5/29/14

Napier Progenitor...A Planter, Officer, Attorney and Vestryman

Robert Napier was born in Hampton Parish, York County, Virginia to Doctor Patrick Napier and wife Elizabeth Booth Napier(1641-1717) on May 2, 1660.  He was the first Napier to be born in America as his father Patrick was an immigrant from Scotland having arrived on the shores of Virginia in 1655 at age 21.  Robert had one sibling, a sister, Francis Napier Crump (1665-1720). 

Robert's father Dr. Patrick Napier died when Robert was nine years old, leaving Robert his sister Francis and mother Elizabeth well provided for in his will dated February 2, 1668.  The following is the portion of the will that names and provides for Robert and Francis....
    ...pcell of land lying in the prsh of Blessland in the county of New Kent in Virg containing by estimation fifteen hundred acres...To Have & hold the said piece of land to my said deare wife ELIZABETH NAPIER for the home of her natural life alsoe my will and pleasure is that my two deare children Robert Napier, Francis Napier shall have and enjoy the said piece of land or plantation...I give and bequeath unto my dears sone Robert Napier the majority on one halfe of the said piece of land containing fifteen hundred acres... (complete Will presented in Dr. Patrick Napier's segment).
Robert married Mary Perrin on October 11, 1668.  Mary was the daughter of a distinguished and wealthy land owner Richard Perrin and wife Katherine Royall.  The Napier's,  Perrin's and Royall's were considered elite citizens of New Kent, Henrico, Virginia.  All were members of St. John's Church where Robert and Mary were married. 

The church itself has a rich history prior to 1668 as well as it's most famous event occurring on March 23, 1775 when Patrick Henry delivered his "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech there.

Robert and Mary had seven children with the first born in 1692 and named Booth...Mary's mother Elizabeth's maiden name.  Their second child was a daughter born in 1694 and given the name Francis after Robert's sister.  Following the given name tradition, their third child was a son named after his father born in 1697.  Katherine was born in 1700 and died in 1751.  Patrick was born in 1713 and named after his doctor grandfather.  Robert and Mary's last son, Rene, was born in 1715 and would become the direct ancestor of my Great Great Grandfather Rene Marion Pittman.

The Napier's resided in Henrico County well into the 1690's where Robert continued to obtain and sell land patents in St. Peter's Parsh, New Kent and King and Queen Parish which would eventually become King William County.  A land grant in 1704 was within the bounds of the Indian Lease laid out according to the Articles of Peace for the Pamunkey Indians.  The Articles described the land granted to Napier as "It began on the north side of the Swamp on the river, to the mouth of Nicatawance Creek, along side the creek, to Philip Williams' line."  This patent was just two months before his daughter Elizabeth was born.

A declaration of the inhabitants of King and Queen County, filed in England March 1701/02 listing all the militia officers of the county included Robert Napier, Lieutenant.  The French king had tried to set up 'James III' on the English throne in place of King William III, but had failed.  King and Queen County's officials were glad, and so expressed themselves in a letter of loyalty to King William III. During his service it is assumed he rose to the rank of Captain, a title which he carried the rest of his life. 

Napier and later his son Robert appear in numerous documents concerning Wills and Deeds in Goochland County.  A last record of note is one filed by his wife Mary Perrin Napier acting as Power of Attorney which appended a deed of sale from her husband.  It read:  I doe By these Presents appt. Capt. William Randolph my true lawful Attorney for me in my stead to acknowledge my right of Dower to one hundred and fifty acres of land sold by my husband to Mr. Nicholas Cox confirming the Same as if personally present myself, as Witness my hand this third day of April 1718.  It is a matter of record that Mary Perrin Napier occasionally raised her hand in court to prevent her husband Robert from gambling away their children's money, and to ensure that he would spend a percentage of his income to support his family.

Captain Robert Napier was know as a Tobacco Planter, a Militia Officer, an Attorney and a Parish Vestryman.  He is historically noted as the real progenitor of the Napier name in America, since he was the only male child of his parents, and had a much larger progeny than his father.  Many if not all Napier's today can trace their origin back to Captain Robert Napier and Mary Perrin Napier. 

It is believed he died in Goochland County even though records from the time of his death have been lost or damaged.  Henrico County's records, also damaged and unreadable might have shown that he lived there at the time of his death and wrote his Will there.  No records of his Will or probate of his Will has been found in either County.

References for this post:  Captain Robert Napier-circa 1600s and early 1700s-Virginia...ancestry.com public member documents submitted Jan.15,2011.  Pittman Family Tree on ancestry.com, Sandra Pittman McPeak, owner. 
 
THE NAPIER FAMILY, a detailed Genealogical Research Anthology/Report traces the Napier Ancestry to 1600's Scotland.  HERE is the Link.  It is a significant and historical read with numerous speculations of Napier kinship to Earls, Lords, Dukes, Knights and even ties to King James I.  I will leave the Pittman/Napier Scottish Connection Research to another Pittman Family Historian, and I will get back to Georgia's Pittman/Napier Connections of ....

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