Thomas Blount: Birth: ABT 1650. Death: 1706 in Cabin Ridge Plantation, Albermarle, North Carolina
Note: Taken in Oct 2006 from http://lamartin.com/genealogy/blount.htm - compiled by Kyle VanLandingham:
The question of James Blount's parentage has been a source of great confusion, due primarily to a "genealogy" prepared for one Frederick Speight Blount in 1872. This bogus study purports to connect Capt. James Blount the immigrant with Sir Walter Blount who was made a baronet during the reign of King Charles I in 1642. The study says that three of Sir Walter's sons "emigrated to Virginia and North Carolina." Attached to the report was an "American Genealogy," copied from a Memorandum of the Blount Family made by John Bonner Blount, A.D. 1823. The first paragraph of the "American Genealogy" reads as follows:
"James Blount, who by tradition was a Captain in the King of England's Life Guards, and a younger son of Sir Walter Blount, Member of Parliament, and created a Baronet by Charles I., emigrated to Virginia, (which then extended as far south as Albemarle Sound), with many other persons. There were several persons of the name of Blount who, either personally or by reference to Captain John Smith's History of Virginia, will more fully apear. There is no doubt, however, that a certain James Blount, who brought over with him a copperplate of the armorial bearings of his family, now in my posession, which, by comparing with the heraldry of England, quarters the arms of the former or present Duke of Devonshire, particularly as to their representation of clouds; on or about 1669, (the particular day will appear by reference to records) entered a tract of land on Albemarle Sound, a greater part of which is now, at the present day, in possession of one of his immediate descendants, Clement H. Blount."
The problem is that Sir Walter Blount, Baronet, did not have a son named James Blount. See Alexander Croke, The Genealogical History of the Croke Family, Originally Named Le Blount, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1823), II, 145-146.
However, the myth that Capt. James Blount was a son of Sir Walter Blount has continued in numerous publications. In addition, it has been asserted that Thomas Blount, who died in 1706 was the brother and not the son of Capt. James Blount. See Marcus T. Wright, Some Accounts of the Life and Service of William Blount (1740-1800) (1884); John H. Wheeler, Reminiscences of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians (Columbus, OH, 1884), lvii-lix, 130; Zella Armstrong, comp., Notable Southern Families (Chattanooga, TN, 1918) I, 32-37; Alice Barnwell Keith, ed., The John Gray Blount Papers, Volume One 1764-1789 (Raleigh, NC, 1952), xiv, note 4; Wiliam H. Masterson, William Blount (New York, 1954), 1-3. Hathaway's North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register and Worth S. Ray's Index and Digest to Hathaway's North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register (Austin, TX, 1945), 19-20, confuse the matter even further. As late as 1974, one Sherman Fields prepared a chart on the Blount family, a copy of which is at the North Carolina State Library. The familiar errors that James was a son of Sir Walter and that Thomas was a brother of James appear on the chart.
Standing against all of this is the work of the late Helen M. Blount Prescott, who spent many years from the 1890s until the 1940s, working on the Blount family history. Miss Prescott's famous Blount and Blunt Chart (1902, 1930) shows that Capt. James Blount, the immigrant, was the son of James and -------- (Clare) Blount. It also shows that Thomas Blount, who died in 1706, was the son of Capt. James Blount. Prescott's papers are housed at the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The key to establishing Capt. James's parentage and background is the will of Charles Blount, uncle of Capt. James. Charles Blount's will, dated Dec. 19, 1655, includes the following bequest: "I give and bequeathe unto my cozen James Blount one of the Sonnes of my late brother James Blount Esquire deceased the summe of fiftie pounds in case he be liveinge or such returned from beyond the seas where now he is to demand the same." This will was filed in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Folio 172, and is indexed in Vol. 54, Wills 1653-56, PCC, Public Record Office, London. Genealogist Marilu Burch Smallwood accepted the Prescott version of Capt. James' lineage in her book Related Royal Families (Gainesville, FL, 1966), 360. One interesting recent source is C. Sylvester Green's Blounts of Pitt County, NorthCarolina (Greenville, NC, 1978). He accepts the Prescott Chart but tries to have it both ways regarding Thomas, son of James. In establishing the background of the Pitt County Blounts, Green sometimes says that they were descendants of Thomas, brother of James and at other times, descendants of Thomas, son of James. See pp. 14, 25, 33, 38, 42, 47. Virginia (Watkins) Westergard and Kyle S. VanLandingham in their book, Parker and Blount in Florida (Okeechobee, FL, 1983), accept the Prescott version.
Regarding the controversy over the different Thomas Blounts, Mattie Erma E. Parker, in her biographical sketch of Thomas Blount in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 1, p. 82, summed it up very well:
"Most writers on the Blount family have confused three individuals bearing the name Thomas Blount. The three are (1) the subject of this sketch, (2) his son Thomas, and (3) a putative uncle of the subject of this sketch, said to have settled in North Carolina in the 1670s, but of whom this writer finds no trace in North Carolina records."
The James Blount Coat of Arms is found in Wheeler's Reminiscences, lvii:
"His Coat of arms engraved on a copper plate, which he brought with him, was in the possession of his descendants until about the year 1840, when it was destroyed by its possessor, the late James B. Shepard of Raleigh. A cut of it is given above, taken from an impression of the original plate."
The coat of arms is impaled with the arms of the Clare family, that of his mother. The Clare arms include three chevrons on a shield. The coat of arms is reportedly shown on the seals attached to the wills of John Blount, son of James; and John's son, John Blount, Jr. According to the Frances B. Claypoole Notes, the "[s]eals used by John Blount I and John Blount II in signing their wills distinctly show a meteor and not a sun." See Robert F. Pfafman, Ancestry and Progeny of Capt. James Blount, Immigrant (1983).
The Rt. Rev. Joseph Blount Cheshire, Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina, was very interested in the Blount genealogy. He sent a copy of the James Blount Coat of Arms to one Charles Dexter Allen of Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Allen replied to Bishop Cheshire on February 26, 1906, and stated that the "arms on this plate are quartered with another coat: but no tinctures are shown." Allen remarked that book plate was of the Chippendale design, after 1750 and represented the Chippendale design of a "late period." This indicates that the copy of the arms shown in Wheeler was modified somewhat from the original, since James Blount died in 1686. See Joseph B. Cheshire Papers, 1724-1932, Correspondence 1905-October 1906, PC 183.45 NCA, North Carolina State Archives.
The following biographical sketch of James Blount is by Mattie Erma E. Parker.
See William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (Chapel Hill, NC, 1979), I, 178-179.
"Blount (Blunt), James (d. spring or summer 1686), colonial official, and leader in Culpeper's Rebellion, moved to the Albemarle colony from Isle of Wight County, Va., between 1660, when the family was still in Virginia, and 1669, when Blount was a member of the Albemarle council. Presumably, the title captain, applied to him by his contemporaries, indicates his rank in either the Virginia or the Albemarle militia, or both.
"By 21 Apr. 1669, Blount was a council member in the Albemarle colony. He was also on the council in 1672, 1679, 1681, 1684, and perhaps also in years not indicated in surviving records. In 1677, and apparently in earlier years, he was one of the burgesses representing Chowan Precinct and sat on the council by vote of the assembly, which then chose some of the council members.
"Although Blount participated in the government over which the controversial Thomas Miller presided in the summer and fall of 1677, he was one of the leaders in the overthrow of Miller in December of that year. Not only did he help lead the upheaval, subsequently called Culpeper's Rebellion, but he became a member of the rebel parliament and the rebel council that governed the colony until 1679, when the proprietors reestablished government under their own authority.
"After the restoration of de jure government, Blount served on the council at least in the years 1679, 1681, and 1684. He was a justice of the county court of Albemarle in 1682 and 1683.
"Blount lived in Chowan Precinct, where he owned 300 acres of land in the 1670s. His holding was enlarged by a grant of 660 acres in 1684 [Mulberry Hill].
"Blount was married twice. His first wife, whose name is not known, was the mother of at least five of his children: James, Thomas, John, Ann and Elizabeth. Apparently, James and Thomas, if not the other children, were born before their parents moved to Albemarle. They proved their headrights and were granted land in 1680, by which time both were married. Blount's first wife died between 27 Sept. 1670, when she was a witness in court, and 13 June 1683, by which time Blount's second marriage had taken place. The second wife was Anna Riscoe, widow of Robert Riscoe of Albemarle and daughter of Belshassar Willix of Exeter, N.H. She and Blount probably were married shortly before 13 June 1683, when Blount obtained administration of Riscoe's estate 'in right of his wife.' If children were born of the second marriage, they apparently died in infancy.
"Blount died between 10 Mar. 1686, when he made a codicil to his will, and 17 July, when the will was proved. By that time his two daughters were married and each had at least one child. They were referred to in the will as Elizabeth Hawkins, who had a son named John, and Ann Slocum, who had a daughter named Ann.
"Blount's own son, John was still a minor when his father died. John's brother, Thomas became his guardian, but the guardianship lasted less than a decade, as John was married in 1695 to Elizabeth Davis, daughter of John and Mary Davis of Henrico County, Va. Thomas himself was married to his second wife, Mary Scott, about the time of his father's death, in the spring of 1686. James, Jr., gave his wife's name as Elizabeth in listing his headrights and also in his will.
"Blount's widow, Anna, whom he called in his will, married Seth Sothel, then governor of the colony and one of the proprietors of Carolina. After Sothel's death, she married John Lear, a prominent Virginian."
The following excerpt is from Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Immigrants 1607-1660 (Baltimore, MD, 1987), 295-296:
"13 September.  The following bound to James Blunt, planter, to serve in Virginia: Thomas Taylor of Lugwardine, Heref., labourer, for 6 years; Rebecca Davis of Grosmont, Monmouth, spinster, for 3 years; and Anne Morgan of Rowlstone, Heref, spinster, for 3 years. Mary Jones of Crickhowell, Monmouth spinster, and Markes Thomas of Crickhowell bound to Joseph Curtis of Bristol, shipwright, to serve 3 years in Virginia. (BRO)."
The following entry is found in North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register 3 (January 1903), 146:
"Henry White aged about fifty seven years, upon oath declared that he knew Samuel Davis deceased, that he lived in the Pascotank in this Government, and that he knew the said Samuel Davis when he lived in Isle of Wight when he was an apprentice to his father, Henry White, of the Isle of Wight county afsd. Cooper, and that after he was out of his time he married one Ann, a servant to Captn. James Blount, and afterwards about the year 1660, he, the sd Samuel and Ann, his wife removed themselves into this government, where the deponent knew them to live several years & had several children and that Samuel Davis Junior is the eldest son &c."
Capt. James Blount was one of the leaders of Culpeper's Rebellion in 1677.
"The chief cause of unrest in the decade of the 1670s was the attempt of the English Parliament to regulate the tobacco trade and to curb smuggling by passage of series of navigation acts. The Act of 1660 stated that certain enumerated articles, including tobacco, could be traded only to England. The New Englanders, engaged in the intercolonial coastal trade, tried to circumvent the requirements of the law by landing tobacco in another colony before selling it abroad. To stop such illegal trade, Parliament passed the Plantation Duty Act of 1673, which required a tobacco duty of one penny per pound to be paid at the port of purchase. Because they were dependent on the New England mariners for the marketing of their tobacco, the Albemarle planters were threatened economically by the new regulations and duty." See Lindley S. Butler, North Carolina Genesis: Seventeenth-Century Albemarle County (Hertford, NC, 1989), 12.
In the fall of 1679, the "popular faction" which included James Blount took control of the colony. In the "Representation to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina Concerning the Rebellion in that Country, to be made use of in Further Examinations," the role of James Blount is mentioned:
"Capt: James Blount, although one of the Great Councill or Assistant to the Deputies is one of the chief persons amongst the Insurrectors, and although I wrote to him, the speaker and rest of the Burgesses of Chowan Precinct, yet when the Sheriffe of Chief Martiall came with my letter and endeavoured to raise Posse Comitatis for keeping the peace and securing of that your Lordships Country, he the said Blount with one Captain John Vernham took the Martiall and his men Prisoners and raised forces against the Government." See William L. Saunders, ed., The Colonial Records of North Carolina (Raleigh, NC, 1886), I, 259.
"During the height of Culpeper's Rebellion in December 1677, the most irregular judicial proceeding of the entire period occurred when the arrested acting governor Thomas Miller and other government officials were brought before a rebel assembly at George Durant's house. The assembly, led by speaker Thomas Cullen, who had formerly been outlawed for illegal Indian trade, selected 'ye supream Court' of chief justice Richard Foster and associates John Jenkins, William Crawford, James Blount, Patrick White, and Valentine Bird, all of whom where influential planters and merchants. Free-flowing rum contributed to the unraveling of the proceedings. Although George Durant, serving as attorney general, and John Culpeper were advising the grand jury, their indictment was returned endorsed as a 'Bill of Error' rather than Billa Vera (true bill). According to Miller, the 'stark drunk' sheriff was unable to impanel a petit jury to proceed against him, but he remained in fear for his life until a proclamation from Governor Eastchurch condemning the rebellion arrived from Virginia and broke up the proceeding." See North Carolina Genesis, 23.
"Culpeper's Rebellion, the most significant of the upheavals in Albemarle County, was certainly an outgrowth of the internal struggle for power triggered by the effect of the tobacco duty of 1673. Unrest festered in the isolated frontier colony, exacerbated by proprietary neglect, uncertain land policy, and the ambiguity of the proprietary relationship....The Carolina rebellion was not surprising, given the power struggle within the feeble proprietary government, for which the Lords Proprietors must bear full responsibility. The uprising had indeed tested the proprietors, who were found wanting. The Albemarle planters had learned from the outset to rely on their own resources, and after years of contention, the popular faction had earned the right to govern the colony. The success of the government established by this faction was best described by the proprietors themselves, when in 1680 they admitted that all was 'quyet,' with the customs fees being 'quyeyly paid by the People.' " See North Carolina Genesis, 15.
The original will of James Blount is in the Southern Historical Collection of the University of North Carolina. It is laminated and in very good condition. In May 1999, Kyle S. VanLandingham examined the will and made a photocopy. The following transcription is from the original:
"In the Name of God Amen I James Blount of Chowan Precinct In the County of Albemarle In the Province of Carolina Esq. & well knowing the uncertainty of this Life doe make Ordain & Appoint this to bee my Last will and Testament hereby Revoeking & adnulling all former Wills by me Made & this Only to be taken & reputed as my Last will.
"Imp. I Bequeath my Soule to God who gave it & my body to the Earth to be Decently Enterred & as for that Worldly Estate which it hath pleased God to bestow upon me in this life my Just debts funeral Expenses & Legatyes being first paid I give and bequeath as followeth---
"Item. I give unto my Sonn James Blount one Shilling in Country Comodities to be paid him by my Executrix hereafter named within one year after my Decease.
"Item. I give unto my Sonn Thomas Blount & to my two Daughters Ann Slocumb & Elizabeth Hawkins Each of them twelve pence apiece in Country Comodities to be paid them within one year after my Decease.
"Item. I give & bequeath unto my Grand Children James Sarah Blount the children of my Sonn Thomas Blount & to Ann Slocomb the child of my Daughter Ann Slocomb & to John Hawkins ye Son of my Daughter Elizabeth Hawkins Each of them a Cow & a Calfe to be paid to their severall parents within three years after my Decease in some sort of Stock to runn for ye use and behoofe of the Said children till they Severally Come of age, or Marriage Capacitated to receive the Same.
"Item. I give & bequeath all ye remainder part of my Estate Reall & personall whether it Consist in Lands, houses, Negroes, Servants, Stock, household goods, or any other kind of specie whatsoever, unto my Loving wife Ann Blount for her to have hold occupy & Enjoy During her naturall Liffe without Loss or Controule & at her death to dispose of the Same to ye Value of Sixty pounds in Country Comodities to Whoever she Shall think fitt, And after her my said Wifes Decease, I give ye whole remainder of my Estate to my Son John Blount & his heirs forever; & I do hereby appointe & ordaine yt my said Sonn John Shall be Decently maintained out of the Estate during his minority. and in Case my said Wife Ann should Live till after my Said Sonn John Should come of Age then if he should happen to marry or to goe to Live in some other place from said Wife; then She to pay him thirty or forty pounds (which She pleaseth) in Country Comoditites.
"Lastly I appoint my Loving Wife, Ann Blounte my whole & Sole Executrix of this my last will & testament desiring her to be careful in every article & Clause thereof & for Confirmation of ye Same I have hereunto set my hand & Seale this Ninth day of July in the year of our Lord God One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty and five. March ye 10th 1685[/6].
"Before signing sealing or Publication I doe hereby Appoint that in Case my Son John Shuld Dy without heirs male then I give & bequeath all my lands & houses to ye heirs Male of my sonn Thomas Blount & so successively doe Entaile the same on their heirs male of my said Thomas forEver: but in case the heirs male of my Said son John & Thomas should both faile then I Entaile the Same on the heirs Generall of my Sonn John first then of my Son Thomas. and if both should faile then of the heirs of my Daughter Ann Slocumb and Elizabeth Hawkins.
James Blount (Seal)
Signed, Sealed & Published
as his last will and testament
in presence of
her Jane X Miller
mark John Hall
This will proved by John Hall and Jane Miller on the seventh day of July 1686 and by William Dobson on the 11th day of July 1686 who uppon their oaths (before me) duely administered did attest that they see the testator above named James Blount signe & seale & heard him declare the above written to be his last will and testament.
Recorded J? N. Chevin, Clk --- Chow."
Grimes' NorthCarolina Wills, 54, states that the will was recorded in Will Book 1, p. 120, Office of Secretary of State.
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