Ancestral Family Topic 102

 102   Capt. Joseph Jennings Fowlkes (1769-1844)
Pedigree Chart 06

Capt. Joseph Jennings Fowlkes, in his own words
If he could speak to us today, Capt. Joseph Jennings Fowlkes might describe his life as follows.

I was only 18 on 18 June 1787 when our Baptist minister Rev. Simeon Walton united me and Frances Bass in marriage. My bride was the daughter of John Bass whose consent read “my Darter.”
On 29 September (bond) 1792 I married second Mary Craddock whose brother John Hill Craddock was surety on the marriage bond I made to guarantee the marriage would be legal. 
One property I bought contained a huge vacant church building and I thought nothing of making it into a granary and using the panels of the pew doors as wainscoting in my parlor. This earned me the nickname “Capt. Church Jr.” and triggered a letter to Bishop Meade calling me “a coarse-minded, unscrupulous votary of Mammon.”  “Votary of Mammon” is fancy way of saying “greedy.” But later, at my own expense, I built another church building for all to use and later gave it to the Presbyterians.
In 1800 I owned 5 horses and 8 slaves more than 12 years of age,  and Nottoway County granted me a license to have an ordinary at my home, later known as “Fowlkes Tavern,” in 1802. 
I died in 1844, and Polly was still living in 1850.

Joseph was listed in Nottoway County in 1810,  and he and Mary, both 70-80, were living in Nottoway County in 1840. 

Joseph’s illness
In 1805, when Joseph became very ill, his family physicians, Dr. James Jones and Dr. Josh Fitzgerald, gave him up for dead and left for the night. Dr. Leftridge, a French doctor of education and skill, came to see him. Dr. Leftridge lived near the graveyard in the house in which William Jennings once lived, and had married a young lady who had been his adopted child, and reared a family there. Dr. Jones rode by the next day and seeing several people out in the yard, he asked, “At what time did Captain Jo. die last night?” They told him that Mr. Fowlkes was much better after Dr. Leftridge came in the night. Dr. Leftridge miraculously cured several people in the community. 

Capt. Church Jr.
Joseph was Captain “Church Jr.” Fowlkes because the vacant Colonial Church of Nottoway Parish was on his plantation above LaNeave’s Hill. This was possibly 92 acres “beginning where the Church Road crosses the Little Nottoway River,” which Joseph bought in 1790.  The church was an immense structure, larger than most churches. It was a very long building, nicely finished and plastered on the interior, and had a large gallery for the African-Americans. The pews were high with closing doors, and there were 3 pulpits, one above the other, one was marked the “Gentlemen’s Pew” and another, opposite, called the “Ladies’ Pew.” 
When Fowlkes bought the surrounding land, the church building became his, but the public road separated his dwelling from the church. He subsequently got a decree of court to move the road beyond the church and so, having it situated upon his lot, used it as a granary and the panels of the pew doors became wainscoting in his parlor. The community generally condemned the sacrilege of the church building, which the hurricane of 1837 finally destroyed. A graveyard, since demolished, was in the vicinity.
Fowlkes, some years later built, at his own expense, the “Republican Church” near the site of the old Colonial and employed Asa Cabiness to do the carpentry. Designed for all denominations, he named it “republican.” The Presbyterians later sought to buy it and move it a short distance. He refused to sell but gave it to them, and they took it down and moved it. 

Joseph makes his will
Joseph prepared his will 20 Nov. 1843 naming “beloved wife Molly” and it was recorded 3 May 1844.  A large portion was devoted to establishing a trust for daughter Frances Robertson to be administered by her sons Joseph S. and George C. for the benefit of her children including William and Frances. He named 5 children: Polly Peace or Pearce, Frances B. Robertson, Verina Hamblin, Samuel Fowlkes who was identified as the husband of Elizabeth Moore of Tennessee, and Eliza Robertson. A granddaughter Eliza Jane, surname unknown, was then the wife of Anderson J. Fowlkes.
Mary, now reportedly 78, was living with her son Samuel in 1850.  She died intestate by 1851. 

Descendants of Capt. Joseph Jennings Fowlkes
Information about the children of Capt. Joseph Jennings Fowlkes, their descendants, and allied families previously found at is now available as Southside Virginia Genealogies. Learn more 
Names found in this topic include the following.
 Mary (Fowlkes) Peace,  
 Frances B. (Fowlkes) Robertson (1797-),  
Archer Robertson,   Archer Robertson,   
Rev. George Robertson,   John Robertson,   
James Robertson,   George Robertson,  Lewis Edwin Harvie,   
Joseph Samuel Robertson,  Mary Ann Robertson,   
James Craddock Robertson,  Downs,  
Walter Allen Watson,   W.H. Verser,  
J.Z. Brown,  
Reese Cary,  
John Jenkins,  
William Tucker,  
John Robertson,  
Frances Elizabeth Robertson,  Sanderson,  
George C. Robertson,  
William Robertson,  
 Elizabeth (Fowlkes) Robertson (1804-1896),  
Abram Jackson,  
Henry I. Robertson,   
 Samuel Fowlkes (c.1798-),  
Elizabeth Moore,  
Eliza Jane Fowlkes,  Anderson J. Fowlkes,   Dr. Benjamin N. Royall,  
 Verrina H. (Fowlkes) Hamblin (1802-1851),  
William H. Hamblin,  
Thomas F. Hamblen,  
William H. Hamblen,  

This topic, which represents .09% of all the family history material at, includes 22 citations and the names of 46 individuals.
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