Jonathan and Mary Hammontree were the first documented Hammontree couple ever known to exist. According to early genealogists, Jonathan was born about 1693, his birthplace and parents unknown. Mary was born about 1697, her birthplace and parents unknown. Jonathan and Mary seem to have married in Virginia about 1718. Their oldest known child was born in 1719 in Virginia. All four of their known children were born in Richmond Co., VA. Jonathan died in Richmond County before 6 Nov. 1758. The date of Mary's death is unknown.
The first documented occurrence of the Hammontree surname appears in the Register of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia, 1672 – 1801. The original manuscript no longer exists, though a replacement was compiled during the early nineteenth century. This edition remains on file within the holdings of the Library of Virginia (formerly known as the Virginia State Library and Archives). This manuscript has been published in an alphabetized printed edition by George H. S. King. The North Farnham Register lists the births of Jonathan and Mary's four children, and the marriage of their daughter. The printed edition lists these births and marriage as follows (the printed edition uses B. for birth and M. for marriage):
The Register gives the name of Jonathan and Mary's daughter as "Anne" for her birth and "Ann" for her marriage. The printed edition by King places "(sic)" after "Rubin," apparently in preference to "Reuben" (Richmond County North Farnham Parish Record, 1672 – 1801, 41–43, 117; see King, Registers of North Farnham Parish, 1663 – 1814, and Lunenburg Parish, 84).
England and its colonies used the old Julian calendar prior to 1752. The last day of the year on the Julian calendar was 24 March, making 25 March the first day of the following year. Parliament adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1751, making 1 January to be New Year's Day as of 1752. Thus for dates of 1 January – 24 March prior to 1752, consideration must be given as to whether the records in question have been adjusted to the new calendar. On the old calendar, a man might have died in December of one year and then had his estate settled in January of the same year. Thus dates on the old calendar from January through March appear a year earlier than how they are given on the modern Gregorian calendar. For this reason, historians and genealogists often give years within this period in dual form, such as 1700/1. Some European countries adopted the Gregorian Calendar as early as 1582.
Court records of Richmond Co., VA of 1722 indicate that Jonathan Hammontree failed to produce a certificate showing he had attended church in April of that year in Northumberland County. It is interesting that colonial Virginia dealt with church infractions such as this by means of a grand jury. Jonathan's court proceedings are described in the court records of June, July and August of that year. On 6 Jun. 1722, the court ordered the sheriff to summon "Jonathan Hamantree" and others to the next court session. This historical record is the earliest original extant document in which the Hammontree surname appears. This record is shown here.
On 4 Jul. 1722, the grand jury presented charges against Jonathan Hamantree and others. The original court record is shown here.
On 1 Aug. 1722, Jonathan was ordered to pay a fine to the church wardens of St. Stephens Parish for failing to attend church in April. The original court record is shown here.
These records indicate that Jonathan and Mary were in St. Stephen's Parish, Northumberland County as of April 1722, where they were expected to attend church services, and were then in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County before June of that year. The Register of the North Farnham Parish indicates they had been in Richmond County for the births of their first two children before moving to Northumberland County.
The Sparacio published transcriptions of the 1722 court records give Jonathan's surname as "Heamantree." The initial "e" in these readings seems to result erroneously from a curly-q written as part of the "H" as appearing in the original text. The original record seems to give Jonathan's surname as Hamantree. The Every-Name Index follows Sparacio in these cases in giving "Heamantree."
Ann Hammontree married James Horgin on 17 Jul. 1742 in Richmond County (Richmond County North Farnham Parish Record, 1672 – 1801, 117; see King, Marriages of Richmond County, 1668 – 1853, 98; Dodd, Virginia Marriages, Early to 1800, 439).
Richmond County court records of 1747 that refer to John Hamontree (Hammontree) and George Tillery appear to concern the son of Jonathan Hammontree (Richmond County Order Book 12: 46, 68, 78 and 94). These references are presented below under the heading "Second Generation: John Hammontree and unknown wife."
William Feagens filed suit against John Hammontree in Richmond County on 1 Nov. 1756. The case was dismissed, as agreed by both parties, each paying his own costs (Richmond County Order Book 14: 89). Feagens filed suit against John Hammontree again on 7 Mar. 1757. The case was once again dismissed, as agreed by the parties (Richmond County Order Book 14: 98). These suits with Feagens seem not to have involved Jonathan's son John, but rather Jonathan himself, given that the son John was in Cumberland County as of 20 Mar. 1756, about one hundred miles away. John and his family seem to have settled in Cumberland Co., VA as of that time.
Jonathan witnessed the will of Edgcomb Suggitt on 5 Jan. 1753 in Richmond County. The will named the Suggitt children as Jemima, John, Edgcomb, William, Elizabeth, Lucy, and the youngest daughters Sarah and Susannah. The will was to be administered by John Woodbridge and his wife. The will was witnessed by William Nash, Roger Williams and John Hammiltree (Hammontree). The will was proven in court on 1 Oct. 1753 (Wills of Richmond Co.,, VA, Will Book 6, 1753 – 1767: 6–8; inventory of estate 41–43; see Headley, Wills of Richmond Co., Virginia, 1699 – 1800, 109). Edgcomb Suggitt was the third son of John Suggitt and Sarah Edgcomb. His brothers included John Jr., James, and Thomas. Their father John Sr. died in 1690 in old Rappahannock County. John's widow Sarah Edgcomb Suggitt made a deed of gift on 4 May 1694 in which she gave the family property to her four sons. Sarah's second marriage was to Thomas Baylis in about 1697 in Richmond County (King, Marriages of Richmond County, VA, 1668 – 1853, 199).
There seems to have been a close relation between the Hammontree and Suggitt families. Twenty-eight years after Jonathan witnessed the will of Edgcomb Suggitt in Richmond County, his great-grandson witnessed a will for the Suggitt family in Cumberland County. William Hammontree witnessed the will of Thomas Suggitt Hill on 21 Nov. 1781, as did William and Andrew Edwards. The will was proven in court on 24 Jun. 1782. Thomas' wife was Betsy, his sons Thomas, Jesse and John, his daughters Frances, Caley, Betsy and Sarah (Sarah was the wife of Isaac Hill), and his grandson was Thomas Hobson Hill (Cumberland County Will Book 2, 1769 – 1792: 294–95; see Reynolds, Cumberland County Will Books 1 and 2, 73). William Hammontree was born about 1763, the grandson of John Hammontree born 1723 through his son John.
There was a Hammond family living in North Farnham Parish dating back prior to the creation of Richmond County in 1692. Job and Elizabeth Hammond were the parents of Job, born 10 Jul., 1677; William, born 3 Sep. 1682; and Winnifred, born 22 Jul. 1698. Elizabeth was listed as a daughter of Job and Mary, born 10 Mar. 1680 (old Julian calendar, adjusted to 1681 on current Gregorian calendar). (Job and Elizabeth's son John seems to have married Mary.) Martin and Mary Hammond were the parents of Martin, born 3 Jul. 1683; Mary, born 24 Apr. 1687; Edward, born 22 Nov. 1689; and Thomas, born 17 Jul. 1692. John and Catharine Hammond began to have children in 1716, though John's parents are unknown (King, Registers of North Farnham Parish and Lunenburg Parish, 80). Y-DNA testing shows that the Hammontree and Hammond families both belong to the haplogroup R–M269. But beyond that, the Y lines of these families are unrelated and would not have shared a common ancestor for at least 300 years. At present, only one Y descendant of Job Hammond has been compared to the Hammontree family.
Jonathan died before 6 Nov. 1758, when his estate began to be settled in Richmond County. The court records regarding his estate appear as follows.
Mary Hammontree, wife of Jonathan, appears in period documents only in the Register of North Farnham Parish. Her name appears alongside her husband as "Jonathan and Mary Hammontree," given as the parents of each of their four children. Beyond this, there is no mention of Mary in any early documents of Richmond County or elsewhere, either by name or as the nameless wife of her husband. The court records concerning Jonathans's death offer no suggestion as to whether he was survived by his wife. If she survived him, she may have gone to live with their son David in Northumberland County, since he was their only child known to have been living in the area. But it is not known whether she died in Cumberland or Northumberland County, or when. Neither is there any information for Mary's parents or her place of birth.
Some family genealogists have speculated that the wife of Jonathan Hammontree was named Mary Hamilton Suggitt. However, persons who have ventured this proposal have done so without offering the least amount of documentary evidence, nor can they identify any possible parents of Mary on this basis. It is not clear whether Mary Hamilton Suggitt is thought to have been born a Hamilton and then widowed as a Suggitt, or else born a Suggitt with Hamilton as her middle name. In any case, there is no one named Mary Hamilton or Mary Hamilton Suggitt who has been found in Richmond or Northumberland county records who could have been Jonathan's wife. The first occurrence of the Hamilton surname in the North Farnham Register was for the marriage of Gilbert Hamilton and Ann Beale on 4 Nov. 1732 (King, Register of North Farnham Parish, 78). A second Hamilton marriage occurred when William B. Hamilton married Maria Beale on 9 Jul. 1803 (King, Marriages of Richmond Co., VA, 1668 – 1853, 85). There was no Mary Hamilton or Mary Hamilton Suggitt listed in Richmond County wills (Headley, Wills of Richmond Co., VA, 1699 – 1800, 202). The only Mary Suggitt found on record was the daughter of Edgcomb and Lucy Suggitt. But this Mary was not born until 13 Oct. 1712, and thus could not have been the Mary who married Jonathan Hammontree in about 1718 (King, Register of North Farnham Parish, 178). There was no Mary Suggitt listed in the index of early Richmond County wills (Headley, Wills of Richmond Co., VA, 215).
Two of Jonathan and Mary's sons appear to have been doctors. Reuben was referred to as Dr. Reuben Hamentree in Richmond County records of April 1746 (Richmond County Account Book 1: 237). John was referred to as "John Hammontree dr" in Cumberland County records of March 1786 (Cumberland County Will Book 2, 1769 – 1792: 390–91).
Jonathan and Mary were the parents of the following children:
Reuben Hammontree, son of Jonathan and Mary, appeared in Richmond County Court on several occasions.
Warsaw is the seat of Richmond County. Warsaw is about nineteen miles west of Heathsville, the seat of Northumberland County. Northumberland County was formed in 1648 from Indian land. Richmond and Northumberland counties form the western and eastern parts of what is known as the Northern Neck (or peninsula). The Rappahannock River divides the Northern Neck from the Middle Peninsula. Old Rappahannock County, formed in 1656, consisted of part of the area on both sides of the river. The county was divided and dissolved in 1692, creating Richmond County on the north of the river and Essex County on the south. (The city of Richmond is not in Richmond County but is an independent city that broke off from Henrico County.)
"Neck" is a colloquialism for a peninsula, and so the Northern Neck is the northernmost of three large peninsulas that protrude eastward into the Chesapeake Bay. The other two peninsulas are the Middle Peninsula and the Virginia Peninsula, sometimes referred to as the Lower Peninsula or simply the Peninsula. Westmoreland County forms the northern part of the Northern Neck, having at its northern extreme the George Washington Birthplace National Monument, situated on the banks of the Potomac River. Just across the Potomac is Maryland. The four rivers, north to south, that border the three peninsulas are the Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James Rivers. Jamestown was founded on the Lower Peninsula and James River in 1607. Williamsburg and Yorktown are also located on the Lower Peninsula.
The origin of the Hammontree surname is uncertain. The name has been suggested as deriving from England, Ireland or Scotland, or as a translation from French or German names. William Hammontree appears in an England Census of 1871, age 64, living in Westmill, Hertfordshire, where William claimed to have been born. Thus the Hammontree surname finds European roots in England at least as early as 1807, although this is nearly one hundred years after the name first appeared in Virginia. In any case, this discovery remains as one of the most significant indications as to the possible origin of the Hammontree surname.
In the 1871 England Census, William Hammontree was age 64, married, working as an agricultural laborer. His son Henry was 14. Both William and Henry were born in Westmill, Hertfordshire. (Hertfordshire is abbreviated Herts.)
In the 1891 England Census, Elias Hammontree was 46, married, working as a farm laborer, born in Westmill, Herts. His wife Clayre/Eleya was 47, born in Munden, Herts. Their son Henry was 14, a farm laborer, born in Munden, Herts. Their daughters Elizabeth age 12 and Jane 11 were both in school, both born in Westmill, Herts. (Westmill and Munden are parishes in East Hertfordshire, a district in Hertfordshire.)
Also in the 1891 England Census, Mary Ann Guntilda Hammontree was in Lancashire, age 27, single, employed as a Governess. She was born in Liverpool, Lancashire.
Roberta Pierson was the first family genealogist who discovered these Hammontree entries in English censuses. Note that some family genealogists give William Hammontree of England as the father of Jonathan Hammontree, who was the patriarch of the Hammontree family in America. But the William Hammontree found in English census records was born more than one hundred years after Jonathan.
DNA testing has shown that the confirmed haplogroup of Hammontree Y-DNA is R–M269. Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) describes this haplogroup as follows:
Haplogroup R-M269 is the dominant lineage in all of Western Europe today. It is found in low frequencies in Turkey and the northern Fertile Crescent, while its highest frequencies are in Western Europe.
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