Ware Family Mystery “Solved”

Note:  It has come to my attention that a books was published in 2003, by a black author, Ann L. Wills.  The title of the book is “Notes and Documents of Free Person’s of Color, Four Hundred Years of An American Family’s History.”  I found the book through Google Books while helping Joe Ware of the lineage of Edward Ware and Leticia Powell.  The book is abbreviated in some places, so I am assuming the author is referring to her family. She writes on page 186,

“Virginia law forbade interracial marriages, and accused those involved in the unions of breaking the law.  The children of mixed race unions and were considered bastards even though Virginia forbade marriages between the races.  Following is the case of Leticia Powell.”

Joe Ware has already supplied the information given in that Court Case, File 25 Powell, Leticia, Court Charges 1700’s, below.  Unfortunately the author did not research her facts, nor did she try to contact descendants of the family to verify her information.

She goes on to describe another Powell family, Benjamin Powell, who we know nothing about.  His widow, Jane Cooper, married a man named, James Pinn and she status changed from White to Mulatto.  The coincidence of lasts names has nothing to do with Leticia being a person of color.

I have tried to contact the author at her e-mail address and she has not responded.  I am writing this disclaimer for the Joseph Ware family and associated lines.  His DNA and others who were tested of this line do not bear any trace of people of color.


Edward Ware and Leticia Powell left Caroline County, Virginia around 1750 and moved to Amherst County. They brought children with them including three boys, Edward, John and William.

In his will, Edward referred to these boys as Edward Powell, John Powell and William Powell. They were later sometimes referred to as Powell, sometimes as Ware and sometimes as Powell alias Ware.

Question; Was Edward the father of the three boys or were they perhaps Leticia’s by a previous marriage?

This situation has been researched by a number of Ware descendants over the years. They found that Leticia had been fined  in Caroline county for having children out of wedlock. Edward had paid the fine. There was no record of their marriage in Caroline County but both families were long established there. The Ware and Powell families were dissenters from the established Church of England so the two may have been  married outside the church.

This only led to speculation and didn’t answer the question of paternity.

In 2004 members of the Ware family decided to participate in a DNA project with the objective of linking the several known Ware branches in the US and abroad.

Joseph M Ware was a DNA test subject from the Amherst branch. His descent from John Powell Ware was documented.

Julian Wayne Ware was a DNA test subject who descended from Edward’s brother Henry who had migrated from Caroline County to Georgia.

The two DNA samples matched although the families had been separated for about 250 years.

This is considered conclusive evidence that John Powell was Edward’s son since both Joseph and Wayne have the DNA of the father of Edward and Henry. A mystery of some 250 years had been solved by modern science.


Ware Family Mystery “Solved” — 5 Comments

  1. Maybe someone can clear this up for me. I believe to be related to Edward Ware that migrated to Greenville SC from Lunenburg Virgina
    (this would be Powells Valley area) around 1780. I do show some black DNA in my ancestry 2% and wonder how this Edward Ware may have contributed? We also migrated with the Sizemore families. Please email me directly. thnx

  2. This is extremely interesting. I have all of these people in a “Ware Family Tree”, but have not made my connection to them down the line. I also thought it interesting that John and Leticia gave the boys the same middle name of Powell. DNA tests will clear up many mystries in our family trees.

    Wayne Ware
    Cedar Falls, IA

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