An Inheritance of Ghosts

Valentine Corley and Sarah [Walker?]

Posted in Sarah ([Walker?]) Corley, Sarah [Walker?], Valentine Corley by Gregg Mattocks on 13 September 2009

Valentine Corley [384]

Father: probably John Corley [768]

Mother: Unknown [769]

Mattocks Family Heritage entry

Sarah “Sally” [Walker?] [385]

Father: possibly Robert Walker [770]

Mother: possibly Agatha —– [771]

Mattocks Family Heritage entry


Valentine Corley [384] was born about 1721, or perhaps somewhat earlier, in Virginia. If he was a son of John Corley, Valentine was probably born in Hanover County.

On 17 November 1735, John and Valentine Corley were witnesses to a land transaction between William Eddies of Orange County and Shurley Whatley of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County. This transaction would lead one to believe that Valentine had been born by about 1719 in order to have been of legal age to witness the deed.

It is known that Valentine had a wife named Sarah, and it is thought she may have been Sarah “Sally” [Walker?] [385]. That Sarah may have been a Walker is based on circumstantial evidence. Valentine was the executor of the estate of Robert Walker. Robert had named a daughter “Saley” in his will, and she may have been the woman who married Valentine Corley. Robert’s wife was named Agatha, and Valentine had a daughter named Agatha. Robert had a son Elijah Walker, Valentine had a grandson named Elijah W. Colley and Elijah W. Colley’s son was named Elijah Walker Colley.

On 12 January 1747, for thirty shillings, Valentine received a grant of 300 acres at Goochland County, Virginia, from the Commonwealth. The property was:

on the South side of Appamattox River on the Branches of Angola and bounded as followeth, to wit, Beginning at Edward Davisons Corner Pointers Thence new Line North two degrees West one hundred and six poles to William McCoys Pointers Thence on McCoys Line South eighty degrees West three hundred and fifty poles to his Corner Pine Then new Line South forty seven degrees East one hundred and forty poles to a black scrub Oak in Richard Wills Line On Wills Lines North fifty degrees East one hundred and four poles to a white Oak thence South forty degrees East one hundred and twenty four poles to Pointers South ten degrees West one hundred and sixty poles to Pointers South eighty degrees East sixty nine poles to Pointers Then on John Patterson North ten degrees East one hundred and forty four poles to his Pointers Same Course continued on Edward Davison one hundred and sixteen poles to the first Station With all Woods Underwoods Swamps Marshes Low Grounds Meadows Feedings and his due share of all Veins Mines and Quarries as well discovered as not discovered within the bounds aforesaid and being part of the said Quantity of three hundred acres of Land and the Rivers Waters and Watercourses therein contained Together with the Priviledges of Hunting Hawking ffishing Fowling and all other Profits Commodities and Hereditaments whatsoever to the same or any part thereof belonging or in any wise appertaining

The above grant was made on the condition that “for every fifty acres of Land and so proportionably for a lefser or greater Quantity then fifty acres the ffee Rent of one shilling yearly to be paid upon the feast of S’t Michael the Arch Angel And also Cultivating and Improving three acres part of every Fifty of the Tract above mentioned within three years after the date of these Presents.”

On 24 August 1749, Valentine was located at Orange County, Virginia.

On 16 August 1756, for forty shillings, Valentine received a grant of 400 acres at Amelia County, Virginia, from the Commonwealth. The property was:

between Bryer and Buffalo Rivers and bounded as followeth (to wit) Beginning at Abraham Bakers Corner pine thence along Flournoys Lines North thirty seven Degrees East eleven poles to his Corner thence West twenty two Degrees North ninety eight poles to Andersons Corner thence along his Lines North fifteen Degrees East two hundred and seventy eight poles to his Corner great forked pine thence East thirty one Degrees North one hundred and forty two poles to a Corner in his Line thence South East by South one hundred and ninety four poles to Martins line thence along his Lines South forty poles to Bakers line thence West two Degrees South thirty five poles along Bakers Line to the beginning

Valentine was known to have possessed land in Cumberland County, Virginia, as early as November 1759, when Richard Ward of Lunenburg County, Virginia, wrote a will leaving land to his son Benjamin Ward. The bequeathed land was described as being in Cumberland County adjoining the land of Valentine Colley.

The processioner’s returns of St. Patrick’s Parish, Prince Edward County, Virginia, from 1760 to 1767, list a “Voll Colley”.

Valentine was appointed executor by Robert Walker of Bedford County, Virginia, in a will composed 23 October 1766 and recorded 4 March 1767. Valentine (“Vollintine”) was further named as Robert Walker’s executor in the inventory of Robert’s estate dated 26 April 1768, and again in the settlement of Walker’s estate dated 26 March 1771.

On 10 April 1779, Valentine (of Cumberland County) sold to John Watson, Jr., of Prince Edward County, 176 acres of land located in Prince Edward County.

During the Revolutionary War, Valentine Corley, of Cumberland County, Virginia, provided supplies for the use of the military. Valentine had receipts for reimbursement for the following articles:

August 1780: 21 1/2 lbs. bacon, by Henry Skipwith, Comr. State 16s-1 1/2
November 1781: 225 lbs. beef, by Ben Wilson, Comr. State £1-17-6
December 1781: 2 bushels wheat, for State 8s
  Total £3-1-7 1/2

On 1 December 1783, Valentine deeded to his son James 150 acres comprising half of the property where Valentine was then living. Valentine is said to have deeded further land to James on 26 April 1784.

A Vaul Colley appeared as the head of household on the 1784 Virginia census of Cumberland County, with four “white souls” and two “dwellings”.

Valentine was among the Cumberland County petititoners who protested being taxed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to pay religious teachers:

To The Hon. The Speaker & Gent’n of the house of Delegates

The petitioners of the Inhabitants of Cumb’d County, Humbly Sheweth that whereas it hath pleased your Hon. House to Publish a bill Obliging the Inhabitants of the Comon Wealth to pay the Teachers of the Christian Religion & have required their Opinion concerning it Your Petio’s therefore do most earnestly declare Against it, Believing it to be Contrary to the Spirit of the Gospel & the bill of rights, Certain it is that the Blefsed Author of the Christian Religion not only Maintain’d & Support’d his Gospel in the World for Several hund’d Years Without the Aid of Civil Power but against all the powers of earth, The Excellent purity of its Precepts & the unblameable behaviour of its Ministers (With the divine blefsing) made its way thro all opposition, Nor was it the better for the Church when Constantine the Great first Established Christianity by human Laws, true there was rest from Persecution but how soon was the Church overrun With mor Superstition & Immorallity how unlike Mere Ministers now to what they Were before both in Orthodoxy of Principle & Purity of life, But it Said Religion is taking its flight & that Decision with its banefull Influence is Spreading itself over the State, if so it must be oweing to the Laws, not the want of religious Establishment, let Your Laws punish the Vices & Immorallity as of the times, & let their not be wanting Such men placed in Power & Authority who by their Example shall recommend Religion & by their faithfullnefs Scourge the Growing vices of the Times, Let Ministers Manifest to the World Y’t they were inwardly Moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon them Y’t office, that they Seek the good of Mankind & not Worldly Interest, that their Doctrine be Scriptural & their lives Upright, Then Shall Religion (if departed) Spedily Returned Deism with its dreadfull Consequences be Removed, But what Valuable Purpose would Such Afsesment Ans’r Would it introduce any More Unfull & faithfull men into the Ministry Society not, Those whom divine grace hath Call’d to that work, will esteem it their highest honour to do his Pleasure, on the Contrary it might call in Many Hirelings When chief Motive & design would be Temporal Interest, That religious Establishment & Government is linked together, & that the later can not Exist without the former is Something new; Witnefs Pensylvania where no Such Establishment hath taken place; Their Government stands firm & which of the Neighbouring States has better Members of brighter Moral & more upright Characters; The bill of Rights which Says that all men by nature are born equally free; so no Person in this Comonwealth shall injoy exclusive Priviledges except for Services Rendered the State, Shall not those then Who are not Profefsors of the Christian Religion Who were in this State at the Pafsing of this bill & others who have been invited Since by the benefits it held out When they shall be Obliged to Support the Christian Religion, think that Such Obligation is a Departure from the true Spirit & Meaning of it; Finally if such tax is against the Spirit of the Gospel if Christ for Several hundred Years not only without the aid of Civil Power but against all the powers of earth, Supported & defended it, if Religious Establishment has never been a means of Prospering the Gospel, if no more faithfull men would be Call’d into the Ministry, if it would not revive decayed Religion nor Stop the Growth of Deism, nor serve the Purpose of Govern’t & if against the bill of Rights Your Petitioners trust that the Wisdom & uprightnefs of Your Hon. House will leave them intirely free in Matters of Religion & the Manner of Supporting its Teachers & they shall ever Pray.

On 17 February 1786, Valentine (of Cumberland County) sold land in Prince Edward County to his son Asa for twenty pounds. This land was about 200 acres bounded by the property of John Watson, John Martin and John Biggers.

On 4 December 1791, Valentine sold, for fifty pounds, to his son William half of the place he was then living on.  A few weeks later, on 26 December 1791, at Cumberland County, Valentine is said to have granted a lease to William.

Valentine appeared on the 1800 Tax List for Cumberland County with one horse and one slave over 16.

Valentine’s will was dated 10 November 1801:

In the name of God Amen. I Valentine Corley of Cumberland County being in the decline of life but of sound mind and memory do insititute & make this my last will and testament in manner and form as following. Vizt—

Item. I lend to my beloved wife Sarah Corley all my stock of every kind house hold and kitchen furniture and four negroes to wit, Betty, Rose, David and Sarah, during her natural life. After the death of my wife my will and desire is that my son William Corley should take possession of the negro woman Sarah until my grand daughter Sally Brown comes with age, and that said son shall have the benefit from the labour of said Sarah if and till said Sally Brown comes to age.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Aggathy Simmons one negro girl named Lucy.

Item. I give to my daughter Ann Pigg one negro boy named Rob.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Milly Anglia one negro girl named Fanney.

Item. I give to my daughter Mary Duffer one negro boy named Pleasant.

I give to Pearce Butler one shilling sterling.

Item. I give to George Brown Jr. one shilling sterling.

Item. I give to James Corley’s children one shilling sterling.

Item. I give to my granddaughter Sally Brown one bed and bed quilt.

My will and desire is at the death of my wife that Betty, Rose and David shall be equally divided between my four daughters viz- Aggathy Simmons, Ann Pigg, Milly Anglia, and Mary Duffer. My will and desire is that the increase from this time until the death of my wife if any from Betty, Rosy and Sarah shall be equally divided between my three sons Viz. Caniel, William Corley, Asa Corley except the first one that is born if any, I give to my son William

Extranary, my will and desire is that Wiat Negro boy, also negro boy Daniel shall be divided in manner as follows between my three sons Viz. I give to my son William Corley, Wiat, and the other two to be equally divided between my other two sons to wit Caniel Corley and Asa Corley, further my will and desire is if there should be any of my stock left at the death of my wife that my son William shall have, lastly I do appoint Edmund Duffy, Francis Vaughan & Robert Anglia Executors to this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 10th day of November of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and one.

  Signed and acknowledged
in the presence of
Asa Corley
Elijah Corley
Elizabeth Corley
Valentine Corley (seal)

Valentine had died by 26 January 1803 when his will was proved.

Valentine was survived by his wife Sarah.

It is not known if Sarah was the mother of any or all of Valentine’s children. However, there is no evidence that Valentine had any other wife.

Children of Valentine and perhaps Sarah ([Walker?]) Corley, birth order uncertain:

  • 384.1. Perhaps Sarah.
  • 384.2. Agatha.
  • 384.3. Ann.
  • 384.4. Milly.
  • 384.5. Mary.
  • 384.6. Caniel, born about 1747.
  • 384.7. William [192], born about 1754.
  • 384.8. James, born about 1755.
  • 384.9. Asa.
  • 384.10. Perhaps Patty.


  • —, Bedford County, Virginia, Will Book 1, page 42, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley. 
  • —, “Cumberland County, Virginia: 1800 Tax List,” Virginia Genealogist 17[1973]:198.
  • —, Cumberland County, Virginia, Will Book 3, page 216, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • Janice L. Abercrombie and Richard Slatten, Virginia Publick Claims: Cumberland County (Athens, Georgia: Iberian Publishing Company, no date), page 9.
  • Julie Williams Coley, “WilliamsC,” at, accessed 13 September 2009.
  • L. Earl Colley, “[Queries],” Southside Virginian (July-September 1992), page 137.
  • Jim Corley, “Descendants of Richard Corley,” at, accessed 16 August 1998.
  • William Lindsay Hopkins, “Processioner’s Returns: St. Patrick’s Parish: Prince Edward County, Virginia: 1760-1767,” Virginia Genealogist 32[1988]:36/
  • Lynn DeRider Olivier, “Descendants of Richard Corley of VA,” at, created 1 March 1998.
  • United States Census Office, Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Records of the State Enumerations: 1782 to 1785: Virginia (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1986), page 67.