Trumbold Families

Henry Darne


Most of what we know about Henry Darne comes from his will and probate and land records.  He was a fairly important person in Fairfax County, Virginia from 1754-1806.  We can estimate that he was born about 1730-1734 presumably in Fairfax County where documents confirm his presence from 1742 until his death in 1806.  It appears that he was the son of a Thomas Darne although I cannot definitively say which of the several in the area at that time. The leases in 1742 and 1749 also indicate his mother was named Mary and his brothers were named Allan and John. 


He likely lived with his parents on the plantation in Truro Parish consisting of 200 acres leased to his father, Thomas, for a term of his life and that of his heirs, Henry and his brother, Allan.  This land was leased in 17421 from Sampson Darroll and ran along Pimmits Run and Cockerell’s Spring Branch.  The rent was 630 pounds of tobacco annually.  This lease was updated in 17492 with the only change being that Henry’s brother was now John instead of Allan.  Perhaps Allan died and John was born in the intervening years.


On December 9, 1754, Henry (living in Truro Parish) received the adjacent land from his father, Thomas (140 acres at the head of Four Mile Run) as a gift3.  Thomas had received this grant from Lord Fairfax in 17304. 


Fairfax County Court records show that he had apprentices in 1754 and 1756.  From 1768-1772, Henry was a grand juror. 


Sometime before 1772, Henry married Penelope Minor, daughter of John and Jemima Sanford Minor.  Their children, as identified in Henry’s will were

            George [born about 1772 who married Susannah Lane in 1798]

            Jemima [born about 1774 who married Samuel Adams before 1809]

            Nicholas [born in 1776 who married Amelia Trammell]

            Elizabeth [born about 1777 who married John Sanders before 1809]

            Robert [born in 1778 who married Verlinda Wren]

            Penelope F. [born about 1780 who married Hanson Davis (who died before 1809)]

Ann (Nancy) [born after 1780]

Mary (Polly) [born after 1780]

            Sarah (Sally) [born after 1780]


Henry Darne is on the 1782 Continental census list for Fairfax County and, in fact, was in charge of making the list from his area.  He had 9 white and 8 black persons in his household.


By 1783, 29 acres of the 140 acres originally granted to Thomas Darne and given to Henry Darne had been sold to William Barrey who was then selling it to Henry Gunnell, Junr5.


In 1784-1785 Henry was a Justice of the Fairfax County Court and 1788 was bonded as a tobacco inspector.  He was also a tobacco inspector on Potomac Falls from 1797-1802.


He along with three others (including Samuel Adams, his son-in-law) bought three fish stands at Little Falls near the tobacco warehouse on the Potomac River on July 20, 1789.


Henry was a tobacco inspector at the "publick warehouse at the Falls" from 1790-1796.


Henry Darne left a will dated December 5, 1805, and probated on July 21, 18066.  In it he mentions his wife, Penelope (Minor), and his sons, George, Robert, and Nicholas (who he disinherited).  George and Robert were the Executors. 


Other probate documents record his other children [Jemima Adams, Elizabeth Sanders, Penelope Davis, Ann (Nancy), (Mary) Polly, and Sarah (Sally) Darne].  Penelope was left the entire estate (including some interest Henry may have had from the estates of John, Nicholas and Jemima Minor deceased) valued at $5883.  The number of slaves (33) indicated a fairly wealthy man and they were valued at $5259 in the probate inventory.


Nicholas contested the will and on July 3, 1809, he came to an agreement with the other children that he would be entitled to his full 1/9th share if he would drop his suit7.


 The slave distribution was recorded in December 18098with the remainder of the estate settled in January 18109. 


Penelope Darne made her will on November 20, 1809, and it was registered on October 17, 181410 so presumably she passed away in the late summer or fall of 1814.  She gave everything to her youngest three daughters (Nancy, Polly, and Sally Darne) and appointed her son, Robert, as executor. 


The documents are a bit confusing as it appears that Penelope had the use of the slaves and property during her life.  The 1810 census shows Penelope with 18 slaves along with

            1 male 26-44

            1 female 10-15

            1 female 16-25

            1 female 45+ (Penelope?)


It wasn’t until her death that Henry’s estate was recorded as finally settled, so it is not clear what the three youngest daughters really received as an inheritance.  On December 20, 1814, it is recorded that the sale of items, including the "lease" on land was $3383.49.  In September 1815 it is recorded that, after the Executors’ expenses, $2705.10 was left to Henry’s executors, George and Robert, to be divided equally among the nine children11.


Source Notes


1.      Fairfax County, Virginia, Deed Book, pages 30-33, recorded March 17, 1742.

2.      Fairfax County, Virginia, Deed Book, pages 464-466, recorded May 16, 1749.

3.      Fairfax County, Virginia, Deed Book C, recorded December 17, 1754, pages 845-847.

4.      Gray, Gertrude E: Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants 1694-1742, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1987, page 103, [Grant C-2, May 26, 1730].

5.      Fairfax County, Virginia, Deed Book O 1783-1784, pages 120-124, recorded December 15, 1783.

6.      Fairfax County, Virginia, Will Book I-1, pages 510-511, 525-528.

7.      Fairfax County, Virginia, (Source information not found), recorded August 21, 1809, pages 202-203.

8.      Fairfax County, Virginia, Will Book J-1, recorded January 15, 1810, pages 253-255,

9.      Fairfax County, Virginia, Will Book J-1, recorded September 17, 1810, 330-331.

10.  Fairfax County, Virginia, Will Book K-1, recorded October 17, 1814, page 230.

11.  Fairfax County, Virginia, Will Book K-1, recorded October 16, 1815, pages 340-343.