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
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