Lt. Edward Waters

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Lt. Edward Waters

Birthplace: Willian, Hertfordshire, England
Death: September 1630 (40-50)
Great Hornemead, Hertfordshire, England
Place of Burial: Great Hornemead, Hertfordshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William Waters and Alice Waters
Husband of Grace Robins and Grace O'Neil Waters {FICTIONAL}
Father of Col. William Waters and Margaret Waters
Brother of William Waters; Joane Waters and John Waters of Yorkshire

Occupation: Militia lieutenant
Managed by: Noah Tutak
Last Updated:

About Lt. Edward Waters

  • Birth date uncertain, perhaps c. 1584 (he claimed to be forty in 1624). The date "30 November 1589" is a christening date which may not have been transcribed correctly - "4" and "9" can be easily confused in some handwriting.
  • Marriage: Grace Neale (not "O'Neill" - she wasn't Irish)
  • Children:
  • Margaret Waters, born between 1622-1624, died after 20 August 1630
  • William Waters (Sr.), born 1623, died 29 July 1689

Died 20 August 1630 while on a return visit to England - probably (but not certainly) leaving his wife in Virginia with the children.

The often-cited Susannah Waters who married a Terrill belongs to a different Waters family - she is not his daughter.

The coat of arms illustrated is a variant of one traditionally ascribed to John Water or Walter, York Herald under Richard III. This version has bars gemelles azure wavy on a fess argent wavy, instead of a fess barry wavy argent and azure, and the swans, instead of statant close, are naiant (swimming). Whether Edward Waters came up with this for himself, or this variant was traditional in his family, is unknown. (The resemblance of both to Atwater of Royton, Kent - Sable, a fess wavy between three swans argent - suggests that at one time there may have been a connection between these families.)

Edward Waters started out for Virginia with the Third Supply flotilla out of Falmouth in 1609, aboard the Sea Venture (found on passenger list). He had an adventurous time of it:

"Thirty two people from two ships were thrown overboard with yellow fever. The London plague broke out on the Diamond, and the ships were all separated in a tempest (hurricane) on Saint James Day, July 25th. After the storm, The Blessing, the Lion, the Falcon and the Unitie (all on board were sick) came together and headed for Virginia, "falling into the James River." The Diamond appeared a few days later, and the Swallow a few days after that. The Catch was lost at sea, the Seaventure purposely wrecked in Bermuda. Four days after the hurricane, the Seaventure began taking on water. Land was sited and she wrecked between two reefs off the shores at Discovery Bay of Bermuda on 28 July 1609. All of approximately 150 passengers safely made land, "not a hair perished." Two pinnaces were built during the following nine months, the "Deliverance" and the "Patience", from the timber of the ruined Seaventure. The Deliverance was started September 7, 1609 built by Robert Frobisher, eighty tons, the Patience was only thirty tons, built by George Somers. These vessels sailed on to Virginia 20 May 1610, landing May 31 at Point Comfort, Virginia." (Quoted at - original source not specified.)

Note: the wreck of the Sea Venture was one of the sources of inspiration for Shakespeare's play, The Tempest.

Edward is specifically noted as having finally made it to Virginia on the Patience.

He continued to have an adventurous life: in 1611 he was one of the men who accompanied Sir George Somers back to Bermuda to get "hogs and other good things" for the struggling Virginia colony. Sir George died there and the majority of his men embalmed his body and sailed back to England, leaving Edward Waters, Edward Chard, and Christopher Carter to explore the island. The three men found a piece of ambergris worth a fortune, and formed a syndicate (the "Bermuda Company") to sell it piecemeal in England in exchange for goods and men to settle the Bermudas. In 1616 he went to Virginia for supplies, and never returned to Bermuda. (Sources: Samuel Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrims (Glasgow, 1906), XIX, p.37; Smith, Tra., II, pp. 638-640, 642-643; George Percy, "A Trew Relacyon", T III, p. 270.)

In 1620 he acquired a wife, Grace Neale, who arrived on the Diana in April 1619 (which was probably one of the "bride ships", bringing women and children in quantity to the colony).

Edward Waters and his wife were caught up in the Opechanhough massacre of 1622 and mistakenly reported dead; but they were actually captured, held for a while among the Nansemond Indians south of the James River, and eventually escaped. (Sources: Hotten, p. 272; Smith, Tra., II, p. 583, pp. 591-92.)

He is next heard of in the Musters of the Inhabitants in Virginia 1624/1625 (reprinted in "Original Lists of Persons of Quality, 1600-1700" by John Camden Hotten: London, 1874, pp. 201 thru 265):

Waters, Edward, 1608/9 voyage, aged 40 at muster Elizabeth City, wife, Grace, on Diana, 2 children born in VA.

In all he had at least two children:

  • Margaret Waters, born before 1624, died after 20 August 1630
  • William Waters, born 1623, died 29 July 1689

His adventures finally came to an end in 1630. He returned to England for reasons unspecified (possibly to see his brother once more?), died there , and was buried 22 Aug 1630 at Great Hormead, Hertfordshire. (Source: Parish Register, Great Hormead.) He had had time to make a hasty will on 20 August, leaving his Virginia lands to his son William and desiring that all else be sold and the proceeds divided among his wife Grace, son William, and daughter Margaret. (Source: P.C.C. 81 Scroope, in George Sherwood, American Colonists in English Records (London, 1932), I, p. 13.

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Lt. Edward Waters's Timeline

Willian, Hertfordshire, England
November 30, 1589
Age 5
All Saints, Willian, Hertfordshire, England (United Kingdom)
November 30, 1589
Age 5
Wimondley, Magna Parish, Hertfordshire, England
November 30, 1589
Age 5
Wimondley, Magna Parish, Hertfordshire, England
Blount Point, Elizabeth City County , Virginia Colony
August 22, 1630
Age 46
Great Hornemead, Hertfordshire, England
September 1630
Age 46
Great Hornemead, Hertfordshire, England