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Washington & Northern Virginia Company -- Biographies of Ancestors of Members
James Davis

James Davis, Captain, was probably born in England about 1575, location unknown. In the history of England in the New World, he first appears as part of the group assembled in 1606 for the purpose of establishing a settlement in America under the charter of the Virginia Company of Plymouth.


Sir John Popham, at the time the Lord Chief Justice of England -- but also an adventurer in the Plymouth Company -- was active in assembling the group which set sail in 1606. The group landed at Sagadahoc, Maine, near the mouth of the Kennebec River, where James Davis had been assigned

as "Captain of the Fort". By the spring of 1607 he was the master of the ship, Mary and John, which brought additional colonists and resupply to the colony. Later the same year he was listed as master of a pinnace, Virginia, built at Sagadahoc.

       He next appears in the record as master of the Virginia when it was part of the nine vessel fleet known as the Third Supply which sailed from England to Virginia in June 1609. Having run into the hurricane that wrecked one ship in Bermuda, the Virginia, did not reach the colony until October. Capt Davis and his men were then assigned to Fort Algernon at Old Point Comfort. After the fort's commander, Captain John Ratliff, was taken and killed by the Indians in November, Davis became the commander of Fort Algernon, an assignment which may have saved his life during the "starving time" as these men just 32 miles by water from Jamestown, but totally out of communication, enjoyed plenty of sea food during this bitter winter. In 1611, while still commanding at Fort Algernon, he was ordered to secure the forts at the two Virginia capes, Henry and Charles.  

   There are two final references to James Davis. One entry shows him in command at Henrico on the north side of the James River in 1616. In the muster of 1625 Captain James Davis is listed as among those "dead at all these plantations over the water," a reference to the losses in the March 1622 massacre south of the James River. 
     Captain Davis had married Rachell (surname unknown) and had one son, 

Thomas Davis, born about 1613. The son, Thomas, received a land patent in 1634 for 300 acres on Warwicksqueicke Creek. By 1637 he was living in Norfolk County and then in 1642 in Nansemond County, where he served as a justice and was a member of the county commission until 1660. His date of death is unknown. He left 4 sons and possibly a daughter.


1. "Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607 1624/5", 4'hEdition 2004; Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD
2. "The Sagadahoc Colony", by Henry 0. Thayer; Printed for the Gorgas Society, Portland, Maine, 1852
3. "Founding the American Colonies 1583 1660", by John E. Pomfret with Floyd M. Shumway;
Harpers & Row, New York, NY, 1970

Nov 04