What’s in a name? John Pott

The names of Ford’s Colony’s streets are an intriguing mix of golf courses from around the country, and world, and of Virginia historic figures. Occasionally, I’ll introduce you to an interesting street name and the story behind it . . . which brings me to “John Pott.”

A main thoroughfare into Ford’s Colony off of Longhill Road, the street is named for the noteworthy physician and Colonial governor of the Jamestown Settlement. Dr. Pott, Oxford-educated, arrived Jamestown with his wife Elizabeth in 1619. He evidently had an interesting few years thereafter. 

First, he was accused of poisoning 200 Native Americans in 1623 in retaliation for a massacre of colonists; he was ultimately cleared of the charge and his seat on the Governor’s Council was restored.

Pott himself was installed as governor in 1629, but in 1630 he was convicted of stealing livestock. His skills as a physician, however, were so crucial to the colony that the next governor, Sir John Harvey, petitioned England for Pott’s pardon. It was granted, he regained his estate known as “Harrop” – evidently located in what is now Williamsburg – and continued his medical work.

“As physician, leader and revolutionary, Dr. John Pott served as a vital force in shaping the history of Jamestown colony,” according to an article from the New York Academy of Medicine.

Now you know.