Fourteenth in a series of biographical sketches on Burgesses whose descendants belong to the First Mississippi Company; in honor of the 400th anniversary of the July 30, 1619, meeting of the first representative governmental body in America at the 1617 Church on Jamestown Island.
Robert Ellyson, born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, was in St. Mary’s Hundred in Maryland from 1642-1644 and also was an absent freeman of Kent in 1642 with land likely located on Kent Island. He was a practicing physician and also the sheriff of St. Mary’s County, Maryland.
By February 1646, he was practicing law in York County, Virginia, and also resided at various times in James City and Gloucester Counties. He was elected as a burgess from James City County in 1655/56 and again in 1663. He was the sergeant-at-arms for the General Assembly and was appointed to a committee to examine the election of burgesses newly returned to the Assembly. He was also the High Sheriff of James City County and was listed among the justices of the Gloucester County Court in 1656. He was appointed in 1660 to a committee of the Council and Assembly to make plans to build a state house.
He held the rank of Captain, Major, Lt. Colonel, and Colonel in the militia, though not necessarily in the correct rank sequence. In the spring of 1664, he was ordered to accompany Edmund Scarborough, the Surveyor General of Virginia, to Manakin to confer with the commissioners about the boundary dispute with Maryland.
By the mid 1660’s, Ellyson owned land in James City County on Ware Creek and patented land in New Kent County on the narrows of the York River in 1657. At the same time, he patented 200 acres in James City County on the east branch of Burchen Swamp; his son later re-patented these tracts of land.
The name of Robert Ellyson’s wife cannot be proved, but most printed accounts claim that she was probably Elizabeth Gerrard, the daughter of Dr. Thomas Gerrard. The Gerrard name was used for several generations of Robert Ellyson’s descendants. Elizabeth Ellyson was present as a sponsor in 1658 at the baptism of William Randolph, son of Henry Randolph, in James City. The marriage of Robert and Elizabeth Ellyson probably occurred in the mid-1650’s.
Robert Ellyson had two known children: (1) Gerrard Robert Ellyson, born about 1658; and (2) Hannah Ellyson, wife of Anthony Armistead, born by or before 1660. When Gerrard Robert Ellyson recorded the patent his father had made in 1657 for 577 acres in New Kent County, he identified himself as “sonne and Heire” of Robert Ellyson. In July, 1698, Hannah Armistead deeded land that was given by her father, Robert Ellyson, to her son-in-law, John West.
Gerrard Robert Ellyson, orphan of Major Ellyson, was under age in Oct 1672, when the James City County court ordered that Mr. Thomas Viccars be his guardian. Whether Hannah was older is not certain, but she had a son-in-law by 1698.
Dr. Robert Ellyson continued to practice medicine his entire life and died 28 Sep 1681 in James City County, Virginia.
First Mississippi Company Descendants of Dr. Robert Ellyson: Rev. Janin Ryniker Goff, Dr. Michael Lee Davis
Thirteenth in a series of biographical sketches on Burgesses whose descendants belong to the First Mississippi Company; in honor of the 400th anniversary of the July 30, 1619, meeting of the first representative governmental body in America at the 1617 Church on Jamestown Island.
Major Joseph Crowshaw was the son Captain Raleigh Crowshaw, an Ancient Planter, a member of the London Company, an Adventurer, and a Burgess from Elizabeth City County. Raleigh arrived in Virginia in 1608 on the Second Supply to Jamestowne and settled on Middle Plantation, in the area that later became Williamsburg. Raleigh’s wife’s name is unknown; she arrived in Virginia on the Bona Nova in 1620. Raleigh was a member of the Virginia Company of London and, alongside Captain John Smith, fought the Indians led by Opechancanough.
Joseph Crowshaw, born about 1612, may have been educated in England; he became a lawyer and a justice of the court in York County; represented York as a member of the House of Burgess in 1659/60; and represented York in the Assembly in 1656, 1659, and 1660. In 1656 he was also the Sheriff in York County. Joseph was also an ardent Royalist who opposed the rule of Oliver Cromwell.
As a planter, Joseph Crowshaw patented many tracts of land: 600 acres on the Charles River in York County; 1350 acres on the south side of the York River; 1000 acres at Poplar Neck plantation in present-day Williamsburg, near the land of his brother Richard Crowshaw.
Joseph Crowshaw married five times and had six children by two of his wives. The name of his first wife is unknown, but they had the following children: (1) a daughter whose name is unknown but who married Robert Blackwell and had two sons named Robert and James; (2) Mary Crowshaw, who first married Henry White and then Thomas Taylor; (3) Rachel Crowshaw, who first married Ralph Graves, and then Richard Barnes; (3) Unity Crowshaw, who married Colonel John West; (4) Benjamin Crowshaw, who died young; and (5) Joseph Crowshaw, who died young.
Joseph Crowshaw next married these women: (2) widow Finch; (3) Anne Hodges, widow of Augustine Hodges; (4) Margaret Tucker, widow of Daniel Tucker; (5) Mary Bromfield, widow of Thomas Bromfield, who bore Joseph a son named Joseph [II].
Joseph Crowshaw died 10 Apr 1667 in York County. He mentioned his wife Mary and infant son Joseph [II], and his two sons-in-law John West and Ralph Graves. His son named Joseph [II] by his last wife Mary died at age 15; and, according to the provisions of his will, his estate went to John West, Unity’s husband. The inventory of Joseph’s estate included pewter and silver and 1,000 bricks manufactured by his servants or transient labors.
First Mississippi Company Descendants of Joseph Crowshaw: Walter Granville Jordan
Twelfth in a series of biographical sketches on Burgesses whose descendants belong to the First Mississippi Company; in honor of the 400th anniversary of the July 30, 1619, meeting of the first representative governmental body in America at the 1617 Church on Jamestown Island
David Crawford was born circa 1625 in Scotland, emigrating to the Virginia Colony with his father, John Crawford, around 1643. His father was later killed in Bacon's Rebellion of 1676.
Crawford received a land grant in the Parish of Martin’s Hundred, James City County, as early as 7 Aug 1667. He later settled in that part of St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent, which ultimately became St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County; here he patented land in 1672, naming his plantation Assasquin. On 23 Jan 1687, Crawford was elected to the vestry of St. Peter’s Parish, an office he held until the division of the parish in 1704, after which he served as a member of the vestry of the new St. Paul’s Parish. He served as one of the two church wardens of St. Peter’s from 1698 to 1700.
During the first session of the Assembly of 1691-1692, an Act was passed creating King and Queen County from New Kent, and Burgesses from both counties were elected for the second session this this assembly. Crawford was one of the two Burgesses elected for New Kent and took his seat in the House of Burgesses on 01 Apr 1692. He was instrumental in enacting legislation requiring Clerks of County Courts to maintain offices in their respective Court Houses.
An act in Henning’s Statutes-at-Large shows David Crawford deeding the Assasquin estate of four hundred acres to his grandson William Meriwether. He granted 200 acres in St. Paul’s Parish to another grandson, David Meriwether, in 1697. He amassed many acres of land and operated a large plantation that eventually became part of the site of Richmond, Virginia, in the 17th Century.
The name of David Crawford’s wife is unknown; however, he married and had several children: Elizabeth who married Nicholas Meriwether, a daughter who married a Lewis, Angelina who married a McGuire, John, and Sarah. As an elderly man, he was allegedly killed by the Pamunkey Indians about 1710 in New Kent County, Virginia.
Note: An excavation of the site of David Crawford's fortified home began In 2010.
First Mississippi Company Descendants of David Crawford: Kenneth Holt Oilschlager
Eleventh in a series of biographical sketches on Burgesses whose descendants belong to the First Mississippi Company; in honor of the 400th anniversary of the July 30, 1619 meeting of the first representative governmental body in America at the 1617 church on Jamestown Island
Joseph Bridger was elected as a Burgess to represent Isle of Wight County in 1658. Who was this man?
Joseph Bridger, born in 1628 in the Parish of Dursley, England, was the son of Samuel Bridger. A dedicated Royalist, Bridger came to Virginia about 1655, at a time when those supporting King Charles II in exile in France were fleeing England to escape Cromwellian persecution or possibly death. He did well in Virginia, and settled below Jamestowne, south of the James River, and probably patented more land than any other resident of Isle of Wight County during the 17th century.
Bridger was chosen to represent Isle of Wight County in the House of Burgesses in the session of 1658. After 1661, he filled the position without interruption until about 1672. As a Burgess, he received 250 pounds of tobacco for each day the assembly was in session in Jamestowne. In 1664, Captain Bridger and two other commissioners were sent to Chesapeake Bay to settle the dispute of a claim by the State of Maryland over a county line.
He attained the rank of colonel in 1672 and in 1673, at the age of 45, became a member of the Council of State and General Court of the aging Virginia governor, Sir William Berkeley.
Bridger was destined to take an active part in a series of historic events in Virginia history. With the governor's authorization he formed a 500-man army to fight the Indians who threatened the farmers. But Colonel Bridger never used his militia to protect these farmers because the governor was trading with the Indians for their valuable furs. Lacking government protection, the farmers became rebellious and allied with Nathaniel Bacon, a dissatisfied member of the governor’s Council. Berkeley was forced to flee Jamestowne; and Bacon, who named himself “General by consent of the people,” called Joseph Bridger a “wicked and pernicious councilor” for his continued loyalty to the governor and the King of England. Bridger fled with Berkeley; but Bridger’s son, Joseph Bridger, Jr., cast his lot with Nathaniel Bacon. Bridger disinherited his son and struck his name from his will in a codicil, perhaps because of their political differences.
While in exile, Bridger witnessed the governor’s will and was appointed by the King to continue as a member of the Council. Berkeley was instructed to rebuild Jamestowne, burned by Nathaniel Bacon, and asked to have each Council member build a home there. By 1682, Joseph Bridger’s house was completed, and the Council met in his new home on the afternoon of November 25 that year.
Colonel Bridger’s will was dated 03 August 1683 and probated 08 May 1686 in Isle of Wight County. In it he named his mother, Mrs. Mary Bridger; his wife, Hester (Pitt) and children: Joseph, Samuel, William, Martha, Mary and Elizabeth. Bridger was buried at his plantation named “Whitemarsh”; but in 1894 his body was moved to the chancel of the Old Brick Church near Smithfield.
First Mississippi Company Descendants of Joseph Bridger: Janice (Joy) Willis Herron, Cynthia Walker Kennedy
Tenth in a series of biographical sketches on Burgesses whose descendants belong to the First Mississippi Company; in honor of the 400th anniversary of the July 30, 1619, meeting of the first representative governmental body in American at the 1617 Church on Jamestown Island
Christopher Branch served as a Burgess from Henrico County, VA. Who was this man?
Christopher Branch was about 22 years old when, in March 1619/20, he and wife Mary Addy embarked on the London Merchant for Virginia. He is listed in 1624 as living on the “College Land” in present Henrico County. In the 1624/25 muster, he, his wife and nine-month old son, Thomas, are named in the same location.
In 1634, Christopher Branch of Henrico County was granted a lease on 100 acres. The next year, he patented 250 acres at “Kingsland” adjacent to his leased land using headrights gained for transporting himself and four others. By 1639 his plantation had grown to 450 acres.
By 1640 there was a glut of tobacco on the market. The General Assembly decided to limit the tobacco crop to a percentage per planter and to destroy the remainder. Branch was then a Burgess for Henrico and was named by the Assembly to inspect each planter’s tobacco crop. In 1641 he was again named Burgess and in 1656 he was named a Justice.
His will dated June 1678 and verified by witnesses in February 1682 indicated the general time of his death and that he was still at “Kingsland” at that time. His wife, Mary Addy, died much earlier. They were the parents of three sons: Thomas, William and Christopher.
Christopher Branch was the third great grandfather of President Thomas Jefferson.
First Mississippi Company Descendants of Christopher Branch: Suzanne Worthington Walters, Clayton Walters, Thomas Walters
To Our Contributors
We welcome properly researched contributions of ancestor profiles, vignettes and comments from members that focus on their ancestors’ roles in Jamestown’s history, plus other aspects of their lives, events and experiences in the colony. PLEASE NOTE that all information must be documented and backed up by primary source documents, and not unverifiable information and family and urban legends. Submissions without this backup may be rejected. Please limit contributions and blog entries solely to the ancestors themselves, and do not include subsequent lineage information. Entries should be no more than 400 words.