1583 - 1660 (77 years)
Has more than 100 ancestors and more than 100 descendants in this family tree.
||Samuel Mathews  |
||Lt. Col. Governor |
||1 Feb 1583
||13 Mar 1660
||20 Nov 2007 |
||Tobias Mathews, b. Jun 1544, Bristol, Gloucester, England , d. 23 Mar 1628, York, England (Age ~ 83 years) |
||Frances Barlow, b. Abt 1544, d. 10 May 1629, Bristol, Gloucester, England (Age ~ 85 years) |
||1 sibling |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- Governor of Virginia
Will of Robert Nicholson (1651) leaves legacies to the two sone of Gov Mathews
on the ship "Southhampton"
The history of Captain Samuel Mathews begins with his birth in England about 1580. We know little of his early childhood, but he must have received a well rounded education and raised in a very educated household.
Samuel Mathews first appears in Virginia in the late teens of the Seventeenth century. Late in 1619-20 we find him" established at Harrowatox on an excellent site where he had at least two surplus houses. " Weldon, with a small complement of his college tenants, was assigned to be in consortship with Captain Mathewes for security and other purposes." The Colonial Council of Virginia as published by the William and Mary Quarterly list Samuel Mathews as a member in 1621.
Samuel received land at the mouth of the Warwick River where he built his plantation first called "Mathews Manor" and later called "Denbigh". This is an account of the plantation in 1649:
"Worthy Captaine Mathews, an old Planter of above thirty years standing, one of the Counsell, and a most deserving Common-wealths-man. I may not omit to let you know this gentlemans industry. He hath a fine house, and all things answerable to it, he sowes yearly store of Hempe and Flax, and causes it to be spun: he keeps Weavers and hath a Tan-house, causes Leather to be dressed, hath eight shoemakers employed in their trade, hath forty Negroe servants, brings them up to Trades in his house. He veerly sowes abundance of Wheat, Barley, &c. The Wheat he selleth at four shillings the bushell: kills store of Beeves, and sells them to victuall the ships when they come thither: hath abundance of Kine, a brave Dairy, Swine great store, and Poltery, he married the Daugher of Sir Tho. Hinton, and in word, keeps a good house, lives bravely, and a true lover of Virginia, he is worthy of much honour." (Anonymous, A Perfect Description of Virginia . . . ., London, 1649.)
The Documentary Evidence:
The records of those areas of Virginia that were the most important in the seventeenth century are, regrettably the most incomplete. The court records of Jamestown and James City County were destroyed in Richmond during the Civil War, as also were those of Warwick County. As Samuel Mathews owned property in both and served on the Council at Jamestown, it will be apparent much key information concerning his life and holdings has been lost. The history of the Mathews' family is tortuous to say the very least, and those historians and genealogists who have written on the subject have often served only to confuse the issue further.
The core of the problem revolves around the long-standing confusion that has existed between Samuel Mathews Sr. and his son Samuel Mathews Jr. and their respective roles in the government of the Colony. Further in this paper, proof will be offered that it was Samuel Mathews Jr. who was the Colonial Governor of Virginia and not Samuel Mathews Sr.
During the summer of 1963 and 1964, a major archaeological dig was undertaken at the Mathews Manor site in Warwick county. The evidence of this dig will be covered later in the text.
Because the presence or absence of Samuel Mathews Sr., on the Mathews Manor site at different times during the second quarter of the seventeenth century has so close a bearing on the interpretation of the archaeological evidence, it is necessary to review all that has been written about both father and son, and to blend into it the scraps of additional data that have come to light in the course of the present study.
Several sources have stated that Samuel Mathews was living in Virginia before 1618, 1622 and 1624. We know he was established at Harrowatox late in 1619, early 1620. So the dates of 1622 and 1624 are certainly in error. It must be assumed that Samuel was living in Virginia at the time of his appointment to the Royal Commission in 1624 for he was listed in the census of 1623 as residing "at the plantation over against James Cittie." In the previous year a Quarter Court held in London had granted Mathews' two pieces of land of unspecified size, one on the south bank of the James and the other on the north at Blunt Point at the mouth of the Warwick River. It appears, however, that Mathews first resided in the "plantation" or township which grew up in the vicinity of the fortified Jamestown, but that he proposed to establish his own plantation on his patented acres south of the river. However, his claim to that property was disputed, and he apparently relinquished his hold on it prior to December 1625, at which time the minutes of the Council and General Court gave him leave to "take up his divident of lande at Blunt poynt where he is already seated." An earlier reference to Mathews' property at Blunt Point comes from the first book of Virginia land patents which lists "John Bainham, 300 acres, Dec 1, 1624, page 17, Gent., of Kiccoughtan, in Eliz. City Corp., as his first divident. About 3 miles up the main creek between Saxoms Goale and Blunt Point, adj. Capt. Samuel Mathews & Wm. Clayborne." Another entry provides some clarification, as well as adding another question mark. "Zachariah Cripps, of Warwick River, 100 acs. lying at the mouth of sd. Riv., Sly upon Saxons gaole,Nly. towards land of Lt. Gilbert Peppitt, dec'd., Ely. upon the maine river & Wly. upon a Cr. parting same from Colsonns Island."
All in all, therefore, it would seem that Mathews was the major landowner on Warwick Creek, and, if the Herman map is accurate, he possessed the best anchorage on the James between Kecoughtan and Jamestown.
On November 13th, 1626, the General Court sent one William Ramshaw "down to Mathewes-Manor" to "work at the trade of a blacksmythe" to satisfy a debt, and we are therefore able to identify at least part of Mathews' Warwick River holdings as "Mathews-Manor" and know that he had a blacksmith's shop there. On March 10th, 1633, the Dutch trader David Pietersz de Vries visited Mathews at what has been translated as "Blank Point" and described him as "one of the most distinguished citizens". Returning from Jamestown on the 20th of March, De Vries noted that he stopped again at "Blank Point" and there "bought some swine, which we killed and salted."
Two years later, on September 10th, 1635, De Vries was again in the James and this time had more to say about "Blank Point". "We sailed up the river (James) eight miles," he wrote, "to Blank Point, and found there thirty-six large ships--all of them English ships of twenty, to twenty- four guns--for the purpose of loading with tobacco. Fifteen of the captains were dead, in consequence of their coming too early in the unhealthy season, and not having been before in the country." In 1644 he was back again and added further information describing "Blank Point" as the place "where a captain lives who is one of the council of the country, and holds a court every week. He has three or four persons of his council sitting with him. There all suits are tried, and those who are not satisfied with the judgement which is given, appeal to Jamestown, where a monthly court is held by the Governor, who presides, and all the captains of the country, who are the judges..I passed the night here," he went on," with this captain, whose name was Captain Mathews, and who was the first who began to populate this part of the Virginias."
There are several pages about the excuavation of Mathews Manor. Here are excerpts from the articles in The Daily Press, Newport News-Hampton, VA, and Mathews Manor by Ivor Noel Hume, Antiques, December, 1966.
Although the tract had been known as Denbigh Plantation as early as the beginning of the eighteenth century, its period of historical importance had ended nearly fifty years before. At that time it seems to have been named Mathews Manor, it was owned by Samuel Mathews (c 1600-c 1657), who settled in Virginia before 1622 and eventually became one of the most prominent men in the colony. He was a long-time member of the council, and in 1635 was one of the leaders of the popular mutiny that ousted Governor Sir John Harvey. In the spring of 1637 Mathews and three others were sent home to England to stand trial for Treason in the Court of Star Chamber, but the charges were eventually dropped and Mathews returned to Virginia in 1639. Meanwhile, Harvey had been reinstated as governor by Charles I and had seized and dispersed much of Mathews' property, and also sanctioned the ransacking of his house. But when Mathews returned, his property was restored to him by order of the King, and Harvey was evicted.
In the late fall of 1652 Samuel Mathews was sent to England by the council to serve as agent for the colony, with instructions to lobby on its behalf against the territorial claims of Lord Baltimore. Mathews was still about this business when last heard from in London on the last day of November 1657.
The archealogical finds at Mathews Manor are some of the best that have been found. . . a silver saucepan whose lid was engraved with the initials of Mathews and his second wife, M/SS, and stamped with the London date letter for 1638. This last find was of considerable importance since it identified the "Daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton," mentioned earlier, as S Hinton rather than Frances Hinton, as genealogists had mistakenly supposed, having confused her with Mathews' first wife, Frances Grevill West Peirsev. It is possible the saucepan was a wedding present and if so, it would follow that Samuel Matthews married S Hinton in 1638 after he was acquitted of the treason charge and before he returned to Virginia in the spring of the following year. This would explain the absence of any record of the marriage in Virginia. Be that as it may, the initials helped to confirm the view that the excavated site was certainly that of Samuel Mathews' "fine house," and not one belonging to a tenant or employee.
- [S6269] Genealogies of Virginia Families, (Genealogical Publishing Co.,Inc., 1982), vol. III, p. 578 (Reliability: 3).
- [S191] Plantagenet Ancestry of 17th Century Colonists, David Faris, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD, 1996), 1st ed, pp 141-145 "Humphrey" (Reliability: 0).