Early Sheffield/Shuffields in Virginia
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Early Sheffield's
In Virginia

The early material on the Sheffield's was donated by Kathy The Early material on the SHEFFIELD/SHUFFIELD can be found in Virginia Colonial Records Project

The following are notes about Sheffield's that may or may not be kin of our present day lines. They are the Sheffield's that came to Virginia in the early days of the Colonies. There is no connection found at this time between these Sheffield's and the present Sheffield's. Many records have been lost and burned during these early days both in Virginia and North Carolina. It may be that the true picture of our ancestry with these persons is never known due to this loss of records. Some of the 1600 and early 1700 Sheffield's are recounted below.

There was an Edmond Sheffield in the Virginia Colony of Virginia in 1607. From ASIS Census LDS Library the second Sheffield on record of the family of American Sheffield's was William of England whose son Thomas settled in Virginia in 1619. Thomas and his wife Rachel received 150 acres Headrights grant for three people in 1619, located near Kingsland Creek three miles south of Falling Creek in Henrico Co. (presently Chesterfield Co.) VA. on Good Friday, 22 March, 1623. Thomas and Rachel were massacred along with 11 other people living on their plantation. William reported later to the Virginia Co. of London that "at least one of Thomas's children had survived, a boy of about two years of age".

No other Sheffield's were listed in 1623 among the census of the living and the dead. It is known now the child was named Samuel and while he was given to his mother's brother he may have returned to the family in England to be raised and educated. There may have been other older children left in England to be educated when Thomas and Rachel embarked in 1619. It was customary for settlers to return their children to England for education in those early days.

The Survey Reports below are made in 1639 well after the massacre. They became the basis for further research to find the child.

February 10 1639/40 Daniel Ingby of Accomacke Has no interest in the business of Captain Mathews nor is he his servant. Account of his experiences at the time of the massacre. Sent his servants to inform Lady Dale of the danger and tells of the death of the family of Thomas Sheffield. Does not know what happened to that part of Sheffield's estate which was not destroyed by the Indians but does not think it was seized by Mathewes.

March 10, 1639/40; John Layden of Nansemond, Describes how one child of Sheffield's was saved and how Mathewes is wrongfully accused. Does not know the extent of Sheffield's estate except that the Indians burnt some of his goods and carried away others.

In the next Survey Report made in 1622 we find the child Samuel born about 1620, named and mentioned to go to one Lawrence Rutt who is named the brother of Thomas Sheffield's wife in the Probate Registry. Lawrence Rutt could have been the husband of Rachel's sister as well as Rachel's brother. It is not known the exact relationship between Lawrence Rutt and Thomas Sheffield.

Survey Report No. 4328
Principal Probate Registry 1619-1622
Administration of Thomas Sheffield
16 August, 1622. Commission to Lawrence Rutt, sister's son of Thomas Sheffield, recently deceased in Virginia, during the minority of Samuel Sheffield, son of the deceased, with consent of William Sheffield, father of the deceased. A marginal note records sum of Pound-14.

Henrico County, Virginia: Beginnings of Its Families:

In 1611 also "Coxendale", just across the river from Henricus; appears on the map and in 1613 "Bermuda Hundreds" and "Rochdale Hundred". "Sheffield's Plantation" was settled in 1619, and in the same year a settlement was made at Falling Creek for the purpose of establishing the first iron works in America.

Records from the Library of Virginia, has shown records with numerous Sheffield's before John of Duplin County or John of Moore County were born that could be the ancestors of their line.

There is 1634 record of another Thomas Sheffield receiving a land patent in Henrico (now Chesterfield) Co.

In 1634 a John Sheffield was in possession of the plantation that had been Thomas and Rachel's. He may have been a brother of Thomas or an older son left in England for education in 1619. There are several mentions of Samuel Sheffield as headrights in 1671 and 1677.

In 1641 there was a Captain John Sheffield in Lower Norfolk Co. VA., and an immigration record in 1653 of a John to Carolina, and again in 1658 a John to Charles City Co. VA. These may all have been the same John.

Sea Captains left repeated records of arrivals into the Colony. Also in 1658 there arrived in Charles City Co. VA., a Robert Sheffield. He settled in Merchant's Hope, a section of Westover Parish, (presently Prince George Co.) where all of the early Sheffields settled, and only a few miles from where the plantation had been across the line in Henrico (now Chesterfield) Co.)

In 1654 a William arrived in Westover Parish in Charles City Co. One of these early Charles City County arrivals may have been one of the sons of the John who was on the plantation in 1634. The Headrights system was used and abused in early VA. Children sent to England for schooling became headrights for someone on their return to the Colony. Settlers frequently returned to England for family, and all became headrights on the return to the Colony. Headrights were frequently not claimed until some time much later than the actual arrival of the transported settlers.

In 1678 in Charles City Co., a William Sheffield received a tax exemption because he was "very ancient and poor and had a son William who was lame". These Sheffields obviously were all closely related as they all settled in the same little area, very near to where the plantation had been, and possibly some of them were sons of the John Sheffield who was in posession of the plantation that had been Thomas and Rachel's.

A William died in Middlesex Co. in 1682. He had left records there about three years. He may be the William in the previous paragraph. Another William's arrival in 1683 into Westover Parish of Charles City County, is recorded, being in Prince George Co. as this was the area that in 1703 became Prince George Co. VA., a county whose records were totally destroyed by fire in 1865.

In 1694 in Charles City Co. a William died intestate. Possibly he is the same William in the previous paragraph.

The next Survey's we see a John Sheffield and his bonds and his Estate in 1735. There is also a mention of a John Sheffield Junior that possibly shows at some point another John Sheffield comes on the scene, with this John showing up later as an agent in the sale of commodities.

Title: Chancery Records. Town Depositions
Dates: 1695-1696
References: Court of Chancery Records C24-C243 p.8
William Seagoe c. Thomas Starke
Survey Report No. 10094 page 2.
Witness for William Seagoe:
page 2 John Sheffield, November 20, 1695 identifies handwriting. These next Survey Reports are showing a John Sheffield as being an agent for a man named Starke. He comes into Virginia from Maryland to load tobacco and other commodities.

Survey Report no. 11541 page 3 - 1700 The ship went to Guinea and took on negroes, grain, gold dust and elephant's teeth and carried them to Virginia where they were delivered to John Sheffield, Starke's agent. Starke now refuses to come to an account with him. Starke notes that Pickering was also responsible for a 1/8th share in fitting out the ship and hopes that he will pay this.

Survey Report No. 12860
Depository Public Record Office Class E 133/111
Title: Court of Exchequer. Baron's Depositions
Date: 1708/09
References: Baron's Depositions. Index N-Z P. 233
No. 17.

John Sheffield c. Sarah and John Starke
Concerns settlement of accounts between Sheffield and Thomas Starke Deceased Interrogatories Depositions:
June 2, 1708 Henry Erthman Bond entered into by Sheffield to Starke for the balance of his account.
Thomas Harrison June 2, 1708 identifies the account of Starke and Sheffield to testify to its correctness.
page 3 William Downer June 2, 1708 Thomas Starke, Sheffield and this deponent had entered into several bonds for the payment of duties on tobacco. Sheffield promised to pay Starke what he owed. Page 5 of the Survey Report no. 12860 identifies the hand of Sheffield and a copy of the accounts of Starke. On page 6 in 1700 Sarah Starke states that Sheffield lodged with the Starkes in between voyages to Maryland. Had heard her father say that Sheffield owed him money.

Another daughter Mary Sherman says Sheffield lived at their house and examined her fathers's accounts.

Depositions of William Deane January 1708 states he believes he would have noted the fact if great alterations had been made at the time he drew up a document between Sheffield and Starke.

January 1708 Thomas Smyth, thinks the alterations were made at the time the document was drawn up. Survey Report No. 13010 Depository Public Record Office Court of Chancery. Bills and Answers. Sewell's Division 1713 - 1716/17 Charles Carroll and John Sheffield c. John Boyce and Thomas Williford

page 4 Bill of Complaint of Charles Carroll and John Sheffield June 23, 1713. Details of the Charter Party concluded between Boyce, as master of the Vine, and Sheffield for a voyage to the Patuxent River. Allegations that Boyce did not carry out his part of the agreement, that the shop was not well caulked, was badly fitted out, and ill provisioned. Hence the men were not capable of loading tobacco when they arrived in Maryland. All the tobacco went onto other vessels. He was forced to stay in the colony for the next harvest and to borrow money off Sheffield's correspondents who included Charles Carroll and Thomas Tanye. He has paid off some of these bills but others from his correspondents both in Virginia and Maryland have not yet come into his hands. Later, the ship sank in the river but was rescued with the help of money lent by Tanya. Both the poor condition of the shop and the "drunken and disorderly" manner of Boyce again deterred people from putting tobacco on board the next season. The ship sank on the homeward voyage but the crew were rescued. Sheffield is now suing Boyce for damages amounting to L1000 but Boyce has disappeared.

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