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William Masters  Jr.


by Carol Collins - 2001


William Masters, Jr. was born ca. 1723 in Prince Georges Co., Md.   (1776 census, St. John's and King George's parish, Brumbaugh: Maryland Records, vol. 1, p. 67)   He died Nov. 1777. (Original Wills, Maryland State Archives, Box 12, folder 57)

By 1744 or so, William, Jr., had come of age, so it is not possible to distinguish between his father and him in the records unless the designation senior or junior was used.   One of the Williams was appointed overseer of highways in 1744 and 1734, and a William Masters was sued by Christopher Lowndes and Peregrine Mackanniss in June,1762; the suit was settled out of court (Co. Court Proc: CC:601; DD:285; SS:224)

In November, 1750, one or the other was indicted for breach of the peace for "assaulting & Beating the Body of Arthur Seyman."   In June, 1751, the court ordered that the indictment be quashed and William discharged,   "it appearing that Seyman was his Servant at the time the Breach was made."   Assaulting one's servant was no crime in 18th century Maryland.   Then in June 1753, the court appropriated 800 pounds of tobacco to William Masters for keeping Arthur Seaman.   (In Maryland the county court placed the aged, infirm and ill in private homes and appropriated payment to the householder.)   (Prince Georges Co. Court Proc: LL:235; MM:76, 415)

William, Jr.'s, wife, Margaret (surname unknown), was born in England according to her petition to the county court of Prince Georges Co. in March, 1744.   "it was your petitioner's fortune to marry with William Masters about 2 years ago (1742).   But by late 1743 or early 1744 they had become estranged."   According to Margaret, she and William "lived for a time with Great Love to Each other til Some Evil Disposed Persons made such Insinuations unto the sd. William Masters as to have a bad opinion of her."   Consequently, she was beaten by William, his father.   Margaret, pregnant at the time, endured "patiently thinking that good behaviour & time would produce Peace."   Instead, William refused to live with her and turned her out to a log house he and his father built for her.   She was given only corn to eat, but "being in a Weak Condition cou'l not beat & Dress it fit for food," and she and her child survived on the charity of neighbors.   Margaret Masters applied to the County Court for relief in March, 1744.   In her petition she stated that on 6 March, 1744, William and his father beat her with a cart rope and threatened to shoot her if she did not leave the plantation, driving her and her child away and leaving them destitute.   The County Court rejected Margaret's petition. (Prince Georges Co. Court Proceedings, CC:269-70)

Margaret's children, named in her will (Montgomery Co. Will Bk 1, fol. 117), were Sarah, b. 1749, William, b. 1751 and Verlinda, b. ca. 1756. (ages taken from the 1776 census of St. John's and St. George's parishes) Margaret, and her son William (sometimes called William Windom), received all the estate of Thomas Windom, including the tract Fletchall's Chance in his will of 1767.   (Frederick Co. Will Lib. A#1, fol. 190-91; Original will at Maryland State Archives Box 3, folder 50)   Sarah married Zaddock Harris; Verlinda married John Chappell and William married Barsheba -?-.   John Chappell and Verlinda received "negroes Rachel, Bess and Doll, all cattle horses, mares, sheep and hogs, household furniture, plantation utensils, crops of every kind, ready money and all personal estate" of Margaret in return for "good and sufficient maintainance during her natural life."   (Frederick Co. Deed Lib. BD#2, fol. 446)

Thomas Windom was the son of Thomas Windom, Sr. who died in 1720.   His mother, Susannah, remarried John Norris Jr. while John Norris Sr. and William (W) Masters signed as bondsmen to guarantee their appointment as guardians of Thomas and William Windom, his sons.   (Prince Georges Co. Deed Lib. I, fol. 87)

In 1755, William Masters, Sr. gave his son, William, Jr., 52 acres of the home tract of Discovery "for love, regard and natural affection."   The tract lay on the south side of the Eastern Branch of the Potomac River.   (PR Deed Lib. NN, fol. 342-3)   This was approximately the time that William, Jr. began living with Tryphenia North, who would be his soul mate for life.

Tryphenia was born ca 1733, according to the parish census, and died after 1806.   The District of Columbia was portioned off in 1791 and Discovery lay just within the boundaries of the new District.   She was already the mother of two sons, William North, b. 1754, and John North, b. ca. 1755.   Both used the name Masters in later life and received 1/3 of William's estate at his death.

In 1760 William received a deed of gift from his father of a negro woman, Bess, and her increase and all land not already given to his siblings, with house and plantation.   (Prince Georges Co.   Deed Lib. RR, fol. 60-61)   It is interesting to note that a negro, Bess, was included in Margaret's deed of gift to her son-in-law, John Chappell in 1776.   (Frederick Co. Deed Lib. BD#2, fol. 446)

When his brother in law, Ezekiel Goslin, died in 1766 and his brother, Robert, died in 1770, William signed as next of kin with his father   (Original Inventories, box 4, folder 86; Frederick Co. Inv. Lib 104, fol. 176).

According to the census of St. John's and King George's Parish, taken in 1776, William, age 53, had four males in his household, age 12, 10, 8, 6.   Tryphenia was 43 and there were four females in the household, ages 20, 15, 4, 3.   2 male slaves, age 4 and 2, three female slaves, age 35, 7. 5.   Tryphenia's son, William North Masters, was listed in a separate household, age 22, wife, Mary age 29, daughters, age 6 and 1, one slave.

William wrote his will on Sept. 11, 1775 and it was probated Nov. 7, 1777   (Original, Maryland State Archives, Box 12, folder 57; also Orphan's Court lib ST#2, fol. 91-2).   He left the children of Margaret Masters 1 shilling each; the children of Tryphenia North 1/3 of the estate shared between them.   The children of Tryphenia and himself received the other 2/3 of the estate in 12 years (when the youngest would be of age).   Witnesses were Matthew Wigfield, Azariah Gatton and Samuel Warner, jr.   The executor's bond was given by Tryphenia North, with George Beane and Azariah Gatton as sureties.   (all bondsmen were children of Thomas and Elizabeth Gatton, George Beane having married Mary Gatton, Azariah's sister).   The inventory amounted to 232.4, with Notly Gatton and Azariah Gatton as kin.   (Original, Maryland State Archives, Box 25, folder 50; Prince Georges Co. Inv. Liber GS#2, fol. 23; Prince Georges Co. Accounts Bk #2, 1758-1788)

Tryphenia was on the tax roll of 1781 and 1791 and the 1800 census of DC, Prince Georges Co. section.   


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