Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Samuel Mathews

Male - Bef 1658

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  • Name Samuel Mathews 
    Gender Male 
    Alternate death Between Nov 1657 and Mar 1658  [1
    Death Bef Mar 1658  London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Person ID I28103  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of LMW
    Last Modified 13 Nov 2021 

    Family 1 Frances Greville   d. Bef 10 May 1633 
    Marriage Aft 24 Mar 1628  [1, 2, 4
    +1. Francis Mathews,   b. Between 24 Mar 1628 and 1634   d. Bef 16 Feb 1675, York County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 46 years)
     2. Samuel Mathews, Governor of Virginia,   b. Abt 1629   d. Jan 1660, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 31 years)
    Family ID F16766  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 12 Nov 2021 

    Family 2 (Unknown) Hinton 
    Marriage Abt 1634  [1, 2
    Family ID F21687  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 12 Nov 2021 

  • Notes 
    • Entertainingly, for years many historians conflated this Samuel Mathews with his son, also named Samuel Mathews, who was governor of the Virginia colony from 1656 to his death in 1660. This is understandable given that the older Samuel Mathews lived a life of well over 70 years' duration, the last four decades of which were heavily involved in the business and politics of the colony, whereas the younger one died not older than 31, having had a remarkably long, eventful, and consequential political career for a man so young.

      From Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers 1607-1635 (citation details below):

      Samuel Mathews I came to Virginia sometime prior to 1618 as a servant to Sheriff Johnson of London. By his own admission, Mathews lived in Jamestown for a while and then went to Shirley Hundred to oversee some of his employer's men. Later, he went to Arrohattock after Deputy Governor Samuel Argall (1617-1618) made him a captain and placed him in charge of a group of men. In mid-November 1619, when William Weldon and some Virginia Company servants went to Arrohattock to seat the land set aside for the College, they found that Mathews already was established there and had built two houses. Virginia Company records indicate that he had seated the land on behalf of Sir Thomas Middleton. In April 1622, when 32-year-old Samuel Mathews testified in an English court, he said that he was from Arrohattock. However, he withdrew from the property and in November 1622 asked the Virginia Company to give him a patent, as he was taking 100 people to Virginia. He returned to Virginia, arriving in December 1622 on the Southampton, a few months after the Indian attack. In 1623, Captain Samuel Mathews received a commission to lead an offensive against the Tanx Powhatan Indians. That same year he served as a burgess for the Warwick River area. In April 1623 Treasurer George Sandys criticized Samuel Mathews for being preoccupied with the cultivation of tobacco. That summer Mathews led a march against the Indians in the Chickahominy River basin, and later in the year he and three others were instructed to obtain information on Virginia on behalf of the king. He also signed the rebuttal to Alderman Johnson's claims about the colony's wellbeing between 1607 and 1619.

      By February 16, 1624, Samuel Mathews had seated himself on the lower side of the James River, across from Jamestown. In August 1624 he was added to the Council of State. When a list of patented land was sent back to England in May 1625, he was credited with some acreage on the lower side of the James River, just west of Hog Island's neck, and some land at Blunt Point, near the mouth of the Warwick River. It was the latter tract that he developed into his plantation called Denbigh or Mathews Manor. On February 4, 1625, when Samuel Mathews was living on his property near Hog Island, he was in possession of three storehouses, a dwelling, and 23 servants. He was well supplied with corn and defensive weaponry and had two boats at his disposal. Treasurer George Sandys brother, the Rey. David Sandys, shared Samuel Mathews' home. Mathews made several appearances in court during 1625. He asked Hugh Crowther to exchange his acreage at Hog island for some land at the College or at Martin's Hundred. He said that he had seated part of Captain William Powell's land at Hog Island at the request of Powell's widow, and that he had cleared part of that acreage. In December 1625 Mathews asked for more land at Blun Point. Within two years, he had sold his acreage near Hog Island and focused his attention on his Blunt Point plantation, Mathews Manor.

      In 1626 Samuel Mathews was authorized to trade for corn with the Indians of the Chesapeake Bay, a privilege that was renewed three years later. He went to court from time to time, to give testimony or to assist in the settling of estates. In January 1627, when the colonists were warned about the possibility of foreign invasion, orders were given for all women, children, and cattle from the lower peninsula to be brought up to Mathews Manor if enemy ships were sighted. Captain Mathews was authorized to raise an army of volunteers to lead a march against the Pamunkey Indians or other natives considered enemies of the colony. He also led an offensive against the Warresqueak Indians and in 1629 was among those who agreed to seat on the York River within the Chiskiack Indians' territory. Around 1628 Samuel Mathews I married the twice-widowed Frances Grenville, who had outlived Nathaniel West and cape merchant Abraham Peirsey.

      In May 1630 Samuel Mathews was given the responsibility of building a fort at Old Point Comfort. In compensation, he was given a year's monopoly on Indian trade in the Chesapeake Bay. During the mid-1630s, while Mathews was a councilor, he had many disagreements with Governor John Harvey and ultimately was highly instrumental in Harvey's ouster. By that time Mathews had married the daughter of Sir Thomas Hinton, whom Harvey had dismissed from his council. Samuel Mathews, as a result of his overt opposition to Harvey, was summoned to England and placed on trial for mutiny. When he was released on bail, he protested against Harvey's actions and illegal seizure of his opponents' personal property, which Mathews alleged had been given to one of Harvey's favorites. Samuel Mathews spent three years in England because of his problems with Sir John Harvey and returned to Virginia around 1637. Dutch mariner David Devries stayed briefly at Mathews' plantation, Mathews Manor, in March 1633 and described it as elaborately developed. In the 1640s the plantation was said to have "a fine house and all things an- swerable to it." His workers included weavers, flax makers, tanners, shoemakers, and other craftsmen. His agricultural operations were so extensive that he sold substantial quantities of wheat, barley, and beef to other colonies. Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Mathews, who sided with the Commonwealth government, continued to support the Virginia colony's interests. He served on the Council of State until his death sometime after November 1657 but before March 1658.

      From Adventurers of Purse and Person (citation details below):

      A tract, published in London, 1649, says "Worthy Captaine Matthews, an old Planter of above thirty yeares standing, one of the Counsell ... hath a fine house and all things answerable to it ...; he keeps Weavers, and hath a Tan-house, causes Leather to be dressed, hath eight Shoemakers employed in their trade, hath forty Negro servants ...; he married the Daughter of Sir Tho. Hinton, and, in a word, keeps a good house, lives bravely, and a true lover of Virginia; he is worthy of much honour."

  • Sources 
    1. [S6119] Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary by Martha W. McCartney. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2007.

    2. [S6108] Adventurers of Purse and Person: Virginia 1607-1624/5. Fourth edition, ed. John Frederick Dorman. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2004-07.

    3. [S142] Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families by Douglas Richardson. Salt Lake City, 2013., date only.

    4. [S142] Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families by Douglas Richardson. Salt Lake City, 2013.