Article Archive

Nicholas I & II, Part 1

The following was published inMeriwether Connections, vol 12 number 4, Oct-Dec 1993.


by Maurice W. Kendall, Chairman, Family History Committee

One Society Family History target is to encourage family research by members of The Society. The previous two articles on "Nicholas I's Children" were intended to spur interest in the verification of our heritage and provide new facts useful to its revision. There are tremendous numbers of new compilations, abstracts, and transcriptions of pertinent family history records now in print that just a few years ago were unavailable in any useful form to the family researcher. These usually can be found in local or regional libraries, and so the role of all members in identifying them and calling them to the attention of our Family Group Representatives is of great importance.

Those publications are by definition "secondary sources" requiring further evaluation or verification of the events identified or information provided. Nonetheless, such clues become an essential travel guide that leads us to the new facts we need. By such an effort each generation of family researchers builds on the level of problems solved by the previous one.

Nicholas I & II, Part 2

The following was published inMeriwether Connection, vol 13 number 1, Jan-Mar 1994.

Nicholas I & II (cont.)

by Maury Kendall

Going Back.Where were we? In the last article direct evidence [P2] proved: (1) Nicholas II was the son of Nicholas I; (2) his relick, Elizabeth (Woodhouse?) Meriwether, married Lt. Col. William Browne some thing over a year after Nicholas I (NiI) died; and (3) he did so sometime between 19 Dec 1678 and 4 Mar 1678/9. Also clear and convincing evidence [P3] proved that Nicholas II (NiII) was older than his brother, Francis, and probably the oldest son.

Now.Let's build on that and begin reconstructing some of those colonial Meriwether families, recognizing that no single known document does so. As noted above, such accounts will be combinations of facts, deductions. assumptions, and speculations. Try to identify each.

Who Existed?The extent of the first colonial generation of Meriwethers in the English American colonies is not yet known. The relationship of Jo: Merywether, Thomas Merywether, and Rich. Merewether (NHM, pp.24-25) to our known ancestors remains an active research objective, currently pursued by Monte Monroe. We'll leave those targets and others for later analysis.

Which Nicholas Married Mildred Thornton?

The following was published in Meriwether Connections, vol. 14 number 3, Jul-Sep 1995. Copyright The Meriwether Society, Inc.

Which Nicholas Married Mildred Thornton?

by Maury Kendall

Nicholas II's Sons.In an earlier article, Dave, Tom, & Bill or was it Bill, Dave, & Nick?, the accepted order of birth of Nicholas II [M12] and Elizabeth (Crawford) Meriwether's sons was challenged. In that discussion there was strong evidence to suggest that William [M121] likely was b. ca. 1688 and was the oldest son, rather than David [M122], b. 1690. My purpose here is not to review the evidence supporting that conclusion, but to build on it, identifying the descendants of William Meriwether [M121] and his wife, Elizabeth Bushrod. As an exception, I will note that both Nettie Leitch Majors and Prentiss Price (Meriwether family researchers, discussed elsewhere) also concluded that William was the oldest son. We might expect William as the oldest son to have had a stronger role in the early Meriwether family than currently depicted. The following suggests he did.

Castle Hill

On entering the portals of an extended lawn stretching for several hundred yards - and seeing the beautiful house with its Corinthian columns and boxwoods 40-feet tall - one feels as if approaching some enchanted haven of peaceful rest.

It is not until entering the inside hall, however, and looking to the rear that one is struck with the beauty of its luxurious space. The wide hall extends through the entire building - or rather both buildings, forCastle Hillis really two structures.

The brick building was built in 1824 by the Hon. William Cabell Rives, ambassador to France. The clapboard structure was built by Dr. Thomas Walker, who married Mildred Thornton Meriwether, widow of Nicholas Meriwether (The Younger). By this marriage, he came into nearly one-half of the Meriwether lands along the Southwest Mountains. (The other half went to Col. Robert Lewis, of Belvoir, who had married Jane Meriwether, daughter of Nicholas Meriwether II.) This part of the house was built in 1765, where once assembled such great men as Col. Peter Jefferson, father of the President, Gov. Thomas Nelson, President Madison and Gen. Washington. Dr. Walker was guardian to Thomas Jefferson. During his raid on Charlottesville in 1781, British Col. Tarleton stopped here in a vain attempt to capture Gov. Jefferson and his Legislature. An interesting account of this is found in “Genealogy of the Page Family of Virginia,” by Dr. R. C. M. Page, who also gives a history of the Walker family.

Woodhouse Connection?

Family History Research

"The next generation invariably judges the credibility of our work and, in turn, our intellectual integrity." (PS11)

Since 1899 with the publication of The Record of Nicholas Meriwether of Wales by William Ridgely Griffith, the family histories have stated that Nicholas married Elizabeth Woodhouse. As can be seen in the following excepts and editorial comments, this is a very nebulous connection!

The following appeared in Meriwether Connections, Vol 12 no. 2, Apr-Jun 1997; this is the quarterly newsletter of The Meriwether Society.

Woodhouse Connection

by Maury Kendall

Myths. Your editor has suggested an article dealing with the several errors evident in existing Meriwether lore and publications, several of which have been earlier identified here. One day the Volume One Working Group will do that. For now, one example. While reading this, keep in mind the evaluation criteria reviewed above.

Woodhouse Connection. Our somewhat extensive research in early Virginia records provides no evidence Nicholas I in fact married an Elizabeth Woodhouse, nor did W. R. Griffith, who in 1899 first speculated (his pp. 14-15) that union "could be" in his The Record of Nicholas Meriwether of Wales. He, exhibiting great scholastic integrity, thereafter always identified her name with a [?]. Unfortunately those that followed appear to have removed his cautionary note and the [?], while neglecting to cite any new evidence. To date, we have found no evidence Thomas Woodhouse (supposedly Elizabeth’s father) was ever married; had any children; had a daughter named Elizabeth; or that Elizabeth Woodhouse, if she existed, married Nicholas I. We do know Nicholas I had a wife named Elizabeth (P1), but there is evidence she likely was a second wife (P5), who didn’t fit the pattern suggested by a possible Woodhouse connection.

Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton

Originally published in Meriwether Connections,the quarterly newsletter of The Meriwether Society, Inc.Vol. XXIV, No. 1, Jan.-Mar. 2005, and No. 2, Apr.–Jun. 2005

British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarletonand the American Revolution:Drama on the Plantations of Charlottesville

Stephen Meriwether Long

Three plantations of Albemarle County’s Meriwether and Lewis families were the stage of some events of The Revolutionary War in June 1781. Castle Hill, Belvoir, and The Farm all were paid visits by the British Legion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, on a raiding mission intent on capturing members of the Virginia legislature, including then Governor Thomas Jefferson, who were scheduled to meet in Charlottesville. Even just decades after these events, it was said, “Many a marvelous legend has passed through as many editions as mouths, respecting this invasion.” To help distinguish between the facts and myths surrounding this celebrated chapter of Charlottesville history,[1] it might help to know of the background of Banastre Tarleton. These are the events of the American Revolution that lead up to the historic encounters at the Charlottesville area homes.

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