There were TWO Rocksolanah Carruthers. Here are the records to prove it. (For both of them!)

by | Jun 14, 2018 | 5 comments

Yes, there were, indeed, two Rocksolanah CARRUTHERS.

I used to think there were two Rocksolanahs, but then because of some dates that were discussed in the old W’ton List (probably close to 15 years ago!), I began to think that there was only one. It was generally accepted that it was the same woman who was married to John MARTIN (one of Blackbeard’s men), and John WITHERINGTON — although I did realize if that were the case, then Rocksolanah could not be the mother of John MARTIN’s first three children, John Jr., Joseph, and Elizabeth. There was only the unborn child that he alluded to in his will that I thought must be Rocksolanah’s.

Well, now I know there were, indeed, two Rocksolanahs.

I received an email inquiry today from a woman who was researching the MARTIN family and that prompted me to dig back into my archives to see if I can find out anything else about my 6th-great-grandmother, Rocksolanah CARRUTHERS, wife of John WITHERINGTON.

Well, first things first… a look at John MARTIN’s will. Here is the abstract from In the Name of God, Amen! Abstracts of Hyde County, North Carolina Wills:

Bath County
1 August 1737

Wife ROCKSOLANAH (Ed note – Misspelled Roesalanah in the transcription): I give all my Estate, Both Personal and Reayal, During her Life, and after her Decease I give unto my Two sons JOHN and JOSEPH such of my Lands as followes. Son JOHN: I give my now Dwelling Plantation with my Lower Plantation at the mouth of Broad Creek, to him and his heirs of his Body. Son JOSEPH: I give all my Plantation of Land upon the south side of Bare River near the fork Joining FRANCIS DELEMARs (Francis DELAMAR) Land, to him and the Heirs of his Body. Dawter ELIZABETH MARTIN: I give one half of my Tract of Land that Lyes upon the north side of Bear River Adjoining JAMES HENMESES [?] Land, to her and the Heirs of her Body. My Child which is  now carried in the Bowells of my aforesaid Wife: I give the other Half which is the upper End of my said Tract of Land on the North side of Bear River, it Being Six hundred and fifty Acres, to be Divided Betwixt the said Child and my Daughter ELIZABETH. As for all other parts of my Estate, Both Personal and Rayal, to be Equally Divided after my said wifes Decease amongst all my Children at the Discretion of my Executor. The aforesaid Land and Legases to be possessed and Enjoyed by my Children Emediately after the Death of my Wife. Executors: Wife ROCKSOLANAH MARTIN with her Brother JOHN CARRUTHERS and FRANCIS DELEMAR and ROBERT SPRING.


Elizabeth [ E ] CARRUTHERS

Probate: Beaufort Precinct March Court 1737. The will was proved in open Court by the Oath of JOB IVES. Will was Exhibited into Court by ROCKSOLANAH MARTIN, Widow & Relect of the Testator, who as Executrix qualified herself by taking the Oath as the Law Directs. ROGR JONES, Clk Court.

[From Craven County Deed Book 5]

Now, originally, when I saw that will, I assumed it was the aunt of MY Rocksolanah CARRUTHERS, but then others seemed to be treating it as an obvious fact that it was actually the same woman as my grandmother.

Well, I should’ve stuck with what I originally thought, and I would have if I had spent much time doing the research, but at the time I had a toddler and I felt like it didn’t make much of a difference anyway since if it were the same Rocksolanah, I descend from her marriage to John WITHERINGTON, not John MARTIN. [There are other priorities when you have a two-year-old, just saying.]

So, from the above we know that Rocksolanah CARRUTHERS was married to John MARTIN at some point, and that she had at least one child by him, but more than likely, four.

John MARTIN dies in 1737, but we can rule out his widow marrying John WITHERINGTON. Here’s why.

Let’s take a look at John CARRUTHERS’s will. He was the father of Rocksolanah, wife of John WITHERINGTON.


IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I, John Carruthers, of the County of Craven, and Province of North Carolina, merchant, Being of perfect mind and memory and Calling to mind and Duly Considering the unsartainty of humane life, Do make this, my last will and testament. First and Principally I Commit my Soul into the hands of my blessed maker, trusting in his mercy and in the merits of my Dear Redeemer for the Remission of my Sins; and my Body I Commit to the Earth to be Interred in such Decent and Christian like Manner as to my Executors That seem meet, In hopes of the glorious Resurrection of the last great Day; and as for such worldly goods that providence hath blessed me with, after my Just Debts and necessary Expenses are Contented, Discharged, and payd by my Executors, Which I will shall be first honestly done, then the Remainder I Bequeath in the following manner:

Imprimis. I Give and Bequeath unto my Daughter, Rocksolanah Witherinton, one Lott of Land lying in Newbern town, and joining Pollocks Streat and Eding Streat, and known in the plan of the Sd. town, by number 98, together with all Houses and appurtenances to the same belonging, and my Deask, unto her, the said Rocksolanah Witherinton, her Heirs and assigns for Ever.

Item. I Give and Bequeath unto my Daughter, Frances Hodges, one Negro girl Cald Carolina, and one feather Bed and one Boulster, 2 pillos, one Blanket, two Steats, and one Countarpen, it being the Bed that I Commonly Lodg on, and all the Cattal that I have yousing at the Francis Hodges Cow Pen, unto her, the Sd Frances Hodges, her Heirs and assigns for Ever.

Item. I Give and Bequeath unto my Son, John Carruthers, my Riding Sadal and Bridal, and gun, and one pr. large money Seals, and my Silver Shubuckels and Knee Buckets, to him, his Hairs and assigns for Ever.

Item. I Give and Bequeath unto my Son, Joseph Carruthers, Six large Silver tea Spuns, and one Silver tea tongs, and Silver Straner, and fore large Silver Spuns for table use, to him and his Heirs and assigns for Ever.

Item. I Give and Bequeath unto my Daughter, Sarah Rice, my gould Buttons I wear in my Sieves, and one Brase Warming Pan with a wooden handal to it, to her and her Heirs for Ever.

Item. I Give and Bequeath unto my two Sons in law, Frances Hodges, and John Witherinton, all my wearing close of all Sorts, Except the Buckels and Buttons before menchan’d, to be Equaly Devided Betwen them.

Item. I Give unto my well beloved Wife, Content Carruthers, the Labar or Serves of one Negro man, Coled Hannabal, Dewering the time of her natril Life or the time of her Wedowhud, and at the time of her death or the day of her marrage, my Will and desier is that my Executors, hereafter Menchand, may taek the foreSd Negro, Hannabel, into thear Cear and Persestion, and my Will is that thay may Set him up at Publick Vander to be Sould to the highest bedar for Redy money, and the money arising by the Sale of the fore Sd Negro to be Equaly devided amung my Chilldring that may or shall be then Liveing, and my Will and desier is that the above menchand Negro man Hannabel, may not be Carried out of Craven County with out the Leve or Consent of my Executors.

Item. I Give unto my well beloved Wife, Content Carruthers, the Labar or Sarvis of one Negro woman Coled Enow, dewering the tim of her, ye Sd. Content Carruthers, her Natril life, and at her Deces I Give and Bequeath the fore Sd Negro Woman Coled Enow, to Rebekah McCarthy, to her and her Heirs for Ever.

Item. I Give and Bequeath unto my well Beloved Wife, Content Carruthers, one Negro Woman Coled, Baranton, and all my Horses and all my Cattal that youses on trent, or anyways Belongs to my Cow Pen at my home House, and all my hoggs and Sheep and my Cart and Plows, and axes and hows, belonging to the Plantation work, and all my Howshould goods of all Sorts, Except them before gaven to my Chilldrin, unto her, the foreSd. Content Carruthers, her Heirs and assigns for Ever.

Item. My will and Desier is that my Executors hearafter menchand may and Shall sell all my Lands, and all my Lotts and Houses, and appurtenences thear unto belonging, in New Bern town, and all my trading Stock of goods of all Sorts, to be Sould at Publick vandew to the highest biders, alowing three months Credit, the Purchesars giveing good security for the Payment of the moneys. My will and Desier is that Evry Lott Should be set up Singal, Except them two whear the Long house stands, and with the money arising by the fore menchand Sales, and What Redey money I may have by me, and what money may be Reeved of my outstanding debts, my will and desier is that my Executors may pay all my Just Debts and my fewnarl Exspences, and What is Remaning of the above menchand money when my debts are payd, my will and desier is that that Remandar of money may be Equely devided betwen my three sons, William Carruthers, John Carruthers, and Joseph Carruthers, and my daughter, Sarah Rice, and if my son William Carruthers Shuld not be at the devistion of the money, I desier his Part of the money may Continue in the the hands of my Executors tell he, the fore Sd William Carruthers, Cums for it.

Lastly. I do nominate, Constitute and appint my two sons, John Carruthers, and Joseph Carruthers, Executors of this my last Will and testament, and do hereby utterly Revoke, disallow and disanull all former Bequests, Wills and Legacies, by me heretofore made, Ratifying and Confirming this, and no other, to be my last will and testament.

In Witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, the Twentieth day of September, the year of our Lord, one thousand, seven Hundred and fifty one. (and my desk interlined before Assigned in the lour line of the first Side).


Signed, Sealed, Published and
Declared, by the within named
tastator, John Carruthers, to be
his last will and testament, in
presence of us the Subscribers:

SARAH { her X mark } BETSWORTH.

Ok… so we know from John CARRUTHERS’s will, dated September 1751, that his daughter Rocksolanah was already married to John WITHERINGTON.

Thing is, there is still a Rocksolanah MARTIN running around Craven County conducting land transactions in the 1760s! So that proves there must have been two.

Look here: 

1743 – Deed of Sale from the Comrs. of NewBern to Rocksolanah MARTIN and Known in the plann of sd Town by No. 80 was acknowledged by Walter LANE one of the sd Comrs. and prays admittance to record. Granted.

1745 – Deed of Sale from the Comrs. of Newbern Town to Rocksolanah MARTIN for two Lotts in sd Town was acknowledged by Walter LANE Esqr and order’d to be Recorded.

Oct. 8, 1766 Rocksolanah Martin, widow (Craven Co) to William Good (same); for £100 proclamation money sold 0.5 ac in lot #80 in New Bern on Pollock Street & Handcocks Street: sold Jun. 6, 1743 by Walter Lane & William Handcock, New Bern commissioners, to said Rocksolanah Martin acknowledged in court Jun. 19, 1744 & recorded in Craven Co register’s office book 9 p. 30. (signed) Rocksolanah Martin; (witness) Rigdon Brice & Gabriell Pickren, & John Kennedy; [note at end indicates Good paid Rocksolanah “per” Joseph Martin £100 (witness) Bartho Howard & Will Green]; wit. oath Oct. 1766 by Rigdon Brice; books 12 & 13 p. 525.

So there it is, folks. Two Rocksolanah MARTINS. The first one was the aunt of the second one. The first one was married to John MARTIN. The second one was married to John WITHERINGTON.


  1. Laurie Pasher

    Thank you for this article – it certainly puts to rest many questions that I had about these Rocksolanah’s. Another question for you…what are your thoughts about Abiah Bangs, who is a witness on the John Carruthers will?

    It is my opinion that she is the sister of John Carruthers, who married Jonathan Bangs, and Jonathan being Content (John’s wife)’s brother.

    Happy to hear your thoughts.

    • Laurie Pasher

      Sorry, I forgot to include the reason that I might doubt my suspected relationship between Abiah Bangs and John Carruthers. John Carruthers will was probated in Feb 1752, meaning he is now deceased. However, Abiah (Carruthers) Bang’s will in 1755 gives mention of her brother John. Thus her brother John is alive in 1755? Then who is the Abiah Bangs who witnesses John Carruthers 1751 will?


  2. Francis R. Hodges

    John Carruthers who died in 1751 appears to have married Content Bangs as a second wife fairly late in his life.. The mother of his children was Sarah Jones, his first wife,

    • John F Speight

      Professor Hodges: Always enjoy reading your contributions and posts to eastern North Carolina genealogies. What proof John Carruthers’ first wife was Sarah Jones? Did he marry her in Massachusetts or North Carolina? Thanks and have a wonderful day.

  3. Ashley

    Does anyone know where John Witherington and his wife R. Carruthers is buried in North Carolina? please email me, thank you.


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