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
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