Caroline County, Virginia Colonial Census, 1650-1773


St. Mary's District, 1650-1770; Drysdale District, 1655-1773; St. Margaret's District, 1673-1770

This work is based on other secondary sources. These sources are primarily the Cavaliers & Pioneers series of abstracts of Virginia Land Patents by Nell M. Nugent and the Virginia Genealogical Society and Colonial Caroline by T.E. Campbell.

...No one canvassed Caroline County in the seventeenth century with a clipboard and questionnaire containing queries such as “What is your median income and how many individuals are in the household?” In fact, no census was taken in Virginia until the year, 1790. This “constructed” census is my best guess as to who most probably would have arrived in the area to become Caroline County in a particular year. This book attempts to list those individuals who received a land grant (patentees) and those individuals who were arriving in Virginia (transported). No death records have survived for the early period and the mortality must be presumed to be high.

Caroline was formed from three parent counties: Essex, King & Queen and King William. Essex was formed from Old Rappahannock County and included everything in the watershed of the Rappahannock River. King William County was formed from King & Queen, which previously had been formed from New Kent County. Each county contained at least one established Parish of the Church of England (Anglican). Thus there were three parishes in the area to become Caroline prior to the establishment of the county in 1727/8: St. Mary’s (Essex), Drysdale (King & Queen) and St.Margaret’s (King William). The ancient parish registers for all three of these parishes are missing and presumed destroyed.

...Through his representatives, the King of England gave fifty acres of land to every person who immigrated into the Colony of Virginia. These “head-rights” could be bought and sold between parties. The enforcement seems to be a bit slack, in my opinion. For instance, you often see two people of the same or similar names claiming a headright in two different locations on the same date or within a short period of time. The probability of two distinct individuals having an extremely unusual name and appearing in close proximity at practically the same time approaches the realm of impossibility. As the population increased over time, the Crown came to accept cash payments for land grants as well as transportation of an immigrant. If a grant lists a monetary consideration but has no acreage listed, then it is possible to calculate the acreage from the sales price by examining grants that give both consideration as well as acreage.

...I have tried to insert my notes on the geography, family names and place names in this work as well as some references to adjacent land owners. These notes are placed in brackets [ ] while the notes and edits of the authors of the source materials are placed in parentheses ( )....

Finally, this work is not intended as the only possible list of inhabitants who resided Caroline in any particular year. There may have been and most probably were other people who settled in Caroline without receiving a land grant or obtaining a head-right. Some hearty individuals such as Howell Powell may have just come into the county and hacked a homestead out of wilderness without bothering to obtain a headright or file any claim. Times were both good and bad and Caroline had both good and bad people. Additionally, things were always on the move as people came and went. This area was just as “wild and woolly” as any place in the Old West. It takes an especially hearty person to face the hardships of the frontier and it takes that same determination to face new challenges once the old frontier has vanished and new horizons appear.

Sample [Pages 17-18]

Barrow, Jno. 600 ac On freshes of Rappahannock River;
September 25, 1665 on S.W. side of Powmansend [Peumansend] Creek; next
[to] Clement Herbert's land & running to a white
oak that parts this from the land of Jno. Prosier
near said creek.

Due for transportation of 12 persons:
Barrow, Ann
Godale, Willim
Hues, Mary
Jenkins, Alexander
Jones, Mary
Nicholls, Henry
Smith, Arthur
Toms, Mary
Watts, Stephen
Williams, Jonathan
Wood, James
Young, Anthony

Cavaliers & Pioneers Vol. I page 526
Patent Book 5 page 407 (468).
[Ann Barrow listed as imported and thus may be related to Patentee.]

Ray Campbell