As we ago further back from our own time in history, we are faced with piecing together the remnants of the life and times of our early ancestors. Not many people were literate. Education, was indeed, for the wealthy. If it weren’t for early records like land, bond, marriage, and military records, etc., we would never have known our ancestor, Isham, also called Isome Belcher. Isham (II) was most likely mentioned in the town records. We can confirm his marriage to “Patsy” Hodges. “Patsy” was a nickname for Martha. He is also recorded in Franklin, Virginia, as having land in 1758.
This Isham (I), his father, is often associated with a second wife, Winnifred Royal. The marriage taking place January 6, 1789, in Chesterfield, before his first wife’s, Elizabeth’s death. Proof he wasn’t is also based on a record. Elizabeth Clay Belcher (wife 1) was called to sign a bond in 1793. At the time, they lived in Franklin, VA, not Chesterfield where this 2nd marriage is said to have taken place.
The times often dictated the circumstances of a person’s life, as it did for Isham I. At 24, He became a soldier and fought in the French-Indian war (1756-1763). The war reflected many issues in this county. Perhaps the biggest was the chance of becoming French subjects. And, of course, the Indians teaming up with the French to remove the British colonists any way they could. With the war won, the British now “owned” all the lands to the Mississippi River. The British also made a Proclamation Line that did not allow for any settlement beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The “existing” land (early colony’s lands) could only be divided so many times. That did not go over well with the growing population. The populace that helped the English win the war wanted more land and wanted it for free. The British Army tried to guard against them going inland. The colonist blatantly rebelled; Indians or not, they were going. Isham I was such a man. Families and friends generally migrated together. So Isham I. and with some of the inhabitants of Chesterfield (once part of Henrico) and moved toward what is now Franklin, Virginia. (Much of Franklin’s county was not settle until after the American Revolution.)
Isham II. was born in Franklin, Virginia, in 1769. Another adventurer, he traveled to Tazewell, Virginia, as early as 1804. In 1809, he purchased 40 acres on the Bluestone River. He seemed to have favored the Laurel Fork of Brush purchasing over 150 acres before his death.
He was also a soldier in the War of 1812. This war, also became known as our “2nd war of independence”. The USA was fighting to expand American territory into Canada. It did lead to the English abandoning all land on the American continent, except for Canada. The Indians, causing expansion hostilities and fighting for the British, were abandoned.
Isham II. died previous to January 28, 1823, in Tazewell, VA. January 28, was the day his will posted. His first wife, Martha, died in 1808. He then married Nancy Blankenship. She died prior, and is not included in Isham II’s will. However, 14 children are: Phoebe, Obediah, John, Jessee, Nancy, Isome (Isham III), Micaga, Jude, Asa, Henry, Moses, James, Jonathan, and Robert.
“Tazewell County, Virginia
In the name of God, Amen:
I, Isome Belcher of Tazewell County and the State of Virginia having arrived to an advanced period of life, consequently feeling the infirmities of age deem it expedient while having the exercise of my reason to make my last will and testament which is as follows;
In the first place I will that my body be buried in a Christian like manner at the discretion of my executors hereafter to be named and that my funeral expenses and debts (if any) be paid out of my estate by my executor.
I give and bequeath to each of my children to wit: Phoebe, Obediah, John, Jessee, & Nancy one dollar to be paid out of my estate.
In like manner in the next place I give and bequeath to the balance of my children viz: Isome, Micaga, Jude, Asa, Henry, Moses, James, Jonathan & Robert my horse, property, cattle, hogs, sheep, & geese, all my farm utensils, all my furniture, & one loom to be enjoyed and possessed equally by them and their heirs forever.
I also give to my son Isome a certain tract or parcel of land in Tazewell County known by 1 yrs. improvement on the Laurel fork of Brushy Creek,quantity of acres not recollected to be enjoyed and possessed by him and his heirs forever.
I also give and bequeath to my three young sons, James, Jonathan, & Robert the tract of land I now live on lying at the mouth of the Laurel fork of Brushy Creek containing 170 acres and a small tract or parcel of land on Brush Creek & joining the tract will to son Isome quantity not recollected to be enjoyed and possessed equally by them and their heirs forever.
The above estate is to be at my disposal during my natural life.
Lastly, I nominate and appoint John Davidson and Henry Bailey (grandson). Executors of this my last will and testament.
Whereof I have set my and affixed my seal this 18th day of December in the year of our Lord 1822.
Isome Belcher - seal
Signed, sealed and acknowledged on presence of:
. Samuel Dillion (brother of son, Jesse’s, wife)
. John Davidson (son of John Goolman Davidson, murdered by Indians in 1793)
. Polly McVey (possibly a wife of an 1812 soldier; a friend)”
Probably buried on his land.