(c1675? – by1751)
We have good circumstantial evidence that he was a son of John Witt the immigrant and firm proof that he was the brother of William Witt. Record of his early years is lost among the destroyed records of Charles City County. But on 14 September 1715, John and William Witt, both of Charles City County, jointly purchased 300 acres in Henrico County from Charles and Mary Hudson. The land was just north of the James River about 25 miles upriver from where the immigrant John Witt had lived and was described as “lying and being in the county of Honaricho at a place called Tuckahoe”. In 1728 Tuckahoe Creek became the border between Henrico and Goochland counties, and the Witt parcel was a few miles west of the county line in Goochland County. More than thirty-five years later, when William Witt and his nephew John Witt III sold this land, it was then in Goochland County, and that same deed identified the original purchasers, John and William Witt, as brothers.
The land John and William Witt purchased in 1715 was part of
a patent issued just a year earlier by Charles Hudson and John Bradley, who
called it “Young Mens Adventure” and described it as being on the north side of
the James River on a southern branch of Tuckahoe Creek “known by the name of
Bever Pond Branch”. This branch was later called the western branch of the
Tuckahoe, and was located just north of the “three notched road” and just south
of the Hanover County line. Hudson and Bradley split the land between them
(see ) and
Hudson sold the eastern half of his parcel to the Witt brothers.
The Tuckahoe area was still frontier at the time. A law at that time required that there be for every 500 acres "one Christian man, perfect of limb, provided with a well-fixed musquett or fuzee, a good pistoll, sharp simeter and tomahawk”.
John Witt II seems to have married Ann Rogers, but perhaps as a second wife. The will of John Rogers of Westover Parish, Charles City County, recorded on 5 August 1730, left livestock and other items to his daughter Ann Whitt, wife of John Whitt. Whether she was the mother of his children is in some doubt. Of the four daughters named in Rogers’ will, two were unmarried. While they could have been aged spinsters, it’s more likely they were still teenagers or younger – the severe shortage of women at the time guaranteed that few would remain unmarried much past the age of 25 and most would be married before reaching 18. That suggests that Anne Rogers was a relatively young woman, thus probably a second wife. It also suggests that John Witt II, probably born around 1675, could have still been fathering children by a young wife as late as 1725-30, and could perhaps the be father of our Charles Witt. [See endnote.]
Unfortunately, Henrico County records are only partially preserved in this period and there are no records of Witts that help us. Both John and William Witt are mentioned in court records in 1720 but we know of no citations thereafter.  In 1728 Goochland County was created from western Henrico, and part of Tuckahoe Creek became a portion of the border between the two.
While Goochland’s records are reasonably well preserved, by the time it was formed there were three John Witts living in the county. Both of the brothers John and William Witt had sons named John who were adults by Goochland’s formation in 1728. That presents us with some difficulty telling them apart. It helps that William Witt and his sons moved about 40 miles west, purchasing land in St. Ann’s Parish on the Rivanna River and Ballenger’s Creek in 1738, in what became Albemarle County in 1738 and Fluvanna County in 1777. William Witt described it as the land on which he lived in 1741 when he deeded this land to his son John Witt. John kept it until 1772, in addition to acquiring other land nearby. It appears from these and other records that both William Witt and his son John remained in that area, being mentioned in several records that place them on the Rivanna River at Ballenger’s Creek. That means that after 1738, we can probably isolate William’s son in the records.
Meanwhile, a John Witt “Jr.”, undoubtedly the son of John Witt II, patented 400 acres in 1731 on the south side of the James a few miles south of the Tuckahoe Creek land, in the part of Goochland County that became Powhatan County in 1777. Although he and his wife Elizabeth sold this land in two parts on 28 April 1734, it continued to be referred to as his land in several patents of 1738 and in a will of 1740 and subsequent estate records. (This is likely due to the use of surveys that significantly predated the deeds and patents, not unusual at a time when a lag of a few years between survey and patent was more or less routine.)
Still, it is not clear whether some of the citations for John Witt refer to the father (II) or to the son (III). Both of them apparently appear together in the King William tithables for 1732-4, living on the land of John Witt III south of the James.  A 1741 road order appointed a John Witt surveyor of a road from Jones Bridge to Fine Creek, which probably refers to John Witt III given the road’s location south of the James. In 1742, a John Witt (probably the father) was “levy free” perhaps exempted, as was the custom, for age or infirmity.
The last record of John Witt II is his sale of land on 25 July 1747. He sold 150 acres to Henry Whitlow which, from its description, seems to be adjacent to the land purchased in 1715. I presume the seller is John Witt II mainly from the location of this land.
There are no records of John Witt’s death in Goochland County, but he was deceased by 1751. In 1751 William Witt and John Witt III sold half of the land purchased in 1715. The deed described this John Witt as the son of John Witt deceased, and nephew of William Witt. John Witt’s wife Elizabeth also signed the deed. An unusually large number of persons witnessed the deed: John Witt and Jesse Witt (sons of John Witt III), Sylvanus Witt (son of John Witt II), and two men who may have been sons-in-law: John Farrar and David Barnett. William Witt sold the remaining half of the land the following year.
John Witt’s children are uncertain, though it is clear that he had sons named John and Sylvanus.
Witt III (c1700? – aft1778) He was apparently the eldest
son, and is treated in a separate paper.
Witt (by1718 – aft1774) He can be proven to be a son. He
first appears on 26 March 1739/40 recording a grant of 400 acres in the part of
Goochland County that became Cumberland County in 1749, located about 10 miles
south of William Witt’s residence at the time. He had actually relocated
there by 1745 when he became “reader” at Worley’s Church and later clerk of South
Chappel in Southam Parish.
He apparently lived there in 1751, yet traveled many miles to witness the 1751
deed selling John Witt’s land. Within a few months, on 5 September 1754, as a
resident of Cumberland County, he bought land in Chesterfield County on the
border of Powhatan. He evidently moved into Chesterfield County by
22 December 1764 when the vestry of Southam Parish appointed his replacement as
clerk, nothing that “he hath removed out of this Parrish”. He subsequently appears in
several Chesterfield County records, including his 1765 witness to the will of
Benjamin Cheatham. On 23 April 1771, as Sylvanus Witt of
Chesterfield County, he arranged to buy land in the part of Pittsylvania County
which became Henry County. On 5 September 1771, Sylvanus Witt made a deed of
gift of all his property after his decease to “my nephew Jesse Witt” of
Cumberland County. Both Jesse and Sylvanus appeared together in the
1773 and 1774 tax lists of Pittsylvania County. Sylvanus apparently died soon
thereafter, as in 1783 Jesse Witt exercised the deed of gift to recover the
bond against the seller of the 1771 land who failed to deliver title. Sylvanus
evidently had no children of his own.
Charles Witt: A Possible Son
It is possible that Charles Witt was a son, rather than a grandson, of John Witt. (See separate paper.)
It has been proposed that David Barnett and John Farrar, who witnessed the 1751 deed, were sons-in-law of John Witt. However, there is no evidence of a relationship, and they may simply have been friends or neighbors. John Farrar seems to have lived considerably west in Albemarle County at the time, though he owned land adjacent to the 1747 sale by John Witt. It’s intriguing that David Witt and a William Barnett jointly patented land in Halifax County five years later in 1756.
The Sarah Harbour Theory
Practically all descendants of Thomas Harbour claim that his
wife Sarah was a daughter of John Witt II. We examine this claim in a speparate
document. Though a widely accepted theory, this hypothesis is not supported by
any persuasive evidence.
 Henrico County Deeds 1706-1737, Benjamin B. Weisiger (from Deeds 1714-1718, p46.)
 Virginia Patent Book 10, p132 dated 16 June 1714.
 Henrico County Deeds 1706-1737, Benjamin B. Weisiger (from Deeds 1714-1718, p46, same date as deed.)
 Historic Virginia Homes and Churches, Robert A. Lancaster, Jr. (1915), p168.
 Charles City County Wills and Deeds 1725-1731, Benjamin B. Weisiger, p40. (From Book D, p298)
 The unmarried sisters could have been elderly spinsters, thus Ann Rogers might have been old enough to have children c1695. It’s more probable that Anne Rogers and her sisters were relatively young in 1730, thus she is unlikely to be the mother of John III. The only of her brothers we can trace is John Rogers, who seems to be the one who died in 1788, which supports the case for Ann being born around 1700.
 Henrico County Minute Book 8, p34. At the July court 1720, John & William Witt presented a petition concerning bounds of their land. On p37, same court, a suit of William Witt vs. Boothe Napier was dismissed. (Courtesy of Carlton Wood.)
 Goochland County Deed Book 3, p125.
 Goochland County Deed Book 3, p464. Dated 10 August 1741. Described as bounded by the James and Rivanna Rivers, and Ballenger's Creek. From Goochland County, Virginia Wills And Deeds 1736-1742, Benjamin Weisiger (Southern Historical Press, 1984), p64.
 Virginia Patent Book 14, p333. (dated 17 September 1731)
 Goochland County, Virginia Wills and Deeds, 1728-1736, Benjamin Weisiger (Southern Historical Press, 1983), pp. 51-52
 Vestry Book of King William Parish, Virginia 1707-1770, (Manakin Huguenot Society, reprint 1966), pp70, 76, 78.
 Goochland Order Book 5, p60. From Witt Newsletter.
 Goochland County Deed Book 5, p303.
 Witt newsletter and website. WWB sent an abstract, but not a reference..
 The witness John Witt signed his name, while the John Witt who was a son of William Witt used a “J” mark. That indicates the witness was John Witt IV.
 The Vestry Book of Southam Parish, Cumberland County, Virginia 1745-1792, Anne K. Blomquist, p5, p19, etc.
 Chesterfield County Deed Book 2, p187.
 Blomquist, p151.
 Chesterfield County Will Book 1, p550.
 Henry County Deed Book 3, p15.
 Chesterfield County Deed Book 6, p350.
 Henry County Deed Book 2, p363.