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Humphrey Lawrence 1726 – 1772

Humphrey Lawrence 1726 – 1772

Humphrey Lawrence, goldsmith, was born circa 1726. He married Ann (Ashley) Lawrence[i], daughter of Thomas Ashley and Lucretia Ann (Hicks) Lawrence. The Lawrence and Ashley families had lived in Bertie County for many years.

Fortunately Humphrey was not named for his father or his grandfather. The names of Robert Lawrence, John Lawrence and even Thomas Lawrence are often repeated in the generations of the family and in the records of Virginia and North Carolina. Those names are in such a tangle that is often difficult to tell which man is which, especially considering we often do not know the birth and death dates of those individuals. Humphrey’s name stands out and can be clearly traced to this son of Robert and husband of Ann.

Bertie County, North Carolina records give witness to Humphrey’s life there. In 1742 Humphrey Lawrence and his father in law, Thomas Ashley, served as jurors on the Supreme Court.[ii]In 1747 Humphrey sold land to his brother, George Lawrence. This land had been left to Humphrey by his father, Robert Lawrence.

January 9, 1747. 7 pds. 10 sh. For 120 A. ‘…A Certain Piece of Land which was Willed to me by my father Robert Laurence…’ On SS Bear Swamp ‘…being part of the Land my Father Robert Laurence Lived on when he died…’[iii]

In 1749 Humphrey Lawrence was the witness to a land sale.[iv]

A 1753 land record gives more information that just the deed of 82 acres of land on Cashoke Swamp from Thomas Ashley [Ashley Generation #3] to Humphrey Lawrence. It also reveals that Humphrey was a gold smith and that he was the son-in-law of Thomas Ashley.

…for love… we bear unto our well beloved Daughter Ann intermarried with the s’d Humphrey…’ Land on WS Cashoke Swamp. Adj. Thomas Ashbourne, to the Great Branch ‘opposite the Old Plantation’, Thomas Ashely, Henry Vanluven, Robert West, Jun. The same land which was bought of Henry Vanluven July 20, 1747. Wit: Samuel Ormes, Jane Ormes. November Court 1753. Samuel Ormes”[v]

Bertie County’s tax list includes Humphrey’s name beginning in 1756. His brothers, Robert, Thomas and John were also listed that year.[vi]  He was on the list again in 1758[vii], 1759[viii]and 1763 when he had two male and one female slaves.[ix]Further tax lists show Humphrey Lawrence paid taxes for a Negro male named Ben and a female named Patt.[x]

In that same time period Humphrey witnessed deeds in the county. On 26 July 1758 he witnessed a deed between David Ryan and William Sparkman.[xi]On 19 February 1763 he witnessed a deed between Thomas Larence [sic] and Jacob Larence [sic] who were most likely relatives.[xii]On 1 May 1763 David Ryan sold 200 acres to Thomas Lawrence and Humphrey was a witness.[xiii]

Humphrey bought 77 acres of land on Black Walnut Swamp from John Cook in 1768.[xiv]

1770 is the last year Humphrey is included in the Bertie County Tax List[xv]. His widow, Ann (Ashley) Lawrence is shown on the list in 1772[xvi], 1774 and 1775[xvii]. We know this Ann is his widow because in 1774 she paid taxes for ‘Negro man Ben and Negro female Pat.’[xviii]Their sons, Frederick, Reuben and Nathaniel, appear in the same tax lists continuing into 1784 (the last year covered by the books of A. B. Pruitt).[xix]

[i]U. S. and International Marriage Records, 1560 – 1900; digital image, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed January 2019) Humphrey Lawrence & Ann Ashely.

[ii]Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1740 thru 1743; 1758 thru 1762.Book II. (North Carolina: 1977) 59.

[iii]Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1744 – 1753. Volume V; Abstracts of Deed Book G. (Windsor, North Carolina: Colonial Bertie, 1965) 283.

[iv]Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1744 – 1753. Volume V; Abstracts of Deed Book G. (Windsor, NC: Colonial Bertie, 1965) 299.

[v]Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1753 – 1757. Volume VI; Abstracts of Deed Book H. Windsor, (North Carolina: Colonial Bertie, 1968) 336.

[vi]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1755-1764, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2009) 6.

[vii]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1755-1764, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2009) 20.

[viii]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1755-1764, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2009) 28.

[ix]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1755-1764, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2009) 68.

[x]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1765-1771, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2009) 26, 36, 65.

[xi]S. E. Bradley, The Deeds of Bertie County, North Carolina, 1757-1772 (Keysville, VA, 1992) 6.

[xii]S. E. Bradley, The Deeds of Bertie County, North Carolina, 1757-1772 (Keysville, VA, 1992) 43.

[xiii]S. E. Bradley, The Deeds of Bertie County, North Carolina, 1757-1772 (Keysville, VA, 1992) 43.

[xiv]S. E. Bradley, The Deeds of Bertie County, North Carolina, 1757-1772 (Keysville, VA, 1992) 72.

[xv]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1765-1771, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2009) 65, 66.

[xvi]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1772-1784, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2010) 10.

[xvii]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1772-1784, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2010) 42.

[xviii]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1772-1784, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2010) 33.

[xix]Pruitt, A. B., List of Taxables 1772-1784, Bertie County, N. C. (NC: privately printed, 2010) 74, 105, 113.

1 Humphrey Lawrence b: c. 1726, d: 1772 Bertie, NC
… + Ann Ashley b: c. 1733, daughter of Thomas Ashley
……2 Frederick Lawrence b: c. 1746 Bertie, NC, d: 1823 Bertie, NC
……2 Reuben Lawrence b: c. 1748 Bertie, NC d: Bertie, NC
……2 David Lawrence b: c 1750 Bertie, NC, d: c. 1786 in Chowan, NC
……2 Anne Lawrence b: c 1762 in Bertie, NC, d: c 1830 MS
…… + Richard Dillon b: 7 Oct 1745 Norfolk, VA, m: c. 1776, d: 7 Oct 1833 MS
……2 Nathaniel Lawrence b: 27 Jul 1766 Bertie, NC, d: 24 Dec 1849 Artesia, Lowndes, MS

Evidence of Humphrey Lawrence in Bertie Co., NC:

1742. A list of jurors for the next Supreme Court included Humphrey Lawrence & his father-in-law, Thomas Ashley. Source: Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1740 thru 1743; 1758 thru 1762. Book II. North Carolina: 1977, page 59.

1747. A Sale of Land from Humphrey Lawrence to his brother, George Lawrence. The land had been willed to Humphrey by his father, Robert. The sale was witnessed by his brother, William. “January 9, 1747. 7 pds. 10 sh. For 120 A. ‘…A Certain Piece of Land which was Willed to me by my father Robert Laurence…’ On SS Bear Swamp ‘…being part of the Land my Father Robert Laurence Lived on when he died…’ “ Source: Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1744 – 1753. Volume V; Abstracts of Deed Book G. Windsor, North Carolina: Colonial Bertie, 1965, page 283.

1749. Humphrey Lawrence was the witness to a land sale. Source: Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1744 – 1753. Volume V; Abstracts of Deed Book G. Windsor, North Carolina: Colonial Bertie, 1965, page 299.

1753. Thomas Ashley deeded 82 acres of land  on Cashoke Swamp to his son-in-law Humphrey Lawrence, goldsmith. “ ‘…for love… we bear unto our well beloved Daughter Ann intermarried with the s’d Humphrey…’ Land on WS Cashoke Swamp. Adj. Thomas Ashbourne, to the Great Branch ‘opposite the Old Plantation’, Thomas Ashely, Henry Vanluven, Robert West, Jun. The same land which was bought of Henry Vanluven July 20, 1747. Wit: Samuel Ormes, Jane Ormes. November Court 1753. Samuel Ormes”. Source: Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1753 – 1757. Volume VI; Abstracts of Deed Book H. Windsor, North Carolina: Colonial Bertie, 1968, Page 336.

1767. Humphrey Lawrence was the executor of a will. Source: Gammon, David B. Abstracts of Wills; Bertie County, North Carolina; 1722 – 1774. Raleigh, North Carolina: 1990. Pages 85 – 86.

An Inventory of the Estate of Humphrey Lawrence

1 Negro man Ben, 1 Negro woman Patt, 1 Negro boy Isaac, 1 Negro boy Granville, 1 Negro girl Taylor, 1 mare, About 26 head of cattle, 16 head of sheep, Some hogs in the woods, number unknown, 3 feather beds & frames, 2 chests, 1 table & 1 trunk, A small chest of drawers, 11 chairs & 1 looking glass, 1 rifle gun, Part of a set of blacksmith tools, A part of a set of silver smith’s tools, 13 pewter plates, 3 pewter dishes, 2 dozen spoons, 2 stone jugs, 1 earthen jug, Ax & saw, 19 stone plates, 3 tea pots, 2 bowls, 1 stone pitcher, 1 earthen pitcher, 3 butter pots, 1 saddle & bridle, 2 barrels of tobacco, 1 horse cart, 1 chamber pot, 1 fire shovel & tongs, 2 candle sticks & snuffers, 8 knives, A parcel of old books, His wearing clothes, 1 pr. of money scales & weights, 1 razor, 21 L – 3- 8 in money, Some old silver, 6 small stone bowls, 2 wine glasses, 3 glass tumblers, 2 salts, 2 woolen wheels, 1 linen wheel, 1 iron skillet, 1 ink pot, 1 pr. Of old hand bellows

There were many more items but the handwriting was too difficult to read. Two pages of inventory were divided into sections labeled: Frederick, David, Nathaniel, Reuben & Ann with items & their value listed below.

This inventory was discovered on Family Search/North Carolina/Bertie County/Probate: ‘Bertie County Estate Records, indexed by Names’.

Selected Sources:

  • 1820 US Census, NC, Bertie County, page 86; NARA Roll M33_82, Image 59. Frederick & Humphrey ‘Larrence’.
  • Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1744 – 1753. Volume V; Abstracts of Deed Book G. Windsor, North Carolina: Colonial Bertie, 1965.
  • Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1753 – 1757. Volume VI; Abstracts of Deed Book H. Windsor, North Carolina: Colonial Bertie, 1968.
  • Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1740 thru 1743; 1758 thru 1762. Book II. North Carolina: 1977.
  • Gammon, David B. Abstracts of Wills; Bertie County, North Carolina; 1722 – 1774. Raleigh, North Carolina: 1990.

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