Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Henry Cary, 1650-1720, Builder of the Colonial Capitol Building in Williamsburg–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #18


Ali, Liam and katy in front of Colonial Capital Building in Williamsburg Virginia, May, 2014

Ali Holshouser Orcutt with children Liam and Katy visit the Capitol building in Colonial Williamsburg, a replica of the one built by Henry Cary, Ali’s 9th great-grandfather, the children’s 10th!


Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, my family traveled to Colonial Williamsburg many times. However, not having done any genealogy at the time, none of us knew that we had grandparents important to the history of the region. My mother loved history– how I wish she were alive to know what I have learned in my genealogical studies. She would be so excited to know that her seventh great-grandfather, named Henry Cary, actually built several famous buildings in the Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown areas of Virginia. Henry Cary is credited with building the capitol building in Colonial Williamsburg. The picture above shows my daughter Ali Holshouser Orcutt with her children (my grandchildren) Liam 6 and Katy 2. Henry Cary is Ali’s ninth great-grandfather and her children’s tenth. In the picture they can be seen standing in front of the colonial Capitol building rebuilt to look exactly  like the first building by Henry Cary.

Henry Cary was born in Warwick County, Virginia, the son of Miles Cary and Anne Taylor Cary. Miles Cary apparently immigrated to Virginia from England in the early 1640’s and became a member of the Governor’s Council and the House of Burgesses.  He married Anne Taylor and together they had seven children. Henry was born about 1650 and lived until about 1720. He inherited a plantation from his father called the Forest. Henry married Judith Lockey and by her had six children.

 In colonial days in America one did not train to be an architect the way a student does today. However Henry Cary learned the building trade well. We read in the Encyclopedia Virginia,  that he became one of the foremost building contractors in Virginia in the late 1600’s, early 1700’s. In 1697 Cary was paid 28,000 pounds of tobacco to build the courthouse for York County. Based on this and other building successes, he was awarded the contract in 1699 to build the capitol building in Williamsburg.

 From an article published by Colonial Williamsburg, we learn some interesting history about the buildings in colonial Virginia. The colonists in Jamestown lost their statehouse to fire three times over the years. After the third fire, they decided to move their capitol to the Williamsburg area. When Henry Cary built the new Capitol building, he decided to try to reduce the threat of fire. His capitol building was built without fireplaces, and candles and pipes were not allowed. However in   1723, people who used the capitol complained that it was cold and damp, so chimneys were added. On   January 30, 1947, the capitol building that Henry Cary built burned to the ground. It was rebuilt a second time and burned again. In the 1930’s it was reconstructed when Colonial Williamsburg was restored. The current Capitol building is the third building and was based on Henry Cary’s first capitol building due to its ”superior architectural design and construction”. We learn from an article in Wikipedia that Henry Cary’s capital and the new colonial capitol building “was a two-story, H shaped structure, functionally two buildings connected by an arcade. Each wing served one of the two houses of the Virginia legislature, the Council and the House of Burgesses. The first floor of the West building was for the general court and the colony’s secretary, the first floor of the East for the House of Burgesses and its clerk.” Henry Cary completed this project and a nearby prison by 1705.

Henry Cary, built this original capital building in Williamsburg, Virginia, 1705

Original Capitol building in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia built by Henry Cary, completed in 1705.

 Henry Cary’s excellent work led to his being awarded a contract to build the new Governor’s residence for Virginia in 1706.  However this is when trouble began, leading to the end of Henry’s building career. For one reason or another Henry’s work cost much more than he had projected, creating the need for the Legislature to approve additional funds. When he had not finished the Governor’s residence by 1710, Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood complained to the Governor’s Council and had Henry removed from the project. There was a huge political battle surrounding this incident, and it is hard to tell exactly what was happening. Today we see many good people hurt by politics. Whatever the problem, we can stand proud of the work our grandfather did– building the capitol building in Colonial Williamsburg, credited with building the Governor’s Palace, the Wren House, part of the fort at Yorktown, a prison in Williamsburg, and several other buildings.  I think he is a talented and amazing ancestor to have discovered.

Williamsburg, Va, katy in front of Governor's Palace, designed and built by 19th gr gf, Henry Cary

Katy runs freely in front of the Governor’s Palace in colonial Williamsburg that her 10th great grandfather helped build, May, 2014.

Williamsburg, Va. Liam in front of Governor's Palace

Liam stands in front of the Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg,Virginia.


Below is a relationship chart showing the descendancy from Henry Cary to my grandson Liam Orcutt.

Henry Cary (1650 – 1720)
is your 10th great grandfather
daughter of Henry Cary
son of Anne Cary
son of Capt. John Langhorne
daughter of Maurice Langhorne
son of Elizabeth Langhorne
son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse
daughter of Helen Spear Youngblood
You are the son of Alexandra “Ali” Kathryn Holshouser


Author: Helen Holshouser

Old enough to enjoy life, I am a Red Hatter, grandmother, gardener, and amateur genealogist. I am a retired clinical psychologist, master's level, who is disabled with heart disease, but having fun with family and friends. Married over 40 years, I have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. I have learned that grandchildren provide a joy one never knew existed---writing feeds my soul, gardening is therapy, and genealogy research makes me feel like a detective!

28 thoughts on “Henry Cary, 1650-1720, Builder of the Colonial Capitol Building in Williamsburg–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #18

  1. I wrote a post…I don’t know if it was recorded or not. I would recreate it, but it’s late and I need sleep! Love ya Helen…enjoyed this!


  2. Thanks so much Lynn, for taking time to read and comment! I wish I had known of this relationship when your daughter and her husband were working there! Hope you are all doing well, love ya, Helen


  3. Hello Helen, I just saw your most excellent post. I’m interested in Henry’s wife as I am descended from the Lockey and Peyton families. While we know quite a bit about the Major Robert Peyton family, we don’t seem to have as much on the Lockeys. We only trace back to a Henry Lockey in the 1600’s who arrived to virginia. I think the Lockeys may be of Scottish descent but I am not sure. If you ran across any Lockey info, would appreciate a couple of searchable words and I can take it from there. Thank you much and I am delighted for you to have found more info about your family. Sholay Kamp, from Houston, Texas.


  4. Hi Sholay Kamp, thank you so much for writing! I don’t know a whole lot about the Lockey family either unfortunately. I am organizing a Langhorne family reunion right now for Aug. 1-3, when I return I will try to work on the Lockeys, I have wanted to do that for awhile. Maybe then we can compare notes! Talk soon I hope, Helen


  5. Sholapur Kamp: I believe Judith Lockey who married Henry Cary was the daughter of Edward Lockey. Edward was the uncle of Anne MyHill daughter of John MyHill and Mary Lockey . Henry Cary was the brother of Colonel Thomas Cary, my 8th great grandfather .


  6. Hi again Shirley, good to see you. Looks like you and I share Miles Cary and Anne Taylor as 9th great grandparents, which I believe makes us 10th cousins! What’s amazing is that I recently met other cousins through Henry Cary– and they are from Texas also! I will have to see if I can get us all in touch! Fondly, Helen


  7. Hi Shirley, I’m not sure our Lockeys are con expected. I didn’t find any Judith Lockey in iur line. We originate with Henry and Fraser Lockey. My direct line comes through John Morris Lockey’ s, son Edwin dekalb Lockey. His daughte Clara Belle Lockey Jordan married Thomas Aaron Jordan and died giving birth to my grandmother Clara Belle Jordan Rikard, who, sadly, passed away this April 9 th at the age of 97. We had a cousin named grace Lockey who wrote a book on our genealogy tracing us back as far as Henry and Fraser and then she was able to trace us back to through the Peyton family to Isleham in England and straight through to Charlemagne. We were lucky to have Grace. She even went to tea and meet queen Elizabeth’s who acknowledged our family by greeting Grace with ” I believe we are cousins”. I think there may have been three Lockey family branches back in the 1600’s in North Carolina. My DAR paperwork uses Major Robert Peyton as my claimable ancestor. My family fled the civil war on the Lockey side in 1866 and came to Texas in search of a better life. They were own as Doctor Lockey, farmers and mercantile men. They women were known to have great strength of character and education was very important to them all. They eventually settled in east Texas in Houston County in the towns of Crockett, Belott, Tyler, Lufkin and Nacadoches. We’ve grown some then and encompass a bit more area now,mwe have an annual Lockey family reunion at new energy cemetary in Belott every Memorial Day weekend Sunday to gather and share stories and reaffirm family ties.


  8. I’m typing on my iPad and it changes my spelling some. I promise, I really do know how to spell!


  9. My grandmother instilled a great love of family in us and I am delighted just to be able to share any of the above mentioned info, in that it brings her close to my heart to share. Thank you for indulging me. I think a love of family is so important and in sharing our stories of the past, we keep our relatives alive in and through us. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.


  10. Sholay, thanks for your response . Yes , we share Miles Cary and Anne Taylor . My Cary ancestor, Dorothy Cary–daughter of Colonel Thomas Cary, married into the John Pleasants line. They were Quakers and fairly easy to trace. My Pleasants ancestor, Lydia Pleasants, daughter of Thomas Pleasants–son of John and Dorothy, married Benjamin Jordan, descendant of Thomas Jordan, 1600-1623.

    It was interesting that your family goes back to Charlemagne. Our Jordan line did too! Charlemagne had 22 children. Our Jordans came from the Castle Madoc in England.

    Shirley in Georgia


  11. Hi Sholay Kamp, your love of family shows, as does yours Shirley Rogers. And Sholay, I believe we are all related, we just have to untangle all the lines! One thing, I wonder if you know that Mary Keeble, married to Robert Peyton, b. 1640 was married 3 times. Keeble is actually a married name from George Keeble. We actually do not know her maiden name, it is possibly Boyd. She was married to a Robert Beverly as well. She is my 7th great grandmother and Robert Beverly is my 7th great grandfather. But all of her children are my aunts and uncles and also both of yours. Her son Robert Peyton who leads to your line, is my 6th great grand uncle. His son Willliam Peyton is my 1st cousin 7x removed (yours also Shirley) and his daughter Celia Peyton 1738,would be my 2nd cousin 6 x removed! Celia Peyton marries Henry Lockey 1730. Henry’s son leads to Clara Belle Lockey eventually, and she is my 7th cousin! Helen


  12. PS, I take the Cary’s straight back to Charlemagne! LOL


  13. Good morning, Helen.

    You have given me some more ancestors to research . WheneverI find a documented ancestor who can be connected to another one , I think of it as a piece of the puzzle.
    I have spent many months trying to straighten out confusion with my Ellyson line and the MyHill line which may not have any connection with my Ellyson line at all. My Ellyson line, the Jordan line, and the Cary line were all wealthy members of the House of Burgesses. My Pleasants line was also wealthy and elected to the House of Burgesses but refused to take the oath of office in keeping with the Quaker faith. Dorothy Cary daughter of Thomas Cary son of our common Miles Cary married John Pleasants, Jr, of Curles Plantation and a devout Quaker.

    More later

    Cuz Shirley


  14. Dear Cuz Shirley, you have done the same for me as I was unfamiliar with the MyHills, the Pleasants, et al! Do you work on ancestry.com? Helen


  15. Dear Helen,

    I have some of my lines on ancestry.com. They are public. The Thompson Tree.
    I do go in an edit once in a while.
    My IPad died yesterday so I am back to the desktop for now.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh, sorry about your iPad! I’d hate to lose mine, although I use my desktop a lot! If you check the member’s list for hyholshouser , you can find all this in my Old Virginia Tree. Hope to see you there!


  17. How about you, Sholay Kamp, are you also on ancestry?


  18. I am not. I never got around to it. I think one of my Jordan cousins started one and sent me an email with administrator access. I just haven’t gotten around to it. Is it easy to navigate? Is it addictive? How does it work? Are we supposed to populate it or does it mysteriously pre populate somehow? Inquiring minds would like to know! Lol. We just started volleyball season… School starts back up in two weeks. So much to do and so little time!


  19. Hi Sholay Kamp, I think it takes a bit to learn to navigate. I had help, and would be glad to help in return if I can. Yes, I find it totally addictive! LOL not sure what you mean by the populate question? We have to enter our data at first once before 1940, you can find most there,and it’s just a matter of clicking a lot to transfer data! lOL. Are you a teacher? Helen


  20. Howdy Ms. Helen. No, not a teacher. But a parent of an incoming high school freshmen who is on the school volleyball team, National Charity League and Girl Scouts mariner program . All these organizations have decided that the pre work begins August 4 th. And, of I courtesy, I volunteer with all of them. I work full time in the IT arena of an Oil and Gas Co, ( it IS Texas!) lol. I just got moved to the office that’s a bit further away and am trying to make my commute adjustments as the traffic is nearing the 80’s boom time level with many folks getting to experience our fair city. Fingers crossed hurricane season will be minimal again things year. End of August and beginning of September is our prime time.

    ‘Populate’ is an IT term for ‘ fill in’ ergo, to populate a database. My apologies for using it, I forget sometimes because I work with these people that speak the techie language and it’s easy to fall into that ‘slang’.

    When beginning of school settles down, I will have to take a look at ancestry.com. Is that the main one or the most recommended one? Isn’t there a Mormon based genealogy record that is supposed to be super extensive? I can’t recall the name but I thought I read about it some years back. I know who my direct line folks are, I have all my docs. My grandmother had it all done by 1980. But I am always on the lookout for more info. You just never know where another fabulous cousin might be.


  21. Sholay Kamp, oh yes! The busy years! Just be careful– I did the same– further commute to work, volunteered everywhere- loved it– church, band boosters, PTA, etc– until I had a heart attack at age 50! Stopped me in my tracks– work, volunteerism, going out at all! Had to find a new normal!now I have time for writing and ancestry! Ancestry was the super Mormon site, but the sold it for millions last year! It’s still an amazing place, but can be time consuming. Enjoy your life enjoy being active, that’s our present! Thank you God!


  22. Sholay and Helen, I have seen so much stuff on the internet, on Geni, and on Ancestry that is filled with flaws. Someone the person who posts on Ancestry have children being born before the mother.
    I am a retired business ed teacher, a retired special education supervisor, and most recently from the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia where I was an administrative assistance for the Emory University Research Center with an office in Albany.

    Right now I am searching for the correct year in which Gerrard Robert Ellison/Ellyson repatented land 520 acres on the James River which was originally patented in 1656 by his father. Researchers list either 1680 or 1688. They refer on a Land Book on file in Richmond.

    Our Cary Line would be:

    Miles Cary, Immigrant, and Ann Taylor
    son: Thomas Cary, 1647, married Ann Milner

    Lines below were Quakers as can be seen in Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Volume 6

    daughter: Dorothy Cary married John Pleasants son of John Pleasants, immigrant and Jane Larcome Tucker (she was a widow with some Tucker children)
    son: Thomas Pleasants, married Mary Jordan (both are in my line)
    daughter: Lydia Pleasants married Benjamin Jordan
    son: Thomas Pleasants Jordan married Susanna Ellyson in 1770 in Meeting of Friends (requested dismissal from Society in 1775..Later moved to North Carolina.
    son: Robert Harrison Jordan married Susannah Thomas in Henrico County in 1806
    daughter: Elizabeth Jordan married Hugh Allen in Buncombe County in 1823.
    son: William Robert Allen married Marcilla Atherton in Pickens County, Ga.
    daughter: Alice Allen married Joseph Henry Ellis in Gilmer County. (moved to Baker County Georgia)
    daughter: Living Ellis married Iverson Perry Thompson in Lee County Georgia
    daughter: Shirley Thompson married Denny Monroe Rogers in Dougherty County Georgia


  23. Hi Shirley, What you say is very true, take warning Sholay Kamp! You have to watch carefully with everything you pick up! In others family trees, you do find children bornbefore mothers and other mistakes, it happens because it is so easy to transfer that data into your tree withou looking carefully! I fell prey to that a lot in the beginning. Even though I have tried to be more careful, I know I still have mistakes in my tree. The sad thing is, even some of the historical documents are wrong! Censuses are only as good as the reporter, the recorder, and the transcriber, and all have/can be wrong. I ha*ve found marriage and death cerificates that were wrong! Its incredible! the only think onc can do is try to get infomation from many sources, and compare and contrast, and be open to corrections! Many other researchers will often set you straight! Sometimes they are incorrect also! Its an adventure , its a process. I love it, even though it is very frustrating at times!

    Thanks for your line Shirley, I will put it in my tree and then calculate our cousinship! Interestingly, I was a special education teacher of children with emotional and behavioral problems
    before I went back to grad school to become a family therapist. ***We have* a Special Education Superv*isor from NH in our famil*y right now, and *formerly, my Aunt janey Bell hel*d that position in Forsythe County, NC. I write about her in a post tyou can access here if you’d like. *https://heart2heartstories.com/2014/06/06/janey-bell-kerse-sommers-1923-2002-brillance-and-joyfulness-dimmed-by-altzheimers-52-ancestors-in-52-weeks-23/

    By the way, please excuse the *, I have no idea why they are occuring, I am not striking them! Gracious! My keyboard is running amok*! LOL Have a great day, Helen


  24. Hi Shirley, here is our kinship chart:

    Shirley Thompson
    is your 10th cousin
    Living J. Ellis (Thompson) Everson (1923 – )
    mother of Shirley Thompson
    Alice Allen (1889 – 1980)
    mother of Living J. Ellis (Thompson) Everson
    William Robert Allen (1843 – 1927)
    father of Alice Allen
    Elizabeth Jordan (1807 – 1908)
    mother of William Robert Allen
    Robert Harrison Jordan (1790 – 1866)
    father of Elizabeth Jordan
    Thomas Pleasants Jordan (1749 – 1809)
    father of Robert Harrison Jordan
    Lydia Pleasants (1715 – 1775)
    mother of Thomas Pleasants Jordan
    Thomas Pleasants (1695 – 1745)
    father of Lydia Pleasants
    Dorothy Cary (1679 – 1718)
    mother of Thomas Pleasants
    Maj Thomas Cary (1647 – 1745)
    father of Dorothy Cary
    Miles Cary (1622 – 1667)
    father of Maj Thomas Cary
    Henry Cary (1650 – 1720)
    son of Miles Cary
    Anne Cary (1674 – 1719)
    daughter of Henry Cary
    Capt. John Langhorne (1695 – 1767)
    son of Anne Cary
    Maurice Langhorne (1719 – 1791)
    son of Capt. John Langhorne
    Elizabeth Langhorne (1758 – 1818)
    daughter of Maurice Langhorne
    Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790 – 1854)
    son of Elizabeth Langhorne
    James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)
    son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne
    Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)
    daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
    Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)
    daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
    Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)
    daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
    Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser
    You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse –


  25. *My husband’s mother was a Rogers from NC, will have to see if you connect!


  26. Thanks,
    You even found Living Ellis’ s last name.who was no relation to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Good morning. I did some more research on Henry Cary. It was Judith Lockey whom he married. She was the aunt of Judith MyHill. When I have time, I will.go to my computer and send the reference.
    Have a good day.


  28. Good to hear from you Shirley! Yes, Henry Cary married Judith Lockey, glad we agree on that. Look forward to hearing more.


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