Minutes of the Council and General Court of Virginia

H[enry] R[ead] McIlwaine (1864-1934), ed,

Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, 1622-1632, 1670-1676, with Notes and Excerpts from Original Council and General Court Records, into 1683, Now Lost

(Richmond : The Colonial Press, Everett Waddy Co., 1924).


8 daie of

Aprill Ao Dmi 1629


James Citty

the 8th daie of

Aprill Ao Dmi 1629


John Pott

Esqr Gouernor &c Capt:


At this Court was heard a difference depending betweene

Gilbert Whitfeild

plt against

Robte Poole

defendt and it appeared that

Robte Poole

was indebted unto the said


in the some of 19411 of tobaccoe and nyne barrells of Eares. Whereuppon it was agreed betweene them and the cort have thought fitt that the said

Robte Poole

shall give security to the said


for the paymt of the said


at the next cropp and to paie the Corne at or before the first of



A comission was graunted unto

Robte Poole

to goe a trading for Corne to the

Easterne Shore


At the Cort a Controversie depending between




[?] and

Richard Bennett

[?] was . . . Concerning a granting of a leafe of Certaine land in


[?] and for that there was not witnes produced to prove anything on eyther partes the Cort hath referred the examinacon of the Contest to Capt


[?] and hath retourned to same to the Gouernor and Councell at the next Quarter Cort heare holden.

George Vnwise

aged thirty yeares or thereabouts sworne and exaied sayth that

Dorcas Howard

his maide being at worke in the grounde on


the two and twentieth daie of


last past, as this exaite taketh it, shee began to complaine that she was not well and being come into the howse shee fell very sick Whereuppon this dept demaunded of her what shee ayles who answered

I am very ill in my body

, and wished that her dame were wth her for her dame could give her ease, then this dept demaunded of her if she were wth Childe to wch she answered noe whereuppon this dept threatned to beat her if shee would not tell him the truth why she was so payned and then presently she confessesd she was wth Childe and that

Robte Gage

was the ffather And [then] this exaite bade her goe to bed and asked her [to] call some weomen to her, but shee intreated [that] hee would not And in the morning (the said


being in bed) this exaite demaunded of her how shee did who answered

I have had a mischance,

And then presently hee came to his wife and tould her of it and asked her what hee should doe who bade him goe backe and call some weomen to view the Child. Whereuppon this dept sent for one


wife who came and looked uppon it but whether it were borne alive or deade this dept knoweth not, nor more to this matter cann hee depose.

Elizabeth Moorecocke

the wife of

Reiginald Moorecocke

of the age of thirty yeares or thereabouts sworne and exaied sayth that

George Vnwin

came to this exaiats howse and tould her that her [his] maide was broughte a bed and had Carried out the Childr but had not buried it and desired this dept to come and view it whereuppon this depont went wth him and looked uppon the Childe wch was a boy, and the mould of the head was bruised, but for anyother thing this dept could perceave the Childe might bee borne alyve, and this is all this dept can depose in this matter.



was continewed till


Qrter Co.

At this Cort

George Vnwin

planter did acknowledge to owe unto our soveraigne Lord the King 4011 soveraigne


wth condicon

Dorcas Howard

shall appeare at the Quarter Cort to Holden at

James Citty

At this Cort the Church wardens of the parishe of the lower partes of

Eliz Citty

did present that

William Capps


John Sipse

parishioners there doe not repaire nor frequent the said parishe Church to hear dyvine service according to the lawes and orders of this Colony in such cases provided,

It is therefore ordered

that for soe long tyme as it shall be proved that the said




have been absent from the said Church, that they shall pay such fines as by an actte therefor made are provided to be paid: the said fines to be levied at the next Crop by way of distresse.


Exaicons taken before

John Pott

Esqr gouernor the 25th day of

March Ao


ffrancis England

of the age of twenty yeares or therabouts sworne and exaied faith That

Thomas Hall

(being exaied by Cap:


wether hee were man or woeman (as himselfe did confesse to this exaite) toulde this exaite that hee answered Capt:


that hee was both man and woeman And this exaiate further sayth that the said


being at

Atkins arbor



. . . asked him why hee went in woemans aparell the said


answered in the hearing of this dept

I goe in woemans aparell to gett a bitt for my Catt

And he further sayth that there was a Rumor and Report that the said


did ly wth a maid of Mr

Richard Rodes

being at the upper plantacon after it had beene rumored that the said


was a man and that hee was put in mans apparell the said


being then there with them, the said



Hall thou hast beene reported to bee a woman and now thou art proved to bee a man, I will see what thou carriest

, Whereuppon the said


laid hands uppon the said


, and this exaiate did soe likewise, and they threw the said


on his backe, and then this exaiate felt the said


and pulled out his members whereby it appeared that hee was a perfect man, and more hee cannot depose.

John Atkins

of the age of 29 yeares or thereabouts sworne and exaied deposeth and sayth That Mr


having reported that


now a servante unto this exaiate was as hee thought a man and woeman, not long after, the said


(being then servante to

Robte Eyros


John Tyos

) and being at

Nicholas Eyros

his howse

Alice Longe Dorothye Rodes


Barbara Hall

being at that tyme in the said howse, uppon the said Report did search the said


and found (as they then said) that hee was a man but the said


swore the said


was a woeman (as the said

Dorothy Rodes

did often affirme unto this depot Whereuppon Cap:


exaied the said


in the presence of this depte whether hee were man or woeman, the said


replyed hee was both only hee had not the use of the mans parte . . . was a peece of fleshe growing at the . . . belly as bigg as the topp of his little finger [an] inch longe whereuppon Capt:


Commanded [him] to bee put in woemans apparell, but the aforesaid searchers were not fully resolved, but stood in doubte of what they had formerly affirmed, and being (about the twelveth of


) at this exaiates howse the said


dwelling then wth him, and finding the said


asleepe did againe search him and then allsoe found the said


to bee a man and at that present[ly] called this exaiate to see the proof therof, but the said


seeming to starre as if shee had beene awake this exaiate lefte him and at that instant Could see nothing But the


following, those serchers being againe assembled and the wife of

Allen Kinaston

and the wife of

Ambrose Griffen

being in Company wth them were againe desirous to search the said


, and having searched him in the prnce [presence] of this Deponent did then likewise finde him to bee a man Whereuppon this exaiat asked him if that were all hee had to wch hee answered

I have a peece of an hole

and thereuppon this dept commanded him to lye on his backe and shew the same And the said woemen searching him againe did againe find him to bee a man Whereuppon the sd exaiate did Comaunde him to bee put into mans apparell And the day following went to Captaine


, and tould him that the said


was founde to bee a man and desired that hee might be punished for his abuse And this dept further sayth that the said


(as this dept hath heard) did question the said

Alice Long

for reporting that hee had layen wth a mayd of Mr

Richard Bennetts

, to wch shee answered

I reported it not,





his man reported soe much And this is all this exaiate can say.


Thomas Hall

exaied saith that hee being borne at or neere

Newcastle uppon Tyne

was as hee hath beene often tould Christned by the name of


and soe was called and went Clothed in woemans apparell there untill the age ot twelve yeares at wch age the said Exaiats mother sent him to his Aunte in


and there hee lyved ten[?] ye[ares] untill


Accon, at wch tyme a brother of his being pressed for that service this exaiate Cut of his heire an Changed his apparell into the fashion of man and went over as a souldier in the

Isle of Ree

bing in the habit of a man, from whence when he was retorned hee came to


, and there hee changed himselfe into woemans apparell and made bone lace and did other worke wth his needle, and shortly after Shipping being ready for a voyage into this Country hee Changed againe his apparell into the habit of a man and soe came over into this Country.

It was thereuppon at this Cort ordered

that it shall be published in the plantacon where the said


lyveth that hee is a man and a woeman, that all the Inhabitants there may take notice thereof and that hee shall goe Clothed in mans apparell, only his head to bee attired in a Coyfe and Croscloth[?] wth an Apron before him And that hee shall finde suerties for his good behavior from Quarter Cort to Quarter Cort untill the Cort shall dischardge him and Capt

Nathaniel Basse

is ordered to see this order executed accordingly.

ffor as much as Edward Waller

did at this Cort comence his suit against

John Johnson

about the sale of a sowe and the taking away of a peece, and because


testified to this Cort that hee sent a pigg in parte of satisfaccon and the peece by

Richard Dolphenby

to the said

Edward Waller

the wch the said


affirmed hee never receaved And for that the said Mr


hath dyvers wintesses to examine in this Cause wch at this Cort were not present

It is ordered

that the Captain


shall examine the said


uppon his oath Concerning the same, and the Cause is referred to bee determined at the next Quarter Cort

It is ordered

that every comaunder wthin the severall plantacons of this Colony shall take a generall muster of all the inhabitants men woemen and Children as well


as Negroes inhabiting wthin the same and Retorne a lift of their names to the Governor and Councell at the next Quarter Cort to bee here holden.

John Virgo

being bound by Recognizance to appear this Cort hath made default whereby hee hath forfe[yted] to the Kings Matie 40li



Charles Waller

beeing bound by Recognizance to appear at this Cort hath made defaulte whereby hee hath forfeyted 401i


to the Kings Matie

* * *


4, 1640.

Upon the petition of

Hugh Gwyn

gent wherein he complained to this board of three of his servants that are run away to


to his much loss and prejudice and wherein he hath humbly requested the board that he may have liberty to make [10] the sale or benefit of the said servants in the said


which the Court taking into Consideration and weighing the dangerous consequences of such pernicious precident

do order

that a letter be written unto the said Governour to the intent the said servants may be returned hither to receive such exemplary and condign punishment as the nature of their offence shall justly deserve and then to be returned to their said master


30, 1640.

The court hath granted that a commission shall be drawn for

John Mattrom


Edward ffleet

authorizing them to levy a party of men, or more if need require, out of the trained band for

Charles river

county with arems and ammunition to go in persuit of certain runaway negroes and to bring them in to the governor.

And it is further ordered

that such men as shall be pressed for this expedition shall receive their pay and satisfaction for their pains at the public charge of the counties from whence such negroes are runaway and likewise for any boat or boats that shall be taken for the said service.

[14] Upon the petition of

Henry Hawley

for keeping a ferry at the mouth of


river in


for the ease of inhabitants and passengers in or about their occasions which the court taking into consideration as a matter tending to the great benefit of the inhabitants and others have granted unto the said


a patent for the same during his natural life and the said patent to pass under the hand of the governor and the seal of the colony; the said


not exacting above one penny for the ferriage of any of the said inhabitants or passengers according to his offer in his said petition.



Thos Willoughby

Esqr represented to this court that he had lent one barrel of gunpowder containing one hundred weight to accomodate the funeral of Captain 

ffrancis Hook

the late commander of the fort at

Point Comfort

and one of his majestys councillors for

Virginia, the court hath therefore ordered

that the said Captn


shall be satisfied the same from the present captain of the fort out of the powder belonging to the public.

9th Of


, 1640

Whereas Hugh Gwyn

hath by order from this Board Brought back from


three servants formerly run away from the said

Gwyn, the court doth therefore order

that the said three servants shall receive the punishment of whipping and to have thirty stripes apiece one called


, a


, the other a



James Gregory

, shall first serve out their times with their master according to their Indentures, and one whole year apiece after the time of their service is Expired. By their said Indentures in recompense of his Loss sustained by their absence and after that service to their said master is Expired to serve the colony for three whole years apiece, and that the third being a negro named

John Punch

shall serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural Life here or elsewhere.




22, 1640.


complaint has been made to this Board by Capt

Wm Pierce

Esqr that six of his servants and a negro of Mr


has plotted to run away unto the


plantation from their said masters and did assay to put the same in Execution upon


night being the 18th day


1640 as appeared to the Board by the Examinations of

Andres Noxe, Richd Hill, Richd Cookeson


John Williams

and likewise by the consession of

Christopher Miller, Peter Wilcocke,



the foresaid Negro who had at the fore said time, taken the skiff of the said Capt

Wm Pierce

their master, and corn poweder and shot and guns, to accomplish their said purposes, which said persons sailed down in the said skiff to


river where they were taken and brought back again, the Court taking the same into consideration, as a dangerous precident for the future time (if unpunished) did order that

Christopher Miller



(a prince agent in the business) should receive the punishment of whipping and to have thirty stripes, and to be burnt in the cheek with the letter R and to work with a shakle on his legg for one whole year, and longer if said master shall see cause and after his full time of service is Expired with his said master to serve the colony for seven whole years, and the said

Peter Wilcocke

to receive thirty stripes and to be Burnt in the cheek with the letter R and, after his term of service is Expired with his said [12] master to serve the colony for three years and the said

Richd Cookson

after his full time expired with his master to serve the colony for two years and a half, and the said

Richd Hill

to remain upon his good behaviour until the next offence and the said

Andrew Noxe

to receive thirty stripes, and the said

John Williams



and a Chirugeon after his full time of service is Expired with his master to serve the colony for seven years, and


the Negro to receive thirty stripes and to be burnt in the cheek with the letter R. and to work in shakle one year or more as his master shall see cause, and all those who are condemned to serve the colony after their times are expired with their masters, then their said masters are required hereby to present to this board their said servants so condemned to the colony

7th Of


., 1640.

Whereas Thos Pursell

servant unto

Robt Brassure

for the term of four years hath petitioned to the board for his freedom, it being denied unto him by the

sd Brassure

in regard the said


has absented himself from his said service for the space of three months or there-about

the Court hath therfore ordered

that the said


shall be discharged from his said master but shall losse his right in apparel and corn due unto him at the Expiration of his time in respect of his absence from his service as aforesaid & that the said Brassure shall Deliver [9] unto the said Purcell such apparel beding and what other goods do already belong unto him and are remaining in the custody of the said




13th of


., 1640.

The Court hath ordered


Wm Wootton


John Bradye

as principall actors and contrivers in a most dangerous conspiracy by attempting to run out of the country and Inticing divers others to be actors in the said conspiracy to be whipt from the gallows to the Court door and that the said


shall be Branded with an Iron in the shoulder, and


in the forehead each of them to serve the Colony seven years, the service due from the [13] said


to the said

Mr Sanderson

being first performed, each of them to work in Irons during the time of the said censure for the rest of these that are freemen (



John Tomkinson


Ricr West

for consenting and concealing the said plott that they shall be whipt and serve the colony two years and those that are servants (



John Winchester, Wm Drummer Robt Rouse


Robt Mosely

to be whipt only as also

Margarett Beard

, and that the masters of the said servants shall pay the fees due from the servants to the sheriffs and the servants shall make good the same, at the Expiration of their time by a years service apiece to their said masters and that none of them shall be released from their Irons without order from this Board.



. 17, 1640.              


we are daily given to understand of divers servants that run away from their masters whereby much loss and prejudice doth ensue to the masters of such servants, the court therefore conceiving it to be the most necessary and speedy course to apprehend the said servants

doth order

that upon complaint thereof made unto the sheriffs of the counties where any such servant or servants doth run away that the sheriff thereof or his deputies shall hereby have power to hire boat and hands to persue the said runaways and that the charge thereof shall be borne and defrayed by the said county.


© Thomas D. Russell 2020