WHB Correspondence with the Stubblefield Cousins, September 7, 1998
Subject: SIMON STUBBLEFIELD’S Neighbors
Reading a history of Virginia written in the 19th century, I came across a reference to Thomas Cheeseman’s role in Bacon’s Rebellion, which was centered in Gloucester County and was surely the most exciting thing to happen in Virginia in the 1670s. Since we know that Thomas Cheeseman and his family were involved in legal matters in Cambridgeshire and Cheeseman was SIMON STUBBLEFIELD’s neighbor in Gloucester County, I thought I would copy the Bacon’s rebellion reference and bring together every other reference that I have so far on the Cheesemans. It is my hope that we will have a lot more after we hear from Cousin Nadine and of anything else she might have learned through on-site research in the Cambridge Shirehall.
It seems likely to me that either SIMON was on the same side as Cheeseman in the Rebellion or there was a lot of tension in the neighborhood if they were on opposite sides. Being closely associated by place of origin in England and adjoining lands in Virginia with a person whom the Royal Governor has sentenced to hanging, had to have
aroused strong emotions on our ancestor.
EDWARD AND THOMAS CHEESEMAN (Cambridgeshire, England and Gloucester County, VA) 17th Century
Jones, Spotswood Hunnicutt, The World of Ware Parish: A Chronicle of an Episcopal Community in Tidewater Virginia from the Mid-Seventeenth Century to the Present, The Dietz Press, Richmond, 1991 Footnote 13, pp. 21-22.
“Some of the early landowners in Ware Parish are: 1642-1681 – Christopher Abbott, John Benson, Thomas Booth, Francis Boswell, Thomas Boswell, Thomas Bremar, Robert Bristow, Francis Campfield, John Chisman, Mordecai Cooke, John Curtis, Mrs. Avarilla Curtis, Thomas Curtis, Thomas Deacon, Abraham Fletcher, Oliver Green, Dr. Edward
Gwyn, Tobias Hansford, John Harvey, William Ironmonger, John Morris, Thomas Morris, Alexander Murray, John Pate, William Prach (Pratt?) Thomas Pryor, Peter Ransome, John Reade, Christopher Reganel, Thomas Royston, Thomas Ryland, John Sanderson, Thomas Sayres, William Skelton, Lawrence Smith, Thomas Vicaris, Col. John Walker, John Walton, James Whiting, Col. Francis Willis, Thomas Wisdom, and Richard
Wyatt. Most of these individuals lived in the Ware River-Ware Neck area. Land owners on the North River, in Ware Parish, included Thomas Todd, Edward Dawber, Zachary Cripps, Richard Young. (Special collections, William Carter Stubbs Collection, Folder 47, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.)
Correspondence from Nadine Billingsly:
Simon Stubblefield son of Jeffeye and Marge Stubblefield of Castle [Cambridgeshire] seems to be my immigrant to the US as early as 1672. There seems to be a “judgement in England” between Ed. Cheeseman and Thomas Cheeseman and Symon Stubblefield.
[WHB: Note the reference to S. Stubblefield’s land in Gloucester County [1688, below] where Stubblefield’s land borders Thomas Cheeseman’s. I also believe that the Gloucester County Chismans are, in fact, Cheesemans.]
Fiske, John, Old Virginia and Her Neighbours, in two volumes, Volume II, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1897, p. 92 and 93.
“Soon after [Nathaniel] Bacon’s death . . . two captains were hanged, and the affair of Major Edward Cheesman seems to have occurred while [Governor] Berkeley was still at Accomac. It is the foulest incident recorded in Berkeley’s career. When Cheesman was brought before him, the governor fiercely demanded, “Why did you engage in Bacon’s
designs?” Before the prisoner could answer, his young wife stepped forward and said, “It was my provocations that made my husband join the cause; but for me he had never done what he has done.” Then falling on her knees before the governor, she implored that she might be hanged as the guilty one instead of her husband.(1) The old wretch’s answer was an insult so atrocious that his royalist chronicler can hardly abide it. “His Honour” must have been beside himself with anger and could not have meant what he said; for no woman could have “so small an affection for her husband as to dishonour him
by her dishonesty, and yet retain such a degree of love, that rather than he should be hanged she will be content to submit her own life to the sentence.” Perhaps the governor’s thirst for vengeance was satisfied by his ruffian speech, for Major Cheesman was not put to death, but remanded to jail, where he died of illness.
[WHB- The following footnote is contained on p. 92 of the Fiske history: “(1) Some interesting information about the Cheesmans may be found in William and Mary College Quarterly, vol. 1”. Let’s one of us pursue that reference.]
Fiske, John, Old Virginia and Her Neighbours, in two volumes, Volume II, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1897, p.104.
“The officers we have met in the story, Hansford and Bland and Cheesman, were men of good family; and among the foremost men in the colony we are told that Colonel George Mason was inclined to sympathize with the insurgents. In this he was clearly by no means alone. On the whole, however, there can be no doubt that Bacon’s cause was to a considerable extent the cause of the poor against the rich, of the humble folk against the grandees.”
Entries from A Guide to Gloucester County, Virginia Historical Manuscripts, 1651-1865,
Bodie, C.aA. and Siener, W.H., compilers, under auspices of Gloucester Historical Committee, published by Archives Division, Virginia State Library, September, 1976
30. LETTERS AND PAPERS CONCERNING AMERICAN PLANTATION CO 1/41, 6 JULY
1677-30 DECEMBER 1677. Original: Public Record Office, London, England. Copy: Virginia Colonial Records Project.
Includes “A Particular Account . . . how . . . Commissioners have observed, comlied with instructions . . . ,” 15 October 1677, a narrative of Bacon’s Rebellion. It contains a list of Gloucester grievances and details of the Rebellion in Gloucester. Also a letter, Berry and Moryson, late Commissioners, to Lords of Trade and Plantations, 6 December 1677, enclosing a list of the Council of Virginia with the characters of those thought most fit for service, including Col. Augustine Warner and Col. Francis Willis. In addition a letter, Col. Francis Moryson, to Samuel Wiseman, 25 February 1677, calling Robert Beverley and Philip Ludwell incorrigible mutineers. Three petitions, December 1677 of Sands Knowles of Gloucester regarding Maj. Robert Beverley’s attack on Knowles’ plantation during
Bacon’s Rebellion, and an order in council, 22 December 1677, concerning the petitions are also included.
P. 71, vol. 1.
STUBBLEFIELD, SYMON JUN’R; WARE P. Beginning “by the Road side that leads to the Court house at the head of Wm. Roes Land dece’d . . . along the Gleabe Land northwest . adjoining Mr. Richard Whitehead”, Mr. Thomas Cheeseman E., along land formerly belonging to James Whitlock E & SE. HR: John White, William Brewton, Tho. Brush.
Gloucester, Book 7, page 637, April 23, 1688, 188 acreas. p. 15, vol. 1. BUTLER, Sarah & Alice Saies
p. 62, vol. 1. Thomas Reade, MR. Escheat land formerly belonging to Edward Maise. Beginning near Edward Stubblefield’s tobacco ground “from where his dwelling house
Chimney funnel bears NE”: distant from sd dwelling house 25 poles toWhilocks’ [Whitlock?] (now Stubblefields) spring & adjoining Wm. Debnam along Chrismans* line. Deeded to Edw. Maise by James Whitlock & Dorothy his wife dated June 5, 1691 “sayed to be granted to Thomas Russel [willed] to Thomas Reade.” Richard Johnson late Escheator. Price: 2 pounds of Tobacco per acre.
Gloucester, Book 10, Page 173, June 16, 1714, 47 acres.
[*WHB note: I believe I have miscopied this. It should be Chisman’s (Cheeseman’s) line.]