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Some interesting information on Col. Thomas Pate of colonial Gloucester Coun
Posted by: A.J. Pate (ID *****6947) Date: September 22, 2009 at 12:45:30
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In my continuing quest to link Pate families in colonial Virginia to Pate families in England, I recently came across some interesting new information on Col. Thomas Pate which I had not known previously.

We are all aware of the British custom of naming their homes and manors, and that tradition was continued by many colonists in Virginia. I had always wondered what name was given to the home, and perhaps plantation, of Col. Thomas Pate in Gloucester County. I have found that his home was named Gloucester Hall. When the newly-appointed Royal Governor of Virginia, Baron Francis Howard, arrived in February 1684, he made his permanent residence at Gloucester Hall for much of his stay in Virginia. "For much of his stay in Virginia, [Howard of Effingham] lived at Pate's home, known as Gloucester Hall, on the banks of Poropotank Creek." Ref.: "The Papers of Francis Howard, Baron Howard of Effingham, 1643-1695", p. 78, edited by Warren M. Billings, Virginia State Library, 1989.

I had known that Gov. Howard had initially made his residence in Gloucester Hall, but was unaware of the extent of his stay. In a very strange twist of fate, it was necessary for Gov. Howard to seek residence because the governor's mansion in Jamestown had been severely damaged during Bacon's Rebellion. And Gloucester Hall was the very same home where Nathaniel Bacon, leader of the rebellion, had died in 1676! It was through the friendship of Gov. Howard with Thomas' father, Edward Pate, a London merchant, that arrangements were made for his stay in Thomas' home.

Then fate took even a stranger twist in August 1685, when the wife of Gov. Howard, Lady Philadelphia Pelham Howard, died at only age 30 in Gloucester Hall. The leader of Bacon's Rebellion against the royal governor of Virginia, died in Gloucester Hall, and, only nine years later, the wife of a newly-appointed royal governor, Lady Philadelphia, died in that same house! Ref.: Ibid., p. 229.

I also learned in letters from Howard to his wife, before her arrival in Virginia, that Thomas had a serious romantic interest in Jane Sewell Calvert, a young widow, married only one year, with no children. To quote an April 1684 letter (original spelling): "Since my last to you Col. Pates hath informed me of some Intentions, and thoughts he hath of marrying. If he doe she is a very fine woman, and great fortune 3000 [British pounds], My Lord Baltemore Ladys daughter, the Chancellors of Marylands widow but 20 years old never a child. He had some discourse with her and Lord, and Lady Baltemore when he was there the last weeke, had great Encourangement from them all." Ref.: Ibid., p. 77. As we know, this marriage never happened unfortunately, because he later married an Elizabeth (surname unknown) of Gloucester County, which as we also know was not a happy union. Interestingly, Gov. Howard never writes of this marriage which could indicate that he was not too impressed by its lack of felicity nor with her.

If interested in colonial Virginia, especially during the life and times of Thomas Pate, I highly recommend the above-referenced book and also "Virginia's Viceroy, Their Majesties' Governor General, Francis Howard, Baron Howard of Effingham", by Warren M. Billings, George Mason University Press, 1991. Dr. Billings has written several other books on colonial Virginia and appears to be one of the leading historians on that subject.

I would like to hear from anyone who has documentation proving that they are descendants of Col. Thomas Pate.

A. J. Pate


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