Name: Richard LIGON
Birth: ABT 1666 in Henrico Co., Virginia
Death: 4 APR 1724 in Henrico Co., Virginia
Occupation: Surveyor of Henrico Co., Virginia. Including the 5000 Huguenot settlement at Manakin Town now in Powhatan Co.
Change Date: 17 JUL 2010
Richard Ligon (c.1666?1724) Richard Ligon, son of Col. Thomas Ligon Jr. and Mary Harris, was born about 1666 according to Henrico County, Virginia Colonial Records, Book 5, p. 450, 1 Dec 1693, deposition of Richard LYGON aged twenty-six or twenty-seven. He succeeded his father as surveyor of Henrico County and his name appeared often in court records related to his surveying duties.
Richard was the surveyor of the 5,000-acre Huguenot settlement at Manakin Town, now in Powhatan County. This settlement was for the French refugees who came to Virginia in 1700. In 1680 Henrico County paid Richard 550 pounds of tobacco to survey a new town to be built at Varina.
About 1703 William Byrd and Dudley Digges complained about Richard?s surveying and accused him of giving more land to several persons than their patents permitted them to have. They called him before the governor and the Council and suspended him. Richard was effectively out of business and attended two General Courts at his own expense trying to get his office back. The House of Burgesses concluded that losing his income for several months was sufficient punishment for Richard and returned him to his office in 1704.
Richard married Mary Worsham in Henrico County between 1678 and 1681. Mary was the daughter of William Worsham and his wife, Elizabeth. She was also the aunt of Elizabeth Worsham who married Thomas Ligon, Richard?s nephew.
Horse racing was a popular sport in Colonial Virginia and there were several race tracks. Betting on races was frequent. Bettors would even take their disputes to court. Some courts would refuse to hear such disputes as they considered gaming unlawful. Other courts would resolve disputes if the bets involved money, were written out, did not damage other people?s property, and were not destructive of public morality.
In July 1678 a horse belonging to Abraham Womack and ridden by Thomas Cocke was to run against a horse belonging to Richard Ligon and ridden by Joseph Tanner. Joseph was then a servant of Thomas Chamberlain, the husband of Elizabeth Stratton. The winner was to receive 300 pounds of tobacco. Abram Childers was the starter. The horses rushed from the starting line but Cocke?s horse shied from the track after running four or five lengths. Cocke quickly reined him in and cried out, ?This is not a fair start.? Chamberlain shouted to Joseph Tanner to stop but he did not. When Joseph returned, he declared that the race began fairly and he had won. Childers agreed but the parties took the matter to court.
In 1708 Thomas Chamberlain sued Richard Ligon regarding the outcome of a race. The loser was to pay the other forty shillings and pay for the gallon of rum provided for the enjoyment of the spectators. Chamberlain?s horse had won.
Courts were very rigid in how they upheld the terms of agreements. Here is a story that Richard Ligon and his sister Johan Hancock related for the court in 1683. Several men were at Abraham Womack?s house after a day of horse racing. Edward Hatcher Sr. proposed to race his horse against that of Edward Martin. The winner would get the other?s horse. All exclaimed loudly: ?Done, done,? except Richard Ligon who shouted, ?Mr. Edward Hatcher, my horse shall not run any more today or tonight.? Hatcher swore at Ligon and exclaimed that the horse was his, not Ligon?s. He at once led the animal off to a pasture that served as a race track. Ligon caught up with Hatcher as he was mounting and said again, ?Edward Hatcher, this is my horse, and he shall not run.?
Seeing Ligon?s determination, Hatcher turned to the judges and asked them not to hold him liable for the wager. Yet the judges refused to listen and watched as Edward Martin ran the race alone. They declared Martin the winner and awarded him Richard Ligon?s horse. Ligon still refused to give up his horse and the dispute found its way to the courts. The court strictly held Hatcher to his verbal contract though the action of Ligon made it impossible for him to perform his part.
They would make bets also on games of tenpins and various trivial matters. Once, about 1690, Richard Ligon bet Thomas East £5 sterling that before the end of June of the same year he could not determine how many cubic quarter-inches were in a ?one thousand-foot square solid.? If they could not agree on the answer then they would refer the matter to Col. William Byrd I and John Pleasants, a prominent Quaker, whose decision would be final.
On 25 June East correctly reported that the answer to the problem was 110,592,000,000,000. Richard refused to honor the wager so Thomas took him to court. The written wager witnessed by Joseph Tanner Sr., Henry Jordan, Samuel Oulson, and Edward Mosby was entered to the Henrico County court records. Both William Byrd and John Pleasants sent the court written depositions that Thomas?s answer was correct. Richard did not appear to defend himself. The court ordered a judgement against Ligon and directed the county sheriff to attach a sufficient portion of his estate to satisfy the judgement.
An attorney for Richard, John Everitt, then came to the court to argue that the wager also required Thomas determine how many cubic feet were in the ?solid.? Yet the court judged that Thomas had won the wager and ordered Richard to pay the £5 and pay court costs.
Richard?s name often appeared in the Henrico County court records not related to his surveying duties. At various times he was a plaintiff, defendant, witness, and juryman. Twice a grand jury indicted him for swearing, then a ?breach of the Penall Laws.?
In 1704 Richard was listed as holding 1,028 acres in Henrico County. He acquired some of this land by patents beginning in 1690. With Edward Hill, Hugh Ligon, and Samuel Newman, he secured a patent for 292 acres in Bristol Parish in April 1690. On 24 April 1703, this land was regranted to Henry Mayes. In October 1690 he, Samuel Tatum, and William Temple applied for a patent for 1,022 acres in Charles City County south of the Appomattox River on Warwick Swamp. Yet this patent was never issued. On 29 April 1693, Richard Ligon and James Aiken Jr. secured a patent for 285 acres on the head of Proctors Creek. In 1704 Ligon and Aiken divided this land and in 1717 Ligon sold Aiken 142 acres of his portion.
Ligon added to his Proctors Creek holdings with a 308-acre purchase from John Worsham and Francis Patram in June 1703.
Richard, called the ?Indian Fighter,? passed away in 1724. Surviving court records show his executor and son, Matthew Ligon, presented Richard?s will 2 March 1723/4 but the original will was destroyed along with other wills and deeds of Henrico County of this period. Abraham Womack Sr., Robert Elam, and John Knibb appraised Richard?s estate for £30:3:3.
Children of Richard and Mary (Worsham) Ligon:
Matthew Ligon (c.1682-1764), the son of Richard Ligon and Mary Worsham, wed Elizabeth Anderson. She was sister of Matthew Anderson Jr. (will dated 25 Feb. 1717/8, proved 19 June 1718) who left ?one Indian boy? to his sister ?Elizabeth Liggon.?
Henrico County taxed Matthew Ligon on two levies and 250 acres in 1736. He lived in that part of Henrico that became Chesterfield County where they taxed him on five tithables there in 1756.
Matthew Ligon acquired land in Goochland County in an area that became Cumberland County in 1749 and later Powhatan County. Matthew and Richard Ligon together sold 297 acres on the south side of Swift Creek to Richard Grills for £14 in July 1710. In 1719 he and his brother Richard obtained a patent for 290 acres on the south side of Swift Creek. In October 1728 Matthew sold a 100-acre plantation on Swift Creek to William Pride. Matthew alone patented 300 acres near Fine Creek in 1723 and 800 more acres south of the James River in 1731.
Matthew failed to settle the 300-acre tract and they issued a patent for this land to Francis Epes of Henrico County 13 October 1727. Matthew still wanted the land so, on 17 November 1729, he bought it from Epes for £20. Matthew sold this 300-acre land to his son Richard for £5 on 18 June 1742.
In 1710 Matthew served one year as a constable of Henrico County before resigning. He was also a tobacco counter in 1724 and 1725 with Alexander Marshall. Alexander was married to Matthew?s cousin Elizabeth Worsham. Matthew Ligon died in Cumberland County in 1764 (will dated 1 April 1764 , proved 24 Sept. 1764). He and Elizabeth were the parents of seven children.
Richard LIGON was born in 1657 in Henrico County, Virginia. He died in 1724 in Henrico County, Virginia. Received from Estate of Mr. Tho. LYGON (his father): 1 heifer called by the name of the brinder heifer. Colonial Records of Henrico County., Book 4, Orphans
Court 1677-1739, P. 3, dated 20 AUG 1678
Known as "Indian Fighter".
He was married to Mary WORSHAM (daughter of William WORSHAM and Elizabeth LITTLEBERRY) before 1 APR 1681.
Virginia Land Patents - 1656-1780
1693 Richard LIGON, Land Patent Vol 8, Pg 304 - 285 Acres in Henrico Co., Accurately located at West Longitude 77.507/North latitude 37.37.4 (XWBASS??) mouth of Poplar Branch of Swift Creek. Near John WORSHAM?s line and Ed STRATTON?s line. Head of Coldwater Run.
Arthur Moseley II inherited 300 acres of land from his father. In 1704 was paying quit rents this tract plus the 150-acre Stratton purchase ? a total of 450 acres. Arthur was granted 500 acres at Butterwood Swamp on 16 April 1715 and 400 acres on the north side of Swift Creek and the east side of Tomahawk Creek on 9 July 1724. His wife?s uncle Richard Ligon had surveyed the 500-acre tract for Moseley. Moseley failed to pay quit rents on the 500 acres and they issued a patent on his ?lapsed land? to his son Arthur Moseley Jr. and Samuel Hancock.
Father: Thomas LIGON b: BEF 11 JAN 1624 in Sowe, Warwickshire, England
Mother: Mary HARRIS b: ABT 1625 in Henrico Co., Virginia
Mary WORSHAM b: abt 1658/1659 in Henrico Co., Virginia
AFT 20 AUG 1678
in Henrico Co., Virginia
- Matthew LIGON b: bet 1680/1685 in Henrico Co., Virginia
- Henry LIGON b: ABT 1690
- Sarah LIGON b: ABT 1692
- Mary LIGON b: ABT 1694