Ye Kingdome of Accawmacke or the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century


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It is said that some Indians who lived near his estate had been stealing his sheep, hogs and cattle, for some time.  After vain attempts to detect the thieves, he decided to break up the practice.  He thereupon sent a messenger to the surrounding Indians to tell them that the Great Spirit would preach them a sermon if they would gather in a certain ditch on Scarburgh's Neck, upon the following Sunday morning.  When the Indians, who feared to disobey the "Conjurer," assembled as directed, Scarburgh fired a great cannon loaded with shot which he had concealed at the other end of the ditch, and the Great Spirit spoke so forcibly unto the natives that but few remained alive after his introductory remarks...

John Wise, of Devonshire, the progenitor of the Wise family in Virginia, sailed according to Hotten, from Gravesend in the ship Transport, bound for Virginia, July 4, 1635, and settled on the Eastern Shore.  He was a mere youth when he arrived in Accomac, but soon married Hannah, the daughter of Captain Edmund Scarburgh, and from him five consecutive generations of John Wises

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descended, each in turn occupying high positions among their people.  The immigrant purchased one thousand acres of land lying along Chesconnessex and Onancock Creeks, from Ekeeks, the Onancock King.  This tract, with other land added thereto, was known for many years as the Dutch Blanket tract, by reason of the fact that the consideration named in the deed was seven Dutch Blankets.  Out of the tract were carved the two family estates of Clifton and Fort George on Chesconnessex Creek; and there lived the Wises during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  Most of them were both planters and lawyers, three, including the immigrant, being Justices of the Accomac Courts.  The will of the first John Wise, who was a very pious man, is recorded in the Court of Accomac, and is a curious instrument, the greater portion of which is devoted to the disposition of his "Imortal Soul."...

The same year Colonel Nathaniel Littleton, a scion of the famous Shropshire family of that name, came to Accomac and took up land along Nandua Creek.  ... From this early date, the Littletons have been one of the most influential families on the Eastern Shore.  Colonel Nathaniel Littleton was Chief Magistrate of Accomac in 1640 and a Burgess in 1652.

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Another early settler in Accomac and progenitor of a distinguished line of descedants, was Edmund Bowman, and English gentleman of welath and position.  he also, like John Wise, was a Justice of Accomac in 1663, after the peninsula had been divided into two counties.  Captain, afterwards Major Bowman, settled upon Folly Creek, which flows into Motomkin Inlet on the seaside, and built the first of the famous old mansions known as "Bowman's Folly."  He was sheriff and a Burgess of Accomac. ... The foregoing history of the various families has been given merely to show how constantly the early landed gentry intermarried, thereby sustaining their prestige and augmenting their power among the people of the peninsula.  The Scarburghs, Yeardleys, Wises, Bowmans, Eyres, Corbins, Upshurs, Wests, Littletons, Parkers, Croppers, Baylys, Joyneses, Custises, and a number of others, comprised an isolated aristocracy in the early seventeenth century, which perpetuated itself for years with no appreciable admixture of outside blood ...

During the years 1627, 1628 and 1629, the governors of Virginia gave authority to William Clayborne, who was Secretary of State of the Colony, and a Justice of Accomac in 1632, to explore the Chesapeake Bay and any part of the

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country from 34 degree to the 41 degree of North Latitude, which authority was confirmed by Charles I, in 1631.  Being also authorized to establish trade, Clayborne established a port on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.  The settlement flourished from the first, and by 1632 the population was sufficiently large to entitle it to a Burgess; and in 1632 a warehouse was established in Southampton River for the inhabitants of Kent Island, Accomac, Elizabeth City, and Mary's Mount.  It must be understood that up to the time of the grant to Baltimore, the enterprising whites who had Chesapeake, were considered to be Accomackians.  They were principally Indian traders and fur dealers, and their settlements springing up to the north of the Pacomoke exercised much influence upon the settlement of the nothern part of Accomac.

Soon after the port of Kent Island was established, the King, on June 20, 1632, confirmed the patent to Cecilius, Baron of Baltimore, which he had promised to the elder Lord, his father.  The new province created from the territory of Virginia was named Maryland.  The grant to Lord Baltimore very naturally aggrieved the Virginians and led to serious remonstrance on their part and an appeal to the King in 1633.  The Star Chamber decided to allow Baltimore very naturally aggrieved the Virginians and led to serious remonstrance on their part and an appeal to the King in 1633.  The Star Chamber decided to allow Baltimore to retain his patent, recommending friendly intercourse between the people of the two colonies, pending a decision in the controversy.  Clayborne, however, refused to surrender his claim to Kent Island, or to recognize the authorities of Maryland.

In 1634, Leonard Calvert, the brother of Lord Baltimore, with about twenty gentlemen and two or three hundred

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