Brian Flora, His Wife, Kay Kuhlman, and Sons, Daniel and Darryl
The FLORY/FLORA/FLOWRE/FLOWER/FLOURE Name
In the Southern Colonies
by Brian Flora
The early records of colonial America show ample evidence of Flory/ Flurry/ Flora/Floure/Flowry/Flower arrivals and presence in the southern Colonies as early as the beginning of the 17th Century. There are Florys and Floras living today in the Tidewater region of Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina who are no doubt descendants of these early immigrants. Unfortunately, however, we have almost no documentary evidence of accurate family groups leading back to the early arrivals. We hope that someone will be “inspired” by the clues listed below and will be able to contribute additional pieces to help complete at least some of the puzzles we have uncovered. We would especially welcome additional documentary evidence of family groupings in the Tidewater region of Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina in the 17th and 18th Centuries.
The families of a few of the early arrivals in the southern Colonies have been better documented than the others. Thomas Flora (Flurry) was transported to Maryland in 1721, and Gladys Donson has done a magnificent job using scanty and incomplete records to trace the progress of his descendants as they migrated westward. Her narrative is contained in Line A of this site. Another well-documented Flora patriarch, Lazarus (Larsus) Flora of Currituck County, North Carolina was born circa 1720 and died in 1778. He and his children are covered in Line F. Edward Flurry (Flora), was transported to the Colonies in 1738 and appears to have founded a large family in Charles County, Maryland.
However, most of the traces of the early families in the southern Colonies are isolated and fragmentary. The majority of our early settlers seem to have arrived and moved on, leaving few clues as to where they went. What we have outlined below in separate sections for Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina is intended to stimulate discussion and encourage others to join in the search for the Flory/Flurry/Flora etc. surname. It is a chronology of various pieces of evidence contributed by descendants of the “Tidewater Floras,” who have uncovered these while researching their respective family histories. Geographic proximity of the various individuals cited suggests possible family relationships, but is not, of course, documentary proof of such. We note, as well, that most of the earliest records are from Virginia and Maryland. Historians have established that an important migration route from early colonial times led from north to south. It is therefore likely that at least some of the Flory/Flora/Floure settlers who turned up in northeastern North Carolina beginning in the late 17th Century may descend from forefathers who first landed in Virginia.
Before beginning with our chronology of “clues,” a cautionary note is in order regarding name spelling. The focus of our family history inquiry is on family names originating from the French patronymic “Fleuri” or “Fleury,” loosely translated as “flowering” or “flowery.” One of the major difficulties we have encountered is that the early “scribes” were not very consistent and often spelled names based on pronunciation, or what they thought they had heard pronounced. Soundex is a coding for surnames developed by the U.S. Government for “indexing” the census based on how a surname sounds, rather than on how it is spelled. The Soundex for a name is defined as follows: Every Soundex code consists of a letter and three numbers. The letter is always the first letter of the surname (F in our case). After that, the following letters are ignored: A, E, I, O, U, H, W, and Y. Double consonants are treated as a single letter, yielding in our case FL-R-. Each remaining consonant is then coded as follows: L gets the number 4 and R gets the number 6. Since three digits are required for a Soundex code, a 0 is added, yielding the final Soundex of F460. As a result, the primary names we have sought in the archives have the Soundex F460. Thus, Flory, Flora, Flury, Flourry, Flowre, and Flower all share the same Soundex code.
In practical terms, the names upon which we have focused have the following characteristics: they begin with the consonants “FL” and are followed by a vowel or vowel combination. This is usually a “U” or an “O” but is often spelled phonetically as a diphthong (“OA” “OU” “EU” “OW” etc.). The vowel or vowel combination is followed by the consonant “R” and a final vowel, “Y” or “E” which, in the southern Colonies, often became an “A” or the diphthong “AH.” Whether Flowre, for example, or the subsequent Flower families who turn up later, were related to the Flory/Flurry/Flora family name is a difficult call. For example, the “e” at the end of Flowre name may or may not have been pronounced. If it were, he was probably a Flurry or a Flory. The name of at least one important family noted below varied between Flower and Flourry, and had several variations in between. To complicate things, the Flory/Flurry/Flora name has the same Soundex code (F460) as such patronymics as Flor and Flohr. There is even some evidence that scribes of the times took such liberties as adding an “s” to Flower, apparently because it sounded better to them, or perhaps they knew of the Flowers surname and assumed these individuals belonged to the same family grouping. Sometimes there is a link to our “clan,” but more often there is not.
A second note regarding dates used in England and the Colonies prior to 1752 will explain some “double years” in some of the citations below. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar to correct errors that had accumulated over the years. In the revised calendar named after him, the new year started on the first of January. (The old Julian calendar had started the new year on March 25.) England initially refused to accept the Papal change and continued to use the Julian calendar, but most writers were aware of the calendar differences and therefore sometimes double-dated their documents to reflect both. For example, a date of Feb. 14, 1713/4 would reflect that it was 1713 by the Julian calendar, but 1714 by the new Gregorian calendar. This was continued until 1752 when England and the Colonies belatedly adopted the Gregorian calendar.
The FLORY/FLURRY/FLOWRE/FLOURY/FLORA Name: A Chronology of Clues
Section One: Virginia
The earliest evidence of a person with a possible Flory/Flora link in Virginia was George FLOWRE, who lived in Virginia as early as 1606. (Conway Whittle Norms, The Conquest of Virginia: the Second Attempt, 1924) The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1660, Coldham, 1987, is a gold mine for early arrivals into Virginia. George FLOWER (presumably the same George noted above) was listed in 1607 (as a “gentleman,” no less) by Capt. John Smith among the first settlers at Jamestown Island, VA. Agnes FLOWER was brought from the Middlesex House of Correction in October 1618. Anne FLOWER was on a Feb. 1619 list of “boys and wenches” who were appointed to go to Virginia.
John FLORES, living at Weynoack of Sir George Yeardly, appears on a list of people “massacred by savages” on March 22, 1622. (Ship Passenger Lists: the South, 1538-1825, Boyer, 1979)
Around 1623, a John FLOURES/FLORES (along with Alwin Danyell) were aboard the bark Everett which apparently broke down in the West Indies. (“She was old and would be eaten up with wormes.”) They, and others, were apparently picked up and delivered to Virginia, but refused to return to England and seem to have been charged with desertion. (Minutes of the Council and General Court of Virginia 2nd ed., H.R. McIlwaine, 1979.) We are not sure what the outcome of the trial (if any) was, or whether John was able to remain in Virginia.
In a March 9, 1623 court proceeding, Thomas FLOWER, aged about 20, apparently agreed to be assigned as an indentured servant to Henery Horne. Minutes of the Council and General Court of Virginia 2nd ed., H.R. McIlwaine, 1979.) Thomas FLOWER is on a Feb 16, 1623 list of those living in the James City region. He is listed in an area called “over the river.” (Ship Passenger Lists: the South, 1538-1825, Boyer, 1979, p 27) On p. 58, a Thomas FLOWER is listed as having come over on the George in 1623. He is also listed on a “Muster of the Inhabitance of Basses Choyse” at Wariscoyack, taken Feb. 7, 1624, as the 22-year-old servant of Mr. William Julian. (Adventures of Purse and Person: Virginia, 1607-1624/5, 3rd Ed., Meyer and Dorman, 1987) All three of these Thomas FLOWER citations could be the same individual. To confuse things, The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1660, Coldham, 1987, lists another Thomas FLOWER coming to Virginia from London in October 1635 aboard the Abraham.
Next, a Robert FLORE turns up. He is cited in a 1657 letter published in the Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Vol. XXVI, York County 1648-1657, put together by Beverley Fleet, p. 88. Does he descend from one of the individuals noted above, or is he a newer arrival?
A 1657 “Patent Book” by Edward Diggs, Governor and Captain General of Virginia, mentions that Katherine FLORRA was “transported” to Virginia by William Roberts. He received 600 acres in Northampton Co., Virginia (on the Atlantic Coast) in return for the twelve individuals, including Kath. FLORRA, whom he sponsored. (Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. I, abstracted by Nell Marion Nugent, 1963, p. 353)
The 1658 will of Thomas Steward mentions a daughter-in-law Elizabeth FLOWER. (Virginia Settlers and English Adventurers, Currer-Briggs, 1969) According to The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1660, Coldham, 1987, in April of that year, James FLOWER, bound to blacksmith John Jones of Bristol for four years came over, presumably to Virginia. In August, John FLOWER of Bristol, a mason who was bound for six years to John Hodge, cooper, was transported from London to Virginia.
A Robert FLORY was transported to Virginia in 1665 by Thomas Gaines, according to Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. II, Nugent, 1979, p. 14. Is he the Robert cited later in Nugent as having been mentioned in a 1683 New Kent Co., Virginia land record (“land formerly owned by Robert FLORRIE”)? Note: New Kent County is on the York River in the east central part of the state. Or does this New Kent Co. Robert descend from any of the other fellows cited above? We are always looking for links.
Daniel FLOWER (FLOURE, FLOURES, FLOWERS) of London, a merchant tailor, wrote a will in August 1663 in London, apparently a year or so before leaving for Virginia. (American Wills Proved in London 1611-1775, Coldham, 1992) On a return trip to England, sometime before April 1671, he died and his will was probated and contested over a period of several years. According to another Coldham document, he had a 1080-acre estate on the western side of the Chickahominy River. Was our tailor Daniel returning to get his family, or could he have left family behind in Virginia?
A John FLOURE was apprenticed in Bristol to Lodowick Steephens in Barbados for four years in 1667. (The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1661-1699, Peter W. Coldham) He may have come to Virginia or North Carolina at a later date.
John FLOURE or FLOWRE acquired 750 acres in Charles City Co., VA between Shirly Hundred & Turkey Island Creek, on Nov. 24, 1668. (Early Virginia Families Along the James River, Vol. II, 1978) This is probably not the same John FLOURE mentioned directly above, but rather one with the resources necessary to purchase an estate on the James River in east central Virginia. Again, he may be related to one of the earlier arrivals already listed above.
Elizabeth FLEURY, a Huguenot refugee originally from Loys du Pyn, France, came over on the Mary and Ann in 1700 and settled in James City, Virginia in 1700. (Ships Passenger Lists: the South,1538-1825, Poyer, 1979) Note: there was a thriving community of French Huguenot refugees in England, especially in London, in the late Seventeenth Century. Many opted for the colonies, some arriving in South Carolina as early as 1680. For example, two apparently well-to-do brothers, Isaac and Abraham FLEURY (AKA FLEURY DE LA PLEINE or FLEURY DELAPLANE), born in Tours, France, arrived circa 1685 and applied for citizenship in Charleston in the 1695/96 time frame. (First Settlers of South Carolina, 1670-1700, Baldwin, 1985.) See the “Others” Section for more information on this and other South Carolina immigrants.
In the Virginia County, Isle of Wight, a Jno (John) FLOWER witnessed a power of attorney on May 6, 1668 for Thomas Harris granting to his wife Alce. (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia, John Bennet Boddie, 1938, p. 551) Could this be the Jno (John) FLOWERS noted below in the North Carolina Section who appears in Perquimans Co., North Carolina (30 miles to the south) in 1693?
In the meantime, Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. II, Nugent, 1979, notes on p. 62 that William Young received land in Stafford Co. Virginia (in the northern part of the state, on the Potomac River) for transporting 20 persons to the colonies in 1669. One of these was Elizabeth FLOREY. Could she have been the wife of one of the previous arrivals?
Jno (John) FEURAY was brought to Virginia in 1690 (along with 53 other settlers) by Mr. John Pleasants, who received 2,625 acres in Henrico Co., VA in “Varina Par, N. side of James River.” (Early Virginia Families along the James River, Foley, 1974, p. 32) FEURAY is included here because it may be a misspelling of FLEURY.
Samll FLOWERS is listed in the 1704 “Rent Roll of Charles City County, Virginia” (on the James River, near Williamsburg). Does he belong to the Flory/Flora/Flurry patronymic? A Margaret FLORO is mentioned in a York Co. Virginia Will in 1720.
William FLOWER came from Middlesex to Virginia on the Forward, Capt. Daniel Russell, in Oct. 1726. (The King’s Passengers To Maryland and Virginia, Coldham, 1997) William FLOWER or FLURRY was another bonded immigrant transported from Newgate to Virginia in 1726. (A source is needed for this. Can anyone help?)
In 1728, Joseph FLOWER was shipped from Essex to Virginia aboard the Elizabeth, Capt. Wm. Whitethorne. (The King’s Passengers To Maryland and Virginia, Coldham, 1997)
Edward FLURRY, was yet another English indentured servant transported to Virginia or Maryland from Middlesex aboard the Forward in 1738. He apparently stole four pairs of shoes. (Peter Coldham, English Convicts in Colonial America) He may have settled in Charles Co., Maryland, which is in the southern part of the state on the Potomac River. (See Section Three below, which deals with Maryland.)
In 1740, Daniel FLOWEREE was living in Orange Co., Virginia, andWilliam FLOWERY was in King George County. (Virginia in 1740: A Reconstructed Census, TLC Genealogy, 1998). Both counties are in the norheastern part of the state, just south of Fauquier County, where a number of FLOWEREE names are found in 1790, including the given name Daniel and William.
In 1743, Eleanor FLOWER from Middlesex was shipped “to the colonies” (Virginia) aboard the George William, captained by Jack Campbell. (The King’s Passengers To Maryland and Virginia, Coldham, 1997)
The Norfolk Co., Virginia “Land Office Patents No. 29, 1749-1750” show a grant to William Happer dated April 10, 1751 for 47.5 acres escheat (reverted to the state) land formerly owned by John Penny, bounded by a line between the said Happer and John FLORY.
In 1756, John Flower, born in England, enlisted in the Virginia Co. of Captain C. Lewis. (Source: Robert Flora – does anyone have a citation?) Were these two Johns same individual, or perhaps related?
Abstracts of Norfolk County Virginia Wills, 1710-1753, Vol. II, published by the Colonial Dames of America, 1922 cites an Elizabeth Flory in 1743 and again in 1747.
James FLOWER was brought to Virginia from Gloucestershire by Wm. Stevenson and Wm. Randolph, merchants from Bristol, in April 1773. (The King’s Passengers To Maryland and Virginia, Coldham, 1997)
John FLORROW is found in a list of militia paid at Romney and Winchester in 1775; he had served under Ensign John Higgins in “Dunmore’s War” in 1774. (Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers, Bockstruck, 1988) The following Virginians fought in the Revolutionary War, according to the Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution, Gwathmey, 1987: William FLOREA served with the Virginia Continental Line, Regiments 5, 1l, and 15; William FLOREY is cited in the Bounty Warrants (loose manuscripts at the State Library).
In the Fauquier Co., Virginia (in the northern part of the state) Personal A Tax Lists of 1790, p. 7, there are a Daniel, French, John, and William FLOWERREE. The 1799 List, pp. 7, 8 cite Daniel Sr., Daniel Jr., French, John, Kemp, and William FLOWERREE. There is a likely connection to the FLOWEREE families found in 1740 in the nearby counties of Orange and King George.
Section Two: North Carolina
The first known person in America with a Flory name was Charles Florrie, who came in 1587 and disappeared in 1590 as a member of the “lost colony” of Roanoke, of the coast of North Carolina. For a complete discussion of Florrie along with a brief history of the lost colony, click on Charles Florrie and the Lost Colony.
The next documented appearance in North Carolina of a possible member of our patronymic, a John FLOWERS, occurs in 1693. On April 3, 1693, he recorded his land on “the North Side of pequemens Rifer… Both Sides of A grate Swamp parts (illegible, perhaps “near where”) Timmeth CLARE lives.” (Old Albermarle Co., North Carolina Perquimans Precinct Courte Minutes, 1688-1738) Perquimans Co. is in the northeastern part of the state. An entry in Perquimans Co. Deed Abstracts 1681-1792, No. 80, Deed Book A, No. 80, dated Nov. 2, 1693 indicates that “John FLOWERS and his wife Susana deed to Timothy Clare all right, title lying on the N side of Perquimans River bounding on Wm. Bundy line.” Could this John be related to the John FLOWRE who acquired land in Charles City Co., VA in 1668? This FLOWERS family group possibly belongs to the FLOURE/FLOURY patronymic. We would be delighted if anyone has any evidence to support this connection. Or to disprove it.
There are extensive records for John Sr. (and Susan/Susana) and John Jr. (and Mary) FLOWERS in both Perquimans County Deed Abstracts 1681-1729 and Old Albemarle County North Carolina Perquimans Precinct Court Minutes, 1688-1783. For example, the “North Carolina Headrights: A List of Names, 1663-1744, the Secretary of State Records” for the Albemarle Book of Warrants and Surveys, 1681-1706 show a warrant dated July 14, 1694. It indicates that John FLOWERS proved five “rights”: John FLOWERS, Susan Flowers, Richard Flowers, John Flowers Jr., and Mary Stag. The later is probably the fiancée of John Flowers Jr., as indicated in multiple later records referring to John and Mary Flowers. Note: Headrights meant that you could receive 50 acres of land for each person you could prove you brought to North Carolina. Did John FLOWERS (also spelled at least once as FLOURRY in another land record cited below) come down from Virginia where they had first resided as immigrants, or were he and his family new arrivals from England?
Patent Book 3, North Carolina Land Patents show that on August 27, 1714, a John FLOWERS bought or was assigned 175 acres of land on “on the E. side of Pirquimons River, joining William Lacy and Francis Toms” in Perquimans Co., NC. The Secretary of State Land Grant Record Books, 1693-1760, Book No. 3, p. 63 refers (in a grant to Peter Albertson) to the owner of this land, which borders Albertsons’ property, as John FLOURRY, so we know that John FLOWERS and John FLOURRY were the same individual. On April 9, 1717, he was described as a Cordwainer (shoemaker) in Perq Pre’ct and, for the “for Natural Love” he bore for “Wm Steward & Joseph Steward,” he assigned to them land upon Vosses Creek (now called Mill Creek). A last record, dated March 30, 1721 mentions him again. It’s probably just a coincidence, but, 59 years before, a Thomas Steward mentioned his daughter-in-law as Elizabeth Flower.
John FLOWERS is mentioned in the inventory of possessions of Elizabeth Oglesby in 17?? (Early Records of North Carolina, Vol. III, Bradley, 1995, p. 109) In 1721 Enoch FLOWER and John Hecklefield’s were in Perquimans County. (Early Records of North Carolina, Vol. IV, Bradley, 1995)
The Perquimans County Deed Abstracts 1681-1729, No. 449, dated March 28, 1707, mentions John FLOWERS Jr., so he was still present in the county. The Abstract of North Carolina Wills shows an Elizabeth FLOWER, on October 3, 1724, witnessing the will of Isaac Willson, in Perquimans Precinct. She may have been a daughter or daughter-in-law of John Flower Sr., since he was a neighbor of Isaac Willson. In No. 602 Deed Book B, No. 211 from the Perquimans Co. Deed Abstracts, 1681-1792, dated July 30, 1725, John Sr. is listed as “decd.”, so we presume he died in that year or shortly before. We have turned up no evidence of a will.
Eight members of a FOURRE Huguenot family (Mr., Mrs., six children) were transported from London to North Carolina in 1679. (Ships Passenger Lists: The South, 1538-1825, Boyer, 1979)
John FOARRE was listed as a witness to the will of Robert White in Albemarle Co., North Carolina on Apr. 19, 1698. (Early Records of North Carolina, Vol. II: Wills, Administrations, Inventories, Deeds, 1677-1790, p. 15) In Vol. V., “Secretary of State Wills, 1723-1736” a John FOURRE, in his Pasquotank will dated March 13 1730/31 mentions his son Isaac, Daughters Elizabeth and Ma??, son Nathaniell and sister Mary Perry. Note: Albermarle County was the original County in North Carolina on the north side of Albemarle Sound. It comprised the precincts (current counties) of Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank, and Currituck Counties, where there are multiple records of early Flora/Flory/Floure names. The spelling FOARRE is repeated in other records and may be a misspelling of Flora/Flory/Floure/Flowers, but based on a search for matching first names there is no other evidence thus far.
In 1719, a John Flora turns up in Currituck Co., which is approximately 40 miles to the east of Perquimans Co. on the North Carolina coast. (This could be John FLOWERS Jr. from Perquimans Co., but is probably not, since he was still present on that County’s Tax List in 1720.) Currituck Co. Eighteenth Century Tax & Militia Records by William Doub Bennet, 1993, lists on p. 48 (“A List of Coratuck Tythables, 1719”) both John FLORA and Humphrey Vince. (Note, as well, Humphrey Vince’s 1738 will, probated in Currituck County. John FLORA is mentioned in the 1719 “Levies and Land Tax” (p 51), but in 1720 (p 12) as Jno FLOWREY, in 1721 (p 69) as Jno FLUERY, and in 1722 (p 73) as Jno FLOREY.
By 1735, John FLORA/FLORY shows up regularly in Currituck Co. records. In By a Line of Marked Trees: Currituck County Deed Books, Vol. I, Books 1-3, by Brayton, 2000, he is mentioned as “John FLOREY of Currituck” (note spelling) in a deed dated Dec. 9, 1735 (No. 694 in Deed Book Three, p. 62. By 1751 in the “Names of the Tytheables” (p 80), Lazarous FLOREY appears. In 1752 (p 87), he is Lazarous FLORY, and in 1756, Lazarus FLOWRAH. Entry No. 119 from an unnumbered Deed Book, 1764-1767, p. 56, mentioned property on FLORE’s line as did entry No. 291 from Deed Book Two, pp. 139-140. Entry No.180 on p.106 (dated Oct. 10, 1765) of the unnumbered Deed Book mentioned land “adj. Lazarus FLORA’s land… through the swamp.” Deed Book Two, p. 18 (Oct. 6, 1767) mentioned “L (presumably Lazarus) FLOREY’s line.” Deed Book Two, No. 362, p. 285 mentions Solo. FLORY and FLORAH’s Line,” while Deed Book 2, p. 380, mentions Lazrus FLORRY/FLORA “of Currituck, a planter.”
In the Currituck Co., North Carolina will of Humphrey (x) Vince dated April 4, 1738 Lazarous and John FLOWER were both mentioned. There is a yet unexplained family relationship here with an almost certain relevance to Lazarus FLORA, Sr. See Donna O’Malley’s interpretation in her essay below. (Abstracts of North Carolina Wills, 1737-1749, p. 99)
Chowan County is on the Albemarle Sound in the northeastern part of the state, adjacent to Perquimans Co. and about 40 miles from Currituck Co. Both counties contain evidence of early Flora/Flory settlers. A John FIERY’s land is mentioned twice as bordering Chas. Merritt and Peter Evins (April and June 1715) in the Abstracts of Deeds, Chowan Co. NC 1696-1723, Hofmann, 1972 No. 668 and 670, Deed Book # 1, p. 75 and 77. Is FIERY a misspelling of FLORY? In August 1723, Enoch FLOWER witnessed a deed (Wm. Smith to Thomas Mewbourn.), according to the Abstracts, No. 1567 Deed Book C #1, p. 375. He is also the defendant in a court case (“writ of error”) in October 1725. The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Second Series, Vol. VI, “North Carolina Higher Court Minutes,” Price, 1974, p. 165.
A William FLORA/FLURY was born circa 1730 in Chowan Co., North Carolina and married Margaret HAUGHTON on May 6, 1752. This according to the pamphlet “The (Fleury) Flurry Line,” by Rufus Thurmon Flurry, dated April 1983 and The Early Marriage Records of North Carolina. In the same marriage records, Thomas Dermody married Ann FLEURY on Jul. 6, 1769 and Margaret FLEURY (widow) married Robert Miller on June 27, 1772. Both marriages were in Chowan County.
In a will dated July 1, 1746, William LURRY (could this be FLURRY?) of Currituck Co., North Carolina left possessions to his wife “Miram” and his land to his son Thomas. (Abstracts of North Carolina Wills, 1737 – 1749, p. 56) In the will, there is also an interesting note of “mulatto man Thomas FLORO; mulatto boy Solloman FLORO, and mulatto fellow Thomas FLORO,” as slaves who were willed to various members of the family.
On the “Perquimans County’s Regimental Muster Roll of 1754,” Wm. FLURY is listed in Capt. Stevens Company (another source has him in Capt. Miles Harvey’s Company), and is denoted as a Quaker. The county is “next door” to Chowan County. Could the William mentioned above be related to this William, or to the William “Esq.” mentioned directly below? Also, when Elizabeth FLOWER witnessed Isaac Wilson’s will on Oct. 3, 1724 in Perquimans County, NC, she was apparently also a Quaker because she did this by affirmation and not by oath. A FLOWER/FLURY Quaker line is an interesting footnote to our investigation.
In a letter dated Oct. 6, 1761, Thomas Agness wrote to “Wm. Flurry, Esq.” of Edenton, Chowan Co, North Carolina (Silversmiths of North Carolina, 1696-1860, p. 272). This “gentleman” may be the same William listed as a sergeant in Stedmans Co., 5th Regiment, Col. Edw. Buncombe, dated Apr. 20, 1777. The record notes that he died at Valley Forge on March 16, 1778. Henry Flury is cited in the Chowan Co. Deed Books in 1802. The “Secretary of State Revolutionary War Military Papers” in the NC State Archives (Folder 101) mention that he is the brother and only heir of the William FLURY who died in 1778.
In a will dated Jan. 8, 1748, John (Job?) FLOWERS of New Hanover Co., on North Carolina’s southern coast, left his son Robert “1,000 acres on the North West River of Cape Fear, opposite Mount Misery.” His second son John (Job?) received “land on Top Sail Sound where I now live,” and “also 640 acres on North East River of Cape Fear” joining the land which belongs “now to Lt. Benjamin Flowe.” Sons Arthur and Thomas received “lands called Pertemburg, which I purchased from Samuel Swann on North West River of Cape Fear in Bladen Co., excepting 200 acres.” Son Joseph received those acres plus 300 acres on Brown Marsh in Bladen Co., which is inland from New Hanover Co. Daughters Mary and Elizabeth Flowers, as well as a granddaughter Mary Flowers were mentioned. There was no mention was made of John’s wife, but his mother Mary (deceased) was mentioned as having been remarried to Thomas Uiford, presumably after the death of John’s father. (Comment: This was an obviously wealthy colonial. We are unable to say whether he belongs in the Flora/Flory/Floure family grouping; nor can we confirm that he is related to the John Flowers family in the northeastern part of the state.)
Court records of Chowan Co., North Carolina, show William FLURY and John Campbell giving “bond” in John and James Campbell vs Nathaniel Pace, excr of Thomas Pace, dec’d in May 1767. These are no doubt related to the Williams cited earlier in Chowan and Currituck Counties. (Edenton District Loose Papers, Vol. III, Bradley, 1995, p. 5)
Edenton District Loose Papers, Vol. III, Bradley, 1995, p. 5Vol. II, p. 36 (May 1802) carries a mention of William and Richd FLORO as jurors. These are most likely sons of Lazarus (Sr.)
In the Currituck Co., North Carolina List of Taxables 1779, a Lucy FLURRY and a Thomas FLURRY are mentioned as having property. A John FLOWER is listed among the “married men in the Co. of Currituck” that pay a poll tax.
The 1790 Census for Currituck shows John FLOWERS as head of household with four white males under 16 and two free white females.
A Richard FLORA mustered out of the Continental Army in August (what year?). He had served 3 years as a soldier in Maj. Nelson’s Co., 1st BN 3rd North Carolina Regiment. He is 23 years old, born in North Carolina, and a farmer by occupation. (North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 9, 1983.)
Section Three: Maryland
The earliest FLORY we have discovered in Maryland is Elinor FLORY, cited in 1676 as a servant to Edward Keene in Calvert County, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. (Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, V.L. Skinner, Jr.) The same source notes a Richard FLOWERS in 1676 and 1688, but the county is not indicated. We mention him as possibly the same individual who shows up with his father John FLOWERS in 1694 in Perquimans Co., North Carolina.
Maryland Marriages, 1634-1777, Barnes, 1975 carries an Oct. 20, 1709 marriage of Ralph FLOWER to Mary Harris in Anne Arundel Co., on the west shore of the Chesapeake Bay, south of Baltimore. He shows up several times from 1720 to 1725 in Anne Arundel Co. in the Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, V.L. Skinner, Jr. The same source mentions a John FLOWER in the county in 1729 and a William FLOWER in 1740.
The Maryland Calendar of Wills 1713-1720, Vol. IV, Baldwin and Henry, 1914, indicates that John FLOWRY witnessed will of Dorrington Fisher on Dec. 3, 1713 in Dorchester Co. (Dorchester County lies on the southeastern bank of the Chesapeake Bay.) On Feb. 22, 1714/15 Jno (presumably, John) FLOWER was cited as the executor for the will of David Rogers in the same county. Three years later, John FLOWERS witnessed the will of Doroty Taylor on April 20, 1717, again, in Dorchester County. It is likely that all three of these individuals were the same. Is this another case where the FLORY patronymic has “transmogrified” from FLOWRY to FLOWER to FLOWERS?
The Maryland Calendar of Wills 1720-1726, Vol. V, Baldwin and Henry, 1914, notes that on March 14, 1710, Thomas FLOER (FLOWER?) witnessed the will of John Salsbury and that on July 31, 1725 Lambert FLOWER witnessed will of John Beauchamp. Both citations are from Dorchester Co. On May 27, 1723 L. (Lambert? Or Lamrock??) FLOWER witnessed the will of Richard Clarke in the same county (Will Book 18). The same Will Book mentions the will of John FLOWERS, Sept. 3, 1726. It lists a grandson Andrew Salsbury, son of John Salsbury; a son Lamrock (Lambert??) FLOWER; a grandson John Summers; granddaughter Mary Sumers; son-in-law Richard Pritchard; a grandson William Pritchard; his wife Elizabeth; and a daughter Sarah Pritchard. Since Andrew Salsbury is the son of John Salsbury, and since Thomas FLOER (FLOWER) witnessed his will, Thomas could have been either a son or brother of John FLOWER.
There is also another FLOWER-Salisbury connection found in the Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, V.L. Skinner, Jr. In an unnamed county (presumably either Dorchester or Somerset, across the Nanticoke River Sound to the south), Elisabeth FLOWER is cited in April 1703 as the executrix for the John Salisbury estate. She is listed as the widow of Edward White and the wife of John FLOWER. She is later mentioned on June 23, 1720 as the administratrix of John FLOWER’s estate (her husband?) in Somerset County. A John FLOWER (Jr.?) is also mentioned at this time.
The Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, V.L. Skinner, Jr. show a Lamarack FLOWERS in 1722, a Lambert FLOURS in 1736, a Lambert FLOWERS in 1740, and a Lambert FLOWER in 1741, all in Dorchester County and all presumably the same individual. John FLOWERS is mentioned repeatedly in the county between 1693 and 1727, while John FLOWER is cited from 1702 until his will is administered 1728 by (presumed son-in-law) Richard Pritchard. It is safe to assume that John FLOWERS and John FLOWER were one and the same. There is also a single mention, circa 1714, of Thomas FLOWER in the county, as well as a Thomas FLOWERS who appears several times from 1676 to 1680. The name Thomas FLOWERS also shows up in 1750.
Thomas FLURRY (FLORIE/FLORA), the founder of the A-line, was a bonded English emigrant, transported to Maryland in 1720 on the ship Gilbert, possibly as a felon, though no court records have yet been uncovered. Thomas and his descendants are covered as Line A in an essay submitted by Gladys Donson. Although he landed in Annapolis and later settled in western Maryland, some of those who have been presumed to be his children and grandchildren may have been Tidewater Flurries who came up from the southern Colonies and mixed with the Thomas line as it migrated westward. Conversely, descendants of Thomas may have migrated south into the southern Colonies. Gladys Donson thinks this unlikely, given migration patterns, but suggests we not rule it out.
St. Mary’s County is at the southwestern tip of Maryland, adjacent to Charles County, across the Patuxent River from Calvert County, and across the Chesapeake Bay from Dorchester County. According to the Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, V.L. Skinner, Jr., a William FLOWER (mentioned once as William FLOWERS) is present there from 1711 through the administration of his estate by Elisabeth Noble in April 1745. (Given the reference below to John Noble’s will being witnessed in Dorchester County by John and Thomas FLOWER, it is likely that Elisabeth Noble was born a FLOWER.)
Another William FLOWER (possibly a son) is mentioned in St. Mary’s County in 1748 and 1750. In 1752, Charles FLOWER is mentioned. The Abstracts of the Administration Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland 1754-1760, Skinner, 1999 includes references to a FLOWER family or families in St. Mary’s County in the 1757-59 time frame. Some of the given names were Thomas, Thamer (Thomas?), Sarah, Michael, Mitchael (Michael?), Michael, John, and Charles.
In Colonial Records of Southern Maryland, Elise Jourdan, 1997, the following marriages in St. Andrews Parish, St. Mary’s County are listed: Charles FLOWER to Mary Hutchins, Oct. 28, 1780; Thomas FLOWER to Eleanor Bond on Dec. 2, 1781; and Joseph FLOWER to Patty Wise on July 19, 1785.
The Maryland Calendar of Wills 1753-1760, Vol. XI, Family Line Publishers, 1991, shows an Apr. 1, 1749 entry that a John FLOWER witnessed the will of William Clarkson. The Dorchester County Will Book 30 shows that, on Feb. 21, 1749/50, John and Thomas FLOWER witnessed will of John Noble. The Maryland Calendar of Wills 1764-1767, Vol XIII, Family Line Publishers, 1991 notes that on Apr. 4, 1764 John FLOWER witnessed the will of William Cannon in the same county.
Edward FLURRY, was yet another English indentured servant transported to Maryland or Virginia from Middlesex aboard the Forward in 1738. He apparently stole four pairs of shoes. (Peter Coldham, English Convicts in Colonial America) At least one Flory/Flory/Flurry family historian believes that he and his two sons was active in the Revolution, and there is documentary evidence as early as 1763 of the Edward FLORY/FLURRY name in Charles Co., Maryland. It is therefore possible that he settled there. More information is contained in the paragraphs below dealing with Charles County.
Maryland Marriages, 1634-1777, Barnes, 1975 shows that on Dec. 10, 1732 William FLOWER married Mary Brace in Prince George’s County, south of Washington DC, between the Potomac River and Anne Arundel County. The “Calendar of Maryland State Papers: No 1” (The Black Books, State of Maryland, 1943) carry William FLOWER in 1733 on the List of Taxables in Patuxent Hundred, Prince Georges County. We presume this is the same William FLOWER.
Annie FLOWER is listed under “Convicted Persons and Felons” as having been imported in March 1748 in the ship St. George, Capt. James Dobbins, Commanding. (To Maryland from Overseas, Newman, 1982).
Michael FLOWER shows up on a “A list of the several schoolmasters in Queen Anne’s County” dated Sept. 3 1754 (The Black Books, State of Maryland, 1943). The Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, V.L. Skinner, Jr. show him as still being there in June 1763. The county is in the east central part of the state on the Chesapeake Bay, bordering Dorchester Co. on the north. Could Michael FLOWER be related to the Dorchester Co. families noted above? The “Calendar of Maryland State Papers: No 1” (The Black Books, State of Maryland, 1943) note that a Miss FLOWER of Queen Anne’s County donated money in May 1760 from St. Pauls Parish to aid sufferers from the Boston Fire.
The Index of Maryland Colonial Wills, 1634-1777, Magruder, 1967, p. 70, lists a Michael FLOWER in 1765 in the same county. Queen Anne’s County Will Book 33 mentions a will dated Dec. 30, 1763 for Michael FLOWER. It cites his wife as Sarah; sons-in-law John Maxwell and Alexander Maxwell; daughter-in-law Margaret and Sarah Maxwell. The Maryland Calendar of Wills 1767-1772, Vol XIV, Family Line Publishers, 1991 list Sarah FLOWER as the executrix of the Nov. 3, 1768 will of John Bistall/Birstall. The Abstracts for 1763-1770 show her as executrix for the estate of Peter Maxwell; Sept. 1, 1766. A Michael FLOWER shows up in the Dec. 1767 accounts for the same county, so he may still have been alive at that time.
Samuel FLOWER was transported from Middlesex to Maryland in May 1774 aboard the Thornton, which was captained by John Kidd. (The King’s Passengers To Maryland and Virginia, Coldham, 1997)
Charles County is in the southwestern part of Maryland, adjacent to Prince Georges and St. Marys Counties. The Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, V.L. Skinner, Jr. show a Sarah FLOWERS there in 1748, and an Edward FLORY in 1763 (as an overseer). As noted earlier, this Edward may well be the same individual (or his son) as the Edward FLURRY who was transported to the Colonies in 1738. Almost thirty years later, in 1791, the following FLOWRY males were included on a list of 271 subscribers to a fund for repairing the Durham Parish Church in Charles County: Henry, William, Elias, John, Edward Jr., and Goodwin. (Historic Graves of Maryland and the District of Columbia, Ridgely, 1908) A Rhody Bowie was also a member of this church and was included on the subscribers’ list. William and Sarah FLORY witnessed the will of Rhody Bowie, dated Oct 6, 1808. (Microfilm of Maryland State Archives No.CR49, Wills Liber A.F. No 7.)
The 1790 Federal Census of Charles Co., Maryland, lists William FLURRY with: 1 male 16 and upward, 2 males under 16, 4 females, and 1 slave. It also has John FLURRY, Edward FLURRY, and Edward FLURRY Jr., as well as a David FLOWERS. All of these had entries showing sons under the age of 16. According to a family history of the descendants of Rhody Bowie of Charles Co., Maryland (“Where the Brambles Bloom,” compiled by G. Henry Bowie, 1980), Mary FLORY, daughter of Nancy Bowie FLORY and William (?) FLORY, moved to Abbeville County, South Carolina, along with some of the Bowies. Her father was deceased, and there is no evidence that any other FLORY made the move.
To conclude, we continue to search for more information on the Maryland FLORY/FLOWRY/FLORA/FLURRY/FLOWER families. We are especially eager for documentation showing the transition in spellings from FLURRY, FLEURIE, and FLORY to FLOWER and even FLOWERS.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The various records cited above trace the arrivals and early existence of a handful of Flora/Flory/Floure/Flowre/Flowry/Flower immigrants who showed up in the southern Colonies in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The spelling of the names of these early arrivals varied from document to document, in an almost whimsical fashion, and at least some of these seem to have adopted (or have been given) the FLOWERS spelling. In any case, the earliest of these immigrants settled in Virginia and was one of Jamestown’s earliest inhabitants. One, Robert FLORE, was present as early as the first decade of the 17th Century. In 1668, John FLOWRE (FLOURE) had 750 acres in Charles City Co., VA and Robert FLORRIES owned land in New Kent Co., VA prior to 1683.
In contrast to those who arrived in the northern Colonies during this period, most of whom were of Germanic origin, the majority of those in the South came from England. There was a diverse Flory/Flurry/Floure/Fleury/Flowry/Flower population scattered throughout England during the period in which the Colonies were being settled. These included many Huguenots from France and the Lowlands who fled during the religious persecutions in the mid-to-late 1600s and who were in various stages of assimilation into English society. However, there were also Fleury/Flurry families present in England at least as far back as the 15th Century, and it would not be stretching things too far to assume that a Fleury or two arrived as member’s of William the Conqueror’s Norman army in 1066. The bottom line is that several well-established Flory/Flurry lines in England provided volunteers and adventurers (as well as a few souls who, when given the choice between prison and a long sea cruise, opted for America) to help populate the Colonies.
At least three of the arrivals in the southern Colonies were “bonded” for several years to work for others. They apparently did their “time” as indentured servants and quickly migrated westward toward America’s expanding frontier. Unfortunately, only the descendants of Line A’s Thomas FLURRY/FLORA, who arrived in Annapolis, Maryland from London in 1722, have been thoroughly documented from their arrival on. Gladys Donson and her collaborators have traced his family as they spread westward from Maryland. Edward FLURRY, who was transported to the Colonies in 1748, seems to have settled in Charles County, Maryland where he left numerous descendants. More work needs to be done to link him, as the first immigrant, to the Flory/Flurry/Flowry names which show up in the county in the latter half of the 18th Century.
The family groups of the other immigrants in the southern Colonies have not yet been established, although there is ample documentary evidence of the name in all of its various spellings by the mid-Eighteenth Century, particularly in northeastern North Carolina. In 1693 a John FLOWERS (spelled at least once as FLOURY) shows up in Pirquimans County with his wife and sons, Richard and John Jr. The most coherent family information is that on Lazarus/Larsus FLORA and his children, whose line first appears in 1750 in Currituck Co. and is covered separately as Line F. There is at least one 1738 document in which Lazarus FLOWER and John FLOWER (also spelled in other documents as FLORA and FLORY) are mentioned together as legatees in a will, indicating a probable family relationship. In 1752, a William FLORA/FLURY married Margaret Haughton in the next county over (Chowan Co., NC). All or some of these North Carolina families may have come directly from England, but at least some of them probably migrated southward from Virginia or Maryland.
How much these lines relate to each other, and especially to their still undetermined first immigrant(s), remains a frustrating riddle. However, every new clue that turns up contributes another piece to the puzzle. We would hope that this effort inspires others to come forth and help us to resolve this family history mystery.
(Last revised June 13, 2003)