John “Whitt” of Stafford County, Virginia

Some family genealogists have supposed that the following record refers to the same person as our immigrant John Witt:

On 20 July 1670 the Governor granted “unto John Whitt and John Woorman” 600 acres in Stafford County, Virginia.1   The land, which is today in Prince Edward County, was located on a neck of land where the Occoquan River flows into the Potomac River, across the Occoquan from what is today Woodbridge, Virginia.   This is just south of Alexandria, Virginia and across the river from Maryland.

However, twenty years later on 28 February 1690/91, Thomas Kyrton re-patented the same 600 acres, the patent noting that the land had originally been granted to “John White & John Wornam & by the said Wornam assigned to one Thomas Glover and through a series of assignments fell to Kyrton.2

It seems very unlikely that this is the same person as our John Witt for three reasons:

  • The patent to Kyrton suggests that his name was actually “White” rather than “Whitt”.
  • The likelihood that his name was “White” is strengthened by the fact that the original patent apparently spelled the other patentee’s name incorrectly as well.   Thomas Kyrton’s patent apparently spelled John Wornam’s name correctly.  There are records of a John Wornam down the Potomac in Northumberland County by 1679, and the births of five of his children are recorded between 1681 and 1689.3  He was dead by 1707 when his widow, who had remarried, made a deed of gift to her children.
  • The grant was in the vicinity of Washington, DC a long way from our John Witt’s stomping grounds on the James River.  Although it wasn’t unknown, it was quite unusual to find setters migrating from one major river system to another in that timeframe.
  1. Virginia Patent Book 6, p289. []
  2. Virginia Northern Neck Grant Book 1, pp45-7. []
  3. Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Series 2, Vol. 1, Beverley Fleet, pp486, 626, 632, 635, etc. []