Hon. George Percy, Colonial Governor of Virginia

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George Percy, Colonial Governor of Virginia

Birthdate: (51)
Birthplace: Petworth, Sussex, England
Death: Died in England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland, 2nd Baron Percy and Katherine Percy, Countess, Baroness, Lady
Husband of Anne Percy
Father of Anne Percy
Brother of Thomas Percy; William Percy; Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland; Richard Percy; Sir Alan Percy and 6 others

Occupation: First military service was in the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain in the early 1600's; also served in Ireland; Oxford graduate 1597; president of the Jamestown Colony during the "Starving Time" (winter of 1609-10); governor of Virginia Colony .
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About Hon. George Percy, Colonial Governor of Virginia

George Percy

George Percy (September 4, 1580 – 1632) was an English explorer, author, and early Colonial Governor of Virginia.

George Percy was born in England, the youngest son of Henry Percy, 2nd/8th Earl of Northumberland and Lady Catherine Neville. He was sickly for much of his life, possibly suffering from epilepsy or severe asthma. He graduated from Oxford University in 1597. While at university, he gained admission to Gloucester Hall and the Middle Temple.

Percy's vocation was the military. His first service came in the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain in the early 1600s. He also served in Ireland.

Percy was part of the first group of 105 English colonists to settle the Jamestown Colony. He departed England in December 1606 and kept a journal of his voyage. He arrived in Virginia in April 1607 and recorded the struggles of the colonists to cope with the American environment, disease, and the Powhatan Indians. "Thus we lived for the space of five months in this miserable distress," he wrote in his journal, "not having five able men to man our bulwarks upon any occasion."

Although Percy had a higher social rank than all of the other first colonists, he was initially denied a seat on the Virginia Council. Nevertheless he took the lead in the early life of the colony, taking part in the expedition to the James River falls in May and June 1607. In autumn 1607, he sided with the President of the colony, Edward Maria Wingfield, who was subsequently deposed by John Ratcliffe, Gabriel Archer, and John Smith. From late 1607 until autumn 1609, Percy had little power in Jamestown but served as Smith's subordinate.

When Smith left the colony in September 1609, Percy assumed the presidency of the colony. However, his persistent illness kept him from executing his office, leaving the duties of the presidency to Ratcliffe, Archer, and John Martin. It was during Percy's tenure that the colony suffered through the "Starving Time" in the winter of 1609-10. "Now all of us at James Town beginning to feel that sharp prick of hunger, which no man truly describe but he which hath tasted the bitterness thereof," he recounted later. Percy accomplished little while President, other than to order to construction of Fort Algernon at Old Point Comfort. When Sir Thomas Gates arrived in May 1610, Percy happily surrendered control of the colony to him.

In June 1610, Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr arrived in Jamestown and with a commission to serve as the colony's governor. De la Warr appointed Percy to the council and named him captain of the Jamestown fort. In August 1610, De la Warre sent Percy and seventy men to attack the Paspahegh and Chickahominy Indians. The force ravaged the Indians' settlements, burning their buildings, decimating their crops, and indiscriminately killing men, women, and children. Percy also led the successful defence of the Jamestown fort against an Indian attack and earned the praise of De La Warr. When the Governor returned to England in March 1611, he appointed Percy to lead the colony in his absence. "But the winds not favoring them, they were enforced to shape their course directly for England--my lord having left and appointed me deputy governor in his absence, to execute martial law or any other power and authority as absolute as himself." Percy's term as Governor lasted until April 22, 1612, when he departed for England.

After his service in the New World, Percy returned to England but remained interested in colonization schemes. In 1615, he proposed an expedition to Guiana but found no supporters. In 1620, he sold his four shares in the Virginia Company and returned to military service. Percy returned to the Netherlands in 1621 when war between Spain and the Dutch resumed. He was the commander of a company in the Low Countries in 1627. It is uncertain whether he died in England or in the service abroad.

George Percy married Anne Floyd.[4]

The couple had one daughter, Anne Percy, who married Governor John West.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Percy


  • George Percy1
  • M, #21866, b. 4 September 1580, d. March 1632
  • Father Sir Henry Percy, 8th Earl Northumberland b. c 1532, d. 21 Jun 1585
  • Mother Catherine Neville b. 1546, d. 28 Oct 1596
  • George Percy Colonial Governor of Virginia. He was born on 4 September 1580 at of Newborn Manor, England. He married Anne Ffloyd, daughter of Nathaniel Floyd, between 1607 and 1612 at Jamestown, James City, VA. George Percy died in March 1632 at England at age 51.
  • Family Anne Ffloyd
  • Child
    • Anne Percy+ b. bt 1608 - 1613
  • Citations
  • [S6630] Unknown author, The Noble Lineage of the Delaware-West Family of Virginia by Ann Woodard Fox & Margaret NcNeill Ayres.
  • From: http://our-royal-titled-noble-and-commoner-ancestors.com/p728.htm#i21866


  • Hon. George Percy1
  • M, #663631, b. 4 September 1580, d. 1632
  • Last Edited=4 Jul 2015
  • Consanguinity Index=0.51%
  • Hon. George Percy was born on 4 September 1580.1 He was the son of Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland and Katherine Neville.1 He died in 1632.1
  • He was a soldier in the Low Countries.2 In December 1600 he sailed in the first settlement of Virginia.1 In 1609 he was an incorporator of the Second Company of Virginia.1 He held the office of Deputy Governor of Virginia from 1609 to 1610.1 He held the office of Member of the Council of Virginia in 1610.2 He held the office of Deputy Governor of Virginia between March 1611 and May 1611.2 In 1612 he returned to Europe.2 He was a soldier in the Low Countries against the Spaniards between 1625 and 1627.2
  • Citations
  • [S37] BP2003 volume 2, page 2941. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • [S37] BP2003. [S37]
  • From: http://www.thepeerage.com/p66364.htm#i663631


  • George PERCY
  • Born: 4 Sep 1580, England
  • Died: Mar 1632, England
  • Father: Henry PERCY (8º E. Northumberland)
  • Mother: Catherine NEVILLE (C. Northumberland)
  • Married: Anne FLOYD 1607, Virginia
  • Children:
    • 1. Anne PERCY
  • From: http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/PERCY.htm#George PERCY2


  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 44
  • Percy, George by Raymond Beazley
  • PERCY, GEORGE (1580–1632), author and colonist, was eighth son of Henry Percy, eighth earl of Northumberland [q. v.], by his wife Catherine, eldest daughter and coheiress of John Neville, lord Latimer. Henry Percy, ninth earl of Northumberland [q. v.], was his brother. Born 4 Sept. 1580, he served for a time in the Low Country wars, and subsequently took part in the first permanent English colonisation of America. He sailed for Virginia in the first expedition of James I's reign (December 1606). On 23 May 1609 his name appeared among the incorporators of the Second Company of Virginia. On 31 Aug. of the same year Gabriel Archer mentions him as one among the ‘respected gentlemen of Virginia’ who can testify how false are the stories of mutiny in Jamestown at this time. Percy was made deputy-governor on the recall of John Smith in September 1609 to answer some misdemeanours, as Percy and others of Smith's enemies declared. He held office during a critical period until the arrival of Sir Thomas Gates [q. v.] in May 1610. Lord De la Warr became governor a month later, and appointed Percy a member of his new council (12 June 1610) (cf. R. Rich, Metrical News from Virginia, London, 1610). On the departure of Lord De la Warr in March 1611, Percy, in recognition of his former services, was reappointed deputy-governor until the arrival of Dale in the following May. According to Spelman's ‘Relation of Events,’ 1609–11—probably written in the autumn of 1611—Indians at this time came from the ‘great Powhatan’ with venison for Captain Percy, ‘who now was president,’ and Sir Thomas Dale wrote to the Virginia Company from Jamestown, 25 May 1611, that he was received by Percy, who, after hearing his commission read, surrendered up his own, ‘it being accordingly so to expire.’
  • On 17 Aug. 1611 Percy excused himself for his large expenditure to his brother Henry, who had paid on his account 432l. 1s. 6d. during the past year. He argued that, as governor of Jamestown, he was ‘bound to keep a continual and daily table for gentlemen of fashion.’ A Spanish writer (in the Simancas archives) drew the distinction between Percy and his successor Dale, that the former had been ‘appointed for himself,’ the latter by order of the king. Percy left Virginia for England on 22 April 1612. Dudley Carleton, in a letter on the exploration of the James River, credits Percy with having named the main settlement James Fort. On 15 May 1620 he transferred to Christopher Martin four of his shares in the Virginia Company, and, after the war broke out again in the Low Countries, returned for a time, probably in 1625, to his old occupation of volunteering against Spain in the service of the United Netherlands. Here, we are told, he distinguished himself, had one of his fingers shot off, and was active in commanding a company, in 1627. He died unmarried in 1632.
  • Percy played a leading part in the controversy between Captain John Smith and the other original settlers in Virginia. After the appearance of Smith's ‘General History,’ with its account of affairs during the time of Percy's government, Percy wrote, in answer, about 1625, ‘A True Relation of the Proceedings and Occurrents of moment which have happened in Virginia from the time Sir Thomas Gates was shipwrecked upon the Bermudas, 1609, until my departure out of the country, 1612.’ This he sent to his brother, the Earl of Northumberland, who fully accepted his statements, and treated him through life with the utmost kindness and confidence. Percy was also the writer of a ‘Discourse [or Observations] of the Plantation of the Southern Colony in Virginia,’ one of the manuscripts printed by Hakluyt. This manuscript came to Purchas, who printed in his collection illustrative extracts. It is chiefly devoted to accounts of native customs, and describes the famine and diseases from which the colonists suffered.
  • If the ‘True Relation’ is to be believed, Smith, who was once known as the ‘Saviour of Virginia,’ must be treated as a braggart and a slanderer. But Percy, who appears from his letters to have been a needy, extravagant dependent of his brother, wrote this full thirteen years after the events it records; and his evidence hardly carries sufficient weight to warrant the full adoption of his statements. His ‘Discourse’ (in Purchas) does not contain a word of censure on Smith.
  • [Percy's Discourse and True Relation; Gardiner's Hist. of England, ii. 61, &c.; Cal. of State Papers, Col. 1574–1660, pp. 8, 67 (4 Oct. 1609, and July 1624); Purchas his Pilgrimes, vol. iv. 1685–1690; Wingfield's Discourse; Allibone's Dictionary of British and American Authors; Brown's Genesis of U.S.A. passim, and esp. pp. 964–5; Harris's Voyages, i. 818–37.]
  • From: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Percy,_George_(DNB00)


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Hon. George Percy, Colonial Governor of Virginia's Timeline

September 4, 1580
Petworth, Sussex, England
Age 32
Charles City County, Virginia
March 1632
Age 51
England, United Kingdom