"The Life and Times of William Lowndes Yancey"
 By John W. Dubose 1892.
Pages 27-28 with inserted comment footnotes by Dennis Yancey

Four brothers, Charles, William, Joel and Robert Yancey, Welchmen, came with their families to Virginia, in 1642, with Governor Sir William Berkeley [1]. The Welch names of the British American settlements hold places of honor in the history of American free institutions far above the ratio of Welch colonists. The Welch ancestor of Thomas Jefferson sat in the first Legislative Assembly of the New World, convened in the chancel of the Church at Jamestown, .July 30, 1619. The Welch ancestor of Chief Justice John Marshall was the progenitor of a numerous family of ardent American patriots.

The Yanceys opened plantations in the James river region, and prospered. Indentured servants were imported from Europe, the African slave trade flourished, and in the Virginia planter was laid the foundation of the American revolution. Governor Berkeley's seat, " Green Spring," near Jamestown, was the abode of limitless hospitality. " His plate, wines, servants, carriages, seventy horses, and fifteen hundred apple trees, besides peaches, pears, quinces, and inellicottons," were sources of enjoyment to the planters for thirty-five years. Charles, of Buckingham [2]," was one of the Yanceys of note in the early times. He owned a great landed estate, served thirty years in public life, and at last suffered defeat by a young man, in revenge of the denial to him of the hand of his daughter.

Lewis Davis Yancey, a son of one of the four pioneers, toward the middle of the seventeenth century, settled upon a landed estate in Culpepper county, which his descendants have since continuously held. Of those of the patronymic who fought for Independence, was Captain Joel Yancey, who fell at Cowpens [3]. The sword and epaulettes he wore on that field are now in the possession of one of his descendants. In succeeding generations the name has maintained high social position and political importance. Major General Robert Emmet Rodes [4], son of Martha Yancey, of Virginia, greatly distinguished himself in the military service of the Confederate States. From Lewis Davis Yancey, of Culpepper, was descended [5] Major James Yancey, of the Virginia Continental army. It is probable he was of General Greene's Southern forces. Certain it is, that at the close of the war, he settled in the western part of South Carolina, Laurens District, it is believed, and entered upon the practice of the law. He married a lady of Charleston, of excellent family, Miss Cudworth [6]. To them was born a son, Benjamin Cudworth, in 1783.

Some authorities allege the birth of the child took place while his parents were on a visit to Charles-ton, others while they visited Baltimore, and yet others while they visited Boston. The lad Benjamin was sent to the academy of classics, in Laurens, taught by Dr. Pyles. His bold spirit and handsome person excited the fondest expectations of his parents and, at a proper age, he was placed as midshipman on Captain Truxtun's flag ship. The threat of a naval war with France promised early service. The duties of the midshipman, then, were at the mast head.


For additional info about the ancestry of William Lowndes Yancey - click here.

Notes by Dennis J Yancey  dyancey @ miami.edu

[1] This mention of "four Yancey brothers" of 1642 by Dubose - was the first published statement of its kind - and was oft quoted by Yancey researchers of later date. Whether there ever was documentation for this - or whether it was just someone's educated guess is not clear.  The fact is that the earliest known record of a Yancey in America is 1704 - over 60 years later. Records concerning Berkeley and colonial records in general have been searched by a multitude of Yancey researchers over an extended number of decades with nothing found [not even a simple mention of them]  in 1642 or at ANY  later date until 1704 when a Charles Yancey is found in Hanover County, Virginia. Caution should be taken as to the validity of this statement by Dubose and it should not just be assumed it was based on hard facts - it seems quite possible it never was. It seem quite possible Dubose may have referenced the "Crawford Book" of 1883 which does make mention of the Yancey family - who intermarried with the Crawfords - and their IS evidence of the Crawfords being in America soon after 1642 when Berkeley came and their are some links between the Crawford and Berkeley. click here for more details about Crawford Book.  

[2] For more information on Charles Yancey of Buckingham - click here.

[3] The Battles of Cowpens was in 1781 - and NO Yanceys died at Cowpens. The sword and epaulettes referenced were given by Robert Leighton Yancey of Louisa County - to his distant cousin - Major Joel Yancey (war of 1812) of Bedford County, Virginia.  Major Joel Yancey - was a son of Joel Yancey Sr (who had died in 1774 in Louisa County, Virginia).  Many reports erroneously record the father of Major Joel Yancey of Bedford  as one Robert Yancey.

[4] For more information on General Robert Rodes - click here.

[5] Major James was a son of Lewis Davis Yancey of Culpeper- James seems to have left home (it is reported he "ran away") at an early age - and lost contact for a number of years with his family. [Info on Lewis Davis Yancey] [Info on James Yancey] [More info on James Yancey]

[6] The wife of James Yancey was Abigail Cudworth of Massachusetts

For other errors concerning Yancey Family History click here

The Yancey Family Surname Resource Center