Colonial Settlement Brent Family Bacon’s Rebellion, a Stafford Connection

Bacon’s Rebellion, a Stafford Connection

Giles Brent (II), representing a darker side of the generally positive union between his English father and Indian mother, was born about 1652. He reportedly dwelt in “two worlds.” His father and cousin had established themselves in respectable society, but Giles (II) lived a frontier existence and learned the Indian language. After his father’s death (1672), Giles inherited the estate and became a planter, militia captain, and (1674) Stafford’s tobacco tax collector.

His Virginia fame arose from Bacon’s Rebellion. In July 1675, Captain Brent served in Colonel George Mason (I)’s party, which pursued an Indian contingent into Maryland and killed several in retaliation for the Indians’ killing some Virginians. Despite confusion over Giles’ and cousin George’s roles, Giles Brent (II) definitely joined forces loyal to Nathaniel Bacon to battle Pamunkeys and other tribes. Referred to as “Colonel” Brent, he collaborated with Bacon until the rebel leader turned his forces against Governor Berkeley (1676) and laid siege to Jamestown. Brent then turned against Bacon and gathered approximately 1,000 men to confront Bacon’s forces. When the men learned Bacon had burned Jamestown, they deserted. Brent’s part ended (saving him from execution). Brent’s final conflicts were domestic — his fiery temperament resulted in threats to family members. In 1679 Brent’s wife made an unprecedented petition to the governor and council for protection and “separate maintenance.” The council found against Brent, who then moved to Middlesex County, where he died in September 1679. He had converted, as he was on the registry and buried in the Anglican cemetery there. (Image by Sidney King, NPS)