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On a recent visit to the Front Royal area, we took a ride on the Shenandoah Parkway and stopped at Dickey Ridge. We walked down a trail a couple of miles and found an old cemetery for the family. We also took some pictures looking across the Chester Gap area from atop Dickey Ridge. A view across the town of Chester Gap was into the sun, unfortunately. The picture I am enclosing looks more to the Northeast across the National Zoo area. I am not certain which side of the road the red-roofed buildings to the left are on but I believe them to be part of the National Zoo. To the left of them is probably the area that Jacob Weekley owned.

Thanks to input from Dave and Scott Weekley, Sigrid Merry, Barbara Hicks, Carlton Weakley, Mark Weekley and many others, we are constantly getting new information on various parts of the Weekly/Weekley/Weakley family. Mark Weekley was working on mapping the landowners in the area and father South. We thought we had found the father of Jacob and his brothers and sister, as it was reported the father was Enoch. However, we have not been able to verify that information or the source of the information. We may have found a John Weekley who was reportedly born about 1720 which might possibly be the father of our ancestors. We have found a Thomas Weekley in the church register from the Elk Run area of Virginia, ca 1740-1755, but have not been able to find additional information on him. I doubt that he is our Thomas. Where does he fit in? Unfortunately, Mark never got to see the fruits of his labors to fruition as he was suddenly called home by our Father in Heaven. We have been trying to re-create early land records for our family to help prove/disprove our heritage. Because I have not been able to determine with accuracy the father, I have listed him here as "*Unknown Weekley"; and have started with the children consisting of; John, Jacob, Anna and Thomas (a Revolutionary War soldier), assuming for the present that Elisabeth McNamera was correct in her research. Some reports have Jacob also serving in the Revolutionary War, but that requires further research. There is a lot of confusion in the various spellings and definite relatives have spelled the name differently. for example, records indicate that John spelled his name Weakley and the rest spelled theirs Weekley. However, whoever filled out the marriage application for Jacob's son John and Priscilla Wilson, spelled the name Weekley but John signed it Weekly.

WEEKLEY, Weakley, Weekly 

by Walter Roland Peterman


There are variations of the Weekley name, i.e. Weakly, Weekly, Weakley, Weekley, Wekely, Weekeley, Wheatley, and Wheckley. Hanks and Hodges Dictionary of Surnames indicates "Weekley" is an English habitation name from a place in Northants so called Old English with settlements as "Roman/British" towns. See Wickham.

From the early records, the Weekley family seems to have come from Wales and/or England. Some Weekley's came to Charleston, South Carolina from Barbados. Such was the family of Robert Weakley of Halifax County, Virginia. He was born ca 1720 and died in 1798. He was married to Elinor Stewart and apparently was wealthy as he received a patent for 4600 acres on August 30, 1763. Colonel Robert Weakley, Jr. was born on July 2, 1764. Most of these Weakley's lived in the Halifax and Lunenberg County areas of Virginia or to the South. His and some of his ancestors genealogy is covered in a book entitled "The Southern Virginia Weakley Family and Descendants" written by Samuel Anderson Weakley and assisted by Mary Dickson Weakley.

A Roger Weekley came from London via Barbados or Jamaica by ship. He is listed in Coldham's book about English convicts in Colonial America. Many were pardoned if they left the country. Roger was reprieved for transportation. There is no mention of his supposed crime. A James Weakley and Jane Wilson came from Devonshire, England to Cumberland County, Pennsylvania around 1725-30. In her book on the Weakley family, Elizabeth McNamara mentions a John and Jane Weakley (believed to be the same couple). John and Jane are buried in the Old Meeting House Springs Cemetery near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He died 6 June 1772. He had six sons; William, Nathaniel, Robert, Edward, James and Samuel. A Mary Weakley arrived from Barbados ca 1663-1679 (943-P143).


The earliest Weekley coat of arms that we have found is described as follows:
"Ar. on a fess sa. betw. three eagles displ. az. as many crescents of the field." Translated, the blazon also describes the original colors as: "Silver: a black middle third between three blue eagles wings spread and three silver crescents." The coat of arms will be included here later and is officially documented in Burke's General Armory.


There is a village in England called "Weekley Village." What relationship to this village are our Weekley ancestors? CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

In the late 1600s, around 1680, King Charles II of England divided the colony of Virginia among his court favorites, one of whom was Lord Thomas Colepepper. This land consisted of nearly one fourth of the entire colony. The land eventually descended to Thomas Lord Fairfax, through his mother, the daughter of Lord Colepepper.

Sir William Fairfax, a cousin of Lord Thomas, managed the lands for the owner until 1747 when Lord Thomas himself settled in a home he built in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. When he decided to sell much of his vast holdings, he engaged George Washington, a well known surveyor of the time. Exact boundaries for the original grants had never been laid out, so numerous disputed sales were made which needed court suits to settle, resulting in many purchasers that were ordered by the courts to vacate lands they had honestly believed they owned. Part of this area was known as "The Manor of Leeds".

Virginia land, particularly the Central area, came under dispute between Virginia's Governor Spotswood and Lord Fairfax acting for Kings Charles I and II of England, also, King George I. Churches such as St Mark's Parish demanded regular attendance by its members. Spotswood organized a group of explorers dubbed the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe" and was said to have presented each with a gem-studded golden horseshoe. Their expedition traveled to the South Fork of the Shenandoah, which they called the "Euphrates." Large land grants were issued to the Knights and favored individuals by Spotswood. Could William Rice, one of the early land owners in the Shenandoah area, have been in this category?

Lord Fairfax, an early English governor of part of Virginia, built great homes and made his home near White Post in Clarke County. He developed a land-leasing program with leases that would run for 21 years at one shilling per year per hundred acres, or longer leases for "three lives," that is possession could be held for the longest lifetime of the three (husband, wife and youngest son). You were expected to build a cabin and farm the land. Fairfax wasn't so friendly with Jost Heydt (later Hite), a wealthy German baron who had obtained Shenandoah land in the 1730s, and founded splendid plantations, without authorization by Fairfax. Minnie Hite Moody was a descendent of Jost and wrote a historical novel, Long Meadows, in 1941.

The "Key Counties of Virginia" in which our ancestors can be found and the counties which were later formed are:

Northumberland County was formed in 1648 from the Indian District of Chickacoan. Westmoreland County was formed from Northumberland County in 1653. Old Rappahannock County was formed from Lancaster County in 1656 and became extinct in 1692 with the forming of Essex and Richmond Counties. Stafford County was formed from Westmoreland County in 1664. Essex, King William and King and Queen Counties, from which Spotsylvania was formed in 1720. Prince William County was formed from Stafford and King George Counties in 1731. Orange County was formed from Spotsylvania in 1734. Augusta County was formed from Orange County between 1738 and 1745. Frederick County evolved in 1738-43 and Culpeper in 1748, both from Orange County. Shenandoah County (which was called Dunmore from 1772-1778) was formed in 1772. Prince William from King George and Stafford in 1730, from which Fauquier was formed in 1759. Page County was formed from Rockingham and Shenandoah Counties in 1831. Warren County evolved from Frederick County in 1836.

John Lederer was reportedly the first white man to climb the hills ca 1670. Francis Thornton was an early resident also. (Thornton Gap is probably named after him). Capt. Thomas Chester, another possible "Knight," was an early landowner in what has become Warren County. Chester Gap is named after him. Chester Gap is located in the Northernmost corner of Rappahannock County. Warren County and Fauquier Counties also meet in this area. An important road to Orange Court House was called Chester's for a long time. The road led to a ferry near Front Royal, which Chester owned. The ferry was used to cross the Shenandoah River near Front Royal. This road is now Virginia Route Number 522. This route was used to move heavy artillery during the Civil War. In 1736, the Orange court licensed his ferry from the mouth of Happy Creek across the Shenandoah river. A Marcus Buck owned Dickey Ridge and Belmont Plantation in the 1800's. He was born ca 1817. Could he be a descendent of Thomas Buck, a trustee for Frederick County in the late 1700's, from whom our ancestor purchased land at Happy Creek? Thomas Buck is also mentioned in a transfer of property from Joseph Berry to Edward Wilson 11/29/1775. An Edward Wilson was listed as head of family from the Fork District of Warren County in 1785. I believe he is the same Edward Wilson who was the father of Priscilla and Elizabeth? (Elizabeth married Major William Bonnifield). Edward Wilson and his wife migrated to Ohio, probably with his daughter Priscilla and son-in-law John Weekley and possibly the Bonifield's in the early 1800s. Edward and his wife are buried in Ohio. A cabin on Gooney Run was bought by William Owins from Samuel Wilson a Hunter. Could he have been related? Ruins of the James Markham Marshall home at Happy Creek (burned in 1921).

In the early days, the "Road Overseers" were the landed gentry whose large estates lay along the blazed trails, bridle paths, and roads which they were given charge.

Our ancestor (Jacob Weakley) reportedly came from the Monongalia area (now West Virginia, but I have not been able to confirm that. He is listed in the 1820 Shenandoah County Census. In her book on the Weakley families of Kentucky, Elizabeth McNamara lists Jacob as a brother to her ancestor, Thomas (a revolutionary war soldier) and to John and sister Anna who married Joseph Redding and later moved to Scott County (Kentucky). Jacob was apparently a man of means as a result of being overseer of the road as he is mentioned in several civil suits against other individuals to collect money during the period 1751 to 1789. There were several land transactions involving Jacob Weekley (our ancestor) as early as 1756. Apparently, his wife Elizabeth could not write since she always signed with an "X" as her mark.In 1774, William Rice deeded 53 acres to Jacob Weekley for 40 pounds current money, witnessed by John Weekley and the same day sold 67 acres to John who was living in Frederick County. He supposedly bought a large tract of land in 1756. However, John, brother of Jacob was reportedly born about 1739 so he would only have been about 17. Therefore, I suspect that this John was not the brother of Jacob. The 1787 census Volume 1-1-1784 lists Jacob's household as having 2 males ages 16 to 21. He owned 6 horses (mares, colts, or mules) and 8 cows. In 1789, he bought 460 acres on Happy Creek under the Blue Ridge and 100 acres on the South side of the South East prong of Happy Creek. Early land records show our Weakley/Weekley/Weekly families receiving lease and releases from parcels in Frederick County Virginia in the area of Happy Creek. In 1802, he sold 400 acres to William Williamson. In 1820, he sold 135 acres on the North Fork to Mary R. Branhan. Mrs. Elijah Weekly was a witness. In 1821, the county court ordered the payment of $3.00 to Elijah Weekley for his services as overseer of the road from Chester Gap to Allensworth Mill. On March 30, 1822, Jacob deeded 97 3/4 acres to Thomas Buck of Bel Air for $500. This was part of the William Rice patent. Sons John (our ancestor) and William moved to Ohio in the early 1800's. Jacob and two of his sons (Elijah and Thomas) are listed in the 1820 census for Shenandoah County. Thomas was a school teacher and shoemaker who lived with his brother Elijah. William who married Susannah Grigsby and his family settled in Noble County, Ohio. In the land records of 1837 for Warren County; Elijah is listed as owning small parcels of land in the Chester Gap and Happy Creek areas; and the Estate of Jacob as two parcels of over 300 acres each in the Chester Gap area. This would indicate that Jacob was apparently fairly well off.


John Weekley, who married Priscilla Wilson moved his family to Muskingham County, Ohio sometime between May 10, 1798 and April 4, 1800. Another son, Robinson moved his family to Lawrence County, Ohio. Although I have not researched it, but it is possible these families all moved to Ohio and Tyler County West Virginia at or about the same time. Son Isaaih moved his family to Wayne County, Indiana. I believe his son Enoch went to Kentucky with some of Enoch's descendants moving into Indiana. The remainder of the family remained in the Warren County area of Virginia. Some of the Weakley family lived around and apparently owned Old Rag Mountain and Weakley Hollow. Many Weakley families reside there today, however, those families that lived inside of the Shenandoah National Park were forced to move out of the park area by the 1930's. It is difficult to determine which may be our relatives and which may have come from other Weakley families. Old Rag is some distance South of Happy Creek. An early settler by the name of John Fishback a wagonmaker in Peola Mills, did business with the Weakley's and Thomas' amongst others in the Nethers area. The Weakley's also did business at Nether's Mill (Yowell's Mill in 1794).

John W. Weekley, Sr., great-grandson of Jacob, along with the Dunn's, Myers and Meek(s) owned land in Fallsbury Township, Ohio in 1875.

John W. Weekley, Jr. moved his family to the P. G. Evans farm on Linville Rd, near Hebron Ohio. After one year they moved to the Frank King farm on Lee's road near Union Station, South of Granville, Ohio. Edith Alice Weekley, daughter of John, Jr. and mother of the author of this page travelled by horse-drawn bus to Union School, a one-room eight-grade school at Union Station, south of Granville, Ohio. She later attended Granville, High School where she met and later married Walter Glenn Peterman who also attended Granvile H.S. at that time. She did not finish school, but he graduated in 1927. In about 1922, John W. Weekley, Jr. bought a farm in the Welsh Hills, North of Granville, Ohio where he and Alda M. Shoults Weekley lived until their deaths. John (Alda called her husband Will) had suffered a hernia while hauling gravel for the roads. It was very painful and in 1941, he could endure the pain no longer. On the farm where there are many happier memories he took his life with a 22 caliber rifle. Son, Thomas C. Weekley, later helped to have electricity installed and it was the loss of electricity for some six days in the early 1950's that prompted Alda to write an article which was published in the Ohio Farmer. (included later on this page.

I loved the time I spent with my Grandparents. My Uncle Wesley Weekley often reminded me that Grandpa would yell across the field - "Hey, Roland, you had better put your wagon away and get your sled out, it's going to snow tonight." Often it did. Grandpa Weekley took me to Granville and Newark by horse and buggy on many occasions. He taught me at an early age, how to handle a .22 caliber rifle and I became a good shot. This was the rifle that he unfortunately used to end his life in 1941. In later life, the double-barrel was too much for Grandpa and his arm was black and blue everytime he shot it. My dad had traded William Furbee a rabbit dog for the single barrel and I recall using a wood burning set to carve the year 1937 on the stock of it. Anyway, dad traded it to Grandpa for the double-barrel with the understanding that I was to get both upon Grandpa's death. Grandpa kept his word and willed me his guns, traps and an old framed picture of him in his early adulthood. The rifle disappeared and the single barrel shot-gun also. The traps probably rusted or were sold at a sale while I was in the Navy. I have the picture and the double-barrel shot gun. The gun is not safe to shoot, but it still has a jar rubber and string to hold the stock, etc., but Grandpa and for a while my dad (Walter) used it to hunt with.

Grandma Weekley was a very dear friend. She even helped cousin Earl Coss and I fashion fishing poles with cord line on a stick and a bent straight pen for a hook. We never caught anything but Crawdads, but it was fun.

The Varners were among the early German families of the area, particularly Spiencop, North Fork of Thornton River in Rappahanock County. It is interesting to note that many of those Varners have similar names to the Varner's connected to our family. Could they be related?

++++See the will of Jacob Weakley...who owned land at the juncture of Hedgemans River (Later to become the Rappahanock) and Happy Creek. I also have added the will of Margaret (Boyer) Weekley husband of Elias, Grandson of Jacob. WILLS


I commend Darwin Lambert's "UNDYING PAST of SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK", published by Roberts Rinehart publishing company, ISBN 0-911797-57-2 to all researchers of the Shenandoah area. The book contains references to the Weakley families and lists those who lost or sold property inside the park to the National Park system in the 1930's. It also lists those living in the park area (covers several counties) in 1935. He mentions a Weakley cemetery "Along short 'road' between Old Rag Shelter (not Byrd's Nest) and Weakley Hollow fire road. About 15 burials, native stones - Source Jack and Carolyn Reeder and two more cemeteries at the South boundary of Old Rag segment of park near Robinson River - Scheel map.

As I have stated, there are a lot of Weekleys with each of the spellings and several have web sites. If you have a Weekley web site (regardless of the spelling) and would like for me to provide a link, please let me know.

WHY NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THE WEEKLEY SURNAME LIST. SEND A MESSAGE TO WEEKLEY-L-request@rootsweb.com and the single word - subscribe in the subject line and in the text, if you wish to receive each message posted to the list. If you would rather reduce the number of messages but still get them all, substitude the letter D for L in your subscription request.

To date, I have not been able to determine where Jacob Weekley is buried, but the Alexander Fennell who witnessed Jacob's will is buried in the Fennell Cemetery on the Old Remount Station South of Front Royal, VA. To get there, take Route 522 South of Front Royal and the grounds now maintained by the National Zoo is on the left. You will need to check in at the visitors center. You may view pictures I have taken of the cemetery by clicking HERE.

The Weekley descendents as I currently have them for the first 6 generations are on the following pages. Further information or a GEDCOM or Text File is available on request.

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COPYRIGHT: Information on these pages is available for non-commercial use only and may not be reproduced in any format for profit. Walter R. Peterman




LAST UPDATED 14:52 PM 04/09/2011