Saunders Family Lines in 17th Century Virginia and their Ancestry: Additional Research by Justin Sanders

Further correspondence with Justin Sanders:

Hi Justin – Great work (your research on the descendants of the Saunders family of Charlwood, Surrey, England).

I’d like to spend some time on what can be learned of connecting families in Bristol and such Gloucester towns as Tewkesbury and Cirencester. Our y-DNA line is only one of each of our ancestral lines.

As I’ve said before, almost no one in England owned (or even sailed in) ships, and these voyages were occurring in times when “mercantilism” (implying concerted action often sponsored by the sovereign power), rather than “competition” was the dominant economic endeavor.

It should not surprise us to find multiple dynastic ties and intermarriages between families involved in maritime trade, tobacco growing and land speculation in Virginia.

What seems to be different about the 16th and 17th centuries is that families – currently or previously tied economically and dynastically – were associated with competing religions. I suspect that there are clues to be found in how our ancestors acquired wealth and what churches they attended. Cordially, Bill

Bill, Below are some additional notes to the most recent file. I’ll reply to the comments of your last email as time permits. Just aren’t enough hours in the day at present. Justin.

Justin Sanders’ Supplementary Notes to Surrey (England) and Virginia: the Mercantile Activities of the Descendents of the Saunders Family of Charlwood

There is evidence of a possible Edwards-Sanders alliance that had its roots in Wales and Bristol, England, and with the addition of William Crump, extended into the early years of Virginia settlement.

In my study of early land patents, I could not help but notice the aggravating regularity with which 17th century clerks interchanged the given name Edward with Edmond.  It stands to reason this same methodology was applied to persons possessing the surname Edwards, as well. Keeping that historical quirk in mind, it sheds new light on records I forwarded to you earlier.

On 9 November 1665, Charles EdmondsWilliam Crump and Robert Whitehaire received a patent of 2700 acres, described as being in New Kent County, on the south side “in freshes of Yorke River above Mohixen.” One of the persons they owned the headrights to wasThomas Saunders (1630-1679), son of Thomas Saunders Sr. (1607-1653) and grandson of Philip Saunders of Bristol.

The description of the property’s location is somewhat deceiving. The Pamunkey River was sometimes referred to as the south branch of York River; the stream identified here as the Mohixen, soon after became known as Crump’s Creek, now in present day Hanover County.

This property fell to Robert Whitehair in a division by the three partners in 1688. Whitehair evidently died without heirs soon after, as the property was escheated by the colony and 900 acres of the patent was acquired in 1690 by John Chiles. He was the grandson of Walter Chiles, who, from 1640 to 1660 in Charles City County was an adjoining neighbor and possible brother-in-law of William Sanders (formerly of Gloucester County, England).

By 1696 the former Edmonds, Crump and Whitehair patent changed hands from John Chiles to his son, Henry Chiles.[1] In 1748, my direct ancestor Thomas Sanders (1699-1772) of Goochland County obtained a deed to 465 acres on Fishpond Creek of Albemarle County (later Buckingham and ultimately Appomattox County) from William Chambers, adjoining Henry Chiles.

Further research shows that the land Thomas Sanders called home for the remainder of his life was formerly owned by Henry Chiles, from whom Chambers acquired it about two years before deeding it to Sanders.

In 1673, Charles Edmonds owned the headrights of William Sanders, transported to New Kent on the north side of the York River, the same general area where Thomas Sanders (Senior and Junior) resided on the northeast side of Mattapony River.

In 1674 Robert Bagby and William Herndon received a patent on the northeast side of Mattapony River, owning the headrights of William SandersMichael Edmonds and Cuthbert Tunstall.

The William Sanders mentioned here may be the son of William and Joan Sanders of Charles City County, noted as a minor in the 1660 will of William Sanders, Sr. Cuthbert Tunstall is undoubtedly a son or grandson of Edward Tunstall (whose given name, of course, is listed in some records as Edmond), who also owned land in Charles City County adjoining William Sanders and Walter Chiles, circa 1640-1660. And Michael Edmonds is likely related to Charles Edmonds.[2]

By adding a distant Sanders DNA match to a descendant of William Crump, this tight circle of interconnected coincidences suggests that the Charles Edmonds noted as a business partner of William Crump and Robert Whitehair, was actually Charles Edwards, a relative of Thomas Sanders’ (1607-1653) step-mother, Alice Edwards Barrett Saunders.

It is likely that my direct ancestor, Francis Barrett (1600-1658) descended from the Barretts of Pembrokeshire. Being double-descended from James Sanders of New Kent (circa 1675-1717), Francis Barrett was the great (x3) grandfather on the maternal side of Frances (Fanny) Saunders, my great (x3) grandmother.

At the time the 1624 census was taken, there were at least seven Barretts living in the Virginia Colony, one identified as a shipwright and another as a mariner. At various times Francis and several of the other Barretts, were brought to Virginia on the Bona Nova, a ship that made annual voyages to the colony between the years 1618 and 1624, with the apparent exception of 1623.

London was the home port of the Bona Nova, and because only Walter Barrett was listed on a London-generated manifest in 1619, is an indicator that Francis boarded the ship at Bristol or Tenby, probably in 1620.

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