Adam Thorowgood was the seventh son of William Thorowgood and Anne Edwards of Norwich, England. He was baptized in 1581 at the parish church of St. Botolph’s in Grimston, Norfolk, England, where his father was the Vicar. He arrived in Virginia in 1621 at the age of eighteen on the Charles.
In 1624 he was living in Elizabeth City as an indentured servant. By December 1626 he had gained his freedom and purchased 150 acres of land in Elizabeth City as “Captain Adam Thorogood, Gent., of Kiquotan.” He rose in the ranks of society and in 1627 was named a commissioner of Elizabeth City’s court. That same year he returned to England where he married Sarah Offley, 18 July 1627, at St Anne’s Church, Blackfriars, London. Adam and his new wife returned to Virginia.
In 1628/29, Adam Thorowgood was appointed as one of the commissioners for holding monthly courts in Elizabeth City, served as burgess for Elizabeth City in 1629 and for the Lower Part of Elizabeth City in 1630-1632, and in 1637 was a member of the Council. He was also then a member of the Lower Norfolk County Court and a vestryman for Lynnhaven Parish. In addition to his public service, Adam patented an additional 400 acres in Elizabeth City County on 21 March 1634/35.
A letter dated 6 August 1634 from the Privy Council to the governor recommended Adam Thorowgood, Gent., be granted more land for special services to the colony; it was on “the Chesapeakean River to the southward of the Bay, where it may be most convenient for him.” Adam Thorowgood’s patent on 24 June 1635 for 5350 acres at Lynnhaven was in the area which became Lower Norfolk County, “due him” for the transportation of his wife Sarah and 105 persons into the colony between 1628 and 1634. Capt. Thorowgood and his family moved from the north side of Hampton Roads to Lynnhaven, where about 1634.
1635 he began construction of a brick house built on a precipice overlooking a stream. Adam’s great grandson Argall built a house on this land in 1719 that architectural historians date as the 17th oldest building in Virginia. Today Argall Thorowgood’s house, located in Virginia Beach, is a museum that pays tribute to Adam Thorowgood’s “success” in America. Adam Thorowgood is also credited with naming Norfolk, Virginia, with the name of his baptismal county in England.
Adam Thorowgood made his will on February 17, 1640 and died sometime prior to April 27, 1640, when his will was recorded. He was survived by his wife Sarah; son Adam; and daughters, Ann, Sarah and Elizabeth.
Adam and Sarah and some of their children were buried in the Lynnhaven Church cemetery. When the Lynnhaven River changed course, the cemetery and the remains of the church were engulfed by water. A Colonial Dames XVII marker near the church site states that the founder of Lower Norfolk County is buried under the waters off shore.
First Mississippi Company Descendants of Adam Thorowgood: Pandra Kay Parker, Carl Haring, Hannah Sharp
Twentieth 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.
Captain Edmund Scarburgh (Scarborough) was born in 1584 in North Walsham County, Norfolk, England. The Scarborough family originated in Yorkshire in a town named Scarborough on the North Sea dating back to the Anglo-Saxon period. Captain Scarburgh was graduated from Caius College of Cambridge University, becoming a barrister and later an army captain.
In 1621 he emigrated to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, but did not bring his family to the New World until 1628. He served as the first Justice of Accomack and as a Burgess in the General Assembly in 1629, 1631, and 1632. He died in 1635.
Although Edmund Scarburgh had been well educated in England and became a leader in Virginia politics, his two sons—Charles and Edmund—were perhaps even more successful and better known.
Sir Charles Scarborough returned to England, where he became a mathematician and member of the Royal College of Physicians. He served as the court physician to King Charles II, the Duke of York (later King James II), King William III and Queen Mary II, and Prince George of Denmark.
Colonel Edmund Scarburgh, Captain Scarburgh’s other son, was a very wealthy and powerful leader in Accomack County. He owned thousands of acres of land in Virginia and Maryland, becoming known as the largest individual landholder in the colony at one time. He was called “Conjurer Scarborough,” a name attesting to his power and unscrupulousness.
The spelling of the “Scarborough” name was changed to “Scarburgh” in America.
First Mississippi Company Descendant of Edmund Scarborough: Donna Davis Lane
To Our Contributors
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