THE BENNETT FAMILY OF ENGLAND AND VIRGINIA


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The Bennetts were in the New World (American Colonies) almost from the beginning. Edward Bennett, an English merchant and trader and a Puritan, descended from the Bennetts of Wiveliscombe, Somerset, England. He and two of his brothers, Robert and Richard, obtained a patent to establish the Puritan plantation "Bennett's Welcome" in the Virginia Colony. On Feb. 1621/2 the "Sea Flower" arrived with 120 settlers, presumably Puritans, led by Capt. Hamor for Edward Bennett's plantation. The settlers quickly busied themselves, preparing the site of the plantation. On 22 March 1621/2, just a month after their arrival, the Indians attacked. There was a huge massacre and the Bennett plantation at Warrascoyak suffered more than most. 53 of the 347 people killed in the massacre were killed at the Bennett plantation. The Indians were in turn massacred and were quiescent for a time. The settlement eventually prospered although Robert and Richard soon died there. Edward Bennett who remained in England except for a short stint in the Colony then appointed his two nephews to run the plantation. Coincidentally their names were the same as Edward's brothers, that is, Robert and Richard. The nephew Richard eventually became the Governor of Virginia.

The Bennett line which about 80 years later intermarried with the Mangums were not so famous as these trader Bennetts. The first one of the line we are sure about is one Thomas Bennett of Warwick County, Virginia. He represented Mulberry Island in the House of Burgesses in 1632. He married Alice, widow of Thomas Pierce. Thomas Pierce was slain in the Indian massacre of 1621/2 in the presence of his wife and child. They were carried off as captives but eventually freed. Thomas must have married her about 1624. They had one son, Richard Bennett Sr. although it is not absolutely certain that Alice was the mother.

Richard Bennett sold land to John Mangum in 1695. This is the first sure record of John Mangum in the colonies although there are tax records as early as 1693 which might refer to John. John married Frances whose maiden name is the subject of some controversy. Richard Bennett Jr. named a granddaughter Frances Mangum in his will. If this is the wife of John, then Frances' maiden name would be Bennett only if her father was the child of Richard Bennett Jr. If Frances' mother was the Bennett then her maiden name is presently unknown. Some believe, unfortunately without real proof, that John married the daughter of Richard Bennett Jr. who was named Frances. The granddaughter Frances Mangum mentioned in Richard's will would be John & Frances' daughter.


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