London Borough of Southwark
Greater London, England
|Death: ||Nov. 13, 1627|
James City County
Sir George Yeardley (1588 - 1627) was a plantation owner and three time colonial Governor of the British Colony of Virginia. A survivor of the Virginia Company of London's ill-fated Third Supply Mission, whose flagship, the Sea Venture, was shipwrecked on Bermuda for 10 months in 1609-10, he is best remembered for presiding over the initial session of the first representative legislative body in Virginia in 1619. With representatives from throughout the settled portion of the colony, the group became known as the House of Burgesses. It has met continuously since, and is known in modern times as the Virginia General Assembly.
Yeardley was baptized on July 28, 1588, in St. Saviour's Parish, Southwark, Surrey. He was the son of Ralph Yeardley (1549-1604), a London merchant-tailor, and Rhoda Marston (d. 1603). He chose not to follow his father into trade, but instead became a soldier and joined a company of English foot-soldiers to fight the Spanish in the Netherlands. As captain of a personal bodyguard, he was selected to serve Sir Thomas Gates during his term as Governor of Virginia.
Yeardley set sail from England on June 1, 1609, with the newly appointed Gates aboard the Sea Venture, the flagship of the ill-fated Third Supply expedition to Jamestown. After seven weeks at sea, and eight days from expected landfall, the convoy ran into a tropical storm and the Sea Venture was shipwrecked in the Bermudas. No lives were lost, and despite numerous problems and civil unrest among the former passengers, causing Gates to declare martial law, in 10 months time two small ships were built, the 70-80 ton Deliverance and the 30 ton pinnace Patience. The ships arrived at Jamestown on May 23, 1610.
In 1613 Yeardley married Temperance Flowerdew, daughter of Anthony Flowerdew of Hethersett, County Norfolk, and his wife Martha Stanley of Scottow, County Norfolk. Temperance had also sailed for Virginia in the 1609 expedition aboard the Faulcon, arriving at Jamestown in August 1609, and was one of the few survivors of the Starving Time.
In 1616 Yeardley was designated Deputy-Governor of Virginia. One of his first accomplishments was to come to an agreement with the Chickahominy Indians that secured food and peace for two years. He served from 1616 to 1617. Yeardley was appointed Deputy-Governor again in 1625.
Sir George Yeardley was knighted at Newmarket, England, on 24 November 1618, and six days later he was commissioned Governor of Virginia. He was granted 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land to help defray the cost of maintaining himself as governor.
In 1618, he patented 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land on Mulberry Island. He owned another private plantation upriver on the south side of the James River opposite Weyanoke, named Flowerdew Hundred. Yeardley named the property after his wife, Temperance Flowerdew. The plantation elected two representatives to the first General Assembly in Jamestown in 1619: one was an ancestor of President Thomas Jefferson. With a population of about thirty, the plantation was economically successful with thousands of pounds of tobacco produced along with corn, fish and livestock.
Yeardley paid 120 pounds (possibly a hogshead of tobacco) to build the first windmill in British America in 1621. The windmill was an English post design and was transferred by deed in the property's 1624 sale to Abraham Piersey, a Cape Merchant of the London Company.
Yeardley led the first representative Virginia General Assembly, the legislative House of Burgesses, to meet on American soil. It convened at the church in Jamestown on July 30, 1619. One of the first acts of this representative body was to set the price of tobacco. Yeardley was appointed Deputy-Governor again in 1625.
He served a second time as Governor from March 4, 1626/27 until his death on November 13, 1627. He is buried in the church at Jamestown, Virginia.
Temperance Flowerdew West (1590 - 1628)*
Elizabeth Yeardley Croshaw (1614 - 1660)*
Argoll Yeardley (1618 - 1655)*
Francis Yeardley (1623 - 1655)*
Jamestown Church Cemetery
James City County
Created by: Gen🌹Sher
Record added: Sep 30, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 42557848