An ancestral blog by Terrell Ledbetter; picture is of James River at Berkeley Plantation, Charles City, Virginia (site of original landing in America for Thomas Ledbetter)
I have seen many family trees with incorrect entries, “Find a Grave” entries with false imformation and numerous ancestral posts with false assumption concerning the Ledbetter tree. Everyone’s tree is going to vary. Not every Ledbetter descendent comes from the first to land in Virginia, but the first two generations of the first Ledbetter’s in America should be corrected. The following blog states my arguments for the tree that follows. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion based upon their own records and research. After the second generation, the Ledbetters scattered. New Ledbetter immigrants began to settle in America. My direct line and comments may be informative to some who share a common Ledbetter ancestor.
I was fortunate to have the basic generational Ledbetter tree handed to me by my great Aunt, Lillie Mae Ledbetter who was born in 1909 and was the daughter of my great -grandfather, Higgins Ledbetter. The tree had been built, corrected, and handed down over seven generations when she gave me the tree in 1990. It gave the name of each grandfather, birth and death dates, and the spouse. This was a direct line tree where most of the non-direct line siblings were not tracked. I trust this direct line as the information was handed down directly from generation to generation, probably recorded in family bibles. My dad had also told me stories over the years, some of which were of the five brothers who were the second generation. My dad’s sister, Aunt Edith Ledbetter Fortune, also told me stories from her childhood memories of the Broad River Ledbetters from George Ledbetter/Lizer Murphy and Higgins Ledbetter/Lafaria Searcy. I also received confirmation of my findings from Stuart Nanney, married to Luther Ledbetter’s daughter, showing the true lineage back to Richard Ledbetter Sr.
There are a lot of Henry’s , Richards, Johns etc, so you have to be very careful with your tree. My Richard I, born in 1644 was the father to Drury, John, Charles, William and Richard II, all born just after 1700. Some trees shows my Richard Ledbetter I as the son of Henry’s son John. Ages and other trees disprove this. There are just to many Richards period.
Tradition for naming sons were as follows, but be careful, some did not follow tradition:
• first son named after paternal grandfather
• second son named after mother’s father
• third son named after the father
• fourth son named after the father’s older brother
By the time the fifth (5) generation was born, around 1720-1735, I roughly calculate there were 150 Ledbetter males descending from Thomas, the first to come.
This is the tree below. Full explanations, stories, and supporting documents follow the tree, Direct line in blue
1st Generation in America
Thomas Ledbetter (1600-1658) – Mary Molisse Thomas (1603-1673)
2nd Generation child of Thomas
Henry Ledbetter (1635-1698) – Mary House (1624-1672)
Francis Ledbetter (1653-1743) – Martha Jones (1648-1745) Possible son of Thomas Ledbetter or son of Henry. No sure determination has been established. I have a direct line to Francis as well as the direct line to Thomas. Francis received land, along with John Ledbetter (Henry’s son) and William Jones (Francis’ brother-in-law) south/southwest of Appamatox River in 1678.
Thomas would have been fifty-three at Francis birth if that scenerio was true. If Francis was Henry’s son, he would have been born nine years ahead of the second son, John and five years before his marriage to Mary House. Speculation is that Henry was married twice, and the second wife was Sarah Tolman. There is credible evidence that Sarah Tolman and another Henry Ledbetter in the similar timetable were born, married, and lived in Massachusetts. Also the information I had handed down to me confirms that Mary House was the mother of all the boys and that Mary lived until 1672.
The LDS geneology indicates that Francis was the son of Henry Ledbetter and Mary House and was born in 1660. This lends more credibility that the other source that list the birth of Francis as 1553.
3rd Generation Children of Henry
Francis Ledbetter (1653 or 1660 -1743- Martha Jones (1648-1745)
John Ledbetter (1662-1730)
Henry Ledbetter (1664-1771)
Richard I (July 4, 1666-1759) – Hanna Honour (1675-1758)
Drury Ledbetter (1666-1740)
William Ledbetter (April 10, 1668-1743)
4th Generation children of Richard I
Henry Ledbetter (1690
John Ledbetter (1701
Charles Ledbetter (1703
William Ledbetter (1709
Richard Ledbetter II (1700-1751) – Mary Walton (1720-1779)
5h Generation children of Richard II
Issac Ledbetter (1732-1785)
Mary Ledbetter (1733-1741)
Drury S. Ledbetter (1734-1761)
Charles Ledbetter (1738-1774)
Richard B. Ledbetter III (1738-1841) – Nancy Ann Johnson (1745-1821)
Arthur Ledbetter (1740-1814)- Francis Brooks
William Ledbetter (1740-1818) _Mary Cheves
Captain George Ledbetter (1742-1792) – Elizabeth Walton (1740-
Elizabeth Walton’s mother was Elizabeth Ledbetter (1730-1802) and daughter of Henry Ledbetter (1690-1751)/Edith Williamson (1690). Henry was the son of Francis Ledbetter (1653-1743)/Martha Jones (1648-1745). This Francis Ledbetter is either the brother or son of Henry Ledbetter (2nd generation). This Francis, therefore, is either second or third generation. With either case, I am fortunate to have two separate lines from Thomas Ledbetter.
6th Generation children of Captain George
Elizabeth Ledbetter (1773-1790) – James Bradley
George (Walton) Ledbetter (1775-1866) – Sally Goodbread (1780-1875)
Isaac Ledbetter (1776-1837)- Ursala Bradley/Nancy King
William H. Ledbetter (1783-1849) – Ruth Lewellen
Nancy Ledbetter (1784-1840) -James Murphree/James Bowem
7th Generation children of Walton
William (George) Ledbetter (1815-1864) – Eliza Murphy (1823-18970
Madison Ledbetter (1809-1889)- Mary Lyda
Temperance Ledbetter (1816) – William Bertus Murphy
Squire Thomas Ledbetter (1819-1863)- Zillah Murphy/Malinda Gilliam
James Ledbetter (1830
8th Generation children of George
William Higgins Ledbetter (1862-1932) – Lafaria Searcy (1868-1925)
Katherine Ledbetter (1845-1914)- Watsell Avery Lyda
James Ledbetter (1842)
Aunt Harriet Ledbetter (1863-1963)
9th Generation children of Higgins
Luther B. Ledbetter (1887-1969) – Kate Nanney
James (Jim) Lancaster Ledbetter (1880-1950) – Gardie Elliott (1891-1973)
Cletus L. Ledbetter (1894-1968) -Maggie Elliott
Ethel Pauline Ledbetter (1898-1994) -Charles Meese
John Long Ledbetter (1900-1957) – Hettye Nanney
Annie Eliza (1902-1998) – William Morris
Sam Ledbetter (1909-1927)
Lillie Mae Ledbetter ( (1909-1995) – Perry Melton
Bryan Ledbetter (1896-1967)- Maggie Taylor
Discussion of each generation and background information:
1) Thomas Ledbetter (1600-1658)
As written by James A. Mc Clain in Ancestry.com, the Ledbetter family home was in Durham County, Northumbria, England from after 1570 until Thomas immigrated. His family reportedly were French Hugenots who had fled France some years before the Massacre of St. Bartholomew in 1572. William Leadbetter had left the area for Ireland in early 1740’s and his wife, Mary Shackleton, published a short history of the family in 1744 where she said the family had fled from France and their family name was LeBete. The family located at Seaham, an old Viking fishing village on the North Atlantic Coast of Durham County. The family apparently was in England for only two generations before Thomas immigrated.
My great-great Aunt’s records indicate that Thomas and his wife Mary Thomas immigrated to Charles City, Virginia in 1721. Edward Tunstall had sold 125 acres to Thomas earlier (probably 1637 when Tunstall moved to Henrico Country) and Thomas had received an additional 99 acres due to arranging transportation of Margary Lucus and Mary House to America in 1638. Governor Berkely transacted with 224 acres south of the Appamatox River on April 29, 1668 to Henry Ledbetter. By this time, Thomas had been deceased by ten years. Due to the fact that no immigration records have been found, nor land records until after 1637, it is my own personal theory that Thomas and Mary were endentures and only after working off their transportation costs, were they able to by the land from Tunstall in 1637. Some have stated they were landed gentry and purchased land after they arrived in 1635. I trust my information handed down to me on the immigration period so I do not agree they were landed gentry after 1635.
This land was south of the Appamatox River and between the current cities of Petersburg and West Petersburg, Virginia. A branch of the Appamatox in this area was called Ledbetter Creek for years. The first three generations lived here for over ninety years.
In the late 1680’s, the family attended the Church of England, the Blandford Church in the Bristol Parish.
It should be noted that the LDS indicate Mary Thomas to have been born in 1627 in Durham, England. This is obviously incorrect as we have the above mentioned land transactions in 1637 in Virginia when Mary would be ten.
2.Henry Ledbetter (1635-1698)
i have seen Henry’s birthdate as early as 1625. Due to lack of women in America, colonialists were granted land in exchange for transporting women to Virginia in the early 1600’s. Such was the case for Thomas as he received 99 acres for transporting Margry Linsal and Mary House (1624-16720}. This is the Mary House that Henry married in April, 1658. They had six sons and one daughter.
I have seen reports that Henry had a second wife named Sarah Tolman. The Henry that married Sarah was born in 1633 and died in 1722. This couple lived and died in Dorchester, Massachusetts. I believe there is a big incorrect jump to assume the Charles City Henry Ledbetter was the same as the Massachusetts Henry Leadbetter.
The land deed to Henry Ledbetter by Sir Berkely in 1658 establishes his residency in the Appamatox River area of Virginia.
A judgement on record of October, 1673 to Mary Ledbetter verifies her continued presence in the area and marriage to Henry.
3.Richard Ledbetter I (1666-1759)
Lived in Appamatox River area until 1729 when many of the Ledbetter kin purchased land and moved to land adjoining each other in Brunswick County, Virginia near present day White Plains :
∗ both sides of the Meherrin River
∗south to Rattlesnake Creek
∗Swiss Creek, Little Creek and Hounds Creek
4.Richard Ledbetter II (1700-1751)
He also made the move from the Appomatox River area to Brunswick County. Produced a huge number of male offsprings in his short lifetime. He was the first Ledbetter to purchase land in the then pioneer County of Brunswick. Richard owned the most land followed by brothers William and Henry. Richard became constable in 1738 and oveseer in 1739.
5. Captain George Ledbetter (1742-1792)
Moved to Rutherford County in 1775. A well educated man who was involved with ratification of the continental congress. Served as a Captain in the Battle of Kings mountain under Colonel Hampton. Served as a sheriff and Justice of Peace for Rutherford County after the Revolutionary War.
6. Walton Ledbetter (1775-1866)
Walton married into the Goodbread family, an immigrant family from Germany. His wife Sarah Goodbread’s grandmother was Mary Ledbetter (1742-1625) who was the daughter of Richard Ledbetter III (1717-1751). Walton lived in the Montford Cove area of McDowell County.
7. George Ledbetter (1815-1864)
My details on George Ledbetter were told to me by my dad and Aunt Edith who heard stories from their grandfather Higgins Ledbetter and grandmother Lafaria when they were children.
George was a skilled craftsman, blacksmith and farmer who provided food and support for those in the region who needed help. His wife’s family, the Murphy’s, had a wagon road inn. George was handy with repairing wagons and wheels as necessary.
He was over thirty-five at the outbreak of the Civil War so he was allowed to continue farming while serving as a home guard. In 1864, George was ambushed and shot in the head by a deserter. His wife, Liza Murphy, picked up a rifle and shot the deserter. Liza cleaned up George’s body and buried him. At the time they had several girls and my great-grandfather Higgins who was two years old. The death was a serious burden to the family and was felt for generations.
The family lived in the Broad River area which is now on Hwy 9 about a third of the way between Bat Cave and Black Mountain, North Carolina.
8. Higgins Ledbetter (1862-1932)
Like his father before him, Higgins was a skilled craftsman, blacksmith and farmer. Aunt Edith told me that his wife Lafaria was a likeable woman. They lived in the Broad River area.
I believe the above picture was taken around 1905. My grandfather was Jim who died when I was five. I remember visiting my dad’s uncles Bryan and Luther on Sundays during the 1950’s. They all live in Broad River, Buncombe County, North Carolina.
9. Roy, Frank, Holly, Grady and Mary Elizabeth (Edith) Ledbetter children of Jim Ledbetter
The generation I have known well. May they all rest in peace. They will be remembered.