Sir William Berkeley – Interview with Dr. Warren Billings

Virginia history is filled with many important names, dates, and events. One of those great names who influenced much of 17th Century Virginia is Sir William Berkeley. John Smith is more famous and certainly influenced Jamestown’s early survival, but Berkeley took the struggling colony and moved it into a position that the later First Families of Virginia inherited and made into a powerhouse.

Berkeley is a bridge. But he’s no ordinary bridge. For the time in question, he was an ornate spectacle that shined in a bleak world. His work ensured that the rule of law would expand and remain. He instigated building, better crops, better production, and expanded liberty through local courts and free trade. His work attracted a higher class that might otherwise have never come to the colony, but that class soon plagued him. They ultimately brought him down in the end.

Berkeley’s life spans many worlds, pre-Commonwealth England, the English Civil War, The Interregnum, the Restoration, the Powhatan Wars, Matthews-Claiborne Virginia, Dutch Wars, and Bacon’s Rebellion. He played a part in it all, and above all else, he left his mark on Virginia’s landscape.

No one speaks of this pivotal figure more completely than Dr. Warren Billings, my guest for this episode. Tune in and learn more about this amazing 17th Century figure’s influence on Virginia’s History.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

DR BILLING’S WORK:

  1. Billings, Warren M. Magistrates and Pioneers: Essays in the History of American Law. Clark, New Jersey, 2011.
  2. Billings, Warren M. The Papers of Sir William Berkeley, 1606–1677. Richmond, Va., 2007.The Old Dominion in the Seventeenth Century: A Documentary History of Virginia, 1606–1700. Revised edition. Chapel Hill, N.C, 2007.
  3. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, La., 2004.
  4. Billings, Warren M. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, Va., 2004.
  5. Billings, Warren M. A Law Unto Itself? Essays in the New Louisiana Legal History. Edited with Mark F. Fernandez. Baton Rouge, La., 2001.
  6. Editor, Robert Joseph Pothier, A Treatise on Obligations Considered from a Moral and Legal View. Union, N.J, 1999. (Facsimile reprint of a classic early American legal work, for which Dr. Billings wrote an introductory essay and furnished the source text.)
  7. An Uncommon Experience: Law and Judicial Institutions in Louisiana, 1803–2003. Edited with Judith Kelleher Schafer. Lafayette, La.: Center for Louisiana Studies, 1997.
  8. Billings, Warren M. In Search of Fundamental Law: Louisiana’s Constitutions, 1812–1974. Edited with Edward F. Haas. Lafayette, La, 1993.
  9. Billings, Warren M. Virginia’s Viceroy: Their Majesties’ Governor and Captain-General, Francis Howard, Baron Howard of Effingham. Fairfax, Va. 1991.
  10. Billings, Warren M. Jamestown and the Founding of the Nation. Gettysburg, Pa., 1990.
  11. Billings, Warren M. The Papers ofFrancis Howard, 5th Baron ofEffingham, 1643–1695. Richmond, Va., 1989.
  12. Colonial Virginia: A History. Written with John E. Selby and Thad W. Tate. White Plains, N.Y, 1986.
  13. Billings, Warren M. Historic Rules of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, 1813–1879. Lafayette, La., 1985.
  14. Billings, Warren M. The Old Dominion in the Seventeenth Century: A Documentary History of Virginia, 1606–1689. Chapel Hill, N.C, 1975.
  15. Billings, Warren M. “Virginia’s deploured condition”, 1660-1676 : The Coming of Bacon’s Rebellion. DeKalb: Norther Illinois University, 1968. Dr. Billing’s 1968 Thesis and where to access it.

SPECIAL LINKS:

Berkeley Signature

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of Dr. Warren Billings.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “La Rejoussiance” from George Frideric Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks HWV 351 performed by Sir Charles Mackerras and the London Symphony Orchestra, also available on iTunes.

400th Commemorative Session – Virginia’s General Assembly

It was my great pleasure to be invited to the Virginia General Assembly’s 400th Commemorative Session.

The Assembly is the Western Hemisphere’s first and oldest representative government. The impact that that first meeting had on Virginia, America, and the rest of the world is immense. To mark the occasion 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution put together a week long program in which Historic Jamestown, Jamestown Settlement, and the College of William and Mary took part.

Historians, businessmen, and world-leaders were invited to participate in the American Evolution Forum on the Future of Representative Democracy, which has produced fascinating discussions covering the wide variety of issues that have affected and still affect representative government today.

Some of the key speakers featured in the Forum were –

  • Kathy Spangler, Executive Director, 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution
  • Virginia Representative Kirk Cox, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates
  • Virginia State Senator Tommy Norment
  • U.S. Senator Mark Warner
  • U.S. Senator Tim Kaine
  • U.S. Representative Elaine Goodman Luria (VA-2), U.S. Navy veteran
  • U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (VA-3)
  • U.S. Representative Rob Wittman (VA-1)
  • Katherine Anandi Rowe, President, William & Mary (first female president)
  • Carly Fiorina, American businesswoman and political figure
  • Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2006-2001, scholar, and intelligence analyst
  • David Rubenstein, Financier and philanthropist, co-founder of The Carlyle Group
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, American historian and law professor
  • Eric Cantor, Politician, lawyer, banker
  • Jeffrey Rosen, American academic and commentator on legal affairs
  • Andrea Mitchell, television journalist and commentator
  • Andrew Card Jr., former White House Chief of Staff from 2001-2006
  • Karl Rove, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff during the George W. Bush administration
  • Melody Barnes, lawyer and political advisor; former chief counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and of Center for American Progress
  • Robin Christian Howard Niblett CMG, British specialist in international relations
  • Larry Joseph Sabato is an American political scientist and political analyst, and Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia
  • Marc Short, Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence
  • Sir David Natzler KCB, former Clerk of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom

I attended only the 400th Commemorative Assembly activities, which held 3 sessions.

 

The First Meeting took place at Historic Jamestown’s Memorial Church

Elizabeth Kostelny, CEO of Preservation Virginia, welcomed those attending the historic meeting and was followed by Virginia Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment.

The highlight from this meeting has to have been remarks delivered by Sir David Natzler KCB, retiring Clerk of the British House of Commons of the United Kingdom. His words linked Virginia’s representative government to other historical assemblies as far back as Athens as well as his native United Kingdom.

“These events were important not only in Virginia, not only in America, but throughout the world. The idea took root that people wanted to be governed by laws of their own making.”

Sir Natzler concluded by congratulating British Parliament’s oldest child, the Virginia General Assembly on her 400th Anniversary.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam followed Sir Natzler’s comments and spoke of the historic context and importance of Virginia’s General Assembly. He also mentioned who was not part of that First Assembly, women and newly arriving Africans. (The Jamestown Brides did not arrive until later 1620-1621 and the “20 and Odd” did not arrive until August, 1619. But followers of this podcast understand that there were a few women and Africans in Virginia pre-1619).

Following Governor Northam’s comments the first meeting adjourned. Lineage societies then placed wreaths outside of the Memorial Church’s tower before those on the Island moved to Jamestown Settlement.

 

The Second Meeting took place at Jamestown Settlement’s re-created  church

A processional led the Assembly into Jamestown Settlement’s church located within the re-created James Fort.

Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Kirkland Cox welcomed guests, and was followed by Assistant Fort Supervisor of the Jamestown Settlement Brian Beckley, who played Governor George Yeardley, the man who opened that fateful Assembly 400 years ago.

Mark Greenough, Tour Guide Supervisor and Historian at the Virginia State Capitol, succeeded Mr. Beckley by delivering an interpretation while dressed to play Speaker John Pory.

Speaker Cox followed Mr. Greenough’s period interpretation before introducing the esteemed Presidential Historian Jon Meacham. Mr. Meacham’s speech highlighted some of Virginia’s historic contributions. One such highlight, the First Thanksgiving, brought loud applause. (In fact, Graham Woodlief sat in the row just ahead of me. He was gratified by the attention, as he mentioned to me afterward).

Meacham’s sentiments included memorable statements such as, “Jamestown is a mirror of who we were and who we are.”

Further, “Dreamers and doers came here and they built, and we stand in the light of their achievement.”

Finally, “In our finest hours, America has been about life, it’s been about liberty, it’s been about the pursuit of happiness not just for some, but for all. And in that history, history rooted here in this place, lies our hope.”

Mr. Meacham said many other things that delved into today’s current political landscape, but in my personal estimation, July 30, 2019 was about the beginning of a momentous, history changing event that though perhaps did not include everyone, would build upon this original foundation to include everyone. That being the case, I purposely chose what I deemed the most important and pertinent remarks from what was a well-crafted  and articulate speech.

If one would like to find Mr. Meacham’s full remarks, please visit this article by The Hill’s Judy Kutz, which also highlights some of the same comments already mentioned.

Speaker Cox brought the Assembly back to order, presided over the Mace’s presentation, conducted a roll call, and then called for a recess as the Assembly proceeded to the next venue,a tent set up for the day’s main Assembly meeting.

The Final Meeting took place at Jamestown Settlement’s Mall Area

The Assembly processional marched from the re-created church to the Settlement’s Mall Area, where organizers erected a tent for the day’s final meeting.

Speaker Cox brought the Assembly back to order before offering his own remarks and welcoming distinguished guests.

Illinois State Senator and President of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Toi Hutchinson followed Speaker Cox. Senator Hutchinson reflected on overcome challenges; challenges that could derail representative government if Americans are not on guard –

“I’m proud because despite the many challenges and setbacks this country has faced, America is still a place where our right to self-governance is not taken for granted, where we can challenge our government and debate our principles, and the institutions which provide for that right are held dear.”

“The institution of the legislature needs to be protected. For it is as strong and as fragile as democracy itself.” Said Senator Hutchinson before a crowd that stood in praise.

President Trump then arrived to deliver the keynote address.

President Trump Addresses Virginia’s General Assembly

In a historic twist on an already historic day, President Trump addressed the General Assembly. The President’s speech marked the first time that a sitting President of the United States addressed the Virginia General Assembly.

President Trump greeted those in attendance before highlighting Jamestown’s pre-1619 history. I’ll offer just a few remarks here, but if you want to see or read the entire keynote address, please, go here. Otherwise, here are a few key statements from the President’s speech.

Regarding Jamestown’s Early Years

“As we can see today on this great anniversary, it would not be the last time that God looked out for Virginia. Together, the settlers forged what would become the timeless traits of the American character. They worked hard, they had courage and abundance, and a wealth of self-reliance. They strived mightily to turn a profit, they experimented with producing silk, corn, tobacco, and the very first Virginia wines. At a prior settlement at Roanoke, there had been no survivors, none at all. But where others had typically perished, the Virginians were determined to succeed. They endured by the sweat of their labor, the aid of the Powhatan Indians, and the leadership of Captain John Smith.”

“As the years passed, ships bearing supplies and settlers from England also brought a culture and a way of life that would define the New World. It all began here. In time, dozens of brave strong women made the journey and join the colony and, in 1618, the Great Charter and other reforms established a system based on English common law. For the first time, Virginia allowed private land ownership. It created a basic judicial system. Finally, it gave the colonists essay in their own future, the right to elect representatives by popular vote.”

Regarding the Arrival of the First Africans

“As we mark the first representative legislature at Jamestown, our nation also reflects upon an anniversary from that same summer four centuries ago. In August 1619, the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies arrived in Virginia. It was the beginning of a barbaric trade in human lives. Today, and honor, we remember every sacred soul who suffered the horrors of slavery and the anguish of bondage. More than 150 years later, at America’s founding, our Declaration of Independence recognized the immortal truth that all men are created equal.”

“In the face of grave oppression and grave injustice, African-Americans have built, strengthened, inspired, uplifted, protected, defended, and sustained our nation from its very earliest days.”

Regarding the First Assembly’s Impact

“In the decades that followed that first legislative assembly, the Democratic tradition established here late deep roots all across Virginia. It spread up and down the Atlantic coast. One fact was quickly established for all time, in America, we are not ruled from afar, Americans govern ourselves. And so help us, God, we always will.”

“Self-government in Virginia did not just give us estate we love, in a very true sense, it gave us the country we love, the United States of America.”

“From the first legislative assembly down to today America has been the story of citizens who take ownership of their future and their control of their destiny. That is what self-rule is all about. Every day Americans coming together to take action, to build, to create, to seize opportunities. To pursue the common good and to never stop striving for greatness.”

“But among all of our America’s towering achievements none exceeds the triumph that we are here to celebrate today. Our nation’s priceless culture of freedom, independence, equality, justice and self-determination under God.”

“That culture is the source of who we are it is our prized inheritance it is our proudest legacy. It is among the greatest human accomplishments in the history of the world what you have done is the greatest accomplishment in the history of the world. And I congratulate you. It started right here.”

Concluding Remarks

President Trump’s arrival sparked a little controversy. There were those who did not welcome his attendance, and they expressed as much.

The great thing, as part of Virginia’s 1619 foundational legacy, is that such opposition is tolerated. Before that time, even in Virginia, such opposition would at least earn prison, torture, and usually death. 1619’s Assembly laid the framework from which liberty has evolved. Perhaps the demonstration was misplaced during such a historic occasion, but that still does not take away from the fact that one has the freedom to conscientiously object.

Individual liberty continues to grow today as it faces new challenges. The inheritors of such a legacy must continue to champion that individual liberty on a local, personal level. That is the sentiment upon which Virginia and later the United States was built. That sentiment began 400 years ago on a hot, often disease plagued island, and we still celebrate that event today.

_DSC0486
The 400th Commemorative Session Virginia General Assembly Seal

ADDITIONAL 1619 LINKS:

  1. 1619 – Representative Government Is Formed
  2. 1619 – Women and Angolans Arrive
  3. Special Episode – The First Thanksgiving
  4. The Dr. James Horn Interview
  5. Virginia’s Outstanding Women – Interview with Dr. Sandra Gioia Treadway
  6. The House of Burgesses – Interview with Nancy Egloff
  7. Graham Woodlief Interview – the 400th Anniversary of the First Thanksgiving
  8. Tenacity, Virginia’s Remarkable 17th Century Women – Interview with Nancy Egloff
  9. Interview with Fort Monroe’s Terry Brown
  10. Falling Creek Ironworks’ 400th Anniversary – Interview with Archaeologist Lyle Browning
  11. American Evolution, Commemoration 2019
  12. Historic Jamestowne
  13. Jamestown Settlement
  14. Berkeley Plantation
  15. First Thanksgiving Festival
  16. Hampton, VA 2019 Commemorative Commission
  17. Project 1619
  18. 1619-2019 Commemoration at Fort Monroe
  19. Virginia General Assembly

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Virginia House of Delegates Sergent at Arms John L. Pearson, Jr. carrying the Mace into the Tent.

 

Virginia’s Native History – Interview with Dr. Ashley Spivey

Tsenacommacah, that’s what 17th Century English Virginia was called before the English named the land for Queen Elizabeth I. It loosely means “densely inhabited land.” By 17th Century standards the land was pretty well inhabited, and it was inhabited by the many tribes comprising the Powhatan Confederation. That Confederation greatly influenced 17th Century English settlements throughout the century and beyond as some of the Tribes in that alliance still dwell in Virginia today. That being the case, I wanted to bring to light Native Virginian’s fascinating lives and society. And I believe no one could better illustrate their lives and society than Ashley Spivey, herself a Pamunkey Tribe member.

Dr. Ashley Spivey joins me in this episode to discuss Indigenous Virginian history, the changes they felt, and the concerns facing modern Virginian tribes today. She brings to this discussion a spectacular wealth of information that has been forged through her upbringing, impressive academic credentials, and solid history and foundation work throughout Virginia’s landscape. Tune in, you’ll be glad you did!

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Custalow, Linwood “Littlebear”. The True Story of Pocahontas. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2007.
  2. Gallivan, Martin D. James River Chiefdoms: The Rise of Social Inequality in the Chesapeake (Our Sustainable Future). University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
  3. Gallivan, Martin D. The Powhatan Landscape: An Archaeological History of the Algonquian Chesapeake (Society and Ecology in Island and Coastal Archaeology). Gainsville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2016.
  4. Gleach, Frederic. Powhatan’s World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures (Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
  5. Lutz, Lara; Gallivan, Martin D.; Turner III, E. Randolph; Brown, David A.; Harpole, Thane; and Moretti-Langholz, Danielle. Virginia Indians at Werowocomoco. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Historic Resources, 2015.
  6. Rountree, Helen C. The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture (The Civilization of the American Indian Series). Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
  7. Rountree, Helen C. and Turner III, E Randolph. Before and After Jamestown: Virginia’s Powhatans and Their Predecessors (Native Peoples, Cultures, and Places of the Southeastern United States). Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2002.
  8. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas’s People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries (The Civilization of the American Indian Series). Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990.
  9. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  10. Spivey, Ashley. “Knowing the River, Working the Land, and Digging for Clay: Pamunkey Indian Subsistence Practices and the MarketEconomy 1800-1900” College of William & Mary, Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects.Paper 1516639670, 2017.
  11. Waugaman, Sandra F. and Moretti-Langholz, Danielle. We’re Still Here: Contemporary Virginia Indians Tell Their Stories. Palari Pub, 2000.

BONUS LINKS:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is Dr. Ashley Spivey taken on the Pamunkey Reservation.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Uranus, The Magician” from the Planets Orchestral Suite Op. 32 by Gustav Holst performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, also available on iTunes.

K.I. Knight Interview – First Africans and Slavery’s 17th Century Virginia Evolution (Pillars of 17th Century Virginia Society, Part 4)

1619 was a pivotal year in Virginia for many reasons, but author K.I. Knight says that one key issue that did not begin in 1619 was slavery. The “Twenty and odd” did arrive in August 1619, but according to Ms. Knight’s meticulous research the “Twenty” were in fact 14 at first, and many of those 14 went on to help save the colony after the 1622 uprising before securing land of their own. Some of them, like Anthony Johnson, even owned slaves themselves.

For sure, slavery seems to have been around the Virginia landscape in some form by the 1640s,  but it wasn’t the institution that it became by the 18th and 19th centuries. Kathryn puts together an astounding narrative weaving extant court and genealogical records together to prove that the immoral institution evolved over time, before it became legally organized by the late 1690s and early 1700s. Exact beginning dates are hard to pin down, largely due to lost records. Regardless, the foundations for American slavery were being set during the 17th Century, and this episode discusses those foundations as they occurred in Virginia.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

K.I. Knight’s Books and Links:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of author Kathryn Hall Knight at Fort Monroe.

**Special thanks to Terry Brown at Fort Monroe, who graciously lent his office to Kathryn and me for this interview. If you haven’t heard my interview with Terry, please, find that here.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 60 “Leningrad”: IV. Allegro Non Troppo by Dmitri Shostakovich, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra directed by Leonard Bernstein, also available on iTunes.

Land Expansion – The Powhatan Tribes and William Berkeley

Virginia continued to expand beyond the James River by the time Sir William Berkeley arrived. Much of that expansion spread northward into traditional Powhatan power centers along the Middle Peninsula, and further northward into the Northern Neck.

Some of the Powhatan tribes didn’t take kindly to English encroachment. Notably, the 1622 massacre leader, Opechancanough, decided to do something about those expanding English settlements. He led a fresh attack in April 1644.

In spite of more than 500 deaths and a new Anglo-Powhatan War, the English continued expanding into new lands. By 1646 the English had won the war, Opechancanough was killed, and his successor signed the Articles of Peace. Now, land restrictions, both legal and belligerent were removed.

With no restrictions, English Virginia expansion rapidly entered a new phase. That new phase, however, brought new challenges that were rooted in older foundations.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949.
  6. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  7. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  8. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  9. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  10. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  11. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  12. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  13. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  14. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  15. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  16. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.

Berkeley Signature

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is the Falls at the Appomattox River near the site of Fort Henry.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Crazy World (Judgment Day)” by Jamestown Revival also available on iTunes.

Falling Creek Ironworks’ 400th Anniversary – Interview with Archaeologist Lyle Browning

America wasn’t always the industrial powerhouse that it is today. She has built herself into that dynamo on the backs of people willing to take risks, risks that included sudden death by disease, starvation, and Native American attack to name a few. This was the situation in Virginia, and subsequently America’s, first attempt at heavy industry.

Falling Creek Ironworks was a Virginia Company venture that began in 1619, failed, and then tried again in 1622 before it was wiped out during Opechancanough’s 1622 massacre. Other ventures took place at Falling Creek before the site was forgotten and lost for about a century, when archaeologists began taking interest in the late 19th Century. Those 19th century archaeologists mistakenly believed that they had discovered the original 17th century ironworks, but instead found Archibald Cary’s 18th century site.

After winter storms washed out Falling Creek in 2007 Chesterfield County workers noticed  newer features that they hadn’t previously seen. That’s when Lyle Browning, an expert in ironworks archaeology was notified. Mr. Browning has conducted numerous tests at Falling Creek, which has indeed proven the whereabouts of the original 17th century ironworks established by the Virginia Company.

In this interview, Mr. Browning joins me to discuss Falling Creek’s history, importance, future plans, as well as the 400th Anniversary celebration organized by Chesterfield County.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of Falling Creek in Chesterfield County, Virginia, site of the 1619 Ironworks.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “The Firebird: Infernal Dance of King Kaschei” by Igor Stavinsky also available on iTunes.

Governor Berkeley Arrives

William Berkeley arrived in Virginia during the winter 1642. He had many obstacles to overcome, even before he left England, but once he handled those obstacles he started to build a solid foundation from which to govern Virginia.

In spite of former Governor Harvey’s failures, he did put a few things in place that Berkeley could build upon, such as increased domestic government. Berkeley decided to keep those innovations in place, and work through those established channels to get the job done.

Berkeley’s approach to Virginia’s affairs endeared him to the many opposing factions. He’d need all the help he could get to govern the colony, especially considering the ambiguous political situation upon Berkeley’s arrival.

A potentially volatile Powhatan tribe made Berkeley’s position all the more tenuous. But the new governor was up to the task, and the beginning of his first gubernatorial tenure signaled a time of stability unseen in the colony. Virginia was now poised to advance like never before.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949.
  6. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  7. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  8. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  9. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  10. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  11. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  12. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  13. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  14. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  15. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  16. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  17. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.

Berkeley Signature

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is John Ferrar’s “A mapp of Virginia discovered to ye hills, and in it’s latt. from 35 deg. & 1/2 neer Florida to 41 deg. bounds of New England” from the Library of Congress.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Moving Mountains” by The Brevet, also available on iTunes.

Sir William Berkeley’s Rise to Power

William Berkeley lived during an exciting though volatile era. England was transforming into a powerful modern country, and William worked hard to put himself close to all the action. He used powerful connections which were tied to the monarchy in ways that most Englishmen could only wish for. But though Berkeley enjoyed those connections, he was often uneasy about his future.

William had reason to worry, especially after the Bishops Wars proved to be a massive failure for King Charles and England. Growing discontent swelled ranks against the Crown, and those attached to it. Many within the administration saw trouble on the horizon and fled the kingdom for places they deemed safer. Berkeley’s connections urged him to do the same, and it seemed that he would follow those connections to the continent. But at the last minute, the ever ambitious Berkeley organized a stunning change of heart.

Instead of moving to ancient, exotic locales, William Berkeley looked to the often plagued Virginia. He didn’t want simple comfort. He wanted to build a name. King Charles consented to Berkeley’s request, and Virginia would forever be changed. So too would England.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

King Charles I

Charles I in Three Positions by Anthony van Dyck

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949.
  6. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  7. Hatch, Charles. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.
  8. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  9. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  10. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  11. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  12. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  13. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  14. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  15. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  16. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  17. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  18. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.

Berkeley Signature

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The featured image is “Sir William Berkeley” by Harriotte Lee Taliaferro Montague at the Library of Virginia.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Guiding Light” by Mumford and Sons, also available on iTunes.

The Mathews-Claiborne Influence

Virginia transformed during the first half of the 17th Century. Two men were behind most of that transformation – Samuel Mathews, Sr. and William Claiborne. Their extensive connections as well as growing New World wealth elevated both men to prominent positions in the colony.

They soon formed a powerful alliance that dominated the scene and clashed sharply with Governor John Harvey. In the end, Harvey lost, an old governor was reinstated, and then the power-brokers created a deal that allowed Virginia to move on from the Harvey nightmare.

_DSC0593
Mathews Manor, later known as Denbigh Plantation, lies along the Warwick River in Newport News’ Riverview neighborhood

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

_DSC0594
The view from Mathews Manor shows just how close Samuel Mathews’ home was to the water

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949.
  6. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  7. Hatch, Charles. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.
  8. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  9. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  10. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  11. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  12. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  13. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  14. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  15. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  16. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  17. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  18. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
GEDC1234.JPG
Isla Roatan, Honduras, the southernmost reach of the well connected William Claiborne

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The featured image is of the Mathews Manor archaeological site (aka Denbigh Plantation).

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Governor’s Son” by Virginia band the Last Bison also available on iTunes.

The House of Burgesses – Interview with Nancy Egloff

Virginia’s history boasts many firsts. One of those firsts was the 1619 meeting of the House of Burgesses. It was a major event in that it was the first time a representative governmental body had met in the New World.

The meeting would set the example  for future generations as Virginia and her sister colonies developed a tradition that would over time bring freedom not only to themselves, as at first, but to all, including those who were not represented in that first meeting.

It was my distinct pleasure to interview the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s Nancy Egloff. We discuss how the House of Burgesses formed and evolved in the 17th Century, as well as how the body evolved and influenced later generations. I trust you will find this episode informative and enjoyable.

_DSC0025.jpg
Jamestown Settlement’s Famous Replica 1607 Fleet

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

_DSC0003.jpg
Ms. Nancy Egloff

NANCY EGLOFF’S RECOMMENDED SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  2. Billings, Warren. “The General Assembly of 1619: Myths and Realities” in UNBOUND: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books. Journal of the Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries, Volume 3, 2010. pp. 39-50.
  3. Craven, Wesley Frank. Dissolution of the Virginia Company: Failure of a Colonial Experiment. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1964.
  4. Davidson, Thomas E. “The First General Assembly, 1619.” Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Dispatch, 1994. Unpublished manuscript.
  5. Kukla, Jon. Political Institutions in Virginia, 1619-1660. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1989.
  6. Pory, John. Proceedings of the General Assembly of Virginia, July 30-August4, 1619. ed. William Van Schreeven and George Reese. Jamestown, VA: Jamestown Foundation, 1969.
  7. Virginia Company. “Instructions to George Yeardley,” in The Three Charters of the Virginia Company of London With Seven Related Documents, 1606-1621, ed. Samuel Bemiss. Williamsburg, VA: Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation, 1957.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

  1. Jamestown Settlement
  2. Historic Jamestowne
  3. American Evolution 2019
  4. Virginia History Podcast: 1619 – Representative Government Is Formed
_DSC0047.jpg
The Indian Village at Jamestown Settlement

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is just inside the entrance to Jamestown Settlement’s James Fort.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Piano Concerto #3 by Sergei Rachmaninov also available on iTunes.