Bio: William Byrd II
William Byrd II was born in Virginia in 1674, son of William Byrd and Mary Horsmanden. He lived most of his childhood in England, in the home of his uncle Rev Daniel Horsemanden. His education included the classics, apprenticeship with London global business agents, and legal studies. In 1696 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, sponsored by Sir Robert Southwell.
In 1705, at the age of thirty, William Byrd II returned to Virginia to take up the management of his deceased father's estate. During his forty years in Virginia, his list of accomplishments steadily grew - He served on the Colonial Council for thirty-five years, founded the city of Richmond, built his amazing house at Westover, led important survey work, and gathered one of the largest and most remarkable libraries in the colonies. He was himself a noted author, and his diaries have been closely studied.
William Byrd II was twice married - to Lucy Parke and Mary Taylor. He was the father of several children, including a son William Byrd III (1728 - 1777). He died in 1744 and is buried in the cemetery at Westover.
William Byrd II and Daniel Horsmanden (Recorder and Supreme Court Justice of New York) were cousins, grandsons of Col Warham St Leger Horsmanden of county Kent in England. As noted above, William Byrd had lived in the Horsmanden household during his youth. Byrd, born in 1674, was at least fifteen years senior to his Horsmanden cousin. But, when Daniel Horsmanden came to America in 1729, William Byrd's home in Virginia was his first stop. Shortly after, he moved on to New York.
We learn from the Letters and Papers of Cadwallader Colden that Daniel Horsmanden was well aquainted with Vincent Mathews, my 7xgreatgrandfather in New York. There is no evidence to confirm whether Daniel Horsmanden knew Vincent Mathew's son-in-law John Markham. I have considered whether the relationship between Daniel Horsmanden and his cousin William Byrd in Virginia could have contributed to John Markham's move to Virginia in the early 1750's. William Byrd III and John Markham owned adjoining properties at Rocky Ridge (later Manchester), a port across the James River from the newly established town of Richmond.
Do you want to know more?
Link to William Byrd in the database
Sketch: John Markham meets Catherine - Friends in the Neighborhood.
Sketch: John Markham moves on to Virginia - Where is the Evidence?
"The House that Byrd Built", from Soldiers, Saints and Scallywags: Stirring Tales from Family History; David Gore, 2009. available online through google books, and The British Empire website (britishempire.co.uk)
Biography of William Byrd; written by Pamela Hutchison Garrett for John Markham of Chesterfield website; 2015.