My Family – A First Family

Yes, it is true.  One of my esteemed ancestors is  buried in the third oldest known grave in the United States.  Or something like that.  He is buried on the banks of the James River in Virginia, near his plantation.  The site where he was buried is 1/4 mile from Westover Plantation, and just a few miles from Berkley Plantation – the site of the first OFFICIAL Thanksgiving.  Cool.

Some history:

Me paying homage

Brief history of the Westover Builder, William Byrd II, the founder of Richmand VA. This is the plantation near the cemetery where Perry is buried:

His daughter, the beautiful and tragic Evelyn Byrd, is buried near the original site of Westover Church, up the river a quarter-mile west of the house. There also are buried Theodorick Bland, from whom William Byrd I bought the Westover property in 1688; William Byrd I and his wife, the former Mary Horsemanden; and other distinguished early Virginians. Here also, according to some historians, is the third oldest known tombstone in America–that of Captain William Perry, who died August 6, 1637. The arms and epitaph engraved on this stone have been effaced by the elements in recent years.

Lieutenant William Perry was named to the Governor’s Council in 1632 and served until 1637. On September 19, 1633, he was granted some land within the corporation of Charles City, acreage upon which he established a plantation called Buckland.

More junk:

Title of Westover; Wm. and Mary Qrtly., Vol. 4, No. 3, 1896
Colonel Byrd sets out the history of these 200 acres as follows:
They were originally a part of the estate of George Menifie (of Buckland, adjoining), a prominent member of the Virginia council.  He died about 1645, when the land descended to his only daughter, who married Captain Henry Perry.
This gentleman [Henry Perry] was the son of Captain William Perry, who married Isabella, the widow of Richard Pace, of Pace’s Paines, who saved the colony in the massacre of 1622.
He (William Perry) represented Pace’s Paines in 1629 and in 1629-’30, and was a member of the council in 1632-’33.  His tombstone at Westover once bore an inscription, which Mr. Campbell, the historian, has handed down to us.  He died August 6, 1637.
His son, Captain Henry Perry, who married George Menifie’s daughter, was burgess for Charles City in 1652 and 1654, and of the council from 1655 to 1660.  He [Henry] left two daughters – Elizabeth, who married John Coggs, of Rainslipp, in Middlesex county, England, gent., and Mary, wife of Thomas Mercer, citizen and stationer, of London.
On August 20, 1684, these persons appointed John Bishop, of Weyanoke, in Charles City county, Va., their attorney, who, on December 23, 1684, conveyed the said 200 acres to James Minge, of Martin Brandon, gent., who, as already stated, exchanged it for other lands of William Byrd.

PS-don’t know this Sally person – but might reach out…………………


~ by ladysforest on November 25, 2011.

4 Responses to “My Family – A First Family”

  1. I stumbled across this and find it interesting. My 10th g-grandmother, Isabella Smyth Pace, Widow of Richard Pace, married Capt. Wm. Perry. I plan to visit the area this fall… including the cemetery pictured. I am intriqued with the history of these families.

    • Very interesting. I would have to check through our genealogy booklet to refresh my memory on how exactly I am related to Capt. Perry. My mothers side I know. Perrys’ and Pierces’.

      When you visit the area do tour the James River plantations. Although the one closest to this cemetery is “grounds only”, it is certainly worth the stroll around the property. I believe there are 5 places to tour, and although some do charge a fee, it goes towards upkeep.

  2. I have visited the grave of Capt. William Perry. I am still trying to connect him to my Perry family. Impressive site.

    • I am related through my NY Perry/Pierce branch. I have misplaced the genealogy book, but I believe I haven’t lost it permanently.

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