The Seton's of Barnes and Hailes Descent
Henry Seton/Seaton, (b.c.1659, d.c.1713. The third son of Sir John Seton 4th of Barnes, but his only son from his second marriage to Lady Margaret Hay, he was mistakenly referred to as a son of Seton of Garleton, which was incorrect. Like all of the Seton's he was staunchly loyal to the Stuart Monarch's and was opposed to Prince William of Orange and made himself peculiarly obnoxious to the government by complicity in the Jacobite schemes for his overthrow. After engaging in the failed Jacobite Resistance, he sought refuge and settled in the colony of Virginia in the America's in 1690, with a number of other Scots loyalists.
With the remains of his inheritance Henry settled first in Gloucester County, on the Pyanketank in Virginia, during which period he married Elizabeth Todd, the daughter of a gentleman of standing in the same county. He was noted in the papers of Mr. George Fitzhugh, of Rappahannock in papers on the " Valleys of Virginia," who quoted Bishop Meade's list of the early justices and vestrymen, at that time offices of mark and among whom in Petworth parish is named 'Henry Seaton' and says: " None but men of substance and consideration were made vestrymen...". He subsequently moved to an estate on the Mattapony, County of King William in Virginia, which for several generations continued to be the home of his descendants. He died leaving an only child, his son and heir, George Seaton.
m. Elizabeth Todd (she married 2nd Augustine Moore in 1714)
UNIVERSITY PRESS: WELCH, BIGELOW, & Co.,
TIHE following pages are simply extracts from a memoir of Mr. Seaton, written for his family, to be preserved for his descendants, that they may know him as he lived, his domestic and social surroundings, and understand in a degree the love and honorthat hedged about his living steps. His name is still a household word by many a hearthstone, and it has been thought that these recollections of him, his home and virtues, may be
acceptable to those of his country men who yet cherish his memory.
This sketch does not venture within the domain of politics ; still less, assume to be a history of Gales and Seaton, ample materials for which were placed in the hands of the
late Edward William Johnston, the brilliant journalist,
who was for a series of years literary editor of the
National Intelligencer, and whose knowledge of public men and events, the rise and decline of political parties,
and his personal friendship for Mr. Seaton and Mr. Gales, pre-eminently fitted him for the task. His death frustrated this design, which, however, it ishoped will yet be accomplished by a competent pen, and an essential chapter of our political history preserved for posterity.
WASHINGTON, July 15, 1870.
WILLIAM WINSTON SEATON.
SEATON was lineally descended from that historic family whose name during many centuries has been inwoven with the annals of Scotland.
There were few surnames in Scotland previous to the reign of Malcolm Canmore, who bestowed on the gallant gentlemen of his time especial surnames after that of their land. Among those so distinguished was one Dougall, the founder of the Seaton family, whose patronymic was thus derived from the possession of lands and a town hard upon the sea. The silvery Firth of Forth nearly encircles this beautiful and widespreading domain, where yet stand the stately home, the ancient toun, and the venerable collegiate church of Seaton.
Devoted adherents of the exiled Stuarts, for whose throne and restoration they had stanchly fought and unceasingly striven, the Seatons opposed the Prince of Orange, making themselves peculiarly obnoxious to the government by their complicity in the Jacobite schemes for its overthrow. Finally, convinced of the futility of any further resistance to the measures and authority of William III., Henry, the eldest son of John Seaton, of Gair-miltoun in East Lothian or Haddington, with a number of other gallant Scotch loyalists, or rebels, as they were dubbed by the Orange party, sought refuge, in 1690, in the colony of Virginia.
Henry Seaton settled first in Gloucester County, on the Pyanketank, where for some years he continued to reside, during which period he married Elizabeth Todd, daughter of a gentleman of standing in the same county.
Mr. George Fitzhugh, of Rappahannock, a gentle man remarkable for his wit and abstruse learning, in his valuable papers on the " Valleys of Virginia," quotes
Bishop Meade s list of the early justices and vestry men, at that time offices of mark, among whom in Petworth parish is named Henry Seaton, and says:
" None but men of substance and consideration were made vestrymen, and the reader will find that the descendants of these gentlemen have retained their high social position.
Mr. Seaton, of the Intelligencer, is a great-grandson of the Seaton mentioned above, having been born in the adjoining County of King William, at an old ancestral seat. His family is of the Scotch Seatons." Henry Seaton subsequently removed to an estate on the Mattapony, which for several generations continued to be the home of his descendants, and where in 1711 was born his only child, George Seaton.
By a deed a century and a half old, in possession of
the family, " An Indenture Tripartite, made in the first
year of the reign of our most gracious Sovereign Lord
and King, George the Second, between Colonel Tayloe,
George Seaton, only son and heir of Henry Seaton, and Elizabeth his wife, now wife of Augustine Moore, gentleman," we learn that Henry Seatons' widow had re-married. Among the children of this second alliance was Annie Moore, afterwards the wife of Charles Carter, who purchased the estate of Shirley,by which designation himself and numerous descendants of his prominent family have been since well known in Virginia, and whose ancestress was thus Mrs. Henry Seaton.
In 1734 George Seaton married Elizabeth, daughter
of "Leonard Hill, of King William, gentleman," and seems to have maintained the family dignity, holding large properties in Spottsylvania, besides the paternal
estate, which, at his death in 1750, he bequeathed to
his son Augustine. By the " inventory of the estate,"
still in possession of the family, We get an interesting
glimpse of the belongings and "habit as he lived," of a gentleman of fortune in colonial times. There, " three dozen gilt coat buttons " of the courtly flowing suit, do not disdain contact with " three pounds of shoe-thread," with which doubtless to repair the "high heeled pumps " ; while homely " stone porringers and earthen pipkins " are neighbors to the aristocratic " silver table service and caudle cup." "Two spinning wheels " speak pleasantly of stately dames in pinner and kerchief, notably engaged, seated the while in the " large high-backed leathern chairs " ; and the imposing culinary array, and still more significantly the " stone, china, glass, and silver punch-bowls" conjure up a vivid picture of the generous hospitality of that old Virginia household. The folio family Bible, Burkett's commentaries on the Testament, and " ye morning exercise for communicants," are in startling propin quity with Ovid s Epistles, Caesar s Commentaries, Cornelius Nepos and Ovid s Metamorphoses. But more
vividly suggestive still are the items, "one hanger, one
swivel, one hauberk and breastplate!"
What visions of plumed cavaliers and grisly round heads cluster about the words of this old deed ! Not very many years agone, and the father of this quiet country gentleman in the New World had defied " silent William," had kissed the hand of his exiled Stuart king, perhaps bent his knee in the presence of the Grand Monarque. That hauberk may have shown brightly in the morning rays on Marston s fatal moor, the breastplate, dull and dented, have covered a sad
heart as the sun set on Worcester s bloody field.
In 1741 Elizabeth, daughter of George Seaton, married " John West of York Kiver, gentleman," a scion of a noble British house, being a direct descendant from father to son of Lord De la Warre, the gorgeous colonial governor of Virginia. The Wests are a family of great historical distinction. They have been Barons from the male line since the year 1342 ; their ancestor, Sir Thomas West, having for great valor in the wars been summoned to Parliament as Lord West, early in the reign of Edward III. His son, the second Baron, shared in the glories of Crecy. The ninth Baron, having no issue, adopted his nephew William,who, impatient to inherit, prepared poison for his uncle, which so enraged his Lordship that he complained to Parliament, and the over-hasty William was disabled from succeeding to the estates. The too fiery youth, however, served so gallantly in Picardy as to efface the stain of his ill-timed exploit ; and by act of Parliament lie was restored to the full honors of his House. It was his grandson, the Earl De la
Warre, who in 1610 was appointed "governor for life" of Virginia, being accompanied by a number of stately nobles, his appointments far better fitted for a luxurious court than the wilds of the "plantations."
Upon the Earl's departure from America, his mission being relinquished by reason of ill-health, his second son, the Honorable John West, remained in the colony, having acquired possession of an immense tract of land, which was inherited by his eldest son and heir, John. This princely estate, situated in King William County, at the head of York River, received the name of West Point, in honor of the family ; and is now well known in connection with General McClellan's peninsular campaign during our late civil war.
Here also Mr. John West established a village called De la Warre, no longer in existence. Two descendants of this gentleman, Sir Thomas and Sir Erancis West, renewed their ancestral dignity, becoming in turn governors of Virginia ; and thus intermarrying with the Dandridges, Claibornes, Byrds, Pegrams, and other great folk of that day, the family continued in high esteem. West Point, being strictly entailed, descended always to the eldest son, according to
British law, until the revolt of the American colonies, at which period it was in the possession of Colonel John West of York, who married Miss Elizabeth Seaton, respecting which distinguished lady a descendant writes : " My grandmother, Mrs. West, the aunt of the late beloved Colonel Seaton, was born in the neighborhood of West Point, on her paternal estate. I remember her quite well, as very handsome, exceedingly dignified and imposing in appearance, with a courteous demeanor like the stately Virginia ladies of the olden time." A magnificent silver urn and a rare India china bowl, the latter during many generations the
christening chalice of the heirs apparent of the De la
Warres, are now among the family relics in possession of Mrs. Walter Brooke of Washington, having been brought to this country by her great-great-grandfather, Sir Thomas West ; and, so precious was the porcelain heirloom, that when broken, a hundred years ago, it was sent to England to be repaired with bands of silver. After the Revolution, the law of entail being set aside, the estate of West Point was divided among the several children of Mr. John West and Elizabeth Seaton, his wife. Their elder son, Thomas, married
Miss Boiling, a direct descendant from the Princess Pocahontas, but left no issue. The younger son, Mr. John West of Norfolk, left two sons, one of whom, De la Warre Seaton West, died in the Confederate service in 1863 ; the other, Mr. Thomas Boiling West, being now the lineal male representative in this country of the great English Viceroy of Virginia.
In 1776 Mr. Augustine Seaton, son of George Seaton, married Mary, daughter of Samuel Winston, Esquire, of Louisa County, Virginia. Two hundred years ago, five brothers Winston, of Winston Hall, Yorkshire, England, gentlemen of fortune and family, emigrated to the colony in the spirit of adventure which led so many scions of good houses to accompany the early governors to the New World. These
brothers, all men of great stature and uncommonly handsome, so tradition and family portraits assert, and well endowed morally and intellectually, settled in Hanover County, stocking Virginia with a stalwart and prolific race, the offshoots founding fresh branches in Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina, in which States at this day their representatives are noted for their fine personal presence. One fair Winston matron presented to the nation three sons
at a birth, who each one attained to over six feet of superb manhood. But the name which most brilliantly
illuminates the Winston family record is that of the
immortal Patrick Henry. Colonel John Henry, a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, and nephew of the historian Robertson, came to this country in quest of fortune, enjoying the patronage and friendship of Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, by whom he was introduced to Colonel Syme of Hanover,
whose wife was Miss Sarah Winston, in whose family he became domesticated, and whose widow he subsequently married, continuing to reside on the family estate of Studleigh, where their son Patrick Henry
The great orator seems to have been another exemplification of the theory that genius is usually derived from the mother. " The family of Winston," says Mr. Sparks, " was among the most distinguished of the colony ; and, so far as the eloquence of Patrick Henry may be supposed hereditary, it seems to have been transmitted through the female line." Wirt says : "She possessed in an eminent degree the mild,
benevolent disposition, the undeviating probity, the correct understanding and easy elocution, by which that ancient family has so long been distinguished.
Her brother William, popularly called Langaloo, the father of the present Judge Winston, is said to have been highly endowed with that peculiar cast of eloquence for which his great nephew was celebrated."
" I have often heard my father, says Mr. Nathaniel Pope, "who was intimately acquainted with William Winston, say that he was the greatest orator whom he had ever heard, Patrick Henry excepted : that during the French and Indian war, after Braddock's defeat, when the militia were marched to the frontier against the enemy, William Winston was lieutenant ; that the men, indifferently clothed, without tents, and exposed to the rigor and inclemency of the weather, discovered great aversion to the service, and, clamoring to return to their families, were on the point of
mutiny, when Winston, mounting a stump, the rostrum of the field orator in Virginia, addressed them with such keen invective, and declaimed with such eloquence on liberty and patriotism, that the troops cried out : " Lead us on ! lead us against the enemy! " Judge Winston, the son of this military Demosthenes who had thus opportunely proved his
descent from a rhetorical race, at the death of his cousin Patrick Henry, intermarried with his widow, a daughter of Nathaniel Dandridge, Esq.
The fiery spirit, which, breathing through the burning words of Henry, lighted the flame of rebellion throughout the colonies, the love of liberty which glowed in his soul, were shared by others of his kindred, who also devoted " fortune and sacred honor " to their country's cause ; his seven cousins, sons of Mr. Samuel Winston, being ardent patriots and actively prominent in the contest against Farmer George; one of them especially, Colonel Joseph Winston, winning great renown for his gallant services throughout the Eevolution. Colonel John Campbell of Abingdon, in preparing his "Memoir of the Military Transactions of West Virginia," says: "In the unique affair of King's Mountain Colonel Winston played a very conspicuous
part. He led the right wing of the American forces, and bore a distinguished part in this Bunker Hill of the South, contributing greatly to that momentous victory, of which the battles of Cowpens and Guilford were among the consequences. Mr. Jefferson, in a letter now before me, says that he remembered well the deep and grateful impression made by that memorable victory. It was the joyful enunciation of the first turn in the tide of success that terminated the war with the seal of our independence."
Mary, the youngest sister of these gallant Winston brothers, became the wife of Mr. Augustine Seaton, and
the mother of William Winston Seaton, who was born January 11, 1785, and in whom were fitly concentred the mingled high qualities of the brave stock from which he sprang.
Chelsea, the ancestral home, since passed into the sixth generation on the mother's side, is one of the most ancient houses in Virginia, its brick having been imported from England; and it. is still, despite the dilapidations of two revolutions, an imposing and stately residence. Here were the graves of young Seaton's forefathers ; and within the venerable mansion we re gathered cherished Old- World family relics, with worm-eaten wills and musty parchments, while on the walls were the portraits of his progenitors of a century and a half. One of these, representing a superb
cavalier in the elaborate scarlet hunting-garb of his day, gun in hand, leaning on his horse, his dogs crouched at his feet, his bugle raised as if to wind a" mote," had suffered damage during some Revolutionary skirmish, an unfortunate bullet having whistled through the canvas, destroying one of the blue eyes of the handsome Nimrod ; and this pictured hunter, captivating the boyish fancy of young Seaton, gave
doubtless the first impulse to his well-known passion for field sports, which he continued to pursue with zest when nearly fourscore years of age. Under the paternal roof passed young Seaton's childhood, in the happy companionship of brothers and sisters, his tastes refined by gentle maternal influences, his intelligence quickened by the noted
society frequenting his father s hospitable home, which numbered among its cherished guests the illustrious Patrick Henry. Mr. Seaton ever retained a vivid remembrance - of the fascinating speech, wonderful play of countenance, and commanding presence of his great kinsman, who, himself a devoted follower of the hounds, guided the first shot of his
young relative, whose proverbial skill, thus acquired in chasing the deer through the wild woods on the Mattapony, received sixty years afterwards enthusiastic recognition among the "preserves" of England.
Virginia County Records SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY 1721-1800
DEED BOOK A 1722-1729
[p.101]Febry. 5, 1727. James Taylor of King and Queen Co. and Martha, his wife: of the first part, George Seaton, son and heir of Henry Seaton and Elizabeth, his wife, now the wife of Augustine Moore of King William Co., Gent. of the second part, and the sd. Augustine Moore of the third part. £114 15s. 0d., 1280 a. on both sides of East North East River in St. Geo. Par., Spts. Co.—part of a tract granted the sd. Taylor by pat, July 21, 1722. This property for the use of the sd. George Seaton, and if in default or failure of lawful heirs then to Lucy Moore, dau. of the sd. Augustine Moore and Elisabeth his wife, and in default or failure of heirs, then to Thomas Moore, son of the sd. Augustine Moore and Elisabeth his wife, and in case of failure of heirs, to Bernard Moore, son of the sd. Augustine and Elizabeth his wife, and in case of failure of heirs, then to the said Augustine Moore, his heirs and assigns, etc. Witnesses: Robt. Baylor, Geo. Moore, Frances Baylor, Thomas Griffith. Rec. Mar. 5, 1727-8.
Papers of George Washington
From Bernard Moore to George Washington 12 January 1771
From Bernard Moore
Author: Moore, Bernard
Recipient: Washington, George
12th Jany 1771
My Circumstances are so situated as to make it Necessary for me to sell my whole Estate to pay my debts, & I am sorry to inform you it will take every shilling I have to effect that end, this will leave my Famely (for whom only I feel) in a very distresfull situation unless my friends will assist me in this my day of distress.1
My long acquaintance with you and the Friendship that has ever subsisted betwen us, emboldens me to request the favour of you to join my other Friends in lending me mony for a few years without interest, in which time, I hope to be able to work it out, as I have the advantage of working good Lands without paying Rent, but should I be mistaken I would not by any means have my friends Suffer by me, I propose the Negroes should be bought the name of the Gentleman who is so kind to lend the mony & allways remain as Security to him for refunding his Principal.
My Nephew Mr Aug: Seaton waits on you with this, who will inform you what my other friends propose doing, by whom I hope to receive your approbation of this Scheme & your kind assistance towards its execution.2 I am sincerely Dear Sir Your Affectio: Servt
P:S: I had given a Mortgage to Mr P. W. Claiborne for several things to the amount of a thousand pounds for his security for my Executorship to Spotswoods Estate, besides several hundred pounds I had a wright to draw for out of the hands of the Speakers Administrators, all which (as I owe Spotswoods Estate not one farthing) I have Mortgaged to you and others, that you may assure your self your Brothers Estate can not suffer one Shilling was his debt much larger. B. M.3
For Moore's financial difficulties and his indebtedness to the Daniel Parke Custis estate, see Moore to GW, 29 Dec. 1766, n.1 , and Moore to GW, 21 Oct. 1766, source note .
Augustine Seaton inherited the property of his father, George Seaton, in King and Queen County and became a planter there. See GW to Moore, 23 Jan., n.1 .
For Moore's executorship of the estate of John Spotswood (d. 1758), of Spotsylvania County, see Cash Accounts, 1761, n.74 . See also GW to Moore, 23 Jan. 1771 .
Cite as: The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition, ed. Theodore J. Crackel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2007.
Fragment ID: indexp92249
Canonic URL: http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/pgwde/indexp92249 [accessed 24 Jul 2009]
Also Known As: "Seton"
Birthdate: circa 1659
Birthplace: East Lothian, Scotland
Death: circa 1713 (45-62)
Mattaponi, King William County, Virginia Colony
Place of Burial: West Point, King William County, Virginia, United States
Son of Sir John Seton, 4th Baron of Barnes and of Hailes and Margaret Hay
Husband of Martha Seaton and Elizabeth Moore
Father of George Seaton
Half brother of George Seton, 5th and Last Baron of Barnes, of St. Laurence House, Haddington and John Seton, Younger of Barnes