Rochelle Family of Virginia

Ralph Rotchell was the first known of this family to appear in Surry Co., VA. According to Boddie in his “Historical Southern Families,” he appears in Court Records in 1663 and then as an attorney to Mary and Thomas Clark for land sold to John King of Surry Co. (note: John King appears in many Rochelle family records). William Rookings of Surry Co. also appoints Ralph ROTCHELL his attorney in 1669.

This is the earliest known Bible Record of the Rochelle Family.

ROCHELLE/STOKES/MCGEE Bible Transcribed by Sloan S. MASON ([email protected]) with permission of the owner of the Bible: Rev. James Rochelle MCGEE. Record is handwritten from original Bible. (Surnames are capitalized for easier reading) Copied exactly how it is handwritten.

First Page
Printed by Robert BARKER
Printer to the Kings
John BILL 1636
Page 2
Book of Psalmes----------------------------------------------- William TINDALL (written on side)
Hinchy ROCHEL son of John ROCHEL and Mary his wife was born the 18th day of June in the year 1751
1680 William PHILLIPS Front Page
1667 My son Will ROOKING was born Born in the 8 day of July 1667-
18 August following Daughter Elizabeth ROOKING was 21 April 1669
My son Will ROOKING was born 11 of September 1672
1678 Mathe WILKSON was born Sept. 1678
Safrew Mary WILKSON-1683
Psalmes 2 page
John ROCHEL son of John ROCHEL & Mary was born Sept. 8 Day 1746
Celi ROCHEL daughter of John & Mary was born Feb. 6, 1748
Mary ROCHEL-was born 30 day Sept. 17-
Levy ROCHELL was born Jan. 19, 1755
George ROCHELL his book in the year of our Lord
Page 3
Jiminey ROCHELL the daughter of John ROCHELL & Mary his wife was born 1? Day of Nov. 1754
Levi ROCHEL-son of John & Mary-19 day of January 1755/57
Nathaniel ROCHELL son of John & Mary 15 day of June 1757
Mark was born February 27, 1807
Luke was born March 22, 1809
Jordan was born Sept. 12?, 1811
Fanny had a child ----- name of Folley? March 29, 1820
Tab? Had a child by the name of Patsy April 1820
Harris was born August 18, 1820
Janey/Naney? Was born Dec. 13, 1793
Peter was born April 13, 1791
James was born Nov. 3, 1822
Sary Jane was born July 1824
Page 4
Nathaniel PHILLIPS
Charles ROCHELL was born March 7 1786
Susanna ROCHELL -Jan. 8, 1788
Elizabeth ROCHELL -Sept. 15, 1790
Margaret ROCHELL-Oct. 20, 1792
John KNIGHT son of Charles KNIGHT & Mary his wife was born Jan. 10, 1701.
Nathaniel KNIGHT was born 1703
Hinchia KNIGHT was born Nov. 1705
A------ of the Age of Hinchey ROCHELLE
John ROCHELLE was born 1770
Salley ROCHELLE was born July 1780
James ROCHELLE was born June 1789
Henry ROCHELL was born Dec. 1783
Page 5
Tab/Job? Had a child by the name of Susanna in Feb. 7, 1826
Fanny had a child by the name of Jude Oct. 17, 1825
Edward LEE, son of Edward LEE & Elizabeth LEE his wife was born the 10th of May in the year 1739
Henry MCGEE was born Oct. 2, 1788
Margaret was born May 16, 1827 Joseph was born June 25, 1827
John Tob's? child was born August 22, 1829
W.H. MCGEE, Petersburg, Virginia
William B. DUNN-son of John & Susan was born 16 day of Dec. 1806
W.H. MCGEE-1827
Nancy ROCHELL was born March 9, 1795
George ROCHELL was born June 8, 1797
Last Page Handwritten
John ROCHELL his book and in it I had often look and not onlly looks But understand that learnings Better and house or land.
John BELL/BILL-his hand & pen
The new testament of our Lord And Saviour Jesus Christ newly Translated out of the Greek and With the former translations Diligently improved.

Also included in this bible is William Rookings and family.
If this is the same William Rookings, he is best known for his participation in Bacon’s Rebellion.
This has been transcribed due to the fragile condition of the original bible.
The bible is owned by Rev. James Rochelle MCGee. The bible has been transcribed exactly how it was written. It was apparently too old to make Xerox copies. George Rochelle was the earliest family member mentioned dated 1696.

Since George Rochell, his book in the year of our Lord 1696 is mentioned as the oldest Rochelle in this bible record; we can pretty much assume he was the father of John Rochelle, who died about 21 Sept. 1759 in Sussex Co., VA leaving a Will which was probated on that date. He was married to Mary Gilliam, daughter of Hinchy Gilliam and nee: Harrison.
Children of this issue according to the "Albermarle Parish Records of Sussex & Surry Co., VA, 1717-1778" by J. Boddie
1) John Rochelle, Jr. - b. 26 Sept. 1746
2) Selah Rochelle - b. 6 Feb. 1747
3) Mary Rochelle - b. 30 Sept. 1749
4) Henchie Rochelle - b. 11 June 1751
5) Jemima Rochelle - b. 9 Nov. 1753
6) Levi Rochelle - b. 19 Jan. 1756
7) Nathaniel Rochelle - b. 18 June 1758

Comparing the Bible records with the Albermarle Parish Records = dates are off by a couple of days and 1 year on several of them. I would tend to believe the Albermarle Parish Records are correct and would be the best source for the correct dates.

The Will of John Rochelle, dated 1759 in Sussex Co., VA states briefly the following:
1) Item I - To my son Hinchey Rochelle, all lands that is lying and being above the moth of the branch commonly called of Hals Branch on both sides of the Little Swamp containing by est. 239 acres
2) Item 2 - To my son Levi Rochelle, all land on north side of the Little Swamp lying between the land Hals Branch and the Meadow Branch est. 140 acres
3) Item 3 - To son Nathaniel Rochelle, my plantation I now live on with about 160 acres of land
4) Item 4 - To son John Rochelle, one negro boy named Davee
5) Item 5 - To Mary Rochelle, my wife, one negro man named Tony and one negro girl named Jude during her natural life.
6) Item 6 - To Mary Rochelle, my wife, all rest and remainder of my estate then at her death all estate to be divided among my children.
7) Item 7 - Estate to be inventoried but not appraised. ( Wonder why?)
8) Item 8 - Nominate Mary Rochelle, sole executor, revoking all former wills & testaments.
Signed: Silvanius Stokes, Levi Gilliam, Cornelius Lofton
Probated in Sussex Co., VA, 21 Sept. 1759
Presented by Mary Rochelle, Executrix, oaths by Levi Gilliam, Cornelius Lofton

Mary Rochelle is named in the Will of her son Nathaniel Rochelle, dated 1792 in Sussex Co., VA, Will Bk. E, p. 149. So we know she was still alive in 1792 and she is also named in the Estate Records of Lewis Johnson, dec'd on 6 June 1793 and Isham Gilliam, dec'd. on 7 Jan. 1796. This is the last known record I have been able to find on her.

At present we will deal with John Rochelle, Jr. son of John Rochelle and Mary Gilliam.

On Feb. 1st, 1867, James Henry Rochelle, wrote a brief history of his grandparents:

John Rochelle

He was the son of John and Mary Rochelle of that part of Surry, which now forms the county of Sussex. His parents gave him a comfortable fortune which he improved & increased. he was noted for his industry, generosity, activity, enterprise, and the attention he paid to the education of his children. At the mature age of forty he married Judith, daughter of John Gilliam, & settled at a place in Southampton called "The Hermitage". He was piously inclined and a supporter & lover of the Episcopal Church at a time when a man of infidelity and anarchy had swept over the country & when in Virginia an Episocpalian was as scarse as a wolf. He was heedless? in the exposure of his person & contracted the disease which terminated in his death by his personal exertions in burying a poor neighbor during an exceedingly cold & inclement spell of weather. He was of medium height, stout and vigorous frame, but not corpulent, his features were slight acquiline, his complexion dark, and his manner straightforward, frank and courteous. He died in the strength and vigor of manhood and left behind him an irreproachable name.

In Memoriam
Mrs. Judith Rochelle

She was the daughter of John Gilliam and was married at an early age to John Rochelle, whom she survived many years. She perfectly performed all the duties of a good woman, and was a devoted wife and mother. Her granchildren yet living, who knew her, speak of her with the greates respect, affection and admiration. She possessed all the personal beauty for which the female members of the Gilliam family have long been remarkable; her figure was light and graceful, her eyes dark blue, and her hair rich and abundant, to old age she preserved her teeth firm, regular and as white as ivory. She was fond of the beautiful as well as the good, and her taste was exquisite. She was of sensitive and polite? temperment, and had the sweetness, gentleness, warmth of affection and generosity usually found in persons so constituted. She ws a lover of religion and much attached to the Episcopal church, so much attached to it and so firm a believer in its divine origin that she would never permit her children to attend the worship of any other denomination.
Some months before her death she believed she had a warning, a presentiment, that it would soon occur, and acting on this belief she made up wtih her own hands mourning garments for her family. The task finished, she died, and was buried at her residence, called "The Hermitage" by the side of those she loved so much in life. Her remains rest in peace, her memory lives in the hearts of her grandchildren.

Family History states that John Rochelle, Jr. was also a ship builder and merchant at South Quay, He had storehouses there and imported goods from Europe.
He was in the Revolutionary War and served as Commissary in Washington's Army in 1781. Several Letters to his wife have been preserved in the Swem Library at the College of William and Mary.
John had many land holdings in southern Virginia and in Gates County, N.C. (formerly Hertford Co.) also.

The Will of John Rochelle, dated 13 Feb. 1794, Southampton Co., VA; Parish of St. Luke's:
1) Lend to wife Judith, all lands, plantations in Southampton Co. during her life or widowhood, should she marry, give liberty to make use of such timber on landas is sufficient for use of the plantations. Lend wife Judith use of all slaves for term of twenty years or till marriage for support of herself & education & support of my children, but should she marry or survive the term of 20 years from this date I lend her the following slaves only: Sam, Dick, Frank, Great Ned, Davy, Old Hannah, Tabb, Lucy, Patience, Young Hannah & Easter. (TABB is listed in the bible record: TAB had a child by the name of Patsy, April 1820)
If my wife shall marry or survive the term of 20 years: All negroes not named shall be hired out for the benefit of my children in the townn of Petersburg Prince Town, also my fisheries on the Chowan & Meherrin Rivers. (more lands in Halifax Co. & Sussex Co.)
Names brother Levi Rochelle as Executor and friend James Butts to succeed him if needed.
Probated in Southampton Co., VA on 10 April 1794. Proved by George Gurley, Jeremiah Drake, Stephen Handcock. Recorded on motion of Levi Rochelle.
No children were listed in the will.

Known children of John Rochelle and Judith Gilliam:
1) Benjamin Rochelle
2) John Rochelle III - married Lucy Thomas.
3) William L. Rochelle (possibly William Langley Rochelle)
4) Clement Rochelle: married Ann Everitt
5) Levy Rochelle
6) Lucy C. Rochelle: married Joseph Williamson
7) Mary Rochelle: married Reddick Darden
8) Elizabeth Rochelle: married John Thomas - issue: General George Henry Thomas
9) James Rochelle: Clerk of Southampton Co., Va.; married Martha Fanny Blow Hines