The Napier Family

I feel very lucky to have come across a great deal of research already done on the NAPIER Family. I had been researching this family for many years when I happened upon the work of Vara Knepp. Her work confirmed my research findings and I enjoyed corresponding with her. In exchange for permission to print my work on the McGinty Family she in turn gave me permission to print this portion along with my own findings of Dr. Patrick Napier. 

This work appears in the book, "DR. PATRICK NAPIER of Virginia and related families".

  Virginia genealogist and historians are especially familiar with the family of Napier.  It is a well-recognized name.  Dr. Patrick Napier, the immigrant progenitor, was among the first physicians in the colony.  Several of his numerous descendants followed medicine.  Though he apparently lived in Virginia a little more than fifteen years, he made an impression on his neighbors, the records, and, through his only son, Capt. Robert Napier, left a large descendancy.

Having done considerable time-consuming research on the later generations, we have not, as a consequence, devoted as much time to origin of Dr. Patrick Napier in the British Isles.  There are, to say the least, some conflicting stories about his background and direct lineage.  It is believed that we have uncovered facts never before presented in print, which should answer some of the questions of long standing, and which should lead to the final proof of this right lineage.  We will discuss our findings here and reinforce them in the special sketch of Dr. Patrick Napier, to follow.  Our discoveries seem to show the immediate ancestors of the settler, and something about them.  They do not prove his connection with any particular Napier family in Scotland or England.  All we have succeeded in accomplishing is to push the line back one generation.

First, to the myths, traditions and stories that surround our Napier line.  It is unfortunate that, as in many families with a very early settlement in America, certain myths have gotten prominence by wide circulation in print, and been accepted as facts of history.  Even the meaning of our surname has at least two conflicting stories, both of them of quite respectable age.  This problem is easier to solve.

The Surnames of Scotland, by George Black (1946), N.Y. Pub. Library, publisher, page 624 reads:

NAPIER. This surname comes from an office attached to the royal court.  In England, in the reign of Henry I., William De Hastings held the manor of Ashele in Norfolk by the service of taking charge of the napery, i.e., tablecloths and linen at the coronation of the English kings.  The first record of the name in Scotland is ca 1290 when John Napier obtained from Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, a charter of the quarterland called Kilmethew (Irving, History of Dumbartonshire, p. 328)."

This article also explains the intrusion of the letter "i" in the surname, viz. Naper to Napier, as being similar to other cases, such as Sawer to Sawyer, or Bower to Bowyer. (The "i" is equated with the "y" in sound.)

Lt. Colonel John Hawkins Napier III, of Ramer, Alabama, but then of Picayune, Mississippi (hereafter referred to for simplicity as JHN), in his book "Tha Hast Na Peer," (1967 - but undated) amusingly recounts the tradition about one Egfirth (d. 1064), who was father of a son named Arkyll, who became father of a son of the same name, who in turn, had a son Alwyn.  This Alwyn was the first of the ancient earls of "Levenax" (Lennox), now in Dumbartonshire, Scotland. Alwyn sent his son, Ethus (or Donald), to fight for the King of Scotland shortly before A.D. 1200.  As the legend goes, Donald saved the day for his forces.  Afterwards, the king, in handing out awards, is said to have announced, in good Scots-English dialect: 'Tha has all done valiantly this day, but there is one amongst thee who hath na peer as a fighter.'  Then and there he commanded Donald, Alias Ethus, to accept the epithet "Na Peer" as a surname.  Hence ... it is said ... "Napier of Lennox" was born!

William Anderson, in his ancient work, The Scottish Nation (1863) A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh and London, Vol. 3, p. 237, in a very lengthy account of the family, repeats the above story.  This may have been its first time in print.  He says that the declaration of the king went like this: "You have all done valiantly; but there is one amongst you who had "Nae Peer," and thereupon commanded him to take the name of Napier in place of Lennox.  Anderson says "THIS IS JUST A SPECIMEN OF THE OLD LEGENDS WITH WHICH THE EARLY HISTORY OF SCOTLAND ABOUNDS, NOT ONE OF WHICH IS WORTHY OF THE SLIGHTEST CREDIT."  He then asserts that the surname was "originally Le Naper, an seems most likely to have been derived from an office attached to the court, such as Le Botiler, Le Gros Veneur, &c."  To his credit, JHN also leans toward the latter statement.  The surname "Le Napier" appears in England in a Latinized form as early as 1103.  (It should be noted here, that, in the case of descendants of George Chandler, who came to Pennsylvania about 1686, some claim the surname comes from the trade of tallow chandler, i.e. a candle maker, while others say it has its origin in the court office of lightbearer, i.e. Le Chaundeleur!)

"You pays your money and you takes your choice," says JHN, "whether you'd want to claim the blue blood of Norse pirates or that of wild Scots tribesmen."  (The writing is catch, and rather unusual for a genealogical treatise!)

Our first source (Black, op. cit.) shows that one Adam "Napparius" witnessed ratification of gift of the church of Lescelyn to the Abbey of Lindores in 1243, and gives these variants of the name: Napper, Naper, Napare, Neaper, Neper, Nepar, and Nepare.  JHN also authored two articles in Historical Southern Families (Vol. 15, pp. 221-230 (1971) and 17:208-213 (1972), expanding the lineage and supplying many supported document references, to that in his Tha Hast Na Peer.  Although Historical Southern Families has printed some falsehoods and inconsistencies, we find little to quarrel with in the Lt. Colonel's two presentations, with the exception of not supplying references for his statements about two notices of Patrick Napiers in the British Isles, as discussed herein presently.

Now to the origin of Dr. Patrick Napier, who lived in York County, Virginia, from at least 1655 until his death in late February of 1669, we have two differing versions of the name of his father.  From our standpoint, having researched both, it is difficult to remain neutral as to the more likely origin!

The older tradition - but not a really ancient one - is that Dr. Napier was born in 1610 in Scotland, "one of the many children" of Robert Napier, son of the most famous of all the Napiers, John of Merchiston, "the celebrated inventor of the logarithms," of "John of Logs," for short.

There exist numberless repetitions of this story, from archival family group sheets in the library of the Genealogical Society of Utah, to the International Genealogical Index (IGI) on microfiche, by the same society, to many family histories in short, long, printed or handwritten style.  People want to be descended from famous ancestors, and since the inventor of logarithms might be their ancestor, as the story goes, they are delighted, and seem disinclined to challenge it! In fact, some have lost interest in genealogy after learning it is patently false!

The writer, Anderson, in his above cited work of 1863 (Vol. 3, p. 244, col. 1) differs alarmingly with the John of Logs story:

"Robert Napier of Culcreuch, Sterlingshire, the 3rd son of the 2nd marriage of John Napier of Merchiston, the inventor of Logarithms ... left one son, Alexander Napier of Culcreuch, born 1621, who married Margaret, eldest daughter of John Lennox of Woodhead, or Lexxon Castle, Sterlingshire, and died in 1692.

Only one son! No Patrick?  But we hasten to report that others claim he had a large family of "many children" including our Dr. Patrick Napier of York County, Virginia!  Others?  Yes - those who want to be descended from John of Logs!  Well, take heart; Robert Napier did have more than one child.  The Genealogical Magazine, Vol 1 (1897) p. 290, in an article "The Napiers of Culcreuch," by Walter M'Graham Easton, begins "By an oversight, which can hardly be accounted for, Burke's Peerage, sub Napier, Baronet of Napier, gives only one son, Alexander (afterwards of Culcreuch), to Robert Napier, first laird of Culcreuch, by his second wife, Anna, daughter of Sir William Drumond, third of Riccarton.  Alexander was not even "son and heir" of this marriage, but the second son.

Robert Napier, first of Culcreuch, Stirlingshire, was the second son of the greatest man of the name, John Napier, eighth of Merchistoun, Midlothian ... head of an ancient Anglo-Norman family.  Robert was his father's amanuensis, and possessed a good deal of his talent, and after his death he edited his work with credit to himself.  He was twice married.  By his first wife he had two sons: 1: Archibald of Boquhaple, who was served heir of this father on the 20 merk lands, of Bowhoopple, June 1, 1655.  He died before August 19, 1662 ... 2. John, who had an annuity from the lands of Drumquhassell, but seems to have died without issue, as his younger (half) brother William succeeded to this annuity, and he is not noticed in his father's will.  By his second wife, Anna Drummond ... he had" 3. William of Culcreuch and Culnagrein... 4. Alexander, succeeded his brother William in the estate, who had either forfeited or sold it before March 3, 1675, as on that date there is a sasine of the lands of Culcreuch to his brother Alexander ... 5. Marie, m. Alexander Seton ... 6. Anna, married Walter Leckie of Deshours, and 7. Jean.

Mr. M'Graham Easton further shows that Robert Napier of Culcreuch died there in July of 1642 leaving a will, as shown in the Commissariat of Stirlingshire record of testaments, Vol. 5, not mentioning any son named Patrick!

Very well, then, he did not have only one son, he had four sons and three daughters!  But he did not have a son Patrick!  End of false story!

Well, if we can't be directly descended from John Napier of Logarithms, can we at least be related to him in some way?  Of course.  Try third, maybe fourth cousin.  We have not proved anything on this latter theory, but Dr. Patrick Napier of York Co., Virginia probably was a distant cousin of John of Logs.  Be comforted in this.

Ivan Napier's book on the Napier Family (1968), p. 35, states "Dr. Patrick Napier was born and educated in Scotland, son of Robert Napier, and grandson of Sir John Napier, noted Mathematician, scholar, inventor. (He) immigrated to America in 1655, sponsored by Peter Ford, settled in Gloucester County, VA., and moved shortly to York County, VA."  On p.34 the statement is made that Robert Napier (1580-1662) son of the Mathematician, "married Frances -- on November 13, 1595 (sic - at age fifteen!).  Among their many children was a son, Dr. Patrick, immigrant to Virginia."  As we have proven, nearly all of this is false.

As we shall see in our sketch, one Peter Ford patented 500 acres in Gloucester Co., VA., on 25 March 1655 using ten headrights to secure the patent.  A careful reading of the patent (Book 3, p. 340, LDS film 029,308) shows that the headrights were assigned to Ford by Lieut. Colonel Abrall, who had been the assignee of one Captain John Underwood.  It is possible that Peter Ford never saw Patrick Napier or any of the ten whose names he used to get the land, and did not need to do, to procure the patent.  However, he may have met him in business later, since he appears often in the York County records, as do the names of Abrall and Underwood as well as Dr. Napier.  From the wording of the patent, it seems that it was John Underwood who paid the passage of Dr. Patrick to America.  At least, he was the first to have his name on a qualifying certificate for land.

There is no evidence at all that Napier ever set foot in Gloucester County, VA.  The patenting of land in no way implies that those named in the headrights had to live in the county where the land was laid out.

Ivan Napier (p. 35) states that Patrick was born in 1610.  This statement is adhered to in every case where the theory of lineage to John of Logs applies.  We have never found a statement of Patrick's age.  He could have been born that early.  But this assertion must take second place to a younger age for the American immigrant.  Patrick did not marry until after his arrival in Virginia.  We have no evidence of a previous marriage for him.  Before November 1658, he had wed Elizabeth Booth (or Bouth), daughter of Mr. Robert Booth, Clerk of the Court, member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, etc. by his wife Frances.  Their names, apparently, furnished the given names of Napier's two children, Robert and Frances, not Robert Napier of Culcreuch, and a supposed wife Frances.

Elizabeth Booth Napier was born about 1637-1640.  This age we establish from a deposition of 1668 by her mother Frances Bouth, then aged 49, giving 1619 as a year of birth for her, and estimating that Elizabeth was born when Frances was between 18 and 20.  Elizabeth was living by 15, November 1641 when 50 acres were given to her as "daughter of Robert Bouth" (Tyler's Quarterly, XIV (1933) p. 181).  Elizabeth might have married a man 27 years her senior, but this is unlikely.  It would mean that he first fathered children at the age of fifty.

John H. Napier III prefers a much younger age for the Doctor, and so do we, as based on these facts: One Valentine Napier deeded a horse named "Fox" to the widow of Dr. Patrick Napier in 1669.  He, like Patrick, was a physician, and lived in Kent County, MD.  We find the baptism of one Vallentine Napyer (sic) son of Patricke and Joane Napyer, on 4 March 1626-27, in the church of St. Bride Fleet Street, London.  The implication here is inescapable!  (This name Valentine Napier, surfaced some generations later in the family of Robert 4 Napier (Robert3; Capt. Robert2, Dr. Patrick1).  Add to that the marriage we located, in the register of the parish of St. Gregory by St. Paul London. "Patricke Napper and Joane Wallas (Wallace?) were married on 4, July 1628 by license from the Vicar General of London."  Of course, if this Joane is the mother of the above Valentine, the marriage took place sixteen months after the christening of the child.  Be that as it may (and it was often), we believe we have found the parentage of Dr. Patrick1 Napier, being Patrick Napier and Joan Wallas or Wallace, as above.  Just because we have not yet found the baptism of a Patrick Napier in this same family does not mean we or someone else will not do so upon a diligent search.  It should be remembered that people in London moved about quite a bit, being usually in some trade of other, and may not have christened all their children in the same parish church, or, indeed, in the city. Dr. Valentine Napier's sale of the horse was less than a week after the death of Dr. Patrick Napier.  It helps us learn the time of the latter's death.  It seems to imply a gesture of help to a sister-in-law.  Valentine evidently was the elder, in fact the heir at law of Patrick Napier of London.

Might it not be the fact that most researchers were to dedicated to finding information about Dr. Patrick Napier in the Scottish records that they completely bypassed the British records and thereby missed the clues we have found?  Yet, it is a fact that most of the immigrants to American colonies in the first part of the 17th century came from England, and a great portion of that number from London.  This writer always starts a search for an American immigrant in the microfiche for London, thus proceeding to the other shires.

We also learned via letter of 14, October 1983 from the Keeper of Manuscripts, at the Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London, that one Patrick Napier, apprentice to William Hann, was admitted to the Barber-Surgeons' Company of London in January 1630/31 (Guildhall Library Ms 5265/1 folio 78). He was admitted by servitude, indicating previous practice under Hann.  It is a pity that his father is not named!  Additionally, in the same register, Archibald Napier, son of Patrick Napier, was admitted, by servitude, 26, December 1657!

If our Dr. Pat Napier were another child of Patrick and Joan, born circa 1630, there would be no quarrel at all with what we already know about him.  He would have been about 25 when Ford obtained the patent, using Napier's name as a headright, about 5 to 7 years older than his wife, and about 39 at his death.

In his article in Vol. 15 of Historical Southern Families, p. 221 JHN has reported:

A certain Mungo Napier was burgess of Dumbarton before 1600, and his son Patrick was admitted to the same office on July 23, 1633.  This Patrick was barber to King Charles I. of England, and his son Patrick, Jr. born between 1634-1639, was apprenticed to Sir Alexander Pennycuik on May 6, 1649.  Dr. Pennycuik was surgeon to Sir Alexander Leslie's Scottish Troops, defeated at the Battle of Dunbar by the army of Oliver Cromwell.  Subsequently Patrick Napier (the son) emigrated to Virginia with other Scottish Royalist after the year 1650.

HN did not cite his references, but we later discovered one, and he has kindly supplied the other, both in the same set of volumes, The Scottish Record Society Publications, volumes 71 (1937) and 28 (1906).

The former, being the Roll of Dumbarton Burgesses and Guild Brethren, 1600-1846, on page 48, reads: Napier, PATRICK, barber, Burgess, by right of his father MUNGO Napier, Burgess, 23, July 1633.  The latter, being The Register of Apprentices of the City of Edinburgh, 1583-1666, at page 136, shows: Napier, Patrick, son to PATRICK NAPIER, barber to King Charles I., with Alexander Pennycuik, chirurgiane, 9 May 1649. (In the latter, we are shown in the Preface that this entry is in original volume II. which goes from 12th January 1648 to 30th May 1666).

 The Lt. Colonel also shows that, in the same series, Vol. 59, being the Roll Edinburgh Burgesses, 1406-1700 (pub. 1926), p. 398, under Pennycuik, reads: Alexander, Burgess, chirurgiane to his Excellency General Alexander Leslie (muskit), by act of Council of this date - 20 November 1640, and, we also noted, Alexander Pennycuick, Guild brother, chirurgian, Burgess of befoir, gratis, by act of Council 13 February 1650. (NOTE: The surname Pennycuik, or Pennycook, comes from a place in Scotland.)

JHN indicates that Leslie's Scots army was defeated by Oliver Cromwell at Dunbar, 3 September 1650, and puts 2 and 2 together, concluding that, if Alexander Pennycuik was the surgeon at Dunbar, so was his apprentice, Patrick Napier the Younger, there, and taken prisoner to be "sold to the plantations in America."

Both JHN and Edward D. Napier, Genealogist of Clan Napier of North America, Falls Church, VA. bring our attention to the following works: George Hillier, Narrative of the Attempted Escapes of Charles the First from Carisbrooke Castle (London, 1852), pp. 100-101; and Jack D. Jones, The Royal Prisoner (London, 1965), pp. 60,62.  In these we learn that "one Napier (given name not shown)" attempted the escape of King Charles from his confinement in the castle in 1648, but failed, the King getting stuck in a hole which was prepared too small for his girth to maneuver. (The Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London, has this record in its original form, to support the above statement.)

February 7, 1647-48 Derby House

Henry, Earl of Kent, in the name of the Committee of both Houses to Col. Hammond.  Having received some intelligence from a source which we formerly found true, we thought it necessary to give you notice of it and recommend the business to your especial care.  That the King's escape is designed, the manner thus, by one Napier and a servant of David Murray, whom we take to be the King's tailor.  The King is to be drawn up out of his bedchamber into the room over it, the ceiling whereof is to be broken for that purpose, and then conveyed from one room to another till he be passed all the rooms where any guards are at any doors or windows.  Sent by Mr. Faukeard. (Interregnum 24 E., p. 10. Copy 1/2p.)

Source in print from actual documents in the Public Record Office, London:  Calendar of State Papers Domestic, of the reign of Charles I ... preserved in the PRO p. 15.     Could this Napier have been Patrick Napier (elder), personal barber to the King?  Probably.

  Following is more data that has been found:

a.     Patrick Napier (The eleventh day issued forth Letters of Administration to Anno 1660 Aprill) Christopher Napier the naturall and lawfull sonne of Patricke Napier late of the parish of St. Martins in the fields gent intestate deced to Administer all and singular the goods Chatells - and debtes of the sayd deced, he being first Sworne truely to Administer &c By order of Court. (LDS Film 093,261; Administration Act Books, Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1659-1660, folio 15, second item on page.)

b.     Archibald Napper, son of Patrick and Elizabeth, was christened 29 October 1633, in parish of St. Martins-in-the-Fields (Harleian Society Publications, Vol. 66, p. 98).

c.     Casander Naper, daughter of Valentine & Sarah, baptized 12, January 1647 (1647/48?) at St. Margarets, Westminister, London (IGI 1984).

From these we have a picture forming which would be more exciting if it could be legally proved, than any supposed connection to the placid Professor of Logarithms! The Pennycuik reference is inescapable: A surgeon of the King would spend most of his time in London.  No doubt Archibald, son of Patrick, admitted to the Surgeons 1657 was the same Archibald, son of Patrick and Elizabeth "Napper", baptized 29, October 1633, and we are reasonably sure the father was the same "Gentlemen" who died in 1660, since baptism took place in the same parish where the man died.

This, however, does not square with the supposition of Cromwell's ire toward one who had attempted to free the Royal prisoner!  This Patrick Napier died the year the Crown was restored to the head of Charles II., two years after Cromwell's death.  Of course, this in no way changes the possibility of the son Patrick being taken prisoner and shipped out for his complicity, active or tacit, in the Battle of Dunbar.

Then we must solve the problem of the wife Joan and the wife Elizabeth to Patrick Napier.  We have located the first marriage, we think, but not the second.  We have at this time, no evidence of a second Patrick Napier, which would mean two men of the same name, one with a wife named Joan, the other with an Elizabeth, one of these men being the King's Barber!

Was his father the man married to Joan Wallas?  Was this Patrick Napier, Sr. the same who was apprenticed by servitude, in 1631, to William Hann in London?  Could he then be the identical man who was admitted Burgess of Dumbarton in 1633, son of Mungo Napier?  Was he also the Barber-Surgeon to King Charles?  Finally was he the same who apprenticed his son to Pennycuik in 1649 and lived out his life in London, dying in 1660? As complicated as all the above seems, yes, as far as we can see, he could be the same man in every case.  We cannot find a noticeable conflict of facts here.

The Napiers were Royalist in sentiment and action, and would certainly not meet with the approval of Cromwell, nor he of them, especially after he and his panel of Regicides decided to behead their king!  Archibald Napier, Lord Napier of Merchistoun, born ca 1625, was a zealous Royalist, serving with distinction under (his maternal uncle) the gallant Marquess of Montrose.  He was specifically excepted from Oliver Cromwell's so-called "Act of Grace," 12, April 1654, showing the animosity boiling in the heart of the Lord Protector for the name of Napier!

Burke's The General Armory (1884) pp. 722-723 lists no less than 30 different armorial bearings (coats of arms), of Edinburg ("Argent, a saltier engrailed between four roses gules barbed vert"), there are coats of Naper or Napper from Oxford, England, and Ireland.  From Scotland there are arms for families - individuals usually - from Haddington, Culcreuch, Co. Stirling, Balwhapple (Balquahappie), Co. Dunbartonm Faside, Co. Fife, Harviestoun, Co. Clackmannan, Tayock, Blackstone, Co. Renfrew, Ballikinrain, Co. Dunbarton, Craigannet, Co. Stirling, Kilmahew, Co. Dumbartonm Wright's House, Edinburgh, and a family from Dorsetshire, England

An entry for a Napier coat of arms granted in Ireland shows that Napier of Middlemarshall and Morecritchell, Co. Dorset, England, Baronet, extinct by 1765, was granted to Gerard Napier, eldest son of Sir Nathaniel Napier, Knight, of Morecritchell, and grandson of Sir Robert Naper, Napper of Napier, Chief Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, created Baronet in 1641.  His amrs: "Argent, a saltire engrailed between four cinquefoils guiles."  That is reminiscent of the Merchistoun arms.

Thus, the family of Napier has been armigerous throughout the British Isles, a quite impressive commentary in itself.

Since the publication of the above information on Dr. Patrick Napier, by Vava Knepp, in 1988, more has come to light about the origins of Dr. Napier.  Lt. Col. John Hawkins Napier III continued his research of 45 years into the background of Dr. Patrick Napier and finally discovered his origins.  In October of 1989 he made a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland and visited the Scottish Records Office, Register House.  There he found the crucial documents that proved Dr. Patrick Napier's grandfather Mungo Napier to have been a son of Patrick Napier of Blackyards and Tutor (guardian) of Kilmahew!  The document took the family back another eight generations to the first John Napier of Kilmahew, living in Dunbartonshire in 1280, from whom descended the other landed Napier families of Scotland--of Wrighthouses, Ballikinrain, Merchiston, and their cadet branches, as well as those who later went to England and Ireland.  Further, following traditionary accounts one can trace back through Donald "le Nae-peer" and his ancestors, the ancient Earls and Mormaers of Lennox and the hereditary abbots of Dunkeld of the kindred of St. Columba to Kenneth MacAlpine, the first King of Scots, and back to Niall of the Nine Hostages, High King of Ireland (reigned c. 412-38), 47 generations in 1500 years. For addition information into the Napier Family ancestors please refer to John Hawkins Napier III's book, "Dr. Patrick Napier: His Ancestors and Some Descendants". From his book I have taken a partial listing of my husbands ancestors leading to his connection into the Napier Family line.

See following: 

1.    Conn of the Hundred Battles, d. c. A.D. 245

2.    Art "Eanfhear," reigned in Ireland, c. 253-83

3.    Cormac "Ulfhada,"r. c. 287-392, traditionally first King of Tara

4.    Cairbre "Lifeacher," r. c. 311-28

5.    Fiacha "Srabhteine," r. c. 330-61

6.    Muiredeach "Tireach," r. c. 364-89

7.    Eochu "Mugmedon," King of Tara, r. c. 389-98

8.    Briun, brother of Niall of the Nine Hostages, High King of Ireland, r. c. 412-38

9.    Daughter, Fedlim Folt-choem, m. Domingart I, King of Dalriada, Scotland

10.   Babran, King of Dalriada, r. 538-58 m. Lleian

11.   Adian, King of Dalriada, r. 574-609, m. dau. of Malgwyn, King  of Gwynedd

12.   Echoid Buide, King of Dalriad, d. 619

13.   Donnall Brecc, King of Dalriada, r. 619-42

14.   Domingart II, King of Dalriada, r. c. 660-73

15.   Echoid II "Crooknose," King of Dalriada, r. 696-97

16.   Echoid III, "Augbaidh," King of Dalriad, r. 726-33

17.   Aedh Finn, King of Dalriada, r. 748-78

18.   Echoid IV " The Venomous," King of Dalriada, r. 781-89?, m. King of Picts daughter

19.   Alpin II, King of Dalriada, r. 839-41

20.   Kenneth I MacAlpin, first King of Scots (Dalriada and Pictland), r. 841-59

21.   Constantine I, King of Scots, r. 863-77

22.   Donald II, King of Scots, r. 889-900

23.   Malcolm I, King of Scots, r. 942-54

24.   Kenneth II, King of Scots, r. 971-95

25.   Malcolm II, King of Scots, 1005-34.  His daughter

26.   Princess Bethoc (Beatrice), m. c. 1000 Crinan the Thane, Hereditary Abbot of Dunkeld, of the Kindred of St. Columba.  They had (1) King Duncan I and (2),

27.   Maldred (Malcolm), King of the Cumbrians 1034-45, m. Algitha, daughter Uchtred, Earl of Northumberland and his wife Elgina, daughter King Ethelred II "The Unready" of England.   Maldred and Algitha's 2nd son,

28.   Maldred of Winlaton, d. 1100, 3rd son,

29.   Arkyll, Seneschal of the Lennox, fl. 1070

30.   Alwyn Mor MacArkyll, fl. temp. King David I (r. 1124-53), and had

31.   Daughter, m. Murdac, son of Maldouen, fl. 1136m son of Murdac, desc. Maine Leamhan

32.   Alwyn, first Earl of Lennox, d. ante 1199, m. dau. Alwyb Oge. 2nd son,

33.   Ethus, or Donald "le Nae-peer," fl. c. 1200, lands in Fife and Gosford

34.   Robert Le Nae-peer, m. Mary Murray?

35.   John Le Nae-peer

36.   Donald Le Nae-peer

37.   John Napier, Baron of Kilmahew 1280, defender of Stirling Castle 1304

38.   John Napier of Kilmahew, served Malcolm fifth Earl of Lennox 1333

39.   Duncan Napier of Kilmahew, m. Elizabeth Ardincaple (MacAulay)

40.   John Napier of Kilmahew, fl. 1407

41.   John Napier of Kilmahew, fl. 1441

42.   Duncan Napier of Kilmahew, fl. 1462, m. Elizabeth Musset

43.   Robert Napier of Kilmahew, fl. 1497, m. Agnes Maxwell

44.   John Napier of Kilmahew, c. 1500-48, m. Margaret Sempill, 2nd son,

45.   Patrick Napier of Blackyards, Tutor of Kilmajew, c. 1536-85, m. Katherine Noble

46.   Mungo Napier, Burgess of Dumbarton, c. 1579-c. 1633, to London 1603?

47.   Patrick Napier, Gent., Barber to King Charles I, c. 1608-59, m. Joan Wallis

48.   Patrick Napier, Chirurgeon, c. 1634-69, to Virginia c. 1651, m. Elizabeth Booth

49.   Robert Napier, b. c. 1660, m. Mary Perrin

My husbandís line branches off here when the daughter of Robert and Mary (Perrin) Napier, Frances, marries Benjamin Woodson.


Captain Robert Napier

Robert Napier was the only son of Dr. Patrick Napier by his wife Elizabeth Booth.  He was born ca 1660, in Hampton Parish, York Co., Virginia.  He was living as of May, 1748, in Goochland Co., VA., aged about 88 years.

He married, between October 1688 and October 1689, (probably at St. John's Church) Henrico Co., VA., Mary Perrin, daughter of Richard and Katherine (Royall) Perrin of that county.  Mary was born about 1670, in Henrico County, and was living on 3 April, 1718, in Henrico County, aged about 48 years.

Starting out as an orphan child did not stop Robert Napier from becoming a successful example to his peers.  Militia officer, plantation owner, vestryman of his parish, man of influence.  All these terms describe him.  His father, though well known in his own time, did not attain his son's stature in public service, and it would be several generations down the line before his descendants equaled him.

Our information about this man is incomplete because of the loss of county records.  Actually, this is an understatement, for not just one county is indicated, but most of those where he lived.  York, New Kent, King and Queen, King William and Henrico - all the counties where Robert Napier and his family lived - have had extensive damage to their records.  Only Goochland, his final residence, has a semblance of completeness, and, ironically, almost no mention of him is made in the records we have seen.

Upon the death of Dr. Patrick Napier in the early months of 1669, Robert was a nine year old without a father.  Land wise, he was well taken care of, however, for he would inherit half of a huge plantation of 1500 acres in New Kent County upon the death of his mother, as set out in his father's will dated 26, February 1668/9 and proved less than two months later.

It would be the early 1680s before Robert Napier would reach his majority.  It is about that time that we pick up the first notices of the Napier name.  There is a grant of land, 28 September 1681, to Mr. William Crump for 1015 acres in New Kent County.  It is described as "on the south side and narrows of York River.  Begin by the Mill Roade near Stephen Crump's fence by a spring; by Westover Path ... Mr. Nappier etc. (Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. 2, pp.223-224)."  In other words, Mr. Napier's land bounded the grant.  The Col. George Lydall here is doubtless the Captain George Lyddall described as a neighbor to his land, by Dr. Patrick Napier in his last will twelve years earlier.  However, it should be stated that the Mr. Nappier of this legal description could refer to the deceased physician, not to son Robert, who was only coming of age at that time, and his mother, Elizabeth (Booth) Napier was probably still living and holding the property in 1681.

There are several other references in the Virginia Patent books to "Mr, Napier," as set out in out Appendix to this sketch.  Some are surely references to Capt. Napier himself.  That brings us to the first grant in his own name.  On 23 October 1690 he patented 190 acres in New Kent, in St. Peter's Parish "beginning on his own land; to fork of the tanhous deep Southwest; on land late of Mark Warkman; to the line late of Hukestep, etc."  Four headright were used, " by Rowland Davies's certificate to Robert Bouth, 6 August, 1683."  Robert Napier used a certificate held, but not used, by his mother's brother, son of his grandfather, Dr. Robert Booth.  Incidentally, the "Hukestep" here is probably the Mr. Walter Huckstep of other descriptions.  This property was very near where Dr. Booth had lived, for the son, Robert Booth has been officially granted his father's land by Order of Assembly dated 25 April 1679, and he has sold or assigned same to Mark Warkman (op. cit. 2:228).

Robert obtained several other patents over the next few years: 753 acres in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent (29 April 1693); 310 acres in the Pamunkey Neck which fell successively into King and Queen and then into King William County (which he assigned to one John Pettiver), and 300 acres in King William County (20 October 1704) which really was in the same neighborhood.  The headright he used were probably all assigned to him, for he was not a seafaring man and we have no indications of any trips abroad.  The 1704 grant was within the bounds of the Indian Lease :Part of the land laid out according to the Articles of Peace for the Pamunkey Indians who at a General Court held 22 October 1701, relinquished their right & pretensions thereto, &c.  Now granted by order."  It began on the north side of the Swamp on  the river, to the mouth of Nicatawance Creek, along side the creek, to Philip Williams' line &c.  This patent was just two months before his daughter Elizabeth was born, as we shall see (Cavaliers, 2:385; 3:61, 86).

Counting his inherited land, and if he obtained the whole 1500 acres, supposing his sister Frances had not lived, he would have held 2743 acres, not counting the 310 assignment to Pettiver.  However, apparently he had sold off some of the land.  The Virginia Quit Rent Rolls show he held only 100 acres liable for quit rents in King William County (published 1957 by Annie Laurie Wright Smith, p.64).

It should be explained that King and Queen County was formed in 1691 from a part of New Kent, north of the Pamunkey and York Rivers.  Napier seems to have continued in New Kent, being a vestryman of St. Peter's Parish, and having his children baptized in that church from 1692 through 1704.  But this is not the case.  Other records prove he had continued to live on the land which fell in King and Queen, and then into King William when it was erected out of the former in 1701.

A declaration of the inhabitants of King and Queen County, filed in England 12 March 1701/02, listing all the militia officers of the county, includes Robert Napier, Lieutenant. The French king had tried to set up "James III" on the English throne in place of King William III, but had failed.  King and Queen County's officials were glad, and so expressed themselves in this letter of loyalty.

Thus we see that although he lived in King and Queen, Robert Napier maintained a sentimental connection with St. Peter's Parish.  The extant vestry minutes show that Mr. Robt. Napier was paid a thousands pounds of tobacco for keeping the "Widdow faulkner" for the year ending 23 October 1693 "according to a former order of them to Mrs. Warkman."  On 1 May 1694 is a similar order He was paid 300 pounds of tobacco on 15 October 1705 and 4 May 1706 to Mr. George Poindexter "assignee of Robt. Napier" 200 pounds of tobacco.  The entries of five of his children in the register are as follows: Bouth son of Robt. Napier & Mary (original register shows Mary; printed show Marg) his wife borne ye 1st of Octr. 1692; Frances daugh of Robt Napier & Mary his wife borne Febry. ye 5th. 1694-5; Robt. son of Robt Napier & mary his wife borne 7br (September) ye 16th; Katherine Daughter of Robt Napier & Mary his wife borne 8br (October) ye 12th, 1700; Eliza Daughter of Robt Napier & Mary his wife borne 10br (December) ye 25th, 1704.

Before we move into the final phase of Capt. Napier's career, we should note that since his wife was a native of Henrico County, the family kept in touch with friends and neighbors there, even before he finally settled there. Record Book 1688-89, p. 74 for Henrico, we read this quaint account:

"Captain Soane had made an agreement to run his horse against one belonging to Mr. Littleberry Epes which was backed by Mr. Robert Napier, L10 side.  Mr. Napier did not produce his horse at the appointed time, and the suit was for the amount of the stakes as an agreement had been made that the horse which did not appear should forfeit the whole amount."

Just after the erection of King William County out of King and Queen in 1701, Robert Napier witnessed a deed dated 1702, from Thomas Nichols and his wife Isabella to John Cawthorn, for land in the Pamunkey Neck.

In 1712, the Napiers had removed from their Pamunkey Neck plantation to the Tuckahoe Creek area of Henrico County, which would itself, not many years hence, be taken off into Goochland County.  Volume 1714-1718 of records, Henrico County, containing wills and deeds, etc., page 59, has a deed from John Ellis to Robert Napier for five Thousand pounds of tobacco.  It was for 150 acres by the mouth of Peter's branch where it entered Tuckahoe Creek.  It is dated 3, December 1715 and was presented at December Term of court.  Witnesses were Frances Epes, Jr., Thomas Williamson and Bouth Napier, the eldest child of Capt. Robert Napier, who was then only 23 years of age.  Napier sold this land on 1 January 1717 to Nicholas Cox of Charles City County and we see the unique signature (copied by the clerk) RNapier for the first time ( the R and N joined by one stroke of the pen), differentiating it from the signature of his son of the same name. (This was proved at April Court 1718, p. 240 op. cit.)

The final indications of the public appearance of our subject are in Goochland Co. Wills and Deeds, Vol 1, pp.211 and 286.  There, "R. Napier" signs as a witness to a deed from Samuel Burk to Michal Holland, 17 & 18 August 1730, and another from Thomas Christian to Matthew Harris, 3 September 1731.  He was then about 71 years old.

Returning to Henrico County records, we believe that we have found the last record of Mary (Perrin) Napier, in this power of attorney appended to the deed of sale from her husband to Nicholas Cox.

I doe By these Presents appt. Capt. William Randolph my true & lawful Attorney for me & in my stead to acknowledge my right of Dower to one hundred and fifty acres of land sold by my husband to Mr. Nicholas Cox confirming the Same as if personally present myself, as Witness my hand this third day of Aprill 1718.


Witnesses: John Speare

Samuel (S mark) Hix

James (1 mark) Spears

This passed Court in Henrico County 7 April 1718, William Randolph Clerk (P. 241 op. city.).  It appears that Mary Napier was not able, for some reason, to be in court to relinquish her dower rights, which resulted in the affidavit above, or power of attorney.  Other historians of the Napier family have apparently never seen the above, and have concluded that Mary (Perrin) Napier was dead shortly after her daughter Elizabeth was born, in 1704, thereby forcing wrong conclusions about the ages or birth dates of the two known children who were not baptized at St. Peter's, namely, Patrick and Rene Napier.

We cannot securely claim that Capt. Robert Napier died in Goochland County, although most of his children lived there during his life time.  Henrico's records, and the other counties' already discussed above, were so damaged that it is possible he lived in one of them and wrote his will there, or his estate was administered and we have no clue to the same.  There is no will or probate for him in Goochland County. The law suit titled Mary Napier vs. Robert Napier the Younger, held in Goochland's May Court, 1748, (being Mary (Hughes) Napier versus her own husband, Robert3 Napier) tells us that the older Robert was probably still alive, though now nearing 90 years of age.

Capt. Napier is seem to be the real progenitor of the family in Virginia, since he was the only male child of his parents, and had a much larger progeny than his father.

Children of Capt. Robert Napier and Mary (Perrin) Napier:

1. Booth (or Bouth) Napier, born 1 October 1692, King & Queen County, baptized at St. Peter's Parish, New Kent, died 1779- January 1780, Goochland Co., Va., aged 88 years, 2 months, married Sarah (maiden name unknown).

2. Frances Napier, born 5 February,1694/5 living 25 October 1777, Fluvanna Co., Va. aged 82, married Benjamin Woodson, Sr. See Woodson Family history for continuation of my husbands line.

3. Robert Napier, Jr., born 16 September 1697, King & Queen Co. Va., baptized as above, died 1762, Ablemarle Co., Va. aged 65, married Mary Hughes, daughter of Jesse and Sarah (Tarleton) Hughes, of Henrico County.

4. Katherine Napier, born 12 October 1700, King & Queen Co., Va., baptized as above, no further information.

5. Elizabeth Napier, born 25 December 1704, King & Queen Co., Va., baptized a above. Believed to be the same who was tithed for 100 acres of land in 1763 in Hanover Co., Va. Witnessed a deed of her brother Booth Napier 17 February 1728/29 in Goochland Co., and also was tithed in 1755 in Goochland Co, for nephew Rene Woodson, and Negroes Jack, Speedwell and Nel. She also witnessed the last will of her nephew Booth Woodson, proved 19 July 1757, Goochland County.

6 Rene Napier born ca. 1710, King William (or Henrico) C., Va., died ca. October 1751, in Goochland Co.,, Va., aged about 41 years, married about 1740, to Winifred (Champion) Hudnall, Widow of Thomas Hudnall of Prince William Co., Va.

7. Patrick Napier, born 1 February 1713, Henrico Co., Va; died 23 August 1774, Ablemarle Co., Va., aged 61; married ca. 1735, Virginia, Martha Claiborne, daughter of Thomas and Anne (Fox) Claiborne of Henrico County.

Other Napier Family Researchers
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