Categories: Charles City County, Virginia Colony.
The name Menefee has had numerous spelling variations over the centuries. Some spelled the name: Minife, Minefie, Minifye, Menifye and other variations of the surname, but the most prevalent spelling has become the surname written as Menefee. Those Menefee men were important people to lend their name to the history and the formation of this country, the great United States of America.
It will be observed that, on acount of variations in the spelling of the same name, there are many duplications of names on the list.For instance, the ancestor of the distinguished Richard H. Menefee, of Kentucky, appears on this list under the various forms of George Menefy, George Menifye, George Minifie, George Minifye, and George Mynifie, but never as Menefee. There is no other name on the list so variously spelled, except that o Colonel John Mottrom[...].
First settled by the English colonists in 1607 at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, the County was formally created in 1634 as James City Shire by order of King Charles I. James City County is considered one of only five original shires of Virginia to still be extant today in essentially the same political form.
To further information on his immigration to America, George Menifie, who was born in 1596 or 1597, came to Virginia in 1623 on the Samuell from Wiltshire, England.
George Menefee is listed as counted among the living in James City on the first census taken in February of the year 1623. This first census was taken after the 1622 great Indian massacre who took the lives of a quarter of the 1,240 inhabitants within an hour of the start of the bloody ordeal.
George Minify was listed among those in the VA Early Census Index in 1624. He lived in Virginia Pioneer Township, James City County in Virginia.
George was born about 1596. George Menefee passed away in 1646. George Menefee was responsible for bringing over immigrants from England and with each sponsorship he received a grant of land. He is listed as Menifye, Mr. George; James City, 1636 as Patentees of Lands in Virginia During the Years 1635-1656 Inclusive.
George Menifie arrived in Virginia in 1623, was Burgess for James City County, 1629, and member of the Council, 1635-1646.He was one the wealthiest men of his day in the Colony, and was probably the leading merchant. George Menefye is named as a merchant in James City in the year 1624.
Will of George Menefie.-See Volume 14, Page 421, Virginia Magazine of History. George Menefie, of Buckland, Virginia, Dated 31st of December, 1645. Proved 25th of February, 1646-7. Note: Extract: "To my daughter, Elizabeth Menefie, all my land at Weston at James Citty and at Yorke River" "My sheep at Buckland to be joint stock between my daughter, Elizabeth, and my son-in-law, Henry Perry." Volume 14, Page 422, Virginia Magazine of History. Note: "George Menefie's only child, Elizabeth, married Capt. Henry Perry, of Charles Citty County, member of the Council. They left two daughters and co-heiresses, Elizabeth, who married John Coggs, gentle man of Rainslip, Middlesex, Eng.; and Mary, who married Thomas This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Sun, 31 Dec 2017 21:53:06 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms WILLIAM AND MARY QUARTERLY 71 Mercer, Stationer of London.-R. Mann Page, State-Planters Bank Building, Richmond, Va. “Genealogical Notes and Queries.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, 1931, pp. 69–76. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1925094
In 1639 George Menefee sponsored William Minifie to be brought over to Charles City with a large group of people, and George received a bounty land warrant of acreage in Charles City.
George Menifie was one of the wealthiest planters that lived during the first half of the seventeenth century.
In 1634 he lived at "Littleton," or "Littletown,"' not far below Jamestown.His large garden here " contained fruits of Holland and Roses of Provence." His orchard was planted with apple, pear and cherry trees, and peach trees. George Menifie introduced the first peach trees to America as he cultivated the first peach trees.Around the house grew, in the fashion of the times, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.He took a prominent part in the deposition of Governor Harvey.
Later he removed to "Buckland," an estate of 8,ooo acres in Charles City County. His only child, Elizabeth Menifie, married Captain Henry Perry of Charles City County. Captain Perry was a member of the Council. They left two daughters and co-heiresses. Daughter Elizabeth Perry married John Coggs, gentleman, of Rainslip, Middlesex, Esq. Daughter Mary Perry married Thomas Mercer, stationer, of London.
George Menifie helped raise an native american boy after he reached about ten years of age. It can be presumed that he took care of him after the death of William Perry. The following is an account:
The site of old Westover Church, near the house at "Westover," still contains a number of tombs formerly in or near the old building. The name John James supplies information as to one of the early ministers of the parish. John Bishop was an early resident of Charles City County, as was Walter Aston. Howell Price was once clerk of the county.
Virginia Council, 1641:
George Menefye was present at Court held at James City October 13, 1641. Those in attendance were:Sir Francis Wyat, Knt., Governor, Captain John West, Captain Wm. Pierce, Mr. George Menefye, Mr. Wm. Brocas, Mr. Amb. Harmer, Mr. Richmond Bennet.
(The meeting at Warren's house)
An excerpt from the meeting at Warren's house: .....the principal speakers were Nicholas Martian, formerly member of the House of Burgesses for Kent Island, Francis Pott, the doctor's brother, and William English, sheriff of York County.The house where this meeting was held in 1635 seems to have stood on or near the site of the house afterward owned by Augustine Moore, where in 1781 the surrender of Lord Cornwallis was arranged ; and by a curious coincidence the speaker Nicholas Martian was a direct ancestor both of George Washington, who commanded the army of the United States, and of Thomas Nelson, who commanded the forces of Virginia, on that memorable occasion.
Next morning. Martian, Pott, and English were arrested, and when they asked the reason why, Governor Harvey politely told them that they "should know at the gallows." When the council met, the wrathful governor strode up and down. the room, demanding that the prisoners be instantly put to death by martial law, but the council insisted that no harm should come to them without a regular trial.Then Harvey with a baleful frown put the question after the manner of Richard III., "What do they deserve that have gone about to dissuade the people from their obedience to his Majesty's substitute ? " A young member, George Menefie, replied with adroit sarcasm that be was too young a lawyer to be ready with " a suddain opinion" upon such a question.Turning savagely upon him, Sir John asked what all the fuss was about. "Because of the detaining of the assembly's protest," said Menefie. Then the governor struck Menefie heavily upon the shoulder and exclaimed, "I arrest you on suspicion of treason," whereupon Captain John Utie, roughly seizing the governor, answered, "And we the like to you, sir!"
Samuel Mathews threw his arms about Harvey and forced him down into a chair, while that connoisseur in beverages, Dr. Pott, waved his hand at the window, and in the twinkling of an eye the house was surrounded by armed men.Mathews then told the helpless governor that he must go to London to answer charges that would be brought against him. In vain did Harvey argue and storm.The sequel may best be told in the words of the terse and bleak entry in the colonial records: " On the 28th of April, 1635, Sir John Harvey thrust out of his government; and Capt.John West acts as governor till the king's pleasure known." When the assembly met on May 7, these proceedings of the council were approved, and commissioners were appointed to go to London and lay their complaints before the king. The indignant Harvey went by the same ship, in the custody of his quondam prisoner, Francis Pott, whom he had been so anxious to hang without ceremony.
Such were the incidents of the ever memorable "thrusting out of Sir John Harvey," the first revolutionary scene that was acted in English America. When King Charles heard the story he did not feel quite so much fondness for his trusty and well-belovecl burgesses as when he had been seeking commercial favours from them. He would not receive their commissioners or hear a word on their side of the case, and he swore that Sir John Harvey should straightway go back to Virginia as governor, even were it only for one clay. But when it came to acting, Charles was not quite so bold as his words.
Harvey did not return until nearly two years had elapsed. Then it was the turn of the rebellious councillors - Utie, Mathews, West, Menefie, and Dr. Pott--to go to London and defend themselves, while Harvey wreaked mean-spirited vengeances on his enemies.The day of reckoning had come for Anthony Panton, the minister who had called Mr. Secretary Kemp a "jackanapes," and had, moreover, as it seemed, spoken irreverently of Archbishop Lau. Panton's conduct was judged to be "mutinous, rebellious, and riotous," his estate was confiscated, and he was banished. A shameful clause was inserted in the sentence, declaring him outlawed if he should venture to return to Virginia, and authorizing anybody to kill him at sight; but Harvey afterward tried to disown this clause, saying that it had been wickedly interpolated by the vindictive Kemp. But Harvey's new lease of power was brief.Enemies to the throne were getting too numerous for comfort, and we may well believe that Charles, having once vindicated his royal dignity in the matter, was quite ready to yield.The statements of the councillors under examination in London no doubt had weight, for no proceedings were taken against them, but in 1639 the king removed Harvey, and sent the excellent Sir Francis Wyatt once more to govern Virginia.
The land owned by George Menifye, at least at the time, might be located using the information from this source:
[...]The area of the plat of John Harvey being given, also its northern boundary. Back Street, its eastern boundary "the Swamp lying on the East side of the said New Towne," its southern boundary, **upon the highway close to the banke of the Main river, the approximate position of the tract was ascer- tained after several trials.
From the descriptions of the Harvey and Hamor tracts the position of those of George Menefy J and Richard Stephens, and also those of the two cross streets, all of which are men- tioned in the descriptions of the two first named, were readily found, and finally the tract of John Chew, all as shown on the Map of lames City, Va., 1607-1698.
N. B. — Lines indicated on the *' Plat of the Tracts ** by num- bers I, 2, 3, 4, II, 10, 9, are part of Sherwood (5) survey. 
Will of George Menefie.-See Volume 14, Page 421, Virginia Magazine of History. George Menefie, of Buckland, Virginia, Dated 31st of December, 1645. Proved 25th of February, 1646-7. Note: Extract: "To my daughter, Elizabeth Menefie, all my land at Weston at James Citty and at Yorke River" "My sheep at Buckland to be joint stock between my daughter, Elizabeth, and my son-in-law, Henry Perry." Volume 14, Page 422, Virginia Magazine of History. Note: "George Menefie's only child, Elizabeth, married Capt. Henry Perry, of Charles Citty County, member of the Council. They left two daughters and co-heiresses, Elizabeth, who married John Coggs, gentle man of Rainslip, Middlesex, Eng.; and Mary, who married Thomas Mercer Mercer, Stationer of London.-R. Mann Page, State-Planters Bank Building, Richmond, Va.
WILLIAM AND MARY QUARTERLY 71 Mercer, Stationer of London.-R. Mann Page, State-Planters Bank Building, Richmond, Va. 
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