Francis Dade (politician)

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Francis Dade
11th Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses
In office
Preceded by Francis Moryson
Succeeded by Edward Hill, Sr.
Personal details
Born Francis Dade
Died May 1, 1662
At sea
Spouse(s) Beheathland Bernard
Children Francis Dade II
Residence Westmoreland, Virginia, USA
Military service
Rank Major
Unit Militia of Westmoreland County, Virginia

Francis Dade (1621 – May 1, 1662), also known as John Smith (John Smith (Virginia burgess)), was a Virginia politician and landowner. He was an English Royalist who emigrated to Virginia some time after the death of Charles I, possibly after involvement in some plot against Oliver Cromwell. He was notoriously attached to the Stuarts. In Virginia he adopted the name "John Smith". He served as Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1658. He died at sea in 1662.[1]

Family life[edit]

Francis Dade was the seventh son of William Dade, Esq. (1579 - February 22, 1660), having immigrated from Tannington, county Suffolk England and settled in Virginia about 1650. He was doubtless involved in some royalist plot, for he was for many years known as John Smith. He married Behethland Bernard, daughter of Captain Thomas Bernard, a Burgess for Warwick County in the 1640s. He died at sea in 1662. He was a major in the militia of Westmoreland County, Virginia. His widow married Major Andrew Gilson.[2]

Francis and Behethland had one son, Francis Dade II, who married Frances Townsend. Francis Dade II was grandfather of two American Revolutionary War soldiers, Baldwin Dade and Captain Francis Dade, who served in the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons. Francis Dade II was the great grandfather of General Lawrence Taliaferro Dade who served in the 2nd Virginia Artillery in the War of 1812 and served in the Senate of Virginia, 1819-1832. Francis Dade II was also the great-great-grandfather of Francis Langhorne Dade (Francis L. Dade) who was massacred in the Second Seminole War for whom Miami-Dade County, Florida, Dade County, Missouri, and Dade County, Georgia are named.

House of Burgesses[edit]

Francis Dade as "John Smith" served in the House only during the 1658 session, representing Warwick County, and was chosen as Speaker. Governor Samuel Mathews tried to dissolve the House on April 1. The House, under Smith's leadership, replied that the dissolution was illegal; it swore its members to secrecy and threatened to censure anyone who left the session. The following day, Mathews and his council offered to refer the dispute to Cromwell. The House refused and declared the governor's and councilors' offices vacant. It then proceeded to reelect Mathews and his council, forcing them all to swear an oath to honor the sovereignty of the House.[1]


  1. ^ a b Kukla, pp. 57-59
  2. ^ Howard, pp. 121


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  • Hayden, Horace Edwin (1891). Virginia Genealogies. Pennsylvania: Wilkes-Barre. LCCN 66-26936. 
  • Stanard, William Glover (1911). Some emigrants to Virginia: memoranda in regard to several hundred emigrants. Ricmond VA: Wm. Ellis Jones' Sons, Inc., Printers. LCCN 12000215. 
  • Howard, Joseph Jackson (1887). Some Pedigrees from the Visitation of Kent, 1663-68. London: London, Mitchell and Hughes. LCCN 21021730. 
  • Kukla, Jon (1981). Speakers and Clerks of the Virginia House of Burgesses, 1643–1776. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia State Library. ISBN 0-88490-075-4. 
  • Maurer, C.f. William (June 2005). Dragoon Diary. Authorhouse. ISBN 978-1-4208-3145-0.