5. William Pierce and Elizabeth Rucker of Spotsylvania  Co., VA


     The following records are taken out of order in order to make sense of the logic used to conclude that Elizabeth Rucker's husband was William Pierce of Spotsylvania and Orange Co.


     William Pierce was born in Essex Co., VA. 1705-1710, because:

     His first mention in the records is 1731, implying that he came of age shortly before, from which his estimated birth date of 1705-1710 is derived.

Spotsylvania Deed Book A, 1722-1729 [Spotsylvania created 1721 from Essex, King & Queen and King William]: no deeds featuring Pierce, but numerous of Thomas Rucker, William Crawford, Henry Downs, Francis Kirkley (Wm Pierce's eventual neighbors, so that part of Orange Co. where Pierce settled used to be Spotsylvania Co.)

Spotsylvania County Orders 1730-1732:
     - 5 May 1731 p47 "In the action of Debt brought p James Pickett Plt. agst. William Peirse Defendt. an alias capias is granted the Plaintiff." [1st appearance in records]
     - 7 Oct 1731 p83 "In the action of Debt between James Pickett Plt. and William Peirse Defendt an order against the Defendt. & his security is granted."
     - 1 Feb 1731/2 p100 "In the action of Debt between James Pickett Plt. and William Peirse Defendt. special bail being required, is granted; afterwards John Rucker [William Pierce's brother-in-law] came into open Court & assumed to be Special Bail for the sd Defendt., And Judgment by writ of Enquiry next Court."
     - March Court 1732 "In the action of Debt brought p James Pickett against William Peirce Defendt.; ordered that the same be dismist, ye suit being agreed."


     That some Pierce married Elizabeth Rucker is shown conclusively from the will of Peter Rucker, Elizabeth's father, which shows "Elizabeth Pierce" as heir:

Will of Peter Rucker, dated June 18, 1743; probated, Feb. 23, 1743 (W.B.1, p. 299) Orange:

     In the name of God amen. I Peter Rucker of Saint Marks Parish in the County of Orange planter being weak in body but of perfect mind and memory knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament in the manner following: Imprimis I do order that all my Just Debts and funeral charges be paid and satisfied. Item: I lend unto my beloved wife Elizabeth Rucker all my Estate both real and Personal During her natural life and after her Decease to be Devided in the following manner. Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved Daughter Margaret Tinsley and my Son In-law Isaac Tinsley a negro boy named Yerkshire to them and their heirs forever. Item: I give and bequeath to my beloved Son Ephraim Rucker a negro Girl named Phillis to him and his heirs forever. Item: I give and bequeath to my beloved Daughter Ann Cook and my son in law Shem Cook a negro girl named Jeney to her and her increase to them and their heirs forever. Item: I do Desire that all the Remainder of my Estate both real and personal after my wife's Decease as aforesaid to be sold by my Exr. hereafter named at public auction to the highest bidder on six months credit for Current Money the Buyer giving Good Security and the money arising by Sale to be Equally Devided amongst my beloved Children by name as followeth: Thomas Rucker, Elizabeth Pierce, William Rucker, Mary Offell, James Rucker, Ephraim Rucker and Ann Cook and to their heirs forever and lastly I do Constitute and appoint my beloved Sons James Rucker and Ephraim Rucker to be my Whole and sole Executors of this my last will and Testament hereby revoking and disannuling all other Testaments and will by me made Conforming this and no other to be my Last will and Testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this 18 day of January 1743. Signed seal Published in the presence of Wm. Jackson, Wm. Offell, Mich. Holt by Peter (X) his mark Rucker. At a Court Held for Orange County on Thursday ye 23 Day of Febry 1743. The Last Will and Testament of Peter Rucker Dec'd being presented into Court by James Rucker and Ephraim Rucker Exrs. therein named and proved by the oaths of Wm. Jackson and Mich. Holt, two of the Witnesses Thereto who also made Oath that they saw William Offell sign the same as an Evidence and the Sd Exrs. having several Taken the Oath of an Exr. and having Entered into bond with Mix Holt, George Holt and Richard Mauldin Junr., Their Securities, before their due executor thereof, Probate is Granted them and the said will together with the Bond was admitted to Record. Test: Jonah Gibson.


     He witnessed a deed in 1732, for the Rucker family:
Spotsylvania County, Virginia Deeds Book B, 1730-1738 FHL Film no. 340685 February 1732 Page 358: Thomas Rucker to John Rucker 470 acres. Witnesses: Joseph Hawkins, Thomas Chew, Robert Turner. Elizabeth Rucker acknowledged right of dower. Witnesses: William Rucker, William Pearce.

     In August 1734, the part of Spotsylvania Co., VA in which Pierce resided was designated Orange Co., VA.

     He patented his land next to the Ruckers:

Virginia Patents 14, pp. 168-170 in margin:
     William Pierce 100 acres. (18 August 1735) George the second by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the faith. To all to whom these Presents shall send Greeting. Know ye that for divers good reasons and Considerations but more especially for and in Consideration of the sum of Ten Shillings of good and Lawful money for our use paid to our [Rorison] General of our [Rorouous] in this our Colony and Dominion of Virginia. We have Given, Granted and Confirmed by these Presents for us our Heirs & Successors Do Give, Grant and Confirm unto William Pierce a [portion] tract or parcel of Land Containing one Hundred acres Lying and being in the County of Orange and in the Fork of the Rappidann River and bounded as followeth to wit: Beginning at a white oak in a line of a Parcel Granted to John Rucker & running Then with the said Rucker's Line North four Degrees West two Hundred and Thirty Six Poles to four white oaks Corner to the said John Rucker's and William Eddings. Then with the said Eddings' Lines South Ninety Poles to a red oak and a white Oak & West Two Hundred and Forty Poles to a Chesnut Oak a Spanish Oak and a Pine & Locust to the said William Eddings' & Then South Forty eight Degrees East one Hundred and Thirty Poles to a red Oak and white Oak Corner to George Essond Then with the said Essond's Line to Thomas Rucker's Line. Then with the said Thomas Rucker's Line to the beginning. Witnesseth wood and or woods, swamps, marshes, Low grounds, meadows, Foodings and his […] or all […] mines and Quarries as will discovered and discovered within the bounds aforesaid and being part of the said Quantity of one Hundred Acres of Land and the Rivers, Waters & Water Courses therin contained […] with the Privileges of Hunting, Hawking Fishing, Fowling and all of the Profits Commodities and [Heroditainouts] whatsoever to the same or any part thereof. Belonging or in any wise apportaining. To Have & Hold possess and Enjoy the said Tract or parcel of Land and all other the before Granted Premises covers part, thereof with this and every of their appurtainenses unto the said William Pierce and to his Heirs & Assigns for ever & to the only use & behoof of line of the said William Pierce & his Hers & assigns for ever. To be held of us our Heirs & Successors as of our Manor of East Greenwich in the County of Kent in free and [Coriou Sorragd] & not in Capitd or by Knights Service. Yielding and Paying unto us our Heirs & Assigns for ev3ery fifty acres of Land and so Proportionably for a loss or Great or Quantity - then fifty acres the Good out of one shilling yearly to be paid upon the Feast of saint Michael the arte augol and also cultivating and Improving three acres part of every fifty of this Tract above mentioned within three years after the Date of these presents. Provided always that if three years of the said Fourorout shall at any time be in arrears and unpaid or if the said William Pierce his Heirs or assigns Do not within the space of three years next running after the Date of these Presents Cultivate and Improve three acres part of every fifty of the Tract above mentioned, Then the Estate hereby Granted Shall cease and be [suttorly] Determined and thereafter it shall & may be Lawful to and for us our Heirs and Successors to Grant the same Lands and Premises with the appurtainences unto such other Person or Persons as us our Heirs and Successors shall think fit. In Witness whereof we have said thus & our Letters Patent to Command. Witness our Trusty and assessor William Gooch Esq. Our Lion v. Govt. and Commander in this of our said Colony and Dominion at Williamsburgh and or the Seal of our said Colony the Eighteenth Day of August one thousand Seven Hundred & Thirty five in the ninth year of our Reign. [see Germannamap4 & DeLorme Virginia Topo Map p. 68 B2 near Elk Run and Rd 230] William Gooch


That he is the husband of Elizabeth Rucker is shown by a deed in 1737:

Orange County Deed Book 2 pp. 251-252; 20-21Mar 1737
     THIS INDENTURE made this ___ day of March in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred and thirty seven between Wm Pierce of the parish of St Marks in the county of Orange of the one part and Wm Rucker of the aforesaid parish and county of the other part witnesseth that the said William Pierce for and in consideration of five shillings current money of Virginia to him in hand paid by the said Wm Rucker before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof the said William Pierce doth acknowledge doth ___ grant bargain sell and ___ unto the said Wm Rucker his heirs and assigns a tract or parcel of land or woodland ground containing by patent one hundred acres lying and being in St Marks parish in Orange County and in the fork of Rappidan River and bounded as followeth to wit Beginning at a white oak in a line of patent granted to John Rucker and running thence with the said Rucker's line North ten degrees West ___rod and thirty six poles to four white oaks corner to the said John Rucker and William Eddins thence with the said Eddins lines South ___ poles to a red oak and a white oak and West two hundred rod and forty poles to a chestnut oak a Spanish oak and a ___corner to said Wm Eddins thence South forty eight degrees East one hundred rod and thirty poles to a red and white oak corner to George Essome thence with the said Essomes lines to Thomas Ruckers lines thence with the said Thomas Ruckers lines to the beginning. Together with all houses buildings___ gardens woods waters and watercourses…to have and to hold the said William Rucker his heirs and assigns from the date of these indentures for and during the term for a whole year from thence next ensuing and fully to be completed and ended yielding and paying therefore the rent of an ear of Indian Corn yearly on the feast of St Michael the Archangel if the same shall be lawfully demanded to the intent and purpose that the said Wm Rucker may by Virtue of these presents and of the statutes for the transferring into possession be lawfully possessed of land and premises and hereby enabled to accept and take___a grant and release of the inheritance___from the said William Pierce unto the said Wm Rucker his heirs and assigns forever witness whereof the parties to these___ have interchangeably set their hands and seals the day and year first above written.

At a court held for Orange County on

Thursday the ___day of March 1737 William (W) Pierce

Witnesses: Wm Anderson , William Offell

23 March 1737. Ackowledged by Wm. Pierce

     This is a sweetheart deal made to Elizabeth's brother William Rucker for one ear of Indian Corn to rent 100 acres, a device used by relatives in the era to give such deals to each other.  This would not be a device used except to relatives.


     A deed shows that his wife's name was indeed named Elizabeth:

Sept 2 1745, Orange County Deed Book 10 pp. 203-204 :
     THIS INDENTURE made the second day of September 1745 by and between Henry Downs of the county of Orange, Gent of the one part and William Pearce of the county of Orange, Farmer of the other part witnesseth that..the said Henry Downs for and in Consideration of the ..Covenants and Services hereafter mentioned..hath demised granted set and to farm let.. unto the said William one plantation called Down's Delight and one hundred acres of land--part of a tract known by the name of Stover's Eight Hundred Tract in the Parish of Augusta, and county of Augusta.. bounded when and in such Convenient manner as to the said Henry his heirs..shall see proper saving always liberty of making a path through said land where it shall be necessary for any other Tennant of the said Henrys..To have and to hold..for and during the natural lives of him the said William and Elizabeth his said wife or during here widowhood if her husband should die first..and paying..yearly and every year the one half profit of a Still that the said Pearce is to have of the said Downs, and half the profit of the Hoggs that is to be raised on the above said plantation or farm and half the Cattle and Horses that are to be raised..the said Downs or his heirs is to find the principle stock of cattle, mares, and hoggs and that the said Pearce or his heirs is to be answerable for the principle stock except dying by any accidence..Pearce will at all times to his utmost indeavour to keep the said above Still at work or a bigger if the said Downs.. shall get a bigger still.. Pearce will to his utmost indeavor to raise grain and fodder to keep the above stocks alive in the winter and that..Downs doth agree to shear the Hoggs every two years and the cattle every four years, and for the true performance of all..William Pearce doth bind himself..to the said Henry..in the sum of five hundred pounds sterling money of England.. William (X) Pearce , Henry Downs, Jr. Witnesses: Isaac (X) Tindsley ,David (X) Jackson Recorded Orange County 26 September 1745


Another deed with William and Elizabeth:

Orange County Deed Book 10, pp.251-252 ; Oct 10 1745
     This Indenture made the Eighteenth Day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty five between William Pearce of the County of Orange Planter of the one part and Thomas Coffer of the same county Planter of the other part whereas by one Patent under the great seal of the colony and Dominion of Virginia Bearing date the 26th day of March in the twelfth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the second by the grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King Defendor of the faith..there is granted unto the said William Pearce one certain tract or parcel of land containing seventy acres lying and being in the fork of the Rappadan River..this indenture witnesseth that the said William Pearce for and In consideration of the sum of five shillings current money of the Colony of Virginia to him in hand paid by the said Thomas Coffer Before the unsealing and delivery of these presents the receipt Whereof the said William Pearce doth hereby acknowledge hath Promised set and to farmlet and by these presents doth promise set and to farmlet unto the said Thomas Coffer his heirs..all that tract and parcel of land lying and being in the for of the Rappadan River in the County of Orange aforesaid and bounded as followeth Beginning..on The Eastside of Elk run Corner to George Anderson running thence Fifty eight degrees east sixty eight poles to two white oaks and a pine Corner to the said Anderson and Robt. Taliaferro North Eighty two Degrees east forty nine poles to a pine and white oak north nine Degrees west one hundred eighty poles with the said Robt. Taliaferro To..on the side of Elk Run corner to Thomas Rucker thence down the Run to the beginning ..

William (X) Pearce

Elizabeth (X) Pearce

Witnesses: Matthew Stanton , Matthew (X) Knight

Orange Co., VA Deeds 10, pp251-254 18 Oct 1745

William Pearce of Orange County, Planter/ Thomas Coffer of same, Planter. Whereas by patent dated 26 March 1739 sd. Wm Pearce granted 70 acres lying in the fork of Rappadan River lease and release for 30 Pounds paid by Thomas Coffer doth grant all that land bounded as follows. East side of Elk Run Robert Taliaferro ... corner to George Anderson ... corner to Thomas Rucker

Sig: William (X) Pearce

Elizabeth (X) Pearce

Wit: Mathew Stanton


     Thomas Rucker (Elizabeth's brother) was the administrator of of William Pierce's estate:

Orange Co., VA Will Book 2 1744-1778 pp.314-315:
William Pearce. Estate account. Thos. Rucker, administrator.
Payments made to Major Morre, Corns. Rucker, John Gooall, Francis Kirtley, Dr. Jackson, Wm. Riddle, John Blakey, Wm. Scott, Thos. Dooley, Saml. Bullis, John White, John Lestor, Thos. And Wm. Morris.
Receipts from Thos. Stanton (probably T.S. Jr., William's new son-in-law), Hezh. Rhodes, John Lester, Thos. Doolen, Wm. Scott, John Roberts, Saml. Bullis, Thos. Morris, Michl. Earhart, John White, Wm. Cox.
27 Aug 1761. Settled by W. Bell and Richd. Thomas
27 Aug 1761. Returned.


The Misunderstanding

     The venerable "The Rucker Family" 1932, p. 236 indicates that Elizabeth Rucker b. abt 1708 married the James Pierce that died in Orange Co. in 1778, but this is a misunderstanding.

     The misunderstanding comes from two Orange Co., VA records: 1) the will of Peter Rucker that mentions Elizabeth Pierce, and 2) the will of James Pierce that mentions a wife Elizabeth and executor Minor Rucker. Not a bad assumption that these two Elizabeths are the same person, but it is wrong.

     The will was actually probated in 1818, not 1778 - the date of the original record is none too clear.  One clue to the mis-date is that none of his daughters are married at the will date - you would not expect this if they were children of a wife born in 1708, as Elizabeth Rucker was.  Additionally, almost all of his children survived past the 1850 census, and we know from the listings when they were born.  For instance, James' daughter, Julia Ann can be documented in the 1850 and 1860 censes, in which she is 65 and 76 years old respectively; she therefore was born ~1784-1785.  She is the first (and probably oldest) child listed in the will, so the others are even younger, and James obviously could not have died in 1778, years before any of them were born.  Elizabeth, his wife, is also listed as late as the 1830 census of Culpeper Co., a remarkable life span if she is Elizabeth Rucker born 1708.  The more probable explanation is that this James Pierce who died in 1818 is the one who married Elizabeth Crawford in 1782 in Culpeper Co., and is at least one generation removed from Elizabeth Rucker.

     The Pierce who actually married Elizabeth Rucker was her neighbor, William Pierce b. 1705.  The Numerous records above in Orange Co., VA feature a connection between William Pierce and the brothers of Elizabeth Rucker, and William's wife was also named Elizabeth. Since James must be related to the Ruckers in order to choose Minor Rucker as an executor, I have assumed that James is the son of Elizabeth Rucker and William Pierce, but he could as well be a grandson.




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