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William NEWSOM, , III

Male 1648 - 1691  (43 years)

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  • Name William NEWSOM 
    Suffix , III 
    Born 1648  Lawnes Creek Parish, Surry Co.Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 5 Sep 1691  Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Notes for William Newsom III:
      William Newsom III was the first Newsom to be born in the New World. As has been seen, he married into the line of the Spencers, among the first settlers of Jamestown, when he married Anne Sheppard-Hart, widow of Thomas Hart, Sr., and daughter of Elizabeth Spencer. While still a young man, several large grants of land were made to him in partnership with a Robert Ruffin and an Arthur Allen. These transactions are recorded in Virginia Land Grants, Grant Book 6, p. 650-654.

      In 1687, William was listed as a cavalryman in the Surry County Militia (Crozier, "Virginia Colonial Militia," p. 101).

      Late 17th century Jamestown, the Colonial home of the Newsoms, was the scene of a controversial and well known civil uprising commonly called "Bacon's Rebellion." The following excerpt from Encarta Encyclopedia recapitulates the affair:
      "Bacon's Rebellion, uprising in 1676 of Virginia farmers against the colonial authorities headed by Sir William Berkeley, governor of Virginia. The rebellion began when a group of former indentured servants led by Nathaniel Bacon, a young plantation owner, accused Governor Berkeley of failing to protect them from raids by Native Americans. Under Bacon's authority, the men formed an army to punish the raiding tribes. Berkeley denounced the men as rebels and accused them of attacking and killing not just hostile Native Americans, but members of friendly tribes.

      After defeating the Native Americans, Bacon and his men occupied Jamestown, the capital of the colony. The farmers, who were now demanding governmental reforms in addition to protection from hostile Native Americans, forced the governor to flee. Bacon then led another expedition against the Native Americans, defeating them at the Battle of Bloody Run. While Bacon was engaged in this effort, Berkeley began to raise a force to fight him. Marching against Jamestown a second time, Bacon captured the city and burned it in September 1676. In the following month, Bacon died suddenly and his rebellion immediately collapsed. The governor took revenge upon Bacon's followers, executing some and confiscating the property of others." Microsoft® Encarta® 98 Encyclopedia. © 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

      In the frenetic sale of arms following the trouble, it is noted in Surry County Court records that William Newsom "bought a sword." It is particularly interesting to note the part Roger Rawlings (William's brother-in-law) played in the fracas, according to the records. It seems that Roger had a "boate that is bigg enough to carry all that is to goe" which was pressed into service by the insurrectionists. Roger Rawlings went along, but when they got to Jamestown and found out that the Baconians had taken the Governor's goods, he decided that things were out of hand. He wryly observed that "they have brought us to keep their stolen goods" and he "wished himselfe at home." After the Rebellion was crushed and Governor Berkeley once more held the reins, Rawlings obtained judgment against the usurpers for "pressing his boate several times during the late Rebellion."

      The surviving records from the criminal trials which began in Surry County Court, May 1677, also show that William served as a "juryman" on one of the juries which convicted the defendants. He served yet again in a subsequent rebellion trial which commenced in September of the same year. One interesting case on which he sat concerned a John Solway's suit of a Richard Atkins for "abusing his horse, breaking open his house, plundering, and drinking his wine during the Rebellion." The jury convicted and fined Atkins.
      From the above records, it appears that William Newsom III was one of the wealthiest and most influential men in the County.

      Upon his death, William left a will dated June 10, 1691, and probated September 5, 1691, which is recorded in the Surry County Will Book, Chapter 4, p. 226. His wife Anne and sons William and John are listed as executors. He bequeathed his Rich Neck plantation to son William, and another plantation in Surry County - at which he then resided - to son John. He bequeathed some property called "Hopewell" to sons Robert and Thomas along with "a Negro each." He also bequeathed "a Negro each" to daughters Anne and Elizabeth. The fact that Thomas apparently owned slaves is especially interesting in light of the fact that one of his sons, Moses, married and had children with a woman of African-American descent (see notes for Moses Newsom).

      As we have seen, Surry was once considered part of the old Jamestown settlement. Like nearby Isle of Wight County, it was one of the original eight shires of Virginia. Southampton, the home of many Newsoms in later generations, was formed from Isle of Wight County in 1749. There is a small town called "Newsoms" which still exists in Southampton.
      Notes for Anne Sheppard-Hart:

      Anne Sheppard was the daughter of Elizabeth Spencer and Robert Sheppard. She was first married to Thomas Hart, Sr. Anne and Thomas Hart had three sons, Henry, Thomas, Jr. and Robert Hart. William Newsom III was Anne's second husband, whom she married after Thomas's death. She in turn married a George Foster after the death of William Newsom III in 1691. The proof of Anne's marriage to William Newsom III and of much of her pedigree is given in the following records:
      1. Surry County, Virginia, D & W 1671-84, p. 61. William Newsom presents the account of the estate of Thomas Hart, deceased, November 4, 1674; mentions 'my wife's third part,' and the 'rest due to the three orphans of Thomas Hart, deced. (vizt.) Henry, Thomas, and Robert Hart. Subscribed by William Newsom, 2d October 1674.'
      2. ib., p.338. "I, Henry Hart, do hereby acknowledge to have received of my father and guardian, William Newsom, my full due and part of my deced. Father and Uncle John Sheppard's estate due me by will and otherwise." 6 November 1683, Teste, Robert Ruffin.
      3. ib., p.280. May 4, 1703, Henry Hart of Lawne's Creek Parish, planter, deeds to Robert Hart, 1000 acres of land lying on the main Black Water, which said land "the said Henry Hart should and ought to have after ye expiration of ye Term of ninety nine years", the land having been "given and granted to ye said Robert Hart to him and his heirs by ye last will and testament of John Sheppard deced. dated the third of February 1668", etc. The description of the above land is exactly the same in all details as that of a grant to Capt. Robert Sheppard of Surry County on October 8, 1650 (Grant Book 2, p.269).
      4. Grant Book 9, p.637. Virginia Land Office, October 20, 1704, Robert Hart granted 1000 acres in Surry County, the same "being formerly granted to Major Robert Sheppard, Grandfather of the said Robert by patent dated the 8th of October 1650."
      5. Surry D & W 1715-30, p. 40. November 20, 1716, Henry Hart, 'eldest son and heir of Anne, who was Anne Sheppard, sister and heir of John Sheppard,' deeded away his right to the reversion in a tract of land left to Thomas Hart for a term of 81 years by the will of John Sheppard.
      6. Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, p.219. On April 25, 1670, 'the will of John Sheppard, deced. is referred for pbte. therefore to the next Court to be held for Surry County, whether the said Sheppard was of age or not at the time of making his said will and make report thereof to the third day of the next General Court.' (There is no further reference to this will, though it would seem from the above that John Sheppard was probably found to be of age. Since the will was made February 3,1668/9, this would put his birth at about 1648, the same as William Newsom. His sister, Anne Sheppard, was probably born a few years earlier, about 1645. John Sheppard appeared in the household of Thomas Hart in the tithables of 1668; neither he nor Thomas Hart appear in 1669, only "The Widow Hart." John Sheppard died, then, between February 3, 1668/9 and June 10, 1669.)

      After William Newsom III's death, Anne married George Foster. The account of William Newsom's estate, dated March 4, 1694, and recorded May 28, 1695, shows the estate indebted to "George Foster and Anne, his wife, one of the executors of the said deceased." The marriage probably took place between April 11, 1693, and January 2, 1694, for on the former date, Anne Newsom released her dower in the estate of William Newsom (Surry Orders, 1691-1715, p. 63) and on the latter date, George Foster rendered an account of William Newsom's estate (ib. p. 95).

      George Foster gave his age as 55 in 1694, which shows that he was born in 1639. His first wife was named Elizabeth (cf. a deed August 1, 1674, Surry County, Virginia, D & W 1671-84, p. 61). George Foster died in 1697. His will, dated December 6, 1697, and probated January 4, 1698, mentions his wife, Anne, sons William and Thomas Foster, daughters Mary and Elizabeth Hart, and appoints son, William, executor, (ib. p. 148). Mary Foster and Elizabeth Foster, as we shall see later, married (respectively) Henry Hart and Thomas Hart, Jr., sons of Anne Sheppard-Hart (Newsom/Foster) by her first marriage.

      Anne Sheppard's mother Elizabeth Spencer was a daughter of William Spencer and his wife Alice Lightfoot. William Spencer, born about 1560 in England, arrived in Virginia in either 1607 or 1608, depending upon which of two conflicting accounts one accepts. According to the "Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography," Vol. I, p. 329, William Spencer arrived in the so called 'First Supply' voyage from England to provision the first Colonists in 1608. This version is supported by information preserved by the "Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities." The other version, outlined in considerable detail on p. 580-5 of "Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1625," 1987 ed., has William arriving in the "Sarah Constant" at Jamestown in 1607 with the very first Colonists, subordinate officer to ship's Captain Christopher Newport. In either case, William Spencer was one of the first English Colonists in the New World.

      William Spencer is said to hail from the line of the Althorpes, that is the line of the Earl of Spencer, the pedigree of Diana, the late Princess of Wales.
      There is a fair amount of primary source information extant on William Spencer, though, as is often the case, there are contradictions and gaps. A review follows:
      As recorded in "Adventurers of Purse and Person," 1987 ed., p. 580, the Jamestown Expedition's famous leader John Smith noted in 1614 that the men to whom English businessman and expedition sponsor Sir Thomas Dale had allocated farms for the raising of corn were farmers 'whereof the first was William Spencer, an honest, valient and industrius man, and continued from 1607 to this present...'

      The same source says, "In the muster of 24 Jan. 1624 William Spencer resided at James Island (Jamestown) with his wife Alice and their daughter Alice, the family being well supplied, having ten barrels of corn, 200 fish, and for their protection ammunition consisting of four pounds of powder, eight pounds of shot and three 'peeces,' along with twelve swine, three goats and two kids. They also had two dwellings and a boat..."

      William Spencer was an Ensign; he was Burgess for Jamestown in the first Virginia Assembly in 1619; in 1632-3 he was Burgess of Mulberry Island (from Tyler "Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography," Vol. I, p. 329).
      Hotten's "Emigrants" (p. 228) shows among those living at James Island in 1624 "William Spencer came in the "Sarah (Constant)," Alice his wife in the - - - -, Alice, their daughter, aged 4 yeres." Among the dead at James City and in the island is mentioned "William Spencer a Child" (ib., p. 229), who was almost certainly a son of this family.

      Numerous land grants were made to William Spencer in Surry County. In 1624 he is referred to as "Ensigne William Spencer" in a grant to John Johnson, yeoman (Nugent, p. 4). A grant of 550 acres in Surry in 1635 calls him "William Spencer, Gent.," indicating that he was a Justice of the County at that time. The two largest grants made to Spencer were for 1100 acres in 1635 which were later held by his son-in-law Robert Sheppard (who was, of course, the father of Spencer's granddaughter Anne Sheppard-Hart) and deeded to a William Caulfield in 1652; and one for 1350 acres in 1637, which was inherited by William's other son-in-law William Cockerham, who was married to his daughter Anne.

      On Jan. 21, 1638, Nicholas Spencer (William's brother - apparently also an early Jamestown settler) testified that John Lightfoot left his property to William Spencer (minutes of the Council and Gen'l. Ct. of Col. Va., p. 181), which suggests a relationship between Spencer and Lightfoot. John Lightfoot was likely Alice Lightfoot's father, and therefore William Spencer's father-in-law. Only the two daughters - Elizabeth, wife of Robert Sheppard, and Anne, wife of William Cockerham - seem to have survived him. In any case, Major Robert Sheppard and Captain William Cockerham of the Colonial Militia appear to have inherited all of his land.
      A reference to the death of William Spencer:
      1685/6, January 4 - Indenture, Wm. Cockerham to Wm. Harris, 150 acres in Hog Island granted to Wm. Spencer, late of the County, dec'd February 1, 1637/8. Beginning at a marked white oak very neare a saw pitt in the line twixt said Cockerham and Robt. Barham, orphan, to the edge of the marsh of Hog Island Creek, east by a line dividing Cockerham and Wm. Sewards land, s and se by Jno. Case's cart path. (Note: this land deeded to Harris Taylor, grandson of Wm. Harris, to John Holt, Feb. 20, 1738/9).
      And an even newer reference:

      1667, May 24 - Nicholas Spencer of Lawne's Creek Parish (apparently a son of the aforementioned Nicholas), sells to Capt. Wm. Cockerham, a parcell of land formerly his uncle's: Wm. Spencer, deceased, and lately bequeathed to Nicholas Spencer by will or right of descent. Wit: Nich. Spencer, Daniell Williams (Surry County, Virginia, D & W, Book I, 1652-1672, p. 287).

      In order to give all of the foregoing details a historical context, here's an excerpt from Encarta Encyclopedia on the settlement of early Virginia:
      "Jamestown (Virginia), former village of Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America. It is located in present-day James City County, on an island in the James River, southeast of Richmond, part of the 3816-hectare (9430-acre) Colonial National Historical Park.

      Jamestown was founded on May 14, 1607, by a small group led by Captain Christopher Newport, who was hired by the London Company to transport colonists. Many settlers died from famine and disease in the winter of 1609-10. The survivors were encouraged to stay in Jamestown by the arrival of new settlers and supplies the following June. In 1612 tobacco growing was started. The colony prospered and became the capital of Virginia.

      In 1619 the first representative assembly in America was held here. In the same year, at Jamestown, the first black slaves were introduced into the original 13 colonies. The village was often attacked by Native Americans. In 1622, 350 colonists were killed; 500 in 1644. Colonists rebelling against the rule of Governor William Berkeley burned Jamestown in 1676 (see Bacon's Rebellion). The seat of government was moved to the Middle Plantation (now Williamsburg) in 1699, and Jamestown was deserted.

      The National Park Service and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (which owns 9 hectares/23 acres of the island), have excavated and restored the area. The Jamestown Archaeological Laboratory contains relics unearthed by National Park Service excavations. Jamestown Festival Park, adjacent to the national park, has full-scale replicas of early ships and a re-creation of James Fort (1607). Pavilions depict Native American and English cultures." Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

      Another interesting point of historical reference is the colorful story of the Indian Princess Pocahontas and her English husband John Rolfe. Rolfe was an original Jamestown settler like William Spencer. While no primary source records are known to survive which directly link William Spencer to the couple, it is impossible to imagine that in this tiny community of a few hundred souls they did not know each other well. The following is a brief recapitulation of the Rolfe/Pocahontas story as related by the staff of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities:

      "Pocahontas was the favorite daughter of Powhatan, who ruled the Powhatan Confederacy. She was born about 1595, probably at Werowocomoco, 16 miles from Jamestown. Captain John Smith believed she had saved his life twice during the colony's first years. In 1608-1609 she was a frequent and welcome visitor to Jamestown, often bringing gifts of food from her father.

      From 1609 to 1613 she was part of Indian society and was not seen by the settlers. In April, 1613, she was captured by the English while she was living on the Potomac River and was brought to Jamestown as a hostage. She soon converted to Christianity and was baptized.
      Her marriage to John Rolfe in April, 1614, helped to establish peaceful relations between the Indians and the English. In 1616 she visited England with her husband and infant son, Thomas, and was presented to the Royal Court. While returning to Virginia she died on March 21, 1617, and was buried in St. George's Church in Gravesend, England. Today many Americans claim descent from her through her son and granddaughter."

      Anne Sheppard (then Mrs. Anne Foster) died in 1711. Her will, dated March 27, 1707, and probated in Surry County, March 20, 1710/11, leaves all her property to her 'youngest sons, Robert and Thomas Newsom', with the exception of her wearing apparel, which she leaves to her daughters, Elizabeth and Anne (Surry County, Virginia, D & W 1709-15, p. 48 - see the following notes for William Newsom III).

      Children of William Newsom and Anne Sheppard-Hart are:
      29 i. William10 Newsom IV, born Abt. 1672 in Jamestown, Surry County, Virginia; died Abt. 1751 in Jamestown, Surry County, Virginia. He married Phyllis ?
      30 ii. Elizabeth Newsom, born 1673 in Surry County, Virginia; died December 30, 1716 in Middlesex County, Virginia. She married John Pace
      31 iii. John Newsom, born Abt. 1674 in Surry County, Virginia; died July 15, 1724 in Surry County, Virginia. He married Sarah Crawford
      32 iv. Anne Newsom, born Bet. 1678 - 1684 in Surry County, Virginia.
      33 v. Robert Newsom, born Abt. 1681 in Surry County, Virginia; died June 09, 1757 in Southampton County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth ?
      + 34 vi. Thomas Newsom, born 1685 in Surry County, Virginia; died Abt. 1745 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia.
    Person ID I378  Johnson & Hanson
    Last Modified 31 Mar 2006 

    Father William NEWSOM, , Jr,   b. 1614, Newsom Hall, Lancashire England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1657, Rich Neck, James City, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 43 years) 
    Relationship Foster 
    Mother GERTRUDE,   b. Abt 1614, Jamestown, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Surry County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Relationship Foster 
    Married Abt 1637  Surry County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F173  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Anne SHEPPARD-HART,   b. ABT. 1645, Jamestown, Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Mar 1711, Jamestown, Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 66 years) 
    Married 1669  Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. William NEWSOM, IV,   b. 1672, Jamestown, Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1751, Jamestown, Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)
    +2. Elizabeth NEWSOM,   b. 1673, Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Dec 1716, Middlesex County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 43 years)
    +3. John NEWSOM,   b. Abt 1674, Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Jul 1724, Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 50 years)
     4. Robert NEWSOM,   b. Abt 1681, Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Jun 1757, Southampton County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 76 years)
     5. Anne NEWSOM,   b. Between 1678-1684, Surry Co. Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
    +6. Thomas NEWSOM,   b. 1685, Surry County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1745, Isle of Wight County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)
    Family ID F120  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart


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