The story of the first Corbin’s arriving in the New World is interesting to say the least. Henry Corbin braved a commonly tempestuous trans-Atlantic journey, but the crew believed the storms were being brought on by a witch. Get rid of the witch, get rid of the storm was their belief. The captain disagreed, but had his most respected passengers check for the tell-tale witch marks on an elderly lady. Henry then reinspected the lady, but the crew had already made their decision, she was to die. That’s the story Henry and other passengers gave upon their arrival.
Within a few years of that harrowing spectacle, Henry had established himself first in Maryland and then in Virginia. He, along with his brothers, ran a profitable trade network that elevated Henry into Virginia’s highest offices, and made him very wealthy in the process. The Corbin name solidified itself during subsequent generations, notably under Richard Corbin, who held the highest offices a Virginia born colonist could hold. He composed himself very well, earning praise and respect from his peers. But not all was well with the Corbins.
To this point in our First Families Series, each name has deep connections supporting Virginia and then the United States during and after the American War for Independence. Not so with the Corbins. They featured prominently in the Royal government, and looked set to continue in those lofty offices. But though they continued supporting the Crown, they also continued loving Virginia, and because of that love, the Corbins remained, and even championed their new country after her founding.
The Corbins chose to remain with Virginia when the Civil War erupted, and as so many others, suffered loss during the conflict. One such loss touched close to Stonewall Jackson, just before his sudden death in 1863. With such loss in focus, many of the Corbins chose to leave Virginia after 1865, and thus, this prominent family spread throughout the westwardly expanding country.
LINKS TO THE PODCAST:
- First Families of Virginia – The Corbins
- RSS Feed
- VA History Podcast on Apple Podcasts
- VA History Podcast on iHeart Radio
- VA History Podcast on Podbay
- VA History Podcast on Spotify
- VA History Podcast on Stitcher
- VA History Podcast Store
- Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
- Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
- Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
- Bruce, Phillip Alexander. Social Life of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century: An Inquiry into the Origin of the Higher Planting Class. New York: JP Bell Company, 1927.
- Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
- Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
- Emory G. Evans,”Richard Corbin (1713 or 1714–1790),” Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Library of Virginia, published 2006.
- Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
- Freeman, Douglas Southall. George Washington: A Biography. New York: Charles Scribners, 1957. (Specifically Volume 1).
- Hackett, Mary A. “Francis Corbin (1759 or 1760–1821),” Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Library of Virginia, 2006.
- Harbury, Katharine E. and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. “Henry Corbyn (1628 or 1629–ca. 1676).” Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, 23 Sep. 2013.
- Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
- Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
- McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.
- Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
- Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. Some Prominent Virginia Families, 4 Volumes. Lynchburg, VA: J.P. Bell Company, 1907.
- Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
- Scheib, Jeffrey Lynn. The Richard Corbin Letterbook, 1758-1760. Williamsburg, VA: William and Mary. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, 1982.
- Tarter, Brent. “Gawin Corbin (1739–1779),” Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Library of Virginia, 2006.
- Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
- Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
- Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
- Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
- Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
- Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.
“The Corbin Family.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 28, no. 3 (1920): 281-83. www.jstor.org/stable/4243780.
“The Corbin Family (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 28, no. 4 (1920): 370-73. www.jstor.org/stable/4243793.
“The Corbin Family (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 29, no. 3 (1921): 374-82. www.jstor.org/stable/4243833.
“The Corbin Family (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 29, no. 1 (1921): 124-25. www.jstor.org/stable/4243808.
“The Corbin Family of Virginia (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 29, no. 2 (1921): 243-51. www.jstor.org/stable/4243818.
“Corbin Family (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 29, no. 4 (1921): 520-26. www.jstor.org/stable/4243851.
“Corbin Genealogy (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 30, no. 1 (1922): 80-85. www.jstor.org/stable/4243866.
“The Corbin Family (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 30, no. 4 (1922): 403-07. www.jstor.org/stable/4243898.
“The Corbin Family (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 30, no. 3 (1922): 309-18. www.jstor.org/stable/4243888.
“The Corbin Family.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 31, no. 1 (1923): 80-83. www.jstor.org/stable/4243912.
“The Corbin Papers.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 13, no. 1 (1905): 51-53. www.jstor.org/stable/4242724.
- Letters between George Washington and Richard Corbin
- Colonial Virginia Portraits – The Corbins
- Corbin Hall – Video of Land once owned by the Corbin Family
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Corbin Family Crest. Henry Corbin Portraitis from Wikimedia Commons. Peckatone Ruins is from Bryan Dameron’s Family History. Moss Neck Manor is from http://www.fredericksburg.com. “Janie Corbin and Old Jack” is from artist Mort Kunstler.