Ancestral Family Topic 7042

 7042   Capt. Thomas Harris (c.1586-c.1649)
Pedigree Chart 10

Capt. Thomas Harris, in his own words
If he could speak to us today, Capt. Thomas Harris might describe his life as follows.

I was born in England about 1586 and came to Virginia on the Prosperous, arriving in May 1610. My first wife, Audrey Hoare, arrived in the Marmaduke in November 1621.  It was quite an unfortunate time for a young woman to be in the Colony. Just a year later, the Indians killed 347 settlers, including many of our neighbors.
What few settlers remained in Neck of Land elected me to represent them in the House of Burgesses at Jamestown in 1624. I would later represent Henrico County in the House of Burgesses in 1637, 1640, and 1647-8. 
I was second in command to Thomas Osborne in 1627 when Charles City County called out the militia to attack the Indians and cut down their corn, depriving them of winter food.
Audry died after the births of two children and I married second Joan, the widow of William Vincent. William and Joan were our neighbors at Neck of Land in 1624.  William was dead and Joan was my wife by 1635 when the governor granted me 750 acres “upon land of Joane Harris his wife.”  I guess I forgave Joan for telling Richard Taylor in 1625 that 7 of the 14 women in the church were my whores. 
The will I prepared in 1649, which has since been lost, left 200 acres to the male heirs of my daughter, Mary, and the remainder to son, William. Mary, who married Col. Thomas Ligon, had many male heirs. William was the father of 4 before an Indian shot him. Seems he took off after some marauding natives with an empty pistol in his hand.

Although Harris does not state when he arrived on the Prosperous, it made only two voyages, arriving in May 1610 and June 1619.
The 200 acres that came into the possession of William Ligon in May 1730 was later found to contain only 178 acres.
Incidentally, Joan’s remark about Capt. Harris was only hearsay and likely untrue. She slandered also Mrs. Alice Boyce for which the general court censured her and ordered her to stand before the congregation in a white sheet and ask forgiveness.  William Vincent was still alive 9 Feb. 1627/8 when he brought a dispute to court. 

We have not determined the surname of Harris’ 2nd wife, Joan. Perhaps due only to a minor dispute, William Vincent procured a warrant against Thomas Harris and his wife but failed to appear in court to prosecute his complaint against the couple 20 March 1625/6. 

The 1624/5 muster
On 24 Jan. 1624/5 a “Muster of the inhabitants of the Neck-of-Land in the Corporation of Charles Cittie in Virginia” was taken. Living with Thomas and Audry then was a servant named Elizabeth who was 15 years of age and had arrived on the Margaret & John in 1620, and Ann Woodlase “their kinswoman aged 7.” Ann Woodlase was Ann Woodley in the census of 1623/4 and was possibly Ann Woodliffe, daughter of Capt. John Woodliffe (c.1614) of Charles City County, a burgess in 1652. 
John Woodliffe was a son of Drew Woodliffe who married Katherine Duncombe at Aylesbury, where Audrey had lived.
An inventory of the Harris family’s possessions in 1624 was as follows.

PROVISIONS: Corne, 7½ bushells; Pease, 1 bushell.
ARMES & MUNITION: Powder, 11 lb; Lead, 2; Peeces fixt, 3; Armour, 1; Coat of Male, 1; Sword, 1.
CATTLE & POULTRIE: Cattle young and old, 11; Poultrie, 30.
HOUSES AND BOATS: Houses, 2; boats, 1.

Attack on the Indians
In 1627 the General Court determined to do something drastic about the Indian threat. We find the minutes included the following resolution. 

Charles City County
General Court
At this Court was thought fitt that we should draw out partyes from all our Plantations & goe uppon the Indians & cutt downe their corne and further that we should sett upon them all in one day Viz: the first of August next; the Plantations of the Neck of Land & the Colledge to goe uppon the Tanx Powhatans —- Lef.t Tho: Osborne in chief: Tho: Harris second…

Colledge was 10,000 acres set aside as part of an endowment for a university to educate the “infidel’s children.” Lef.t Tho: Osborne was Thomas Osborne.

The settlers did strike out against the Indians on that appointed day. They destroyed the crops in the fields and the fish traps in the river. After Aug. first it was too late to replant and harvest new crops before winter. Undoubtedly they killed many Indians.

Harris land patents
The governor issued 4 land patents to Thomas Harris from 1635 to 1638/9. Yet they may be for just two tracts of land that together became “Longfield,” perhaps derived from the long open tract of land, an Indian field, that ran parallel to the River. “Curles,” as it was later called, referred to the many bends of the James River.
On 11 Nov. 1635 Thomas received a grant of 750 acres in Henrico “within Diggs Hundred.” One hundred acres was due him as being an Ancient Planter and 650 acres was for the transportation of 13 individuals.  Thomas applied for a patent to 820 acres encompassing “Longfield,” 25 Feb. 1638/9. His rights were in 3 parts: 620 acres was for the transportation of 14 individuals, 100 acres “for his own personal adventure” and 100 acres for “first wife Adry Harris, as being Ancient Planters.” The headrights he submitted in 1638/9 were identical to those of 1635.  In fact Audry was not an Ancient Planter.
In 1636 Harris secured the patent to a 700-acre tract, also called “Longfield,” on the upper side of the James River, in Henrico County.  When Harris renewed his patent 12 July 1637, they acknowledged it to be 400 acres from the Gurganeys and 300 for transporting 8 persons. 

Edward Gurganey
Some have speculated that Thomas married a daughter of Edward Gurganey. The Gurganey family of England was a scholarly family and for generations, their name was associated with Canterbury College, Merton College in London, and Christ Church, Oxford.
Edward Gurganey arrived in Virginia in the “First Supply” on board the Phoenix 20 April 1608 ahead of his family to prepare a home for them. The Virginia Company granted Edward 400 acres next to Thomas Harris 1 Oct. 1617.
Edward Gurganey was a member of the first Virginia General Assembly in 1619. Virginia was no place for the aged and we presume Edward and Anne, who arrived in the “Second Supply” in 1608, were young. Still, disease, Indians, and the hard frontier life took many lives. Both were dead by 1620. Edward left his land to his wife who bequeathed it to Thomas Harris in her will of 11 Feb. 1619/20. Thomas gained possession of the land 12 July 1637. 
While some accounts identify Thomas’ daughter, Mary Harris, as a Gurganey grandchild, she did not appear in the 1624 muster. Further, Edward was born in the parish of Long Crendon in 1583, too young to be the father-in-law of Thomas Harris.

Witchcraft trial
A witchcraft trial of Sept. 1626 has frequently been offered as evidence that Thomas’ 1st wife died after the birth of her first child. Yet it represents hearsay, and is inconclusive as to which Thomas Harris. Further, one has to question how dependable testimony in a witchcraft trial may be. Part of the testimony is as follows. 
“Rebecca Gray sworn and examined said that Goodwife Wright did tell her this deponent that by one token which this deponent had in her forehead she should bury her husband, and further sayeth that Goodwife Wright did tell this deponent that she told Mr. Fellgate (or Sellgate) he should bury his wife (which came to pass). And further this deponent said that Goodwife Wright did tell this deponent that she told Thomas Harris that he should bury his first wife being then betrothed unto him (which came to pass) further this deponent sayeth that Goodwife Wright did tell her that there was a woman said to her (I have a cross man to my husband) to whom Goodwife Wright replied (be content) for thou shall shortly bury him (which came to pass).”
This testimony refers to Thomas Harris’ “first wife” from which we can infer that Thomas was married to a second by Sept. 1626. If we presume these happenings accumulated from months earlier, then it must refer to a wife who predated Audrey, to whom he was married in Jan. 1624/5, just 9 months earlier. He just could not have buried Audrey and remarried in time to be discussed in this suit in Sept. of the same year.
Thomas Harris mentioned in the trial is very likely not Capt. Thomas Harris, but another individual of the same name.

Sir William Harris
Although early researchers believed Capt. Thomas Harris was identical to Thomas Harris, the third son of Sir William Harris Sr. and Alice Smythe, this Thomas Harris died in England leaving a will showing he never married. 

Descendants of Capt. Thomas Harris
Information about the children of Capt. Thomas Harris, their descendants, and allied families previously found at is now available as Southside Virginia Genealogies. Learn more 
Names found in this topic include the following.
 Mary (Harris) Ligon (c.1625-1703),  
Col. Thomas Ligon,   
 Maj. William Harris (c.1629-1678),  
Abraham Wood,   
Lucy (—) Harris,  
Alice (—) Harris,  
Mr. Thomas Gagecomb,  Martha Edes,  George Archer,   Joseph Tanner,   William Baugh,   Thomas Ligon,   William Farrar,   
John Lederer,  Lt. Thomas Ligon,   
Roger Green,  Thomas Ballard,   
Nathaniel Bacon,  
Thomas Ligon,   Hugh Ligon,   
William Randolph,  
Capt. William Farrar,   Peter Jones,   
Col. Francis Epes,  John Banister,   
Richard Ligon,   Ann Stewart,  Francis Epes,  John Worsham,   
Abraham Wood,   
George Alves,  
George Dabney,  
Thomas Harris,  Richard Ligon,   Mary Ligon Jr.,   Richard Ligon,   
William Byrd,  
William Harris,  Richard Ligon,   
Mary (—) Harris,  Mary Giles,  Sarah (Brown) Knibb,   
William Harris,   Thomas Harris,   
Temperance Overton,  William Overton,  Elizabeth Waters,  
James Cocke,   
Robert Harris,  
William Harris,  Charles Rice,  
Agnes Harris,  John Cawthon,  
Mary Cawthon,  David Alvis,  
Jesse Cawthon,  
Nathan Cawthon,  
Sukie Cawthon,  
Annie Cawthon,  
Nathan Cawthon,  
Sherwood Harris,  
Thomas Harris,  John Blalock Sr.,  
Elizabeth Harris,  John Hudson,  Charles Hudson,  
George Hudson,  Elizabeth Jennings,   
William Hudson,  
Cuthbert Hudson,  Elizabeth —,  Hugh Charles,  Elizabeth Hall Hudson,  
Charles Hudson,  Susan Patrick,  
Rebecca Hudson,  James Tait,  Charles Tait,  
Elizabeth Hudson,  Benjamin Sims Allen,   
Thomas Hudson,  
David Hudson,  
George Hudson,  
Christopher Hudson,  
Elizabeth Hudson,  Lacy,  
Mary Hudson,  
David Hudson,  
John Hudson,  
 Christopher Hudson (-1788),  
Charles Hudson,  Elizabeth Harris,   
William Giles,  
Elizabeth (—) Hudson,  Michael McDearman,  
Lewellyn Hudson,  Rebecca Tatum,   
William Chamberlain Hudson,  Hannah W. Scott,   
Charles Hudson,  
Francis Eppes Hudson,  
Mary Hudson,  William Bass,   
Elizabeth Littlepage Hudson,  William Price,   
Charles Hudson Price,  
George Harris,  
John Harris,  Mary Tinsley,  
Nathan Harris,  Matthew Harris,  Peter LeGrand,  
Elizabeth Harris,  Lewis Harris,   
David Harris,  Ann Watkins,  
Stephen Harris,  Mourning (—) Harris,  
John Harris,  
Solomon Harris,  Elizabeth (—) Harris,  
John Harris,  
Elizabeth Harris,  
Ann Harris,  
Edward Harris,  
Patrick Harris,  
Alse Harris,  
Rosey Harris,  
Damond Harris,  Susanna Woolams,  Sarah King,  Higgason King,  
Molly Harris,  King,  
David Harris,  Jane (Landy) Richardson,  Mark Richardson,  Israel Sneed,  
Charles Judson,  Abraham Venable,  Mark Richardson,  Noel Burton,  
Giles Harris,  Harrison Harris,  Ann E. (—) Chandler,  Elizabeth Chandler,  Ann Elizabeth Gray,  
Thomas Gray,  
David Harris,  
Lettice Harris,  Thomas Gray,  
Mary Bibb Gray,  
Charles Gray,  
David Gray,  
William Gray,  
Sally Bibb Gray,  
Edmond Harris,  Rhoda Arnold,  John Arnold,  
John Claiborne Harris,  Mary Gannaway,  
Obadiah Harris,  Betty Watkins,  
Lewis Harris,  Elizabeth Harris,   Harrison Harris,  James Arnold,  
John Stewart,  
Giles Harris,  
John Harris,  Elizabeth Winn,  
Patience Elizabeth Harris,  David Arnold,  John Arnold,  
Lewis Harris,  
Gideon Harris,  Martha Taylor Gilliam,  James Gilliam,  
Mary Tinsley Harris,  
Jane Harris,  
David Harris,  Mary C. Jones,  
Edward Harris,  Anne (—) Harris,  William Watkins,  
Edward Harris,  Edward Skerme,   Mary (—) Harris,  George Alves,  Timothy Allen,  William Hatcher,   
Elizabeth (—) Harris,  
Anne Harris,  
Edward Harris,  
Edward Harris,  
Sarah Harris,  
Judith Harris,  
John Harris,  
Thomas Harris,  
Love Harris,  

This family topic includes the following notable individuals.
Soldiers of colonial and American wars
Cuthbert Hudson - Revolutionary War Christopher Hudson - French and Indian War

Members of congress - U.S. and Confederate
Charles Tait - U.S.  

Legislators - colonial and state
Thomas Harris - Virginia Capt. John Woodliffe - Virginia
Maj. William Harris - Virginia  

Selected sources
Blankenship, Gayle King. Blankenship Ancestors. Privately Published. 1995. 208-214. • Family of Capt. Thomas Harris.
Boddie, John Bennett. “Descendants of Edward Gurganey, Member of First General Assembly.” Southside Virginia Families. Redwood City, Cal.: Pacific Coast Publishers, 1955(2):128-132. • Includes the descendants of Capt. Thomas Harris, although they were very likely not connected to Edward Gurganey.
Boddie, John Bennett. “Harris of Charles City and Isle of Wight Counties.” Historical Southern Families, 4:193-220. • Boddie makes a claim in this article that Capt. John Harris of Isle of Wight County is connected to Capt. Thomas Harris. Yet Meyer and Dorman in Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5 dispute it.
Clagett, Brice McAdoo. “The Will of Thomas Harris of Creeksea, County Essex.” The Virginia Genealogist. 38:129-130 (1994). • This article disproved previous researchers’ conclusions that Capt. Thomas Harris was a son of Sir William Harris of Creeksea.
Harris, Malcolm Hart. “Three William Harrises in Hanover County.” The Virginia Genealogist, 22:3-15, 99-104, 187-193 (1978). • The “Third William Harris” described by Mr. Hart is William Harris of Hanover County.
Harris, W. Lee, Captain Thomas Harris 1586 to 1658: English Immigrant in 1611. Privately published, 1966. • Family of Capt. Thomas Harris.
Hart, Lyndon H. III. “Some Clues to Wives of Virginia Residents at the Time of the Muster.” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy. 34:51-54 (1996). • Identifies Audrey Hoare as the wife of Capt. Thomas Harris.
Hudson, F.M. “Hudsons of Hanover and Some of their Descendants.” Genealogies of Virginia Families from the Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1981(2):252-262. •  Family of Elizabeth Harris and John Hudson, and of Christopher Hudson.
Ligon, William D. Jr. The Ligon Family and Connections, Volume I, 1947: 837-852. • Includes an excerpt on the family of Capt. Thomas Harris, although incorrectly places him among the Creeksea Harrises.
Meyer, Virginia M. and John Frederick Dorman. Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5. Order of First Families of Virginia, 1987:9-10, 354-361. • Family of Thomas Harris.
Mouer, Daniel L. “In the Realm of Nathaniel Bacon’s Brick House at Curles Plantation.” The Henrico County Historical Society Magazine, edited by Dr. Henry Lee Nelson Jr. The Henrico County Historical Society. 12:3-21 (1988). • Report on the excavation of a house, which might have once belonged to Thomas Harris.
Read, Paul C. “The English Ancestry of John Woodliffe of Berkeley Hundred, Virginia, with a New Royal Descent.” The American Genealogist 76:191-200, 300-314 (2001). • John Woodliffe is likely a kinsman of Audry Hoare who married Thomas Harris.
Smith, Claiborne T. Jr., “Sergeant John Harris of Charles City County, Virginia: A Reappraisal.” The Virginia Genealogist. 37:18-28 (1993). • Revisions to Capt. Thomas Harris genealogies published by Boddie and Ligon.
Taylor, William R. “Evidence of Descent of William 4 Harris of Goochland County, Va. and His Father William 3 Harris of Henrico, New Kent, Hanover and Louisa Cos., Va. From Maj. William 2 Harris, Son of Capt. Thomas 1 Harris of Jamestown.” The Virginia Genealogist. 22:261-270 (1978). • Follows the descent of Thomas Harris, Maj. William Harris, William Harris, and William Harris.

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