Author: Martin H. Quitt


John Carter (ca. 1613–1670)

John Carter was a member of the governor’s Council and the House of Burgesses. His family had familial and business connections with the Virginia Company of London, and Carter left England for Virginia during the 1630s. In 1642 he began acquiring the extensive property on the north bank of the Rappahannock River that became the family seat known as Corotoman. Carter married five times and founded one of the greatest of the colonial Virginia families. During the 1640s and 1650s Carter served in the House of Burgesses, which elected him to the governor’s Council in 1658. He was again a burgess in 1660, when Charles II was restored to the throne, and Governor Sir William Berkeley reappointed Carter, a royalist, to the Council. He remained a councillor until his death ten years later.


William Byrd (ca. 1652–1704)

William Byrd, also known as William Byrd I, was an Indian trader, explorer, member of the House of Burgesses (1679–1682), member of the governor’s Council (1683–1704), and auditor- and receiver-general (1688–1704). Inheriting the bulk of his uncle’s Virginia estate, Byrd spent his early years as an Indian trader and explorer. Early in 1676, his trade was cut off after Indian attacks, and he helped to persuade his partner, Nathaniel Bacon, to take unlawful command of a militia and lead it against the Indians. Bacon’s Rebellion (1676–1677) resulted, but Byrd switched his loyalties to Governor Sir William Berkeley, opening the way for his political career. Elected to the House of Burgesses in 1677, Byrd commanded defense forces at the falls of the James River and operated as one of the most important Indian traders of the seventeenth century. He became an ally of Governor Thomas Culpeper, baron Culpeper of Thoresway, who appointed him to the Council in 1683. Five years later, after much lobbying, he received the combined posts of auditor- and receiver-general, putting him in charge of both collecting and maintaining all the colony’s royal revenue. In the absence of Governor Francis Nicholson, he served three stints as president, or acting governor, of the colony. Byrd died in Charles City County in 1704.


Isaac Allerton (ca. 1630–1702)

Isaac Allerton was a member of the House of Burgesses (1667; 1668–1674; 1680–1682; 1684; 1696) and a member of the governor’s Council (1687–1691). Born in Massachusetts, he settled in Virginia about 1660. He quickly amassed large landholdings and embarked upon public service. He rose quickly and steadily through the military and civil ranks; Allerton sat in the House of Burgesses for more than a decade. During Bacon’s Rebellion (1676–1677), he remained a staunch supporter of Governor Sir William Berkeley. Allerton was appointment to the Council in 1687, but he gave up his seat in 1691 after he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the new monarchs William and Mary. Allerton’s career was little affected; he represented Westmoreland County in the House of Burgesses in 1696 and was appointed by the governor’s Council as the naval officer and receiver of duties in Westmoreland County in 1699. He died in 1702.