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Pott, John, deputy governor of Virginia from March 5, 1629, to March 24, 1630, came to Virginia with Governor Wyatt in 1621 to fill the position of physician general, vacant by the death of Lawrence Bohun, slain in a naval battle between the Spanish and the English in the West Indies. He was a Master of Arts, and was recommended to the London Company by Theodore Gulstone, found of the Gulstonian lectureship in the London College of Physicians. He was made a member of the council in 1621, and on the departure of Francis West to England in 1629, Dr. John Pott was chosen by the council temporary governor. He figured as such little more than a year, and the leading event of this time was the arrival at Jamestown of the first Lord Baltimore the proprietor of Avalon in Newfoundland. Pott tendered to him the oath of allegiance and supremacy, which Baltimore as a Catholic refused to take. Sir John Harvey, who was a friend of Baltimore, on his arrival arrested Dr. Pott, and a jury convicted him of felony, for stealing cattle, but politics was doubtless at the bottom, and the king pardoned him. Sometime later, however, Pott had his revenge by taking part with the other councillors in Harvey's arrest and deposition from the government. Dr. Pott was the first to locate land at the present site of Williamsburg, and he called his place Harrop, after the place of his family in Cheshire. He had a brother, Francis Pott, who was a prominent member of the assembly. His nephew, John Pott, moved to Patuxent in Maryland, where he was one of the justices in 1657.
Harvey, Sir John, governor from March 24, 1630, to April 28, 1635, was a native of Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire; had been a captain of a ship in the East Indies. In 1624 he was one of the commissioners appointed to report to the king upon the conditions of the colony. He was appointed a member of the council in August, 1624, and in the commission to Sir George Yardley, March 4, 1625-26, Harvey was named his successor. He left Virginia, and commanded a ship in the expedition against Cadiz in 1627. He did not return till March 24, 1630. During his administration the first settlements were made on the York river and on Kent Island. In the dispute with Lord Baltimore he took sides against Claiborne, deposed him in 1634 from his position as secretary of state, and on April 28, 1635, was himself deposed from the government by the council, which action was confirmed by the assembly. Sent prisoner to England in the custody of two of the assembly, Francis Pott and Thomas Harwood, he had his guards arrested on their arrival, and brought the matter of his deposition up before the privy council. The king declared the transaction "an act of regal authority," and fearing the example, kept the two daring burgesses in prison, and sent orders for the arrest of the councillors who took part in Harvey's deposition. Meanwhile, to rebuke the dangerous precedent set in Virginia, he restored Harvey to his government. This second administration began with Harvey's arrival in the colony January 18, 1637, and was marked by measures taken by Harvey to build up Jamestown. Some twelve brick houses were erected, and steps taken to build a brick church and brick state house. But Harvey resumed his arbitrary behavior, and raised so many quarrels that the king in August, 1639, commissioned Sir Francis Wyatt, who had already figured once before as governor, to be his successor. On Wyatt's arrival, Harvey's property at York and Jamestown was seized to repay his numerous creditors, and the ex-governor died a bankrupt not long after.
West, Captain John, deputy governor from April 28, 1635, to January 18, 1637, was the brother of Lord Delaware, and was born December 14, 1590. He came to Virginia about 1620, and after the massacre in 1622 commanded a company of men against the Indians. He was a member of the council, and when in 1630 the council resolved to plant a settlement on the York, Captain West was one of the two first settlers to patent lands on King's creek. There at his residence afterwards known as Bellfield was born, in 1632, the first child of English parents born on York river. When Sir John Harvey was deposed April 28, 1635, Captain West was prevailed upon by the council to accept the office of governor, which he held for eighteen months; and though he and the other leading men were arrested for their presumption, nothing was done to him. So far from that, Wyatt was sent over governor in 1639, John West's name appeared in the new commission as "Marshall and Muster Master General," in King Charles' own handwriting. He remained a member of the council for many years later. In 1650 he sold his plantation on York river to Edward Digges, Esq., and removed to West Point, which was named for him. In March, 1660, a resolution of good will was passed by the general assembly, when in recognition of the many important favors and services rendered Virginia by "the noble family of the Wests," Captain West, now in his old age, and his family, were exempted from taxation during his life. Captain West left an only son Lieutenant Col. John West, who resided at West Point and took an important part in the affairs of the colony during his lifetime.
Berkeley, Sir William, governor and captain general of Virginia from 1642 to 1652 and from 1660 to 1677, was son of Sir Maurice Berkeley, and brother of Lord John Berkeley of Stratton. He was born at Bruton, in Somersetshire, England, about 1610; graduated Master of Arts at Oxford in 1629, and travelled extensively in Europe. He was commissioned by King Charles governor of Virginia, August 9, 1641, and arrived in the colony in February, 1642, bearing with him the assurance of the king that the charter would not be restored. On April 18, 1644, a second Indian massacre occurred, but this did not prevent his visiting England in June, 1644, where he remained at the king's camp till June, 1645. In his absence his place was filled by Richard kemp, a member of the council, who had been its secretary. Another event of Berkeley's first administration was the expulsion of the Puritans from Norfolk and Nansemond counties. During the civil war in England many cavalier officers and other friends of the king emigrated to Virginia. The result was to give a strong royalist sympathy to the colony, so that the death of Charles I. was denounced by the assembly as murder, and to question the right of Charles II. was declared treason. At last, in 1651, parliament sent a fleet to subdue the country, but force was not used, and an accommodation was agreed to by both sides. April 30, 1652, Berkeley was superceded in the government by Richard Bennet; whereupon he retired to his country residence, "Greenspring," distant about five miles from Jamestown.
In January, 1660, Governor Samuel Matthews died and the general assembly, who had became disgusted with the chaotic state of affairs in England, recalled Governor Berkeley to the government in the March following. He was commissioned by Charles II. July 31, 1660, and Charles II. himself was proclaimed in Virginia, September 20, 1660. In April, 1661, Berkeley was sent by the colony to England to protest against the navigation act, Col. Francis Morryson acting as governor till Berkeley's return in the fall of 1662. The reaction of the restoration occasioning much extravagance among the government officials finally brought about a great feeling of unrest in Virginia. This discontent, increased by the lavish grants of land by King Charles to certain court favorites, was brought to a head, in 1676, by an Indian attack. The measures taken by Berkeley were deemed ineffective, and the authority of defending the people was assumed by Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., a recent arrival. Sir William Berkeley declared him a rebel, and the colony was torn with opposing factions of armed men for nearly a year. Bacon perished of camp fever, and Berkeley showed much severity in punishing the surviving leaders. He was finally recalled by the king and died at Twickenham, July 9, 1677. He wrote two plays, and is the author of a "Description of Virginia," folio, 1663. He was survived by his wife, Lady Frances Berkeley, who was a Culpeper, and married three times; 1. Samuel Stephens; 2. Sir William Berkeley; 3. Colonel Philip Ludwell. Her brother, Alexander Culpeper, was surveyor-general of the colony from 1672 to 1692.
Kemp, Richard, deputy governor from 1644 to 1645, was a sone, it is believed, of Sir Robert Kemp, of Gissing, in Suffolk county, England. He succeeded William Claiborne as secretary of state in 1634. When in 1639 Harvey was supplanted as governor by Sir Francis Wyatt, Kemp, by the influence of Lord Baltimore and Secretary of State Windebank, retained his place as secretary. Incurring the enmity of Rev. Anthony Panton, whom Harvey and himself had treated with great severity, he returned to England in 1640 to defend his conduct, leaving his friend George Reade as deputy secretary. Richard Kemp staid in England about two years, and returned in 1642 to his old post, with Sir William Berkeley. He was deputy governor during the absence of the latter in England from June, 1644 to June, 1645. He made his will in 1649, and his widow Elizabeth (whose maiden name is not known) married (secondly) Sir Thomas Lunsford, and after his death (thirdly) Major-General Robert Smith. He left no children, but there is a numerous Virginia family of his name descended from his nephew, Edmund Kemp.
Bennett, Richard, governor of Virginia from April 30, 1652, until March 31, 1655, was of the same family as Henry Bennett Lord Arlington. His uncle Edward Bennett, an eminent London merchant, was a member of the London Company, and with other persons of means planted in 1621 a settlement in Wariscoyack, or Isle of Wight county, Virginia, which was known as Edward Bennett's plantation. At the time of the Indian uprising in March, 1622, more than fifty persons were killed at this settlement. In 1624 Robert Bennet, merchant, and Rev. William Bennett, minister, were living at Edward Bennett's plantation. They were probably his kinsmen. In 1629 Richard Bennett was a burgess from the Wariscoyack district, and in 1632 was one of the county court. In 1639 he was a councillor. He was a Puritan in sympathy and joined in a petition, which was taken by his brother Philip to Boston, asking for three able ministers to occupy parishes in his neighborhood. When Sir William Berkeley in 1649 drove the Puritans out of Nansemond and Elizabeth City counties, Bennett went with them to Maryland, but only stayed a short time. In 1651 he was living on Bennett's creek in Nansemond county, and that year he was named by parliament as one of the commissioners for the reduction of Virginia. When Virginia submitted, he was elected by the general assembly governor of the colony. He held office from April 30, 1652, to March 31, 1655, when he was sent to England as agent. On November 30, 1657, he signed the agreement with Lord Baltimore by which the latter's claim to Maryland was finally recognized. After the restoration of Charles II., Bennett held the offices of councillor and major-general of the militia. In 1667 he went as a commissioner to Maryland to negotiate for a cessation in the cultivation of tobacco, the price having allen very low. He was a member of the council as late as 1675, and his will was proved April 12, 1675. His daughter Anne married Theodorick Bland, of Virginia, and his son and grandson of the same name were members of the council of Maryland.
Digges, Edward, governor of Virginia from March 31, 1655, to March 13, 1658, son of Sir Dudley Digges, of Chilham, county Kent, England, who was knight and baronet, and master of the rolls in the reign of Charles I., was born about 1620 and came to Virginia before 1650, when he purchased an estate on York river from Captain John West, subsequently known as Bellfield. On November 22, 1654, he was made a member of the council, and was elected March 30, 1655, to succeed Governor Bennett. He was therefore the second governor under the "Commonwealth of England." He served as governor till March 13, 1658, when he was sent to England to coöperate with Bennett and Mathews against the rival claims of Lord Baltimore. The articles of surrender in 1652 guaranteed to Virginia her ancient boundaries, and the effort of the assembly was to get the Maryland charter annulled, in which, however, they were not successful. After the restoration of Charles II., Digges served as a member of the council, and was greatly interested in the culture of silk and tobacco at his plantation on York river. In the silk culture he employed three Armenians, and the tobacco which he grew on his plantation became known as the E. D. Tobacco. More than a century after his death the tobacco grown at Bellfield had such a reputation that it brought one shilling per pound in the London market, when other tobaccos brought only three pence. Digges was auditor general from 1670 to 1675. He died March 15, 1675, and his tombstone is still standing at Bellfield, his old home place on York river. His eldest son, Col. William Digges, settled in Maryland and was a founder of a well known family in that state. His younger son, Colonel Dudley Digges, was a member of the council of Virginia. Cole Digges, a grandson, was also a councillor; and Dudley Digges, a great-grandson, was a member of the Virginia committee of safety, which in 1776 had really the executive power in its hands.
Mathews, Samuel, governor of Virginia from March 13, 1658, to his death in January, 1660, was born in England about 1600, and came to Virginia in 1622. In 1623 he led a force against the Tanx Powhatan Indians. In 1624 he was one of the commissioners appointed by the King to enquire into the condition of the colony. In 1630 he built a fort at Point Comfort. In 1635 he took a leading part in the deposition of Sir John Harvey. He was appointed to the council in 1623, and in 1652 was sent as one of the agents to England to obtain a confirmation of the agreement with the parliamentary commissioners, securing to Virginia her anicent bounds, and he remained there till 1657. He was unsuccessful in his mission to recover Maryland to Virginia, and at length signed articles of accommodation with Lord Baltimore. He became governor of the colony March 13, 1658, and soon became involved in a controversy with the house of burgesses regarding the power of the council to dissolve the assembly. The house would not admit the contention, and claimed that the supreme power lay in the house as the representatives of the people. Mathews and his council were by the burgesses deposed from authority, but on their submitting to the will of the house were reelected and took the oath recognizing its authority. He died before the expiration of his term, in January, 1660. He was a very active citizen during his lifetime. His residence was at "Denbigh," on Deep creek, Warwick county, where he had a fine house and employed many servants. He married, about 1629, Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton, and widow successively of Captain Nathaniel West and of Abraham Piersey, the last of whom "left the best estate that ever was known in Virginia." He had issue, Samuel Mathews, who was a member of the council in 1655, and Francis, who was a justice of York county and captain of the militia, and died February 16, 1675.
Moryson, Francis, deputy governor of Virginia from April 30, 1661, to the fall of 1662, was a son of Sir Richard Moryson, who was secretary of state to King James I. He served in King Charles' army with the rank of major and he embarked from London with his fellow loyalists, Colonel Henry Norwood, Major Richard Fox and major Francis Cary, for Virginia, September 23, 1649, and arrived in Virginia the November following. Driven by a storm, their ship found itself on June 12, 1650, among the islands of Assateague Bay, on the Atlantic coast of Virginia. Upon one of these Colonel Moryson landed with several of his companions, and after various experiences in Accomac crossed over to the main shore and was kindly received by Sir William Berkeley, who gave him the command of the fort at Point Comfort. In 1655 he was speaker of the house of burgesses, and when Governor Berkeley visited England in 1662, Moryson acted as governor till sometime in the fall of the following year. The memory of his service as chief executive is marked by his gift of a splendid service of church plate to the church at Jamestown, which is preserved by the church in Williamsburg. After the return of Berkeley, Moryson was sent as agent to England at an annual salary of £200 to protest against a grant of the Northern Neck to several court favorites. He remained as agent in England till 1677, when he returned to Virginia as one of a commission to enquire into the disturbances known as Bacon's rebellion. The commissioners held court at Swann's Point, over against Jamestown, which had been destroyed. Their report was a very full account of this interesting episode in Virginia history, and the finding was very much against Governor Berkeley. Moryson soon after returned to England, and died there not long after. He left a widow Cecilia, sister of Giles Rawlins, and a son Henry, who in 1699 was colonel to the Colstream Foot Guards. Colonel Moryson was preceded to Virginia by his two brothers Richard and Robert Moryson, who also commanded at Point Comfort, and after Major Moryson, held commission about 1664. His sister, Letitia Moryson, was wife of the noble cavalier, Lucius Cary, Lord Falkland.
Jeffreys, Herbert, commissioned lieutenant-governor November 11, 1675, was an officer in the English army and commanded the regiment sent over to Virginia in 1676 to put down the rebellion of Bacon. He was also head of the commission to enquire into the causes of the troubles in Virginia, Major Francis Moryson, and Sir John Berry, admiral of the fleet, being the other members. he arrived in Virginia, February 2, 1677, and encamped his troops among the ruins of the brick buildings at Jamestown, which had been burned by Nathaniel Bacon. The commissioners made the residence of Colonel Thomas Swann, at Swann's Point, on the other side of the river, their headquarters, whence they issued a call to the different counties for a statement of their grievances. From the first their relations with Berkeley were far from sympathetic. Upon the departure of Berkeley from the colony, Jeffreys by virtue of his commission assumed the government, and marching his troops to Middle Plantation (now Williamsburg) concluded a treaty of friendship with the neighboring Indian tribes. His sympathies being with the popular side, by his influence the assembly in October, 1677, passed an act of amnesty, and threatened a heavy fine against anybody who would call another "a rebel or traitor." Those, therefore, who had been friends of Sir William Berkeley, received very little favor at his hands, and were denounced by him as the "Greenspring faction," whose tyranny had been one of the chief causes of the civil war. He incurred the special enmity of Philip Ludwell, who married Berkeley's widow, because he would not let him sue Walklett for damages done during that time. In this Jeffreys seemed to be right, as Berkeley had promised Walklett, a leader of the rebels after Bacon's death, indemnity on his surrendering West Point. In another matter in which Robert Beverley, the other leader of the Greenspring faction, was involved, Jeffreys' position was not as defensible. In order to make a full report he and the other commissioners demanded of Beverley, who was clerk of the assembly, the journals and papers of the house of burgesses, and when the latter declined to give them up they seized them out of his possession. As this appeared to the house an attack upon their privileges, they passed strong resolutions when they met protesting against the action of the commissioners. The growing importance of Middle Plantation was shown by a petition from some inhabitants of York county that the place he recommended to the king for the seat of government. But the commissioners, including Jeffreys, were not willing to abandon Jamestown, and on April 25, 1678, the general assembly resumed its sitting at the country's ancient capital, and steps were taken to rebuild the state house and church. Jeffreys, however, did not long survive this meeting of the assembly. He died in Virginia, December 30, 1678. The surviving commissioners made a voluminous report to the English government, in which, under the thin guise of a censure of Bacon, the entire blame of the civil war was really thrown upon Sir William Berkeley and his friends.
Chicheley, Sir Henry, lieutenant-governor of Virginia from December 30, 1678, to May 10, 1680, son of Sir Thomas Chicheley of Wimpole, in Cambridgeshire, was born in 1617, matriculated at University College, Oxford, April 27, 1632, and was Bachellor of Arts February 5, 1634-35. He served as an officer in the army of Charles I., and for a short time was imprisoned in the Town of London. In 1649, after the execution of the king, he emigrated to Virginia with many other cavaliers. Here he married in 1652 the widow of Colonel Ralph Wormeley, and resided at Rosegill, in Middlesex county. On December 1, 1656, he took his seat in the house of burgesses, having been elected to fill a vacancy. In 1660 he was for a time in England, where he was probably a witness of King Charles II.'s restoration. On November 20, 1673, he was commissioned lieutenant-general of the Virginia militia, and on February 28, 1673-74, the king gave him a commission as lieutenant-governor of the colony. In the beginning of 1676, when the Indians were ranging the frontier, Chicheley had command of the forces raised to subdue them, but his troops were disbanded by Governor Berkeley before they could attack the invaders. This action occasioned much discontent and was the direct cause of Bacon's rebellion.
During this troublesome time Chicheley adhered to the governor and suffered very much in consequence. His estate was greatly damaged and he endured a severe imprisonment. When the civil war subsided, he was appointed to the council November 16, 1676, and became its president, and on the death of Governor Jeffreys he produced his commission as lieutenant-governor. He remained the colony executive till Lord Culpeper was sworn into office May 10, 1680, becoming, however, the chief executive again when Lord Culpeper left Virginia in August, three months later. He served till Culpeper's return in December, 1682, during which interval there was unusual distress on account of the low price of tobacco. On the petition of the suffering people, Chicheley called an assembly which met in April, 1682, but in obedience to orders from England to await Lord Culpeper's arrival he adjourned it before it could adopt a law for a cessation of planting, whereupon many planters in Gloucester, New Kent and Middlesex assembled together and going from place to place riotously cut up the tobacco plants. Chicheley called out the militia and promptly suppressed the disturbances, but issued a general pardon to all who would behave peaceably. Major Robert Beverley was deemed, however, the real sinner, as he was prominent in urging the cessation of panting. Therefor, Chicheley had him arrested, and confined him on shipboard and kept him a prisoner for seven months, finally releasing him under heavy bond to appear when summoned. Culpeper returned in December, 1682, and though he bore instructions to proceed rigorously against the plant cutters, whose action had entailed a heavy loss of English revenue, he imitated Chicheley's clemency by issuing a similar proclamation of amnesty. To placate his masters in England, however, he executed two of the most violent of the ringleaders and threw the blame of his not executing more upon Sir Henry Chicheley, who had forestalled him. Sir Henry had become at this time very old and feeble, and his death occurred not long after Culpeper's arrival. He died at Rosegill, on the Rappahannock, February 5, 1682 and was interred at old Christ Church, Middlesex county. He left no issue.
Culpeper, Thomas, Lord, governor of Virignia from May 10, 1680, to August 10, 1680, and from December 17, 1682, to May 28, 1683, was the eldest son of John Lord Culpeper, whom he succeeded as Baron of Thorseway on the death of the later in 1660. Lord John Culpeper was one of the most eminent friends of Charles I. in the civil war in England, and one of the first acts of Charles II., after the execution of his father, was to grant to him and Henry Bennett, Earl of Arlington, and several other great favorites the Northern Neck of Virginia, lying between the Potomac and Rappahannock river. This grant, after lying dormant during the commonwealth, was revived on the restoration of the king and ultimately became vested by purchase in Sir Thomas Culpeper, who in 1674 received in company with Lord Arlington the benefits of another grant of all Virginia for thirty-one years. Though neither of these grants were intended to interfere with the political government of the colony as it then existed, their provisions, especially those of the latter grant, were so extensive that had they been completely executed little but the shadow of power would have been left to the central authority. Eventually, by purchase Lord Thomas Culpeper possessed himself of both patents and all the privileges and benefits of each. Naturally these grants were very distasteful to the Virginians, and for a long time they paid no attention to the demands of the patentees and of Culpeper, and sent various agents to England to protest against them. In 1675 Culpeper obtained from the king a commission to succeed Sir William Berkeley, on his demise, as governor of Virginia, and in May, 1680, he came to Virginia, hoping doubtless to put some life into the privileges of his proprietorship. He brought instruction intended to put the government of Virginia on a more royal basis, but he succeeded in carrying out only a part of his policy. The clerk of the assembly, who had hitherto been elected by that body, became now the appointee of the governor, a permanent revenue was established rendering the salaries of the governor an council independent of the people; and instead of annual meetings of the assembly, the custom of calling it for special occasions and proroguing it from time to time, was begun. In August, not long after the adjournment of the assembly, Culpeper set out for England by way of New England, whereupon, Sir Henry Chicheley reassumed the government. Culpeper was absent for more than two years from Virginia, during which time, on account of the low price of tobacco, the Plant Cutters rebellion occurred. Culpeper was ordered by the king to return to his charge, and he arrived in Virginia December 17, 1682, but found the rebellion already suppressed by Sir Henry Chicheley. To serve as an example, he, however, executed two of the ring leaders, and continued under bond for his appearance Major Robert Beverley, clerk of the assembly, who had been arrested by Sir Henry Chicheley as the chief instigator.Before leaving England he had received fresh instructions aimed at the rights and liberties of the assembly, but Culpeper declined to oppose himself to the popular will on most of the questions. The assembly, however, lost its power as the court of appeals, and the council, by order of the crown, was made the court of last resort, except in cases of £300 value, when an appeal might be made to the privy council in England. Culpeper soon gave the king and his advisers an opportunity of punishing him and replacing him with a more efficient instrument of tyranny. Directly in face of an order of the council forbidding him to receive any presents, he accepted large sums of money from the assembly, and contrary to another express order forbidding any colonial governor from absenting himself from his government without special leave, he returned a second time to England after a stay in the colony of only about five months. He was at once deprived of his office, and Lord Howard of Effingham dispatched to succeed him. A year later he sold the larger share of his Virginia rights to the crown for an annuity of £600 for twenty years, retaining only the portion of the territory called the Northern Neck, which was now confirmed to him by a patent from the crown dated September 27, 1688. While governor, however, he made a little headway in bringing the residents of the Northern Neck to submit to him as proprietor, and for many years after his death, which occurred in 1690, the inhabitants continued indifferent. It was not til 1703, when Robert Carter became the managing agent, that the people began to patent lands in his office. The proprietor then was Thomas Lord Fairfax, who before 1692 married Katherine, Lord Culpeper's only daughter, and heiress by his wife, Lady Marguerite Hesse.