William Evelyn Bird, of Westover

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William Evelyn Byrd, of Westover

Also Known As: "William Evelyn Byrd", "Admiral William Evelyn Byrd"
Birthdate: (52)
Birthplace: London, Middlesex, England
Death: December 4, 1704 (52)
Westover Parish, Charles City County, Province of Virginia
Place of Burial: Westover Plantation, Charles City, Charles City Co, VA
Immediate Family:

Son of John Byrd, Goldsmith of London and Grace Elizabeth Stegge
Husband of Maria Byrd
Father of Elizabeth Moss; Martha Ann Winn; William Evelyn Byrd, II, "The Black Swan" of Westover; Susan Brayne; Anne Ursula Beverley and 4 others
Brother of Mary Guy; Thomas Byrd, Sr.; John*19 Bird; Elizabeth*19 Bird; Sarah*19 Robinson Bird and 2 others

Occupation: Colonel, progenitor Byrd family America, arrived from London 1670, inherited from Uncle, Capt Tom Stegg, lands of Richmond, VA--26K acres
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Evelyn Bird, of Westover

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William Evelyn Byrd, I immigrated to Virginia in March 1669 (Julian Calendar).

William, I & Maria/Mary? (Horsmanden) Byrd were married in 1673 in VA, and to this union 5 children were born: *William (1674 - 1744); *Susan (Byrd) Brayne (1676 - 1710); *Ursula (1681 - 1698); *Mary Molly (Byrd) Duke (1682 - 1725); and *Maurice Warham (1685 - 1689).

William Byrd, also known as William Byrd I, was an Indian trader, explorer, member of the House of Burgesses (1679–1682), member of the governor's Council (1683–1704), auditor and receiver-general (1688–1704). Byrd was also an original trustee of the College of William and Mary. Inheriting the bulk of his uncle's Virginia estate near what is now known as Richmond, VA, Byrd spent his early years as an Indian trader and explorer. Early in 1676, his trade was cut off after Indian attacks, and he helped to persuade his partner, Nathaniel Bacon, to take unlawful command of a militia and lead it against the Indians. Bacon's Rebellion (1676–1677) resulted, but Byrd switched his loyalties to Governor Sir William Berkeley, opening the way for his political career. Elected to the House of Burgesses in 1677, Byrd commanded defense forces at the falls of the James River and operated as one of the most important Indian traders of the seventeenth century. He became an ally of Governor Thomas Culpeper, Baron Culpeper of Thoresway, who appointed him to the Council in 1683. Five years later, after much lobbying, he received the combined posts of auditor and receiver-general, putting him in charge of both collecting and maintaining all the colony's royal revenue. In the absence of Governor Francis Nicholson, he served three stints as president, or acting governor, of the colony. Byrd died in Charles City County in 1704.

WILLIAM BYRD, I was the progenitor of the Byrd family in America. His brother Thomas Byrd arrived later in Virginia about 1692 and lived in Henrico where he died in 1710. William had inherited large land holdings from his uncle, Captain Thomas Stegge, II. His inheritance included a large track of land surrounding the present site of Richmond, VA. After marrying Mary Horsmanden in 1673, their first-born child, WILLIAM BYRD, II (known as the founder of Richmond) was born On March 28, 1674, at the little stone house on The Falls in Henrico County. They later built what was called "Belvidere", a place that proved to be very lonely for Mrs. Byrd as her husband was away on business much of the time. In 1688 he purchased "Westover" a tract of about 1,200 acres in a more settled area in Charles City County. He built a commodious frame dwelling, later replaced by his son with an elegant brick mansion famous in Virgina history. He resided at Westover and continued to trade with England, the West Indies, and the Indians. His land acquisitions increased and he became one of the great land holders of Virginia. When he died it is estimated that he possessed at least 26,000 acres of land throughout Virginia. He became rich and cultivated in Virginia and was the most remarkable early trader on the Trading Path. His most important business was Indian trading. His traders with their pack-horses went 400 miles to the southwest to trade skins and furs with the Cherokees and Catawbas. William Byrd, I was appointed in 1680 as member of the Council on which he served for 24 years and Auditor of the Colony for 6 years. He inherited a wealth of information, Indian scouts, traders, and suppliers through his good fortune. As a young man, he traveled "far into the wilderness over trails which penetrated 400 miles as far as the haunts of the Catawbas and Cherokees" and as near as the banks of the Meherrin. He had a vast knowledge of the wilderness and amassed a considerable fortune in the fur trade.

In 1687 Colonel Byrd was commissioned Deputy-Auditor and Receiver-General of Virginia. For several years he held high rank in the Virginia Council, preceded only by Ralph Wormeley & Richard Lee. When Lee resigned in 1699, Byrd was second in position, becoming President of the Council in 1701 when Wormeley died. He was interested in botany and other sciences and corresponded with Leonard Plukenett, Sup. of the Royal Gardens of Queen Mary.

William Byrd died on 4 December 1704 and was buried beside his wife in the "old" Westover Parish Cemetery on the grounds of Westover Plantation 1/4 mile from the mansion. About 1730 the construction of today's Westover Parish Church was completed at its present site on Herring Creek about 1 1/2 mile north of Westover mansion.

Epitaph: "Hic recunduntur cineres Gulielmi Byrd Armegeri, et regii huij Provinciae Questoris qui hanc Vitam Cum Eternitate Commutatavit 4to Die Decembris 1704 posstquam vixisset 52 annos" - can anyone translate this?

William Byrd I (1652 – 4 December 1704) was a native of Shadwell, London, England. His father, John Bird (c. 1620-1677) was a London goldsmith with ancestral roots in Cheshire, England. On he invitation of his maternal uncle, Thomas Stegge, Jr., in March 1669, William Evelyn Bird immigrated to Virginia. After arrival, he changed his surname spelling to Byrd. On October 27, 1673, he was granted 1,200 acres (5 km2) on the James River. Byrd became a well-connected fur trader in the Richmond, Virginia area. Byrd's land became (after his death) the site of modern day Richmond, Virginia. About 1673, he married Maria Horsmanden, a native of Lenham, England. They would become the parents of two sons, including William Byrd II, and three daughters. Their daughter, Ursula married Robert Beverley, Jr., Major Robert Beverley's son. They had five children including William Beverley (1696–1756). Colonel William Beverley married Richard Bland's daughter, Elizabeth Bland. They had four children. Their son, Robert married Maria Carter on February 3, 1763. Her parents were Landon Carter and Maria Byrd. The Beverleys were descendants of Pocahontas.[1]

In 1676, Byrd was a sympathizer of Nathaniel Bacon in Bacon's Rebellion, but probably took no active part in the rebellion. He later allied himself with the Governor and became a prominent citizen. Also in 1676, Byrd established the James River Fort on the south bank of the James River in what is now known as the Manchester District of Richmond. He was active in Virginia politics, serving many years on the Virginia Governor's Council.

Byrd died on 4 Dec 1704, at his plantation home of Westover, in Charles City County, Virginia. He is buried near the original site of the Westover Church.[2]


Source: - * http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Byrd_William_ca_1652-1704

William and Mary Quarterly lV. 144 - establishes 1704 as the date of his death - by both the reports of the Governor to England, and by the Title-book.

Find A Grave Memorial # 41319759 - http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=41319759

He and his daughter's husband's father, Col. Henry Duke, Esqr. both served in the Council of Virginia for many years. Col. Henry Duke and Col. William Byrd are among the founders in 1693 of "The College of William & Mary" (named after King William and Queen mary of England).
In our handwritten notes after William Byrd's name it says "William of Westover" . We don't know what that means. Perhaps he was from a town named Westover and they used that nickname to distinguish him from another Col. Wm. Byrd???

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William Evelyn Bird, of Westover's Timeline

London, Middlesex, England
Age 15
Age 18
Middlesex County, Virginia Colony
March 28, 1674
Age 22
Henrico County, Virginia Colony, (Present USA)
Age 26
Falls of the James, Henrico, Virginia, United States
November 29, 1681
Age 29
Henrico County, Virginia
Age 29
February 26, 1683
Age 31
Westover, Charles City County, Virginia Colony
September 1685
Age 33
Charles Citye, Virginia, United States