Rebekah Corbin at Charleston, SC
 

No definitive record of Rebekah Corbin's origins has been found.

It is possible that she was the Rebeckah Corbin christened on 11 February 1695 at St Nicholas, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, whose father was Thomas Corbin. He is likely the Thomas Corbin of Liverpool, mariner, who gave Information before Thomas Brookbank, Esqre., Mayor of Liverpool, on 14 September 1691, stating that he was born in New England and is hired to go with the ship Barbadoes Merchant, to Virginia, &c.

Thomas Corbin was the eldest child of Clement and Dorcas (Buckmaster) Corbin of Muddy River [now Brookline], Norfolk county, MA; born 1656; baptized 6 April 1662 at First Church, Boston, Suffolk county, MA; married Judeth Marcer at St Nicholas, Liverpool on 6 February 1690; whereabouts unknown at date of father's will in 1696; died intestate before 1704 leaving minor children in England.

Rebekah Corbin first appears in Charles Town in late 1721/22, witnessing a Deed of Sale [name spelt as Rebecca Corbin (later Rebecca Crofts)] on January 12 and witnessing a Deed of Trust [name spelt as Rebecca Corben] on March 7. There is no obvious connection between her and any of the other names in these documents. However the seller, William Smith, named in the Deed of Sale was also the seller in a later Deed of Sale witnessed by Francis Corbin on 2 November 1737 - which suggests a family connection.

Rebekah Corbin married Hill Croft on 2 June 1726 at St. Philip's, Charles Town. This was less than 8 weeks after the burial of his previous wife.

They had a daughter, Rebekah, born about 1729, buried at St Philip's December 1735.

His previous wife, Priscilla Mariner, whom he married at St Philip's on 20 October 1720, was buried there on 10 April 1726, leaving him with a young son, John, born 14 October 1723 and baptized 6 April 1724.

Hill Croft was buried there on 3 January 1731.

The home of Hill & Rebekah Croft was an Ordinary called the Quarter House. On Stock Prior the Broad Path, or country road from Charleston, made a fork; the right hand road at this fork went northwardly to St. James, Goose Creek, the Congarees, etc., while the left hand road went southwestwardly to the ferry across Ashley River, and up along the river to Dorchester. Just south of this fork in the Broad Path, and near the point where the road divides on the north, on the east side of the public road was an "Ordinary" or inn that existed from an early date and was called the Quarter House.

His widow continued to live at the Quarter House, as shown in an advertisement for the return of a stray horse.

His will mentions land in Jamaica left to him by his aunt Sarah Austine, bequeathed to her by her father, John Childermas. Hill identified his brother Edward Croft, merchant of Charleston, as executor with Charles Pinckney, and John Laurens, saddler of Charleston, as guardian of his son.

John Laurens was the father of Henry Laurens, born 24 February 1723, who became President of the Continental Congress 1777-78. With only an 8 month difference in age, Henry Laurens and Rebekah's step-son John Croft would have been childhood playmates.

Charles Pinckney and Ed. Croft, executors of Hill Croft, deceased, advertised the personal estate of the deceased for sale at his late residence "commonly call'd the Quarter-House", in the South Carolina Gazette of Saturday, February 26, 1732.

John Croft married Magdalen Menson on 21 September 1743 at St. Philip's, and was buried there on 27 April 1752.

Hill Croft's maternal grandfather, John Childermas, died in 1697 in Jamaica.

The Jamaica connection is of particular interest, since Rev. William Corbin had preached there some time in the 1690s.

Hill & Edward Croft had a brother, Childermas Croft, who was involved in Indian affairs - of particular interest since Francis Corbin of Charleston was in partnership with retired Indian trader Alexander Wood in 1743-44.

Hill Croft, his brother Edward Croft, and their father Capt. John Croft were, on 8 August 1717, original grantees of lots in Beaufort, SC.

The widow Rebecca Croft (nee Corbin) married Garrat Vanvelsin at St Philip's on 2 April 1733. His previous wife, Hannah Johnson, married 17 July 1728, must have died.

In a 1712 deed Garrat Vanvelsin of Charleston is described as cordwainer (an archaic word for shoemaker: shoes had been made using cordovan, a soft goatskin leather that came from Cordoba in Spain). In a 1722 deed Garrett Vanvelsen of Charleston is described as shoemaker. At 5 August 1722 he was Captain commanding a company of militia.

On 19 November 1718 Judge Trott convened the Vice-Admiralty Court at the house of Garrett Vanvelsin, and twenty four indictments for piracy were given out by the Attorney General, fifteen being based on the circumstances of the taking of the Eagle near Cape Henry, and nine on those of the capture of the Expedition on October 29th near Hatteras. The trials lasted for five days, and a verdict of guilty having been returned in every case, Judge Trott, on November 24th, passed sentence of death upon the entire company. Hill Croft's father John Croft was one of the judges on the bench at this trial.

Garrat Vanvelsin was one of the twelve men "Appointed to be the present Common Councill of the Said City" under An Act for the Good Government of Charles Town, passed by the General Assembly (of SC) on 23 May 1722.

In 1724 Garrett Van Velsen was one of 43 members of the Presbyterian Church in Charlestown who signed a letter inviting the Re'd Nathan Basset to become their Minister or Pastor.

Sources:
The manuscripts of Lord Kenyon, Volume 14, Part 4. Historical Manuscripts Commission. London. 1894.
Harvey M. Lawson, compiler. Descendants of Clement Corbin of Muddy River (Brookline, Ma. and Woodstock, Ct): with notices of other lines of Corbins. Hartford Press, Hartford, CT. 1905.
Deed Book E, p. 329 & Deed Book Ba p. 180.
St Philip's Parish Register.
Harriette Kershaw Leiding. Historic Houses of South Carolina. Philadelphia & London: J. H. Lippincott Company. 1921.
Caroline T. Moore and Agatha A. Simmons. Comp. and ed. Abstracts of the Wills of South Carolina 1670-1740. Vol. I. Columbia: R. L. Bryan Company. 1960.
South Carolina deed abstracts, 1719-1772, Volume 1.
S.C. Hughson. The Carolina Pirates and Colonial Commerce (1670-1740), in Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Volume XII: Institutional and Economic History. Johns Hopkins Press. Baltimore. 1894.
Harry Gardner Cutler. History of South Carolina, Volume 1. The Lewis Publishing Company. Chicago and New York. 1920.
Bruce T. McNully (ed). The Charleston Government Act of 1722: A Neglected Document. The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 83, No. 4 (Oct., 1982), pp. 303-319.
Joanne Calhoun. The Circular Church: Three Centuries of Charleston History. The History Press. Charleston. 2008.

 

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