Captain Amos Weeks - Princes Anne Militia Captain

January 27, 2017

 

 

My search centered on the British description of Weeks as a “New Englander” and one of the few factual, documented facts we know about Weeks is his marriage to Elizabeth keeling on 22 Jan, 1779 in Princess Anne County.  In researching all of the possible Amos Weeks, I found just two who were of the right age to be our guy.  But, this is far from definitive.  Sometimes 3+3 does equal 6; but 1+1+1+1+1+1 can be a stretch.  If the Brits were wrong about him being a “New Englander”, or subsequent research into Vermont burial records yields contradicting information, this all falls apart.  At the moment its just a working theory which needs substantial dedicated research to prove.

 

Realm of the possible:

I found an Amos Weeks born in New London CT in 1747.  His family appear to have relocated to Salisbury CT in 1760.  Of course Salisbury was the home of the extended Allen family, including Ethan, Heman and Ira.  Many Salisbury residents followed the Allen clan into the New Hampshire Grant territory, as did the Weeks family, establishing a farm on the north bank of the Winooski (Onion) River around 1775 - one of the first families of the area that became Chittenden county and the city of Burlington, Vermont.  They appear to have purchased their land from a member of Allen’s land company, probably from Remember Baker, an Allen associate, member of the Onion River Company (Allen’s land speculation company), and a founding “Green Mountain Boy”.    Although Amos should have been of age by this time, there is no record of him.  There is an “Amos Weeks” documented to have served in the NY Continental Line in 1776-1777; but though NY did raise continentals from this region under the direction of the Continental Congress,  there is not sufficient information to positively tie our Amos to this one, particularly as there was another “Weeks” family using the name “Amos” who lived in Clarendon, Vt. (near Hubbardton).  Therefore I cannot connect these specific dots.  Anyway, by 1804 a man named Amos Weeks was the proprietor of a wool fulling and dying manufactory on the Onion River in Chittenden County Vermont.  His wife Betty is buried in a Chittenden cemetery.  A New Englander, married to an Elizabeth...  speculation; or could 1+1+1+1+1+1 add up to our guy?

 

Documented facts:

In addition to the militia information you’re already aware of… We definitively find the name “Amos Weeks” in Princess Anne County in 1779, where on 22 Jan 1779 he married Elizabeth Keeling (surety provided by George Jamison, Jr).  Presumably he’d had ties with the community for some previous time.  Elizabeth Keeling’s father, Thomas, died prior to 1771.  Thomas’ children were living with their mother in an ancient plantation home known as “Ye Dudlies” at the courtesy of their Grandfather, Adam Keeling.  In 1771 Adam Keeling made out a new will, skipping a generation to leave his own home and the plantation where Elizabeth Keeling was living to his grandson – also named Adam (the fourth, I think).  That left Elizabeth and her siblings out in the cold.  Something significant affected the family late in 1778 (Adam 3rd must have died), because in January ‘79 Elizabeth (Betty) married Amos Weeks; in July her brother Henry married Peggy Cormick, and in December her brother Robert married Margaret Moseley (the younger).   As far as I can tell, this is the first documented entry of the Weeks name in Princess Anne (however, there was one Weeks family in the Wilmington N.C. area at this time).  He was either elected or appointed a Captain in Thoroughgood’s militia.  That makes sense, because Jamisons, Thoroughgoods and Keelings were very close, were all freeholders, and all participated in various committees of safety and correspondence, and government positions. 

 

“Virginia Beach: A History of Virginia’s Golden Shore” partially tells the interesting story of Major William Galvan, sent by General Washington to Thomas Jefferson as an “intelligencer”.  Most of the story must be pieced together from fleeting references in various letters and documents.  Galvan’s intelligence was passed through the secret Hampton network run by Jacob Wray.  Wray was positioned on the Peninsula, in Hampton, but needed eyes at the mouth of the bay.  Hamptonites had a great suspicion of loyalties in Princess Anne, and Galvan was sent by none other than George Washington as an outsider with clear Patriot loyalty and perhaps previously proven acumen.  His purpose was to monitor the mouth of the Chesapeake entry and relay news of ships passing by.  When he originally arrived in the area is not known, but by 1780 he was positively assigned (with a large sum of expense money - L10,000) actively sending intelligence through the network.  Galvan stayed at “ye Dudlies” in secret, harbored by the Keeling family.  "Ye Dudlies” was the home closest to the site Major Galvan chose for observations.  It is the same site later picked for construction of the Cape Henry lighthouse, near where it stands today.  Still, it was six miles away from Ye Dudlies to the remote observation point.  Almost nothing is known about the Hampton intelligence network or about Galvan’s mission -- Thomas Jefferson remained secretive regarding Galvan even years later (1792 letter from Jefferson regarding Galvan:  http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-23-02-0169 Jefferson’s letter implicates the Cary, Jameson, and Willoughby families, suggesting all were part of the area’s intelligence apparatus and that Galvan’s and Weeks’ intelligence information was routed through agents on the Peninsula).

 

Keeping Weeks’ Princess Anne operations separate from his origins, my theory is that Weeks was sent to Princess Anne as a forerunner to Galvan or perhaps with a mission of his own.  It can be no coincidence that Weeks married Betty Keeling and that the Keeling home, “Ye Dudlies” was used as Galvan’s secret base of operations… the question is really, which came first?  Did Weeks come with Galvan and meet Betty while staying there; or did Weeks come first, meet the Keelings, and all else followed?  It is clear that by the time of Arnold’s arrival in 1781 that Amos Weeks, perhaps courtesy of his wife’s family ties, was thoroughly familiar with Dismal Swamp and used it as a secure route for military forays.  Perhaps it was also used for intelligence purposes. 

 

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