Ship Wrecks were Common during 17th CenturyOur ancestors were pretty daring in crossing the seas to come to the American shores and establish colonies. Literally thousands of merchants ship wrecks transporting goods from Europe to America and the West Indies, were lost. Few have been discovered. One of the first supply ships which serviced the Virginia colony, the quot;Pinnace", belonging to the East India Company, was driven aground on the western rocks in the Isle of Sicily while homeward bound from Bantam to London. Some of the passengers were saved and made a second voyage to Java in 1621 and reported as "laid up" there as late as 1623. In August of 1618, the he English vessel, "Golden Wagon", was driven ashore and wrecked near Dover, Kent. Virginia Pioneers provides to its members a comprehensive database listing of the first colonists who came to Virginia (Origins), including information concerning voyages and supply vessels from England, merchant ships, privateers, estates mentioned in 17th century correspondence and Virginia county records. Discoveries include occupations, names of heirs and marriages, origin, travels and trade in the West Indies governing the English Laws and regulations concerning the economic industry in the colony. It mentions the names of both colonists and their European factors and some correspondence with the Virginia Company of London. An excellent place to search for hard-to-find adventurers and ancestors in the early days. Sources are varied and not those usually found by genealogists and researchers.
Nathaniel Bacon: The Patriot RebelDuring the reign of Charles I of England, Robert Beverley of Beverley sold his possessions in that town and immigrated to Virginia his considerable fortune. He purchased extensive tracts of land in Middlesex County where he established his home. The family seat was in Yorkshire, and before leaving England, the Beverley name was conferred to the order of the Royal Oak. In Virginia, Robert would be a loyalist, true to the royal government. Therefore, he was elected clerk of the very respected House of Burgesses, which office he held until 1676, the time of Bacon's Rebellion, which he helped suppress and found favor of the Governor Sir William Berkeley. However, in 1682 the malcontents arose once again, almost to the pitch of rebellion, and this time included Beverley. There had been two sessions in the Assembly engaged in angry and fruitless disputes between Lord Culpepper, Governor Berkeley and the House of Burgesses which resulted in the malcontents of the counties of Gloucester, New Kent and Middlesex riotlessly cut up tobacco plants in the beds, especially the sweet-scented which was produced no where else. Lord Culpepper and Governor Berkeley suppressed this destruction by sending out patrols of horse. The ringleaders were arrested and some of the hanged on charges of treason. The Riot Act was passed, making plant-cutting high treason. The vengeance of the government fell heavily upon Major Robert Beverley, clerk of the House of Burgesses, as a principal instigator. Also, he refused to deliver up copies of the legislative journal to the governor without permission of the Assembly. In May of 1682, he was committed a prisoner to the ship, the Duke of York lying in the Rappahannock river. Ralph Wormeley, Matthew Kemp and Christopher Wormeley were directed to seize the records in the possession of Beverley and to break open doors if necessary. Afterwards, Beverley was transferred to the ship Concord and set under guard. He apparently escaped because he was later found at his home in Middlesex County from which he was transported over to the county of Northampton on the Eastern Shore. Some months later his attorney, William Fitzhugh, applied for a writ of habeas corpus, which was refused. A short time later he was arressted again and remanded to Northampton. During 1683, new charges were brought against him. First, That he had broken open letters addressed to the Office of the Secretary. Second. That he had made up the journal and inserted his Majesty's letter therein, notwithstanding it had been first presented at the time of the prorogation. 3rd. That in 1682 he had refused to deliver copies of the journal to the governor and council, saying "he might not do it without leave of his masters. In May of 1684, Bacon was found guilty of high misdemeanors, however, judgment was respited and the prisoner asked for pardon on his bended knees. Thus, he was released upon giving security for his good behavior in the penalty of 2,000 pounds. He thereupon sued for pardon to the governor to whom he had served loyally. He had not, however, lost the esteem of his countrymen because they re-elected him as clerk of the Assembly in 1685. Hence, this body strongly resisted the power of the governor. When King James II came to power, indignant of its democratical proceedings, ordered the dissolution of the Assembly, attributing the blame to Robert Beverley, the clerk, declaring that he should be prosecuted and future appointments of the office of clerk should be done by the governor. During the spring of 1687, Robert Beverley died, the persecuted victim of an oppressive government.
A distinguished loyalist who invested his fortune in the new Colony, he was the persecuted victim of an oppressive government. Indeed, a patriot Martyr. Source: The History of Virginia by Robert Beverley.
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Rosegill Plantation was built ca 1650 near Urganna, Virginia. This was the home of Ralph Wormeley, an early emigrant of some means. A Huguenot exile who visited Rosegill as early as 1686, recorded that the master's residence comprised at least twenty structures. "When I reached his place," this Frenchman wrote, "I thought I was entering a rather large village, but later on was told that all of it belonged to him." This large complex houses offices which were near the great house and utilized as as counting-rooms, schoolrooms, and sleeping quarters for the sons of the family as well as for a variety of other purposes. Other buildings which supported the agricultural business of the plantation was the kitchen, wash-house, dairy, and smoke-house. Other housekeeping builds were usually set farther away in order to keep the mansion cool in summer and free it of the noise and odors of cooking. The lower floors of the manor house were devoted entirely to social purposes. The halls and chambers were generally panelled in native pine or walnut, and the symmetry of the paneling, the deeply recessed windows, and the excellent proportion of the doors and mantels imparted dignity and beauty to the rooms. The effect was heightened by fine carving, and occasionally the pink or orange tones of mantels of sienna marble lent a pleasing touch of color. In many of the apartments there were fine cornices, modillions, and dentils. Delicately fluted pilasters often flanked windows and doors. Elaborately carved cornice and mantel friezes and frets represented the most skilled craftsmanship of the period.
Source: Journal & Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian 1773-1774: A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion
Sometimes, as at "Carter's Grove," the miniature carving of the friezes was of exquisite beauty. Motifs such as the egg and dart, the Wall of Troy, and the Tudor rose were employed with fine effect. In the halls ornamentation was frequently given freer scope than elsewhere. The wide passageways which extended through the houses were customarily broken midway by arches of fine proportions. The usual focal point of interest in the hallways, however, was the stairs, the sweep of which was often majestic. Carved and hidden newel posts were common, and sometimes the pattern of the posts reappeared in elaborate friezes below the landing. Twist-carved balusters were placed on the steps, and running floral and foliated carving decorated the risers or step-ends of many of the stairs. For these homes the Virginia aristocrats imported furniture, china, plate, and other furnishings from England and France. Their letters to factors in the homeland were filled with descriptions of the articles wanted, and frequently specified that items must be in the latest London fashion. Choice pieces of walnut and mahogany, expensive mirrors, and carpets and hangings of the best quality graced their drawing rooms. Harpsichords, spinets, and other fine instruments stood in many homes, and portraits of members of the family, some by the best artists of the day, hung on their walls. In the dining rooms, fine crystal and plate emblazoned with the family crest gleamed on polished sideboards and tables.
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