Fretwell Family

About Fretwells in Albemarle County, Virginia

Many correspondents writing about their family connections have sent along photocopies of the Fretwell family account written by the Rev. Edgar Woods in The History of Albemarle County, Virginia (published by The Michie Company, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1901), pp. 195-197. This account has been both a help and a hindrance to the study of the Fretwell family. The article appears here as written by the Rev. Woods (in black text) with my research (in red text) -- SSF. As of December 2014.


The first Fretwell appearing on the records was William (b. 31 Jan 1736, Middlesex Co., VA - d. by 6 Jan 1823, Albemarle Co., VA), who in 1776 bought part of the Sumter land near Piney Mountain. It is conjectured his wife was a (Judith) Crenshaw, as his eldest son bore that name. He died in 1822. His children were Crenshaw (b. ca1770 - d. by 21 March 1846, Albemarle Co., VA), John (b. 8 Oct 1773 - d. 26 Jun 1837, Albemarle Co., VA), Thomas (b. ca1767 - d. by 15 Oct 1808, Monongalia Co., W.VA), William (Jr., b. ca1771 - d. by 1 Dec 1806, Albemarle Co., VA), Susan, (b. 5 May 1775 - d. 21 Apr 1802, Albemarle Co., VA) believed to have been the first wife of Elijah Garth (m. 6 Nov 1795, Albemarle Co., VA), and the wife of Fendall Sebree. At the time of his death Thomas, William and Susan had already departed this life.

Crenshaw lived on the waters of Ivy Creek, not far from Garth’s Mill. This place he and his wife Sarah (CRENSHAW, m. ca1804. Children: Landon A., William W., John M. and Susan G.) sold to Dr. Charles Brown in 1822. A protracted litigation in which he was concerned, in connection with the old Draffen tract of land in the same neighborhood, was finally settled by the Court of appeals in 1831. As no subsequent mention of him is found, it is supposed he removed from the county. Crenshaw Fretwell headed a household in Albemarle Co., VA as shown in the federal census records of 1810, 1820, 1830 and 1840. He was between 60-70 years of age in 1840, after which time he died in Albemarle Co., VA. His estate was settled by his son, Landon A. Fretwell as described in the Albemarle Co., VA Superior Court Record as Chancery Suit No. 430.

John married (18 Mar 1799, Albemarle Co., VA) Mildred, daughter of Thomas Garth Sr. His home was on the western side of the Garth plantation, on the Whitehall Road. He died in (26 June) 1837. His children were Emily (1802-1873), the wife of Mortimer Gaines, Lucy (1808-1852), the wife of Samuel Kennerly, Susan (1806-1884), William G. (1810-1889), Frances (1813-1889), Selina / Angelina A. (1815-ca1886) and John T. (1820-1876). William G. married (16 Dec 1840, Albemarle Co., VA) Emeline, daughter of Thomas H. Brown, and his children were John T. (ca1844-1932), Susan (1852-1924) and Lucy Elizabeth (1855-1934). John T., son of John, married (2 Dec 1874, Albemarle Co., VA) Nannie A. ----- (PAYNE), and his children (none known) were William G., Susan B., and Frances. Nannie A. Fretwell, widow and admr. of the Estate of Jno. Fretwell, settled his affairs in Albemarle County between the 15th and 29th April 1876.

Thomas lived between Free Union and the old Garrison Meeting House. He kept a store, which was known as Fretwell’s Store, and which at the beginning of the century was the place for holding elections for Overseers of the Poor for the northwest district of the county. Thomas left the county, and at the time of his accidental death in 1808, he was a partner with Jesse Payne in Valley Furnace, Lebanon, Monogalia Co., West Virginia. His wife was Agnes Burrus (CRENSHAW, daughter of William CRENSHAW, m. 18 Apr 1787, Louisa Co., VA), and at the time of his father’s death (in 1823), she and her family were living in (Bourbon County) Kentucky.

William married Jemima Brown (CRENSHAW, daughter of William CRENSHAW, m. 18 Dec 1789, Louisa Co., VA). He resided on the Staunton road, above Mechum’s Depot. He was deemed by his neighbors fit to be a landmark, because of his uncommon stature; in a deed of Nelson Hardin to his brother Isaac, the property is described as adjoining that of the tall William Fretwell. He died in 1807 (by 1 Dec 1806, Albemarle Co., VA). His children were William C. (ca1805-1846), who married (15 Jan 1839, Louisa Co., VA) first Mildred, daughter of Henry Burnley, of Loiuisa, and (7 Dec 1846, Albemarle Co., VA) secondly Vienna, daughter of G. W. Kinsolving, Susan (ca1797-18??), the wife of William Brown, Judith (ca1795-18??), the wife of Benjamin H. Brown, Nancy (ca1796-18??), the wife of Augustine Stephenson (who settled in Saline Co., MO), and Hudson (ca1795-1834). Hudson married (1 Jan 1816, Albemarle Co., VA) Elizabeth, daughter of John Burnley, of Louisa, and sister of Nathaniel Burnley. His home was the large brick house on the Staunton Road, above Mechum’s Depot, where for many years he kept a public house. He died in 1834. His children were Mary (ca1818-1888), the wife of Paul Tilman (m. 28 Jul 1845, Albemarle Co., VA), Burlington (1820-1861, who m. 11 Dec 1844, Albemarle Co., VA, Elizabeth Frances JARMAN), William (ca1820-1844), Franklin (1825-1889, who m. 11 Dec 1851, Albemarle Co., VA, Ann Catherine JARMAN), Susan (ca1823-1902), the wife of Overton Tilman (m. 28 Nov 1843, Albemarle Co., VA), Jurena (ca1828-????) the wife (m. 15 Dec 1853) of James H. Jarman, Brightbury (1830-1876, who m. Susan A.E. HERNDON, 22 Oct 1857, Albemarle Co., VA) and Bernard (ca1832-????).

Alexander Fretwell (b. ca1740 - d. by 1825, Albemarle Co., VA) was (not) for the first quarter of the century one of the business men of Warren (but, rather a landowner / farmer in St. Ann’s Parish). He was probably the same Alexander, who sold to Isaac Hardin in 1792 five hundred acres on the Staunton Road, adjoining the William just mentioned; from this too it may be inferred, that he also was a son (brother) of the first William (1736-1823). He died in 1825. He seems to have been twice married, first (and only married, ca1768) to (Nancy) Ann, (b. 15 Sep 1750 - d. by1820) daughter of William Barksdale, and secondly to Jane Hughes (see below). In 1810, Alexander headed a household on the federal census of Albemarle Co., VA. In that record, he and the oldest female are both over the age of forty-five years. The younger members of the household, identified by sex and age consist of one female, age 26-45, three females, age 16-26, one male, age 16-26 and one female, age 10-16. A bond for the marriage of Elizabeth Fretwell, daughter of Alexander Fretwell to Hugh Paul, was filed on 17 December 1818 in Albemarle Co., VA. In his Deed of Gift recorded in Albemarle Co. and dated 1825, Alexander named one child only: his daughter, Mary. His children were James B., who died in 1868 in Sumner County, Tennessee, aged eighty-three, Richard (b. ca1796 - d. 23 Jul 1880, Lewis Co., WV), Nancy, and three other daughters, the wives of Robert Anderson, Matthew Martin and William Moorman. Richard married (2 Sep 1822, Albemarle Co., VA) Sarah, daughter of Samuel Barksdale, and had ten children. He lived on the east side of Dudley’s Mountain, at the place recently occupied by Major Berkeley, After 1840, he removed to Lewis County, West Virginia.

* * * * * *

Revised December 31, 2014

John Fretwell (b. 16 Feb 1738, Middlesex Co., VA - d. by 26 Sep 1820, Christian Co., KY) was another brother of the first William Fretwell named by the Rev. Edgar Woods. John settled in Louisa Co., VA about the same time that William and Alexander settled in Albemarle Co., VA. He married first Mary Bullock, ca1769, Goochland Co., VA and second Mourning -----. John and Mary were the parents of Muscow (b. 3 Mar 1771, Goochland Co., VA & d. bef. 12 Apr 1803, Allegany Co., Maryland), John (b. 13 Jul 1772, Goochland Co., VA & d. by 1827, Adams Co., MS), Nansie (b. 22 Sept 1774, Goochland Co., VA), William (b. between 1774 and 1784 - d. 29 Nov 1813) Alexander (b. ca1778 - d. by 31 Dec 1825, Albemarle Co., VA), Richard B. (b. ca1780 - d. by 1850, Vicksburg, MS and James B. (b. 26 Oct 1783 - d. 10 Nov 1868, Sumner Co., TN).  John and Mourning were the parents of  Frances (b. ca 1790 and m. William H. Harris, 1 Feb 1810 Christian Co., KY).  John Fretwell sold his land in Louisa Co., VA in 1809 and removed to Christian Co., KY.  

Mary Bullock (1735-1785) first married Matthew Martin  (1733-1769) 2 Nov 1763 (St. James Northam Parish, Virginia).  They were the parents of Molly / Mary Martin, b. 16 Jul 1764, Goochland Co., VA, Elizabeth Martin, b. 25 Apr 1766, Goochland Co, VA and Matthew Martin, b. 7 Feb 1768, Goochland Co., VA.  Molly/Mary intermarried with Robert Anderson.  Elizabeth Martin intermarried with William Moorman.  Matthew Martin intermarried with Elizabeth _____ (Albemarle Co., VA Chancery Suit for James B. Fretwell from 1856 to 1881).

The children of John Fretwell scattered: John was a merchant and partner with Alexander Fretwell of Albemarle Co, VA and John’s affairs in Natchez, Mississippi were settled by his brother, Richard B. Fretwell, in 1827. Alexander Fretwell, a storekeeper in Warren, VA as early as 1802, married 26 Sep 1804, Albemarle Co., VA to Jane HUGHES (b. ca1790 - d. 20 Dec 1855, Albemarle Co., VA). Richard B. Fretwell went first to Christian Co., KY with his aging parents and then to Vicksburg, Mississippi where he married and raised a family. William Fretwell, like his brother John, served in the War of 1812. After his death, his daughter, Nancy Fretwell of Rockingham, North Carolina, made a claim on the estate of John and/or Alexander Fretwell, the brothers of her father, of Albemarle Co., VA. James B. Fretwell never married. He spent most of his life in Albemarle Co., VA amassing a large amount of stocks, bonds and property (Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 28, pp. 158-159).  In his last years, he was with his niece and died in Tennessee.

In his will (Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 28, p. 147), James B. referred to himself as an orphan. He wrote his will in 1838 and it was “found carefully preserved among [his] papers ... and [was] entirely in his hand - writing...” according to the testimony of his administrator Thomas Wood.  In the will, James B. Fretwell named the members of his family: a half-brother Matthew Martin, three half-sisters -- Mary and Elizabeth Martin, Frances Harris; his brother’s daughter not named (Nancy McBride, daughter of William) and the children of my brother, Richard, also not named. 

By 1868, any claim by the Martins, Frances Harris and Nancy McBride -- all of whom had died in the intervening years -- had lapsed and the estate was settled in the favor of the “children of my brother, Richard.”  Those surviving and claiming the remains of the estate in 1881: Dr. John Richard Fretwell, Mrs. Mary A. Youree and Elizabeth V. Scott.


Calculation of Age or Event (ca = circa):

Males are assumed to be twenty-one years of age when appearing on a tax list.

Marriages are estimated to be two years before the birth of a child.

          References for William:

Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex Co., VA, 1653-1812, p. 144.

Albemarle County, Virginia Deed Book 7, pp. 25-26, Deed Bk. 19, pp. 260-261 and Deed Book 20, p. 74.

Will of William Fretwell [Sr.], Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 7, pp. 235 and 356-358.

Albemarle County, Virginia, Chancery Suit No. 430.

DAR Record of Cemeteries in Albemarle County, Virginia, Vol. III, pp. 2-3.

Monongalia Co., West Virginia Estate Book 1, pp. 167-171.

Albemarle Co., Virginia Court Order Book for 1806-1807, p. 278.

The Garth Family: Descendants of John Garth of Virginia, 1734-1986 by Rosalie E. Davis, pp. 189ff.

Albemarle County, Virginia, Marriages Bonds and Consent Papers, 1793-1798, Microfilm #66, no page #.

Will of Sarah Crenshaw Fretwell (1861), Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 26, pp. 222-223.

Marriage Records of Albemarle Co., VA.

Will of John Fretwell (1837), Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 12, pp. 443-444.

Will of John Thomas Fretwell (1876), Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 29, p. 167.

Marriage Records of Louisa County, Virginia for Thomas and William [Jr.].

Will of William Fretwell [Jr.], (1806) Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 7, p. 253.

Guardian Bonds of Albemarle Co., VA 1783-1852, Loose Bonds, Book III, p. 3.

Will of Hudson Fretwell (1834), Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 26, pp. 5 and 264.

          References for Alexander:

Essex Co., VA Court Order Book 23, p. 361.

Deed of Gift from William Barksdale (1785), Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 9, p. 412.

Will of William Fretwell (1788) of Cumberland Co., VA Will Book 2, p. 428.

The Barksdale Family History and Genealogy by Capt. John A. Barksdale, p. 404.

Deed of Gift from Alexander Fretwell (1825), Albemarle Co., VA Deed Book 25, p. 236.

Federal census for 1810 Albemarle Co., VA, p. 5.

National Archives Pension File No. 42,976 for Richard Fretwell of Lewis Co., WV.

Marriage Records of Albemarle Co., VA.

          References for John:

Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex Co., VA, 1653-1812, p. 144.

Will of John Fretwell (1820), Christian Co., KY Will Book C, p. 357.

The Douglas Register, p. 197.

[Vital] Records of Goochland Co., VA by Kathleen B. Williams, p. 39.

Inventory of Alexander Fretwell beginning with Letters of Administration for James B. Fretwell in the Albemarle Co., VA Court Order Book for 1825, p. 320.

Will of John Fretwell (1827), Adams Co., Mississipppi Will Book 1, p. 312.

Federal Census Record of Richard B. in Warren Co., Mississippi for 1830 and 1840.

Will of James B. Fretwell (1868), Albemarle Co., VA Will Book 28, p. 147.

National Archives Bounty Land Warrant No. 23,986 for William Fretwell.

Rockingham Co., NC Court Order Book 2nd B, pp. 123-124. Case No. 4097 brought by Nancy Fretwell.

Obituary: Mrs. Jane Fretwell in The Religious Herald, p. 120.

References for John:   Albemarle Co., VA Chancery Suit for James B. Fretwell from 1856 to 1881

Home About England About Colonial America About Essex County About American Revolution About War of 1812 About Fretwells About Leonard Tiny Tafels Site Index

Last Updated: December 31, 2014
Copyright 2014