Samuel Swann and Family

1798 Map . Jonathan Price . First Survey of NC
In 1783 the Onslow County, North Carolina sea-side village previously known as Week's Wharf, Bogue and New Town, was incorporated and named Swannsborough in honor of Samuel Swann (1704-1774), Speaker of the Colonial Assembly and official representative of Onslow in the Assembly. The name was later officially shortened to “Swansboro.”

1732 Moll . Surry County, VA
Samuel Swann was born October 31, 1704 in Perquimens, Carolina, son of Samuel Swann (1653-1707) and Elizabeth Lillington (1679-1725). Samuel Swann Sr. was born May 11, 1653 in Swann’s Point, Surry County, Virginia to Colonel Thomas Swann (circa 1616-1680)* and Sarah Codd (died 1655). Thomas Swann’s father William Swan, the immigrant, was born in Kent, England in 1587 and died at Swann's Point in 1638. In February 1636/7, he was appointed the first customs collector on the James River.

1732 Moseley . Perquimans Area
In 1673 Samuel Swann Sr. first married Sarah Drummond (1654-1696), born in Perquimans to Scotsman William Drummond (1610-1677) and Sarah Prescott. Drummond was Governor of North Carolina and was prominent in Bacon’s Rebellion. Two years after Sarah Swann’s death in 1696 in Swann’s Point, Surry County, Virginia, Samuel Swann Sr. remarried to Elizabeth Lillington, widow of Colonel John Sandel. Elizabeth was born in Perquimans, the daughter of Alexander Lillington (1643-1697) and Elizabeth Cooke (Cooper) (1650-1693), born in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Colonel Samuel Swann Sr. succeeded his father [Thomas] at Swann's Point, VA and was for many years a prominent man in Virginia and North Carolina; Justice of Surry County 1674; Major of Militia 1687, Sheriff 1676 and 1678; Member of the House of Burgesses for Surry in 1677, 1680, 1682, 1684, 1686, 1692, 1693. He soon after moved to North Carolina and was speaker of the assembly there prior to his death in 1707.

Also known as “Speaker Swann,” Samuel Swann Sr. was Deputy Governor of Carolina from 1693 to 1695, President of the Governor's Council in 1697 and Judge of the Precinct Court 1690-94(?). He was a man of unusual ability and exerted great influence over the affairs of the Province. (Pender County Historical Society and Museum)

1737 Moseley . Cape Fear Area
Of Samuel Swann Sr.’s children, John Swann (1707-1761) married Ann Moore (1732-1764), Sarah Swann (born 1701) married Frederick Jones, Samuel Swann Jr. (1704-1774) married Jane Jones (1706-1781?) in 1727 and Elizabeth Swann (1699-1729) married John Baptista Ashe. John B. and Elizabeth’s son Samuel Ashe (1725-1813) later became Governor of North Carolina from 1795-1798. Orphaned soon after the family’s move from Bath to the lower Cape Fear region, the children were reared to maturity in the elegant plantation home of their maternal uncle, Samuel Swann Jr., who was Speaker of the North Carolina Assembly for nearly two decades.

Samuel Swann Jr.* and Jane Jones’ son Samuel Swann III, born in 1747, died at age 40 as a result of a duel, leaving no heir. Their daughter Jane Swann (1740-1781) married Frederick Jones (1732-1797). Their son John Swann Jones was born in 1758. According to genealogical notes, his great uncle John Swann of Swann's Point "had amassed quite a fortune but had no heir. Therefore he willed everything to his grand nephew, on condition that he take his mother's name of Swann." *

1732 Moseley Map
Samuel Swann Jr. helped survey the line between North Carolina and Virginia in 1729, when he crossed the Dismal Swamp, being the first white man to do so. Some time after completion of the work, Samuel Swann removed to the Cape Fear, naming his plantation "Ye Oakes." He became a distinguished lawyer and the most influential man of his time. He was a Member of the Assembly, and Speaker of that body continuously from 1743 to 1762, with the exception of 1754, which in Colonial times was next in dignity to that of Governor. He was one of the compilers and finished the work of the revisal of the Statute Laws of the Province of North Carolina of 1752—known as 'Yellow Jacket' from the color of the binding—the first book printed in the province. He was a leader in the armed movement of February 1766 that nullified the British Stamp Act in the Wilmington District. Though advancing in age, he continued to give his services for Independence until his death. (From genealogical records of Davis, Swann and Cabell families of NC and VA)

1775 Tardieu Map
In 1746 Samuel Swann, one of the most prominent men of the Province, was elected representative by the County of Onslow, where he lived and also by New Hanover County. After being elected Speaker he was asked for which County he would serve and he replied, Onslow; whereupon the clerk was instructed to issue writs for a new election in New Hanover. (The development of a residential qualification for … by Hubert Phillips 1921)

The Samuel Swann Highway Marker in Pender County—NC 133 southwest of Rocky Point—notes, “SAMUEL SWANN—Speaker of Assembly nearly 20 years, leader popular party, compiler first printed revisal of N.C. laws (1752). Home stood one mile south.”

Essay on NC Highway Historical Marker website:

In 1912 the Wilmington Morning Star took note of several points of historical interest in Pender County. Among these was the Swann plantation, the “ancient mill site of the Swanns that ground corn and wheat in ‘ye olden days.’” Nearby could be found the remains of a brickyard. The site was the longtime seat of the Swanns, among the more notable families in the Cape Fear region and one amongst many eighteenth-century plantations along the Northeast Cape Fear River.

The lands first were granted to John Baptista Ashe in 1727 who was married to the former Elizabeth Swann, sister to John and Samuel Swann. The Moseley map of 1733 indicates that John and Samuel both had established residences on the river by that time. John Swann established the original Swann Point plantation. A traveler in 1734 described his estate as “the finest place in all Cape Fear.”

Nearby was Samuel Swann’s plantation home, “The Oaks,” about a mile to the northeast of his brother’s estate. Samuel Swann, born in 1704, served as a surveyor on the party locating the boundary between North Carolina and Virginia in 1728. Swann was as Speaker of the Assembly for about twenty years before his death in 1774. He worked with Edward Moseley on the first revisal of the Laws of the Province of North Carolina. The work, issued in 1752 and known as Swann’s Revisal, was the first book published in the colony.

Swann’s house, acquired by Alexander Duncan Moore in 1812, burned shortly thereafter. Port Swannsborough and the town of Swansboro in Onslow County were named for Samuel Swann.

Samuel Ashe Swann 
*According to genealogical notes, John Swann Jones' great uncle John Swann of Swann's Point "had amassed quite a fortune but had no heir. Therefore he willed everything to his grand nephew, on condition that he take his mother's name of Swann." John Swann Jones Swann, the son of Frederick Jones and Jane Swann, married Sarah Moore. Their son Frederick James Swann married Ann Sophia Green. Their son Samuel Ashe Swann (1832-1909), born in Pittsboro, NC, moved from Wilmington, NC to Fernandina, Florida in 1855 and became a leader in the development of the state of Florida--involved in the railroad, shipping and land sales. His later years were devoted to quiet philanthropies. 

  More images of Thomas Swann's grave and headstone, located in Swann's Point Cemetery, Swann's Point, Surry County, Virginia.

Colonel Thomas Swann (circa 1616-1680) was the grandfather of Samuel Swann (1704-1774).

*Much confusion has existed among genealogists and historians respecting the identity of particular members of the Swann family and of families with which they intermarried, especially the Jones family. The confusion is caused in part by duplication in names. Samuel Swann Sr. had three sons named Samuel: a son who was born in Virginia in 1674 and died there in 1677; a son, born in Virginia in 1681, who moved with his family to North Carolina and died there by drowning in 1702, as stated above; and a son born in Perquimans Precinct in 1704, who had a long, distinguished political career and died in New Hanover County in 1774. The confusion caused by Swann’s having more than one son bearing his name is compounded by his having several grandsons and great-grandsons named Samuel, some of whom historians have confused with their fathers and uncles. (William S. Powell)
More Detailed History:

Samuel Swann Connection to Sloop Point Plantation

SLOOP POINT PLANTATION circa 1726 - Hampstead, NC
 Oldest Framed Building in North Carolina
Images Courtesy Pender County Public Library Digital Archive

According to North Carolina State Archives and History, Sloop Point Plantation is the oldest framed building in North Carolina. After dendrochronology testing, it was discovered that this home in Hampstead, Pender County, North Carolina was built about 1726--constructed for John Baptista Ashe (1699-1734) in what was then New Hanover County.

John Baptista Ashe was the son of John Ashe (1657-1704) and Mary Batt (1680-1712), both born in Wiltshire, England. John Baptista Ashe married Elizabeth Swann in 1719 in Bath, North Carolina. 

From A History of New Hanover County and the Lower Cape Fear Region 1723-1800, "John Baptista Ashe was the father of Col. John Ashe of Stamp Act fame, and Governor Samuel Ashe. He went from South Carolina to the Albemarle region of North Carolina, where in 1719 he married the daughter of Samuel Swann, and afterwards removed with his relatives, Porter, Moseley, Moore, and Lillington, to the Cape Fear region and took up residence at Spring Garden in 1727.”

John B. Ashe was distinguished in the annals of the province as early as 1727; he had emigrated to the Colony of North Carolina from England, under the auspices of the Earl of Craven, one of the Lords Proprietors, and settled in Wilmington, then called Newton; he had two sons, John Ashe and Samuel Ashe, both distinguished in the revolutionary history of the state. (Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1584-1851, Vol. II)

Born in Perquimans, North Carolina, Elizabeth Swann (1699-1729) was the daughter of Samuel Swann (1653-1707) and his second wife Elizabeth Lillington, daughter of Alexander Lillington (1643-1697). (Alexander Lillington was appointed titular Deputy Governor and virtual Governor of North Carolina in 1693.)

Genealogical record of Davis, Swann and Cabell families of NC and VA noted, “Samuel Swann (1704-1775) was born on his father's plantation in Perquimens. He was a member of the Assembly in 1727. He helped survey the line between North Carolina and Virginia in 1729, when he crossed the Dismal Swamp, being the first white man to do so. Some time after completion of the work, Samuel Swann removed to the Cape Fear, naming his plantation "ye oakes." He became a distinguished lawyer and the most influential man of his time in North Carolina. He was a member of the Assembly, and speaker of that body continuously from 1743 to 1762, with the exception of 1754, which in Colonial times was next in dignity to that of governor. His power and influence were so great that Governor Dobbs several times dissolved the Assembly in the hope that a new election would result more favorably for British policies in North Carolina. He was one of the compilers and finished the work of the Rivisal of the Statute Laws of the Province of North Carolina of 1752, known as 'Yellow Jacket' from the color of the binding--the first book printed in the Province. He was a leader in the armed movement of February, 1766, that nullified the British Stamp Act in the Wilmington district. Though advancing in age, he continued to give his services for Independence until his death.” 

According to the Pender County Historical Society and Museum, John Baptista Ashe and Elizabeth Swann Ashe left three small children who were reared by Elizabeth's brother, Samuel Swann (1704-1774).

In 1783 the Onslow County, North Carolina sea-side village previously known as Week's Wharf, Bogue and New Town, was incorporated and named Swannsborough in honor of Samuel Swann, Speaker of the Colonial Assembly and official representative of Onslow in the Assembly. The name was later changed to “Swansboro.”

Will of William Pugh Ferrand Jr. 1789-1847

William P. Ferrand Jr., 22 Aug 1843

I, William P. Ferrand, of the State of North Carolina and County of Onslow, being now in my usual health and sound mind and memory do make this my last will.

1st I wish all my just debts to be paid.
2nd I give to my son Eugene two thousand dollars to be raised out of my estate in any way my Executors may think best, either to allot of that much specified property or to sell property and place that sum at interest.

3rd as it was the request of my dear wife at her last moments that I should emancipate my yellow girl Eliza, I hereby give to said girl Eliza her absolute freedom, hereby relinquishing all right to her and I call on my Executors to see this matter done and to my friends in Onslow to (interfene?) and see this last request be fulfilled and should said girl Eliza have any child or children, I wish them also to be freed.

4th after these items of my will are complied, all the residue of my estate I wish divided equally between my two sons William and Eugene to them, theirs & assigns forever.

5th as there seems a difeculty in the proper meaning and intent of my old friend the late William Jones will, I, as one of his Executors, do hereby place in the body of my will what I think was his intention & desire, that is the said William Jones wished his wife, Sarah Jones, to have a sufficient support and maintenance during her life and at her death then the property to be equally divided between Allen B. Jones and the children of John S. Jones and during the life of Sarah Jones, it was the intention of said William Jones that six hundred dollars per annum should be paid to Allen B. Jones and also to the children of Jno. S. Jones for their support and education and I believe said Wm. Jones intended in case the income of the estate was not sufficient to meet there annuities, that his Executors and Trustees should sell any of the estate to meet the expences and that the whole estate was to remain in the hands of his executors for all time to come thereby preventing the possibility of the heirs making way with it.

6th I hereby authorise and empower my friends named as Executors to this will to sell any part of my estate or all of it as they may deem best and I don't wish them crampt by the tecnicalities of the law.  I have been the Pioneer of my own fortunes and I think I have the undoubted right to dispose of such property as it has been my good fortune to amass, therefore my executors do what you think best.  I place the whole of my Estate in your hands and thereof you who are bound as surities in any way for me, take care of your interest as
I could not die easy did I suppose for one moment you would be inconvenienced in the slightest degree.

7th I hereby nominate and appoint my friends John A. Avirett, David W.Simmons, Daniel Ambrose, James W. Bryan and my son William Ferrand Executors to this my last will and I hope in the settlement of my affairs, they will bear in mind to avoid if possible bringing distress on any of my debtors.  In witness of all which I have this day at Swansborough August 22nd 1843, put my name & seal this writing.
W. P. Ferrand

Signed sealed acknowledged in presence of us
William P. Pelletier
Daniel Harget

State of North Carolina
Onslow County
Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions December Term AD 1847

Then was the last will and testament of William P. Ferrand, decd., offered for probate and the execution of the same proven in due form of law by the oaths of the subscribing witnesses, Daniel Ambrose & David W. Simmons, two of the executors named & appointed in said last will & testament are duly qualified as Executors of the same according to law and letters testamentary ordered to give to them, the said Executors Daniel Ambrose & David W. Simmons, were duly qualified as Executors of the last will & testament of William P. Ferrand, decd., alone, and hereby in open court renounce the executorship of all other last wills & testaments and Estate of which their said testator William P. Ferrand, decd., was Executors, James W. Bryan & William Ferrand, Jr., two of the said Executors named & appointed in and by the said last will & testament of William Ferrand, decd., came into court and renounced their said Executorship and refused to qualify as such.
Jasper Etheridge, clk

USGENWEB NOTICE: In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or for presentation by other persons or organizations.Persons or organizations desiring to use this material for purposes other than stated above must obtain the written consent of the file contributor.The submitter has given permission to the USGenWeb Archives to store the file permanently for free access. This file was contributed for use in the North Carolina USGenWeb Archives by: Beverly Cole

Will of William Pugh Ferrand Sr. 1750-1813

ONSLOW COUNTY, NC - WILL BOOK A - William Ferrand, 30 Aug 1813
In the name of God, Amen:  I, William Ferrand, of the town of Swansboro and the County of Onslow, being at present of sound and disposing mind but aware of the uncertainty tenure of life, do make and constitute this my last will and testament.  It is my desire that my body be decently buried in the confidence and hope of a Christian (burial).  I commend my soul to the God who gave it, as to the worldly property with which he hath blessed to entrust me with, I give and bequeath as followeth:

To my beloved wife Ann K. Ferrand, I give and devise for and during the term of her natural life, the following tract or parcels of land: a piece of one hundred and forty nine acres lying in the County of Carteret in the mouth of Peteias (Pelitier?) Creek, it being the land I purchased of Capt. Isaac Hill. Also, a tract of two hundred acres lying on Rudy Branch of said County of Carteret, it being the land I purchased of John Green Lent, also one other tract of two hundred acres lying also in said County of Carteret on said Rudy Branch and joining the last mentioned tract, it being the land I purchased of Armsthad Hatchel.  I also give and devise to my said wife Ann K. Ferrand, for and during the term of her natural life, my house and lot in the town of Swansboro on which I now live and also the unimproved lot joining said lot, these two lots being known in plan of said town by the numbers one and two.  I also give and devise to my said wife Ann, for and during the term of her natural life, one other unimproved lot in said town of Swansboro, distinguished in plan of said town by the number seven.  I further give and bequeath to my beloved wife Ann K. Ferrand my Negro men Charles, Jacob, & John Pine, my Negro woman Sophia and her child Hager, to her, her executors, administrators and assigns forever.  And to my said wife Ann I further give and bequeath all of my household and kitchen furniture, to her and her assigns forever.

I give and bequeath to my youngest child, Edward Starkey Ferrand, my Negro man George and my Negro boy Horace, to him the said Edward and his assigns forever.

I give and bequeath to my son Kilby Jones Ferrand my Negro woman Jinny and my Negro boy John, to him the said Kilby and his assigns forever.

To my child in ventre sa mere with which my wife is now pregnant, I give and bequeath my Negro girl Philis and my Negro woman Hager to my said child and its assigns forever.

To my well beloved son Stephen Lee Ferrand of the town of Salisbury, I give and devise the undivided half or moiety of my Turkey point plantation lying on Stump Sound in the County of Onslow to him, my said son Stephen, his heirs and assigns forever.  I also give my said son Stephen lee Ferrand, my Negro man Mustapha, also Negro woman Nancy and a Negro boy Ceasar, which he now has in his possession, to him, his executors, administrators and assigns forever.

To my well beloved son William P. Ferrand, I give and devise undivided half or moiety of my said Turkey Point plantation lying on Stump Sound, to him my said son William, his heirs and assigns forever.  I further give and bequeath to my son William P. Ferrand my Negro man Ceasar, my boy Virgil, to him, his executors, administrators and assigns forever.  It is further my will and desire that my stock, horses, farming utensils and all the remainder of my moveable property not herein disposed of, be sold by my executor and the proceeds of said sale, together with the debt that may be due to me, I wish to be applied in the first place to the payment and satisfaction of all my just creditors, and whatever balance may remain of said fund, I give and bequeath to my son William P. Ferrand who will have the burden of the executor of this my last will.

And I do accordingly appoint my said son William P. Ferrand my sole executor of this my last will and testament, this 30th of August 1813.
                                                            William Ferrand (seal)
USGENWEB NOTICE: In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profitor for presentation by other persons or organizations. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material for purposes other than stated above must obtain the written consent of the file contributor.  The submitter has given permission to the USGenWeb Archives to store the file permanently for free access. This file was contributed for use in the North Carolina USGenWeb Archives by: Beverly Cole

James Weeks - Son of Silas Weeks and Zillah Hunter

Move to Sumter County, South Carolina circa 1794
Compiled by Robert Weeks
"Settlers'" Houses - Sumter County Museum
Silas Weeks, a son of Theophilus Weeks and Grace Green, married Zillah Hunter.  This marriage produced a son named James Weeks (born before 1755), a son named Theophilus (born October 21, 1760 - died July 20, 1839 - married to Ann O’Steen), and a daughter named Ada (born about 1765 - died after 1850 - married to John A, O’Steen Sr.).  James married a lady named Rebecca (possibly Rebecca Osteen). 

Sometime about 1794, James Weeks moved his family to Sumter-Clarendon section of South Carolina and bought 150 acres from Joseph Corbett of Orangeburg District.  This move on the part of James and Rebecca actually allowed them to join an Osteen Family who were living in the Sumter District.  Coming from Carteret County, North Carolina, with their parents were four sons, William, Philip, Chosel (also known as Joseph) [born March 30, 1780 - died December 22, 1852], and James Weeks Jr.  According to oral history, James, Sr., and his son, William, came to Sumter County ahead of the rest of the family.  

Again, according to oral history, Philip, James, Jr., and Chosel, came from Carteret County via the Atlantic Ocean accompanying their families household effects and heavy equipment.  It is not known just what route was traveled inland from the ocean to Sumter County by the brothers.  Jean Brunson was aware of this oral history and indicates that the descendants of Joseph (Chosel) Weeks (July 7, 1808 - March 10, 1846) might have been the ones who have passed down a story that Chosel and his brothers landed at Port Royal. 

The Port Royal mentioned is the site of the first French settlement in South Carolina and is located approximately ten miles south of Beaufort, South Carolina.  It is highly improbable that the boys would have detoured so far south with the heavy equipment they were transporting.  Although Philip originally joined his family in the Sumter settlement, he later left and moved to the Beaufort District.  In the 1800 Sumter Census, Philip is listed in the Clarendon section next to James Weeks, Sr., and James Weeks Jr.

I am not convinced that the above stated oral history is correct in reporting that Philip was a brother of James and Chosel.  My research, rather, concludes that Philip was a cousin of James and Chosel.  It happens that brothers Levi, Stephen, and Philip Weeks had moved to South Carolina.  Records indicate that Philip (a cousin of James and Chosel) settled in Sumter County for a period of time before moving to the Beaufort District where Levi and Stephen had settled.

The Weeks Family came to South Carolina when "Things were really bursting loose."  The best documented records on the lands occupied by this family are the records reference the land grant for James, Jr., who received a 1000 acre State Land Grant about 1802 on a location near Sammy Swamp about two miles north of Pinewood, South Carolina.  This 1000 acre State Land Grant includes 298 acres surveyed for his brother Chosel Weeks, and 455 acres surveyed for his brother William Weeks.  It is from Chosel Weeks, the brother of James, Jr., that our family line comes.

The Weeks Lands in Sumter District

The area of land known as the old Sumter District was made up of the present-day Sumter, Lee and Clarendon counties.

White settlement in this area was initially hampered by the difficulty of traveling through it.  Heavily wooded, there were, of course no roads and the numerous rivers and creeks were generally swampy and often flooded,making them not only unreliable for transportation, but difficult to cross.

In the 1750s steps were taken to alleviate these problems and settlement began in earnest.  Many of the historically prominent families in the area arrived in these early years.  However, prior to the American Revolution this area remained sparsely populated with only a few pockets of settlements, such as in the High Hills of the Santee and along the rivers.

The disruption of the Revolution further slowed settlement and development in the area. After the Revolution, inland settlement attained new vigor, spurred on no doubt by the fact that in 1784 the General Assembly passed “An Act for Establishing the Mode and Conditions of surveying and Granting the Vacant lands within this State” which created a land grant system to replace previous systems under the Lords Proprietors and royal governments.  This act, with subsequent amendments, provided for the purchase of vacant lands for $10 per 100 acres and allowed holders of indents to purchase land.  Another act provided the granting of bounty lands to the soldiers of the South Carolina Line that had been promised them by the Continental Congress and S. C. General Assembly.  These bounty lands were free and office fees were waived.

Fearing that lands in the interior would remain unclaimed, the General Assembly further encouraged settlement by abolishing the purchase price for land in 1791.  Thereafter, obtaining a land grant only required the payment of office fees.  The act of 1784 prohibited grants of over 640 acres, but this provision was repealed the next year and a speculative mania ensued. Efforts to control speculation were ineffective.  The repeal of the purchase price for land only added fuel to the fire and many very large tracts were granted.  Procedures for processing land grants were also decentralized by the act of 1784, thus removing the burden of traveling to Charleston to complete the process.

At the end of the 1700s the growing population led to the relocation of the state government from Charleston to Columbia, and the reorganization and expansion of the circuit court system.  This expansion included the creation of Sumter District in 1800, comprising Salem, Claremont, and Clarendon counties previously part of Camden District, and soon thereafter the site for the location of public buildings was designated and named Sumterville.

During these early years, the daring settlers would often build what were called Settlers’ Houses on their allotted tracts of land.  Usually, these houses had only one room.  In one end of the building was a fire place for cooking and keeping the building warm.  In the other end of the building, one might expect to find a "rope bed" used by the head of the household and his spouse.  Ladders were provided for the children to reach the attic where they slept.  Upon a visit to the Sumter County Museum, I learned that one such settlement house has been moved to the backyard of the museum as an Early Settlement Display. "This house was originally located near present-day Pinewood near the border between Sumter and Clarendon counties.  The land on which it was built was part of a 1000 acre tract granted to a man named James Weeks, Jr., (brother of Chosel) in 1802 under the state grant system." [Ardila, Early Settlement in Old Sumter District]

Benjamin and Mary Chase Weeks to North Carolina

by Robert Weeks

Portion of 1730 Mol Map Showing Weetock River
Sometime in 1730 Benjamin Weeks, son of William Weeks, Jr., moved his family from Falmouth to Carteret County, North Carolina, settling along Hadnot's Creek, a tributary of the White Oak River--originally called the Weetock by the Algonquian Indians. Benjamin and Mary had the following children—not listed in the order of their birth:

  • Benjamin
  • Theophilus—born 1708 in Barnstable County, Massachusetts and died 1772 in Onslow County, North Carolina.
  • Archelas
  • Liddia—married Thomas Whitten.
  • Mary—married Weston Williams.
  • Christian—married Natthew Rowley.
  • Thankful—born 1718 Plymouth, Massachusetts and married Thomas Hicks 1738/39.
  • Isaac—born July 21 1722 in Plymouth, Massachusetts and married Sarah.
  • Elizabeth—born February 14, 1725.
  • Jabez—married Mary Rhodes.
Most likely, Benjamin, Mary, their son, Theophilus, and possibly several of the other children, traveled to Beaufort, North Carolina from Massachusetts and then inland to Hadnot's Creek.

William Weeks—From England to Martha’s Vineyard before 1642

By Robert Weeks

I have been unable to determine exactly how William Weeks arrived on Martha’s Vineyard.  In The History of Martha's Vineyard, Volume I, Dr. Charles Banks reports a legendary settlement before 1642.  There are several legends; however, all of these legends have in common that there was ship bound from England to some port on the East Coast of America.  This ship's crew and passengers became short of provisions and many became sick.  As a result, they supposedly came ashore on the Vineyard.  Dr. Banks does not put faith in these legends and presents conclusive facts to discount any humans, other than Indians, living on the Vineyard before 1642 when a family by the name Mayhew family came to the Vineyard to develop a settlement.

After researching Dr. Bank's report of the legendary settlement, I find that there is no evidence as to how William Weeks arrived on the Vineyard.  I think, however, after researching the Latter Day Saints’ (Mormons’) Genealogical Files and other Massachusetts records that there is greater evidence to claim that the Weeks Family came from the original colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to the Vineyard.  My research indicates that there were other Weeks families in Massachusetts.  Dr. Banks hints several times that the early settlers of the Vineyard came from the Massachusetts Colony.

Mayhew & Indians
It is conceivable that when William Weeks began coming to the Vineyard that it was governed by Indians. It seems that the mariners spent the summers on the island and the winters at Plymouth on the mainland.  By the time the first proprietor of the island, Thomas Mayhew, Sr. arrived on the Island in 1642, William and his wife “Goodwife Weeks” had a sizable family.  Apparently William had been living peacefully on the island with the Indians before Meyhew’s arrival.

Old Mayhew House - Edgartown
Thomas Mayhew, Sr. purchased the proprietorship of Martha's Vineyard from Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Lord Stirling in 1642. William Weeks, as well as the other settlers, lived under Mayhew's lone authority for many years.

As land was needed for settlement on the island, authorized persons would negotiate with the Indians on behalf of the colony.  The first recorded division of lands among the settlers came on May 8, 1653.  William Weeks was a recipient of land during this division, as well as, three of the four land divisions that were to follow. The first allotment of land to William Weeks was later called "The Planting Field.” This plot is located in what is now known as Edgartown. William Weeks, at one time, served as constable on the Vineyard.

The Bay at Edgartown
William was married at the time that he was granted land at Edgartown; however, there is no record of the name of his first wife.  "That he was married at this time is indicated by a disposition of Goodwife Weeks, dated Dec. 25, 1655, and it is probable that his children were either brought here when he settled or were born shortly after." (Banks)

"Goodwife Weeks" died sometime before 1658 because William married his second wife, Mary Lynde Butler, sometime after 1658.  We know that she was a widow and that she was born in 1628.  William died in 1688 or 1689; however, Mary was still living in 1693 and listed as the widow of William Weeks.

William and his first wife, "Goodwife Weeks," had the following children: William (Born 1645); Elizabeth (Born 1648 and married John Robinson May 1, 1667); Samuel (Born 1651); Richard (Born 1653 and married Abigail Norton.  He died August 26, 1724 in Attleboro, Bristol County, Massachusetts); John (Born 1655 Died 1730.  Married Mary Rowley, daughter of Moses Rowley and Elizabeth Fuller, July 7, 1675/76 in Falmouth, Barnstable, Massachusetts); Abigail (Born 1658 and married Jonathan Hatch son of Jonathan Hatch and Sarah Rowley, December 4, 1676, in Martha’s Vineyard.  He was born November 17, 1652 in Barnstable).

Of these children, we are most interested in William.  He will hereafter be referred to as William, Jr.  Our family descends from his line.  In 1685, William, Jr., conveyed land to his son Samuel.

William left Edgartown and lived in Falmouth, Mass, where he died sometime after February 28, 1716.  His descendants continue to reside in the vicinity of Falmouth.  William was married, like his father, two times.  First, he was married to Mercy Robinson March 16, 1668 (or 1689).  Mercy was the daughter of Isaac Robinson and Margaret Hanford.  Isaac was the son of The Reverend John Robinson who was the pastor of the Pilgrims at Leyden, Holland.  A very interesting fact about Mercy is that she was left three pounds in the will of Miles Standish.  Later, William, Jr., was married to Mary Hatch (daughter of Jonathan Hatch) about 1689, who was still living in 1713.

The following children were produced from the two marriages of William Jr.: Mary (Born January 16, 1669-70 and married Aaron Rowley March 7, 1690); Mehitable (Born October 16, 1671, and married Timothy Robinson May 3, 1699); Sarah (Born May 6, 1674); Experience (Born June 24, 1677); Mercy (Born April 24, 1679); Jonathan (Born May 1, 1681); Benjamin (Born April 4, 1685, and married Mary Chase January 14, 1704 - November 1744); and Lydia (Born June 30, 1687) and married William Swift October 9, 1707.
William, Sr. and William, Jr. were at one time engaged in a Packing Business.  Most likely, their vessels transported goods from Martha's Vineyard downward to the New York area.  We know for sure that William Weeks was engaged in a shipping business to Rhode Island because in 1662 he sued a Thomas Jones for his passage to Rhode Island, and in turn he was sued by Jones for weaving.  In both cases, William Weeks received the verdict.  On November 18, 1667, William, Sr., and son were making a trip from the Vineyard when their vessel wrecked at Quick’s Hole and was seized by the Indians of Elizabeth Islands.  “Hole” refers to a small inlet of water which could be used to shelter boats.  William, his son, and Thomas the Indian, who was a seaman in the vessel, signed the following interesting account of this event:

            One Mondaye night the 18.9.1667 about 2 or 3 a clock in the morning,
            by reason of the violence of the wind, my anchrs remaining home, my
            vessell drove in the harbor at the west end of the Iland next to Quickshole.
            Myselfe and company then went to warme orselves at an Indian house,
            the Indians saied the vessell and the goods were theirs, wee
            answered noe, they had noe right to it, they sent to the Sackym & to
            other Indians who all came together, and while they were consulting
            about the vessell and goods they bid us to goe to the other howse;
            wee answered noe, they need not turn us out of the howse wee did
            not hinder them; then the Indians went out of the howse to the next
            howse & wee went aboard, & about an hower & halfe after wee
            being returned to the howse the Indians came thither allso, and toll’d
            us they had determined all together wee should neither have or vessell
            or goods, they would take them.  I desired my chest of them, some of
            them answered noe there was sum cloth in it & they would have it, I
            desired my weareing cloathes whch they graunted and some provisions
            to eate while wee were there wch they graunted.  They tooke away a
            suite of cloathes from me, 2 pre of shooes, all my tooles, the sachim
            had my saw in his hand wch I would have had, but he woulld not gyve
            it to me, not my axe.  They took away a new Hatt and a new paire of
            shooes from my sonne:  the partyculars lost are my vessell of 15 tunns
            wth all due furniture belonging to it, and a soresaile to spare, my Cables
            and anchors I desired of them but they woulld not gyve them unto mee,
            my vessell has not seene to be staved when we viewed hir at low water,
            only the back of hir rudder broken off; my freight aboard was
            421i Indian corns, fower barrels of pork, 4 hydes, 1 firkin of buter,
            1 smale caske of suett about 40r, on barrell of tobacco, about 34 or
            341i cotton wool, 26 bushells meale, 8 bushells of it wheate meale, the
            rest Rye of Indian meale, 1 bushell wheate, 1 bushel Rye, 2 bushells
            turnepps, one bushell of Inions, Red cloth 6 yards, 3 or 4 yards pemistone,
            My leade and lyne with divers other things out of my chest and vessell.
            Shooes, one poayre women’s shooes, two Iron potts, 3 paire Chilldrens
            shooes, 2 paire new Russett shooes, 401 tallow, two gunns, a greene
            blankett, a woman’s cloake from Goddy Doggett, this is the truth of the
            case at present to or best remembrance.

William and his son were rescued by a man named John Dixey.  The news of this encounter was carried to the Governor of New York, who wrote back to Governor Mayhew. . . to deal with the piratical Indians for their unlawful acts and require restitution of the vessel and all the stolen cargo.
A 1660 Edgartown Tavern
William also ran a tavern.  "It is probable that William Weeks was the first taverner at Edgartown, as early as 1680, though no record appears of his receiving a license as such.  Under that date he was fined five shillings 'for suffering disorder in his house by drunkenness & fighting.' “Additionally, we know that as far back as 1661, ". . . he was fined for selling strong liquor.' “The most conclusive evidence that William Weeks ran a tavern is the following court record:  "The complaint of Arthur Biven against William Weeks 'for taking six-pence for two amesho-ogs & said Biven caled for a gioll of rum & they brought half water and the said Weeks had no lodging for him nor food for his horse.’ “The Weeks "ordinary" was located on North Water Street about 50 rods above Main Street. Town and county records give evidence of his activities and litigation in 1684, 1685, and 1687.  William began selling his real estate in 1688.  He died sometime before August 3, 1689, and his widow Mary sold the home lot.  This action on the part of Mary brought William's sons, William, Jr., and Richard, to sue her.  The court gave the sons possession of William's property.

I can find no solid proof that the early Weeks family was members of the Quaker faith; however, there are several references that suggest they might have been Quakers.  “In The History of Barnstable County, by Simon L. Deyo, pg. 672, it states that nearly all of the early settlers in what became West Falmouth were Quakers.  It is known that William Gifford, who was among the first settlers, was a Quaker.  With him were William Gifford, Jr., William Weeks and John Weeks.  Because they were grouped with some of the Quaker families who were moving into this area, it may have been assumed that John and William were of the same religion. . .”  Another hint that suggests the Weeks Family was Quaker comes from the statement made by William, Sr., and William, Jr., in conjunction with the seizing of their ship by the Indians at Quick’s Hole which is reported above.  Quakers did not believe in using the names for days of the weeks or months of the year because they believed that these names were derived from pagan gods.  Quakers indicated dates by writing them as did William in his statement about the ship seizure as follows: 18.9.1667. 

North Wyke

by Robert Weeks
Researching the Weeks name in England leads one to realize that North Wyke is a central area from which many Weeks families originated.  I report the following information about this possible earliest point of origin of our family relatives.

In the reign of Henry II (c 1227), the land at North Wyke belonged to William de Wigornia.  He was either the son or grandson of Robert, Earl of Mellant, and Worcester (Wigornia).  The aforesaid Robert took the place of his father as head of the Warrior line 'Bernard the Dane', a Saxon prince who accompanied his cousin Rollo as second in command on his invasion of Normandy.  The Wykes sometimes known as Wyk or Weekes, were in occupation of North Wyke in 1216.

"North Wyke, (also anciently North Wike, Northwick, modernly North Week,) is an estate now comprising about four hundred acres, (formerly much larger), located in the northern part of the parish of South Tawton, near Okehamton, in western Devonshire (England), about twenty miles from Exeter.”

There is a mansion at North Wyke today that was restored by the Reverend Wykes-Finch, a descendent, at the turn of the 20th Century.  This house is in the center of Devon and is divided into four sections according to age: a) The East Wing which is the oldest, b) the Chapel and the Gatehouse Wing, c) the South Wing and d) the connecting rooms which join the East Wing to the Chapel.

The walls are built of locally quarried Cocktree freestone and are (practically throughout) three foot thick with an inner and outer face of stonework filled with cob or similar clay-like substance.  The blocks of stone in the East wing are smaller and more irregular than elsewhere in the house.  This wing dates from 1242 when William-de-Wigornia made North Wyke his principal residence. The main entrance to the house was by an external staircase to the first floor of the East Wing, which was a common feature in English manor houses of the period.
Our family members came from the parish of Staines, which is outside London.  Most probably, they originally had roots in North Wyke. 

Theophilus Weeks - Founder of Swansboro

Monument in Bicentennial Park in Swansboro

A Sketch of the Life of Theophilus Weeks 1708-1772
Founder of the Town of Swansboro
by Tucker Littleton

Theophilus Weeks, son of Benjamin and Mary Chase Weeks, was born at Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 1708. Sometime in 1730 Benjamin Weeks moved his family from Falmouth to Carteret County, North Carolina, settling along Hadnot's Creek, a tributary of the White Oak River. Apparently about the same time, another Falmouth family - that of Jonathan Green, Sr. - moved to the White Oak River area and settled on the land where the town of Swansboro eventually began. Very little is known about Jonathan Green, Sr., except that he moved to his new home along with his wife Grace and his older brother, Isaac Green. Jonathan and Grace

Green had a son named Jonathan, Jr., but it is not presently known whether Jonathan,
Jr., was born in Massachusetts or in North Carolina. In 1730, the two brothers, Isaac and Jonathan Green, jointly bought their new plantation on the White Oak.

Meanwhile, Theophilus Weeks appears to have lived in his father's household until 1735. By that year, Jonathan Green, Sr., had died of some unknown cause at the early age of approximately 35 years old; and Theophilus Weeks had married the widow, Grace Green. Weeks moved to the Onslow County side of the river upon marrying the Widow Green, and they made their home in the house that had earlier been the home of Jonathan Green, Sr. In due time Weeks bought the half interest of Isaac Green, who thereafter returned to Massachusetts. Thus, by purchase from Isaac Green and by intermarriage with Jonathan Green's widow, Theophilus Weeks came into full possession and control of the plantation on the Onslow County side of the mouth of the White Oak River.
In addition to his stepson, Jonathan Green, Jr., Theophilus Weeks' family increased by four sons born to him and his wife Grace. Their four sons were Benjamin Weeks, Silas Weeks, Silvanus Weeks, and Archelaus Weeks, whose name sometimes appears incorrectly as Archibald Weeks.

If Jonathan Green, Jr., should ever prove to have been born in Massachusetts before his parents moved to North Carolina, then Theophilus and Grace's son, Benjamin Weeks, would be the first child of European descent ever born on the site of what became the town of Swans
Not much is known about the occupation of Theophilus Weeks prior to 1751. In January of 1741, Weeks recorded his stock mark, which indicated agricultural interests. In 1747 Weeks mortgaged to Col. John Starkey, for slightly over 200 pounds, the land he had bought of Isaac Green. There is no indication of the use Weeks made of the borrowed money, but he evidently paid it off by the end of 1748.

In 1751 Weeks petitioned the Onslow Court for permission to operate an ordinary (18th century term for tavern or inn) and was licensed to "keep an ordinary at his now dwelling place," which suggests that port activity was thriving at the mouth of the White Oak and that Weeks' plantation was a favorite spot for the seafarers to visit.
Three years later in 1754, the Onslow Regiment of Militia was organized in response to the French and Indian War. The regiment was divided into four companies, and Theophilus Weeks was commissioned a sergeant in Capt. Stephen Lee's Company of the Onslow Regiment of Militia. His service as one of the original officers in the regiment indicates a more-than-usual capacity for leadership and public responsibility.

In 1757 Theophilus Weeks was appointed the first inspector of exports for Bogue Inle
t. Though the record for some years is incomplete, there is every indication that Weeks held the office of inspector continuously from 1757 until his death in 1772. It is significant that there is no record of any complaint ever having been lodged against him with respect to the administration of his official duties. Nor was he ever involved in any lawsuit or uncomplimentary situation so far as the record reveals. From all indications, Theophilus Weeks was a prime example of the unassuming, hardworking, solid citizen upon whom our great democracy was built.

No record has come to light which reflects the religious affiliation of Theophilus Weeks. However, he is known to have had an eminent Puritan minister in his ancestry, and the fact that other members of the Weeks family in the Hadnot's Creek area were deeply involved in the early Baptist movement suggests the strong possibility that Theophilus was also numbered amo
ng them.

While there are additional references to his keeping an ordinary and serving as inspector, the most significant accomplishment of Weeks's life came just about a year before his death.
It is not known exactly when Theophilus Weeks decided to start a town on his plantation called "The Wharf." He may have toyed with the idea for years, but it seems certain that he had finalized the plan of a town by sometime early in 1771 or possibly even in 1770.
The earliest Swansboro lot for which there is a deed from Theophilus Weeks on record is lot number 6, which Theophilus and Grace Weeks sold to Edward Starkey on May 11, 1771. Strangely enough, that deed refers to an adjoining lot as belonging to a Mr. Lee, though no deed from Weeks to Lee is recorded.

The deed from Weeks to Starkey, however, does prove that as early as May of 1771 a plan of the town existed and that the lots in the town had already been assigned their numbers.

That the establishment of a town on his property was the idea of Theophilus Weeks is further supported by the deed to Mrs. Mary Pitts for lot number 11. Mrs. Pitts received the deed for what was called "lot number 11 in the plan of a town laid out by Theophilus Weeks.” It i
s, therefore, clear that the town that became Swansboro was the idea of Theophilus Weeks, who thereby earned the title of Founder of the Town of Swansboro.

As laid out by Weeks, the new town contained a total of 48 lots and 6 str
eets. The lots were arranged in three tiers with 16 lots to the tier. Of the 6 streets, 3 streets ran basically north to south and 3 ran basically east to west. Those streets today are known as, Front, Water, Elm, Moore, Main, and Church streets, though 4 of the 6 streets have been greatly extended as the town has grown.
All of the original lots measured 60 feet in width and 200 feet in length, except that those lots on the north side of Front Street were intended to extend across the street to the rivershore. Seven of the 48 lots were called "water lots" because in varying amounts a part of each of those 7 water lots lay beneath the water. The 7 water lots were known in the plan of the town as lots number 10 through 16.
All of the streets in the town were laid out to be 30 feet wide, except for Front and Broad streets, which were 40 feet wide. The Broad Street shown on the early maps of Swansboro should not be confused with the present-day Broad Street. What Theophilus Weeks called Broad Street is today known as Main Street and was the end of the old county road which ran from Onslow Courthouse (as Jacksonville was formerly called) to Weeks' wharf where he inspected exports leaving the White Oak River area.

The sale of lots in the new town continued slowly, and only a few of the original 48 lots had been sold when Theophilus Weeks died. From the deed records, it is known that the Weeks home stood on the west side of Broad Street (now Main Street) somewhere between
Front and Water streets. In the plat of the town, the lot on which Weeks' home sat received the number 7. 

Because Weeks had a wharf nearby where vessels tied up to have their cargoes inspected, one of the earliest names for the town was Weeks' Wharf. Some called the town Weeks' Point, and still others called it "New Town." In one petition, the town was called "New Town-upon-Bogue." During the Revolutionary War years, the most common name for the town was Bogue. In 1783, when the town was established by law, the General Assembly put an end to the confusion over names by bypassing all the earlier names and officially naming the town Swannsborough, which has since been shortened to Swansboro.

The precise date and cause of Theophilus Weeks' death is unknown, though it appears to have occurred in early January, 1772. On January 1, 1772, Theophilus and Grace Weeks signed a deed to Archibald Gillespie for half an acre of land. That was the last deed Theophilus ever signed. When the Onslow Court met just a few days later, one of the actions taken by the court was to appoint Archibald Gillespie inspector for Bogue Inlet "in the room of Theophilus Weeks, deceased."

While Theophilus Weeks lived and died a subject of the king of England, he was the father of patriots. Of his four sons, two - Silas and Silvanus - died as soldiers in the American Revolution. In his final years, Theophilus Weeks founded a new town and left behind him sons who would help to found a new nation. It is appropriate that the bill legally erecting the town which Weeks had founded was passed by the General Assembly in the same year that Great Britain officially recognized American independence. -Tucker R. Littleton

Base of Monument in Bicentennial Park - Swansboro, NC