1868 Mattaponi Indian Tribe Membership Roll and Petition to Governor

This petition from the Mattaponi Indian Tribe of King William County, VA to the Governor of Virginia is found in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol 36 #4, and begins on page 257.

The petition challenged an attempt by Thornton Allmond to close an access road to the reservation. Allmond, an interesting and pivotal character in the history of the Mattaponi tribe, was born in Gloucester County, Virginia, in 1812 and may have been the son of Miles Allmond. He first appeared in Gloucester personal property tax lists for ‘free negros and mulattos” in 1833 and 1834, where he was described as having no occupation and residing at or near Guinea.

In 1835 the Gloucester list shows him living in King William County. Although no King William marriage records from the 1830s survive, marriage records for his children4 list his wife as Eliza Major. Thornton and Eliza were probably married at about the time of his removal from Gloucester since the 1850 census of King William County gives the age of his oldest child as fourteen.

Thornton Allmond made his will in December 1878 and was dead by the end of February 1879. Because of a mistake in his will, which does not survive in the King William records, an agreement was recorded between his widow, children, and their spouses. From this and the Bureau of Vital Statistics marriage register we know that most of his children married into the Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes.

Mattaponi Tribe of Indians Complaint to Governor 8 May 1868

Elston Major Chief of Tribe of Mattaponi Indians complains that Sterling Thornton (white) and Thornton Almond owners of land (Clifton) thru which a road leading from Indian Town to the Main road leading from King William CH to Frazers Ferry (across Mattaponi) are seeking to deprive them of use of said road, which has been open for a great period of time.

Ellick King owned all of this and sold it to Mr. Drew[?] who put gates across the road. The County Court of King William ordered the gates to be removed, say 15 years ago. Thornton claims that this road from Indian Town to Main road belongs to him. The Indians ask that the Governor will protect them in their rights.

A List of Chiefs, Headmen and members of the Mattaponi Indian Tribe situate in the County of King William and State of Virginia

April 1868

Ellston Major

Austin Key
Robert Toopence

Members of Tribe

Franklin, Nancy

Key, Claiborne
Key, Austin
Key, Jno Anderson

Major, Henry
Major, Ellston
Major, Lee Franklin
Major, Coley
Major, Mary
Major, Parkey
Major, John

Toopence, Park Farley
Toopence, Elizabeth
Toopence, Robert
Toopence, Emeline
Toopence, Laura
Toopence, Mary Catherine
Toopence, James C.
Toopence, Lucy J

The above is a list of Chiefs, Headmen, & members of the Mattaponi Indian Tribe.  Hardin Littlepage, William J. Rimmer, Trustees for said Indian tribe.

April 18’h 1868

In June 1866 I was appointed surveyor of a Road leading to the Mattaponi IndianTribe through Clifton & the Tribe assigned to me as hands to work upon this Road.

First I summoned them as usual & appeared on the road to work was stopped bythe owner of the land through which the road passes since then both myself andElstan Major who is the Head man of the tribe have applied to the authorities ofthis county & can get no clemancy [sic] whatever. And still the tribe are withouta road of their own & are required to work on the public road

D. Robinson
(One of the Trustees)
Mattaponi Tribe

Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Richmond, Va.
April 23rd 1868
To the Commonwealth’s Atty
for King William County

Dr Sir:

Elston Major Chief of the Mattaponi Indian Tribe has made complaint to the Governor that the said tribe are obstructed in the use of the road (in your County which passes through a farm called Clifton now owned by Sterling Thornton and Thornton Almond, and which they claim to be a public road) leading from Indian Town to the main road between King Wm C.H. and Frazer’s ferry, which they have enjoyed from time immemorial and which affords the only mode of exit from town.

Jn Herndon, Secy C


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Mattapony. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.