> Does anybody have concrete evidence that Robert Abernathy who came to
> America ca. 1652 was in the military?
I don't. Nor, I think, does anyone else. But it's pretty obvious that he could not have gotten here any other way except as a transportee, and the date he first appears in colonial records is highly suggestive of his being captured in a Battle during Cromwell's reign.
> Would a non-commissioned officer be hung or beheaded if he was
> captured during a war?
Depended on the war and the legal decisions of the government in power at the time. As regards Cromwell's Government and the Battle of Dunbar and the Battle of Worcester, there were 3 categories into which Scots prisoners fell after those Battles: 1) common soldiers, 2) non-commisioned officers and officers below the rank of Captain, and 3) field officers, Highlanders, gentry, and high-ranking officers.
Category 1 was permitted to return to their homes, if they could. Category 2 were to be transported to the colonies.
Category 3 went to the Tower and were held for ransom. Some may haveeventually been either pardoned or executed on a case by case basis.
I have a very poor copy of a list of approx 600 prisoners from the Battle of Worcester, published in London on 9 Sep 1652. Alas, it does not name Robert, only George Abernethy and John Abernathy.
> What is the history of indentured servants and their passage to
Again, too many variables. Pickpockets, orphans, drunks, homeless, poachers, even gentry who couldn't pay thier bills: anyone was subject to transportation to the colonies from time to time, and a lot depended on a local magistrate, not always on a uniformly administered set of laws. And anyone who had money could pay for their passage in exchange for the right to be sold into bondage when they got here. Plus the importer got land grants in the colonies as well.
> Were captured soldiers sent to America?
Some. 900 from the Battle of Dunbar were sent to Barbados, Virginia and New England, another 500 "loaned" to a French Military leader. The rest of the 10,000 were either let go immediately (as being too wounded to ever fight again) or sent on a foretaste of the Bataan Death March the Americans suffered at the hands of the Japanese after the fall of the Philippines in 1942.
> Or was Robert too poor to pay his own passage?
That too could have had an effect. However, as a Scots, he was legally prohibited by British law from being able to emigrate to the colonies, so his most likely method was as a transportee/bondservant/ex-POW.
Here is a synopsis of some of the facts that have come across my inbox in the past few years.
Regarding bondservants circa mid 1600's, two facts apply. One is that bondservants were forbidden by British law to marry until they gained their freedom and the other is that apparently the laws in effect in various (if not all) counties of colonial Virginia were effectively that a bondservant served until age 21, regardless of the age at which he/she became a bondservant. I do not have precise confirmation that those laws were extant without variations throughout all of Britain and her colonies at the time, but I suspect they were.
Fact: Robert Abernathy married Sarah Cubshie on or just before 3 Apr 1657. That he did so then implies, therefore, that he was born on or by 3 Apr some 21 years earlier, which would make him about 19 in the late fall of 1651, or 18 the same time about a year earlier. And the speed at which he and Sarah arranged for her daughter to have a dower that might make her marriage more attractive also implies that she might have been Robert's child. Not an unknown and unproven late husband.
Fact: The Battle of Dunbar was fought on 3 Aug 1650. Most of the few surviving Scots who were captured at that Battle were shipped out a few months later to the Colonies: about 900 to Barbados, Virginia, and New England, but we can't be sure that our Robert was among them until we find his name on a list in some archives. J.D. Mackie (A History of Scotland, Penguin Books Ltd, London, England) states that "The 10,000 or so prisoners taken were treated with callous disregard" and that few survived to reach the "Plantations" to which they were exiled but the truth is that Cromwell's army was in no way prepared to deal with 10,000 prisoners of war.
Conjecture: we presume our Robert was captured a year later at the Battle of Worcester, 3 Sep 1651.
Fact: There _is_ a list of Scots prisoners held for disposition after that Battle, dated 9 Sep 1651 and printed in London, and I've been sent a not very good copy, but Robert's name is _not_ on it, so if he was a POW from that Battle, how he finessed transportation to the colonies is still undocumented although precisely how (if not exactly when) he arrived here clearly is.
Fact: it was not until after the 1707 Act of Union (legally creating the United Kingdom as opposed to semi-seperate kingdoms) that Scots and Irish were free to emigrate legally to the British Colonies. Prior to then they could only come as transportees & indentured servants.
Fact: the first mention of our Robert's name was the August 1652 headright grant to Robert West. It is assumed that he arrived that spring, and not the spring of the previous year, because it's likely that Robert West would have been eager to get his claimed headright grant.
From Colonial documents, all online at the Library of Virginia's website:
1. On 12 Aug 1650 Richard Tye & Charles Sparrowe obtain a headright of 2500 acres of land in Charles City county for the importation of 50 individuals, one of whom is identified as Sara Cuddens, Cuddons, or Cubbons, who may or may not have been the Sara Cubishe who later married Robert Abernathy.
2. On 2 Aug 1652 Robert West was issued a headright grant for 700 acres which is how we know that Robert "Ebernethell" was one of the individuals whose passage to the colonies was paid for by West and that he was in the colonies by that date. The grant described the land as located on "Bayliss" or Baileys Creek in Charles City County and as being "due the said Robert by and for the transportation of fourteen people". Bailey's Creek empties northward into the James River on the east border of Hopewell, between that community and a northward pointing bit of land called Jordan's Point. Headright grants required proof of the individuals imported to the colonies, which included age, places of origin, skills if any, maybe even parents names, et cetera. However, such proof offered was deliberately destroyed after the grant was issued. So we don't have documentable evidence from that as to the exact age of Robert when he arrived here, but we can certainly extrapolate it from the other evidence in hand.
3. On 29 Nov 1656 George Cubishe witnessed a 100 acre transaction between Richard Jones & Morgan Jones. On 25 Jun 1657 Patrick Jackson & Richard Baker sell George Cubishe 100 acres of land in Charles City County, south of the James River. This sale is not registered until 23 Aug 1662, which suggests that it took George that long to complete payment to Partick Jackson & Richard Baker. George's 100 acres is described as 'lying northerly from John Banisters plantation that he hath cleared in the woods', and was clearly part of a parcel of 1500 acres originally granted to Richard Jones and later re-granted to Patrick Jackson & Richard Baker.
4. On 18 March 1662 Patrick Jackson & Richard Baker were issued title to 1500 acres of land in then Charles City County. This land appears to be the same 1500 acres previously assigned to Richard Jones. It is described as being about 2 miles or thereabouts from the (James) River "on the back side" of Merchants Hope, and may have included 950 acres that was part of that earlier grant to Richard Jones on 12 Mar 1655.
5. On 4 Feb 1664 (recorded 7 Mar 1665) Robert Abernathe [sic] purchased 100 acres of land from Patrick Jackson & Richard Baker, part of thier original grant. Robert's purchase was recorded in Charles City County VA on 7 May 1665, suggesting that it took him less time to pay off the purchase price than George Cubishe took to pay off his 100 nearby acres.
Additional notes: John Banister's widow married James Wallis, and was a very near neighbor to Robert Abernathy and George Cubishe, as additional deed analysis has shown.
And while some might speculate that George Cubishe was certainly kin to Sarah, he clearly wasn't her deceased husband. I believe that he was far more likely to have been Sarah's brother, and may have been one of the reasons Robert purchased that particular plot of 100 acres from Patrick Jackson & Richard Baker.
By dint of a long process Margaret Ogilvie, an Abernathy descendant from the David of Dinwiddie line, has succeeded in locating what we are reasonably sure was the site of Robert's original 100 acres. It lies about 2 miles south of the James River, and slightly south-east of the Benjamim Harrison Memorial Bridge (State Routs 156 & 106) across the James River at Jordon's Point. The plot is about a mile east of Merchant's Hope Road (State Route 641) near Merchant's Hope Church, and about about a mile south of the James River Rd (State Route 10). It is presently fully wooded, as it must have been when he began homesteading there.
Thanks are due the kind soul who provided Margaret with a present day realtor's map of the area of Richmond and Petersburg VA, to Jim De Figh, a Cubshie researcher who also provided important clues from historical documents and land grants, and to the Deed Mapper software that let Margaret input a lot of old deed information and eventually draw up the probable true representation of the land owned by Robert Abernathy & Sarah Cubishe.
Now some sources:
Library of Virginia website: http://www.lva.lib.va.us/http://www.lva.lib.va.us/
Battle of Dunbar: http://www.scotwars.com/html/battle_of_dunbar.htmhttp://www.scotwars.com/html/battle_of_dunbar.htm
Battle of Worcester: http://www.british-civil-wars.co.uk/military/1651-worcester.htmhttp://www.british-civil-wars.co.uk/military/1651-worcester.htm
"A History of Scotland" by J.D. Mackie, Penguin Books Ltd, London, England ISBN 0-14-013649-5
"The Oxford History of Britain", Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-285202-7
British records can be found (with varying degrees of difficulty) at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/default.htmhttp://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/default.htm
To obtain a copy of anything there, however, you really need an arrangement with a British Professonal Genealogist who already has a "reader's ticket" and extensive experience in negotiating the catalog effectively. Direct access to documents for copies is best arranged in advance by someone with a reader's ticket, preferably living near London.
Hope this helps.