Loss of the Dasher in Lynhaven Bay
When the galley Dasher was captured by the British, and all of its officers and crew taken to Provost Jail at Portsmouth, Virginia, Captain Willis Wilson was her unfortunate commander. After his release he made public the "secrets" of that Prison House by the following deposition:
"The deposition of Willis Wilson, being first sworn deposes and sayeth: That about the 23rd July last the deponent was taken a prisoner of war; was conducted to Portsmouth (Virginia) after having been plundered of all his clothing, etc., and there lodged with about 190 other prisoners, in the Provost. This deponent during twenty odd days was a spectator to the most savage cruelty with which the unhappy prisoners were treated by the English. The deponent has every reason to believe there was a premeditated scheme to infect all the prisoners who had not been infected with the smallpox. There were upwards of 100 prisoners who never had the disorder, notwithstanding which negroes, with the infection upon them, were lodged under the same roof of the Provost. Others were sent in to attend upon the prisoners, with the scabs of that disorder upon them. Some of the prisoners soon caught the disorder, others were down with the flux, and some from fevers. From such a complication of disorders 'twas thought expedient to petition General O'Hara who was then commanding officer, for a removal of the sick, or those who were not, as yet, infected with the smallpox. Accordingly a petition was sent by Dr. Smith who shortly returned with a verbal answer, as he said, from the General. He said the General desired him to inform the prisoners that the law of nations was annihilated, that he had nothing then to bind them but bolts and bars, and they were to continue where they were, but that they were free agents to inoculate if they chose. About thirty agreed with the same Smith to inoculate them at a guinea a man; he performed the operation, received his guinea from many, and then left them to shift for themselves, though he had agreed to attend them through the disorder. Many of them, as well as those who took it in the natural way, died. Colonel Gee, with many respectable characters, fell victims to the unrelenting cruelty of O'Hara, who would admit of no discrimination between the officers, privates, negroes, and felons; but promiscuously confined the whole in one house. They also suffered often from want of water, and such as they got was very muddy and unfit to drink." Signed, Willis Wilson who made oath before Samuel Thorogood.
Adventurers on the High Seas
English merchants had to apply for a license to load their ships to go to Virginia. A case in point was a license issued to all of the part owners and investors in a number of vessels, via: Hopeful Luke, the Margaret, the John of Berkshire, the Cretian, the Anthony, the Brothers Adventure, the Henry & David, and the Thomas & Anne. The King took advantage of every opportunity to charge tariffs to those doing business to and from the colonies as well as the colonists themselves, who imported goods for their American homes. It all started quite early, in the early 1600's and despite the hardships suffered by colonists, continued throughout the colonial period. The seamen of that era were true and brave adventurers for their willingness to bear up against hurricanes, storms, rotting of fruits and vegetables, shipwrecks and losses due to delays in weather and other causes, is simply amazing. The investment on both sides of the Atlantic was risky. There were a lot of fires in Jamestown, and early on the colonial governor ordered that only brick houses to be constructed. Also, the colonists paid more for imported bricks, lead window panes, nails, and hewn wood materials. The colonists tore down old buildings and used the nails and plankwood for other purposes, not wasting anything. It is not uncommon to read the inventories in the old Colonial wills which inventory the plankwood count and every detail of colonial life.
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Ships Lost at Sea
For 169 years vessels crossed the Atlantic into the American colonies. The adventure cost numerous lives and property and vessels went down in storms and were caught on sand bars. Some vessels bound for Virginia, for example, found it necessary to unload their cargo in the ports of New England. When General Oglethorpe engaged the first vessel to the Colony of Georgia, the captain refused to go any further south than Port Royal. Hence, its passengers had to travel by foot into Georgia. Only today through the use of sonar equipment are we realizing that thousands of vessels sank in the shipping lanes traveling their routes from Europe and the West Indies to the American ports. An examination of the deed records of Sunbury, Georgia in Liberty County reveals contracts between ship captains and colonists. The content usually specifies that if the goods do not arrive by a date certain, or if the cargo is spoilt, that the captain will not be paid. There is good reason, because the seas were frought with storms, hurricanes and sandbars. As one studies these deeds, it is quite obvious that deliveries were not always made in a timely fashion which prompted the captain to bring an offical complaint. Ultimately, the resort town of Sunbury was destroyed by a hurricane about 1800. A visit to the site is laughable. It is privately owned today and one cannot help but wonder how this remotely situated site between Charleston and Savannah housed more than 400 homes and a thriving economy. Yet the records reflect that it did. The loss of thousands of vessels during the colonial years means that the ships manifest and passenger lists also sank. This means that the collection of Immigration records at the National Archives is but a small percentage of a truer picture and it serves to emphasize the need to examine more closely "all surviving" county records from the earliest times. All of Charleston, South Carolina records are in tact, including affidavits and deeds pertaining to the affairs of the colonists. Although it is difficult to read 17th and 18th century documents, it is quite necessary, if ever we are to get to comprehend the whole picture and trace further back on the ancestors. The growing collection of Pioneer Families affords the genealogist images of actual documents, such as wills, estates, marriages, deeds, etc. A subscription is offered under 8 Genealogy Websites and includes:
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A factor is an agent who transacts business for another. In colonial days there were tobacco and cotton factors. In other words, shipping tobacco to England, the West Indies or elsewhere, required an agent to sell the crops and handle the business transactions. In 1672, one of the factors of George Lee, an English merchant, died in Virginia. At the time he was indebted to his principal for 700 pounds sterling. His property was passed into the hands of his mother who appointed an attorney to take charge of it. The whole estate was converted into tobacco, a crop which he was about to ship to his own consignee in England. The General Court interposed with an order requiring him to transfer the entire quantity to a third person in the mother country until the justice of the claim of Lee onn the property of his deceased agent had been decided. Also, all of his account books went back to England. As was the common practice, widows had plenty of suitors owing to a shortage of females in the Virginia colony. This is how the goods of an estate went into the hands of the second husband who very often showed no scruple in dealing with them as his personal property. Such was the case of Thomas Kingston, the agent of Thomas Cowell who owned a plantation in the colony about 1636. Upon the death of Kingston, his relict became the wife of Thomas Loving who appropriated the credits and merchandise of Cowell. Cowell petitioned that Loving be required to take an inventory of the property in his possession and to give bond in a large sum to hold it without further purloining it.
Sources: Records of General Court, pp. 131, 132; Letter from Governor and Council to Privy Council, British State Papers, Colonial.
Elizabeth City County was created in 1634 as the Elizabeth River Shire, being one of eight shires in the Virginia Colony by the order of the King of England. The county is located in southeastern Virginia and survived from 1634 to 1952. It was subdivided in 1636 and that portion located north of the harbor of Hampton Roads became known as Elizabeth City Shire, afterwards renamed Elizabeth City County. When the Englished arrived in 1607, the area was known as Kikotan after the native Indians. The shire and county were named for Elizabeth of Bohemia, daughter of King James I, sister of Princes Henry and Charles. The county seat is Hampton, established in 1680. In 1952, Elizabeth | City County merged with Hampton and is today the independent city of Hampton. The city also includes the former Town of Phoebus.
Images of Loose Wills 1700 to 1805 (Vols. 1, 2, 3) Images of Loose Wills 1700 to 1805 (Vols. 1, 2, 3) Adams, John Nelson | Allen, John | Allen, Phillip | Allen, William | Allin, Elenor | Armistead, Anthony | Armistead, Booth | Armistead, Catharine Armistead, Edward | Armistead, Elizabeth | Armistead, James Bray | Armistead, John | Armistead, Martha | Armistead, Moseley | Armistead, Robert | Armistead, Robert Sr. | Armistead, Samuel | Armistead, Starkey | Armistead, Wallace | Armistead, Westwood | Armistead, Westwood, Capt. | Armistead, Williams | Armistead, William | Avera, Charles | Avera, Hannah | Badget, William | Bagley, Sarah | | Baines, Henry Baker, James | Baker, John | Baker, Sarah | Ballard, Edward | Ballard, Francis | Ballard, James | Ballard, William | Baner, Richard | Banister, Joseph | Banks, John | Barber, Gray | Barron, Samuel | Bayley, Charles | Bayley, John Wallace | Bayley, Judith | Bayley, Nicholas | Bayley, Sarah | | Bayley, Thomas | Baylis, William | Bedingfield, 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