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Sir William Berkeley




Sir William Berkeley (1606 1677), youngest brother of Lord John Berkeley, was the peppery governor of Virginia who had won the enthusiastic support of the population, banished its Puritans, and invited Charles II to come over during this exile and be king of Virginia. He was quick tempered and self willed and brutal in putting down any opposition to his orders. When his iron rule in Virginia produced the insurrection known as Bacon's Rebellion, Berkeley suppressed it without mercy and hanged so many of the rebels that Charles II exclaimed, "That old fool has put to death more people in that naked country than I did here for the death of the father!" He married Francis Culpepper, widow of Samuel Stephens, an early governor of Carolina. When Charles I, informed of Berkeley's brutality, removed him from the governorship and recalled him to England, Virginia celebrated his going with bonfires and general merry making. He sought an interview with the King, who always postponed it. The old man died, still waiting. His contemporaries said he died of chagrin.