Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fearless Females: BRIDGET, born 1715, the wife of GEORGE WHITECOTTON Sr of Overwharton Parish, Stafford County Virginia

Acquia Church, built on site of Overwharton Parish Church, Stafford Co Virginia

March is Women's History Month! Taking inspiration from the writing prompts on Lisa Alzo's blog, The Accidental Genealogist,  I will be exploring several of the "Mystery Women" in my family tree.

BRIDGET, who was born about 1715, is one of my favorite "mystery women".  Whether she was born in Ireland or in Virginia is unknown.  She married, when she was about age 15, to GEORGE WHITECOTTON Sr, a man about ten years older than she, who died at age 37 on March 23, 1744 in Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co Virginia. 

She had, by first husband GEORGE, at least three children: 

GEORGE WHITECOTTON Jr born 1730 Stafford Co Virginia
MARY WHITECOTTON born Jan 20, 1739 Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co Virginia 
AXTON WHITECOTTON born Feb 13, 1742 Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co Virginia

A possible son JOHN WHITECOTTON born 1735 and a daughter ELIZABETH WHITECOTTON born 1732 have not been verified, but may also be her children.

When her first husband died, BRIDGET became a widow with up to five children to support. GEORGE died intestate, but an inventory shows that he was not destitute, but not rich, either. Land is not mentioned in the estate records. His debts were, however, and court records in 1745 show BRIDGET, his executor, paying off numerous debts.

Three years after her first husband's death, BRIDGET married WILLIAM McCONCHIE on Nov 10, 1747 Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co Virginia.  The marriage was to be short-lived, as WILLIAM died before 1750. There was only one son from this marriage, RICHARD McCONCHIE born July 10, 1748 Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co Virginia. I have never been able to trace him.

Very soon after WILLIAM's death, BRIDGET married a third time to STEPHEN PILCHER III. They were married Dec 1, 1750 in St Paul's Parish, Stafford Co Virginia.  She was STEPHEN's third wife, but it seems doubtful that she was his last wife! They had possibly three children:

EDWARD PILCHER born 1751 Stafford Co Virginia
MOSES PILCHER born 1752 Stafford Co Virginia
SARAH SALLY PILCHER born 1753 Stafford Co Virginia

A court record from Sept 22, 1755 Prince William Co Virginia (formed from Stafford Co) addressed property from the estate of WILLIAM McCONCHIE to be used for the orphans of GEORGE WHITECOTTON.  Had BRIDGET died by 1755?

On motion of JOHN SINCLAIR it is ordered that CUTHBERT HARRISON deliver estate of WILLIAM McCONCHIE decd to said JOHN, it being lodged in his hand for the use of the orphans of GEORGE WHITECOTTON."

I have not yet been able to discern the relationship between JOHN SINCLAIR, CUTHBERT HARRISON and the orphans of GEORGE WHITECOTTON. 

STEPHEN PILCHER III's will was dated March 2, 1775 in Stafford Co Virginia and mentions that his wife was "with child".  Since BRIDGET would have been age 60 or thereabouts, she would have been well past her childbearing years.  So it is likely that BRIDGET died sometime before September 1755. 

(Sidenote: Whoever STEPHEN PILCHER III's fourth wife was, after his death in 1775 she & STEPHEN's children did not get to enjoy the property left to them in STEPHEN's will.  Because STEPHEN failed to "subscribe" (sign?) the will, his entire estate was given to his brother Capt MASON PILCHER.  A lawsuit was started by STEPHEN's son-in-law JOHN DALGARN in 1792, on behalf of his mother-in-law and her children, but it was not settled until 1819--long after most of the parties involved had died!)

Have a Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


© Betty Tartas  2016

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