Rev. Richard Bucke

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Richard Bucke, of Jamestown

Also Known As: "Buck"
Birthdate: (44)
Birthplace: Wymondham, Norfolk, England
Death: circa 1624 (36-51)
Jamestown, Virginia
Place of Burial: Jamestown, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of Edmund Buck and Mrs. Bucke
Husband of Elizabeth Bucke
Father of Elizabeth Page; Bermuda Bucke; Mara Bucke; Gershom Bucke; Benoni Bucke and 2 others
Brother of Bridget Bucke

Occupation: Minister
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rev. Richard Bucke Richard Bucke was an Anglican minister who came to Jamestown in 1610, performed the marriage ceremony for Pocahontas and John Rolfe in 1614, and in 1619 opened with prayer the first legislative assembly in Virginia. Born and educated in England, Bucke was delayed on his way to Virginia by a storm and spent almost ten months in Bermuda. For a time he was the only minister in Jamestown, and his experiences in the colony seem to have been difficult. His date of death appears to have been around 1624.

Bucke was born either in 1581 or in 1582, the son of Edmund Bucke and a mother whose name is unknown. He was born in the county of Norfolk, England, and attended a local school. On April 26, 1600, he was admitted at age eighteen as a sizar, or student on scholarship, to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University. Bucke was married, possibly to Elizabeth Browne, on July 7, 1607, in Tharston Parish, Norfolk, and had at least one daughter before, on the recommendation of the bishop of London, he was appointed chaplain of the expedition headed by Sir Thomas Gates that departed Plymouth Sound for Virginia on June 2, 1609.

The Sea Venture, on which Bucke and his family traveled, ran afoul of a hurricane late in July. After about five days of tumultuous weather, the vessel wrecked on one of the Bermuda islands. During the nine and a half months that the 150 colonists were stranded on the island, Bucke conducted sermons twice on Sundays, mostly on the subjects of thanksgiving and unity, and performed a marriage, two baptisms, and five funerals. Finally able to build two smaller vessels, the party left the island on May 10, 1610, arrived at Point Comfort on May 21, and landed on May 23 at Jamestown. There Bucke made "a zealous and sorrowfull Prayer, finding all things so contrary to our expectations, so full of misery and misgovernment."

The minister in the colony having died, Bucke found himself the only clergyman in Virginia and conducted twice-daily services in an effort to improve the colonists' morale during this unsettling period. Later his fellow minister Alexander Whitaker characterized him in 1613 as "an able and painfull Preacher." In April 1614 Bucke performed the marriage ceremony for John Rolfe, with whom he had traveled on the Sea Venture, and Pocahontas, and he later witnessed Rolfe's will. On July 30, 1619, Bucke opened the initial meeting of the first legislative assembly in Virginia with prayer. At least twice in 1621 he requested Sir Edwin Sandys's assistance in getting the Virginia Company of London to fulfill the terms of its agreement with him, both in payments and in supplying indentured servants, because the terms of the latter already assigned to him were soon due to expire. Bucke resided on a 750-acre tract, including glebe land, in Jamestown promised him by the company and patented in 1620.

Bucke may have returned to England at least once. It is possible that his wife died and that he remarried, perhaps to a woman named Bridget. Bucke had three sons and one daughter born in Virginia between 1611 and 1620. Two of these children won some notice in their own right. Mara Bucke, the eldest, was the subject of a case heard in the General Court in 1624. Following testimony regarding rumors that David Sandys, a minister, planned to steal the thirteen-year-old away from her guardians' house and marry her, the court instructed her guardians to give security that they would thwart any marriage attempts. Benoni Bucke, born in 1616, proved incapable of managing his inheritance and, deemed "the first Ideott found in that plantation," became in 1637 the first subject of a commission to determine competency. The names given the four children born in the colony reflect the possible Puritan philosophy of Bucke as well as the hardships he endured in Virginia: Mara (bitter), Gershon (expulsion), Benoni (sorrow), and Peleg (division).

The exact date of Richard Bucke's death is unknown. He is not listed among those killed during the Powhatan uprising in March 1622, but the census of January 1624 omitted him and described his four youngest children as living in three different households, which strongly suggests that he was dead by then. On June 21, 1624, the General Court ordered his daughter's guardians to give £100 security to the executors of the minister's estate.

On July 30, 1619, the members of America's "first legislative assembly" met in the church at Jamestown to discuss laws for the colony. The Reverend Richard Buck opened that meeting with a prayer. After the meeting, he likely stepped out into the sunlight on that brilliant Tuesday in the Virginia Tidewater, climbed into a bateau, and crossed the Back River, returning to his property in the "Neck-O-Land", 750 valuable waterfront acres along Powhatan Creek.

A few years later, the venerable minister and his wife perished, leaving four children in the care of Richard Kingsmill of Archers Hope. "The settlers inhabiting Archers Hope lived between College Creek and the corporation of James City glebe, which abutted east upon Mill Creek and west upon the Neck Lands (Neck- O- Land) directly behind Jamestown Island. During the mid-1620's Archers Hope, which had a population of approximately 16 men, women, and children, took on an air of permanency. In February 1625, eleven people were residing in five households in the Neck O Land behind Jamestown Island.

Only Richard Kingsmill was credited with buildings, which raises the possibility that the inhabitants of the Neck O Land had drawn together for safety and mutual support. As Kingsmill was guardian of the late Rev. Richard Buck's minor children who inherited acreage in the Neck O Land, he apparently decided to occupy the Buck patent to preserve the orphans claim...and moved to their property in the Neck O Land, just across the Back River from his Jamestown Island home.

Richard Kingsmill, who patented 500 acres in Archers Hope sometime prior to May 1625, seated his property by 1626. In time it became known as Kingsmill Neck. As Kingsmill divided his time between his Jamestown Island plantation and the late Richard Buck's acreage in the Neck O Land, he probably placed indentured servants upon his Archers Hope patent. After Buck's orphans matured, they took possession of his property.

Daughter Elizabeth married Jamestown burgess Thomas Crumpe, who patented 750 acres between the James City Parish glebe and Powhatan Creek, directly above the Buck patent. Later he became burgess for the Neck O Land community and in 1639 was appointed the region's tobacco inspector. Thomas and Elizabeth Buck Crumpe's son and heir, John, patented 1,500 acres in the Neck O Land in 1654. Included were 250 acres he acquired on the basis of headrights, his maternal grandfather's 750 acres, and his uncle Peleg Buck's 500 acres.

After John Crumpe's death, his widow and heir, Elizabeth, married Matthew Page. It was through their union that the Buck property in the Neck O Land descended to the Pages who developed Rosewell in Gloucester County."

"In September 1744 Mann Page Jr., the son of Mann Page of Rosewell, asked the House of Burgesses to dock the entail on part of his late father's land so that he could settle the decedent's debts. One of the tracts Page wanted to sell was 1,700 acres in the Neck O Land near Jamestown Island. In 1752 Robert Carter purchased the Neck O Land plantation and later, it came into the hands of William Holt, who sold it to John Allen of Surry in 1785."

"Allen's brother, William, acquired the tract in 1805, along with approximately 900 acres formerly owned by James Southall. William Allen, who lived at Claremont, was one of Virginia's wealthiest men and estimated 30,000 to 40,000 acres of land. In James City County, alone, his river frontage on the James extended from Sandy Bay to Grove Creek. The Neck O Land tract was the focal point of Allen's farming activities on the west side of College Creek."

"Martha Orgaine purchased Jamestown Island in 1847 on behalf of her young son, the great-nephew and principal heir of William Allen of Claremont. When William Orgaine came of age and changed his surname to Allen (a prerequisite to receiving his inheritance), he assumed control of more than 3,000 acres on the west side of College Creek in the Neck OLand, plus Jamestown Island, and the Kingsmill and Littletown plantations."

The heirs of William Allen retained the Neck O Land Plantation until the late nineteenth century.

All quotes taken from James City County, Keystone of the Commonwealth, by Martha W. McCartney, Donning Publishers, 1997. Contact James City County offices at 757-253-6600 to purchase your copy of this excellent book about our area.

Additional Reading The report of the Preservation Society of Virginia on the excavation of Neck-O-Land, the land grant of Rev. Bucke.

Buck was a close friend of English planter John Rolfe, and he officiated at the April 1, 1614 wedding of Rolfe and Pocahontas, the daughter of the Powhatan Mamanatowick or supreme chief.

This event helped solidify a truce between the colonists and the indigenous population, temporarily ending English/Algonquian hostilities during the second decade of the 17th century (Brown 1890, 835).

In 1616 Rolfe wrote a letter to England characterizing his friend Buck as “a veerie good preacher” (Brown 1890, 835).

At other times, associates commented that the Reverend was “good and worthie” and “an able and painfull preacher” (WMQ 1930, 200).

Buck opened the first representative legislative assembly in the New World in 1619 with a prayer in the church at Jamestown (Meyer and Dorman 1987, 140-141; Brown 1890, 835).

On March 10, 1621, Buck witnessed the will of his friend Rolfe (Brown 1890, 835).

Both Buck and his wife were dead by early 1624 (Hotten 1980, 175, 178-179, 225).

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Rev. Richard Bucke's Timeline

Wymondham, Norfolk, England
Age 20
Argecroft Hall, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Age 30
Age 30
Age 31
Jamestown, James City, Virginia
1611–1620 - Richard Bucke, a minister at Jamestown, has three sons and one daughter born in Virginia. Their names possibly reflect the hardships Bucke endures: Mara (bitter), Gershon (expulsion), Benoni (sorrow), and Peleg (division).