Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Home of the First Royal Governor of Virginia

"Green Spring" Plantation 

Governor William BerkeleyThe home of Governor William Berkeley was known as Green Spring and the manor house was divided into six apartments. As Royal Governor, Sir William was granted 984 acres of land designated "by name of Green Spring" in June 1643. in Jamestown, Virginia. By the 1660's, the total property's size had increased to 2,090 acres. The house and estate were named for a mossy spring which a visitor in the 1680's described as "so very cold that 'twas dangerous drinking the water thereof in Summer-time." An additional 3,000-acre tract bordering the western boundary of Green Spring was set aside as "Governor's land" and was for the use of Berkeley while he remained in office. Source: Records of York County, vol. 1638-1648, p. 218.  Jamestown, Virginia

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Getting Help with Colonial Handwriting #virginiapioneersnet #genealogy

 Need some help reading Colonial Handwriting. 17th and 18th century court house records are quite difficult to read.  Yet the old deeds, wills and estates contain the answer to your genealogy.  Use this script decoder to help.



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Thursday, July 20, 2017

John Rolfe, the Pioneer to Tobacco Planting #virginiapioneersnet


John Rolfe, the Pioneer Tobacco Planter

John RolfeJohn Rolfe is credited with making the first trail of growing tobacco in the year of 1612. The first general planting occurred in 1616 (when the colony only numbered 51 persons) at West and Shirley Hundred along the North side of the river where Captain Maddeson had employed twenty-five persons, solely to plant and cure the crop. The Indians had freely sold six precincts, viz: Henrico, Bermuda Nether Hundred, West and Shirley Hundred, James Towne, Kequoughtan and Dales-Gift. The main body of the planters consisted of officers, laborers and farmers. The officers had charge over the laborers and farmers and were required to maintain themselves and families with food and raiment. Those employed in the general operation of things were smiths, carpenters, shoemakers, tailors, tanners, etc. 
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

What are Worm Fences? #virginiapioneersnet

Worm Fences

worm fenceTobacco and Indian Corn was planted in hills as hops and secured by worm fences which are made of rails supporting one another. It is also referred to as a snake fence. Tobacco required much skill and trouble, as the plants were raised in beds and later transplanted and replanted. Two types were used, Oroonoko (strongest) and sweet-scented (mildest). Because tobacco afforded a better economy, the planters enjoyed price increases due to the demands in England as smoking became popular. The highest price paid was 3 shillings per pound. There was some complaint to the London Company in 1621 concerning the quality of tobacco being exported from the colony. This was a time when tobacco was used as money and the measure of price and value. All public and parish taxes were payable in tobacco. However, during 1639 the Grand Assembly which sat in January of the year passed a law restricting growth of tobacco in the colony to 1,500,000 pounds, and to 1,200,000 pounds during the next two years. 

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

John Rolfe, the Tobacco Planter #genealogy #virginiapioneersnet

John Rolfe, the Pioneer Tobacco Planter

John RolfeJohn Rolfe is credited with making the first trail of growing tobacco in the year of 1612. The first general planting occurred in 1616 (when the colony only numbered 51 persons) at West and Shirley Hundred along the North side of the river where Captain Maddeson had employed twenty-five persons, solely to plant and cure the crop. The Indians had freely sold six precincts, viz: Henrico, Bermuda Nether Hundred, West and Shirley Hundred, James Towne, Kequoughtan and Dales-Gift. The main body of the planters consisted of officers, laborers and farmers. The officers had charge over the laborers and farmers and were required to maintain themselves and families with food and raiment. Those employed in the general operation of things were smiths, carpenters, shoemakers, tailors, tanners, etc. 

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Conditions in the Colony under King James I #virginiapioneersnet

The Conditions in the Colony Under King James I

growing tobacco in the streetsIn History of Virginia by Arthur and Carpenter, the need to plant tobacco was discussed. "The first articles of commerce to the production of which the early settlers almost exclusively devoted themselves, were potash, soap, glass and tar." After the costly experiments in the cultivation of the vine, the growing demand for tobacco enabled planters to turn their labor into a profit. Meanwhile, "The houses were neglected, the palisades suffered to rot down, the fields, gardens and public squares, even the very streets of Jamestown were planted with tobacco. The townspeople, more greedy of gain than mindful of their own security, scattered abroad into the wilderness, where they broke up small pieces of rich ground and made their crop regardless of their proximity to the Indians, in whose good faith so little reliance could be placed." In 1626, Charles I had established himself as a tobacco merchant and monopolist, issued a proclamation renewing his strong monopoly and appointing certain officers in London to seize all foreign tobacco not grown in Virginia or in the Bermudas, for his own benefit and also to purchase all of the tobacco coming from said plantations for resell. Profits were going so well for His Majesty, that in 1630 and 1634 he issued proclamations prohibiting the landing of tobacco anywhere except at the quay near the Custom House of London. The laws surrounding his monopoly ultimately diminished trade and ruined the Virginia Company altogether. 
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King James Opposed the Growing of Tobacco #virginiapioneersnet

King James Opposed the Growing of Tobacco

settlers to JamestownKing James opposed the growing of tobacco in the colonies, saying that it was evil, and did everything in his power to discourage planting. Instead, the soveign addressed the London Company sharply reproving it for not growing mulberry trees for the cultivation of silk. In 1623, a letter was prepared for the colony by the privy council of the king and addressed to Sir Francis Wyatt, Knight and Captain-General of Virginia, wherein the colony was admonished to pay more attention to staple commodities, especially to that of iron, vines and silk. Then, a year later, King James prohibited the importation of foreign tobacco as well as the planting of tobacco in England and Ireland while allowing it to be planted in Virginia and on the Somer Isle because those colonies were "yet in their infancy." After the death of the king in 1625, he was succeeded by his son, Charles I. Upon descending the throne Charles I manifested the same hostile attitude towards the plant and prohibited the importation of tobacco except that grown in the colony. He not only continued its sale, however, created a monopoly for the crown, allowing planters to pay "for the privilege". The London Company proceeded to raise 200,000 pounds, but the matter fell into dispute and King Charles thought it best to establish a royal government. Accordingly, he dissolved the Company in 1626. 
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