Category Archives: Virginia

Revolutionary War Bateau Boats Made By The Rucker’s

Anthony and Benjamin Rucker where the sons of John and Susannah (Phillips) Rucker of Rucker CrestOrange County Virginia. Benjamin born in 1726 became a lawyer, justice of the peace, a vestryman at St. Matthews Church, trustee of Warminster Academy, a member of the Amherst County Committee of Safety, and a Captain in the Revolutionary War. Anthony born in 1728 was also a Revolutionary War Captain, as well as Amherst’s Commissioner of Provision Law in 1781 and Tobacco Inspector in 1792. 

The fact that the Rucker’s were tobacco farmers prompted Benjamin and Anthony to try Batteau boatto figure an easier way to move the harvested tobacco down the James River to Richmond.  Sometime in 1774 the Rucker Brothers invented a flat-bottomed boat called a Bateau. It has not been proved as to whether it was just Anthony or if the two brothers worked together. The first Bateau was launched in April 1775. The earliest known reference to the Bateau comes from Thomas Jefferson’s account book, dated April 19, 1775. Jefferson made notes in his account book describing this new river boat in 1775: “Rucker’s bateau is 50 f. long 4 f. wide in the bottom & 6 f. wide at the top. she carries ll.hhds. & draws 13 ½ water.”

James River RuckersThe Bateaus where used by the Continental Army. Bateaus were used to move troops, munitions and supplies on the shallow inland rivers during the Revolutionary War. They were carefully built craft as they were often mentioned as being built by a boat builder or “ship’s carpenter.” This evidence infers that the crafts known as “James River Bateaus” were strong, shallow-drafted vessels. They were a valuable military asset and were considered a major loss if captured by the enemy. These boats were used until around 1850.

There is a James River Bateau Festival held every year in Lynchburg VA. They celebrate the Rucker’s and their contribution to the early Transport for the tobacco industry and the Revolutionary War. They launch replica Bateaus and travel down the James River to Maiden’s Landing.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Bateau Boats, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Revolutionary War, Rucker's, Uncategorized, Virginia

Genealogy Oddities

question markI always find it fascinating how as we travel back in time through our Family’s history we can find so many things that seem “odd”. Odd things that happened, odd relationships and somethings that are just plain odd. I have come across a lot of really odd things through my lines. The oddest thing I found just this week.

 

In the past, I discovered that my Dad’s family and my Mother’s family have been crossingMayflower paths since at least the 1600’s.  Two of my 10 times Great Grandfathers came over on the Mayflower together. William Brewster (Dad’s side) was the spiritual leader of the Pilgrims. William White, (Mother’s side) was the father of the first child born in this community. His youngest son, Peregrine was born aboard the Mayflower while docked in the harbor. Also, William White was one of the first to die during the first hard winter. His wife Susanna then married Edward Winslow the newly elected Governor of the Colony.

jamestownAnother odd thing I had discovered was my 9 times Great Grandfather, Captain William Powell (Dad’s side) arrived in America on the Third Supply mission of nine ships, which brought additional settlers and some supplies to the surviving colonists at Jamestown Virginia in 1609. My 9 times Great Grandfather Thomas Garnet (Mother’s side) accompanied William as his indentured servant. Between one-half and two-thirds of white immigrants to the American colonies came under indentures. Indenture lasted usually between 3-10 years. They were basically slaves and were treated as such. Powell was killed by Indians in 1622. Thomas worked off his indenture by 1619 and went on to marry, have children and become an upstanding member of the Colony.

Now to the oddest thing I have discovered. First a little explanation. When I had my oldest son, I made the decision to name him after the only Grandparent I ever met. My Mother’s father John Pleasant. We called him Pleasant until he was 16 years old. At this age, he wanted to be called J.P. When I was about 8 months pregnant with my next son I didn’t have a name picked out. I knew I wanted to have his name include my Dad’s name, Douglas, I just didn’t want it to be his first name. Because my oldest son’s name was unique I wanted this little boy to have a unique name also. So, I chose Starr as his first name. I had my daughter’s name picked out since I was 12 years old. The tradition in our family was my middle name was Jane, my Mother’s middle name was Jane and the tradition went back several generations. Therefore, any daughter I had should also have this middle name. I heard the name Jerusha in the movie “Hawaii” and decided Jerusha Jane sounded good.

My children always give the excuse that I was a “hippie” (I was not!) and that is why their names were so strange. This was the easiest explanation they could come up with. During my research, I discovered that my 7 times Great Grandfather Thomas Starr and his wife Mary Morgan had a daughter and named her Jerusha. Jerusha Starr! Now they can tell everyone they are named after their 8 times Great Aunt!!!

What are some of the “odd” things you discovered in your family tree?

 

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I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Jamestown Colony, Mayflower, Names, Oddities, Personal Stories, Research, Uncategorized, Virginia

52 Ancestors Week #10- Stormy Weather – Peter Rucker, First to Come to America

peter ruckerPeter Rucker is said to be the first of the Rucker line to come to America. He was born in Germany and his family fled to France during an uprising in their native land. Peter and his 3 brothers boarded a ship traveling along with 3 other ships to come to the new land and reached the shores of Virginia in the late 1600’s. There are several stories as to how Peter arrived here. A great storm arose as they were approaching land and it is proven that one of the ships sank before reaching the dock. This is where things change. The debate is how Peter, who was on the sinking ship, got to shore. Below are some of the accounts that can be found. I really like number 6 as this would be a great story to tell!

  1. “Peter Rucker floated for three days on a piece of driftwood, being picked up by a passing vessel.” (From Edythe Whitley’s History of the Rucker Family, p.9)
  1. Peter’s ship was “wrecked in a heavy storm 12 miles from the Jamestown shore—nearly all were lost. [Peter] tied two casks of rum together which buoyed him up and he floated for two days” until rescued. (This story was handed down in the family of Thomas B. Rucker, b. Oct. 29, 1807, Caldwell Co., KY and printed in Eva Cutts Davidson’s Rucker Kinsmen, p.45)
  1. “Peter Rucker . . . landed in Norfolk in 1701 after being shipwrecked and floating on a timber in mid ocean for three days. He landed at Norfolk with two brothers possibly three brothers . . . He left Norfolk in 1715 for the upcountry, and settled in Amherst Co., [VA]. (Written in a letter found by James M. Rucker, Gladys, VA, among his mother’s papers. This version came through the family of Edwin Sorrell Rucker, born April 8, 1803 [Wood, p.82])
  1. “The family of Ruckers were Huguenots and left France in the 17th century and settled near Fairfax, VA . . . The vessel which brought them to America was wrecked and everyone on board lost, except Rucker himself and one companion. (This story came through the family of Jonathan Rucker [Wood, p.299] of Mississippi, printed in The Alstons and Allstons, by Joseph A. Groves, p.147)
  1. “That there were three Rucker brothers who came over from Holland in Colonial Days. Their ship sank and only one lived to get to shore and that all the Ruckers were descended from this one man and most of them lived in the south.” (Neil Lewis Rucker, Burdett, KS, 1966, in a letter to Paul H. Rucker of Burlington, Iowa, submitted by Neil’s son, Clair N. Rucker)
  1. “The first of the name in America was Peter Rucker, a native of France. On the voyage to America, the vessel in which he sailed was wrecked about 12 miles from shore and nearly all on board were lost. Before leaving the wreck, Mr. Rucker took the precaution of tying a couple of large flasks of rum to his neck which buoyed him up. By that means and by taking an occasional drink of it, he was enabled to reach shore.” (‘Early Settlers of Sangamon County, IL,’ by Powers, 1876, submitted by Bette Lou Upton Nienstedt)
  1. “By the grace of God, a deck of cards, and a keg of rum, you are here today” (A talk by Edith Copeland Rucker to descendants at the Rucker Family Reunion, 1994.) “ . . . Peter Rucker was the first Rucker on American soil, and he came on a ship that was wrecked just before reaching the shores of Virginia back in the late 1600s. It seems that there were two potential survivors of the disaster, and they gambled in a game of ‘seven-up’ to determine who would win the remaining keg of rum to use to float to shore. Peter won, and ‘a keg of rum’ has over the years, been used as the password of Peter Rucker’s descendants.” (First printed in Days Gone By in Alpharetta and Roswell, GA, by Caroline Matheny Dillman, Nov. 15, 1986.)

Peter Rucker is my 7th Great Grandfather.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under #52ancestors, Ancestry, Family History, French Huguenot, Genealogy, Peter Rucker, Ship Wrecked, Virginia

52 Ancestors-Week #2  Francis Thornton Strother   

King County, VA

King County, VA

I chose this Ancestor because he was born in KING County, VA.

Francis Thornton Strother is my 7th Great Grandfather. Born on the first of August 1702 in KING County, Virginia. He was the second son of William (III) and Margaret Thornton Strother who were first cousins.

The Strothers were a very wealthy family. Francis’ Grandfather William (II) was born in Kerknewton, England in 1627. He immigrated to Virginia in 1650 at the age of 23. He met and married Dorothy Savage in 1651. Upon arrival in America William purchased a great deal of land along the Rappahannock River, most of which Francis eventually inherited. He also served as High Sheriff of the County, a vestryman of Handover Parish and was called “Captain Strother”. He was Gentleman Justice of King George County.

Francis married Susannah Dabney in 1720. They had 10 children. Francis was a vestryman and a planter. Although not much is known about Francis and Susannah’s lives we do know a lot about some of their children.

Their son William, who married Margaret Watts, was deeded a section of the land along with a home owned by Francis in his will. Shortly after taking possession of the property the home he lived in burned. William then sold this tract of 280 acres of land with its two-story (8 bedroom) house to Augustine Washington, the father of George Washington.

William’s (Son of Francis) daughter, Sarah Dabney married Colonel Richard Taylor and their son was President Zachary Taylor.

William’s other daughter Elizabeth married Col. John Frogge. President Jimmy Carter came from this line.

I have just begun to research this particular line. I am excited to see what else I may find.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available onAmazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. IV

http://www.kenmore.org/ferryfarm/farm_history.html

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John Page: From England to Virginia

John PageJohn Page was born in Bedfont, Middlesex, England on the 26 December 1625. He was born into a prominent English family. In 1650 the Pages boarded a ship bound for America and the Virginia Colony. Upon arrival he and his family settled in the New Towne section at Jamestown. In 1655, John moved to York County VA and became a merchant. The next year he met and married Alice Luckin and by 1662 they had built a large brick cross-plan house in nearby Middle Plantation. Being a wealthy landowner, John owned 330 acres. This Middle Plantation is the modern home of the restored colonial city now known as Colonial Williamsburg, one of the most popular tourism destinations in the world.

Plaque

After purchasing 3600 acres in New Kent County he built a new home which became Mehixton Plantation. He generously donated the land and 20 pounds for the first brick Bruton Parish Church which was completed in 1683 and was located immediately adjacent to the site of the present larger restored structure.

John Page was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses starting in 1665. He played a pivotal role in supporting the efforts of Reverend Doctor James Blair in the founding of the College of William and Mary in 1693, which was located at Middle Plantation.

John and Alice had 3 children. Francis was born in 1657 in Williamsburg Virginia. He married Mary Diggs about 1682 and they had only one child, a girl, who was married but died without having any children. Francis died 10 May 1692. Mary was born in 1658 and married Walter Chiles Jr, the son of Colonel Walter Chiles of the Virginia Governors Council. Matthew was the second son born in 1659. He married Mary Mann in 1689 and they had 4 children, 3 of whom died when infants, the only surviving child was Mann Page. Tradition says that the Declaration of Independence was drafted in Mann Pages house by Thomas Jefferson before he went to Philadelphia. Mann Pages son, Mann Jr and Thomas Jefferson were friends having met at college. It remained in the possession of the Page family until 1838, when it was sold. Matthew died in 1703.

hsJohn Page and his wife Alice are buried at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. Their tombstone, originally located within the church graveyard, was later moved to the church vestibule. It reads: “Here lieth in hope of a joyfull resurrection the Body of Colonel John Page of Bruton Parish, Esquire, One of their Majesties Council in the Dominion of Virginia. Who departed this life the 23 of January in the year of our Lord 1691/2 Aged 65”. The tombstone carries the coat of arms of Page impaling those of Luckin.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Genealogy, John Page, Page Family, Virginia