Captain John Woodlief

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Capt. Of the "Margaret" John Woodlief, Capt.

Birthplace: Prestwood, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: 1637 (52-53)
Berkley Hundred, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of Drewe Woodlief and Katherine / Catherine Woodlief
Husband of Mary Anne Woodliffe
Father of John Archard Woodliffe, Jr.; Anne Woodlief and Ann Woodlief
Brother of Mary Woodlief

Managed by: Linda Kathleen Thompson, (c)
Last Updated:

About Captain John Woodlief

  • Sailed from Bristol, England on ship "Margaret".

Captain John Woodlief (Woodliffe) was with the Jamestown settlers in 1609- the Second Charter of the Virginia Company of London. He later returned to England to bring other colonists as well as his wife and family to Virginia. Again he returned to England and in 1619, Woodlief, as captain and governor, sailed from Bristol on the good ship Margaret. He returned with about 40 more settlers to Berkely Hundred along Virginia's James River. The Virginia Thanksgiving was essentially a prayer service. The very first in the list of written instructions to Woodlief as captain stated: "Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for the plantacon in the land of Viginia shall be yearly and perpetualy keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God." In 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation recognizing Virginia's claim to be the first Thanksgiving in America. I have no birth date for him but he was baptized December 27, 1584 at Dinton.

The FIRST Thanksgiving was held 1619 in VIRGINIA, led by our own CAPT JOHN WOODLIEF of Peterly Manor, nr Prestwood, Gr Missenden, Bucks, Engl.

From Wikipedia.....

In 1619, the ship Margaret of Bristol, England sailed for Virginia under Captain John Woodliffe and brought thirty-eight settlers to the new Town and Hundred of Berkeley. The proprietors instructed the settlers of "the day of our ships arrival . . . shall be yearly and perpetually kept as a day of Thanksgiving." The Margaret landed her passengers at Berkeley Hundred on December 4, 1619. The settlers did indeed celebrate a day of "Thanksgiving", establishing the tradition a year and 17 days before the Pilgrims arrived aboard the Mayflower at Plymouth, Massachusetts to establish their Thanksgiving Day in 1620.


Attached to the Virginia Company in 1609. Arrived in Virginia on 4 Dec 1619

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Captain John Woodlief's Timeline

December 17, 1584
Prestwood, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 52
Berkley Hundred, Virginia