The Origins of Nicanor

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                             The Origins of Nicanor

                  “ …eldest sons were often named after their grandfathers, and second
                   or third sons after their fathers… patterns found in early tidewater
                   Chesapeake families.” Myra Gormley, Colonial Homes, Feb 1996.

        As of January 2005, little documentary evidence exists as proof of Nicanor
Pilkinton‟s parentage. It may be ascertained by reading his son Larkin Pilkinton‟s
obituary that Nicanor moved to Guilford County, North Carolina from Virginia circa
1793. Examining circumstantial information and available facts can be useful for giving a
general idea as to where to research further. The following is only a theory. It is the
author‟s theory alone and could be totally erroneous. With that caveat, I will examine
what I confidently feel is the best scenario for Nicanor‟s family and origins.
        After examining all known Pilkinton‟s in Virginia in the 18th century, there are
five distinct names that are most assuredly related to Nicanor. The first name that must
have a relationship is Parmenas Pilkinton of Essex County, Virginia. Parmenas is found
spelled many ways; i.e. Permenus, Permenas, Parmenus, etc. Not only is Parmenas
another unusual name, but it is also found only once in the Protestant Bible: in the book
of Acts chapter 6, verse 5, which is the exact same and only sentence in which the name
Nicanor is found – a coincidence that cannot be ignored (see the Nicanor Pilkinton
chapter in this book). Their names are unusual enough that surely parents picked them
from the same verse. According to the 1830 census of Essex County, Parmenas was born
between 1760 and 1770 – an age range which puts his birth in the same time period as
Nicanor. Parmenas Pilkinton is found on the 1783 Essex County Heads of Family List,
the 1787 Personal Property Tax Roll of Essex County, The 1790 and 1800 Essex County
Tax Rolls, and the 1810, 1820 and 1830 Federal Censuses of Essex County. He lived in
the Lloyd‟s area of St. Anne‟s Parrish just a couple of miles to the southwest of the
Rappahannock River apparently on a run of Occupation Creek. In 1779, Nicanor
Pilkinton signed a petition to oppose the dividing of Drysdale Parish, which existed
within the southern Caroline and northern King And Queen counties area (see page 6 of
this report). This parish bordered St. Anne‟s parish of Essex County. The Virginia
Genealogical Society Newsletter quoting Joyce Browning refers to the counties of Essex,
Caroline, Richmond and King George as the “Rappahannock quartet”1 recognizing that
these counties actually form one geographic area. A glance at any Virginia county map
will show that King and Queen County is also in the same geographic area. Nicanor
Pilkinton is enumerated in a Culpeper County Tax Poll in 1787 (but is not present on a
1783 Tax poll there), and Culpeper County is not too distant from north Essex County as
to be remote in the 18th century (only being about 40 miles away). The second name
associated with the Pilkintons of Essex County is Larkin Pilkinton of Chesterfield and
Powhatan Counties. Larkin was not a rare name during the 18th century, but certainly

    The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 3, May – June 1985.

much less common than most. Larkin Pilkinton was born in 1762. He was a
Revolutionary War veteran, and filed an affidavit to that fact in Jefferson County,
Kentucky in 18322. In his affidavit, Larkin stated that he was born in Essex County,
Virginia but moved to Chesterfield County, Virginia when young. Nicanor’s second son
was named Larkin Pilkinton. Larkin’s name connects Nicanor to the elder Larkin,
while the name Parmenas and Nicanor are connected by their singular rarity and a
shared Bible verse. The fact that they were both born during the same time period in
Essex County, Virginia connects Parmenas and Larkin. Therefore, one may speculate or
concluded that Nicanor and Parmenas are very likely siblings and at the very least, they
are closely related to Larkin. The third associated name is Ambrose Pilkinton. The
oldest Virginia record for Ambrose Pilkinton is dated March 21, 1748: an Ambrose
Pilkinton and Isaac Hawes (Hawes seem to be of some relation to these Essex County
Pilkintons) witness in open court the will of William Pilkinton (Spelled this way in the
record)3. Next, Ambrose Pilkinton’s name is found in a merchant book account on the
8th of April 1751 for Ninian Boog (Boog was a merchant for Buchanan and Hamilton,
Liverpool, England) at Todd‟s (a settlement) on the Mattaponi River in King And Queen
County, Virginia4. King And Queen County borders Essex County on the southwest
separated in part by the Mattaponi River. On the 9th of November 1752, Ambrose
Pilkinton and Isaac Haws (sic) are witnesses in court in Caroline County, Virginia to a
deed gift from Frederick Coghill to his son5. Caroline County was created in part from
Essex County in 1728. This does not however necessarily indicate residence in King and
Queen County or Caroline County, as both areas are geographical only a few miles from
St. Anne‟s Parrish in Essex County. In fact one of the tobacco ports mentioned in Boog‟s
records was near Pilkinton land in Essex County. Another record that I have found
concerning Ambrose is a poll of the Election of Burgesses for Essex County, Virginia
taken on July 9, 1765: Ambrose Pinckleton (sic) [For Robert Beverly], and again,
Ambrose Pinckleton (sic) [For John Lee].6 Another record is a list of “freeholders” that
voted in the Election Of Burgesses for the County Of Essex on Thursday, November 24,
1768: Ambrose Pilkington [For Col. Francis Waring], and again, Ambrose Pilkington
[For Capt. William Roane].7 Finally, Ambrose Pilkinton’s estate was inventoried on the
15th day of December 1777 at court in Tappahannock, Essex County, Virginia. This
indicates that he died intestate (without will). The document lists Ambrose‟s death date
as March the 9th 1774 8 - apparently a Wednesday. There were many names listed as
purchasers of his estate, some of whom are undoubtedly daughters or sons-in-laws. There
are three Pilkin(g)tons listed: Sarah, Permenus and Icaner (sic). I have examined the
name “Icaner” closely and compared it with other elements of the document. It must be a
  Here is a paraphrased entry from the Revolutionary War Pension files on Larkin Pilkinton -
Virginia Line, soldier was born 30 Jun 1762 in Essex County, Virginia and when very young moved with
his parents to Chesterfield County, Virginia and he lived there at enlistment and until after the Revolution
and was married there (wife not named) and lived in different parts of Virginia until 1817 then moved to
Bullitt County, KY and in 1826 he moved to Jefferson County, KY where he applied 1 Oct 1832, in 1843
soldier had moved from Kentucky to Madison County, Illinois to live with a son Robert C Pilkinton.
  Essex County Wills No. 8, 1747 – 1750, Reel 44, pp. 188-189 & 223, The Library of Virginia.
  Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. XXIX, No. 3, (1Aug1991). Pp. 219,220, 233.
  John Dorman, Caroline County, Virginia Order Book 1746 - 1754, Part Four, 1971, page 352.
  Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. VI, Number 3 (1 Jul 1968), page 67.
  Ibid, No. 4, (10 Oct 1968) p. 87.
  Essex County Will Book 13, 1775 – 1785, Reel 48, pp. 131-134 & 143 – 144, The Library of Virginia.

slang term or misspelling of Nicanor. I have included an example on the following
pages. The aforementioned facts are evidence that Ambrose Pilkinton lived in the
Essex/King And Queen/Caroline counties area and must have been born before about
1725. There is an excellent chance that Ambrose Pilkinton was Nicanor and
Parmenas‟ father. Nicanor Pilkinton had a son named Ambrose who appears to have
been the third born son and if the typical naming pattern were used, corresponds to the
name of Nicanor‟s father.9 This elder Ambrose‟s birth date is in an age range for
Nicanor‟s father. This elder Ambrose is at the very least a close relation of Nicanor‟s.
The fourth associated name is William Pilkinton of Essex County, Virginia. Nicanor
named his first son William, which due to naming customs of early tidewater
Chesapeake families, one may assume that William was the name of Nicanor‟s paternal
grandfather10. Since there was a William Pilkinton in Essex County, that would tend to
bolster the case for Nicanor to be related to the Essex group (if added to the
preponderance of the evidence). William Pilkinton lived in the tidewater area of
Virginia – more specifically on the north and south of the Rappahannock River area
encompassed by Old Rappahannock County, which in 1692 became Essex and Richmond
counties. (A note of caution here: OLD Rappahannock county is not in the same area as
the Rappahannock County of today, also do not make the mistake of confusing Richmond
COUNTY with Richmond City, the capital which is in Henrico County). William
Pilkington or Pilkinton is found in at least eleven records: an Essex County land record
for Thomas Tinsley in 1704 claiming credit for William Pilkinton‟s transport11, a land
transaction in Richmond County (Parish of Sittenbourne - on both sides of the
Rappahannock at that time) where he purchased fifty acres from Anthony Carnabe on the
1st of August 170512, two land transactions in Sittenbourne Parish, Richmond County on
the 5th and 6th of October 1708, wherein William rents the aforementioned fifty acres to
Edward Stevens for twenty five hundred pounds of good tobacco and an ear of “Indian”
corn on demand at the “feast of our Lord‟s birthday next ensuing” and on the same day
apparently sells the same to Edward Stevens for the same sum. These documents note
that William’s wife was Anne and that he signed by his mark “P”.13 William is
mentioned in two 1711 Richmond County lawsuits: Smith versus Pilkinton, wherein
Nicholas Smith, gentleman did not prosecute and the matter (unknown) was dismissed,
and Keene Ordered To Serve, wherein William Pilkinton purchased the remainder of
John Keene‟s indenture from David Dickey14. According to the will of William Pannell
of Richmond County, Virginia, proven in August 1716, William Pillkington (sic) was
renting Pannell‟s land on the north side of the main road.15 Sometime thereafter, William

  Gormley, Myra Vanderpool, Colonial Homes magazine, Feb 1996, p. 24
   Nugent, Nell, Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. 3:1695 – 1732, Richmond, 1979, page 84:
  “Thomas Tinsley, 1000 acres, Essex Co., 26 Apr. 1704…Trans. Of 20 persons…Wm. Pilkinton…”
   Sparacio, Virginia County Court Records, Deed Abstracts of Richmond County, Virginia 1705-1708
Deed book 4, 1991.pp 6,7.
   Ibid, pp 117,118.
   Sparacio, Virginia County Court Records, Richmond County, Virginia Orders, 1710-1711, 1997.pp
   Headley, Wills of Richmond County, Virginia, 1699 – 1800, Genealogical Publishing Company,
Baltimore, 1983, p. 33.

apparently settled on the opposite bank of the Rappahannock and participated in two land
The two land transactions in Essex County involved trading land for tobacco with first a
Robert Brooke (100 acres)16 in 1726 and later a William Golden (50 acres)17 in 1728. The
deeds indicated that William Pilkinton lived in St. Ann‟s Parish of Essex County,
Virginia. The William of these records and land transactions was most likely born circa
1680 or before, which would make him likely the same William claimed by Tinsley in
1704. He is a bit old to be the father of Nicanor, Larkin and Parmenas (although not
impossible, for I have a great-great grandfather Speegle who was 79 when his last child
was born). William Pilkinton is on a poll of voters in the election of Burgesses of Essex
County on the 20th of November 1741.18 Finally, William Pilkinton‟s will was proved in
court at Tappahannock, Essex County, Virginia on Thursday, March 21st, 1748. 19
                 I William Pilkinton being sick and weak but in perfect sense of
                 Memory do make this my last will and testament. I give my soul to
                 God that gave it and my body to be buried after a desent Christian
                 Like manner. Item I lend to my well beloved wife appilonia Pilkinton
                 All my estate during her Natural Life or widowhood my three
                 Daughters – Appalonia, Jane and Frances shall live upon my Plantation
                 during the time they Live Single and not be hurried away from living
                 in my dwelling house.
                 Witness                                  William P Pilkinton
                  Isaac Hawes                                     mark
                  Ambrose Pilkinton
 If this were our original William and not a son, Apalonia would be his second wife.
Records from 1708 clearly state that William‟s wife was Anne. It is important to note that
the 1708 record bears the same “P” for his mark as the will. A second marriage may
explain the need to assure that his daughters were not married off. The sons were
probably already invested with whatever property William wanted them to have. At this
time in the colonies, the law of primogeniture (the father‟s land passing to the first born
son only or the eldest living son – an English feudal law meant to protect the size of land
holdings) was still legally in effect and often the son‟s portion of the land holdings was
not mentioned in the will, it being already legally established. 20 However, it is probable
that William had a son named William and therefore it is also possible that the William
on the 1741 poll and/or the 1748 will was this son. It was also interesting to note that, two
other voters listed with William in 174121 were a Dishman, and a Spearman – both
surnames near Parmenas on the censuses. The fifth related name from this area of
   Sparacio, Virginia County Court Records, Deed Abstracts of Essex County, Virginia (1724-1728), Deed
Book 18, 1988: “This indenture made the Fifteenth/Sixteenth day of September 1726 by and between
Robert Brooke of the Parrish of St. Anns in County of Essex of one part and WILLIAM PILKINTON of
the other part…in consideration of sum of four thousand pounds of tobacco…granted … that plantation
tract of land containing 100 acres…”
   Ibid. “This indenture made the Tenth day of September 1728 between William Golden of the Parrish of
St. Anns in County of Essex of one part and WILLIAM PILKINGTON of the same…for the sum of three
thousand pounds of tobacco…grant … fifty acres of land in aforesaid Parish and County…”
   Sparacio, Deed Abstracts of Essex County, Virginia (1738-1742), Deed Book 22, 1988, pp 76,80.
   Essex County Wills No. 8, 1747 – 1750, Reel 44, pp. 188-189 & 223, The Library of Virginia.
   Keim, Primogeniture and Entail in Colonial Virginia, William and Mary Quarterly, Volume XXV, No. 4
(October 1968), Pages 550-551.
   Sparacio, Deed Abstracts of Essex County, Virginia (1738-1742), Deed Book 22, 1988, pp 76,80.

Virginia is Micajah (my-KAY-a) Pilkinton. Micajah is an Old Testament name.
Micajah „Pilkerton‟ is enumerated in Caroline County in the 1787 Personal Property
Tax census. Caroline County was formed from the northern part of Essex near where
Parmenas lived. Micajah is listed with Parmenas (apparently in the same household or
at least next-door) on the 1790 Essex County Taxable list page 17. Given this fact, I think
the probability is extremely high that they are brothers. Micajah Pilkinton signed a
petition in Essex County, Virginia in 1790 concerning the sale of some church property22.
Micajah Pilkington (and Pilkerton) is listed as a collection account for Branham and
Sale in Caroline County on May 1, 1796 stemming from a sale on January 6, 179423.
There is a Micajah „Pilkington‟ in the 1825 tax list of Bullitt County, Kentucky while
Larkin Pilkinton is listed on the 1821 Tax list of Bullitt County. The Micajah found in
Kentucky was born between 1760 and 1770. William, Ambrose, Nicanor, Larkin,
Micajah and Parmenas are consistently enumerated on the census and in land records
with the Pilkinton spelling but also in a couple of instances with the Pilkington spelling
and sometimes Pilkerton (which I believe may be a transcriber misreading Pilkenton).
      According to author John Gwathmey, Essex, King And Queen, and Caroline were
part of the twelve county region of Virginia where the western migration began, and that
the settlers of Essex retained a close relationship to Jamestown, many of them being from
that region24. The Pilkinton/Pilkington family of St. Anne‟s Parrish in Essex County was
well established in the two Episcopal Churches in the Parrish: Vauter‟s and St. Mathew‟s,
in fact, Parmenas‟ son Edmond is living within about two miles of Vauter‟s Church on
the 1860 census25.
         Essex County, Richmond County, Caroline County, Westmoreland County and
King And Queen County, are all relatively small counties residing in the same
geographical area of tidewater Virginia. Richmond County itself is only about 5 miles
wide in parts and all the above-mentioned counties are between 192 square miles and 316
square miles (with the exception of Caroline). Compare their square mileage with other
counties where Pilkinton‟s lived such as Maury, Giles, and Lawrence Counties in
Tennessee at an average of 612 square miles each, or Guilford County, North Carolina at
653 square miles. This tidewater Virginia area should be examined in depth for more
genealogical evidence, as it appears to be the point of origin for a least one Pilkinton
    A final note; most Crow researchers place „Abba Rilla‟ Crow as being born in Orange
County, North Carolina and her father James Crow as being born in Maryland, however
there is an outside chance that James Crow lived in Essex County, Virginia (according to
only one query on the Essex County website) and that perhaps „Abba Rilla‟ Crow was
born there. If true, then that fact would seem to fit with her being Nicanor‟s wife.

   Online by the joint venture of The Library of Virginia and The Library of Congress,
   Hopkins, Caroline County Court Records and Marriages 1787 – 1810. 1987.
   Gwathmey, Twelve Virginia Counties Where the Western Migration Began, Richmond, 1937.
   Colonial Churches In The Original Colony Of Virginia, Southern Churchman Co., Richmond, 1908.

Above: Signatures on a Drysdale Parish petition in King And Queen and Caroline Counties dated
October 16, 1779. The third name down is apparently Nicanor Pilkinton; however, if we are still
Doubtful: compare this list of names with the scrivener‟s copy of the exact same petition dated
October 22, 1779 for Caroline County (see below):

Ambrose Pilkington Estate sale submitted to court at Tappahannock, Essex County,
Virginia November 14, 1777.26

                                  “Ambrose Pilkington Decd March the 9th 1774”

        Three Pilkingtons are listed in record as purchasers:

1) Thought to be “ Icaner” Pilkington (Nicanor):
                                                                         Other names listed as
                                                                         purchasers some of who
                                                                         were surely related:
                                                                         Thomas Boulware *
                                                                         James Vawter *
                                                                         Robert Parker
     Compare capital “I” and the “r” as in Iron (same page):             Henry Samuell
                                                                         Achilles Garnett
                                                                         Martha Donohoe
                                                                         George Turner
 Then compare to “James”:                                                Antipas Crump
                                                                         Thomas Colebuck
                                                                         Mary Turner
                                                                         Rece Noell
                                                                         John Spindle
                                                                         John Henshaw
                                                                         William Smither
2)“Permenus Pilkington”:                                                 David Pitts *
                                                                         Mereday Brown
                                                                         John Gray
                                                                         Martin Sullivan
                                                                         Simon Golding
                                                                         Ritchie Boulware
                                                                         Samuell Hawes
3) “Sarah Pilkinton”:                                                    Gidde Farmer
                                                                         John Namon
                                                                         * Names also on Caroline
                                                                         County Petition with Nicanor
                                                                         in October 1779.
Merriday Brown was the Administrator of the Estate.

     Essex County Will Book 13, 1775 – 1785, Reel 48, pp. 131-134 & 143 – 144, The Library of Virginia.

              Above: Area of Essex, Caroline and King And Queen County where the Pilkintons
              Lived: William Pilkinton and descendants lived at Occupacy (Occupacia)
              Creek visible above upper right.

        There are some other groups of Pilkintons in Virginia in the 1700‟s. I examined
them finding no evidence or connections to disprove my theory. Pilkintons from the Isle
Of Wight County area migrated west to Brunswick County, which partly evolved into
Lunenburg County, and then their children apparently migrated to Johnston and Chatham
Counties, North Carolina and elsewhere. These Pilkinton‟s were John, Robert and Willis
of Brunswick County who were the sons of William of Isle of Wight County. Their
descendants were Agnes, Robert, Willis, David, Nancy, William, Jesse, Tabatha, Esther,
etc.27 Nicanor is not mentioned in their wills, estate settlements or census records.

  See Brunswick County, Virginia Deed Books 5,6,7 & 14, “Will Book 5, Brunswick County, Virginia” by
S. Bradley, also “Isle Of Wight Wills and Administrations” by B. Chapman, and 1788 Brunswick Tax
census pp 20-21.


Map of the counties where Pilkintons are found in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

            Apparent routes of Pilkinton migration in Virginia circa 1780’s

                            Across The Ocean Deep
    When I first began my journey in genealogy, I had the false impression that records
were almost non-existent for those intrepid souls who first immigrated to the Colonies.
“Oh sure”, I thought, “you have records of the usual suspects – wealthy Barons or
Knights and important English Governors and the like, but most of the unwashed masses
came over in a poorly documented state”. I could not have been more wrong. There is a
current saying that goes, “Follow the money”, and thus it is with the earliest emigrants.
The jobs market was very depressed in England and there was a corresponding shortage
of labor in the Colonies in the 17th century. Tobacco was the money export and very labor
intensive. These facts led to the importation of labor under contract status. Indentured
servitude was a big business and wherever money is involved there is always
bookkeeping. There are some great books in the genealogy section of your local library

listing many thousands of indentured servants by name and destinations. The Internet has
a plethora of sites listing the ships by name, their Master and destination – many with a
full list of passengers. The various Colonial governments encouraged the importation of
servants by granting a headright of 50 acres to colonial landowners in exchange for
sponsoring the passage of an immigrant. Consequently, there are numerous records of
landowners claiming headright acreage and listing the emigrants that were transported (a
note of caution here: many headrights were traded or sold to others who claimed them
many years afterward or even fraudulently, but they are still useful in giving a general
idea as to location or time-period). This land was the property of the colonist and not the
indentured servant. However, the servant may have been granted „freedom dues‟ at the
conclusion of his or her contract, which may have included a parcel of land. Contracts
were generally four or five years in length, but I have noted some seven-year contracts.
At least one writer has estimated that up to half of all indentured servants died before
their contract was up. (It is necessary to note that the very first Pilkintons that
immigrated to the colonies were not indentured servants. William and Margaret Pilkinton
came over in 1619-1620 aboard the Bona Nova from the port of London to James City,
Virginia Colonies. Ship‟s records clearly note them as „freeman‟ and „freewoman‟. This
William died circa 1639 in the area around the border of Surry and Isle of Wight
Counties. There are no records of his children.) Most indentured servants were young
white single males from England. They were generally destitute or being the youngest
males in a family, they did not stand to inherit wealth or land under the laws of
Primogeniture (feudal law giving the first born the father‟s property). Gradually, as the
labor market improved in England, more Irish, Scots and Germans began to be imported
to the Colonies as laborers, however, eventually the demands of labor in the New World
made purchasing Africans more profitable. By the early part of the 18th century
Indentured Servitude was a marginal factor in the New World28. Another moneymaking
enterprise for the newly dominant British shipping empire was the exportation of
prisoners to the Colonies. This was during a period of restrictive religious laws in
England and one could be sentenced to prison or death for what today seems the slightest
offense including resistance to Church Doctrine, petit theft, indebtedness, etc. To reduce
crowding in the local jails (“gaols” in British usage), courts often commuted sentences to
banishment in the colonies. The British government paid shipping companies to transport
the prisoners. To this very day in London there are stacks of dusty ships manifests that in
centuries past had been submitted to the government for payment. These manifests list
each and every prisoner transported. Unfortunately, all this information left me with the
maddening discovery that there were no less than four documented William Pilkintons
(usually spelled Pilkinton but also at times Pilkington) transported to the Virginia
Colonies during the time period 1620 to1720. There are many Pilkinton/Pilkington men
and women who emigrated after 1720 to various destinations such as Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina, but for the purposes of this study, I am only
examining Virginia immigrations during the mid 17th century to the first years of the 18th
century (note that before 1751 the British used the Gregorian Calendar with new year‟s
day on March 25, and that the year lost about eleven days when it converted to the Julian
calendar in use now).
     Barker, Deana “Indentured Servitude in Colonial America”, on the Internet at

                                           The First William

   William and Margaret Pilkinton (or Pilkington) came to James City to live on the
Treasurer‟s (Sir Edwin Sandy‟s) Plantation in 1620 aboard the ship Bona Nova out of the
Port of London. They are enumerated in the Robert Sheppard household or farm in the
Virginia Muster of 1624/5. On 28 March 1625, William is witness to suicide by hanging
of servant boy John Verone.29 In a court record at James City on November 13, 1626,
Elias Long swore that John Parsons who died July 1626 gave as his will by word of
mouth "...all the rest of his estate and croppe (that) was left … unto his mate Willi'm
Pilkinton."30 Another court record enumerates William‟s land as:“ … 300 acres on the
east side of Lowne's Creek - due 50 acres for his own personal adventure, 50 acres for the
personal adventure of his wife Margarett, and 200 for the importation of Thos. Bellow,
James Pinkney, Thos. Stephens, and one boy. By West July 10, 1635." 31 A clue to
William‟s date of death is contained in a September 20th 1639 land patent by John Wall:
" … 300 acres in Charles City County (on south side of James River), adjoining north on
John Hacker, east on William Rookins and William Pilkington, late deceased...." 32
William Pilkinton‟s (“late of Virginia, Deceased”) probate record was registered in
London, England in October 1641 and only names William‟s “brother Sir Arthur
Pilkington”, who was administrator.33 We may deduce, then, that William died just prior
to September 1639 and was a brother of Sir Arthur Pilkington, a Baronet of Nova Scotia,
whose parents were Frederick Pilkington and Francis Rhodes of Lancashire in England.
William is not listed in Sir Arthur‟s family chart; however, I am led to believe that, these
lineages were done long after a Knight‟s death and often left off members of the family
that were not necessary to proving descendancy. Mr. Nicolas Perry ended up with
William Pilkinton‟s land according to this entry in James City County Book No. 1, Page

              "554. William Pilkinton, May 4, 1638. 200 acres. Southerly upon Chippokes
               creek, westly into the main woods, a small creek lying upon each side of the
               said land. Note: "This patt. is renewed &c in the name of Nicho. Perry & 950
               acres added to it, dated 8th Sept. 1644."

   William and Margaret most likely left children in Virginia. A Thomas Pilkin(g)ton is a
signatory in 1676 on a list of Loyal subjects (as a result of Bacon‟s Rebellion) in the Isle
of Wight County area which encompasses the original lands of William35. A Henry

   Virginia Historical Magazine, Volume 23, page 8
    Ibid, Volume 26, page 246. (Follow up Inventory court order see Vol. 27, pp. 141,142).
   Virginia Historical Magazine, Volume 3, page 182.
   Virginia Patents, 1-II: 678
   Coldham, Peter Wilson, English Estates of American Colonists (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing
Company 1980 Vol. I, not in index but on page 246.)
   William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, VOL. IX. October 1900. NO. 2. PATENTS
   Boddie, John Bennett, Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia: a history of the county of
Isle of Wight, Virginia, during the seventeenth century, including abstracts of the county records,
Chicago: Chicago Law Print. Co., c1938, 771 pgs.

Pilkinton is a witness to a court document in Isle of Wight County, Virginia in 168836. An
assumption would be that, Thomas is likely William and Margaret‟s son and Henry could
be Thomas‟ son. In addition, a John Pilkington is claimed as a headright by Joseph Smith
of Isle of Wight County in May 1713, however it appears that this John may have been
transported much earlier as some of the claim involves emigrants transported in 1645.
There is also a John Pilkinton listed as a witness on court records in Isle of Wight County
in 1693. John Pilkington‟s will was written and proved in 1734 in Norfolk County
wherein he mentions only his wife Mary and a daughter Mary. Daniel Pugh claimed a
William Pilkinton as a headright in Nansemond County, Virginia in 1700. Nansemond
bordered Isle of Wight to the east and is now Suffolk. I personally believe that the group
of Pilkintons that came out of Isle of Wight County and moved west into Brunswick and
Lunenburg Counties and then apparently into North Carolina came from either the
original William, later William of Nansemond or the later John Pilkington.

                                         The Second William

   On the 20th of June 1684, the Midland Circuit Court in England issued a reprieve on
the sentence of William Pilkington of Derbyshire and ordered that he be sent to America.
There is no notation in the source as to his crime or exact destination37. He might have
been sent to Virginia, Maryland, Barbados, Jamaica, or elsewhere. I include him because
he is the next earliest William Pilkington sent to America. If he had landed in Virginia,
then he could have been one of the three William Pilkintons claimed as headrights in
Virginia between 1700 and 1714.

                                          The Third William

   The third William Pilkington is perhaps the most promising, for not only do we know
he was transported to Virginia in 1698 as an indentured servant, but footnotes in author
Elizabeth French‟s book indicate his parentage. This William Pilkington was from
Brindle, which is in the traditional area of origin for the Pilkington family of England.
William left the port of Liverpool, England aboard the ship Submission. Thomas
Seacombe was the ship‟s Master. William was bound in servitude for a period of 5 years
on November 2nd, 1698. No sponsor was listed for William, which could indicate that he
bonded himself to the ship‟s Master in Liverpool to be purchased when debarking in
Virginia. The author notes that William was the son of John and Agnes Waring
Pilkington of Brindle, and that William was baptized February 1680 or 81 at Brindle38.
As with the second William, the third William could be any of the three claimed as
headrights in Virginia between 1700 and 1714.

   Coldham, Peter, The Complete Book of Emigrants 1661-1699, 1990. Page 460.
   French, Elizabeth. List of Emigrants to America from Liverpool, 1697-1707. Boston: New England
Historic Genealogical Society, 1913. 55p. Reprint. Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1962, 1983,
page 17.

                            Headright Claims by County 1700 - 171439

       1) Essex County, Virginia: 26 April 1704 - Thomas Tinsley claimed William
          Pilkinton. I have no doubt that this is the William that purchased land in
          Richmond County in 1705. Tinsley was a large plantation owner whose holdings
          straddled the Rappahannock River in both Richmond and Essex Counties. I am
          also sure that this William or his son purchased land in 1726 and 1728 in Essex
          for thousands of pounds of tobacco. I am sure he is the progenitor of the
          Pilkinton‟s of the Lloyds or Loretto area of St. Ann‟s Parrish including Nicanor,
          Parmenas, Micajah, Larkin and others.
       2) Henrico County, Virginia: 16 June 1714 - Thomas Harrod and Amos Ladd both
          claim William Pilkinton as a headright on the same day. This is probably a case of
          headright being sold from one man to the other, or outright fraud. Henrico is
          home to the state capitol of Richmond and borders Powhatan County on the East.
       3) Nansemond County (now Suffolk City), Virginia: 7 November 1700 - Daniel
          Pugh claimed William Pilkinton and several others whose names match the list of
          headrights claimed by Henry Hackley in the same county on 2 May 1705. Clearly
          a case of selling headright claims as several names on both claims matched
          exactly. This area is so close to Isle of Wight that this William may very well be
          connected with the Pilkinton‟s of that county.

The above represents the extent of documents pertaining to Pilkinton or Pilkington
emigrants during the period of my study. There were many other Pilkinton emigrants to
the New World that I ruled out for two reasons: They arrived after 1720 (I was looking
for emigrants before this period). They had a destination other than Virginia (I am
concentrating on Virginia even though there is an outside chance that some Maryland
Pilkintons made their way into Virginia as they border each other, but even today the
Maryland descendants use the Pilkerton spelling). Keep in mind that it is not my intention
to represent my theory as a fact. I am merely presenting what facts I have discovered and
will leave it up to the reader to assess them, double check the sources and prove or
disprove the theory by discovering new clues or facts.

COPYRIGHT James Fred Pilkinton Jr. 2004

     Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. 3:1695 – 1732, Richmond, 1979, pp. 34, 84, 93, 152, 156.

While the Public Information contained herein is free, the conclusions and format are
mine, however I will gladly allow anyone to use them provided two things: do not
use it for profit and acknowledge me as the source.

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