Matching family tree profiles for John Bunch, of Virginia
About John Bunch, of Virginia
John Bunch, the probable patriarch of the oldest and most extensive Bunch lineage in America, first appears in records from Lancaster County on the Northern Neck of Virginia, dated to 1654. These records locate him around the area of present day Kilmarnock, Virginia. Somewhat later (1662), a John Bunch (probably the same person) acquired 450 acres of land in New Kent County, Virginia, across the Rappahannock River from Lancaster County. This parcel was probably located south of the York River in the general area of West Point, Virginia (perhaps near Barhamsville).
From subsequent records for early Virginia Bunches (and from current DNA evidence), John Bunch was probably an Afro-European mulatto. His father was likely born in western Africa and would have been one of the earliest Africans in English colonial Virginia. In the early colonial period, the instituion of racially based slavery had not been fully established and in many cases African "importees" were treated like European indentured servants: They were released after serving a specified period of bondage. This would explain how John Bunch came to be a free, land-owning African-American in seventeenth century colonial Virginia. It even appears from later records that some of John Bunch's descendants came to acquire African slaves of their own.
It remains a mystery how this African paternal line acquired a British surname, but one likely possibility is that John Bunch took his last name from his European mother. That the origins of the Virginia Bunch family were bound up with early (1662) anti-miscegenation laws in colonial Virginia is clearly shown by the case brought before the Virginia Council in 1705 by a later John Bunch (probably the son or grandson of the patriarch) and his intended spouse, Sarah Sladen
1705 - John Bunch, "a Mulatto," and Sarah Slayden, a white woman, petitioned the Council of Virginia on 16 August 1705 to allow them to be married because the Minister of Blisland Parish had refused to marry them (McIlwaine, Executive Journals of the Council, III:28). The Council was undecided on the issue since "the intent of the Law was to prevent Negros and White Persons intermarrying," and John Bunch was a "Mulatto." The matter was referred to the Court to decide (Ibid., 31).
Virginia Genealogical Society Speech November 2008
The Bunch family apparently descends from John Bunch who patented 450 acres in New Kent County in 1662. Another John Bunch, "a Mulatto," and Sarah Slayden, a white woman, petitioned the Council of Virginia in 1705 to allow them to marry because the minister of Blisland Parish (New Kent and James City counties) refused to marry them. The Attorney General was undecided whether the petition "came within the intent of the Law preventing Negros and White Persons intermarrying" because he could not resolve
Whether the issue begotten on a White woman by a Mulatto man can properly be called a Mulatto, that name I conceive being only appropriated to the Child of a Negro man begotten upon a white woman or a white man upon a negro woman, and as I am told the issue of a Mulatto by or upon a white person has another name viz. that of Mustee?
Paul Bunch patented 265 acres in present-day Halifax County, North Carolina, adjoining Gideon Gibson?s land and left a 1726 Chowan County will by which he left a considerable estate to a "Mulatto woman" Keziah Holdebee and her three children. And Samuel Bunch was indicted in the Gibson?s Mill area of Louisa County, Virginia, for failing to list a tithable which was probably his wife, but this branch of the family was considered white by the end of the colonial period as were the other branches of the family that went to South Carolina.
There is more on Barack Obama's ancestor Samuel Bunch and his "Mulatto" father John Bunch here: FreeAfricanAmericans.com:Brooks-Byrd
The interesting thing is that some of the VA Bunch family owned slaves.
There is an African connection here since Nathaniel Bunch of Arkansas's cousin Nathaniel Bunch of Virginia requested that upon his death his slaves be freed with the option of going to Liberia.
Another good link about this man and his ancestors, and also links to Barack Obama: Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Punch_(slave)