I have looked at the microfilms of Lower Norfolk Co. Books D & E that span 1665-1675 and Book 4 1675-1686. The handwriting is really hard to read. I did my best to decipher it, if anyone disagrees with how I read it, I'm open to discussion! Here are summaries of some key entries that I found regarding John Martin and his children. There is no index so I may have missed some entries involving John Martin, but the ones I found are quite helpful. The "..." indicates where I couldn't decipher the archaic handwriting.
Will and Deeds, Book D, 1656-1666:
• Oct. 15, 1656, first mention of John Martin in this book. He was commissioner of the court. He had trouble with a Dutch maid, Hundrick Ronderson, running away.
• Nov. or Dec. 1657, deposition by John Martin aged 42 “or thereabout”, unreadable – something about a marriage performed at his house.
• Nov. 29, 1659, John Dier mentioned in court proceedings
• May 21, 1660, “Mrs. Grace Martin now ye wife of Mr. John Martin ye relict of John Dier lately deceased hath in open court renounced her husband’s will and flies to her thirds. An order is granted unto Mr. John Martin who hath married ye relict of John Dier lat. decd for a commission of Adm. on ye Dier’s estate.”
• July 26, 1660, “Upon the petition of Mr. John Martin in the behalf of Mrs. Grace Martin his wife ye relict of John Dier lat. Decd a probate of ye Last Will and Testatment of ye said John Dier decd is granted unto him. Mrs. Grace Martin upon ... consideration hath or doth ... for a commission of Adm granted unto her ....”
• Aug. 15, 1661, deposition by John Martin age 43 “or thereabout”, a lawsuit over hogs that he hired someone to butcher.
Deeds and Wills, Book E 1666-1675:
• June 15, 1666 – Administration granted for “Ann Martin relict of John Martin upon her husband John Martin’s estate”
• October 4, 1666, pg. 10 – Inventory of John Martin was ordered on Aug. 15 1666, completed 4 October 1666 and signed by Ann Okeham. Proved in Court 15 October 1666 by John Okeham. List of possessions is really hard to read, but he had a lot of stuff for that time, beyond the basic neccesities.
• Oct. 14, 1668, p. 40 – “Know all men by these presents that whereas John Okeham, Adam Keeling and Henry Woodhouse stand indebted to the Worshipful Justice of Lower Norfolk County. . . to be paid to John Martin, Joel Martin and Grace Martin . . . out of Mr. John Martin’s estate dec’d father of the said orphans.” John Okeham was pledging a bond to pay them their portion of the estate when they came of age.
• Feb. 1669 – John Okeham quit his post as recorder of deeds and wills.
• June 8, 1669, deposition by Ann Martin, signed with an “A” her mark, age 38. Not sure what the case was; Ann Martin testified that she heard a woman say that another woman was an “old bawd and kept a whore in her house”. Who is this Ann Martin, born 1631? She cannot be the wife of John Martin who had remarried by then and was known as Ann Okeham, and she would seem to be too old to be the daughter of John Martin. At age 38, surely she was the wife of a man named Martin, but who?
• Aug. 15, 1670, pg. 81 – Inventory of John Okeham, signed by Ann Okeham.
• Feb. 16, 1671, pg. 60 – “Whereas Plumer Bray caused Mrs. Ann Okeham to be arrested(?) to this Court for detaining a . . . of his from ye 5 Oct. to ye Dec. being 81 days and he having sufficient time. . . and wherefore it is ye Judgment of the Court that she ought to pay according to act for ye full time of her ... and therefore ordered that Anthony Lawson who married the said Okeham pay ye sum according to act here fore said.
• Feb. 16, 1671, pg. 61- Lawsuit between Adam Keeling and his wife plaintiff and Mrs. Ann Okeham defendant is by consent of plaintiff and defendant referred to ye next … Court. Don't know what the lawsuit was about - I found no other mention of it.
• October 16, 1671, pg. 71 – Mr. Sayer, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Fouler are by ye Court requested to meet at ye house of Mr. Anthony Lawson upon Monday next to audit ye act between ye said Lawson and ye orphans of Mr. John Okeham and Mr. John Martin, deceased and give in ye report to ye Orphan Court of what ye said orphans’ Estate may amount unto ye ....
• Dec. 16, 1671, p. 108 – “Be it known unto all men by these presents that I Katherine(?) Champernowne of Plymouth in the county of Devon and mother of Joseph Martin late of Plymouth . . .and administrix of all and singular his goods and chattals have made. . . and in my . . . and . . . have put my . . . Robert Hodge of Modbury in the county aforesaid. Mr. Land now bound forth in the good ship called … George of Plymouth whereof Thomas . . . is master unto Virginia my true and lawful attorney for . . . in my home and to my. . . of the . . . of John Okeham of Linhaven and of. . . perform or performs. . . against whom is shall or may . . . in Virginia. . . and owing unto me said sum . . .”, dated 1670. (See mention of Mrs. Champernowne in the settlement of John Okeham's estate, next entry)
• May 20, 1672, page 119L, – By order of Orphan’s Court 10 May 1672, the Estate of Mr. Okeham. Listed items sold and the total value was 66,463 pounds. The ___ part of ye estate above said and of ye debt hereunder written belongs to Mr. Anthony Lawson as marring ye widow, relict of ye said Mr. John Okeham deceased. Duly due to ye orphans of Mr. John Okeham more upon above said so as note receive but is to be accounted for by Mr. Anthony Lawson… Showed debt still outstanding. Signed Errors excepted by Anthony Lawson.
The next page shows the amounts of the Estate due to Mr. John Martin’s orphans and Mr. John Okeham’s orphans and what Mr. Lawson and Mr. Keeling disputed. It was done by Francis Sayer, William Roberson and George Fouler and present at the Orphans Court 20 May 1672. John Okeham’s estate paid 1762 pounds to Mr. Hodge for Mrs. Champernone, 30176 pounds to Joel and Grace Martin, and 14716 pounds to the orphans of John Okeham.
• June 17, 1672, pg. 81 – Whereas by a former order of Court, Mr. William Robinson, Mr. Francis Sayer and Mr. George Fouler were appointed to present ye account of ye Estate of ye orphans of Mr. John Martin, deceased and at ye last Orphans Court they did present their report covering ye same, whereby… ye sum of 30,176 pounds of tobacco with casts… it is now ordered that Mr. Robert Bray and Mr. Adam Keeling take the said orphans unto their custody and their Estate and give security at ye next Court for ye ______ until ye orphans come of age and that Mr. Anthony Lawson be discharged from ye said orphans’ Estate.
Whereas by a former order of Court Mr. William Robinson, Mr. Francis Sayer and Mr. George Fouler were appointed to present ye account of ye orphans’ Estate of Mr. John Okeham and at ye last Orphans Court they did give their report covering ye same whereby there appears that 14,716 pounds of tobacco and casts and ___ cattle and horses is due to them and Mr. Anthony Lawson who married the Relict of ye said Okeham out of which there is due to ye said Lawson one third part for his wife’s proportion of said Okeham’s Estate wherefore it is now order that ye two thirds of ye said 14, 716 of tobacco be dispose of as follows, two thirds of ye remaining two thirds to Mr. Robert Bray for ye William and John Okeham and ye other third to remain in ye hands of said Mr. Lawson for ye for Mary Okeham and pray ye that Bray and Lawson to give in security to ye said Court to _____ ye land to ye orphans when they come of age.
• 16 August 16, 1672, pg. 83 – “Mr. Adam Keeling and Mr. Plumber Bray have Ingaged … for ye estate of Joel Martin and Wm., Mary and John Okeham in ye hands of Mr. Robert Bray forthcoming and to … ye Court harmless. Mr. Robert Bray and Mr. Anthony Lawson have Ing. Agrt… to free ye estate of Grace Martin in ye hands of Mr. Adam Keeling forthcoming and to … ye Court harmless. Whereas by a former order… shall Mr. Robert Bray and Mr. Adam Keeling should give bounty for ye orphans estates of Mr. Martin and Mr. Okeham which they have now done wherefore it is ordered that Mr. Anthony Lawson be acquitted from ye orphans estate.”
Deeds and Wills, Book 4, 1675-1686:
• May 10, 1677, page 17 – “I … Alexander Keeling do acknowledge to have Rec’d(?) from my Brother Adam Keeling the sum of fourteen thousand sixty pounds(?) of tobacco being in right of my wife Grace, daughter of Mr. John Martin dec’d and do by these presents discharge him said Adam Keeling and his … for Guardian, as witnessed my hand ye 10 of May 1677.” Witnesses Anthony Lawson and John Fe___. Alexander Keeling was taking over his wife’s estate and releasing his brother Adam as her guardian. Note - it clearly says "my wife Grace, daughter of Mr. John Martin" not "my wife grand daughter of Mr. John Martin".
• Dec. 16, 1680, page 88 – “To all xpian (Christian) people to whom these presents shall come I Adam Keeling of Lynhaven in ye county of Lower Norfolk Gentleman send greetings in the Lord God everlasting know ye that I the said Adam Keeling for in consideration of the love and brotherly good will and … I bear to my wifes Brother and my nephew Joel Martin of the same … and in consideration of the provisions and exceptions hereafter and herein Mentioned provided and excepted and for divers other good causes and considerations me thereunto Especially Moving, have by and with the free and voluntary … and good will of Anne my wife freely given granted aliened enfeoffed & confirmed and do by and with the free & voluntary consent & good will of Anne my said wife fairly & absolutely give grant alien enfeoff & confirm unto the above said Joel Martin one plantation or tract of land being by estimation two hundred and fifty acres be it more or less scituate lying & being upon the Eastern Shoar of Lynhaven Joyning upon a place commonly called George Moore dam and was formerly belonging unto Mr. Thomas Allen and by … sales and assignments came to Dennis M___ and by this said M____ & Mary his wife was sold to me the above said Adam Keeling as by the said deed dated the 29th of November 1675 and the same acknowledged and recorded in Lower Norfolk records on 18th of Jan. 1678 will & may at large appear. To have and to hold the above plantation of two hundred & fifty acres of land be it more or less together will all … & all other the singular appurtances & … thereunto belonging or in any … to him the said Joel Martin his heirs and assigns forever him or they paying the accustomed fee … of the same by his most sacred Majesty provided …, that in case the said Joel Martin at day him aforesaid shall attain the full age of one & twenty years, or before by permit or means of any … (if Joel were to die before age 21 or die unmarried the plantation would go back to Adam Keeling)” Signed by Adam Keeling and Anne Keeling made her mark “A”. Witnesses: John Rishason, Evan Jones. Anne Martin gave her permission in a separate entry below it. Note: the recipient of this deed of gift has been read as John Martin in the past, but I think it clearly says Joel Martin. It makes more sense as Joel Martin would be under 21 in 1680 but John Martin, the oldest son of John Martin, would have to be over 21, if he were still alive.
• Dec. 17, 1683, page 155 – Will of Adam Keeling, dated 25 April 1683 and proved 17 December 1683 - this is a long document. I made a copy of it - it clearly says - "I give and bequeath unto my son John Keeling that plantation or tract of land he now lives on being about 1,400 acres, formerly belonging unto my father-in-law John Martin to him my said son John Keeling his heirs and assigns forever provided that my said son John Keeling shall and does (when he attains the age of 21 years) give confirm enfeoff deed in law made out unto his brother my son Adam Keeling and his heirs and assigns forever all that dividend or tract of land being about 2,000 acres lately patented in the name and to the use of my said son John Keeling being that land that now my mother lives on and called London bridge…"
It looks to me that John Martin was born 1615-1618, based on the depositions that give his age. He had at least 3 wives and 4 children. The name of wife #1 is unknown, but she was probably the mother of Ann and John.
Ann's birthdate is unknown. If she is the Ann Martin in the 1669, then she would be born in 1631 and unmarried at age 38. That doesn't seem likely. She probably was the oldest because she isn't listed as an orphan of John Martin in 1668. So she was either over 21 or married and over 16. She was married to Adam Keeling, but we really don't know when. We know she was married to him in 1680.
John Jr. was probably born 1647-51 based on his being included as an orphan in 1668 but not in 1672. According to a deed dated 1693 (which I haven't seen myself) between Adam Keeling (the son of Adam Keeling, Sr.) and his uncle Alexander Keeling, John Martin, the oldest son of John Martin, inherited land from his father's estate, but he died intestate, so the land went to his sister Ann Martin Keeling, who left it to her son Adam. Therefore, John Jr. died after reaching the age of 21 but didn't live to have children.
John Martin (the father) next married Grace Dyer, the widow of John Dyer, around 1660. They had one child, Grace, who was probably born around 1661, based on her marriage to Alexander Keeling in 1677.
John Martin's last wife was Ann Keeling, who he married probably around 1662. They had one son, Joel, born 1662-1666. Joel was in Lower Norfolk Co. at least until 1681 but had moved to Bath Co., NC by 1705.
John Martin died 1666. His widow married John Okeham in 1666 and had three children with him: William, Mary and John. John Okeham died 1670 and she married Anthony Lawson Jan.-Feb. 1671. She died May-June 1672.
One other mystery is the identity of Katherine Champernowne and her son Joseph Martin of Plymouth, England. She received a small portion of John Martin's estate, much smaller than his children received. It is odd that she would get something when her son was already dead.
Michel, contact me at email@example.com so I can get your mailing address and send you some copies.
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