John 'Blacksmith' Wooldridge

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John 'Blacksmith' Wooldridge

Birthdate:
Birthplace: United Kingdom
Death: Died in Chesterfield, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Wooldridge and Martha Wooldridge
Husband of <private> ??? and Martha Wooldridge
Father of Capt. William Wooldridge; Mary Trabue; Thomas Wooldridge; John Wooldridge, Jr.; Robert Wooldridge, Sr. and 1 other

Occupation: Blacksmith, planter, Immigrated to USA in 1690's
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John 'Blacksmith' Wooldridge

1. JOHN WOOLDRIDGE (ca.1678-1757), blacksmith, farmer, and founder of a long-lived and far spread family. The family home was named "Midlothian," perhaps (or perhaps not) In memory of a distant origin in lowland Scotland.

John Wooldridge (Sr.) was born about 1678 and immigrated from Scotland, Ireland or England (probably from Scotland) to Virginia in the New World probably in the 1690's as an indentured servant to Richard Kennon in Henrico County. In March 1699 he petitioned against Mrs. Elizabeth Kennon, "for wages according to Indenture." The petition was held through three subsequent sessions. The 1699 petition suggests an artisan's contract for passage -- John was a blacksmith -- as wages were more characteristic of artisans than agricultural indentures. The suit is the first record of "a new man" in that part of Virginia.

... The couple's association with families like the Osbornes, Wards, and Branches points to a connection with people who had been resident much earlier in Virginia and who had already made places for themselves, although their original prominence was going into eclipse. In short, John Wooldridge seems to have made a good marriage, not into the local leadership but at least into solidly established clans. ... In addition, four of John's six children married Huguenots.

The movement from servant to artisan to planter bears witness to he opportunities in 18th century Virginia for people who started with nothing. Progress took time and longevity helped. Wooldridge was 33 before he owned his first acre and when the tax collector came in 1736, about 56 old, he owed quit rents on 800 acres owned by John Roberts, and John Wooldridge Jr. paid on 300 just purchased from Samuel Burton. Not until 1747, at the age of 69, did his holdings peak at 1764 acres, including 400 long in the possession of his son John.

But if progress was slow, it was attainable and probably commonplace. Success for a man of this epoch, to be sure, did not mean advancing from humble origins to a position of political leadership. Wooldridge did not rise socially in relation to his peers; they all rose together. The freedmen of 1700 became the yeoman of 1750, numerous, landed, and prosperous in relation to anything they had known before. Wooldridge's family in its beginnings in the latter half of the seventeenth century could not have been called prosperous, but everyone in it meets that description for most of the eighteenth century.

Notes

  • No variation of the Wooldridge name appears as a sept or clan in Ireland or Scotland. The Wooldridge family has an ancient seat in Stratfordshire. The number of people with a Woolridge surname in England and Wales is large.
  • "The Village area of today's Midlothian started as a settlement of coal miners in the 18th century. In 1709, Midlothian produced the first commercially mined coal in the United States. According to research by the author Bettie W. Weaver, some of the first coal mines were controlled by the wealthy Wooldridge family.[citation needed] About 1745, two Wooldridge brothers came to Virginia from Scotland. They built their home nearby. The brothers came from separate Scottish mining villages, one from East Lothian, the other from West Lothian. In developing their new business in Virginia, they compromised on the name, naming their family-owned business "Mid-Lothian Mining Company". The name was associated with the unincorporated town which grew in the area, and became used as one word: "Midlothian."" (4)

Links

  1. Historical Overview of the Midlothian Coal Mining Company Tract, Chesterfield County, Virginia
  2. Ancestry tree
  3. Wooldridge name
  4. Wikipedia: Midlothian, Virginia
  5. Crab Louie's Seafood Tavern is a historical landmark with significant events spanning 250 years ...

SEE "Timeline" for chronological order of life events including photos and documents if available; SEE "Media" for only any photos included in "Timeline" if available; SEE "Sources" for only the documents included in "Timeline" if available.

John Wooldridge was born in Scotland in 1678. John immigrated to the United States and Virginia, circa 1700.


He came here as an indentured servant at a young age. He was indentured to the Kennon family of Conjurers Neck. He helped build the Brickhouse, which still stands. The house built on his plantation became a restaurant now known as Crab Louie's Seafood Restaurant. John was a blacksmith, and worked in that profession, then he bought land and became a planter of tobacco. Coal was discovered on his land and the Wooldridge Mine followed.


Immigrated to US in the 1690's

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John 'Blacksmith' Wooldridge's Timeline

1678
1678
United Kingdom
1705
1705
Age 27
Henrico, Virginia
1707
1707
Age 29
Henrico, Virginia
1711
1711
Age 33
Henrico, Virginia
1715
1715
Age 37
Henrico, Virginia
1718
1718
Age 40
Henrico, Virginia, United States
1728
1728
Age 50
Henrico County, Province of Virginia
1757
September 1757
Age 79
Chesterfield, Virginia