Virginia Genealogy Trails
1607 to 1910
GOVERNORS OF THE COLONY 1607-1776.
By the terms of the first charter of the London Company, dated April 10, 1606, there were two governing bodies, or councils. The Council resident in England, appointed by the King, had the chief direction of affairs for the Colony. It named the council to reside in and to control Virginia. Each of these two bodies were empowered to elect one of their own number as Chief Executive or President.
Under the second charter, dated May 23, 1609, the Company was granted the power to choose the Council in England, and select a Governor who was invested with absolute civil and military authority, with the title of "Governor and Captain General of Virginia." This title was the most highly prized honor pertaining to the Colony, and the greater number of its recipients found it purely a sinecure which they had the liberty to enjoy at their leisure, without even the fatigue of a journey across the Atlantic's waters to view their honored charge.
With few exceptions the actual duties of a colonial governor of Virginia were conducted in person within the Colony by those whose title ranked below that of the Governor in Chief and Captain General of Virginia."
The charter provided that in the absence of the Governor and Captain General, authority was to be vested in an appointed Deputy, or Lieutenant Governor, or in the absence of such officers power to act was then vested in the President of the resident Council. The charter of 1612 made changes in the governorship. When the Company's charter was annulled, in 1624, the governors and the resident Council were appointed by the King, and this mode continued while the Colony was under British rule. Then the Council to reside in Virginia was appointed upon the recommendation of the Governor, or Lieutenant Governor.
Sir Thomas Smith, a prominent merchant of London, and one of the assignees of the patents granted Sir Walter Raleigh, was the first President of the Council of the London, or Virginia, Company, and its treasurer resident in London, from 1606 to 1618. Sir Thomas Smith was eminently noted for his ability as a merchant and politician.
The expedition which made the first permanent settlement of the English speaking people in America was under the charge of Capt. Christopher Newport until their seating at Jamestown, May 13, 1607. Newport had in his keeping when he sailed from London, a sealed box given him by the London Company, which contained instructions for the Colony, and the names of those persons whom the Company selected to be the members of the first Council to govern in Virginia. The box was opened upon the arrival of the three ships at Cape Henry, on April 26, 1607, and the names of the Council were read, together with the instructions for selecting a seating place. Newport retained control until the Colony reached Jamestown, then in accordance with their instructions the Council selected one of their number as President, for the term of one year.
Edward Maria Wingfield, was chosen the first President of the Council resident in Virginia, on May 13, 1607. On September 10, 1607, he was deposed from this office because of disagreements with the Council. He returned to England shortly thereafter. He had been a companion of Ferdinando Gorges in the European wars, and was subsequently a captain in the British army in Ireland.
Captain John Ratcliffe, President of the Council in Virginia, from September 10, 1607, to September 7, 1608. His original name was Sicklemore, which in early life he changed to Ratcliffe. In connection with Captain John Smith he was instrumental in deposing Wingfield from the office of President, and subsequently having quarreled with Capt. John Smith he favored hanging the doughty captain after the latter's romantic release from death by Pocahontas because Smith's crew were murdered by Opechancanough upon the occasion of Smith's capture.
In December, 1608, Ratcliffe was forced to return to England with Newport, in fear "lest the company (colonists) should cut his throat" is the reason assigned by Capt. Smith for Ratcliffe's departure. In July following Ratcliffe returned to Virginia in the ship " Diamond." In 1610 while trading with the Indians on the York River he was murdered with twenty-five of his men.
Captain John Smith, President of the Council in Virginia, from September 7, 1608, to October, 1609, when he returned to England to be treated for wounds received by accidental explosion of gun powder while upon his boat in the James River. Elsewhere in this volume is a biographical sketch of this remarkable man.
Captain George Percy, appointed by Capt. John Smith, President of the Council in Virginia, from October, 1609, to May 24, 1610, and on March 28, 1611, was appointed Deputy Governor by Lord Delaware until the arrival of Sir Thomas Dale, May 19, 1611. He was the younger brother of the Earl of Northumberland, in whose honor one of the counties in the "Northern Neck" was named. He was the eighth son of Henry Percy, eighth earl of Northumberland ; born September 4, 1580, and having returned to England on April 22, 1612, he died there in 1632.
He served with distinction in the wars of the Low Countries, and was the author of "A True Relation of the Proceedings and Occurrences of moment which have happened in Virginia from the time Sir Thomas Gates was shipwrecked upon the Bermudas, 1609, until my departure out of the Country, 1612." During his control as President occurred what is known as "The Starving Time," in the colony.
Sir Thomas Gates, Lieutenant General and Deputy Governor, from May 24, 1610, until the arrival of Lord De La Warr, or Delaware, on June 10, 1610.
Sir Thomas Gates was one of the patentees named in the first charter of the London Company, and was a captain in the British army and served in the United Netherlands in 1608.
In company with a fleet of eight other vessels he sailed for Virginia in May, 1609, but his vessel, the "Sea Venture," was carried to the Bermudas by a violent hurricane and there stranded. During the nine months in which he and his fellow passengers were detained upon the Bermudas they constructed two vessels from the remains of the "Sea Venture " and from cedars found upon the island. "When they reached Virginia they found the Colony in a starving condition, and the colonists determined to abandon Virginia. They desired to set sail in Gates' ships for Newfoundland. Their departure was prevented by the arrival of Lord Delaware with his ships loaded with supplies. Gates was sent to England by Lord Delaware for further supplies for the Colony, and in June, 1611, returned to Virginia with six ships, carrying his wife and two daughters, three hundred colonists and supplies. His wife died on the voyage, and his daughters returned to England. He was an earnest advocate of the colonization of Virginia. It is not known where he died.
Sir Thomas West, third Lord De La Warr, or Delaware, was appointed under the new charter of May 23, 1609, "Governor and Captain General of Virginia " for life. He reached Jamestown June 10, 1610, just in time to prevent the few remaining half famished colonists from deserting Virginia forever. He was the first Governor ever appointed for Virginia, and by his timely arrival induced the colonists to return to Jamestown. During his short stay with the Colony he re-stored confidence, order and contentment. On March 28, 1611, he sailed for the Island of Mevis to restore his failing health. He returned thence to England, where he exerted his influence for the betterment of the Colony and aided in securing the third charter for the Company, which was granted March 12, 1612, by the King. He set sail from England to Virginia in March, 1618, and died on the voyage on June 7, in or near the Delaware Bay, which together with the State and river of that name commemorates his name on this continent.
Captain George Percy, who succeeded Captain John Smith upon the latter's return to England in 1609, was left in charge of the Colony, as President of the Council, from the date Lord Delaware left for the Island of Mevis-March 28, 1611, until the arrival of Sir Thomas Dale, on May 19, 1611. Elsewhere is a reference to this gentleman.
Sir Thomas Dale, Acting Governor, under his appointment as "High Marshall," reached Jamestown May 19, 1611, and in August, 1611 was superseded by Sir Thomas Gates.
He was a soldier of distinction in the Low Countries for which he was knighted by King James I. Under his direction a settlement was made named Henrico, on the James River and the first allotment of land-three acres-were made to individual colonists.
In March, 1613, Gates returned to England, and Dale resumed the duties of Acting Governor, until April, 1616, when he returned to England. It was while he was Governor that John Rolfe and Pocahontas were married. Although he had a wife living in England, it is said he sent a proposal through one of his friends to Powhatan, for the younger sister of Pocahontas to become his wife, which offer Powhatan artfully refused.
In 1619, while in England, he was appointed commander of six ships of the East India Company. While fighting against the Dutch he contracted a disease which resulted in his death in 1620.
Captain George Yeardley, as President of the Council in Virginia, upon the departure of Dale was made Deputy Governor from April, 1616 to May 15, 1617, when he was superseded by Captain Samuel Argall, after which he returned to England, and after the death of Lord Delaware, he was knighted Sir George Yeardley by the King to succeed the former as " Governor and Captain General of Virginia." He reached the colony April 19, 1619, and assumed control until superseded by Sir Francis Wyatt on November 8, 1621, and when Wyatt retired on May 17, 1626, Yeardley for the third time was appointed Governor. During his several administrations as Governor there were many important changes for the betterment of the Colony. He acquired much territory for the Colony from the natives by reprisal and purchase. During his second administration he called together the first legislative assembly ever convened on this continent, at Jamestown, on July 30, 1619, and on the following August the first negro slaves ever in the British colonies were brought to Jamestown. He successfully urged the London Company to send wives to the colonists. He died November 10, 1627, deeply regretted by the colonists, who publicly extolled his virtues.
Captain Samuel Argall, succeeded Sir Geo. Yeardley. A sketch of his career before his appointment will be of interest to the reader.
Capt. Argall was born at Bristol, England. His first appearance in the Colony was in July, 1609, in command of a ship load of liquors and provisions for trade with the Colony at Jamestown, and to fish for sturgeon on his private ac-count-against the regulations of the Company. He made several trips across the ocean back and forth from Jamestown to England, carrying provisions for the Colony, and trading with the Indians in Virginia. Upon his first voyage up the Potomac, for purpose of trading for corn, he discovered that
Pocahontas was visiting at the seating place of an Indian chief named Japazaws, said to be her paternal uncle. Argall prevailed upon Japazaws and his wife to entice Pocahontas aboard of his vessel, for which the chief was to receive a copper kettle, and his wife some toys-a looking glass, beads, etc. The plot was successful and Pocahontas was carried to Jamestown, and was so well treated by all the Colony that she became resigned to her captivity, and subsequently married John Rolfe, mention of which is heretofore made. In 1614, under order from Sir Thomas Dale, High Marshal of Virginia, Argall with a vessel of fourteen guns and crew drove the French settlers off Mount Desert, on the Coast of Maine. He carried his French prisoners to England, where he was put upon trial for disturbing peaceful relations between the French and English Colonies. He succeeded in vindicating his actions, and on May 15, 1617, he is found again in Virginia, with the appointment of Deputy or Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Upon his arrival at Jamestown he found "the market place, streets, and other spare places planted in tobacco," which had then become the staple crop of the Colony. He rendered himself so odious to the Colony that he was recalled, and secretly stole away from Virginia ten days before the arrival of Sir George Yeardley-April 19, 1619,-who had been knighted and appointed Governor and Captain General of Virginia, as heretofore stated. It is related that Argall had a moneyed interest in the first cargo of negro slaves to reach Virginia. The fact that he was a relative of Sir Thomas Smith, the President and Treasurer of the Virginia Company in London may account for his successful defense of his many illegal acts. In 1622 he was knighted by King James I and made Admiral in command of several English and Dutch ships. His attempted unsuccessful exploits against the Spaniards through the desertion of several of his English ships broke his heart," and in February, 1626, he died,
Captain Nathaniel Powell, President of the Council in Virginia, was, after the sudden departure of Argall, acting Governor of the Colony from April 9, 1619, until the arrival of Sir Geo. Yeardley, April 19, 1619, as heretofore related. Powell was one of the colonists who came to Virginia in 1607. He accompanied Newport on his voyage up the York River, and was with Capt. John Smith when the latter explored the Chesapeake Bay. It is stated that he compiled Smith's maps of this voyage. During the Indian massacre of 1622, he was murdered with his wife and daughter and several others upon his plantation on the James River.
Sir Francis Wyatt, Governor and Captain General of Virginia, from November 8, 1621-the expiration of Yeardley's term-to May 17, 1626, when he returned to Ireland to attend to his private affairs occasioned by the death of his father there.
He was accompanied to Virginia by nine ships, containing supplies and immigrants. Amongst those of prominence who came with him were his brother, Rev. Hunt Wyatt, William Claiborne, as surveyor, George Sandys, who subsequently translated the first book ever written in Virginia-the Meta-morphoses of Ovid. With Wyatt also came Doctor John Pott, who in a short while became famous as President of the Council in Virginia, and Acting Governor of the Colony, and later was made infamous through being the first person convicted by a jury trial in the colony.
Wyatt brought to the Colony the new constitution, granted July 24, 1621, by which all former immunities and franchises were confirmed. The opening clause of his instructions were: "To keep up the religion of the church of England as near as may be; to be obedient to the King and do justice after the form of the laws of England, and not to injure the natives; and to forget old quarrels now buried." Trial by jury was first granted under his administration and an annual assembly provided. The most important clause in the new constitution was the stipulation that no act of the assembly was to be valid unless it should be ratified by the Virginia Company in London; and no order of the London Company Was to be obligatory in the Colony without the concurrence of the assembly. On March 22, 1622, less than five months after Wyatt assumed the duties of Governor, there occurred the great Indian massacre under the leadership of Opechancanough. Through the direction of this crafty chief, who professed great friendship for the Colony and thereby gained their confidence, the Indians succeeded in murdering 347 of the 1258 colonists then living in Virginia, and but for the friendly warning of a converted Indian, who gave notice on the night preceding the massacre the whole colony would have been put to death. The effect of the massacre was to induce the frightened people to abandon their plantations, and force them into, and near Jamestown, thereby causing much destitution and sickness. Capt. John Smith was then in London and upon learning of the massacre made the offer to the London Company to protect all the settlers from the James to the Potomac rivers with 100 soldiers and 30 sailors. To this offer the Company replied they had not the means to send him to Virginia.
The first "guest house" -tavern for "the exclusive accommodation of strangers" was built in 1621, at Jamestown by Jabez Williams.
Sir Francis Wyatt held three commissions as Governor. During his first administration the Virginia Company of London had their charter annulled by the King-June 16, 1624, and the King recommissioned him, and he was there-fore the first Royal Governor of Virginia, until May 17, 1626, when as heretofore stated, he returned to Ireland.
In November 1639, he again received the appointment of Governor, and served until relieved by Sir William Berkeley, in February, 1642, when he returned to England where he died and was buried at Boxley, Kent, in 1644.
Sir George Yeardley, for the third time was commissioned Governor and Captain General, on March 4, 1626, and resumed the office, May 17, 1626. As stated heretofore, he died the November following.
Captain Francis West, as President of the Council in Virginia, was acting Governor of Virginia from the death of Sir Geo. Yeardley-November, 1626-to March 5, 1629, when he left for England. He was the younger brother of Lord Delaware, born October 28, 1586. He accompanied Newport to Virginia in 1609, and was elected a member of the Council of the Colony in the following August. In November, 1622, he was appointed Admiral of New England, and while holding this position divided his time between the two colonies. While on a visit to England in 1629 he strenously opposed the project of Lord Baltimore to found a colony in Virginia. He returned to Virginia in 1631, and was a member of the Council there in 1633. It is not known when or where he died, though there is a tradition in the family that he was drowned.
Doctor John Pott, as President of the Council in Virginia, succeeded Francis West, Acting Governor, from March 5, 1629, until the arrival of Sir John Harvey, in March, 1630.
Doctor Pott accompanied Sir Francis Wyatt to Virginia in 1621, as his physician, and soon thereafter he was elected a member of the Council in Virginia. During the July following Sir John Harvey's arrival in the Colony, when he superseded Doctor Pott, there occurred the first trial by a jury, and the first conviction under this new law ever in Virginia, during which Doctor John Pott, the former President of the Council, and who was also the former Acting Governor of Virginia, was tried and convicted before the first jury of the Colony, at Jamestown, for cattle stealing.
Sir John Harvey, was commissioned Governor and Captain General of Virginia on March 28, 1628, but did not reach Virginia until March, 1630, when he superseded Doctor John Pott, to April 28, 1635, when he left Virginia for England to answer charges against him made by the Assembly of Virginia. Harvey was said to be the most unpopular of all the royal governors. He made many enemies in the Colony by siding with Maryland in the dispute between that Colony and Virginia for the possession of Kent Island. It was charged that his actions in this contest were venal and dishonestly selfish. Harvey remained in England until April 2, 1636, when he returned to Virginia with a new Commission as Governor and Captain General from the King.
Captain John West, as President of the Council in Virginia was Acting Governor-from April 28, 1635 to April 2, 1636, when Sir John Harvey came again to Virginia, having been reinstated as Governor by Charles I. Harvey administered as Governor until displaced by Sir Francis Wyatt, in November 1639.
Sir William Berkeley, was first commissioned Governor and Captain General, August 9, 1641, and reached Virginia in February, 1642. He continued to administer the duties of Governor until June, 1644, when he visited England and remained there until June, 1645. Richard Kempe acted as Governor during Berkeley's absence. Upon Berkeley's return to Virginia in 1645, he resumed the duties of Governor and Captain General until April 30, 1652, when he was superseded by Richard Bennet, who continued to act as Governor under Cromwell until March 30, 1655, Bennet was succeeded by Edward Digges as Acting Governor, from March 30, 1655 to March 13, 1658, when Colonel Samuel Matthews was elected by the Assembly to succeed Digges. Matthews served until his death in January, 1660.
There was no Governor of Virginia from the death of Matthews until March 23, 1660, when the Assembly re-elected Sir William Berkeley, and the King sent him a commission as Governor, dated July 31, 1660. Berkeley administered the duties of Governor until April 30, 1661, when he went to England at the request of the Colony to protest against the enforcement of the Navigation Act. During his absence upon this occasion Colonel Francis Morryson, or Morrison, acted as Deputy Governor. Berkeley returned to Virginia December 23, 1662, and resumed the duties of Governor until April 27, 1676, when he was recalled by the King upon the urgent request of the most influential men of the Colony. In the meantime Thomas, Lord Culpeper was commissioned by the King, on July 8, 1675, Governor and Captain General of Virginia, for life. Among the important events of Berkeley's administration was the second Indian massacre on April 18, 1644, during which it is estimated there were between 400 and 500 of the colonists murdered. " Bacon's Rebellion," the burning of Jamestown, and the hanging of 23 of Bacon's followers by order of Berkeley, are among the events which made his administration so unpopular that his sovereign, Charles II, when recalling him, said: "The old fool has taken more lives in his naked country than I have taken for my father's murder."
His reply to the Commissioners sent from England to inquire into the condition of the Colony is an evidence of his intolerant character. " Thank God!" said he upon that occasion, "there are no free schools or printing presses, and I hope there will be none for a hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world, and printing has divulged these and other libels."
Richard Kempe, who acted as Governor during Berkeley's absence in England from June, 1644, to June, 1645, was a member of the Council in 1642, and its President in 1644. The first fast day, and Thanksgiving day ever in the Colony was ordered during Kempe's administration, at Jamestown on February 17, 1645. It was enacted by the Assembly "For God's glory and the publick benefit of the Collony to the end
that God might avert his heavie judgements that are now upon us, That the last Wednesday in every month be sett apart for a day of feast and humiliation, And that it be wholly dedicated to prayers and preaching." * * That the eighteenth day of April be yearly celebrated by thanksgiving for our deliverance from the hands of the salvages."
Richard Bennett, who acted as Governor from April 30, 1652, to March 30, 1655, was a Burgess from Warrasquoyoke in 1629, and a member of the Council in 1642. Because of his Puritan religious beliefs he left Virginia for Maryland to escape persecution. From thence he went to England, and in 1651 returned to Virginia as one of the Parliament's Commissioners to effect the reduction of the Colony under Cromwell. He was elected Governor by the Assembly, and subsequently sent to England as Agent to represent Virginia's interests before Parliament. In 1666 he was made Major General and given command of the greater number of the militia of the Colony. In the following year he served as Commissioner to Maryland in the endeavor to regulate the cultivation and sale of tobacco. The names of Randolph, Lee, Beverley, Bland, and Harrison are among those of his descendants through intermarriages. He was the owner of Wayanoak and Kicquotan plantations on the James.
Edward Digges, was elected President of the Council in Virginia by the Assembly March 30, 1655, as Governor, under Cromwell, succeeding Bennet until March 13, 1658, when he went to England as one of the agents of the Colony. He was the younger son of Sir Dudley Digges, of Chilham, County Kent, England, where he was born in 1620. He died at his family seat "Bellefield," eight miles from Williamsburg, Va., March 15, 1675. He left a family of seven daughters and six s0ns. Several of his descendants became prominent members of the Colony.
Colonel Samuel Matthews, President of the Council under Cromwell, was elected Governor by the Assembly on March 13, 1658. He served until his death in January, 1660. He was first a member of the Council in 1629, where he served for many successive terms. He was County Lieutenant of Warwick County. In 1630 he built the first fort at Point Comfort, now known as "Old Point Comfort." He was humorously nicknamed the "ancient planter." He was much esteemed by the Colony for his honesty and capability as a public servant.
Colonel Samuel Matthews was the last of the Governors under the reign of Cromwell. He was elected by the Assembly on March 13, 1658, succeeding Digges, who together with Bennet, were the trio of Governors of Virginia during Cromwell's reign.
Major Francis Morryson, or Morrison, was the Deputy, or Lieutenant Governor from the departure of Berkeley to England, April 30, 1661, to the return of the latter to Virginia, December 23, 1662.
Morrison first reached the Colony from London in November, 1649, and soon thereafter Governor Berkeley gave him the command of the fort at Point Comfort. Subsequently he became a member of the Council. In 1656 he was made Speaker of the House of Burgesses. In 1663 he went to England as the Agent of the Colony. He died in London shortly thereafter.
Colonel Herbert Jeffreys was appointed Acting Governor from April 27, 1676, and Captain Robert Walter appointed his Deputy the day following. On November 11, 1676, in consequence of the death of Captain Walter, Jeffreys was re-commissioned as Lieutenant Governor, and continued until his death on December 30, 1678. During his administration he succeeded in effecting a treaty of peace with the Indians in which they acknowledged the power of the Colony by each Indian town agreeing to pay annually to the Governor three arrows for their land, and twenty beaver skins for their protection by the Colony.
Sir Henry Chicheley was appointed Deputy Governor of Virginia December 30, 1678, to the arrival of Lord Culpeper on May 10, 1680. In the following August Lord Culpeper returned to England where he remained until November, 1682. During this absence of Lord Culpeper Sir Henry Chicheley acted as Governor. In 1667 he married the widow of Captain Ralph Wormeley of "Rosegill," Middlesex County, subsequently clerk of Lancaster County. In 1656 he was a member of the House of Burgesses from Lancaster County, and in 1674 a member of the Council in Virginia. He died in 1692, and was buried at Christ Church.
Thomas Lord Culpeper, Baron of Thorsway, on July 8, 1675, was appointed Governor and Captain General for life, but did not reach Virginia until May 10, 1680. He administered the office in Virginia until August, 1680, when he went to England, leaving the management of the office in the charge of Sir Henry Chicheley. In this year, 1680, there was an act of Assembly creating towns in each of the several counties, where tobacco for shipment was to be carried. This act created so much dissatisfaction that on November, 1682, Lord Culpeper was sent to the Colony to quell the opposition to this act. He hung several of the ring leaders, and imprisoned others; amongst the latter was Major Robert Beverley, clerk of the House of Burgesses. Culpeper returned to England on September 17, 1683, and died there in 1719. He was sole proprietor of the lands known as the "Northern Neck," heretofore described in this volume.
Colonel Nicholas Spencer, as President of the Council in Virginia, became the Acting Governor from the departure of Culpeper, until April 16, 1684. Spencer was a member of the Council and its Secretary for many successive terms.
Francis Howard, Baron Effingham, was commissioned Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, September 28, 1683; came to Virginia and exercised the duties of his office from April 16, 1684, to October 20, 1688. On June 23, 1685, he went to Albany to meet the Governor of New York, and to treat with the Indians of the Five Nations, who had been making incursions into Virginia. At this conference the Indians concluded the treaty of peace by presenting to the Governors of New York and Virginia beaver and raccoon skins, and by digging a hole in the earth in which each chief of a tribe buried a hatchet. He returned in about a month. In his absence Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., as President of the Council, administered the duties of Governor. Effingham's administration of the office of Governor caused very great dissatisfaction in the Colony. He endeavored to obstruct the use of the printing press in the Colony. He dissolved the Assembly, and created a new court of chancery, giving himself much power. He greatly increased the number of fees of the Courts, and it is stated that he shared them with the officials. He imprisoned many who complained of his acts. In 1688 upon petitions to the King he was recalled.
Nathaniel Bacon, Senior, as President of the Council, acted first as Governor during the absence of Effingham in Albany, in 1684. Upon the final departure of Effingham to England, October 20, 1688, he was then President of the Council, and as such became the Acting Governor, until October 16, 1690. He was born in 1620, and died March 16, 1693. He was a cousin of Nathaniel Bacon, Junior, who was the leader of "Bacon's Rebellion" during the administration of Sir William Berkeley. Nathaniel Bacon, Senior, held many offices of honor and trust in the Colony. He was at one time Commander-in-chief of York County, and a member of the Council more than forty years.
Sir Francis Nicholson, reached Virginia October 16, 1690, and served as Lieutenant Governor until October 15, 1693, when he was appointed Governor of Maryland, which office he held until December 9, 1698, when he again was commissioned Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, and served until August 15, 1705, when he was recalled by the King. Nicholson's first visit to America was as Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of New York under Sir Edmund Andros in 1686, when all the colonies north of the Chesapeake Bay were formed into one province. His administration of this latter named office was so unsatisfactory that he was forced to leave for England in a hurry.
While Governor of Virginia he proposed the establishment of a postoffice, and recommended the building of a college, in honor of William and Mary, he contributing with the Council about 2500 pounds in money for this object. The result was the charter of William and Mary College in 1693. The seat of government of the Colony was removed by him from Jamestown to Williamsburg, in 1698.
Upon Nicholson's return to England he was commissioned to fight the French in Canada, and subsequently filled the office of Governor of Nova Scotia, from 1712 to 1717, and Governor of South Carolina, from 1721 to 1725. He died in London March 5, 1728.
Sir Edmund Andros, was commissioned Governor of Virginia March 1, 1693, and reached the Colony October 16, following. He served until December 9, 1698, when he was succeeded by Sir Francis Nicholson, as heretofore stated. He was born in London, December 6, 1637. He was distinguished as a soldier in the Dutch wars, and held several important appointments in the British American Colonies, amongst which were that of Governor of the province of New York from 1674 until 1681. He was appointed Governor of the several colonies consolidated to form New England, which included all settlements between Maryland and Canada except Pennsylvania. He made this administration very unpopular, by interfering with the liberty of the press, levied extraordinary taxes, and forced proprietors of lands to obtain from him new titles at great expense. He revoked the charters of the colonies, and it is stated he went to the Council Chamber at Hartford with an armed force, demanding the charter of Connecticut, which could not be found as it was then concealed in the famous "Charter Oak."
The Virginians welcomed him as their Governor at first for the reason he had advocated their request for war supplies. During his administration the William and Mary College was established, and an act was passed organizing a postoffice department for Virginia, with a central and sub-office in each county. Thomas Neale was appointed the first postmaster, and the rates of postage fixed. An act was passed during his administration establishing the first fulling mills in Virginia. Principally because of contentions with James Blair, the first President of William and Mary College, Governor Andros was recalled December 9, 1698, and was succeeded by Col. Francis Nicholson, as stated. From 1704 to 1706 Andros was Governor of Guernsey. He died in London, February 27, 1713.
George Hamilton (Douglas), Earl of Orkney, was appointed Governor-in-chief of Virginia in 1697, which office he held until his death, January 29, 1737. He drew an annual salary as Governor-in-chief of Virginia for forty years, and during that period he never visited America. In early youth he entered the military service, and in 1695 was created Earl of Orkney for his gallantry. He participated in many of the battles in Ireland. He was made a major-general and Knight of the Thistle, by Queen Anne, and was a member of the House of Lords for many years.
Edward Nott, was the successor of Col. Francis Nicholson, as Lieutenant Governor, from August 15, 1705, to his death, August 23, 1706. Among the notable events of his administration was the passage of an act by the Assembly appropriating 3000 pounds for the building of a palace in Williamsburg for the Governor, and the destruction by fire of the William and Mary College. He was buried at Old Bruton Church, Williamsburg, where the General Assembly erected a monument to his memory.
Edmund Jenings, as President of the Council, succeeded Nott as Acting Governor, from August 23, 1706, to June 10, 1710. He was the son of Sir Edmund Jenings, a member of Parliament. In 1696 he was the Deputy Secretary of Virginia, and for many years was a member of the Council. He married Frances, the daughter of Henry Corbin, a name famous in Virginia. His daughter Ariana married John Randolph, Attorney General of Virginia, and his grandson Edmund Randolph became Governor of Virginia and Attorney General of the United States under Washington.
Robert Hunter, was commissioned Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, April 4, 1707, and while on his voyage to the Colony was taken prisoner by the French and carried to Paris, France. Upon his release he returned to England, and was. commissioned as Governor of New York, reaching that Colony in 1710, with about 2700 expatriated Protestants from the palatinate of the Rhine whom he settled on the banks of the Hudson, and as an inducement for a subscription of 15,000 pounds a year for the first two years, he promised that the Colony would send to England tar enough to supply the navy forever. He returned to England in 1719, without ever visiting Virginia. In 1727 he was commissioned Governor of Jamaica, where he died in 1734.
Col. Alexander Spottswood, served as the Deputy Governor of the Earl of Orkney, from June 23, 1710, when he first reached Virginia, until September 27, 1722. His ancestry was of the ancient Scottish family of Spotteswoode, a name which had its origin when surnames first became hereditary in Scotland. His progenitors were distinguished men in the history of Scotland. He was born in 1676, at Tangier Island, Africa; where his father was then physician to the Governor and the English garrison stationed there. When but seventeen years of age, he was an ensign in the Earl of Bath's regiment of foot, and rapidly rose to promotion as Lieutenant Colonel. He was dangerously wounded by the French at Blenheim, while serving under the Duke of Marlborough.
Spotswood was energetic and accomplished much for the benefit of the Colony. When he reached Virginia he found her sea coasts defenseless, and a prey to the pirates who levied tribute, and committed dastardly crimes within the Colony with impunity. He ended this condition of affairs by the capture and execution of the famous pirate Edward Teach. He pleased the Colony by granting the benefit of the habeas corpus act, which had formerly been denied them. He made peace with the Indians and thereby prevented a serious uprising of the powerful Five Nations.
Spotswood was the first of the Governors to encourage the extension of settlements into and beyond the mountain sections of Virginia. With this purpose in view, in 1716, the Governor headed an expedition composed of some of the most prominent gentlemen of the Colony. They spent two months in travel upon horseback, from Williamsburg and return, westward across the Blue Ridge Mountains, and into the beautiful Valley of Virginia. Upon their return the Governor established the "Transmontane Order" or "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe," he giving to each of those who accompanied him a miniature golden horseshoe bearing the inscription, "Sic Jurat transcendere Montes " (thus he swears to cross the mountains). These were given to whoever would accept them, with the understanding that they would comply with the inscription. Notwithstanding this inducement it was not until 1732 that a permanent settlement was made west of the mountains. In that year sixteen families from Pennsylvania under the guidance of a man named Joist Hite, made settlement near the present location of Winchester. The second seating west of the mountains was in 1734 by Ben Allen and three others on the north branch of the Shenandoah about ten or twelve miles south of the present site of Woodstock. The history of the early settlements of the western parts of Virginia is a continuous story of murderous encounters, captures, and reprisals between the bold, savage Indian and the daring, adventurous white settlers.
Upon Spotswood's retirement from the governorship, he engaged in the manufacture of iron. In 1730 he was made deputy postmaster general for the American Colonies, which position he held until 1739. Among the names of his descendants are Aylett, Braxton, Brooke, Berkeley, Burwell, Bassett, Chiswell, Carter, Campbell, Colloway, Cullen, Claiborne, Dandridge, DangeTneld, Dabney, Fairfax, Fontaine, Gaines, Gilliam, Kemp, Kinlock, Lloyd, Lee, Leigh, Macon, Mason, Manson, Marshall, Meriwether, McDonald, McCarthy, Nelson, Parker, Page, Randolph, Robinson, Smallwood, Skyring, Taliaferro, Temple, Theweatt, Taylor, Walker, Waller, Wickham, Watkins.
In 1740 he was commissioned as Major General, and while engaged in collecting his forces for the expedition against Carthagena he died at Annapolis, Maryland, June, 7, 1740. His body was conveyed to Temple Farm, at Yorktown, his former country residence.
Hugh Brysdale, Lieutenant Governor from September 22, 1722, until his death, July 22, 1726. There was no very important event occurring to mark his administration.
Robert Carter, as President of the Council was Acting Deputy Governor from July 22, 1726, until October 13, 1727. Robert Carter was for many years agent for Lord Fairfax, the proprietor of the Northern Neck. Carter was the possessor of large landed estates and thus acquired the sobriquet of "King Carter." He was speaker of the House of Burgesses for several years, treasurer of the colony, and a member of the Council for many years. He built Christ Church in Lancaster County, where his body was deposited upon his death, August 4, 1732.
William Gooch was Lieutenant Governor from October 13, 1727, to June 7, 1740, when he went in command of the expedition against Carthagena, which Spotswood was in charge of at his death. He returned to Virginia in July, 1741, and again resumed the duties of Lieutenant Governor.
During his absence in command of the expedition, the duties of the office of Lieutenant Governor were performed by James Blair, D. D., the first President of William and Mary College. Through his zeal in obtaining contributions of money and donations of land he was of great assistance in the building of this college.
Gooch having returned to Virginia in 1741 remained as Lieutenant Governor until June 29, 1749, leaving John Robinson, who was President of the Council, as Acting Governor.
William Anne Keppel, second Earl of Albemarle, succeeded George Hamilton, Earl of Orkney, as Governor-in-chief of Virginia, September 6, 1737, and held this title until his death in Paris, France, December 22, 1754.
He was born at Whitehall, in 1702, and received his second Christian name from Queen Anne who was sponsor at his baptism. He was a favorite always with the Crown, receiving many appointments therefrom amongst which were that of Captain in 1717 and Lieutenant General in 1743. During June of this latter year he distinguished himself at the battle of Dettingen, Netherlands. In 1745 he was wounded at the battle of Fontenoy.
In 1748 was embassador to France; in 1750 created a Knight of the Garter; was made a member of the Privy Council, and in 1752 was one of the Lords Justices. He was never in Virginia.
James Blair, as President of the Council was Acting Governor from June, 1740, to July 1741. He was the representative of the Bishop of London in Virginia and as such was called Commissary Blair. He also was the founder of William and Mary College in 1693.
John Robinson, as President of the Council, succeeded Sir William Gooch, as Acting Governor from June 20, 1749, to September 5, 1749, when he died. His ancestors settled near Urbanna, Middlesex County, Virginia, where he was born in 1683. His first wife was Catherine, daughter of Robert Beverley, and his second was Mrs. Mary Welsh, of Essex County, Va. His descendants arc connected through intermarriage with many of the famous families of Virginia.
Thomas Lee, as President of the Council upon the death of Robinson was acting Governor from September 5, 1749, until February 12, 1751, when he died.
He was a descendant of Richard Lee, who settled in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was a member of the House of Burgesses for many years. He was the father of six sons who greatly distinguished themselves in the war for freedom. They were Philip Ludwell and Thomas Ludwell Lee, Richard Henry, Francis Lightfoot and William and Arthur Lee. General Robert E. Lee was a descendant in the third generation of Henry Lee, the brother of Governor Thomas Lee, being a son of "Light Horse Harry" Lee.
Lewis Burwell, as President of the Council, was Acting Governor from February 12, 1751, until November 20, 1751. Died in 1752. He was born at the family seat, known as "The Grove," in Gloucester County, Va., in 1710. He was a Burgess from Gloucester County in 1736, and subsequently a member of the Council. His ancestor, Major Lewis Burwell, settled on Carter's Creek in Gloucester County, Virginia, in 1640. In 1646 this ancestor was a member of the delegation sent to invite Charles II to Virginia as its king.
Robert Dinwiddie, was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Virginia on July 20, 1751, but did not reach the Colony until November 20, following. He brought with him his wife, Rebecca (nee Affleck) and their two daughters. He served until January, 1758, when he was relieved at his own request, and returned to England. He was born at the family seat, Germiston, Scotland, in 1693, and died at Clef ton, Bristol, July 27, 1770. His training in official life began in 1727, as Collector of Customs in the Island of Bermuda, which place he held for eleven years. For his efficiency and vigilance in the discharge of his duties in the latter named office, he was rewarded by the appointment of Surveyor General of the Customs of the Southern Ports of the Continent of America, and was also made a member of the respective Councils of the American Colonies.
In 1743, he was commissioned as "Inspector General," to examine into the duties of the Collector of Customs, of Barbadoes, West Indies. He got into bad repute with the Colony by enforcing certain fees for land patents. In 1754 the House of Burgesses sent Peyton Randolph-who subsequently was first President of the Continental Congress-to England, as its agent, bearing a petition to the King for relief from these fees. It was under Dinwiddie's orders that Major George Washington was sent in 1753 to the French Com-mandant-Le Gardeur de St. Pierre-on the Ohio River to demand by whose authority an armed force had crossed the Lakes, and to urge their speedy return. This controversy ended with Braddock's appointment as Commander-in-chief in Virginia, and his defeat subsequently, near Fort Duquesne, on July 9, 1755. He died of his wounds on July 13, and was buried at a place called Great Meadows, on the roadside of his retreating army.
John Campbell, Fourth Earl of Loudoun, was appointed Captain General and Governor-in-chief of Virginia, on February 17, 1756, and on the following March was also commissioned as Commander-in-chief of the British forces in America. He was another one of the Crown favorites who enjoyed the emoluments of Governor-in-chief of Virginia without ever having to place their feet upon its soil. On the July following the receipt of his several commissions he reached New York, and from thence he went to Albany to assume command of the British forces against the French at Forts Oswego and Ontario, but because of his inefficiency as commander he was recalled to England. It is said of him that he "was like King George upon the sign posts, always on horseback but never advancing." In 1763 he was succeeded by Sir Jeffrey Amherst as Governor-in-chief. He died at Loudoun Castle, Ayrshire, on April 27, 1782.
John Blair, as President of the Council, was Acting Governor of Virginia from January, 1758, until the arrival of Lieutenant Governor, Francis Fauquier, on June 7th, following.Blair was the son of Dr. Archibald Blair, and a nephew of Rev. James Blair, the first President of William and Mary College. He was born at Williamsburg, Va., in 1689. In 1736 was a Burgess from James City County. He was Deputy Auditor of the Colony from 1761 to 1768. He again served as Acting Governor from the death of Fauquier, March 3, 1768, until relieved by the arrival of Lord Botetourt, in October following. It was said of him that he laid a foundation brick at the building of each of the two first capital buildings in Williamsburg, a period of fifty years intervening. He died November 5, 1771, and was buried at Williamsburg, Virginia.
Francis Fauquier, was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, February 10, 1758, and reached the Colony June 7th, following, and died in office March 3, 1768. Writers disagree as to his character and usefulness as the Chief Execu-tive of Virginia. By some he is classed as a dissipated gambler of frivolous tastes, and by Thomas Jefferson, he is noted as "the ablest of the Governors of Virginia." During his administration the House of Commons passed the notorious
"Stamp Act," which was contested by the Assembly in strong-worded resolutions, one of which is as follows: " Resolved, therefore, That the General Assembly of this Colony have the only and sole exclusive right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this Colony, and that every attempt to vest power in any person or persons whatsoever, other than the General Assembly aforesaid, has a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom." These resolutions
were debated by Patrick Henry and passed in May, 1765, during which he eloquently advocated their passage, and in the debate which followed, used the memorable sentence: "If this be treason, make the most of it." Fauquier becoming alarmed by these resolutions dissolved the Assembly, instead of proroguing it to a future day. Fauquier died at Williamsburg, Va., on April, 1768
Sir Jeffrey Amherst, was appointed Captain General and Governor-in-chief of Virginia, succeeding the Earl of Loudoun, in 1763. He was never in Virginia, and when the ministry insisted, at the instigation of the King, that Amherst should reside in the Colony, he resigned his commission, and was succeeded by Lord Botetourt, on October 28, 1768. Sir Jeffrey Amherst was born in Kent, England, January 29, 1717. In 1756 he was made Major General commanding an expedition against
Louisburg. In 1758 he was appointed Commander-in-chief of the British Army in America. For his successes he was rewarded by thanks of Parliament, and created a Knight of the Bath. In 1771, was appointed Governor of Guernsey, and from 1778 to 1795 was commander of the British Army. He died in Kent, England, August 3, 1797.
Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt, was commissioned Governor-in-chief of Virginia, in July, 1768. He reached Virginia in the following October, and served until his death, October 15, 1770. He was born in North Gloucestershire, England, in 1718, and in 1761 was Colonel of the militia of his native place, and represented that shire in Parliament. In 1767 he was appointed Constable of the Tower of London.His coming to Virginia was pleasing to the people who were assured by the King that as a mark of honor to them the residence of the Governor-in-chief should forever in the future be within the Colony. He was noted for his polished and affable manners, and although he was not possessed of large means, he nevertheless was extremely luxurious in his habits, as instanced by his attendance upon the convening of the Assembly, when he was drawn by six horses to his coach, followed by a retinue of guards from the Governor's palace to the capitol.
William Nelson, President of the Council, succeeded Berkeley as Acting Governor from October 15, 1770, until the arrival of Lord Dunmore, in February, 1772. Nelson died at Yorktown, York County, Virginia, the ancestral home of this distinguished family whose progenitor was "Scotch Tom" Nelson, who was born in Penrith, Cumberland County, England, and who subsequently came to the Colony and settled at Yorktown as a merchant.
William Nelson's sons distinguished themselves in the service of the Revolutionary Army, and one of them, General Thomas Nelson, Jr., while in command of the battery which first opened upon Yorktown against Cornwallis, upon learning that his home, the "Nelson House," in that town was being occupied by British officers, offered five guineas reward to the gunner for every shot he should put into the house. This mansion is yet standing, and by the holes visible in its walls indicates the belief that guineas passed hands upon that occasion.
John Murray, Fourth Earl of Dunmore, was the last of the royal Governors of Virginia. He was appointed Governor of New York in January, 1770, and Governor-in-chief of Virginia in July, 1771. He reached Virginia in February, 1772, and served until June 6, 1775, when he fled with his family, and took refuge on board the "Torrey " man-of-war. He then collected a band of tories, runaway negroes and a few British soldiers, and with a small naval force plundered the people along the James and York Rivers. On January 1, 1776, he set on fire and destroyed Norfolk. He finally established himself on Gwynn's Island, Matthews County, which he wassoon obliged to leave. He returned to England, and in 1786, was appointed Governor of Bermuda. He died at Ramsgate, England, in May, 1809.
GOVERNORS OF THE COMMONWEALTH 1776-1907.
The list of Virginia's governors since 1776 includes some of the most prominent men in American history, embracing Presidents, Cabinet Officers, Senators, and Members of the National House of Representatives, and members of the State Legislature, together with famous orators, military commanders and jurists.
Patrick Henry, born May 29, 1736, in Hanover Co., Virginia, the first Governor of the State, was chosen Governor by the Assembly from June 29, 1776, to June 1, 1779.
His education was mainly in the "Old Field Schools." He was a failure as a merchant and a farmer, and at the age of 29 years took up the study of law, in which occupation he developed extraordinary talent as an advocate of law, and won great fame as an orator. He died at Red Hill, Charlotte County, Virginia, June 6, 1799.
Thomas Jefferson, born April 2, 1742, in Albemarle County, Virginia, Governor from June 1, 1779, to June 12, 1781. He had served in the General Assembly, and was a member of the Continental Congress, and was for two terms President of the United States-1801 to 1809. His greatest honor was that of author of the Declaration of Independence. Died at his home Monticello, July 4, 1826.
Thomas Nelson, Jr., born at what is now known as Yorktown, York County, Virginia, Dec. 26, 1738. Governor from June 12, 1781 to Nov. 30, 1781, when he resigned on account of ill health. He was the son of Wm. Nelson, President of the Council and Acting Governor, 1770 to 1771. He was a renowned patriot during the Revolution, and contributed his ample means to the cause of freedom. Died in Hanover County, Virginia, Jan. 4, 1789.
Benjamin Harrison, born in Charles City County, Virginia, in 1740. Governor from Nov. 30, 1781, to Nov. 30, 1784. He subsequently served in the State Legislature. His third son, William Henry Harrison, was the ninth President of the United States, and his great grandson, Benjamin Harrison was the occupant of that exalted office from 1889 to 1893. Died April, 1791, in Charles City County, Virginia.
Patrick Henry, served a second time as Governor, from Dec. 1, 1784, to Dec. 1, 1786, when he resigned.
Edmund Randolph, born in Williamsburg, Virginia, Aug. 10, 1753. Governor from Dec. 1, 1786 to Dec. 1, 1788. Was appointed by Washington the first Attorney General of the United States. In 1794, he succeeded Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State in Washington's Cabinet. Died in Frederick County, Virginia, Sept. 12, 1813.
Beverley Randolph, born in Henrico County, Virginia, in 1754. Governor from Dec. 1, 1788, to Dec. 1, 1791. It was during his term that a part of Virginia was ceded to the United States for the national seat of the Government. This was subsequently receded to the State, and is now in the County of Alexandria. Died at Green Creek, Feb., 1797.
Henry Lee (Light Horse Harry), born Jan.'29, 1756, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Governor from Dec. 1, 1791, to Dec. 1, 1794.
His military career, in command of "Lee's Legion," during the Revolutionary War, gained him much distinction. He was familiarly known as "Light Horse Harry" Lee. Was severely wounded by a riotious mob in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1813, while in the attempt to aid his friend, the editor of the Federal Republican newspaper of that city. In 1813, he went to the West Indies to recover from his wounds, and on March 25, 1818, he died on Cumberland Island, Georgia, en route to his home.
Robert Brooke, born in 1751, was Governor from Dee. 1, 1794 to Dec. 1, 1796. He was Attorney General of Virginia for many years. Died in 1799.
James Wood, born in Frederick County, Virginia, in 1750. Governor from Dec. 1, 1796, to Dec. 1, 1799. During the Revolutionary War he gained a high reputation as an officer. In recognition of his services Wood County, now in West Virginia, was named in his honor. Died in Richmond City, Virginia, June 16, 1813.
James Monroe, born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, April 28, 1758. In 1825 removed to Loudoun County, Virginia, where he was chosen Justice of the Peace. Was the author of the famous "Monroe Doctrine." Was twice elected Governor; the first term from Dec. 1, 1799 to Dec. 1, 1802. During this term occurred what is known as "Gabriel's Insurrection," an uprising of slaves for their freedom, which he promptly quelled. Was one of the Commissioners (with Livingstone) to France to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. Was twice elected President of the United States. Died in New York City, July 4, 1831. His remains were brought to Virginia, July 5, 1858, to Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond.
John Page, born at "Rosewell," Gloucester County, Virginia, April 17, 1743. This was the famous seat of the Indian Emperor, Powhatan, and the place of rescue of Captain John Smith by Pocahontas. He was distinguished for his ardor in the cause of freedom during the Revolutionary War. It is said he stripped the lead covering from his mansion to mould into bullets for his command. Was Governor from Dec. 1, 1802, to Dec. 1, 1805. Died in Richmond City, Virginia, Oct. 11, 1808, and was buried in St. John's Churchyard.
William H. Cabell, born Dec. 16, 1772, at Boston Hill, Cumberland County, Virginia. Governor from Dec. 1, 1805, to Dec. 1, 1808. Was subsequently elected Judge of the General Court, and later Judge of the Court of Appeals. Died in Richmond, Virginia, January 12, 1853.
John Tyler, born Feb. 28, 1747, in James City County, Virginia. Governor from Dec. 1, 1808, to January 11, 1811. Was subsequently appointed by President Madison Judge of the U. S. District Court of Virginia. Was the father of John Tyler who was Governor in 1825 to 1827, and Vice-President, and subsequently President of the United States. Died Jan. 6, 1813, at his home.
James Monroe, Governor from Jan. 11, 1811, to Nov. 25, 1811, when he resigned to accept the office of Secretary of State in President Madison's Cabinet. This was his second term as Governor. Served two successive terms as President of the United States, from 1817 to 1825
George William Smith, born in 1730, in Essex County, Virginia. Lieutenant Governor and Acting Governor from Nov. 25, 1811, to Dec. 26, 1811. Was one of the victims of the burning of the Richmond, Virginia theatre, while trying to rescue his little son, on the night of Dec. 26, 1811.
Peyton Randolph, born in Wiliamsburg, Virginia, was the son of former Governor Edmund Randolph. He was Acting Governor and senior member of the Council of State, from Dec. 26, 1811, to Jan. 3, 1812.
James Barbour, born in Orange County, Virginia, June 10, 1775. Governor from Jan. 3, 1812, to Dec. 1, 1814. During his term the second war with Great Britain occurred. It is said he was so patriotic as to pledge his own fortune to aid the State in raising funds to equip the soldiers of Virginia during that war. Was member of the United States Senate from 1815 to 1825. Barbour County, now in West Virginia, was named in his honor. Died at Barboursville, Barbour County, then in the State of Virginia, June 7, 1842.
Wilson Gary Nicholas, born in Williamsburg, Virginia, Jan. 31, 1761. Governor from Dec. 1, 1814, to Dec. 1, 1816. Before his election as Governor he had served in the United States House of Representatives, and in the United States Senate. Died Oct. 10, 1820, at the home of Thomas Jefferson Randolph, his son-in-law, near Melton, Cabell County. West Virginia.
James B. Preston, born in Montgomery County, "Virginia, June 21,1774. Governor from Dec. 1, 1816, to Dec. 1, 1819. His ancestors came from Londonderry, Ireland. Was Colonel of 12th U. S. Infantry during 1812-13, and was severely wounded in the war with Great Britain. The University of Virginia was established during his term. He was subsequently made postmaster at Richmond, Virginia. Died May 4, 1843, in Montgomery County. Preston County, now in West Virginia, was named in his honor.
Thomas Mann Randolph, born in Goochland County, Virginia, Oct. 1, 1765. Governor from Dec. 1, 1819, to Dec. 1, 1822. Was honored as one of Virginia's heroes during the war with Great Britain, 1812-15. His wife was Martha Jefferson, daughter of Thomas Jefferson. Was member of United States Congress from 1803 to 1807. Died at Monticello, the home of his father-in-law, June 20, 1828.
James Pleasants, Jr., born in Goochland County, Virginia, Oct. 24, 1769. Governor from Dec. 1, 1822, to Dec. 1, 1825. Was member of Virginia Legislature, 1789 to 1799 and subsequently was Clerk of Virginia House of Delegates. Was member of the United States House of Representatives. Died in Goochland County, Virginia, Nov. 9, 1836.
John Tyler, born at Greenway, Charles City County, Virginia, March 29, 1790. Governor from Dec. 1, 1825, to March, 1827, when he resigned to succeed John Randolph in the United States Senate, and in 1833 was re-elected to United States Senate. Was the son of former Governor John Tyler. Was member of Virginia House of Delegates in 1811 and 1823, and was member of United States Congress, 1816 to 1821. Was Vice-President of the United States from March 4, 1841, to April 4, 1841, when he succeeded to the office of President of the United States upon the death of President William Henry Harrison. Member of Confederate Congress during the Civil War. Died in the " Ballard" House, Richmond, Virginia, Jan. 17, 1862, and was buried at Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.
William B. Giles, born in Amelia County, Virginia, Aug. 12, 1762. Governor from March, 1827, to March, 1830. Was elected to the United States Senate in 1804. Died at the family seat, known as "The Wigwam," in Amelia County, Virginia, Dec. 4, 1830. Giles County was named in his honor.
John Floyd, born in Jefferson County, now in West Virginia, April 24, 1783. Governor from March, 1830, to March, 1834. Was surgeon in the army during the second war with great Britain, 1812 to 1815. Was a member of United States Senate before his election as Governor. During his term as Governor occurred what is known as the "Nat Turner Insurrection," of slaves, which terminated after the killing of a few of the whites. Died in Montgomery County, Virginia, Aug. 15, 1837. Floyd County, Virginia, named in his honor.
Littleton W. Tazewell, born in Accomac County, Virginia, Dec. 17, 1774. Governor from March, 1834, to April 30, 1836, when he resigned because of disagreement with State Legislature. Was member of the United States House of Representatives at a very early age. Was subsequently a member of the United States Senate. Died in Norfolk, Virginia, May 6, 1860.
Wyndham Robertson, born near the site of Manchester, Chesterfield County, Virginia, Jan. 26, 1803. Governor from April 30, 1836 to March, 1837, this being the remainder of the term of Governor Tazewell. Died at his home in Washington County, Virginia, Feb. 11, 1888.
David Campbell, born in Smyth County, Virginia, Aug. 2, 1779. Governor from March, 1837, to March, 1840. He gained distinction during the War of 1812 to 1815. Died March 19, 1859, at Abingdon, Washington County, Virginia.
Thomas Walker Gilmer, born in Albemarle County, Virginia, April 6, 1802. Governor from March, 1840, to March 18, 1841, when he resigned because of disagreement with the State Legislature relative to controversy with Governor Seward, of New York, concerning the surrender of men accused of abducting slaves from Virginia. Was subsequently elected to the United States Congress, and Chairman of Ways and Means Committee in that body. Was Secretary of Navy in President Tyler's Cabinet. Was killed in the explosion of United States Steamer Princeton, in 1844.
John Mercer Patton, born in Fredericksburg, Va., Aug. 10, 1797. On the resignation of Governor Gilmer, he was senior councilor, and as such Acting Governor, until the expiration of his term as senior councilor, March 31, 1841. Died in Richmond City, Virginia, Oct. 28, 1858.
John Rutherford, born in Richmond City, Virginia, Dec. 2, 1792. Was Senior Councilor upon the expiration of Acting Governor John Mercer Patton's term, and as such served as Acting Governor, from March 31, 1841, to March 31, 1842, when his term also as Senior Councilor expired, and therefore his term as Acting Governor also expired. Died in Richmond City, Virginia, Aug. 3, 1866.
John M. Gregory, born in Charles City County, Virginia, July 8, 1804. At the expiration of Acting Governor Rutherford's term as Senior Councilor, he succeeded as Acting Governor and Senior Councilor, from March 31, 1842, to Jan. 1, 1843. This completed the unexpired term to which Governor Gilmer had been elected. He was known as a man of great energy, and perseverance. He began life as a farm hand, and by his own industry succeeded in obtaining the highest honor in the State. Died in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1887, and was buried at Shoekoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond City, Virginia.
James McDowell, born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, Oct. 11, 1795. Governor from Jan. 1, 1843, to Jan. 1, 1846. Was subsequently elected to the United States House of Representatives. Died at Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia, Aug. 24, 1851.
William Smith, born in King George County, Virginia, Sept. 6, 1797. Governor from Jan. 1, 1846, to Jan. 1, 1849. At the expiration of his term he emigrated to California, where he remained two years, after which he returned to Virginia, and was made a member of the United States House of Representatives four successive terms. Contracted for carrying United States mail from Washington to Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1831, and because of his repeated demands for extra compensation was given the nick name of "Extra Billy." Was Colonel of the 47th Virginia Volunteers during the Civil War, at the age of 64, and was pro-moted to Major General in the Confederate Army. Was again Governor of Virginia, at the date of the evacuation of Richmond City, by the Confederate Army. Died in Warrenton, Fauquier County, Virginia. May 18, 1887.
John B. Floyd, born in that part of Montgomery County, Virginia, now Pulaski County, June 1, 1806. Governor from Jan. 1, 1849, to Jan. 1, 1852. Was son of former Governor John Floyd. Was Secretary of War in President Buchanan's Cabinet, May, 1861, was made Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. Died Aug. 26, 1863, near Abingdon, Washington County, Virginia.
Joseph Johnson, born in Orange County, New York, Dec. 10, 1785. Governor from Jan. 1, 1852, to Jan. 1, 1856. He was the first Governor since the Revolutionary War born outside of the State, and the first Governor of Virginia elected by popular vote, when the term of office was extended to four years. Prior to this election the governors of Virginia were elected by the General Assembly. He served eight terms in the United States House of Representatives Died Feb. 27, 1877.
Henry A. Wise, born at Drummondtown, Accomac County, Virginia, Dec. 3, 1803. Governor from Jan. 1, 1856, to Jan. 1, 1860. His paternal grandfather was county Lieutenant of the Eastern Shore of Virginia under King George III. His maternal grandfather, General John Cropper, won distinction during the Revolutionary War. His family was greatly distinguished in Virginia. The Governor was highly educated, and prominent as a debater. During his term occurred the "John Brown" raid at Harpers Ferry to free the slaves. Was a member of the United States House of Representatives six terms. Was Brigadier General in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Died in Richmond City, Va., Sept. 12, 1876.
John Letcher, born at Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia, March 29, 1813. Governor from Jan. 1860, to Jan. 1, 1864. During his term the State of Virginia seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America. He was a self made man, of Scotch Irish descent. Was a member of the United States House of Representatives prior to his election as Governor. Died in Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia Jan. 26, 1884.
William Smith, Governor from Jan. 1, 1864, to May 9, 1865. This was his second term; his first term extended from 1846 to 1849. When Richmond City was evacuated by the Confederate forces, Apr. 3, 1865, he moved the seat of Government to Lynchburg, and subsequently to Danville. He finally surrendered to the Federal authorities.
Francis H. Pierpont, born in Monongalia County, now in West Virginia, Jan. 25, 1815. Governor of the western counties of Old Virginia, now in West Virginia, which refused to secede from the Union. His headquarters were established at Wheeling, now in West Virginia, where he remained until these western counties were admitted into the Union as a separate State, under the name of West Virginia, June 19, 1863, when he established his headquarters at Alexandria City, Virginia, until May, 1865, when he moved to Richmond, Virginia, after its evacuation by the Confederate government. Here he continued to exercise the duties of the office until the appointment of Henry H. Wells as Provisional Governor under military rule, Apr. 16, 1868. Died in Pittsburg, Pa., March 24, 1899. Was one of the Governors who was born in a log cabin.
Henry H. Wells, born in Rochester, New York, Sept. 17, 1823. Was Provisional Governor from April 16, 1868, to April 21, 1869. Appointed by General Schoneld, of the Federal Army, commanding the First Military District of Virginia. Was Brigadier General in Federal Army during the Civil War. Was a practicing attorney at law in Richmond City, Virginia, when appointed governor.
Gilbert C. Walker, born in Binghampton, New York, Aug. 1, 1832. Provisional Governor from April 21, 1869, to Jan. 1, 1870, appointed by General E. R. S. Canby of the Federal Army, who succeeded General Schoneld as Commander First Military District of Virginia, under the Reconstruction Acts of the United States Congress. Walker was elected Governor by the Liberal, or Conservative Party, and served from Jan. 1, 1870 to Jan. 1, 1874: Was subsequently elected to Congress from Virginia on the Conservative Party ticket. He removed to New York City where he died May 12, 1885.
James L. Kemper, born in Madison County, Virginia, June 12, 1823. Governor from Jan. 1, 1874, to Jan. 1, 1878. Served as a Captain in the Mexican War under General Zachary Taylor. Was Brigadier General in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Died in Orange County, Virginia, April 7, 1895.
Frederick W. M. Holliday, born in Winchester, Va., Feb. 22, 1827. Governor from Jan. 1, 1878, to Jan. 1, 1882. Was Colonel of the 33rd Virginia Infantry of the famous "Stonewall Jackson" brigade. Was also a member of the Confederate Congress. His ancestors were of Scotch Irish descent. Died in Winchester, Virginia, May 29, 1899.
William E. Cameron, born in Petersburg, Virginia, Nov. 29, 1842. Governor from Jan. 1, 1882, to Jan. 1, 1886. Was elected on the Readjuster ticket; his opponent was Hon. John W. Daniel, one of the present United States Senators from Virginia. Was Captain in the Confederate Army, and won fame as an editor at several respective periods, of the Index-Appeal, Norfolk Virginian, and Richmond Whig, of the public press, of Virginia. He is one of the living ex-governors of Virginia.
Fitzhugh Lee, born at Clermount, Fairfax County, Virginia, Nov. 19, 1835. Governor from Jan. 1, 1886 to Jan. 1, 1890. He was of the famous family of Lees in Virginia. Governor Henry Lee, 1791 to 1794, was his paternal grandfather, and George Mason, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was his great grandfather on the maternal side. Was a graduate of West Point U. S. Military Academy, and subsequently Lieutenant of the Second U. S. Cavalry, doing service in the West prior to the Civil War, during which latter period he entered the Confederate Army and was appointed Brigadier General. After the close of the Civil War he enjoyed the unique distinction of again being appointed an officer in the United States Army. This latter appointment- as U. S. Brigadier General-was made by President McKinley, who served in the Federal Army during the period of the Civil War, while Fitzhugh Lee was a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. Died in Washington, D. C, April 28, 1905.
Philip W. McKinney, born in Buckingham County, Virginia, March 17, 1834. Governor from Jan. 1, 1890, to Jan 1, 1894. Was Captain of the Buckingham Troop in the Confederate. Army. Was member of State Legislature. His opponent in the election for Governor was the famous ex-Confederate General William Mahone. Died in Farmville, Prince Edward County, Virginia, March 1, 1899.
Charles T. O'Ferrall, born in Frederick County, Virginia, Oct. 21, 1840. Governor from Jan. 1, 1894, to Jan. 1, 1898. Enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army, and promoted to Colonel. Was elected several terms to the United States House of Representatives from his native State.
J. Hoge Tyler, born in Caroline County, Virginia, Aug. 11, 1846. Governor from Jan. 1, 1898, to Jan. 1, 1902. Like many of the famous men of Virginia he attended the "Old Field Schools." Was formerly Lieut. Governor, and member of the Virginia Legislature. He was the third Tyler to fill the exalted office of Governor, and noted as his predecessors as an exemplar of the unpretentious, thorough Virginia gentleman. Living.
Andrew J. Montague, born in Campbell Co., Virginia, Oct. 3, 1862. Governor from Jan. 1, 1902, to Feb. 1, 1906, the term extended under the new Constitution. His father, Robert L. Montague, a distinguished jurist and statesman of Middlesex County, Virginia, was familiarly nicknamed the "Red Fox of Middlesex " because of the color of his hair and the able manner in which he managed his cases in court. In 1893 was appointed by President Cleveland United States District Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. Was elected Attorney General of Virginia in 1898. Living.
Claude A. Swanson-The present incumbent-was elected Governor to serve from Feb. 1, 1906, to Feb. 1, 1910. Is one of the energetic men who rise by self effort. Taught school, clerked in store, and graduated in law. Was member of the United States House of Representatives for six terms. Born in Swansonville, Pittsylvania County, Virginia.