Murder of the Indian King of Yowocomoco
On February 22, 1641-2, “at an Indian quarter in the woods neare St Georges creek in St George's hundred” , John Elkin shot and mortally wounded “a certaine Indian commonly called the king of Yowocomoco” . The shot went through the Indian King’s throat, and he died there “anon”. The aiders and abetters of John Elkin were John Robinson, Barber, and his servant, Miles Riccards.
Who were the murderers?
A John Elkin, marchaunt is listed as a London member of the Virginia Company, May 23, 1609. John Elkin a was a passenger on Ark and Dove (indentured)-- 1633. (Map of Route). Rights for his transport were assigned by John Saunders to Fernando Pulton, who made claim for rights in 1639. John Saunders (Gent) owned one-eighth share of the Dove, and died in 1637/8. The inventory performed after John Saunders death consisted entirely of Beaver (111.5 worth £44.6) and some cash-£9.1s, so he would appear to have been a fur-trader, who traded with the Indians for furs. (See interpretive essay on Native Americans in Maryland by Helen C. Roundtree.) Elkin had purchased a gun from Wm. Brough for 220 lbs. tob. Wm Brough sued for the amount in Dec. 1642.
John Robinson, Barber, was transported by Giles Brent. He was called churgeon in some records.
Miles Richards/Riccards/Ricketts: Transported as manservant by Robert Kedger in 1640.
For some Historical Context see:
- Acts of State 1641-
- The Coming of Civil War including the outbreak of the Irish revolt, October 1641-a result of the plantation of Scotish and English at Ulster and Connaught; the attitude in England and Scotland was that the “barbaric Irish papists” had to be subdued by military force.
Nottingham Castle: Charles I raised his standard 22 August 1642
- Edgehill Battle, First Battle of the Civil War, Oct. 23, 1642
- 1954 Calvert County Independent issue about Calvert County History
Leonard Calvert, Governor, 1634-1644, 1646-1647.
And the Jury returned, not guilty, but explaining themselves that they delivered that verdict because they vnderstood the last not to have beene committed agst his Lops peace or the kings, because the party was a pagan, & because they had no president in the neighbour colony of virginea, to make such facts murther &c. the Govr satisfied them that those Indians were in the peace of the king & his Lop & that they ought not to take notice of what other colonies did, but of the Law of England, &c. and therevpon dismissed them to consider better of it.
And then they returned, that they found him guilty of rnurther in his owne defence. and being told that this implied a contradiction they returned to consider better of it: and then they returned for their verdict, that they found that he killed the Indian in his owne defence.
And the Govr willed that the verdict be not entred as a verdict, but that another Jury be charged to enquire & try by the same evidence.
Though the murder apparently occurred on February 22 of 1641-2, the record is silent until nearly one year later, when a warrant is issued to bring in Elkins, Robinson and Riccards, and a grand jury is convened.
The 1887 archivists who published MSA Volume 4 Judicial and Testamentary Business of the Provincial Court, 1637-1650, make only the following comment: One feature that cannot be overlooked is the singular absence of crimes of violence. Leaving out of view the little sea-fight at Pocomoke, the offences against the person consist of two homicides and one (unproved) battery. In the case of the homicides, both the victims were Indians; and it is interesting to see how careful the court was to allow no partiality to interfere with justice, a jury who doubted whether pagans had the same standing in the court as Christians being promptly dismissed and a new trial ordered.
January 23: warrant to Tho: hebden to bring afore the Govr Jo: Robinson barbr, John Elkin, and miles Riccards to satisfie him of the reasons why they killed the Indian king of yowocomoco
February 1: Sedent Vt supr. The Sheriff returned for the grand Enquest, mr Gerard John Robinson carpr, richard hills, mr Greene, Simon Richardson, Thomas yewell, mr ffennick, francis Posie, Robt Smith, mr hollis, henry Brooks, John nevill. who were all sworne
Then the said Enquest was charged wth this Bill.Let it be enquired for Or Sovenaigne Lord the King and the Lord Proprietary of this Province if on the two and twentieth day of this instant month of ffebruary, at an Indian quarter in the woods neare St Georges creek in St George's hundred, vpon a certaine Indian commonly called the king of Yowocomoco, in the said quarter, in the peace of our said Lord the king, and his said Lopp then and there being, John Elkin planter, John Robinson barber and miles Ricards (servant of the said John Robinson) on the day aforesaid at the place aforesaid, not having God before their eies, but seduced & moved by the instigation of the divell, of malice forethought, feloniously and wickedly, with force & armes, an assault did make, and the said John Elkin, one gonne, wch the said John Elkin did then & there hold in his hands, did shoote off and discharge at or vpon the said Indian, and therewith vnto the said Indian, one mortall wound, in the throat of the said Indian, did give, of wch said mortall wound, the said Indian king, at the said time & place, anon after died; and so the said Indian king at the time & place aforesaid, in manner and forme aforesaid, the said John Elkin feloniously did kill and murther, contrary to the peace of Or Soveraigne Lord the king, his crowne & dignity, and contrary to the peace of the Lord Proprietary, his domination, & dignity.
And if the said John Robinson and miles Ricards, at the time aforesaid, at the place aforesaid, vnto the felony and murther aforesaid, in manner & forme aforesaid, were present, and aiding, abetting, comforting, or meinteining the said John Elkin, in and to the doing & committing of it.
And they returned Billa Vera
warrant to sheriff to warne 1 2. freemen, of St Georges hundred as many as he may, to be at Court on ffriday next at one clock after dinner to trie in such causes as shalbe given them in charge: vpon paine of TOOl tob.
February 6, 1642: Trial with First Jury
(Govr Sedent Secretary. called to the barre John Elkin, who held vp his hand, & was arraigned of the felony & murther wherof he was indicted, to his arraignmt he pleaded not guilty & for triall putt himselfe vpon God & his country.
Then the sheriff returned his writt, & were impanelled, & sworne (the prisoner making no challenge to any of them.) david whitcliff, robert Kedger, Robt nicolls, Joseph Edlo, George Pye, William Asiter, william hardige, John half head, Arthur le hay, xpofer Carnoll, william hookins, Gerrard fford.
And his Lops Attorny gave in evidence the examination of John Elkin, signed wth his owne hand, wherin he confessed that he killed the Indian, & related the manner of it. and he confessed the said examinaon to be true, & that it was signed by his owne hand.
And the Jury returned, not guilty, but explaining themselves that they delivered that verdict because they vnderstood the last not to have beene committed agst his Lops peace or the kings, because the party was a pagan, & because they had no president in the neighbour colony of virginea, to make such facts murther&c.the Govr satisfied them that those Indians were in the peace of the king & his Lop & that they ought not to take notice of what other colonies did, but of the Law of England, &c. and therevpon dismissed them to consider better of it.
And then they returned, that they found himguilty of murther in his owne defence andbeing told that this implied a contradiction they returned to consider better of it: and then they returned for their verdict, that they found that he killed the Indian in his owne defence.
And the Govr willed that the verdict be not entred as a verdict, but that another Jury be charged to enquire & try by the same evidence.
hangat Baker, Peter macrill, & Thomas Pasmore, returned by the sheriff, & not appearing vpon call to goe vpon the Jury, were fined by the Court 100 l tob.
February 9: The Second Jury is called to try by the same evidence
Sedent in Cur Secretary
Eod: the Sheriff returned for his Jury, to trie by the former evidence
Nathaniel Pope Anthony rawlins Robt wiseman, John Cook, John price, william Broughe, Thomas Boys, Simon richardson, mr britton, Thomas Todd, John wavill,John hatche
who were sworne to give true verdict &c.
mr Greene & ffrancis Gray, were likewise returned, by the sheriff, but were challenged pemptorily by the prisoner.
Then in the presence of the prisoner, the same evidence was given to the said Jury, as had beene given to the former; viz the Confessions of the prisoner, & of John Robinson & Miles Ricards. And the Jury returned for their verdict, that they found him guilty of manslaughter.
Attorney General Lewger brings charges against the 1st Jury for Contempt
February 11: Eod: John Lewger on the behalfe of the Lord Proprietary informeth agst david whitcliff, George Pye, Arthur le hay, robt Kedger, william Asiter, xpofer Carnoll, robt nicolls, william hardige william howkins, Joseph Edlo, John halfhead, & Gerard fford, for that in a certaine verdict vpon the triall of John Elkin, on the third of ffebr last, touching a certaine endictmt of felony & murther wherof he then was arraigned for killing the Indian king of Yowocomoco, they returned that they found that the said John Elkin killed the said Indian, in his owne defence by having the same evidence given in to them by wch another Jury on the 9th of ffebr last, found the said John Elkin to be guilty of manslaughter & therefore prayeth that all the said former Jury be greivously fined according to the Law in that behalfe
warnt Sher: or Rob: Kedgr to have body of Geo: Pye at Cort on monday next 1. clock afternoone.
George Pye in particular is charged, and convicted with testimony from Thomas Greene
February Eod: John Lewger on behaife of the Lord Proprietary informeth agst George Pye, for that in publique Court on the 6. febr last, the Court importunately pressing & charging the Jury that were vpon the triall of John Elkin, to proceed according to their evidence & conscience, & arguing & pleading the crime agst the prisoner at the barthe said George Pye in an insolent manner vpbraided & reproached the whole Court in these or the like words, viz, that [if an Englishman had beene killed by the Indians there would not have beene so much words made of it] or to that effect, to the great contempt & scandall of the Court, & the ill example of others.
the said George Pye for answere saith that he did not speake the words objected agst him in the bill.
vpon the testimony of mr Thomas Greene vpon oath; the Court found him guilty of a contempt & misdemeanor & fined him 1000 l tob.
February 21, 1643:
William Broughe demandeth of Michael Peasely of york river in virginea 270 l tob, for a trespasse in transporting John Elkin out of the Province since the 2d of decemb 1642. agst whom the plf had an action entred vpon record.
attachmt retorn 1st June next, wth citaon vpon pill of iudgmt
-George Pye demanded land for transporting himself.
Land: 50 acres patented 1640.
Elected and chosen by the freemen of Saint Georges hundred for Burgesses of the Assembly Francis Gray and George Pye 20th September 1640
22d October, 1640 -was allied w/ Francis Gray, John Abbott, Thomas Alien (President) on a Tobacco bill. He was allied w/ Francis Gray, John Abbott, George Alien, Lieut Vaughan, Mr Thompson, Fennick, and Greene against a Public Charges bill. He was allied w/ Baldridge, Brent, Fra. Gray, Robert Lusthead, and John Abbott on a Rating Wages bill.
Pye’s land (St. George’s Hundred) bounded on the N. by Whittcliffe, David Whitcliffe’s land (Certificate of Survey for David Whitcliffe, November 13,1640).
5th August 1641 George Pye appears as Burgess in place of Francis Gray. A Certificate from the hundred f Saint Georges dated 23d July 1641 is placed in the record: “This is to Certify your worships that with the Consent of the hundred we have made choice of Geo Pye in Francis Grays place” (signed)David Wickliff, John Ellin, Wm Marshall, Randell Revell, ThosHebden, John Gy, Thos Petit, Richard Nevill, Robert Cager, Richard ColeRichard Loe, Richard Hills, Nicholas Cosin, Ralph Beane, Arthur la Hay, Henry Lee
On March 21st 1641 (This would have been after the murder) George Pye appears again as Burgess. He has been chosen as proxie for Richard Cole, Thos Charington, James Johnson, and Robt Kedger.
August 1642: George Pye and David Wycliff Burgesses of St. Georges Hundred. (Anthony Rawlings and John at Anthony’s are taxed 23.). Pye allied w/ John Langford, William Broughe, John Sterman, David Whitcliffe, Nath Pope against revoting on an Act Defining Greater Capital Offences. The issue seemed to have been regarding ammendment to the bill to change the words [or Officer]into these [or high Sheriff of a County]. Pye was allied w/ Captain Cornwaleys, Henry Bishop, Thos Sterman on a bill re the exportation of Corn. Pye allied with Robert Vaughan and Nathan: Pope against a Bill for the feeof the Serjeant &ca . Pye was allied w/ Captain Cornwaleys, Henry Bishop, Thos Sterman on a bill re the exportation of Corn. He was appointed by the House to a committee to oversee the accounts of the burgesses and the leavies upon all the freemen of every hundred. Other members of the committee were: Mr Secretary, Mr Greene, Mr Thompson, Robert Vaughan, Nath: Pope.
September 5, 1642: (Archives Vol. 1, page 167-76) Proxie for Robert Kedger and Thomas Weston. gives Proxie to Thomas Weston and does not appear again.
Sold 50 acres freehold to Thomas Weston January 10, 1642/3.
February 11, 1642-3: Charged and convicted of contempt for inciting the jury in the case of the murder of the Indian King to defy the instructions to the jury by the Governor. Thomas Green testifies against Pye, who “in an insolent manner vpbraided & reproached the whole Court in these or the like words, viz, that [if an Englishman had beene killed by the Indians there would not have beene so much words made of it] or to that effect, to the great contempt & scandall of the Court, & the ill example of others.”
March 2, 1642/3 George Pye a fugitive (Archives vol. 4 page 188.)
He died in 1648, and his widow m. Mordeai Cooke. The following information is from: http://www.muw.edu/~bparker/cooke.html
Mordecai Cooke came to America at ElizabethCity, probably from Whitefield County, Suffolk, England, in 1639. He settled in Goucester County Virginia in 1650 and where he lived on 1174acres called "Mordecai's Mount." He married Susanna Peasley, widowof Michael Peasley of Pocosin Parish, York County, Virginia in 1648.
Ancestors: Some accounts state that Mordecai's father was John Cookewho came to America prior to 1623.
Descendants: His granddaugher Susannah (1693-1749) married HenryFitzhugh (1686-1758), son of William (The Immigrant) Fitzhugh.
Descent: Mordecai Cooke m. Susanna
Mordecai Cooke II (1649-1718) m. Frances Ironmonger (1654-1695
Susannah Cooke (1693-1749) m. Henry Fitzhugh (1686/87-1758)
Anne Fitzhugh (1720/21-1789) m. Robert Rose (1703-04-1751)
See Robert Rose
References (supplied by Gladys Morris Tate)
Descendants of Mordecai Cooke of Mordecai's Mount, 1650, by Dr. WilliamCarter Stubbs, 1923, 38 pp.
Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. IV, p. 360
Colonial Families of the Southern States of America by Stella PickettHardy, 1958, pp. 164-170.
Genealogical Lineages of Priscilla Jones Macon Leiper, by Esther AgnesLeiper Schumaker, p. 17.
Magna Charta by John S. Wurts, Vol. IV, pp. 942-943.
“And any action/ Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat/ Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start./ We died with the dying:/ See, they depart, and we go with them./ We are born with the dead:/ See, they return, and bring us with them.”-- T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets” (Faber,London 1944)