How can we confirm the parents of Martha Bryant (m1 Foley m2 Burton)?

+3 votes
Can we find a source independent of Bill Deyo to identify the parents of Martha who married first Thomas Foley and married second William Burton? And that even confirms her maiden name of Bryant?

WikiTree profile: Martha Burton
in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (934k points)

According to Find a Grave, Thomas Foley was born 1650 in England.  But his father John Richard Powell Foley was born 1624 in Virginia.  And married guess who

So Thomas married his sister. 

Not looking good.

Will you check these links to see if they will open. According to a previous post on the G2G, if you are a subscriber to ancestry, you can share a link to Facebook (but not actually post it on your Facebook page) just cancel and copy the link and it will post the image etc. and it will not be behind a paywall. I am very curious if this really works or not. Index Cavaliers and Pioneers Vol 1 1623-1666 p. 525, Patent Book 5. Mentioned by Kathie Forbes below.

Thanks, Loretta; it does actually work! That's great.
Thank you for letting me know. I wan't totally sure it would. :)

3 Answers

+5 votes

The information below is pretty much the only information we have on Martha. The only evidence her maiden name might have been Bryant is a son named Bryan; she also had son Richard

ORDER BOOK ABSTRACTS OF STAFFORD COUNTY VIRGINIA 1664-1668, 1689-1690  Ruth and Sam Sparacio, McLean, Va., 1987

"Martha Folio the widow and relict of Thomas Folio late of this County deced" dated 9 Sep. 1690


This Condicon made ye Second yeare of their Majties Reige KINGE WILLIAM & QUEEN MARY between MARTHA FOLIO Widow and Administratrix of her Husband THOMAS FOLIO of ye one party and WILLIAM BURTON of ye other party both of Stafford County Wittnesseth that the said WILLIAM BURTON doth grant & promise with ye said MARTHA before Matrimony to pay to her Children as they come of age as follweth. To my Sonne BRIAN FOLIO one gun sent to his Father out of Englande, one younge Mare, one Cow & Calfe or with Calfe betweene three yeares old & Six, and to be delivered him at Sixteene yeare of age that is to say that if hee lives with us till he is one & twenty to Run on from Sixteen to one & twenty,to my Sonne JOHN one gunne one Mare one Cow & Calfe in ye like manner as his Brother BRIAN too my Sonne THOMAS one Mare, one Cow and Calfe to my sonne RICHARD one Mare one Cow & Calfe and these my Sonnes to have thier porcons like in my Sonne BRIAN att Sixteen if they live with us if not till the yeare one & twenty to my Daughter ANNE one Mare one Cow & Calfe to be delivered all ye years of Sixteen or married and I ye said WILLIAM BURTON doe binde my self my heirs to ye pformance off all ye premises abovedsaid as Wittness or handes and Seales ye Fifth day of November 1690.

In presence of us



Recorded in ye County Court of Stafford November 8th 1690


by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (918k points)

The only evidence her maiden name might have been Bryant is a son named Bryan


Though on second thoughts, is it being claimed that Dr Richard Bryant and his wife Anne signed as witnesses?  Still tenuous.
Yes, Richard and Anne Bryan were two of the witnesses, so Martha might have been related, or she just might have been a neighbor or friend. I have not found a document that mentions any relationship between Martha and either Richard or Anne (whose maiden name is also unknown, she was a widow with a child when she married Richard). Early marriage records are lacking since the parish was established after the county was.  The community was small and even fairly late in the 1600’s there were more men than women so lots of remarriages and marriages between and among the same families.  Marrying a widow could be a quick way for a man to get or add to his land and property as well, as evidenced by Martha’s prenup guaranteeing her children by Foley their inheritance.

In a big county with terrible transport, I figure your witnesses would be anybody who happened to be at the courthouse that day.

How does Anne Meese relate to this person?

That's another completely fictional person.  Henry Meese arrived in America about 1655, living in Maryland for several years and then crossing over to Virginia about 1660. He had a wife and children but they were all in England.  His daughter Anne never came to America.  There's a convoluted claim that John Ashton's wife Grace was actually Henry Meese's Indian daughter by Keziah Arroyo because Henry gave their child a gift!  Henry kept his property in America, but, he returned to England and lived out his life there.
Thank you (again!), Kathryn. I've updated Martha's profile with this information; I detached the NA mother, but left Richard Bryant in as uncertain. (Do we have a profile for Richard Bryan(t) who was married to Ann?)

Kathryn, when you can, would you please add citations for the Meese data?
+3 votes
Martha Bryant Foley is the product of Dr. Richard T. Bryant (1630-1680) and Indian Princess "Keziah Arroyah (1637-1690), daughter of Chief Wahanganoche.   She married Thomas Foley (Folio) in 1670.   Thomas Foley is BIG questionmark.  Some records show his is Love Child of John Powell and an Indian servant and born in 1650 in Virginia.....but why the Name Foley????   There are records of a Thomas Folio arriving from England in 1664.   I've been stuck on that point for several years now.   The Powell thing just don't make sense.    There was a Thomas Foley born 1639 in  Worcestershire England where there was a small gang of Foley's for 5 or 6 generations.  Hope this helps.  Barry P. Foley
by Barry Foley G2G Crew (590 points)

Barry there is no proof that Martha is the product of any union let alone the elusive Dr. Richard Thomas Bryant for whom no document can be found and the equally undefinable Keziah. Until some actual proof can be provided, Martha Foley remains unknown.  

The prenup for Martha Foley’s second marriage mentions a gun sent to Thomas Foley “out of England”  which suggests that Thomas Foley may well have had family there who remained in contact with him. A Thomas Foley appears on a list of headrights in a land grant from 1661.  There is no one else named Foley in any other pre-1666 land records.
The "Gun" got my attention a long time ago.  That's what didn't fit with the John Powell Love Child story.  I had not seen any evidence that Thomas Foley prior to 1664.   I have searched all over to find any other Foley's mentioned anyplace prior to then with zero results.   Can you give me a ref to the land grant?
Cavaliers and Pioneers Vol 1 1623-1666 p. 525, Patent Book 5.

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