Early Days
Submited by Beverly Orr Paushel
Nicholas Granger (Grander) (Graunger) (Gringer)

     Trying to find a person's ancestors is always a problem, but when they lived over 400 years ago it is sometimes impossible. But once in a while some small records pop up and when they are put with others, they can tell the story of a persons life. This was the case when I researched my many great grandfather, Nicholas Granger.

     In the early 1600s in London, England another bubonic plague hit. There were many of these over the years but this one was much more violent then the earlier ones. It is said that 1/6 of the population died, over 30,000 people. This left many widows, who usually were quickly married, as did widowers, but what happened to the orphans? If they had no relatives left they lived by their wits alone, roaming the alleys, sleeping where they could, begging, stealing or running errands. But the citizens soon got tired of them running the streets and complained to the authorities. So the Crown would round up all the children they could catch and put them into what we would call reform schools but were then called "Hospitals."

     Here some were taught trades and skills, sold as indentured servants, leased out to work or made to do any task they were capable of. One such place was called "Bridewell Royal Hospital" and part of it is still standing in London. It was referred to in one of the Beatle's songs. After a while there were just too many housed there and the Crown needed to reduce the number so they came up with the idea of shipping them to Jamestown which had just been settled in 1607. Here it is estimated that in the first 20 years 80 % of the settlers died of starvation, disease and Indian attacks. Jamestown needed new blood.

     In early February of 1619 the ship, George, was chartered, Captained by Master William Ewens-Evens, "100 boys and 25 wenches" were loaded aboard. The ship arrived in Jamestown in May of 1619 but by February of 1624/1625 only two boys are recorded as still alive. No "wenches" were found. Nicholas Granger was on of the two boys.

     When Nicholas left the ship his indenture was bought by William Stone, later governor of Virginia. Stone may have been a broker in indentures since 50 acres was given for each new person brought into the colonies. Indentures were usually for from 5 to 7 years. In January 1624/1625 Nicholas Granger is on the list of "A Muster Of The Inhabitance Of Eastern Shore Outer Bays", age 15 years in the household of "Captain William Epes, Master." If the Crown needed men for military duty they wanted to know who, how old and where they were. In the will of "Goodman Nicholas Hargrove" in 1639, Nicholas is left 500 pounds of tobacco, legal tender in Virginia at that time, for the "good care given him by his Godson." With this tobacco he was to buy a cow/calf... cattle were very valuable at that time. Hargood may have bought his indenture earlier or he may have been employed by Hargood.

     Beginning in October of 1640 and in later years there are records of various lands Nicholas bought and sold, petitions signed and wills he witnessed.

     He had brought his wife, Elizabeth (unknown surname) to Virginia earlier. Could he have known here in Bridewell?

     Nicholas and Elizabeth had two known children, A daughter, Christian born <1627 and son, Nicholas born <1630. In October of 1647 Nicholas deeded to his daughter, Christian, a heifer, which may have been a wedding gift when she married Henry Armitrading. That name was later changed to Trader. The Trader family is the family who settled early in the Morgantown, WV. area.

     Nicholas was alive in 1652 when the last public record of him is found but he had died by 1663. Where he and Elizabeth died and are buried has not yet been found. He is an example of the many ways our country was settled. Freely or forcibly.

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