The subject ofJohn Wellsboure or Wilbourn and/or varied spellings and his having been a passenger aboard the "Sea-Venture', is not resolved, (at least this is my opinion.) I fully understand that there are others who would disagree as is their right to do so.But I do not believe that this story has been disproved either.
(Documents in Lincolnshire, Englandshow this surname spelledboth as Wellsbourn/Welbourne. )
Let me back up here for those who are not familiar with story that reports that John Wellsbourn set sail aboard the 'Sea-Venture' which left Swansea, Wales in 1608, under the command of Captain Thomas Gates.This vessel joined up with a fleet docked on the Thames River in London and thus began a long, dangerous and tedious journey across the Atlantic for the purpose of settling into the newly established colonly of Virginia.
The entire fleet was under command of Capt Christopher Newport.On board the 'Sea-Venture were official papers ordering Capt John Smith to leave the tiny colony and return back to London with Newport.Having been at sea for nearly forth months (minus a few stop overs in the West Indies) the fleet was nearing their destination when a violent hurricane threw the Sea-Venture off her course.Worse even, the vessel span a dangerous leak.From the journal of Sir William Strackly, all hundred men on board labored non-stop for five days and nights in their efforts to bail out the incoming ocean.Finally utterly spent, everyone on board prepared to meet their doom. Strackerly went up on the poop deck to read his Bible, while others decided upon a different course and started opening bottles of booze for one last round of cheer before sinking to the bottom of the sea.It was while on the poop deck above, that Strackerly spotted land ahead.Needless to say, this got everyone's attention and adrenalin started pumping as men sprang into action.(Women were also on board as were children.Their actions were not recorded.)
In sum, everyone managed to rearch the shores of Bermunda, including a large family dog.Indeed, said doggie was given due credit for chasing the wild pigs out of the forrest and thus making it considerably easier for everyone to have a steady diet of pork.Fresh water was plentiful as were an abundance of fruit trees.And cedar trees too.
In time, the shipwrecked survivors were able to craft together three "crudely made vessels' and ten months later they sailed away and headed for the Jamestown settlement.They arrived at midnight in May of 1610.To their horror they were met my starving people, some who had lost their minds due to starvation and other incredible hardships including maleria.
Once Smith was taken back to England the tiny colony had no leadership.And those who were in charge were all gentlemen who had no understanding of survival skills in a wilderness setting.(As history notes, Smith first set foot on the shores of Virginia in chains, having voiced his opinion one time to often as far as the gentlemen were concerned. And he never won their hearts even after he was finally voted their leader. Still, the laboring class considered him a hero.
So the question remains.Wasthe first Welborn to set foot in Virgina, indeed a passenger aboard the 'Sea-Venture' and subsequently an eye witness and also a brave participant to these unfolding historical events?
In my opinion, the truth is that we do not know.But again, it is my opinion that it is likely to be a true account and not just wishful thinking on the part of some old ladies who had nothing better to do with their time as has been also reported.
What we do know is that Blackblocks or later known as Blablocks and (again) varied spellings, were indeed passseners on the 'Sea-Venture'.And we know that this family later settled very early on in Accomack VA.
Many generations later, Welborns/Blablocks were allied families in North Carlina.I strongly suspect this is the same Blablock line.But this is merely my theory and is not proved.And it is interesting to note that Thomas Blacklocke was a neighbor of John Walsborne in 1623 noted as living on the eastern shore.(See 'Colonial Records of VA, Lists of living and Dead in VA Feb 16 1623.) Library of Congress #73-5104.
Nearly a year earlier in March of 1622, an Indian uprising took place. A sneak attack upon the unsupecting colonistsresulted in over 450 colonists who perished, including woman and children.And also a few slaves. John Rolfe, husband of Pocahontas,was the first colonist who ventured into the slavery business, trading tobacco for a fewslaves who were initially going to be transported to the West Indies.
This record of Feb 16 1623 was the result of a muster taken to literally count the number of VA colonists who survived the Indian attack and also other numerous hardships that they encountered since settling into Virginia.As history notes, only one in seven colonist survived more than a few years after being transported to VA.(Some historians believe that had the Jamestown settlement not survived, Spain would have completely taken over.)
But back to the 'Sea-Venture' and any Welborn passengers.While I think it likely that there really was a John Welborn who did tranport via the 'Sea-Venture', I have not done enoughhomework to add additional support to my theory. What needs to be done is a check off list of the proved passengers who were aboard the 'Sea-Venture' against others who also settled on the Eastern shore along with John Walsborne.Even if other names are noted as being Sea-Venture' passengers and then later neighbors of John Walsborne, this is not proof conclusive.But it would amount to additional circumstancial evidence and as evidence builds it thus becomes very hard to dismiss out of hand.Please note, there were 76 names noted as living on the Eastern shore, including that of John Walsborne. The smaller the community, the greater the liklihood of a connection.
In addition, John Wilkins is also noted as a neighbor.I believe that it is worth mentioning that in 1636, John Wilkins (same fellow) is noted as having transported William Wilburn and 23 other servants and one slave over to Nansmond Co VA.Wilkins, himself was a bit controverial and later charged with fraud and other misconduct.I believe that additional clues might be found witha careful examination of the documents that pertain to John Wilkins.
As always, I welcome all additions, corrections and opinions on this subject matter.Often I wish that I had someone close at hand to check out my facts and/or my theories.Above all, I welcome new and also old information, that I no doubt,have overlooked.Please let me know.