The William Rush Family of Westmoreland County

In this section, I first give the rationale for concluding that my oldest known ancestor, Thomas Mylam of Orange County (1738), married Mary Rush, daughter of William Rush IV; and second, I provide a detailed history of the Rush family of Westmoreland County including the influence of the Quaker, William Duff, and his nephew, Robert Green (Virginia Burgess 1736). This history is documented by numerous Citations (link) from county court and parish records. Chronologies of the lives of William Rush (link) and his brother, Benjamin Sr. (link) , in court records are also provided.

 

Rationale for the Marriage of Thomas Mylam and Mary Rush

The evidence is convincing that Thomas Mylam married Mary Rush, the daughter of William Rush IV, who lived nearby in then Orange County of the Colony of Virginia.


  • William Rush IV lived two miles from Mylam’s property. See this overlay of early Orange County land plats (image) on a current topographic map.
  • Mary Rush was the only Mary Rush living nearby; the last name, Rush, being uncommon.
  • Benjamin Rush Sr., brother of William - although he patented 387 acres next to William on the same day, 11 May 1726, that William patented 400 acres - never lived on that land. Benjamin lived in King George County and later Prince William County before moving to Bute County in the Colony of North Carolina [23, 24, 25, 26] . Please see the Chronology of Benjamin Rush Sr. (link) for details. Also Benjamin Rush did not have a daughter named Mary, according to the 1746 Will of his mother, Elizabeth Rush Duff, whose second marriage was to William Duff. [27]
  • Finley McColester (McCollister, McAllister) married Mary’s older sister, Elizabeth, [27] and John Kelly married Mary’s younger sister, Ann Margaret (Nannie) and thus were brother-in-laws. [28]
  • Thomas Mylam is found on several Court documents with McColester and Kelly. In particular, Thomas Mylam was a Security for Ann Margaret (Nanny) Rush along with Finley McColister and Thomas Henderson in an Orange County court case accusing John Kelly and Ann Margaret Rush of living in adultery. [28, 29, 30] The 26 FEB 1742/43 Grand Jury presentment against John and Ann my be viewed here (image) This accusation was a common harassment of Quaker families who were not married in the Church of England, as required by English Law. There is no doubt that this Rush family was Quaker since their mother said so in a Westmoreland County court when she returned the Inventory of her late husband, William Rush III’s, property after his death in 1708 and refused to swear on the Bible as Quakers did refuse. [51] The Orange County court case which began on 25 November 1742 was finally concluded on 27 September 1746 when Mylam, McColester and Henderson as Securities were required to pay 500 pounds of tobacco or 50 shillings [31, 32]. Court Order (image) This fine was according to colonial law and was the routine. However, if Ann Margaret Rush could not pay the fine or provide Securities to pay it for her then the punishment - also according to law - was 25 "lashes well laid on" her bare back. [129, 419, 420] This case demonstrates that Thomas Mylam was very close to this family as a brother-in-law of John Kelly and his wife, Ann Margaret, would have been.
  • My recent research reveals that the connection between Thomas Milam and John Kelly endured even after the Milams moved to Bedford County in 1761 since the Kellys also removed to Bedford County by 1768. In a Deed of Trust dated 23 MAY 1768, Kelly confirmed that he held a lease of land in Bedford on Battery Creek:
    "Know all men by these Presents that I, John Kelly, for and on Consideration of John McKenzie being my Security to Lenox & Scott and Company for a large Debt which will appear by our Joint Bond, given this day in order to Prevent McKenzie from being a sufferer by me. I do hereby acknowledge and by these Presents do bargain and sell unto the said John McKenzie a Straw Berry roane horse about 4 feet high, Two feather Beds, nine head of Hoggs, a man­s hatt and a Lease of land I hold from under Nicholas Davis in Bedford County on the mouth of Battery Creek, with every other thing I now Possess or may hereafter Possess and all Crops that I make till the Debt is dischargedů.In Witness Whereof I have Hereunto set my hand and seal this 23rd day of May 1768. Signed: John Kelly" [421] You may read the deed here .
  • Furthermore, a 25 MAY 1771 Bedford County "road order" shows that Zachariah Milam (a son of Thomas Milam) and John Kelly were neighbors since they were ordered to work on "the road above Francis Holley’s leading through Peteet’s Gap". All the individuals named in this order lived along this road in north western Bedford County.
    "The hands of Charles Lambert, George Allen, Zachariah Milam, John Kelly, Charles Barnett, Samuel Hensley, Wm Lear, John Ross, John Dewit & William Willams with their male tithes {Tithables} are ordered to work on the old road from the fork in the road above Francis Holley­s leading through Peteet­s Gap and Keep the same in Repair, and that the said hands be exempted from working on the New Road....." [445] You may view the order here .
  • Later Zachariah Milam named one of his sons, John Kelly Milam - born in 1778. John Kelly was Zachariah’s uncle on his mother’s side of the family married to her sister, Ann Margaret Rush.
  • Thomas and Mary named their first son, William, which was a long standing tradition of the Rush family, Mary’s father being William Rush IV and her eldest brother being William Rush V. They named their second son Benjamin, probably after her uncle, Benjamin Rush Sr., or her older brother, Benjamin, who was also a second son. As if to emphasize the family connection, Thomas and Mary named their youngest son, Rush.

 

The William Rush Family

I turn next to discussing Mary’s family, the Rush Family of Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia, not only for gender equality purposes - it is after all a biologic fact that one half of our genes come from our mothers - but also because it is a previously untold and interesting history for Thomas Mylam’s descendants.

Mary Mylam’s father, William Rush IV, and his younger brother, Benjamin Rush Sr., were born and raised in Westmoreland County which at the time was bounded on the north by the Potomac River and on the south by the Rappahannock River. Thus it was in the heart of the Northern Neck Proprietary (link) of Lord Thomas Fairfax. In the late 17th century, Westmoreland was perhaps the wealthiest county in Virginia and was populated by the roots of such prominent Virginian families as the Carter(s), the Lee(s), the Marshall(s), the Mason(s), the Monroe(s) and the Washington(s). [34]

 

William Rush II and Francis Gray

Image of Land Plats of Francis GrayWilliam Rush II married Anne Gray, the daughter of Francis Gray, a successful carpenter [125], farmer and a Vestryman for Appomattocks Parish along with the immigrant John Washington, Andrew Monroe, John Dodman, etc. [120, 151] On 20 November 1658, Francis Gray gave them 100 acres described by Gray as "being part of a tract owned by me.....and being at a place commonly called the Round Hills, nigh unto the Machodick {Machodoc} Creek....". [36] The 100 acres was a portion of a tract of 1000 acres granted to Francis Gray by patent in 1654. [45] This is a map (image) of early Westmoreland County patents which shows Gray’s 16 July 1654 patent 0f 1000 acres and his 16 November 1664 patent of 374 acres, the Upper Church at the Round Hills where he was a Vestryman and the mill of the emigrant John Washington (built 1662) on Rozier's Creek. Near the top of the map the frequently mentioned Upper Machodoc River is shown.

The life of this Francis Gray is fascinating since he was one of the earliest settlers of the Province of Maryland, being a representative from St. Mary's Hundred to the first Maryland General Assembly held on 25 January 1637/1638, less than three years after the first settlers arrived on the Ark and the Dove on 25 March 1634. The first Assembly minutes state in part: "The Acts of the First Day:.... ffrancis Gray of St maries hundred, carpenter". [154] You may find more information on Gray's life in Colonial Maryland and his role in Ingle's Rebellion against Lord Baltimore (1645 - 1646) [177] by clicking here (link) . And on his migration across the Potomac River to become among the earliest white settlers of the Northern Neck of Virginia; and on his election as a founding Vestrymen of Appomattocks Parish along with John Washington and Andrew Monroe [192] by clicking here (link).

The Will of Colonel Lawrence Washington, grandfather of our first President, dated 11 March 1697/1698 states: "To my son, John Washington, the seat of land where I now live and that tract of land lying from the mouth of Machodack {Machodoc Creek} extending to a place called the Round Hills, with the additions I have thereunto made of William Rush {II} and William Webb". [35] This was hardly Rush’s only encounter with the Washington family since the immigrant John and eventually John's sons, Lawrence and John Jr., were Justices of the Peace and often at the monthly Court. William Rush II was frequently at the Westmoreland Court to register the marks for his hogs and cattle [128]; as an appraiser of estates, a plaintiff, a defendant, a witness or a juror; and for recording Deeds. He represented several persons with their Power of Attorney. For example, on 23 May 1670 the county Deed Book specifically notes that William Rush II and his wife, Anne, acknowledged a Deed to Robert Howson "before John Washington". [37] And on 17 September 1672 William Rush {II} and Henry Cossum swore to the appraisal they had made of Francis Lewis' estate inventory before John Washington. [228] Other Justices of the Peace for Westmoreland County during this early time were Captain George Mason, Andrew Monroe, Colonel Vallentine Peyton and after 1680 Lawrence Washington, the immigrant John's eldest son.

The earliest Westmoreland County record for a William Rush was a deed of gift to him of 100 acres from Captain Thomas Davis of Warwick River County on 20 October 1654. [38] On 24 February 1663/1664, the Westmoreland Court granted Rush II 300 acres in exchange for six Headrights which he received for the transportation of 6 men into the Colony. [39] Rush acquired more land when he and Henry Cossum (Causham) bought 600 acres from Robert Howson on 14 January 1664 /1665 "adjoining land of Cossum.....and adjoining 100 acres lately (12 January 1664/1665) sold by Robert Howson to William Rush {II}". [40] In April 1670 Causham and Rush agreed with regard to the 600 acres which they jointly owned to "neither take an advantage of the death of the other…”. [41]

William and Anne Gray Rush II had two daughters: Elizabeth and Mary. After the marriage of Elizabeth to Jossua Hudson in 1674, William gave them the "same 100 acres that Francis Gray gave William Rush II and Anne Gray on 25 Nov 1658". [42] Anne Rush’s brother, Francis Gray Jr., and John Ashton were witnesses to this deed. Four years later after the marriage of Mary Rush to Philip Peyton (Payton), her father gave them 200 acres of "plantation land lying on the Beaver Damms of Upper Machodix {Machodoc Creek} .....commonly called The Newland.....". [43] William and Anne also had a son, William Rush III, born about 1665. On 22 Jul 1689, William Rush II  gave his son 100 acres on the "south side towards the head of Upper Machodoc Creek" through a deed of gift. This land was purchased from Robert Howson by William Rush II  on 12 Jan 1664/65. [46] The next definitive Court record for William Rush III occurred seven years later on 24 Feb 1696/1697 when he and his wife, Elizabeth, proved the nuncupative Will of William Menthorur along with John and Elizabeth Giles. [44] There are several court entries for William Rush between then and Rush III’s untimely death in January 1708/1709 - most obviously refer to William Rush II, especially those having to do with the estate of William Rush I.

 

William Rush III

On 31 May 1699, there is an interesting entry in the Westmoreland County Order Book on page 37. Seven Grand Jurors including a William Rush refused to render a decision: "they severally appeared and obstinately refused so to do in great contempt of his Majestie’s Laws and the Court then sitting.....Each fined 200 pounds tobacco for their default."  Six jurors remained on the Grand Jury and they found “Sara Newstubbs be summoned to answer to a {churchwardens’} presentment.....for having a bastard child”. [47] I suspect this is yet another example of a Quaker couple being harassed for not marrying in the Church of England which could be the reason seven jurors including William Rush refused to prosecute her. We know William Rush III’s wife, Elizabeth, was a devout Quaker and presumably William was also. Therefore it is most reasonable that this entry refers to William Rush III. [51] Compared to his father, Rush II, who was very active at court, there are few records for Rush III perhaps because he was a devout Quaker.

At Court on 26 January 1708/09 Elizabeth Rush was granted Administration of the estate of William Rush III, deceased. "Peter Skinner and Cossum Bennett {were certified} her Securitys for 50,000 pounds of tobacco for her due administration" - quite a large sum. [48] The Inventory of Rush III’s estate was presented at Court and recorded on 23 February 1708/1709. The total value of his estate was appraised at 19260 pounds of tobacco and included:

".....two feather beds and furniture...one bed with furniture...three chests...one trunk...one flock bed and covering...one table and five chairs...two old tables...6 flagg chairs...one small horse...one large mare...2 horses...three cows...one heifer...2 steers...1 bull 3 years old...four 2 year old heifers...six yearlings...four sheep...two lambs...16 barrows and sows two years old...29 pigs - 5 months old...one new saddle and bridle... one old saddle and bridle...cooking utensils...6 pewter porringers...2 tankards...26 old spoons...2 iron candlesticks...12 iron skures...1 flesh fork...1 brass kettle...3 iron pots and pott hooks...spinning wheel and cards...2 old Bibles...one Old Testament...yards of linen, surge, thread, woolen...1 parcel carpenter’s tools...one sett wedges...2 guns...". [49]

This was a handsome estate at a time when 40% of families did not have even one table in their estate’s inventory. [50] Perhaps of even greater interest was the comment that Elizabeth Rush made at Court as recorded by the Clerk, James Westcomb: "Elizabeth, relic of William Rush {III}, deceased, returned into Court an Inventory of her deceased Husband’s Estate (upon her solemne protestation according to Law) shee professing to bee a Quaker....." [51]

The final accounting of the payments and disbursements against the estate of William Rush III didn’t occur until March, 1712. The payments included: "600 pounds tobacco to Joshua Hudson, 2007 pounds tobacco to Burditt Ashton, 1500 pounds tobacco to John Pratt", etc. And then the final family settlement: "To Will. Rush {IV}, eldest son to William Rush {III}, dec’d, being his part of his father’s estate, according to appraisement....5448 pounds of tobacco.....Elizabeth Rush third part of estate....5448 pounds of tobacco.....Funerall charges.....1000 pounds of tobacco...". [52] This suggests that the final third of the estate went to a second son, Benjamin Rush Sr., who would have been a minor at this date and therefore not mentioned.

 

William Duff and Robert Green

For the descendents of Thomas Mylam, we come to perhaps the most interesting part: Mary Mylam’s father, William Rush IV; William’s brother, Benjamin Rush Sr.; and the marriage of their mother, the widow Elizabeth Rush. Genealogists believe that William Duff and the former Elizabeth Rush were married around 1715.

William Duff and his young nephew, Robert Green, are the keys to understanding the future lives of Mary’s father, William Rush IV, and his brother, Benjamin Sr.. Authors place the arrival of Duff and Green in Westmoreland County from 1710 to 1715. Robert Green, said to be age 15 upon his arrival in the Colony of Virginia, was the son of Duff’s sister, Eleanore Duff, and William Green. Duff in his Will of 1741 refers to a cousin, John Duff of the Kingdom of Ireland, so they are believed to be Scotch-Irish - Duff or MacDuff and Green being common Scottish names. [58] My research found a 27 February 1705/1706 Westmoreland County Court record for the "importation" of William Duff. [61] Two years later in February 1707/1708 Duff is a witness for a land purchase by Isaac Arnold. [62] By May 1712, Duff was acquiring land. His first purchase was 248 acres in Washington Parish on the south side of Rosier’s (Attopin) Creek Dam for 7000 pounds of tobacco. This map (image) of Westmoreland plats shows Rosier Creek at the bottom right and the dam is noted to the left of Washington's Mill. In this record Duff’s occupation is given as "taylor"; the above mentioned Isaac Arnold is a Witness. [59] In January 1714/1715, Duff purchased 170 acres adjacent to the first which extended into Richmond County where the deed was recorded on February 2nd for 8000 pounds "of good, sound, merchantable leafe tobacco in casque" - again Duff is referred to as a "taylor". [63] Later in the 1720s and 1730s as he acquired more land, not only adjacent to his original property near Rosier’s Dam but also in other counties, property deeds referred to Duff as "planter".

Two facts are certain: William Duff was a devout Quaker and he was a successful farmer and land speculator. By the time of his death in 1745, Duff owned thousands of acres of land in five Northern Neck counties and as far West as the Shenandoah Valley. Sometime in the 1730s he became a partner of two men from Chester County, in Pennsylvania Colony: the German Lutheran Joiste Hite and the Scotch-Irish Quaker Robert McCay of Nottingham Meeting of Friends who had acquired a grant from Lieut. Governor William Gooch in October, 1731 for 100,000 acres of land south of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley. [64] Shortly before, they had acquired 40,000 acres north of Front Royal from John and Isaac VanMeter. In March 1743/1744 a year before Duff’s death, he "appoint{ed} my Nephew, Robert Green, Gent., of St. Mark’s Parish, County of Orange my true and Lawful Attorney.....likewise act in relation to a parcel of Land in the Countys of Augusta & Frederick in which I am concerned with Juste (Joiste) Hite & Robert McCay....and do hereby Impower him to grant Leases on my Land in the County of Orange....& likewise on my Land in Countys of Augusta & Frederick, Prince William and King George and Westmoreland...."[65] Later Green County, Virginia, would be named for this Robert Green, Gent., and his son, Col. John Green, who commanded the 10th Virginia Volunteers and who bravely fought throughout the Revolutionary War.

William Duff’s 1741 Will probated on 2 August 1745 demonstrates his devotion to the Society of Friends, Quakers. In it he specifies that the lands in King George and Westmoreland Counties were, after the death of his second wife, Elizabeth Rush Duff, "lend to my kinsmen William Duff {his son} of the Colony of Virginia and John Duff of the Kingdom of Ireland and to the Friends of the Monthly Meeting at West River in Maryland called Quakers, in Trust that it shall be for the use of such traveling publick Friends as shall come to visit us and have a Meeting among the people here....and if at any time they {William Duff Jr. and John Duff} shall slight or neglect the publick Friends that come to visit us then my will is that the whole Trust shall be in the Monthly Meeting aforesaid...." [58] In The Friendly Virginians, Jay Worrall Jr. writes that Duff held the monthly Rappahannock Meeting of Friends. [60] Later Worrall records:

"Quaker ministers criss-crossed and knit together the Quaker world on both sides of the Atlantic in those days. The first minister to reach the {Shenandoah} Valley was Joseph Gill, 60, of Dublin, Ireland. He visited the Meetings in "old" Virginia during the summer of 1734 and then came across the trackless Blue Ridge, accompanied by Samuel Jordan and William Duff, Virginia Friends. Joseph Gill wrote cheerfully in his journal that he found the Valley Friends in a thriving way, with divers young ministers appearing among them." [66]

Perhaps it was on this visit to the Shenandoah that William Duff agreed to join McCay and Hite’s land company because afterward he made several land sales in King George and Prince William Counties in the summer and fall of 1734. The very first Virginia Land Office Patents for Hite [140] and McKay [141] were in August and October 1734 around the time of Duff's visit. Proof of Duff's involvement is the Virginia Land Office Grant of 26 Mar 1739 to Robert McKay, Jost Hyte, William Duff and Robert Green for "7009 acres in Orange County on the West side of the Blue Ridge of Mountains.... a branch of the North River of the Shenando...." . [142] This map (image) illustrates the vast size of Orange County and how it stretched to western limit of the Colony of Virginia.

 

William Rush IV and his brother, Benjamin Rush Sr.

Image of Land Plats of William Rush IV and Benjamin Rush Sr.Let me summarize the Rush family about 1715: Although his Will and estate’s inventory - which should have been sizeable - are missing, William Rush II apparently died about this year. William Rush I died in late 1691; William Rush III died in late 1708; William Rush IV was about 24 years old and had inherited Rush III’s land and 1/3 of his assets; and Benjamin Rush Sr. was about 20 years old, probably living with his widowed mother, Elizabeth, in anticipation of inheriting his 1/3 at maturity. About this time (1715), William Rush IV married Mary Hudson, daughter of John Hudson who had died in 1708. Benjamin Sr. would marry Amy (Amee), the widow of James Elkins sometime after Elkins’ death in March 1716/1717. [67, 68]

Both William IV and Benjamin Sr. would continue to live in Westmoreland County for a number of years. After Benjamin's marriage he and Amy (Elkins) lived on 150 acres of her late husband's, James Elkins', farm which fell into King George County when it was designated in 1720. On the same day, 11 May 1726, Rush III’s sons, William and Benjamin, received Land Office Patents adjacent to each other’s farther west in Spotsylvania County on the south side of the Robinson River. [69, 70] According to their Patents, William was "of Washington Parish, Westmoreland County" and Benjamin was "of Hanover Parish, King George County" - these Parishes were actually side by side. William obtained 400 acres and Benjamin obtained 387 acres. This map shows their adjoining land plats (image) in relation to Thomas Mylam’s. Please note that the stream which courses along the southern border of William Rush’s property is named Quaker Run. Interestingly, a 1728 patent of land adjoining Benjamin's by Richard Maldin reads: "813 acres....in St. George Parish....upper fork of the Robinson River....adjacent to William Duff..." [229] These facts suggested to Robert Vernon that "the land was surveyed for William Duff and later patented in the names of his stepsons". [71] Thus the wealthy Duff, a Quaker, gave Elizabeth’s two sons these properties and the name, Quaker Run, to the stream since it is mentioned in the Rushs' 1726 patents. In Duff’s 1741 Will he also gave "to the three younger sons {Crafford, John and James} of William Rush {IV}.....all the remaining tract that I took up at the Ragged Mountain {in Spotsylvania County, after 1735 Orange County} to be equally divided between them according to the approbation of Robert Green of Orange County". [58] These sons were Mary Mylam’s brothers. In October of 1732 Duff had at least 2000 acres "under Ragged Mountain" since his improvements to those acres were "valued" at that time. [72] A March 1742/1743 court record involving Duff and his nephew, Green, showed that Marry's oldest brother, William Rush {V}, had use of 400 acres in Orange County located "on Huses {Hughes} River on the south side.....under the foot of the Ragged Mountains". [99]

 

William Rush IV

Photo of Wm Rush IV LandThe very first, definite record for William Rush IV was his 1726 patent of 400 acres in Spotsylvania County on the south side of the Robinson River, as mentioned above. [70] Compared to William Rush II or even to his younger brother, Benjamin Rush Sr., there are few court records for Mary Mylam’s father, William Rush IV. As you will learn below, his brother was more active in civic affairs becoming a Constable and then a Deputy Sheriff of King George County by 1727. Benjamin appears more like his grandfather, Rush II, while Rush IV seems to be more like his father and William Duff - keeping their distance from the all pervasive court and only attending when they must. This may have been their personalities or the degree of their devotion to the Quaker religion. After his father’s death in late 1707, Rush IV as the eldest son inherited 100 acres of his father’s homestead in Westmoreland County. In November 1728, the court asked him "to divide the Negroes belonging to the Estate of the said John {Prat} deceased that are in Westmoreland County and set a part 1/3 for the Dower of the said Margaret {Prat}". [103] While he may have had tenants farming the Spotsylvania land, he continued to live in Westmoreland County until the Summer of 1733 when he Leased 100 acres "now in the tenure and occupation of said William Rush" to the Reverand David Stuart of St. Paul’s Parish, Stafford County. [95] This Deed is exceedingly important because it clearly delineates the relationship of this William Rush IV to his grandfather, Rush II and to his father Rush III. This 100 acres of land on the Upper Machodoc Creek was purchased by his grandfather, Rush II, from Robert Howson in January 1664/65 [96] and it adjoined the 100 acres which his grandfather was given by Thomas Davis in October 1654. [97]

"....Robert Howson.....of which the hundred acres....above bounded was sold by Howson to William Rush {II}, the Grandfather of the above mentioned grantor and lessee, and granted by deed of gift to William Rush {III}, his son, the Father of the above Grantor, as by deed bearing date the 22  July 1689; And now descended by inheritance to William Rush {IV}, the Grantor hereof, and Grandson to the above mentioned William Rush {II}, the first purchaser thereof;...." [95]

On 27 November 1733, Rush IV acknowledged his Release of the 100 acres to Rev. David Stuart for "8500 pounds of good legal tobacco and 5 £ of current money of Virginia.....And Mary, the Wife of said Rush}, (she being first privately examined) personally relinquished her right of Dower and Thirds of, in and unto the Lands by the Deed conveyed. Recorded 2 January 1733/1734." [95] Sometime between the date of Lease and the recording of the Deed, William and his wife, the former Mary Hudson, moved their family west to his 400 acres in Spotsylvania County, soon to be Orange County - not far from Thomas Mylam’s future farm. Here (image) is a photo of his Spotsylvania land with Double Top Mountain in the left background. His brother, Benjamin Rush Sr.’s, property is in the distance on the right. This is a picture of the Robinson River (image) at the northern edge of Rush’s land.

On 7 May 1734, having only lived in Spotsylvania a few months, William Rush IV was appointed Constable "at the great {Blue Ridge} Mountains in the fork of the Rappahannock" in place of Michael Holt [100, 116 ] probably through the influence of Robert Green, Gent., the nephew of William Duff, who had moved to the county by 1724 [101] ; was a substantial land owner, Justice of the Peace, Church Vestryman, Captain of a Company of Footmen (Feb 1730/1731) [117]; and in 1736 and 1738 would be appointed to the Virginia House of Burgess. Ironically, the same day in court William’s brother, Benjamin Rush Sr. (deputy sherriff of King George County), sold his entire 387 acres adjoining William to Anthony Strother. [102] In the Fall, William sold through Lease and Release "100 acres of his original 400 acres to Peter Weaver for 10 £ currant money of Virginia.....and Mary the wife ye said William after being privately examined, acknowledged her right of Dower in the said land". [104, 105]

A major duty of a Constable was to inspect all the tobacco farms in their Precincts to make certain that no more than 2000 tobacco plants were planted per person in each household. And after the harvest, they were to inspect for second growths, commonly referred to as "suckers", growing from the cut plants and to destroy them. The Constables were paid 1 pound of tobacco for each tithable involved in growing tobacco. Thus they prepared a list of tithables for their precinct each year. At the 1 October 1734 court, Rush reported 156 tithables in his precinct. [106] You may read more about other Constable's duties here .

The total number of tithables for each county was used to proportion the poll tax which funded each county; its Church of England parishes; and the Colony of Virginia. There were a total of 2015 tithables that year in Spotsylvania County and the poll tax was established at 20 3/4 pounds of tobacco per tithable. [107]

It’s important to understand that Spotsylvania County at this time extended West across the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley to the Appalachian Mountains and included all the land in present day Orange, Culpeper, Madison, Green, Page, Frederick, Shenandoah, Rockingham and Augusta Counties - a vast frontier. See how counties were added in this album: County Photo Album (image) - click on an image to open the album. In the 1720s, there were virtually no settlers in the Shenandoah. Only after Hite, McCay, Benjamin Borden and others began to actively urge Germans and Quakers to immigrate from the Colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania in 1731 did the population grow. The main criteria for the division of a county was when it was inconvenient for several Justices to attend the court - usually more than one day's horseback ride to the court. Such a petition in May 1730 failed. But with the increased settlement west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a second petition in July 1734 was successful and the Court sent it to the General Assembly in Williamsburg for consideration. [108] Orange County was separated from Spotsylvania in early 1735 and was now the western frontier (map). The first court for Orange was held on 21 January 1734/1735 at William Robertson’s house. Robert Green, Gent. was among the first Justices for Orange County. The court ordered "that the....Constables that were in those Offices before the dividing of the county continue in said Offices" including William Rush. [109] At the February court Joist Hite (see above) and the Quakers, Benjamin Borden and John Smith, from the Shenandoah Valley were added to the names of Justices. [110] In the Fall 0f 1735 there were only 1111 tithables in Orange County; the poll tax was set by the Justices at 15 pounds of tobacco. [111] Most of these inhabitants were still east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in present day Orange, Culpeper, Madison and Green counties.

In July 1735, the Orange County court ordered William Rush IV and Jacob Cragle....."to view the land of Susanna Criglers for Michael Claure’s water grist mill...". [112]

The final court records for Mary Mylam’s father concerned his estate. William Rush IV apparently died in January leaving no Will. On 17 February 1735/1736, William’s wife, "Mary Rush and Robert Green, Gent., (her security) in and before Court acknowledged this their bond, for Mary’s faithful and true administration of the estate of William Rush {IV}, deceased, which is admitted to record." [113, 114] Robert Green, Gent. provided the 500 £ Sterling bond for her administration. On 21 July 1736, Whichell Glover, William Lucas and Henry McCoy returned the Inventory of Rush IV’s estate with a total value of 31 £, 16 Shillings and 6 Pence which included:

"...6 cows and calves...23 shoats...7 horses and mares...15 hogs...2 saddles...2 guns...3 beds and furniture...2 potts...skillets and iron mortar...2 chests... Cooper’s tools...carpenter’s tools...1 cross cut saw...rasping hooks...pewter... stilders...old frow...frying pan...sadle and flesh fork...spoon mould...books and glass..." [115].

At Orange County court on 24 September 1736, it was ordered that "John Micalls be appointed Constable at the Great mountains in the Fork of the Rappahannock (River) in the room of William Rush {IV}, deceased". [116]

 

Children of William Rush IV


  • William (V)       (abt 1715 – by 1743?)--William Duff sold William (V)'s 400 acres to Robert Green, Gent., Mar 1743 [297]; not mentioned in grandmother’s Will, Oct 1746 [27]
  • Benjamin            (abt 1716 – 1760+)   --- married Rachel ____
  • Crafford              (abt 1717 – 1750+)   --- married Mary Briles
  • John                    (abt 1718  – bef Jun 1789)   -- married Elizabeth ____
  • James                 (abt 1719 – Dec 1788)
  • Elizabeth          (abt 1720 – 1798)   --- married Finley McColester (McAllister)
  • Mary                 (abt 1721   – 1775+)  --- married Thomas "Milam" (d. 1775)
  • Ann Margaret  (abt 1722 – 1750+)  --- married John Kelly
  • Sarah                 (abt 1723  – 1750+)

Rush IV’s children are known from his mother’s Will. [27] Ann was apparently sometimes referred to Court Orders as "Nannie" Rush and as Margaret Rush.

My Chronology of Court Records for William Rush (link) has 79 records for William Rush I through William Rush V dating from October 1654 until William Rush V’s Deed to sell the remainder of his father’s 400 acres in Spotsylvania County in December 1755.

This was the Rush family into which Thomas Mylam married.

 

Benjamin Rush Sr. and Benjamin Rush Jr.

A careful review of the court records for Westmoreland, King George, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Orange, Caroline and Richmond Counties (image) demonstrates that Benjamin Rush Sr. never lived on his 387 acres in Spotsylvania County. The earliest record for Benjamin Rush Sr. is on 3 April 1717 in Richmond County when he and Joseph Alssup made a Performance Bond for Amee (Amy) Elkins, recent widow of James Elkins, assuring that she as Administrix would prepare a "true and perfect Inventory" of her late husband’s estate. [67] By 1722 they were married and living on 150 acres of her former husband’s land. Richard Elkins, a brother of James Elkins, was living on the remaining 100 acres. After King George County was formed in 1720, this land fell into Brunswick Parish then Hanover Parish of King George. In May 1723 Benjamin Rush was appointed a Constable for King George [73] and in July 1727 he was appointed Deputy Sheriff. [74] In that capacity he did appear at the Spotsylvania County court on two occasions: 2 September 1729 when he "made return of Richard Bryants & c." [75] and 2 March 1730/31 when he " returned John Grave {? Grame}, Gent." [76] In early May 1734, Benjamin Rush Sr. "of King George County" sold his 387 acres in Spotsylvania County to Joseph Strothers. [77, 78] Ironically, on the same day at Spotsylvania court his older brother, William Rush IV, was appointed a Constable in place of Michael Holt. [79] The remaining Spotsylvania Court entries for a "Benjamin Rush" appear to be William Rush IV’s second son and Mary Mylam's brother, Benjamin.

Amy and James Elkins previously had at least one son, Joseph, who was a minor and who at age 16 chose Benjamin Rush Sr. to be his guardian. [80] Joseph as the eldest son would at majority inherit his father's entire 250 acres. Benjamin Rush’s sale of his Spotsylvania property and removal to Prince William County may have been prompted by this Joseph's decision to sell the land that Amy and Benjamin Rush Sr. lived on in King George County to James Jones, a bricklayer, in August 1732. [81] However, Amy Elkins Rush did not give up her right of Dower in this property until 5 July 1734 - shortly after Benjamin’s Spotsylvania land sale. [82] In September 1735, Benjamin Rush Sr. purchased through Lease and Release 112 acres in Prince William County which extended to the "Occoquan River...{and}...upon Marompsco {Marumsco} Creek". [83, 84] Benjamin Sr. did not become either a Constable or Deputy Sheriff in Prince William County and his court appearances significantly decreased. Almost twenty years later, in May 1753, a license was granted him "to keep an Ordinary {tavern} at his home". [85]

Four years earlier in June of 1749, Benjamin Sr. had purchased 640 acres of land in Granville County, later Bute County, Colony of North Carolina. [86] He died there in December 1766 and his Prince William County Will was approved at Bute County court in January 1767. [87, 88] It is not clear from Virginia records when exactly he relocated to North Carolina. My best guess for the time frame of his move is from the date of the last Prince William County court record identifying Benjamin Rush "Senior" on 5 May 1762 [89] until 7 March 1763 when his son, Benjamin Jr., was granted a license to keep an Ordinary. [90] I chose the latter date because Benjamin Jr. completed the sale of all of his land in Prince William County in December 1762 perhaps in preparation to take over his father’s Ordinary after Benjamin Sr. relocated to North Carolina. [91] After this time, Prince William County court records no longer add the suffix "Senior" or "Junior" following their name suggesting that there was only one Benjamin Rush in the county, Benjamin Rush Jr.

Benjamin Rush Sr.’s estate inventory submitted in Bute County by his son and excutor, Benjamin Rush Jr., in August 1768 was significantly larger than his father’s, William Rush III, and was impressive wealth for the time. Owning an Ordinary must have been quite profitable. In part, the inventory included:

"To cash in house 20 £ of Virginia Currency.....63 hogs....18 cattle...8 sheep...2 hogshead of tobacco... 4 ploughs...4 axes...a crop of corn, fodder, pease, beans and potatoes...3 feather beds and furniture...14 tables...11 plates...4 pewter dishes...8 tin pans...5 wooden plates...14 pewter spoons...4 butcher knives...5 table knives and 7 forks...4 butcher knives....1 ladle and flesh fork...1 frying pan...6 pair of sizzors...{many assorted dishes and flatware}...1 earthen cream pot...1 pewter chamber pot...a small spit to roast fowl...a small pocket pistol...1 gun...1 man’s saddle...1 woman’s saddle...2 bridles...1 off riding chair and harness...2 tables and chests...1 small trunk....1 safe.... 2 Bibles...{many farming utinsils}...{carpenter tools}...4 shoemakers awls....marking irons...1 pair sheep shears...6 padlocks...8 fish hooks...1 trowel...1 cooper’s axe...1 joyner...1 pair spectacles...1 smith’s bellows...3 pairs of tongs...3 hammers...1 wool wheel... one tobacco box...3 small snuff boxes...2 copper compasses...one ink pot...etc. {oddly, no horses are mentioned}  Recorded. Teste: Ben McCulloch, Clerk of Court [92]

The 14 tables and 14 pewter spoons probably indicates that he again had an Ordinary (tavern) in North Carolina and makes the point that most people ate with spoons since food typically was prepared in large pots over an open fire in a fireplace i.e. porridges, soups, stews, etc. Frying and grilling of meat was reserved - as today - for better, more tender cuts of meat which most persons couldn’t afford. In fact, eating with a fork didn’t become fashionable in the courts of Europe until the 1760s and later for common folks. The Rush family did own one frying pan perhaps used occasionally when cooking for themselves. The collection of tools for carpentry, shoemaking, cooper’s axe and blacksmith’s bellows indicates the trades that Benjamin Sr. and his sons could perform. In fact, a May 1761 Dellingen Parish church Indenture in Prince William County records the following: "Benjamin Thomas, Orphan of William Thomas, deceased, age 11 bound until age 21 to Benjamin Rush. To be taught the art, mystery and occupation of cooper, and to read and write." [93] I also found a July 1755 Dellingen Parish Indenture for Benjamin Jr. for teaching an orphan blacksmithing: "William Fewell, an Orphan boy, age 10 on March 18 next; bound until age 21 to Benjamin Rush, Jr., Blacksmith. To be taught the trade, art or mystery of blacksmith and to read and write English." [94] These Parish records also demonstrate that they were members of the Church of England’s Dettingen Parish, Prince William County.

 

Children of Benjamin Rush Sr.


  • Benjamin Rush Jr.    (3 Feb 1717 - 23 May 1801)   ---married Alice Grigsby
  • Catherine                   (3 Jul 1719 - after 1750)   ---
  • Amie                           (1 Feb 1721 - after 1750)   ---married ___ Grigsby
  • Elizabeth                    (13 Sep 1723 - after 1750)   ---married Joshua Perry
  • Jane                            (5 Feb 1725 - after 1750)   ---married George Bledsoe

My Chronology of Court Records for Benjamin Rush (link) has 110 records for him and his son, Benjamin Jr., dating from April 1717 until Benjamin Sr.'s Bute County, North Carolina, estate inventory of August 1768.

 

William Rush I

Lastly, let me summarize William Rush I for completeness sake. Most of the late 17th century Westmoreland County records can be definitively related to William Rush II who married Anne Gray, daughter of the wealthy planter, Francis Gray. There are a couple of Court records where the person is unclear and may relate to Rush I. The first definite William Rush I record occurs in August 1686 when "William Rush {I} as marrying Dorothy, the relic and Executrix of Christopher Thomas, doth petition that, having paid order of this Court and Clerk’s and Sherriff’s Fees beyond assets, he humbly desires Quietus." [53] The Court accepted his petition. By January 1691 / 1692, Rush I had died and his widow, Dorothy, petitioned the Court for her right of Dower. The Court "ordered that William Horton and John Pratt do lay out and divide the land of William Rush {I} together with housing and orchard..... into three equal parts and that, after division, the Sheriff do immediately put Dorothy Rush into possession of what 1/3 part she shall elect and make choice of....." [54] Ironically, the genealogical connection between this William Rush and the other William Rush(s) mentioned in Westmoreland County records is established by a Petition of this Dorothy for more Dower rights on 27 May 1702 after marrying yet again to William Bennett: "Upon petition of William Bennett and Dorothy, his wife, late widow of William Rush {I} praying 100 acres of land given by her husband during the coverture betwixt them to his son, William Rush {II}, without the privity or consent of Dorothy, maybe divided into three equal parts and that they may bee possest of 1/3 thereof as her Dower....." [55] Nine months later in February 1702/03, William Bennett died and William Rush II along with his son-in-law, Jossua Hudson, and John Lilly were appointed to appraise Bennett’s property. [56] This time "Dorothy relinquished all manner of Claim or title of his {William Bennett’s} estate". The estate by his Will was left to his young son, Cossum Bennett, and Daniel Field was appointed "to be trustee for the good of son". Bennett’s Inventory and appraisal were submitted to Court by William Rush II et al on 20 April 1703 and recorded. [57] I am still looking for a Rush I’s Will and Inventory.

 

Acknowledgements

When I learned that Robert Vernon thought that Thomas Mylam had married Mary Rush, I contacted Robert M. Wilbanks IV to ask what he thought. Robert Wilbanks had already deduced the connection with the Rush family in 2003 and had an email conversation with Gaynelle Jenkins Moore who graciously shared her extensive knowledge of the William Rush families.

Ms. Moore also shared her information with me and helped immensely in clarifying the relationships of the five generations of William Rush (s). Ms. Moore is the author of The Rush report: the descendants of William Rush, Westmoreland Co., Virginia (1615-??) and descendants of Henson Rush, Adair Co., Kentucky (abt 1794-1848) and Miller Co., Missouri published in 2003 by Historical Data Services.

I am very indebted to each of them.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTE TO READERS: All the words in bold type face are links to images, maps or word definitions in the Glossary.The Citations and Glossary are available under the Resources tab or here (link) .


To Top