The Whitford Family of Craven County

by | Jan 19, 2017 | 7 comments

Below, you’ll find WHITFORD court minutes, deeds, wills/estate references, and other similar information for your researching convenience.

In the meantime, if you want to browse through a well-researched WHITFORD family tree, please check the website of one of my cousins who’s covered that ground remarkably well — Victor T. Jones, Department Head at the Kellenberger Room at the New Bern Public Library. Here’s the link: The Whitford Family of Eastern North Carolina

Court Minutes (Craven County)

Please note, I’m not including all WHITFORD items from Court Minutes here. For instance, I’ve left out most cases of William Bastin WHITFORD or Thomas WHITFORD being empanelled as jurors, as well as many minor cases that offer few details about William Bastin WHITFORD.

17 Mar 1740

A Deed of Sale from Andrew MORGAN to William MORGAN for twenty five acres of was proved in open Court by the oath of William WHITFORD one of the subscribing Evidences thereto sd. WHITFORD prays it admittance to Record. Granted.

16 Jun 1741

Wm. HERITAGE Gent. Exhibeted the last Will & Testamt. of John FANVIELLE Deed & proved the same by the oathes of Wm. WHITFORD & William BORN Evidences thereto Mrs. Jane? (Jone?) FONVIELE took the oath of an Exects. & John FONVIELLE also took the oath of Exectr to the sd Will & prays letters testamentary. Granted. Ordr. Mr. Secratr. have Notice thereof. Granted.

Dec 1741

William WHITFORD came into Court & Declares upon oath that his family Consists of three white persons thereupon hath a Claime to his Rights.

15 Mar 1742/43

William WHITFORD brought into Court an orphan Boy named Joseph DURHAM Son of John DURHAM Decd & prays he may be bound to him which was granted he Learning the sd orphan to Write & Read in the English tongue & to learn him the trade of a Cooper the sd Boy to serve him to the age of Twenty one.

Sep 1742

Read the petn of Win. WHITFORD &ca praying to have his Mark Recorded Vizt a Crop & two slits in the left Ear & the Right Ear a slit out aut & his Brand W B & prays it may be recorded. Granted.

Jun 1743

A Deed of Sale from James HERBERT to Mathies CAMP for (blank) acres of Land was proved by the oath of Wm. WHITFORD a subscribing Evidence thereto and prays admittance to Record. Granted.

Jun 1747

pd. Thos. WHITFORD records his mark (Vl*zt) a Crop & a Slit in the Left ear & an under keel in the right.

Mar 1748

Pd. A Deed of Sale from Daniel WEST to Thomas GASKINS for 100 acres of Land in Craven County was proved in Open Court by the Oath of W. B. WHITFORD Evids, thereto whereupon at the prayer of the said Thomas GASKINS the same was Ordered to be Recorded.

(illegible) Jno. BERRY came into Court & pray’d to be Dischd. of being Constable for his District Granted, he Retd. John MORGIN, W. B. WHITFORD & Thos. WHITFORD for the Court to appoint one of them to Serve as Constable for the Ensuing Year Ordered that W. B. WHITFORD Serve as Constable for the said District & that the Clk Issue Order &c.

A Deed of Sale from Edward GATLIN to Christopher DAWSON for a Tract of Land in Craven County on the North side of Nues River on both sides of SHITTON? Bridge Swamp on Pamplico Road was acknowledged Proved in Open Court by the Oath of W. B. WHITFORD thereupon at the prayer of the said DAWSON the same was Ordered to be Recorded.

Copy m. out. William Baston WHITFORD, Thomas MATCHETT, Milcher RAN, & John MURPHY being called to answer according to the Tenor of a Summons issued out of this Court: fail to appear Whereupon It is Ordered that they and each of them be fined Ten Shillings Proclamation Mo. with all accruing Charges to be Levyed on their Goods &ca. according to Law.

Jun 1748

Dr. all fees Chd. A Deed of Sale from William WHITFORD to Christopher DAWSON for 100 acres of Land in Craven County was acknowledged in Open Court by the above Wm. WHITFORD and on Motion that the same may be Recorded the same was accordingly Recorded.

Regrs. fee Chd. 20/ Pd. A Deed of Sale from William WHITFORD to Thomas WHITFORD for 133 acres of Land in Craven County was acknowledged in Open Court by the afore said WHITFORD and on Motion that the same may be Recorded the same was accordingly Read Ordered.

Sep 1748

10/? pd? A Deed of Sale from Thomas WHITFORD to John HARTLY for Fifty acres of Land in Craven County was acknowledged in Open Court by the said Thos. WHITFORD and Ordered to be Registred.

14 Nov 1755

The King vs. Edmd. WIGGINS: Prest. Assault Sarah WHITFORD. Sarah WHITFORD, Eliza SPEIGHT, Sarah KING, Jno. WIGGINS.

(Jurors named. “The above Jury on Oath bring in their Verdict Guilty.”)

The King vs. Edmd. WIGGINS Prest. Assault Thomas WHITFORD submitted to the Court.

Nov 1755

Ordered that Thos. WHITFORD be appointed Constable for the District between Broad Creek and Swift’s Creek on the No. side of Neuse.

May 1759

Jul 1761

Martin WHITFORD who was Bound by Recognizance to appear at this Court to give Security for the Maintenance of a Bastard Child by him begotten on the Body of Susanah KING, accordingly appeared and offered for his security Thomas WHITFORD and William SPEIGHT who being approved of, Ordered they enter into Bond in the Sum of Forty Pounds for the Maintenance of the said Child and to Indemnify the Parish free from the Charge for such Maintenance, the said Martin WHITFORD paid to Jacob BLOUNT Esqr the Sum of Twenty five Shillings being the fine by Law Directed for the said Offence.

Jan 1764

[8] -76-folio 38 No. 39.

Robert MCLANE. a. John MARTIN issue. Daniel SIMMONS, Thomas WHITFORD, Martin FUTCH, Andrew MUN, Joel KING, George KOONCE, Wm. GARDNER, Eml. SIMMONS, James WILLIS, James SMITH, Jos. HALL, John STANLAND. The above Jury on their Oath find their Verdt. that the defendant did assume & assess damages Seven Pounds five Shillings Proc. money & 6d. Costs.

[14] -79-folio 39

Admr. Agreeable to Law Ordered that Letters Issue Accordingly.
Joseph CRISPIN & Frederick ISLER a. Ben. DAVIS: Case. Daniel SIMMONS and Wm. Bastin WHITFORD Secy. in the foregoing Cause for the Defendant & Surrendered him in open Court and prayed to be discharged & released from being the sd. Defends. Secy. Ordered that they be Accordingly discharged and that the Sheriff take him into Custody Accordingly.

Apr 1764

[35]-folio 44

Roger JONES a. Wm. B. WHITFORD: The above Jury impd. & Sworn find their Verdict deft. did assume & assess Dams. 5:6:8 Proc. money and Six pence Costs.

[43]-folio 46

The Court adjourned till three oClock. The Court met according to adjournment.
Present John WILLIAMS, James DAVIS, Jacob BLOUNT, John CARRUTHERS, James DAVISJoseph LEECH, Frederick BECTON Esqrs. Justices.

Joseph HALL agt. Honora DONCAN Guarn. David CUNNINGHAM: issue. R. ORME. (sic)
Jacob JOHNSTON, Saml. WILLIS, Geo. FISHER, Anto. MOORE, Stephen MAHANS, Tolson TIGNER, Joseph PITMAN, Wm. MILLER, xThos. MCLIN, John BRYAN, Wm. B. WHITFORD. The above Jury impannelled and Sworn find their Verdict that

[44]-94-folio 47

The Bed attached and not replevied by H. DONCAN is the Property of David CUNNINGHAM and not of Honora DUNCAN, Judgment for the return of the Bed.

Ordered that Wm. B. WHITFORD Serve as an Overseer of the road for the Ensuing year in the room and stead of Robert ORME from FOYS to Trent bridge.

[59] -folio 50

A Deed of Sale from John HARTLEY to Thos. WHITFORD Junr. for four hundred Acres of Land in Craven County was Proved in Open Court by Thos. WHITFORD Senior and Ordered to be Registered.

Jul 1764

[70]-107-folio 53

Ordered that Mathew KEMP have leave to keep a Tavern at his now dwelling house in Craven County he giving good Security as the Law directs.

No. . John FRY a. Jacob TAYLOR: Issue. Jonah RIDGWAY, Wm. Bastin WHITFORD, John STANLEY, Wm. PRATT, Isaac FONVILLE, Simon SPAIGHT, Wm. HEATH Jnr. , Thomas STEVENS, John SMITH, t-.m. MILLS, Peter RHEM, George POPE.

[71]-folio 53

The foregoing Jury Impand. and Sworn find their Verdt. that the Defendt. did assume & assess dams. 9:9:4 Proc. Money & Six pence Costs.

Oct 1764

[110]-127-folio 5

Ordered that Samuel ROBERTS Serve as an Overseer of the Road for the Ensuing (sic) in the room & stead of Thomas WHITFORD.

[113]-folio 6

Ordered that the following Persons Vizt: John BRYAN, Daniel SHINE. Joseph MARTIN, Gabriel PICKERELL, Johri PICKERELL, Robert PERRY, John PERRY, John HATCH, Martin FUTCH, Jacob KORNEGY?, Stephen WILCOX & William Bastin WHITFORD be appointed Jurors lay of (sic) a Road on the South side of Trent River to the Road on the North side Crossing the River near FREDERICKS Ford and ordered that the Taxable Persons on the South side of Trent in John PICKERINGS District and as low down the road as the Branch by Peter ANDREWS? and the Taxable Persons on the South? side of Trent from the fork of the road where Benjamin STANLEY lives down to the Bever

[114]-129-folio 6

Dam Branch where Jacob KORNEGY Iies Work on the same when laid off and Build Bridge over Trent River where the aforesd is to Cross and ordered that Martin FUTCH Act as Overseer of the aforesd Road.

Certificate Sworn to by Wm. LEWIS before Jos. BRYAN Esqr. that he killed wolf in this County ordered that the Clerk Certify the same being allowed.

Jul 1765

[190]-folio 25

The Last Will and Testament of Francis SEARLES Deceased was Exhibited into Court and proved agreeable to Law by Martin WHITFORD one of the Evidences thereto at the same time Mary SEARLES Executrix therein Named Quallified as Such agreeable to Law

[201]-172-folio 28

On Motion Ordered that Robert ORME and Wm. B. WHITFORD have leave to Renew their Ordinary Licences they giving Security as the law directs.

[Between the above date and the following, there were multiple entries in which William Bastin WHITFORD was a juror during the Oct 1765 court.]

Jan 1767


Thomas WHITFORD a. Isaac BARRINGTON.  Issue: The same Jury as last Cause Except William Shepard FOSTER in the Room of John PITTMAN being Impannelled and Sworn find their Verdict that the Defendant did not assume.

Mar 1769


m.o. Ordered that John HARTLEY an Orphan of John HARTLY (sic) Deed. aged Eleven Years the 18th. December last be Bound apprentice to John WHITFORD to learn the Trade of a Cooper. And it is further Ordered that the said John WHITFORD be appointed Guardian of said John HARTLEY whereupon he Entered into Bond with William SPEIGHT Security in the Sum of Twenty Pounds.

m.o. Ordered that Jesse HARTLEY aged Six Years the 15th. February last be Bound apprentice to William SPEIGHT to learn Coopers Trade and that said SPEIGHT be appointed Guardian of the said Orphan whereupon he Entered into Bond with John WHITFORD Security in the Sum of Twenty Pounds.

Jun 1769


A Deed of Sale from John STANALAND to Edward FRANCK for Three Hundred Acres of Land was proved in open Court by the Oath of William Bastin WHITFORD Evidence thereto agreeable to Law and Ordered to be Registered.

Dec 1769


A Deed of Sale from Thomas HALL to James COOR for Four Hundred Acres of Land was proved in open Court by the Oath of John WHITFORD Evidence thereto agreeable to Law and Ordered to be Registered.

Mar 1770


John WHITFORD a. Thomas HALL: Issue. The same Jury as in the Cause YARBROUGH against MARSHAL find their Verdict Defendant did assume and assess £6:14:8 Damages and 6d. Costs.


m.o. Read the Petition of Thomas WHITFORD praying to be recommended to the General Assembly to be Exempt from paying Taxes which was Granted.

Mar 1775

[314]-folio 29

m.o. Ordered that Summons issue to John WHITFORD to be and appear at the next Court to answer the Complaint of Martha HARTLEY, who alledges he ill Treats his apprentice John HARTLEY, and abuses the Trust as Guardian of the said John HARTLEY

Jun 1775


Proved by the Oath of Jas. GREEN Junr. one of the Witnesses thereto. A Deed of Sale from William B. WHITFORD & Martha WHITFORD to Daniel BURNET for 340 Acres of Land was Proved by the Oath of Thomas COLLIER one of the Witnesses thereto.

Sep 1778

[505]-148 -folio 77

The State vs. William WHITFORD & Lydia his Wife: Presentment Do. Sabbath breaking.

Dec 1778

[520]-folio 81

The State vs. William WHITFORD & Wife: Presentment for Breach of the Sabbath
William WHITFORD on behalf of himself and Wife appeared and submitted to the Mercy of the Court and was fined Twenty Shillings and to pay Fees. Fine and Fees paid Chrisr. NEALE Clerk.

Sep 1781

[108]-214-folio 29

The last Will and Testament of Thomas WHITFORD Deceased was duly Proved in Open Court by the Oath of John THOMAS one of the subscribing Witnesses thereto according to Law. William WHITFORD one of the Executors therein Named Qualified as Such, Ordered that Letters Testamentory Issue accordingly.

[115]-folio 31

Ordered that John WHITFORD be appointed a Constable in Aaron ERNULS District.

Jun 1786

[568]-folio 7

Joseph HARTLEY Admr. of John & Jesse HARTLEY vs. John WHITFORD & Will SPIGHT:
The following Jury Empanneled & Sworn to Wit: 1. Peter PHYSIOC , 2. Charles JOHNSON, 3. William DUNN, 4. Frans. DELEMAR, 5. Stepn . DUNN , 6. Charles WlLLIAMS , 7. Frans. GARDNER, 8. Samuel LAWSON , 9. Thos . W. PERSON , 10. John ADAMS , 11. Saml . SMYTH, 12. Thos . OGDEN . The above Jury [sic] well and truly to try &c. for verdict Say that they find for the plantiff & assess £26:11: & 6d. Costs.

[569]-128-folio 7

Joseph HARTLEY admr . of John & Jesse HARTLEY vs. William SPlGHT & John WHITFORD: Issue. Same Jury as in last Cause Empanncled & Sworn find for the plantiff and assess £26:11 : [sic] Six pence Costs.

[592]-folio 13

Ordered that Ezekiel EVERINGTON, William WHITFORD & Will RICHARDSON Constables be Suspended from acting in their Office in future till the further Order of Court and that Joseph WEST be appointed Constable in Stead of the said Ezekiel EVERTON [sic] and it is further Ordered that the sd. Constable fourthwith delivour [sic] all Warrants and other preceepts now in his hands to the Said the sd [sic] Joseph WEST

Sep 1786

[610]-folio 17

John THOMAS vs. Exrs. of Thos. WHITFORD: Issue. the Same Jury as in last Cause Empanneld. and Sworn find for the plantiff & assess £15:9: Dam. & 6d. Costs.



Beaufort County
(From Abstracts of Beaufort County, North Carolina, Deed Book 2, 1729-1748 by John Anderson Brayton)

[28], pp. 20-21: 27 Sept 1729, Dec 1729 , 17 Dec 1729; JOHN CHESTER to DANIEL SIMONS and THOMAS SIMONS, “equal partners” in possession of land, cons. £40cm, tract of 360A in upper fork of Bear River, beg. at a pine, up n. branch N70W170p, N30W160p to a pine at head of bear River at swamp, S30W80p to a maple, S270p to pine at side of West Creek, down creek N70E300p to mouth, along river side N20W to beg., land formerly patented by CORNELIUS BELL and by him sold to PATRICK MAULE, and by MAULE to JOHN CHESTER; the patent dated 6 Dec 1720; wit. ROGER KENYON, GI: HALIDAY, WILLM. WHITFORD; signed: JOHN CHESTER.

[78], pp. 62-61: 1 Mar 1730/12, Mar 1730/1, 18 Mar 1730/1; WILLIAM WHITFORD planter, to NICHOLAS SMITH, cons. £10cm, tract of 100A n w.s. of Broad Creek on n.s. of Pamlico River, beg. at a crooked branch to house of JOHN CHESTER’s on creek, to a little gut, going from long point next to JOHN CHESTER’s, from that branch up to a Cypress Pond, being part of a greater quantity of SAMUEL MITTUM’s land granted by patent dated 1 Mar 1721 to JN°. BAPTA. ASH, and by him transferred by deed dated. 2 Jan 1722/3 to sd. SAMUEL MITTUM, and by MITTUM to WHITFORD; wit: JOHN M CHESTER, WILLM. M STEPHENS; signed: WM. WHITFORD.

[306], pp. 252-253 : 15 June 1737, June 1737, [—]; PHILIP SHUTE of Beaufort prect. to JOHN FORBES of same place, cons. £30cm, 50A of land on Ragged Point in Pamplico River, beg. at WILLIAM STEPHENS’ line, down to river, to 1st sta., and running back to cont. 50A; wit: RD LEIRMONT , WM. WHITFORD; signed: PHILIP SHUTE.

[426], p. 348: 16 June 1740, Sept 1740, 27 Dec 1740; WILLIAM VAUGHAN, merchant, to BENJAMIN PEYTON, esq., cons. £1000, 5 Negroes: SWANSEY, BRISTOL, CLOE, HECTOR, AND DAFNEY; wit: JOHN TRIPPE, WM. WHITFORD; signed: WILLIAM VAUGHAN.

[505], p. 408: 6 Mar 1741/2, Mar 1741, 31 Mar 1742; NICHOLAS SMITH, planter, to JAMES BROWN, cons. £50cm, tract on w.s. of Broad Creek, on n.s. of Pamplico River, beg. at a little gut between land and JAMES SMITH’s plantation, up creek to another little brancch, up to a pond, along pond to a marked corner pine, from pine to another pine standing near old schoolhouse, along a line to 1st sta., being a part of SAMUEL WILLIAMS’ land granted by patent dated 1 Mar 1721 to JOHN BAPTa ASHE, and by him to SAMUEL WILLIAMS by deed dated 2 Jan 1722/3, and by him to WILLIAM WHITFORD, and by him to SMITH by deed dated 1 Mar 1730/1, cont. 100A; wit: JAs. CALF, CHARLES SIMPSON, SAML. BUNDEY; signed: NICHOLAS SMITH.


Craven County

Land Grants

William WHITFORD (Craven County) – 24 Mar 1747 – “400 acres of land in Craven County on the No side of Neuse river Beginning at the Mouth of the Jumping Run & on Broad Creek…”  [MARS:; File no.: 409]



Thomas WHITFORD (1781) – Craven County. Names sons: William, Thomas, John, and Martin, and sons-in-law Mitchell STILLEY and William SPIGHTS

Estate of Martin Whitford (1804) – Craven County. Martin was born in 1734 and lived through both the French and Indian War, as well as the American Revolution. He married Mary Purifoy and they had the following children:

  • David (b. 1764, m. Nancy Stilley)
  • Sally (b. 1765, m. Thomas Smyth)
  • John (b. 1770, m. Holland Reel)
  • Elizabeth (b. 1778, m. Elijah Calloway)
  • Mary “Polly” (b. abt 1782)
  • Nancy (b. 1786, m. Shadrick Whitehurst)

Non-Whitford wills that mention William Whitford (from Grimes’ Abstract of North Carolina Wills)

Bath County.


Bath County.

January 17, 1733. September 14, 1734. Son: JOHN PEYTON PORTER (land “whereon I now live on Derhams Creek”). Daughter: ELIZABETH (1,000 acres of land on Derhams Creek, together with negro slaves). Cousin: JOHN FRY. Other legatees: ANN LILLINGTON and ELIZABETH FRY (cousins of testator), WILLIAM TRIPPE, PHILIP CREMER. Wife: DOROTHY. Executors: EDMUND PORTER (brother), PATRICK MAULE and SETH PILKINGTON (brothers-in-law), EDWARD MOSELEY and JOHN TRIPPE. Witnesses: CHURCHILL READING, JOHN CALDOM, WILLIAM WHITFORD. Proven before GEORGE BURRINGTON. Original missing. Recorded in Book 1722-1735, page 329.

Craven County.

January 28, 1745. May 9, 1746. Sons: JOHN BRYAN (220 acres land bought of Martin and Edward Frank, called “New Germany”), WILLIAM BRYAN (300 acres land, called “New Germany”), EDWARD BRYAN (lot in Newbern). Daughter: PENELIPY BRYAN (lot in Newbern). Wife: ANN BRYAN (“one plantation, called paradice”). Executors: ANN BRYAN (wife), HARDY BRYAN (brother), LEWIS BRYAN (brother). Witnesses: WM. WHITFORD, JANE HAND, RICHARD HART. Will proven before E. HALL, Chief Justice of North Carolina.


  1. Steven Whitford

    Sara, thank you for contacting me on Anchestry. My family immigrated from Redruth Cornwall Englandin 1869. They settled in Dodgeville Wisconsin that had a large Tin mining group from Cornwall. My ancestor was a mason who built many of the buildings in the area along with his sons. Whitford and Sons. Another group of Whitford’s had also settled in the area about 1830 from Cornwall, but I have not yet connected the families back in England, though I assume they are related. From the history of the Whitford’s in Cornwall it is implied that they originally came from an area that bordered England and Scotland. I hope this helps and I would think that we also may be related if your roots are from Cornwall also. My DNA is on ancestry. Regards Steven L Whitford, North Charleston SC.

  2. John Foster Speight

    Where did you find the Whitford deeds that you have linked to above? Were they from the original deed books or did you use microfilm? I need to research the Speight family in the Craven County deeds, but am unsure where to look. Can I get the microfilm from your library or must I order it through interlibrary loan from the State Library of North Carolina in Raleigh? Thank you and enjoy your blog.
    John F. Speight

    • Sara Whitford

      All of these should be available via the Craven County Online Register of Deeds. Are you a descendant of Elizabeth Whitford who married a Speight?

      • John F Speight

        Hi Sara,,

        Yes and no, if that makes any sense. Elizabeth Whitford married William Speight circa 1752. He died in 1797 I believe. This William Speight was the son of Thomas and Mary Speight and is a second cousin to a Moses Speight from Dobbs County, NC. William Speight,s son, William Speight, Jr. moved to first Greene and later Hancock counties in Georgia. William Jr.’s sister, Chloe had married John Rowe, Jr. I believe the two families migrated together. I think all above is correct. Have to check my notes to be sure as this was off the top of my head so to speak. Have been doing serious genealogy on Speight for forty-four years. Am addicted. Yes, found the Craven County Online Register of Deeds after my original comment was posted. Yet, today was the first time I have ever seen your reply. Not sure why as I frequent your blog often.

  3. Earline Smith

    Sarah, you and a friend came to my father’s house, Linwood Earl Smith, and took DNA sample. This happened about 5 years ago. We have never received results from this testing as promised. Hoping to hear from you.

    • Sara Whitford

      My grandmother and I went to see my grandmother’s first cousin Earline in 2019 and she took an Ancestry DNA test kit that I had brought. The access information should have gone to her email. I will make sure to double-check the address and send the invite again as soon as I reply to this comment. Who is this writing? The name you have listed is that you are Earline Smith and I see the email address, but that’s not the email address I have for her.

  4. Claudia L. Daw

    Since William B. Whitford was married than was his first wife Mary?, she was the daughter of Matthew Brinson of Prince William Co., Virginia, correct? Claudia


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