Finding your Jamestown Ancestor after the Massacre of 1622

No Surviving Records for Jamestown, Virginia

Opechancanough, Chief. Since the marriage of Pocahontas and the accession of Opechancanough to the imperial crown, the Englishmen appeared to be lulled into a fatal security as they became more familiar with the Indians, eating, drinking, and sleeping among them. This sort of friendship afford the Indians the wisdom of the strength of the English and the use of our arms. They knew at all times, when and where to find the people; whether at home, or in the woods; in bodies, or dispersed; in condition of defense, or indefensible. Once this knowledge spread throughout the tribe and the weakness of the English was exposed, a plan was hatched to reduce the size of the colony.

When a popular war captain was justly killed, Opechancanough took affront, and commenced laying out the plot for a general massacre of the English. The occasion was this. The war captain mentioned before to have been killed, was called Nemattanow, a great warrior holding much esteem among his tribe; so much, that they believed him to be invulnerable and immortal He had been in very many conflicts and escaped untouched from them all. He was also a very cunning fellow and took great pride in preserving the superstititious concerning him, for which purpose he would adorn himself with feathers and ornaments. This display caused the English to assign him the nickname of "Jack of the feather. " Nemattanow had negotiated privately with Mr. Morgan for several toys and had persuaded Morgan to go to Pamunky to dispose of them. Nemattanow gave him hopes of good bargains at Pamunky and offered him his assistance. At last Morgan yielded to his persuasion but was never heard of again. It was believed that Nemattanow killed him along the way and took away his treasure. Several days later when Nemattanow returned to the same house wearing the cap of Mr. Morgan upon his head, the Indian was met by two sturdy boys who asked for their master. Nemattanow told them he was dead. But they, knowing the cap, suspected that the Indian had killed their master, and would have had him go before a justice of peace. But the Indian refused and very insolently abused them. Whereupon they shot him down, and while they were carrying him to the governor, he died. As he was dying, he earnestly pressed the boys to promise him two things. First, that they would not tell how he was killed; and, secondly, that they would bury him among the English. He imagined, that being buried among the English perhaps might conceal his death from his own Nation and thus preserve his image. He was pleased with his last gasp of breath as the boys promised not to tell. ... more ....

Middle Plantation (in York County) was founded in 1632 and later (during 1699) became known as Williamburg, Virginia. It was located on high ground about halfway across the Virginia Peninsula between the James River and York River which meant that it was easily accessible from sea. Images of the York County records are found on Virginia Pioneers.net York County is a one place that we might search for a record of our Jamestown ancestor. Here again, it is wise to read all of the old Wills, regardless of the name of the testator, in hopes of finding other relatives of your ancestor and for more clues. Other probable suggestions include searching all of the London parish registers simply because of the wives who were massacred. (My own Jamestown ancestor returned to London 3 times for a wife). The Supply vessels were still delivering goods and passengers to the suffering colony. Another possibility lies in the fact that certain Jamestown residents were Members of the House of Burgess. In 1629, a delegation was sent to London to gain an audience with King Charles I, and to ask for permission to levy a tax on tobacco. My ancestor, Gabriel Holland, went, but was unable to gain an audience because the King refused to convene Parliament. Thus, certain English records concerning the Virginia Burgesses might be available at the UK Archives and are a possibility. Too, if you can locate the old Wills probated during the 1600s in England, that might be the place to locate the origin, etc. of your Jamestown ancestor. Old English Wills Note that the spellings are a bit different. When we find our early immigrant, we are tasked to lengthy studies in history and the old colonial writing!

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