After inspecting the 17th C. Dutch will I received last month, I found that I could read the names of heirs but not what they inherited. I had to request an abstract in English. The archivist has agreed to help me but will not be able to attend to the matter until later this month. Until then, I can’t proceed with the index to my book.
I probably have mentioned before that two fine portraits of Sir Thomas Pettus, 1st Bt., and his wife are displayed in the dining room of the Assembly House in Norwich, England. The portrait of the wife is identified as that of Lady Elizabeth Pettus. Recently, while going through some old prints I inherited from my father, I found a miniature identified as Lady Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Pettus, 1st Bt. The problem is that the portraits are obviously not of the same lady. One has a rounded chin; the other has a long, prominent chin. I sent the curator of the Norwich Castle Museum a scan of my print, and she concluded that the lady whose portrait is in the Assembly House must be Lady Ann, second wife of Sir Thomas Pettus, 1st Bt. I have already made the necessary changes to my book. I hope to add a miniature of Lady Elizabeth Pettus, wife of Sir Thomas Pettus, 2nd Bt., in the next chapter of my book, assuming I can get a sharp picture of it.
I have been in contact with someone who sent me a watercolor of Rackheath Old Hall as it looked in 1620. I had no idea that the picture existed. The old mansion burned sometime in the 18th C. I now have permission to use the painting to illustrate my book.
In the meantime, I received an e-mail from the president of the Norfolk Heraldry Society in England asking me to submit a brief article on the history of the Pettus family of England for publication in the September issue of the society’s journal, The Norfolk Standard. That issue, by the way, will be devoted entirely to articles on the Pettus family of England. Those readers who have a strong interest in the genealogy of the English Pettuses may wish to order a copy of that issue or even join the society. I have already sent a rough draft of the article and am awaiting further guidance from the editors.
Along the same lines, Dr. Clive Wilkins-Jones of the Norwich Library has written a scholarly book on the history of the library. The first page is transcribed from the library’s Donations Book, which shows that the library was founded in 1608 with books contributed by Sir John Pettus, Kt., when he was mayor of the city. The book also includes a donation of books from Sir John’s son, Sir Augustine Pettus, Kt. The title is Norwich City Library, 1608-1737. It is Vol. LXII of the Norfolk Record Society’s publications. You can probably order online from the society or by writing to the society at 29 Cintra Road, Norwich, NR! 4AE. Sorry, I don’t have the price.
One of the vexing genealogical issues I have struggled with is that of identifying the father of Col. William Pettus of Louisa and Spotsylvania counties, Virginia. He lived during the 18th C. I have read several differing accounts of his genealogy, but none of the authors cited enough definitive evidence to convince me that he or she had solved the problem. Recently, I established contact with one of his descendants whose father inherited some papers that may shed new light on the subject. Combined with previously unreported evidence from my own research, I am hoping that I can make a more convincing case for Col. William’s ancestry. Anyone with an interest in the subject should contact me soon by responding to this posting or writing me at my own e-mail address in the header.