Markham of Chesterfield
      Ancestors and Descendants of John Markham

Bio: Martha Markham

Martha Markham was the first child born to George Markham and his second wife, Mary Hardiway Osborne. She was born between 1790-1792. Her birth was followed by three younger brothers, Francis Markham, George Markham and Vincent Markham . The four children seemed to maintain a close relationship. Martha Markham's father died when she was about ten years old. It is assumed that the four youngsters, along with several of their older half-siblings, remained under the care of Mary Osborne Markham. It is not known if their widowed mother remarried, or when she died.

Martha Markham married Henry W Robertson about June of 1810. No marriage record has been found, but there is a prenuptual agreement on file in the records of Amelia county Virginia. This was related to the inheritance she would receive from her father's estate when she married. Henry W Robertson served in the Twenty-third Regiment, Virginia Militia, during the War of 1812.

The young couple may have taken up residence on a portion of her father's property. They consistently appear in the census records of Chesterfield county Virginia, 1820, 1830, 1840 and 1850. In the 1830 census, Henry W Robertson and Martha Markham are living next door to the families of two of her brothers, George Markham and Vincent Markham. It has been assumed that they are living on their father's original plantation in Chesterfield county Virginia, but this may not be correct. There remains some question about property in Amelia county Virginia.

Henry W Robertson was ten to fifteen years older than his wife's Markham brothers and he may have been a stablizing force for the family when the boys were still in their youth. In 1823 Francis O Markham was in debt to his brother-in-law and also called upon him to act as security for debts he had to others. By 1827 the three Markham brothers sold out their interest in their father's mill to their brother-in-law, Henry W Robertson. Finally in 1833, when Francis O Markham and George Markham were preparing to move west, George Markham and his wife Ann Finney sold their homeplace to Henry W Robertson. This may have been the original Markham home, but that is not certain.

Martha Markham and Henry W Robertson were the parents of a number of children. Census records suggest that there could have been eight or possibly ten children born to them, but it appears that only five children survived to adulthood. They were born between 1810-1832: Gustavas Henry Robertson, Mary Elizabeth Robertson, Martha Rebecca Robertson, Catharine Markham Robertson, and William B Robertson. All three of the Robertson daughters married Robertson cousins, which presents some challenge in keeping family member sorted out.

Census records indicate that Martha Markham Robertson died before 1840. Her last child was born in 1832, but she is named in a deed, along with her husband in 1834. It seems most likely that she died sometime between 1835-1840. Henry W Robertson lived ten or fifteen years after his wife's death. There is no indication that he ever remarried, despite the fact that he had young children to care for. In the 1850 census of Chesterfield county Virginia, Henry W Robertson is shown as sixty-six years of age. His two youngest children are still in the household along with his widowed daughter and two grandchildren. In December of 1850 two of his daughters are married on the same day. By April of 1852 an action in the Chauncery Court names Henry W Robertson as deceased. He probably died in 1851. Nothing is known about where Henry W Robertson or Martha Markham Robertson are buried.

After the death of their father, the Robertson heirs filed several actions in the Chauncery Court of Chesterfield county Virginia. They refer back to the years 1841 and 1842 when the Robertson children sought division of the slaves that their mother had brought to the marriage. The slaves, twelve in number, were named: Amelia, Thomas, Alice, Becky, Betsy, Mary, Cesar, Jimmey, James, Winney, Julia, and Nanny. Apparently four had been "substituted" during the years of the marriage. One slave, Robert or Bob, had been held out for future sale and the children were now (1852) seeking division of the proceeds from the sale.

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Bio for Martha Markham; written by Pamela Hutchison Garrett for John Markham of Chesterfield website; 2014.