Sunday, May 4, 2008

Prince William County, VA Early Records



When Captain John Smith and other English explorers came to the upper Potomac beginning in 1608, they reported that the area within present Prince William County was occupied by the Doeg tribe. The Doeg Indians maintained several villages in this area into the 1650s, when colonists began to patent the land.
Prince William County was created by an act of the General Assembly of the colony of Virginia in 1731, largely from the western section of Stafford County as well as a section ofKing George County.[3] The area encompassed by the Act creating Prince William County originally included all of what later became Arlington County, the City of AlexandriaFairfax County, the City of Fairfax, the City of Falls ChurchFauquier CountyLoudoun County, the City of Manassas, and the City of Manassas Park (and the various incorporated towns therein). The County was named for Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, the third son of King George II.
The County was a rural community for years and the population was centered in two areas, one at Manassas (home to a major railroad junction), the other near Occoquan andWoodbridge along the Potomac River. Beginning in the late 1930s, a larger suburban population grew up near the existing population centers, particularly in Manassas. Beginning in the late 1960s, the County and its population expanded dramatically to the point where, by the end of the 20th century, it was the third most populous local jurisdiction in Virginia. Much of this growth has taken place in the last twenty years. Recently Prince William County has seen the opening of the Marine Corps Heritage Museum, the Hylton Performing Arts Center, the announcement of the coming American Wartime Museum and the 150th commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and the famous First and Second Battles of Manassas.


From: Minutes of the Vestry, Truro Parish Virginia, 1732-1785

This indenture made the twenty fifth day of August in the Eleventh year of the reigh of our Sovereign Lord George the second by the Grace of God of Great Brittain France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith etc. Annoque Domini MDCCXXXVii Between Jeremiah Bronaugh and Thomas Lewis Church Wardens of Truro Parish in the county of Prince William of the one part, and John Straughan of the same Parish and County of the other part Witnesseth That the said Jeremiah Bronaugh and Thomas Lewis in obedience to an order of the Court of the County of Prince William aforesd dated the twenty third day of Octobr. MDCCXXXVii do bind & put William Gowen an Orphan child aged ten years a Servant and Apprentice unto the said John Straughan, to serve him the said John Straughan his Heirs Exrs. Or Admrs. In all such Lawfull business as he or they shall have occasion to employ him about, from the day of the date of these presents until he shall arrive to the age of twenty one years. He the said John Straughan his Heirs etc. finding and providing for the said William Gowen during the term aforesaid such convenient Meat Drink Apparell Washing and Lodging as is Suitable and necessary for a person of his condition. And using his or their best endeavor to learn him the Art and Mistery of a Tanner, and also to read English, and to pay and allow him at the expiration of the said Term such freedom *Dues as by the Laws of this Colony is allowed to Servants imported here without wages. In Witness whereof the parties to these presents have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and Seales the day month and Year first above written.

John I (his mark) Straughan (Seal)

Signed Sealed & Delivered
In Presence of
Robt. Jones
Edwd. Barry
Recorded and Examined the 26th day of October 1737.
P. Edwd. Barry Clrk of the Vestry


From World Vital Records

Virginia Wills Before 1799
by William Montgomery Clemans

Page 72
Prince William County, Va. will files July 23, 1739
s. John Padderson
d. Susana Going
s. in l. Alex Going
Some Wills From The Burned Counties of Virginia and Other wills not listed in Virginia Wills and Administrations 1632-1800 by William Lindsay Hopkins.

Page 220
John Dawkins, Sr. P.Wm-Dettingen 16 Oct 1746/26 Jan 1746 Son Joseph Dawkins. Three sons William Dawkins, Thomas Dawkins and George Dawkins. Land bought of Alexander Edwards, Benjamin Brown, Charles Obriant and William Dodson. Son John Dawkins. Daughter Hannah Dawkins. Wife Francis Dawkins. Exors: Wife Francis Dawkins, Capt. Timothy Thornton and Anthony Seale. Wit: Anthony Seale, Thomas Stribling, John Guines. (Deed recorded 28 Oct 1769, William Dawkins, Thomas Dawkins, George Dawkins and John Dawkins sold 412 acres to Daniel French. Land originally granted Thomas, Lord Fairfax, on 10 Aug 1730 to John Savage who later sold it to John Dawkins, decd. William Dawkins is “of South Carolina” in this deed.)
Prince Wm Land Causes 1793-1811, pp. 357-366


  1. My ancestor Polly Johns and her family were listed here as mulatto. Later her grandchildren filed an application with the Guion Miller saying that she was NA

  2. Her grandchildren were Lizzie Valentine, Martha Payne, Mattie Strickland, Mary Kinzer,