The Life of William Warden

Early Warden Settlers in America

We did not find records showing which ship brought William Warden to Maryland in 1698 or from which seaport he left. Warden immigrants were listed on early ship transport lists to the colonies. For example, on October 19, 1643, a William Warder had land “on the east side of Yeokomico River, upon a branch of Mattapony,” in the lower Potomac River region of Virginia’s eastern shore.4 John Warden was transported in 1664 to the Wicomico River area in Charles County, Maryland.5 Still another William Warden and 7 other passengers were transported in 1666.6 Records that could link us directly with other Warden immigrants who were already in America before William Warden arrived may not exist. The 1698 Parchment giving William Warden permission to emigrate is the document we used to base his arrival in Charles County, Maryland.

The 1698 Parchment states our ancestor, William Warden, had lived in Elgin, Scotland, “since his infancy,” however, his father or other members of his family could have left for the colonies some years before. William may have been urged to emigrate, or he may have decided on his own to search for a better future in the New World. Of all Wardens in the New World when William embarked, John Warden whose mother made a deed of gift (legal transfer of ownership) to him of property in Port Tobacco on January 9, 17127 is most likely to be kin to our William Warden. Port Tobacco was one of the early Maryland settlements, and is close to the Mattawoman Creek area.

Everyday Life of William Warden

William Warden arrived as the small farms were beginning to thrive and become large plantations in Charles County. He probably went to work immediately, establishing himself as a worker of leather and other animal skins. He would have traveled to Marbury, St. Mary’s City and Port Tobacco by boat to sell his goods in the local area.

Old Tobacco Barn in Marbury, MD;Library of Congress American Memories Digital Photo Collection.

Old Tobacco Barn in Marbury, MD;Library of Congress American Memories Digital Photo Collection.

Tobacco field in Charles County, MD Library of Congress

Tobacco field in Charles County, MD Library of Congress

He would not have done farm labor, since he had a trade and the need for his products was already well established. If he had money and purchased land, there are no existing records of the transaction. Since his future bride’s family already had land, he may have had no need to purchase more.

We know William Warden settled near Mattawoman Creek, as Rev. Mills stated in his note. His bride, Margaret Nelson, daughter of Richard and Mary Brett Nelson, inherited 117 acres of the property known as “ Cole” upon her father’s death in 1708.8 It was here William lived out his life with Margaret, working his trade and raising his family. As a matter of interest, the Nelson family owned several parcels of land in the Mattawoman Creek area that totaled about 1,076 acres. Specifically:

  • John Nelson, probably the father of Richard Nelson, left his entire estate of 546 acres including Danfrit and Gilliod to his wife, Mary Davis Nelson.9 His will was probated March 15, 1698.
  • Richard Nelson, father of Margaret Nelson who married our William Warden, purchased 200 acres of a tract called “ Howland” for 1,400 lbs. of tobacco on April 4, 1704.10 “ Howland” was on the north side of the Piscataway River and south side of Mattawoman Creek. His sons, William Nelson and Richard Nelson (father of Margaret Nelson) split “ Howland” upon their father’s death in 1708.11
  • Richard Nelson received the patent for a 330 acre tract called, “Coall” or “ Cole” which adjoined the east side of “ Christian Temple Manor” on November 10, 1695.12 “Coal/ Cole” was on the south side of Mattawoman Creek. Survey records of July 22, 1689 show “Coal/ Cole” having only 236 acres.13

Marriage and Family of William Wardon

William Warden married Margaret Nelson, daughter of Richard and Mary Brett Nelson about 1700. There were no marriage records stating when the marriage took place; therefore, we estimated a marriage date based on William’s 1698 arrival in Charles County and the ages of their sons given in a deposition in 1758. Their eldest son, William Warder [sic] gave his age as 57 (born 1701).22 At another deposition on August 3, 1753, Richard Warden, second eldest son, stated he was about 44 years (born 1709).23

Names of three of William and Margaret Nelson Warden’s sons were discovered from estate records.

  1.  William, the eldest son, named as next of kin in his mother’s ( Margaret Nelson Warden Lloyd) estate inventory;24
  2. Richard was named administrator when the inventory of Margaret Lloyd, his mother, was fi led on June 28, 1755;25 and,
  3. James, who was also mentioned in his mother’s estate papers.26 James died in Fairfax County where his will was proved in 1784.

NOTE: There may have been daughters born to William and Margaret; but we were unable to find a mention of other children. The “John Jackson” listed as his next of kin in his estate inventory could have been a son-in-law.

 Legal Record of William Warden

There were two legal documents found for William Warden. He and William Lloyd were appointed as appraisers for the inventory of Haines Ellixon on November 27, 1729.20 The second document was an inventory of William Warden’s estate in 1735. William Warden died about 1733-1735. It was evident Margaret Nelson Warden had married William Lloyd before William Warden’s estate was settled in 1735, as she was appointed administrator of the estate under her new married name, Margaret Loyde [sic].21

William Warden’s inventory was filed in Charles County on November 5, 1735.14 Unfortunately, this inventory is the only record of his estate that survived. He may have died up to two years before the inventory was filed. He named his son, Richard Warden and John Jackson as next of kin; the administrator was his wife, Margaret Loyde/Lloyd; she had remarried before 1735 to William Loyde. It was not uncommon for a widow with young children to remarry within a short time after her husband’s death. William Loyde’s property was adjacent or near to “ Howland” in the same Mattawoman Creek area.

The sons of William and Margaret Nelson Warden went on to purchase additional parcels of land and became planters in their own right. The eldest son, William Warden must have been content to stay in the Mattawoman Creek area, because his land purchases were entirely in Charles County, Maryland. It was normal practice for only the eldest son in the family to inherit land. The two younger sons, Richard and James, went across the Potomac to Fairfax County, Virginia where they both bought and leased property.

Land holdings for William, the eldest son, totaled 317 acres in Charles County. He was in possession of ½ of “ Cole” in 1753 when the Rent Roll was created.” 15 He then expanded his holdings when he bought two additional parcels on the south side of Mattawoman Creek. The first was “ Lumber Street,” 100 acres purchased on August 12, 1735, from Samuel Chunn for 2,000 lbs. of tobacco.16 In 1737, he bought another 100 acres known as “ Linner Sheet” on February 4, 1737 from Samuel Love; also for 2,000 lbs of tobacco.17

In 1753, Richard Warden was in possession of the other half of “ Cole,” which was his mother’s portion of the 236 acres originally purchased by his grandfather, Richard Nelson in 1689.18 Elijah Warden, eldest son of Richard, inherited this property when Richard died. When Elijah died without an heir, the property went to Asa Warden, the only other son of Richard Warden.