William Epes (c.1584 - 1640) MP

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Birthplace: Kent, England
Death: Died in Ashford, Kent, England
Occupation: Soldier
Managed by: Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator
Last Updated:

About William Epes

William Eppes was the son of John Eppes (or Epes) of Ashford, Kent, England and wife Thomasine Fisher. He was baptized 7 March 1594/5 in Kent. England. As with many younger sons, he chose a career in the army. Capt. William Epes was in France and the Low Countries in 1616-1617.

Late in 1617 he was living with his cousin Thomas Godfrey at Selling, Kent. Soon afterwards he sailed for Virginia in the William and Thomas, arriving 29 August 1618. He was employed as agent by Sir Nicholas Tufton (afterwards Earl of Thanet) and was in command of Smith’s Hundred Company in 1619 when he engaged in a shipboard quarrel near Newport News with Capt. Edward Roecroft alias Stallenge and, striking him with his scabarded sword, ‘cleft’ his skull. Rosecroft died the next day. Epes was tried and was found guilty of manslaughter. After a short while he was restored to his command. By 1623 he was commander of the Eastern Shore.

In the census, 16 Feb 1623/4, he, Mrs. Epes and ‘Petter Epps’ are listed on the Eastern Shore, along with 13 servants. Here in 1624 William Epes accused Ensign Savage of libelling him and ‘did lay the said Ensign Savage neck and heels;’ small wonder he was called a ‘mad, ranting fellow.’

On February 3, 1626, Captain William Epps made claim to Sir George Yeardly for 450 acres on the "Easterne Shoare of the Bay of Chesepeiacke, nere unto the plantation of Accomacke on the mouth of Kings Creek" for the transport of nine men: William Jones, William Gallaway, John Barker, Edward Rogers, Thomas Warden who all arrived on the Anne in 1623. Also Nicholas Raybeare (arrived aboard the Swan) and Henry Carter (arrived aboard the James) who arrived in 1624, finally Richard Reeve and John Robbins in 1625 who arrived in the Return.

About 1627 he moved to St. Christopher’s, West Indies. One story has it that he fled Williamsburg for the Indies because of an adulterous affair with a married woman. By 3 May 1630 William Epes was a member of the Council of St. Christopher’s. On 18 July 1633 he made a power of attorney to William Stone concerning his land in Virginia. By the later 1630s he had returned to Ashford, Kent. His will, 13 Jan 1640/1 and proven Mar 1642/3, named his wife Margaret, son William and daughter Frances. He died some time after 1640 and was buried in Detling, Kent, England.

Margaret, who came to Virginia in the 'George' in 1621, married him by 1623. Her sister, Mrs. Harthwaye, was with her in Virginia. Margaret married (2) Dr. Henry Bradshaw, rector of Chawton, Hampshire, and Prebendary of Winchester Cathedral. She was buried 19 January 1673/4.

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Capt. William Epes's Timeline

1584
1584
Kent, England
1594
March 7, 1594
Age 10
Kent, England
1623
1623
Age 39
Virginia
1640
January 13, 1640
Age 56
Ashford, Kent, England
????
????
????
Detling, Kent, England