Person:Robert Abernethy (2)

Robert Abernethy I
b.Abt. 1633 Probably Scotland
d.Abt. Jan. 1685 Charles City Co, Virginia
Facts and Events
Name[1][2] Robert Abernethy I
Gender Male
Birth? Abt. 1633 Probably Scotland
Marriage 1657 Bristol Parish, VA Colonyto Sarah "Coppage" Cabbigo
Death[6] Abt. Jan. 1685 Charles City Co, Virginia3 Feb. 1685: Attachment to Ben Foster against Estate of Robert Abernathy for 200 lbs. of tobacco.


Note: The bulk of the research presented here should be credited to Margaret Ogilvie (amazing deed mapping) and Elizabeth Ferguson, whose work has yielded a gold mine of information in recent years.

Qualifying words and phrases (probably, presumed, likely, thought to be) are just that. It means “not documented,” although there may be a preponderance of evidence. Such a statement should not be presented as a documented fact. Nor should the possibilities that I have presented. They are simply thoughts for further research. Judy Kimsey

Robert Abernathy (Abernethy, Abernathie, Ebernathell, et. al.) was probably born in Scotland abt. 1633. Researcher Elizabeth Ferguson calculated this date based on then-existing British laws regarding years of bond service he was required to serve and the “Sarah’s Cow Document" dated 3 Apr 1657, in which he and his wife, Sarah Cubisha (Cubishe, Cabbigo et. al.) provided a cow to Sarah’s daughter. (See image).

There is no evidence whatever that Robert was the son of George de Barrie, and in fact, good evidence that he was not:

1. The de Barrie line went extinct in 1724, with the death of John Abernethy. (see footnotes 1 & 2)

2. In 1603, James I decreed that all Scots aristocratic heirs should be well educated. Our Robert could not read or write, at least, not when he arrived here—see Sarah’s Cow document.

3. After the Battle of Worcester, Scots prisoners were divided into three groups:leaders, who had their lands and, often, their heads, confiscated; a middle group, probably deemed too dangerous to turn loose, or young and healthy enough to provide labor in the colonies; and the foot soldiers, most of whom, if they weren’t killed, were released.

Robert is not on any known list of prisoners from the Battle of Worcester (Sept. 3, 1651). The timing of his arrival in Virginia almost 10 months later indicates that he might have been captured, if not at Worcester, shortly thereafter.

However, it should be noted that most POW transports from Dunbar and Worcester were sent to New England ports, not to Virginia. Robert does not appear on ships’ lists for the John and Sarah, which transported almost 300 prisoners from Worcester alone. We don’t know what ship actually delivered Robert to the American colonies—only that he is named on a Virginia headright grant to Robert West, listed as Robt. Ebernathell (see N1). Given the headright grant and the fact that Robert most definitely ended up in Virginia, he probably landed at Jamestown or Barclay, the only other working port in VA at that time.

Robert’s status as an indenture is questioned. The headright system was complex and didn’t always operate in a timely manner—the date on the grant doesn’t necessarily match reality. If Robert arrived in 1652, I think he was likely an indentured servant, simply because he doesn’t begin appearing in the colonial records until 1656. In addition, that’s the way the majority of immigrants arrived at this time—especially Sots and Irish. Four years (five, if he was still indentured in 1656) is a reasonable time frame for an indenture. As an indenture, he was unlikely to have been doing anything that would have been noted in records.

In 1656, Robert first appears in the colonial records: “Robt. Abernathy hath produced and proved an acct. of disbursements & charges for Geo. Armstrong” (see cite below). Assuming Robert was an indentured servant, it appears that his bond service was either sold or leased to George Armstrong.

By April of 1657, Robert was a free man, married to Sarah. We can begin to follow him through the records, as evidenced by the cites below.

The final cite on 3 February, 1685, is against the estate of Robert Abernathy (see cite). Robert probably died in late 1684 or Jan. 1685. To date, no will has been found.

                           CITATIONS FOR ROBERT ABERNATHY I

Land Grants, VA, 1600-1800, Book 3 (1652-1655), through Library of Virginia website.

2 Aug 1652: Grant for Robert West, includes name of Robert Ebernethell [sic]. (See image).

From Charles City County Court Order Book,1655-1658, LDS call #30989, 3099

3 April, 1656 Att a Co'rt holden at Westov'r p. 44 Whereas Robt. Abernathy hath produced and proved an acct. of disbursements & charges for Geo. Armstrong deed amount 1258 lbs. Tob. which he hath paid...April 21, 1656.

3 May 1657, Sarah's Cow Document—proof of marriage.

16 Oct 1657, p.98: there is an order to pay Robert Abernathie for 5 days work.

12 May 1658, p. 98: Robert Abernathy was ordered to pay to Capt. Thos. Staggs for the Estate of George Armstrong, deceased, 340 lbs. of tobacco due by bill.

Att a Cort holden att mercht hope 10 br: 3: 1658, p. 162 (p. 208 of the abstracts) Andrew Armstrong ordered to pay to and secure to Robert Abernathie 2186 lbs. of tobacco.

From Virginal Colonial Abstracts, Volume III, Charles City County Court Orders, Beverly Fleet, GPC, Baltimore, 1988 (originally published between 1937 and 1949

Oct. 17, 1661: Att a Co’rt holden at Westov’r 8br

p. 309. The Court, with consent of Martha the relict of David Ramsey decd,, Elizab: dau of sd Ramsey to Mr James Wallace to serve till she be 16. The like ordered for her son Patrick Ramsey bound to Robert Abernathy till 21.

p. 545 These presents Witness that I James Wallace have received full satisfaccon from Robt Abernathy of the cattle that he had in his custody perteyning to the Orphane Patrick Ramsey as also the gun for w’ch I do dicharg the sd Abernathy Witness my hand this 18th of Febry 1664. James Wallace. Teste Patrick Jackson. Rec 12 die Aprs 1665

p. 383 A jury of Inquest impaneled the 13th of March 1662 to deliv’r their opinion concerning the death of a man belonging to mr Theorderick Bland Esqr, who was drowned and taken up at mer’chts hope: …Robt Abernathy…

Land Grants, VA, 1600-1800, Patent Book 5, through Library of Virginia website.

7 Mar 1665, p.567: Robert Abernathy granted 100 acres in Charles City County, Va. on the south side of the James River, part of the land previously belonging to Patrick Jackson.

May 8, 1665, Robert Abernathy sat on coroner’s jury with Thos. Parham.

4 Feb 1664, p. 567: Robert Abernathy purchased of 100 acres of land from Patrick Jackson. Said land included in 1701 quit rent rolls of son. [Note: George Cubisha, assumed to a relation of Sarah, buys land adjacent to Robert].

7 Mar 1665: land grant issued upon completion of payments.

20 Nov. 1683: Abernathy mentioned in grant to Col William Hill, Charles City County, 980-1/2 acs. Chas. City Co., Westover Par., on S. side of James River

13 Oct 1652, p. 338: 600 Acs part bounded as in a patent to James Warradine, who deserted, &c., Abernathy mentioned.

p. 380-1/2 acs. adj. beg. at lands of Byears(?), on N. side of the gr. Road, to Mr. Francis Pothers, on Roger Tilman, James Bindford, Robert Abernathy, & Wallace, &c. Due Viz: 600 acs by order of the Gen'll. Court att. James Citty.

3 Feb. 1685: Attachment to Ben Foster against Estate of Robert Abernathy for 200 lbs. of tobacco.

From "Early Virginia Families Along the James River: Their Deep and Tangled Branches", Vol II, p. 56. 7 Mar. 1665, p. 446 (567) Robert Abernathie, 100 acs, Chas. City Co., S. side of James Riv. on the head of the poplar runn where it boundedth on land of James Wallis, S. on land of Thomas Suglas, & the quarter land &c. Part of a greater devdt. granted to Patriak Jackson & Richard Barker & by s

1. "The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, containing an

  historical and genealogical account of the nobility of that kingdom, with armorial illustrations." By Sir  
  James Paul Balfour, Lord Lyon of Scotland.

2. "The Frasiers of Philorth" by Alexander Frasier, (17th) Lord Saltoun, published by T&A Constable, Edinburgh,




CUZZ ALFRED TOMERLIN in January 2004 noted mutual relatives in Jamestowne colony: John Dods (Dodson ancestor) was listed as a Labourer among the settlers, having arrived on the Susan Constant. Edward Brinto, Mason, the ancestor of Gornto > Margaret (Williamson) & her husband, Rev. John Mowery's children (some were adopted). John Flood (1591 - 1658 was the translator for the Indian/English & became a Colonel.

    =    =    =    =    =    =    =

SOURCE: Rootsweb WC - The Abernathy/Abernethy Families -- Entries: 9783 Updated: 14 Nov 2002 Contact: Brian Abernathy <briana @@ att . com > Brian's information sources included: The Robert Abernethy Family" by Arvord M. Abernethy

"Abernethy Family in Scotland, Virginia and Alabama" by Thomas Perkins Abernethy born in 1624 in Scotland. He died in Jan 1685 in James River, Prince George Co, Va. Robert was one of 1610 prisoners of war shipped to America by the year 1652, and arrived in Jamestown, Va where he served 4 years as an indentured servant. He appears to have been on the losing Scots side against Oliver Cromwell's English Roundheads in either the battle of Dunbar on Sept 3, 1650 or the battle of Worcester on Sept 3, 1651. The losing Scots were led by Lord David Leslie. The final battle took place at Worcester, England by the river Severn, and resulted in 3000 dead Scots and up to 10,000 prisoners.

  1. ABERNETHY2-cuzz-alfred.ged.

    Date of Import: Feb 19, 2004

  2. Stamps-Sites TFS.FTW.

    Date of Import: May 13, 2004

  3.   Land Grants, VA, 1600-1800, Book 3 , 1652-1655, Primary quality.
  4.   Charles City County Court Order Book, see cite in text, 1655-1658, Primary quality.
  5.   Virginal Colonial Abstracts, Charles City County Court Orders, Vol. III, Secondary quality.
  6. Land Grants, VA, 1600-1800, Patent Book 5.
  7.   Land Patent of Robert West in which Robert Ebernathell is listed
    Transcribed by, and courtesy of Margaret Ogilvie 19 Feb. 2010

    To all et whereas et Now Know yee that I the Said Richard Bennett Esqrer give and grant unto Robert West Seven hundred acres of land lying upon the branches of Baylies Creeke in Charles City County toward the South Side of the head of the said Creeke bounded as followeth South by East by James Warradins Land Commonly Called and known by the Name of High Peake? & Now in the Occupation of Mr. William Dibby and Robery Lanyman? East by North along in the woods having the Westery and Southerly branch running through the said Land the Said land being due to the Said Robert West by and for the transportation of fourteen persons & to have and to hold & yielding and paying & which payment is to be made Seven years after the first Grant or Seating thereof and not before provised & Dated the 2nd of August 1652.

    Robert West Thomas Bowman Jane Corell
    Susanna West Mary Owin Ebernathell Jeffery Phillips
    John West Saml Garingoe John Coppin John Reeves
    Dan: Everns J?ow: Wentworth George Nillett (?or Nebbett)

    From the Library of Virginia Website
    Source: Land Office Patents No. 3, 1652-1655, p. 144 (Reel 2). Part of the index to the recorded copies of patents for land issued by the Secretary of the Colony serving as the colonial Land Office. The collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia.
  8.   I'm trying to upload the Sarah's Cow document--am having trouble, will get it posted as soon as possible.