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Godfrey, Francis

by Mattie Erma E. Parker, 1986

d. October or November 1675

Francis Godfrey, Council member, was in the North Carolina colony, then called Albemarle, by 21 Apr. 1669. At that time he was a member of the Albemarle Council, an office that he held at least through 1670. In the latter year he was Proprietor's deputy for Sir Peter Colleton. He may have been the Francis Godfrey who was graduated from Peterhouse, Cambridge University, in 1629. His business connections and other circumstances suggest that he may have come to Albemarle from Barbados. There is no firm evidence, however, on any aspect of Godfrey's life before he settled in Albemarle.

Godfrey lived in Perquimans Precinct, where he owned at least 1,400 acres of land. He operated a public house or inn, at which the Council met and held court in 1673. He also conducted a mercantile business, serving as factor for a Barbados merchant, John Swinsted. He and his wife, Joane, had three children who lived to adulthood: Frances, William, and John. At his death, Godfrey left a substantial estate in addition to his land. His will, dated 20 Oct. 1675, was probated on 5 November.

His widow, Joane, married William Therill in December 1676. She died the following February, leaving Godfrey's estate, of which she was executrix, unsettled because of disorders then afflicting the colony. In March 1680/81, when settled government had been restored, Godfrey's will was again probated and Therill was appointed administrator.

Frances Godfrey, the only daughter of Francis and Joane, married Thomas Hawkins. The couple had two children: John (b. 18 Feb. 1671/72) and Mary (b. 13 Jan. 1674/75). Both Frances and her husband died before October 1675. Their children were made the wards of William Therill after the death of their grandmother, Joane.

William Godfrey, the elder son of Francis and Joane, was born about 1658. He was married twice and had five children: two daughters, Frances and Mary, and three sons, John, Francis, and Thomas. Two of his children, John and Frances, may have been born to his first wife, Jane, who is named as their mother in some records although in others his second wife, Sarah, is named as their mother.

John Godfrey, the younger son of Francis and Joane, was born on 17 Aug. 1665. He married Elizabeth Bagster, widow of Nathaniel Bagster, on 19 Feb. 1685/86. John and Elizabeth had only one child, Elizabeth, who died when she was about thirteen. John Godfrey died on 29 Oct. 1697. His widow married John Hecklefield.


J. Bryan Grimes, ed., Abstracts of North Carolina Wills (1910).

J. R. B. Hathaway, ed., North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, 3 vols. (1900–1903).

Mattie Erma E. Parker, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, Higher-Court Records, 1670–1696, vol. 2 (1968), and 1697–1701, vol. 3 (1971).

William S. Powell, ed., Ye Countie of Albemarle in Carolina (1958).

William S. Price, Jr., ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, Higher-Court Records, 1702–1708, vol. 4 (1974).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1886).

Unpublished sources, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh: Albemarle Book of Warrants and Surveys, 1681–1706.

Council Minutes, Wills, Inventories, 1677–1701.

Perquimans Births, Marriages, Deaths, and Flesh Marks, 1659–1739.

Perquimans Precinct Court Minutes, 1688–93, 1698–1706.

Will of Francis Godfrey.

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