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Who Was Elizabeth Darnall

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Fauquier, Virginiamap
Surname/tag: Darnall, Bronaugh, Wright
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Was Elizabeth Darnall the daughter of Waugh Darnall?
Or was Elizabeth Darnall the widow of Waugh Darnall?'

"JOHN WRIGHT (II), son of John Wright & Dorothy, was born between 1700 - 1712 and died 27 February 1792 in Fauquier County, VA.

He married ELIZABETH DARNALL about 1730 - 1733.
Was she ELIZABETH (Bronaugh) DARNALL, daughter of Jeremiah Darnall and the WIDOW of Waugh Darnall?
Or was she ELIZABETH DARNALL, the DAUGHTER of Waugh Darnall and sister of Jeremiah Darnall?

"The fact that Capt. Wright was a lawyer, vestryman and county officer at this time and a judge then or very soon afterward and so continued for thirty years, in addition to being a gentleman-farmer, suggests that in removing further away from the county courthouse he must have had a supreme reason. This reason undoubtedly was that he had married Elizabeth Darnall. There is no record proof of this marriage; as none is likely to be discovered, the author does not go beyond the expression of his belief, hereby set down, that the Elizabeth, named in the will of Capt. John4 Wright, as his wife, was a daughter of Waugh Darnall, Gent., and sister of the Jeremiah Darnall, Gent., who accommodated Capt. Wright with a share of the estate of the deceased Waugh Darnall, thus still closer drawing these families together. Jeremiah Darnall had married Catherine Holtzclaw, daughter of Jacob Holtzclaw, as is shown by the latter’s will of 15 January 1759."

  • Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. IV, Number 2, October 1922, pg. 220.

There has been much confusion as to who was the Elizabeth Darnall who married Capt. John Wright.- Mr. C. A. Hoppin, a genealogist, of the Washington-Wright connections, gave Elizabeth as a daughter of Waugh Darnall. Since the will of Waugh Darnall, naming his children, did not mention a daughter, Elizabeth, he was manifestly in error. E. R. McKay and this compiler (H.C.S.) long held the belief that she was the widow of Waugh but were unable to find any proof until a suit was brought by Augustine Smith against his wife's brother and sisters. A transcript of this suit follows...


Fauquier County, Va., Papers of the Court terminating February 1802 Bill in Chancery, 1796 Augustine Smith of Fauquier County sayeth in 1781 he served in the Virginia Militia and became entitled for his said service to a certificate -8:10:0, and being anxious to become an adventurer in Kentucky lands mentioned same to Jeremiah Darnall, now deceased, and he said Jeremiah Darnall proposed to assist him in locating the said land thru Major James Wright who was then about to go to Kentucky for the purpose of locating lands, but the orator, before talking to Darnall, had "intended to get Colonel Marshall or some of the family who were also just about to go to Kentucky" but being so nearly connected with the said Jeremiah as to have married his daughter and being also connected by marriage to the said James Wright" your-orator came into the proposition which was made by the said Jeremiah sometime in the year 1783 and delivered to him the said certificate in order to procure for your orator a land office treasury warrant to be located and surveyed for your orator by James Wright and the said Jeremiah Darnall procured from the Registers Office a Land Warrant for 5,312 acres and was issued in the name of the said Jeremiah Darnall "whereas it ought to have been issued in the name of your orator." In 1788 Smith heard Darnall offered to sell part of his Kentucky holdings and knowing that he had no Kentucky land except what he procured by orator's warrant spoke to him on the subject without satisfaction and also; to James Wright who advised him to let the matter rest for a while as Wright assured him Darnall had made a will and had "done justice to your orator".. ."by devising to him the said lands." Jeremiah Darnall died leaving a last will and Testament appointing James Wright executor and "devised the aforesaid land so obtained by his warrant and for his benefit to Joseph Darnall, Mary Russell and Margaret Sinclair which said will be (sic) prays be taken as part of this bill . . . " (no copy of the will found) and that the said Joseph Darnall together with William Russell and Mary, his wife, James Sinclair and Margaret, his wife, Caty Darnall and Darnall Latham an infant under the age of 21 years by Thomas Latham his next friend may also be made defendants" to this bill . (This Augustine Smith, son of Augustine and Ann [Marshall] Smith, is identified in Hardy, Colonial Families of the Southern States of America, p. 478, as having married a "Miss Darnall.")

Papers filed

1 do hereby certify that on the 22 October 1783 a land office treasury warrant No 20151 for 5312-1/2 acres issued to Jeremiah Darnall for which he paid £85O0 paper money.

W Price
R. L. Off
30 April 1795

Many depositions were filed relative both to the land warrant, locating the land in Ky., and also,- the capability of Jeremiah Darnall at the time of the drawing of his will. Most of these were filed in 1797, and unfortunately merely state that the deponents are of lawful age." William Smith said in 1783 Jeremiah Darnall told him he had received a military certificate from Augustine Smith which he had laid out in a land warrant tor him and he intended to get James Wright to lay it out and survey it for the said Augustine Smith and sometime afterwards the said Jeremiah Darnall told him he had the land warrant laid out in Kentucky. William Sinclair says he purchased of Joseph Darnall (son of Jeremiah Darnall, deceased) 49 acres "that Jeremiah Darnall had never given his son a deed for," it seems Joseph had become indebted to John Matthews, schoolmaster, for the tuition of his children, that Jeremiah Darnall had Promised to pay his son if Mr. Matthews would indulge him until he harvested his next "op stating he would be liable for the payment.. .etc-. Robert Randolph and George Grant both made depositions in regard to the mental condition of Jeremiah Darnall shortly before the time of the making of his will, and about the time of his death their deponents were Francis Whiting, Daniel Bradford, Thomas Porter, John Herndon -, William Bradford, Tilghman Weaver, John Martin, Alexander Cook, regarding Jeremiah Darnall's capability of doing business up until the time of his last illness. 22 May 1797: Answer of James Wright to the bill in chancery filed by Augustine Smith at Fauquier Court. He located the lands in Kentucky and as the "said Jeremiah was half-brother of this deponent.. .he was induced to ask of him no more than his expenses (in locating the land in Ky.) He disagrees with Smith's statements in regard the advise passed him in regard to pressing his father-in-law in regard to a settlement in regard to these lands. Augustine Smith also filed a very extended account vs Estate of Jeremiah Darnall, deceased, for endless quantities of rum, molasses, other imported goods, and the like, am, H.C.S. goes on to say the papers are very numerous and I went over all of them for any spark of genealogical information which they might contain rather than the conflicting statements offered by the witnesses as to the capability of Darnall at the time making his will, his ability to do business, and the like. No one denied that the land in Kentucky which was procured in the name of Darnall was obtained on a certificate issued for the Revolutionary Services of Augustine Smith. The will of Jeremiah Darnall, 1795, remains of record at Fauquier Court. In addition to this, the transactions between John Wright and the heirs of Waugh Darnall and the mention in the suit of the family relationship between James Wright and Jeremiah Darnall, son of Waugh, seems sufficiently corroborative of our contention that Elizabeth was the widow of Waugh Darnall.

  • Conley, Avlyn Dodd. The Darnall, Darnell Family, Vol. 2. Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, 1979.

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