Sunday, December 20, 2015

Archer's Hope

On May 12, 1607 a number of colonists went ashore to evaluate a spot as a site for their initial settlement.  It was located several miles upstream from Jamestown at the mouth of College Creek (Archer's Hope) and this waterway may have been previously used by Spanish Jesuit missionaries around 1570 who were searching for a mission site in Virginia.  The next day they discovered that it was impossible to bring in close to the shore.  The spot was named for Gabriel Archer. It was also a site reached by Indians during the massacre of 1622/1623 and the several settlers taking land grants there in 1619, William Fairfax, John Fowler, William Capp and Joakim Andrews, abandoned their homes. However, in 1624, fourteen persons resided there, under the command of Thomas Bransby.
The census of 1625 named fourteen persons as constituting the settlement of Archer's Hope which then extended to the east as well as to the west of the creek bearing the same name. Each of the four major entries showed a single house although there must have been more than this in aggregate. On a population basis the amount of arms and armor available would indicate that, perhaps, the community had a military cast. Food supplies were about normal, yet no livestock is shown except eight hogs which included "piggs" as well.
Altogether, by this date, at least 3,000 acres of land had been taken up by fifteen persons, many of them "ancient planters." The largest grant, 750 acres, had been to Rev. Richard Buck, minister [Pg 109]for Jamestown. Richard Kingsmill had received 300 acres as had Ensign William Spence and John Fowler. Two, William Claiborne and John Jefferson, had 250 acre parcels, but all others had lesser amounts. Only three were shown as "planted." The list omits a grant of some size to George Sandys which was located in the precincts of Archer's Hope but well to the east "on the ponds, dividing from the land of Martin's Hundred." On the west Archer's Hope was separated from James City's "Neck-of-Land" by the Jamestown parish glebe land.
Source:  The First Seventeen Years. Virginia, 1607-1624 by Charles B. Hatch, Jr.

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