Rose Dove Dalton and Albert Lee Dalton Homeplace

Rose Dove Dalton and Albert Lee Dalton Homeplace
This house and property belonged to John Ward, Jr At his death he willed the property to his nephew William Ward

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Field Jefferson Summation of his Youth and Young Adulthood

Field Jefferson was born on March 6, 1702 to Thomas Jefferson II and Mary Field Jefferson at Jefferson's Landing now known as Osborne's Landing in Henrico County, Virginia now Chesterfield County, Virginia.  This is the Tidewater area near the Pennisulas divided by the Potomac, the Rappahannock, the York and the James River.  The 19th century historian John Fiske called it a "sylvan venus".  Among these rivers lived the wealthy planters of the 19th century known as the Byrds, the Randolphs, the  Harrisons, the Carters and the Pages along with others of note.  The life of this planter aristocracy revolved around parties, balls, horse racing, games, visiting and being visited and weddings which drew together many relatives and neighbors.  In Williamsburg which was approximately 50 miles from Jefferson's Landing there were many diversions which included one of the first theatres in the country. Philip Fithian, a teacher and minister observed that "Virginia ladies and gentlemen were of genuine blood.  They would dance or die"  Field's father Thomas was not of the ultra wealthy aristocracy, but he did as they say,"hobnob" with them, which was a great advantage for their family.
Field was the third child of Thomas.  He had an older sister Judith that was born in 1698, a brother Thomas who was born in 1700 and Peter was born in 1707, Mary 1709 and Martha after 1709.  Thomas was the oldest son which meant that the family expectations were with him.  He probably received the most educational training and support from the family.  This is not to say that the other children were treated ill, but that the oldest son had to be trained to take over the family plantation or business.  Their family also attended church and were instrumental in the church activities as we discovered that Field's father helped build a church which many people called, "Jefferson's Church".  It was an Anglican Church and the Reverend during Field's time was the Reverend George Robertson.
In 1723 the family suffered a loss when Thomas, Field's brother, died while on a ship which was commanded by Isham Randolph.  Isham Randolph's daughter Jane would later become the wife of Field's brother Peter.  This left Field to become the oldest son of the family, but there is no mention of any responsibilities of any inheritance that he received because of this. As of matter of fact, Peter was the executor of his father's estate and not Field.  Mainly, there was no great inheritance because his father had suffered a reversal of fortune over six years before due to a fire and the home had an attachment against it which was ordered by the Court.  However, Field was left land by his mother's family and that was where he was living at the time of his father's death in 1731. His younger brother did receive land from his father and that was where he resided at the time of his father's death.
I know that many of us would like to know how our ancestors looked.  I can assume that Field was probably a big, strong man.  I assume this because his brother Peter was described as a man of huge stature and legendary strength or in another book he was described as a large and powerful man.  I found these references in Thomas Jefferson a Life by Willard Sterne Randall and Jefferson the Virginian by Dumas Malone.  I also found a reference in Genealogies of Virginia Families from the William and Mary Quarterly Volume III page 161 describing one of the future Jefferson children named Peter Field Jefferson as a man of prodigious strength and about him many tales survive.  Now this Peter Field Jefferson was the grandson of  Field Jefferson.  He was the son of John Robertson Jefferson.  Now it stands to reason that unless Field was the runt of the family that he too was a large powerful man. I cannot rely on the pictures of Thomas Jefferson the President because he was said to resemble the Randolph family.
So we have Field Jefferson living in what was then Henrico County, Virginia at the time of his father's death at 1731.  On April 10, 1732 he married Frances Robertson.  Unfortunately I can find no definitive information on her family.  Some say that she was the child of Field's Minister, George Robertson, but until I have further information this is only conjecture.  It may be that they waited to marry until 1732 due to his father's death.  It would have not been right and proper to hold a celebration in the year's of his father's death.  Many of the family trees contain the information that Frances' first name was Mary, but I am of the opinion that there has been a confusion with Field's second wife Mary.

So begins Field's great adventure.  This was a child born in some privilege living among and socializing with the stellar members of the Virginia Aristocracy.  He could have stayed on the land that was given to him, but he made a decision to make his mark in life as you will see.

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