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William (W) Masters,  Sr.


by Carol Collins - December 2000


The first known record of William (W) Masters is the purchase of pew # 12 in the Broad Creek Chapel, later called St. Johnís Church, of Piscataway Parish in March 1715.   (These records can be found in the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Md.)   This pew was sold by the family in June, 1770.   William served as the church warden in the parish for many years.

His wife, Mary Veitch, whom he married ca. 1713, was the daughter of Nathan and Ann (Clagget) Veitch.   In 1702, Nathan Veitch left a 50 acre tract of land in Charles Co., named Hopeful Blessing, to his daughter, Mary, then underage.   (Prince Georges Co. Will Lib 1, fol. 198)   This tract William and Mary Masters sold to Thomas Ferrand on 23 Aug. 1737.   (Prince Georges Co. Deed Lib. O#2, fol. 303)  At the death of her husband, Ann Claggett Veitch remarried Richard Weaver.   (Jourdan: The Land Records of Prince Georgeís Co., Md.)

In 1716 William (W) served as administrator for Robert Masterís, estate.   ( PG Co., Liber BE#1, fol. 261).   Robert was known to have a brother, William.   And William (W) signed as administrator.   Whether these are the same William or not needs to be cleared.   Arguments can be made either way.  (See "The Masters Immigrants.")

William (W), along with his father-in-law, Richard Weaver, as surety, bound themselves for 50 pounds sterling to serve as administrator on this estate (PG Co. Adm. Bonds, Lib. 1, p. 94).   In 1717 he served as surety for Susanna Windom, executrix of the estate of Thomas Windom.   (Test. Proc: Lib. 23, fol. 160)   When John Norris, Jr. served as guardian of Thomas and William Windom, sons of Thomas.   Bond was given by John Norris, Jr. John Norris, Sr., and William Masters.   (PG Co. Guardian Bonds, Lib. H, fol. 1104).   Susanna Windom remarried John Norris (PG Co. Administration Accts., Lib. JB#1, fol. 243-44: Then came John Norris and Susannah, his wife, formerly WindomÖ")

William acquired several pieces of property over the next few years.   In 1718 he had 100 acres of Gum Spring surveyed out of a warrant to Thomas Addison.   (Patent Lib. 6, fol. 45; Cert. of Patent: IL#A, fol. 818)   He patented the land in 1722 and then sold it to John Wilcoxin for 3000 lbs. of tobacco. (PG Co. Lib. I, fol. 307).

Gum Spring adjoined Discovery, 383 acres on the north side of a fresh run called Oxon, which he purchased from Charles Beale in 1720. (PG Co. Deed Lib. I, fol. 87).   In 1729 he sold 100 acres to John Veatch, for £25 (PG Co. Deed Lib. E, fol. 540) and again in 1736 he sold 127 acres to his son in law, Ezekiel Goslin, for 5 shillings. (PG Co. Deed Lib. T, fol. 525)   His son, William, Jr., received 52 acres in 1755. (PG Co. Deed Lib. NN, fol. 342).

William registered 100 acres of Thorough Fair, adjacent to the Potomac a little north of the Little Monocacy River in 1734 which he had purchased from Eleanor Addison.   (PG Co. Patent Books, EL#1, fol. 408; Cert. #100, AM#1, fol. 376).   This he immediately sold, for 5 shillings, to his son, Robert (PG Co. Lib. T, fol. 526)   It is the conclusion of these writers that William sold this land to his family members at the time of their marriages.

In 1744 William purchased, along with  John Veatch, 132 acres of Progress.   John chose 80 acres and William 52 acres.   (PG Co. Liber BB, fol. 112).   William immediately leased these 52 acres to Ezekiel Goslin for rent and the construction of buildings.   (PG Liber BB, fol. 237)   Ezekiel died in 1765 leaving instructions that all of his lands be sold.   So in 1770 William sold the 52 acres to his daughter, Elizabeth Goslin   (Fred. Co. Lib. N, fol. 149).   Elizabeth later disposed of the land and moved, with other family members, to the Moravian settlement of Wachovia in North Carolina.   She died March, 1802, and is buried in Hope, N.C., in the Old Cemetery.   Her Memorial states that she was the mother of 10 children.

William Masters made several appearances in the records of the county court of Prince Georgeís County over a period of almost sixty years.   He appears frequently in the county levy lists.   His first appearance on the levy list was in 1715 when he was paid for forty-five squirrel heads; the next year he received 1,846 pounds of tobacco for 33 crows and 452 squirrels (PG Court Proceedings, H: 20, 164, 565, 784)

On Nov. 22, 1720 Elizabeth Brumigen (also Burmingham and Burginham), a servant belonging to John Lockyer, was indicted in PG Co. for bastardy.   The sheriff, Thomas Claggett, was ordered to take her "to the whipping post and there stripping her naked from the waist upward well lay upon her bare back Twenty lashes so that the blood appearÖ"   She named William Masters as the father of the child. The justices ordered William to be brought before the court, but the grand jury failed to indict for lack of evidence.   Elizabethís child, Alice, was indentured to Mary Delozer in November of the following year.   Elizabeth was sentenced to an additional nine months service for her master.   (PG Court Proceedings, K: 92093, 421, 550)

In November, 1720, William was appointed overseer of the highways for the lower part of New Scotland hundred.   The unpaid task of the overseer was to keep the roads clear of brush and to keep them passable.   William was appointed to this post again in 1723 and 1728, jointly with his sons in 1735, and singly again in 1742.   In August, 1724, he was fined for failing to keep the roads clear.   (PG Court Proceedings, K:7; L: 185, 340; ):330; V:667; AA:228)

William was a grand juror in 1730 and 1738 and he must have been slated to be a petit juror in March, 1732, when he was found in contempt of court for absenting himself after being sworn for the jury.   (Co. Court Proc: P:452; X:108; R:395-6)

In 1724, William was suretor for a bond made by Benjamin Osburn   (Co. Court Proc: L:335-6)

He sued James Veatch in March of 1730; John Davison in Nov. 1733 and Thomas Stanage in March 1758, but all of these suits were settled before they came to trial.   (Co. Court Proc: R:68; S:584; OO:600)

At the August Court, 1732, Elizabeth Welch bound her daughter Barbara, "3 years old (as tis said) the 15 of next October," to William Masters until Barbara came of age.   William would ensure that Barbara learned to read and at the end of her service he would "give her a Decent suit of apparel."   (County Co. Proceedings, S:11)

In 1720 Daniel Kelly deposed that in about the year 1718 he saw Williamís son, Nathan, who was a that time about 4 years of age, on Williamís plantation.   Nathan had his ear partially bitten off by his fatherís gray mare.   (PG Co. Lib. I, fol. 87)

Nathan, and Nathanís wife, Frances, died within a half an hour of each other in April 1744.   This precipitated a libel suit, brought by William against Francesí mother, Priscilla Wilson, over the handling of the estate.   (Test. Proc: Box 46, folder 4).   She ultimately prevailed and served as administrator to Nathanís, and his wifeís, estate.   Nathan and Frances left three surviving daughters: Priscilla, Elizabeth, and Mary.   (PG Accts. Lib. 22, fol. 48)

(Land records and administration of inventory records state that Priscilla was the widow of Thomas Wilson.   (PG Co. lib BB, fol. 278 and Fred. Co. Orphanís Court Lib A#1, fol. 159)   The Wadsworth family of America, by Mary Jane Fry Wadsworth, gives the maiden name of Priscilla as Ď Kent.í)

His son, Robert, pre-deceased William in 1770 (Fred Co. Inv. Bk 104, fol. 175).   Both William, Sr., and Jr. signed as kin on the inventory.   Robertís wife, Mary, is thought by some family members to be a Wilson, more specifically another daughter of Thomas and Priscilla Kent Wilson.   This has not been proven by documents available today.   Robert, with his brother, Nathan, signed the petition for the creation of All Saints Parish in 1742.   This was a division of Prince Georgesí parish in the early settlement of Frederick Co., Md.   He was also paid 1 lb. 10 shillings for quartering soldiers in the French and Indian War (Md. Historical Magazine, vol. 9, p. 260)

Robertís land, Thoroughfare, was left for his son, Notley, to dispose of as he wished.   Notley and his family traveled with Elizabeth Goslin and her family to North Carolina in 1772.   (Fries: Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, vol. 2, p. 722).   Family records show that their children then went to North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

William, Sr., did not in effect leave a will, but on 1760, perhaps of old age, he made a deed of gift to his three surviving children, Robert, Elizabeth Goslin and William, Jr.   (PG Co. Lib RR, fol. 60) The deed of gift left increase of slave, Bess, and a small sum to Robert and Elizabeth.   William, Jr., was to receive Bess and all home plantation lands at the death of William, Sr.

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