Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jamestown and Our Family Tree

It is fascinating putting together the pieces of the history of one family with roots so firmly planted within this country. I got interested in putting together the puzzle pieces of the individuals in our family tree who lived at this time in the Jamestown area and thought I would share it with you.

The map to the right locates different tribes of Indians living in the Jamestown area. The Powhatans were located in the upper right.
Jamestown area

On Good Friday, March 22, 1622 Opechancanough (10th great grandfather), then chief Powhatan (his brother Wahunsonacock, 11th great grandfather, father of Opechancanough's wife, Cleopatra, 10th great grandmother, had died two years earlier), attacked Jamestown. The Powhatans referred to this event as an Assault on Jamestown. The residents of Jamestown called it a Massacre. Opechancanough died in 1644 at around 100 years old, killed by a guard after having been captured after another attack on Jamestown where 500 were killed. This attack was devastating as well, but did not take the same high percentage of those living at Jamestown as the first assault.

I always thought Cleopatra was an odd name for a primitive people to name a daughter. However, Powhatan actually had many, many children and two daughters were named Cleopatra. My Cleopatra is known as Cleopatra, the Shawano (Shawnee), and she wound up marrying her half uncle.

Ironically, a another 10th great grandfather Samuel Jordan survived the first Indian massacre of Jamestown where one third of the colony was killed, including his son Robert. It was the journal he kept when he was shipwrecked on the island of Bermuda on his journey to Jamestown aboard the Sea Venture that inspired Shakespeare's The Tempest. He died in 1623.

8th great grandfather, Colonel Thomas Pettus (aka Councilor) came to America for the Virginia Company in 1638-1641 after serving on the Continent in the Thirty Years War. He commanded forty men to assist the colonists in their struggles with the Powhatan Indians at Jamestowne. Colonel Thomas Pettus claimed Jamestown property through investments made by his uncle, Sir John Pettus, who had purchased stock in the company holding the third charter to Virginia, The Third Virginia Charter Company. Littleton Plantation was his home and was recently excavated.

Sir Francis Wyatt (ca. 1588–1644), governor, November 18, 1621–May 24, 1624; rallied the defense of Jamestown during the massacre. Sir Francis' brother, Hawte Wyatt, my husband's 10th great grandfather, and his wife Barbara had accompanied Sir Francis to Jamestown. Their first son, George, was born shortly after the massacre. Hawte Wyatt served as rector of the church at Jamestown. Hawte and his brother Sir Francis returned to England but when Sir Francis came back to serve a second term as Governor, Rev. Haute’s three sons, including John, my husband's ancestor, and a daughter back to America with him and became the ancestors of many of the Wyatts in America. (Interesting website for Wyatts: http://mickisuzanne.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/the-wyatts-in-jamestown/)

So many stories! So much history to know! The more I learn the more I realize I do not know but I do enjoy putting the pieces together to make history my story.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sharman,
    I have just entered the exciting world of my family line.
    In doing geneology research I discovered so many exciting ancestors.
    There were always stories about Native American and also, European Royalty (a hole other sega of fantastic discoveries). So, I decided to dig in and see what was real.

    Vashti Vann is my 4th Great-Grandmother, which led me to my other
    g-Grandmother, April "Tikami" Barnes (Hop) to another G-Grandmother,
    Cleopatra the Shawano Powhatan.
    Which led me to your site for info. So intriguing. Thank you for sharing.
    I would love to find out more.

    Thank you for your time,
    Tami Faudi


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