Flowerdew Plantation r. John WOODSON "The Immigrant" (1586-1644) was among the early settlers of the Jamestowne, Virginia Colony and is a Jamestowne Society qualifying ancestor. He came to Virginia in the ship GEORGE on 19 Apr 1619, as surgeon to a company of British soldiers. A native of Dorsetshire, England, he was an Oxford Student in 1608. He brought with him his wife Sarah from Devonshire, England and they settled at now called Flowerdew Hundred, some 30 miles above Jamestown on the south side of James River in what is now Prince George County.

It was, no doubt, at this place that their two sons, John (b.1632) and Robert (b.1634), were born. John and Sarah escaped unharmed during the Indian uprising in 1622. Flowerdew had very few casualties primarily because it was a palisaded settlement. Dr. John WOODSON was killed in the 1644 Indian uprising led by Chief Opechancano, son of Powhatan, at settlements along the James River.

Flowerdew Location Flowerdew Hundred, located on the west/south side of the James River about twenty (20) miles upriver from Jamestowne and variously referred to as Flourdieu Hundred or Peirsey's Hundred, is probably named after Temperance FLOWERDIEU wife of Sir George YEARDLEY, VA's first Governor, who came to Virginia in January 1619 on the same ship with John and Sarah WOODSON. This about the time of the first legislative assembly in Jamestown - July 30, 1619-August 4, 1619. Flowerdieu was represented in the assembly, the first House of Burgesses, by Ensigne Roffingham and Mr. Jefferson.

The YEARDLEY'S owned the plantation and in 1624 sold it to Abraham PEIRSEY and it became Peirsey's Hundred. When counties were established in 1634 Flowerdew Hundred was part of Charles City County and in 1702 was included in the new Prince George County. Presently, Flowerdew Hundred Foundation (1716 Flowerdew Road, Hopewell, VA 23860) owns and maintains the plantation as a Public Trust.

The Flowerdieu Hundred post windmill, erected in 1621 was recontructed in 1978, stands on a ridge overlooking the James River. Flowerdew Hundred, one of the earliest original land grants in Virginia, has had abundant natural resources at this strategic bend in the James River that have attracted people since prehistoric times. Archaeological excavations at Flowerdew Hundred during the last three decades have uncovered over 200,000 artifacts.

Woodson Gun Sarah WOODSON was a brave pioneer woman. In the absence of her husband during the Indian Uprising of April 18, 1644, aided by Robert LIGON, she resisted an attack by the Indians, killing nine. She loaded the gun while LIGON fired, and hearing a noise up the chimney she threw the bed upon the coals, the stifling smoke bringing two Indians down, whom she dispatched. Her sons, Robert in the potato hole and John under the tub, were saved. For many years they were called "Potato Hole" and "Tub." Over the years this story has been passed on from one WOODSON generation to the next and as passed among the various families has varied a bit in details but not in Sarah's bravery in defending her children. John WOODSON, caught in the open on his way home from visiting a patient, was killed. The old Woodson muzzle loading matchlock musket rifle, originally eight feet long and later modified to seven feet six inches, was preserved and now owned by The Virginia Historical Society and is on permanent exhibit in the Virginia Museum in Richmond. Woodson Rifle photo shown with permission of Kathy Hudson.

Most researchers believe that the WOODSONS were living at Flowerdew Hundred at the time of the 1644 massacre; although, there is apparently no record of whether they were living at Flowerdew Hundred or whether they had already settled on the north side of the James at "Curles". Robert and John WOODSON, were among Tythables at Curles Plantation in 1679. Curles Plantation was on the North side of the James River near Flowerdew Hundred. This plantation was once owned by Robert WOODSON's father-in-law Richard FERRIS, father of his wife Elizabeth FERRIS.

After John WOODSON'S death his Sarah married a DUNWELL and then a JOHNSON. On her death she left a combination inventory and nuncupative will which was recorded January 17, 1660/1. Bequests included John WOODSON, Robert WOODSON and Deborah WOODSON and Elizabeth DUNWELL. Henry Morton WOODSON in Historical Genealogy of the WOODSONS And Their Connections (published Memphis 1915) states that 20 of the 25 charter members of The First Families of Virginia are descendants of John WOODSON. Dr. John Woodson is the progenitor of the WOODSON Family in America. Among his descendants are Dolley Todd Madison, wife of President James Madison and the famous outlaw, Jesse Woodson James.

 Virginia M. Meyer and John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, The Muster of the Inhabitants of Peirseys (Flowerdieu) Hundred taken the 20th of January,1624, page 23, published by Order of First Families of Virginia, 1607-1624/5, third edition, 1987.

 Ibid. Woodson, page 708-716.

 Colonial Records of Virginia, Lists of the Livinge and the Dead in Virginia, Feb. 16th, 1623, page 40, Genealogical Pub. Co, Baltimore, MD, 1964.

 APVA - Jamestowne Rediscovery, <>

 The Thomas Jefferson Papers, <>

 Woodson Gun photo, <>

 1644 Indian Uprising, <>

 Flowerdew Hundred Foundation, <>

 James Deetz, Flowerdew Hundred, The Archaeology of a Virginia Plantation, 1619-1864, University Press of Virginia, Chartlottesville, VA, 1993.

 Virginia Green, Woodson, <>.

 Bob Juch, Some Descendants of Dr. John Woodson; <>.

 Henry Morton Woodson, Historical Genealogy of the Woodsons and their Connections, Memphis, 1915.

 Sue Helveston, <>.

 Joe Payne, <>.

 America's First Families, <>.

 Moody K. Miles III, <>.

 Woodson GenForum, <>.

 Natalie Fleming, <>.

 Woodson Heraldry recreated from  <>.

‡ The word hundred designates a demographic-geographic area that is capable of raising a hundred militiamen.

Arrow Up Prepared by Paul E. Pennebaker