(John) Isaac Bates (1598 - 1666)

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Nicknames: "John Isaac Bates", "John Bates"
Birthplace: Lydd, Kent, UK
Death: Died in York, Virginia
Managed by: Paul Brian Ritscher
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About (John) Isaac Bates

In Kent County in the 16th century was a wealthy merchant named Abraham Piersey and John Isaac Bates was one of his servants. John Isaac’s parents may have also been servants – but at this time that is unknown. Piersey resided at Maidstone, Kent, England which is about 35 miles west of where the Estes ancestors lived. He sailed to Jamestown, Virginia in 1616 on the ship 'Susan' to look over prospects in America. He returned to England the same year, again on the “Susan” apparently determined to immigrate. He sailed to Jamestown again in 1617 aboard the “George”. It is not clear when he returned to England but we do know that he was in Jamestown in August of 1619 (when he purchased the first black slaves brought to America) and he was in England in 1623 when he shipped his daughters and servants to Jamestown aboard the “Southampton”. It was during this period of time that Piersey’s wife, Elizabeth Draper, died in England, so when Abraham did return to Jamestown he was a widower.

On January 20, 1624, 24 year old John Isaac Bates set foot in Jamestown after crossing the Atlantic on the Southampton and became the first Bates family ancestor to come to America. He was one of 21 passengers on the ship that were servants of Abraham Piersey. Piersey’s two daughters aged 11 and 15 were also on board. To put the thinking in 1624 into perspective, Galileo was just inventing his telescope and working on the theory that the sun did not revolve around the earth but the opposite. It would be 8 years later before Galileo published a “novel” where one of the characters alleges that the earth revolves around the sun – a book that got him punished by the Pope via the Roman Inquisition. The same year that John Isaac Bates arrived, Piersey purchased a tract of land up the James River about 20 miles from Jamestown named Flowerdew Hundred. It was owned by the then Governor of Virginia, Yeardley, who had been given the tract by the Chief of the Weyanoke Indians in 1617. In 1618 Yeardley added 1000 acres to it and named it after his wife, Flowerdieu and it became “Flowerdew Hundred” which today is still noted on the Virginia maps.

Piersey renamed it “Piersey Hundred” and setup his plantation at that location. On the next page is a modern day map of Jamestown and surrounding area. Piersey Hundred is denoted by a red circle up the James River from Jamestown. John Isaac Bates was put to work on the Piersey Hundred and is counted as one of 28 servants at the plantation in the Virginia Census of 1624. One of the other servants was William Garrett, a brick layer.

Concerning black slaves, the first had been bought by Abraham Piersey when according to John Rolfe’s diary, “About the last of August (1619) came in a dutch man of warre that sold us twenty negars” By the time that John Isaac Bates was 40, the area was prosperous and was called the “Tobacco Coast” John Isaac Bates was likely an indentured servant and therefore would have to work for Piersey for seven years. But, servant or not, within 5 months of arriving, he met and married (on May 15, 1624) Mary Elizabeth Winston born August 12, 1605 in England. I can not find the time and ship on which Mary Elizabeth Winston immigrated but I doubt that she was one of the 90 “young maids to make wives” for the Jamestown men that had arrived 5 years earlier – since she would have been only 14 at that time To put John Isaac Bates’ place in history in perspective, when the first Estes, Abraham Estes, Sr. immigrated to America in 1680 (also as an indentured servant), he had been dead for 14 years; his son George Bates had been dead for 3 years; and his grandson, John Bates II (the Quaker) was 25 years old and well on his way to becoming a wealthy merchant. Also, John Bates II (the Quaker) was a young man when President Thomas Jefferson’s ancestor also named Thomas Jefferson immigrated and settled a few miles upstream on the James River from the well-known Flowerdew Hundred.

Children of John Isaac BATES and Mary Elizabeth Winston are: George BATES was born May 23, 1625 in York Co., VA

                        and died April 24, 1677 in Skimino, York Co., VA. 

John Bates I was born 1627 in York Co., VA. Anne Bates was born 1630 in York Co., VA Alice Bates was born 1632 in York Co., VA. Susannah Bates was born 1635 in York Co., VA. Elizabeth Bates was born 1637 in York Co., VA. After Abraham Piersey died in October of 1628, (four years after John Isaac Bates landed at Jamestown) his daughter, Elizabeth, inherited the plantation and restored it to its original name, “Flowerdew Hundred”. Some time, thereafter, John Isaac and wife, Mary Elizabeth, apparently became independent farmers.

John Isaac Bates died on March 3, 1666 at the age of 68. He had a will, a copy of which is reproduced below with grammar and spelling unchanged. In the name of God, Amen I John Bates of the County of York in Middletowne parish being very sick and weak yet in perfect memorie do here make my last will and testament. FIRST I comitt my soul to my Creator and Redeemer, Next my body to the earth to be buried in Xtian burial at ye disposing of my wife and for my other worldly estate as followeth, ITEM I give and bequeath unto my eldest daughter Anne Bellbee one pide cowe called Primrose to be delivered after my decease. ITEM I give and bequeath to my sonne George Bates one cowe called Souarkin to be delivered after my decease. ITEM I give and bequeath unto my daughter Alse Deane one two year old Heifer called Marigold to be delivered to her after my decease. ITEM I give and bequeath unto John Bates my youngest sonne one cowe called Cole and one two year old heifer called Stone and one cowe calf to be delivered him after my decease, and likewise one featherbed, bowlster and likewise I give all my land which I now hold by patent unto my said sonne John Bates, likewise I give unto my sonne John Bates one younge sowe with pigge to be delivered after my decease. ITEM I give and bequeath unto my wife Elizabeth Bates all my other estate moveable not moveable and likewise my will is that my wife shall enjoy my land during her life. Furthermore I make my wife Elizabeth Bates my whole sole Executrix of what estate I have not bequeathed to my children, and I doe appoint my oldest son George Bates my overseer of this my last will and Testament to see it performed, as witness my hand this 21st day of September 1666 Furthermore I the sd. John Bates do bequeath to my wife Elizabeth three barrells and a halfe of corne to be at her disposing. I doe give and bequeath to my sonne George Bates my best hatt and Cloth coat and breeches. I doe give and bequeath to my sonne John Bates one hogshead of tobacco and one young horse, my son in respect thereof to pay all my debts in Generall. Note that oldest son George Bates, was appointed “overseer”. Also, note that the will is dated after his death – so either the will should have been dated 1665 or his date of death should have been 1667.

From 700 Years of Bates Family History

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(John) Isaac Bates's Timeline

May 23, 1598
Lydd, Kent, UK
March 13, 1666
Age 67
York, Virginia