John Wescott (1774-1830) Common Law Marriage (Wescott Family)

4th Great Grandfather (Capt. John T. Wescott’s grandfather)

John started living with Barbara “Barby” Midgett around 1807 in Currituck County, North Carolina.  This was a common-law marriage. Barbara was married to Ambrose N. Dough who had taken an extended voyage. When he returned, Barbara was with a man (Wescott) and already had two children. Ambrose wanted a reconciliation, but Barbara refused. John and Barby actually married in 1824 after their 7th child.

~~ Spelling is as it was in the document.  Researched by cousins in Dare County, North Carolina~~





John Weskett, Jr. was born between 1774 and 1780 according to census records. As already shown, he purchased land from his father on June 9, 1802. He sold this land to
Simeon Sawyer on July 28, 1810 (Volume 11, page 2).

North Carolina State Department of Archives and History
Legislative Papers 1809 (Box 1, page 243) shows the following: 

“The Memorial of Ambrose N. Dough of the County of Currituck (Marriner) respectfully sheweth that about the year 1802 he intermarried with a certain Barbara Midgett of
Roanoke Island, he being then of the age of 18 and the said Barbara in her 15th year. 
They lived together about two years and four months, when during his absence in sea faring occupation he discovered that his said wife had proved faithless and had cohabited with a certain John Weskitt, with whom she has since openly lived, and by whom she hath two children, but never had any child by the memorialist. 

The said Barbara at the time of his marriage was possessed of 76 acres of land, which the memorialist improved as far as he conveniently could, but that on finding himself so unfortunately connected he declined any further use of the same, or intercourse with the said Barbara, who still continues to live with said John Wescott wholly unmolested. 

For the truths of the facts, the memorialist refers to sundry members of the legislature, particularly to Hon Jonathan Lindsay of the Senate, Brickhouse Bell and Jesse Barnard of the H of Commons, and to Thomas Garret, Esgr of Tyrrell Co. 

The Memorialist being of a disposition to promote peace and good order has in all the trying circumstances avoided any violence, anger or malice towards the parties who have thus materially injured him. Thinking it more honourable to accord with his said wife in a desire for an amicable separation prays suitable relief. “

Test: Wm. Tathamm
Reuben Etheridge
petition for a divorce
Ambrose N. Dough and wife

Roanoke Island

Currituck Co.

In Senate Nov. 30, 1809, read and referred to Coirimittee on Divorce.

Committee reports that it is inexpedient to grant same.”

John Weskett, Jr., therefore, had children by Barbara Midgett, wife of Ambrose Dough, Barbara having been born in 1787. Barbara had apparently inherited approximately 76 acres of land on Roanoke Island as witnessed the above and the following:

“This Indenture Made this twenty third day of January 1804 by & Between Ambrose Dough… & John Weskett… in consideration of the sum of four hundred Silver Dollars…have…sold…a certain peace or parcel of Land Situated… on Roanoke Island…the same to be seventy five more or less …” 

The above Deed was signed by Ambrose Dough.  It would appear from the cited Deed that when Ambrose Dough was complaining to the North Carolina legislature about the property (76 acres of land) his wife brought to their marriage, he had already sold this land to John Weskett, Jr. for the very large sum of four hundred Silver Dollars.  Since Ambrose Dough could not obtain a divorce, John and Barbara could not marry until after his decease. On December 22, 1824, a marriage contract was signed between John and Barbara (Book 17 of Deeds, page 334) which reads as follows:

“Articles of agreement made entered into and concluded on the 22nd day of December in the year of Our Lord 1824 between John Wesket of the first part and Barbara Dough of the second part and Daniel Meekins of the third part all of the county of Currituck and State of North Carolina Witnesseth that whereas a marriage is intended by Gods permission to be shortly solemnized betwean the Said John Wesket and Barbara Dough and they the said John and Barbara being desirous that Sum provisions Should priviously Made in regard to the estate both real and personal of the said Barbara  Now this indenture further witnesseth that the said John Wesket and Barbara Dough for and in consideration of the promises have Granted bargained sold aliened released conveyed and confirmed and by these presents do Grant bargain sell alien release convey and confirm unto the said Daniel Meekins a certain plantation or Tract of land belonging to the said Barbara Dough containing about Seventy Five acres be the same more or less lying on Roanok Island in said County of Curituck and bounded by the lands belonging to the heirs of Enock Forbes deed, and the land of the afsd. John Wesket together with all and Singulasr the hereditriments and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in anywise appertain to have and to hold the afsd. Tract or parsel of land unto the afsd Daniel Meekins his heirs and assigns forever for the uses purposes and trusts hereafter declared and the said John Weskit and Barbara Dough in concideration of the premises afsd and of the further sum
of ten shillings to them in hand paid at or before the ensealing and delivery of these presents the recept whareof is hereby acknowledged have Granted bargained Sold and
delivered and by these presents do Grant bargain sell and deliver unto the said Daniel Meekins the following Goods and Chatties the property of the said Barbara Dough that is to say seventeen head of Cattle fifty head of Hogs three feather beds Bedstands and Bedfurniture fourteen seting Chairs one Bofat with all the Crockery Glass war Spoons 26 one large Mahoginy dining Table two common Tables all the kitchen furniture pots kettles 26 Cooking Glasses one Hand Mill One Loom Cardes Gear and Spining Wheels to have and to hold unto the said Daniel Meekins and his assigns forever for the uses and purposes here declaired in and by these presents Provided Nevertheless and it is the true intent and Meaning of these presents and of the parties hereto that the said Daniel Meekins shall hold and possess the afsd Tract of land and personal property to the only proper use and benefit and behoof of the said Barbara Dough to be for her advantage and benefit and use separate and apart and without the controle of her intended husband the said John Wesket for and during the term of the natural life of the said Barbara Dough and that the said Daniel Meekins shall upon the death of the said Barbara convey and assigns in fee simple the afsd land and the perishable property unto the following children of the said Barbara to wit Thomas Samuel Patrick Sally Polly Harriett and John or to such of them as may Survive there said Mother and to such other children of the said Barbara as she may have by her intended marriage to Share and share alike and in case all the aforesaid Children should die before there said Mother and She should be childless then the said Daniel Meekins shall convey the aforesaid property both real and personal to such uses as the said Barbara may appoint by any paper writing by her Executed under her hand. In Witness Whareof the said John Wesket Barbara Dough and Daniel Meekins have hereunto set there hands and seals the day and year first above written.” 

The above is signed by John Weskett, Barbara Dough (by mark), and Daniel Meekins.

By the time Barbara Midgett Dough and John Weskett, Jr. signed the above marriage contract, they had had the following children: Thomas; Samuel; Patrick; Sally; Polly; Harriett; and John (my 3rd great grandfather).

Wescott Home.jpg

Home of three generations of Wescott’s built around 1810. Moved from Manteo Airport in 1942 by D. Victor Meekins

In 1797 John helps divide the estate of his “Father In Law”

[Deed Book 8; pg. 27-28] On March 3, 1797, Stephen WESTCOT (this John’s grandfather), Joseph DANIEL, Edward MANN, John WESTCOT and Abel ASHBEE, Esq. were sworn in as commissioners to divide the real estate of Thomas MIDYETT, dec’d. on July 29, 1797.  The commissioners awarded to:
1. Azariah BAUM, husband of Sarah who was the daughter of Thoams MIDYETT, dec’d., 76 1/2 acres of land joining the land of Abel ASHBEE and Morris BAUM.
2. Nancy MIDYETT, daughter of Thomas MIDYETT, dec’d., 76 acres of land joining the land of Joseph MANN and Solomon ASHBEE.
3. Barbara MIDYETT, daughter of Thomas MIDYETT, dec’d., 76 1/2 acres joining the land of Joseph MIDYETT, Samuel MIDYETT and the Sound. Barbara MIDYETT shall pay to Nancy MIDYETT the sum of 63 pounds and 6 shillings. Barbara MIDYETT shall pay to Azariah BAUM, husband of Sarah MIDYETT, 49 pounds and 6 shillings.
/s/ Edward MANN, Joseph DANIEL, Stephen WESTCOT, Abel ASHBEE, John WESTCOT

This same John Wescott bought a slave girl named Rosetta for $90.37

[Deed Book 12; pg. 207] [no date] – Solomon ASHBEE, executor of Mary ASHBEE widow of Abel ASHBEE decd. for . . ninety dollars and thirty seven and a half cents paid by John WESKITT . . . a negro girl by the name of Rosetta . . the right whereof I the aforesaid Solomon ASHBEE, Exect. of Mary ASHBEE, dec’d.,. widow of Abel ASHBEE, dec’d. . . acknowledge myself satisfied and paid.  /s/ Solomon ASHBEE.  Witnesses: Sabra [x] HILL, Abraham BAUM, JUNR.  Proved: Aug. Term 1813; Registered: July 17, 1814.

In the 1830 census, it showed “Barbaray Wescoate” as the “Head of Household” and as still owning 3 slaves, but in 1840 she only had 1 slave and “1 insane white”.  I am wondering if this refers to John’s brother, James, who according to the census taker, “crw” could not write.  By 1850 Barbara, James, and a Sarah were living next door to her son John and his wife, Lovey.


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