Sir Francis Wyatt, Governor of British Colony of Virginia
- H. Sir Francis Wyatt, Governor of British Colony of Virginiaabt 1588 - 1644
- W. Margaret Sandys1592 - 1644
Facts and Events
ACHIEVEMENTS: Author of 'A Briefe Declaration of the Plantation of Virginia during the First Twelve Yeares, 1624.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Francis Wyatt, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Secondary quality.
- the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
Sir Francis Wyatt (1588–1644) was the first English royal governor of Virginia. He sailed for America on August 1, 1621 on board the George. He became governor shortly after his arrival in October, taking with him the first written constitution for an English colony. Also sailing with him on this voyage was his second cousin Henry Fleete Sr., who helped found colonies in both Virginia and Maryland. In 1622 he rallied the defense of Jamestown which was attacked by Native Americans, during which the lives of some 400 settlers were lost and he then oversaw the contraction of the colony from scattered outposts into a defensive core.
Francis was the son of George Wyatt, was from Boxley Manor in Kent, and attended St Mary Hall, Oxford, (from July 1, 1603) and Grey's Inn (1604). He was knighted July 7, 1618 at Windsor.
Wyatt was governor of Virginia from November 1621. Virginia became a royal colony in 1624, but Sir Francis, at the request of the crown, remained on as governor until September 18, 1625, when Sir George Yeardley, whom he had succeeded, resumed the office. In 1624, Wyatt resided in Jamestown with his wife, his brother Haute, and seventeen servants. In 1625, he received a black servant girl after a court settlement from her previous employer. After leaving office, he left Virginia for the Ireland and England to settle his father's estate. He was appointed governor again in 1639, sailing from England to take up his post. He served from November 1639 until February 1641 and was then succeeded by Sir William Berkeley. He arranged the purchase of the home of the previous governor to use as the first designated "state house" of the colony, the government previously having met in the church.
Wyatt returned to England after his second term as governor and died in Boxley. He was buried there on August 24, 1644.
Sir Francis Wyatt organized the General Assembly which had been called in 1619. This was the first legislative body in America. Sir Francis caused its privileges to be embodied in a written constitution, the first of its kind in the New World.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Weis, Frederick Lewis, and Walter Lee Sheppard. The Magna Charta sureties, 1215: the barons named in the Magna Charta, 1215 and some of their descendants who settled in America. (Baltimore [Maryland]: Genealogical Pub. Co., Unknown edition (1955-1999)), p. 89 line 72:15.
- Weis, Frederick Lewis, and Walter Lee Sheppard. The Magna Charta sureties, 1215: the barons named in the Magna Charta, 1215 and some of their descendants who settled in America. (Baltimore [Maryland]: Genealogical Pub. Co., Unknown edition (1955-1999)), p. 88 line 72:15, p. 89 line 72:15.
- Richardson, Douglas. Plantagenet ancestry : a study in colonial and medieval families. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co Inc, c2004), p. 151 FLEETE:1.i.
- Richardson, Douglas. Plantagenet ancestry : a study in colonial and medieval families. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co Inc, c2004), p. 60 BARNE:17.i.a.
- Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. (New York, New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., c1915), 1:42, Secondary quality.
Wyatt, Sir Francis, governor and captain general of Virginia from 1621 to 1626 and from 1639 to 1642, was the sone of George Wyatt, Esq., and Jane his wife, a daughter of Sir Thomas Finch. Francis married, in 1618, Margaret, daughter of Sir Edwin Sandys. He arrived in Virginia in October, 1621, with an appointment to relieve Governor Yardley (whose term expired November 18). Sir Francis was accompanied by his brother, Rev. Hawte Wyatt; Dr. John Pott, physician general, afterwards deputy governor; William Claiborne, surveyor-general; and George Sandys, uncle of his wife, who acted as treasurer of the colony. He brought with him also an ordinance of the London Company, confirming the government and freedom granted under Yardley in 1619.
Wyatt had not long arrived before a great calamity befell the colony. Powhatan had died in 1618, and the real head of the Indians in Virginia was his brother, the ferocious Opechancanough. He arranged a massacre of the whites, and the blow fell March 22, 1622. One-fourth of the settlers were destroyed, and the number would have been much larger had not Governor Wyatt received news through a Christian Indian named Chanco of the impending massacre in time to save Jamestown and put the neighboring settlements on their guard. After the massacre the colonists concentrated for some time the surviving population in five or six well fortified places, Jamestown Peninsula was one of these, and as the old quarters were overcrowded, Claiborne, the surveyor, laid out in 1624 a new section for habitation on the river side, eastward of the old stockade. The additions were called "New Town," where already stood, it is believed, the governor's house, built by Gates in 1614, enlarged by Argall in 1617, and granted by the London Company in 1618 to the use of Governor Yardley and his successors forever. "New Town" never became a town of much size, for the settlers soon drove the Indians into the forests, and it was not long before the abandoned plantations were reestablished.
The Indian massacre was speedily followed by the revocation of the charter of the London Company, which Wyatt and other leaders in Virginia regarded as a dire calamity, though time proved the contrary. In January, 1624, they signed a protest called the "Tragicall Relation," denouncing the administration of the London Company by Sir Thomas Smythe and extolling that of Sandys and Southampton and asking for the old charter. The father of Governor Wyatt died in September, 1625, and he asked permission of the king to return to England, which was granted, and Sir George Yardley became governor in May, 1626. Wyatt remained in England till 1639, when he returned once more as governor. His appointment seems to have been due to the efforts of the leaders of the old London Company, who had never ceased their work for restoration of the charter. His administration was a reaction against that of Sir John Harvey. He reversed the edit of banishment against Rev. Anthony Panton, and Harvey himself was broken with suits in the courts. George Sandys, his wife's uncle, was sent to England to voice the wishes of the governor and assembly for the restoration of the old London Company charter. he could get no direct promise from the king, and so he had recourse to parliament, which did in fact reissue the old charter of 1609, though it never went into effect in Virginia. Before that time Wyatt was recalled, and Sir William Berkeley arrived as governor in 1642.
The Wyatt family to which Sir Francis belonged was one of great antiquity and of much renown. His great-great-grandfather, Sir Henry Wyatt, had taken a leading part in favor of Henry VII. against Richard III., and his grandfather, Sir Thomas, had been executed for raising a rebellion against Queen Mary. Sir Francis died in 1644, at Boxley, the home of the Wyatts, in county Kent, England. His brother, Rev. Hawte Wyatt, has many descendants in Virginia.