Today we remember an ancestor who died this past Monday 305 years ago in Virginia.
William Southard, father-in-law of the first Denny in our direct paternal line to settle in the Colonies, was born in February 1619 in Kirkham, Lancashire, England, where he was baptized on 20 February of that same year. Some sources say he was born in Leyden in the Netherlands, but that seems rather unlikely, given that his baptism is recorded in the parish records of Lancashire, although William did move to Leyden at some point before he turned 20.
His parents never crossed the Atlantic Ocean: William’s mother Margareth Lyvesey (a prominent Lancashire last name) died in England around 1624, and his father Thomas passed on in 1640 in Leyden in the Netherlands when William was 21 and possibly already married. It is conceivable that he and his father both planned to go to the colonies from the Netherlands as many did back in the day, but his father did not actually make the journey. William’s daughter Mary was born in the Colonies in 1642. Who William’s first wife was, we have not been able to find out, but we do know that he married again later in life when he was already 69 years old. His bride then was Margaret Lewis, and they got married in Christchurch, Virginia on 17 April 1688.
William was blessed with a long life. His son-in-law Samuel Denny, also an English immigrant whom his daughter had married around 1660, had already passed on in 1710, his grandson David Denny was already 50 years old, and his daughter Mary would die only two years after him: William lived to be 95, and died on 6 January 1715 in Christchurch, Virginia.
It takes a sturdy condition to live that long even under altogether favorable living conditions, and one can imagine that the 17th century did not exactly offer those, especially not for colonists.
Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Southard.