The World  Drogo de Monte-acuto's Coat of Arms


Peter Montague, was the son of Peter and Eleanor Montague of Boveney, in parish of Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England. His mother, Eleanor, was the daughter of William N. Allen of Burnham in the same parish. Peter was born in 1603. He was an elder brother of Richard Montague, the ancestor of the New England Montagues. [See pedigree chart in the Introduction, where the pedigree of Peter's family in England will be found in full.] Boveney, the place where Peter was born, is a small hamlet, picturesquely situated on the river Thames, twenty-three miles above London, three miles from Eton college, that was founded in 1440 by Henry VI., while on the opposite side of the river in Berkshire is Windsor Castle, the residence of the Kings and Queens of England for the past 900 years. In this vicinity the ancestors of Peter had resided, probably for 200 years before his birth. Here his childhood and youth were passed, and here he probably obtained a fair education, though there is no record that he was ever a member of Eton college. His uncle William Montague was a fellow of Kings college, Cambridge, and also of Eton. Richard Montague, the celebrated divine, and bishop of Norwich, was his father's cousin. Peter's family consisted of his parents, an elder brother William, two, younger than himself -- Richard and Robert -- and three sisters, Elizabeth, Anne and Margaret. His father was an agriculturist, or was engaged in raising sheep, cattle, hogs, &c. This County was celebrated at that time for its beech trees, the nuts of which were said to be very nutritious for the feeding of swine, that roamed through the woods at will. At the age of 18 years Peter emigrated to Virginia, in America. What motive led him to this step is not known. The oppressions of royalty, which at a later date sent so many to America, had not then begun. The Kingdom was at peace with all the world, and the King was loved by his people. There is a tradition1 in one branch of Peter's descendants which can be traced back as far as 1730, to the effect that "Peter was 'rather wild,' that he ran away from home, went to America, and not being 'in funds' had not the cash to pay for his passage and was sold for his passage money. The first half-day's work he did ruined his hands so that he had to rest.

1    This tradition is traced to Latané Montague, son of Abraham of Essex Co., who was born about 1731, and if he received it from his father it would carry the date of it to A. D. 1700. It was a custom in the early settlement of America to sell political prisoners from England for a term of years by auction. There seems to be an impression that Virginia was settled by convicts from England. No tradition ever existed which has so little foundation in fact. It has been stated that Hotten's Emigrant Lists were responsible for the tradition. We have examined Hotten's lists but do not find a single record showing that prisoners of any kind were sent there from England The English used the Island of Barbadoes in the · West Indies for the safe keeping of political prisoners, just as St. Helena was selected for Bonaparte. There is a difference between a convict and a political offender such as Hotten calls "convicted rebels." Charles 1., Anne Bolin, Mary Queen of Scots, the first Napoleon, and hundreds of other royal personages have been political prisoners. At the time of the Monmouth rebellion, 1685, England sent a large number of " rebels " convicted of being concerned in that rebellion, to Barbadoes, men and women alike, many were the gentry, or persons brought up and nurtured in refinement and wealth. On the arrival of each ship these unfortunate prisoners were sold by auction for a term of years varying from five to ten years and the miseries inflicted upon them have never been half told, delicately reared ladies often were made to work in the fields. Those who lived to serve their time out were granted a ticket to go where they pleased. A few such went to Virginia and New England but the greater proportion of them went to St. Christopher, and other islands, and back to England. Every such record in Hotten's lists has been copied, with the result that " convicted rebels " who served their time out, who went to New England, [mostly to Boston] were 94; those who went to Virginia were 59; those who went to Carolina were 36. Thus as many went to New England as to both Va. and Carolina combined.

A study of the various Co. histories of England, and of the early emigration to both Va. and New England, will show that the early emigrants of Virginia and New England, for the most part bore the same names, came from the same English Counties, and that the ancestry of both will meet in those English Counties. Surely no people can have a stronger claim to the same ancestry.

Most, if not all of the early Va. settlers left England in a legal manner, that is they took the oath of allegiance to the King and brought certificates from their ministers that they were loyal to the Church of England. After the accession of Charles I. to the throne, there was a large emigration, mostly to New England, caused by excessive and unjust taxation. The "Ship Money" tax drove thousands to New England. They were "subsidy men" that is, men liable to the payment of a subsidy to the Crown, and of this the "ship money" was the most hateful. These men would not take the oath of allegiance and supremacy, and must have left secretly, and of such no record of departure would exist. It has not been found that any of this emigration went to Va. Hotten's Lists record only those who came legally and the larger part of the work is a record of St. Christopher, Barbadoes, and Virginia.

To pass the time he began to read his master's books, who caught him reading Latin, and soon obtained for him the position of a school teacher." The record of Peter's life in Va. rather precludes the idea that he was "wild" to any alarming extent. If he ran away, records at least show that he was among those who came to America OPENLY and in a legal manner. The record is that he was "duly examined by the Minister at Gravesend [Eng.] touching his conformitie to the orders and discipline of the Church of England and took the oath of allegiance and supremicie to the King." It is true he was under age, being only 18, and it is also true that no schools were founded until the arrival of the company with whom he came. It is quite possible that he may have been one of the founders of the first school established in Virginia.

The ancient name of Virginia appears to have been Wingandacoa, it received the name of Virginia in honor of England's Virgin Queen —Elizabeth. She died March 24, 1602-3 which was the same year that Peter Montague was born. This Queen was of Montague descent through her grandmother Elizabeth, dau. of Edward IV. On the same day and year of her death James the VI. of Scotland was proclaimed James the First, King of England. He too was of Montague descent through both his mother' Mary Queen of Scots, and his father, Henry lord Dernly.2 It was during the reign of this King James, and under his special care and protection, that the first Colony was established in Virginia.

2     Edmund Mortimer Earl of March, grandson of William Montague, by his dau. Philippa married Philippa, dau. of Lionel Duke of Clarence, son of King Edward III. From this marriage was descended Edward IV. King of England and a long line of royal personages. Mary Queen of Scots and her husband lord Dernly were cousins. She was of Montague descent through her grandmother Margaret, the aunt of Queen Elizabeth and sister of Henry VIII. who was married to James IV. of Scotland. He was slain at Flodden Field, and Margaret re-married Archibald Douglas Earl of Angus and their dau. Margaret was the mother of Henry lord Dernly by her marriage with Mathew Stewart Earl of Lennox. --[See Peerage of Scotland p. 335, and Camden's Brit. p. 918, and Chronicles of the Kings by Sir R. Baker p. 269, also Burke's Royal Families.]

Little could even the most sanguine of the early emigrants to America have contemplated the subsequent effect which their action would work upon the world's history. Many of them were men of small means but they possessed large hearts and consciences. They were the seed grains from which the mighty Republic has sprung. Virginia was first visited by Sir Walter Raleigh in the year 1584; to whom the first Letters Patent were granted for making a Plantation there. But no Colony was sent thither till the year 1606. The first to any purpose was in the year 1607, under the conduct of Capt. Gosnoll, John Smith, and Mr. Edward Maria Wingfield who carried a colony thither of 100 persons, but of these many died of sickness, or were slain by the savages. A new supply came in the year 1608, of a hundred and twenty persons under the conduct of Captain Nelson. After which was sent another supply of three score and ten persons, and in the year 1609,3 a third supply came, of five hundred persons under a Patent granted to Sir Thomas West, lord Delaware, but conducted thither by Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Summers, and others. In the year 1611 was a fourth supply of three hundred men under the conduct of Sir Thomas Gates. In the year 1612 two other supplies were sent of forty men in each. In the year 1618 Lord Delaware came, with a supply of two hundred people and soon after he died there. In 1620 eleven ships were sent over with twelve hundred and sixteen persons, and now they founded themselves into Corporations. In the year 1621 Sir Francis Wyatt came over as Governor of the Colony, in company with thirteen hundred men, women and children, and now they founded schools and courts of justice; and the plantation was extended 140 miles up, on both sides of the James river. With this company was Peter Montague. He came in the ship "Charles" and landed in Virginia in the month of November, 1621. The following persons came in the same ship at the same time and were his fellow passengers: Randall Crew age 17, John Hely age 21, Robert Manuell [or Mannell] age 22, William Lusam age 24, William Field age 20, Roger Ruce age --, Adam Thorogood age 15, Niccolas Browne age 15. Three years later two of these persons, William Lusam and William Field are found to be engaged upon the same plantation with Peter.

3      The 2d Charter of Va. Co. in England under date of May 23d, 1609, contains the name of James Montague. [Hen. Va. Stat. p. 81, Vl. I.] The James Montague here mentioned was son of Sir Edward Montagu and brother of Henry, the first Earl of Manchester. He was first, master of Sidney College, Cambridge, where he was educated, afterward dean of the Chapel Royal, and then of Worcester. In 1603 he was made Bishop of Bath and Wells, and in 1611 Bishop of Winchester. He did not come to America.

Where he went, or what he did for the first two years, no record has been found to say. In a list of the living and dead in Va., taken Feb'y 16, 1623, his name-does not appear. He may have visited the Bermudas during this time, or the list itself may be at fault. In the Muster Roll of the inhabitants of Va., taken Jan'y 23, 1624, his name is found as residing on the plantation of Capt. Samuel Mathews at James City. This Samuel Mathews was afterward Governor of the Colony [1656].4 This muster roll of 1624 gives Peter's age as 21, and states that he came in the " Charles " in 1621.

4      Capt. Samuel Mathews, upon whose plantation Peter Montague resided, came from England in the ship " Southampton " in 1622, in the same ship came Robert Mathews, who was probably his younger brother. Associated with him was David Sands the minister. Their plant was at James City. Campbell's Hist. of Va., p. 209, says, " Capt. Samuel Mathews was one of the Council In 1643, he had a fine house, sowed much hemp and flax and had it spun. He kept weavers, and had a tannery, where leather was dressed, and had eight shoemakers at work, had forty negro servants whom he brought up to mechanical trades. He sowed large crops of wheat and barley. He also supplied vessels trading with Va. with beef. He had plenty of cows, a fine dairy, a large number of hogs and poultry. In 1656 he was governor of the Colony." He married a dau. of Sir Thomas Hinton. Capt. Mathews went to England on business for the Colony in 1657 and died there. Lord Amherst was Governor in 16;8.—[See Blake's Biog. Dict. N. Y., 1835.] The following from Mr. Alex. Brown, Norwood, Va., author of " Genesis of U. S.": Col. Samuel Mathews was sent to England as agent for Va in 1652. He returned to Virginia in 1657. On March 13, 1657-8 he was chosen by the Assembly to act as Governor until the next Assembly, or until " the further pleasure of the supreme power of England shall be knowne." On March 7, 1658-9 the Assembly elected him Governor for two years. He died during his term of office in Jan'y. 1659 60, and at the next meeting of the Assembly, in March, 1659-60, Berkeley was chosen to succeed him. His second wife, the widow of Abraham Percy was when Percy married her the widow of Capt. Francis West. Mathews left two sons (Thomas and Samuel) by his first wife and very probably other sons and daughters. " Founders of Maryland," by Rev. E. D .Neill, p, 49 says Sam'l Mathews came to Va.. 1622, in ship "Southampton," lived at Blunts Point, a little distance above Newport News. The following from Mr. Paul Caine, Louisville, Ky.: Capt. Sam'l Mathews came to Va., 1622; was commissioner to examine into the condition of the Colony, 1623; Commissioner of Warwick Co. 1631, Member of the Council 1624-44, elected to the Council April, 1652, elected Governor Dec., 16;6, and held the place until his death, 1658.   He m. I, a dau. of Sir Thomas Hinton of Chilton Foliot Eng. [who at one time lived in Va. and was member of the Council], m. 2, before 1633-9, the widow of Abraham Percy of Va. Two sons were certainly the issue of the first marriage, namely Thomas Mathews of Stafford Co., Member of House of Burgesses, 1676, supposed to be author of T. M's account of Bacon's rebellion, and Lieut. Col. Samuel Mathews of Warwick Co., Member of House of Burgesses, April, 1652-1653-1654. Member of Council, 1655, d. 1670, leaving a son John then under age. Hen. Va. Stat., Vol. I, p. 528, says " Col. Samuel Mathews died Jan y, 1659 60." The quotation seems to infer that he d. in Va.

No further record of him has been found until the year 1637. The State Land Registry Office of Va. at Richmond, has these entries, Book 1, p. 463, "Peter Montague was granted, Aug't 22, 1637, 1505 acres of land in the upper County of New Norfolk." Book 1, p. 610, "50 acres in the same county, Feb’y 25, 1638." Book 2, p. 73, "150 acres in the same County, Dec. 18, 1645." From 1624 to 1637, thirteen years ! he had reached the age of thirty-four -- had probably married, and from his continuing to enter land in Upper Norfolk, no doubt can exist that he had removed his residence to that county.

5      Peter received this patent of 150 acres in consideration of having induced three persons to emigrate to Virginia, 50 acres for each person so induced, their names were William Jones, Thomas Redbye, and Mary Harford. " In Hotten's emigrant lists, there is a William Jones, age 17, and another William Jones, age 21, both came in the same ship, the " Thomas and John," in June, 1635, also William Jones, age 25, came in the ship "Constance," Oct. 24 163;. The names Redbye and Harford do not appear. This was called "Head Rights."  By an ordinance of the Virginia Company of London, every person removing to Va at his own expense, with the intention to settle and remain there was entitled to 50 acres of land for himself, with the same number for his wife and each of his children. Every person who brought others into the Colony at his own expense was entitled to 50 acres for each person so imported. [H.]

Upper Norfolk consisted in what is now known as Nansemond County, and the present Norfolk and Princess Anne Counties were called lower Norfolk until 1691. The Clerk's office and all the records of Nansemond were destroyed by fire in 1736 [Hening's Statutes, Vol. 4, p. 526], and all the records were again destroyed by fire in February, 1866, and the history of Peter Montague during these years is entirely and irrevocably lost. It is known, however, that he resided in Nansemond in 1652 and 1653. He represented that Co. in the House of Burgesses under dates of Nov. 25, 1652, and July 5, 1653, and Col. Samuel Mathews was a member from Co. of Warwick during the same time [Hen. Va. Stat. Vol. I, pp. 373-379].  His children were probably born in this Co. That his mind often reverted to his family in England is evidenced by the fact that his children are named after his brothers and sisters in his native country, and the names of William, Peter, Ann, Margaret and Elizabeth are perpetuated in the new world. Having still another daughter he named her after his mother,—Ellen (or Eleanor). This is regarded as corroborative evidence of the correctness of his pedigree as stated in the Introduction. Of the exact date of the birth of his children no record exists. There is no doubt that they were faithfully recorded in the church records of that County, but those records have shared the fate of other early church records of Va. No church records exist back of Nov. 30, 1743.  Nansemond was divided into two parishes, Lower or Suffolk parish, and the Upper parish in which was the town of Suffolk. In the Lower parish were two old brick churches, one on the left and the other on the right bank of the Nansemond river, each about ten miles from Suffolk. On a hill one mile back of Suffolk was an old graveyard, a very beautiful spot. But it too has disappeared, having long since been plowed up. On the 3d of November, 1647, Peter bought one hundred acres of land in County Nansemond [Va. Land Office, Book 2, p. 130]. This makes a total of 450 acres of land which he owned in that County, the purchase of which extended from 1637 to 1647—a space of ten years. This land is not mentioned in his will and probably he gave it to his son Peter, as we find Peter disposing of land in that Co. after his father's death. Probably before the year 1654 he had removed his family from Nansemond to Lancaster Co. and made a home on the north bank of the river Rappahannock, probably not far from the present county seat of Lancaster. That he owned considerable land along the river in Lancaster as early as 1651 or 2 can scarcely admit of a doubt, though the records that are preserved at Lancaster do not show it. Jan'y 16, 1658, he was granted 200 acres on the Rappahannock river [Va. Land Office Book 4, p. 340] and this is the last recorded purchase he ever made. He had now become a large land owner and a leading citizen of the Colony, a man of intelligence, of moral worth and of influence. He represented the County of Lancaster in the Assembly [House of Burgesses] from 651 to 1658. [See Hist. of Va. by R. R. Howson, 30g-3Io.] " In 1657-58, he represented the County of Lancaster in the House of Burgesses at James City."—See Hen. Stat., Vol. I, p. 431. Failing health at this time no doubt was the cause of his resigning his official duties in that capacity. In his will, dated March, 1659, he says he is " weak of body but of perfect memory." He was a member of the Established Church, and the absence of church records will not prevent the fact being recorded here -- that he was a leading member, prominent in all good works, one of the founders of the church in Virginia."   There were two parishes in Lancaster on the north side of the river, St. Marys and Christ Church. The White Chapel Church was in the parish of St. Marys. These two parishes were afterward united into that of Christ Church, Lancaster. The first vestry book known was dated 1654. The church was completed in 1670 under the direction of Mr. John Carter, the great ancestor of many bearing that name in Va. The present church, built upon the same spot by Mr. Robert Carter [known as King Carter] son of John and was completed in 1732. In 1654 Rev. Samuel Cole was the minister of this church, [the same who was minister in Middlesex in 1664] he was at that time the minister for the whole Co. both sides of the river. After him the Rev. Andrew Jackson was minister, and he was succeeded by Rev. John Bell, who was minister from 1713 to 1743.  Rev. David Currie succeeded him until his death in 1791, nearly fifty years. From 1796 to 1805 Rev. Daniel McNaughton was minister and James Ball, William Montague, and Martin Shearman were lay delegates. In 1732 a new church was built upon the site of the old one and was standing in 1857 in good state of preservation, being very solidly built, the walls three feet thick. The first White Chapel church was torn down, the present one was built in 1740. In 1724, Mr. Bell, who had been their minister for twelve years, informs the Bishop of London that there were three hundred families in the parish. The name of John Washington of Westmoreland appears on the records of this church. The graveyard is full of the family of Balls." [Bishop Meades old churches of Va.] Having digressed for the purpose of recording this brief history of the old church which Peter Montague attended, and probably was one of the founders, his own history will be continued.

The occupation of Peter was that of a planter. His crops consisting of wheat, barley and tobacco, which was exported to England. There was much in this spot, upon this broad and grandly flowing river, to remind Peter of his old home upon the Thames in England, and here his last days were passed, among the solitudes of a new world. Here he peacefully passed away, surrounded by his wife, his children and neighbors, and with full and firm trust in his Redeemer and Saviour. He died the last of April or the first of May, 1659, and was buried on the north bank of the Rappahannock, near his home. His tombstone was standing as late as 1849, but much defaced by the hand of time.

He married, probably in the spring of 1633, Cicely *----*. Effort has been made to discover the maiden name of his wife and something of the family to which she belonged.6 They were no doubt married some where in the vicinity of James City, for there it was that the first years of Peter's life in the new world were passed. Tradition says she was a daughter of Samuel Mathews, who was Governor of the Colony in 1656. It is true that Peter lived upon the plantation of Capt. Mathews during these early years, and that Capt. Mathews and Peter Montague were life-long associates and friends. No record of such marriage however has been found. All of the records of James City Co. were destroyed during the late war and no record there dates back of 1865. His wife outlived him and was the executor of his estate jointly with her eldest son Peter. No record of her death has been found.

6      The Muster Roll of 1624 contains the names of but two persons of the name of Cicily. One was Cicily Greene at the plantation of Capt. Ralph Hamor at James City. The other was Mrs. Cicily Jordan, of Jordans Jorney Charles City. She was a young widow, "e 24 years, who came in the ship " Swan," in August, 1610, when she was but ten years of age. She owned the Plant. at Jordans Jorney, and William Ferrar was the manager. Her husband had recently died (1624). She had two children, Mary aged three years, and Margaret aged one year, both born in Va. Robert Manuell and John Hely, who came with Peter Montague in 1621, were both located on Mrs. Jordan's plant. Their names appear in both lists, that of Feb’y, 1623, and Jan'y, 1624.

The records of Lancaster have an inventory of the estate of Hannah Montague, taken Nov. 28, 1659, returned to court, Nov. 30, 1659. It has been found impossible to state who she was. Perhaps she was the first wife of Peter Montague the emigrant and the mother of his children, the said Cicely being his second wife. His will was proved in May, 1659, and this inventory coming so soon afterward would seem to indicate that it related to a part of his estate. Possibly said Hannah was a deceased wife of either one of the sons of Peter, but as it was the year Peter died it does not seem probable, if it was so she certainly died childless, as the will of Peter proves.

A copy of the will of Peter Montague, dated 27th March, 1659, and proved 25th May, the same year, is given below:

In the name of God amen, I Peter Montague being weak in body and perfect memory do make this my last will and testament, this the 27th of March 1659 in name and form following

First I bequeath my soul into the hands of my redeemer Jesus Christ, and my body to be buried.

Item, my debts being first paid I give to my loving wife Cicely one third part of all my real and personal estate according to law.

Item, I give to my two sons Peter and Will. Mountague all my land lying on Rappahannock river to them and their heirs forever, and the land being divided it is my will, that the elder is to have the first choice, and in case of want of heirs of either, the survivor to enjoy all the land, and in case both of them shall depart this life without heirs, lawfully begotten, then my will is that the said land be sold by the commissioners of this county after public notice given either at an outcry, or by an inch of candle7 and the produce thereof to be equally divided between my three daughters, Ellen, Margaret and Elizabeth, and the child of Ann late wife of John Jadwin, and in case of any of these shall die without issue, then the produce of the said land to be divided between the survivors.

7      Sale by inch of candle, is an auction in which persons are allowed to bid only till a small piece of candle burns out. -- Webster’s Dictionary.

Item, I give the other two thirds of my personal estate to my four children Peter, Will, Margaret, and Elizabeth to be equally divided among them.

Item, I give to my daughter Ellen, the wife of Will Thompson, one thousand pounds of tobacco, and cask to be deducted, of a bill of thirteen hundred pounds of tobacco now due to me by the said Will Thompson. Lastly I ordain my loving wife Cicely and my son Peter jointly Executrix and Executor of this my last will and testament. In witness of the previous I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day end year above written 1659 interlined before the signing and sealing hereof.

(Signed)       PETER MOUNTAGUE.
                              (Ye seal)

In presence of

Probat fuit humoi testam 25th May A. D. 1659 p fanam George Marsh, Thomas James et Willi Montague and ded Peter Montague Jr. in Cir et record primus July 1659 pr Edward Dale llan.


2. Ann, b. about 1630, in Va.
Married previous to 1657, John Jadwin, and had one child that was living in March, 1659, at which date its mother, Mrs. Ann Jadwin, was deceased.
3. Ellen, b. about 1632, in Va.
Married before March, 1659, William Thompson.
4. Peter, b. about 1634, in Nansemond Co., Va.
5. Elizabeth, b. about 1636, in Nansemond Co., Va.
6. William, b. about 1638, in Nansemond Co., Va.
7. Margaret, b. about 1640, in Nansemond Co., Va.

8      Thomson. This name is derived from the baptismal name of Thomas. More than 30 coats of arms have been assigned to the name. On the list of living in Va., 1623, are the names of Nicholas and Ann Tompson, George Thomson, William and Paul Thomson. On a list of the dead, 1623, is William Thomson. On the muster roll of 1624 are the following, Roger Thomson, age 40, came in "London Merchant," 1620, and Ann his wife. Nicholas Tompson came in the "George," 1622, George, age 17; Paul, age 14; William Thomson, age 11, came on the "George," 1623. William Tomson, age 22, came on the "Swan." Hather Tomson, age 18, came on the "Ambrose" in 1623. Morris Thomson had a patent granted him for 150 acres, below Blunts Point in 1626, Edward Thomson, age 24, came to Va. From London on ship "Transport," July 4, 1635. William Thomson, age 22, came on the "George," Aug. 21, 1635.