Edward Dale, Burgess from Lancaster County

Edward Dale (–d. 1694) was a loyalist who emigrated to Virginia after the death of King Charles I of England.  Dale settled on the north side of the Rappahannock River in Lancaster County in 1655 and served as clerk of the county for nineteen years, justice of the county court for fourteen years, high sheriff for four years, and as a member of the Houses of Burgesses for two years.

Dale represented Lancaster County as a member of a committee that laid a levy on the citizens of the Northern Neck to raise forces for the suppression of Bacon’s rebellion.  He acquired 3,400 acres in Lancaster County but did little farming, as he represented himself as a “Gentleman” in his deeds and other papers. 

Dale’s wife was Diana, daughter of Sir Henry Skipwith and his wife Amy, from Leicestershire, England.  Edward and Diana Dale had two daughters: Katherine, who married Thomas Carter of Lancaster County; and, Elizabeth who married Williams Rodgers.

Major Edward Dale wrote his will 4 Aug 1694, leaving his daughter Elizabeth Rodgers twelve pounds with no claim on his estate.  His wife Diana received the profit of his entire estate during her lifetime.  His grandchildren from his daughter Katherine Carter (Peter, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Catherine) were to receive the residue of his estate divided equally after Peter and Joseph received equal portions of his home plantation.  Dale’s will was probated 16 Mar 1695. Dale’s original will and other papers disappeared from the clerk’s office at Lancaster Court House; but his son-in-law Thomas Carter sealed his will in 1700 with a seal bearing the crest of the Dales of Northampton and London.  This authenticity of this seal proves that the will is that of Edward Dale.

A three-quarter length portrait of Edward Dale handed down in the Carter family was in Chicago at the end of the Civil War in the possession of Colonial Thomas Carter, but was lost in the great Chicago fire.  A copy of this portrait is owned by Dr. Joseph Lyon Miller of Thomas, West Virginia.  The portrait shows the powdered-wig Dale as a portly brown-eyed gentleman dressed in a black velvet coat with a red waistcoat and cream-colored satin breeches.

Dale held strong opinions and frequently was the only dissenting voice from the rulings of the other Justices of the Lancaster County Court.  He is also known for transgressing from the Virginia law of hospitality: when a traveling stranger was invited to dine with Dale, the stranger offered a long puritanical prayer at dinner asking blessings for Oliver Cromwell and curses for King Charles II.  Dale ordered the man from his home and told him to find dinner elsewhere.

First Mississippi Company Descendant of Edward Dale: Charles David Hill