Wednesday, April 21, 2010

William "the imigrant" Bernard

Biographical sketch
William Bernard, the emigrant ("that stout Colonel")

"Settled first in Isle of Wight county [VA] and probably continued to make his home there. He was certainly living there in 1639, when the assembly appointed him a tobacco inspector for the district extending from Laune's creek to Casstra creek. The act styles him Mr. William Barnett. Bernard first appears as a member of the council in March, 1642-43 and retained his seat until 1652. The house of burgesses again made him a councillor by successive elections in April, 1652; March, 1654-55; March, 1657-58 and April, 1658. He was also present as a member on March 13, 1659-60. He doubtless remained a councillor until his death, which occurred in or not long before 1662. Took part in the effort to make silk culture a success in Virginia, and in the Reformed Virginia Silk Worm, published in 1652.

John Ferrar Jr., who puts into rhyme the substance of letters lately received by his sister, Virginia Ferrar, says of him: 'Yea, worthy Bernard that stout Colonel informs the lady the work most facile And of rich silken stuffs made shortly there He hopes that he and others shall soon wear.'

"Only two grants of land to Bernard appear in the land books. The first, dated Aug. 10, 1642, was to 'William Bernard, Esq., 1200 acres in Isle of Wight county, at the head of Laune's creek, and extending to the head of Pagan creek, due for his own adventure into the Colony four times, and for the transportation of 20 persons;' and the second to 'Col. Bernard, Esq., 600 acres in Lancaster on Dividing Creek.' Col. Bernard married in 1652 or the year following, Lucy, widow of Maj. Lewis Burwell, of 'Carter's Creek,' Gloucester county, and daughter of Capt. Robert Higginson. Several deeds in York prove this marriage, the earliest of them being from William Bernard, Esq., and his wife, Lucy, conveying to George Reade a tract of land which had been purchased by Capt. Robert Higginson on Jan. 9, 1648. Bernard died in or before 1662, in which year his widow had become the wife of Philip Ludwell."

Source: Tyler, "Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons," pp. 117-18

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