Author: Joan Gundersen


Elizabeth Bray Allen (ca. 1692–by February 22, 1774)

Elizabeth Bray Allen, born about 1692 at the Bray family estate at Middle Plantation, operated a large plantation in Surry County after the death of her husband Arthur Allen in 1727 that included the brick house that became known as Bacon’s Castle. In February 1729, she married Arthur Smith, a prosperous Isle of Wight County planter and proprietor of much of the town of Smithfield. The marriage contract secured for herself and her children the property that she owned and had inherited. After Arthur Smith died in 1754, his widow administered his large estate in addition to managing her own property. Elizabeth Bray Allen Smith established a £140 trust fund in 1753 to create a free school for poor boys and girls in Smithfield. Sometime between September 1761 and April 1763 she married a third time to a man surnamed Stith, whom she likely survived. Elizabeth Bray Allen Smith Stith probably died at her home in Surry County about the middle of February 1774.


Anna Bennett Bland (d. 1687)

Anna Bennett Bland was a principal in a court case that resulted in the General Assembly losing its status as the court of last appeal in the colony. Bland was involved in a nine-year series of lawsuits, petitions, and counterpetitions regarding ownership of the property of her first husband, Theodorick Bland, who died in 1672. She prevailed in the Virginia courts, but in 1682 the Privy Council decided that all future appeals were to be made to the Privy Council in England rather than the General Assembly. The suit was ultimately settled in a manner that was unsatisfactory to Bland, although she was able to preserve her first husband’s properties for their sons. She died about November 1687 in Maryland.