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Saunders Land in Lunenburg and Mecklenburg

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Updated October 11, 2008

Jesse Saunders land
Hyde Saunders land
Robert Saunders land

The Land of Jesse Saunders

On 12 Dec 1768 Susanna Fleming of Cumberland County sold to Jesse Saunders of same
county, 708 acres on the South Fork of Meherrin River, at the mouth of Mitchell Creek, "it being part of a tract of land which Colo John Fleming, late of the County of Cumberland, attorney at law, purchased of Hugh Miller, and by him devised to the said Susanna Fleming by his will, of record in Cumberland County." (rec. 18 Jun 1769 Lunenburg DB 11:269, from Jim Lewter) In 1780, Jesse Sanders [Saunders] was granted 392 acres on branches of Meherrin, adjoining Burwell, Erskine and Duprie.(GB E:536,537) The "three pines" landmark on the east of the tract at Burwell's line was a landmark in the later John Gregory tract.

In 1786, Jesse Saunders sold to Lewis Deupree, 190 acres of the above grant (leaving 202 acres). "From a white oak on small branch near Daniel Weatherfords spring to a dividing line of marked trees run by agreement of the two parties to a pine in Erskins line to Deupre's patent line." The bounders Erskine and Deupree suggest to me the land conveyed was the western portion of the grant.

On 11 Aug 1790 (Lun. DB 16:179; ack. 13 Oct) Zachariah Davis of Lunenburg conveyed 290 acres adjoining said Sanders and bounded by his own lines, by Col Lewis Burwell, Weatherford's, Brown's lines.

Jesse Saunders died in 1800. He owned land in Cumberland and Buckingham Counties, as well as Lunenburg. His Lunenburg land was willed to four of his five sons: Stephen, Robert, Hyde, and David Saunders "all the land I now own in county of Lunenburg to be divided between them, respect being had in the division to the quality as well as quantity of land allotted to each." It appears from the Deed Index that Stephen sold to Hyde and Robert in 1804. David's name doesn't appear on the Deed Index.

In April 1809, Hyde Saunders [Lun. DB 22:34] conveyed to Edward Jones of Mecklenburg, 176 acres in Lunenburg adjoining land of Robert Saunders, Richard Boyd [the adj. Boyd tract should be the later 840-acre John Gregory tract/js] and Alexander Erskine. (no measurements)

This may bear out to be the two 88-acre tracts mentioned in the land descriptions of John Gregory: 88 acres conveyed by John Goode to Thomas N. Gregory (became part of the Joseph F. Ellis farm) and 88 acres to John Gregory by Richard R. Jones. Edward Jones died in Mecklenburg County about 1810; Richard R. Jones an administrator.

1824 Land Tax Mecklenburg County Robert Saunders of Lunenburg 94 acres Meherrin adj Hyde Saunders 9 NW Hyde Saunders of Lunenburg 276 acres Meherrin adj Robert Moore estate 9NW

Hyde Saunders Land and Estate

Land survey of Hyde Saunders estate; text (images) - files of James Lewter, also current map

Lunenburg DB 27:170; 3 Sep 1826 Hyde Saunders of Lunenburg to Robert Saunders of Lunenburg, acres 452 & 279 Cons $1 ...for sundry good reasons...said Hyde Saunders ... convey to his brother afsd Robert Saunders in trust all the property both real and personal...for purpose of maintaining him during his tract of land in county of Lunenburg on both sides Meherrin River containing 452 acres bounded by lands of said Robert Saunders, John Gregory, Thomas Couch, Alexr M. Hepburn and by the south branch of the Meherrin River. Also one other tract lying in county of Mecklenburg on South side of Meherrin River containing 279 acres by land of said Robert Saunders, William Coleman, Boller Dobbyn and by the south branch of Meherrin River (also slaves etc.
Sig: Hyde Saunders, Robert Saunders. Witnessed by John H. Saunders, Emily C. Saunders, Samuel G. Osborne, Elizabeth Osborne.

The 814 acres from Hyde Saunders estate to Dr. William E. Dodson; then to Martha A. Swepson-Saunders, wife of Dr. Samuel Saunders, son of Robert Saunders:

In 1850, the land of Hyde Saunders in Lunenburg and Mecklenburg was surveyed to be 814 acres plus 160 poles, adjoining in Lunenburg: Robert Saunders on the west, John Gregory and Mitchell's Creek on the north, and Hepburn on the east. In Mecklenburg, the land adjoined Tucker and Oliver on the southeast, Oliver on the south, and Robert Saunders again on the west. Land tax records for Hyde Saunders describe his land as being 13 miles southwest of the courthouse, no stated value of tax for buildings. Possibly Hyde lived on the adjoining grounds of| the old Saunders home site. The 1850 census lists, one after the other in three households, the families of Robert Saunders, Hyde Saunders and Robert Saunders, Jr.

Hyde Saunders, unmarried, was deceased by 1858, when his tract of 814 acres was sold to Wm. E. Dodson for $13,197, land bounded by Josephus Gregory, Wm. Couch, Ebernezer ____? [maybe Hepburn], John G. Oliver and the estate of Robert Saunders. (Rec. 11 Feb 1861, Lun. DB 27:24, files of James Lewter).

This land transaction was mentioned in a letter written by Josephus Gregory to his son Jackson, 8th Dec. 1858

      "I informed you of the sale at Saunders. I will however again give you some points at that sale. In the first place, William Couch and myself bid as high as $16.20 per acre for the land. I was to take 564 and he 250. He would have had the best [illegible] of the tract but was willing to pay considerable more for his per acre than I was to pay. If we could have bought it the 564 acres which I should have got would have made one of the best situations in the county. If you could have been up at the time and wished it and backed us in it we would have carried it to $20. But I did not know your feelings about it. Couch says he regrets it more than any act of his life not buying the place. Doctor Dodson is the owner. It will never be in market again in our day, and if it was put up even now at highest bidder it would bring the rise of $20 per acre. Lands are advancing every day." (Files of JoLee Gregory Spears)

The 1860 Lunenburg Census shows the Dr. Dodson family listed next to H. E. Hepburn, who may have been Dr. Dodson's father-in-law [UPDATE: Charity A. Swepson was married to Alexander M. Hepburn (brother of H. E. Hepburn), and it appears she was the same person remarried to Dr. Wm. E. Dodson before 1860. See: Some Descendants of William Mallory Swepson.]

Incidentally, the "Sweheston" name in the linked census transcription of the Hepburn household is actually "Swepson." Possibly the Swepsons also were related to the Hepburn family. A letter written by Josephus Gregory 2 July 1861 mentions the funeral of Mrs. Dodson, adding: "I had not seen Mr. Hepburn for a length of time before yesterday. He looks very feeble indeed. I should not be surprised if this heavy affliction takes him off." It was mentioned that Mrs. Dodson left two little children."    By 1865, W. E. Dodson was styled "of Charlotte" in land tax records, still no building or house valued. William Edward Dodson died in 1867 and is buried in the Hepburn cemetry at Ravenscroft.

The Hyde Saunders tract was conveyed to the wife of Dr. Samuel Saunders.
By deed recorded 3 June 1871, George W. Swepson bought the Dodson tract, the amount paid by R. R. Swepson, substitute purchaser. Same date, R. R. Swepson gave the land to his sister, Martha A. Saunders, with consent of Doctor Samuel Saunders. Samuel Saunders, son of Robert, Sr., married Martha A. Swepson on Dec. 19, 1861. [Files of James Lewter] In 1872, Martha A. Saunders was taxed with the 814 acres, and for the first time, building(s) show a value, which was $200.

In 1875 Martha A. Saunders was taxed with 814 acres, 13 miles southwest of the courthouse, $2000 added because of buildings.  "R. R. Swepson '71 New buildings" is written in the comment section.

No later records were obtained on this tract of land, though I have seen a deed [update-see below] showing the Samuel Saunders tract (or part of it) was conveyed to an Ellis. See portion of WPA map showing "Ellis Farm."
See division of the 814-acre tract and conveyance of 300+ acres of the northern portion to George E. Ellis by the children of Dr. Samuel Saunders in 1902.
See Dr. Samuel Saunders Family.
See Hyde Saunders Estate (94KB)
See Ravenscroft: Hepburn and Dodson Families

Robert Saunders Senior Land and Estate 

Robert Saunders and Hyde Saunders were picked up on the 1827 Lunenburg land tax records. Robert was taxed with 668 1/2 acres, house valued $350, described as South Meherrin River, 13 miles southwest of the courthouse. Hyde Saunders was taxed with 452 acres, no building valued, described as Mitchell's Creek, 13 miles southwest of the courthouse.

It appears that the land of Robert Saunders in Lunenburg generally lay west of and adjoining the land of Hyde Saunders.

In Mecklenburg, their land south of the river was taxed in 1824, 94 acres for Robert Saunders adjoining Hyde Saunders, and 276 acres for Hyde Saunders adjoining the Robert Moore estate.

Robert Saunders died 11 Dec. 1857. His wife having preceded him in death 26 Mar. 1857 (Lun death records), Saunders made a codicil to his will re his land. "It is my will and desire that my estate be kept together until the next November or December after my death and my two single daughters, Lucy A. Saunders and Anna E. Saunders or either one that remains single, together with my son Saml. Saunders shall live at my house on the estate, free of charge of any description until that time. At that time, that is in November or December next after my death, I wish my executor to deliver to each legatee, his or her specific legacy and sell the residue of my estate and distribute it according to my will and or Mary C. Saunders, wife of Robert Saunders, which(?) has provided means to purchase them a home. It is my will and desire that my son Robert and family remove off the land they now live on at the fall or by the first day of December next after my death, or pay full rent for the same as long as he keeps possession and the possession shall be at the option of my son Samuel and my two daughters Lucy A. Saunders and Anna E. Saunders."

The sale to William T. Spencer and John A. Spencer.

By deed dated 12 Jun. 1871, recorded 24 Jul. 1871, Samuel Saunders, executor, conveyed the 880 acres to William T. Spencer and John A. Spencer, "(with the exception of one half acres of said land the title to which is reserved to the estate of said Roberts Saunders deceased because it contains the burying ground of the white family of said Robert Saunders deceased)." The deed described two parcels adjacent to each, the larger, 792 acres in the counties of Lunenburg and Mecklenburg on the waters of Maherrin river and is bounded by the land of that formerly belonged to the estate of Hyde Saunders deceased, C. Wood, Mrs. E. B. Boswell, David J. Bigger, David Thompson, Mrs. Ann Lipscomb, Mrs. Mary Burnes, then by the corner only of the smaller parcel of land belonging to the estate of Robert Saunders deceased, then by Josephas Gregory to the beginning.

The smaller parcel, 88 acres, in Lunenburg on the waters of the Meherrin bounded by Mrs. Mary Burnes, A. A. Burwell, C. J. Thompson, J. F. Ellis, J. Gregory and the larger parcel of land belonging to the estate. (The smaller tract must have been in the area of Five Forks./jgs)

The Spencer land partition.

In July 1871, John A. Spencer and William T. Spencer partitioned the land in the following manner:

To Wm T. Spencer, 384 acres, the lands east of the new line, beginning at the gate on the
road on the south side of the river in Mecklenburg, then a straight line northward to the center of the ford crossing the river at the old bridge, then northward along a straight line to a sassafras stob westward of the old dwelling house, then northward a short distance to a dogwood stob, then a straight line northward across the lower end of a small field in...near the road leading to the farm formerly owned by Hyde Saunders deceased, then to J. Gregory corner on Wm. T. and John A. Spencer at a hickory sapling.

And all of that part, 44 acres, commencing where J. Gregory, W. T. & J. A. Spencer and Mrs. burns corner on a post oak on Saunders Road., then northwestward along the line of Mrs. Mary Burn to a blank corner, to pointers on an old path running into the farm of said Mrs. Burns. Then eastward a new line made as a dividing line to pointers on Saunder's Road of the corner of J. F. Ellis fence, and then southward along sd road to the beginning.

To John A. Spencer for his part:

All that part west of the new line, 480 acres, and all that portion, 44 acres, of the smaller beginning at pointers on the path near Mrs. Mary Burns farm, running northward along the line of Mary Burns and A. A. Burwell, then along C. J. Thompson eastward to corner post oak in Saunders Road., then along the road to where WM. T. Spencer's corner by the new line on J. F. Ellis and then the new line westward to the beginning.

The use of the turn or angle in the road immediately on the south bank of the river is reserved for the use of said Wm. T. Spencer and John A. Spencer, their heirs, etc.
(Lun. DB 38:285, files of James Lewter)

See wills of Jesse Saunders & RobertSaunders
Copyright 2000 JoLee Gregory Spears