Thursday, September 24, 2015

Southern Colonies: Virginia

The Virginia Company founded Jamestown in 1607. Disease, famine and conflict with the Powhatan Confederacy left Jamestown on the brink of failure after two years. New settlers and supplies arrived in 1610.  In 1624, the colonial charter was revoked and Virginia became a crown colony.

The House of Burgesses and a colonial governor governed Virginia from Jamestown until 1699, when the capital was moved to Williamsburg.

The states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and part of Ohio and western Pennsylvania were carved from the territory claimed by Virginia.

Tobacco became the cash crop for the colony. The tobacco region was divided into "Hundreds," part of a county that would support one hundred families. Indentured servants, white and black, were used as labor until 1662, when slave labor became the more common from of servitude.

As was the case with the other southern colonies, Virginia's coastal region was settled by the English plantation owners. The frontier was populated by the Scots-Irish and other groups who were not inclined to plantation life, or simply arrived too late to acquire prime land.

During the French and Indian War, Shawnee and other tribes ventured into western Virginia to raid the sparse settlements there. Many of the settlers were killed, but some of the women and children were taken captive. Some were adopted into the tribes, others were killed along the way. Later on, many captives were exchanged and returned to their families or "civilization."

During the Revolution, little action took place in Virginia until the war moved south. The capital was moved to Richmond in 1780. Generals von Steuben and Lafayette engaged in skirmishes with the British during 1781. Jefferson and his home at Monticello were nearly captured. The key event during the war was the siege of Yorktown, which led to Cornwallis' surrender and the eventual end of the war.

[Then there's the whole Pocahontas and John Smith thing.]

Family connections: Faucett, Gulley, Land, Sumter, Smith, Barlow, Rogers, Rinker, Ballinger, Schultz, Pugh, Wolary, Wright. Several were Quakers from PA & NJ who settled in Frederick Co., VA.

Additional reading: _of_Virginia,;_ylt=Ah7cDaswiIhxv5Ja7J1lKdCbvZx4?p=colonial+virginia&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-339&fp=1

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