About Samuel Mathews, Sr.
n.b. Differing sources have different wives & children.
Captain Samuel Mathews, of Virginia was born between 1590 and 1592 [n.b. ca. 1580] in England, and died between 30 November 1657 and March 1658 in England.
- ****Parents: Tobias Mathews, Archbishop of York, Bishop & Dean of Durham (1546-1628) and Frances Barlow d. 10 May 1629
Married: # about 1628 in Virginia to Frances Grevill(e), (b. c 1596 and died 1633), as her third husband. She was the daughter of Giles Greville and Sarah Payne, and had been married, 1stly, to Captain Nathaniel West, and 2ndly, to cape merchant, Abraham Peirsey. [fn1]
- in 1638, in England, to Sarah Hinton (b 1613 in England), daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton and Catherine Palmer.
Children of Samuel Mathews and Frances Greville:
- Samuel Mathews, b. Abt. 1630, Mathews Manor, Virginia; d. Abt. 1659, Virginia.
- Francis Mathews, b. Abt. 1632; d. February 16, 1673/74, York County, Virginia.
The Documentary Evidence
The records of those areas of Virginia that were the most important in the seventeenth century are, regrettably the most incomplete. The court records of Jamestown and James City County were destroyed in Richmond during the Civil War, as also were those of Warwick County. As Samuel Mathews owned property in both and served on the Council at Jamestown, it will be apparent much key information concerning his life and holdings has been lost. The history of the Mathews' family is tortuous to say the very least, and those historians and genealogists who have written on the subject have often served only to confuse the issue further. [source1]
Samuel Mathews came to VA before 1618 as servant to Sheriff Johnson of London. In 4/1622 he was in England, returning in the Southampton in Dec. 1622. He was sent to serve King James I as commissioner examining conditions in the Colony. He was, however, a Puritan and an early convert to the Parliamentary Cause.
Samuel had two land grants, Flowerdew Hundred lying on the south side of James River (which he later gave up in a land dispute) and another at Blunt Point on the north side at the mouth of Warwick River where he located his plantation, "Denbigh," described in 1648 as a "miniature village." By 1625 he was named to the Council; he was commissioned to build the fort at Old Point in 1629 and was authorized "sole trade in the Bay a year" in 1626 as partial payment. This became a lucrative business in furs. He was shrewd and industrious, establishing a large plantation with forty slaves trained as artisans. He was elected Governor in 1656, and reelected in 1657, dying in office. He was active in the controversies over Governor Harvey's governing, later named by Harvey as a "prime actor in the late Mutenye in Virginia." He represented Virginia in England in obtaining ratification of the articles of agreement; he remained and probably died in England.
The elder Samuel Mathews was the first of the Mathews family to emigrate from England to Virginia, arriving at Jamestown by 1619. He eventually had several other land holdings, including one near Henricus and another at Old Point Comfort. Known as Colonel Mathews, the elder Samuel became one of the most prominent men in the colony. He was a member of the Governor's Council and was actively involved in conflicts with the Native Americans. In 1635, he was one of the leaders of the popular mutiny that ousted Royal Governor Sir John Harvey. Upon returning to England, the elder Mathews was eventually cleared of any charges; upon returning to Virginia, he resumed service on the Governor's Council until 1644.
- [S6626] Unknown author, Magna Charta Barons by Wurts.
- [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 405.
- Descendants of Samuel Mathews
- A Mathews/Matthews Family Line compiled by Ann Woodlief
for more reading
- Boots, John R.. The Mat(t)hews Family: an Anthology of Mathews Lineages. Ocala, Fla., 1970.
- Matthews, James Alonzo. Pearce, Bartlett, Matthews, Smart, And Allied Families. [S.l.: s.n., 1983.]
- Cooke, John Esten (1883). Virginia: A History of the People. Houghton, Mifflin and Co.. pp. 205.
- Bruce, Philip Alexander (1893). The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Virginia Historical Society. pp. 91.
- Cooke p. 207.
- Arthur, Timothy Shay (1852). The History of Virginia: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. Lippincott, Grambo & Co.. pp. 14.
- Robert Beverley, The History and Present State of Virginia
- Waters, Henry Fitz-Gilbert (1885). Genealogical Gleanings in England. New England Historic Genealogical Society. pp. 101.
The "daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton" was not Samuel Mathews first wife. He had previously been married to the widow of Cape Merchant, Abraham Peirsey, and he was her third husband. Frances Grevill was one of four women who left Bristol aboard the ship, Supply, in September, 1620 and who first married Captain Nathaniel West, brother to the third Lord Delaware, Governor of Virginia.
West died at some date between April 1623 and February 1623/4, being listed in the 1623 census and absent from that of '24, and in the latter year, Frances was living on Virginia Company land at Elizabeth City with her brother-in-law, Francis West. At some time thereafter, Frances Grevill West married Abraham Peirsey, a man of considerable substance who, in addition to a residence at Jamestown, had bought the 1000 acre "Flowerdew Hundred" on the south bank of the James, from Sir George Yeardley. When Peirsey died in January 1627/8, he apparently "left the best estate ever known in Virginia," (12) thus making Frances Grevill West Peirsey a still young and second time widow. That she was by now somewhat used was amply compensated for in the eyes of any colonist by the value of her legacies. Frances was executrix of Peirsey's will and she was charged "to make saile of all the estate as aforesaid to the profit it can be sould for." (13) This she was in no hurry to do, possibly because she was more concerned with her marriage to Samuel Mathews who apparently hooked her very soon after her former husband's demise. The Peirsey estate was still waiting to be settled when she died in 1633.
We know that Samuel Mathews Sr. had two children and it is reasonable to deduce that both were the product of his first marriage to Frances Grevill, for the first was christened Samuel and the second Francis. Many people who have written about the Mathews family, have inexplicably hitched the name of Frances Grevill to Mary Hinton, an assumption for which there was not a shred of proof. (15) On the contrary, there is now archaeological evidence which strongly points to the second wife's first name beginning with "S" rather than "F" or "M."
-------------------- Samuel MATHEWS was born in about 1600 probably in England. He came to Virginia before 1618 as a servant to Sheriff Johnson of London. He was first in James Towne but went to live in Sherley hundred.
Samuel was first married to Frances GREVILLE after 24 Mar 1627. Frances was born in England and came to Virginia in the Supply when she was less than 20 years old in 1620. She was first married to Nathaniel WEST by whom she had a son named Nathaniel and later to Abraham PIERSEY.
Samuel and Frances had two sons:
1. Samuel, Jr, born about 1629, VA; died Jan 1659/60, VA
2. Francis, died 16 Feb 1674/5, VA; married ____BALDWIN
Frances died by 1633 when Mary Hll was appointed administratrix of the estate of her father Abraham PEIRSEY, the executrix, his late wife, having died. Thomas Hill and his wife Mary charged Samuel Mathews with having altered the estate of Peirsey after his marriage to the widow. The case was dismissed.
Samuel was married in about 1634 to S HINTON, daughter of Sir Thomas HINTON (1575-1635).
Samuel received land at the mouth of the Warwick River where he built his plantation first called "Mathews Manor" and later called "Denbigh". This is an account of the plantation in 1649:
"Worthy Captaine Mathews, an old Planter of above thirty years standing, one of the Counsell, and a most deserving Common-wealths-man. I may not omit to let you know this gentlemans industry. He hath a fine house, and all things answerable to it, he sowes yearly store of Hempe and Flax, and causes it to be spun: he keeps Weavers and hath a Tan-house, causes Leather to be dressed, hath eight shoemakers employed in their trade, hath forty Negroe servants, brings them up to Trades in his house. He veerly sowes abundance of Wheat, Barley, &c. The Wheat he selleth at four shillings the bushell: kills store of Beeves, and sells them to victuall the ships when they come thither: hath abundance of Kine, a brave Dairy, Swine great store, and Poltery, he married the Daugher of Sir Tho. Hinton, and in word, keeps a good house, lives bravely, and a true lover of Virginia, he is worthy of much honour." (Anonymous, A Perfect Description of Virginia . . . ., London, 1649.)
There are several pages about the excavation of Mathews Manor, the home Samuel Mathews, the first Mathews immigrant in this line. I have copied excerpts from the articles in The Daily Press, Newport News-Hampton, VA, and Mathews Manor by Ivor Noel Hume, Antiques, December, 1966.
Although the tract had been known as Denbigh Plantation as early as the beginning of the eighteenth century, its period of historical importance had ended nearly fifty years before. At that time it seems to have been named Mathews Manor, it was owned by Samuel Mathews (c 1600-c 1657), who settled in Virginia before 1622 and eventually became one of the most prominent men in the colony. He was a long-time member of the council, and in 1635 was one of the leaders of the popular mutiny that ousted Governor Sir John Harvey. In the spring of 1637 Mathews and three others were sent home to England to stand trial for Treason in the Court of Star Chamber, but the charges were eventually dropped and Mathews returned to Virginia in 1639. Meanwhile, Harvey had been reinstated as governor by Charles I and had seized and dispersed much of Mathews' property, and also sanctioned the ransacking of his house. But when Mathews returned, his property was restored to him by order of the King, and Harvey was evicted.
In the late fall of 1652 Samuel Mathews was sent to England by the council to serve as agent for the colony, with instructions to lobby on its behalf against the territorial claims of Lord Baltimore. Mathews was still about this business when last heard from in London on the last day of November 1657.
The archealogical finds at Mathews Manor are some of the best that have been found. . . a silver saucepan whose lid was engraved with the initials of Mathews and his second wife, M/SS, and stamped with the London date letter for 1638. This last find was of considerable importance since it identified the "Daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton," mentioned earlier, as S Hinton rather than Frances Hinton, as genealogists had mistakenly supposed, having confused her with Mathews' first wife, Frances Grevill West Peirsev. It is possible the saucepan was a wedding present and if so, it would follow that Samuel Matthews married S Hinton in 1638 after he was acquitted of the treason charge and before he returned to Virginia in the spring of the following year. This would explain the absence of any record of the marriage in Virginia. Be that as it may, the initials helped to confirm the view that the excavated site was certainly that of Samuel Mathews' "fine house," and not one belonging to a tenant or employee.
Captain Samuel Mathews's Timeline
Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
Cowes, Isle of Wight, , England
Mathews Manor, Virginia, USA
Matthews Manor, York, Virginia, USA