Sunday, May 23, 2010


On April 18, 1644, Opechancanough [Powhatan Emperor and uncle of Pocahontas] staged the second major attack on the English [the first major attack occurred in 1622]. Because of the poor survival rate of Virginia records of the 1640s, we know little about the initial assault on the English or its aftermath. By reconstruction, it seems that the Weyanocks, Nansemonds, Pamunkeys, and Chickahominies were involved; the participation of the Rappahannocks and other chiefdoms on the Northern Neck was questionable... By March 1646 the Powhatans had all but lost the war ... The English therefore decided to seek an "honorable," peace with the Indians, if possible, and resume expanding their settlements and raising tobacco... Hereafter, the fringe of the Powhatan ethnic identity was Anglicized Indians, for after 1646 all the surviving Powhatan groups were inundated by English settlers and left on separate islands of tribal territory... The treaty of October 1646 stated from the outset that Necotowance [successor to Opechancanough] held his dominions as a vassal of the king of England... All English prisoners and "negroes and guns" were to be returned by the Indians, while Indian prisoners were not only to be kept by the English and made into servants but were also to be returned to their masters if they ran back to their people. Any Indian children aged twelve and under were welcome to live among the English. (Helen C. Rountree, "Pocahontas's People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia through Four Centuries," (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990) pp. 84-87)

Powhatan youths who stayed long enough among the English could be expected to form attachments and sexual liaisons with the people they met. The English only recorded cases in which a female employee, Indian or otherwise and not a slave, was impregnated, thus wronging her employer. But from these few cases, we know that both men and women from the Powhatan towns did form liaisons. However, the English partners steadfastly refused to marry their Indian lovers. In fact, only three Powhatan-English marriages appear in all the seventeenth century, one of them being that of Pocahontas and John Rolfe [in 1614; and the other two being a Nansemond woman named Elizabeth and John Bass in 1638, and an Indian servant named Sue and a neighboring Englishman in 1688--Henrico County Orders 1678-1693, p. 277]. In 1691 such marriages became illegal. (Helen C. Rountree, "Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722," (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993) pp. 201-202)

January 25, 1647/8. The court doth order that Formue, a girl bought from the Indians and kept by Capt William Taylor, shall serve the said Capt William Taylor till she comes to the age of 18 years. [This record demonstrates the English practice of keeping Native American servants prior to the approximate year of Hannah's birth--1652.] (York County, Virginia, Deeds, Orders, and Wills)

October 10, 1649. ACT XVII. It is enacted that in case any Indian do dispose of his child to any person, or persons, whatsoever either for education or instruction in Christian religion or for learning of the English tongue or for what cause soever, such person, or persons, to whom such child shall be disposed shall not assign or transfer such Indian child to any other whatsover upon any pretence of right to have or any time of service due from him. And it is further enacted that such Indian child shall be free and at his own disposing at the age of twenty-five years, and this act to be in force from the date hereafter. (Warren M. Billings, "Some Acts Not in Hening's Statutes: The Acts of Assembly, April 1652, November 1652, and July 1653," "The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography," (Richmond: Virginia Historical Society), vol. lxxxiii, p. 64.) [From the earliest days in Colonial Virginia, English settlers saught Native American children to raise and educate--probably often for benevolent reasons; but as Virginia's economy evolved from a system based upon the labor of multi-ethnic indentured servants to a system based upon the labor of non-white slaves, this system became destructive of Native Americans, both individually and collectively.]

October 10, 1649. ACT XVIII. Whereas divers informations are taken notice of by this Assembly of several persons who by their indirect practices have corrupted some of the Indians to steal and convey away some other Indians' children, and others who pretending to have bought or purchased Indians of their parents, or some of their great men having violently or fraudulently forced them away from them, to the great scandal of Christianity and of the English nation, by such their perfidious dealings rendering religion contemptible and the name of Englishmen odious to them, and may be of very dangerous and important consequence to the colony if not timely prevented, it is therefore enacted that no person, or persons, whatsoever shall dare or presume, after the date of this act, to buy any Indian, or Indians vizt., from or of the English, and in case of complaint made that any person hath transgressed this act, the truth thereof being proved, such person shall return such Indian, or Indians, within ten days to the place from whence he was taken. And it is further enacted that whosoever shall inform against any person for breach of this act, and the information being found against the party accused, the offender shall pay unto the informer 500 pounds of tobacco to be recovered within any court of justice within the colony. (Warren M. Billings, "Some Acts Not in Hening's Statutes," p. 64-65.)

December 1, 1652. James Crews testifies that Francis Gyles lived about one year in Virginia before he died in August or September 1651 at Jordans [Charles City County] in the Colony. [This record demonstrates that James Crews was in Charles City County, Virginia, before the approximate year of Hannah's birth--1652.] (Chancery Records-Town Deposition, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Survey Report Number 10005, Virginia State Library)

August 10, 1654. Samuel and Sarah [Hallom] Woodward sell to William Edwards, cooper, all their interest in a third part of 1000 acres purchased of Mr Richard Cox and given unto the said Sarah by will of her deceased father, Mr Robert Hallom, vidzt. that part lying next to the land downwards, which was purchased by the said Edwards of our brother, John Gundry. Signed by Samuel Woodward and Sarah Woodward. Witnessed by Daniel Llewellyn and Margaret Llewellyn. Acknowledged by Daniel Llewellyn for Samuel and Sarah Woodward on May 1, 1665. William Edwards conveys the above to Mr John Beauchamp and Mr James Crews on June 3, 1661. Signed William Edwards. [If Margaret Llewellyn married James Crews, she must have done so after the date of this deed.] [Notice this additional reference to John Beauchamp: "Some Englishmen ... were honorable in their treatment of their charges: in 1660 John Beauchamp got permission from the Assembly to take "his Indian boy" to England, after already getting the approval of the boy's parents." (Rountree, "Pocahontas' People," p. 138)] (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book)

March 6, 1654/5. ACT II. For better securing the peace of English and Indians, be it enacted, that no Indian or Indians coming within our lands or bounds shall be killed unless they, the said Indians, shall be taken in any act or acts of mischief. And be it further enacted that no person or persons shall entertain or receive any Indians without leave first obtained from the county court where such occasion shall be offered, or at leastwise from two commissioners whereof one shall be of the quorum. And that all Indian children by leave of their parents shall be taken as servants for such a term as shall be agreed on by the said parent and master as aforesaid, provided that due respect and care be had that they, the said Indian servants, be educated and brought up in the Christian religion, and the covenants for such service or services to be confirmed before two justices of the peace as aforesaid. (William Walter Hening, "The Statutes at Large, being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia from the First Session of the Legislature in the Year 1619," (Charlottesville: Published for the Jamestown Foundation of the Commonwealth of Virginia by the University Press of Virginia, 1969) vol. i, p. 410)

December 17, 1655. The whole difference between Capt David Peibils and James Crews is referred to the award and final determination of Col Edward Hill, Esq, Capt Henry Perry, Esq, Mr Thomas Drewe, and Mr Anthony Wyatt, or an umpire by them or the major part of them elected, and to be done the 20th day of January next. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book) [James Crews was a merchant who traded between Native Americans, Virginia colonists, and the markets of London. He frequently resorted to litigation to settle disputes with colonists.]

March 10, 1655/6. ACT I. Whereas we have been often put into great dangers by the invasions of our neighboring and bordering Indians, which humanely have been only caused by these two particulars, our extreme pressures on them and their wanting something to hazard and loose beside their lives, therefore this Grand Assembly on mature advice doth make these three ensuing acts, which by the blessing of God may prevent our dangers for the future and be a sensible benefit to the whole country for the present. First, for every eight wolves' heads brought in by the Indians, the King or Great Man (as they call him) shall have a cow delivered him at the charge of the public, this will be a step to civilizing them and to making them Christians, besides it will certainly make the commanding Indians watch over their own men that they do us no injuries, knowing that by their default they may be in danger of losing their estates, therefore be it enacted as aforesaid only with this exception, that Accomack shall pay for no more than what are killed in their own county. Second, if the Indians shall bring in any children as gages of their good and quiet intentions to us and amity with us, then the parents of such children shall choose the persons to whom the care of such children shall be entrusted and the country by us their representatives do engage that we will not use them as slaves, but do their best to bring them up in Christianity, civility, and the knowledge of necessary trades. And on the report of the commissioners of each respective county that those under whose tuition they are do really intend the bettering of the children in these particulars then a salary shall be allowed to such men as shall deserve and require it. What lands the Indians shall be possessed of by order of this or other ensuing Assemblies, such land shall not be alienable by them the Indians to any man de futuro, for this will put us to a continual necessity of allotting them new lands and possessions and they will be always in fear of what they hold not being able to distinguish between our desires to buy or enforcement to have, in case their grants and sales be desired. Therefore, be it enacted that for the future no such alienations or bargains and sales be valid without the assent of the Assembly. This act not to prejudice any Christian who hath land already granted by patent. (Hening, "The Statutes at Large," vol. i, pp. 393-396)

April 21, 1656. In view of differences, Capt David Peibils is ordered to pay James Crews 2640 lbs of tobacco and that said Crews give account to the said Capt Peibils of three hogsheads of tobacco consigned and entrusted into London to be sold for him. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book)

June 3, 1656. At a court at Westover, William Short confesseth judgment to James Crews, merchant, for 704 pounds of good merchantable tobacco and cask, and thirty-one good large beaver skins in season to be paid him or his assigns the 10th day of November next also execution and costs. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book) [An entry in the margin states: Satisfaction acknowledged by Mr Crews in court October 3, 1659.]

June 25, 1656. Capt David Peibils is ordered to pay James Crews 356 lbs of tobacco for 8 bushels of salt now due. Order that all differences be settled between Mr James Crews and Capt David Peibils by December 10. Capt Henry Perry security for Peibils. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book)

June 25, 1656. Capt David Peibils is hereby tolerated and permitted to retain and keep an Indian according to the rules and prescriptions of the law in that case provided. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book)

July 12, 1656. Bond of 20,000 lbs of tobacco to abide my settlement of differences between Peibils and Crews, by Capt Henry Perry and Mr Anthony Wyatt. Signed by David Peibils and James Crews. Witnessed by John White and Patrick Jackson. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book)

October 27, 1656. At a court at Westover, Lieut John Banister is allowed to have an Indian in his service. Also, Capt Daniel Llewellyn, the same. Also, Maj Abraham Wood, two Indians. Also, Capt Robert Wynn, an Indian. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book)

December 1, 1656. Governor Sir William Berkeley ruled against James Crews in a petition brought by James Crews against Capt David Peibils, calling the petition "malicious and scandalous." Although the details of the petition by James Crews is not included in the record, from the governor's ruling it appears that James Crews had charged Peibils with taking something belonging to James Crews, tearing a book, disposing of something belonging to James Crews, and "stabs and blows." The governor ruled that the items in question had belonged to Peibils so Peibils could disposed of them as he wished and the "stabs and blows" had been provoked by James Crews. The governor also ruled that James Crews "ought to be made Example for such foul Base and unworthy Defamations against Capt Peibils--by paying Costs of Suit and a fine to Capt Peibils for two Thousand pounds of Tobacco ..." (Henrico County, Virginia, Records) [A footnote in "The Virginia Historical Magazine" suggests that Berkeley's judgment may have encouraged James Crews to oppose the governor during Bacon's Rebellion.]

October 3, 1658. At a court at Merchant's Hope, James Crews, attorney of Capt Daniel Llewellyn, is ordered to pay Mr Charles Sparrow 420 pounds of tobacco recovered by the former, ordered for non-appearance of Elias Webb, with costs and interest excluded. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book)

September 14, 1661. At a court held at Westover, licenses to keep Indians were revoked. Mr John Drayton and Mr James Crews each is permitted to keep an Indian. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book) [These entries suggest that the government decided to reissue licenses; so, it revoked existing licenses, then renewed the licenses of Drayton and Crews. The sequence begs the questions, "How long had Crews been keeping a Native American before 1661?" and "Was this the woman who gave birth to Hannah about 9 years earlier?"]

October 22, 1663. Thomas Mudgett sells George Archer 125 acres, part of land formerly belonging to Edward Dunston and now in possession of Thomas Webster, being in Henrico County adjacent to land of George Archer upon Appomattox River. Signed Thomas Mudgett. Witnessed by James Crews, Charles Osborne and Daniel Llewellyn. Testator, Howell Price. Recorded 24 Oct. 1663. (Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book)

February 6, 1663/4. Will of Daniel Llewellyn of Chelmsford, Essex, planter. Lands, tenements, hereditaments in Charles County in upper part of James River, in Virginia, to wife Ann for life, then to son, Daniel Llewellyn. Ditto as to goods, but to daughter, Martha Jones, his sister, two seasoned servants. Also to son Daniel Llewellyn best suit, cloak, coat and hat, second best hat with silver hatband, all linen, and my seal skin trunk. To friend Mary Elsing of Chelmsford, spinster, for care, one of best white rugs and my new piece of Dowlas, saving suffient for a winding sheet to bury me. To Mary Deerington of Chelmsford, widow, one of worst white rugs. To daughter Margaret Cruse 40 shilling for ring and to her husband ditto. To son-in-law Robert Hallom ditto. To Mr Christopher Salter, living in Wine Court without Bishopgate, and Ann his wife, 10 shilling each for gloves. Goods sent over this spring and summer to be sold for debts due. Rest to son Daniel. Executors: Thomas Vervell of Roxwell, Essex, gent, James Jauncey of Cateaton Street, London, merchant, Giles Sussex of Thames Street, London, hotpresser, and Mr William Walker of Colchester, Essex, shopkeeper. To be buried in parish church of Chelmsford near the reading desk, and friend Dr John Michelson to preach. Witnesses: Robert Lloyd, Tim Code, Sr, scrivenor. ("Virginia Magazine of History and Biography," vol. xiii, pp. 53, 54)

April 22, 1670. Capt James Crewes, being arrested to the court by the sheriff of Henrico County at the suit of Mr John Pleasants, attorney of Mr James Jauncey and Mr William Beauchamp, executors of Mr John Beauchamp, deceased, ... not appearing and Mr William Fisher being returned security, judgment granted the said Pleasants as attorney aforesaid against the said Fisher for what he shall make appear due unless he cause the appearance of the said Crewes at next court according to act. (H. R. McIlwaine, editor, "Minutes of the Council and General court of Colonial Virginia," (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1979), pp. 214, 215)

September 21, 1671. In the difference between Capt Crewes, plaintiff, and Mr John Pleasants, attorney of Mr James Jauncey, executor of Mr John Beauchamp, deceased, about a former audit and order of Henrico Court, it is ordered by consent of plaintiff and defendant, that Mr Randall, Maj Farrow, Col Thomas Ligon, with addition of Mr James Mynns in the room of Mr George Harris for a final end and determination thereof upon sufficient notice given them audit and state the accounts and all differences between them and their award to be a final end of the said difference. (McIlwaine, p. 265)

March 6, 1674/5. The difference between Joseph Eyre and Margaret, his wife, plaintiffs, and Capt William Bird, Mr James Crewes, Capt Herbert Farrell and Mr Thomas Grindon, defendants, is referred till the third day of the next June general court. (McIlwaine, p. 408)

June 5-25, 1676. Members of the Virginia House of Burgess. Speaker: Thomas Godwin; Clerk: James Minge. Charles City: Edward Hill; Henrico: Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. and James Crewes; James City: Richard Lawrence; Lancaster: John Carter and Thomas Haynes; Nancemond: Thomas Godwin; Lower Norfolk: Arthur Moseley and Richard Church; Northumberland: William Presley and Isaac Allerton; Stafford: Thomas Mathew and George Mason; Surry: Robert Canfield and Francis Mason; Westmoreland: John Washington. (Cynthia Miller Leonard, compiler, "The General Assembly of Virginia: July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978," (Richmond: The Virginia State Library, 1978), p. 41)

July 23, 1676. Will of James Crews of Turkey Island, planter.
To Mary Carter, daughter of Giles Carter, 10,000 lbs of tobacco, a bed & bedding.
To Susan Carter, 10,000 lbs of tobacco, a bed & bedding.
To my man Tom, his freedom, he serving 3 years after my death and him to have one cow, one sow, and as much land as he shall tend for him and his mother during his life.
To Hannah Carter, wife of Giles, my negro maid Kate.
To Daniel Price, my best suit and coat. [Daniel Price was a stepnephew of Margaret Llewellyn. So, if Margaret married James Crews, her relationship to Daniel Price would explain why James Crews named Daniel Price in his will.]
To Giles Carter what he owes me, and he to hold plantation I let him have for life.
If Hannah Carter dies, the negro wench returns to Theodorick Carter, her son.
Loving cousin, Mr Matthew Crews to be sole executor.
Loving friend, Giles Carter, to live on my plantation, command my servants, and make crops and give an account yearly to my executor.
Witnesses: Thomas Forkland, Derby Enroughty. (Henrico County, Virginia, Records) [James Crews was playing a prominent role in Bacon's Rebellion when he wrote his will. He must have known he could pay for his activities with his life. Although he did not state his relationship with the Carters, he provided for them in a manner traditionally reserved for children and grandchildren. This will is one piece of the whole picture, which points to an unconventional father-daughter relationship between James Crews and Hannah.]

January 20, 1676/7. At a Court Marshall held at the house of James Bray, Esq, present, the right honorable Sir William Berkeley, Knt, governor and captain general of Virginia; Col Nathaniel Bacon; Col Phillip Ludwell; Col Thomas Ballard; Col Charles Moryson; LtCol John West; LtCol Edward Ramsey; LtCol Hill; Maj Page. William Drummond, being accused of treason and rebellion against his majesty, which appearing by divers oaths and his own confession, sentence of death therefore past against the said Drummond to be hanged by the neck until he be dead. The same accusation against John Baptista, and sentence past accordingly upon the said Baptista. (Hening, "The Statutes at Large," vol i, p. )

January 24, 1676/7. At a Court Marshall held at Green Spring, present, Sir William Berkeley, Knt, governor and captain general of Virginia; Col Nathaniel Bacon; Col Phillip Ludwell; Col Thomas Ballard; Col Charles Moryson; LtCol John West; LtCol Edward Ramsey; LtCol Hill; Maj Page. James Crews being brought before the court for treason and rebellion against his most sacred majesty, and pleading nothing in his defense, and the court being very sensible that the said Crews was a most notorious actor, aidor, and assistor in the rebellion; therefore the court are unanimously of opinion and do adjudge him guilty of the accusation. Sentence of death therefore past upon him, to return to the prison from whence he came, and from thence (on Friday next [which was January 28, 1676/7]) to be carried to the gallows, there to be hanged by the neck until he be dead. The same accusation against William Cookson, and sentence of death accordingly past upon him. The same accusation against John Digby, and sentence of death accordingly past upon him. The same accusation against William Rookings, and sentence of death accordingly past upon him. The same accusation against William West, and sentence of death accordingly past upon him. The same accusation against John Turner, and sentence of death accordingly past upon him. Henry West being found guilty of treason and rebellion against his majesty; but for that he hath not been so notorious as the rest, the court have thought fit (out of the compassion they have), and do accordingly order, that he be banished out of the country for the space of seven years, either to England, Barbados, Jamaica, or any of the islands, and if he return within the said time limit, then to suffer the rigor of the law for his treason and rebellion. And the court doth adjudge his estate to be forfeited to his majesty, except five pound, which is allowed him to pay his passage. ( )

December 10, 1677. Thomas Forehand and Darby Enroughty depose that the will exhibited in court by Giles Carter is the same of Capt James Crews, deceased, that they were witness to. (Henrico County, Virginia, Wills and Administrations, part 1, p. 1) [Giles Carter's possession and exhibition of the will--traditional responsibilities of the next-of-kin and/or executor--indicates a unique relationship between James Crews and the Carters. This record strengthens the case that Hannah was James Crews' daughter.]

December 21, 1680. Petition to Court that Capt James Crews, late of this county, deceased, left no widow or lawful child. Whereas Mr William Sherwood, attorney of Rowland Place, Esq, attorney of Matthew Crews, Gent, nephew of said James, and son of Francis Crews, one of the brothers of said James, and LtCol Thomas Grendon, as attorney of Sarah Whittingham (alias Crews, and niece of said James Crews and sole daughter of Edward Crews, older brother of James Crews) did at Court at Varina, on December 1, 1680, make suit that a commission of administration might be jointly granted to them. The court appoints said Sherwood and Grendon administration of the estate, and they are to produce an inventory. (Henrico County, Virginia, Records) [The attorney's inclusion of the word "lawful" implies that James Crews left an "unlawful" child--one who was born outside of wedlock.]

February 2, 1680/1. We, Thomas Grendon, attorney of Sarah Whittingham, niece of James Crews, deceased, and William Sherwood, attorney of Matthew Crews, nephew of said Crews, administrators of the estate, appoint William Randolph of Henrico to be their attorney to handle the estate. (Henrico County, Virginia, Records, p. 169)

March 24, 1680/81. Inventory of Capt James Crews, deceased. Value: 19,500 lbs of tobacco [sic--surely his estate was worth more than that, since he left Hannah's two daughters 10,000 lbs of tobacco each]. By John Woodson, Ben Hatcher, Samuel Knibb. (Henrico County, Virginia, Records)

August 24, 1684. William Randolph, of Varina Parish, Henrico County, Gent, from Giles Carter and Hannah x, his wife, of Parish and county aforesaid, 20 pound sterling for 60 acres, which was by the last will and testament of Capt James Crews given unto said Giles and Hannah Carter, being part of ye dividend of land or plantation at Turkey Island of which said Crews died seized, which tract of land or plantation is since purchased by said William Randolph of ye heir and executor of said Crews, deceased, as by conveyance. Recorded April 1, 1685. (Valentine Papers, vol. iii, Randolph Family, p. 1392) [This deed states that James Crews gave the land to Giles and Hannah. This additional information, that James Crews gave the land to Hannah as well as to Giles, considered in the context of an era of limited female property rights, highlights Hannah as the daughter of James Crews.]

August 25, 1684. William Whittingham, of London, Gent, and Sarah, his wife, niece of James Crews, hereafter mentioned, and Matthew Crews, citizen and haberdasher of London, heirs and executors of James Crews, late of Henrico County in Virginia, aforesaid, Gent., for 3 acorns and 15 pound of lawful money of England, convey 500 acres known and commonly called by the name of Turkey Island or Turkey Island plantation in Henrico County, Virginia, and all other messages, lands, tenements, whatsoever of them of the said Whittingham and wife and Matthew Crews, in said county of Henrico, whereof said James Crews died possessed. Recorded in Henrico County, Virginia, April 1, 1685. (Henrico County, Virginia, Records)

June 1, 1692. Capt William Randolph did exhibit in court a conveyance for 500 acres of land lying at Turkey Island in this county of Henrico to himself, his heirs and assigns from William Whittingham, Sarah Whittingham, and Matthew Crews, dated ye 25th of August 1684 and entered in ye records of this county April 1, 1685, which said conveyance was witnessed (amongst others) per Capt John Wynn, and the said John Wynn being now present in court and viewing ye same did on his oath declare the said conveyance to be signed, sealed, and held as their act and deed by ye subscribed William Whittingham, Sarah Whittingham, and Matthew Crews, parties to ye same. (Henrico County, Virginia, Records)

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