Information on the Burroughs Family of Virginia
This author had believed there may well be a connection to the Burroughs line of St. Mary's County, MD. This was also the belief of Ms. Alice Hanawalt, a U.S. park ranger (now retired) associated with the Booker T. Washington Memorial Park in Franklin County, Va. She spent several years researching the ancestry of James Burroughs, a grandson of John Burroughs of Fauquier; this James Burroughs owned a small tobacco plantation, where celebrated author Booker T. Washington was born, and which is now an historic sight under the auspices of the National Park Service. While she was convinced that there was likely a connection between John Burroughs of Fauquier and St. Mary's County, Maryland immigrant, John Burroughs, her last email, after her retirement, stated that the connection had not yet been found. Unfortunately, subsequent attempts to email her have bounced back as undeliverable. Much of her research has aided this author in finding pertinent records about John Burroughs of Fauquier, as well as data concerning his son Joseph Burroughs.

As a background to the theory of the Maryland connection, St. Mary's immigrant, John Burroughs (1644-1717), had two sons, John (died 1735) and Richard (died 1769), both of whom named their first-born son John. Chronologically both of these Johns were of the right age to have been John Burroughs of Fauquier. John, son of John was considered the more likely candidate (mainly based upon the age given by John, son of Richard, in a 1764 Charles County, MD court deposition, as age 50; taken literally, he would have been born in 1714, five years after John of Fauquier's birth). But subsequent info from Ms. Linda Reno, a St. Mary's County Burroughs descendant and professional genealogist/author, indicates that this John Burroughs, son of John, never left St. Mary's County. While there is still a possibility of a connection to the Maryland line, absolute proof is lacking. Thus, John Burroughs of Fauquier's origins still remain a mystery. That he was a fairly wealthy man is evident from his estate administration; he obviously owned land at one time, although he had disposed of any such land by the time of his will. Perhaps a critical aspect in determining his origins would come from a record relating to this land, which, thus far, has proven elusive.

While John Burroughs of Fauquier's origins remain a mystery, some additional information on Burroughs of the northeastern area of Virginia (Fauquier, Stafford, Prince William, Loudoun) has been accumulated, with the thought that many, if not all, of these individuals may be related to John of Fauquier. These records may be accessed HERE.

John and Mary Burroughs of Fauquier County, Virginia
He calls himself "John Burroughs of Fauquier" in his will, dated 1780, but from where, and exactly when, he arrived in Fauquier is uncertain. His name does not appear on the Fauquier tithables list of 1759, so we must assume that he resided elsewhere. From the payments out of his estate, he appears to have been a fairly wealthy man. His will (below) mentions wife Mary and six sons by name (John, James, Matthew, Joseph, Benjamin, and Clement), but also mentions that there were additional children. From his estate administration (below), we garner the names of three additional Burroughs, George, Samuel, and Basil. George Burroughs was almost certainly another son. He contested John's will, and in proceedings related to probate of John's will, George is called a legatee by the court. The author believes that Basil and Samuel were also sons of John of Fauquier. Likely John and Mary had at least several daughters, but their names remain a mystery. There is no mention in his will of any land, but his estate administration clearly shows he held stores of tobacco, so likely he had already deeded any land held to his older children or otherwise disposed of it. The original will was unusual in that there were obvious erasures and writeovers of names, no doubt the reason the will was contested by George Burroughs. While John Burroughs died in early 1782, his will was not finally proven until 1786. Portions of the court proceedings are also included below.

After his death, his widow Mary removed to adjacent Prince William County, where she and son, Clement Burroughs, appear on the 1787 tax list. It would appear that Mary was living in Prince William at least several years prior to 1787, as the contestation of John's will was handled by the Prince William County court, and the will and other papers pertaining to probate are also filed in that county.

The Will of John Burroughs, of Fauquier County, Virginia
Written 14 Dec. 1780, Final Probate 5 Sep 1786

In the name of God Amen I John Burroughs of Fauquier County in the colony of Virginia do this 14th day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred and Eighty Make and constitute this my Last will and testament and knowing that it ________ for all after come to die hoping after death to appear at the general resurrection at the right hand of God Almighty to (answer?) with the (Lord?) for all the transactions of this Life do hereby dispose of my worldly goods as followeth that is to say first that my Body shall be buried in a Christian Manner and that all my just debts shall be duly paid by my Executors

Item I give and bequeath to my son John Burroughs (40?) current money of this estate to be paid by my executors after my death.

Item I give and bequeath to my son James Burroughs 1 Sterling money to be paid by my executors after my death

Item I give and bequeath all the rest of my estate to my loving wife Mary Burroughs during her life and after her decease as followeth that my daughter Mathew Burroughs (erasure of name after "my daughter" and Mathew overwritten) shall have one negroe wench named Eleanor and my son Joseph Burroughs shall have one negro man named Samuel and my son Benjamin Burroughs shall have one negroe boy named Abraham and that my son Clement Burroughs shall have one negro lad (lad written over boy) called Jacob (Jacob written over Jack) and my will is after my wife's death (originally read "after my death"; "wife's" inserted) that all the rest of my estate be equally divided amongst the rest of my children ("estate" was inserted before children and then underlined as if to strike it out with a jagged line but still be legible) that is not mentioned in my will.

And I appoint and constitute my wife Mary Burroughs Sole executrix of this my last will and testament revoking and disannulling all other will or wills made by me heretofor

John Burroughs

Signed Sealed and delivered
In presents of
Jeremiah Spiller
James K--ch

Estate Administration of John Burroughs
Mary Burroughs, Administrator, 1782
Note: this includes only the first balance column of three columns, where readable, and that some entries were difficult to decipher; all numbers were pounds of tobacco. Dates of entries, in very small handwriting and difficult to read, appeared to span 1782-1784.

To Isaac Wickliff, Sheriff(?) 343
To William Brisco for Schooling 3 Children
To Charles Wickliff
To Basel Burrowes 2564
To William Parson for Corn?/Loan?
To John Fitzhugh for amt? 5000
To 500 Tobacco paid The Reverend Tho. Harrison 500
To Basuel Burrowes 1000
To Henry Clifton
To Charles Wickliff
To George Burrowes 1000
To Housen Hoe 2557
To Isaac Wickliff
To James Burrowes 200
To my Bond to ?John/George? Mayson, ?Sr.? for amt 7661
To ballance of amt paid Housen Hoe Junior 440
To Samuel Burrowes
To Andrew Seich(?) bond
To ?John/George? Cartwright bond
To ? Chapman

Portions of the Court Proceedings on the Will of John Burroughs of Fauquier
Will Book G, pp 350-352, 368-70.
Cuthbert Bullit attorney John Fristoe who had purchased from two of the children of sd. John Burrough after Adm. granted excepted for the following reasons: (1) John Burrough had signed and published the writing as his last will, although Jerrmiah Spiller whose name is subscribed is now living in Fauquier. (2) Four materials bequeathed in the writing are erased and no evidence in court to prove how, by whom or at what time the erasure was made. (3) that no notice was given to heir at law or representatives that a motion to establish the sd. writing as the last will of sd. John Burroughs. The court overruling the sd. exception. John Fristoe appeals to the next General court upon giving bond with security. The Court overruled the objection because a wit. was produced in Ct. who swore he was present upon the 14 Dec. 1780 when the writing was signed and acknowledged by sd. John Burroughs (not called on as evidence) who lived until the 19th of March 1782 and no erasure was in the sd. will upon the sd. 14 Dec 1780.

John Burroughs dec.'s will being presented to court and the order of Sept. Ct. last being waved upon hearing, the ct. are of opinion that the sd. will to (be?) established without the erasure and recorded as if no such rasure had been mark. It appearing to the Ct. that there was no evidence to support the erasures and the same were no marks of the testator. From the opinion of the Ct. George Burroughs one of the legatees prays a appeal to the next General Court which is granted upon giving Bond with security.

Joseph Burroughs of Stafford County (1787 and 1788), Fauquier County (1790), Loudoun County (aft 1790, and by 1797, to abt 1803), and Bedford County, Virginia (abt 1816-1833)
The movements of Joseph Burroughs, son of John Burroughs of Fauquier, are consistent, both in regard to location as well as timeframe, with what we know of our Joseph Burroughs, born in 1763. Initially, he appears to be moving around northeastern Virginia, never quite settling in any one place. He appears in Stafford County tax lists in 1787 and 1788, then in a 1790 Fauquier County tax list, and then in Loudoun County (adjacent to Fauquier) in 1797 as receiving baptism in the North Fork Primitive Baptist church, again mentioned in these records in 1803. It is currently believed that sometime around, or just after, the birth of their last child (1806), Joseph and Mary then removed to Amherst Co., VA, where Joseph appears on militia lists there. Then, perhaps prompted by the deaths of four of their eldest five children in 1813, Joseph and his family left Amherst for Bedford County, where Joseph had received an offer to preach there at the Moody Meeting House.

Meeting Minutes of North Fork Primitive Baptist Church, Loudoun County, Virginia
Names Found in Books I and II (Minute Books)
Burris/Burroughs, Joseph (rec'd by bapt. June 6 or 8, 1797). (p 47)

1803-Aug 6: Then met the Church of Christ at North Fork and after prayer to God for his blessing proceeded to business as follows: Brothers Joseph Burroughs and Joseph Garett is appointed to prepare the association letter and also as messengers to bear it. (p 10)

From Loudoun County VA, North Fork Primitive Baptist Church Records May 8, 1784-August 13, 1831. Copied by Mrs. Elsie S. Payne, Clerk, North Fork Baptist Church (from original Minute Books). Compiled by Mrs. Verna M. Brockhurst, Genealogical Records Chairman, Freedom Hill Chapter, NSDAR, McLean, VA., Dec 1976 (Original typewritten document, Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, VA)

The only mention this author has seen as to Joseph's wife is from Ackerly and Parker's Our Kin, A History of Bedford Co., Va., which states that Joseph "married Mary Pierce in Maryland"; subsequent attempts to find out more information about her had proven fruitless. But the author was recently contacted by Mr. Brian Lee, who had become interested in the Burroughs, not through any familial connection, but because the grave marker of Joseph Nichols Burroughs rests on the edge of his property in Bedford County, Virginia. This Joseph Burroughs was a grandson of Joseph and Mary Pierce, being a son of James Burroughs and Elizabeth Robertson. Through this interest, he had made a connection with the National Park Service researchers, and thus, through his own investigative research, was able to identify Mary Pierce's father, Jacob Garoon Pierce. Additionally, he identified a brother of Mary, namely Peter Pierce, with whom Joseph Burroughs appears in Amherst militia lists. This makes it evident that first son, Jacob, and a later son, Peter, were named after Mary's side of the family.

Joseph's wandering ways seem to have been adopted by at least three of his brothers, Clement, Benjamin, and Samuel. According to research done by a descendant, Clement Burroughs first went to North Carolina, where he married (his marriage bond is recorded in Warren Co., NC), then returned briefly to Virginia (Spotsylvania County), before heading west to Kentucky. Benjamin is also believed to have removed to Kentucky. Basil and George appear to have remained in Stafford County; Basil's 1793 estate inventory is recorded in Stafford County. Samuel Burroughs, according to a descendant, removed to Madison Co., KY. As yet, the whereabouts of Joseph's siblings, John, James, and Matthew, have not been discovered.

Fortunately, the descendants of Joseph Burroughs have been fairly thoroughly researched due to the historical significance surrounding his son James Burroughs. James owned a small tobacco plantation in Franklin County, Virginia, where Booker Taliaferro Washington was born in 1856. While Booker was not allowed to attend the local school, it is stated that one of the daughters of James Burroughs was responsible for mentoring the young slave. This old plantation is the historical site which is under the auspices of the National Park Service.

Robert Thomas Burroughs and Matilda A. Tate
He was born in Loudoun County, per his death record filed in Patrick County, Virginia. This also fits the known movements of his father, Joseph Burroughs. Robert Thomas was aged about 10 years when he and his parents and siblings removed to Bedford County, where he later married Matilda Tate. Said death record states that he died of paralysis, aged 86 years, 9 months, and 27 days, occupation farmer. When he removed from Bedford to Patrick is not known, but on 25 Oct 1852, his brother-in-law, James B. Tate and Elizabeth, his wife, sold 125 acres of land, lying upon Spoon Creek in Patrick County to Robert Thomas Burroughs for the sum of $324.96, and it appears that Robert Thomas Burroughs then sold this land, 14 Feb 1855, to James S. Harbour, described as 125 acres, lying on Spoon Creek at the mouth of Smith Creek. It is noted that this property lay within one-half mile of the property upon which his daughter, Susan (Dalton) Burroughs resided; said property having been inherited by his son, James Robert Burroughs, who died well before his father.

James Robert Burroughs and Susan Elizabeth Dalton
Unlike his predecessors, James Robert Burroughs died prematurely, just one month shy of his 37th year. Research done by this author's great-uncle, states that it is presumed he died of tuberculosis. He was a railroad man, according to his marriage record filed in Patrick County. Widow Susan (Dalton) Burroughs raised their three children, and after they had grown to adulthood, she married William D. Smith in 1889, and went to live with him on Russell Creek in Patrick County. After his death about 1900, she returned to her home near Spoon Creek, where she resided the remainder of her life.

William Thomas Burroughs and Virginia Susan Shotwell
William Thomas Burroughs and his new wife, Virginia Susan Shotwell, began their married life in the former home of his mother, Susan Dalton Burroughs, who had remarried in 1889 and removed with her new husband to nearby Russell Creek. Their first three children were born in Patrick County, and around 1895 or 1896, William Thomas and Virginia removed to the city of Norfolk, Virginia. He was a carpenter by trade and worked for the Norfolk and Western Railroad upon first coming to that city, and later worked for the Seabord Air Line Railroad in Portsmouth, Va. He was transferred by the latter company to Savannah, Georgia, but later transferred back to Portsmouth. During World War I, he worked at the Navy Yard in Norfolk, and eventually went into business for himself, doing repairs and remodelling work. By 1923, he had removed from Portsmouth, back to Norfolk, where he built the family home. When wife Virginia Shotwell died, in 1948, he had amassed a comfortable retirement and enough money to well provide for his own sustenance. But the year following her death, he remarried to Elizabeth Shepherd, and by whatever means, she was able to obtain ownership of his property. She died two years before he, and in her will she bequeathed all of her properties to her two daughters (by a former marriage) and nothing to her husband. His son-in-law, this author's great-uncle, stated that "he was one who never strayed from his convictions, his politics, nor his religion..he believed that a verbal promise was as binding as one made in was never known that he failed to keep a promise."

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