John Harvey’s Virginia Quagmire

William Claiborne

Virginians exerted a measure of some independence in electing their own governors for a short time during the 1620s. But King Charles and his privy council as well as a cabal of London merchants wanted to take some power back for themselves. These groups accomplished their goal by appointing Captain John Harvey to be governor in 1628.

Harvey arrived in Virginia sometime during late winter, early spring 1630. He tried to impose a more centralized authority on the colony, but the Virginian’s wanted none of it.

When another well connected merchant entered into the mix, a wide rift separated Virginians from newly arriving Maryland settlers. John Harvey fell on the wrong side of that ever widening chasm, and lost it all. What became Harvey’s loss, however, became Virginia’s gain.

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Kent Island’s location well northward in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay



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The Founding of Maryland, 1634 by Emmanuel Leutze, 1860




All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is the New Towne section at Historic Jamestowne.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Silver” by the Gray Havens, also available on iTunes.