Richard Stephens (burgess)

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Capt. Richard Stephens (1585 - 1636) in Wiltshire, England arrived as an unmarried man of means with two to four servants, at Jamestown Settlement in 1623 aboard The George. Stevens was an experience military man and quickly began to establish himself in the colony by acquiring land, and was soon named Burgess in the colony. After building a blockhouse and receiving patent on the same, the Captain was issued the first English land grant in the colony as incentive for other landowners to follow his example and build gardens within their property holdings. Captain Stephens amassed nearly 2000 acres by his death in 1636.

Stephens married Elizabeth Piercy, b. 1600, daughter of Abraham Piercy - Cape Merchant of Jamestown. They had four sons; John, William, Richard L. and Samuel Stephens.

Stephens fought the first duel in the English colonies after an argument with George Harrison, the latter being struck just below the knee. Harrison died two weeks later, though not from the wound, but some other malady of the time. Such an encounter in North America was not to be repeated for some 100 years.

As Burgess, Stephens (and local citizenry as well) often found themselves at odds with the then Governor of Jamestown: Governor Harvey. The governor was prone to angry outbursts, and was documented to have attacked Stephens with a cane or cudgel, knocking out a number of his teeth. The governor, was eventually deposed and sent back to England, where he faced charges for numerous mistreatments of members of the colony. Upon the Captain's death, Elizabeth Piercy Stephens is said to have married Governor Harvey.

Two of Stevens sons, Samuel and Richard L.s made names for themselves in the new world as well. Samuel Stephens rose to prominence and become the 2nd Governor of the North Carolina settlement in the region known as the Albermarle, and Richard L. (Lawrence) Stephens for a time dropped his last name, (a protective measure) as commander of the garrison at Bacon's Castle in the mid 1670s - during Bacon's Rebellion.