A Hereditary Society of the Descendants of Nicholas Meriwether (1631-1678) - "Vi et Consilio"

English connection to Nicholas Meriwether verified

The TMSI English Research Committee is pleased and excited to announce that almost three hundred and seventy years after our ancestor Nicholas Meriwether (1631–1678) came to the Virginia Colony, his family—grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, and siblings—left in England have been identified, documented and, most importantly, verified!

As you all know, the Meriwether family has been searching for this connection as long as Meriwether family history books have been written.

By the mid to late 1800s, information in books by George Wood Meriwether, Gov. George R. Gilmer, Louisa H. A. Minor and Minor Meriwether was so confused it was not known that Nicholas himself had come to Virginia. The 1899 publication of William R. Griffiths’ book “Nicholas Meriwether of Wales and Virginia…” corrected a lot of misinformation and helped establish that Nicholas I was indeed in the Virginia Colony 1653–1678, along with a younger brother, Francis. But the English connection remained completely lost to the descendants of Nicholas.

Discounting an alleged Wales connection, it was generally assumed that Nicholas probably came from one of the many Meriwether families in the Kent or Wiltshire areas of southern England. TMSI member Meriwether Schmid made multiple research visits to England trying to find connections, but in vain. A review of family trees published on Ancestry, MyHeritage, and other such sites find claims of an astonishing variety of different parents for Nicholas, but despite extensive research, no provable link has ever been found. (See the TMSI book “The Meriwether Family in America, Volume I: The Colonists” for a detailed review of the search for our English Meriwethers.)

Well, turns out we were all looking in the wrong place!!!!

The clues that led to our current exciting breakthrough began several years ago when a 1631 Christening record was dicovered in Norfolk, England, for a Nicholas Merriwether, son of John. Subsequent research found additional siblings, including a younger brother Francis. The 1631 Christening date and the existence of the brother Francis were strongly suggestive, but there was still no firm evidence linking this family to “our” Nicholas, and Norfolk was much further north than “family history” and previous research had suggested.

After the 2019 TMSI Reunion in Williamsburg, Guy Benson began extensive research on John Merywether, the father of Nicholas and the other children. Using online resources and the help of professional researchers in England, Guy found an impressive amount of information on John and his family. Then, in an example of the serendipity we so love about research, one of the English researchers was given a different book than the one she was expecting. But in this book, there was a paragraph that stated that sometime before 1660 John Merywether “was goeing into Virginia, uppon the sea, hee dyed. Hee hath sonne in Virginia at this time.” And thus the connection has finally been established!

The results of this research and what we now know about our new English connections will be detailed in a number of articles to be published in the Meriwether Connections newsletter. Enjoy!

Vi Et Consilio!

Guy Meriwether Benson, Ph.D., DM
Joe Meriwether Oglesby, DM
December 2019

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I am looking for a connection of Nicholas Meriwether to Edward Dale in Lancaster Virginia when Nicholas referred to Edward as “Brother.” Sept the 8th 1656 Your Brother & Servt Nicholas Merywether in Lancaster Virginia Record book 2 p. 119.
    Thank you for any help you may give me for this reference
    Robert Lumsden

    • I’m very interested in this line of inquiry as well! I’ve read your book Robert, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do have to disagree with the whole Thomas Carter servant tangent you forayed into, there is no way Edward Dale would marry his daughter to someone like that.

    • Thank you for the comments. The TMSI English Research researchers, and the authors of Vol. I, were aware of the reference NM1 made to Edward Dale as “Brother & Servt” but could find no reasonable family link between them and felt it was just a form of speech of the period. I was surprised that there was no discussion of this statement in the published Volume I and hope that if we get to do an update or publish an “Errata” tract we can address this. Vi et Consilio!

  2. Thank you Joe for your kind comment about Known By The Company They Keep. Thomas Carter Sr. is a mystery as far as his origins go. He is often confused with several other Thomas Carters in Lancaster Co. in the 17th century.
    Most notably he is referred to as Captain Thomas Carter, but I am firmly convinced that he was never a captain and arrived in Virginia after the earlier Capt. Thomas Carter came and went between 1663 and 1665. He was likely brought in by John Carter of Corotoman and/or Edward Carter [of Middlesex England -will of 1682]. He was highly regarded, had up to 18 tithables, was appointed justice of the court, but disappeared from the county before Mr. Tho. Carter, merchant and gentleman arrived. The two court records in 1671/1672, I believe were intended to verify his entry in the colony. Both Gov. Chicheley and Sec. Diggs were 1st cousins of Diana Skipwith Dale and probably advised Dale to have these two entries recorded to verify Thomas’ legitimate entry because of a recently declared Acte to document people entering the colony.
    This, I believe was arranged by Dale with Robert Griggs and the clerk of the court John Stretchly to have these two entries recorded only one month apart. Griggs was not present at the court sessions so Carter apparently was not judged by age and was to serve as a servant in word only. This actually occurred 6 months after Thomas Carter’s marriage to Katharine Dale in June 1670. This cannot likely be proven but any information you can share on the topic will be appreciated. This is my assessment but still I don’t have information on Carter’s true origins in England and his activities there prior to 1670. None of the Carters’ ancestry has been proven, with the possible exception of John Carter of Corotoman who was likely christened at Christchurch, London about 1613.
    I am especially interested in finding documented info. about Thomas Carter ‘of Barford’ Lancaster Co. and Edward Carter of Middlesex, London where he died in 1682. All of these Carter men were tightly connected in Virginia but at least 3 of them: Col. John Carter of Corotoman, Mr. Thomas Carter of Lancaster and Mr. Thomas Carter of Isle of Wight Co. were not related to each other as proven by the FamilyTreeDNA.com Carter Y-DNA project. I have written an article about this and can share if you are interested.
    Thanks for your comments and interest,
    Robert Lumsden
    rdlumsden@msn.com

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