The First English
In the year 1606, when James I was king of
England, he gave a charter or patent to a number of gentlemen, which
made them the owners of all that part of America lying between the
thirty-fourth and thirty-eighth degrees of north latitude. The men who
received this gift associated themselves together under the name of the
London Company, and in the same year sent out three vessels, carrying
105 men, but no women or children. A storm drove them out of their
course, and, in the month of May, they entered the mouth of a broad
river, which they named the James in honor of their king. They sailed up
stream for fifty miles, and, on the 13th of May, 1607, began the
settlement of Jamestown, which was the first English Colony successfully
planted in America.
Everything looked promising, but the trouble was
that the men did not wish to work, and, instead of cultivating the soil,
spent their time in hunting for gold which did not exist anywhere near
them. They were careless in their manner of living and a great many fell
ill and died. They must have perished before long had they not been wise
enough to elect Captain John Smith president or ruler of the colony.
Prosperity of the
Colonial Virginia underwent several changes in its
form of government. A "Great Charter" was granted to it in
1613 by the London Company. This permitted the settlers to make their
own laws. The House of Burgesses, which was called together at Jamestown
by Governor Yeardley, July 30, 1619, was the first legislative body that
ever met in this country. King James was dissatisfied with the tendency
of things, and in 1624 he took away the charter and granted a new one,
which allowed the colony to elect the members of the House of Burgesses,
while the king appointed the council and their governor. This made
Virginia a royal province, which she remained until the Revolution.
Virginia became very prosperous. Immense
quantities of tobacco were raised and sent to England and Holland, where
it became widely popular. Its cultivation was so profitable in the
colony that for a time little else was cultivated. It was planted even
along the streets of Jamestown and became the money of the province.
Everything was paid for in so many pounds of tobacco. The population
steadily increased, and in 1715 was 95,000, which was the same as that
of Massachusetts. A half-century later, Virginia was the richest and
most important of the thirteen colonies. The people lived mostly on
large plantations, for land was plentiful and the Indians gave no
further trouble. Most of the inhabitants were members of the Church of
England, and their assemblies passed severe laws against the entrance of
people of other religious beliefs into the colony. It required the
furnace blasts of the Revolution to purify Virginia and some other
provinces of this spirit of intolerance.
Education was neglected or confined to the rich
who could send their children to England to be educated. Some of the
early schools were destroyed by Indians, but William and Mary College,
founded in 1692, was the second college in the United States. It was
never a very strong institution.
A New History of the United States, The Greater Republic by Charles
Morris, LL.D., W. E. Scull, 1899.
New England Early Genealogy Database
Search this 73,000+ name database of ancestors from the early New
England period of 1600+/- to 1700+/- to see if your ancestors are
included. The index of this database is free and will show the names
included, however, a subscription is required for full access.
Revolutionary War Rolls on Fold3
See images of the actual
regimental rolls from the National Archives. They are being put
online through the joint project of National Archives and Fold3.
Revolutionary War Service Records Images on Fold3
Images of the records from
the National Archives. Search the images to see if your ancestors'
records are there.
Search Revolutionary War Officers
Collection of Revolutionary Officers Information
on World Vital Records
Search Revolutionary War Service Records, 1775-83
This database is a collection of records kept by the National
Archives listing men who fought for the colonies during the war.
This database contains only those records available in the National
Archives and may not include all persons involved in the American
Revolutionary War. Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR)Each
volunteer soldier has one Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) for
each regiment in which he served.
Search Colonial Families in the U.S.
This database covers the families of the early
English colonies in America. Beginning with the first landing at
Jamestown this series covers families up through the start of the
American Revolutionary War and beyond into the Nineteenth Century. Many
vital records are included, as well as locations of births, marriages,
and deaths. In addition to containing family genealogies this database
also contains armorial bearings, or coats of arms, for some of the more
prominent families from England and Scotland.
Old Colony Ancestors Online
Access this database of
nearly 200,000 names with roots in Southeastern Massachusetts, complete
with citations, containing information on over 57,000 marriages, with a
total of more than 950,000 text records. Some families are followed for
only 2-3 generations, but many are traced for up to 15 generations. Once
a family moved beyond the Southeastern Massachusetts area, most reports
stop. Some are followed as they migrated westward into the Berkshires
and up into Vermont and upstate New York.