I am posting this message to correct some information on the Fletcher Family Research Bulletin and Fletcher Surname DNA Project websites regarding William Fletcher of Essex County, Virginia, for the benefit of William’s descendants or any interested Fletcher researcher. These sites list William separately from the William Fletcher of Accomack County, Virginia/James Fletcher of Brunswick County, Virginia group. I believe these Fletchers are all in the same line. I am willing to be proved wrong, but this would entail showing proof of descent for one or more of the men currently listed in the William of Essex group. Such proof exists for James Monroe Fletcher (through Reuben Fletcher) and Mickey Webb Fletcher (through William Fletcher IV) who are currently listed in the Accomack/Brunswick group (I shall hereafter refer to the 4 generations of men named William Fletcher as William I-IV). I contacted Marilyn Brown, who did not reply and the Fletcher DNA Surname Project co-administrators, one of whom responded by saying “the DNA trumps,” without addressing the critical question as to whether the men currently listed in the Project as William’s descendants had proved their lineage.
I believe the evidence speaks for itself.
William Fletcher I lived in South Farnham Parish of Essex County, Virginia. A 15 Nov 1739 land processioning mentions “ye line between William Buford & William Fletchers orphans” (Ann Kicker Blomquist, Vestry Book of South Farnham Parish, p. 6). William I’s will is dated 5 Feb 1727/28 and names minor children Nathan, William, James and Phebe. William I says “my son William Fletcher shall be under the tuition of Wm. Gatewood and Katherine his wife till he shall come to the age of twenty Years” (Essex County Will Book 4, pp. 265-265a).
William Gatewood bequeaths "[t]o my kinsman, William Fletcher, my best suit of clothes and a young horse, bridle, and saddle" in his 18 Sep 1743 will (Essex County Will Book 7, pp. 84-86). It is reasonable to assume Gatewood is referring to William II, whom he raised after the death of William’s father. William II witnessed a 16 Jul 1764 deed wherein Catherine Gatewood gives negroes and property to her daughter Catherine and Catherine’s husband, Thomas Wood at their marriage (Mary Marshall Brewer, Essex County, Virginia Land Records, 1761-1772¸ p. 52).
William II’s will is dated 8 Oct 1774 in Essex County and names sons John, William, Carter, Reuben, Nathan and daughters Caty Fletcher, Foebe Fletcher and Sally Breedlove, who married Charles Breedlove (Essex County Will Book 12, pp. 604-05). William II, Charles and William Breedlove are mentioned together in land processionings dated 1744, 1756, 1759 and 1763 (Blomquist, pp. 37, 78, 103).
After the death of William II, his sons Reuben, William III and daughter Sally and her husband Charles Breedlove moved to Caswell County, North Carolina where William III, Charles Breedlove and James Fletcher are in the 1777 tax list (Katherine Kerr Kendall, Caswell County North Carolina Land Grants, Tax Lists, State Census, Apprentice Bonds, Estate Records, p. 25). On 21 Oct 1777, William III “of Granvil County, NC” sells to his brother John Fletcher “of Essex County” 50 acres “which was given & devised to him by his decd father’s will [part of] that tr[act] of land his decd father William Fletcher purch[ased] of Leroy Hipkins” (Mary Marshall Brewer, Essex County, Virginia Land Records, 1772-1786, p. 40).
William III’s brothers Nathan and Reuben Fletcher, and Charles Breedlove’s brother Spencer Breedlove are in the May and June 1778 payroll lists for Captain Robert Moore’s Company and Col. A. Lytle’s North Carolina line from Caswell County.
On 8 Dec 1786, Reuben Fletcher of Caswell County, North Carolina sells land to John Goode of South Farnham Parish bordered “on the south by land in possession of Isaac Gatewood” and “once … in the possession of … John Goode and sold by him to William Fletcher decd father to the sd Reuben Fletcher” (Essex County, VA Deed Book 33, pp. 25-6).
William III married Rebecca Moore, daughter of George Moore whose brother, Robert Moore, headed the Caswell County, NC militia in which Sally’s brother in law, Nathan Breedlove and brothers Reuben and Nathan Fletcher served. William III lived in Caswell and later Buncombe Counties alongside his brother, Reuben, on first Blue Wing and then Cane and Mud Creeks. Many deeds attest to this fact.
Nadine Christall has documented the land sales by William III to his sons, William IV and John prior to his move to (now) Madison County, Alabama. On 19 Nov 1812, John Hyde buys 300 acres “on the west side Cane Creek from William Fletcher of Madison County, Mississippi Territory.” William III’s will is dated 28 Oct 1815, Madison County, Alabama.
The foregoing wills, deeds and family connections prove that William III is the son and grandson of William I and II of Essex County, Virginia; his descendant, Mickey Webb Fletcher’s DNA match with James Monroe Fletcher, descendant of Reuben Fletcher (William III’s brother) and both men’s close match with men in the Accomack/Brunswick group further proves that the Essex County Fletchers are closely related.
If anyone has evidence that the DNA participants currently listed as descendants of William of Essex are indeed his descendants, I would be very interested to see it. Until then, I think we can conclude that there is a close blood relationship between William of Essex and James of Brunswick, both born around 1680-1690, and both descendants of William of Accomack.
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