Al Dorr Family

Boswell Ancestors




previous  Fifth Generation 



16. Edward BOSWELL was born in 1750 and died in 1830 in Orange County, NC, at age 80.

The first record of Edward Boswell is in the 1782 Prince William County, Virginia Tax Roll. He had 6 horses and 4 cattle. However, several of his children were shown by the census records to have been born in Virginia before this - Craven in 1774, John in 1776 and Susannah in 1778. In 1789 there is a bill of sale for his purchase of one slave.

He lived on part of what was known as the "Bristow Tract." How or when he obtained this land has not been found. In 1686-87 King James II of England granted 30,000 acres to George Brent, Richard Foote and Robert Bristow. Mr. Bristow remained in England and the land was governed and leased out by Brent and Foote. An heir also named Robert Bristow owned the land prior to the Revolutionary War. After the war the land was taken by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the title to the land was tied up in the courts for many years. Edward sold one lot (100-200 acres) of the Bristow Tract on 19 September 1798 for 100 pounds to Benjamin Cooper. The original plat map has been lost. An 1823 map of the Bristow Tract is in the Prince William County Land Office in Manassas, Virginia. However, this map does not list a Cooper, so it must have been resold by that time. Also living on the Bristow Tract at about this time were John Sullivan and John, John T. and William Leachman, families who married into the Edward Boswell family.

Edward was probably a tobacco farmer. Between 1650 and 1776 tobacco was the major crop in Prince William County. During this time there were no towns, just plantations. The farmers of that day did not understand that they needed to rotate their crops, especially tobacco, as it depleted the soil of the necessary nutrients. Many times when the soil became poor they would just move on to new land. In 1797 the tobacco crop failed in Prince William County according to a letter from Thomas Lee, rent collector to the Governor, as recorded in the Calendar of Virginia State Papers.*

The legal controversy over the land, as well as the crop failure, could have influenced Edward's decision to sell his lease and move his family to North Carolina.

The first settlers in Orange County, North Carolina made their homes on the many streams in the area. Because of the fertile land, some settlers made their homes on a ridge which rose between Stoney, Tom's and Jordan's Creeks. On 1 October 1798 Edward Boswell bought 363 acres from James Brackin in Orange County (now Alamance County) for 363 pounds. This land is located on Stoney Creek north of what is now Burlington, North Carolina.

According to the Centennial History of Alamance County, tobacco and grain were the major crops in Orange County by 1800. In winter the farmer would load his high-wheeled farm wagon with 1,000 pounds of tobacco and haul it over muddy roads and across treacherous creeks to Dan or Roanoke Rivers from which it could be shipped by water to markets in Petersburg and Richmond. Orange County grew to be the largest county in the state by 1800.

The children worked in the fields most of the year, going to school only in December, January and February. Stoney Creek Church was the location of one of the early schools started about 1800. The first church building was the Union Meeting House on the Union Camp Grounds and was used by all denominations. Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church was built in 1775. Bethel Methodist Church dates back to 1800. Gilliam's Primitive Baptist Church was built in 1824 on the Haw River.

Edward's religious affiliation is not known. His grandson, Thomas Leachman Boswell, "professed religion" at a Cumberland Presbyterian camp meeting at age 13 in Henderson County, Tennessee. However, he became a Methodist minister. Thomas L.'s brother, Craven Carlyle, became a Cumberland Presbyterian Minister, and Edward's son, Craven, was also a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and gave land to the Mount Zion Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Henderson County, Kentucky. Edward's grandson, James Iverson Boswell, was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church after he moved to Mississippi.

No record has been found of Edward's wife; however, there were twelve children. She apparently died between 1820, when she appears on the census record, and 1826, when Edward's will was written with no mention of his wife.

All of Edward's sons became farmers. Craven left North Carolina and moved to Henderson County, Kentucky about 1805. Thomas went to that same part of Kentucky for a short time around 1818 and then in 1820 went to Henderson County, Tennessee. Matthew went to Henderson County, Tennessee briefly and then to Missouri in 1837. John died in Caswell County, North Carolina in 1854 but his son James Iverson went to Fayette County, Tennessee about 1832 and then moved to Marshall County, Mississippi.

A grandson of Edward's (whose father is not known), Brown Boswell, went to Henderson County, Tennessee about 1830. Edward's daughter Charlotte, who never married, lived with Brown in Tennessee according to the 1850 census.

Susannah Boswell Leachman and her children moved to Polk County, Missouri sometime after 1820. Her husband, Thomas Leachman, had died in 1816. Edward's daughter Elizabeth (?) Sullivan died before 1830. Her children are named in Edward's will. His daughters Nancy Bracken Wilkerson and Catherine Graham apparently remained in North Carolina. His sons, Edward and Matthew, both served in the War of 1812. James was executor of his father's will in 1830, so apparently he also remained in North Carolina.

Edward's will was probated in Orange County, North Carolina in August 1830. It instructs that his plantation be sold and the proceeds divided among his children.

Edward married CRAVEN ? .

Children from this marriage were:

8         i.   Thomas BOSWELL (born on 27 Sep 1779 Prince William County, VA - died on 6 Oct 1822 in Hend. County, TN)

         ii.   Craven BOSWELL (born on 12 Nov 1774 Prince William County, VA - died on 3 Feb 1847 in Henderson County, TN)

        iii.   John BOSWELL (born on 5 Mar 1776 Prince William County, VA - died on 18 Jun 1854 in Casw. Co., NC)

         iv.   William? BOSWELL (born 1777 ? VA - died before 1826 in Casw. Co., NC)

          v.   Susannah "Sukey" BOSWELL (born on 5 May 1778 Prince William County, VA - died after 1850 in MO)

         vi.   Charlotte BOSWELL (born about 1783 Prince William County, VA - died after 1850 in Henderson County, TN)

        vii.   Elizabeth ? BOSWELL (born about 1784 Prince William County, VA - died before 1826)

       viii.   Edward BOSWELL (born on 8 Jul 1786 Prince William County, VA - died about 1840)

         ix.   Nancy BOSWELL (born about 1790 Prince William County, VA - died after 1842 in Orange County, NC)

          x.   Matthew BOSWELL (born in 1792 Prince William County, VA - died on 13 May 1852 in St. Clair County, MO)

         xi.   James BOSWELL (born about 1798 VA? - died about 1843 in NC?)

        xii.   Catherine "Kitty" BOSWELL (born on 5 May 1797 Prince William County, VA - died on 16 May 1892 in Alamance County, NC)


17. Craven ?

Craven ? married Edward BOSWELL .

19. Zebiah RICE

Zebiah married (name unknown).

Children from this marriage were:

9         i.   Mary SIMS (born on 9 Feb 1787 NC - died on 23 May 1858 in Med. County, TN)