Avent - Person Sheet
Avent - Person Sheet
NameAVENT, Colonel Thomas , Source
Birth Date6 Jan 1671
Birth PlaceDevon, England
Death Date31 Oct 1757 Age: 86
Death PlaceSussex County, Virginia
Immi Dateabt 1701 Age: 29
Immi PlaceVirginia
Memofrom England
Misc. Notes
THE definitive genealogy web site about the Avent family, by Steve Avent, is located here and I highly recommend it to any who have an interest in this family line.

The following information is from Steve’s site.


In the name of God Amen, September 21st, 1756. I, Thomas Avent, of the Parish of Abermarle, in the county of Sussex, being of good health and of disposing mind and memory thanks be to God for the same, calling to mind the uncertain time of certain death, do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say, first I bequeath my soul to God that gave it, hoping and trusting in the advocacy and Mediatorship of my blessed Lord and Savior Christ for remission of all my sins and my body I commit to the earth to be decently buried according to the directions of my Executors herein after named, and as for such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with I give and desire for thereof as follows, to wit:

Imprimis: I give and bequeath to my son William Avent and to his heirs and assigns forever the plantation whereon I now dwell together with all the land I have on the North side of the Otterdam Swamp below the first great branch above the Meadow, commonly called the cart wheel branch and binding upon the said branch to the head thereof and from thence by a line of marked trees a  strait across back to the great swamp and down the same as it meanders to the extent of my land, and also my land and plantation where on Thomas Johnson lately dwelt situated in the county of Northampton and province of North Carolina together with all my other lands situated in the County and province aforesaid all which I give to my said son William Avent and to his heirs and assigns forever.

Item: I give and devise to my son Peter Avent and to his heirs and assigns forever all my lands on both sides of Otterdam Swamp not devised for sale, and also one hundred pounds current money of Virginia to him and his heirs and assigns forever in full of all that I intend him out of my estate.

Item: I give and devise to Thomas Avent, son of John Avent, deceased, and to his heirs and assigns forever the land and plantation that I purchased of John Golightley lying in Sussex and Southampton County's and one hundred and seventy five acres adjoining patented in my own name and an entry adjoining that is unsurveyed.

Item: I give and bequeath to my five granddaughters, daughters of Thomas Avent, deceased, on their attaining the age of twenty one years respectively the sum of twenty pounds Virginia currency each in full of all that I intend them out of my estate.

Item: I give and devise to my daughter Mary Vincent one hundred and ninety three acres of land joining Joseph Prince and Robert Lynn in Sussex County and to her heirs and assigns forever.

Item: I give and devise unto my daughter Sarah Fox and to her heirs and assigns forever six hundred and twenty five acres of land where on William Foxher husband now lives together with all the appurtenances there to belonging.

Item: I give and devise my tract of land on Dickery's Creek in Lunenberg County and that part of my land lying on each side of the great swamp in Sussex County to be sold at the discretion of my Executors and that they convey the same to the purchaser and the money arising herefrom I give to be equally divided amongst William Avent, Mary Vincent, Sarah Fox, and the children of John Avent, deceased, share and share alike, the children of the said John to have but one share for all of them.

Item: I give and bequeath unto Athaliah Casiah Norris and to her heirs and assigns forever one negro girl named Sue and also ten pounds Virginia currency and also my riding horse named Glaees and likewise the second best bed and furniture and one trunk and likewise the priviledge of living in my mansion house six months after my death and to be maintained with diet out of my estate all of which I devise to her and her heirs forever.

The 21st day of September in the year of our Lord 1756 The Virginia Historical Society has dated the following letter as written in 1727. Col. Thomas Avent served as a judge in Sussex County, Virginia. Gov. Spottswood and his Council asked Avent to investigate some troubles with the native Indians. Avent wrote this letter as a report of his investigation. The following transcript refers to local Indians tribes named Saponys and Cotobers. (Notes in parenthesis have been added by the transcriber, Steve Avent.)


The 27th of September John Carter brought negro Cofey to my house as he says by your order for me to examine Conserning what the Saponys have tould him about the white people(,) which I have don(e,) and he tels me that great george tould him that John  Sareano and a fellow called ben harrison was gon(e) to theCotobers to fetch on hundred of them to com(e) and see why their Indians was prison(,) and if Captn Tom was hanged they would carrey there wives and children over roanoak river and then they would drive the white people and negros as far as James rive(,) and he says that Tony Mack tould him that if pyah was hanged he and the Cotobers would com(e) and take revenge of the english(,) and he says that Sapony Tom tould him if his son Harry Irvine was hanged they would kill you and three or four more gentelmen and the goe of(f,) and he says that rich tould him the wee had noe busnes (business) to com(e) to the fort armed to consern ourselves about there killing one another(,) but we were like a sow that had lost her pigs would ralley for a little time and then have don(e), but when they began a war with the english they never would have don(e,) this from

Yr humble srvt (servant) to command
(Thomas Avent)

1.Steve Avent, New Kent, Virginia
2.Virginia Historical Society, document #: ViH Mss 2AV345a1

As Sheriff and Justice of the Peace of Surry/Sussex County, VA, Thomas Avent would have been the chief law enforcement officer for the area. As such, he was called in by the Council of Gov. Alexander Spottswood of VA to investigate some troubles involving the local Indian tribes, the Sapony, the Nottoway, and the Catawba (Thomas calls them the 'Cotobers' in his letter 1702--appears on list of Surry Co., VA, tithables (as "Thomas Avon" - could this be how he pronounced the name? In modern Devonshire, England, though, they pronounce the name exactly as American Avents do; sort of rhyming with 'playpen'.) living on plantation of a John Nicholls. Source: Boddie (see below)

1714--appears in records of Surry Co., VA.
1716--Chowan Precinct NC lists his wife as Elizabeth.
July 1716 - sells land in Chowan Precinct, NC, below Mt Royall on Morattock (modern day Roanoke) River
1716-land grant in Surry.
1718-land grant in Surry
1718--sold land to Richard Moore. Elizabeth Avent relinquished her right to this land.
1729--land in Surry.
1728--land in Greensville.
1741--land in Brunswick.
1741--appeared at court in Southwark Parish, Surry Co., VA.
1746--of Northampton Co, sells land to Vincent Vaughon
1747--sells land to James McManus of Edgecombe, land on Pea Hill Creek, Northampton Co., NC

Col. Thomas Avent named as a colonel of militia in Sussex County records (Court Order 1:212, 14 July 1755). He was a Presiding Justice of the Surry Court in 1741 (Surry County Order Book [1741-1744],p. 1),

Justice of Sussex Co 1753-54. Vestryman of Albemarle Parish, Sheriff of Sussex Co. in Sussex Co. Virginia records (Court Orders 1:212, 14 July 1755). Had patents for over 6000 acres of land in VA. Owned land in NC.

Death recorded in the Albemarle Parish register 1739-78, p. 164, that he died in Sussex Co., 31 October 1757, age 86. His son, William Avent being the informant.

Will of Thomas Avent, written 21 September 1756, Sussex County, VA, probated 18 November 1757, Will Book A., p. 80. Devises land to his son, William Avent in Sussex Co., VA and in Northampton County, NC and also appoints him an executor.

"Son, William; son, Peter; grandson Thomas Avent son of John, dcd; granddau Elizabeth Massey, dau of son John , dcd; five granddaughters (who are the daughters of son, Thomas dcd); dau, Mary Vincent wife of Thomas; dau Sarah Fox wife of William" src: W. B. A. P. 80, Va Hist Mag Jan 1911, pg 46.

[pg 016][Sussex Co. Will Book "A" 1754-1764]
(p. 222) Account of Estate of Col. Thomas Avent by Thomas Vinson, executor, shows payments to

Mrs. Atheliah Keziah Norris, John Dorch, Matthew Walden, Rev. John Noverion, Joseph Carter, Mr. Peter Avent, the children of Thomas Avent, Jr., decd., Dr. Samuel Peete, Capt. John Machin, Lewis Solloman, William Hyx, sheriff of Lunenburg Co for quitrents on 6904 acres, Mr. Major Tiller, Mr. Joseph Prince, Rev. William Willis, Capt. James Wyche, Mrs. Elizabeth Eldridge, Mrs. Sarah Underwood, Col. John Willis, Matthew Waldin, Mr. Ingram Blanks, Mr. James Stewart, John Barlow, cash from the sale of 304 acres and 390 acres in Lunenburg Co and William Doby. 19 Nov 1761

Witness to will of John Barlow in 1727, Surry. Witness to will of Nicholas Brewer in 1729, Surry. Witness to will of Edward Clarke in 1713, Surry. Witness to will of Joseph Kimball in 1713, Surry. Witness to will of James Mayo in 1725, Surry . Witness to will of Lewis Solomon in 1742 in Surry. 1702 listed on Surry, Tithables.

REGISTER OF ALBEMARLE PARISH, SURRY AND SUSSEX COUNTIES, 1739-1779, Gertrude R.B. Richards, 195 8, p. 214.

SOME COLONIAL AND REVOLUTIONARY FAMILIES OF NORTH CAROLINA, VOL. 1, Marilu Burch Smallwood, Washington, NC, 1964, pp. 7-9, 15, 21. Thomas Avent was Justice, Surry County, Virginia 1741, and a Captain of the Militia:

REGISTER OF ANCESTORS, THE NATIONAL SOCIETY OF THE COLONIAL DAMES IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, Richmond, 1979, p. 3. VA. Records, 3 May, 1739… Thomas Avent refers to his importation "from Great Britain 38 years ago" (ie in 1701) and in which he states further that he has never before received the benefit of the Act of Assembly which allows 50 acres of land for every person imported from Great Britain.BRUNSWICK CO. VA. COURT ORDER BOOK 1 PAGE 241

(From Avant, SCF):
"This record causes us to reflect that Thomas Avent must have imported himself from Great Britain and paid his own passage, as otherwise he would not have been entitled to 50 acres of land. Since John Nicholls listed him as one of his headrights in the 1714 patent, Thomas Avent must have made another trip back to England after 1701 and before 1714, and it seems very possible that he may have been an agent or factor for John Nichols since he was living on his plantation."

He also spent some time in North Carolina. On 17 July 1716 Thomas Avent, weaver, acknowledged sales of land to Jacob Coleson, Robert Green and Richard Moore, his wife ELIZABETH, through her attorney in fact Robert Hicks, recouncing dower. (Chowan Co. Deed (1): 19-20) Although Thomas Avent had been in VIrginia more than ten years, on the 16th of December 1714 John Nickolls, gent. obtained a patent for land in Prnce George County for transport of several persons, including Thomas Avent.

(From Avant, SCF):
"Because these patents may have been sought years after the transportation took place, it is possible that Nickolls was in fact responsible for bringing Thomas Avent in 1701, in which the two men may have had a connection in England."

from "Sketches of Greensville County, Virginia, 1650-1967", Chapter II, "That Honest Man, Captain Hicks", Part II, By Douglas Summers Brown.

"...In March of 1720/21 he (Capt. Hicks) was at Williamsburg with Richard Kennon, Drury Stith, John and Robert Bolling when they were granted vast tracts of land in Prince George County. At the same time he and Thomas Avent were granted 2,000 acres on Roanoke River. After the business was over he and "Major Bolling" dined with William Byrd - "ate pie and after dinner talked till four" in the afternoon when they left."

On 31 October 1716 Thomas Avent paid 2 cash for a patent for 400 acres in Surry County. Land Patents 10:198.

It appears that son WILLIAM did not long outlive his father; his will, dated the 22nd of april 1760 and proved August 1761 (Northampton Co. Will 1:56) named as executors his wife (identified as SARAH AVENT in the probate act), WILLIAM RAGLAND (his son-in-law) and JOSEPH AVENT. His daughter REBECCA was bequeathed two Negro slaves -- she was well under age. North Carolina Wills, 1690-1760, page 12.

English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records. List of Patents, page 107: 400 acres, Surry Co . To whom granted: Thomas Avent

1716. Chowan Deed Book B #1, Pages 357 – 363, # 901-905. (Per Garland Avent, Mount Royall was site of present-day Gaston, NC. "Morattock river" is now known as the Roanoke River.)

Thomas Avent of Chowan Precinct, weaver, transfers (1) 270 acres more or less at Mount Royall on Morattock river, joining Robert Green at ye mouth of a branch, to Jacob Coleson of Chowan Precinct, carpenter, for 4 Pounds;
(2) 370 acres more or less at Mount Royall at the mouth of the first branch, joining the branch next to the mouth of Morattock River as by patent to me July 29, 1712, to Robert Green of Chowan Precinct; for 10 Pounds
(3) 200 acres on Morattock, joining Nottaway Richard Moore and Richard Moore upon ye River, to Richard Moore of the Province of N.C. for 10 Pounds; and
(4) 240 acres more or less being part of a tract of land lying on the north side of Morattock river below Mount Royall which was surveyed for me the said Thomas Avent by Captain William Maule, Dept. Surveyor May 8, 1713 to Richard Moore of Nottaway River, planter, for 6 Pounds.

All four deeds are dated July 16, 1716 and are registered on August 6, 1716. Witnesses include Richard Moore () his mark , John Nairne, Henry Jones () his mark, Robert Green () his mark.

Elizabeth Avent of Surry County, Virginia, Spinster, also gives a letter of attorney dated July 12, 1716, to Robert Hicks of North Carolina to make over in her stead land at Mount Royal to Robert Green and Jacob Coleson and 200 acres to my neighbor Richard Moore and 240 acres to Richard Moore of Nottaway River. Witnesses to the letter of attorney are Henry Jones () his mark, and William Green () his mark.

Garland Avent believed that the Avents emigrated to England from Brittany, France. Had no proof of this, however. Has visited 'Pont Aven' in Brittany.

Concerning allegations that Thomas Avent was a Huguenot:

"A letter dated 30 September 1969 from Herbert A. Elliot, Registrar of "The Huguenot Society of the Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia: to Mrs. Travis H. Clark, R. 1, box 28, Moorehead, MS, 38761 states, "I know of no proof that Colonel Thomas Avent was of Huguenot descent, in fact, all available evidence indicates that he was not."

Another letter from Mr. Elliot to Mrs. Clark dated 14 November 1970 states, "I have examined the Avent record you left with me Sunday before last as presented by the Nanticoke Chapter to the NSDAR 1 March 1948. [These are the five pages of charts drawn by John Smith Avant, which on page one state Joseph Avent was born in France and descended from the Conde, Freeman and Bartlett lines.] An example of inaccuracy in the papers you left with me, the names given are all English names and no French names. This paper has Joseph Avant born in Brunswick County, Virginia Colony August 24, 1720. Officially there was no Brunswick County until 1732. A check of the records of Albemarle county did not list the name of Avant or any variation of the name. chronologically the Virginia and French references contained on page one of the records are perfect, but historically, they are completely inaccurate...I do not know who compiled the records or the source from which they are taken, but I suspect that this is the work of Sandy Miller...it is a complete fake." This same opinion was independently reached by Charles H. Hamlin about a year later. English genealogist, P. WIlson Coldham comes to the same conclusion.

Land patent (ref VPB 18:531) dated 12 Mar 1739/40 to Clement Reade:

Land granted in compensation for "...importation of 10 persons to dwell in Virginia whose names are John Stevens, John Scott, John Jackson, Cornelius Keith, Marmaduke Johnson, Michael Cadet Young, Henry Morris, William Eaton, Patrick Dempsey and Thomas Avent and 45 shillings..."

Colonel Clement Reade (1707-1/2/1763 VA) married 1730, Lunenburg co., VA, Mary Hill (1709-1786VA). Mr. Reade served as First Clerk of Lunenburg County for 16 years. He was the King's attorney in Brunswich Co., VA, Vestryman at St. Andrew's Parish until the formation of Lunenburg county from Brunswich County in 1746-47. He with Colonel Byrd surveyed tracts in southern Virginia, a Burgess representative, and a Commissioner during the French and Indian War. He graduated from William and Mary College.
Various Avent/Devon records from http://www.a2a.org.uk/default.asp
(these may or may not have anything to do with the VA Avent family and/or Col. Thomas Avent.)

Plymouth and West Devon Record Office: Woollcombe of Hemerdon


Catalogue Ref. 710
Woollcombe family of Hemerdon, Devon

Papers of the Avent Family
FILE [no title] - ref. 710/288 - date: 1698
[from Scope and Content] Probate copy will of Thomas Avent of Plympton Earle, weaver (will dated 4 May 1698)

section Lands in Manor of Heligan, Trewoone, Tyndeale, p. St. Ewe, Mevagissey, Goran, Week St. Mary, St. Mewan, Ladock, Ruan Lanihorne, Veryan, Cuby, Tregoney also some lands in Devon

FILE - [no title] - ref. T/753/1-3 - date: 12th/13th. December, 1693

John Avent, Inner Temple, gent.
Properties in Cornwall: Manor of Heligan, Heligan Mills, Poyles Heligan,.....many more
PROB Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
Division within PROB Exhibits
PROB 4 Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Other Probate Jurisdictions: Engrossed Inventories Exhibited from 1660

Record Summary
Scope and content

Avent, Thomas, of Plymouth, Devon, merchant, ob. intestate at Antegua, one of the Carrebia Islands on or about the beginning of June last, belonging to the ship "Tradesmens' Blessinge" of Plymouth
Covering dates 1686 2 June (1685)
Availability Open Document, Open Description, Normal Closure before FOI Act: 30 years
Former reference (Department) Admon
Held by
The National Archives, Kew
E. Records of the Exchequer, and its related bodies, with those of the Office of First Fruits and Tenths, and the Court of Augmentations
Division within E Records of the King's Remembrancer
E 215 Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: Records of the Commissions on Fees, James I and Charles I
Subsubseries within E 215 Papers of Sub-Commissions

Record Summary
Scope and content
Devon Certificate by Thomas Avent, Steward of the Hundred of Plympton, of his fees.
Covering dates Rec. 11 Jan. 1629
Availability Open Document, Open Description, Normal Closure before FOI Act: 30 years
Held by
The National Archives, Kew
section DEVON
section Hemerdon and Bickfordtown
section Bickfordtown

FILE - [no title] - ref. 710/82 - date: 1697

Grant of annuity in lieu of jointure
1 Jane Avent, widow of Tristram Avent, of Plympton St Mary, gent
2 Tristram Avent, son of 1
Bickfordtown and Cholwill
Consideration: £20
Brixton Feoffee Lands Charity Catalogue in Full

FILE - [no title] - ref. 1277/16 - date: 1594-1860
item: [no title] - ref. 1277/16/21 - date: 1 December 1661

i) Edward Fortescue of Spriddlestone esq., James Wood gent son and heir of Richard Wood of Hareston, Walter Stert [place illegible] gent, Thomas Maynard of Brixton gent, John Avent of Venn, yeoman, Robert Worth, Philip Avent, Richard Avent, Nicholas Winston, Andrew Avent and John Towson all of Brixton yeomen
ii) Joanne Wood of Brixton widow
Cottage garden and orchard in Brixton (see 1277/16/16)
Term: 99 years or 2 lives
Consideration: 40/-
Rent: 12/-
Kitley Estate, Yealmpton
Bastard family of Kitley, Devon

FILE - [no title] - ref. 74/82/1 - date: 1698

1 Thomas Avent of Venn, Brixton, yeoman
2 Walter Stert and Thomas Stert of Brixton, gents, Walter Worth of Brixton, yeoman, John Philips of Thurlestone, yeoman, Andrew Phillips of Plymouth, gent and Bartholomew Avent of plymouth, merchant
3 John Avent of Inner Temple, London, gent, son of (1)
Chillaton, Aveton Gifford and messuage in Brixton town, Doddevens, East Sherford, both in Brixton
Shelly & Johns, Solicitors, Plymouth
Shelly and Johns, Plymouth, solicitors
section Modbury

FILE - [no title] - ref. 567/88/7a and b - date: 1697

Lease and release
1 Henry Avent, yeoman, and Mary Avent, widow, both of Modbury
2 Nicholas Avent of Modbury
3 Silvester Holditch of Slapton, yeoman
North Greenaven, Modbury
Brixton Feoffee Lands Charity, Brixton, Devon

FILE - [no title] - ref. 1277/16 - date: 1594-1860
item: [no title] - ref. 1277/16/34 - date: 3 April 1706

i) Edward Read of Brixton gent, Nicholas Winston, Walter Worth, Philip Avent, John Avent and John Stevens all of Brixton yeomen
ii) John Cole of Brixton, husbandman
House and garden in Brixton, as in 1277/16/29
Term: 99 years or 3 lives
Consideration: £3-2-6
Fine: 3/-
Kitley Estate, Yealmpton
Bastard family of Kitley, Devon

FILE - [no title] - ref. 74/123/15-16 - date: 1626

1 Thomas Avent of Wifferton, Brixton
2 John Avent, his son
Property as above
Woollcombe family of Hemerdon, Devon
section DEVON
section Hemerdon and Bickfordtown
section Bickfordtown

FILE - [no title] - ref. 710/89 - date: 1702


Mortgage in £400
1 Tristram Avent of Bickfordtown, gent
2 Edward Avent of -, gent, brother of 1
Property as above
Brixton Feoffee Lands Charity, Brixton, Devon

FILE - [no title] - ref. 1277/16 - date: 1594-1860
item: [no title] - ref. 1277/16/24 - date: 20 May 1679

i) Edward Fortescue of Spriddleston esq., Walter Stert of Brixton gent, Thomas Maynard of Brixton gent, John Avent of Venn yeoman, Robert Worth, Nicholas Winston and John Towson all of Brixton yeomen
ii) Thomas Wood of Brixton husbandman
House, garden and orchard in Brixton (see 1277/16/21)
Term: 99 years or 2 lives
Consideration: 40/-
Rent: 12/-
Brunswick County, Virginia
Deed Book 5 (1751-1755)

Indenture made 26 March 1751, between Nathaniel Edwards of St. Andrew Parish, Brunswick County, and John Irby of same, £100, 250a, on the Lick branch, being part of a larger tract of 1675a, granted to Thomas Avent by Letters Patent dated 22 September 1739, and by the said Thomas Avent sold and conveyed to Charles Stewart and by the said Charles Stewart sold and conveyed to Charles Williams by deed dated 3 January 1744, and by the said Charles Williams and Benjamin his son sold and conveyed to Nathaniell Edwards by deeds dated 27 March 1749. Signed Nathaniell Edwards. Court 26 March 1751, Indenture and Memorandum acknowledged by Nathaniell Edwards. Deed Book 5, Page 63.
Death Dateabt 1756
Death PlaceSussex County, Virginia
Misc. Notes
Contrary to widely-held belief, there is no evidence that Col. Thomas Avent’s wife was named Margaret Elizabeth Gooch.

In 1716 the name of his wife was Elizabeth (Chowan Precinct, NC, Deed Book B1:363). Elizabeth Avent presumably died after 18 Aug 1755 when she witnessed the will of her son, John Avent (Sussex Co., VA Will Book A:36). On 21 Sept. 1756, when her husband Col. Thomas Avent wrote his will, he did not mention a wife (Sussex Co., VA Will Book A:80)
Marr Datebef 1702
Marr PlaceNorthampton County, Virginia
ChildrenJohn (~1705-1755)
 William (1706-1761)
 Peter (~1706-1779)
 Sarah (~1713-1779)
 Mary (1715-1791)
 Thomas (1712-1779)
Last Modified 17 Sep 2020Created 17 Sep 2020 by Robert Avent