1619 Genealogy – Documents the Descendants of the First Africans to Arrive in Virginia
For 400 years, they were only known as the “Twenty & Odd.” Now, we know their names, their status, their descendants and the contributions they made to the survival of Virginia. The following is a shortlist and below are their stories.
- Frances Driggers
- Emmanuel Driggers
- Peter George
- Antoney Tucker
- Isabel Tucker
- Michael Blizzard
- Katherine Blizzard
- Anthony (Tony) Longo
- Anthony Johnson
- Mary Johnson
- Juan Pedro
- Edward Mozingo
- John Gowen
- Margaret Cornish
- Anthony (Toney) King
- John Francisco
- Bashaw Farnando
- Francis Payne/Pane
- Phillip Mongon/Mongom
- Paul Carter
- Benjamin Doll/Dial
Frances and Emmanuel Driggers should be known as America’s earliest freedom fighters
Frances, who became Frances Driggers, was the mother of the first documented African child in Virginia. Frances was listed as early as 1621 at Abraham Piersey’s plantation, recorded as a Negro woman with a young child of hers. We now know the young child to be Peter. From the time of Piersey’s death in 1627-1628 until 1633, Frances and the other Africans in Piersey’s possession were moved to and from, caught up in the legal battle between Abraham Piersey’s daughters and their stepmother, Frances Greville-West-Piersey, and then Matthews. Their stepmother had quickly married Captain Samuel Matthews after their father’s death. As the administrator of Piersey’s estate, the new Mrs. Frances Matthews removed the Africans from Floridew to Matthews Manor. In 1633 Elizabeth Piersey and her sister Mary Hill finally received their portion of their father’s estate, and the Africans were returned to Piersey’s daughters.
Sometime between 1635 and 1638, during the ouster of Governor John Harvey – Elizabeth Piersey’s newlywed husband – the Africans were once again removed to Matthews’ Manor. Matthews had led the charge to remove Governor Harvey and send him to England to stand in front of the king. During this time, the Floridew Africans were confiscated and distributed among Harvey’s opponents. Frances was among those Africans, and she became the servant of Captain Francis Pott. Pott was a known participant in Governor Harvey’s removal. Between 1638 and 1640, Frances married Emmanuel Driggers.
Emmanuel was probably one of the six Africans found at Governor Yeardley’s possession. Within the next fifteen years, as slavery manifested in Virginia, Emmanuel and Frances Driggers’ became some of the earliest freedom fighters in what eventually became the United States of America. They possessed the knowledge to secure freedom for many Africans through the English legal system. Sometime between 1628 and 1644, Emmanuel was indentured to Captain Francis Pott, commander of Point Comfort and owner of a large plantation on the Eastern Shore in Northampton County. In 1649 Emmanuel Driggers and his wife Frances were assigned to Stephen Charlton, to pay for Pott’s debt to Charlton. In addition to Peter, Frances had at least five biological children and two adopted children with Emmanuel.
Elizabeth, b. ca. 1638 (adopted)
Frances, b. ca. 1640
Thomas, b. 1644
Jane, b. April 1644 (adopted)
Ann, b. 1648
Edward, b. 1650
William b. 1655
By 1656 Frances had died in Northampton County, Virginia when Emmanuel took a second wife named Elizabeth, an English woman. With Elizabeth Driggers, Emmanuel had two more children:
Devorax/Deverick, b. 1656.
Mary, b. 1658.
Peter was the first documented African child in Virginia
Peter, who became known as Peter George was the first documented African child in Virginia. Peter and his mother, Frances’s relocation to Bennett’s plantation was one of the very few relocations of the Africans recorded in colonial Virginia. Peter was listed with his mother at Abraham Piersey’s (the Cape Merchant) plantation as early as 1621 – 1622 and again in 1624 – 1625. However, in 1623 they were at Bennett’s plantation, representing Piersey’s contribution to the building of the lookout fort located just east of Bennett’s on the south shore of the James River.
By 1640, Peter was found in Northampton County working for Nathaniel Littleton, where he was identified as a “Negro carpenter.” He married Joan Johnson, daughter of Anthony Johnson. They had two children, Jane and Anthony. In 1656 Peter’s son, Anthony (Little Tony), and daughter, Jane, were listed in a will of Littleton’s wife, Ann. In 1664 Peter was again found taxable in the Littleton family, tithable under Francis Littleton in Northampton County. Sometime during 1664-1665, Peter George, a carpenter, began working for Captain Francis Pigot (Piggot). About 1676, Peter George received a release from his indenture with the promise to pay ten thousand pounds of tobacco to his master. He completed the last payment in 1682. In 1684 Captain Francis Pigot, Littleton’s kin, made his will in Northampton County, Virginia, listing Peter’s son Anthony George.
The attached picture is the view from Bennett’s Plantation on the south side of the James River overlooking the Chesapeake where Peter and his mother were living in 1623.
Antoney and Isabel (Isabella) – The Tucker’s, known to be the first African family in Virginia.
Antoney and Isabel (Isabella) were listed in the incorporation of Kecoughtan in William Tucker’s household in February 1623 and in the Muster of 1624/1625. Antoney and Isabel eventually took the last name of Tucker from their master, Captain William Tucker, the commander of Point Comfort in 1619. The Tuckers have the distinction of the first African family in the young English settlement of Virginia. Their son William was born before 1624 and became the first documented African child to be baptized in Virginia. Records show that William was the second documented African child in the early settlement. William Tucker’s descendants are believed to be among those buried at the Tucker Family Cemetery in today’s Hampton, Virginia where many Tucker descendants live today.
The Blizzards, Michael and Katherine
Michael and Katherine were on the Treasurer and among those Africans who returned from Bermuda prior to March 1620 and disbursed among the Earl of Warwick’s allies. These two Africans resided at William Ewen’s plantation known as the College Land on the south side of the James River. They were not listed in any of the early musters or censuses. They were only documented in Captain William Ewen’s land patents. Ewens was one of the largest landowners in early Virginia. His patents were continually renewed, ever since the original grant date of September 1619. Michael married Katherine, and they became known as the Blizzards by the 1660s. It’s been said they took their name after surviving one of the worst blizzards in Virginia’s early history. From a Surry County patent in 1659 that William Ewen’s widow, Mary, renewed, she had fourteen hundred acres, including his land on the sunken marsh where the Blizzards lived.
Listed in the patent are Michael and Katherine, together with the following children:
Rebecca, b. ca. 1639
Frances, b. ca. 1649
Amos, b. ca. 1651
Susanna, b. ca. 1654
An unnamed child.
Descendants of Michael and Katherine Blizzard remain in Surry County, Virginia, to this day.
The Johnsons; Antonio and Maria
Antonio and Maria become known as Anthony and Mary Johnson. They both arrived in Virginia from England courtesy of the Earl of Warwick. The likelihood that their passage was on the San Juan Bautista remains strong, yet documentation to confirm this is sparse. They would have been aboard the Treasurer when it arrived in Bermuda in 1619 after mysteriously leaving Virginia. In 1621, Antonio and Maria were put aboard the James, by Governor Nathaniel Butler in Bermuda and sailed for England. When they reached port, they were taken directly to Warwick’s estate of Leez Priory. Defiant to the Earl of Warwick’s requests, Anthony quickly found himself back on the James and on his way to Virginia. By November 1621, Antonio’s name had been anglicized to Anthony and he was at Edward Bennett’s plantation on the south side of the James River overlooking Burwell Bay, the outmost post accessible to Warwick. Bennett was a devout Puritan and a known loyal associate of the Earl of Warwick.
In March 1622, Anthony was one of a handful of settlers to survive the Native uprising responsible for slaughtering one-third of Virginia’s overall population and killing more than fifty settlers at Bennett’s plantation. For a time, the plantation is abandoned. Within six months, after an agreement for a lookout fort to be built there, Bennett’s plantation is reestablished.
Maria arrived in Virginia on the Margaret and John in late 1622 from England. Like Anthony, Maria anglicized her name to Mary, possibly camouflaging her Catholic heritage. By 1624 Mary was documented alongside Anthony on the south side of the James River at Bennett’s Welcome in Warrasquarake. By 1635 Anthony and Mary were married and living at John Upton’s plantation on the south side of the James, where they were listed as headrights. Upton had confirmed his patent with thirty-three headrights, which included two Africans: Anthony and Mary. Shortly thereafter, the Johnsons were documented as residents of the Eastern Shore.
On January 10, 1647, Anthony Johnson purchased a calf from James Berry, by a deed proven in Northampton County, Virginia. This purchase started Johnson’s livestock venture, which quickly grew into a major monopoly on the Eastern Shore in Northampton County.
The Johnson’s had four (4) children:
John, b. ca. 1631
Richard, b. ca 1632
Joan, b. unknown, wife of Peter George
Daughter, b. unknown.
In 1653 Anthony Johnson took his servant, Casor, to court to fight his neighbor from confiscating him from Johnson’s possession. Anthony won his case, but unfortunately for Casor, this court battle left him a servant to the Johnsons for all of his natural life. By 1665 Anthony and Mary Johnson had sold their land in Northampton County, with the exception of fifty acres they left to their son Richard. Joining them in their move to Somerset County, Maryland, was their son John and his wife Susanna along with John Casor, and fourteen head of cattle, a mare, and eighteen sheep. It must be noted that the Johnsons moved to Maryland in the vicinity of Richard Bennett, Johnson’s original master’s kin, who exerted a heavy Puritan influence.
In Maryland, many years later, Anthony and Mary’s grandson owned a small plantation he called Angola – a clear gesture to their heritage.
Juan Pedro, also called John Pedro, was one of three Africans taken from Bermuda to England in 1621; he was put aboard the James by Governor Nathaniel Butler and delivered to Leez Priory, the Earl of Warwick’s estate in Felsted. John Pedro remained in England until early 1623 when a legal case drew increased attention to the Treasurer’s escapades with the Africans. John Pedro was put aboard the Swan, one of Warwick’s ships, and smuggled out of England with Warwick’s ally Francis West. John Pedro resurfaced at the New England Company settlement, just north of Virginia, where the Earl of Warwick was heavily involved in the New England charter. From Plymouth, John Pedro went north into Weymouth where he was documented once again with Francis West. By late 1623 the Swan finally arrived in Virginia. In the muster of 1624-1625, John Pedro was listed as a servant in the household of Captain Francis West.
John Pedro was a devout Catholic who never relinquished his religious teachings from his homeland.
Angelo/Angela arrived on the Treasurer. She was given to – or purchased by – Lieutenant William Pierce. The debate remains strong among historians as to the year of her arrival. It’s possible that Angela departed the Treasurer in 1619 at Point Comfort and was given to Pierce as insurance of the Treasurer’s safe departure. However, Angela might have been amongst the Africans brought back to Virginia on the Treasurer before March 1620 and listed amongst the thirty-two Africans in the 1620 census.
John Rolfe, William Pierce’s son-in-law, wrote the first letter to the Virginia Company of London, mentioning the Africans’ arrival five months after the White Lion had anchored, and most likely after he was made aware of the Treasurer’s second coming in early 1620 – plenty of time for Warwick’s allies to scramble together to set in place a cover-up story for Warwick’s ties to the illegal affair. On December 31, 1619, Pierce’s patent for 650 acres on Mulberry Island was recorded.
Angela was one of three of the earliest Africans to reside at Jamestown, but probably not until 1622-1623, after the Native uprising on March 22, 1622. It seems William Pierce, resided at Mulberry Island from December 1619 until 1622, when Pierce was appointed Captain of the Militia and he returned to Jamestown. Further, from 1623 to 1625 Angela was documented as living at William Pierce’s residence at Jamestown. There are no records of Angela ever leaving Pierce’s, marrying, or having children.
The Three Generations of Edward
Edward, (first generation) was aboard the Treasurer and would have been among the Africans who returned from Bermuda before March 1620. Edward is documented at Kingsmill Plantation at Ye Neck of the Land, a mile north of Jamestown Island in the List of the Living in February 1623 and again at Kingsmill Plantation in the Muster of 1624/25. It must be noted, Kingsmill plantation wasn’t always owned by Kingsmill. In 1619, Reverend Richard Buck patented 500 acres bounded by Mill Creek on the west. It’s questionable whether Buck ever resided at Ye Neck of the Land, rather residing at Jamestown. In 1622, during the Native uprising, Reverend Buck was killed. After his death, Richard Kingsmill became the caretaker of Buck’s children and executor for Buck’s property in Ye Neck of the Land, eventually known as Kingsmill.
Sometimes, between 1641 and 1644, Edward Mozingo, Edward’s son was born. On October 5, 1672, Edward completed his apprenticeship to Colonel John Walker.
By 1664, Edward Mozingo III was born. Edward III married Sarah Grinstead about 1690. Mozingo is mentioned with his children, Sarah and John, in Sarah’s mother’s last will and testament. Sarah was the sister of Ann Grinstead. The Grinstead family descended from the union of a mixed-race girl, Elizabeth Key, and her European husband, attorney John Grinstead. In July 1656, John Grinstead represented Elizabeth Key when she sued the colony for her freedom and won. The representation was prior to their marriage. Edward, like his father before him, indentured his son, Edward, to secure his future by giving him an end-date to his indenture.
The Picture below is the trail/road to Ye Neck of Land.