Virginia Pioneers

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Nathaniel Bacon, the Rebel

Bacon's Castle Nathaniel Bacon, a wealthy planter from Suffolk, England and kinsman of the famous Sir Francis Bacon, was by marriage related to Governor Berkeley, the colonial governor. Bacon arrived in Virginia during 1674. He was financed by his father and acquired two estates along the James River. The main plantation was located some 40 miles above Jamestown and was described as an average size manor house, with an old and new hall, inner room over the hall and outer room. The chamber of Mrs. Bacon was included, as well as a kitchen, dairy and storeroom. The second plantation was located in the vicinity of Richmond, Virginia. Because his wife was a cousin of the governor and owing to his influential social and family background, Bacon was soon appointed to the governor's council where he readily endorsed a policy to remove all Indians from the region. The plan was to expand the territory. But, most of all, put an end to the Indian attacks along the frontier settlements. Berkeley was opposed. He feared a general Indian war such as the massacre of 1622/3 when the Indians set out to kill all white men on the continent. Also, Berkeley was concerned for trade with Native Americans, and desired to avoid the costs of a major conflict,. Hence, he took no action. But as settlers continously suffered the atrocities of the raids and murders near the settlements, Bacon became impatient. Therefore, in 1676 he organized an expedition against the Indians. From the start the governor branded Bacon a rebel, but was soon forced by public pressure to give Bacon a commission. Later, Berkeley changed his mind and once again declared Bacon as a rebel and took the drastic action of sending several military expeditions against Bacon and his 60 odd rebels. This unfortunate action resulted in the burning of Jamestown! Bacon then managed to seize control of the government for a time and called an assembly to repeal low tobacco price scales and high taxes. However, during the height of his power in late 1676, Bacon died of fever, and the rebellion collapsed. Actually, Nathaniel Bacon dared to reform a bad situation in the colony arising out of a privileged English aristocracy when he addressed the colonial grievances of the times. The unpopular Governor Berkeley was recalled to England and another sent to replace him. Bacon was the first rebel reformer in the colony and has been described as a forerunner of the American Revolution.

Source: Records of York County, vol. 1690-1694. The Bacon genealogy is traced and available to members of Virginia Pioneers.

17th Century Celebrations: Guns Fired over the Grave
Jeannette Holland Austin flintlock

In his last will and testament, George Jordan of Surry County expressly forbade guns to be fired over his grave and directed that his executors permit no drunkenness to disgrace the occasion. In his last will and testament, he wished a good and decent funeral. This is but one of the interesting stories the genealogist learns upon examining the estate of colonials. He obtains a knowledge of the history of the area, pecular bequests, and stories to tell family members. However, it is not enough to simply read the will, one must also study every detail of the estate proceedings, from the inventories and annual returns to receipt vouchers. Source: Surry County Records, Vol. 1671-84, p. 295.

Map of Surry County, Virginia

Traced genealogies and family histories of Surry County available to Members !

Dunn Heath Rogers Taylor

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Gunston Hall

Gunston Hall

James Mason was a member of the House of Burgesses in Surry County. The first record of him is a deed from James Mason to Thomas Felton, carpenter, dated 1755. It included a petition of Thomas Burns that Mrs. Elizabeth Mason, the wife of James Mason, had defamed in a vile manner, MNartha, the wife of the petitioner. A brother of James Mason was was Captain George Mason who married Mary French, and represents the progenitor of the Masons of Gunston Hall.

Poolesville, house of M. B. Poole

Home of M. B. Poole, Poolesville, Virginia. Poole's funeral home was across the street.

Smith's Fort

Smith's FortHistorical Tidbits: Capt. John Smith's fort in Surry County, Virginia; also called the Rolfe-Warren House. The fort no longer exists. This area was selected for the site of a town. As an inducement to build, settlers were granted in fee simple a half-acre lot. In 1652, Surry County was formed from a portion of James City County in the Royal Colony of Virginia south of the James River. In 1676, a local Jacobean brick house was occupied as a fort or castle during Bacon's famous Rebellion against the Royal Governor, Sir William Berkeley. Want to receive more historical tidbits on Virginians? Join our free blog

Do the Magic Centipede

Chippoke Plantation Chippoke Plantation

Surry County Genealogy, Deeds, Marriages, Wills, Estates, Probate Probate Records

Pt. Pleasant, Scotland, Virginia

Point Pleasant, Scotland, Virginia

Surry County Wills, Estates, Marriages available to members of Virginia Pioneers

  • Unrecorded Wills
  • Banks, John, LWT (extract of lost records)
  • Gording, John, LWT (extract of lost records
  • Harrison, Benjamin, LWT (transcript)
  • Taylor, Thomas, LWT dated 1744
  • Warren, Willis, LWT (extract of lost records)
  • Watkins, Martha, LWT (extract of lost records
  • Marriages to 1695.
  • Marriage Register 1768 to 1853
  • Marriage Index to Register 1768 to 1853
Indexes to Surry County Deeds

Index to Deeds 1741 to 1746
Index to Deeds 1746 to 1749

  • 1704 Quit Rent Rolls

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So Easy to Read/Print/Download old Virginia Wills online
last will and testament