James Flanagan, c1705 – 1752


James Flanagan was born about 1705; this is based on the 1730 birth of his first son, James (yes, he had two sons named James – see __________). Dalton Family Bible Record, 1674-1847. N.p., 1674. Print.


The name of James’s first wife (the mother of James b. 1730) is not known. It is also not known where they were married and where their son James was born.

By 1747, James had married Sevena Whittle, daughter of Francis Whittle. Their marriage date is based on the estimated birth date of their son Ambrose. The only known birthdate of their sons is Whittle’s, who was born Nov 1749. In records where the sons are named together, Ambrose is always named first, then Whittle, then James, which indicates Ambrose was the eldest son.


On 1 Jun 1752, at Louisa County VA, James made his will, which was proven at Louisa Co court on 23 Jun 1752. Louisa County VA Will Book 1, page 19


James Flanagan’s place of birth is unknown, and the long-standing, widely-spread error that he was born about 1724 has been proven incorrect by Primary Sources which are Original and which are also Direct Evidence (cited in Sources). There has been little need for Secondary Sources or Indirect Evidence, but I have collected all that information as well. This is discussed more in-depth on James and His Two Sons named James.

We don’t yet know by what means he came to Virginia. Or, was he born in the American Colonies, and possibly in Virginia? There were Flanagans in Princess Anne County by the late 1600’s. Maybe he arrived as an indentured servant. Or was he in fact the James Flanagan who, along with Bridget Flanagan, were deported to the Colonies from Ireland in 1743? This last option is highly doubtful, in my opinion; the record comes from Ireland and it does not state where in the American Colonies they were sent.


Recently I have expanded my research to include all of James’s children and their descendants. This research includes physical trips to Richmond (both the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Historical Society), the Virginia Genealogical Society.

Even Dr. Edward Latane Flanagan’s (1882-1965) research papers mention the second son named James, but you have to study all his papers, not just the primary summary about him. Dr. Flanagan did not research this second son named James (b. 1730), but I did. If he had, he too would have discovered that James Flanagan (d. 1752) was born much earlier than 1724-ish. I photographed all Dr. Flanagan’s pages pertaining to James d. 1752 and James d. 1838 in 2010.

Don’t get met wrong – Dr. Edward Latane Flanagan is my hero! In his papers, he admits to gaps and inconsistencies and he encourages future researchers to take up the torch and fill in the gaps, and I’m so glad I have done that!

Because he had two sons named James, it explains why his 1752 will contains more legacies to James than to the other children. It’s unfortunate he didn’t specify which James he was making the individual legacies to, because it would have cleared up a lot of confusion that’s perpetuated for decades.

A well-meaning researcher has claimed that James was born in County Roscommon Ireland in 1724 (25?), but if that record exists (and the source record has never been cited), that particular James cannot be this James Flanagan, for the simple fact that this James Flanagan had a son born in 1730.


During the period 1743 until his death in 1752, James can be found in various land records, account ledgers, and in the Fredericksville Parish Record.

At this time, these are the only records for James that have been located. We hope to be able to add more. It’s important to remember that Louisa County was formed from Hanover County in 1742 and that Hanover County records were destroyed during the Civil War. Were it not for that tragedy, I feel certain additional records for James would have been found.

We first find James in Francis Jerdone’s merchant ledger in a series of entries:

1743 and 1744

[No Folio number provided in the transcription]; description says, “Hanover County 1743; Sundries Dr to Balance, being a list of Debts due to the Cargo belonging to Neill Buchanan, Esq. in London, 1st October.” There is more information in the original ledger, but the transcriber did not include it. The transcribed entry says:

Flanekan, James – By Adam Chisholm (Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol. 34 p 189)

[Folio 75] Hanover County
1743/4 Mr James Flanikan in Louisa
March 22 1 pr Bellows, rum, 1 buckhorn handle knife, 1 doz aul blades, 1 ivory comb, Sugar;
1744 Contra By ballance
(Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol. 35 p 326)

[Folio 99] Hanover County
Sundries Drs [debits] to ballance being a full list of the debts due to the Cargo belonging to the Executors of Neill Buchanan Esqr. deceased this 10th day of Novr 1744
Flanikan, James………………144……………. By Francis Whittle -/-/-
(Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol. 36 p 100)

[Folio 144] Hanover County
1744 Mr Francis Whittle in Louisa
Nov 10 To Ballance from folio 51
Jany 15 2 new testaments, March 22nd 2 narrow hoes
Augt To your assumpsit of James Flanican’s ballance
1745 Contra Oct 1 By Ballance
(Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol. 38 p 53)

It’s apparent that James Flanagan and Francis Whittle were acquainted to such a degree that Francis assumed James’s balance by August of 1745. James made a purchase on March 22 1743/4 (this is how it is written in the ledger and likely has something to do with the Julian/Gregorian calendar differences).

The store that Francis Jerdone kept the ledger for was in Hanover County, VA. It should be remembered that Louisa County was formed from Hanover County in 1742.

25 Mar 1745 – James Flanikin/Flainkin and Fr. Whiteele/Whitell are witnesses to a deed between Francis Smithson and George Gibson. (Louisa Co VA Deed Book A p 173-174)

25 Mar 1745 – James Flanikin witnesses a deed between George Gibson and William Dollithan (Louisa County VA Deed Book A pp 173-174). Given the known association of the Flanagans and Dalton’s (James’s elder son James’s daughter Mary Ann married John F Dalton), could “Dollithan” actually be “Dalton”?

23 Feb 1747 – Ordered that William Hudson be Overseer of the road from Gibsons foard to Daltons path & that the hands of Mrs. Morris and James Flanacan be added to his Gang. (Louisa County VA Road Orders 1742-1748, original book page 249, see page 27 of the transcribed book on virginiadot.org) ( This indicates that James was probably a slaveholder by this date. 

29 July 1747 – Fredericksville Parish Vestry Book – “That Samuel Dalton and James Flanagan do procession the lands from Nicks Meriwether’s line ye Mountain and the county line to Cuffy’s Creek.”

20 Aug 1747 – James received two land grants, one for 250 acres and the other for an adjoining 400 acres. (250 acres – Flanegen, James. Land Grant 20 August 1747. N.p., 1747. Print.) (400 acres – Flanegen, James. Land Grant 20 August 1747. N.p., 1747. Print.)

The 250 acre grant made in 1747 was surveyed for James on 21 Nov 1744 (Louisa Surveyors Book 1742-1860, familysearch.org film no. 1993668, DGS 7842568, page 27). The survey (plat) for the 400 acre tract known to most researchers is not in this book.

The eastern border of the 400 acre tract was shared with the western border of land that Francis Whittall acquired from James Stuart sometime between 1735 and 1742. See “Whittle Flanagan’s Red Hill – A Study” in the Images tab. To obtain land grants, one did not need influence; one only needed to inhabit and improve the land or pay treasury rights of 5 shillings for every 50 acres. (Library of Virginia, Virginia Land Patents and Grants)

5 Jun 1749 – Fredericksville Parish Vestry Book – “Ordered that James Flanakin be appointed Sexton of the Middle Church in the room of Wilmoth Davis, and that his wages commmence the 20th of May last”

25 Oct 1749 – Fredericksville Parish Vestry Book – “At a Vestry held for Fredericksville Parish ye 25 October 1749, To James Flanakin for officiatin gas Sexton of the Middle Church til the 20th of May next, 500 pounds of Tobacco”

28 Nov 1750 – Fredericksville Parish Vestry Book – (similar to above)

27 Nov 1751 – Fredericksville Parish Vestry Book – (similar to above)

1 Jun 1752 – James wrote his will, which is discussed in detail on James Flanagan’s Will

20 Jun 1752 – James’s will is proved at Louisa County court by the oaths of witnesses 

29 Nov 1752 – Fredericksville Parish Vestry Book – (Edward Lane has replaced James as Sexton)


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