About Sara Dedman
Colonial Talliaferos: Robert's wife Katherine Dedman
What is the correct name of the wife of Robert Taliaferro and who were her parents?
In 1672, soon after the death of Robert Taliaferro, Sr., his widow styled herself "Mrs. Katherine Taliaferro." This early usage is preserved in the Court Record Books of "Old" Rappahannock Co VA (progenitor of Essex and Caroline Counties). In this instance, the widow of Robert Taliaferro, herself, used the name Katherine and spelled it with a "K." The recording clerk would have had her signed statement at hand when the record was originated. [Source: 'Who was Catherine, the Wife of Cadwallader Jones of Virginia?' by Henry G. Taliaferro - "Virginia Genealogist," Vol. 38, No. 3,
The above source addresses the question that the widowed Katherine Dedman Taliaferro married Cadwallader Jones after the death of her first husband. It is a fully researched, well documented article which reaches an affirmative interpretive conclusion. Interestingly, the author cites the young widow's name as she spelled it, Katherine Taliaferro, but otherwise uses the spelling "Catherine." He does not cite a single other instance where the signature of the wife of Cadwallader Jones is used to create a record. She was always represented by someone else who spelled her name with a "C."
Now we know that the wife of Robert Taliaferro styled herself "Katherine." The next goal is to consolidate credible reports of her heritage to see if we can find some guidance. In this case, scenarios with some differences have been published by several researchers.
Presentations by the various researchers appear to support each other, and in fact information now current may have all derived from one or two early published sources. Few contain citations from primary record sources. In fact it may be that few primary records are now extant to confirm published information.
As to the opinion that Katherine Dedman/Debnam adopted her stepfather's name, Grymes, there is no primary information that would lead to this conclusion. I suspect that it represents a misstatement of fact or confusion with her Mother's name made some years ago and perpetuated by repitition. Perhaps a researcher, noting that Robert Taliaferro II and III inherited land from Charles and Katherine Grymes fell into the easy trap of assuming that Charles Grymes was the father, not the step-father, of Katherine Dedman Taliaferro.
Information received from TT participants follows the scenario below, a point of difference arising in the given name of Katherine Taliaferro's father; but not the year of his death. Was he William Dedman or Henry Dedman? As so often happened when court clerks and scribes wrote names, the spelling is variable. Was the surname Dedman, Deadman, or Debnam? It would probably take a great deal of research to determine if the name Dedman/Deadman is the same as the modern Debnam.
Whatever the given name, whatever the spelling of the surname, it forms fifty percent of the base of our American family. Information about Katherine Taliaferro's family is crucial to our understanding of our heritage.
The wife of Robert Taliaferro, the young immigrant, was Katherine Dedman (or Deadman or Debnam). Her father's given name was either William or Henry, and her mother's given name was Katherine. Katherine Dedman was widowed in 1657. She married, second, the Reverend Charles Grymes of Middlesex County, moving later to Essex County. Katherine (Dedman) Taliaferro was one of three daughters of William (or Henry) and Katherine Dedman. Her two sisters were: Ann who married Edward Hoyle (first cousin of Major Lawrence Smith) and Mary, the wife of Major Lawrence Smith. [Sources: 'A Discovery Concerning the Townley and Warner Families of Virginia,' by Mary Burton Derrickson McCurdy in Vol. 5 (1981), pp. 538-590; and 'Thomas Smith of Fairfax County, Virginia,' by Henry G. Taliaferro in "The Virginia Genealogist," Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan-Mar), 1996, 3-17.]