Person:Benjamin Dugger (1)

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Benjamin Dugger
m. Bef 20 Feb 1716/1717
  1. William DuggerBefore 1720 - 1773
  2. John DuggerBefore 1721 - 1803
  3. Benjamin DuggerBefore 1724 - After 1756
  4. Elizabeth DuggerBefore 1725 - After 1749
  5. Lydia Dugger1727 - Before 1762
  6. Henry DuggerBefore 1733 - 1806
  7. Sarah Dugger1735 -
Facts and Events
Name Benjamin Dugger
Gender Male
Birth? Before 1724 Surry, Virginia, United States
Death? After 1756 Lunenburg, Virginia, United States

Many thanks are owed to various researchers, but special thanks to: Barbara Browder, Gene Blair, and Robert Nave.

Benjamin Dugger is probably a son of Daniel Dugger and Mary Scarborough. There is no solid proof that he is their son, but they seem the only choice.

Benjamin Dugger was born ca 1724 or earlier, probably in Surry Co, VA (based on his first public record in 1745 assuming he was at least 21 then).

On 21 Aug 1745 Benjamin Dugger, Christopher Moring Jr and William Andrews witnessed a deed between William Barker and brother Joshua Barker in Surry Co, VA. (Surry Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 177)

Apparently Benjamin moved to nearby Lunenburg Co, VA prior to 1748. Robert Nave found a record of him there on the 1748/49 tax list in Hugh Lawson's District. He was taxed for 9 tithables. Since a tithable had to be a white male age 21 and up, or age 16-21, or a slave, this indicates a large family, or a small one with several slaves. Unless this tax list was different from the typical tax list of the day, this does not indicate a 9 person household (i.e. Husband, wife, 7 kids), unless of course he had a house full of hired laborers (which is entirely possible).

Apparently Benjamin obtained land in Lunenburg County, but I didn't find a record of it yet.

On 6 Jan 1755, Benjamin Dugger of "Cumberland Parish" in Lunenburg sold 274 acres to John Caleyham for land on Kettlesticks Creek, bordering Nicholas Caleyham, John Ballard and Mason Bushop. Witnesses were James Mackdaniel and John Jennings. (Lunenburg Co, VA Deed Book 4 page 25).

Apparently Benjamin sold his land in order to go back to Brunswick Co, VA where several of his siblings were. On 7 Feb 1755 Benjamin Dugger purchased 100 acres from his brother John Dugger of "St Andrews Parish" in Brunswick Co, VA. The land was on Gravelly Run, and cost him 20 shillings (a great bargain!). (Brunswick Co, VA Deed Book 5 page 715)

The following month, March 1755, this deed between John Dugger and Benjamin Dugger was ordered to be recorded in court. (Brunswick Co, VA Order Book page 380)

For some reason Benjamin Dugger left Brunswick Co, VA without paying some debt to his brother John Dugger. It seems unlikely that it was the 20 shillings for the land, since that is such a small amount, but it could have been. In any event, John Dugger obtained an attachment against Benjamin Dugger's estate in Brunswick Co, VA court in January 1756, stating that Benjamin had absconded (left the county). Apparently Benjamin owed John money, and I'm sure it was much more than 20 shillings!. (Brunswick Co, VA Order Book 5 page 524)

The above record is the last we find for Benjamin Dugger. Wherever he "absconded" to, he never came back. There are records for a Benjamin Dugger beginning in 1768 in Pittsylvania Co, VA, but I am very sure that this is Benjamin Dugger born ca 1747, as the 1768 record in question has him being deeded livestock by William Dugger, his probable father. These same two moved from there to Surry Co, NC by 1771. This same Benjamin died in Ashe Co, NC in 1815.

Gene Blair told me years ago of a grave marker at the Howell Cemetery in Watauga Co, NC marked "Benjamin Dugger d 1797". I visited that cemetery myself a few years ago, and for some reason could not find the grave. However, it is still there I am told. There are several possible explanations for that grave. It could be our Benjamin Dugger (c1724) that we are studying here. He might have found some way to disappear from the public records for 41 years (1756 to 1797).

Another explanation for the grave is that it is for a younger Benjamin Dugger, perhaps a son of Benjamin (c1747) who died in 1797 at a young age (this is my personal theory, and the one I like best).

One last explanation, is that this marker is for Benjamin (c1747), but was placed a good time after his death (in 1815), and the engraver or his descendants, were confused about when he died. Gene Blair and John Heaton believe the stone to be very old, so it could be an original, placed there in 1797 or shortly thereafter.

In any event, Benjamin Dugger (c1724) died sometime after 1756. He could be the one who died in 1797 in what is now Watauga Co, NC (then still part of Wilkes Co, NC), but for some reason, I don't think that is him dying in 1797 (I could be wrong, but I need some sort of record of him between 1756 and 1797 to be convinced of that).

Children

If Benjamin Dugger had children, or was even married, the records don't tell us. His 1748/49 Tax list entry in Lunenburg Co, VA shows him with 9 tithables. Normally a tithable was any white male age 16 and up, or any slave. This means that this record is not indicative of a husband, wife and 7 other family members (children), unless for some reason that is the way they did this particular list. Benjamin Dugger was not old enough to have this many sons over age 16 (or any children over 16), so I don't think this record proves he was even married.

Assuming he was married, then he probably had some children. Unfortunately, I've not found any record of who they might have been. There are several "stray" Duggers here and there, and they could belong to Benjamin. But without a shred of evidence (even circumstantial), I'm not going to speculate on which of the stray Duggers might belong to him.

References
  1.   The original version of this text was written by Marty Grant and originally published on his website (and republished here by the author).