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Hecklefield, John

by Neil C. Pennywitt, 1988

d. August[?] 1721

Click to see in entirety in NC Digital Collections. John Hecklefield, militia officer, justice of the peace, provost marshal, and vestryman, moved to North Carolina from England in 1701. Court records of 1701 and 1702 refer to him as a doctor. His family name was rare. Settling in the Little River area of Perquimans County, he quickly became one of the growing community's leading citizens. Hecklefield married Elizabeth Abington Godfrey, daughter of Thomas Abington and widow of John Godfrey. He apparently was a man of some means before arriving, for provincial courts, the Council, and the Assembly all met at their home between 1701 and 1715. Court had been held at the same place during Godfrey's lifetime, and afterwards when the house was occupied by his widow. It may have been Hecklefield's marriage that drew him into public office almost immediately after his arrival. He was given power of attorney by a local resident in 1701, and later in the year he became captain of the militia. In 1703 he was provost marshal and a few years later was a justice of the peace for Perquimans County.

Like many of his contemporaries, he began acquiring large tracts of land. In 1713 the Assembly named him to prepare a rent roll for his precinct, and in 1715 he became a vestryman for his parish. Hecklefield also was appointed deputy to Lord Proprietor William Craven, but he declined to serve because of ill health.

His wife died before he did, and he was survived by a five-year-old son. His will, dated 30 May and probated 8 Aug. 1721, provided bequests to such prominent friends as Governor Charles Eden, Edmund Gale, and George Durant. His son did not survive long afterwards, and the bulk of the estate was then willed to Hecklefield's sister-in-law, Mrs. Mary Fox, who lived near Essex Bridge, Dublin, Ireland.

References:

Robert J. Cain, ed., Records of the Executive Council, 1664–1734 (1984).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vol. 23 (1904).

J. Bryan Grimes, ed., Abstract of North Carolina Wills (1910) and North Carolina Wills and Inventories (1912).

Mattie Erma E. Parker, ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Records, 1697–1701 (1971).

William S. Price, Jr., ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Records, 1702–1708 (1974) and 1709–1723 (1977).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 1, 2 (1886).

Ellen G. Winslow, History of Perquimans County (1931).

Additional Resources:

N.C. General Assembly. Complete revisal of all the acts of Assembly, of the province of North-Carolina, now in force and use: together with the titles of all such laws as are obsolete, expired, or repealed: with marginal notes and references, and an exact table to the whole. Newbern [N.C.]: Printed by James Davis, printer to the Honourable the House of Assembly, MDCCXXIII. [1773]. 1773.http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll22,78232 (accessed January 16, 2013).

(John Hecklefield and wife listed as witnesses) N.C. Dept. of the Secretary of State. Abstract of North Carolina wills. Raleigh, E. M. Uzzell & co., state printers. 1910.http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll22,334377(accessed January 16, 2013).

N.C. Office of Archives and History, Dept. of Cultural Resources. Cultural resources studies for the eastern North Carolina above Cape Lookout study area: literature review and preliminary research design. [Wilmington, N.C.] [N.C.]: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, 1986. http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll22,393274 (accessed January 16, 2013).

(John Hecklefield's will) N.C. Dept. of the Secretary of State. North Carolina wills and inventories copied from original and recorded wills and inventories in the office of the secretary of state. Raleigh, Edwards & Broughton printing company, printers. 1912. http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll22,329992 (accessed January 16, 2013).

Image Credits:

(John Hecklefield's will) N.C. Dept. of the Secretary of State. North Carolina wills and inventories copied from original and recorded wills and inventories in the office of the secretary of state. Raleigh, Edwards & Broughton printing company, printers. 1912. http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll22,329992 (accessed January 16, 2013).

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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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