1711 is the earliest possible year for the birth of Patricks and Margarets first child.
There are no apparent records of Patrick and Margaret having any daughters but in all likelihood they did and their first child could, in fact, have been a girl. Their sons (in probable order by age) included Patrick, Jr., (REF: September 20, 1740) James, (REF: 1747) Robert, (REF: 1747) John, (REF: 1751) Joseph, (REF: June 25, 1753) Benjamin, (REF: 1747) and (possibly) Jeremiah. (REF: April 4 - June 3, 1755)
|SUMMARY OF POSSIBLE BIRTHDATES FOR PATRICK'S SONS|
Although this would be considered as an extremely large family today (especially since Patrick and Margaret almost certainly also had girls), it was not at all that unusual in eighteenth century Virginiafamilies averaged somewhere between six and sixteen children.(1)
Based on available facts, it seems that Patrick, Jr. was the oldest son. (REF: 1747 comments) The latest probable date for Patrick, Jr.s birth is 1719. (REF: September 20, 1740 comments) (Realistically, given the fact that Margaret was most likely born no later than 1693 and that women were often married by their ninteenth birthday, (REF: October 10, 1709 comments) Patrick and Margaret were most likely married by 1712, and therefore, Patrick, Jr. was probably born well before 1719.) Naming customs of the time (although these customs were not always followed) also suggest that Patrick, Jr. was the oldest son because, traditionally, the first son was named after his father.(2) Other facts to be considered in this regard are that Patrick, Jr. was named as executor of his father's estate (a task customarily given to the oldest son), (REF: April 2, 1764) and he was the son who inherited the parcel of property where Patrick, Sr. lived (REF: September 6 & 7, 1770)by custom based on the law of primogeniture, the eldest son would inherit the homestead.(3) Also worthy of some consideration is the fact that Patrick, Jr. appears in documented records as an adult (REF: September 20, 1740) prior to the first record of either James or Robert as adults. (REF: 1747) Based on all of these considerations, it seems extremely likely that Patrick, Jr. was, in fact, the oldest son.
(1) Albert Alan Rogers. Family Life in Eighteenth Century Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia, 1939. p. 255.
(2) Allan Kulikoff. Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Culture in the Chesapeake 1680 1800. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1986. pp. 241 & 245 250.
(3) Louis A. Daniels. "A Little Something about Primogeniture," The Newsletter, Vol. 11, No. 10, April 1993. Prince William County Genealogical Society.
© 1999 Ronald K. Hamrick, Burke, VA