Name: STEPHEN Batchelor
Birth: ABT 1723 in Deep Creek, Norfolk VA
Death: ABT 1806 in Nash Co., NC
Change Date: 23 NOV 2007
Stephen Batchelor was born c 1723, Norfolk Co., Va; d. 1806, at age 83, Nash County, NC His will was dated 26 Feb 1796. He married first Mary and we are reasonably certain that this is Mary Manning, dau. of William Manning, who died 1760. Stephen second married Margaret and some family researchers show her name as Creekmore, but no evidence has been furnished to support this item. Margaret died after 1 July 1779 Nash County before the 1810 Court term, as indicated by the estate settlement. By these two wives, Stephen had twelve children, and since we don't have the date of death for first wife, Mary, nor the date of the second marriage, we cannot determine the mother of the children. Their dates of birth have been estimated based on such factors as age at time of death.
Lyle Keith Williams, THE BATCHELOR FAMILY (5000 Rock River Dr., Fort Worth, TX 76103; 1991), has extensive information on Stephen Batchelor. In his 1976 book THE BATCHELOR-WILLIAMS FAMILIES, Lyle Williams had supposed that Stephen Batchelor, Jr., son of this Stephen, was the father of Samuel Batchelor of Nash Co., N.C. In the 1991 book, he gives substantial reasons for supposing that Stephen, Sr., was father of Samuel.
On p. 322, Lyle Williams reproduces a 6 Mar 1992 letter of Henry L. King, Cary, N.C., a professional genealogist whom Williams had hired. This letter uses Norfolk Co., Va., tax lists to deduce the age of Stephen Batchelor. King states that the N.C. tax lists from 1737-49 have not survived. Presumably, Stephen Batchelor would have appeared on these, and thus his exact age could have been determined. On the 1736 tax list, Stephen Batchelor does not appear; his brother James does, which leads to the conclusion that Stephen was younger than James, and a minor in 1736. Since James died in 1754, leaving a will that shows he had grandchildren, he may have been considerably older than Stephen. Men began to be taxed at the age of 18 in Virginia. If Stephen Batchelor did not appear on the 1736 tax list, then his year of birth would have been after 1718. Since he appears by 1750, his year of birth was by 1732. King concluded that various other Batchelor data make it very likely that Stephen Batchelor was born 1725-30.
It is highly probable that Stephen Batchelor would have been born in that portion of Norfolk Co. that is now comprised by the borough of Deep Creek. Early Lower Norfolk Co. land records place his grandfather Richard Batchelor, the immigrant, in the vicinity of Deep Creek, with the interrelated Biggs, Cherry, and Creekmore families. On this, see the files of Richard Batchelor, John Biggs, and John Cherry. Tax lists in the 1730s place Stephen Batchelor's father Joseph on the south and west side of the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, at a mill on Deep Creek called Batchelor's Mill; on this, see file of Joseph Batchelor.
The first record I have for Stephen Batchelor is his mention in the will of Joseph Batchelor. The will leaves SB 100 acres adjoining that of his brother James, 100 acres on the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River adjoining William Bass, and a Negro boy named Tony. Since James Batchelor is taxed in the 1730s in the same vicinity in which his father Joseph lived, Stephen Batchelor would have likely lived near Deep Creek as well.
BATCHELOR FAMILY reproduces the 1750 and 1753 tax lists for Norfolk Co., citing the transcription in Elizabeth B. and W. Bruce Wingo, NORFOLK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, TITHABLES 1730-50, and Elizabeth B. Wingo, NORFOLK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, TITHABLES 1751-65. On the 1753 tax list, Stephen Batchelor appears on p. 81 (it is not clear whether Williams is citing the original pagination here, or Wingo's transcription), with one tithable; the location is from a hollow poplar down to the Great Bridge and up the Pocoty Road, then down to Batchelor's Mill. See BATCHELOR FAMILY, pp. 325-6.
In a 4 Feb. 1992 report to Lyle Williams, reproduced on pp. 316-8 of BATCHELOR FAMILY, and in his 6 Mar. 1992 letter cited above, Henry King notes that Stephen Batchelor disappears from the Norfolk Co. tax list after 1753 and appears in Edgecombe Co., N.C., records in 1757. Since Stephen's brother James died in 1754 (Stephen had witnessed the will), Mr. King postulates that the death of his brother precipitated Stephen Batchelor's move to N.C. I am citing p. 322 of BATCHELOR FAMILY; for details on the will of James Batchelor, which notes that the upper portion of JB's land joined his brother Stephen's--indicating that SB was living in Norfolk Co., Va., on 2 Mar. 1754 when the will was written--see the file of James Batchelor.
(Addendum, 19 Dec. 1994: I have now checked Wingo's transcription of Norfolk Co., Va., tax lists. I find that Stephen Batchelor appears in 1751 on a list taken 10 June 1751, from a hollow poplar down to Great Bridge and to Batchelor's Mill and up Pokaty Road. SB is listed with one tithable, next to James Tucker.
SB is not on the 1752 tax list for Norfolk Co. On 11 June 1753, he is in the same tax precinct as 1751, with 1 tithable, next to his brother James (p. 56 of Wingo'sb volume). The p. 81 cited by Mr. King above is for the 1754 tax list, where SB is emumerated in the same district, next to James Tucker and a Mrs. Elizabeth Batchelor, whi is taxed for one slave. Presumably, Elizabeth Batchelor is the widow of Stephen's brother James; James' will is dated 3 March 1754, and has no probate date; the 1754 tax list has no date other than the year. The will does not name James' wife, but states that the Negro man Cush, for whom James was taxed in 1751, is to be his wife's after James' decease. SB disappears from the Norfolk Co. tax list after 1754).
An article entitled "Nash, A Competent Rural Democracy," in THE STATE 20, #24 (1933), by Bill Sharpe has information about the settlement of Nash Co. The article states that there was a steady migration into the area in the 1740s, mostly by families of English origin that had landed in Virginia 50-100 years earlier. A number of these moved first to Northamption Co., N.C., then to the area that became Nash Co. because floods and epidemics had uprooted them from the Roanoke River Valley. According to Alan D. Watson, EDGECOMBE COUNTY: A BRIEF HISTORY (Raleigh: N.C. Archives, 1979), settlement west of the Roanoke began to occur after the defeat of the Tuscarora Indians in 1714, after which settlers from the Albemarle region began to pour into the Roanoke region (p. i). Sharpe notes that settlement of the Nash portion of Edgecombe Co. followed a pattern set on the coastal plains, in which there were few towns, and large plantations were the social and economic units of the region. Because Nash had no navigable waterways at the time of its settlement, it was exclusively agricultural, one of the leading agricultural areas of the state.
Sharpe later notes that, as the soil began to be exhausted, more and more small farmers began to settle in Nash Co. after the Civil War, beginning the cultivation of tobacco, which had not been raised before, because it required intensive hand cultivation lacking on large operations. From this date, the yeoman rather than the planter dominated farming in Nash Co., and cotton declined as the primary crop.
A later article in the same journal entitled "Manteo to Murphy," by Bill Sharpe, comments on Sapony Creek, saying that Douglas Rights' book THE AMERICAN INDIANS IN NORTH CAROLINA notes that a tribge called the Sapona were living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge and on the headwaters of the Dan in Virginia when Lawson visited the tribe. Lawson called the Yadkin River the Sapona. Historians have not been able to account for why the name occurs in association with a creek in Nash Co.
On 30 Nov. 1757, Stephen Batchelor bought 200 acres on the north side of the Sapony Swamp near the mouth of Flaggy Branch in Edgecombe Co., N.C. The deed specifies that William Ruffin, from whom SB bought the land, was of Northampton Co., N.C., and SB of Edgecombe Co. (Edgecombe Co. DB 6, p. 265; see M.M. Hoffman, EDGECOMBE PRECINCT: EDGECOMBE CO., N.C., 1732-58). The deed was wit. by Wm. Deloach and Richard Ruffin. This deed was proven by WR in Edgecombe Co. Ct. in Feb., 1758, according to court minutes.
The William Ruffin of the deed is evidently the William who d. in 1781 in Northampton Co., NC; see his file. Richard Ruffin was his son, and William Deloach his father-in-law (m. Purity Ruffin). See their files.
Note that the Ruffin family was multiply related by marriage to Stephen Batchelor and his wife Mary Manning. Thomas Pridgeon m. Martha Ruffin, and his brother Jesse (children of William) m. Mary Batchelor, d/o Stephen. Thomas and Jesse's sisters Lucy and Salah m. John and Matthias Manning, relatives of SB's wife. Martha Ruffin's sister Penelope m. Jesse Deloach; both were children of Samuel Ruffin, a brother of the William Ruffin, who sold land to SB. See his file.
In Sept., 1759, SB was appointed to a jury in Edgecombe Co. which oversaw the laying of a road from the head of Bryants Creek to the main road at the Granville Co. line (Edgecombe Co. Ct. Minutes, Sept., 1759, p. 245).
Matthias Manning's entry of 700 acres in Edgecombe Co. on 31 Oct. 1761 says that land adj. SB and Willoby Tucker (Granville Dist., Misc. Land Office Papers, #1646).
William Hendrick's entry for 700 acres in Edgecombe Co. 9 Dec. 1761 says that land adj. SB and Drury McLamore (Granville Dist., Misc. Land Office Papers, #1388-9).
On 10 Aug. 1762, Matthias Manning's entry for 611 acres in Edgecombe Co. says the land joined Sappony Swamp, SB, Andres Ross, and William Daffnel. Chain carriers for the survey were MM, Jr., and James Tucker (Granville Pat. Bk. 11, p. 230, #968).
On 6 Sept. 1764, SB bought another 160 acres on Saponey Creek adjoining his land from John and Mary Hatcher, the land having been granted to Daniel Ross on 7 March 1761. Thomas Harbitt and Wm. Pitman wit. the deed (Edgecombe DB C 255). King also says (p. 319) that in 1764, Stephen Batchelor bought land from Matthias Manning; he does not give the source of this information. Is this Matthias Manning the Matthias who was brother-in-law of Stephen Batchelor?
In 1768, SB gave his son William 20 acres of the land he had acquired from Ruffin, with Thomas Harbitt and John Manning wit. (Edgecombe DB D 128), and in 1769, SB and wife Mary sold Joseph Tucker the 160 acres on Saponey Creek they had bought in 1764, with Thomas Harbirt and Dinah Tucker wit. (Edgecombe DB D 137). Mr. King notes that this is the last land transaction in Edgecombe Co. in which SB appears, since his land fell into Nash Co. when the latter was formed from Edgecombe in 1777.
On 14 Jan. 1769, SB and wife Mary sold to Joseph Tucker 160 acres on both sides of Sapony Creek, out of tract granted to Daniel Ross by a Granville deed, 16 March 1761, with Thomas Harbirt and Dinah Tucker wit. (Edgecombe DB D, 137).
On 2 March 1769, SB wit the deed of James Tucker to Thomas Harbert, both of Edgecombe Co., of land on the south bank of Little Sapony Swamp (Edgecombe DB D, p. 150).
The first Nash Co. deed in which SB appears is a 1 July 1777 deed in which he and wife Margaret sold to John Warren, all of Nash Co., 40 acres on the south side of the Great Sapony Swamp (Nash Co. DB 1, p. 126; see Joseph W. Watson, ABSTRACTS OF EARLY DEEDS OF NASH CO., N.C., BOOKS 1-6 [Fort Worth: Arrow, 1966]).
SB was a signer of the 17 Nov. 1777 petition of inhabitants of Edgecombe Co. for the partition of the county into the new county of Nash: see T.E. Ricks, ed., NASH COUNTY HISTORICAL NOTES: A BICENTENNIAL TRIBUTE (Rocky Mount: Dixie, 1976), p. 10, citing the original in loose papers held by North Carolina archives. I have a photocopy of the original, with SB's signature. Several names below SB's signature are the signatures of his sons Samuel and Stephen, Jr.
SB appears in the records of Nash Co. court, April, 1780, as a juror for July term (Nash Co. Ct. Minutes, vol. 1, 1778-1785, p. 437, abstr. Stephen E. Bradley, Jr., Keysville, VA 23947). At the same court, he and wife acknowledged their deed to John Warren, with Matthias Manning proving the deed (ibid., p. 372). SB was a juror again in October, 1782 (ibid., p. 774).
At Aug. court, 1791, an order was given for William Bryant, Sr., to oversee a road from Samuel Bryant's ferry over the Great Sappony Bridge at Stephen Batchelor's (Nash Co. Ct. Minutes, 1787-93, vol. 2, p. 907, abstr. Bradley). The bridge appears as Stephen Batchelor's bridge in a May, 1793, court record, when Solomon Carter and others petitioned for a road from SB's bridge on the Sappony, to follow the best way to John Chapman's ford on the tar River and thence to the old road (ibid., p. 1390).
Stephen Batchelor also appears in an 11 Jan. 1794 deed of Daniel Warren to Robert Creekmore, both of Nash Co., which specifies that Creekmore's land is on the south side of the Sapony Creek adjoining Stephen Batchelor, Sr., and that the land Warren was selling was out of the tract SB had sold to John Warren previously (Nash Co. DB 4, p. 256).
Two Nash Co. petitions for roads locate the land of Stephen Batchelor more precisely. The first, presented to the Nash Co. court at Aug. term, 1810, petitions for a road to turn out of the road from Raleigh to Tarboro, on the south side of the Tar River just below John Taylor's, thence along by or near John Glover's and Samuel Batchelor's, into the Sapony Road at or near where old Mrs. Batchelor formerly lived. The old Mrs. Batchelor who lived on the Sapony Road south of the Tar River is most likely Stephen Batchelor's widow Margaret. An undated petition that appears to be from the same period petitions for a road from Stephen Batchelor's bridge on Sapony Creek, to follow the nearest way to John Chapman's ford on the Tar River, then into the old road at the foot of Chapman's path (on these, see Nash Co., N.C., Petitions, 1777-1859).
From what I can determine, using U.S. Department of the Interior Geological Survey maps, the Sapony Creek runs north of the Tar River, and not south of it, so I am unable to locate Stephen Batchelor's homeplace as precisely as I would like. The Batchelor name is concentrated today in the vicinity of Spring Hope in Nash Co., a town in the western portion of the county near the Franklin Co. line. To the east of Spring Hope, where highway 1900 meets highway 1909 just south of U.S. highway 64, the USDI map shows a Batchelor Crossroads. This is a little ways north of the Sapony Creek. My guess is that this is the area of the county in which Stephen Batchelor, his son Samuel and Samuel's son-in-law John Glover, were living, as well as Stephen Batchelor's son-in-law Robert Creekmore, whom the 1794 deed cited above shows to have been living adjacent Stephen Batchelor.
On the 1790 census, Stephen Batchelor was enumerated in Halifax District of Nash Co., along with his son Samuel and various of Samuel's sons (p. 69). Stephen Batchelor died testate in Nash Co., leaving a will dated 26 Feb. 1796, which named his wife Margaret and children. The will was witnessed by David, Abijah, and Mary Pridgen, and was signed by Stephen Batchelor. The will was proven in Nash Co. court at February term, 1806, showing that Stephen Batchelor died in Nash Co. between the writing of the will and the 1805 inventory (see below). The will had left Daniel Batchelor all Stephen Batchelor's land--the 140 acres remaining to him out of the parcels he bought above.
On 20 May 1803, SB (or is this a SB, Jr.?) was a buyer at the estate sale of James Tucker in Nash Co. He purchased a water pail, 2 basons and plates, and 5 spoons. If this is SB, Sr., then he died between this date and the 1805 date below.
On 23 Nov. 1805, Daniel Batchelor, who had been appointed executor of the will with Stephen's second wife Margaret, inventoried the estate. The inventory was returned to court on 12 May 1806 (Ct. Minutes 5, p. 130; see Rackley, below, p. 69).
The will was proven by Abijah Pridgen at court on 10 Feb. 1806 (see Timothy W. Rackley, abs., NASH COUNTY COURT MINUTES, VOL. 5, 1804-1807 [P.O. Box 2502, Kernersville, NC 27285-2502; 1995], p. 56, citing vol. 5, p. 108).
The estate was sold on 3 March 1806, and returned to Nash Co. court at May term, 1810. Margaret Batchelor does not appear in the sale records, suggesting that she had died by 3 March 1806.
The estate of Stephen Batchelor suggests that he was a middle-class farmer who raised a variety of livestock, including cattle, sheep, horses, and hogs, and who grew cotton as a money crop. The household items sold at the estate sale indicate that Stephen Batchelor's family had a standard of living typical of middle-class Southern farmers of the period; these items include 3 beds and furniture, various pieces of crockery and other cookware, 5 chairs, 2 chests and a trunk, a looking glass and candlestick, and farm and houshold tools such as linen wheels, a loom, and axes and hoes. A lot of books was sold at the estate sale; this, and Stephen Batchelor's signature on his will, demonstrate that he was literate, as other members of his family may have been as well. His son Daniel was not literate, however, since his signature in the estate documents is a mark.
Buyers at the estate sale included Stephen's sons and grandchildren (e.g., Samuel Batchelor's sons Wright Stephen and Wilson) and his sons-in-law, including Timothy and Robert Creekmore. Various members of the interrelated Rackley, Tucker, and Melton families also appear in the estate sale record. Curiously, no Pridgens bought at the sale, though two of Stephen Batchelor's children had married Pridgens, and one of these--Abijah Pridgen--had been among the witnesses to the will.
The estate papers (which are filed in Nash Co. estate papers, 1770-1909) do not have a final settlement. The last report of the estate appears to be February term, 1812, when the estate paid various people.
Stephen Batchelor appears to have been at least twice married. The wife Mary, who is likely the daughter of William Manning of Norfolk Co., Virginia, was living in 1768 when Stephen Batchelor and his wife sold land in Edgecombe Co., N.C. (see above for details). By 1 July 1777, when SB and wife Margaret sold land in Nash Co., Mary Manning seems to have died, and Stephen to have remarried to Margaret, whose maiden name is unknown. Some of the children whom SB names in his will may have been by the second wife.
I have found nothing that indicates the religious background of Stephen Batchelor. Presumably, he would have been raised Episcopalian in Norfolk Co. The Batchelor family seems to have been at least nominally Church of England in its first generations (see the file of Richard Batchelor, Jr., son of the immigrant Richard, on this), though intermarried with the Biggs family, which seems to have had Quaker leanings (see file of John Biggs, the immigrant).
The article "Nash, A Competent Rural Democracy" cited above notes that, when Nash was formed, the Anglican church had fallen out of favor (because it was associated with the country against which America had fought in the Revolution). As Episcopalianism died out, the Primitive Baptists rose to prominence in Nash Co., building their first church in 1757 at the falls fo the Tar. The Baptists were followed by the Methodists, who were at first not popular, and were accused of preaching a slave religion. Eventually, however, the Methodists gained numbers, becoming the second most populous church in the county. For Stephen Batchelor's grandson Willis, son of Samuel, as a witness to the 1812 deed of George Sutton to various men (including Pridgen Manning, a Batchelor relative, and John Deans, with whose family Batchelors were intermarried) to erect a Methodist church in Nash Co., see file of Willis Batchelor.
A final note about Stephen Batchelor and his sons: I haven't discovered that any of the sons, or Stephen himself, were Revolutionary soldiers. Could this mean that they were Loyalists? Since northeastern N.C. and southeastern Va. had considerable numbers of people who sympathized with the English cause, it might have been possible for the Batchelor family to have Loyalist sympathies, and not incur wrath of their neighbors. Or were they simply indifferent to the struggle? As Watson notes in his EDGECOMBE COUNTY, Edgecombe Co. (and thus, presumably, Nash) was affected by the Llewelyn conspiracy that originated in Martin Co. during the war (pp. 10-11). This was a conspiracy of Loyalists, who sought to secure the eastern part of the state for the British. At the time of the conspiracy, it was reported that "many evil persons" in Edgecombe had joined Llewelyn's movement, according to Watson. See also Alan D. Watson, BERTIE COUNTY: A BRIEF HISTORY (Raleigh: N.C. Archives, 1982), pp. 67-8.
Who is the Thomas Herbert who appears so often as witness to SB's deeds? Note that SB's sister Ann married Richard Herbert.
Father: JOSEPH Batchelor b: 1668 in Norfolk County, Va.
Mother: MARY UNKNOWN
MARY Manning b: ABT 1720 in Norfolk, Va.
in Norfolk, Va.
- William Batchelor b: ABT 1744 in Norfolk County, Va.
- Stephen Batchelor b: ABT 1746 in Norfolk County, Virginia
- SAMUEL Batchelor b: ABT 1748 in Norfolk County, Virginia
- Solomon Batchelor b: ABT 1750 in Norfolk County, Virginia
- Mary Batchelor b: ABT 1752 in Norfolk County, Virginia
- Margaret Batchelor b: ABT 1754 in Norfolk County, Virginia
- Elizabeth Batchelor b: ABT 1756 in Nash Co., NC
- Joseph Batchelor b: ABT 1758 in Nash Co., NC
- Sarah Batchelor b: ABT 1764 in Nash Co., NC
- Barsheba Batchelor b: ABT 1766 in Nash Co., NC
- Nancy Batchelor b: ABT 1774 in Nash Co., NC
- Daniel Batchelor b: ABT 1773 in Edgecombe Co., NC