Virginia House of Burgesses

  • American

The Virginia colony's House of Burgesses, Burgesses means citizens, was the first elected legislative assembly in North America. The assembly governed the new colony with laws that would have to be approved by the London Company. Its first statute regulated the price of tobacco to be sold for a minimum of three shillings per pound. Other laws passed in its first session prohibited gambling, drunkenness and idleness. They also passed a measure that required the colonist to keep the Sabbath. - AsNotedIn

Notable Position Person From To
Member for New Kent County Col John West 1685
Member Carter Burwell 1742 1755
Representative for Isle of Wight County Robert Burwell 1752 1758
Member Armistead Burwell (Merchant) 1753 1754
Member Lewis Burwell II 1698
Represents James City County Lewis Burwell of Kingsmill 1742 1743
Member John Chew (Chewe) IV
Member Gideon Macon 1693 1693
Member Gideon Macon 1696 1702
Member for King William County Col Nathaniel West 1703 1705
Member John Donelson 1769 1774
Member Edward Lloyd I 1644 1649
Member John Custis II 1676
Representative of Loudoun County Francis Lightfoot Lee 1758 1769
Representative of Richmond County Francis Lightfoot Lee 1769
Member Col Ralph Wormeley 1674
Representative in 1691, 1692 and 1704 William Churchill I 1691 1704
Fauquier County Representative Col Thomas Marshall (Patriot) 1773
Fauquier County Representative James Markham Marshall 1775
Representative from Albemarle County Thomas Jefferson 1769 1776
Representative from Stafford Lt Colonel George Mason 1715 1726
Representative from Stafford Thomson Mason 1766 1775
Member Richard Randolph of Curles 1727 1749
Member Archibald Cary 1756 1776
Burgess Richard Lee II 1698
Burgess Richard Lee I 1647 1651
Member Thomas Nelson Jr 1774
Member Richard Henry Lee 1758
Member Thomas Randolph
Member Patrick Henry 1765
Member George Mason 1759
Member Henry Lee II 1758
Member Benjamin Harrison IV 1736
Member Col Thomas Lightfoot Lee 1723
Member Col Robert Bolling 1702
Member William Fitzhugh 1772 1775
Member James Mercer 1765
Member Augustine Washington II 1754 1758
Member Isaac Zane 1773


Y/M/D Description Association Composition Place Locale Food Event
Y/M/D Description Association Composition Place Locale Food Event
1619/07/30 Governor George Yeardley opens a six-day meeting the General Assembly, the first representative legislature in the Americas, at the new timber church on Jamestown Island, Virginia. Jamestown National Historic Site Jamestown JCC
1619/08/00 Thomas Davis and Robert Stacy represent Martin's Brandon what will become the House of Burgesses. Burrowsville, VA Virginia
1619/08/04 First elected legislative assembly in North America, the General Assembly, adjourns early due to an outbreak of malaria. Jamestown National Historic Site Jamestown JCC
1699/00/00 Virginia House of Burgesses begins convening in Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg Williamsburg
1713/03/00 Colonial Council orders the Meherrins be merged with the Cheroenhaka and the Nansemond with the Saponies and removing them to where they would be less liable to have differences with the English and for the instruction of their children in Christianity. Operator Fort Christanna Lawrenceville
1718/05/00 After signing a treaty with the Iroquois of New York, whereby they agreed not to come east of the Blue Ridge, the Burgesses vote to discontinue manning the Fort Christanna. Operator Fort Christanna Lawrenceville
1759/00/00 Richard Lee proposes a bill in Virginia's House of Burgesses "to lay so heavy a duty on the importation of slaves as to put an end to that iniquitous and disgraceful traffic within the colony of Virginia." Slavery In America
1769/05/16 As a protest to the 1767 Townshend Acts, the House of Burgesses unanimously adopts the Washington-Mason resolutions that only the governor and the provincial legislature have the right to lay taxes in Virginia. Patriot Legislature American Revolution - From Protest to Revolt
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