Name: Edward DIGGES , Colonial Gov. of Virginia 1
ALIA: Col. Edward /Digges/, Colonial Gov. of Virginia
Birth: MAR 1620/21 in Chilham Castle, County Kent, England
Death: 15 MAR 1675/76 in "Bellfield", York Co., VA
Burial: "Bellfield", York Co., VA
Christening: 29 MAY 1621 Chilham Castle, Kent, England
EDWARD DICGES, baptized 29 March 1621 at Chilham, Kent, entered Gray's Inn, 19 May 1637. He emigrated to Virginia and shortly after his arrival purchased, 11 Dec. 1650, the plantation of Capt. John West comprising 1200 acres in York County on the south bank of York River adjacent to the site of the old Indian town of Chiskiack.
In 1653 he patented two tracts totaling 3050 acres in Gloucester County on the north side of York River. He was appointed to the Council, 12 Nov. 1654, and two years later was elected Governor by the House of Burgesses, serving under the Cromwellian regime from 31 March 1655 to Dec. 1656, when he went to England to join Col. Samuel Mathews and Richard Bennett as an agent to look after colonial affairs. A report of the Virginia Assembly concerning his administration as Governor, 15 Dec. 1656, recites: "he hath managed under your Highness (Oliver Cromwell) with . . . much moderation, prudence and justice. "
The revival of an interest in silk culture undertaken in the colony prior to 1619 became a major project of Edward Digges. At his own expense he brought over two Armenians who assisted him in extensive
experiments in silk husbandry carried out at his York River plantation. In 1654 he mentioned in a letter that he had extracted about eight pounds of silk from 400 bottoms and also reported that he had produced from his own preserve ten pounds of eggs which he expected to distribute among others interested in the culture. Notwithstanding this promising outlook for the production of silk filament of good quality in Virginia, the undertaking did not survive. Tobacco, a crop with a sure profit and
one which required less expert care, drew the attention of Virginia planters and the Digges descendants became as well known for their fine grade of tobacco as Edward Digges had been for his silk production.
In consideration of the trouble and expense to which he had gone in efforts to sustain silk culture in Virginia, Edward Digges was nominated shortly before his death to the of office of Auditor of the Colony. He died 15 March 1675/6, in his 55th year, leaving a will, 16 June 1675, stating he was "now bound upon a voyage for Virginia" and naming his wife Elizabeth as executrix.
He married Elizabeth Page, sister of Col. John Page, whose will, 5 March 1686/7, gave a gold ring to "my honored sister Eliz: Digges . . . to be given in Virginia." Administration on the estate of Elizabeth Digges was granted, 24 Sept. 1691, to her sons William and Dudley. The inventory of her estate, recorded 24 Aug. 1692, conveys detailed information about the manner of living of the 17th century Virginia planter.
from: Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, Edited by Virginia M. Meyer ( 1974-1981) & John F. Dorman, F.A.S.G. (1981-1987). Pub. by Order of First Families of Virginia, 16071624/5, 3rd edition, 1987, pages 248-250.
Colonel Edward Digges entered Gray's Inn, May 19, 1637, and immigrated to Virginia about 1650. By deed dated September 11, 1650, and confirmed by a patent on May 6, 1651, he purchased from Captain John and Anne West a plantation containing 1,250 acres in Hampton Parish, York County. It was adjacent to the old Indian town of Chiskiack. Until June 1787, when William Digges sold the land, it continued to preserve its ancient limits.
Edward Digges was appointed to the Council, November 12, 1654, and he served as governor from March 30, 1656, to March 13, 1658, when he was sent to England as one of the agents of the Colony. He was sworn to the Council again April 19, 1670.
Digges was a promoter of the manufacture of silk in the Colony and employed two Armenians skilled in the business.
His will was proved in the General Court on June 15, 1675. He left his plantation on Felgate's Creek to his eldest son, William. His tomb states that he and his wife had six sons and seven daughters, but their names are not all known.
Father: Dudley DIGGES , British Diplomat, MP b: 1583 in Digges Court, Barham, Kent, England
Mother: Mary KEMPE , Lady Digges b: 1583 in Ollantigh Manor, Barham, Kent, England
Elizabeth PAGE b: ABT 1621 in England
- Ann DIGGES
- William DIGGES b: 1650 in Chilham, Kent, England
- Catherine DIGGES b: 1654 in Hampton, Elizabeth City Co., VA
- Mary DIGGES b: 1655
- Dudley DIGGES b: 1665
- Title: The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States
Author: Gary Boyd Roberts
Publication: Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001
Page: p. 140