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Wingfield, Edward Maria, first president of the council of Virginia, of "Stoneley Priorye" in Huntingdonshire, was born about 1560, of a very distinguished family and was a soldier in Ireland and the Netherlands. He was active in procuring the charter of 1606, and his name is one of the first of the incorporators, which appear in that paper. He was appointed by the Council in England one of the local Council in Virginia and on May 14, 1607, he was elected at Jamestown by this body their first president. His experience was unfortunate. The colony was at once assailed by the Indians, and the president was among the foremost in repelling the attacks, "having an arrow shot clean through his beard." Then followed a pestilential sickness which prostrated everybody in the fort. Added to this the constitution of the Council under the charter offered a premium to wranglings and dissensions, for a mere majority controlled everything and could remove the president or any of the members. Wingfield was blamed by the others for what could not be prevented, by any president, and the most trivial objections were made against him to justify his deposition from the presidency. It was charged that he was a Catholic, because he did not bring a Bible with him, that he monopolized the liquors and other provisions, etc., all of which Wingfield vigorously denies in his statement, and shows that he made many sacrifices out of his own private stores for the good of the colony. He was, nevertheless, removed both from the Council and his office as president, September 10, 1607. He was kept a prisoner on shipboard till Newport's arrival in January, 1608, and April 10, 1608, he returned with Newport to England. He afterwards wrote an account of his stay in Virginia, which was discovered and published not many years ago, and it gives us a very different idea of the man from that so long current on the authority of John Smith, who was his bitter personal enemy. He never returned to Virginia.
Ratcliffe, John, alias Sicklemore, second president of the local council at Jamestown, had seen service as a seaman before coming to Virginia. He was also, it is believed, a soldier in the Low Countries, and is supposed to have been the Captain Ratcliffe who was taken prisoner with Sir Henry Cary and Captain Pigott at Mulheim in October, 1605. He commanded the Discovery, the smallest of the three ships that brought the emigrants to Jamestown. When the names of the councillors were read, April 26, 1607, Ratcliffe's name was one of them. On the deposition of Wingfield, Ratcliffe became president, but the summer of 1608 proving as unhealthy as that of 1607, Ratcliffe suffered an experience similar to Wingfield's, was removed from the government in July, 1608, and succeeded by Mathew Scrivener. One subject of complaint against him was that he enlisted the men in building a governor's house. When Captain Newport sailed from Virginia, December, 1608, Captain Ratcliffe accompanied him. Owing to his complaints and Wingfield's, a new charter was obtained by the London Company, and Ratcliffe commanded the Diamond, one of the ships in the great fleet of Sir Thomas Gates, who bore the commission of governor. During the temporary administration of George Percy, he was sent in October, 1609, to build a fort at Old Point Comfort, which was named "Algernourne fort" in honor of President Percy's ancestor. The following December, going to trade with the Indians, he was led into an ambush and killed with fourteen others under his command, at Werowocomoco on York river, Smith calls him "a poor counterfeit imposter," because he used an alias, but there was no imposition. Ratcliffe made no secret of his double name, signing himself "John Ratcliffe commonly called." Very frequently in his time men wrote their names with an alias on account of a second marriage of their mother. Ratcliffe's mother probably first married Sicklemore and afterward Ratcliffe, and Ratcliffe's real name was probably John Sicklemore.
Scrivener, Mathew, third president of the Virginia council under the first charger. He subscribed largely to the stock of the company. He arrived in Virginia with Newport in the "First Supply," which came in January, 1608, a member of the council in Virginia; participated in the expedition up York river in February, 1608; on the authority to Smith acting president of the council from July to September 10, 1608, and in January, 1609, at which time he was drowned in James river. Rev. Richard Hakluyt mentions in his will "Rev. John Scrivener, late of Barbican in the suburbs of the Cittie of London;" and as Scrivener is not a very common name, the aforesaid Matthew and John were probably member os the same family and doubtless relatives of Richard Hakluyt.
Smith, John, fourth president of the Virginia council, was the eldest son of George and Alice Smith, tenants of Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby; was baptized at Willoughby, January 9, 1580; travelled extensively abroad, where he encountered many perils by sea and land; distinguished himself by killing three Turks one afer another, for which astonishing prowess he received from Prince Sigismund of Transylvania, a coat-of-arms charged with three Turks heads. That he was a man of distinction in England is proved by the fact of his selection by the king as a member of the first Virginia council. He sailed to America with the first colonists, but was charged by Wingfield and others as an instigation of Galthorpe's mutiny in the West Indies, and was kept under arrest till June 10, 1607, some three weeks after the landing at Jamestown. After the deposition of Wingfield from the presidency and the election of Radcliffe, Smith acted as cape merchant, and was quite successful in procuring corn from the Indians. In one of these expeditions up the Chickahominy river he was taken prisoner by the Indians. He remained a prisoner by the Indians. He remained a prisoner about three weeks, during which time he was taken from town to town and finally conducted to Werowocomoco on York river to be put to death. From this peril he was rescued by Pocahontas, one of the daughters of Powhatan, head chief of the Powhatan confederacy, and soon after was suffered to return unharmed to Jamestown. Here he ran into a new danger, when the council, under lead of Gabriel Archer, condemned him to be hanged as responsible for the death of Emry and Robinson, who accompanied him to the Chickahominy; but Captain Newport arriving the same night (January 2, 1608) with the "First Supply," and interfering in his behalf, Smith was released. Smith continued his explorations and in the summer of 1608 made a full discovery of Chesapeake Bay, and its tributary rivers. On September 10, 1608, he assumed the presidency, and among the first things he did was to enlarge the area of the fort by the addition of about three acres, changing the plan from a triangle to a pentagon. After the "Second Supply" of men and provisions arrived, in October, 1608, there occurred two months later the first marriage of English people in America, that of John Laydon and Ann Burras. Smith started an extensive system of improvements at Jamestown, in which he kept the men engaged for several months, but a remarkable disclosure of carelessness on his part rendered the work of little value. It was suddenly discovered that the corn in the storehouse on which the colonists depended was nearly all consumed by rats and the remainder was unfit to eat. To save the colonists from starvation he had to break them up in small parties, and station them at different points, sending some to live with the Indians and others to the oyster banks down the river. While the colony was in this desperate condition, the "Third Supply" arrived, bringing news of a new charter and the appointment of Sir Thomas Gates as governor. As Sir Thomas's ship, the Sea Venture, had been wrecked and given up for lost, the crowd of settlers who landed had no recognized leader and Smith declined to surrender his authority. Violent quarrels took place, Smith was arrested, and in October, 1609, he returned to England. Smith, in contrasting the results of his administration with the "starving time," which followed, claims credit rather unjustly for what the new arrivals accomplished. In reviewing his connection with Virginia, the evidence is reached that while he was a strong and masterful spirit, he was contentious, boastful and illiberal in his treatment of others. So long as he stayed, the colony was rent by factions of which he was certainly an active promoter.
Smith was in England from 1609 to 1614, when he was taken into the employment of the North Virginia Company, created admiral of New England, and sent on several voyages thither. He remained in this service two years, after which till his death, June 21, 1631, he lived in England devoting himself to writing. During his stay in Virginia he had sent home in 1608 a report which was soon after published as "A Trewe Relation." In 1612 he published his "Map of Virginia," in 1616 his "Description of New England," in 1620 "New England's Trials," and in 1624 the "General Historie of Virginia, New England and the Summer Islands," and in 1630 "The True Travels." These works have all the same general style, suggestive of the character of Smith, being involved, hasty, inaccurate and illiberal, but sincere, open and fearless. While his narratives must not be taken without qualifications, and not much weight is to be attached to his opinions of others, there is no real reason to reject his authority on the main issues.
Percy, George, fifth president of the council, was the eighth son of Henry, eighth Earl of Northumberland, by his wife Catherine, eldest daughter and co-heir of John Neville, Lord Latimer, was born September 4, 1580, served for a time in the Low countries, and sailed for Virginia in the first expedition, December, 1606. Here he was very useful in obtaining corn from the Indians and assisting in the explorations. When the settlers, who came over under the second charter, appeared at Jamestown without their governor or their charter, Percy was persuaded to accept the presidency on the expiration of Smith's term of office. Probably no ability as a leader could have accomplished anything, and Percy was soon incapacitated by illness. The period of his administration is known as the starving time. The new settlers had landed sick and without adequate supplies, and they soon consumed the provision that the old settlers had at Jamestown. The consequence was that they nearly all died, and there were only sixty settlers remaining, when the governor under the new commission, Sir Thomas Gates arrived from Bermuda where he had been wrecked and compelled to remain for forty weeks. When Lord Delaware left Virginia in March, 1611 Percy was appointed deputy governor, which shows the confidence entertained in him, despite his unfortunate experiences. He was a brave soldier, and in punishment for treachery attacked and destroyed the towns of the Paspaheghs and of the Appamattox people. He left Virginia, but about 1625, when war was declared against Spain, he went again to the Netherlands where as captain of a company he distinguished himself, losing a finger in battle. He died unmarried in 1632.
He kept a journal of the original Virginia voyage, an abridgement of which was published for the first time in 1625 by Samuel Purchas. Mutilated as it was, it presents the fullest account we have of the voyage and of the first events of the settlement to Newport's departure June 12, 1607. After the appearance of Smith's "General Historie" with his very prejudiced account of the affairs during the time of Percy's government, Captain Percy wrote "A Trewe Relacyon" of the occurrences in Virginia from the time of the shipwreck of Sir Thomas Gates in 1609 until his own departure from the country in 1612. In a letter to his brother Henry, Earl of Northumberland, he declared that his account was induced by the many untruths formerly published. This interesting narrative still remains in manuscript owing to the narrow conceptions of its present possessor, although he as suffered some few extracts to be published by Dr. E. D. Neill and Mr. G. C. Eggleston.
Gates, Sir Thomas, appointed the first and absolute governor of Virginia under the second charter to the Virginia Company of London, is said to have been born at Colyford, in Colyton parish, Devonshire; was a lieutenant of Captain Christopher Carleill's own company in the celebrated Drake-Sidney voyage to America 1585-86; published the Brigges Croftes account of this voyage in 1589,which he dedicated to the Earl of Essex; served gallantly at the capture of Cadiz and was knighted by Essex in June, 1596. He also served in the island voyage August-October, 1597; entered Gray's Inn March 14, 1598. About 1603 he enlisted in the service of the Netherlands, but when King James granted the first charter to the Virginia Company of London, he "had the honor to all posterity" of being first named in that celebrated document. He was in the garrison at Oudwater in South Holland with Dale in November, 1666; and in 1608 he received leave of absence to go to Virginia. The Virginia Company selected him as first governor under the new charter (1609), and in June he took passage with about 500 settlers. The expedition is known as the "Third Supply," and the emigration was the largest that ever left England up to that time. But the voyage over was very unfortunate, for an epidemic broke out among the passengers and there followed a great storm which scattered the fleet and wrecked upon the Bermuda Islands the Sea Venture which bore the governor and one hundred and fifty passengers; and though the rest of the fleet reached Jamestown in safety, their arrival only added to the trouble already existing there. The new settlers brought with them the yellow fever and the London plague, and, as their provisions were all ruined by sea water, the next nine months were a season of disease and starvation.
In the meantime, Gates and his fellow passengers on the Sea Venture were comfortably housed on the Bermuda Islands, and out of the cedar that grew there they constructed two vessels in which they at length got away. On May 23, 1610, they arrived at Jamestown to find all but sixty of the settlers dead. Gates relieved the immediate distress by the prompt distribution of provisions, and then asserted order by the publication of a code of martial law drawn up in England. Deeming the conditions desperate, Gates, with the advice of his council, determined to abandon Jamestown, and on June 7, 1610, embarked with all the surviving settlers. On the way down the river he learned of the arrival of Lord Delaware at Point Comfort as governor for life, and in obedience to instructions took his fleet back to Jamestown. Under Delaware's commission Gates became lieutenant-governor and commanded an expedition against the Indians, whom he drove from Kecoughtan. In July, however, of the same year, he was sent to England for supplies. He returned to Jamestown August 1, 1611, when finding that Lord Delaware had departed he again assumed direction of affairs. He remained in Virginia nearly three years, and returned to England in April, 1614. Soon after, he resumed his service in Holland and was paid by the states all past dues. He appears to have retained his interest in Virginia, and in 1620 we find him as one of "the Ancient Adventurers" petitioning to have some man of quality sent over as governor. During his administration new settlements were established at Henrico, Bermuda Hundred, City Point and other places; the French were driven from New England; and Pocahontas, daughter to the Emperor Powhatan, was captured and soon after married to John Rolfe. He left a son of the same name, who distinguished himself in 1626 in the expedition against Cadiz and in 1627 at the Ilse of Ré and Rochelle, when he was killed by a cannon shot.
Dale, Sir Thomas, high marshal of Virginia, and deputy governor from May 21, to August 1, 1611, and from March, 1614, till May, 1616. He entered the service of the Low Countries with the Earl of Essex in 1588. In 1595 he was sent by the Provinces into Scotland, where he became one of the retinue of the infant Prince Henry, who had a great affection for him. He remained in Scotland some years, but returned to the Netherlands probably in 1603. In 1604 Lord Cecil wrote to the English ambassador at the Hague to inform him of the king's gracious interest in the military advancement of Dale. On June 19, 1606, while on a visit to England, he was knighted at Richmond by King James as "Sir Thomas Dale of Surrey." He remained in the service of the Low Countries till February 1611, when he came to England and entered into the service of the Virginia Company of London. Dale was selected to head the expedition then preparing, and on March 27, 1611, he left Land's End with three ships carrying 300 people and also horses, cows, goats, fowl, etc. He reached Point Comfort or Algermourne Fort on May 22, 1611, and succeeded Captain George Percy in command of the colony. He found forts Charles and Henry, at the mouth of Hampton river, deserted, and his first labor was to restore them. Constituting James Davis as captain of all three forts, he sailed up the river and arrived at Jamestown May 29, 1611, where he landed and heard a sermon from Rev. Mr. Poole. After consulting his council, Dale set about many extensive improvements at Jamestown and determined to build a new town at Henrico, near the Indian town of Arrohatec. Fears of the intervention of the Spaniards had long disturbed the colonists and there was a great excitement in the colony when some Spaniards from ships sent to find out about the English settlement, landing at Point comfort, were captured and sent to Jamestown, where they were detained in captivity for a long time. He began the work of building the settlement at Henrico under the severest code of marital law, introduced by Gates, and which he ruthlessly enforced. Gates, who arrived August 1 and became Dale's superior officer, endorsed his policy. After Gates' departure for England in 1614, Dale was again chief magistrate in Virginia. While he has received praise for his administration of affairs it appears to have been in large measure undeserved. The men were given food not fit for hogs, and mutinies repeatedly occurred, which were suppressed by the most atrocious cruelties. when Dale left Virginia in 1616 there were only 300 settlers living in the colony, and the frail habitations at Henrico, which he had built in blood, were decayed and ready to fall. He took with him to England Pocahontas and several other Indians, who attracted much attention and lent a glamour to his return. The states general of the Low Countries paid him £1,000 for the period when he was in Virginia, though during that time he rendered no service. A voyage was intended for the East Indies, and Dale was selected to head it. His fleet arrived near Java on December 23, 1618, and in conjunction with Captain Martin Pring he made an attack on the Dutch fleet. It was "a cruel bloody fight" and both sides claimed the victory. He arrived with his fleet at Masultipitan July 19 and he died there "August 9, 1619, after twenty days of languishing sickness. Sir Thomas Dale married, in January, 1611, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Throckmorton and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Berkeley.
West, Thomas, Lord Delaware, second governor of Virginia, was the son of Sir Thomas West, second Lord Delaware, and Anne his wife, daughter of Sir Francis Knollys and Katherine Cary, his wife. He was one of thirteen children, and was born July 9, 1577; educated at Oxford, and was a Master of Arts at that university. He early saw military service and was a great friend of the Earl of Essex, who knighted him at Dublin, July 12, 1599. He was implicated in the Essex rebellion and was imprisoned. Essex, however, asked pardon of his father, the second Lord Delaware, for bringing his son into danger. After the father's death, March 24, 1602, he succeeded as third Lord Delaware, and was a member of the privy council of Queen Elizabeth, and on her death became a privy councillor to King James. He took a most active interest in the American enterprise, and in 1609 was a member of the superior council of Virginia in England. The experience with the first charter left the impression with the public, that only a supreme and absolute governor could obviate the dissensions and faction that characterized the history of the colony. A help to order lay, it was believed, in the selection of a man whose rank would inspire respect, and when the second charter was obtained the Virginia Company turned to Lord Delaware. As he was, however, unable to go at once, they conferred the office of governor temporarily upon Sir Thomas Gates. On February 28, 1610, Delaware was commissioned governor of the Virginia colony for life, and was sent with 150 emigrants, chiefly workmen, to the assistance of Jamestown. He arrived at Point Comfort, June 7, 1610, just in time to save the colony from abandonment by Gates. Delaware sent the pinnace Virginia up the river to meet the departing settlers, and under the orders of the new governor they were all taken back again to Jamestown. Sunday, June 10, Lord Delaware himself arrived. He had the town cleaned and rehabilitated the frail houses. The settlement of four acres was defended by new palisades and everything was made safe and comfortable for the time being. He next proceeded to settle matters with the Indians, and after driving Pochines and his tribe from Kecoughtan he erected two forts at the mouth of Hampton river, called Charles and Henry, about three miles from Point Comfort. In the interim he sent out an expedition to search for mines above the falls, but the Indians were very troublesome and no mines were found. It was the fashion of the times to boost the country at the expense of the poor colonists, who were traduced and villified. Delaware, in a letter to the London Company, pursued the example, but retribution followed fast. The great trouble was the unhealthiness of the country and the rotten supplies sent over, which introduced sickness and death, and Delaware was literally bombarded out of the country by a combined attack of ague, flux, cramp and gout. To save his life he went first to the West Indies, whence he sailed to England, where he arrived rather crestfallen about a year after his departure. he remained in the latter country till 1618, and in his absence the government of Virginia was administered by Deputy Governors Gates, Dale, Yardley and Argall. In the latter year he was sent again to Virginia to rescue the government from the hands of Samuel Argall, who had incurred the strong resentment of the Virginia Company of London, but on the way over he died June 7, 1618, aged forty-one. He married Cecily, daughter of Sir Thomas Sherley. His son and successor was Henry, fourth Lord Delaware, who married Isabella, daughter of Sir Thomas Edmunds. Governor Delaware had three brothers Francis West, John West and Nathaniel West, who all lived in Virginia, and the first two of whom were deputy governors at different times; William West, a nephew, was killed by Indians at the Falls of James river, Virginia, in 1611. Through Captain John West, the noble family of the Delawares is widely represented in Virginia and the south and west.
Yardley, George, deputy governor of Virginia, from May, 1616, to May, 1617 and governor and captain-general of Virginia from April, 1619 to November 18, 1621, and from May 17, 1626 to November 13, 1627, was son of Ralph Yardley, citizen and merchant tailor of Bionshaw Lane, London, who married (1) Agnes Abbot and (2) Rhoda . He was one of four brothers: Ralph; George, the subject of the present sketch; John and Thomas; and a sister Anne, who married Edward Irby. He served like many other of the early settlers as a soldier in the Low Countries, that "university of war." He sailed to Virginia in 1609, with Sir Thomas Gates, as captain of his company; was wrecked with his superior officer on the Bermuda Islands, but finally arrived in Virginia in May, 1610. When Gates embarked the colonists to return to England, the company, commanded by Captain Yardley, was the last to get aboard, thereby preventing the town from being burned. When Lord Delaware turned the departing settlers back and resumed the work of colonization, Yardley was made commandant of Forts Charles and Henry, at the mouth of Hampton river. Subsequently under orders he abandoned these forts in order to lead an expedition to discover a gold mine beyond the Falls of James river. The Queen of Appomattox invited some of his companions to a feast, and while they were eating, treacherously massacred fourteen of them, including "all the chief men skillful in finding out mines." The colonists retorted by burning her town and killing some of her people. The expedition got no farther than the falls of the river, where they built a fort and remained six months. When Sir Thomas Dale began to build at Bermuda City, Yardley was commandant of the town. When Dale left Virginia in 1616, Yardley, who acted as deputy-governor resided at Bermuda City for the most part. He encouraged the planting of tobacco, with the result that emigration, which had almost entirely ceased, set in again with strong force. Private stock companies were formed, which sent colonies on their own account to Virginia. Yardley also taught the Indians a punitive lesson. The Chickahominy tribe declined to pay the corn tax, which they had promised Sir Thomas Dale, and about Christmas, 1616, Yardley with 84 men promptly attacked them and in a very short time brought them to terms. In May, 1617, Captain Argall came in, with a commission as deputy governor, and with orders to portion out lands, as the joint stock period of the charter had expired. This he did not do, and he is charged not only with continuing the common slavery, but plundering the "common garden" belonging to the company. Then the company tried to send back the Lord Governor Delaware, but he died on the way, and in January, 1619, Captain Yardley was commissioned as governor and captain-general under an order abolishing martial law and establishing a free government. Yardley arrived at Jamestown April 10, and immediately called the first legislative assembly that ever convened in America. Other events render the year memorable such as the introduction in August of the first negro slaves, and the arrival from England of a ship with twenty young maidens "pure and undefiled" to furnish wives to the tenants of the public lands. Despite the terrible mortality of the climate the colony increased in population and property. Dale in 1616 left 351 persons in the colony, but there were about 1200 at the close of Yardley's administration in 1621, all of them "seasoned" settlers. Sir Francis Wyatt came in as governor in November of that year, and Yardley was then a member of the council until May, 1626. He was very efficient in punishing the Indians after the massacre of 1622. When Wyatt wished to leave Virginia for a time on business, the king commissioned Yardley to be governor of Virginia a second time. He entered into that office in May, 1626, but did not serve much more than a year. He died November 13, 1627, and was interred in the church at Jamestown. He married, about 1618, Temperance West, and had issue two sons, Argall and Francis, the first of whom has numerous descendants in the United States. Yardley made a great deal of money out of tobacco, and was as popular with the Indians as with the whites. The Indian King of Weyanoke gave him a fertile tract of land in Charles City county between Mapsico creek and Queen's creek, known as Weyanoke. This good man was one of the greasest benefactors of Virginia, and with Sir Edwyn Sandys deserves a monument at the hands of the people of the United States. If Sandys instituted the move which freed the people of Virginia from martial law and gave them representative government, Yardley executed the orders and proved himself always the sympathetic friend of liberty.
Argall, Samuel, deputy governor and admiral of Virginia from May, 1617, to April 10, 1619, was born about 1580. Little is known of his early life, but as he was selected to discover a shorter way to Virginia in 1609, he must have been very early regarded as a mariner of tact and ability. He brought to Smith and the colony of Jamestown the first news of the second charter and the appointment of Sir Thomas Gates as governor. Finding the colony in great need, he furnished them with some provisions, and after making a successful trial of sturgeon fishing he returned to England. When Lord Delaware sailed on March, 1610, as governor, Captain Argall conducted him by way of the Canary and Azores Islands the shorter route discovered by him. June 18, 1610, he was made a member of the governor's council and next day sailed with Somers to the Bermuda Islands, but missed them and sailed to Cape Cod, where he engaged in successful fishing. On his voyage homewards he explored the coast and discovered Delaware Bay. September 1 he reached Algernourn fort on Point Comfort. During the autumn and winter he explored the waters of Chesapeake Bay, and sailed from Virginia with Lord Delaware March 28, reaching England in June, 1611. On July 23, 1612, he made another trip to Virginia, and for a year remained in the service of the colony, voyaging about the bay and the rivers exploring and securing corn from the Indians, in which business he was remarkably successful. In one of these voyages he captured Pocahontas, daughter of King Powhatan, and brought her to Jamestown. Soon after June 28, 1613, he sailed from Virginia under orders from Sir Thomas Gates, and drove away the French from New England thus keeping that country open to the Pilgrim Fathers, who came seven years later. He is said to have visited on this voyage the Dutch settlement on the Hudson, and compelled the governor, Hendrick Christiansen, to submit to the king of England. After that he was variously employed in Virginia from December, 1613, to June 18, 1614, when he sailed for England. In February, 1615, he again sailed to Virginia and returned to England with Dale in May, 1616. Early in 1617 he was appointed deputy governor and admiral of Virginia. He continued in this office two years, and he is generally represented as an unscrupulous chief magistrate, but party feeling was very high at this time, and the evidence cannot be relied on. He appears to have been a partner with the Earl of Warwick in bringing the first negroes to Jamestown in 1619. After Lord Delaware's death he quarreled with Captain Edward Brewster, who had care of Delaware's estate, and wanted to put him to death for mutiny. The company became incensed with him and sent orders by Captain Yardley, appointed to succeed him, to arrest him and to examine into his acts. But the Earl of Warwick took means to rescue his friend and dispatched a small vessel to fetch him and his goods away before Yardley could arrive. This vessel arrived in Virginia, April 6, and Argall sailed away on her about the 10th, leaving Captain Nathaniel Powell as deputy-governor. On his arrival from Virginia he answered the different charges brought again him, satisfactorily to some, but not to others. His activity as a seaman still continued. In 1620-21 he commanded a ship in the fleet of Sir Robert Mansell in the Mediterranean Sea. About 1621 he urged that an English settlement be made in New Netherlands, afterwards New York. In 1624 his friends wished to make him governor again of Virginia, but Sir Francis Wyatt was preferred. He was admiral in September, 1625, of 28 ships, and during his cruise captured from the Spaniards seven vessels valued at £100,000. In the attack on Cadiz in 1625 he commanded the flagship. He was still alive in 1633, but was dead before 1641, as in that year his daughter Ann, widow of Alexander Bolling, and her second husband, Samuel Percivall, complained to the House of Commons that they had been deprived by John Woodhall of property in Virginia left to the petitioner Anne by her late father, Sir Samuel Argall, sometime governor of Virginia. From this account it is seen that Argall was one of the most active and remarkable men of his age.
Powell, Nathaniel, deputy governor of Virginia, in 1619, was one of the first planters; left England in December, 1606, and arrived in Virginia in April, 1607. He went with Captain Newport in the winter of 1608 he went with John Smith to explore Chesapeake Bay. In 1617 Governor Argall gave him a commission to be sergeant-major general to Francis West, master of the ordinance during life. When Governor Argall suddenly left Virginia about April 10, 1619, he turned over the government to Captain Powell, which was held by him for a week, until Sir George Yardley arrived with a full commission as governor. The only matter of public interest that happened during Powell's brief administration was the coming of Captain John Ward, with fifty emigrants, including Rev. Thomas Bargrave, nephew of Dr. Bargrave, dean of Canterbury. They made a settlement above Martin's Brandon, on what is still known as Ward's creek. Captain Powell's plantation of 600 acres was known as "Powell Brook," afterwards "Merchant's Hope." There March 22, 1622, he and his wife, who was a daughter of William Tracy, one of the partners in the settlement of Berkeley Hundred, were murdered by the Indians. He left no descendants, and his plantation was sold by his brother and heir, Thomas Powell, of Howellton, county Suffolk, England. Near Powell's plantation in Virginia is still standing a very old brick church known as Merchant's Hope Church. The creek bounding his place still bears Captain Powell's name.
Wyatt, Sir Francis, governor and captain general of Virginia from 1621 to 1626 and from 1639 to 1642, was the sone of George Wyatt, Esq., and Jane his wife, a daughter of Sir Thomas Finch. Francis married, in 1618, Margaret, daughter of Sir Edwin Sandys. He arrived in Virginia in October, 1621, with an appointment to relieve Governor Yardley (whose term expired November 18). Sir Francis was accompanied by his brother, Rev. Hawte Wyatt; Dr. John Pott, physician general, afterwards deputy governor; William Claiborne, surveyor-general; and George Sandys, uncle of his wife, who acted as treasurer of the colony. He brought with him also an ordinance of the London Company, confirming the government and freedom granted under Yardley in 1619. Wyatt had not long arrived before a great calamity befell the colony. Powhatan had died in 1618, and the real head of the Indians in Virginia was his brother, the ferocious Opechancanough. He arranged a massacre of the whites, and the blow fell March 22, 1622. One-fourth of the settlers were destroyed, and the number would have been much larger had not Governor Wyatt received news through a Christian Indian named Chanco of the impending massacre in time to save Jamestown and put the neighboring settlements on their guard. After the massacre the colonists concentrated for some time the surviving population in five or six well fortified places, Jamestown Peninsula was one of these, and as the old quarters were overcrowded, Claiborne, the surveyor, laid out in 1624 a new section for habitation on the river side, eastward of the old stockade. The additions were called "New Town," where already stood, it is believed, the governor's house, built by Gates in 1614, enlarged by Argall in 1617, and granted by the London Company in 1618 to the use of Governor Yardley and his successors forever. "New Town" never became a town of much size, for the settlers soon drove the Indians into the forests, and it was not long before the abandoned plantations were reestablished.
The Indian massacre was speedily followed by the revocation of the charter of the London Company, which Wyatt and other leaders in Virginia regarded as a dire calamity, though time proved the contrary. In January, 1624, they signed a protest called the "Tragicall Relation," denouncing the administration of the London Company by Sir Thomas Smythe and extolling that of Sandys and Southampton and asking for the old charter. The father of Governor Wyatt died in September, 1625, and he asked permission of the king to return to England, which was granted, and Sir George Yardley became governor in May, 1626. Wyatt remained in England till 1639, when he returned once more as governor. His appointment seems to have been due to the efforts of the leaders of the old London Company, who had never ceased their work for restoration of the charter. His administration was a reaction against that of Sir John Harvey. He reversed the edit of banishment against Rev. Anthony Panton, and Harvey himself was broken with suits in the courts. George Sandys, his wife's uncle, was sent to England to voice the wishes of the governor and assembly for the restoration of the old London Company charter. he could get no direct promise from the king, and so he had recourse to parliament, which did in fact reissue the old charter of 1609, though it never went into effect in Virginia. Before that time Wyatt was recalled, and Sir William Berkeley arrived as governor in 1642.
The Wyatt family to which Sir Francis belonged was one of great antiquity and of much renown. His great-great-grandfather, Sir Henry Wyatt, had taken a leading part in favor of Henry VII. against Richard III., and his grandfather, Sir Thomas, had been executed for raising a rebellion against Queen Mary. Sir Francis died in 1644, at Boxley, the home of the Wyatts, in county Kent, England. His brother, Rev. Hawte Wyatt, has many descendants in Virginia.