Mon 19 Oct 2009 10:51:06 AM EDT

The Bedwell Family

Virtually all of the Bedwells in America appear to be descendants of Robert Bedwell, who first appears in Old Rappa County Va. in 1659. Within a year he had acquired land there, on Totoskey Creek and on the Rappahannock near the Falls. He is thought to be the Robert Bedwell who was born in 1635 in St. Giles Parish, Cripplegate, London, the son of Thomas Bedwell, b. 1610, also of St. Giles.

Robert Bedwell's wife was named Ann, thought to be the daughter of Thomas Colly, a neighbor in Virginia who had extensive property and other dealings with Bedwell. Some of Bedwell's Virginia neighbors had also come from St. Giles Parish according to Larry King, author of A Bedwell Family (1982). Study of the LDS records for London reveals a number of Colleys there, although they are listed with Cowleys, suggesting that the same family used both spellings. In a 1664 entry in the Rappahannock Co. deed book Robert Bedwell is described as a carpenter. (He was the maternal grandfather of James Clayton, III, also a carpenter.)

Robert and Ann Bedwell had children: Thomas, Robert, Henry, Mary, and Elizabeth. Sometime in the 70's Ann died and Robert soon remarried a widow named Susannah Fisher with two children, Adam and Susan. Robert's daughter, Mary, married Isaac Webb and had son Robert Webb.

In the late 70's Robert Bedwell and Isaac Webb visited Kent County Delaware and acquired land there. In 1680 Bedwell sold 727a in Rappa Co. to William Stone of Gloucester, and he apparently moved his family to Kent County Delaware at that time. In 1682 Robert Bedwell was one of six delegates from Kent to the first regularly scheduled Pennsylvania Assembly. In 1685 he was the coroner of Kent County. In 1686 he once again went to Philadelphia as an assemblyman; he died the same year. Some time within the next 5 years his daughter, Mary Webb, married James Clayton II.

Mary Bedwell Webb Clayton, who was the gggggggggg grandmother of the present writer, had an illustrious ancestor. As described above, she was the daughter of Robert Bedwell. He is thought to be the Robert Bedwell who was born in 1635 in St. Giles Parish, Cripplegate, London, the son of Thomas Bedwell, b. 1610, also of St. Giles. (In all liklihood this Thomas Bedwell was the son (or perhaps grandson) of William Bedwell of Westminster, one of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible.) There were three teams of scholars who worked on the King James Version--in Cambridge, Oxford, and Westminster. William Bedwell belonged to the Westminster group. He is described as a very noted orientalist and one writer suggested that he was the father of Arabic studies in England. The Westminster group had special responsibility for the Pentateuch and other early books of the Old Testament. (Anyone in London with access to the Cripplegate Parish Register can verify this. If they should, I would deeply appreciate hearing the result of their investigation. Send it to

Mary Bedwell had three husbands:

1. Isacc Webb, who settled in Kent Co. Delaware about 1680. Isacc's Creek, which runs into the Dover River, was one of the boundaries of his property there.

2. James Clayton, who came to America aboard the Submission with his parents and siblings in 1682 and settled in Kent Co Delaware about 1687. This marriage took place between 1687 and 1691. James Clayton died some time before March 13, 1697

3) Michael Donahoo. Mary lived another 20 years with Donahoo.


Here is raw data gathered in research at various locations, as Old Rappahannock Co. Va Court records, the Hall of Archives in Dover, Del., LDS records, etc.

1610 Bedwell Thomas London St. Giles Cripplegate md Frances Poole
1622 Bedwell Thomas London St. Giles Cripplegate md Jane King
1634 Bedwell Thomas London St. Giles Cripplegate md Mary Alston?
1635 Bedwell Robert London St. Giles Cripplegate b. rel Thomas Bedwell -----------------------

Bedwell in Virginia:

Summary: Robert Bedwell was in old Rappa County Virginia as early as 1659, got land in 1660 and 1661 by patent and with partner Richard Powell was assigned land of John and Mary Williams north end of Farnham Creek. He deeded some of it to Andrew Dewe (Den?). His patent was on Totuskey and adj. to John Williams.

1659 Bedwell Robert Va Rappa on a bill which Deed Book 2-345 Feb. 10, 1659 R.B. bill appears to be order by the court to pay certain expenses incurred, perhaps by the court.

1660 Bedell Robert Va Tappa with Richard Powell assigned land of John and Mary Williams lying on northern quarter northern branch of Farnham Creek wits: m Wofoloy Su?? Billingto (probably Luke Bullington who had adj property; see Cavaliers and Pioneers p. 506; copy) JohnDu?fou (Deed Book A p. 18)

1660 Bedwell Robert Va Tappa wit with Rich Powell and Will Barber in deed of John Williams, Farnham, carpenter, and wife Mary to Rich. Peacock and Hygh Daniel, a parcel on Farnham Creek

1661 Bedwell Robert Va Tappa deeded with Rich Powell to Andrew Dewe, all of Farnham Creek, 300a Deed Book 2 page 194 (94 Sparacio, vol. 1) wit Tho Dufour? Leroy Griffith and ???

1661 Bedwell Robert Va Tappa p/a to John Williams re 300a of land Rich. Powell wit John Dixson and Francis Maggo? or Meggs his mark (Deed book 2-196) (Sparacio, p. 109)

1661 Bedwell Robt Va Rappa patent for 640a in Farnham Parish n side of Rappa River. adj John Williams, to Beavor Dams Br. of Totoske Ck. plus another 87a making in all 727a. (Cavaliers and Pioneers page 503 Patent Book No. 5) (In 1664 he is called 'carpenter' and with wife Ann sells sells to Richard Powell 200a n side of said divident of Bedwell to Beaver Dam Branch. Deed book 3, p. 224

1661 Bedwell Robert Va Rappa wit sale of Thomas Madison, carpenter of Farnham and wife Anne V Madison to Rich Powell 250 a lying on the creek toard the head thereof beg. at a swamp that divides it from the land of Tho Griffith, along line of John Scott 250a wit Robt Bedell Wm X Field

1661 Cavaliers and Pioneers pg 335:
1661 Bedwell Robert Va Rappa 640a grant to Bedwell and Richard Powell 10 Sept. 1661 since wholly due sd Bedwell plus transport of Wm Parson and Mary Wood or Ward. (Mon 04-05-1993 Bedwell was a neighbor of Thomas Colly (See Fleet volume on Lancaster I think and said by LDS to have married Colly's daughter, Ann.)

Earlier deeds specify wife Ann (Rappannock Co Va deed 1668-72 pg 94:
1664 Bedwell Robert Va Rappa contract with Rich Powell for co-partnership lawful atty: my friend Tho. Dean 2-401

1664 Bedwell Robert Va Rappa deed to Rich Powell

1664 Bedwell Anne Va Rappa wife of Robert Bedwell, carpenter?, ordains my friend Tho Deane re my rights to land transpferred to Rich Powell???

1664 Bedwell Robert Va Rappa wit with Wm June in deed of Luke Billington to Tho Deane 1/2 of 656a lately purchased by Luke & (or from?) James Tune

1667 Bedwell Robert Va Rappa p/a from Ann Toone re 250a head of Farnham creek said land being given to my husband James Toone by will of Rich. Powell, decd unto James Bidlecome,planter of same place wit Edmund Scott Miles Cornelius 3-225

1666 Colley Tho Va Rappa names Tho Freshwater his atty in suite of Wm Floid.

1666 Colley Tho Va Rappa with Tho Freshwater granted 126a N side of Rappa at mouth of Totoskey Creek adj Tho Robinson and Francis Gower. They immediately sold this tract to Tho Robinson.

1680 Bedwell Robt Va Rappa deeds 727a in Farnham Parish to William Stone of Kingstone Parish in Glocester Co. as by patent appeared, except 150a I already sold to Potter or Peter Ellis and 200a already sould to Richard Powell. Also wife, Susanna Susanna makes son in law, Thomas Bedwell her atty for above sale.

1685 Colley Tho Va Rappa sells 1000a to Alex Swan, merchant, in freshes near the falls, adj Coln Claybourne patented 26 Oct 1666 to Tho Colley and John Noble, decd. Ann Colly, wife of Thomas Colly ack deed and names Henry Williams p/a (Did Bedwell abandon his 500a? or sell it back to Colly?) (copy

This deed from Thomas Colly appears to be across the river from Fredericksburg: 3-427: (same deed in book 4:183):
1667 Bedwell Robert Va Rappa 500a from Tho Colly n side of Rappa in freshes thereof near the falls adj Col Claybourne , part of a grant of 1000a wit Joshua Braddish Will Barber John Herbert (In 1685 Tho Colley sold all 1000a to Alex Swan, merchant. 3-433-4:

1668 Bedwell Robert Va Rappa 150a to Alex Robins adj Andre Den to corner of Tho Colly wits Will Barbery and marke of Tho. P Colly wife Anne Bedell ordains friend Tho Colly atty re this sale with wits Edw Fenn and Rich Stevens

*1669-80 Bedwell Ann Va Rappa wife of Robert Bedwell, died. (LDS has her a Colly, dau of Tho Colly) Bedwell Susanna Va Rappa new wife of Robert Bedwell, widow Fisher (Deeds 1672-82, pg.105-6

1680 Bedwell Susanna Va Rappa p/a to Thomas Bedwell signed by Robt and Susanna appear to be selling to William Stone property 1 tract in rappa farnham parrish 700??? 20 bounded by patent upon record 20th day of Feb. 1662 200a to have and to hold, mentions Rich Powell Signed Susannha Bedwell her mark wits Peter Ellis Henry Albin Dominic R Rice

1679 Bedell Robert Va Rappa with son in law Isaac Webb apparently went to Kent Co, Del in the summer of 1679, got a grant, spent fall and winter making improvements, then went back to Va, to get ready to move.

1680 Bedwell Robt & Susanna Va Rappa sold final holdings in Va. Deeds 1672-82, pg 105-6.

Bedwell in Kent:

1679 Bedwell Robert Del Kent grant of 800a SE side of St. Jones Creek, called 'Folly Neck'. (The following year he sold his 727a in Old Rappa.) (originally called The Flowery Neck!!!). (Scharf, p1130, said it was one of the first tracts taken up.) It was on St. Jones Creek between Beaver Dam Branch and Cypress Branch. (The Kent Co Rent Roll in Col. Delaware Records by Bruce Bender 1992, p. 1 has it 1050a. and abutted the Choptank Rd. (280a of this granted to Danl Rutty by Robt Bedwell in 1684. Bedwell assigned it to Hen. Johnson and Dan Rutty. Rutty acquired it all. Adjoined by The Plains on the sw., also to Bedwell. It appears to be just above Bartlett's Lot, both of them se of Dover along the s side of the river.

On the s. border of Folly Neck, on the n side of Beaver Dam Branch, on the e side of the road from Dover to Fredericka to Lewes, 1/4 n of Magnolia, was the Quaker Meeting House, conveyed in 1760 to John Bowers, Benjamin Warren, and others. It was the Motherkill MM, laid down in 1832 and became part of Camden MM.

In 1683 Reserve was surveyed to John Nowell, just south of Isaac's Branch. Immediately west is Breaknock. Reserve appears to go up the south bank of Isaac's Branch to the outskirts of Camden.

West of it is Breaknock Scharf, p. 1138: On Breaknock is located "Hanson's grist-mill", deed by James Clayton and wife to Tho Hanson and Joshua Gregg, millers in 1761. Hanson got possession, died in 1783, and devised the property to his son in law, Samuel Howell. The mill property still in possession of the Howells. On this tract, on Isaac's Branch, on the road Camden to Dover, is located the Camden Union Campground, incorporated 1859. of the ME Church.

Further west is Dundee, Morgan's Chance of George Morgan, and Howell's Lot, taken by James Wells in 1681 and surveyed to John Howell in 1683 1000a.

South of Howell's Lot and Dundee is Longacre, 1000a of Nicholas Bartlett 1682. In 1742 745a of it belonged to Andrew Caldwell.

1680 Nowell John Del Kent Gainsborough, 445a surveyed for Nowell, up the creek of Tidbury Branch.

1682 Betts Robert Del Kent with John King got Tiocullever, 1200a on s side of Tidbury headwaters, near Nowell's Gainsborough.

1746 Blackshear Thomas Del Kent took up Turkey Point, 165a east of Longacre. He also in 1740 got Tomahawk 194a between Turkey Point and Howell's Lot.

1680 Bedwell Robt Del Kent The Plains; 800a

1681 Bedwell Robert Del Kent bought land rights from Christian the Indian.

1682 The sons of Robert Bedwell, including his stepson, Adam Fisher were assigned 1100a (Longreach?) by Ephraim Herman on the north side of Isaacs Branch (Scharf, p. 1083)

(1682 Herman Ephr Del Kent 1100a; who transferred to Tho, Hen, and Robt Bedwell, Jr. and Adam Fisher. Robt sold 275a of this to Sam Burbery who sold to Wm Morton who by deed 1697 sold to Michael O'Donohoe. This was apparently part of Longreach. (Scharf 1083) on the N. side of Isaacs Branch.)
O'Donohoe married the boys' sister, the widow Mary Bedwell Webb Clayton.

*1682 Bedwell Robert Del Kent went to Philly as one of 6 delegates from Kent to the first regularly scheduled Pa Assembly (Scharf, Vol 1, p86)

1685 Bedwell Robert Del Kent acquired 1050 additional acres (besides Folly Neck) in Kent.

1685 Bedwell Robt Del Kent conveyed part of The Plains to Henry John and Dan Rutty.


1685 Bedwell Robert Del Kent coroner (Scharff Hist. of Delaware )

1686 Bedwell Robert Del Kent Pa assemblyman again

1686 Bedwell Robert Del Sussex died
adminn Susanna and Thomas Bedwell
1. Robt Jr., public appraiser, justice and overseer for highways.
2. Thomas was public appraiser, sheriff, high sheriff, tax collection and justice in Kent and later judge in Sussex.
3. Henry died before 1699, when his widow, Sarah, md Joshua Clayton.

1687-91 Mary Bedwell Webb married James Clayton.

1693 Bedwell Thomas Del Kent appointed tax collector for Murderkill Hundred and assessed 100 as also brother Henry. Robert was assessed 6 shillings.

1701-13 Bedwell Thomas Del Kent quit rents describes various conveyances including Tho Bedwell: re 400a granted by a patent to Jno Rd Danl Jno Curtis, whose son Caleb sold it Robt Bedwell. (This indicates that Tho Bedwell acquired part of Newell's original 400a grant, which had changed hands quite a few times.) (copied)

200 of H.Webbs pat of 400a Shoemaker's Hall was held by John and Josh. Clayton who live in Little Creek Hundred.

1691 Bedwell Tho and Henry Del Kent conveyance to Ezekiel Needham (re marriage of Henry?) (Henry b. ca 1665 or later)

1693 Bedwell Del Kent conveyance from Needham C 104. (This is likely Henry rel marriage to Mary Needham.)

1695 Bedwell Thomas Del Kent conveyed 175a, Clayton's Lott to sister Mary and husband James Clayton for "love and affection", part of his father's estate. (they soon sold 50a to Rutty.)

1697 Bedwell Thomas Del Kent Pa Assemblyman

1698 Bedwell Thomas Del Kent sheriff

1698 Bedwell Thomas Del Kent as sheriff sells 200a to John and Joshua Clayton (Josh just 21), property of Lawrence and Walton.

1698 Bedwell Henry Del Kent died; will names dau Sarah and an unnamed child. wife Sarah Sarah md Joshua Clayton.

1699 Bedwell Sarah, wid. Del Kent widow of Henry Bedwell, marries Joshua Clayton. (presumably the 'Quaker preacher')

1698-1704 Bedwell Mary Clayton Del Kent md Michael O'Donahoe.

1700 Bedwell Thomas Del Kent on Pa Governor's Council

1703 Bedwell Thomas Del Kent with others achieved formation of Delaware as a separate colony.

1705 Bedwell Mary Clayton Del Kent sold 130a, part of Bedwell's Folly Neck, s side of Dover River to John Dubrois (son in law perhaps?)

1705 Bedwell Mary Clayton O'D Del Kent conveys 100a on Murther Creek to John Clayton, at direction of court in consequence of John's service as apprentice blacksmith to his decd. brother.

1705 Bedwell Robert Del Kent a justice (Robt, Jr. died 1718 says Larry King.)

1706 Bedwell Thomas Del Kent admin for James Howell (Calendar p 27)

1709 Bedwell Thomas Del Sussex in right of Honour, his wife, exor of Wm Clark Esq, decd.

1710 Bedwell Tho & Honour Del Sussex 250a deed of release unto Wm Clark (Jr?) of land called Pasture Neck on n side of Pothooks Creek. (Wm Clark, merchant, made it over to Wm Burton of Accomack)

1710 Bedwell Tho and Honor Del Sussex 500a of 1000a (Milford) to Matt Osborne. (These records in Records of Court of Sussex Co. Vol II 1690-1710 found at Hist. Soc. of Delaware 5-- Market St., Wilmington.)

(Thomas Bedwell in Sussex Co. His wife Millicent Hewthat, having died, married Honour Clark after the death of her husband William Clark; Peter Coudret, probably son of Mary Warrin and ward of Wm. Clark would have been 28 by now.)

1717 Bedwell Thomas Del Sussex died; will in Sussex names:
Mary Anne 1698
Eleanor 1700
Anna b 1691 m John Hall
Millicent b 1696 md ---Hill
Robt b 1694 decd by 1717.
(I gather that Honour may have died before Thomas.) exors daus Mary Anne and Elenor and son-in-law John Hall wits: James Clayton, Michal Donohoe, Mary (Bedwell Webb Clayton) Donohoe (Sussex Co Calendar p 26)

1738 Bedwell James Del Kent wit. deed of James Clayton to Peter Coudret of Little Creek his half of Partner's Ranger. John Webb also a wit. and the Howells appointed attys. James Bedwell's son, James lived in Pasquotank; then SC James was the son of Robt, Jr. His other sons: Caleb, Elijah, Robt, and Thomas--all moved to Rowan County. Thomas returned to Kent Co.; died 1794.

James Bedwell died prior to 1771, when younger son, Caleb, gone to Carolina, petitioned for division of James' estate. A panel including Isaiah Wharton found the land, 200a on s side, near the head of Isaac's Branch, was too small to divide.

1741 Bedwell Robert Del Kent conveyance to John Webb (M 109)

1754 Bedwell Robt and James Del Kent only living heirs of Robt. according to Kent Guardian records

1754 Bedwell Robt III or V Del Kent for the second time sells his part of property which he and brother James acquired from Wm Rodney, south side of Isaacs Branch. 1st to John Webb; now finally to William Manlove. (O 211) (This Robert 1705-65 and no record of family, says Larry King, but p. 216 Robt Bedwell admin to his widow, Mary Bedwell in 1765.. Or this Robert may have been the son of James, the son of Robt, Jr. in which case 1735-1805 in Grayson Co., Va. They migrated to Rowan Co about 1775 and then on to Grayson.)

So there were 5 Roberts:
Robt 1, the immigrant from London and Old Rappa died ca 1687
Robt 2, his son died ca 1718
Robt 3, Robt 2's son died 1765
Robt 4, son of Thomas (1694-1717)
Robt 5, son of James, son of Robt, Jr. 1735-1807 in Grayson Co.; His brother, James, moved to Edenton, and then SC.

1754 Manlove William Del Kent Robert's part of 340a Rodney property which Robert and James Bedwell acquired from Wm Rodney, decd (Widmans?) s side of Isaacs Branch. Robt Bedwell conveyed his part to John Webb. In 1748 John Webb sold his part to Robert Bedwell, and now Robert for 110 lbs sells to Wm Manlove, lying between the present dwelling plantation of the above John Webb and Robt Bedwell. In all 110a. wits Andrew Caldwell and Wm Allen Kent Deeds ) 211

1754 Bedwell James Del Kent conveyance to Robt Hudson

1757 Bedwell Robert Del Kent son in law and exor with Robert Wilson of Robert Wilson, Sr. wit: Wm Manlove, Jr.

1790 Bedwell Geo, Jas, Preston, Tho, Tho, Jr. Del Kent census Murderkill



1756 Radwell Thomas NC Hyde wit in sale of James Clayton to Joseph Weston

1772 Bedwell Robt NC Surry tax list

1790 Bedwell James NC Pasquotank 1790 census James Bedwell, son of James, son of Robt, son of Robt, b ca 1749 in Kent was found in Pasquotank Co., NC in 1790 census and 1800 in Union Co..SC James Bedwell b ca 1795 SC md Mary Nicholds Wm Bed b ca 1807 md Nancy Smith.

There is more about Bedwells who settled in Rowan County, NC and in Grayson County Va.


Nov 17, 1993 Reviewing data gathered at Tappahannock and Fairfax:

The records suggest that Robert Bedwell in 1659 was awarded his freedom and rights from indenture to Mr. Thomas Staines.

In 1660 he and Richard Powell got 300a of carpenter John Williams' 1800a property on Farnham Creek, headwaters of the northern branch. About the same time Williams conveyed adjacent property to Quintan Shereman, planter, and another parcel on the westerly branch to Hugh Daniell and Richard Peacock, carpenters. In some document Bedwell, too, is described as a carpenter.

In 1664 Robt Bedwell, carpenter appears to be seated on a branch of Totoskey Creek as per patent he mentions, and he conveys 200a of that property to Richard Powell. Old deed book part II, pp 327-8 (Sparacio p. 96)

(Correspondence re the families mentioned here is welcomed.)

Larry Clayton

2001 Larry Clayton

Adam Fisher, step-son of Robert Bedwell, married Mary Molleston in 1683 and had the following children:

Adam (1685)
John (1687) (In 1716 John Fisher was a witness to a deed of John and Joshua Clayton to Nathanel Hall, of half of "Shoemakers Hall". Hall was said to be from Barnstable Co. New England.)
Joseph (1688)
Isaac (1690)
Molleston (1691)
Mary (1693)
Susannah (1695)
Sarah (1696)

(The above from #306 of the Fisher Family Forum.)
Adam died about 1745 in Kent Co. DE.

Some of this family made their way to Guilford Co. NC and later to Wayne Co. IN.