Tag Archives: Virginia

Cart Before The Horse, and Other Random Tales of Woe.

Thoughts from the other side of the wall….


Robert Beheathland – Jamestowne First Family Founder and Sole Survivor

The following article appeared in the August, 2014 edition of the Willis-Gordon-Garnett and Allied Families Journal. It is an update of the Beheathland article which originally appeared on this website, here.


American’s love our nation’s history, particularly the histories (some might say myths) associated with the nation’s founding, and stories of the intrepid explorers, early colonists, and pioneers who carved a nascent civilization out of a remote wilderness. As children we were taught about the Pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts and their desire to found a community where they could practice their religion without persecution. Unfortunately, we were rarely taught much beyond the basic myth of their earliest aspirations and successes.

The old families of New England who claim founding family status in America take a great deal of pride in their heritage – and deservedly so. However even today, the lion’s share of Americans have little idea that the Pilgrims of Plymouth were actually latecomers to England’s colonial ambitions. Few American’s realize that while New England’s founding families were still in England, the Netherlands, and Holland, America’s true first families were already established and achieving a certain amount of success in the Tidewater region of Virginia.

After the Confederacy’s defeat in the American Civil War, it became politically expedient to revise American history in order to diminish the importance of the South’s contribution to the American drama. For a century and a half, the story of Jamestown’s settlement became a margin note in the history texts. The story of her adventurers and original planters all but forgotten, buried in the brackish blackwater swamps of the Chesapeake Bay. The memory of Jamestown was kept alive by native Virginians who knew themselves to be descended from the earliest colonists. Even among those old families however, there remained little depth of understanding about who their founding ancestors were, or what motivated them to venture from England into the wholly unknown wilds of Virginia. Thanks to the work of the Jamestowne Society, the determination of the Jamestown Rediscovery Team under the leadership of head archeologist Dr. William Kelso, and a small but enthusiastic community of historians and genealogists, the true history of Jamestown and her “Original Planters” is being recovered and preserved.

Along with the effort to recover the true history of Jamestown’s founding, a renewed enthusiasm among descendants of Jamestown’s first families to know their ancestors personal stories has emerged. The goal of this article is to provide a deeper understanding of what sort of world these men and women occupied both before and after the first unsteady settlement of English colonists on the banks of the Chesapeake. In particular, we’ll focus on one very important 1607 colonist – Robert Beheathland – who holds the distinction of being the only original colonist to survive in Virginia long enough to marry, have children, and establish himself as the founder of America’s true, original, first family.

Robert Beheathland was born in the last decades of the sixteenth century at St. Endellion, in County Cornwall, England.1 He arrived in Jamestown in 1607, probably aboard the Susan Constant with Captain John Smith. He survived the first, most terrible year of the Jamestown experiment. He survived the “Starving Times”, when some colonists resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. He survived the Anglo-Powhatan wars, and the disease, failures, and hunger which plagued the nascent colony during the first decade of its founding. He married Mary Nicholson sometime after 1608 and she bore him a son and two daughters who survived into adulthood. Their eldest, Dorothy, was born about 1610. The youngest, Mary Bernhard, was born about 1615. Both girls married and had children. Robert and Mary Beheathland’s son John, traveled back to England on family business, but died on the return voyage to Virginia without ever having married or having children. Thus the Beheathland surname died on the American continent, even while Robert Beheathland’s descendants flourished.

While those facts are interesting in every respect, it has been my observation that too often genealogists get lost in the facts of birth dates, marriage dates, death dates, and when and where wills were proven. We often forget that the people who we so carefully document were just that – real people. They were individuals with complicated stories, personalities, dreams, hopes, ambitions – and fears. People with families dependent upon them, or hopes for them, or both. We too often get so sidelined by the rigid facts that we neglect to step back and thoughtfully consider the world in which these people lived. We neglect to ask ourselves what motivated them to become who they became or how in the face of incredible odds they managed to survive. To answer these questions we often have to turn toward the larger social and civil history of the lands they left behind.

Before we go into the details of the life and death of our earliest European ancestor on American soil – Robert Beheathland – we’re going to take a step back and consider some aspects of his world. Moreover, we’re going to examine what could possibly have motivated him in 1607, to put himself on a sixty-foot long wooden sailing vessel, bound on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, destined for a place that didn’t even have a name yet. In due course, the place Beheathland eventually made his home would come to be called Jamestown. But before there was Jamestown, before the Virginia Colony or even the Virginia Company which founded both, there was England. England in Robert’s era was no less wild – though in a wholly different manner – than the wilds of unknown Virginia. Understanding England in Robert Beheathland’s era is crucial to understanding how Jamestown and the first English Colonies in America came to exist. Jamestown, as it evolved, displayed itself as a perfect microcosm of the whiplash social and civil environment that defined early seventeenth century England.

Tudor & Jacobean England

England in the early seventeenth century was, contrary to our modern interpretation, not a terribly romantic place in which to live. While it’s true that this period is considered the “Golden Age” of discovery, we should keep in mind that everything that glitters is not gold. There were perhaps a few thousand people in all of England, Ireland, and Wales who could be considered truly wealthy. Among them, a few hundred perhaps, who were generally independent men. The rest, millions of people throughout the country, were “subjects”. “Subject” to corrupt courts, corrupt landlords, and corrupt aristocrats – “subject” to a corrupt system that was rotten from the core to the skin.2

Even among the wealthy and powerful, survival was tenuous. Political intrigues and backhanded maneuvers by upstarts and competitors often resulted in a total reversal of fortune. If the fall from grace – grace of the sovereign, grace of a patron, grace of a landlord or employer – was severe enough, you could find yourself homeless, in jail, or headless. Occasionally all three in quick succession, as Sir Walter Raleigh found out not long after his beloved sponsor Queen Elizabeth I died, leaving her throne to the less benevolent James I (IV) of Scotland.3

At court in London there were constant political intrigues, plots against the crown or against favorites at court. There were spies and spy watchers, and an endless whisper of suspicion and rumor against any and all. England, in the era of Robert Beheathland, was not yet an imperial power. It was hardly even a united kingdom. It teetered on the brink of civil upheaval and suffered dreadfully from political corruption and social injustice from the parish level, to the seats of Parliament, to the very crown.4


Persecution of Catholics and Dissenters

Under Henry VIII, who reigned from 1509 to 1547, Catholics were converted by force, exiled or killed. Their property and lands confiscated and redistributed to loyal favorites. Under Elizabeth I, Henry’s daughter who reigned from 1548 until 1603, it still wasn’t healthy to be a Catholic, but it was even worse to be a non-conformist. Under her successor, James I, who reigned from 1603 until 1625, religious tolerance was encouraged from the throne, but the Church of England stubbornly refused to go along. A schism developed between James’ supporters, the Established Church, and the growing community of non-conformists and dissenters who opposed the church, sought to limit the power of the monarchy, and demanded greater civil liberties, including freedom to practice the faith of their choosing, and rights of free speech and free assembly. The end result of this schism was the English Civil War in which the King (Charles I) was executed by the non-conformist Oliver Cromwell. For a period Cromwell and Parliament ruled England. England fell into factions and rebelled – violently.

This was a difficult time to be a person of conviction and courage. The political and social winds changed direction so schizophrenically and with a force so deadly, that it was impossible to know where to stand, and who to stand with, lest you be blown over or mowed down. This was the era in which the first English colonies in the New World were planned, conceived, and born.5


Economic Paradigm Shift

If all this religious and political intrigue was not enough, let’s consider the economics of life in England at the time. This period – late Tudor through the Jacobean – introduces to Europe the first real whiff of Capitalism and economic competition. Pre-Renaissance England, like most of Europe, had been entirely feudal. The greatest majority of the people lived on the land; land owned by a feudal lord who in turn paid tribute and loyalty to a greater lord or a prince or king. The people worked the land collectively and were generally guaranteed employment for life, a home of reasonable quality in which to live, and protection from enemies, criminals and invaders. This, of course, in exchange for their unquestioning loyalty, their labor, and occasionally their willingness to go to battle and perhaps die in defense of the status quo.

With the rise of international trade, organized banking systems and fractional reserve lending, sovereign debt, competition at court, religious conflict, an emergent class of professional lawyers who advised the nobility and the King, and the introduction of the concept of competitive Capitalism, things got much more complicated for the average person just trying to make a living. The result by the end of the sixteenth century, was that most of the common lands which had been farmed cooperatively by the tenants of nobles were closed, fenced off, sold, or confiscated. Tenants, the overwhelming majority of whom claimed ancestral ties to the land going back to the Anglo-Saxon era, were turned out to fend for themselves. With nowhere to go except into towns in an attempt to find wage paying work, and with few skills other than farming, they were lost – completely destitute. The cities began to fill up with what chroniclers of the era called beggars, sharpers, drifters, and all variety of vagrants. These people formed the first great underclass of the first true city in the British Isles – London.

Between 1500 and 1600 London’s population exploded from 60,000 to 225,000 as a result of these sweeping social and legal changes. By 1660 the population of London swelled to 460,000 souls. One in ten Englishmen lived in the city. This was a complete reversal of the demography from just two generations earlier.6

We can hardly imagine what a walled city of half a million people must have been like. A city with no sanitation services, no running water, no toilets, or waste water disposal. Nor did they have building codes, zoning restrictions, fire codes, hospitals, a police force or emergency services of any sort. The place was a teeming, seething, reeking, den of chaos in which just about anything could and did occur without warning. Food shortages were the norm. Inflation was rampant. Crime was endemic. Employment in anything legal was the exception rather than the rule. Violence, lack of sanitation, deprivation, sickness, and disease kept the life expectancy to about thirty years old. The infant mortality rate was a frightening 50%.7

Dysentery was a favorite friend, as was typhoid. The bubonic and pneumonic plagues made several visits and in 1665 did their part to diminish the over-crowding problem by wiping out 30-40% of London’s population (deaths were estimated at 100,000 people in less than one year alone.)8 When the plague was done, the Great London Fire of 1666 destroyed much of the city, especially the poorly constructed slums and suburbs where foreign immigrants and new arrivals from the countryside were forced to live.9 There was no FEMA to come to anyone’s aid. People lived out of doors. They got sick. The sick died. The dead often lay in the streets for days before being dragged off by dogs or hauled to mass graves on the edge of town. It was truly a hellish existence for the greatest swath of society. Not a romantic period at all. This is a place that most people – if they could have – would have left. Even if it meant crossing an ocean and landing in a wilderness to do it.

The overwhelming majority of Jamestown’s first colonists were recruited (or conscripted) from the ranks of London’s citizens. There is good evidence that about half of these were from the lower classes of slum dwellers – people with very few options and absolutely no financial resources with which to improve their condition. Given the limited opportunities and dreadful living conditions that London offered its poorest citizens, it isn’t difficult to imagine that the Virginia Company was successful in recruiting “adventurers” willing to risk the months-long Atlantic Crossing. These folks had little to lose and everything to gain if the adventure succeeded. But what about the other half of the colonists, the “gentlemen” and the more fortunate participants who were recruited from remote regions of the kingdom?

Robert Beheathland, as example, never lived in London so far as we know. At the time just before the first Jamestown voyage, he was just a teenager living on the far western coast of England. His home, St. Endellion in County Cornwall, is literally as far west from London as one can travel without going for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. In the seventeenth century it was a rural, under-populated countryside that offered physical distance from the plagues of the city, and a good, healthy, fresh air life to its inhabitants. On face value it would seem incredible that someone from a place seemingly as bucolic and safe as St. Endellion would chose to risk life and limb to go to Virginia. We have to look closely at the reach of social upheaval and the economics of early 17th century England to understand such a decision.

First – Cornwall was still staunchly Catholic in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Landed gentry and noble families who escaped the plagues, perils, and persecutions of a century earlier still clung (usually secretly) to their Catholic faith in Cornwall, but that holding-on was tenuous at best. A Catholic who came to the attention of the established church authorities (whether by his own actions or that of a competitor) could be exiled, jailed, have his lands seized, lose his life, or perhaps all of the above. One way a family ensured its survival against this kind of persecution was by sending its children out of the country. It was an early form of spreading the risk. There is excellent archeological evidence from Jamestown that there were practicing Catholics among the earliest colonists.10 What’s more, early promoters of colonization openly stated that they believed “planting colonies” was a preferred way of getting rid of undesirables in England, from criminals and vagrants to political enemies to religious dissenters like Catholics and non-conformists.11

Next – We know that risk and debt often played a big role in a family’s decision regarding participation in capital ventures. It was not uncommon for rural landowners of this period (more common among so-called “gentlemen”, semi-noble, and noble families, than among yeomen farmers) to get into significant debt by over-extravagant living. The nobility were often land-rich and cash-poor, which made it difficult to live “up to” their position in society without going into debt. One solution to this dilemma – an often ruinous solution – was to participate in a capital venture that promised tremendous rewards – if it paid off. The Jamestown adventure was just such a capital risk. The formation of the Virginia colony was not a government sponsored operation. It was a privately funded venture – no different from a high-tech start-up today. The “adventurers” were the early investors. They either invested cash to fund the start-up, or they invested flesh and blood. Some landowners who wanted to get rid of their tenants put them on boats to the colonies with a hope of a return on their labor if they survived. Some, seeking greater returns, sent excess family abroad.12

Captain John Smith in his reports back to the Virginia Company complained bitterly about the over-abundance of “gentlemen” among the first colonists, and not enough people with the skills, knowledge, and willingness to do the difficult, physical work required to carve a functional, self-sufficient community out of the raw wilderness of Virginia.13 Robert Beheathland was listed among the first planting of colonists at Jamestown as just such a soft-handed “gentleman.” Most of these “gentlemen” were the fourth or fifth sons of cash-poor, landed gentry or lower nobility. They were, in the coldest view of seventeenth century life, excess to the needs of society.

Robert Beheathland was the youngest of four sons.14 That was a terrible thing to be in seventeenth century in England. Every good landed family needed a male heir to take over the property. It needed a spare in case the eldest died young. This second son was usually educated in the law in order to assist his older brother in the management of the estate, keep the family on solid financial and legal footing, while also earning a living on the bench. If there was a third son, he was trained for the clergy or sent into the Army or Navy to seek his fortune on his own wits. Good situations in any of these professions could be purchased at an affordable price. Fourth, fifth, or later sons – they were simply out of luck. After establishing the third son, most families were out of funds to purchase good positions in professional society, pay for education, or support the spare children beyond their most basic needs – certainly not enough to marry, have a home, or start a family. Robert was unfortunate in regard to the order of his birth. He didn’t even have the benefit of being a lowly yeoman farmer’s son – a boy who would have been raised knowing the generalities of everything from farming and livestock management, to building, to carpentry, to blacksmithing. He had few skills and no money. His prospects for making his own way would have been extremely difficult and his family was under no legal or even traditional obligation to maintain him. The venture offered by the Virginia Company provided Robert’s father, as well as many others like him, a potential means to make a quick return on investment while disposing of an unwanted expense – if things worked out right. If they didn’t, then his loss, in the cold, hard economics of 17th century life, would be no real loss at all – except the obvious sadness of losing a child who, given the circumstances, had a very limited chance of survival at home.

Given the time that’s passed since Robert Beheathland’s era and our own, we can’t know which of these possibilities put Beheathland on the boat that left Blackwall in late December 1606. What we can know with a moderate level of confidence is that it was probably not young Robert’s idea, and he probably wasn’t happy about it. He certainly knew that he had no other prospect, so – like many others who followed him in the decades and centuries to come – he put his head down and steeled himself to his fate.

The voyage wasn’t an easy one. Before the adventurers were even twenty miles off the coast of Devon, the weather turned, preventing the three vessels from sailing west. The ships – the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Godspeed – languished off the English coast for nearly a month. Burning through their stores of fresh water and food, enduring freezing temperatures and drenching rain, the colonists broke out early into bitter regrets. There was lots of whining and complaining – followed by the death of one of the passengers. This early bad luck didn’t bode well for the future success of the voyage.15

The English Class System – Compressed
There were even greater complications for this first voyage than bad weather and bad timing. This collection of would-be colonists, sailors, adventurers, and officers represented a microcosm of 17th century English social strata; all trapped together on board three tiny vessels. The people languished without anything to distract them over a many months long voyage, without enough food, clean water, or privacy. All ranks of society pressed together on the turbulent seas, cheek by jowl. It would have been impossible for difficulties not to break out. The most dramatic event that occurred was a petty, high seas power struggle which threatened the lives and futures of every member of the crew and would-be colonists.

Christopher Newport was the Captain of the Susan Constant, the flagship of the little fleet. According to Virginia Company orders, Newport also served as commandant of the overall voyage until the colonists were safely planted in Virginia and a governor could be selected. On the high seas, his position was one of absolute authority. He had the power of arrest, and even the authority to execute someone if the offense was serious enough – like mutiny, for example.

Another important person on the voyage was Captain John Smith. Smith was already a legend in England, well-known for his exploits from Turkey to Russia, to his mercenary battles against Spain. His career was renowned because he was his own biggest promoter. Among his myriad talents was that of published author and gifted storyteller. He was headstrong. He was smart. And – to his detriment among the elite on board the ship – he didn’t subscribe to the classic English custom of mild-mannered deference to his social betters. He believed in trusting ability and accomplishment before birth and title, and he let everyone know it.

Smith was born into a small-hold, yeoman farm family in a remote part of eastern England. He left home at sixteen years old and went to sea. Over the course of a thirty-year career he made himself into one of the world’s greatest adventurers, survivors, and professional soldiers. He was a geographer, a map maker, a writer, and even a bit of a poet. He was a true Renaissance man in nearly every respect. He’d been all over the world and survived to tell it.16 It was his experience in dangerous expeditions like the one to Virginia that brought Captain John Smith to the attention of the Virginia Company. The organizers became convinced that they needed his experience, his bravery, and his wits to make a go of it. He was one of the few men in the kingdom with the skills and the fortitude to make a venture like this one succeed. He was recruited by the founders of the Company – among them his biggest fan, Richard Hakluyt – to join the venture and take a leading role in its direction.17

Christopher Newport was not John Smith’s biggest fan. Newport was made Master of the Royal Navy in 1606, just before his jaunt to Jamestown. Prior to this Royal appointment, he made a vast fortune for himself and others among London’s merchant elite, acting as a privateer, picking off Spanish treasure ships as they made the perilous crossing from Central America back to Spain, laden with tons of gold and silver. Newport’s successes were just as well documented as Smith’s and his swashbuckling reputation was further buoyed by his immense, if recently acquired wealth – the sole advantage that Captain John Smith lacked. While Newport was no noblemen in the strict English sense, he was firmly entrenched among the newly minted class of self-made aristocrats swiftly gaining importance in Capitalist England. Because of his immense wealth, he was able to move among the nobility and upper gentry as a relative equal, even if he lacked a title or old family lineage.

Unfortunately, there was not enough room to accommodate both Newport’s and Smith’s egos in all of the Atlantic Ocean. There certainly wasn’t room for both on board a single tiny ship.

In the short run Newport won the dangerous game the two played during the voyage. John Smith was placed under arrest on charges of mutiny. He was put in chains in the ships hold until Newport could determine what to do with him. Whether these charges were legitimate or trumped-up, it’s difficult to know, but given the accusation that Smith intended to murder his superiors (Newport, et al), seize the ships, and then make himself “King” of Virginia, the charges do seem a little extreme (and given Smith’s carelessness for titles, also unlikely.). Newport planned to execute Smith when the ships made landfall, but that plan didn’t quite work out.

“…Such factions here we had, as commonly attend such voyages, that a paire of gallowes was made, but Captain Smith, for whom they were intended, could not be persuaded to use them.”

General History of Virginia, by Captain John Smith

Captain Smith had friends and supporters on board all three vessels. Once they were all united on land, Newport had to accept the fact that their high opinion of the man outnumbered his fears. Technically he could have carried out the execution, but that would not have played well back in London given the overwhelming number of voices claiming Smith’s innocence and demanding his release. The last thing Newport needed was a genuine mutiny. He had more than 110 people on board three ships to care for, including prospective colonists and crew. His fate and reputation depended upon him getting them safely to their destination without catastrophe or insurrection. He swallowed his pride and got on with business, hoping for a new day of reckoning with Smith. Smith remained under arrest for the remainder of the voyage. It’s unlikely that he remained a silent, cooperative prisoner.

Captain John Smith was a man either loved or hated by any who knew him. There was no middle ground. Likewise, he was a man of strong opinions. He either determined you were valuable and worthy of his respect, or he dismissed you entirely. Sometimes his opinions and loyalties switched directions in a blink. He was as unpredictable as he was ruthless. Generally speaking however, his concerns were directed in the best interest of the colony’s survival. If history has painted his character fairly, he rarely put his own gratification – either material or psychological – above the well-being of the colony at large. The same could not be said of his enemies, most of whom glorified and pampered themselves while the colonists suffered.

Robert Beheathland had a few things going for him that some of his fellow-colonists did not. The first was that Captain John Smith apparently liked him. It was simple luck that most likely put Robert on board the same ship with Smith. He may even have been chosen by Newport to tend to Smith – bring him food and water, check on him, etc. – when Smith was in chains in the ships hold. That would make sense given Robert’s youth and elevated social station. Newport would have considered Robert a safe caretaker, someone who could not materially or physically assist the prisoner, someone who would not have the fortitude to go against the true authority on board the vessel. Beheathland was a “gentleman” after all, and he knew his slightly elevated place in the pecking order. He knew as well that Smith was a commoner of no social consequence – something that would have mattered materially back in England. Once in Virginia, the usefulness of such distinctions would quickly come into question. This was something Smith anticipated – while Newport and his fellow aristocrats clearly did not.

The other advantage that Robert Beheathland had over his companions was his youth. He was probably not more than twenty years old when he boarded the ship that would carry him to Virginia. Because he was young his habits were not fixed. He had not grown as lazy and arrogant as some of his fellow “gentlemen”. In addition, his youth made him teachable and probably even eager under the right tutelage. Captain Smith provided a mentor the likes of which most of us can only dream of.

Consider it. You’re an impressionable youngster from the rural hinterlands of England, stuck on board a ship with forty grown men, the majority of whom are Londoners in lace sleeves and ruffled collars. You have just been given the assignment to spend time with the toughest, shrewdest, leanest, meanest, adventurer in English history. This man is swarthy, scarred, built like a fortress, and he has the most amazing stories to tell. You spend your time listening to his tales of outsmarting the Turks, whipping the Spaniards, surviving off the land across the wilderness of Russia with enemies in hot pursuit. Who are you going to align yourself with? The effete, lace-cuffed captain and his lace-cuffed friends at the helm? Or the unsinkable, unkillable, undefeated superhero in the hold? You’re an untested boy who is stuck on a voyage to the edge of the world. It’s not a difficult decision to make.

Landfall

Newport accomplished his mission. He got the ships and his human cargo safely to Virginia. The fleet anchored in the broad river up the Chesapeake Bay on May 13, 1607. In a demonstration of loyalty to their king, they named the river “James”.18

Captain Smith was still under considerable suspicion by the elite men of the voyage when the contents of the box containing the orders of the Virginia Company were unlocked and read aloud before the whole party of colonists. According to the rules outlined by the Company, Edward Maria Wingfield (1550 – 1631), was named President of the infant colony. His appointment was an obvious one. He was a nobleman. As important, he was one of the prime movers in the Virginia Company “showing great charge and industry”. He was one of the four incorporators of the London Virginia Company in the Virginia Charter of 1606, and one of its biggest financial backers. He recruited about forty of the 105 colonists, and was the only shareholder in the venture to sail with the expedition.19

Wingfield’s first decision as leader was the selection of the site of where the company would land and make fortifications, the place that they would name “Jamestowne” in deference to their sovereign, James I.20 Even in this early decision, Wingfield revealed his worthiness to lead such an adventure as woefully inadequate. The site was low, swampy, and wet. The water supply was brackish and stagnant. The area was infested with mosquitoes and ticks, and the soil was unsuitable for cultivation, being too thin, too salty, and too acidic to grow much of anything successfully except scrubs and marsh grasses. The only benefits the site offered was a deep water landing for the temporarily moored ships and an excellent view of vessels approaching from the Chesapeake and from upriver. At least in this regard the site offered a reasonably good defensive position.21

The orders from the Virginia Company complicated the politics of the new colony. John Smith’s name appeared second on the list of seven councilors appointed to govern the infant colony, just after that of Bartholemew Gosnold, Wingfield’s cousin, and also a mover and shaker in the financing of the Virginia Company expedition. Wingfield, a man of social and financial consequence, determined immediately to hate and distrust John Smith. He made the unilateral decision to exclude Smith from the crew of counselors who would govern Jamestown, going against the explicit instructions from the Virginia Company. Unfortunately for Wingfield, democracy was already beginning to flower in the nascent colony. The colonists steadfastly demanded Smith be freed from his arrest and restored to the governing council. The colonists won the day, much to the chagrin of Wingfield, Newport, and a host of lace-cuffed “gentlemen” who desperately wanted to put the brash, low-born soldier in his place.22

It’s not my goal here to recount the entire history of the Jamestown settlement. What is important to know is that Wingfieled failed miserably as a leader and was sent back to London in short order to answer for his mismanagement. Wingfield’s cousin, Gosnold died within three months of landing in Virginia, and so shortly John Smith was made president of the colony. With the colony on the brink of collapse, John Smith whipped the place into shape and saved the entire venture. He saved the colonists from starvation and eradication at the hands of the natives. He didn’t make a lot of friends, however. The “gentlemen” especially, grew to resent him because he enforced a “No work, no food” law which required every man to pull his own weight – or starve.23 Under Smith there was no deference given to social rank or political connection. Even the effete, lace-cuffed gentlemen were required to cut and split wood, raise and repair buildings, plow fields, cook and clean, and tend to all the necessary chores required to keep the colony afloat. It’s not surprising to learn that after the imposition of the “No work, no food” rule, the overall health of the colonists improved remarkably.

At Smith’s right hand throughout the early drama of the colony, throughout the intrigue and death-defying exploits amongst the native Indians – along with a few other hand-selected followers – was “Master Beheathland.” Robert Beheathland proved himself as a bodyguard and a skilled soldier on several occasions when the natives attempted to double-cross Smith and his companions. Beheathland’s name appears glowingly in the written accounts penned by Smith in reports to the Virginia Company, as well as in later recounting of his exploits in Virginia.24

Of the 105 or so original colonists, most never intended to stay in Virginia. The greatest number of the “gentlemen” believed they would come to the colony, discover piles of gold lying on top of the ground, make a fortune and return to England fabulously wealthy. In fact, of the few men who actually made it back to England, most returned broke, sick, disgruntled, and telling anyone who would listen what an absolute catastrophe the place was. Those survivors were the lucky ones. Of the original 105 or so men who arrived at Jamestown in 1607, only 37 remained alive after the first year. The rest were leveled by disease, execution, murder, accidental death, hunger – and some were killed by the natives.25

Researchers have spent years pouring over the statistics and reports of this early settlement. They have discovered that the 15 to 20 men who spent weeks and months exploring the inland with John Smith, spending time with the natives and even dealing with violent attacks and weeks of sleeping outside, survived at a much higher rate than the men who remained safely ensconced inside the palisades at Jamestown. Historians now believe Captain Smith and his men’s higher rate of survival is due to a healthier setting, fresh food, clean water, and exercise. The men who remained at Jamestown were prisoners to an infected and violent environment.26 Robert Beheathland was always with Smith.27 This simple fact helped him live.

In Smith’s company, he learned invaluable lessons of survival that would pay off in the months and even decades to come. He learned how to trade according to native Indian custom. He learned how and what to plant in order to eat year-round and what could be collected wild in the forest. He learned at least the rudiments of the native language and native customs. He learned how to maneuver outdoors in an inhospitable environment. He learned how to work hard, how to navigate the waterways and travel quickly and quietly over land, and how to sleep with one eye open. In essence, he learned how to live – while most of his peers at Jamestown only learned how to die in competitively spectacular and tragic ways.

At Jamestown they died from malaria, bowel infections, and starvation. They died by the gallows, blade and bullet execution. They died at the hands of their fellow colonists in blinding fits of frustrated rage, and in some cases – the worst of all during “The Starving Times” – they were eaten by their compatriots. Jamestown was a horrible place. It’s no wonder that Captain John Smith and his loyal band stayed as far away from the fort for as long as they could. The native Indians, no matter how strange, were not as barbaric or desperate as their fellow Englishmen.28

Gradually things did improve for the colony. Additional supply ships arrived, bringing victuals, tools, and eventually fresh colonists who were better suited to building a community in the wilderness. Among them were carpenters and blacksmiths, foresters and farmers, men that Captain John Smith approved of and saw real value in. Some women even began to arrive and this brought stability and a measure of civilization to the community. It’s recorded in the early Jamestown history that Robert Beheathland married a woman named Mary Nicholson. Since Robert was quite young when he first ventured to Virginia, it’s unlikely he was married prior to his journey. It’s far more likely that Mary ventured to Virginia only after Robert survived the first two or three most difficult years of the experiment. It’s certain she did not come to Jamestown prior to 1608, as this is the first supply of colonists to include any women. We know very little of Mary except that she was believed to also be from St. Endellion, Cornwall. It’s fairly certain that Robert knew Mary prior to his adventure. It’s possible that they were as close kin as cousins.

Mary Nicholson must have been made of as tough a substance as her husband Robert. In Virginia she gave her husband at least three children who survived into adulthood. These include Mary, John, and Dorothy. Dorothy married Randall Crewe (c.1604 – c.1630), of Cheshire England,29 from whom our direct line descends.

In 1620 Robert Beheathland returned to England as a representative of his fellow colonists for the purpose of petitioning the Royal Council of England for a qualified governor for the colony in Virginia. In 1639, Robert and Mary’s son, John, made the voyage from Virginia to Cornwall, in order to sue Ursula Beheathland (John’s aunt by marriage to Anthony Beheathland, Robert’s brother, John’s uncle) for John’s portion of his grandfather, Richard Beheathland’s estate. He won in court (£80), but John died en route back to Virginia before he could reunite with his family.

Can you imagine traveling across an ocean for £80? Risking your life for it, as John did? In the 17th century £80 would have been worth about $23,000 today.30 While we may not risk life and limb for $23,000, we might think seriously about it. In colonial Virginia £80 would buy an awful lot of land, tobacco seed, and labor to work it all into a profitable crop.

We know that Robert Beheathland was deceased by 1628, when his widow Mary’s name appeared in court records in regard to land she inherited. In this record, she is shown remarried to a Lieutenant Tomas Flint of Elizabeth City. In subsequent court records, her daughter Dorothy’s name appears in tandem with her husband, Randall Crewe. From Randall and Dorothy, as the 17th century gave way to the 18th, a vigorous and successful family line filled Southside Virginia and the northern border counties of central and eastern North Carolina with innumerable descendants bearing the surnames Crew, Crewe, and Crews. Most of these early descendants became farmers. More than a few climbed swiftly into the gentry class, building wealth and social status by acquiring large tracks of land, buying and selling slaves, and growing tobacco for export into an insatiable European market.

Robert Beheathland is designated an “Original Planter” of the Jamestown Colony. His descendants can claim ancestry from one of the very first European families of this nation. Of the 105 or so colonists to land and stake claim to Virginia soil in 1607, it appears that only Beheathland lived long enough to have descendants who survived into the modern era.31 Robert Beheathland lived through a period of upheaval and conflict that we cannot comprehend. He persevered when all others around him either perished or fled. He found a way to succeed in a world racked by betrayal, failure, war, and incomprehensible suffering and loss. The fact that Robert Beheathland not only survived but thrived is something we can all – as his living legacy – take a great deal of pride in. We descend from remarkably resilient stuff – a particularly American flavor of ancient nobility.


Notes & Footnotes

1. The Jamestowne Society. “Washington & Northern Virginia Company – Biographies of Ancestors of Members – Robert Behe(a)thland.” Last modified, November 2003. http://www.jamestowne-wash-nova.org/RobertBeheathland.htm.

2. For a precisely detailed, incredibly well-researched picture of the everyday person’s life in Tudor England, consult, Picard, Liza. Elizabeth’s London – Everyday Life in Elizabethan London. (St. Martin’s Press, 2004.)

3. Picard, Elizabeth’s London – Everyday Life in Elizabethan London. Chapters14 and 15.

4.For an accessible examination of the high-level political intrigues of the Tudor and Jacobean eras, consult the following three volumes:

Jardine, Lisa and Alan Stewart. Hostage to Fortune – The Troubled life of Francis Bacon. (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1998.)

Cooper, John. The Queen’s Agent: Sir Francis Walsingham and the Rise of Espionage in Elizabethan England. (Pegasus, 2013.)

Budiansky, Stephan. Her Majesty’s Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage. (Plume, 2006.)

5. Trevelyan, Raleigh. Sir Walter Raleigh: Being a True and Vivid Account of the Life and Times of the Explorer, Soldier, Scholar, Poet, and Courtier – The Controversial Hero of the Elizabethan Age. (Macmillan, 2002.)

6. Stone, Lawrence. “The Residential Development of the West End of London in the Seventeenth Century,” in After the Reformation: Essays in Honor of J. H. Hexter, ed., Barbara C. Malament and Jack H. Hexter. (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1980)

7. Historic Royal Palaces. “Death,” by Dr. Peter Marshall. Accessed June 22, 2014. http://www.hrp.org.uk/Resources/Peter%20MarshallFINAL.pdf

8. Platt, Colin. King Death – The Black Death and Its Aftermath in Late Medieval England. (Toronto: University Press, 1997; first published 1996.)

9. Leasor, James. The Plague and the Fire. (London: House of Stratus, 2001.)

10. Keslo, Dr. William. Jamestown, the Buried Truth. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006.)

11. Richard Hakluyt, “A Discourse Concerning Western Planting Written in the Year 1584,” in Maine Historical Society Collections, ed., Charles Deane (Maine: Maine Historical Society, 1831.)

12. Rabb, Theodore. Enterprise and Empire: Merchant and Gentry Investment in the Expansion of England, 1575-1630. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967.)

13. Smith, Captain John. Writings with Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of America, ed., James P. Horn (Library of America, 2007.)

14. “Virginia Gleanings in England”, in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 11, (Baltimore, Maryland: The Genealogical Publishing Company, 1980.) 657. (Originally published in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1904.)

15. Smith, Captain John. A General Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles, with the Names of the Adventurers, Planters, and Governours, from their first beginning, An. 1584 to this present 1624. (Murfreesboro, NC: Johnson Publishing Company, facsimile reprint, c. 1980.) 41 – 42.

16. Smith, Writings with Other Narratives.

17. Hakluyt, “A Discourse Concerning Western Planting Written in the Year 1584,” in Maine Historical Society Collections.

18. Philip Barbour, ed., The Jamestown Voyages Under the First Charter, 1606-1609, (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press,1969.)

19. Barbour, The Jamestowne Voyages.

20. Barbour, The Jamestowne Voyages.

21. Barbour, The Jamestowne Voyages.

22. Barbour, The Jamestowne Voyages.

23. Barbour, The Jamestowne Voyages.

24. Smith, A General Historie of Virginia.

25. Barbour, The Jamestowne Voyages.

26. Keslo, Jamestown, the Buried Truth.

27. Smith, A General Historie of Virginia.

28. Keslo, Jamestown, the Buried Truth.

29. Hotten, John Camden, ed., “The Original Lists of Persons of Quality; Emigrants; Religious Exiles; Political Rebels; Serving Men Sold for a Term of Years; Apprentices; Children Stolen; Maidens Pressed; and Others Who Went From Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600 – 1700. With Their Ages, the Localities Where They Formerly Lived in the Mother Country, the Names of the Ships in Which They Embarked, and Other Interesting Particulars,” from Manuscripts Preserved in the State Papers Department of Her Majesty’s Public Record Office, England. (New York: Reprinted by Empire State Book. Originally printed in London, 1874.)

Quoted from text: “Servant’s – Randall Crew aged 20 yeres in the Charles 1621.”

30. To arrive at the rough figure of $23,000.00, I used a publicly available inflation rate calculator available at: http://www.whatsthecost.com/cpi.aspx. This tool only allows historical inflation rates to be calculated from data going back to 1751, therefore it is to be presumed that the actual value of the original £80 was actually worth even more than £13,453.51 in today’s money. After resolving a general increase from inflation, I applied the daily (06/22/2014) conversion rate (1 to 1.70) for BPS to USD, thus arriving at $22,870.96.

31. Thorndale, William. “William Spencer and the Whiting Family of Earliest Virginia” in The Virginia Geneolgist, Vol. 36, No. 4, October – December 1992. (Falmouth, VA: John Frederick Dorman, 1992) 289.

Summary of article: Until recently it was believed that one other original Jamestown colonist – William Spence(r) – also survived to marry and have descendants. There is a great deal of debate raging among historians, archeologists, and genealogists as to whether Spence’s descendants actually survived. Initially William Spence (no “r”), who arrived on the Susan Constant in 1607, was confused with William Spencer, who arrived aboard the Sarah in 1611. Spencer’s family has survived – that is not in question. However, he is not considered an “Original Planter”. It appears now that William Spence (no “r”, who arrived on the Susan Constant in 1607) and his wife were killed by natives during the Anglo-Powhatan war. Their 3 year-old daughter Sarah was left an orphan with no further indication of her survival past the single court record appointing a guardian for her in 1624. Given this new information it appears that only Beheathland’s descendants can, with any certainty, claim “first family” status.


Spirits of Bad Men Made Perfect – Book Promo Site

BookCover3DWell, I have been quiet for many months…  revising drafts, making changes, editing, editing, getting distracted, traveling, research, reading, more revisions…. and the book promo web site “The Spirits of Bad Men Made Perfect“.

Hope you’ll follow the link, have a close look, and let me know what you think. Load up the comments either here or there. Share the link. Tell a friend. And please, if you see anything at all that needs to be corrected – LET ME KNOW. As important is general feedback. This is still in beta and it’s better to correct errors now before I start to really promote it.

I seriously hope you will leave me a comment – either good or bad. I REALLY want to know what you think.


The Greatest Epic Failure

creole-bitters1

The Bitter Truth is Often Sweet to Swallow!

A month or so back I signed up, via Coursera, to take a 10 week long class at the University of Pennsylvania on the “History of the Slave South”. Since this is one of my favorite subjects of study – a passion, no less – I’ve been anxiously awaiting the start of the class. It began today and I was absolutely astonished to find that there are people from all over the world taking this course. Folks from Australia, New Zealand, German, Spain, and England all enrolled in class dealing exclusively with the unique flavor of slavery that flourished in the Southern Colonies (and later States) of North America. Fascinating!

Today I completed my first assignment; write a brief piece in response to the question, “How was your nation or region shaped by the slave trade?

Here’s my response:

CH Jones – Resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A. / Native of Southside Virginia, Nottoway & Roanoke River Valley Region.

My home region was not only shaped by the Transatlantic slave trade, it was and in many respects, still is, completely defined by antebellum slavery – socially, politically, economically, and culturally. Volumes have been written – with many more yet to be written – about the specifics of economics and historical impact on the region. In regards to social and cultural impact, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.

In the latter part of the 18th century and early 19th century, issues of race and class distinction began to take on great significance in Virginia and North Carolina. In this period there emerged a great fear of “free” blacks – often highly skilled, moderately well educated, and surprisingly autonomous in their physical as well as social movement – “mixing with” and exciting the upward ambitions of both enslaved blacks and lower class (often indentured, or nearly so)  whites.

Upper class whites; those who most directly benefitted from a hardened, legally legitimized institution of slavery, in combination with a rigid, near-feudal caste system which kept most whites equally outside the civil and economic sphere of decision making and economic power, saw themselves as a “pure” and superior race who were destined by God to rule. They saw the mixing of races and the aspirations of lower class whites as a direct threat to their divinely ordained place at the top of society.

And yet, despite myriad laws and regulations passed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries to separate both races, classes, and even sexes, despite sophisticated “divide and conquer” psychologies used to pit poor-whites against free and enslaved blacks, despite entrenched religious justifications used to perpetuate slavery and the social caste status-quo – the “aristocracy” of the south failed to maintain and perpetuate a stratified society in which silos of race, gender, and class coexisted, separately.

Their failure is evident in every respect of the “southern antebellum” culture that arose in the 19th century, matured in the years immediately before and after the Civil War, went underground during the closing decades of Reconstruction, and then began to openly flourish beginning in the years immediately following WWI – and which thrives today openly and unapologetically, despite the lack of self-awareness of many of its most enthusiastic practitioners and beneficiaries – or its most ardent opponents.

I am a white descendant of Planation owning slaveholders. This morning my alarm clock shook me awake to the sound of Aretha Franklin belting out her now famous, and hardly demurring “Respect”; a song which, at every level, flies in the face of what the upper class, white, male social engineers of 18th and 19th century Virginia attempted to institutionalize.

When I arose from bed I showered – alone. There was no servant there to bath me, dress me, or do my hair. In fact my hair requires very little “doing”, as I wear it very short – much like the female slaves of the 19th century were required to do, as their masters found African hair unruly and offensive. So I find my own hair when it gets too long. I crop it close.

My clothing includes indigo blue dyed denim jeans (indigo being a hugely profitable crop in the plantation south, it’s cultivation, production, and application imported to the Colonies by slaves in the 19th century) – not silk or lace or taffeta. I wear flat soled work boots – not slippers or heels. I make my own coffee and I take out my own garbage.

The language I use is infused with regionalisms informed by generation upon generation of exchange between white and black and mixed race neighbors. For breakfast I’ll “crack a guinnea into my pone” (eggs & grits.) For dinner I will “cook up a mess of collards.” When I go to work I won’t leave until “I’ve hoed to the end of the row.” When I get in trouble I’m “in the stripes” (a reference to flogging or whipping.) When I’m almost done with a monolithic task, I’m, “working the short rows.” When I’m unexpectedly fortunate, I’m “shittin’ in high cotton.”

When I head out for an evening’s entertainment in Raleigh, I’ll likely venture downtown to the City Market area. There, surrounded by street musicians of every color and creed, I’ll hear strains of blues, reggae, “beach music” (a unique North/South Carolina blend of African inspired blues combined with country “dance” music), rap and hip-hop, all played out in the open air on cobbled sidewalks and streets that once hosted the weekly slave market auctions, held in this place, more than one hundred years before I was born.

Depending upon my mood, I can step into any number of restaurants offering Caribbean fare, soul-food, or low-country Creole. Inside these establishments patrons – black, white, Latino, and otherwise – mix and comingle without the least awareness of the “failed” culture in which they live.

They eat, sleep, dance, and make love together. They work side by side. They love and hate one another with undifferentiated passion – rarely based on skin color or even class – usually having to do with more common human complaints of ambition, desire, and greed.

Meanwhile, a mixed race man of half-African, continental descent sits in the “White House” (which was built entirely by slaves), and contemplates how to heal a deeply divided, racist nation that can’t seem to work through its racist history. Despite his concerns, the movie “12 Years a Slave” sits poised to sweep the academy awards, demonstrating that America may finally be paying attention to its past, after all.

The culture that thrives in my community demonstrates that Virginia, the South, and the nation as a whole – despite its many successes and social, civil advances – is the Greatest Epic Failure in the history of the western world.

Thank God.


Reading Between the Lines – Civil War Diary

COVER1862For months now I have been parsing through William Ellis Jones, II’s Civil War diary, plucking details, context, and hidden subtext from his scribbles. While the diary has been previously used by many Civil War scholars and is quoted in a countless list of books and articles about the 1862 Peninsular and Shenandoah marches and battles, no one to date had done a comprehensive study of the whole text.

Despite my lack of academic pedigree or publishing chops, I have the advantage over most of those scholars in that I’ve spent eight years studying William Ellis Jones, II’s family history. Having those details – knowing who, where, and what he came from – has given me a really precise lens through which to examine the intent and implications of the diary’s author.

That lens has allowed me to pluck meaning from seemingly benign statements. For instance; in August of 1862, William and his battery witness the advance of the whole of Jackson’s Army marching brigade after brigade into the Shenandoah Valley. He describes the endless lines of soldiers as “stretched out to the crack of doom.” This statement appears on its face to be a simple description of a very large, ominous looking advance of troops, until you dig deeper and discover why William chose to enclose the description in quotes.

“…stretched out to the crack of doom.” is a quote taken from the speech of a Mr. Stanton, published in the “Proceedings of the General Anti-slavery Convention” from the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, published in London in 1841. (Page 479.)

Mr. Stanton used the phrase in reference to the United States’ desire to extend and legalize institutionalized slavery not only within her own borders, but to use the nation’s growing international strength and influence to extend industrialized slavery into Mexico, Latin America, South America, and beyond. Today the idea that such an expansion of slavery was ever conceived seems preposterous to us, but a study of the antebellum, pro-slavery coalition operating inside and on the periphery of the United States Congress prior to the Civil War shows us that this kind of international expansion of slavery was exactly what the proto-Confederates intended. This was to become a central component of the United States foreign policy; if southerners could manage to wrest a majority in the House and Senate.

The idea that William read this speech, was familiar enough with it to quote from it, and had a firm conceptual grasp of the idea that the massive army he was watching (and serving in) represented a real physical manifestation of the policy that Mr. Stanton warned against in 1841, is simply amazing to me. He was just twenty-four years old, and had been born and reared in a city (Richmond, Virginia), whose very foundations were laid by the hands of slaves.

William in no way celebrated the idea of slavery in the use of this quote. Rather, I believe, he carefully selected it to record his true feelings about what was happening, while remaining just ambiguous enough for self-preservation (should his diary fall into the hands of one of his commanders.)

The diary is dotted with examples like this one; statements that show us the veiled concerns and conflicted loyalties of a less than enthusiastic confederate soldier.

When viewed from this perspective, it becomes clear why William chose to never write or publish any of his own words about the War, and why he chose to rear his sons with social and political leanings that were anything but in keeping with the spirit of glorification of the “Lost Cause”.

More to come.


Moving Around – Jones Locations in Post-War Richmond

One of the most interesting facets of doing genealogy work is identifying the physical places where my ancestors lived and worked. “Place” has always been a tangible entity for me. I am tied to place as much as I am to people and their stories. To me the places tell a story all their own, and form characters as relevant to our history as any other person or thing. I think of the places that were “home” to me as a child; my grandfather’s grocery store, my grandparents bungalow next door, the railroad tracks behind the house, the woods and cemeteries that surrounded my childhood home. These places are magical to me and have infused in me a sense of home and continuity that the wrecking ball and bulldozer can’t touch.

The places listed below are similar – an anchor to my past and the people who founded my generation. They represent the physical buildings and spaces occupied, footsteps still ringing in them, of those who came before me. It took me years in some cases to dig up this information, and I’ll spend years digging up more. This is just a sampling.

————-

Clemmitt & Jones in June, 1877
This is the printing shop where William Ellis Jones, II, (1838 – 1910), did his apprenticeship as a boy, worked at as a compositor until the outbreak of the Civil War, and then returned to in 1865 at the conclusion of the war.
It was located at at “Eleventh Street between Main and Cary”.

Source: Company letterhead/bill in my possession

Clemmitt & Jones - 1877

————-

In 1879, after William H. Clemmitt retires from the business, William Ellis Jones becomes sole proprietor of the printing company.

1899 “William Ellis Jones” listed the following in an imprint:
“Imprynted by William Ellis Jones, nexte ye signe of ‘The Mint’, in South Twelfth Street, Richmond, Virginia, July, 1899”

Source: Virginia Historical Society Rare Books Collection
Title: “Some notes on the first recorded visit of white men to the site of the present city of Richmond, Virginia : Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, 1607 : a paper read at a meeting of the Association for Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, held at “Laburnum”, June 10, 1899 / by Robert Lee Traylor.”
Author: Traylor, Robert Lee (1864-1907)
Published: Richmond : Privately printed [W. E. Jones], 1899
Call No: F233.42 .T82 1899

————-

In 1903 the location of the printing company was at 1207 East Franklin Street. The image below is what the building looked like.

Engraving of William Ellis Jones's Printing Shop in Richmond

Source: “Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James : the Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests”
Author: G. W. Engelhardt
Published: Richmond, 1903

————-

Residential Addresses
I’ve got the general vicinity and neighborhood for several residential addresses for the Joneses of Richmond, but so far I have only nailed down one precise location.

In 1913, the “1911-12 Yearbook of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities”, lists among its subscribers, on page 104 “Jones, William Ellis, Mrs., 2507 Hanover Avenue, Richmond, Virginia”

I believe this is the first home that Thomas Norcliffe Jones built in Richmond, for his new wife Margaret White, and their growing family. He retained the property (as a rental), and it was passed on as such to his son William after his death. When William died in 1910 and the family’s income was cut off, I believe that Addie Gray Bowles (William’s widowed daughter-in-law) sold the Henrico property and the elegant brownstone on Church hill, and moved back to this very modest home in what is now Richmond’s Jefferson’s Ward.

You can Google Earth this address and from behind the foliage get an idea of the building. When the house was built in the 1830’s the streets were dirt and this location was considered to be on the remotest outskirts of the city.


Taking It to the Next Level – Crowd-funding my Book

However, I will settle for your money.

However, I will settle for your money.

Over the last year (more), I’ve studied my Civil War and related history books and performed countless hours of online research. All this has led me to some truly amazing places; discoveries about my family’s past that I could not have imagined in ten lifetimes of imaginings. It’s been great – to say the very least.

That said, there are just some things that can’t be found through Google. I need to “go to the source” in order to get at some details that professional historians haven’t yet ferreted out or seen fit to publish. I’ll provide a few examples of what I mean:

The original manuscript of William Ellis Jones’s Civil War Diary is in Ann Arbor Michigan. I need to sit down with the original, compare it against the transcription my grandfather copied into The Baby Book, and note any errors or corrections into my own transcription for my book. In addition, I’d like to photograph the document if the library will allow that.
– Cost of that trip is going to be around $1800.00

I need to spend at least a few days at The Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia, going through their archives and learning what I can about William Ellis Jones, his business, his associations, etc.
– That trip is going to cost around $500.00

I need to spend at least two days in Richmond researching property records and wills, to determine why William Ellis Jones, III was left essentially penniless, even though his grandfather was a successful man who owned a good deal of property. (I want to prove or disprove that his uncles stole his inheritance.)
– That trip is going to cost around $500.00

I need to take several weeks (broken up over the course of several months), visiting the Civil War Battlefields that are relevant to William Ellis Jones’s 1862 march. In addition, I need to see Gettysburg, which I believe is the last battle William fought in, before Spotsylvania. And of course, I need to visit Spotsylvania, where William was wounded in 1864, effectively ending his career as a Confederate soldier.
– These trips will cost around $300.00 each (some more, some less, totaling around $3000.00)

What I would LOVE to do (although I doubt I will get the opportunity) is go to Caernarvon, Wales and do some research on Thomas Norcliffe Jones, the father of William Ellis Jones, in order to add some flavor to the section of the book that deals with William’s upbringing, his father’s devoted Welsh Wesleyan roots, and the Welsh Jones clan dynasty of authors, poets, and book publishers.
– By my best estimate, that’s a $8000.00 trip abroad.

Last but not least, I need to join the North Carolina Writer’s Network so I can get the final draft of this thing in front of some critical readers, as well as possibly luck into an interested publisher at one of the workshops or conferences (not to mention benefit immensely from the company and insight gained from co-mingling with other writers.)
– Joining fee is $75.00
– Annual Conference is $350.00 – $500.00 (depending upon where it is.)
– Workshops $75.00
– Travel for all of the above events will set me back $400.00 – $500.00

That’s quite a Christmas list. Since I stopped believing in Santa a long time ago, and since $8.00 per hour, 12 hours a week, isn’t going to get me there either – I’m taking this thing to the streets.

I am going to put together a proposal for GoFundMe.com, and start soliciting money for this project – just the same way my ancestors solicited subscribers prior to publishing a book of poetry or sermons or political rantings about ironmongers in South Wales. If people can raise thousands of dollars for pee-wee football teams or cheer leading or bone marrow transplants or breast implants, I can raise at least a few bucks to get this book printed.

I’ll let my fair readers know once I get my prop up on GoFundMe.com.

I’m building a Facebook profile and Page for this project too. (Don’t start… I know…)

I look forward to your support.


Epic FAIL | Confessions of a highly speculative genealogist.

Ouch! That Hurts!

Ouch! That Hurts!

I fell down the rabbit hole. And now I have to climb back out.

Let me explain (I need to explain it to myself) how I got to the edge of this pesky pit, and how I foolishly (naively, if completely optimistically) scurried down and then tumbled head over arse, chasing a (highly suspect, if attractively romantic) idea – only to find that I was chasing a complete fiction.

First I need to tell you what the heck I am talking about:

In researching my Jones family history, I had a number of questions I wanted to answer. Among them;
1] How did a family of barely literate shepherds manage to quickly produce; three generations of religious fanatics and ardent Welsh-nationalists; a famous poet and first novelist in the Welsh-language (William Ellis Jones, aka “Gwilym Cawrdaf”); an infamous radical (Lewis Evan Jones, Sr., of Carnarvon); a reluctant Confederate Rebel-Philosopher-turned-historian who was renowned to have one of the most extensive personal libraries in all of Virginia (William Ellis Jones, II, of Richmond); a gifted (but sadly crippled by drink) poet and playwright (William Ellis Jones, III, of Richmond, grandson of the Rebel-Philosopher); and me and my generation, who so far, I cannot find a succinct label for, as we are so unfocused and lost, and yet certainly “interesting” in our own particular peculiarities.

2] Why did Thomas Norcliffe Jones (the first Welsh ancestor to immigrate to America) chose to come to Richmond, Virginia of all places (as opposed to Utica, NY, or Pennsylvania, where most of the Welsh immigrants to the US congregated)? It seems an unlikely destination for a Middle Class Welshman. The only Welsh in Richmond in the 1830’s (when he arrived) were laborers at the Tregader Iron Works – a people who were not well-regarded by the more gentile, “Old Virginia” residents of that very race and class-conscious city.

In my quest for answers to these questions, I had precious little hard and fast information to go on. One of my primary sources is “The Baby Book”, an unpublished manuscript and collection of documents, created by my grandfather; William Ellis Jones, III, between 1929 and 1936. This document includes lovely prose style biographies of relatives, a few original documents, family trees of Welsh ancestors; most without complete names, dates, or geographical locations. The sources he cites are generally from correspondences with long-dead, distant relatives in Wales. He didn’t save the correspondences themselves; he just notes the name of the individual who supplied the data. There is one source that he did include; a letter from a college professor who supplied the translation of the preface of a Welsh language book about our ancestor, William Ellis Jones (aka “Gwilym Cawrdaf”), the famous Welsh Eisteddfod winning bard. That translation included a very enticing translator’s note, a piece of information that I glommed onto and ran with… down a deep hole.

The thing I glommed onto was this:

“…Richard and Ann Jones, grandfather and grandmother of the subject of this memoir on his father’s side, resided at Tyddyndu, between Dolgelley and Barmouth; the place, as well as Pontddu and Thy’nybuarth, was owned by them. They had two sons, William and Ellis. When they came to the proper age they were sent to the grammar school at Pwllheli. The school at that time had great distinction under the Rev. Mr. Owens. (*Note—That Goronwy Owain was in this school is seen from the Latin ode he wrote there in 1742.) Here they remained for several years…”

Who was this “Goronwy Owain”, and why did he deserve an asterisk in my family history?

The quest began thusly… I went to Wikipedia. Here’s what the wiki entry states about Goronwy Owen:

“Goronwy Owen (1 January 1723 – July 1769) was one of the 18th century’s greatest Welsh poets. He mastered the traditional bardic metres and, although forced by circumstances to be an exile, played an important role in the literary and antiquarian movement in Wales often described as the Welsh Eighteenth Century Renaissance…. A perfectionist who only published reluctantly and whose literary output is consequently relatively small, his work nevertheless had a huge influence on Welsh poetry for several generations and his poetic genius and tragic life gave him a cult status in Welsh literary circles…”

Really? And “exiled”? Where to? Well now. The answer to that question leads into a deep dark hole that I spent nearly a year exploring.

He was exiled to Virginia, not very far at all from Richmond. You can see where I am going with this?

And to make it all the more convenient, my grandfather, in his manuscript, neglected (or more likely, never managed to obtain), any birth dates for the two boys, William and Ellis Jones, who – according to the translator’s note – attended the school associated with Goronwy Owen.

I spent several weeks (months) tracking down the details of Goronwy Owen’s life and career. I managed to pin down a period of three years between 1741 and 1744 when Goronwy Owen was a young teacher at the grammar school at Pwllheli. Once I had these critical dates in hand, I did the thing that no detective or historian should EVER do – I built a plausible history (a story I wanted to be true), by forcing the few facts I had about my own family, to fit in with the well-documented history of Goronwy Owen’s spectacularly tragic life.

In essence, the story I created was this:
– William and Ellis Jones met Goronwy Owen at Pwllheli, and there they (illiterate heathens from the outback of Wild Wales) were introduced (through Goronwy Owen’s  luminous brilliance) to the enlightenment of literature, poetry, art, and intellectual pursuit.

– The relationship they formed with Owen was deep and lifelong. When others abandoned him, they stuck with him. They even maintained communication with him after his exile to Virginia (when, as history records, Goronwy Owen fell silent for several decades, only to be heard from once prior to his death in 1769.) I had absolutely NO facts to back up this theory, just enough thinly circumstantial evidence to make me believe it had to be true.

– Finally, I reasoned that even long after Goronwy Owen’s death in Virginia, that my Welsh relations (who would have been children or grandchildren of the two ‘boys”, William and Ellis Jones), stayed in contact with Goronwy Owen’s descendants in Virginia, and THAT was the reason that my ancestor, Thomas Norcliffe Jones came to Virginia.

In order to make this rather unlikely story seem even remotely possible, I had to do something to the dates that even caused me to furrow my brow. Since I did not know the dates of birth for the boys, William and Ellis, I had to make them fit the 1741-1744 dates of Goronwy Owen’s tenure at the school at Pwllheli. To make that work, the boys would have had to have been born about 1730 (give or take a couple years either way.) Which looks fine on paper. That is…

…until you consider the FACT that I did know the dates of their marriages to their respective wives, the ages of their wives at marriage, the dates of their children’s births, etc. If you examine all of this data, in context with the manufactured birth dates, the result was that both William and brother Ellis first married and began their large families (William had nine children and Ellis had at least five children) when they were in their late sixties!

In order to explain away this inconvenient circumstance, I manufactured yet another completely plausible theory about cultural tradition and an overly long-lived father who controlled the boys’ lives and means of independence, and who prevented them from pursuing their dreams and ambitions. It was a terribly romantic notion. It read well too. But the fact of the matter is that it was just one more fiction that I convinced myself was based in fact – because I wanted it to be so.

And then my bubble got busted. Big time. Ingloriously.

About nine months ago I obtained a document from the Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Records Society; “A Merioneth Family of Printers in Wales and the U.S.A”, Vol XII (iv), 1997, written by the late, esteemed Welsh historian, Dr. Lewis William Lloyd (d. 1997).

When I first got the article I was in the depth of my research into Goronwy Owen’s life. I thumbed through a page or two and planned to return to it as soon as I returned to researching my Jones ancestors. Then I promptly forgot about the document. Until last week. I pulled it off the shelf and started reading. And there was my busted bubble, complete with sourced footnotes:

“…This resourceful and enterprising family (the Richard Jones family of Dolgelly) descended from Richard Jones of Tyddyn Du, Llanaber, gent., who died in April, 1785… His modest freehold estate was located where the settlement of Bontddu took shape in the course of the nineteenth century, some four miles from the port at Barmouth on the Dolgellau road. Richard Jones had two sons, at least, by his wife Ann, namely William Jones (1757-1830), who was baptized on 3 April 1757; and [David] Ellis Jones, who was baptized on 3 April 1758…”

My whole story about Goronwy Owen providing the ignition spark of the family “genius” just blew into a thousand insignificant little pieces. The boys, William and Ellis, were almost thirty years too young to have ever come in contact with Goronwy Owen. In fact, he was already in Virginia by the time they were born.

So much for my grand, romantic, IMAGINATIVE, ideas.

Now I have to go scrub all the stuff I wrote last winter that alludes to our “Owen” connections. And now I have to start over completely; going back to the original two questions (see above), with no plausible answers on the horizon.

Let this be a lesson. Never tell the story before you have the facts to support it. To do so is to create fiction (which has its place, but not here!)

Oh well. What else am I going to do with my time? It sure has been fun being down this rabbit hole. The climb out may lead me somewhere else even more fascinating!


Goronwy Owen (1722 – 1769); Welshman, Poet, Scholar, Friend

AUTHORS NOTE: Since drafting the entry below, new facts have come to light which COMPLETELY DEBUNK several ideas put forth here in. Rather than “erase” or delete my mistakes, as if they never happened (which occurs all too frequently on the net), I have chosen to “redact” them by crossing through the patently false, or overly speculative portions of the text. For more information, please refer to my post “Epic FAIL | Confessions of a highly speculative genealogist“.

An Apology
It’s not my habit to begin any endeavor with an apology; however this effort demands it.

First; I never intended to delve too deeply into the life of Goronwy Owen, as I contemplated what should be included in this book. His life and work was to me, too complicated, too important, and too well-documented for a novice like me to even attempt it. But try as I might to leave Goronwy in the mists of epic Welsh myth, Goronwy would not leave me alone. He and his kept coming back to haunt just about every era and every other personality I touched upon as I researched and put together the drafts of my project.

Right from the beginning of my little biography of Goronwy Owen, I start with my right hand tied behind my back. Owen’s history is a complicated one, and an important one to those who care deeply about the Welsh language and its literature. He, along with his patrons and closest friends; Lewis Morris, Richard Morris, and William Morris, are largely responsible for the Renaissance in Welsh letters that began in the 18th century. That said, almost all of their correspondences, as well as the vast majority of the poetry they created, remains un-translated from the Welsh into English – and I remain wholly ignorant of Welsh.

As I contemplated this project, I struggled within myself as to whether it was even appropriate to conceive it, given my ignorance of the language this man loved, lived for, and eventually died with as his sole companion. I considered it an arrogant and conceited thing to do, to try to write anything about him when I can not read a word of anything by him. Yet as I write about my ancestors and I piece their stories together, I keep coming back to Goronwy Owen and he keeps coming back to me.

He’s a seminal figure in my own family’s drama from Merioneth, Wales to Virginia. As I turned to my resources on Owen, I found they were often contradictory, piecemeal, disorganized, and basically just difficult to get through. I had to take the story apart and put it back together in order to understand it completely. The result is what you see – as imperfect as it is – I hope it will provide a side of the story that the man himself never had an opportunity to tell.

I beg your pardon for the incompleteness of this effort.

—————-

Goronwy Owen is considered by a great majority of Welsh scholars to be the most gifted poet and linguist of the 18th century; perhaps of all time. He, along with his patron and friend Lewis Morris, almost single-handedly rescued the Welsh language and the Welsh bardic tradition from extermination. The then-fragile language faced determined and well-armed enemies charging from every direction, including; the Church, which enforced English in its services, records, and schools, and thwarted all opportunities for Welshmen to excel in its ranks; the Government, which conducted all official business in the country in the English language exclusively; from a struggling population who too easily dismissed their own heritage for the expediency of progress, adopting English or ugly “Wenglish” hybrids which were no real language at all; and finally (perhaps worst of all), from forgers and inventors, who lacking any genuine knowledge of the antiquity or etymology of the tongue, invented a false one along with fake literature to support their fiction.

Goronwy Owen; an impoverished ne’r-do-well from remote Anglesey in the far north of Wales, thwarted the English and Welsh Church, thwarted the English Government, thwarted those without a vision for Wales, and thwarted the forgers.  Unfortunately he never knew of his success. He never knew that he became a hero and a legend among Welsh patriots and literatures. Since his death in the 18th century, his story has devolved into something almost mythic.

It’s the purpose of my small biography to leave the mythic behind; let the flowery prose of admirers of his poetry have that part of his story to themselves. I simply want to lay out a coherent account of what the man did with his life, how he did it, and what became of him and his descendants. That’s the best I can do.

—–

Red Wharf Bay, Wales, Anglesey

This is the tidal flat near Llanfair Mathafarn Eithaf. Image courtesy of http://www.http://amgariadmon.wordpress.com

Goronwy Owen’s Youth
Wales is a remote country. Anglesey is more so. It’s an island on the far northwest coast of the country, separated from the main by the Manai Strait in the south, and by the Irish Sea on the west, north, and east. In the east central part of the island there is a small village known as Llanfair Mathafarn Eithaf. It sits just inland from the coast, and very near a great tidal sand flat that is among the most beautiful and unique spots on the planet. Behind the village the coast rises quickly skyward and Anglesey’s many mountains and forests create a scenery that has inspired poets for centuries. It’s a truly magical place near where, according to myth is one of the places where King Authors Round Table met.

Goronwy Owen was born in this magical place on New Year’s Day, 1722. [1]

His mother was named Sain Parri, and according to the old-Welsh custom, she kept her maiden name her whole life. What we know of her is passed down to us in fragments in letters written between Goronwy Owen and his friends. The glimpses we capture paint a picture of her import in her son’s life. We know that she was well-educated, at least as far as was common in those remote days. She could read and write well, and she was a strict instructor in educating her son in his letters, his early habits of diction, and in his grammar.

More than this though, she was his most ardent supporter and defender. She was his sole source of love and tenderness in a world that very early, showed Goronwy its cold, hard edge.

His father was named, according to the old Welsh style, Owen ap Goronw; i.e. Owen, son of Goronw. In this we have a bit of our poets’ genealogy; he was named after his grandfather.

Like Goronwy’s mother, the little knowledge we have of his father is captured only in fragments snatched from letters. The information they reveal is not kind to the man’s memory, but it’s probably truthful. All sources are universal on their opinion and character of the man, and so we must pass him forward as he comes down to us.

First, Owen was a renowned drunk. This tidbit is especially revealing in that it comes to us from a time, place, and a people who adored their malt and their rye almost as much as they loved their children. That his abuse of drink was recorded at all is an indication that he really abused his drink. But this is not all. Owen was an abusive man, paying respect to no one, on no account at all. He abused his son, and on more than one occasion Sain Parri was seen putting her small body between the big man and the little boy.

Burial Site, WalesIn those days the only bards in Wales were “tavern bards”. The great Eisteddfod’s of old were fast asleep, not to be roused again for another century. The hero warriors of Wales were all but forgotten; dust in their graves, littered about the countryside, their stones un-deciphered and their treasures un-suspected.

The only place that a poet could find an ear willing to bend to the lilt of a rhyming meter was inside the tavern, with a pint of grog in his right hand and another drunk bard hanging on his left. The bards congregated in taverns, and there they whiled away the wee hours weaving rhymes and puns of witty rejoinders that thread by thread, kept the flickering flame of the Welsh language from being snuffed out.

Owen Goronw made a regular performance of his talents in just such a way. He was reported to be a skilled tavern bard who entertained the tavern crowd while entertaining himself. He may have been an abusive drunk who barely pretended to support his family, but it’s certain that he gave his son the gift of poetry – even if he did it contemptuously and accidentally.

The Morris Family
No mention of Goronwy Owen can begin without the introduction of the Morris family. Shortly before Goronwy Owen’s birth, Richard Morris (Morys ap Richard Morys) and his wife Margaret Owen (Margaret ab Morys Owen of Bodafon y Glyn), a family of noble Welsh lineage and substantial income, moved into the neighborhood of Penrhos Llugwy. They took up residence in the premiere house in the parish; Pentref Eiriannell, establishing themselves as the ranking family in the community. There they reared and educated their children. Most notable to our story are the three sons; William, Richard, and Lewis Morris.

Some sources claim that Sain Parri, Goronwy Owen’s mother, was related to the Morrises. Others state that she was a maid servant in the household. It’s possible that she was both, or neither. What is certain is that the Morris family “discovered” Goronwy Owen when he was very young, and they took him under their collective wing.

Lewis Morris (1700 - 1765)

Lewis Morris (1700 – 1765) – This portrait was captured when Lewis was in his early-40’s.

Lewis Morris was born on March 2, 1700. He would have been in his twenties by the time young Goronwy Owen came to his attention. Given the gap between them in age, it’s unlikely that their early relationship was that of boyhood companions (as some have suggested.) By his twenties Lewis Morris was already an accomplished; some would say brilliant young man, well on his way to fame and greatness. It seems that the young Goronwy in some way distinguished himself to Lewis and the rest of the family. It’s likely that the distinction was born in the heart of Lewis’ mother, Margaret.

Decades after Goronwy Owen left Anglesy, upon learning of Margaret Owen’s death, Goronwy wrote an elegy to her memory that her sons cherished and that Welsh scholars place amongst his finest poetical work. In his letters to the brothers, he mourns Margaret’s loss as a son would. His exile from her was sharply felt by the poet, and her permanent loss was a blow. But I’m getting ahead of our story.

If Margaret was Goronwy Owen’s first “sponsor” in the Morris family, it was likely due to her pity and empathy for the boy. He dressed in rags. He was thin and always hungry. It was well-known that his father harassed him interminably, and that his mother, through her labors outside of their home was the sole support for the family. And yet, the boy was bright, energetic, humble, and grateful for any small attention paid him.

Our principal biographer, Rev. Robert Jones recounts the following:

“…he became an especial favorite of Mrs. Morris, who gave him bread-and-butter, with honey and treacle on it, and, when he left; presented him with a penny for pocket-money, paper for his school exercises, and some good advice seasoned with the pleasant prediction, ‘that he would one day make a fine fellow of a parson.’ Grateful for the kindness, he… turned round and said, “If I were a little dog, O how I would wag my tail!’”

Education
When Goronwy Owen was a small boy he attended one of Griffith Jones’ circulating schools in the nearby hamlet of Llan Algo. There he excelled most impressively, and was encouraged by his masters to continue his studies. Unfortunately Sain Parri’s household was extremely poor and while she did what she could to encourage and support her intelligent son, she was limited in her ability to send him forward.

It’s at this point in Goronwy Owen’s life that his friends become sponsors and patrons. Against Owen Goronw’s wishes, and in spite of violent outbursts against sending the boy away to school, Goronwy Owen is advanced to the Grammar School at Bangor in 1737 (across the Manai Strait, on the mainland.) There he learns his Latin and Greek, his classics, his mathematics, and his catechisms. Bangor is a renowned institution established in 1553 to serve the gentry and wealthy merchant classes of Anglesey and Gwynedd. Under the careful instruction of the schools’ headmaster, Edward Bennet and his assistant Humphrey Jones, Goronwy Owen becomes a true “classical scholar”.

He excels at school. He drinks it up like a thirsty man in a desert. He becomes a sponge for liquid knowledge and flowing contemplation. He was pronounced a prodigy at this early stage in his career. He had not quite yet earned the title of genius.

At Bangor, Goronwy is introduced, for the first time in his life (excepting the Morrises), to a better class of people than he’d ever known before. He develops friends and social contacts who show him opportunities and ambitions he could not have previously dreamed of. His imagination flowers and for the first time, he begins to see a future in these occupations which busy his mind day and night.

Welsh poetryLewis Morris takes the boy under his personal instruction during these years. He teaches him the complex rules of Welsh poetry. He gives him his first real books. He pushes him, and he is surprised – pleasantly surprised – at what the boy pushes back at him. In these early years the two become verbal and literary sparring partners, each one daring the other to greater skill and curiosity in how far they can go. A deep friendship and commitment develops that will last for decades.

Unfortunately there is no sweet without the sour. About the time that Goronwy finishes his studies at Bangor in 1741, his mother Sain Parri dies. Letters passed between the Morris brothers (Lewis and William are still in Anglesey, Richard is in England) express their deep sadness at her loss, and their concern for Goronwy’s future without her solid foundation of moral support. Their concerns were not without merit.

Long Hard Path
Goronwy returns home from Bangor. He’s just eighteen years old. His mother is not yet cool in her grave and his father has already moved another woman into the house. Gorowy is lost. He’s broke. He has no skills except his poetry, his Latin, and the magic in his mind – but these things don’t put bread on the table or coin in his pocket. These are the first minor notes forming a repetitive chord that echoes throughout his life. At this stage though, Goronwy is still energetic and hopeful. He rallies himself and throws all his ambition into attempting to find something that will utilize his education, while paying his way in the world.

Pwllheli - In the late 19th century.

Pwllheli – In the late 19th century.

Goronwy applies and (probably with the assistance of Lewis or Richard Morris) is accepted to become one of the “Masters” at the Grammar School at Pwllhelli on the west coast of Wales, about 30 miles as the crow files from his home in Anglesey. The journey by sea or on foot (most likely) probably took several weeks to accomplish. He would have arrived hungry, haggard, and penniless, but we know that he did arrive and that he taught at the school for about three years between 1741 and 1744.

While he was there, I believe he met and befriended my two ancestors William and David Ellis Jones; two country boys from the hamlet of Dolgellau in Merioneth, about twenty miles from Pwllhelli (a world away as far as they were concerned.) The relationship that he formed with them must have been similar to the one that he had with Lewis Morris; one of mentor, tutor, and friend. I know he must have made a profound impression upon them that changed the course of these two young men’s lives; as well as the lives of their children and countless descendants.

That Goronwy Owen remained in contact with these two over the years of his life is without doubt in my mind. There exists no fixed record of it except in one single line in my family history that alludes to a greater fact, backed up by too many coincidences to ignore. But once again, I am side tracked.

Advanced Degree at Jesus College, Oxford
By 1744, when Goronwy was about twenty-one or twenty-two years old, the monotony of teaching propelled him to contemplate the benefits of an advanced degree in his education. Prior to going to Pwllheli he had attempted to gain a scholarship in order to attend Jesus College at Oxford. His initial efforts failed, but he obviously kept up his entreats while employed at the school. Perseverance paid off; by 1744 we find him at Oxford.

Curiously, some of his lighter biographers doubt the voracity of this fact. Apparently the records at Jesus College are not all they should be; as it appears by the record that he was accepted by the school but that he never actually attended except for a few days in 1742. A more careful examination of his history – specifically his correspondences between Lewis, William, and Richard Morris – show that between 1744 and the end of 1745 he was in full attendance at Jesus College, and that he was successfully ordained a minister in the Anglican Church. [3] More to the point, however, is that he was an employed Anglican minister for almost twenty years. The Church of England didn’t give orders to drop-outs. Advanced degree in religion was required for service.

Servitor at Oxford

Servitor at Oxford; 18th Century

It’s without question that Goronwy received a scholarship. He probably held a servitors [4] position while he attended to his studies. It’s also very likely that the Morris brothers, Lewis in particular, helped him with expenses and pocket money while he earned his credentials. With these credentials in hand, he put himself on the path of a career in the Anglican Church.

He could not have chosen a more difficult, less rewarding path, had he hand-forged an iron spade and then dug his own grave with it.

Career in “The Church”
The Church of England and its sister, The Church of Wales, was a powerful and very determined body politic. During the eighteenth century “The Church” was determined to wipe any evidence of Welsh culture; their customs, habits, and their language, off the face of the Earth. In Wales as in England, the Bishops were all Englishmen. The schools were all head-mastered by Englishmen. The services were all conducted in English. All records were kept in English. And every important appointment to every curacy and vicarage in the country was an act of political nepotism of the English bent.

In 1745, after much searching, Goronwy Owen was appointed to a curacy (parish pastor) in Llanfair, Anglesey – his hometown. He knew the vicar there and the position was in service to his old neighborhood; a community who knew and admired him for all he’d overcome and accomplished – and for the fact that he was their own.

The appointment took place when the Bishop of Bangor (who oversaw Anglesey) was out of the country. As soon as the Bishop (an Englishman) returned, he informed the local vicar that the curacy had already been promised to “a friend of a friend” and that the Welshman would have to vacate post-haste. This was a bitter blow. It was just one of many more blows that our poet would endure as his career in the Anglican community progressed.

With the ever-dependable assistance of the Morrises, Goronwy was finally appointed to a minor curacy at Ostwestry in Denbeighshire. The place was located on the western edge of England, near the Welsh border. Most of his parishioners were English or Welshmen who had thrown off their Welsh roots. He was an alien there and they considered him as such. He was made a master at the Grammar School where he taught Latin and Greek and the Catechism to his young scholars. But there were unfair difficulties; his master was a tight, mean, ignorant man who hated Welshmen and apparently Goronwy in particular. This was no place for a Welsh poet.

Despite his unhappiness at Ostwestry, he did manage to find a bride. Her name was Elin Hughs. She was of Welsh heritage, her father having been a moderately successful ironmonger and alderman, but she knew only a little of the language. They were married at Ostwestry in 1747 and seemed happy enough. But soon after their marriage Goronwy was determined to vacate the place for a better situation.

Uppington | Donnington

Uppington | Donnington

In 1748 he believed he had found just the one. The curacy at Uppington (frequently referred to as Donnington), also in Denbeighshire, became vacant. He applied for it and won it, but it was not all that he had hoped for.

First, the salary was tiny; just 26 pounds per year.

The neighborhood had its local dilemmas – most notably a sophomoric competition between the two local Squires. Squire “Boycott” and Squire “Lee” were constantly attempting to out “Squire” the other, with their competitiveness bleeding over into the local parish church. Most vexing to Goronwy was that they each attempted to win his loyalty by inviting him to elaborate dinners – on the same Sunday at the same time. They continually put him in a position of having to choose. To further complicate matters, Squire Boycott offered as part of the curacy package, a small plot of land for a garden and cow. As soon as it became apparent that Goronwy’s loyalty would not be divided to Boycott’s preference, Boycott withdrew the land, the cow and the garden, thereby depriving Owen’s small but growing family a substantial source of nourishment and comfort.

Goronwy’s small income proved a trial for the family, with little relief from the generally impoverished neighborhood. Despite his difficulties there were bright spots during his time at Donnington. Chief among them was the birth of his first child on New Year’s Day 1749[5], a son named Robert. In January or February 1750 another son, Goronwy came along. This period seems to have been an especially productive time for the linguist and poet as well.

We learn through letters he exchanged with the three Morris brothers that he has perfected his mastery of the Hebrew language. He asks the brothers to look for books for him in London, especially Arabic grammars.  He’s eager to learn as much as he can of the “eastern” languages. His letters are filled with discussions of idiom, etymology, rules of grammar in Welsh and the dissection of compound words and corruptions in the language. They also overflow with despair at his distance from his friends, his isolation from everything Welsh, his incessant poverty, and his dislike of the English and their attitudes toward him.

In his communications, we see dark clouds starting to crowd into his once ebullient prose. Sarcasm replaces humor. Bitterness bites out from the pages and rips at the loose threads of his critics. Most notably, on March 25, 1752, he explodes in a tirade against Reverend D. Ellis, regarding a minor slight that Ellis felt Goronwy had made. The outrage which explodes from Goronwy’s pen demonstrates that it’s not just Ellis he’s outraged with. This screed has been building for a long time and he found his vent in a slim excuse. His verbiage is cutting, ruthless, and brutal. It illustrates the heart of an angry man who is clinging (barely) to shreds of threadbare pride. The verbal assault against poor Ellis is like that of a terrified animal striking out ferociously against a predator in a last desperate attempt to save its life. It’s so far beyond proportion as to be almost humorous, except what it reveals is too serious to make light of.

Welsh Anglican Parish ChurchIt’s clear that the cow-towing life of a Welsh cleric in an English world is getting the better of him. Poverty also; constantly having to beg assistance from friends to provide for his family is wearing him down. But the worst of all is seeing lesser men; lesser in his eyes in terms of their intelligence, accomplishment, and ability, find easy positions in localities he envies. His lack of progress is frustrating and humiliating. While Goronwy still maintains his outward humility, he knows that he is a genuine scholar. He believes this should be enough to send him into a position worthy of his skill and acumen. But inside the politics of the Anglican Church this will never happen; he is a Welshman. Still he hopes and tries – in vein.

In early April of 1753, Goronwy learns at last that his friend, Mr. William Morris, has been able to assist him with a new appointment; and one with a substantial increase in salary to 35 pounds per annum. The place is Walton, very near the seaport of Liverpool in the west of England.

Goronwy Owen set off on foot from Donnington to his new situation at Walton (a journey of perhaps thirty miles), which was especially dangerous given the grave risk of highwaymen, gypsies and random thugs along the path. It most likely took him several weeks to complete. He left his wife and family behind without any real plan of how to move them. He also left his books; something as precious to him as his own children.  Once again we find the Morrises coming to his aid. Within a few weeks the family – but not his books – joined him at Walton.

In the exchanges between the Morris brothers we see an ever-growing determination to get Goronwy back to Wales among friends. They try, but at every turn their attempts are thwarted by the anti-Welsh establishment of the Church.

Goronwy’s letters to Lewis and Richard of this period are filled with poetry and the criticism of the poor state of the Welsh language. He wants “some scholar” to create a really good Welsh Grammar. He complains that his books still have not come to him from Walton. He asks for the brothers to send him new books from England. He complains again about his poverty and isolation. His angst and misery have no outlet except through his letters. He has no friends nearby and no one to converse with in his native tongue.

And so, as anyone else in his situation might, he goes looking for an outlet.

Liverpool SlummingA Second Life in the Taverns
Recall that the refuge of the Welsh bard was the tavern. It was a refuge his father knew well. And it was here, in the low streets of Liverpool, that Goronwy Owen found Welsh sailors and Welsh tavern bards who welcomed him and his effusion of rhyme and meter with open arms and with open taps.

The best of the bards had always come from the common class of Wales. The society itself was not so obsessed with rank (and rank upon rank) as the English. In the leveled rank of everyday folks, the bards emerged as they always had, and in the common tavern their arts flourished and were sustained – no matter how ardent the attempts to snuff it out by the Church, the Government, and the aspiring gentry who eschewed Welsh and sent their children to Exeter.

Goronwy Owen was, by this point in his life, openly acknowledged by his intellectual peers to be among the finest minds in Wales. His brilliance was known and credited, but still he lived in near abject poverty and constant debt. His career was relegated to the absolute backwaters of a kingdom that wholly disregarded him, and not even his closest friends could substantially remedy the situation.

We also have to understand that by this time the Morris brothers were all well-established in their own successful careers. Lewis, especially, had become a man of real status in England, and wealthy as a consequence. His reputation for excessive living was renowned, as was his reputation for engaging in endless legal battles regarding his various, lucrative business interests. Goronwy must have quietly chafed at the comparison. Lewis and he were intellectual equals in almost every respect. Except Lewis had every advantage of status and wealth, while Goronwy rotted in the wastelands. The only difference between them, as far as Goronwy could determine (and some scholars might agree), was the distinction of their birth. Had their situations been reversed, it might have been Lewis groveling for half a shilling to send a letter to his friend in London.

Lewis and Richard were deeply troubled by the reports they heard coming back from Liverpool. Drunken debauchery was nothing new to either of them and certainly nothing new to the period in Wales. But the rumors that began filtering in to Richard and Lewis contained more than drunkenness. More than the usual illicit exploits which were more common than not in that era. Lewis was no Puritan – his reputation as a glutton, a heavy drinker, and a flagrant womanizer were already widely renowned (almost to the point of celebration in the bawdy repartee between himself, his brothers, and their close circle of friends.)

Whatever it was that piqued their concern in regards to Goronwy’s behavior – it was more than just drink and women.

Maybe, as one biographer has suggested, William Morris is affronted by Goronwy’s tavern conduct because he personally intervened to secure the position at Waltion, and felt that Goronwy’s behavior reflected negatively on himself and the Morris family in general. This is certainly possible. However, the Morrises were not ardent Anglicans any more than they were Puritans. They were men of the Enlightenment who didn’t subscribe to the superstitions of most religious tenet. Had they been more dedicated to the Church of England they may have had more influence in securing a better situation for their friend.

This writer believes that whatever it was that brought on the censure from the Morris brothers is something more egregious than adultery or drunkenness. The letters exchanged between the four only whisper and allude. Nothing specific is spoken openly of. Just reproach and disapproval – condemnation. Something to do with Goronwy’s wife is mentioned (she’s taken to open drinking too.) The brothers are brutal in regard to her character. Meanwhile, in his response to these letters, Goronwy expounds on the fact that one of the greatest injustices the Welsh language has endured is that it has not been preserved and disseminated in print, as every other European language has. Is he intentionally ignoring the elephant in his small room? Or is he too humiliated to even defend himself?

Goronwy Owen has become a public drunk; a tavern lurker who seeks his companionship among the lowest of the low. They, apparently, are the only people who will provide his fragile self-image the approbation he so deeply craves. This is the world he occupies by darkness. In the light of day he writes letters to his friends exploding with poetry and prose the likes of which, scholars tell us, is as finessed and beautifully crafted as any other produced in the Welsh language. On Sunday’s he’s in the pulpit preaching morality and God’s equal justice and life everlasting, Amen. But he doesn’t believe it. He hasn’t experienced it. All he’s known since the death of his mother is humiliation, poverty, and disappointment.

He has other concerns too. His daughter Elin, who was born a few months after the family arrived at Walton, dies after a short illness on September 15, 1753. Her loss is devastating to Goronwy, who drowns his sorrows in elegy’s and ale. Compounding this, his sons are growing up without the Welsh language. Their accents are crude and as ugly as any in the worst parts of England. He feels he’s losing them to a society that will never appreciate them. He still learns regularly that much sought after promotions have gone to lesser men. One in particular, in Dolgellau, has been given to an Englishman. The loss of this one was especially painful, as it would have located him near close friends; his old students from Pwllheli William and David Ellis Jones, both now grown men. He grieves its loss but he tries to console himself in hyperbole;

“I was never so sanguine as to promise myself success, and therefore can have no disappointment.”

These are the words of a man resigned to failure. He’s breaking down to cliché where once there was energetic sarcasm and anger. The brothers Morris can’t help but see the rapid decline in the mental and physical condition of their friend. They conspire a solution to save their brilliant but ever more desperately spiraling poet-philosopher.

London

“…pregnant with mischief.”

The Temptations of London
In April 1755, Lewis Morris writes to Goronwy offering him an opportunity to come to London to establish a Welsh language church service sponsored and supported by the Honorable Society of Cymmrodorion –  also the office of Secretary in that society in which his responsibilities would require the translation of various texts. The situation was perfect for Goronwy. It was work among people he loved and who appreciated his talents. Moreover, the Secretarial position at the Society rendered status (if not accompanying income) that could at least assuage his deflated self-image.

On the basis of this letter (which offered no promise or contract terms), full of hope and optimism, Goronwy resigns his position at Walton and proceeds on foot to London, once again leaving his family and his books behind. Both Lewis and Richard Morris were in town when he arrived some weeks later. How they received him, it is not known, but it must have been an apprehensive – if still joyful reunion. The first few weeks were no doubt spent introducing Gornwy to fellow Welshmen in London, and acquainting him with the various booksellers and places of interest in that cosmopolitan city; a city that Goronwy had never seen the likes of before in his life.

Lewis and Richard, and perhaps William too, chipped in to move Goronwy’s family from Walton to the metropolis. The family of four took up residence in a garret apartment on Bread Street Hill. Goronwy began to plan and work toward his new establishment.

Unfortunately, he also discovered the local taverns that were as common as mice in his neighborhood. His biographer, Robert Jones writes that his explorations in London “…were pregnant with mischief.”

History does not reveal to us what happened to this grand scheme on the part of the Morris brothers. What is known is that the Bishop denied the Cymmrodorion Society’s request for a curate, even though the Society was willing to fund it themselves. From there, the Secretarial position at the Society also fell through. It’s likely, though not recorded, that whatever trouble Goronwy created for himself in Liverpool, he brought the same habits with him to London.

It needs to be noted if it is not understood, that at least a plurality of Welshmen in London at the time would have been early adopters of the non-conformists sects. Whether Presbyterians or very early Methodists; they believed in a rigid morality; an adherence to temperance, and above all, a refraining from anything that smacked of the controversial. Goronwy Owen would have flown in the face of everything the main body of the Cymmrodorion Society believed was acceptable; regardless of what founders Lewis and Richard Morris thought of his brilliance.

Almost as soon as Goronwy Owen arrived in London, the three brothers begin conspiring to get him out of town. Whatever it is he has done (or is doing) it’s a serious complication to the brothers’ reputation, given their patronage and promotion. It’s unclear whether their hope to get him back to Wales is for Goronwy’s benefit, or for theirs. Given the disparity between their social and real conditions, it seems likely that Goronwy made himself an embarrassment to all who are associated with him. For what specific cause, we will probably forever be in the dark.

Further complicating matters between Goronwy and the Morrises is an issue of money and things. This problem seems trivial to our 21st century eyes, but in the era, it was a very real problem without an easy solution.

HarpDebt and Disregard
In order to finance his removal from Walton, Goronwy borrowed twelve pounds, placing his books and other cherished property as security against the debt. The books and other property remained with the lender at Walton while Goronwy moved on to London. The issue is that among the property was a particularly cherished and valuable antique Leathern Harp (an ancient and rare musical instrument), which had been lent to Goronwy ostensibly to teach his son Robert to play. The harp belonged to William Morris. Morris was incensed to learn that his property had been “hocked” and was now in the care of a stranger who had no sense of its antiquity, its value, or its proper care.

This marks the first serious breach between the Morris brothers and the genius poet.

In defense of Goronwy, we have to admit that it’s unlikely that he would have let his precious books get away from him. In William Morris’s defense, it was the principal of the thing. He considered it a grave demonstration of disrespect.

A Last Opportunity
Regardless of all this, the brothers were determined to find a situation for their friend. They did their work quickly and efficiently now that their own reputations were under observation. Lewis Morris, through his connections at the Temple (the legal courts in London) found an open curacy at Northolt, managed by a Dr. Nichols, who was Master of the Temple and also Vicar of Northolt. The salary was fifty pounds annually and the situation was located within twelve miles of London; far enough that Goronwy could be contained (hopefully), but near enough that they could keep their eye on him.

This new situation would have seemed ideal for any ordinary curate. The property offered a lovely, extensive garden which Goronwy aspired to manage, and it offered proximity to London in order to maintain his contact with the Welsh literati in town; those more supportive of him than some of the more puritanical dissenters among the Welsh in London.

Initially it seemed as if this plan would succeed. Goronwy found at least one friend at Northolt who spoke Welsh, a gardener who our poet nicknamed “Adam” in tribute to his talents. Together they planned a lovely garden and tended it together. It produced several moving lines of poetry from Goronwy’s pen, among them; “The poetry of earth is never dead.”

For a while Goronwy seems contented. He takes up fishing and writes poetry while reclining out of doors beside his trout stream. His garden grows and friends from London visit. His mood seems to be improving and he is writing as brilliantly as ever. It’s unfortunate that contentment was a stranger to Goronwy Owen. His only true companion for decades had been discomfort, isolation, and the gripping fear of failure. For the first time in his life he’s in a good situation, relatively near friends, and able to put food on the table for his children. The radical turn of circumstances left him unbalanced. In truth, Goronwy didn’t possess the tools to tend an abundant garden.

Half Moon Tavern, London

Half Moon Tavern, London

Shortly Goronwy made his way to London and to the Half Moon Tavern where the Cymmrodorion Society held its monthly meetings. In the tavern the usually reserved Goronwy Owen cast off the robes of the clergyman and revealed the dark tavern bard residing in his soul. He was the life of the party on more than one occasion. He was the centerpiece of conversation. And far too often he was too much for the Morris brothers to keep in check.

It’s unknown exactly what happened (there is an intimation that Elin is involved in some way) and exactly when it all came to a head, but sometime between late 1756 and early 1757, while Goronwy was still curate at Northolt, a fantastic breach occurred between Goronwy Owen and his friends and patrons. The results were catastrophic and permanent to Goronwy Owens career – as well as to his life – and unfortunately to the progress of the Welsh language and its literature.

Goronwy lost his curacy at Northolt and none other was put forth to replace it.

Broken Relationships and Broken Dreams
In May of 1757, in the last letter that we have from Goronwy’s pen to Richard Morris, we see him severing the relationship coolly, returning all of Richards books and manuscripts, and politely requesting that his manuscripts be returned to him. In what appears to be an almost childlike attempt at a peace offering to Richard, he includes in the box of books a pair of doves from his dove-house at Northolt. He offers these as a gift with his best regards.

In a twist of fate that is so in keeping with Goronwy’s entire life story, the delivery of the box is delayed significantly, and the birds inside expire. By the time the box reaches Richard, his books smell like carrion and are permanently marred with seepage from the decaying flesh of the rotting animals. Richard Morris is incensed. He obviously did not appreciate the attempt at peace-making. Goronwy Owen’s fate is sealed.

In their final conspiratorial act regarding Goronwy Owen’s career, the Morris brothers quietly petition friends to have him gotten out of England, out of Wales, and out of their way. For nearly twenty years they failed to help Goronwy gain a suitable position; one that would support his family and challenge his demanding brain. But now, almost instantly and inexplicably, Goronwy Owen is offered the Mastership of a brand new Grammar School at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The job paid 200 pounds per annum – a fortune to an impoverished man like our poet. And topping it off, the offer came directly from the Bishop of London himself; Dr. Porteus, who was also the Chancellor of William and Mary in London.

Among other glowing recommendations and qualifications for this new role, Dr. Porteus described Goronwy Owen as “…the most finished writer of Latin since the days of the Roman Emperors.”

Goronwy knew the origin of the offer, and its intent. It was an offer he could not refuse.

William and Mary never had a Grammar School before this offer was dropped in Goronwy Owen’s lap. And the college, as impressive as it is today, was not, in that era, a destination spot for high intellectual pursuit. It was a school for making literate men out of rural planters sons; giving them the skills necessary to become successful men of agriculture and commerce. It’s clear to this author that the Lewis brothers moved heaven and earth, calling in considerable favors and sparing no expense, to get Goronwy Owen out of their way.

They succeeded. They may as well have had him hanged.

Exile
It’s a well-known fact that before America became the “Land of Opportunity” to millions of would-be immigrants, it was the dumping ground for all of England’s failures, criminals, and undesirables. Richard Hakluyt wrote, in 1584, in his long list of benefits of developing colonies abroad, that England could rid herself of unwanted persons and surplus population in the kingdom by “planting” them in the colonies. Hakluyt’s recommendation became English national policy, which was in full effect in 1757 with Goronwy Owen as its latest victim.

FrigateBy December of 1757 the family things were packed, passage was booked, and the plan was sealed. In what appears to be a last minute twinge of guilt, Richard Morris steps forward and upgrades the family’s accommodations on board the vessel to the best class berth available. This, at least, would help make the voyage somewhat more tolerable, and possibly healthier.

The Atlantic crossing was a notoriously risky undertaking. Weather always made the trip treacherous. Food generally spoiled before the end of the voyage. Fresh water went putrid or ran out completely. And due to over-crowded conditions, disease spread rapidly among passengers and crew. Few if any ships made the crossing without losing at least one, and usually many of its passengers.

This particular crossing was not unique. A large party of the ships passengers were convict women being sent into bonded service in the colonies. Before they even made it out of the Channel, these women began plying various illicit trades in service to the Captain and crew. Not long after, a serious infection spread among the ships passengers. Goronwy was impressed into service as both physician and pastor. Failing in the first occupation – for which he had no training – he succeeded in the second; consigning too many souls to heaven and their bodies to the depths.

Before they arrived in Virginia, Elin – who was pregnant at the time of their departure – was dead. (If this news reached the Morris’s, who had always reviled her, what was their reaction? Gladness? Regret? Nothing at all?) Goronwy Owen was cast into a new, completely alien country with two young sons to care for alone. He must have been absolutely desperate.

How he made it through those first few months is unknowable. It must have been incredibly difficult, both physically and emotionally. This man loved his country more than he loved his own life. He’d penned thousands of lines that regaled Wales majesty and beauty. Her mountains, her lush river valleys. Her rolling countryside and sweeping vistas – like the fantastic tidal flats beneath sheer cliffs on the east coast of Anglesey – near the small village where he had been born and grew into a young man. He’d been exiled from Wales for the better part of his life, but he never gave up her beauty and magic. He never stopped dreaming of returning.

chesapeake-bay-wetlandsThat was before. When Goronwy Owen set foot on the sandy soil of Southside Virginia, everything he saw before him was flat and plain. It was a two dimensional landscape, horizontal and vertical, but with no depth; no dimension. It might has well have been a million miles from Anglesey, or all the way to the moon. He knew he’d never see Anglesey again. He knew he’d never hear the poetry of his language lilt from the lips of a truly gifted bard. It was over. The dream was done.

Back in England, the Morrises wasted no time collecting their copies if Owen’s manuscripts – his beautiful poetry – and assembling them, editing them, sorting then, and preparing them for publication. The body of work was massive and the task took several years, but in 1763 the first edition of Y Diddanwych Teulauaidd was introduced. It was edited by Huw Jones of Langwm (a person whose talents and gift of comprehension, Goronwy Owen did not approve.) The introduction was written by Lewis Morris, but it is left unaccredited in this edition. Perhaps Lewis felt it a touch unseemly to be seen introducing and profiting from the work of a man he’d recently been so impatient to exile from the country.

It’s likely that Goronwy Owen never saw a copy of this book. Even less likely that he ever received a penny from its proceeds. It’s possible he never even knew the book existed until many years after it was published. What is known is that a second edition never came forth until long after Goronwy Owen’s death. Who knows, maybe he learned of the book and threatened to sue. (That’s a thought that makes one smile, especially given the legendary litigiousness of Lewis Morris.)

Virginia
This author would love nothing better than to finish this part of the story by informing my readers that Goronwy Owen turned over a new leaf upon his arrival in Virginia. It’s possible that he attempted to – but fate was never kind to this man – and fate was not done with him yet.

Owen was made Master of the Grammar School attached to the College of William and Mary on April 7, 1758. There he had the charge of an unknown number of scholars, most under the age of sixteen years. He taught Latin and Greek. At least one of his former students, a man named E. Owen, recalled him in a letter dated 1795, as “…a blunt, hasty-tempered Welshman, and esteemed a good Latin and Greek scholar.”

Within a year of arriving at William and Mary, Goronwy appears to have improved his circumstances considerably; most notably by marriage. Whatever his charms, he worked them successfully on a lady of substance, a widow, and sister to the President of the College, Mr. Thomas Dawson. History has unfortunately not left us with a record of her Christian name; she is only given to us as “Mrs. Clayton.” Her fate, once bound to Goronwy Owens, was almost doomed from the start. All we know of this period is that Goronwy seemed to stay out of trouble; a credit no doubt due to his accomplished and respectable wife. This moment of relative calm ends when “Mrs. Clayton” dies within a year of the marriage. They had no children together; that seems a fortunate turn, at least.

A year after her death Owen’s position within the cloistered community of the College has deteriorated to the point that he is dismissed on what appears to scholars more contemporary to his time than ours, as a trifling excuse that served as a “last straw” of sorts. The actual event that is alleged to have caused the resignation or dismissal was a drunken brawl between the young men of the town and the young men of the college; led at the helm by Goronwy Owen and another professor named Mr. Jacob Rowe. Both men were ousted from the College by August, 1760.

Mr. Rowe returned to England, to friends and family. Goronwy Owen had no refuge except his credentials and his ability to make excellent introductions for himself. (Would that he was as able of keeping his friends as he was of making them!)

As if fate and timing were not already cruel enough, it’s during this period that his youngest boy, Goronwy Jr., died. How his father took the loss, we can’t know. It’s certain that he was broken by it, at least for a time. But he still had Robert and for Robert – if nothing else – he soldiered on.

Brunswick County

Brunswick County

St. Andrews, Brunswick County
Within a few months of his forced separation from William and Mary, Goronwy secured an appointment from Virginia Governor Francis Fauquier to the remote (and I do mean remote) parish church of St. Andrews in Brunswick County, Virginia. The distance of this parish from the Capital (then Williamsburg) was less than fifty miles south west as the crow flies. But in real distance and difficulty it was many times farther. Between the two locales lay a broad, very shallow, nearly unnavigable tidal sound, and many miles of completely unoccupied, thickly overgrown wilderness. In that era the only roads through this part of inland Virginia were rivers. Getting from Williamsburg to Brunswick County in 1760 using the most efficient means would have required boarding a vessel on the river at Williamsburg and sailing down to the port at Newport News or Hampton, then changing vessels and heading out into the Atlantic Ocean, turning south for fifty miles or so, then back in to a port at either Ocracoke or Portsmouth Island (a treacherous event, even today.) From there he would have had to board a barge which would carry him north and up to the Albemarle Sound, then up the mouth of the Roanoke River. The Meherrin River, a tributary of the Roanoke, would have taken him north and west to Brunswick County. This journey involves about two hundred miles of navigation around some of the most difficult shoals and reefs in the world. It’s known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic in tribute to the thousands of vessels and countless lives lost in this one narrow area of coastline. It’s not a trip anyone in that era would have taken lightly. It’s not a trip that skilled sailors take lightly today.

Barring a water passage, there were Indian footpaths through the forest. They were irregular, unmarked, informal highways used by hunters and trappers and a few straggling Indians who remained in the bush. Whichever route was selected, the trip would have been an undertaking almost as dangerous and certainly as uncomfortable as the Atlantic Crossing made by Goronwy Owen just two years previous.

Today this part of Southside Virginia still seems exquisitely remote. It has never, despite the passing of more than two-hundred and fifty years, had any serious industry operating in its vicinity besides agriculture. The people who are generationally native to this corner of the world still have the remnants of a peculiar accent and rhythm of speech, due to their general isolation from the rest of the state (and the world.) It wasn’t until the first paved roads were put through in the late 1930’s that the people of this region became exposed to the rest of Virginia and the larger community of America. Even today it retains much of the charm – and much of the backwardness – its isolation preserved for so many centuries.

In Owen’s time, this part of Virginia was an even more rural, sparsely populated woodland than the one I describe above. Its few residents were all farmers, and almost all of them engaged in growing tobacco for export to England and other parts of Europe. The trade that occurred (moving tobacco to market and goods back to farms) occurred via the rivers. The residents of Brunswick County made their preferred ports the one at Elizabeth City, North Carolina, or at Wilmington, NC – both being easier and safer to get to than the larger, busier ones in Virginia.

All of this geography and history is given as a means of emphasizing Goronwy Owens’ final and absolute exile from everything and everyone known to him. By coming to St. Andrews, he’d arrived, literally as much as figuratively, at the end of the road.

His life in that place must have been for him a maddening monotony of seclusion. If he felt isolated in Walton or Donnington, here he learned what real isolation was. His neighbors were not poets. They were not Welshmen. They were not learned men, not scholars. Most probably didn’t even bother to attend church regularly to hear his barely prepared sermons. Certainly among them he found some kind souls, but he never found a circle of indulgent, erudite friends like those he had and had lost in Wales and England. The people of rural Brunswick County were hard people, smart about the things that mattered to their survival; but they probably had little patience with a poet-philosopher wrapped up his own pathos. They were too busy building what would become agricultural empires, making some of their children and grandchildren among the wealthiest people in America. They were not scholars, but they were industrious as hell.

Tobacco Cultivation in Colonial Virginia

Tobacco Cultivation in Colonial Virginia

It’s entirely possible that their model provided just the kick in the pants that Goronwy Owen needed.

From his little Parish Church in St. Andrews, Goronwy Owen somehow managed to conspire some method of obtaining a small farm. Like his neighbors, he planted tobacco. Before long, he was married again. His third wife; Joan Simmons, gave him three children; Richard Brown Owen, Goronwy Owen (named after the lost son), and John Lloyd Owen.

In the ten years between his arrival in Virginia and 1767, no evidence of communication survives between Goronwy and his friends or relations either in England or Wales. It’s reasonably well-documented that among his former patrons, there were attempts to communicate with him – to get some word of how he was doing and his whereabouts. None of these attempts were successful as far as the records reveals. However, some communication between the bard and someone back home must have occurred, because in 1767 a letter from Goronwy arrives at the Navel Office in London addressed to Richard Morris.

Its contents, among general greetings, contain an Ode on the Death of Lewis Morris. Lewis died in April of 1765, and word somehow got to Goronwy. Ten years had elapsed since he repartee’d with his old friends, and yet this ode stands among the finest poetic work ever produced from the pen of Goronwy Owen. His skill and his talent had not dulled an iota, despite the time spent in exile from his native tongue and his literary sparring partners.

Richard Morris was moved. Terribly moved by the letter and the Ode. His response to Goronwy, the biographers tell us, is filled with genuine affection and sincere feeling for the loss of his old friend. His sorrow is profound and the depth of it is genuine. He attempts to heal the once deep breach between them and he regrets it ever occurring. His effusions of regret are lengthy and his evident sense of guilt and is unmistakable.

As fate would have it (cruel as she is) – Goronwy Owen is dead and in the ground by the time Richard’s letter reaches Virginia. No response was ever returned. There was nothing but silence. Dead silence for decades.

Robert Gets the Last Word
Thirty years later, in 1795, other attempts are made to locate the bard or his descendants. His son Robert was located, still living in Brunswick County. His response upon being asked for information about his father was, ‘…before I give the information, I must first know who will pay me for it.’

Robert Owen; born in England and dragged, along with boxes of books, from one poverty-stricken post on one end of England to the next. His sister lost to malnutrition or lack of medical care. Then the whole family cast across an ocean like convicts. His mother dead at sea with a baby in her belly. His little brother lost in the backwoods of a godforsaken country no rational person would chose to live in. His father all the time moaning about the brilliance of a language that no one but he can speak. And then the old sot dies when Robert is not yet twenty years old. Madness. Infernal madness! Of course he hates these people inquiring about his so-called famous father. If his father was so damned important, why didn’t they save him and the rest of his family from this interminable exile when they still could have? Bastards!

That’s probably about what ran through Robert Owen’s mind when the letter arrived. The last thought he had on the subject was likely, ‘They can all go to hell.’

It’s the last that England or Wales would have for more than a century on what became of Goronwy Owen. It was a fitting slap in the face to a nation that turned its back on its brightest son. Anything less would have been disingenuous.

Real Friends
How did Goronwy Owen learn of the death of Lewis Morris in April of 1765? Lewis was a wealthy and successful businessman, but by the time of his death he was in his retirement at his country home at Penbryn on the west coast of Wales. His celebrity in England was not so grand that his death much registered there. It certainly would not have made the newspapers in the colonies of America. Even if it did, it’s unlikely that the news would have made it as far as Brunswick County.

So how did Goronwy Owen hear of it?

His biographers tell us that there is no evidence of his correspondence with anyone in Wales or in England between 1760 and 1767. No physical evidence perhaps; but there is circumstantial evidence of correspondence between Wales and Virginia in those interim years, as well as evidence of continued association between Owen’s American born descendants and the children and grandchildren of Owen’s old friends in Wales.

The first matter of circumstantial evidence is simply that someone got the news about Lewis Morris’s death to Goronwy Owen within a few months of its occurrence.

The second matter of evidence is the existence of William Jones and his brother, David Ellis Jones. These two men were rural farm boys when they met Goronwy Owen at the Grammar school at Pwllheli. Their father was a barely literate yeoman farmer. But from the time of their departure from Pwllheli they were both dedicated scholars of Welsh, of Latin and Greek, and of Hebrew. William, who had been intended for the Church by his father – declined the opportunity [6] (despite the vast leap in social status it would have offered both his immediate and extended family.) It’s this author’s belief that William saw (and suffered with) the career of his friend – a brilliant man and gifted scholar – and determined that the life of a Welshman in the English Church was not the life he wanted for himself.

You have to understand how unusual it was for a son in that day to thwart his father’s plans for his career. Declining the opportunity to take orders – William’s fathers primary wish – was a brazen and rebellious act. And it was not at all in keeping with the sober character of the man we know William became. He was a good man, a good son, and an excellent father. But he could not, by his own account, take orders in the Church of England, and he didn’t. He became a printer and a non-conformist preacher, an ardent nationalist who spawned several generations of Radical Welshmen who carried the flame of their language forward – demanding respect and earning it every step of the way.

Our next matter of circumstantial evidence is the first book that we know William Jones of Bryntirion published; a Welsh-English dictionary – a book that Goronwy Owen lamented for decades was the single most wanted volume in all of Welsh lexicography. This book was probably not the book that Goronwy would have published had he ever been given the opportunity, but it was a start; a new beginning for the language. If nothing else it was homage to an old friend’s dream.

An even stronger association exists in one of the publications of William Jones of Bryntirion’s son, Lewis Evan Jones. His office printed the second edition of Y Diddanwch Teuluaidd in 1817, following the first edition (1763) produced by Lewis Morris and Huw Jones as soon as Goronwy Owen was out of the country. Lewis Evan Jones extended this successful book into a periodical, which ran for several years.

From here we have to look forward into the generations of descendants among both families.

Robert – the son who wanted payment from wealthy former friends of his father – he named his first son William Ellis. If this is an amazing coincidence, I’ll be the first to admit it. But to me the sentiment is not coincidental. He named his son after the best, truest friends (William and David Ellis Jones) he felt his father ever had. The coincidence does not end here. Other sons were named Lewis and Richard, creating a pattern of repetitive first-naming that persists in the same generations among the children of William and David Ellis Jones.

The evidence grows even stronger on down the line.

Franklin Lewis Owen, fifth grandson of the bard, settled in Mobile Alabama, where he held offices of the Federal Government, among them, collector of the port. He reared a large family there and was well-respected and established. One of his sons served in the confederate Army upon the outbreak of the Civil War.

Rather inexplicably – and coincidentally – Richard Evan Jones, son Lewis Evan Jones, grandson of William Ellis Jones of Bryntirion, immigrated to America and settled in Mobile, Alabama (almost 500 miles away from his closest cousins in Virginia.) In Mobile he became active in civic concerns, an established pillar in the community, and was – like Franklin Lewis Owen’s son – a Confederate War soldier and veteran. The two men had to have known one another as friends and neighbors. The idea that Richard Evan Jones chose to locate himself in Mobile, Alabama (rather than Richmond, for example, where he had known family relations) is absolutely insupportable to me, except that he had equally dear friends in Mobile willing and able to help him. Those friends, I put forward, are the descendants of Goronwy Owen.

My final and most compelling piece of circumstantial evidence is the immigration to America of Thomas Norcliffe Jones, son of David Ellis Jones (Goronwy’ Owens’ student at Pwllheli), and brother to the renowned bard and scholar William Ellis Jones (Gwilym Cawrdaf), in the period just following the War of 1812.  As far as the records show, Thomas Norcliffe Jones had no friends and no family in Virginia. Richmond was not a destination point for Welsh immigrants of the period. There was no evidence of any Welsh community in Richmond; unlike other parts of the country; Utica New York and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, as example. Nevertheless, to Richmond he went, and there he and his family prospered.

I believe that Thomas did have friends in Richmond. I believe that the sons and grandsons of Goronwy Owen were established in Richmond before Thomas Norcliffe Jones arrived, and that they assisted him and helped him and his son William assimilate into the close-knit community of Richmond’s old, colonial era families. There is almost no other way to explain William Ellis Jones (1838 – 1910), son of Thomas Norcliffe Jones, instant entrance into the closed clique of Virginia Society, or his rapid rise into the social elite of that town. Had he been just the unconnected son of a brand new Welsh immigrant, this ascent would not have been possible.

I’ll take it one step further and state that I believe that the reason my ancestor, William Ellis Jones (1838  1910), the confederate soldier and historian/publisher of Richmond, converted to the Episcopal Church in opposition to his father’s Presbyterian loyalties was as a direct result of the influence of the Goronwy Owen connection. Goronwy Owen’s descendants would have remained in the Established Church of England as long as their father lived. Once the American Revolution was concluded, the Episcopal Church, still tied in principal to the Church of England, became the house of worship and indeed the center of society for the best classes among all Virginia’s citizens. William would have naturally wanted to affiliate himself with this established clan.

Goronwy Owen was a vociferous letter writer. His mind over-flowed with verbiage, ideas, and observation that needed an outlet. When his exile was complete and his ties with the Morris brothers were severed, does it seem reasonable that he just silenced his brain and put down his pen? It’s impossible. He continued his correspondences with those old friends who were willing and happy to hear from him. I doubt seriously that the Jones Brothers in Dolgellau were his only pen-pal companions. I don’t doubt that the letters have not survived. The Jones of Dolgellau were not the “great men” of England whose letters were considered valuable historical artifacts before the ink was dry on their pages.

These men, William and David Ellis were not wealthy. They were not men of prestige and fortune like Lewis Morris, or his brothers William and Richard. They were, however, loyal forever friends.

Goronwy’s isolation in Brunswick County Virginia may have been a nearly unbearable exile to the genius poet. But that exile, I am convinced, was made endurable by frequent and regular contact from his beloved home country and friends who genuinely cared about him and his family. They cared to the degree that lasting relations developed between children and grandchildren, across thousands of miles. What an impression this man must have made on two small boys back at Pwllheli, that such a bond across time and distance could last? Goronwy Owen must have been one remarkable fellow.

We know that already. Lewis Morris, his “great man” friend, turned conspirator in the plan for his permanent exile, stated, “Goronwy Owen was the greatest genius of this age that ever appeared in our country.”

It’s unfortunate that his country and his “friends” could not tolerate the genius on their own soil. Virginia may not have recognized Goronwy Owen’s genius, but at least we offered him some semblance of solace and a final place to rest his wearied bones.

Owen’s Legacy in Virginia
Virginia is a state with a rich and proud heritage. It has produced generations of both professional and armchair genealogists and historians, as well as more than its fair share of authors, poets, and public servants. The state’s courthouses and parish churches offer a veritable treasure trove of documentation in regards to the its earliest occupants and their progress through the centuries. Dr. Robert Jones wrote in his 1901 biography of Goronwy Owen of his inability to discover “…any account of his home, his parish, or his new life partner….”

It’s clear that Dr. Jones failed to make his way across the Atlantic, as the records still remaining in Virginia, as well as Goronwy Owen’s many descendants, provide us a wealth of details that he clearly did not try terribly hard to locate.

From the vestry books we have an exchange of letters between the parish at St. Andrews and Governor Fauquier, regarding Goronwy Owen’s recommendation to the parish, his trial period, his final appointment as the rector on September 14, 1760, as well as terms of his pay (in tobacco, not coin.)

The courts of Brunswick County record on May 27, 1765 that Goronwy was charged and found guilty of public drunkenness and use of profanity. He was fined fifty pounds of tobacco, with proceeds of the sale going to the poor of the parish.

By July, 1769, Goronwy Owen was dead. The Parish Vestry books include a note stating the Church’s intent to pursue Owen’s executors for overpayment of his wages.

On the 26th of March, 1770, Goronwy Owen’s will was presented to the court. The executors named by Goronwy Owen; William and Beverly Brown (probably relatives of his wife Joan), refuse to serve as executors and ask the court to name a replacement. The very brief will is recorded in the records of the courts, and the inventory of Owen’s “personal estate” is interesting and revealing.

As to the disposition of his property, he leaves his land in life trust to his wife, to be divided equally upon her death among his four sons; Robert Owen, Richard Brown Owen, Goronwy Owen, and John Lloyd Owen. He leaves – curiously – the disposition of his “personal estate”, i.e. his personal effects; his things, to the discretion of his executors. The list of things that Gorowny left is unremarkable given all we know about him. That he left the disposition of these things to the discretion of his executors is remarkable in my opinion. I cannot explain it.

The first few items in the list of effects were four slaves; Old Peg, Young Peg, Bob, and Stephen. Of all Owen’s “possessions” these four individuals were of the greatest financial value at 97 pounds, 10 shillings. How the court disposed of them, isn’t at hand.

Other effects included furniture, paintings, a looking glass, a mirror, etc. The inventory includes livestock, tools, dishes, and various cabinets, boxes, and tables. The list of items that is most interesting to me is the inventory of Owen’s books. His library was extensive and it’s clear that the vast majority of his books came with him from England. There are twenty-five or so individual titles listed, and then a single entry indicating “A parcel of old authors, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Welch and French, in number, 150.” The entire collection was estimated to be valued at 3 pounds. (Oh! To possess a time machine!)

There is one item, or rather a collection of things, not listed in this careful inventory; a collection of papers, written material, manuscripts – anything produced from Goronwy Owen’s pen. He certainly wrote while he was in Virginia. We know he was working on a Welsh Grammar when he left England. That would have been an incalculably important manuscript had it found its way back to Wales.

What happened to Goronwy Owen’s papers? I would love to believe that they are still around somewhere, carefully boxed and preserved, patiently waiting in some ancient Virginia library for rediscovery. (Things like this do occur occasionally.) Or perhaps they were sent home to relatives in Wales and made their way into some wonderful private library in a great old house. It’s not incomprehensible; the idea that his papers survived. Stranger things have happened. But then again, it’s just as likely that these Virginia scribblings were discarded as soon as Goronwy was dead.

Goronwy Owen’s gravesite is reported to be in Brunswick County. There is a modern stone on the property that makes the claim. There’s a very nice plaque to his memory (placed by the Cymmrodorion Society, in 1969) at the College of William and Mary, Swem Library. I’ve see reports that the ruins of his house still remain standing in Brunswick County. While I have not visited it myself yet (I plan to make that trip in the autumn of 2013), I have seen photographs and I have my doubts. The building shown in the photographs is clearly a 19th century structure – no earlier. Perhaps later.

Descendants
The real legacy that Goronwy Owen left in Virginia was his children, some of whom grew up and married and had children of their own. They spread from Brunswick County, settling in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and probably many more places across this vast country. Today his American descendants probably number in the many hundreds, living from one end of the continent to the other. Most probably have no idea they are related to this obscure Welsh genius, poet, and scholar. I wonder how many among them got his gift for languages, his scholarly bent, or his infatuation with complex, metered, rhyme?  Some certainly did. These gifts don’t pass quietly out of the genetic mix, as I well know.

Remembrance
In closing it seems fitting to offer up a bit of poetry. This one is not from our bards’ pen, but instead in homage to him. It is from Lewis Morris; great-grandson of the Lewis Morris from this history. This elegy first appeared in the Transactions of the Honorable Cymmrodorion Society, in its first issue, more than one hundred years after the death of Goronwy Owen. I’ll leave you with it:

Friend, dead and gone so long!
Was it not well with thee, while yet thy tread
Gladdened this much-loved land of thine and ours?
Came not thy footsteps sometimes through life’s flowers?
Knew’est thou no crown but that which bears the thorn?
Amid the careless crowd, obscure, forlorn;
Who sittest now among the blessed dead
Crowned with immortal song?

A humble peasant boy,
Reared amid penury through youth’s fair years,
The fugitive joys of youth thou didst despise,
Ease, sport, the kindling glance of maiden’s eyes;
Thou knew’st no other longing but desire,
With the young lips parching with the sacred fire,
To drink deep draughts of knowledge, mixed with tears —
A dear-bought innocent joy.

—————-
Sources:

Adobe-PDF-Reader-Book-iconThe Poetical Works of the Rev. Goronwy Owen (Goronwy Ddu o Fon) with His Life and Correspondence, Vol. II, Edited by Rev. Robert Jones, BA, Vicar of All Saints Rotherhithf (1876) London | Longmans, Green & Co.

Adobe-PDF-Reader-Book-iconGoronwy Owen, William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 3, January 1901, pp. 152 – 164

Adobe-PDF-Reader-Book-iconLewis Morris: The Fat Man of Cardiganshire, By Gerhaint H. Jenkins (2002) Ceredigion |  Journal of the Ceredigion Historical Society Vol. 14, no. 2, p. 1-23

Footnotes:

[1] The old Julian calendar, which was superseded by our current one, the Gregorian calendar, was not completely adopted across Britain until (as late as) the 19th century in some places. According to the contemporary calendar, Goronwy Owen’s birth fell on the 13th of January 1723.

[2] March 12, 1700 according to the old calendar.

[3] Letter from Goronwy Owen to Richard Morris, dated June 22, 1752.

[4] “Servitor” is a scholarship day student who earns his keep by “waiting on” the paying pupils.

[5] Robert Owen’s birth fell on the 13th of January 1749, according to the modern calendar.

[6] The Origin and History of Methodism in Wales and the Borders, by David Young (1893) Edinburgh | Morrison & Gibb, Printers, See: Pages 589 – 590

Notes:

In the special collections department at Swem Library, at the College of William and Mary, there is one very interesting artifact worth noting. It is – if authentic – the only item in the Goronwy Owen Collection at that library that is actually associated with the man, from his period. It is:

Item 1999.084: Miniature Purported to be of Goronwy Owen, circa 1800s (Ed. Note: If authentic, date is incorrect. It would have to be earlier. He died in 1769)
Portrait in miniature oval, originally a brooch, now set in shadow box frame lined in burgundy velvet. Portrait appears to be on ivory covered with a crystal and set in gold. Gentleman has brown eyes and light auburn or brown hair. There are no known portraits from the life of Goronwy Owen that have been accepted as authentic. A note on paper inside the frame from the late 20th century reads: “Gronoway Owen Wm & Mary came over from England & Ireland 1700s (King & Queen sent him here) – Mama June’s great great great grandfather”. 18.2 cm x 15.8 cm / 2 3/4 in. x 2 1/4 in. Given to the College of William & Mary in memory of Goronwy Owen’s Great, Great, Great, great Granddaughter Jane Wheeler Gant, formerly of Columbia, Tennessee. Gift of Mrs. John Norwood Gant, July 1999. Located in Art S4. UA 1999.084

It seems unlikely to me that this portrait is of our Goronwy Owen. It may be of his son. Our Goronwy had blue eyes and black hair (a true Briton!), according to people who knew him and described him for subsequent biographers.


Robert Beheathland (c.1592 – c.1627)

John Doe Unknown Man

Who was Robert Beheathland?

Robert Beheathland was born about 1592 at St. Endellion in County Cornwall, England.

Too often genealogists get lost in the details of birthdates, marriage dates, death dates, and when and where wills were proven. They forget that the people who they so carefully document were just that – people. Individuals with personalities, dreams, hopes, ambitions – and fears. People with families dependent upon them, or hopes for them, or both. We too often get so sidelined by the facts that we neglect to step back and look carefully at the world these people lived in. We neglect to ask ourselves what motivated them to become who they became; to live as they lived, and to die where, when and how they died.

Before we go into the details of the life and death of my earliest ancestor on American soil; Robert Beheathland, I’d like to take a step back and consider some aspects of his world. Moreover, I’d like to consider what in the world could possibly have motivated him in 1607, to put himself on a sixty-foot long, wooden sailing vessel, bound on a voyage to cross the Atlantic Ocean, destined for a wild, uncivilized place that didn’t even have a name yet; i.e. Jamestown.

England in the early seventeenth century was, contrary to our modern interpretation, not a terribly romantic place in which to live. While it’s true that this period (or shortly before it) is considered the “Golden Age”, we should keep in mind that everything that glitters is not gold. There were perhaps a few thousand people in all of England, Ireland, and Wales who could be considered truly wealthy and powerful. Among them, a few hundred perhaps, who were generally independent men. The rest, millions of people throughout the country were “subjects”. “Subject” to corrupt courts, corrupt landlords, and corrupt aristocrats – “subject” to a system corrupt and rotten from the core to the skin.

Even among the wealthy and powerful, survival was tenuous. Political intrigues and backhanded maneuvers by upstarts and competitors often resulted in a total reversal of fortune. If the fall from grace (grace of the sovereign, grace of a sponsor, grace of a landlord, or employer) was severe enough, you could find yourself homeless, in jail, or headless. Occasionally all three in quick succession, as Sir Walter Raleigh found out not long after his beloved sponsor Queen Elizabeth I died, leaving her throne to the less benevolent James I (IV) of Scotland.

At court in London there were political intrigues. Plots against the crown or against favorites at court. There were spies and spy watchers, and an endless amount of suspicion and rumor against any and all.

Persecution of Catholics DissentersThere were religious persecutions too. Under Henry VIII, all Catholics were exiled or killed, their property and lands confiscated and redistributed. Under Elizabeth I, Henry’s daughter, it still wasn’t healthy to be a Catholic, but it was even worse to be a non-conformist. Under James I religious tolerance was encouraged from the throne, but the Church of England didn’t go along. A schism began to develop right at the tip-top of the head of power. The end result of this schism was the English Civil War in which the King (Charles I) was executed by the non-conformist Oliver Cromwell and Parliament took over England. England fell into factions and rebelled – violently.

This was a difficult time to be a person of conviction and courage. The political and social winds changed direction so schizophrenically and with a force so deadly, that it was impossible to know where to stand – lest you be blown over or mowed down.

If all this violence and intrigue was not enough, then consider the economics of life in England at the time. This period (late Elizabethan through the Jacobean) introduces to Europe the first real whiff of Capitalism and economic competition. Pre-Renaissance England, like most of Europe, had been entirely feudal. The greatest majority of the people lived on the land; land owned by a feudal lord who in turn was loyal to a greater lord or a prince or king. The people worked the land collectively and were guaranteed employment for life, a home of reasonable quality in which to live, and protection from enemies, criminals or invaders. All this in exchange for their labor.

With the rise of international trade, sovereign debt, competition at court, religious conflict, “professional” lawyers who advised the nobility and the King – and the introduction of the concept of Capitalism – things got much more complicated.

The result by the end of the sixteen century was that most of the “common lands” that had been farmed cooperatively by the tenants of nobles were closed, fenced off, sold, or confiscated – the tenants were turned out to fend for themselves. With nowhere to go and no skills other than farming, they were lost – completely destitute. The cities began to fill up with beggars, sharpers, drifters, and all variety of vagrants. These people formed the first great underclass of the great English city of London.[1]

Between 1500 and 1600 London’s population increased from 60,000 to 225,000 as a result of these social and legal changes, as well as migration of immigrants from Europe suffering under the same sweep of social shift. By 1660 the population of London was 460,000 souls. One in ten Englishmen lived in the city. This was a complete reversal of the demography from just two centuries earlier.[2]

We can hardly imagine what a walled city of half a million souls must have been like. A city with no sanitation services, no running water, no toilets or waste water disposal, no internal running water all. Nor did they have building codes, zoning restrictions, fire codes, hospitals, a police force or emergency services of any sort. The place was a teeming, seething, reeking, den of chaos in which just about anything could and did occur without warning.[3] Food shortages were common. Inflation was rampant. Employment in anything legal was the exception rather than the norm. Lack of sanitation, deprivation, sickness, and disease kept the life expectancy to about thirty-five years old.

Plague London 1666Cholera was a favorite friend, as was typhus. The bubonic plague made several visits and in 1665 did its part to lower the over-crowding problem by wiping out 20% of London’s population (estimated at 100,000 people in less than one year.) When the plague was done, the Great London Fire of 1666 destroyed much of the city, especially the poorly constructed slums and suburbs where immigrants and new arrivals were forced to live.[4]

There was no FEMA to come to anyone’s aid. People were forced to live out of doors. They got sick. The sick died. The dead often lay in the streets for days before being dragged off by dogs or hauled to mass graves on the edge of town. It was truly a hellish existence for the greatest swath of society. Not a romantic period at all.

This is a place that most people – if they could have – would have left. Even if it meant crossing an ocean and landing in a wilderness to do it.

But Robert Beheathland did not live in London, so far as we know. At the time of the first Jamestown voyage, he was probably just a boy of fifteen years old living on the far western coast of England. His home, St. Endellion in County Cornwall, is literally as far west from London as you can get without going for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. In the seventeenth century it was a rural, under-populated countryside that offered physical distance from the plagues of the city, and a good, healthy, fresh air life to its inhabitants. On face value it would seem incredible that someone from a place as peaceful and safe as St. Endellion would chose to risk life and limb to go to Virginia.

We have to look hard at the reach of social upheaval and the economics of 17th century England to understand such a decision.

First; Cornwall was still staunchly Catholic in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.  Landed gentry and noble families who had escaped the persecutions of a century earlier still clung (usually secretly) to their Catholic faith in Cornwall; but that holding on was tenuous at best. A Catholic that came to the attention of the authorities (whether by his own actions or that of a competitor) could be exiled, jailed, have his lands seized, lose his life, or perhaps all of the above.

One way a family ensured its survival was by sending its children out of the country. It was an early form of spreading the risk.
There is excellent archeological evidence from Jamestown that there were practicing Catholics among the earliest colonists.[5]  What’s more, early promoters of colonization openly stated that they believed “planting colonies” was a preferred way of getting rid of undesirables in England; from criminals and vagrants to political enemies to religious divergent’s like Catholics.[6]

Next; We know that risk and debt often played a big role in a family’s decisions regarding participation in capital ventures. It was not uncommon at all for rural landowners of this period (more common among so-called “Gentlemen”, semi-noble and noble families than yeomen) to get into significant debt by over-extravagant living. The nobility were often land-rich and cash-poor, which made it difficult to live “up to” their position in society without going into significant debt.

The solution to this (and it was an often ruinous solution) was to participate in a “capital” venture that promised tremendous rewards – if it paid off. The Jamestown adventure was just such a capital risk. This was not a government sponsored operation. It was a privately funded venture; no different from a high-tech start-up today. The “adventurers” were the early investors. They either invested cash to fund the start-up, or they invested flesh and blood. Some landowners who wanted to get rid of their tenants put them on boats to the colonies. Some, seeking greater returns, sent family abroad. [7]

Captain John Smith in his reports back to the Virginia Company complained bitterly about the over-abundance of “Gentlemen” among the first colonists, and not enough people with the skills, knowledge, and willingness to do the real, difficult, physical work required to carve a functional, self-sufficient community out of the raw wilderness of Virginia.[8]

Robert Beheathland was listed among the first planting of colonists at Jamestown as just such a soft-handed “gentleman.”

Finally; Robert Beheathland was the youngest of four sons. That was a terrible thing to be in seventeenth century in England. Every good landed family needed a male heir to take over the property. It needed a “spare” in case the eldest died early. This second son was usually educated in the law so that he could assist his older brother in the management of the estate, keep the family on solid financial and legal footing, while also earning a living in the courts or on the bench. If there was a third son, he was trained for the clergy or sent into the Army or Navy to seek his fortune on his own wits. (Good situations in either of these professions could be purchased at an affordable price.)

Fourth, fifth, or later sons – they were simply out of luck. After establishing the third son, most families were out of funds to purchase good positions in professional society, pay for education, or support the spare children beyond their most basic needs (certainly not enough to marry, have a home, or start a family.) Robert was simply unfortunate in regard to the order of his birth. He didn’t even have the benefit of being a lowly yeoman farmer’s son; a boy who would have been raised knowing the generalities of everything from farming and livestock management, to building, to carpentry, to blacksmithing. He had few skills and no money. His prospects for making his own way would have been extremely difficult.

The venture offered by the Virginia Company provided Robert’s father a potential means to make some quick money while disposing of an unwanted expense – if things worked out right. If they didn’t then his loss, in the cold hard economics of 17th century life, would be no real loss at all.

Given the time that’s passed between Robert Beheathland’s time and our own, we can’t know which of these possibilities put Robert Beheathland on the boat that left Blackwall in late December 1606. What we can know with a certain level of confidence is that it probably was not his idea, and he probably wasn’t happy about it. He probably did know that he had no other prospect, so – like many others who followed him in the decades and centuries to come – he put his head down and made himself determined to make the most of it.

The voyage wasn’t an easy one. Before they were even twenty miles off the coast of Devon the weather turned, preventing them from sailing west. The three ships; the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Godspeed, languished off the coast of England for nearly a month. Burning through their stores of fresh water and food, freezing and drenched, the colonists broke out early into bitter regrets. There was lots of whining and complaining – followed by the early death of one of the passengers. It didn’t bode well.[9]

But there were even greater complications than this. This collection of would-be colonists, sailors, adventurers, and officers was a microcosm of 17th century English society; all trapped together on board three tiny vessels. The people languished without anything to distract them over a many months long voyage, without enough food, clean water or privacy. All ranks of society living on the turbulent seas cheek by jowl. It would have been impossible for difficulties not to break out.
The most dramatic event that occurred was a power struggle which threatened the lives and futures of every member of the crew and passengers.

Christopher Newport was the Captain of the Susan Constant, the flagship of the little fleet. He also served as commandant of the overall voyage; until the colonists were safely planted in Virginia and a governor could be selected according to Virginia Company orders. On the high seas, his position was one of absolute authority. He had the power of arrest, and even the authority to execute someone if the offense was serious enough (like mutiny, for example.)

Captain John Smith color portrait

Captain John Smith

Another important person on the voyage was Captain John Smith. Smith was already a legend in England, well-known for his exploits from Turkey to Russia, to his mercenary battles against Spain. His career was renowned and he was his own biggest promoter. He was headstrong. He was smart. And – to his detriment with the elite on board the ship – he didn’t subscribe to the classic English practice of deferring to his social “betters”. He believed in ability and accomplishment before birth and title, and he let everyone know it.

Smith was born to a yeoman farmer father in a remote part of England. He left home at sixteen years old and went to sea. Over the course of a thirty-year career he made himself into one of the world’s greatest adventurers, survivors, and professional “explorers”. He was a geographer, a map maker, a writer, and even a bit of a poet. He’d been all over the world and survived to tell it.[9] It was his experience in expeditions just like this one that got John Smith involved with the Virginia Company. They needed his experience, his bravery, and his wits to make a go of it. He was one of the few men in the kingdom with the skills and the experience to make a venture like this one succeed. He was recruited by the founders of the Company (among them his biggest fan, Richard Hakluyt) to join the venture and take a leading role in its direction.[10]

Christopher Newport wasn’t John Smith’s biggest fan. Newport was made Master of the Royal Navy in 1606, just before his jaunt to Jamestown. Prior to this Royal appointment, he’d made a fortune for himself as well as others acting as a privateer;  seizing Spanish treasure ships making the dangerous crossing from Central America back to Spain laden with tons of gold and silver.  His successes were just as well documented as Smith’s and his swashbuckling reputation was further buoyed by his immense wealth (the one advantage that Smith lacked.)

There was not enough room in all of the Atlantic Ocean for these two men’s egos.

In the short run Newport won the dangerous game. John Smith was placed under arrest on charges of mutiny. He was put in chains in the ships hold until Newport could determine what to do with him. Whether these charges were legitimate or trumped-up, it’s difficult to know, but given the accusation that Smith intended to murder his superiors (Newport, et al), seize the ships, and then make himself “King” of Virginia, the charges do seem a little extreme. Newport planned to execute Smith when the ships made landfall, but that plan didn’t work out for him.

“…Such factions here we had, as commonly attend such voyages, that a paire of gallowes was made, but Captain Smith, for whom they were intended, could not be persuaded to use them.”
– General History of Virginia, by Captain John Smith

Captain Smith had friends and supporters on board all three vessels. Once they were all united on land, Newport had to accept the fact that their opinions outnumbered his fears. Technically he could have carried out the execution, but that would not have played well back in London given the overwhelming number of voices claiming Smith’s innocence and demanding his release.
The last thing Newport needed was a genuine mutiny on his hands. He had 110 souls on board three ships. His fate and reputation depended upon him getting them safely to their destination without catastrophe or insurrection. He swallowed his pride and got on with business, hoping for a new day of reckoning with Smith.  Smith remained under arrest for the remainder of the voyage. It’s unlikely that he remained a silent, cooperative prisoner.

Captain John Smith was a man you either loved or hated. There was no middle ground. Likewise, he was a man of strong opinions. He either determined you were valuable and worthy of his respect, or he dismissed you entirely. Sometimes his opinions and loyalties switched directions in a blink.

Robert Beheathland had a few things going for him that some of his fellow-colonists didn’t.  The first was that Captain John Smith liked him.

It was simple luck that most likely put Robert on board the same ship (probably the Susan Constant) with Captain John Smith. He may have even been chosen (by Newport) to “tend” Smith (bring him food and water, check on him, etc.) when Smith was in chains in the ships hold. That would make sense given Robert’s youth and social station. Newport would have considered Robert a safe caretaker, someone who could not materially or physically assist the prisoner. Someone who would not have the fortitude to go against the true authority on board the vessel. He was a “gentleman” after all, and he knew his place in the pecking order. He knew as well what Smith’s was – or at least he should have known.

The other advantage that Robert Beheathland had over his companions was his youth. He was probably not more than fifteen years old when he boarded the ship that would carry him to Virginia. Because he was young his habits were not fixed; i.e. he had not grown as lazy and arrogant as some of his fellow “gentlemen”. In addition, his youth made him teachable and probably even eager under the right tutelage. Captain Smith provided a mentor the likes of which most of us can only dream of.

Consider it. You’re a boy of fifteen years old from the rural hinterlands of England, stuck on board a ship with forty grown men, the majority of whom are Londoners in lace sleeves and ruffled collars. You have just been given the assignment to spend time with the toughest, shrewdest, leanest, meanest, adventurer in English history. This man is swarthy, scarred, built like a fortress, and he has the most amazing stories to tell. You spend your time listening to his tales of outsmarting the Turks, whipping the Spaniards, surviving off the land across the wilderness of Russia.  Who are you going to align yourself with? The lace cuffed captain and his lace cuffed friends? Or the multiple times, – hero in chains in the hold? You’re a fifteen year old boy who is stuck on a voyage to the edge of the world. It’s not a difficult decision. (I know who I’d choose.)

Newport accomplished his mission. He got the ships and his human cargo to Virginia. The fleet anchored in the broad river up the Chesapeake Bay on May 13, 1607. In a demonstration of loyalty to their king, they named the river “James”.

Captain Smith was still under considerable suspicion by his “betters” when the contents of the box containing the orders of the Virginia Company were finally unlocked and read aloud before the whole party of colonists. According to the rules outlined by the Company, Edward Maria Wingfield, (1550 – 1631) was named President of the infant colony. His appointment was an obvious one. First, he was a nobleman. Next and as important, he was one of the prime movers in the Virginia Company “showing great charge and industry”. He was one of the four incorporators of the London Virginia Company in the Virginia Charter of 1606 and one of its biggest financial backers. He recruited about forty of the 105 colonists, and was the only shareholder in the venture to sail with the expedition.

In the first election in the New World, he was elected by his peers as the President of the governing council for one year beginning May 13, 1607. Wingfield’s first decision as leader was the selection of the site of where the company would land and make their fortifications; the place that they would name “Jamestowne” in deference to their sovereign, James I.

Even in this early decision, Wingfield revealed his worthiness to lead such an adventure as inadequate. The site was low, swampy, and wet. The water supply was brackish and stagnant. The area was infested with mosquitoes and ticks, and the soil was inadequate for cultivation, being too thin, too salty, and too acidic to grow much of anything successfully except scrubs and marsh grasses. The benefits the site offered were a deep water landing for the ships (which were moored temporarily) and an excellent field of view of vessels approaching from the Chesapeake (Spanish) and from upriver (Indians). At least in this regard the site offered a reasonably good defensive position.

The orders from the Virginia Company complicated the politics of the new colony. John Smith’s name appeared second on the list of seven councilors appointed to govern the infant colony, just after that of Bartholemew Gosnold (Wingfield’s cousin, also a mover and shaker in the financing of the Virginia Company expedition.) Wingfield, a man of social and financial consequence, determined immediately to hate and distrust John Smith. He made the unilateral decision to exclude Smith from the crew of counselors who would govern Jamestown, going against the explicit instructions from the Virginia Company. Unfortunately for Wingfield, democracy was already starting to flower in the nascent colony. The colonists demanded Smith be freed from his arrest and restored to the governing council. The colonists won the day.

It’s not my goal here to recount the entire history of the Jamestown settlement. What is important to know is that Wingfieled failed (miserably) as a leader and was sent back to London to answer for his mismanagement (as well as a variety of trumped-up crimes.)  Gosnold died within three months of landing in Virginia, and so shortly John Smith was made president of the colony. John Smith whipped the place into shape and probably saved the entire venture from collapse, and saved the colonists from starvation and eradication at the hands of the natives. He didn’t make a lot of friends however. The “Gentlemen” especially, grew to resent him because he enforced a “No work, no food” law which required every man to pull his weight, or starve.

At his right hand throughout the drama of politics of the colony, the intrigue and death-defying exploits amongst the native Indians, was, along with a few other hand selected followers Smith deemed worthy of supporting and protecting him, “Master Beheathland.”

“Master Beheathland” proved himself as a bodyguard and a skilled warrior on several occasions when the natives attempted to double-cross Smith and his companions. His name appears in the written accounts penned by Smith in reports to the Virginia Company, as well as in later recounting of his exploits in Virginia.[11]

Of the 105 or so original colonists, most never intended to stay. The greatest number of the “gentlemen” believed they would come to Virginia, discover gold, make a fortune and return to England fabulously wealthy. In fact, the few men who actually returned to England got back broke, sick, disgruntled, and telling anyone who would listen what an absolute catastrophe the place was. Those were the lucky ones. Of the original 105 or so men that arrived at Jamestown, only 37 remained after the first year. The rest were leveled by disease, execution, and some were killed by the Indians.

Researchers have spent years pouring over the statistics and reports of this early settlement and have discovered that the men who spent weeks and months exploring the inland with John Smith, spending time with the natives and even dealing with violent attacks and weeks of sleeping outside, survived at a much higher rate than the people who stayed at Jamestown. They believe this is due to a healthier setting, fresh food, clean water, and exercise. The men who remained at Jamestown were prisoners to an infected and violent environment.[12] Robert Beheathland was with Smith. This simple fact helped him live.

In Smith’s company he learned invaluable lessons on survival. He learned how to trade according to native Indian custom. He learned how and what to plant in order to eat, and what could be collected wild in the forest. He learned at least the rudiments of the native language and native customs. He learned how to survive outdoors in an inhospitable environment. He learned how to work hard, how to march, and how to sleep with one eye open. In essence, he learned how to live; while most of his peers at Jamestown only learned how to die in competitively spectacular and tragic ways.

At Jamestown they died from malaria, and starvation. They died by the gallows and execution. They died at the hands of their fellow colonists in blinding fits of frustrated rage, and in some cases – the worst of all during “The Starving Times” – they were eaten by their compatriots. Jamestown was a horrible place. It’s no wonder that Captain John Smith and his loyal band stayed far away for as long as they could. The native Indians, no matter how strange, were not as barbaric or desperate as their fellow Englishmen.[13]

Gradually things did improve. Additional supply ships arrived; bringing victuals, tools, and eventually fresh colonists better suited to building a community in the wilderness. Among them were carpenters and smiths, foresters and farmers. Some women even began to arrive and this brought stability and a tremendous measure of civilization to the community.

It seems unlikely that Robert Beheathland married Mary (possibly named Nicholson), also believed to be of St. Endellion, Cornwall, before he left for Virginia. What’s more likely is that the two were at the very least acquainted – more likely close kin (cousins) – and that after he got established in Virginia he sent for her. We don’t know the date of their marriage or the place, but we do know that she arrived at Jamestown after 1608.

Mary Nicholson must have been made of as tough a substance as her husband Robert. In Virginia she gave her husband at least three children who survived into adulthood. These include; Mary, John and Dorothy. Dorothy, my direct ancestor, married Randall Crew (c.1604 – c1630), of Cheshire England, from whom my direct line descends.[14]

In 1620 Robert Beheathland was back in England petitioning the Royal Council of England for a qualified governor for the colony in Virginia. In 1639, his son John was in Cornwall, fighting Ursula Beheathland (aunt by marriage to Anthony Beheathland, Robert’s brother, John’s uncle) for John’s portion of Richard Beheathland’s estate. He won in court (80 pounds), but John died en route to Virginia to reunite with his mother and family. John’s heir in his will (proved 1639) was his cousin Charles Beheathland (son of either George or Hugh Beheathland, brothers of his father Robert.)

Complicated stuff. Can you imagine traveling across an ocean for 80 pounds? Risking your life for it, as John did? I guess we need to take into account inflation rates. In the 17th century 80 pounds would have been worth about $15,000 today. While I may not risk life and limb for $15,000, I’d certainly think about it. In colonial Virginia $15,000 would buy an awful lot of land, tobacco seed, and labor to work it all to a profitable crop.

Robert Beheathland was deceased by 1628. By that time Mary was remarried to a Lieutenant Tomas Flint of Elizabeth City, when her name appeared in court records in regard to land she had inherited.

This is all we know of Robert Beheathland (c.1682 – c.1627) and his family, my earliest American ancestors.

——————————————————–

[1] After the Reformation: Essays in Honor of J. H. Hexter, edited by Barbara C. Malament, Jack H. Hexter, (1980). Manchester, UK | Manchester University Press. (The Residential Development of the West End of London in the Seventeenth Century, By Lawrence Stone)

[2] ibid.

[3] Need to identify source for this. (Book published about 2005 along the lines of Big Chief Elizabeth/Milton, but focused on Elizabethan society.)

[4] The Plague and the Fire, By James Leasor, (2001). London | House of StratusI.

[5] Jamestown, the Buried Truth, By William M. Kelso, (2006) University of Virginia Press.

[6] A Discourse Concerning Western Planting Written in the Year 1584, By Richard Hakluyt, (Maine Historical Society Collections, Edited by Charles Deane.) (1831). Maine | Maine Historical Society.

[7] “A ruling council in England, composed of members of the joint-stock company who were usually merchants of great distinction, was formed immediately after King James I granted the charter of 1606. The councillors were appointed ostensibly by the king, but in reality were nominated by the membership, or more often, by the inner executive group of the company.”
The First Virginia Charter of 1606.
See: http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1600-1650/the-first-virginia-charter-1606.php

The Jamestown Voyages Under the First Charter, 1606-1609, Edited by Philip Barbour. (1969) Cambridge, MA | Cambridge University Press

Enterprise and Empire: Merchant and Gentry Investment in the Expansion of England, 1575-1630, By Theodore Rabb. (1967) Cambridge, MA | Harvard University Press.

[8] Captain John Smith: Writings with Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of America, Edited by James P. Horn (2007) Library of America

[9] ibid.

[10] Sir Walter Raleigh: Being a True and Vivid Account of the Life and Times of the Explorer, Soldier, Scholar, Poet, and Courtier–The Controversial Hero of the Elizabethan Age, By Raleigh Trevelyan. (2004). Henry Holt and Co.

[11] Captain John Smith: Writings with Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of America, Edited by James P. Horn (2007) Library of America

[12] Jamestown, the Buried Truth, By William M. Kelso, (2006) University of Virginia Press.

[13] ibid.

[14] Biography of Robert Beheathland, The Jamestowne Society
See: http://www.jamestowne-wash-nova.org/RobertBeheathland.htm

Other resources that helped form this article:

The Complete Works of Captain John Smith 1580, Edited by Philip Barbour

Virginia Gleanings in England, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 11, by The Virginia Historical Society
By Virginia Historical Society Vol XI, 1904,

Jamestown Society Newsletter, Vol 25 2, Oct 2001; Vol 26 2, Oct 2002

Narratives of Early Virginia 1606 1625, By Lyon G. Tyler (1907) New York |Charles Scribner’s Sons

Cavaliers and Pioneers Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623 1800, By Nell Marion Nugent (1934) Richmond, VA | Press of the Dietz Printing Co.


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