American Estes before Abraham

by David Powell
The following article previously appeared on the Rootsweb Estes mail-list. It is not meant to be an article as such (ie: with a point) but rather a summary of mentions of Estes in the Southern Colonies prior to Abraham's arrival in the 1670's. As a summary it is not intented to be comprehensive.
The following is for the most part based on an article by Kitty Estes Savage that appears in Estes Trails, 1988, 8.1, pp.2-19. The article does contain some speculations about the origin of Abraham Estes which more recent discoveries have shown to be wrong, however it does contain some interesting facts.

Note: All dates in english format, dd/mm/yyy. I've "corrected" strange spellings except in the case of names for the sake of clarity. If you want the original versions, let me know. Indented paragraphs are from Kitty Estes Savage's article.

21/2/1654 "Grant of Richard Bennett [VA Governor of the time] to Nicholas Lambdson of 200 acres in Westmoreland Co.. upon Upper Matchatich River [*] ... due for the transportation of four persons into this colony .. patent assigned to Jacob Porter and Thomas Estast.."
So .. we have a Thomas "Estes" who was in Westmoreland Co, VA by 1654. Another version of the patent gives the date as 26/7/1654.

Kitty Estes Savage speculated that this Thomas was either Thomas, born 1605, Co Kent, England, s/o Robert and Anne Eastes, or that he was Thomas, born 1636, Co Kent, England, s/o Robert and Dorothy Eastes. However my own research of the english records (as well as others) has shown these two Thomas Eastes' remained and died in England. There are currently no known (to me at least) candidates for this Thomas in the English records. However the mid 1600's are a chaotic period for English records (the Cromwell period) and many births were not recorded and many of those that were were subsequently lost. Also, "Estes" were not unique to the area of Deal in county Kent .. the name was known all along the english coastline from Devon in the south-west to Norfolk in the east, as well as in several counties in the "interior" of england. So it cannot be assumed that all "Estes" arriving in the american colonies were of the Kentish family. Nor that variations on "Estes" actually were Estes and not Eustace, East or something else.

13/8/1658 .. a deed is witnessed by Thomas Estass.
17/7/1658 .. a deed is witnessed by Thomas Eastass.
1658 .. a deed is witnessed by James Estaste.

Other names mentioned strongly suggest that James and Thomas were closely related, perhaps brothers.

James is a very rare name amongst the Eastes of County Kent, England. The earliest I have was born in 1820! Again, that I know of.
The will of Nathaniel Jones mentions Judith Estass, d/o Thomas Estass. Nathaniel leaves a cow calf for Judith, to be given to her when she reaches the age of 7. Will dated 1662.
Judith was thus born after 1655. Likely not long after else she'd inherit a very elderly cow!
29/6/1663 June, widow of the late Thomas Estast, renounces admin of his estate. Admin granted to Jacob Porter, who was associated with Thomas since at least 1654.

29/12/1692 .. a deed mentions the plantation of John Easters, which lies along the main branch of the Chingoteague River in Richmond Co, VA.

Richmond Co is adjacent to Westmoreland Co, both lying on the peninsula formed by the Potomac and the Rappahanock Rivers (tho' at along that stretch the "rivers" are more properly part of the Chesapeake Bay). It is quite tempting to suggest that this John, who'd have been born before 1671, was a son of Thomas of Westmoreland, who died in 1663.

Latter on the article lists more immigrant "Estes".

In 1623, living with William Gany, was a Thomasin Easter, servant, age 26, emigrated in the Falcon in 1627.
The inferrance from the article is that Thomasin was the Thomas who appears in Westmoreland. However Thomasin was a fairly common female name in England at that time and Thomasin is also listed with another servant, Elizabeth Pope. I would suggest that Thomasin was female and not a miss-spelling of Thomas.
John Easter, transported 1659 ..."Liber 7, folio 86". Could this be the John Easter of Richmond Co, VA in 1692?
This is another possible origin for the Richmond Co, VA, John?

Who was this John? A search of the Kent records, eliminating those who died in England or were there after 1659 reveals only one candidate .. John Eastes, born 1644, *brother of Abraham Estes*.

It should be pointed out that a tender age was no barrier to being sent to the colonies. Thomasin Estes, mentioned before, was shipped at the age of 20 and her fellow servant was shipped at the age of 6. In the England of the 1600's, teenage "men" had families, served in the king's armies and so forth. After all, in those days 30 was considered "old age".

The article then mentions John Estes of Hyde Co, NC and suggests he was a son of Abraham Estes (I discuss this John briefly in another article on this site).

This sugestion is one I've not been happy with. The placement of John, 1701-1771, as the son of Abraham seems to have a pretty solid support. Also, this John was on pretty close terms with Richard, a known son of Abraham. The 1701-1771 John also had a son, Abraham. The fact that the John of Hyde Co, NC had a son, Abraham, is the main evidence that he's the son of Abraham Estes.

As a brief side line, looking at the dates of the Hyde Co, NC John one can come up with some guesses as to when he was born. he died in 1732 with 8 children. Assuming about 2 years per child, he'd have married around 1715 at the latest, so would be born around 1790, at the latest. Three of his sons, Abraham (d.1751), John (d.1752) and William (d.1770) have known dates of death. Abraham mentions two children in his will, admin to his brothers. So evidently his children were minors. That suggests Abraham died young. He'd have been born no latter than 1720, which again puts his father's birth in the early to mid 1790's. Looking at the dates another way, William died in 1770, his two brothers in the 1750's. If we assume William lived to about 70, then they were born "about 1700". John's wife, mary, died in 1750. If we assume she died at 70yo, then she was born c.1680 .. which would fit with the estimates of her children being born around 1700. John would then have been born about 1675 (wives were generally younger back then, 5 years is a typical figure).

So .. who then is the father of the Hyde Co, NC, John? The most obvious candidate would be the John who was in Richmond Co, VA in 1792. Who could've been the son of Thomas of Westmoreland Co .. or the John who arrived in 1657. The dates would fit for either one. And John of Hyde Co, NC did name a son Thomas.

Kitty Estes Savage also mentions that Gov. Spotswood of VA sent troups to NC between 1700-1720 during the Tuscarora Indian War. Presumably many of those sent south to fight remained behind and set up home in NC. Including among them Sylvester, son of Abraham, and John, son of ??.

Several other Estes emigrants were mentioned.

John Estes (Etes), 1637, to James City Co, VA
William Estes, 1653, to Lancaster Co, VA
Further research will no doubt bring to the surface yet more early "Estes" living in the American Colonies.

Return to the Estes-Eastes page.