James Spence (1702-1753) and Elizabeth Greaves/Graves (1707-1755)

pasquotank_river

My sixth-great grandfather, James Spence, was born about 1702 in Pasquotank, North Carolina. He was the youngest son of James Spence (1674-1740) and Esther Booth (1674-1715). In all likelihood, James had the same restless nature as his predecessors. His grandfather, David Spence, left Scotland for America and traveled back and forth between his original home in Northumberland County, Virginia and his final home in Somerset County, Maryland. His father, James Spence, David’s youngest son, traveled back and forth between North Carolina and Somerset County, Maryland. It appears as though these early Spences were constantly on the move. Young James was no exception.

When he was thirteen years old, James Spence’s mother (Esther Booth) died in 1715. His father married Sarah Elizabeth Truman (1673-1740). As noted in previous articles, she was a daughter of John Truman, who died in Somerset County, Maryland in 1686, and a sister of Dorothy Truman (1672-1734)—wife of Alexander Spence (1669-1735)—and Catherine (Cathron) Truman (1665-1726)—wife of John Spence (1672-1736). Sarah’s full name was Sarah Elizabeth Truman. She was known by her middle name when her father was alive. However, after his death in 1686 and after she moved into the John Booth household, she began using her first name Sarah. The Booths already had a daughter named Elizabeth or Eliza. By using her first name, Sarah avoided confusion. Sarah Elizabeth Truman and Esther Booth were raised together; to them, they were like sisters!

It is not known when Esther and Sarah moved to North Carolina. James Spence married Esther Booth about 1696. Their daughter Bridget was born in Somerset County, Maryland in 1698. James Spence was in Pasquotank with his two brothers by 1697. As suggested in an earlier article, he probably kept his family in Maryland, and traveled back and forth between North Carolina and Maryland until 1699 or 1700. By then, he moved his family to Pasquotank. His son, Alexander, was born in Pasquotank in 1700. And young James Spence, the subject here, was born in Pasquotank in 1702. Sarah Elizabeth became a close companion to Esther and when the James Spence family moved to North Carolina, Sarah moved along with them. James Spence continued traveling back and forth between the two colonies until his mother’s death in 1711, so he was absent much of the time. Young James grew up in a traveling environment and undoubtedly inherited that restless spirit.

The first reference to young James Spence is in his father’s will, per the following abstract:

“James Spence, Pasquotank Precinct, Will date: 20 Mar 1739; Probate: Oct 1740
Sons: Alexander, David and James. Daughters: Bridget Spence and Betty Mardrum. Wife and Executrix: Sarah. Witnesses: John Jones, Berd Banger, Elizabeth Perishe. Clerk of the Court: James Craven” (1)

[Note: Supposedly, James Spence, Sr. and his second wife Sarah Truman had a son named David Spence (1717-1775). As noted in an earlier article, I could find no information about this David. He either did not exist, or else he left the area early. They also appear to have had a daughter named Sarah Spence (1721-1739. She would have died before her father drew up his will.]

It is unknown when young James Spence traveled up through Virginia. He may have known family members who lived in the area. One of his jaunts took him to Spotsylvania County where the Greaves family lived, and where young James met his future wife: Elizabeth Greaves.

The Greaves Family

My encounter with the Greaves family has taken me on a wild escapade of my own. No one knew anything about her beyond her name Elizabeth, her approximate year of birth—1707—and her death which occurred after February 3, 1755. One Ancestry member suggested her father’s name was James Greaves. His name appeared on the Ancestry chart as just a name with no dates or locations. While checking available records, I found a James Greaves in Pasquotank County, North Carolina, but he lived there in 1769—long after the deaths of James Spence and Elizabeth Greaves. He may have been a family member, but he was not Elizabeth’s father. My discovery led me back to the drawing board once again.

So where did this Greaves family originate?

My search took me away from Ancestry to other search engines. And when I typed in the phrase Colonial Greaves Family of North Carolina, I made a remarkable discovery. One branch of the Greaves family later settled in Randolph County, North Carolina—the same location where a son of James and Elizabeth Greaves Spence also settled and about the same period of time! That discovery also led me to discovery of other Greaves family members in various North Carolina locations—all with apparent ties to a Spotsylvania, Virginia family headed by John Greaves/Graves, Sr. (1665-1747)

The John Greaves/Graves story is interesting. For a long time, researchers presumed John was a son of Capt. Thomas Greaves and Mary Perrin of Jamestown. All of that proved not to be true when DNA testing showed there was no connection. According to Gravesfa.org:

“John Graves Sr/Greaves (1) was born about 1665 and died after 1737. His wife’s name is not known. He had 3 sons including John Graves Jr b 1685 (married to Frances), Thomas (above) born 1691, and Joseph Graves b 1715. It is believed that he was an immigrant to Virginia from Northamptonshire, England (based on DNA testing, and the Bible record of Solomon Graves in the Appendix), and his surname may have been spelled Greaves in England (since all other proven relatives of his in England spelled their name as Greaves)” (2)

An abstract of John Greaves’ will follows:

“GRAVES, JOHN, St. George’s Parish, d. Mar. 30, 1747, p. June 2, 1747. Wit. Joseph Holloday, Benjamin Holloday, B. Lewis, William Webb. Ex. wife Susanna, Joseph Peterson, John Wigglesworth. Leg. wife Susanna, 140 acres of land which I had of Nicholas Randolph; son Thomas Graves, 140 acrss of land next his brother Edward; daughter Rebecca, 140 acrss of land next her brother Thomas; son Isaac, 140 acres of land next his sister Rebecca; son John, 140 acrss of land next his brother Isaac; daughter Jemima, 140 acres of land next her brother John. (Page 444)” (3)

In the records I have seen, John had one wife, identified as Susanna in his will. Some people call her Rebecca Susanna. Others believe she was Rebecca Susanna Harwood while others refer to her as Rebecca Susanna Dickens. Still others combine these names: Rebecca Susanna Harwood Dickens, some even adding the name Virginia! Susanna is the only name I can verify at this point. I do not know how the other names came into being.

The children identified in John’s will are Thomas, Edward, Rebecca, Isaac, Jemima and John. Elizabeth’s name is not mentioned. On the other hand, other records indicate he had a daughter named Elizabeth. This discovery led me to another problem. Some people believe John’s Elizabeth was born in 1697, died in 1729, and married Edward Randolph I in London in 1718. This belief was probably stimulated by the reference in John’s will to a tract of land he acquired from Nicholas Randolph. After further research, I have concluded that this Elizabeth is not the daughter of John Greaves. Elizabeth (Randolph) was born about 1697 in Bristol, Somerset, England. She married Edward Randolph in London, England December 15, 1718, and she died in Henrico County, Virginia about 1729. The Millennium File at Ancestry.com identifies her as Elizabeth Grosvenor, born 1688 in Bristol, England (4). No parents are identified, although some people believe her father’s name was Edward Grosvenor.

So who was Elizabeth Greaves?

Based upon available records, the children of John Greaves/Graves and his wife Susanna follow:
1. John Greaves/Graves, Jr. (1685-1757). John is presumed to have been John and Susanna’s oldest child. He had two marriages. His first wife was Hannah Smith (1690-1719) and his second wife was Frances Coleman (1702-1765), by whom he had his children. Their children were:
a. Ann Graves (1719-1798)
b. Elizabeth “Betty” Graves (1720-1826)
c. James Graves (1722-1781)
d. Thomas Graves (1724-1792)
e. John Graves (1725-1798)
f. Joseph Thomas Graves (1725-1785)
g. Frances Ann Graves (1742-1820)
2. Thomas Greaves/Graves (1691-1767). Thomas also had two marriages. His first wife was Mary Perkins (1692-1720). Their children were:
a. Eleanor Graves (1713-1777)
b. John Graves (1715-1792)
c. Louisa Graves (b. 1717)
d. Mary Graves (b. 1718)
His second wife was Ann Davenport (1696-1782). Their children were:
a. Thomas Graves (1721-1801)
b. Solomon Graves (1723-1785)
c. Capt. William Graves (1724-1790)
d. Richard Graves (1725-1788)
e. Rice Graves (1729-1814)
f. David Graves (1730-1808)
g. Susannah Graves (1730-1802)
h. Katherine Graves (1731-1772)
i. Robert Graves (1733-1771)
j. Nancy Catherine Graves (1734-1809)
k. ROSANNA GRAVES (1735-1782). Rosanna is an important connection and supports my argument about Elizabeth Greaves. Rosanna married John Spencer (1732-1789). Their son was Sharp Spencer (1770-1834). Sharp was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, and he died in Putnam County, Indiana. He had two wives: Margaret Elizabeth Crenshaw (1772-1809) and Jenny Trigger Crady (1790-1844). Their son, William Spencer (1817-1888), later moved to Jasper County, Missouri, where he became associated with the sons of my third great grandfather, Samuel Perry Spence (1800-1859)—Samuel, a direct descendant of James Spence and Elizabeth Greaves of this study. I had always believed there was a family connection somewhere concerning William Spencer, but could not find it until now. (There are two earlier articles about William Spencer on my website: “Who Killed John Bass Jones: Part One” (5) and “Who Killed John Bass Jones: Part Two—The Odyssey of Mrs. Ady” (6).
l. Catherine Graves (1737-1830). [I’m not certain whether she is another daughter named Catherine or whether this is an error. More research is needed.]
3. Edward Graves (1693-1763). No additional information
4. Jemima Graves (1699-1764). No additional information
5. Rebecca Graves (1702-1814). No additional information
6. Robert Graves (b. 1702). No additional information. Rebecca’s twin.
7. Isaac Graves (1705-1790). No additional information.
8. ELIZABETH GRAVES (1707-1755). The subject under discussion here.
9. Mary Graves (b. 1707). Elizabeth’s twin who did not survive.
10. Joseph Graves (1715-1774). Joseph relocated to North Carolina. He probably settled first in Rowan County. That part of Rowan later became Surry County. Joseph’s wife was Sarah Bunyard (1721-1774). They had one daughter—Mary Graves (1738-1800). Her husband was Col. Benjamin Cleveland (1738-1806) of Revolutionary War fame.

The three sons specifically tied to John Greaves/Graves through DNA testing are John Graves, Thomas Graves and Joseph Graves (7).

So, what about Elizabeth?

When I first became aware of Elizabeth Greaves, I was reluctant to include her on my tree as a child of John Greaves/Graves and his wife Susanna. Finally, I decided to include her. After all, I would receive no DNA matches if she was not his daughter. On the other hand, I would receive a DNA confirmation if the relationship was correct.

That evening, I received my first confirmation.

Since then, I’ve had at least a dozen matches with John Greaves/Graves as the common ancestor. The confirmations extend from John through three of his sons: John, Thomas and Joseph down to the sender on the one hand and from John through Elizabeth down through my Spence line to me on the other! In addition to all of this, the names William, Edward, and Robert were Greaves/Graves names. They frequently appear among James Spence and Elizabeth Greaves’ descendants. John Greaves’ father’s name has been suggested as William. That would explain the origin of the name.

I am satisfied that Elizabeth Greaves (wife of James Spence) was John Greaves/Graves’ Elizabeth!

James Spence and Elizabeth Greaves were married in Virginia about 1721. They left for Pasquotank shortly after the wedding. No doubt John and Susanna sent them off with their blessing and with Susanna’s portion of her inheritance. This would explain why Elizabeth is not mentioned in her father’s will.

The children of James Spence and Elizabeth Greaves follow:
1. William Edward Spence (1722-1785). [My fifth great grandfather]

2. Isaac Spence (1722-1806)–William’s twin. For an update on him, click HERE
3. James Spence (1730-1804)
4. Letisha Spence (1734-1786)
5. David Spence (1735-1790)
6. Greaves Spence (1742-1803)

I will be writing individual articles about William and James. Letisha, David and Greaves will be combined in a separate article. [Note: Isaac Spence was discovered September 2015. For Isaac’s update, click HERE.]

References
(1) North Carolina Will Abstracts, 1660-1790, about James Spence. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 6 Jan 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(2) John Graves of Spotsylvania County, Virginia. Originally posted at Gravesa.org. Copy posted at Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date accessed: 6 Jan 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(3) John Graves Will Abstract, Virginia County Records Spotsylvania County 1721-1800
Wills, Will Book A 1722-1749 page 8. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date accessed: 6 Jan 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(4) Millennium File about Elizabeth Grosvenor (b. 1688). Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date accessed: 6 Jan 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(5) “Who Killed John Bass Jones, Part One.” Historical Footprints 2010 website. Story written 2010. Date accessed: 3 Jan 2015. Available online at http://www.historical-footprints-2010.com/john_bass_jones_1.html
(6) “Who Killed John Bass Jones, Part Two.” Historical Footprints 2010 website. Story written 2010. Date accessed: 3 Jan 2015. Available online at http://www.historical-footprints-2010.com/ady_odyssey.html
(7) John Graves/Greaves of Northamptonshire, England. Original website address: http://www.gravesfa.org/gen270.htm. Copy at Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date accessed: 6 Jan 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

James Spence (1674-1740), Esther Booth (1674-1715), and Sarah Elizabeth Truman (1673-1740)

pasquotank_river

The youngest son of David Spence and Ann Roe, James Spence was born January 5, 1674 in Wicocomico, Somerset County, Maryland, and he died in October 1740 in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. His first wife was Esther Booth, daughter of John Booth (1630-1698). They were my seventh great grandparents. After Esther’s death in Pasquotank, North Carolina, James married Sarah Elizabeth Truman, another daughter of John and Ann Truman of Somerset County, Maryland. Sarah was known by her middle name Elizabeth on Somerset County records when her father was still living. As already noted in previous articles, the three daughters—Dorothy, Catherine and Elizabeth—were bound out to guardians after John Truman died. Elizabeth moved into the John Booth household, where she began using her first name. The Booths already had a daughter named Elizabeth or Eliza, so Sarah used her first name in order to avoid confusion.

James Spence was five years old when his father David died. David had originally patented 1,000 acres in Somerset County, 500 acres of which became the property of James Dashiell. Concerning David Spence’s remaining 500 acres of Despence:

“He (James) inherited half (250 acres) of his father’s Maryland plantation, “Despence” (his brother John inheriting the other half). Lord Calvert’s rent rolls for 1663-1723 show that James retained ownership of this half interest for some time. The same documents show that at some time all 240 acres of his father’s second plantation, “Spence’s Choice”, was “apportioned” to James (specified as being in North Carolina), although it had been left to his older brothers David and Alexander, and was eventually sold by their heirs. The documents also show that James shared with his brother, John, a 200 acre tract named “Hereafter”, assigned to them by Thomas Roe, and that James “possessed for Isaac Booth” a 200 acre plantation called “Fatsters Quarter”, “near the branches of the Wicomico”. The word “fatster” appears to be a corruption of “Fatt Steer’s”, the name originally given the Booth plantation, and the term “possessed” suggested that James managed, rather than owned, the latter plantation.” (1)

In the 1690s, the Spence brothers relocated to the Virginia and North Carolina colonies. Some speculation has been presented that perhaps their mother Ann (Anne) Roe Spence remained in full control of Despence until her death, and the Spence brothers never really settled upon it. (2) David Jr., Alexander and John Spence were the first to leave Somerset County—David settling in Northumberland County, Virginia, and Alexander and John settling in Perquimans, North Carolina. In all likelihood, James probably moved to Perquimans with Alexander and John, per the following:

“It is known that James moved with his brothers to Perquimans Precinct, NC around July 1697, when he would have been only 23. No wife is mentioned, and he was back in Maryland by May 1698, when he witnessed the will of John Booth, of “Wiccocomacoe, Somerset Co.”. James married Booth’s daughter, Esther, and both she and their daughter, Bridget, are mentioned in Booth’s will. From this, it appears that James and Esther may have married sometime before his venture to North Carolina in 1697, and that she did not accompany him on the journey because she was pregnant with Bridget. Esther was a sister to Isaac Booth, who subsequently inherited the above-mentioned plantation, “Fatsters Quarter”, from their father, John Booth Sr.” (3)

The possibility exists that James traveled back and forth between the two colonies until after his mother’s death. Then he was free to finally settle in North Carolina.

The children of James Spence and Esther Booth follow:

1. Bridget Spence (1698-1740). Bridget was born before May 1698 in Somerset County, Maryland, and she died ca. 1740. She married Truman McBride (1686-1727) in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. Their children were:
a. James McBride (no information)
b. Rhoda McBride (no information)
c. John McBride (1725-1766)
d. Sarah McBride (1725-1766) (Dates for John and Sarah are approximate). Sarah McBride will return later in the future William Edward Spence article.

Truman McBride was born March 27, 1686 in Somerset County, Maryland. He was the son of John McBride (1664-1704) and Margaret Truman (1654-1711).

After Truman’s death, Bridget married Benjamin Coen (1697-1734) on August 5, 1727. They had one daughter: Betty Coen, born 1734.
2. Alexander Spence (1700-1752). Alexander married Ann Sawyer. I have no additional information.
3. James Spence (1702-1753)—my sixth great grandfather. He will be treated in a separate article.

After Esther’s death, James Spence married Sarah Elizabeth Truman, who has already been identified as one of the orphaned daughters of John Truman. Their children follow:
4. David Spence (1717-1775). I have no additional information
5. Betty Spence (1719-1740). I have no additional information
6. Sarah Spence (1721-1739). I have no additional information.

An abstract of James Spence’s will follows:

“Name: James Spence
Location: Pasquotank Precinct
Will Date: 20 Mar 1739
Probate Date: Oct 1740
Will:
Sons: Alexander, David, James. Daughters: Bridget Spence and Betty Mardrum. Wife and Executrix: Sarah. Witnesses: John Jones, Berd Banger, Elizabeth Perishe. Clerk of the Court: James Craven.” (4)

The Booth, Truman and McBride families all came from Somerset County, Maryland. Concerning the Booth and Truman families, I have not found any evidence that they were directly connected with the Booths of Baltimore County, Maryland (John Wilkes Booth’s family) or the Truman families of St. Mary’s County, Maryland (President Harry S. Truman’s ancestors). At most, they may have been distant cousins. A George Booth settled in Wicomico, Somerset County, Maryland about the same period of time as David Spence. As yet, I have not determined David’s connection with John Booth other than the fact they settled in the same neighborhood. The dates of birth and death for George Booth appear to have been 1625-1666. I have speculated that he was John Booth’s brother, but do not have any proof of that as yet. The McBrides originated in Belfast, Antrim, Ireland, where John McBride was born in 1664. He died in Pasquotank, North Carolina in 1704. John McBride’s wife was Margaret Truman (Trewman) (1654-1711). She was the daughter of Robert Trewman (1634-1685)—a cousin of John Truman of Somerset County. The relationship is established in John Truman’s will. (5)

According to “Notes for James Spence”:

“James died in 1740 at about age 65 in Pasquotank, survived by his wife and executor, Sarah; children Alexander, Bridget, Betty Mardrum, David, James Jr., and Sarah; and grandson James (III), according to his will written on March 20th of that year. As mentioned above, it appears that he had 3 children with each wife, as the will leaves “the rest of my estate to my wife Sarah and her 3 children, above specified”. Unfortunately, the will doesn’t actually identify which children were Sarah’s. It is easy to assume that the children are listed in birth order, and, in fact, Alexander probably was the eldest son since he was made co-executor. Bridget would also fall in the “first three” group, and may actually have been the eldest, as she is known to have been Esther’s child, born in 1697 or 1698. But “James Spence Junr” bought land in 1731, so he had to have been born well before Esther’s death ca 1715, and thus could not have been Sarah’s child. Best guess at present is that Betty, David, and Sarah were the youngest of James’ children.

The will was probated in October 1740. He had retained enough land to leave his “maner plantation.. that lieth on the South side of Taylors Branch” to his son, David; “all the land that lieth on the North side of …Taylors Branch” to his son James Jr.; and, finally, “100 acres that lieth in the fork joyning of Jacob Sawyers and Grapevine ridge” to his grandson, James III.” (6)

References

(1) “Notes for James Spence”, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: January 2, 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(2) “Notes for James Spence”, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: January 2, 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(3) “Notes for James Spence”, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: January 2, 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(4) North Carolina Will Abstracts, 1660-1790 about James Spence, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: January 2, 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(5) From The Maryland State Archives,No. SM16 PREROGATIVE COURT (Wills) JOHN TRUMAN. Book 4 pp. 215-216, SR 4400
(6) Notes for James Spence, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: January 2, 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com