The following story is an excerpt from the Book "The Cantrill-Cantrell Genealogy" by Susan Cantrill Christie; pgs. xix-xx. This book chronicles the history of the Cantrill/Cantrell family in America, England, Ireland, and France.
WILLIAM CANTRILL, Gentleman,arrived at Jamestown, Va., April 20, 1608, by the Ship Phenix. The name is spelled both Contrill and Cantrell in all the early Virginia histories.)
Captain John Smith's "Historie of the Settlement of Virginia," tells us that the ship Phenix, commanded by Capt. Francis Nelson, left England in the fall of 1607; that Captain Nelson was "an honest and expert Mariner, but such was the leewardness of his Ship that he had to put in at the West Indies for repairs, wood and water," and did not reach Jamestown until the following Spring. A full list of the passengers of the Phenix is given in this book.
The vessels used in those days bore no resenblance to the palatial ocean steamers of to-day; they were small, clumsy and slow and there is little wonder that the people who embarked on them were afraid to venture straight across the great unknown sea. The route, via the Canary Islands and the West Indies, which they then took, made the distance almost twice as long and with good luck the passage was made in four months. With a series of mishaps, the Phenix took six months for the trip from England with the first supplies and people sent to Capt. John Smith, to aid him in the exploration and settlement of Virginia.
References are made to the "writings of William Cantrill," and early histories tell us that he was one of the fourteen, who on June 2, 1608, accompanied Capt. John Smith on his "discoverie of Chesapeake Bay," "Cantrell's Point" was named for the discoverer and was "betwixt the Patawomuk and Pamuke," now the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers.
Henning's "Statutes, or the Laws of Virginia" records the subscription of William Cantrill to the Second Virginia Charter (the Great Charter), dated May 23, 1609.
From "Genesis of the United States," by Alexander Brown:
"William Cantrel (Gentleman), 2, Sub. Pd. [pounds]12.-10/ Explanation the figures
1, 2, 3, immediately after the name indicate that the person was an Incorporator
of the First, Second and Third Virginia Charter. Sub. subscribed, and is followed
by the amount and whenever it was paid, Pd. paid."
In "The names of the Adventurers of Virginia alphabetically setdown according to a printed Booke, Set out by the Treasurer and Council in the present yeare, 1620," the name of William Cantrill, Gentleman, appears.
In MSS of court Proceedings in Virginia, which are the records of the London Company ofVirginia, from April 28, 1619, to January 27, 1624, we note: "At a Quarter Court held for Virginia in the afternoon of July 3, 1622, among those present Mr. Cantrill."
Bishop Mead speaks of William Cantrill in connection with Rev. Mr. Robert Hunt, first minister to Virginia, and it has been suggested by one writer that it is probable that "William Cantrill was present at the baptism and marriage of Pocahontas."
The Arms William Cantrill brought with him from England to America was: "Argent, A Pelican in her Piety, Sable," and a North Carolina Cantrell of to-day claims to have seen this coat-of-arms carved in the stock of an ancient gun there.
It is impossible to secure full information and data regarding the family in Virginia at this period, owing to the destruction of records during the various wars, but traditions in the family are more or less corroborated by the history of the country.