Is your surname Lear?

Research the Lear family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Related Projects

Anna Lear (Willix)

Also Known As: "Anne (Willix) Rascoe Blount Southel"
Birthplace: of, Alford, Lincolnshire, England
Death: between May 13, 1695 and June 06, 1695 (55-56)
Nansemond County , Virginia
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Balthazar Willix, of Exeter and Hannah Willix
Wife of Robert Rascoe, of Albemarle; Captain James Blount, II; Seth Sothel, Governor of North Carolina and Col. John Lear, of Nansemond County
Mother of James Blount, III
Sister of Hazelelponi Wood and Susannah Jones

Occupation: Servant
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Anna Lear

Anna Willix, second daughter of Balthazar Willix and Hannah, was born about 1639, "of" Alford, Lincolnshire, England. She died between May 13, 1695 and June 6, 1695 in Nansemond County, Virginia; her sisters Hazelelponi Wood and Susanna Jones were her heirs.


  1. Robert Riscoe, between 1666 and 1670, perhaps in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  2. James Blount before 13 June 1683; his 2nd wife. He was of the Chowan District, Province of Carolina. His will was proved on 17 July 1686.
  3. Governor Seth Southell about 1687, perhaps in Albemarle District, Province of Carolina. His will was proved on 3 February 1693/94 in the Carolina Province.
  4. Colonel John Lear in 1694, perhaps in Nansemond County, Province of Virginia; his 4th wife. He died 27 Jun 1696 in Nansemond, Virginia.


From NCPedia Sothel (or Sothell), Anna Willix Riscoe Blount by Mattie Erma E. Parker, 1994

"Anna Willix Riscoe Blount Sothel (or Sothell), wife of Governor Seth Sothel, was the daughter of Belshazzar Willix of Exeter, N.H., and his wife Anna. Her father, described as "a man of more than ordinary education," was born in 1595 in Alford, Lincolnshire, England, the son of Belshazzar Willix, a man of substantial means, and his wife Anne. The younger Belshazzar migrated to New England at an unknown date and by 1640 was living with his wife and children in Exeter, where he owned a small tract of land.
"In 1648 Anna's mother was waylaid, robbed, and murdered on the road from Dover to Exeter. She left three daughters: Hazelelponi, the eldest, then about twelve, Anna, and Susannah. Soon after the mother's death the family moved to Salisbury, Mass., where the father married Mary Hauxworth, a widow. Following his death in about March 1650/51, two of the children, presumably the younger two, were boarded for a time with a neighbor, Robert Tuck. Their stepmother, who became mentally ill, may already have been too sick to care for them. Within a few years all three sisters became servants. Hazelelponi served in a home in Weymouth, Anna became a servant in the residence of the Reverend Timothy Dalton in Hampton, and Susannah took service in a house nearby.
"Anna remained in the Dalton home until 1666, by which time both Dalton and his widow had died. She then went to Boston and lived for a time in the home of Hazelelponi, who had married one John Gee. Soon Anna married and went with her husband, Robert Riscoe, a mariner, to the northern Carolina colony, then called Albemarle, where the couple was living by September 1670. ...
"... By 13 June 1683 Riscoe had died and Anna had remarried. Her second husband was James Blount, who like Anna was recently widowed. Blount was a prosperous planter of Chowan Precinct and a member of the Albemarle Council. He died in the spring or summer of 1686, leaving Anna a substantial estate for her lifetime, with right to dispose of sixty pounds by will. At some subsequent date she married the governor of Albemarle, Seth Sothel, who was one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. Sothel, like Blount, lived in Chowan Precinct.
" ... At least nominally, Anna was first lady for a time in each of the Carolina colonies, although it is not certain that she actively filled the role in South Carolina. Presumably she accompanied Sothel into exile, but she appears to have been in Albemarle at least briefly while Sothel was in South Carolina. .... There is evidence that the couple was living in Virginia at the time of Sothel's death, but it is not conclusive.
"Sothel died before 3 Feb. 1693/94, when his will was proved. He bequeathed most of his land and practically all of his movable property to Anna. The next fall Anna married John Lear of Nansemond County, Va. Lear, who had emigrated from England about the middle of the century, was a member of the Virginia Council and a man of substantial means. Like Anna, he had been married and widowed three times.
"... There is no evidence that Anna had children by any of her husbands, although she acquired stepchildren through her marriages to Blount and Lear. Her will has not survived, but she appears to have bequeathed much of her estate to her sisters.
"At the time of Anna's death, Hazelelponi was living in Ipswich, Mass., the widow of her second husband, Obadiah Wood. Susannah and her husband, Francis Jones, were then living in Portsmouth, N.H. In May 1695 the three appointed Hazelelponi's son-in-law, Thomas Pickering, to go to Albemarle as their attorney and represent their interests in Anna's estate. Although there was extensive litigation over the property, Pickering appears to have established the sisters' right to at least 12,000 acres, including the Sothel's home plantation on Salmon Creek. In 1697 Hazelelponi, Susannah, and Francis sold their interest in the estate to Pickering.

notes and supporting data


Torrey indicated a 5th husband [SIC: 1st] - Robert Smith. Anna was married prior to Robert Roscoe, James Blount, Seth Southel and Col. John Lear. link

From Lane Memorial Library

"Anna was a servant of Rev. Timothy DALTON (elsewhere herein). Although married 4 times, she died without children."

From "The English Home of Mr. Timothy Dalton, B. A. : Ruth Dalton in Hampton"

In the first place, she made a conveyance, by deed,2 of the larger portion of her real and personal property unto Nathaniel Bacheller [Bachiler], her therein so-called "constituted heir"; but it was in the nature of a trust for the benefit of himself and certain other designated parties after her decease. This deed bears date of March 22, 1663-64. It was followed, on December 8, 1665, by her last will and testament,3 whereof the same Nathaniel Bacheller, now called her "cosen," was made the executor. ... The deed contains four distinct classes of beneficiaries, to wit: 1st, Deborah Smith, the wife of John Smith, Senior; 2d, Elizabeth Merrie [Merry], Phebe Arnall [Arnold], Joseph and George Parkers [Packes, Parkis, or Parkhurst], and Mary Carter; 3d, Timothy, Benjamin, and Elizabeth Hilliard; and 4th, Abigail Ambrose, Mary Fifield, Walter Roper, and Hannah Willix. "
The yearly payments after Mrs. Dalton's death were to be made as follows: ... The ninth year, £5 to Hannah Willix.


From Mattie Erma Edwards Parker.  1979.  "Blount (Blunt), James..."  Pages 178-179 in Dictionary of North Carolina Biography.  Vol. 1. William S. Powell, ed.  University of South Carolina, Chapel Hill, SC

"Blount's first wife died between 27 Sept. 1670, when she was a witness in court, and 13 June 1683, by which time Blount's second marriage had taken place. The second wife was Anna Riscoe, widow of Robert Riscoe of Albemarle and daughter of Belshassar Willix of Exeter, N.H. She and Blount probably were married shortly before 13 June 1683, when Blount obtained administration of Riscoe's estate 'in right of his wife.' If children were born of the second marriage, they apparently died in infancy." ....
""Blount's widow, Anna, whom he called in his will, married Seth Sothel, then governor of the colony and one of the proprietors of Carolina. After Sothel's death, she married John Lear, a prominent Virginian."


Prescott (1902) attributes the first two children, James and Thomas, to Capt. James's first wife, the other three to Anna (Willis) Rascoe.  Parker (1979: 178) attributes all five surviving children to the first wife, stating that any children born of Anna died in infancy, though she gives no reason for this statement.

The original will of James Blount is in the Southern Historical Collection of the University of North Carolina. It is laminated and in very good condition. In May 1999, Kyle S. VanLandingham examined the will and made a photocopy. The following transcription is from the original:

" ... "Item. I give & bequeath all ye remainder part of my Estate Reall & personall whether it Consist in Lands, houses, Negroes, Servants, Stock, household goods, or any other kind of specie whatsoever, unto my Loving wife Ann Blount for her to have hold occupy & Enjoy During her naturall Liffe without Loss or Controule & at her death to dispose of the Same to ye Value of Sixty pounds in Country Comodities to Whoever she Shall think fitt, And after her my said Wifes Decease, I give ye whole remainder of my Estate to my Son John Blount & his heirs forever; & I do hereby appointe & ordaine yt my said Sonn John Shall be Decently maintained out of the Estate during his minority. and in Case my said Wife Ann should Live till after my Said Sonn John Should come of Age then if he should happen to marry or to goe to Live in some other place from said Wife; then She to pay him thirty or forty pounds (which She pleaseth) in Country Comoditites. ...
" ... This will proved by John Hall and Jane Miller on the seventh day of July 1686 and by William Dobson on the 11th day of July 1686 who uppon their oaths (before me) duely administered did attest that they see the testator above named James Blount signe & seale & heard him declare the above written to be his last will and testament. ... Seth Sothell."


"By 1682 Sothel was in Albemarle. In his private life, Sothel was a large landowner married to the twice-widowed Anna Willix. They had no children and resided in a two room dwelling at a plantation at Salmon Creek (present-day Bertie County)."


"Entrusted with delivery of a box sent to an Albemarle woman by her brother in London, Sothel stole from the box several yards of lace, some cloth, and two guineas. When confronted by the woman's attorney, he admitted the theft and displayed some of the lace sewed to "head-linnen" by his wife, nevertheless refusing to compensate the intended recipient."


Seth Sothel (d. ca.1694), known to history as among the most corrupt of chief executives, was commissioned by the Lord Proprietors in 1678 but did not serve. His tenure in office came four years later when those same men persuaded him to lead Albemarle in the aftermath of Culpeper’s Rebellion. They believed that Sothel had the ability to remedy the disorder, but he turned out to be a dreadful governor. .... Sothel left the southern colony and died around 1694. He was possibly buried at his Salmon Creek plantation.


John Hill Wheeler, found on page 31 of his book Historical Sketches of North Carolina (first published in 1851)

"The Character of Sothel presents every vice that can degrade man or disgrace his nature.  During the six years that he misruled the people of North Carolina, the dark shades of his character were not relieved by a single ray of virtue.  Profligate in his habits, licentious in his tastes, sordid and avaricious in his conduct; his administration is marked by every kind of extortion.  He was not fit to rule over a people that were impatient of any tyranny or oppression.  He was impeached, imprisoned by the people, and sentenced by the colony to twelve months exile, and a perpetual incapacity for the office of governor.   He returned to South Carolina, where he afterwards became governor; from this colony also his vices expelled him, and he died in North Carolina in 1692 without issue."


On December 2, 1689, the Lords Proprietors sent a letter to Governor Seth Sothel suspending him from office. Click Here to read that letter.
Seth Sothel then fled to South Carolina where he actually became governor in 1690, but soon met a fate similar to that he had experienced in the northern part of the colony. On November 8, 1691, the Lords Proprietors sent him a letter advising him that his governorship was now cancelled and that Philip Ludwell would soon be in Charles Town as the new governor.
After his banishment we find ex-governor Seth Sothel returning to Albermarle and his home on Salmon Creek where he died in 1692 [one source asserts he died in 1694]. He left no children. His wife had had two previous husbands and on Sothel's death, married again for the fourth time. There is some confusion as to this lady's maiden name. Some genealogists say she was Ann (Anna) Willis of Ipswich, Massachusetts, but Governor Seth Sothel in his will speaks of his father-in-law, Edward Forster. Anna Willis' husbands before Governor Seth Sothel had been Robert Rascoe of "Roanoke" and James Blount, who came to Carolina from Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Her last husband was Col. John Lear of Nansemond County, Virginia.
Among the items of his will, Governor Seth Sothel left his plantation on Salmon Creek to his friend, Francis Hartley. To his widow, Anna, he left his property in the vicinity of Bath and a life estate in two-thirds of his seignor bounded on Flatty Creek and the Pasquotank River. To his father-in-law, Edward Forster, he gave his plantation at Cuscopenum. To William Duckenfield, William Wilkinson, and Henderson Walker (all members of his Executive Council) he left each five pounds for the purpose of purchasing a good mourning ring. The will is dated January 20, 1689 and probated February 3, 1693.
Robert Rascoe of Roanoke married Anna Willis of Ipswich, Essex County Massachusetts. The actual marriage may have occured in Exeter, Rockingham County New Hampshire (New England Colony) between 1653 and 1660. Robert Rascoe apparently died before 1663 and Anna then married Captain James Blount of Isle of Wright County Virginia and Chowan Province, North Carolina. On June 13, 1663 James Blount was granted letters of administration in rights of his wife Anna on the estate of Robert Rascoe. James Blount died in Chowan County NC in 1685.
... History has never recorded anything favorable concerning Governor Seth Sothel and time has even obliterated the exact location where he is buried, but somewhere along the shores of Bertie County on the Avoca plantation is the grave of that colorful, though tarnished, personality which figured so notoriously in the early narrative of the North Carolina colony.

From Seldens of Virginia and Allied Families, Volume 1 By Mary Selden Kennedy page 24-25

"Col. John Lear was for many years an active resident of Nansemond County, member of the Council, etc. He died June 27, 1696. He married, at least, four times, the first marriage being prior to 1678. The name of his first wife is not known. His children by her were Martha, who married, first, Col. William Cole, and, second, Major Lewis Burwell (see Burwell Family, Number 2), and a son, Thomas. After his first wife's death, he married, second, after 1678, Anne, Widow of Col. John George. His third marriage was after 1688. His third wife was Rebecca, widow of Col. Leonard Yeo and Charles Moryson. He married, fourth, Anne Willis, of Ipswich, Mass., widow of Seth Sothel, Governor of North Carolina. She died before 1695. Thomas Lear, son of Col. Lear, by his first wife, married Elizabeth, daughter of Col. Joseph Bridges of Isle of Wight County, another member of the Council. He died before his father, leaving issue, named in Col. John Lear's will (see William and Mary Quarterly, VII, page 309), Thomas, John, Elizabeth, and Martha. Of these, John was living in 17 12. He married Elizabeth, the executrix of Isabella Haveild of Nansemond, who was the executrix of Luke Haveild of Nansemond. He was Sheriff of Nansemond in 1723."

From The Lincolnshire origin of some Exeter settlers by Sanborn, V. C. (Victor Channing), 1867-1921; Hall, Virginia Published 1914 page 18 Hall, Virginia, "The Daughters of Balthazar Willix of Exeter"

"The following records and notes relate to the daughters of Balthazar WILLIX(1) of Exeter and may be regarded as a continuation of the article by Mr. Franck W. Hackett in Register, vol. 50, pp. 46-48 [see below, following this article].
"'Whearas Hon. Seth SOUTHELL, Esqr. and James BLUNT, both of North Carolinah, did by their Last Wills give and bequeath unto Anna: first wife of said BLUNT and afterwards the wie of said SOUTHWELL and her heirs, afterwards wife of Col. John LERE of Vergenea and so Died. Whose Sisters and Brother-in-law, Hazelpony WOOD of Ipswich in the Province of Massachusetts in New England, and Francis JOWNES and Suzana his wife of Portsmo. in the Province of New Hampshire, said Hazelpony and Suzannah own sisters both by father and mother's side to the above said Anna and so right heirs, in consideration of £250 sell unto our kinsman Thomas PICKERINGE of Portsmo. formerly our attorney, all the estate given to our sister Anna LERE by said BLUNT and SOUTHELL in North Carolina.' Dated 4 June 1697. Witnesses: James ALLEN, John PICKERINGE. Recorded 6 Sept. 1709. (N.H. Province Deeds, vol. 7, p. 344.)
"The following facts about Anna, daughter of BAlthazar WILLIX, are found in the North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 1, pp. 34, 74, vol. 3, pp. 247, 254:
"James BLOUNT came to Chowan Precinct, Colony of Carolina, from Isle of Wight Co., Va., in 1669, where he was living with his family in 1660, Mrs. Anna BLOUNT, his wife, who first appears as 'Anne WILLIS of ipswich, Massachusetts,' married first Robert ROSCOE of Roanoke; secondly James BLOUNT, whose will was proved 17 July 1686; thirdly Seth SOUTHEL, governor of North Carolina, whose will was proved 3 Feb. 1693/4;(2) and fourthly Col. John LEAR of Nasemond Co., Va. In a suit brought by the executors of Col. LEAR in 1697 he was called executor of Madam Anna LEAR, and mention was made of certain goods consigned to her as Madam SOTHELL from Col. John FOSTER of Boston.
"Madam Anna LEAR died before 1695, and Col. LEAR died 27 June 1696. (Virginia Historical Magazine, vol. 17, p. 228; William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 8, p. 171, vol. 9, pp. 83-131.)
". . . In the library of the Portsmounth (N.H.) Athenaeum is a MS. record book of original entries made by notaries public at Great Island (New Castle) and at Portsmouth . . .
"The deposition of Francis JONES aged 57 or thereabouts, Testifieth & sayeth that he very well know Haselphena WILLIX, Annah WILLIX and Susannah WILLEX all three the reputed Daughters of Belshazer WILLEX sometime of Exeter in New England and Annah his wife of whom the afore mentioned three sisters were borne & owned to be the children of sd Belshaser & Annah his wife. The Deponent farther Testifeth that he very well knew Robt ROSCO who married Anna WILLEX one of the three sisters above named, she afterward went to Roan Oke, or North Carolina, and as I the sd Deponent understood sd ROSCOE there died sd Annah became wife to one BLUNT & after his decease to one SOUTHWELL and last of all the wife of one Collo LEARE in Virginia & farther sayth not

From Virginia Historical Magazine, vol. 17, p. 228; William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 8, p. 171, vol. 9, pp. 83-131.

"Madam Anna LEAR died before 1695, and Col. LEAR died 27 June 1696."


Library of Virginia - Digital Colonial Collection #258

pp 2-3: Petition of William Bowtell and Thomas Winborne to the Privy Council 13 July 1696. The petitioners beg that John Lear, a member of the Council of Virginia may be compelled to pay to them debts owed by his late wife as widow of Seth Southell, late Governor of Carolina. They ask that the unjust rule of the Council of Virginia exempting its members from liability for debts may not be enforced in this case.



  • 1Noyes, Sybil., Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1972.), p. 759, Los Angeles Public Library, Gen 974.1 N958a.
  • 2Sanborn, Victor Channing, "The Lincolnshire Origin of Some Exeter Settlers," NEHGR 68:1 (Jan 1914) (New England Historic, Genealogical Society.), p. 80, Los Angeles Public Library.
  • 3Hackett, Frank W., "Balthazar Willix," NEHGR 50:1 (Jan 1896) (New England Historic, Genealogical Society.), p. 47, Los Angeles Public Library.
  • 4Hall, Virginia, "The Daughters of Balthazar Willix of Exeter," NEHGR 68:1 (Jan 1914) (New England Historic, Genealogical Society.), p. 81, Los Angeles Public Library.
  • 5Snow, Nora Emma, The Snow-Estes Ancestry (Hillburn, New York: N.E. Snow, 1939.), 1:82, Family History Library, 929.273 Sn61s.
  • 6Hoyt, David Webster, The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts (Somersworth, New Hampshire: New England History Press, 1981.), p. 1091, Los Angeles Public Library, Gen 974.42 S18Ho 1981.
  • The Lincolnshire origin of some Exeter settlers by Sanborn, V. C. (Victor Channing), 1867-1921; Hall, Virginia S Published 1914.  Hall, Virginia, "The Daughters of Balthazar Willix of Exeter." page 18
    • 1. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register; (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001), (Orig. Pub. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 148 vols., 1847-1994) 50: 48.
    • 2. NEHGR, 68: 81.
    • 1. NEHGR New England Historic Genealogical Society Register (Boston, MA, NEHGS, 1847-) Page: v.68, p.80-82
    • 2. NEHGR New England Historic Genealogical Society Register (Boston, MA, NEHGS, 1847-) Page: v.68, p.81
    • 3. Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (1992 ed.) Torrey, Clarence Almon with a revised introduction by Gary Boyd Roberts, New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Baltimore, MD, Genealogical Pub. Co., 1985) Page: p.637
    • 4. GenServ Database Title: GenServ Database printout/report (Internet database Page: C.R. Wilcox, Database WILB6GA
  • The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1896 By Nehgs, New-England Historic page 48


@R-846509476@ U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s Operations, Inc 1,7486::0


Place: Virginia; Year: 1653; Page Number: 364 1,7486::4001521


@R-846509476@ U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s Operations, Inc 1,7486::0


Place: Virginia; Year: 1653; Page Number: 364 1,7486::4001521


@R-846509476@ Ancestry Family Trees Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.


Ancestry Family Tree

view all 16

Anna Lear's Timeline

of, Alford, Lincolnshire, England
Age 14
May 13, 1695
Age 56
Nansemond County , Virginia
April 12, 1952
Age 56