William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, 

Vo., 7, No. 4 Apr., 1899). pp. 205-315. 

Historical Sketch 

THE first occupants of this county known to history were the Warrascoyack Indians. Their village was seated somewhere on Burwell's Bay, on James river, and their territory extended some five miles along the shore and twenty miles inland. Their fighting strength amounted to forty warriors. They were visited by John Smith in the summer of 1608, and fourteen bushels of corn were supplied by them to the famishing colonists at James- town. When Smith and his party set out in December, 1608, to visit Powhatan at Werewocomoco, on the York, they spent their first night at Warrascoyack. Here they left Michael Sicklemore, a valiant soldier, whom the Indian king promised to furnish with guides to search the country about Roanoke Island for the lost colony of Sir Walter Raleigh, and Samuel Collier, a boy, who was to learn the Indian language. The chief warned Smith to be on his guard against Powhatan, and acted in good faith towards Sicklemore(1) and Collier.(2) The first English settlement in Isle of Wight county was begun by Capt. Christopher Lawne and his associates, Sir Richard Worsley, knight baronet; Nathaniel Basse, gent., John Hobson, gent., Anthony Olevan, Richard Wiseman, Robt. Newland, Robert Gyner, and William Wellis. 

(1) On April 27, 1619, Capt. Lawne arrived in person at Jamestown, with one hundred settlers, in a ship commanded by Capt. Evans.  Sicklemore was furnished with two guides, penetrated to the Roanoke, but found no trace of the lost colony. 

(2) Samuel Collier became proficient in the Indian language, and was accidentally killed by a white sentinel at Kecaughtan (Hampton) in 1622. 

  Click on image for full size map.

 They settled near the mouth of a creek on the south side, still known as Lawne's creek. This creek, whose name is sometimes written "Lyon's Creek," was made the dividing line between the counties of Surry and Isle of Wight, as early as 1642. Capt. Lawne and Ensign Washer represented the settlement in the first House of Burgesses, which met at Jamestown July 30, 1619. All new settlements are unhealthy, and terrible mortality prevailed among these settlers. Capt. Lawne soon died, and on November 30, 1620, the London Company ordered that "in regard of the late mortality of the persons transported heretofore by the late Capt. Lawne, his associates be granted till midsummer, 1625, to make up the number of persons which they were disposed to bring over." They also declared that the plantation was to be henceforth called "Isle of Wight plantation" -- a name, however, not in use till many years later. It was derived very probably from the place of residence, in England, of the principal patentees. One of them was certainly from Isle of Wight, viz., Sir Richard Worsley, probably the Richard Worley, gent., who went to Virginia in 1608. He was knighted at White Hall February 8, 1611. On November 21, 1621, Edward Bennett, a rich merchant of London, obtained a patent for a plantation conditioned on settling two hundred emigrants. His associates in the patent were his brother, Robert Bennett, and nephew, Richard Bennett, Thomas Ayres,(1) Thomas Wiseman, and Richard Wiseman. And in February, 1622, the Sea Flower arrived with one hundred and twenty settlers, headed by Capt. Ralph Hamor, one of the council; Rev. William Bennett and George Harrison, kinsmen of Edward Bennett, and connected with him in his colonization scheme. Their place of settlement was called "Warrascoyack," and sometimes "Edward Bennett's plantation." On the day this patent was awarded, Arthur Swain, Capt. Nathaniel Basse and others undertook to establish another plan- tation in the same neighborhood. Capt. Basse came over in person, and his plantation was known as "Basse's Choice," and was situated on Warrascoyack river.

(1) Many of the kinsmen of Thomas Ayers, doubtless, came to Virginia. In Lower Norfolk County records we learn that "John Custis married the relict of Robert Eyres, dec'd" (1652, Feb. 16), and that "Sam. Chew, of Herrington, in Maryland, Esq.," married Anne, "daughter and sole heir of William Ayres, late of Nancemond" (12 Sept., 1672). ---------- ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY RECORDS 207