Bringing In the Sheaves





Some Clopton Ministers &

The Reverend John Day



By Suellen Clopton Blanton, &

Laurel C. Sneed,, [1]




The Rule of Thumb


While such a thing was known to happen

within the circles of Episcopalians and Methodists,

it darn well wasn’t going to happen within the Baptist community

without a thorough investigation!



By the third generation, the descendants of William Clopton and his wife, Ann Booth, were on the move, leaving behind not only their ancestral home, “Callowell,” in New Kent County, Virginia, but in some instances, casting off their Anglican-Episcopalian Church heritage.[2]

A religious revival known as The Great Awakening swept the Old Dominion in the mid-18th century, and many Virginians, indeed many Americans, were ready for a new form of religion.[3]  The Great Awakening was a widespread religious and social movement that provided an alternative to the formalistic approach to worship practiced in Christian congregations of the day.

None embraced with more enthusiasm this hell fire and brimstone methodology than Clopton kinsman, The Reverend Devereux Jarratt.[4]  His kinsman, Leonard Claiborne, Jr., said of him:  "He was perhaps the first of the distinctively Evangelical school in Virginia, and possessed all of its excellencies and narrowness.  He had little regard for his fellow-ministers, which sentiment they reciprocated, and he took little part in conventions, etc.  His methods were modeled on those of the Methodists, and for a time he had great success, but it was not permanent." 

He became the Rector of Bath Parrish in Dinwiddie County, Virginia in 1763 until his death in 1801.  At the peak of his popularity he was preaching at locations as much as 500 miles away from his home church of Butterworth.

Reverend Jarratt himself wrote: [5]


Instead of moral harangues, and advising my hearers, in a cool, dispassionate manner, to walk in the primrose paths of a decided, sublime, and elevated virtue, and not to read the foul track of disgraceful vice, I endeavoured to enforce, in the most alarming colours, the guilt of sin, the entire depravit of human nature, the awful danger mankind are in by nature and practice, the tremendous curse to which they are obnoxious, and their utter inability to evade the sentence of the law and the strokes of divine justice by their own power, merit, or good works.


                About 1774 the Baptists appeared in the Tidewater Virginia area.[6]  Their belief in the authority of the Bible and of baptism of adults only did not sit well with the Anglican majority, and the early ministers sometimes found themselves pelted with vegetables, or worse, in jail for preaching the Gospel.[7]

                Naturally, the specter of being thrown in jail did not phase the Cloptons whose ancient ancestors made regular appearances in the Tower of London.[8]  It isn’t clear exactly when some of the Clopton cousins converted to the Baptist faith, however, we find William Clopton[9] succeeding James Bradley in 1803 as the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Charles City County.[10]

                With his own hands, the Reverend William Clopton recorded the rather enthusiastic discipline meted out to wayward members of the congregation, boldly illustrating that the Puritans had no monopoly on the Baptists in this arena.  The church constitution called for a business meeting to be held on the Saturday preceding the third Sunday of each month and charges could be brought before the members.   An appointed committee would visit the member accused of violating one of the many, often trivial, rules of conduct, and seek an explanation.  Paramount was falling victim to such “sinful pleasures of the world,” as going to parties, dancing, playing marbles, carousing, and “making too fond with spirituous liquor.”  Failing to attend church on a regular basis was grounds for excommunication as was breaking a promise.

                Isaac Otey, of “Knotty Oak,” the widower of Ann Clopton, the Reverend William Clopton’s daughter, married as his second wife, Ann K. Binns.  Following the birth of two children, the second Mrs. Otey, seeking a legal separation from her husband, engaged the services of Richmond’s T. Lacy to serve as her attorney .  She accuses her husband of beating her.

At a time when separations and divorces were almost unheard of, this matter, of course, caused something of a sensation in the little community.  While such a thing was known to happen within the circles of Episcopalians and Methodists, it darn well wasn’t going to happen within the Baptist community without a thorough investigation!

                Swiftly launching themselves into action was a committee whose members included the alleged miscreant’s former brother-in-law, Pastor James Clopton and Pastor Clopton’s son, John Christian Clopton.[11]  They rendered their report on the Saturday before 3rd Sunday, July 1840.



"Upon investigation of and deliberation on Bro. Otey's case and upon his acknowledgement of error in having striked his wife with a switch with a confession of sorrow for the same.  The Church determined to retain him in fellowship."



                It should be noted that only males could vote.  It is interesting to wonder if the committee would have been quite so sanguine if the beating victim had been Ann Clopton and not her successor.



Rescue the Perishing


For some cause they were forbidden to preach,

upon which they set up a kind of independence

and went on not only to preach but to baptize.



                There was much resistance in some parts of the South to Christianize black slaves, however, the Charles City congregation was racially integrated.  Few African Americans freely converted to Christianity until The Great Awakening, which brought huge numbers of blacks into the Christian faith.

                Welcoming blacks into the fellowship of the church should not, however, be viewed as any softening of these Virginia planters views towards slavery.  The evangelists, including Devereux Jarratt and the Cloptons, did not advocate emancipation of slaves.  They preached to both races, extolling the idea of spiritual equality before God, [12] if not before men.

Blacks could especially relate to the emotionalism, physicality, and singing that characterized religious practices ushered in by the Great Awakening because these were very similar to the traditional religious practices slaves brought with them from Africa.  For example, the practice of total body immersion practiced by Baptists had much in common with West African water rites and many blacks gravitated to Baptist churches.  Many churches became integrated; the Charles City congregation was no exception.

According to the Reverend Robert B. Semple[13] there were a great many black members.  The concern of the Charles City flock for the spiritual welfare of their black members did not dilute their wrath when a slave stepped out of line.[14]  According to the Reverend Semple,  “For some cause they [blacks] were forbidden to preach, upon which they set up a kind of independence and went on not only to preach but to baptize.”

These types of restrictions and “second class citizenship,” that blacks encountered in the white churches caused the free blacks to start their own churches.  There was an independent black congregation in Williamsburg as early as 1791.

The Charles City congregation was zealous in its missionary work at home, and was instrumental in establishing churches and Sunday Schools for Native American Indians and blacks throughout the area.

                Reverend Clopton’s son, James,[15] followed in his footsteps at the church which was now called Emmaus, and served as Pastor for thirty one years.[16]  Two of James Clopton’s sons, James Chapell Clopton, a graduate of the College of William and Mary, and Samuel Cornelius Clopton, a graduate of Columbian College,[17] focused on the need to formally educate more men for the ministry.  In that spirit they became teachers at the Virginia Baptist Seminary.  The Legislature of Virginia granted a charter for a college on March 4, 1840,[18] and the Seminary became known first as Richmond College, and today as the University of Richmond.

                The Reverend James Chapell Clopton continued the family tradition of freely ministering to both whites and blacks.  An African Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, was organized under his care, and he served as its pastor for seventeen years.[19]

                His brother, Samuel Cornelius, organized the first Chinese Baptist Sunday School in Virginia at Richmond’s Clay Street Mission[20] but he would soon find himself drawn to a distant shore.  On August 4, 1845, at a meeting of the Foreign Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia, a committee which had been established to recommend missionaries, were presented a letter from Samuel expressing his willingness to receive an appointment as a missionary to China.  He was formally recommended for appointment at that time.[21]  In September the Foreign Mission Board appointed him to serve as the first foreign missionary for the Southern Baptist Convention. 

                The following year he married Keziah Turpin in April 1846.  On June 15th, the Second Baptist Church of Richmond, held the appointment service for the newlyweds.[22]  Several days after the appointment service, James B. Taylor, President of the Foreign Mission Board accompanied the Cloptons and George Pearcy to New York City, from where the missionaries would depart for the orient.  They embarked on the perilous trip to China from New York on June 22nd[23] aboard the “Cahota” which was described by President Taylor as “A fine vessel, and the accommodations are ample.  She has a cow on board giving milk, several sheep and pigs for the use of the table, about one thousand fowls, with all the luxuries of the season for present use, and an abundant supply of everything necessary for the comfort of the passengers.[24]  They arrived in China in October.  Alas, he was to die a year later leaving his young widow and an infant son.

At the monthly meeting of the Foreign Mission Board on November 1, 1847, the Corresponding Secretary read a letter from his fellow missionaries, George Pearcy and I. J. Roberts in China announcing the death of Brother Samuel, whereupon the following Preamble and Resolutions were unanimously adopted.



1.        Resolved, That is becomes us to bow in profound submission to the will of God in this Mysterious event of His Providence.

2.        Resolved, that our gratitude is due to Divine Grace for the eminent example of Christian devotion and zeal afforded in the life and death of our beloved brother an example by which “being dead, he yet seeketh.”

3.        Resolved, That we are deeply sympathized with his bereaved companion, venerable parents and other relatives and humbly pray that they may be sustained in their affliction by the consolation of the Holy Ghost.

4.        Revolved, That a copy of the above Preamble and Resolutions be sent to the parents of the deceased and also be published in the “Religious Herald” and “Missionary Journal.”



  On October 28, 1847, Richmond Virginia’s Religious Herald,[25] featured the following tribute to the young missionary.




                We this week have the painful duty to discharge of announcing the death of one of our missionaries, brother S. C. Clopton.  He died at Canton, China, on the 7th July, after an illness of ten days, leaving an afflicted widow and child.

                This is indeed a mournful bereavement.   In June, 1816, he left our city, buoyant with health, and fondly hoping that he might have the high privilege of proclaiming the Saviour he loved, as a sure refuge to the perishing heathen.  Young, ardent, long to be useful, blessed with a grand constitution, he might naturally have expected a long and useful career.  He was only permitted, however, to give for a brief space of the vast field before him, to survey the magnitude of the enterprise on which he was entering, and to feel the full responsibility of being a messenger of glad tidings to those countless millions, ere he is summoned to a higher and -?- sphere of enjoyment.  His sojourn amongst the Chinese had been too brief to permit him to acquire the language, and he therefore was debarred from the privilege of preaching Christ and him crucified to that  -?- nation; yet he was -?- engaged in preparing himself for this arduous duty; and by his presence in their midst, he evinced an interest in their welfare, and a readiness to spend and be spent in their service.

                We sympathize with the Board and the Convention in this afflicting event.  Just entering on a new and responsible work, one of the few agents on whom they depended to carry out their plans, and give stately to their enterprise, is suddenly and unexpectedly removed, and another -?- by -?-.  These are discouraging -?- well fitted to try our faith and love.  God has said that the heathen shall be given to his Son for an inheritance; and the promise must and will be fulfilled.  Adverse events are sometimes permitted to -?- fidelity to the cause, and indeed a stronger -?- the great Head of the Church.  Others -?- efforts, yet have gloriously succeeded - The Hindus -?-, the Germans, the Greenland, the South Seas, had -?-their faith severely -?- by -?- disappointments yet they persevered, and God bless their labors.  -?- the strength of the Lord go on, and that with increased Zeal.

                Our lamented brother was 31 years old.  He was born in New Kent, and was the third son of our esteemed brother Elder James Clopton.  The child of pious parents, he was brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and at an early age became a member of Emmaus church; of which his father was the pastor.  Feeling it his duty to devote himself to the ministry, he became a student in the Va. Baptist Seminary.  He subsequently entered Columbian College, of which he was a graduate.  On leaving that Institution, he accepted an appointment as teacher of the preparatory department of Richmond College.  Desirous to qualifying himself thoroughly for the work of the ministry, he resigned his office, and became a student in Newton Theological Institution.  When the unhappy separation was place[ed] betwixt the North and South, on the decision of the Boston Board, he, with some other Southern students, left that institution.

                In the interval betwixt leaving that Institution and his acceptance as a missionary by the Board, he was actively engaged in preaching to different churches.  In the fall of 1815, he was accepted as a missionary, and by direction of the Board, he visited several churches and with a view to awaken a deeper interest in the -?-.

                A few weeks before he embarked he was united in marriage to sister Frances [Keziah]Turpin, a daughter of the late beloved pastor of Four Mile Creek church, in this county.

                Amiable in his deportment, and courteous in his intercourse with his fellow-men, as a man he was loved and esteemed.  Devotedly pious, and conspicuous for a fervent zeal, as a Christian, he won the confidence and esteem of all with whom he associated.  but his pilgrimage is ended.  Like the early dew, he vanished in the morning of life; yet it is our duty to bow submissively to the stroke, and say, Surely will not the Judge of all do that which is right.



Their son was named after his father and became a minister serving in churches in Richmond and Smithfield, Virginia, and in Baltimore.  He served as a board member of the Foreign Mission Board from 1878-1892.  He was elected December 8, 1878 to fill a vacancy.  He reisgned October 11, 1892 to take a position as a pastor at a Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama.  Upon his death, as was the custom of the day, many highly overwrought words were published regarding his life.  Perhaps the simple words of Mrs. John Pollard, however, were the most telling.[26]  In a “A Tribute to a Faithful Pastor,” she wrote:


I was deeply touched on seeing the announcement of the death of Dr. Samuel Clopton.  He was my pastor for a number of years and during that time he did for me an act of kindness which I could not have expected of a pastor.  Knowing that my loss of hearing had cut me off from the privileges of hearing in church he was accustomed before entering the pulpit to place the notes of his sermon in my hands and thus enable me to enjoy the services along with those who might hear the words from his lips.  I do not know, but it seems to me not one pastor in a thousand would have thus pitied my infirmity.  How tenderly I think of him to day.




My Heart Melted


My heart melted, my soul bowed

down, my life in review passed before me



                Like his cousins, Abner Wentworth Clopton[27] also chose to labor in the Fields of the Lord, but unlike his cousins, he did not begin his preaching career until he was 39 years old.  The son of a well to do slave owner who, in his will,[28] coolly divided his slaves among his heirs, Abner Clopton graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1808 and studied medicine.  He then became a tutor at the University for about four years and then taught at the Female Seminary at Milton, North Carolina.   In 1822 he abruptly quit.

                One year before he made this life altering decision, he met a remarkable man named John Day, a young free black man who would later become a famous missionary on the continent of Africa and a founding father of the African country of Liberia.

                The Reverend John Dav was from a distinguished “colored” family, well known and respected in Southside Virginia.  Day’s grandfather, a wealthy free black medical doctor named Dr. Thomas Stewart, hailed from Dinwiddie County and was a contemporary and neighbor of Devereux Jarratt.[29]

A letter addressed to Reverend J. B. Taylor[30] gives a riveting account of John Day’s life, his encounters with Abner Clopton, and the transforming power of friendship and God’s love.



Bexley West Africa,[31]

October 16, 1847


Dear Sir


I received yours of July 29th yesterday requesting information of my birth etc etc etc.  I was born in Hicksford, Greensville County, VA 18th Feb. 1798.  My father John Day a Cabinetmaker was the illegitimate grandson of an R. . . Day of S. Carolina whose daughter humbled herself to her coach driver.  (This matter has not come to the light.  She was sent to the fork of the Yadkin to a quaker’s house who came with R. Day from England, where she left my father and money for his education _ returned to S. C. and married.)

My mother was the daughter of a colored man of Dinwiddie County VA whose name was Thomas Stewart, a medical doctor but whence he obtained his education in that profession I know not.  My mother and father, although highly respected, were nevertheless sinners before God.  Until several years of age I didn’t know that I knew there was a God.  There were at that time no schools for coloured children in that part of the country.

My father’s respectability procured for me a place in old Mr. Edward Whitehorne’s house of border and I was sent to school with his children to a Mr. Jonathon Bailey.  At Mr. Whitehorne’s I learned I had an -?- mortal, part which would stand before an Eternal God, to be judged according to my conduct here. This subject affect me seriously, but ignorance and the wicked one kept me in sin.

My father purchased a plantation in Sussex County near Mr. Whitehorne in 1807.  I was then entered in school under Mr. William Northcross of that neighborhood.  About 3 miles from the High Hill chapel of the church of that place Mr. Nat Chambliss was pastor.  The neighbours were generally pious.

In that year I had a rational conviction of sin, but of me it could not be said behold he prayeth;  although I said prayers for a year or two.  As I approached the state of manhood my mind became more and more engrossed in the study of natural sciences, history, etc. and more indifferent to religious matters.

In 1816 I attended a Camp Meeting in Sussex County, Virginia.  There were two stands, one for black and one for white persons.  From Thursday through Sunday I did not hear a sermon.  The black preachers were nonsense and ignorant and in my estimation uninteresting.  Sunday as the coloured preachers were about to commence their message of salvation, I took a stroll to view the white congregation.  He whose ways were not as ours was leading me a way I know not.

Where about 70 yards off the preacher read  his text.  Behold sit before thee an open door, sc., my heart was ready to feel.  I heard as to listen.  My ears were unstopped had not heard before, I saw as I never saw before.  I felt as I never felt before.  While he spoke of the goodness of God, his endearing love to man, the Gift of His Love, what Jesus did _ what Jesus suffered, and what He is still doing to throw and keep open a door of salvation for the lost.  My heart melted, my soul bowed down, my life in review passed before me; and with what bitterness of soul did I look back on 12 years of misspent life.  My sins like mountains rose and fell upon my guilty conscience.  I saw when that door had been opened to men but how my fears closed it forever.  Too much light, too much endearing love abused.  Lost, lost forever.

My father had become intemperate; sold his pretty little plantation, moved into Dinwiddie City, and was living in a rented house.  With a heavy heart, I retraced my steps to my father’s tabernacle.  A deep gloom resting on me, it was thought I was deranged, but behold I then prayer.  My mind turned to the contemplation of the character of God, His holiness, his inflexible justice, seemed a barrier to his forgiving love.  My thoughts ran on awful subjects, and so strong my imagination, I thought I heard a supernatural voice saying lost forever!  The powers of my soul were subdued.  I sank into despair!  A thousand deaths he dies who lives in such a state.  I quit the sanctuary of the most high, the company of his people and was saved by God alone from a suicidal death.

In 1817 my father went over to North Carolina and left me in Dinwiddie to pay a debt he owed to Mr. John Bolling.  I carried on a little cabinetmaking business in a village in that part of the county called Scotsville, paid my father’s debt and was likely to do well in the world’s estimation, but association myself with young white me, who were fond of playing cards contaminated that habit.

Mr. L. Scott a merchant and friend of mine calls my shop to see me and I frankly told him that if I continued in that place that I should ruin myself.  He procured a shop for me about seven miles off of Mrs. Ann Pryar.  I commenced well there, but a drunken journeyman set fire to my shop, and consumed all I had.  The neighbors spoke of reinstating me, but I would not accept any thing but a coat and hat of my friend, J. L. Scott.  I went on foot to Warren County, North Carolina and got in possession of my father’s tools, borrowed money of a gentleman and commence work there.

In 1820 the first time I had been in a meeting house for years I went to hear out old Mr. O’Kelley a king of Methodist preacher.  His subject was Christian love, but his address to the congregation was on the character of God, our obligations to worship him and the manner in which it should be done, was what affect me.  For two weeks no mortal could endure greater agony of mind.  I was more like a statue than a man.  I could not eat nor drink nor sleep.  Company I could not keep.  The following scripture was sent in mercy to my soul.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acception that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief.  This encouraged me to seek the lord again.

After a few weeks, there was a two day meeting at the same meeting house Mr. O’Kelley preached at.  I went Saturday and my mediation brought to view the horror of my condition in such a light; it seemed my heart would break.  Oh the frowns of an angry God!  The horrors of a guilty conscience!  The whole night I spent walking backwards and forward.  Oh mercy was my cry!  No other plea I had.  About nine in the morning the burdens left my mind.  I attended the meeting that day, enjoyed a joyous, clam, serene state of mind, but afterward found my sins resting heavily upon me.  My outward conduct had been generally god, but oh my corrupt heart!  The seat of every evil.

For several weeks my state bordered again on despair, these scriptures resting with weight on my mind.  Whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point he is guilty of all.  I had offended in all points.  Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to them.  I had continued in nothing.  The soul that sinneth it shall die.  How can God pardon sin!  I could not see.  Let me suffer rather God to save me with  his justice.  While these thoughts were revolving light bursted into my soul.  Sins were laid on Jesus, who was wounded for my transgressions, and by whose strikes I was healed.  I saw in him an infinite righteousness my faith clung to it, and I I had made with God.  My love, some like its author was misused and -?-, it knew no bounds, embraced all mankind; the bible, oh how precious.

Turning my thoughts to the health, I pittied Methodists, and conceived an idea of joining them, but going for that purpose; on my way to the meeting house, I was lead to reflect on what I was about doing.  An[d] inquiring I found I was not sufficiently informated and concluded to take the new testament as my guide, believing the word of God sufficient to gain me into all the truth.

-?- my mind, was what is a church what are its ordinances.  On the subject of baptism I read of coming up straight out of the water, and they went down both into the water.  Therefore ever we are buried with him by baptism;  Baptism where there was much water sc sc fired my mind and determined my course.[32]

There were no Baptists around me clearer that I knew of than 12 miles.  In October 1820 a Mr. Walk,  Baptist preacher preached in the Methodist chapel.  I wrote my experience and gave it unto Mr. Walk’s hand requesting him if he thought me a fit subject to baptize me.  He informed me of a Baptist church about 12 miles off and I said I would go there [if] he would open the way for me and as the pastor  was sick would baptize me.

The third Sunday in November I went unattended by any friend, related my experience to the Mill Pond Church in Warren County, N. Carolina and the day following was baptized by Mr. Walk.  The next meeting bro Gardner the pastor was well enough to attend.  After alighting from his gig, he said in my hearing, where is the man who was taken in church while I was sick.  I want to  hear him myself.  I never like to have anyone receiving in church in my absence and I was pointed out to him and he came to me and said, I am a guilty sinner in sin and have no hope but in Christ. His righteousness and blood is all my pleas, the only reasons of my hope. The good old man ready to drop a tear said enough my brother and gave me his hand.

My mind was burdened with sympathy for the heathen, destitute, of all the meaning of grace; sinking under the frowns of justice into endless wo[e].  I felt great pity for sinners around me, who in the blaze of the gospel day deemed but on their own ruin.  I wept for the heathen, but oh my ignorance!  Not able to convince those who language I could use what could I do in heathen lands.  Mr. Gardner after a few months asking if I never felt impressed with a sense of duty to preach.  I said I have not ability _ it is true I greatly pity the lost, but have no power to help them,, neither could I presume to preach to an enlightened people.

He frequently mentioned the subject to me but on first Sunday in June 1821, came to me, and took me by the arm and carried me into the pulpit saying to me:  You are going to Milton and I want you to have license before you go.  I could say nothing fearing I might be fighting against God.  My heart ached, my whole person trembled, but preach I must!  My own mind?  And my down pastor were urging me!  I made the effort; God giver of light and liberty and the church gave license.

In July following I removed to Milton, Caswell City NC where I became acquainted with Reverend Abner Clopton.  I disclosed to him my feeling in reference to Africa.  He thought that he could get me under the patronage of the B.B.F, Missions.[33]  Gave me access to his library and took the direction of my studies.  I was then under engagement to marry which he did not oppose.  He gave me an introduction to Mr. L. Rice,[34] but whether any steps were ever taken to secure the patronage spoken I cannot tell.  Rev. Clopton felt it duty to devote himself to preaching; -?- hopes of qualification for missionary work was given up, but I could not give up the desire.

In 1824 I conceived the idea of going to Haiti.  The church of which Rev. Clopton had been a pastor,[35] sent to association for ministers to ordain one to the work of the ministry.  The men sent, where unlearned, and as I thought ignorant, they thought I held arminian[36] principles, and suspended me for an indefinite period of time, what when I became informed on some points and sent for them they might ordain me into the work of the ministry, but I never called for them.

I left Milton in 1825 for Haiti but some unsettled business in Virginia prevented me.  I stopped for a while in Sussex and at length removed to Hicksford.  Disappointed in my hope of being a missionary to heathens in my expectation of going to Haiti, called an arminian I felt little esteemed among the Baptists suffered great religious declension.  Scarcely ever preached, scarcely ever communed with the church.

In 1830 I came to Liberia[37] as a colonist.[38]  When Dr. Skinner came out I was a member of the Legislative council.  We contracted acquaintance and the Dr. arranged my ordination, and soon recommended me to Messers Myln and Crocker, who examined me according to their instruction and recommended me to the BBF missions in whose service I remained until after the death of Mr. Crocker, whose loss in my estimation, Africa will long feel.  A holy energetic talented man of God.  With him I could ever have lined on earth, with him I hope to live in heaven.

Perhaps the above may afford an answer to the inquiry made.  But please make great allowances.  My long affliction has so affect my nerves, I write with great difficulty and often my writing is difficult to read, and the composition bad.

                I regret that I have kept no journal, as many interesting things have passed under my eyes but for the future, I will try to keep one.

                I therefore only added with high esteem and affection

I have the honor to be

Your humble servant

John Day.



                His wife died soon after they arrived in Liberia, and then, one after another, he saw his “beloved offspring wrapped in the chilling embraces of the grim monster, and conveyed to the house appointed for all living; until his whole family melted away from him, and none were left to remind him of the scenes and associations of the past.  There he stood all alone, in a new country, amid new scenes and associations, - there he stood, like some solitary oak in the dead of winter, stripped of its foliage, and exposed, dry and defenseless, to all the beatings of the northern storms.”[39]

                Although deeply wounded by the deaths of his entire family, he continued his mission.  His family and several wealthy friends urged him to return to America, but he “had put his hand to the plough, and he would not look back.”[40]

                In December 1847, the Reverend John Day wrote of his life’s choice to become a missionary:


                But I am where of all the earth I prefer to be, in the employment of all others I prefer.  I had rather be a faithful missionary than a king; not for the honor of being a missionary, but the pleasure of doing good to the poor, long neglected.



A Sober Person


Where there are Baptists,

temperance can’t be far behind



                Much was later made of the influence Abner Wentworth Clopton had upon the young John Day.  However, it seems too much of a coincidence that Abner Clopton decided to forsake teaching, a rather comfortable and financially secure way of life, within months of his encounters with John Day.  Did John Day’s spiritual struggles awaken something deep within Abner Clopton and lead him to the pulpit?

                Whatever the cause, in 1823 Reverend Clopton was preaching in Charlotte, Virginia for the grand total of $400 per year.  The following year he had thrown himself into the activities of the Baptist Church throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Now pastor of both Ash Camp and Mossingford Baptist Churches in Charlotte, he for several years served as an agent for the Baptist General Tract Society and personally formed more than one hundred auxiliaries in the surrounding country.[41]

                Where there are Baptists, temperance can’t be far behind, and in the spring of 1826, the Reverend Clopton conceived the idea of the Virginia Society for the Promotion of Temperance.[42]  The Society was organized at his Ash Camp Baptist Church in October by a large and excited congregation.  His constitution was adopted.  Article Number 3 states:


Any sober person whether a member of a church or not, who will consent to abstain from the habitual use of spirituous liquor, and use it as a medicine only, and, provided he be the head of a family, shall enforce the same rule upon his children and domestics, may become a member of this Society.

Note – In requiring a member who is the head of a family to enforce upon the members of his family, the rule observed by himself in abstaining from the use of spirituous liquors, it is expected that he will use for this end, such means as he may deem rational and expedient; and if by the use of such means, he find it impracticable to enforce the rule, he is not bound by the spirit of this article, nor chargeable with a violation of it.  Nor is there any thing in this Article or in the Constitution which prohibits a member from the exercise of the common civilities due to his friends and neighbours.


After much enthusiastic discussions and debates, the constitution was accepted.  The passion of the people, however, did not translate into members; nine people pledged adherence to the new organization, eight of whom were ministers.  By the following year membership was steadily growing with reports of several hundred Virginians having taken the pledge.[43]

Abner Clopton continued to take an active interest providing his fellow ministers with guidance.  Monthly he took a fair amount of his meager salary and purchased good books and gave them to preachers with little education to “keep the pulpit above the benches.”[44]  Among the many newspaper obituaries and tributes published in newspapers throughout the South was one found in Richmond, Virginia’s Religious Herald:[45]



Elder Abner W. Clopton was born in March, 1784 and died March, 1833. He was prepared by Elder John Jenkins for the University of North Carolina.  He graduated in 1808 and studied medicine.  He was tutor at the University for some four years.  He taught the Female Seminary at Milton, N.C. till the close of 1822.  I suppose he made $1,000 per year.  In 1823 he located in Charlotte, Va., and preached for $400 per year, and gave one-fourth of his salary to benevolence.  He was anxious to supply preachers of little education with good books to keep the pulpit above the benches.  He would visit the churches and raise about $50.  With this sum he would buy Andrew Fuller’s Works, Horne’s Critical Introduction to the Study of the Bible, in 4 volumes, and Scott’s Commentary.  I wish all our educated ministers would imitate him and Elder Jesse Mercer, of Georgia, in this way.

Elder Clopton scarcely ever failed to answer a letter. He would cut a long white piece of paper, about three inches wide, like a ribbon.  Several letters would come to him at one time.  Before he read any he would write a catalogue of the writers on this ribbon, and fasten the ribbon to a pincushion.  For every answer he wrote he would cross the name.  Sometimes, when he left for his meetings, there might be two or three letters uncrossed.  On Monday, when he returned, his first work was to answer the uncrossed letters.   -E. Dodson



The obituary from the Richmond Enquire[46]r was picked up by a newspaper in Lynchburg, Virginia and appeared on in the Thurday, April 11, 1833 edition.



DIED on Wednesday night the 20th of March, at the age of 50 years, the Rev. ABNER W. CLOPTON, of Charlotte county, Virginia

Mr. Clopton fell a victim to a violent attack of Catarrhal fever, which all the skill of his physicians could not arrest.  He died on the 16th day [of his illness], perfectly calm and resigned, without a struggle or a groan – if respectable birth, and personal endowments; if amiable manners, and extensive benevolence; if early and exemplary piety, and unremitted zeal during a long a laborious life; if any, or all of these qualities combined, can give weight and interest to character, Abner W. Clopton must be ranked amongst the most eminent persons of the day in which  he lived.

Mr. Clopton was educated at the University of North Carolina and continued there some years after he finished his academic studies, in character as an instructor.  But Theology was all along his favorite study.  He adhered strictly to his purpose in this, unshaken by the view of any worldly disadvantage he could sustain by means of it; and after he obtained a license to preach the Gospel, he came and settled in this county about the year 1822, and took the pastoral charge of the Baptist church here.  At the different placed where he preached in Charlotte and elsewhere, he enjoyed the esteem and affection of his people.  They were proud of having a man of his rank, piety and learning for their Minister, and now deeply lament his final remove from them by death.  They were delighted and improved by his instructions in public and in private; and the poor and distressed of every condition who had been relieved by his charity, or consoled by his sympathy and advice, loved him sincerely, and long will speak of him with gratitude and respect.  His attention to the duties of the pastoral office was exemplary and such as could not but secure the attachment of a discerning people.  He was ever ready to assist them by his counsel; he grudged no time, and declined no labour, that could be employed in their service.

No man had a keener relish for the pleasures of conversation; but in these he did not indulge, considering his time as the property of his hearers.  He would withdraw from his company to his closet, not to enrich his mind with the stores of ancient wisdom, but to edify the church with works of piety, and to bring forth out of his treasure things old and new, for the benefit of those that heard him.  His zeal to promote the interest of religious truths, and the advancement of literature and science, led him to take a principal share in the business of the Columbian College, of which he was an active and valuable trustee.  He had been appointed by their Board, as general agent, and was on the point of commencing his labours in that important character when death deprived that Institution and the church of one of its most valuable members.  Yes, he died on the 20th of March, with all that apparent resignation and joyful hope, which might be expected in a Christian so eminently endowed, and so firmly established in the truth of the glorious gospel.  He was conscientiously punctual in attendance on the several associations and conventions of the church with which he was connected.

To his conduct in these, the Baptist church in Virginia is greatly indebted.  His wisdom, moderation, and clearness of conception, added to a happy facility and pertinence of speech, a force of reasoning and well known zeal for truth and duty, contributed to render his counsels always weighty and decisive with his brethren.

In his aspect, Mr. Clopton was intelligent and prepossessing.  His deportment was easy and serious yet agreeably animated.  His temper was mild and accommodating; yet enlightened and steady.  His conversations was, at once, instructive entertaining.  In his disposition, he was openhearted and liberal, compassionate to the sick and afflicted; and, as his ability extended, was always the poor man’s friend.  In the tenor of his conduct, indeed, he manifested a noble indifference towards earthly things – As a friend, he was warm, sincere, and steadfast, equally remote from -?- profession, and from precarious humor.  His approbation was not easily gained, nor when gained, was it easily lost.

As a preacher, Mr. Clopton was very interesting and impressive.  Blessed with a retentive memory and aided by a superior relish for -?- information, the language of the sacred oracles was at all times familiar to him.  This was manifest by his ability and aptness in divining the worth of truth.  With irresistible argument would he confirm the truth; and with admirable dexterity, he would accommodate it to the state and characters of his hearers.  He spoke as one who knew the worth of souls.  He spoke as a messenger from God to perishing immortals.  He spoke as impelled by the power of the world to come.

Who, in short, that knew him, would not be ready to say:  happy the family in which he lived; happy the man who was favored with his friendship and more happy the people whose heavenly interests were his particular care?  He was a public blessing to the church.  He was an honor to the people of his pastoral charge.  He was an ornament to the Christian and ministerial profession.  As the great Apostle of the Gentiles, he magnified his office.  He spoke as he believed; he practiced as he spoke – He lived the good and faithful servant; he died in the Lord, and his works have followed him.         AMICUS.

Charlotte, March 27th, 1833.







Monrovia, 1859[47]


This Eulogy was delivered in the Providence Baptist Church, Monrovia, and gave great satisfaction,, which was expressed by a vote of thanks and a request for its publication.  It is full of interesting facts, and just sentiments, honorable to the intellect and heart of Mr. Blyden, who has given a true and striking portrait of a patriotic citizen, an ardent philanthropist, and eminently faithful minister of Christ.

Mr. Day was born in North Caroline [Virginia] in 1797.  Among the descendants of the great men of those times, he caught the flame of liberty and independence.  He sighed for a land where his brethren could find deliverance from thralldom and degradation.  When, as a skillful cabinet-maker, he had acquired a competency, says Mr. Blyden,


                “It pleased the Great Head of the Church, by that mysterious influence whose operation is like the wind, blowing where it listeth, to transform his moral nature, and make him a child of God.  He found himself, to use his own words when relating the wonderful transition, in a new world.  He found himself with new feelings and new desires – new predilections and new antipathies.  He must now, therefore, form new plans.

                He looked abroad upon the world, and his enlarged heart took in all mankind.  He felt that he had a work to do.  He felt that it was his duty, as he esteemed it his privilege, to exhort others to flee from the impending wrath from which, as a brand from the everlasting burnings, he had been plucked.

                He was strongly impressed with the conviction that eh should devote himself to the important business of preaching the Gospel.  Having enjoyed the advantages of a good English education, he entered through the recommendation of some friend, a theological class, whose reading was directed by Rev. Mr. Clopton, a Baptist minister of profound learning, skillful in the languages and an adept in metaphysical science.  Standing foremost in the ranks of Baptist ministers at that time, Mr. Clopton was eminently fitted for the duties of preparing young men for the ministry.  Rev. Dr. J. B. Jeter, of Richmond, Virginia, then quite a young man, also frequented Mr. Clopton’s study.  Mr. Clopton had paid close attention to the laws of the mind, and had great facility in explaining difficulties in religious experience, which at that time frequently troubled Mr. Day.

                While pursuing his studies under Mr. Clopton, the Colony of Liberia, as an asylum for free persons of color, began to attract attention in that part of the country where he resided.  No sooner had he heard of the place, than he at once made up his mind to cast in his lot with the people who, on these far-off shores, and in this insalubrious clime, were endeavoring to establish a home for themselves and their children.  Coincident with the desire for a land of liberty, there was now a burning zeal to preach the gospel to the thousands of degraded Africans who roam these forests.  He diligently applied himself to the work of preparation for the gospel ministry.

                Having sacrificed his property, he embarked in December of the year 1830, with a most amiable wife and four interesting children, for this land, which was so soon to be the grave of the affectionate group.  He arrived in Liberia, and entered at once upon his sacred duties; pursuing the business of cabinet making for his support, and preaching as often as opportunity offered.

                He had not been long in the land before he saw his lovely companion striken down by the relentless hand of death – a companion to whose charms and loveliness he was most keenly alive, and around whom the most ardent affections of his soul were so firmly entwined that the great depths of his heart seemed upheaved by the severance.

                Then, one after another, he saw his beloved offspring wrapped in the chilling embraces of the grim monster, and conveyed to the house appointed for all living; until his whole family melted away from him, and none were left to remind him of the scenes and associations of the past.

                There he stood alone, in a new country, amid new scenes and associations – there he stood, like some solitary oak in the dead of winter, stripped of its foliage, and exposed, dry and defenseless, to all the beatings of the northern storms.  Finding himself in his grievous solitude, and entirely at a loss how to dispose of the sad and weary hours that hang so oppressively upon him, he abandoned himself to gloomy abstractions and melancholy reveries.  This led to the supposition that there was some unhingement of his mental organization.  But notwithstanding his deep afflictions he never murmured; was never disposed to abandon the field which he had chosen for the labors of his life.  He had numerous inducements to return to the land of his birth.  His relatives, in comfortable and respectable circumstances, urged him again and again to return.  Several wealthy friends anxiously waited to welcome him.  But he had put his hand to the plough, and he would not look back.

                Here we see true Christian benevolence – the constraining love of Christ – the new, living, and all controlling principle implanted in every regenerate heart, rising superior to all earthly interests, forsaking father and mother, and hazarding life itself for the cause of Christ.  Oh, in the heart of the Christian, a deep and overflowing fountain has been opened, flowing out to all the world.

                There is not the wreck of humanity it will not pity; there is not an infected prison it will not enter; there is not a pestilential climate or an inhospitable region it will not visit; there is no period of robbers, nor period of the sea, nor peril of false brethren, nor hunger, nor thirst, it will not hazard in behalf of human redemption.

                After Mr. Day had resided here for several years, a mission was established by the Northern Baptist Board of Missions, with which he became connected, and in the service of which, for a number of years, he was abundant in labors. The principle seat of the operations of that Board was in the county of Grand Bassa.  Frequently have we sat and heard him recite for hours together the interesting and instructive incidents of those laborious, painful and hazardous tours which he repeatedly made for hundreds of miles into the interior, preaching and teaching the people.

                And there are now to be found, scattered all over that country, delightful fruits of his labors.  Taking the city of Buchanan as a center, and with a radius of sixty or seventy miles, describe a semi-circle, and there is no point to which you can go within that semi-circle where the name of John Day is not a household word; and at many points you will readily recognize precious evidences of his tools and efforts”


Mr. Day subsequently became connected with the Southern Baptist Convention, who have established missions throughout Liberia, at Sierra Leone, and in Central Africa.  For several years and up to the hour of his death, he filled the responsible position of Superintendent of their Missions in Liberia and at Sierra Leone, and prosecuted to the utmost of his ability the arduous duties of that station of trust.

Mr. Day was an ardent patriot, and fulfilled many public duties, as a counselor, soldier, and Chief Justice; in the last position, he exhibited much ability.  He was prominent among those who declared the Independence and laid the foundations of the Liberian Republic.  In allusion to the energy of these Fathers of the Republic, Mr Blyden exclaims.:


                “Let us emulate their noble actions.  Let us not be content to live and die without doing something to ameliorate the condition of our down-trodden race.  Oh, let us not be drones in the great hive of humanity!


‘In the world’s broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of live;

Be not like dumb driven cattle,

Be ye heroes in the strife.’


                But we must return from our digression.  Not only was Mr. Day laborious and diligent in qualifying himself for the public duties which he was so frequently called upon to perform, but he assiduously endeavored to fit himself for usefulness in the more private scenes of life.  In that part of Liberia where he spent the greater portion of his time, there was seldom any physician, yet there were frequently cases among the people which needed medical attention.  Mr. Day, therefore, gave himself, in addition to this numerous other studies, to the reading of medical works and to the study of the natural sciences, that he might fit himself for ordinary practice.

                He soon acquired a sufficient knowledge of pathological principles and of the therapeuties to enable him to be a very useful practitioner among the poor of his neighborhood.  He willingly went from house to house, administering relief to the sick, healing the diseases of the body, and endeavoring to bind up the wounds of the spirit.

                Not a little of his earnings was expended in unwearied services among the poor and afflicted.  By his well-bred gentility, the cordiality of his manners, and his sympathy with their griefs, he won the esteem and love of all around him.  The sick and the afflicted, the poor and needs, were satisfied that he was their friend; and in the very humblest of their tenements he met with exhibitions of their warmest welcome.  In these private and retired acts, we have the most complete demonstration of the greatness of his spirit.


‘The drying of a single tear has more

Of honest fame than shedding seas of gore.’


                We make a great mistake when we confine deeds of eminence to public scenes and magnificent occasions.  It is often in the loneliness of a limited social or domestic circle, and in the discharge of the most common-place duty, that the greatest self-denial has to be exercised.  Men in obscure stations, of whom the world never hears, may have hardest tasks to perform, and the greatest sacrifices to make, in the cause of God and religion.

                We should not lavish all our applause and admiration on such as stand foremost in the ranks of philanthropists, and whose names stand prominently forth as having done and suffered much to alleviate human suffering.  We should not confine the honors of a true philanthropy to those who, in the sight, and amid the applauses of thousands, pour out of their abundance in the cause of charity.  We conceive that he, who sequestered from the gaze of the multitude ‘little and unknown,’ distributes daily and habitually of his earnings to satisfy the needs of an indigent neighborhood, is to the full as deserving as he whose thousands, abstracted from a large and constantly increasing heap, are bestowed in the vicinity of a newspaper office.”


We must conclude these extracts from this excellent address with one or tow notices of the last hours of Mr. Day:


                “This earnest desire for long life Mr. Day experienced; but only that he might exert himself for the glory of God and the benefit of his fellow men.  Hence his activities were unceasing, under all circumstances of health or sickness, if he could only stir.  We have frequently seen him wending his weary way to some church meeting when, judging from his looks, he ought to have been in bed.  And we have again and again seen his worn and feeble form in the school room, bending over some obtuse intellect, striving to impart an important idea, when he seemed to be in the last stage of debility.

                He was influenced by a deep conviction that he had a great deal to do and a short time to do it in.  In h is indefatigable exertions to serve h is day and generation, he left us a noble example.


‘O Think how, to his latest day

When death, just hovering claimed his prey,

With Palinure’s unaltered mood,

Firm at his dangerous post he stood:

Each call for needful rest repelled,

With dying hand the rudder held,

Till, in his fall, with fateful sway,

The steerage of the realm gave way.’


                A few months previous to his last illness he seemed to have conceived a presentiment of the approach of his latter end.  But he did not as usual express any desire to live.  He seemed to have no fears at all of dying.  He viewed death, and spoke of his own dissolution with perfect indifference – not indeed, with the indifference of the Stoic – but with the composure and unruffled calmness peculiar to the Christian.

                On Sunday, the 6th of February, he came as was his custom, when able to walk, to this house, where a large and eager congregation was anxiously waiting to hear the words of wisdom and counsel which were wont to fall from his lips.  He conducted the preliminary exercises with his usual ease and dignity; but alas!  The ‘silver cord was loosed’ and his audience knew it not.  When he arose to announce his text, he was seized with such weakness as rendered him wholly unable to proceed:  having been taken home, he went to bed, but from that bed he rose no more.

                On the 15th of February his spirit was summoned to external realities.  The last assembly he met on earth was an assembly of God’s people, with whom he was essaying to worship.  In a few days after, his spirit mingled with that illustrious and noble army of martyrs, who


‘ – Shine

With robes of victory through the skies.’


                We know that he was not at all dismayed as he stood, conscious of approaching dissolution, on the very verge of eternity.  Oh, no.  But over its dark and untravelled vastness he cast a fearless eye; and, as he saw himself hastening


‘ – to join

The innumerable caravan, that moves

To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

He went not like the quarry slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon:  but sustained and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approached his grave

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him and lies down to pleasant dreams.’





                1.  Robert1 Jarratt I was born in London, Devereux County, Essex-Street, and died January 21, 1708/09 in New Kent County, Virginia1.  He married Mary.  She was born in Ireland, and died March 31, 17071.


Children of Robert Jarratt and Mary are:

+      2                 i.    Robert2 Jarratt, II, of New Kent County, Virginia, born Abt. August 16, 1698 in New Kent County, Virginia and baptized August 16, 1698 at St. Peter's Parish Church; died in Virginia.

+      3                ii.    Mary Jarratt.

+      4               iii.    Devereux Jarratt.



Generation No. 2


        2.  Robert2 Jarratt, II, of New Kent County, Virginia (Robert1)2 was born Abt. August 16, 1698 in New Kent County, Virginia and baptized August 16, 1698 at St. Peter's Parish Church3, and died in Virginia.  He married Sarah Bradley, of Charles City County, Virginia4, daughter of Joseph Bradley, of Charles City County, Virginia.  She died January.


Children of Robert Jarratt and Sarah Bradley are:

        5                 i.    Mary3 Jarratt, born July 10, 17215; died August 19, 17216.

        6                ii.    David Jarratt, born December 23, 17237.

        7               iii.    Robert Jarratt III, born December 26, 17247.

        8               iv.    Susannah Jarratt, born November 16, 17278.  She married Absolom Meanley, of New Kent County, Virginia9; born November 10, 1725.

        9                v.    Devereux Jarratt, Episcopal Divine, born January 17, 1732/33 in New Kent County, Virginia10; died January 29, 1801 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia of cancer, and buried at Sappony Church Cemetery, Bath Parish, Virginia.  He married Martha Claiborne, of "Fox Castle," Dinwiddie10; born February 19, 1743/44 in "Fox Castle," Dinwiddie County, Virginia; died February 9, 1825 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia and buried at Sappony Church Cemetery, Bath Parish.

        10             vi.    Joseph Jarratt.



        3.  Mary2 Jarratt (Robert1)  She married Walter Clopton, The Elder, of "Callowell"11 September 4, 1711 in St. Peter's Parish Church, New Kent County, Virginia12, son of William Clopton and Ann Booth.  He was born Abt. 1687 in New Kent County, Virginia, and died Aft. June 26, 1758 in New Kent County, Virginia13.

        There are many troubling elements regarding the listing of the children currently found in both the Lucy Erwin and Gene Clopton, Clopton genealogies.  The Erwin book did not list Elizabeth or Richard. Gene Clopton notes the Parish Registry is mutilated, and Richard is listed as Richard son of Walter and Mary------, and concludes Richard "must be "Clopton" as no other Walter and Mary is known in St. Peter's Parish at the time."  The registry notes the birth or baptism of Anne, a son, Mary, Walter, and Rob(ert).   No proof has been offered that Walter (born 1720, died in infancy).  Cordelia Belle Clopton, lists the children as Walter, Mary, Robert, Deve(reaux), Naomi, Margaret, and Anne.  There is a strong belief that at least some of the children may belong to another Clopton male.  There are a number of Clopton adults of this period who have not yet been connected with a family.


Children of Mary Jarratt and Walter Clopton are:

        11               i.    Ann3 Clopton, of New Kent, born July 3, 1712 in New Kent County, Virginia14.  She married Benjamin Bradley, of Charles City; born 1708 in Charles City County, Virginia; died 1768.

               No proof has been found that Ann Clopton married anyone or had any children.  The theory of a possible Bradley-Clopton connection has been carefully researched by Frank Bradley, the former Genealogical Specialist, New York Public Library.  After extensive research on the Bradley Family, it is his opinion that a very strong case can be made supporting this marriage based on several points:

               1. Walter Clopton (her father) was named guardian of Jesse, Susannah & Elizabeth Bradley; 2. Saint Peter's Parish Registry lists the children of Benjamin and Ann Bradley; 3. the similarity of given names of the children of Walter Clopton & Benjamin Bradley; 4.  Bradleys married into the Clopton and Jarratt families; and, 5. The Rev. Devereux Jarratt (1733-1801) wrote "my uncle was the first who had that name (Devereux) in Virginia."  The Rev. Devereux may have been named after Devereux Clopton, his "Clopton" Uncle, or he may have been speaking of Devereux Jarratt, his "Jarratt" uncle.  See "Walking the Primrose Path," Volume I, for more on the Devereux family.  

        12              ii.    William Clopton, Am. Rev., of New Kent, born November 19, 1714 in New Kent County, Virginia15; died 178516.  He married Cassandra Crump; born Abt. April 29, 172017.

There is no proof that Cassandra's last name is "Crump."  There were many members of the Crump family attending St. Peter's Parish Church.  However, no evidence has been submitted to date to further strengthen this Crump connection, although some descendants believe she was a member of the Crump family.

        13             iii.    Elizabeth Clopton, of New Kent, born 1715 in New Kent County, Virginia18; died in probably North Carolina.  She married William Ballard Aft. September 10, 1774; born in Lunenburg County, Virginia; died in Halifax County, North Carolina.

The information regarding Elizabeth Clopton & William Ballard was contained in a letter from Clifton F. Davis, Esq., Shreveport, Louisiana, dated August 11, 1938 and was sent to Lucy Lane Erwin.  But to date, there is no proof that Elizabeth Clopton married William Ballard nor that an Elizabeth Clopton was the daughter of Walter Clopton and Mary Jarrett. 

William and Elizabeth lived in Lunenburg County, Virginia.  There is a deed to him dated December 3, 1735.  About 1760 they migrated to the Scotland Neck Vicinity, Halifax County, North Carolina.  His will, dated September 10, 1774,  names his wife and nine children.

        14             iv.    Mary Clopton, of New Kent, born August 29, 171619.

        15              v.    Walter Clopton, I, of Virginia, born March 24, 1719/2020; died Abt. 1721.

        16             vi.    Robert Clopton, of Virginia, born June 4, 172521.

        17            vii.    Devereux Clopton, of New Kent, born August 30, 172722.

        18           viii.    Margaret Clopton, of New Kent23, born September 9, 1728 in New Kent, Virginia23; died 1824 in Buckingham County, Virginia23.  She married (1) Thomas Pasley; born July 7, 1724 in New Kent County, Virginia24; died Bet. 1762 and 1766 in Buckingham County, Virginia.  She married (2) James Bristow, Jr.25 176625; born September 28, 1751 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia25; died April 12, 1804 in Virginia25.

Why would Margaret marry a fifteen year old boy when she was 38?  This type of arrangement did happen from time to time, even in those days, but could it be that Margaret is actually a daughter of one of the males listed as her brother?

        19              ix.    Richard Clopton, Sr., of Kent County, born 1731 in Kent County, Virginia; died Bef. March 1807 in Franklin County, North Carolina26.  He married Mary Davis Abt. September 16, 1759 in St. James, Northam Parish27.

        20               x.    Benjamin Clopton, of New Kent, born Abt. 1732 in New Kent County, Virginia; died Bet. November 1790 and 1791 in Goochland County, Virginia28.  He married Agnes Morgan June 23, 1755 in Cumberland County, Virginia29; born in Virginia; died August 24, 1809 in Goochland County, Virginia30.


               In the name of God Amen, I Agnes Clopton of the County of Goochland do make this my last will and testament revoking all former wills.  I in the first place give my soul to God who gave it to me and my body to the dust where it shall remain until it shall experience a glorious resurrection.  I desire that my just debts be paid by my executors hereafter mentioned.  I give to my son Benjamin one walnut desk to him and his heirs forever.  I give to my granddaughter Lucy Perkins, daughter of William Perkins one feather bed and furniture to her and her heirs forever.  I give to my granddaughter Susanna Ligon all the residue of my estate to wit:  All my stock of horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, all my corn, doffer and provisions of every kind, all my plantation utensils of every description, all my household furniture of every description, all my kitchen furniture of every kind, all my crop on hand and everything of which I die possessed and which I have a right to bequeath to her and her heirs and assignees forever.  I give unto my son Anthony Clopton ten dollars, which sum of ten dollars is to be paid out of the ten pounds rent which is given for my land and negroes.  I constitute and appoint my friends Josiah Leake and Richard Ligon executors of this my last will, in testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this second day of January 1808.

Signed and sealed in the presence of James Carter and Jesse Clements.

               At  a monthly Superior Court held for Goochland County at the Court house on Monday the 11th October 1809, this writing was presented in Court and proven by the oaths of James Carter and Jesse Clements to be the last will and testament of Agnes Clopton deceased and ordered to be recorded.  Then Josiah Leake, one of the executors herein named appeared in Court and Formally and solemnly renounced all right as an executor under this will and refused to qualify as such.

Teste, William Miller

               On the eighteenth Day of December 1809 Richard Ligon made bond as executor.



        21              xi.    Naomi Clopton, of Virginia, born January 11, 1734/3531.

        22             xii.    Walter Clopton, The Younger, of New Kent, born February 18, 1739/4032.



        4.  Devereux2 Jarratt (Robert1)  He married Elizabeth. 


Children of Devereux Jarratt and Elizabeth are:

        23               i.    Mary3 Jarratt, born May 5, 172433.

        24              ii.    Archelaus Jarratt, born January 5, 1724/2533.

        25             iii.    Anne Jarratt, born November 13, 172734.

        26             iv.    Fanny Jarratt, born January 15, 1728/2935.





1.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 433.

2.  Dictionary of American Biography, Volume IX, p. 616.

3.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 363, Rob Son of Rob Jarratt and Mary his wife bap 16 aug 1698.

4.  Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Volume II, p. 429.

5.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 469.

6.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 433.

7.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 469.

8.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 469, Susannah Da. of Rob: & Sarah Jarratt born Nov 16 & bap Jan 14 1727.

9.  Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Volume, II, p. 429.

10.  Dictionary of American Biography, Volume IX, p. 616.

11.  Hanover County Deed Book (1733-1735), p. 133-135, Indenture dated October 4, 1734,  between Walter Clopton of St. Peter and James Hill, innkeeper, both of St. Peter's Parish in New Kent County... 20 pounds sterling for 200 acres on the south side of the South Anna River at the mouth of Horse Shoe Creek... said 200 acres are part of 400 acres granted to John Syme, Gentleman, by patent dated 17 August 1725 and by said Syme toWalter Clopton by deed in Hanover County dated 6 January 1726.   Deed acknowledged and "Mary the wife of said Clopton," relinquished her right of dower.  Copy located Clopton Family Archives, courtesy Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.

12.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 411.

13.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 337, "At a Vestry held at the Vestry-Room of S. Peters-Parish, on Wesnedday, the 22d. of November, Anno Dom. 1758."  He is named as a Vestry Man and is present.  This is the last reference to him.

14.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p.  347, She was baptized August 3, 1712.

15.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 348, [  ] son of Walter Clopton born 19th of November 1714 baptized December 19th.

16.  Clopton, Gene, Ancestors and Descendants of William Clopton,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 97, Offers no evidence.

17.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 457, Cassandra Daught. of Rich Crump baptiz. ap. 29, 1720.

18.  Lucy Lane Erwin.  The Ancestry of William Clopton of York County, Virginia.  Privately Published

19.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 456, Mary Daughter of Walter Clopton Born 8br 29th 1716.

20.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 457.

21.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 459.

22.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 461.

23.  Brøderbund WFT Vol. 1, Ed. 1, Tree #5684, Date of Import: Aug 28, 1997

24.  Margaret Clopton and Thomas Pasley Family Bible.

25.  Brøderbund WFT Vol. 1, Ed. 1, Tree #5684, Date of Import: Aug 28, 1997

26.  His will, dated November 10, 1794, was presented to the Court for probate in Franklin County, North Carolina in March 1807.  In his will he mentions land in Granville County to be divided equally among his five sons after his wife's death.  Executors are Philemon Bradford, sons William and Archibald Clopton.  Witnessed by Tabby Hunt, Prisila Hancock, and Guy Clopton.  (Courtesy of Harry Anderson).

27.  "The William and Mary College quarterly Historical Magazine," "Register of St. James Northam Parish".

28.  McGham, Virginia Will Records, p. 126, Entered in Will Book  15, page 449, probated 1791; Deed Book Number 15, 1788-1791 (Reel 6), p. 449-452. Inv. & Appr. rec 17 Jan 1791, Goochland County, Virginia.

29.  Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Cumberland County Marriage Bonds state bond dated June 23, 1755 issued to Benjamin Clopton & Agnes Morgan.

30.  McGham, Virginia Will Records, p. 126, Entered into Will Book 20, page 416, probated in 1809.

31.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 526.

32.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 556.

33.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 469.

34.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 469, Anne Da. of Deverix & Eliz:  Jarratt born Nov 13 bap: Dec: 24 1727.

35.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 470, Fanny Da: of Deverix & Eliz Jarratt born Jan. 15: bap feb: 22 1729.




        1.  James21 Clopton, The Elder  (William20, Walter19, William18, Walter17, William16, William15, Walter14, William13, Richard12, William11, John10, William9, Thomas8, Walter7, William6, Walter5, William4, Walter3, William2, Guillaume1 Peche, Lord Of Cloptunna and Dalham) was born January 5, 1782 in New Kent County, Virginia, and died Bef. June 20, 1850 in New Kent County, Virginia1.  He married Martha Winfree August 5, 1807.  She was born July 15, 1789, and died December 24, 1848 in New Kent County, Virginia.  She was a member of Emmaus Baptist Church, New Kent County2.


        Ordained as a Baptist Minister in 1818, Elder James served as the pastor of Charles City Baptist Church (now Emmaus Baptist Church) and served for 31 years.  He was also active in church work in the area between Richmond and Williamsburg.




At a church meeting held at Emmaus church in the county of New Kent, on Saturday, the 18th of May, 1850, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:


        Whereas, it has pleased Almighty God, in the ordering of his wise and mysterious providence, to remove from our midst our venerable and beloved pastor, Elder James CLOPTON; Therefore,

        1.     Resolved, That in this dispensation the church has lost one of its most devoted friends and most efficient and useful servants, and the county of New Kent one of its best, most valuable and respected citizens.

        2.     Resolved, That as a church, we will ever cherish in our memories the recollection of the long, ardaous, and disinterested labors of our beloved Pastor.

        3.     Resolved, That these resolutions be spread upon the records of this church, and a copy thereof be forward to the family of the deceased, with the expression of our sincere condolence with them in this sad and afflicting dispensation, and the high regard and estimation in which we hold the character and memory of the deceased.

                4.             Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the Religious Herald for publication.


                                                John G. Carter, Moderator


James F. Parkenson, Clerk


                                                "Religious Herald"

                                                June 20, 1850



On the night of the 24th


DIED, On the night of the 24th of December last, in the county of New Kent, Mrs. MARTHA CLOPTON, wife of Rev. James Clopton, in the 61st year of her age.  Sister Clopton had been for forty years a member of the Baptist church.  In all the relations of life, she manifested the sincerity of her profession.  As a minister's wife, she was a bright example; ever ready and willing to make any sacrifice to promote the usefulness of her husband.  As a mother, she was most affectionate and tender.  As a mistress, kind and forbearing, almost to a fault.  As a neighbor, she was always ready to discharge the obligation imposed upon her by that relation.  The community in which she lived has sustained a severe loss in her death, and especially the church to which she belonged.  She ever felt a deep interest in the prosperity of Zion.  But a few weeks before her death, she remarked that the condition of the Church of Christ gave her more unhappiness than any thing else.  She could cheerfully give up a beloved son to go far hence to the Gentiles, that he might labor for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom; and when the melancoholy tidings of the sudden and unexpected death of that son reached her ears, she could meekly bow her head in submission to the divine will:  but when she thought of the low estate of Zion, her heart was troubled, and she could adopt the language of the prophet, and say, "Oh that my head were waters."  But now her prayers and her tears and all her sorrows have ceased, and we may say,


        "Dearest Sister, thou hast left, us -

        Here they loss we deeply feel;

        But 'tis God that hath bereft us -

        He can all our sorrows heal."


                                                                "Religious Herald"

                                                                January 2, 1849



Children of James Clopton and Martha Winfree are:

        2                 i.    William Henry22 Clopton, Sr. of "Selwood", born November 28, 1810 in New Kent County, Virginia; died March 14, 1876 in "Selwood," Charles City County, Virginia. He was a member of Emmaus Baptist Church, New Kent County, Virginia3.  He married (1) Elizabeth Brumley November 28, 1833.  He married (2) Lucretia Roberts, of Hampton 1849.

        3                ii.    James Chappell Clopton, A.B., born November 25, 1813; died 1864 in Lynchburg, Virginia, probably.  He married Mary Ann Cottrell November 2, 1842.

        4               iii.    Samuel Cornelius Clopton, Missionary to China, born January 7, 1816 in New Kent County, Virginia; died July 7, 1847 in Canton, China and buried there.  He was a member of Emmaus Baptist Church4.  He married Keziah F. Turpin, of "Dove Hill" April 14, 1846 in "Dove Hill," Henrico County, Virginia by Elder J. O. Turpin5; born in Virginia, and was a member of Four Mile Creek Baptist Church, New Kent County, Virginia.

        5               iv.    Francis Clopton, born December 28, 1817.

        6                v.    John Christian Clopton, of Albemarle County, born December 16, 1819; died March 3, 1871 in Selina, Albemarle County, Virginia of paralysis of the brain.  He was a member of Free Union Baptist Church6.  He married Marietta Thompson January 29, 1846; died Aft. April 6, 1871 in Selina, Albemarle County, Virginia, probably7.


               Died on Friday, 3d of march, 1871, at Selina, Albemarle Co., Va., of paralysis of the brain, JOHN C. CLOPTON, in the 51st year of his age.  In early life he embraced the hope of the gospel, and soon identified himself with God's people, by joining the Baptist church.  He was very anxious to become a minister of the gospel, but his early opportunities for acquiring an education had been limited, and a feeble physical constitution disqualified him for the toil necessary for the pulpit.  He, however, devoted many years to the work of a colporter, and took great pleasure, not only in circulating religious books, tracts, ac., but in his travels as colporter, seldom failed to speak of the importance of practical piety, exemplifying in his own life the blessedness of the Christian hope.  Many a word of consolation did he speak to the broken-hearted; and many a word of warning to the imperitent.  He was a member of Free Union Baptist church, which took its name from the house in which the church was constituted, which was occupied alternately by different denominations of Christians.

               To the extent of his capacity, Bro. C. sought to build up the interests of Zion; and the pastor and church at Free Union will long remember his ever watchful anxiety for the advancement of the cause.

               His widow, the daughter of Edmund Thompson, Esq., deceased, and granddaughter of Col. Robert Hill, formerly of Madison county, remains with a mother's and grand mother's, and husband's voice, all bidding her to follow them to the "better land."  May this, with all the bereavements she has been called to bear, be sanctified to her highest good.


                                                               "Religious Herald"

                                                               April 6, 1871


        7               vi.    Martha Mildred Clopton, of Virginia8, born July 12, 18249; died Bef. February 1, 184910.  She married John Henry Christian11 Bef. October 15, 1846 in Virginia, by Elder J. G. Carter12; born January 5, 1822; died October 12, 1895.

        8              vii.    Mary Susan Clopton, of New Kent County13, born July 12, 182414.  She married John Henry Christian15; born January 5, 1822; died October 12, 1895.

        9             viii.    Ann M. Clopton, of New Kent County16.  She married Francis A. Watkins, of New Kent County March 16, 1842 in New Kent County, Virginia by Elder James B. Taylor17.






1.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Obituary Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant, Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia), June 20, 1850.

2.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Obituary Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant, Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia), February 1, 1849.

3.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Marriage Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives, courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia), April 13, 1876 Issue, "Died on Tuesday, 14th of march, at his residence in Charles City county, William H. Clopton, formerly of New Kent county, Va., in the sixty-sixth year of his age."

4.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Obituary Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant, Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia), October 28, 1847.

5.  Marriage Notices from Richmond Newspapers, 1841-1853,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 113, Notice appeared in both "Richmond Enquirers," May 8, 1846, p. 2.

6.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Obituary Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant, Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia), April 6, 1871 Issue.

7.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Marriage Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives, courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia), She was identified as the widow of her husband iin his obituary.

8.  Emmaus Baptist Church Records,  (Courtesy of Emmaus Baptist Church), Martha Mildred Clopton was the mother of seven children when she died.  Her twin sister, Mary Susan (Clopton) Carter, then married John Henry Christian.  In a speech given August 1, 1954 at Emmaus Baptist Church by Minnie S. Talley, entitled "Sketch of History of Emmaus Baptist Church,"  Ms. Talley stated that John Henry Christian built "the house at Poplar Springs" across the road from their [James Clopton and Martha Winfree Clopton] home."  She also said that "The Christians and some of their descendants are buried in the church yard.

9.  Emmaus Baptist Church Records,  (Courtesy of Emmaus Baptist Church).

10.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Obituary Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant, Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia), February 1, 1849.

11.  Emmaus Baptist Church Records,  (Courtesy of Emmaus Baptist Church).

12.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Marriage Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives, courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia), October 15, 1846 Issue.

13.  Emmaus Baptist Church Records,  (Courtesy of Emmaus Baptist Church).

14.  Emmaus Baptist Church Records,  (Courtesy of Emmaus Baptist Church), When her twin sister, Martha Mildred (Clopton) Christian died, Mary Susan (Clopton) Carter, married the widowed John Henry Christian.

15.  Emmaus Baptist Church Records,  (Courtesy of Emmaus Baptist Church).

16.  Clopton, Cordelia Belle, The Clopton Family, The entry is a little confusing, but it appears their daughter was named Indy who married a Rev. Province.  Cordelia gives her name as Mattie Anne, but the wedding announcement refers to her as Ann M. Clopton.

17.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Marriage Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives, courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia), March 24, 1842 Issue, Copy located Clopton Family Archives.  Married on Wednesday evening the 16th -?-, by Elder James B. Taylor, Mr. Francis A. Watkins, to Miss Ann M. Clopton, both of New Kent county.




        1.  Robert19 Clopton, III, M.D.  (Robert18, Robert17, William16, William15, Walter14, William13, Richard12, William11, John10, William9, Thomas8, Walter7, William6, Walter5, William4, Walter3, William2, Guillaume1 Peche, Lord Of Cloptunna and Dalham)1 was born February 26, 1755 in New Kent County, Virginia2, and died January 22, 1841 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia and buried in Pittsylvania at the Clopton Family Burying-Ground3.  He married Frances Anderson January 5, 1781 in Hanover County, Virginia4, daughter of Thomas Anderson.  She was born July 26, 1765, and died April 4, 1837 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia and buried in Pittsylvania at the Clopton Family Burying-Ground5.  They were members of Shockoe Baptist Church, Pittsylvania County, Virginia.


        When Dr. Clopton died, the Revolutionary War veteran left a large estate to his heirs.


In the name of God, Amen. I, Robert Clopton of the County of Pittsylvania and State of Virginia, being of sound mind and disposing memory do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and form following to wit: First it is my desire that my just debts and funeral expenses be paid by my executors hereinafter named out of such part my perishable property as they may think better for that purpose without touching on legacies hereinafter bequeathed.

        Item:     I give and bequeath to my beloved son Robert A. Clopton the entire track of land with and singular the appurtances where I now live which is bounded by the lands of David Terry, Joel Slayton, Charles Mclaughlan, the estate of Benjamin Terry, the estate of James M. Williams and the lands of Charles Irby and the following negro slaves to wit: Garland, Abraham, Chaney and her three children, namely Henry, George, and Mary, together with all the future increase of the female slaves, one feather bed and furniture, one walnut folding table with six legs, one fan mill with the apparatus, one cart and steers, two choice cows and calves, two choice dagon plows, three choice hilling hoes, two grubbing hoes, my newest set of silver table and tea spoons, one desk and bookcase, also the crop on hand of every description or that may be growing at the time of my death after paying all the just debts contracted by him in my name or for my benefit or that yet to him, his heirs and assigns forever.

        Item:     Having heretofore given to my son John M. Clopton that portion of my estate that I intended for him, now in consequence of medical services which give and bequeath to him my oldest set of silver table and tea spoons, also five hundred dollars each to him his heirs

 and assigns forever.

        Item:     I give and bequeath to my daughter Patsy Nowlin one silver tumbler to her heirs forever.

        Item:     In consequence of services rendered to me and my family by my grand Daughter Frances A. Terry I give and bequeath to her one negro girl named Ann and her increase to her, her heirs and assigns forever, provided the said Frances A. Terry shall remain with me during my natural life. Having gone through the specific legacies it is my will and desire that the residue of my estate be sold except such part as hereafter excepted, by my executors hereafter named, and the money arising from the sale thereof to be divided in the following manner to wit-To my daughter Polly Terry one fifth part-To my daughter Patsy one fifth Part. To the lawful heirs of my daughter Fanny Terry one fifth part-To my daughter Elizabeth Pulliam one fifth part to be deposited in the hands of Epaphroditus Wimbish who I hereby appointed special trustee for her and to furnish her as her necessity may require and after death should there be any surplus remaining in the hands of the Trustee it is my will that it be equally divided between John Pulliam and Fanny, child of my daughter Elizabeth Pulliam.

        Item: I give and bequest one fifth part to my grandchildren (to wit) Martha Waldrond, John Waldrond, Fanny Waldrond, William H. Waldrond and Abner W. Waldrond children of my deceased Daughter Nancy Waldrond, but from the fifth part of this devise is to be deducted the sum of one hundred and ninety nine dollars and fifty cents it being the sum I paid for one negro girl named Milly which I have given to my grand children the Wadronds above named, to them, their heirs and assigns forever.

        Item: Whereas I have two infirm negroes namely Nathan and Hannah, it is my desire that my son Robert A. Clopton take good care of them so long as they live and whereas I have a poor afflicted Sister, Frances Buck now living with me and being desirous that she remain in the family should she survive me, in that case my will and desire is that she be furnished with food and raiment by my son Robert A. Clopton. For the expense and trouble that may occur I bequeath to him the use of a negro man named Stephen to labor until those disabilities are removed and when removed the said negro man Stephen is to be sold and the proceeds of the sale to be applyed as the other part of the estate divided to be sold. Having fully disposed of my estate I hereby constitute and appoint executors to this my last will and testament revoking all others hereto witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this tenth day of July in the year of our Lord Christ eighteen hundred and thirty eight.

Signed sealed and published

and declared in the presents of

Sto Turner

Yancey W. Ingram

Charles Irby


At a court held for the County of Pittsylvania the 15th day of March, 1841.  This last will and testament of Robert Clopton dec'd was presented in court and proved by three subscribing witnesses to be the act and deed of said decedent and ordered to be recorded. And on the motion of Epa. Y. Wimbish one of the Executors in the said will named who made oath according to law and with John Jones, William Womack and Bryan W. Nowlin as securities entered into bond in the penalty of Twenty thousand dollars conditioned as the law directs, certificate was granted him for obtaining probate of said will in due form.  Robert W. Clopton another executor in the said will named having refused to join the

probate and the other having died



Wm. H. Tunstall, Cl.

Will Book 1, pp. 419-21, Pittsylvania County, Virginia


[Dr Clopton's residence has been restored and is now occupied. During the restoration many artifacts were found, some apparently dating from Dr Clopton's time and earlier.]



Children of Robert Clopton and Frances Anderson are:

        2                 i.    Elizabeth20 Clopton, of Pittsylvania County, born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  She married Pulliam, Husband of Elizabeth Clopton.

        3                ii.    Abner Wentworth Clopton6, born March 24, 1784 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia7; died March 20, 1833 in Charlotte, North Carolina and buried at the family cemetery, Pittsylvania8.

        4               iii.    Robert A. Clopton, of Pittsylvania County, born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

        5               iv.    John Marshall Clopton, M.D.9, born January 18, 1808 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia; died 1868 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  He married Mary W. Terry July 15, 1829; born July 9, 1810.

        6                v.    Frances A. Clopton, born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  She married Jessie Terry.

        7               vi.    Martha Clopton, of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

        8              vii.    Anne Clopton, of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

        9             viii.    Mary "Polly" Clopton10, born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia; died in "Rose Hill," Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  She married Daniel Terry, Sr., of "Rose Hill" September 17, 1810 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia11.

        10              ix.    Nancy Clopton, of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  She married Asa Waldron.





1.  A copy of his will was given to the Clopton Family Archives by Barbara Safford (Mrs. Charles D. Safford) of North Carolina.

2.  Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 564.

3.  Tombstone, loc. cit.

4.  Virginia Marriage Index, 1740-1850, courtesy of Leonard Alton Wood.

5.  Tombstone, loc. cit.

6.  Virginia Historical Society Microfilm and Manuscript Collections, For additional references see the Robinson Family Papers, MSS1 R 5685 b 276-1141; and the Spragins Family Papers, MSS1 SP 716 a 4004-4008.

7.  Religious Herald (Richmond, Virginia) Obituary Notices,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives courtesy of Darlene Slater, Research Assistant, Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia).

8.  Richmond (Virginia) Enquirer,  (Microfilm MSS10:no.296, located Virginia State Library and Archives.  Courtesy of Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.), July 2, 1833, p. 3.

9.  William Mark Younger provided this information unless otherwise noted.

10.  Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Quarterly XVII, p. 294-296, "Clopton Family".

11.  Virginia Marriage Index, 1740-1850 notes a Polly Clopton married Daniel Terry.






Comments?  Questions?  Corrections?



[1] Bringing In the Sheavesis an excerpt from The Clopton Chronicles, Ancestors and Descendants of Sir Thomas Clopton, Knight & Dame Katherine Mylde, and is the property of the Clopton Family Genealogical Society which holds the copyright on this material.  Permission is granted to quote or reprint articles for noncommercial use provided credit is given to the CFGS and to the authors.  Prior written permission must be obtained from the Society for commercial use.

Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton is Founder and Executive Director of The Clopton Family Genealogical Society & Clopton Family Archives.

Laurel C. Sneed is Director of the Thomas Day Education Project, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  The Thomas Day Education Project is a constituent organization of the North Carolina Central University Foundation committed to advance the knowledge of African American political, social, and cultural significance of free African Americans in colonial and antebellum history.

The Society wishes to thank Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.; Paul Connor, Reference Librarian, Library of Congress, Local History & Genealogy Room, Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D. C.; Myra Cramer, Branch Manger, Pamunkey Regional Library, Hanover, Virginia; Darlene Slater, Librarian, Virginia Baptist Historical Society, University of Richmond; and, Leonard Alton Wood.

                Also special thanks to Clopton descendants David Rusher, Barbara Safford and William Mark Younger.

[2] The first generations of American Cloptons attended St. Peter’s Parish Church, New Kent County, Virginia.  The Vestry Book and Register has been preserved at the Archives of Virginia which contains many references to Clopton participation in church business and births, baptisms, and deaths.  Both the Vestry Book and Register have been transcribed in C. G. Chamberlayne’s The Vestry Book and Register of St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent and James City Counties, Virginia, 1684-1786, Library of Virginia, Richmond, 1997.

[3] The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, 1987, Volume 5,  p. 441.  The movement, which began in Europe, became popular in the southern British American colonies mainly between about 1720 and the 1740’s.  It was one of the first great movements that gave to the American colonists a sense of unity in the New World and a sense of a special purpose in God’s providential plans.  The revival preachers emphasized the “terrors of the law,” to sinners, the unmerited grace of God, and the “new birth” in Jesus Christ.

[4] The son of Robert Jarratt and his wife, Sarah Bradley, an abbreviated genealogy follows.  His aunt, Mary Jarratt married Walter Clopton, The Elder, of "Callowell .  The Rev. Jarratt’s wife, Martha Claiborne, of “Fox Castle,” Dinwiddie County, Virginia, the daughter of Burnell Claiborne, of “Fox Castle,” and his wife, Hannah Ravenscroft, of “Maycox” is a descendant of the ancient Cloptons.  The spelling of his given name varies, found usually as Devereux, but sometimes as Devereaux.

[5] William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, Philadelphia, 1857, p. 471.  See also, Edward Lewis Goodwin, The Colonial Church in Virginia, London, 1924, p. 281-82; Harry G. Rube, “The Reverend Devereaux Jarratt and the Virginia Social Order,” Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, XXXIII, p. 299-336.  The Rev. Jarratt, in 1776, wrote A Brief Narrative of the Revival of Religion in Virginia in a Letter to a Friend, which was sent to John Wesley and later printed in London, a second and third edition being issued there in 1778 (it also appears in The Journal of the Rev. Francis Asbury dated December 19, 1776); he published in 1791 Thoughts on Some Capital Subjects in Divinity in a Series of Letters to a friend, which was reprinted in 1806 in The Life of the Reverend Devereux Jarratt, Written by Himself, in a Series of Letters Addressed to the Rev. John Coleman. He also published in three volumes between 1793-94, Sermons on Various and Important Subjects, in Practical Divinity, Adapted to the Meanest Capacities, and Suited to the Family and Closets.  An Argument Between an Anabaptist and a Methodist on the Subject and Mode of Baptism, stated to be “published by a member of the Church of England,” reprinted in 1814, is attributed to him.

[6] Abingdon Dictionary of Living Religions, Keith Crim, General Editor, Roger A. Bullard and Larry D. Shinn, Associate Editors, Parthenon Press, Nashville, 1981, p. 91.   The first Baptist church in the American Colonies is believed to have been established in 1639.  There were some Baptists represented among the Massachusetts settlers.  Henry Dunster, the first President of Harvard University, was among them.  Roger Williams is believed to have established the first Baptist Church in the colonies at Providence, Rhode Island in 1639.  The center of Baptist life in the colonial period, however, was in Philadelphia.

[7] Stewart Jones, Emmaus Baptist Church, A Bicentennial Remembrance, The Dietz Press, Inc., Richmond, 1977p. 6-7.

[8] See Midnight Romps and Wilted Roses, and Two Hundred Men in Velvet

[9] The husband of Elizabeth Clarke, he was the great grandson of Walter Clopton, the Elder, and his wife, Mary Jarratt.

[10] Jones, Emmaus Baptist Church, p. 5.  William Clopton was baptized in 1782 by Elijah Baker, who was the founder of what is now known as Emmaus Baptist Church, but was first known as the First Baptist Church.

[11] Also serving was James F. Gray, Ira Coles, E. Pollard, F.T. Crump, William Howle, A. S. Crowder, Tazewell Pomfrey, James A. Oakley, J. F. Parkinson, and B. M. McKenzie.  Although the early church registry has been lost, the records of the disciplinary hearings in the church minute book for several generations has survived.  A copy is preserved at the Virginia Archives.

[12] Abingdon Dictionary, p. 106.  Some feared that Christianization would lead to emancipation.  There were also whites who encouraged conversion, by force, if necessary, and used their interpretation of the scriptures as a way to control the slaves.

[13] In 1810, The Rev. Robert B. Semple wrote a history of the Baptists in Virginia.

[14] 1815 entry in the Emmaus minute book records the excommunication of a woman slave for “running away” from her master.

[15] The husband of Martha Winfree, an abbreviated genealogy follows.  The 1830 Federal Census of New Kent County (Microfilm Roll Number 192/p. 20), shows he was the head of a household of 28 people, including 18 slaves/

[16] Jones, Emmaus Baptist Church, p. 6.  The name was formally changed in 1834, presumably in reference to the village of that name near Jerusalem that Jesus visited after his resurrection.  Although the common pronunciation of the name is E may us, the congregants refer to the church as E a mus. p. 13.  James was ordained in 1818.  The present location of the church is about three miles south of St. Peter’s Parish Church.

[17] Garnett Ryland, The Baptists of Virginia, 1699-1926, The Virginia Baptist Board of Missions and Education, Richmond, 1955, p. 268.  In the catalogue of the Virginia Baptist Seminary for 1836 there were 75 students.  One of the first four men to complete four full years at the seminary was John Oscar Turpin, the brother of Keziah F. Turpin, who married Samuel Cornelius Clopton.  Her father, Miles Turpin, was Pastor of Four Mile Creek Baptist Church in Henrico County.  p. 223, His cousin, the Reverend Abner Wentworth Clopton, would, in 1827 join efforts to raise money for the cash strapped college, and would become general agent for the fund raising activities in 1833.  Columbian College was incorporated by an act of Congress in 1821.  The faculty and students of the Theological Institute in Philadelphia were moved to Washington, D.C. as the Theological Department of the College.

[18] Among the Trustees of Richmond College was The Honorable John Bacon Clopton, see In Praise of Mint Juleps.

[19] Ryland, The Baptists of Virginia, p. 285.  There were independent “colored” churches as early as 1791 in Williamsburg.

[20] Jones, Emmaus Baptist Church, p. 13

[21] Foreign Mission Board, Richmond, Virginia, monthly meeting minutes, September 1, 1845.

[22] George B. Taylor, Virginia Baptist Ministers, 6th Series, J. P. Bell Company, Lynchburg, Virginia, 1935, p. 133.

[23] Taylor, Virginia Baptist Ministers, p. 134.

[24] William Estpe, Whole Gospel Whote World, Broad & Holman Publishers, Nashville, 1994, p. 85.

[25] Copy located Clopton Family Archives.  The original is located at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia.

[26] "Religious Journal's" June 1, 1905.  Copy located Clopton Family Archives.  The original is located at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia.

[27] The men were third cousins twice removed.  James Chappell Clopton and his brother, Samuel Cornelius Clopton were descendants of Walter Clopton and his wife, Mary Jarratt.  Abner Wentworth Clopton counted as his ancestors, Walter’s brother, Robert Clopton, and his wife, Mary Crump.  An abbreviated genealogy follows.

[28] See a transcript of the will below.

[29] John’s brother, Thomas, was born in Virginia in 1801.  Both Day brothers learned their father’s craft of cabinetry.  Thomas Day moved to Milton, North Caroline in the early 1820’s and became one of the South’s most celebrated furniture makers.  His skills were sought by a great many plantation owners whose homes he embellished with stylish mantle pieces, stair railings, and Newell posts, in addition to providing them with furniture.  He sent his three children to an abolitionist-sympathizing school, Wesleyan Academy in Wilbriham, Massachusetts.  He became a prominent member of the Milton community where his furniture shop employed free black, enslaved, and white laborers  By 1850, it was the largest furniture shop in the state.  Because he was one of the earliest furniture makers to use steam-powered tools and mass production techniques in North Carolina, he is considered an early founder of the modern Southern furniture industry.  Sadly, by the end of his life he had fallen victim to a major economic recession and his business was in receivership by the time of his death on the eve of the American Civil War.

[30] Paragraphs have been added to assist the reader.  John Day corresponded with the Rev. Taylor for several years and these letters have been transcribed by Janie Leigh Carter in her Masters Dissertation available through Wake Forest University.

[31] Clopton descendant Martha Smithey Wilson was not yet one year old when her mother died in 1836 in Africa.  Alexander Erwin Wilson and his young bride, Mary Jane Smithey, were Presbyterian missionaries in Africa.  Mrs. Wilson was the first white woman to serve as a missionary in South Africa, and she would be the first to die for her faith. In that country.  A moving letter Dr. Wilson wrote to his “beloved little Martha” has survived.  See Work While Thou Hast Life for Christ.

[32] The Methodist did not immerse those being baptized as did the Baptist.  Like the Anglican Church, the Methodists sprinkled water on the head and generally referred to the ritual as “christening.”  The subject of baptism was a hot topic and caused much friction and caused terrible disputes and discord in the churches.  The official Baptist position was that baptism is the outward symbol of the change already accomplished in the believer who heart has been touched and his life changed by the influence of the Holy Spirit.  Opposing this was the belief that baptism is an essential part in the remission of sins and the appropriation of God’s promise of forgiveness.

[33] Possibly the Black Baptist Foreign Missions.

[34] Luther Rice was an ardent supporter of missionary activity in Liberia and a friend of Abner Wentworth Clopton.  Rice spent time abroad as a Baptist missionary and made numerous trips through Virginia in the 1820’s when he probably met John Day and convinced him to emigrate.

[35] The identify of this specific church is not known.

[36] “Armenian principles” related to a philosophy of Free Will that was considered a “heresy.”  John Day was apparently accused by his peers of holding these principles.  He felt he was unjustly accused and shortly thereafter emigrated to Liberia.

[37] The American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in 1817 to send free African Americans to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States.  The concept was an issue which divided both whites and blacks.  Some blacks supported emigration because they thought black Americans would never receive justice in the United States, while others believed they should remain and fight against slavery and for full legal rights as American citizens.  Some whites viewed colonization as a way of ridding the country of blacks, and others believed black American would be happier in Africa.  Ministers in particular believed the black American colonists could play a crucial role in Christianizing and civilizing Africa.

[38] He brought with him his wife and four “interesting children.”  Eulogy of the Reverend W. Blyden, on the Reverend John Day, Monrovia, 1859.

[39] Eulogy, p. 155

[40] Eulogy, p. 156-157.  His activities, at first sponsored by the Northern Baptist Board of Missions took him to the county of Grand Bassa and the city of Buchanan.  His name became well known throughout the region.  He subsequently became associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which had established missions throughout Liberia, at Sierra Leone, and in Central Africa.  For several years until the time of his death, he served as Superintendent of their Missions in Liberia and at Sierra Leone.  There were no physicians and he was forced to study medicine and ministered to both the bodies and the spirits of his converts.

[41] Ryland, The Baptists of Virginia, p. 216-217.  The Baptist General Tract Society was organized in Washington, D. C. in 1824 for the purpose of forming “depositories” throughout the country from which religious tracts could be easily obtained.

[42] The American Temperance Society was organized in Boston in February 1826, but Abner Clopton did not know of its existence.

[43] Ryland, The Baptists of Virginia, p. 217.  Herald Progress, 1881-1971 Commemorative Historical Edition, Edited and Published by the Herald-Progress Newspaper Staff, august 1971, Section 4, p. 2, on May 22, 1830 a Society for the Promotion of Temperance was organized in the lower end of Hanover, and the upper end of New Kent County at Black Creek Baptist Church to be named the Black Creek Temperance Society.  Among the officers appointed was Col. William F. Clopton, President (there is no William “F.” Clopton fitting this time period.  No doubt this refers to William Edmund Clopton, Sr., a veteran of the War of 1812); John Bacon Clopton, Sr., also a veteran of the War of 1812, and the brother of William Edmund Clopton, was appointed Corresponding Secretary.  A William Clopton was appointed Treasurer.  There are several William Clopton’s who fit this time period and were living in the area that the precise identify of this individual is not known..  The church was accepted into the Dover Association in 1783.

[44] Obituary appearing in the Religious Herald, see below

[45] Original located Virginia Baptist Historical Society, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia; copy located Clopton Family Archives.

[46] A copy is located in the Clopton Family Archives courtesy of Kenneth Eugene Mills.

[47] African Repository, Volume 37 (1861) p. 154-158.  Rare Book Collection.  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.