Our WOODSON Family

      John Woodson (1586-1633) and his wife Sarah Winston were the immigrants of this family, arriving in Jamestown in 1619 on the ship George. Aboard was the new governor, Sir George Yeardley, about one hundred young Englishmen who would become settlers, and Woodson, a “surgeon” for the company of English soldiers protecting the new colony. He located on land owned by the governor, Flowerdew Hundred (named for his wife Temperance Flowerdew), thirty miles above Jamestown on the south side of the James River.

      According to Woodson family tradition, the two Woodson sons, John and Robert, were twelve and ten years old in 1644 when the Indian chief, Opechacanogh, led an uprising against the settlement. John Woodson, returning home after visiting a patient, was killed in sight of his house. The Indians then began attacking the cabin which was barred against them.It was defended by Sarah and Ligon, a friend who was visiting at the time. Using an old musket, Ligon managed to kill nine of the Indians. Two others attempted to enter the house by the chimney, but Sarah scalded one to death with boiling water then seized the iron roasting spit with both hands and brained the other. The boys had been hidden away: one under a wash tub and the other in a pit used for storing potatoes. For several generations descendants of these boys were called either Tub Woodsons or Potato Hole Woodsons.

      In the 1650s, Robert Woodson (1634-1707)married Elizabeth Ferris (1638-1689), the daughter of immigrant Richard Ferris and his wife Mary Beaple of Curles plantation. Robert acquired a large estate and lived the life of a wealthy planter. His name appeared on many of the court records of the time as witness to documents, but his only public service was as Surveyor of Highways in Henrico County in 1685.  In some papers he is given the title of Colonel.

      Robert Woodson Jr., (1660-1729), his son, was first married to Sarah Lewis.

      Sarah was the daughter of John Lewis and his wife, Isobel Warner . Sarah's paternal grandfather was Robert Lewis, an immigrant from Wales. Her maternal grandfather was Augustine Warner, an immigrant from Norwich, England. Sarah was the mother of Stephen, Joseph, Robert, Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary and Agnes.

      Sarah died before 1710.  In that year Robert Woodson (Jr.) requested to be “liberated” from his Henrico County Quaker community in order to marry Rachel Watkins, who was not of that Quaker community. He requested to be received back into his earlier community of Friends in 1723, perhaps after her death. His 1729 will named only eight of his ten children, so two may have died before him.

      The marriages of three of his children are of special interest:

      His son Joseph Woodson, son of Rachel, married Elizabeth Mattox who was the daughter of Quaker immigrant, John Mattox, and his wife Margaret Kent.

      His daughter Sarah Woodson, daughter of Sarah, married Joseph Parsons.

      Elizabeth Woodson, the daughter of Rachel, married John Knight.

      In the next generation, Joseph Woodson (son of Joseph Woodson and Elizabeth Mattox) married his cousin, Elizabeth Parsons (daughter of Sarah Woodson and Joseph Parsons): his aunt becoming his mother-in-law.

      The daughter of this marriage, Judith Woodson, married Jonathan Knight, the grandson of Robert Woodson Jr.'s second marriage: Judith was his great-granddaughter, whereas her husband was his grandson.

      Their daughter was Judith Woodson Knight who married William Amis.