Anthony Collings, 1678-1754, Cornwall to Maryland

Anthony Collings was either my 7th or 8th great-grandfather, depending on whether William Collings was Lydia Colling’s father or grandfather. But he was definitely my ancestor.

Anthony Collings was born in 1678 in Antony Parish, Cornwall, England.

Map showing Antony parish from UK Web Archive.

Anthony emigrated to Westmoreland County, Virginia before 1706. By 1716, he had relocated to Charles County, Maryland. Deeds and tax lists place his plantation in “Durham Parish, Upper Part.” This would be just west of the historic colonial town of Port Tobacco, directly across the Potomac River from present day Fort Quantico near Washington, DC.

1816 map showing the general area of Anthony Collings’ plantation from MapGeeks.

I don’t know much more about Anthony Collings, but the reason I can be sure he was my ancestor is that he was kind enough to name his son and three of his grandsons as his “ares” in his will (you can really hear the West Country accent there!) Later land records also tie Thomas Collings to Anthony as he sold his father’s land in 1773 (Charles County, Maryland, Liber S no. 3 1770-75, p. 467). And Albemarle County, Virginia tax lists from the 1780s tie Thomas to his three sons, Roger, William and Thomas Collings Jr. (Note that Anthony and the court clerk use Collings and Collins interchangeably: the family continued to switch back and forth between the two spellings for centuries.)

18 Feb 1754

In the name of God Amen, I Anthony Collins being sick and weak of body but in perfect mind and memory praised be to Almighty God for it and Revoking and Annulling all previous Wills or _ by me made I do hereby Constitute and appoint my beloved wife Jane Collins my whole and Sole Executor of all my Estate excepting what only hereafter may be _ that is as followers:

Imprimis: I Give and Bequeath my dwelling plantation whereon I dwell and Land there unto belonging unto my beloved Wife during her Life and after her deceas _ to my son Thomas Collings during his life and after his Deceas then to my Grand son Roger Collins and his male ares (heirs) and if Roger Collins dies without ares then to my Grand son William Collins and his Male ares and if William Collins dies ares then to my Grand son Thomas Collins and his Heirs for Ever

And as for my personal Estate I leave it unto my Wife during her Widdowhood and if she should marry then for her to have but her thirds and the rest to be Equally Divided between my Children Winnifred Gray and Thomas Collins and as for my Daughter Elizabeth I _ ____One Shilling Current Money of Ingland.

And after my Just Debts is paid and Funeral Charges is paid I Require of my Executor a deasent burial.

Revoking and Annulling all former Will or Wills by me made heretofore I do hereby Ratifie and confirm this _ and __ it to be my Last Will and testament as Witness my hand and Seal this Eighteen Day of February anno domini One Thousand Seven Hundred and fifty four.

Anthony Collings

Signed Sealed and Delivered in the presence of _ __

Sam’l Gray, John X Figg (his mark), Ignatious X Maddox (his mark)

Proved 4 Sep 1759 in Charles County, Maryland court.

Charles County Wills, vol 28-29, 1751-1756, pp 194/195. At Ancestry.com.

I always love it when I can trace an ancestor “back to the boat!” For now, I am researching only on the American side of the Atlantic. I’m holding off on the European research until “real” retirement! But more information on the Collings family in Cornwall and Devon can be found in “Footsteps from Baronshill,” a well-researched family history that the author has generously made available as a free PDF here.

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