An American Family History

William Heard and Bridget Yowkins

Charles County, Maryland
Tobacco is a native American herb that is cultivated for its leaves which are prepared for smoking, chewing or snuff. In parts of colonial America, it was used as money. Tobacco plantations in the colonial south fueled the need for enslaving people.
Maryland was established with religious freedom for Catholics. The colonial economy was based on tobacco cultivated by Africans who had been enslaved.
Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.

William Heard was born about 1630. William Heard was the son of William Heard who migrated to Maryland from England before 1661.

William married Bridget Yowkins.

Their children may have included, John Heard, William Heard and Catherine Heard Douglas,

In April, 1656 he and Richard Morris were assigned the rights to 200 acres from Christopher Cornell. They assigned the same land to John Morris and Giles Tomkins in July of the same year. This may have been a loan with the land as collateral rather than an actual exchange of land.

In May, 1657 William Hanson testified that they were at the Bowles plantation when Robert Robins accused William Heard of having illicit sexual relations.

Herde you Rogue, you Swived your Sister from tree, to tree, and I will have you to the Court

In November, 1659 he purchased 150 acres which he signed over to Peter Carr a few months later. Again this may have been a loan.

That same year he was accused of defaming Captain John Jenkins

he agreed with Capt. John Jenkings for lease of a parcel of land and cleared it in about 10 weeks then Jenkins forced him off the land; both parties consent to referral to Gov. and Mr. John Hatch who met 8 Sep and ordered defendant make payment to petitioner for work done.

In March, 1660 William entered his cattle mark

William was a supporter of Fendall's Rebellion. On February 8, 1660/61 he was among the 30 armed men with Captain John Jenkins who went to Josias Fendall's house.

According to court records, on February 11, 1660/61 Mathias Obrian said that

John Tomkinson, in the presence of William Allen and James Johnson, said there were 30 of the inhabitants of this province to be hanged including Zacharie Wade, Joseph Harrison, William Heard and several others.

William, as well as, most of the participants in Fendall's Rebellion were pardoned.

At the same court where he was sentenced to be hanged, on February 12, 1660/61 William was assigned the rights to William Empson's patent for a land on the Potomac River near the mouth of Baker's Creek.

In 1660 and 1661 he was appointed administrator of Samuel and Joanne [Bachellor] Parker's estate. Hugh O'Neale took him to court so that he would pay the estate's debt of 1,000 pounds of tobacco to pay Mary O'Neale for Joane Parker's care. The court ruled in William's favor. During the case, William said that Joane Parker said that Mary posioned her. Mary sued William for slander. William asked for forgiveness. Again the court ruled in William's favor.

In settling the same estate, William sued for a debt due the estate and Francis Gray was ordered to pay 140 pounds of tobacco.

In 1662 he appraised Sarah Harbert's estate and 1662/63 he appraised William Bowles estate and was the attorney to Absolom Covant in a court case.

They sold land to Thomas Baker on July 16, 1664. The land included the land from William Empson's patent and the land between the Baker and Pope.

In July, 1664 their servant, John Constable drowned and a jury declared that it was suicide.

William died in January, 1664/65 and Bridget followed in April, 1665. According to William's will, Bridget was his only heir and the administratrix.

In a land dispute in 1700 over Beach Neck, it was claimed that William Heard took it up, but died before he received the grant. He left it to his wife Bridget.

John Douglas,Sr. was the administrator of Bridget's estate. Bridget left her son William one half of the estate, John Douglas, Jr. one quarter of the estate and her sister, Mary Yowkins, one quarter. She also remembered her mother, Katherine Yowkins, her servant, Margaret Stephens, and Andrew Ward.

Court records indicated the Heard's owned considerable debts. They owed:

John Longe 798 pounds of tobacco
Dr. John Stone 1,770 pounds of tobacco
Robert Long 400 pounds of tobacco
Walter Stone 610 pounds of tobacco
William Burton 3,540 pounds of tobacco
John Foxhall 647 pounds of tobacco

A land patent is an exclusive land grant made by the government. The certificate that grants the land rights is also called first-title deed and final certificate. In the United States, all land can be traced back to the original land patent.

Beach Neck (Locust Grove, Beech Neck) was a plantation in Charles County, Maryland taken up by William Heard in 1644 and left to his wife Bridget Yowkins. In 1655 Bridget left half her property to her sister and half to her grandson, John Douglas, Jr. John sold to it to Philip Lynes and in 1697, Philip Lynes leased it to John Ward. The title to the property was later disputed.
Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.

The first European settlements in Maryland were made in 1634 when English settlers created a permanent colony.

The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay and is about 405 miles long.

Many young healthy people died in colonial Maryland due to outbreaks of malaria and yellow fever.

It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.


Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2023
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