Saturday, April 7, 2012

Line 15.1 Edmund Henry Scarborough; Here Comes Trouble

Edmund Henry Scarborough is one of my ancestors who walked on the wrong side of God. OK, maybe not, but he certainly didn’t practice his Christian compassion. He was quit a character as this short look at his life will prove.

Edmund Henry Scarborough was born 02 October 1617 in North Walsham, Norfolk, England the son of Edmund Scarborough Sr. and his wife Hannah Butler Married Mary Littleton
Their children were
1.      Littleton Scarborough who died in 1672
2.      Tabitha Scarborough born about 1636 and died about 1717 in Accomack, McCormack Co., Virginia. She married 1. Colonel John SMART 2. Devereux BROWN and 3. Major General John CUSTIS II.
3.      Charles Scarborough born 1643. He married Elizabeth Bennett. He was involved in the Bacon Rebellion but acquitted of wrongdoing. He died after 1701 in Accomack, McCormack Co., VA
4.      Matilda Scarborough born 1644 in Accomack, McCormack Co., Virginia and died there 03 January 1720/21.
5.      Edmund Scarborough born 1644 in Accomack, McCormack Co., Virginia and died there 05 February 1711/12. He married Ursula Whittington.
There is also strong evidence that Edmund Scarborough was the father of the Ann Toft’s daughters:
6.      Arcadia Toft who married Thomas Welburn (by whom she had five children.) She died 2 August 1710 in Accomack County, Virginia.
7.      Attalanta Toft married John Osborne (by whom she had at least two children) and William Whittington.
8.      Annabelle Toft married Francis Lee (by whom she had one daughter, Rebecca) and William Marshall (by whom she had six children).
Died 23 May 1671 in Occahannock Creek, Accomack Co., VA

Edmund Henry Scarborough was, if nothing else, a very influential and powerful man in the mid-Seventh Century colony of Virginia. Edmund wasn’t beyond murder, adultery and just plain meanness. He was the complete opposite of his gentle brother, Sir Charles. If Edmund did consider himself a Christian, then he was of the type who was relentless of ridding all who did not practice their Christianity or faith as he did. If he was Christian, he was the type whom atheist historians throw out as a “good” example of the evil of that faith. My guess is that he was strict Church of England and didn’t like anyone’s else’s view of Christianity and God.

Edmund was a wealthy as well as powerful man. Edmund served as Speaker of the House of Burgesses, county sheriff and militia colonel. He was a man of many skills, acting as a lawyer, a surveyor, a planter and cattle rancher, owned a shoe factory and many shipping vessels. When his sea vessel “Sea Horse” was captured by the Dutch in 1651, he turned around and captured several Dutch vessels. The native people of Virginia called him the “Conjurer”. They deserved to be weary of the Conjurer as in 1651, he convinced Accomack County people or English blood that the Pocomoke Indian north of them were a threat and lead a raid of over fifty men against them. Edmund and some of the other white men involved in the raid were called to court to justify their actions. The court found them justified. Later he sold guns to the Indians and then turned around and condemned to the General Assembly for owning firearms. In 1671 he called the Indians to a great feast and then as thy feasted, fired on them and killed many of them.

Edmund’s wrath wasn’t just directed toward the Indians of Virginia but towards those whose “faith” didn’t fit the “correct” mold, whatever that was in his mind. He hated Puritans and Quakers and caused them no end of trouble in Virginia. He even went after the Quakers who fled to Maryland to escape him and claimed parts of Maryland for Virginia. Religious irony would follow him after the grave in that his daughter, Matilda’s grandson married a woman who descended from the very religious groups that Edmund tried so hard to eliminate.

Edmund married a woman named Mary, who may have been the daughter of Nathaniel Littleton. She outlived Edmund by twenty years, a just reward for living with such a man. He is believed to have been the father of Anne Toft’s three illegitimate daughters. Anne Toft, an unmarried woman, profited greatly from her relationship to Edmund as he helped her become a wealthy woman. As influential as Edmund was, it could not have set well with his legitimate wife, that he flaunted his mistresses and three young daughters. Mary suffered after Edmund’s death as well when their son, Charles, “neglected” her. In her will, she revoked a legacy to son Charles Scarburgh because of his neglect, leaving money and items to her other children and grandchildren.

Edmund died of smallpox and was buried near Hedra Cottage. A handsome marble marker was placed there by the State of Virginia many years later and can still be viewed.

“Here abouts lies Col. Edmund Scarborough 1618-1671 Surveyor General of Virginia”

1. "Anthony West, James city, Virginia" from Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1625
2. "Descendants of Edmund Scarborough" from Cynthia McDaniel, Ghote
3. Southern Kith and Kin By Jewell Davis Scarborough Copyright ©1957


  1. The Mary Littleton issue is of interest to me. One of their children was named "Littleton" which seems likely her last name was Littleton. The question is, sister of Nathaniel or wife of Sir Edward Littleton. It would be fabulous to know. More probabilities and possibilities. I enjoyed your posts!

    Your possible cousin, Lizabeth

  2. I'm also related to this lovely, delightful man :)

    Your other cousin, Jennifer

  3. Hello, It appears as though I would also be related to you as well - through this wonderful man (lol) - but unfortunately through the Toft line connection. Beth