The Macon Plantations
- Mount Prospect , Mount Pleasant, And Macon Island, New Kent County, Virginia
- Fairfield And The Powhite Tract, Hanover County, Virginia
- And Other Plantations in Virginia Owned by the Macon Family.
Macon Island was in New Kent Co., Virginia. New Kent Co. was established in 1654 from the Old York Co. William and Ann Macon, Gideon's parents, originally settled in York County in the 1630's. Macon Island was in the family from 1680, the accepted date, until about 1974, about 300 years.
On Nov. 8, 1658, John Lewis and James Turner were granted 1000 acres of land, of sunken ground and marshes, including an Island. This Island they named Lewis Island. The land was bordered by the Pamunkey River and by the Pouncie's Creek, bordering the land of John Pouncie.
The First Macon Owner, Gideon Macon
Gideon Macon, (1638-1702), bought this Island in 1680, the accepted date, and renamed it Macon Island. I have found no official record of purchase. The only Island that Gideon bought in New Kent Co. that I found a record for, is on “April 12, 1694. He bought 155ac and 4 persons”, 155ac, it being the Island on the North East side of the main run of Chickahominy swamp at the wading place near Meradays plantation”, patent 8, page 357. However, this must not be the same Island. He moved to Macon Island after he built Mt. Prospect Plantation.
Gideon Macon had many slaves on the Mount Prospect Plantation. St. Peters Church Records list some of the slave children born that Gideon owned.
The list follows:
“Sarah a negro girl belonging to Mr. Gedeon Macon borne ye 29th day of Jan'y 1682
Will a negra boy belonging to Mr. Gedeon Macon born ye 2d day of Febry 1683
Nan B July 1692 belonging to Gedeon Macon
Moll B 6th Nov 1695 as above
Merrea B Jany 1695 as above
Phiil B ye 17 Jany 1696 as above
Isack B Jany ye 28 1697 as above
Sara B Sept 1698 as above
Will B Nove ye 25 1700 as above
Liddia B ye 1st Apr 1701 as above
Trefana B 24 December 1701”. as above
He married his wife, Martha Woodword in early 1681. They had Gideon Jr., their first child born in 1682 according to the St. Peters parish records.
Gideon did not have a middle name like some people think. His name was written, “Gideon” most of the time, but was written, “Gedeon” in the original St. Peters parish register. Some people write his name “Gideon (Gedeon) Macon” to let others know his name could be written either way.
Martha Woodword, (1657-1727), may have been married before Gideon, to a Mr. Biggar in about 1675. The Woodword family had a large tract of land near the Pamunkey on the Pamunkey Neck of the river above John's Creek, (Jack's Creek), in King William Co. William Woodword's two daughters, Martha Woodword (Macon) and Anne Woodword inherited this land on their father's death.
All of Gideon and Martha's children were born and raised on Macon Island. There was also a Macon family cemetery on the Island. Gideon, Martha, and family were likely buried there. During the last 100 years, the headstone of Gideon's daughter, Martha, was found and moved from Macon Island to the Chancel of Bruton Church in Williamsburg. It was placed next to the headstone of her husband, Orlando Jones.
Martha Macon Jones's headstone states:
“Here lyes in hopes of a Blessed
Resurrection ye Body of Mrs. Martha
Jones wife of Mr. Orlando Jones
Daughter of Mr. Gideon Macon”.
Orlando Jones's headstone states:
“Here lies in hope of a Blessed Resurrection
the Body of Mr. Orlando Jones, Son of Mr.
Roland Jones sometime Minister of
this Parish he was born December ye 31st 1681
and died June ye 12th 1719 in ye 38th year of his
age he was twice married his first wife was
Mrs. Martha Macon Daughter of Mr. Gideon
Macon of New Kent by whom he left one
Son named Lane and one Daughter named
Francis His Wife was Mrs. Mary
Williams Daughter of James Williams
of King and Queen County who erected this
Monument to his Memory”
Martha and Orlando Jones were the grandparents of George Washington's wife, Martha.
Most of the headstones were gone from the Island long ago, except that of Gideon's son and his wife,William and Mary Macon, we will discuss them later. The Northern troops destroyed the headstones in many Southern cemeteries during the Civil War, including the Macon cemetery on Macon Island and the Macon cemetery at Powhite, near the Fairfield (Macon) Plantation in Hanover Co. After the Civil War the cemeteries were overgrown with vines and there was not much left. The Northern army destroyed the grounds and gardens of most of the Southern Plantations, including the Macon Plantations.
Gideon died in 1702, but Martha, his wife, continued to live at Mount Prospect Plantation on the Island with her new husband Capt. Nathaniel West, and with William, Gideon's son, and his siblings. Capt. West was a representative in the House of Burgesses, as Gideon had been. Capt. West and Martha had a daughter, Unity West, who married William Dandridge, Francis Jones brother in law. (Gideon had a daughter, Martha, who married Orlando Jones . They had a daughter, Francis Jones, who married Col. John Dandridge.) This Francis Jones Dandridge was the mother of Martha Dandridge, who married George Washington.) Martha Macon Jones was Martha Washington's grandmother, she was named after her.
Martha Dandridge married her first husband, Col. John Custis. He either bought the White House Plantation or it was a Dandridge Plantation that Martha inherited from her family. It was in New Kent Co. and very near the Macon Plantation of Mount Prospect . After her husband died, she was living there when she met and married George Washington. They later named the White House in Washington D. C. after her White House Plantation in Virginia.
After Gideon Macon's death in1702. There was a suit pending in York Co. on June 24, 1703, between Martha Macon West, (Gideon's widow and wife of Nathaniel West), the Executrix of Gideon Macon, late of New Kent Co., deceased, and Richard Pocke of London, merchant.
The Second Macon Owner, William Macon
When Gideon died in 1702, Macon Island and the Mount Prospect Plantation, passed to his second oldest son, William, (1694 to 1773). His oldest son was Gideon Jr (1682 to 1761), according to the St. Peters Parish records of New Kent Co.. Apparently William inherited Macon Island, but Gideon Jr. seems to have inherited the land patents. Gideon Sr. had 5 land patents on record, between 1694 and 1701.
Two were in New Kent Co., One was, “On April 12, 1694, 155ac and 4 persons,“it being the Island on the North East side of the main run of Chickahominy swamp at the wading place near Meradays plantation”, patent 8, page 357 This is the only record I found for Gideon buying an Island in New Kent Co. However, it may have been another Island.
The second, in New Kent Co. was on Nov.7 1700, “standing on the fork of Chickahominy river, at the mouth of the said fork, and where the swamp of the said river ends”.
There were two in King and Queen Co., both on April 25 1701. "One was, in the Pamunkey neck, on the east side of Pampatike swamp. Beg.g &c. In the head line of his 425 acres, parcel of Pullams patent”.
The second one was “in Pampatike swamp. Adjoining the Spencer's land, North & c. crossing John's creek.
And there was one in Henrico Co.On Oct. 15 1698,”On the South side of Chickahominy swamp, being three small Islands. Begg. &c. on Queen's Cabin branch”. (Gideon Macom Jr. sold part of this land in 1704, he had inherited it from his father.)
Gideon Macon Jr.,( B. June 20, 1682 in New Kent Co). After the death of his father, Gideon Sr., in 1702, it was recorded in Henrico Co. Va., April 28 1704, that he sold “74 acres of land in Chickahominy Swamp, part of a tract granted to my father in 1698”, (from Henrico Co., Deed Bk. 1700-1704). (Land patent listed for Gideon Sr.).Gideon Jr. had to inherit the land before he sold it. Gideon Jr. was also on the New Kent Co., Virginia, Rent Rolls for 1704, “Gideon Meacon, 270 acres in New Kent Co”.
William, was one of Gideon's heirs with his older brother Gideon Jr., who was 12 years older. William inherited Mount Prospect Plantation on Macon Island. However, William was still very young and under the guardianship of his step father, Capt. West. In the land processioning records of St. Paul's parish in Hanover Co., it was stated that “Capt. West had the gout and could not be present, but William Macon would be of age in 3 years to attend”. William Macon was born on the Island (1694-1773), raised his children and died there.
William married Mary Hartwell. Mary was, ...“left 300 pounds, (English currency), at age 18 or day of marriage...”, by her uncle Henry Hartwell then in England, late of Virginia. Her uncle also left her land. And according to the Virginia Wills and Deeds Records of 1725, William and his wife Mary (Hartwell) Macon, sold 1210 acres of her inherited land. They sold the land to Robert Carter of Lancaster Co. Robert was known as “King” Carter.
William and Mary had eleven children, three, were their only sons, William Hartwell Macon Sr., the oldest son, who inherited the Mount Prospect Plantation on Macon Island, as the third owner, and Hartwell Macon, born in 1741, and Henry Macon, born in 1727, the two younger sons did not inherit. (Note to family, we are descendants of this Hartwell.)
When Hartwell Sr. was 30 years old,( married with children), in 1771, his father published in the Richmond newspapers that he, “William Macon, was not responsible for my son, Hartwell Macon's debts”. In another newspaper,William Macon said that “My son, Hartwell Macon has gotten into debt and that he will receive nothing more from his father”. This was on Oct. 17, 1771. Hartwell was 30 years old in 1771, and probably was in debt for an extended period of time for his father to resort to publishing this information in the newspapers.
Hartwell, his brother Henry, and their families, were in So. Carol. by 1789, according to court records of Fairfield Co. So. Carol., Hartwell Macon Sr. gives “power of attorney to Hartwell Macon Jr. to transact all his business in every state in the union not excepting No. Carol., to receive money, pay debts, make and receive conveyances, etc. Dated 13 Nov. 1789”. Wits: Gideon Macon, (Hartwell Sr.'s son), H. Macon (Henry, Hartwell's brother). Proved by Gideon Macon 15 Nov. 1789 before John Buchanan, J. P., and recorded 16 Nov. 1789. Fairfield Co., So. Carol., deed book A, 1785 to 1794.
William had many slaves on the Mount Prospect Plantation. The following is a list of a few of the slave children born and owned by William. (St. Peters Parish Records)
Mr. William Macon
“Beck a Negro girl belonging to Capt. Macon b Sept 29 1722
Rachel a Negra girl belonging to Capt. Macon b Nov 5 1722.
Jeny dau of Moll a Neg belonging to ye sd Macon b April 26 1717
Ann dau of Moll a Neg belonging to ye sd Macon b July 1 1717”
One of the above slaves named Moll may have belonged to Gideon, Williams father. According to St. Peters Parish Records, there was a Moll born in 1695, with Gideon as owner. Moll would have been 22 years old in 1717.
Mary died in 1770, and William died in 1773. Their headstone lists all of their children (“issue”). William and Mary's headstone was found in the family cemetery on Macon Island. It states:
“Here lie the bodies of
William Macon and Mary
his wife. He was born 4th
November 1694 and departed this
life in November 1773 in
the 79th year of his age.
She was born 18th June 1703
and departed this life 19th
of November 1770
And had issue
Ann, Martha, Mary, William, Henry,
Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary, Judy, Hartwell,
and Anna,of whom, two are
Interred near this place, Viz., Ann
who died 9th November 1736, age
16 years and Mary, who died 29th January 1733
The Third Macon Owner, William Hartwell Macon Sr.
The Mount Prospect Plantation on Macon Island, then passed to William's son, William Hartwell Macon Sr.(1725 to 1813). This William married Lucy Scott.
William Hartwell Macon Sr. was married with children, and had already established and built the Fairfield Plantation in Hanover Co., long before his father, William died in 1773. All of his children were born at Fairfield Plantation. He had bought a large tract of land that included two parcels, Fairfield and Powhite, earlier known as Old Quarter and Swamp Quarter. Both were in St. Paul's parish in Hanover Co. On Fairfield he built his home and raised his family.
On the Powhite tract he renamed the cemetery that was there, Macon Cemetery. According to a survey that was done in 1937, the cemetery was 50 feet wide and 100 feet long and shaded by many old trees. It is located 10 miles northeast of Richmond, Virginia (in Hanover Co.). In 1937 it was located, “out route #360, 7 miles from Richmond...to intersection of route #156, southeast on route #156, 2 miles to a private lane, south on private lane 1 mile”, it is located, “10 miles northeast of Richmond...” I was told that Fairfield and the Powhite Tract may be a subdivision of Richmond now, in the year 2010. William Hartwell Macon Sr. also established a Mill called “Mekenses” (Macon's) Mill at Powhite.
According to the 1790 Federal Census and the State Enumerations of 1784, This William had 3 whites, 1 dwelling, and 24 other buildings in New Kent County at Mt. Prospect Plantation. Also he had at Fairfield Plantation in Hanover County, 11 whites, and 91 blacks. All of the ancestors seem to have owned slaves in a big way, going back to William Macon, who died in 1684, the father of Gideon Sr. The slaves were inherited from generation to generation.
There were agencies that were springing up in Richmond for the hiring out of Negro slaves. This formed a large part of the “Real Estate Business” in the area. By the late 1700's there were about 100 tobacco factories in Richmond. Tobacco was a very large crop in Virginia.
The cemetery at Powhite had a very few headstones left after the Civil War. Three headstones were found for the Macon family, William Hartwell Macon Sr., His wife, Lucy, and one of his daughters, Elizabeth. The stones state:
“Here lies the body of
He was born January 4 1725
And died November 25 1813”
“Here lies the body of
The wife of William Macon
She was born June 9 1737
And died December 1 1802”
“Here lies the body of
Daughter of William and Lucy Macon
She was born May 24th 1768
And died November 5 1802”
The Fourth Macon Owner, William Hartwell Macon Jr.
William Hartwell Macon Jr.(1740 to 1848), the oldest son of William listed above, inherited the Fairfield Plantation, the Powhite tract of land at Fairfield, as well as the Mount Prospect Plantation on Macon Island. He choose to live on Macon Island and sell Fairfield and the Powhite tract of land.
William Hartwell Macon Jr., after the death of his father, William, in 1813, sold the Powhite tract to Thomas Macon (1796-1851), (according to the survey of 1937).Thomas Macon married Mary Yancey, and “purchased land next to Capt. Wm. Macon, so. side of Pamcokey River”. (The Powhite tract). After various owners it was sold to a Dr. Gaines, who renamed the Mill, Gaines Mill. Apparently, there was later a Civil War battle fought there by that name.
William Hartwell Macon Jr. was married 3 times. Sarah Amblar (1760-1782), Hannah Selden (1760-1813), and Sarah Smith (1800-1857). He built another home (“a Mansion”), “on higher ground away from the swampy areas”, this was because of Malaria and other problems in the summer. It was called Mount Pleasant, however, it seems that both Plantations were referred to as Mount Prospect. Many planters had summer houses away from the rivers for these same reasons.
In 1810 he had purchased the land known as Butts Old Field. This was for 1000 acres. He also purchased more land around Mt. Prospect and part of the Brickhouse tract, for a total of 1040 acres he added to the Mt. Prospect Plantation around 1810.
William Hartwell Macon Jr. died in 1848, but his third wife, Sarah, lived there until her death in 1857. She was listed in the census of 1850 as 50 years of age, (1800-1857), (she lived 7 more years), she died having $23,360 worth of real estate.
The Fifth Macon Owner, Miles Cary Macon
William's son, Miles Cary Macon, (1791-1852), inherited the plantation next, but he could not take control of it, because he died in 1852, five years before his stepmother. Sarah, his stepmother was still living at Mt. Prospect until her death in 1857, as mentioned above.
Miles and family were living at Fairfield Plantation, his birth place, until his father, William, sold Fairfield Plantation. Then,according to Thomas Macon, his son, the family moved to Magnolia Farm, about two miles North of Richmond, and owned by the Nortons. Later, they moved to Rose Cottage owned by a Mr. Richardson. These moves were to be nearer to certain schools for their children.
Miles then bought “Auburn” Plantation, his wife's family home, about two and a half miles from the city of Richmond. Thomas was sent to live at Woodland Plantation, that his brother, Dr. William Hartwell Macon owned., so he could be nearer to a certain school, about three miles away. As the children got older they were sent away to boarding schools.
These moves were between the selling of Fairfield Plantation by William, Miles father, and 1852 when Miles himself died. He lived at places other than the family Plantations, because his stepmother was still living at Mount Prospect until 1857, so Miles did not live at the Mount Prospect Plantation. His wife, Francis, after the death of her husband, Miles in 1852, continued to live at the “Auburn” Plantation Miles had bought, but later moved to the city of Richmond.
Miles married Francis Mutter and had 4 sons among other children. Miles Macon, George Kennon Macon, Dr. William Hartwell Macon., and Thomas Joseph Macon (1839-1917).
1)This Thomas Macon wrote, “Life Gleanings”, a small book about his first hand account of life in early Virginia.
2) Miles Macon was the commander of the Fayette Artillery, Confederate States Army, (C. S. A)
3)George Kennon Macon, was a Cadet of the Virginia Military Institute when the Civil War started. He was wounded at the battle of New Market by a canister shot passing through his arm. Miles, recovering from typhoid fever went after him and took him to his mothers house in Richmond. George was born in 1846, at Henrico Co., Va., VMI Class of 1866, 2ed Corporal, Company A at New Market, a lawyer, and died in 1894, in Richmond, and was buried at Hollywood Cemetery. (C.S.A)
4)Dr. William Hartwell Macon, he studied to be a doctor in Philadelphia, where he had attended the Jefferson Medical College as an office student of Dr. Thomas C. Mutter, the president of the collage, and was a first cousin to his mother, Francis Mutter.
The Sixth Macon Owner, Dr. William Hartwell Macon.
After Miles death in 1852 and Sarah's death in 1857, Miles son, Dr. William Hartwell Macon was next to inherit the Mount Prospect Plantation, and Mount Pleasant.
He married, in 1848, Nora Criana Braxton.. Ingleside Plantation in Hanover Co. was his wife's family home.
He bought a Plantation called, Woodland, where he was living when his father and step mother died. Woodland was the Plantation, Thomas Macon, Dr. Macon's brother, was sent to live for awhile when Thomas was in school.
When Dr. Macon inherited Mount Prospect on Macon Island,and Mount Pleasant, he probably lived at both of them, including Woodland, at different times. He was living at Mount Prospect at times during the Civil War, according to his daughter, Mary.
The Seventh Macon Owner, Mary Sayre Macon Johnston
When he died, Dr. William Hartwell Macon passed Macon Island, the Mount Prospect Plantation, and Mount Pleasant, to his daughter, Mary Sayre Macon, who married Nathaniel Burwell Johnston and lived on the Island.
It was probably Mary and her husband, Nathaniel Johnston, who sold the Mt. Pleasant Plantation in 1908. Mt. Pleasant was set back from the “swampy” Island, “on higher ground”, as a summer house. This was the Plantation that was built by William Hartwell Macon Jr. in 1814. It was referred to as a “mansion”. It was part of the Mount Prospect Plantation.
The Eighth (Macon Family) Owners, J. Ambler Johnston, (With his brother, Miles Cary Macon Johnston)
Mary S. Macon Johnston left Macon Island to her sons, J. Ambler Johnston, (and Miles Cary Macon Johnston), Ambler Johnston was apparently still there in Jan., 1974, according to someone that was supposed to have been there.
I do not know what happened to the Island after 1974. It was probably sold off. It is too bad if this is the case, after almost 300 years of family ownership.
The following additional information for The Macon Plantation Essay was added, Dec. 12, 2010
It was contributed by Rusty Weber at RWNLK@aol.com. Thanks Rusty
Macon Island is still in the family. Mary Sayre Macon Johnston and Nathaniel Burwell Johnston had two sons, James Markham Ambler Johnston, 18 May 1885 to Feb. 1974, and Miles Cary Macon Johnston, 11 July 1888 to 2 Jan. 1963. They jointly inherited Macon Island.
The Ninth (Macon Family) Owners
The son of Miles Cary Macon Johnston, Miles Johnston Jr., he married Mary Garland (Cox), owns the Island now with one of his relatives. His son, Miles Johnston III, works the land with them.
Mary Sayre Macon Johnston's brother, William Hartwell Macon sold her his half and settled in Missouri.
One of his descendants, “William Hartwell Macon of Missouri died in 2006, but before his death, he shared some family stories with me about his great – grandparents, William Hartwell Macon and Nora Criena Braxton. He was the owner of Mount Prospect during the Civil War and was also an MD. Bill said that Nora actually left his grandfather for a while because she was so upset with him because he had given medical treatment to Yankee soldiers. They did eventually get back together, and his family still has the family Bible and still has some letters that Mary Custis Lee wrote to Nora during and after the war (Mary, Mrs. Robert E. Lee, was a cousin of William Hartwell Macon's). Bill said that at the time of her death, Nora was still so impassioned about the war that she was buried with a Confederate flag and a photograph of Robert E. Lee.”
William and Mary Quarterly, Series 1, Vol. 6, P. 33.
Library of Virginia Digital Collections, Old Macon Graveyard Land Survey Report by Evans, 1937.
Old New Kent County (Virginia), Some account of the Planters..., Vol 1, by Harris M.D.
Life Gleanings, by Thomas Joseph Macon
Genealogies of Virginia Families from Tyler's Quarterly Historical. p. 724.
Genealogical Gleanings in England, Vol.1, by Fitz and Waters, p. 313-14.
Seldens of Virginia and Allied Families, by Allaben, 1911.
St. Peter's Parish register.
The 1790 Federal Census
The Virginia state Enumerations of 1784.
The Record of Burton Parish Church” by Goodwin
The Virginia Land Office of Patents and Grants.
The Virginia Archives Division, of Wills and Deeds. 1716 to 1730.
The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol. XVI, Num.2, Spring, 1988.
The New Kent County Rent Rolls of Virginia, 1704