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Samuel Mathews Sr (1583 - aft. 1657)

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Captain Samuel Mathews Sr aka Matthews
Born in Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [uncertain] and [uncertain]
Husband of — married about (to about ) in Lancaster County, Colony of Virginiamap
Husband of — married in Virginiamap
Descendants descendants
Died after in Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 19 May 2010
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US Southern Colonies.
Samuel Mathews Sr settled in the Southern Colonies in North America prior to incorporation into the USA.
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Disputed Parents and Disputed Wife

It appears that Samuel Mathew, who rose to the highest level of public trust and responsibility in Virginia and who married an aristocratic widow, was the youngest son of Bishop Tobey Mathew, and one of two sons named Samuel. This would make him born Feb. 1, 1583. A 1622 record (see below) appears to give his age as 32, but if the "2" was a misreading of a "9," then his age would have been correct.

Ann Woodlief's Mathews webpage makes the speculative claim that this Samuel Mathews was the grandson Bishop Tobias Mathews, son of the bishop's eldest son Samuel (by an unknown first wife), who matriculated at Cambridge in 1580 and died in 1601. However, this has been disputed at Adam Matthews' 2009 genforum post, which follows the error in Arnold Harris Mathew's The life of Sir Tobie Matthew, Bacon's alter ego (1907) with its mistaken claim that Tobias's son Samuel who died in 1601 was the younger Samuel born in 1583. The records make it clear that Tobias had an elder son Samuel by an unknown first wife: the Cambridge entries for Bishop Tobias's sons John and Tobias clearly show that Samuel (matriculated 1581) was their brother.[1] This means that the "beloved son Samuel" who died at Cambridge in 1601 [mentioned in both Francis (Barlow) Mathew's will and Oxford alumni records] was actually her step-son, leading to the logical supposition that her youngest son Samuel went to Virginia, received his inheritance on his trip back to England in 1622 and then returned to Virginia, and was therefore not mentioned in his mother's will.

The poorly-sourced and unreliable Hinton genealogy assumes that Samuel Mathews was the son of Tobias Mathew, Bishop of York and Frances Barlow.

The same Hinton genealogy conflates Sarah Hinton (second wife of Samuel Mathews, Sr.) with Frances (Greville)(West) Piersey (first wife of Samuel Mathews, Sr.), calling her "Mary Frances Hinton." This work incorrectly asserts that Samuel Mathews, Sr. was the "Military Governor of Virginia" per order of King Charles I.[2] (In reality, it was Samuel Mathews, Jr. who became Governor of Virginia, several years after King Charles was beheaded.) The History of Parliament follows this error, stating that Sarah Hinton's husband Samuel Mathews was the Governor of Virginia. This has led others to the false conclusion that Sarah Hinton was the wife of Governor Samuel Mathews, Jr. In reality, Sarah Hinton was the second wife of Samuel Mathews, Sr.


Samuel Mathews was not Governor of Virginia, as was once commonly thought. His son, Samuel Mathews, Jr was Governor.[3]

"Capt. Samuel Mathews came to Virginia before 1618. On 4 May 1622 Richard Brewster deposed in a suit against Captain Samuel Argall that 'the said Mathewes came thither over as a servant to Sheriff Johnson of London and then the def[endan]t Argall made him a Captaine, and the said Mathewes lived but a while in James Towne but went to live in Sherley hundred and looked to some few men of the Sherif Johnson's, and afterwards went to a place called Harryhattock where the said def[endan]t gave the said Mathewes to comaund of men & made him Captain of them.' On 27 April 1622 'Samuel Mathews of Arrowttox in the Countrie of Virginia, Esq., age 32,' presumably then in England, also made a deposition concerning the ship Treasurer. He returned to Virginia in the Southampton, which arrived in Dec. 1622, and in the census, 1623/4, is listed 'in the plantation over against James City,' where he was recorded in the muster, 1624/5, with Mr. David Sands, the minister, and a company of 20 men.... By 1625, and perhaps by 1623, Captain Mathews was named to the Council."[4][5]

In the 1623/4 census, Samuel is not listed with any wife or children. However, Widow Frances West (later to marry Samuel as her third husband) is on the list in Samuel's settlement. In addition, there was a Robert Mathews on the list.[6]

In the 1624/5 muster at Capt. Mathews' plantation next to James City, the name of Robert Mathews appears immediately after that of Capt. Samuel Mathews (the leader). The list shows that Robert came to Virginia in 1622 in the Southampton (as did Samuel), reinforcing the supposition that Robert was a kinsman (perhaps brother or nephew) of Samuel.[7] In addition, there was a Samuel Mathew, age 14, who came to Virginia in 1635 on the 'Elizabeth'. [8]

First Wife Frances Greville

"Some time after 24 March 1627/28 Samuel West married (1) Frances Greville, widow of Nathaniel West and Abraham Piersey. She had come to Virginia in 1620 in the Supply with William Tracy and his wife (a niece of Fulk Greville [actually the sister of the husband of a daughter of Fulk Greville]) when she was less than 20 years old. She was dead by 1633 when Mary Hill was appointed administratrix of the estate of her father, Abraham Piersey, the executrix, his late wife, having died. Thomas Hill and his wife Mary [not a daughter of Frances] charged Samuel Mathews with having altered the estate of Piersey after his marriage to the widow."[9][3]

Second Wife Sarah Hinton

The name of Samuel's wife is given as Sarah Hinton in the History of Parliament.[10] A teaspoon from Samuel's manor house at Denbigh shows her first initial as "S" (see below). It is well-established that she was the daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton.

In July 1634, in the middle of the uproar in Virginia related to the settlement of Maryland, a Capt. Thomas Young wrote a letter to Sir Tobey Mathews, son of Bishop Tobias Mathew. In this letter Capt. Young referred to Samuel Mathews as follows: "Captayne Mathews, an antient planter … This gentleman as I heare is lately married to the daughter of one Sir Thomas Hinton, who is lately retired into these parts, and he grows, as is conceaved, much bolder by this alliance, as hoping by his power to find great strength in England."[11] From the quote it is clear that Samuel, a member of the Governor's Council, was involved in a power struggle, and indeed Samuel's new brother-in-law Thomas Hinton[12], was briefly on the Council before being expelled by Governor John Harvey. Harvey in turn was impeached by the House of Burgesses and returned to England in 1635, which eventually caused Samuel Mathews to be called to England to face an inquisition regarding his role in the "mutiny" against Governor Harvey. (Harvey was replaced as governor by John West, the brother of the first husband of Samuel Mathews' first wife Frances.

"Samuel received land at the mouth of the Warwick River where he built his plantation first called 'Mathews Manor' and later called 'Denbigh'. This is an account of the plantation in 1649: 'Worthy Captaine Mathews, an old Planter of above thirty years standing, one of the Counsell, and a most deserving Common-wealths-man. I may not omit to let you know this gentlemans industry. He hath a fine house, and all things answerable to it, he sowes yearly store of Hempe and Flax, and causes it to be spun: he keeps Weavers and hath a Tan-house, causes Leather to be dressed, hath eight shoemakers employed in their trade, hath forty Negroe servants, brings them up to Trades in his house. He veerly sowes abundance of Wheat, Barley, &c. The Wheat he selleth at four shillings the bushell: kills store of Beeves, and sells them to victuall the ships when they come thither: hath abundance of Kine, a brave Dairy, Swine great store, and Poltery, he married the Daughter of Sir Tho. Hinton, and in word, keeps a good house, lives bravely, and a true lover of Virginia, he is worthy of much honour.'"[13]

"The archealogical finds at Mathews Manor are some of the best that have been found. . . a silver saucepan whose lid was engraved with the initials of Mathews and his second wife, M/SS, and stamped with the London date letter for 1638. This last find was of considerable importance since it identified the "Daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton," mentioned earlier, as S Hinton rather than Frances Hinton, as genealogists had mistakenly supposed, having confused her with Mathews' first wife, Frances Grevill West Peirsey."[14]

Children (both presumably by first wife Frances Greville):

  1. Samuel Mathews Lt-Col in 1655, Memb. of Council
  2. Francis Mathews Captain, Justice of York Co., d Feb 16, 1674/5

"The will of Robert Nicholson, proved 10 Nov. 1651, in England, makes a bequest to "Capt. Sam: Matthews, to Mrs. Matthews, to Sam: Mathewes, the son of the said Capt., and to his brother."[15]

Offices and Land Holdings

Samuel was a member of the Council to the Governor and commander of the fort at Old Point.[16] Samuel was a Captain in the militia and then later made a Colonel as Virginia's agent to England.[3]

Prospective Magna Carta Ancestry

If Samuel's parentage is correct, and if the parentage of Samuel's presumed great-great-grandfather John Harcourt is correct, then Samuel has documented descents from Magna Carta surety barons John FitzWalter and Saier de Quincy (through the Harcourt and Grey families), and William de Huntingfield (through the Lewknor family).

Samuel's parentage depends on the argument that (1) Bishop Tobey Mathews had a son Samuel by an unknown first wife, and (2) this elder son Samuel, and not Bishop Tobey Mathews' youngest son Samuel by his second wife Frances Barlow, was the son Samuel who died in 1601 and was mentioned as a son in Frances (Barlow) Mathews' will.

The parentage of John Harcourt is proposed as a solution (explained on the relevant profiles) for an old conundrum regarding which member of the Harcourt family married Eleanor Lewknor.


  1. 'Mascall-Meyrick', in Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714, ed. Joseph Foster (Oxford, 1891), pp. 982-1007.
  2. George W. Hinton, Hinton and Related Family History, 2nd ed. (1971), vol. 1, pp. 15-16.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Cook, Minnie G., "Frances Grevill West Peirsey Mathews." The William and Mary Quarterly. (Vol. 15, No. 3 (Jul., 1935), pp. 299-303) Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, accessed 21 January 2016.
  4. John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5: Families G-P (2004), pp. 636, 637. This book's paragraphs on Samuel Mathews, Sr. are also transcribed here.
  5. See also Charles E. Hatch, The First Seventeen Years: Virginia, 1607-1624,, p. 53)
  6. John Camden Hotten, The original lists of persons of quality; emigrants; religious exiles; political rebels; serving men sold for a term of years; apprentices; children stolen; maidens pressed; and others who went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700 (1874), p. 179.
  7. John Camden Hotten, The original lists of persons of quality... (1874), p. 233.
  8. The original lists of persons of quality... (1874), p. 118.
  9. John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5: Families G-P (2004), p. 636.
  10. History of Parliament,
  11. Part of this quote is given at re: Frances Greville, wife of Samuel Mathews, and an overlapping part of this quote is given at The Flowering of the Maryland Palatinate: An Intimate and Objective History by Harry Wright Newman (1961), p. 125.
  12. See Lyon Gardner Tyler, Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, vol. 1 (1915), pp. 103-104.
  13. this Mathews family website, quoting A Perfect Description of Virginia..." (London, 1649).
  14. Excerpt of a 1966 article by Ivor Noel Hume, posted at this Mathews family website
  15. John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5 (3rd ed., 1987), p. 445 [online transcription by Margie Hinton]; citing P.C.C. 228 Bowyer, in Colonial Records Project, Survey Report 4106 (4308) and Waters, Gleanings, I, p. 100).
  16. "Mathews Family." The William and Mary Quarterly. (Vol. 6, No. 2 (Oct., 1897), pp. 91-93) Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, JSTOR.or accessed 8 February 2016 Caution: Confounds father with son.

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On 30 Jun 2017 at 14:06 GMT Dave Martin wrote:

Well interesting profile. I seem to be related to it farther back. to the warrens at 30 genetations.

On 8 Feb 2016 at 01:43 GMT J (Schmeeckle) S wrote:

Matthews-4012 and Mathews-14 appear to represent the same person because: Mathews (with one "t") is the correct spelling.

On 22 Aug 2015 at 02:49 GMT Mary Richardson wrote:

We are working on Space:Jamestown a subproject of US Southern project

Please check this

If you agree, your Samuel Mathews is the same, I would add category [[Category:Jamestown Colony and [[Category:Southampton, sailed 1622

On 23 Dec 2014 at 22:14 GMT Daniel Estefano wrote:

I think this has been generally disproved that Captain Samuel Mathew Sr was not the son of Tobias Mathew. You might want to recheck your sources.



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Samuel is 13 degrees from Susan B. Anthony, 16 degrees from Keith Cook and 7 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.