Richard Bland, II, Continental Congress

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Richard Bland, II, Continental Congress

Also Known As: "Blount"
Birthplace: The Richard Bland House (now Wetherburn's Tavern), Williamsburg, Independent City, Virginia, United States
Death: October 26, 1776 (66)
Williamsburg, James City County, Virginia, United States (Stroke)
Place of Burial: Jordan Point Manor, Prince George County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Bland, of Jordan's Point and Elizabeth Bland
Husband of Anne Bland; Martha Lucy Bland and Elizabeth Bland
Father of Richard Bland, III; Elizabeth Poythress; Ann Poythress Pryor; Lucy Bland; Peter Randolph Sr Bland and 8 others
Brother of Mary Lee; Elizabeth Beverley; Theodorick Bland, of Cawsons; Anna Currie and Theodorick Bland
Half brother of NN Bland, died in infancy 1; NN Bland, died in infancy 2; NN Bland, died in infancy 3; NN Bland, died in infancy 4; NN Bland, died in infancy 5 and 2 others

Occupation: Burgess, planter, statesman
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Richard Bland, II, Continental Congress

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA. DAR Ancestor # A011131, Patriotic Service.

BLAND, Richard, statesman, born in Virginia, 6 May 1710; died in Williamsburg, Virginia, 26 October 1776. He was educated at William and Mary College and at the University of Edinburgh. In 1745 he was elected to the house of burgesses and became one of its most distinguished members. He opposed the stamp act in 1764, and served on the committee to memorialize the king, lords, and commons. In 1768 he was one of the committee appointed to remonstrate with parliament on the subject of taxation. After the dissolution of the house in the following year he was among the first to sign the non-importation agreement proposed at the subsequent meeting held at Raleigh tavern. In 1773 he was a member of the committee of correspondence, and in 1774 a delegate to congress. He was re-elected in 1775, but declined the honor on account of his advanced age. He was a fine classical scholar, and had acquired the name of "Virginia Antiquary" on account of his familiarity with every part connected with the settlement and progress of the colony. Moreover, he was accepted as an authority on all questions touching the rights and privileges of the colony. Mr. Bland published "A Letter to the Clergy on the Twopenny Act" (1760) ; and "An Inquiry into the Rights of the British Colonies " (1766), which was the first tract written on that subject.


80.Richard Bland, born May 6, 1710 in Williamsburg, VA4; died October 26, 1776 in Williamsburg, VA4.

He was the son of 160. Richard Bland and 161. Elizabeth Randolph.

He married 81. Anne Poythress March 21, 1729/30 in Bland-Wetherburn House. 81.Anne Poythress, born December 13, 17124; died April 9, 1758 in Williamsburg, VA4.She was the daughter of 162. COL Peter Poythress and 163. Anne Baker.

Notes for Richard Bland:

Richard graduated from Wlliam & Mary in 1730; attended University ofEdinburgh (Scotland);

Married Anne Poythress, 2nd wife Martha Macon, 3rd wife Elizabeth Blair; 12 children; Member of VA House of Burgessesfrom Prince George Co., 1745-1775; Member of committee to remonstratewith Parliament concerning taxation leader, 1748; signer ofNon-Importation Agreement, 1769; Member VA Commission of Correspondence,1773; delegate from VA to Continental Congress, 1774-75; Author: InquiryInto the Rights of British Colonies (1st published work stating colonialpostion on taxation), 1766. Buried at Jordan Point Plantation on theJames River in Virginia. (Who's Who Page 128)

Children of Richard Bland and Anne Poythress are:

  1. 40 i. Edward Bland, born December 16, 1746 in Pr.George Co., VA; died February 5, 1795 in Amelia Co., VA; married Elizabeth Cocke.
  2. ii. Anne Bland.
  3. iii. Elizabeth Bland, married Peter Poythress.
  4. iv. <Unnamed>.
  5. v. Richard Bland, born 1731; died 1776; married Mary Bolling October 8, 1761.


Richard Bland (May 6, 1710 - October 26, 1776) was an American planter and statesman from Virginia. He served for many terms in the House of Burgesses, and was a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1774 and 1775.

Family and early life

An earlier Richard Bland, grandfather of the subject of this article, was a member of one of the main patriarchal First Families of Virginia, and was related to many of the others. This branch of the Bland family first came to Virginia in 1653, when Theoderick (1630-1671) emigrated from London. He establishedBerkeley Plantation on the bank of the James River. He served several terms in the House of Burgesses, and was its speaker in 1660 when he married Governor Richard Bennett's daughter, Anne. Before Anne died in 1688 they had three sons: Theoderick (1663-1700), Richard (1665-1720), and John (1681-1746).[ 1]

Not being the eldest, Richard (the father of the subject of this article) moved further up the river and started his own plantation, which became known as Jordan's Point Plantation near the current Jordan Point in Prince George County, Virginia. His first wife was Mary Swann, but she died without living children. In 1702 he married Elizabeth Randolph (1680-1720). They would have five children: Mary (1703) married Henry Lee, Elizabeth (1706) married William Beverley, Richard (1710), Anna (1711) married Robert Munford, and Theoderick (1718) whose son,Theodorick Bland, also became a congressman. The Richard of this generation also served in the House of Burgesses.

So, when Richard was born on May 6, 1710 at Jordan's Point, he was heir to the farm, and lived there his entire life. He inherited it early, as both his parents died just before his tenth birthday in 1720. His mother Elizabeth died on January 22, and his father Richard on April 6. His uncles, William and Richard Randolph, looked after his farm and early education. He attended the College of William and Mary then, like many of his time, completed his education in Europe, at Edinburgh University. He was trained in the law and admitted to the bar in 1746, but never practiced law.

He married Anne Poythress (December 13, 1712-April 9, 1758), the daughter of Colonel Peter and Ann Poythress[ 2], from Henrico County, Virginia. The couple married at Jordan's Point onMarch 21, 1729, and made it their home. They had twelve children: William (1730), Elizabeth (1732), Sarah (1733), Mary (1735), Lucy (1737), Peter (1737), Theoderick (1738), Edward and John (twins, 1739), Ann (1743), Richard (1745), and one child whose details are unknown. He would marry twice after Anne died, but without any more children.

Early political career

Bland served as a Justice of the Peace in Prince George County, and was made an officer in the militia in 1739. In 1742 he was first elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. He would serve there continuously until it was displaced during the American Revolution. His thoughts and thoughtful work made him one of its leaders, although he was never a strong speaker. However, he was frequently put on committees whose role was to negotiate or frame laws and treaties. He became involved in the creation of pamphlets, or published letters, frequently as an anonymous author.

His first widely distributed public paper came as a result of the Parson's Cause, which was a debate from 1759 to 1760 over the established church and the kind and rate of taxes used to pay the Anglican clergy. His pamphlet A Letter to the Clergy on the Two-penny Act was printed in 1760, as he opposed increasing pay and the creation of a bishop for the colonies.

Colonial rights advocate

When the Stamp Act created controversy throughout the colonies, Bland thought through the entire issue of parliamentary laws as opposed to those that originated in the colonial assemblies. While others, particularly James Otis, get more credit for the idea of "no taxation without representation", the full argument for this position seems to come from Bland. In early 1766, he wrote An Inquiry into the Rights of the British Colonies. It was published in Williamsburg and reprinted in England.

Richard's Inquiry examined the relationship of the king, parliament, and the colonies. While he concluded that the colonies were subject to the crown, and that colonists should enjoy the rights of Englishmen, he questioned the presumption that total authority and government came through parliament and its laws. Thomas Jefferson described the work as "the first pamphlet on the nature of the connection with Great Britain which had any pretension to accuracy of view on that subject.... There was more sound matter in his pamphlet than in the celebrated Farmer's letters."

In 1774, the Virginia Burgesses sent him to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. A number of the views he had expressed in his Inquiry found their way into that first session of the Congress, in its Declaration of Rights.

Founding the state of Virginia

In 1775, as revolution neared in Virginia, the Virginia Conventionreplaced the Burgesses and the Council as a form of ad-hoc government. That year he met with the Burgesses and with the three sessions of the convention. In March, after Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech, he was still opposed to taking up arms, and led the defeat of that motion. He believed that reconciliation with Britain was still possible and desirable. Nevertheless, he was named to the committee of safety and re-elected as a delegate to the national Congress. In May he travelled to Philadelphia for the opening of the Second Continental Congress, but soon returned home, withdrawing due to the poor health and failing eyesight of old age. However, his radicalism had increased, and by the Convention's meeting in July, he proposed hanging Lord Dunmore, the royal governor. In the first convention meeting of 1776, Richard Bland declined a re-election to the Continental Congress, citing his age and health. However, he played an active role in the remaining conventions. He served on the committee which drafted Virginia's first constitution in 1776. When the House of Delegates for the new state government was elected, he was one of the members. He died while serving in the new house, on October 26, 1776 at W illiamsburg, Virginia. In November he was taken home one last time, and was buried in the family cemetery at Jordan's Point in Prince George County. Bland County, Virginia and Richard Bland College are named in his honour.

Info added per DAR's "Lineage Book of the Charter Members" by Mary S Lockwood and published 1895 stating:

"Richard Bland, Jr., was a member of the first Virginia Convention, member of First Continental Congress, member of Convention of 1776, which reprted Declaration of Rights and Constitution."

See N No 2

From rootsweb:

He was called either "The Virginia Antiquary" or simply "the Antiquarian," for his work preserving early history of the Virginia.

He would have signed the Declaration of Independence, but he became ill, and Francis Lightfoot Lee signed instead.

He was the author of many pamphlets prior to the revolution, some which are considered by many to have formed part of the intellectual underpinnings of the war.

Thomas Jefferson, the President, bought many of Richard Bland's Papers from his estate after his death. These papers are part of the collection now at the Library of Congress. Some can be viewed on-line.

Thomas Jefferson and Richard Bland were first cousins once removed.

Richard Bland member of the Virginia Committee of Correspondence in 1773; took a leading part in the Revolutionary War; Member of the Continental Congress in 1774 and 1775; again chosen, but declined to serve; member of the Revolutionary conventions of 1775 and 1776; died in Williamsburg, VA, October 26, 1776; interment in a private cemetery on the Jordan Point plantation, on the James River.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1949

  1. Malone, Dumas, 1892- The story of the Declaration of independence / Bicentennial ed. New York : Oxford University Press, 1975. 288 p. : ill. ; 29 cm.

US Continental Congressman. He was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, 1742 to 1775 and a member of the Virginia committee of correspondence in 1773. In 1774, he was elected a member of the First Continental Congress, serving until 1775. Reelected to Second First Continental Congress, he declined to serve and was a member of the Virginia Revolutionary conventions of 1775 and 1776. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1776, serving until his death. US Continental Congressman Theodorick Bland was his nephew

Birth location also know historically as : Jordan's Point, Berkeley, Charles City, Province of Virginia.

"The Bland papers : being a selection from the manuscripts of Colonel Theodorick Bland, jr. ; to which are prefixed an introduction, and a memoir of Colonel Bland" page 149

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Richard Bland, II, Continental Congress's Timeline

of, Henrico, Virginia, United States
May 6, 1710
The Richard Bland House (now Wetherburn's Tavern), Williamsburg, Independent City, Virginia, United States
February 20, 1731
Jordan's Point, Prince George, Virginia
March 17, 1732
Prince George County, Virginia
August 15, 1735
Jordans Point, Prince George, Virginia, United States
February 13, 1737
Prince George, VA, United States
Prince George, VA, United States
October 19, 1739
Jordans Point, Prince George, Virginia, United States
Jordan, VA, United States