Governor John Gibbs's Executive Council

Dates: 1689 to 1690

Location Met: Unknown

In 1689, upon the banishment of Seth Sothel, John Gibbs claimed the right to be the next governor of Albemarle County based on the Fundamental Constitutions, which stated that if there was not Proprietor in the colony, then the eldest Landgrave, then the eldest Cacique would be selected as governor. John Gibbs had been made a Cacique in 1682, and he convinced enough people in Albemarle County that he was their new governor.

In the meantime, the Lords Proprietors appointed Philip Ludwell as the new governor of Albemarle County, also in 1689, but news of this appointment took some time to reach the colony.

After news of the appointment of Philip Ludwell arrived, John Gibbs made a determined effort to retain his governorship. In June of 1690, he issued a declaration denouncing Ludwell as "a Rascal, imposter, and Usurper," offering to fight "as long as my Eyelidds shall wagg" anyone justifying Ludwell's "illegal Irregular proceeding," commanding all citizens to keep the peace, "consult the Fundamentals," and render him "due obedience," forbidding the people to assume any office by virtue of a commission issued by Ludwell, and stating his determination not to permit "the Lords Proprietors or Country" to wrong him.

John Gibbs then took further action. On July 6, 1690, he proceeded with armed men against the Pasquotank Precinct Court, breaking it up and seizing two of the magistrates, which he then took to Virginia, where he held them prisoners in a house he owned there.

Gibbs was then advised by the governor of Viriginia to go to England and settle his dispute with Ludwell with the Lords Proprietors. Both Gibbs and Ludwell did just that. The following year, the Lords Proprietors denounced the activitites of John Gibbs and his followers, reinforcing their earlier commission that Philip Ludwell be the governor. The Lords Proprietors also suspended the Fundamental Constitutions, thus removing the legal basis that John Gibbs used for claiming the governorship. Gibbs apparently did not return to Albemarle, but he did not give up his right to the governorship.

On July 13, 1690, the Executive Council sent a letter to the governor of Virginia. It was signed by:
- Thomas Jarvis
- Thomas Harvey
- William Wilkinson
- Benjamin Laker
- Edward Smetheck
- Thomas Lepper
- William Allen
- John Barrow

One can safely assume that these men served on the Executive Council of John Gibbs, perhaps begrudgingly.

There are no extant records of any meetings of the Executive Council under John Gibbs.

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