Henry Hawley III was born about 1705 at Austin Run, Stafford County which was part of the county that eventually became Prince William County, Virginia.

He married Judith Reno about 1730 also in Prince William County.

He and Judith had seven children: Mary, John, Francis, Henry, Thomas, Sarah and Margaret between 1730 and 1750. Henry and Judith lived in Prince William County all their lives.

After the Indian wars ended in 1722, the Prince William County population rapidly increased along the waterfront. A land grant customarily contained large estates containing thousands of acres. Plantations specializing in tobacco cultivation were already well established in the Tidewater area. However, many of these planters were seeking fresh land, and emigrated northward into Prince William County. These wealthy plantation owners secured large land grants and then paid for the passage for European emigrants, to encourage settlement on the new plantations. Under the system known as head rights, a person could receive 50 acres of land for each immigrant whose transportation costs they paid. The Knight and Hawley family made a sizable fortune transporting people. Many of the early settlers were religious dissenters or political refugees from England, Scotland, or France. The early settlers served as indentured servants or tenant farmers. The plantation owners also used slave labor. These landowners soon built huge fortunes, combining the large amount of productive land with cheap labor and cheap transportation. Tobacco was the crop of choice, and it was the one factor which most influenced the growth of the Prince William waterfront.

The cultivation of tobacco determined how roads were built, how taxes were collected, and where towns were established. Tobacco was cultivated along the banks of the riverfront and shipped to England to be sold. Every plantation had its own port, which could be reached by a sailing vessel.

I am assuming Henry was a Plantation owner and grew tobacco in much the same way as mentioned above.

Henry is mentioned in the sale of his Father’s former property from Leonard Hornsby and James French. Apparently James French had bought his Tenants for Life & could not by Law therefore convey a reversion part of the property from Henry Halley III. Apparently in 1746 it was decided that the children of Henry Hawley II were tenants for life and could not by Law sign the property away.

Prince William County Deed Book E 1740-1741, P. 96 – PP 495-499, On Margin. “Dd Mr. Bryn 7th May 1743”

Pr. Wm. Co. Court Order Book for October 5, 1761, in the case of Francis Halley et al. vs. Thomas Reno and Judith Halley, lists her five children (William L. Reno 1975): This Indenture made the 22d day of October in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred & forty one Between James French of the Parish of Hamilton & County of Prince William of one part and Leonard Hornsby of the said County Taylor of the other part Witnessed that Whereas Henry Halley deced by Will devised to his Son Francis Halley & his two Daughters Mary & Sibella a certain tract of land lying on the South side of Occoquan Main Run on the branches of it & on the head of the North Run of Quantico in the County of Stafford now Prince William containing three hundred and thirty acres of land to be divided equally amongst them & the said Francis Halley dying before he came of age the said James French bought his part from their Brother Henry Halley Eldest Son of Henry Halley deced & also bought another third part from Edward Holmes & Sibella his wife youngest Daughter of the said Henry Halley deced by which he became possessed of the said land & that Leonard Hornsby became possessed of the other part of the said Land by purchase from Edward Vilet & Eleanor his Wife who purchased the said land from Zacharias Miles & Mary his Wife the said Mary being the Eldest Daughter of the said Henry Halley deced yet the said land was never Divided Now to the intent that the said land be Divided between the said James French & Leonard Hornsby that they may henceforth enjoy the Severalty without disturbance of the other of them that they the said James French & Leonard Hornsby by their agreement & by mediation of certain friends indifferently chosen & elected between them have made a division in manner as hereafter mentioned Vizt the dividing line beginning at a white oak standing in the Line of the said Tract the courses whereof is No. West from a white oak on a Branch of Quantico corner to the said Tract thence with the first mentioned white Oak through the said Tract No. West to a red Oak thence No. West to a white Oak thence North West through the Tract to the line the said Tract & that the said James French shall have for his part of the land all t hat parcel that is on the North side of the said Line be the said Quantity of Land good or bad more or less To Have and To Hold the said land with all its woods & other appurtenances thereunto belonging to the said Land & divided from the part of him the said Leonard Hornsby & that he the said Leonard Hornsby shall have for his parcel of the said land all that part that is on the South side of the said Line by the said Quantity of land good or bad more or less To Have and To Hold the same forever in Severalty & divided from the part of him the said James French. In Witness whereof the parties to these presents have set their hands & Seals in presence of us William More, Thomas Reno, George Bryn. /s/ James his mark French. /s/ Leonard Hornsby.


Prince William County Deed Book 1745-1746, p. 26 – pp. 113-118, On margin: “29th July 1746 Dd. Colo. Grayson” This Indenture made the XXVth and XXVI the day of April in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and forty six….Three hundred and thirty acres Patented by Henry Halley sold & conveyed to said George Byrn & Leonard Hornsby by Deeds of Lease & Release dated the XXIV & XXV days of October MDCCXLI & recorded in Prince William County but it afterwards appearing by the Will of Henry Halley deced that his younger Children (under one of whom said Hornsby held) were only Tenants for Life & could not by Law therefore convey a reversion or remainder in & to the said lands & that the reversion by Law remained in Henry Halley the Younger..

We also know from documents that prior to his death Henry Hawley lived adjacent to William Halley , his brother, on the Main Run of the Occoquan River which is to the south and west of Mt. Vernon.  Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants 1694 – 1742, E-407 William Moore of Pr. William Co. 190 A. in said Co. adj. William Halley, William Spillers, Henry Halley, John Tacquest, Philemon Waters, Cedar Run Rd., Richard Wright. William Halley dec’d now Thomas Chilton’s, Henry Halley dec’d now James Granch and Leonard Hornby’s. Surv . by Mr. John Warner. 21 Jan 1740. and p. 144 E – 479. John Gregg of Pr. William Co. 191 A in said Co. Surv. by John Warner. Adj. George Byrn, on long Br. of Occoquan, Henry Halley, by Broad Run d Rd., Henry Norman 23 July 1742. and P. 145 E – 482. Richard Wright of Pr. William Co. 275 A. on Cedar Run in Pr. William Co. Surv. by Capt. Joseph Berry. Adj. Henry Halley. Br. of Spillers Run, Capt. Thomas Chilton, Thomas Witledge. 24 July 1742.

Henry was involved in many land transactions either as a purchaser or witness.  This Indenture made the twenty eighth day of April in the nineteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty six between Cuthbert Harrison of the Parish of Detting in the County of Prince William of one part and Andrew Beard of the Parish of Hamilton in the County of Prince William Planter of the other part In Witness whereof the parties have set their hands and Seals in presence of Andrew Dalton, William Hayter, Henry Halley.

Henry Hawley, III, died prior to February 24, 1756 around the age of 50. Most of his children were minors. Francis Halley was named guardian for minor children. I am assuming that Francis was one a son who was of majority age. Later there must have been some dissension because in 1761 there was a lawsuit between Francis Halley and his Mother. Francis Halley et al. vs. Thomas Reno and Judith Halley. At the time there were 5 minor children. What if Francis and Mary were the two oldest children and Francis was the only son of majority age. I find it very interesting that Henry made his 21 year old son executor of his estate and not his wife.

Edward Hawley was Henry Hawley’s senor’s second oldest son.  He was born before 1680 and died November 1702 at the age of 22.  He married Sarah Wiatt before 1699 and they had 2 children:  Elizabeth and John.


Westmoreland County Wills, Hawley, Edward, 5 November 1702; December 1702, Household goods, stock etc. to wife Sarah and two children; son John a year old 19 December 1702 and dau. Elizabeth 4 years old 11 of August 1703.

Westmoreland County, Virginia Order Book 1698-1705 Part Three – 1701 – 1703, P. 54 – Page 176 – 25 November 1702, The last will and testament of Edward Hawley was proved by the witnesses thereto subscribed. A probate thereof granted Sara Hawley, executrix therein named. It is also ordered that John Mohun, James Tayler, Thoms Simmons and Wm. Smoot appraise the estate. Present Caleb Butler, Gent., justice.




William Thomas Hawley was my 5th Great Grandfather. Or, at least I Feel there is strong circumstantial evidence that William Thomas Hawley was James Hawley’s Father.  There is some confusion whether his name is William Thomas or Thomas William.  There are plenty of records that a William Hawley lived next to Henry Hawley II in Westmoreland County.  This is further strengthened by the fact James Hawley named his oldest son William. The only conflicting evidence is a  A short history of the Halley Family, by H.S. Halley, the great grandson of Thomas Halley and grandson of James Halley.


“He [Thomas Halley] settled in Fairfax County, at a place called Dogreen, on the Potomac River, a short distance below Mt. Vernon – then Alexandria, an Indian Village, and built him a log cabin and raised a family of children, how many, I don’t know – And while he resided at his log cabin he was taken prisoner and tied by the Indians, and carried up the Potomac, near Harper’s Ferry now stands – and one night while he was sleeping between two Indians, he cut the rope that he was tied with, with a mussel shell, he picked up, they were asleep, he got up and took his back track homeward, and got home safe – a short time after he got home, the Indians came in pursuit of him, and looked in at his little window, and said “Tom, is that you!” and did not interrupt him.  Well, I have no account of any of his children, but my Grandfather James Halley.”

It is more than coincidental that Henry Hawley I son of James Hawley I settled the land where Thomas Halley (father of James Halley) settled according to H.S. Halley.  We also know from a deposition by James Halley (Thomas Halley’s son) that James Halley’s grandfather was Henry Hawley I who was a tenant on the Spencer Estate (the property that Thomas Halley lived close to.)  It is very interesting that in his deposition James Halley refers to his grandfather as Henry Hawley.  So the Hawley family consciously changed their name to Halley about the 3rd generation.  It is also interesting that James Halley’s daughter Sarah Halley Wilkerson gave the middle name Hawley to several of her sons.  So she had to have known that the family name was originially Hawley.  Why did they change it?  I doubt we will never know.

The problem is that there are no land records for Thomas Halley whereas there are plenty of references to William Halley.  I think Thomas Halley and William Halley are the same person.  I suspect his name was William Thomas Halley and he was called Tom and he was called Tom but used William for legal documents.  The circumstantial evidence is further strengthened by the following land transaction where they refer to Henry Halley and William Halley living next to each other.

Thomas Adford of Fairfax County carpenter aged about fifty years being produced as a witness by the Deft. & examined being first sworn on the holy Evangelists deposeth and saith that aobut eighteen years ago he & one Daniel Ansdale a Deponent in this suit were employed by Capt. Richard Osborne to saw some plank to build the house the ___ Osborne now lives in and that John Washington who was then an overseer on Spencers land directed this Deponent to one William Hawley who this Deponent has heard was a son of Henry Hawley who was an ancient tennant on the land of Spencer abouthalf a mile blow the Line now run as Spencers by the Deft. to show him where to cut timber that the said William Hawley told this Depondent that he did not know of any pines except the two pines not whewn by this Deponent & Daniel Ansdale tothe surveryor that the said William Hawley then carried this Deponent to the two pines & told this Deponent that he must not fall them for that they were the boundry of Darrells & Spencers Land upon which this Deponent went back to John Washington and asked him if he would bear him the Deponent harmless upon whihc the said Washington answered he would not for that if Spencers land would not afford timber for plank Mr. Osborne might buy it & further saith not. /s/ Thomas x Alford [note: I have a copy of the original document. I don’t know the date – ld]

Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants 1694 – 1742. 4-3 William Halley & Henry Lucas of Stafford Co. 520 A. in Stafford Co. adj. Henry Halley, on Occaquan main Run. wrnt. 14 Feb. Last. Surv. by Thomas Gregg. 25 Sept. 1710. And 5-38 Henry Halley Jr. of Stafford Co. 235 A. on Occaquan R. in said Co. adj. Wm. Hawley & Hen:L : Lucas. Wrnt. 1 Feb. 1714. Mr. Tho’s Hooper srvr. 14 Jan. 1714/5. And 5-112: Francis Jackson of Stafford Co. 242 A. on Br. of main Run of Ocaquan called Cabin Br. adj. Henry & Wm. Halley, Henry Lucas in Stafford Co. Wrnt. 3 Mar. 1714/1715. Mr. Thomas Hooper srvr. 21 Dec. 1715. And Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants 1694 – 1742. p. 141 E – 407. William Moore of Pr. William Co. 190 A. in said Co. adj. William Halley, William Spillers, Henry Halley, John Tacquet, Philemon Waters, Cedar Run Rd., Richard Wright, William Halley dec’d now Thomas Chilton’s. Henry Halley dec’d now James Granch & Leonard Hornsby’s. Surv. by Mr. John Warner. 21 Jan. 1740

A Quit Rent Roll of 1723. Taken from the Register of Overrwharton Parish, Stafford County, Virginia. Widow Hawley 565 Lawfully demanded. William Hawley 520 Paid 125 lbs. Tobacco