Was Jane SEWELL (of Berkeley Co., Virginia) the daughter of Thomas BOSWELL?


In my estimation, Jane SEWELL of Berkeley Co., Virginia (later to become West Virginia) was NOT the daughter of Major Thomas BOSWELL of Gloucester. I will try to show why I believe this to be the case with the following facts:
  1. I refer you to the Will of John SEWELL of Berkeley Co., Virginia. In this Will he mentions his wife Jane and his six children (Timothy, David, Abigail, Elizabeth, Jane, and Anne). These six are consistently mentioned throughout the other probate documents as well. The husbands of Elizabeth (William BOUNTAIN or BOUNTING) and Anne (Jeremiah JOSLIN) are also mentioned in the various probate documents.
  2. Now I refer you to the William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 1, Jul. 1899, pp. 54-62. In this article, John SEWELL and Jane Boswell Thornton SEWELL of Gloucester Co., Virginia are said to have only one son, John, and three daughters, Elizabeth (who first married Col. Thomas WHITING … next married Major Samuel CARY), Jane (who married Capt. William VAUGHAN), and Dolly (who married John CAMP).
  3. I think, despite the two daughters with similar names, that it is quite obvious that these are two separate families. Besides the names of the children, the dates just don’t add up. If Gloucester John’s father (Joseph) was born about 1710, then Gloucester John himself would probably have been born about 1735. But our very own David SEWELL (son of Berkeley John) was born in 1746, when Gloucester John was just NINE YEARS OLD! In addition, one of the passages in the narrative of Mrs. Maria EDWARDS (see the W&M article) seems to imply that Gloucester John died and left an estate in Gloucester Co., Virginia, whereas Berkeley John died in Berkeley Co., Virginia.
In summary, I suspect that at some point in the past a well-meaning genealogist merged the two families into one. Unfortunately, this mistake is being circulated via the Internet on sites like www.rootsweb.com and www.ancestry.com in the form of user-submitted online family trees. I hope that by writing this article will help clear this misconception up.

Comments are closed.