Richard Wooldridge, Patriot Ancestor of Jeff, Greg, Joseph, Daniel, and Trey Prang, was a Virginia colonist who served in the militia on the Kentucky frontier during the American Revolution. The following biographical sketch is due in large part to the research of William G. Wooldridge, who completed a significant two volume genealogy on the Wooldridge family , (i) as well as Susan A. Henderson of Winnetka, Illinois, and Claire Utt of Kansas.
He was probably born in Chesterfield County, Virginia in about 1738. His grandfather, John Wooldridge (1678-1757) was a blacksmith who immigrated to Virginia prior to 1699, probably from Scotland.
Richard married Jane Roberts (1), daughter of John Roberts and Janne Livereau (2,3) by 1764, although the exact date remains unknown. Jane was born in about 1742 in Henrico or Chesterfield County, Virginia and probably died in Adair County, Kentucky between1810-1820.
Richard’s mother-in-law, Janne Livereau Roberts (4) is also acknowledged as having provided “patriotic service” to the cause the American Revolution. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) recognizes her service as having “furnished supplies” to American forces (5), one of a limited number of women so acknowledged by the DAR. Jane was born in about 1720 and died on September 23, 1795 in Halifax County, Virginia.
Early records show Richard on a tithe (tax) list in Chesterfield County, Virginia with his grandfather John Wooldridge in 1756; (6) his brother William was also tithable. Given that his brother was born about 1740, Richard would have been about 18 years old. He was next noted in official records as having witnessed Thomas Godsey's deed to William Smith in Chesterfield in 1761. (7)
As early as 1736, Richard's father, William Wooldridge, may have rented land from John Roberts in the part of Henrico County, Virginia which later became Chesterfield County. The two families lived in the same vicinity. The Halifax County, Virginia wills of both John Roberts (1774) and his wife Jane Roberts (1795) name their daughter Jane Wooldridge. However, the migration of Roberts family members appears to have left family members out of touch with one another, as Jane Roberts' will poignantly gives her daughter Jane Wooldridge 40 pounds specie, and in case she is dead, to be equally divided among her children. (8)
Richard Wooldridge sold 250 acres in Chesterfield on February 28, 1764 for £127, 10 shillings, to his uncle, Edward Wooldridge. The land was part of a tract that was formerly the property of a late Henry Cary, Gentleman, and bounded by Andrew Simpson, Francis Moseley, and Richard and Edward Wooldridge. (9) This 250 acre tract is the bequest Richard had received from his grandfather John. Richard’s wife, while not named, released her dower interest showing that they were already married in early 1764.
Richard may have led his father's family's emigration from Chesterfield to Surry County, North Carolina. Richard is the first to appear there, on a tithe list in 1771. (10) While Richard’s father William and his younger children eventually (early 1780's) moved on to Georgia and South Carolina, Richard headed west. He is on a 1777-1778 tax list for Washington County, the area of western North Carolina once known as Franklin, which later became eastern Tennessee. He paid taxes of £8, 12 shillings and 42 pence on property worth £841, 11 shillings. (11) According to Wooldridge researcher, Ms. Claire Utt of Kansas, he was a member of the First County Court there on February 23, 1778. Apparently he continued to own land on Laurel Fork there even after moving on to Kentucky. Carter County, Tennessee was created from Washington County. Later Carter County deeds refer to Richard Wooldridge adjacent to William Wilson (1796), and Benjamin Cuthbert Sr., and John McElyea (1800). (12) Some of his children were born in North Carolina (i.e. western North Carolina or eastern Tennessee) between 1777-1781.
Richard Wooldridge's name appears on a 1782 Lincoln County, Kentucky militia payroll in Captain John Snoddy's company for an expedition against the Shannese (Shawnee) Indians under the command of Brigadier General George Rogers Clark. (13) Lincoln County then included much of southern Kentucky, specifically, the territory from which Green, Adair, and Russell counties were formed. That is where Richard spent the latter part of his long life.
Susan A. Henderson of Winnetka, Illinois in 1999 (14) compiled a great deal of information of Richard Wooldridge and his descendants. She cites Collins, "History of Kentucky, vol. 1, p. 20, for the following synopsis of the expedition against the Shawnees:
Nov. 1782 -- Gen. George Rogers Clark with 1,050 men -- one division under Col. John Floyd which rendezvoused at the Falls (near Louisville), and another under Col. Benjamin Logan at Bryan's Station uniting at the mouth of Licking -- marched rapidly up the Miami River, 130 miles, destroyed, Nov. 10th the principal Shawnee town, Laramie's store, and other towns.
Henderson continues, "In a deposition given by Richard Wooldridge on May 23, 1822, in connection with John Abney's suit to evict Andrew Barnett from land on Pitman Creek near Summersville (Abney v. Barnett, GC CC #5257), Richard affirmed that he had moved to Pitman's Station in 1784:
Q. When did you the deponent become first acquainted with Pitman's Station and Sinking Creek?
A. I think as well as I can recollect that we came down in the year 1784 & William Vance told us that it had been called Crooked Creek but it was then called Pitman's Creek.
Q. Did you the Deponent ever hear the name of said creek before you came to it in 1784?
A. I do not recollect to have heard anything of it before the time we were about to move down & then after we came down William Vance said it had been called by the names of Crooked Creek, Sinking Creek & then Pitman's Creek". (15)
If Richard recalled the date correctly, it is not clear where he was living between1782-1784. Moving "down" could mean down from central Kentucky, which is consistent with a source that says he was in Bardstown in Nelson County prior to coming to what became Russell County. (16) He is on a July 2, 1787 tax list for Nelson County, Kentucky. He is also on a list of Nelson County tithables taken by Robert Hodgen August 6, 1788, "within the bounds of Captain William Barnet's Company, Green River on Pitman and Brush Creek." His daughter, Elizabeth, married there in 1790.
The History of Pitman's Creek Church 1796-1834, Richard Wooldridge, Sr. is quoted as saying his family arrived in the area in 1784. Pitman’s Creek Church was in Taylor County, Kentucky. (17)
Susan Henderson's account proceeds, "Richard Wooldridge appears on the tax list of Nelson Co. in 1789, prior to the formation of Green Co. in 1793 from Nelson and Lincoln Cos., and on the first tax list for Green Co. in 1795. A jury...awarded a judgment against Richard and in favor of Atkison Hill on May 14, 1794. However on the same day, a different jury awarded judgment in favor of his son, James Wooldridge and against William Skaggs. The subject matters of the two suits are not recorded, but odds are that they related to title to land. (18)
“Richard Wooldridge sought leave to build a water grist mill on Greasy Creek in April 1799. (19)
"Richard is listed on the tax rolls of Green Co. in 1800 and on the 1810 Green Co. census. His sons, Richard, James and William Wooldridge [and John Wooldridge], are each recorded as patenting 200 ["second-rate"] acres in Green Co. in 1799. (20) Richard's patent (#1017) was for 'second-rate' land on the east side of Greasy Creek, next to Calverts. Jame's land (#1041) was on the 'Draft of Roaring Lilly,' a branch of Cumberland River. William's land (#818) was also on Greasy Creek, by Stapps. John's land (#901) was on Greasy Creek and adjoined James' land. (Randolph M. Smith, comp.)." (21) Each of the plots was in a part of then-Green Co. which is now in Russell Co. KY.
"On January 20, 1802, Richard Wooldridge was given permission to erect a mill on his land. The jury that awarded damages of $9 in connection with the pond that would result, included William Wooldridge..., William Abbott (guardian of Gholson Wilson who married Richard's daughter Jenny later that year) (and others including James Stapp and Benjamin Stapp). Per Adair Co. Deed Book A, p. 398, on March 2, 1806, Richard Wooldridge 'of Adair Co.' promised to pay £400 to sons James and John Wooldridge, pledging as security on the loan '200 acres on Gresy Creek and a grist mill on it,’ the place I now live’ on as taken up as head right land and 200 acres on Roaring Lilly as taken up as head right land,' "one negro woman Hagor 60 and one negro man name Dave 25," and two mares, an 85 gallon still and miscellaneous personal property, signing with an X. Witnesses: William Pope and William Millar.”
From Russell County, Kentucky, History & Families , p. 10, (22) "From the records examined, it seems that the Wooldridge family was the first to live on Greasy Creek though of course that point will always be open to debate. These Wooldridge’s had come to the Skaggs settlement very early, being connected by marriage to them and to the Vance family.......
Virginia turned the remainder of the military land over to the new state of Kentucky to sell at low prices to actual settlers. In 1796 Green County had a commission granting land to settlers. From the surveys resulting we see that Richard Wooldridge and his son William had received 200 acres each on Greasy Creek, while James Wooldridge got his on land on Lily Creek.
The first County Court Order Book has been lost, but the second one shows "April 14, 1799 Richard Wooldridge is allowed to build a grist mill on Greasy Creek." These Wooldridge men are the only ones known to be Russell County settlers who were on the first tax lists of Green County for the years 1795-96....."
Richard Wooldridge appears on the Tax list of Nelson County prior to the formation of Green County in 1793. Green County was formed by land taken from Nelson and Lincoln County. He is listed on tax rolls of Green County in 1800 and in 1810. Richard’s grist mill was alternatively referenced as being situated on Lilly Creek and Greasy Creek. Greasy and Lilly Creeks are now located in Russell County. Russell County was formed from Adair, Cumberland and Wayne counties in 1826, and Adair had been formed from Green in 1802. So it seems that the Wooldridge’s stayed on Greasy Creek without moving from about 1799 until Richard's death in 1828 when his will was probated in Russell County. He could have remained in the same place as successive county subdivisions placed him in Green, Adair and Russell counties.
In 1797, his father, William, far off in Georgia, left Richard Wooldridge slaves Kate, Caesar and Phebe "now in his possession." Like his father, Richard lived to a tremendous age of the times, at least 90. Richard made his will (23) in Russell County, Kentucky on March 4, 1828, and died in the next few days, as the will was probated March 17, 1828. It names all of his children in apparent order, giving the daughters' married names, and appoints son-in-law William Vance and son James Wooldridge as executors. According to Susan Henderson, his primary property was 200 acres of land "which included 3 or 4 good Mill Seats," valued at $400.50. His personal property (household goods and livestock) was sold at auction on June 16, 1828, for only $56.29 1/2. (24)
WILL OF RICHARD WOOLDRIDGE, SR.
In the name of God Amen, I Richard Wooldridge, Sr. of Russell Co., KY. being sick and weak in body but sound of mind and disposing memory (for which I thank God) & calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and being desirous to dispose of all such worldly estate as it has pleased God to bless me with, I give and bequeath the same in manner following, that is to say I give and first desire that all the perishable part of my estate be immediately sold after my demise and out of the monies arising there from, all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.
Should the perishable part of my estate prove insufficient for the above purpose then I desire that my executors, hereinafter named may sell a part of my real-estate to pay and satisfy such debts remaining.
Secondly, I desire to have my estate, both real and personal to be divided equally between my several sons and daughters and to be enjoyed by them forever; James Wooldridge, Fanny Vance, John Wooldridge, Richard Wooldridge, Elizabeth Smith, William Wooldridge, Polly Miller, Sally Long, Patsey Perkins and Jesse Wooldridge.
Thirdly I give to my daughter Jane Wilson, her executors and administrators, five dollars.
Fourth, All the rest of my estate both real and personal of whatever nature or kind so-ever it may be not herein before particularly disposed of I desire may be equally divided among my several children hereinbefore named which I give to them their heirs, executors, administrators and assign forever.
Lastly, I hereby appoint my son-in-law William Vance and my son James Wooldridge executors of this my last will and Testament, hereby revoking all former wills or testaments by me heretofore made. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 4 March 1828, in the presence of:
John Ballenger, William M. Pierce, John Hartley
Richard X Wooldridge
At a County Court held at Jamestown, Russell County, Kentucky on 17 March 1828 this last will and testament of Richard Wooldridge, Decd. was produced in Court and proven by the oaths of John Ballenger, William M. Pierce and John Hartley, subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. It is ordered that leave be given the named executors, to qualify at the next term of Court on their executing and acknowledging bond as required by law, and afterwards (To Wit) at a County Court held at Jamestown, Russell Co., on Monday, April 21, 1828, James Wooldridge, one of the executors named in the will came into Court and took the several oaths as required by law and executed Bond in the penal sum of $1,000 as the law directs, therefore the execution of said will is Granted him with John Lane his security.
Test; Will S. Patterson, C.R.C.C.
Children of Richard Wooldridge and Jane Roberts are:
- James Wooldridge, b. Abt. 1765, Virginia; d. 1845, Russell County, Kentucky.
- Frances "Fanny" Wooldridge, b. Abt. 1767, Virginia; d. Aft. March 1831, Kentucky.
- John Wooldridge, b. Abt. 1769, Chesterfield County, Virginia; d. 1835, Russell County, Kentucky
- Elizabeth "Betty" Wooldridge, b. Abt. 1771, Virginia or North Carolina; d. Aft. 1829.
- William Wooldridge, b. Abt. 1773, Virginia; m. Susanna Lyons; d. 1847, Grayson County, Kentucky ↓
- Robert Wooldridge, b. 1798, Green County, KY; m. Nancy Brunk; d. 12 Dec 1889, Grayson County, KY↓
- John Allen Wooldridge, b. 1826, Big Clifty, Grayson, KY; m. Mary Malinda Skees; d. 8 Nov 1892, Big Clifty, Grayson, KY ↓
- Nancy Ellen Wooldridge, b. 26 Nov 1854, Clarkson, Grayson, KY; m. James William Gatton; d. 15 June 1943 ↓
- Mary Malinda Gatton, 2 April 1877, Glendale, Hardin, KY; m. Hardin Francis Thomas; d. 3 Feb 1916, Hardin, KY ↓
- Gertrude Magdalen Thomas, b. 7 Nov 1903, Glendale, Hardin, KY; m. William Joseph Thompson; d. 23 Nov 1969, Elizabethtown, Hardin, KY ↓
i Wooldridge Family, William C. Wooldridge, Sheridan Books, Fredericksburg VA 2002
- Wirt, J. Carrington, A HISTORY OF HALIFAX COUNTY (Richmond 1924);p. 331.
- The wills of John and Jane Roberts, 1774 and 1795, (Halifax County, VA) name their daughter Jane Wooldridge. Chesterfield DB 5:279-80 shows she was married by February 28, 1764.
- Jane Roberts will gives her "daughter Jane Wooldridge 40 pounds specie and in case she is dead to be equally divided among her children". (John Roberts (1707-1776 of Henrico and Halifax Cos. VA His Life and Some of His Descendants (Temple TX, 1997). p. 35.
- Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Ancestor No. A134627
- Abercrombie & Slatten, Va Rev Pub Claims, Vol 2, Pp 429-430
- 1756 Chesterfield tithe list, Virginia State Library.
- Benjamin B. Weisiger, Chesterfield Co. VA Deed Book #5 1764-68 (Rocky Ridge Press, 1990) P. 1.
- Jane C. Debenport, "John Roberts 1707-1776 of Henrico and Halifax Cos. VA His Life and Some of His Descendants" Temple TX, 1997 p. 35.
- Chesterfield DB 5:279-80, also in Benjamin B. Weisiger, Chesterfield Co. VA Deed Book #5 1764-68 (Rocky Ridge Press, 1990 p. 22.
- North Carolina Taxpayers 1701-1786; 3 North Carolina Journal of Genealogy, p. 344.
- Early East TN Taxpayers, p. 190.
- Mary McIver, Abstracts of the Deeds of Carter Co. TN 1796-1825 (1925), pp 5, 18.
- Illinois Department Papers, Virginia State Library.
- See also C.P. Cawthorn and N.L. Warnell, "History of Pitman's Creek Church" in "Pioneer Baptist Church Records of South Central Kentucky and the Upper Cumberland of Tennessee 1799-1899  p. 205.
- Russell Co. KY History and Families, Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, 1966, p. 345.
- From History of Pitman's Creek Church 1796-1834 (author unknown).
- Green Co. Court of Quarter Sessions, p. 20.
- Green County, KY Minute Book 1792-1800, p. 117.
- Below Greasy Creek Bridge, Russell County, Kentucky History and Families, Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, 1966, p. 345.
- Below Greasy Creek Bridge, Russell County, Kentucky History and Families, Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, 1966, p. 345.
- Russell County, Kentucky History and Families, Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, 1966.
- Chester E. Garrett, SOME PUCKETTS AND THEIR KIN (Lansing 1960) pp 151-52.
- Russell Co. WB A:28.