COLONIAL LIFE IN VIRGINIA
REASONS FOR COMING TO THE NEW WORLD
During the early 17th century England was plagued with weak and unfavorable economic conditions. Wages were low, unemployment high, and commodities scarce. The laws of primogeniture, markedly influencing life in England, provided that the eldest child in a family was to receive, under normal circumstances, the entire estate of his father, the majority of his parents possessions, and often exclusively inherit the social rank of his father. Many a younger son, finding himself with little material property and upon viewing the desperate economic situation of the country, looked anxiously for a means to better his economic and social position. Upon hearing the often exaggerated stories of a new unsettled land "of milk and honey", where land was up for the taking and a fortune could be made, and upon discovering that the law allotted to every settler fifty acres of land for each member of his family he brought to the new land, many a man of humble means sacrificed all he had for a chance to seek his fortune and begin a new life in America.
The bleak economic conditions in England, however, were not the only cause of immigration to America during the 17th century. In 1642 civil war broke out in England - dividing the country between King Charles I and his supporters (known as Royalists or Cavaliers) and Parliament, with Oliver Cromwell as its leader. The English Puritans (known as "Roundheads"), being a dominant faction of the parliament , were a powerful force against the Crown. As Cromwell gained more and more control of the government, the Royalists came under much persecution. Charles I was beheaded in 1649 and Cromwell's army marched throughout England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales harassing and persecuting the Royalists. The Nanneys of Merionethshire being supporters of the Crown, were not excluded from the widespread persecution and oppression by Cromwell's forces and the great Nanney Estate was destroyed by Cromwell's Army in the 1650's (the estate was later rebuilt by the family). Many of the Cavaliers sought refuge in America where Royalist persecution did not exist on the scale it did in England. Various of these Cavaliers became part of what was to be called the "TideWater Aristocracy" which ruled Virginia during the second half of the 17th century.
Still others, came to Virginia, seeking the opportunity to worship as they desired. Throughout the 17th century members of various religious movements, including such sects as the Puritans, as well as Presbyterians, Baptists, Huguenots and Quakers arrived in the colony seeking conditions where they might find freedom of worship. But Virginia, in contrast to many other American colonies - who had become havens for pilgrims seeking religious liberty; seems to have been, rather, a colony - a majority of whose inhabitants had come as a result of the economic and political conditions in Europe. They were men and women seeking a better life for them and theirs in this new land.
THE VOYAGE TO AMERICA
The voyage to America was by no means easy and the actual trip across the ocean was probably the worst of it. The journey across the great Atlantic took an average of two to three months - a dreadfully long journey for the adventurous immigrants in view of the poor conditions. The ships were generally crowded and cleanliness, hygiene, and decent and sufficient living quarters, it would seem, were luxuries not afforded many of the voyagers bound for America. Hunger, thirst, boredom, depression, anxiety, fear, sickness and, all too commonly, death were a number of the many unpleasant experiences witnessed by these early America-bound immigrants. The gross uncleanliness and generally unwholesome conditions aboard the crowded vessels resulted in the outbreak of epidemic diseases. The great epidemics of measles, small pox and other contagious diseases, which at times spread throughout the colonies taking many victims, were often the result of the disease being originated on these contaminated and unwholesome vessels.
EVENTS IN 17TH CENTURY VIRGINIA
As we all know Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. However, it was nearly a century later, in 1584, that Queen Elizabeth gave Sir Walter Raleigh permission to establish British colonies in America. Raleigh sent expeditions to America in hopes of fulfilling the queen's desires in forming the overseas colonies. His various attempts to establish a permanent British colony in North America failed; but it was he who gave the area the name of Virginia (in memory of the Virgin Queen).
In 1606 King James I, in hopes of colonizing the New World, chartered the Virginia Company of London (known at times as the London Company). And the next year, in 1607, a company of 105 adventurers set sail for the New World in the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery. They landed at Cape Henry at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay after spending nearly four months at sea. Many of these adventurers came to the Americas seeking treasures of gold and silver, and although not finding it, it is they who we credit with establishing the first permanent English settlement in America. The adventurers had traveled up one of the rivers near the Chesapeake Bay to establish this settlement. Both the river (The James) and the settlement (Jamestown) were named in honor of the king. This early group of Jamestown colonists was led by the now familiar Captain John Smith. The stories of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, that many of us are familiar with, are stories that originated from this early English settlement. Many of these first colonists tragically died, however, in the severe winters and also due to Indian attacks and disease. But when the adventurers ceased looking for the treasures of gold and silver which they had come to discover and settled down and started to till and farm the land, they began to prosper. With the introduction of women to the colony in 1619, family life became commonplace in the colony, helping create an environment under which the small settlement, even though suffering many setbacks at the beginning, would in time grow and prosper.
In 1619 the first representative legislature of Virginia was created, the House of Burgesses. George Yeardley was elected Colonial Governor and he met with the newly created legislative body to establish the laws of the infant colony. The combined body of the House of Burgesses and the Governor and his aids was called the General Assembly.
In 1624 the Virginia Company, by royal decree, came to the end of its existence. King James I revoked the Company's charter and pronounced Virginia a Royal Colony - claiming control of the colony himself and appointing various successive governors to rule the overseas colony. Governor Yeardley was succeeded by various other governors who were often not well liked by the general colonial population. In 1642, Sir william Berkeley (living in England at the time) was named Governor of the American Colony and he sailed to America early that year. Governor Berkeley, in contrast to previous governors, was generally well liked by the colonists and served until 1652 at which time he was forced to surrender the colony to Oliver Cromwell who had overthrown King Charles I during the English Civil War - which had broken out the same year that Berkeley had set sail for America.
From 1652 until 1660 - when Cromwell died, England had little governing control over the colony and the General Assembly of Virginia was, under most circumstances, left to govern the colony themselves. But the majority of the Virginia colonists were Royalists (in favor of the Crown) and were pleased when Charles II gained control of the government and became King. Berkeley was reappointed Governor of Virginia in 1660. The majority of the colonists, however, were not pleased with Berkeley's rule during this second term and it resulted in widespread discontent among the population. It was during this second term of Berkeley that the heads of various prosperous families of the colony rose to positions in the House of Burgesses and Virginia became ruled by a very small group of affluent and wealthy families known as the "Tidewater Aristocracy". The widespread discontent among the colonists resulted in what was to be known as Bacon's Rebellion. In 1676, after the colony had experienced various skirmishes and problems with the natives and after Berkeley had failed to take quick action in repelling an Indian attack, the colonists chose Nathaniel Bacon to lead an attack on the Indians. Bacon later lead a rebel group to Jamestown where he captured and set fire to the settlement. As a result of this rebellion Berkeley lost control of the government and leadership was taken over by Bacon. This rebellion was short-lived however, as Bacon died the same year from "lice and flux". Berkeley immediately regained governing control and all those who had taken part in the rebellion were made to answer to their acts of insurrection. Berkeley, however, was soon called back to England, to answer for his treatment of the colonists. After sailing back to England, he became sick and passed away while there. Various royal governors succeeded Berkeley as rulers of the colony, but the Tidewater Aristocracy never lost much of their grip on the political and economic control of the colony and maintained their eliteness throughout the 1600's.
GEOGRAPHY AND SETTLEMENT OF VIRGINIA
The main concentrations of early settlers of Colonial Virginia were to be found along the great rivers of Eastern Virginia. Along the Eastern Coast of Virginia four great rivers empty into the Atlantic - from South to North: The James, the York, the Rappahannock and the Potomac. Between these rivers are three stretches of land. This area from the eastern shores, west to what was called the "fall line" (which bordered the fertile inner plateau known as the Piedmont) was known as the "Tidewater". Thus the terms "Tidewater Virginia" and "Tidewater Aristocracy". The constant washing of the soil from the fertile Piedmont region down to the Tidewater area made it a very productive farm area. It was in this area that our first ancestors came. No one seems to know exactly where the first Yancey brothers settled when they arrived in America, but by the early 18th century the two main concentrations of Yanceys seem to have been in Hanover County, North of the James River and in that area, along the Rappahannock, that in 1748 became Culpeper County.
THE CLASS SYSTEM IN AMERICA
The early immigrants to Virginia came to a colony totally dominated by a three-tiered class-system. At the top of this social strata was the ruling Aristocracy. These wealthy land owners were characterized by their large plantations (and thus their need for labor to work the fields). It was from this upper class that the members of the governing body - the House of Burgesses were chosen.
The large Yeomanry class, the common small independent farmers or "planters" as they were called, constituted the middle class. They were by far the most numerous but lacked the political and economic power held by the aristocracy. Many had been merchants or craftsman in the Old World and had come to America seeking their fortune. At the bottom of the class system were the indentured servants and slaves. Field labor, being in such high demand by the large tobacco plantation owners of the colony, many a wealthy planter would pay the passage of an immigrant if they would be bound by contract to work a period of four to seven years - during which period they would not earn wages, but in return for their labor would be given food, clothing, and shelter. Many, in the Old World, desperate to leave the bleak conditions of Europe, took advantage of this opportunity, in hopes that after the period of their indenture they would be able to secure a better life in the colonies. In view of the expense and temporariness of the indentured labor the wealthy planters soon turned to a cheaper and more permanent source of labor - black slaves - and thus began the slave trade which dominated the latter part of the 17th century.
One should not suppose, however, that the then-existing social class system was something that the European immigrant found himself locked into. After the term of his indenture a servant was free from his contract and was usually given the means to improve his social and economic status. The humble yeoman could, with hard work and ingenuity, significantly improve his social and economic standing for him and his descendants - and many a humble but hard working yeoman, grew to a respected and prominent position among his fellow planters. Contrary to claims made by some, that the majority of the families making up the Virginia Aristocracy were descendants of wealthy English families of noble lineage, various families of modest means, as the result of hard work, sacrifice and probably a little luck, developed into prosperous, powerful, wealthy families of the Aristocracy in Virginia. But even the members of the powerful Tidewater Aristocracy were not totally immune to changes in their social position in the class system. Governor Berkeley, himself after meeting much resistance from the yeoman class in his second term (resulting in Bacon's rebellion), lost governing control of the colony and returned to England where he died. The one class, however, that had been brought to America by force and who did find themselves stuck at the bottom of the class system with little hope for betterment of their conditions, were the African slaves. Sadly they seemed to have been locked into a social status from which they would not escape from until the 19th century.
Thus Virginia at the time the Yanceys are to have come over was distinctly divided into three social classes: the ruling Aristocracy, the large middle class yeomanry, and the indentured servants and slaves. Due to the lack of any reference to the Yancey family among the extant 17th Century Virginia records and due to the modest landholdings of the very first documented Yanceys in America - it seems most probable that the earliest members of the family were part of the large Yeoman middle class before working their way up the social and economic ladder to positions of prominence and affluence, as respected plantation owners, that many of them were in 18th and 19th century Virginia.
HARDSHIPS IN COLONIAL AMERICA
Although America, was indeed a land of opportunity, it was not a land without many hardships and dangers. The winters were often severe and many of the very early immigrants suffered greatly through the cold seasons. The colonists, not being able to readily preserve food stuffs, cured or smoked meats and pickled various types of vegetables. They also stored certain types of vegetables and fruits in cool dry cellars. But during the winters many colonists lived mainly on a diet of meat and bread.
Indians were a constant threat to the colonists and small parties of white settlers were often ambushed by the natives and many a time the Indians would plunder and destroy the crops of the seemingly helpless planters. Two years after the supposed arrival of the Yanceys in 1642 the second great Indian massacre in Virginia occurred and hundred of colonists were slaughtered at the hands of the Indians. Due to the fact that the early European settlers were often taking over what had previously been Indian hunting ground, throughout the colonial period conflicts between the Indians and the colonists occurred, and over time, many skirmishes resulting in battles, or Indian Wars, broke out between the two conflicting groups. Indians were by no means the only danger, however.
Epidemic diseases often ran rampant among the settlers. Yellow fever, small pox, measles and even the bubonic plague were diseases feared by the settlers. Infant mortality was high among the colonists and there were few trained doctors for those needing medical attention. All too often, a young wife would die when complications occurred during childbirth.
THE YEOMAN PLANTER
What was life like for the yeoman planter on his small farm? The average middle class planter usually owned between 50 and 500 acres of land, usually only part of which was under cultivation at one time (this compares to several thousands of acres held by some of the wealthy aristocrats). The relatively modest common Virginia Yeoman was without doubt, however, the envy of the farmers in Europe, as, at least in view of the land and livestock he could easily acquire, he compared to many a wealthy squire of England.
Although possibly clothed in beggar rags, the yeoman planter, under normal conditions, had no reason to feel the pangs of hunger. Even the poorest planter, was usually bestowed with various head of cattle which were quite plentiful in the colony. The cattle not only supplied the families with beef, but with milk from which could be made butter and cheese. They also supplied leather from which could be made shoes and leggings. Often, even more common than beef, was pork. Swine were quite plentiful, and the planter often marked them and let them loose to forage in the forest and feed upon the roots and acorns. Poultry was also exceedingly numerous and in the lakes, rivers, and forests the colonial hunter could bring down all manner of fowl, including turkey, duck, geese, and quail.
Various varieties of fruits and vegetables were much more common than many would suppose. The gardens, planted each year, supplied the families with vegetables such as carrots, turnips, onions, potatoes and more. With time various planters developed orchards producing apples, pears, cherries, apricots and peaches and many other fruits. Thus, not only did many planters have large stores of fresh fruit but a source for making cider and brandy which was much cheaper than the imported liquors. From the forest, lakes and shores the families could gather berries and nuts of all sort. They could also catch fish, oysters and clams. Wild honey could even be secured from swarms of bees in the woods.
The domiciles of the yeoman planters were quite modest but comfortable and neat. Timber being plentiful the majority of the houses were made of wood. The houses built by the very first settlers were often crude log cabins but with time these log houses of the colonists evolved into small framed cottages, many having a chimney at each end. The planter's furniture was usually fashioned with his own hands. It was quite customary for tables, chairs, beds and other pieces of furniture to be hand manufactured by the majority of the colonists who did not have the means to import these items from England. Even household utensils might be made upon the farm. Fuel for heating the small cabins and cottages was never in short supply, as the planter had only to take his axe and walk a short distance to supply himself with needed firewood.
The yeoman planter became a jack-of-all-trades. The Yeoman usually built his own house with tools that he had often made with his own hands. He planted, nurtured, and harvested his crops and became an adept agriculturist and an astute businessmen when it came time to sell or trade his harvested crops. He became skillful in raising and taking care of the needs of the livestock. He was often a hard working gardener and many a colonist learned to distill his own brandy and liquor from the fruit that his orchard produced. Providing for his family, he became a proficient hunter, fisherman, and at times an explorer. It was also often required of him to be a defender of his family and the colony, often serving in the militia in skirmishes against the Indians. He even at times had to function as a lawyer and often a physician and veterinarian.
TOBACCO AND THE QUESTION OF SLAVERY
The Virginia planter usually reserved a portion of his land for the planting of wheat and maize which were used by him to make bread. Maize being so cheap and easy to grow, cornbread became a mainstay not only for the planter, but for the servants and slaves. But since its introduction to the Virginia colony, however, tobacco was without doubt the cash crop of the Virginia plantation owners. It became so popular that it is said that the plant was even grown in the streets of Jamestown.
Tobacco was first introduced into the colony in 1612 by John Rolfe. It was found to be well suited to the Virginia soil, a crop which needed little care, and most importantly it brought a handsome return. The colonists soon discovered that only two basic things were needed to grow the plant on a large scale: land and labor. Land, was the least of worries, as even the poorest farmer with an axe and a lot of hard work could transform a wooded area into a fertile farm that in England would have been considered a wealthy estate. Labor, on the other hand, was a scarcity , especially during the first half of the 17th century. The wealthy plantation owners, not finding a good source of labor here in America, turned to their mother country for the answer. As a result of the high demand for labor on the large colonial plantations, streams of indentured servants flowed freely to America during the 17th century. The indentured servant would promise four to seven years of hard field labor; in return, the plantation owner would pay his passage to the colony and supply him with food, clothes and shelter. But, at the close of the agreed term the servant was free from his contract and was usually supplied with means to eventually become an independent farmer and the plantation owner was forced to acquire another indentured servant. The humble yeoman was not usually able to secure the luxury of this imported labor; but due to its expense and due to the fact that it was a resource that continually had to be renewed by the large wealthy plantation owners, the hardworking yeoman could still fare pretty well against the larger plantation owners.
But the wealthy plantation owners soon turned from the expensive acquisition of indentured servants to a cheaper and more permanent source of labor. The first blacks were brought to America in 1619 by Dutch traders as indentured servants. During the first half of the 17th century the number of black slaves was quite minimal. In 1649 when Virginia was growing quite rapidly, and the white population numbered near 15,000, there were but 300 negroes in the colony (about 2 percent of the population). But throughout the late 17th and early 18th century the negro population had grown so fast that in 1730 there were nearly 30,000 blacks (about 25% of the population). With the large influx of black slaves imported from Africa during this time period by the wealthy Aristocratic plantation owners, the common yeoman faced a serious crisis. The introduction of this "cheap labor" would reduce the cost of production for those who could afford it and lower the price of tobacco. Could the humble yeoman with only his own hands and tools, compete with the large plantation owners with their slave labor? The yeoman class in Virginia seemed doomed. It seemed that the wealthy plantation owners would only get wealthier and the small humble yeoman farmers would be forced into poverty. In desperation it seemed that there were few options for the small yeoman planter. He could continue farming, as he always had, and with time find himself forced into the depths of poverty, he could leave the colony and seek his fortune elsewhere, or he could, with much hard work and a little luck, possibly earn enough money to buy a slave or two himself. Sadly, as it may be in retrospect, it seems (at least in part) that it was through this acquisition by the small yeoman planter of a few negro slaves that the large middle class were able to save themselves.
Black slaves from Africa became one of the few groups of people who came to the colonies unwillingly and became locked into a social position beyond their control. As a result of their importation, the colony became transformed from a land dominated by the large Yeoman middle class, characterized by their hard work, self respect and independence, into a land of large tobacco plantations - a land of slaves and slave-holders. It became a way of life - one that completely dominated the South until the great crisis of the Civil War which split the great nation in two. The little evidence we have suggests that the earliest Yanceys were probably among these middle class yeoman planters, many of whom, after a number of generations and due to the social changes of the time, were able to become large and prosperous plantation owners. By the 18th century the majority of Yanceys found living in Virginia and North Carolina owned slaves and many members of the Yancey families grew to positions of economic and social prominence. This, however, is not to say that they grew to these positions of prominence solely through the families acquisition of slaves. Research indicates that the early members of the family were very hard working, ingenious, learned men. Many of the early Yanceys actively served in their local government and militia, many became educators, ministers, doctors, lawyers, congressmen, and the like. And it would seem that the majority of them arrived at these respected social positions independent of the fact that they owned slaves. It would also seem that various members of the early Yancey family seem to have developed a degree of affluence and prominence among the colonists, at least in part, from marrying into wealthy families (such as the Kavanaughs of Culpeper County). But in total fairness, historians do seem to be correct when they state that, as a whole, the large yeoman middle class seems to have survived the 17th century due to their acquisition of a few black slaves. By the arrival of the 18th century the majority of the plantation owners had a small number of slaves and with some hard work and ingenuity could with reasonable confidence expect to improve their economic and social position.
The question of slavery was, and is, a delicate subject. Different members of the Yancey family were later to be found on both sides of the Great Civil War which was, at least in part, initiated over the question of slavery. There is evidence, however, even in view of the fact that the majority of early Yanceys owned black slaves, that many of them considered the institution of slavery less than just. As one very prominent member of the Yancey family of Virginia, a plantation owner himself, wrote in 1835:
"I consider slavery an evil of great magnitude, yet I am not in favor of abolition -- very far from it. No remedy for the evil has presented itself to my mind, but would produce a greater evil to society, than a continuance of servitude in the mild and humane form in which it exists. Slavery was introduced in this country by the sordid policy of the British Government, for which we of the present generation cannot be held accountable; but we are accountable for a just discharge of our duties as masters, in extending to them mild humane treatment, with due regard to their morals. Abolition can never be forced by the clamor of fanatics, which can only make the situation of slaves less tolerable and delay the process of public opinion, in devising some plan for commencing a system of abolition, which commence when it may, must take its origin in some of the slave-holding states."
It goes without question that tobacco growing, slavery, and plantation life in general, were three aspects of life that affected every Virginian whether he was a plantation owner possessing slaves or not.
INDEPENDENCE FROM ENGLAND
Virginia in the colonial period was linked to England by government, commerce, religion, education, dress and most all aspects of daily life. But despite all these bonds with the mother country, the colonist was slowly, but inevitably becoming more an American, and less an Englishman. It was life on the Virginia plantation, unfamiliar to the average Englishman, which shaped the daily life of the Virginian and set him apart from the English people. Even though this was the case, however, most Virginians still considered themselves Englishman and it was not until the conflict of the Revolutionary War that our ancestors, as well as the majority of other Americans, declared their independence from England and the thirteen loosely bound colonies became The United States of America.
THE YANCEY FAMILY TODAY
The Yancey family grew from a small family of relatively modest means to be one of the prominent and respected families of Virginia - and all of America for that matter. For Yanceys can now be found in all of the fifty states. All of the Yanceys owe, at least in a small part, to these our early Yancey ancestors a bit of respect, and reverence for their sacrifices in coming to and taming this new land, for their hard work and ingenuity, for their courage and for their convictions, for their leadership and their integrity. For without them the Yancey family would not be the great family that it is today. A true American family.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE YANCEY FAMILY IN COLONIAL AMERICA
1500's - The Nanney family found living in Wales on their estate called "Nannau". It being in the family for nearly 400 years.
1584 -- Queen Elizabeth gives the English adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh permission to establish colonies in America. Raleigh sends expeditions to America. He names the area Virginia.
1607 -- The Virginia Company of London establishes Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America.
1612 -- John Rolfe helps save the colony by introducing tobacco growing and exporting.
1619 -- America's first representative legislature, the House of Burgesses, meets in Jamestown. Dutch traders bring the first black servants to Jamestown.
1622 -- An Indian attack on Jamestown results in the slaughter of more than one third of the 1200 white men.
1624 -- King James I revokes the Virginia Company's Charter and Virginia becomes a Royal Colony.
1625 -- King James I dies and is succeeded by his son Charles I who rules with absolute power, not even allowing Parliament to meet from 1629 to 1640.
1642 -- Sir William Berkeley is sent to Virginia as the Royal Governor. Family tradition has it that four or five Yancey brothers from Wales accompany Berkeley and settle along the James River in Virginia. Virginia is, at this time, a growing colony of some 15,000 whites and 300 negroes. Berkeley rules for ten years and has good relations with the colonists. In England, Charles I refuses to relinquish his autocratic rule and civil war breaks out between him and his followers (called the Royalists or Cavaliers) and the parliament with Oliver Cromwell at the head. Many of the supporters of Cromwell are Puritans known as "Roundheads".
1644 -- The second great Indian massacre occurs in Virginia. Hundreds of Colonist are savagely killed.
1649 -- After gaining control of the English government Cromwell condemns Charles I to death and the King is beheaded.
1652 -- Berkeley is forced to surrender Virginia to the rule of Oliver Cromwell. The colonist are allowed to take almost complete control of their own government. Various cavaliers (supporters of the future king Charles II) seek refuge in Virginia.
1660 -- Cromwell dies and his son, Richard, is found to be an ineffective leader. Charles II becomes King of England. Berkeley is reappointed Governor of Virginia. His new term however, brings widespread discontent among the colonists. The Tidewater Aristocracy gains ruling control of the colony.
1672 -- Governor Berkeley estimates the population at 48,000 including 2,000 slaves and 6,000 indentured servants.
1676 -- Sir William Berkeley fails to take quick action to repel an Indian attack. The people of Virginia choose Nathaniel Bacon to lead a force against the Indians. He later leads a revolt against the government and captures and burns Jamestown. The revolt comes to be known as Bacon's Rebellion. He controls the colony only briefly until his death the same year.
1677 -- Governor Berkeley is called back to England to answer for his treatment of the colonists. He sails back and dies there soon after.
1685 -- The Edict of Nantes is repealed in France and many Huguenots flee to America. In Virginia Manikin Town becomes one of the main Huguenot settlements.
1693 -- The College of William and Mary, the second oldest University in America, is established in Williamsburg, Virginia.
1698 -- Lewis Davis Yancey is born, probably in New Kent or King & Queen County in Virginia.
1702 -- King William County is formed from King and Queen County.
1704 -- First documented Yancey is found living in Virginia: Charles Yancey on the Rent Rolls of King William County Virginia.
1711 -- Charles Yancey's name is recorded among the vestry records of St Paul's Parish in New Kent County.
1722 -- Hanover County is established, being formed from part of New Kent County, Virginia.
1730's - The Yancey family is found divided into two main branches. The first in Hanover County, descending from the Charles Yancey of King William County, having seven sons: John, James, Jechonias, Robert, Richard, Archelaus, Charles. The second branch of the family, being found in what is later to be Culpeper County Virginia, headed by Lewis Davis Yancey and his wife Mildred Winifred Kavanaugh. They were the parents of ten children: Elizabeth, Charles, Philemon, Lewis, John, Nancy Winifred, Ann Eleanor, Richard, Robert, James.
1742 -- Louisa County is formed from part of Hanover County.
1745 -- The last date at which it is known that Charles Yancey Sr. was living in Hanover County when he deeded to his son Robert a negro slave.
1746 -- Robert Yancey, son of Charles Yancey, dies in Louisa County Virginia leaving a wife and four small children.
1748 -- Culpeper county is established, being created from parts of Orange County.
1754 -- The French and Indian War, the last and most important French-English conflict in North America, before the Revolutionary War, breaks out in America and spreads to Europe. The war lasts nearly ten years. A handful of Yanceys are involved in this colonial conflict. None (of the Yanceys) are known to have died in the conflict.
1760 -- Jechonias Yancey, son of Charles Yancey, dies in Halifax County North Carolina leaving a wife and at least five young daughters.
1761 -- John Yancey, son of Charles Yancey, dies in Lunenburg County. Whether he left any descendants is unknown.
1764 -- Archelaus Yancey, son of Charles Yancey, dies in Louisa County, leaving a wife and at least eight children.
1775 -- Virginia has an estimated population of 550,000. The colony consists of 61 counties at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Fighting breaks out in Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts initiating the war.
1776 -- Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian, authors the Declaration of Independence as the American Colonies declare their independence from their mother Country. Virginia adopts its first constitution. Various members of the Yancey family put their lives on the line as they fight for their freedom and liberty in the Revolutionary War as members of the Virginia and North Carolina Militia. Some are taken prisoners by the British. Few, if any at all, lose their lives in the conflict.
1779 -- James Yancey, son of Charles Yancey, dies in Granville County, North Carolina, leaving ten children.
1780 -- Richard Yancey, son of Charles Yancey, dies in Mecklenburg County leaving a wife and ten children.
1781 -- Lord Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, in Virginia, after the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.
1784 -- Lewis Yancey Jr., the son of Lewis Davis Yancey, dies in Culpeper County leaving various descendants. The same year his father, Lewis Davis Yancey Sr., dies in Culpeper survived by his wife and all the children except Lewis Yancey Jr.
1787 -- James Yancey, son of Lewis Davis Yancey, dies in South Carolina, leaving a wife and three small children. Philemon Yancey, son of Lewis Davis Yancey, dies in Culpeper County Virginia having had at least two sons.
1788 -- Virginia becomes the tenth state of the Union.
1789 -- George Washington, a Virginian, becomes the first president of the United States.
1790 -- The last date at which John Yancey, son of Lewis Davis Yancey, is known to have been living. In this year the first federal census is taken of the entire United States. Yanceys are to be found living in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. The census is taken every ten year thereafter.
1793 -- The last date on which Nancy Winifred Yancey, daughter of Lewis Davis Yancey, is known to have been living. She had married and raised nine children.
1801 -- Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian and distant associate of various members of the Yancey family, becomes the third president of the United States.
1804 -- Richard Yancey, the son of Lewis Davis Yancey, dies in Culpeper County leaving a wife and four children.
1805 -- Charles Yancey, the son of Lewis Davis Yancey, dies in Culpeper County Virginia leaving a wife and five children.
1807 -- The last date on which Ann Eleanor Yancey, daughter of Lewis Davis Yancey, is known to have been living in Kentucky. She married and had raised ten children.
1824 -- Robert Yancey, son of Lewis Davis Yancey, dies in Kentucky having had eight children.
1850 -- The Yancey family has flourished in the Southern United States. Fifteen years before the Great Civil War, in which many Yanceys will lose their lives, members of the family can be found living in the states of Virginia, North & South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, Kentucky, and Tennessee.