1. Introduction

From County Court Records of Accomack-Northampton Co., Va. 1632-1640, Edited by Susie M. Ames. The American Historical Association, page xxxiii.

Though one John Wilkins was removed by death in 1624 from the Plantation of Accomack, there remained two other persons by that name, one a servant of John Blore [Blower] and the other the head of a muster. A man by the name of John Wilkins secured a patent in 1636 of 1,300 acres on the Nansemund River. But inasmuch as that list of headrights for "Mr. John Wilkins" is the same as that presented for "Mr. John Wilkins" to the Accomack court on August 8, 1636, a court at which "Mr. John Wilkins" was present as one of the commissioners, it seems probable that the patentee and the commissioner were one and the same and also that the former muster head was the commissioner appointed for Accomack in 1633. The commissioner had patented land on the Eastern Shore, 500 acres in 1637 and 600 acres in 1640.

John Wilkins, The Commissioner, was interested in economic activities and was among those taking the initiative in developing various aspects of plantation life. The first deed of sale to be found in the Eastern Shore records is that made in 1632 between a John Wilkins and Captain Edmund Scarburgh for three head of cattle. Listed among Mr. John Wilkins’ headrights in 1636 is one Negro, and so he seems to be among the first to use or sell Negro labor on the peninsula. The first mention in the records of windmills on the Eastern Shore occurs in 1641 in connection with an agreement he and Obedience Robins, whose plantation adjoined his, had made with a millwright. In a period when there were numerous commercial contacts with Holland, he was among those at times taking there the tobacco of other planters, probably along with their own.

Illustrative perhaps of his initiative is his petitioning the court in 1632 for payment for work in connection with attendance upon the Accomack burgesses. In 1641 he himself was one of the burgesses. (Note from WBW:  he was a burgess in the 1632 burgess also.)

Various items in the records indicate, however, that he was quick-tempered and outspoken. At one time he was fined for swearing, along with several other commissioners. One individual received twelve lashes for his obstinacies and offenses toward John Wilkins; another who had spoken against him received thirty lashes. According to a memorandum of 1644, when he was summoned to sit in court, he replied that he had "foesworne to sit any more in court". He died in 1649, aged about fifty-seven.

The name of John Wilkins is a recurring one in the history of the Eastern Shore. During the Revolutionary era, a John Wilkins was a member of the Northampton Court of 1766 that passed resolutions declaring the act of Parliament applying stamp duties in the colonies unconstitutional and stating that the officers might proceed in the execution of their offices without incurring any penalty from it.

(Note1 from WBW:  He and Ann must have had a great time together; see the following notes on her appearances in court.)

(Note2 from WBW:  The John of 1766 is most probably the John in Generation 4)

From Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1624/5.  Revised and Edited by Virginia M. Meyer (1974-1982).  John Frederick Dorman, f.a.s.g. (1981-1987), published by Order of First Families of Virginia, 1607-1624/5; third edition 1987; page 676-7.

John Wilkins came to Virginia on the Marigold Mar 18, 1618 and his (1) wife Bridget Craft came in the Warwick, which left England in Aug. 1621. The first record of John Wilkins is the report of his death at Mr. Edward Bennett's plantation, one of the 52 massacred there by the Indians on Good Friday 22 March 1621/22. This plantation lay on Burwell's Bay on the south side of the James River in the present Isle of Wight County. But as in the case of Edward Waters, the report was erroneous. When the census was taken, 1623/24, the Wilkins' were living on the Eastern Shore, near the Secretary’s Land. They were also listed there in the muster, 1624/25, John aged 26 and Bridget aged 20. He deposed 16 May 1636 that he was aged 40. His first patent of record, 9 Sept. 1636, lay in the upper County of New Norfolk, mistakenly given as Accomack but corrected in a repatent, 18 May 1637. The 1300 acres along the Nansemond River fell into Nansemond County, 1642. The Headrights included himself, Bridget Craft (his first wife then dead) and John Wilkins again  In addition to the voyage indicated by the second headright claim, John is known to have made a voyage to England in 1637, another overseas in 1642 and one to Amsterdam and Hamburg in 1649. John Wilkins sold 800 acres of this land to Michael Wilcox whose widow Eleanor married Samuel Stoughton, who repatented the 800 acres, 10 March 1645/46. 

On 10 March 1637/38 he was granted 500 acres in Accomack County joining the upper end of the Secretary's land, Kings Creek and the land of Obedience Robins, and in 1643 he patented 600 acres on the seaside by virtue of a former patent, 8 December 1640.  He was elected to the vestry of Hungars Parish, 14 Sept. 1635, and served as burgess for Accomacke Feb. 1633/34 and 1642. In 1642/43 the Eastern Shore was divided and his home fell into Northampton County.  John was almost continuously a commissioner in Accomack-Northampton until his death. His Will, 23 Dec. 1648-28 Jan. 1650/51, left his whole estate to his wife Ann and his children "Which God hath blessed me with by her." He stated he was about to sail for England and no one could tell the future. But he did return for Anne Wilkins in a deposition, 28 Jan.1650/51, referred to "Mr. John Wilkins her late husband dec'd since he came from England about the time he laye sick."  Just before he died John Wilkins gave land, stock and household goods to John Baldwin and his wife, of which a memorandum was made, 10 Dec. 1650 and on 9 Feb. 1650/51 Anne Wilkins, widow, made a deed of gift to her children, naming the sons and designating the three daughters who are named in her will, 6 Oct. 1687-8 Dec. 1690. John Wilkins married (1), by 1623/24, Bridget Craft, who was living Sept. 1634, and (2) by Sept. 1637, Anne ------, who married (2) The Rev. Thomas Higby Minister of Hungers Parish 1651-1655, who left will 19 Nov.1654-28 Mar. 1655, giving his estate to his wife Anne, and (3), by 3-Apr. 1656, Henry Voss, on whose estate Anne was Granted Administration, 2 Aug 1662.

(Notes by WBW:  Not bad for a person who could not sign his name. I subscribe to William Elliott Wilkins' premise that Anne was the widow Baldwin when John Wilkins married her.   As the years pass John Wilkins goes in the court records from John Wilkins to Mr. John Wilkins, a sign of his growing status in Northampton.)

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