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Ancestors of Robert Mason Blake

      1006. Col. Clement Read, born 1707 in Virginia1068,1069; died January 02, 1763 in "Bushy Forest," Charlotte County (then Lunenburg County), Virginia1070,1071. He married 1007. Mary Hill 17301072,1073.

      1007. Mary Hill1074, born 1711 in Virginia1075,1076; died November 11, 1780 in "Bushy Forest", Charlotte County, Virginia1077,1078. She was the daughter of 2014. Isaac Hill and 2015. Margaret Jennings.

Notes for Col. Clement Read:
      From "The Reads and Their Relatives," by Alice Read, at pages 15-32:

      "Clement Read was born in Virginia, Jan. 1, 1707, and the tradition for at least four generations back is that he was 'the ward of President John Robinson of Spottsylvania; that he received his education at William and Mary, and that upon the completion of his college years, he came to the home of Speaker John Robinson in King and Queen County, where he met Mary Hill.'
      "John Robinson, President of the Governor's Council, lived in Essex and Middlesex Counties, adjoining King and Queen to the north-east; his son, 'Speaker' John Robinson, a co-temporary of Colonel Clement Read, lived in King and Queen.
      "In an effort to verify the tradition of guardianship (as stated by Foote, Bouldin, Meade and Cabell), search was made in Middlesex and Essex County records, but no reference to Clement Read was found therein. The records of King and Queen County are destroyed.
      "Nor does the name of a Clement Read of his era appear upon the fragmentary student-lists extant of William and Mary; though these lists are so imperfect that they afford no evidence that he was not a student there. The records of the English schools of the time, to which many Colonials sent their sons, have not as yet been searched. The proofs of his excellent education survive; but there are none known to exist as to where he got it.
      "The earliest reference to Clement Read as yet discovered in the records would seem to place him as definitely dwelling in New Kent County in the summer of his eighteenth year. On August 9/10, 1725, John Thornton of New Kent County conveyed, by deed recorded in Henrico County Court, 'to Charles Lewis' of New Kent County, a plantation on Ye Byrd Creek in Henrico (now Goochland) County. This deed was witnessed by Thoms. Randolph, Geo. Webb, Matthew Jouett, Clemt. Read, Robert Rogers. The grantor, Thornton, and the grantee, Lewis, and three of the witnesses of this deed, Webb, Jouett and Rogers were residents of New Kent County. Thos. Randolph was a resident of Henrico, and Clement Read, the fourth witness, in the light of the record given herewith, may be placed as a resident of New Kent.
      "At a Vestry held for the Parish, Oct. 8, 1728, among the items of the parish levy we find: 'To Clem't Read for Q't R'ts of Ye Glebe land for ye years 1726 and 1727 -- 60 lbs. tob'o.' This item appears in the Dr. Columns of the Parish Levy. But why Clement Read should have been paid the quit-rents for the glebe land does not appear.

      " 'In the year 1730,' says Foote, 'Clement Read married Mary Hill. Soon after his marriage, he went with Col. Richard Randolph and Col. Nicholas Edmunds on an exploring expedition to locate land in that part of the country now known as Charlotte. Col. Edmunds returned without purchasing; Mr. Read and Col. Randolph purchased largely; Randolph on the Staunton and Mr. Read about ten thousand acres on the Ash Camp, Dunivant and Little Roanoke. Mr. Read removed to his purchase and made his residence at 'Bushy Forest,' about four miles south of the present village of Marysville.'

      "The manner of this pleasant fashion of exploring is amusingly and amply described in Col. Byrd's writings. It was a favourite method of varying the monotony of the Virginia gentleman's plantation life and, through taking up the lands investigated, of adding to his estates. To the joys of adventure, of camping and hunting, exploring and surveying the wild country, he could add the thrill of feeling that he was assisting at the momentous realization of a future empire as well as forwarding his own fortunes. All through the travel-journals of the time, that historic consciousness evinces itself.
      "After 1728, the date of the New Kent record, there is no archival trace of Clement Read until, in 1732, he took the King's Attorney's oath to the Crown in Brunswick County where he was resident.
      "In order to understand the history and genealogy of the Reads as here transcribed, a knowledge of the changes made in the map of Virginia during her three hundred years is necessary, and a clear idea of the historic and political genesis of her counties.
      "Brunswick was erected in 1720. Three of the original shires went to its making: Charles City, James City and Warreosquoacke, the name of the latter having been, in 1637, changed to Isle of Wight. From Charles City County in 1702 was formed Prince George; from Prince George in 1720 Brunswick, to which, when it began to function magisterially in 1732, were added parts of Surry, which was formed in 1652 from James City and Isle of Wight Counties. Simultaneously with Brunswick, in 1720, Spottsylvania County was formed from Essex, King and Queen, and King William. And King and Queen, which at first comprised with its own territory that of the present King William, Caroline and Spottsylvania, was formed in 1691 from New Kent County. It can readily be seen how this dismemberment and reorganization of counties has complicated research.
      "Clement Read was First King's Attorney for Brunswick in 1732; yet in the Brunswick records we find that in 1737, he was to be paid 'by the Public of Surry in neat tobacco' for being King's Attorney there: that is, before Brunswick had courts, its business for that part which was cut off from Surry was transacted in Surry Co. And in 1741, tobacco 'for the County Account' is paid to him by Amelia and Goochland.
      "There are innumerable entries in the records which disclose his activities as King's Attorney, citizen, surveyor, vestryman and business-man in Brunswick. In 1736, it is interesting to note that he got a larger fee for the delivery of 'ten old wolves' heads' than he did as Attorney for the Crown. By 1739, he is spoken of as Captain Clement Read; and in 1740, Capt. Read is chosen vestryman of St. Andrew's Parish.
      "All sorts of transactions in which he is concerned are noted: from surveying and clearing roads with his 'tythables,' to prosecuting Jessey and Elizabeth Somerfield, who evidently were no better than they should be, 'at ye sute of ye Church Wardens'; from prosecuting (and generally winning) innumerable suits as King's Attorney, to buying 'a Dyall' for the Church; from buying, selling and patenting hundreds of acres of land, to administering estates, ordering up from Williamsburg Law Books for the County, and 'paying for glass,' that valuable commodity, perhaps for court house or church.
      "In 1745, Lunenburg County was formed from Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Prince George and Charles City Counties. It included an enormous territory which has since been divided into Halifax (1752), Bedford (1763), -- from which Campbell in 1782 and Franklin in 1786 were cut off, -- Charlotte (1765), Mecklenburg (1765), and Pittsylvania (1766), from which latter Henry County in 1777 and Patrick in 1791 were taken.
      "Colonel Read's home fell in Lunenburg; and thenceforward his records are to be found in that county, of which in 1746 he was commissioned Clerk by Secretary Thomas Nelson, a position which he retained all the rest of his life, keeping the office at his own house.
      "He was early elected by the Freeholders and Housekeepers, as one of the 'twelve most able and discreet persons of the county,' to be vestryman of the new parish of Cumberland.
      " 'He frequently served in the General Assembly of the State and with men who became leaders in the Revolution. He was present when John Robinson of King and Queen moved the vote of thanks which so disconcerted General Washington.'
      "In 1750-52, he represented the County in the House of Burgesses with Henry Embra. In 1752-53, with Col. Wm. Byrd III of Westover. He was absent from the House during the sessions of '54-56, having resigned his seat to 'accept a Surveyor's place.' Peter Fontaine had been the Surveyor of Lunenburg, but upon its division his residence fell in Halifax, of which county he became the first Surveyor; while Clement Read took on his duties in Lunenburg and continued to discharge them until 1756; during which time the county was represented by Col. Byrd and William Embra.           
      "In the year 1755 and that following, troubles with the Indians precipitated by the French incursions became acute on the Lunenburg and Halifax frontiers. The extent of Col. Read's participation in military operations of the times is indicated by Governor Dinwiddie's correspondence throughout the next two years. Many of the Governor's existing letters to Col. Washington, who was having much trouble in Lexington (Va.) with the very backwoods men to whose aid he had marched, concern liaison with Col. Read: "Col. Read of Lunenburg will order Provisions to any Place the Forces may be destined to'. . . 'Col. Read says he sent Yo up 29 Soldiers, probably in two Parties' . . . 'I've wrote Col. Read about the Lunenburg draughts . . .,' etc., etc.
      "Within thirty days after the shock of Braddock's defeat, the people of Lunenburg had agreed to raise a company of fifty men and made up a subscription to pay them for six months. The country was practically bare of arms, for Governor Dinwiddie had given 1500 stands of arms and their accoutrements to Gen. Braddock , and to New York and the Jerseys for their expedition against Crown Point, so that great difficulty was met in arming and outfitting Virginia companies. On the ninth of August, Col. Read wrote to Gov. Dinwiddie, who replied on the 15th, thanking him and the county for their generous proposal, and hoping that their laudable precedent would be followed by other counties....     
      "In August 1755, Gov. Dinwiddie had commissioned Geo. Washington Colonel of the Va. Reg't. and had made him Commander-in-Chief of all the forces to be raised in Virginia. Washington had reported Mr. Dick wholly inefficient as a commissary and Gov. Dinwiddie seems to have relieved him and given Col. Read those responsibilities. He advises Capt. Hogg on Aug. 23, 1756, Ďas to provisions it will be pretty much left to the direction of Col. Read, and I have recommended Col. Buchanan to him for Augusta County.'     
      "On Sept. 8, 1756, he wrote Col. Read:

      " 'Your letter by Capt. Stalnaker of the 2nd I rec'd and observe its contents and the trouble you undertook in viewing some of the forts and your observations of the number of men in some of them, and the pay, etc., due to them, all which I approve and thank you for your distinct letter thereon.'

      "He sends him a treasurer's warrant for L 500 to buy winter provisions for the forces, and advises him to engage forces 'to way-lay the Indians in their passing and repassing to the mountains . . . . There are many other things,' he adds, 'I shall be glad to be advised about. At present we are under bad management and the people of Augusta appear to me to endeavor to make money unjustly from the distress of the country . . . .'
      "The indian War continued and on Apr. 18, 1758, Col. Read, the County Commander, issued the following order to Thomas Bouldin, Captain of a company of Lunenburg militia . . . .
      "Though warfare with the French was terminated when the British captured Montreal in Sept. 1760, Indian warfare on the frontiers was not so definitely ended. Not until fourteen years later, when Col. Andrew Lewis gained the victory at Point Pleasant, was the death-blow given to Indian power on the Virginia frontiers.
      "In the year 1758, Col. Read was again a candidate for the House of Burgesses.
      "The question of dividing the county once more was before the public, and there was a particularly lively campaign. The contestants for the seat were, besides Col. Read, Matthew Marrable and Henry Blagrave. Read and Marrable were returned elected . . . .
      "On Dec. 18, 1762, he carried his last message from the Burgesses to the Council in Williamsburg. On Jan. 2, 1763, he died at Bushy Forest. We have no account of the cause of this sudden end. The Court records contain the usual inspection of his Clerk's office. He died intestate and his widow, two sons, Clement and Thomas, and a son-in-law, Paul Carrington, qualified as administrators of his estate.
      "Col. Clement Read, according to the word handed down through the generations, was tall and blonde, 'of a distinguished figure, wealthy, highly-educated, possessed of a fine understanding and captivating manners,' one old account says. And still another speaks of his 'polished manners, high character, and valuable services to Church and State.'
      "In fact the tradition of his personal charm, gay good temper, his dignity and courtly address is one of the most enduring we have.
      "His Seat, 'Bushy Forest,' was situated on a noble tract beautifully wooded and watered by many streams. The place is called 'The Red House, Bushy Forest,' in one old manuscript and Read is marked on the site of the family seat in Fry and Jefferson's map, which is appended to President Jefferson's 'Notes on Virginia, 1787.' It became noted for its hospitality and the state which it kept in the wild country, it's splendid furniture, beautiful walks and flowers and tall pyramids of cedars in the yard.' "

      From "The Cabells and Their Kin," by Alexander Brown, D.C.L., at page 207:

      "He was also the county lieutenant; presiding magistrate; member of the vestry; frequently a burgess, and one of the most influential men in the county."

More About Col. Clement Read:
Burial: "Bushy Forest," Charlotte County, Virginia1079
Church Service: Member of the vestry
Military service: College of William and Mary1080
Occupation: Lawyer1080
Occupation #2: 1733, Qualified as an attorney in Goochland at the September county court1080
Occupation #3: Bet. 1746 - 1747, Qualified as an attorney in Albemarle County1080
Public Service: Bet. 1746 - 1763, Became the first clerk of the new county of Lunenburg1080
Public Service #2: Bet. 1750 - 1762, Member, Virginia House of Burgesses (except 1754-1756)1081
Public Service #3: Bet. 1754 - 1756, County surveyor, Lunenburg County1082
Religion: Church of England1083

  Notes for Mary Hill:
      From "The Reads and Their Relatives," by Alice Read, at pages 32-36:

      "Mary Hill, Madam Clement Read, was one of the remarkable women of Colonial Virginia. Such was the vitality of her extraordinary personality that it has persisted through two hundred years; even through those eras when the Male was the accepted tribal god, and when it might have been expected that her own male in particular, a man of such vigorous distinction, would have overshadowed her fame. So little data remains that it is difficult to isolate the essential essence of her quality; but to this day her memory is green in the County where she reigned.
      "Beautiful, spirited, witty, 'educated in all that was useful as well as ornamental;' of exquisite figure and stately bearing; ardent, fearless, fiery-tempered and executive, she is described as 'one of the highest characters of her day.'
      " 'Her strong family pride,' her loyalty to Church and King, her good management both of family and estate, won the admiration of her contemporaries and it is said that she wielded as much influence as anyone in the County of Charlotte. 'Col. Wyatt,' says Powhatan Bouldin, 'who was in the Senate of Virginia while John Randolph was in Congress, in enumerating the most talented men that Charlotte had produced always included 'Madam Read.'
      "She was honoured by both State and Church; the county-seat, which Judge Hutcheson says 'for more than fifty years the Reads had for their own private town,' was by Act of Legislature named for her, -- Marysville.
      "The rectors of the parishes of Cornwall and Cumberland paused in their pulpits while this zealous supporter of the Establishment, dressed in her lute-string silks, her laces and lawns, surmounted by an imposing 'round-topped hat,' moved majestically down the aisle, the eyes of the whole congregation upon her while she betook herself to prayer 'in the Upper Pew,' and settled herself for the rigours of the sermon, 'her silver tankard of water by her side.'
      "After the death of her tall, blue-eyed husband, whose efforts in council, field and state she had furthered so well, she carried on his interests gallantly and with great industry and ability.
      "Each day her saddled horse was brought up and she rode over her plantation, and kept her overseers in hand, giving them her orders for her hundred slaves and seeing that they were obeyed. She cultivated, drained and cleared her thousands of acres; she erected grist-mills on the banks of the Staunton and Little Roanoke. She 'made tobacco,' she raised 'English peas' and asparagus from seed, and she planted roses and cedars and white jasmine in her gardens.
      "She saw to it that her sons were educated and drilled for the responsible stations in life for which they were destined, and she kept those young men under a discipline that insisted on their being responsible not only to their God and their Sovereign, but also to HER, for them as serious and a more immediate tribunal. She trained her daughters to be mothers of men and the heads of establishments as housewifely and orderly as her own: pungently remarking that they had better not try to show her 'a woman's armoire looking as though the Devil had had a fit in it.'
      "Each morning she insisted that she and her household should serve the Lord: so the family and servants, black and white, were assembled and she would read the lessons for the day while old Betty Gale, a favourite negress, made loud responses as she inclined her heart to brooding over the coffee-pot and keeping the coffee hot and strong for breakfast when that function should supervene prayers.
      "She treasured and used a rare possession on the Virginia frontiers, -- her 'Libra of Books.'
      "Her house was the centre of entertainment for man and beast: not only the countless friends and connections, but all those, whether of high or low degree, who travelled through the 'Back Country' were put up at this hospitable place.
      "She was the guardian of her three minor children and of the children of her daughter, Mary Nash. After the death of the latter and Col. Nash's removal to North Carolina, where he died, they were reared in her home.
      "She was Defender of the Faith of her fathers on the South Side. She sent her son, Col. Clement Read, to ride with Maj. Bouldin to Maryland and fetch back thence Parson Johnston. For, said she, she would not permit the Parish to go to the devil and the dissenters, and it had been reported that this reverend gentleman could 'hold 'em.'
      "The Revolutionary War was a dreadful shock and grief to her. She was loyal to the cause of the Colonies, but she was an aristocrat bred under the old regime.
      "The horses for her coach and four were 'pressed' for the army. Her portraits of King George and Queen Charlotte had to be hid away in outhouses. She found that even she could not defy Gen. Rochambeau and the French allies: for when they were encamped on her lands and near the Court House, the headquarters of the officers being at Madam Read's house, there was some disturbance about the soldiers breaking into and looting the commissary supplies for the Continental troops which were stored on her place. During the subsequent excitement, 'Madam Read and her family were confined to one room at 'Bushy Forest' and a guard was placed round the house.' She survived these indignities. But there were graver matters to face. Though always a woman of wealth, she saw her resources crippled, her fortune jeopardized, the carefully planned future of her children menaced. And as the climax of tragedy, her most distinguished son, her father's name-child, Col. Isaac Read, at the high tide of his career: her grandsons, Lieut. Clement Read III, and Maj. Clement Read Nash, youths on the threshold of life,--all officers in the Revolutionary army,-- died in the service.
      "She knew loss and bitter grief and she met them bravely. But it is doubtful whether she could have adapted herself to 'the changes consequent upon our success in arms. For the great moral revolution in the habits and feelings of the people,' for what she regarded as the abolition of manners and deportment in all classes, she was totally unprepared; and her youth was past. But she did not have to live long under the Republic.
      "After five years she died, and was buried at 'Bushy Forest' beside her husband, whom she had survived twenty-three years. 'Her funeral was preached by Parson Johnston according to the forms of the church so dear to her heart,' the church which throughout most of her former domain was fast being overwhelmed by Presbyterianism.
      "When we come to examine the records, we find that surprisingly few actually exist concerning the life of Mary (Hill) Read.
      "The only date which we have absolutely, not 'approximately,' is that of her death, -- which is so often misstated in the old histories. It is recorded in the Bible of her grandson, Thomas Read of 'Ash Camp,' thus:

      "Mary Read . . . 'died at Bushy Forest on Saturday the 11th day of Novem'r - 1786 - aged 75 years. She outlived her husband about 23 years.'

      "Her will, written April 26, 1783, was probated in Charlotte Co., Dec. 4, 1786.
      "There are various deeds, etc., concerning her business transactions, transfers of land, guardianships, etc., on file; there is her will, and we have records of five of her eight children. That is all.
      "Her birth-date is deduced from her age given at death, which indicates 1711 as the year. Her marriage-date is inferred from the birth-dates of her eldest children.
      "As to her parentage, we have the traditions recorded as fact by the Rev. Mr. Foote, and copied by various other writers; and Mr. Bouldin's curious pamphlet, in which he preserves sundry recollections supposed to be those of his great-great-grandaunt. Also a family record made by Dr. Isaac Read of Valley Land, Charlotte County, in 1830. All these repeat the tradition that Mary Read was the daughter of 'a British Naval officer, younger son of the Marquis of Lansdowne,' named by some as 'William Hill,' and his wife, 'the only daughter of Gov. Edmund Jenings,' -- in some accounts her name is given as 'Priscilla Jenings.'
      "There is nothing to prove these statements. At that period there was no Marquis of Lansdowne: there was a Baron, Lord Lansdowne, but his name was not Hill; it was Granville. In 1784, a Marquis of Lansdowne was created, but his name was Fitzmaurice, not Hill.
      "In 1779, William Hill, second Viscount Hillsborough, LL.D., was created Marquis of Downshire. He descended from William Hill, Esq., of Hillsborough, County Down, Ireland, who died in 1693. It is possible that this may have been the family from which Mary Hill's father came. There must be some reason for this persistently recurring Marquis, -- but he could not have been Lansdowne. Also there is no evidence that Mary Hill's father's name was William, -- nor has William been used as a baptismal name in the family of Mary and Clement.
      "On Christ Church Parish Marriage Register, Middlesex Co., Va., appears this entry:
      " '1708 -- ye 28 July -- Isaack Hill and Margaret Jenings.'
      "In June 1734, it appears from the Caroline County Court Records that Clement Read was the administrator of Isaac Hill, deceased.
      "In 1711, Mary Hill was born.
      "Circ. 1730, she married Clement Read.
      "In 1734, Margaret Read, her second daughter, was born.
      "In 1739, Isaac Read, her second son, was born.
      "Circ. 1775, her daughter, Anne (Read) Jameson, named her second daughter Margaret Jenings Jameson.
      "There is in possession of her great-great-great-great-granddaughter, a silver tray that was Mary Hill's, which bears the Jenings crest.
      "The safe inference from these records is that the parents of Mary (Hill) Read were Isaac Hill and Margaret Jenings.
      "It is clear that Isaac Hill was living in King and Queen Co. 1704-1722 and most probably until his death, which occurred prior to June 1734. He was Justice there in 1714, and married in Middlesex Co., -- which adjoins King and Queen to the north, -- in 1708."

      From "The Cabells and Their Kin," by Alexander Brown, D.C.L., at page 208:

      "Mrs. Mary Hill Read was a wealthy and most accomplished lady. She lived at 'White Bank,' one of the old Robinson homesteads in King and Queen County, and it was there that Clement Read, the adopted son of John or 'President' Robinson, first saw her.
      " 'Madam Read,' as she was called, was one of the most imposing characters in the beginning of Charlotte. The county seat was named in her honor, Maryville, and many anecdotes of this spirited old dame, her stately bearing, her strong family pride, her zealous support of the church of her forefathers, etc., are still preserved. She is said to be the only daughter of William Hill, an officer of the British Navy of the same family as the Marquis of Downshire, by his wife, Priscilla Jennings, daughter of Governor Edmund Jennings of Virginia.
      "The records of King and Queen County having been destroyed, I have not been able to verify the parentage of Col. Clement Read, or of his wife."

      Although, because of destroyed records, it is impossible to say with absolute certainty that Mary Hill Read was the daughter of Issac Hill and the granddaughter of Edmund Jennings, the compiler of this family history concurs with Alice Read (and many others) that there is little doubt of this is the correct family connection. This family history has therefore included these very probable relationships.

More About Mary Hill:
Burial: "Bushy Forest," Charlotte County, Virginia1084
Observation: One of the remarkable women of Colonial Virginia1085
Observation #2: The county seat was named in her honor, "Maryville"1086
Religion: Church of England1087
Children of Clement Read and Mary Hill are:
  503 i.   Margaret Read, born Abt. October 12, 1734 in "Bushy Forest", Charlotte County (then Lunenburg County), Virginia; died May 01, 1766 in "Mulberry Hill", Charlotte County, Virginia; married Judge Paul Carrington, Sr. October 01, 1755.
  ii.   Mary Read
  iii.   Clement Read, Jr.
  iv.   Isaac Read
  v.   Thomas Read
  vi.   Edmund Read
  vii.   Anne Read
  viii.   Jonathan Read

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