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William Arterberry Sr. (1711 - aft. 1766)

William Arterberry Sr. aka Atterbury
Born in St. Andrews by the Wardrobe, London, Middlesex, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [uncertain] and
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 16 Jan 1731 in London, Middlesex, Englandmap
Husband of — married 7 Sep 1732 in Fleet Prison, London, Middlesex, Englandmap
Husband of — married 1740 in Prince George, Marylandmap
Descendants descendants
Died after after age 54 in Loudoun County, Virginia Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 26 Aug 2018
This page has been accessed 2,516 times.



William Atterbury was baptised 15 July 1711 at St Andrew by the Wardrobe, City of London, London, England, a son of Edward and Elizabeth. [1]

He died in 1766.


The ancestry of William Arterbury, the American immigrant is a matter of long-standing uncertainty. Most genealogical researchers, including several existing profiles on WikiTree, proclaim William's parents to have been William Atterbury, butcher, and Sarah Rogers of St. Giles Cripplegate, born on 25 Jun 1710. A thorough search of these "researcher's" records indicates that almost every such researcher bases their purported ancestry for William, the immigrant, on the writings of either Voncille Attebery Winter and Wilma Attebery Mitchell, Wayne Atteberry, or James E. Branch [reprint of Paris Louks' etal., inherited works of Judge J. H. Atterbury]. However, a thorough review of those alleged "sources" reveals that none of those writers offered any documentary "proof" of their alleged kinship for William Atterbury. They simply cite William's parents as undocumented "fact". Anyone who has taken the time to look at the church records from Middlesex County in the 18th century will have discovered that there was a person named William Atterbury, living in St. Giles Cripplegate, whose occupation was reported to have been a butcher. This fact is generally undisputed. Further searching will also reveal the marriage record of a William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers at St. Botolph, presumed to have been of William, the butcher. Again, a fact that is generally undisputed.

What virtually none of these researchers have bothered to report is that this very same William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers relocated from St. Giles Cripplegate to St. Leonard's Shoreditch in about 1712/3. Prior to their removal from St. Giles they had recorded the birth and death of one son named William, and the birth of a 2nd son named William, born 25 June 1710. It is this 2nd son, who most researchers claim to have been the immigrant. In St. Leonard's Shoreditch, this same couple recorded the birth of a 3rd son named William on 17 Nov 1717. Does it seem reasonable that this couple would have christened another son William, while an earlier son of that same name was still living? Not very likely. In fact, it is a virtual certainty that the William, born on 25 Jun 1710, had died sometime before Nov 1717. This seems to be the only rational conclusion to be drawn from these "facts". If the son named William, born on 25 Jun 1710 had died before Nov 1717, then he could not have been the William Atterbury, who was transported to the Maryland colony in 1733.

Lest you attempt to claim the 3rd born son named William to have been the immigrant, you should first look at the marriage record of William Atterbury of Shoreditch, bachelor and butcher, married Elizabeth Flawent 11Dec1737 at Fleet Prison. Given the name, date, location and occupation, this marriage almost certainly was for the 3rd William, born to William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers at Shoreditch in Nov1717. That being the case, then the third William could not have been the immigrant, either. Consequently, through the abbreviated foregoing analysis, we seemingly have eliminated William Atterbury, butcher, and Sarah Rogers as the parents of the American immigrant.

Having almost certainly eliminated William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers as the immigrant's parents, we are now left with the task of performing real research, based on real facts. This writer has already performed that real research, and on sound and solid documentation and reasoning established the parents of William Arterbury, the immigrant, as Edward Arterbury, stone mason, and Elizabeth Young, of Southwark, Surrey. Anyone interested in this real research and basis for this conclusion may wish to read "William Atterbury (1711-1766) - The Family Patriarch and His Legacy, Chapter 1 - The Search for William Atterbury's Parents", written by Robert Atteberry, and available as an embedded "Gallery" item on the following Ancestry Public Tree webpage: Robert Atteberry.

1711 Birth in London and Early Life

As for the life of William, himself, he led a rather complicated and dangerous existence in his youth, but, on transportation to Maryland he appears to have found stability and industry, marrying and fathering at least seven son and an unknown number of daughters. He started his life in July 1711 at his family's residence on New Street in Farringdon Within Ward, within less than ten blocks of St. Paul's Cathedral and Black Friars Stairs on the Thames, the same stairs from which he would be loaded aboard a lighter for transport downriver to the waiting hold of the Patapsco Merchant in May 1733. At about the age of six his family moved to the south side of the Thames, where they likely lived along Tooley Street nearby to his father's place of employment at Bridge House Yard. The family attended St. Olaves Parish Church, and William probably attended St. Olaves Primary School, across the street from the church. William was probably educated in local schools through about the age of 12 to 14 years, learning to read, write, and cipher, all intermixed with religion.

In 1721 William's family moved back across the Thames, where they resided nearby to St. Lawrence Pountney Church in Dowgate Ward, and where William's sister, Jane, was born. His father, Edward Arterbury, died in Dowgate Ward, and was buried at St. Lawrence Pountney cemetery on 23Sep1722, while William was only 12 years old. The year before Edward's death he had managed to place his eldest son, Edward Jr. into an apprenticeship with a Thames River Waterman named Edmund Attwood, across the river in St. Saviours Parish. William would become the "man of the house" after his father's death, his younger brother, Charles, yet being only 8 years old. William's mother, Elizabeth [Young] Arterbury, had the good fortune of having married a stone mason who was employed by Bridge House Estate. As Edward's widow, Elizabeth would be entitled to a pension for the remainder of her days.

Elizabeth and her three children continued to reside in the same home in Dowgate Ward until sometime in 1726, at which time she is believed to have moved her family back across the Thames to Southwark. William was also place in an apprenticeship to master Waterman, John Filce, at St. Saviours on 31Jul1727. It seems possible that Elizabeth may have moved her family into either St. Saviours or Christ Church Parish, in order to be nearer to her sons.

Although seemingly allowed a relatively good education for his station in life, and endowed with an apprenticeship, William appears to have fallen in with bad company by the time he was 20. He probably found the prospect of a life as a Waterman not to his liking. After all, it would be a very poor life, with the average Waterman not rising to the minimum status of "householder" until after age 35.

1732 Marriage to Hannah

On 16 Jan 1732 at the age of 21 years William married his first wife, Hannah Scrimpton, widow and mother of two children in a clandestine marriage, possibly at Fleet Prison. Hannah was likely 8 to 10 years older than William, having married her first husband, Thomas Scrimpton, pinmaker, in 1724.

1732 Marriage to Elizabeth

Probably being dissatisfied with his first wife's meager dowry, and the burden of a young family, William then proceeded to marry a second wife named Elizabeth Good on 7 Sep 1732 at Fleet Prison.

It seem highly possible that William married Elizabeth Good, while still legally married to Hannah Scrimpton. Elizabeth [Low, Holliday] Good [aka Gould] was almost 23 years older than William, having been twice widowed, and with adult living children. Her recently deceased husband, Ralph Gould, had been a Thames Waterman for almost 30 years when he died in Feb 1731 in St. Saviours Parish. Elizabeth Good was possessed of a property on Magpie Yard in St. Andrews Holborn Parish, nearby to the Horse and Lamb Ale House off Fetter Lane which William Harrison and Leonard Budley frequented.

1732 Convict Transported to Maryland

Five months after his marriage to Elizabeth Gould, William was arrested, along with William Harrison, for stealing five yards of linsey woolsey from the shop of George Cole.[2]

On his arrival in Annapolis MD in the Fall of 1733, William was once again indentured, this time as a transported convict. Years later in a court record in Loudoun County VA, William was described as a "sawyer" using the alias of "Arthurbury". Before leaving Maryland in 1755, William had received a grant of 50 acres, due for his having satisfactorily completed his indentured servitude as a transported convict. That property, called "Prince Springs", situated in Prince Georges County, would hardly have been of sufficient productive capacity to sustain his growing family. It seems possible that William may have been employed as a sawyer, possibly working for Richard Snowden, a wealthy land owner and iron master on the upper Patuxent River. Large quantities of charcoal were required for the iron smelters, which would have required a constant supply of felled timbers, a skill which William Arterbury possessed.

Marriage to Sarah Mitchell

It also seems probable that during his time as an indentured convict in Maryland William became an adherent of the Quaker faith, as no records are found of his marriage to Sarah Yacksley-Mitchell, or any of his many children. Had William and Sarah been attending the Anglican church in their community, it seems probable that those events would be on record. As members of a local Quaker meeting, those records would have been destroyed.

It seems probable that William may have yet again committed bigamy when he married Sarah Mitchell, as it seems possible that at least one of his wives in England was still living in 1740.

Move to Loudouin County, Virginia

William spent his remaining years as a small, subsistence farmer along the west side of the Catoctin Mountains in Loudoun County, nearby to West Ordinary. He achieved a modicum of respectability in his new life in the Americas, where he posted bonds for friends or associates, witnessed the LWT of his neighbor, William West, and, of course, became a debtor.

Death after 1766

He disappeared from Loudoun County records after 1766, at which time and place he is presumed to have died.


  1. London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: P69/AND1/A/001/MS04502/001

The following link is to Robert Atteberry's blog site, which contains summarized posts of his manuscripts, as well as downloadable files of the complete collection of manuscripts and links to other valuable Atteberry family research sites.

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Memories: 2
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.
James Atterbury, son of William J. Atterbury, served in the Revolutionary War under the command of Gen. Francis Marion, "the old swamp fox'. James was also present and partook of the famous "Sweet Potato Supper" in the swamps of So. Carolina. James had two horses one was named Red Buck who was shot out from under him and the other was Queen Ann. James is buried in the Atterbury family cemetary in Madison,MO.
posted 10 Dec 2012 by Patricia Atterbury   [thank Patricia]
William Atterberry, a laborer from the Parish of St. James, Liberty, Westminster, Middlesex, England was tried on 31 January 1732.

"He was committed by Ol. Lambert Esquire, on oath of Frederick Humble for stealing out of the shop of George Cole som stuff, five yards of Linsey Woolsey, worth 3 shillings" (spelled as written).

William was deported to America from Newgate Prison via the ship "Patapscoe Merchant" which was boarded on 17 April 1733 by 77 persons. The captain was Darby Lux, and the destination was not given. (At that time Maryland was the most popular port and that is probably where they landed.)

William was a prisoner at Newgate Prison in the reign of George II. At that time many people living in England were very poor and many of them committed small crimes so they could be sent to America where they could start a new life and make a living.

In 1746, William was residing in Maryland with his family on the land he owned. The plantation was called "Prince Spring Plantation", it consisted of 50 acres and was located "on the north side of the White Marsh, being a draught of the Eastern Branch of Potomack River."

William sold his land on 16 August 1754 to John Riddle Jr. for sum of three thousand pounds of tobacco. (The tobacco in those days were used in the same way we use currency today.) At the same time he sold his land, his wife Sarah "gave up her right of dower of the land"

William and Sarah left Prince George County, Maryland and moved just across the Potomack River to Loudoun County, Virginia, where in 1760 and 1761 they are listed living next door to their son, Michael Attebury.

The Tithables List, Loudoun County, Virginia, 1769 does not list William, which indicates that he had probably passed away. It does include Sarah and their son Edward.

Sarah Atterberry died ca 1770, Loudoun County, VA.

Now comes family tradition to confuse things and make you wonder if Sarah was William's second wife.

This story has been passed down through several branches of the Atterberry family, namely: J. H. Attebury; Paris Loucks; Mrs. Roberta Jones Skinner; Sarah M. Wallace; R. LaMon; Lillian B. Harmon; Joseph W. Attebury, Jr.; and Mary Ash.

"The father of the brothers was a wealthy land owner, and very loyal to the crown. Then the dissatisfactions began to materialize. I suppose that this situation increased until there was a break in his health. Anyway, he sent the boys out one morning to round up the horses. Upon the return of one of them, the father met him at the door and said: "Me and the devil have killed your mother". Upon investigating the boys found their mother's body rolled under the bed. Upon this the father tried to escape, but the boys caught him and held him for the authorities. He was tried, found to be insane, and released."

"I have often wondered if this, if true, did not cause the brothers to migrate to South Carolina and forget the unhappy incedent. It could be a cause for their restlessness and seperation to a degree"....signed by Joseph W. Attebury, Jr.

The Tithables List of 1770 gives William, Edward and Thomas. All said to be sons of William and Sarah. (No proof found.)

The 1790 Census of South Carolina lists nine different Attebury families with various spellings: Nathaniel Aturburry, Charles Aturburry, Edward Aturburry, John Atterburry, Michael Arterberry, James Aturburry, Thomas Aturbury, William Aturburry, and Richard Aturbury.

Because of the proximity and the migrations of these families, it has been assumed that the above list of Atterberrys were all brothers and sons of William Atterberry Sr.

Mary Ash, who died 1905 at the age of 100 years, stated there were only seven sons of William: Michael; John; Thomas; Charles; James; William; and Edward, whom she called Neddie.

Paris Loucks, after concluding his research, added Richard and Nathan.

Many years of research has been done on the Atterberry family by many different members of the family. In my possession are the many letters written by Lillian Harmon, Paris Loucks, Sarah M. Wallace and others. I have poured over them time and time again trying to unravel the mystery of our ancestors, and have included in this genealogy my own research, but they are still a mystery to me.....Lois Earline (Thomas) Branch, Jan 2, 2000, Portland, Oregon

From The Descendants of William Atterbury, 1733 Emigrant by Voncille Attebery Winter, PhD. and Wilma Attebery Mitchell:

William Atterberry, born ca. 1700 to 1710, in England; died ca. 1766, in Chester Co., SC. Married Sarah. In England, he was a laborer, living in the parish of St. James Liberty, Westminster, Middlesex (now a part of London).

William was deported from Newgate Prison in England, on board the Patapscoe Merchant, which sailed April 17, 1733. He had been sentenced for stealing five yards of linsey woolsey (a coarse sturdy fabric of wool and linen or cotton) worth three shillings. According to Voncille and Wilma, "One-third of the population of England in 1733 were paupers--they were in the midst of a deep depression . . . William may have stolen because of dire need--OR he may have stolen with the goal of deportation in mind. The cost of transportation was approximately one year’s wages." But prisoners were deported at the government’s expense!

By 1746, William was married, and owned a plantation--Prince Spring Plantation, in Prince George County, Maryland. Most of his children were born there. In 1754, he sold his plantation for 3000 pounds of tobacco. He moved his family across the Potomac River to Loudoun County, Virginia.

No records could be found to show that any of William’s sons fought in the Revolution, indeed no records could be found of the family between about 1771 and 1784, when they are found to have been in the Camden district of Chester Co., SC. At the time, there was no North and South--the area was simply known as "the Carolinas." In 1784, Richard and Charles received land grants there.

Three of the nine known sons of William died in South Carolina, the rest moved on to Kentucky (Grayson and Hardin Cos.) between 1800 and 1810.

If William and Sarah had daughters, we are not aware of them. The children listed are assumed to be their sons, based on proximity to each other in SC and KY, and their financial and marital interactions (spelled as in the 1790 census of SC):

posted 1 Jul 2011 by Ted Williams
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with William by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree: It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with William:

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1st marriage Name: Wm Arterberry Gender: Male Event Type: Marriage Marriage Date: 16 Jan 1731

Marriage Place: London, England Residence: Christ Church Southwarke Spouse: Hannah Scrimpton Spouse Residence: Christ Church Southwarke Piece Description: Officiating Ministers: Not usually named but Cuthbert, Wigmore mentioned. (1726 Mar - 1733 Oct) Registers of Clandestine Marriages and of Baptisms in the Fleet Prison, King's Bench Prison, the Mint and the May Fair Chapel. Records of the General Register Office, Government Social Survey Department, and Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, Registrar General (RG) series 7. The National Archives, Kew, England. Image 196

posted by Beryl Meehan
edited by Beryl Meehan
Many thanks to Jack Day for taking the time to dress up my William Arterbury biography. Jack is correct, that the link I have added to this profile for access to my Ancestry tree does not work. That is because, at present, I choose to keep my tree private. However, anyone interested in my research or obtaining copies of my manuscripts need only contact me at [email address removed] I gladly and freely share my work with any and all interested parties. For those interested in future publication of this work, rest assured that I am working on that. My current goal is to have Volume 1 of "William Atterbury (1711-1766) - The Family Patriarch and His Legacy" in print within the year. It will probably contain my research on our English Atterbury ancestors.
posted by Robert Atteberry
Wonderful research. I added some headings so the salient genealogical facts and locations stand out.

Unfortunately the link to a source at Ancestry for this material no longer works.

posted by Jack Day
Arterberry-42 and Atteberry-45 appear to represent the same person because: Hi Robert,

One good wikitree policy is to only have one profile per person. As long as we leave a short biography pertaining to the myth of his parents... with links, I have no objections to changing his parents. Your research has convinced me and I recommend that we merge the profiles. Once complete, you can edit at will.... all changes are tracked.

posted by L Attebery
edited by L Attebery
Further, contd... my research has reliably established that Edward Arterbury, mason and Elizabeth Young were most likely the parents of our immigrant ancestor. Don't you think it is time to put this charade to rest? Please contact me at [email address removed] for my documented evidence of the true ancestry of William, the immigrant.
posted by Robert Atteberry
This tree, like most of the other Atterbury trees on the internet, repeat the same erroneous information about William, the immigrant's, ancestry, and almost all cite the Winter-Mitchell book as their source. If they would take the time to actually read the Winter-Mitchell book ,they will find that that source provides absolutely no documentation for the assertion of William Atterbury, butcher, and Sarah Rogers as the immigrant's parents. Whereas, my own research has reliably documented that William, butcher, and Sarah Rogers could not have been the immigrant's parents, by virtue of their having had a 3rd son named William in 1717, who, like his father, was trained as a butcher, and married and died in London, long after William, the immigrant, had been transported to Maryland. Further,
posted by Robert Atteberry
Atterbury-32 and Atteberry-45 do not represent the same person because: "Collective internet wisdom" seems to indicate that the presumed parents of William Attebery-"The immigrant" had an infant son who died less than a year old. This appears to be the 1710 death date.
posted by L Attebery
Atterbury-32 and Atteberry-45 appear to represent the same person because: Clear duplicate - death date of 1710 is wrong - use the other one.
posted by Rick Williams
Atterberry-69 and Atteberry-45 appear to represent the same person because: Clear duplicate
posted by Rick Williams
Atteberry-45 and Atterbury-85 appear to represent the same person because: Same birth, similar death, and same basic biography from the same or similar sources.
posted by L Attebery
The parents of William Arterbury, the American immigrant, were not William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers. William was born on 15Jul1711 at St. Andrews by the Wardrobe to Edward Arterbury and Elizabeth Young. William was apprentice to John Filce, Thames Waterman, on 13Jul1727. William married twice before being arrested for theft: 1. Hannah (lnu) on 16Feb1732, and 2. Elizabeth Low on 7Sep1732. William's ancestors were named "Arthurbury" and originated from Morden/Mortlake Parishes, Surrey County. Family can be traced back four generations in Surrey County. [email address removed]
posted by Robert Atteberry

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