Benjamin Bluett (1580–1621)


Benjamin Bluett was a member of the governor’s Council (1620–1621). Born in Surrey County, England, he lived in Sussex and worked as a merchant supplying the Virginia colony. In 1620, the Virginia Company of London appointed Bluett to the governor’s Council and put him in charge of a company of men working to establish an iron-mining and smelting operation in Virginia. He arrived in the colony that summer but died soon after, possibly in an attack by Virginia Indians.

Merchants of Virginia

Bluett was the son of Nicholas Bluett, or Blewett. His mother’s name and the date and place of his birth are unknown, but he was christened in Horley Parish, Surrey County, England, on April 10, 1580. Bluett married Johanne Blaker at Cuckfield, Sussex County, England, on July 27, 1601, and had at least one son, John Bluett, born in Sussex in 1603, and one daughter, Elizabeth Bluett, born in London in 1605. She was one of the “maydes” who arrived in Virginia on the Buona Nova late in the summer of 1621.

Bluett lived in Sussex and late in the 1610s teamed with David Middleton in supplying provisions to people who were sailing for the colony of Virginia. Bluett became well acquainted with members of the Virginia Company of London, such as the Ferrars and Henry Hastings, fifth earl of Huntingdon. On April 5, 1620, Huntingdon empowered Bluett and Nicolas Martiau to manage the Virginia land to which Huntingdon was entitled as a company shareholder. The company also put Bluett in charge of eighty men who had been sent to Virginia the previous year to establish and operate an iron-mining and smelting operation. On June 28, 1620, the company appointed Bluett a member of the Council in Virginia.

The Great Massacre at Falling Creek Iron Furnace

Bluett and Martiau arrived in Virginia together late in the summer of 1620 aboard the Francis Bonaventure. Bluett probably went directly to the new ironworks on Falling Creek, in what is now Chesterfield County, where he died within a few months of his arrival, possibly from wounds received in an Indian attack. Whether he ever attended a Council meeting in Jamestown is unknown. News of Bluett’s death reached London before May 12, 1621, when the company appointed John Berkeley to take over the ironworks in the place of “mr. Blewett lately deceased.”

April 10, 1581
Benjamin Bluett is christened in Horley Parish, Surrey County, England.
July 27, 1601
Benjamin Bluett and Johanne Blaker marry at Cuckfield, Sussex County, England.
April 5, 1620
Henry Hastings, fifth earl of Huntingdon, empowers Benjamin Bluett and Nicolas Martiau to manage his land and men in Virginia.
June 28, 1620
The Virginia Company of London appoints Benjamin Bluett to the Council in Virginia.
May 12, 1621
The Virginia Company of London appoints John Berkeley to take over the ironworks on Falling Creek.
  • Gentry, Daphne. “Bluett, Benjamin.” In the Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Vol. 2, edited by Sara B. Bearss, John T. Kneebone, J. Jefferson Looney, Brent Tarter, and Sandra Gioia Treadway, 34–35. Richmond: Library of Virginia, 2001.
APA Citation:
Gentry, Daphne & Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Benjamin Bluett (1580–1621). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/bluett-benjamin-1580-1621.
MLA Citation:
Gentry, Daphne, and Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "Benjamin Bluett (1580–1621)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 22 Jul. 2024
Last updated: 2021, December 22
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