The name “Therit” has passed down through the Towles family for more than two hundred years. In the Taylor family, the name has passed down as “Therriotte” or “Theriott”. The source of this distictive name is Dominic Theriat (Theriault, Therriot, Theriatt, Therriott), who came to Virginia’s Eastern Shore around 1650. His son William had two daughters (Hanna and Elizabeth). Some references to these people follow: Dominick Theriatt was sheriff of Northumberland County, Virginia in 1656, and court was held at his home in 1657. Anderson, “The Taylor Family of Northumberland and Lancaster Counties, Virginia,” 35 Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (1927) 211, 214 - 215. On 4/1/1675, William Therriott (sic) returned the inventory of the estate of Dominie Therriott. Lancaster County Will Book 5, p. 16, at Ida Johnson Lee, Abstracts Lancaster County, Virginia, Wills (Baltimore 1973) p. 221. In 1687, William Therriot served as a cavalryman in the Lancaster County militia. Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore 1988) p. 230. The inventory of William Therriot’s estate was presented by Ann Therriott on 9/9/1691 at Lancaster County Will Book 8, p. 29. Ida Johnson Lee, Abstracts Lancaster County, Virginia, Wills (Baltimore 1973) p. 221. His two daughters were Hannah (also called Ann) (who married Henry Towles, Jr.) and Elizabeth (who married Thomas Taylor [died 1716]). Elizabeth Therriot Taylor died about 1751 (her will is dated 10/20/1746 and was recorded 10/18/1751 at Lancaster County Will Book 10, p. 64). By deed dated 3/12/1711, Thomas and Elizabeth Taylor and Henry and Hannah Towles conveyed to William Ball some land that had passed “to said Elizabeth Taylor and Hannah Towles, ye daughters of ye said William Therriat.” Anderson, “The Taylor Family of Northumberland and Lancaster Counties, Virginia,” 35 Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (1927) 211, 215 citing to Lancaster County Deed Book 9, page 382. This tract was known as Therriott’s Headlands. Nell Marion Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1666 - 1695 (Richmond 1934, reprinted Baltimore 1974) p. 184 (Patent Book 6, p. 642) states “William Theriat 3500 acs. Lancaster Co. adj. to head of Corotoman River, 1 May 1678, ... Beg. at mouth of Clapham’s Cr.; adj Mr. Edwin Conaway, &c. 1600 acs. granted to Dom. Theriat 18 Apr. 1662; 1900 acs. surveyed in the name of sd. Dom. Therriatt, dec’d., but by reason of the patt. granted to the Lords Proprietors noe patt. hath issued which sd. land is confirmed to sd. Wm., as being his sonn & heir, & haveing found rights for sd. 1900 acs.”
I have heard that Dominic Theriault was a Frenchman who was an officer in the Royalist Army during the English Civil War; however, I have never seen any substantiation for this Cavalier connection.