Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Capt. Nicholas Martiau

Male 1591 - 1657  (66 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All

  • Name Nicholas Martiau  [1
    Prefix Capt. 
    Birth 1591  France Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Alternate birth of Elizabeth City and York County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Death Between 1 Mar 1657 and 24 Apr 1657  [2, 3
    Person ID I36774  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of LMW
    Last Modified 15 Nov 2021 

    Family (Unknown first wife of Nicholas Martieu)   d. Abt 1627 
    +1. Elizabeth Martiau,   b. 1625   d. Between 10 Feb 1686 and 24 Jan 1687, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 61 years)
    Family ID F21615  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 7 Nov 2021 

  • Notes 
    • He is often said to have been a Huguenot, and to have come from the western French island of Île de Ré on the Bay of Biscay, but evidence is lacking for both of these assertions. He was French and he was a Protestant; this is 100% of what we know. Despite the dedication, on 11 Oct 2007, by the US Ambassador to France, of a monument to him at Île de Ré, along with a statue of his GX3-grandson George Washington, precisely zero evidence exists to connect him to that location.

      He was definitely the most recent non-English ancestor of George Washington, and a significant figure in early Virginia history.

      From Adventurers of Purse and Person, 4th edition, citation details below:

      Capt. Nicholas Martiau, French Protestant, naturalized in England before sailing for Virginia on the Francis Bonaventure in the spring of 1620, came to the colony as one of two agents of the Earl of Huntington. He settled at Elizabeth City where he was listed in the census, 1623/4, and also in the muster, Feb. 1624/5 (as Capt. Nicholas Martue), when his age is given as 33 years.

      Following the Indian massacre of 22 March 1621/2, Capt. Martiau with a company of men was sent up the James River to Falling Creek where the first iron works erected in the colony had been ruthlessly destroyed by the natives and where the inhabitants had suffered heavily. As a member of the House of Burgesses, 1623, he signed the completed draft of the First Laws made by the Assembly in Virginia, which, undertaken 1619, had been concluded 5 March 1623/4.

      Upon the decision of the Governor and Council, 8 Oct. 1630, to open the region of Indian settlement at Chiskiake on the Pamunkey [York] River to English colonists, Capt. Martiau sought land there. His patent for 1300 acres in Charles River [York] County, 14 March 1639/40, recites that 600 acres were "due him for the adventures of himself, his wife and 10 persons the first year to Chiskiake," during which year a special dividend of land was allocated to the settlers, and that the remaining 700 acres were due him "for transportation at his own expense of 14 persons into the Colony: Captain Nicholas Martiau, Mrs. Jane his wife, Nicholas Martiau his son, Elizabeth Martiau his daughter, Jane Barkeley her daughter..." He was named in an Act of Assembly, 6 Jan. a 1639/40, as a tobacco viewer from the lower side of the parish to the eastern side of Capt. Utye's Creek.

      Martiau was elected to the House of Burgesses from "Kiskyacke and the Isle of Kent," 1632, and was among the first appointees as a justice of York County, serving from 1633 until his death, 1657, the records showing that court was held at times at his home.

      The 1632 Assembly of which Martiau was a member drew up a set of grievances to be sent to the Privy Council in England, setting forth conditions in the colony which were a prelude to the "Thrusting out of Sir John Harvey" as governor of Virginia, 1635. In this first rebellion against autocratic rule, Capt. Martiau was a leader, having been one of the three spokesmen at a meeting of discontented colonists held at Yorktown.

      At least twice there arose in Virginia some question as to Nicholas' Martiau's legal status as an English citizen. Following a dispute on board a vessel at Kecoughtan, 1626, Martiau was required by the General Court to take the "oath of Supremacy" and apparently did so without question, 15 Oct. 1627. Again, an order of Assembly drawn 28 March 1656 and recorded in Northampton County recites that Captain Nicholas Martiau "obtayned his Dennisation in England" and could hold any office or public employment in Virginia.

      Nicholas Martiau married (1) _____ and (2) "Mrs. Jane," whose daughter Jane Barkeley was named a headright in Martiau's patent, 1639/40. Lieut. Edward Barkley, his wife Jane, who came in the Seaflower, which arrived in Feb. 1621/2, and daughter Jane were living at Hog Island in the muster, 1624/5. On 5 July 1627 Mrs. Jane Martiau appeared in court and delivered an inventory of the estate of "Left. Edward Bartley, dec'd." Nicholas Martiau married (3), before 5 Nov. 1646, Isabella (Sibella) _____, widow of Capt. Robert Felgate, who named her in his will dated 30 Sept. 1644, and of George Beech, deceased by 26 Sept. 1646 when Martiau is recorded as his administrator. On 5 Nov. 1646 the York County court ordered that William Pryor was due 337 pounds of tobacco "under the hand of Isabella Beech," and included in the order that "Capt. Nicholas Martiau whoe hath enter maryed with the said Isabella Beach shall make payment" out of his own crop within ten days.

      A transcript of Nicholas Martiau's will, 1 March 1656/7 - 24 April 1657, does not mention his wife, who apparently predeceased him, but does name three daughters, three sons-in-law and mentions but does not name grandchildren and provides for the liberation of two slaves with an allotment of land to each.

  • Sources 
    1. [S53] The Magna Charta Sureties, 1215: The Barons Named in the Magna Charta, 1215, and Some of Their Descendants Who Settled in America During the Early Colonial Years by Frederick Lewis Weis. Fifth edition, with additions and corrections by Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. and William R. Beal. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1999.

    2. [S6100] G.S.H.L. Washington, "President Washington's Ancestry." The American Genealogist 51:167, 1975., year only.

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

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