Much of the TRAYLOR history is built upon sound research by devoted
researchers who have generously shared their research with others. But
far too much of the traditional account
is based on the plagiarized and deceitful report written by Gustav
Anjou in the 1930s. His work on the Traylor family is among the
fraudulent lineages for which he is noted. http://personal.linkline.com/xymox/fraud/fraud.htm
is only one of several internet sites that details his deception.
Although widely acknowledged as error-filled, his version of the
Traylor lineage is still circulated across the internet. I don't claim
to know all the answers, but at least my conclusions are based on court
records or transcriptions done by reputable transcribers. Additionally
I have almost twenty years of experience working with colonial Virginia
property and inheritance records. Follow the links throughout this
narrative to the documents on which I base my conclusions, some of
which differ from others. I welcome discussions based on good primary
and secondary evidence.
The tradition that MARTHA's surname is RANDOLPH began with a query posted in the William & Mary Quarterly
by early Traylor researcher Lottie Hines. Her simple query, merely
asking IF Martha might be a Randolph, was later restated as fact by
Anjou. He added the tie between Martha and William Randolph of Turkey
Island. There is absolutely no record on either side of the Atlantic
that supports this claim; anything else is conjecture.
Early researchers concluded an "Edward" was the Virginia TRAYLOR
patriarch based on two headrights found within the Virginia patent
records. Edward Tryar was listed among headrights used for a land grant
dated 1664 and Edward Traylor is found among headrights for land
granted in 1682. According to Cal Traylor, who corresponded with many
of the earlier researchers, none were aware of the William Traylor
who pre-dates Martha's son in Virginia records. All we know about this
William is: (1) he was a resident of Charles City County, Virginia when
he died sometime before June 1678. (2) His widow, whose given name was
not recorded, married Emanuel Albery. (3) Albery was ordered to pay
William's debt of 740 pounds tobacco. Records suggest Martha's TRAYLOR
sons were born before 1681. Therefore, I propose that Martha's husband
was this WILLIAM Traylor who died before June 1678, and not a
The traditional account gives
two sons and one daughter for Martha and her Traylor husband. I propose
instead that she had four sons: three with William Traylor and one with
an unknown HASKINS. Martha identifies WILLIAM Traylor as son and only heir
in her 1725 Henrico County will. I propose the JOHN Tralo, (sic) who
with (her son) William Traylor appear as witnesses in the same 1694
Charles City County lawsuit, is also a son. By 1722 she was married to
John Porter, who appointed his son-in-law William Haskins executor of his will that year. Although the traditional account
claims that William Haskins was married to a Traylor daughter, I
propose that William Haskins is actually Martha's son. My reasoning:
(1) No record indicates that William Haskins was married. (2) HASKINS
researchers cannot place him in any other Haskins family in Virginia.
(3) Martha's husband called him son-in-law, a term that meant step-son. (4) Moreover the will of William Haskins identifies William and EDWARD Traylor as [his] brothers.
Therefore, the records are clear: William and Edward Traylor are
brothers and sons of Martha. John is a son by elimination (no other
Traylor family in the area.) Whether William Haskins was Martha's son
or her son-in-law is the only real question.
Clues for identifying Martha's daughters are found in the wills of her
husband, John Porter (1722), and son William Haskins (1742). Porter's
will left everything (after Martha's demise) to George Traylor and
George Foord. Haskins devised his plantation to Frederick Ford and
"Negroes" [i.e. more than one] to William Ford, identifying both as sons of Matthew. [Surely George Foord is another of Mathew's sons.] Then Haskins bequeathed one Negro to each of these persons: MARY GRIGG, wife of Abner; George Traylor; MARTHA SPAIN, wife of Thomas Spain; HUGH BRAGG and Cousin MARY TUCKER, wife of John Tucker. As mentioned above, Haskins remembered his Brother William Traylor; Brother
Edward Traylor; and Mary Basford with a token one shilling. The
remainder of his estate was to be divided between Thomas Spain and
Mary GRIGG is said by other researchers to be Matthew Ford's daughter.
If true, William Haskins left most of his estate to FORD extended
family suggesting a family tie. Therefore, I propose that Mathew Ford's
wife was another child of Martha's marriage to unknown
Haskins. Although Hugh Bragg received the legacy in the Haskins will,
his wife was a sister of the wife of Joseph Traylor (brother of
George.) Both Thomas and his wife Martha Spain received a legacy in
Haskins' will, while John and William Spain were witnesses to it. How
the Braggs and Spains fit into the family circle is an on-going project.
Without question, Martha was the widow of John Porter when she died. I
propose this is the same John Porter who informed the Henrico County
Court (April 1690) that he had recently married the widow of John
Davis. As such, he now had in his hands (as guardian) the full
inheritance coming to Francis, son of the said John Davis deceased. Two
men named "John Davis" died in Henrico County in the 1680s. One left a
widow Mary and four minor children in 1684. The other died before
October 1689 leaving a widow MARTHA and a son Francis. Adding a layer
of intrigue, George Archer signed the security bond for Martha Davis as
temporary trustee of the estate (October 1689) and then again when she
was appointed administratrix (February 1690.) Archer was effectively
saying he would cover any monetary loss to the estate due to her
actions. Men who signed security bonds for widows to perform estate
duties were usually close relatives. This George Archer is the same
person whose daughter Judith married Martha's son five years later.
Thus we have a suggested kinship between them that predates the
marriage of their children. Additionally he is the same George Archer
whose 1726 (dated) will asked his son to allow Mary Basford to
peacefully live on his plantation during her natural life. This is the
same Mary Basford who, in 1742, was remembered with a shilling (along
with brothers William and Edward Traylor) in William Haskins' will.
Based on an unrecorded 1706 Henrico County deed, I very tentatively propose another daughter for Martha: the wife of William Garrett. My reasoning: her son
William Traylor rather quickly sold three, 100-acre-tracts out of the
first patent (dated 1701) he received. One tract went to his brother
Edward; the second tract to his step-father John Porter; and the third
tract to William Garrett. Additionally William Garrett didn't bother to
record the original deed in the courthouse. My theory is: William
Traylor as "heir at law" was selling them the inheritance (dower in
Porter's case) they might have expected from their father. Otherwise,
with only one other exception, William retained ownership of all the
land he acquired until he divided it between his sons.
WILLIAM and JUDITH's Family
After all these years researchers still don't agree on the number of
sons for this couple, let alone the birth order. Daughters are usually
not even part of the discussion. Only two grantor deeds from William
Sr. identify the grantee as his son -- HUMPHREY and JOSEPH. However, within the deed to Joseph is the phrase: "except ... in possession of my son JOHN." Then the 1771 will of GEORGE appoints his brother Umphree
executor. Thus, these four sons are firmly placed into this family
group. Evidence for the younger WILLIAM as part of this family centers
around a phrase within his 1761 will: "if I have any right to the land
called Fleets." This appears to be a direct reference to the
1702 trust deed between George Archer and James Thweat in which William
and Judith and her heirs were the beneficiaries. Thus the only TRAYLORs
eligible to benefit from Fleets were their children.
The case for EDWARD (died
1746) as another member of this family group comes down to the timing
of two documents. Edward's will, signed April 13, 1745, gave his "317
acre dwelling place" to his son William. However, the deed by which
William Sr. formally transferred to Edward that 317 acre tract wasn't
dated until a month after the will was signed. We conjecture Edward had
lived upon and improved this tract for several years without a
clear-title deed. He must have been confident the legal niceties would
be forthcoming. This suggests a trust usually seen only between close
family members. As mentioned under Martha's Family, during his
lifetime William Sr. sold only two tracts outside his immediate family
group. The first tract went to William Garrett (1706) who I propose married Martha's daughter (William's sibling.) The second tract was sold (1724) to William Dunifant / Dunnivant, who I now propose married William and Judith's daughter.
Although merely a minor issue in the overall scheme of things,
researchers also disagree on the birth order of William and Judith's
children. I think GEORGE is probably the eldest, or at least, the
second son. Most researchers position him farther down the birth order
list based on birth of his first child and when he died. My reasoning
is threefold. Primogeniture (all land not otherwise deeded to others
went to the eldest son) was in effect in Virginia until the time of the
Revolution. So far no one has found a grantor deed from William Sr. to
George. He is also the only son occasionally referred to as "Mister,"
an honorary (but not inherited title) sometimes applied to William Sr.
The first appearance of the term referring to George is coincidentally
the same time period we posit William Sr.'s death. And finally, George
is the only son who received legacies in the wills of his
step-grandfather, John Porter, and his Uncle William Haskins.
Although there are very good reasons for positing JOHN or WILLIAM as
the second son, in my opinion the case for EDWARD is stronger. He is
the only son to secure a land patent (presumably with his father's
assistance) and his child is the first TRAYLOR whose birth is recorded
in the extant Bristol Parish Register. JOHN, whose child is the
next to appear in the birth register, is my choice for the third son.
[I admit using the birth register as the only reason places me on shaky
ground; others can argue that births of other children were recorded on
pages now lost.]
With some ambivalence I place WILLIAM as the fourth son. At one time
he was my candidate for first son. Thanks to a deposition given in
1784, we have documentation that HUMPHREY was born about 1711. There is
little doubt the youngest son was JOSEPH for he received his father's
dwelling plantation and everything that belonged to it.
One can access the individual time lines documenting each of these
sons and their descendants by clicking on the above given names.
William and Judith's line isn't my direct line so I leave it to their
descendants to perform the necessary research to answer some of the
questions raised within each timeline. My file on their son William is
a work in progress, as is another file attempting to sort out the
numerous Archer / Archibald / Archie Traylors in Chesterfield County.
Edward was a land owner
living in Bristol Parish, Virginia in 1702 when he purchased a 100 acre
tract on the north side of the Appomattox River from his brother
William. At the time Bristol Parish covered both sides of the
Appomattox River valley. Due to the lack of records found for him and
his descendants, we can reasonably infer they lived on the south side
of the river inthose counties where numerous court records were
destroyed. And therein lies our problem identifying Edward's
descendants.At this time I can only connect two individuals to him, and
that only by building a case based on very little evidence.
Research confirms there were two boys named William, born during the
1730s, whose fathers were both named Edward. However, only the birth of
one of the Williams was recorded in the parish register and the two
Williams were thus merged into one. My theory is, EDWARD, father of
William b. 1733, is the son of Martha's son Edward. (A timeline
for Edward, father of the other William, is found under the family of
William and Judith.) I also propose this WILLIAM, born 1733, is
the one who died in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1791 leaving 12 children.
Sharp-eyed researchers will note some of those children were previously
identified as William's brothers.
The John who briefly appears in
Charles City County records is proposed as Martha's son simply because
there is no record of another Traylor family in the area. John may have
died before he married or his descendants may be among those
"unidentified TRAYLORs" we discover in our research.
Are there Two?
The goal of most researchers is
to place individuals into correct family groups. In many cases this
merely requires locating evidence supporting a family move or inclusion
of another child. However, there surely are other instances where two
"same given-named individuals" were combined into one. Often, there
isn't enough evidence to support two people, but the number of
discrepancies between dates and places raises serious questions. This
is the section where such instances will be posted.
At this time I want to express my
deep appreciation to all those who freely share their research with
others. I've tried to give individual credit within time lines, but
three TRAYLOR researchers deserve special recognition. I thank Cal Traylor
for sharing his years of research and correspondence with others. It's
instructional to see how earlier researchers interpreted the records
they found. It's also very humbling to remember they worked without the
many abstracted court records that today quickly guide us to the
pertinent original documents. Also their research tools were the
typewriter, carbon paper and a SASE. Special thanks to Peggy Thompson
who spent countless hours transcribing numerous courthouse records
(posted to the usgenweb sites) and building one of the best Traylor
databases around. I am grateful to "cousin" Johnella Sparks Boynton, whose
opinions I so value and who freely shared her years of research on
several lines with me. When we first met, the only thing about our
Sparks heritage I knew was my great-grandpa had a brother named Doc. It
turned out "Doc" was her grandfather. In addition, two non-Traylor
researchers deserve plaudits for all the years of research assistance
and encouragement they have given me: Lea Dowd and Rhoda Fone.
||TRAYLOR and SPARKS and allied surnames found on early Wilkes
Co. GA tax lists.
||Time line entries between 1702
and 1791 provides proof there were three, and perhaps four, Edward
Traylor(s) in southside Virginia during the 1700s.
||Children of William TRAYLOR d.
1791 Wilkes Co. GA.