Heaths of the Eastern Shore

Accomack and Northampton Counties, Virginia

The Eastern Shore of Virginia was originally known as Accawmacke, from its Native American name.   It was settled soon after the founding of Jamestown.  In 1614 about 20 Jamestown colonists were sent to the eastern shore to gather salt and catch fish for the settlement.  They established their camp on the coast near Cape Charles and set up salt works to the east on Smith Island. This was a temporary encampment, and the first established settlement was at Old Plantation Creek.  The first church and community was established in 1624 on the north side of King’s Creek.  Accawmacke became Northampton County in 1642. Then in 1663 Northampton was split in two and the northern portion resumed being Accomac County.  It was 1940 when the spelling became Accomack.

Between Hungars Creek and Nasawadox Creek, was Nuswattocks Parish.  The church was built by 1647.  By 1641 there were 700 living in Accomack.  Between 1636 and 1650 approximately 90% of the acreage of the Eastern Shore peninsula from Occhannock Creek south to Cape Charles had been patented. The peninsula offered good soil, many waterways for better transportation and communication between land owners, and peaceful natives. Between 1635 and 1650 there was exceptional growth.  A third parish named Occahannock was formed in 1652.  In 1663 Accomack County was cut from Northampton County.   Adjacent to Accomack County is Somerset County in Maryland.  Families settled across the county lines and some planters owned land in both colonies.

William Heath, the First in Accawmacke

It would seem that William Heth (sic) transported in 1637 settled in Accoma County.   In 1638 William Heath had a very eventful year.  It began when Daniel Cugley was ordered to pay 1/3 of staves in question, and a Mr. Holmes was to pay 52 hogshead, being jointly due to …said Heath. That same year William Heath was arrested by William Holmes, however, no evidence was produced against him so the charges were dismissed. William Heath was soon paid 600 lb tobacco from the estate of William Holmes and later that year Mr. William Holmes was ordered to repay 232 lb tobacco which William had paid, but which was not yet due.  Then William was ordered to put up security for 400 lb. tobacco due Jno. Tarvy, or remain in the sheriff’s hands.

This is a difficult beginning for someone newly arrived in the country and he died within 3 years of migrating.  In 1640 is recorded the administration of the estate of William Heath and the inventory filed by his widow Heath.  Her name is unknown.

William Heath and Ann Heath of 1642

Soon after the death in 1640 of William Heth, William Heath and Ann Heath arrived in Northampton County.  It was 1642 and John Browne of London, then residing in Northampton County, received the headrights.  It is likely that this William Heath soon removed to Norfolk County, just across the bay from the Eastern Shore.  As with his predecessor of 1637, he had a short life once he arrived in Virginia.

Records in Norfolk, Virginia

In Norfolk, Virginia a deed from Deborah Glascock, widow selling unto …Richard Conquest for a valuable consideracon one yearling Cowe, Calfe and one …  Bull Calfe now being amongst the neat cattle of Ensigne Lambard, September 1646, Signed Deborah Glascock (her mark) and witnessed by John Fferinhaugh and William (his marke) Heath.  It was not recorded until May, 1648 in Norfolk.

In 1647 the estate of William Heath, was noted when Mr. John Fferinhaugh was ordered to pay 380 lb. tobacco, to John Harvye, administrator of William Heath, deceased. It was recorded that Henry Meritt was Master (ship’s master) and copartner with William Heath deceased. It was ordered that Merritt be given possession and allowed to enjoy the full halfs part of the last year’s profit of their trade and 530 lb tobacco which Merritt had paid for Heath, deceased, from Richard Smith, Attorney of John Savage, and the administrator of the decendent. An attachment was granted to Mr. Thomas Lambart against the estate of William Heath for 300 lb tobacco due Thomas Mitchell from the decedent upon account.  The said 300 lb. tobacco was assigned to Lambart by Mitchell.

Earliest Tax Lists for Accomac County and Northampton Counties

The Tithables in Northampton County in 1666 included Abraham Heath for 1 tithe then in 1668 he was taxed in Accomack County for 1 tithe.  This was Abraham, son of William Heath and Amy, of Surry County, Virginia.  He later removed to Somerset County in Maryland, just up the Eastern Shore.  Also living in Somerset County was John Heath, who was active in Somerset until 1695.

There is nearly 20 years before another Heath is listed for Accomac County.   William Heath was charged for 1 tithe, in 1685, 1686, 1689, 1690 and 1691.  In 1704, the Virginia Quit Rents do not list any Heaths in Accomac or Northampton County.  It is not clear what this implies.  Perhaps he moved away from the Eastern Shore.  Perhaps he died before 1704.   The only Heaths noted in Virginia in 1704 were James in Princess Anne County, and William and Adam in Surry and Prince George.  However, we know that Heaths, as minor children living with guardians or a remarried mother, and Heaths, landless at the time were not included in the 1704 Quit Rents which were land based taxes.

Northampton Heath Records

William Heath and Hannah

William Heath was noted in 1703 on the sea side of Northampton County.  Hannah, who likely was the wife of William, was noted there 1711.  It is stated that William was the son of Anne Heath, who married James Heath, and upon his death she married another Heath, unnamed. This William Heath of Northampton and his wife Hannah are said to be the parents of Robert, James, Jacob, Joseph, and William Heath as well as daughters Mary Heath Budd and Elizabeth Heath.


In 1725-27 the land holders in Northampton were Anne Heath, James Heath and Robert Heath.

Robert Heath

Robert Heath married Mary and died February 12, 1750/51 in Northampton County, Virginia.    Mary was noted as a land owner in 1750 in the same location as Robert had been noted in 1727.  Their children were Luke, Ebron, William (ca 1741), Robert (ca 1758), Benjamin, and Anne. In 1736, in Accomack, Robert Heath was conveyed land by Abraham Smith and his wife Barbara.

Luke Heath was noted as a land owner in 1750.  He married Bridget Dunton October 28, 1763.  Luke Heath died November 16th 1780 in Northampton County, intestate.  The 1788 tax list she is taxed for 2 slaves and 2 horses.  Living adjacent to her was James Heath.  In 1795  Laban Stoot, husband of Luke’s daughter, Betsy, went to court regarding the disposition of four slaves, Dean, Pleasant, Frank, and Ann, which were owned by Luke Heath at the time of his death. The suit makes it clear that Adah was a minor.  The family agreed that the court needed to decide what to do about the slaves.  Their children were: Seth Duntan Heath married Grace Elliot in November, 1798.  He was noted as a land owner in 1809. Zorobabel Jones was security, with the consent of her father John Elliott. Elizabeh married Labon Stott June 11, 1795. Adah married Zorobabel Jones September 28, 1795. George Heath married Peggy Savage in August 1800, James Heath security.  He died December 10, 1804.

William Heath was noted as a land holder in 1751 and 1752.

Ebron Heath lived in Accomack County.  He served in the Revolution as a Private.

Robert Heath was noted as a land holder in 1750.

Benjamin Heath

Also in Northampton was Josiah Heath who married Mary Floyd, widow of John Floyd Dec. 1778  Josiah was counted for land in 1783, In Northampton County but was not in the tax roll in 1788 in Northampton or Accomack.

James Heath and Anne Cozier

James Heath of Northampton married Ann Cozier the daughter of Bartholomew Cozier and Luranah Johnson.  James was noted as a landowner in 1725 and a James Heath continued to be noted in the same area in 1751, 1776, 1780, and 1800.  Her father’s will of March, 1733 in Northamton County notes his daughter Ann Heath and son-in-law James Heath.  James Heath died in 1750.  Luanah was the daughter of Jeptha Johnson and Elizabeth Teague.  Bartholomew was the son of Bartholomew Cozier and Elizabeth Denham.

James and Ann were the parents of James, William, and Bartholomew Heath.

James Heath married Patience Tankard in November, 1780.  In 1788 tax roll James was taxed for 2 slaves and 3 horses.  They were the parents of Peggy who married Robert B. Ward in March 1804 in Northampton, Deletha who married John Gray in 1816, and Nancy who married Obedience White, in 1813.

In Hungars Parish, Northampton in 1811 is a suit filed by Robert A. Joynes, and Polly his wife, Peggy Ward and Nancy Heath against Patience Heath, Thomas Johnson and Delitha Heath.  Patience Heath was the widow of James Heath.  The 177 ½ acres land was divided by the oaths of Seth Heath, Edmund Downing, Thomas Addison, Jon Cox, William White, Jr. Nathaniel Savage, William M. Ushur, William D. James, Thomas Johnson, Majore Pettitt, Arthur Robins and Golding Ward.  Seth Heath’s land adjoined this land.  The court also ordered that one half of the mill and appurtennces be sold to the highest bidder on a credit of six months.  James Heath died March 1811 without a will, owning half interest in a Grist Water Mill with Thomas Johnson.  The mill was falling into disrepair and so it was sold for the benefit of the heirs of Heath and Johnson.

William Heath was born in 1725 based on a deposition taken in 1773 in Northampton County.  He married Mary Carpenter, widow of John Carpenter in July, 1769 with Thomas Dolby as Security.  Willliam died in 1779.  Clearly, Mary was his second wife.  Mary was taxed in 1788 for 2 slaves and 2 horses.

William Heath, Jr., married Henrietta Joyne in September, 1770.  She was the daughter of Edmund Joyne.

Bridget Heath daughter of William Heath, deceased married William Andrews April, 1781

Seymour Heath a daughter of William Heath married Addison Dowty in July, 1779.

Bartholomew Heath was noted as a land owner in 1751.

Accomack Heath Records

William Heath

William Heath died without children in 1732.  The will of William Heath was filed in June, 1732 in Accomack, Virginia. To wife Mary, plantation where I now live for life then to my brother Jacob Heath.  To wife whole personal estate, reversion to my brothers and sisters, Joseph, Robert and James Heath, Elizabeth Walthum and Mary Bud. His wife was the executor and the witnesses were Andrew Allen, Chrisopher Stokley and Christian Stokley.

John Heath (?)

Elizabeth Heath married Stephen Waltham who died in 1728.  The will of Stephen Waltham was filed in 1728 noting …John Heath, alias Waltham, son of my wife Elizabeth Waltham, plantation where I now dwell, containing 150 acres…To son John Heath, alias Waltham, the plantation where his grandfather Heath dwells. This will was filed in Northampton County, and in 1779 John Heath was noted in the Northampton rent rolls.

John Robinson Heath married Mary Ann Corgins on January 20, 1807.  Major R. Heath was his security.  In the will of Weskit Elliot filed in 1816 in Accomack, is this Codicil of April … My aunt Seymour Corgin in her will gave to me & Joshua Burton all her estate in trust for her daughter Mary Ann Heath & 2 grandchildren Neal Corgin & John Davis Corgin & desired at the time she executed said will that as soon as we we were certified of the death of her son-in-law John Heath who was gone beyond sea, that we convey to Mary & her 2 children, which conveyance has not been made having had no evidence of Heath’s death….

Jacob Heath

Jacob Heath and Solomon Whaley were present one day to give testimony agains David Booth in Accomack County. (undated)

Joseph Heath

Joseph married Margaret Stakes.  They lived in the area known as middle Accomack County.  Joseph Heath served on a jury in Accomack County in 1736. In 1739 and again in 1742, Joseph served on a jury. In 1742 Joseph Heath was allowed to reroute the road going by his plantation to the Sea Side from Captain Revels provided that his road was as good as the old one.   Evidently Margaret died as the will of Joseph Heath, filed in Accomack in June, 1765 notes his wife Comfort who received his whole estate during her widowhood.  His son Fletcher Heath received 80 acres adjoining John Walker and James Rodgers.  His son Joseph received the remainder of his land.  His daughters were Leah and Margaret Heath who received the residue.  The witnesses were Henry Heath, Margaret Heath, and Major Charnock.

Joseph and Margaret were the parents of Joseph, Leah, Margaret, Henry, and Fletcher.

Joseph Heath was noted in the 1788 tax roll for two white males over 16, 3 slaves and 3 horses.  Joseph married Susannah Heath on February 11, 1786 in Accomack County with Henry Heath standing as security.  He died before 1813 as shown in the will of Jane Heath.  Jane Heath May 6, 1813: Isaac Smith executor. To son Elbert Roles Heath all my Negroes and all other property and should he not live until age 21, then to Peggy Nock, daughter of Robert Nock, and she to have Negro girl Mary & that Susannah Doughty, daughter of William Doughty, to have Negro boy Smith & Susannah Heath, widow of Joseph, shall have the remainder of my Negroes & the rest of my property.   Witt.  William S. Martin, Henry Walker, Isaac Bell and James Walker.  Prob: Thomas R. Joynes and Henry Parker securities. Jane Heath, May 1813 filed December: Inventory and Sale, Audit 1815: Negroes Adah, child Margaret Jane, boy Charles, boy Wilson, boy Abel and girl Mary.  Buyer  Susannah Heath.  Appraisers: William P. Moor, William S. Martin, Smith Martin. 

Margaret Heath’s will was filed in November, 1798.  It notes her brother Joseph Heath, and requested he pay Fletcher Heath 8 pounds if Fletcher was living, and notes Cassey Heath.   Joseph Heath witnessed a will in 1809 of John Belote.  In 1800 he stood as security for George Coleburn administration.

Fletcher Heath married Leah in Accomack about 1795.

Henry Heath of Northampton County, in 1763, gave a loan to Thomas Moore and Isaac Moore for fourteen pounds and interest due in 1765, which Henry had to go into chancery to collect in 1769.  In the 1788 tax roll Henry was taxed for 3 white males over 16, 1 slave, 3 horses and 2 wheels.  In 1781 Henry heth, with G. W. Corbin, Charles Bagwell, J. Burton and Sam Waples petitioned for the Removal of Embargo on corn and oats, the petitioners’ principal products, or acceptance of them in payment of taxes.

James Heath married Mary Guy March 1778 widow Major Wilkins security

Edmund Heath in 1743 was taken into custody because he had no security to ensure he would save the parish from supporting the illegitimate child he reportedly fathered with Arcadia Belot.  He arranged for Joseph Heath and Thomas Budd to be his securities.

Tabitha Heath married William Dowty October, 1799, John Savage surety. (parentage unknown for Tabitha)

Polly Heath married in 1802, Henry Mason, Edward Martin stood as security.

Teakle Heath was counted in the 1788 tax roll for 3 white males over 16, 1 slave and 2 horses.

Marriage records for Northampton County

William Heath and Polly Dennis December, 1826 William Martin security

Carey Heath to Sally Pratt March, 1822 James Heath security.  Married by J. Elliott

James Heath to Sally Turner Feb. 1794 do John Turner dec’d

John S. Heath to Mary Anno April 1811 married by J. Elliott

In Accomack the will of John Heath was filed in September 1837: wife Elizabeth Heath … but this is to debar her from her dower.  Also to wife all my right, if I have any, to the money she possessed before our marriage, which I have never had in my possession.  To son Elijah Heath, Friend John Arlington.  Witness John Alington, Ebern Bird & Albert R. Heath.


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