In Search of Walter Daux

French or English?

Many family genealogists have assumed that Walter Daux was French, based on nothing more than the fact that the name “sounds French”. The truth is that the name could be either English or French. But whatever the origin of the name, the evidence tells us that Walter Daux himself was English.

In old English an “x” in the middle or the end of a word was pronounced “ks”.  Thus to an English-speaking clerk Dawkes and Daux were pronounced identically. Thus it’s not surprising that we find that in early records of Charles City County the spellings Dawkes, Daukes, and Daux(e) were used interchangeably. We find the same phenomenon in English parish registers of the 1500s and 1600s. In more distant times Dauxe (alder tree) was a French surname while Dawkes or Daukes (a diminutive form of David, the same root as Dawkins) was English. But in England both spellings were used interchangeably. Thus Walter Daux’s immediate ancestors could have been either English or French.  Walter Daux himself was undeniably English.  The given name Walter, his father’s residence in London, and the circumstance of how and where he appears in Virginia, convincingly argue that Walter Daux was an Englishman.

Indeed, virtually all immigrants to Virginia in the early and mid 1600s were English men and women. Although there are records of the occasional foreigner, they are rare.  Under English law, foreign-born residents dealt with a number of restrictions that made settlement in the Colonies unattractive. Foreigners immigrating into Virginia could not buy or sell land, hold office, vote, or exercise any other political rights.   The Navigation Act even prevented foreigners from enjoying the occupation of merchant.

Foreigners needed to be naturalized to acquire the rights of citizenship. Before 1680 all naturalizations in Virginia required an Act of Virginia’s General Assembly.1  Those legislative naturalizations, which contain precious few names, are preserved and contain neither Witt nor Daux.  After 1680 the process was greatly simplified, and most of its records are now lost, but in the timeframe in which Walter Daux lived in Virginia we can safely conclude that he was English born or had been naturalized in England.

It should also be remembered that during the 1600s the spelling of one’s name was shockingly casual and imprecise. For instance, the surviving signatures of William Shakespeare never spell his name the same way twice.  And Sir Walter Raleigh spelled his own name more than a dozen different ways — but, oddly, never as “Raleigh”.  Thus Dauks, Dawkes, Daux and variations may be the same name. That becomes clear when we examine the records, as below.

Some Early Dawkes/Daux Immigrants to Virginia

John Dauxe, gentleman, came to Jamestown in 1608 in the Second Supply of settlers. A Mary Dauks (also Dawks) arrived on the Warwick in 1621 and was listed among the dead after the 1622 massacre. A widow named Joan Dawkes and a Thomas Dauks also appear in Jamestown records. Henry Dawkes obtained from the Virginia Company a Bill of Adventure in 1608, indicating that he planed to emigrate to the colony.2   In 1632 his son William Dawkes of Charles City County received a patent for 200 acres in Charles City County, of which 100 acres was due as heir of his father Henry Dawkes for his personal adventure3  and another 100 acres for Henry Dawke’s 1608 bill of adventure.4  His name is spelled William Dauxe in at least one record.5  William Dawkes leased another 50 acres adjoining a few months later.6  These 250 acres were located in what became Henrico County, about two miles west of the eventual border between Henrico and Charles City counties, very close to where we find Walter Daux a few years later.

Walter Daukes/Daux & His Family

A Walter Daukes was one of 39 persons claimed as headrights by William Perry in 1633, for which his son Henry Perry patented 2,000 acres in Charles City County in 1637.7  Perry’s patent was located a few miles down the James River from the William Dawkes patent. Almost thirty years later in 1664 a patent for land adjoining Henry Perry claimed a “Walt. Daux” as one of ten headrights. Whether this was the same Walter Daux or not isn’t clear.

Given the proximity of these patents, it seems possible that Walter Daux was a relative of William Dawkes. (The difference in spelling might be simply a matter of a different generation of clerks recording the name.) Interestingly, a John Rogers, perhaps related to the John Rogers whose daughter married John Witt II, purchased land in 1664 adjoining the land of Walter Daux.

Owing to the near total destruction of early Charles City County records, we have no other records of Walter Daux during his lifetime. However, we can identify his wife and his two children from postmortem records. And we can identify his father as Richard Daux of London.

Walter Daux was perhaps born sometime in the 1620s or early 1630s, as he married a woman named Mary and had two daughters in the early or mid 1650s. Charles City County court records tell us that Mary, whose maiden name is unknown, had first married Robert Plaine by whom she had a son named John Plaine.   She was widowed and then married Walter Daux and had two daughters named Ann and Susanna Daux before being widowed a second time. She then married for a third time to John Flower(s) Jr., the son of a wealthy ship’s captain who had evidently inherited the part of his father’s estate that lay in Charles City County.

This final marriage took place before 24 May 1658 when John Flowers made deeds of gift to the children of his wife “Mary the relict of Walter Daux” spelling out the above relationships quite clearly.8   One child was John Plaine “the son of the sd Mary by her former husband Robert Plaine decd.” The other children were Ann and “Susan” Daux. Several days later, on 3 June 1658, John Flower was granted administration of the estate of Walter Daux “having married the relict of sd. Daux.” Fleet’s abstract of the deed of gift indicates that Robert Plaine had owned land at his death which fell to the son John Plaine, and indeed John Flower claimed that land in 1668, the son John Plaine having died by then.9  Walter Daux had evidently owned land as well, or lived on the Plaine property, as there are three records for John Flower regarding a shipment of two hogsheads of tobacco by Walter Daux to his father Richard Daux of London. (Fleet, p156 and p209, both references in 1658, and p243 in 1661.))  There is also a reference to the land of Walter Daux as late as 1664 when Edward Hill sold land adjacent Walter Daux.

In 1658 the Charles City court ordered an accounting of all orphans estates within the county, but Flower evidently failed to deliver, as in early 1659 the court ordered the sheriff to seize the estate of Flower or Daux until an accounting was rendered.10  He apparently did not do so, because on 3 June 1659 the court appointed two officials to appraise the estate of Walter Daux “and divide the same to the relict and his two children”.11  A few months later, John Flower was allowed 1000 pounds of tobacco out of the estate “in consideration of his wife’s bedding”.12  The following year, in late 1660, Flower made a bond for the estate of Walter Daux for “carefull keeping and educating the orphanes of the sd Daux during their minority.”13 

There is at this point a gap in the Charles City County court records. Only a fragmentary book for 1672-3 and an order book for 1677-79 are preserved. It appears that John Flower died in the interim, as there is no further record of him. The two Daux children evidently married about 1673. Richard Rawlins14, who married Susannah Daux, and John Witt, who married Ann Daux, petitioned the court on 3 October 1673.15  The substance of the petition is not recorded, and the court records stop at that point, but from later records it is clear they were attempting to recover the estate of Walter Daux due to their wives. (The wives may have still been minors at the time, not eligible to receive the estate until their marriages.) The petition must not have been satisfied, for a year later, on 1 October 1674, John Witt and “Susannah” Rawlins were suing the commissioners of Charles City County in the colonial court. (Richard Rawlins had apparently died in the intervening year.) The case was deferred and, on 3 March 1674/5, the case of “Jno. Witt and Richard Rawlins who marryed the two orpts. of Walter Daux, dec’d” was deferred again.16  The case is not mentioned again, and was apparently not resolved. Three years later, on 14 February 1677/8 when the court records resume, John Witt and John Turberfield17  (who had married Susannah Rawlins) are found suing a justice of Charles City County for the value of the estate of Walter Daux. The suit claimed that “the estate was appraised and divided between the two Daux sisters. The court did not demand security of Flowers and he has wasted the estate. The plts. having married the sd. orphans now demand recompense by the court…The plts. ask the court to have the deft. pay Daux’s daughters according to the inventory as recorded.18  The husbands were evidently suing the justices who were sitting in 1658, whom they claimed should be liable for the estate’s value.19  The court ordered the payment, but one of the justices at the time appealed the judgment.20  William Randolph (remember him?) was security for the plaintiffs. Unfortunately, there is no further mention of the case.

I might point out here that the orphans themselves apparently did not initiate any suits. That suggests they may not have been of age – most Virginia women in the 1670s had married by the age of 17, and the mean age at marriage was 18. Further, the timing suggests they had recently married.21  The first record of the suit is in September 1673 by Richard Rawlins alone, joined by John Witt a month later. Both John Flowers and his wife Mary apparently died before 1672. Neither is mentioned after the court records resume in 1672, and presumably Flowers was not available to be sued in 1673.

John Turberville, the second husband of Susan(ah) Daux, evidently died by August 1694 when Mary and John Turberville chose guardians. Both children would have been at least 16 to have the right to choose a guardian, but both were probably under 19 since the marriage couldn’t have occurred prior to 1675

Walter Daux’s Father was Richard Daux of London

Before his death Walter Daux had shipped two hogsheads of tobacco to England by Captain William Odeon, and John Flower sued Odeon for the proceeds.22   On 4 October 1658 the Charles City County court ordered William Odeon to account for the shipment as it now belonged to John Flower by virtue of his marriage to Daux’s widow.  Two months later the court ordered John Flower to give bond to William Odeon for freight and other charges of two hogsheads of tobacco “consigned by Walter Daux dec’d to his father Richd. Daux of London”.23  Flower eventually collected from Odeon, the record noting that the tobacco “was legally deliv’red or disposed in London.”24   The outcome is unknown, as the last entry in the surviving court records is a continuance until Captain Odeon, who was apparently at sea, “shall come into these parts.”25

A hogshead of tobacco in those days was nearly 1,000 pounds, worth about $25-$30 depending on quality.26  One person could cultivate about three or four acres of tobacco yielding perhaps 1,500 pounds.  Two hogsheads probably represented the annual production of two field workers, less costs.

In Search of Richard Daux of London

The Daux name appears in England as early as the 1300s.27  And Richard Daux was not quite as rare a name as we might hope. In fact, a Richard Daukes of London is mentioned as early as the year 1338.28

Some persons of this name appear to have been in England for centuries before Walter Daux settled in Virginia. Others may have been immigrants into England from France a few generations earlier.

Richard Daux of Stratford-on-Avon

The interchangeability of spelling is illustrated by Richard Daux of Stratford-on-Avon in Warwickshire, who was proposed (incorrectly) several years ago by a Witt-Harbour researcher as the father of Walter Daux.29  His name is spelled variously as Dauxe, Dauxe, Daukes, and Dawkes in local and parish records. A history of Warwick notes that “Richard Dawkes, described also as a plumber, recast the great bell of the Chapel in 1606 and one of the bells of St. Nicholas Warwick in 1619. He may also have been responsible for a number of Worcestershire bells. He died in 1627.”30  I might note that the records of the bells actually spell the name Daukes. He may originally have been from Worcester (about 20 miles west) as records there show the christening of his illegitimate son Andrew in 1586 and his marriage to Annes Taylor in 1586. Indeed one authority believes that he may have had his foundry in Worcester, commenting that he was “of Evesham” in 1606 but many bells in Worcestershire cast in the period bear the initials R. D.31  He was at least briefly a vestryman in Stratford-on-Avon.32

The Warwickshire parish records show baptisms of his children named “Jone” (1607), John (1613), Alexander (1618), and Joane (1626). These records also record his burial on 27 January 1626/7.

Richard Daux of Dover

Another possible origin for Walter Daux is the family of Richard Dawkes, a merchant of Dover, located about 80 miles from London, in the early 1600s. He is described in several records as a gentleman whose dealt in textiles (he’s referred to as both a mercer and a merchant.) Canterbury marriage records mention several of his children: Richard Dawkes Jr. (born about 1607), Catherine (born about 1595), Susan and Judith (both born about 1605), Thomas (born about 1610), and William (born about 1613).33  Richard Dawles Sr. was dead by 16 November 1644 when his widow remarried, but his son Richard Dawkes is also described in these records as a merchant, and may have later moved to London.   Richard Dawkes Jr. married Ann March in 1634, however, which is about the outside limit for the birth of Walter Daux. It was apparently the son Richard Dawkes who seized Dover Castle for Cromwell in 1642.34  Richard Dawkes may have been the son of Thomas Dawkes. Who appears in 16th century records of Canterbury. A Kent history mentions that his sons Thomas and William were sent to London to train as shipwrights, whereupon they returned to Dover.35

Another Richard Daux

Still another Richard Dawkes is mentioned in the will of Richard Upton of Hereford dated 14 October 1588.36  The will identifies Richard Dawkes and Robert Dawkes as his nephews and mentions a John Dawkes. The will leaves a cow to Joyce Dawkes, daughter of Richard Dawkes.

  1. After 1680 the Governor could grant citizenship, but few of those records have survived. []
  2. Virginia Patent Book 1, p115. []
  3. Meaning that Henry Dawkes actually traveled to Virginia. []
  4. Virginia Patent Book 1, p114-5. []
  5. Virginia Patent Book 1, p434. []
  6. Virginia Patent Book 1, p138. []
  7. Virginia Patent Book 1, p510. []
  8. Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Volume III, Beverley Fleet (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988), p203 contains both references in this paragraph, from Charles City County Court Orders 1655-58, p146 and p148. []
  9. Virginia Patent Book 6, p205.  To John Flowre 750 acres between Shirley Hundred and Turkey Island Creek “formerly possest by Robt. Playne dec’d, granted to Eliza Grayne (Graves?), widow and by her (by the name of Heyman) transferred to sd Playne and lately found to escheat [in 1667]…and no granted [to Flower].”  This is proof that the son John Plaine had died without heirs (that’s the meaning of “escheated” land).  The land had been patented by Elizabeth Grayne in 1638 (VPB 2, p580), described as bordered on the west by the river. []
  10. Ibid., p213, at a court held 25 February 1658/9. []
  11. [1] Ibid., p217. []
  12. Ibid., p221. []
  13. Ibid., p234, at a court held 3 October 1660. []
  14. “Richd. Rawlings” was claimed as a headright by George Pace of Charles City County in 1650. (VPB 2, p252). []
  15. Ibid., p549.  (This section is court orders 1672-3).  []
  16. Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, 1622-1632, 1670-1676, H. R. McIlwaine, (The Colonial Press, Everett Waddy Co., 1924), p403. []
  17. The name appears as both Turberfield and Turberville in the records.  He deposed he was aged 24 in 1673. []
  18. Quotation is from the abstract, not the original. []
  19. The county justices were indeed legally responsible for preservation of decedent’s estates.  Indeed, the purpose of administrator’s bonds was to indemnify the justices.   If the administrator looted the estate and was dead or destitute, the heirs could legitimately seek to recover from the justices who appointed the administrator. []
  20. Charles City County Order Book 1676-1679, Margaret Mitchell Ayres (1968), p42 (and see page 4 of addendum for correction of spelling to “Whitt”. []
  21. There is a reference in Fleet (p236) to “Rawlins wife” in a deposition concerning events around Christmas 1672. []
  22. Charles City Court Orders 1658-1661, p158. []
  23. Ibid., p163. []
  24. Ibid., p276. []
  25. Ibid., p278. []
  26. Tobacco prices had been dropping steadily since 1622, and had reached a penny a pound by 1670. []
  27. In the form of Sir Henry Daux. []
  28. Calendar of the Plea and Memoranda Rolls of the City of London: Vol. 1: 1323-1364, A.H. Thomas, ed. (1926). []
  29. Harbour Family Association Newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 1 (1980).  This mentions an indictment against Richard Daux and twelve others which was later dismissed. This man died some 30 years before Charles City County records reference Richard Daux of London. []
  30. A History of the County of Warwick, Vol. 3, Phillip Styles ed. (1945). A footnote states: See Tilley and Walters, Church Bells of Warw. 56, 229, 253. He is there described as of Worcester, but the frequent references to him in local records make it most probable that he was a Stratford man. As Richard Dawkes, plumber, he first appears in 1605 (Par. Reg. i. 72). In 1624 he contracted with the churchwardens for releading the south side of the church (Vestry Min. Bk., 1617–99, p. 24). He was buried at Stratford 27 Jan. 1627 (Par. Reg. iii, 12). []
  31. The Church Bells of Warwickshire, Rev. H. T. Tilley (1910), p56 and pp229-231. []
  32. The Vestry Minute-Book Parish of Stratford-on-Avon 1617-1699. []
  33. Canterbury Marriage Licenses, Vol.2, Joseph Meadows Cowper, pp 25, 132, 163, 274, 275, 944, 964, and 1075. The marriage licenses give their approximate ages at marriage. []
  34. Annals of Dover, John Bavington Jones, (1916), p29. []
  35. Early Modern Kent 1540-1640, Michael Zell (2000), p131. []
  36. Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica (Google Books), p319. []