Third Generation – William Pettypool
(m. Frances ??)

circa 1700 – 1763

Dinwiddie County (formerly Prince George County), Virginia

Son of William and Elizabeth, William Pettypool of Prince George and Dinwiddie Counties is known primarily because of his numerous land transactions. Although late 18th century tax records confirm that he seems to have settled permanently along Sappony Creek in Dinwiddie County,1 he also acquired land in newly opened sections of the Virginia frontier. Extant records show that from 1722 until near the end of his life in 1759, William amassed close to 2500 acres along the north and south sides of Sappony Creek and better than 1500 acres in frontier Brunswick and Lunenburg counties. Acquiring land at a pace that far exceeded that of his American-born father and immigrant grandfather, William’s behavior reflected the common aspirations and behavior of native-born Virginians of his era. This was a period of relative prosperity, a time in which Chesapeake-born planters of the second and third generations were able to assume ownership of relatively well-established properties as well as acquire substantial western tracts of undeveloped land2.


The size of William and Frances Pettypool’s known family suggests yet another motive for William’s land acquisitions. By the second and third generations in the Chesapeake, family formation had come much earlier in the life cycle and because of migration away from the disease-ridden Tidewater, was a more successful proposition. Then as now, most fathers would have wished to provide economic opportunities for their children, particularly, in this period, for their sons. Whereas his father left only four children, by estimation William and Frances likely reared a family of perhaps a dozen or more children, most of who seem to have been male. William and Frances’ children, known either from birth records3 or from their appearance with their parents in extant legal documents include (order not certain):

The following three additional men are probable children of William and Frances:

For more information...

Please see The William Pettypool Family of Southside Virginia: Lineage Reconstruction Based on Current Review of Evidence, The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 4, No. 1 (January-March, 2003) for more information about this family. The complete text of the article is available for download here.

1. Dinwiddie Co., Va., Land tax records, 1782-1814, Virginia State Library microfilm reel 85. Holdings of acreage along Sappony Creek belonging to William’s sons and grandsons can be identified in these records as early 1782.

2. Lorena S. Walsh, “The Tidewater Economy Comes of Age: Southern Virginia, 1730-1763” in Lorena S. Walsh, Motives of Honor, Pleasure and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763 (Chapel Hill, N. C., 2010), 394-471, see especially 401-423.

3. Churchill Gibson Chamberlayne, Births from the Bristol Parish Register of Henrico, Prince George and Dinwiddie Counties, Virginia, 1720-1789 (Baltimore, 1980), 76, 77, 79.

4. Allan Kulikoff, Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986), 60.