More than 500 Virginia settlers are killed in a major Powhatan uprising. This event touched off a two-year war between the Natives and the Colonists, ending in the capture and executing of Powhatan chief Opechancanough.
Dr. John Woodson, great (x8) grandfather of Lewis & Clark Company Governor John Graves, is among those killed. His two sons, John and Robert, as well as his wife, Sarah, survived with the aid of Robert Ligon who used the doctor's rifle as they fought off the attack from within the Woodson cabin. At the onset of the attack, Sarah hid son John under a large wooden tub and son Robert under the floor in a small root cellar. To this day, Woodson descendants are known as either Tater-hole or Tub Woodsons. Sarah killed one Indian who had climbed down the chimney by dowsing him with scalding hot water and then beating him with a fireplace poker. Now, there is a woman to be admired.
Photo of Dr. John Woodson's rifle used by Robert Ligon is show below.
-John Graves, Jamestowne Society Communication Committee 2018-2019
6/30/2018 10:28:09 pm
I have a correction to the Woodson article. It was Thomas Ligon who was involved in the 1644 massacre, not Robert Ligon. Thomas Ligon came over to the colonies with his 2nd cousin, Governor William Berkeley, when he was 16 years old. He is listed in Plantagenet Ancestry by Richardson.
11/4/2018 02:07:37 pm
thanks for your correction.
Robert Edwin Crain
10/23/2020 12:01:37 am
Thomas Ligon is my 8x Grandfather. Thanks
MICHAEL L MANKIN
2/25/2022 12:15:16 pm
I've been looking for a list of the dead from the '1644 Massacre' and have not been able to find one. Can any one point me in the right direction? Thank you. Mike Mankin
2/7/2023 09:29:03 pm
I am in search of a list too. I'm a descendant of Godfrey Ragsdale looking to confirm that he and his wife Mary were among the dead that day in 1644.
2/14/2023 10:04:40 pm
I'm also looking for the 1644 list of dead. Godfrey I was my husband's 9x grandfather. Has one been found? Thanks!
10/4/2022 12:08:24 am
My dad’s ancestors, Godfrey Ragsdale and all his family except one infant son, were killed in the same massacre of 1644. The infant, Godfrey Ragsdale II was taken in my a neighbor, possible relative, and raised. Along with another orphan baby girl, Rachel Rowlett. The two orphans eventually married.
janis woodruff h
10/22/2022 09:01:14 pm
I am also descended from Godfrey Ragsdale II An orphan baby in the wilds of Virginia. It is hard to imagine almost 400 years later
11/4/2022 10:45:01 pm
I am a direct descendent of Godfrey Ragsdale (8th GGF) & Rachel Rowlett. I'm sure glad those kiddos made it - otherwise, a lot of us wouldn't be here. It was horrific war. I can't imagine the trauma the families experienced.
12/22/2022 08:03:11 pm
Researching Capt Thomas Besson who immigrated with family from Jamestown to Maryland in 1649 He was "head-right" for Robert Freeman in 1634 from England to Jamestown. Besson fought in the 3rd Indian War as a captain. Trying to find more data on this and his life in Jamestowne.
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