William was described as a man of character and worth, a gentleman of great name and fortune, a trusted friend of John Smith, one of the largest planters in the colony.
He was said to have made several merchant trips to Barbados and Jamaica.
Residences & events:
12/19/1606 Blackwell, Eng. William sailed aboard ship with Capt. John Smith either on the Godspeed, Discovery, or the Sarah Constant, there was a William Powell on each of them.
4/20/1607 Chesapeake, VA, just below Jamestown. The ship arrived in America.
Dianne Elizabeth wrote in The Powells in America:
"Captains William and Nathaniel Powell had large grants of land from the Crown, which they located in the colony of Virginia. At one time the whole county of York, Virginia, was owned by the Powells. William and Nathaniel were both officers in the English Army. They came with Captain John Smith to the English possessions in America, and settled Jamestown in 1607, the first permanent settlement. William Powell was one of the Incorporators of the 2nd Virginia Charter in 1607."
Virginia Census, 1607-1890:
Name: William Powell
County: Virginia Colony
Database: VA Early Census Index
1611 William crisscrossed the ocean often, returning to America with Sir Thomas Gates on the Sea Venture.
10/20/1617 From the records of the Virginia Company of London: "Appointment of Wiilliam Powell, captain of guards belonging to the governor and lieutenant-governor and commander of James Town."
1618 William's name appeared in a listing by the above company of "Adventurers to Virginia" with the Several Amounts of their Holding. He had property worth 25 (pounds).
He owned a "200 acre tract in the Territory of Tappahannock (Rappahannock?) over against James City, VA," and another 550-600 acres in the same vicinity. His plantation across the river from Jamestown was called Chipokes and is now a state park with some
original buildings still standing.
From history is the following:
"Captaine William Powell prefented to the Affembly a petition to have juftice againft a lewde and trecherous servante of his who by falfe accufation given up in writing to the Governor fought not only to gett him depofed from his government of James citty and utterly (according to the Proclamation) to be degraded from the place and title of a Captaine, but to take his life from him alfo. And fo out of the faid Petition fprang this order following: 'Captaine William Powell prefented a Petition to the generall Affembly againft one Thomas Garnett, a servant of his, not only for extreame neglect of his bufineff to the great loft and prejudice of the laid Captaine, and for openly and impudently abufing his house, in fight both of Mafter and Miftreffe, through wantonnes with a woman fervant of theirs, a widdowe, but alfo for falfely accufing him to the Governor both of Drunkenes & Thefte, and betiides for bringing all his fellow fervants to teftifie on his side, wherein they juftly failled him. It was thought fitt by the general affembly (the Governor himfelfe giving fentence), that he should ftand fower dayes with his eares nayled to the Pillory, viz: Wednesday, Aug. 4th, and fo likewife Thurfday, fryday, and Satturday next following, and every of thofe lower dayes should be publiquely whipped. Now, as touching tim neglecte of his worke, what fatisfaction ought to be made to his Mr for that is referred to the Governour and Counfell of Eftate.'"
"This day alfo did the Inhabitants of Pafpaheigh, alias Argall's towne, prefent a petition to the general affembly to give them an abfo-lute difchardge from certaine bondes wherin they ftand boung to Captina Samuell Argall for the paymt of 600G, and to Captin William powell, at Captaine Argall's appointment, for the paymt of 50G more. To Captaine Argall for 15 fkore acres of wooddy ground, called by the name of Argal's towne or Pafpaheigh; to Captaine Powell in respect of his paines in clearing the grounde and building the houfes, for wch Captaine Argal ought to have given him fatisfaction. Nowe, the general affembly being coubtful whether they have any power and authority to difchardge the Faid bondes, doe by there prefents (at time Inftance of the laid Inhabitants of Pafpaheighs, alias Martin's hundred people) become molt humble futours to the Trefurer, Confell and Company in England that they wilbe pleafed to gett the faid bondes for 600G to be cancelled; forasmuche as in their great comiffion they have expreffly and by name appointed that place of Pafpaheigh for parle of the Governor's lande. And wheas Captain William Powell is payde this 50G wch Captain Argall enjoined the faide In-habitantes to prefente him with, as parte of the bargaine, the general affembly, at their intreaty, do become futours on their behalfe, that Captaine Argall, by the Counfell & Company in England, may be compelled either to reftore tim laid 50G from thence, or elfe that reftitu-tion therof be made here out of the goods of the laid Captaine Argall."
From the Court Bk - 4/28/1619-5/8/1622
"The Petition of Cap' Powell and m' John Smith beinge presented by their brother Prouest Marshall of Middlesex to have graunt of the Company 400 Acres of Land for fiftie pounds Adventure betwixt them vizd, One hundreth lyinge in one pcell between the Sunken Marsh one the other side the River against James Citty Land, and Choapooks Creek, and one pcell of Marsh Land conteyninge 200 Acres called Hogg Iland, The Court held itt inconvenyent to graunt Land in that kinde, pickt out by the Plante" themselves not knowinge who all-redie may lay clayme thervato or othersiwe how necessary itt may be for the publique; Butt m' Treasurer in regard of the good affection declared by their brother to the Companies service hath promised to write to the Governor that the said 400 Acres shallbe well sett out for them and to their Content wth reason."
4/26/1619 There was a letter written to Sandys concerning needing "counsellors" for the court in which it stated: " Capt Powell and Mr Macok dwelling at Charles Hundred 40 miles fro(m) James towne it is a very great troble for them vpon all ocations to come away fro(m) theire p(ri)vate workes to attend herevpon the publike, yett in truth I find the(m) both willing to spare what tyme they can for the publike...."
7/30-8/4/30/1619 He sat in the first House of Burgess Assemby as a representive of James City Co, VA,
It was then that he learned of the Indian's plot to massacre the colonists.
5/9/1621 Again from records of the Virginia Company of London: "Geo. Tharp and Mr. John Pory: A letter to Sir E Sandys. Complaints against Powell and Madison." Tharp and Pory sent a series of letters to Sandys about various things concerning VA including the Indians, commodities, and "perplexities of government."
6/12/1621 He wrote a long letter to Sandys concerning a difference between himself and Gov Yeardly, even quoted some Latin and signed it "Wil Powell." But shortly after the above Tharp and Prory wrote in one of their letters that Powell and Yeardley had reconciled, had Sacrement, and wanted the matter buried.
1/20/1623 Severel men were sent out on expeditions to revenge the massacre of Gov Powell and the rest. William was sent to the Chocohominy tribe.
At the time he himself was killed, he was acting administrator of Nathaniel Powell's estate, leaving settlement to others.
William was killed by Indians between 1/20-23/1624.
Upon his death a younger brother, also named William, filed a petition from England to claim the Capt's estate but it wasn't until 1650 when Capt William's son, George, died that the younger William inherited anything. (The younger William's last name was Powerr in the original petition.)
As late as 6/24/1625 the Virginia Company of London had references to William in their records On this date there were questions concerning one Capt Jones who had arrived in a leaky Spanish frigate from the west indies with depleted supplies stating "there are rumors risen contrairie to theire first examinations, of mutynies and disorders committed by Joanes and some of his company against Capt. Powell, of wch we may have more light from England...."