M13 Francis Meriwether (ca.1670-1713) & Mary Bathurst

MeriRep:Dorothy Law Polk

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Biographical Sketch:

Francis Meriwether (M13), Gentleman of Essex County.

Francis Meriwether was born about 1670 in Surry County or James City, the second son and third child of Nicholas Meriwether (M1) and Elizabeth _______. Not much is known about his early life except that he appeared in the Surry County tithable list in 1688. He inherited the “Island House” on Jamestown Island when his father died in 1678 and may have lived there at some point. It is said that he was educated in England. While this cannot be verified the records show that he was well versed in the law. He appeared in the newly formed Essex County as the first Essex County Clerk in April 1692 and served in that position until 1703. He also served as county justice, coroner and burgess. He died intestate about March 1712/13. His estate inventory was over 6 pages and included 54 slaves and 6 indentured servants.

By 1704 Francis was the second largest landholder in Essex County and he continued adding to his holdings until his death, including 5 lots in the new town of Tappahannock. He lived in, at least, two places in Essex County the last of which was on Piscataway Creek, where later, Bathurst House was built. Francis also owned a brig or brigantine, an ocean going vessel which he probably used to transport tobacco to England and to bring merchandize to Virginia.

Francis married, by 1695, Mary Bathurst, daughter of Lancelot Bathurst of Gloucestershire County, England and New Kent County, Virginia. They had the following children: Francis, Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, Lucy and Thomas. Francis and Thomas left no descendants but the four daughters all left descendants including some most distinguished ones. After her husband Francis died, Mary Bathurst married Reuben Welch, an Essex County justice, and then John Robinson who became President of the Virginia Council after Mary’s death in 1738. There were no children from these marriages.

Biographical sketch provided by Guy Meriwether Benson.

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