2016-12-18 00:18:25 UTC
I have been investigating whether or not American gateway Henry Filmer (d. abt 1671) left descendants. I have concluded he has descendants through a daughter.
Henry Filmer, Gentleman, settled in counties in Virginia (James City, Warwick) where most records haven't survived. He was a member of the House of Burgesses for both counties (RA2:584). As I investigated contemporary sources, I could only find two possible references to children:
1. In a letter Henry Filmer wrote to Thomas Young in 1652/3, he describes his voyage from Gravesend to Virginia, and states '...the same day, my kinsman, my cooke & the litle boy by the way were a little stomacke sick...'
2. In a letter Henry Filmer of Virginia wrote to [his uncle] Robert Filmer, Esq. back in England in 1665, he states 'My wife & daughter with myselfe, present our humble service, with a like token...'
Source: Peter Walne, '"Henry Filmer of Mulberry Island, Gentleman:" A Collection of Letters from Virginia, 1653-1671,' The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Oct. 1960), 408-428 at 411-412, 424-425. The original letters are preserved at the County Record Office in Kent, England.
In the 1652/3 letter, 'the litle boy' could be a reference to a son of Henry Filmer, or it could be a reference to an indentured servant he took with him to the colonies. There was not a prominent Filmer family in Colonial Virginia, other than Henry himself. He may not have male descendants. In the 1665 letter, it seems straightforward that Henry had a daughter, but he doesn't identify her by name. Only part of Henry Filmer's will survives - the portion that relates to a bequest to a church in Kent that was copied into a letter.
Douglas Richardson, in RA2:584, states Henry Filmer had 'one son and one daughter, Martha (wife of Thomas Green).'
As I followed references in published genealogies, I came across Library of Virginia Accession Number 32301 'Clay Family Genealogical Notes,' and ordered copies. These genealogical notes and a chart were found among the papers of Green Clay (1757-1828) of Kentucky. It is thought they were written in the 1820s, or by one of his sisters in the 1840s. Here are some of the pertinent statements:
Green Clay's parents 'Charles Clay & Martha Green married 1741 Nov 11'
'Martha Clay her Mother Born 1719 Novr 25'
'Martha Clay her Mother Died 1793 Sept 6'
'Thos. Green our Maternal Grand Father died 1730'
'Elizabeth Mastin Maternal Grand Mother died 1759 Augt 11'
'Thomas Green our Great Grand Father by the maternal line married Martha Filmer a Daughter of Maj[o]r Henry Filmer a British Officer who's wifes name was Elizabeth both of whom were from England'
'Thomas Green the Sea Gull had issue by Martha Filmer 9 children five sones and four Daughters being the first american Born generation to wit:
1st John Green married to Elizabeth
2d Thomas Green our Grand father married Elizabeth Mastin
3 Elizabeth married to John Crawley
4 Rebecca married to [blank] Condon[?] and 2d marriage to [blank] Marston
5 Mary married to James Wilkerson
6 Col Abraham Green of Amelia County Virginia
8 [sic] Wm[?faint] Green married to Amey Clay
7 Filmer Green
9 Hannah married to James Turner'
Also states #6 Col Abraham Green and #7 Filmer Green named sons 'Filmer Green.'
'Thomas Green (2d child of Thomas Green the Sea Gull) married to Eliza Mastin (first child of Thos. Mastin and Elizabeth Marvell[?]) our Grand Father had issue to wit:
1st Elizabeth married to [blank] Dawson mother of said Dawson [a few barely legible words]
2d William Green died without Issue
3 Lucy married to Henry Clay
4 Martha married to Charles Clay, our father
5 Thomas Green moved to Natchez on the Mississippi
6 Mastin Green of Amelia County Virginia died Young - no issue
7 Rebecca married to Frances Jones moved to So Carrolina
8 Mastin Green 2d Son of that name of Amelia County had issue had a son & daughter'
On the chart, which is titled 'A table of Consanguinity of the Ascending line of Green Clays Family,' it is stated 'Henry Filmer Maternal Grand Father[']s Maternal Grand Father,' was married to 'Elizabeth Maternal Grand Father[']s Maternal Grand Mother.' Their daughter 'Martha [word] Filmer Maternal Grand Fathers Mother,' married to 'Thos Green Maternal Grandfathers Paternal Father Sea Gull.' Their son 'Thos Green Maternal Grand Father,' was married to 'Eliza Marstin Maternal Grand Mother.' Their daughter was 'Martha Green Mother,' who was married to 'Chas Clay Father,' and then their 11 children are identified.
In conclusion these notes were recorded circa 1820 by Green Clay or possibly his sisters in the 1840s (see Robert Young Clay, 'John Clay, Fact and Fiction,' address to Jamestowne Society, 6 May 1995, http://www.clayfamilysociety.org/ui38.htm). They were great-grandchildren of Martha (Filmer) Green. It is reasonable to accept that they knew the identity of their great-grandmother and because her father was a prominent person in Virginia's history, the identity of their great-great-grandfather Henry Filmer. I haven't found anything more contemporary that identifies Henry Filmer's descendants than the Clay papers.