Monday, July 28, 2014

Jamestown: First Parsonage

Rev. Mr. Alexander Whitaker probably occupied the first parsonage erected in Virginia. It was situated on the western side of the James River at a point opposite Henricopolis, was a frame building and was known as "Rock Hall".  Many years later there was a parsonage standing further down the river at Martin Brandon because there is a record of a bequest of John Sadler, London Merchant, to repair it. Whitaker was the son of one of the most celebrated preachers of the age and won his degree of master-of-arts at Cambridge.  His mission to America was to "help to bear the name of God to the Gentiles" (Indians). This statement, I believed, amazed his friends.  "My coming to Virginia," he wrote, "has been prosperous, and my continuane here hath been answerable. I think I have fgared better for your prayers and the rest.  Though my promise of three years' service to my country be expired, I will abide in my vocation here until I be lawfully called hence."  Thus, Whitaker remained in Virginia until he accidentally drowned in the James River!

Sources: Works of Captain John Smith, vol. ii, p. 12, Richmond edition; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. iv, p.316; Brown's Genesis of the United States, vol. ii, pp. 614-615.

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