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II.  Demographics. 


1. Introduction.  My family-related history associated with the Northern Neck area begins with this section dealing with demographics – for example, 1600s and 1700s population changes over time, immigrations and migrations into and out of the Northern Neck, life spans, and changes related to various groups such as Indians, indentured servants, and slaves during the period.  European people first began living in what today is Northumberland County in the 1640s.  About a dozen families immigrated there from the Maryland colony, across the Potomac River, likely due to religious conflicts the families were having with other Maryland colony residents.   An ancestor, Walter Broadhurst (1618-1658), was the head of one of those families.  Claughton, Gerrard, Pope, and Rodham, names found in my ancestral past, were also names found in the group of settlers from Maryland.   More settlers, from other parts of the Virginia Colony and from England, quickly followed.  During the rest of the 1600s and early 1700s, separate counties (Lancaster, Westmoreland, Richmond, and King George) were carved out of Northumberland, due to population growth (initially all of what was considered the Northern Neck was called Northumberland County).


2. Population.  By the 1650s, the Northern Neck population is believed to have been more than one thousand.   The 1790 Virginia Census shows the following populations for each of the Northern Neck counties: 




The total 1790 Virginia population for 51 counties was 509,733 with an average of 9,995 per county. The Northern Neck population in 1790 (36,819 from the above table) declined approximately 15% by 1860.


Today the Northern Neck population is in the 75,000 range. By comparison, the population of the Virginia Colony (including the Northern Neck) in the 1650s is estimated at around 15,000.  The Virginia Colony population in 1699 is estimated to have been approximately 60,000 to 80,000. The Northern Neck population growth from the 1650s (population around 1,000) to 2020 (population around 75,000) represents about a 2% compounded annual growth rate, less than Virginia state growth rate of 3% over the same time period (from 15,000 in the 1650s to 8.65 million in 2020).


The Northern Neck has remained a relatively low population density in recent years as shown in the table below.  Virginia State’s population density in 2018 was 216 population per square mile.  However, the Northern Neck currently is growing at a faster rate over the last 10 years than the state, growing at a 11% compared to the state’s rate of 8%. (76,407-69,013/69,013 = 11% versus 8.6 million – 8 million/8million = 8%).






Being primarily an agriculture economy and the lack of town development, because of the lack of industrial development, likely accounts, at least in some part, for the lower annual Northern Neck population growth rate compared to the Virginia State growth rate.


During the 1600s and 1700s, the Northern Neck remained primary an agriculture region.  As an agricultural region, a lack of town development occurred.  Because large tracks of land were owned by a few individuals, the development of self-sufficient communities by farmers on their large plantations tended to suppress the growth of towns.  These communities, around the large plantations, could take on (and did) the characteristics of small towns, and would represent the closest to towns that existed for most of the 1600s and 1700s period.  Officials (for example, the Virginia General Assembly) did create plans to develop Northern Neck towns (as well as towns in other parts of the Colony), but those plans for the most part were unsuccessful.


The lack of town development in the Northern Neck during the 1600s varied greatly from what was happening in the Massachusetts colonies, where many towns developed and prospered.  Perhaps the ways in which the land was being used in the Northern Neck versus in the Massachusetts colonies, differences in the characteristics of the immigrants in the two areas, and differences in the affiliations in England that immigrants in the two areas had offer some explanations in the differences in town development.


A 1690s planned town in Lancaster County was to be called Queenstown, to be on land on the Corotoman River owned by William Ball (1615-1680) and Hannah Ball (1615-1695).  Robert Carter (1663-1732) and Captain David Fox (1647-1699) were to administer the sale of the lots.  Queenstown never came into existence.  The Balls, Carter, and Fox are some of my ancestors, shown in the tables in Section I, Introduction.


In the 1700s, towns did develop along the Rappahannock River to serve as ports supporting the shipping of tobacco from the plantations.  Ports along the Rappahannock existed at Leedstown, Port Royal, Tappahannock, and Urbanna.  These ports continued to exist into the 1800s, and later, supporting steamships, but are no longer ports.  Ships from England and the West Indies arrived and departed extensively.  A high percentage of ships coming from and returning to England apparently used the English port of Whitehaven.


Towns came and went in the Northern Neck, with many towns no longer existing that once did. Even today, no Northern Neck towns exist with more than a few thousand people, at most. The largest of these include White Stone (263); Irvington (390); Kilmarnock (1,370); Warsaw (1,498); Montross (398); and Colonial Beach (3,689).(2020 populations)


Analysis of the ancestor tables in Section I, Introduction, identifying my ancestors who lived in the Northern Neck counties at some time in the 1600s and 1700s, provides the following:15 of the ancestors were born in Northumberland County and 17 died there; 4 were born in Lancaster County and 15 died there; 7 were born in Westmoreland County and 13 died there; 3 were born in Richmond County and 2 died there; and 4 were born in King George County and 2 died there.  Others were born in Europe and some born or died in other Virginia counties.


3.  Immigration.  (The term immigration is used in this history for relocation from outside the colonies to inside the colonies.)  Most European immigrants into the Northern Neck came from England.  (Some French Huguenots immigrated to the Northern Neck; my ancestors, named Cralle and Foushee, are descendants of Huguenots who immigrated to the Northern Neck.)  Of the ninety-one of my ancestors in the tables above (Section I, Introduction), twenty are known to have been born in England and one in France.  Of those known to be from England, most were from southern England.  Most of these immigrants arriving from England did so in the mid-1600s.  The known locations in England that my Northern Neck ancestors came from include: Berkshire; Bristol; Hampshire; London; Northamptonshire; Oxford; Somerset; Suffolk; and Wiltshire.  This mid-1600s period corresponds with much unrest in England due to the English civil war, which likely accounted for at least some of the immigration from England to the Northern Neck.


Of my known Northern Neck ancestors (see tables in Section I, Introduction), the following are known to have immigrated from Europe:



Hannah Atherold (1615-1694; England)

Joseph Ball (1649-1711; England)

Hannah Ball (1650-1709; Berkshire, England)

William Ball II (1573-1647; England)

William Ball III (1615-1680; England)

John Bradshaw (1613-1655; England)

Walter Broadhurst (1618-1658; England)

John Carter (1613-1669; London, England)

James Claughton (1590-1647; England)

James Claughton, Jr. (1639-1698; England)

James Fouchee (1669-1729; France)

Lucy Anne Luce Fox (1611-1660; England)

Anne Gerrard (1623-1676; Suffolk, England)

Mary Bennett Johnson (?-1721; England)

Richard Kenner (1635-1692; Oxford, England)

Sarah Ludlow (1635-1668; Wiltshire; England)

Luce Mottrom (1620-1667; Bristol;, England)

Richard Pemberton (1630-1708; France)

Nathaniel Pope (1603-1660; England)

Frances Walton (1630-1709; Somerset, England)

John Washington (1629-1677; Hertford County, England)



Many on the list above are from better-off families, which might have provided the immigrants with more education and other resources, increasing their likelihood of success as new immigrants.

The following are brief descriptions of thirteen male ancestors listed in the above table that immigrated to the Northern Neck:

William Ball (1615-1680)

William Ball is believed to have immigrated to Lancaster County sometime after 1650. His name appears on a Lancaster County document in 1661. Hannah, his daughter (he also had sons William and Joseph) is believed to have been born in 1650. His sons, older than Hannah, are believed to be born in England. Birth dates and locations are uncertain.

William’s will indicates that he was a merchant because what is described as merchandise is appears in the will. Also, the 1661 document referred to above identifies William as a merchant. He left a slave family (husband, wife, and two children) and 2,000 acres.  William was in the Lancaster militia, rising to the rank of Colonel, indicating he might have commanded the unit (sometimes more than one Colonel could be associated with a militia unit).  The will identifies Williams’s wife as Hannah. William is believed to have married a Hannah Atherold (spelling uncertain) in 1638 in England, based on a marriage record.

The above information on William is well-accepted by historians. Historians have been interested in William because his son Joseph was the father of Mary Ball, George Washington’s mother. Information on William and Hannah’s life in England seems not to be well known and agreed upon.

As mentioned above, William and Hannah had three children (William, Joseph, and Hannah). In the research and analysis I have done related to my family, I have discovered that one of my grandparents (Carey Grandy Jenkins, 1885-1958) is descended from Joseph Ball, 1649-1711, and the person that grandparent married (Melvin Crider Torian,  1883-1970) was descended from Hannah Ball, 1650-1694, (Joseph Ball’s sister). I would be surprised if either grandparent knew this. Neither grandparent ever lived in the Northern Neck, nor likely did either knew they had Northern Neck ancestors.


John Bradshaw (1613-1655)

John Bradshaw’s birth is believed to be in Stafford County, England. A John Bradshaw signed an “oath to the commonwealth” on April 13, 1652, in Northumberland County, Virginia, along with other Northumberland County residents. Also signing on the same day is a Robert Bradshaw, who likely was John’s brother. John’s Northumberland County will shows that he had a brother named Robert.

The “oath of allegiance” was an edict sent from England requiring allegiance to the new government in England (Oliver Cromwell and the parliamentarians). Approximately one hundred Northumberland County residents, most of whom were office holders (commissioners, burgesses, sheriffs, militia officers, etc.) signed the oath. 

Records show that on July 31, 1622, a Robert Bradshaw sailed from England for Virginia on a ship named James. This could have been John’s brother Robert, and perhaps John was aboard, although John would have been nine at the time.

John Bradshaw apparently had more than one wife, with one of them, Temperance Welby, possibly being the mother of Joanne Bradshaw (1628-1689) who is believed to have married James Claughton, Jr. (1629-1698). John Bradshaw’s father appears to be George Bradshaw (Bradshawe) (1587-1640), who also immigrated to Northumberland County, dying in 1640.


John Carter (1613-1669)

John Carter (born in 1613 in what was then Middlesex County, just north of the then city of London, and now located in Greater London, and died in Lancaster County, Virginia Colony) is believed to have immigrated to the Virginia Colony in 1635. His father, John W. Carter (1574-1630), was a vintner/wine merchant in the area where John was born.

By the time John died he had accumulated thousands of acres in the Northern Neck peninsula of the Virginia Colony, many of which were the result of paying for immigrants to come from England, as part of the Colony’s headrights system. John served on the Virginia Council, in the House of Burgesses, as a justice, and as a colonel in the militia.

John’s fourth wife, Sarah Ludlow (1635-1668) had one of John’s sons, Robert Carter (1663-1732), who by Robert’s death, would become one of the largest landowners in the Virginia Colony.


James Claughton (1590-1647)

James Claughton was born in Northumberland County, England and died in Northumberland County, Virginia. He may have first immigrated to Kent Island, in the Chesapeake Bay. A Claughton was one of the names in the group of settlers who migrated from the Maryland Colony to what became Northumberland County. It is likely that this Claughton was James Claughton.

Kent Island originally was claimed by immigrants to Virginia as part of the Virginia Colony. But fairly soon subsequent to this claim, Kent Island became a part of the Maryland Colony. This change in Kent Island’s status likely was the reason for a group on Kent Island, including James Claughton, migrating from Kent Island to what became Northumberland Count, a part of the Virginia Colony.

Before immigrating from England, James married Jane Aglescope (1590-1657) on February 9, 1628, at the Saint Dunstan and All Saint Church in Stepney, England, which at the time was just outside the city of London. Saint Dunstan, which has existed as a church (different buildings) at the same site for over a thousand years, is on Stepney High Street, Stepney, London Borough of Towers Hamlet, (East End), Greater London. That they married at Saint Dunstan might suggest that they were better off economically and socially than the average English citizen. It is interesting that another 1600s-founded church in the Northern Neck, St. Mary’s Whitechapel, located in Lancaster County, also had an association with the East End of London.

Jane is believed to have been born in Stepney in 1590 and this would account for her and James’ marriage at Saint Dunstan. How James, from North England, would meet Jane, from the south, would be interesting to know. Approximately three hundred miles separate north England and London. Soon after their marriage, James and Jane had James Claughton, Jr., in 1629 in England. This indicates that James and Jane immigrated to Virginia after 1629. Although James dies in Virginia, in 1647, Jane does not die until 1657 in Yorkshire, England. More on why Jane is in England when she dies would be interesting to know. Also, Yorkshire is in the north of England, near Northumberland County, where James was born. Did Jane return to the north of England because of James’ family members who still lived there?

It is interesting that a 1600s-founded church in the Northern Neck, St. Mary’s Whitechapel, located in Lancaster County, apparently also had an association with Stepney in the east of London.  A church called St. Mary’s existed on Whitechapel Road in Stepney, London for over 600 years until being destroyed during the German Blitz of London in 1940.  More can be read about the Lancaster St Mary’s Whitechapel Church in the Property Section V, Churches Subsection 5, below.

James’ parents, Thomas Claughton (1565-1656) and Mary Mashiter (1565-?), who did not immigrate, were both from Westmoreland County, England, which is adjacent to Northumberland County, where James was born. Like Jane Aglescope Claughton (Thomas’s daughter-in-law), Thomas also dies in Yorkshire.


David Fox (1625-1685)

David Fox was reportedly born in Stepney, then just east of London, in 1625.  His father is believed to be William Fox II (1600-1690), born in Elham, Kent County, England and died in England in 1690. Elham is about fifty-five miles east of London, near Dover. William’s wife was Thomazine Lushington (1600-1689), also from Elham. The year that David Fox immigrated to the Virginia Colony is not known but would be before 1647, the year that his son, also David, was born in Lancaster County, Virginia Colony.

David’s wife was Mary Ann Clarke (1625-1665), daughter of Richard Clark (1605-1636) and Jane Pascall (1605-1692). Records indicate that Richard Clark was baptized at St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, in London, in 1636, the same year that he died, at a youthful age of thirty-one. St. Bride’s in the late 1500s and 1600s had parishioners who were part of the Roanoke Colony in North Carolina, and others who went as immigrants to the Massachusetts Colony. An orphanage associated with St. Bride’s sent dozens of children to the Virginia Colony in the early 1600s. Such a St. Bride’s history might have influenced Richard Clarke’s daughter, Mary Ann Clarke and her husband, David Fox, to immigrate to the Virginia Colony. David Fox’s mother, Thomazine Lushington Fox, died at Concord, Massachusetts, in 1689.


James Foushee (1669-1729)

James Foushee is believed to have been born in the Brittany section of France in 1669 and died in 1729, in Richmond County, Virginia Colony (his will was recorded in Lancaster County). James was a French protestant (a Huguenot), who left France sometime after French King Louis XIV proclaimed in 1685 that French protestants were required to renounce their faith or leave France. James is believed to have spent time before 1690 in London after he departed France (England welcomed French protestants). He must have immigrated to the Virginia Colony before 1690, because in 1690 he married Mary Sarah Cralle (1670-1724) in Richmond County, Northern Neck. Cralle is a French name and French Huguenots are known to be in the Northern Neck in the late 1600s, with concentrations in and around Richmond County.

James and Mary’s son, John Foushee (1697-1773), born in Richmond County, was at various times a coroner, a justice, and an overseer of roads. He also might have been a shoemaker. John eventually ends up in Halifax County, Virginia, where he dies in 1773. Another Northern Neck resident, and ancestor of mine, Thomas Hull Cralle (1766-1815), also migrates from the Northern Neck to Halifax County. Likely John Foushee and Thomas Cralle’s migrations to Halifax County were somehow related. The Cralle spelling eventually becomes Crawley.

Both John Foushee and Thomas Hull Cralle are believed to be descendants of French Huguenots. Relatively large numbers of French Huguenots immigrated into central Virginia and possibly some of those into south central Virginia (where Halifax County is located). A possible explanation for John and Thomas Hall’s migration to Halifax is because of a French Huguenot community being there.


John Garner (1633-1702)

John Garner probably was born in England. Although it is likely that John immigrated from England, no evidence has been found relating John Garner (1633-1702) to England.

Records indicate that he came to the Virginia Colony around 1650, sponsored by Lewis Burwell, under the headrights system. By the time John died in 1702, he had accumulated much land in Northumberland and Westmoreland Counties, and being a successful tobacco grower.  He possessed a sloop named Outcry at the time of his death. One of the first mills in Westmoreland County was built by John and one of his sons.

In 1660 John married Susanna Keene (1646-1716) who had migrated from Kent Island, Maryland to the Northern Neck with her parents Thomas Keene and Mary Thorley. John and Susanna had ten children, one of whom was a son Parish Garner (1674-1718), one of my early ancestors.

John’s set of accomplishments were noteworthy. Such accomplishments by John and many other 1600s immigrants, it would seem to me, were critical in building a foundation for later economic prosperity in an America of united states. Today thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of Americans are descended from John Garner and his descendants.


Richard Kenner (1600-1649)

Richard Kenner was born in Oxford County, England in 1600 and died in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia Colony in 1649. His son, also named Richard, was born in 1635, also in Oxford, so Richard Kenner, Sr. and his family immigrated sometime after 1635. Richard, Sr. was married to Elizabeth Warsham (1600-1651), also from Oxford County, England. Richard might have been a surgeon and apothecarist.

Richard’s son, Richard (1635-1709) seems to have migrated to Kent Island in the Maryland County. He married Elizabeth Rodham (1649-1709), who was from Kent Island. Richard, Jr., served in the House of Burgesses for several years. Reports indicate Richard was responsible for bringing many indentured servants to the Virginia Colony. Richard and his wife died in Northumberland County, Northern Neck.


Thomas Matthew (1630-1705)

Thomas Matthew, who was born in Hampshire County just southwest of London, immigrated to Northumberland County sometime before the 1670s. We know this because he was a member of the House of Burgesses in 1671 and a justice in Northumberland County in 1672 and 1676.

We also know that Thomas apparently help trigger, by engaging in hostilities with Indians on and around his property in Northumberland County, the period that is known as Bacon’s Rebellion (1675-76). Although he immigrated to the Northern Neck, he would return to England to live, where he died in London around 1705. He requested to be buried in the St. Dunstan Church, in Stepney, just east of London. While in England, he wrote an account of the Bacon’s Rebellion called “The Beginning, Progress, and Conclusion of Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia in the Years 1675 and 1676”, which serves as a resource in researching that rebellion.

In his will, Thomas Matthew refers to a Capt. John Cralle as his brother-in-law. Possibly he met son-in-law, as his daughter Anne (1678-1728) married a Capt. John Cralle (1660-1728) in Northumberland County. Documents indicate Thomas Matthew, a merchant and planter, was responsible for bringing seventy-five people to the Virginia Colony. He left houses and land to his children.

At least three churches in the London area had 1600s Northern Neck immigrants connected with them: St. Dunstan in Stepney, east London (James Claughton, Sr., 1590-1647 and Thomas Matthew,1650-1705); St. Mary’s, Whitechapel Road in east London (William Ball, 1615-1680 and David Fox, 1625-1685); and St. Bride’s on Fleet Street, London (Mary Ann Clarke, 1625-1665 and David Fox, 1625-1685).  It would be interesting to know more about the relationships of London area churches (and churches in other areas of England) and 1600s immigration to the Virginia Colony.


Richard Pemberton (1630-1708)

Richard Pemberton’s birth is uncertain. One source suggests France. He died in Northumberland County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Knight (1635-1670) (birth and marriage location uncertain). Elizabeth died in Northumberland County, Virginia.

Records indicate that Richard Pemberton was a doctor (surgeon; apothecarist). Also records indicate he was accused of mistreating his wife, Elizabeth Knight, by a George Knight, who perhaps was Elizabeth’s father or brother. Oher records indicate that Richard was sued for fathering two children by different women who were his servants (likely indentured servants).

Richard Pemberton and Elizabeth Knight had Anne Pemberton (1665-1725), who married John Claughton (1659-1726).


Nathaniel Pope (1603-1660)

Nathaniel Pope immigrated (from Gloucestershire in England) initially to the Maryland Colony in 1634 or 1635. He would remain in Maryland until 1650 when he migrated to Westmoreland County, Virginia Colony in 1650. While in Maryland, he lived in the St. Mary’s community, was a member of the Maryland Assembly briefly, and served as an agent in Kent Island.

Apparently Nathaniel married prior to immigrating to the Maryland Colony and he and his wife, Lucy Fox? (1611-1660), had four children, one of whom, Anne, married John Washington (1631-1677), after Nathaniel and Lucy migrated to Westmoreland County.  Nathaniel was an officer in the Westmoreland County militia.


Matthew Rodham (1620-1672)

Matthew Rodham was born in Yorkshire, England and died in Northumberland County, Virginia Colony. A Matthew Rodan appears on a 1642 “assembly proceedings” document related to Kent Island, Maryland, along with a James Claughton. The Matthew Rodan is likely Matthew Rodham. A James Claughton (1590-1647) migrated from Kent Island to Northumberland County, Virginia Colony in the 1640s, which suggests that the Matthew Rodan, on the “assembly proceedings” document could have also migrated and is the Matthew Rodham who is known to be in Northumberland County in the 1640s. The name Rodham in England has appeared as Roddam at various times. Name spellings were inconsistent during earlier periods and often were unedited phonetic spellings.

Matthew Rodham married Elizabeth Hewitt (1620-?) in 1648. Her father, Robert Hewitt, born in England, and who dies in Northumberland County in 1644, migrated from Kent County, perhaps along with Matthew Rodham and James Claughton. Elizabeth’s mother was Hannah Cooper.

Matthew Rodham is believed to be the son of Edward Roddam and Margaret Grey. Edward’s last name appears as Roddam and locations where he lived in Northumberland County, England are known as Roddam Tower and Roddam Hall. But Roddam also appears as Rodham in Edward’s family heritage, with his father being Robert Rodham. Margaret Grey (1594 or 1600-1647)’s family was a prominent Northumberland County family, as was the Roddam (Rodham) family. Margaret grew up in Chillingham, Northumberland County, possibly at Chillingham Castle, an English national historic landmark that still stands. Greys have held high-level government positions in England.


John Washington (1631-1677)

John Washington was born in Tring, Hertford County, England, about thirty miles northeast of central London. He died in Westmoreland County, Virginia Colony, in 1677. He sailed from England in the middle 1650s, as a crew member on a ship serving transport functions between England and the Virginia Colony. His ship sunk in the Potomac River off the coast of Westmoreland County, and John decided to remain in Westmoreland.

John’s father (Lawrence Washington, 1602-1652) was an Oxford-educated pastor who held strong allegiances to the Church of England and to the royalists in their civil war with the puritans. When the puritans eventually prevailed in the 1640s, Lawrence lost his high-level positions, and was assigned to a small church in Malden, Essex (northwest of London), where he died poor. Lawrence, through his royalists’ connections, was able to get his son, John, work as a sailor, serving shipping between England and the Virginia Colony.

John Washington married Anne Pope (1639-1668), the daughter of Nathaniel and Lucy Pope shortly after he started residing in Westmoreland County. John and Anne had Lawrence Washington (1659-1698), who with his wife Mildred Warner (1671-1701) had Augustine Washington (1694-1743), who with his wife Mary Ball (1708-1789), had George Washington.


Using the information in the above ancestor descriptions, plus related research that I have done, some general, and approximate, conclusions can be reached. The average life span of the thirteen described above is close to sixty. Most on them were born before 1625 and had died by 1685. Most immigrated to the Virginia Colony while in their 20s and 30s. And most had immigrated to the Virginia Colony by the year 1650.

Nine of the thirteen are believed to have been born in the following areas in England:

Gloucester County (Pope); about ninety miles west, southwest of today’s central London.

Hampshire County (Matthew); about sixty miles west, northwest of today’s central London.

Hertford County (Washington); just north of today’s Greater London.

Middlesex County (Carter); no longer exists as a county, now is part of Greater London.

Northumberland County (Claughton); about 270 miles north of today’s central London.

Oxford County (Kenner); about sixty miles west, northwest of today’s central London.

Stafford County (Bradshaw); about 120 miles north, northwest of today’s central London.

Stepney Parish (Fox); then a separate area just east of then London, now part of Greater London.

York County (Rodham); about 180 miles north of today’s central London.


Two (Foushee and Pemberton) of the other four described above possibly were born in France (and lived somewhere in England before immigrating to the Virginia Colony). The birth places of the final two on the list have not been identified, but likely in England.

Based on the locations identified above, the south of England seems to have been a primary source of my ancestral immigrants to the Virginia Colony. In the Northern Neck most of the immigrants settled in what today is Northumberland County (six of the thirteen). Three settled in Lancaster County; three in Westmoreland County; and one in Richmond County.

From what I know of the immigrants described above and of what life was like in the Northern Neck, based on this study, I conclude that the Northern Neck immigrants of the 1600s were intent on creating in their lives and in their communities and counties much of what life was like for them in England.


The number of immigrants to the Virginia Colony during the 1600s apparently is uncertain. I have seen sources that suggest that close to 75,000 headrights were issued in the 1600s (with each one representing an immigrant brought to the Virginia Colony). Another source indicated that the Virginia Colony population in 1699 was an estimated 80,000 (which is consistent with the headright number). With respect to England’s population, a source suggests it was four million at the beginning of the 1600s and five million at the end (or an average 4.5 million). This suggests that 1 to 2% of England’s population immigrated to the Virginia Colony during the 1600s (80,000 immigrants divided by England’s 4.5 million average population).

During the 1600s, ships carrying these immigrants to the Virginia Colony are assumed to have a capacity, on average for the 17th century, of 100 to 125 passengers per ship. This suggests that approximately 640 to 800 crossings (720 mean) were made from England to the Virginia Colony during the 1600s (80,000 immigrants divided by 100 and 125 passengers per crossing). If most of the crossings occurred from 1630 on, then approximately ten crossings per year occurred (720 crossings divided by 70 years). Where the ten crossing per year from England to the Virginia Colony mostly parted from in England and disembarked in the Virginia Colony seems not to have been well-researched and documented.

Reasons for the immigration from England to the Virginia Colony in the 1600s could well be related to one of the following situations in England:

  1. The political tensions that existed during most of the 1600s over the authority and actions of the monarchy and resistance to that authority and actions. These tensions led to a civil war in mid-century that caused thousands of destroyed houses, possibly as many as one hundred thousand fatalities, and families torn apart by differences in views.

  2. Related to the political tensions was what might be considered a deep-rooted culture war based on what would be the prevailing religion (catholic or protestant), a society based on that religion, and the degree of toleration that could be accepted by either side in the culture war.

  3. The lack of economic opportunities caused by the tensions identify in 1 and 2 above and their negative effects on a national governance that could support economic growth - during a time when the population was increasing significantly with needs and demands that were not being satisfied by the government authorities.


Based on what I have found about the thirteen immigrant ancestors described above, here are a few conclusions related to why they might have immigrated to the Virginia Colony:

  1. At least eight (Carter, Claughton, Fox, Garner, Kenner, Pope, Rodham, and Washington) were farmers (assessed to be successful farmers) in the Norther Neck. This suggests that economics was likely the primary motivation for their immigration. Farmland likely was limited in England, and the eight sought sufficient land to meet their farming aspirations.  Such aspirations were powerful motivations in history for immigration - it accounted for much of the great migrations westward by Americans in the 1700 and 1800s. In a sense these westward American migrations were just a continuation of the England to Virginia Colony immigration.

  2. At least two of the immigrants (Rodham and Washington) were from families with known support of the monarchy (royalist) side in the civil war and this could have been a motivation for their leaving England. Their departures from England (1640s and 1650s) corresponded with England’s civil war.

  3. One of the immigrants (Garner) came as an indentured servant, suggesting an economic reason for coming.

  4. At least one of the immigrants (Foushee) was a Huguenot (Pemberton might have been a Huguenot also) and religion (cultural) reasons could have been a reason for their immigration, wanting to remain in a Huguenot community.


The need for larger numbers of immigrants into the Northern Neck during the 1600s and 1700s was due to such reasons as short life spans of those living in the Northern Neck and a growing economy based on tobacco farming.  European immigration into the Northern Neck greatly declined after the first part of the 1700s.This was due to residents and authorities less welcoming of European immigrants, lesser desire by Europeans to immigrate in the 1700s, and to a greatly decreased need for English workers (many who came over as indentured servants), because they were being replaced by African slaves.


4.  Migration.  (The term migration is used in this history for relocation within the colonies.)  Although immigration from outside the colonies accounted for most of the people arriving in the Northern Neck in the 1600s and 1700s, a few people migrated to the Northern Neck from other parts of the Virginia Colony, the Maryland Colony, and other colonies.


Migration out of the Northern Neck also occurred, especially beginning in the 1700s.A number of residents started migrating from the Northern Neck to other parts of Virginia, further west.  Initially, in the 1600s, restrictions were in place on settlers moving westward because of treaties with the Indians, reserving the westward lands for the Indians.  But with the large families that were typical of the 1600s and 1700s, generating many male offspring that needed land to farm for their own families and that Northern Neck land was already accounted for, it was inevitable that the Indians would lose out and migrating settlers would gained access to the western lands.


The Northern Neck also lost population after the 1760s due to migrations back to England, and elsewhere, by those Northern Neck residents that remained loyal to Britain during America’s war for independence.


As an example of the migration out of the Northern Neck in the 1700s, two of my ancestors, Thomas Hull Cralle (1766-1815) and his wife Elizabeth Mary Claughton (1766-1808), left Northumberland County and migrated to Halifax County, Virginia, very likely because land was available in Halifax County (that was not available in Northumberland County).  Thomas Cralle and Elizabeth Claughton’s ancestors had been living in Northern Neck as early as the middle of the 1600s.Other Cralles and Claughtons did not migrate, continuing to live in the Northern Neck up into modern times.

5.  Life Spans.   During the 1600s, adult life span in the Northern Neck was in the 40s.  By comparison, the current life span in Virginia is about 79 years.  The low 1600s life span did not improved much in the 1700s.  Forty to fifty percent of children died by age 20 in the 1600s.  Most children would lose one or more parents, leading to many orphans and needy children.   Epidemics were common, caused by many diseases.  Epidemics increased in the 1700s with the increased imports of Africans as slaves.  Emerging local governments still lacking in necessary resources created large gaps in caring for the needy that were filled by churches, much more than is the case in later centuries, where governments are the largest providers of such services.  New immigrant arrivals often had difficulties in coping with the challenges leading to high death rates among the immigrants.


Information from my ancestor tables in Section I, Introduction shows that the average life span for my ancestors who lived sometime during the 1600s and 1700s in the Northern Neck was 56.  This 56-year life span is somewhat higher than “in the 40s”, which is believed to have been the life span of all residents in the Northern Neck (see the paragraph above). This higher life span might suggest that my ancestors were somewhat better off than the average person, and therefore had better health.


6.  Deaths.  The frequent deaths, funerals, and burials seem to have an impact different than what would be experienced today.   Funerals were often all-day affairs held in the home and were important social events.  Guns were often fired as part of the funeral event (guns were prominent, every family likely owning at least one; militia members – most males were required to be in the militia – were required to own a gun).  Such gun firing likely had a meaning that might not be well understood today.  Burials were often on land owned by the grieving, in specially prepared and kept areas, and in plots following a prescribed plan.  Because doctors were very sparse, a coroner, an important position then in ways not the same today, fill the role that might be expected of doctors today.


7.  Indians.  Initially in the 1640s, when the first European settlers came to the Northern Neck, apparently peaceful relations mostly existed between the Indians and the settlers.  The settlers were able to trade for badly needed corn and other food stuffs to tie them over during difficult periods.  The major disputes between the settlers and Indians was over land ownership, some of which were settled by the county courts.  Unfortunately, the Indians seem to have been greatly mismatched going up against the Europeans in terms of negotiating and obtaining value for what they gave up.  For example, the Indians would trade corn to the settlers, badly needed by the settlers for survival, to obtain such things as seashell necklaces and pieces of metals that would improve their status with other Indians.  The Indians did not seem to sufficiently recognize that the Europeans had technologies (e.g., tools) and management skills (e.g., in agriculture) that could greatly advance the Indians welfare, and which they should try to acquire.


A trading post was established in the 1640s by a Col. John Mottram (1610-1655) in the area where the first Europeans settled in the Northern Neck (see the  Introduction paragraph above for more on the first European settles).  The trading post likely traded with the Indians.  One of my ancestors,  Luce Mottram (1620-1667), was the wife of another ancestor, Nathaniel Pope (1620-1660), and they lived in the area of the trading post.  Luce and Nathaniel are believed to have married in 1638.  Both Luce and Nathaniel were born in England and died in Westmoreland County, not far from Col. John Mottram’s trading post.  Luce’s father was believed to be a William Mottram and her mother Eleanor Upton.  Luce’s relationship to Col. John Mottram is not known but very likely they were related. Perhaps John was Luce’s uncle; William being John’s brother.


Views are that at least eight Indian tribes lived in the Northern Neck area in the early 1600s, totaling about 2,000 Indians.  Many tribes lived along the Rappahannock River.  By the start of the 1700s very few Indians remained in the Northern Neck. The Indian culture, and the things they valued, were fundamentally different from the English, and over the long-term that culture had no chance of countering English growth and expansion desires and the English aggressiveness (available land and its ownership was the principle reason for the English interest in the Virginia colony).  The Indians were unable to successfully acclimate to English ways.


Today, in 2021, more Indians live in the Northern Neck area than at the start of the 1700s.Eleven Indian tribes are recognized by the State of Virginia for special State rights and considerations.  Two of these are in, or adjacent, to the Northern Neck.  The Rappahannock Tribe, whose Tribal Center is near the Rappahannock River, has about 500 members on its tribal roll.  The Patawomeck Tribe, located in Stafford County, has approximately 2,300 members, 80% of whom live within ten miles of their historic Patawomeck Village.


8.  Indentured Servants.  The Northern Neck tobacco farmers of the 1600s needed large numbers of workers.  This led to the use of a system known as the indentured servant system, developed to provide the needed workers.  The system consisted of individuals in England agreeing to serve a specific time (for example, 5 to 7 years) in the Virginia colony in return for free passage to the colony and signing a contract outlining the responsibilities that the farmer and the indentured servant had to one another.  At the end of the service period, the indentured servant was free of obligations to the farmer and in many cases would receive some acres of land.  Indentured servants are believed to represent as much as 75% of the Northern Neck population in the late 1600s.  


The number of indentured servants coming to the Northern Neck was the highest in the middle 1600s.This is likely due to the political problems in England at that time (e.g., the English Civil War), limiting opportunities for many or threat of arrest to others.  During the first few years of the 1700s, indentured servants coming to the Northern Neck fell as the number of African slaves purchased by Northern Neck farmers started increasing, driving down the need for indentured servants.  So opportunities in England probably greatly improved in the early 1700s compared to the 1600s.


Although indentured servant numbers decreased in the early 1700s, the numbers rose again later in the 1700s, as England used their Virginia Colony as a dumping ground for their prison populations, a practice not well-liked in the Colony.


More indentured servants came to the Northern Neck than other areas of the Virginia Colony, as tobacco farming was more successful in the Northern Neck.  Many of the indentured servants had needed skills such as carpentry, blacksmithing, and milling.  These better-skilled indentured servants would be treated better and eventually some of them will buy land in the Northern Neck and serve as a community of skilled craftsmen (carpenters, smiths, tailors, etc.) that would be needed in any growing economy.  Many of the craftsmen likely migrated from the Northern Neck, so that the Northern Neck served as a resource for economic growth in other parts of Virginia, and even further west.


Ancestors listed in the ancestor tables in Section I, Introduction who brought indentured servants to the Northern Neck include:


Walter Broadhurst (1618-1658)

John Carter (1613-1669)

James Claughton (1629-1698)

John Cralle (1660-1728)

David Fox (1650-1702)

Parish Garner (1674-1718)

Rodham Kenner (1689-1710)

Thomas Matthew (1630-1703)

Nathaniel Pope (1603-1660)

John Washington (1631-1677)



Note that these ancestors lived in the 1600s when the number of indentured servants coming to the Northern Neck was the highest.  The indentured servant program seems to have been successful government policy, but greatly declined in the 1700s.


Ancestors listed in the ancestor tables in Section I, Introduction believed to have come to the Northern Neck as indentured servants are:


John Garner (1634-1702)

Mary Bennett Johnson (1650s?-1721)

Another group of workers in the 1600s were orphan children, of which there were many due to the high death rates of parents.  Many of these children were incorporated into an “apprentice” system, receiving upkeep, providing services, and learning skills.

An apprenticeship system existed in the Virginia Colony as early as the 1640s. A Colony Apprenticeship Law was enacted in 1643, with subsequent updates, formulating the requirements of such a system and how it was to be operated. The system significantly copied an apprentice program in England. The system was designed to accommodate and prepare orphans (high number of orphans existed due to short adult life spans) and indigent and illegitimate children.  The system was also used by families with sons who, because they were not the first born, would not inherit land and needed to learn skills. Meaningful number of orphaned children were sent from England to the Northern Neck to enter the apprentice program.

Generally, children would enter the system by age 14 and continue to age 21 for males and 20 for females (or to marriage if prior to age 20).  The system required the families to which apprentices were assigned to provide for housing, clothing, and feeding. Training provided varied depending on a range of factors such as whether the apprenticed was male or female, what skills might be needed in the community, etc. The colony apprentice program required governmental oversight, including documentation that identified families and the youth assigned to the families, training that was to be provided, and other specifics related to the family and the apprenticed. Many of these documents have survived and identify families and the apprenticed.


Ancestors who had apprentices included:

John Garner (1633-1702). John had a Thomas Brown assigned to him in 1691.

James Claughton (1629-1698). James had a William Dawson assigned to him in 1661. William was to be trained as a cooper (container maker). This suggests that James Claughton had skills as a container maker, perhaps a container-making business.

John Claughton (1659-1726). John, James Claughton’s son, had a John Booth assigned to him in 1694, and like William Dawson (see above, James Claughton) would also receive training as a cooper.

Richard Claughton (1696-1773). Richard, son of John and grandson of James, had a Mary Donlop assigned to him in 1722.


9.  African Slaves.  A few Africans were in the Northern Neck as slaves early, not long after the first European settlers in 1640s.  By the 1720s, 20% of the Northern Neck population are believed to be African slaves and by 1750, 30 to 40%.   During the 1600s, some Indians were enslaved.  


Initially, African slaves could more easily be freed, being treated more like indentured servants.  Those who converted to Christianity could be freed.  But by the late 1600s, the African slave status changed for the worst.  Children were considered slaves if their mother was a slave even if the father was white.  Converting to Christianity was no longer allowed as a reason for freedom and slaves were not taught to read.  Slaves were viewed more of a threat, than in earlier periods, to rebel and cause harm, so harsher conditions likely existed for many.


Some African slaves had advanced skills, e.g., as blacksmiths, and provided income for the owners when the owners offered blacksmithing services for a fee.  Slave class distinctions existed, e.g., those with more skills and value to the owner enjoyed a better life.  Living quarters for slaves mostly were terrible – a slave might have only a corner of a building, e.g., a storage facility to sleep in; hut-like structures were more likely.  More valuable slaves might have better quarters.  Most slaves were treated terribly.


Most farmers in the Northern Neck owned at least one or two slaves.  During the American war for independence, the British encouraged slaves to defect to their side, often being successful.  African slaves were probably less expensive for the tobacco farmers than indentured servants.  Both the indentured servants and the African slaves were instrumental to the economic success of the Northern Neck tobacco farmer.


Records show that in Lancaster County in 1716 there were 200 slave owners, with 165 of them owning 1 to 4 slaves, and four owing greater than 20 slaves.  These four were: William Ball – 22; Robert Carter – 123; Madam Fox – 23; and William Fox – 25.  Robert Carter is in my ancestor tables in Section I, Introduction and Ball and Fox are Lancaster County ancestral names.


During the 1700s, a small percentage of Africans were not enslaved.  For example, in 1750 about 145 Africans in Lancaster County were “free”.

Northern Neck Counties Populalion 1790
King George
population densities
2010 population
2020 population
square miles
population density (2020) pop/sq mi
King George
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