Site Navigation Notes

There are a few features of this blog site which may need explanation/clarification. In the righthand menu bar is a tool identified as “Blogroll”, which contains a series of external links to other Atterbury resources on the Web. Some of these links may require either membership or site registration in order to access the linked Webpage. For example, the link to “Author’s Ancestry Tree” may require the reader to have an active Ancestry account. If you do not have an active account with Ancestry, please contact the author by e-mail, and an “invitation” will be sent. Also, a few of the links are to publications on file at LDS Family Search Library. Access to these items will require the reader to be registered with Family Search. If the reader has any problems whatsoever accessing information posted on this blogsite, please contact the author via e-mail at battebe@yahoo.com.


This site has been established for the primary purpose of providing a resource for persons interested in the study and advancement of the history of the antecedents and descendants of William Atterbury (aka Arterbury, Arthurbury, etc.), who was transported an indentured convict from Newgate Prison to Annapolis Maryland aboard the Patapsco Merchant in the Spring of 1733 at the age of 22 years.  William had been arrested in late-February 1733 [NS] in the company of an accomplice, William Harrison, for the theft of five yards of Linsey-Woolsey from the shop of George Cole, a London dyer, on the testimony of Frederick Humple, Cole’s apprentice.  At the King’s Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol [jail] Delivery of Newgate, held before the Lord Mayor of the City of London, etal., at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey on 21 thru 24Feb1733, Atterbury and Harrison were found guilty and sentenced by the Court.  According to the published journals of James Guthrie, Chaplain of the Court of Ordinary, nine men during the February 1733 session were convicted of capital crimes and sentenced to death.  This list of nine men included the name of William Atterbury, but did not include the name of William Harrison.

However, when final judgment was rendered on the persons arraigned and found guilty during this February session, ten persons were reported by Guthrie to have received a death sentence, one person was to be “burnt on the hand” (and likely released into the community), and 43 persons were to be held for transport to the colonies.  The list of persons receiving a judgment of death did not include William Atterbury, but did include William Harrison, Leonard Budley, and eight others.  William Atterbury’s name appeared in the list of persons to be held for transport.  So, it would appear that William Atterbury’s sentence had somehow been reduced from a capital offense to petty larceny.  However, his accomplice, William Harrison was not so fortunate.  Harrison and Budley were found guilty of a more egregious offense, the armed robbery at knife point of John Hands on the evening of 1Jan1733 and stealing his silver watch valued at 40 shillings, and were hanged on Tyburn Gallows. 

Primary Mission

I was drawn into this self-indulgent quest of family research and writing in large part by the influence of my Aunt, Mildred Bedinger Rhea. It was through her relentless efforts to discover her own family’s heritage, and her published body of work on the Bedinger-Miller lineages, that I became aware of my own ancestral connections to the Washingtons, Clays, Thorntons, Warners, etal. These were worthy antecedents, indeed, connections in which any American could take pride.

With Aunt Mildred as my primary role model, almost 25 years ago I began my own foray into the addictive realm of family history research. I hesitate to call this endeavor genealogical research, because altogether too frequently genealogy gets rendered down to the dry-bones of names, dates, places and kinships, completely devoid of the historical, cultural and sociological context in which our ancestors lived. If we want to know something about our ancestry, shouldn’t we also want to know who these people from our distant past were, how they lived, how they thought, worshipped, dressed, aspired, survived, endured, interacted, created, produced, and reproduced? With that broader vision in mind, I set out on this path of discovery into the paternal (Atteberry) side of my gene pool.

My initial discoveries quickly transported me backwards in time to the year, 1733, when the first of our line in America was taken from the stench and decay of that fetid hold below deck of the Patapsco Merchant and paraded on the docks at Annapolis, where he was sold to the highest bidder, and indentured for seven years of servitude to some unknown colonial Maryland adventurer.

It is not known to whom William Atterbury was indentured, but we do know that during his servitude he was employed as a sawyer, probably wielding one end of a whipsaw or crosscut in the business of felling, transporting, and shaping raw logs into timbers and lumber for the construction of buildings and ships at Annapolis, or for export to England or Holland. William survived his indentureship, and repaid his debt to society, and by about 1740 was married to the widow, Sarah Mitchell-Yaxley in Prince Georges County MD. It was from this union that most of the Atteberry descendants currently living in America derive their existence and blood lines.

The genealogies of most strands of the nine presumed sons of William and Sarah are fairly reliably established, and have been published in large part in two major works: (1) The Descendants of William Atterbury, 1733 Emigrant [1], Voncille Attebery Winter, PhD. and Wilma Attebery Mitchell, 1984, and (2) Atterbury Family [2], Wayne Attebury, 1998. Additionally, there are several sites online that contain various elements of the Atteberry family genealogy, including Genealogy.com, Ancestry.com and WikiTree.com. Until two years ago, virtually all of the Atteberry family data sources reported the parents of William Atterbury, the immigrant, to have been William Atterbury, butcher of St. Giles Cripplegate, and his wife, Sarah Rogers.

One of the earliest research efforts undertaken by the author (I will henceforth refer to myself on this site as “the author”, as I have a distinct disdain for use of the first person) was research into the ancestry of William Atterbury, immigrant. This effort was undertake because none of the known publications regarding the ancestry of William, the American immigrant, were documented. This effort led to the discovery that William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers could not have been the immigrant’s parents, as they appeared in record christening three separate sons named “William”. The first son named William is on record as dying the year before the birth of the 2nd William. No death record was found for the 2nd William (who most researchers claimed to have been the immigrant), but it seems highly unlikely that William and Sarah would have christened a 3rd son named William, had the 2nd William not also have died. The 3rd son named William is on record living in London several years after 1733, so he could not have been the immigrant, either.

Consequently, there is very strong foundation for eliminating William Atterbury, butcher, and Sarah Rogers as the parents of the immigrant.

Based on this discovery, the author then set about searching for the “real parents” of William, the immigrant. That effort led to the discovery of William’s likely parents, Edward Arterbury, stone mason, and Elizabeth Young. That discovery led to the further discovery of Edward’s father and grandfather, and possibly his great grandfather and great-great grandfather. From these humble beginnings, the author has now compiled numerous manuscripts, documenting his findings relative to the antecedents and the descendants of William Atterbury, Immigrant.

Having compiled such a large body of work, the author has wrestled with the problem of how best to publish this material. Initially, the author had merely endeavored to satisfy his own, self-indulgent and baser instincts. However, now nearing the end of life and knowing the fragility of our mortal being, the author is seeking the most expedient and least expensive medium through which to disseminate and share his “life’s work” with other interested parties. Self-publishing in hardcopy form, while at one time thought to be the preferred means, now seems less attainable with each passing day. Simply dumping the digital files on some library or archiver would seem the easiest option, but would reach a very limited audience. Alas, the author has no immediate heirs either interested in or capable of picking up the torch. Ultimately, this blog site seems the most logical and attainable platform for sharing this Atterbury material. Hopefully it will be found useful. The author plans to roll-out this work in much the same order that it might have appeared in printed form, through a series of successive blog postings, starting with the antecedent research, followed by the descendant research in near-chronological order. Benevolently, these blogs will be synopses of the original manuscript drafts, with the complete original drafts being available on this site for download in .pdf format.

About the Author

The author is a 5th great grandson of William Arterbury, Immigrant, via direct paternal descent through Richard I, Richard II, Richard III, Alexander, Charles Edward, and Charles Gano Atteberry and Maude Mae Bedinger. On his maternal branch, the author is a 4th great grandson of Colonel Samuel Washington, younger brother of General George Washington, and 4th great grandson of Dr. Henry Clay III of Bourbon County KY.

Born under the sign of Cancer at his family’s home on Pine Street in Modesto California in 1941, the author was the middle of seven children born to Charles and Maude Atteberry. Charles was a large equipment mechanic, avid sportsman, and lover of the “great outdoors”. He was fishing for black bass in one of the many sloughs of the San Joaquin River delta when his son, Robert, was drawing his first breath. Within two years after birth the family upped stakes and moved to Wonder Oregon. This was only the first of nine relocations his family would make before graduating high school at Anderson California in 1959.

A product of small-town and rural southern Oregon and northern California life, and a relatively large, lower-income family, the author was instilled with a life-long appreciation for the simpler things in life, and a reverent sense of respect for parents, God, Country, learning, and hard work. At the age of 19 the author embarked on what ultimately comprised of a 35-year career in California State civil service, starting as an Engineering Aid/Technician, and then matriculating to that nebulous field called Staff Services, which entailed posts as Administrative Assistant to Director, Chief of Administration, Manager of Health and Safety, and finally as a Departmental Construction and Maintenance Supervisor. This civil service career was interrupted by a three-year enlistment in the US Marine Corps which included a tour in Viet Nam, and culminated in the post of Desk Sergeant in Criminal Investigation Division of the Provost Marshall’s Office at Camp Pendleton.

Bored stiff with the routine and petty politics of government employment, the author took a 15-year hiatus from civil service in 1978, during which he worked for consulting engineering companies as Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President. During a major economic downturn in 1994 the author opted to return to State civil service, where he finished out his career with the Department of Health Services and California Youth Authority.

On taking retirement in 2004, it became possible to earnestly pursue his primary passion, historical and genealogical research and writing; an activity on which he had already embarked more than ten years earlier. Fortunately for the author, his wife shares this passion and has worked tirelessly at his side digging through countless online sites and a myriad of printed material to compile more than a dozen family histories. Since a large part of the author’s work career was engaged in research, analysis and technical writing, the transition into genealogical and historical research and writing was a relatively easy and natural migration. The author’s writing style has been mainly self-taught, and may not fit every reader’s eye with comfort, but it is what it is. Hopefully, you will be able to get past this eclectic style and garner value from the facts, analyses and conclusions contained in these manuscripts.

[1] Available on microfiche from LDS Library, Fiche No. 6049268.

[2] https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/show?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fcatalog-search-api%3A8080%2Fwww-catalogapi-ebservice%2Fitem%2F957073, accessed 25Jun2010.