Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gloucester County, VA Early Records

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Native Americans
The recorded history of Gloucester County, located in the first district of the United States, began soon after the settlement of Jamestown in 1607. Prior to that time, it was long-inhabited by the hunter-gatherer groups of Native Americans during the late Woodland Period and earlier. By the late 16th century, the Powhatan Confederacy had been formed in the area. Werowocomoco, a stronghold of Chief Powhatan was located on the north side of the York River, in what is now Gloucester.

Arrival of Europeans
Around 1570, Spanish Jesuits priests attempted to establish what was called the Ajacan Mission across the York River from Gloucester but were eliminated by Natives led by a supposed Christian-convert named Don Luis who was affiliated with a village in current York County (on the gorunds of the current Naval Weapons Station Yorktown) which was known as Chiskiack.

When English settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607, they soon came into conflict with the natives (who they called "Indians") as well. In late 1607, when captured along the Chickahominy River, John Smith was brought to Powhatan at his eastern capitol in Gloucester County, Werowocomoco. According to legend, his daughter, the Princess Pocahontas saved the gallant John Smith from death at the hands of the Indians, and thus, entered the pages of Virginia's history. Some historians question the accuracy of Smith's account of that ceremony, but the existence of Werowocomoco as a capital of Chief Powhatan was confirmed by a later visit when Smith was accompanied by other Englishmen.

Lost Site of Werowocomoco
The site of Werowocomoco was lost during the 17th century, after it was abandoned around 1609, when the chief moved his capital to a safer more inland location. The current site of West Point (a town established at the confluence of the Pamunkey River and Mattaponi River at the headwaters of the York River clearly meets a description in writings of John Smith, and early leader at Jamestown. From there, a distance downstream to Werowocomoco was provided.

It was long thought that Werowocomoco was located near Wicomico, which is the site of Powhatan's Chimney, and is about 25 miles east of present-day West Point, Virginia, based largely upon the mileage figure provided by Smith. However, also according to Smith, when Jamestown was established by the English colonists in 1607, it was 12 miles away from Werowocomoco as the crow flies. The long-thought location near Wicomico is much further from Jamestown than that.

A location some distance from Wicomico on Purtan Bay was first identified in 1977 as the possible location by Daniel Mouer, an archaeologist at Virginia Commonwealth University. An associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Dr. Mouer collected artifacts from the surface of plowed fields and along the beach. He found fragments of Indian ceramic from the Late Woodland/Contact Period and determined that this area was the "possible site of Werowocomoco. [1]

After years of collecting artifacts at ground level, a later landowner authorized additional archaeological exploration. Between March 2002 and April 2003 archaeologists conducted an archaeological survey of a portion of the property. Initial testing included digging 603 test holes, 12 to 16 inches deep and 50 feet apart, where thousands of artifacts, including a blue bead that may have been made in Europe for trading, were found. [2] There, along with historical descriptions, suggest the farm was the site of Werowocomoco. We believe we have sufficient evidence to confirm that the property is indeed the village of Werowocomoco," said Randolph Turner, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources' Portsmouth Regional Office in 2003. [3]

Two Gloucester-based archaeologists, Thane Harpole and David Brown, were instrumental in the work at the site since 2002 and are involved in the excavations there. [1] Starting that year, the Werowocomoco Research Group began excavations at the Werowocomoco site. The Research Group is a collaborative effort of the College of William and Mary, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and Virginia tribes descended from the Powhatans. The excavations have identified a dispersed village community occupied from A.D. 1200 through the early seventeenth century. Artifacts recovered during the excavations include Native pottery, stone tools, as well as floral and faunal remains from a large residential community. The Research Group has also recovered large numbers of English trade goods produced from glass, copper, and other metals originating from Jamestown. The colonists' accounts of interaction at Werowocomoco emphasize Powhatan's efforts to obtain large numbers of English objects, particularly copper, during the early days of the Jamestown colony.

It is notable that, unlike some earlier projects, at this site, the archaeologists and other researchers have carefully incorporated ongoing consultation with members of the local Native American tribes, the Mattaponi and Pamunkey, who are prominent among the decedents of the Powhatan Confederacy, as such sites which include burial artifacts are sacred to these tribes.

"When I step on this site folks...I just feel different. The spirituality just touches me and I feel it." Stephen R. Adkins, chief of the Chickahominy Tribe and a member of the Virginia Indian advisory board [4]

Even through the controversy over years of the purported location of Werowocomoco, Gloucester County has been able to embrace the fact that Werowocomoco and a lot of other significant Powhatan heritage are portions of the county's history. It has been noted that both the newly identified site on Purtan Bay and the site of Powhatan's Chimney at Wicomico, also long-thought to have been the site of Werowocomoco, are each located within an area that the Native Americans may have considered as Werowocomoco. It has been noted in the minutes of the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors that the village of the chief in the Algonquian language was not a place name, but more correctly translated, a reference to the lands where he lived, and the lifestyle included frequent relocations of various quarters within a general area.[5]

English Developments
In 1619, the Virginia Company divided its developed areas into four incorporations, also called "citties" (sic). At that time, most of not all of the area which became Gloucester County would have been considered part of "James Cittie", although essentially not settled. Then, in 1634, by order of King Charles I, the colony was divided into the Eight shires of Virginia. York County was originally named Charles River Shire, to be renamed in 1642 during the English Civil War. (The York River was earlier known to the natives as "Pamunkey" (as a portion upstream from West Point still is) and to the English colonists as Charles River, also renamed during the English Civil War).

Early land patents in the area were granted in 1639, but it was not until after 1644 that Gloucester was considered safe for settlement. George Washington's great grandfather received a Gloucester County land patent in 1650.
Submitted by Jack Goins

Christopher Gowen born about 1659, married Anne unknown. they were living in Gloucester County when son Michael was born in Jan. 1679 ( Abington Parish, Gloucester County register)


From the Virginia Library Patent

Title Gohon, Daniel.
Publication 1 May 1679.
Other Format Available on microfilm. Virginia State Land Office. Patents 1-42, reels 1-41.
Location: Gloucester County.

Description: 100 acres adjoining his own and Henry Prestons land.

Source: Land Office Patents No. 6, 1666-1679 (pt.1 & 2 p.1-692), p. 679 (Reel 6).

Part of the index to the recorded copies of patents for land issued by the Secretary of the Colony serving as the colonial Land Office. The collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia.
Subject - Personal
Gohon, Daniel. grantee.

Preston, Henry.
Subject - Topical
Land titles -- Registration and transfer -- Virginia -- Gloucester County.
Subject -Geographic
Gloucester County (Va.) -- History -- 17th century.
Land grants -- Virginia -- Gloucester County.
Added Entry
Virginia. Colonial Land Office. Patents, 1623-1774.

Library of Virginia. Archives.


Submitted by Cindy Young

The Library of Virginia
Land Office Patents & Grants/Northern Neck Grants & Surveys : Catalog Card

Gowin, Daniel 26 Apr 1698 Gloucester County
52 acres adjoining the land of Henry Preston, Ambrose Dudley and Capt. Ramson
Land office Patents # 9, 1697-1706 (v.1 & 2 p. 1-7420, p. 147 (Reel 9)
From the Library of Virginia

TitleLinkGoing, Mary.
Gen. noteCommissioner’s book(s): III, p. 43.
NotePlace of residence: Gloucester County.
NoteCourt booklet(s): p. iv, 19.
NoteLists: p. 5.
SummaryThe certificates issued by the commissioners of the provision law include date, a description of the item impressed including its value, and the name of the owner of the item. Court booklets and lists compiled by the county courts contain excerpts from the court proceedings and lists of authenticated certificates. The commissioner’s books recorded the date payment was authorized, the name of the claimant, and a description of the property.
Other FormatAvailable on microfilm. Public Service Claims. Court Booklets and Lists (reels 1-4) (arranged by county).
Available on microfilm. Public Service Claims. Commissioner’s Books (Nos. 1-3, reel 5; Nos. 4-5, reel 6).
Biog./Hist. NoteDuring its session begun in May 1780 the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the governor to impress supplies needed by the American army. The governor appointed commissioners of the provision law in each locality to carry out the terms of the act. The commissioner, when he impressed property, gave the owner a certificate describing what was taken. Between 1781 and 1783 county courts held special sessions at which certificates were presented and authenticated, and booklets listing authenticated certificates were compiled and sent to Richmond for settlement. Two commissioners appointed to settle the claims recorded those for which they authorized payment, and warrants were issued by the auditor of public accounts.
Related WorkThese records are part of Auditor of Public Accounts. Administration of State Government: Military Expenditures - Public Claims. Impressed Property Claims and are housed in the Library of Virginia.
Subject - PersonalLinkGoing, Mary.
Subject -GeographicLinkVirginia -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Equipment and supplies.
LinkVirginia. -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Claims
Genre/FormLinkClaims -- Virginia -- Gloucester County.
SubjectLinkGowen, Mary.
Added EntryLinkLibrary of Virginia. Archives.
LinkVirginia. Auditor of Public Accounts (1776-1928). Court Booklets, indexes and lists, 1781-1783.
LinkVirginia. Auditor of Public Accounts (1776-1928). Commissioner’s books, 1783.

System Number001068664

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