The Seagraves Family

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The North Carolina Settlement

Francis Segraves appears in the records from the late 1690's into the early 1700's in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.

Francis is presumed to be the common patrimonial ancestor of all Seagraves throughout the early years in North Carolina and Virginia [the NORTH CAROLINA SETTLEMENT].  Francis’ descendants, primarily through his son William, are believed to have settled around Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina and then migrated across North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee and on into Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and other states throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

It is probable that Francis was born between 1650 and 1670, possibly in England or Ireland but also possibly in Virginia.  His possible date of birth is estimated based on two references:

1)  In January 1696 he proved rights for five persons "transported into Perquimans Precinct, North Carolina....viz: himself, Lucretia his wife, Thomas, his son, Francis, his son, and William Powel".  This event suggests that Francis was an adult with a family by 1696, possibly in his 20s or early 30s.

2)   His will was proved (approved by a court) 22 Jan 1727.

If, as was common, he had married Lucretia at about the age of 20 in 1690 or 1691, they could easily have had the two sons noted above by 1696.  Using an estimated age range of 18 to 25 for a marriage in 1690/91 results in a birth year from 1665 to 1673.  From the date his will was proved, he probably died in late 1726. If he died at an age reasonable for those times: from 50 to 60 years of age; that results in a birth year range from 1666 to 1676.  His birth date based on those assumptions seems more likely to fall into the late 1660s; probably 1667 to 1670.  We have selected 1668 as a useful date for discussion purposes with no other basis and as a good choice at this point until better information comes along.

As to his place of birth, only the DAR Patriot Index listing for Revolutionary War veteran John Seagraves identifies Francis as his ancestor "who came from England".  It is not clear how accurate that information might be.  If it was based on information directly from the named John Seagraves, it might be based on actual family knowledge.  If not, it could be distorted in some way.  Given Francis’ possible date of birth, he could easily have been born in America since there were thousands of colonists in southern Virginia by the mid-1600s.  Therefore, no specific place of birth can be determined.

Francis was in Isle of Wight County, Virginia in 1694 since he was listed as a witness to a sale of property there on 24 October 1694.  He must have been an adult (over 16) with property in the community to act as a witness.  If we use his assumed birth date of 1668, he would then have been 25 years old.

The transportation to Perquimans Precinct, North Carolina in January 1696, noted above, does not refer to transportation from Europe, but from Virginia, since Virginia and North Carolina were separately administered, independent colonies at that time and movement of people between them was restricted and controlled. We believe that Francis and his family were in the Colony of Virginia in October 1694 and then moved to the Colony of North Carolina where the following three events occurred as recorded in "North Carolina Wills of 1677-1701" and "Abstract of Record of Wills, Inventories, Settlement of Estates, 1771-1802, Wake County, North Carolina":

1)    On 19 Apr 1697, Francis and Lucretia Segraves of Chowan Precinct, North Carolina are listed as witnesses to the will of Thomas Stasi.

2)    On 20 Sep 1708, Francis Segraves is listed as witness to the will of Nicholas Tyne in Chowan Precinct, North Carolina.

       3)    On 9 Apr 1709, Francis Segraves listed as witness to the will of Samuel Eldridge in Chowan Precinct, North Carolina.

These next two records indicate that Francis may have returned to Isle of Wight County in early 1710.  The second one also strongly hints that Francis pursued the profession of a Tailor along with being a farmer.

On 9 June 1710, John UNDERWOOD of Newport Parish sold 187 acres of land in Isle of Wight County, Virginia to Francis Seagraves according to the Isle of Wight Co. Deed Book 2, page154(9).

On 27 Jan 1717, “Francis Seagrave, Merchant Tayler, appoints Jonathan SANDERSON, Cordwinder, as his attorney (10).

Later in life, Francis returned to Isle of Wight County permanently, possibly for the marriages of his two daughters (Lucretia and Frances) who were married there in 1725.  He passed away shortly thereafter with some of his children remaining in or returning to North Carolina to carry on the family name there.

From: Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Will Book 3 (1726-1733) Page 56:

[No corrections for spelling or grammar have been made]
”I Francis Segrave of Isle of Wight Co. being in good health & perfect in sence and memory and Calling to mind the uncertainty of this Life think fit to make this my last will and Testament Comitting my Soul to God my Creator and my Body to the Earth to be buried by my Executrix and Executor hereafter named and for what Goods & Estate it has pleased God to bestow on me I give & bequeath in maner & form as follows belo |Viz.|
Item. I give unto my Daughter Frances Saunderson wife of Jonathan Saunderson one shilling to be paid her by my Executor & Executrix hereafter named.
Item. I give unto my Daughter Lucretia Turner wife of Tho. Turner one shilling to be paid her by my Extrx & Extr hereafter named.
Item. I leave unto my Dear & Loving wife Lucretia Segrave all my Estate indoored and outdoored during her widowhood but if she marry it is my desire that she shall only have an equal sheare with my six children namely William Segrave, & Elizabeth Segrave Frances and Ann & Susanah & Sarah shall have all my hole Estate divided among them.
Item. I also constitute and appoint my dear & welbeloved wife Lucretia and my son William Segrave to be my whole and sole Extrix & Extor to this my last will & Testamt which I ratefy & confirm renouncing all other wills & Testamts formerly made by me given under my hand & seal this 9th day of Oct’r In the year of our Lord 1725.
                     Francis FS (his mark) Segrave
Signed, sealed & acknowledged to be his
last will & Testam’t in the presence of Richard RH (his mark) Hutchins, Abraham Ricks
              At a court held for Isle of Wight Co.
              the 22d day of January 1727”

As noted previously, Francis had sons Thomas and Francis, with him in 1696 in Perquimans Precinct, North Carolina.  However, since there is no record of them beyond this one, and Francis excluded their names from his will, it is fair to assume that they either died before maturity, or, at least, left the family in some definitive way.  He lists his married daughters, Frances and Lucretia, for one shilling bequests, but then he divides his estate among his “six children”.

Francis’ will plus the other references lead to the following presumed list of his known children  (the dates of birth are complete estimates with no actual sources):

Thomas, b. early 1690s, died young or moved away
Francis, b. early 1690s, died young or moved away
Frances, b. late 1690s, m. Jonathan SAUNDERSON in 1725(6)
Lucretia, b. late 1690s, m. Thomas TURNER in 1725(6)
William, b. about 1702, m. Sarah ______ about 1727
Elizabeth, b. about 1705
Ann, b. about 1707

Susannah, b. about 1708

Sarah, b. about 1710


Since there is no known record of anyone who may have been his father in colonial Virginia, it would be more likely that if he arrived alone in his late teens or early 20s.  That time period, if he was born 1665-1670, would be between 1682 and 1692.  If it was close to the later date, he could have already been married to Lucretia when he arrived.

There are several other entries in the early Virginia records that may relate to Francis:

According to “Virginia Wills and Administrations 1632-1800” (3) a Robert Sedgrave (possibly a misspelling or misreading of Seagrave?) recorded an Inventory of Property in 1652 in Northumberland County, Virginia.  Northumberland is on the Chesapeake Bay about 100 miles north of Isle of Wight County where Francis settled.

According to “Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents & Grants 1623-1800” (9) Amey Seagrasse (spelling?) is listed as transported on 26 Jul 1652 with others to Isle of Wight County, Virginia by Christopher Lewis who received 750 acres for the transportations.

According to the same source, Joane Segrave is listed as one of 80 transported to Virginia prior to 7 Sept. 1654.

These people do not seem to recur in the records, so are difficult to place.  Where did they go and were any of them related to Francis?

In Savannah’s Segraves Day’s book (8), an excellent piece of family research, she “conjectures” (her word) that Francis was from Ireland with some references to a Captain Francis Segrave who was in the Irish Army of King James in 1689.  Her speculations are reasonable, but as she says, “The connecting link between the first Segraves emigrants to America and the Irish and English Segraves has not been ascertained definitively because of the paucity of early Colonial records.”

A daughter of Francis and Lucretia, Susannah, is supposed to have had an illegitimate son, John Segraves.  Both of them are listed in the will of John Pearce (the presumed father), who died 19 December 1751, of Isle of Wight County.

There is a speculated connection between a John and a Daniel Segraves in North Carolina during that time.  I do not have any information showing the presumed connection between Daniel and Melinda, the mother of Rev. William Segraves, who is the primary ancestor in Savannah Day’s book.  Melinda is possibly a sister of Gilbert, the subject of this study, but, again, no proof has been found to support that conclusion.

Savannah’s book describes Francis and his family in the early records and goes from there to the early Segraves in Surry County, North Carolina in the early 1800s.  She “believes” that these people (John Segrove and William Segraves) in Surry County were “descendants of Francis and Lucretia”.  We agree that this is very likely, but she offers no proof or source material, nor have we been able to find any specific record that positively connects Francis directly with the later North Carolina Segraves.

According to the records discussed above, Francis had three sons: Thomas, Francis and William.  Thomas and Francis were mentioned in his 1696 transportation to Perquimans County, North Carolina, but not in his will written in 1725 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia.  William was an Executor of Francis’ will, so was likely living in Isle of Wight in 1725.  Savannah believes that William moved to Northampton County, North Carolina in the middle 1700s.  That conclusion is supported by land records of Northampton County. This William and his wife, Sarah, may possibly have been the parents of Jacob and William, Jr., That family moved on to Wake County, North Carolina and seems to have led to almost all subsequent North Carolina Seagraves.


A Review of the Seagraves known to have been born in North Carolina or Virginia prior to 1800

From my General Index of persons born with the family surname I have created a list of the men identified as born in North Carolina or Virginia prior to 1800.  Surprisingly, since the records are scarce, I found some 29 individuals to include.  That list with the name, year of birth, place of birth, father’s name as known, and source clarifying comments follows:

NAME                  DOB             POB            FATHER                                COMMENTS

Francis                 1685             VA               Francis                   Based on travel writ in “NC Colonial Records” Vol I

William                1698             VA               Francis                   Based on will of Francis Segrave, eldest son

John, Sr.              1738             NC                                              From “DAR Patriot Index” Possibly son of Francis' daughter, Susannah.

Samuel                1745             VA               William                  From “Botetourt Co., VA Early Settlers to 1795”

William                1740             VA               William                  Lived in Botetourt Co., VA

Jacob                   1753             NC                                              “DAR Patriot Index” & “Rev War Soldiers Buried in Clinton Co., IL”

John                     1761             NC                                              Based on pension application

John, Jr.               1765             NC              John, Sr.                On 1850 census in Wake Co., NC as 85, born in NC

Stephen               1765             NC                                              Based on average age on 1800 census for Wake Co., NC

Randolph             1770             NC                                              Based on “Abstracts of Vital Records from Raleigh  Newspapers 1799-1819”

Joseph                 1774             VA                                               Based on letter from Mary Ann Seagraves, 8 Aug 1997

William                1776             NC              John, Sr.                On 1850 census in Montgomery Co., NC as 74, born in NC

Kinchen               1776             NC                                              On 1850 census in Lawrence Co., TN as 74, born in NC

Solomon             1776             NC                                              From tombstone in Chambers Co., AL

William                1780             NC                                              On 1850 census in Madison Co., GA as 70, born in NC

Thomas               1782             VA                                               Register of Enlistments in the US Army, 1798-1914

Britain                  1783             NC                                              On 1850 census in Bledsoe Co., TN as 67, born in NC

Isaac                    1785             NC              Jacob                     On 1850 census in Lincoln Co., TN as 65, born in NC

John                     1785             NC                                              Estimated based on marriage to Polly Barker in 1810

Wilbur                  1787             NC                                              On 1850 census in Weakly Co., TN as 63, born in NC

William                1787             NC                                              Based on Forum posting by Eugenie Balentine in 1999

Vincent                1788             NC              Jacob                     “Maury Co, TN Wills & Settlements 1807-1824”

Jonathan             1790             VA                                               On 1850 census in Allen Co., KY as 60, born in VA

Isaac                    1793             NC                                              On 1850 census in Greene Co., AR as 57, born in NC

Charles                1794             NC                                              On 1850 census in Chatham Co., NC as 56, born in NC

Stephen               1794             NC              William                  1999 Seagraves Forum posting by Eugenie Balentine

Isham                   1795             NC              William                  1999 Seagraves Forum posting by Eugenie Balentine

Gilbert                  1797             NC                                              On 1850 census in Macon Co, TN as 53, born in NC

John                     1798             NC              William                  1999 Seagraves Forum posting by Eugenie Balentine

File nameFrancis Segraves
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