North Carolina Mizells

The North Carolina Mizells descend from Lawrence Mizell, not Luke Mizell Jr.

Although I’m flying in the face of tradition here, the evidence is overwhelming that the immigrants into North Carolina were children of Lawrence Mizell.    See the Records paper for the specific records mentioned below.

There are three nails in this particular genealogical coffin.

The 1703 deed of Lawrence Mizell’s land

I think family researchers have been misled by the abstracted version of the 1703 deed – which gives the impression that Luke Mizell III was selling the land of Luke Mizell II.  You should always read the original deed when en entire genealogy rests on the precise wording.

William Lindsay Hopkins abstracted that deed in Surry County, Virginia Deeds 1684-1733 as follows:

“Luke Mezell of North Carolina to James Byneham of Surry County for 1000 pounds tobacco… 100 acres in Southwarke Parish on the north side of Blackwater Swamp.  Land is part of a tract sold by Robert Warren to Luke Mezell.” 

Casual researchers assumed from this that the land was owned by Luke MIzell Jr. and that Luke Mizell III must have inherited it.   But Luke Mizell Jr. had sold that land to his brother Lawrence twelve years earlier.

The actual deed describes the land as:

“… on the north side of Blackwater swamp beginning at the mouth of a great branch… up the sd branch to the side line soe along ye sd line to a stake …being part of a tract of land sold by Robt Warren to Luke Mizell.”

That is word-for-word identical to a deed twelve years earlier when Luke Mizell sold that tract to Lawrence Mizell:

5 January 1690/91:  Deed: Luke Mezell and Eliza his wife to Lawrance Meazell of Southwarke parish, 1000 lbs tobacco, 100 acres in Southwarke parish … on the north side of Blackwater swamp beginning at the mouth of a great branch… up the sd branch to the side line soe along ye sd line to a stake…being part of a tract of land sold by Robt Warren to the above sd Luke Mizell.  Signed:  Luke Meazle, Eliza (x) Meazle.

Bottom line: the land that Luke Mizell of North Carolina was selling in 1703 belonged to Lawrence Mizell, not to Luke Mizell Jr.   Back on 5 January 1690/71 Luke Mizell Jr. and his wife had sold a 200-acre tract in two parts, half to James Bynum and half to Lawrence Mizell.  In 1703 Luke Mizell III sold Lawrence Mizell’s half to James Bynum.

Luke Mizell Jr.’s Will

The abstracted version of the 1693 will of Luke Mizell Jr. has led genealogists astray as well.   The abstract fails to clearly state that the will left all of his land and property to two unmarried daughters named Elizabeth and Sarah, with reversion to one another.  That is very strong evidence that he had only the two children.

Lawrence Mizell’s Headrights

At the same time, Lawrence Mizell obtained headrights for importing himself, his wife, and two children named Luke and Ellinor into North Carolina sometime before July 1694 when William Charlton used those headrights as Lawrence Mizell’s assignee.   Two more probable children named William Mizell and Mary Mizell were used as North Carolina headrights in 1697 for a patent adjoining the land of William Charlton.

Since Lawrence Mizell had disappeared from Surry records by April 1691, it seems likely that he actually earned the headrights in 1691.  As with Virginia patents, our first record of the headrights is not when they were earned, but rather when they were used.


We can link Luke Mizell III (the husband of Susannah Charlton) directly to Lawrence Mizell by that 1703 deed.  We know that Lawrence died intestate, meaning that his eldest son would have inherited the land he still owned in Surry County.  Shortly after turning 21, Luke Mizell III sold that land to James Bynum.  If we didn’t have any preconceptions, that would be proof enough that he was Lawrence’s eldest son.  Combined with the will of Luke II, indicating only two children, and the headrights of Lawrence Mizell, the conclusion is inescapable that all the early Mizells in North Carolina were children and grandchildren of Lawrence Mizell.

To that I would add the additional point of timing.  Since Luke Mizell III must have been born circa 1682, it appears that Lawrence and Bethinia had more than a decade to have additional children.  Luke Mizell Jr., on the other hand, didn’t turn 21 until late 1681, when his wife (even if she were the eldest child of Matthias Marriot) had probably not yet entered her teens.  They probably didn’t marry until she was in her mid-teens, sometime in the late 1680s, and thus probably had no time to bear more than the two children named in his will.