ca 1715

Obviously this is somewhat of a "hot potato" and I am certainly willing to post any supporting or disagreeing information here from anyone willing to let me include their name or detailed source information.

Per Leslie Collier (e-mail to the Hatfield e-mail list 21 Feb 1998):
GEORGE and JEREMIAH are sons to GEORGE Sr.
Let's begin early... in 1770 and 1771 in Botetourt Co., VA. These years have surviving tax lists... incomplete, but carrying the Hatfield neighborhood. Here are found John and George Hatfield, fine fellows both. (Hang on to John, I'm saving him for another post.) The list for 1771 is especially interesting, for it gives a multiple entry for George. Listed as tithables are "George Hatfield and sons George and Jeremiah." Check out the quotation marks... this is exactly what the record says.

Remember Virginia's tax law: everybody on this list by name is 21 years old or older. Since George Hatfield has two sons who have reached 21, he's over 40, and could possibly be older (so born in or before 1730). His sons George and Jeremiah had years of birth in or before 1750. record specifies such. This appears to be the same George and Jeremiah who took land next in Montgomery Co, VA, and were in Washington/Russell Co., VA, after the Revolution. So, take these guys off the list of prospects [of children] for Joseph.

... [1] This name comes from a deed made in Russell Co., VA, on 28 Nov 1809. (FHL film #0032427; VA; Lee County; Deed Book 2; p.255. George Hatfield to Abner Hatfield, 28 Nov 1809).

   "This Indenture made the 28th day of November 1809 between
George Gof Hatfield [NOTE: The "Gof" is very clearly crossed out by the
clerk who copied the deed into the book.] of Lee County and State of
Virginia of the one part and Abner Hatfield of the same County and State
of the other part part [sic] Witnesseth that for and in Consideration of
one hundred dollars to the said George Hatfield in had paid before the
sealing and delivering of these presents the Receipt Whereof he doth
hereby acknowledge hath Granted bargained and sold and by these presents
doth doth [sic] Grant bargain and sell unto unto [sic] the said Abner
Hatfield his heirs and Assigns One Certain tract or parcel of Land lying
and being In the said County of Lee Containg One hundred acres be the
same more or less lying on the waters of the lick branch and bounded as
followeth to Wit Beginning at a large black oak marked with three Chops
by the head of a lerge Spring S10E 40 poles to a large White Oak on the
side of a ridge N60W 35 poles to a black Oak & Wite Oak N70W 68 poles to
to [sic] a chesnut and Ridge North 22 poles to a Double Chesnut N6W 20
poles [NOTE: could read "120" poles, hard to tell] to two White Oaks
N43E 90 poles to two White oaks S75E 100 poles to a spanish oak and
hicory by a poplar lick branch & S20W 195 poles to the beginning-With
its appurtenances thereunto belonging to have and to hold the said
parcel of Land to the said Abner Hatfield his heirs & assigns forever in
his performance where of clear of all Other Claims Whatsoever I oblige
myself my Executors & Administrators and assigns ever to defend in
Witness Whereof I have signed this Indenture the day & year first above

Signed Sealed & delivered in presents of [No witnesses listed at all.]

                              George, his mark, Hatfield Seal

   At a court held for Lee County the 28th day of November 1809
   This Indenture of bargain & Sale from George Hatfield to Abner
Hatfield was acknowledged was acknowledged [NOTE: the second set of
"was acknowledged" is crossed out in the same manner as the "Gof" at
the beginning of the deed.] In court and Ordered to be Recorded

                               Test C Carter

Now to the "Goff" part. It's necessary to understand the deed process to interpret this document. An owner and his prospective buyer reach an agreement privately: amount of land, price, exactly when to sell, etc. They then can either write up a document of sale, called the "deed," and take it to the courthouse, or they may stand up in open court session and declare the sale (which means that the court clerk makes out the actual deed paper). If you are unable to write, then you either have someone else make out your deed and have several witnesses who actually watch you sign your mark and sign the deed themselves going on record as witnesses, or you declare the sale in open court, so that the entire court stands as witness. This latter process is what happened here. It is the name of the seller (known as the "grantor") and his signature or mark that goes at the bottom of the deed. He is essentially authorizing the transferral of his property to a buyer and acknowledging that he has received the agreed-upon payment. It is the buyer (known as the "grantee") who keeps the original deed document. He has traded his money for this precious piece of paper that gives him title to the land. There is one more step: the new owner takes the deed itself to the clerk in the courthouse and has it recorded in the county's deed books. The clerk makes what is supposed to be an exact copy of the original deed in the deed books and returns the original to the new owner to take back home. What we read on microfilm is this copy that the clerk made.

Remember that this is in the days before a lot of modern conveniences. There are no erasers, no white-out, no self-correcting typewriter ribbons, no nifty word processing programs. If the clerk made a copying error, he crossed it out (the old term is "interlined"). He did not tear the page out of the deed book and start over. In the first place, the books were expensive; and in the second place, copying by hand with quill and ink is slow work and not to be redone.

was acknowledged
Scan blow-up from deed copy on page 767 of HATFIELD FAMILY HISTORY by Harry Leon Sellards, Jr.

Reread that deed above. Notice that there are a large number of copying errors (and I've marked them "sic"). He found two errors and crossed them out (yes, I've marked those in the body of the deed), but missed several more. These include the all-important "Gof" and a duplication of the phrase "was acknowledged." ...

George Gof? Hatfield
Scan blow-up from deed copy on page 767 of HATFIELD FAMILY HISTORY by Harry Leon Sellards, Jr.

That a clerk with obvious copying problems wrote "Gof" and then crossed it out by no means proves that George Hatfield's middle name was "Goff." George didn't acknowledge himself as "George Gof Hatfield" at the bottom. He only made his mark acknowledging "George Hatfield."

George Hatfield signature
Scan blow-up from deed copy on page 767 of HATFIELD FAMILY HISTORY by Harry Leon Sellards, Jr.

Add to that some knowledge of the use of middle names in America. They essentially don't begin to crop up until children born in the 1790's, yet this George Hatfield was born before 1750. He's not supposed to have a middle name, and neither are his children. His grandchildren, maybe . . .but not he himself.

It's simple. If someone wants to claim that George Hatfield was "George Goff Hatfield," then he needs to find another document where the "Gof" part isn't crossed out. ...

Let's see. There were a father and son both named George Hatfield on a 1771 tax list in Botetourt Co., VA. There are again two men named George Hatfield on a single tax list in Lee Co., VA, in 1795. But that's 24 years apart! Is there no other record in between that shows two Georges? If it's the same "old" George Hatfield, then he's been missing for too long to be believed. Reseachers need to find a more continuous record to assert that it is the same two Georges . . . this one needs a LOT more research.

The George of the 1809 deed would be sixty or older if he were the younger of the two Georges. He would be eighty or older if he were the older of the two. However, after 1795, two Georges never again appear in Lee County. One of them is gone. Although anything can happen, it's more likely that the older one died. Therefore, if one of them is mistakenly called "George Goff Hatfield" in 1809, it's far more likely to be the younger one.

The second George on the 1795 Lee County, VA, tax list could also be someone's young son. It does not prove that "old" George has cropped back up after a 24-year vacation on the Riviera. Could be, just gotta have better proof.

BTW, the Abner Hatfield who gets land in this 1809 deed was born circa 1780 and soon migrated on to Claiborne Co., TN, along with his purported brothers Ralph and Lynch. This deed is used by descendants of this group to establish a line going back to George (and from now on I'm going to call him George Jr.).

"Old" George Hatfield (I'll call him George Sr.) was born in or before 1730. He was busily siring children by the late 1740's, for two adult sons are present with him on the 1771 tax list of Botetourt Co. Does he have other children? Probably . . . that would be perfectly normal. Since George Jr. and Jeremiah are provably his sons, then other Hatfields whose ages are similar to theirs and who hang out with George Jr. and Jeremiah are prime suspects . . . not proven, mind you, but good candidates who need more research to rule them in or out.

Any who can be put into George Sr.'s locality at the time he is there have a stronger claim than those who didn't leave records near him. But it's possible that by associating the "sons" to each other throughout their later lives that a claim of kinship can be made.

Candidates who need further examination as potential sons to George Hatfield Sr. include the following:

Of course (or do I mean "curse") there are probably daughters, too. But we don't know their names since the marriage records haven't survived, if they ever existed. Some thorough and utterly charming Hatfield researcher could possibly make a life's work of tracing the various neighbors and associates of all of these Hatfield men and finally identify a sister or several.

I haven't forgotten John Hatfield of Botetourt Co., VA, and maybe or maybe not later Lee Co., VA. He's just a special case and gets his own note.

Per Jim Granger e-mail of Oct. 15, 1999

The law establishing the tax was passed by the General Assembly in 1748, and it stated that all male persons 16 and over were tithable. The law was amended in 1762, but the tithable age remained 16 until after the Revolutionary War. In 1779, the age was changed to 21, although even then there were provisions for taxing some persons under 21.

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