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Virginia General Assembly (pre-1643)

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Virginia General Assembly

The Virginia Company's Charter of 1618 "empowered a governor and advisory Council in the colony to govern Virginia and also authorized the governor to convene a General Assembly to make laws for the colony." In the summer of 1619, Governor George Yeardley called for "the election of two burgesses from each of Virginia's eleven settlements to sit on a new unicameral legislature that also includes the governor's Council, the colony's secretary, and the treasurer."[1]

Virginia's House of Burgesses, created in 1642, was "the elected representative element of the Virginia General Assembly, the legislative body of the Colony of Virginia." With its creation, "the General Assembly, which had been established in 1619, became a bicameral institution."[2]

This space page focuses on the localities represented by burgesses in the General Assembly prior to the creation of the House of Burgesses, by which time the burgesses represented counties. Currently listed are the burgesses attending the first assembly in 1619 and those attending the first bicameral session in 1642/3. Profiles for burgesses both before and after the creation of the House of Burgesses are collected under the WikiTree category House of Burgesses, Virginia Colony (not all have profiles). Wikipedia includes a "list of members of the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1619 to 1775 from the references listed at the end of the [Wikipedia] article."[3]

By 1619, Virginia had been divided into four "incorporations": Henricus, Charles City, James City, and Kecoughtan[4] (the first four localities listed below). The following 22 burgesses attended the assembly’s first meeting in July and August 1619, presided over by Governor Yeardley.[2][5]

1619 Burgesses

Representing James City:[6]
Representing Charles City:[6]
Representing The City of Henricus:[6]
Representing Kicoughtan:[6]
Representing Martin's Brandon (Capt. John Martin's plantation, became part of Charles City Co.):[6]
Representing Smythe's Hundred:[10][6]
Representing Martin's Hundred:[6]
Representing Argall's Gift:[6]
Representing Flowerdieu Hundred:[6]
Representing Captain Lawne's Plantation:[6]
Representing Captain Ward's Plantation:[6]

1621 General Assembly

The next Assembly of which there is any record met in November and December 1621, probably for only a few days. No list of the Burgesses has been located. An account of the meeting and actions of the Assembly is found in a letter of the Governor and Council of Virginia to the London Company written in January 1621/22. It was signed by "Francis Wyett, George Yeardley, George Sandys, George Thorpe, Jo. Barkley, Ch. Davisone, John Pott, Natha. Poule, Tho. Newce, Sam Macok, and Jo. Pountis." This letter can be found in full in History of the Virginia Company of London by Edward D. Neill.[16]

1623/4 Burgesses

From the Incorporation of Charles City[17]
From the Eastern Shore: [17]
From the Incorporation of Elizabeth City
From the Incorporation of Henrico
From the Incorporation of James City

After Virginia became a royal colony in 1625, the Council continued to act as an advisory board for the governor, as the highest judicial body in the colony, and as a constituent part of the General Assembly.[1]

1625 Burgesses

This list did not include the Counties or Plantations each person represented. A review of the lists for 1623/24 or 1629 may help in determining their residence.[19]

1627/28 Burgesses

This list did not include the Counties or Plantations each person represented. A review of the lists for 1623/24 or 1629 may help in determining their residence. [19]

1629 Burgesses

1629/30 Burgesses

1631/2 Burgesses

1632 Burgesses

1632/3-1633 Burgesses

1639/40 Burgesses

With reference to Hening I, 224, there is no printed list of the members of the House of Burgesses in 1639. The following list is from a copy made by the late Conway Robinson from the original [now destroyed] in the office of the General Court. This original seems to have been partially obliterated, and addition of names which seemed probable has been made in brackets. The persons named were members of other sessions about the same time.[26]

1641/42 Burgesses

The following Burgesses were present at the Assembly of 12 January 1641/42. "A manuscript, evidently of contemporary date, which contains the list of members and some of the acts of a session of Assembly begun January 12, 1641, as just been presented to the Virginia Historical Society. It was picked up in Virginia during the Civil War. This session is not mentioned in Hening."[30]

1642 Burgesses

The following Burgesses were present at the Assembly of 1 April 1642.

By 1642, Virginia had 10 counties[33] and 22 parishes[34] (up from the 10 parishes that had existed in 1619).[35][36]

Governor William Berkeley "reorganized the Assembly into two houses along the lines of the English Parliament. The new lower house, the House of Burgesses, was to provide a counterweight to the Council-led group that had deposed Harvey" (governor in 1635, Sir John Harvey "was arrested and deported to England by his own Council").[37]

"In March 1643 the burgesses began sitting apart as a separate branch of the assembly. From then until 1776 the governor’s Council was the upper House of the colony’s bicameral legislature."[1][38] When convened 2 March 1642/3, the following burgesses took their seats as the new "House of Burgesses".[23]

1642/43 Burgesses

Assembled 2 March 1642/43.

Representing Henrico:[23]
Representing Charles City:[23]
Representing James City:[23]
Representing Warwick River:[40]
Representing Elizabeth City:[23]
Representing The Isle of Wight:[23]
Representing Upper Norfolk:[23]
Representing Lower Norfolk:[23]
Representing York:[23][40]
Representing Northampton:[23][40]
Footnotes
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Encyclopedia of Virginia:
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wikipedia: House of Burgesses.
  3. Wikipedia: List of members of the Virginia House of Burgesses (1619-1775).
  4. From WikiTree's Virginia Counties and Parishes, citing Virginia Places.
  5. Wikipedia: George Yeardley.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 6.20 6.21 6.22 6.23 6.24 6.25 6.26 6.27 6.28 6.29 6.30 6.31 6.32 William G. and Mary Newton Stanard, compilers. The Colonial Virginia Register: A List of Governors, Councillors and Other Higher Officials, and Also of Members of the House of Burgesses, and the Revolutionary Conventions of the Colony of Virginia (Joel Munsell's Sons : 1902), page 52. Source for 1619 burgesses: "A manuscript copy of the Journal of this session is in the Public Record Office, London, and has several times been printed."
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 A search of WikiTree, 22 March 2021, did not discover a profile for this person. ~ Noland-165
  8. Hotten lists Capt Thomas Davis Muster January 1624/25, Elizabeth Cittie; also lists death of a Thomas Davis 1624, Elizabeth Citty. May be same person.
  9. Possibly Stacey-47, but no reliable sources as of 26 March 2021 (Geni has his death in 1588, which rules him out as the Stacy who was burgess in 1619).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "...sat for Smythe's Hundred". From Wikipedia's article on Capt. Thomas Graves (accessed 23 March 2021).
  11. Deceased by 1 Aug 1619. McIlwaine, Vol. 1. p 8
  12. 12.0 12.1 A search of WikiTree, 2 April 2021, did not discover a profile for this person. ~ Noland-165
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 13.14 13.15 13.16 13.17 13.18 13.19 13.20 Although listed in McIlwaine, Vol. 1, page vii ff, he is not included on the Jamestowne Society list of Qualifying Ancestors.
  14. "The Father of Representative Government in America", in American Historical Magazine, Vol. 1, #1 (Jan 1896), p. 10. From Temperance Flowerdew's profile (accessed 23 March 2021).
  15. By that year the plantation was already represented in the first general assembly by John Jefferson, an ancestor of Thomas Jefferson (Tyler 1906: 211). ~ "Flowerdew Hundred: Exploring a Cultural Landscape Through Archaeology" (Colonial and Later Flowerdew)
  16. Neill, Edward D. History of the Virginia Company of London, with Letters to and from the First Colony. Albany, N.Y.: Joel Munsell, 82 State Street. 1869. Pages 274-286
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 17.11 17.12 17.13 17.14 17.15 17.16 17.17 McIlwaine, H. R., Editor. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia; 1619-1658/59. Richmond, Virginia: [Library Board, Virginia State Library; 1915. Vol. 1, Pages viii, xxix, 21
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 18.12 18.13 18.14 18.15 18.16 18.17 18.18 18.19 18.20 18.21 18.22 18.23 18.24 18.25 18.26 18.27 18.28 18.29 18.30 18.31 18.32 18.33 18.34 18.35 18.36 18.37 18.38 18.39 18.40 18.41 18.42 18.43 18.44 18.45 18.46 18.47 18.48 18.49 18.50 18.51 18.52 18.53 18.54 18.55 18.56 18.57 18.58 18.59 18.60 18.61 A search of WikiTree, Dec 2021, did not discover a profile for this person. ~ Strutton-11
  19. 19.0 19.1 McIlwaine, H. R., Editor. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia; 1619-1658/59. Richmond, Virginia: [Library Board, Virginia State Library; 1915. Vol. 1, Page ix
  20. No profile on WikiTree 25 Dec 2021. Lived in, and probably represented, Warresqueak. He is not Henry Woodward of Hogg Island.
  21. 21.00 21.01 21.02 21.03 21.04 21.05 21.06 21.07 21.08 21.09 21.10 21.11 21.12 21.13 21.14 21.15 21.16 21.17 21.18 21.19 21.20 21.21 21.22 21.23 21.24 21.25 21.26 21.27 21.28 21.29 McIlwaine, H. R., Editor. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia; 1619-1658/59. Richmond, Virginia: [Library Board, Virginia State Library; 1915. Vol. 1, Page x
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 It appears from text in McIlwaine, Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, Vol. 1, pages x and 52 that Thomas Ceely and Thomas Seely are the same person.
  23. 23.00 23.01 23.02 23.03 23.04 23.05 23.06 23.07 23.08 23.09 23.10 23.11 23.12 23.13 23.14 23.15 23.16 23.17 23.18 23.19 23.20 23.21 23.22 23.23 23.24 23.25 23.26 23.27 23.28 23.29 23.30 23.31 23.32 23.33 23.34 23.35 23.36 23.37 23.38 23.39 Stanard, The Colonial Virginia Register, pages 62-63 ("Source: Hening I, 239.").
  24. Stanard, William G. and Mary Newton Stanard. The Colonial Virginia Register. Albany, N. Y.: Joel Munsell's Sons, Publishers. 1902. Page 58
  25. "Wilkinson" appears to be an error in McIlwaine, Journals of the House of Burgesses, Vol. 1, page xii. No John Wilkinson is found in Accomac in 1632, but John Wilkins was there from about 1630 to at least 1642. JS List states John Wilkins was Burgess for Accomacke 1632/3 and 1642.
  26. Stanard, The Colonial Virginia Register, [https://books.google.com/books?id=WaA-AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA62 pages 60+61
  27. 27.0 27.1 This name, Joseph Johnson, appears in the main alphabetical list Jamestowne Society Qualifying Ancestors, but is missing from the detailed list. No information located in other sources.
  28. This name, Thomas Flint/Flynt, appears in the main alphabetical list Jamestowne Society Qualifying Ancestors, but is missing from the detailed list.
  29. 29.0 29.1 As of 1 April 2021, not enough information, but probably not Jones-43743, which has no sources but shows his death in Virginia, in 1654, & with wife's death in York. Tyler has his will dated 1649, but no mention of a wife & he is not a Jamestowne Society Qualifying Ancestor.
  30. Stanard, William G. and Mary Newton Stanard. The Colonial Virginia Register. Albany, N. Y.: Joel Munsell's Sons, Publishers. 1902. Page.61.
  31. 31.00 31.01 31.02 31.03 31.04 31.05 31.06 31.07 31.08 31.09 31.10 A search of WikiTree, Jan 2022, did not discover a profile for this person. ~ Strutton-11
  32. McCartney has an extensive biography charting his evolution from drunken, disorderly planter to Sheriff of James City County in 1640 and Bugess in 1641. Jamestowne Society Qualifying Ancestors does not include him; apparently he left no descendants. His sister Jane was named his administrator when he died in 1650.
  33. From History of County Formations in Virginia 1617-1995:
    1. Accawmack County (1634; renamed Northampton County in 1643)
    2. Charles City County (1634)
    3. Charles River County (1634; renamed York County in 1643)
    4. Elizabeth City County (1634)
    5. Henrico County (1634)
    6. James City County (1634)
    7. Warwick River County (1634; renamed Warwick County in 1643)
    8. Lower Norfolk (1637)
    9. Upper Norfolk (1637)
    10. Isle of Wight (1637)
  34. Based on Freddie Spradlin's compilation (see Parishes of Virginia), including Hog Island and Charles City Parish.
  35. Parishes formed 1619 or earlier (from Freddie Spradlin's Parishes of Virginia):
    1. Argall's Gift (1618) "one of 4 parishes in James City Co during this period" [only one other in 1619]
    2. Charles City (1613)
    3. Henrico (1611) aka Varina Parish
    4. James City (1607) James City County
    5. Jordan's Journey (c1620s) aka Flowerdew Hundred
    6. Kecoughtan (c1610-1619, then renamed Elizabeth City Parish)
    7. Smith's Hundred (c1617)
    8. Southampton (1619)
    9. West and Shirley (1613)
    10. Weyanoke (c1618)
  36. Both county borders and the areas served by parishes were extremely fluid in colonial Virginia. For existing WikiTree categories of parishes, see Category: Virginia Parishes. For existing categories of counties, see Category: Virginia Colony and Category: Virginia. (Currently, not all parishes have a category, and not all counties that existed in colonial Virginia have a pre-USA category. This table on WikiTree's space page, Virginia Counties and Parishes, shows which counties have both Virginia and Virginia Colony categories.)
  37. 37.0 37.1 Wikipedia: List of Speakers of the Virginia House of Burgesses.
  38. See also
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 39.6 A search of WikiTree, 1 April 2021, did not discover a profile for this person. ~ Noland-165
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 In 1643
    • Northampton County (name changed from Accawmack, which ceased to exist)
    • York County (name changed from Charles River, which ceased to exist)
    • Warwick County (name changed from Warwick River, which ceased to exist)
  41. Possibly Branch-111, but not enough information in the profile or other sources (Tyler, Jamestowene Society) to tell, as of 1 April 2021.
  42. Crew-84 is probably a duplicate, but additional research needed (Randall's profile has a reliable source but not enough information). There's also Crew-176. Both of those profiles show Randall as husband of Dorothy Beheathland-7, who is attached as daughter of Robert Beheathland-1 (a well-researched profile that does not name Dorothy's husband, but shows Robert's widow married Thomas Flint (who represented Warwick County in this assembly; Randall represents Warwick County in later assemblies) and who was step-father to Dorothy. See comments on the Crew profiles (especially Crew-176).




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