Abraham Piersey, Sr.

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Abraham Piersey, Sr.

Also Known As: "Piercey", "Peirsey", "Presley"
Birthdate: (50)
Birthplace: Maidston, Kent, England
Death: October 1628 (46-54)
Jamestown, James City County, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of NN Piersey and N.N.
Husband of Elizabeth Piersey and Frances Mathews
Father of Elizabeth Stephens and Mary Bushrod

Occupation: Council of Virginia
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Abraham Piersey, Sr.

  • Virginia immigrants and adventurers, 1607-1635: a biographical dictionary By Martha W. McCartney
  • http://books.google.com/books?id=orDbMGpInaQC&pg=PA215&lpg=PA215&dq=Elizabeth+Cole+1618&source=bl&ots=WG-9bdo0XK&sig=MuuEo7JkyuotFzvO6QSpvPYhGIE&hl=en&ei=1XHETLPNHYe-sAPx2Ii5BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CCkQ6AEwBjhu#v=onepage&q=pierce&f=false
  • Pg.548
  • Virginia Company invester Abraham Peirsey (Persey, Perseye, Pearsey) of Maidstone in Kent, England, came to Virginia in 1616 on the Susan, the colony's first magazine ship. As Virginia's cape merchant, he was supposed to sell magazine's goods profitably in exchange for tobacco and sassafras, but he also was authorized to trade freely. Peirsey ascorted the Susan back to England and returned the following year on the George, another magazine ship. Afterward he made Virginia his permanent residence. He served as vice-admiral during Deputy Governor Samuel Argall's goverment (1617-1618), and in 1622 he testified about the disposition of Lord Delaware's goods when the Neptune arrived in Jamestown (1) in August 1618. In July 1619 Peirsey participated in the colony's first assembly, representing his position as cape merchant. He sent word to England that many of the commodities he was supposed to sell to the colonist were relatively useless and that plows and other necessities were badly needed.
  • In August 1619 Abraham Peirsey accompanied Governor George Yeardley to Old Point Comfort (17), where they traded food for some Africans who had just arrived in a Dutch man-of-war. In November 1619 the Virginia Company rewarded Peirsey for his faithful service by giving him 200 acres. This land became part of the 1,150 acres called Peirseys Toile, which was located on the upper side of the Appomottox River near Swift's Creek and Bermuda Hundred (39). Abraham Peirsey sent to England in March 1620 he was accused of price-gouging and wrongfully detaining the George. One of the men with whom Peirsey had business dealings was John Rolfe of Jamestown. In May 24, 1621, letter, Peirsey said that he had sent Virginia Company Treasurer Sir Edwin Sandys some sturgeon and that the George had gone to Newfoundland for fish. He also dispatched a shipment of tobacco to the Netherlands.
  • On March 22, 1622, when the Indians attacked the Peirsey plantation on the Appomattox River, four people were killed. In May 1622 Abraham Peirsey testified against Captain John Martin, whom he accused of harboring debtors at his plantation and drawing arms against the provost marshal. On the other hand, Peirsey himself was accused of selling 10 cows that belonged to the Society of Martin's Hundred. When testifying in England in 1622, he identified himself as a 45-year-old 'citizen and dyer of London but by profession Cape Merchant to the Virginia Company." Abraham Peirsey set sail from England on July 31, 1622, on the James. Afterward, he sent a shipment of Virginia sturgeon to Company officials in England. In 1623 he was one of the men selected to compile information on the Virginia colony, on the king's behalf.
  • When a census was made of the colony's inhabitants on February 16, 1624, Abraham Peirsey's name was omitted, perhaps because he was not then in Virginia. By that date he had purchased from Sir George Yeardley and his wife, Lady Temperance, the 1,000-acre Flowerdew Hundred (53) plantation and 2,200 acres across the James at Weyanoke (52). Peirsey also had use (and perhaps ownership) of some property in urban Jamestown, the focal point of his mercantile operations. On June 24, 1624, court testimony made reference to Peirsey's storehouse near the fort, and when a muster was taken on January 24, 1625, he was credited with a dwelling, two storehouses, and some livestock. Peirsey, who had been named to the Council of State, when then living in urban Jamestown with his daughters Mary (age 11) and Elizabeth (age 15), and his new wife, Frances Grenville (the widow of Nathaniel West). Four servants were part of the Peirsey household in Jamestown, and an additional 27 servants--including four who were black--were residing on his property at Peirsey's (formerly Flowerdew) Hundred,. Throughout this period Peirsey was identified as the colony's cape merchant. Abraham Peirsey's business dealings resulted in his frequently appearing before the General Court, for he brought suit against those who owed the Company (or him) funds and he was sued by his own creditors. He also was among those called to testify about the personal property attributable to the estates of people slain during the 1622 Indian attack. In May 1625 he was credited with 1,150 on the Appomattox River; 1,000 acres at Flowerdew Hundred; and 2,000 acres at Weyanoke. Among the.....
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  • Capt. Richard Stephens (1585 - 1636) in Wiltshire, England arrived as an unmarried man of means with two to four servants, at Jamestown Settlement in 1623 aboard The George. Stevens was an experience military man and quickly began to establish himself in the colony by acquiring land, and was soon named Burgess in the colony. After building a blockhouse and receiving patent on the same, the Captain was issued the first English land grant in the colony as incentive for other landowners to follow his example and build gardens within their property holdings. Captain Stephens amassed nearly 2000 acres by his death in 1636.
  • Stephens married Elizabeth Piercy, b. 1600, daughter of Abraham Piercy - Cape Merchant of Jamestown. They had four sons; John, William, Richard L. and Samuel Stephens.
  • Stephens fought the first duel in the English colonies after an argument with George Harrison, the latter being struck just below the knee. Harrison died two weeks later, though not from the wound, but some other malady of the time. Such an encounter in North America was not to be repeated for some 100 years.
  • As Burgess, Stephens (and local citizenry as well) often found themselves at odds with the then Governor of Jamestown: Governor Harvey. The governor was prone to angry outbursts, and was documented to have attacked Stephens with a cane or cudgel, knocking out a number of his teeth. The governor, was eventually deposed and sent back to England, where he faced charges for numerous mistreatments of members of the colony. Upon the Captain's death, Elizabeth Piercy Stephens is said to have married Governor Harvey.
  • Two of Stevens sons, Samuel and Richard L.s made names for themselves in the new world as well. Samuel Stephens rose to prominence and become the 2nd Governor of the North Carolina settlement in the region known as the Albermarle, and Richard L. (Lawrence) Stephens for a time dropped his last name, (a protective measure) as commander of the garrison at Bacon's Castle in the mid 1670s - during Bacon's Rebellion.
  • From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stephens_(burgess)



Abraham PEIRSEY/PIERSEY arrived at Jamestowne aboard the ship "Susan", the first Magazine Ship sent to the Colony in 1616 from England. His wife, Elizabeth DRAPER and their two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, arrived on the "Southampton" in 1616. He returned to England on the "Susan" and returned to Jamestowne aboard the "George", the second magazine ship. Abraham Peirsey was a Virginia Company stockholder. He made a trading visit to Newfoundland in 1619 on the "George" to exchange tobacco for fish.

Governor Sir George Yeardley sold his plantation known as Flowerdieu Hundred, which was on the south side of the James River just upstream from James City, to Abraham Peirsey in 1624. Peirsey was a merchant-planter who, after Yeardley, ranked as the second wealthiest man in Virginia. A census of the colony taken in 1625 provides some rare details about Flowerdew Hundred at that time. A total of 57 people lived on the plantation, including 29 servants and 7 Negroes' belonging to Peirsey. In August 1619 the first African slaves are brought to Virginia by Captain Jope in a Dutch ship. Governor Yeardley and a merchant, Abraham PEIRSEY, exchange twenty of them for supplies. These Africans become indentured servants like the white indentured servants who traded passage for servitude. They were found to be quite profitable in the cultivation of tobacco which was the staple crop at that time. The other residents included six married men, their families and servants, three single men, and a minister. There were twelve dwelling houses on the plantation as well as three storehouses, four tobacco houses, and the first windmill erected in the country. Ample supplies of food were on hand in the form of cattle, hogs, corn, peas, and quantities of fish. A continued concern over defense was reflected in the cannon, armour, gunpowder, and swords listed. Floweredieu Hundred became a palisaded settlement which may account for there being only six deaths during the Indian uprising in 1622.

In 1624, Peirsey owned Windmill Point at Peirseys Hundred which included twelve dwellings, three storehouses, four tobacco houses and the first windmill constructed in America. (Recontruction completed in 1978 to commemorate the original mill erected in 1621 by the original owner, Sir George Yeardley.) Abraham Peirsey was appointed to the Commission on 24 Oct 1623 along with John Pory, John Harvey, John Jefferson and Samuel Mathews to "look into the state of Virginia." He was appointed to the Council 1624 and was a member of the House of Burgesses in 1625.

The plantation went to his second wife, Frances Greville, upon his death in 1627/1628. She later married Samuel Mathews and died in 1633. At her death the property was awarded to his daughter Mary Peirsey HILL. In the five years that passed after Abraham's death the estate was altered to where Mary was destitute. As one of Mary's first act upon acquiring Peirsey Hundred she renamed it to the original Flowerdieu Hundred. Today, the plantation is held by the Flowerdew Hundred Foundation.

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Abraham Piersey, Sr.'s Timeline

Maidston, Kent, England
Age 31
Gloucestershire, England
December 12, 1613
Age 35
Lasboro, Gloucestershire, England
October 1628
Age 50
Jamestown, James City County, Virginia