Col. John Spotswood

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John Maxwell Spotswood

Birthdate: (32)
Birthplace: Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Virginia
Death: May 6, 1758 (32)
Germanna, Virginia
Place of Burial: Locust Grove, VA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Gov. Alexander Spotswood and Elizabeth "Anne" Butler Spotswood, Lady
Husband of Mary West Spotswood (Dandridge)
Father of Mary Randolph; Gen. Alexander Spotswood; Capt John Spotswood Jr.; William Dandridge and Anne Burwell
Brother of Anna Catherine Moore (Spotswood); Dorothea Dandridge (Spotswood); Robert Spotswood, Capt.; Mary Jones and Anne B Spotswood Morgan

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About Col. John Spotswood

Virginia County Records SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY 1721-1800 WILLS WILL BOOK B 1749-1759 page 10

SPOTSWOOD, JOHN, Spotsylvania Co., d. May 6, 1756, p. Dec. 5, 1758. Wit. Jane Somerville; Dorothea Benger; Lucy Dixon; John Taylor, Junr; Jno. Carter; Joseph Steward, James Taylor. Ex. wife, Mary Spotswood, John Robinson, Esq., Col. Bernard Moore; Col. John Champe; Mr. Edmund Pendleton; Mr. Roger Dixon; Mr. Nicholas Seward. Leg. wife, Mary, use of mansion house, and my coach and six, with coachman and postilion and household goods, etc.; to my daughter Ann, £l,000 sterling; to my daughter Mary £1,000 sterling, in compliance with the authority given me in the will of my deced. father, Alexander Spotswood, Esq. Whereas my father, by his last will, did give to his son, Robert Spotswood £3,000 sterling,—to his daughter Anna Catherina £2,000 sterling, and to his daughter Dorothea £2,000 sterling, to be raised by the sale or mortgage of his lands, and I finding it necessary, in order to raise the said fortunes, to sell divers parcels of land, among the rest I sold and conveyed to Col. John Thornton, 7 tracts containing in the whole 9,048 acres, and afterwards I purchased the said 7 tracts of land of the said Col. John Thornton, I give the said 9,048 acres of land to my son, John Spotswood, also to him that tract of land which I bought of Ambrose Grayson, also all my part of the estate in England which will descend to me and my cousin, John Benger after the death of my mother and her three sisters. To my son, Alexander Spotswood to inherit the property left to Mary Spotswood at her death, or second marriage. Codicil to the aforegoing, dated May 6, 1756, with the same witnesses as to the will, directs that all his children be maintained and educated out of the growing rents and profits of his estate, until they arrive at the age of twenty-one years, or day of marriage. To his goddaughter, Mildred Dixon, daughter of Roger Dixon, £100 sterling. (Page 389)

Editor's Note. Mary Spotswood, widow of John Spotswood, refused the legacies left her in the above will. ____________________________________

John Spottiswood, an eminent advocate, was professor of law in the university of Edinburgh. He purchased back, in 1700, the lands and barony of Spottiswood from the heirs of the Bells, after they had been eighty years out of the family. He was the author of the following works on jurisprudence: ‘Introduction to the Knowledge of the Style of Writs, simple and compound, made use of in Scotland,’ Edin. 1707, 4to; ‘The Form of Process before the Lords of Council and Session; to which is prefixed, the Present State of the College of Justice,’ Edin. 1711, 8vo; ‘The Law concerning Election of Members in Scotland to sit and vote in the Parliament of Great Britain; second edit. Corrected and augmented, with several Acts and Statutes relative to Elections,’ Edin. 1722, 12mo; ‘Notes on Hope’s Minor Practicks, and an Account of all the Religious Houses in Scotland at the Reformation,’ Edin. 1734, 12mo. His only son. John Spottiswoode of Spottiswoode, had three sons and three daughters.

He was married to Mary DANDRIDGE (daughter of William DANDRIDGE II and Lady Unity WEST) in 1745. John SPOTSWOOD and Mary DANDRIDGE had the following children:

i. Gen. Alexander SPOTSWOOD. "general in American army of the rev., m. Elizabeth, dau. of Gen. Wm. Augustine Washington, and niece and legatee of Gen. George Washington." (Campbell, Spotswood Family, p. 19.)


iii. Mary SPOTSWOOD. Her father each of his daughters one thousand pounds sterling and left Mary a negro slave named Phillis, anda the rest of his estate to his younger son John. "The executors were John Robinson (the Speaker) Bernard Moore of Chelsen, John Champe, Edmund Pendleton and Rober Dixon, gentlemen, and Nicholas Steward. Bernard Moore became the sole acting executor and guardian of Alexander and John Spjotswood.

Mary, the widow of John Spotswood (eldes son of the governor), married 2nd John Campbell." (Campbell Spotswood Family, p. 27.)

John Spotswood was a Colonel in the Colonial British Army. In 1745, he married Mary West Dandridge, a first cousin of Martha Washington. George Washington, in his diaries and letters, often refers to stopping with the Spotswoods at their place below Fredericksburg.

[Special Dispatch To The Baltimore Sun August 6, 1931]

Tomb of Colonel Spotswood

Slumbers of Colonial Dignitary and Friend of Washington Disturbed by Workmen on Old Farm Near Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg, Va. August 5th.

Modern progress rudely disturbed the 173 year old slumber of a Colonial dignitary when the jaws of a steam shovel on New Post Farm, four miles below this city, bit into the long unlocated tomb of Col. John Spotswood, friend of George Washington and son of Gov. Alexander Spotswood, one of the most famous of Virginia's Colonial rulers, it was disclosed today.

The skeleton was found intact, lying just as it had been left by reverent hands nearly a century and three-quarters ago. All except a few fragments of the walnut coffin in which Colonel Spotswood was buried had rotted away, but the silver name plate on the coffin,heavily stained and slightly corroded about the edges was almost intact.

The inscription, "Colonel John Spotswood, departed this life August 26, 1758, age 34, could be read easily without the use of magnifying glasses. Oddly, the same inscription was cared on both sides of the plate, but in different types of lettering although screws rusted into the plate showed which side had been used as the face.

Historian At Scene:

Dr. H. James Eckenrode, State Historian, who was called to the scene shortly after the tomb had been uncovered, said he regarded the find as one of the most interesting made recently pertaining to Virginia's past. "It may result", he said "in the location of the grave of Alexander Spotswood, who died in Annapolis, Md., while on a visit and whose burial place is now not known.

The discovery of Colonel Spotswood's tomb was accidental. It was known that the farm, long neglected from the agricultural standpoint, and now the source of gravel supply, once was the property of the Spotswood family and that there Governor Spotswood, famed as leader of "The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe," established a one time magnificent estate. But all traces of the original house were obliterated long since by time and where the family mansion stood was not known.

Found In Vault:

A steam shovel plunged heavily into the ground, bored its way in, came up with its load and left in its path a gaping hole. Workmen peered down and discerned what appeared to be a vault. One descended through the hole and with a flashlight found the remains.

Operations in the section have ceased and it was reported the State might send experts to exacavate farther by hand. The presence of a quantity of old brick near the spot indicated that the graveyard was surrounded by a wall and workmen said that while digging near the Rappahannock river, about 500 yards from the site of the tomb, they recemtly had uncovered what appeared to be the remains of a brick walkway. They also said remnants of old wine bottles had been found.

The vault in which Colonel Spotswood was buried is eight feel long, four and a half wide and six feet high. At the front was a heavy iron door that had tumbled inward. The vault once was above ground.

Was Important Figure

Colonel Spotswood was a man of importance in Colonial Virginia, despite the fact that he died at the age of 34. He represented the county of Orange in the House of Burgesses from 1748 to 1749 and was representative of Culpepper from 1752 to 1755.

From 1756 until his death in 1758 he was a member of the House of Burgesses from Spotsylvania county, in which his body was found. He married Mary Dandridge, and was survived by two sons, one of whom, John Spotswood, Jr. became a general in the Revolutionary Army and kept up the intimacy with Washington begun by his father.

Colonel Spotswood's father established his home at Germanna, about fifteen miles above Fredericksburg, where he built iron furnaces and opened iron mines. Later he moved below Fredericksburg. After serving as Governor of Virginia he became Postmaster-General of the Colonies and through his initiative the postal service in the new county was expanded and improved.

George Washington, in his diaries and letters, often refers to stopping with the Spotswoods at their place below Fredericksburg.

John, then a captain in American revolutionary army was wounded at the battle of Brandy wine.

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Col. John Spotswood's Timeline

December 26, 1725
Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Virginia
Age 13
October 16, 1746
Age 20
Spotsylvania, VA, USA
June 7, 1748
Age 22
Orange, Virginia, United States
Age 26
Virginia, Colonial America
May 6, 1758
Age 32
Germanna, Virginia
Locust Grove, VA, USA