Spouse: ***** Coale?
Child-1: Thomas, Sr.
2: William - b: 1672 - Rappahannock Co. (old), VA - d: 1740 - Essex Co., VA
3: Dorothy? - b: 1675
It is reasonably certain that "Howerton" is a surname of English origin.1 Moreover, notwithstanding that the first element of the name, i.e., "hower", might be thought to be an archaic form of the modern word "hour", (as in, perhaps, an hour's walk or an hour's journey) there is no historical support for such a reading and the meaning necessarily remains obscure. Even so, as with many modern surnames it would seem evident that the second element, i.e., "ton", is cognate with "town". Of course, in modern usage this means a settlement or inhabited place larger than a village, but smaller than a city. However, according to the Oxford English Dictionary the Old English form "tuun" meant "a field, garden, yard, or court" and was related to older Germanic and Indo-European roots also having the meaning "fence or hedge". As such, in the Middle Ages the word was used to translate the Latin word "villa", i.e., an enclosed or fortified country estate, and over time, along with village, has come to have its modern meaning. In any case, it would seem clear that "Howerton" must be one of the many place-related English surnames. Alternatively, various researchers at different times have insisted that the English form of the name was originally "Hawarden". Presumably, the various American spellings, "Heywarton", "Haywerton", etc., and later standardized as "Howerton", reflected the spoken pronunciation of the mid-seventeenth century and were entered into colonial civil records as such due to illiteracy or carelessness (as has been spectacularly the case with surnames of many later immigrants to the United States). Indeed, a corresponding surname derived from the town of Hawarden (Welsh name: Penarlâg), Flintshire, Wales, is known in Britain, particularly in the general vicinity of Flintshire. Accordingly, it might seem, at least superficially, that pronunciation of the town's name could have easily been converted to "Howerton"; however, in fact, the pronunciation of "Hawarden" in England is similar to the American pronunciation of "Hardin" and, thus, is quite different. Therefore, it cannot be considered as a plausible candidate from which the American surname "Howerton" descended.Source Notes and Citations:
The first two individuals bearing this name for which any indisputable record has been found in the English colonies of North America were Thomas and John Howerton. It is generally believed that they were brothers and that they both arrived from England in 1663 in indentured status, viz., Thomas in the Virginia Colony and John in Maryland. It has not been determined why they settled in different colonies or even whether they traveled to America on the same ship. Searches of English records by several different researchers have failed to connect Thomas and John Howerton to any definite location in Great Britain. Within this context, the best information, provided by Bryan R. Howerton, a careful and reliable historian of the Howerton family, indicates that at the time Thomas and John Howerton emigrated to the Colonies of Virginia and Maryland, individuals bearing this surname were to be found in only one area of England. To be precise, records of St. Leonard's Parish at Bridgnorth, Shropshire, confirm that individuals having the surname "Howerton" resided in this area in the late 1500's and throughout the 1600's. This provides at least some circumstantial evidence that Thomas and John Howerton may have originally come from somewhere near this locality. Moreover, family tradition among some lines of Howerton descendants indicate that three, not two, brothers originally arrived in America at about the same time. However, searches of early colonial civil records fail to support this legend, unless the individual, William Howton, who witnessed a deed in old Rappahannock County, Virginia, on October 28, 1668, could have been the third brother. (This is plausible because spelling variations of surnames was a common occurrence in colonial records.) No other documentary evidence indicating the existence of a third brother has yet been found. Therefore, if William Howton was a brother of Thomas and John Howerton, it is probable that he died relatively soon after his arrival as is suggested by the high mortality rate prevailing among early European settlers in North America. It is not precisely known what could have motivated the Howerton brothers, regardless of whether there were three or just two of them, to venture to America. Naturally, one would suppose that they expected to improve their lives by securing land and profits in the American colonies; opportunies that they did not have in England. Even so, examination of accurate replicas of sailing ships of that period, which are presently moored at the National Historic Site of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia, would indicate they must have been desperate, adventurous, or extremely courageous to attempt crossing the Atlantic Ocean in such small, frail vessels. It is almost shocking for one alive in the present day to observe these small wooden ships and realize the risks, discomfort, and hardships experienced by the early colonists.
Within this context, it is likely that the immigrant Thomas Howerton was born in England about 1640. Moreover, it has been determined that he was one of three hundred and thirteen people claimed as "headrights" by John and George Mott on October 17, 1670, in exchange for grant of a patent for 15,564 acres of land on waters draining into the Rappahannock River.2 Indeed, during the colonial period, such patents were commonly given by the Crown as compensation for transportation of indentured persons, i.e., headrights, to North America. Accordingly, the Motts were early and apparently rather wealthy landowners in the Virginia Colony and, as such were granted several early land patents.3 It further appears that they had bought, traded, and earned headrights over a period of years in an effort to obtain a royal patent for lands they specifically desired. In any case, after serving the obligatory indentured period, Thomas Howerton settled in old Rappahannock County on land that now straddles the boundary between the present day Virginia counties of Essex and King and Queen. At this time, Thomas Howerton and William Covington appear to have become partners and together bought three hundred and sixty-five acres of land lying along Dragon Swamp from the Motts.4 (The name of William Covington was also listed in the royal patent cited above and, hence, he was presumably also transported from England by the Motts.) The present village of Howertons in Essex County probably lies on land originally owned by Thomas Howerton and William Covington. The wife of Thomas Howerton has not been identified; however, it is suspected by a number of researchers that she was the daughter of John and Anne Coale, also of old Rappahannock County. A reasonable case for this assumption can be made based upon circumstantial evidence.5 Two sons of the immigrant Thomas Howerton, are known and have been identified, respectively, as Thomas and William, born about 1670 and 1672. In addition, some researchers have identified a daughter, Dorothy, however, the evidence for this is not convincing.6 On April 3, 1683, William Covington and Thomas Howerton agreed to divide the lands they had previously bought from the Motts and subsequently held jointly.7 Moreover, it appears that both parties had prospered greatly in the preceding ten years and that the division of their lands was entirely amicable. The Howerton plantation was located on the south side of Dragon Swamp about seven or eight miles south southwest of the present town of Tappahannock. It is almost certain that as with other planters in the Virginia Colony at this time, tobacco for export to England would have been Thomas Howerton's primary crop. Concomitantly, between 1670 and 1700, the name of Thomas Howerton appeared in numerous civil records in old Rappahannock and Essex Counties including witness to conveyances of property,8 powers of attorney,9 court proceedings,10 and estate settlements.11 In addition, Thomas Howerton was mentioned in a letter written to William Leigh from William Fitz Hugh on June 27, 1682.12 It seems that the immigrant Thomas Howerton must have died in Essex County about 1700. His burial place is unknown. Indeed, recent attempts to locate graves of early Howerton ancestors have been uniformly unsuccessful. Perhaps, this is explained in the postscript that Mr. W. F. Durham of Howertons, Essex County, Virginia, added to his letter of August 3, 1908, written in reply to Mrs. Penelope Lingan of Houston, Texas, in which he stated, "The old Howerton Cemetery is near me, but nothing to mark the place of anyone. All in the woods."
1. Patrick Hanks (ed.), Oxford Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, periodically updated.
"English: habitational name from an unidentified place."
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2. John & George Mott (?) Patt. 15654 acres ... the sd. land being done to ye sd. John and George Mott by & for ye transportation of three hundred and thirteen persons into this Colonie, to have and to hold ... Dated this 17th October 1670. The handwritten text of this patent is very difficult to read, however, the land is described as being on the North side and in freshes of the Rappahannock River and adjoining lands of William Wilton, Mr. William Ball, Richard Heabcard and others over branches of Potomeck (sic) River, etc. Names of some of the transported individuals are appended and include Tho: Heywarton (Thomas Howerton) as well as Wm Covington (William Covington) /s/ Phil. Ludwell, Clerk (Land Office Patents, Bk. 6, pg. 330, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - Land Office Grants and Patents #6).)
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3a. Land Patent: 23/Sep/1663; Grantees: Mott, John and George; 1200 acres; County: Unspecified; Water Course: situate in the freshes of Rappahannock, on the north side of the river: Beg.g on the south east side of Muddy Creeke. (Land Office Grants, Bk. 6, pg. 73, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - Land Office Grants and Patents #6).)
b. Land Patent: 10/Sep/1668; Grantees: Mott, John and George; 3700 acres; County: Rappahannock (old); Water Course: in the freshes of Rappahannock County on the north side. Beginning at the eastmost side of a creek called Muddy Creek. (Land Office Grants, Bk. 6, pg. 209, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - Land Office Grants and Patents #6).)
c. Land Patent: 29/Oct/1674; Grantees: Harrison, James; John Bowzer; Eliz., Margarett, Ann, and Elin Mott, the fower orphans of Mr. Geo. Mott; 9019 acres; County: Unspecified; Water Course: on the south side of Rappahannock River: Beg.g and near the river, six miles up the falls. (Land Office Grants, Bk. 6, pg. 546, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - Land Office Grants and Patents #6).)
d. Land Patent: 1/Jan/1677 (1678 N. S.); Grantees: Carpenter, John and Mott, John; 245 acres; County: Lancaster; Water Course: unspecified. (Land Office Grants, Bk. 6, pg. 627, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - Land Office Grants and Patents #6).)
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4. Know all men by these presents that we John Mott and Elizabeth, relique of George Mott of the County of Rappahannock for good causes and valuable considerations us thereunto moving especially for and in consideration of £40 sterling money the receipt whereof wee doe hereby acknowledge and of every parte and parcell thereof doe hold ourselves fully satisfied and paid have bargained and confirmed and by these presents doe bargaine and well and confirme unto William Coventon and Thomas Haywarton of the County of Rappahannock three hundred sixty and five acres of land suitable of being upon a branch of Dragon Swamp and bounding the land of Coll William Clabourne in the land on said parcell of land the said Mott purchased of John Pegg to have and to hold the said bargained land and premises unto the said William Coventon and Thomas Haywarton and their heirs forever. All rights profitts and appurtenance thereunto belonging or in any waies appurtaining without the least hindrance of modefatation of us John Mott and Elizabeth Mott or any of us or any of our heirs or any other person or persons whatsoever by virtue hereof by us the said Motts sufficiently narrated as wittness our hands and seals this twentieth day of May 1674. Testatores: Thomas Harrison, John Vickars /s/John Mott /s/ Elizabeth (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 5, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 306, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #4 and #20).)
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5a. On December 26, 1668, Thomas Haywerton and Hugh Egleston witnessed a deed for transfer of land to Thomas Williamson (the younger) from John Coale and Anne Coale (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 4, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 133, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #4 and #20).)
b. On May 4, 1669, Thomas Haywerton and Dorothy Covington witnessed a power of attorney from John Cole to Edward Hudson; also on the previous date, December 26, 1668, Thomas Haywarton had witnessed a power of attorney from John Cole to Edward Hudson and a power of attorney from Ann Cole to Edward Hudson (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 4, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 447-8, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #4 and #20).)
c. On October 27, 1673, Thomas Haywerton was granted power of attorney from John Cole and wife, Anne (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 5, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 313, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #4 and #20).)
d. Know all men by these presents that I John Coale and Ann Coale my wife both of us doe constitute and appoint our well beloved friend Thomas Haywarton for to be our true and lawfull attorney for us and in our name head and place to acknowledge this deed of trust and whatsoever our said attorney shall do in it shall stand in full force of virtue as well as if we were in presence of wittnesses Our hands and seals the second of May 1674 /s/John S Cole /s/Ann (her mark) Coale Test: Arthur Hodges, Thomas Day (ibid.)
e. According to Ann Arritt of Richmond, Virginia, the power of attorney granted to Thomas Howerton by John and Ann Coale on May 2, 1674, was intended to acknowledge a deed of gift of one cow from John and Ann Coale to John Covington, son of William Covington. (Private correspondence with Bryan R. Howerton)
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6a. Indenture made on October 10, 1670, between William Coventon (Covington) of County of Rappahannock and Dorothy his wife, and Thos. Haywarton (Howerton) of above county, Planter, of one part and William Richards of Puscatoguen in above county, Planter, of the other part, witnesseth ...William Coventon and Dorothy his wife, and Thomas Haywarton for sum of three thousand pounds Tobacco ... sell to William Richards 300 acres of land lying upon branch of ye Dragon Swamp ... bounded upon the line of William Coventon and Jno. Cole. /s/William Coventon /s/Dorothy Covington /s/Tho. Haywerton Witness: William Harding, Francis Webb (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 4, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 458, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #4 and #20).)
b. In a book about the Covington family published in 1997 by a Covington descendant living in Virginia, it was stated that Dorothy Covington, who signed the preceding deed, was a daughter of the immigrant Thomas Howerton, whose signature also appears. Although the author died soon after the book was published, according to others familiar with the compilation of data, the author assumed a family relationship between Dorothy Covington and Thomas Howerton merely because they both signed the above deed. Apparently the author and any others involved with the book were unaware that colonial Virginia law required the wife to acknowledge in writing, her loss of dower rights if her husband sold property on which or any part of which they resided. This in itself is sufficient to account for the signature of Dorothy Covington on the conveyance. No credible documentary evidence has ever been found that substantiates a father-daughter relationship between Thomas Howerton and Dorothy Covington. Moreover, any possible chronology implied by such a relationship seems improbable and it seems much more likely that Dorothy Covington was a daughter of John and Ann Coale. (Private correspondence with Bryan R. Howerton)
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7. Articles of agreement by and between William Covington of the one part and Thomas Howerton of the other part: Witness whereas it is agreed upon between these above mentioned parties William Covington and Thomas Howerton concerning the dividing of the land they both live on being the land they formerly purchased of William Mott. It is agreed upon and confirmed between them that the swamp which is between the plantation of William Covington and the plantation of Thomas Howerton shall be the division and that the aforesaid William Covington his part of the land to be on the north side of the swamp and the above mentioned Thomas Howerton his part to bound on the south side of the swamp. Thus it is agreed on that this said swamp shall be the division between us without any trouble or difference. As witness our hands and seals this third day of April 1683 /s/William Covington /s/Thomas Howerton Witness: Daniel Dobyns, William C Brothers (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 7, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 24, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #6 and #21).)
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8a. On April 17, 1683, Thomas Howerton witnessed a deed from William Covington to his brothers. (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 7, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 29, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #6 and #21).)
b. Indenture made 3rd May 1687 in the Second year of reign of James the Second between Catharine Clayburne, widow of Colonel William Clayburne, Jun. late of Parish of St John in Pamunky Neck, County of New Kent, Virginia, decd, as well for and in behalf of her Self as her son and heire apparent, William Clayburne, who hath given securitie by his Guardian and Unkle John Claiburn's bond and his confirmation of the present deed of sale from his and his heirs when attains to age of one and twenty years ... one part William Covington of Parish of Farnham in County of Rappahannock, Virginia, aforesaid, Planter, of other part, witnesseth that this Catharine Clayburne for .. .value of £50 pounds Sterling Money paid ... to John Clayburne to and for only proper benefit of my said Son, William Clayburne ... hath sold ... unto William Covington all that Plantation land ... containing 250 acres lying in Parish of Farnham in County of Rappahannock commonly called by name of "Bestlands" and now is of late in tenure or occupacion of Stephen Benbridge ... bounded north upon old Assuamanscock footpath west upon land of John Forth south upon the Maine Swamp and West upon land of William Covington and Tho Howerton ... /s/Katherine Clayburne Witness: Benjamin Wilson, Wm Legick, Benjamin Bibb, Tho Haywarton, Andrew Dent (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 7, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 364, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #6 and #21).)
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9. Know all men by these presents that I Katherine Richards widow of William Richards doe by these presents constitute and appoint my true and well beloved friend Thomas Haywerton my true and lawful attorney for me in my name to acknowledge all my rights and title of two hundred acres of land lying one at head of Pascaquea Creek unto William Warding rattifying and confirming whatsoever my said atorney shall do therein by virtue hereof as witness my hand the twenty sixth day of February Anno Domo 1670 /s/Katharin W (her mark) Richards Test: Thomas Edmond, John Eddleson (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 4, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 471, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #4 and #20).)
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10a. On October 5, 1675: Col William Claiborne hath order against the Sherriffe of Rappahannock County for the non-appearance of William Covington and Thomas Howerton for what shall be made appear justly due next Court in case ye said Sherrif cause not the said Covington and Howerton than to appear (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 5, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 418, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #4 and #20).)
b. On March 9, 1676 (1677 N. S.): The difference between Col Claybourne and Covington and Howerton referred till ye second day next Court. (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 5, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 433, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #4 and #20).)
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11a. On February 5, 1690 (1691 N. S.), Thomas Howerton was appointed administrator of estate of James Southern and obtained a judgement against Mrs Alley Ballard, executor of Thomas Ballard. (Order Bk. 2, (old) Rappahannock Co., VA, pg. 281, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #13 and #22).)
b. On August 31, 1696, Thomas Haywarton witnessed the last will and testament of James Newball. (It is possible that this was the son of the immigrant Thomas Howerton instead of the immigrant himself.) (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 9, Essex Co., VA, pg. 340, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #2).)
c. On November 4, 1696, Thomas Haywarton witnessed the last will and testament of William Covington and subsequently on May 10, 1697, he served as executor. (Deeds & Wills, Bk. 9, Essex Co., VA, pg. 106, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - City and County Records #2).)
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12. Letter dated June 27, 1682, to Mr. William Leigh in New Kent:
"Sir, yours bearing date 1st June about a fortnight ago I received wherein your taxing I must patiently bear and acknowledge my fault yet with this extenuation that want of health hindered my coming, want of horses my sending, and my dependence on finding them hindered an early care to provide another to send to you which I hope by my friend will be admitted excusable and sooner I could not effectually send to you than this opportunity I now take together with what effects I could raise for your satisfaction which herewith I send you, viz: Mr Robertsons bill for £17.10.0; Mr Fauntleroys for £18.10.0; Mr Starks for £2.10.0; Mr Harrietts for £2.10.6; which in all makes £21.0.6 which is all the ready money I can at present procure for you that will be certainly paid. Sir, I have sent and endorsed two bills more; one for Thomas Howerton for £3 Sterling which at the fall will certainly be paid together with that bill of Coxes for £5 which makes in all £29.00.6.
Yours," /s/William F Fitzhugh
Colonel William Fitzhugh was a native of England, a lawyer, and came to America about 1650, settling in Westmoreland County, Virginia. ("Letters of William Fitz Hugh of Westmoreland County, Virginia", Harvard University Library, Cambridge, MA.)
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13. Bryan R. Howerton,"The Howerton Family", unpublished MSS.
14. John Simpson (chief ed.), Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, continuously updated. (Available electronically at dictionary.oed.com)
15. Robert L. Evans, "Our Family's History", November 9, 2001, unpublished.
16. Ancestral File: KCRT-7C, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT, continuously updated.
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