©2009 Kathryn Gearhart (No portion of this web site may be reproduced, in any form, including Internet, electronic or print, in whole or in part.)
More material on the various branches of the Heath family is located on my sister site: AlliedFamilies
There were several Heath families in the early years of Virginia and Maryland. The first are the descendents of Thomas Heath who arrived in 1635. The second are the descendents of William Heath who arrived in 1650. This is the branch which intermarried with the Gee family of Southside Virginia. Later, there is the family of James Heath of Princess Anne County and another large family descended from John Heath of Middlesex County.
All of these branches had descendants who migrated across Virginia and into North Carolina. Also in North Carolina were unrelated Heath families, or families for which a connection has not been established. The process of elimination has required a thoughtful exploration of all potential contributors to the William Heath family that eventually settled in Darlington County, South Carolina. It should be noted here that a large Heath group settled in New England, and also in Pennsylvania. The latter group is very interesting in that they originated in either Cheshire or Staffordshire and were closely linked to the Janney family of those counties. They were Quakers.
I want to say a word about spelling. In examining the records it quickly becomes clear that census takers, county record keepers, and members of the family themselves, spelled the Heath name in a variety of ways. It was not uncommon to find Heath, Heeth, Heth, Hath, Hayth, Haythe, and even Haith and Heith used. Only one branch maintained this transition, the records went from a mix of Heath and Hayth, to Haythe by 1850.
This material is organized by family groups, and in some instances the branches lived close to each other. This is my best impression of the Southern Heath family up to the Jacksonian Era. I have not traced further, as it was not needed to make the family connection to William Heath of Darlington, South Carolina. His descendents are beautifully traced in the established genealogy, Heath Trails, by Frank Miller Richey
The Heaths of Kent
In 1635 John Heath, Willliam Short, William Edwards, and Thomas Dawson with others were transported to Virginia by William Spencer. The Captain of the ship, William Pierce, Esquire, John Heath, William Short, William Edwards, and Thomas Dawson received headrights in Lawnes Creek, Charles City County. It is claimed that this John Heath was the brother of Sir Robert Heath. Sir Robert was at one time Lord Proprietor of North Carolina, but his support for Charles I resulted in the loss of his property and position. He died in France in 1649. An examination of his family history does not substantiate a conection to the Heaths of Virginia.
Robert Heath married Thomasine Seyliard of Brasted, Kent and they had three children Joane, John, and Robert. John married 1st Ellen Richards, 2nd Elizabeth Casinghurst. Robert Heath II, married 1st Joane Foster, 2nd Ann Posyer in 1574.
Robert II and Anne Poyser had five children: Sir Robert, who married Margaret Miller of Tunbridge, Kent in 1600; Richard, who died as an infant; Anne born in 1578, Mathias born in 1582, and John, born in 1590. It is this John who is identified as the John Heath who immigrated to Virginia in 1635. As the youngest child, John would not have any substantial inheritance. That he would have been sent on a foreign adventure seems a reasonable possibility. The following year, in 1636, Robert Heath, age 30, arrived in Virginia. It is stated by some sources that this Robert was the fourth son of Sir Robert Heath however his given age precludes this.
Sir Robert Heath and Margaret Miller were the parents of Anne born in 1602; Mary born in 1608; Robert born in 1609 died in 1615; Sir Edward Heath born in 1612; Sir John Heath born in 1614; Elizabeth born in 1615; Reverend George Heath born in 1617; Robert Heath born in 1620, and Francis born in 1622. Sir John Heath eventually came into possession of the family estate and in 1662 became Attorney-General for the Duchy of Lancaster. He married Margaret Mennes.
John in 1635 and Robert in 1636 were likely from the Kent Heath branch, however no link has been shown between this Heath family and the families of either Thomas Heath of York County, and William Heath of Southside Virginia. Significantly the name Robert is not used in the first or second generations of either Virginia Heath family and neither John no Robert appears to have become established in Virginia after their arrival. They either died or returned to England.
Transport List of Heaths in Virginia and Maryland
1635 Thomas Heath by Henry Southell, Lower Norfolk County Re-entered 1637 by Lt. Popely upon marrying Southell’s widow.
1635 John Heath, by Captain William Pierse, Lawnes Parish (William Short, William Edwards, were among the 38 transported.)
1637 William Heth
1642 Ferdinand Heath, by Captain Daniell Gookin
1642 William and Ann Heath by John Brown, 100 acres in Northampton County
1643 Jane Heath by Captain John Upton, Isle of Wight County
1646 William Heath
1646 Mary Heath by Thomas Holmes, assigned by Thomas Heath, York River
1650 William Heath by Thomas Sawyer land in Lower Norfolk
1650 Margaret Heath by John Stratton land in Lower Norfolk
1650 Jane Heath by Epa. Lawson
1650 John Heath by John Brown, Northampton County
1650 Elizabeth Heath by John Brown, Northampton County
1650 William Heath and his wife Amey Heath, by John Brown, Northampton County
1651 Margaret Heath by John Stratton, Lower Norfolk County
1652 Abraham Heath by Alexander Addison, Occahannock Creek
1652 Jno.Heath by Alexander Addison, Occahannock Creek
1652 Amey Heath by Alexander Addison, Occahannock Creek
1653 Nicholas Heath by Thomas Kidd, Lancaster County
1653 John Heath by Raleigh Travers
1653 William Heath by Thomas Sawyer
1654 Isabell Heath, by John Watson and John Bognall, Westmoreland County
1655 Richard Heath, by Howel Pryse, Charles City County
1656 Elizabeth Heath by William Justice, Charles City County
1657 Peter Heath by Howel Pryse, Charles City County
1657 Julian Heath by Howel Pryse, Charles City County
1660 Isabel Heath by John Ellsley, Northampton County
In 1656 it is noted …whereas Elizabeth Heath servant to Edward Ffitzgerald committed the act of ffornicacion and bore a child in the howse and service of her said master: Itt is therefore ordered that the said Elizabeth shall double the remaining time of service due from the time of her delivery and suffer such other corporall punishment as the Court shall Censure to be inflicted for her said offence according to Law to that purpose.
August 15, 1648, a petition by William Allen and John Heath, merchants, who have equipped the Honor and the Prosperous Susan to transport many planters, with their wies, children and servants to Virginia, petition the House of Lords that their ships may be released from Embargo at Gravesend (Coldham, I:237)
In the records of the Exchequer Port Books it is recorded that in October, 1684, John Heath, master of the Olive Branch departed for Virginia. In June, 1685 he arrived from Virginia with a shipment of staves and hides. Again on August 19 it left Guernsey with a load of tobacco and then sailed outward in September for Virginia.
Edward Swann, son of William Swann, arrived in 1635. He lived, variously at Swann’s Point and in England. In December 1664 he claimed as headrights Susannah Heath, whom he married. He founded a 1200 acre plantation in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.