Dunlace Castle


The Littleton Tree within the Whittington branches is loaded with information, a rich history that is frequently recorded in both British and Colonial anthologies. The family dates back to centuries prior to William the Conqueror. If one digs deep enough and has the time to spend (retirement helps) all kinds of cool stories arise. There are various spellings of the surname including Lyttleton and the more recently familiar Littleton.

Let me throw the teaser lines at you: this guy works for the King of England, Governs Bermuda in the 1600s, helps establish Jamestown, is the subject of Shakespeare’s Tempest, is stranded on Atlantic Islands like Robinson Cruesoe, survives the 1622 Massacre of Jamestown and spends his spare time as a pirate, when not raising a family. He comes to rest in the Whittington family tree. Let’s wake him up.

The man, Edward Waters (1584-1629), is found among Hotten’s List of emigrants to America between 1600 and 1700. Hottens’s List is the Bible of Genealogy, considered an accurate record of the folks who stepped off a ship onto Colonial soil. Hottens provides a census or list of names of those living in Virginia on February 16, 1623 and contains ‘’The muster of the inhabitants of the Colledge land in Virginia taken the 23rd day of January, 1624″. This was the list that followed the Powhatan massacre of over 350 settlers in 1622. The list help established the names of the living, the dead and the missing among the population of the various Anglo villages along the James River. Edward Waters is identified as 40 years of age in 1624 and living in the vicinity of  James Cittie, Virginia. His wife, Grace Waters, aged 21 and two children, William and Margaret, are listed as “born in Virginia.”

The record further indicates that Edward first arrived in Jamestown in 1608 on the ship, Patience. This defines the man as an “Ancient Planter”. More about that status later. The fact is, he didn’t stay put in Jamestown.  He had a job to do as a man responsible for running supply lines to the King’s colonies. He would be moving in and out of Jamestown over the course of years.

The life of Edward Waters was both eventful and romantic; if you find isolation on a remote island (picture Cast Away Tom Hanks and a volley ball) romantic. The Waters story captured the attention of William Shakespeare and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Waters was aboard one of the ships in the Third Supply convoy headed for Jamestown in May of 1609. We have discussed the Third Supply convoy in other chapters related to the life of Stephen Hopkins (Mayflower Ancestors) and ship’s Captain James Davis (Smith New World Explorers).

Waters and Stephen Hopkins were on board the Sea Venture under the command of Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers. The seven ships were carrying much needed supplies and new settlers to the settlement in Virginia. They were in the final week of transport when a violent hurricane struck and blew the fleet off course. The ships were scattered and out of touch. The pounding of the ocean, the torrent of rain made the vessel a certain tomb. The ship became pourous and only the constant bailing of water over the course of three days gave the passengers any hope of surviving. There would be no story to tell if the ship were to sink.  So for our sake, and their’s, salvation came when the Captain’s scope found the shoreline of an uninhabited island referred to by sailors as the Isle of Devils. The Spanish called it the Bermudas and the British would call it Somers Island. The Sea Venture crashed upon a reef, destroyed by the storm and reef. The passengers made it to shore and all survived.

Life was good on the island. Some thought of it as paradise. There was plenty of food to eat. The coves were teaming with large rock fish and mullet. Crawfish was abundant. The island was overrun by wild boars, a population that had come ashore in a previous failed voyage. The Isle of Devils moniker was well deserved. There were no Natives to threaten or overcome. Fresh water was available. Life was good; too good for guys like Hopkins, who realized there was no need to pursue life in Virginia. But Somers and Gates were noblemen obligated to their military assignment. They had a job to do. They were in the employ of the Virginia Company and the Monarch. They needed to be in Jamestown providing assistance to a start up business that was floundering and in the throes of death.

Using timber and mechanical parts from the Sea Venture, and cedar trees on the island, the survivors created two new vessels: the Patience and the Deliverance. After a little less than a year on the island the survivors readied their sails for Jamestown. Hopkins had everything he needed right there on the island. He and a small group announced their intent to stay put, even as the others prepared to leave.   Hopkin’s refusal to sail was considered an act of treason in those days, as he was bound in servitude as an indentured servant of the Virginia Company. His refusal and that of his followers brought him to the mercy of Admiral Gates who condemned him to death. For more about Hopkins you click on the link.

The Edward Waters story that has become legend, but there are two confused versions that have evolved over the centuries. One is as follows:  When the ‘Patience’ and ‘Deliverance’ set sail for Virginia, Edward Waters and a man named Christopher Carter were deliberately left behind. This single act by Somers fueled speculation and conspiracy theories to this day.  Waters was dedicated to Somers. He was the right hand man in Somers administrative team. The ‘go to’ guy.  Waters had built his career around Somers. His aspirations were tied to Somers and Somers trusted Waters implicitly. So why did he leave Waters and this other guy, Carter, behind on a remote island in the stormy Atlantic?

The two men were to hold possession of the island in the name of the English King.  If the ships of other nations were to stop by and say “Hey,” Waters was to inform them that this parking spot in  the ocean had already been taken.  Of course, two men would do little good in the face of the Spanish Armada or one Dutch ship with a single cannon, or a row boat with a torpedo, but they were left holding the bag. It was one step better than posting a ’No Trespassing’ sign or one that says, “Protected by the British Security Systems, Inc.”

“Here, use this as a weapon,” Waters’ friends shouted as they threw a Scotsman’s bagpipe over board and set sail for Jamestown.

But here’s the rub according to conspiracy gurus.  Somers was an opportunist, a bit of a pirate himself and he saw an opportunity and he would take it.  He believed things happen for a reason, that good can come from bad and that a fortune can be made by a man who is willing to step outside a comfort zone. Somers not only expected Waters to serve notice that the British had dibs on the island, he knew Waters would explore the island, seek resources, mineral wealth, fisheries, building materials, and map out the site for future exploitation. Somers knew a port on the island would be invaluable to the British efforts in the New World and in the control of evolving Atlantic shipping routes. Somers wanted a piece of that action, as did Waters.

In the latter part of that summer, Sir George Somers returned to Bermuda to bask in the sun, pick conch shells off the beach, dine on seafood and hunt for a fresh supply of wild hogs. His voyage to Bermuda was shrouded in controversy at the time. He told the Governor of Virginia he was sailing to gather more food and supplies for the settlers. The Governor thought it a great idea and offered to send a second ship with Somers. Arrangements were made. But, Somers failed to meet up with that second ship and sailed alone. He altered his route faked out everyone when the ‘paperwork he filed’ in Virginia failed to jive with reality.

His stop in Bermuda appears to be a much needed conference or debriefing with Waters and Carter. He needed to collect information and discuss future options related to the development of his strategic plan for the property. It was an important meeting. If the much respected Somers could return to London, and pitch a Powerpoint presentation to the investors in the Virginia Company he might be able to horn in on the action, secure some profit for himself and his posse.  Or, he might be able to draw the interest of the London Company whose efforts in New England were also picking up steam and could benefit from a port on the Bermudas. Best case scenario, he might find a way to establish a Bermuda Company and rule the island unto his own death. His head was alive with creative ideas. All good stuff and the kind of thinking that sparked the exploration of the New World. It was always a matter of ‘Survival of the Fittest.’

Something about the fresh Bermuda air disagreed with him however. He died there.  Some think it was bad fish. Not cooked well enough, some thought. At any rate he was dead and his nephew, Mathew, was there to bury him and take over the captain’s chair on board the ship. The trade off for Somers was that the Brits decided to name the islands after him. This is what can happen when you die: You can get elected to a hall of fame, end up in a Memoriam Video at the Oscar Awards or have something named after you. Something. Anything: an island, street, city, county, shopping mall, basketball gym, gym floor. It can happen.  But only in America. If you have enough cash, and buy a building for a university, the directors will set aside academic integrity and name the building after you; never mind the fact that you were a slave trader.

Mathew Somers took command of his uncle’s ship and set sail for England. He was headed in the wrong direction.  The ship was to have returned to Jamestown with pork chops. Waters and Carter chose to remain on the island. Waters’ tour of duty as Somers protege was over. His dreams of riding the coat tails of George Somers to fame and fortune ended with that last bite of stuffed crab, or whatever it was Somers ate. Rumors that the local restaurant pulled the Breaded Shrimp off the menu that week are unfounded.

Perhaps Waters viewed himself as the heir apparent to Somers’ vision.  Together, Waters and Carter were Governors of the most recent addition to the British empire, an island in the Atlantic.  Mathew Somers left a man by the name of Edward Chard behind with Waters and Carter. These three men were the sole inhabitants of Somers Island and kings of their own world. William Henry Longfellow called them  ‘monarchs of all they surveyed.’

There is a second version of this story and long story short: Tempers grew short on the island. Somers and Gates were openly at one another’s throat. So much so that each man built his own ship. Everyone else on the island was aligned with one man or the other. Hopkins and others tried to create a third group tied to the notion of staying put on the island. In the heat of a moment, Waters killed a man and was tied to the corpse for the night, pending his trial in the court of Gates. As a Somers man, he knew Gates would put him to death. Gates had already had one man executed. Waters or someone (stories vary) cut his ropes during the night and he escaped with Carter. Prepared to sail for Virginia, Gates left Waters and Carter alone on the island to face what he assumed would be certain death. A conflicting scenario reports the identify of the killer as Robert Waters, not Edward.

The Edward Waters story picks up speed when Mathew Somers sails off to England and what happens next involves a cash cow: Ambergris. Ambergris, is defined as “a grey waxy, flammable substance produced in the digestive system of sperm whales.”  It is spewed out of the whale; left to wander the ocean; aimlessly floating about on the current; congealing as it goes; and turning into a hefty (as much as 80 lbs.) ball of invaluable material prized by the perfume industry in the 1600s.  Finding ambergris was tantamount to finding a gold mine in the shoals of a beach.

Sailors knew ambergris and they knew the value. Both Waters and Chard came across the treasure and each wanted the prize for themselves. Each was quick to estimate the value of their find and knew they had approximately 24,000 British Pounds Sterling staring them in the face. We are talking a million dollar find. What had been a peaceful, idyllic setting shared by three, became a hotbed of contention certain to end in death. After much venom the two decided to fight to the death with sabers. The winner would own the ambergris. The loser would be left for dead. Carter wanted no part of the feud or duel. Digging a hole on the island for the departed, was more than he bargained for when he signed up for the security detail on the island. So he hid the sabers, making death an unlikely event. Unless of course they played Russian Roulette with whatever Somers had devoured for supper.  From that point forward Carter managed to convince the two they each faced a larger problem regarding the ownership of sperm whale bile.

They were employees of the Virginia Company and as such any resource they found, whether it be ambergris or the island itself, was automatically the property of the company and ultimately, the Crown. They would have a hard time maintaining ownership when the company ship came along and carried them home, outnumbered, outmanned and unarmed.

When the three men elected to bid Mathew Somers good by and remain on the island, they had no idea they would be spending two years together in isolation. Early shipping lanes had been designed to head to the south of the Bermudas in the direction of the West Indies and then north to Jamestown. The ‘Isle of Devils’ was not necessarily on the trade route. When the the good ship ‘Plough’ arrived carrying colonists and supplies for Virginia our three men were faced with choices: Head to England, Virginia or stay put. In one of those ironies that we find in history, if we look hard enough, the ‘Plough’ was mastered by ‘Captain Robert Daviss’. Correct. The same as we find as, I believe, a great uncle in the Smith family tree, brother of Sir James Davis.  On board the ‘Plough’ was carpenter turned fortune hunter and bureaucrat, one Mr. Moore, who announced his intent to rule the island as governor. He had the paperwork to prove it and just so you don’t think I make these things up I will quote it here:

“April 27, 1612. A commission graunted by us the undertakers for the Plantacon of Somer Islands unto our wellbeloved frend Mr Richard Moore and the rest of the men and mareniers imployed upon the said voyage whome wee beseeche God to preserve. Commencing: Imprimis. 1. Whereas, we whose names are hereunder written togeather with divers others have to the glorie of God and good of our Countrye undertaken the Plantacon of Somer Islands (some times called Bermudaes)”

This document goes on and can be found in Lefroy’s “Memorials of the Bermudas,” Volume I pages 58-63. That’s right: five pages (58-63) of documentation were needed to send a guy to Bermuda. I didn’t dare quote it all here. The jest of it is that Moore was assigned by his “wellbeloved frends” to three years tour of duty on a remote island also known as “the Isle of Devils”, a named earned by the fact that numerous ships had been destroyed there by hurricane force winds and a killer reef. And these are Moore’s best buddies? The text surrrounding this quote, as found in the “Extract From the Grocer’s Record” inserted into Alexander Brown’s, Genesis of the United States (p. 557) goes on to say “The ship in which he [Moore] sailed, the Plough, was commanded by Captain Robert Daviss.” Daviss had returned to England from his stint in Maine where he and his brother, James, tried to help Popham establish the lost cause of Sagadahoc on the Kennebec River. See how these things fall together?

A Spaniard by the name of Velasco, stationed in England, wrote frequently to King Philip IV of Spain keeping him abreast of Enland’s intent in the New World.  His many letters litter the work of Strachey and provide fascinating insight into Spain’s regard for England. With regards to Moore, Velasco makes it clear that England is intent on fortifying Bermuda with a fortress and a garrison of 300. He also points out that Jamestown appears to be a lost cause and will collapse as a result of poor planning. His sense is that the British will soon withdraw and there will be no need to attack Jamestown.  He came very close to being very right on the money with this observation.

Back to Waters and Carter. They were invited to become members of the governor’s council.  Who the Governor and Council would lord over is not quite clear.  Rumors that they reviewed Walmart’s plans for establishing s Supercenter are unfounded. But Moore’s arrival, with 300 citizens in tow, did change the daily routine on the island.

Moore seized Waters’ ambergris on behalf of the crown and the company as Carter had predicted he would. But Moore did not turn the greasy ball of bile over to anyone other than his house keeper who was instructed to place it in a safe deposit box at the local Chase Manhattan branch bank downtown. If the bank did not exist the servant was told to hide it away for safe keeping. Perhaps in Moore’s underware drawer. What Moore did next was a bit ingenious and self serving, on one hand, and yet, good for his new found colony as well. He portioned the ambergris into three equal portions. When instructed to ship the bile home to London, he only sent a one third share with instructions as to how the investors could meet the needs of Somers Island. If the Company wanted the rest they would have to play the game per Moore’s rules. The Virginia Company intended to populate the island, build and arm fortresses, create port facilities and develop a tobacco plantation. They could use the profits from the base product of perfume.

Governor Moore released ambergris as needed, scoring 8,000 Pounds Sterling with each of three sales. The investors were finally turning a profit in one avenue of their New World effort. Edward Waters on the other hand had not only lost his mentor, George Somers, but had now watched his fortune in ambergris slip away. He needed a new plan. It was time to reinvent himself. At one point he ventured off in the direction of Virginia after stealing a Portugese ship out from underneath the captain and crew of that vessel. He headed toward the West Indies as the ship’s captain, but sank the prize in yet another Atlantic storm. He escaped death in a row boat and came to rest on another remote island, somewhere in the Carribean. It is estimated that he was there for one year, alone this time, before a British pirate found him there and took him home to London.

In 1618 edward leaves the life of a seafaring guy and settles on the south bank of the James River in Virginia. Lady Grace O’Neal arrives as a passenger on the ship ‘Diana’.  She is not a store bought woman as many of the first brides of Virginia were. She had her royal pedigree and was available to the proper suitor of her choice. At twice her age, Edward won out and another ‘over the top’ chapter in the life of Edward Waters begins. Among the land patents issued in the corporation of ‘James Cittie’ was two hundred acres patented to Edward Waters.

In 1622, the Waters family lived on the south side of the James. When ordering items online he frequently gave his address as Blount Point, Elizabeth City, Virginia.

It was somewhere in this location that his family was taken prisoner by the Nansemond Indian during the Massacre of 1622. The Massacre was a big deal. In one day the Native nations of the James River valley brought the English colony to a death throe. Twelve years of trying to share common ground came to an end. Periodic bloodletting, aggressions followed by retribution had marked the infant years of the colony.  Colonists tired of waking up in the morning wondering if they would be a victim of a native attack. Natives held the same fear and as more settlers arrived they began to understand that the white guys were expanding beyond the miracle mile of James Cittie and pushing upstream into a suburban setting replete with door knockers, window sash and books called Bibles on the hearth.

The Virginia Company took a step back and studied the quagmire that was becoming a losing proposition. Frequent board meetings included a review of cost analysis, profit margins, strategic goals and barriers to success. In terms of profit margins, Somers Island was reeling in big profits. Funny what a large chuck of ambergris can do for a budget. But Jamestown was a losing venture. In terms of barriers to success, one affinity exercise stolen from the Deming Model, revealed that the Board needed to move in another direction in terms of their relationship with tribal members. This discussion brought together two of England’s shrewdest venture capitalists in opposite corners of a ring no larger than a board room: Sir Thomas Smythe, CFO of the Virginia Company, London Company, Muscovy Company and East India Company. He was the Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Steven Jobs of his day. And the Boards of each Company were generally speaking, the usual suspects (the same wealthy investors).

Studying the every move made by Smythe was the irrepressible Edwin Sandys. His name ties into the efforts of the Pilgrims of Mayflower fame and his ties to some of our Mayflower families began in Scrooby, England. As one examines the Smythe operation, the colonization effort and history of the decades surrounding British exploration in general, I come away with the impression that Edwin Sandys had his eye on Smythe’s job for quite awhile and worked the system rather skillfully until such time as Smythe toppled from power and Sandys was invited to step in and rule the game.

In 1618 Sir Edwin Sandys launched an effort to integrate Indians into English settlements. The Sandys Plan had several facets:

  1. Native families would get housing in one of several villages along the James River
  2. Funds would be gathered to provide a ‘college for Indian youth’ and
  3. These youth would receive Christ as their savior and be certified as ‘civilized.’

By all appearances one might say, “Good plan! Should work!” From a white guys perspective there is nothing better than whitish Christian neighbors who can hold down a day job and shop local. It would be good for the community and church enrollments, which were down lately due to all the internecine warfare, famine and disease. It was wrongfully assumed that the newly anointed Chief Openchancanough and his Powhatan Confederacy shared the ideal of an integrated society. Someone forgot to check with the Chief and his constituents.

Presented with a Bible, a comb and a New York Mets baseball cap at a local town meeting in which the ‘Love Your Neighbor’ plan was to be highlighted over wine and cheese, Openchancanough threw the cap to one side and mumbled, “Losers.” No one knew if he was opposed to the Mets, down on baseball in general or commenting on the plan before him. But it was clear from the start that what looked ideal on paper to the colonial PR frontman, was in reality a tough sell.

There were two problems: The Indians were not going to accept cultural suicide and the English settlers still harbored a whole lot of  contempt for Indians and loved to dis them.

“There is scarce any man among us,” George Thorpe reported, “that doth soe much as afforde them a good thought in his hart and most men with their mouthes give them nothinge but maledictions and bitter execrations.”

The daily insults and verbal abuse of the English was met by the silence of the Native. The pattern of White expansion into Native communities was apparent to the Indians. It didn’t take an Oxford education to see that the ‘British Are Coming.’ The British strategic plan did not call for a migration into the region beyond the James River. But management had little to say about the osmosis occurring. Colonial families wanted to strike it rich, build a better homestead, raise a larger herd, acquire more slaves, plant a larger tobacco crop and push civilization in all directions. The Nansemond River, the Potomoc, the Rappahannock were all fair game. It was easy to picture tobacco fields and port facilities teaming with Africans all along the coastal plain free of the pesty and ‘savage’ Natives. Colonists intended to expand their holdings in Virginia.

We all know the European land grab threatened the Indian way of life. The colonial effort to convert and educate the “savages” really irritated guys like Opechancanough. Losing your homeland, your culture and your identity has to be maddening, very painful. Incredibly so.  It happens all too often in the course of human history and it started long before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Check out the Sumer Civilization as an example.

Opechancanough replaced his brother, Chief Powhatan (father of Pocahontas) as the commander in chief of his nation. Powhatan’s voice of moderation, cooperation and appeasement had served a purpose but run its’ course. The response of the new chief would have a devastating impact on the colonists. Threatened with cultural destruction Opechancanough planned and staged a massive attack on the English settlement in an attempt to drive the English off the continent for good.

Odds are good that the English would have been annihilated had his plan not been revealed by a young Indian Christian who got wind of the attack and reported it to an Anglo family that had been kind to him.  Not everyone got the word in time. In fact, few got word of the pending disaster, but enough to maintain the James Cittie fortress.

One day prior to the attack, in a Thanksgiving like manner,  the Indians ventured into the villages baring a veritable picnic of meats and fruits; sharing the love with the settlers, disguising their intentions. The following morning they returned and circulated freely, socializing with the settlers, sharing instagram images, selfies and email addresses. And then BAM: they seized work tools, sharp objects and any other tool that could become a killing machine and went on the attack.[1]

The Indians moved through the plantation houses and into the fields in swift fashion, killing all they could find, including servants and workers in the fields. In all, 347 settlers, men, women, and children died. Not even George Thorpe, the prominent friend of the Indian, was spared. The Powhatan contempt for the colonist was made obvious in the destruction they left in their wake. Plantations were burned to the ground, livestock and crops destroyed.

Those settlers in Jamestown who had been alerted and found safety in the fort were, of course, stunned and outraged.  They remained safe behind the walls of the fort and talked of retribution. They would avenge the death of their friends and neighbors.  In addition to the loss of life, the colonists also lost valuable crops and the supplies necessary to survive winter. The winter brought famine and disease.  Four hundred settlers died. Within a couple of years, the settlers would avenge the 347 deaths many times over. Sandys’ plan for bringing Christ and acculturation to the Powhatan failed and was forgotten. In 1624, the company was dissolved and the king placed Virginia under his own control.

Edward Waters was living on the south side of the James River, downstream from Jamestown (James Cittie). The survival of Edward and Grace is remarkable. Taken captive by the Nansemond and facing certain death or enslavement, the Waters family were huddled along the shore of the Nansemond River. The Natives were in a celebratory mode. A successful day of massacre and marauding was coming to an end. The party was just getting started when a storm blew in a sizeable British boat that was devoid of crew and passengers. The craft was the victim of another Atlantic storm. The crew had to abandon ship to save their lives and the boat happened along the river and came to rest on a point of land as an answer to a Waters’ prayer no doubt. Caught up in their continued good fortune, the Nansemond celebrated all the more. The various authors who have included this in their pantheons of Virginia history describe what we would today call a Rave or Mash Pit activity.

Waters was watching closely, knowing that his life and that of his family, dangled on a thread. He had cased out the shoreline, the position of the party and together, he and Grace communicated their intentions. When the time seemed best for an escape, they moved quickly and quietly to a Native canoe, launched it quietly and disappeared, journeying the nine miles to Kicquotan.[2]

The Death of Edward Waters in 1630

Edward Waters died at Great Homemead, Hertsfordshire, England.[3] His will was dated August 20, 1630 and proved September 18 of the same year. [4] He grants his only son, William, his lands in Virginia, and directs that all property in England, Virginia, Ireland and elsewhere be sold by advice of his brother, John Waters, of Middleham, Yorkshire. He instructs brother John to make sure that Edward’s wife Grace and daughter Margaret are covered. The mention of property in Ireland leads one to believe that Grace Neale was formerly an O’Neill of Ireland. Indeed, those in her family who arrived in Virginia did shorten the name up to Neale upon their arrival. This becomes important enough to vett as the Neales begin to settle into the neighborhood of the Smith clan upstream in Westmoreland County a few decades later. And it is the Neale family upon whose ground the White House now stands.

The widow of Edward Waters, Grace O’Neill Waters, married and chose as her next husband the equally storied character, Colonel Obedience Robins, a man who played Batman to Edmund Scarburgh’s Riddler and got Virginia through some fairly important moments in history. And of course we will find that Grace and Obedience have little Robins kids flipping out of the nest and landing in the middle of our growing flock.

Where does Edward Waters fit into the Whittington family tree? 

We have reviewed the bio of great grandparents Nathaniel Littleton and wife Ann Southy.  One of their children, Colonel Southy Littleton (also a great grandparent) had seven children. They included three who are important to the Waters story line:

  1. Nathaniel Littleton (1667-1702) who married Susannah Waters. Sussanah was the daughter of William Waters and Dorothy Marriott. William was the son of Edward Waters and Grace Neale.
  2. Elizabeth (1671-1754) m. Richard Waters. Richard was the son of William Waters and Dorothy Marriott. William was the son of Edward Waters and Grace Neale.
  3. Esther Littleton (1665-1688) of “Kings Neck” on Gingoteague Island married Col. Wm. Whittington.

To summarize the relationships: Two of your great grandparent’s kids married into the Waters family. Your great grandmother, Esther married William Whittington thus binding the Whittingtons and Littletons under one roof and drawing the Waters kids into the family reunion as in laws.

William Waters, son of Edward Waters and Grace Neale

William Waters, the son of the adventuresome Edward Waters (1623-1687) was born at Blount Point, Virginia, educated in England and returned to Virginia. The governor appointed William as a major in the Northampton militia. Major William Waters was also a high sheriff, justice of the peace, and member of the quorum court. He represented Northampton County in the House of Burgesses in 1654, 1659 and 1660.

Major William Waters married Mrs. George Clark. As a girl growing up she had been better known as Margaret Robins, the daughter of Obedience Robins. Of William’s children the names of six sons are known: Richard, John, Edward, Thomas, Obedience and William. In true British colonial fashion, the names of the girls are carefully hidden and have not yet been discovered.

Two of these sons, John Waters and Richard, husband of Elizabeth Littleton, settled in Maryland.

Edward Water’s Resume

He was a member of the London Company organized for the purpose of colonizing Virginia; a lieutenant, then a captain of the Virginia militia. Governor Pott, in March, 1628-29, made him a commissioner for the district between Southampton River and Fox Hill, and he was a member of the county court and member of House of Burgesses from Elizabeth City County. [5]

family records:


In 1748 Thomas and Elizabeth and Philemon and Sarah jointly conveyed to Thomas Wood one hundred and seventy-five acres. The joint ownership of this property must be taken as conclusive of their relationship as brothers. Whose children they were, may be found by looking at the family chart in Chapter II.

[1] See Robert Beverley’s Description of the 1622 Attack

[2] The History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia, author: William Stith, p. 241

[3] Virginia Historical Magazine, Vol. I., pp. 92, 93.

[4] H. F. Waters’s “Gleanings from the English Records,” Part I., p. 129, a copy of which may also be found in Virginia Historical Magazine, Vol. II., p. 179

[5] New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XXXI., p. 393