Sunday, May 8, 2016

Polish Glassmakers - Rockingham Co. VA Wills, Estates #genealogy

Polish Glassmakers
By Jeannette Holland Austin
Jeannette Holland Austin
The first settlers sent to Virginia by the London Company thought that the abundance of trees necessary to fire pits to make glass was an advantage. During 1608, when a number of tradesmen arrived in the second supply ship, they were accompanied by Dutch and Poles. Their purpose was to make a trial of glass-making. Subsequently, a glass-house was erected about a mile from Jamestown. Capt. Smith supervised the operation and sent a cargo of specimans of glass to England. In 1621, the Virginia Company of London entered into a contract with Captain William Norton who had decided to emigrate with his family. The terms were that he was to carry over with him four Italians skilled in glass-making along with two servants. The expense of transporting six persons was to be borne by Norton. 


As a reward, he was to receive one-fifth of the moiety of the product reserved for the Company and was to be allowed four acres of public land. He had to agree not to retain any beeds to exchange in trade with the local Indians. This contract was later reconsidered at a Quarter Court. The Company was in no condition to undergo the heavy charge of supplying eleven persons with apparel, tools, victuals and other necessities. They decided to resolve the matter by the Company granting 50 acres of land for every person sent over by private adventurers. Captain Norton succeeded in erecting a glass furnace, but unfortunately died. Treasurer Sandys was appointed to take his place, found it difficult to obtain the proper amount of sand, so sent a shallop to the Falls for a supply. However, nothing adaptable was found. But more the problem was the poor relationship with Sandys had with the Italian workmen. Sandys, in the violence of his anger and disgust, said "that a more damned crew hell never vomited". The Italians, anxious to return to Europe, deliberately proceeded slowly in their work, and cracked the furnace as well by striking it with a crowbar. Source: Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 441; Muster of the Inhabitants of Virginia, 1624-5; Hoteen's Original List of Emigrants, 1600-1700, p. 235.

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