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Chronology of the 1619 Africans

To Commemorate the 399th Anniversary of the Arrival of the First Africans in English America, a portion of the chronology from UNVEILED, The Twenty & Odd is being released.

Chronology of the 1619 Africans
From : UNVEILED – The Twenty & Odd
Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond
By: K. I. Knight © All rights reserved.

1. In the summer of 1619, the San Juan Bautista, a Spanish galleon sailing to the Port of Veracruz with a full underbelly of enslaved Angolans was fired upon by two English corsairs in the Bay of Campeche. The two English captains took 60 Africans and sailed for Virginia. The Bautista’s Captain reported the piracy on August 25, 1619. (Engel Sluiter, UCBerkley) Note: The Bautista was a Spanish galleon-type warship, built in Japan in 1613. This type of warship was not known to transport slaves. Therefore, one would have to conclude the two English corsairs were searching for Spanish Treasurer, not slaves. (Unveiled – The Twenty & Odd K I Knight; The Battle of the San Juan Bautista by Richard C. Moore. Commissioned 2011 by Knight; San Juan Bautista specifications – San Juan Bautista Museum, Ishinomaki Japan)

2. The latter part of August 1619 the White Lion arrived on the shores of Point Comfort where the English Captain Jope sailing under the Dutch/Flemish marque brought nothing but “twenty & odd” Africans which he sold to the Governor and Cape Merchant for victual. (John Rolfe Letter January 1620.)

3. The Treasurer arrived four days later. Due to an expired marque, Point Comfort’s Commander William Tucker sends for the Governor’s permission for the Treasurer to land and sell her cargo. As the Governor’s men Wm. Ewens and Wm. Pierce returned to bring the English ship upriver to Jamestown, the Treasurer was sailing out into the Atlantic. (John Rolfe Letter January 1620.)

4. September 15, 1619. Captain William Ewens patents 400 acres on the south-side of the James River based on his recently landed headrights. (WMCQ)  Note: The date is two weeks after the arrival of the White Lion. At least three to four (3-4) Africans are known to be associated with this land.

5. The Treasurer arrives October 20, 1619 in Bermuda bringing 29 Negros, 2 chestes of graine, 2 chests of wax, a small quantity of tallow, little worth. (John Dutton to the Earl of Warwick letter January 20, 1620.)

6. Because of the Treasurer’s expired commission from the Duke of Savoy, the ownership of the Africans was an ambiguous legal matter to be settled at a later date. (The Rich Papers, Ives 140)

7. October 1619. The Garland arrives in Bermuda from a long and sickening journey to Virginia, to replenish its supply and allow its passengers to recover. (History of Bermuda, Lefroy 157)

8. November 1619. A hurricane hits Bermuda and destroys the Warwick which brought the newest governor to Bermuda, a month prior. The Warwick had been contracted by the Company to return Bermuda’s harvest of tobacco to England. (History of Bermuda, Lefroy)

9. In the Governor’s meeting with his council, Bermuda’s Governor Butler orders the Garland’s Captain to return to England with the Company’s crop and the Treasurer will take the Garland’s passengers on to Virginia in her stead. Governor Butler then ordered the Treasurer to be rigged and refit. (Lefroy 157)

10. 1620 Census discovered in the Ferrar papers shows 32 Africans in the settlement of Virginia.

11. 1621. In Bermuda, Governor Butler places three Africans – Antonio, Maria, and John Pedro aboard the ship James, sailing for England. Five weeks later, the James arrived at the port of Southampton and the three Africans were taken to Earl of Warwick’s great manor at Leez Priory in Felstead, Essex. (Hashaw, Butler to Warwick October 1620, Ship Manifest)

12. 1621 Antonio arrives on the James from England and is placed on Bennett’s plantation. (Hotten, Hashaw, Ship manifest.)

13. March 22, 1622 – The Great Indian Massacre.

14. From the List of the Living and Dead dated February 1623 the following Africans are recorded in the Virginia settlement.
a. Eleven (11) Africans living at Flowerdew. Five of these Africans – Anthony, John, William, Anthony and an unnamed negro woman were Piersey’s and the other six were Governor Yeardley’s contracted to Dr. Woodson. Dr. Woodson and his wife Sarah were living at Flowerdew.
b. Two (2) unnamed Africans living at George Yeardley’s residence in Jamestown.
c. Four (4) Africans living at Warrasqueak, Anthony, Margaret, Peter and Frances.
d. Two (2) Africans living at William Tucker’s household, Antony and Isabella.
e. One (1) African living at Ye Neck of Land in Kingsmill’s residence, Edward
f. One (1) African living at Matthews Plantation over against James City, Jiro.
g. One (1) African living at the Treasurer’s plantation, Angelo/Angela.
h. One African listed as dead.

15. The location and numerical changes of the Africans from February 1623 to the February 1625 Muster are few.

a. Baby William Tucker born to Isabella and Antony in Tucker’s residence.

b. Maria/Mary who arrived after the massacre of 1622 from England on the Margaret and John was eventually recorded at Bennett’s Welcome by 1624.

c. John Pedro arrived on the Swan in 1623 and living on the Eastern Shore.

d. Peter and Frances at Bennett’s Welcome return to Piersey’s Floridew plantation and become documented as Negro woman with young child of hers.

e. Angelo/Angela is found in Jamestown at Captain William Pierce’s residence. Pierce and Angela/Angelo were living at the Treasurer’s plantation in 1623.

16. September 1625. Lady Temperance Yeardley receives temporary custody of Brass, a Negro man sold to Captain Nathaniel Bass by Captain Jones. Lady Yeardley was ordered to pay Brass forty pounds of tobacco per month he was in her employee. On October 3, 1625 the court gives Governor Francis Wyatt custody of Brass. (Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia.)

17. The ship Saker arrives in Virginia in 1627 delivering nothing but one (1) African to William Ewens Plantation on the south side of the James known as the College Land. (Coldham; Ewens vs. Saker.) Note: By 1627 William Ewens had patented 1000 acres of land.

18. The Last will and Testament of Sir George Yeardley shows the same eight (8) Africans as listed earlier to be sold. They aren’t listed as chattel, slaves, or servants, but in a separate ambiguous class of their own, Negros. (Library of Virginia, Special Collection.)

19. 1628. The Fortune, captained by Author Guy, arrives in Jamestown with 100 Angolans stolen from a Spanish vessel.

20. Changes in the laws begin in October 1629. “All those that worke in the ground of what quality or condition soever, shall pay tithes to the minister”. (Henning)

21. 1630 An Englishman Hugh Davis was whipped and made to apologize before an assembly of Negroes and others, for laying with a Negro. (Henning)

22. 1635 An African woman is used for a headright, suggesting servitude. (Nugent)

23. Additional changes in the laws against the Negro. January 1640.  All people “except negroes” are to be provided with firearms and ammunition. (Henning)

24. July 1640, three runaway servants were retrieved from Maryland, a Dutchman, a Scot, and the Negro, John Punch/Bunch. The two Europeans received additional time added to their contracts for their punishment. John Punch/Bunch received additional service for the time of his natural life here or elsewhere. (Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia; Clive Roberson’s Notes.)

25. October 17, 1640 “Whereas Robert Sweat hath begotten with child a negro woman servant belonging unto Lieutenant Sheppard, the court hath therefore ordered that the said negro woman shall be whipt at the whipping post and the said Sweat shall tomorrow in the forenoon do public penance for his offence at James City church in the time of divine service according to the laws of England in that case provided.” (Virginia Council and General Court Records 1640-1641), Note: There was a general law against fornication that applied to all members of the colony. There are other cases which the woman, regardless of race, is whipped with the man receiving a lesser punishment. Additional note: notice she is called a servant – not a slave. (McIlwaine, Minutes of the Council; Clive Roberson’s Notes.)

26. March 31, 1641-Suit of John Gowen:
“Whereas it appeareth to the court that John Gowen, being a negro servant
unto William Evans, was permitted by his said master to keep hogs and make the best benefit thereof to himself provided that the said Evans might have half the increase which was accordingly rendered unto him by the said negro and the other half reserved for his own benefit: And whereas the said negro having a young child of a negro woman belonging to Lt. Robert Sheppard which he desired be taught and exercised in the church of England, by reason whereof he, the said negro did for his said child purchase its freedom of Lt. Sheppard with the good liking and consent of Tho: Gooman’s overseer as by the deposition of the said Sheppard and Evans appeareth, the court hath therefore ordered that the child shall be free from the said Evans or his assigns and to be and remain at the disposing and education of the said Gowen and the child’s godfather who undertaketh to see it brought up in the Christian religion as aforesaid.” (McIlwaine, Minutes of the Council; Clive Roberson’s Notes.)

27. April 1641. John Gowen indentures his son Mihill to Christopher Stafford. Gowen knew how to maneuver through the English legal system. This one indenture would begin the process to guarantee the freedoms of some of the first Africans in Virginia. October 25th, 1657. In a legal statement by Anne Barnhouse. “Bee itt known unto all Christian people that whereas Mihill Gowen Negro of late servant to my Brother Xopher Stafford deced by his last will & Testament bearing Date the 18 of Jan 1654 had his freedom given unto him after the expiration of 4 years service unto my uncle Robert Stafford Therefore know all whom itt may concern that I Anne Barnehouse for divers good couses mee hereunto moving do absolutely quitt & discharge the sd Mihill Gowen from any service & for ever sett him free from any claim of service either by mee or any one my behalf as any part or parcell of my Estate that may be claimed by mee the said Amy Barnhouse my heyres Exers Admrs or Assignes as witness my hand this 25 Oct 1657 Amy (AB) Barnhouse Bee itt knowne unto all Xcian people that I Ame Barnehouse of Martins hundred widdow for divers good causes & consideracons mee hereunto moving hath given unto Mihill Gowen Negro he being att this time servant unto Robert Stafford a Male child borne the 25 August 1655 of the body of my Negro Prossa being baptized by Mr. Edward Johnson 2 Sept 1655 & named William & I the said Amy Barnhouse doth bindmy selfe my heyres Exer Admr & Ass never to trouble or molest the said Mihill Gowin or his sone William or demand any service of the said Mihill or his said son William. In witness where of I have caused this to be made & done I hereunto sett my hand & Seale this present 16 Sept 1655 Amy (AB) Barnhouse.” (DWO 3:16; Heinegg)

28. March 1643. Changes in Tax/Tithables. All males of the age of 16 yrs and older and all Negro Females 16 years of age and older shall be taxable. (Hening)

29. September 30, 1643 William Ewens re-certifies his original patent from September 1619. 1,100 acs., James City Co., Page 904. His headrights include Michael a Negro, Katherine his wife, John Grasheare a Negro, Mathew a Negro. Note: This is the same John Grasheare/Gowen/Gaeween as listed in items 15, 24, and 25. Those noted here were not recorded in any of the population census’ of the 1623, 1624, 1625. (Nugent)

30. February 1645. All men between the ages of 16 and 60, and all African men and women shall be tithable. (Hening)

31. May 1645. Emmanuel Driggers indentures his adoptive daughter Jane, at the age of one year old to be bound to Captain Francis Pott to serve him until the age of thirty-one. (Northampton County Records) Note: A slave would not be allowed to indenture his child.

32. Emmanuel Driggers, a slave of Francis Pott on his plantation in Magotha Bay, Northampton County, Virginia. On 27 May 1645, purchased a cow and calf from Pott and recorded the sale in the Northampton County court. (DW 1645-51, 82); Heinegg.
33. It was written, Driggers was a slave. However, with the evidence above regarding Emanuel Driggers’ ability to indenture his own daughter, you must question the 17th century meaning of the word “slave.” To demonstrate my point further, would a slave be allowed to own, buy, and sell livestock at his ease? With respect, the term is not always accurate as to today’s definition and/or perception of slavery. In addition, the following is a list of additional transactions where Driggers demonstrated such lack of restriction.
a. Emmanuel Driggers and his wife Frances were assigned to Stephen Charlton in 1649 to pay Pott’s debt to Charlton. On 30 December 1652 his former masters, Francis Pott and Stephen Charlton, clarified the status of the cattle he and Bashaw Fernando acquired while they were servants (slaves), declaring that “ye said cattle, etc. are ye proper goods of the sd Negroes.” (DW 1651-54, 28, 114); Heinegg.
b. On 16 September 1661 he sold a black heifer to Joan, daughter of Peter George. (DW 1657-66, fol.123; Heinegg).
c. By 1 October 1661 he had married his second wife Elizabeth, with whom he made a deed of jointure in which he gave her a three-year-old mare and its increase (Orders 1664-74, fol.75, p.78; Heinegg).
d. Emmanuel Driggers was called “Manuell Rodriges” in 1660-1663 when he was head of a Northampton County household, taxable on 3 tithes (Orders 1657-64, 102, 176; Heinegg).
e. In 1665 Emmanuel Driggers leased 245 acres for ninety-nine years from his former master, William Kendall, and in 1672 assigned the unexpired part of the lease to John Waterson. (Whitelaw, Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 151,152; Heinegg)

34. June 1650. John Upton renews his patent using Anthony Johnson and Mary Johnson as headrights from his original patent July 7, 1635. (Nugent)

35. July 1651. Anthony Johnson, a free negro, patents 250 acres in Northampton County. (Northampton County Records. Patent Book 2 page 326.)

36. May 24, 1652 when Jane Driggers was eight years old, her adoptive father Emmanuel Driggers paid Captain Francis Pott for her freedom. (Northampton County Records.)

37. March 1655. Anthony Johnson goes to court to retain his servant John Casor. (Northampton County Records.)

38. January 1656. Elizabeth Key, a negro girl sued for her freedom. Her father a white man, her mother a negro. Key won her freedom with the free status of her free European father and the notation of her baptism. (Northumberland County Records.)

39. March 1658. Tax/Tithes Law changes. All male servants and all negro males and females shall be considered tithable. (Hening)

40. 1659. Mary Ewens, widow of William Ewens inherits the Africans – Michael, Katherine, and their 6 children. Rebecca, Frances, Amos, and Susanna, with the youngest child unnamed and residing at the College Land, Surry, County. (Last Will & Testament of William Ewens)

41. December 1662. Condition of the Mother. General assembly declared all children born in this country shall be held in bond or free only according to the Mother’s condition. (Hening)

42. By 1662 there was a sizable community of free Africans paying their own tithes and living in their own homes in Northampton County, Virginia. (Bell)

43. April 1667 Emmanuel Cambew/Cambo/Cambow, an African man patented 50 acres. (Patent Book 6 page 39)

44. September 1667. Legislation for slavery was further insured when a law was enacted stating the status of baptism no longer can alter the person’s bondage or freedom. (Hening)

The first Africans to arrive in the English settlement of Virginia held an ambiguous status. Claimed as bounty during an English/Spanish piracy raid in the Bay of Campeche and sold for victual in a settlement where slavery was not yet legal. These first Africans faced an up-hill battle to claim their freedom which we know through documentation, some attained. In the early years their status wasn’t the prevalent issue. The skills of survival eclipsed all and these Africans knew how to survive. From their homeland, they possessed the knowledge to grow crops and raise livestock. Something most Europeans knew nothing about. From the earliest records more than 10,000 English men and women came to Virginia. In 1623, after the Great Massacre of 1622, only 347 remained. With the knowledge of these Africans, the young English colony of Virginia survived and eventually thrived. With the 400th anniversary of their arrival – all of America should feel indebted to those who stood resolute in the darkness of their fateful journey.
It’s time for the TRUTH to be told.
Unveiled, the Twenty & Odd documents the first Africans in the English settlement of Virginia from 1619 – 1625 and beyond. K. I. Knight 2018 © All rights reserved.

EMMANUEL CAMBOW / CUMBO – One of the “Twenty and Odd”

Emanuel Cambow (Cumbo), “a free African,” was granted 50 acres in James City County, Virginia before 18 April 1667. There are very few Africans who had the ability to manuever through the English judicial system to earn their freedom, much less hold title to their own land.  Emmanuel Cambow/Cumbo was one of them.  Like others who accomplished this feat – he is possibly one of the first “twenty and odd” unnamed in the residence of Gov. George Yeardley.

Descendants of Emanuell CAMBOW (CUMBO)

1st Generation

1. EMANUEL1 CAMBOW (CUMBO) was born abt. 1614 in Angola. He died in the English colony of Virginia.

2nd Generation

2. RICHARD CAMBOW JR. (Emanuel1 CAMBOW (CUMBO), Emanuell1) was born by 1667 in Charles City, Charles, Virginia. He died in Apr 1741 in Charles City, Charles, Virginia. He married Ann DRIGGERS in 1687 in Charles City County, VA.  Ann died in 1740 in Charles City County, VA,

Richard CAMBOW and Ann DRIGGERS had the following children:

i. MARY CAMBOW was born in 1724 in Virginia.

ii. PAUL CAMBOW was born in 1726 in Charles City, Charles, Virginia,

iii. DAVID CAMBOW was born in 1722 in Virginia, United States. He died in Granville County, North Carolina..

iv. RICHARD, Jr. CUMBO was born in 1715 in Virginia, United States. He died in 1800 in VA.

3. v. JOHN CUMBO was born by 1700 in Charles City, Charles, Virginia. He died in 1780 in Halifax, Virginia, United States. He married SUSANNAH in 1727 in Surry, VA. She was born  by 1702 in Surry, VA. She died in 1780 in Halifax, Virginia, USA.

4. vii. GIDEON CAMBOW was born by 1702 in Virginia. He died in Halifax, Halifax, Virginia.

1619 Genealogy – Descendants of the first “Twenty and Odd”

A political storm surrounding the African cargo pirated from the underbelly of the San Juan Bautista by two English corsairs in 1619 lends to Virginia becoming America’s first colony. JOIN THE JOURNEY as 1619 GENEALOGY names the first “twenty and odd” Africans to arrive in the small English settlement of Virginia.

The Genealogy Christmas Gift

The realization of my husband’s unknown ancestry becomes my quest, ‘To find the stories of his Ancestors past’.   He has very little information about who they were or where they came from, so I dig in hard to see what I can find.  It becomes like a hidden treasure map to me, soon finding one then the next with many of the men in his direct paternal line being men of elevated standing during their time.  One is the youngest state attorney ever appointed, another a senator, the next a war hero-if I may, who his opponent could never hold, but one in the same as the Lieutenant who lost several cousins riding with him in Florida’s First Calvary.  Proudly reporting back to my husband, with one find then the next, I easily go back several generations, finding more and more.  The hunt becomes an addiction.  Who or what will I find next?

For Christmas of 2007, we give my father in-law a family tree of his direct paternal lineage going back to the 1600’s, and in return I receive the best gift I could ask for.  Not a gift as a package would be, but a request to find a new story.  My father in-law wants to know about the Minorcan heritage he always heard of through his grandmother’s line, the Senator’s wife, who became the third female to take and pass the Florida bar.

Her name is Nancy L. Langford, born September 22, 1879, Bradford County, Florida.  Her father John Alexander Langford, born Columbia County, Florida November 26, 1837. Her mother, Nancy Alice Roberts, born in 1844.  I continue up the maternal line with Roberts leading me to John J. Roberts her father and Sarah “Sallie” Sweat, her mother, the beginning of a new line to explore, the Sweats.

Buried not far from where we currently live on old family property, we go to the cemetery and find their graves.  The question of the Minorcan heritage again surfaces.  Could Sallie Sweat be of Minorcan descent?

Maybe it was pronounced Sweet?  Sweat could be Sweet I thought.  In genealogy we find there can be many variations in a single generation, depending on who records the entry.  Not far to our east is St. Augustine, where many Minorcans lived in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, when Florida was a Spanish Territory.  Could it be so simple?

As a genealogist, we search for facts that can be supported by records or documents such as birth records, a last will and testament, a census, tax and land records and even the local telegraph.  With a very clear documented history, Sarah “Sallie” Sweat’s father is John Sweat, born c. 1794 Burke, Bulloch County, Georgia (Pioneers of Wiregrass, 1850 Columbia County, Florida Federal Census.) John Sweat married Charlotte Moore, (Pioneers of Wiregrass.;  and then I find them in 1850 Columbia County, Florida (Federal Census).  John Sweat dies in 1868, New River County, which is now known as Bradford County, Florida.  John served in the Indian Wars as a private in Captain Jonathan Knight’s company of Lowndes County Militia, 1840. (Pioneers of Wiregrass)  Is this another clue?   Jonathan Knight is my husband’s fourth generation direct paternal great grandfather.  Soon after arriving in Florida, John Sweat served as a Justice of the Peace in Columbia County, Florida from 1845 to 1847 (source: Pioneers of Wiregrass.)

Further,  I trace back another generation to Nathan (sometimes written Nathaniel) Sweat, R.S., born between c.1753-1760 of Marion District, South Carolina.   Nathan is listed in Captain Robert Lide’s Company of Volunteer Militia who signed a petition to the Council of Safety of South Carolina on 9 October 1775. He was counted as white in 1790, head of a Beaufort District, South Carolina, a household of one white male over 16, one white male under 16, and four white females [SC:11].  Next I find another reference to a Nathan Sweat in a book by Genealogist/Historian Paul Heinegg, called “Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.”

Free African Americans?  But Nathan Sweat, R.S. is listed as white in the census of 1790 Beaufort, SC.  Is this the same Sweat family?

Looking in the Georgia Black Book, I find on page 90 a Nathan Sweat, son of Nathan Sweat (R.S.) being arrested and gives his physical description.
Sweat, Nathan – Cattle Stealing, 7 Jan 1836 Appling Co., Farmer Georgia 39 yrs.,  6’2″
Dark complexion, dark hair, dark eyes. He is pardoned 30 Nov 1837.

John’s father Nathan had at least seven children, and one was named Nathan, Jr.   With my interest now peeked, my search intensifies.  According to the Reverend Alexander Gregg, Rector of St. David’s Church in Cheraw, South Carolina, William was the father of Nathan, James and William Sweat. [Gregg, History of the Old Cheraws, 101, 311, 312].   William Sweat marries Lucy Turbeville/Turbevil, c. 1750, South Carolina. Reverend Gregg’s account also lists William Sweat as a Mulatto/Melungeon.

Until this point, every census has listed  their race as White.  I now realize the Sweat line is not of a Minorcan heritage at all, it is documented to be Melungeon.

Melungeon-(pron.) is a term traditionally applied to one of a number of tri-racial isolate groups.

Tri-racial-(pron.) describes populations thought to be of mixed European, sub Saharan African and Native American Ancestry.

On 23 July 1763 William Sweat is named as executor and son-in-law of John Turbeville who mentions his daughter Lucy Sweat and grandson Nathan Sweat in his Craven County, South Carolina will (which was proved 3 August the same year.) [WB RR: 55].   On the 16th July, 1772, William receives a grant of 150 acres on Three Creeks in Craven County, Beaufort District of South Carolina.  William Sweat dies 23 Jul 1783, in Hunt’s  Bluff, Cheraw District, Chesterfield, SC.   He becomes known as William Sweat of Hunt’s Bluff.

Who is William Sweat of Old Cheraw? His father was also named William Sweat.  He was born in 1690, Surry County, Virginia.  Surry County…….this is a new clue.  Note: Part of James City County, VA became Surry County, VA.

Next a simple google.com search sends me into a tale-spin!

From the Minutes of the Governor’s Council.

17 October 1640: James City Court: “Whereas Robert Sweat hath begotten with child a negro woman servant belonging unto Lieutenant Sheppard, the court hath therefore ordered that the said negro woman shall be whipt at the whipping post and the said Sweat shall tomorrow in the forenoon do public penance for his offence at James City church in the time of divine service according to the laws of England in that case provided.” [Virginia Council and General Court Records 1640-1641, in “Virginia Magazine of History” Vol. II, p. 281] This was a general law against fornication that applied to all members of the colony.   Note that she was a servant and not a slave.

Within six months, she again is brought before the court, but this time by her husband.

March 31, 1641-Suit of John Gowen;

“Whereas it appeareth to the court that John Gowen, being a negro servant
unto William Evans, was permitted by his said master to keep hogs and make
the best benefit thereof to himself provided that the said Evans might have
half the increase which was accordingly rendered unto him by the said negro
and the other half reserved for his own benefit: And whereas the said negro
having a young child of a negro woman belonging to Lt. Robert Sheppard which
he desired should be made a Christian and be taught and exercised in the
church of England, by reason whereof he, the said negro did for his said
child purchase its freedom of Lt. Sheppard with the good liking and consent
of Tho: Gooman’s overseer as by the deposition of the said Sheppard and Ewens
appeareth, the court hath therefore ordered that the child shall be free from
the said Evans or his assigns and to be and remain at the disposing and
education of the said Gowen and the child’s godfather who undertaketh to see
it brought up in the Christian religion as aforesaid.”

My heart sinks.  Who is this woman?  What is her story?  How did she find herself in such a situation?

Subscribe to my blog and continue to read my discovery of her story.

Colonial genealogy

For the last seven years my focus has been Colonial Genealogy and the first English settlement on the shores of James River which the English named Virginia.  Controlled by an English developmental company the Virginia Company of London, four shires were established.  They were James City, Charles City, Henrico and Kikotan (Elizabeth City). For the first fifteen years the Virginia settlement experienced ups and downs but continued to grow even though it was plagued by illness, dysentery, Indian attacks and starvation.  But, in 1622, the great Indian massacre killed a quarter of the population (347 settlers) with the surviving settlers convening in some eight plantations deemed capable of defending themselves.  The rest, some seventy or so plantations were abandoned.  The hardest hit areas were Martin’s Hundred where seventy eight colonist were killed and Bennett’s plantation on the south side of the James River, where some fifty plus colonist perished.  With the conditions of the colony and the inner fighting of the Virginia Company of London, the Crown revokes the companies patent and Virginia becomes an English Colony under the crown of King James I.

By 1634 the four original corporations were split to permit the creation of Warwick River (Warwick), Warrosquyoake (Isle of Wight) and Charles River (York), making a total of seven shires in the vicinity of the James River’s estuary.  Accawmack was added as an eighth shire encompassing the population of the Eastern Shore.  Most of these people lived near riverbanks because travel in most cases was limited to the boats, skiffs or ships in the rivers, the Chesapeake Bay or the Atlantic Ocean.

When beginning your work, you must recognize which counties were formed from or carved from which shire, parish or county, depending on your local.  Most colonial records are scarce due to the fires which  burned in Richmond during the American Civil War, so in the 1950s the Virginia Colonial Records Project was established by the Virginia Historical Society, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the University of Virginia Library, and Library of Virginia to reconstruct the archives of Virginia’s colonial history, making any of these a great place to begin.