Facts and Events
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Boddie, John Bennett. Virginia Historical Genealogies. (Redwood City, California: Pacific Coast Publishers, 1954), 37-38, Secondary quality.
- Source Needed, Secondary quality.
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.
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.]
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. (New York, New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., c1915), 1:96, Secondary quality.
Claiborne, William. The ancient family of Claiborne derives its name from the Manor of Claiborne or Cliborne, in Westmoreland county, England, near the river Eden, and which is named in the Domesday Book (A. D. 1086). William Claiborne was born about 1587 and came to Virginia with Gov. Wyatt in 1621, in the employ of the Virginia Company as surveyor-general of Virginia at a salary of thirty pounds a year, a house and, in all probability fees. He quickly became prominent in colonial affairs, and, in 1624, was commissioned by the King as first royal secretary of state, a position which he held off and on for eighteen years. In 1626 he became a member of the council. On July 22, 1629, he received a commission from Gov. Pott appointing him captain and commander of all the forces to be levied for a war against the Indians, and as a reward for the successful conduct of the campaign, was granted, in 1640, a tract of land on the Pamunkey river. In the latter year he petitioned the King to create an office which should have the keeping of the Virginia seal. The King referred the matter back to the governor and council of Virginia, who decided that such an office was appropriate and appointed Claiborne to fill it. In 1634 through the influence of Harvey he lost his place as secretary of state, but on Apr. 6, 1642, Charles I. appointed him treasurer of Virginia for life. He again commanded forces against the Indians in 1644, and again received a grant of land in reward. Claiborne was a great explorer and traded with the Indians as well as fought them. In 1627, the government of Virginia gave him permission to discover the source of Chesapeake Bay and explore any body of water between the thirty-fourth and forty-first parallels of latitude, and, on May 16, 1631, the King granted a license to "our trusty and well-beloved Wm. Claiborne" to trade in the colonies of New England and New Scotland, and commanded Gov. Harvey and the council to allow him to do so. Claiborne soon afterwards established a trading post on Kent Island near the present city of Annapolis, and this caused him to oppose with great persistence the efforts of the Baltimores to establish the colony of Maryland. When in 1632 that part of Virginia lying north of the Potomac was granted to Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, the Virginians including Claiborne protested against it on the ground that it was a territorial spoiliation. They brought the matter before the King and urged that in revoking the charter and asserting control over Virginia both his father James and himself had given assurances that the intention was to alter the form of government, not to dispute property rights. The political existence of the colony remained as much a fact as before, and if the king could grant away Maryland, he could grant away Jamestown itself. The King and his commissioners of foreign plantations were nevertheless adverse to this view, and the legality of Baltimore's charter was upheld.
The Virginians hoped, however, to except Kent Island from its operation on the ground that the Island was actually occupied by Virginia settlers. They argued that the assurances given at the revocation meant, at least, that actual occupation was to be respected. It made no difference whether Claiborne had any title to the soil or not, under his license to trade; the colony of Virginia had extended its laws over it, and the occupation was a legal one.
When, therefore, Leonard Calvert, Baltimore's governor, called upon Claiborne to recognize his authority in Kent Island, the council of Virginia, to whom Claiborne referred the request considered the claim and declared that the colony had as much right to Kent Island "as any other part of the country given by his Majesty's patent in 1609." This particular phase of the question came before the King like the more general phase and was referred by him as in the former case to the commissioners of foreign plantations. It pended before them for several years, and in the interim feeling grew war. A miniature war developed and several persons were killed on both sides. Sir John Harvey interferred in behalf of Lord Baltimore, and this so incensed Claiborne's friends in Virginia that he was seized and sent back to England. At length, however, the commissioners in 1638 decided for Lord Baltimore and Kent Island, having been seized in Claiborne's absence in England by Capt. George Evelyn in behalf of Lord Baltimore, has remained ever since a part of Maryland.
While Claiborne never admitted the justice of the decision, it does not appear that he ever tried again to set up Kent Island as independent of Maryland. During the disturbances of Richard Ingle (1645-1647) he visited Kent Island, but appears to have come over to look after his property rights, which had been confiscated. Instead of posing as a friend of parliament, he showed a commission and letter from King Charles I., by whom he appears to have stood till the King's death in 1649.
After that time Claiborne went to England and espoused the parliament side, and Gov. Berkeley in 1650 declared the office of treasurer vacant on account of Claiborne's "delinquency."
In Sept. 1651, Claiborne was appointed with Capt. Robert Dennis, Mr. Richard Bennett and Mr. Thomas Stegg on a commission to reduce Virginia to obedience to the parliament of England, an office which they succeeded in performing in Mar., 1652. They then repaired to Maryland and reduced that province also. The ascendency of Claiborne in Maryland was complete, but beyond renewing this property claim to Kent Island he did not treat if politically different from the rest of Maryland. In Virginia the two surviving commissioners Bennett and Claiborne shared the chief offices between them. Bennett became governor and Claiborne secretary of state. Maryland was only temporarily pacified. Lord Baltimore encouraged his adherents to resist and a civil war ensued and much blood was shed. The design of the commissioners appears to have been to have brought about the union of Virginia and Maryland again, but Baltimore won such favor with Cromwell in England that the contest was given up and his authority finally recognized.
When the restoration of Charles II. took place, Claiborne was deprived of his office as secretary and removed from Elizabeth City, where he had formerly lived, to Romancoke, near West Point, the scene of one of his former victories over the Indians. Romancoke was then situated in the county of New Kent, which had been cut from York in 1654, when Claiborne was at the heighth of his power.
The county was evidently named by him after his beloved Kent Island. Here he lived many years, siding with the government in the disturbances of Bacon's rebellion, and dying about 1677, when he was upwards of ninety years of age. To the last he remained unconquered in spirit, and as late as 1675, he sent to parliament a long recital of his injuries suffered at the hands of the Baltimores, asking satisfaction and urging the union of Maryland and Virginia.
- ↑ William Claiborne, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, last accessed May 2016, Secondary quality.
- ↑ , Secondary quality.
Brenner, Robert (2003). Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London's Overseas Traders. London:Verso. ISBN 1-85984-333-6.