The Powell family of Virginia, of which we are descendants, originally came from the County of Brecknock or Brecon in Wales. "The name of Powell was ap Howell until the time of William ap Howell, of Bevalt, 1550 A.D. who was called William Powell."
The first record most researchers have is of William Powel (born ap Howel) of Castle Madoc, Brecon, who moved to Suffolk in England and took over a manor which he named Howellton. His descendant of the same name was among the Jamestown settlers in 1607. The line of ap Howels in Breconshire mostly descend from Hywel Dda (Howel the Good), king of Wales in the 900s, who lived on a fortified hilltop outside the present town of Crickhowell.
Powell Paths contains the following record:
"The beautiful manor house that you see in this picture is 'Nant Eos' situated in Wales, near Aberystwyth.
Nant Eos means 'spring or brook of the Nightingale.' There has been a house on this site for centuries, the present one was begun in 1739. Parts of the house are much older than the Georgeian period, the cellars dating back to the 11th century. In the time of the Civil War of Charles I, Averina Jones, daughter of Col. John Jones, living at Nant Eos, married a LeBrun, their daughter in turn married a Powell, so came the Powells to Nant Eos. In the early days the estate covered some 30, 000 acres, over the years some went to pay debts. The Powells certainly enjoyed life to the full and lived up to their position.
Through a series of misfortunes, the house went out of Powell hands in 1957 and the new owner sold 1/3 of the contents. When the owner moved, the house, complete with furniture and paintings, was closed. In 1967 it was sold to a 'scrap man.' The house was in sad condition. Mrs. Edwina Powell Colgate heard of the situation and after a hard stuggle, managed to save the house in April 1983, working with the proverbial 'shoe string.' She is also struggling to save the Powell paintings and fixtures from the scrap man.
There is a legend that during (the period of) Henry VIII, when the monks were turned out of their monasteries, that the Glastonbury monks sought refuge at Nant Eos, carrying with them a Cup of the Last Supper. It has not been seen since the house was sold in 1967.
The Powells of Nant Eos, County Cardigan, Wales, are descended from Philip ap Howell. Three Powell brothers of Nant Eos left Wales in 1606 with Capt. John Smith."
To date it has not been fully documented whether our original American Powell ancestor was Nathaniel or Thomas. There are currently proponents of each who are working to solve the puzzle. According to Smith's "History of Virginia" the first appearance of the Powell name there was when Captain William Powell sailed with Captain John Smith from Blackwell (England), December 19, 1606, and entered Chesapeake Bay, April 20, 1607. William was administrator of Gov Nathaniel Powell's estate.
Among the most famous descendants of the Virginia line of Powells, besides Nathaniel, the first governor of VA, is Katherine Hepburn, the movie actress. In her autobiography she states that her grandmother was a member of the very distinguished Powell family who were "quite impoverished by the Civil War" as were most other plantation owners of the South.
In The Powells in America by Dianne Elizabeth is:
"The castle Madoc Brecon, in the county of Brechnoc, Wales, was the home of the Virginia branch of the family before immigrating to America. Three of the family were judges on King's Bench in England.
The Powells in America are said to be descendants of the Royal family of Wales, coming from one of the younger sons of one of the old kings of Wales. (I have found no documentation to support this theory).
The first mention of the name in connection with America was Sgt. Major Anthony Powell, who was killed at St. Augustine in 1586, in the expedition of Sir Frances Drake against the Spaniards."
Residences & events in the life of this John:
He was a brewer.
St Olave's Parish, England, where he owned a tenant house.
The family listed below is by no means accurate, consisting merely of the names of various men who according to family traditions and other stories came to America early in the history of the country and are said to be one of ours. Absolute proof is yet to be determined. So far the only constant seems to be that 3 brothers came to America and Thomas was one of them.
Will of John Powell, St. Olaves Parish, Southwarke, Surrey County, England 4 June 1599
In the Name of God Amen, the fourth day of June in the yeare of our Lord God one thousande five hundred and ninetie and nine in the one and fourtieth year of the Reigne of our Soverign Ladye, Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, Queene of England, France and Scotland, Defender of the Faith;
I John POWELL of the Parish of St. Olaves in Southwarke, in the countie of Surrey, BREWER, being fraile in bodie, but yet in good and perfect memory, Thanks be Given to God, Do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following; that is to saie, recommend my soule into the hands of almightie God who through his death and passion of his sonne Jesus Christ hath redeemed me and by whome I hope to be saved and my bodie to be buried in open buryall by the descretion of my Executrix, hereafter named without any blanty to be performed at the tyme of my funeral or aime extraordinary pomp or solimptie to be raised, but in all homilie and direct manner as the rights of the Rightly require and as forthright and honest the disposition of my worldlie goods;
First, I do desire and bequeath after my debts by anie means or manners one, to be paid and my funeral and official "…." Hereafter expressed, performed and discharged; That all my seales, plate, bannels, rings, goodes if alleged moveable and non-removeables what so ever or nonstockables in whole repose, specified, or shall happen to be at the time of my death shall be sent to HESTER POWELL, my noble, loved wife, whom I do hereby name, nominate, and appoint to be the sole executrix of this my last will and testament provided all said that the said Hester POWELL enter into bond in the summe of 2000 pounds of Good and bountiful monies of England one my overseer, hereafter to be named.
Probitor of them noting favor needed after my death with renderor that the so named person or persons with whom theye maie or shall hereafter happen into marry shall not selle, let, or dispose of anie of the sealed by me hereby devised and bequeathed or of anie part of them or anie interest in them to any person or persons otherwise or for anie longer time feature or for more tyme than the number of twelve years from the date or dats of first cease or ceased preserving them upon also ">>>>>watermark" noted as the same be named better and go for the same patented to have non tenature for to be dismissed for the bettering of the landed tennetry for to be dismissed and for preservation of the original debts then I do further give and bequeath poore of the Parish of St. Olaves the somme of five pounds thirteen shillings and four pence, then I do give and bequeath unto the MASTERS of the Said Parish the somme of fourty shillings to be by them employed towards dynner and drynkage in their best discretion.
Then I do will and bequeath to the CELLERERS of the ALE SCHOOL there performed upon them in paper the somme of ten shillings, then I do make and bequeath onto the poore children of Christe Hospital in London the somme of Eightie and five shillings nobly somme; I will be paide and be performed at immediate tyme as may be after my death and as everything the disposition of all and singular my landed tenets and heredictaments as well in ppossession "laborers" and remanded nowhere forever the same do live either within the Cittie of London or somewhere within the "LEVIES OF ENGLAND".
I do hereby soley give will and bequeath the same unto the said HESTER POWELL my wife, and to our heirs to the only proper sole and behest of her the said Hester and of her heirs forever and I do also nominate and appoint Myne and her beloved friend, MASTER MATTHEW DALE of Southwarke in the countie of Surrey, Master WILLIAM SEABRIGHT, formerly of the cittie of London; John ELLYS Of London, esquire, and nobly man my sonne-in-law, to be the overseers of this my last will and testament from the tyme to tyme to be diverted and advised by them and that they will be >>> and affectionate towards her with their best goodwille.
I do will and bequeath to everyone of them my said, overseers, a sole noble pence. IN noting where I have to this my last will and testament by my hand and seale, drafted the daie and year first above written, JOHN POWELL, Lead, sealed, publicized and delivered, the eighth day of June in the year within nineteen in the person of Sir John ELLYS, WILLIAM & ROBERT POWELL***, THOMAS SMYTH, ESQ., "D.."James, The mark of JOHN JONES.
MEMORANDUM: That the underlinity of these names shall be in the lengh >>>and of their names and the date or dates as first sealed in the fifteenth of June and of their names (POWELL) in the two and twentieth day of the names (Ap POWELL) in the tyme and the fortnight gone will undersigned before the sealing and delivery of this and therefore presented JOHN ELLYS, ESQ., "D…"James
PROBATUM IN LATIN
*There is no "&" b/t William and Robert, there is a space as if something/someone struck out or left out…