|William Ricketts (?-1765)
|married Mary Catherine (maiden name unknown) and had at least three children (Will of William Rickett
proved June 20, 1765):
How do you spell Ricketts?
Various spelling were found of the last name: Ricketts, Rickett, Rickets, Ricket, Rickel, Rickle, Rickels,
Rickles. Often these were obviously the same individual. In some instances, the name was spelled different
ways within the same document.
William Ricketts (d.1765) made a land entry in 1753. The land was in Halifax County in an area that is now
eastern Henry County near Axton. He apparently already owned land in that area.
For many years, I had thought that my third great grandfather William Ricketts came to Pittsylvania County in
1777 when he signed the Oath of Allegiance and renounced the king of England. Then I discovered an early
document in the Pittsylvania County Court House which led me to my fifth great grandfather William Ricketts.
At the beginning of the document, the name was Ricketts and at the end it was spelled Rickels. It appears
that the “t” was not crossed. This led me to discover several land grants which were made before Pittsylvania
County was formed from Halifax County in 1767. These grants were made out in the name William Rickel
This William Ricketts died in 1765 and his name is spelled Ricketts in his Halifax County will. He “entered” for
400 acres “in his line” on the Head of Sandy River on 8 Oct 1753. Although there is no record, it appears
that he previously owned land there.
The area at the Head of Sandy River was in Halifax County until it became Pittsylvania in 1767, and then
Henry County in 1777. In that 24-year period, the original Ricketts land grant was in three different counties.
The process to obtain land was first an entry, then a survey, then the official grant or patent. Sometimes
years went by before the official land patent was issued.
The first recorded grant to William Ricketts was dated 10 Aug 1759 for 400 acres on the Lower South Fork of
Sandy River. This tract was down stream in what is now Pittsylvania County.
William and his wife Mary Catherine sold 200 acres of the South Fork land to John Jones for 12 pounds on 7
Mar 1763. William Ricketts received another grant for 354 acres on the South Branch of the South Fork of
Sandy River on 7 Jul 1763.
By the 1765 will, John Frederick Ricketts received 190 acres of land at the Head of Sandy River. (He sold this
land for only 20 pounds to Samuel Shumate in 1787). A grandson named William Ricketts (apparently the
son of John Frederick) received the estate lands. William sold 100 acres of this land to William M. Nance for
61 pounds in 1786. He sold another 59 acres, described as being on Young’s Creek and in both Pittsylvania
and Henry Counties, to Thomas Arthur in 1792.
William Ricketts, the grandson, surveyed 55 acres on White Oak Mountain in 1780. On 20 Jun 1786, he
bought 150 acres of land adjoining the 55 acre tract. He lived on this 205-acre tract until he died in 1832.
Shortly after his death, a son Nathaniel Ricketts (born 1795) signed a Deed of Trust against the family land.
In 1833, the land was sold at public auction to recover the $37.90 debt owed to Robert Wilson of Dan’s Hill.
For a long time afterwards, the Ricketts of Pittsylvania County owned no land.
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