Early VA Meachams -- Residents

17th Century Virginia Meachams (III) -- Residents and Virginia-born

[Sept. 12, 1999]

In the previous article, we have seen that 14 males with names close to Meacham were listed in land patents as having been transported to Virginia in the 17th century, and one Richard Macham was a soldier there in 1631. There are several other Meachams whose presence is documented in the colony. Some of these individuals may be identical with some of the immigrants; others may have been transported from England but no record survives, or they may have been born in Virginia. Existing evidence does not allow any conclusion to be drawn.

In the list which follows, I have gone only to 1705 with an assumption that anyone mentioned in a document a few years after 1700 would probably have been in Virginia in 1699. It is not wise to push this assumption much farther, since it is known that significant immigration continued not only from the British Isles but also from Europe, the Carribean and the other North American colonies. Therefore, some of the well-known figures in southern Meacham genealogy, such as Henry Meachum (d. 1758), cannot at this stage be placed with confidence in 17th century Virginia. I was unable to find documentary evidence prior to 1720 for John Mecom of Isle of Wight County, as quoted from the IGI in the earlier article.

The following evidence was found:
1662 -- Edmund Machen, granted land in New Kent Co.
1667 -- John Mechen, granted land in Gloucester Co.
1672 -- Joshua Meatcham, constable of Westover parish; granted land there in 1682.
1679 -- John and Michall Micham, parents of Joseph christened in Middlesex Co.; frequent references in 1680-1700; granted land in Middlesex Co. in 1701.
1668 -- John Macken, planter, signed a receipt for goods.
1685 -- John Maccomb, will proved in Accomack Co.; wife Elizabeth, son James, daughters Esther and Elizabeth.
1694 -- William Mecone, mentioned in a will
1699 -- Edward and Anne Machen, parents of Thomas christened in New Kent Co.
1700 -- John Machen, Tithable list of St. Mary's White Chappel Parish in Lancaster County
1701 --Thomas Machen, involved in court action in Middlesex Co.
1701 -- William Micham, witness to a land sale in Middlesex Co.
1701 -- Joseph and Jane Micham parents of a child christened in Middlesex Co.; bought land in that county in 1702
1703 -- Henry and Mary Meacham, parents of a child christened in Middlesex Co.
1704 -- Thomas Mackhan, land owner, Middlesex Co.
1704 -- Joseph Mitcham, land owner, Middlesex Co.
1704 -- John Meachen Junr, land owner, Gloucester Co.

Proof of birth in Virginia could only be found for the following:
1679 -- Joseph, son of John and Micall Micham, Middlesex Co.
1683 -- Michall, daughter of John and Michall Micham, Middlesex Co.
1685 -- James, son of John and Michall Micham, Middlesex Co.
1692/3 -- Pead, son of Jno and Michall Micham, Middlesex Co.
1694 -- William, son of Jno and Michaell Meacham, Middlesex Co.
1699 -- Thomas, son of Edward and Anne Machen, New Kent Co.

Both of these lists are surely incomplete, and I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has additional HARD data. Note, however, that much of the information in the IGI and in the writings of Burton Meacham and Clarence Mitcham MUST be verified before it can be used, as there are numerous mistakes, and in the case of Burton wild conjectures passing as facts.

Studying the two lists above, we note:

  1. Edmund 1662 and Edward 1699 are both in New Kent Co. and may be the same person or father and son;
  2. John Mechen 1667 and John Meachen Junr 1704 in Gloucester Co. likewise may be the same or father and son;
  3. Joseph born 1679 is likely to be Joseph husband of Jane, land owners of 1701 and 1704;
  4. William born 1694 is too young to be William the court witness in 1701;
  5. Thomas 1701 and 1704 are probably the same person;

The plot, thick enough already, really thickens (but with some tantalizing twists) when we compare these results with the list of transported individuals in the previous article. There are possible matches with the some of the Johns, Thomas, Henry and William. But what really jumps off the page for attention are:

a) that an Edmund Machin was imported by a resident of New Kent Co. in or before 1656, and in 1662 an Edmond Machen was granted land in that county, and in 1699 he or his son had a child christened in that county.

b) that a John Mechan was imported by a resident of Gloucester Co. in or before 1667, and in 1667 a John Mechen was granted land in that county, and that probably his son is listed as an owner of land in the same county in 1704.

It is unclear how far the line from Edmund Machen continued in New Kent Co. and vicinity into the 18th century. The only other entry in St. Peter's parish register is for a daughter of David Machen, the date being only partially legible as 17__. The Machens of Gloucester and later Mathews Counties did continue into the 18th and 19th centuries, and perhaps down to the present. These two indentured servants, Edmond Machin and John Mechan, who apparently went on to become land owners and clan founders, seem to be two major success stories.

There is a possible identity of John Mechen of the 1667 land grant with John Micham of Middlesex County, but thus far evidence is lacking to prove it. In any event, Middlesex County was clearly another area where a 17th century Micham/Meacham clan formed and continued in subsequent centuries. Another clan hearth area which almost certainly pre-dates 1700 (although it cannot yet be proven) was Isle of Wight County. The spelling of the name there in the early 18th century was Mecom/Meacom/ Meacum/Meekum etc., seemingly always a hard k' sound, possibly deriving from John Macom, imported in or before 1650. He could be the John Meecum whose will was probated in that county in 1720.

Last, but certainly not least, there is Joshua Meatcham/Meacham. I found no evidence to relate him to anyone else, or to determine whether he was born in or transported to Virginia. He is probably the Josua Macham of Surrey Co. whose estate was inventoried in 1709; it mentions a wife Elizabeth, but gives no clue about his origin, age, or children if any. On the basis of the forename, one might speculate that Joshua d. 1774 could have been his grandson or other relative, but it is equally possible that there was no relationship. Joshua Meatcham of the 1682 land grant, like Richard Macham the soldier of 1631 and John Machem passenger on the Paule, disappears from history without further trace and, so far as we can tell, without offspring.

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