Helping hands helping one another with our family history & genealogy research.
MAJ William Witcher, was one of my 5GGFs. He was prominent in community, judicial, church, and military affairs in Southside Virginia during the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Federal periods.
Thus far the earliest documentary record has William being appointed Constable of Halifax County in October 1757. The following July he seemed to receive something of a sweetheart deal when his neighbor William Adkins transfered 100 acres to the new constable for the consideration of a mere 5 shillings.
In this land patent he is referred to as "William Witcher of Halifax County, planter." The language seems to imply he was already a "planter" and known to be resident in the county. One may reasonably assume he was there for some period of time before his appointment, conceivably, as early as 1745, when Lunenburg County was formed.
While William remained in the same region, as new counties were created the county lines shifted. His primary lands were in what became, in 1767, the Northern District of Pittsylvania County.
In his will, drafted in 1806 he mentions eight children:
Daniel P. WITCHER 1746 – 1815
Ephraim WITCHER 1748 – 1816
John WITCHER, Jr. 1749 – 1834
James WITCHER 1750 – 1832
Caleb "Cabb" WITCHER 1756 – 1825
William WITCHER, Jr. 1758 – 1822
Rachel WITCHER 1764 – 1820
Elizabeth WITCHER 1765 – 1831
However, since William does not mention a wife in his will, I presume any wives he had predeceased the 1806 will.
This is an area where my brick walls seem to take form. In surveying the Internet I have counted at least seven candidates. Some of these were the result of sloppy work, i.e., attributing a daughter-in-law as his wife. Of this gaggle of wives I've narrowed it down to two strong possibilities — Anne MAJORS, and Lydia ADKINS.
The only documentation that I've been able to uncover to support any marriage is a land conveyance on 28 Apr 1774, in which William Witcher's wife Anne conveyed her dower rights. Thus far, this sole record is all that documents a wife, a wife named named Anne. The candidate most frequently mentioned as William's wife is an Anne Majors.
The second candidate is Lydia "Liddy" ADKINS. Liddy was the daughter of William ADKINS and Lydia OWENS, neighbors of the good major, and quite possibly business associates. In the canon of Witcher research, Lydia "Liddy" Adkins comes in second amongst the numerous candidates mentioned as a wife for William Witcher. Circumstantial evidence indicating a Witcher - Adkins union is credible because in the will of Liddy's father, drafted 22 Jan 1784, Adkins makes the following bequest: "I give and bequeth unto my daughter Lidey [sic] Witcher one shilling Sterling, which I give to her and her heirs forever."
I am looking for stronger proof of to whom he was married and when, so the mother of each of his children can be identified.
it's very likely he may have been married to both women, many of them died in childbirth, have you ever looked for marriage records on the children? they sometimes noted parents.
from Vital records site, from what I am seeing in cross referencing the 2 women, looks like he married both, Anna Rachel Majors 1725-1776
and Lydia Adkins 1742-1782, my guess would be that all the above children would be Rachels..
Marriages of Some Virginia Residents, 1607 - 1800, Volume 2
Majors-------m. Capt. William Witcher
Found at World Vital Records
"Captain William Witcher, was a Vestryman of Camden District parish, 1763. He raised a Company of Militia in 1775. He died in Pittsylvania Co. Va. 1820. His wife was Polly Dalton. See War (1777) Archives Dept. State
Library.' (apparently his son William
Results for William Witcher in Virginia - John Dalton Book of Genealogy
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 24
Vvilham Witcher (28) & negro Sawney 2 100
Page Content Hits More Details
727 Witcher took the oath of Vestryman 1768. Was mem(2S.) ber of County Comm
now this is interesting look at the dates:
Will of William Atkins D&W Bk. Vol. 11 p.136
Dated Jan 22, 1784 probated March 15, 1784
In the name of God amen this twenty second day of January in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seven hundred and eighty four I ----William Atkins of the County of Pittsylvania being week of body but of sound mind and memory, thanks be to God my maker for it do constitute and ordain this to be my last will and testament disannulling all other will or wills doconstitute and commit my body to the Earth from whence it was taken andmy soul to God who gave it in sure and certain hopes of the resurrection.
Item I give and bequeth unto my daughter Elisabeth Shockley one shilling Sterling which I give to her and her heirs forever.
Item I give and bequeth unto my daughter Bidey Witcher one shilling Sterling, which I give to her and her heirs forever.
Item I give and bequeth unto my daughter Agness Polley one Shilling Sterling which I give to her and her heirs forever.
Item I give and bequeth unto my daughter Nancy Witcher one Shilling Sterling which I give to her and her heirs forever
so is it possible that Biddy/Lydia was married to one of his sons?
as according to what I have been reading Lydia died in 1782 so why name her in the will in 1784