The Earliest Arrivals

Wingfield and Burgess Ancestors Who Arrived before 1630

New England

In New England settlers, predominantly Puritans, arrived sporatically from the time of the arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth in November 1620 to 1630 when "Winthrop's Fleet," heralded the beginning of the "Great Migration." On the eve of this influx, the population of all of New England stood at about 500, and there were only 2,000-3,000 English settlers in all of the Americas.

JENNEY and CAREY: 1623
John Jenney (15666)and his wife Sarah (Carey) (15667) arrived in Plymouth aboard the Little James in 1623. They had been living in Leiden. Their decendents were Footes, and so they were Wingfield ancestors through the Douthat line. Their daughter Sarah was probably born in Plymouth, though they had small children with them on the journey. The Master of the ship, writing in September 1623 to his brother, reported that "one goodwife Jennings was brought abed of a son aboard our ship and was very well." Nathaniel Morton, in reporting the arrival of the Little James, noted that one of "the principal passengers that came in her was Mr. John Jenny, who was a godly, though otherwise a plain man, yet singular for publicness of spirit, setting himself to seek and promote the common good of the plantation of New Plimouth; who spent not only his part of this ship (being part owner thereof) in the general concernment of the plantation, but also afterwards was always a leading man in promoting the general interest of this colony. He lived many years in New England, and fell asleep in the Lord, anno 1644." He was listed many times as serving the community, his service usually in leadership capacities, such as service on the Committee to control wages and prices, and that on Assessments. He was routinely called Mister, which designated a gentleman.
Original documents remain to add a more fallible dimension to this flattering portrait. Mr. John Jenney, the miller and brewer, was no better than he should be; in fact he was cited in 1638 "for not grinding corn serviceable, but to great loss & damage, both in not grinding it well, as also causing men to stay long before it can be ground, except his servant be fed … and also for not keeping his stampers going, which is much to the detriment of all" [PCR 1:118]


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Jamestowne, 1667

The initial settlers at Jamestowne in Virginia arrived in May 1607. Disease, starvation and conflict with the local native Americans led to an extraordinary mortality rate in the early years. Only 60 of the original 214 settlers at Jamestown survived the "starving time" winter which followed John Smith's departure in 1609. Some years of peace followed the wedding of Pocahontas, the favored daughter of the Algonquian chief Powhatan, to tobacco entrepreneur John Rolfe, but the Algonquians eventually became disenchanted and, in 1622, attacked the out plantations killing over 300 of the settlers.

The initial group of settlers did not include any of our ancestors. Although Edward Wingfield was the first president of Jamestown, he was soon removed from office and returned to England leaving no decendents in Virginia. But starting immediately after, ancestors arrived, and arrived, and arrived. …

GURGANEY and BRIGHT: 1608, bef. 1619
Edward Gurganey (15202), gentleman, arrived in Jamestown with the First Supply in Jan. 1608. He is listed in "The Jamestown Voyages Under the First Charter, 1606-1609 List of Original Planters," and was co-author of a report on conditions in Jamestowne in 1616. He received a 400 acre land grant in 1617 and was a burgess at the first assembly in Jamestowne on June 30, 1619. I haven't found a record of the arrival of his wife, Ann (Bright) (15203), or their children. However, when he and his wife died in 1619/20 they left land to Thomas Harris (see below), which is taken as evidence that he was married to their daughter.

HARRIS and GURGANEY: 1611, 1621
Thomas Harris (7600) married Adria Gurganey (7601) after his arrival in Virginia, and later married Joane (Osborne ?). He inherited land from his first wife's mother in 1619 upon her death in Virginia, shortly after that of her husband. Thomas came over with Sir Thomas Dale in 1611, and is listed in the various censuses of Virginia settlers made in 1623 and 1624. At that time he lived in Neck of Land, Charles City, Virginia with his wife and 2 infants, a 7 year old relative, Ann Woodlace, and a servant, Elizabeth. Adria is listed in that muster as arriving aboard the Marmaduke in Nov. 1621. There are various theories to explain the discrepency between her arrival in 1621 (after the death of her parents and the birth of her first children). It seems to boil down to whether Adria (Audrey) of 1623 is the same as his earlier wife.
Captain Harris was second in command to Thomas Osborne (see below) in the Indian Wars of 1622. He was a member of the House of Burgesses in 1623, 1637, 1647.

CLAYE and NICHOLS: 1613/14, 1623
Capt. John Claye (6392) (referred to as "The British Grenadier") arrived aboard the Treasurer in March 1613/15. His wife Anne (Nichols) arrived in 1623 aboard the Anne. Tradition says he was in charge of the 50 Musketeers on board Captain Samuel Argall's ship the Treasurer, which was sent to offer protection to the settlers at Jamestown. Captain Claye most probably traveled back and forth to England before finally settling in Virginia. There is sparse evidence, but it seems most likely that he had a son born shortly after his wife's arrival in Virginia also named John Clay; and that he died shortly after receiving a 1200 acre land grant in 1635. A gap in the records after this grant would then reflect the time before his son reached adulthood.

Like Thomas Harris, Capt. Thomas Osborne (14216) was an early and influential member of the first permanent Virginia community. When he arrived in 1619 aboard the Bona Nova he is listed as Lieutenant Thomas Osborne. It is likely he and Thomas Harris were friends, and perhaps even relatives (though there is no solid documentary evidence that Joane, Thomas Harris second wife, was Thomas Osborne's daughter). The are listed in some genealogies as fighting together against the Indians during the conflicts in 1622.
Thomas Osborne Sr. was justice of the peace and member of the House of Burgesses (1625-33) also taking on the added responsibilities of commissioner, or justice. Thomas did not list a wife as a headright and there is no indication he had a wife in America, so she may have died in England. He seems to be the father of Thomas (7108) and Edward Osborne who came to Virginia by 1637.

BRANCH and ADDIE: 1619/20
Christopher Branch (7112) and Mary Addie (7113) arrived aboard the London Merchant. This ship was commissioned by the Virginia Company and carried 200 passengers, mostly single men. It reached Virginia some time during the spring of 1619-20, after a prosperous voyage, during which only one passenger had died. They arrived at Hampton Roads. Passengers from the Port of London on the London Merchant to Virginia included "Branch, Christopher .... (wife) Branch, Mary ... " Mary and Christopher settled in present Henrico Co., in an area called "ye Colledge Land." The Census/muster of Feb. 1623-24 names them and 9 month old son Thomas (3556). Shortly after, when the family relocated to "Kingsland", their plantation on the south side of James almost opposite Attowhattocks in Henrico Co. (now Chesterfield Co.), Thomas was listed as the only Virginia born child in this County. Kingsland grew to 1,380 acres and Christopher lived to be 80 years old.
Christopher was a prosperous tobacco farmer in Henrico County, and held civic positions as "viewer of tobacco", Burgess, and Justice of the Peace. In 1640, when he was serving as Burgess, the House ordered that all the bad tobacco and half the good be burned. This attempt to control the over supply left production for the year at only 1.5 million pounds.

Kent Island

William Claiborne (7402) immigrated to Virginia in 1621 as a surveyor for the colony with Sir Francis Wyatt, the new Governor, and in 1626 he was appointed secretary of state for Virginia and a member of the governor's royal council. He was the younger son of a distinguished Westmoreland family. At first he was a successful tobacco farmer, accumulating, according to some accounts, 45,000 acres, but he soon became interested in the Chesapeake fur trade. Claiborne established a settlement and trading base on Kent Island, even purchasing rights to the land from the Indians, and had been established there 3 years before the arrival of George Calvert, first baron of Baltimore, who had been granted a charter to the island by King Charles I. Claibourne's pursuit of his claim to this land lasted his entire life, leading to his involvement in armed conflicts on more than one occasion. He even earned the nickname "The Evil Genius of Maryland." The issues involved included whether the land was in Virginia or Maryland, and also whether it was controlled by Protestants (Claiborne) or Catholics (Calvert).

CHEW and BOND: 1621, 1623
John Chew (27960) came to Virginia in the ship, "Charitie," in 1620 or 1621 and by 1624 was settled on Hog Island, opposite Jamestowne, with his wife Sarah (Gale Bond) (27961). She followed him to Virginia in the "Seaflower" by this time. He was a merchant and was evidently a man of substance since he owned a house at Jamestown shortly after his arrival, as is shown by a grant in 1624 to "John Chew, merchant", of one rood, nine poles, near his dwelling house in James City. In 1636, he had grants for some 1200 acres "in the County of Charles River," later called York County. He served several terms as a member of House of Burgesses representing first Hog Island, and later York County. In 1651 he executed at deed in York County in preparation for his second marriage, to Mrs. Rachel Constable, so Sarah had died by this time. Two sons, Samuel and Joseph (13980), are mentioned in York Co. records of 1657 and 1659, but these meagre records are the only records of his family during his life. By 1668 records show he was dead and Samuel had moved to Maryland.

ROYALL: 1622
Joseph Royall (6156) arrived aboard the Charitie, age 20. He arrived within months of the great Indian attacks in March, and survived the outbreak of the "burning fever" which killed 500 colonists in 1622. He accumulated a large amount of land by sponsoring the transport of many immigrants, and his plantation eventually grew to 1,100 acres. By August, 1637, he had built a mansion at his plantation on the north side of the James River, called Doghams (just above "Shirley Hundred"). Katherine Banks, who is the ancestress of this line, was about 25 years younger than he, and their marriage didn't occur until about 20 years after Joseph's arrival in Virginia. She, like Thomasine Royall, his first recorded wife, was claimed as a headright by him.

WEAVER and BYGRAVE: by 1623
Samwell Weaver and Elizabeth Bygrave are both listed individually in the list of Living and Dead in Virginia , Feb. 16, 1623 as living at Martin's Hundred. The Muster of 1624 again lists them, reporting that Samwell was 20 years old and had arrived in the Bonny Bess, and that Elizabeth was 12 and had arrived in the Warwick.
Martin's Hundred had been hit particularly hard in the Indian raids of March 22, 1622. The initial official report said that 77 people had been killed, although it later transpired that some women reported killed were instead being held in captivity. The assault led to the temporary abandonment of the settlement. By 1623, 24 men and women were listed living at Martin's Hundred. Because of her young age, and the fact that she is listed separately, we know that Elizabeth was an orphan. It is unclear whether she was an orphan picked up on the streets of London and shipped to Jamestowne as a servant, or whether she arrived with her parents before the raid. Samwell and Elizabeth's son William Weaver (3648) was born about 1628, when Elizabeth would have been only 16.
A land grant is recorded on July 2, 1635 to Samuel Weaver and is recorded in the Land Office Patents No. 1, 1623-1643 (v.1 &2), p. 198 and p. 199 (Reel 1). It was for 650 acres and though the county was not designated, it was "lying easterly upon a creeke called Capt. John Wests Creeke (John West's Plantation is cited in lists of those killed in 1622 massacre). Samuel is recorded as dying in York County, Virginia.

EPPES: 1625
Capt. Frances Eppes and wife Mary [--?--]
Tradition says Francis Epes (12316) came to Virginia in the ship Hopewell, which name he gave to his plantation on the south bank of the James River. Francis was at first an Ensign, then Captain, and later Lieutenant-Colonel of the Militia. He settled in what became Charles City County before 1625. In the same year he was a member of the House of Burgesses, and in Feb. 1631-2, represented in that house "Both Shirleys Hundreds, the Farrars and Chaplayne's." He was commissioner, burgess, and member of the council. Shirley's Hundred Island is now called Eppes Island.
The Eppes family were ancestors to Charles Hudson, who left his land in Goochland (later Albemarle) County, to his daughter Mary, wife of John Wingfield, for her life, after which it descended to his grandson Charles Wingfield. .

© 2005 Footie Lund