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The North Carolina Settlement

 Francis Segraves appears in the records from the late 1690's into the early 1700's in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.  He is presumed to be the common patrimonial ancestor of all Seagraves throughout the early North Carolina members of the family.  Francis’ descendants, primarily through his son William, are believed to have settled around Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina and then migrated across North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee and on into Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and other states throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

It is probable that Francis was born between 1650 and 1670, possibly in England or Ireland but also possibly in Virginia.  His date of birth is based on two references:

1)  In January 1696 he proved rights for five persons transported into Perquimans Precinct, North Carolina....viz: himself, Lucretia his wife, Thomas, his son, Francis, his son, and William Powel.

2)   His will was proved (approved by a court) 22 Jan 1727.

If, as was common, he had married Lucretia at about the age of 20 in 1690 or 1691, they could easily have had the two sons noted above by 1696.  Using an age range of 18 to 25 for a marriage in 1690/91 gives a birth year from 1665 to 1673.  From the date his will was proved, he probably died in late 1726. If he died at an age reasonable for those times: from 50 to 60 years of age; that produces a birth year range from 1666 to 1676.  His birth date seems more likely to fall into the late 1660s; probably 1667 to 1670.  1668 has been selected as a useful date for discussion purposes with no other basis and as a good choice at this point until more information comes along.

As to his place of birth, only the DAR Patriot Index listing for Revolutionary War veteran John Seagraves identifies Francis as his ancestor who came from England.  It is not clear how accurate that information might be.  If it was based on information directly from the named John Seagraves, it might be based on actual family knowledge.  If not, it could be distorted in some way.  Given Francis’ possible date of birth, he could easily have been born in America since there were thousands of colonists in southern Virginia by the mid-1600s.  So, no specific place of birth can currently be determined.

Francis was in Isle of Wight County, Virginia in 1694 since he is listed as a witness to a sale of property there on 24 October 1694.   He must have been an adult (over 16) with property in the community to act as a witness.  If we use the assumed birth date of 1668, he would have been about 25 years old.

The transportation to Perquimans Precinct, North Carolina in January 1696, noted above, does not refer to transportation from Europe, but from Virginia, since Virginia and North Carolina were independent colonies at that time and movement of people was restricted and controlled.

Francis and family were in the Colony of Virginia in October 1694, and then moved to the Colony of North Carolina where the following three events occurred as recorded in “North Carolina Wills of 1677-1701” and “Abstract of North Carolina Wills”:

1)    On 19 Apr 1697, Francis and Lucretia Segraves of Chowan Precinct, North Carolina are listed as witnesses to the will of Thomas Stasi.

2)    On 20 Sep 1708, Francis Segraves is listed as witness to the will of Nicholas Tyne in Chowan Precinct, North Carolina.

3)    On 9 Apr 1709, Francis Segraves listed as witness to the will of Samuel Eldridge in Chowan Precinct, North Carolina.

These next two records indicate that Francis may have returned to Isle of Wight County in early 1710.  The second one also strongly hints that Francis pursued the profession of a Tailor along with being a farmer:

1)    On 9 June 1710, John Underwood of Newport Parish sold 187 acres of land in Isle of Wight County, Virginia to Francis Seagraves according to the Deed Book 2, page 154 in “Isle of Wight County Virginia Deeds, 1647-1695 & Guardian Bonds, 1740-1767” by William Lindsay Hopkins, 1994.

2)    On 27 Jan 1717, “Francis Seagrave, Merchant Tayler, appoints Jonathan Sanderson, Cordwinder, as his attorney as listed in “Isle of Wight Deeds, Wills….Great Book”, Vol. 2, 1715-1726, page 147.

Later in life, Francis appears to have returned to Isle of Wight County permanently, possibly for the marriages of his two daughters (Lucretia and Frances) who were married there in 1725.  He passed away shortly thereafter with some of his children remaining in or returning to North Carolina to carry on the family name there.

From: Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Will Book 3 (1726-1733) Page 56:

[No corrections for spelling or grammar have been made]

”I Francis Segrave of Isle of Wight Co. being in good health & perfect in sence and memory and Calling to mind the uncertainty of this Life think fit to make this my last will and Testament Comitting my Soul to God my Creator and my Body to the Earth to be buried by my Executrix and Executor hereafter named and for what Goods & Estate it has pleased God to bestow on me I give & bequeath in maner & form as follows belo |Viz.|
Item. I give unto my Daughter Frances Saunderson wife of Jonathan Saunderson one shilling to be paid her by my Executor & Executrix hereafter named.
Item. I give unto my Daughter Lucretia Turner wife of Tho. Turner one shilling to be paid her by my Extrx & Extr hereafter named.
Item. I leave unto my Dear & Loving wife Lucretia Segrave all my Estate indoored and outdoored during her widowhood but if she marry it is my desire that she shall only have an equal sheare with my six children namely William Segrave, & Elizabeth Segrave Frances and Ann & Susanah & Sarah shall have all my hole Estate divided among them.
Item. I also constitute and appoint my dear & welbeloved wife Lucretia and my son William Segrave to be my whole and sole Extrix & Extor to this my last will & Testamt which I ratefy & confirm renouncing all other wills & Testamts formerly made by me given under my hand & seal this 9th day of Oct’r In the year of our Lord 1725.
                     Francis FS (his mark) Segrave
Signed, sealed & acknowledged to be his
last will & Testam’t in the presence of Richard RH (his mark) Hutchins, Abraham Ricks
              At a court held for Isle of Wight Co.
              the 22d day of January 1727”

As noted previously, Francis had sons Thomas and Francis, with him in 1696 in Perquimans Precinct, North Carolina.  However, since Francis excluded their names from his will, it is fair to assume that they either died before maturity, or, at least, left the family in some definitive way.  Francis, Jr. and Thomas seem to have lived on in future records and are listed individually in this website.

Francis listed his married daughters, Frances and Lucretia, for one shilling bequests, but then he divides his estate among his “six children”, suggesting that he may have only considered Daughters, Frances, Lucretia, Elizabeth, Susannah, and Sarah plus son, William, as his children at that time.

Francis’ will plus the other references lead to the following presumed list of his known children (the dates of birth are complete estimates):

Thomas, b. early 1690s, died young or moved away
Francis, b. early 1690s, died young or moved away
Frances, b. late 1690s, m. Jonathan Sanderson in 1725(6)
Lucretia, b. late 1690s, m. Thomas Turner in 1725(6)
William, b. about 1702, m. Sarah ______ about 1727
Elizabeth, b. about 1705
Ann, b. about 1707

Susannah, b. about 1708

Sarah, b. about 1710


Since there is no known record of anyone who may have been Francis’ father in colonial Virginia, it would be more likely that if he arrived as an emigrant alone, he might have been in his late teens or early 20's.  That time period, if he was born 1665-1670, would likely have been between 1682 and 1692.  If it was close to the later date, he could have already been married to Lucretia when he arrived.

There are several other entries in the early Virginia records that may relate to Francis:

1)   According to “Virginia Wills and Administrations 1632-1800”  a Robert Sedgrave (possibly a misspelling or misreading of Seagrave?) recorded an Inventory of Property in 1652 in Northumberland County, Virginia.  Northumberland County is on the Chesapeake Bay about 100 miles north of Isle of Wight County.

2)    According to “Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents & Grants 1623-1800” (9) Amey Seagrasse (spelling?) is listed as transported on 26 Jul 1652 with others to Isle of Wight County, Virginia by Christopher Lewis who received 750 acres for the transportations.

3)    According to the same source, Joane Segrave is listed as one of 80 transported to Virginia prior to 7 Sept. 1654.

In Savannah’s Segraves Day’s book (“Reverend William Segraves & His Descendants”, Manuscript Memories, 1989) an excellent piece of family research, she “conjectures” (her word) that Francis was from Ireland with some references to a Captain Francis Segrave who was in the Irish Army of King James in 1689.  Her speculations are reasonable, but as she says, “The connecting link between the first Segraves emigrants to America and the Irish and English Segraves has not been ascertained definitively because of the paucity of early Colonial records.”

A daughter of Francis and Lucretia, Susannah, is supposed to have had an illegitimate son, John Segraves.  Both of them are listed in the will of John Pearce (the presumed father), who died 19 December 1751, of Isle of Wight County, Virginia.

Savannah makes a speculated connection between a John and a Daniel Segraves in North Carolina during that time.  We do not have any information showing the presumed connection between Daniel Segraves and Melinda Segraves, the mother of Rev. William Segraves, who is the primary ancestor in Savannah’s book.  She believes that Melinda is possibly a sister of Gilbert, the subject of this study, but, again, no proof was shown or has been found to support that conclusion.

Savannah’s book describes Francis and his family in the early records and goes from there to the early Segraves in Surry County, North Carolina in the early 1800s.  She “believes” that these people (John Segrove and William Segraves) in Surry County were “descendants of Francis and Lucretia”.  We agree that this is very likely, but she offers no proof or source material, nor have I been able to find anything that positively connects Francis directly with the later North Carolina Segraves.

According to the records discussed above, Francis had three sons: Thomas, Francis and William.  Thomas and Francis were mentioned in his 1696 transportation to Perquimans County, North Carolina, but not in his will written in 1725 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia.  William was an Executor of Francis’ will, so was likely living in Isle of Wight in 1725.  Savannah believes that William moved to Northampton County, North Carolina in the middle 1700s.  That conclusion is supported by land records of Northampton County. The William and his wife, Sarah of Northampton County, may possibly have been the parents of Jacob and William, Jr.   That family moved on to Wake County, North Carolina and seems to have led to almost all subsequent North Carolina Seagraves.


A Review of the Seagraves known to have been born in North Carolina or Virginia prior to 1800

We have created a list of the Seagraves men identified as born in North Carolina or Virginia prior to 1800.  Surprisingly, since the records are scarce, we found some 30 individuals to include.  That list with the name, year of birth, place of birth, father’s name, as known, and source clarifying comments follows:

NAME                     Est. DOB       POB              FATHER                    COMMENTS

Francis, Jr.               1685             VA                 Francis, Sr.              Based on travel writ in “NC Colonial Records” Vol I

William, Sr.             1702             VA                 Francis, Sr.              Based on will of Francis Segrave, Sr.

William, Jr.              1730             VA                 William, Sr.             Based on 1756 land purchase in IOW Co., VA

John, Sr.                   1738             NC                 John Pierce              From “DAR Patriot Index”

Samuel                      1743             VA                 William, Sr.             From “Botetourt Co., VA Early Settlers to 1795”

William                     1740             VA                                                     Lived in Botetourt Co., VA

Jacob                          1753             NC                 William, Sr.             “DAR Patriot Index” & “Rev War Soldiers Buried in                                                                                                                       Clinton Co., IL”

John                           1761             NC                                                     Based on pension application

John, Jr.                    1765             NC                 John, Sr.                   On 1850 census in Wake Co., NC as 85, born in NC

Stephen                    1765             NC                                                     Based on average age on 1800 census for Wake Co., NC

Randolph                  1770             NC                                                     Based on “Abstracts of Vital Records from Raleigh

                                                                                                                     Newspapers 1799-1819”

Joseph                       1774             VA                                                     Based on letter from Mary Ann Seagraves, 8 Aug 1997

William                     1776             NC                 John, Sr.                   On 1850 census in Montgomery Co., NC as 74, born in NC

Kinchen                     1776             NC                                                     On 1850 census in Lawrence Co., TN as 74, born in NC

Solomon                   1776             NC                                                     From tombstone in Chambers Co., AL

William                     1780             NC                                                     On 1850 census in Madison Co., GA as 70, born in NC

Thomas                    1782             VA                                                     Register of Enlistments in the US Army, 1798-1914

Britain                        1783             NC                                                     On 1850 census in Bledsoe Co., TN as 67, born in NC

Isaac                          1785             NC                 Jacob                         On 1850 census in Lincoln Co., TN as 65, born in NC

John                           1785             NC                                                     Estimated based on marriage to Polly Barker in 1810

Wilbur                       1787             NC                                                     On 1850 census in Weakly Co., TN as 63, born in NC

William                     1787             NC                                                     Based on Forum posting by Eugenie Balentine in 1999

Vincent                     1788             NC                 Jacob                         “Maury Co, TN Wills & Settlements 1807-1824”

Jonathan                   1790             VA                                                     On 1850 census in Allen Co., KY

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