Sir Thomas Gates, Colonial Governor of Virginia

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Sir Thomas Gates, Kt.

Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England
Death: Died in Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden
Immediate Family:

Son of Peter Gates and Mary Gates
Husband of Merget Gates and Elizabeth Gates
Father of Isaak Gates and Ann Gates
Brother of Mary Gates; Sir Thomas Gates, Colonial Governor of Virginia; Josselyn Gates and Stephen Gates

Occupation: Colonial Governor of Virginia
Managed by: Martin Severin Eriksen
Last Updated:

About Sir Thomas Gates, Colonial Governor of Virginia

Might be the same as his brother with the same name and photo Sir Thomas Gates, Colonial Governor of Virginia

Sir Thomas Gates (fl. 1585–1621), followed George Percy as governor of Jamestown, the English colony of Virginia (now the Commonwealth of Virginia, part of the United States of America). Percy, through inept leadership, was responsible for the lives lost during the period called the "starving time". Gates arrived to find a few surviving starving colonists commanded by Percy.

Edward Maria Wingfield (1607)

John Ratcliffe (1608)

Matthew Scrivener (1608)

John Smith (1608–1609)

George Percy (1609–1610)

Thomas Gates (1610)

Thomas West, Baron De La Warr (1610–1611)

George Percy (1611)

Thomas Dale (1611, 1614–1616)

Thomas Gates (1611–1614)

The English born Gates ruled with deputy governor Sir Thomas Dale. Their controlled, strict methods helped the early colonies survive. However, they did not assist in making them thrive.

Gates was appointed by the Virginia Company of London, which had established the Jamestown settlement under a Royal Charter for the colonisation of Virginia. He had sailed for Jamestown in 1609, aboard the Sea Venture, the new flagship of the Virginia Company. The Sea Venture was part of the Third Supply, a fleet of seven ships, towing two pinnaces, which was intended to deliver new settlers and desperately needed supplies.

At sea, the ships of the Third Supply were separated by a three-day storm now thought to have been a large hurricane. The Admiral of the Virginia Company, Sir George Somers, had taken the helm to fight the storm, and deliberately drove the ship onto rocks to prevent its foundering. The rocks proved to be the reef line to the east of the uninhabited archipelago now known as Bermuda. The other ships went on to Jamestown, not knowing the fate of the Sea Venture.

The 150 survivors spent the next ten months in Bermuda building two new ships on which to complete the journey to Jamestown. Two factions developed, however, due to a dispute between Gates and Somers over who was now the superior. As an appointed officer for Jamestown, Gates felt he was in authority, now that they were ashore. Somers felt that he retained authority until the settlers, including Gates, were landed at Jamestown. The two new ships, the Deliverance and the Patience were completed and sailed for Virginia in 1610. They left two men (a third would be left when the Patience returned from Jamestown) to maintain their claim of Bermuda for England. The Charter of the Virginia Company would officially be extended to include Bermuda in 1612. Ever since, Bermuda has also been known officially as The Somers Isles. Sir Thomas Gates left his own name on a part of the colony, Gate's Bay, where the survivors of the Sea Venture landed. The oldest surviving fort in Bermuda, built between 1612 and 1615, is known as Gate's Fort.

Sir Thomas Gates had a cross erected before leaving Bermuda, on which was a copper tablet inscribed in Latin and English:

In Memory of our deliverance both from the Storme and the Great leake wee have erected this cross to the honour of God. It is the Spoyle of an English Shippe of 300 tonnes called SEA VENTURE bound with seven others (from which the storme divided us) to Virginia or NOVA BRITANIA in America. In it were two Knights, Sir Thomas Gates, Knight Governor of the English Forces and Colonie there: and Sir George Somers, Knight Admiral of the Seas. Her Captain was Christopher Newport. Passengers and mariners she had beside (which all come to safety) one hundred and fiftie. Wee were forced to runne her ashore(by reason of her leake) under a point that bore South East from the Northerne Point of the Island which wee discovered first on the eighth and twentieth of July 1609.

On reaching Jamestown, only 60 of the 500 settlers previously landed there were found alive through the winter of 1609–1610 which became known as "Starving Time". The condition of the settlement was so poor that it was decided to abandon it and return everyone to England. However, the timely arrival of another relief fleet under Lord De La Warr gave the colony a reprieve.

Gates' actions as governor were recorded by his secretary William Strachey, and were later published as the True repertory of the wreck and redemption of Sir Thomas Gates.

There seems to be confusion concerning Thomas Gates who arrived in Jamestown in 1609 aboard the Swan and Sir Thomas Gates who arrived in Jamestown in 1610 aboard the Deliverance. Denis (see following note) notes this is an item downloaded from the Internet. However it seems to confuse Avery Kolb writing in Early Passengers to Virginia: When Did They Really Arrive?

I think Kolb (see following note) is confusing our Thomas Gates, who arrived aboard the Swan in 1609, and who married Elizabeth after she arrived in 1620 aboard the Warwick, with Sir Thomas Gates. Two different people.

    Glenn Byant 

Denis . . .

Family legend tells us that the originator of our American Gates line was Thomas Gates who arrived in Jamestown in 1609 aboard the Swan. This was not the Sir Thomas Gates of that time, but another, who was an "Ancient Planter" and married a woman named Elizabeth who arrived in Jamestown aboard the Warwick in 1620. (this is no longer a working site it was downloaded Monday, 19 May 2008 @ 1239:59 CDT)

Kolb . . .

There are a number of similar dual arrival errors. One of the most obvious is that Sir Thomas Gates, who in Hotten is shown as arriving on the Swann in 1609. Actually, as we know, Gates arrived first with remnants of the 1609 Somers Fleet on the ship Deliverance, which was constructed in Bermuda and reache Virginia in 1610.

Early Passengers to Virginia: When Did They Really Arrive?

Avery E. Kolb

(The Gates Line).The Gates family is of English origin and the author of one family history traces the lineage of the American immigrant back to 1327. There were several families of this name in New England, but all cannot be traced to a common origin. The Connecticut family was conspicuous for representatives of strong character and moral worth, which elements were transmitted to many of the descendants.(I) Captain George Gates was born in England about 1634, and tradition says that he came to this country when about seventeenyears old in the care of Captain Nicholas Olmsted, of Hartford, Connecticut, in whose family he lived some years and whose eldest daughter, Sarah, became his wife. He was a chimney viewer in Hartford, in 1661, and was one of the original proprietors of Thirty Mile Island, now Haddam, Connecticut, where he was one of the first settlers in 1662, and was one of the leaders in town affairs. His home lot of four acres was on the west bank of Connecticut river, and next north of the lot reserved for burying ground and meeting house. He represented the plantation of Haddam in the general court in 1668, and during the succeeding thirty years or more was often chosen to the same position. In 1686 he participated in the division of the Metchamoodus meadows. As early as 1691 he was appointed a commissioner, or justice of the peace, and held this office as many as twelve years. He commanded the first military company in Haddam and continued as its captain until October, 1697, when upon his own desire "in consideration of his age and infirmities of body," he was by the general court discharged from further service. He was among the first settlers on the east side of the river, 1670-85, and his dwelling house was in the "Creek Row." He was one of the eight male constituent members of the first church in East Haddam, May 3, 1704. He was almost continually employed in some capacity in town business; was early chosen town clerk, an office which has been competently filled by several of his descendants for so large a share of the time since the settlement of the town that it seems to have become a "vested right" of the family. The Hartford probate records show that he died November 12, 1724, when about ninety years old, surviving for many years his wife, Sarah, who died November 7, 1709. Children: Joseph, Thomas, John, Sarah, Mary, George, Daniel, Samuel.(II) Joseph, eldest son of George and Sarah (Olmsted) Gates, was born November 7, 1662, in Haddam, where he died early in 1712, in his fiftieth year. He was received in full communion by the Haddam church in 1697, and was one of the constituent members of the East Haddam church, where his wife, Elizabeth (Hungerford) Gates, was baptized October 8, 1704. She died November 17, 1759, in her eighty-ninth year, and was a granddaughter of Thomas Hungerford, who came from England, probably as a mariner, and lived in Hartford in 1639. He went with eleven others to New London, when John Winthrop was laying out the town. The name of his first wife is not known. They had two children: Thomas, born about 1648, and Sarah, born in 1654. In 1659 he married his second wife, Hannah Villey, and she had one daughter, Hannah. Thomas Hungerford died at New London- in 1663, in middle life, leaving three children, Thomas, Sarah and Hannah. Children of Joseph and Elizabeth Gates: Joseph, mentioned below; Elizabeth, born May 23, 1697; John, September 20, 1698; Sarah, August 29, 1700; Jonathan, December 17, 1703; Susannah, September 21, 1705; Jacob, July 10, 1708; Samuel, March 29, 1710; Patience, March 21, 1712, who is noted in the records as "a child of Joseph Gates' Relict," was born after his death.. (lll) Joseph (2), eldest child of Joseph (i) and Elizabeth (Hungerford) Gates, born December 28, 1695, in East Haddam, baptized at Middletown, July 25, 1697, died November 1, 1770, in his seventy-fifth year. He resided in Creek Row, East Haddam; was known as Sergeant Joseph, and was selectman in 1740-41. He joined the church, March 7, 1731. He married, January 8, 1719, Hannah Brainard, born June 12, 1694, in East Haddam, baptized June 21, 1696, in Middletown, second daughter of Daniel (2) and Susannah (Ventres) Brainard, and granddaughter of Daniel Brainard, founder of the family in New England. The latter was probably born in Braintree, England, in 1641. An old manuscript states that he was stolen from his native town when about eight years of age and brought up in Hartford, his services having been purchased by Mr. Wadsworth, a farmer of that town, by payment of his passage. He was to be taught reading and writing and when of age to receive two suits of clothes. About 1661 he purchased a right of land in Haddam, and lived first in a cave. It is said that his family name was Brainwood and that his mother at the time of his immigration was a widow. She subsequently married a Mr. Grey. He was the first justice of the peace in Haddam, and commanded great respect because of his superior sense. He held many town offices; was constable, surveyor, fence viewer, assessor, collector, and served on committees for laying out highways. In 1669 he was commissioner to the general court and served often as deputy between 1692 and 1706. For many years preceding his death, April 1, 1715, he was deacon of the church. He was elected captain of the trainband, but his appointment was not confirmed. His gravestone is in the old cemetery at Haddam, near the courthouse. He married (first) about 1661-62. Hannah, daughter of Jared and Hannah Spencer, bornat Lynn, Massachusetts. He married (second) March 30, 1693, Mrs. Elizabeth Arnold, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Wakeman. of England. He married (third) November29, 1698, Mrs. Hannah Sexton, daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Bearding) Spencer, widow of George Sexton, of Windsor, Connecticut. Daniel (2), son of Daniel (r) Brainard, was born March 2, 1662, died in Haddam, in 1743. He was a farmer on the east side of the Connecticut river, his residence being near a spring of water at the southern end of Creek Row. This property was still owned by a descendant in 1890. He was elected deacon in the East Haddam church, and held the office during the remainder of his life. He served as collector, surveyor and constable; was often on committees for laying out land and a member of the proprietor's committee, January 5, 1682. He was captain of the train band in East Haddam and a member of the committee to build a church in 1724. From May, 1726, to May, 1734, he continuously represented the town as deputy to the general court. He married Susannah, daughter of William and Elizabeth Ventres, baptized May 21, 1704, died January 26, 1754. Their second daughter, Hannah, became the wife of Joseph (2) Gates, as above noted. She died March 20, 1744. Both she and her husband were buried in the Cone cemetery. Children: Hannah, born November 16, 1719; Joseph, March. 28, 1722; Elizabeth, August 24, 1724; Bezaleel, mentioned below; Susannah, November 24, 1730; Aaron and Ann, twins, October 20, 1733; David, April 18, 1738.(IV) Bezaleel, second son of Joseph (2) and Hannah (Brainard) Gates, was born October 14, 1726, in East Haddam, and baptized November 20 following. He was ensign of the militia company, and died March 8, 1802, in his seventy-sixth year. He married, February 26, 1749, his cousin, Mary Brainard, born April 27, 1727, in Haddam, daughter of Noadiah and Hannah (Cone) Brainard. (Noadiah Brainard was the second son of Daniel (2) Brainard, born April 4. 1697, and resided in Haddam). She joined the church, February 4, 1753, and died December 24, 1796, in her seventieth year. Children: Hannah, born May 24, 1750; Bezaleel. October 2, 1751; Aaron, mentioned below: Mary, November 9, 1755; Henry, September30, 1757; Sybil, March 3, 1760; Noadiah Brainard. December 16, 1761; Esther, March 17, 1764; Oliver, baptized April 27, 1766; Huldah, April 24, 1768.(V) Aaron, second son of Bezaleel and Mary (Brainard) Gates, was born August 21, 1753. m Haddam, baptized April 14, 1754, died January 12, 1821. He settled in Hartland, Connecticut, between 1780 and 1784. He was a farmer. He married, May 9, 1776, Elizabeth Johnson, born about 1756, died August 2, 1816, aged sixty years, daughter of John and Betty Johnson, of East Hampton, Connecticut. Children: Henry, born May 10, 1777; Aaron, mentioned below; Elizabeth, June 29, 1784, in Hartland; Mary, June 21, 1786; Jabez Gliddings, June 29, 1789; Samuel, June 7, 1793; John, December 24, 1796; Huldah, March 14, 1799.(VI) Aaron (2), second son of Aaron (i) and Elizabeth (Johnson) Gates, was born August 12, 1780, in East Haddam, recorded in Hartland. He prepared for college under Rev. Aaron Church, of Hartland, and graduated from Williams College in 1804. After studying theology with Dr. Lothrop, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, he was settled as a second pastor of the Congregational church in Montague, same state, October 27, 1807. He was dismissed from this charge, December 12, 1827, and was installed as pastor in the South Parish of Amherst, Massachusetts, February 1, 1832. After three years in this charge, he supplied the pulpit in East Hartland for six years and that in West Hartland about three years. He died in Barkhamsted, April 4, 1850. He married, July 25, 1805, Ruth Beman, born June 28, 1784, in East Hartland, daughter of Daniel and Abigail (Ackley) Beman. She was dismissed from the church at West Hartland to the church at Montague, Massachusetts, June 13, 1852, and died at Colebrook, Connecticut, at the home of her son-in-law, Phineas E. Peck, July 13, 1858. Children: Daniel Beman, born May i1, 1806; Abigail, October n, 1808; Aaron, October 3, 1810; Electa, December 18, 1812; Truman, April 9, 1815; Beman, mentioned below; Edwin, April 15, 1820; Mary, August 31, 1822; Amelia and Amanda, twins, October 16, 1825.(VII) Beman, fourth son of Aaron (2) and Ruth (Beman) Gates, was born January 5, 1818, in Montague, Massachusetts, died December 17, 1894, at Marietta, Ohio. His father was a man whose example and instruction left a deep impression upon the characters of his children. The very limited salary of a Congregational minister and the very large family of Aaron Gates, constituted an environment for the early life of his children likely to establish habits of prudence and economy and practical good sense. These qualities, appraised at their true value and practiced with discretion, were marked traits of the character of Beman Gates. The atmosphere of this humble, but cultured home, inspired the youthful mind of Beman Gates with the ambition to provide for his future usefulness by proper training and education, and at the same time, the limitations of the parental purse interfered with the achievement of his ambition for a collegiate education. Beman Gates entered Amherst, but found it necessary to leave during his sophomore year to seek employment to provide for his own support. He had acquired, in the old Massachusetts home, a graceful accomplishment, and as it affected his destiny in an important crisis, it is worth mentioning. He sang in the family choir, which, led by his father and joined in by all the members of the family, was a prominent feature of their home life as long as they were together as a family. In time, and after due instruction, the quality of his performance as a singer became so excellent that the great composer and instructor, Lowell Mason, assigned him solos in the Messiah Oratorio at Boston, when he was nineteen years old. Having earned a small sum of money by teaching school, Beman Gates set out with a friend with the intention of securing employment as a teacher at Knoxville, Tennessee. Their travelling was by way of the Ohio river, and on account of the sickness of his companion, he was obliged to land at Marietta, Ohio. Mr. Gates was charmed with the surroundings of this beautiful town, and impressed with the idea that he could make his way in that locality. He announced to his friend his intention of remaining. He was strengthened in this resolution by the fact that his available funds were about exhausted. In their room at the hotel, the young men sought relief from their perplexities in music. The Rev. Mr. Bingham, pastor of the Congregational church, was passing by the hotel, and attracted by the strong and beautiful voice, so well known for many years thereafter in Marietta, knocked for admission. After a little conversation, he said abruptly to Mr. Gates: "I want you to come and lead my choir." "I will do so, sir," was the prompt reply. Thus, in 1837, being about twenty years old, Beman Gates took up his responsibilities in Marietta. He taught singing school, wrote in the office of the county recorder, and for very many years led the choir at the Congregational church.His correct habits, persevering industry and commanding abilities attracted immediate attention, and in 1839, when only twenty-one years old, he was invited to assume the editorship of the Marietta Intelligencer, then being established by important interests in that locality. He was naturally fitted for such work,and he entered into it with the enthusiasm of youth. The important service of the newspaper was rendered in the campaign of 1840, and as a result of his work during this campaign Beman Gates at once assumed a very important and influential position in Southeastern Ohio. He continued as editor of the Marietta Intelligencer for a period of seventeen years, and for several years was its proprietor as well. Owing to the lack of mailing facilities, there was at this time no competition by city newspapers, and the Marietta Intelligencer covered a very wide field. It was published tri-weekly, maintained its regular correspondents in Washington and New York, and exerted an influence difficult at this time to associate with the idea of a country newspaper.As editor of the Marietta Intelligencer, Mr. Gates naturally became a leader in thought on public matters, and temperamentally favoring public improvements, he labored actively to bring about the building of railroads in Southeastern Ohio. Associating himself with a coterie of very able men in Marietta, he became engaged in an enterprise for the building of a railroad from Marietta to Cincinnati. In 1854 he became vice-president and superintendent of the Marietta & Cincinnati railway, and dropping the newspaper work he devoted his entire attention to the building and managing of this line. The panic of 1857 fell suddenly upon the new railroad and delayed its completion, and also swept away the accumulations that Mr. Gates had made in the previous twenty years.Associated with Mr. Gates in this railroad work was George B. McClellan, then president of the Ohio & Mississippi Railway Company. On General McClellan's assumption of military authority in the west, his greatest difficulty was in the securing of supplies. General McClellan telegraphed to Mr. Gates to buy and provide supplies for his troops. Mr. Gates proceeded with his customary energy to carry out this order, and though provided with no other authority than a telegram from General McClellan, he found it sufficient for his purposes. On one occasion he seized a passing Ohio river steamer, loaded it with supplies and sent it up the Great Kanawha river for the use of the troops. This act by a civilian is unique, if not unparalleled in war. General McClellan later commissioned him as lieutenant in order to facilitate his services in this work. After an organized military control had been established, and Mr. Gates was relieved of this extraordinary commission, he continued, at the request of General McClellan, to gather supplies, and especially horses, to be sold to the United States government.He became interested, also, in the sale of oil produced so largely in this section, and negotiated in Europe one of the earliest, and up to that time the largest, sales of lubricating oil ever made from Southeastern Ohio. He established the First National Bank of Marietta, Ohio, in 1863, and continued as its president until 1887, when he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Mr. W. W. Mills. Mr. Gates served for many years as trustee of Marietta College. He died December 17, 1894.Enough of his life has been recalled to indicate the important part taken by him in the community and state in which he lived. Successful and prosperous during the greater part of his life, he was always liberal in his benefactions and generous in his charities towards those less fortunate than himself. He was endowed with quick apprehension and formed the habit of prompt decision. He was gifted in the facile and effective expression of his views. He was a man of tall and impressive figure, with manners very courtly and dignified, was habitually cheerful and even jovial, and was at all times a delightful companion. Mr. Gates built two handsome homes in Marietta. The latter one on nine acres of ground adjoining the city, was built in 1874, and upon the cultivation and adornment of these beautiful grounds, he bestowed much care, and this home of his declining years was a source of great pride and comfort.He married, October 20, 1841, Betsey S. Shipman. Children: 1. Mary Beman, mentioned below. 2. Charles Beman, joined the One Hundred and Forty-eighth Ohio Volunteers, in May, 1864, and although only nineteen years old was elected and commissioned a first lieutenant. He was injured in a railway accident, and died at Harper's Ferry before his father and mother could reach him. The weight of this bitter sorrow was heavy upon the devoted parents for all the remaining years of their lives. Their fondest hopes clustered around this only boy, a youth of noble spirit and pure upright character. 3Betsey Shipman, married William W. Mills.(VIII) Mary Beman, eldest child of Beman and Betsey S. (Shipman) Gates, was born August 27, 1842, and married, January 18, 1864, General Rufus R. Dawes (see Dawes VIII).

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Sir Thomas Gates, Colonial Governor of Virginia's Timeline

Norwich, Norfolk, England
September 7, 1622
Age 40
Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden
July 2, 1939
Age 40
July 2, 1939
Age 40
July 2, 1939
Age 40
July 2, 1939
Age 40
November 8, 1939
Age 40