Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

meant what they said, said what they meant

A few liars…

with 3 comments

A commenter, Rogers Smith, and I have been corresponding the last couple of months and hashing out theories on his ancestor John Rogers.  I have a theory that Rogers was an Indian Trader. To make the point that he was a Trader also may explain how he met his wife.

Firstly, we know that his wife was the sister of Richard Booth who was a known Indian Trader.  Such is stated in a deed of 1681:

Apr 20, 1680, Richard Booth obtained a patent of 560 acres of land in Isle of Wight County on Corowaugh Swamp (W.D. 1,pp.473; DB 1, pp 53-54).  Nov 8, 1681 he assigned his interest in this land to Thomas mann and his wife Elizabeth with John Rogers and Charles Mann as witnesses (DB1, p.473)  On that same day Richard Booth sold to his sister’s husband, John Rogers, 100 acres on Beaver dam Swamp; and on the next day, Nov 9, 1681 he gave 100 acres adjacent to his sister Mary Rogers (Ibid, p.463) [Boddie, Southside Virginia families]… Boddie purports Thomas Mann married another sister of Booth, i.e., Elizabeth Booth.

The problem is that John Rogers was living at this time in Surry County, VA.  The four abstracts below help explain the circumstances of him moving from Surry County to Isle of Wight County:

Surry County records, 1652-1684, Eliz. T. Davis

Page 302.  6 March 1681. Jno. Rogers, Sr., empowers his friend Elias Osborne his lawful attorney., Robert lee, John Vincent.

Surry County records, Eliz. T. Davis

Page 328.  9 Feb. 1682/3  Mary Rogers, wife of Jno. Rogers, makes Edward Baly her atty. in right of dower to sell to Edward Grantham.   John Due, Rich. Lucas.

Surry County Records, 1652-1684- Eliza Timberlake Davis

Page 318. 7 9ber 1682. John Rogers, Sr., appoints his wife. Mary Rogers ye elder, his lawful attorney to collect his debts etc.  Josiah Hacume?, John Rogers, Younger. Jno. Rogers, Jr., – made oath to same.

Surry Co., Va., Deeds & Wills 1671-1684, p. 307, May 2, 1682,

deposition of John Young, aged 36, that he took Robert Lea and his wife,

and John Rogers’ wife and child to Lynnhaven, they intending to go Southward.

Circumstantially, it would appear to be Mary Rogers, the sister of Richard Booth but the one abstract above mentions “Mary Rogers ye elder” which opens some doubt I cannot resolve… this suggests there were two Mary Rogers. And as yet we have not identified the name of John Rogers’ son by the same name and the name of his wife.

But back to my theory that Mary (Booth) Rogers was his wife. How would he have met her? He living in Surry, she in Isle of Wight near the Nansemond line.

Some history of Richard Booth…a 1707 deposition concerning the boundary dispute between VA and NC…

Edwd Moseley

North Carolina ss.
Before me Edward Moseley Esqr one of the members of the Council and being Authorized to take the Depositions of Certain persons relateing to the boundarys of this Government, personally Came and appeared Richd Booth aged sixty three years or thereabouts who on his Oath on the Holy Evangelists taken saith that in or about the year 1661 this Deponent came into Virginia and served Major Merritt six years (who then lived about Twenty miles from the Weyanoake Indian Town the Weyanoks living very near a plantation that now belongs to Collo Harrison betwixt Blackwater River & Weyanoake River which Weyanoake River by reason of the Declension of the Weyanoake Indians and the Nottoway Indians removing nigher to it has since in this Deponents memory gained the name of Nottoway River by the Virginians) And this Deponent further saith that in the year 1667 he being employed by one William West to go in a Canoe with Certain goods &c to the Maherine Indian Towns one Jno Browne and a certain Weyanoake Indian called Tom Frusman being in the Canoe with him as they went down Blackwater River this Deponent then being a Stranger in those parts any other than by hearesay enquired what river that was they first mett with on
their Right Hand they answered it was Weyanoake and Opposite to the Rivers mouth was a field belonging to the Weyanoakes it being then about one of the Clock in the afternoon this Deponent enquired how far it was to Maherine River they answered they should gett there before sun down which they did accordingly whereby this Deponent Computed it was about thirteen miles by Water and this Deponent further saith that he never understood that the Weyanoake Indians ever lived to the Southward of that River

Capt et Jurat Decimo die January Anno 1707 Coram me
Edward Mosely

Of course the Virginia hotshots in 1707 would consider that a bald-faced lie.  Well, the bit about the Nottoway River being called the Weyanoake River anyway…  That little tidbit was what the fuss was all about.  North Carolina insisted the boundary was the Nottoway River as it is today (they won the dispute).  Virginia insisted the bounday was some miles south.

The lies are what I find fascinating in this squabble.  Lies and Scoundrels… It is difficult for me to find the truth or the truth tellers.

So… Richard Booth came to the Kingsale Swamp area of IOW/Nansemond in 1661. In 1667 he was working for William West and canoed past the mouth of Nottoway River and headed down to trade with the Meherrin Indians.  But who was the “Major” Merritt that he says he “served” six years?

Keep in mind that the Virginia depositions were conducted by Philip Ludwell and Nathanial Harrison, Jr.  Below is the deposition of Benjamin Harrison (of Virginia).


Benjamin Harrison, Esq., aged sixty-three years, or there- abouts, being sworn, saith:

That to the best of his remembrance in the year one thousand six hundred and sixty three in the month of September, the Waynoak Indians sent in to the Governor and informed him that their king was killed by the Pohick Indians, whereupon a party of men were imediately sent out, who brought in the Queen and severall other Waynoak Indians; and in a few days after, another party of men were sent out of which this deponent was one, the Queen and her Indians went back with them, and they found the rest of the Waynoak Indians by the side of a great Swamp to the Westward of Nottoway River sheltered with a peace of a puncheon fort; about five or six miles from their Town; which was then called Wariecoke, standing near the banke along the South side of Nottoway River, to which place the English and some Indians went to gather corne for theire Journey in, and then they went back to the beforementioned swamp, and brought all the Waynoak Indians (they could find) in amongst the English; where to the best of this deponents re- membrancethey stayed about two yeares; and then, the English being uneasy at the Indians hunting upon their lands, the Indians went out again, as this Deponent was informed (and verily believes) to the Southward of Meheren River but to what particular place he does not know, they continued out (as well as this Deponent remembers) about two yeares; and then the Tuscarora Indians and they having some difference, the Waynoaks came in to Meheren River where (as they said) the Tuscarora’ fell upon them; and then they sent again to the Governor, who sent another party of men out to them, of which this Deponent was one; they found the Indians in an old field called Unotee very near the banke of Mehern River on the North side of it, sheltered with an half moon made with puncheons, and they brought them in a second time amongst the English. In these Expeditions the Deponent Crossed Nottoway River four times, one night they Quartered very near it; and in all the Discourse that this Deponent had or heard about it, it was always called Nottoway River (and by no other name) both by the English and Indians, and whilst the Indians stayed amongst the English they had some Cabbins in the Deponents orchard, where he had severall Discourses with them, and he does verily believe that if ever Nottoway River had been called by any other name he should have heard something of it from them, but he never did. The second time the Waynoak Indians came in they stayed amongst the English about a yeare or more and then they settled upon the South side of the Black Water Swamp, at a place now called the old town, where they staved about seven or eight years, and then they removed about four miles down the Swamp on the same side, which was their last Settlement, very near the place where this Deponent now hath a Plantation; upon which Charles Merrit was overseer, who went thither about the year I69I or I692, and continued there about five years and then he removed to some land belonging to the Colledge, where as this Deponent was informed, he stole severall of his hoggs, and upon this being known, the sense of his guilt (as the Deponent verily believes) made the said Charles Merrit runaway into North Carolina, and since that time this Deponent hath been severall times told by the Nottaway and Meheren Indians that the said Merrit has desired them to speake to him (this Deponent) that he may have leave to come back again into Virginia, which he was desirous to do if he might he out of fear of being prosecuted for the said hoggstealing. This Deponent further saith that he hath been concerned in the Indian trade both with the English and Indians for about five and thirty years passt or more; and hath many times had Discourseabout MeherrinRiver, Nottoway River, and Blackwater, and he never heard them called by any other name than what they go by at this day. He believes he may have severall times have heard the name Waynoak River or Creek but never knew where it was, till of late the Inhabitants of North Carolinamaking encroachmentsupon the Queens land (as this Deponent apprehended). He made inquiry about it of the Nottaway, Meheren, and Nansemond (or Pochiack) Indians and they all said that after they left Mapacre they Waynoaks went to the Southward of Meheren River and setled in a fork between the two great swamps which are the head Branches of a small River that empties itself into Chowan, and that (they say) is Waynoak River, and that they neither knew or ever heard of any other Waynoak River but that.

And this Deponent furthersaith, that about five and twenty years ago, the Tuscaroro Indians fell upon the Waynoaks, at thelr last settlement upon Blackwater Swamp; and the Nottoway Indians were said to join with the Tuscaroras: Whereupon the Queen of the Waynoaks complained to the Deponent of the wrong the Nottoways did them, for that the Waynoaks had paid them a yearly acknowledgement for their liberty of living at Warueake (upon Nottoway River) as long as they lived there, and afterwardsthey paid them for the liberty of living upon the Blackwater, and of late, this Deponent enquiring (about it) of the Nottoways, they confirmed the truth of the Waynoaks hav- ing paid them an acknowledgement, till the Articles of Peace were made with the English; and then they looked upon them- selves to have no further right to any land than those articles do give them, so they did not receive the Acknowledgement any longer. And further this Deponent saith not.


Novemb I5, 1707. Sworn to before us,

N. Harrison,Jun’, Ffran: Mallory.

Colonial Letters, &c.,  The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography , Vol. 5, No. 1 (Jul., 1897), pp. 42-53

Mr. Benjamin Harrison, Esquire, seems to have a personal dislike of Charles Merritt. But then even if Charles Merritt was a hog stealer what in hell does that have to do with the name of the Nottoway River?  Nothing that I can see. It seems to me more like a calculated attempt to discredit any testimony of Merritt.   Ahh… the intrigue.

Let’s see what the hog stealer had to say:

North Carolina ss.
Before me Edward Mosely Esqr one of the members of the Council and Authorised to take the Depositions of certain persons relateing to the boundarys of this Government Personally Came and appeared Charles Merritt aged fifty five years or thereabouts, Who on his Oath on the Holy Evangelists taken saith that he Came into Virginia in or about the year 1666. And lived about twenty yeares on the south side James River and then lived on A Plantation of Collo Benjamin Harrisson on Blackwater and within call of the Weyanoake Indian Forte and consumed there five yeares during which time this Deponent had frequent Discourses with the Indians and was by them informed that they never Claimed to the Southward of the Maherine River But at the time that the Appachoukanough was Routed and taken for the Massacre he had committed the Weyanoakes (being his Confederates and fearing the English) removed themselves from that place which is now called Weyanoake in James River to Warraekeeks on Weyanoake River and after when the Poackyacks killed their King they were by the English brought from thence and placed on the Blackwater aforementioned as Tributarys. where this Deponent lived by them and this Deponent further saith that he was informed by the Weyanoaks that the Weyanoke River now Called Nottoway was their bounds and that they never Seated to the Southward of Warr-a-keeks
the mark of

Capt at Jurat Duodecimo die Jany Anno Domi 1707 Coram me
Edwd Moseley

That testimony seems to be free from any pork that I can see.  But lets run some numbers…

According to Merritt he arrived in VA in 1666.  (records show him in Surry County)…  He says after 20 years (1686) he moved to Benj. Harrison’s plantation on Blackwater and resided there 5 years (making the date 1691).

Interestingly enough, the Surry tithables show Charles Merritt on the roles in 1689…

1689     Benja: Harrison, Charles Merritt, Jno: Rivers, Silas Smith, Tho: Haynes, Richd: Bullock, Jno: Morgan, 14 Negroes, one Indian – 22

1691     Benja: Harrison Senr, Ben: Harrison junr, Tho: Haynes, Silas Smith, Charles Merritt, Jno. Morgan, fifteen  negroes, one Indian, 22

1692     Charles Merritt, 1

1693     Cha: Merritt, 1

1694     Charles Merritt, 1

* list per  Benja: Harrison         (why did not Mr. Harrison prosecute Merritt?)

1695     Charles Merritt, 1

1696     Cha: Meritt & Fra. West, 2

1697     Charles Meriott, 1

For some reason it appears Mr. Benjamin Harrison, Esquire, lied in his testimony of when Charles Merritt worked for him as an overseer. (If I read it correctly, Harrison has Merritt working for him from 1691 to 1696) Or perhaps he just had a memory lapse such as it also appears Mr. Harrison “forgot” to claim Mr. Merritt as a tithe from 1686 to 1688  (note that Mr. Merritt was diligent to claim himself after he left Harrison in 1691).  Or… in my opinion, he was just a pompous ass who lied about the name of the Nottoway River and slandered Mr. Merritt in an attempt to find favor with his son/nephew/whatever Nathaniel Harrison and the odious Philip Ludwell.

But back to Richard Booth’s deposition… he says he “served Major Merritt six years (who then lived about Twenty miles from the Weyanoake Indian Town the Weyanoks living very near a plantation that now belongs to Collo Harrison betwixt Blackwater River & Weyanoake River”

If you believe Charles Merritt’s testimony (and it is substantiated by the Tithables) then he worked for Harrison from 1686-1691. That is the period when Booth was evidently trading for Benjamin Harrison’s enterprise.  Harrison stated in his deposition he was a Trader for 35 years…  ” This Deponent further saith that he hath been concerned in the Indian trade both with the English and Indians for about five and thirty years passt or more;”

Since Richard Booth demonstrably stayed in the area of Kingsale Swamp it stands to reason that John Rogers was the one who traveled south from Surry County and met Booth’s sister and married her.  I suspect that he was also involved in the Indian Trade perhaps in association with Booth (who basically grubstaked him some land in 1681).

The speculation on John Rogers being a trader is theory buy it offers an avenue to search for more clues…

Here is a reference map… Benjamin Harrison had numerous patents in different places (most of which I have not researched)…  the one near the “Circle and Square” Indian reservations is interesting because of the depositions referencing the various Indian tribes.   I see no reason to doubt Mr. Harrison’s testimony on the historical facts… but I think you have to read between the lines to sort out the truth from his lies… The basis of the boundary dispute was that Virginia insisted the line should be drawn from Wiccacon Creek in NC and not the Nottoway River.  They persisted in claiming the Weyanoake Indians lived on Wiccacon Creek.  Harrison himself contradicts that assumption…consider the actual testimony of Harrison:    [in 1663]  “they found the rest of the Waynoak Indians by the side of a great Swamp to the Westward of Nottoway River sheltered with a peace of a puncheon fort; about five or six miles from their Town; which was then called Wariecoke, standing near the banke along the South side of Nottoway River…”. Just look on my map to see where the moron was referring:

The detailed map is here:


Written by anderson1951

July 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Charles Merritt would have been who I descended from in the USA, wish we knew who he married and lists of descendants.


    Debbie Merritt Cooper

    April 13, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    • His wife was Ellinor… they lived west of the Chowan River (Wiccacon Creek area)

      BK B PG. 112

      1715 – Elinor Merrett/Meriet to William Nixon/Mixon (melton) 16 Apr 1715 p of atty to act in open Court 130 A for ye said William Merret unto James Peeke. Witnesses: Peter Evens, Rich Barfield.

      Ellinor Merritt to Wm. Mixon. Power of Attorney to acknowledge deed to Rich’d Barefield for land sold by my husband Charles Merritt and Peter Evans to said Barefield, 280 acres on Deep Creek branch, Test. Wm. Mixon, Peter Evans.

      Same to acknowledge deed to James Peake, of Boston, Executed by my husband Charles Merritt for 130 acres on south side of Chowan River, at ye mouth of Deep Branch; Apl. 16, 1715. Test, Peter Evans, Richard Barefield (NCHGR 138).

      Use the “search” box for “merritt”…. I have not researched your guy that much but he showed up a lot with the others I have been interested in…

      good luck



      April 14, 2016 at 12:11 pm

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