Robert Beheathland was the son of Richard Beheathland
of St Endellion, County Cornwall, probably bom between 1580 and 1585. When
Richard died sometime before October 1635, his will listed two sons, Robert and
Hugh, and a grandson John.
Robert Beheathland sailed in December 1606 with the first fleet, the
Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, that sighted the Virginia capes on April 26,
1607 and selected the site of the fort at Jamestown on May 13, 1607. He is one
of only a couple of members of this first group of settlers known to be survived
by descendants living today. Over the next two years he was mentioned in the
history of Captain John Smith.
In February 1608 he was among those who accompanied
Smith and Christopher Newport on a visit to Powhatan at Werowocomico on the York
River. He was then noted accompanying Smith in the final meeting of Smith with
Powhatan in December 1608/January 1609 while attempting to negotiate the
purchase of corn. In a sudden danger of attack by the large number of Pamunkey
Indians, Smith deployed his small band and mentioned that he"took ... Master
Beheathland to guard the dore".
Finally he was present at Smith's confrontation
with Opechancanough when the survival of the little group depended so much on
Smith's quick action in threatening the chief's destruction.
There is little further mention of Robert in any records until his brother,
Anthony, died in May 1615. Robert then appeared in Cornwall, where he and his
brother, George, filed suit against Anthony's widow, Ursula, for their interests
in the estate. In 1618 the judge ordered the widow to pay 80 pounds, divided
among Antony's relatives.
His name next appears as a signer on a petition to the King in 1620 requesting
the appointment of a permanent governor of Virginia and expressing a willingness
to return to Virginia if that was done.
All that is known of Robert's marriage is the name of his wife, Mary, and the
existence of at least three children, Dorothy, Mary and John.
Dorothy was born in England or Virginia about 1612 or 1613. In November 1628 she
was listed in Virginia court records as the step daughter of Lieutenant Thomas
Flint living in Elizabeth City, which indicates that her father, Robert, had by
then died and her mother, Mary, had remarried.
A further record states "Mary
Flint, ancient planter, now wife of Thomas Flint, Gent., of Warwick River" was
granted 100 acres in the Corporation of Elizabeth City. On 24 July 1638 Randall
Crew patented 750 acres including 150 acres due according to a court order of
October 5, 1631 in the right of his wife Dorothy Beheathland in the court of
Upper Norfolk County, indicating she had inherited property.
Mary was born in 1614 or 1615. About 1631 she married Captain Thomas Bernard of
Warwick County, who was later a burgess in 1640 and 1642 and again in 1644 and
1645. They had a daughter named Beheathland who married (1) Francis Dade, alias
Major John Smith, with whom she had six children, and (2) Major Andrew Gilson
with whom she had two children.
John was born in 1616-1617. He wrote his will in 1636, saying he was on the way
to Virginia, and the administration of his estate was granted in October 1639 to
his cousin, Charles Beheathland, who stated that "John had died abroad,
1. "The Complete Works of Captain John Smith 1580 163 L", Edited by Philip
Barbour., Jamestowne Colonist, 1 p208,216, 11 p 141; Expeditions I
p231,243,252,253, Il pp. 102, 200, 202.
2. "Virginia Gleanings in England",VMHB, Vol XI, 1904, p363 note
3. Jamestown Society Newsletter, Vol 25 2, Oct 2001; Vol 26 2, Oct 2002
4. "Narratives of Early Virginia 1606 1625", by Lyon G. Tyler; Charles
5. "Cavaliers and Pioneers Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623
1800", by Nell Marion Nugent; Press of the Dietz Printing Co, Richmond, VA,
1934, Vol I p94