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Washington & Northern Virginia Company -- Biographies of Ancestors of Members
Theophilus Whal(l)ey

Oct 17, 2012 NOTE:  In  years past, Mr. Whalley was accepted as a Qualifying Ancestor for the Jamestowne Society.  However, evidence of his residency/service does not meet current standards of proof. Therefore, ancestry from Mr. Whalley is no longer sufficient for membership in the Society.


The story here of the early years (before 1680) of Theophilus Whaley (Whalley, Whale), who died around 1720, is based to a large extent on information gathered by Reverend Ezra Stiles, later president of Yale College, in interviews with persons who had known him in their youth. This narrative was included in a volume listed below published in 1794. A particular cause of this inquiry was the fact that one of the judges or regicides who condemned King Charles I was named Edward Whalley, and the possibility that Edward and Theophilus might be the same person fueled much speculation.

The assembled recollections gathered indicated that Theophilus Whalley had been born in England to a wealthy family in 1616, received a university education, arrived in Virginia before 1637 and served as an officer in the Indian Wars, returned to England during the Civil War and was an officer in the Parliamentary Army in a regiment that was present at the execution of Charles I. (A book entitled "The Army List of the Roundheads and Cavaliers .... 1642" published in 1863 lists a Theophilus Willey as an ensign in the regiment of Sir William Fairfax of the Parliamentary Army.)
       At the time of the Restoration he returned to Virginia, married Elizabeth Mills and had children, and around February 1680 left Virginia and subsequently settled for the rest of his life in the Narragansett area of Rhode Island. His stated reason for this move was the pressure of religious differences as he was a Baptist in an Anglican colony.
  Notations in the records of Old Rappahannock County relevant to the search for Whaley's Virginia years include (1) the will of John Mills in 1665 bequeathing a cow to his daughter Elizabeth; (2) a March 30, 1674 sale by Theophilus and Elizabeth Whale of a parcel of land that they had been granted by Governor Berkeley; and (3) a September 1674 grant by Governor Berkeley to Theophilus Whale and another person of 400 acres of land, which was then sold January 2, 1675. The will of Richard Clark in January 1677 made Theophilus Whale his executor, gave Whale his "woodland ground" and gave his goddaughter, Elizabeth Whale, a cow calf. Further, Whale was involved in two land transfers in January 1680, and finally in the following month he conveyed to Robert Beverley all of his land in Rappahannock County including the place where he had been living, and appointed an attorney to confirm the same, signing the action "Theophilus Wealle".     
After arriving in Rhode Island in 1680, the records show in 1710 a grant of 120 acres of land in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, where Whale died and was buried shortly before 1720. With
regard to his possibly being the regicide Edward Whalley, that issue appeared to  have been put
to rest at the time of the American Revolution when Thomas Hutchinson, the last royal governor, stated that Edward Whalley had died and was buried in Hadley, Massachusetts.

"Theophilus Whaley of Virginia and Rhode Island", by G. Andrews Moriarty; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol 66, pages 76-79.
"History of Three of the Judges of Charles I, Major General Whaley, Major General Goffe, and Colonel Dixwell and with an account of Mr. Theophilus Whaley of Narragansett", by Reverend Ezra Stiles, 1794.

Nov 03