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Facts and Events
Appointed surveyer for the Virginia colony in June 1621, arrived at Jamestown in Oct of that year. Appointed Secretary of State for Virginia, 1625-37 (and again 1652-60, under Cromwell). He returned to London, where he becme associated with a firm of merchants dealing in furs. He obtained a license to trade in furs from the government, good anywhere in America that a previous patent for sole trade had not already been granted.
Returning to Virginis, he established a fur-trading post on Kent Island in Chesapeake Bay. He subsequently purchased the island from the Indians and was allowed to send his own representative to the House of Burgesses. Later, Kent Island was included in the Crown's grant of Maryland to Lord Calvert, but Claiborne refused to accept the overlordship of the Calverts, and petty warfare broke out between the two sides. When he returned to England in 1637 to plead his case, the Calverts took the opportunity to attack the island and captured his brother-in-law, Capt. John Butler, who had been left in charge.
In Oct 1644, Claiborne returned to Virginia, claimed authority from Parliament, and successfully invaded Maryland, driving the Calverts out of the province, which he held until Dec 1646. The two sides subsequently were forced to obey the Crown, which decided the issue in favor of the Calverts.
On 1 Sep 1653, William patented 5,000 acres on the north side of the Pamunkey River, where he built "Romancoke" plantation.
Northumberland County State of Virginia
Whereas there are certain debts and other things due to me at Chichecon [i.e., Chicacone] and other places up the Bay. These presents are to appoint and authorize my kinsman Mr. Samuel Smith to ask and receive as also to implead and acquit and compound for any the said debts with any persons inhabitants or beings in the said places and in particularas being guardian unto my two daughters I do hereby authorize the said Samuel Smythe to take all those cattle at Chiceon into his custody fortheir use and to receive a heifer due from the estate of James Cloughton for a bull he killed of theirs witness hereunto my hand and seal this second day of April 1648.
[signed] W. Claiborne Wit: Christopher Williams [Northumberland County Deeds & Orders 1650 ; 1652, p. 36.]