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William Wilkinson Albin

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Born about 1710 in Meath County, Ireland, William was the first in our direct Albin ancestors to emigrate to America (although his older sister Margaret beat him by about twenty years.)

William is believed to be the son of James Albin, but may be the son of James' brother Robert. While the exact year isn't certain, William emigrated to America before 1738. William married Mary Bruce, daughter of John Bruce and Sarah Parrell, circa 1738 (before 1747) in Orange County, Virginia. Mary was christened on June 3, 1715 in Aberdeen, Scotland and died in 1772 in Frederick County, Virginia. William and Mary settled in what is now Frederick County, then Orange County, about 1737. The Albin and Bruce families were among the earliest settlers in the area along Red Bud Run and Opeckon Creek, a branch of the Potomac. Mary’s father, John Bruce, was a neighbor of William Albin.

The first record of William Albin found in Frederick County was in 1745, when he declared himself a titheable [Quaker]. Alexander Ross declared himself and his sons the same year and Ross is believed to have been there in the early 1730's. This appears to be the earliest record of titheables in Frederick Co. although individuals had made oath previously in Orange Co. Apparently Frederick Co. was just getting organized after it was formed from Orange Co.

The land records indicate that William Albin applied for warrants for a total of one thousand seventy-eight acres from Fairfax, just north of Red Bud, and west of the Opeckon. But from whom he made his original purchase, before Fairfax entered the picture about 1748, we have found no record. Cartmell hints that these settlers probably purchased from one of Jost Hite’s sons. . . .

William Albin, like many of his neighbors and Quaker friends, paid his filing fees to obtain warrants from Fairfax. . . . After they had paid for and received their warrants, they next had to have a new survey made, which meant more expense. It was little wonder that money was so scarce in that period of ten or fifteen years after Fairfax came into the county, that neighbor was filing suit against neighbor for unpaid debts.

The first plot for which Albin obtained a warrant (copy missing) was for four hundred acres on Red Bud Run, adjoining Hugh Parrell. He sold this warrant to Thomas Sperry/Perry, who had it surveyed on March 14, 1750/1. The second warrant was dated February 15, 1752, for 200 acres, which he sold to James Agen/Hagen, who in turn sold it to George Meret, who had it surveyed on March 26, 1754. The survey showed 239 acres. The third plot was for two hundred fifty-six acres, lying just northeast of the first. This warrant, dated March 27, 1753, he sold to Earnest Andrews, who had it surveyed on March 26, 1754. These plots surrounded on three sides the 189 acres that William Albin kept for himself. So out of the original purchase, he retained only 189 acres. The warrant was dated September 21, 1751, and the survey was done on November 24, 1752. . . .

“The old court minutes contain some interesting entries which tell us something about William Albin, but they are sketchy. They are listed here in sequence to give a somewhat incomplete picture of his life and times:

  • 16 Feb 1751: For examination of Robert Bird on suspicion of feloniously murdering his own child - Witnesses were William Albin, Charles Burns, Thomas Wyat, Stephen Russell and Ann Burns. Court says not guilty.
  • Oct 1751: William Albin co-signed a note for William Taylor. This note, signed with his unique mark, which he also used in other documents, so apparently did not read or write. It appears that William Taylor had purchased from a merchant some buckram and thread, and sundry items, had signed a note, co-signed by William Albin. The bond was almost twice the amount of the debt. One wonders why William was willing to co-sign this note. When the note came due, Taylor was not to be found and others were in court trying to collect against him. This left William Albin liable for the debt. He filed a plea before the court and it recorded as follows: 14th Feb 1752 'William Albin vs William Taylor on attachment, this suit ordered dismissed, neither party appearing.' Suit was called twice again, on the 3rd of June and on the 4th of June, with the same order. Taylor owed him 10 pounds, current money, and had absconded and could not be prosecuted. On July 7th, the same year, Taylor was an insolvent debtor in the ‘goal’ (jail), on a suit brought by John Sherman for debt. Taylor took the oath of insolvent debtor, and it is ordered that the sheriff discharge him from goal. With Taylor out of reach of the court, Cocks then filed suit against William Albin: 'Fryday the 9th day of March 1753. William Cocks agt William Taylor and William Albin, defts. On petition. The sheriff having returned that he had left a copy of the summons at the deft Albin’s usual place of abode and the sdd deft being solemly called & failing to appear the plt in court made oath to his accounts aft the deft for four pounds eight shillings & three pence half penny curt money. It is thereupon considered by the court that these pltf recover agt thee deft Albin the sd sum of four pounds eight shillings & three pence half penny curt money & costs and the said deft in mercy & the sheriff having returned the deft Taylor not found, this suit as to him is ordered to be dismisd.’ Now William Albin was left liable for the debt. Apparently he did not have the money to pay the debt, so he set out to collect some that were due him which had not been paid.
  • 11 Aug 1753: Albin vs Lemon, judgment. William Albin agst James Lemon, on petition. The dft. being solemnly called & failing to appear, the pltf. made oath to his account for four pounds current money. It is thereupon considered by the court that the pltf. recover against the deft. the sum of four pounds currt. money together with his costs, afterwards the deft. appeared and prayed to be heard and offered to prove his acct. agst the plt. and was rejected.” (Lemon continued to petition the court but never could produce any evidence. His last petition was dismissed because Lemon, the plaintiff, was deceased). 4 September 1753. 'Richard Calvert made oath that he attended five days as a witness for William Albin in his suit brought by petition agt James Lemon at his motion. It is ordered that the said William pay him one hundred and twenty five pounds of tobacco, the same according to law.' The courts must have been overloaded for it to take five days to hear his plea. [Richard was probably our Ann Calvert’s brother.]
  • 8 Aug 1754: 'William Albin produced a certificate under the and of William Cocks, Gent, dated the 22nd day of June 1754 for taking up a Runaway servant belonging to Samuel Hammon of Prince William County above ten miles from his said master’s house and the said William Albin having made oath that he has received no satisfaction for his said claim it is ordered to be certified.' This appears to be a game of ‘tit for tat’. Cox was suing Albin, but Albin was saying that Cox owed him money. Cartmell in his Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants stated that it was a runaway slave that William Albin took up, but this original document shows us that it was instead a runaway indentured servant. . . .
  • 3 Aug 1756: 'John Baylis plt agt William Albin, on petition. The Dft failing to appear the plt produced his note, whereupon judgment is granted agt him for forty three shillings with lawful interest from the 27 day of March 1754 until paid and costs.' (Baylis had surveyed William Albin’s land, this may be the payment due for that.) A shilling was worth about 12 to 16 cents, so the debt was about five or six dollars. Times were hard.
  • 1 Feb 1757: 'Ann Helm, Thomas Helm, Wm. Helm, Adm. of Meredith Helm, deceased. Agst. John Jones, Jnoth Taylor, Jno Maddin, in debt. William Jolliffe, Jun. and William Albin, in open court undertook for the dft. Jonathan Taylor if he be cast in the sd. action that he shall pay the condemnation of the court for him where upon the sd dfts motion an importance is granted him until next court.' (Albin went bond for his close neighbor, Jonathan Taylor, a Quaker).
  • 2 Aug 1757: 'John Lindsey and Patrick Rice, Exec, of George Martin, decd. In debt against Stephen Pilcher and William Abin, dfts. James Carter and Jonathan Taylor in open court undertook for the dft William Albin if he be cast in the said action that he will pay the condemnation if the court or render his body to prison or that they the sd James and Jonathan will act for him or whereupon the dfts motion, Oyes is granted him.' (Jonathan Taylor is returning the favor. James Carter was the brother of Richard Carter, Albin’s brother-in-law. The nature of the debt is unknown, but it sounds like Albin had co-signed another note).
“2d day of November 1757, 'William Cocks plt ag. William Albin, dft. On petition. This suit being agreed, is ordered to be dismissed.' (15) (William Albin has satisfactorily settled the account of William Taylor with Cocks.) “In the matter of William Albin against Stephen Pilcher, he had to take a round-about-way to get his money: 'Upon the attachment of William Albon against Stephen Pilcher, the sheriff having returned that he had executed the said attachment in the hands of Henry Heth and summoned him as a garnishee. Whereupon the said Henry came into court and being sworn, declared that he is indebted to the said Stephen Pilcher the sum of forty shillings and the said Stephen failing to appear to display the same tho solemly called, the plaintiff made oath to his account. It is therefor considered by the court that the plaintiff recover against the said defendant the sum of ten pounds and his costs by him about his suit in the behalf expenses and it is ordered that the said Henry Heth do pay unto the said plaintiff the said sum of forty shillings towards satisfying this judgment.' . . . (16) “In 1764, William Albin, John Parrell, and Joseph Parrell, were appointed by the Frederick County Court to 'view the ground leading from Lewis Neill’s Mill to the town of Winchester, and make their report. Whereupon it is ordered that a road be opened, this by them said of, and that the titheables two miles and a half on each side thereof work thereon under William Albin, who is appointed overseer of the same.' (17) [John and Joseph Parrell were probably the brothers of our Sarah Parrell who married John Bruce.] The following year, in June 1765, the court order book stated: 'John Parrell’s appointed overseer of the road from Lewis Neill’s Mill to Thomas Perry’s Mill in the room of William Albin, deceased.' (18) [in the room of meant in place of] The exact date of William’s death is unknown, but it probably occurred shortly before that date. He probably was in his early fifties at the time of his death. His oldest son, John as then about twenty-five, his youngest, George was seven, Mary, his wife, was fifty. . . . “Since William left no will and no other records have been found that would tell us who his children were, it has been necessary to rely on circumstantial evidence. As far as can be determined, there was no other Albin who came into Frederick County during the Colonial period. One can presume then that the young men who appeared on the scene a generation later, were his sons. All evidence seems to substantiate this. All seem to have lived in the area where his land lay, near Red Bud Run and the Opeckon. After they left the area they often lived near former Frederick County people and married into former Frederick County families.”


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