By Jeannette Holland Austin
Some of the largest landowners of the 17th century were Richard Lee, William Byrd, Adam Thoroughgood and the elder Nathaniel Bacon. The English spirit prevailed and class distinctions were upheld. As in England, the class of a gentleman was distinctly different from the yeoman, and the yeoman separate from the agricultural servant or mechanic. The population of the colony was mostly of pure English blood and a good many of the first adventurers had title and rank, and transported servants which entitled them to be granted large tracts of land. The idea was to amass large tracts of land based upon the number of servants transported into the colony and to establish colonial plantations. The true adventurer uprooted his family for the opportunity of what later became "the American dream." The emigrants were not drawn because of religious differences (as in New England), but rather based on customs and traditions of their native land.
Adam Thoroughgood House in Princess Anne County, Virginia.
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