Let me see if I can help. First and foremost, we must distinguish between the "Northern Neck" and the "Northern Neck Proprietary."
The term "Northern Neck" was an ancient term used for the neck of land between the Potomac River and the Rappahannock River. Its eastern boundary was, and is, the Chesapeake Bay. ITS WESTERN BOUNDARY WAS NOT CLEARLY DEFINED IN THE BEGINNING.
In June of 1642 the Assembly decreed that land could be taken up in the Northern Neck, and a couple of months later the first grant was made to John Carter for 1300 acres. However, the Act that permitted the land to be granted also decreed that persons were not to settle on the land "for divers reasons." (I am not about to get into a discussion of who was the first English settler!) In 1642 and 1643 several grants were made, but there are no extant records of grants made after 1643 until 1649.
By 1644 persons definitely had settled in the Neck. In 1648 Northum- berland County was officially established by an Act of Assembly. That Act said that persons would be allowed to settle in the Neck after 1 June 1649. (Of course, they had been settled there, apparently without sanction, for at least 5 years.)
Lancaster County was established in 1652. Part of its land was taken from the southern part of Northumberland. Westmoreland was formed from the western part of Northumberland in 1653.
In the meantime, the civil war in England resulted in the dethroning of Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649. Charles II fled to France, accompanied by some loyalists. As a reward for their faithful service, he gave them the proprietorship of the land between the headwaters of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers (including the rivers): the Northern Neck Proprietary. When the monarchy was restored and Charles II came to the throne, one of his first acts was to validate that Proprietorship.
What this meant was that persons could receive land by grant from the Proprietors, and they could sell, buy, bequeath, or entail land within the Proprietary so long as they paid an annual quitrent per acre to the Proprietors.
Although I have not personally seen proof of this, I have read that Charles II's gift was re-written at a later date. This time, instead of defining the boundaries as "between the headwaters" of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, the wording was changed slightly to read "between the HEADSPRINGS of the headwaters." This added significant acreage to the Northern Neck Proprietary!
Most natives of the Northern Neck generally consider the Neck to consist of Northumberland, Lancaster, Westmoreland, Richmond and King George Counties. But the Northern Neck Proprietary contained many more counties than that. And, yes, Hampshire County was part of the Northern Neck Proprietary.
This is as brief as I could make it. I hope it helps.
Carolyn H. Jett
From: "Wilmer L. Kerns" <email@example.com> To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What counties are in the Northern Neck of Virginia? This question keeps popping up. Twenty-three (23) present-day Counties are in the historic Northern Neck, which was also known as the Fairfax Proprietary. The lower (southern) end of the Neck commences where the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers empty into the Chesapeake Bay. The Neck of Land lies between these two rivers (like a penninusla), and extends northwestward for 204 miles to the headspring of the Potomac River, which is 4 miles north of present-day Davis, WV.
The Northern Neck is defined as the land that lies between these two rivers=97a total area of 8253 square miles.The Rappahannock River does not flow west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so surveyors in 1745 had to draw a theoretical line between the head of the Potomac River and the head of the northern branch of the Rappahannock/ Rapidan/ Conway Rivers (length of imaginary line =3D 76 miles) to establish the northwestern boundary. The= Neck included land that is now in the Eastern Panhandle of WV=97counties of Mineral, Morgan, Hampshire, Berkeley, Hardy, Jefferson and Grant. Five counties within the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia are within the Neck=97Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, and Page.
Joyner (see below) also included land records for these counties in the Northern Neck: Fauquier, Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William, King George, Westmoreland, Richmond, Northumberland, Stafford, Culpeper, and Lancaster Counties.
Abstracts of Virginia=92s Northern Neck Warrants & Surveys (5 volumes) were published by Peggy Shomo Joyner. The original records are in the VSLA in Richmond. Joyner=92s work (Fairfax land records) is monumental for= researchers of their ancestors in 18th century Northern Neck, especially land west of the Blue Ridge Mtns. Abstracts from the actual Fairfax grants were published in a multivolume set titled Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants by Gertrude E. Gray. Both of these works are important for those researching ancestors in the Northern Neck, because they place people on land at a point in time.
Wilmer L. Kerns Arlington, Virginia
If >your ancestor settled in Old Frederick County (including present-day >counties of Shenandoah, Page, Warren Frederick, Clarke, Jefferson, Berkeley, >Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral and Grant), secure a copy of the Fairfax >survey or grant, or County deed, whichever applies, and find a surveyor, >engineer, lay person, or do-it-yourself, to plot the boundaries onto a >United States Geological Survey map (USGS). Some people are doing this with >software, but I am not up-to-date on that subject. If you have a description >of surveyed land (compass directions, degrees, distances of the legs, etc), >and want the services of a professional who charges reasonable fees, write to:
Those interested in attempting to locate specific pieces of land described by "metes and bounds" in the Shenandoah Valley may want to look at my article which appeared just over a year ago in the National Genealogical Society Computer Interest Group DIGEST. The article, titled "Where Two White Oaks Used to Grow," is a case study in locating land owned by my ancestor, Henry Pence, and two of his brothers using the descriptions provided in the original Northern Neck surveys (availble from the Library of Virginia). The land was originally in Old Frederick County, later became a part of Shenandoah County and now is in Page County. Pinpointing the land involved the use of deed plotting software and other computer tools. Details on this and related software is given in the article, along with information on obtaining USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps, an essential element.
This article is on-line at the National Genealogical Society's website. I was unable to log onto that site just a bit ago to get the exact address, but the address for the homepage of the NGS is:
Under that you should find a link to the CIG DIGEST and the article. If that doesn't work, try searching under my name, Richard Pence or Richard A. Pence. For those interested in deed plotting software, I am aware of at least two decent programs: Mapper and DeedMapper. You can get further information on both from the above-mentioned article and an associated review in the same issue of the DIGEST. I also used a prgram called MapXpert in this project. It's a commercial program and fairly expensive. The plotting programs are relatively inexpensive. Mapper is, I believe, still available in a shareware version that jdoesn't have all the features of the newer commercial version.
The article also contains source citations for obtaining info on land grants in the Northern Neck (the area bounded on the south by the Rappohanock River and on the North by the Potomac River) given to Lord Fairfax. The original warrants and surveys for this land are in the Library of Virginia and there is a book abstracting them. The warrants and deeds are filed under the name of the person(s) who excersized the warrant. Regards, Richard Allen Pence 3211 Adams Court Fairfax, VA 22030-1900 Voice: 703-591-4243 Fax: 703-385-0971 e-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Continuing my search of Sellers papers in the
Library of VA.
Found the following:
1750 Northern Neck Grant of 400 Acres by Thomas, Lord Fairfax to
George Sellers of Frederick.
Land in Augusta County on the North River of Shannondoah.
"bounded by a survey of
John Baylis," but it contains few other geographic details. Excepts
certain mineral rights. Rent
one shilling sterling due annually on the Feast Day of Michael the
Some of these men appear in some other available Shendandoah records,
can’t find any connect to our Sellers.
from MARY SOLLERS DUKE
THE FOLLOWING IS FROM "NORTHERN NECK LAND GRANTS VOL 3 1775-1800
BYGERTRUDE GRAY [I own the first 3 vol]
Y-403: T.W. 14,163=10 sep 1782 Mary Couller, wid.& exx., & Henry Burner exr, of John Couller dec'd 9 A, (11 NOV 1796) IN SHENANDOAH CO. IN POWELS BIG FT. ADJ. JACOB GALLADAY, JACOB BURNER, JOHN KNISELEY, ELIJAH ODELL. 6 NOV. 1799.
TW is Treasury Warrant the + means issued [TW issued]
A.(date), date of survey [A followed by period]
[if the A is written as A., [period comma] it means acres
SHERRY MAZZETTI [firstname.lastname@example.org]
RE: 1799 Northern Neck Grants--COULLER=SELLERS? The Library of Virginia site shows this to be 9 acres. Copy of the grant and the survey (the latter is useless in terms of info) online. SHERRY