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Henry Watkins

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Virginia Colonymap
Surname/tag: southern_colonies virginia Watkins
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Research Notes on Sourcing and Ancestry of Henry Watkins, Burgess

James Watkins - supposed father

  • Sailed on Phoenix, Francis Nelson, Master, 18 Oct 1607, arrived Virginia 20 Apr 1608[1]
    • James Watkins incl. in Miscellaneous Laborers, most attendants on the gentlemen, list of passengers on Phoenix (818)
    • James Watkins Listed as Soldier, exploration of Chesapeake Bay, 20 July 1608 (465)
    • Watkins's Point, named for James Watkins (471)

Henry Watkins - Burgess 1623-4

  • Hotten, "Living in Virginia" 16 February 1623/4
    • At the Eastern Shore
      • John Wilcocks, p 188 (Burgess with Henry Watkins 1623-24)
      • Henry Wattkins, p 189
      • Peregree Wattkins, p 189
      • Daniell Wattkins, p 189
    • At Hogg Iland
      • Rice Watkins, p 181
  • Hotten, Musters of January, February 1624/5
    • At James Citty
      • Daniel Wattkins, Charles 1621 (with Phettiplace Close) (231)
      • Rice Watkins, age 30, Francis bonaventure (232)
    • At Easterne shore
      • Perregrin Watkines, age 24, George 1621 (265)
      • Capt John Willcockes, his Muster, Bona nova 1620 (263)
  • Euan [Evan] Watkins was killed during the "Indian Massacre" of 22 March 1622 at "Mr. Edward Bennets Plantation" located at Warrosquoyacke (later Isle of Wight). Hotten (p 243) only notes "of Mr. Bennet's men slayne by the Indianes - 5." His date of arrival is not known.[2]

Arrived Virginia 1635

  • Arthur Watkyns, age 25, Peter Bonaventure, 1635 (Hotten, 51-2)
  • Richard Watkyns, age 20, Abraham of London, 1635 (Hotten, 138)
  • Tho. Wathin [perhaps Watkin], Constance, 24 Oct 1635 (Hotten 136-7)

Note on residence in Virginia:

Watkins, Watkines, Watkyns, Wattkines, Wattkins
In residence in Virginia 1623/4: Henry Wattkins, Peregree, Wattkins, Daniel Wattkins, Rice Watkins. Plus John Wilcocks.
In residence in Virginia 1624/5: Daniel Wattkins, Rice Watkins, Perregrin Watkines. Plus Capt. John Willcockes.
Only one missing in 1624/5 is Henry Wattkins

Henry Watkins can be found in records attending the session of the Virginia General Assembly (Burgesses) in February and March 1623/4.[3]

No further records have yet been found showing that Henry Watkins was living in Virginia after 1624.



Theory 1, b 1585

It is believed by some that Henry Watkins was the son of James Watkins, who sailed on the Phoenix in 1607/1608 in the expedition of Capt. John Smith. He is listed early on as a laborer and later in the journey as a soldier. It has been assumed that James Watkins settled in Virginia, but this is undocumented and unproven. Sources cited to support a birth date for Henry Watkins of 1585 as son of James Watkins are all, to my knowledge, secondary or tertiary sources; no primary sources have been cited.

  • Media Research Bureau, 1607-1608, Washington, D.C. 1800 states that the early Watkins started with Francis Watkins of Shotten, Wales born about 1562, his son James born about 1586 in Shotten, Wales came over on the ship PHOENIX in 1608 with Captain John Smith of Jamestown, had a son, Edward born 1611 in Henrico Co.,VA had a son Henry born 1637 in Henrico Co, Va who was a Quaker, married Katherine. (See: Media Research Bureau Fraud)
  • SMITH, Z. F. “MEMORABILIA OF THE TRABUE FAMILY.” Register of Kentucky State Historical Society, vol. 7, no. 21, Kentucky Historical Society, 1909, pp. 77–87, esp. p. 85. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23367313.: States: "James Watkins, from Wales, was in the Virginia Colony with John Smith, the explorer, in 1608. Had a son, Henry.
    • 2. Henry Watkins Ist
    • 3. Henry Watkins 2nd, his son married Mary Crisp. He was a Burgess and owned Marborne Hills. In his will, 1717, he mentions his sons, Benjamin, Joseph and Stephens.
    • 4. Major Joseph Watkins [Revolutionary War, under Capt. Fleet 1782], married Mary Lockett.
    • 5. Judith Watkins, married Williamson H. Pittman...."
  • Henry Watkins of Henrico County: His Descendants and Their Allied Families. Jane McMurtry Allen. Gateway Press, 1985. Digitized 2008. Snippets Google Books, pp 26, 27
    • I. Henry Watkins (1585-___)
    • II. Henry Watkins m. Katherine Pride
    • III. Edward Watkins (c 1665-1771)
    • IV. John Watkins (c. 1710-1765) Phoebe Hancock
    • V. Henry Watkins (1758-1829) Elizabeth Hudson Clay
    • VI. John Watkins (1785-1845) Catherine T. Milton

As far as I can see, no valid evidence for this 1585 birth date or any connection to James Watkins. Even the purported sources above cited by almost all Watkins researchers do not agree with each other.

Theory 2, b c 1600

There is documentary evidence that three Watkins men, possibly related or brothers, immigrated to, and settled in, colonial Virginia: Henry, Peregrine and Daniel. See information under arrival dates above. The only birth information connected to them is the entry that Peregrine Watkins was age 24 at the Muster of 1624/25, possible birth year 1621. Daniel is mentioned as possibly the youngest.

Peregrine and Daniel both arrived in Virginia in 1621. Henry was overseer of Lady Elizabeth Dale's property (widow of Sir Thomas Dale in 1619) in 1620 and 1621. He was replaced by Charles Harmar who arrived in the colony on the Furtherance in 1622. This would mean Henry arrived in Virginia probably in 1619 or 1620. His replacement, Charles Harmar, was only 21 or so when he replaced Henry, so it is not implausible that Henry was about 20 or 21 in 1620. Possible birth year 1599/1600.

Since these Watkins men immigrated from a port in England, they were not born in Virginia. It is possible they were born in Wales, but this is no more likely than a birth in England pending finding additional documentation.

There is absolutley no evidence for the 1585 birth year as son of James Watkins in Wales. Since we do have documentation Henry was in Virginia by 1620 and a member of the General Assembly in 1623/4, he must have been born no later than 1600 in either England or Wales. As you may surmise, I support this proposed birth year and the fact that we have no evidence as to his parentage.


Henry is supposed to have married Alice Moslin about 1637 in Virginia Colony. This date is to allow for the birth of his purported son Henry Watkins in 1638. I cannot find any evidence for this marriage or even for the fact that Henry was still living in 1637.

No record has been found of Henry Watkins in Virginia between his attendance at the General Assembly in March 1623/24 and the appearance of Henry Watkins, Quaker, in Henrico County in 1677.

"Other than in Miss Hess’s application, I can find no further proof that this early Henry Watkins was the father of our Henry Watkins [b 1638]. There is no will of the early Henry Watkins, that I know of, and no land records, etc., that might tell us the truth of the matter."[4]


  1. Sams, Conway Whittle. Conquest of Virginia, the second Attempt. Norfolk, Va.: Keyser-Doherty Printing Corp., 1929. The First Supply, Page 447, 455, 814, 818
  2. Colonial Records of Virginia. Richmond, VA: R. F. Walker, Superintendent Public Printing, 1874. page 66
  3. McIlwaine, H. R. and J. P. Kennedy, Editors. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 Volumes. Richmond, Virginia, 1905-1915. Editors: vols. 1-9, H. R. McIlwaine; v. 10-13, J. P. Kennedy. Vol. 1, pages viii, 22, 27, 39, 42
  4. Our Southern Cousins, Watkins Family

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