* Freeman Ancestry Note *
The ancestry of John FREEMAN of Surry Co., VA is unknown. One suggestion is that John FREEMAN was the son of James and Mary FREEMAN of St. Peter's Parish, New Kent Co., VA, and grandson of Lt. Col. Bridges and Bridget FREEMAN of Oxfordshire, England and James City Co., VA, as found in Freeman Forebears, by Garland Evans Hopkins (monograph about 1942/3), edited by Virginia Lee Freeman Taylor & Robert Brant Taylor (Arlington, TX: August 12, 1995). Another suggestion is that John FREEMAN was the son of William FREEMAN (b. 1645, England), who arrived in America at age 11 from Bristol, England, indentured to John BARNES until Feb. 10, 1664, as researched by Marianne Freeman Miller. However, Mrs. Blankenship points out that the 1701 land patent of 300 acres by John FREEMAN was "for the trans. of John Freeman & Mary his wife & 4 rights paid for" (see publications list below).
Currently, the earliest documented ancestors are John FREEMAN, Sr. and his wife Mary. Some uncertainties remain concerning the families of John and Mary FREEMAN and of their children. Y-DNA analysis has confirmed the common ancestry of descendants of first cousins Bridges FREEMAN and Thomas FREEMAN, grandsons of John and Mary. In August 2006, Miles Philbeck published his article on the "Background of a Freeman Family," providing an analysis of the known documents concerning the Freeman family in Virginia, and continuation of the line into Rutherford County, NC through Peter Freeman, son of Thomas Freeman. Mr. Philbeck, long time editior of the Bulletin of the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County, has conducted extensive research on the Freeman and related families of Rutherford County. The Freeman families of John Sr., John Jr., Thomas, and Peter as presented here are essentially constistent with Mr. Philbeck's research.
This compilation is an amalgamation of information from a number of publications and other sources, and, as usual, the compiler is fully responsible for any errors in the interpretation and blending of data from the various sources, including the following.
- "Background of a Freeman Family," by Miles Philbeck, Bulletin of the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County, Volume 34, Number 3 (August 2006), pp. 105-13.
- John Freeman of Norfolk County, Virginia - His Descendants in North Carolina and Virginia - And Other Colonial North Carolina Freeman Families, by Merrill Hiss Mosher (Heritage Books, Bowie, MD: 1994), pp. 145-51.
- Families of Warren, Franklin, & Granville Counties, North Carolina & Virginia Ancestry, by Gayle King Blankenship (Poquoson, VA 1989/1995), pp. 164-69.
- The Freemans of Surry County, Virginia & Franklin County, NC & Their Alabama Descendants, by Marianne Freeman Miller (Talladega, AL 1988)
- Research and correspondence of Wanda Freeman Ridge (Helena, AR).
- Research of and email exchange with Wilma Kirkland in 2006.
John FREEMAN, Sr. - b. about 1665; d. Feb. 1725, Surry Co., VA. Parents unknown. John resided in Surry Co., VA in 1701 when he and wife Mary patented 300 acres on the south side of the Nottoway River "for the trans. of John Freeman & Mary his wife & 4 rights paid for." This land was sold to Nathaniel HARRISON in 1724. John patented an additional 300 acres on the south side of the Nottoway River on Dec. 16, 1714, which was deeded to his son William. John patented 431 acres on the north side of the Nottoway River on Apr. 1, 1717, selling 150 acres of the patent to his son Henry. Will dated Oct. 17, 1724, and proved Feb. 16, 1725. Married about 1685 in England. In addition to those listed, John and Mary likely had other children.
Mary - b. England; d. before Oct. 17, 1724, Surry Co., VA. Mary is not mentioned in her husband's will.
Due to the scarcity of records thus far located and an age difference of about 20 years between William and his wife, it is possible that there is an additional generation between John FREEMAN, Sr. and the William FREEMAN who married Elizabeth BRIDGES.
William FREEMAN - b. about 1694, England; d. 1761/2, Granville Co., NC. Son of John FREEMAN and Mary. William FREEMAN witnessed a deed in 1719 by mark between John and Mary FREEMAN and George CANE. He received 300 acres on the south side of the Nottoway River, Surry Co., VA from his father in May 1725 for 'love and affection.' A resident of Granville Co., NC from about 1757. A deed from William and Elizabeth to "Henry Freeman his brother" indicates William was living in Feb. 1761, while a 1762 tax list indicates he was then deceased. Based on the estimated date of his marriage to Elizabeth, William may have had an earlier marriage. William married about 1732.
Elizabeth BRIDGES - b. about 1715, Surry Co., VA; d. after 1771, Bute (now Franklin) Co., NC. Daughter of William BRIDGES and Susannah. Elizabeth appears on a tax list in 1762 as head of the household, with Henry FREEMAN residing with her. The Bute Co., NC tax list of 1771 lists Elizabeth FREEMAN with sons Henry, John and Joseph, William FREEMAN with sons Robert and William, Edward FREEMAN and Bridges FREEMAN.
Note: Mrs. Mosher, in the reference cited above, also includes Joseph
FREEMAN (b. about 1755; d. 1828, Wake Co., NC) as a son of William and
Elizabeth. However, evidence
presented by Wanda Freeman Ridge
convincingly shows that this Joseph was the son of Edward FREEMAN (b.
about 1730, Surry Co., VA; d. 1811, Franklin Co., NC), will dated Oct.
7, 1811, with estate sale on Dec. 19, 1811. Possibly married Elizabeth
ROWLAND. Children of Edward FREEMAN: Joseph married Aggy FREEMAN;
William; Sarah married William MASSEY; Henry married Mary; Daniel;
Roland married Sealey TRUELOVE; Rebeckah married William REAVES; and
Patience married David JONES.
Y-DNA analysis has shown that Edward FREEMAN was not a descendant of the same FREEMAN ancestors as other descendants of William FREEMAN (abt 1694-1761/2) and his father John FREEMAN (abt 1665-1725). William FREEMAN, son of Capt. William FREEMAN and Lucretia EZELL, named "cousin Sealey FREEMAN" in his will. Therefore, Capt. William FREEMAN (abt 1730-abt 1800) is likely not a son of William FREEMAN (abt 1694-1761/2), although the "cousin" relationship between his son William and Sealy (TRUELOVE) FREEMAN may be through either the EZELL or TRULOVE family. Further Y-DNA analysis and research is needed concerning this family.
While unproved, it is probable that Bridges FREEMAN was the son of William FREEMAN and father of Howell FREEMAN. Much of the material used to construct the family of Bridges FREEMAN is based on four decades of research by Bobbie Jo FREEMAN LANE PINSON and generously shared in Freeman Chronicles, Issue 1 (Garland, TX 1996).
Bridges FREEMAN - b. before 1734, probably in Surry Co., VA; d. after 1820, Limestone Co., AL. Probable son of William FREEMAN and Elizabeth BRIDGES. On Nov. 4th and 11th, 1749, Bridges FREEMAN was a witness to deeds for the sale of land by William BRIDGES in Surry Co., VA. Since law required that witnesses be 16 years of age, Bridges was born in or before 1733. On Dec. 18, 1751, Bridges purchased goods on account in Surry Co., VA. He was apparently unable to repay the account and other debts, resulting in several Sussex Co. (formed from Surry Co.) court orders in 1755 and 1756 in favor of his creditors. Bridges FREEMAN appears on the Insolvent List of those owing taxes to Sussex Co., VA in 1756. Bridges may have lived in Brunswick Co., VA for several years prior to recording a Patent for a land grant of 350 acres in that county on Mar. 25, 1762 in consideration of 35 shillings. He then coveryed the land to John PHILIPS for 30 pounds, and purchased 200 acres in Granville Co., NC on Apr. 3, 1762 from John MOONEY for 30 pounds. In addition to the name of Bridges FREEMAN, the names of his probable mother and brothers, Elizabeth, William, Henry and Joseph, appear on the 1762 tax list of Granville, Co., NC. In Feb. 1764, and deed was recorded in Brunswick Co., VA for the sale of 350 acres by Bridges FREEMAN and his wife, Elizabeth, of NC to John PHILIPS of VA, the actual sale of which appears to have occurred in Mar. 1762. Bridges witnessed deeds in Bute Co. (formed from Granville Co.) in 1764 and 1765, and appears on the Bute Co., NC tax lists of 1766, 1771, 1777, and 1778. On Nov. 13, 1770, "in the room & precinct of Bridges FREEMAN," he relinquished his office as Constable to the new Constable, John WILLIAMS. On Feb. 17, 1777, the 200 acres he had purchased from John MOONEY in 1762, now in Bute Co., was sold be Bridges to Jn. COOLEY, both being residents of Bute Co., NC. Bridges FREEMAN took the oath of allegiance of the Bute County Committee of Safety in 1778. On Sep. 20, 1779, a land grant deed of 620 acres to Bridges FREEMAN in Franklin Co. (formed from Bute Co.) was recorded. By Feb. 20, 1784, Bridges was a resident of Johnston Co., NC when he sold 125 acres of his 1779 Franklin Co. land grant to Howell FREEMAN, with witnesses Henry FREEMAN and Chuby FREEMAN (female). This deed, proved by Henry FREEMAN at the September Court 1784, reads as follows:
This indenture made this 20th day of February in the year of our Lord 1784 between Bridges Freeman of Johnston County and the State of North Carolina of the one part and Howell Freeman of the County and State aforesaid on the other part Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of fifty pounds apiece[?] to him in hand paid by the sd. Howell Freeman the Receipt whereof the said Bridges Freeman doth hereby acknowledge he hath given granted bargained & sold & by these presents doth give grant bargain sell deliver and Confirm to him the said Howell Freeman his heirs and assigns for ever, one certain Tract or parcel of Land Situate lying and being in the County of Franklin on the waters of Andrews Creek Containing a hundred and twenty five acres be the same more or less bounded as follows, beginning at a pine - Hartsfields corner thence East unto pine Mullinses line thence West to a post Oak near Cody path thence along the said path to post oak thence along a line of marked trees to Jakes path thence Jakes path to red oak thence North to Henry Freemans Corner thence west to a Spanish Oak thence South to a pine thence East to the first Station The priviledges & appurtenances To have hold use Occupy possess & enjoy all the above sold land with all the appurtencances thereunto belonging unto the said Howell Freeman his heirs & assigns ofr ever, against to the only proper use and behoof of him the said Howell Freeman his heirs and assigns for ever against the said Bridges Freeman his heirs or assigns and against the Claim of all other persons whatsoever shall & by these presents warrant and for ever defend In Witness whereof I have herunto set my hand and seal this day and year first above Written /s/ Bridges Freeman
Additional parcels of the Franklin Co., land grant were sold at various times between 1780 and 1788. For the year 1790, Bridges FREEMAN was listed as an insolvent on the tax list for Johnston Co., NC, with 200 acres of land. In Aug. 1806 in Wake Co. (formed from Johnston Co. in 1771), NC, Bridges FREEMAN was named a keeper of the old road. Bridges FREEMAN appears in the 1820 census of Limestone Co., AL (1 male over 21 and 1 female over 21). This is the latest record found for Bridges FREEMAN, born by 1734 and over age 86 in 1820. No direct evidence has been located proving that Bridges was the father of Howell. It appears that Bridges married twice, with both wives named Elizabeth. Bridges FREEMAN and Elizabeth LOVE married on Jan. 21, 1803 in Wake Co., NC (this marriage may be for Bridges FREEMAN, Jr.). Married first before 1760, probably in Surry Co., VA.
Elizabeth - d. about 1802, NC. Perhaps surnamed HOWELL. It is possible that Bridges FREEMAN, given his mother's maiden name, did the same for his firstborn son. The children of Bridges and Elizabeth listed here are all unproved, but based on various evidence suggesting a close relationship. Several others of the FREEMAN name in Bute Co., NC are more likely the widowed mother and brothers of Bridges, namely Elizabeth, William, Henry, and Joseph, and possibly Edward FREEMAN who witnessed a 1764 deed.
Other children - Though undocumented, it is possible that Bridges and Elizabeth had other children.