Name: Richard Massey
Birth: 13 AUG 1661 in Burton-in-Wirral, Cheshire, England
Note: It is believed that this date is actually the date he was baptized.
Death: in Brunswick, Virginia
Reference Number: |
- _MILI: Pvt. in Capt. Joseph Wynn's Co. of Dragoons 1702
OBSERVATIONS REGARDING THE ANCESTRY OF HE MASSEYS OF
SURRY AND PRINCE GEORGE COUNTIES, VIRGINIA
by Theron L. Smith 19 December 2004
Two important books on Massey genealogy were published in the last quarter
of the 20th Century:
-(Judge) Frank A. Massey, MASSEY GENEALOGY ADDENDUM (1979)
-William W. Massey, MASSEY GENEALOGY 2000 (2000.)
Both authors agree that Hezekiah, Joseph, and Richard of Surry and
Prince George [later Brunswick] Cos., VA were brothers, but disagree
regarding their English origins. Numerous Internet articles can be found
referring to one or the other of these origins. In what follows, the
generation numbers were converted if necessary to that of the more recent
publication to allow easier comparison of analogous persons in the two
accounts. The subscript [A] indicates the generation just before .
In the earlier account, John[A] Massey is identified with a 1637 land grant
in the name of John Mace or John Marsey who was claimed as a headright in
Charles City Co., VA by Walter Aston. Judge Massey was convinced that this
John was a John Massey of the Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire, and, that his
son John Massey was the father of the three brothers. As will be
seen, other considerations may support the immigrant ancestor being from
Cambridgeshire, but there is no evidence that (1) John[A] was our ancestor
or (2) that John[A] had a son John - this hypothetical son was based on
an incorrect dating of a 1748 Brunswick Co., VA voting list and the
placement has no merit.
In the 2000 account, the apparent immigrant ancestor, Richard Massey of
Charles City Co., VA, is placed as Richard Massey, born 13 Aug 1661, son of
Edward Massey of Puddington in Cheshire, based on the following logic
developed by genealogist Paul Reed:
1. Richard's older brother, William, inherited Puddington
2. Because of their Catholicism, these Masseys were persecuted by
the Protestant governments in England after 1685.
3. Richard received enough in the will of his father to pay to his
transportation to Virginia and purchase some land (though he would not have
been unusually wealthy.)
4. Church records of Richard's parish church show that in Feb 1686, he had
been absent the last three Sundays.
5. A suitable candidate for Richard has not been found in later English
These arguments along with a "purported heraldic achievement passed down in
the Virgnia family" led to a belief that the connection was correct although
"not proven beyond any shadow of a doubt." A reasonable and plausible case
for a connection can be made from items (1) through (5). However, the
consideration of the "purported heraldic achievement" made a stronger case
and provided the frosting on the cake. As will be seen, with more complete
information about this achievement than what is provided in Judge Massey's
book, these arms provide no support for a descent of these Charles City Co.
Masseys from the Puddington Masseys of the late 1600s - actually the arms
may support a Coddington descent for the Charles City Co. Masseys.
THE PURPORTED HERALDIC ACHIEVEMENT
The "purported heraldic achievement" refers to a coat-of-arms painted on
sheepskin, that was passed down in the compiler's sub-branch of
Richard's descendants. Judge Massey's ADDENDUM, p. 22, 286-287, appears
to be the sole source of information about the "sheepskin arms" that was a
part of the above arguments. The ADDENDUM account could lead to an
impression that the sheepskin arms were Puddington arms. Judge Massey's
book calls them Coddington arms but never points out that these arms had a
Coddington crest. He also failed to emphasize that the placement of the
silver cantons on the sheepskin arms is incompatible with the standard
Coddington arms.] The allusions to Pontington (aka Puddington) in the book
were to emphasize that the Coddington arms were derived from the Puddington
and not the Tatton arms.
The crest on this home-made coat-of-arms is a crude drawing of the crest of
the CODDINGTON Masseys. As is well known, the basic Coddington arms were
derived from the PUDDINGTON arms but have a different crest and have a
silver canton in the 1st quarter "for difference." The Puddington crest was
"a lion passant"; the Coddington and sheepskin arms "a semi-pegasus with
wings displayed." All known published pictorial depictions of the
Coddington arms show a single silver canton superimposed on the 1st quarter,
whereas the sheepskin arms have a silver canton superimposed on both the 2d
and 3d quarters.
More recent information provided to the compiler by one who has researched
in the College of Arms (CoA) indicates that the cantons in the 2d and 3d
quarters are found in a CoA description of arms intended for a Massey of
the Isle of Ely [in Cambridgeshire], but never actually granted. The
intended recipient of these arms may have been another persecuted Catholic
Massey who may have emigrated to Maryland.
Two related items need further research:
(1) Burke's GENERAL ARMORY shows the crest associated with the Masseys of
Isle of Ely, co. Cambridge and Coddington, co. Chester as an owl.)
(2) Only the VISITATION OF CAMBRIDGE shows Nicholas Massey of the Isle of
Ely in Cambridgeshire as a son of John Massey of Puddington. He is not in
the CODDINGTON charts in Omerod's HISTORY OF CHESTER and Burke's COMMONERS.
The earliest verifiable owner of the sheepskin arms in our family is John
Ross Massey (1821-1898), a cavalryman in the Confederate Army. The most
recent owner (1984) known is Col.(Ret.) Marschal Wilson  MASSEY of
Riverside, CA. The arms were kept in a bank vault. Traditionally, the
sheepskin arms have descended to the youngest son or grandson. The descent
of Col. Marschal Massey from Richard Massey is:
Richard (1790-1740) m. Anne PETTIPOOL.
Hezekiah MASSEY Sr (abt. 1718 - 1791) m (1) Sarah -----
Richard MASSEY of Franklin Co.,NC (abt. 1750 - 1815).
Barachias MASSEY (1778/9 - aft, 1850) m. Obedience "Beady" Williams
John Ross MASSEY (1821 - 1898)
[brother of the compiler's gg gf Nathaniel Dudley Massey 1822/23-1864]
Jefferson Walton MASSEY (1861,GA - 1934, TX)
Frederick Bailey MASSEY (1883-1962)
Col. (Ret.) Marshcal Wilson MASSEY.
Actually, nothing can be concluded from the sheepskin arms about an
immigrant ancestor unless indeed these arms were brought to the colonies by
the immigrant. However, the Coddington crest and double cantons on the
sheepskin auger against their supporting a descent from a Richard Massey
of Puddington in Cheshire of the late 1600s. Then, discovery of a College o
Arms document mentioning cantons in the 2d and 3d quarter of Coddington
arms may lead to identifying our immigrant ancestor as being from
Cambridgeshire rather than from Puddington.
The following notes were submitted by Dennis Pugmire as reported in part by the Wm Massey book.
Confirmed on original parish register of Burton-in-Wirral, Richard Massy, son of
Edward Massy of Puddington Esq.
Primary source of information, Massey Genealogy 2000, published by William W. Massey, Jr.
One of the tenets of genealogical research is to research all possible sources.
This was done in English records, which brought a total of 14 men named Richard Massey
within a probable age span to be our American Richard. At first it seemed that all 14 had been
proven not to be ours, until a more exhaustive research was undertaken on records in
Burton-in-Wirral, where it first appeared that their Richard, born in 1661, died there in 1699.
A more complete look at the original parish records revealed that the man who died in 1699
was not the man born in 1661, but instead his uncle Richard.
No further records were found for Richard born in 1661 beyond February, 1685, when it was
noted that both he and his uncle of the same name had not been present at the Catholic church
for three Sundays past. The older man remained, and died there in 1699, but evidently our
Richard did not, he had gone to Virginia!
He was a second son, his father died in 1674 leaving the real property to his older brother
William, and he only received an equal share with his other siblings and mother of the
remaining estate value. He was only mentioned not by name but as one of "my four children"
by his father Edward. Christening records prove Richard was Edward's son. The rest of his
family (two sisters besides brother William) continue to be mentioned in records in Cheshire,
he does not. He received his inheritance in 1682, at his coming of age. He undoubtedly was a
witness to the execution of their family priest, whose only crime was remaining true to his faith,
with the pieces of his body being returned to Puddington Hall, the family home. His brother,
who supposedly never married, remained a staunch Catholic in spite of royal opposition and persecution.
The family had already lost much of it's holdings and position, lives were at stake. Richard really
had nothing left in Cheshire to look forward to.
It is unclear whether he married in England and perhaps had his first child there, or if he
married after arrival in Virginia where the rest of his family was born. Since there is no
record of the marriage or a child in England, I tend to believe he left England single.
The only mention of his name in connection with a headright of James Thweat in 1703,
(usually much later than actual emigration) is for him only, another clue that he came here single.
The first evidence of Richard in Virginia is a fragment of a Court Order in Charles City Co., VA,
regarding his guardianship of an orphan 1691-93, indicating by then he was a family man,
and a landowner of good character. In 1702 he served as a private in Capt. Joseph Wynn's
company of dragoons, or mounted troops, a cut above foot soldiers. The men supposed to be his sons,
Richard Jr., Hezekiah, and Joseph, all remained in close proximity to each other, as did their children,
even as they moved away from Charles City Co. into Brunswick Co., and later North Carolina.
WILLIAM MASSEY JR. [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Richard1 Massey of Puddington was born 13 August 1661, at
Burton-in-Wirral, Cheshire, England. His older brother, William, had
inherited the family estate in 1674, was devoutly Catholic, joined an
uprising in Lancashire in favor of the exiled James Stuart in late
1715. When the rebel army was soundly beaten and surrendered at
Preston on 14 November, William returned to Puddington only to be
seized and cast into a cell at Chester Castle. On 6 Feb 1715/6, he
willed his estates to the Catholic infant Thomas Stanley of Hooten.
William was buried at Burton-in-Wirral on 25 February 1715/6.
Richard, seeing no future for his family in Cromwellian England, had
emigrated to Virginia in 1684. He first appeared in records of Charles
City Co., VA in 1693 when he was ordered for the second time to bring
to court the orphan under his guardianship. Richard's headright was
finally claimed by James Thweatt in 1703. By 1702, Richard had been
well acquainted with the men whose descendents peopled southside VA
and northern NC counties. He served in Capt. Joseph Wynn's company of
dragoons with several who later appear in related records, including
William Pettipool, whose daughter Anne would later marry Richard's son
Richard2. Date of death of Richard1 is unknown
Benjamin B. Weisiger III, Prince George County, Virginia Wills and
Deeds 1713-1728, (Richmond, VA: Weisiger, 1973), pp. 101, 132.
p. 767 9 Nov 1724 John Sroud of Pr. Geo. Co. to Richard Massey of
same, for L5, 80a on south side of Monks Neck Creek.
p. 768 9 Nov 1724 John Stroud of Pr. Geo. Co. to Richard Massey pf
same. 46a on south side of Monks Neck Creek.
p. 991 Richard Massey of Pr. Geo. Co. to Richard Herbert of Henrico
Co., for L13, two tracts on south side of Moccosoneck Creek in Pr.
Geo. One of these is part of a large parcel granted by patent formerly
to Henry King of Pr. geo. and transferred to Joseph Stroud, and from
Stroud to said Massey. Bounded by the Licking Place, 80a. The other
parcel of 40a was patented 15 Jul 1717 by John Stroud of Pr. Geo. Co.
and conveyed to Richard Massey. Bounded by first tract above.
Signed: Richard (X) Massey. Wit: William Hamilin, Richard Skoggin,
John Holloway. Recd: 13 Jun 1727. Ann, wife of Richard Massey,
relina. dower rt.
Father: Edward Massey b: DEC 1612 in Burton-in-Wirral, Cheshire, England
Mother: Alice Brathwayt b: 25 SEP 1623 in Kendal, Westmoreland, England
Sarah b: ABT 1660
- Hezekiah Massey b: ABT 1685
- Joseph Massey b: BEF 1690
- Richard Massey b: 1690 in Brunswick (now Greensville) Co, Va
Ann b: EST 1670/1680
in Prince George, Virginia
- Abbrev: Photo of Sheepskin CoA contributed by Theron Smith, email@example.com
Photo of Sheepskin CoA contributed by Theron Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Abbrev: Information on this individual compiled by researcher Denny Pugmire as posted in RootsWeb datab
Information on this individual compiled by
researcher Denny Pugmire
as posted in
RootsWeb database "denny". Mr Pugmires
original sources are included and were
taken from the book, "MASSEY Genealogy 2000"
by William W. Massey.