Fleet's Bay--plus Fleet's Point and Fleet's Island and the town of Fleeton near Reedville, VA--received their names from Captain Henry Fleet, one of the "early courageous dudes" who explored this Chesapeake Bay area. Christopher Newport and John Smith got all the PR in those pre-internet days.
Born in 1602 in Kent, England, Fleet arrived in Jamestown in 1621. During a trading expedition on the Potomac River in 1623, Fleet was captured by the Anacostan Indians. Guess they thought he'd take their land.
He remained captive until 1627 and learned their language quite well. He was ransomed and went back to England in 1627 where he became instrumental in fur trade with the Indians.
In 1631, Henry Fleet again sailed for America and visited New England, James River and Chesapeake Bay.
In 1642 the Virginia assembly gave him the right to explore for fourteen years. You needed a permit of sorts in those days.
Being able to communicate with the Native Americans came in handy. In 1644 Lord Baltimore gave him the power to visit the Susquehanna Indians and make a peace treaty with them.
In 1650, the King of England granted Henry Fleet 1750 acres near today's Windmill Point at the mouth of the Rappahannock River. And that is where I got to wondering how Fleet's Bay got its name--as we were anchored there last night. Slow sailing provides lots of leisure to sleuth the web!
That first land grant from the King increased to more than 13,000 acres after Fleet received more grants from the King for bringing in more settlers. Fleet also bought more land.
The Indians remained in the area . Captain Fleet’s patent states that it “abuts on Indian Ned’s land.” So sorry about that, Ned.
By 1650 Fleet had acquired enough land to relinquish the role of fur trader and merchant. Captain Fleet then settled down as a landowner along the Rappahannock and took an active part in the country and colony governments.
On July 3, 1655 he patented two hundred additional acres located near his land on Fleet’s Bay.
He and his son are buried somewhere nearby. But that will be an onland quest.