IN RECENT POSTS, I have revealed research that shows that many of the families living in and around Sarum in Gates County at the end of the 18th century had their origins in what is called Pamunkey Neck, the finger of land in Virginia located between the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers. The exact names Richard Austin, Robert Napier, John Fleming, William Wyatt, and James Goodman — all of which appeared on the estate record of my ancestor George Russell in 1791 — belonged to men who lived in Pamunkey Neck while it was still Indian Land set aside for the Pamunkey and Chickahominy peoples prior to 1704.
This latest find, from the North Carolina Genealogical Register, shows that a man named Robert Napier, described as being “late of New Kent Co., Va.,” was living in the Gates County area as early as 1707. The Napiers of Pamunkey Neck trace back to an Edinburgh merchant named Patrick Napier who emigrated to Virginia, and who had a son, Robert Napier (1660-1748), who patented the land in Pamunkey Neck in 1704. However, this Robert Napier did not leave that area. So, we now have two men with the same name originating in New Kent County. One stayed, the other one moved near Sarum, the site of an Indian school located between the Meherrin and Chowanoke Indian towns, in what is now Gates County. There is no clear genealogical relationship between the two men.
I am starting to become convinced that these are the mixed-blooded children of the Scottish traders from the days of the Pamunkey land lease in what are now New Kent, King William, and King and Queen counties. They might have moved to North Carolina to live in an environment more tolerant of their mixed heritage. In the 1800 census of Gates County, Robert Napier is the head of a household of six, including one other free person. When I looked to see if I had any DNA matches with the Napier name from New Kent County, I did! They were intermarried with the Native American Sizemore family.