In 1670, a royal decree directed the “building of storehouses to receive imported merchandise … and tobacco for export” for each of the colony’s 20 counties. This marked the beginning of Norfolk’s importance as a port city, due to its natural deepwater channels. Soon after 1673, the “Half Moone” fort at the site of what is now Town Pointe Park. This fort was constructed due to feared attack by the Dutch, but this threat did not materialize. Norfolk quickly grew in size, and by 1682 a charter for the establishment of the “Towne of Lower Norfolk County” had been issued by Parliament. Norfolk was one of only three cities in the Virginia Colony to receive a royal charter, the other two being Jamestown and Williamsburg. The town initially encompassed a land area northeast of the point of the confluence of the eastern and southern branches of the Elizabeth River (today the point is in downtown). In 1691, a final county subdivision took place when Lower Norfolk County was split to form Norfolk County (present day Norfolk, Chesapeake, and parts of Portsmouth) and Princess Anne County (present day Virginia Beach). Norfolk was incorporated in 1705 and re-chartered as a borough in 1736… more»
1 William Mercer (1590 – )
……2 Christopher Mercer (1612 – 1671)
………3 Thomas Mercer (1648 – 1718)
…………4 Christopher Mercer (1672 – 1711)
……………5 Thomas Mercer (1695 – after 1780)
………………6 Shadrach Mercer (1740 – 1800)
…………………7 Thomas-Martin Mercer (1779 – 1821)
……………………8 Nancy Anne Mercer (1804 – after 1850)
……………………+ Ezekiel Tyson (1800 – Bet. 1840 and 1850)
March 13, 1647/48–Foxes Lane, Stepney, Middlesex County, England – Thomas Mercer, new born son of Christopher, Cooper, and Mary Simson Christened.
August 16, 1669–Norfolk County, VA, Court Minute Book page 36 Thomas Fenford 100 acres for the transportation of himself and Thomas Mercer.
April 18, 1671–Barbados, West Indies Thomas Mercer , His Brother Joseph Mercer and William Hart are named in Christopher Mercer, deceased will.
August 16, 1671–Norfolk County, VA Deed Book page 165 William Payton and wife Jane of Lower Norfolk County, VA sell to Thomas Mercer of the same place 125 acres on the North side of Tanner’s Creek, bounded Eastward on the land of Alexander Gwin and Westward on the Payton and Southward on the Creek. Witness A. Toppin, Joshua Bigge. Recorded 8-15-1674
February 17, 1672–Norfolk County, Virginia, Deed Book, page 36-Michael Waybourne sells to Thomas Mercer, 200 acres on the Purcell Creek, patented by Richard Starling on April 20, 1653 and sold to Payton by Joseph Newton and Dennis Morris who married daughters of Richard Starling on February 1, 1669. Witness William Colie, William Porteen.
July 2, 1762–Norfolk County, Virginia, Court Minutes Book page 124 – Richard Batchelor empowers John Bigge to sue for his bill of William Chadwell. Witness Thomas Mercer
February 17, 1673–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes Book page 89-Judgement contested by William Goulston to Thomas Mercer, assignee of Richard Batchelor for payment of 260 # of tobacco. Judgement contested by William Goulston against Thomas Mercer for 500 # of tobacco.
May 5, 1675–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes Book page 127 – Whereas Edward Hassell sued John Moore in chancery for taking away a caste of tame from his landing and on oath of Moore what tame he took was by order of Hassell and part satisfaction due Plummer Bray from Hassell, being 649 # of tobacco due Bray from Mercer and Hassell promised to pay in tar.
October 15, 1675–Norfolk County, Virginia Minutes page 7, Differences between William Payton and Edward Hassell – slander. Hassell fined, Thomas Mercer security for Hassell; John Jones security for Payton. Hassell admits he abused Payton and withdrew his appeal.
March 15, 1675–Norfolk County, Virginia Patent Book 6, pages, 488-699. Governor Sir William Berkeley, grants to Thomas Mercer 602 acres of land in ye county of Norfolk, 200 acres conveyed by Waybourne to ye Mercer on February 17, 1672 and 402 acres for the transportation of eight person into this Colony.
August 4, 1678–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes Book page 63 – Order granted Edward Hassell against the Sheriff for non-appearance of William Payton, Thomas Mercer and William Hart.
August 15, 1678–Norfolk County, Virginia Deed Book 4, page 35, Thomas Mercer, cooper with consent of my wife, Katherine and my free will give unto Jonathan Folke, son of John Folke, 60 acres of my divident of land I now live upon lying betwixt ye branch called Muddy Branch and Richard Whitby.
October 15, 1678–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes page 70 – Grand Jury presents Edward Hassell, Informants: William Payton, Thomas Mercer, and Thomas Willoughby. Later Hassell charged for carrying a gun on the Sabbath Day.
Jan 15 , 1678/79–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes page 76 _ Suit William Porteen against Robert Woody, Sr. Jurymen among others Thomas Mercer and William Hart.
June 15, 1681–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes-ordered Timothy Ives, Sr. to pay Thomas Mercer tobacco for wife’s attendance in case against William Hart. Order Edward Williams to pay John Falke for wife’s attendance in case against William Hart.
August 18, 1684–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes page 249 – Attachment granted William Porteen against the Estate of William Hart. Order Thomas Mercer and Giles Randolph be summoned to court to tell what they know of Hart’s Estate in County.
October 15, 1684–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute-page 254 Difference between Richard Jones and John Ives. Thomas among others a Juryman.
February 16, 1684/85–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes page 267 – Whereas William Porteen had attachment granted of Thomas Mercer who upon oath said nothing in his hands belonging to Hart, but now attachment being executed in his attachment suit of Giles Randal and a bond of Thomas Mercer produced for 500 # tobacco for non payment of cows and calves appears due him by Hart, Thomas Mercer ordered to next court to give security.
February 16, 1684/85–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes page 270 – Suit between Richard Swan and Morris Veale. Jurymen among others Thomas Mercer and John Sanford.
May 15, 1685–Norfolk County, Virginia Minutes page 280 – Thomas Mercer having an attachment granted him against the Estate of William Hart, He having nothing to attach, Dismissed.
Norfolk County, Virginia Minutes page 281 – Difference between Richard Church and Thomas Mercer. Referred to next court by Plaintiff, request that John Sanford bring bond with him to court and Sanford failing.
July 15, 1685–Norfolk County, Virginia Minutes page 283 – Difference between Thomas Mercer and Matthew Caswell returned to next court at the request of John Bigge, Sr. in defendants behalf. Page 284 – Attachment granted Thomas Mercer against Giles Randal.
September 15, 1685–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes-page 292 Suit Thomas Mercer against Richard Church. Order Mercer to let survey in his neighborhood and lay out patent of 200 acres formerly granted Richard Starling according to an award by Jacob Johnson and William Tompison. Richard Church patent may cover some of Mercer’s land and Mercer should not object to a survey.
March 15, 1686/87–Norfolk County, Virginia Deeds – Lemuel and Martha Millison, Planter sell land to Thomas Harrison on Tanners Creek near John Cooper, Anthony Lawson, plantation my father James Millison formally lived on. Witness Thomas Mercer, John Sanford, William Bustian.
Jan 17 , 1686/87–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes-page 30 – Case dismissed between Joseph Smith and Thomas Mercer
July 16, 1688–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book-page 103-Thomas Mercer summoned to Court for not working on the Bridge-fined.
March 17, 1690–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes-page 170 – Case dismissed between Stephen Pew & Thomas Mercer.
May __ ,1691–Norfolk County, Virginia Will Book–John Falke Will – Wife Ann to get 1/3 and the rest to small children, my daughter Sarah Holloway her share already, Roger Hodges and Thomas Mercer to be my full and whole executors – to sell my vessel. Witness William Maud and John Manning.
June 16, 1691–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes, page 225 – Probate Will of John Falke, deceased, administration granted Roger Hodges and Thomas Mercer. Court appointed Robert Burgess, John and Timothy Ives and James Wilson to appraise the property of John Falke, deceased.
July 15, 1691–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes-page 233 – Judgement contested by Roger Hodges and Thomas Mercer, Executors of John Falke, Deceased for payment of 2 barrels of tar and Indian corn to John Wallis.
January 17,1693–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book – Probate of Last Will and Testament of Jabez Bigge, granted to John Bigge, Sr., he being the executor of the Will dated September 18, 1691 and witnessed by Thomas Mercer.
May 13, 1694–Norfolk County, Virginia Will of William Hayley of the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, to be buryed at the discretion of my friend Thomas Mercer unto Thomas Mercer all of my Estate. Witness Giles Randall and John Batchelor. (Note: William Hayley imported by and was a servant to John Bigge, Sr.)
Sept 17, 1694–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minutes-page 331 – Petition of Thomas Mercer to probate the Last Will and Testament of William Hayley he named Executor therein.
November 16, 1695–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book Jurymen Thomas Mercer among others.
November 18, 1695–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book page 7 – Order granted Thomas Mercer against James Mahone for payment of 5 shillings money due by bill.
May 11, 1696–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book page 36 – Inventory of William Porteen, Deceased Merchant. Thomas Mercer had seven folios Numbers 87 to 92 and No. 102
March 15, 1696/97–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book-page 71 & 77 – Petition of John Bigge to probate Will of his father John Bigge, he being named Executor therein. John Bigge’s Will is dated September 4, 1694 named daughters Ann Faux, Kathryn Mercer, Elizabeth Whitby, Jean Sikes, Pheobe Bigge, Dorothy Bigge, to each of them twelve pence or one shilling, Sons John and Thomas and Deceased son Jabez, Grandsons John and George Whitby, Son-in-law Matthew Casewell, Grandchildren John Hassold, Francis, Jabez, William, Matthew, Martha and Jean Casewell. (Note these are children of his deceased daughter Johanna Bigge Hassell Casewell.)
March 17, 1696–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book-page 97-Complaint of William Maund, Randolph Sigmoor and Elebon Ward Sr., against Matthew Casewell. Deposition of Thomas Mercer age 48 or thereabouts that one time being at Matthew Casewell’s home in Deep Creek and he saw some things not the Casewell’s, asked what they were and Casewell’s wife replied they were old father Hampton’s shaft moulds, but they were brass gagirs for shott.
March 15, 1697/98–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book-page 115 – John Corphew against John Bigge. Thomas Mercer one of jurymen.
March 15, 1697/98–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book-page 116 – Suit between Thomas Mercer and George Sugg dismissed .
July 15, 1700–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book-page 201 – Suit Frances Sayer suing Thomas Mercer as assignee of David Duncan for 300 # tobacco to be paid in Cooper Ware at Norfolk Town and said Mercer appearing by his Attorney Thomas Sayer and having nothing to object against the debt whereupon order is granted said Sayer against said Mercer for 300 # tobacco and defendant has liberty at the request of his attorney until next court to make his discount.
May 13 , 1703–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book-page 278 – Grand Jury for the following year among others Thomas Mercer and his Son Joseph Mercer.
1704–English Duplicates of lost records page 194 – Quits Rents, Norfolk County, Virginia – Thomas Mercer 600 acres.
June 27 1711–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book page 125-Thomas Mercer came into court and made oath that his son, Christopher Mercer departed life without making a will, so far as he knows or believes and on his motion and giving security for his just and faithful administration of said estate, certificate is given him for obtaining administration in due form.
October 17, 1711–Norfolk County, Virginia Deed Book 9 pages 125-126 Thomas Mercer gives deed of Gifts to sons Joseph, Thomas and John Mercer, Jr., grandsons Thomas Mercer and Joseph Mercer, sons of my son Christopher Mercer, deceased.
December 21 , 1711–True Inventory of the Estate of Christopher Mercer Deceased, sworn by Thomas Mercer in open court and recorded.
Jan 18 , 1711/12–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book Deeds of gifts of Thomas Mercer to his sons and grandsons acknowledged in open court and ordered recorded.
August 15, 1712–Norfolk County, Virginia Deed Book 9 page 250 – Thomas Mercer, Sr. and Joseph Mercer for the natural love and affection convey to John Mercer, Sr. and Ruth His wife a tract of land called Chinopine Ridge where John and Ruth Mercer now live. Witness Peter Melbourne, John Portlock. (Note: This was a rental – see instrument.) Instrument acknowledged in open court the 15 th day of May 1713 by Thomas Mercer, Sr. and Joseph Mercer and ordered to be recorded.) ( Note ; See John Mercer Will dated May 10, 1751, Probated September 20, 1751, had a son Samuel Mercer. John Mercer, Sr. was a House Builder an possibly the son of Joseph Mercer, the Brother of Thomas Mercer, Sr. mentioned in Christopher Mercer’s Will dated December 5, 1670 in Barbados, West Indies.)
May 12, 1716–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book page 150 – Upon petition of William Falke , Orphan to John Falke, deceased Sheriff summon Thomas Mercer and Edward Davis ( Note ; Davis married the Widow of Roger Hodges ), Executors of the Last Will and Testament of John Falke , deceased to appear at the next court , later minutes state they did not show and case dismissed.
January 16, 1718–Norfolk County, Virginia Will Book 10, page 69 Thomas Mercer confirms his deeds of gifts to his sons Joseph, Thomas and John Jr., his grandsons, Thomas and Joseph Mercer, sons of his son Christopher Mercer deceased and gives to his grandson Christopher Mercer, Son of John Mercer one gun and unto his grandson William Mercer, son of Joseph Mercer one gun and to his loving wife Catherine Mercer all the rest during her natural life and to be at her disposing to whom she shall give or bequeath as she sees fit. Son Joseph and my son Thomas and my son John to be sole Executors.
May 16, 1718–Norfolk County, Virginia Court Minute Book – Will of Thomas Mercer, deceased acknowledged in open court and ordered to be recorded. Certificate granted Joseph Mercer and Thomas Mercer for the administration of the Last Will and Testament of Thomas Mercer Deceased
COMMENT Thomas Mercer inherited the manor plantation of 150 acres after his Mother’s decease, on September 15, 1727 he sells to his brother John Mercer, who lived there until February 24,1764 when he gives to his son John Mercer, Jr., who lived there until his death in December 1771 and by will gave to his son Thomas Mercer who lived there until May 15, 1777 and then sells to William smith.
Joseph Mercer sells his inheritance of 150 acres to his brother John Mercer on August 18, 1733, who in turn gives to his son Malachi Mercer on July 27, 1768 and on February 21, 1777 sells to William Smith.
Thus 300 acres of the original 602 acres of Land Patent to Thomas Mercer dated March 15, 1675 stays within the family for 102 years.
Many thanks to the late Don W. Mercer for sharing his Mercer Family Research, may he rest in peace! …hca
Mercer Charts by Don W. Mercer, page by Coyle Whitten.