William Hancock, Sr. (1580 - 1622) MP

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Birthplace: Plymouth, Devon, , England
Death: Died in Jamestown, James, Virginia, USA
Occupation: Farmer, planter / shipbuilder
Managed by: Erin Spiceland
Last Updated:

About William Hancock, Sr.

About the plaque shown on this profile it is commemorating the Indian Massacre plot at Jamestown, 3-22-1622. It is not a coincidence that William Hancock died at Jamestown on 3-22-1622.

He came to Jamestown in 1619 in a group that founded the Berkley Hundred. William was killed at Berkley Hundred on March 22, 1622 in the Indian Massacre. He had left his wife and young family in England. In the 1630's, three of his sons, August, Simon, and William came to America

According to a record contained in an old Hancock family Bible, William left England in 1619, aboard the ship "Margaret of Bristol" bound for America. He was coming to America in search of lumber for his shipbuilding business. Leaving his family behind in England, William sailed out through the Bristol Channel on Thursday, September 16, 1619. The "Margaret" dropped anchor in Chesapeake Bay on November 30, 1619. Then on December 4, 1619, William stepped off the "Margaret" and onto American soil at a site on the north shore of the James River, about halfway between present-day Williamsburg and Richmond, Virginia. The Berkeley Hundred Plantation was built at this location. It is still there today, but none of the original houses are still standing.

Berkeley Hundred Plantation is a huge plantation consisting of many homes. It resembled a small village. It was also the site for the first official Thanksgiving Day Service held in America, which William Hancock attended. Berkeley Hundred Plantation was the home of many of the first Govenors of Virginia, and later home to many early American Presidents.

"Thorpe's House" at Berkeley Hundred Plantation was home to several of the English gentlemen who were associated with the Virginia Company. This is where William lived. It was owned by Captain George Thorpe. Captain Thorpe put much confidence in the Indians and wanted to convert them to a more civilized way of life. During the winter of 1621-1622, it seemed he was making progress. The Indians seemed more friendly and were frequent visitors to the plantation and other surrounding settlements. The settlers were convinced that their Indian troubles were over. Little did they know, it was all a trick.

In the early morning hours of March 22, 1621/22, which was Good Friday, groups of Indians drifted into the settlement of Berkeley Hundred. They were unarmed, but soon armed themselves with guns and knives that were easily accessible in most homes. They then attacked the settlers. William Hancock, along with about 300 others were massacred. It was said the settlers were so surprised, they never had a chance to defend themselves.

There was one Indian who had befriended a family in Jamestown. When he learned of the impending attack, he couldn't bear the thought of this family being killed. He warned this family of the attack, and he was credited with saving Jamestown. When the attackers arrived at Jamestown, they were met by armed settlers. The Indians returned to their tribe without incident. -------------------- The progenitor of this Hancock family line was William Hancock who was born about 1580 in England. He was a member of The Virginia Company Of London which was created by King James I for the purpose of colonizing in America. The first settlement was established at Jamestown in 1607. William was a member of "The Virging Company", which was a company chartered by the King of England and it's purpose was to start a colony in America. William left his family in England and traveled to America in 1620. He came in search for timber for his shipbuilding business according to an old Hancock Bible record. As an investor in the Virginia Company, William traveled to Jamestown in 1619 aboard the "Margaret" of Bristol. He was a member of a group that founded Berkeley Hundred. On 22 March 1622 the settlement was attacked by Indians and William, along with many others, was massacred. He lived at Thorpe's House at Berkeley Hundred Plantation. William, along with about 350 other settlers were massacred by Indians at Berkeley Hundred Plantation on Good Friday, March 21, 1691/1692.

Shortly after 1630, three of William's sons came to America. Augustine, Simon and William became prominent planters in Virginia and established a family line that today includes many thousands of their descendants. From Virginia, their descendants migrated throughout the southeastern and midwestern states and today are living in all parts of the country.

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William Hancock, Sr.'s Timeline

September 4, 1580
Plymouth, Devon, , England
September 26, 1604
Age 24
Stepney, Middlesex, , England
Age 24
Devon, England
Age 31
Devonshire, England
Age 34
Devon, England
March 22, 1622
Age 41
Jamestown, James, Virginia, USA
March 22, 1622
Age 41
Jamestown, VA, USA