Sunday, January 7, 2007

Reverend Richard Bucke

The Reverend Richard Bucke was the second minister of the Jamestown colony having arrived there in May of 1610 and serving until his death about 1623. He is probably best remembered for performing the ceremony at the wedding of John Rolfe and Pocahontas. Reverend Bucke offered the opening prayers at the general assembly which convened in the church at Jamestown on July 30, 1619. He owned valuable property in and around Jamestown.

The Reverend Richard Bucke is probably not related to my family, the Buck Family of Virginia.

Although some references note that Richard Bucke was a graduate of Oxford, he is probably the Richard Bucke listed in the Alumni Cantabrigienses as being admitted at age eighteen to Caius College on April 26, 1600.

Richard Bucke married at least (and probably) twice. Although the names of his wives are given in a number of documents, it turns out that they are actually unknown.

Richard Bucke had five children: Elizabeth, Mara, Gershon, Benomi and Peleg. Elizabeth was born in England, the others in Virginia.

In June of 1609, Richard and his wife left Plymouth, Devon, England for Virginia on the Sea Venture. Apparently, their daughter, Elizabeth, remained in England. The Sea Venture was the flagship of a supply fleet of seven ships and two pinnaces under command of Admiral Sir George Somers. The fleet encountered a hurricane off the Azores on July 25th which scattered the ships. The Sea Venture was wrecked off the coast of Bermuda on July 28th; the other ships eventually struggled into Jamestown but the Sea Venture was presumed lost. Actually, everyone on board the Sea Venture survived the shipwreck but the bottom of the ship was torn out by a reef. It took nine months to build two pinnaces which they named the “Deliverence” and the “Patience”. Leaving two men behind to keep Bermuda as a new British colonial possession, they sailed for Jamestown in May, 1610. William Shakespeare’s drama, “The Tempest”, is based in part on the events in Bermuda. Possibly because of the connection between “The Tempest” and the voyage, the Reverend Richard Bucke is sometimes described as a close friend of Shakespeare.

About April 5, 1614, the Reverend Richard Bucke officiated at the wedding of John Rolfe and Pocahontas. John Rolfe had been previously married but the name of his first wife is not known. With his first wife, John Rolfe had a daughter, Bermuda, who was born in Bermuda and was christened by the Reverend Richard Bucke on February 21, 1610. Bermuda Rolfe is assumed to have died in Bermuda; her mother is assumed to have died shortly after the two ships reached Jamestown. The Reverend Richard Buck must have been a close friend of John Rolfe. In addition to the shipwreck, the christening of the baby Bermuda and the wedding to Pocahontas, Richard Bucke was a witness to the will of John Rolfe.

Reverend Bucke opened the first general assembly that ever met in Virginia saying that “it would please God to guard and sanctifie all our proceedings to his owne glory and the good of the Plantation.”

Richard Bucke died ca 1623, probably in Jamestown, Virginia. One assumption is that he was killed in the massacre of 1622; however, since he was not listed among the victims, another possibility is that he died later of injuries or complications. Of course, his death may not be related to the massacre in any way.

Apparently, the Bucke children had mental or physical disorders that resulted in their being incapable of managing their own affairs. Consequently, the Bucke land was the focus of several legal battles and is well documented.

In July, 1996, news releases by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) indicated that the graves of the Reverend Richard Bucke, his wife and some of his family had been discovered near land believed to have been owned by him. This news initially created quite a bit of interest but it now appears to have been incorrect. It is more likely that the grave of the Reverend Richard Bucke is in the churchyard of the Jamestown chapel. The churchyard is intact although many gravesites are no longer identifiable. The site being studied is still identified by the APVA as the Reverend Richard Bucke site even though it is unlikely that the Reverend Richard Bucke lived there.


Thomas L Cook said...

I may be a descendant of Rev Richard Buck.Is there anyone who has done a descendancy chart or any research on his descendants.Thank you!
Thomas L. Cook

Gordon Buck Jr. said...

It is important to note that there are no "Buck/Bucke" descendants of Rev. Richard Bucke. The only descendants appear to be through through the Crumpe family and this connection has been placed in doubt by William Gann.

Thomas L Cook said...

Thank you Gordon for your reply.I found a chart that tied my line to Richard Buck.I will go back in to see which line ,but I kknow it was maybe the early 1700's and very well could be Crumps.He seems to be a very interesting person !
Thomas Cook