WILLIAM VESTAL Jr.
SOURCE: "Our Family Heritage by Minnie Speer Boone, The American Historical
Company, Inc, New York 1956
William Vestall (or Vestal), Jr. born about 1692 in Birmingham township, Chester County, Pa. Married at Westown, Chester County, Pa., in 1716 to Elizabeth (Mercer) Woodward, widow of Joseph Woodward. Elaizabeth Mercer was born in 1694, probably in Northhampton, England. She was the dau. Of Thomas and Mary Greenaway Mercer, who came to America from Northhampton, England prior to 1699 when the settled in Chester County, Pa.
It would appear that William Vestal was not a member of the Society of Friends when he was married but did become one later. Gilbert Cope says, "William Vestal appears to have associated with Friends of Newark, now Kennett Monthly Meeting. At a session held at Center Meeting house 2nd mo. 5th day 1729 William Vestal and Samuel Marshall acquainted this meeting of their intentions of traveling to North Carolina and desired out certificates. Therefore we appointed Jeremiah Dean Richard Woodward, and Stephen Harlan to inquire into their conversation and affairs and if nothing appears to obstruct their Requests to draw Certificates for them and produce same at next Monthly Meeting."
"3rd mo. 3. 1729. The friends appointed to draw Certificates for William Vestal and Samuel Marshall finding nothing to obstruct their request have accordingly produced Certificates for them which were read and approved."
"Att Kennett 9th mo. Th day 1731 Samual Marshall returned his certificate ____." Apparantly William Vestal did not return. It would appear that he and his wife located within the jurisdiction of the Hopewell Monthly Meeting established in 1734. Unfortunately the records for the first 23 years of this meeting were accidentally destroyed in 1759."
Concord Monthly Meeting Records (Swarthmore Friends Library) p. 536. August 3, 1737. "William Brinton appointed to assist women to prepare a certificate for Elizabeth Vestal to Hopewell Monthly Meeting where she removed several yaers since."
William Vestal apparently lived on the land which was willed to his mother and then to him until 1729 when he sold it and moved to Virginia. "By deed of may 10, 1729 William Vestal of Bradford township, Carpenter, and Elizabeth his wife conveyed the 174 acre farm on Brandywine Creek to Wm Bennet of Chester County, Taylor, for L200." (Msc. Records of Concord Mo. Mtg. Gen. Soc. Of Pa.).
J.E. Norris in his History of the Shenandoah Valley, p 58 states, "William Vestal and John Vestal made a settlement at a very early date at Vestal's Gap on the Shenandoah River in Frederick County, Va. (about 6 miles east of CharlesTown). While they were building a stone house they were attacked by Indians and driven across the river to the mountains. When they returned one of them brought a yellowish stone from across the river, which marked the point where they left off building in consequence of the attack. This house still stands but the inscription on one end has been partially obliterated, which has given rise to a dispute at to the name being Vest, Vesta, or Vestal. The author (Norris) has found in the List of Surveys made by George Washington for Lord Fairfax' the name three times occurring Vestall."
The land which later became known as the Plantation of William Vestal was probably secured by patent by his son John Vestal, for Cartmell, on his History of Old Frederick County (Va.) p.2, states: " The following surveys were along the Shenandoah River: Robt Fox, Edward Musgrove, George Neavill, adjoining Wm. Vestal who owns the Vestal Iron Wors at the Base of the Blue Ridge-John Vestal previously seated on Pattentt."
On May 10, 1742 a contract was entered into between Thomas Mayberry, William Vestal, John Traden, Richard Stevenson, and Daniel Burnett for the construction of a iron bloomery for the making of bar iron on the plantation of William Vestal. This contract was recorded in 1744.
"This iron bloomery is said to have been the first one erected east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia (one mile east of Mechanicsville, West Virginia). It was in operation until after the Civiel War. Upon the death of William Vestal in 1745 this land and the Vestal interests in the Bloomery were apparently taken over by his son John. When the lasn passed out of the Vestal family is not known. The property is now owned by Mr. Ward funkhouser of Hagerstown, Md. The remains of the old furnace are still standing. The top of each fire place has bars of iron; plates of rusty iron are still firmly holding the stone structure-above one of the fireplaces a cedar tree of good size is growing. The district around the bloomery is known as "The Bloomery Neighborhood." Earl H. Davis, 1940.
Historical marker found in a farmers barn while searching for the site of the Vestal bloomery. This sign was originally located along Virginia state route 9 near the Shenandoah river but it was struck by a car and damaged.
William Vestal left no will, but Book I at Winchester, VA., contains copies of two probate papers: the appointment of his widow Elizabeth as administratrix for which she gave bond in the sum of one thousand pounds of current money in Virginia on March 3, 1745; the other was an inventory of his personal estated listing tools, clothing, livestock and house furnishings. There was no settlement of real estate holdings.
In 1751 Elizabeth and two of her sons, William and Thomas, went to North Carolina, settling in the vicinity of the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting. This Meeting States, "Elizabeth Vestal and sons, William and Thomas, received 10th mo. 7th day 1751 from Hopewell Monthly Meeting." The other children except John who remained in Virginia, must have either preceded or followed their mother to this district for we find record of them at the Can Creek Monthly Meeting soon afterwards. Her son James appears in the records of Cane Creed three months after Elizabeth had been received. Issue of William and Elizabeth Mercer Vestal:
Return to William Vestal
- 3-1 John Vestal, born abt. 1718 in Pa. Married Ann ----.
- 3-2 William Vestal, born in 1721 in Pa. Hill will proved May 7, 1787.
- 3-3 Mary Vestal, born abt. 1723, Married William Jay.
- 3-4 Thomas Vestal
- 3-5 James Vestal, born Sept 8, 1727. Married Elizabeth Davis.
- 3-6 David Vestal, born June 16, 1736 in Va. Married Sarah Chamness.
- 3-7 Jemima Vestal, married ------Chapman.