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See Also the applicable Combs County Records for more detailed descriptions and analyses of the various records referred to herein.


William Combs of Richmond was born aft 1663, probably in Old Rappahannock Co VA (parent county of Richmond & Essex); died intestate ca1718, Richmond Co, VA; married (1) bef 1694, Mary (BROWN? TAYLOR?) who survived him. Issue (if any): Unknown.

William Combs first appears in the records of Old Rappa. when on 4 Sep 1684, the Courts ordered him bound to Mr. William UNDERWOOD as an apprentice until he reached the age of twenty one years. (Old Rappahannock OB, 1683-1686, p. 55) The order also noted that he was being assigned from the care of Abraham STEPP [a.k.a. STAPP]. At the time, his step-brother, William UNDERWOOD, Sr., would have been abt 36 years of age, and his half-brother, William UNDERWOOD, Jr., 22-32 years of age, thus it was most likely Wm. UNDERWOOD, Sr. who was his guardian. (See UNDERWOOD Family)

On 11 Dec 1691 William COUMBES, his brother, John, and his mother, "Eliza COUMBS," are named in an Essex Co VA deed whereby his half-brother, William [OU] UNDERWOOD, Jr., sold his moiety (share) of the 600 acre tract on Peumans' End Run in Essex County secured by Elizabeth for her sons as part of her dower settlement as widow of Col. Wm. UNDERWOOD (Richmond DB1:7), but William Combs does not appear in the records as an adult until 1 Apr 1702, when his brother, John COMBES, as guardian of John MALDEN, charged William with having trespassed on MALDEN'S land, and destroyed timber and housing. (See Also Richmond Co VA court order dated 3 Jan 1693/4, Richmond OB2:112-3) William Combs appears in several more unrelated Richmond Co VA Court Orders in 1702 (See Richmond VA).

Unlike his brother, John, whose signature was a mark, William Combs could sign his name, as is evidenced by his witnessing a deed on 16 Jan 1702/3 between John BROWNE of St. Maryes Parish, Richmond, Carpenter (s/o William BROWNE, decd), and Sarah his Wife to Edward TAYLOR of same, Carpenter, the land described as "in the Forrest between the Rivers of Potomack and Rappahannock in County of Westmoreland [sic] (but since the Division of the Counties in the County of Richmond)…" (Richmond DB3:223-235)

Both William Combs and his brother, John, had close associations to BROWN families - William Combs to the family of the above William BROWNE, deceased, whose widow, Elizabeth, later married (2) Evan MORGAN, and (3) James TAYLOR; and John Combs to the family of Original BROWN. According to BROWN researchers, there is no known relationship between the two families; however, it appears possible that William's wife, Mary, might have been either a BROWN or a TAYLOR, although Edward TAYLOR above has not yet been identified. The William BROWN Family is the same who are believed to have intermarried with the HAMMETT Family of Richmond & Stafford Cos VA (See Also Anderson-Brown-Wroe).

On 6 Mar 1704/5, William Combs of Richmond, patented 100 A. on Portridges Cr. [nb: a.k.a. Poytresses' Creek] in Richmond Co. adj. John BROWN, Maxfield BROWN & Major WRIGHT. Wrnt. 6 Mar 1704. Surv. by William THORNETON. 13 Jul 1705. (North Neck Land Grant Book 3-103 & 311).

William Combs is mentioned in several more Richmond Co VA court orders between 1705 and 1708, and then on 23 Jan 1711/2, William COMBES [sic] of St Maries Parish, Richmond County, sold Richard TUTT of Sittenbourne Parish, Richmond, 200 acres, "being part of 600 acres in St Maries Par. Essex Co." this apparently being William's moiety in the 600 A secured for him, his brother, John Combs, and his half-brother, William UNDERWOOD, Jr., by their mother, Elizabeth (See Archdale and Elizabeth Combs).

William COMBES' wife, Mary COMBES, also signed this deed, and the witnesses included his brother, John Combs. William was not present, but had conferred his power of attorney to Timorthy ATKINSON to acknowledge the deed on 30 Jan 11 1711/2, and it was proven on the 30th of that month (Essex Co, Wills and Deeds, 1711-1714, p. 21) The above is the first record located thus far of Mary, his wife. Richard TUTT had married Mary UNDERWOOD, daughter of William's step-brother, William UNDERWOOD, Sr., and his wife, Mary BUTLER. (See UNDERWOOD Family) On this same date, William Combs' brother, John Combs, and Richard TUTT, purchased jointly from the Combs' half-brother, William UNDERWOOD, Jr., his 200 A moiety in the 600 acres of land on Peumans End Run. (ibid.)

William Combs has not been located in the records of Richmond or Essex again until 1715 when William COMBES witnessed a power of attorney given by Sarah (X) TAYLOR to Benjamin TAYLOR (Richmond Co DB 1714-1720:74).

The next record of William COMBES is dated 27 Nov 1717, when "William COMBES of Richmond Co., shoemaker," sells (lease & release) Nicholas DOWNTON of Westmoreland, for a consideration of 3,500 lbs. of tobacco, 100 acres in Richmond Co., "ye burying place only excepted," land adjacent to Maxfield Browne, Major WRIGHT, and John BROWN. The deed was personally acknowledged on 4 Dec 1717 by William COMBES, and Mary COMBES, his wife relinquished her dower the same date. (Rich Co DB 1714-1720:248-250)

It appears clear that the above is the same William & Mary COMBES, and certainly the same land. Unfortunately, so far as we know, this is the only land still held by William Combs unless he had either made other purchases not recorded, or still held unknown inherited land of either himself or wife, Mary. Unfortunately, this leaves us with no land to trace to attempt to determine if William COMBES left issue.

By Mar 1718/9, he was deceased when Mary (M) Combs [sic] appeared in Richmond court, and she and Jno. TAYLOR were bound in the sum of 100 pds. sterling when Mary was named administratrix of the estate of "Wm. Combs, dec'd." (Richmond Co DB 1714-1720:389-390) On 1 Apr 1719, the Inventory of William Combs, deceased, was recorded (Richmond Co WB 4:91), and on 2 Dec 1719, further inventory was recorded. (Richmond Co WB 4:137)

It is not yet known if the change in signatures by Wm. Combs/COMBES was significant, or a clerk's error; or if, in fact, the earlier Mary COMBES who could sign her name, and the 1719 Mary [M] Combs might have been different women (Original records still not secured, nor the inventories).

There seems to have been little contact between William and his brother, John, perhaps as a result of the earlier suit? For whatever reason, neither is seen recorded with the other after 1712, and we have yet to find any "stray Combs" in Richmond or King George during the next 10-20 years… However, if William Combs left issue and any remaining holdings were not sold, and the land remained in the family for generations, then it remains possible that descendants may be found. Of possible significance is that many years later, in 1782, a Richard Combs of Richmond Co VA was listed on the tax rolls of that county as a "shoemaker." (Not yet researched).

Attempts to trace William's widow, Mary, have been made more difficult by the fact that William's brother, John Combs, had a daughter named Mary, and that John Combs' son, Archdale Combs II, had not only married a Mary (----), but had also named a daughter, Mary. In addition, Philip Combs of Westmoreland (-1731) also had a daughter named Mary - all these over a time period between ca 1711 and 1735, giving us no less than five Mary Combs.

Based on earlier association with the TAYLOR, however, Mary [M] Combs, widow of William, would appear to be the same who witnessed on 28 Jun 1719, a Richmond Co VA deed between Jno: TAYLOR and Mary his Wife to Thomas TURNER (Richmond DB7:435-436) The TAYLOR Family has not yet been researched, but it would appear probable that the above Jno: TAYLOR was the same who was bonded with Mary for her administration of William Combs' estate. Mary [M] COOMBS who filed suit against William SMITH in King George Co VA on 5 Jun 1724 was also likely the same Mary, but again not known for certain (King George VA OB, 1721-1735, p. 196)

To Be Continued…

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