lower part up to the second branch before mentioned. To William Dean the land on the e.s. of Spider Creek from Juliuses line except 20 acres I give to my son John Dean & heirs which is on the s.s. at head of sd Spider Creek.
Exr: Dennit Abney & Charles Dean, my brother-in-law & brother and my wife Rebeckah Dean
Dated: 2 April 1761 /s/ Edward Dean
Wit: Joseph Collins, Stephen Collins, John Rowden
WP 18 June 1761 Presented by Rebecca Dean, Exrs. & proved by witnesses.
Security: John Dean
Source Will Book 0
1752 – 1773, Halifax County, Virginia. P. 18
Edward had a modest estate and beyond the land on Spider Creek had few assets which could have been attributable to the fact he died about 41 years old.
In the June Court 1763
For reasons appearing to the Court, it is now ordered that the former order of this Court for binding the orphans of Edward Dean, decd, be reversed and annulled.
Halifax County, Virginia, Court Orders, 1763 – 1764 (Plea Book 4)
Then in the October Court they reversed themselves and bound his younger children out. John and Julius must have been of age. Why Thomas Tunstall wanted Charles is unknown. Tunstall was a wealthy landowner and merchant in Halifax County.
Ordered that the Church Wardens of Antrim Parish bind out Charles Dean, a poor orphan of Edward Dean, decd, to Thomas Tunstall. And that they also bind out Joshua, Edward & William, other orphans of the sd Edward [Dean].
Halifax County, Virginia, Court Orders, 1763 – 1764 (Plea Book 4)
Rebecca Abney Dean
Figuring out who Rebecca’s parents are has been quite a challenge and we still don’t know for sure. There was a long relationship among the Deans and Abneys. They settled next to each other in Henrico County, Virginia in the early 1700’s when Richard Deane came to this country as an apprentice for John Bolling. The Deans and the Abneys moved together to Halifax County, Virginia in the mid 1700’s and many of them moved again to South Carolina
“The first clues to the discovery of Dr. Abraham ABNEY?s children are found in the studying of the will of his brother, George, and in geogr aphical evidence. George ABNEY?s will mentions only four sons, to wit : Samuel, Michael, Dannett, & William. He mentions no daughters, yet, we insist on giving him a daughter, Rebecca ABNEY who m. Edward DEAN, simply because Edward calls Dannett ABNEY (s/o George) his brother-in- law. However, there are other ways to be a brother-in-law. Therefore, we cannot accept this conclusion as fact based on a tunnel-view transl ation of this phrase.
So is the author writing that George had no daughters? No, but it certainly is possible. Or, perhaps he had no “surviving” daughters. Either way, the author isn’t easily convinced that persons not named in a will should be readily added to a family group.
Therefore, the possibility remains that Rebecca ABNEY who m. Edward DEAN was not a daughter of George ABNEY. So whose daughter could she have been? Dr. Abraham ABNEY’s daughter, of course! How so? An excellent clue appears in a deed in Hanover County, Virginia. of Dr. Abraham ABNEY to Isaac BREEDING dated 04 Oct 1745 and recorded 1st Mon. Nov 1745. as follows:
Abraham ABNEY of Hanover County. to Isaac BREEDING of Blissland Par., New Kent County., for £27/10, all that plantation which Edward DEAN now lives on, part of a greater tract formerly belonging to said ABNEY, 172 a. bounded by Gilleys Creek. /s/ Abra. ABNEY, Casan ABNEY. /w/ William BRUCE, Edward (his + mark) DEAN, William (his g mark) GADBRY. Casana, wife of Abraham, relinquished her dower right.
Why was Edward DEAN living on Dr. Abraham ABNEY?s land? If he was a son-in-law of George ABNEY, why wasn’t he living on George’s land?
It is well known that George owned land in Hanover County., Virginia. However, in 1745, George lived in Henrico County, Virginia, having ad removed from Hanover by 1735.
So here we have Edward DEAN living on Dr. Abraham ABNEY?s land, and witnessing the deed to sell that land, as well. So where would Edward DEAN live after this land was sold? Simple answer: Lunenburg County, Virginia. That?s right! At this time, he migrated with Dr. Abraham ABNE Y to Lunenburg County., Virginia. Also going to Lunenburg around this time was George ABNEY and shortly thereafter, William SPRAGGINS, brother-in-law of Dr. Abraham & George.
So, although these ABNEYs migrated to the same area around the same time, Edward DEAN, who was living on Dr. Abraham’s land, seems to have migrated “with” Dr. Abraham (as we can assume that since Edward DEAN’s home was being sold, he must also need a new place to live). These ABNEYs & Edward DEAN are proved to have migrated to Lunenburg County.
Okay, suppose we think there could be some credence given to this theory. If Edward DEAN was son-in-law to Dr. Abraham ABNEY, then Rebecca ABNEY was Dannett ABNEY’s first cousin. How then did Edward DEAN refer to him as “brother-in-law”. There is circumstantial evidence pointing toward a simple answer to this question.
Dannett ABNEY (s/o George) m. Cassandra. Her surname is not known. However, is it purely coincidental that Dr. Abraham?s wife was also named Cassandra? Suppose Dr. Abraham and his wife, Cassandra named a daughter Cassandra. Further suppose that she married her cousin, Dannett ABNEY. Since this Cassandra ABNEY would be a daughter of Dr. Abraham ABNEY, she would also be a sister of Rebecca ABNEY, hence a sister-in-law to Edward DEAN. Therefore, her husband (Dannett ABNEY, s/o George) would also be a brother-in-law to Rebecca ABNEY and to Rebecca’s husband, Edward DEAN! Here, we have the pieces to the puzzle fitting perfectly into place!
If we use the great weight or preponderance of the evidence, we have to go with this theory, as opposed to the theory that Rebecca was a daughter of George. Why? Here’s the greater weight of the evidence:
Edward DEAN as a son-in-law of: Dr. Abraham
George living on his land
wife not in George’s will
called Dannett bro-in-law ditto
migrated with him
The only evidence we have that Rebecca was a daughter of George was that Edward DEAN called Dannett ABNEY his brother-in-law! However, that statement still holds true in the author’s theory!
Is there additional evidence? Perhaps. In his book “ABNEY Supplement” by Cousin John R. HENSELL *1988, Cousin John writes (on page 109) “Edward DEAN…In a deed he mentions Nathaniel ABNEY as his brother-in-law “. Does such a deed really exist or is this a typographical error? Perhaps Cousin John can shed some light on this subject.
Nevertheless, without this deed, the greater weight or preponderance of the evidence is very much in favor of accepting this theory above the older theory.
The author believes, therefore, that our research should be geared toward proving the children of Dr. Abraham ABNEY, of whom it now appears that Rebecca and Cassandra are in that category!” Source” RR Abney
“Rebecca Abney married Edward Dean. Dean was living on land in Henrico County that Abraham Abney sold in 1745, and moved to Lunenburg County with the Abneys by 1750.
Edward Dean died in Halifax County in 1761 (will dated 2 April 1761, recorded 18 June 1761). He identified his wife as Rebecca and appointed as executors: brother-in-law Dennett Abney, brother Charles Dean, and wife Rebecca Dean. The court admitted to record a very modest inventory of his estate 18 August 1763. His brother, Charles Dean, was the wife of Ursula Marchbanks. Dennett Abney was the husband of Edward’s posited sister, Cassandra.
On 24 May 1765, Rebecca Dean sold a horse, some cattle, and household goods to Thomas Yuille, James Murdoch & Co. for £10. Source: John W . Pritchett