Thomas Chapman, of Jordan's Journey

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Thomas Chapman, of Jordan's Journey

Birthplace: of, London, Middlesex, England
Death: Died in Elizabeth City, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Chapman, of St. Mary's
Husband of Anne Chapman and Joan Bennett
Father of Thomas Chapman, II, of Poquoson and Anne Craxon
Brother of Francis Chapman, of Paces Paines

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Chapman, of Jordan's Journey

Thomas Chapman I was Christened at St. Mary's Woolchurch, London, Middlesex, England.

From Thomas Chapman of Jordan's Journey, by William Allan Chapman

In August of 1611, Thomas arrived in Jamestown with his brother Francis as part of the second charter of the Virginia Company of London. Thomas sailed aboard the Tryall of London, and Francis sailed aboard the Star. Jamestown was by no means a successful venture at this point. As many as 9 of 10 people coming to Jamestown before Thomas and Francis arrived had either died or returned to England. Jamestown was first successful English settled in America. When the Company first arrived they made little preparation for the long winters and failed to grow or store enough provisions. This oversight continued through the summer of 1610 when the colony finally gave up. Between the starvations and the Indian attacks hundreds of settlers died. In June of 1610 the remaining settlers loaded onboard ships to sail for England. They were met by Lord De La War and convinced to return for another try.

Thomas appears to have been a solider serving as part of Sir Thomas Dale’s 1611 attempt to setup a new settlement at the head of the James River. This new settlement was named Henricus. In Henricus, Dale allowed the settlers to farm about three acres of land each. This is where John Rolfe first attempted to grow tobacco and married Pocahontas. Rolfe returned to London in 1616 with his bride showing her his home, and showing London the Indian princess. Rolfe returned to Virginia in 1617 aboard the ship George. Unfortunately Pocahontas died onboard the George while waiting to sail in Gravesend, England. But fortunately for Thomas his wife Anne also sailed aboard the George.

After Dale’s departure from Virginia, Captain Robert Smallay assumed command of the Henricus settlement. Many of the settlers, including Thomas Chapman, moved to a new settlement called Bermuda Hundred.  While at Bermuda Hundred, Smalley prepared a will in 1617 granting Thomas 50 pounds of Tobacco. The Smallay also states that Thomas owed Smallay 400 pounds of tobacco (Virginia Magazine of History 12: 175). From this it can be assumed that Thomas was growing tobacco on his own. After Smallay’s death, Thomas joined up with Captain Samuel Jordan and moved to a new plantation called Jordan’s Journey in 1619. Jordan’s Journey had a fort and several houses located on the plantation. Thomas and Ann moved into one of these Houses.

In 1622 the Powhatan Indians under Opechancanough attacked the plantations along the James River, killing 347, including almost everyone at Berkeley Plantation, just across the river from Jordan's Journey, where most survived (Berry, Brian J. L. Ph.D., “Generations 1-5 of the Family and Descendants of Thomas Chapman of Jordan’s Journey, Virginia.” 3/30/98).

After the attack, the Company required a muster of all inhabitants be taken. The 16 Feb. 1623 Muster Roll of Families living and dead at Jordan's Journey, taken to see who had survived and who had perished reported. The muster shows Thomas Chapman, ux Chapman, infas Chapman.

Later in 1624 the Company was dissolved and the Colony fell under Crown rule. The Virginia Assembly enacted a tax of 10 lbs. of tobacco on every male over 16 years of age. Another muster was completed and found that:

  • Thomas Chapman arrived in the Tryall, 1610(1611), in August. Ann, his wife, came on the George, 1617, in May. Thomas, son, aged 2 years Ann, daughter, aged six weeks. Provisions: corne (grain), 5 bushels; fish, 1/2 hundred; Arms and municians: powder 1 lb. Lead 10 lb. peeces 1. amour l. cattell and Poultrie : meat cattell 1. poultrie 14. Houses: house, 1. (The Muster of Thomas Chapman, Jordan's Journey at Charles Cittie, 23 Jan. 1624/5).

While many settlers in Virginia routinely starved, it is apparent that Thomas and Anne were well provisioned. 


  1. Berry, Brian J. L. Ph.D., “Generations 1-5 of the Family and Descendants of Thomas Chapman of Jordan’s Journey, Virginia.” 3/30/98
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Thomas Chapman, of Jordan's Journey's Timeline

May 3, 1590
London, Middlesex, England
May 3, 1590
London, Middlesex, England
Age 30
Charles City, Virginia
Age 44
Elizabeth City, Virginia
Age 45
Charles , Virginia