Thomas Savage the Carpenter
Ensign Thomas Savage
Their relationship with
Pocahontas and Powhatan
R. Blair Savage
Ribbed mussels, known as tshecomah, were abundant in the brackish estuarine marshes around Jamestown. It appears
that rawrenock (mussel shell beads) were made by Indian women living and working at James Fort. Beads were
symbolic items to exchange in a Powhatan marriage ceremony. Is this evidence that the Powhatan formally recognized
the unions of English men and Algonquian women? https://historicjamestowne.org/selected-artifacts/mussel-shell-beads/
information posted on the Internet. Before using any information found on-line one should make sure it
is documented. In my own searching, of this most valuable medium, I have found scores of postings
relating to the lives of Ensign Thomas Savage and Thomas Savage the Carpenter which are highly
questionable and many that are just plain wrong. After twenty-four years of searching, I have found no
person, or source, on the Internet or anywhere else, who cites an actual record which identifies the
parents of Ensign Thomas Savage, or the location in England from where he came. If anyone has such
hard evidence I would sincerely appreciate your sharing it with those of us who have spent many years in
search of it.
SAVAGE DNA PROJECT
I have had my DNA typed and posted on the Savage DNA
project web site.
If you are interested in comparing your DNA to mine
or would like me to put you in touch with our Project
Administrator, my contact information is near the bottom
of this page.
The 1624/25 muster (census) listed a 12 year old boy, identified as Thomas Belson, in the home of Ensign Thomas Savage and his wife,
Ann, later called, Hannah.
I believe this boy was Thomas Savage the Carpenter. While common thought is that Belson was a surname, I believe that it was a family
name and was used to differentiate him from his father.
The reported age of 12 is probably incorrect. Anyone who has ever examined old census records knows they were notorious for having
gross errors on ages. Young Thomas may have been closer to 9 or 10.
Many of these old records were hand copied and re-copied several times and there were many, many, errors. I have a dozen different ages
recorded for my great-grandfather, Nelson Savage and that was in the 1800's. There may have been a misunderstanding on the part of the
census taker as regards the boy’s name and his age. Perhaps the person giving the information named the boy's mother when answering;
"xxxxxxx's son". Perhaps the copyist had difficulty with the name when the muster taker's notes were transferred. Like my own name, it
may have been a middle name to differentiate him from his father. It would be like my father, Russell, telling the census taker that I
was Russell Blair. It has been reported that before the American Revolution the English rarely used middle names. This opinion is based
on what's found in surviving records which, in most cases were formal, or legal documents. There is no reason to believe that families did
not have pet names applied to certain children, particularly when they had the same given name as the father. My Grandfather, Milton
Jackson Savage appears in records as either, Milton Savage or Jack Savage, but never as, Milton Jackson Savage.
Perhaps Ensign Savage preferred his Indian wife to have an English name. Isabel was a common English name at the time and could have
been shortened to, Belle. The census taker may have been told by Ann Savage that the boy was Belle's son. The Latin meaning of the
name Belle is, beautiful, or fair. There is little doubt that an important Powhatan Chief's daughter, given to Ensign Savage, would have
had special qualities.
In the Jamestown Muster Rolls of 1624/5 Belson is listed as a servant of Ensign Thomas Savage. It was not unique to this boy
to be listed as a servant when he may have actually been the Ensign's son. In the muster of William Gany (wife Anna), their daughter,
also named, Anna is listed as a servant and as being born in Virginia. William arrived Virginia in 1616 and Mrs. Gany arrived in 1620, so
young Anna would have been no more than five to six years of age; quite young to be a servant! Another instance of this may be in the
muster of Captain Samuell Mathews who arrived in 1622. Among his other servants there is listed a Robert Mathews, age 24.
Any number of reasons could account for Belson having been listed as a servant. As mentioned above, the old records are rife with errors.
Did the census taker mistaken him for a servant because he appeared to be Native American? I have not been able to locate another
person with the name, Belson during these early years of the colony.
Of the 51 Eastern Shore people appearing in the census of 1624/25, this young boy is the only individual who is not identified by either;
“born in Virginia” or by the giving of a date of arrival and the name of the ship on which he arrived.
Of those 51 people: Forty-eight are identified by ship and date of arrival. Two are identified as being “born in Virginia”. Only one, the so-
called, Thomas Belson, has no date of arrival, ship name, or “born in Virginia” label. To illustrate this I include here an excerpt from the
muster listing those residents of the Eastern Shore. This is a copy from page 11 of THE EASTERN SHORE of VIRGINIA 1603-1964 by
Nora Miller Turman and appears alphabetically instead of in the original order. I have a complete copy of the actual 1624/25 muster, so I
am certain of the accuracy of what I include here:
William Andrews, age 25, in the Treasurer, 1617
John Askume, age 22, in the Charles, 1624
John Baker, age 20, in the Ann, 1623
Thomas Belson, age 12
William Bibble, age 22, in the Swan, 1620
James Blackborne, age 20, in the Sampson, 1619
Margaret Hodgskins, born in Virginia
It is documented that an
Ann/Hannah was a wife of Ensign
Thomas Savage and that they had at
least one child, John Savage, later
called Capt. John Savage. I believe
that Ann/Hannah was the Ensign's
second wife and the step-mother of
the so called "Belson" boy. I am
convinced this boy was actually
Thomas Savage the Carpenter, the
son of the Ensign and a native girl
But, this is a theory and is yet to
SAVAGE IS MY NAME
After spending many years tracing my
line to Thomas Savage the Carpenter,
in 1995 I published a book covering
the thirteen generations from he to my
grand-children. The book is entitled;
SAVAGE IS MY NAME
A History of Thirteen Generations
Savage Family in America
Who was the father of Thomas Savage the Carpenter?
This question is vigorously explored in my book;
Savage Is My Name - Part II
A Study of the lives and Relationship of
Thomas Savage the Carpenter
Ensign Thomas Savage
Virginia's Eastern Shore
1607 - 1655
Robinson T. Savage and many of his descendants are told about in Evelyn Guard Olsen's book, Indian
Blood, a brilliant narrative about life in the Blooming Rose area of Garrett County during the 1800's.
Stephen Schlosnagle's bicentennial history of Garrett County contains numerous references to our
Savage ancestors. The book, Garrett County Graves would be several pages thinner had Robinson not
planted his roots where he did.
Robinson T. Savage was the first school teacher in Western Maryland. He was a friend
and neighbor of Meshack Browning. Meshack was a famous pioneer hunter and
outdoorsman. His flintlock rifle rests in the Smithsonian. In Meshack's book, Forty-
four Years of The Life of A Hunter, a tome about his many exploits, he tells about he
and Robinson being together in the War of 1812. They volunteered, were appointed
sergeants and marched off to Baltimore.
|Thomas The Carpenter had at least two sons; Thomas and John.
A century after he was active on the
Thomas The Carpenter was
referred to, in court records as;
Thomas Savage The Elder.
Additions and corrections to the information
contained herein are welcome.
I may be contacted at:
R. Blair Savage
6622 Garde Rd.,
Boynton Beach, FL 33472
to prevent copying by internet phishing.
To use, please remove the blue x.
This web site went on-line in
July of 2005.
I will continue to add any information that I may
Thomas Savage the Carpenter
Ensign Thomas Savage.
As I hear from new "Cuzzins" I also add to the
several thousand names on the
Robinson T. Savage
|Thomas Savage the Carpenter had many craftsmen and laborers working his shops and plantation. Some of them were slaves,
some were indentured servants and undoubtedly some were freemen.
1. Make available information on the continuing effort to prove the relationship of Thomas Savage the Carpenter, who first appears in Colonial Virginia
records in 1632, and Ensign Thomas Savage who arrived in 1607/08 with the "First Supply" to Jamestown - and to determine their family histories.
2. Provide assistance to those who believe they may be descended from these two adventurers.
A colonial cooper needed skills, intelligence, and strength. They made casks and
containers of many specific sizes which included the barrel, firkin, kilderkin, hogshead,
butt, tierce, puncheon, rundlet and pipe. They also made pails, churns, tubs, and
dippers. These were made of cedar and pine, and were used to hold goods like flour,
tobacco, and water. Coopers used broad axes, planes, drawknives, and other tools to
make these items.
A carpenter was perhaps the most useful colonial tradesman. The carpenter used many
different tools, including the saw, broad axe, hammer, awl, mallet, plane, scribe,
drawknife, gimlet, and froe.
Carpenters built with, oak, locust, tulip, poplar, yellow pine, cypress and juniper.
|Last update on this page:
Please click on the "Arms"
button in the navigation bar
for information on the
Savage Coat of Arms
A great, great, grand-son of Thomas Savage was
Robinson T. Savage
Court documents tell us Thomas Savage the
Carpenter built houses and boats. It's
reported that a Shallop was typical of the
kind of boats built by his crew.
|Savage Ancestry - Savage History - Savage Genealogy - Savage Family - Savage Lore - Savage Legend - Savage Traces - Savage Honor - Savage Women - Savage Roots - Savage Lineage - Savage Adventure - Savage Pioneers -
Savage Hero's - Savage Men - Savage Arms - Savage Ancestry - Savage History - Savage Genealogy - Savage Family - Savage Lore - Savage Legend - Savage Traces - Savage Honor - Savage Ancestry - Savage History -
Savage Genealogy - Savage Family - Savage Lore - Savage Legend - Savage Traces - Savage Honor - Savage Women - Savage Roots - Savage Lineage - Savage Adventure - Savage Pioneers
|Jamestown Plaque dedicated
to Ensign Thomas Savage
|THOMAS SAVAGE GENTLEMAN AND ENSIGN
THE FIRST WHITE SETTLEMENT ON THE EASTERN SHORE OF VIRGINIA
HOSTAGE TO POWHATAN 1508, HIS LOYALTY AND
FEARLESSNESS ENDEARED HIM TO THE GREAT KING WHO TREATED HIM AS HIS
SON WHILE HE RENDERED INVALUABLE AID TO THE COLONY AS INTERPRETER.
GREATLY LOVED BY DEBEDEAVON, THE LAUGHING KING OF THE ACCAWMACKES.
HE WAS GIVEN A TRACT OF 9000 ACRES OF LAND
KNOWN AS SAVAGE'S NECK.
HE OBTAINED FOOD FOR THE STARVING COLONY AT JAMESTOWN THROUGH HIS
FRIENDSHIP WITH THE KINDLY EASTERN SHORE INDIANS.
A RELATION OF HIS VOYAGES ON THE GREAT BAY IN SEARCH OF THE TRADE FOR
THE ENGLISH WAS READ BEFORE THE LONDON COMPANY AT A COURT HELD
JULY 19TH 1621.
JOHN PORY, SECRETARY OF THE COLONY SAYS, "HE WITH MUCH HONESTIE
AND GOOD SUCCESSES, SERVED THE PUBLIQUE WITHOUT ANY PUBLIQUE
RECOMPENSE, YET HAD AN ARROW SHOT THROUGH HIS BODY IN THEIR
17th-century European engraving depicts Powhatan receiving Ralph Hamor, secretary of the Virginia colony
and interpreter Thomas Savage in 1614 at the chief’s new capital of Matchcot on the Pamunkey River.
Hamor relates: I had Thomas Salvage with me, for my interpreter; with him and two Salvages, for guides; I
went from the Bermuda in the morning, and came to Matchot the next night, where the King (Powhatan) lay
upon the River of Pamaunke; his entertainment was strange to me, the boy (Thomas Savage) he knew well
and told him; My child, I gave you leave, being my boy, to goe see your friends, and these foure yeares I
have not seene you, nor heard of my owne man Namontack.
|Ensign Thomas Savage was an"adopted son" to Powhatan and "brother"
to Pocahontas and lived in everyday association with them for three years.
painting of the
John Rolfe is said
to include Ensign
The following law seems to imply that
consensual sex with an Indian was allowed:
The Library of Congress: For The Colony in Virginea
Lavves Diuine, Morall and Martiall .. Printed at London
Walter Burre. 1612.
Books I have in print may be
viewed on the link; My Books
|Here are some links to genealogy on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
Ensign Thomas Savage
In 1607, thirteen years before the Mayflower landed, an ex-privateer who had lost a hand by a
Spanish sword, commanded a fleet of three English ships crossing the Atlantic.
Their destination; Virginia. Their aim; to create a settlement on a river above the mighty Chesapeake. Against all odds,
that settlement called, Jamestown, survived and was the beginning of what would become the United States of America.
The ex-privateer was Captain Christopher Newport and he had on board a boy by the name of Thomas Savage.
Newport gave the boy, as a hostage, to the great Chief Powhatan in exchange for an Indian named Namontack. Newport's
purpose was two-fold, to help insure friendship with the powerful Powhatan and to have Savage learn his language. John
Smith, present at the exchange, tells us Savage was thirteen years of age. Thomas Savage remained with Powhatan for
three years and was an interpreter for the English Colony for the remainder of his life. He became known as, Ensign
Thomas Savage. Had it not been for the influence that Savage had with the Indians, and the generous heart of Pocahontas,
the Jamestown Colony would probably not have survived. In 1619 Ensign Savage settled in Accomack as the first white
settler on the Eastern Shore. The Ensign is said to have given us the oldest continuing family name in America.
Thank you for visiting my web site. Please check for updates periodically.
The Savages intermarried with the Friends, Fikes,
Casteels and many other pioneer families of
Garrett County, Maryland, Preston County, West
Virginia to the west and Fayette County,
Pennsylvania to the north.
All material on this site, other than that which is cited from other sources, is protected through Copyright and is made available for private use only.
Any commercial use or for-profit publication in any form is forbidden without the written consent of R. Blair Savage at 6622 Garde Rd., Boynton Beach, FL 33472
|For those who regularly follow
this page, I will continue to
update it as I find new
information. For those who
visit here for the first time,
additional documentation of
this search is available in the
two books featured below.
Interpreters Take Native Wives
Henry Spelman and Robert Poole were two Englishmen who were also hostaged to the Powhatan Indians
and later became interpreters the same as Ensign Thomas Savage. They were contemporaries of the Ensign
and the three knew each other well.
According to the source cited below, He (Spelman) was survived by his Patawomeck spouse "Martha Fox," a
child named Clement Spelman, his father Sir Henry Spelman, his brothers Thomas Spelman of Kecoughtan,
Virginia, John Spelman, and Francis Spelman of Truro, Cornwall, England.
From The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Virginia Historical Society, Contributor Philip
Alexander Bruce, William Glover Stanard, Published 1893, Virginia Historical Society p. 17
Spelman went back to England in 1613, and made several other trips, but returned to Virginia each time to
continue to serve as an interpreter, and eventually rising to the rank of Captain. During this time he married
a Patawomeck Indian woman who is believed to have been given the English name "Martha Fox."
(According to traditions passed on to Henry Spellman's descendents, - his native wife was a sister of
Pocahontas, and daughter of Powhatan.) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Poole's spouse was unknown, but the wife of his son, William John Poole, was an unnamed
American Indian woman. Rev. Stephen E. Harris, The Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and
In John Rolfe’s 1619 letter to Edwin Sandys he makes references that imply that Robert Poole lived among
the Indians. He even stated; “Poole being even turned heathen.” It's therefore obvious to me that Poole
would have had an Indian bed-mate.
In the Proceedings of the Virginia Assembly at James City July 30 – August 4, 1619, after Henry Spelman is
read his sentence, an Assembly member stated; "This sentence being read to Spelman he, as one that had in
him more of the Savage than of the Christian"
As explained at length in my book, SAVAGE IS MY NAME - PART II, it was routinely common for traders
and other white men important to the American and Canadian Indians to be given young native girls as
wives, or bed-mates. The Ensign was a trader - and interpreters were certainly important to the Indians. If
Spelman, Poole and Poole's son took Indian wives, it certainly would have made good business sense for the
Ensign to do the same.
My book, SAVAGE IS MY NAME - PART II, contains
it was, in fact, common for them to do so. As I find new evidence, I will report it here. New additions to
this site will be temporarily in blue print to indicate a new entry. Owners of SAVAGE IS MY NAME - PART II,
may copy, print and insert any part of this site in your copy of the book.
A quote from the pen of J.C. Wise:
"These old carpenters and ship-builders
seem to have been
constantly occupied and prosperous".
Dedicated to Thomas Savage "The Carpenter" and Ensign
Thomas Savage of Virginia's Eastern Shore during the first
successful English colonization of America; Jamestown.
Covering the period from 1607 to 1655
The 1990 Census records
49,740 individuals in the
United States with the
surname of, Savage.
The name ranks number
582 with Smith being number
1 at 2,501,922.
Total - 48367
Rank - 640
Balance - Other
|John Smith knew Ensign
Thomas Savage quite well.
The line from Thomas Savage the Carpenter to me:
01. Thomas Savage1 ? - 1654-55
02. Thomas Savage2 1646 - 1721
03. Robinson Savage1 1699 - 1774
04. Robinson Savage2 ? - 1786
05. Robinson T. Savage abt 1774 - 1830's (See link)
06. Evan Savage 1797 - after 1849
07. Robert Savage 1819 - 1895
08. Nelson E. Savage abt 1838 - 1916
09. Milton Jackson Savage 1880 - 1960
10. Russell Milton Savage 1901 - 1986
11. Russell Blair Savage 1934 – (That's me!)
grand-father. Born on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Robinson was relocated with his family to Sussex County, Delaware in
1779 when just a small boy. Between 1787 and 1793 his father died and left Robinson his 250 acre plantation, which the young
man sold and traveled to beautiful Western Maryland where he settled for life.
The book; WE ARE THE SAVAGES by Jacob Cochran Savage is probably flawed.
compare my DNA with such a gentleman. There are living male descendants of Jacob C. Savage, but I regret to suggest that
J. C. Savage himself did not have a direct line of descent from Ensign Thomas Savage.
Several years ago when I read this book it appeared to me to not be adequately proven, so I went out to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and met with three
very qualified genealogists, one of which has been consulted by the Smithsonian. I left a copy of J.C.
Savages book with Dr. Miles Barnes, Head Librarian at the Accomack County Library. Dr. Barnes copied the book and it was studied closely by the folks
I reference above. They all agree there is no proof of the connection, cited in the book, between the John Savage of Northampton County and the John
Savage of Augusta County. There appears to be proof that the John Savage of Northampton stayed and died on the Eastern Shore. That breaks the blood
line for Jacob Cochran Savage. It is more likely that the John Savage who died in 1784 and married Delitha Ward was from Thomas the Carpenter's line.
Following are excerpts from correspondence between myself and the genealogists mentioned above;
“As I have related to you, Mrs. [Nora] Turman, you and I (independent of each other) agree on the descendants of John
Savage d. 1749 and we both disagree with the work of Jacob C. Savage at the level where a John Savage appears in Augusta Co. Blair had told us
that documentation was lacking in that work and it certainly is at that step. If we are correct then the Jacob Savage line to Ensign Thomas
Savage is flawed and I feel in a small way this even lends support to the theory of the Thomas Savage lines converging.” “I see no proof in the
book that this John Savage was from Northampton County. Seems like if that had been the case, Mr. Dorman would have found that.”
“I do think, at this point, that the John Savage who died in 1784 and married Delitha Ward was from the Occahonnock Savages
(Thomas the Carpenter's line).”
BOTTOM LINE; IF MY THEORY THAT THOMAS SAVAGE THE CARPENTER WAS THE SON
OF ENSIGN THOMAS, THEN J. C. SAVAGE WOULD, IN FACT, BE A DESCENDANT OF THE ENSIGN.
Anyone interested in this issue may reach me at the email address shown below and I would be happy to
forward all the communications from which these excerpts are taken.
Words of Chief Robert P, Green of the Patawomeck Tribe of Stafford,
April 20, 2004 interview with the Stafford Historical Society.
"We have a lot of interpreters I think that married into our tribe. A lot of the
interpreter's surnames show up in our family names, like the name Cox. The
families that were in Virginia before 1700 tended to inter-marry a lot. There weren't
a lot of English women around. And who did the English kill? The Indian men, not
the women. So there were a lot of Indian women and few Indian men for them to
marry. So, it made sense that these interpreters married these Indian women since
they spent most of their time with the Indian tribes anyway. So, when you talk
about blood quantum, I have no idea what my blood quantum is. When somebody
tells me they're pure Indian, I doubt that there are any pure Indians in this part of
the country. The Spanish went into the southwest, and then the settlers. The
trappers in the north either raped the Indian women or married into those tribes.
To me, blood quantum doesn't really matter. Its like an older Elder that Mitchell
Bush once introduced me to said, "I know white men that are more Indian than
some Indians I know. It's what's in your heart and not necessarily what's in your
blood that matters. Your heart tells you whether you are an Indian or not. Do you
love and respect Mother Earth?""
It's been claimed that
Savage is the oldest
continuing name in
America. Can anyone prove
otherwise? Is there anyone
living who is descended
from a person who arrived
before Ensign Thomas
Savage in 1607/08?
Is there a living male who
has proven his Savage line
to the Ensign? We have yet
to find one who will agree
to have his DNA tested!
Sir Thomas Dale says to Rolfe and Pocahontas: "Since we English and the red beauties will get to marrying, there need be no
more war, but blessed peace. Know you what is writ in this letter, my Lady Princess? I see thou dost, by thy roses. Master Rolfe
would marry thee - hath doubtless read thee this billetd
|Captain John Martin credits Ensign Thomas Savage with saving the colony through his relationships with the Accomack
Indians on the Eastern Shore.
ffirst I haue not onely reaped the benefitt, but all the whole Collonye since; whoe had perished had it not bene discouered
before Sr George Yardley came in by my Aunchient Thomas Savage & servants, besides necessities hath made those
Savages more industrious then any other Indians in or Baye] By Captain John Martin:
Shallops of the time were described
"of twenty-six feet by the keel with
masts, oars and yards".
"of four tons".
"a sloop rigged craft of about twelve
tons". (Capt. John Smith's shallop
with which he explored the bay area)
"Tons" refers to the weight of water
displaced by the craft, not the weight
of the craft itself.
Much information on our Savages may be found on the expansive genealogy work of M. K. Miles on the Miles Files.
| The Governor wants an Indian bride!
accompanying Ralph Hamor to meet Powhatan on a mission for the governor, Thomas Dale, in which
another daughter of Powhatan was being sought as a bride for Dale. This mission was unsuccessful as
Powhatan refused to give up another daughter.
An Indian Song
The Indians had their love songs, which they sang with
some idea of tune, and they had also their angry and scornful
songs against the Tassantassees, as they called the English,
one of which is given by Strachey. It celebrates an attack
upon the English at the Falls of the James River in 1610,
when Lord Delaware sent an expedition from Jamestown to
search the country above the Falls for gold mines. In this
attack Lord Delaware's nephew, Captain William West, was
killed and Simon Skore, a sailor, and one Cobb, a boy, were
taken prisoners. The song was as follows:
(In this song, Thomas Savage is called Thomas Newport. When Captain
Christopher Newport gave Savage to Powhatan he told him that the boy
was his (Newport's) son.)
Matanerew shashashewaw erawango pechecoma
Whe Tassantassa inoshashaw yehockan pocosack.
Whe whe yah haha nehe wittowa wittowa.
Matanerew shashashewaw erawango pechecoma
Capt. Newport inoshashaw neir inhoc natian matassan.
Whe whe yah haha nehe wittowa wittowa.
Matanerew shashashewaw erawango pechecoma
Thom Newport inoshashaw neir inhoc natian monacock.
Whe whe yali haha nehe wittowa wittowa.
Matanerew shashashewaw erawango pechecoma
Pochin Simon inoshashaw ningon natian monacock.
Whe whe yah haha nehe wittowa wittowa.
The words of the song boasted that the Indians had killed
the English in spite of their guns (pocosack) and copper
(matassun), meaning the copper crown which Captain New-
port had presented to Powhatan (hoping thereby to secure his
friendship); that Thomas Newport (that is, Thomas Savage,
whom Captain Newport had given to Powhatan, calling him
his son) had not frightened them with his sword (monacock) ;
and neither had Simon Skore's weapon saved him from
capture. The zvhe whe of the chorus made mock lamentation
over the death of Simon Skore, whom they tortured ; and the
words yah Jiaha ncJie zvittozva zvittoiua conveyed a jeering,
laughing commentary upon the English lack of fortitude
William Strachey. Travaile into Virginia, 79, 80.
evidence of the value of intermarriage: "for it is the onely course that uniting minds, free from jealousies, can first make strangers confide in a new friendship, which
by communicating their bloud with mutuall assurance is left hereditary to their posteritie."
An Encouragement to Colonies. Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, London, 1624.
Until at least 1618, and possibly until as late as the Indian strike on English settlements in 1622, Powhatan and his successor, brother Opechancanough, still held out
some hope of dealing with the English intruders through intermarriage and diplomacy.
Women in Early Jamestown - Kathleen M. Brown, Associate Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
Another source indicating that Henry Spelman had a Native American wife:
1 Henry Spilman b: 1595 Norfolk, Eng d: 1623 in of Jamestown Colony, VA, USA (killed by Indians)
.... +Mary (Native American Patawomeck) Fox b USA
....... 2 Clement Spilman b: Abt. 1620 d: 1677 in Westmoreland Co, VA
............. +Martha Mason b: Abt. 1619 in VA d: Abt. 1680 in Westmoreland Co, VA m: 1640 in VA
................. 3 James Spelman b: abt 1653 Westmoreland Co,VA d: Abt. 1715Westmoreland Co,VA
....................... +Mary Unknown b: c 1657 Westmoreland Co,VA d: ~1717Westmoreland Co, VA m: Abt. 1677 Westmoreland Co,VA
.......................... 4 Thomas Spelman b: 1680 Washington, Westmoreland Co. Va. d: Abt. 1740 Washington Parish, VA
................................ +Ann Unknown
-------------------------------- Etc., etc.......................
SPILMAN FAMILY ABROAD - Descendants of Henry SPILMAN - Editor: Lori (Spilman) Dollevoet - http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~spilman/Index.htm
Posted on several genealogy web sites are various family trees where the authors claim to be descended from Matachanna, daughter of Wahunsanawcock and
sister of Pocahontas. Matachanna was also known as, Cleopatra, a name given to her by the English. The following record is typical of those so posted. Most
all indicate that the daughter of Matachanna had a daughter who married a Scottish trader. I include this here as simply another reference which, if true,
indicates that it was not at all uncommon for colonial traders to marry an Algonquin native.
The youngest daughter of Chief Powhatan [17 years junior to Pochontas} was given the name Cleopatra by her brother-in-law, John Rolfe, the husband of
Pochontas. Cleopatra married Cayugha Chief Opechancanough. They had two children, a son, Cornstalk, and a daughter, Princess Nicketti: "Beautiful Flower"
or "She Sweeps The Dew From The Flowers." Nicketti married a Scottish trader named Hughes, and had a daughter, Abadiah Elizabeth Hughes.
Dec. 17th, 1641 -- Thomas Rolfe petitions the governor to let him see Opechankeno to whom he is allied, and Cleopatra, his mother's sister."
From the Powhatan Museum web site: One could interpret this marriage as the beginning of the whitening process of the indigenous people of Virginia, which
continues unabated today. Technically, Pocahontas was not the first Virginia Indian to engage in miscegenation with whites. There had been a number of non-
recognized liaisons between the English and Virginia Indians since 1607.
Excerpt from a 2002 undergraduate thesis by Kiros Anthony Boston Auld. (Auld is a Pamunkey, Tauxenent and Taino descendant.)
Intermarriage had been indeed the Method proposed very often by the Indians in the Beginning, urging it frequently as a certain Rule, that the English were
not their Friends, if they refused it. The History and Present State of Virginia by Robert Beverly
By 1609, Powhatan realized that the English intended to stay. Moreover, he was disappointed that the English did not return his hospitality nor would they
marry Indian women (an affront from the Native perspective).
The Library of Congress, Colonial Settlement, 1600's - 1763, Virginia's Early Relations with Native Americans
So here is another source that supports my believe that the Powhatan Chiefdom would offer a daughter in marriage to an influential colonial interpreter,
diplomat and trader. The English may have been reluctant to intermarry in 1609, but certainly by the time Ensign Thomas Savage was of marrying age and
was actively trying to develop good trading relations with the Powhatan, and maintain the peace for both the welfare of the colony and his own trading
business, he would have been utterly foolish to not accept a daughter of an important Chief. And of those offering daughters, which father would be
Savage's wisest choice? Probably Wahunsanawcock himself. In 1614 Savage, having left Wahunsanawcock's home four years earlier to return to Jamestown,
re-established his warm relationship with the great Powhatan "King". What better way to gain an edge as both trader and diplomat than to marry a
Powhatan Princess. I call Savage a Diplomat. Was he? "When Capt. John Martin visited the Eastern Shore in April 1610, he found Thomas Savage already a
power among the red men" and "Savage became well established in the Indian councils." Just a couple of many recorded examples of Savage's importance
in the development of good relations between the Powhatan and the Colonists. So, I feel comfortable in calling him a Diplomat.
Was Ensign Thomas Savage offered daughters of important Powhatan Chiefs, as wives or bed-mates? I find it very difficult to believe otherwise.
One might ask; but did he accept? Of course he would have, if not by marriage then certainly as a bed-mate. Would he have fathered a child by
one of these women. My opinion is that it probably happened more than once. Again, this is my theory based on the evidence, but it is not yet
proven by an actual document from the period.!
|Anas Todkill, recorder of John
Smith's adventures, is portrayed
by Willie Balderson, Colonial
Williamsburg's manager of public
you must visit the web site of Bill and Laurel Savage. Their
farm is on the Eastern Shore of Virginia near where Ensign
Thomas Savage and Thomas Savage the Carpenter were raising
Indian corn near 400 years ago. Bill and I are "Cuzzins" and
both descended from the Carpenter and related to the Ensign.
Thomas Savage, "The Carpenter"
A prominent figure in Northampton and Accomack Counties on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, he first appears, by name, in surviving records, in
1632 He is known to have been a builder of watercraft and homes and operated a cooperage to manufacture casks, barrels, kegs, buckets etc. At
his death, he owned at least two properties totaling 750 acres. It is documented that Ensign Savage and Savage the Carpenter were closely
related. Were they father and son?
The only known painting made during her lifetime.
It hangs in the National Portrait Gallery of the
Smithsonian, in Washington, D.C.
Posted on geni.com is a reference to one
Raleigh Croshaw, born 1584 in
Croshaw, Lancashire, England, died in
Elizabeth County, Virginia April 10,
Croshaw is reported to have had an
Indian wife, Rachel, "sister of
Powhatan"; and in another place,
"sister of Pocahontas". No
documentation though, so consider it
speculation until a source is cited.
Letter from the Marquess of Flores to Philip III, King of Spain. 8-1-1612
--- reported by a source that "some of the people who have gone there, think now some of them should marry the women of the savages of that country; and he tells me that
there are already 40 or 50 thus married." Also reported that the other Englishmen, after being put among them, have become savages themselves while the women, whom
they took out, also have gone among the savages where they have been received & treated well. A minister who admonished them was "seriously wounded in many places"
because "he reprehended them." The Genesis of The United States, Vol. II, pages 572 & 632, by Alexander Brown in 1890. Reproduction 2018 by WWW.ForgottenBooks.com.
Powhatan had died in 1618; his brother,
Opechancanough, had effectively inherited the
leadership of Tsenacomoco. Though
Opechancanough had been outwardly receptive to
talk of peace with the English and converting his
people to Christianity, he was planning an attack that
would devastate the English colony and, he hoped,
send them away permanently. One version of his plan
had involved poisoning the English using large
quantities of a deadly plant native to the Eastern
Shore, which he needed to obtain from Esmy
Shichans; in addition to refusing to send the plant, the
Indian leader alerted his friend Savage to
true intentions. Savage tried to warn English
authorities, including Jamestown's new governor, Sir
Francis Wyatt, but his message fell on deaf ears.
Wyatt had taken Opechancanough's promises of
peace at face value, writing to the Virginia Company
of London that the English enjoyed "very great
amytie and confidence w[i]th the natives." On March
22, 1622, Opechancanough led a swift and terrible
assault on outlying plantations that killed as many
as 347 colonists, or about one-fourth of the
English population in Virginia.
Encyclopedia Virginia: A project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
in partnership with the Library of Virginia
|Indian massacre of 1622, depicted as a
woodcut by Matthaeus Merian, 1628
Hannah (Ann) Savage; wife of Ensign Thomas Savage
Hannah has for years been mistakenly identified as Hannah Tyng of Boston. This error has been repeated over and over. Moody K. Miles, a trusted genealogist
who I know personally, and who has done important work for, among others, the Smithsonian, tells us that Hannah's surname was Elkington.
She was listed as, Ann in the Muster of February 1624/25 at Eastern Shore, Virginia in the home of Ensign Thomas Savage. In later years she is known from court
documents as, Hannah. The muster tells us she came to Virginia in 1621 on the Sea Flower. There is record of Hannah being the mother of at least two children;
Captain John Savage, son of Ensign Thomas, and Margaret "Margery" Cugley, daughter of Hannah's second husband, Daniel Cugley to whom she was married
after the death of Ensign Thomas. In later years, after Hannah's death, Margery was cared for by her half-brother, Captain John Savage.
For more information on this subject click on The Miles Files link above.
An Important DNA Match
In 2010 we discovered that a Mr. Savage (given name withheld)
who lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, within the bounds of
the 9000 acre tract that was owned by Ensign Thomas Savage,
has a close match to my own Y-DNA profile.
Mr. Savage and I both have documented lines to Thomas Savage
the Carpenter. The fact that Mr. Savage lives today within the
Ensign’s original tract does not necessarily mean that he’s
descended from the Ensign; I suspect a number of the
Carpenter’s descendants also live within those boundaries.
Mr. Savage and I have a genetic distance of, 2 and since we both
have documented lines to the Carpenter, this indicates that our
documentation is accurate and thereby the line is solidly proven.
If Thomas Savage the Carpenter were to be considered
Generation #1, then I am Generation #11 and am removed from
him by ten generations. This agrees with the Y-DNA standard
probability chart illustrated below.
Probability that a common ancestor lived no longer ago than this
number of generations.
Genetic Distance 50% 90% 95%
0 2 4 5
1 3 6 7
2 5 8 9
3 6 10 11
By 1691 intermarriage with Indian or Negro by the English had evidently become such a problem that the Virginia
Colony banned all such unions: And for prevention of that abominable mixture and spurious issue which
hereafter may encrease in this dominion as well by negroes, mulattoes, and Indians intermarrying with
English, or other white women, as by their unlawfull accompanying with one another, Be it enacted by the
authoritie aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That for the time to come, whatsoever English or other white
man or woman being free shall intermarry with a negroe, mulatto, or Indian man or woman bond or free
shall within three months after such marriage be banished and removed from this dominion forever.
An act for suppressing outlying Slaves,” Laws of 1691, act XVI, in Hening’s Statutes at Law
In 1705 that law was modified to leave out the reference to Indians.
Jamestown Colony intermarried with the Native Americans.
Thoughtfully considering all the information that I've included
here, to me it is clear that marriage, or co-habitation between
the English and the people of Powhatan's kingdom was
not at all uncommon during the early 1600's.
With the interpreters and traders I think it was
most necessary, if they were to be successful.
!!! News Flash !!!
Falmouth, Maine 3-25-2015
This just in: Our Grand Daughter, Nola, who is
also my Senior Research Analyst (pictured in
the photo to the right with her Assistant
Research Analyst, Sam) has evidently
uncovered some sort of evidence that proves
conclusively that Ensign Thomas Savage was
married to an Indian girl. Nola's preliminary
report is copied here. We believe that Nola
may have had some supernatural help with her
discovery, as she seems to be communicating
with an unknown entity. Also, the two of them
appear to be in some sort of ceremonial garb.
We anxiously await their full report.
It appears that Nola was excited when she
submitted her preliminary report, so we
include what we believe is an accurate
interpretation of her message.
|I am related to Pocahontas - it is true.
| To A More Recent Time
marriage of Elizabeth, her Christianized name, to John Bass. She was the king of
the Nansemond's daughter. The family still own or still has in its possession the
prayer book, which documents this marriage in 1638. Basically, that's where our
whole line today descends from, from John Bass."
Chief Barry "Big Buck" Bass - Nansemond Tribe May 21, 2004
Indians had to have a pass to travel. They couldn't testify in court against
whites. They couldn't inherit property at one time."
Oliver "Fish Hawk" Perry Chief Emeritus Nansemond 1987
To see a chart of some 4000 descendants of Robinson T. Savage
click on the Robinson T. Savage radio button at the top of this page.
My Library Relating to my Eastern Shore Savage Ancestry Search
(Some lengthy titles are abbreviated to fit one line and “The” may be omitted when preceding a title.)
(Recent additions in red)
The only source we have for the age of Ensign Thomas Savage is the writing of John Smith (or Anas Todkill) who wrote; "a boy of thirteen years old, called Thomas Savage, whom
he (Newport) gave him as his son". I believe Savage was older than 13. He was too influential with the Powhatans to have been only 15 when, in April of 1610 Captain John
Martin found "Thomas Savage already a power among the red men".
In 1610 there was an attack upon the English at the Falls of the James River when Lord Delaware sent an expedition from Jamestown to search the country above the Falls for gold
mines. In this attack Lord Delaware's nephew, Captain William West, was killed and Simon Skore, a sailor, and one Cobb, a boy, were taken prisoners. As a result of this fight the
Indians said in their song that Thomas Savage, “had not frightened them with his monacock (sword)”. Savage was obviously a man to be dealt with to have been wielding a sword
and surviving the attack. Fifteen years old? Perhaps older? Smith stated the age of Pocahontas as, "a child of tenne years old" in the spring of 1608. However, in a letter written by
him in 1616 he gave her age at that same meeting in 1608 as "a child of twelve or thirteen".
The competing cultures of the Powhatan and English settlers
were united through unions and marriages of members, of which
the most well known was that of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.
Their son Thomas Rolfe was the ancestor of many Virginians and
many of the First Families of Virginia have both English and
Virginia Indian ancestry. Wikipedia
THE BLACKWATER SHAFT
This book has nothing to do with
Thomas Savage, but I had some empty
space here and I told myself;
"Why not give my book a plug."
I talk to myself a lot. :)
These books are all available for sale
on Amazon. Click on the "My Books"
button in the Navigation Bar at the
top of this page.
I have been told, by a source which I trust, that Thomas Savage the Carpenter, because he was half Indian, was required to wear a
copper "badge", perhaps like the one to the right which was excavated at Jamestown. Please understand that this is NOT
DOCUMENTED, but if it is true, might such a "badge" be similar to the "pass" to which Fish Hawk Perry refers? (RBS)
In Alexander Brown's THE GENESIS OF THE UNITED
STATES, 1605-1616, Brown says of Ensign Thomas Savage,
on page 196; He left two sons, Thomas, who was alive in
1652, but seems to have died without issue, and a younger
We know that this Thomas who was alive in
1652 was, in fact, our Thomas Savage the Carpenter who
died in 1654/55 and he also had issue including two sons,
Thomas and John.
A similar statement appears in THE
DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY
by the Oxford University Press in London, pages 839-840. By
his wife, Anne he had two sons, Thomas and John besides
other children who died young.
|Badge for Pamunkey
"Why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us who
have provided you with food? What can you get by war?" Chief Powhatan Wahunsenaca, 1608
(Moquin and Doren 1973:111:
There's a fellow I know by the name of Scott Savage. We don't yet know if we're related, but we're working on finding
out. Scott has hit a temporary dead-end with his ancestor, Robert Savage in Mercer County, PA. Any help in that regard
would sure be welcome.
After retiring from the US Army, Scott started making knives. They are made completely by hand with great detail given
to the fit and finish of each blade. He makes the most beautiful and precision knives you're likely to come across.
It wouldn't make me a bit angry if you were to go to Scott's web site and take a look at his work. It's pure and functional
art; the kind you'd like to leave to your kids or grand-kids.
Just click here >>>> Black Earth Knives
may be interested in visiting the
Maryland State Park at Sang Run, Garrett Co. Maryland.
It contains information about our
Robinson T. Savage pioneer families.
This deeply historical area has a time-line to the mid 1700's
with original buildings and election house.
Picnic by the river, fish, hike, and enjoy our porch!
Discover Garrett County history and farm life at Friends
Delight farm. Artisan demonstrations, kids activities, gardens,
hayrides, hiking, dutch oven cooking demos, candle dipping.
The Park is open daily. Friends Store is closed during winter.
Friends Store and Farm, Sang Run State Park
3735 Sang Run Road. (4 miles past WISP resort) 301-387-7067
One may note in my Time Line link that after Ensign
Thomas met with Powhatan in 1614, there is no record of
him again until 1617. It's my belief that the 1614
re-acquaintance after four years of no contact between
the two, and with Powhatan greeting Thomas so warmly, it
was the beginning of the two men renewing their close
friendship. During the period between 1614 and 1618 when
Powhatan died, the age range of Thomas would have been
between roughly, 19 to 23. To me it is very likely that
during this time Powhatan would have offered Thomas one
of his daughters.
In February 2020 I received an email from a fellow
Savage researcher in England. His name is Hugh
Savage and he is a most prolific and trusted
genealogist of the Savage family in England. Hugh
has written at least 13 volumes on Savage families
in England and elsewhere. The research he has
done over the years is remarkable. To the right is
an example of his work, all of which is available on
amazon.com. It's certainly worth checking out.
In Hugh’s message to me he says this: “I agree
absolutely about Thomas the Belson boy, that he
could be a son by an Indian lady who might have
been given the name Belle or Isabelle or something
History of the Savage Family
The Ancient Savage Family
of England and Other Places
Hugh F. J. Savage
On March 31, 2021, the Yahoo - Aabaco Company, publisher of the software used
to build this site, will no longer support this software. This will prevent my ability to make
changes or additions. This site will continue on-line because I am the domain Owner,
Registrant contact and Administrative contact. However, in form it will remain static. It
was in July of 2005 that I put the site on line and for these many years have kept it up to
date with new finds. I am now 86 years old and it is my hope that a member of my family
will rebuild SAVAGE ANCESTRY with new software and continue to, as I have, provide
help to those interested in finding their Savage roots. I have been chasing down these
Savages for many years and it's time to pass the chase to a younger explorer. In the near
future I hope to have a new book finished and available on Amazon. It will be roughly
330 pages and be an expansion of this page plus material too broad to fit here. And,
perhaps portions of it may be a bit too controversial to put on-line.
R. Blair Savage 1-30-21.
Update: A family team will rebuild this site and maintain it for many years to come. I will
let them introduce themselves when the build is complete. The name of the site will not