Posts Tagged ‘Indian’

Martin’s Hundred W-51

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012


This plantation was allocated to the London-based Society of Martin’s Hundred by 1618 and was later assigned 21,500 acres. It was initially settled in 1620 around Wolstenholme Town, its administrative center, located near the James River. Archaeologists discovered the town site in 1977. They also located the graves of several people who died during the 22 March 1622 Indian attacks on English settlements coordinated by Chief Opechancanough, when 78 colonists here – half the plantation’s population – were reported killed. These attacks were in response to English expansion into Indian lands. The area was soon resettled but the Society of Matrin’s Hundred’s town was never rebuilt.

Further Research

Fort at Wolstenholme Towne

In 1622, a massacre of 78 colonists occurred at the plantation of Martin’s Hundred by the Powhatan Indians (Klingelhofer and Henry, 98). This was known as the Powhatan Uprising of March 22, 1622. In total, the Powhatan tribe had killed 347 colonists all throughout Virginia, along the James River. In addition to this, twenty women were taken as captives from the Martin’s Hundred plantation and held by the Powhatan Indians (Fausz).

Artist's rendering of Wolstenholme Towne Site in 1620


The colonists had launched attacks of their own in retaliation throughout the summer and the fall of that year. The attacks were so strong that the Powhatan Indians requested negotiations, while using the captured women as their bargaining tool. To show that this was serious, the wife of the late Thomas Boyse, who represented Martin’s Hundred at Virginia’s first legislature, was sent back to the hands of the colonists (Fausz).

"The Archaeology of Martin's Hundred" book


Evidence of the location of Martin’s Hundred came in 1977, when archaeologists tested the ground around a 17th century tombstone in James City County. The tombstone was made for Samuel Pond, buried in 1694 at the age of 48 ( Klingelhofer and Henry, 98-100). Other archaeological finds that confirm the location of Martin’s Hundred Parish come from trace amounts of window glass in the topsoil, corroded nail fragments, and bottles with the dimensions of “Squat bottles” ( Klingelhofer and Henry, 103).

Replica of Wolstenholme Town Fort

After the Powhatan’s effort towards good will, the colonists continued to focus on the destruction of the Indians. They were still considered to be hostile. In May of 1623, the leaders of both the Powhatans and the colonists met to discuss a truce. Upon the closing remarks after speeches from both parties, the colonists attempted to poison the leaders and the 200 other Indians who accompanied the leaders to the meeting. Many Indians fell sick, while 50 others were just shot by the colonists. Opechancanough, their leader, had managed to escape however. The women were then held for a bit longer, ranging from being returned in 1624 as seven of the women had been returned, or 1630, where one of the women had been returned. Those who did not arrive were considered to have been killed in 1622 during either the raids or other causes (Fausz).

Further Reading

Brown, Alexander. The Genesis of the United States: A Narrative of the Movement in England, 1605-1616. Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin, 1890.

Fausz, J. Frederick. “Powhatan Uprising of 1622.” American History. (Accessed March 14, 2012).

Klingelhofer, Eric and Henry, William. “Excavations at Martin’s Hundred Church, James City County, Virginia: Techniques for Testing a 17th Century Church Site.” Historical Archaeology 19 no. 1 (1985): 98-103.

Photo Credits

“The Archaeology of Martin’s Hundred,” Amazon, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Artist’s rendering of Wolstenholme Towne Site in 1620,” National Geographic Image Collection, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Fort at Wolstenholme Towne,” The Williamsburg Foundation, (accessed May 2, 2012).

Historical Marker “Martin’s Hundred W-51,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Replica of Wolstenholme Towne Forte,” Martin’s Hundred, (accessed May 2, 2012).


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Department of Historic Resources

Indian School at the College of William and Mary W-229

Thursday, March 15th, 2012


Using funds from the estate of British scientist Robert Boyle, the College of William & Mary established a school to educate young Indian men in 1697, just four years after the college’s founding. To encourage enrollment, in 1711 Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood began remitting tributes for area tribes who sent students. Students from tribes outside Virginia also enrolled. The Brafferton was constructed in 1723 to house the school, which provided education in reading and writing English, arithmetic and religion. The American Revolution caused British financial support to cease in 1776, and soon the school closed.

Further Research

Brafferton Building, College of William and Mary Campus

Upon Sir Robert Boyle’s death in 1691, funds from his estate were used to purchase Brafferton Manor in Yorkshire, which was then used to donate money from its revenue to support the newly formed College of William and Mary. There were two other buildings put up on the college grounds in addition to their center ground. The Brafferton Manor was then converted into a building to educate the local Native American populace in 1723 (Dickon and Nichol, 11-13). It would remain an active until the Revolutionary War, where funds had been cut and the school was closed down (Lancaster, 15).

Alexander Spotswood

The school had been made up of a mix of both Indian boys and white children from Williamsburg and the outlying tribes around the town. They would be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic (W&M Quarterly, Vol. IV, 73). The Native Americans would also be taught to spread the word of God and to aid in converting the other Native Americans around Williamsburg (History of the College of William and Mary, Vol. 258, 29). In the Civil War, both Confederate and Union forces used the Brafferton. Those who were at the college at the time had primarily joined the Confederate forces, and the Brafferton became a makeshift hospital and barracks. It was then taken over by Union troops in 1862 and would be held as a Union fort up to 1865 (Dickon and Nichol, 22).

In 1915, the Brafferton was used as college dormitories (Lancaster, 15) but it is currently being used as the offices of the president and the provost of the College of William and Mary (The College of William and Mary).

Further Reading

The College of William and Mary. “The Brafferton”. William and Mary. (Accessed April 12, 2012).

Dickon, Chris. The College of William and Mary. New York: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.

Lancaster, Robert A. Jr. Historic Virginia Homes and Churches. Philadelphia: JB Lippencott Company, 1915.

Randolph, JW, and English. The History of the College of William and Mary. Richmond: Main Street, 1874.

Tyler, Lyon G, edit. The William and Mary Quarterly, Volume XIV. Richmond: Whittet and Shepperson, Publishers, 1906.

Photo Credits

“Alexander Spotswood,” Encyclopedia Virginia, accessed May 2, 2012).

“Brafferton House,” The College of William and Mary, (accessed May 2, 2012).

Historical Marker “Indian School at the College of William and Mary W-229,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

 View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available