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Washington & Northern Virginia Company -- Biographies of Ancestors of Members
John Chew


Biography copied from “Adventurers of Purse and Person VIRGINIA 1607-1624/5, Fourth Edition, Compiled and Edited by John Frederick Dorman, F.A.S.G., Volume One Families A-F.


John Chew came to Virginia in the Charitie, which left England in April, 1622, according to the muster of 1624/5, when he and his wife Sarah and three servants were living at Hog Island on the south side of the James River. Sarah came in the Seaflower in 1621. As a merchant trading in commodities shipped from England in exchange for those obtained in the colony, he maintained a house and operated a store at Jamestowne where he had been assigned 1 rod 9 poles “for the better convenience and more comaditye of his howse by him now erected and builded in the New Towne within the precincts of James Citty,”adjoining north upon the back street, south upon Richard Stephens and east upon Capt. Hamor.


Shortly after his arrival in Virginia, Chew was placed in charge of the business affairs of Robert Bennett, who died, 1623, soon after his arrival as manager of the Warascoyack plantation of his brother, Edward Bennett, an English merchant. John Chew represented Warascoyack in the General Assembly, 1624, and Hog Island in those of 1625, 1628 and 1629. He was commissioned commander of Hog Island, 7 March 1628/9. Referred to by Governor Sir John Harvey and the Virginia Council in 1636 as one of the “ablest merchants in Virginia, Chew seized an

opportunity in 1630 to acquire for himself a landed estate. At the time, Governor John West and the Council opened a “tract of land called the forest bordering upon the chief residence of the Pamunkey King, the most dangerous head of the Indian enemy.” By way of inducement for settlement, they offered 50 acres for persons “whoe the first yeare should adventure or bee inventured to seate and inhabite on the Southerne side of the Pamunkeye River now called Charles (York) River and then knowne by the Indian name of Chiscake” and 25 acres for those settling the second year.


John Chew's patent for 500 acres in the area, 6 July 1636, shows that he adventured himself and nine settlers the first year. Additional patents in the area were issued to him 7 July 1636, 9 Aug 1637, 18 Feb 1638/9, 22 Feb 1638/9 and 10 Feb 1641/2 and 16 Feb 1642/3, he sold to Robert Kinsey and Henry Lowdy, churchwardens, 200 acres to be used as a glebe for York Parish, which embraced the area from the New Poquoson River to Morgan’s Creek on Chisman's Creek, patented 18 Feb 1638/9. He sold 14 acres to Robert Parr, 3 May 1650. In an Act of Assembly, 6 Jan 1639/40, he was named a tobacco viewer between Back Creek and Wormeley's Creek. Appointed justice of York County, 1634, he held that office until 1652. With his neighbors John Cheesman and Christopher Caithorpe, also early settlers in York, he represented that county in 1643 and 1644.


His wife, Sarah, having died, on 3 April 1651, he signed a marriage contract, deeding “the Plantation and houses whereon I now live”to George Ludlowe and Richard Lee, Esqrs., in trust for “Mrs. Rachaell Coustable whome I intend (by God's grace) shortly to make my wife,” as well as four Negro servants and a mare, but all to be void if Rachaell died before John and without issue by him. The last reference to John Chew is as a justice, 25 Sept 1652, although “Mr. Chew " is mentioned in December 1657, in retrospect. Probably John Chew died about 1652.

John and Sarah Chew had sons, Samuel, born about 1626, settled in Maryland and Joseph. Joseph lived in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Cecil County, Maryland. By 24-25 July 1710, when he witnessed a deed of Larkin Chew, he was living in Virginia. On 26 April 1712 he, Larkin Chew, Richard Buckner and John Sutton received two patents for 400 acres each on branches of the Mattapony River. By 1713 he was in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland. His nephew, Samuel Chew, recorded among the deaths in his family Bible, “My onkel, Joseph Chew, 12th of 12th month (February) 1715/6."