Posted By: Ed Powell
Subject: Frances Norgrave Mason
Post Date: August 23, 2000 at 15:43:01
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Forum: Matheny Family Genealogy Forum
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From the day I first started researching my Metheny ancestors, I have been plagued by some misinformation concerning the wife of William Wentworth Metheny the son of Daniel Mathena (Matheny)who lived on what has come to be known as the "Hope Plantation." Actually it was a 500 acre farm that was part of a much larger Hope Patent but that's another story. I initially began my research thinking that the Metheny/Matheny/Mathena families were related to George Mason of Gunston Hall. The same George Mason who was a contemporary and friend of George Washington and who wrote the Virginia Bill of Rights, after which the US Bill of Rights was patterned. As I began to investigate this further, I soon discovered a long standing error that has been repeated over and over again in Matheny/Metheny/Mathena genealogy. The original error no doubt arose when some early researcher found the Last Will and Testament of Willam Wentworth Matheny wherein he makes his wife "Frances" his executrix and leaves property to "WM Mason, my wife's son." This researcher then searched for women in the records named Frances Mason and came upon Frances Norgrave Mason and made the assumption that this must be the Frances that was married to William. Unfortunately, if this researcher had checked further, he or she would have found that this Frances was first married to Captain John Norgrave and after his death married the first Colonel George Mason (there were five George Masons in the line down to and including George Mason of Gunston Hall). After Colonel Mason died, Frances Norgrave Mason married Dr. Edward Maddocks or Maddox, who was one of the Stafford County justices. That information was found in Official Records, County Record (Order) Book (1644-1668, 1689-1693)Stafford County Court, Stafford,VA page 105. This record is quoted as follows: "At a Court held for the County of Stafford at the house of Thomas Elsey November the 12th 1690 Present Coll William Fitzhugh, Mr. Samuel Hayward, Capt George Mason, Mr. John Withers, Mr. Edward Thomason, Justices. Mr. Willaim Buckner and Mr. Matthew Thompson. Ordered that Doctor Edward Maddocks who intermaried with Frances the Widow and relict of Col George Mason late of this County Deced and who was formerly the Widow and Executrix of Capt John Norgrave late of this County Deced shall be by the Sherif Summoned to the next Court to give Security Touching the Estate of the said Capt John Norgrave Deced Pursuant to an order of the Last General Court and that he bring good Security for the True and Faithful performance of said Will of the afores Capt John Norgrave Deced." Then I found another record which said that this same Frances was deceased by or before September 13, 1693. That information was in Official Records, Staffod County Deed and Will Book (1699-1709), Stafford County Court, Stafford, VA, pages 302-303. Thus, this Frances was married to Dr. Maddocks at the time she was reported to have been married to William Wentworth Matheny. Further, she was dead before William's will dated November 12, 1705 was executed and thus could not have been the Frances who was his wife and the executrix of his will. This also resolved another question about William Mason. Since Colonel George Mason only had one son, George, according to the Stafford County Deed and Will Book (1689-1693) page 209, the WM Mason mentioned in William Matheny's will as being the son of his wife Frances could not have been Colonel Mason's son, unless he were illegitimate and not claimed by Colonel Mason which does not appear from the facts to be the case. Thus, in spite of the fact that William and Frances Norgrave Mason have be reported sealed in marriage through the LDS church and numerous LDS family group sheets list her as William's wife, the facts clearly indicate otherwise. The Mason line that sired the famous patriot George Mason of Gunston Hall was not the only Mason family living in Stafford County at the time. George Harrison Sanford King in his book THE REGISTER OF OVERWHARTON PARISH STAFFORD COUNTY VIRGINIA 1723-1758 AND SUNDRY HISTORICAL AND GENEALOCICAL NOTES, Southern Historical Press Inc., P.O. Box 738, Easley South Carolina 29641-0738 pages 74-75 lists several Masons. King also reports the existence of another George Mason who was a contemporary of the first Colonel George Mason's son. According to King this George Mason who acquired property on the Aquia Creek (Where the Mathena family lived) in Overwharton Parish is referred to in records as George Mason of Aquia. (See page 75 footnote in King's book). Thus, I cannot say for certainty who William's wife was married to before she married him but I can say with a great deal of certainty that William's wife was not Frances Norgrave Mason Maddocks! By the way, I was not the first nor the last person to make this discovery. William Blake Metheny who did the seminal research on the Metheny family discovered this in 1945 through a letter written to him on 2 July 1945 by Major John Bailey Nicklin, III, Danville Hall#125, Oakridge, TN. Major Nicklin in his letter states as follow: "Frances, widow of Capt. John Norgrave later married Col. George Mason and then Dr. Edward Maddocks whose wife she was last and on 12 Sep 1693 the records state that 'Frances Maddocks is now dead.' So she could not have been your Frances who married Matheny. She married (1) Capt. John Norgrave 9d.1669), (2) Col. George Mason (d.1656)and (3) Dr. Edward Maddocks who survived her. NOW William Matheny also married a widow Frances Mason so she must have been the widow of William Mason who was deceased in 1690, leaving a minor daughter Barbara." That information was quoted from Metheny, W. Blake, Esq., GENEALOGICAL NOTES CONCERNING THE MATHENY_METHENY FAMILY OF VIRGINIA, 1518 Lincoln Liberty Building, Philadelphia, PA, page 64. I hope by posting this here, this will end the discussion about Frances Norgrave Mason being married to William and will lead to a correction of many records. I first wrote this information and published it on October 10, 1992 before I had found William Blake Metheny's research. It was published in a now defunct newsletter which I called THE HOPE and which only made it through two issues due to my work schedule at the time. My article complete with footnotes was later published in the METHENY ONLINE NEWSLETTER published by Dave Metheny. It published in the August, September or October 1998 issue (I am not sure which at this moment and don't wish to search through my files to find out as I am writing this). I stand by the facts and hope this will benefit other researchers of the Mathena/Matheny/Metheny lines.