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Descendants of Thomas Northfleete

      30. Judith4 Norfleet (Marmaduke3, Thomas2, Thomas1 Northfleete) was born Abt. 1748 in Perquimans County NC, and died 1811 in Gates County NC. She married William Baker Abt. 1768 in NC, son of Henry Baker and Catherine Booth.

Notes for Judith Norfleet:

Marmaduke Norfleet's daughter Judith married William Baker, a wealthy Gates County planter and owner of Buckland Plantation. Judith was a devotee of Francis Asbury, first Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. Bishop Asbury frequently stayed at Buckland when he was traveling in the Albermarle area.


William and Judith Norfleet Baker were early converts to Methodism. The famous itinerant preacher and the first Bishop of the Methodist Church in America, Francis Asbury (1745-1816), was a frequent visitor to their house when he was traveling in their vicinity. Knotty Pine Chapel, located near Buckland, was one of the earliest Methodist churches in North Carolina, and Asbury frequently preached there. On 17 March 1799, Judith Norfleet Baker wrote a letter to Bishop Asbury wherein she reported the names of people from the area who had converted to Methodism, but were now deceased. The first name she mentioned was Elizabeth Norfleet. I quote:

"When you were with me last, you desired I would give you an account of the dear saints who are fallen asleep in Jesus, in this place. I will give you a list of their names with a sketch of some of their characters.

"Elizabeth Norfleet, one of the first that embraced religion after the gospel was preached here; she was one of the meekest women, a pattern of piety to the end of her days"

I am quite certain that the Elizabeth Norfleet mentioned in Judith's letter was Elizabeth Riddick Norfleet, widow of John, who had died many years previously, in May 1781. Francis Asbury had first preached in the Nansemond County, Virginia and Gates County, North Carolina areas in the summer of 1780, hence it was probably in that year that Elizabeth Norfleet was converted.

Notes for William Baker:


Buckland Plantation lies a few miles west of the Corapeake area, where John Norfleet and his first Cousin, Marmaduke Norfleet, had their plantations. From about 1769 to1805, this plantation was owned by a certain William Baker (1743-1805). William was a grandson of Captain Henry Baker (d. 1739) and the son of "Lame Henry" Baker (d. 1769). In about the year 1768, this same William Baker had married Judith Norfleet, daughter of Marmaduke Norfleet (1700-1774). In 1795, William Baker built the great plantation house that is, today, known as "Buckland." The home is still standing and has been designated as a national historical landmark.
Children of Judith Norfleet and William Baker are:
  94 i.   Marmaduke5 Baker, born Abt. 1775; died 1801 in Gates County NC.
  95 ii.   William Baker, born Abt. 1777; died 1801 in Gates County NC.
  96 iii.   Margaret (Peggy) Baker, born 1781 in Gates County NC; died 1827 in Hertford County NC. She married Captain Benjamin Wynns 1817.
  97 iv.   Ann (Nancy) Baker, born 1784 in Gates County NC; died 1851 in Jackson County FL. She married William Mallory Harvey 1808.
  98 v.   Richard Baker, born 1795 in Gates County NC; died 1811 in Gates County NC.

      31. Abraham4 Norfleet (John3, John2, Thomas1 Northfleete) was born 28 May, 1728 in Nansemond County VA, and died May 1785 in Chowan County NC. He married Sarah Lewis Abt. 1752 in Chowan County NC.

Notes for Abraham Norfleet:

John and Elizabeth Norfleet's oldest son, Abraham, was born on 28 August 1728. He was the Clerk of the Vestry for St. Paul's Parish in Chowan County, North Carolina for many years. Abraham's wife was Sarah Lewis by whom he appears to have had at least seven and perhaps eight children. Abraham's will, dated 25 October 1784, with memorandum of errata dated 3 May 1785, was probated in the Gates County Court on 27 June 1785. The will mentions four sons (Abraham, Elisha, Benjamin and Isaac) and three daughters (Mary, Elizabeth and Sarah). His sons, Benjamin and Isaac, were merchants, operating stores in the Hertford, Bertie and Edgecombe County areas of North Carolina. Abraham was a farmer who resided in the Gates County/Chowan County area for the rest of his life. Mary married Jeremiah Freeman. I have no further information concerning Elizabeth and Sarah. A possible fourth daughter, Cora Norfleet, is named by the NC genealogist, J. R. B. Hathaway, to have participated in the "Edenton Tea Party;" however, I have been unable to find any evidence supporting this assertion.
Children of Abraham Norfleet and Sarah Lewis are:
  99 i.   Abraham5 Norfleet.
  100 ii.   Benjamin Norfleet.
  101 iii.   Cora Norfleet, died Bef. 1784 in Chowan County NC.
+ 102 iv.   Isaac Norfleet, born Abt. 1780 in Gates County NC; died 05 November, 1844 in Philadelphia PA.
  103 v.   Mary Norfleet. She married Jeremiah freeman October 1792 in Bertie County NC.
  104 vi.   Sarah Norfleet.
+ 105 vii.   Elisha Norfleet, born Abt. 1759 in Chowan County NC; died 29 October, 1811 in Chowan County NC.
  106 viii.   Elizabeth Norfleet.

      32. John4 Norfleet (John3, John2, Thomas1 Northfleete) was born 30 October, 1729 in Nansemond County VA, and died Abt. 1812 in Nansemond County VA. He married Judith Holland Abt. 1759 in Nansemond County VA, daughter of Henry Holland and Name Unknown.

Notes for John Norfleet:

I believe that James and David Norfleet of Pulaski County, Kentucky were the sons of John Norfleet (1729-1812) and Judath (modern spelling - Judith) Holland of Nansemond County), Virginia. The relationship of David with John Norfleet (1729-1812) is established from an indenture, dated 26 April 1813, recorded in Pulaski County, Kentucky wherein David conveys 170 acres of land, which is located in Nansemond County, Virginia, to Abraham Norfleet also of Nansemond County, the land being a tract "... whereon John Norfleet, deceased, had lived (Father to said David) ..." The indenture describes the location of the land as bordering on the lands of John Porter and Jacob Holland and near the Summerton Swamp and a mill dam.

The Nansemond County land tax lists for the years 1806-1811 show only one property owner with the name of John Norfleet. The land tax list for 1812 shows this same property as being "John Norfleet Srs Est", thus indicating that John had died during the 1812 time period. This John Norfleet had operated a grist mill near what is now called Holland Village and also near the old Summerton Swamp. Indeed, in the modern City of Suffolk (which incorporated all of Nansemond County in 1974), there is still an old mill pond called "Norfleet Pond." Accordingly, this John Norfleet Sr. is undoubtedly the same person mentioned in David Norfleet's indenture and is the Norfleet who originally owned "Norfleet's Pond."

John Norfleet's wife, Judath (Judith), was probably the daughter of Henry Holland (see page 61 of this book for Henry's genealogical sketch). Judath's name is revealed by a Gates County, North Carolina indenture (see Deed Book 1, Page 189), dated 13 January 1786, whereby:

" … John Norfleet and Judah his wife of Nansemond County in the State of Virginia of the one part and Jacob Gordon of the other part in the State of North Carolina in Gates County Witnesseth that said John Norfleet & Judath his wife … "

The indenture conveys a 20 acre tract of land in the "Island' at White Oak Spring Marsh of Gates County North Carolina, being John Norfleet's share (tenth lot) of the division of the estate of John and Elizabeth Norfleet, deceased. Judath signed the indenture as "Judath Norfleet."

Due to the loss (by fire) of virtually all the Nansemond County records before the Civil War there is very little information available regarding this family. However the few bits of information which I have been able to glean are presented in the paragraphs below.

The Vestry Book of the Upper Parish of Nansemond County indicates that, during the years 1758-1759, John Norfleet provided the land and built the Anglican Chapel located near Cypress Swamp in the Upper Parish of Nansemond County. The chapel was a frame building standing on the south bank of Cypress Swamp, a mile west of the Great Dismal Swamp. The site now lies on a side road leading east from Virginia Route 10, about 8 miles south of the downtown area of the City of Suffolk. By an order of the Vestry in the year 1760, the parish minister was ordered to preach at Cypress Chapel four times a year. The chapel appears to have remained in service at least through the year 1793, the last year that the Upper Parish Vestry minutes were kept. For many years, John's younger brother, Hezekiah Norfleet, was a "Reader" at this chapel.

A petition to the Virginia State Legislature in 1781 (see the Virginia Genealogist, Volume 18, Number 3, Pages 207-208), states:

" Petition of the Justices of the Peace of Nansemond County lately constituting a Court of Oyer on the trial of Will, a Negro man slave the property of Henry Skinner, Mingo a slave of Josiah Riddick, deceased, Harry a slave of John Giles and Isaac a slave of Abraham Ballard, found guilty of entering the dwelling houses of Isaac Lasseter and John Norfleet and taking money and other goods. They ask pardon since the slaves were induced to commit the robbery by Henry Skinner and Joseph Sketo."

The above cited John Norfleet must be the same John Norfleet, father of David and James, who died about the year 1812. The extant Nansemond County land tax lists for the years 1782-1798 show this John Norfleet listed as a property owner in the Upper Parish with 200 acres. From 1799-1811, this same John is shown with land totaling 142 acres. The land tax list for 1812 shows the same 142 acre property as being "John Norfleet Srs Est", thus indicating that John had died during the 1811-1812 time period.

John Norfleet (1729-1812), like his father, appears to have operated a grist mill near what is now called Holland Village and also near the old Summerton Swamp. Indeed, in the modern City of Suffolk (which incorporated all of Nansemond County in 1974), there is still an old mill pond called "Norfleet's Pond." This gristmill may be the same mill that Job Holland acquired from Henry Norfleet in 1804.

Children of John Norfleet and Judith Holland are:
  107 i.   John5 Norfleet, born Abt. 1760 in Nansemond County VA; died Abt. 1780 in New York.
  Notes for John Norfleet:

Due to the customary Norfleet naming conventions, it is unlikely that John Norfleet (d. 1812) would have named his first born son "Henry", when both the father and paternal grandfather were named "John." I therefore conjecture that the first born son of John Norfleet (d. 1812) was probably also named "John" and could be the John Norfleet who was held captive on the infamous British prison ship the OLD JERSEY and who apparently died thereon, circa 1780. Thus, it is likely that Henry was the second son and was named after his maternal grandfather, Henry Holland. If true, this would mean that two of the three Norfleets known to have fought in the Revolution were sons of John (d. 1812)!

The old JERSEY was one of several derelict ships, anchored in Wallabout Bay off shore from Brooklyn, New York, which were used as prison ships by the British during the Revolution. These hulks were stripped of their fittings and the gun ports nailed securely. Virtually the only prisoners held in these ships were captured crew members from American privateers who had been taken by the Royal Navy in American coastal waters. This means that the John Norfleet cited above, whatever his identity, was a crew member of a Yankee privateer!

Privateering could be very lucrative if you were lucky enough not to be killed or captured. The Yankee privateer, as the name implies, was a privately financed, armed vessel. Any war booty taken by such ships belonged to the owner and crew, each person receiving a predetermined share of the loot. Of course, one man's privateer is another man's pirate; the British considered these ships to be nothing more than pirate vessels and any captured officers and crew members were deserving of the worst kind of punishment. Incarceration on ships like the old JERSEY was virtually a death sentence, particularly if you were not an officer from a wealthy family, who might be able to buy your freedom or at least provide you with better food, etc. I am relatively sure that this John Norfleet did not survive the war!

+ 108 ii.   Henry Norfleet, born 03 June, 1762 in Nansemond County VA; died Abt. 1804 in Nansemond County VA.
+ 109 iii.   James Norfleet, born 28 April, 1767 in Nansemomnd County VA; died 22 November, 1849 in Russell County KY.
+ 110 iv.   David Norfleet, born Abt. 1770 in Nansemond County VA; died 1824 in Pulaski County KY.
+ 111 v.   Abraham Norfleet, born 1774 in Nansemond County VA; died 14 September, 1827 in Nansemond County VA.

      33. Pleasant4 Norfleet (John3, John2, Thomas1 Northfleete) was born 14 August, 1732 in Nansemond County VA. She married John Twine.

Notes for Pleasant Norfleet:

The oldest daughter of John Norfleet, Pleasant was born on 14 August 1732. She married John Twine of Perquimans County, North Carolina. John Twine's will, dated 13 May 1781 and probated 24 April 1784, mentions his wife Pleasant; daughter Elizabeth Perry; and sons Jesse, Aaron, John, Elisha and Thomas Twine. Jacob Gordon, Jesse Twine and Abraham Twine were named as executors.
Children of Pleasant Norfleet and John Twine are:
  112 i.   Elizabeth5 Twine.
  113 ii.   Jesse Twine.
  114 iii.   Aaron Twine.
  115 iv.   John Twine.
  116 v.   Elisha Twine.
  117 vi.   Thomas Twine.

      34. James4 Norfleet (John3, John2, Thomas1 Northfleete) was born 18 March, 1733/34 in Nansemond County VA, and died Abt. 1780 in Nansemond County VA. He married Mary Battle Abt. 1761 in Nansemond County VA, daughter of John Battle and Sarah Brown.

Notes for James Norfleet:

James, the third born son of John Norfleet of Chowan, was born in Nansemond County on 18 March 1734/1735. About the year 1761 he married Mary Battle, daughter of John Battle and Sarah Brown.

A nephew of Mary Battle Norfleet, William Sumner Battle, writing in about the year 1820, had this to say about Mary Battle and James Norfleet:

"John [Battle] (who is my grandfather) married Sarah, daughter of the said Dr. John Brown, by whom he had five children … Mary who married James Norfleet by whom she had several children, but I now recollect only the name of Sally, whose first husband was Elias Hilliard and second Col. William Horn. And Martha who married Isaac Dortch and moved to the state of Tennessee, … after the death of Mr. Norfleet the widow married Samuel Lawrence … "

I agree with this statement, with one exception; review of the tax lists and land records of Northampton County, North Carolina lead me to believe that Mary Norfleet (nee Battle), after the death of James Norfleet, married Lemuel not Samuel Lawrence. The William Sumner Battle account, cited above, is the published version as found in the "Battle Book." Mr. Battle's original hand-written document has been lost. Thus, it is possible that the name "Samuel" is a misreading of the word "Lemuel." These names are almost indistinguishable in the cursive handwriting of the 18th and early 19th centuries; hence, it is not uncommon for some published records to erroneously refer to Lemuel as Samuel.

On 23 May 1763, James Norfleet patented 537 acres of land in the Upper Parish of Nansemond County (Land Processioning Precinct 11). The patent indicates that the land was in the fork of Summerton Creek and the Blackwater River and included 132 acres formerly granted unto Thomas Lawrence (1714), and 150 acres formerly granted (1731) unto Abraham Riddick (probably James's maternal grandfather).

James seems to have died circa 1780. This is implied because his brother John Norfleet (1729-1812), along with James was an executor of the estate of their father John Norfleet (1699-1753). In a listing of expenses incurred re the administration of the estate, John Norfleet (1729-1812) makes the following entry, dated May 1780:

" … To going after the smiths tools at James Norfleet's, decd & delivering them to said Mother … "

The "Mother" so indicated was Elizabeth (nee Riddick) Norfleet, the mother of both James (d. 1780) and John. (d. 1812).

Shortly after her first husband's death, Mary Battle Norfleet, married Lemuel Lawrence and relocated to Northampton County, North Carolina. Lemuel apparently died in 1811; his will, dated 14 January 1809, was probated in Northampton County in June 1811. The will makes reference to his wife Mary, his son Jonas and his daughter Polly Cross (wife of Jesse R. Cross).

James Norfleet and Mary Battle had six children: four sons (John, James, William and Cordall) and two daughters (Sarah and Martha Ann). Four of these children, James (better known as Major James), William, Cordall and Martha Ann were early settlers in Middle Tennessee; Major James Norfleet was probably the first, having arrived in Davidson County late in the year 1789.

Children of James Norfleet and Mary Battle are:
+ 118 i.   Sarah5 Norfleet, born Abt. 1762 in Nansemond County VA; died Aft. April 1819 in Greene County GA ??.
  119 ii.   John Norfleet, born Abt. 1765 in Nansemond County VA; died 1790 in Northampton County NC.
  Notes for John Norfleet:

In 1780, John Norfleet's father, James, died intestate in Virginia. The Law of Primogeniture was still was in force at that time. Accordingly, James's eleest son, John Norfleet (1765-1790), inherited his father's entire estate. John came of age late in the year 1786. By 1790, John had sold all the property inherited from his father in Nansemond County, Virginia (537 acres) and Gates County, North Carolina. However, that same year, John did acquire 640 acres of land from his step-father, Lemuel Lawrence. This land had previously been acquired by Lawrence from James Tatum on 28 April 1789. The land was then located in Davidson County, in the Middle Tennessee area of North Carolina (Tennessee did not became a separate State until 1796). The indenture, dated 29 July 1790, states that the land was located:

"……between the Clay Lick and the Battle Ground in the head drafts of Sycamore."

Unfortunately, before he could depart for Tennessee, John died intestate in the latter part of 1790. Pursuant to a 1784 Act of the NC General Assembly, the real property of John Norfleet would have been inheirited by his surviving brothers, i. e., Major James and Cordall. Cordall was still a minor at the time; since he was now an heir to real property, a guardian would have to be appointed for him. There is an entry in the Northampton County Court Order Book (June Court, 1793) indicating that "Cordy Norfleet" had chosen Randolph Maddra to be his guardian.

+ 120 iii.   James (Major James) Norfleet, born 14 September, 1767 in Nansemond County VA; died 02 September, 1846 in Robertson County TN.
  121 iv.   William Norfleet, born Abt. 1771 in Nansemond County VA; died Abt. 1790 in Tennessee County TN.
  Notes for William Norfleet:

William Norfleet purportedly accompanied his older brother, James, out to Tennessee in 1789. Shortly thereafter he was killed by Indians. See the "Allen Memorandum" for further details.

+ 122 v.   Martha Battle Norfleet, born Abt. 1772 in Nansemond County VA; died Aft. 1850 in Montgomery County TN.
+ 123 vi.   Cordall Norfleet, born 1777 in Nansemond County VA; died 03 October, 1834 in Montgomery County (Port Royal) TN.

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