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Washington & Northern Virginia Company -- Biographies of Ancestors of Members
Raleigh Cro(w)shaw

Captain Raleigh Croshaw arrived in Jamestown with the Second Supply in September 1608. It is thought that he may be related to the Crashaw family of Crashaw, Lancashire. He was a member of the Virginia Company of London in 1609 and was still listed as an adventurer in the Company in both 1618 and 1620.


He was mentioned as being a member of the group with Captain John Smith in January 1609 who while attempting to trade for com with the Indians at Opechancanough's village was almost overcome by surprise. This attack was thwarted in part by Croshaw's quick reaction. Croshaw then made a night trip back to Jamestown which helped to avoid further treachery.
        He appears to have been a skilled Indian fighter. At the time of the massacre of March

1622 he was on a trading cruise on the Potomac. According to Captain John Smith's General Historie, Croshaw challenged the chief Opechancanough or any of his warriors to fight him naked, an offer that was not accepted. When Captain John Smith published his General Historie in 1624, one of the verses in Volume III of the book had been written by Croshaw -- and in his writing, John Smith implies a high opinion of Croshaw's knowledge of Indians and their way of making war.

         About 1623 a patent was issued to "Captain Rawleigh Crawshaw, Gent., of Kiccoughtan, An Ancient Planter who hath remained in this country 15 years complete and performed many worthy services to the Colony," for 500 acres by Old Point Comfort. This was based on his transporting himself, his servant and his wife in addition to adventuring 25 pounds sterling in the Company. By the following year he was a burgess for Elizabeth City. In March of 1624 he was issued a commission to trade with the Indians for corn. On this voyage he purchased a "great canoe" for 10,000 blue beads.  

      Captain Croshaw was last referred to on 22 November 1624, and then on 27 December 1624 Captain Francis West was instructed to take an inventory of his estate. The name of his wife does not appear, and as neither the census of 1624 nor the muster of 1625 mentions them it seems probable that the wife and children returned to England.

Captain Croshaw appears to have had three sons, Joseph, Noah(possible name), and Richard. While Joseph may have been educated in England, both Joseph and Richard are mentioned many times in the records. Joseph appears to have led a more public life, having been a member of the House of Burgesses from York as well as having served as a justice and as sheriff for York County.


l."Crowshaw", by Martha Woodroof Hiden; William and Mary Qtrly (2), XXI, pp265 70
2. "General Historie", by John Smith, 1624, Vol III, pp 78 81, Vol IV, pp. 151 154; published in "The Complete Works of Captain John Smith", edited by Philip L. Barbour; Vol II, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1986

Nov 04