Herring Highlights III  1642-1698

Abraham Herring, Anthony Herring, John Herring, Samuel Herring


John Herring of Virginia and His Descendant

Although remaining circumstantial, documentatry evidence suggests that a John Herring who settled in this isle of Wight County, VA, in the 1640's is the American progenitor of a large branch of the Herring Family whose migration routes in the 18th & 19th centuries placed his descendants in every Southern state -- and elsewhere.

To pick THE EXACT John Herring who filled this role, embarking from England and landing in Virginia on a specific date, is a mystery not solved by this researcher nor, as far as he can tell, by those who searched earlier.  Several John Herrings emigrated within a brief span of years.  Some were residents of southern England, with ages ranging from 15 to 28.  All embarked from Bristol, England -- directly to Virginia or via Barbados.

A likely candidate forebear of descendants listed in this work is a John Herring who sailed from Bristol ca 1641.  Ships usually departed in September or October and reached Virginia in November or December.  Passage cost per person was about L7.10s, and individuals had to provide their own food and drink.  Poorer passengers also worked as auxiliary crew members.  Immigrant John appears in Virginia documentation during the spring of 1642.  Actually, there are 2 so-named in lang grants less than a month apart.

Entrepreneurs who paid for transporting people to Virginia received a land grant of 50 acres for each person sponsored.  Examples follow:

24 April 1642:  Stephen Gill received a 1,000-acre grant for providing transportation of 20 people (John Herring 15th on list).  The site was located "at the head of Rosewell Creek where Mr. Menifies land ends, said creek & runn dividing the land from Nicholas Jornian (or Jornaiu)."

22 May 1642: Robert Eyres received a 200-acre grant for transporting himself and 3 others -- Fancis Pothres, william brown & John Herring -- the site located in Lower Norfolk county "about 8 mi up .. Elizabeth River."

A single list of people used by an entrepreneur to obtain a land grant suggests that group all came together on a ship from England to Virginia.  Usually, the opposite was the case.  Communication was poor in this wooded, swampy, watery area, providing opportunities to acquire land other than by tracts became available, gathered a group and proceeded to the proper authority to secure 50 acres per head.  Therefore, John Herring in the April and May 1642 listings may have been the same man.  However, later in North Carolina, the Herrings did do business with the Ayers family who may have been descendants of Robert  Eyres in the May 1642 grant.

Whether John Herring of the Isle of Wight Co, VA, was married more than once, and whether "Margorie" was the mother of his son Anthony are 2 more unknowns.  Margorie's will, made in 1675, does not solve these riddles.  Some researchers think John was married when he came to Virginia, and his son Anthony may have been born in Barbados, but these are guesses.  Somet hink Margorie was a Whitfield, and there is credence in this conjecture.  Johns will of 1672 includes a child "John WHitfield", who at that time was age 6 (born April 1666), but Margorie's subsequent will raises a possibility she first married a Whitfield.  Why did she name Clement Creswell executor of her will when Anthony was an adult in 1672?  In this will she left the residue of her estate to John Whitfield.  Clement Creswell's wife was Anne Whitfield, and may have been a sister or sister-in-law of Marjorie.  Clement Creswell made his will in 1682 (proved 1683) and named John Whitfield "sonne."  Several researchers have lsited John Whitfield as a son-in-law of Clement Creswell, but Creswell's only daughter, Jennett, married a Macon.  So, actually John Whitfield -- age 17 in 1683 -- was Clement Creswell's "son-by-law."  Creswell's son was name Clement Creswell, Jr. -- age 15 in 1683.

Later deeds, involving son Anthony, indicate John Herring settled near the Blackwater River in the Isle of Wight County -- a few miiles northwest of present day Windsor.  He was a tobacco farmer, and also made tar.  John probably owned land.  Boddie's book on 117th century Isle of Wight County, p 584, contains this passage:  "Col John Upton with consent of his wife Margaret by deed 13 Aug 1647 did sell to John Mason a certain parcel of land between Wm Wright, Geo Leveridge, and John Herring."

Will - John Herring proved 10 June 1672

In the name of God Amen
I being in good a perfectt memorie first I committ my body to the Earth & into the hands of Almighty God & my Savior Jesus Christ.  Give unto my Sonne Anthony Herring two steers of four years old a piece and a Cow of three years called Brantie (?) and one heiffer of two years old with a whitely face one small flock bed, with a ... a flock pillor for it one iron pott of three or four gallons one smale (small) fowling piece (lightweight gun for shooting birds, firing small pellets), three dishes & one pewtor bason one candlestick one pewter flaggon pott & three pewter spoons one white earthern salsellor and one other boll ... & one sow of three quarters of a yeare old.
And I give unto my Sonne Anthony three barrells of tar.  After the debts are paid I give unto my  Sonne Anthony Herring half the cropp of tobacco, small chest to put his clothes in;
And I give & bequeath all the rest of my whole Estate both in and removables, within doors & or without that is or shall be called or knowne to be mine, unto my well beloved wife Margorie Herring.
I give unto the child John Whitfield, one heiffer of one year old ...

John Herring his mark

John Vickers  Ambrose Bennett
Thomas Grosse  Edward Lassiter, Jr.

This will was proved in open Court held for the Isle of Wight County by the oath of Mr. John Vickars & Thomas Gross this tenth day of June 1672 and then recorded ... Jno Jennings (?) (Clerk of the court)
John Herring appointed Margorie, his relict, executrix of the will.


Click here for PDF document Herring Highlights III p 3-5

First page - Will of Anthony Herring 13 Sep 1783.  Wife Bridget.

Second page (page 9) - Anthony Herring of Virginia and His Descendants

Anthony Herring - son of John Herring of Virginia
Born: ca 1648 Isle of Wight Co, VA
Mar: ca 1677 Rebecca West (?)
Died: ca 1718 Isle of Wight Co, VA

To some extent, Anthony is more mysterious than his father John.  The latter named him in a will; the former, evidently did not make a will and name anyone.  yet, there is enough documentary and circumstantial evidence, albeit sparse, to link Anthony as the probable 2nd generation American forebear of those who follow in this work.

In his father's will of 1672, among other things, Anthony received two steers, cattle, & half the tobacco crop after debts were paid.  This suggests he was an adult engaged in tobacco farming.  oddly , a deed of 9 Nov 1679 mentions land between William Wright & John Herring. Since John's will did not include land, perhaps Anthony was farming under an arrangement previously made.

On 28 Apr 1694, Anthony of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, did acquire property.  For 2500# of tobacco paid to William West, Sr, and his wife Rebecca, Anthony Herring got 200 acres on the Blackwater River in the Lower Parish adjacent ot John Smith and Will Westburay.

One researcher thinks Anthony's wife may have been the West's daughter.  Since Anthony, evidently sold no land, which required his wife's consent, that researcher's guess is as good as any other.  Among the children of that researcher's guess is as good as any other.  Among the children William and Rebecca (Braswell) West, Sr. were 2 daughters; Mary West and Rebecca West. A West family historian said Mary West married Henry Pitts, but he did not know who Rebecca West married.  She may have married Anthony Herring.

Deeds subsequent to 17154, naming Anthony Herring, seem to involve a son -- see 8. below.

Earlier writers think Anthony may have been born in Barbados.  As the supposed sire of 7 or 8 sons -- with several setting 1684 as the birth of his eldest -- that point of origin is unlikely.  Fatherhood would have commenced late in life -- or else the 3rd generation was born earlier than thought.

The Isle of Wight County "quit-rent" yearly property tax levied by the Crown, collected by the sheriff, and paid in cash or tobacco roll for 1714 lists Anthony Herring paying 4 shilling on 200 acres.  This may have been his last official activity.  Anthony Herring probably died intestate (without a will) between 1715-1720.  Some change in that time-frame seems to have triggered action among his "sons", and the ensuing records lend credence to the probability many were brothers.  One deed cites that relationship, and others suggest it.

Two-hundred acres is a small farm for a family of males, especially when 2 had families of their own.  About 1715 John and Samuel Herring departed for North Carolina, settling in Chowan Precinct.  Thereafter, they were followed by other "brothers."  The principal connector of the sons to 2nd generation Anthony was a son with the same given name.  The latter remained more than 20 years, after his father's death, in the Isle of Wight County.  Deeds there linked him to "brothers" Abraham and Daniel.  About 1740, he migrated to NC, and for a small fee brother Samuel sold his land -- with "brother" John witnessing the deed.

These brothers, as records attest, clustered together, moved together, signed documents together, and named sons for each other.  Earlier works include Simon (who was a grandson) and omit Daniel and Joseph.  Save for Simon, this work "adopts" them all.

3rd page (page 10) lists the children of Anthony & Rebecca (West) Herring:
1. John Herring
2. Samuel Herring
3. Thomas Herring
4. Abraham Herring
5. Joseph Herring
6. Edward Herring
7. Daniel Herring
8. Anthony Herring