Benjamin Goodman I of New Kent, VA 1662 – 1735

What We Thought (and has been disproved)

There has been so much speculation about Benjamin Goodman of New Kent / Hanover over the years. Much of this speculation assumes that this Benjamin (or parhaps his father, also a Benjamin), was the earliest Goodman emigrant of this line, which may not be correct. Given his extensive land holdings and bequests in his will, he could have been a son, grandson or even a great-grandson of an earlier emigrant Goodman, perhaps as early as 1618, when a Robert Goodman, a “Person of Quality”, landed in Jamestown and is mentioned in several later records.

As established below, no one really knows for sure exactly where he came from or when, or how he got to Virginia, and we may never know any of that for sure. Indeed, there are documents of a Benjamin Goodman of St Katherine’s, in County Middlesex (London) [“This parish extends from the Iron gate eastward along St Katherine’s street including part thereof to the king’s brew house and from thence northward on the westerly side of the Butcher row five doors being opposite to the Maypole and fronting Tower hill from the Ship brewhouse southward to the Iron gate including all the streets lanes courts alleys &c in this compass”] who was ordered transported to Barbados, and (supposedly) a transportation list to Maryland, and IGI files (some user submitted and without supporting citations or proofs), parish christening register entries from Southhill and Goldington, County Bedford, England (which does NOT establish or prove any kind of connection), and the list goes on. All these documents are nice, but none of them establishes a definitive, provable connection to the later Benjamin Goodman of New Kent / Hanover, Virginia. The one that was transported in 1672 was presumably 20 years old or more, and therefore born ca 1650 or before, and possibly, but not for certain, could have been the father of the Benjamin Goodman who later married Lucy Blackwell, but almost certainly was NOT the same Benjamin Goodman who was ordered transported.

Before January 2010, when evidence to the contrary was discovered, most researchers believed that this Benjamin Goodman’s ancestry and family were as follows. This unproven (and now known to be incorrect) ancestry has been posted to many Internet genealogy forums, and uploaded by many people to various genealogy websites, so it will be difficult, if not impossible, to purge those sites of the following incorrect information:

1. Benjamin4 Goodman (Benjamin3, William2, John1) (Source: IGI for Bedfordshire, England.) was christened on 5 March 1662 in Goldington, Bedfordshire, England. That his father, also Benjamin, was somehow in London, then “of St. Katherine’s” and a prisoner at Newgate, Middlesex County, when he was ordered transported to Barbados in 1672, and from there he somehow got to Maryland, and somehow got from there to New Kent County, VA, along with his presumed son, the Benjamin Goodman christened in Goldington in 1662, and also presumably with a wife and possibly other family members, who may have come to Virginia later.

Personally, I have always thought that was a lot to swallow, and have been questioning the logical possibility of this scenario since before 2001 for many reasons. My several requests for specific documentation and proofs from the person/persons who put forth this theory to “connect the dots” have so far been unsatisfied.

New Discoveries

The earlier theories above have since been positively disproved by the following: 

In January 2010, I discovered a long overlooked record in Goldington, Bedfordshire, England, that tends to indicate that this Benjamin Goodman’s father, supposedly the one christened in Southill, Bedfordshire England on May 12, 1639, and previously believed to be the on later ordered transported to Barbados in 1672, was a common laborer still residing in Goldington, Bedfordshire in 1677/78, re:…

“Barford Hundred HSA/1678 W/12 1678
Barford Hundred: Bedford Assizes, 7 March 1677/8

Goldington: Robt Knott & Tho Moakes present John Curtice husbandman, Benjamin Goodman labourer, and Robt Bills for not coming to church 2 Sundayes last past …”

Therefore, based on the above record, Benjamin Goodman of Southill and later of Goldington could NOT have been the same one ordered transported to Barbados in 1672, and could not have been the one previously presumed to be the one later found and documented in New Kent County VA. His presumed son, the Benjamin Goodman christened in Goldington on 5 March 1662, also could NOT have been the one ordered transported, as he was only 10 years old in 1772. The son Benjamin would have had to have come to the colonies with his father sometime after 1677/78, or on his own after he turned 18, so about 1680 or later. This is within the realm of possibility, but cannot be proved by anything that has been found to date, and it does not seem plausible that this family would have had the financial resources to become wealthy planters in Virginia by the early 1700s.

Re: ‘Hearth Tax: Middlesex 1666, St Katherines by the Tower , St Katherines Court,‘ in London Hearth Tax: City of London and Middlesex, 1666 (Centre for Metropolitan History, 2011), which lists Samuel Goodman of that parish with 5 hearths taxed in 1666.

This was just 6 years before Benjamin Goodman, also of St Katherine’s according to the Middlesex Court Order, was ordered transported to Barbados! The Benjamin and Samuel Goodman names in the same parish of London, at close to the same time, is quite interesting.

Was this Samuel Goodman possibly the father or brother of the Benjamin Goodman ordered transported? If so, then it would establish a strong case that the Benjamin Goodman ordered transported was in fact the same one later in New Kent / Hanover VA, or more likely his father, since the one transported would have been near or over 50 in 1700 when he supposedly married 15 year old Lucy Blackwell, which has always seemed totally implausible to me. It’s more reasonable to believe that the one transported was about age 20 or older when he left England, that he married and had children in Virginia between 1673 and 1680, or may even have had a wife and children in London before being transported, and that one of those children was the Benjamin who later married Lucy Blackwell about 1700.

In that case, it also firmly establishes that he could not have been one of the Benjamin Goodmans of Bedfordshire, as others have always postulated, so all of that presumed ancestry goes out the window! It also shows that both Samuel and Benjamin names were used by this Goodman family of St Katherine’s of Middlesex and London, even before he was ordered transported. The count of 5 hearths also could establish that this Goodman family was relatively well-to-do. So Benjamin’s eventual relocation to Virginia and acquisition of substantial lands there could have been facilitated by his prosperous family in London.


What We Do Know

Only the following, of his later life in New Kent / Hanover County VA, is actually supported by proven documentation:

Benjamin Goodman, origins and ancestry unknown and unproved, was already married and in Virginia on 27 April 1701 in St Peter’s Parish, New Kent Co., where his son Samuel was christened as stated in the Register of St. Peter’s Parish. Land processioning records in later vestry books of this same parish and its successor, St Paul’s Parish, indicate that Benjamin Goodman was living, with his wife Lucy Blackwell, on James Turner’s orphan’s land, and mentions that James Blackwell is the grandfather of the orphans. They may have been trying to keep the land in the family, so Benjamin Goodman was living on that land. The processioning records  indicate that he did not own that land, but that it was a legacy of James Turner to his children. However, Benjamin Goodman did own his own land in the same precinct. In the 1715 processioning, it is mentioned that among the party processioning the lands was “Benjamin Goodman’s son, for his father”. His son Samuel was christened in 1701 in St Peter’s Parish, and being only 15, is not likely to have been old enough to be the son mentioned in the processioning record. Therefore, the son mentioned must have been either Benjamin II, or Robert, or possibly another son, born ca 1697 or earlier, who may have died before Benjamin wrote his will in 1729. My own thought is that it may have been Robert, due to how Robert is mentioned in Benjamin’s will below, as receiving “his old plantation”, presumably the one in New Kent / Hanover county, and not the lands that sons Samuel and Benjamin received, which were just over the border in Louisa County, as established by later Louisa County deeds. If this is the case, then Robert Goodman was probably the eldest son, born ca 1697/99, and possibly by another wife prior to Lucy Blackwell, as Lucy was born ca 1785, as described following, and she survived until at least 1750.

It is difficult to speculate what may have transpired in New Kent and Hanover land transactions. But we do know that Benjamin Goodman did own quite a bit of land. His will states: “Secondly I give and bequeath to my son Samuel Goodman the plantation whereon he now dwelth and one hundred acres of land thereunto adjoyning being part of the divident whereon I now live joyning on the main road to him his heirs and assigns forever. Thirdly I give and bequeath to my son Robert Goodman his old plantation and one hundred acres of land thereunto adjoyning to him his heirs and assigns for ever. Fourthly my will is that my lovely wife Lucie Goodman shall have and enjoy my plantation whereon I now dwell with all houses and orchards thereupon during her natural life and after her decease to be to the only proper use of my son Benjamin Goodman his heirs and assigns for ever.” As can be seen, Benjamin had several hundreds of acres of land of his own that he willed to his family. It also appears that some time after the mention of him living on the lands of James Turner’s orphans, he removed to one of his own Hanover County plantations, and by his will, the one that was later owned by son Benjamin Goodman, who was still caring for his mother on that plantation in 1750.

Despite popular belief, the order of the bequests in the will does not necessarily establish the birth order of the children named. If it had in this case, then Samuel would have been the eldest, then Robert, then Benjamin. However, this does not correspond to traditional Anglican English onomastics (naming patterns), in which the eldest son was named after his paternal grandfather, the 2nd son after the father, the 3rd son after the maternal grandfather, etc. [“Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America”, David Hackett Fischer, Oxford University Press, 1989, p.306-310].  This naming pattern would establish that Benjamin was the 2nd son, and that the elder Benjamin’s father was named either Robert or Samuel, and that Lucy’s father was named either Samuel or Robert. All of this also assumes that Benjamin and Lucie/Lucy Goodman did not have any other male offspring that had died before his will was written in 1729, a rare case indeed since infant morality rates were so high in those days. Over 30 percent of newborns in Virginia died in the first 30 months of life [ibid. p.311]. But if a child did die in infancy, its name was often re-used by the parents in order to preserve the onomastic pattern, a practice called a necronym.

Benjamin Goodman the elder wrote his will in 1729 and died before 1 May 1735 (date his widow provided bond for his inventory) in Hanover County, Virginia (Will recorded in Hanover VA and also recorded in Cumberland County VA). He married Lucie (Lucy) Blackwell before son Samuel was christened in 1701, presumed to be the daughter of James Blackwell and Lydia Turner. (Source: Will of Benjamin Goodman, St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover Co., VA. Robert V. “Van”. Blackwell, 3885 Hadley Farm Dr., Marietta, GA, 30066-2646, also later court and Vestry records). According to one source, she was born 27 September 1689. However, this birth date is impossible, since son Samuel was christened in 17 April 1701 in St Peter’s Parish Register, at which date she would have been only 11-1/2 years old! More likely she was born in 1685, per this source.) in New Kent County, Virginia (Source: Chamberlayne, Register, St. Peter’s Parish.). She died after 1750 in St. Paul Parish, Hanover, Virginia (Source: mentioned as mother of Benjamin Goodman, Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover Co., VA, entry for Vestry held 06 Nov 1750).

His wife Lucie, or Lucy, has eluded our research for many years. There are no known records that specifically identifies her heritage. Using other sources, family associations and dates, we can make an educated assumption that her maiden name was probably Blackwell. Because there have been so many records lost from this area from this time period the Processioning list proves very valuable in putting together a complete list of all of the children of James Blackwell as well as additional information about this family. See also: James Blackwell on FTM.

When the land for St. Paul’s Parish of New Kent County was Processioned on 17 September 1711, the two overseers were James Blackwell and George Turner, who may have been brothers-in-law. Others of interest present at the same Processioning were James Blackwell’s brother Robert Blackwell, as well as a James Blackwell, Junior, evidently the oldest son of James Blackwell. Also mentioned is Benjamin Goodman who is believed to be one of James Blackwell’s Sr’s sons-in-law. However, based on the onomastic naming patterns cited above, it is also possible that Lucy Blackwell may have been the daughter of Robert Blackwell, not James, as Benjamin and and Lucy had a son named Robert. But for now, I am following the lead of others in assuming that James and Lydia Blackwell had a daughter Lucy who married Benjamin Goodman. The Vestry Book of St. Peter’s Parish shows a daughter being born to them on the 27 Sept. ? (assumed 1685) but her name has not survived. Later in the Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish the land processioning for 1711 list among the people James Blackwell and George Turner overseers (they are brothers-in-law), James Blackwell Jr. (eldest son of James and Lydia, married Mary Glenn), John Turner (whose wife was Lydia Blackwell, Lucy Blackwell’s elder sister) and Benjamin Goodman. Also mentioned are James Turners orphans. James Turner is thought to be the son-in-law of James Blackwell, Sr., married to his daughter Lydia. Later in the same list mention is made that a division of land between John Turner and his Uncle Blackwell’s. John Turner was a brother of the deceased James Turner and his father a brother to Lydia, wife of James Blackwell, Sr. A John Turner was also the husband of Benjamin Goodman’s daughter, Ann, but whether it was the same John Turner or a later one, perhaps one of James Turner’s orphans, is unknown. Later in the same list is also mentioned the fact that some land was not processioned. It was James Turner’s orphan’s land on which Benjamin Goodman lived and mentions that James Blackwell is the grandfather of the orphans.

The Children of Benjamin Goodman and Lucie/Lucy Blackwell (Source: Will of Benjamin Goodman, St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover Co., VA.) were:

  1. Robert Goodman I, born ca 1699-1703, probably in what was then New Kent County VA. He inherited “His Old Plantation”, presumably in what was by 1735 Hanover County, so he may have been the eldest of Benjamin Goodman’s children, and probably was already living on and managing “His Old Plantation” long before Benjamin Goodman’s death. He died before 1763, when his lands in St Paul’s Parish, then Hanover County, are processioned thereafter in the name of Mary Goodman, presumed to be his widow. The descendants of his brother Samuel and Benjamin are fairly well known and documented, primarily because they resided in the part of Hanover that later became Louisa county, whose records are essentially intact, while very little is known of Robert Goodman or his lands. Therefore we may surmise that Robert Goodman resided primarily in Hanover, or possibly in New Kent, both of which are “burned” counties for which few official records before 1800 have survived, and not in Louisa County, for which most records did survive. The two male children listed for this Robert Goodman are unproven, and are listed by circumstantial evidence only (names of their children and their known residences). His presumed offspring can probably never be proved due to the loss of New Kent and Hanover County Virginia records.
    His children (Hypothetical)
    1. Robert Goodman II, born ca. 1725 in Hanover Co., VA; died Unknown.
      This Robert Goodman, originally of Hanover Co., VA, and second of Lunenburg Co., VA, was almost certainly a son of the Robert Goodman of Hanover b ca 1703, who was the son of Benjamin Goodman who died in 1735 in Hanover Co., VA and  Lucy Blackwell. Robert Goodman’s wife’s identity and when they married is not known.
      Robert Goodman owned land in Lunenburg Co., VA before 1759, and purchased 500 ac. more of adjacent property for £40 from George Green of Halifax Co., recorded June 7, 1759 (Lu CO 6:11B, and DB 5:383-385). This land was located: “on the branches of Flat Rock Creek, along his lines (RG: therefore indicating a prior land purchase, date uncertain, possibly while Lunenburg was part of Brunswick County), … east to line along Brown’s (Israel) and William’s (John) lines,… to Liveret’s (Robert)“. Witnesses not listed. The deed was ordered recorded in open court on same date. George Green had purchased a smaller section of land in this same area from Israel Brown 7 Aug 1753, wit. John Williams (Lu DB 3:326-328).
      Flat Rock Creek and its branches run south until the main creek joins the Middle Meherrin River slightly NE of South Hill in Lunenburg Co., not far north of the Mecklenburg Co. line. See Lunenburg Co section of this site for additional transactions in that county of related families, including several on and near Flat Rock Creek and the Meherrin River.
    2. Removed.
  2. Samuel Goodman (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968, PG 89-93.Copy in the Virginia Library) was christened 27 April 1701 in St Peter’s Paris, New Kent Co, VA (Source: Register of St. Peter’s Parish New Kent County Va 1684-1786.), and died before 1782 in Beaverdam, Hanover Co., VA (Source: Louisa Co. DB G. p. 91. Son Timothy, sold land as directed by his father’s Will.). Samuel was probably married about 1726, as two of his sons, Samuel Goodman, Jr., and Benjamin Lewis Goodman b. ca. 1732, were old enough on Oct. 23, 1750 for their father to deed them 150 ac. each, as recorded in Louisa Co. (Louisa Co. DB A p. 403.) Samuel gave his sons these lands that were on the Little River which was around the Hanover / Louisa county border. Benjamin Lewis Goodman sold his 150 ac. and plantation on the Little River, on 23 Oct 1754 for £140. His wife, Maria Williams was a party to the transaction. Under her maiden name, she had witnessed a Power of Attorney on 2 May 1752, along with her father, Daniel Williams, her mother Ursula Henderson Williams, and brother Henry Williams. Therefore, Benjamin Lewis Goodman and Maria Williams must have married ca. 1753. Samuel Goodman owned land in Hanover Co. on June 4, 1734. (Wm. and Mary Quarterly, 1 st ser., vol. 21, p. 52.) He bought land in Louisa Co. on Sept. 5. 1745 (Louisa Co. DB A. p. 200) and on July 20, 1746 (Louisa Co. DB A. p. 241), but he evidently never lived there, as all Louisa Co. records refer to him as a Planter of Hanover Co. On Sept. 14, 1767, he purchased more land in Louisa Co. A son of Samuel Goodman, Timothy Goodman, only surviving executor of his father, sold this land on June 20, 1791 as directed by the last will and testament of Samuel Goodman, deceased, as recorded in the County Court of Hanover Co. (Louisa Co. DB G. p. 91.) It is unfortunate that this deed fails to give the date on which the will of Samuel Goodman was recorded in Hanover Co., and that it is not among the fragmentary Hanover Co. records. Samuel Goodman probably was dead before 1782, as he is not listed in the 1782 census. We do know that he was dead before August 3, 1784, as he is stated as “deceased” in a deed by his grandson Mordecai Hill. (Wm. and Mary Quart., 1 ser. Vol. 22, p. 121.)
  3. Benjamin Goodman , born Unknown, probably ca 1703-05 in New Kent Co., VA, before Hanover County was formed, and died after 1750 in then Hanover Co., VA (St Paul’s Parish Vestry records). After his father’s death, his lands and lands of his brothers Samuel and Robert are processioned in St Paul’s Parish, Hanover County. Benjamin and Samul’s lands were in that part of Hanover that later became Louisa County, while Robert’s lands were probably what was to remain New Kent or Hanover. His children have not been identified in any sources I could find.

Known and Presumed Children of Samuel Goodman are:

    1. Benjamin Lewis Goodman, born Abt. 1732 in Hanover Co., VA; died 7 October 1781 in Hayes Station, South Carolina (Source: (1) Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968. He married Maria Williams Bef. 23 Oct 1754, when he and Maria his wife sold 150 ac of land in Louisa County given to him by his father Samuel Goodman on 23 Oct 1750, to Patrick Belches (Source: Louisa Co. VA Deed Book A/B); born 26 July 1733 in Hanover, Virginia (Source: NSDAR# 451486.), daughter of Daniel Williams and Ursula Henderson; died 1802 in South Carolina. These Williams and Henderson families are the same ones who formed The Transylvania Company, which sponsored Daniel Boone and the Boonesborough settlement in Kentucky.
    2. Samuel Goodman (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968.), born Abt. 1733 in Virginia; died 1806 in Hanover, Virginia.
    3. Charles Goodman, born Abt. 1740 in Hanover, Virginia (RG: actually ca 1731/32, as he witnessed a deed in on 15 Dec 1752 in Louisa County, VA); died December 1826 in Albemarle, Virginia. He married (1) Elizabeth Horsley Abt. 1760 in Virginia; born Abt. 1744 in Hanover, Virginia; died Bef. 1802 in Albemarle, Virginia. He married (2) Sarah Tallcock 30 January 1802 in Albemarle, Virginia; born Unknown; died Bef. 1810 in, Albemarle, Virginia. More About Charles Goodman and Elizabeth Horsley: Marriage: Abt. 1760, Virginia Sealed to spouse (LDS): 18 January 1989, WASHI More About Charles Goodman and Sarah Tallcock: Marriage: 30 January 1802, Albemarle, Virginia
    4. Joseph Goodman (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968.Copy located in the Virginia Library), born Abt. 1741 in Hanover Co., VA (Source: Estimate from birth dates of children); died Bef. 13 June 1791 in Hanover Co., VA (Source: Personal Tax Records of St. Martins Parish, Hanover Co., Va. 1791.). He married Caroline Elizabeth Terrell (Source: Terrell Trails, (Spring 2000, Vol. XVI no.1), 1312.) Abt. 1769 (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968, Book found in the Virginia Historical Society.); born Unknown in Virginia; died Unknown. More About Joseph Goodman and Caroline Terrell: Marriage: Abt. 1769 (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968, Book found in the Virginia Historical Society.)
    5. Female Goodman (Source: based on will of Timothy Goodman in Hanover Co., VA.), born Unknown; died Unknown. She married Hill Unknown (Source: based on will of Timothy Goodman in Hanover Co., VA.); born Unknown; died Unknown. More About Hill and Goodman: Marriage: Unknown (Source: based on will of Timothy Goodman in Hanover Co., VA.)
    6. William Goodman (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968.), born Unknown in Virginia; died 1808 in Hanover, Virginia (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968.). He married Elizabeth (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968.) Unknown; born Unknown; died Unknown. More About William Goodman and Elizabeth: Marriage: Unknown
    7. Timothy Goodman (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968.), born 1756 in Culpepper, Va; died Abt. May 1805 in Hanover, Virginia (Source: Ancestry of Janie Blackwell Hughes 1879-1968.). He married (1) Tabitha Towles 1778 in Culpeper, Va; born Unknown; died Unknown. He married (2) Nanen Unknown (Source: based on his will.); born Unknown; died Aft. 1805 (Source: based on her husband’s will.). More About Timothy Goodman and Tabitha Towles: Marriage: 1778, Culpepper, Va Sealed to spouse (LDS): 30 March 1991, AZ More About Timothy Goodman and Nanen: Marriage: Unknown (Source: based on his will.)



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