HEWICK

By Helen Nichols Murphy Battleson

This is the story of how family history and genealogy took me from my hometown of Coronado back east where my maternal ancestors came on the second supply ship to Jamestown, Virginia. I became interested in genealogy and family roots in August 1967 after reading an article in Readers Digest about tracing your roots. Both of my parents grew up without much family history knowledge at all since my father had been adopted at the age of 12 days, and my mother’s mother had died during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 when she had just turned two years old.

Since 1967, I have worked on and off on my pedigree charts and through the years have amassed huge amounts of information on both sides of my family.

I joined the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution under my ancestor, William Dishman, Sr. of Virginia in 1970; and I was the last Regent of the local Oliver Wetherbee Chapter of the NSDAR in Coronado. I became a member of the Crown Colony Chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames XVII Century in August of 1989 under Colonel Richard Dudley of Virginia; and became a member of the Americans of Royal Descent in May 1990. 

So far to date, I have found well over 1,000 direct ancestors in my direct line and have participated in several DNA projects, of which I am a huge advocate. It was due to my interest in genealogy and history that in 1989 when my two youngest girls, Rachel and Regina, were small that I purchased “Hewick” the home built by their ancestor the Honorable Christopher Robinson, Esq. of England and Virginia. Hewick was built in 1678 in Middlesex County, Virginia. This is the 66-acre plantation that Rachel and Regina were raised on back east. We were living history everyday in that home which I restored. The amazing thing was my ancestors also lived in Middlesex County, Virginia in the same time period. It is unbelievable how many people still living in this small county on the Rappahannock River are descendants of the original settlers.

The Robinsons were a prominent family in England; and after the death of the father, John, they began to go their separate ways. Christopher, as a young attorney, left for the Colony of Virginia in 1666. His younger brother, John Robinson, remained in England and later became the Bishop of London. As such, he was the head of the Anglican Church in both England and America.

Bishop of London, John Robinson

 John Robinson (7 November 1650 – 11 April 1723) was an English diplomat and prelate. John was born at Cleasby, North Yorkshire near Darlington, a son of John Robinson, who died in 1651. (Special Note: John Robinson was my daughters’ Rachel and Regina’s, ninth great grandfather. ) Educated at Brasenose College in Oxford, he became a fellow of Oriel College; and in 1680, he became chaplain to the British embassy to Stockholm, Sweden where he remained for nearly thirty years. During the absence of the minister, Philip Warwick, Robinson acted as resident and envoy extraordinaire. Thus, he was in Sweden during a very interesting and important period in which he performed diplomatic duties at a time when the affairs of Northern Europe were attracting an unusual amount of attention.

Among his adventures not the least noteworthy was his journey to Narva with Charles XII in 1700. In 1709, Robinson returned to England and was appointed Dean of Windsor and Wolverhampton. In 1710, he was elected Bishop of Bristol; and among other ecclesiastical positions he held was that of Dean of the Chapel Royal. In August 1711, he became Lord Privy Seal. This being says Lord Stanhope, “The last time that a bishop has been called upon to fill a political office.” Echoing his Scandinavian connections, the motto on his coat of arms is written in runic characters.

In 1712, the bishop represented Great Britain at the important Congress of Utrecht; and as first plenipotentiary, he signed the Treaty of Utrecht in April 1713, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession. Just after his return to England, John Robinson was chosen as Bishop of London in succession to Henry Compton. John Robinson, D.D., Bishop of London was at the bedside holding the hand of Queen Anne when she died in 1713.

“Hewick,” Home to the Robinson Family of Virginia was one of the most significant manors in Virginia. It was constructed in 1678 by Christopher Robinson (1645-1692/3). He served the colony in the House of Burgesses from 1685-1692 and was a member of the Governor’s Council in 1691, which is equivalent to elevation to the House of Lords in England. Christopher served as Secretary of State to the colony from 1691-1692 and was a member of the Board of Trustees at the founding of the College of William and Mary in 1693. He also served as senior vestryman and warden of Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County. One of the best known residents of the colony, his home was the gathering place for many of the important families of Virginia who helped shape the colony into the state it eventually became. Christopher was appointed Councilor and Secretary of Foreign Plantations by King William III of England in 1692. As such, he would have been the head of the colony, but unfortunately he died before taking this office.

Christopher Robinson’s son, also John Robinson, became acting governor on the departure of Sir William Gooch for England on June 20, 1749. His grandfather was John Robinson of Cleasby, Yorkshire, England, who married Elizabeth Potter, daughter of Christopher Potter of Cleasby. His uncle was Dr. John Robinson, Bishop of Bristol and London. His father was Christopher John Robinson, who married Judith, daughter of Colonel Christopher Wormeley.

Robinson was born in 1683 in Middlesex County, Virginia, at “Hewick,” his father’s residence on the Rappahannock River. He occupied many important positions in the colony. He was a member of the House of Burgesses and became president of the Council in 1720. He married Katherine, daughter of Robert Beverley, author of the first written history of Virginia, and their son John was speaker of the House of Burgesses and treasurer of the colony. The John Robinson estate scandal was a major financial scandal in Colonial Virginia. After the 1766 death of John Robinson, the prestigious Virginia legislator who served as both Speaker of the House of Burgesses and colonial treasurer, Robinson’s protégé, Edmund Pendleton, was shocked to discover that Robinson’s estate had debts of fifty thousand pounds. Pendleton then placed a notice in the Virginia Gazette that all people in debt to Robinson should “make immediate payment.” Although he died a pauper, it was later learned that he had saved the estates of many of the most important land owners in Virginia.

Records from the colonial treasury revealed that Robinson had been using the paper money he was supposed to destroy (in his role as treasurer) and lending it to others or using it to pay his personal debts. In December 1766, a staggering report came to the House of Burgesses indicating that Robinson’s estate owed the colony over one hundred thousand pounds. After the “Robinson affair”, the roles of speaker and treasurer were separated.

I have pictures of when I purchased Hewick, when it was in a sad state, and pictures of it now in 2011. In 1933, the WPA came to Hewick to include it in the H.A.B.S. survey #540. It is included in the Historic American Buildings Survey, built in 1678.

 

The College of William and Mary conducted an archaeological dig at Hewick for a number of years. They found thousands of items in the dig of which I have a nice display .The others are housed at the college in Williamsburg. This collection includes correspondence, research journals, travel journals, publications, slides, artifacts, and other material pertaining to Dr. Theodore R. Reinhart’s research and teaching career in the Department of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary and his participation in the Council of Virginia Archaeologists and the Department of Historical Resources. In 1921, Mary Pollard Clarke published an article entitled, “Christopher Robinson, One of the First Trustees of William and Mary College, His Home: Hewick on the Rappahannock” in “The William and Mary Quarterly, Volume One – Series Two” (beginning on page 134).

HEWICK in 1989 (When I bought and insured it while still living in Coronado)

HEWICK Today

Hewick was sold out of the Robinson family is 2005, but I am still contacted from interested descendants and people from all over the world who have an interest in it. I published the Robinson Family Journal for many years, and eleven of the past issues are indexed on the Internet. (Vol. 1, No. #1 began in November 1991, ROBINSON FAMILY JOURNAL Index Vol. 6, No.1 ISSN #1077-5358 January 1997 Issue #11 was the last issue.) I host the Robinson Family Mailing List on Rootsweb. I am the Administrator of the following lists as well: Higginbotham, Lumbley (Lumley), and Uxley (Huxley).  I am very interested in the use of DNA for family genealogy research.

“Why waste your time and money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you!” – Mark Twain

The Robinson Cookbook I published in 1991

Hewick, Home of the Robinsons since 1678 is on Facebook. The following links are also available for more information on Hewick and our genealogy:

www.hewick.info

http://www.genealogy.com/genealogy/users/b/a/t/Helen-N-Battleson/index.html

This entry was posted in Fall 2011 Issue. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to HEWICK

  1. Linda Spiker says:

    Hello, I enjoyed your page. My g-g-grandfather was John William Robinson, but we know nothing about him. The family legend is that he arrived in Carroll County (then Grayson C0unty) VA, via stagecoach, where he remained, married, and had a family of about six or seven children. It is said that even his wife knew nothing about him or his family, or where he came from. I talked with a Robinson man several years ago who worked for the Department of Agriculture and he told me that many of the Virginia Robinsons were reluctant to talk about themselves due to the “scandal” of treasurer Robinson. John William was b. c.1812, m. 1840 to Martha (Patsy) Jane Gardner of Hillsville VA. They were in VA in 1870 census, but by 1880, he and Jane had moved to Union (Lawrence County) Ohio, where he died c.1886. A cousin, the late Dr. Randolph Chitwood, local genealogist and historian, said he suspected that our John came from Christopher Robinson’s line. Do you have anyone in your Robinson genealogy whose son “disappeared”?

  2. Hello Linda,

    I would love to post your Robinson query to my Robinson Roots-web List on the Internet, who knows, it may bring you more info! The Robinson scandal is very much understood, the Treasurer Robinson was saving the estates of many of the founding fathers in Virginia, and he profited not one penny, in fact he died penniless, after all the loans were repaid out of his estate, and the men whose properties he helped saved did little or nothing to help, perhaps they, too were out of funds. It was a sad time in history, however, he should have been hailed a “Hero” not a person who mis-appropriated funds! Pendleton write a book trying to exonerate his name…

  3. Helen J Battleson says:

    Hi Linda,

    I have a huge database of Robinson’s, and I thought I would take a quick look to see if I had anything on your John William Robinson b 1812. I did not find him, although I did find 16 others, and I did find that some descendants of the Fitzhugh family, who were associated with the Robinson’s of Hewick, in those counties. Some Fitzhugh descendants were in Hillsvale, VA in 1853, along with Payne family members who were there in that county ended up in Union, Lawrence Co., OH. If you think these related families of Fitzhugh & Payne families connect to your family, ou might want to look into their genealogy. Good Luck!

  4. Regis Paul Thomas says:

    Hello, I enjoyed seeing pictures of Hewick. I was able to trace my family back on my mothers side to Christopher Robinson. My Grandfather was William Claudious Robinson from Laural County Kentucky. My mother was Myrtle Marie Robinson.

    Thank You

  5. Hi Regis,
    I looked in my database to see what I had on your ancestor, but did not have him, I did have a number of Robinson’s in Laural Co., KY:
    Robinson, Alexander Hamilton md abt 1826 Rachel Barnes, Agnes Robertson md Philip J. Huggins abt 1811, Beverly Ledbetter md Nancy Robins abt 1822, William Carroll Robinson md Eliza Jane Montgomery in 1838, William Robinson md Fannie Oakley 4 Jun 1883, Dave W Robinson md abt 1920, George E Robinson md abt 1915, James Bert Robinson md abt 1910, Mr. Robinson md abt 1859, Mrs. Artie V Robinson md abt 1910, Mrs. Mary A Robinson md abt 1910, Mrs. Vada Robinson md abt 1920, Mrs. Winnie W Robinson md abt 1915, Mrs. Eliza J Robinson md abt 1859, Mrs. Lucinda Robinson md abt 1856, Mrs. Sarepta Robinson md abt 1856, William B, Robinson md 1856, & William H. Robinson md abt 1910.

    Helen Nichols Murphy (Battleson), Coronado, CA – hewick1@yahoo.com – Robinson Admin at Robinson Rootsweb.com

  6. Mrs L Barnes says:

    As I live in Cleasby can you please tell me which house John Robinson was born in.

  7. Hello Mrs. Barnes, The Robinson family in America has always believed that the house stood in or near the parish of Cleasby, however a descendant Philippa Elmhirst, who lives in Yorkshire has recently researched the family and the house in order to write a book, which was just published “The Saga of The Robinson 1520-2011.” She believes the house, which is no longer standing was not in Cleasby or Bridge Hewick, but in Crossthwaite. This would still have been in the parish of Romaldkirk. The Robinson children were born and registered in the church at Cleasby. The Bishop John Robinson, was extremely generous to the parish of Cleasby, he established a school & fund for six poor scholars along with a gift to the village of a parsonage house. He paid for a new chapel to replace the old church and gave the money to endow it. In 1714 he presented to the church at Cleasby a very valuable set of cimmunion plate that was made by Queen Anne’s own silversmith, the chalice & patten are still used today in Cleasby. I have several pictures of the beautiful stained glass windows that he also had installed in the church. It is nice to hear from someone who lives in Cleasby, I am hoping to finally make a visit there in the coming year or two.

  8. KHall says:

    This is a fantastic article. I am a Robinson from my mother’s side, however, I’m unsure of my exact lineage. My uncle recently started investigating via ancestry.com and he believes he’s traced our tree back to John Robinson and Elizabeth Potter. You mention DNA helped your research; what exactly does this entail? I would love to find out more about ancestors but I keep hitting dead ends. Thank you in advance!

  9. It is a great help in your Robinson genealogy to have the Y-DNA tested! You can start at a lower level and upgrade later if need be, once they have the original DNA you do not have to re-submit it. They say to at least do the 37 markers, and it is much better to do 67, while even better is 111 markers. I will list the info below, be sure and go thru Family Tree DNA in Houston, Texas, it is the largest. Your paperwork will help, but is not at all necessary… I will forward you a separate email with a story on DNA from England to Kentucky, by two men who had no idea either of them even existed….. Helen

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    * Your matches and ancestral origins largely depend on how your DNA compares to our database. With the largest DNA database in the world, you have the greatest chance of finding close relatives by testing with us. However, if your paternal line is rare, it is possible you will not have matches or ancestral origins information right away. As our database is constantly growing, you may have matches over time, and we will send you e-mail notifications about any new matches.
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    There is a Robinson Family DNA group you can join:
    Robinson Project Group- Background
    Administrators: robinsonydna@gmail.com , Group Administrator
    Surnames: Roberson, Robertson, Robinson, Robison

    contact me at hewick1@yahoo.com for additional info on the Robinson Family, I will be happy to help you learn more.

  10. Mike Newcombe says:

    Who is father of Thomas Robinson ???
    Thomas Robinson
    B: 10 May 1788 VA
    D: 22 Jun 1864 Roane, TN
    M: 28 Jul 1811 Jefferson, TN
    Spouse:
    Sarah King
    B: 21 Dec 1788 KY
    D: 17 May 1865 Roane, TN

    Both Buried at:
    Buried in Steekee Cemetery, Loudon County, Tn
    Headstone info:
    In Memory of
    Thomas Robinson
    Born May 11, 1788
    Died July 22, 1864

    In Memory of
    Sally Robinson
    Born Dec. 21, 1788
    Died May 7, 1865

    9 children from this union, of whom one is:
    Nancy Jane Robinson
    Birth: 1822 Monroe, Tn
    Death: 1865
    Father: Thomas Robinson
    Mother: Sarah King
    Spouse: James C. Haskins
    Married: 1842 Monroe, Tn
    ……………..
    Researcher — James C Haskins, lineage
    mmnukem@gmail.com
    Mike

  11. Dorothy L. Doll says:

    I am the descendant of Ann (Anna?) Sedgwick Robinson, b. ca. 1762 (no proof). She married William E. Cumming b. 1759 in Hillsboro, now Orange Co NC.
    Anna is one of my “brick walls”, and I’ve searched for her origins for 30 years.
    A few researchers suggested that she was the daughter of Lord John Robinson who married Ann Sedgwick. I’ve found no evidence, yet. Another suggested that her mother, Ann Sedgwick (Sedwick) was of the Thomas Sedgwick line from MD.
    One of Ann Sedgwick Robinson Cumming’s granddaughter was named after her and is buried in KY.
    Does anyone have any knowledge of this gr-gr-gr-gr-grandmother of mine?
    Please include me in your newsletter, so that I can read any response.
    Site Administrator; please use my e-mail address to send me the newsletter, if not, please contact me for other data, etc.

  12. Hi!
    I would love for you to Like what my multi-talented daughter, Rachel has done to my facebook page on Hewick, please go there and Like it, OK? Rachel has used her graphic arts degree & her expertise from her own company “Print Candy” (rachel@printcandydesign.com) to re-design it as a surprise for me! I am thrilled & would love to have your input! Helen

    facebook.com/HewickPlantation

  13. Message: 4
    Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2012 21:35:44 -0700 (PDT)
    From: “Helen J Murphy \(Battleson\)”
    Subject: Re: [ROBINSON] Ann Sedgwick Robinson – Orange Co., NC
    To: Robinson List
    Cc: “thedolls@earthlink.net”
    Author : Dorothy L. Doll (IP: 24.5.75.58
    E-mail : thedolls@earthlink.net
    Comment:
    I am the descendant of Ann (Anna?) Sedgwick Robinson, b. ca. 1762 (no proof). She married William E. Cumming b. 1759 in Hillsboro, now Orange Co NC.
    Anna is one of my “brick walls”, and I’ve searched for her origins for 30 years.
    A few researchers suggested that she was the daughter of Lord John Robinson who married Ann Sedgwick. I’ve found no evidence, yet. Another suggested that her mother, Ann Sedgwick (Sedwick) was of the Thomas Sedgwick line from MD. One of Ann Sedgwick Robinson Cumming’s granddaughter was named after her and is buried in KY.
    Does anyone have any knowledge of this gr-gr-gr-gr-grandmother of mine? Please include me in your newsletter, so that I can read any response.
    Site Administrator; please use my e-mail address to send me the newsletter.

    Helen Nichols Murphy (Battleson), Coronado, CA hewick1@yahoo.com – Robinson Rootsweb Admin.

  14. Helen Murphy says:

    Thomas Robinson
    Birth May 11, 1788, in James River, Buckingham, Virginia, United States
    Death Living
    Death Jul. 22, 1864 in Loudon, Tennessee
    …………………………………………………………..
    Hi Mike,
    Hope this is helpful to you in regard to your Robinson posting, I suggest you start looking in Buckingham Co., VA…
    Who is father of Thomas Robinson ???
    Thomas Robinson
    B: 10 May 1788 VA
    D: 22 Jun 1864 Roane, TN
    M: 28 Jul 1811 Jefferson, TN
    Spouse:
    Sarah King
    B: 21 Dec 1788 KY
    D: 17 May 1865 Roane, TN

    Both Buried at:
    Buried in Steekee Cemetery, Loudon County, Tn

  15. Mile Newcombe says:

    Thank you for your posting of my query 2012.
    Have found numerous leads from Buckingham County Va, but alas nothing which can be proven. I’m in my 80th year… therefore further effort in this research is at end. Thank you for your assistance, it was very much appreciated.

    I have all children of said Thomas if same would assist in your research efforts, you need but to ask.

    Your servant,
    Mike Newcombe

  16. Mike Newcombe says:

    Sorry Folks… Correction… Reference: Post of Nov 24 2014
    John Robinson McBride should read:
    John Robinson McDaniel

  17. Debora Tumlinson says:

    I am a descendant of John Robinson through his daughter George Robinson, through his daughter Elizabeth Robinson.

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