Was Elizabeth Mashborne a School Teacher?

Edward the Schoolmaster’s step-mother may have been!

William Bowyer

Dame schools were operated by women who would teach reading, writing and simple calculation to the children in her neighborhood. There are records of a dame school located on Dogwell Court in Whitefriars where the the family of Edward Mashburn Sr. lived.

The Whitefriars precinct was rather poor, therefore, it would not have been home to many educated women. Dogwell Court, however, may have been slightly above the average. It was on the edge of the precinct next to the Temple area (where lawyers lived and conducted their business at the Inns of Court). In fact, one of the most famous lawyers in England, Sir Henry Chauncy, lived only a few doors down from the Mashbornes and William Bowyer, the most famous printer n English history, live next door or across the street above his printshop.

Therefore, I have wondered if Elizabeth, the wife of Edward Sr., could have been the mistress of the dame school on Dogwell Court.

We know that Elizabeth married Edward Lloyd, of Coffeehouse fame, in 1698. Lloyd had lofty aspirations and needed, for his second wife, a lady who could help with the management of the coffeehouse and interact with his upper crust clients. The ability to read and write would have been important.

Another consideration is this: if Edward Mashbourne, Sr. had had considerable means, he would not have been living in Whitefriars.

Whitefriars was a “liberty” (meaning a precinct outside the control of the Mayor of London, and was a sanctuary for debtors, pickpockets and thieves. The constables were not allowed to arrest anyone inside the confines of Whitefriars and had to catch them as they were entering or exiting the precinct.

Elizabeth somehow supported herself and the Mashborne children after the death of Edward Mashborne Sr. and before her marriage to Lloyd. How did she do that if not by teaching school?

Furthermore, Elizabeth’s step-son Edward Mashborne (who came to North Carolina c. 1698) operated a school in Sarum and offered the exact curriculum of the dame schools in London. In his letter to the Society of the Proclamation of the Gospel he asked for their aid and referred to himself as a professional schoolmaster. In that day almost everyone followed the profession of their family, thus is is a telling statement.

Of course, all of this is speculation and there is no proof that Elizabeth taught school.

About a year ago I bought a book that had no interest to me except that it was signed Elizabeth Mashborne and dated 1693.

Interestingly, Elizabeth signed the book twice, Both signatures are in the same hand but use different handwriting styles, as though she was teaching penmanship. No doubt, if the book had been signed “Mrs. Edward Lloyd,”
it’s price would have been out of my range.

Still no proof, but circumstancal evidence grows.

Recently I have uncovered the clearest map of Dogwell court I have seen, On the north side, there is a large buildng that takes up the length of the block. I suspect this is where the George Inn, later the printshop of the most famous of all English printers, William Bowyer, was located.

On the southside there are three smaller buildings — one of them was the Mashborne house that Elizabeth kept several of years after her marriage to Lloyd.

Still no proof that Elizabeth was the operator of Dogwell Court school, but I believe she might have been.

Historically, most Mashburns in America were farmers, but we have a very high number of teachers and ministers who were lovers of books and loved The Book. Although some of our Mashburn ancestors in the pioneer South, lack opportunities to get an education, the Mashburns, as a family, have been literate since the mid 1600’s if not before.

This is true even today. Here is a list of modern Mashburns who have written books:


2020 Mashburn Reunion


The normal reunion will not be held on the 4th Saturday of May as has been the schedule since 1866.

Due to the COVID-19 virus, we are planning to see if we could set it up on the Saturday of the Labor Day weekend.

However, a few of us locals will have a picnic style meeting on the regular date at the Mashburn Cemetery so as not break the continuity of the tradition.

Our regular meeting place is still in disrepair due to Hurricane Michael.

For our reunion website, just type in Mashburn Reunion.

Please post this on your website so everyone will be advised.
If any questions, please call my cell 850-832-6841.

Take care, be safe.
Art Mashburn

The Carruths – Family Friends for Generations

CARRUTH-John-AspacioWhen I was a student at JJ Daniell Junior High in Marietta, GA, my band director Ernest Allen, Jr., often had his friend John Carruth, the band director at East Rome High School, guest conduct us. Ernest and John had grown up as childhood friends in Gladsen, AL.

When I went to Berry College in Rome, I often served as a substitute teacher for John when he was ill or out of town. When I became a band director, John worked with my students at band camps and festival preparation. Much of my success as a school band director is due to his mentorship.

Several years later, John founded the 8th Georgia Regiment Band, an reenactment brass band of the Civil War period, and asked me to play baritone horn in the group. We started out using the original brass band arrangements that we got from the library of Congress. We played them on our modern instruments until we could obtain the actual period insturments. We played in most of the reenactment battles on the east coast and appeared in several movies.

John Carruth always wore the pistol that his grandfather, Aspacio Perry Carruth, carried in the was. He knew much information about his ancestor and the battles that his Alabama unit fought in. That prompted me to get interested in my own genealogy. So in a way, the Mashburn Genealogy Archives exist today because of John Carruth.

Before moving to Alabama, Aspacio Carruth lived in District 31 of Forsyth Co. GA. My Mashburns lived in the that area as well as my wife’s ancestors – the Gravitts. In the 1850 census, Aspacio Carruth is listed along with his brother in El Dorado, CA as miners. They were part of the 49’ers.

On 21 Dec 1865 Aspacio married Margaret Elizabeth Bell, d/o George Washington Bell & Margaret Phinazee Bell, in Cleburne Co. AL. The Bells also lived in District 31 Forsyth Co, GA.

Now here is the weird part.

After my gr-gr-grandfather John Wesley Mashburn was captured, his position as 1st Sgt in the 38th GA was taken by Margaret Elizabeth’s brother, Augustus Bell. Augustus is buried very close to John Wesley Mashburn (Ebenezer Church, Forsyth Co. GA).

After Rita’s gr-gr-grandfather John B. Gravitt resigned due to being wounded, his position as 1st Lt in the 43rd GA was taken by Margaret Elizabeth’s brother, Hiram P. Bell. Hiram was later elected to the Confederate Senate and then after the war was an US Congressman.

It is so cool to find common ancestral roots with your friends when you met in places far removed from the common locale.

The Blanket Fair of 1683-84

A “Little Ice Age” occurred in Europe from about 1550 to 1850 and, as a result, the Thames River in London froze 23 times between 1408 and 1814.

A frozen river provided an opportunity for a carnival or a “Frost Fair.” The Frost Fair of 1683-84, known as the Blanket Fair and was especially festive with bear-baiting, fox hunting, horse racing and puppet shows – all on the ice.

It was a carnival atmosphere with vendors of food, drink and souvenirs. Even printers set up presses to sell broadsides, cards and other items “printed on the ice.” For a couple of weeks, the whole town was in attendance.

Frost Fair on the River Thames near the Temple Stairs, by Thomas Wyke

Frost Fair on the River Thames near the Temple Stairs, by Thomas Wyke

The Temple Stairs is the the left of this painting. Pass the stairs is the Whitefryers Precinct. Art critic Connie J Jasperson makes the following observation:

Everywhere you look you see color. Red wheels on a cart, red tents, blue tents, and yellow–color is everywhere. We sometimes think of the 17th century as a dark colorless time, but clearly it was not. People were much the same then as they are today. We love to have fun and will find a way to enjoy ourselves even in the harshest conditions.

And winters during that time were harsh. Fuel for heating and cooking was expensive, food was expensive, and many people died from the cold and starvation.

Below is another view showing the Temple area in the center of the background. The Whitefriars precinct is to the right. Dogwell Court, where Edward Mashborne Sr. and his wife Sarah (nee Sindery) lived, is hidden behind the large rectangular building.


Sarah died and was buried on March 30, 1683 next to her young daughter at churchyard in St. Giles-in-the-fields where the family had previously lived before moving to Whitefriars. Nine months later, one of the worst cold spells in history ascended upon London.

From his home in Dogwell Court, Edward Mashburn Jr., age 9, would have walked down the old Whitefriars Street until he came to steps that led down to the riverbank.  Whitefriars is circled in red ink on the bird’s eye view of Blanket Fair.

Souvenir tankard from the Blanket Fair 1684-85

The ice on the river was 16-18 inches thick and could actually hold horses and coaches. Everybody of every class (including the king and queen) were in attendance.

The following videos contains a lot of information on the Frost Fairs, especially the 1684-85 Blanket Fair.

After the Blanket Fair

On 16 May 1685, three months after the Blanket Fair, Edward Sr. remarried Elizbeth Nash. After his death Elizabeth raised the Mashburn children as her own. There is some evidence that she may have operated a dame school at her home in Dogwell Lane to support them.

Elizabeth later remarried Edward Lloyd (of Lloyd’s of London fame). Later she sold the house on Dogwell to Dryden Lynch, a political printer and best friend of the infamous John Wilkes (a distant relative and namesake of John Wilkes Booth).

Genealogy and the Telephone Game

When you were in school, did you ever play the game “Telephone” in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group?

Genealogy can be a lot like that. Tonight I found this on Ancestry.Com.

ohshoor originally shared this

03 Sep 2012

Edward Marshbourne Jr. is likely the stepson of Elizabeth Nash Marshbourne Lloyd. After the death of Edward Marshbourne Sr., Elizabeth married Edward Lloyd, proprietor of Lloyd’s Coffee House, later Lloyd’s of London, an insurance underwriting consortium. Edward is reputed to have been involved in the publication of a broadsheet critical of Members of Parliament favored by the Crown and hustled onto a ship bound for the colony of North Carolina, where he may have established a school at Sarum, near New Hanover County. Edward Hilder of London, England, a genealogy researcher produced a series of three reports in the 1980’s or 1990’s which established Edward Jr’s. birth and christening and the marriage of Edward and Elizabeth Nash at St. Dunstan’s in the West, London. Edward Jr. was an ardent anti-Quaker and the broadsheet mentioned above expressed those sentiments. Later, Edward wrote a letter to the his benefactor in which he detailed his activities to date.

Here is my response:

Sep 11, 2015

I do not know if you got your notes of Edward Mashburn though my website (mashburngenealogy.com) directly or if it was filtered through several layers of researchers, but I take issue with the following statements:

“Edward is reputed to have been involved in the publication of a broadsheet critical of Members of Parliament favored by the Crown . . . “

“Reputed” means that someone made a statement about someone which they believe to be fact. I made a speculation that since Edward Mashborne left England about the time Edward Lloyd was reprimanded for his newsletter, the two events “may” have been connected. The above statement gives the wrong impression of the weight of the evidence and turns a speculation into a belief that someone held.

” . . .and hustled onto a ship bound for the colony of North Carolina . . .”

That is certainly taking poetic license. There is absolutely no evidence that Edward Mashborne was “hustled” away at all.

“Edward Jr. was an ardent anti-Quaker and the broadsheet mentioned above expressed those sentiments.”

We assume that Edward Mashburne was anti-Quaker since he was aiding Rev. Giles Rainsford and one of the purposes of Rainsford coming to North Carolina was to stop the spread of the Friends. But Edward’s religious belief concerning the Quakers can only be an assumption. The above statement gives the impression that Mashorne’s anti-Quakerism is a hard fact — it is not.

“Later, Edward wrote a letter to the his benefactor in which he detailed his activities to date.”

Absolutely not true. The letter Mashborne that wrote was to the Propagation of the Gospel was an appeal for financial aid. Since the SPG never sent Mashborne any aid (despite the support of the Bishop of London), one can hardly call the SPG “his benefactors.”

Thank you.
Steve Mashburn


edsonno4 originally shared this

30 Oct 2013

In 1711, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel established an Anglican school for Chowanoke and local Native Americans at Sarum, with Mr. Marshburn as the teacher.

NO . . no . . no. The SPG did NOT establish a school with Mashborne as the teacher – the school was started and maintained by Mashborne without any SPG support. Although Mashborne expressed a willingness to teach Indian children, there is no proof that any Indian ever actually attended his school.

Melinda Siebold

mga-logo-transparentOn July 7th, 2015 several Mashburn researchers contacted me and asked me about Melinda Mashburn Siebold. They had received a very bizarre email from her with an attachment of a book she has just published entitled: The Race That Went Astray: The Revelation of the Sons of God.

I have tried not to address Melinda Mashburn Siebold by name on this website but the publication of her book and her insistence that it be sent to everyone in the MASHBURN family makes a response necessary.


I corresponded with Melinda Siebold for a number of years until it became it became too painful. She is, in my opinion, the worst thing that has ever happened to MASHBURN genealogy. She is a prime example of “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” The damage she has done will probably never be undone as her faulty and sloppy research is now a part of hundreds of family trees on the Internet.

Melinda’s research and analytical skills are very limited. She often jumps generations and thousands of years and finds connection that are, at best, nebulous. I did not keep her emails she sent to me but in them she made conclusions similar to this:

SO-AND-SO is related to THIS-AND-THAT of 15th century France because in 1943 the SO-AND-SOs lived on a road named THIS-AND-THAT in Mobile, Alabama and it is well known that the French settled Mobile, Alabama.

Another problem I have with Melinda is that she makes no distinction between academic and popular sources. At one point, I had to tell her that the Da Vinci Code was fiction. To her, anything she sees and hears on the TV show In Search Of … is evidence to be cited. Any day now I suspect that we will hear the MASHBURN family is related to aliens.

In her latest mass emailing, she states that Southern Baptist are Gnosis. Personally, I am a Unitarian-Progressive Christian so I am fairly open about religious beliefs but this statement is so luscious that I cannot even waste the time to deal with it. Similar delusional assertions go on and on and on.

In regard to MASHBURN genealogy, there are two false assertions that Melinda has spread that has done great damage to serious MASHBURN genealogy: (1) Material in the Bill Murphy Collection, and (2) The Marriage of Edward Mashborne.

Material in the Bill Murphy Collection

I spoke with Bill Murphy over the phone several years before he died. He specifically told me that all his Mashburn information regarding the early history of the family that he was confident about had been published by Edna Simpson in her book, The Mashburn Family of North Carolina and Georgia. In fact, Bill is listed as a source in Edna’s book. (There is another story concerning Bill’s research and Mrs. Stetson, but since it is not germane to the issue of Melinda Siebold, I will present it at another time.)

When Bill died, his life companion left Bill’s research materials to East Carolina University’s Joyner Library. Let me point out that research notes are not the same as published research. For example, I have lots of material that I am not sure about but I keep it in case I find something that ties up the loose ends. I am sure Bill had much of that in his notes. I would hate to think that everything in my notes will be consider as fact if I die and it is donated to a library.

At any rate, in the William Murphy Collection at the Joyner Library there is a portrait of a man who is identified as Edward Mashborne.  He is rather well dressed in an expensive robe. Melinda believes this is Edward Mashborne because Edward was a Justice of the Peace and that was a more exalted position during the early 1700’s than it is now.

I pointed out to Melinda that being a JP then was like being a County Commissioner today – one might be concern with daily administration of the local government but few would call a County Commissioner an exalted position. Certainly a man in the frontier (which Onslow County was in 1715) would not wear judicial robes and have his portrait painted.

There is also a picture of a wooden fireplace screen with a picture of London. Melinda feels this was a fireplace screen Edward brought with him from England. The picture shows St. Paul’s with a completed dome. However, the dome at St. Paul’s was not completed until after Edward Mashborne had moved to America.

This is also another picture which Melinda thinks is of the children of Edward Mashburn. To me, the clothing of the children suggest a generation or two later.

Melinda told me this material would not be in a university library if it was not accurate.

Years later Greg Mashburn noticed that the hands of the Edward Mashborne portrait were the same hands in another painting (artists of the time period frequently painted stock bodies and customized the head). By searching the UK galleries on the artist name I was able to find the Mashborne portrait – it is actually a portrait by George Vertue of John Radcliffe, a famous doctor with no known connection to the Mashburn family.

The Marriage of Edward Mashborne

I had the first Mashburn genealogy on the Internet – in fact, before the Internet because the Mashburn Genealogy Archives started out on a BBS (Bulletin Board Service) and then on AOL before moving to the Internet. The early family tree programs were primitive – lineage trees were limited to five generations and to move pass those generations one had to toggle to another screen – it was very easy to get lost. I think that a researcher (later copied by Melinda or maybe it was Melinda herself) toggled onto a wrong screen and assumed my Marry Farrar (an ancestor of Catherine Twiggs Mashburn through Willis and Watkins) was the wife of Edward Mashburn instead of Henry Watkins.

Melinda, however, insisted that Mary Farrar was Edward Mashborne’s wife. Furthermore, Mary Farrar was a native America because if Edward Mashborne was an Indian missionary then he had to be married to an Indian (this is how her logic works).

When I asked Melinda what her evidence was for this, she replied that she felt it in her “heart,” that is, she could hear the Indian spirit reaching out to her. At this point, Melinda and I parted ways.


After I wrote PART ONE, someone sent me Melinda’s book and I have just finished reading it. Although it is exciting to know I am a direct descendent of Jesus (LOL), her book actually has very little to do with MASHBURN genealogy.

She never really explains how MASHBURNS are related to the rest of the book but I will list the Mashburn passages with my critical comments below.

“I could trace the line to the 1650’s in England to an Edward Mashborne who married Sarah Sindery.”

Yes, this can be documented.

“My family descended from their son Edward junior, who had at least two siblings, Matthias and Mary.”

The names of the siblings cannot be documented. She is assuming.

“When Edward junior was seven, his mother passed away, and after a few years, his father married an Elizabeth Nash. Not long after, when Edward junior was only twelve, Edward senior passed away.”

 Yes, this is correct.

“Edward junior, Matthias and Mary continued living with their stepmother Elizabeth in London. I’m unsure what line of work Edward senior had been in, but tax lists show they had household help.”

There are tax records. However, these records do not list the names of the children. The only way we know that Edward Jr is related to this Elizabeth is that he, in a letter to a missionary socity, states that he is the son of Mrs. Lloyd who operates the Coffeehouse on Lombard Street.

“After a few years, Elizabeth Mashborne married Edward Loyd, owner of Loyd’s Coffee House in London. It was common at that time for business people to gather in coffee houses and pubs to conduct business. Loyd’s was a hub of maritime trade. One endeavor there was the pooling of risk to insure ships voyages. This business later became the well-known Lloyd’s of London insurance business.”

All of this is true except the coffeehouse did not become the insurance company – the insurance company was a separate entity from its conception. Edward Lloyd was never a part of the insurance company. They just used his place to conduct business the same way as businessmen of today use Starbucks.

“In 1698, Edward junior sailed to North America and established a home in a place called Sarum in Chowan, Nansemond Territory Virginia.”

Chowan, Nansemond Territory Virginia is a name Melinda made up. Such a designation was never used.

Mashbourne probably first lived in Nansemond County, VA. Many men in Nausemond Co. had farms twenty miles south to take advantage of an earlier planting time and traveled back and forth between their farms. Whether Mashborne was one of these back-and-forth farmers is unknown but since he was the guide to Rev. Giles Rainsford, he was familiar with the path between Virginia and Carolina.

 “Sarum was located about twenty miles south-east of Jamestown, and was situated between the Chowan and Nansemond Indian villages. Edward established a school for children of Native Americans and European settlers.”

There is no proof that Mashborne ever actually taught Indian children. He probably did but the number would have been very small – one or two sons or nephews of the leading men of the local tribes.

“Circa 1728, Edward and his family moved to Onslow County in the southern part of North Carolina. He owned a large plantation there and continued his duties as a school master.”

Mashborne may have moved to Onslow County in 1728. But to me, it is not likely that a 52 year old man would move to a complete wilderness area. It seems more likely that the Onslow Edward was a son. The question is open and cannot be considered a fact since it is possible Edward of Onslow was a son of Edward of Chowan. It stands to reason that a son of a schoolmaster would built a school house in his new location. More evidence is needed.

 “He later became Onslow County Clerk.”

An Edward Mashborne was an Assistant Court Clerk in Bertie County, NC. An Edward Mashborne was a Justice of the Peace for Onslow County, NC. It is not proven that these two are the same man. Edna Simpson thought so but she did not know that Edward the school master was born in 1676. I think (and this is speculation on my part) that the Onslow Edward was a son of the Sarum schoolmaster.

“Edward’s son Matthew was born circa 1703. He remained in Onslow for a short time, before moving back to the Chowan-Nansemond area.”

I believe Edward the schoolmaster had a son Matthew. I do not know if he ever spent time in Onslow.

“I believe the reason he returned was because of a girl named Sarah. I have believed for a long time that Sarah was Indian. It’s Matthew and Sarah’s line alone, that has a tradition of Indian heritage within the Mashburn family. I believe the name Sarah was given by Matthew to his Indian wife in honor of his grandmother, Sarah Sindery.”

Here is an example of Melinda going off on a tangent without any evidence. Personal mystical feelings is NOT genealogy. She would make a great Romance writer.

It may be true that Sarah was an Indian but without evidence one has to consider this whole statement as hogwash – Sarah is a very common name during at period, Matthew never knew Sarah Sindery, and Edward Mashburn made it clear in his letter to the SPG that he considered Elizabeth Nash to be his mother.

Also, DNA testing is not revealing an native Indian ancestry for Mashburns from this time period. To be fair, maternal DNA of an Indian ancestor can disappear over generations. Also, some experts are now claiming the Cherokee DNA is different than most other native American DNA. However, any Indian wife to Matthew probably would not have been Cherokee but some other tribe (most obvious is Chowan)..

“Another pattern I noticed was that my maternal and paternal lines had been moving around together for the last four hundred and fifty years! They were living in the small village of Brackley in Northampton England in the 1500’s . . .”

As this website has made very clear – at this time there is NO proven connection that our Mashburns of London are connected with the Mashbornes from Brackley. Although I think they are, treating it as an established fact is contrary to good genealogy.

As to the rest of Melinda’s book, it has more to do with religion than genealogy and I have no interest in addressing it – other than to say if you like the Da Vinci Code, National Treasure, and other fiction in the same genre, you might enjoy it. I think it is mere foolishness, poor scholarship and convoluted thinking, but I respect everyone’s right to their own faith.

County History Books

In doing genealogical research, one should always check the county history books but one should also be aware of particular issues that these sources have.

First, many counties will appoint an official county historian and often this person will, as part of his official duty, will compile a county history. However, many times, a person is appointed county historian based upon the fact that this person was the person who previously wrote the county history book.

The point being that these “official” county historians seldom, if ever, have academic training in historical analysis or proper research processes. They were appointed because of the interest and participation they have had in the local historical or genealogical association or because they had already written the county history book.

Therefore, the quality of their “official” county history books vary greatly. Often these books are merely the collection of oral traditions (along with church histories, militia rolls and the like) but these oral traditions (and some may actually be true) take on a greater authority because of their appearance in the “official” record.

I should mention a special category of county history books – the committee-written book.

These books, often with the title “The Heritage of ______ County” are produced by publishing companies. These companies (who take subscriptions in order to guarantee they sell enough books to cover their cost) will form a committee of local people. Any “family article” that is submitted will be accepted – after all, anyone who has an article published is sure to buy the book. No verification of the accuracy of the submission will be made.

In many of these “heritage” books one will find multiple articles of the same ancestors with greatly differing accounts. It is just like the differing Ancestry.Com family trees except in a printed format. Seldom are sources cited.

I am not saying county history books are not valuable for they are and they have helped me tremendously through the years. But one has to understand what they are and place the information contained within them in context. Remember:

  • The terms “official county historian” and “official county history” are meaningless in terms of validity and reliability.
  • In general, a book compiled by a committee was promoted by a publishing company whose goal was to sell books. The publishing company is not concerned with historical accuracy – they are not going to jeopardize a sale by telling Mr. Smith that his distant cousin’s research is better and will be the only article on the SMITH family in the book.

County History Books for Mashburn Research

The following county histories are especially useful for Mashburn genealogists:

Bagley, Garland. History of Forsyth County, Georgia. Volumes 1 and 2

The Heritage of Onslow County. Winston-Salem, NC : Hunter Publishing company, 1983.

Shadburn, Don. Pioneer History of Forsyth County, Georgia (1981, 1985, 1996).

Shadburn and Brooke. Crimson and Sabres: A Confederate Record of Forsyth County, Georgia (1997).

Weird Connections – Booth and Wilkes

In June 2014, Rand Paul made news by demanding that the federal government stop issuing general warrants. But he was not the first person to address this concern.


John Wilkes was a radical British politician who opposed the war with the American colonies. He was a great supporter of religious tolerance and the freedom of the press. Due to his efforts, Parliament passed a bill to remove the power of general warrants.

 “British subjects in the American colonies closely followed Wilkes’s career. His struggles convinced many colonists that the British constitution was being subverted by a corrupt ministry, an idea that contributed to the coming of the American Revolution. In reaction, after the Revolution, representatives included provisions in the new American constitution to prevent Congress from rejecting any legally elected member and to proscribe general warrants for arrest.” – Wikipedia

Wilkes County, Georgia and Wilkes County, North Carolina are named for John Wilkes.

So is his grand-nephew, John Wilkes Booth. Yes, THAT John Wilkes Booth. . [You couldn’t make this stuff up.]

The Mashburn Connection to Wilkes

So what is the Mashburn connection to Wilkes? Through his friend Dryden Leach.

John Wilkes was friends with Dryden Leach (a cousin of Jonathan Swift) who worked quietly for radical causes and may have helped turn Wilkes’ thinking in that direction. Leach was a printer and operated his print shop in the house he bought from Elizabeth Nash Mashburn Lloyd on Dogwell Court.


In the 1760’s (with his print shop in a different location by then), Dryden made British law by successfully suing the government over the search of his premises and the seizure of the newsletters that were critical of the government.

Because of the ruling of the court (and the reform bill passed by his friend Wilkes), Americans inherited the idea that government has limited powers in terms of warrants, searches and seizures.


From http://www.surrattmuseum.org/booth-family-tree

The family of John Wilkes Booth has been traced to Clerkenwell in London, England. Booth’s great-grandfather and great-grandmother were married on February 15, 1747, at St. George’s Chapel, Hyde Park Corner, London. Six of their children were baptized at St. John the Baptist Church in Clerkenwell. These included Booth’s grandfather, Richard Booth, who was baptized in 1759. Richard Booth married a Miss Game and fathered three children— two sons, Algernon Sydney and Junius Brutus, and a daughter, Jane.

Junius Brutus Booth was born in 1796 and married Adelaide Delannoy in May of 1815. Their son, Richard Booth, was born in London on June 21, 1819. Junius ran off to America with a common-law wife, Mary Ann Holmes, in 1821. They settled outside of Baltimore, Maryland, in a hamlet known as Bel Air and raised a large family— Junius Brutus Jr., b. 1821; Rosalie, b. 1823; four who died in childhood— Henry, Mary Ann, Frederick and Elizabeth; Edwin, b. 1833; Asia, b. 1835; John Wilkes, b. 1838; and Joseph Adrian, b. 1840.

Junius managed to keep his first wife and son in the dark about his Maryland family for 25 years— until his son by Adelaide, Richard, came to America in the late 1830’s and discovered the truth. A messy divorce followed, after which Junius was able to marry Mary Ann in 1851. A year later, Junius died.

Junius’ legitimate son, Richard, lived in Baltimore and was a language teacher. On December 31, 1849, he married English-born Sarah P. Ware. An oddity is that the 1850 census shows them with four young children, three born before this marriage. One persistent Booth family myth is that Richard went South during the Civil War and all trace of him was lost. This is not correct. The land records in Baltimore show that he sold off his property there in 1860.

Apparently he left for England soon after and took up residence at the old Booth family estate, 10 St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London. Richard’s wife, Sarah, died at this address on November 14, 1868, during a typhus outbreak. Richard bought a lot in Highgate Cemetery, London, and buried her there on the 16th. Richard died of typhus on December 16, 1868, and was buried in this same lot on the 18th. There are no stones to mark these Booth graves, though there are many ornate tombstones in Highgate Cemetery, London. One is for Karl Marx.

Yes, THAT Karl Marx. [You couldn’t make this stuff up.]

The Mashborne Connection to Booth

So what is the Mashburn connection to Booth? The Booths and the Mashbornes lived 3500 feet from each other in London.

The Booth ancestral home (that the legitimate Booth son returned to) is close to Elizabeth Mashborne’s Dogwell house. Check the distance on the map:




AncestryDNA – Slippery Slope into Genealogical Mush

DNA is what it is – it is the genes of your ancestors that are passed down to you.

The science CANNOT be denied. However, too many people are jumping on the DNA bandwagon without realizing that things are not what they seem – especially at Ancestry.Com.

Rita had an AncestryDNA test done on Oscar Gravitt the son of her great-grandfather Mack Gravitt. Here is a notice we got from Ancestry.Com today:

GRAVITT-oscars-lousialong-match01Now I knew I had a Louisa Jane Long in my tree. Would this be the same person?

We have done extensive research on Rita’s Gravitt family. We knew Louisa Jane Long is not an ancestor of Oscar or Rita – so what gives?

It took me a while but I figured it out. Here are my results:

GRAVITT-oscars-lousialong-matchTrue, AncestryDNA does not say Louisa Jane Long is an “ancestor” — it says she is an “ancestor or relative.” But I don’t know if the mother of the spouse of a 5th cousin twice removed (or something like that) can be considered a relative.

My question is this – how many people (who have not done the research we have) will assume that Louisa Jane Long was an ancestor? I assure you, a lot would. And it would then become part of their Ancestry.Com member tree. Because it would be documented as being proved by DNA many people in the future will blindly accept it.

Ancestry in their self-serving attempt to make genealogy a turn-key operation for people too lazy to do research is doing us a tremendous disservice. But they are making millions of dollars. And making money is their main interest, not genealogy.

Reward – $100


Although members of the Mashburn-Marshburn family can now be found in almost  every state, the family stems from Edward Mashborne who arrived in southern Virginia/North Carolina around 1698.

Edward Mashborne is the second-known schoolmaster in the southeast. He operated a school in what is now Gates County, NC in the early 1700’s.

Edward was the eldest child of Edward Mashburn, Sr. and Sarah Sindery. His stepmother, Elizabeth Nash Mashburn Lloyd, was married to Edward Lloyd of the famous coffeehouse in London (who lent the name of his establishment to Lloyd’s of London).

Mary Farrar

Twenty-five years ago, when the Mashburn Genealogy Archives was hosted on servers at Avana (even before being hosted at Rootsweb), a researcher copied my information wrong. This was easy to do because the old DOS screens were very clunky. Since one could not scroll multiple generations, one could easly click on the wrong link and get on a different branch of the tree.

Unfortunately, this researcher posted wrong data on Ancestry.Com and it has been passed around and copied as fact. There are now hundreds of trees on Ancestry.Com that state Edward Mashborne was married to Mary Farrar. This is wrong. Mary Farrar was married to Henry Watkins. The researcher misread my chart.


I, Steve Allen Mashburn, will pay $100.00 to anyone who can show me evidence of a marriage between Edward Mashburn, the schoolmaster from London, and Mary Farrar.

A citation of “Ancestry Family Tree” is not evidence. Ancestry.Com is an excellent source for primary data but the family trees submitted by members are, for the most part, merely “cut and paste” from other undocumented family trees.

Indian Blood? How?

In addition, this same researcher claimed that Mary Farrar was an Indian because Edward Mashburn taught an Indian school. She knows this because she “feels it within her heart.” There is no evidence that Edward Mashborne was married to an Indian.

My DNA, as well as several other distantly related Mashburns, show 0% percent of native American blood. While not conclusive (specific DNA can die out over en generations), this indicates that any Mashburn with native American DNA probably got it though another line.

The Spelling Change

Because the surname Marsh is more popular than the surname Mash, many etymologies assume Mashburn is a variant of Marshburn. However, the historical record indicates the reverse.


Mashborne is the most common spelling found in the English records of the 1600/1700’s. Although there is NO definite evidence (so do not post this as fact in Ancestry.Com trees), it appears that Edward Mashbourne’s ancestors may have been from Brackley England.

The Mashborne family appears to have died out in England in the mid 1800’s.


After the American Revolution, the spelling of Mashburn became prevalent in the United States. Mashburn is an exclusively southern surname. All Mashburns come from North Carolina. Even today, North Carolina and Georgia have the most Mashburn families.


During the 1840’s the spelling of Marshburn was adopted by the Onslow County, North Carolina branch.

Of course, spelling depends upon the education of the writer and upon the dialect of each locality. Variants are often found and, in genealogy, one has to be careful to use spellings as an indicator of family connections.

Webmaster’s Blog The House on Dogwell Court

MASHBURN-Steve-latest-portraitThe Boyhood Home of Edward Mashborne

Although I tried several times to identify the location of the Whitefriars house where Edward Mashborne (b. 1676 in St Giles-in-the-fields) had grown up, I was unable to do so. Even though I knew that a neighbor was the famous judge and author Sir Henry Chauncy who probably maintained that house as a London residence for when he was in town, I was not able to find anything about the neighborhood.

The news that my brother John was soon to visit London prompted me to doubled my efforts and I was successful. It is remarkable how much can be found on English ancestors while America ancestors of just two or three generations away are complete mysteries. (Records, it appears, are one great advantage that a civilized nation has for genealogical research.)



Hearth Taxes

In 1693 Elizabeth Mashborne, widow, our Edward’ stepmother, paid Hearth Taxes on a house in the Whitefriars Precinct, London

In 1703 Hearth Tax records show the house was still owned by Elizabeth but is empty (for she had already remarried to Edward Lloyd, the coffee-man).

Through an analysis of what neighbors lived live door to each other for these two Hearth Tax ten years apart, I have been able to identify the exact house that Elizabeth Nash Mashborne owned. It was on Dogwell Court.

Dogwell Court was east out of Lombard Street to Temple Mews, in White Friars, against Serjeants’ Inn (Hatton, 1708-Boyle, 1799). [Actually Lombard Lane — this was not the Lombard Street that Lloyd’s Coffeehouse was on.]

Sir Henry Chancy

The tax records from 1693 to 1707 show that Sir Henry Chancy, a famous lawyer, judge and author from Hertfordshire, kept his London residence five doors down from Elizabeth’s house. Research on Chancy has failed to uncover any details concerning this area.

Sir Chancy is famous for two things: (1) authoring The Historical Antiques of Hertfordshire, the first modern genealogy/county history books that was written and (2) arresting Jane Wenham, one of the last witches that was ever placed on trial in England.

Dryden Leach

In 1707 Hearth Tax records show the Mashborne house was now owned by Dryden Leach.

Dryden Leach was a printer and book publisher. He was married to a cousin of Jonathan Swift. Swift describes him as a coxcomb (dandy) and says he acts like an Oronoco (foolishly in love).

William Bowyer

Remarkably, a search of London printers has revealed that many of people in the neighborhood were printers, including one of the most famous printers in English history, William Bowyer.

Boyers appears two doors down from Elizabeth in 1703 Hearth Tax records. It is well documented that he moved his print shop from its former location to the old George Tavern on Dogwell Court in 1699.

The list of Bowyers accomplishments are great and include his support for William Caslon’s development of the first English typeface (previously typesetters used fonts from the Netherlands).

The George Tavern

The George Tavern on Dogwell Court was infamous in Elizabethan times as a gathering place for villains and prostitutes. In literary history, it appears as a location in several well-known plays and novels of the time.

In the late 1600’s, the George Tavern was also the site of the first public music concerts in London.

John Ellis

John Ellis, a literay figure and friend of Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, was first sent to a day-school in Dogwell Court, Whitefriars, with a brother and two sisters, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ellis_(scrivener)

Although our Edward Mashburn was a generation earlier, one wonders if he had attended this school.


Webmaster Blog Northamptonshire and Northampton Co.

MASHBURN-Steve-latest-portraitThe Connection is Not What You Think

Did Edward Mashborne the schoolmaster have something to do with naming Northampton County, NC after his ancestral home of Northamptonshire, England?

There is no direct evidence that the Mashbornes that appear in Northamptonshire, England during the 1600’s are the ancestors of Edward Mashburn, Sr. the father of the schoolmaster. However, there is some circumstantial evidence:

The largest concentration of Mashbornes in the 17th c. English records are found in Brackley, Northamptonshire. The second largest concentration is found in Oxfordshire. Brackley is on the county line between Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. Although a few Mashbornes can be found in London. Kent, York and other places, it seems clear that the Mashborne family in the 1600 and 1700’s was based in the south Northhampshire/Oxfordshire area.

The most common given names for the Mashbornes in Brackley are Edward, Matthew, James, Samuel, Daniel and to a lesser extent, John. With the exception of Jethro, these are almost the only given names found for the early North Carolina Mashbornes.

Since the Mashbornes appear in Northhampton County, North Carolina, it is tempting to think that they had something to do with naming the county after their ancestral homeland. Two facts indicate this was not the case:

The latest that our direct line could have lived in Northhampton, England would have been 1675, the year Edward Mashborne Sr. married Sarah Sindery in London. However, since Northampton County, North Carolina was formed in 1741, we have a three (maybe four) generation gap between Northhamptonshire, England and Northhampton County, North Carolina with no evidence that the Mashbornes in North Carolina even knew about the Mashbornes in Northampshire, England. After all, the only time that Edward Mashborne the schoolmaster referred to his heritage was to stress his London roots.

Proof Positive

More definitive, perhaps, is that North Carolina state records tell us that Northampton County, North Carolina was named for James Crompton who was the Earl of Northampton from 1727 to 1754 long after Edward Mashborne the schoolmaster had arrived in America (c. 1698).

Therefore, the appearance of Mashbornes in two places named Northampton appears to be a coincident. But the coincident is even more remarkable in that there is some connection with the Crompton family in terms of historical events.

The Comptons

A older relative of James Compton, the Earl of Northampton, was Henry Compton, the Bishop of London from 1675-1713. As Bishop of London Henry Compton made an effort to get the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) to support Edward Mashburn’s missionary school.

It gets more bizarre. Henry Compton, earlier in his career, lost his position as Dean of the Chapel Royal for refusing to suspend Rev. John Sharp whose anti-papal sermons were objectionable to pro-Catholic King James.

Rev. John Sharp

So who was John Sharp? The rector of St Giles’s-in-the-Fields who baptized our ancestor Edward Mashborne in 1676!  He also may have connected the marriage service a year earlier for Edward Mashburn, Sr and Sarah Sindery. As great as these events are (at least to us), John Sharp went on to even greater things.


Webmaster’s Blog Name Collectors

MASHBURN-Steve-latest-portraitI both love and loathe Ancestry.Com.

I love it for having so many primary sources and abstracts at my fingertips but I loathe it for the name collectors that pass data on without any attempt whatsoever to cite a source.

Of course, the argument has been that such “research” is good for “leads.” I use to think that also. Now, after spending weeks on checking such research only to find it was all wrong, I am not so sure. It appears that whatever “leads” I get at those commercial sites causes me more harm than good.

At the very least, Ancestry and the like should have oversight committees with the authority to remove the worst cases of genealogical malpractice.

After all. do lineages containing 210 year-old men, mothers giving birth at age 87, and granddaughters married to their grandfathers really help anyone?