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Descendants of Samuel Mathews
Generation No. 1
1. SAMUEL1 MATHEWS was born Abt. 1580 in England, and died Aft. 1657 in England. He married (1) FRANCES GREVILL Abt. 1628 in Virginia. She was born Abt. 1590 in England, and died 1635 in Mathews Manor, Virginia. He married (2) SARAH HINTON 1638 in England. She was born 1613 in England, and died Aft. 1657 in England.
Notes for SAMUEL MATHEWS:
CAPTAIN SAMUEL MATHEWS OF VIRGINIA
The history of Captain Samuel Mathews begins with his birth in England about 1580. We know little of his early childhood, but he must have received a well rounded education and raised in a very educated household. His parents are unknown at this time.
Samuel Mathews first appears in Virginia in the late teens of the Seventeenth century. Late in 1619-20 we find him" established at Harrowatox on an excellent site where he had at least two surplus houses. " Weldon, with a small complement of his college tenants, was assigned to be in consortship with Captain Mathewes for security and other purposes." The Colonial Council of Virginia as published by the William and Mary Quarterly list Samuel Mathews as a member in 1621.
The Documentary Evidence:
The records of those areas of Virginia that were the most important in the seventeenth century are, regrettably the most incomplete. The court records of Jamestown and James City County were destroyed in Richmond during the Civil War, as also were those of Warwick County. As Samuel Mathews owned property in both and served on the Council at Jamestown, it will be apparent much key information concerning his life and holdings has been lost. The history of the Mathews' family is tortuous to say the very least, and those historians and genealogists who have written on the subject have often served only to confuse the issue further.
The core of the problem revolves around the long-standing confusion that has existed between Samuel Mathews Sr. and his son Samuel Mathews Jr. and their respective roles in the government of the Colony. Further in this paper, proof will be offered that it was Samuel Mathews Jr. who was the Colonial Governor of Virginia and not Samuel Mathews Sr.
During the summer of 1963 and 1964, a major archaeological dig was undertaken at the Mathews Manor site in Warwick county. The evidence of this dig will be covered later in the text.
Because the presence or absence of Samuel Mathews Sr., on the Mathews Manor site at different times during the second quarter of the seventeenth century has so close a bearing on the interpretation of the archaeological evidence, it is necessary to review all that has been written about both father and son, and to blend into it the scraps of additional data that have come to light in the course of the present
Several sources have stated that Samuel Mathews was living in Virginia before 1618, 1622 and 1624. We know he was established at Harrowatox late in 1619, early 1620. So the dates of 1622 and 1624 are certainly in error. It must be assumed that Samuel was living in Virginia at the time of his appointment to the Royal Commission in 1624 for he was listed in the census of 1623 as residing "at the plantation over against James Cittie." (1) In the previous year a Quarter Court held in London had granted Mathews' two pieces of land of unspecified size, one on the south bank of the James and the other on the north at Blunt Point at the mouth of the Warwick River. (2) It appears, however, that Mathews first resided in the "plantation" or township which grew up in the vicinity of the fortified Jamestown, but that he proposed to establish his own plantation on his patented acres south of the river. However, his claim to that property was disputed, and he apparently relinquished his hold on it prior to December 1625, at which time the minutes of the Council and General Court gave him leave to "take up his divident of lande at Blunt poynt where he is already seated." (3) An earlier reference to Mathews' property at Blunt Point comes from the first book of Virginia land patents which lists "John Bainham, 300 acres, Dec 1, 1624, page 17, Gent., of Kiccoughtan, in Eliz. City Corp., as his first divident. About 3 miles up the main creek between Saxoms Goale and Blunt Point, adj. Capt. Samuel Mathews & Wm. Clayborne." Another entry provides some clarification, as well as adding another question mark. "Zachariah Cripps, of Warwick River, 100 acs. lying at the mouth of sd. Riv., Sly upon Saxons gaole,Nly. towards land of Lt. Gilbert Peppitt, dec'd., Ely. upon the maine river & Wly. upon a Cr. parting same from Colsonns Island."
Although Colsonns' Island has not been identified, there is no doubt that Saxon's gaol was on the southern tip of Mulberry Island, a location still marked on the maps as Goal Point. The Cripps patent concludes by noting that it was the product of head rights derived from the "Trans. of Thomas Dryhurst & Mathew Lyving whoe came in the Neptune 1618 at the charge of Capt. Samuell Mathews & made over to sd. Cripps by Act of Ct., 5 Mar. 1628." In 1642 Samuel Mathews, Sr. re-patented "200 acres at Blount Point", and "3000 acs... Butting upon Warwick River W., somewhat S. Bounded on N. with Pottash quarter Cr., adj. Christopher Boyce." (4)
Pottash Creek is now known as Lucas Creek, and it may be supposed that by 1642 Samuel Mathews Sr., owned land stretching southward from it to the James River. He also owned other lands on the peninsula, including a stretch on the opposite bank of Warwick Creek which, in 1627, was in the tenure of Thomas Howell and Nathaniell Floyd. (5)
All in all, therefore, it would seem that Mathews was the major landowner on Warwick Creek, and, if the Herman map is accurate, he possessed the best anchorage on the James between Kecoughtan and Jamestown.
On November 13th, 1626, the General Court sent one William Ramshaw "down to Mathewes-Manor" to "work at the trade of a blacksmythe" (6) to satisfy a debt, and we are therefore able to identify at least part of Mathews' Warwick River holdings as "Mathews-Manor" and know that he had a blacksmith's shop there. On March 10th, 1633, the Dutch trader David Pietersz de Vries visited Mathews at what has been translated as "Blank Point" and described him as "one of the most distinguished citizens". Returning from Jamestown on the 20th of March, De Vries noted that he stopped again at "Blank Point" and there "bought some swine, which we killed and salted."
Two years later, on September 10th, 1635, De Vries was again in the James and this time had more to say about "Blank Point". (7) "We sailed up the river (James) eight miles," he wrote, "to Blank Point, and found there thirty-six large ships--all of them English ships of twenty, to twenty- four guns--for the purpose of loading with tobacco. Fifteen of the captains were dead, in consequence of their coming too early in the unhealthy season, and not having been before in the country." (8) In 1644 he was back again and added further information describing "Blank Point" as the place "where a captain lives who is one of the council of the country, and holds a court every week. He has three or four persons of his council sitting with him. There all suits are tried, and those who are not satisfied with the judgement which is given, appeal to Jamestown, where a monthly court is held by the Governor, who presides, and all the captains of the country, who are the judges..I passed the night here," he went on," with this captain, whose name was Captain Mathews, and who was the first who began to populate this part of the
I shall later return to De Vries and his commentary, but it is here enough to note that he pictures the mouth of the Warwick River as an anchorage for no fewer than thirty-five ships and Mathews plantation as the seat of a district court. A more and better known description of Mathews' Manor was published in London in 1649 and reads as follows: "Worthy Captain Mathews, an old Planter of above thirty years standing, one of the Counsell, and a most deserving Commonwealthsman, I may not omit to let you know this gentleman's industry. He hath a fine house, and all things answerable to it: he sowes yeerly store of Hemp and Flax, and causes it to be spun; he keeps weavers and hath a Tan-house, causes Leather to be dressed, hath eight Shoemakers employed in their trade, hath forty Negroe servants, brings them up to Trades in his house: He yeerly sowes abundance of Wheath, Barley, &c. The Wheat he selleth at four shillings the bushell, kills store of Beeves, and sells them to victuall the ships when they come thither: hath abundance of Kine, a brave dairy, Swine great store, and Poultry: he married the Daughter of Sir. Tho. Hinton, and in a word, keeps a good house, lives bravely, and a true lover of Virginia: he is worthy of much honour."(10)
The reference to Mathews' political complexion will be reviewed a little later; the important factor at this point is the emphasis on the diversity of his activities and the value of his property. It is conceivable that the" Perfect Description ...&c" was the product of Mathews' own pen, for his is the only plantation described in the pamphlet. Nevertheless, the archaeological evidence irrefutably support the contention that he possessed a "fine house and all things answerable to it." Furthermore, the claim that he victualed ships and had "swine great store, " was, as we have seen, confirmed by De Vries. Nobody, however, has confirmed that Mathews married "the Daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton", although it was established that a Thomas Hinton was living in the colony in the early 1630's, and that he was a member of the Council. It is known, that Thomas Hinton was a member of a dissident group which opposed the autocratic Governor Harvey and that Harvey "sequestered Thomas Hinton because of ill-words spoken." (11) It is uncertain whether this means that Hinton was removed from the Council, goaled, or expelled from the Colony, but it is significant that Hinton thereafter vanished from the Virginia records.
The "daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton" was not Samuel Mathews first wife. He had previously been married to the widow of Cape Merchant, Abraham Peirsey, and he was her third husband. Frances Grevill was one of four women who left Bristol aboard the ship, Supply, in September, 1620 and who first married Captain Nathaniel West, brother to the third Lord Delaware, Governor of Virginia.
West died at some date between April 1623 and February 1623/4, being listed in the 1623 census and absent from that of '24, and in the latter year, Frances was living on Virginia Company land at Elizabeth City with her brother-in-law, Francis West. At some time thereafter, Frances Grevill West married Abraham Peirsey, a man of considerable substance who, in addition to a residence at Jamestown, had bought the 1000 acre "Flowerdew Hundred" on the south bank of the James, from Sir George Yeardley. When Peirsey died in January 1627/8, he apparently "left the best estate ever known in Virginia," (12) thus making Frances Grevill West Peirsey a still young and second time widow. That she was by now somewhat used was amply compensated for in the eyes of any colonist by the value of her legacies. Frances was executrix of Peirsey's will and she was charged "to make saile of all the estate as aforesaid to the profit it can be sould for." (13) This she was in no hurry to do, possibly because she was more concerned with her marriage to Samuel Mathews who apparently hooked her very soon after her former husband's demise. The Peirsey estate was still waiting to be settled when she died in 1633.
It has been suggested, without any proof that Samuel Mathews himself discouraged the settlement as he wished to avoid the sale of the Peirsey lands. Abraham Peirsey had two daughters by his first wife, Elizabeth Draper; Elizabeth was born in 1610 and Mary in 1614, both of whom outlived their stepmother. On May 10th, 1633 the latter became the administrator of her father's will and thus came in conflict with Samuel Mathews. Mary Peirsey was then married to Captain Thomas Hill. Peirsey's elder daughter, Elizabeth was married on about 1628 to Richard Stephens (14) and subsequently (prior to 1638) to Governor Sir John Harvey.
We know that Samuel Mathews Sr. had two children and it is reasonable to deduce that both were the product of his first marriage to Frances Grevill, for the first was christened Samuel and the second Francis. Many people who have written about the Mathews family, have inexplicably hitched the name of Frances Grevill to Mary Hinton, an assumption for which there was not a shred of proof. (15) On the contrary, there is now archaeological evidence which strongly points to the second wife's first name beginning with "S" rather than "F" or "M". But because the significance of this discovery cannot be appreciated without reference to other aspects of Samuel Mathews' life, it is first necessary to review his position in the Colony and particularly his role in the dramatic and stormy events of the 1630's.
Mathews first served as a member of the General Assembly in 1624, and it was in that capacity that he was among those who signed a letter to the Privy Council in London on the "last of February, 1624. (16) He had previously been appointed to a royal commission whose duties were to report on the condition of the colony pending a decision regarding the renewal of the London Company's charter. The commission had been established in October, 1623, with Capt. John Harvey as chairman. Samuel Mathews' signature as a commissioner appears on a document written at Jamestown on March 2, 1623/4, only a few days after Harvey's arrival from England. We may assume, therefore that Mathews was already resident in the colony and that his appointment was first made known to him when Harvey reached Jamestown late in February.
Accompanying Harvey from England was Commissioner John Pory, and it was the latter who read to the General Assembly the Privy Council's order calling for the surrender of the Virginia Company's charter and the, perhaps, temporary transference of the Colony into the hands of the king. No mention was made of its continuing right of self-government which had been granted in 1618, and the Assembly, not surprisingly, was both suspicious and alarmed.
Thus it was that Samuel Mathews, while a commissioner for the king, signed the Assembly's plea to the Privy Council saying: "we humbly entreat your Lordships that we may retaine the libertie of our Generall Assemblie, than which nothing can more conduce to our satisfaction or the publique utilitie." (17) The relationships between the Assembly and the commission were far from cordial and the former made every effort to keep it's deliberations secret from the latter. Just how Mathews conducted himself under these impossible circumstances is not known, but we must suppose that he joined with the other commissioners in preparing the report which John Poiry eventually carried back to England. In it, they declared that the Company's management of the Colony had resulted in the utter failure and that the blame should be laid squarely on the shoulders of its governors in London.
Although King James made an effort to reorganize the Virginia Company rather than destroy it, it made little effort to save itself, and in the summer of 1624 Virginia became a royal colony more or less by default. The President of the Privy Council, Sir John Mandeville, presided over a commission which, in August, 1624, re-appointed Sir Francis Wyatt as governor of the colony and gave him a council of eleven men, among them Samuel Mathews. However, the Commissions given them by the Privy Council made no mention of the role of a representative assembly, and its continued existence therefore rested on no legal authority. (18) John Harvey remained in Virginia until February, 1625/6, apparently still gathering data to be passed on to the Privy Council. In May of that year Governor Wyatt surrendered his office and returned to England, and was replaced by Sir George Yeardley who died in November 1627.
Yeardley was replaced by the now knighted Sir John Harvey --whose bird-dog diligence on behalf of the Privy Council had handsomely paid off. Throughout this time, Samuel Mathews had been busily attending to his own affairs, and to those of the colony as occasion demanded. Before Harvey returned to England, Mathews had demonstrated his leadership by his spirted use of force against the Indians.
In the spring of 1623, the Indians sent envoys to Jamestown to sue for peace. After all of the prisoners which had been taken by the Indians were returned to the men of Jamestown, the Englishmen fired, bringing down about 40 of the Indians including three of their leaders. Another expedition was made against the Indians which was led by Samuel Mathews. Other raids were conducted with William Pierce and Nathaniel West as leaders.
In July, 1627 he had led a contingent of Warwick River men in a campaign to burn their crops and October of the same year he was ordered by Governor Yeardley and the Council to find "volunteers through the whole colony" to attack the Pamunky and fall "upon any other Indians our enimyes." (19) The campaign was apparently successful, and in October 1629 we find Mathews named among those planters whom Governor Harvey called on to provide men to plant corn at Kiskyacke.
Mathews agreed to send four and to carry part of the expense of the project which was "to be borne equally by all that should be the adventurers." (20) It seems that Mathews was well equipped to undertake punitive ventures of all sorts, for as early as January 13, 1626, (following the previous season's poor harvest) he had requested the Court's permission to go up into the Chesapeake Bay " and trade for corne." That permission was duly granted and the Counselors noted that "ye said Capt. Mathews having sufficiently provided himselfe wth a good Company of men & boates, munition armes offensive & defensive to goe a trading into any pt of ye Bay of Chesapeake & that hee shall have Comission fro the Governo for ye said Purposes." (21) Two years later, on March 7, 1628, he was apparently still at it, and the Court again gave Mathews permission to send his "bargue the ffrancis trading in the Bay." (22)
This evidence that Mathews was well supplied with military equipment will be worth remembering in the light of the artifacts found in the excavations, but more important historically is the reference to the barge Francis, for if this is a misspelling of Frances, it is reasonable to deduce that she was named after Mathew's wife, the widowed Frances Peirsey, and therefore that they were married before March 1628/9.
In March 1629/30 the Court commissioned Mathews to build a fort at Point Comfort for which service he was to be granted "sole trade in the bay a year," (23) which monopoly we may assume that he had requested after finding his previous ventures sufficiently profitable.
The actual cost of building the fort was initially born by Mathews, but in 1632/3 the Court ordered that he should be recompensed by 1,003,000 lbs of tobacco and half a bushel of corn for each titheable person. (24) This large payment may have been for the continued maintenance of the fort, as it appears that Mathews was still controlling it in 1634 when a Commission was issued "for Command of ye fort at pt Comfort to ffra. Pott undr Saml Mathews." (25) The resulting close relationship between Francis Pott and Samuel Mathews was to have an important bearing on the events that were to follow. Notice the spelling of Francis as in the previous paragraph.
After the death of Governor Yeardley, Samuel Mathews and the other counselors had elected their own governor in the person of the worthy and respected Francis West, brother of past-governor Lord Delaware. The Council had duly apprised the Privy Council of its choice in a letter written on December 20th, 1627. But the latter did not see fit to confirm West's appointment and instead, on March 26, 1628, appointed Sir John Harvey. However, he was in no hurry to take up his post, and in March, 1629 Francis West returned to England, leaving the Council to elect Dr. John Pott, the colony's physician general, as acting governor. The later was something of a tosspot who was described as a "pittiful Councellor "who"..kept company too much with inferiours, who hung upon him while his good liquor lasted." (26)
Nevertheless, Dr. John Pott (who was the brother of Francis Pott) obtained a niche in history through being the first colonist to build his house in the vicinity of what would later become Williamsburg. Although Pott was a sorry governor, he was the choice of the Council, whereas Sir John Harvey was not, and therefore, the latter would have to earn their affections.
This he made little effort to do and, indeed, one of his first acts was to expel the popular though inefficient Dr. Pott from the Council and to order him to stand trial for various crimes ranging from hog-stealing to pardoning willful murder. Until the court could hear the case against him, Pott was ordered to remain on his plantation, and when he ignored the order, Harvey had him thrown into goal. He was subsequently found guilty on two counts and his estates were confiscated, apparently, as Harvey wrote to the King, to demonstrate that the colonists should acquire "a better respect to the Governor that hitherto they have done." (27) Harvey seemed to believe that he could dominate his Council by alternating doses of force and favor. Thus, somewhat surprisingly, we find him writing to Secretary Dorchester in England lauding the "faithful assistance" of Samuel Mathews terming him one "most readie to set forward all services propounded for his Majesties honor.."(28) and asking that he be granted the "customs of his own tobacco gained by his own industry, for one or two years...(29) But as time went by, Harvey's opinion changed and by December 1634, Mathews had become "the patron of disorder." (30)
The seeds of dissent
The seeds of the troubles which beset Harvey's governorship had been sown before his arrival. On November 30, 1629, Governor Pott, Samuel Mathews, and other Counselors wrote to the Privy Council complaining that about the beginning of October last (1628) "Lord Baltimore arrived in Virginia from his plantation in Newfoundland, with intention, as they are informed, to plant to the southward, but has since seemed willing, with his family, to reside at this place. He, and some of his followers, being of the Romish religion, utterly refused to take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance, tendered to them according to instructions received from King James. As they have been made happy in the freedom of their religion, they implore that as heretofore no Papists may be suffered to settle amonst them." (31)
Mathews and his fellow counselors soon discovered that Sir John Harvey was a close friend of Lord Baltimore and that he would do nothing to discourage the proposed "Papist" settlement. Early in 1632 Lord Baltimore died with his Maryland colony still an embryo, but in June of that year a charter was granted to his son, Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore. On February 27, 1634, two vessels arrived off Point Comfort carrying his Lordship's brother, Leonard, a cargo of settlers, and written instructions from the King that Virginians should give them hospitable treatment.
Few were so inclined and according to Harvey, Mathews "threw his hatt upon the ground, scratching his head, and in a fury stamping, cryed a pox upon Maryland." (32) Councilor William Clayborne took much the same view, and with more reason. In 1631 he had obtained permission from the King to trade for furs along the coast and as part of this endeavor he had established a settlement on Kent Island at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, land which was now being claimed on behalf of Lord Baltimore. Having allegedly been told that Claiborne was inciting the Indians to attack the Maryland settlers, in May of 1634 some of Lord Baltimore's men seized one of Claiborne's trading vessels, and assaulted and killed a number of his Kent Island people. Three of the hundred or so inhabitants of the island subsequently petitioned the King complaining of Lord Baltimore's "violent proceedings" and begged that they be allowed to "peaceably enjoy that island." (33) On October 8th, 1634, the King wrote to Harvey and the Council requiring them "to be assisting the planters in Kentish Island, that they may peaceably enjoy the fruits of their labours" and forbidding "Lord Baltimore or his agents to do them any violence." (34) In the meantime Claiborne had been informed by Lord Baltimore that as Kent Island was part of the Maryland plantation he, Claiborne, was now no longer a resident of Virginia. That Governor Harvey did nothing on his behalf infuriated Claiborne, as must the fact that he had been removed as Secretary of the colony and replaced in December 1634 by Richard Kemp who had been appointed by the King and ordered to Virginia in August.
Kemp and Governor Harvey worked well together and their accord added to the irritation of the Council which found itself being deprived of any role in the government of the colony. Indeed, Harvey had, in open court, reviled the Council telling them "they were to give their attendance as assistants onely to advise with him, which if liked or should pass, otherwise the power lay in himselfe to dispose of all matters as his Majesties substitute." (35) Francis Pott had been removed as commander at Point Comfort for having spoken his mind concerning Harvey's support of the Marylanders, and he and Samuel Mathews emerged as the leaders of the dissident planters.
The issue between the Governor and Samual Mathews was made irreconcilable by an event of 1634. The Governor permitted a Captain Young to seize a skilled servant of one of the planters to complete his labor force for building two shallops. A decade before, the Assembly had enacted into law a provision that "the Governor shall not withdraw the inhabitants from their private labors to any service of his
own or upon any colour whatsover."
We find in the will of Anthony Yonge dated 2-23-1635/36, to "Captain Samuel Matthewes 500lbs of tobacco and to Denby Church 500 Lbs. Is this the Captain Young mentioned above?
If the Governor's violaton of the stature went unchallenged, then their would be no limit of his power to extract any labor he so desired. Captain Mathews others of the Council called on the Governor to explain his action. Captain Mathews, truncheon in hand, tensely waited Sir John's reply.
Though it may have been customary for some of the Jamestown officials to carry cudfgels in the fashion of a marshal's baton, Harvey must have been reminded of the weapon with which he had struck Councillor Stevens and knocked out some of his teeth. The servant had been taken to enable Captain Young to prosecute with speed the King's service. He stated that the King had given him authority to make use of any person he found.
"If things be done in this fashion," Captain Mathews shot back, "it will breed ill blood in Virginia."
Turning aside, he lashed off the heads of some high weeds with a few savage swings of his truncheon. At this point, Harvey became a bit more concilitary.
At about this time, the Council composed a petition to the King asking for a review of their status and bemoaning the autocratic attitude of their governor. It is hardly surprising that Harvey was in no hurry to transmit this document to London, but his failure to do so brought its signers close to revolt.
One night toward the end of April 1635, Francis Pott and other disaffected planters held a well attended meeting at York, in the course of which numerous speakers attacked the Governor and called for action against him. When Harvey heard about it he ordered the ringleaders arrested and clapped in irons in the gaol at Jamestown.
He then called a Council meeting and told the members that he proposed to dispose of the prisoners according to martial law; whereupon the Council violently objected, demanding a proper trial to be heard by the general court. The details of this tempestuous meeting will follow in the words of Samuel Mathews to Sir John Wolstenholme.
See Notes II and III for continuation
Notes for FRANCES GREVILL:
"HONORED SIR: I have made bold present you with divers passages concerning our late governor by the hands of my worthy friend Sir John Zouch. But such was the miserable condition wee lived in that it dayly gives just occasion of new complaints which I doe hereby presume to acquaint you withall, which I beseech you to creditt as they are true in every particular. Sir, you may please to take notice that since Sir John Harvie his deteyning of the Letters to his Majestie the Lords and others concerning a contract, of which Sir John Zouch had onely bare copies, such as the Secretary would give without either his or the clarkes hand.
Notwithstanding he promised me to certefie them under his hand, whereupon Sir John Zouch declared before his departure that it was not safe for him to deale as agent in the countreyes affaires as they had desired him to do, having no warrant for his proceedings. And therefore desired that if the colony would then deale therein for them, they should give him further authority under their hands. To that purpose when a letter was drawn and carried to the Burgesses to subscribe; the consideration of the wrong done by the Governor to the whole colony in detayning the foresaid Letters to his Majesty did exceedingly perplex them, whereby they were made sensible of the miserable condition of the present Governor, wherein the Governor usurped the whole power, in all causes without any respect to the votes of the councell, whereby justice was now done but soe farr as suited with his will to the great losse of Many Mens estates and a generall feare in all. They had heard him in open court revile all the councell and tell them they were to give their attendance as assistants onely to advise with him, which if liked of should pass, otherwise the power lay in himselfe to dispose of all matters as his Majesties substitue. Next that he had reduced the colony to a great straight by complying with the Marylanders soe farr that betweene them and himself all places of trade fore corne were shutt up from them, and no meanes left to relieve their wants without transgressing his commands which was very dangerous for any to attempt.
This want came upon us the increase of above 2000 persons this yeare to the colony as alsoe by an unusuall kind of wevell that last yeare eate our corne, againe they saw a dangerous peace made by him with the Indians against the councells and countreyes advice, that although the Indians had offererd many insolent injuries yet he withheld us from revenging ourselves and had taken of them satisfaction of many Hoggs, of which in one place a Lyst was brought in of above 500; which satisfaction the Interpreter instefies he had received for the Governors owne use.
The inhabitants also understood with indignation that the Marylanders had taken Captaine Clayborne's Pinnasses and men with the goods in them, whereof they had made prize and shared the goods amongst them, which action of theirs Sir John Harvey upheld contrary to his Majestie's express comands in his Royall Letters, and the Letters of the Lords which Letter from his Majestie he did not communicate to the rest of the councell though Captaine Clayborne in his Petition had directed them to the whole Board. But said they were surreptitiousely gotten. Sir, these and infinite number of perticular mens injuries, were the gounds of their greife and the occasion of the Petition and Letter that they exhibited to the councell for some speedy redress of these evills which would otherwise ruine the Colony.
These general grievances made some of the people meete in some numbers and in an unlawfull manner, yet without any manifestation of bad intents, only desires to exhibt their complains, as did appeare upon strict examination, through Captain [Thomas] Purfrey Purifoy had in a Letter accused them in a neare sense to rebellion which since he denyed under his owne hand, being usuall with him to affirm and deny often the same things. The governor having intelligence of this Petition grew inraged, and sent out his warrants to apprehend the complaynants, which some of the councell accordingly executed; upon these appearances he himself onely, constitued a new sheriff at James Citty, a defamed fellow to whom he committed the Keeping of the Prisoners in Irons. Some of them desiring the cause of their comittment, to whom he answered that they should at the gallowes, presently should be executed upon the Prisoners, but it was desired they might have legall tryall; soe growing into extreame coller and passion, after many passings and repassings to and fro, at length sate downe in the chayre and with a frowning countenance bid all the councell sit. After a long pause he drew a paper out of his pockett and reading it to himself said to the councell; I am to propound a question unto you; I require every man, in his Majestie's name, to deliver his opinion in writing under his hand, and no man to advise or councell with the other, but to make a direct answer unto this proposition (which is this):\\
What do you think they deserve that have gone about to persuade the people from their obedience to his Majestie's subsitute; And to this I doe require you to make your present answer and no man to advise or interrupt with other.
And I begin with you Mr. George Menefie; who answered, I am but a young Lawyer and dare not upon the suddain deliver my opinion. The governor required that should be his answer under his hand; Mr William Farrar begann to complaine of that strong comand, the governor cutt of his speech saying in his Majestie's name I comand you not to speake till your turne. Then myselfe replyed, I conceive this a strange kind of proceeding; instantly in his Majesties name he comanded me silence; I said further there was not Presedent for such a comand, whereupon he gave me leave to speake further. But it was by a Tyrant meaning that passage of Richard the third against the Lord Hastings; after which relation the rest of the councell begann to speake and refused that course. Then followed many bitter languages from him, till the sitting ended. The next meeting in a most sterne manner he demanded the reason that wee conceived of the countreye's Petition against him. Mr. Menefee made answer, the chiefest cause was the detayning of the Letters to his Majestie and the Lords. Then he rising in a great rage sayd to Mr. Menefee; and do you say soe? He replied, yes: presently the governor in a fury went and striking him on the shoulder as hard as I can imagine he could said, I arrest you of suspicion of Treason to his Majestie. Then Captain John Utie being neare said, and wee the like to you sir.\\\\\\\
Whereupon I seeing him in a rage, tooke him in my armes and said: Sir, there is no harm intended against you save only to acquant you with the grievances of the Inhabitants and to that end I desire you to sitt downe in youre chayre. And soe I related to him the aforesaid grievances of the colony desiring him that their just complaint might receive some satisfaction which he altogether denied, soe that sitting ended. After wee were parted the Secretary Shewed a letter sent up by Captain Purfrey to the Governor which spake of dangerous times, that to his knowkedge the wayes were layd, which when wee had considered with the things before specified, wee much doubted least the Inhabitants would not be kept in due obedience if the Governor continued as formerly and soe acquainted him therewith. The which opinion of ours he desired under our hands the which being granted him he was requested the sight of his Majestie's Comission, and the same being publiquely read (notwithstanding any former pasages) wee of the Councell tendred the continuance of our assistance provided that he would be pleased to conforme himselfe to his Majesties pleasure expressed by his Comission and Instructions, the which request was in no part satisfied, whereupon being doubtfull of some Tyrannicall proceeding wee requested the Secretary to take charge of the Comission and Instructions untill we had some time to consider a safe course for the satisfying the Inhabitants Petition and the safety of the Governours Person which by reason of Captain Purfreys letter wee conceived to be in some danger; whereupon wee appointed an Assembly of all the late Burgesses whereby they might acquaint us with their grievances as may appeare by theire Petition; wee broke up for that meeting with a resolution to return againe within six dayes, having, according to Sir John Harvey's desire appointed a sufficient gard for the safety of his Person, within three dayes after he departed from James Citty and went into the Mills to the house of one William Brockas, whose wife was generally suspected to have more familiarity with him than befitted a modest woman where he thought himselfe soe secure that he dismissed his guard. Soone after the Councell and Burgesses according to the time prefixed mett at James Citty.
But before wee entered upon any business the Secretary shewed us a Letter which he had received that morning from Sir John Harvey (the true coppie whereof I have here inclosed) And notwithstanding his threats therein the Assembly proceeded according to their former Intentions. The next morning the Secretary shewed us another letter from Sir John Harvey wherein he had required him to redeliver him his Majesties Comission and Instructions charging him upon his alleageance to keepe Secresie therein. But the Councell had before thought of his late practises with the Secretary concering the detayning of the former proceedings, had comitted the charge of the Comission and Instructions to Mr. George Menefie until all differences were setled.
And for the effecting of the same wee proceeded to give a hearing unto the grievances of the Inhabitants which were innumerable, and theretofore it thought fit that their generall grievances only should be presented to the Right Honorable Lords Comissions for Plantations omitting particular complaints which should have beene over tedious untill a fitter opportunity. Sir, wee were once resolved not to proceed to the election of a New Governor but finding his Majesties comands to the contrary that upon the death or absence of any governor to make a new election. Therefore untill we heare of his Majesties further pleasure wee have made choice of Captaine John West an anntient Inhabitant who is a very honest gentlemen of a noble family being brother to the Lord Laward .e., Lord Delaware sometimes governor of Virginia. I beseech God to direct his Majestie in appointing of some worthy religious gentleman, for to take charge of this his colony, and I doubt not by God's assistance and the industry of the people, but Virginia in few yeares will flourish. You may please to take notice that Captaine Clayborne two dayes since repayred unto us for redress against the oppressions of the Marylanders who have slaine three and hurt others of the Inhabitants of the Isle of Kent. Notwithstanding their Knowledge of his Majesties late express Letter to comand freedome of trade, the true coppie whereof I have hereinclosed, I do believe that they would not have comitted such outrages without Sir John Harvey's instigation, however in conformity to his Majesties comand wee have entreated Captaine Utie and Captain Pierce to sayle for Maryland with Instructions and Letters from the Governor and councell desiring them to desist their violent proceedings promising them all fayre correspondence on the behalfe of the Inhabitants of the Isle of Kent untill wee understood his Majesties further pleasure.\
In the meane time we rest in expectation of their answere according to which wee intend to proceed. In the which I beseech God to direct us for the best. I conclude with an assured hope that Sir John Harvey's returne will be acceptable to God not displeasing to his Majestie, and an assured happiness unto this Colony, wherein whilst I live, I shall be ready to doe you all the true offices of a faythfull friend and servant. Signed SAMUEL MATHEWS. From Newport Newes this 25th May, 1635."
It will surprise no one to discover that Sir John Harvey's account of these proceedings were entirely different. In his letter he accused Mathews of being one of the main leaders of the mutiny. The outcome of these meetings, in a capsule, was that Harvey was sent back to England by the Council to account to the Privy Council for what they considered his improper actions.
On the same ship that carried Governor Harvey, sailed two agents of the Council, Mathews' friend Francis Pott, and Thomas Harwood who carried with them a long letter to Sir John Wolstenholme, Commissioner for Virginia and the Caribee Islands. It was the letter detailed above. It is certain that the ship's passengers enjoyed a somewhat tense crossing and they were all delighted when, on July 14th, the port of Plymouth came in sight; but for Pott and Harwood the pleasure was short-lived. Harvey immediately complained to the Mayor of Plymouth that those men had mutinously evicted him from his office and he demanded that they should be arrested--and they were. A trunk containing the letter from Mathews and other related missives was seized and sent to Secretary Windebank with a covering epistle from Harvey, in which he described the Virginia Assembly as "being composed of a rude, igorant, and ill-conditionede people who were more likelye to effect mutinye than good lawes." (36) The unfortunate Pott was taken under guard to London and thrown into the notorious Fleet prison at Blackfriars. Late in the year he twice petitioned to be allowed bail until his case was heard, but in May of 1636 he was still there.
After successfully drawing the fangs of the Virginia viper, Harvey proceeded to London to make sure that its head would be effectually severed. To this end he wrote a lengthy defense of his policies and activities, and listed the unfounded personal grievances which he claimed prompted the Virginia planters to act against him. Samuel Mathews was at the top of it, along with Counselors Utye, Peirce and Clayborne "who are the heads and contrivers of this outrage, who are the same men that both myself and Mr. Kemp have complayned of to your Lordships for their opposition to his Majesties service in severall occasions. And they have contrived to raise this storme uppon mee, hoping thereby to shelter themselves." (37) The Lords Commissioners were in no hurry to hear Sir John Harvey's cause and it was not until December 11th, 1635, close to five months after his arrival at Plymouth, that he was called to testify. No opposing witnesses were summoned, though Pott and Harwood were ready and anxious to describe how their tyrannical Governor had made a mockery of their democratic government, how he had publicly raved against the Council and had even knocked out the teeth of one of its members with a cudgel. Instead, the Privy Council heard only a loyal servant of the King who had been mutinously ejected from his office. There were, of course, the written charges against him, but Harvey was able to field most of them, and was later acquitted.\
Not wishing to miss an opportunity to further strengthen his position in Maryland, Lord Baltimore threw in his Harrington farthing's worth, and on December 22nd, he proposed to the Privy Council that "his Maytie will be pleased to give order that Capt. John West, Samuel Mathews, and William Pearce bee sent for, into England, to answer theyre misdemeanours, they being the prime actors in the late Muteneye in Virginia." Lord Baltimore further requested that the King "give warrant to the Attorney Generall to have a newe Commission for Sir John Harvey as shall be for his Mayties service in Virginia." He also asked that if any further petitions be submitted regarding Maryland that they be "referred to bee examined in the Countrye, in regard noe proofe can heare be made of the truthe." (38) It is uncertain as to how much weight Lord Baltimore's proposal carried, but the fact remained that Sir John Harvey received a new Commission on April 2, 1636, and that at his request (seconded by Lord Baltimore) Messrs. West, Mathews, Utye, Peirce and Minefie were ordered arrested and sent to England to stand trial for treason in the Court of Star Chamber.
Just as Harvey had been slow to take up his original governorship he was again in no hurry to return to Virginia, and he did not sight Point Comfort until January 18, 1637. He was, of course, received with little enthusiasm, but the Council had no alternative but to accept the decision of the King, and Mathews and his friends were duly arrested and shipped to England, (save for Peirce who was already there) in the spring of 1637.
This has been a lengthy and perhaps tedious narrative but it leads us to an archaeological and genealogical important point: Mathews left Virginia in the spring of 1637. He was to be gone for two years, during which time his property fell among thieves, Harvey being the biggest one of all.
It was ruled that in 1622, Samuel had held two cows belonging to John Woodall, and that the increase of the cows to the time of the inquory might number fifty. Accordingly, fifty head of Mathews' cattle were transferred to Woodall. We have no details regarding the degree of freedom allowed Mathews' prior to his departure, nor of the exact provisions that he made for the administration of his estate in his absence, though we do know that he left it "in trust at his coming out." (39) His sons could have been no more that nine and ten years old, and with their mother dead, it is uncertain with whom he could have lodged them.
If Mathews had already remarried he might have left them behind; but if he had not (as I believe was the case and as further proof will be offered) and knew that he was to face a capital charge, it is more reasonable to suppose that he would have taken the boys with him. Be this as it may, his servants, goods, and cattle remained, and were sequestered at Harvey's orders. On March 9th, 1636/7, presumably shortly after Mathews had disappeared over the horizon, Captain Thomas Hill appealed to Governor Harvey on behalf of his wife, Mary, the daughter, and now administrator of Abraham Peirsey, contending that Mathews had prevented Peirsey's will from being proved, and that the Hills should be given their legacy out of Mathews' property. Harvey agreed, and at some unspecified date thereafter, "Mr. Kemp, the secretary, with the said Hill's wife and others entered the petitioner's Mathews' house; broke open the door of severall Chambers, and also of his trunks and Chests, and all his writings, carried away part of his goods and eight of his Negroes and Servants and delivered them to the said Thomas Hill." (40) There are no further details of what was taken or how the property was divided up, though Mathews accused Harvey of "converting part of it to his own use, and disposing the rest to others." (41)\\\\
A Sub-Committee reporting to the Privy Council later agreed that Mathews had been harshly treated by the Governor "and we cannot but clearly discern somewhat of passion in the said proceedings," adding "That the said Governor had often vowed that he would not leave the said Capt. Mathews worth a cow tail before he had done with him, and that if the said Governor stood th' other should fall, and if he swam th' other should sink." (42)
The Governor's treatment of Mathews' property was clearly dictated by malice but is uncertain whether the Hill's claim was the product of something more than greed. Peircey's will required that after the payment of debts and various small legacies the bulk of the estate should be divided as follows: "I bequeath unto my dearelie beloved wife," he ordered, "one- third part and one-twelth part out of my estate aforesaid the other one-third and one-twelth part of my estate remayninge I bequeath it to Elizabeth Peirsey and Mary Peirsey my daughters equally to be divided betwixt them within one year and a half after my decease..."(43). It was Samuel Mathews contention that his wife had faithfully fulfilled her duties, having "administered and having regularly provided her said husband's will, according to the course used there, had paid the debts, legacies and the portions bequeathed to the daughters of the said Peirsey (whereof the said Mary was one)...(44) Unlike the unfortunate Francis Pott no one was waiting to throw Mathews and his friends into gaol as soon as they set foot ashore; indeed, the Privy Council seemed in no hurry at all to bring them to trial.
On May 25th, 1637, it wrote ordering Governor Harvey to "take effectual orders that the servants, goods, and cattle belonging to John West, Sam. Mathews, John Utie, and Will. Peirce, whose petition they enclose, should be quietly left in the hands of those to whom they were entrusted, and any that have been seized, restored, until the charges against the petitioners are heard and determined by the King or the Privy Council." (45) As the summer progressed, the defendants became increasingly irritated at being detained in England without receiving justice either for or against them, and in September, in response to their petitions, Minefie and Peirce were permitted to return to Virginia to attend to their affairs, proving that they stood ready to return again to London for the trial--if and when it materialized.
There is no evidence that Mathews lodged a similar appeal, possibly because he had learned that his estate was still forfeit. It was not until July 15, 1638, that the Sub-committee for Foreign Plantations reported that the proceedings against Mathews "were unwarrantable and ought to be recalled and vacated" and that Governor Harvey should be commanded to comply with the order of 25th May, 1637, "and that the said Captain Mathews' servants, cattle, and goods be entirely restored.."(46) These further directives were duly shipped to Virginia and, after what seems an inordinately long delay, Harvey wrote back on January 18th, 1639 saying that the order had been received and that Mathews' property had been restored. That letter (a duplicate) reached Secretary Windebank on March 3rd, but it is not known whether Mathews was then still in London or whether he had returned to Virginia in the latter part of 1638 on the strength of the Privy Council's commitment to him.
A possible clue has been provided by archaeology in the shape of a silver saucepan lid found on the Mathews' Manor site bearing the London date letter for 1638 and engraved with the initials "M" "S" "S" undoubtedly those of Samuel Mathews and his second wife, the "daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton."
It seems reasonable to conjecture that the sauce pan might have been a wedding gift and if, therefore, Mathews was courting Miss "S" in 1637-38 that would account for his failure to petition the Privy Council for permission to return to Virginia before the trial. As it turned out, there was to be no trial.
For Governor Harvey all did not end as well; his character as exhibited in England in 1636 had not impressed the Privy Council, and after his return to his post doubts about him grew--carefully nurtured, no doubt, by Samuel Mathews who had his own friends at Court. Harvey's reluctance to restore Mathews' property had been a further demonstration of continuously autocratic rule. It was apparent that he was a man who would never learn by experience, and on January 11th, 1639, the Privy Council ordered that he be replaced as governor by Sir Francis Wyatt.
It would have been ironic if Mathews had returned to Virginia aboard the same ship that carried the news, but there is no evidence of this one way or the other. Harvey was apparently held virtual prisoner in Virginia after his dismissal, (possibly at the fort at Point Comfort) and in May, 1640, he wrote Secretary Windebank complaining that his enemies were taking cruel advantage of him and that he was so closely watched that he had "scarce time of privacy to write". (47) He claimed that his estate had been taken from him and that he had been denied a passage home regardless of his many infirmities which were beyond the colony's physicians to cure. He asked, therefore, that he be sent a King's Warrant ordering him to England to give any account of his service and sufferings. It appears that soon afterwards he did, in fact, depart--although there is seemingly no record of a warrant being issued on his behalf.
In August, 1640, the last recorded act of the drama was played out. In response to a petition to the King sent by George Donne from Virginia on Harvey's behalf, the King instructed that "John West, Sam. Mathews, Wil. Peirce, and Geo. Menefie were to be sent to England, in safe custody, to answer an information in the Star Chamber at the King's suit." (48) Although the directive required that they be sent "by the first shipping" there is no evidence that any of them ever went.
The Quiet Years--1640-1650's
During the next nine years the fortunes of Virginia and Samuel Mathews proceeded on a generally prosperous and even keel. The cultured and intelligent Sir William Berkeley became Governor in February, 1642, and he soon proved himself to be both a staunch supporter of the King and a champion of democratic colonial government. He was helped in a large measure by a comparably liberal attitude on the part of the King which seems to have emerged after the Harvey affair. Mathews returned to his seat on the Council apparently having been transformed from a mutineer into a well-beloved servant of King and Colony. However, the question of Mathews' loyalty to the crown has a distinct bearing on his later life in Virginia and it is necessary for us to examine the evidence with some care.
Unfortunately, the British Colonial Office records from 1641 to 1650 are remarkably short of Virginia material, due in some degree to England's preoccupation with the mutiny in her own household. October of 1642 saw the first major engagement of the English Civil War at Edgehill, the beginning of a national torment which would not end in the field until the fall of Oxford in June 1646, and whose wounds would not be healed until 1660.
In Virginia only one small encounter betwixt Roundhead and Royalist seems to have occurred and as luck would have it, it was fought in sight of Mathews' Manor and watched by the Dutch trader, David de Vries, who described it in some detail.
Before reading his account it is important to recall that although the struggle between King and Parliament frequently divided families and friends, the majority of Royal support was centered in the rural West and North, while Parliament drew its strength from the South and East. Thus the ships of Bristol were for the King and those from London were for Parliament. De Vries wrote, "The 13th of the same month, took my leave of the governor, with my thanks, and drifted down the river to Blank Point, where there was a large fly- boat lying, mounting twelve guns, from Brustock, and there came two Londoners sailing down the river, intending to capture this fly-boat from Brustock (Bristol), because the Brustock people adhered to the King, and the Londoners to the Parliament. So there was a sharp engagement with the fly- boat, which sailed into the creek at Blank Point, and the Londoners could not get nearer to it than a couple of musket- shots, because their ships drew too much water. They did what damage they could to each other with cannon shot, and some people were killed. At evening they ceased firing. We went on board of one of the London ships at evening, which did not now come to land, because the governor and all the people of the country were in favour of the King. These two ships were compelled to go to London without tobacco. They went in company with us. I was on board of one of these Londoners the night, and in the morning I went into the creek at Blank Point, and went on board of the fly-boat from Brust, which was damaged some by the two ships, and had lost a man who was a planter of the country, who had come on board to buy some goods. After we had examined her, we went ashore at Blank Point." (49)
De Vries there spent the night with his friend Samuel Mathews. From the foregoing narrative it seems reasonable to assume that the London ship's officers would not go ashore at Blunt Point (or Mathews Manor) as they feared that Mathews would not welcome them and thus it might be deduced that he was a Royalist. But the relationships between the various ships is far from clear. The vessel aboard which De Vries was returning to Europe had been recommended to him by the staunchly Royalist Sir William Berkeley, yet it consorted with the London ships off Blunt Point.
Although De Vries went ashore and stayed with Mathews, the vessel went on down river to Point Comfort (where De Vries rejoined it) and then preceded across the Atlantic in convoy with ten other ships. "The 2nd of May," wrote De Vries, "we obtained sight of England and fourteen English Parliament ships met us. Our eleven prepared to fight them, supposing them to be the King's ships; but on coming up to them, found them to be friends; and all sailed on quietly together". (50) There can be doubt, therefore, that the vessels assembled at Point Comfort were supporters of Parliament and also that De Vries' captain was of the same mind.
See notes III for continuation
Marriage Notes for SAMUEL MATHEWS and FRANCES GREVILL:
Why then, one wonders, did Governor Berkeley recommend him, and why were the Parliament ships lying peacefully off the royalist fort at Point Comfort when the other at Blunt Point had been denied a cargo and had been afraid to land? Fortunately, this seeming paradox does not directly effect our pursuit of Mathews. At this point, it is enough to conclude that he supported his Governor and his King.
The encounter at the mouth of the Warwick River occurred on April 15th, 1644 and may have been the first naval battle fought in Virginia waters, and the only recorded American exchange between King and Parliament. But historically interesting though this may be, Mathews' role in it was no more than that of a spectator--though we should know a deal more about the man if only we knew which side he was hoping would win.
As the war went from bad to disaster, Royalists began to arrive in Virginia from England in the hope of starting afresh or of waiting until the wind of Puritanism had blown itself out. They were cordially received, and at least one, Beauchamp Plantaganet, is known to have been hospitably entertained by Samuel Mathews. Nevertheless, in 1649 (and probably before King Charles' head was off his shoulders) Mathews was being touted in England as "a most deserving Commonwealths-man" and "worthy of much honor". These statements published in the 'PERFECT DESCRIPTION OF VIRGINIA...&c.,(51) have been used to promote the thesis that Mathews had really been a supporter of Parliament throughout the war, and that he was a Puritan to boot. But the majority of the historical evidence, as well as that of archaeology, belies such a conclusion.
There is no doubt that Mathews was a champion of popular government in Virginia; that fact had been amply demonstrated during the investigation following the mutiny. But the records showed that the majority of the Virginia planters agreed with him---and there were petitions to prove it.
But this did not mean that the Virginia leadership supported Parliament; it assuredly did not. Nevertheless, it was essential that Virginia should produce a spokesman who would be acceptable both to the Governor and Council and to the new regime in England. It is possible, therefore, that the "Perfect Description" was a preliminary propaganda step towards promoting Mathews into that role. " There is no denying that there were Puritans in Virginia during the Civil War period, and the first of them had settled just across the James River from Mathews' Manor on the plantation of Edward Bennett on Burwell's Bay. But with the Governor intensely loyal to the King, and therefore to the established Church, it was unlikely that Puritan influence could have been strong.
Nevertheless, there was at least one Councilor with nonconformist views.
In the summer of 1643 Councilor Richard Bennett was one of seventy-one inhabitants of Nansemond County who sent a petition to Boston asking that three ministers be sent down to tend to their souls. Soon after they arrived, however, the General Assembly met and passed a law requiring all clerics to conform to the teachings and ceremonies of the Church of England and ordering that those who did not should be expelled from the colony. Two of the Nansemond ministers quickly departed, but one stayed on and taught as he saw fit, without being molested.
A pamphlet printed in England in 1656 and titled Leah and Rachel, painted a much more vigorously anti-Puritan picture, and it is curious to find Samuel Mathews standing in center stage as villain of the piece: "An there was in Virginia a certaine people Congregated into a church calling themselves Independents, which daily increasing, severall consultations were had by the State of that colony, how to suppress and extinguish them, which was duely put in executions; as first their pastor was banished; next their other teachers; then many by information clapt up in prison, then generallly disarmed (which was very harsh in such a country where the heathen live round about them) by one Colonel Samuel Matthews, then a Counsellor of Virginia, so that they knew not in those straights how to dispose of themselves." (52)
Regardless of the story's doubtful accuracy, the fact that Mathews was named must surely eliminate him from being included among the Colony's nonconformists.
The pamphlet is actually supported by no solid evidence; on the contrary, Virginia, regardless of its generally Royalist sympathies, was a very liberal society, and having suffered under the hand of Harvey, it was not at all anxious to oppress others. Nevertheless, Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts took an exceedingly dim view of the expulsion of his heavenly messengers and when the second Indian Massacre erupted in April 1644, he was convinced that Opechancanough, the Indian Leader, was the instrument of divine providence. The massacre did not reach to Jamestown, or to Mathews' Manor, and so is scarcely relevant. The massacre dispensed with some five hundred settlers.
There is no evidence that Mathews took any part in the campaign against the Indians, but considering his previous experience it is reasonable to suppose that he did.
Through the years immediately following the end of the English civil war Virginia was left more or less to herself; Parliament was too busy with its own problems to worry about the colonies, and Governor Berkeley continued to preside as the instrument of the King--even if he happened to be an uncrowned successor without a throne. On June 3rd, 1650, Charles II, then at Breda, issued a commission appointing Berkeley as his governor and naming sixteen councilors, among them John West, Samuel Mathews, William Clayborne, Richard Bennett and Thomas Stegg. They were instructed to build castles and forts of lime and stone "for the better suppressing of such our subjects as shall at any time rebel against us or our Royal Governor there, and for the better resisting of foreign force which shall at any time invade those territories." (53) This was all very well, but Virginia had a tobacco crop to trade, and without a market her economy could not survive. Parliament eventually came to the same conclusion and in September, 1651, it passed an act barring trade with Virginia, Barbados, Bermuda and Antigua and charging that "divers acts of rebellion have been committed by many persons inhabiting Virginia, whereby they have most traitorously usurped a power of Government and set themselves in opposition to this Commonwealth." (54) Four commissioners were thereupon appointed to bring the recalcitrant colony to heel; they were Richard Bennett, William Claiborne, Thomas Stegg and, as Leader, Captain Robert Denis. Governor Berkeley's first inclination was to defend the colony to the death and he hastily assembled his militia at Jamestown preparatory to doing battle with the Commonwealth fleet if it should try to set its troops ashore. But Parliament's demands were not nearly as restrictive as might have been expected. Henceforth the colony accepted the terms and it would be governed by the General Assembly under the control of the burgesses rather than of the governor and council.
The latter's powers were revoked, but their properties were to be respected and they would not be asked to renounce their private support of the King for a year, and those who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth had the same time in which to pack up and quit the Colony.
It seems that Samuel Mathews played no part in the transference of power from King to Commonwealth, a fact which suggests that he was not at that time considered in the forefront of "Commonwealths-men". However, when Bennett and Claiborne were appointed Governor and Secretary, Mathews was one of those who were returned to the Council.
Commissioners Bennett and Claiborne had assured Governor Berkeley and his colleagues that the new regime would respect Virginia's "ancient bounds" as stated in their instructions, and this was taken to mean that the Colony's claims against the Maryland "Papists" would at last be honored.
To this end Samuel Mathews was sent to England, presumably in the fall of 1652, for on January 10th, 1653, the Commonwealth Committee for Foreign Affairs noted in its minutes that "The business of Virginia [is] to be considered on the 19th, when Col. Mathews is to attend."
From the foregoing record we know that Samuel Mathews had left his plantation by late 1652 for a sojourn in England which might extend for months or even years. It is not known whether his wife, the elusive "S" was still alive, but it is certain that his sons Samuel and Francis remained behind, the former then being twenty-four or twenty-five years old. Unfortunately, the disagreement between Virginia and Lord Baltimore was no more readily solved than it had been before, and the need to plead Virginia's case extended ever onward. Meanwhile Mathews endeavored to make the best of a bad job and by discreet lobbying tried to put himself in line for political advancement. On November 26, 1653, the Irish and Scottish Committee of Parliament conferred with Mathews and subsequently reported to the Council of State that he would be "a fit person to be Governor of Virginia." But that was the end of it, for as far as can be determined, Samuel Mathews never returned to Virginia as Governor or anything else. He was last heard of in London on November 30th, 1657 when he signed articles of agreement with Lord Baltimore establishing the Virginia-Maryland boundary line.
While evidently concurring in the Committee's report as to Mathews' general fitness, the Council of State of England deemed it wise to retain Mathews there to finish with the troublesome Maryland affair. Accordingly, the President of the English Council, Henry Lawrence, wrote to the Governor and "Generall Assembly of the English Plantation of Virginia," from Whitehall, January 4, 1653/5:
"Gentlemen. Colonell Mathews the Agent for Virginia, hath diligently attended the dispatch of some businesses referring to the peace and setlement of that Colony, The perfecting whereof hath beene obstructed by the many publique affaires here depending...address hath been made unto his Highness by Colonell Mathews' petition, for the determining of those matters, which have so long depended. Whereupon his Highness hath been pleased, to put into an effectuall way the speedy resolution of those questions, betwixt the Lord Baltimore and the Inhabitants of Virginia, concerning the bounds by them respectively claymed, And hath also declared his intentions, with the most convenient speed to settle the government, and other Concernmts of that plantation... In the Interim his Highness hath thought fit to signifie to you by his Councell (as he hereby doth) That the safety, protection and welfare, of that plantation (as well as the rest) is under his serious thoughts, and Care. And to the intent it may not suffer any Inconvenience by the unfixtdnes of the governmt His Hightnes hath thought fitt to Continue Colonell Bennet (of whom his Highnes hath received a good Character) in execution of the place of Governor, till his Highness shall further signifie his pleasure in that behalfe, which you may in all probability expect by the next ships.."
In 1653, Mathews was retained as Agent to finish up what he had started by his petition for a settlement of the boundary question. As we have seen, it took four full years to bring that matter to a "speedy" conclusion. Such evidences as exist, indicate that Colonel Mathews, Senior did not return to Virginia during those four years.
The Agent's salary was provided by a special levy upon several counties. Mathews also received a bonus of 200 pounds as Agent, for the settlement of the case of the Leopoldus, a Dutch ship, seized for carrying contraband goods. This by act of the 1653 session of the Assembly.
At the November, 1654 Assembly, it was ordered that the "Salarye appointed for agency, is by the severall Sheriffs & Collectiors respectively to be paid to Leutt Collo Samuel Mathewes or his assignee". (55) In other words, Samuel, Senior was continuing in England as Agent, and his salary was sent him though his son. Samuel, Junior is not called "Colonel Mathews" until the Assembly of December, 1656.
In December 1656 the Virginia Assembly had sent its then Governor, Edward Digges, to assist with the English negotiations and to press for an increase in the price of tobacco. He was to continue as Governor until he actually left the Colony; but in the meantime "Coll. Samuel Mathewes, Governor elect to take place next him in the Council." (56) Digges did not leave until March 1657, and on April 27th the new Governor called his first Council meeting. Thus we have Colonel Samuel Mathews in Virginia and in England at the same time. This disturbing state of affairs continued through the year, and two days after Col. Samuel Mathews signed the Maryland agreement in London, Governor Mathews issued a land patent in Virginia. This evidence will be carefully considered in a later section.
In 1963, the site of the former Mathews-Manor was obtained by Mr. L. B. Weber of Newport News, Virginia. He planned a major housing development for the entire plantation. Fortunately he knew something of the background and historical value of the property. A handful of pottery scraps picked up by Mr. Weber in one of the plowed fields led to the discovery of the foundations of what we assume to have been the manor house, a substantial building with a central chimney that initially consisted of two large rooms on the first floor with two more above.
It had been enlarged by the addition of an east wing, a second porch, and most important, a stair tower with a buttery beneath it. Quantities of burned wall plaster, charred wood, and numerous clay tiles, which apparently had slid from the roof in series, were retrieved from the semi- basement buttery. The undersides of some of the tiles were blackened by fire, pieces of window glass had buckled and blistered, and some of the plaster was heavily charred; the house apparently had been severely damaged by a fire that had burned upward through the roof, but the absence of scorching of the ground inside or outside the building indicated that the blaze had been contained within the walls. Nevertheless it had been severe enough to cause the house to be abandoned and the remains salvaged for use in the construction of another building nearby. The evidence of the pottery and glass found in and around the supposed manor house indicated that it had ceased to be occupied about 1650, perhaps shortly before or after the elder Mathews left for England.
Although the original house closely resembled an English Elizabethan nogged farmhouse and is of considerable architectural significance, the site's greatest importance derives from the large quantities of domestic and military artifacts found in the pits and ditches during the archaeological excavations. Because Mathews had been described as a most deserving Commonwealthsman it was first assumed that he was a Puritan, and we therefore expected to find evidence of a Puritan traditional frugally in his possessions. But a more thorough study of the documentary record made clear that Mathews'' support of Cromwell's Commonwealth resulted more from a combination of genuinely democratic views and sheer expediency than from religious conviction.
He had previously been an equally good King's man, and the excavated relics suggest that he appreciated the good things of life. Fragments of dozens of Mathews' square glass wine bottles were found, for example; other artifacts revealed that he owned jewelry set with Persian lapis lazule, spurs and swords with hilts washed with gold and encrusted with silver, books bound with ornamental brass clasps, and a silver saucepan whose lid was engraved with the initials of Mathews and his second wife," M/"S" "S", and stamped with the London date letter for 1638.
This last find was of considerable importance since it identified the "daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton" mentioned earlier as S. Hinton rather than Frances Hinton, as genealogists had mistakenly supposed, having confused her with Mathews' first wife, Frances Grevill.
It is possible that the saucepan was a wedding present and if so, it would follow that Samuel Mathews married Sarah Hinton in 1638 in England. This would explain the absence of any record of the marriage in Virginia.
Be that as it may, the discovery of the lid and initials confirmed that this was the site of the Mathews' "fine house" and not one belonging to a tenant or employee.
The majority of the objects found at Mathews Manor have masculine associations, but a few may have belonged to Mrs. Mathews, among them scissors, brass thimbles, pins, and an ornamental brass lock with its plate in the shape of a clock face, which probably came from a jewel casket. She may also have taken charge of the physic shelf where medicinal supplies were stored in Southwark delftware drug pots and jars decorated in blue, yellow, green, orange, and purple, and weighed out on a apothecary's weights discovered in the buttery sump and in one of the rubbish pits.
The kitchen and hall are believed to have been combined in the first-floor room on the north side during the building's first phase, though the latter may have been shifted into the new west wing when that section was added. Kitchen equipment was well represented among the excavated relics, and included Virginia earthenware cream pans, jar, pipkins, and dishes, in addition to iron cooking pots, an iron skillet stand, a long- handled frying pan, and a large brass skimmer with an iron handle.
The food was served on dishes of Dutch and Portuguese delftware and North Devon slip wares and in bowls or porringers of Wanfried slip ware, and kept hot on a chafing dish from Flanders. Among the cutlery found were knives with inlaid shoulders and engraved bone handles, and there were spoons of silver and latten. Drink was served in an occasional "Venice" glass, but more often in white delftware mugs, or black-glazed, multi-handled tygs, and decanted from pitchers of Metropolitan slip ware or from the ubiquitous bellarmines.
The food itself, as evidenced by the bones found in rubbish pits, ranged from ox, deer, pig, and lamb, to chicken, goose, spadefish, and large drumfish.
The well was not found, but the icehouse was located, with its triangular iron chopper still at the bottom of the pit.
It appeared to have been filled in about the time the manor house burned; the upper levels of the pit were filled with brickbats and domestic trash, including a virtually complete iron mill, probably for grinding grain into flour. There is no doubt about the mid-seventeenth-century date of this excavated example.
One of the most impressive single items was a brass watering can found in a large ditch west of the house. No comparable example is known to survive, though similarly constructed brass water pitchers do appear in Flemish paintings of the mid-seventeenth century.
Such an object would have been only used for watering a flower garden; its discovery thus adds another detail to our picture of daily life on the Mathews plantation.
Other garden tools found include spades and narrow hoes, the latter perhaps used to trim the borders of flower beds and the edge of walks.
Numerous wood working tools were also discovered: axes of various types, a frow, plane irons, chisels, spoon bits, punches, pincers, a file, and a small hammer with a decorated head.
Nails and spikes of all sizes were plentiful, as were iron washers, of which some were prefabricated in strips and pre- punched to be chopped off as needed. Other hardware ran an impressive gamut from trunk handles, hasps, padlocks, and rim locks, to zoomorphic and butterfly furniture hinges, pieces of a bell-metal bell, and pipes from domestic and blacksmith's bellows.
In 1626 the General Court sent a debtor named William Ramshaw "down to Mathewes-Manor to work at the trade of blacksmythe"; it seems that the shop continued to operate until the mid- century and that much of its work was of a military nature. Although the shop's exact site has not been found during the excavations, large quantities of its waste were found as well as the three-foot tuyere pipe that channeled the air from the bellows nozzle into the fire. Mixed with slag and ashes in the filling of a ditch were found cannon balls, the firing mechanisms from snaphances, wheel locks and matchlocks, breech and barrel sections from muskets, and the complete (but bent) barrel from a sporting rifle. Swords were represented by five basket guards and one pommel, and armor by trimmings from the neck of a breastplate, and the left cheek section, or beaver, from a closed helmet-the first of its kind to be found in America.
Of particular interest, and again without known parallel, is a Virginia Colony branding iron, whose VC initials may have been seared into musket stocks.
The presence of these military items can be explained by the fact that Samuel Mathews was the military commander of his section of the Colony, and led a combined Virginia force against the Pamunkey Indians in 1627. He was also commander of the fort at Point Comfort.
The catalogue of the artifacts found at Mathews Manor is still being complied, and much of the material has yet to be cleaned, identified, and studied. Until that work is finished the collection will remain in the safe keeping of the Colonial Williamsburg's department of archeology, whose staff undertook the excavation.
The collection will eventually find a permanent home in the museum at the Carters Grove Plantation. The site of the Manor house has been preserved and will remain as a public garden in the Denbeigh Plantation near Newport News, Virginia. NOTE: The information concerning the archeology work was furnished by Mr. Ivor Noel Hume, Head of the department at Colonial Williamsburg.
One of the most interesting items that is not mentioned in the above list of articles, was pipes. There were literally hundreds of them and all of the same type. It was common for you to give your guest a smoke after a meal or visit and the pipe that was used was then discarded, much as we discard a cigarette today.
The collection is really worth a visit and when displayed will make Samuel Mathews place in history demand a more deserving place than he has been given to date.
See notes I and II
More About SAMUEL MATHEWS and FRANCES GREVILL:
Marriage: Abt. 1628, Virginia
More About SAMUEL MATHEWS and SARAH HINTON:
Marriage: 1638, England
Children of SAMUEL MATHEWS and FRANCES GREVILL are:
2. i. SAMUEL2 MATHEWS, b. Abt. 1630, Mathews Manor, Virginia; d. Abt. 1659, Virginia.
3. ii. FRANCIS MATHEWS, b. Abt. 1632; d. February 16, 1673/74, York County, Virginia.
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