The Virginia Genealogist Volume 28, Number 1 pages 3-7

By Ann H. Mack

La Canada, California


A new study of existing land records, Court orders and County records has revealed a pioneer Hawley/Halley family unit in the Northumberland-Westmoreland-Stafford ­Prince William County area of Virginia. Virginia land patents have been quite thoroughly abstracted by Nell Nugent in the Cavaliers and Pioneers series and it is fairly easy to follow the Hawley/Halley family that claims James Hawley as the immigrant ancestor in them. Additional data were found in microfilms of the original records, in John Frederick Dorman’s series of abstracts of the existing Westmoreland County records1 and the late Beverley Fleet’s works on colonial records.2

One James Hawley was granted 300 acres on the head of Lower Baye Creek in Isle of Wight Co., Va., in 1641.3 His wife Ann and two daughters were included in the headrights for this patent, which was renewed in 1643 and 1647/8.4 His land adjoined that of Arthur Smith, founder of Smithfield, on the John Ross Nocks [sic] and adjacent to that of John Rowe (Row).5 A present day creek near Smithfield bears the name “Mount Holly Creek”; whether or not this is a reference to James Hawley is not known.

After the 1647 renewal of his patent no further in­formation has been found in the Isle of Wight records on Hawley’s activities nor was the sale of this land found in the existing books.6 In 1654, however, a James Hawley was impaneled as a juror and named a commissioner in Northumberland Co., Va. The evidence suggests that he is quite possibly the same man that immigrated to Isle of Wight County. A patent to merchant Peter Knight includes headrights for the transportation of one James Hawley, his wife Ann and three children to the Petowmack [sic] River area in 1656.8 Knight also claimed headrights for Jno. Foster who originally appeared on James’ 1641 patent application. Knight, an early settler in Isle of Wight County, settled in Northumberland after this patent and was involved with James Hawley several more times.

During the 1650s increasing numbers of settlers were moving into the Northern Neck area of Virginia in order to obtain larger estates. Advantageous land grants were available to an adventurous settler. Charles II, without parliamentary authority, granted all of Virginia between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers to seven proprietors in Sept. 1649 and the land rush was on. James Hawley was probably one of these adventurers, since he received a patent for 1000 acres in Northumberland/Westmoreland County, dated 1655 and recorded 13 March 1657/8, for the transportation of twenty persons.9 A 700 acre grant to James Hawley, re-recorded in a Westmoreland County deed book in 1707, is dated 12 Sept. 1662 and was described as near the head of Nominy River on the Herring Point branch.” In 1666 a tract of 700 acres was pat­ented to James lying on the headwaters of the Machoatic next to George Watts, but a marginal note states “the preceding patent is in error.”11 Twenty days later a new patent was issued for a new 700 acres on the head of Nominy River by Herring Point, by the lands of Hawkins in Cople Parish.12

It would appear that the original 1000 acre parcel of James was reduced by 300 acres which he sold to John Paine in 1664.13 Then he took out a new patent for 700 acres for which he was still eligible in a different county. Certainly by 1662 James had moved into Westmoreland County and this was to be his final move.14

In the Northumberland Order Books, James Hawley was named a commissioner in 165515 and served in that capacity at least two years. He was also named a vestryman in Wococomoco [sic] Congregation in 1655 and served as a justice in 1657.16 These were positions of importance in the colonial structure Virginia and we find James styled “Mr” several timcs.17 He was guardian to Elizabeth Perry in 165818 and administrator to Ralph Horsley’s estate in 1658.19

The earliest date we find him on record Westmoreland is March 1662 when he served on a jury.20 Later that same year he deposed to Peter Knight for the Northumberland County Court that he was “… longer of this county”.21

After moving to Westmoreland County James in 1667/8 sold to Jacob Lucas 200 acres which was a part of his original 700 acre patent.22 Lucas in turn sold these lands to Lewis Markham.23 James sold to Lucas an additional 100 acres24 and “a parcel of land” to Henry Hawley for 6000 pounds of tobacco in 1671/2.25 No further land transactions for James have been found.

This James is obviously an immigrant ancestor and if he is the original 1641 settler, he had a wife, Ann, and two daughters, Alice and Francis [sic] Ann.26 The James who settled in Northumberland had a wife, Ann, and three children claimed in the 1656 patent of Peter Knight. These children were not named but from the Northumberland and Westmoreland records a family unit seems to emerge.

Ann Hawley, Mrs. Hawley, “aged 40 or thereabouts”, gave a deposition in Northumberland in Nov. 1655 for the trial of Jane Owens’ abuse.27 When James sold his land to Jacob Lucas and Henry Hawley in 1671/2, Ann did not sign any dower rights away, implying that she was probably dead. Thus we can place Ann as being born around 1615 and deceased prior to 1671/2.

James definitely had a daughter named Mary who had married Jacob Lucas by 1670,28 and another, elder, daughter who married a Knight in Northumberland County prior to Feb. 1660/1. This fact is proved by James’ gift to his granddaughter, Elizabeth Knight, on that date.29

Edward Hawley, by deposition given in 1662, was named a son of James.”30 By another deposition taken in 1671, Edward stated he was about 26 years old31 placing his birth around 1645/6. Both Jacob Lucas and Henry Hawley were named administrators of Edward’s estate in 1680.32 They were also said to be “next of kindred” to the deceased Edward. Jacob Lucas as mentioned above was a brother-in-law of Edward and I believe Henry Hawley to be a brother of Edward. Henry, in a deposition in Westmoreland in 1677, gives his age as about 34,33 thus making Henry the eldest son of James and born in 1643/4.

Another implication was made in the statement “next of kindred”: that James, the immigrant, is dead. No references have been found involving his active participation in the records after witnessing a business agreement in Nov. 1677.34 It seems likely that James died between 1677 and 1680. No will has been found for James.

There is one problem with these data: James gives a deposition in 1674 in Westmoreland County which states his age as “46 years or thereabouts”.35 This age would place his birth in 1628, making it virtually impossible for him to be the immigrant with a wife and two children in 1641 in Isle of Wight County. It would be unlikely for the 46 year old to have a son, Edward, born in 1645/6 when James was 17 and a grandchild in 1661 at the age of 33. It is hoped that the clerk may have transcribed the numbers or made an error in some way and that fur­ther investigation will solve this problem.

Children of James Hawley and Ann — Hawley:

Henry Hawley, born 1643/4

Edward Hawley, born 1645/6

Alice Hawley, born before 1641

Francis Ann Hawley, born before 1641

Mary Hawley, born ca.1650?

1 The record books covered are Records 1658-61, 1661­64; Deeds, Patents, Etc., 1665-77 (4 parts, including Deeds f, Wills 4); Deeds , Wills 2 and 3; Order Books 1675/6-1688/9 (1 part published thus far), 1690-98 (3 parts), 1698-1705 (4 parts).

2 Beverley Fleet, Virginia Colonial Abstracts (Richmond, 1938-49), v. 1, 2, 19, 22, 23.

3 Virginia Patent Bk. 1, pt. 2, p. 748.

4 Ibid., p. 913; Patent Bk. 2, p. 93.

5 Isle of Wight Co., Va., Wills 2, pp. 330-32.

6 Ibid., deeds.

7 Northumberland Co., Va., Order Book 12, p. 12; Record Book 14, p. 48.

8 Virginia Patent Bk. 4, p. 71 (104).

9 Ibid., p. 160 (236), renewed 24 May 1664. Colonists would often let their early patents lapse, move on to other areas and be able to take up new patents. Reasons for the northward move may have been that southern Virginia had more Puritan sympathies, while the Northern Neck re­mained more loyal to Charles II. Whatever the cause, many early names were repeated on the headrights in the North­ern Neck.

10 Westmoreland Co., Va., Deed Book 4, pp. 252-53.

11 Virginia Patent Bk. 6, p. 138.

12 Ibid., p. 152.

13 Ibid., Patent Bk. 4, p. 110 (68).

14 The reader can follow James Hawley’s neighbors and land by referring to Virginia Patent Books 3, p. 350; 4, pp. 11 (17), 160 (236), 293 (400), 110 (608)., 5, pp. 206 (104), 325 (318), 439 (525), 442 (529), 533 (653).

15 Northumberland Co., Va., Order Book 2, pp. 28, 75.

16 Ibid., pp. 30-33.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid., p. 92.

19 Ibid., p. 94.

20 Westmoreland Co., Va., Records 1661-64, p. 8a.

21 Northumberland Co., Va., Orders 2, p. 164.

22 Westmoreland Co., Va., Deeds , Wills 1, pp. 384-85.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid. p. 402.

25 Ibid., pp. 405-06.

26 Virginia Patent Bk. 1, pt. 2, p. 125. Both of these daughters would be of marriageable age in the late 1650s.


27 Northumberland Co., Va. Order Book 2, p. 36; Records 14, p. 62.

28 Westmoreland Co., Va., Deeds 6 Wills 1, pp. 384-85.

29 Northumberland Co., Va., Records 15, p. 56.

30 Ibid., Order Book 2, p. 164.

31 Westmoreland Co., Va., Deeds, Patents, Etc., 1665­-1677, p. 113a.

32 Ibid., Order Book 1675/6-1688/9, p. 184.

33 Ibid., Deeds, Patents, Etc., 1665-77, pp. 364-64a.

34 Ibid., p. 353-53a. 35 Ibid., p. 189.