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
2/26/2019 09:04:05 pm
Love the blog about the members of the burgesses...
3/2/2020 09:08:30 am
I am tracing my Smith ancestry presently and found a family connection to Joseph Crowshaw, but I am a little confused about what I am reading at so many online links. One link has the first wife of Raleigh Crowshaw as 'Unknown Native American Woman' but gives her the name of 'Rachel'. The link states that Joseph Croshaw is not the son of the second wife of Raleigh Croshaw because that wife didn't come to America until after Joseph was born. I would appreciate any facts about this branch of the Croshaw family.
3/2/2020 10:41:32 am
The best source for researching Raleigh Croshaw is The Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 4th edition, volume 1 by John Dorman. The name of Raleigh's wife is unknown. It appears he married an English woman, and it is unknown if he had more than one wife.
3/2/2020 11:38:46 am
Karen Moore Krohn
12/26/2021 11:53:01 am
Hello Debra, while I have no specifics to offer at this time, you'll want to be aware that when English settlers married Native American women during this period, those wives were generally first assigned "Christian" names. For this reason it would be no suprise if in fact this Rachel were Native American. Note, for example, that Matoaka (best known to us as Pocahontas) had converted to Christianity and was renamed Rebecca before she married John Rolfe.
Jennifer Brawn Gittings
9/29/2020 05:23:52 pm
Hello! There appears to be a mistake on your page. By my count, Joseph Croshaw had seven children, not six. The daughter who married Robert Blackwell, Mary, Rachel, Unity, Benjamin, Joseph (born to his first wife), and Joseph (born to his fifth wife, Mary Bromfield). I noticed because I am descended from Unity Croshaw, and her number should be 4, not 3 (which is also assigned to Rachel).
1/18/2023 04:18:09 pm
Hi Jennifer! I'm a descended of Unity Croswell as well. This has thrown me because of the name changes and also because there appears to be both a Unity and an Ursula Croshaw. Then of course different spellings of the last name, different marriages and so on...I'm going in circles.
9/30/2020 04:12:16 pm
Jennifer, I am so happy that you posted this comment.
10/18/2020 01:26:25 pm
I’ve been doing research and recently did my DNA test and it’s confirmed that I’m a descendent! Thanks for this info 💝
Cathryn S Todd
1/28/2021 09:49:28 am
I have been researching my family tree which shows Captain Rawley Chroshaw (there are various spellings of his name) as our ancestor. I wish to have all family tree lineages factual. I have came to a "dead end" with being able to list his wife name. There is so much controversy without clear evidence. I searched many ships' passengers list, including the "Bona Nova" 1618 - 1620 as many say his wife arrived later,, there is no mention on any of these ships of a wife for Raleigh Croshaw arriving from England. Some mention her name was Rachel, others say "Unknown". However, it is not possible for a person to have sons, without a wife/mother. Really is frustrating. It has been noted on my family tree that we are related to Pocahontas, and DNA shows I have Native American blood,, yet there is no evidence of the Mother's name.
8/26/2022 04:23:49 pm
Mary Croshaw was not married to Henry White, the Quaker, but to a different Henry White, who was born about 1631 and died in Marston Ph., York County, Va, on 20 Dec 1671. Many genealogies confuse the 2 Henry Whites, both had wives named Mary.
Jon T Foster
3/24/2022 10:58:07 am
I have cross reference othe ancestry family trees with mine to show Raliegh as my 11th GGF and Joesph as my 10th. Joseph first wife is unknown but thru DNA link her to be 1st cousin of Pocahantas. I'd love to know more people in this family tree.
Jennifer Harris Wolff
12/29/2022 10:40:39 pm
Joseph Croshaw is also my 10th greatgrandfather, with Raleigh as my 11th as well. I am a descendant of Joseph's daughter with his unknown first wife. This daughter married Robert Blackwell. My name is Jennifer Harris Wolff. I am on My Heritage and Familytree DNA as Jennifer Wolff, and my GEDmatch number is BJ5454014.
1/19/2023 10:34:41 pm
This making my brain hurt 😞 😫 I need answers I'm also related to crowshaw by unity crowshaw who married John West had daughter Anne West and so forth so who is unity mother I'm confused why this confusing mess 🤣
Elizabeth M. Johnson
3/1/2023 12:38:41 pm
Same here, does anyone have conclusion information on who Unity's mother was? I'm seeing conflicting information stating both Rachel Powhatan and Elizabeth Yeardley.
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