Littleton Family of Accomack Co., Va.Vaship.jpg (59512 bytes)

Few immigrants to the American colonies have left as many clues to their European origins as Col. Nathaniel Littleton who came to Virginia c1625. Evidence for identifying Nathaniel Littleton of Accomack Co Va. with the family of Littleton in Shropshire, England, is found in the will of his widow, Ann Littleton, dated Oct 28, 1656, "if all my children die without issue, the real estate shall go to James Littleton, Esq., of Shropshire near Ludlow." James Littlleton was undoubtedly the brother of her deceased husband, Nathaniel Littleton. [1]

Nathaniel Littleton, son of Sir Edward & Mary Walter Littleton of Hensley, Shropshire, England, was the progenitor of the Littletons of Virginia. They in turn come from the Lyttletons of  Worcestershire,  England. They quarter Arms with Plantagenet. [2a & b] Thomas de Littleton of Frankley, Worcester County, Knight of Bath, and a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, authored the celebrated "Treatise on Tenures." He married Joan Burley Chetywnd, widow of Sir Philip Chetwynd of Stafford, daughter and heiress of Sir. Wm. Burley, Knight, of Broomscroft Castle, County Salop. He died in 1481 leaving sons: Sir William Littleton, Richard Littleton of Pillaton Hall, and Thomas Littleton II of Speckley, knighted two days after the Battle of Stoke in 1487.  Sir Thomas Littleton II married Ann Botteaux, daughter & heiress of John Bottreaux of Abbot's Salford, Warwickshire. Their second son, the Rev. John Littleton, was parson of Houndslow in Salop who married Alice Thoines, daughter of Richard Thoines of Cendover. Their oldest son, Thomas Littleton III married Frances Burley of Broomscoft Castle, fathered five sons, and died in1621. Their second son, Sir Edward Littleton of Henley of county Salop, was Chief Justice of North Wales, who married Mary Walter, daughter of Sir Edward Walter of Ludlow, county Salop, fathered eight sons, and also died in 1621. They had sons:: (a)  Edward, Lord Chief Justice of Common Please 1639 & Keeper of the Great Seal 1640; (b) William, Sergeant at Law; (c) James, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford;  (d) William who married, no issue; (e) John, Fellow of All Souls college (f) Nathaniel (g) Sir Timothy (h) Samuel, no issue. [2b, 2c & 3]

Natlit5.jpg (40678 bytes)Nathaniel Littleton emigrated to Virginia in 1635, settling on a plantation on Nandua Creek, Accomack Co, Va. Like so many Virginians, Nathaniel had military service in the Netherlands. In 1640, he was chief magistrate of Accomack; in 1652, a member of the House of Burgesses, and a member of the Governor Wm. Berkeley's  Executive Council. Col. Nathaniel Littleton married before Nov 23,  1640,  Ann Southey of James City, daughter of Henry & Elizabeth Southey, and widow of Charles Harmar. Ann Southey was born in Rimpton, Somersetshire, England c1610, and died by Oct. 28,  1656 in Northampton Co Va.  Nathaniel died cir. 1654. After her husband's death, the widow moved to Magothy Bay, Northampton Co, leaving "Nandua" in the hands of her son, Col. Southey Littleton. They had the following children:

(1) Col. Edward Littleton, b. c1640,  mar. (a) Sarah Douglas of Northampton Co Va. at age 12 in 1658, she died in childbirth, mar. (b) Frances Robins, youngest daughter of Col. Obedience & Grace O'Neill Waters Robins.. He died 1663.

(2) Capt.  Southey Littleton, b. 1646, of "Nandua," took up much land in Somerset Co Md. by parents. He married c1664  Sarah Bowman,   dau. of Major Edmund Bowman.                         

Col. Southey Littleton by his two wives had seven children: (a) Nathaniel Littleton b. c1667; d. by Mar. 1, 1702/3,  mar. Susannah Waters, whose dau. Esther Littleton married Thomas Savage of Cherrystone, son of Capt. Thomas & Alicia Harmanson Savage of "Savage Neck"  (b) Bowman Littleton [b. c1675; d. 1696] unmar. mentioned in Col. John Robins' will 1709 as "my kinsman Bowman Littleton, dec'd [see Appendix] ; (c)  Esther Littleton [ b. c1665; d. c1688] of "Kings Neck" on Chincoteague Island who mar. Col. Wm. Whittington of Northampton Co Va. (d) Sarah [b. c1669; d. 18 Apr 1720] mar. (a) Adam Michael (b) John Custis III (e) Elizabeth [b. c1671; d. 1754]  mar. Richard Waters of Somerset Co Md.  (f) Gertrude Littleton [b. c1673; d. by 9 Jan 1738/9] mar. Henry Harmanson of Northampton Co Va.  (g) Southey Littleton II mar. Mary Brown of Northampton Co. Natlit4.jpg (52989 bytes)

Col. Southey Littleton was a member of a court martial  which indicted the insurgents of Bacon's Rebellion. In 1679; he was sent to New York with Col. Wm. Kendall, as a special Commissioner to confer with Gov. Andros on Indian uprisings. He died in Albany NY in 1679; his will executed Sept. 1679 is recorded in Accomack Co, Va.

(3) Esther Littleton b. 1646 married Col. John Robins of "Salt Grove" on Jan. 9, 1662. the couple lived near Cherrystone, Northampton Co, Va.  John Robins was the son of Col. Obedience & Grace O'Neill Waters Robins. He was born Jan 6, 1636 in Northampton Co Va., educated in England under the care of his uncle Richard Robins Esq. of Long Buckby, Northamptonshire. He inherited "Salt Grove" and was for many years a prominent man in Northampton Co serving in the House of Burgesses, a Justice of the Peace, and a Commissioner of the Monthly Courts. He died in 1709. [4 & 5]

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Footnotes & Bibliography

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1. "The Littleton Heritage," by Matthew M. Wise, Columbia, SC: Wentworth Corp., 1994, p. 5.

2a. Colonial Families of the United States of America," ed. Nelson Osbood Rhodes, Vol VII, Gen. Pub. Co, reprint, 1993. p. 70.

2b. Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Before 1700," by Frederick Lewis Weis, 7th Ed, Gen. Pub. Co. reprint 1992 by Gen. Pub. Co, pp. 4 - 5.

Map of Shropshire, England: Hopton Castle n.w. of Ludlow.                                                                                                  

Line 1A  - John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster continues through many generations to Sir. Edward Littleton, Knt. of Hensley, co. Salop, and his son Nathaniel Littleton, b. Hopton Castle, co. Salop, baptised 22 Dec 1605; d. Northampton Va. Oct-Dec 1654, mar. c1638 Ann Southey, b. Somerset Eng c1620; d. Northampton Co VA, will prob. 28 Oct 1656. 

2c. "The Littleton Heritage," Matthew M. Wise, Columbia, SC: Wentworth Pub. Co, 1997. See "Relationship of the Littletons to the Rulers of England, the Lancastrian Lineage, Edward III, King of England,"   p. 285.

3. "A Tentative Pedigree of the Littleton Family of Va.,"  by Dr. Robert Patterson Robins, published in "New Eng. Historical & Genealogical Register," XLV, Oct 1887: 364-68.

4. Wm & Mary College Quarterly, Historical Magazine, Lyons G. Tyler, Vol VIII, 1899-1900, pp. 62-63.

5. Wise, op. cit., pp. 5-8.


Bowman Littleton, Accomack Co Va  Will,  dated 2 May 1696 : to cousin [nephew] William Whittington all my land in King's Neck, 50 a.; to cousin [not nephew] Edward Robins, s/o Major John Robins, land on the east side of Poplar Branch; to brother Nathaniel Littleton & to bro-in-law Richard Waters, my neck of land "Pharsalia"  during their natural lives and of their wives, then to return to male heir of brother Nathaniel, reversion to male heir of brother Southey. To sisters Sarah Custis & Gertrude Harmanson.  Cousin [nephew] Southey Whittington, Nathaniel Littleton, & Richard Waters were named excrs. Wts: John Purnell, John Jones, John Roussalle.