|John Combs, Jr. of
Fauquier Co, VA (bef 1748-1780)
Husband of Sarah LUTTRELL
& Son of John and Seth BULLITT Combs, Sr.
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John Combs, Jr. of Fauquier Co, VA was born bef 1748, probably in either Stafford or Prince William, VA, died 6 Oct 1780; married 1773-1777, probably Fauquier Co, VA, Sarah LUTTRELL, daughter of Richard, born bef 1760, died aft 1786.
John Combs, Jr. first appears in the records of Fauquier Co, VA in 1768:
1768 (Fauquier MB3:353) when “John Combs, Jr. of Fauquier … appointed … constable replacing Joshua TULLOS…” (Fauquier Families, 1759-1799, Index to Fauquier Co, VA Records)
As a constable, John Jr. was presumably of age at the time, and thus born bef 1748. That land owned by the Joseph Combs Family which lay in that part of Prince William which became Fauquier in 1756 is known by the following:
1762 (Fauquier Land Survey) “…and on drains of Negro Run ....a survey for Michael LUTTRELL'S land from his father, Richard..... adjoining property is that of Joseph Combs. (Researcher Larry Luttrell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The life of John Combs, Jr. of Fauquier remains one of our more interesting mysteries due to the scandal of his pre-marital relationship with wife, Sarah LUTTRELL:
1773 (Fauquier MB5:100) John Combs, Jr., termed “son of John” was indicted for cohabiting with “Sarah LUTTRELL, daughter of Richard LUTTRELL.” (Fauquier Families, 1759-1799, Index to Fauquier Co, VA Records)
We do not yet know why John Combs, Jr. of Fauquier and Sarah LUTTRELL did not marry. It does not appear that she was already married (unless she had previously married someone also surnamed LUTTRELL?); nor have we located yet any record indicating that John Combs, Jr. of Fauquier was already married. That some kind of bar to the marriage existed, whether legal, religious, etc., seems probable given the records that follow, which also document that at some time between 1773 and ca 1777, John and Sarah LUTTRELL Combs, Jr. did marry:
6/7 Oct 1780 - 28 May 1781 (Fauquier Co., VA WB 1 - p. 418) Nuncupative Will of John Combs, Junior Date: 7 Oct. 1780. “We Original YOUNG and Ennis Combs did on the seventh of this instant attend John Combs, Jun'r. in his sickness and at the request of the said John Combs I the said Original YOUNG was desired of by the said John Combs to write his Will and the said Enis Combs present he appeared to be in his senses at the time and desired his Estate to be divided as followeth, that is to say that all his lands to be equally divided between his two Sons and four daughters namely Nimrod Combs alias LUTTRELL and John Combs and all his other Estate to be equally divided betwen his two Sons and four daughters namely Nimrod Combs alias LUTTRELL, John Combs, Hetheland Combs alias LUTTRELL, Betty Combs, Heland Combs alias LUTTRELL, and Sarah Combs. the land to be divided so Nimrod Combs alias LUTTRELL to have his one half, so as he to enjoy the dwelling house of the said deceased John Combs. And that his said Wife Sarah Combs was by his request to enjoy all the land and Negers together with all other of his Estate during her Widowhood or life and then to be divided as before mentioned. And that before I the said Original YOUNG had wrote the said Will the said John Combs got out of his senses and so died. Exors: Wife Sarah together with Joseph Combs and Enis should be Executors.
S/Original YOUNG, Enis Combs.
I do hereby certify that Original YOUNG and Enis Combs came personally before me William BLACKWELL and made oath that it contained the last Will of the said John Combs, Jun'r. who died on the 6th day of October 1780.
/s/ W. BLACKWELL.
Proved: 28 May 1781 oath of Original YOUNG and Ennis Combs. Sarah Combs made oath and granted cert. for obtaining letters of administration.
(Abstracts of Fauquier County, Virginia, Wills, Inventories and Accounts 1759-1800, John K. Gott, 1972)
It is probable (currently being analyzed by LUTTRELL researchers) that Sarah LUTTRELL Combs was the daughter of the Richard LUTTRELL who follows:
27 Sep 1764 - 25 May 1766 (Fauquier WB1:95) Will of Richard LUTTRELL names sons, James, Michael, Samuel, John, Richard and Robert LUTTRELL; daughters: Untstips(?) LUTTRELL, Mary LUTTRELL, Catherine CORUM, Sarah LUTTRELL (a tract of land); grandaughter, Mary CORUM; wife Mary; wife and sons Richard and Robert LUTTRELL named Exrs. Wits: Edward LAWERENCE, Sr., Edward LAWERENCE, Jr., Richard LAWERENCE.
The land inherited by Sarah LUTTRELL Combs may have been the following:
10 Sep 1764 - 26 May 1766 (Fauquier WB1:95) Will of Richard LUTTRELL. to his daughter Mary, 80 acres, part of land lying on the west side of Rocke Run bounded by WOOD'S, DEARMON'S and PETER'S lines and the ridge path that goes from John Combs' to John NELSON'S.
(Researcher Danny Luttrell, email@example.com)
There appears to have been no animosity between the Combs and LUTTRELL families. When Michael LUTTRELL, son of the above Richard, signed his will on 16 Mar 1776 in Fauquier, one of the witnesses was a John Combs. (Fauquier WB1:351). Likewise, when John Combs, Sr. of Stafford signed his will, he openly acknowledged his grandchildren, both LUTTRELL and Combs -- although adhering strictly to the laws of primogeniture (eldest lawful son inherits). Likewise, based on both the will of John Combs, Sr., and the fact that John Combs, Jr. chose his brothers, Joseph and Ennis to be co-executors, Sarah, was in good standing with her husband's family - and in fact, in 1787, Sarah and her brother-in-law Ennis Combs are listed adjacent to each other on the Fauquier Co, VA personal property tax list.
(1787 Census of VA, Fauquier Co, VA, Nettie Schreiner-Yantis, 1987)
Given that Sarah was designated by the courts as Sarah LUTTRELL, daughter of Richard LUTTRELL, it would appear that she had no earlier marriage that would have barred them from marrying. Did John have an earlier marriage? If so, no record of it has been located, and there was no surviving male issue given his father's statement that his grandson John Combs, son of John, deceased was his lawful heir (also documenting that sd. John Combs was eldest lawful son of John Combs, Jr.). However, something must have kept them from marrying. Could the answer lie in the phrase in John Sr.'s will: “tho not christened?” Not christened by whom? If not a lawful bar to marriage, possibly a religious? From 1740 to 1751, the births of the children of Mason Combs, Sr. of Stafford (whose relationship to Joseph Combs I of Stafford remains unknown), were recorded in the Overwharton Parish Register. Aquia Church served Overwharton Parish, and Joseph Combs I of Stafford resided on Aquia Creek of Overwharton Parish. Yet in all the years he is known to have lived there (from at least 1723-1756) Not One Single Birth of a child of Joseph's was recorded; and only one marriage -- that of his daughter Jane Combs to Capt. John ASHBY, the latter of a family heavily recorded in the Overwharton Parish Register.
Given the proximity of Joseph Combs I of Aquia Creek in Overwharton Parish to Aquia church, was it not probable that he was not Church of England, but of another faith? One about which he felt so strongly that he refused to record the births of his children in the Parish Register -- with his sons, John Sr. and Joseph Jr. following suit? That, of course, raises the question of which religion? Thus far, we have found no evidence that he or his children were Quakers; however, no early Quaker records seem to be extant for Stafford County either. Other of Joseph Combs' neighbors, most obviously the BRENT Family were staunch Roman Catholics; however, no records of Joseph as a Catholic have been located either. There were apparently Combs and/or Combs In-Laws (hereinafter Combs &c) in Maryland who were Quakers, and there were most certainly Catholic Combs in MD, including Combs &c Families who were associated with the BRENT family of Maryland and Stafford Counties, Virginia.
Researcher Josiah H. Combs was originally of the belief that the Virginia Combs Families, including that of Joseph Combs I of Stafford were 'staunch communicants' of the Anglican Church. However, he later publicly withdrew from that position in an article in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (Genealogies of Virginia Families, Vol. II, p. 302, GPC, Baltimore), apparently at the behest of other Combs researchers. Josiah H. Combs also apparently foresook the Combs of Nelson Co, KY based primarily on his belief that the Combs of that county were all “Catholic COOMBES of MD” and therefore nothing to do with 'our Combs' (the Combs of Stafford Co, Virginia).
Note: That the Combs of Nelson County, Kentucky included large numbers of Catholics is not disputed; however, early marriage records of that county are extant, including the minister and his faith, and document that at best perhaps half the Combs in the county were Catholic.
1782 Fauquier Co. Personal Property Tax List
Combs Ennis 1wm>21, 5 blacks, 3 horses, 9 cattle
Combs Sarah 0wm>21, 4 blacks, 2 horses, 1 cattle
1783 Personal Property Tax List
Combs Sarah 0wm>21, 3 black tithes, 0 blacks<16, 8 ctl, 3 hr
Combs Robert 3wm>21, 1 black tithe, 0 blacks<16, 4 ctl, 0 hr
Combs Ennis 1wm>21, 3 black tithes, 3 blacks<16, 8 ctl, 3 hr
Combs Sarah 0wm>21, 3 black tithes, 1 black<16, 4 ctl, 2 hr
It isn’t known which one is Sarah, widow of John. The other Sarah is not yet identified.
1784 Fauquier Co. Personal Property Tax List (not alphabetized)
p.14 Combs Sarah 0wm>21, 3 black tithes, 1 black<16, 2 hr, 3 ctl
p.14 Combs Ennis 1wm>21, 2 black tithes, 4 blacks<16, 4hr, 7 ctl
1785 Personal Property Tax List (very light)
p.5 Combs Enniss 1wm>21, 2 black tithes, 4 blacks<16, 4 hr, 5 ctl
p.5 Combs Sarah 0wm>21, 2 black tithes, 2 black<16, 2 hr, 5 ctl
p.5 Combs Richard 1wm>21, 1 hr, 5 ctl [smudged surname]
1786 Personal Property Tax List
p.6 Combs Ennis 1wm, 3 black tithes, 5 blacks<16, 3 hr/m, 10 ctl
p.7 Combs Sarah 0wm, 2 black tithes, 1 black<16, 2 hr/m, 4 ctl
1787 Personal Property Tax List “List B”
3/22 Sarah Combs (chrgd) 0wm>21, 0wm 16<21, 3 blacks>16, 1 black <16, 1 hr, 5 ctl
3/22 Ennis Combs (chrgd) 1wm>21, 0wm 16<21, 3 black>16, 5 blacks<16, 3 hr, 12 ctl
1788 Personal Property Tax List “List C”
4/1 Combs Sarah (chrgd) (>21 Nimrod Combs) 1wm 16-21, 3 blk>16, 0blk 12<16, 1 hr/m
4/10 Combs Ennis (chrgd) (>21 John Williams) 2wm 16-21, 4 blk>16, 0blk 12<16, 5 hr/m
(Source: Original tax list on FHC Microfilm # 1782-1796, abstracted and submitted by Sue Elfving)
This is the first appearance for Nimrod Combs (born by 1767), s/o of John Combs and Sarah LUTTRELL.
1789 Personal Property Tax List “List C”
3/28 Combs Ennis (wm>21 blank), 1wm, 3 blk>16, 1 blk 12<16, 1 hr/m
3/28 Combs Sarah (wm>21 Combs Nimrod), 1wm, 2 blk>16, ?blk 12<16, ? hr/m
(Source: Original tax list on FHC Microfilm # 1782-1796, abstracted and submitted by Sue Elfving)
12 Nov 1791 Fauquier Co VA Marriage Bonds. Nimrod COMBS & Betsy Kenner MARKHAM, 12 Nov, 1791 bondsman Robert LUTTRELL.
24 Dec 1793 Behethelon Combs m. Willis CUMMINS in Fauquier Co, VA.
27 Jan 1800 (Fauquier Co VA Marriage Records) John HOPPER & Elizabeth COMBS, 27 Jan 1800, d/o Sary Combs.
4 Jan 1817 Fauquier Co VA Marriage Bonds. John COOMBS & Artemesia B. RALLS, 4 Jan 1817 d/o Kenaz RALLS.
Important New Research:
Recent examination of original papers from several Fauquier Co, Va., Chancery Court Case Files involving the children and heirs of John and Sarah provide a substantial amount of new information about their family. These papers have been digitized by the Library of Virginia Archives and are available for viewing on their website. Abstracts, extracts, some transcriptions and file inventories are presented in the Combs &c Fauquier Co. Chancery Records collection. The relevant cases referred to herein are:
1852: Behethilon Cummins v Nimrod Combs, Index Id 1852-013
1836: Nimrod Combs v admr of Sarah Combs decd. Index Id 1836-015
1839: John Combs &c v James K MARSHALL &c Index Id 1839-016
1838: John C Cummins v John Cooper & wife Index Id 1838-024
Sampson Barbee &c v William Payne Index Id 1868-047
25 March 1820. Benjamin PAYNE Sr. conveys “in trust” the interest of his wife Helen to his son Sanford Payne and his son-in-law Sampson Barbee for the benefit of his wife Helen and their children. He defines the interest his wife Helen may have as a daughter of John Combs, a granddaughter of Seth Combs, and possibly the estate of her Aunt Mrs Calmese [Elizabeth Calmes] who died without issue. This instrument styles Seth Combs as lately dead.
“ Know all men by these presents, that Whereas, by the last will and testament of John Combs of Stafford County decd. He did bequeath to the children of his son John after the death of his wife of his wife Seth Combs certain slaves being one third part of the Slaves devised by the said John Combs to his said Wife for life and in the said Will enumerates together with their increase, and the said Seth Combs the widow of the said John the devisor, is now lately dead, and whereas my Wife Helen is one of the children of said John Combs designated by the Will aforesaid and as such entitled to an equal part with the other children of the said John Combs mentioned in the said Will, and whose children were five in number, Now Know ye that I Benjamin PAYNE the husband of the said Helen one of the children of the said John, for and in consideration of the love and affection I have for the children by my wife, and also to secure to her a competency for life, and in consideration also of one dollar to me in hand paid at the time of sealing and delivery these presents by Sanford Payne my son and Sampson Barbee my son-in-law I have granted bargained and sold, and do by these presents bargain sell [c/r] and convey to the said Sanford Payne and Sampson Barbee all the right title interest, claim and demand which I have or may be presumed to have in law or equity to the slaves aforesaid which is the part and share of those and their increase coming to my said wife under the bequest of the said John Combs, to have and to possess the same to the said Sanford Payne and Sampson Barbee and the Survivor of them, In trust however and to and for the only use and benefit and behalf of my said Wife for her life and after her death to be equally divided among her children and Whereas Mrs CALMESE one of the other of the children of the said John Combs mentioned in the Will of the said John Combs the devisor is dead without issue. I do hereby also convey and sell in the same manner in trust, to the said Sanford Payne and Sampson Barbee for the same uses, right or title which I may have or be supposed to have in law or Equity to the share of my said Wife to which she become entitled to be the death of the said Mrs. Calamese and I hereby authorize and empower the said Sanford Payne to recover and take possession of the said slaves for the purposes aforesaid at any time it may be in their power to do so. In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 25th day of March 1820. Benja Payne Seal
Sealed and delivered in presence of Edward Robinson, Mathew Jenkins, Thomas Saunders
This Deed of trust was from Benjamin Payne to Sanford Payne was produced to the Court and proved by the oaths of Edward Robinson Mathew Jenkins and Thomas Saunders three subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. Teste Daniel Withers CLS
(Source: Behethilon Cummins v Nimrod Combs, Id # 1852-013, Library of Virginia Archives, Chancery Court Index: Fauquier County, original images from case file, transcribed and submitted by Sue Elfving for Combs &c)
SE Note: In reading this conveyance, keep in mind that John Combs (husband of Seth BULLIT Combs and the grandfather of Helen Combs) is referred to as the devisor. The other John Combs decd. was the father of Helen Payne. John Combs the devisor left legacies to the children of his son John Combs. Mrs. Calmese was Elizabeth Combs, the wife of Marcus Calmes, and the d/o of John Combs the devisor and Seth Bullitt. This conveyance infers that Seth Bullitt died not long before the date of the instrument and also documents that Helen Combs PAYNE was still alive as of March 25, 1820 but was deceased by 1827when her children petitioned the court to sell negroes inherited by right of their mother [Helen].
According to Behethilon CUMMINS, the children of John Combs and Sarah LUTTRELL agreed amongst themselves to an equitable division of their father’s estate after their mother’s death as opposed to the division stipulated in his will. This agreement was formalized in 1823, some 43 years after he died, and is found amongst chancery papers in a suit brought by Behethilon Combs CUMMINS against her brother Nimrod Combs and others shortly after their mother Sarah “Sally” Combs died in 1833. While the children may have agreed to this division earlier, they may have acted on it at this time because their grandmother Seth Combs, widow of John Combs, had died shortly before March 1820 and perhaps some of her life estate passed to them by right of their father John who was Seth’s deceased son. Much of the children’s goodwill toward each other demonstrated by this 1823 agreement evaporated somewhat after their own mother’s death as shown in two large chancery suits between the heirs; one initiated by Nimrod Combs and one brought by his sister Behethilon CUMMINS.
25 May 1823 Agreement and Legatees Bond between the children of John Combs
“Know all men by these Presents that we the Undersigned have this day Divided the Largest part of the Estate of John Combs decd, we likewise agree & bind our selves that at the Death of Sary Combs widow of of John Combs to Divide Peter & Charles & Comey & her increase & the Land Belonging to said Estate Equally Between us & John HOPPER who married a Daughter of said Combs & for the true Performance of the above we Bind our selves our Living Executors or Administrators each to the other in the Sum of five thousand Dollars in witness we [can’t read] our hands & seals this 25 Day of May 1823.”
Signed Willis CUMMINS (Seal), John COOPER (Seal), Benja PAYNE (Seal), John Combs (Seal), Nimrod Combs (Seal). Test Dixon Brown, Benjm Combs.
(Source: Behethilon Cummins v Nimrod Combs, Id # 1852-013, Library of Virginia Archives, Chancery Court Index: Fauquier County, p. 50, original images from case file, transcribed, and submitted by Sue Elfving for Combs &c)
Willis CUMMINS married Behethilon Combs, John COOPER married Sarah Combs, Benjamin PAYNE married Helen Combs, and John HOPPER married Elizabeth Combs.
There are three 1828 Fauquier Co. deeds from three children of Helen Combs PAYNE (d/o of John and Sarah Combs). These should be recorded in Fauquier Co., but the information was taken from copies in the case files. Helen’s daughter Lucy married Sampson Barbee, and her daughter Elizabeth married James Combs (s/o of Nimrod Combs and her first cousin).
(Source: Behethilon Cummins v Nimrod Combs, Id # 1852-013, Library of Virginia Archives, Chancery Court Index: Fauquier County, abstracted from original images from case file for Combs &c).
1828 Indenture dated 10 April 1828 between James Combs of Fauquier County to William E Alexander of Prince William Co., for $1, sells interest in undivided tract of land near old Bent Town Meeting House and slaves Peter C??? Charles and [blank] in occupancy and possession of Sarah Combs (p. 53-54).
1828 Indenture dated 28 April 1828 between Sampson & Lucy BARBEE of Fauquier County to William E Alexander sell all their interest for $1 in an undivided tract of land near the old Brent Town Meeting House land and slaves Peter, Cuna, Charles Ann Sarah and their increase in the possession of Sarah Combs. Lucy Barbee examined privately (p. 56-58).
1828 Indenture dated 17 Nov. 1828 between Sanford PAYNE and wife Fanny of Fauquier Co. to Henry A Barron of Prince William sell their interest for $1 in an undivided tract of land (near old Brent Town Meeting House) and slaves Peter Charles Cason Ann and Sarah and their increase now in the possession of Sarah Combs (p. 60).
By the time Sarah Combs died in 1833 (late spring or summer), her daughter Helen Payne and her son John Combs were deceased, and her daughter Elizabeth Hopper was living in Kentucky and had not visited her mother in several years. Her sons-in-law Willis Cummins and John Hopper were also deceased. Sarah’s desire to leave all her estate to her three living children in Virginia resulted in a contested will and a lengthy court battle between the heirs that provide a wealth of personal information about the family. Sarah was quite old and bedridden. She had outlived her husband by almost 53 years and felt strongly that she wanted to give her living children what little property she had. She was an old lady who was still trying to care for her children. She was concerned that her son Nimrod could not manage his own affairs and wanted her grandson and executor John C Cummins to manage Nimrod’s inheritance. She also wanted her legacy to her daughter Sarah Cooper to be controlled by her executor to insure it was protected for her daughter’s benefit who could no longer work due to an affliction. She did not like her daughter-in-law Artimisia Combs (widow of son John deceased) and did not want her or her children to have any more than what they had already received. Her daughter Helen Payne was deceased and Sarah stated Helen’s heirs had already sold their interest to another individual. Her granddaughter Julia Cooper lived with Sarah to help her and received a legacy that she (Julia) later conveyed to her mother, her uncle Nimrod, and her aunt Behethilon. To complicate matters, Sarah asked her grandson John C Cummins to write a will and then she locked it in her little box. Neighbors told her it was not valid unless witnessed so witnesses were summoned to her bedroom and she marked it in their presence. Nimrod became quite upset and tried to make her believe the will was not written as she had requested. She was unable to read herself so she had to rely on what others told her. According to deponents, she died not long after the will was witnessed. Nimrod and others quickly contested the validity of the will and filed suit against her executor John C Cummins. His sister Behethilon Cummins also filed suit against Nimrod Combs and others to expedite a settlement of the estate per the 1823 agreement between the heirs. The depositions go into great detail about the writing of the will, how it was witnessed, and the sequence of the events that took place. Her family and many of her neighbors deposed at length about their recollections of conversations they had with Sally about how she wished to distribute her estate.
The two primary chancery suits are: Nimrod Combs v admr of Sarah Combs decd and Behethilon Cummins v Nimrod Combs. The bills, answers, and depositions provide a great deal of information about the children of John and Sarah and some of their grandchildren. Detail information about these suits can be found at the Combs &c Fauquier Co, VA Chancery Records. For anyone researching the family of John and Sarah or anyone who wants to know more about Sarah in her last months including some personal details, they should view the original chancery court records. available on the Library of Virginia Archives website. In addition, the papers of her executor John C Cummins are housed at the Alderman Library at the U. of Va. in Charlottesville according to researcher Ann Cummins.
1833 Will of Sally Combs:
27 Mar -28 Aug 1833 (Fauquier Co VA WB13, 1832-1835 - Sally COMBS will.
In the Name of God Amen. I Sally COMBS of the County of Fauquier and State of Virginia Being weak in body but sound mind and memory and calling to mind the mortality of the body knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die make and ordain this is my last will and testament, hereby revoking all others in manner and form following.
Viz: I request my body to be decently buried at the discretion of my executor hear after named and after my funeral expenses and just debts are performed and paid I will and dispose of whate worldly treasure it hath pleased God to bless me with in manner and form following Viz:
Item 1 To my daughter Betsy HOPPER I give and bequeath Ten Dollars provided she be living at my death if not to be equally divided between my three children hereafter mentioned.
Item 2 To Julia COOPER I give and bequeath thirty dollars as a compensation to her for her trouble with me.
Item 3. To my son Nimrod COMBS and daughter Behethilon CUMMINS and daughter Sally COOPER, I give and bequeath the remainder of my estate all and and every thing real and personal to be equally divided among them in a way I shall hereafter name.
Item 4. My wish is that my son Nimrod COMBS shall not have his part to dispose of as he may wish but that it remain when collected in the hands of my executor for the benefit of my son Nimrod COMBS and that my executor let him have it at his own discretion in sutch things as he may stand in knead of iff there bee any left after his death I wish it to be disposed of in the same way with his three children by his last wife.
Item 5 I wish m executor to hold in his hands when collected the part belonging to my daughter Sally COOPER for her benefit to let her have at his discretion and if there bee anything left after her death I wish it to be equally divided between her male and female children.
Item 6. My wish is that my executor shall not pay interest on the money when collected belonging to my son Nimrod COMBS and daughter Sally COMBS except he lowes it out or appropriates it to his own benefit.
And last I do hereby constitute and appoint my grandson John C. CUMMINS Executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills and testaments by me heretofore made satisfying and confirming this as my last.
In witness whereof I hereunto Sat my hand and Seal this the twenty seventh of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty three. Attested by us in presence of the above Sally COMBS and at her request.
s/Sally Combs (Her X Mark). Wits: Frederick LUCKETT (Seal), Elijah CUMMINS, Wm. E. WALLER, David W. COMBS.
At a Court held for Fauquier County on the 28th day of August 1833.
This last will and testament of Sally COMBS, deceased was proved to the oaths of Frederick LUCKETT, Elijah CUMMINS, William E. WALLER and David W. COMBS witnesses thereto, and on the motion of John C. CUMMINS, ordered to be recorded. John C. CUMMINS, the executor therein named who made oath thereto and together with William F. PHILLIPS and Frederick G. PHILIPS his securities intered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of four thousand Dollars conditioned as the law directs.
Certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate thereof in due form. The Securities having justified. test. A. MARSHALL, C.C.
(From a transcription by Mrs. Opal T. Combs, provided by Combs Researcher Barbara Rivas)
SE Notes: The transcription has been compared to the original will contained in the chancery files and minor spelling corrections have been made. The recorded will may have some slight differences as each copy was another handwritten version always subject to variations.
The will was written on 27 March 1833. Deponents say she died not too long after the will was witnessed but it was not presented at court until 28 August 1833.
1833 Nimrod Combs v Admr of Sarah Combs decd . Index # 1852-013.
Complainants in Bill and defendants : Nimrod Combs, Betsy HOPPER (formerly Combs), William Combs Thompson Combs Sarah Combs Amey Combs and Jane Combs the infant children of John Combs and represented by Artimicia Combs widow and relict of John Combs, Benjamin PAYNE admr of Helend Combs decd, Sanford PAYNE, Sampson BARBEE & Lucy his wife, James Combs & Elizabeth his wife, Elijah THORNBERRY & Hethy his wife, Thomas STEWART and Jane his wife, Benjamin PAYNE Jr., and William PAYNE v John C CUMMINS executor of Sally Combs decd, Behethiland CUMMINS, John COOPER, Sally COOPER, Julia COOPER (p. 24-26 of case file).
1833 Behethilon Combs v Nimrod Combs Index # 1852=013
Defendants: Nimrod Combs, Elizabeth HOPPER, John COOPER and wife Sally, Sampson BARBEE and wife Lucy, Sanford PAYNE, James Combs & wife Elizabeth, Elijah THORNBERRY and wife Hetty, Thos STEWART and wife Jane, Benjamin Payne Sr., Benjamin PAYNE Jr., William PAYNE, Artimisia Combs (widow of John), Thompson, Sarah, Wm, Amey, and Jane Combs, infants of John decd by their guardian F Phillips, John C CUMMINS, Charles HUNTON, Henry A BARRON
See abstracts and transcriptions from this case in Combs &c Fauquier Co. Chancery Records and also presented with other information about the children in the below section on the family.
John and Sarah had six children, all documented extensively in wills and numerous Fauquier Chancery suits. All six were born by 1780 as they are listed in their father’s 7 Oct. 1780 nuncupative will. It would appear that Nimrod, Behethilon, and Helen(d) were born prior to their parents marriage since he refers to them as alias Luttrell in his will. It is not known when John and Sarah married but was probably around 1775/6 since they had three children born after their marriage and John died 6 Oct. 1780. Nimrod appears to be the eldest as he was born by 1767/8. Helen’s daughter Lucy was born c1791 so Helen was likely married by 1790 at the latest and born by 1775 at the latest but probably a few years earlier. Behethilon Cummins was age 74 (b c1776) in her 1850 census record. Given this scenario, they would have had to marry by 1776 since they appear to have had 3 more children by 1780.
There are four Fauquier chancery suits that provide documentation for the children and grandchildren of John and Sarah Combs: 1839: John Combs &c v James K MARSHALL &c (LOVA Chancery Record Index # 1839-016); 1836: Nimrod Combs v admr of Sarah Combs decd (LOVA Chancery Record Index # 1836-015) 1852: Behethilon Cummins v Nimrod Combs (LOVA Chancery Record Index # 1852-013); 1868: Sampson Barbee &c v William Payne (LOVA Chancery Record Index # 1868-047)
See updated separate report on Nimrod and his family
Hetheland Combs alias Luttrell per her father’s 1780 nuncupative will and Behethilon CUMMINS per her mother Sally’s 1833 will and three chancery suits. She was age 74 (b c1776) per her 1850 Fauquier Co. census records and probably one of the children born out of wedlock since she used the alias Luttrell. On 24 Dec. 1793, she married Willis CUMMINS who also signed the 1823 agreement by the heirs to equally divide the estate of John Combs decd after their mother’s death. Willis was deceased by 1833 when Behethilon was named a defendant in a suit by Nimrod Combs and when she also became the plaintiff of her own 1833 suit against Nimrod Combs and others petitioning the court for an equitable division of their mother’s life estate from their father. She is not found in the 1860 Fauquier Co. census.
The chancery suits identify two of her children: John C CUMMINS who wrote his grandmother Sally’s 1833 will and was named therein as her grandson and executor, and Hethy’s daughter Fanny CUMMINS who gave a lengthy deposition. One Elijah CUMMINS was a witness to Sally’s will. A more careful examination of the depositions might provide the answer about whether Elijah was also a son.
Deposition of Fanny CUMMINS who deposed she was the d/o of Hethy Cummins and that John C Cummins was her brother. She was asked several questions about what her grandmother had said with regard to what she wanted to leave her children. With respect to Sally’s son John, deponent said she heard her grandmother say “she had given them more than she had to divide among her other children that she never should die reconnected [?] without she fixed it so they could never get any more, this I heard her say repeatedly…” With regard to Fanny’s Aunt Hopper, she deposed she heard her grandmother say “that when Aunt Hopper left this country, she had then given her all that she ever expected to give them, and when she came in about five or six years ago she gave her all she intended to give her…” With respect to Fanny’s Aunt Payne’s children she deposed she heard her grandmother say ”they had sold ___ to a man who wanted her dead and they never should have one cent more of her property.” With respect to Fanny’s Uncle Nimrod, deponent said her grandmother said “he wasn’t capable of attending to his own business and wanted it fixed…” so some person could keep Nimrod from the poorhouse. That person would have to have a great deal of patience. With regard to her daughter Sally Cooper, her grandmother said her daughter Cooper was afflicted and not able to work and she [Sally] wanted security for her daughter’s benefit and not to go for Mr Cooper’s debt….” Deponent also heard her grandmother say that “what she had was very little and she had worked hard for it and got it honestly and intended that her three living children should have the profit of it.” Deponent also stated that her Uncle Nimrod told his mother that the will left ½ of her estate to Hethy and the other half to him and Sally Cooper. Fanny’s version of Sylvanus Waller’s attempt to get Sally to write a new will is somewhat different than how Mr. Waller deposed. Deponent, in response to a question, stated that she and Julia Cooper were with their grandmother more frequently than any other granddaughters. She says she made her Negro clothes and her own clothing. She said Julia had been living with her grandmother until her own mother became sick.
(Source: Nimrod Combs v admr of Sarah Combs decd, 1836-015, p. 103-7, Library of Virginia Archives, Chancery Court Index: Fauquier County, original images from case file, abstracted by Sue Elfving for Combs &c)
Behethilon also deposed on 5 Sept 1838 in a suit by John Combs and others [all children of Nimrod Combs and Elizabeth MARKHAM] against James K Marshall for their share of the estate of Capt. James Markham decd. by right of their deceased mother Elizabeth MARKHAM Combs. See the Nimrod Combs Family Report for more information. John C Cummins also deposed in this case and spoke of his being in the War [War of 1812].
The Cummins family has been carefully researched and the papers of John C Cummins are held at the Alderman Library, U. of Va, Charlottesville.
Elizabeth Combs married John HOPPER in Fauquier on 27 Jan 1800. She is named both in her father’s 1780 nuncupative Fauquier Co. will and her mother Sally Combs’ 1833 Fauquier Co. will. Elizabeth was left a legacy of $10 by her mother if she were still living at the time of her mother’s death. She would have also had a legacy from her mother’s life estate. She was included in the list of complainants in Nimrod’s suit against the administrator of Sally Combs and a co-defendant in her sister Behethilon’s suit against Nimrod Combs and others.
Very little is known about Elizabeth. There were no depositions or answers from her in the chancery papers. It was stated she removed from Virginia and had not been back for five or six years before her mother died. According to researcher Ann Cummins, Elizabeth Hopper removed to Pulaski and then Grant Co., Ky. She gave her son Lawson Hopper a Power of Attorney in 1836 to act as her agent in Virginia.
Helend Combs alias Luttrell was named in her father John Combs 1780 nucupative Fauquier will and seems to be one of the children born before her parents marriage. She was not named in her mother Sally’s 1833 will because she was deceased by that time and Sally only left legacies to her living children. Helen, as she is most often styled in chancery records, married Benjamin PAYNE, probably by 1790 or a little earlier because she had a daughter Lucy who was born c 1791. She died between 1823 when the heirs of John Combs bound themselves to each other for an equitable division of their father’s estate and 1827 when her children petitioned the court for the sale of negroes devised to their mother by the will of John Combs. Besides the chancery suits that document the children, there is an 1820 deed of conveyance from her husband Benjamin Payne to his son-in-law Sampson Barbee [husband of daughter Lucy] and his son Sanford Payne. He places in trust for his wife and children until his wife’s death all her interest in her father John’s estate, her interest in her grandmother Seth Combs’s life estate, and a possible interest in her aunt Mrs. Calmese’s estate who had died without issue. This instrument states that Seth Combs was lately deceased. Mrs. Calmese was the daughter of John Combs and Seth BULLITT and she had married Marquis CALMES. See above record chronology for an extract of this conveyance.
Chancery court records document the seven children of Benjamin and Helen. They were: Sanford PAYNE who married a Fanny, Lucy PAYNE who married Sampson BARBEE, Elizabeth PAYNE who married James Combs, Hethy PAYNE who married Elijah THORNBERRY, Jane PAYNE who first married Silas BRYANT, was widowed, and then married Thomas STEWART, Benjamin PAYNE Jr., and William PAYNE who was apparently the youngest child and born after 1806.
In 1827, the six children of Helen Combs and Benjamin PAYNE filed suit against their infant brother William Payne and petitioned the court for a sale of negroes inherited by right of their mother. The orators state Helen Combs, the daughter of John Combs of Stafford County who by will acquired title to negroes Easter, James, Lewis, and Spencer who were allotted to Benjamin Payne. The court appointed a guardian ad litem for William who was not yet age 21.
The records in this suit document their mother Helen was deceased by 1827 and it names the children of Helen Combs and Benjamin Payne as: a daughter married to Sampson Barbee by 1820), a son Sanford Payne, a daughter Jane married and widowed by 1827 to Silas Bryant), a daughter married by 1827 to James Combs, a daughter married by 1827 to Elijah Thornberry, a son Benjamin Payne, and an infant son William Payne (not yet age 21 and therefore born after 1806). Records from other chancery suits involving the heirs of Sally Combs provide all the names of the daughters (Source: Sampson Barbee &c v William Payne Index Id: 1868-047)
In 1833, these children and their spouses were named as complainants in Nimrod Combs v admr of Sarah Combs decd and as defendants in Behethilon Combs v Nimrod Combs & others: Benjamin PAYNE admr of Helend Combs decd, Sanford PAYNE, Sampson BARBEE & Lucy his wife, James Combs & Elizabeth his wife, Elijah THORNBERRY & Hethy his wife, Thomas STEWART and Jane his wife, Benjamin PAYNE Jr., and William PAYNE.
Chancery papers in the suit by Behethilon Combs contains answers by Thomas and Jane Stewart and Elijah and Hetty Thornberry who state they believed the Bill’s allegations to be true and they were entitled to a 1/7th share each of their mother’s interest. Sampson and Lucy Barbee and James and Elizabeth Combs sold their interest in 1828 to William E Alexander. Sanford Payne sold his interest in 1828 to Henry A Barron.
Daughter Lucy was born circa 1791 and she married Sampson BARBEE by 1820. They settled in Marion Co, IN by the mid-1830s and can be found in that county’s census records. Lucy may have been the eldest child.
Son Sanford was probably born by 1799 at the latest. His wife’s name was Fanny.
Daughter Elizabeth married James Combs by 1827, the son of Nimrod Combs and Elizabeth Markham. They appear to have left Virginia but it is not yet determined where they removed.
Daughter Hetty married Elijah Thornberry by 1827. They removed to Licking Co., OH, where they are buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery, Alexandria, St. Albans Twp. Hetty was born 1802 and died in 1872. Elijah and Hetty were in Licking Co. by the 1840 census.
Maple Grove Cem, Alexandria, St. Albans Twp.
Thornberry, Elijah, died Dec. 10, 1871, aged 70y 1m 16d -Dear father we miss thee-
Thornberry, Martha H., July 14, 1844 - Sept. 10, 1897 [named Martha Helen]
Thornberry, Diana O., mar.21, 1847 - Jan. 1, 1928
Thornberry, Hetty, wife of Elijah, died July 11, 1872, aged 70y 1m 5d [third side of this oblisque style stone, inscr.]
(Source: Transcriptions of Maple Grove Cemetery by Robert M Sizelove Sr. for use in USGenWeb Archives (Licking Co, OH Cemeteries)).
Daughter Jane married Silas Bryant and was widowed by 1827. She then married Thomas Stewart by 1833. In 1834, Thomas and Jane Stewart were styled as being of Prince William Co
Son Benjamin Jr. [no information available after 1833]
Son William, the youngest child, was born after 1806.
Sarah was born after her parents married, probably between 1776-1800. She is identified in her father John’s 1789 nuncupative will and also in her mother’s 1833 will. She is not found in the 1850 Fauquier census so she may have died as it is known she was not well at the time of her mother’s death. No marriage has been found for her and her husband John COOPER; however, their marriage is documented by Fauquier Co. chancery suits involving the heirs of John and Sarah. According to a deposition (see above) given by Sarah’s niece Fanny Cummins in Nimrod Combs v admr of Sarah Combs decd, Sarah was not able to work because of an affliction. Sarah’s mother Sally wanted her bequest to her daughter Sarah to be placed in the hands of her grandson John C Cummins to be held and used for her daughter’s benefit and not be used by her husband to pay his debts. Sarah must have known her son-in-law because John C Cummins, the executor, had to petition the court to obtain an injunction against John and Sarah Cooper because Cooper had placed Sarah’s inheritance in trust to another individual to secure his debts (John C Cummins v John Cooper & wife Id: 1838-024).
Several of John and Sarah’s children depose in Nimrod Combs v admr of Sarah Combs decd. Those identified are daughters are Julia Cooper (age 21 in 1834), Elizabeth Abbott, Peggy Cooper, and Angelina Cooper.
The Cooper children were quite close to their grandmother. Their daughter Julia Cooper helped to take care of her grandmother until her mother became sick. Julia witnessed the writing of the will and deposed as to her grandmother’s wishes. Julia later conveyed her legacy to her mother, Uncle Nimrod Combs, and Aunt Behethilon Cummins. Sarah Cooper’s other daughters Elizabeth Abbott, Peggy Cooper, and Angelina Cooper also deposed. These daughters have not been researched further.
John was the youngest son and possibly born shortly before his father died in 1780. He was named in his father’s 7 Oct. 1780 nuncupative Fauquier Co. will. His grandfather John Combs stated in his 1785 Stafford Co. will that John, son of his son John deceased, was not yet christened. John married Artemisia B RALLS per Fauquier Co VA Marriage Bonds (John COOMBS & Artemesia B. RALLS, 4 Jan 1817 d/o Kenaz RALLS). We know this is the John Combs who married Artemisia as she is identified, both as complainant and defendant, in the two chancery suits between the heirs AS the relict of John Combs decd and the representative of John’s infant children. Fanny Copper (granddaughter of Sally) deposed that John’s mother Sally Combs did not like Artemesia and did not intent to leave her or the children any more than they had already received which she felt to have been more than their fare share anyway. John died sometime after 1823 but before his mother died.
The children of John Combs decd as named in the chancery suits were Thompson, Sarah, Wm, Amey, and Jane Combs, infants. Since John and Artemisia married in 1817, none of their children were yet of age. Artemisia appears not to have remarried. John was a little older (at least age 37) than most men when they marry for the first time although it is possible he could have had an earlier marriage but no children. The records are quite clear that his children were those had by Artemisia.
Artemisia, age 60, is found in the 1850 Stafford Co. census living with son William, 29 (b c1821/2), and daughter Emma [Amey] 27 (b c1823/4). She (age 65) and William (age 38 and married) and Emma (age 36 and unmarried) returned to Fauquier Co. by 1860. No information is known about the other children.
No mention of John in Sarah Luttrell Combs' will (Fauquier Co VA WB13, 1832-1835)