Please pardon me for jumping into this discussion, but I'd like to propose my opinion on Richard's parentage: First of all, his will as I have it is:
In the name of God, Amen, I Richard Byrd of the County of Hawkins and State of Tennessee South of the river Ohio, planter, being in and of imperfect health of body but in and of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God, calling to mind the mortality of my ---- and knowing that it is once appointed for all men to once die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament. That is to say, principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it and my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretions of my Executor, nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God.
And as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life, I give, devise of and dispose of the same in the following manner and form: 1st my three eldest sons naming 1st William Byrd 2. John Byrd 3. David Byrd I also give to my son David Byrd 17 pounds 10 shillings in the form of this land and to two daughter Jean McDaniel and Ann Day and my two younger sons Michael Byrd and Richard Byrd. I Richard Byrd do consider that ------ received of my estate one hundred dollars each. And I give and bequeath to my four younger children, two sons and two daughters, 1st Elizabeth Byrd and Mary Byrd, likewise James Byrd and Charles Byrd one hundred dollars a-piece as they come of age.
Also I give and bequeath to Elizabeth my dearly beloved wife all the remaining horses, cattle, sheep, hogs and slaves and household good and movable effects, together with the land and plantation on which I now live, containing two hundred acres to be by her freely possessed during the term of her widowhood at the expiration of which time or at her death I will the said land to my two youngest sons James Byrd and Charles Byrd, the plantation to be divided, the hollow the wagon road runs up shall be the line between them. The end of the land which I now live on I do will to my son Charles Byrd and the other to my son James Byrd. If the title of the land stands good or is made good by the substance of the place when they receive the said hundred dollars before mentioned and said land they are to have no part in the balance of the property, if the land is lost they are to have an equal part in the balance of the estate.
The slaves that I will to my wife during her life or widowhood, my will is that she shall give them at her decease to her children that she thinks will use them well and t= they are to be valued and they that receives them is to pay up the value of them in good trade at cash price with reducting their own part out. I say my will is that my five eldest sons and four daughters, William, John, David, Michael and Richard, Jane, Ann, Elizabeth, and Mary shall have an equal part in my estate at the death of my wife Elizabeth that is left in her hands.
I also constitue make and ordain my dearly beloved wife Elizabeth and my son William Byrd the sole Executor of this my last will and Testament, and I do hereby attest disallow revoke and dis-annul all and every other former testament, wills, legacies, bequeaths and Executors by before named, willed and bequeathed. Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and Testament. To witness whereof I have herunto set my hand and seal this 5 day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three.
Richard Byrd (seal)
Signed sealed and published, pronounced declared by the said Richard Byrd as his last will and Testament in the presence of us who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names.
(I also have the will of William Buster who's daughter Elizabeth married Richard Byrd)
I looked at the possibility of Richard being from the family in Albemarle Parish, The following family units are preserved in the Births and Deaths 1717-1778 from the Albemarle Parish Register of Surry and Sussex Counties, Virginia by John Bennett Boddie, originally published 1958, reissued by Genealogical Publishing Co, Baltimore MD, 1974.
baptisms of children of Richard and Sarah Bird
James, 27 Feb 1740, sponsors Thomas Cate, William Jones, Elizabeth Peebles
John, 4 Feb 1742, John Painter, Peter Hawthorn, Sarah Sykes
Phoebe, 25 Mar 1745, Thomas Thrower, Phoebe Thrower, Elizabeth Williams
Mary, 16 Jan 1746, William and Mary Stewart, Lucy Dunn
Richard, 16 Mar 1748, Edward Lee, Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bedingfield
Jane Bird died 13 Apr 1750, reported by Richard Bird
Richard, 3 Nov 1750, Martha Gibbs, Joshua Hawthorn, Amy Dunn
baptisms of children of William and Sarah Bird
John, 23 Dec 1743, Joshua Hawthorn, John Bird, Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth, 23 Mar 1745, Peter Hawthorn, Elizabeth Weaver, Frances Denton
Amy, 5 May 1752, John Painter, Rachael and Rebbecca Hawthorn
Nathaniel, 11 May 1755, Peter Hawthorn, Nathaniel Duncan
baptisms of children of John and Mary Bird
Howell, 25 Feb 1749, William Tomlinson, Benâ€™g Barker, Sarah Hamlin
baptisms of children of Rubin and Mary Bird
Roberts, 9 July 1754, James and Benâ€™g Tomlinson, Sarah Tomlinson
Rebecca Bird died 12 Fed 1758, reported by Matthew Whitehead
Rock, 9 Jan 1760, Nicholas Partridge, James Bosseau Jones, ---- Bird
I would like to comment a little on these families. Concerning the children of Richard and Sarah I am a bit surprised to see two children named Richard in one family. It is possible that an infant died after baptism and the name was re-used. This may be more likely when the name in question is the fatherâ€™s name as well. However, if paternal pride of that sort is operating, one would expect to see it at the birth of the first son, not belated expressed eight and ten years later. I also notice the second Richard son listed to Richard and Sarah has Joshua Hawthorn as a sponsor. This is the only appearance of a Hawthorn sponsor among Richard and Sarahâ€™s children, while all of William and Sarah show such close ties to the Hawthorns (Sarahâ€™s family?) that all of their children have Hawthorn sponsors. Another reason to think this second Richard is in the wrong family unit is a study of the birthdates within that family. If Jane Bird died 13 Apr 1750 before she could be baptized, then her mother Sarah (Mrs Richard) Bird would have been hard pressed to bear Richard by that same November. Factors which may have led the Reverend William Willie to credit the baby to the wrong parents are the facts that two Sarahs and two Richards were involved. I have not yet had an opportunity to see the actual register, but my tentative conclusion is that the Richard Bird born 3 Nov 1750 should be attributed to parents William and Sarah Bird. A second conclusion is that William and Sarah Bird were very close to the Hawthorn family; I wonder if an examination of Hawthorn wills for this period would show Sarah Bird as a married daughter?
However, we do have two possible pairs of brothers, John (born 1742) and Richard (born 1748) sons of Richard and Sarah, and John (born 1743) and Richard (born 1750) sons of William and Sarah. We can eliminate the second pair since although that John appears to have married a Sarah, he apparently served in a North Carolina unit and died in 1840 in Georgia, according to a DAR index. The first pair will fall by the wayside on issue of Richardâ€™s age. The earliest appearance I find of the Birds whose families moved to SW Virginia is in 1763, when John and Richard witnessed a deed in Spotsylvania County. John was 21 at the time and but Richard only 15; 13 if this is the Richard born 1750. Richardâ€™s youth makes it somewhat unlikely that the witnesses to this deed are the brothers above.
I realize this is a lengthy post, I am sorry and grateful for your patience, and if anyone has any questions I will be glad to try to express myself more clearly. The gist of it is that I do not think this Richard Byrd is the son of Richard and Sarah, or yet of William