Monday, September 8, 2014

Is your Ancestor on the Sea Venture Monument, St. George, Bermuda?

2007 photo of the old Sea Venture Memorial
St. George, Bermuda


In 2009 Bermuda celebrated the 400th anniversary of the shipwreck of the Sea Venture.  In 1609 Sir George Somers and his company wrecked on a reef off Bermuda.  They were headed to Jamestown, but instead started a British settlement on Bermuda while they used the wood of the Sea Venture to build two smaller ships to continue their trip to Virginia.   The two new ships were the Deliverance and the Patience, and they were able to bring much needed food supplies to the starving, dying colonists at Jamestown.

The Sea Venture Memorial was unveiled in 2010.  This monument is a wooden cross mounted on a concrete column.  The shipwreck victims had originally built a wooden cross to claim Bermuda for England and King James I.   The monument has a plaque with the 50 confirmed names of the shipwreck survivors.  It is estimated that there were 150 sailors and settlers, and one dog, aboard the Sea Venture.   From this spot you can see the reefs where the wreck occurred, and you can also see Gates Bay where the survivors landed on Bermuda to start the new colony.

In 1958 Edmund Downing found the Sea Venture shipwreck in 30 feet of water off St. George.  The Smithsonian in Washington DC sent Mendel Peterson to verify the site.  They measured the timbers and unearthed a jug, pipe and vase to confirm that this was indeed the Sea Venture.

Here is a list of the survivor's names on the Monument:

UPDATE:  11am January 9, 2017
I have been contacted by Dr. George L. Cook, historian and a trustee of the St. George's Foundation in Bermuda, that there are errors in the list below.  He is creating a list that is accurate and will send it to me soon.  I will update this list as soon as I receive it from Dr. Cook.  - Please stay tuned. 

UPDATE:  1:20pm January 10, 2017
Here is the updated list from the new 2010 Sea Venture memorial transcribed by Dr. Cook (and an updated photo below):

HEREUNDER ARE THOSE BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN AMONGST THE ONE HUNDRED
AND FIFTY SURVIVORS OF SEA VENTURE’S WRECK ON 28 JULY 1609 AND
(EXCEPT AS NOTED) TO HAVE DEPARTED FOR JAMESTOWN IN VIRGINIA ON
DELIVERANCE AND PATIENCE ON 10 MAY 1610.
__________________________________

VIRGINIA COMPANY OFFICERS

LT. GEN. SIR THOMAS GATES
ADMIRAL SIR GEORGE SOMERS
CAPTAIN CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT
REVEREND RICHARD BUCK
AND
MISTRESS MARIA THOROWGOOD BUCK
THOMAS WHITTINGHAM*
* killed by native people in virginia

_________________________________

ADVENTURERS

RALPH HAMOR, ESQ.
MISTRESS HORTON
SILVESTER JOURDAIN, ESQ.
HENRY PAINE, ESQ.*
CAPT. WILLIAM PEIRCE
RICHARD RICH, ESQ.
HENRY SHELLEY, ESQ.
WILLIAM STRACHEY, ESQ.
JAMES SWIFT, ESQ.
CAPT. GEORGE YEARDLEY (GATES' AIDE)
*EXECUTED

_____________________________
COLONISTS

HENRY BAGWELL
HUMPHREY BLUNT
JEFFREY BRIARS*
JOSHUA CHARD
EDWARD EASON
AND
MISTRESS EASON**
GEORGE GRAVES
THOMAS GODBY
WILLIAM HITCHMAN*
STEPHEN HOPKINS
ELIZABETH JONES
RICHARD LEWIS*
JOHN LIGHTFOOT
ELIZABETH PERSONS
JOHN PROCTOR
HUMPHREY REEDE
JOHN ROLFE
AND
MISTRESS ROLFE***
SAMUEL SHARPE
* died on Bermuda
** and baby boy “Bermudas”
*** baby girl “Bermuda” died in Bermuda

_____________________________

MARINERS

EDWARD WATERS (Somers’ aide)
HENRY RAVENS* (master mate)
ROBERT WALSINGHAM (coxswain)
RICHARD FROBISHER (shipwright)
NICHOLAS BENNIT (carpenter)
THOMAS POWELL (cook)
WILLIAM BRIAN
CHRISTOPHER CARTER**
EDWARD CHARD
RICHARD KNOWLES
WILLIAM MARTIN
FRANCIS PEAREPOINT
EDWARD SAMUEL***
JOHN WANT
ROBERT WATERS**
         
* killed by native people in Virginia
** stayed behind in Bermuda
*** murdered
   
The 2010 Sea Venture Memorial plaques
unveiled 11 November 2010
Photo contributed by Dr. George Cook of Bermuda

Some of the names on this monument are well known in American history.  Stephen Hopkins survived the shipwreck and then went on to be a colonist in Jamestown.  He returned to England and later was a passenger on the Mayflower to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.   John Rolfe baby girl, Bermuda, on the island of Bermuda, and his wife probably died later in Virginia.  Rolfe went on to Jamestown and married Pocahontas in April 1614.  Other shipwreck survivors went on to be famous in Bermuda history.  Sir Thomas Gates was the Governor for the Virginia colony.  Christopher Carter has many descendants still living on the island of Bermuda.  According to Dr. Cook, Gate's aide, George Yeardley, was knighted in 1618 and became a Governor of Virginia in 1619.  Yeardley convened the first elected assembley, the House of Burgesses, on 30 July 1619.

Dr. Cook also wrote me that Jeffrey Briars, William Hitchman and Richard Lewis died of "natural" causes.

YouTube video of the dedication ceremony of the Sea Venture monument, where descendants read the names of the survivors inscribed on the plaques:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ2cSAwqei8  

Geni.com project for descendants of the Sea Venture shipwreck, 1609
http://www.geni.com/projects/Ancient-Planters-Wreck-of-The-Sea-Venture-1609/95   

-------------------
The URL for this post is
http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/09/is-your-ancestor-on-sea-venture.html
Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo
Revised and edited January 10, 2017

16 comments:

  1. I suspect that the Captain Christopher Martin listed as on of the Virginia Company officers may in fact be Captain Christopher Newport who actually captained the Sea Venture in 1609.

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  2. It's Thanksgiving and we were browsing and found your site. My husband is the 10th great-grandson of Stephen Hopkins, thanks for sharing this information.

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  3. We are descendants of Stephen Hopkins. We will be visiting Bermuda in May 2016. We'd love to visit this monument. Can you give us the address of a nearby location?

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  4. Yes, it is in St George, near St. Catherine's Fort on the shore road.

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  5. Yes, Edward Eason appears to be my great great.... Grandfather

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  6. Yes, Edward Eason appears to be my great great... Grandfather

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  7. Yes, Edward Eason appears to be my great great.... Grandfather

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  8. I am the 10th great grandson of Thomas Powell, cook on the Sea Venture. He married Elizabeth Persons, maid to Mistress Horten (Horton), on Bermuda. I believe she is incorrectly listed as Elizabeth Karson in the colonist list.

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  9. Yes, Henry Bagwell. He ended up on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

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  10. Yes, I'm related to Henry Bagwell. He eventually made his was to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

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  11. John Proctor is my 10 ggrandfather. So proud of what he and his family did to establish Jamestown. He and wife, Alis, had great tragedy in their short, hard lives. Their 6 children carried on with the work of establishing many places in Virginia and the new western frontier.

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  12. Thomas Godbey was my great-grandfather X10

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    Replies
    1. Thomas Godbey was my great-grandfather X13 (Melinda Godbee Sutton).

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  13. Christopher Newporte is my 11 great grandfather

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