Friday, September 5, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - #35 Martha Aubrey

The daughter of Chandler Aubrey and Elizabeth Sorrell, my paternal 4th great grandmother Martha Aubrey was born about 1747 in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

Westmoreland County, Virginia as of January 1, 1728 (from

I don't have any siblings listed for Martha. I have that her mother died in 1748, not too long after Martha was born, but I now don't know if this is correct. I found a will index on for Chandler Aubrey (see below) dated December 9, 1755/September 25, 1756, which lists his wife Elizabeth:

Virginia County Records, New Series, Volume I, 1913: Westmoreland County
 Westmoreland County Wills
Boook XIII
Westmoreland County Wills Book XIII.
Name: Chandler Awbrey 09 Dec 1755 25 Sep 1756
Son James at 21; dau. - Awbrey ; to -; wife Elizabeth ; sister Hannah McAulay ; niece Mary McAulay ; Mrs. Elizabeth Atwell ; Sarah Atwell ; my children -.

Martha married Philip Pendleton (my 4th great grandfather) about 1767:

Name:Martha Awbrey
Marriage Date:Abt 1767
Spouse Name:Philip Pendleton
Marriage Location:Virginia, United States

Their children were Henry, Joseph, Martha, Philip, Robert, Elizabeth (b. 1765), Gabriel (b. abt 1767), James (b. abt 1768), Rebecca (b. abt 1775, and Coleman (b. August 4, 1780, my 3rd great grandfather).

In 1785, it appears that Martha sued Philip for divorce and alimony. The allegations are shocking. Some court documents are transcribed in David Ellis Pendleton's The Descendants of Philip Pendleton A Virginia Colonist (the Philip named in the title is this Philip's great grandfather). He was accused of raping a daughter named Sarah. David notes on page 48 of his book, "It is not clear why Sarah Pendleton is not included as this Philip's daughter in the various genealogical studies of this family." Philip was held in custody, then released. Reading the transcription, I'm not sure why he was released. There's a mention of "good behavior" and "no witness." He moved to Pittsylvania County, Virginia, afterward. The first time I read about these charges against him, I couldn't believe it was against "my" Philip. The Pendletons are supposed to be so upstanding!

I haven't researched the plight of a divorced woman in the late 1700s after the end of the Revolution, but I don't imagine it was very good unless maybe she had family to help her or she remarried soon after. Martha had at least her five youngest children still at home (I don't have birth years for the older ones). I thought I'd seen where Martha remarried after the divorce, but I couldn't find where I saw that and nothing about this is in my files. She died sometime after 1785.


This post is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by genealogist Amy Crow at No Story Too Small.


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