The Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky is comprised of the eight westernmost counties - Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken. It is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River, on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the Tennessee River and the state of Tennessee to the south. By Kentuckians it is generally referred to simply as "the Purchase".

Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby purchased the land lying west of the Tennessee River from the Chickasaw tribe and opened the area for settlement around 1820. Within the next few years, my grandfather's ancestors came there from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee - the Beadles, Clapps, Pryors and Wingos settled in Graves County with the Reeves and Halls in neighboring Ballard County.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Jamestown Colonist Thomas Garnett

Jamestowne, established in 1607, was the first of the English colonies in America that endured the food shortages, indian attacks and countless other hardships to become a lasting settlement. The only earlier English colony had been Sir Walter Raleigh's ill fated 1585 settlement on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. The 115 colonists left at that settlement in 1587 had vanished when an expedition returned three years later to resupply the colony.

Settlement of Jamestowne
Recently I found that Thomas Garnett, the father of Sussan Garnett, sailed from the Port of London as a passenger on the ship Swan from June through August 1610 to the Jamestowne Colony. His daughter Sussan, born in Elizabeth Cittie around 1622, was the mother of Robert Foster, born about 1651 in Gloucester County and ancestor of the majority of the Foster families of Amelia County, Virginia which include our Mary Holt Wingo. The children of Thomas Wingo and Mary Holt were some of the earliest settlers to the Jackson Purchase. Thomas Garnett, his wife Elizabeth and baby daughter Sussan, survived the attack in 1622 by the Algonquin tribe who had become disenchanted with the colonists. The indians attacked the out plantations and killed over 300 of the colonists but a late warning saved Jamestowne.

Thomas Garnett may have come from Lancashire in England. English records show that there were Garnetts settled there from at least the 12th century and the parish records for the church at Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire show a Thomas Garnett, son of Robert Garnett, baptised there on the 14th of December 1585.

It appears that Thomas Garnett came to the American colonies as an indentured servant to Capt. William Powell. Tyler, Narratives of Early Virginia cites a conflict between Thomas Garnett and Capt. Powell from the record of the first meeting of the elected assembly at Jamestown on August 3, 1619:
Captaine William Powell presented a pettition to the generall Assembly against one Thomas Garnett, a servant of his, not onely for extreame neglect of his business to the great loss and prejudice of the said Captaine, and for openly and impudently abusing his house, in sight both of Master and Mistress, through wantonnes with a woman servant of theirs, a widdowe, but also for falsely accusing him to the Governor both of Drunkennes and Thefte, and besides for bringing all his fellow servants to testifie on his side, wherein they justly failed him. It was thought fitt by the general assembly (the Governour himself giving sentence), that he should stand fower dayes with his eares nayled to the Pillory, viz: Wednesday, Aug. 4thm and so likewise Thursday, fryday, and Satturday next following, and every of those dayes should be publiquely whipped.
The Virginia Colony
There is nothing to prove that the accusations made by William Powell against Thomas Garnett were true. Only William Powell who was known to be a drunkard and a gambler testified. Powell was also closely associated with the governor having been known to have lost his estate Chippokes, on the James River, in a card game with him.

In a "Muster of Inhabitants" taken in 1624-25, Thomas Garnett, aged 40, was living at Elizabeth City with his wife, Elizabeth, aged 26, who came in the ship Neptune in 1618, and their young daughter, Susan aged three. Elizabeth must have died sometime in 1624 because another census apparently taken later that year lists the wife of Thomas Garnett as Joyse Gyffith, age 20, who arrived in 1624 on the ship Jacob.

Whatever the truth of the conflict with William Powell, within fifteen years Thomas Garnett was no longer an indentured servant and had become a land owner in his own right. There is patent dated 3 July 1635 recorded in the Land Office at Richmond in Grant Book 1, page 201 from Governor John West granting 200 acres of land lying along the Little Poquoson Creek in Elizabeth City County to Thomas Garnett. The land was granted to Thomas Garnett for transporting four colonists to Virginia at his own expense for which he received 50 acres each.


  1. The blog is good enough I again n again read this.

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  2. Thank you for sharing. I have been doing my own research of Thomas Garnett, my 8th great grandfather. I have read the same as you have written. Glad to see you have this entry.

  3. Ty, My mother was a Garnett from Drakes Branch Va ..

  4. Oh this is WONDERFUL! What makes this even more interesting is that Thomas' wife, Elizabeth, was Elizabeth Powell...Capt Powell's own granddaughter. What a family drama! lol

  5. Thank you for the post! I live in far western McCracken County, Kentucky. I also come down from the Robert Foster you mention, son of Richard Foster and Susan Garnett.

    1. Thanks for the comment Shelley. If Byrne is your maiden name we may also be related through the Beadles family descending from Lewis Yancey Beadles. One of his granddaughters married a Preston Riley Byrn(e) in Graves County.

      Again, thanks for the comment.

  6. Very interesting. I connected my ancestry from Thomas Garnett thru John to Elizabeth Cahrlesworth Garnett. Am I reading something incorrectly. My great grandmother was Sophia Grant Foster. It is interesting I live on the creek behind Jamestowne.


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