Descendants of William Scarborough

This page was under construction when a tornado struck our house in early 2020 and interrupted my research. I will complete it whenever things are back to normal.

There was no child named John Scarborough

Some descendants claim a son named John Scarborough, apparently based on a misreading of the 1694 tithables list — a misreading perpetuated by an error in John B. Boddie’s Colonial Surry.1  The Scarborough chapter in Historical Southern Families, Volume III repeats the error thus: “There was a John Scarborow who was listed as a tithable with John White in 1694.

Examination of the original tithables record shows that it actually reads “Cha. White & Tho. Scarbroo” as tithables in 1694.  Note that Charles White and William Scarborough were listed together the following year — Charles White was the father-in-law of Charles Holdsworth of Prince George County.  His 1747 will made bequests to grandchildren Charles and Mary Holsworth and their “father Charles Holsworth.”2  In the 1694 tithables “Tho.” was misread as “Jno”;  I note that Thomas Scarborough was tithable both before and after 1694 while no John Scarborough appears on any of the annual tithables lists between 1668 and 1703.

Two possible — but unlikely — children

There were two other curious entries in the tithables lists, which exist in Surry County for 27 consecutive years from 1677 through 1703.  A “David Scarbore” (sic) was listed as a taxpayer in 1697 but in no other years.3 It seems unlikely that another Scarborough child could have escaped all notice and appear as taxable in only one year, so I suspect this is a mis-reading or a clerical error.  And in 1693 “Xo. & Tho. Scarborugh” (sic) were listed as tithable.4 I suspect this is also a typo or a mis-reading, as no Christopher Scarborough appears in any other record.  Perhaps Christopher’s surname was omitted in the transcript — I suspect this was Christopher Mooring, as Thomas Scarborough was tithable to John Mooring two years later.

Known children of William Scarborough

  1. Edward Scarborough (c1670-1717)  He was a tithable charged to Thomas Tyas from 1687 through 1690 then was separately tithable in 1691 and thereafter, indicating that he was born in in late 1670 or early 1671.5  He continued to be taxed annually through 1703, the last year for which a tithables list survives.  He served on a grand jury in November 1694, an indication that he was a landowner, after being fined for his failure to appear at the September court session.6  In 1697 he witnessed the will of Mary Rawlings, widow of neighbor John Rawlings, and proved it in court in November.7  The same year he witnessed the will of Anna Jordan.8 In January 1699/1700 he was sued by William Blackburn, who failed to show up in court to prosecute.9

    There are no deeds or grants recorded to him, but he was listed in the 1704 Quit Rents with 150 acres.  A 1717 deed proves that this was land inherited from his father, as the eldest son.  In 1717 John Simmons sold a 100-acre parcel, part of a 1685 patent to William Symons, described as bordering Edward Scarborough, Thomas Sowersby, and the Burchen Swamp. 10  Recall that Thomas Sowersby’s patent of 1680,  renewed in 1684 by Benjamin Harrison, described that land as bordering William Simmons, William Scarborough and the Burchen Swamp.

    Edward Scarborough and his half-brother John Tyas (usually “Tyus” in later records) witnessed the will of Richard Hyde in October 171011 and jointly appraised the estate of Noah Barefoot the following year. 12  In July 1713 Edward Scarborough and his half-brother John Tyas were appointed to appraise the estate of a neighbor named Bryan Brimmington.13

    Edward Scarborough died sometime in late 1716 or very early 1717.  He served on a grand jury on 16 October 1716 but was dead four months later when on 20 February 1716/17 “Daniel Duggard and Mary his wife next of kin to to Edward Scarborow deced.” appeared in court to testify that Edward Scarborough had died intestate and post bond to administer the estate, with John Tyas (now usually spelled “Tyus”) and William Moss their securities.14  Daniel Duggard presented an inventory at the next court in March 1716/7, valuing the estate at barely £30.15

    An accounting filed on 18 March 1718/19, which included a payment to “daughter Duggard”, also listed a payment from the estate to Ann Scarborough. From this record some descendants have assumed that Ann was the widow, but she was more likely to have been Edward’s sister-in-law who was administering the estate of William Scarborough at the time the payment was made.  Edward’s wife must surely have predeceased him, else she would have had preference in administering the estate and as guardian of the minor children. Estate administration was given to a daughter who would have been “next of kin” only if no widow existed.

    Contrary to assumptions made by a number of family researchers, it appears that Edward left no male descendants.  A deed in 1733 (see below) suggests that Edward Scarborough’s eldest son either predeceased him or lived outside the area.  The name of that son was perhaps “William”.

    1. William Scarborough (c1694? – c1717?)  The eldest son’s name is theorized.  There is mention in the court records of a debt judgment in January 1714/15 to “Wm. Scarbrough Junr.”, suggesting the presence of a second, younger, William than Edward’s brother.16  Note that the descriptive “Senior” and “Junior” at this time in history were used to differentiate men of the same name and in no way implied any specific familial relationship. 17 He was apparently deceased  by the time his father died, else he would have been the natural choice to administer the estate.  His existence as the eldest son is strongly suggested, if not proven, by a deed in 1733 as follows.

      1. Sarah Scarborough On 20 November 1733 David Rutter and his wife Sarah Rutter, formerly of Nansemond County but now of North Carolina, sold a parcel of land, identified as Sarah’s by inheritance. The deed is faded and only partially readable but it describes the land as adjoining Col. Harrison’s mill dam and having descended to Sarah from her father and grandfather Edward Scarborough.18  Since we know Edward Scarborough died intestate, the only way his land could have fallen to a granddaughter is if she were the only child of Edward’s eldest son.  That is, Edward’s land would have been inherited by his eldest son or, if he were dead, by that son’s surviving issue according to the inheritance law of the time. That the land in question was the same parcel that Edward Scarborough inherited from his own father is proven by a 1702 deed from Arthur Allen to Nathaniel Harrison of one acre of Allen’s land on Burchen Swamp adjoining  the Scarborough parcel “on which said Harrison is building a mill”.19 (Col. Nathaniel Harrison had died in 1727 leaving a will in which much of his land in Surry and his mills were left to his son Benjamin Harrison.)  This seems to clearly identify the land inherited by Sarah Rutter as that owned by her grandfather Edward Scarborough.

        Just two weeks earlier, on 5 November 1733, William Rutter had bought 100 acres on White Oak Swamp in Bertie County, North Carolina.20 I did not further trace this family.

    2. Mary Scarborough (c1695? – by1756 ) She married Daniel Duggard (Duggar, Dugger, etc.)  She was likely the only living child old enough to administer her father’s estate.  Daniel Duggard had a patent for 125 acres in Surry in 172521 which he gifted to his son Henry Duggar in 1756, providing that Daniel would continue to live there during his lifetime.22  There was no release of dower and no mention of his wife Mary, who was apparently deceased by 1756.
    3. Edward Scarborough (c1700 – c1742)  On 20 March 1716/7 “Edward Scarborough an orphan” appeared in court and chose Richard Lewis as his guardian, an action permitted to  minors aged 14 or more.23  On 28 September 1732 “Edward Scarborow”, presumably the same person, patented 100 acres of land in Southwarke Parish, described as a lapsed patent to James Whitmore adjacent to the land of Richard Washington.24 Less than two years later on 6 April 1734 he patented an adjacent 115 acres on the north side of the Blackwater adjoining Richard Proctor and Robert Proctor.25  This combined parcel was evidently near Johnshehawken Swamp, according to a 1736 patent to John Parsons.26  This places his land ten or so miles southeast of William Scarborough’s old plantation and close to Daniel Duggar’s patent in Southwarke parish.

      Court records of Surry County are missing for the period 1719-1741 but on 19 January 1742/3 the Surry court “ordered that the Church Wardens of Southwarke Parish bind out the children of Edward Scarbro according to law.” (Surry County Order Book 1741-1745, page 86.))  On 17 February 1742/3 the court ordered “that the Sheriff take into his Possession and sell by way of Publick Auction to the Highest Bidder or Bidders the Estate of Edward Scarbro deced…”  (Ibid., page 100.))  An account current was returned on 17 August 1743.27 The children are uncertain but included at least sons named William and Edward, and apparently Lewis:

      1. William Scarborough (c1720? – ?)  He inherited his father’s land.  After Surry court records resumed in 1741 we find him suing over a £2 debt in 1743 and on on 18 July 1744 was assigned to a road jury with others residing in Southwarke parish, an indication of land ownership.28 On 18 June 1746 he was sworn in as a constable, an office he held for the next two years.29  On 5 September 1749 William Scarborough bought 245 acres several miles to the west on Otterdam Swamp, in what is now southwestern Surry County, from Thomas Martin.30  On 10 October 1750 for reasons a bit unclear, he was given a clear title to that land by former owners John and Agnes Peoples for only £1.31  He then sold off his inherited land.  On 18 December 1752 as William Scarbrow of Southwarke Parish he gifted an uncertain number of acres to his “brother Edward Scarbrow” of Johnston County, North Carolina in a deed witnessed by a Mary Scarbrough and Joseph Jordan.32  Three years later on 21 October 1755 William Scarburgh sold to Lewis Scarburgh of Lunenburg County for £20 the two tracts of land in Surry County, described as grants to his father Edward Scarburgh, one of 100 acres and one of 115 acres.33  Four months  later William and Lewis Scarborough jointly disposed of all 215 acres to Thomas Briggs.34  A few years after that, on 21 December 1762, William Scarborough sold all his land on Otterdam Swamp to Edward Scarborough of Prince George County.35 Edward kept the land barely a year before selling it.36

        There were no dower releases associated with any of his deeds, so his wife’s given name is uncertain.  That she was a daughter of John Avoris (Averys?) is shown by his will of 1761, in which he named William Scarborough a son-in-law and left a legacy to his minor grandson Frederick Scarborough.37

      2. Edward Scarborough (? – ?) I found no record of him in Johnston County, North Carolina but many of that county’s earliest records are lost.  It seems likely that he died sometime between late 1752 and 1755, as the land he was gifted seems to have been later deeded to Lewis Scarborough.  He may have been  the same Edward Scarborough who died in Brunswick County, Virginia.
      3. Lewis Scarborough (c1736? – ?) He is assumed to have been a brother of William Scarborough, evidently apprenticed as a youngster at his father’s death.  He may have been apprenticed to William Saffold, who owned land in Surry County near the border with Prince George County, and who removed to Lunenberg County in the late 1740s.  Lewis Scarborough was first tithable to William Saffold in Lunenburg County in 1752, apparently having reached the age of 16.  He does not appear in any other Surry record and was “of Lunenburg County” in both the 1755 and 1756 deeds.  William Saffold removed to North Carolina sometime in the late 1750s and Lewis Scarborough may have accompanied him.
    4. Benjamin Scarborough (c1705? – ? )  On 16 July 1718 the Surry court ordered that Thomas Collier “take into his care & tuition Elizth. Scarbrow and Benja. Scarbrow two orphants of Edward Scarbrow deced.38  John Collier died ten years later in early 1728, and it is unclear if the children had yet reached adulthood. I found no further record of a Benjamin Scarborough until a Southampton County court record in 1768 that seems to apply to the son of John Scarborough below.39
    5. Elizabeth Scarborough (c1705? – ? ) No record after 1718.  (Surry court records are missing from 1719-1741.)


  2. William Scarborough  (c1673 – 1717)  He was born in late 1672 or early 1673, as he was tithable to Thomas Tyas annually from 1689 through 1691 then tithable to John Rawlings in 1692.  He was missing from the 1693 tax list but he and his brother Edward were tithable together in 1694.  He was subsequently taxed in most years from 1695 to 1703 (the last year available) but missing from the tithables in some years in that period, indicating that he may have been living on the other side of Upper Chippokes Creek in adjacent Prince George County, many of whose records are lost.  Indeed, he was administrator of the estate of John Miles in Prince George County, and filed an inventory on 13 February 1710/11 and an estate account on 16 November 1716.40

    He may also have lived from time to time with his brother Edward.  I note that he witnessed a deed for land on Burchen Swamp on 14 December 1714.41  He was dead by 18 September 1717 when Ann Scarbrow “relict of Wm. Scarborow deceed.” told the court that her husband died intestate and posted bond to administer the estate.42  She presented an inventory on 18 December 1717 whose contents suggest that he was a shoemaker.43  There is no record that he owned land, but he lived several miles away from his brother Edward at his death; the four persons appointed to appraise the estate all lived in Southwarke parish in the vicinity of Cypress Swamp and Horse Meadow Branch, indicating that William Scarborough was residing in that area as well.44

    There is no direct record of his children but, given the absence of any mention of him in connection with Edward Scarborough, it is reasonable to theorize that the below person was a son.  Most descendants attribute this son to Edward Scarborough, but the disposition of Edward’s land tells us that he was much more likely to have been a son of William Scarborough.

      1. William Scarborough (c1695? – 1736)  On 5 September 1723, as “William Scarbrow of Isle of Wight” County, he was granted a patent for 125 acres south of the Nottoway River in the part of Isle of Wight County that later became Southampton County.45

        His will was dated 9 November 1735 and proved on 20 September 1736 using the spelling “Scaboth”, this apparently being an error by the clerk who copied the original record into the record book.46 The will left part of “the plantation I now live on” to his son William and the other part “which he now lives on” to his to son John.  Sons Thomas, Edward, and David and daughters Jane and Sarah were each left a cow.  To “to my beloved wife Sarah” he left the remainder of the estate “to her disposal amongst her children” with reversion to his son William. Sarah and William were named executors.  He signed by mark.

        1. William Scarborough (c1720? – ?)  In 24 March 1745/6 William sold his inherited land, 125 acres “being a patent granted to William Scarborough” to his brother John Scarborough.47  He disappeared from the area thereafter and was not further traced.
        2. John Scarborough (c1720? – 1782)  John apparently lived on that land for nearly forty years.  His will was dated 10 June 1778 and proved on 14 February 1782.48 It left a life estate in his plantation to his wife Mary, and left her the income from his personal estate and the labor of a slave named Nancy “to raise her children with”.  It also named her sole executrix.  “After his mother’s decease” the plantation was to go to his son John and the personal estate was to be divided among “my five youngest children” John, Sukey, Patty, Betsy, and Sarah.  Son Brittain Scarborough was given a cow and calf.  Four older children, who may have had a different mother, were given merely two shillings and sixpence each: Benjamin Scarborough, the heirs of Robert Scarborough, Ann Hines, wife of Robert Hines, and Lydia Stewart, wife of Benjamin Stewart.
        3. Thomas Scarborough (? – ?)  He was evidently occupying his brother’s land in 1746 when a deed by Thomas Pretlow referenced land on Coscora Branch adjacent to Thomas Scarborough.49
        4. Edward Scarborough (?-?)  He appeared in Southampton County court on 11 June 1752 to claim a fee for appearing as a witness.50
        5. David Scarborough
        6. Jane Scarborough
        7. Sarah Scarborough
  3. Thomas Scarborough (c1674 – 1723)  He was not  tithable in 1689 but was tithable to to Thomas Tyas in 1690, 1691, and 1692, indicating that he turned 16 in late 1673 or early 1674.   He was taxed to Charles White in 1694 (in the “middle precinct”.)  He was taxed for the final time in 1695, after which he evidently moved across Chippokes Creek into Martins Brandon parish of what was then Charles City County but later Prince George County.  Among the surviving records of Prince George is his witness to the 8 November 1711 will of Sarah Evans of Martins Brandon parish.51  There also survive two mentions in 1720 of Thomas Scarborough as one of the appraisers of estates and as a witness to the 1720 will of Paul Jones.52  The following year he witnessed the sale of a mill on Powell’s Creek by John Haryman.53  Although most records of that county were destroyed, his will, written on 1 January 1722/3 and proved a month later on 12 February, was fortuitously preserved.54  He left modest bequests to a son named Thomas Scarborough, daughters named Mary, Sarah, and Elizabeth, and “cousin” Charles Holdsworth.  He named his wife Elizabeth as executrix. Witnesses were Benjamin Ricks and Amy Holdsworth.

    1. Thomas Scarborough (? – 1755?)  Owing to the loss of Prince George County records, we know nothing of this son.  He does not appear in Surry County records.  He may have lived just south of Prince George County in Southampton County.  An entry in the Albemarle Parish vestry book dated 25 November 1755 orders a reimbursement to Edmund Barron “for burying Thos. Scarbrough a poor prisioner who dyed in gaol.”55
    2. Mary Scarborough – no further record
    3. Sarah Scarborough – no further record
    4. Elizabeth Scarborough – no further record


Joanna was apparently the daughter of Edward Scarborough and Ann Cannon.  On 21 October 1755 William Scarborough sold to Lewis Scarborough sold two tracts of land in Surry County which had been granted to his father Edward Scarborough. 56

  1. John B. Boddie, Colonial Surry, page 201. []
  2. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 9, page 82. []
  3. Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol. 24, No. 1, page 81. []
  4. Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol. 23, No. 4, page 66. []
  5. Tithables were white males aged 16 and over. He thus reached 16 by June of 1687 and 21 by June of 1691. []
  6. Surry County Order Book 1691-1713, pages 112 and 117. []
  7. Ibid., page 185. []
  8. Surry County Deeds & Wills, Book 5, page 147. []
  9. Ibid., page 207. []
  10. Surry County Deed Book 7, page 61. []
  11. Surry County Deeds & Wills, Book 6, page 40. []
  12. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 6, page 83. []
  13. Surry County Order Book 1713-1719, page 11. []
  14. Ibid., page 96 and 105-6 respectively. []
  15. Ibid., page 109. Recorded in Deeds and Wills Book 7, page 52. []
  16. Surry County Order Book 1713-1718, page 49. []
  17. See the paper on Senior and Junior. []
  18. Surry County Deed Book 8, page 339. []
  19. Surry County Deed Book 5, page 252. []
  20. Bertie County Deed Book D, page 48. []
  21. Virginia Patent Book 12, page 263. []
  22. Surry County Deed Book 7, page 273. []
  23. Surry County Order Book 1713-1719, page 110. Thus he was born sometime in the period 1697-1702. []
  24. Virginia Patent Book 14, page 403. []
  25. Virginia Patent Book 15, page 196. []
  26. Virginia Patent Book 17, page 113.  Parson’s patent of 1,375 acres adjoined, among others, Edward Scarbrough, Richard Proctor, and Richard Washington as well as the Johnshehawken Swamp. []
  27. Ibid., page 152 and Surry County Deeds & Wills, Book 7, page 450. []
  28. Surry County Order Book 1741-1744, page 172 and 237, respectively. []
  29. Surry County Order Book 1745-1748, page 184 and  479. []
  30. Surry County Deed Book 6, page 1. []
  31. Surry County Deed Book 6, page 124. []
  32. Surry County Deed Book 6, page 580. []
  33. Surry County Deed Book 7, page 228. []
  34. Surry County Deed Book 7, page 281. []
  35. Surry County Deed Book 8, page 149. []
  36. Surry County Deed Book 8, page 199. []
  37. Surry County Will Book 10, page 288. []
  38. Ibid., page 148. []
  39. On 9 September 1768 Benjamin Scarborough and Ann Scarborough were among the out-of-county witnesses compensated for testimony in the case of Elisha Green vs. Benjamin Clifton. Southampton County Court Order Book 1768-1772, page 96. []
  40. Respectively, Prince George County Deeds, Wills, etc. 1711-1713, page 26 and Prince George County Deeds, Wills, etc. 1713-1728, page 135. []
  41. Surry County Deeds and Wills Book 6, page 218. []
  42. Ibid., page 122. []
  43. Ibid., page124. Recorded 18 December 1717 in Wills & Deeds Book  7, page 86. []
  44. Four men were assigned, of which three were to conduct the appraisal: John Avery, Christopher Mooring, John Andrews and John Grantham.  All four owned land on Cypress Swamp, in the vicinity of Horse Meadow Branch, which I have not been able to locate. []
  45. Virginia Patent Book 11, page 263.  Deeds and patents to neighbors place it on a swamp variously spelled Coscora, Cosuncro, Cosunckorow, Cashonkcore, etc. that was near the Nottoway Indian land and Brown’s Branch, apparently not far from the later Suffolk County line. []
  46. Isle of Wight Mixed Records Book 4, page 140. []
  47. Isle of Wight Deed Book 7, page 283. []
  48. Southampton County Will Book 3, page 364. []
  49. Isle of Wight County Deed Book 7, page 355. []
  50. Southampton County Court Order Book 1, page 243. []
  51. Prince George County Deeds, Wills, etc. 1710-1713, pages 72. []
  52. Prince George County Deeds, Wills, etc. 1713-1728, pages 441, 444,  and 446. []
  53. Ibid., page 495. []
  54. Prince George County Deeds, Wills, etc. 1713-1728, page 573-4. []
  55. Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis, Albemarle Parish Vestry Book, 1742-1786. Surry and Sussex Counties, Virginia, page 87. []
  56. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 7, p228. []