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Thomas Godwin/Goodwin/Goodwyn

Member From: 1654 - 1676

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  • Birth Date: Unknown Birth Place:
  • Death Date: 1677 or 1678
  • Gender: Male Race: Caucasian
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  • Military Service: Colonel, Nansemond County Militia
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  • Additional Info: ​Thomas Godwin presided over the House of Burgesses during the so-called Bacon's Assembly. ...more to follow...
    1676 (Speaker of the House)
  • Bio: THOMAS GODWIN (or Goodwin, or Goodwyn) was Speaker of the House of Burgesses in June 1676. Speaker Godwin previously had represented Nansemond County in the assemblies of 1654-1655 and 1659. He had come to Virginia before 1650, in which year he and Richard Axom had patented more than 1,500 acres in York County. By April 1654 Thomas Godwin was a member of the Nansemond County Court, and in March 1656 he acquired 200 acres there. He sold at least some of his land in York County later that year. In 1668 he patented 179 acres in Chuckatuck Parish, Nansemond, and he probably owned other land of which there is no extant record.
    In 1674 when the General Assembly drew the line between Isle of Wight and Nansemond counties it stipulated ''that the house and clered grounds of Capt. [later Major and Colonel] Thomas Godwin, who hath bin an antient inhabitant of Nanzemond countie court,. bee . . . in the county of Nanzemund.''
    There is little evidence from which to determine Speaker Godwin's attitude toward Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. Much of the legislation passed in the so-called Bacon's Assembly, over which Godwin presided, seems not to have interested Bacon. A March 1676 act that named Thomas Godwin, John Lear, and Thomas Milner (who probably were Nansemond County's ranking militia officers) to impress men and supplies to fight against the Indians links him with neither Bacon nor Governor Sir William Berkeley. Yet, in 1676 it had been fifteen years since Speaker Godwin had sat in the House of Burgesses, and he was the first Speaker from the south bank of the James River elected since Thomas Dew in 1652. Both facts suggest that he was not allied with Governor Berkeley's Green Spring faction, but there is no evidence to suggest that Speaker Godwin was politically allied with Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. Speaker Godwin died in 1677 or 1678; his will was dated 24 March 1677.
  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Member, Nansemond County Court: 1654
    Speaker of the House of Burgesses: June 1676
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1654-1655 Nansemond
1659 Nansemond
1676 Nansemond Speaker of the House

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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