Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Thomas Buck I in Virginia

In some Buck family histories and commentaries, Thomas Buck I is described as a well-to-do gentleman leaving England with his two servants for the New World. I suspect this is not the case but was derived from his eventual prosperity in Virginia. By the time of his death, Thomas owned 250 acres of land in York County and actually did have two indentured servants. Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about his path to prosperity.

There is very little mention of Thomas Buck in the extant records. He left England in 1635 and the next reference to him is in the York County court record of June 25, 1658. There appears to be no extant record of the twenty-three year interval in the life of Thomas Buck.

The York County Patents do not include any land patented to Thomas Buck. Therefore, he must have purchased or inherited it; however, there are no records of such transactions.
In 1658, just a year before his death, there was a significant dispute involving Thomas Buck and his indentured servant, Robert Goffe. Apparently, Robert Goffe claimed that his period of indenture had been completed but Thomas Buck was able to prove that Goffe’s period of indenture was a full seven years and had not yet been completed. Judging from the will of Thomas Buck, the remaining period of indenture must have been about four more years.
Essentially nothing is known about the wife of Thomas Buck – not even her name. Apparently his wife died shortly before Thomas because she is not mentioned in his will and guardians were appointed for their children. York county records do include a bill to be paid for the medical treatment of “the wife of Thomas Buck, deceased”.

After his death, Thomas Buck’s name appears occasionally. Sometimes his land is referenced in a survey or will of other colonists. His shipments, payments and debts can be found in various lists. The estate of Thomas Buck must have been relatively valuable because the York County court records include several references to it and the guardians of Thomas Buck’s children.

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