Richard Bennett Sr

Richard Bennett Sr (1609 - 1675)

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Gov. Richard Bennett Sr
Born in Wiveliscombe, Somerset, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1640 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Nansemond, Virginia Colonymap
Profile last modified 29 Dec 2019 | Created 18 Mar 2011
This page has been accessed 5,364 times.
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Richard Bennett Sr is Notable.

Name, Arms, Crest

Bennett of Nansemond county Virginia.[1]

Arms: Gules a bezant between three demi lions rampant argent. [1]

Crest: Out of a mural coronet or, a lion's head gules, on the neck of a bezant.[1]

Name: Gov. Richard /Bennett/[2]

Parentage and Family

Richard Bennett was a nephew of Edward Bennett, a wealthy merchant of London and member of the Virginia Company. [1]

1608 Birth

Born in Wiveliscombe 1607/8. [3]

1622 Arrival on the "Sea Flower"

On November 21, 1621, Edward Bennett, a rich merchant of London, was granted a patent for a plantation upon the condition of settling two hundred emigrants. Associated with him in that patent were his brother, Robert Bennett, and his nephew, Richard Bennett, Thomas Ayres, Thomas Wiseman and Richard Wiseman; and in February, 1622, the "Sea Flower" arrived with one hundred and twenty settlers, under command of Captain Ralph Hamor, one of the Council. Among them were Rev. William Bennett and George Harrison, kinsmen of Edward Bennett. Their place of settlement was called Warrosquoyacke, or sometimes "Edward Bennett's Plantation," and was located at the place on James River known as the "Rocks," the estate of the late Dr. John W. Lawson, who for many years represented this county in the General Assembly of the State, the Second Congressional District in Congress, and this county in the late Constitutional Convention.[4]

Bennett had a plantation on the Nansemond River called Bennet's Welcome. [5]

It is known that three of his uncles ( Edward Bennett, merchant; Richard Bennett, and Captain Robert Bennett) all of London had founded a plantation in Virginia called "Bennet's Welcome:, and had spent some time in the new settlement.[6]

1622 Massacre

On the day the patent last mentioned was granted, Arthur Swaine, Captain Nathaniel Basse and others, undertook to establish another plantation in the same neighborhood. Captain Basse came over in person and his plantation was known as "Basse's Choice," and was situated on Warrosquoyacke (now Pagan) River. The houses of Captain Basse's Plantation were building when a great calamity happened to the infant colony. At midday on Good Friday, March 22, 1622, there were twelve hundred and forty inhabitants in the State of Virginia. Of these, three hundred and forty-seven, in a few hours, were killed by the Indians in the eighty settlements on the north and south sides of the James River, of which number fifty-three were residents of this county. [4]

1623 A Letter

Yours Out of the John and Frances.

  • I received with letters from Edwarde haresse and Robert Bennet out of Spain, the 27th of Maye the shippe arrived heare in saftie God be Thancked, and out of her I received
    • some 19 Buttes of exclent good wynes, 750 jarse of oylle, 16 Barelles of Resones of the Sonne, and 18 Barelles of Ryesse, tooe halfe hoghedes of Allmondes, 3 halfe hoghedes of wheate and one which was staved at seae, 18 hog-hedes of Olives and some 5 ferkenes of butter and one Chesse.
    • Also I received 1 chest and tooe barelles of Candells, with 3 packes of Linen Cloth marked in your marke and tooe dryfattes of Mr. Kinge's.
  • All these goodes came safe and well condisioned to my handes and the beste that i received since I came in to the lande, and I macke noe question but to macke you by God's helpe good profet one them, and your retorne From Bennetes Wellcome this 9th of June, 1623; signed, Loving Brother [7]

Census of 1624

The census of 1623-24 (February) showed as then living at "Worwicke-Squeak" and "Basse's Choice" fifty-three persons, "twenty-six having died since April last." Among those who had died were Mr. Robert Bennett, the brother of Edward Bennett, the rich London merchant, and first minister, Mr. William Bennett, doubtless one of the same family. [8]

1629-1631 House of Burgesses

Richard Bennett was a member of the House of Burgesses in 1629 and 1631, and member of the Council 1642-9, removing in the latter year to Maryland. [1]

1640 Marriage

About 1640 he married Mary Ann Utie, the widow of John Utie. They had issue: [1]

1644 Defeat of Charles I

In England, King Charles-I and his Army was defeated at Marston Moor in 1644.

1648 Virginia Population

The population of the Virginia Colony in 1648 was estimated to be about 15,000 English and 300 Negroes.

1649 Trial and Beheading of King Charles

The trial and beheading of King Charles-I was in 1649, and Virginia remained loyal to the crown.

1649 Dissenters to Maryland

He had been a leader of the south-of-James River Dissenters who moved to Maryland in 1649 [5]

1651 Return to Virginia

He returned to Virginia and in 1651 was appointed by Parliament one of the Commissioners to reduce Virginia and Maryland. He was Governor of the Colony from 30 April, 1652, to March, 1655. In 1658 he was again a member of the Council. [1]

1652 Document

Richard Bennett, William Claiborne and Edmond Curtis were instrumental in writing & signing a document with England that made "VA almost as free and independent as she was after the Revolutionary War."[6]

Governor of Virginia

He was elected Governor of Virginia and when Maryland was on the verge of war with the Indians, he headed a peace mission to them and arranged a satisfactory treaty. He was re-elected Govenor 3 successive terms and was sent as Comissioner to England by the House of Burgesses. [6]

1652 Named Governor of Virginia by Oliver Cromwell

He came back to Virginia in 1652 when Oliver Cromwell named him governor, after Cromwell deposed Charles I as King of England. [5]

Richard Bennett was elected Governor of the Virginia General Assembly 30 March 1652 and was re-elected three successive terms. [9]

1652 Articles of Surrender to Commonwealth

Articles of surrender in 1652 to the Commonwealth of England was agreed to by the House of Burgesses. The same year, Richard Bennett was elected Governor by the General Assembly replacing William Berkeley. Oliver Cromwell ignored Virginia and self-government went serenely on in '53, and Westmoreland County was created out of Northumberland County. [10]

1652 Parliamentary Commissioners over Virginia and Maryland

In 1652, William Clayborne and Richard Bennett (a Puritan from Nansemond County, Virginia) were appointed Parliamentary Commissioners over both Virginia and Maryland by the new Commonwealth of England Following the execution of Charles I in 1649, Maryland, not surprisingly, remained steadfastly Royalist, but for once she and Virginia were on the same side of the fence, as Virginia, too, continued to favor the monarchy (a considerable number of Royalists having removed to that Colony during the Civil War). Clayborne moved swiftly, and on the 5th of April 1652, a petition was signed by residents of the Isle of Kent 5th April 1652: promising to be true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England, without King or House of Lords. [10]

1655 to England

He was then sent as Commissioner to England by the House of Burgesses. [9]

1656-7 In London

1656-7, Bennett, Richard, Esq. of Virginia, Now in London, age 49. [3]

1658 Return from England

Returning to Virginia in 1658 he was re-elected to the Counsel each year until his death. [9]

1658 Return to Virginia

Returning to Virginia in 1658, he was re-elected to the council each year until his death. From 1662-72, he was Major-General of the forces in Virginia.[6]

1662 Major General of Virginia Forces

From 1662 he was Major General of the Virginia Forces. [9]

1666 Major General of Militia

In 1666 he was a Major-General of Militia, and in the "Sainsbury Abstracts" we find that in that year Thomas Ludwell, writing to Bennett, Lord Arlington, states that Major-General Bennett bore his (Arlington's) arms, and was he believed of his family. [1]


He was a friend of the Friends (Quakers) for the rest of his life. [5]

1674 Will

His will is dated 15 March, 1674, and was proved in Nansemond 12 April, 1675. [1]

1676 Death

When he died in 1675/6 he willed 2000 lbs of tobacco to each of four Nansemond Quaker neighbors. Two Quakers were among the executors of his will. [5]


William Bennett married Mary Ann Utie, and they had the following children: [1]

  1. Richard of Greenbury Point, Maryland, b. 1645, who was drowned shortly before his father's death, leaving issue; [1]
  2. Anne Bennett, b. 1641, married, 1st, Theodorick Bland of Westover, 2nd, Colonel St. Leger Codd of Northumberland county, Virginia, and afterward of Maryland. She died 1687. [1]His daughter, Anne bennett also became a Quaker. [5]
  3. A daughter, possibly Elizabeth b. 1645, married Col. Charles Scarborough of Accomac county, Virginia. [1]

Robert Bennett, a brother of Edward Bennett of London, also came to Virginia prior to January, 1623-4, and in 1648 Mr. Philip Bennett, administrator of Robert Bennett, had a grant of land in Nansemond county. [1]

Richard Bennett's descendents include General Robert E. Lee. [9]


Ancestor of interest, Coat/Lane/Lancaster match. Descendants who have undertaken autosomal testing, please contact Veronica Williams.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Virginia Heraldica: being a registry of Virginia gentry entitled to coat armor, with genealogical notes of the families. By Crozier, William Armstrong, 1864-1913, ed. Page 82. Published 1908. Publisher New York : The Genealogical Association.
  2. Source: #S-532784846 Page: Ancestry Family Tree Data: Text:
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Genealogist Reference Journal, Vol. 1, part 1, for June 1935" contains an enlightening clue, extracted from a record in the Public Record Office, London H C A 13.71" 1656-7 Bennett, Richard, Esq. of Virginia, Now in London, age 49, born at Wilscombe, Somerset, England. Lewis' Topographical Dictionary, reveals that the place popularly called wilscombe is actually Wiveliscombe.. A search was made at Wiveliscombe Parish Church and through the efforts of Mr. John Bennett Boddie, a Bennett descendant and an ardent and scholarly genealogist, and by the kind permission of the minister, copies of entries from the register were made and later an extensive genealogy of the Bennett family was made.
  4. 4.0 4.1 American Historical Review, XXVII, pp. 505-508.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 The Friendly Virginians; America's First Quakers by Jay Worrall, Jr. Iberian Publishing company, Athens, GA, c. 1994
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Finding Your Forefathers In America by Archibald F. Bennett, Secretary and Librarian of The Genealogical Society at Salt Lake City, Utah, Bookcraft Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, c 1957.
  7. CCCLXVIII. Robert Bennett. A Letter To Edward Bennett, June 9, 1623, Papers of Lord Sackville, No. 6212, Document at Knole Park, Kent. In the Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Willey, Core, Bennett and Other Ancestors by Leroy Ellis Willie & Ted D.Jones email 14 Oct 2000
  10. 10.0 10.1


  • WikiTree profile Bennett-2246 created through the import of Doyle-Eisenzimmer_McNeir Famil.ged on Jun 14, 2011 by Frances Doyle.
  • Bennett-11207 was created by Lisa Jones through the import of Jones_Riggans_Shearin_Colcloug.ged on Aug 28, 2015.

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Comments: 9

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Source: Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, in 5 vols. (Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013), Vol IV, page 539.

[Col.] St. Leger Codd, born 1635, immigrated to Lancaster County, Virginia before 18 April 1679. He married (2nd) Anne Bennett, widow of Theodorick Bland (died 23 April 1671) of Charles City and Henrico Counties, Virginia, and daughter of Richard Bennett, Esq., Governor of Virginia, 1652-5, by his wife, Ann. They had one son, St. Leger, and one daughter, Beatrix. His wife, Anne, died at Wharton Creek, Kent County, Maryland in Nov. 1688.

Thank you

Bio indicates a marriage date of c 1640 however son Richard is indicated in the bio as being born 1624 ? Should this be 1642 ?
posted by David Douglass
Lisa, please agree to the proposed merge, since Bennett-1181 is the lower numbered profile and the detailed information about Richard Bennett and his family is there! Thanks.
posted by Jack Day
Bennett-11207 and Bennett-1181 appear to represent the same person because: Place of birth for Bennett-11207 was mistaken. This is a clear duplicated created from a GED import.
posted by Elizabeth (Hart) Hyatt
Bennett-11207 and Bennett-1181 are not ready to be merged because: Birth and death locations disagree. Birth location should be the one in England as birth in Virginia that early is unlikely. Death location needs to be researched and resolved before merge.
posted by Jack Day
Bennett-11207 and Bennett-1181 appear to represent the same person because: they have the same birth and death dates, and title of Governor
posted by John Elkin
Bennett-10817 had a birthdate 50 years before Bennett-1181 which would have been reason to reject the merge. However, the earlier date was nonsensical and would have had Bennett living to well past 100. So I changed the dates, made them compatible, and merged them. Now the bio narrative needs to be revised into one coherent whole, using inline sources so that one knows where each piece came from!
posted by Jack Day
Bennett-10817 and Bennett-1181 appear to represent the same person because: Same spouse, so must be same person.
posted by William Foster Jr
I believe the text is already in the bio, but see p 206:

Isle of Wight County Records The William and Mary Quarterly Vol. 7, No. 4 (Apr., 1899), pp. 205-315 Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Stable URL:

posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett

Richard is 20 degrees from Danielle Liard, 14 degrees from Jack London and 11 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.