Suggett #1456

John Suggett (1645-1690)

Born in Virginia in about 1645.  Most likely, his parents came to Virginia from England, but information on them is lacking.

Sarah Edgecombe (1652-1703)

Born in Virginia in about 1652.  Most likely, her parents came to Virginia from England, but information on them is lacking.

Suggett #1456

The first of my Suggett line in America who can be identified is John Suggett.  For John and the next few generations following him, we have very little information aside from the vital details.  The information below is as reported in various published genealogies[1].

1st Generation John Suggett was born about 1645, reportedly in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia.  If this is indeed the case, we may assume that his father, whose name is unknown to us, is our immigrant ancestor from England.  John Suggett was living in Old Rappahannock County as early as 1662.  On 20 Feb of that year, he was granted 250 acres on the north side of the Rappahannock River.  John married Sarah Edgecombe (1652-1703).  In his Will dated 24 Sep 1689 (proved 2 Apr 1690), John Suggett mentions his sons James Suggett, Edgecombe, Thomas.

2nd Generation James Suggett, the son of John Suggett and Sarah Edgecombe, was born about 1673 in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia and died in 1734 in Richmond County, Virginia.  He married Mary Frances Bayless in about 1721.  Mary Francis lived from 1686 to 1746.

3rd Generation James Suggett, the son of James Suggett and Mary Frances Bayless, was born 18 Apr 1722 in Virginia and died at Bryan Station, Kentucky (at the time still a part of Virginia) in 1786.  In about 1750 he married Jemima Spence, the daughter of Patrick Spence (1693-1740) and Jemima Pope (1700-1755).  Jemima Spence was born in about 1730 and died at Bryan Station in 1786. The son of James Suggett and Jemima Spence is John Suggett (1751-1834), born in Westmoreland County, Virginia and died in Scott County, Kentucky.  John Suggett married Mildred Davis (1758-1834) in 1772.  The details of Mildred’s early years and the identity of her parents remain mysteries. John Suggett and Edgecomb Suggett (a cousin?), were both signers of the Westmoreland County (Virginia) protest to the British Stamp Act[2].  The “Resolutions of the Westmoreland Association in Defiance of the Stamp Act”, dated 27 Feb 1766[3], were drawn up by Richard Henry Lee[4]. John Suggett served as a Private in the Virginia militia during the Revolutionary War[5]:

“Private Virginia Militia 1778 for 1 year; State of Kentucky, County of Scott.  On the 15th of Oct 1832 personally appeared John Suggett, aged 81 years last June 20th day – that during the Revolution he lived in Orange County, Virginia & was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia 20th June 1751.  That he served in the year 1778 in guarding the Army taken in New York for 3 months.  He removed to Kentucky about 1779 – speaks of Falls of Ohio in the year 1780.  He was in the company of Robert Johnson.  Speaks of Indians.  Moved from Falls to Bryans Station near Lexington in Feb 1781.  A frontier post & neighborhood harassed by Indians.  That he was a Bryans Station in Augt 1781 [sic – the correct date is 1782].  They lost 2 of 41 men in the fort.  He says they were attacked with 500 Indians and 100 British Tories.  Served another term in 1782 to guard Bryans Station – In 1832 he had been a citizen of Kentucky for 52 years.  The Captain of the Company, Robert Johnson was the brother-in-law of this soldier[6].”

In 1856, Lewis C. Suggett inquired on his grandfather’s pension to see if he was entitled to anything.

Depiction of the women of Bryan Station getting water while Native Americans, who are about to besiege the settlement, watch.  This famous event occurred in Kentucky during the American Revolutionary War. (Library of Congress: Print by Nagel & Weingartner, 1851)

Depiction of the women of Bryan Station getting water while Native Americans, who are about to besiege the settlement, watch. This famous event occurred in Kentucky during the American Revolutionary War. (Library of Congress: Print by Nagel & Weingartner, 1851)

Bryan Station historical marker placed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Bryan Station historical marker placed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky

John Suggett and his wife Mildred Davis were among the defenders of Bryan Station, Kentucky in August 1782.  At that time, Indians and British (Canadian) forces under the command of William Caldwell and Simon Girty attacked the fort.  John’s seven year-old son, James, was also reportedly in the fort at the time of the attack, and his sister, Jemima (my 5th great aunt), is considered a heroine for her actions at the time.  The traditional story runs as follows[7]: As Girty’s forces surrounded the fort, the occupants discovered that there was no water inside.  A number of Indians concealed themselves near the spring from which the settlement drew water; however, the fort’s inhabitants believed it unlikely that they would show themselves until they believed they could capture the stockade.  Jemima (Suggett) Johnson was the first to approve of a plan to allow the women to go and draw water from the spring as usual.  There was a risk that the Indians would assault the women, and many of the men disapproved of the plan, but devoid of other options, they eventually acquiesced.  Less than an hour after sunrise, the women drew the water and returned safely.  Soon thereafter, the raid commenced.  A band of Indian warriors managed to set fire to some houses and stables, but a favorable wind prevented the fires from spreading.  The fort’s children used the water drawn by the women to extinguish the fires.  One of the enemy’s flaming arrows landed in the crib of the infant, Richard Mentor Johnson[8], but it was quickly doused by Johnson’s sister Betsy (my 1st cousin 6x removed).  During the afternoon, reinforcements arrived from Lexington and Boone Station, and the fort was saved.

Blue Licks Battlefield State Park is located near Mount Olivet, Kentucky (in Robertson County). The park encompasses 148 acres and features a monument commemorating the battle of 19 Aug 1782. This battle was regarded as the final battle of the American Revolutionary War.

The attackers lifted the siege after Indian scouts reported that a force of Kentucky militia was on the way.  The militiamen pursued Caldwell’s force but were defeated three days later at the Battle of Blue Licks, about 60 miles to the northeast.  The Battle of Blue Licks, fought on 19 Aug 1782, was one of the last battles of the American Revolutionary War.  The battle occurred ten months after Lord Cornwallis’s famous surrender at Yorktown, which had effectively ended the war in the east.  On a hill next to the Licking River in what is now Robertson County, Kentucky (but was then in Kentucky County, Virginia), a force of about 50 American and Canadian Loyalists along with 300 American Indians ambushed and routed 182 Kentucky militiamen.  It was the worst defeat for the Kentuckians during the frontier war.  The Blue Licks battle site is commemorated at Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, on U.S. Route 68 between Paris and Maysville, just outside the town of Blue Licks Springs.  The site includes a granite obelisk, burial grounds, and a museum.

According to tradition, there is a connection between Bryant’s Station and the naming of the city which later became the capital of Kentucky.  At one time, a group of Native American warriors attacked a group of early American pioneers from Bryan Station, who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River.  Pioneer Stephen Frank was killed, and the settlers thereafter called the crossing “Frank’s Ford.”  This name was later mistaken for Frankfort.

The monument to the Defenders of Bryan Station was built in 1896.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter in Lexington, Kentucky dedicated a Memorial Wall at the Station (located about 5 miles northeast of Lexington) in 1896, and the names of the women that made sacrifices at the station are engraved upon it, along with the following inscription:

In Honor of The Women of Bryan Station Who, on the 16th of August, 1782 Faced a savage host in ambush, and With heroic courage and a sublime self-sacrifice That will remain forever illustrious obtained from this Spring the water that made possible the Successful defense of that station

The well at Bryan Station

The spring at Bryan Station is today located on private land.  Located a couple of miles south of the fort’s site, Bryan Station High School was named in its honor.  The school’s athletic teams compete under the name “Defenders”. After the Revolution, John Suggett was instrumental in the establishment of the Baptist Church at Great Crossings, Kentucky, and he was the father of Rev. James Suggett who served as Pastor of the Great Crossings Baptist Church[9] from 1810 to 1820.  John Suggett and his wife, Mildred Davis, both died in 1834 in Scott County, Kentucky.

The Baptist Church at Great Crossings, Kentucky is still in existence and is one of the oldest churches of Central Kentucky. The present structure was dedicated in 1925.

The Baptist Church at Great Crossings, Kentucky is still in existence and is one of the oldest churches of Central Kentucky. The present structure was dedicated in 1925.

The daughter of John Suggett and Mildred Davis is Elizabeth “Betsey” Suggett (1782-1857), born in Bryant Station, Kentucky and died in Georgetown, Missouri.  Elizabeth married David Thomson (1775-1861) in 1801.  David Thomson and Elizabeth “Betsey” Suggett are discussed under the lineage of Samuel Thomson (1691-1753), and then the Thomson lineage merges with the lineage of William Gunnell (1676-1742).


[1] This lineage is at odds with one source, which states that the 4th generation descendant (John Suggett, 1751-1834) was the son of a James Suggett who immigrated to Baltimore from Wales and from there presumably migrated to Virginia (Bryan, William Smith and Robert Rose. A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri, 1876).  The frequent occurrence of the name “Edgecombe” as a given name in subsequent generations, and the identification of a Sarah Edgecombe as the wife of John (the first generation progenitor) are consistent with the assertion that the family was established in America earlier than this alternative explanation implies.  The truth may not be known with certainty unless new documentary evidence is discovered.

[2] The Stamp Act of 1765 was a direct tax imposed by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America.  The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp (legal documents, magazines, newspapers and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies).  Like previous taxes, the stamp tax had to be paid in valid British currency, not in colonial paper money.  The purpose of the tax was to help pay for troops stationed in North America after the British victory in the Seven Years’ War, since the British government felt that the colonies were the primary beneficiaries of this military presence, and should pay at least a portion of the expense.  The Stamp Act met great resistance in the colonies. The colonies sent no representatives to Parliament, and therefore had no influence over what taxes were raised, how they were levied, or how they would be spent. Many colonists considered it a violation of their rights as Englishmen to be taxed without their consent, which only the colonial legislatures could grant. Colonial assemblies sent petitions and protests. The Stamp Act Congress held in New York City, reflecting the first significant joint colonial response to any British measure, also petitioned Parliament and the King. Colonial merchants and landowners led local protest groups, and through correspondence these established connections and created a loose coalition that extended from New England to Georgia.  Protests and demonstrations initiated by the Sons of Liberty often turned violent and destructive as the masses became involved. Very soon all stamp tax distributors were intimidated into resigning their commissions, and the tax was never effectively collected The Act was repealed on 18 Mar 1766 as a matter of expedience, but Parliament affirmed its power to legislate for the colonies “in all cases whatsoever” by also passing the Declaratory Act. This incident increased the colonists’ concerns about the intent of the British Parliament that helped the growing movement that became the American Revolution.

[3] McIlwaine, H. R., ed. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1761-1765 (Richmond, Virginia: Virginia State Library) 1908. An original, signed copy of the Resolutions (written in the handwriting of Richard Henry Lee) is held at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond and a fine facsimile of that original is on display at the Westmoreland County Museum and Visitor Center in Montross. The museum facsimile is reproduced in Carl Flemer’s book about Westmoreland County and the Northern Neck, where he provides an alphabetized list of the signers: Flemer, Carl F., Jr., with Jenni Brockman. Birthplace of the Nation: A Story Worth Telling:  Leedstown, Westmoreland, and the Northern Neck, Leading the way to independence (Oak Grove, Virginia) 2008. Pages 38-43.

[4] As a member of the First Continental Congress, Richard Henry Lee was also the man who on 7 Jun 1776 introduced the resolution for independence from Britain, which was seconded by John Adams.  Richard Henry Lee and his brother, Francis Lightfoot Lee, later signed the Declaration of Independence. Richard Henry Lee (1732 – 1794) is my 2nd cousin 9x removed. He is the great grandson of Richard Lee I (1617-1664), my 10th g-grandfather.

[5] Collins, Lewis and Richard H. Collins. History of Kentucky, 2 volumes, published 1848, 1874.

[6] Charles Henry Pope confirms a second “William Andrews” in Cambriidge at the same time who was a “mariner”. Perhaps this is our mystery husband.

[7] For a full account, refer to Bryan Station Heroes and Heroines by Virginia Webb Howard (Press of the Commercial Printing Company) 1932.

[8] See details of this man’s life under “Notable Kin”.

[9] The Baptist Church at Great Crossings is still in existence and is one of the oldest churches of Central Kentucky. A history written of it in 1876, by Prof. J.M. Bradley, is of considerable interest.  The following is extracted from that volume: “The church was constituted ninety years ago [written in 1876].  Its first Pastor, Elijah Craig, was twice imprisoned, in Virginia, for preaching the Gospel – once in Culpepper and once in Orange.  After the pastorate of Craig, the church has enjoyed the preaching of Joseph Redling, James Suggett, Silas M. Noel, Thomas Henderson, A.M. Lewis, James D. Black, B. F. Kenny, Y.R. Pitts, Williams C. Buck, William G. Craig, R.T. Dillard, Howard Malcom, John L. Waller, William F. Broaddus, A.R.Macey, D.R. Campbell, Cad Lewis, S.P. Hogan, J.G. Bow and B. Manly, Jr., an array of preaching talent such as, we will venture to assert, no other church in Kentucky can claim. During this period, about fifteen hundred have made profession of religion, been baptized and afterward received into the fellowship of this church, besides others who have been received by letter and those in the original constitution. There have been in this number white, black and red men. Seven churches have been constituted, chiefly of members leaving this church, viz: Stamping Ground, Dry Run, Mountain Island, North Ellkhorn, Long Lick, Pleasant Green and Midway – are still in existence, so that the Great Crossings may well be called the ‘mother of churches.’ The church as sent out five ordained preachers and licensed six others to exercise their gifts. This venerable church can soon celebrate its own centennial. In 1880, it reported 588 members”.



One comment

  • Patricia O'Rourke

    It has been my intention to have contacted you since I first found your website. I am the great, great, great, great, granddaughter of Reverend James Suggett who was the third pastor at the Great Crossing Church. I became intrigued with the history of our family when I discovered the lost church records of Old Providence Church in New Bloomfield, Missouri several years ago. It was thought they had been lost forever. James Suggett came to Missouri in 1825 and settled in Boone County Missouri later removing to Callaway County and becoming the first pastor of Old Providence. There is a 190 year celebration of the church August 21, of this year. It is at 4:30 held on the campground where the first church was built. We attended a Suggett and Johnson family reunion several years ago. Fabulous — I would love to get in contact with you. What a valuable website you have. I have a copy of a Suggett book written about the Suggetts who stayed in Kentucky — only 11 copies were made. When you receive this email I would appreciate having you contact me. I am not on facebook nor do I have a website. I am sure have much to share.

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