William Cantrell/Cantrill was born around 1580 in Derbyshire, England.
He was one of the first adventurers to the New World, landing at Jamestowne, Virginia in 1608. Jamestowne was settled the previous year, becoming the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Captain John Smith noted that In 1608, "Master Nelson arrived with his lost Phoenix." He also provided a list of new arrivals in a note entitled, "Their names that were landed in this Supply." He listed thirty-two "gentlemen," a list which included "William Cantrell."
Among Smith's many duties and interests was Exploration and Discovery , up, down, and around the James River. On 2 Jun 1608, Smith left the fort "to performe his discoveries," with a company of adventurers which included six "gentlemen" (a group which included "William Cantrill"), four soldiers, a blacksmith and two fishermen. The discovery company left "in an open barge of two tunnes burthen, leaving the Phenix at Cape Henry, we crossed the bay to the Easterne Shore and fell with the isles called Smith's Iles." The record of this adventure includes encountering "2 grimme and stout Savages," being taken to meet the "King" of the Werowans, catching more fish than they could cook and eat by stabbing them with their swords, and their captain's near fatal encounter with a stingray.
William Cantrill participated fully in this second discovery and Cantrell's Point on the James River is named for him. Although Cantrill's journals have not survived, the following acknowledgement is given by Smith in his own "Narrative."
"From the writings of Captaine Nathaniel Powell, William Cantrill, Sergeant Boothe, Edward Gurganey" 
 Smith, John, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England & the Summer Isles, Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons, publishers to the University, New York: Macmillan Company, MCMVII (1907), p. 110, 111
 Smith, John, Narrative of Early Virginia, 1606-1625, Vol. 5, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907, pp. 141, 142
 Ibid, p. 325
- This person was created through the import of mostrecentforgramps.ged on 13 September 2010.
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with William by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:
- Glenn Cantrell - Family Tree DNA yDNA 67 markers
Family Tree DNA kit 232863
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