Sunday, January 19, 2020

2020 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 3: "Long Line" - The Leftwich Family

Week 3's theme of "Long Line" immediately brought to mind the longest unbroken line in my family with the same last name - the Leftwich family. Ironically, this line was a brick wall beyond my fourth-great-grandfather for the longest time. But when I finally broke it down, I was not disappointed: the name goes back to the year 1250, and the recorded line itself goes back 200 years before that.

Laura Belle Leftwich Hancock, circa 1930.     
The person closest to me with his ancient name is my third-great-grandmother, Laura Belle Leftwich. (I featured her daughter and my great-great-grandmother, Vazzie Angelee Hancock, in a 52 Ancestors post last year.) Laura's family was one of modest means by the time she was born. At the time of her birth they had worked in the salt mines at Malden, WV, for two generations. A version of these mines is still in operation today, as the J. Q. Dickinson Salt Works.

But the Leftwich family was not always one of such modest means. Laura's great-grandfather, James Thomas Leftwich, was born into a wealthy family in Beford County, VA in 1789 and moved to Kanawha County, WV before 1840. James Thomas' grandfather and great-grandfather, both named Augustine Leftwich, were wealthy land owners who held high-ranking military positions. Augustine Sr. was a sergeant in the colonial militia during the French and Indian War, and Augustine Jr. was a Captain in the Virginia militia during the American Revolution. Records of land grants show that both held huge tracks of land in Bedford County, and that their estates were rather large. It was Augustine Sr.'s grandfather, Ralph Leftwich, that immigrated to the New World and patented lands in Virginia in 1658.

The title page of Walter Lee Hopkins'
history of the Leftwich family.
According to The Leftwich-Turner Families of Virginia and Their Connections by Walter Lee Hopkins, the Leftwich family has been considered nobility in England since the time of William the Conqueror, although at the time they were not named Leftwich. The progenitor of our Leftwich line was actually Lord Richard de Vernon, a Norman nobleman who fought in the Battle of Hastings alongside William the Conqueror in 1066. As a reward for his loyalty he was given the title of Baron of Shipbrook and Leftwyk (the old English spelling of Leftwich), and all of the lands that accompanied the title. Five generations later the de Vernon male line came to an end and the estate was passed to Matild de Vernon, who married Sir Richard de Wilburgham. Their daughter, Matilda de Wilburgham, married Sir Richard de Wynyngton, who adopted the name of Leftwyk from his wife's estate. From that time on the family carried the name of Leftwyk, which later came to be Leftwich.

All told, the Leftwich family goes back 23 generations from Laura Belle Leftwich to Richard de Wynyngton, who took the name of Leftwyk from his wife's estate. The family goes back another 6 generations to Lord Richard de Vernon, who was given the Barony of Shipbrook and Leftwich by William the Conqueror. This gives us a total of 29 generations from Laura Belle Leftwich to Sir Richard, and a total of 34 generations between myself and Sir Richard.

I would be remiss in my genealogical duties if I did not mention one last interesting bit of information regarding the Leftwich family. Like so many noble lines, the Leftwich line does tie into the ranks of royalty. Thomas Leftwich, great-grandfather of the Ralph who immigrated to Virginia in 1658, married Katherine Holford, who was a descendant of King Henry III of England. This would make me the 26th-great-granddaughter of King Henry III; but unfortunately, the only thing that being Henry's 26th-great-granddaughter entitles me to is some bragging rights.

~ ~ ~

My descent from Sir Richard de Wynyngton, the first person to use the early form of Leftwich as his name, is as follows:

Richard de Wynynton - 26th great-grandfather
Mary de Wynynton - Daughter of Robert de Wynynton
Richard de Leftewyk - Son of Mary de Wynynton
Richard de Leftwiche - Son of Richard de Leftewyk
Richard de Leftwich Baron of Shipbrook - Son of Richard de Leftwiche
Richard de Leftwich - Son of Richard de Leftwich Baron of Shipbrook
Robert de Leftwich - Son of Richard de Leftwich
Richard de Leftwiche - Son of Robert de Leftwich
Robert de Leftwiche - Son of Richard de Leftwiche
Richard Leftwich - Son of Robert de Leftwiche
Richard Leftwich - Son of Richard Leftwich
George Leftwich - Son of Richard Leftwich
Thomas Leftwich -1570 - Son of George Leftwich
Ralph Leftwich 1548-1624 - Son of Thomas Leftwich
Thomas Leftwich - Son of Ralph Leftwich
Ralph Leftwich 1628-1680 - Son of Thomas Leftwich
Thomas Leftwich Sr 1665-1730 - Son of Ralph Leftwich
Augustine Leftwich 1712-1795 - Son of Thomas Leftwich Sr
Augustine Leftwich Jr. 1744-1835 - Son of Augustine Leftwich
James (Red Head) Leftwich 1779-1854 - Son of Augustine Leftwich Jr.
James Thomas Leftwich 1795-1874 - Son of James (Red Head) Leftwich
Jesse Leftwich 1816-1894 - Son of James Thomas Leftwich
Joel Leftwich 1851-1920 - Son of Jesse Leftwich
Laura Belle "Fannie" Leftwich 1881-1957 - Daughter of Joel Leftwich
Vazzie Angelee Hancock 1900-1984 - Daughter of Laura Belle "Fannie" Leftwich
Earnest Zacharias Hunt 1921-2008 - Son of Vazzie Angelee Hancock
Phyllis Carolyn Hunt 1943- - Daughter of Earnest Zacharias Hunt
Lora Marlene Quinn 1961- - Daughter of Phyllis Carolyn Hunt
Allison Quinn Kessinger - You are the daughter of Lora Marlene Quinn

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