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JOHN CLYBORN of old Henrico Co, VA (1650/58-1685)

Many Cliborn family historians have been aware that the John Clyborn that first appeared in the Henrico County court records in 1678 was not the son of William Claiborne of Virginia (1600-1676/9). However, the issue was greatly confused by some of the earlier Virginia genealogists when John was listed as his child by such as Dr. Malcolm H. Harris in Old New Kent County. In a letter to Lolita Bissell in 1992, John Frederick Dorman wrote: "I think there is no question that you are correct that John Cliborn of Dale Parish [Chesterfield Co, VA] descends from John Clyborn and Mary Shippey, although a specific contemporary record to establish the descent may never be found. He certainly will not appear as a child of Thomas and Ann (Fox) Claiborne in any future edition of AP& P [Adventures of Purse and Person]."

With the verification of the Y-DNA results from our Claiborn Society study, we are now free to search for John's connection to Cliburn, Westmorland. Any suggestions as to his parents at this time would be pure speculation.

Here is what we know from Henrico and Chesterfield County courts records at this point. John Clyborn, of Bermuda Hundred, old Henrico Co., VA was probably born sometime between 1650 and 1655, though one court deposition could place the year as late as 1658. His first appearance in the court records was in 1678. On 4 Aug 1684, Richard Cocke swore in John Clyburn as constable. John drowned in the Virginia swamps sometime before 17 Nov. 1685 when Littlebury Epes inventoried his estate. The court records of 20 Dec 1685 show Mr. Richard Cocke, as coroner for the County of Henrico, impaneled a jury to inquire into the untimely death of John Clyborn and the opinion he did accidentally fall out of his boat. The court records for the inventory, state that what remained after debts were paid, was to be divided between the wife and two children. The inventory was sworn to in open court by Mary Clyborn, executrix.

It is assumed that John Clyborn married Mary Sheppey sometime around 1680 because court records of 2 Apr 1688 mentioned their orphaned son, John, as age six or seven. John, Jr. was placed with his aunt, Martha Sheppey, wife of Edward Stratton, Jr. Their son, Thomas, aged three or four on 1 Apr 1688 was to be raised by his aunt, Elizabeth Sheppey, and her husband Jeremiah Brown. Nothing more is known about Thomas Clyborn. As no provision is made for Thomas in his uncle Jeremiah Brown's will, Lolita Bissell thought that he had probably died by 1690.

Mary Sheppey Clyborn marries, as her second husband, Thomas Newcomb by 1 Aug 1687. She is dead by 1 Apr 1688 when her sons, John, Jr. and Thomas are placed with her sisters.

John Clyborn, Jr. (1682-1712), son of John and Mary Sheppey Clyborn, appears to have lived with the Strattons in the area of old Henrico called Bermuda Hundred. His uncle, Edward Stratton, Jr., left John Clyborn, Jr. a heifer with calf and a gun in his will written in 1698. About the only other thing we know about John, Jr is from a court record of Henrico Co. for 2 Mar 1712 when his widow, Frances Clyborn, presented an account. The inventory of his estate was taken by Will Kennon and was recorded June 1712. Bissell believed that this inventory places the Clyborn family in the area called "Clyborns or The Ridge where Clyborn lived" as described in the will of Henry Walthal. [Cliborn-Claiborn Records p 105]

The interrelationships of these families of the Bermuda Hundred are very complicated. Anne Overcash concluded from her research on the Puckett family, that John, Jr. married Frances Puckett. Lolita Bissell wrote [p 104] that she had found two unmarried girls of suitable age named Frances, one a Puckett and the other an Elam. Her research of the local families had inclined her to believe that Frances, John's wife, was a Puckett.

John, Jr. and Frances (Puckett?) Clyborn must have had a young son, named John (3rd gen.), at the time of his death. Frances, widow Clyborn, married a second time to William Robertson of Dale Parish, Chesterfield Co, VA as is shown by his will of 1757. John Cliborn (abt 1712-1764/5) was named as son-in-law [meaning stepson] when his stepfather, William Robertson, bequeathed him a slave. The 1736 Henrico Co. Tax List shows that William Robinson [Robertson] paid the tax levy for John Clayborn.

John Cliborn (abt 1712-1764/5), son of John Clyborn, Jr and Frances (Puckett?), is commonly referred to as John of Dale Parish. He purchased 200 acres of land on 4 Jan 1749 from Alexander Brown of Dale Parish, Chesterfield Co, VA [Chesterfield was split from Henrico County in 1749] for 40 pounds current money of Virginia. This land was part of a 400 acre survey granted to George Brown and was probably the property on Sapony Creek where he and his family lived. John also purchased 250 acres located on the north side of Winterpock Creek from Anthony Wilkinson which he later willed to his sons, Jonas and John.

The surname of John's wife, Jane [Jean/Jannett], is not known. At one time it had been surmised that she was the daughter of William Robertson, possibly by Frances (Puckett ?) Clyborn Robertson. That has pretty much been discounted with the clearer understanding of the use of the term, son-in-law, for stepson in the wills of the 1700s. However, there are other possibilities, such as an earlier wife for William Robertson, or the more intriguing Brown connections. John and Jane were likely married sometime around 1732, but this is only an estimate, as are the birth dates and placement of the children based on their listing in John's will.

John Cliborn of Dale Parish wrote his will in 1764, it was proved 6 Jun 1766. If Jane was mentioned in the will, it may be the item at the bottom of the first page that appears illegible according to Bissell [p128]. We know she was still living in Mar 1767 when Jane and her second husband, John Mardice, take the children to court to get her dower share, which she later sells to her son George Cliborn.

Children of John Cliborn of Dale Parish and wife Jane:

  1. Jonas Cliborn (abt 1733-1795/96) m. Edith Folkes abt 1758
  2. John Cliborn, Jr (abt 1735-1782) m. Elizabeth Robertson abt 1757
  3. George Cliborn (abt1742- 1811) m. Jemima Cashoon abt 1764
  4. Thomas Cliborn (abt 1750-1810) m. Louisa or Lovina (surname unknown) bef. 16 Feb 1774
  5. Frances Cliborn [Harold Claiborne of TX gives her husband as Barlry Jordan]
  6. Phebe Cliborn [some think she m. William Robinson, Jr]
  7. Jennet Cliborn m. Edward Wilkinson by Mar 1767

Your Best Sources as of this date:

  1. Court records of Henrico and Chesterfield Co., Virginia
  2. Lolita Hannsh Bissell, Cliborn-Claiborne Records (Nashville, 1986).
  3. Isom I. Stephens, The Descendants of James Monroe Sills, James Cliburn & Allied Pittman Family (J. Grant Stvenson, 230 West 1230 North Provo, Utah 84601, 1972). This is a North Carolina line.

by Sue Cliborn Forbes