William’s abilities seem to have been divided among his sons. The eldest, William, followed the political career of his father, although he didn’t hold high office. The second son, Thomas, pursued the military avenue, becoming Lt. Col. in the militia. Leonard became the adventuring sailor, going to Jamaica. John seems to have been the peaceful planter.
My direct ancestor was Thomas Claiborne, who was born in 1647 and served in the militia. He married Sara Fenn and they had two children, a son Thomas and daughter Elizabeth. He died from wounds received while fighting Indians in 1683.
His son Thomas was born in 1680. He married Anne Fox. They built the manor house, Sweet Hall, on the middle section of land. They had 13 children, among them Elizabeth, who married Owen Sullivan, and was our ancestor. In a note on the architecture of the house, it explains that the windows were high so that Indians could not shoot through them from the river. Perhaps it was still not time to sit on the porch after dinner.
During this span of time, the character of the Virginia colony had changed. By 1675, there were 23,000 people in the colony. The great estates along the rivers had been staked out and new arrivals were being encouraged to move further inland. There was no longer such a demand for workers, as African laborers had begun to be introduced. There were 2000 Africans in Virginia in 1671; that number doubled to 4000 by 1691 and reached 16,000 by 1700. In 1705 a law was passed making blacks “personal property” which could be bought and sold, i.e., slaves.
Tobacco exports went from 500,000 pounds in 1634 to 15,000,000 in 1669 to 28,000,000 in 1700. Tobacco served as currency in Virginia. The rich planters shipped their crop directly from their own docks, perhaps to a warehouse at Norfolk for transshipment. Fine manufactured goods and foods and wines from England could be unloaded right at their front door. Most travel was still by water, but as settlement pushed away from the rivers, roads began to appear. The first roads were made to roll the hogsheads (huge round barrels) of tobacco to the nearest wharf.
There was visiting among the planters, often gathering for days at one of the plantations for meals and dancing. I imagine that Elizabeth Claiborne and Owen Sullivan met each other in this fashion. Since he was Irish, it seems unlikely they would have married had they still been living in England. Now, they were both part of the Virginia planter class and thus social equals.