Dr. Tobias Selby [Selvey]

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Dr. Tobias Selby [Selvey] (Sellvey)

Birthplace: West Halton, Lincolnshire England
Death: before February 16, 1681
Accomack County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Selby [Selvey; Selbie; Sellbie] and Ruth Selby [Selvey; Selbie; Sellbie]
Husband of Ann Selby [Selvey] and Elizabeth Selby
Father of Elizabeth Fletcher; Rebecca Selve; Clemencye Smalley and Matilda Harrison

Occupation: Barber Surgeon
Managed by: John H. Nye
Last Updated:

About Dr. Tobias Selby [Selvey]

When Tobias Selby booked passage to Virginia from the port of London in 1635, he stated his age as twenty. This puts his birth year at 1615. It is possible he is a brother to Robert Selby, aged 19, who had booked passage to Virginia some time earlier. Tobias was in full support of King Charles, which indicates he was likely a junior member of the landed class. Indeed, the Selby family has been seated from time out of mind in the area of Biddleston, Northumberland. Given his profession of chirurgeon, or surgeon, he was probably educated, another clue to his origins in the English gentry class.

In 1649, there appeared a " Perfect Description of Virginia" and paraphrasing what is written it lists '....About one thousand English are seated on the Accomac shore by Cape Charles where Captain Yeardley is now chief commander...."

This was the time of the English Civil War. While the colonists were not directly involved, they had strong opinions on the matter. This lot on the Eastern Shore were outraged by the events; and without waiting for action by the House of Burgesses, issued and signed their own proclamation.

Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God for us to be deprived of our late dread Sovereign of Blessed Memory, We the Court and Commissioners of Accomacke, Do by these presents proclaim Charles the undoubted Heir of our late Sovereign of blessed memory, To be King of England, Scotland, France, Ireland, and Virginia and all other remote provinces and Colones, New England and the Caribbe Islands and all other hereditaments and indowments belonging to our late sovereign of blessed memory, Willing and requiring all his Majesties people to acknowledge their allegiance and with general consent and applause pray God to bless Charles the Second King of England, Scotland, France, Ireland and Virginia, New England, the Caribbe Islands and all other provinces and Subjects to the English Crown. And so God save King Charles the Second. Amen. Amen. Amen.

  • Among the undersigned names was that of Tobias Selby.

The native inhabitants of the Eastern Shore were few in number, and consisted of various small tribes only marginally alligned with larger tribes across the Chesapeake Bay, or further north past the peninsula. The settlement by Europeans was overall peaceful, but there was always the threat of trouble. At best, they all tried to lived peaceably, but from time to time incidents occured.

On the Eastern Shore along the Occahanock Creek Colonel Edmund Scarburgh was placed in command. They set out on some preemptive attacks of a dubious nature, which caused the Powhatan to gather in large numbers on the borders of the settlements. Doubtless Toby was a member of this militia. In fact the whole family seemed to be involved, as court documents reveal. The Court at James City set out to appease the indians, and on May 10, 1651, issued the following order:

Whereas Mr. Edmund Scarburgh, Mr. Thomas Johnson, Mr. Richard Vaughn, Captain John Dolling, John Robinson, Toby Norton, Richard Baily, Ambrose Dixon, Richard Hill, Jenkin Price, and Divers others Inhabitants and free men in the Upper partes of the parish in the Countie of Northampton Did in a Hostile manner ( contrary to the Known lawes of Virginia And the League made with the Indians) upon the 28th day of Aprill last past Rayse a partie of men to the number of fiftie persons with Armes and ammunicion and upon the aforesaid Daie marched amounge the Indians with a Resolucion to take or kill the Queene of Pocamoke; shott at Indians, slashed and cut their crops, Took Indyans prisoner, and Bound one of them with a Chayne, which said Accons caused the Indyans To Invade the Countie in the great danger of our Lives and Estate. It is therefore ordered That the Sherriff shall forthwith Arrest the Bodies of all the abovesaid parties and such other ( upon inquiry) hee shall have notice of ( which went out against the Indyans upon their Desgine) To the number of 50 persons And that hee keep them in his Custodie untill they enter into bonds to make their personal appearance at James Citty to answer the premisses before the Governor and Counsell upon the XXIth day of this Instant Month ( at the Suite of our Sovereign King) On the 11th of May the Court ordered that Mr. William Andrews should:

Send to Orencen of Pocamoke an hundred armes Length of Roanoke: to the King of Matomkin ten weeding Hoes; to the Two Indyans Which were bound Neck and Heels, Each a Coate; To the Indyan Shott by the wife of Toby Selbye Twenty Armes Length of Roanoke.

The area as far north as Craddock's Creek began to be settled as early as 1651. Many of these settlers could not obtain patents because of the disruptions of governance caused by the English Civil war. The new Commonwealth government could hardly concern themselves with the distant colonies. Tobias Selby most likely moved or expanded his holdings in this area in the mid 1650's. He later made them official in 1666, when Tobias was granted 600 acres of land along Craddock's Creek, for the importation of twelve person into the colony.

Tobias and his wife had at three or four daughters. His will was proven on Februay 1681, so he had died by this time.

(Tobias Salby of St. Olave's who married Ann Morton in 1671, could not possibly be Tobias Selby who emigrated to Virginia in 1635.

Sources J.C. Hotten, "Original Lists of Persons of Quality 1600-1700 Baltimore, 1983 Ralph T. Whitelaw 'Virginia's Eastern Shore' Nell Marion Nugent, 'Cavalier's and Pioneers Life as Described in Early Virginia Court Records Wills and Administrations, Accomack County, Virginia, 1663-1800http://tinyurl.com/Accomack-Wills



Virginia's eastern shore, a history of Northampton and Accomack Counties; Whitelaw; Vol. 1; Georgia Archives; F. 232.E2.W6 V1;PG.629

Send to the queene of Pokamoke on Hundred Armes Length of Roanoke; to the kinge of Matomkin Towe Weedeing Hoes; to the Towe Indyans (which were bound) each a coate; to the indyan shott by the wife of Toby Selbye (Tobias Sellvey) twenty armes length of Roanoke.

Virginia's eastern shore, a history of Northampton and Accomack Counties; Whitelaw; Vol. 1; Georgia Archives; F. 232.E2.W6 V1;PG.660

1666 patent to Tobias Selvey for 600 acres.

1675 Tobias Sellvey, chirurgion, gave 150 acres to his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Wililiam Fletcher, and in 1692 he bequeathed 50 acres each to his daughters Elizabeth, Matilda, and Clemencye. As he made no other disposition of land it seems probable that he had also given 150 acres each to Matilda and Clemencye, although such deeds are not recorded, as that would have given each of the daughters a third of his patent land.



1. TOBIAS1 SELVEY was born 1615 in England, and died 1681 in Accomack County, Virginia.


1635: Came to Virginia from England aboard the ship Abraham of London. Shown as Tobie Sylbie on the passenger list. (1)

1641: In an Accomack County, Virginia court record dated September 13, 1641 Tobias Selbye is included in a list of fifteen persons who had been transported by William Andrewes. (2)

1651: In an Accomack County, Virginia court order dated May 10, 1651 William Andrews was ordered to send to the Indian shot by the wife of Toby Selbye twenty arms length of Roanoke. (3)

1666: Granted a patent for 600 acres of land in Accomack Co., Virginia on April 5, 1666. Name shown on patent is Tobias Selvey. (4)

1675: Tobias Sellvey, Chirurgion (surgeon) gave 150 acres of land to his daughter Elizabeth Fletcher and her husband William Fletcher. (5)

1681: Will probated February 16, 1681 names daughters Matilda, Climencye and Elizabeth. His name is shown as Tobias Selvey. (6)


  • (1) Passengers to America, edited by Michael Tepper, Genealogical Publishing Co., page 107.
  • (2) County Court Records of Accomack-Northampton, Virginia 1640-1645, edited by Susie M. Ames, page 116.
  • (3) Virginia's Eastern Shore, by Ralph T. Whitelaw, Vol. 1, pages 628-629.
  • (4) Cavaliers and Pioneers, by Nell Marion Nugent, Vol.1, page 551.
  • (5) Virginia's Eastern Shore, by Ralph T. Whitelaw, Vol. 1, page 660.
  • (6) Wills and Administrations of Accomack County, Virginia 1663-1800, compiled and edited by Stratton Nottingham, page 11.
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Dr. Tobias Selby [Selvey]'s Timeline

West Halton, Lincolnshire England
Northampton County, Virginia
Accomack County, Virginia
Accomack County, Virginia, United States
Northampton County,Virginia
February 16, 1681
Age 66
Accomack County, Virginia, United States