Fereiby/Ferebee About Name

Notice: This document was done sometime in the 50's or 60's. The orginal document needed spelling and grammer work so most of it was rewritten to fit the writting style of the 90's. All of the orginal information is provided.

Before 1666

     In selecting a name for his Virginia province, Maltravers had many famous ones in his family to choose from, but he choose the name he loved best. The name of the dukedom that his ancestors had enjoyed for generations and which the first two Stuarts with no sense of gratitude withheld from them.

     He chose the name that his son, the Howard Cardinal selected when he received the red hat. Norfolk, the name is his family that Shakespeare had made famous, "Jockey of Norfolk" - the name of the dukedom his father and grandfather had striven for, Norfolk. In the light of all these facts we claim Norfolk County to be the Premier County in the United States and that it was named for the premier dukedom of England. Therefore we noted the beginning of Norfolk County had its advent May 15, 1637 or 30 years after the English Colonists landed at Cape Henry. There has been many disputes as to the name of Norfolk County, but many well known authorities believe this is true.

     What was known as New Norfolk County was formed in 1636 (Virginia Counties, Morgan P. Robinson, Virginia State Library) and embraced the territory of Elizabeth City County South and the James River. In 1637 New Norfolk County was divided into Upper and Lower Norfolk Counties. Upper Norfolk was then changed to Nansemond County in 1645. In 1691 Lower Norfolk County was divided into Princess Anne and Norfolk County, but Norfolk County proper retained all the record books of Nansemond and Princess Anne Counties, as well as Norfolk County its self from 1636. It is noted that Norfolk County was formed in 1691 from Lower Norfolk. There are few records that now exist that cover the period prior to 1636 of Norfolk County. A few scattered fragments, much worn, faded, and decayed in parts of a book commonly called Book A covering 1636-1646. A copy of this can be found in the Virginia Historical Society. This does not give any reference to the Ferebee name. Therefore it is impossible to say how old Richard Ferriby Gent was when he came to Virginia; who he married; children if any; how long he lived or anything else about him. The settlers who came and developed this country represented all sorts of men. Among them however, the English were in the vast majority. The master or gentry class was made up of all who came with the means to pay their own passage and establish themselves after they arrived, generally seeking to acquire land and seat themselves thereon. Members of this class were in most cases younger sons of aristocratic royal English families (The 1st Republic in America, Alexander Brown).

After 1666

     Virginia prior to 1666 had appeared as a close little corporation of James River plantations, however, in this year settlements began to spring up elsewhere and the population had spread quickly enough to be represented in the House of Burgesses. Nearly 30 years before this period the name Ferriby had been established in Norfolk County and was therefore among its earliest inhabitants. There are no marriage bonds or other records to be found now as far as this compiler (The original compiler is unknown, but the source is from about 1960) is aware of to prove the direct line from Richard Ferriby Gent or Thomas Ferreby. There were a few scattered settlers as facts, where the surname is spelled so nearly alike, that they were of the same family.

     It will be remembered that the colonists were constantly going and coming to and from England, not standing the frail ships and the length of the voyage. In many cases their families were left in England and when children were older the rest of the family came along, also, so 16 years after the arrival of Richard we find Thomas Ferreby in New Norfolk County.

     In the records of Virginia through deeds, wills, court orders, minister's records, family bibles and other sources of information it will be found that in practically every family the first male born was named for the maternal or paternal father or the husband himself.

The Ferebee Family

     When we think of Norfolk County in Virginia we are impressed with the mental picture of fair green fertile fields, its many inland waterways, the smell of the pure salty air, its general outline almost wholly surrounded by water, its historic shrines, its white sand and dunes. The county where the first English men set foot upon the sands of Cape Henry in the early 17th Century. "There is but one entrance by sea into this country", wrote Captain John Smith more than three hundred years ago at the mouth of very goodly bay, the width is a mere eighteen or twenty miles. The cape on the South side called Cape Henry, was named in honor of the most noble prince. The shore of this land there is white hilly sand like into the Downes and along the shores great plenty of Pines and Fires. When the ships of our English settlers entered at dawn on that "six and twentieth day of April" in 1607, one of captain smith's companions saw "faire meadows and goodly tall trees, with such fresh waters running through the woods, as I was almost ravished at the first sight thereof. We got good store of mussels and oysters, which lay on the ground as thick as stones; we opened some and found in many of them pearls." When he ate them he found them large and delicate in taste (Indians had been roasting some on the sands, but had been frightened off by the English). This was the birth of the fame of the celebrated Lynnhaven oyster and of course the first introduction of the oyster which was later to play such a valued part in relieving starvation of the colonists.

     During Captain John Smith's sojourn (a little more than two years) in the new land, he made one more short excursion over across the bay into that country which was later called Norfolk County. Some tribes of the Chesapeake Indians lived there and he bartered with them for supplies of corn, food for the colonists at Jamestown hoping to see them through the coming winter of 1608.

     Between this time and the year 1634, the writers have found little about the settlement. Although, there were certainly a few plantations and in 1634, one of the earliest brick churchs in the colony erected near Lynnhaven Bay proper. This was listed as being Lynnhaven Parish and was near the Adams Thoroughgood Plantation that included 5,350 acres of land granted from the crown. The dwelling was called the Adam Thoroughgood Manor House and was built on or about 1634. Lynnhaven River (Bay) was named by the forgoing gentleman for his home across the sea, Lynn, Norfolk, England, though this body of water had formerly born the name Chesapeake River from the Chesapeake Indians.

     The First Republic in America by Alexander Brown, page 41, mentions the Ferebee name. "William Edwins' ship, the supply of Bristal, Capt. Tobais Felgate arrived at Berkeley Feb. 8, 1621, and received the following certificate and etc."

Richard Ferriby, Gent

     Berkley is believe to be situated on the James River, but there is no actual record of it. Richard Ferriby Gent lived in Norfolk County. Berkeley is thought to be the place of destination. However, It seems more than likely that he either stopped off or went into Norfolk County, because ships were constantly passing to and from the James River. The captain of the ship supply, which brought him into the New World, was Captain Tobais Felgate. In early colonial records, there are several instances of Tobais Felegate and other Felegates, as being residents of New Norfolk and Lower Norfolk Cities; therefore it seems plausible to assume that Richard Ferriby Gent went along with his captain and members of his family into Norfolk County. In 1621, one of the deadliest Indian Massacres happened and many of the plantations along the James River were completely destroyed.

Many of the settlers in the stronger fortified plantations and those of Jamestown left for Elizabeth City, Nansemond, Warrosquate (Current Day Isle of Wight Co.), and New Norfolk. Even if Richard Ferriby Gent lived at Berkeley and escaped the massacre there is still reason to believe that he fled to Norfolk County.

Thomas Fereby

     The name Ferriby was not a common one and it is more than likely that Thomas Ferreby was connected with Richard Ferriby Gent. The name Richard and Thomas are a continuation of the given names of the Ferreby family in England and continues through the generations.

* Ferreby, Thomas, 1636, by James Knott, New Norfolk Co.
* Ferreby, Thomas, 1637, by James Knott, Elizabeth City Co.

     Thomas Ferreby was brought over by James Knott in 1634 and 1637 (The original document said 1634 and 1637, but Cutchin Genealogy owns a copy of this book and we find that it is 1636 and 1637). Thus, Thomas Ferreby landed three years after the Thoroughgood House and the Early brick church were erected in New Norfolk County. This area was a likely place for his habitation, though we have no way of knowing the exact number of colonists there. In the vicinity in 1637, were great fields, which had been cleared and cultivated by the Indians and spoken of, in the early records of Norfolk County.

     Prior to 1634 the county of Elizabeth City lay on both sides of the James River. It has also been called the Hampton Roads. The Hampton Roads is where the James empties into the roads. Later it was changed to Upper Norfolk, then in 1645 to Nansemond. In the very early history of Virginia, Upper Norfolk was really Elizabeth City County.

** James Knott, 1200 acres of land, County of Elizabeth City, 3/24/1635; granted for the transportation of 23 people to the New World. Among the 23 persons was Thomas Ferreby.
** James Knott, 1550 acres of land, County of New Norfolk, 8/18/1637; He bought 150 acres and was granted the other 1400 acres for the transportation of 28 people to the New World. Among the 28 persons was Thomas Ferreby.

In order to entice emigrants into the colony of Virginia, the crown granted a bounty of land to everyone who would import at his own expense a person into the colony counting his owns family, servants and all.

Cutchin Genealogy owns both of these books and recognizes the copyright and respected trademarks.

*  Copyright©1998 Greer, George Cabell. Early Virginia Emigrants, 1623-1666.
** Copyright©1992 Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and Pioneers, Volume I, 1623-1666.

Letter about Norfolk County, VA

Notice: this letter was included with the original document, it includes some very good information on the origin of Norfolk County so we included it as well.

This is a clipping from Richmond Times Dispatch, Date unknown, by Mrs. Phillips ALexander Bruce. She wrote the following from her home at the University of Virginia to the dispatch. She was the wife of a historian and she was one of the best authorities in the area.

To the editor of the Times Dispatch:

     I notice in a recent issue of your paper a list designed to give the origins of the names of Virginia Counties. For the name of Norfolk County this list suggested that it originated either in the shire of Norfolk in England or according to Mr. Jefferson, it was named for a Duke of Norfolk.

     We think it came from neither. Its origin is to be found in a grant dated 1637 to Henry Howard, Lord Maltravers and Nowbray, son of Thomas Howard, Earl of Aremdel and Surry.

     The grant runs "into the said Henry Lord Maltravers and his heiress forever a competent tract of land in ye southern part of ye colony to bear ye name of a county and to be called ye county of Norfolk, with such powers and privileges as may be fit for a person of his quality." The Nansemond River is to be called Maltravers River & etc. Maltravers to pay his soveign lord the King, the yearly rent of 20 shillings at ye feast of St. Michael ye Archangel. This very long indenture is dated January 22, 1637. It is found in the Bodleian Library at Oxford A. 271- Folco Rawlison Mess.

     The following May 15, 1637 the records of Norfolk County in Virginia began. Norfolk County seems to have been the first tract of land to be legally designated at County in British America. This was done in the grant of Maltravers. It was the first distinct division cut off from one of the shires and formerly names a county. While Warrosquake was called Isle of Wight County in 1637; it was simply a change in name, not a territory. Neither of the other two colonies which had been settled in America prior to Maltravers grant 1637 "erected" counties until some years later. Massachusetts used "townships" and Maryland used "manors" and "hundreds", Mr. Jefferson in his notes of 1792 says that Norfolk County was named for the Duke of Norfolk, but there was no Duke of Norfolk in 1637, the year of the Maltravers grant, and had not been one in that century owing to the attainder and execution of the 14th Duke and never was again until 1677 in the reign of Charles II, we claim that our county was named for the Dukedom of Norfolk, for the Howards were then contending and which had been in obeyance many years.

Record of English Line

Thomas de Ferriby, born about the 33rd year of the reign of Edward III and died close to the reign of Henry IV (1360-1413). In the 6th year of Richard II reign, Thomas de Ferriby was Clerk Thomas Plantagenet, the Earl of Buckingham, late Duke of Gloucestor, AD 1383.

Henry IV in his first reign (Oct. 14, 1399) made Thomas de Ferriby, Baron of Excheques, which title he held until his death which occurred about the time of King Henry's death (AD 1413). (From the Biographical Dictionary of England's Judges)

Johnanis Ferriby de Palistry son of Thomas the Baron de Ferriby was born about 1410 (11th Henry IV) and died about 1475 (14th Edward IV). He was the Sherif (Knight of Surry from 5th to 15th years of Henry V 10 year reign (1428-1438). He was also the Knight of the Shire to take oath of Henry VI (1434). (From Fuller's Worthies of England, Vol 1, page 513, edition 1811)

Sir Richard Ferriby, son of Johnais Ferriby de Palistry was a nobleman in the County of Kent. He was born about 1465 (4th Edward IV) and died about 1530 (31st Henry VIII). (From Fuller's Worthies of England, Vol 1, page 513, edition 1811)

Thomas Ferriby, son of Sir Richard Ferriby was born about 1505 (20th Henry VII) and died about 1565. Henry VIII called him his "Goodsquire Ferriby" and he was one of the people who was on the jury which convicted Anne Boleyn.

William Ferebe, son of Squire Thomas Ferriby, was born about 1550 and died about 1614 (11th James I).

Thomas Ferebe, son of William Ferebe, was born about 1600 (42 Elizabeth) and died about 1660 (during the Commonwealth).

John Ferebee Gent, son of Thomas Ferebe, was born about 1642 (15th Chas I) and died about 1705 (12th William & Mary).

James Ferebee Gent, son of John Ferebee Gent, was born 1693 and died 1750.

Tomb-stone in Trinity Church Graveyard as follows:
"To the Glory of God and in Memory of the First Vestry of Portsmouth Parrish, Virginia."

1761 - Thomas Grimes
          Thomas Creech
          James Ives
          John Ferebee