Selected Families and Individuals


Martin Key

Martin Key I was born in 1670 in New Kent County, VA. [One source has the birthplace as Oxfordshire, England.] He died about 1705 in King William County, VA. He has reference number 17273.

On April 21, 1681 Major Martin Palmer, grandfather to Martin Key and Mr. John Hume gave him 489 acres of land in New Kent County, Saint George's Parish, Virginia. The following information regard this action was recorded in Patent Book 8 on page 43. The land is described as "surplus land within Captain Joseph Croshaw's pattent (sic) and granted to Mr. George Chapman, who conveyed it to said Palmer and Hughes; beginning by Woodward's Road; along John Ford, and said Key, to the maine (sic) Swamp of Cohoacke; corner of the Gleab Land etc." Martin was 11 years old when this "deed of guift (sic)" was granted.

Apparently, Martin and his wife, Elizabeth Ford died before April 29, 1706 leaving two sons, Martin and John orphans. They were under the guardianship of William Ford (Was he her father or her brother?). In English law granted land can revert back to the grantor if there are no clear heirs to the grantee. This process is called escheat. In Patent Book 10 on page 316 there is an entry dated December 16, 1714 (one wonders if the year shouldn't be 1704) in which 1500 acres of land escheated from John Humes is in dispute. Actually only 470 acres of it is covered by the entry. It appears that Ambrose Lipscom in behalf of his children: Richard Ambrose, William, John, Mary and Benjamin Lipscom petitioned for possession of that escheat land. The entry also mentions that William Noyes and his wife, Elizabeth; William Holliday; John Ford; John Green; John and martin Key, orphans represented by their guardian, William Ford were opposed to this action. There was a hearing in the General Court on April 29, 1706. 470 acres described as being in "King William County between a branch of the Cohoke Swamp and the main road, a little below the Court House; beginning in Markhams line , by Beckleys old field; on Timber Branch; corner of John Green" was awarded to the opposition. The interesting point of all this is that we see Martin and John described as orphans (and probably brothers) both under the age of 21 (otherwise they could have stood in the Court for themselves).

Dr. Gene Key discussing the relationship between Jan and Martin: "It has been suggested that Martin Key was a brother to John Key who married Martha Tandy. Dr. Marcus M. Key has given compelling evidence to suggest this idea as referenced by Virginia Patent Book 10, p. 316. Here, John and Martin Key are presented as orphan brothers with William Ford being their guardian. This was in reference to a 1714 patent in which reference was made to a 1706 escheatment action in King William County, Virginia. It should be noted that it is only postulation say that this John and Martin Key are sons of Martin Key of 1670. Dr. Marcus Key evidently believes that the evidence is compelling enough to make that assertion. I believe the evidence does warrant such a conclusion also. Martin Palmer gave 489 acres to Martin Key (Virginia Patent Book 8, p. 43). There is no doubt that this is the Martin Key of 1670. It is proper to assume that this is the father of the orphans John and Martin Key in 1706. Family Historians have traditionally suggested that Martin Key of 1670 died at an early age. This is also suggested by the fact that Martin Palmer provided in his will for his young grandson, John Key in 1702."

In The Official history of Elbert County 1790-1935 the compiler states that John Key (probably Martin Key b. 1670) came to America with William Penn. This statement is some what of a 'family legend' for which I have found no proof.

Parents: John Key and Mary Palmer.
He was married to Elizabeth Ford in VA. Children were: John Key, Martin Key II.

Sources 1. [S20] Ancestral File (R), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Copyright (c) 1987, June 1998, data as of 5 January 1998)
2. [S153] KAY1.ged
"Date of Import: Mar 12, 2001"