About Rev. William Mease
THE MAYES FAMILY
The name Maas, or Mace is a french word and the earliest record of the family comes from Normandy in France. William De Mes of Normandy lived from 1180 to 1235. Macey or Massy was well known Norman family living near Coutances and Avranches in Normandy. Hugo de Maci held lands in Hunts (Domesday). Hamund de Macy held nine Lordships in Barony. Robert de Macy witnessed a charter of Ranulp Mescribes of Chester. Massey, a town near Bayeauk, Normandy, France lent its name to some of the residents. They in turn brought the name to England after the Norman invasion. In England late in the 16th Century names were spelled variously and indifferently, most phonetically, the earliest records of the name Maes, Mease, Mays, Mayes, are found in the old Parish registers of the City of London.
Judge Robert Bowmar Mayes (1869-1918), son of Judge Daniel and Cynthia BOWMAR Mayes, of Jackson, Mississippi published a book in 1913 on the early Mayes family in America entitled "Genealogical Notes on a branch of the Mayes Family" . It is in the Library of Congress # 11642. The following is taken in part from his book. In 1606 the Virginia Company was organized in England for the purpose of establishing a Colony in America. On December the 19th of that year, a squadron of three small vessels sailed for the New World. They reached this continent and entered the James River on April 16, 1607, and sailing on up the River, they settled upon a site about fifty miles from its mouth, which they called Jamestown. Against the hardships of a new land they made little progress. A new group of Colonists hoping to infuse new life in the little settlement, sailed for Virginia, from Plymonth, England on June 1, 1609. After being scattered by a hurricane six of the nine vessels of the fleet finally reached Jamestown in August, only to be almost exterminated by a winter of intense hardships and suffering. The whole Colony resolved to abandon the project of settlement and set sail down the river for England, but were met by a fleet of three vessels bringing new settlers, under the personal direction of Lord Delaware, himself. The Colonists turned back to renew their efforts, and in June, 1611, further assistance arrived from England in a party of 300 new settlers, a good stock of cattle and other supplies. In the last party of Colonists came William Mease, the founder of his name in Virginia, coming out as Minster of the established Church, being then 37 years of age. He landed with this party of colonists before the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth. (Va. Hist. Coll. Vol.2.)
In 1612, John Rolf established the culture of tobacco in the conlony, and two years later married Pocahontas and took her to England. In 1616, in England, John Rolf wrote a letter to the King, James I, in which he described the condition of the colony and its outlying settlements. This letter is published as an appendix to Bishop Meade's "Old Churches and Families of Virginia". Vol 2. pa.430, where it may be found, and he says amoung other things: "At Kecoughton, being not far from the mouth of the river, 37 miles below Jamestown on the same side are twenty whereof eleven are farmers: all these mayntayne themselves as the former Captain George Webb, Commnader. Mr William Mays, Minister there. The farmers, 81, besides women and children, in everie place some, which in all amounteth to three hundred and fifty one persons a small number to advance so great a work". This settlement of twenty men, with some of the women and children, at Kecoughton, of which William Mease was Minister, was located at what is now known as Hampton. It will be noted that Rolf's spelling of William Mease's name shows very clearly that it was pronounced then, just as it is now. He himself spelled it Mease, but even then wrote it "Mayes" or "Mase" amoung other forms.
The Virginia Company, however, at home in England, was arousing jealousy and suspicion in its conduct of its colonial affairs, and every pretext was used, as an excuse to attempt to dissolve the charter of the Colony. The Company resisted these efforts and a number of prominet Colonists went to Engalnd in 1623, following the Great Massacre of 1622 by the Indians, for the purpose of testifying in behalf of the Company as to its good conduct of its affairs. Amoung the number was Rev. William Mease and an abstract of his evidence, favorable to the Company, is still in existance (Va.Hist.Coll.Vol.8 p. 180-181, Vol.11 p. 137). From Records of the Virginia Company of London, Vol.II p. 385, under the date of April 30, 1623, is found the following entry: "I, William Mease, Minister, haveing lived ten years in Virginia and affirm all the answers above except that of Ordinance and Palisadoes". --------William Mease At some time after giving his testement above, William Mease returned to Virginia, but when, it is not known, nor is the date of his death known. In 1638 he purchased from Ed Tunstall 250 acres of land lying along the Appomattox River. He was living in the "New Towne" of Jamestown Cities in 1650 and he died in Henico, leaving descendants. At Kecoughton, Virginia, upon which site, there stands the present town of Hampton, Virginia, there has been erected by the Hampton Chapter of the D.A.R. a gray stone cross to the memory of the old ministers of the Church at Kecoughton. Upon this cross are the names of William Mease, George Keith and Thomas White.
In the Church nearby a memorial window bearing upon it the reproduction of the seal of the Society that sent William Mease and others missionaries to America shores during the days of the founding of the colonies. The window is located where the old pulpet window St. John's Church, which is the oldest continous parish in the American Church. Upon the window are the names of William Mease and his successors.
William Mease was born in England in 1574. It is not known whom he married but he had two sons, John Mease (Maies), described in the old records as "the son of William Mease", and Henry Mease who was of the House of Burgesses, of Stafford County, in 1666 (see Overwharton Parish Register, Preface, also Va. Land Grants), and also had large land holdings. John Maies, son of Williams Mease married the daughter of Henry Newcomb and they had sons, Daniel and Henry. Henry had sons, Thomas, William, and Mattox.
Thomas Clure Mayes (1900-1969) Attorney at Law and Mayor of the City of Coral Gables, Florida and a descentant of Henry and Sherod Mayes, published a book on the Mayes Family and he mentions the above account of William Mease. Jewell Mayes (1873-1944) founder of the Richmond Missourian Newpaper in Richmond, Missouri published several articles on Mayes genealogy and he mentions William Mease as being one of the first Mayes in America.
The Church in the City of Hampton, Virginia was visited by J T and Gwen Mayes in the summer of 1989. Whether or not William Mease was one of our ancestors is inconclusive, William Mease was the earliest settler of his name in Virginia, others followed closely behind him, as emigration to Virginia increased. No doubt other Mayes settled in other colonies outside Virgina, but most of the Mayes families whose orgin we have traced in America were Virginians.
Reverend William Mease (spelled “Mays” by John Rolfe in 1616) who arrived at Jamestown in the first Gates expedition in August-September 1609. Leading scholars say he was the minister in Virginia during the Starving Time winter of 1609-10, was the founding minister of St. John’s Church and Parish at Kecoughtan (now City of Hampton), serving 1610/11-1621, and was minister and teacher at Henricus Citie (Henrico) and the College for Indian children 1621-22. He returned to London late in 1622, dying there in 1636.[i] Only now is his extraordinary career being rediscovered.