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Viar/Via Beginnings



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Huguenots (another name for Protestants) began coming to Virginia as early as 1620. In 1700-1701, five ships arrived at the mouth of the James River, then the York and the Rappahannock rivers, east of present-day Richmond, Virginia. French Huguenots, having fled religious persecution (being seen as a threat to the Catholic Church.), had lived in England and Ireland and done military services for King William. They were granted lands in the New World for a permanent home where they had the freedom to worship as they pleased. West of Richmond, many founded a colony on the site of a village deserted by the Monacan Indians. Amer Via was a practicing Huguenot and in 1677, along with 14 other passengers, boarded a ship and was transported to Virginia by John Fea and John Webb of New Kent County. He left one of the most advanced civilizations of the time, landing a few months later in the midst of nothing but a wilderness with a few small settlements scattered here and there and brought together thru deer paths and travel by rivers. He first settled in Williamsburg, where another researcher, Harold H. Via in a letter, (transcribed by Judy Maupin Pons) has given this account:

"Amor Via had first gone to Williamsburg and had a blacksmith shop at the rear of his property. Somehow he got embroiled with his neighbor. Who had a side entrance for their carriages but had to 'swing wide' across Amor's back yard to gain alignment to enter their side entrance. We don't find just why Amor made the decision but assume that he just got tired of having an entire section of his yard being used for his neighbor's purpose and one day he erected a metal pole just at the edge of his property and thus disallowing turning into the side entrance. Not being of the 'official' (Episcopalinas) religion of England, he was 'called up' and was sentenced to seven days in the stockade. It was at this time we assume that Amor talked to William Rea and arrangements were made to be transported. After being released, Amor loaded all his wagons and posessions and 'headed out'. first traveling up the James
River towards Richmond but then taking a 'due north' course' and arrived on the Mechamps River. He first took land on a hillside (about ten feet elevation) but later on donated this property to the church and moved almost to Mechanicsville which was right in the middle of the Swamp."

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From Elaine Via

The Via family are of French Huguenot stock, and according to tradition, the name was spelled DeViar, but the first Via to come to America dropped the de and r, and most branches of the family have also dropped them since. A few still spell the name Viar. The first record of a Via in America was in 1688, when Amer Via, of New Kent County, Virginia lost a daughter, no name. He and his wife Margaret had other daughters later, Judith Via, baptized April 11, 1699, Margaret - baptized August 3, 1701, and baptized Mary February 27, 1703/1704. There may have been others. It is thought they also had a least two sons, William (l) and Robert. We have no definite proof these two were Amer's sons, but since he is the only Via on record at that time who could have been their father, we can assume he was. Robert Via remained in the Tidewater, and his descendants, at least some brancches of them, spell the name Viar. The Margaret baptized in 1710, married Daniel Maupin, and came to Albemarle and settled at White Hall. She was the mother of all the Albemarle Maupins.

Excerpts from "The Totem Pole" by Harold Houston Via Issue #6

....Our aim is to start with Amer Via and his wife Margaret, who after a frustrating and fruitless living in Williamsburg that accumulated in his having to serve a few days in the stockage for his stubbornness. His decision to strike out into the wilderness that was at that time inhibited only by Indians. What a decision it must have been to strike out with their family which at that time consisted besides himself and his wife Margaret, four known sons but strong suspicion that there was a fifth. The four known were William, Robert, Gideon and Josias but I am almost positive that there was another named David who was but a baby when they struck out on their own. How they followed the Chickohominy River northward and then overland about twenty miles to New Castle Ferry on the Pamunkey River and settled slight westward on what was to be a site for a church. At this time, this territory was listed under Blisland Parish but before the first daughters were born, this was changed to St. Peter's Parish where the recording of the death of Naomi occured on March 26, 1688. The birth of the other daughters followed, Judeth on April 11, 1688, Margaret on August 3, 1701 and Mary on February 27, 1703. We were able to trace most of these children, one back to Williamsburg when Margaret married Gabriel DeMaupin in 1720. Gabriel Senior ran a tavern in Williamsburg and seemed to have done well. At his death his property went to his son Gabriel, who was the oldest and Daniel, who was with his uncle. William Via, along with his sister, Margaret Via Maupin, went to what is now Albemarle County. Daniel settled at White Hall on the old Maupin place and William, who also had a son named William, and as far as we have been able to learn, he was the one who settled near Doylesville on what is know as the Rhodes Via place. This was around 1750, long after Margaret had seen her good friend, Martha Dandridge married at the Custis mansion. Incidentally, it was the Martha that later married a Colonial in the French and Indian War by the name of George Washington.


Linked toAmer William Via

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