Author: J. Frederick Fausz


Chauco (fl. 1622–1623)

Chauco was one of several Virginia Indians who saved the lives of English colonists by warning of Opechancanough‘s plans to attack their settlements on March 22, 1622. He is named in no more than two known documents, leaving details about his parentage, birth, death, and tribal affiliation unknown. It is possible that he was the person referred to in 1624 as Chacrow, an Indian who a decade earlier had lived with an English colonist and knew how to use a gun. The story of a Christian Indian who, like Pocahontas, helped the Virginia colonists survive the hostilities of their own people is a popular Virginia legend.


Berkeley, John (ca. 1560–1622)

John Berkeley was a member of the governor’s Council and overseer of an ironworks in Virginia. Berkeley, born in Gloucestershire, England, came to the attention of the Virginia Company of London in 1621 because of his experience in iron smelting and forging. In July 1621, before he reached Virginia, he was appointed to the governor’s Council. Upon arrival in the colony, Berkeley continued the construction of an ironworks near Falling Creek, in what is now Chesterfield County. Before he could begin production, Berkeley and twenty-six others at the ironworks were killed during the Powhatans’ concerted uprising of March 22, 1622.


Bennett, Richard (bap. 1609–ca. 1675)

Richard Bennett served as governor of Virginia (1652–1655), in the House of Burgesses (1629), and served two stints on the governor’s Council (1642–1652; 1658–1675). Born into an English merchant family, he came to Virginia around 1628 to run his uncle’s estate and set about acquiring thousands of acres of his own as well as importing Puritan settlers who helped provide him an important political base. In 1646, he led a force of Puritans to assist the exiled governor of Maryland and helped start a Puritan migration to the colony. After Parliament’s defeat of Charles I in the English Civil Wars, Bennett negotiated the bloodless submission of the Virginia and Maryland colonies, which were loyal to the Crown. The General Assembly then elected him governor of Virginia, and during his term he tried but failed to politically unite the Chesapeake Bay colonies. Not long after Catholics and Puritans fought a bloody battle in Maryland, Bennett stepped down as governor, but in 1657 he helped negotiate a treaty that restored Maryland’s charter rights. He then served on the governor’s Council and, as a major general in the Virginia militia, helped defend the colony during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–1667). Bennett died early in 1675.


Argall, Samuel (bap. 1580–1626)

Samuel Argall was a longtime resident of Jamestown and the deputy governor of Virginia (1617–1619). He pioneered a faster means of traveling to Virginia by following the 30th parallel, north of the traditional Caribbean route, and he first arrived in June 1610, just after the “Starving Time” when the surviving colonists were ready to quit for Newfoundland. Although he joined in the war against the Virginia Indians, Argall also engaged in diplomacy, negotiating provisions from Iopassus (Japazaws) of the Patawomeck tribe. Argall explored the Potomac River region in the winter of 1612 and spring of 1613, and there, with Iopassus’s complicity, kidnapped Pocahontas, a move that helped establish an alliance between the Patawomecks and the Virginians. In 1613 and 1614, Argall explored as far north as present-day Maine and Nova Scotia, and made hostile contact with the Dutch colony at Manhattan. He also helped negotiate peace with the Pamunkey and Chickahominy tribes. As deputy governor, Argall improved military preparedness but did not enforce martial law in the same way as Sir Thomas Dale had, making his administration a bridge between the old politics and a new more democratic era. Knighted by James I in 1622, Argall led an English fleet against the Spanish in 1625 and died at sea in 1626.

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