JOHN PINCKARD: The Charles Towne Colonist
Research by Alex Hopkins, Carrie Newton and Derek Pinckard
Written by Carrie Newton
Records of the Charles Towne colony at Albemarle Point indicate that John Pinckard was amongst the earliest settlers. The first known record of John Pinckard shows that he sold approximately 10 acres of land to Maurice Matthews on the 11th of March 1672. Around July of 1672, some of the settlers were asked to give up portions of their land or relocate, as plans were underway to build a town. At that time, the Journal of the Grand Council shows that Pinckard was to occupy lot 36. Later, two land patents were granted to John “Pinkard/Pinckett” by Surveyor General John Culpeper. The first patent of two hundred acres, dated 7th of September 1672, is significant because it identifies his wife, Mary, and also a servant, James Purvys, both which arrived in August of 1672. A second, more revealing patent of 360 acres was awarded him on the 10th of November 1674, stating it was the “residue of the land due to him for himselfe arriveing in June 1671, his Wife Mary Pinkett, John Pinkett Junr: his Sonne, and one Servt. namely James Purvys arriveing in August 1672. “
During this time, land patents were awarded according to the headright system. For each individual who paid for the transportation of an emigrant, 50 acres was awarded him. A certificate of importation was filed for and then recorded in court, which would include arrival dates and relationship information. The Secretary of the Colony would then issue a “right” of 50 acres per headright, which would be allocated by the surveyor of the colony. The headright would retain ownership of the patent as long as he paid and annual fee to the Crown, (quit rents), and either built a home, kept livestock, or cultivated at least 1 acre of land by the end of three years. In some cases, individuals who left the colony and returned were awarded additional acreage. From these two patents, we can ascertain that John Pinckard was of wealth to have afforded passage for himself, his wife, his son and a servant. In addition, we learn that John Jr. was born before August of 1672, and the arrival dates of John and Mary Pinckard in Charles Towne are established. It should be noted that on the 20th of April 1672, John Pinckard was elected to the Carolina Assembly, another indication that he was a member of the upper class. The second patent of 360 acres is in question, for it would suggest that either he was credited 160 additional acres, or that he was now in possession of 560 acres. This issue will be addressed later.
The original settlement that was established in 1670 was comprised of planters and merchants. An article published by the Journal of Barbados Museum and Historical Society states “Many well-known planters…removed to the plantations they had built in Carolina. Sir John Yeamans, George Thompson, Giles Hall, John Godfrey, John Foster, John Maverick, John and Thomas Dowden, Robert and John Gibbes, John Robinson, Major Robert Johnson, Christopher Portman, John Pinkard, Captain Thomas Gray and others, settled down as planters, became active in the affairs of Carolina and soon thought of themselves as Carolinians rather than Barbadians.” (It is important to note here that while the article suggests that John ‘Pinkard’ had been a resident of Barbados, no record of him having owned land or having existed otherwise has been found there. The Charles Towne colony originated from overflow settlers from Barbados, but there were other settlers that arrived from Virginia, England and Ireland.)
The planter and merchant occupations often existed as one entity as it would have been necessary for the planter to market his products. Several records from South Carolina suggest Pinckard was a merchant and had acquired a sizable debt owed to the Lords Proprietors. In June of 1673, it is noted that the sloop being fitted by he and Thomas Gray was ordered seized for failure to secure debts owed to the Lord’s Proprietors. Pinckard and Gray, along with John Culpeper and John Robinson, were planning a defection from the colony and managed to escape despite having their sloop confiscated. It is not known specifically if the defection was organized in protest of the debts owed to the Proprietors, (most likely duties), but the evidence seems to suggest such a scenario for Pinckard. All four men were members of the Carolina Assembly, so such an act would not have been allowed to pass without repercussions. Also in 1673, Pinckard’s estate was seized and sold to secure his debts. It is not known where Pinckard was living after June of 1673, but upon his return in March of 1674, he was taken into custody by the Provost Marshal and placed in irons. He was released after giving security to the court. (Keep in mind that Pinckard’s estate had been seized in 1673, so from March of 1674 until the 10th of November 1674, it does not appear that he owned any property.) The Pinckard family had fallen upon tough times as on the 26th of December 1674, the Grand Council of Charles Towne took mercy on the “poor condition” of John ‘Pinckerd’. They were given relief in the form of a “cross-cut saw, a muskett, a fowling piece, a bedstead and one frying pan.” Perhaps it is clearer that the original patent of 200 acres was confiscated and as of November 1674, he was in possession of 360 acres of land. 10 acres may have been part of the original allotment when he arrived in Charles Towne. It is unclear whether credit was given for the 200 that was confiscated and the remaining 150 acres was credit for transporting three additional emigrants, or for having left and returned to the colony. The last court record known of John Pinckard in Charles Towne is a document dated 27th of October 1677, stating that Sam Boswood claimed the plantation “last in the possession of Jno. Pincard.” Since Pinckard did not sell the property, it can be determined that he had not fulfilled the obligations of the patent.
John Pinckards involvement with John Culpeper may not have ended in Charles Towne. Culpeper had earned the reputation as that of a troublemaker and had in fact been asked to leave Charles Towne. His reputation followed him when he relocated to Albemarle Colony, Carolina. An uprising occurred there in December of 1677, which came to be known as Culpeper’s Rebellion. We know from the fact that Pinckard and Culpeper had served together in the Carolina Assembly and from their attempt to defect from the colony that there was an association between the two men. Also, since Pinckard’s land had been claimed by Sam Boswood in October of 1677, it seems as though he had followed through on his desire to leave the colony. It is not known if Pinckard was present in Albemare, but the possibility does exist.
Various political issues had arisen in the colonies, including England having imposed the Navigation Acts of 1673. The main purpose of these acts were to discourage the trade and sale of goods between the colonies and placed duties on certain goods, including tobacco, not shipped directly to England. It appears that this may have been an issue for Pinckard in the Charles Towne Colony, and his opposition to the Proprietors had lead him to risk committing treason and losing all of his possessions. In 1677, the Albemarle colony was being led by acting Governor, John Jenkins. He was opposed to the duties being charged by England and was lenient in the enforcement of their collection. George Durant, an influential political leader, joined Jenkins at that time, as well as Culpeper. In support of the Proprietors were Thomas Eastchurch, Speaker of the Assembly, and Thomas Miller. Jenkins was overthrown and the Proprietors appointed Eastchurch as Governor, then Miller became Secretary and Collector. As Eastchurch was delayed in his return from England, Miller decided to take over most of the offices and took advantage of these powers. Eventually the situation came to a head and Culpeper, Durant and their followers captured Miller and put him in to prison. Culpeper and his supporters then took over the government and controlled it for a period of time. Culpeper was tried and acquitted of treason by the Proprietors in England.
Is John Pinckard, the Charles Towne Colonist the John Pinckard of Northumberland and Lancaster Counties in Virginia?
The strongest argument for them being the same man comes from Northumberland County Court Orders for February 1673/74. In Pinckard against Thomas, John Pinckard asked the court for compensation from Mrs. Mary Thomas, widow “for his trouble and charge in bringing her…out of Carolina.” William Thomas had died in Northumberland County, leaving Mary in Charles Towne. John Pinckard was owed two pounds 12 shillings in addition to 10 pounds sterling he paid to Col. John Godfrey of Carolina on her behalf. Godfrey is mentioned as one of the Barbadian planters and he also served on the Carolina council with John Pinckard.
Northumberland County, Virginia court records show that John Pinkard purchased 1,000 acres of land in July of 1677. This was 4 months prior to Sam Boswood laying claim to his Charles Towne plantation. We also know that both Pinckard men had sons named John and that both held public office. In October of 1687, Pinckard filed for a belated certificate of transportation for Mr. John Pinckard, Senior, Mr. John Pinckard, Junior, Ms. Mary Pinckard and thirteen other unrelated persons. Since there is no mention of his wife, Mary must have passed away before his arrival in Virginia and a daughter, Mary, was born prior to June of 1677.