Thoughts on Walter Daux


Is the name English or French?

Although his surname certainly sounds French, it may actually have been English.  Walter Daux himself was clearly English and we have no idea whether his ancestors were French or English. The name Daux may have derived from the French, but it also appears that  “Dawkes”, “Daukes” and “Daux” were versions of the same English name that also appears as  “Dawkins.”   As mentioned below, one early immigrant to Virginia appears in the records as both “Dawkes” and “Dauxe”, and our own Walter Daux appears in one record as “Daukes”.

Other immigrants named Daux

Several Englishmen of this name appear in the early records of Virginia. John Dauxe, an English gentleman, was among the Jamestown settlers in the “second supply” of 1608. A Mary Dawkes was among the dead following the 1622 Indian massacre at Jamestown, and a Thomas Dauks also appears in Jamestown records at about the same time. It is likely that these were all the same surname, spelled differently by different clerks.

Perhaps more interestingly, a Henry Dawkes claimed a Bill of Adventure based on his arrival in Virginia in 1608.1  He is listed as an adventurer in the 23 May 1609 Second Charter by King James, though the only further record of him is posthumous. In 1632 his son William Dawkes, residing in 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 adventure and another 100 acres for his father’s 1608 bill of adventure.2  William Dawkes died without heirs, as his land escheated in 1669.3  Interestingly, when that 1632 patent was mentioned in a 1637 patent for adjoining land, the name was spelled William Dauxe, which seemingly confirms that “Dawkes” and “Daux” were pronounced alike.4  That our own Walter Daux was also referred to as Walter Daukes emphasizes the point.

Several people of the name were claimed as headrights.  Perhaps a different Henry Dawkes was claimed as a headright twice: first in 1635 by William Swan and again by Swan’s son Thomas Swan in a 1638 patent.5  A John Dawkes was claimed as a headright by Arthur Allen in 1665 for land in Surry County.6  A Walter Dauks was claimed by Jenkin Price in a 1655 patent7, and a John Dawkes was claimed in a 1671 patent8, both for land in Northampton County. A Peter Dawkes was claimed in a 1676 patent for land in Lower Norfolk County.9

What we know about Walter Daux

Our Walter Daux may have arrived in Virginia prior to 1633, for a Walter Daukes appears on a list of 39 headrights in a 1637 patent to Henry Perry which renewed a patent to his father William Perry of 19 September 1633.10  Nearly thirty years later in 1664, John Stith and Samuel Earle claimed Walt. Daux as one of ten headrights for 500 acres adjoining Henry Perry’s patent.11  Unless we accept this as an improbable coincidence, this is the same person. In fact, other evidence does suggest that this was the same person claimed twice. Thus an arrival in Virginia in the late 1620s or early 1630s is likely.

These adoining patents were located in Charles City County. Given their proximity to the earlier Dawkes land, it is possible that Walter Daux was related in some way to Henry and William Dawkes. (The difference in spelling may simply be a matter of how different clerks recorded the name. Variant spellings were almost the norm in an age when the precise spelling of one’s surname was not of particular importance.)

Unfortunately, mainly owing to the fragmentary nature of Charles City County records, all further mentions of Walter Daux are posthumous. No records exist for Charles City County prior to 1655, and the earliest available record books mention him only after his death.

These records tell us that he had married a widow named Mary, who had been the wife of Robert Plaine, who was perhaps a very early settler.12  We also know that he had two daughters by her named Ann and Susan(nah).   He was dead by early 1658, for Mary had by then married John Flower(s) Jr. as her third husband.   Flowers was aged about 30 at this time, from which we might reasonably infer that Mary was about the same age.  This marriage had taken place before 24 May 1658 when John Flowers made deeds of gift to the children of his wife “Mary the relict of Walter Daux”.13  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, following the premature death of the son John Plaine.14

Walter Daux evidently owned land as well, although there are no remaining records of it. Following his death, there are three court records involving John Flower’s responsibility for a shipment of two hogsheads of tobacco by Walter Daux to his father Richard Daux of London.15 There is also a reference to the land of Walter Daux as late as 1664 when Edward Hill sold land described as adjacent Walter Daux.

In 1658 the Charles City court ordered an accounting of all orphans estates within the county.  John Flower evidently failed to comply, as in early 1659 the court ordered the sheriff to seize the estate of Flower or Daux until an accounting was rendered.16   He 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”.17  A few months later, John Flower was allowed 1000 pounds of tobacco out of the estate “in consideration of his wife’s bedding”.18  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.”19

There is at this point a gap in the Charles City County court records until a fragmentary book for 1672-3 followed by an order book for 1677-79. 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 Rawlins20, who married Susannah Daux, and John Witt, who married Ann Daux, petitioned the court on 3 October 1673.21  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.22  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 Turberfield23 (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.24  The law at the time held that the county justices were personally responsible for the preservation of orphans estates, hence their requirement that administrators and executors post bonds to indemnify them.  The husbands thus sued the justices who were sitting in 1658, whom they claimed should be liable for the estate’s value. The court rules in their favor and ordered the payment, but one of the justices at the time appealed the judgment.25  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.26  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 alive to be sued in 1673.

John Turberville, the second husband of Susan(ah) Daux, evidently died by August 1694 when his children Mary and John Turberville chose their guardians.  Both children would have been at least 14 to have the right to choose a guardian, but both were probably under 19 since their parents marriage couldn’t have occurred prior to 1675.

What do we know of Walter Daux’s ancestry?

After Walter Daux’s death, there are three court records in 1658 and 1661 involving John Flower’s responsibility for a shipment of two hogsheads of tobacco by Walter Daux to his father Richard Daux of London.27  As of this writing (in 2002)  no further record of Richard Daux have been uncovered. A Richard Dawkes (spelled as “Daux” in at least one record) lived not far away in Stratford-on-Avon, but he seems to have been of a later generation.

  1. Virginia Patent Book 1, p115. []
  2. Virginia Patent Book 1, p114-5. Note that the “personal adventure” implies that Henry Dawkes did indeed travel to Virginia. []
  3. Virginia Patent Book 6, p344. []
  4. Virginia Patent Book 1, p434-5, a patent to John Baker. []
  5. Virginia Patent Book 1, p293 and p625, respectively. []
  6. Virginia Patent Book 5, p282. []
  7. Virginia Patent Book 1, p341. []
  8. Virginia Patent Book 6, p373. []
  9. Virginia Patent Book 6, p614. []
  10. Virginia Patent Book 1, p510. []
  11. Virginia Patent Book 5, p299. []
  12. A Robert Plaine was claimed as a headright by Thomas Burbage in a patent dated 10 March 1638/9. Robert Plaine and three other names from that patent were claimed a second time twenty years later in a patent to William Walthall dated 4 Oct 1657. []
  13. 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. []
  14. 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 now granted [to Flower].” This is proof that the son John Plaine had died without heirs (that’s the meaning of “escheated”). The land had been patented by Elizabeth Grayne in 1638 (VPB 2, p580), described as bordered on the west by the James River. []
  15. Fleet, p156 and p209, both references in 1658, and p243 in 1661. []
  16. Ibid., p213 (at a court held 25 February 1658/9.) []
  17. Ibid., p217. []
  18. Ibid., p221. []
  19. Ibid., p234 (at a court held 3 October 1660.) []
  20. “Richd. Rawlings” was claimed as a headright by George Pace of Charles City County in 1650. (VPB 2, p252.) []
  21. Fleet, p549. (This section is court orders 1672-3.) []
  22. 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. []
  23. The name appears as both Turberfield and Turberville in the records. He deposed he was aged 24 in 1673. []
  24. Quotation is from the abstract. []
  25. Charles City County Order Book 1676-1679, Margaret Mitchell Ayres (1968), p42 (and see page 4 of addendum for correction of spelling to “Whitt”) []
  26. There is a reference in Fleet (p236) to “Rawlins wife” in a deposition concerning events around Christmas 1672. []
  27. Ibid., p156 and p209, both references in 1658, and p243 in 1661. []