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Martha Burwell (Lear)

Also Known As: "Martha (Lear) Cole"
Birthplace: Nansemond Manor, Nansemond County (Present City of Suffolk), Virginia Colony
Death: August 04, 1704 (31-40)
Fairfield (Present White Marsh), Gloucester County, Province of Virginia
Place of Burial: White Marsh, Gloucester County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Col. John Lear, of Nansemond County and Mary Lear
Wife of Col. William Cole and Maj. Lewis Burwell, of "Carter's Creek"
Mother of John Cole; Martha Cole; Col. William Cole, of Boldrup; Mary Cole; Colonel Nathaniel Burwell and 6 others
Sister of Thomas Lear, of Nansemond

Managed by: Loris Joy Matheny
Last Updated:

About Martha Burwell

  • Martha Lear
  • Birth: 1668 Virginia, USA
  • Death: Aug. 4, 1704 Gloucester County, Virginia, USA
  • m. 1) 1690 in Warwick Co., VA to William Cole
  • m. 2) 1694 at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester Co., VA to Lewis II Fairfield Burwell
  • Issue with Wiiliam:
    • 1. Col. William Cole, Jr.
  • Issue with Lewis:
    • 2. Mary Lear Burwell (1696-1704)
    • 3. Col. Lewis III Fairfield Burwell (1698-1744)
    • 4. Jane Lear Burwell (1700-?)
    • 5. Martha Lear Burwell (1703-1738)
  • Mistress of Fairfield Plantation. She married Lewis and moved into the brand new Fairfield manor mansion.
  • Daughter of Col. John Lear & Rebecca Yeo. [SIC: Rebecca was her stepmother, she was married to Leonard Yeo in 1668] Born in Nansemond County and died at Fairfield Plantation, near present day White Marsh, Gloucester Co., VA.
  • Nansemond County is now extinct. It comprised rougly the area of the modern sprawling city of Suffolk, VA.
  • Grave was moved from Carter's Creek (Fairfield) in 1911.
  • Stone is damaged. Inscription courtesy of "Epitaphs of Gloucester and Mathews Counties in Tidewater, Virginia, through 1865" by the APVA, 1959.
  • "Sacred to the memory of the dearly beloved -Martha, daughter of -Nansemond
  • County in Virginia, married to Col
  • William Cole by whom she had two sons and
  • two daughters. Afterwards married to
  • Major Lewis Burwell, by whom she had
  • two sons and three daughters; resigned
  • This mortal life the 4th day of Aug., 1704."
  • I am descended from Lewis II Burwell through both his wives and 3 of his grandchildren (lines that married back into the Burwell line). ~ Hank Rogers
  • Family links:
  • Spouses:
  • William Cole (1638 - 1694)
  • Lewis Burwell (____ - 1710)
  • Children:
    • Mary Burwell (____ - 1690)*
    • Martha Cole (1690 - 1698)*
    • Lewis Burwell (1698 - 1744)*
  • Burial: Abingdon Episcopal Church Cemetery, White Marsh, Gloucester County, Virginia, USA
  • Plot: Sec 1
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 41152374
  • From:




By mid-1689 Cole had married Martha Lear, daughter of the Council member John Lear. They had at least two daughters and two sons. After Cole's death, his widow married Lewis Burwell, a Gloucester County planter.


March 4, 1694–November 21, 1695 - At some point between these two dates, Lewis Burwell (d. 1710) marries Martha Lear Cole. They will likely have two sons and three daughters.

2. Thomas Lear, married Elizabeth Bridger. [Identified in the will of Col. John Lear as his only son, who had predeceased him leaving children, John, Elizabeth and Martha.]



Col. John Lear's only grandson, John, died without issue sometime before 1742, which means Col. John's male Lear line ended with his grandson. This fact is established by litigation involving the entailed estate of Col. John Lear. (An entailed estate means the estate passed down from father to son for life, to grandson for life, etc., so long as the heir in possession had living issue at the time of his death. In the event the heir in possession died without issue, the estate reverted to the heirs of the grantor, in this case Col. John Lear.)

The named parties in the litigation, David Meade and William Thrustout, were lessees whose rights derived from those of, respectively, John Lear, Col. John's grandson, and Martha Godwin, Elizabeth Whitfield, et. al., probably Col. John's granddaughters and his then living heirs. Thrustout had been successful in an eviction action against Meade per a ruling of the General Court of Virginia on 15 Apr 1742. Meade appealed the judgment to the Privy Council in England and the Privy Council rendered a judgment on 3 Nov 1743 in favor of Meade and restored possession of the estate to him. Per the first cited source for this case (the second cited source contains nearly identical language): "On 10 July, 1680, letters patent for the estate in question were issued to Colonel John Lear. His son Thomas predeceased his father, leaving three children, John, Elizabeth and Martha. The estate in question ["One Messuage One Tenement and 900 acres of Land wth the Appurtenances in the Parish of Newport and County of Isle of Wight in Virginia"] descended in tail to John Lear the grandson, who by indenture of lease sold it at a peppercorn rent to the petitioner. Some time later John Lear died, whereby the estate tail determined, even if it had till then subsisted."


@R753407887@ Findagrave


Martha Yeo Lear Burwell 4 Aug 1704

view all 17

Martha Burwell's Timeline

Nansemond County (Present City of Suffolk), Virginia Colony
October 14, 1680
Fairfield, Gloucester County, Virginia, Colonial America
October 9, 1682
September 1686
Middletown, Monmouth, New Jersey, USA
January 10, 1692
Boldrup, Warwick County, Virginia Colony