Person:Thomas Gates (32)

Sir Thomas Gates, 1st Governor of British Colony of Virginia
Facts and Events
Name Sir Thomas Gates, 1st Governor of British Colony of Virginia
Gender Male
Birth[1][2] abt 1585 Colyton parish, Devonshire, England
Death[1] 1622 Netherlands
Reference Number? Q3990626?

Sir Thomas Gates was one of the Early Settlers of Colonial Virginia

Image:Early Virginia Settler Banner.jpg

  1. 1.0 1.1 Thomas Gates (governor), in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, last accessed May 2016.
    This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Thomas_Gates_(governor). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

    Sir Thomas Gates (fl. 1585–1622), was the governor of Jamestown, in the English colony of Virginia (now the Commonwealth of Virginia, part of the United States of America). His predecessor, George Percy, through inept leadership, was responsible for the lives lost during the period called the Starving Time. The English-born Gates arrived to find a few surviving starving colonists commanded by Percy, and assumed command. Gates ruled with deputy governor Sir Thomas Dale. Their controlled, strict methods helped the early colonies survive. However, they did not assist in making them thrive. ...
  2. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. (New York, New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., c1915), 1:36.

    Gates, Sir Thomas, appointed the first and absolute governor of Virginia under the second charter to the Virginia Company of London, is said to have been born at Colyford, in Colyton parish, Devonshire; was a lieutenant of Captain Christopher Carleill's own company in the celebrated Drake-Sidney voyage to America 1585-86; published the Brigges Croftes account of this voyage in 1589,which he dedicated to the Earl of Essex; served gallantly at the capture of Cadiz and was knighted by Essex in June, 1596. He also served in the island voyage August-October, 1597; entered Gray's Inn March 14, 1598. About 1603 he enlisted in the service of the Netherlands, but when King James granted the first charter to the Virginia Company of London, he "had the honor to all posterity" of being first named in that celebrated document. He was in the garrison at Oudwater in South Holland with Dale in November, 1666; and in 1608 he received leave of absence to go to Virginia. The Virginia Company selected him as first governor under the new charter (1609), and in June he took passage with about 500 settlers. The expedition is known as the "Third Supply," and the emigration was the largest that ever left England up to that time. But the voyage over was very unfortunate, for an epidemic broke out among the passengers and there followed a great storm which scattered the fleet and wrecked upon the Bermuda Islands the Sea Venture which bore the governor and one hundred and fifty passengers; and though the rest of the fleet reached Jamestown in safety, their arrival only added to the trouble already existing there. The new settlers brought with them the yellow fever and the London plague, and, as their provisions were all ruined by sea water, the next nine months were a season of disease and starvation.

    In the meantime, Gates and his fellow passengers on the Sea Venture were comfortably housed on the Bermuda Islands, and out of the cedar that grew there they constructed two vessels in which they at length got away. On May 23, 1610, they arrived at Jamestown to find all but sixty of the settlers dead. Gates relieved the immediate distress by the prompt distribution of provisions, and then asserted order by the publication of a code of martial law drawn up in England. Deeming the conditions desperate, Gates, with the advice of his council, determined to abandon Jamestown, and on June 7, 1610, embarked with all the surviving settlers. On the way down the river he learned of the arrival of Lord Delaware at Point Comfort as governor for life, and in obedience to instructions took his fleet back to Jamestown. Under Delaware's commission Gates became lieutenant-governor and commanded an expedition against the Indians, whom he drove from Kecoughtan. In July, however, of the same year, he was sent to England for supplies. He returned to Jamestown August 1, 1611, when finding that Lord Delaware had departed he again assumed direction of affairs. He remained in Virginia nearly three years, and returned to England in April, 1614. Soon after, he resumed his service in Holland and was paid by the states all past dues. He appears to have retained his interest in Virginia, and in 1620 we find him as one of "the Ancient Adventurers" petitioning to have some man of quality sent over as governor. During his administration new settlements were established at Henrico, Bermuda Hundred, City Point and other places; the French were driven from New England; and Pocahontas, daughter to the Emperor Powhatan, was captured and soon after married to John Rolfe. He left a son of the same name, who distinguished himself in 1626 in the expedition against Cadiz and in 1627 at the Ilse of Ré and Rochelle, when he was killed by a cannon shot.