John Chiswell

  • Birth 1715
  • Death 15 Oct 1766
  • Burial Beaverdam, Hanover County, Virginia, USA
  • Memorial ID 31364697

John Chiswell lived in Williamsburg, Va. His parents were Charles Chiswell and his wife Esther (Dabney?). It was Charles Chiswell that built Scotchtown in 1719. After the death of his father in 1737, John inherited Scotchtown and he will enlarge by doubling the size of the 4 room house his father had built.

A long forgotten story of Colonial Virginia history, which was in its day quite sensational, was the murder case against John Chiswell. He was charged with murder after he admitted he had killed Robert Routledge on June 3, 1766 with a sword at Mosby's Tavern in Cumberland County.
John Chiswell was taken into custody to be jailed until the case came before the court. But suddenly he was set free on bail- some said powerful friends paid a very high bail amount and forced the judge sitting for the case to release him- the local populace rose up in outrage over this. Local papers were filled with stories of unrest over this case- how a rich man was being allowed to get away with murder... it was the O.J. Simpson case of its day. While awaiting trial in Williamsburg, Chiswell mysteriously died. Some said he committed suicide, the coroner (a friend of the family) stated that he died "of a nervous fit". Since the manner of his death was in question he was not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg.
His body was brought to Scotchtown for burial. As the wagon carrying the coffin arrived at the house, the Routledge family, the family of the murdered man, stood waiting on the steps. They demanded that the coffin be opened to view the body- to see if he was really dead or if it was a hoax. Once satisfied that he was indeed dead, John Chiswell was then laid to rest in the small graveyard there at Scotchtown.
He now lies in an unmarked grave.

He married Elizabeth Randolph, daughter of William Randolph of Turkey Island.
Children:
1. Elizabeth Chiswell; b. 24 May 1737; m. Charles Carter, circa 1755/60; d. 1804 in Fredericksburg, Va.(?)
2. Susan Chiswell; b. 1738; m. John Robinson, son of the Hon. John Robinson and Catherine Beverley, 21 Dec 1759; 3rd wife.
3. Mary Chiswell, b. 22 Feb 1739; m. Capt. Warner Lewis Jr. of "Warner Hall", died Nov. 1, 1776.
4. Lucy Chiswell; b. 3 Aug 1752; m. Col. William Nelson, son of Thomas Nelson and Lucy Armistead, 24 Nov 1770; d. 4 Apr 1810 at age 57.


Family Members

Children

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  • Created by: SheWalksTheseHills
  • Added: 13 Nov 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 31364697
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Chiswell (1715–15 Oct 1766), Find A Grave Memorial no. 31364697, citing Scotchtown Graveyard, Beaverdam, Hanover County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by SheWalksTheseHills (contributor 46847797) .