There is a good bet of disagreement as to whether the original family name is Duddington, or Duddingston. Some say it is just different variations of the same name, but there is a big difference. The Duddington name was a well-known English family, while the Duddingston name was Scottish. Many Dudding descendants claim their ancestral home to be Scotland. Duddingston Village is a mile from the center of Edinburgh, and is situated on the lower slopes of Arthur’s Seat on the eastern edge of Holyrood Park overlooking Duddingston Loch.
Alfred Earl Duddington, born in 1730 in England, sailed to Virginia in 1750 with his brother-in-law John Ellicott, according to descendent Dr. Earl Ellicott Dudding. The good doctor claimed he settled in Maryland on the Potomac River where Washington, D.C. exists today. The site where the Capitol now stands was once known as Duddington Manor, although other research shows that this property was first settled as early as 1663 and named Duddington Manor by George Thompson, a lawyer, long before Earl arrived.
Earl Duddington’s only known son, Alfred Wellington Duddington, was born in 1755 in Maryland, but his wife is not identified. According to Dr. Dudding, Alfred wrangled with the English authorities when he was young, and escaped to Virginia’s back woods, Botetoute County, where he changed his name to Dudding. While the name of his wife is not known, Alfred raised five children: John (born 1772), Polly (born 1776), Joseph (born 1778), William (born 1784), and Elizabeth (born 1785). It is not known how long Earl lived, but Alfred died in 1832.
Alfred’s son John was one of the first white settlers in the Nitro area of Kanawha County. Alfred’s daughter Elizabeth married Basil Anderson Wood in 1810, and also moved to Kanawha County. Elizabeth was the mother of Adelia Margaret Wood, who was in turn mother of Margaret Adelia Burgess, who married John Harrison Draper in 1877.
According to official histories of the Washington, D.C., area opposite Mount Vernon at the mouth of Piscataway Creek, stood Warburton Manor, granted in 1641 to the Digges family. A little south and west of this is Marshall Hall, granted to William Marshall in 1651. Bordering on “the freshes of Piscataway” was Mount Airy, the seat of Benedict Calvert, son of the fifth Lord Baltimore; here General Washington often stayed, and Calvert’s daughter Eleanor married John Parke Custis, son of Martha Washington. Nearer the present city of Washington was another historic mansion, Oxon Hill, home of the Addisons. Between Oxon Creek and the Eastern Branch (or Anacostia River) was Blew Playne, a tract of 1,000 acres granted in 1692 to George Thompson, a lawyer, who was Clerk of the Charles County Court.
In 1663 Thompson was granted three other tracts: Duddington Manor, 100 acres; Duddington Pasture, 300 acres; and New Troy, 500 acres. In 1670 he leased his tracts for 1,000 years to Thomas Notley, who in 1671 patented them as Cerne Abbey Manor. At his death in 1679, his godson Notley Rozier inherited the manor. In 1716 it was again given its orginal name of Duddington Manor; and in the last decade of the 18th century, the manor (then, by intermarriage, owned mainly by the Carroll and Young families) was the largest and most valuable estate within what then became the District of Colombia.
Some research states the Duddington Manor property was “patented” to Thompson in 1663, meaning the crown would award it to him and he would be the first to own it. Earl Duddington did not arrive in the area until the 1750s, and the name was in use more than 75 years earlier. Certainly the Carroll family wasn’t the first to own it as is often suggested, so they could not have named it for a close relative, the Earl of Duddington.
Where the Duddington family actual lived is still a mystery. The only record found during this period was of Andrew Dudding who appeared on the quit rent records of Essex County, dated 1704. (ref: Vol 33, page 362, VA State Papers). The Will of Andrew Dudding in an Essex County Will Book, dated 1719, stated that he was a planter of South Farmham Parish, and that he left sums of money to four godchildren and his estate to Mary Richards, his housekeeper. It is not known if this is a relation since Earl’s name was Duddington. Dr. Dudding said that A. Earl Duddington’s only son, Alfred Wellington Duddington, was involved in a dispute with the English authorities when he was young. To escape prosecution, he changed his name to Dudding, and moved to Boutourte Co. near Augusta County, the back country of Virginia.
In 1749, Christopher Gist was one of the first white men to explore the Kanawha Valley while working for the Ohio Land Company. In Vo. II, page 47 of the Virginia State Papers is an enlistment roll Capt. Christopher Gist’s company, which fought under George Washington during the French and Indian War. John Dudding enlisted October 10, 1756, and was recorded as being 5' 4-1/2" tall (researchers claim short and stocky are Dudding family traits). Inconsistent with Dr. Dudding’s story, this John was recorded as born in England, but his relationship with Gist could have led to John settling in the area.