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William Smoot Was NOT the Father of Dorothy Durham
Posted by: Graham Louer (ID *****0572) Date: April 25, 2012 at 08:04:45
  of 921

The reason I think he was not her father is at the end of this message so if you want to avoid the confusing details go ahead and peek, but for those interested in the many "William Smoots and their complexities, please read on.


       A William Smoot died in 1706 or 1707 leaving widow Eleanor and young children. A William and Jane were having children at least between 1693 and 1698. These two Williams might be the same man, if Jane died between 1698 and 1704 (when Eleanor was on a deed with William), but this Jane having children as late as 1698 is VERY unlikely to be the mother of a Dorothy born in 1663 .... so, either there were two couples named William and Jane, or there is a mistake concerning the parents (or at least the mother) of Dorothy.

       Other notes in the records (see TIMELINE) explain why Dorothy who married Thomas Durham cannot be a daughter of the couple William and Jane, and it seems clear that there was only one couple with those names.

Dorothy was probably kin in some way to either William Smoot or his wife Jane, but not a daughter of the two. The most likely possibilities include, in no particular order of likelihood:

-1- Dorothy was a daughter of William Smoot by a wife before Jane.
-2- Dorothy was a sister of Jane.
-3- Dorothy was Jane’s mother.
-4- Dorothy was a daughter of Jane by an earlier husband --- very unlikely considering Dorothy’s year of birth and the fact that Jane was having children more than 30 years after Dorothy’s birth.
-5- Some other relationship (niece, cousin, aunt) of Dorothy to either William Smoot or his wife Jane, though Dorothy being William’s mother can be ruled out.


Richmond Co
--William 1716 will


There were two William Smoots living in northeast Virginia at about the same time, one in Westmoreland Co and one in Rappahannock and later in Richmond Co (which was formed in 1692 from the north half of Rappahannock Co).

Both were probably related to one another, and probably both had Charles Co MD roots.


Westmoreland William married by June 1700, and evidently not long before that date, Eleanor Veale. He wrote his will in Feb 1715 (possibly 1714/15 but probably 1715/16) and it was proved in June 1716.

In his will he mentioned two sons (William and Thomas, both under 21) and three daughters (Mary, Sarah and Winney, all unmarried at the time). It’s not clear whether all or any of those children were by Eleanor: the wording of the will suggests that possibly the two sons were not by Eleanor.

In any event, Richmond William cannot be William the son of Westmoreland William, because in 1707 Westmoreland William’s son William was still a minor and had not completed his education, whereas Richmond William had married Jane ___ by 1683/84.

It is possible, however, that Richmond William “might” have been the father of Westmoreland William, though that seems unlikely because Richmond William made no bequests to the children of Westmoreland William, even though he did leave land to his Durham grandchildren.


This William married Jane ___ by early 1684, and possibly much earlier. There seems no doubt that his roots were in Charles Co MD. The first record of him in Rappahannock Co ---so far--- is in Dec 1672 when he witnessed a deed.

It seems likely that this William (or his wife) was related to, or at least had strong ties with, some of these families: Ingoe, Newman, Fantleroy, Maples, Grady, Riley, Webb and Gilbert, although the Gilbert tie may be with the Durham family. Richmond William also had another tie with the Durham family in that his daughter Mary (b 1693) married Thomas Durham, son of Thomas Sr and wife Dorothy.

Dorothy Durham’s connection to Richmond William Smoot is the subject of much speculation, discussed below.

Richmond William and Jane had at least 3 children, Mary mentioned above, and Elizabeth and Anne, both recorded in the North Farnham Parish register as born in 1698, evidently twins. These two did not live to 1715 evidently, since their father did not mention them in his will, leaving all his lands to his 3 Durham grandchildren upon the death of his wife Jane. Jane died by July 1735, at which time the 3 grandchildren were petitioning the court for a division of the land, about 310 acres in Richmond Co.

310 acres is almost exactly the size of the 306a in Rappahannock Co conveyed in Apr 1681 from William Fantleroy & wife Katherine to William Smoote, for 7000 lbs of tobacco, which then adjoined John Ingoe, said land later falling into Richmond Co. Given a small surveying error, this could be the same land, although subsequent deeds show that there was at least one subtraction of 100a from that 306a and likely grants, etc to add to it, so the fact that 310a was close in size to the 306a may not be as significant as supposed at first glance.

Fantleroy’s wife Katherine acknowledged that 1681 deed and relinquished her dower rights, finally, in Nov 1684, as well as another deed, dated 16 Jan 1678, to John Ingoe for 307 acres, adjoining the 306 acres noted above. These two deeds from the Fantleroys of virtually the same size look very much like a division of an estate, although the lands were not “given” to the grantees.


(A) William who by 1651 had married the widow Wood, who had a daughter Elizabeth Wood, and daughters Elizabeth Ann (it may have been Elizabeth and Ann, though there evidently was no comma) and Aels. This being mentioned in connection with his application for grant lands based on the transportation of wife and the noted children to Virginia. It is not known whether he had other children. He was living in Charles Co MD.

(B) Then there was William who in Sep 1661 stated in Charles Co MD that he was age 63. He may be the same as the William above, although he seems more likely to be (C) below.

(C) There is “information”, and some records found so far, that a William Smoot and wife Grace lived in Charles Co MD. Grace is said to have died on 14 Jan 1666 and William is said to have died in 1671. Their children, some confirmed, are said to be:
--Thomas (confirmed son; said to have been born 1634)
--Richard (confirmed son; said to have been born by 1646)
--Ann (confirmed daughter) said to have been born 1641; married ___ Hungerford, by whom she had a son William, born by 1665; her husband had died by 1665 certainly, and reportedly by 1658; she married 2nd Wm Barton.

Of the above children of William and Grace, Richard had a son ...

(D) William who became age 9 in June 1680, as reported in Charles Co MD court records. His father Richard died by 1784.

(E) William who on 5 Aug 1684, with wife Anne, sold Charles Co MD land (105a) that the chain of title traces back to a grant in 1671 to William Smoot, presumably the same William who is selling it in 1684. The deed states that Richard Smoot, dec’d, had formerly occupied the land.
The situation might then be that William who later married Anne was the father of Richard, dec’d, whose son William is (D) above. But this contradicts the “information” that William father of Richard had died by 1671, which might not be correct anyway, but agrees with the information that his wife Grace had died in 1666. Thereafter William seems to have married Anne, who is not Richard’s mother.

Therefore, (C) and (E) “seem” to be the same man, and (D) is his grandson. Moreover, if (C) and (E) are the same man, and that William is also (B), as above postulated, then (CEB) William in 1684 would have been about 86, which might tend to cast some doubt on whether (B) actually is (C) and (E).

Could any of these Williams be Westmoreland William or Richland William?

Clearly (B) could not, nor could (A) or (C).

However, (D) could be, as could (E) if he is not (C).

The scenario for (E) William husband of Anne, if he is not (CE), would be that he was probably born no later than 1660, and probably just about that time if he and Anne are newlyweds.
He might have been a son of the one of the reputed sons of William and Grace named Alexander and Thomas, but not a son of William and Grace’s son Richard, whose son William is accounted for and is too young to have married by 1684.
Otherwise there’s no particular record to suggest that this William is, or is not, Westmoreland William or Richmond William, but he may very well be one or the other, if his wife Anne died and he then married Eleanor Veale (Westmoreland) or Jane ___ (Richmond).

The other candidate is (D), who was born in June 1671, a son of Richard and grandson of William and Grace.

It might get tough trying to sort those two ---(D) and (E)--- out without further information, and it may be that one of them was Richmond William and one was Westmoreland William.

My own problem however is not --not yet anyway-- sorting those two out, but determining the maiden name of Thomas Durham’s wife Dorothy.

Now, getting to Thomas Durham and his wife Dorothy, Dorothy is known to have had at least two sisters, Thomasina and Alice, and possibly Mary Gilbert.
Alice married John Chinn “by” 1692, and Thomasin(a) married Abraham Marshall by 1699. Not much real help there so far.

Dorothy Durham gave birth to her first known child in June 1686, so she must have been born no later than about 1670. She might have been somewhat older than Alice and Thomasin.

So, we know that Dorothy cannot ---absolutely cannot if indeed she was a Smoot at all--- be a daughter of (D) William, who was born in June 1671, and Dorothy almost surely was not a daughter of (C) or (B) or (A) either.

Dorothy might, then, be a daughter of (E) William and wife Anne, but likely in that case only if (E) is not (C).

The reason of course that so many think that Dorothy must have been a daughter of Richmond William is because of the infamous gift to her of land for love and affection, etc.

I’m convinced Dorothy is NOT a daughter of Richmond William;
I do think it’s possible that either (a) Dorothy was a daughter of William’s wife Jane by a former husband, if there was one, though that idea seems quite remote if not impossible (see below), or (b) Dorothy was a sister of Jane.* Dorothy might even have been Jane’s mother, though that might be a stretch. At any rate there seems no doubt that the Durhams and Smoots have some history going back further than we now know.

*Other possibilities:
Dorothy was some kin to Anne, wife of (E).
Dorothy was a niece of Richmond William.
Dorothy was a daughter of (D).
Dorothy was some kin to the eventual wife of (D).

The reason why Dorothy absolutely could not be a daughter of Richmond William and Jane, in my opinion, is that Richmond William’s daughter Mary, a known daughter of Jane per the North Farnham Parish Register, married Thomas Durham Jr, son of Dorothy, and so, if Dorothy was Richmond William’s daughter, then Dorothy’s son was marrying Richmond William Smoot’s daughter Mary, who therefore would be a sister or, more likely, half-sister to her new mother-in-law Dorothy Durham. Or put another way, Mary Smoot would be marrying her nephew Thomas Durham.

It’s like that song “I’m My Own Granpa”, but worse, since this would be outright incest.

Jane would not likely be the mother of Dorothy, even by an earlier husband, because Jane was bearing children in 1698, while Dorothy must have been born no later than about 1670, as noted above. That’s at least 28 years apart. Likewise, and for the same sort of reason, Dorothy probably cannot have been Jane’s mother.

I’m guessing that the answer to either Jane or Dorothy’s parentage, or both, lies among the names: Ingoe, Newman, Fantleroy, Maples, Grady, Riley, Webb and Gilbert.

I would welcome any corrections, comments, additions, or just conversation about the above.

Graham Louer <<<>>>
Plano TX
Married 60 years November ‘11

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