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Thomas Chew (1702 - 1782)

Thomas Chew
Born in Essex, Virginiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1724 in Rapidan, Culpeper, Virginiamap
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 80 in Orange County, Virginiamap
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Profile last modified | Created 12 Nov 2008
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Thomas Chew, born in 1702 in Essex, Virginia was a Colonel in the Royal Army, a lawyer, a justice of the peace and sheriff of the County of Orange in Virginia. He was the son of Larkin Chew and Hannah Roy of Port Royal (formerly called Port Roy after the Roy family). Thomas' father, Larkin had been a member of Virginia Assembly Burgess from 1723-1726 and Sheriff of Spotsylvania County, Virginia from 1727-1728.

Thomas Chew allied himself to the Taylor and Madison families when he married Martha Taylor in 1724. Born in 1702, Martha was the daughter of James Taylor II (1675-1729) and Martha Thompson Taylor of “Bloomsbury”. Martha's sister Frances married Ambrose Madison, grandfather of President James Madison, Jr. in 1721.

Taylor II was one of the first settlers of Orange County, Virginia and one of the first Surveyor Generals of Virginia. He was also one of the members of Governor Spotswood's "Golden Horseshoe Expedition". Throughout his career, he acquired over 13,000 acres of land in Spotsylvania and Orange Counties. Historic downtown Orange, Virginia is built on land previous acquired by Taylor nearly 300 years ago.

James Taylor was also the great grandfather of two U.S. Presidents: Fourth president James Madison Jr. (1751-1836) and twelfth president Zachary Taylor (1784-1850). Thomas and Martha Chew's daughter Alice, (1739-1796) further bonded the Taylor and Chew families by marrying her first cousin, Zachary Taylor Jr., (1735-1815).

The Chew's settled in the county of Orange, Virginia in the 1730s, where Thomas was named one of “His Majesty’s Gentleman Justices of the Peace” in the original commission establishing Orange County’s courts on January 21, 1735. In his life a vestryman of St. George’s Parish, St. Mark’s Parish and St. Thomas’s Parish, Thomas also served at Captain of the Militia (1729), Magistrate (1734-45) and Sheriff (1745) of Orange.

When Thomas became sheriff of the County of Orange, Virginia in 1745 he oversaw the execution of a slave named Eve, convicted on January 23, 1745 of poisoning her master Peter Montague. The court's sentence was that the said Eve be drawn upon a hurdle to the place of execution and there to be burnt at the stake, a sentence carried out the following week.

Thomas Chew's great grandfather was John Chew (1587-1668), a Quaker and successful merchant, who arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1622 aboard the ship Charitie. He built a home for his family on Hogg Island, and a warehouse for his business in James City and immediately became involved in politics by representing Hogg Island in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1623-1624 and again in 1627-1629. John's legacy was carried forth by his sons, grandsons and great grandsons for nearly 250 years. The Chew family name can be found in the annals of history among high ranking military offers, physicians, religious leaders, wealthy landowners, statesmen and lawyers.

Thomas Chew made his last will and testament on the 11th day of November, 1780 in Orange county, Virginia. Thomas named his daughter Milley Chew the Executrix of his estate with Milley receiving all of her father's negroes with all of his estate real and personal. Thomas' will reads as follows: "Thomas Chew being in common sences not knowing the time of his death do make this his last will and testament That I render back my soul to almighty God that gave it to me hoping and depending on the merits of my blessed savor Jesus Christ that though my steadfast belief I shall obtain forgiveness of my sins and receive salvation the affects that almighty God have blessed me with I dispose of as followeth Imprimus my body to be done with as my successor thinks proper the rest of my worldly effects as underneath to be mentioned - Item My Eldest Joseph Chew having formerly rec'd his portion my Item other sons Larkin Sam'l James Chew likewise theres- Item My daughter Francis Hanah and Allice theirs also - Item my daughter Milly Chew I give bequeath to her and her heirs or assigns all and every one of my negroes together with all my other estate real and personal after the death of Mother and that the said Milly Chew take care of her sister Betty Chew & if the negro wenches have children to give Sally Taylor the daughter of her sister one either boy or girl & that all my debts be paid if such shall be likewise receive all due to me also that she the said Milly Chew is left my whole and all my Exec'tx Witness my hand and seal this 24th day of March 1780. [signed] Thos Chew Sign'd and publish'd before us 11th day of Nov. 1781 John Dangerfield, John Bell Harry Beverly Towles At a court held for Orange county on Thursday 28th Feby 1782 this last will and testament of Thomas Chew Dec'd being presented into court by Milley Chew Executrix therein named and proved by the oaths of John Dangerfield John Bell and Harry Beverley Towles Witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded the said Milley Chew is granted probate for obtaining letters thereof in due form she giving security whereupon she with Ambrose Madison and James Taylor her securities entered into bond for the same in the sum of two thousand pounds Teste James Taylor C.O.C."[1]

Thomas Chew and Martha Taylor had at least eleven children:

Joseph, m. Grace Deshon of New London, CT
Larkin, d. 1796 in Virginia (unmarried)
Frances, m. Henry Downs of Virginia
Hannah, died unmarried
Thomas, died young
Coleby, d. 1758 at Fort Du Quesne (unmarried)
Elizabeth "Betty," died unmarried
Alice, m. her cousin Zachary Taylor, d. 1796
Mildred "Milly," m. Mr. Coleman
Samuel, m. Lucy Miller, d. 1779 on active service in American Navy
James, m. 1765 to Mary Caldwell of Virginia.

Thomas' wife Martha died the 17th of November 1782, in Orange county, Virginia. [2]


  1. Orange county, Virginia Will Book No. 3 (1778-1801) page 39;
  2. Information provided by James Taylor I Descendants Association genealogist Steve Taylor
  • W. W. Scott. A History of Orange County, Virginia. Richmond, Va. Everett Waddey & Co. 1907
  • Virginia, Extracted Vital Records, 1660-1923. Lehi, UT, USA. Operations, Inc. 2017
  • Frederick Madison Smith, Secretary, National Society of James Madison Family Descendants. Courses of Empire: The Thomas Chew Family of Orange County and the Colonial Virginia Recessional. Undated, 7 page article.
  • Thomas, Lawrence Buckley. Pedigrees of Thomas, Chew, and Lawrance, a West River Regester and Genealogical Notes. New York, NY: Thomas Whittaker, 1883. p. 32 (Reprinted by Forgotten Books Publishing. Dec 4, 2017 ) Digital copy
  • North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000, 500 years of Wittel and related families, Published by Operations, Inc. Provo, UT, USA, 2016 for Martha Taylor, Birth Date: 27 Jan 1702. First Marriage Date: 1724. Death Date: 11 Nov 1782. Father:James Taylor. Mother: Martha Thompson. Spouse: Thomas Chew

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Comments: 4

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Carolyn: I'd be happy to make the edit if you can provide a source. Thanks!
posted by Fred Prisley
Daughter Elizabeth Chew lived to adulthood and married Jonas Menefee and had a large family of children. Please correct.
posted by Carolyn Murray
Chew-559 and Chew-1 appear to represent the same person because: Duplicates. same wifes. Presidential line
posted by [Living Daly]
Hi Laurie, I see you've adopted thomas Chew and his unknown Taylor father. They've been marked as unsourced profiles. I hope you adopted them because they're related and you know something. I'm a little stumped by Thomas Chew having a father surname Taylor and wondered if Taylor was his mother.
posted by Anne B

Rejected matches › Thomas Chew (1786-1865)Thomas Coe (-1781)

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