Friday, May 28, 2010

Gabriel Holland

Descent from Gabriel Holland of Jamestown
Generation No. 1
1. GABRIELL HOLLAND is generally thought to be a son of John Holland and Mary Molyneaux, who were married March 5, 1583, in St. Clement Danes Church, London. John’s father or grandfather is said to have been Thomas Holland, an illegitimate son of Henry Holland, the third Duke of Exeter. With a Richard Holland, likely an elder brother, Gabriell emigrated to Jamestown, Virginia, aboard the ship Supply, in 1621. Richard did not survive long in the New World, but Gabriel was married at least twice and left descendants.

Jamestown genealogy is notoriously difficult. Between bouts of malaria and Indian attacks, the colonists tended not to keep their family bibles up to date. Families were wiped out overnight, and wives had to be replaced with grim frequency. The climate was, and still is, hostile to the preservation of paper records -- the best preserved documents are actually in London, where the colonists seems to have been regarded as so much cattle. The desire of our more immediate ancestors to know their genealogies has prompted a lot of guesswork and speculation that has acquired a patina of authenticity by sheer repetition. I've tried to go back to an original source for each assertion made repeatedly, and for the most part these are elusive.

So, what can we say with confidence?

Most Virginia genealogists assert that the emigrant Gabriell Holland is a son of John Holland and Mary Molyneaux. This may indeed be the case, but in terms of documentation the connection is not proven. The frequent assertion that Gabriel was born in Northumberland is unlikely if his parents are indeed John Holland and Mary Molyneaux, as the couple lived in London throughout their childbearing years. There is slight evidence that this is the John Holland who was christened January 29, 1556, at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. Peter Holland, presumably the first child of this marriage, was christened April 25, 1585, at the Church of St. Martin in The Fields. A Gabriell Holland, presumably also of this marriage, was christened February 15, 1596, at the same church. A Richard Holland was christened August 11, 1588.

The names Richard and Gabriel Holland occur together twice in records of the Virginia Company as emigrants to the Jamestown colony. It must be noted, though, that the paternity of the 10 Holland children in the records of St. Martin's is noted simply as "Hollande," which is not a conclusive identification with John Holland and Mary Molyneaux.

A search of "Records of the Virginia Company Volume III, 1607-1622 Miscellaneous Documents", does yield some information about Gabriell the emigrant. The names Gabriel Holland and Richard Holland appear on the list of "Men now sent for Plantacion in Virginia" dated Sept. 3, 1620 (Page 396) and again on a certificate documenting arrivals at Berkeley Hundred dated January 29, 1620/21 (Page 426). Published transcriptions of these documents, which were collected and preserved by Thomas Jefferson, can be viewed online at and through the Library of Congress Web site (Series 8, Virginia Records 1606-1736.) It is stated in some histories that the ship was the "Supply," which sailed from England, October 5, 1620, but this information is not part of the official documents. In annotations made later to the Sept. 3, 1620, list, both Gabriel and Richard are noted as "dead," which is very likely the case for Richard, who is never heard from again. Gabriell -- if it is the same Gabriell -- is listed among the muster of settlers living at "Colledge Land" (10,000 acres on the northerly side of James river, from the falls down to Henrico) on February 16, 1623. (The original 1623/4 census and the 1624/5 Muster are in the Public Record Office, London, England. They can be viewed online at "Virtual Jamestown, Public Records, Musters 1623/24) Wives, children and servants were not recorded in the first muster, taken to enumerate survivors of the devastating attack on the colony by Powhatan Indians in March 22, 1622. Although I have not yet found other evidence of a Thomas Holland having arrived there, the name Thomas Holland is found twice in a list of the dead published in London in 1622. The first Thomas Holland is among the dead at Capt. Berkeley's plantation (Page 35). The second Thomas Holland, among the dead at Mr. William Bennett's plantation, is identified as "Capt. Whitaker's man" (Page 54) (See Edward Waterhouse, "A Declaration of the State of the Colony and Affaires in Virginia. With a Relation of the Barbarous Massacre in the Time of Peace and League, Treacherously Executed by the Natiue Infidels vpon the English, the 22 of March last. Together With the Names of those that were then Massacred: that their Lawfull Heyres, by this Notice Giuen, may take Order for the Inheriting of their Lands and Estates in Virginia…. " London, England: G. Eld. for Robert Mylbourne, 1622. An online version is available at Early Encounters in North America, a site of the University of Chicago.) A secondary source (Virginia General Assembly. Colonial Records of Virginia, Richmond, Va: Clearfield Company, 1874, version available online at repeats Waterhouse's information. Clearly Richard goes missing in 1622. The name Thomas Holland in Waterhouse's list could be an error for Richard. It may be that a Thomas had arrived in Jamestown by 1622.

On January 24, 1624, "Gabriell Holland and Rebecca" are listed among a census of settlers living on James City Island, with the additional information that "Gabriell Holland came in the John & Francis; Rebecca his wife in the same Shipp." No date of arrival is recorded; the ship had made seven voyages to Virginia by 1623. It is possible that Gabriel returned to England to collect his wife -- or to marry her -- and returned to Jamestown with Rebecca aboard the John & Francis. The couple's possessions are recorded as a house, 100 dried fish, 7 barrels of corn, 2 bushels of dried peas and beans, 6 swine, a coat of mail, and 6 'piece,' -- small firearms for hunting and defense. In that year also Gabriell was a signer of "The Tragical Relation of the General Assembly," in which members of the Virginia Assembly respond to Sir Thomas Smith's attempts to discredit and bring about the dissolution of the Virginia Company of London.

Most genealogies name two wives for Gabriel: Rebecca George and Mary Pink. I have not yet seen documentation for either marriage. A Rebecca Georg was christened October 24, 1591 at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, who may be this woman. If Mary Pink succeeded the Rebecca who arrived on the John & Francis, she did so quickly: Mary Holland, wife of Gabriel Holland, patented land "formerly belonging to one Pinke" on James City island in 1624. Rebecca George, however, is generally thought to be the mother of Gabriell Holland's younger children. If we accept the accuracy of the records, one logical explanation would be that Gabriell married one Rebecca before 1624, Mary Pink by 1624, and thirdly, another Rebecca. It's awkward, but plausible.

According to the Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, “Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons,” Gabriel Holland was a yeoman, and one of the first settlers at Berkeley Hundred in 1620. He was made a burgess in 1623; in the same year he was a signer of "The Tragical Relation of the General Assembly." The encyclopedia continues: “Long resident in Nansemond county, Virginia, the family of Holland has in that time occupied honorable position in that locality. That the family is an old one is proven by the fact that Gabriel and Richard Holland arrived at Berkeley, Virginia, February 8, 1621, on the ship, "Supply," with fifty others, leaving England, October 5, 1620. Gabriel Holland was one of thirty-one signers to the answer of the general assembly in Virginia to the Declaration of the State of the Colony in 1624, and also was one of the signers for the incorporation of Henrico County and the incorporation of college plantations.”

A tentative list of the children of GABRIELL HOLLAND and MARY PINK, all born and baptized at Jamestown, are:

2. i. JOHN HOLLAND, born 1628, died 1710, Suffolk, Va.

ii. JOB HOLLAND, born 1629.

iii. DANIEL HOLLAND, born 1634.

iv. WILLIAM HOLLAND, born 1635.

A tentative list of the children of GABRIELL HOLLAND and REBECCA GEORGE, all born and baptized at Jamestown, are:

v. RICHARD HOLLAND, born 1637.

vi. GEORGE HOLLAND, born about 1638.

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