Sunday, September 30, 2012

John Clarke of Jamestowne

My 10th great grandfather was John Clarke, a Jamestowne Virginia settler originally from Cambridge, England.

John shows up on the passenger manifest for the 1608 Second Supply ship, which was the eighth ship to arrive in Jamestowne.  He was listed as a "tradesman".

It is believed that Thomas Clarke, who came over on the 1623 ship Anne, just three years after the Mayflower, was son to John.  This is only supported by baptismal records showing that Thomas' father was named John.

I paid a visit to Jamestowne in 2012, and enjoyed learning of all the amazing archaeological discoveries still being made.  It was truly thrilling to see happy excavators at work.

HAPPY ARCHAEOLOGIST

NEW GRAVES ERECTED WHERE SKELETONS WERE FOUND
ONE COULD VERY LIKELY BE THAT OF JOHN CLARKE.

CONFIRMED SITE OF MARRIAGE OF
POCAHONTAS AND JOHN ROLFE


THE OLD CHURCH

According to many sources, John was captured by the Spanish in 1611 and spent five years in captivity before being traded with the English.

It has been written that either John or Thomas was employed on the Mayflower as a shipmate.  There are differing accounts here, depending on who you believe.  I have written a separate page on Thomas Clarke, which speaks of what is known and speculated regarding Thomas, and how much has been written accrediting Thomas with the shipmate job.

According to MayflowerHistory.com, John was the Master's Mate on the Mayflower in 1620, but was a ship's pilot on a 1610 ship to Jamestowne, and that this was his first voyage to Virginia.

According to Packrat, which carries an online transcription of the 1608 Second Supply ship manifest, however, he was a tradesman on this earlier ship.  In fact, this site purports to transcribe all the early Pilgrim ship manifests and doesn't list a single Clarke on any of the 1610 ships.

According to FindaGrave, ...
John Clark was the Master's Mate and pilot of the "Mayflower", and accompanied the Pilgrims on many of the exploring parties, piloting the shallop. Clark's Island in Duxbury Bay is named after him, because he miraculously brought the shallop ashore during a strong storm on one of these expeditions. John was given two shares in the Virginia Company for his service. He sailed to Virginia on 10 April 1623 in Daniel Gookin's ship, the "Providence", and died shortly after he arrived.
But on this very page of FindAGrave, there is a picture of the Mayflower commemorative plaque for the First Encounter, and a transcription.  It merely references "Master Mate Clark", so that could be either Thomas or John!




According to The First Republic in America: An Account of the Origin of this Nation, by Alexander Brown, John Clarke was among the men who fell at the Indian Massacre of 1622 in Jamestown, and was pilot of the ship Providence in 1622.  The ship manifest, however, has been transcribed by Packrat to read that William Clarke was the only Clarke on the Providence.  According to a genforum post, this William was John's son, who was the pilot of that ship.  Yet, I see no reference to John having been pilot of this ship, when viewing the transcribed manifest.

A Richard Clarke was one of many of the Mayflower passengers who died the first winter in Plymouth, and left no descendants. I wonder if he was related to either John or Thomas?

**

Below is a well sourced writing I was given by Clark researchers:

John Clarke was hired to be the Master's Mate on the Mayflower by the Virginia Company and the Merchant Adventurers because he had been to the American coast on several prior occasions.

Much of John Clarke's biographical history is known, but his genealogical history is less certain. He is possibly the John Clarke who was baptized in Redriffe (Rotherhithe), Surrey, England on 26 March 1575, and may have been the father of Thomas Clarke, an early Plymouth settler. A baptism for Thomas Clark, son of John Clark of Rotherhithe is found on 8 March 1599/1600 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, Middlesex, England. He may be the John Clarke who married Sibil Farr on 18 April 1610 in Rotherhithe, or the John Clarke who married Mary Morton on 18 February 1598/9 in Stepney, Middlesex--or perhaps he was married twice.

John Clarke had made several trips to Jamestown, Virginia, as well as to New England. Clarke had been in Malaga, Spain in 1609, and in March 1611 sailed from London to Virginia. About June 21, 1611, he was captured at Point Comfort by the crew of a Spanish caravel that had brought Don Diego de Molina to Virginia. He was taken to Havana, where he was interrogated on 23 July 1611. He was then taken to Seville, Spain, and then to Madrid where he was again examined on 18 February 1613. He calls himself 35 years old in his 1611 deposition, and calls himself 40 years old in 1613, giving his residence as London. He was released to the English in 1616, in a prisoner exchange between England and Spain.

John Clarke is mentioned in a letter written by Robert Cushman on 11 June 1620: "We have hired another pilot here, one Mr. Clarke, who went last year to Virginia with a ship of kine." This 1619 trip to Virginia was with Captain Thomas Jones of the Falcon, a some-time pirate.

He was the Master's Mate and pilot of the Mayflower, and accompanied the Pilgrims on many of the exploring parties, piloting the shallop. Clark's Island in Duxbury Bay is named after him, because he miraculously brought the shallop ashore during a strong storm on one of these expeditions.

On 13 February 1622, the Virginia Company records state:

Mr. Deputy acquainted the court, that one Mr. John Clarke beinge taken from Virginia long since by a Spanish ship that came to discover that plantation; that forasmuch as he hath since that time done the companie good service in many voyages to Virginia, and of late went into Ireland for transportation of cattle to Virginia, he was an humble suitor to this court, that he might be admitted a free brother of the companie, and have some shares of land bestowed upon him.

John was given two shares in the Virginia Company for his service. He sailed to Virginia on 10 April 1623 in Daniel Gookin's ship, the Providence, and died shortly after he arrived.
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1. Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, 3d series, 54 (1920):61-77, "John Clark of the Mayflower".

2. American Historical Review 25:448-479, "Spanish Policy toward Virginia, 1606-1612; Jamestown, Ecija, and John Clark of the Mayflower".

3. The American Genealogist 42:201-202, 47:3-16

4. Of Plymouth Plantation, by William Bradford, written 1630-1654

5. The Genesis of the United States, by Alexander Brown, 1964, pages 854-855.

6. Records of the Virginia Company

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