Jamestown, Virginia and Surry County, Virginia; mid-sixteen hundreds.

Click on images for enlarged graphics:

Map of Jamestown area:


  Unknown Spencer  was the father of:

1.  William Spencer who married Alice Lightfoot (?)

2.  Nicholas Spencer, Sr.

  William Spencer married Alice Lightfoot (?).

The children of William and Alice Spencer were:

1.  Elizabeth Spencer who died between 1655 and 1659 in Virginia.  Elizabeth married 1) Robert Sheppard and 2) Thomas Warren, Sr. on 25 September 1654.

2.  Alice Spencer who married Thomas Warren, Sr. (as above) about 1640.

3.  Daughter Spencer who married 1)William Cockerham and 2) Charles Amry.

William Spencer was an Ancient Planter and by 1624 was Burgess of Mulberry Island.

Click the button to visit the web site for The Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters.

The term "Ancient Planter" is applied to those persons who arrived in Virginia before 1616, remained for a period of three years, paid their passage, and survived the massacre of 1622. They received the first patents of land in the new world as authorized by Sir Thomas Dale in 1618 for their personal adventure.

On December 20, 1606, three merchant ships...Discovery, Godspeed and Susan Constant...set sail from England loaded with 104 men and boys charged with starting a settlement in the New World.

On May 14, 1607, the three small ships arrived in Virginia, the place chosen was James Island, and set the course of American history.

William came to Jamestown, VA about 1607 on ship "Susan Constant" with Capt. John Smith; member of first house of Burgesses, Mulberry Island.

(From "A Genealogical Sketch of the Hunnicutt, Warren, Phillips, and Littleton Family also Beck of England, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina" by Jessie Hunnicutt Burgess, 1966)

From Surry Co., VA Deed & Will BK 1645-1671, page 287:

A deed witnessed by Nicholas Spencer, Sr. and Daniel Williams.  On 04 Jan 1685/6, William Cockerham (son of William) deeded to William Harris a parcel of land on Hog Island Main, part of a patent of 1350 acres "granted to Mr. William Spencer late of this county, dec'd., the 10th day of Feby., 1637 and from the said Spencer descended to me the sad Cockram."  William Spencer was granted two large parcels of land; the first, 19 Jun 1635, for 1100 acres (cf. Nugent, p. 28) was "in the tenure" of Major Robert Sheppard, who sold it to William Caulfield; the second 10 Feb 1637, for 1350 acres (cf. Nugent, p. 81) descended to William Cockerham and later to his son, William, who deeded part of it away in 1685/6.

Elizabeth Sheppard, wrote a note to "Mr. Brewster", witnessed by William Cockerham, to "pass judgement for me to Capt. Baker for 2834 lb. of tobacco and caske" (D.&W. 1645-71, p. 50)

On -7 Sep 1654, she again wrote a note recorded in the first Surry record book, to "Dear Brother Cockerham," signed "Your loving sister, Elizabeth Sheppard," asking him to represent her in Court. William Cockerham married a daughter of William Spencer and it is probable that Elizabeth was another daughter.

On 27 Feb 1656 Lieut. William Cockerham was granted 1230 acres of land in Surry County, 1100 acres of it being "due to the said Cockerham as marrying the daughter of Mr. Spencer to whom it was granted." (cf. Nugent, p. 341).

Ensign William Spencer. "William Spencer, yeoman and ancient planter, came to Virginia in the 'First Supply' (of colonists) in 1608, was an honest, valiant and industrious workman, and first to choose land.  He was an Ensign; Burgess for Jamestown in the first Assembly in 1619; Burgess for Mulberry Island in 1624; patented 12 acres on Jamestown Island in 1624; at which time he had a wife Alice and a daughter Alice, b. 1620.  In 1632-3 he was a Burgess of Mulberry Island." (From Tyler "Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, " Vol. I, p. 329)

Hotten's "Emigrants" (p. 228) shows among those living at James Island in 1624, "William Spencer came in the "Sarah" (ship), Allice hiw wife in the "?", Allice theire daugher aged 4 years."  Among the dead at James City and in the island is mentioned "William Spencer a child" (p.229)

Numerous land grants were made to William Spencer in Surry County.  In 1624 he is referred to as "Ensigne William Spencer" in a grant to John Johnson, yeoman (Nugent, p. 4).  A tract of 550 acres in Surry in 1635 calls him "William Spencer, Gent.", indicating that he was a Justice of the county at that time.

On 21 Jan 1628, Nicholas Spencer testified that John Lightfoot left his property to William Spencer (Minutes of the Council and Genl. Ct. of Colonial VA, p. 181), which may indicate a relationship between Spencer and Lightfoot.

"Adventurers of Purse and Person" 1987 Ed. at p. 580+ says:

William Spenser came to Virginia in 1607 aboard the Sarah/Susan Constant with Christopher Newport as a member of the first expidetion to the colony. In 1614 Capt. John Smith noted that the men to whom Sir Thomas Dale had allocated farms for the raising of corn were farmers 'whereof the first was William Spencer, an honest, valient and industrius man (and has continued from 1607 to this present.' [citing refs.]

"In the muster of 24 Jan. 1624/25 William Spenser resided at James Island (Jamestown) with his wife Alice and their dughter Alice, the family being well supplied, having ten barrels of corn, 200 fish and for their protection ammunition consisting of four pounds of powder, eight pounds of shot, and three 'peeces,' along with twelve swine, three goats and two kids.  They also had two dwelling houses and a boat."

More information on descendants of this family is available.  Please email us.  eng4@alltel.net

  Back to Index 

Original background graphics by Elaine Randall English

Copyright Elaine Randall English, 1999-2002