Many of these records are from secondary sources. Those that seemed potentially important I attempted to find in the original documents.
24 Feb 1714/15
Will: Henry King, proved 16 August 1716. Sons Michael, Charles and Henry (lands in Chowan and Virginia, Daughters Elizabeth, Catren, and Mary King. “Signatures of witnesses torn off…Names of witnesses appearing in probate: Christopher Vanluon (sic), John Hayes, Judith Fox”. [j. Bryan Grimes, Abstracts of North Carolina Wills Compiled from Original and Recorded Wills in the Office of the Secretary of State (1910), page 203.]
Henry King appears to have been living somewhere on the west bank of the Chowan River in present-day Bertie County when he made the will. Probably the vicinity of Salmon Creek, as his widow was granted land there. The will may not have named an executor, as Christopher Vanluven was administrator of Henry King (presumably with the will annexed).
15 Oct 1715
Jury: William Wade came to prosecute his suit against Thomas Kirk and suit against William Wade. Jury: Daniel Smith, John Hays, Rt. Peterson, John Davison, Thomas Yates, Rd. Canaday, William Skoyle, John Early… [Chowan County Deed Book B-1, court records at end of book, page 12 (image 695 on microfilm). Abstracted by Margaret M. Hofmann, Chowan Precinct North Carolina Abstracts of Deed Books 1696 to 1723, page 220.]
Jury service was restricted to men who either owned property or had sufficient assets to be classified as freemen.
18 April 1716
Will Proved: Henry King’s will proved by oaths of Christopher Vanluvin, John Hayes, and Judith Fox. [Chowan County Deed Book B-1, court records at end of book, page 17 (image 705 on microfilm). Abstracted by Margaret M. Hofmann, Chowan Precinct North Carolina Abstracts of Deed Books 1696 to 1723, page 223.]
27 Dec 1716
Thomas Bray, Gentleman, to Robert Evans, Planter, both of Chowan precinct, for a valuable consideration, 178 acres more or less being the “plantation & parcel of land whereon Richard Hayes now dwells lying & being on the west shore of Chowan River” adjacent to Thomas Warr and Francis Dun. Signed: Thos. Bray. Witness: Richard (x) Hayes, Wm. Sharp. [Chowan Deed Book B-1, page 462.]
The clerk reproduced a very clear signature mark “Rh”. This was accurately abstracted by Margaret M. Hofmann, Chowan Precinct North Carolina Genealogical Abstracts of Deed Books 1696 to 1723, page122-3. Also by J. R. B. Hathaway, editor, The North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 1, page 616.
Where this land was located is uncertain, as Thomas Bray was a speculator who owned large swaths of land on the Chowan River. Searching deeds in Chowan and Bertie for Warr and Dunn was not fruitful in locating this property.
27 Dec 1716
Deed: Robert Evans to Thomas Bray, both of Chowan precinct, for £200 money of Great Britain, plantation whereon said Evans lives on west shore of Chowan River adjoining lands of Edward Taylor and Edward Barnes. Witness: Richard (x) Hays, Wm. Sharp. [Chowan Deed Book B-1, page 493.]
Richard Hays’ signature mark “Rh” in these two deeds is similar to the marks later used by Peter Hays and Thomas Hays in Bertie County. Deed hard to read but is abstracted by Margaret M. Hofmann, Chowan Precinct North Carolina Genealogical Abstracts of Deed Books 1696 to 1723, page126. Also by J. R. B. Hathaway, editor, The North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 1, page 616.]
1 Jan 1716/17
Deed: Thomas West to Christopher Vanluven, both of Chowan, for £62, 640 acres on Coshook Creek… (metes and bounds mention only the line of Wm. Jones). Witness: Fred. Razor?, Jno. Hayes. Registered 20 April 1717. [Chowan County Deed Book B-1, page 422. The abstract by Hofmann has all essential information.]
Now spelled “Cashoke Creek”, it is a smallish but navigable creek in the extreme southeast corner of present-day Bertie County, running southeast into the mouth of the Cashy River where it enters the Chowan River leading into Albemarle Sound. about 4-5 miles from Salmon Creek.
The clerk did not note signatures or signature marks for the witnesses, so we don’t know if John Hays could sign or whether he used a distinctive mark.
17 May 1717
Deed: Cary Godbee to Col. Thomas Pollock, for £88 sterling money of England, 574 acres on southwest shore bounded by Salmon Creek, north by land lately belonging to Susanna Johnson, south by land of Thomas Pollock, east by King’s plantation. Signed Cary (x) Godbee. Witness: Thos. West, John Hays. [Chowan County Deed Book B-1, page 506-7.]
This is in the southeastern part of present-day Bertie County. Salmon Creek is about 4-5 miles northeast of Cashoke Creek and flows through southeast Bertie County into the Chowan River. King’s plantation is apparently a patent to Henry King on the middle swamp of Salmon Creek,
I note that Cary Godbee had sold part of this land two months earlier, and his widow would sell three years later, with neither deed witnessed by either Hays or West. Mary Godbee, his wife, was the mother of George Fox of Surry County, Virginia, who had sold the land to Godbee in 1710. Thomas Pollack had become Thomas Bray’s father-in-law in 1715.
17 May 1717
Deed: Cary Godbee to Thomas Bray, letter of attorney to acknowledge sale to Thomas Pollock. Signed: Cary (x) Godbee, Mary (M) Godbee. Witness: Thos. West, John Hays. [Chowan County Deed Book B-1, page 507.]
It isn’t clear if Mary Godbee’s “M” is a signature mark or not — deed is hard to read — but Cary Godbee used a “P” mark. The clerk did not note signatures or signature marks for the witnesses, so we don’t know if John Hays could sign or used a distinctive mark.
16 October 1717
John Hayes proved letter of attorney from Cary Godbee and Mary his wife to Thomas Bray at a court held at the house of William Branch. [Chowan County Deed Book B-1, page 32 (image 695 on microfilm). [Chowan County Deed Book B-1, page 12 (image 695 on microfilm). Abstracted by Margaret M. Hofmann, Chowan Precinct North Carolina Abstracts of Deed Books 1696 to 1723, page 220.]
22 July 1719
Court at house of William Branch: “John Hais being returned arrested at the suit of Robt. Calf for two pounds eleven shillings and failing to appear (at sd Plt. motion?) it is considered by the court that the Plt. recover & have (the said sum?) of two pounds & eleven shillings with costs agst. the Marshall unless the sd. Deft. appear and answer at the next Court.” [Chowan County Deed Book B-1, court records at end of book, image 765. Also abstracted by Margaret M. Hofmann, Chowan Precinct North Carolina Abstracts of Deed Books 1696 to 1723, page 254.]
Very difficult to read in the original. but the name is “Hais” in both the record and the marginal notation. Robert Calf sued dozens of people for small debts, was apparently a merchant and land speculator.
11 April 1720
Militia Muster: Capt. Robert Patterson’s Company from Meherrin Creek to Meherring (sic) River and soe up the river of (sic) both sides April 11th, 1720: William Brasswell, William Ricks, William Boon, John Dew Jr., John Rogers… John Jarnikin… John Colson… Robt. Brasswell…Tho. Boon… Tho. Jarnikin…Arthur Williams…Joseph Boon, Nicholas Boon…Rich’d Brasswell…Pete (sic) Hayes, William Hayes, John Brasswell… [“Miscellaneous Items from Court Records of Chowan Precinct at Edenton, NC”, The North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 1 (1900), page 443.]
This area described here was in what would become Bertie County but some distance away from the area of John Hays and Richard Hays. The western part was in the part of Bertie that would become Northampton County. The eastern portion would become Hertford County in 1759. Meherrin Creek, shown on early maps, was later called Potecasi Creek. It runs across eastern Northampton County and western Hertford County, emptying into the Meherrin River just above the intersection with the Blackwater that forms the Chowan River.
12 May 1720
Power of Attorney: John Hays of the precinct of Chowan (Cooper) have assigned “my trusty and well beloved John Bryan son of Edward Bryan to be my true and lawful attorney”…to collect debts & money “as are now due to me or shall hereafter become due to me in this province of North Carolina as also relating to all my other goods and chattels left here…” Signed: John Hays. Witness: John Bryan, James Bate. Proved 20 October 1720 by both witnesses. [Chowan County Deed Book F-1, page 88]
Why this? Was John Hays moving away? The clerk did not reproduce a signature mark, suggesting the possibility that this John Hays is not the same person who later shows up in Bertie County.
Edward Bryan had come from Isle of Wight and was married to Christian Council, sister of Hardy Council and daughter of Hodges Council. His son John Bryan (c1696-?) was a merchant.
13 Nov 1724
Road Jury: Saml. Hays and others “…hereby appointed a Jury to lay out the Road from Mr. Simon Jeffries Landing on Roanoke River to the maine branch that begins at Mr. James Bryants & goes to Chesshires Landing on Maherin River where the trading Vessells commonly lye according to Law and that William Bridges be & he is hereby appointed Oversr. of the sd. Road for the Ensuing Year. [Chowan County Court Minutes 1724-1739, page 32.]
The 1733 Moseley map shows both James Bryants and John Cheshires ferries and the “main branch” road that connected them. Simon Jeffries landing was somewhere in the general vicinity of where Bridger’s Creek runs into the Roanoke. The road being laid out here is shown on the 1733 Moseley map running roughly west to east from the vicinity of Bridger’s Creek running across what is now southern Northampton County and southern Hertford County to Bryants Ferry, passing next to the Bertie courthouse in the middle. Exactly where the jurymen resided is not clear, but several appear to have lived near the eastern portion of this road.
Could this be the same Samuel Hays who showed up in Northampton County almost twenty years later?
Deed: James Brown to William Hays. (Unreadable on microfilm due to bleed-through.) [Chowam County Deed Book e, page 263-4.]
This is the first deed to anyone named Hays, according to the cross index. It’s likely that this was in what became Hertford County in 1759. Almost all early Hertford records are lost.
25 Nov 1754
Muster roll for James Farlee’s company of the Chowan County Militia: “A List of Men lately Commanded by Captain James Farlee. Deceased, taken the 25th Day of Novr., 1754… James Hayes, Joseph Hays (sic)...” [The Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, Vol. 22, page 357.]