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Re: Sykes and Wyatt Families of Prince George Co., Virginia
Posted by: Paul Sykes (ID *****3208) Date: July 11, 2011 at 18:32:39
In Reply to: Sykes and Wyatt Families of Prince George Co., Virginia by Jerry W. Scott of 1325

I have some information you might be interested in.

Bernard Sykes, Sr.

BIRTH RECORD: Borthwick Institute, York, England – Bishop’s Transcript
12: [April 1638] Bernard Sikes son of Richard Sikes baptyzed


       1662:       April 4        Bernard Sykes, of St. Stephen’s, Coleman Street, Merchant, Bachr, about 24, & Elizabeth Rawlett, of St. Lawrence Jury, Spr., about 22; consent of father Thomas Rawlett, of Spaulding, co. Lincoln, Gent.; at Trinity, Minories, Middlesex.

DEATH RECORD: Often cited is “English Estates of American Colonists 1610-1699” lists administration of Bernard Sykes, Sr.’s estate as May 1682. However, the ORIGINAL RECORD IN LATIN notes the administration to be May 1683. [Found in the PROBATE ACT BOOK, London]

       Bernard Sykes
                                   On the third day issued forth a              [inventory to
                            commission to George Gay, administrator              be exhibited
of all and singular the goods, rights, and              by] the last
credits of Bernard Sykes, late of the city              [day] of
of London, but who died in Virginia, in              November
foreign parts, having etc [goods sufficient
to found the jurisdiction of the Prerogative
Court of Canterbury etc]
       By decree                     To administer the goods, rights and              [account to be
credits of the said deceased (during the              rendered by]
absence, and for the use of, Elizabeth                     the last [day]
Sykes, the relict of the said desceased, now              of May 1683
living in foreign parts
       He having been sworn well etc [to
administer the same]

NB: Bernard Sykes was already deceased in Virginia by the time this administration was carried out in London by George Gay, and so Bernard may have died in 1682, but administration is the only firm date documented.

TO AMERICA: In Nell Marion Nugent’s “Cavaliers and Pioneers”, Volume II, 1666-1695, pg.392:
ARTHUR ALLEN, 150 acs., at head Parker’s Cr; adj. Silvester Blake (?); 20 Apr 1694, p. 365. Granted John Blake, Esqr., 30 Oct. 1662, deserted, & now granted by order, &c. Imp. Of 3 pers: Bernard Sikes, Senr., Bernard Sikes, Junr., Eliz. Sikes.


RESEARCH: Background for Bernard Sykes, Sr. in Early Virginia

Contributed by Dr. Banks Raleigh Cates, Jr., deceased, July 22, 2007, Charlotte, NC. Provided by Dr. Cates to Dr. Paul W. Sykes on April 12, 2002.

1676 – Nathaniel Bacon’s revolt against Governor William Berkeley of Virginia ended just short of success in 1676 when Bacon died “of the Bloody Flux accompanied with a Lousey Disease”, and one of his chief officers, Giles Bland, failed in his attempt to capture the governor when his ship was taken by surprise. Giles Bland was hung as a traitor, along with other of Bacon’s officers; and Sarah Grendon, whose husband was Lt. Colonel Thomas Grendon was in England during the fracas, had her estate confiscated because of her active support of Bacon. Other executions under martial law were halted when Sir Herbert Jeffreys and his commission appointed by the King arrived to restore order. Governor Berkeley left for England to explain to Charles II why the revolt had occurred.
       Col. Edward Hill and Major John Stith had been ardent supporters of Governor Berkeley. Both had been accused of misuse of power by the one meeting of the House of Burgesses controlled by Bacon supporters; and they had been prevented by law from holding public office. Their power was restored with the fall of Bacon.

1676 – June 28th – Letter of Wm. Sherwood detailing events to Secretary Williamson in England. “”ffryday 23th --- Mr. Bacon comes under ye window of ye house, calls to them saying you Burgesses I expect yo’r speedy result, his soldiers mounting theire Guns ready to fyer; Imediately (for in this minute if not prevented all might have been in a flame) the Burgesses made it theire request to the Govern’r to Issue forth such a commission to Mr. Bacon.” [Virginia Magazine of History and Biography]
       Narrative of the rebellion prepared by Sir Herbert Jeffreys’ commissioners: “After Bacon’s Death one Joseph Ingram a stranger in Virginia and came over but the year before the Rebellion, under whose conduct the ffaction began to fall into several parties and opinions, which gave Sr Wm. Berkeley’s party opportunity by these divisions to surprise the Rebels an small Bodyes as they sailled up and down the country.” [Virginia Magazine of History and Biography].

1676 – November 9th - Personal Grievances of divers Inhabitants within his Majesties Colony of Virginia.
Mr. Thomas Grendon of Charles City County, Merchant. Several servants, Oxen, Sheep, Silver Plate, etc., to the value of 500 pounds sterling and 9 hogshead of tobacco carried away by Lt. Col. Edward Hill. [des Cognets, Louis Jr. English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records. 1958. Princeton, New Jersey; Privately printed.

1677 – March 27th - Abstracted letter of Col. Herbert Jeffreys & his commissioners to Thos. Walkins. “The Country in a peaceable quiet condition; all that obstructs it is the Governor’s abiding upon the place and the fierceness of those who call themselves the Loyal Party, which are not many and among them not twenty eminent sufferers in Estate. Their rapacious insolence exasperates the other party and their importunate solicitations to try and condemn the guilty party, which indeed is little less than the whole Country.” [Virginia Magazine of History and Biography].

1677 – April 13th - The Commissioners, to Mr. Secretary Coventry, Copy of letter, Swans Point. (A letter concerning Governor Berkeley’s delaying his return to England to answer to King Charles II concerning why a rebellion should have taken place in Virginia.) “When he shall have left the country, and not before then, they expect a short time will show boldly those things which now only cautiously peep forth, and to find proof upon oath of all his transactions, to second all they have sent, or shall send, notwithstanding he (to leave an awe upon the people) has done all in his power to persuade them that he will certainly return as Governor, a few months hence. He has kept such an authority over his Council and the Assembly that what he approves or dislikes, proposes or persuades only is done, so they cannot inform themselves of the state of Militia they are instructed to inquire into, nor of who should inform on these and other particulars. He has degraded and preferred officers after his own dislike and favour, merely as his own private by-ends, and not as the King’s interest and service incline him. For instance, he has advanced one Hill to be President of Charles City-County, and to be an eminent officer in the Militia, who is not only a notorious coward, but a most insolent fellow, and the only hated person in that county; this may serve as a specimen what the rest of his creatures are.” Signed: Herbert Jeffreys, John Berry, Francis Moryson. [Neville, James Davenport. Bacon’s Rebellion. Abstracts of Materials in the Colonial Records Project. Published by The Jamestown Foundation.]

1677 – Grievances were presented to Hon’ble Herbert Jeffries Esq. and his Commission by a committee from Charles City County. They complained of excess taxation, neglect of defense, failure to protect the colonists from the Indians, dictatorial rule and misuse of power by Governor Berkeley; and of numerous specific instances of misuse of funds, government property and troops for his own benefit by Col. Edward Hill. They were especially critical of his mistreatment of Thomas Grendon and his family.

       “We the Subscribers having been desired and requested there unto by the Inhabitants of this County (this day convened at Westover in the sd county for that purpose) doe present this their Humble Remonstrance and addresse to his Ma’tys Hon’ble Commissioners for Virg’a affayers this tenth day of May, 1677.” Signed: BERN’D SYKES, James Minge, Tho. Blayton, N. Wyatt, Wm. Duke, Tho. Grendon, James Bisse. [Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.]

1677 – “Edward Hill, in answeare to diverse fals scandalous articles draune up against him by the hands, cunning, skill, and Industry of James Ming and Thom Blayton delivered yo’r honn’rs in the behalfe, and as from the people of Charles City County, humbly answeareth:”
       In his defense to Sir Herbert Jeffrey’s Commission, Edward Hill refutes in great detail each of the charges made against him. He also criticizes each of his accusers: “ – and for MR. BERNARD SYKES, he was Mr. [Giles] Blands great friend in helping him raise men and to force the Commission. And after that to be one of Ingrams representatives and all for the Kings good servis as for Mr. Grendon although he was not in the country, yet his wife was, and therefore is engaged, but I shall be silent – “. [Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.]


The following is contributed by Jane Sykes Gardiner (as per Lanier Sykes Bogen) from a letter dated 10/25/1991:

Bacon’s Rebellion was written about in Chapter VI of THE PRINCE GEORGE – HOPEWELL STORY by Francis Earle Lutz in 1957. The author Mr. Lutz wrote: “America’s first armed revolt against the British government had its inception in the now Prince George just 100 years before the thirteen colonies declared their independence. Known as ‘Bacon’s Rebellion’, the 1676 episode, which cost hundreds of lives and did much to retard the growth of the colony, found the actions of the colonists against the government justified… The commissions reported that bands of Indians coming down from the north had killed many settlers and destroyed much property without promised protection being given the frontiers. Sir William Berkeley, who had been reappointed Governor in 1668, after the restoration of the Stuarts to the throne, was blamed for much of the trouble. He was accused by the colonists of granting monopolies and special trading privileges to his favorites, among whom were Colonel Abraham Wood and Thomas Stregg, Jr. … and William Byrd… he (the Governor) seemed bent on amassing riches at the expense of his people, … and was refusing constantly to protect outlying areas because his cronies feared injury to their profitable trade with the Indians. … Bacon, a 28-year-old newcomer, had been a law student at Gray’s Inn before emigrating to Virginia, where he set up his home at Curle’s Neck. The hot-headed young planter … received news that one of his favorite overseers and another servant on a frontier plantation, had become a victim of the Indian. He needed no further persuasion and all of the men signed a solemn oath to stick together. Bacon enrolled the names of the volunteers circular-wise in order that the ring leaders might not be found out. … Bacon, at the head of 211 volunteers … made amazing marches and fought several desperate but successful battles. At the Roanoke River, near the present site of Clarksville, in battle lasting two days, he destroyed a principal Indian village on Long Island, which was such a devastating blow that Southside Virginia was forever put beyond danger from Indians. He delivered another blow on the Appomattox near site of Petersburg and still another on the North Anna. Bacon became the idol of Virginians… The Burgess advised the Governor to recognize Bacon’s election and he reluctantly did so. In the Assembly, in June, many liberal measures, known as Bacon’s laws, were passed… Bacon became ill with fever and his brilliant career ended with his death in the field on October 1, 1676.”


The following is contributed by Dr. Paul Sykes, an account of Nathaniel Bacon and the times surrounding Bacon’s Rebellion. Submitted July 2010.

Not every account of Nathaniel Bacon renders him a hero. In reviewing The River Where America Began, A Journey Along the James by Bob Deans in 2007, Mr. Deans writes:

“Virginia’s landowners were facing trouble enough with their own riffraff, it seems, without being burdened by the rabble of London. None was to become more troublesome than Nathaniel Bacon, who left behind his own frothy wake when he journeyed from England to come to Virginia. Son of the English gentry, Bacon disgraced his family by trying to cheat a neighbor out of his inheritance. Bacon’s father-in-law despised him, writing his daughter Elizabeth Duke out of the family will as her punishment for marrying Bacon. Thus discredited, his future prospects bleak, Bacon journeyed to Virginia. There he used his father’s contacts and money to buy a large spread covering a neck of land at a sharp river loop named the Curles, just downstream from present-day Richmond. … later named Curles Neck. … In 1675, … [Governor] Berkeley welcomed his distant kin by naming him to the council. … The same year, one of the worst Anglo-Indian wars on record broke out in Massachusetts… In a year of fighting that ended in the summer of 1676, some twenty-five hundred colonists and five thousand Indians were killed in what came to be known as King Philip’s War. … On the frontiers of the Virginia settlement, English plantations, hamlets, and small farms came under hit-and-run attacks by Indians, … among them was one of Bacon’s overseers. … Berkeley cobbled together a militia but did little to confront the Indians. Critics charged that he was treading lightly to preserve the interests he and his cronies had in the domestic fur trade. … Many of the Indians cooperated with the colonists and were regarded as essential allies. Not only were mass undifferentiated assaults immoral, Berkeley felt, but they could be counterproductive, turning friends into foes and risking all-out war. … In May 1676, defying Berkeley’s calls for moderation, Bacon led a group of volunteer vigilantes on a series of raids against far-flung Indian villages. Scores of native people were killed. Bacon, who’d been in Virginia just two years, didn’t trouble to distinguish between those Indians who had actually carried out the winter attacks and those who had had nothing to do with them. While the attacks may have seemed like justice to Bacon and his men, they looked to others, Indians and many English as well, like an undisciplined rampage that had more than a whiff of naked aggression meant to run indigenous people out of their homes for the benefit of Bacon’s land-starved followers.
       Berkeley was outraged that Bacon would blatantly disobey his orders and take leadership of an independent militia. That was dangerous, Berkeley understood, and it was treason. Berkeley pronounced Bacon a rebel, suspended him from the Council of State, dissolved the House of Burgesses, and called for new elections, the first in fifteen years.
       Among the winners was Bacon, who was elected a burgess from Henrico County. It was a stunning repudiation of royal authority and a humiliating public rebuke of Berkeley, who had stripped Bacon of his council post and branded him a traitor just weeks before. … Bacon was arrested on charges of mutiny, a hanging offense. … Bacon wrote out a confession, promising to never again to challenge the royal governor’s authority. … Berkeley pardoned Bacon and restored him to the assembly … After the assembly adjourned toward the end of June, hundreds of small stakeholders, indebted sharecroppers, former servants, and black slaves rallied around Bacon, calling for armed insurrection. … Bacon agreed to lead them in what amounted to all-out revolt. That decision locked him in a blood duel with Berkeley over control of the colony. It plunged Virginia into a civil war that raged for six months. … Bacon’s attack all but annihilated the Occaneechee Indians, who had been close allies and fur-trading partners of Berkeley. … In a prelude to an attack on Jamestown, Bacon raided a number of plantations, kidnapped the wives of several of Berkeley’s supporters, then displayed them alongside captive Indians before trenches outside the Virginia capital. Overtaking the city’s defenders, Bacon’s men put Jamestown to the torch. …
       Bacon’s true motives and intentions may never be known. He left behind little that he had written. His wartime record – pillaging plantations, including Berkeley’s cherished Green Spring, massacring Indians and taking their land, using colonists’ wives as human shields – terminally undercut whatever case might have been made for Bacon as a heroic patriot.”

DISCUSSION: per Dr. Paul W. Sykes
Bernard Sykes is listed in the Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography as an “active friend of Nathaniel Bacon, Jr.”. Bernard may not have been one to have seen the big picture as painted above by Bob Deans, but rather as one that was not part of Governor Berkeley’s select few that benefited from his favoritism. If it were not for the Honorable Herbert Jeffreys who led the commission to sort out Bacon’s Rebellion, specifically, Jeffreys’ “sympathies being with the popular side, by his influence the assembly in October, 1677, passed an act of amnesty’’ for Bacon’s supporters, Bernard Sykes might have been hung along with the over two dozen other Bacon supporters who died by hanging. “When news of Berkeley’s zeal for retribution reached London, Charles II reportedly exclaimed ‘That old fool has hanged more men in that naked country than I did for the murder of my father.’ The king sent a royal commission to find out what went wrong in Virginia and how best to correct it – along with a thousand British troops to quell rebel holdouts and reassert the crown’s control. … King Charles sent Col. Herbert Jeffreys to replace him as governor.”

**Discussion supporting material from both the Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography and the aforementioned The River Where America Began.

Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, LL. D. Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, 1915. Biographical information relating to persons of interest in relation to Bacon’s Rebellion and Charles City County. Added by Dr. Paul Sykes to facilitate understanding of the historical setting for Bernard Sykes. Many of the names are notated in the Charles City County court records along with Bernard Sykes.

Allen, Maj. Arthur
The son and heir of Arthur Allen, of Surry county, and of his wife, Alice Tucker. Maj. Allen’s father, in 1649, patented 200 acres between Lawne’s creek and Lower Chippoakes creek. Maj. Allen was burgess from Surry county in 1682, in 1685-86, and in 1688. In the last-named session he was speaker of the assembly. He married Katherine, daughter and heiress of Capt. Laurence Baker, of Surry. On July3, 1677, Mr. Arthur Allen sued Mr. Robert Burgess for that “during the late most Horrid Rebellion (Bacon’s rebellion) he with others did seize and keep garrison in the plts’ house neare fower months.” This ancient brick mansion is still standing, on of the oldest houses in Virginia, and is known as “Bacon’s Castle” (1914). Maj. Allen’s will was proved in Surry court, Sept. 5, 1710.

[NB: Arthur Allen Imported Bernard Sikes and family - See Cavaliers and Pioneers by Nugent, Vol. II, p.392]

Bacon, Nathaniel
Known as “the Rebel,” came to Virginia in 1673 and was made a member of the council in 1675. He was a cousin of Lord Francis Bacon and a cousin once removed of Nathaniel Bacon Sr., president of the council and acting governor (q.v.). His father was Thomas Bacon, a merchant of London, and he was born in England, January 2, 1647. In 1663 he went abroad with Sir Philip Skippon and others. He owned lands in England of the yearly value of L150 sterling, but on his marriage with Elizabeth Duke, daughter of Sir Edward Duke, of Benhill Lodge, near Saxmundham, he sold his lands to Sir Robert Jason for L1,200 and removed to Virginia. He purchased a plantation at “Curls,” in Henrico county, called “Longfield,” and had a quarter at the falls of the river where Richmond now stands. The colony was in a state of unrest, owing to high taxes and many corruptions in the public offices; and a sudden irruption on the frontiers of the Indians, which Governor Berkeley was slow in repressing, fanned the smouldering embers into flames. Urged by his neighbors, Bacon asked Berkeley for a commission to go out against the Indians, which he refused, and Bacon went out without one. Berkeley then proclaimed him a rebel, and out of this arose a civil war in which Bacon supported by the great majority of the people possessed himself of the main authority and drove Berkeley to seek refuge at “Arlington” on the eastern shore with Major-General John Custis. Jamestown was burned, and many estates were pillaged by both factions.
       At length Bacon, through his exposures, contracted dysentery, and the rebellion virtually came to an end through his death in Gloucester county at Major Pate’s place, on Poropotank Creek, October 26, 1676. He left two daughters, one of whom Elizabeth, born April 12, 1674, married Hugh Chamberlain, physician to the King. Bacon’s widow, Elizabeth Duke, married (second) Thomas Jarvis, a ship captain, who had 200 acres at Hampton, and after his death she married Edward Mole. In 1698 William Randolph patented “Longfield” and the slashes adjoining which had been escheated to the King from Bacon because of his rebellion, and these lands descended to William Randolph’s son, Richard Randolph, who was known as Richard Randolph, of “Curls.” Bacon’s rebellion is the most spectacular episode in all colonial history, and its leader will always be an interesting historical figure. He had good looks, a commanding manner, and remarkable eloquence, which made him the idol of his followers.

Baker, Capt. Lawrence
       Of Surry county, was a justice of Surry from 1652 to his death in 1681. He was also a member of the house of burgesses from 1666 to 1676. His will was dated March 18, 1681 and was proved Sept. 6, 1681, and by it he left his whole estate to his wife Elizabeth, and to his daughter Catherine, wife of Arthur Allen of Surry county. He was a kinsman of Lieut.-Col. Henry Baker, of Isle of Wight county.

Bland, Edward
Son of John Bland, an eminent merchant of London, emigrated to Virginia where he was agent for his brother John Bland, who had large estates in Virginia. In 1649 he took part in an exploring expedition to the westward. He married Jane, daughter of his uncle Gregory Bland, and died about 1653. His widow married (secondly) John Holmwood, of Charles City County. Edward Bland left issue a son Edward of “Kymages” in Charles City county, Virginia.

Bland, Giles
Son of John Bland, an eminent merchant of London, went to Virginia to manage his father’s plantations there in 1674; quarreled with the secretary of state, Thomas Ludwell, and was fined by the general assembly; appointed collector of the customs, took part with Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., in 1676, was captured by Philip Ludwell in Accomac, and hanged.

Bland, Richard
       Son of Theodorick Bland of the council and Anna Bennett, his wife, was born at Berkeley, James river, Aug. 11, 1665. He resided at Jordan’s Point and represented Charles City county, then including the present Prince George, in 1700-1702 and 1703-1705 and Prince George in 1706. He died at Jordan’s April 6, 1729.. He married (first) Mary, daughter of Col. Thomas Swan of the council, and (second) Elizabeth, daughter of Col. William Randolph of Turkey Island. By the last wife he was father of the distinguished revolutionary patriot of the same name.

Blayton, Thomas
       Was a very active promoter of the disturbances in Virginia known as “Bacon’s Rebellion.” He took a prominent part in the assembly called under Bacon’s authority in June, 1676, and was also a member of Ingram’s assembly called after Bacon’s death in Oct., 1676. He is said to have written the stirring “Declaration,” put forth by Bacon and was active in administering Bacon’s oaths to the people. He was pardoned by Sir William Berkeley. He lived in Charles City county.

Grendon, Thomas, Jr.
       Son of Thomas Grendon, merchant, settled in the parish of Westover, Charles City county, and had large estates in Virginia and England. He was lieutenant-colonel of the Charles City militia in 1680, commanding the cavalry. He married Sarah, widow of Thomas Stegge Jr., and died in 1684, when his will disposes of a great estate in Virginia, Staffordshire, England, etc.

Hill, Edward, Jr.
       Was the son of Edward Hill, Sr., an account of whom appears above. He was probably born at “Shirley,” Charles City county, on the banks of the James, in 1637, and upon the death of his father, about 1663, fell heir to that historic estate. Edward Hill Jr. held many offices in his time. He was commander-in-chief of Charles City and Surry counties, commissioned by Gov. Chicheley, Sept. 27, 1679; speaker of the house of burgesses, 1691; treasurer, elected 1691; collector of upper district of James river, 1692, and naval officer of Virginia duties. In 1697 Gov. Andros appointed him judge of the Admiralty for Virginia and North Carolina. It seems that upon the first day of Bacon’s uprising there was an attempt made to persuade Hill to join them, but he met the proposition with a scornful rebuff. He was an intimate friend of Gov. Berkeley and took an active part in quelling the rebellion. It naturally follows that he was cordially hated by the people in his county where the rebellion began. He was disenfranchised by Bacon’s house of burgesses in 1676, and after Bacon’s death, when the counties capitulated to the King’s commissioners, he was made a principal subject of their excuse for rebellion, and accused of oppression, misappropriation of public funds and other wrong doing. Col. Hill answered his accusers very effectively in a long and elaborate paper, but in the list of councilors made by the commissioners late in 1677 they recommended that he be left out, and on Feb. 10, 1678-79, the committee of trades and plantations recommended that Col. Hill, of “evil fame and behavior,” be put out of all employment and declared unfit to serve his majesty, which recommendation the King saw fit to follow “until his Majesty’s pleasure be further known.” With the appointment of Lord Culpeper as governor there was, however, a turn in the tide of Virginia affairs, and Col. Hill’s star was again in the ascendant. He was fully restored to both royal and popular favor and many of the offices which he held were bestowed upon him after this date. He died Nov. 30, 1700, at “Shirley,” which is still owned by his descendants.

Harrison, Benjamin
       Of “Wakefield,” Surry county, a son of Benjamin Harrison, of the same place, was born Sept. 20, 1645. He was a minor at the time of his father’s death, and in 1663, was under the guardianship of Capt. Thomas Flood, of Surry. On June 15, 1677, his name appears for the first time as a justice and he continued for many years to be a member of the county court. On June 16, 1679, he took the oath as sheriff. He was a member of the house of burgesses in 1681, 1692, 1696, 1697 and 1698, and in the latter year was promoted to the council, of which he was a regular attendant until his death. In the charter of William and Mary College, in 1692, Benjamin Harrison had endeavored to engross the major part of the land on the south side of Blackwater Swamp, but that, for his majesty’s interest, he had put a stop to their proceedings. Col. Harrison died Jan. 30, 1712-13.
[NB: Bernard Sykes, Jr.’s sons Richard, John and Bernard III are listed on deeds in Prince George County on the Blackwater Swamp.]

Jeffreys, Herbert
Commissioned lieutenant-governor November 11, 1675, was an officer in the English army and commanded the regiment sent over to Virginia in 1676 to put down the rebellion of Bacon. He was also head of the commission to enquire into the causes of the troubles in Virginia, Major Francis Moryson, and Sir John Berry, admiral of the fleet, being the other members. He arrived in Virginia, February 2, 1677, and encamped his troops among the ruins of the brick buildings at Jamestown, which had been burned by Nathaniel Bacon. The commissioners made the residence of Colonel Thomas Swann, at Swann’s Point, on the other side of the river, their headquarters, whence they issued a call to the different counties for a statement of their grievances. From their first their relations with Berkeley were far from sympathetic. Upon the departure of Berkeley from the colony, Jeffreys by virtue of his commission assumed the government, and marching his troops to Middle Plantation (now Williamsburg) concluded a treaty of friendship with the neighboring Indian tribes. His sympathies being with the popular side, by his influence the assembly in October, 1677, passed an act of amnesty, and threatened a heavy fine against anybody who would call another “a rebel or traitor.” Those, therefore, who had been friends of Sir William Berkeley, received very little favor at his hands, and were denounced by him as the “Greenspring faction,” whose tyranny had been one of the chief causes of the civil war. He incurred the special enmity of Philip Ludwell, who married Berkeley’s widow, because he would not let him sue Walkett for damages done during that time. In this Jeffreys seemed to be right, as Berkeley had promised Walkett, a leader of the rebels after Bacon’s death, indemnity on his surrendering West Point. In another matter in which Robert Beverley, the other leader of the Greenspring faction, was involved, Jeffrey’s position was not as defensible. In order to make a full report he and the other commissioners demanded of Beverley, who was clerk of the assembly, the journals and papers of the house of burgesses, and when the latter declined to give them up they seized them out of his possession. As this appeared to the house an attack upon their privileges, they passed strong resolutions when they met protesting against the action of the commissioners. The growing importance of Middle Plantation was shown by a petition from some inhabitants of York county that the place be recommended to the king for the seat of government. But the commissioners, including Jeffreys, were not willing to abandon Jamestown, and on April 25, 1678, the general assembly resumed its sittings at the country’s ancient capital, and steps were taken to rebuild the state house and church. Jeffreys, however, did not long survive the meeting of the assembly. He died in Virginia, December 30, 1678. The surviving commissioners made a voluminous report to the English government, in which, under the thin guise of a censure of Bacon, the entire blame of the civil war was really thrown upon Sir William Berkeley and his friends.

Minge, James
       Was the first of the family of Minge in Virginia. He lived in Charles City county, Virginia; was well educated, and in 1671 is called a surveyor. He took sides with Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., and was clerk of the house of burgesses which assembled in June, 1676 under Bacon’s authority. He was also clerk of the assembly called by General Ingram, shortly after Bacon’s death, in October, 1676. He was very useful to Bacon in drawing up his laws and papers.

Place, Rowland
Was living in Virginia as early as 1671, when he owned land in Charles City and near the falls of James river in Henrico county. It was on Oct. 9, 1675, that he was first sworn to the council and he continued to serve for several years. He was present as a member in March, 1678, but soon afterwards went to England, evidently with the intention of only making a visit there, though he afterwards seems to have changed his mind, for he never after returned to Virginia. William Sherwood, writing to Secretary Williamson, July 1, 1678, says that his letter will be carried by “Col. Rowland Place, a member of the council,” who can give “ample account of matters in Virginia,” and, on July 10, 1678, Gov. Lord Culpeper wrote a letter which he stated he would confide to Col. Place, who had been an eye witness of many of the events of chief interest which had lately occurred in the colony. On Dec. 13, 1678, Francis Moryson wrote to William Blathwayt that he had “advice” that Col. Place had lately arrived in England from Virginia, and that the colonel was “one of the Council and a very honest gentleman.” On March 14, 1678-79, the King directed that Place should be continued in the council, but on May 20 Capt. Rudge, of the ship “ ’Hopewell’ just come from Virginia,” appeared before the committee of trade and plantations, and stated, among other things, that the Indians had recently killed several people and totally ruined the plantation of Col. Place, who was in England. Perhaps it was this news that caused Place to linger abroad. He was included in the commission of councilors under Lord Culpeper, read on May 10, 1680, but still did not return to Virginia, and on Dec. 12, 1681, Gov. Culpeper wrote that he had appointed a coucillor “in the room of Col. Rowland Place,” who was “living in England.” He was the son of Francis Place, the celebrated painter of York, and Ann Williamson, his wife. He married Priscilla, daughter of Sir John Brookes, of Norton, county York, baronet. He was born 1642 and died 1713 (see “Familiae Minorum Gentium,” vol. iii, p. 921).
[NB: Bernard Sykes was his attorney and handled his affairs when he went back to England.]

Swann, Thomas       
       Of Swann’s Point, Surrey, county, son of William Swann of the same place, was a member of the house of burgesses from James City County, Nov., 1645, and Oct., 1649, and, as Lieut. Col. Thomas Swann, for Surrey, March, 1657-58. He was appointed to the council in 1659 and held that office until his death. He held many civil and military posts in Surry county and seems to have been a very prominent man there. During Bacon’s rebellion and the preceding troubles, Col. Swann acted with great moderation. He was opposed to Berkeley’s measures and signed the proclamation of April 11, 1676, calling for the election of burgesses to meet in September, but he did not follow Bacon in open opposition to the government, and when Gov. Berkeley refused to entertain the three commissioners sent from England to suppress the rebellion, Swann received them at his house at “Swann’s Point,” opposite Jamestown and all their meetings were held there. In Dec., 1677, the committee of trade and plantations of the English privy council, directed that Col. Swann be recommended to Gov. Jeffreys for some reward for his kindness and expense in receiving the commissioners at his house after Berkeley had refused. His tomb, with crest and epitaph is at Swann’s Point and thereon is recorded the day of his death as the sixteenth of September, “in ye year of our Lord God 1680.” The good councilor seems to have had an unusual number of wives even for that marrying day and generation, having been wed no less than five times. He had many descendants; some of them very distinguished.

Sykes, Bernard
       Was an active friend of Nathaniel Bacon Jr.; resided in Charles City county and was a member of the assembly called by General Ingram after Bacon’s death in October, 1676.

Wyatt, Anthony
       Born in 1604, came to Virginia in 1624, and was a member of the house of burgesses for Charles City county in 1645, 1653, and 1656. He lived at “Chaplin’s Choice,” formerly patented by Captain Isaac Chaplin. It lay on the James river, near Jordan’s Point, in that part of Charles City county now called Prince George county. He was living in 1664. He left a son Nicholas.

[ NB: Nicholas’ son, Anthony, was father to Frances Wyatt, who became the wife of John Sykes, son of Bernard Sykes, Jr.]


1677 – Charles City County Court: Upon motion and testimony of Dan. Clarke sherr and Jas. Minge that it was order of the Rt. Hon. Herb. Jeffreys, Esq: Governor etc: that Barnard Sykes & Mr. Thos. Grendon be sworn as Justices they being present but the court considered that Mr. Sykes had not been an inhabitant of the colony the necessary time, decided to suspend the oath until further instructions from the Governor. Mr. Grendon refused the oath until the whole matter was cleared. 9 June 1677. 1 p.4.

1677 – Charles City County Court: Jno. Coggan plt. agst Bernard Sykes attorney of Roland Place, Esqr. Deft referred to next court. 16 June 1677. 1 p.6.

1677 – Charles City County Court: Gilbert Plat plt. agst Mr. Bernard Sykes deft., referred to next court.
14 September 1677. 1 p.14.

1677 – Charles City County Court: James Mason & his wife summoned as witnesses in the suit of Gilbert Plat, plt. & Bernard Sykes, deft., not appearing are fined.
       The difference between Mr. Gilbert Platt plt. & Mr. Bernard Sykes deft. concerning a servant man is by joint consent referred to the arbitration of Coll. Edward Hill & Mr. Tho. Grendon, and in case of difference, to chose an umpire. 19 November 1677. 1 p.27.

1677 – Charles City County Court: Rowland Place of Buckland, James River, Va. appoints Mr. Bernard Sykes of James River his lawful attorney to collect all accounts due him in Virginia & Maryland and to receive payment in money, wares, “Merchandize”, tobacco, pork, corne, Beaver, furrs, skins, hides, pipe staves and all other affairs of sd. Place and to sue, attach, imprison as if done by sd. Place and to execute my business.
6 Aug 1677. Wit: Robt. Morris, Wm. Moore, Dan’l Parke, Jno. Conset. 19 November 1677. 1 p.29.

1677 – Charles City County Court: Francis Hill plt. in suit of debt. agst. Bernard Sykes deft. as atty. of Jno. Bland but Sykes pleads that he is not Jno Bland’s attorney. Suit Dismist. But Fra. Hill pleads that Jno. Bland’s estate owes sd. plt. 1400 lbs. tob. for work done by his predecessor. 3 December 1677. 1 p. 36.

       In subsequent Court action, Mrs. Sarah Bland, wife & Atty. of Mr. Jno. Bland, Deft., has non-suit vs. ffra. Hill, plt. No cause of action.

Mr. Thos. Cocke, plt., vs. Mr. Jno. Bland, deft., for 1344 lbs. tobacco contracted by Mr. Giles Bland for provisions and necessaries for the use of both plantations of Mr. Jno. Bland then managed by Mr. Giles Bland and proved by due bill. Mrs. Sarah Bland, wife & atty. of Mr. Jno. Bland pleads that sd. bill is owed by estate of Giles Bland as it is in his hand. Mrs. Bland then prays a demurrer based on Magna Charta and various of the common laws of England in effect in the Colonies. (The editor states that Mrs. Bland then went into a recitation of Giles Blands offices & duties for three full pages.) Found for the plt. Judgmt. Granted for the above sum.

1677 – Charles City County Court: Bernard Sykes denying that he is attorney for Giles Bland, granted a non-suit in action by Meredith Davis plt. but because of debt, grants plt. an attachment on sd. Bland’s estate for 15,000 lbs. tob. 3 December 1677. 1 p. 37.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Mr. Bernard Sykes asks for admin. Of the estate of Edw. Melton, dec’d. but it has been given into custody of James Lawrence. Ordered that Lawrence give an inventory to the next court and reserve 100 bbls. of corn and a suit of clothes for the orphan and the remainder to pay claims of Mr. Sykes declared to be 1471 lbs. tob. & 1 bbl. of corn. 4 February 1678. 1 pg. 37.       

1678 – Charles City County Court: The difference between Gilbert Platt plt. & Mr. Bernard Sykes deft. was referred to the arbitration of Coll. Edw. Hill & Mr. Thos. Grendon. They award Mr. Gilbert Platt plt. 1200 lbs. tob. 4 February 1678. 1 p. 38.

1678 – Charles City County Court: On an order of the Hon. Herb Jeffreys Esq. Gov. etc., Mr. Bernard Sykes was sworn a Justice of the Peace. 15 April 1678. 1 pg. 49.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Admin. Granted Mr. Jno. Stith on the estate of Rich. Hanson. Mr. Bernard Sykes security: Mr. Rich. Moseby and Jno. Turner to appraise it. 15 April 1678. 1 pg. 49.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Mr. Bernard Sykes petitions the court for confirmation of a license for an ordinary at Westover granted to him by the Hon. Herb. Jeffreys, Gov. etc., The court confirms same but stipulates that it shall not injure Coll. Edw. Hill who has a bargain and argreement with the Justices. 16 April 1678. 1 pg. 51.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Judgm’t granted Mr. Bernard Sykes plt. vs. Maj. Jno. Stath adm. For Sam’l Phillips’ estate for 1402 lbs. tob. it being for goods delivered according to the account. 16 April 1678. 1 pg. 53.
1678 – Charles City County Court: Westover, 17 April 1678. Pres: Mr. Thos. Grendon: Maj. Stith: Mr. Bern. Sikes: Mr. Drayton. It is the opinion of the above Justices that the clerk may safely issue an attachmt. at any time within 12 months after it is granted. 1 pg. 55.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Whereas Mr. Jno. Drayton has exhibited an order of the Governor appointing Mr. Drayton high sherr. for the next ensuing year, and all the oaths of allegiance, supremacy & of sherr. have been administered to him, he is declared high sherr., Mr. Thos. Grendon & Mr. Bernard Sykes security. 17 April 1678. 1 pg. 57.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Westover, the 3rd June 1678. Present: Mr. Thos. Grendon: Maj. Jno. Stith: Coll. Jno. Eppes: Capt. Poythress: Mr. Ber. Sykes: Capt. Dan Lewellin. 1 pg. 57.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Admin. granted Joseph Bradley on the estate of Cuthbert Williams, dec’d. Mr. Thos. Grendon and Mr. Bernard Sikes security. Maj. Jno. Stith and Capt. Dan’l Lewellin to appraise estate. 3 June 1677. 1 pg. 58.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Jno. Hix plt. & Steven Hamlin deft. for the plt.’s cattle which sd. deft. now has, having altered plt.’s mark on the calves. Referred to a jury which heard evidence and witness of Sikes. Verdict – due to plt. 997 lbs. tob.
Mr. Bernard Sikes, sworn in the case of Hix & Hamlin deposes cattle were made to him for security, known of Maj. Stith. Mr. Sikes then asked to let the poor man have them but deft. wanted pay in tobacco. Sikes then asked Hix why he marked them and plt. said they were his own. 26 June 1678. 1 pg. 62.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Westover, 15 August 1678. Pres: Coll. Edw. Hill: Lt. Coll. Dan. Clark: Mr. Bernard Sykes: Mr. Thos. Grendon: Maj. Jno. Stith. 1 pg. 66.

1678 – Surry County Deed Book No. 1, pg. 229, “By this Public instrument of procuration or letter of Atorney bee it knowne and manifest that on the two and twentyeth day of the month of August Ano dom 1678 before me Nicholas Hayward Noatary and Tabellion public dwelling in London Personally appeared John Bland merchant of the cittie of London who hath made ordained his loveing wife, Sarah Bland, now bound from hence for Virginia his true and lawful Attorney and to his use to call to an account of all psons whatsoever in Virginia his debtors (and pticulery M. Bernard Sykes and Mr. Codd) Also to enter into and take into her custodie or possession the severall plantations of Bartlett Kimecheys, Herring Creek Mill, Jordaines, Westover, Upper Chippoakes, Sunken Marsh Plantation, Bassetts Choyce, Jamestown Lott, Lawnes Creek and all other lands and estate whatsoever due unto the sd. John Bland and receive of the widow Executors administrators goods or estate of Theodorick Bland late of Bartlett upon James River in Charles City County in Virginia merchant deceased or of any pson or psons whatsoever all and every the lands and all other things receipt to give acquittances and all the said Plantation Lands and estate whatsoever to granite bargain sell at such rates and prises as his sd wife and attorney shall find convenient. Signed John Bland sealed and delivered with his seal affixed red wax in the prescence of Anthony Fenn, Robert Mittford, Tho. Tanner, Humph Higginson, Edward Montague. Nic: Haward no. pub.”
       Upon the back side of this letter was written: “The within letter of attorney being presented to the Court of Charles Citty County by Mrs. Sarah Bland desires the same might be proved which was admitted and done in open court by the oaths of Capt. Robert Mittford and Thomas Tanner and ordered to be recorded which was done the 17th day of Feb. 1678-79. Testis Will Archer Cl. Cur. 2 pg. 202.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Westover, 16 November 1678. By His Maj: Justices of Guardians. Lt. Coll. Clark, Mr. Grendon, Mr. Sikes, Maj. Stith. 1 pg. 76.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Westover, 4 December 1678. Pres: Coll. Edw. Hill: Mr. Bern. Sikes: Mr. Dan’l Clark: Capt. Poythress: Mr. Jno. Stith: Mr. Blayton: Mr. Tho. Grendon: Mr. Batt. 1 pg. 78.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Westover, 5 December 1678. Pres: Coll. Epps: Mr. Poythress: Coll. Grendon: Mr. Blayton: Mr. Sikes: Mr. Batt: Maj. Stith: Capt. Wyet. 1 pg. 80.

1678 – Charles City County Court: Westover, 6 December 1678. Present same justices. To Mr. Sykes for 5 days as juryman – 240. 1 pg. 83.
       Ordered that Maj. Jno. Stith collect the south side of Westmoreland Par., Mr. Grendon & Mr. Sykes security. 1 pg. 84.

1679 – Charles City County Court: Westover, 18th February 1679. Pres: Coll. Edw. Hill: Lt. Coll. Dan’l Clarke: Maj. Jno. Stith: Lt. Coll. Thos. Grendon: Mr. Thos. Blayton: Mr. Bernd. Sikes: Maj. Fra. Poythress: Mr. Hen. Batt. 1 pg 89.

1679 – Charles City County Court: Westover, 18 February 1679. Pres: Lt. Coll. Clarke: Lt. Coll. Grendon: Mr. Bar. Sykes: Maj. Poythress: Maj. Stith: Mr. Blayton: Mr. Hen. Batt. 1 pg. 100.

1679 – Charles City County Court: Meriday Davis, plt. vs. Mrs. Sarah Bland, atty of Mr. Jno. Bland, deft., ordered that Davis have all debts that were contracted for Smith’s work with Mr. Giles Bland and now unpaid as in Sykes account book and Mrs. Bland be discharged from further expense each bearing their own costs.
4 June 1679. 1 pg. 105.

1679 – Charles City County Court: Mr. Bern. Sikes, plt. vs. Thos. Blanks as marrying the relict of Jeffrey Mumford being a matter of dispute is referred to next court. The papers examined & audited by Coll. Thos. Grendon and Maj. Jno. Stith to audit and balance papers to determine dispute. 4 August 1679. 1 pg. 108.

1679 – Charles City County Court: Mr. Bern. Sikes proved claims agst. Jas. Mason’s est. for 642 lbs. tob.
4 August 1679. 1 pg. 109.

1679 – Charles City County Court: Mr. Bern. Sykes assignee of Mr. Jno. Drayton plt. vs. Joshua Mecham deft. The plt. has judgmt. agst. The deft. for 1698 lbs. tob. due by judgmt. to Mr. Jno. Drayton 16th Aug 1678 for 1478 lbs. tob. & 259 lbs. tob. fees & levys. Judgmt. awarded for 1200 lbs. tob. plus cos and expenses. Judgmt. awarded Mr. Sykes vs. the estate of Alex. Ffowler in the hands of Mr. Rich. Moseby for 681 lbs. tob. for funeral of Ann ffowler. 16 October 1779. 1 pg. 117.

1682 – The Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, London: Letters of Administration fro Bernard Sykes, late of City of London but in Virginia, to Geo. Gay the Admr. (during absence of Eliz. Sykes, widow now in parts overseas). 3 May 1682. 3 pg. 30.

1682 – Will of Bernard Sykes of London, who died in Virginia. Administration by decree to George Gay during the absence of relict Elizabeth Sykes. May 1683.
4 pg. 56.

1683 – Grant of Administration re Bernard Sykes, 1682. Actual record of administration dated 3 May 1683. Text and copy of document attached by Dr. Paul Sykes.

1688 – Charles City County Court: At a Court Holden at Westover 4th June 1688. Coll. Edw’d Hill, Capt. Pr. Perry, Capt. Nich. Wyat, Mr. Edw. Braine, Justices.5

p. 134. Maj. Jno. Stith, Capt. James Bisse, Capt. Peter Perry and Mr. James Minge are impowered on
25 July next to audit what acct Mr. Jno. Everett shall present of est. of Bernard Sykes, dec’d.

1688 – Charles City County Court: Orphan’s Court holden at Westover, 15 Sept. 1688. PRESENT: Coll. Hill, Maj. Stith, Capt. Wyatt, Capt. Bisse, Mr. Braine, Capt. Perry, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Bolling, JUSTICES. 5

p. 152. Maj. Jno. Stith, Capt. Jas. Bisse, Capt. Pr. Perry and Mr. Ja. Minge to audit Jno. Everitt’s
accounts of estate of Bernard Sykes.

1688 – Charles City County Court: 18 December 1688 at Westover. Present: Coll. Hill, Maj. Jno. Stith,
Capt. Pr. Perry, Capt. Wyatt, Capt. Lewellin, JUSTICES. 5
       p. 186. Audit presented by Maj. Jno. Stith and Capt. Pr. Perry on estate of Bernard Sykes, dec’d,
referred to next court.


1 Ayres, Margaret McNeill. Charles City County, Virginia, Order Book, 1676-1679. 1968. Private printing.

2 William and Mary Quarterly. (Second Series).

3 Smith, Frank. Immigrants to America Appearing in English Records. 1976. The Everton Publishers, Inc.

4 Coldham, Peter William. English Estates of American Colonists. 1980. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing
5 Weisiger, Benjamin B., III, Charles City County, Virginia Court Orders 1687-1695. 1980. Reprinted 1992.



**An excellent read – Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began, A Journey Along the James. 2007. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. – This book takes you from the origins of the peoples around the James River over 15,000 years ago, to the founding of the first permanent English colony in America at Jamestown in 1607, to the fall of the Confederate capital of Richmond in 1865, setting the stage with the people and events surrounding the James River that helped form our nation.



Hunter, Joseph. Familiae Minorum Gentium, Vol. I. edited by John W. Clay. 1894. London.

Clay, J. W. Dugdale’s Visitation of Yorkshire, Part VIII. 1907. London.

Thoresby, Ralph. Ducatus Leodiensis or The History & Topography of the Parish of Leeds. 1714 – Thoresby. 1816 – second edition with copious additions and notes by Dr. T. D. Whitaker.

Heralds Visitation of Yorkshire of 1665.

Sykes, Christopher Simon. The Big House, The Story of a Country House and Its Family. 2004. Harper Collins Publishers. London. ** Details the pedigree from Richard Sykes of Sykes-dyke in Cumberland near Carlisle through the Sykeses of Sledmere, England.

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