Query: Thomas Pettus

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Thomas Pettus 3 4 5 6

Birth:
10 Feb 1598 Norwich, England 7 8
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Death:
1662 10 11 12
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Thomas Pettus's Family Relations

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Elizabeth
Marriage
1643
Virginia

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Thomas Pettus
1643 – 1690

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John Tyler Morgan and Edmund Winston Pettus (Late Senators from Alabama) Memorial Addresses, Sixtieth Congress, First Session, Senate of the United States, April 18, 1908 , House of Representatives, April 25, 1908 (Volume 1) - Page 26

Text:

16 Memorial Addresses: Senators Morgan and Pettus national problems that he aided in solving, as well as the great national perils that he labored to conquer, are so well and gen- erally known that it will be useless on this occasion to attempt to augment his public career by their recital. He was a student of wonderful application, and was never content with super- ficial knowledge of any subject. He was familiar with the history and governments of all nations. His comprehensive understanding made him familiar with social and economic philosophy; his marvelous store of knowledge concerning things of the historical and political world, as wTell as familiarity with subjects which to the ordinary mind would be of no conse- quence, justly gave him the reputation of being one of the most learned and erudite members who ever honored this body. He was many times honored with positions of great responsibility that called into exercise the most delicate as well as the most comprehensive knowledge of things and men. His recognized fitness for the position caused him to be named as a member of the Bering Fisheries Commission and also as one of the repre- sentatives of the United States on the Board of Arbitration, upon both of which he served with distinguished credit. Senator Morgans advocacy of the Isthmian Canal was for years earnest and indomitable. It is true that he was partial to the construction of this great project across the Nicaraguan route, yet no wTell-informed person who is anxious to preserve the truth of history may …

John Tyler Morgan and Edmund Winston Pettus (Late Senators from Alabama) Memorial Addresses, Sixtieth Congress, First Session, Senate of the United States, April 18, 1908 , House of Representatives, April 25, 1908 (Volume 1) - Page 117

Text:

Address of Mr. Craig, of Alabama 107 like Cincinnatus of old, laid down the sword and returned to their peaceful avocations to do each his part in rebuilding the apparently prostrate South. Together they labored in that cause and together helped to lead their people through the dark days of reconstruction. So nobly did they serve their State as private citizens that first General Morgan and then General PETTUS was sent to represent their Commonwealth in the high- est branch of the National Legislature. So, together again, they labored, always untiringly, always with the highest degree of efficiency, always well, always honorably for the State and the nation which had claimed for their own the major part of the lives of both of these magnificent American citizens. Yes, together they had served, in one way or another, for more than the ordinary lifetime, and almost together they died, and lie to-day in the same cemetery in the beautiful city of Selma not more than a hundred yards apart. How fitting and appro- priate it is, then, Mr. Speaker, that they should be considered here together to-day. To pay a tribute to one of them is but to eulogize the other, for in all that goes to make men great, in capacity, in devotion to duty, and integrity, they were alike; and yet so different in so many respects. General Pettus …

John Tyler Morgan and Edmund Winston Pettus (Late Senators from Alabama) Memorial Addresses, Sixtieth Congress, First Session, Senate of the United States, April 18, 1908 , House of Representatives, April 25, 1908 (Volume 1) - Page 180

Text:

170 Memorial Addresses: Senators Morgan and Pettus talents. Day by day he broadened and strengthened in his noble work. No man north or south of Mason and Dixons line contributed more to restore national friendly relations between the sections than did Senator Morgan. In all his public utter- ances there breathes a purity and intensity of love for the Souththe people whose traditions and history, whose life and whose ideals, social and political, were hallowed to his heart and memory; yet it can not be denied that through these very utterances he always manifested his love for the whole country. I feel that I can with propriety, Mr. Speaker, refer to an incident that occurred with Senator Morgan in the summer of 1906. The town of Hartselle, in Morgan County, Ala., adver- tised for a home-coming and an old-fashioned barbecue. Sena- tor Morgan was the only speaker for the occasion. I attended the meeting with him. Fully 6, 000 prosperous, contented, and happy people had assembled, each eager to greet the old man that Alabama had so generously honored. When he arose to speak, everyone in that vast audience paid him the beautiful and touching tribute to rise to their feet. In a tremulous voice, clear and distinct, he opened his remarks by referring to a political meeting that he had last attended and addressed at that place more than thirty years ago, when the …

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About Thomas Pettus

Thomas Pettus Sr. is a member of the Pettus Family.

Author Notes

The Pettus's of Norwich, England
Thomas Pettus was born a "gentleman" in Norwich, England on February 10, 1598. He was the twelfth of seventeen children born to Thomas Pettus and Cecily King leaving him dim propects of inheriting wealth. The home where the family lived still remains and a marker is posted on the front of the home. His uncle, Thomas's brother, John Pettus was the mayor of Norwich in 1608 and was the first in the family to become a Knight. The title of "Sir" indicates that one has become a Knight. Sir John Pettus was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. He purchased 2 shares (200 acres) in the original Virginia Company and signed the charter as a member of The Third Virginia Company in London, a group of upper-class gentry who were investors taking stock in the company exploring what was to become the area of Jamestown in the new world. Thomas's father, Thomas, was a wealthy merchant, a tailor, and a politician, becoming mayor of Norwich in 1614, earning him the title "Esquire". The Pettus family as a whole were considered gentry in England.

One must understand that researching the early records for Thomas Pettus is challenging. Records of when he left Norfolk, England are vague. Probably due to the fact that his nephew, Thomas Pettus, son of the oldest child, William, had been in some trouble. The nephew, Thomas, was just 10 years younger than his uncle. He was indicted for manslaughter in Norwich, England in 1629. His father and a Sir William Denny (father-in-law?) accomplished his release. Then in 1631, he was again indicted for a felony. So his family sent him to "distant places". (Stacy p. 2) It is very clear to the writer [Stacy] that it was the nephew who was sent to distant places. He was the oldest son of an oldest son and the oldest sons did not leave England except for urgent reasons. ...The nephew was probably the "Thomas Pettus Jr." who came in 1643, passage used as a headright by Col. Pettus. The terms of the Great Charter of 1618 allowed for individuals to own land spawned by the cash-crop production of tobacco introduced by John Rolfe. A "headright" meant that if one provided passage to Jamestowne for themselves or for another, 50 acres of land was granted to the provider. In this case, Col. Pettus enabled the passage of his nephew, and, as a result, was granted his 50 acres of land.

Coming to the New Land

A fire also claimed the early records for James City County in Richmond in 1865. Some records still exist in neighboring counties. Also, mention is made of Thomas Pettus in records of other individuals and documents of the period.

Two of Thomas's other uncles were believed to have come to Jamestown prior to Thomas. Theodore Pettus, Gent., came in 1623 and stayed at least three years before returning back to England. This is just after the Indian Massacre of 1622 which nearly wiped out the entire population of British who had been trying to establish themselves in a new settlement. The effects of the sheer numbers of loss of life, men, women and children, and the financial devastation of the Virginia Company in England, caused King Charles I to make Virginia a royal colony by 1624, the population then being 1300. By 1629, the population had doubled. His other uncle, George Pettus, made the voyage to the new land and died in Virginia some time before 1631 when his will was "proved" by his relict [widow], Frances, in London. (Matthew's "Lists of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury" ii 183).

When he was but nine years old, a private company, the Virginia Charter Company, sent 104 men and boys on three ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, on a mission to search for riches in North America. By this time, the Spanish had already returned with gold from South America and had also settled in and around St. Augustine, Florida. The British had failed an attempt to settle land claimed by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584 (now Roanoke Island, North Carolina). What awaited these men at Jamestowne was a land already the home to the Powhatan Indians. For many decades, the British and Indians were caught between peaceful trade and massacres on both sides. Starvation and disease claimed many lives. For the men and boys were either not willing or able to provide for themselves. Some were "Gentleman" who were above the idea of work, even if it meant planting now to harvest later in order to survive the winter. Others were poor, idle, and unskilled. 70% of them perished within the first seven months. It was then, that supply ships arrived from England with the industrious leader, Capt. John Smith, to turn things around. Trade with the Indians was not enough to sustain them alone, and planting, harvesting and hunting were necessary to survive. Still, the Indian raids and disease continued to thwart their efforts.

Thomas Pettus was a Captain when he came to Jamestown between 1638 and 1641, after having served in the Thirty Years War. Immigration offered him the possibility of owning land. Probably because of his uncle's involvement in the Virginia Company, he was elected to come for the Company in command of forty men to assist the colonists in their struggles with the Powhatan Indians at Jamestowne. Capt. Pettus was 40 years old when he came to VA. and probably a widower. Eight counties had been established in the new colony by this time complete with sheriff's, county lieutenants and burgesses elected by voters. The tobacco cash crop was now the main industry creating wealth for plantation owners who, with indentured servants and slaves, exported to England. Labor intensive, this required man-power for nine months out of the year only allowing the remaining three months for building, fencing and other necessities. After all, most immigrants were here for the profit in order to return to England at some later date with all their wealth. Not many planned to stay. Thomas Pettus was one of the few councillors in later years to remain in Virginia.

There was an area first explored by the ones first sent from England to claim land here on the continent along the James River. The land had good soil and provided all that would be necesary for survival. They named this place Archer's Hope (possibly Kingsmill). However, one of the stipulations of the Virginia Company was that it must be a place where the ships could have adequate depth near the shore to ride near the land. It did not. It was necessary to move about four miles upriver in order to meet this requirement. The new island site was to become the Jamestowne settlement and fort where the ships could be moored to the trees. The original site was to become the home site of Thomas Pettus. This land did have previous owners, but none had taken residence on the premises. Col. Pettus was the first. He named the seventeenth century plantation house "Littletown". "Thomas Pettus of Littletown appears in the Westmoreland County Record (Virginia Magazine, Vol. III:153) in 1660. He must have acquired the property before that date." (Bauer, p. 5)

Colonial Life in Jamestowne, Virginia

He quickly became a member of the emerging provincial elite. The Captain became Colonel Thomas PETTUS, though some records in England were still using "Captain". He became a Governor's councilor, serving on the prestigious Governor's Council from 1641 until 1660. He was an active participant in the affairs of Jamestowne and Old Fields at Middle Plantation, Williamsburg's name until the 66-year-old community was incorporated in 1699, and he is mentioned in many documents of the period. Thomas married the widow of Richard Durrant, Elizabeth, before 1643 just a couple years after his arrival, fulfilling a Virginia tradition of aquiring new land - marry a rich widow. Elizabeth outlived Kingsmill plantations landowner, John Browning and Pettus probably acquired some Kingsmill acreage at this time. This union added substantial holdings to his estate which eventually encompassed 1280 acres, including 386 acres north of Jamestown. He soon thereafter purchased a thousand acres in Westmoreland, Northumberland, and stafford counties on Virginias's northern neck. (Kelso, p. 35) The PETTUS plantation left a lasting imprint on the Jamestowne and Williamsburg landscape.

A Thomas Pettus was a vestryman at Bruton Parish Church. It is unclear to this author [Schleier] whether this is Col. Thomas Pettus, the father, or Capt. Thomas Pettus, the son. The foundation of the structure is now part of the graveyard at the current church site in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. His name is on a plaque on pew #6 inside commemorating his service. There is evidence of approximately 3000 burials at this site, though only about 900 are known. It is rumored that Captain Thomas Pettus is buried here.

Other kin to the Pettus's in Norfolk, England were Samuel Sandys, Sir Nathaniel Bacon, Henry Rolfe, Robert Dabney and the Dethicks, Burwells, Wyatt's and Rolfe's. All Norfolk kin who became neighbors in Virginia. (Stacy, p. 2) John Rolfe was the colonist who married Pocahontas, daughter to the chief of the Powhatan Indians. One source says that "it was in an old Pettus home that the Matoaka portrait of Pocahontas was found".

The brothers, Sir James Bacon of Friston Hall and Sir Nathaniel Bacon of Shiffkey, Norfolk were first cousins to Sir Francis Bacon, a great scientist and who was believed to be the ghost writer for William Shakespeare's plays. Sir Nathaniel Bacon also went to Jamestown, Virginia and was to become known for "Bacon's Rebellion", an act against the crown prior to the Revolutionary War. Col. Bacon was one of the wealthiest and most influential men of the colony, was a member of the Council in 1657, alongside Col. Pettus, was acting governor 1688, and President of Council in 1690. When Col. Thomas Pettus died, Sir Nathaniel Bacon became guardian of his son, Thomas Pettus. This son had a daughter named Elizabeth, Col. Pettus's granddaughter, who was named in Bacon's will, leaving her one Negro girl named Moll. Bacon died 1692 and was buried at "Kingsmill". Many years afterward the stone that covered his grave was taken to Williamsburg and placed in the tower of Bruton Parish Church. It is there still today, standing vertically in the entry hall. (Stacy, p. iv)

Col. Thomas Pettus died by 1669. An Inventory of the Estate of Mr. Thos. Pettus, Deceas'd, Belonging to His Orphand [1692-] is found in Henrico County, Miscellaneous Court Records, Vol. I (1650-1717), pp. 73-74. It is signed by his good friend, Nathaniel Bacon, who was his son's guardian at that time. Much inventory is listed including servants and slaves, dinnerware, "chattle" from both plantations, Littletown and Utopia, horses, mares, and hogs. At the bottom is a note: "And as for the household goods when we went to inventory them; the time agreed on Mr. James Bray [his widows new husband] told us that we came too late for he had carried them away."

The Governor's Council
The Great Charter of 1618, aside from the new headright system, allowed for the colonist's first legislature. A General Assembly of 22 burgesses elected by the inhabitants of each of the major plantations met at Jamestown in August 1619, the first representative assembly in America. The King appointed a resident Governor and his council of 12 to 16 men - and they got the best land. By the 1640's, says Kelso, a tamer and more promising Virginia began to appeal to the younger sons of the more affluent English landlords and merchants, who in any case were not in direct line for family inheritance back home. It was not long before the well-born newcomers, quite familiar with running things, acquired seats on the council, considerable landholdings and ultimately the reigns of provincial power. This group included Col. Pettus. He served on the governor's council from 1641 to 1660. Sir William Berkeley was governor just one year later beginning in 1642 and served as a leader for the colony in some capacity for the next three decades until he was called back to England after the civil unrest caused by Bacon's Rebellion. (Kelso, p. 13)

The Pettus Properties - Excavated
Archeologist, William M. Kelso, did a rescue excavation at the Kingsmill area plantations after learning in October 1971 that Anheuser-Busch, Inc. had acquired the property and planned to build a residential housing development on the land including golf courses, recreational facilities and marina, spa and conference center. This area is now complete and is neighbor to their Busch Gardens amusement park covering several hundred acres. It appeared to him that the "modern earth-moving required by building codes would remove the shallow colonial artifacts without a trace." (Kelso, p. 4)

His subsequent book has released its second edition, Kingsmill Plantations, 1619-1800 Archeology of Country Life in Colonial Virginia, in 1984. The plans for building spanned 20 years of time. Time was of the essence. "The first scheduled construction project was a conference center complex on one of the commanding views of the James River property. As one might guess, that commanding view had also once appealed to a colonial planter as a place to build his home". (Reference to Col. Pettus). Without Mr. Kelso's work and records, much information and insights into the life of Col. Thomas Pettus would be lost.

(Research):(Website: http://users.ez2.net/gpettus/Pettus%20Chronicle/pethist.htm)
Colonel Thomas PETTUS (aka Councilor) came to America in 1638-1641, after serving on the Continent in the Thirty Years War, for the Virginia Company in command of forty men to assist the colonists in their struggles with the Powhatan Indians at Jamestowne. Colonel Thomas built a substantial residence on the James River on a tract four miles downriver from the Jamestown settlement not long after his arrival. He named the seventeenth century plantation house Littletown. Colonel Thomas sought a lifestyle different than was offered in his native environs. He found Virginia an attractive alternative lifestyle. He quickly became a member of the emerging provincial elite. Colonel Thomas PETTUS became a Governor's councilor in the mid-seventeenth century, serving on the prestigious Governor's Council from 1641 until 1660. Colonel Thomas probably was entitled to some Jamestowne property through investments made by his uncle, Sir John PETTUS, who had purchased stock in the company holding the third charter to Virginia, The Third Virginia Charter Company. The marriage of Colonel Thomas to the widow, Elizabeth (Mrs. Richard) DURRANT, added substantial holdings to the estate which eventually encompassed 1280 acres. The PETTUS plantation left a lasting imprint on the Jamestowne and Williamsburg landscape.

Colonel (Councilor) Thomas PETTUS, a qualifying ancestor for the Jamestowne Society, was an active participant in the affairs of Jamestowne and Old Fields at Middle Plantation, Williamsburg's name until the 66-year-old community was incorporated in 1699, and he is mentioned in many documents of the period. After Colonel Thomas died in 1660, the plantation house and land passed to his son Captain Thomas PETTUS, Jr. (1646-ca 1690). Captain Thomas PETTUS' relict, Mourning Glenn PETTUS, married James Bray, II. In 1700 the heirs of Colonel Thomas released the Littletown estate to James Bray II 17 for the traditional sum of "five shillings and rent of one ear of corn a year." In the Williamsburg, Virginia, Bruton Parish Church 13 (at right) a memorial pew bears Captain Thomas PETTUS, Jr.'s name and some say he is buried at the church. He served as a Vestryman of Bruton Church. Thomas PETTUS, Jnr. is listed as a headright on a 450 acre land grant 19 awarded Colonel Thomas PETTUS in January 1643.
(END)


(Book:Stacy, p.iv) Transcribed
...This lineage of Pettusses of Norwich shows how Virginia Pettuses were related to their neighbors, - the Sandyses, Burwells, Dabneys, Bacons, Rolfes, and Wyatts...

...The brothers Sir James Bacon of Friston Hall and Sir Nathaniel Bacon of Shiffkey, Norfolk were 1st cousins of Sir Francis Bacon, the great scientist, thought by some to have written Shakespeare's plays...

Sir Nathaniels granddaughter m. Sir Thomas Pettus.

Sir James's son, James, was a rector of Burgate, Suffolk. Rev. James's son was Col. Nathaniel Bacon, Sr. of Virginia, neighbor of Col. Pettus of "Littletown". Col. Bacon came to Virginia a widower (2 daughters left in England), m. the widow Tayloe, dau. of Mr. Richard Kingsmill. She, elizabeth Kingsmill Tayloe, inherited "Kingsmill" next door to "Littletown". Col. Bacon was one of the wealthiest and most influential men of the colony, was a member of the Council in 1657, acting governor 1688, President of Council 1690. Died 1692, buried at "Kingsmill". Long years afterward the stone that covered his grave was taken to Williamsburg and placed in the tower of Bruton Parish Church.
(END, page iv)

(Book: Stacy, page 2) Abstracted
Norfolk records, so clear and full usually , are vague as to when he left England. Probaby due to the fact that his nephew, Thomas Pettus, son of William, had been in some trouble [see notes under Thomas]. It is very clear to the writer [Stacy] that it was the nephew who was sent to distant places. He was the oldest son of an oldest son, and oldest sons did not leave England except for urgent reasons... ...The nephew was probably the "Thomas Pettus Jr." who came in 1643, passage used as a headright by Col. Pettus.

It was in an old Pettus home that the Matoaka portrait of Pocahontas was found. She married John Rolfe. Another cousin of Col. Pettus married a granddaughter of Sir Nathaniel Bacon of Shiffkey, Norfolk.
(END, page 2)

(Book:Stacy, page 3) Transcribed
In 1643 "Thomas Pettus, Gent." had a land grant of 886 acres between Jamestown and Middle Plantaion (now Williamsburg), "a part being by reason of intermarriage with the relict of Richard Durant who patented it in 1636." (Cav. & Pio. 159; Wm. & Mary Quar. vi 127). In 1652 "Thomas Pettus Esq." (title used then only by members of the Council) patented in Northumberland (Cav. & Pio. 273; Croz. vi 113). In 1656 "Thomas Pettus Esq. of James City Co. and Elizabeth his wife "gave power-of-attorney for sale of 1000 acres in Westmoreland (from Northumberland in 1653). Cavaliers & Pioneers 534 calls him "Col. Thomas Pettus, Esq." in 1658. Following is a description of "Littleton" from Lyon G. Tyler's "Cradle of the Republic", p. 149: "Littletown" was east of Kingsmill which was east of Archer's Hope Creek, on the north side of the river James. In 1633 it was the residence of Capt. Geo. Menifee of the Council, one of the great merchants of Virginia. He had a garden of two acres on the river bank, full of trees of Province; fruits from Holland, and apple and pear and cherry trees, with different sweet-smelling herbs, such as rosemary, marjoram, and thyme. And he had peach trees, which greatly astonished his visitors, for these were not to be seen anywhere else on the coast....Here the Governor sometimes held Court...In 1661 Littletown was the residence of Col. Thomas Pettus of the Council, who married the widow of Richard Durant. Later she married Capt. John Grove who died in 1671. When Capt. Thomas Pettus' widow, Mourning, married James Bray Jr. "Littletown passed out of the possession of the Pettus family, etc. etc."
(END, page 3)


Col. Pettus was 39 when he came to VA. (probably a widower) Married here before 1643. A York County record, 3-24-1698, alludes to "a difference between Mr. Edmund Berkeley and Maj. Lewis Burwell, on of the survuving executors for the will of Col. Thomas Pettus". Col. Pettus' grandson, Edmund Berkeley, married Lucy, daughter of Maj. Burwell, whose wife was Abigail Smith, niece and heiress of Col. Nathaniel Bacon of "Kingsmill", adjoining "Littletown". The loss of James City County records by fire in Richmond in 1865 leaves a large void in the search for the owner of Littletown, but Thomas Pettus of Littletown appears in the Westmoreland County Record (Virginia Magazine, Vol. III:153) in 1660. He must have acquired the property before that date. There is a document in the Library of Congress (No. 11411) in which mention is made of a sample of silk produced by Colonel Thomas Pettus on his plantation taked to England by Edward Diggs in 1658. (Kelso, 1972:7)(Bauer, p.5)

"There is recorded in Westmoreland county a power of attorney, January 22nd, 1660, from Thomas Pettus, of "little towne in Virginia, Esq.," and Elizabeth, his wife, to Sergeant-Major Edward Griffith, of Mulberry Island, authorizing him to act with Mr. Henry Meese in regard to 1,000 acres of lant (pattented by said Pettus) on Potomac creek, and adjoining the land lately taken up by Sir Thomas Lunsford, deceased." (Virginia Mag., pgs. 153-154)

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