An Actress Connection- Jamestowne, really? (Wescott Family)

Updated 7/31/2022– I recently watched an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” in which actress Allison Janney is tracing her family. In the episode they trace her ancestor, Stephen Hopkins who was caught in a hurricane on the Sea Venture and ended up stranded in Bermuda. The ship’s name kept nagging at me. I kept telling my mom, “I know this story or something regarding the Sea Venture.” Well, below is the story of my ancestry and the Sea Venture!

“Historic Voyage, Sea Venture and Consorts at Sea 1609,” a 1984 oil painting by Deryck Foster

The Sea Venture, also known as the Third Supply, was the flag ship for a flotilla of six hundred men (and women and livestock) on six ships and two pinnaces. On the 23rd of July, a hurricane separated the Sea Venture, with it’s captain, Christopher Newport from the other ships. The ship started taking on water after four days, and thankfully was able to make it to land on an island; the Bermuda’s. All of the passengers, about 140 men and women, landed safely, although the ship was wrecked between two reefs. Allison Janney’s ancestor was one of those men.

Ruby Chapman Wescott’s line took me back to Jamestowne.  (The original colonial spelling for Jamestowne included the “e.” That spelling is used here when referring to historic Jamestowne).

To revisit the history of Jamestowne, I’ll just give this paragraph:

“In June of 1606, King James I granted a charter to a group of London entrepreneurs, the Virginia Company, to establish an English settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America. In December of that year, 104 settlers sailed from London with Company instructions to build a secure settlement, find gold, and seek a water route to the Pacific. The traditional telling of early Jamestown history portrayed those pioneers as ill-suited for the task. But 20 years of archaeological research at the site of James Fort suggests that Captain Bartholomew Gosnold and many of the artisans, craftsmen, and laborers who accompanied the gentlemen leaders made every effort to build a successful colony. On May 14, 1607, the Virginia Company settlers landed on Jamestown Island to establish an English colony 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.” —-  You can read this and more at https://historicjamestowne.org/history/history-of-jamestown/

This leads us to Alice, last name unknown.  Alice is my 11th great-grandmother.  Alice’s first husband was Thomas Pierce.  Both were born in England around 1585.  They had a daughter named Elizabeth.  I need to tell you a little of Thomas’ history in order to understand Alice’s.

Thomas Pierce was the Sergeant at Arms of the first legislative assembly of Virginia which met on July 30, 1619. The First House of Burgesses by Kate Langley Bosher

Thomas arrived on the “Margaret” which sailed for Virginia.

Source https://www.immigrantships.net/v3/1600v3/margaret16191204.html

Update: 4/27/19-  Through my wonderful Isle of Wight Facebook Group, someone was able to provide me with page 545  from the book Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635 by Martha W. McCartney.  In it, it states that Thomas was indeed on the “Margaret” on 15 Sep 1619 which set sail for Bristol and

Capture

It is assumed that he traveled with his wife Alice and daughter Elizabeth.  Thomas appears to have been a relative of Lt. William Pierce, of the “Sea Venture” (1609), who served under George Yeardley, Captain of the Governor’s Company of soldiers.  His daughter, Jane Pierce, was the third wife of John Rolfe (who was also on the “Sea Venture”), you know, the guy who married Pocahontas.

Image result for Jamestown 1618

Thomas Pierce established the plantation south of Martin’s Hundred along the upper side of the James River. On March 22, 1622, the Indians attacked throughout the colony, then known as the English Colony of Virginia.  In history, it is now known as the Indian Massacre of 1622.  The colony’s tobacco economy led to constant expansion and seizure of Powhatan lands, which ultimately provoked a violent reaction according to Wood, Origins of American Slavery (1997), p. 72.

Thomas Pierce , his wife, child, two other men and a French boy were officially reported as killed at this plantation.

                          THE LIST OF THOSE MASSACRED – March 22, 1622
The following is transcribed from “Colonial Records of Virginia”, R.F. Walker, Superintendent Public Printing, Richmond, VA, 1874, Clemmitt & Jones, Printers, pp 38 – 68.  Click here to download the document.
 

At Mr. Thomas Pierce his House over against Mulberry Island.
​Master Tho: Pierce,
     his Wife,
     his Childe,
John Hopkins, (could he be related to Ms. Janney’s Stephen?)
John Samon,
A French Boy.

Named by the first colonists for its dense population of wild mulberry trees, Mulberry Island shows up in some of the earliest maps of Virginia as well as the writings of Capt. John Smith.

Image result for Martin's HundredIt is not known exactly how, but Alice and her daughter apparently survived the attack and it is thought they were two of the twenty captives that were ransomed from the Indians. The only other of these twenty who have been identified are Mrs. Boyce and Jane Dickenson, both widows of men slain at Martin’s Hundred. These captives were held for about ten months.

The following is a paragraph wildly spread on the internet, but has been proven false by many history sites such as Chauco (Chanco) Virginia Indian.   

Related image

In fact, it is more realistic to believe what is written on Historynet’s website:

These female colonists, perhaps 20 in all, were virtually the only captives taken by the Powhatans in the uprising. Few details of their ordeal have survived, and information about their lives is almost nonexistent. In fact, we may never know if they shared the fascinating, if often horrifying, adventures of more well-known Indian captives in American history. It is certain, however, that these women witnessed the violent deaths of neighbors and loved ones before being abducted; that they lived with their enemies while the English ruthlessly attacked Indian villages in retaliation; and that they received no heroes’ welcome upon their return to the colony.

Chanco
Sothside Virginia Families, Vol. I by John Bennett Boddie

No matter how she survived, she did because by October 10, 1624 Alice had married Thomas Bennett, my 11th great-grandfather. Alice Bennett was a witness before the General Court at the trial of John Proctor for cruelty to his servants. She was sworn and examined as to the beating of Elizabeth Abbott, serving maid of Mr Proctors, and stated that she found her by the waterside by Mr Burrow’s plantation lying behind a boat wrapped in a rug. Whereupon this examinat, with Her Husband and Richard Richards carryed her and delivered her to her master. Anthony Barham swore that he saw Mr Proctor strike Elias Hinton one of his servants. (VA Mag., 19, p. 389) (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 289)

At General Court in October 1624, Elizabeth Pierce chose her father in law (step father), Thomas Bennett, as her guardian. (VA Mag 20, p. 155). She was unmarried then because John Filmer to who she was engaged had just died and left all his property to her. This was the reason for her choosing a guardian. It is probable that this Elizabeth Pierce afterwards married Anthony Barham. (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 290)

Alice is again shown in the following records.  The name Jackson is from Elizabeth marrying Richard Jackson.

1642: June 10, 1642, George Hardy received a grant of 300 acres on the easternmost side of Lawne’s Creek adjacent to Alice Bennett (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 293)

1642: 19 Jun 1642, John Stocker patented 200 acres adjoining Mr Hardy’s land and the widow Bennett. (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 293)

1647: 19 Jul 1647…Alice Bennett to Mary Jackson and Sarah Jackson, the daughters of Richard Jackson…150 acres of land. Alice(X)Bennett 

1647: DB A P 4, 19 Jul 1647 Alice Bennett to Mary Jackson & Sarah Jackson, the dtrs of Richard Jackson, 150 Acres land. (to be possessed immediately after my death) , the land & housing on the S/S of the swamp to Mary; the land on the other side to Sarah. Sig: Alice (X) Bennett Wts: Edwd. X Garrett, James Piland. (Isle of Wight Co. VA, Deeds 1647-1719, Court Orders 1693-1695 and Guardian Accounts 1740-1767 abstracts by William Lindsay Hopkins)

From the Jamestowne Society’s website are names of “Qualifying Ancestors”.

Jamestowne Bennett's

The Richard Bennett above is not our Richard.  Thomas Bennett is ours and he is the father of our Richard Bennett (not listed) who is the son of Alice and Thomas and half-brother to Elizabeth.

Jamestowne Pierce

The internet and genealogical websites are full of misinformation as far as the Richard Bennett’s are concerned.  Our 10th great-grandfather is the Richard Bennett, Sr. of Isle of Wight, VA.  The other Richard Bennett is of Nanesmond County, VA, the Governor of Virginia from 1652-55.  The confusion lies in that both of them have father’s named Thomas who came from England.  The governor is about thirteen years older than our Richard and they are both connected to Jamestowne.

Thomas Bennett was also a member of the House of Burgesses as he represented Mulberry Island in 1632.  Burgess Journals 1619-59, pg. xiii.

Burgesses of Virginia 1632

Records were destroyed in the Civil War so nothing more is known about Thomas except what was found in the will of Anthony Barham, who was one of Elizabeth’s husbands. Because of this will, we can trace his descendants.  Anthony Barham's Will

You can read more about their neighbors and relatives and how they all connect in the Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia: A History of the County … By John Bennett Boddie

Richard Bennett, Jr., my 9th great-grandfather, was born June 1, 1644, in Isle of Wight, Virginia.  He married Ann, last name unknown, and they had five children.  Again, you can read about all five in the above link.

He made his will on March 3, 1720:

Will of Richard Bennett Jr.

Isle Of Wight County, Virginia

March ye 3rd Day 1720 In the Name of God Amen. Rich’d Bennett in ye upper parish of Isle of Wight County in Virginia being sick & weak in body yet in perfect memory thanks be to God for it Do therefore do make this my Last Will & Testament as followith-first I Commit my soul to God our Heavenly Father trusting to be saved by Jesus Christ our only Saviour and my body on Earth to be Decently Buried & as for my worldly Goods I bestow as followith

I Give and bequeath unto my son Richd Bennett to him & his heirs lawfully begotten of his body two hundred acres of Land & over it being Land where on my Son Richard now lives

I give & bequeath unto my son James with ye other two hundred acres of Land where on he now lives. I lay to him & to his heirs lawfully begotton of his Body forever it is a Coveyance of four hundred acres of Land I bought of Mr John Coffers pattin of Land being fourteen hundred & fifty acres

1 Give & bequeath unto Jane Coffer & her two sons Rob Coffer & John Coffer to them & their heirs Lawfully of their body for ever my plantation and land whereon I now live I lay to them & to their heirs for ever it being part of Land Which was bought formerly of Mr Wm Miles

I Give and bequeath unto Jane Coffer a small trunk & a Gold Ring and a Great Iron pot

I Give & bequeath to Rich Coffer my Long Gun

I Give & bequeath to Magdalen Coffer one Great pewter Dish and one Great Basin

I Give and bequeath to Francis Manggum my Gran Daughter a feather Bed & all ye belongs to it 2

I Give and bequeath unto my Daughter Silvester a Couple of Dishes & a Couple of plates

furthermore I do appoint Jane Coffer & Wm Allen to be my full and whole Exct to pay my Debts & to Receive what is owing to me & when these my Debts being paid ye rest of my Goods within Doores and outDoores to be Equally Divided amongst my Children

Desiring this my trusty friends Jno & James Carter to See this my Last Will & testament fulfilled In Witness here of I sett my hand & Seal Rich’d R Bennett (Seal)

Richard Bennett Jr.'s will

Richard Jr.’s daughter, Ann Bennett, married John Coffer circa 1699, my 8th great grandparents.  You can continue this line by reading my previous blog post, The Cofer/Copher Families- Part 2.

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Inside the fort at Jamestown, in the cellar seen just below the back wall of a stone foundation, archaeologists found a pendant that dates to the Virginia colony’s earliest years. A seventeenth-century church tower and the 1907 tercentenary obelisk are also seen. ~website at history.org

As always, if you see anything amiss, let me know.  Until next time…

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Research Specialist

Malebysse to Beckwith- 25 Generations (Logan Family)

UPDATED 3/2021: There is speculation about how our Beckwith line connects with the Yorkshire Beckwiths. More research is needed. Beware of “The Beckwiths”, Paul Edmond Beckwith, Albany, 1891. This genealogy, which contains a totally fabricated English lineage, is filled with errors, has a son Benjamin2, who never existed, and was thoroughly debunked in “The American Genealogist” articles by Simeon Fox. This genealogy is not recommended by Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sir Hugh de Malebisse (Malbisse, Malebysse, Malbis), one of the Norman knights who accompanied the Conqueror to England and served in the Battle of Hastings, is my 25th great grandfather. That’s right, 25th!  

“Sir Hugh de Malbisse, held lands (in Yorkshire), time of William the Conqueror” is all that the Domesday Book says about him.  (The Domesday Book or “Book of Winchester” is a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror.)  Since he was a Norman, he must have had a fair complexion and a tall height to him. When he fought in Hastings, he wore “a leather coat of tough bull hide.” According to the book “The Beckwiths” by Paul Beckwith, the leather coat would have had metal rings sown upon it, just touching each other. The coat and breeches would have been one piece with a casque of metal at the breast gilded and painted. He would have had gloves of leather and sheepskin covering his legs. He must have been a formidable figure in 1066 A.D. 

He married Emma de Percy, daughter of Henry de Percy of Acaster.  (There is a lot of confusing information found in different books on who this Emma married.  Some say she married Hugh’s son, Richard. Others say she married a William.) I am more inclined to believe the original writers of history such as the Madox, Hist. of Exchequer, i. 316, which states that the first Hugh was married to the daughter of Henry de Percy.  

Madox was a legal antiquary and historian, known for his publication and discussion of medieval records and charters; and in particular, for his History of the Exchequer, tracing the administration and records of that branch of the state from the Norman Conquest to the time of Edward II. It became a standard work for the study of English medieval history. He held the office of historiographer royal from 1708 until his death.

Hugh had three sons. Richard, Hugh (2), and Galfred.  This Hugh (2) is our direct line. He married first, Emma de Bray.  I am not finding much on this Hugh. His brother, Richard, seems to take up a lot of the glory, or in this case, scandal.  More on him later. Hugh’s (2) will was proven in the third year of the reign of King Stephen, 1138. Galfred gave all his land over to God and became the first Prior at the monastery of Newbo of Lincolnshire in 1142.

By the way, Richard, whom I mentioned before, was an interesting, cruel fellow.  He was a justiciar, he held Acaster in 1176, and was forester for Yorkshire (Madox, i. 316).  But, then things changed for dear ‘ole Richard.  

He was one of the leaders in the savage attack on and massacre of the Jews at York in 1190 (Will. Newburgh, i. 321, Rolls Ser.) As a punishment for his share in this outrage his lands were seized by the king. Malebysse appears to have been a supporter of Earl John, and in consequence he was one of those who were excommunicated by William de Longchamp in December 1191 (Hoveden, iii. 153). In 1193 he paid a fine of twenty marks for the recovery of his lands till the king’s return, and eventually paid six hundred marks for full restoration (Madox, Hist. of Exchequer, i. 473, 483).  Richard Malebysse

Evidently he owed many debts to “the Jews” and was known as “the Evil Beast’.  On hearing the news of the southern outbreaks, he and various members of the Percy, Faulconbridge, and Darrel families determined to seize the opportunity to wipe out their indebtedness.  One hundred and fifty Jews were killed.  The entire Jewish community was wiped out!  More can be read in the Jewsih Encyclopedia.

However, after about ten years, Richard is back.  

After the accession of John, Malebysse comes into some prominence. In June 1199 he, or it may be his brother Hugh, was sent as an envoy to Scotland to William the Lion to demand homage. In July 1200 he had license to fortify Wheldrake Castle, but the permission was withdrawn at the request of the citizens of York. In May 1201 he was sent on a mission to the king of Scots to ask him to defer his answer as to Northumberland till Michaelmas (Hoveden, iv. 91, 117, 163–4). Malebysse was a justice itinerant for Yorkshire in 1201, and next year sat to acknowledge fines at Westminster. In 1204 he was employed in enforcing the payment of aids. He was keeper of the forests of Galtres, Derwent, and Wernedale. He died in 1209.

Obviously, we must take the bad with the good in our family history. 

Back to my direct line.  Hugh (2) and Emma had Simon.  He was lord of Cowton in Craven, England, and married a daughter of John, Lord of Methley.  I do not know much about Simon either. More research needs to be done.  

Simon had Hercules de Malebysse.  Hercules married Lady Beckwith Bruce, daughter of Sir William Bruce, of Uglebarnby, and heiress of an estate named Beckwith. He retained the Malbisse escutcheon (his coat of arms), and assumed as a surname, during the period when surnames were being adopted in England, the name of his wife’s estate, Beckwith.  And, so the Beckwith surname was passed down. At this time they still use “de Beckwith”. Lady Beckwith and Hercules had Nicolas de Beckwith born in 1260. He married a woman by the last name of Chaworth, but nothing more is known.  

Nicolas and his wife had Hamon in 1294.  Hamon married a daughter of Sir Philip Sydney. He was the first of the family to drop the use of the particle “de” in the surname.  Hamon and Anne had William in 1316. William and “unknown” Usfleet had Thomas. Thomas and “unknown” Sawley had Adam. He married (second) Elizabeth Malebisse, widow of John Heringe. His children were all by his first wife, name unknown.  His first wife and he had William. William married a daughter of Sir John Baskerville, a descendant of English and French ancestry, who traced his lineage to the Emperor Charlemagne (don’t we all).

I’ll run through our line in this paragraph as I know the names, I just haven’t done a lot of research on them.  William and his wife had Thomas who died in 1495. Thomas had Robert who had John who had Robert who had Robert. This Robert made his will, October 6, 1536, and died before March following.  Robert had Marmaduke Beckwith in 1567.

In 1597 he sold Clint and purchased Fetherstone and Aikton (or Acton).   Among his numerous children were: William Beckwith, was the founder of the Virginia line of Beckwiths, who landed in America in 1607. He sailed from England in the ship “Phoenix,” and arrived in company with Captain John Smith, at Jamestown, Va. (I’ll be doing more research on this little gem!)

This immigrant ancestor and progenitor of the Beckwith’s of New England and those branches of the family which are offshoots of the New England lines was born in England about the year 1610. The history of his life to the time of his coming to America is somewhat obscure. 

He is found early at Hartford, Conn. Here he bought the homestead of William Pratt, one of the original proprietors of Hartford, in 1645. About 1652 he was at New London, and Lyme, in the same colony, his land lying in both towns. It is judged from the size of his real estate holdings that he was a man of considerable wealth.

He was able to give land to his sons liberally, and it is recorded that in 1675 thirty acres of additional land were granted to him, all of which he gave to his son, Joseph Beckwith. 

UPDATE March 2021: There is a question that the connection between Matthew 1 (b. 1610 or maybe 1612) and the Beckwiths of Yorkshire seems inaccurate/undocumented. 

Matthew Beckwith occupied a prominent place in the community and was one of its most prominent citizens. He was killed on October 21, 1680, “by a fall in a dark night down a ledge of rocks.”

There are many books about the Malebisse family.  You can research yourself at Google Books.  

Sources:

(WordPress will not let me cite them properly without upgrading to the Business Plan!)

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/domesday/

The Beckwiths”: Beckwith, Paul (Paul Edmond), 1848-1907 ….” 3 Jun. 2009, https://archive.org/details/thebeckwiths00beck.

From https://www.foundersofhartford.org/the-founders/matthew-beckwith/ Genealogy not recommended: “The Beckwiths”, Paul Edmond Beckwith, Albany, 1891. This genealogy, which contains a totally fabricated English lineage, is filled with errors, has a son Benjamin2, who never existed, and was thoroughly debunked in “The American Genealogist” articles by Simeon Fox.

There are several pamphlets entitled “Beckwith Notes”, intended to correct some of the “The Beckwiths” errors, but these only marginally help.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Madox

“Justiciar – Wikipedia.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justiciar

“Malebysse, Richard (DNB00) – Wikisource, the free online library.” 30 Jun. 2016, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Malebysse,_Richard_(DNB00)

http://www.svsu.edu/library/archives/public/follett/documents/152_168/KFP152_08.pdf

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/15122-york

 “Malebysse, Richard (DNB00) – Wikisource, the free online library.” 30 Jun. 2016, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Malebysse,_Richard_(DNB00)

 “The history of the state of Rhode Island and Providence ….” http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/thomas-williams-bicknell/the-history-of-the-state-of-rhode-island-and-providence-plantations-volume-8-kci/page-59-the-history-of-the-state-of-rhode-island-and-providence-plantations-volume-8-kci.shtml

Thank you for reading. As always, please let me know if you see any errors.

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