Governor Thomas Eastchurch's Executive Council

Dates: 1677

Location Met: Unknown

On November 21, 1676, three of the Lords Proprietors named new deputies for Albemarle County:
- Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury appointed Thomas Miller as his deputy
- William Craven, 1st Baron Craven appointed Timothy Biggs as his deputy
- Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle appointed James Hill as his deputy

One can safely assume that Miller, Biggs, and Hill theoretically served in the Executive Council under Thomas Eastchurch, who never actually served as governor; he was merely appointed and died before getting to Carolina.

John Nixon of Pasquotank Precinct was a known member of the Executive Council from 1677-1679. He was the Deputy of Sir Peter Colleton.

At elections held in September 1675, Thomas Eastchurch and his faction acquired control of the House of Burgesses, and Eastchurch was elected Speaker. Soon thereafter, he arranged to have Acting Governor John Jenkins arrested and imprisoned for several unnamed misdemeanors.

About March 29, 1676, Jenkins was released from his imprisonment by "a party of riotous persons in armes and these with some others vote him Generalissime." Jenkins immediately turned out the Lords Proprietors' Deputies and dissolved the House of Burgesses.

After Jenkins's release, Thomas Eastchurch sailed to England to press his case to become the next governor of Albemarle County, and apparently the Lords Proprietors consented circa June of 1677.

With him on this trip was Thomas Miller, who was just appointed as the new Secretary of the colony and Collector of Customs, and both sailed together back to Carolina. Eastchurch and Miller took a ship sailing one of the normal trade routes from England to the island of Nevis in the Leeward Islands where they could obtain another ship for home. In Nevis, Eastchurch met a woman of considerable fortune and took the opportunity to marry her. Not wishing to depart quickly and to avoid further delay in settling affairs in Albemarle County, Eastchurch provided Miller with a commission to serve as President of the Grand Council until his arrival and gave him "very full and ample powers."

Eastchurch later proceeded to Jamestown settlement in Virginia, where he died later in 1677 - never assuming the reins over Albemarle County. His Governorship was in name only and also only for a few months.

Nothing more is known about any alleged members of his Executive Council. Since he never set foot in Carolina as an "official" governor, his Executive Council never met with him in attendance. Those who were still considered to be members of the Council and "Deputies" to the Lords Proprietors probably met with each other in Eastchurch's absence, but there are no records of their meetings.

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