Saturday, September 6, 2014

The old Will of Ludwell Lee is found!

William Ludwell Lee
 William Ludwell Lee of the prominent Lee family of Virginia resided at Jamestown.  Although all of the records of Jamestown were destroyed, I accidently discovered Lee's Last Will and Testament in Alexandria City, Virginia (now district of Columbia).  He mentioned is good friend, James Madison, gave detailed instructions about his burial beside his father, the care of graves for future generations, bequests to Jamestown for an educational center and to the College of William and Mary.  From his will, we learn that he owned Greenfield plantation in Jamestown, which was first the 980 acre plantation of the unpopular Governor Berkeley during the time that during Bacon's Rebellion, the town was first burned.  Berkeley ignored the protection of the settlers against Indian massacres and thievery.  Although he won the rebellion against Nathaniel Bacon and had him hanged, the complaints concerning royal Governor was soon recalled to England.  Greenfield then passed into the hands of the Ludwell family, who found the manor house unsuitable.  Ultimately, it was passed down to William Ludwell Lee.  A letter was found wherein Lee stated that the home was too uncomfortable and that he planned to construct a separate manor house.  We are talking early 1600's here.  Berkeley had imported bricks from England and fancy decorations were found on the structure according to the architectural style of James I.  How fancy a structure for an era of massacres and starvation for the first colonists!  Ruins of the old structure are on the original site (which is not the reconstructed site for visitors) where excavation has been in progress for a number of years.  Since Lee's Will was deposited in Alexandria City (old town), he was apparently a political figure there.  Old Wills of several members of the Washington family were also found.  A great history lesson is in the last will and testament of Ludwell Lee!  This is why it is so important to read the old documents which are available to members of Virginia Pioneers

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