Bermuda was discovered by Europeans in the 1500s but was not settled until the 1600s. In 1609 a hurricane blew the Sea Venture, one of the ships of the Virginia company, off course and it was wrecked on a reef in Bermuda. No one died, but the crew and passengers managed to get themselves to Jamestown eventually. Bermuda soon became part of the Virginia Company, morphing into the Somers Isles Company. Many investors bought shares of land, some of whom then grew tobacco. The Company sent 600 settlers to Bermuda between 1612 and 1615. The British Crown took over from the Company in 1684 and in 1707 Bermuda became a British colony.

One of those settlers was William Seymour. A William Seymour was foreman of the Grand Jury of Assize Court in 1617 in Bermuda.1 He may have been part of the military force, for in 1619 he was Sergeant Major under Governor Nathaniel Butler and in 1623 he was a Councillor for Sandy's Tribe. This William was last mentioned in the records in 1628.2 Bermuda was divided into tribes - areas of land that were the shares of the original "Adventurers," or investors. These were later called parishes. Sandys was at the northwestern part of the island. William Seymour, also spelled Seamore or Seymer, was involved in the salvaging of the Spanish wreck, the San Antonio, in 1622 off the reefs near St. George, on the easternmost side of the island. Assisting him in this work were his two sons Jacob and William.3

His son, Capt. William Seymour Jr., was Councillor of State in 1638 and was the commander of Paget Fort in 1653 when he died.4 Paget's Fort was on Paget Island, at the entrance to St. George's Harbour, one of the forts protecting the entry to the town of St. George. After his death, his son, Capt. Florentius Seymour, was chosen and appointed to be "Captn. of Southampton Fort in the room of his father, Capt. William Seymer dead..."5 Southampton Fort was at the entrance to Castle Harbour, further west.

Florentius had a brother named William, named for his father and grandfather.6 He did not live as long as Florentius, who died in 1682. William married Elizabeth Chaddock, daughter of Thomas Chaddock, an early Bermuda governor. William and Elizabeth had four children: Bathsheba, Thomas, Ruth and John before William died. Elizabeth was married to Richard Waylett by February 1640, so William's death would have been before that. Elizabeth and Richard had two children, Mary and Elizabeth before Richard died. Elizabeth married two more times, to William Golding and to a Mr. Burrows.

Florentius, my ancestor, served twice as governor. He was appointed in 1663 and his term extended two years in 1666 due to the confusion caused by the Fire of London. He was appointed a second time, in 1681, and died in office in 1682. He married Ruth Paynter, daughter of Stephen and Alice Paynter. Stephen Paynter was also one of the first settlers in Bermuda. Florentius and Ruth had four children: William, Elizabeth, Jane and Jehoaddan. Ruth died in 1706.

William, the oldest child, was appointed by Governor John Goddard in 1694 to be Captain of the "Westernmost Fort in Sandys Tribe in these Islands."7 He married Rachel Paynter and they had nine children. One of these children was a son, Daniel, who had a daughter named Susannah.8

In 1692 William Green died in Bermuda. In his will he left bequests to the children of his half sister, Elizabeth Green. Elizabeth was married to Robert Brent of Stafford County, Virginia. As Elizabeth had died in 1686, one of her sons, Robert Brent, was chosen to go to Bermuda and settle their portion of the estate. While there, he met and married Susannah, great granddaughter of Florentius Seymour, in 1702. They had eight children, the oldest of whom, George Brent, also went to Bermuda and married a Bermuda girl, Catherine Trimingham.

The Seymour line continued in Bermuda through other family lines. The family owned property in Sandys and Southampton parishes in the western part of Bermuda. A Florentius Seymour purchased a large estate bordering Mangrove Bay in Sandys Parish. Seymour's Pond, the Bermuda Audubon Society's first nature reserve, can be found in Southampton Parish where Seymours owned property.


Related Links
Seymour descent report, with sources and index, 7 generations
Seymour Family Tree
Paynter descent report, with sources and index, 6 generations
Will of William Seymour, 1717, father of Daniel, grandfather of Susannah
Gravestone of Capt. George Brent, Brent Cemetery at Aquia, Virginia, where Susannah Seymour and Robert Brent are probably buried
Trimingham family
Bermuda connection to the Brent family


  1. Ancestral Records and Portraits, vol. II: A Compilation from the Archives by Colonial Dames of America, New York, The Grafton Press, 1910, p.531.

  2. Ancestral Records and Portraits, vol. II: A Compilation from the Archives by Colonial Dames of America, New York, The Grafton Press, 1910, p.531.

  3. LeFroy, Maj.-General J. H. (comp.), Memorials of the Bermudas, London: Longmans, Green, 1877-79, Vol. I, II, vol. 2, pp.248-254: Correspondence of Gov. Nathaniel Butler concerning the Spanish wreck [the San Antonio] in Virginia [Bermuda] with Sgt. Major Seymour. From the State Papers, Colonial, 1622-23, vol. ii, No.11.

  4. Ancestral Records and Portraits, vol. II: A Compilation from the Archives by Colonial Dames of America, New York, The Grafton Press, 1910, p.531.

  5. LeFroy, Maj.-General J. H. (comp.), Memorials of the Bermudas, London: Longmans, Green, 1877-79, Vol. I, II, p.52.

    Julia Mercer's Genealogical Notes, Bermuda Archives microfilms of original notes, Seymour Notes, p.98 "Letter dated Nov 18 1654 appoints Captain Florentia Seymour to be captain of Southampton Fort in place of his father Captain William Seymour dead."

  6. The Seymour ancestry is confusing, but it was noted that the first William Seymour's last official mention was in 1628. In 1638 Capt. William Seymour Jr. was Councillor of State and Commander of Paget Fort in 1653. Note that this second William is a Jr. and a Capt. whereas the first William is a Sgt Major. This William could not be the William Seymour who married Elizabeth Chaddock for two reasons. First, he died young, his wife remarrying 3 times, the first time by 1640 to Richard Waylett, so he was not alive in 1653. Secondly, William Seymour who married Elizabeth Chaddock did not have a son named Florentius - and Florentius is specifically named as the son of the William Seymour who died about 1655. William and Elizabeth Chaddock Seymour had a son named John, who, in his will, named all of his siblings. Florentius was not one of them. Finally, Henry C. Wilkinson, in the quote above, notes that Florentius had a father and grandfather who were both counsellors. My conclusion/assumption here is that Florentius Seymour and his brother, William Seymour, who died by 1640, were the sons of William Seymour who died about 1655 and the grandsons of William Seymour who was last mentioned in 1628. For the moment, until other information on this family surfaces, I am adding the grandfather to my Seymour ancestry.

  7. Bermuda Historical Quarterly, Vol. 27, #1, 1970, p.24.

    LeFroy, Maj.-General J. H. (comp.), Memorials of the Bermudas, London: Longmans, Green, 1877-79, Vol. I, II, vol. 1, p.xxxvi.

  8. Bermuda Archives, Book of commissions, vol. 1, 1693-1700, p.352, Reel 70.

  9. Capt. Daniel Seymour is said to be the father of Susannah Seymour who married Robert Brent of Virginia in 1702. There is no definitive evidence or source for this relationship but that is my assumption. The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 20, states that "On May 8, 1702 Robert Brent was married to Susannah, daughter of Captain Daniel Seymour, son of the Governor of that island. William Seymour, great grandfather of Captain Daniel Seymour, was the first of the family to emigrate to Bermuda in 1617." [Florentius was Daniel's grandfather, not his father. And the William who was the first in the family to emigrate was Daniel's great great grandfather].

    "Robert the third son [of George Brent, Esq. of Woodstock in Virginia] went to Bermuda in 1701, and married the 8th May, 1702. Susannah, daughter of Captain Daniel Seymour, eldest son of Florentius Seymour, Governor of that island, whom he brought into Virginia with him, and by whom he had many children." The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 12. p.442-443. [Daniel was the grandson of Florentius Seymour].

    Despite no factual evidence that Daniel was Susannah's father, the family history that appears in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography was written by W. B. Chilton - William Brent Chilton, grandson of Col. William Brent and a descendant of George Brent, Susannah's son, who gathered information on the family history which was then carried on by others. W. B. Chilton had access to the family history started by Susannah's son which makes a good case for the information about Daniel being Susannah's father and the date of Susannah's marriage to Robert Brent being trustworthy.



The map showing the "Voyage of Fleet with Sea Venture" and the map of Bermuda showing the tribes and forts are courtesy of Neil Rigby, Bermuda Stamps - www.bermudastamps.co.uk.
Street scene of Bermuda taken by the author, November 1999.



Anne Healy's Genealogy, Created October 2002
Photographs and web page content, Copyright 2002- , Anne Field, all rights reserved.
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24 June 2018


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