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Thomas Lane

Suggested birthplace of Thomas Lane (1634-1709) of Lawne’s Creek Parish, Surry County, VA

Here is my theory. Dorothy Coltrin 2020

To determine a possible birth place, it is important to review all information that is available, including known facts, historical context and biological connections.

Thomas Lane may have been transported to Virginia in 1653.[1] Based on his given age from a later deposition, he would have been 19 at the time.  England had just fought a civil war with more than 200, 000 dead and some of the countryside in ruin. The monarchy didn’t return to power until 1760.

 In Virginia, a headright system allowed the person who financed the transport of someone 100 acres of land.  In the case of Thomas, William Debnam received land in the county of Gloucester, Virginia.  Earlier he had and probably sold land in Isle of Wight County, VA.

It is not known where Thomas lived and what he did until the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Sheppard Jones in 1661. But it is likely that he was indentured and worked on someone’s plantation, possibly that of Debnam.  By the time of Debnam’s death in 1657, Debnam owned more 2100 acres.[2] The principal crop of the time was tobacco.

Thomas’s marriage to Elizabeth was advantageous.  She was the daughter of Robert Sheppard (1606-1651) and Elizabeth Spencer (1615- 1659).  At the time of Sheppard’s death, heirs would receive a portion of a plantation near Chippokes Creek.[3] It must have been a fairly large estate as Sheppard received 1000 acres in 1650.[4]

 (As an early immigrant, Elizabeth’s father, Robert played an important role in government as well as the military. He was member of the house of burgess for James City county in 1646 and 1647.[5])

So where did Thomas Lane come from?  According to Boddie[6], many of the Isle of Wight families came from Gloucester or Devon. (Isle of Wight County borders on Surry County.)

It is possible that both Sheppard and his son-in-law could have come from SW England.

Sheppard b. Feb 1606 in Rissington, Glouscester and a Lane, son of Thomas Lane and Margaret b. Nob 1734 in Musbury, Devon, England.[7]

Both a member of this Lane family and a Westcott family have done Big Y DNA.  They both have the SNP of R-FGC15217.  The Westcott family can trace their ancestry back to Jeremiah Westcott (1632-1685) b. Somerset, England.  Note this county borders on Gloucester and Devon. (A recent more extensive Big Y for 2 members of the Lane family show that their terminal SNP is R-A17861.)

This needs further research. It would be very helpful to have a Lane male whose family is known to come from SW England to do Y-chromosome DNA.

[1] Nell M. Nugent, Cavaliers & Pioneers, 1934 p. 251.

[2] Find a Grave for William Debnam in Gloucester, VA Mem #87397953

[3] A map shows the area of this plantation in relationship to Hog Island, part of Lawne’s Creek Parish.

[4] 1654 Ref. D.&W. Book 1, p. __ Surry Co., VA, 9 Nov. 1651, Indenture between Thomas Warren, Gent. and Elizabeth Shepherd, widow, of Lower Chip Oakes, before the solemnization of their matrimony between them enter into a marriage bond which names her children: states that Thomas Warren is to have and enjoy all the estate of Major Robert Shepherd, deceased, now in the possession of the said Elizabeth, his relic. except land and certain articles Elizabeth shall dispose of at her pleasure. Thomas Warren shall give to Ann Shepherd, John Shepherd, Robert Shepherd, William Shepherd, and ELIZABETH JONES certain gifts. To Priscilla and Susanna Shepherd, their full share of their father’s estate, besides give each a cow & calf. etc. (THIS NEEDS to be checked.  Elizabeth Jones is the prior married name of the wife of Thomas Lane.)

[5] Encyclopedia of Virginia 

[6] Boddie, Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, VA 2007

[7] See Family Search England Births & Christenings, 1538-1975.