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James City County (formally, the County of James City) is a county located on the Virginia Peninsula in the Hampton Roads region of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state of the United States. Its population is 61,249 (as of 2007), and it is often associated with Williamsburg, an independent city which is the county seat, and Jamestown which is within the county. As of 2004, the median household income is $66,180.
First settled by the English colonists in 1607 at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, the County was formally created in 1634 as James City Shire by order of King Charles I. James City County is considered one of only five original shires of Virginia to still be extant today in essentially the same political form. The Jamestown 2007 celebration marked the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.
In modern times, the county is a popular site for relocating retirees, and is home to the Busch Gardens Europe theme park, the massive Kingsmill Resort, and the Williamsburg Pottery Factory. The Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement attractions combine with Colonial Williamsburg, and are linked to Yorktown by the National Park Service's bucolic Colonial Parkway, to make worldwide tourism to the Historic Triangle a major economic activity for the county.
17th & 18th centuries
The Virginia Company of London was granted a proprietorship (charter) by the King James I of England to attempt to establish a colony in the area we now know as Virginia. England had been at war with Spain and was seeking both capital funds and income in the form of royalties. In December, 1606, 3 ships set sail from England, led by Captain Christopher Newport. Upon reaching the New World at Cape Henry, they selected a site to settle about 40 miles (64 km) inland from the coast along a river to be better protected from attacks by sea from other Europeans. Soon after the establishment of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607 in the new Colony of Virginia, English settlers first explored and then began settling more of the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads and along the James River.
The first five years were very difficult, and the majority of the colonists perished. In 1612, imported strains of tobacco cultivated in Virginia by colonist John Rolfe were successfully exported and a cash crop had been identified.
In 1619, the Virginia Company of London instituted a number of changes, to help stimulate more investment and attract settlers from England. In the long view, foremost among these was the establishment of what became the House of Burgesses, the first representative legislative body in the European settlement of North America, predecessor of today's Virginia General Assembly. Also in 1619, the plantations and developed portions of the Colony were divided into four "incorporations" or "citties" (sic), as they were then called. These were (east to west) Elizabeth Cittie (initially known as Kecoughtan), James Cittie, Charles Cittie, and Henrico Cittie. Each "cittie" covered a very large area. Elizabeth Cittie not only included land on both side of the James River, but most of what we now know as South Hampton Roads and also included Virginia's Eastern Shore.
The Virginia Company's "James Cittie" stretched across the Peninsula to the York River, and included the seat of government for the entire colony at Jamestown Island. Each of the four "citiies" extended across the James River, the major thoroughfare of commerce for the settlers, and included land on both the north and south shores. With the incentives of 1619, many new developments, known as "hundreds" were established.
Cavaliers And Pioneers Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623-1666 – Abstracted and Indexed by Nell Marion Nugent, Virginia Land Office, Richmond, VA. – Volume One.
THOMAS CROMPE, 500 acs. James Co., 28 Sept. 1633, p. 287. In the neck of land bounding E. on a Cr. which runs between the Gleab land & sd. neck , W. upon a Cr. between sd. Neck & land in the tenure of Thomas Phillips, S. adj. land belonging to the Orphans & heirs of Mr. Richard Buck. 50 acs. for his own per. adv. & 450 acs. for trans. of 9 pers: Jno. Gowing, Roger Arnwood, Robt. Ackerman, Fr. Peale, Jon. Abott, Lewis Depoma, Peter Brill, Wm. Mallett, Tho. Trunchfeild.
From: The Library of Virginia at www.lva.virginia.gov
|Misc. Reel 609|
|Title||Petition of Phillip Gowen, 1675 June 16.|
|Other Title||Colonial Papers.|
|Gen. note||Colonial Papers - Box 142, Folder 2.|
|Original document located in Vault.|
|References||Salmon, John S., comp. A GUIDE TO STATE RECORDS IN THE ARCHIVES BRANCH OF THE VIRGINIA STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1985.|
|Summary||Contains a petition from Phillip Gowen (Corven), a negro, to Governor William Berkeley asking for freedom from his master Charles Lucas. Gowen contends that he was the servant of Amye Boazlye of James City County who granted him his freedom in her will of 9 April 1664 after he served her cousin Humphrey Stafford for eight years. Stafford sold the remainder of Gowen’s time to Charles Lucas who compelled petitioner to serve three years longer than required.|
|These colonial papers are a collection of loose papers more closely connected by age than by any other single factor that consist largely of records kept by the clerk of the colonial council, House of Burgesses, the governor and other officials, relating to county as well as colony-wide government. The records of the colonial government have, for the most part, been destroyed by wars, fires, and early neglect. This collection of loose colonial papers is arranged in chronological order, in fifty-three folders. The collection consists of petitions to the governor or House of Burgesses, court records, orders, summonses, patents, accounts, proceedings, returns, grants, proclamations, addresses, certificates and correspondence.|
|Cite As||Virginia (Colony), Colonial Papers, Petition of Phillip Gowen, 1675 June 16. Accession 36138. State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.|
|Other Format||Also available on microfilm (Misc. Reel 609).|
|Biog./Hist. Note||The history of Virginia’s colonial government is divided into two significant phases by the date of May 24, 1624, when the charter of the Virginia Company of London was revoked by the crown. Prior to that date the colony had been run as a private corporation with final authority resting in the hands of the stockholders; afterwards, it was a royal colony with all the trappings and institutions of government that such a status required. The Grand Assembly, begun in 1619, evolved into the House of Burgesses by 1642, governors and lieutenant governors were sent to the colony as the king’s viceroys, regular courts were established, and a complex system of government was developed to lead and protect the growing colony.|
|Finding Aid||Item listing available in repository.|
|Subject - Personal||Boazlye, Amye|
|Subject - Corporate||Virginia. Council.|
|Virginia. General Assembly. House of Burgesses.|
|Virginia. Governor (1660-1677 : Berkeley)|
|Subject - Topical||Slaves -- Virginia -- 17th century|
|Subject -Geographic||James City County (Va.) -- History -- 17th century.|
|Virginia -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775|
|State government records -- Virginia.|
|Added Entry||Berkeley, William, Sir, 1605-1677|
|Added Entry||Virginia. Council.|
|Virginia. General Assembly. House of Burgesses.|
|Virginia. Governor (1660-1677 : Berkeley)|
|Series||State government records collection; 36138.|
|holdings (1)||All items|
Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Series 2, Vol. 4
James City County, Virginia 1634-1904
Compiled and published by Rev. Lindsay O. Duvall
Mihil Gowree, 30 or 40 acres, scituate in Mchants hundred parrish in James Citty Co., formerly belonging to John Turner Dec’d. and by him purchased of Capt. Rich Barnehouse and lately found to escheat, and by a Jury for sd. County under hand and seale of Coll. Miles Carey, 20 Dec. 1666, & now granted to sd. Gowree, 8 Feb. 1668.
Tho: Charles of Jas. City Co., one island of Marsh, 115 acres, lying over Chickahominy River opposite to the Land he now dwells & is bounded South Westerly by the up(p)er Gulph of the sd. River & on all other sides by the River. The sd. Land being due unto the sd. Tho: Charles by & for ye Importation of 3 psons, 23 Oct. 1690.
Mr. Ellis Perry and Joanna Gon: Wm. Downes (the punctuation as of the __)
Inqusition, Jas. City, 11 Sept. 1717 … It appears that Mihil Goen late of the said County of Jas. City dyed seised of 30 or 40 acres … Escheat … Survey, 24. Nov. 1708, by Christopher Jackson Surveyor of Jas. City Co., is found to contain 37 acres and whereas Robert Hubbard of the aforesaid County of Jas. City hath made humble suit … granted … unto the said Robert Hubbard … in Yorkhampton parish, Jas. City Co., and bounded as followeth, to wit, beginning at a corner between Mihil Goen (,) Robert Hubbard & ffrancis Moreland and running South … to a beach tree standing at the head of beach Spring it being a corner tree between Graves Pack, ffrancis Moreland and Michael Gowen the person from whom this land is escheat thence down the said beach Spring branch according to the meanders thereof until it meets with Green Swamp thence up the said Swamp according to the sundry courses thereof unto a place called the horse bridge thence South … to the place begun at. 22 Jan 1718.
Record submitted by Cindy Young
The Library of Virginia
Land Office Patents & Grants/Northern Neck Grants & Surveys : Catalog Card
Hubbard, Robert 2 Jan 1718 James City County
37 acres escheat land. From Mihil Goen. Beg.g at a corner between Mihil Gowen, Robert Hubbard and Francis Moreland
Land office Patents # 10, 1710-1719, p. 415 (Reel 10)