EDENS, John (III), of Henry and Patrick Counties VA

John Edens was born about 1748 in Virginia, possibly in King William County, the son of Joan and Agnes Edens[1] and a nephew of the better known John and Rebecca (Firth) Edens.[2] He died between 21 Sep and Dec 1803 in Patrick Co VA.[3] He probably married soon after 1774 Nancy –?–, who may have been either a Blakey or a Patterson.[4]

            It has been stated on the Internet that John participated in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in the Revolutionary War[5] and also that he was “Rev. John Edens.”[6] Both these assertions need more research.

            John appears on the 1787 John Edens: Henry Co VA Personal Prop Tax List B: Self 0-0-0-1-0. After Patrick County was formed from Henry County in 1790, John paid taxes between 1791 and 1799 in Patrick Co VA. On 14 Jan 1793 John and Nancy Edens sold land to William and Jane Woody in Patrick County. John was named as the father of Mary Blakey Edens when she married Levi Pedigo as his second wife on 14 Dec 1797. And John also served on a jury in 1798. Because of the loss of 1790 and 1800 Virginia censuses, John Edens does not appear on any known census list. His wife Nancy was living at the time of his will, but nothing further is known about her; she is stated to have died about 1809.

            John and Nancy had the following children, identified in his will, and all born probably between 1774 and 1803:

1. Alexander EDENS was possibly the “eldest son” mentioned in his father’s will. Along with the mother and one sister, he was to receive some of the livestock from his father’s estate.


2. Nancy EDENS was born about 1778 in VA. She received one shilling from her father’s estate. Nancy was living in DeKalb Co TN in 1852; in the 1850 census she was 72 years old and was the only person named Field or Fields in that county. On 15 Oct 1793 when Nancy was 15, she married William FIELDS in Patrick Co VA. Born in 1760 in Hanover Co VA, William died in Smith Co TN, in 1820. They had one known child:

                        i.            Frances (ca1793-)


3. John EDENS died in Russell Co VA, ca 1840. John was possibly the “second son” mentioned in his father’s will; he also received a horse from his father’s estate. On 4 Oct 1797, he married Mary MASTERS in Henry Co VA. They had the following children:

                        i.            William (1794-)

                        ii.            Anne (ca1797-)

                        iii.            James Madison (ca1797-)

                        iv.            John Adams (1803-)

                        v.            Isham (1805-)

                        vi.            Thomas Jefferson (1800-)

                        vii.            Elijah (1810-)

                        viii.            Margaret (1812-)

                        ix.            Joshua (ca1813-)

                        x.            David (1816-)

                        xi.            Goolman (1818-)


4. Mary Blakey EDENS was born on 24 Dec 1776 in VA; she is the only one of John and Nancy’s children whose birthdate is known. She received one shilling from her father’s estate. Mary died in Barren Co KY, on 1 May 1830. On 14 Dec 1797, she married Levi PEDIGO, son of Edward PEDIGO & Hannah ELKINS, in Patrick Co VA, as his second wife. Born in 1763 in Halifax Co VA, Levi died in Barren Co KY, on 21 Aug 1816. They had the following children:

                        i.            John Patterson (1800-1873)

                        ii.            Mary Blakey (1801-1822)

                        iii.            Levi E (1802-1850)

                        iv.            Agnes (1804-1873)

                        v.            Nancy F (1805-)

                        vi.            Lucy (1807-ca1860)

                        vii.            Elijah (1809-1906)

                        viii.            Jesse Sharp (1812-1888)


5. Frances EDENS was living 21 Sep 1803, when her father signed his will. She received one shilling from her father’s estate, which may indicate she was married by 1803.


6. Agnes EDENS was living 21 Sep 1803, when her father signed his will. She received one cow and calf from her father’s estate.


7. David EDENS died in Patrick Co VA, on 23 May 1852. David was possibly the “third son” mentioned in his father’s will; he had earlier received a horse from his father. In say 1806, he first married Martha THORNTON probably in Patrick Co VA. They had the following children:

                        i.            Alia

                        ii.            James


On 16 Mar 1813 when David was 38, he second married Elizabeth HARRIS in Patrick Co VA. Born ca 1785 in Patrick Co VA, Elizabeth died in Patrick Co VA, on 11 Oct 1869. They had the following children:

                        i.            Lydia (ca1814-)

                        ii.            William Green (>1814-)

                        iii.            Jesse (1816-)

                        iv.            Leveny (ca1818-)

                        v.            Andrew Jackson (1818-)

                        vi.            Henry Harrison (1822-)

                        vii.            George Washington (1822-)

                        viii.            Claiborne Caleb (1834-)


8. Sarah EDENS received one cow and calf from her father’s estate. She was married on 14 Dec 1805 to Jesse FUSON in Patrick Co VA. They had no children. Then, in 1807 Sarah second married Andrew McBRIDE in Patrick Co VA. The family was living in White Co TN in 1840. They had the following children:

                        i.            Syntha

                        ii.            Patterson E

                        iii.            Charlton Joseph

                        iv.            Camillan

                        v.            Andrew Jackson

                        vi.            Thomas Crawford

                        vii.            Sarah

                        ix. and x. two others


9. Ledy EDENS was living 21 Sep 1803, when her father signed his will. She received one cow and calf from her father’s estate.


10. Tabitha EDENS was living 21 Sep 1803, when her father signed his will. She received one cow and calf from her father’s estate.



© 2008, Kathy Alvis Patterson



[1] Edythe Rucker Whitley, Genealogical Records of Buckingham County, Virginia. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc, 1984, p. 5. (Cited in The Edens Adventure.) In the 1764 List of Tithes John Sr was listed with a slave named “Dick,” Buckingham Co VA. The 1774 Buckingham Co VA, List of tithes includes sons Alexander & John.

[2] From a “Post-It note” by Janice Pilling at Ancestry.com: The Edens Family Association who published “The Edens Adventure in 1992 sent me this statement regarding the book:”…we relied upon our own researchers of many years for most of the data. However, we relied upon research of several other researchers which we thought was well done and documented for a good bit of the information on the early Edens in VA. We found out after the publication that some of that data was flawed. And although we sent corrections to many of the holders of the book, including libraries, unfortunately it did not filter down to everyone. Now based upon years of additional research and much input from other researchers, this is what it looks like.” He goes on to say that the parents of John Eddins/Edens (1743-1803) were a John (1716-1773~) & Agnes Eddins/Eden of New Kent County & Buckingham, VA. This John was a cousin to William Eddins who married Rebecca Haws. William & Rebecca had “…a son, named John, who died 1759 in Johnston, NC and who named wife Elizabeth, sons John and William, and daughters Mary, Rebekah, Ann and Marthy in his will.”

[3] Patrick Co VA Will Book 1, p. 65, dated 21 Sep 1803. Abstracts of Wills, Inventories and Accounts—Patrick County, Virginia, 1791-1823. Adams, Lela C. Southern Historical Press, Inc. 1983. Page 15. Abstract of Will of John Edens of Patrick County, Virginia, p 65, “21 September 1803. Item: Will of John Edens being very sick and weak.. Legatees: My land is to be equally divided between my three sons. Eldest son, his part on the creek above the plantation. Second son, his part south, called ‘gum holler.’ Third son possessth the part whereon the house & plantation is contained to have at the death of his mother. Frances, Mary and Nancy one shilling apeace. Unto son David, one horse to be equal with the one son John had. To daughter Agness, one cow and calf. To Ledy one cow and calf, to Sary one cow and calf, to Tabytha one cow and calf. Wife, Elexander and Elizabeth to have the rest of the cattle, hogs, horses and household items. The same is not to be interrupted until my wife’s decease. Executor: Wife, Nancy Edens. Witness: Stephen Hubbard, Benjamin Hubbard, & John Conner. Returned: Dec Court 1803.”

[4] Possibly a relative of Thomas Blakey, who married Ann Haden. Members of this Blakey family were in Buckingham Co VA at the same time as John and Nancy, then in Henry Co, then in Barren Co KY. But at least two of her children named a son Patterson.

[5] Lela C. Adams. “The Revolutionary Period, ” Henry County: A Proud Look Back. Bassett, Virginia: First National Bank, m. d., p. 24. (As cited in The Edens Adventure). John Edens is not on Col. Abraham Penn’s list of militia from Henry Co who responded to the call for help for this battle.

[6] This is from two gedcoms at Ancestry.com: “24893” and “26169,” both posted in 2001 by the same individual who used only an alias I don’t choose to include here.

Published on October 4, 2008 at 7:59 pm  Comments (8)  

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  1. Thought you might like this information:

    1786 Henry, Delinquent Lands: John Eadens … Carolina (residence) … 300 acres
    Residence Patrick in 1787; 236, 50, 70 & 80 acres.
    Returned delinquent in Patrick after 1787.
    (A List of Lands Returned Delinquent in Henry Co., VA. Magazine of Virginia Gen, Vol. 44, #1-17)

    [Was he living in North Carolina in 1786?]

    1800 Patrick Tax List: John Eadens … 2 White Male Tithables over 16, 2 Horses
    (The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 48, No. 2, pp 140-149, Apr-Jun 2004)

    14 Jan 1793 : 14 Jan 1793, Patrick DB 1-78: Between Wm. Woody & Jean his wife of Patrick County and John Edens of said county … forty pounds current money of Virginia to them in hand paid by the said John Edens, unto John Eadens one tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Patrick on both sides the south fork of Jacks Creek, on Daniel Caseys line, containing two hundred & thirty six acres more or less.

    Gay Edens Carrigan

    • Thanks. I appreciate the details. Kathy

  2. Hi, Searching for an Eden or Edens who traveled to TN in 1820’s or 1830’s to DeKalb Co. Married, had 3 daughters, then left them and returned (supposedly) his other family. Do you have any idea who this might have been. His daughter Adline married about 1852, so she was probably born in early 1830s.

    • My Edens family research only goes through the 1803 death of John Edens.

  3. Am trying to find info on Martin Van Buren Edens. My
    Edens ancestors lived in WV.

  4. Looking for anything on Joseph Martin Edens who was born in TN and moved to MO. Cannot seem to find any of his siblings and information on his parents.

    • What are his dates?

  5. I have some possible additional information on Sarah Eden. I am a direct descendent of Andrew Jackson McBride, who moved from White County, TN to Pardee, KS. On the 1860 census, she is listed along with the rest of the family as Sarah McBride, 76 born in VA. I don’t have her date of death, but she does not appear in the 1870 census. She is buried in the Pardee Cemetery, Atchison Co, KS, however, a tornado took out her tombstone.

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