| WILLIAMSBURG'S FOUNDING MOTHER
CATHERINE KAIDYEE BLAIKLEY, 4th great grandmother of ELIZA JANE STEGER, was born circa 1696 in York Co, Virginia. She married WILLIAM BLAIKLEY 11 Sept. 1718 in Williamsburg. WILLIAM died 10 Feb. 1733/34. CATHERINE never remarried but became a midwife to support her six children.
| The Williamsburg Guide Book on the Blaikley-Durphey house, which is restored but not open to the public in Historic Williamsburg, "CATHERINE, who apparently never remarried, remained at this address until her death in 1771 at the age of 73. A remarkable woman, she was renowned as an 'eminent Midwife ... who, in the course of her Practice, brought upwards of 3,000 children into the World.'"
Founding Mothers, by Linda Grant DePauw, p. 41, "Although practicing medicine was rarely a full-time occupation, midwifery was. Eighteenth-century America had a fast growing population. Obituaries of midwives often identify them as having delivered thousands of children in the course of their careers. In 1771 a Williamsburg, Virginia, paper recorded the passing of ' Mrs. CATHERINE BLAIKLEY, of this City, in the 76th year of her Age; an eminent Midwife, and who, in the course of her Practice, brought upwards of three Thousand Children into the World.'"
Bruton Church Registry, noted in Historical Sketch of Bruton Church..., GOODWIN, records the baptism of CAHTERINE'S slaves in Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg. Fellow church member Coll. GEORGE WASHINGTON also had his slaves baptized there.
Records show that not only was CATHERINE a good midwife, she was also a good financial manager, acquiring property and providing well for her children and even assisting her son-in-law, GRIFFITH STITH.
CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON of Baltimore, MD, from William & Mary Quarterly 1892-1943, "From the Virginia Historical Collection Xi, 70 ... an old sampler, now in my possession, said to have been worked by MARY, daughter of WILLIAM BLAIKLEY, afterwards MRS. GRIFFIN STITH, reads as follows:..." goes on to list the marriage date of WILLIAM and CATHERINE, the birth dates of their chidlren, and the marriage of MARY and GRIFFIN STITH.
CATHERINE is buried in the Bruton Parish Church yard with her STITH grandchildren. The slab over the grave of CATHERINE says "He[re] lye[s] th[e] Bodie[s] of [Buckner Stith] and Cath[a]rine [Stith]. Son and El[de]st D[aughter] of [ ] St[ith] of Nor[th]ampton coun[ty] Buckn[e]r a hopeful youth [was born the 3d] Day of January 1747 [Departed this Life] in this City the [ D]ay of December 1766 Catharine died an Infant [Eighteen days old]. Also the body of M[rs] Catharine Blaikley l[ate] of [this City]. G[r]andmo[the]er of the [ab]ove Named [C]hi[ldren] She departed this Life the 25[th] Day [of] October 11 Aged  years and up[wards]"
CATHERINE must have smiled when her 5th great granddaughter, VIRGINIA BELLE SHOLAR [ARMSTRONG, GUINN, FERGUSON] helped deliver her first baby at age 15.
CATHERINE and WILLIAM'S daughter, ELIZABETH, married THE REV. ROBERT MC LAURINE. See Early Clergy.
| MORE ON WILLIAMSBURG
Williamsburg was settled in 1632 and called Middle Plantation, due to its location on high ground and about half-way across the Virginia Peninsula between the James River and York River.There was a stockade across the peninsula, about 6 miles wide at that point between Queen's Creek and College Creek, which provided some security from attacks from the Native Americans for the colonists. The area was included in James City County when it was established 2 years later. Jamestown was the original capitol of the Colony until it was burned during Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. Temporary government quarters were established 12 miles away on the high ground of Middle Plantation. They again assumed these quarters when the Jamestown statehouse was again burned in 1698. By this time the College of William and Mary had been established, and their facilities were used by the government. The government was officially moved to Middle Plantation, a village was laid out and Middle Plantation was renamed Williamsburg in honor of King William III of England.
Today restored historic Williamsburg can be visited with buildings open to the public and re-enactments by costumed villagers.