Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Allen line: Humphrey Belt, Virginia immigrant 1615-1698

I don't know very much about Humphrey Belt, not even where he was born.  He came to Virginia in 1635, as the indentured servant of William Clarke.  He was reported to be 20 years old when he arrived on the ship "America", when Jamestown Island was still a small colony on the edge of a great big continent.  Somehow, he survived native American wars, the diseases that were so common to the area, and the accidental deaths such as drowning that were all too frequent.  So we can guess that he was of hardy stock. 

It's reported that he married Mary or Margery Cragges in Linhaven Parish, Lower Norfolk, Virginia in 1649. We don't know who she was either. Humphrey Belt, or a different Humphrey Belt, appears as a headright for James Warner, who was his employer when Humphrey finished his indentureship, in 1642.  This may have been a bit of hanky panky, or it may have been two Humphreys, or it may have been that our Humphrey travelled to England and back and circumstances were such that he could be claimed again.   Perhaps he had gone on business for Mr. Warner, and found a bride when he was there. 

Humphrey owned land in Virginia, registered in 1654.  It appears that sometime between 1659 and 1663, the Belt family moved to new land in Maryland.  Perhaps his Virginia land was already depleted from growing tobacco, or perhaps the family left because of their religious beliefs.  We don't know for sure that Humphrey became a Quaker, but his son was quite active in Quaker life and it's not unreasonable to think that Humphrey at least was leaning that way.  This time period is significant because Quakers were being forced out of Virginia in the 1660s.

I've not found a land record for Humphrey in Maryland, but James Warner's land was in Anne Arundel county so it is possible that Humphrey's land was near there. We know that he owned 200 acres in the vicinity of St Mary's City, but that is the extent of our knowledge.

Humphrey died in Maryland in Anne Arundel County in 1698. As far as I can determine, no one has yet found a will for him, nor have they determined what happened to his land.  Humphrey lived through some fascinating times, and it's frustrating that we don't know more of his life.  What military actions did he join in?  Did he fight Indians?  Did he have an occupation other than planter?
What was his religion?  Who were his parents?  Where did he come from?  It will be a happy day when those questions are answered.

The line of descent is:

Humphrey Belt-Margery Cragges
Elizabeth Belt-John Parrish
Humphrey Parrish-Mary Walker
Humphrey Parrish-Mary
Moses Parrish-Mary Hill
Tabath Parrish-James Allen Jr. 
Archibald Allen-Margaret J Dunn
George R Allen-Nancy McCoy
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants