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The Story of Little Town

14 November 2009

Larry Feldhaus

1702: October 28, 1702 William Willliams (son of John and Ann) received a grant for 600 acres in Isle of Wight County, VA.  Part of this grant became known as Littletown or Littell Town as shown below


Littletown, owned by Richard Williams, is not to be confused with the town of Littleton VA located just north of Courtland VA, previously known as Nottaway.  The location of this town is shown at the top left of the map to the right.

Richard Williams 1802 Land Grant Record
University of Virginia Library

URL (Click on link)

http://image.lva.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/GetLONN.pl?first=474&last=&g_p=P9&collection=LO Patent


Williams, William. grantee.


Land grant 28 October 1702.


Location: Isle of Wight County.

Description: 600 acres on the south side of the main Blackwater Swamp. Beg.g &c. on the top of the hill by the run of the said swamp &c.

Source: Land Office Patents No. 9, 1697-1706 (v.1 & 2 p.1-742), p. 474 (Reel 9).

Part of the index to the recorded copies of patents for land issued by the Secretary of the Colony serving as the colonial Land Office. The collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia.

Other Format

Available on microfilm. Virginia State Land Office. Patents 1-42, reels 1-41.

Subject - Personal

Williams, William. grantee.

Subject - Topical

Land titles -- Registration and transfer -- Virginia -- Isle of Wight County.

Subject -Geographic

Isle of Wight County (Va.) -- History -- 18th century.


Land grants -- Virginia -- Isle of Wight County.

Added Entry

Virginia. Colonial Land Office. Patents, 1623-1774.

Library of Virginia. Archives.

System Number



Below is a copy of the hand written land grant on file at the University of Virginia Library.

Littletown Grant by Larry Feldhaus

When William Williams died in 1711 he left the 175 acre Littletown property to his son John Wiliams.  This established the location of Little Town being on the south side of the Blackwater River.


1711: WILL ABSTRACT: Secretary of State, NC Wills, 1663-1789, 09 Dec 1711 15 Apr 1712 Chowan County, N.C: William Williams (son of John and Ann) "of the County of Arbarmale - Gentleman being very sick and week in body but of porfet mind and memory" he made his will...... wife, Mary Williams, given 1/2 of husband's land where he now lives....son, Samuel Williams 1/2 land "whereon I now live"...son, John Williams 175 acres and plantation on southside of Blackwater commonly known as Litell town...son, Steven Williams 400 acres..each of my daughters, not named. Wife Mary sole Exectrix. Witnesses: Tredell Keefe, Luis Williams, Robert Lanier. Clerk of the Court: Edward Bonwicke..(North Carolina Wills, 1663-1789, Vol. XXXIV, p. 82, Archives, Raleigh, NC.) It is not known how many daughters he had.     


William Williams’ sons, John and Steven Williams sell 170 acres to their uncle, William’s brother, Richard Williams.  This is likely the same 175 acres mentioned above in William’s will where “Littell town" is located.  Afterward, it appears that John, son of William, moved to Edgecombe County NC where he lived until he died in 1937.


22 Aug 1719:  John Williams and his brother Stephen Williams “of Albemarle County, North Carolina” sold to their uncle Richard Williams of Isle of Wight 170 acres adjacent his property in the Nottoway Basin—part of a patent for 600 acres granted to William Williams on 28 October 1702 (Great Book, Vol. II, p. 275).


Williams’ brother Richard died in 1737 and left his son John “land on which Arthur Edwards now lives”.  This could well be the “Little town” tract.  There is no evidence that Richard sold any of his land prior to his death.


Williams, Richard:  leg. -  Son John, land on which Arthur Edwards now lives;  son Solomon, my land on which John Row did live; son Mathew; daughter Mary; Wife Sarah; son Elisha my land in Nanesmond Count, son Joshua land in Nansemond; son Daniel land in Nansemond; friend William Wiggins; to my young children.  Ex. Agn Daniel Williams.  Dated: Nov. 8, 1737 - Recorded Feb. 27, 1737.  Wit: John Johnston, James Gardner, Elisha Williams (Chapman; Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Vol. II, p. 39 - Will Book 4, p. 193)


Richard Williams wife survived him for several years and when Southampton County was formed in 1749 from Isle of Wight County her lands lay in the new county where her will is recorded.


When she died in 1750 she was living at Littletown and her eldest son John was listed in her will as “deceased”.  Either Littletown belonged to Sarah or it belonged to John’s heirs at that point. 


She identified her grandson Richard Williams as being the son of her eldest son John Williams and he ultimately ended up with the property.


Sarah Williams, the wife of Richard Williams (son of John and Ann) , survived her husband many years and when Southampton County was formed in 1749 from Isle of Wight her lands lay in the new county where her will is recorded.  An abstract of it follows which gives no details about Littletown or if she left it to her grandson Richard.


Williams, Sarah of Littletown.  Leg. - grandson Richard son of my eldest son John Williams, decd.; son Daniel; son Elisha; son Joshua; grandson Thomas son of Joshua Wiliams; son George; son Solomon; daughter Elisabeth Daughtrey; daughter Mary Carr.  Ex. Son Daniel Williams.  Dated: March 24, 1749.  Recorded: June 14, 1750.  Wit: Joseph Carle(?), William Barcroft.  (Chapman:  Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Vol. I, p. 3 - Will Book 1, p. 12) (Southampton Wills, pp. 2, 4) 


This established the location of Little Town being between the Blackwater River and the Nottaway River in the new county of Southampton in 1750.


John Williams (son of Richard and Sarah) died in 1737 and left his land to his son Richard Williams.  I don’t have a copy of that will so don’t know if the land is described or not, however it would have included the property known as Littletown if John had owned it at that time as there is no record of John selling this piece of property.


The will can be found in Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County Virginia, vol. II, p. 89; Will Book 4, p. 195. 

In 1770, some 20 years after his grandmother Sarah Williams died, Richard’s grandson Richard Williams sold the Little Town tract to Benjamin Barker as shown in the deed abstract below.


Richard owned considerable land which had belonged to his grandfather Richard Williams and William Williams in addition to land he had received by patent.


In 1755 he sold 200 acres, part of a 400 acre grant to his grandfather Richard Williams which had fallen to him by “decent”.


In 1760 he sold 75 acres on Blackwater, part of a patent granted to William Williams on 28 Oct 1702 adjacent Blackwater, Boone Branch, Joseph Godwin, Edward Cobb, Francis Bracey, and Joseph Dodwin.


Jan. 23, 1770: Richard Williams (son of John Williams and grandson of Richard and Ann Williams) of Southampton Co., Va. To Benjamin Barker of Nansemond ? acres of land, all that tract of land on the south side of Blackwater by the name of Littletown, adjacent Richard Williams’ mill, land being part of a grant to William Williams bearing date Oct. 28, 1702.


Wit: Hatthias Webb, Benjamin Applewhite, Nancy Dukes (Southampton Co., Va.: Deed Book 4, P. 264)


In 1771 he sold 190 acres where he did live, obtained by a patent dated 31 Oct 1726.


In 1771 he sold his interest in a patent to William Williams dated 28 Oct 1702 and his interest in 310 acres adjacent to this land.


Littletown is likely located alongside the Nottoway swamp between Franklin and Courtland Virginia where William Williams obtained two large patents and several of his brothers also patented land . The approximate location is shown at the top of the below map, marked by a blue upside down teardrop.