Thomas Savage

Researched by Nora Miller Turman 21-Nov-1988

Thomas Savage (Savadge) was established in business on the Eastern Shore of Virginia by 14-Mar-1633 when he leased 100 acres of land on Old Plantation Creek. His name is not found in any land patent so it is not known whether he came to America as a headright or whether he sold his right to patent 50 acres to someone whose patent is not recorded. Thomas was a tradesman whose success as a business man is shown by his 400 acre tract of land and cattle left to his descendents.

Thomas married Rebecca whose last name is unknown and who survived Thomas. They were the parents of two sons and possible some daughters.

County court records which begin in 1632 show that Thomas Savage was a good business man that did not hesitate to go to court in order to collect pay for his labors when necessary. Although he made depositions, Thomas never stated his age.

On 12-Feb-1638 Thomas petitioned the court to free him from paying annual rent on the land he had leased for 21 years. He had learned that the 100 acres was in a patent by one recently deceased. The court granted his request.

It appears that Thomas began bringing in settlers, likely to train as carpenters, in the 1630's. He probably planned to use them as headrights in order to patent land. On 29-Aug-1642 he received a certificate for 500 acres with 10 headrights listed. The patent was however not recorded until 20-Jun-1646. It is safe to assume that Thomas occupied his land and began raising cattle the year the certificate was granted.

These 500 acres were located on the north side of Nassawadox Creek not far from its head but where the water was deep enough to launch boats which he built. One of the court cases shows that he built a shallop valued at 20 pounds sterling.

The last time that Thomas appeared in the records was on 26-Jul-1653 when he gave a deed for a cow to one William Jordan. This deed shows that his cattle mark was "over and under halved on the right ear and over halved on the left ear." Each cattle owner had a mark, usually registered in a court document. Each spring neighbors got together and marked the calves while they were with their mothers bearing similar markings.

Thomas Savage died intestate in the summer of 1655. It appears that his sons were still under age and Rebecca, his wife, became the executrix of the estate. There is no record of her qualifying or claiming a dowery. According to the law at that time, the eldest son, Thomas, got the land and the other son, John got a legacy of cattle. By 26-Nov-1655, Rebecca had married John Smyth. She was sued, on behalf of the estate, for payment to one employed by her to round up cattle that her late husband had marked for his heirs. The court entry is as follows:

The deposition of Andrew Pettigrew, taken in open court, sayeth that last summer this deponent and Smith (then the widow of Thomas Savage) made an agreement. This deponent was to help find cattle that her deceased husband, Thomas Savage, had undertaken to mark for his heirs, and for performance of this agreement, this deponent was to receive one thousand six hundred pounds of tobacco and casks. This deponent has received seven hundred and seventy-nine pounds and casks and is still due eight hundred and twenty-one pounds of tobacco and casks.

No additional information was found about Rebecca or her second husband. It is assumed that they continued to live on the Savage land and look after the cattle until the sons came of legal age to receive them.

Children of Thomas and Rebecca Savage that have been identified:

d. 1721
d. 1709
Dorothy Jordan

Notes and References:

Some of the facts about this Thomas Savage are in hard to read court records. The entry regarding the marked cattle is not indexed. That is the only entry that shows he had more than one child and gives the approximate date of his death, 1655.
...NMT Nov-1988

"Cavaliers and Pioneers" Nell Marion Nugent Vol i p. 18
"Accomack-Northhampton Court Records" Susie M. Ames 1632-1640 p. 102
Ibid 1640-1645 p. 191
"Cavaliers and Pioneers" Nell Marion Nugent Vol i p. 171
"Accomack-Northhampton Court Records" Susie M. Ames Vol I p. 259
Northhampton County Deeds, Wills & Orders 1651-1654 p. 135
Northhampton County Deeds, Wills & Orders 1655-1655 p. 142

Page updated January 8, 2004 (wls)

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